Saturday, 30 April 2011

Cha-Ching .... Ba-Bling

This song (Price Tag by Jessie J, from the Who You Are album) has been on my mind all week and I just had to share it with you.  I figured I might as well spread the pain/joy(?), because I really cannot get the tune out of my head!

I have been shopping a lot recently, and the tune crops up (in my head) everytime I swipe my card at the till! I guess I'm simply trying to justify the expense to myself - 'It's not about the money, money, money..... Forget about the price tag!'

It's my song-of-the-moment and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Friday, 29 April 2011

To the future King and Queen!

I wonder if anyone will be reading this today, what with all the focus on the Royal Wedding!?

I'll leave you today with one of Thornton Wilder's quotes.
'Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper feel she's a householder.'

Kate will certainly not be doing any housekeeping (Do Royals keep house? I doubt it.)
It is also obvious to see she wasn't bribed!(Their love for each other just shines through).
However, I do hope and pray she feels more of a householder than her late mother-in-law, Diana, ever did....

Here's wishing the young couple, William and Kate, a future so bright, even the Sun feels threatened!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Travel Hassles....

As the name suggests, I love to travel.
Sometimes for work, and sometimes for pleasure. Sometimes by road, sometimes by air. Sometimes local (in the same country) and sometimes international.
I am very familiar with airports, airport smells, hotels, hotel smells, rental cars, rental car smells....you get it.
I have a personal checklist I run through before I leave on any trip.
  • Laundry - I wash all my clothes (it’s a bit silly, but it’s always nice to think that if I never make it back home, at least people can say ‘She was a very clean and tidy woman!’). Bizarre – yes... 
  • Shopping - I stock up the fridge (to make sure there is enough food for when I get back. I hate heading straight to the shops right after a long journey)
  • Finances - I check my wallet and swap out the money. (I usually have a stash of foreign coins, so I just make sure they are accessible)
  • Travel documents - The most important thing I check is my passport. You see, I’m from a country that requires a visa to almost everywhere. This has never really stopped me from planning trips, I just need to make sure that I have the right visas in my passport for the country I want to visit.
And here lies my biggest issue with travelling 

The process of getting a visa can be quite stressful, (depending on which embassy you are going to). Planning for obtaining a visa needs to happen weeks before your travel date, in order to avoid any embarrassment. Gathering your relevant paperwork (birth certificates, marriage certificates, bank statements etc) needs to be done meticulously. Omit one document and you have very likely jeopardised your chances of getting that visa or visiting that country!

Thankfully, I haven’t had too many horror stories within the embassies, but I could regale you for days with stories of people’s experiences in embassies.

Another hurdle I mentally prepare for, is clearing immigration. I have to stress that with the state of the world today, immigration control is of utmost importance. It is pertinent to assess all travellers diligently, to ensure that the people you are letting into your country are genuine travellers.

I am always very conscious of the power that the individual in the cubicle wields. The immigration officer – the one looking through my passport. That lone individual – the one who can single-handedly decide whether or not I will enter that country.

I don't think it has anything to do with the visa on my passport. It has nothing to do with my bank balance. It’s not my fancy smart clothes or my well-spoken and respectful manner. It’s simply that immigration officer’s perception and judgement of my ‘true intent’ at that specific point in time. This is what they are trained to do, you see...

Travelling is great fun, but there are occasions when I wonder if the lines between prudent, diligent assessment and sheer spite are a bit hazy.... but I could be wrong.

Maybe we were both having a rough day....

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Use your voice....

When I was 'testing' the waters with this blog, I anonymously sent my essays to a friend.

Here's how the conversation went.
'Hey, I'd like you to take a look at a very interesting blog I found on the Internet. I think you'll like it.' I said.

'You have a blog?!' was her next response, about 5 minutes later.

'Of course not!' I said. 'I was just referring you to an interesting blog I found on the Internet. Don't you just like it? I love the way the blogger writes!' (Rather sneaky of me, not letting on that I was the writer!)

This was my friend's reply.
'I sat next to you for 5 years of school and I read most of your essays. You might not be sitting beside me anymore, but I certainly know how you write and sound! This blog reads just like you are right here talking to me! It's got to be yours!'

I tried this 'subtle' investigative trick on a few more people and got the same response. So I decided to go ahead and make this blog public. Because, let's face it - this is me. My thoughts, my opinions, my ideas, my interests - in my own words.

My fingers literally fly over the keyboard when I write about things that interest me. Having the Internet as a channel to share this (one reader at a time, until I get to my target of 1.9 billion!), is a fantastic opportunity and I am grateful for that!

I came across this post about 'using your voice' on Thetamom (a blogging community for mums) recently and thought I should share it with you. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tuesday the 26th....

What a truly busy day! So glad it's over...

Monday, 25 April 2011

Starting the week

There are 24 hours in a day. I sleep for about 8 or 9 which leaves me with about 15 or 16 hours for the rest of the day. (I'm an early riser, so I generally go to bed early),

I probably spend about 5 hours each day doing the basic, mundane things - dress up, prepare and eat meals, run errands, leaving me with about 10 'spare' hours.

So, where does the rest of my time go?

I'm not exactly sure. I start the day full of plans and somehow, the next time I look at the clock, it's early evening and time to start winding down.

Don't get me wrong. The time is being used constructively (I still manage to do a daily post - some more challenging than others!) however I can't really account for the rest of the day. Life, generally, is becoming really busy!

When I moved here, I was so excited at the prospect of taking a career break - tonnes of free time for relaxing, slower start to the day, a slower and more controlled pace of life. And I did manage to pull that off initially, until I got settled into my new environment and back to my old habits.....

So today, I am going to do something different. I am going to take it really slow today and enjoy the entire day without worrying about things that I should be doing/could be doing. I am going to slow down, even if it is for one day and do the really silly things with my children (That's always therapeutic!).

Today, I am just going to 'chillax' and enjoy the day. (I guess it also helps that today is a holiday!)

That's how I plan to start my week. How about you?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Alleluia

We probably all got the chocolates this season.
We saw the pretty baskets piled up with chocolate and treats.
We've probably tried on the lovely spring dresses in all the shops, maybe even bought one or two.

We're enjoying the days off work as well as the warmer weather.
Most especially, we are thankful for being able to eat treats again, without feeling guilty!

However, let us not forget to spare a moment to celebrate the true reason for the season! Alleluia! He is risen!

Happy Easter to all my readers!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Democracy or .....

When I was in school, I was taught that Democracy is ‘the government of the people, by the people, for the people’

The Thesaurus defines it as ‘a system of choosing a government by voting. A system of government in which people vote in elections to choose the people who will govern them’

The general consensus here is that the people of a country make a decision (through free and fair voting and elections) on who will govern them. Every vote is counted and it is this collection of all the votes that forms the decision.

So what happens when a country that preaches democracy, goes against what it preaches?

What happens when a selection of individuals refuse to accept the results of democratically carried out elections?

What makes ethnic groups (within the same country) fight one another over who holds dominance in the nation?

What happens when robbers loot under the cover of the mayhem, chaos and confusion?

What happens when people are getting killed because some others are unwilling to accept the results of the democratic elections and are mischievously wreaking havoc?

What happens when precious man-hours (and potential earnings) are being lost because of the unstable situation in the nation?

The people came out to vote, believing their voices will be heard and honoured.
Leadership of a country is not a birthright, belonging to a specific geographic area of the nation. Rather, in democratic countries, leadership of a country is determined by the votes of the people. Not one person’s personal wishes or personal dreams, rather a collection of all the votes – thus, reflecting a national standpoint. If a democracy didn’t exist, then we would have a dictatorship.

A lot of time is being wasted through these internal squabbles over dominance. This, in turn, is hindering the growth of the country. United we stand, divided we fall. We are unable to grow, because we continue to bicker and disagree over who should steer the ship.

Please stop the fighting and focus on growth. Too much water has gone under the bridge, too many years have been wasted, too many lives lost in these disputes.

A lot more can be achieved if we all work together.
Schools, hospitals and roads need to be built. Basic amenities (electricity, water) need to be provided. Children need to be raised in a nation without fear of robbers or robbery. Safe, comfortable transportation needs to be provided. Jobs (that do not rely solely on the one natural resource - petroleum) need to be created.

The time to make the change is NOW, before we are left with no-one to rule....

Friday, 22 April 2011

A poem by Melz2Belz

Well, one thing led to another yesterday, and I feel greatly honoured to feature another guest post, or should I say poem. The poet is 9. Hope you enjoy it.

Annoying Clock

That annoying clock
Is driving me crazy
I wish it wasn't Monday
So I could sleep and be lazy
It rings and rings
Until I press a button
Thinking it's louder than a king
I feel like breaking it
Or eternally shaking it
Whatever I do
Whatever I say
It better be good
To make that clock go away!

Melz2Belz - April 2011

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A poem by Shelly

Shelly is one of my regular readers. (Thank you, Shelly for your frequent visits!). She sent me this poem which I've decided to use for today's post.
(By the way, I can confirm that Shelly is definitely of sound mind and was not writing about herself!!)

Hope you enjoy it!

Denial? No!
I’m not crazy,
I don’t need any help,
I’m just going through a hard time,
Everybody has those, right?

I’m not crazy,
I can take care of myself, really,
Believe me, I’m happy,
Nothing’s wrong,

I’m not crazy,
I don’t need a doctor –
Or a home or a hospice,
I can live alone and be independent.

I’m not crazy,
I don’t need your help,
Stop calling here,
I’ve got plenty of support.

I’m not crazy,
I’m not on anything,
I’m not doing anything,
And I’m not seeing anyone!

I’m not crazy.

Shelly, April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Filing taxes....

Filing taxes has got to be one of the single, most difficult things to do – if you’re not trained for it.

I’m not an accountant, but I used to think I had a flair for figures. Oh, and I do have a Business degree as well. Yet, at this time every year, I am still flummoxed and extremely hassled.
Here's a silly poem I did for this...

TAXES
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
A really scary word to most of us mere mortals
The IRS swooping down with their invisible axes
Us, quivering at the prospect of going all clerical

Heaven forbid I miss an entry
Heaven forbid I forget a receipt
The IRS guys, they know where you live
And they will come for you, sooner or later
(OK, I couldn’t get this to rhyme – sorry!)

I’ve been to IRS.gov
More times than I can condone
And yet I feel I’m not doing enough.
They’re gonna get me like Al Capone!

I’ve never been savvy with any of my money
I earn it, I spend it, it’s very basic living
Stocks, bonds, ROTH IRAs, I am so sorry
I just make sure that the earning far exceeds the spending

Why can’t all taxes just be deducted at source?
Leaving you to spend only what’s in your account?
There’s bound to be some deceitful ones, of course
But trust the IRS. They will make them account!

So gather all your forms, receipts and papers
They’re all in the shoebox, the one at the back
Don’t forget the 1040s. Oh what a caper!
I’m just hoping for a refund, and nothing to pay back!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cloud Girlfriend

Seriously??

Apparently, this is a new startup that creates a 'Cloud Girlfriend' for you on Facebook. The ‘Cloud Girlfriend’ is a virtual girlfriend who sends you public messages on Facebook, ‘deceiving’ your friends into thinking you have a girlfriend.
According to David Fuhriman, the CEO of Cloudgirlfriend.com, she’s the perfect girlfriend.
(Just google Cloud Girlfriend for more info. Their actual website is www.cloudgirlfriend.com)

So here are the steps needed to create your own Cloud Girlfriend according to the website.

STEP 1 - Define your perfect girlfriend. (You create her by picking from several preloaded pictures. They are also working on creating a composite of you and your ‘Cloud Girlfriend’)

STEP 2 - We bring her into existence. (Breathe life into her???)

STEP 3 - Connect and interact with her publicly on your favorite social network (She will be operated by a real person, who can friend and be friended on Facebook, who can post status updates, who can write on your wall)

STEP 4 - Enjoy a public long distance relationship with your perfect girl. (To what gain? She’s not REAL!!!!)

Apparently, Cloudgirlfriend.com is not a porn site(?) or an adult dating site (??) and it will help people manage relationships better, because if people see that you are having this exciting relationship (albeit FAKE) then they’ll think you’re a really cool person and want to date you??!!!

I’m a little confused. Relationships have several traits. I'll mention a few...

- Someone to talk to / connect with
- Someone to touch/hug/kiss
- Someone to read from/write to
- Someone to laugh with
- Companionship

How will it work with the Cloud Girlfriend?
- No IMs, no texting.
- What do you hug/touch/feel/kiss? (the laptop?)
- This will be a really quiet relationship. No sounds, no conversation, just the written word? (Unless CloudGirlfriend is working on voice files that you can replay over and over again – if you feel lonely?)
- She can never go on a date with you. Never be seen in public with you. You can only show her off on your computer screen. (Actually, maybe a lifesize cut-out of your Cloud Girlfriend will work?)

So what happened to :- just walking up to a girl you find attractive/interesting in the library/gym/church/party anywhere and talking to her – nicely/politely – without leering at her or being suggestive?

And why is it so important to have a girlfriend anyway? Why do we feel we need to show the public that we're in a relationship - does this then prove that we are normal?? Why does society feel that you are 'incomplete' unless you are in a relationship?

The one good thing I can see coming out of this application is Job Creation. CloudGirlfriend.com will be creating jobs for all the ‘real people’ who will be managing the ‘cloud girlfriend’ Facebook accounts!

Seriously, people need to step away from their computers and get out more.......Seriously!

http://www.cloudgirlfriend.com
http://www.businessinsider.com/cloud-girlfriend-2011-4
http://www.businessinsider.com/cloud-girlfriend-update-2011-3
http://www.businessinsider.com/cloud-girlfriend-2011-3
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/26590/
http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20110412/tc_zd/263066

Monday, 18 April 2011

ABC's of me...

A fellow blogger the Outspoken Introvert put this up on her blog. It's an interesting exercise that gives you some extra bits of info about me! Do enjoy!

 
Age: 2 score and 1

Bed Size: King

Chore you hate: Nearly all!

Dogs: Not a huge animal person (I prefer people), but maybe a chihuahua?

Essential start of your day: Prayer

Favourite Colour: Black! So forgiving on bulges and bumps....

Gold or Silver: Same difference. I don’t do a lot of bling...

Height: 5ft 6ins (not sure why, but most people think I am taller!)

Instruments I play (or have played): Recorder (was in my elementary school band), Piano (my Twinkle Twinkle little star (using only one hand) is phenomenal – lol!).

Job Title: Today – Blogger. Past Life – IT Project Manager.

Kids: Two lovely ladies! They rock!

Live: Houston, Texas

Mum’s name: Loretta

Nickname: A bit rude, so I’ll skip this...

Overnight hospital stays: Three. (2 of them for the arrival of the lovely ladies!)

Pet peeves: Body odor, bad breath, backbiters, b.....

Quote from a movie: 'He love that dog’ Tom Hanks, the Terminal. In fact, I’ve got several from that movie. It’s hilarious and one of my best!

Right or left-handed: Right-handed (not quite ambidextrous, but I’ve trained myself to use my left as well, just in case I get into a nasty accident and lose my right hand.....)

Siblings: 4 (2 of each). I’m the last child

Time you wake up: Between 5:15am and 5:45am each day. On weekends, I force myself to go back to bed for a little bit!

Underwear: Oh yes.

Vegetables you dislike: Aubergine

What makes you run late? Procrastination (cos I keep believing I have loads of time)!

X-rays you’ve had done: Wrist

Yummy food you can make: Quite a few. I absolutely love trying out new recipes etc

Zoo animal: Not a huge fan. Animals are cute, but only from a distance, please!


You know what? I challenge you to comment with some of your own ABC's, so I can get to know you better!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. Can you believe Easter is round the corner?
(Even more scary as a parent, the school year is fast coming to an end!)

The feast celebrates Jesus' Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey amidst cheers and acclaim from the population. Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves (often tied into crosses) to the assembled worshipers.

During the days following this triumphant entry, Jesus is betrayed by Judas (one of his disciples) and is crucified on the Cross. He dies, only to rise 3 days later. What a whirlwind of emotions for one week!

As we enter the Holy Week, here's another Youtube video that I hope you 'll like! Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Losing stuff...

Because I know we are constantly on the move (and probably will be for a few more years) I try not to have too many personal items. OK, I TRY!
My advice would be to keep your baggage minimal whilst you travel, because it makes it easier to pack up and go, when it is time to move on to your next move.

With most corporate relocations, the company will arrange for your possessions to be boxed and transported, yet, there is still confusion on Move Day as the movers invade your space.

Where does this go? Can we pack up this room? What is staying or going? Have you done the labels?

In between all that, you are struggling to keep an eye on your valuables (children inclusive!) and also ensuring that the really important items (passports, birth certificates etc) are not packed up for shipping.

I'm writing this because I did lose some important documents about 11 years ago and accepting this 'carelessness' has always been a problem for me. 'I'm the organised one' 'I have a foolproof filing system'

I was able to replace them (somewhat) - not in the fancy format they originally came in - rather a printed A4 page that acknowledged that I did own the original at some point. (I have a few awkward moments through the years, trying to prove that the A4 piece of paper is really, an original legal document and not one I printed off at home!)

It's always been a low point in my travels when I think about those documents. What could I have done differently? Where did I keep them? Maybe they are hidden somewhere in one of those boxes that we haven't opened up - yet? Occasionally I go through phases, where I spend the whole day going through boxes, hoping that I will find them. So far, I haven't had much success....

So my advice would be -
a) if you are constantly on the go, keep it lean and mean. If you can't, then rent some storage and keep some of your stuff there.
b) certificates, passports etc are GOLD. Keep them safe!

Friday, 15 April 2011

It's not food, it's Cortisol!

For those of you who do not already know, Cortisol is a hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and one whose discovery has made me so much happier!

According to About.com, (do click on the link to read more about it), cortisol is involved in the following body functions (Proper glucose metabolism, Regulation of blood pressure, Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence etc)

The article also calls Cortisol - the body's stress hormone - and explains that it is secreted in higher levels in the bloodstream, when the body is extremely stressed. Such high secretions  (like those associated with chronic stress) result in negative effects, such as: Impaired cognitive performance, Suppressed thyroid function and wait for this - INCREASED ABDOMINAL FAT, which as we all know is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body.

Increased abdominal fat(!) - this makes me really ecstatic!

So now I know - it's not the doughnuts I've been eating, nor the corndogs, hotdogs or chilli dogs. It's not the ice-cream or the milkshakes. It's Cortisol. I'm stressed! That's why I am carrying all that weight around my middle!

So all I need to do is to eliminate the stress in my life, which will lower my cortisol to acceptable levels and then I will be slim and svelte - no? The article says 'To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place'.

I really do not have to do anything about the food, because it's not the food that's causing it - it's Cortisol! Yay!

Really??!!! You tell me...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol
http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Task list....

  • Drop off kids at school
  • Pick up kids from school
  • Take 1 child to athletic meets (about 15 miles away)
  • Take 2nd child to a different sports meet (closer home)
  • Pick up children from sporting events
  • Clean guest room and make beds (I'm having guests over for the night)
  • Drop off drycleaning
  • Pick up drycleaning
  • Do some ironing
  • Shop for groceries (I am really beginning to hate this task! I miss Tesco home delivery)
  • Cook dinner (eat some, freeze some!)
  • Go to Gym (hopefully)
  • Blog (hopefully)
I thought I'd give you a list of my activities for today.
And to think, many women do all this, and so much more each day, whilst holding down full time, high pressured jobs! (You can substitute Blog for any other passion one might have - volunteering, helping out in the community, helping out in church etc)

How do we do it?
To all the women juggling love, life, children, work - Cheers!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Who's the crazy one...?

** some actually say this was not an actual Einstein quote, but I’m not so sure....
Those who know me personally know call me crazy. Not because I need to be locked up in a mad-house (although I’m sure a few would disagree!), but because of my ability to infuse humour into almost every aspect of my life. (Sometimes, this is a good thing, but not always...)

Einstein probably had a deeper meaning to this quote, but here's a short list of the things that baffle me about our species.
  • I greet the people I meet, yet most of the replies I get (thankfully, not all!) are grunts 
  • My waiter messes up my order, and yet is upset when I don’t leave a tip
  • I call for a serviceman and the best timeslot he can give me is 8am – 5pm 
  • I go to my doctor’s office for my 10:15 appointment and I have to wait 40 minutes, yet on the occasion that I do get there 10 minutes late, I am told I will need to reschedule my appointment
  • A drug I could use is advertised on TV, yet the list of possible side effects far exceed the potential benefits of the drugs
  • A Reality TV star earns more than a World Renowned bestselling author on a guest speaking appearance
  • Talent is no longer an essential prerequisite for success in showbiz
And the list goes on, making me wonder - who's the crazy one?

But on the other hand, there have been several instances where I have been reassured that no-one is crazy, no-one is insane, we’re just regular people subsisting and looking out for each other.
Here's another short list about things that astound and amaze me about our species.
  • I arrive at a new location and several people genuinely reach out in friendship (sincere friendship, not curiosity!)
  • I am unwell and there’s an entire ‘village’ reaching out to help with prayers, transportation, childcare, food, company
  • I am ‘adopted’ by families during major holidays, because they feel we might be lonely and missing home
  • I am bored, and an equally bored friend, calls me up for some company and laughter
And this list goes on as well....

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

How I transitioned into blogging....

As a Trailing-Spouse*-With-A-Career, there are periods when you are voluntarily unemployed. Primarily because you have had to end your current job, in order to follow your spouse on the next assignment.


Trailing spouses without conventional desk jobs are very fortunate because they are able to continue their careers regardless of their location (that’s my goal). Some really proactive spouses are also able to arrange inter-company transfers within their companies to coincide with their spouses transfer so that there are no gaps in employment or earnings. (Hats off to you! I personally do not know many who have, except those who work in the same organisation as their spouses – the dual career couples)

For the Trailing-Spouse-With-A-Career, now turned Stay-At-Home mum, this transition can be quite a shock, if you’re unprepared. You begin to feel under-fulfilled and possibly even begin to resent your spouse for the lull in your career.

What exactly are you expected to do with all that spare time????

Being creative and having a positive attitude is always helpful. I always try to remind myself of all the reasons that made the new posting offer so attractive.

This move has definitely been an eye-opener. (This is my first relocation where I do not have an infant in tow, so I have just a little bit more free time. My children are still young enough to need my attention (daily!), the only difference is that we now talk about their needs, instead of them crying and demanding to be carried! )

Before we moved, I thought I had it all planned out. I was going to take a career break for a while. I was to learn a new language, play tennis, finally get to my ‘ideal body weight’ (hah!), meet people, network more.

Some of these I have achieved, and some I haven’t (I still don’t play tennis). But I did discover new strengths in other places. I know that whilst I can cook up a storm in the kitchen, I am definitely not ‘domesticated’! I know where my strengths lie!

I also discovered that my life thrives on having some form of structure. I need to do something each day. Not the random gym visits, language classes, networking – something structured.

This is why I chose to start blogging, to help me cope with the transition
  • Blogging allows me express myself freely
  • I challenge myself to post everyday, so it gives me a sense of purpose
  • I love reading the feedback (it provides recognition and acknowledgement of the work done – everyone needs that!)
  • It’s pretty darn awesome when total strangers find your blog on Google and actually stay long enough to read a post or two!

2 questions for you.
How do you cope with transition?
How did you discover blogging?

*Trailing Spouse :- a person who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. Courtesy wikipedia.com

Monday, 11 April 2011

Honesty is the best policy....

This is a short post to let you know I have nothing to write today.

I could make excuses and say I had a wonderfully busy weekend that completely took up my time and I was too exhausted to write. But that's untrue.

I could waste your time and write a long essay with lots of big words and no meaning - but I need to retain the few readers I have, so I won't bore you by doing that.

I could sit here and keep trying, but after 6 different attempts at starting an essay - I know I have nothing to write.

So I've decided to come clean and confess - I have nothing to write today.

Have a great start to your week!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Past the halfway mark!

Now that we're past the halfway point in Lent, it's probably feeling a lot more difficult to stick with those resolutions. How much longer???? 

Hebrews 10:36
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.


Here's a song (courtesy Youtube) to inspire you and keep you going.

(From the Japanese cartoon series Sailor Moon - Give me the strength to carry on)

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

What's your relationship status?

He checks on her every 5 minutes
Perpetually aware of her every movement
He’s never more than a foot away from her
And when she’s not with him, he feels bereft

He loves it whenever she talks to him
Excitedly absorbing the messages she relays
He gets paranoid when she’s too quiet
And he panics that she's unwell and unable to communicate

Holding her close is his signature stance
It's a fatal attraction - him to her charm
Ever so often, he buys her new toys
More things to make her, more fun and engaging

His whole life revolves around her reactions
Agonisingly waiting for her to give him a glance
Depression sets in when she makes no contact
He feels all alone, without a friend in the world

It’s a sad relationship between this guy and his ....... phone – right?
Wait a second, you didn’t think I was talking about a lovesick teenager / stalker / wierdo – did you?

Or was I??
What's your relationship with your phone?

Friday, 8 April 2011

He's still in the business!

I’m singing a happy song today
My voice reaching up to the skies to say
‘God is still in the business’,
Of answering prayers, that is.

This week, I had a personal manifestation of the goodness of God, because a prayer was answered, when I least expected it.

I had prayed about this for some weeks, but did not see any resolution. The immediate future looked bleak, but I had no other tricks up my sleeve. I went about my business, pushing the problem to the back of my mind, hoping it would go away.

As usual, I started doubting myself, thinking ‘Get real. What makes your prayer so special in the midst of all that is going on in the world? Your issue is so trivial, and largely self-inflicted. Surely God has more pressing issues to focus on?’

But God proved me wrong and showed that He does listen!

He came through for me today, and that's why I'm singing a happy song!

AMEN! AMEN! and AMEN!!!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Lights, Cameras, Action....

I asked a 9 year old the other day what she wanted to be, when she grows up.

And she replied ‘I want to be famous’

My first thought was ‘The ills of today’s society. That poor child spends too much time in front of the TV. It’s got to be all those reality TV programmes, making these poor young children believe that you can just wake up one day and decide you want to be ‘famous’ – hah!. I need to speak to her mum. No-one starts off life wanting to be famous. Most people start off wanting to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist, Teacher etc , you know, something ‘regular’ (hopefully, something that will require some college education as well!). You then aspire to do something outstanding in that career that will make you famous. That’s how it’s done!’ Blah, blah, blah

Naturally, as a responsible adult, I did not voice those thoughts out. Rather I pried a little further.

‘Famous doing what, my dear?’

‘Famous in movies’

‘Like an actress?’ I asked

‘Nah. I want to be a movie director. I want to make and direct my own movies. I write the scripts, I do the auditions and pick the cast, costumes, the set. Then I film the movie and market it to a big company or a TV station’

‘Are you going to do everything by yourself? That’s a lot of hats to wear!’ I asked

‘Of course not! I will do the bits I like (write the script, direct the movie, casting) and get people to do the stuff I can’t. Maybe I’ll let my big sister design the set, cos she wants to be an interior designer!’

Do remember that I’m having this conversation with a 9 year old... When I was 9, I was getting to grips with long multiplication, simple geometry and the rudiments of writing a decent, structured English essay, certainly not planning how to run a successful movie empire and overthrow Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg. I certainly had my own dreams, but I know they were not as grand and well thought out as this.

And then this got me thinking about something I read recently in another blog, where the writer blogged about Albert Einstein’s quote ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. My first thoughts when I read that blog was ”Surely, you need both (in equal doses) to be successful”. Another blog I visit regularly also has a post about the fear of failure or the failure to fear.

But after listening to my 9 year old sage, I’ve learnt a lot.
Now, I'm not sure if this is a sign of the times or a cultural thing, but here's what I know. I know that today's children, in their innocence, believe in the possibilities and dream big. “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it,” William Author Ward. A lot of children I come across today believe this - fully! Not bad, I say, provided there is a wise, mature adult available to provide practical guidance and keep them grounded.

Sadly, as adults, we have lost that 'innocence' and immediately see the negatives (That's impossible, because I do not have the knowledge) rather than the positives (What if I tried to do that? What would the outcome be?) in every situation.

You know, with imagination, there are no boundaries, no limits, no borders, no ceilings (glass or otherwise). There’s practically nothing in your way, except you, your mind and how far you want to go. Imagine first and then seek the knowledge that will make your imagination a reality. Explore the ‘what-if?’ and see where that takes you. Let your imagination run wild first, and then think about how knowledge will help you achieve it and where to acquire that knowledge (get the knowledge yourself or collaborate with people who already have the knowledge).

To my 9 year old movie mogul, I say – ‘From your lips to God’s ears. Go for it!’ Move over Kathryn Bigelow!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The French maid's tale....C'est la vie!

She had an infectious ‘joie de vivre’
Despite her simple job as a ‘femme de ménage’
She lived right above the nearby ‘boulangerie’
With her father, the hotel ‘jardinier’

Each task was met with a smiling ‘Pas de probleme’
Like she had accepted her lot in life – ‘Que sera sera’
You could tell she was certainly ‘crème de la crème’
Life had just dealt her a raw deal – ‘Quelle tristesse’

The rooms she cleaned were the most sought-after ‘chambres’
Her customers always welcomed her with a bright ‘Bonjour’
She never forgot to say ‘Merci’ and ‘S’il vous plait’
One even offered her a job as an ‘Au pair’!

A new boss arrived, he kept acting like the ‘Nouveau riche’
He tried to be posh, but you could tell he was ‘classe inférieure’
Strutting around the place like a complete ‘poseur’
No-one really liked him, he was quite ‘plus Royaliste que le Roi!’

One day, he invited her up to his room for a private ‘tete-a-tete’
And then quickly requested a ‘ménage a trios’
She was so shocked she stuttered ‘Pardon?’
And he reiterated with a ‘Voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce soir?’

She ran out of the room shouting ‘Oh Mon Dieu’
Surely, there was nothing sexy about her simple ‘tablier’?
He must have thought she was a guaranteed ‘fait accompli’
But how could he - ‘Quel acte de diablerie!’

He mistook her and her ‘douceur de vivre’
For a wild and wanton ‘fille de joie’
Well, she’ll never have to smell his cheap ‘Eau de Cologne’
And you, Monsieur will never see her smiley face again – ‘C’est dommage’

Because today you robbed her of her very essence – her unique ‘personalité’
You made her feel cheap and less than a tramp – ‘Mais pourquoi?’
You broke her heart and dumped her feelings in ’la Poubelle’
And now she has to leave town and start a new life – ‘C’est la vie’

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

What do these cities 'say' to you?

My daughter and I played this game recently. She picks a city and in less than a minute, I have to tell her the first thing that comes to mind about that city.... Here are some of the asnwers we came up with...Very basic responses, but hey, I only had less than a minute per city...

When I say xxxxx, what immediately comes to mind?
  1. Paris, France – Eiffel Tower
  2. London, England – Big Ben
  3. New York, USA – Statue of Liberty
  4. Boston, USA – Tea Party, very English
  5. Lagos, Nigeria – Hot climate, Great food
  6. Houston, USA – Cowboy boots
  7. New Orleans, USA – Mardi Gras
  8. California, USA – Beautiful people
  9. Florida, USA – Yellow sun, Oranges
  10. Kingston, Jamaica – Hot climate, Great music
  11. Hawaii, USA – Blue skies, Pristine beaches
  12. Las Vegas, USA - Gambling, HOT
  13. Hannover, Germany – Sleek cars
  14. Caracas, Venezuela – Beautiful women
  15. Houma, USA – The bayou
 I'd be interested to know what your answers would be...Feel free to comment below....Remember, it's the first thing that comes to mind.....And you can use any cities you like, not just mine...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Professional certification - curse or blessing?

In a past life, I wore an IT Project Manager’s hat. Simply put, I worked with IT Teams to identify, define, execute and deliver IT Projects.

The Information Technology (IT) industry is quite a fast-paced one, because everyone knows everything in IT becomes obsolete the minute it is publicly announced! This means you have to be constantly on top of your game and stay current with the latest industry trends, to ensure that all projects are delivering relevant technology to the end users.


I count myself very lucky to work in IT, as it is an extremely portable skill-set, and one of those rare ones that does not require any substantial retraining when you get to a new location.

The IT crowd are usually the same bunch of nerds/geeks, all in denial about being nerds/geeks. The job expectations are fairly standardised worldwide – regardless of where you are. (a PC is a pc is a pc – no?). You just need to cope with the soft skills – people, cultures etc

To increase your marketability in IT (and very likely take home a fatter paycheck), professional certification is highly beneficial. The need for certifications is fast creeping into the IT industry as a critical differentiator for prospective employers and recruiters. (The deluge of responses that employers get for any advertised job openings, has deemed it necessary to introduce specific differentiators in the form of professional certifications, in order to narrow down the potential candidates). The plus side though is that these certification exams are universal – can be taken by anyone anywhere in the world – and are not region specific. (for example, you do not need to be in the US to take the Microsoft Certification exams).

Some other professions are not quite as lucky. Doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, accountants all need to retrain or be re-certified in most countries before they can work. This is mandatory and not a 'nice-to-have'. This is primarily because such professions already have firm and established guidelines (I hesitate to use the word – structure – as it would suggest the IT industry is unstructured. Such fallacy!) on methods of operation and what is acceptable, within each country. An in-depth knowledge of the country specific requirements therefore is essential before anyone is permitted to practice. Those in the medical field appear to be worst-hit in the USA, as each state has its own guidelines for practising in the state!

Can you imagine if you were the spouse of a Globetrotting executive and needed to retrain in each location you are posted to, in order to work? How frustrating will that be? Worrying about this will distract you from enjoying your new location and can very quickly negatively impact your relationship with your spouse... Besides, those certification exams don't come cheap either....

So what if you are not in IT, and you are already well entrenched in your career and really are not keen on retraining/certification, but you still want to work? There are other options which you could explore – volunteering, pro-bono work, internship, starting your own business...All topics for another discussion.......

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Lean on me....

This week, I’ve posted a Youtube video of a Grammy Nominated Song of the Year – Lean On Me by Kirk Franklin.

There are a few notable music industry stars featuring in this video, making the song even more awesome and uplifting. R Kelly, Crystal Lewis, Mary J. Blige and Bono (in order of appearance) and of course we mustn’t forget Tamela Mann from Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns!.

Our walk with God is not a solitary one, as He is with us every step of the way - holding our hands. Hope this video inspires you, as we continue to strive for spiritual perfection.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Wishing for some rain....

Who would have thought
We'd be talking about a drought
We haven't had any rain for quite a few days
Many bright sunny days, but no rain anyways

Drought is a natural disaster, and its impact can be brutal
It leads to plenty of hunger, famine and sadness. All actions seem futile
The aged, infirm, the young, the plants, the trees and wildlife
The impact of drought is far reaching in our daily life

It's become really hot in the afternoon
Although, I did think it was too soon
Afterall it's only early April
When the weather is supposed to be brill

So, I'm praying for some good rain
But no flooding, just enough to see some green on the terrain
Enough to feed the plants and fill up the rivers and ponds
Enough for that dog, that's been drinking out of the fishpond

Rain washes things away, you know
Just like you would get with molten snow
On a personal note, I'm wishing for some good rain
To wash away the pollen and free my fuddled brain!

Friday, 1 April 2011

1000 hits and counting !!!!

It’s a good day today. Actually, I’ll rephrase that – It’s a great day today!

Why? Cos it’s been one full month since I religiously started posting everyday and we just got to 1000 hits today!!!! It’s a great day!

Thank you to my signed-up blog followers, who keep checking regularly to see what I have posted.

Thank you to my friends and family who make it a point of duty to check in weekly to see what I have written.

Thank you to the people I have nagged ceaselessly to check in periodically and see what I have posted. (you know who you are!)

Thank you to the random visitors who just happened to type a keyword and it led them to my page. (and thank you, if you liked it so much, you decided to come back!)

Thank you to the established bloggers whose blogs provided me with inspiration for mine.

Thank you everyone for making this worthwhile.
I’m still enjoying this, so I think I’ll continue doing it....
On to the next thousand.....
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