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Hiatus…

Talk of taking a hiatus! I have been away from my blog for ages for a good reason- my book is coming along and I have decided to focus my energies on getting that completed, add the lazy days of summer, throw in a quick trip to Kenya this September till we are here: November.

Clearly, I need to spruce things up around here, clear the cobwebs, update the blogroll, catch up on some of the blogs I have neglected to read!

The soundtrack for the return has got to be the new Cee Lo Green album: ‘The Lady Killer’…I downloaded it from iTunes last night and have not stopped playing it.

Back shortly!!!

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Who are these ‘People’?

Apologies- this is long…with usual digressions…am just exuberant to be back!

Recently my friends and I were discussing a gossipy story out of Nairobi regarding a certain man’s (alleged) infidelity. A story that came complete with the usual villains: a pregnant mistress (alleged) aka ‘the Homewrecker’ and angels: an (allegedly) estranged wife. Firstly, we were all highly amused by the amount of detail contained in what we can only call third party hearsay- I mean, word out of Nairobi had the gestational progress of ‘the Homewrecker’ well charted and am sure that out there in the ether, exists a story detailing the Whens and Wheres of this affaire. Secondly, we found that most of the vitriol was (not surprisingly) being poured over the alleged mistress- I wondered aloud to one of my friends, “who- under the age of 40 calls such a woman a ‘Homewrecker’?” Thirdly, the gleeful-yet-tempered-with-holier-than-thou attitude which had otherwise decent people spreading this story in their social circles left us feeling uncomfortable- after all, wasn’t this a private matter for the principals to sort out amongst themselves rather than cannon fodder for the gossip militia?
Am not one to sit and pontificate over what is right and wrong about people’s relationships- as a human being prone to error myself and all, I think that I am barred from writing the ‘New 10 commandments’ of relationships, so hearing about another man with another woman not his wife didn’t shatter my world or leave me urging vengeance on ‘the Homewrecker’ or ‘the Philanderer’ or feeling excessive pity for ‘the Devoted Wife’. Rather, I was left thinking, “and how does this affects me?”
Here are some observations made which have brought me to this conclusion:

Continue reading

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Proust Questionnaire

I enjoy reading Vanity Fair magazine. The last page usually carries the Proust Questionnaire that a celebrity gets to fill out (right now they have a feature on their site that allows you to fill out the questionnaire, then compares your answers to find which celebrities’ answers are a close match to yours- my closest match was Nora Ephron and surprisingly, Donald Trump). It’s quite entertaining and a neat way to round off your reading experience. Apparently the origin of the questionnaire is traced to a parlour game played in Parisian salons back in the day…but like most good things it endures. I thought that would be a good way to ease back into blogdom- I tried to be honest, not giving each question too much thought, rather going with the first answer that bubbles up when I consider each one.

Continue reading

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I am back!

There is nothing like “your account is temporarily available” to end your love affair with Facebook. I am tired of always having to wait to access my account. Screw it. From now on my friends, if you want to know what’s on my mind, please read my blog!

Yes, I realize that being a Crackbook addict I will probably scurry back there as soon as the current technical issues are resolved, I know too that I didn’t blog very often to begin with, but this outage has made me look at my blog a different way.  I love my blog and I have missed it- after all, this is the only place where I can type and type and type without meeting character limits and other irritants, where people comment not because they have to (FB comments can be quite inane at times) but because they want to. The blog wasn’t broken, no fixes needed, so I am back.

Here’s the promise: I will start blogging afresh. Note, I am not promising daily updates as that would be a lie, but I will give my word and return to my usual semi monthly output.

Starting tonight. To come: the music of my summer, some stuff I have learned since I was last here, and general silliness. Be right back!

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Mother May I?

As a Kenya passport holder, travel whims are not so easily satisfied. For every whim, there is a rule. A short while ago, my girlfriends and I were sitting around just shooting the breeze when the subject of Argentina came up. One of my friends (let’s call her the Fat One) has been to Argentina before, and from what I’ve heard, it is all about the Beef, Leather and Malbec. So, like good Africans, we struck an exploratory committee to look into the feasibility of an Argentina jaunt.

Well, no sooner had we entered ‘Argentina Consulate’ into the Google search bar than we discovered that not only would we need visas (as Kenyan passport holders), we might be required to have in-person interviews at the nearest Argentinian Consulate (in my case, miles away in Toronto). The dream was dead before the gloss was set on it. No steaks the size of a small car, no cheap shoes, and definitely no Malbec! Sad. Continue reading

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Goodbye 2008

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31: Inspired by Makeba, Chiwoniso

Someone pointed out to me yesterday that I post to my blog roughly every 21 days. It’s not that the will is not there, I just seem spend so much time wallowing in inspiration that I end up missing opportunities to do more than just come up with creative ideas. I spend so much time stopping to read, smell, listen, watch, that I have little time left to do any actual creation.

This week I turn 31. The past year has been eventful to say the least, and the upcoming one promises to be just as challenging, if not more demanding. The timelines I set for the book are still within my grasp (if I really buckle down in the next few weeks and remain serious/undistracted by Christmas merrymaking), and new creative avenues open up constantly. Ripe for exploration, they beckon me, promising busyness for the coming months.

Tonight I decided to let go of all expectations, suspend all hope/dreams, forget all plotlines/themes/characters, and just dance (if you know me, you know dancing is not on my list of usual activities). I’m soaking up the beats, whirling around, stomping my feet, singing along in a stage whisper (I’m wearing headphones to avoid disturbing the neighbours), channelling the spirit of the music and loving it.

I dance for several minutes till I am dizzy but delighted, sweaty from the exertion which has my heart thumping loudly, rhythmically. I sit and assess my dreams critically. They are once again within my reach, and right in this moment, they seem close enough to grasp, to touch, to feel. I am ready to savour success (I think).

I put away the dancing shoes, massage my cramped toes, wipe my brow. I reach for my pen and face the next chapter. I am ready for the next year.

Soundtrack: Miriam Makeba (Pata Pata. Ibabalazie), Chiwoniso (Vanorapa)

Reading: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun)

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How to End War in Africa 1.0

Dear Rest-of-the-World,

Do you want lasting peace in Africa? I have the solution.

Stop selling weapons to Africans.

Yes, all weapons, to all Africans- even ‘legitimate’ governments.

Then, sit back and watch as the brutality we call war declines.

“Why would it decline?” You ask.

Well, have you seen Africa’s maintenance record?

Just take one look at our roads.

We seem unable to maintain simple tarmac,

Trust me, we cannot maintain more complicated things like AK-47s, tanks and jets.

Before long, there would be news of military jets plunging out of the sky like downed flies,

Of guns jamming from lack of oil or care, reduced to rusty bits dangling from crazed men’s arms,

Of bullets running out, or failing to fly when fired,

Of tanks giving up the ghost on the road to battle-their owners having failed to grease their clunking parts

Before long, there would be news of peace.

Wishful thinking? Yes, I know, but:

Only fools and cowards wage war armed to the teeth with your machetes, guns, tanks and planes

Against defenceless civilians.

Fuelled by pure greed (which they obfuscate with a ’cause’) they maim, rape and kill.

Stop the violence, Stop the sale of weapons to ALL of Africa

Sincerely,

A Concerned Human Being

 

Dedicated to the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose continued suffering leaves me despairing.

Want to help? Please visit:

The International Rescue Committee

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Entering Glum-free Zone!

I am surrounded by people who permanently wallow in the deep, dark, depths of sadness. They could have a choice to be happy but they would rather frown. Some days we all feel somewhat down- I would know, depression is never that far away…it’s like my shadow, chasing me. But when I have a choice, I choose to live in my own glum-free zone. No exceptions made. Life is too short to be the person always glaring at my fellow passengers on the train each morning. I would rather smile at them, offer my seat to the elderly ones, courteously let someone get off the train ahead of me (even if I am running late), because stewing and fuming and moping about it makes it worse. Funnily enough, having a smile (or rather, not frowning) can sometimes be counter-productive…I’ve had people mutter nasty things to me for daring to smile at them. So now I just have a smile-free, neutral look that I’ve perfected for commuting. That, and reading material to avoid eye contact.

At work, it’s the same thing. I guess people think that it is just some kind of African stoicism that keeps me from screaming at some of the stuff people can do that would get on most people’s nerves. It’s not that I am all zen and irritation free, it is that I view my job as something that pays for my lifestyle and my true passions, so even if it drives me nuts, I am here on earth for other reasons, least of which is my job. During the course of my day I see how angry some people get over small non-events or how irritable people get over inane things, slights to their ego/person both imagined and real. What bothers me is that after all these years of working, they have not yet created a coping mechanism or tried to resolve the situation aggravating them. They would rather be angry/irritable/moody than deal with the real issue. What a life I say.

Call me Pollyanna, I just think that we all should learn to prioritize and categorize what’s really important before we all lose our minds. If you will just raise your blood pressure without changing anything, then it is not worth getting mad about. I spend a lot of time saying “it could be worse”, “how does this affect your life?”, “does the person know you are this angry?”, “what will you do about it”…that I’m sure it drives anyone venting to me nuts. But hey, if you enter my personal zone, that’s all I’m offering…glum-free rationality. Trust me, if you have ever been truly depressed, you know better than to stew in unresolved anger…aka the edge of the abyss. Just let it go…let it go…

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TMI Tuesday, and Other Titbits

A few weeks ago on a Tuesday, a few Kenyan MPs trotted out to announce how they had undergone circumcision (I’m assuming as adults). It was all a part of an effort to encourage men from Kenyan tribes that traditionally don’t practice circumcision to have the operation. I sat thinking “TMI (too-much-information) Tuesdays are here!”

Here’s why: If you are happily faithful to your spouse, what does it matter that you are circumcised? More importantly, whether you are circumcised or not, shouldn’t you be using condoms if you have multiple partners?

Wonder if anyone asked the MPs whether they had multiple partners or just fancied going to get snipped? After all, from what I’ve heard it isn’t necessarily a painless procedure even when carried out in a hospital. So, mabwana MPs- what is it? Did you get circumcised to perform a public service, or was it ’cause you sleep around and needed to ‘take precautions’ against HIV infection? Ever heard of condoms? Less painful all around 🙂

That observation has been burning in my brain. Had to put it out there.

Read the full circumcision story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7584269.stm

Closer to home, glad that Canadian elections are so quiet- did anyone out there (as in rest-of-world) even know we were holding elections? If no, that happened yesterday. Status quo restored- just took a couple million dollars to get relatively the same results as last time…then tomorrow we’ll hear how spending will be cut because of ‘tough times’!

As for the US election (which I’ve been following but from a v. peripheral angle)…I had to pity Mr. McCain, when a little old lady declared Obama an Arab. I felt even worse for him because in correcting the little old lady in Minn. on Obama’s heritage, he said, “no, he’s not an Arab, he’s a good family man”…or something to that effect. Which had me thinking “so now being an Arab/Muslim is wrong/bad/evil/etc?” Good thing the US is so well hooked up with the Saudis ’cause if I were an Arab/Muslim, I’d be pissed and turn off the oil supply to the US (like Gadaffi did to the Suisse!).

OK, back to more serious work…will resume normal program shortly ie one post every six weeks [shameful]

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