Thursday, April 30, 2009

Little Boy Blue

My cousin's son. A little boy with big, beautiful eyes that love lights.

Getting back in shape

Since I have been tediously working on and ticking off things on my "to do list," it is inevitable that I start working on this one pretty soon.

My deadline for resumption: MAY 1.



Tools: DVDs already in my collection.

Main Programme: Power 90 with Tony Horton.

Supplementary Programmes: Yoga and Pilates for stretching and relaxation.


1. Being fit means feeling fit... I will have much more energy and will be able to tackle the physical adventures of life.

2. I will be able to carry around 20lbs of photo gear with greater ease

3. I will be able to have long and grueling photo and video shoots without dying of sheer exhaustion

4. I will boost my lung capacity and reverse the damage cause by a certain habit.

5. I will improve my lung health and perhaps even get rid of all notions of asthma.

6. I will return to Jamaica looking at least as good, if not better than when I came here. (Yes a so we vain).

7. It will set the groundwork for a lifetime of fitness for myself and Easy Skanking Chef, who has already beat me to working out.

8. By the time babies come, I will have a fit body that will allow me to bounce back from pregnancy

9. I have no desire to be hiding a double chin, chubby tummy, or jelly arms on wedding photos

10. I have found a good man who happens to love me as I am, but I better damn well put myself into a position to keep him! (The feeling is very mutual).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Your best friend can be your worst enemy

Who the Cap Fit (Bob Marley)

Man to man is so unjust, children:
Ya don't know who to trust.
Your worst enemy could be your best friend,
And your best friend your worse enemy.

Some will eat and drink with you,
Then behind them su-su 'pon you.
Only your friend know your secrets,
So only he could reveal it.
And who the cap fit, let them wear it!
Who the cap fit, let them wear it!
Said I throw me corn, me no call no fowl;
I saying, "Cook-cook-cook, cluk-cluk-cluk."

Some will hate you, pretend they love you now,
Then behind they try to eliminate you.

But who Jah bless, no one curse;
Thank God, we're past the worse.
Hypocrites and parasites
Will come up and take a bite.
And if your night should turn to day,
A lot of people would run away.
And who the cap fit let them wear it!
Who the (cap fit) let them (wear it)!

I had to post the lyrics to that song. It illustrates so well what I am up against here.

My closest work ally, who I actually called "friend" because I thought we clicked and we bonded over cigarettes and wine in a place where women who smoke and drink are deviants. We are both Leos, and we were good friends. That is, until she turned against me. And bwoy, did she turn against me?!

All of a sudden, Missis had a serious vendetta against me. She even tried to discredit me infront of my boss. On top of it all the malice started and the sour face and the cold shoulder turned into rock solid ice.

That melted a bit and we started speaking with civility, I even ended up lending her money because she always had money issues. Bad idea. Mind you said lady takes home double my salary. But she live big. Very big. It tooke me over a month to get it back, and I had to ask. Add cold shoulder to the mix and minus $10 from the re-payment.

Now it appears to me that something really has been brooding between Neighbour and this said person. I see a note on the ABCs of Friendhip on Missis desk signed by said Neighbour. Story come to bump. News get carry. Mix up and blender. I believe they both deserve each other's friendship. And I wish them all the best. However, it has become extremely obvious that they both really do not care much about me. No biggie.

But it seems that Missis from work is attempting to throw all her heavy weight against me. Today she never even acknowledge me presence. Dont know why she vex though. But is same way so badmind work.

All Ihave to say is..."Who Jah bless, let no man curse." Selah


I spoke to my twin over the weekend for the first time since we met and parted over the NYE weekend. She is the twin I never had. She is Imelda's friend first, but great minds think alike. We hit it off like a house on fire and have remained intouch over the internet. We need to have a fearless threesome getting together with Imelda one day not too far away.

Monday, April 27, 2009

His steadfast love never ceases

Whenever I meet upon grace on my path, I can't help but be humbled. When I encounter acts of mercy, I recognise just how blessed I am. I no longer just get ecstatic, but I also go to a place where I am just thankful that God manages to listen to and answer the prayers of little insignificant me.

Not every answer comes the way I want them, but I know that He ultimately knows best.

I do still find incredible order in my life and the fact that one thing seems to lead to another. All things are connected. There is such purpose on my life that I really ought to spend my time sharing my light with the world.

I have no business being sad and depressed and unhappy for extended periods. God is in control and His grace is truly sufficient.

I am loved. I mean REALLY loved. There are many people who would really hurt for years to come if I were to leave this earth too soon. There are lives that I have made a good impact on in my short 28 years. There are lovers past and one present who have loved me for long and will always do so. There are people who hurt when I hurt, who share my joys and sorrows, who get mad with me when I do something stupid, and who will take care of me if I am no longer in a position to do so myself. There are people who are involved in my life, whose lives intertwine with mine, and mine with theirs, and who feel that my presence in their lives adds to their happiness.

That is so big. So huge. So absolutely phenomenal. So powerful. And not in a pompous way... but to the contrary, so humbling. I am big, yet small, and small yet big.And you know the secret of this life? I am no different from you. We all are.

If somebody had told me all that would have happened in my life over this decade by some clairvouyant intuition, I would have not even been able to comprehend it all. I am happy that I have had to find my own way, and go through my own growing pains one day at a time.

I did the right thing in coming here. I am doing the right thing in leaving now. Life does not abide only by things on paper. Sometimes, it is good to know what voice to listen to.

Be in tuned.

Today is the day of salvation

I just came across a line in a previous blog entry in my thesis that goes:

"..No matter what, I am not at core a quitter. I finish things worth finishing."

The opperative word there is "worth."

I have come to the well self-debated conclusion that this here contract is just not "worth" finishing.

So today is the day I speak to the boss and tell him that this is truly the beginning of the end. I am expecting him not to be surprised.

I am not likely to get my proposial accepted which would grant me one year's gratuity, but I am prepared to present my letter resignation dated today with effect on July 27, 2009. I am going to draft it after I am done writing here.

I do not want to deliberate any longer. It is my hope that once the engine starts going in motion, I will be able to really find a last wind, allowing me to leave on a high note. I need to be able to position myself well in the last 3 months so that the last impression is a good one.

I am even thinking of offering my services for the first ever professional photo shoot with "corporate" head shots and stock photos of the public service leaders here, and grant them full license to use at liberty, even when I leave.

I will even do a bit of regional PR for my boss who is on the eve of an early retirement and desirous of getting another appointment outside of the country.

But, I just need to get over this last hurdle.

The time has truly come.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A new addition to the family

Yesterday Daddykin call me to tell me with sheer glee that the cow have bull calf baby. So we have six cow now. He is breeding his own collection of grandchildren because it seems he gave up on the possibility of me doing so.

Welcome to the family dear bull calf baby. May you sire many more calf babies.

I miss my family...

This is just one of the many branches... and this is not even everybody... but this portrait in my ways symbolises the colourful, beautiful, happy heritage that is mine. We are plentiful...and scattered but the love is there. More than can be put into words.

I can't believe it took leaving and living in isolation for me to see just how much of a great heritage I have. I certainly appreciate them now. I guess it is the struggle to between the individual and the collective- separating yourself to find your identity only to recognise that essentially, you are part of the whole. Flaws and all.

Blood thicker than water.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

URLs purchased today

I have a little story to tell you. Draw you chair. You see me? Me no joke. No Iya, I don't wrap up. I is a woman pon a mission. Pon a trod. And guess wha happpen, I getting there one step at a time.

You is me audience. Bear witness. My life just a line up brap brap brap. Same way so. One step after the other. Even the shaky one dem.

Me did tell you say me was going to purchase the domain them today. Well, I want tell you that me do that plus tax. Yes Iya.

You want to see say two domain get buy today. First and middle and first and last name. Big plans. Little budget. Huge heart.

So you want to hear the plan? Well, the two URL dem going to point to one website. Yes Iya. Plus there is more. Mi all buy hosting. You think me done? Me no done yet. Mi buy website. Yes brah. Website. So dis here little Rasta head woman who already have two URL dat park with coming soon fi two years, finally going to put a presence out there. I want to tell you that I going to dress it up like puss back foot. Yes Iya.

It can link mi Flickr, Facebook and blog plus gimme all chat applet to pose like you can talk with the star at so and so time. Mi no think me going to use that...but still it there.

There is a little catch though. You want to see that since me identifying as a creative, me deciding to market in me given names. So what the catch? This blog anonymous... well just for a little while longer.

I have news for you. I coming out the closet. Yes Iya. I a come clean clean.

You see, with PR behind me and the redemption of residency in a small "islant" wid 5000 people behind God Back, I dont have to care to hide me identity no more.

So... in a few months... it shall be revealed...and all in living colour.

I coming out like a drag queen without the drag.

Stay tune. We'll be right back!

When things fall into place...

I just got the most amazing news. My thesis supervisor, who I sent a link to my flickr account, returned a call to me and suggested that I consider publishing a book with my photos and corresponding writing as my thesis.

With one phone call, he has validated my photographic ambitions and declared that my documentary/photojournalistic style is worthy of a university thesis. He suggested that I use three main themes and weave the photos through them because they are channels of communication,saying even more than mere words.

It will be the very first time that my department (which unfortunately does not offer a photojournalism major) would be rolling out a photographic thesis.

It is just amazing. Totally and completely amazing how the stars are aligned and the universe is colluding to make me shine doing the things I was meant to do.

On top of all that, for the very first time today, I mentioned the name of my boss to my step mother. She shrieked. He was her batch mate in college in Jamaica some decades ago, of whom she has glowing recollections. This augers well for the impending discussion about early release from my contract. Of course I will start the discourse with a bit of nostaligia. There is nothing like a trip dowm memory lane to trigger euphoria. He also wants a job in Dubai (he met ESC and knows he is based there). Two strikes. My prayers and yours will make three.

I am still in utter awe, about the new thesis and how all things really and truly and sincerely and prophetically work together for good.

There is such purpose and divine order in my life, even with the struggles, that I know, without doubt, that my steps are directed on a higher plane.

Smirk Face

I am in love with this image as much I am in love with this kid. He draws animals (in collections of native habitat) for fun and writes their names. The first word he learned to spell was "Elephant." In church, he asks his mother to spell "Orangutan." He has many funny faces and never takes a picture without one. I see a Richard Pryor in the making. He is only five years old.

I know its strange to see a kid with a funny face after my previous blog entry but I just couldn't get this photo out of my head. Had to share. Welcome to my pea-brained world.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Self reliance- they key to happiness

This is not a blog about being financially and emotionally dependent. This is a blog about physical independence- that is, finding ways to ensure that physical needs are taken care of independently of having to have another person in the mix-at least not in person.

I grew up in a fundamental Christian home (well on one side of the family). I don't think the word "masturbation" was mentioned once. And why should it? I agree, it's such a dirty word. That's why "Self Reliance" is just so much better a term. Full copyright credits go to Imelda for being the first to use it in this context.

But seriously, any adult who does not believe in self-reliance is headed for trouble. Can you imagine what happens in a marriage where one partner is totally and completely reliant on the other for physical release? What happens if one person goes out of town on an extended trip?

I have had enough male friends to tell you what really goes down, especially with those who are adamant about NOT taking care of business themselves- thy find a temp. That's what it boils down to- a job to fill, a temporary vacancy in need of a body.

Beyond that though, there is no way that two people are going to have the same sexual peaks just because they are in a relationship or because they live together. You may be randy out of your mind and your partner would rater eat cardboard...and no amount of cajoling or role play can make a difference. Sometimes it may be that one person is just really too tired or sick, or is in a weird place psychologically. We all have had moments in our single lives when sex is the last thing on our minds- it does not change simply because you have a hot body sleeping beside you.

So my word to every twentysomething who has never practiced self reliance is- start now. And if somehow you have fast-forwarded into your thirties, forties, fifties and sixties without having discovered that you can rock your own socks off... it's never too late.

Coupling is better when both individuals know their bodies and know what pleases them. And when the slob beside you rolls over and plays dead.... exist left of stage and head straight to the bathroom.

You can leave a radio in their to muffle any sort of vibrating noise or stifled moans if needs be...the latter applying to both sexes.

Take your physical release into your own hands.

If you haven;t been woefully turned off by this topic and want more tips...feel free to comment. My cousin calls me the Celibate Nun. I seem to have developed some expertise on the topic. What can I say? I read a lot!

Countries worth photographing

I am thinking Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, India, Pakistan, China, Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia, Agypt, Uganda, Nairobi, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Bali, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Maui, Maldives, Sicily, Dubai, Sudan, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Guyana, Cuba, Dominica, Holland, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Britain, Wales, Scotland & Mars


Man, I don't know if I have ever been happier in my life to see Fridays. Fridays mean that the weeks are going by and I am one week closer to departing. I wish everyday was Friday.

I have accomplished a lot in terms of photography this week. I have been going through my collection of over 3000 shots taken while I was abroad. I have posted a significant portion to my flickr account, which I upgraded to a pro account yesterday. Having a pro account means that I no longer have the 100MB restriction of the free accounts and that I have access to other useful tools like site stats.

I am going to purchase my url in my name this weekend. I

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Burning Bush

The Tree God

Photography- a mood lifter

I have been real sucky since I have been back...been there and blogged about it. But something shifted slightly today... and I think it has everything to do with the fact that I was fiddling with and learnt new things about the camera today.

I do like to photograph people. Especially good looking people. And I not talking bout asymetrical and one size fits all features- I talking bout people with character... people with personality, people whose faces reveal souls and whose photographs allow me to capture their spirits.

Isnt that the essence of portraiture? Not just a smile and look pretty for the camera photo, but a shot that says...more than any varation of 1000 words could. Isn't it ironic that I love words and pictures? Welly maybe not ironic but at least interesting. Words are beautiful, and I can often find them without even thinking... but sometimes, some expressions cannot be channeled through words. Sometimes words are not enough..saying so much and yet so little. Sometimes, all it takes is one shot. Pretty much like life...this photography bit. All you really get is one shot. Pun intended.

Lights. Camera. Click.

Re-learning photography

Everyday I try to learn a little more. It's been a while since I have worked with a pro camera, and when I was shooting film, there were very basic things that you could do. You just had to know how to manage aperture (opening of lens) aka f/stop; shutter speed (how fast the shutter is released to freeze/blur motion); metering (how to read the light on the subject to adjust the above and focusing (which was purely manual... twisting the focus ring to get desired subject into focus).

Now... it is much more complex, and there is so much more that you can do. In fact, if you know how to manipulate the settings, the camera can help you quite a bit. I mean seriously.

It has paid significantly to have gotten such solid professional equipment. The camera is the second best pro Nikon and the lens are the absolute best in their category. No Canon lens compare. They are tact fast, and they grab light that you cannot even see. I have veeeery little if any discernable chromatic abberation and my pics are getting better as I fiddle around more.

The only problem is that I am afraid to shoot here because I am afraid that someone is going to see my baby and think "Whoa- money tree." It's bad enough what they did to the car.

This island would be fanstastic for some model shoots- no lie. There is a street by the old harbour with lots of old run down buildings that show different layers of paint which would come out beautifully through these lens. They would also make the perfect rustic location for a high fashion shoot.

Hmmm I need to see if there is any resident fashion designer who wants a very cheap photo shoot. That would have to be my last week anyway, because I have no intention of revealing the contents of the bulky camera back that I now never leave home without.

I even sleep with it in my closet in my bedroom..just in case. It would be easier to find me than to find the camera.

Anyway, a little rain fell last night and salt ponds that were dry are now saturated, so I am going to try and sneak a few shots from the car on my way home. I will only do so though if the coast is absolutely clear.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Portrait of a Rabbit Girl

Hello my beautiful bright-eyed and bushy tailed cousin. I miss you lots and lots and lots.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kiss Teet--tschuups

This is what the end of kissing yuh teet (sucking teeth) looks like. My cousin, the Amazonian Goddess in her Church Ave Wedding and Travel office in Brooklyn. By the way, she does superb baskets too. Her clients include the Jamaica Tourist Board and the glitterati in addition to the man who just wants to buy a likkle something nice fi him wife. Her basket design website


Isn't it Friday yet?

I want to go home and sleep.

Isn't it Friday yet?

Fickle as pickle

I get bored easily. Is that a crime?

But seriously, I just get bored doing the same thing for too long.

I never imagined my life as one of those people who got a job out of university and retired with the same company. In fact, somehow, I saw myself with about 15-20 different careers. Many things interested me and I figured I would be able to have a lifetime of blissful career rotation.

When you are recognizably multi-talented, it is hard to confine yourself in a box for always. Imelda is PR expert extraordinaire, but is also cake baker and decorator extraordinaire, seamstress, gardener, and art and craft fandangler.

Rootical is a bursar, but sings and acts, and plays the keyboard beautifully and even tours with a famous Jamaican musical theatre group.

Harlem Mama, is a journalist, but paints and draws and writes like a novelist.

My only issue is that I no longer really like school. I spent 2 years too many on a Masters that did not (and still doesn't) interest me. he only two things I have any scholastic interest in are film and photography. And the truth is that I just need to do the tutorials for Final Cut Pro and Photoshop. I can apply the basics of television production to filmmaking, and film photography to digital. I know them both.

Am I unambitious for never wanting another 9-5 for the rest of my life?

I seriously dont want to not work (yes, double negative) but I also dont want work that is so damn routine and predicatable that it might as well be automated. My body does not function 9-5. I like flexibility. I like the idea of a series of freelance appointments and a photography practice that has me working 4 long days per week most weeks ...where I can schedule according to my convenience and the occasional powered-by-adrenaline 8-day work week.

Maybe I am just getting into that stage of life where I am preparing to have children so I have to find a flexible way of earning an income, but I just cannot do the "employed" bit anymore.

I like variety too. I guess that is why the role of an internal PR practioner bores me beyond expression. I can work with the same team for long periods but damn, can the assignments be different and exciting and challenging? PR Agency jobs far outweigh the nauseating humdrum of internal PR.

That is what I love about television production. Especially location shoots. Every shoot is different. You meet new people and discover new places and add to the great wealth of totally useless knowledge.

Imagine how I felt when walking through the hallowed halls of Harlem's Studio Museum, NY and few weeks ago andsuddenly recognizing the work of Albert Artwell, a little more than slightly crazy Jamaican artist from the hills of remote Catadupa, St. James. I interviewed him at his house years ago for a TV programme I produced and presented. His wife gave me a weed plant as a gift. I potted it. No pun intended.

That's what I mean when I say I hate 9-5s. Which effing desk job provides an experience like that?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just because it's Monday

The Banker is leaving. Yes mi chile, she tell me she packing she tings and getting the hell off this rat nest. Well, she never put it that way but I had to jazz it up a bit. She cyaan stand it. So this is the second of two of my clique who has literally thrashed a contract and run from here.

Interpret as you desire.

I just came from her place. The other main bank manager and I gathered at her house to celebrate. That one leaves in July. For the first time, The Banker actually made really she cooked (well..without fire)! Previous hot dog and frozen pizza sessions don't count. She made a smoke salmon and caper appetizer and a nice salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh mushroom (hard to get here). We had white wine galore... so till me have a likkle headache.

Couldn't really blog from work because I was busy doing something..can't remember what.

BTW..Easy Skanking Chef's restaurant was voted the best in its category in Dubai!!! I am so proud of him. He has worked reeeaaally hard. He has come a far way. Deserves every bit of glory. And guess what? The sous chef is mine- all mine!! A beeey!

READER TRIVIA: What should I do as a surprise for him to make him feel special from so far away?

Water woes

I ran all the pipes in a trickle for about 2 hours to see if I could release the stinky smell that I am told is a result of stale water in the pressure tank of the pump that brings water from the cistern which stores water from the city supply because the landlord went the cheap route instead of using the cistern only as backup...and guess what?

The water still stinks.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Baker's Dozen -"The Pet Shop"

This is one in a series of 12 Stories that I worked on. I voiced the introduction and the closing credits.

It is always a blessing to work with children. The children were great too. I am sure they will be proud of themselves, as well as their family. The further privilege of working with and being studio producer in a production with my teacher, Leonie Forbes and Joan Andres Hutchinson was just profound. I have a special place for children's programming, having started to produce them at age 19. I owe much of what I know to Kathy Gayle, who as producer via Sylvanhurst Productions, brought me in on this project that was filled with love all around.God bless Pampidou. May her soul rest in peace.

Click on the link below to listen to the story. Please share with the children you have in your life. I would love to get your feedback (and theirs).

The Baker's Dozen- "The Pet Shop"- written by Pampidou

The Frog Prince

No bones provided

There is a direct co-relation to me being here and me being essentially underachieving. I seem to be able to encounter days with haze and glide through them, getting absolutely nothing done- at least not in my usual uber efficient way. My thoughts are running a mile a minute and I cannot even finish a magazine.

I have to clean. I have to cook some tasteless pre-packaged food. I have to go for a ride. I have to organize and upload some more photos. I have to re-visit my thesis. I have to bathe. I have to moisturize my dry skin that itches with eczema. I have to unpack my bags. I have to figure out how to get $17 to deposit into the bank by Monday to save myself the embarrassment of a bounced cheque. I have to figure out how I will survive on no cash until an elusive pay day. I have to do my accounts. I have to go to the ABM to check to see if there could possibly be a nook in my accounts that I may have tucked some cash in and forgotten about. I have to call back Daddy. I have to call Uncle Roger. I have to call Aunty Gem. I have to go pick up the estimate for car repairs. I have to search for the colour code of my blue-purple car. I have to fill out the insurance claim sheet. I have to fax all documents to the insurance brokers. I have to go and pick up food from the Jamaican restaurant for today and tomorrow. I have to clean the fridge so that I can store the food because even though I cleaned it before I left, I forgot to leave the doors open. I have to bathe in stinky water. I have to read all the books I brought back. I have to write. So why is it that they only thing I want to do is to go back to bed?

I guess that is why I have managed to put on so much weight since I have been here. I have been too depressed to do anything at all. I have great intentions and enough motivation, but there is a disconnect between the first two and simple implementation. I was so bubbly and up and down and always on the go on my vacation, and now, I am back to being a big blob of nothing.

Really, how can one place drain one's spirit so quickly? I haven't even taken my camera out of the bag. I have these very short bursts of interest and energy... but they last what seems like nano seconds.

I cant open windows and doors because it means letting in even more sand and mice in addition to the light and air that everybody needs for health.

I am beginning to see that places, like people have spirits. And just like how peoples' spirits may not take to each other, they may also not take to a place and vice versa.

I guess it's the same reason why you can land in a country or village and think immediately "I could live here," or "There is no way in hell that I could live here." The land either agrees with you or it fiercely disagrees. There is no middle ground or indifference. But even that would be better than what I am facing.

This place is just not healthy for me. I have too many emotional, spiritual and physical roadblocks. This place causes cancer of the spirit.

I like to move. So why am I so damn sedentary? I must get out.

Full Boat to Japan

This is one in the food photography set shot on location at the Funayama Restaurant, The Village, New York City.

(C) Sheer Almshouse 2009. All Rights Reserved for ALL photos.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How to get laid off

I actually sat down and did a proposal detailing the cost benefits of the early severance to present to the boss when he returns from overseas. I even did all the math, which included fractions and their conversion into decimals.

I am proud of myself. My least favourite subject since the second grade has been math. I think it was due to the fact that fractions came after the first grade why I aced math before then. It has been downhill thereafter. Until now. I calculated how they could save well over $60,000 USD by letting me go early and I would even give them a bligh in lieu of payment for a few months of gratuity.

Thanks so much Mr. Smith from Campion College (my high school alma mater) who, though dubbing me "Commando Zero" for my prowess in failing tests, actually passed on just enough formulae to take me through life, and hopefully this time, out of a sticky situation.

Getting the logistics in my head is half the battle won. Getting it into a concrete argument on paper pushed up the fraction of success to 3/4. Now, convincing them to take the damn deal may just be 1/4 but its it is the heaviest portion of the whole.

Now I am talking fractions. Mr. Smith would be proud.

Tying up loose ends

Things to get in order before I go:

1. Review my thesis and decide if I really want to let all that time and money down the drain or just submit the damn thing and get it over with
2. Pay up insurance premiums for at least six months
3. Pay up pension for at least six months
4. Save for at least six months pocket money
5. Save for a return flight (just in case)
6. Sell car before August 9 (and budget for profit after hefty duties )
7. Sell bicycle
8. Get carton boxes imported
9. Buy decent luggage (it's about damn time)

The beginning of the end

I came into the office and the internet was down -as usual. So I took a scap 8 1/2 x 11 " paper and a red ink rolling ball fine point pen and wrote my letter of resignation. It is only the first draft. I have no intention of tendering it for a while. I need to speak to my boss to see if we can come to an agreement- call it a severance agreement- using the dire financial straits of the government as an excuse. So instead of paying me two year's gratuity if I stay the contract, they pay me one. And instead of payment me two years salary, they pay only for 15monts.

If that doesn't work, I will tender my resignation with four months' notice in good faith. I am required to give only three.

I have to give myself credit for taking so long to do it. It is one month since my car was vandalized and eight since I decided that I didn't want to be here any longer.

I would have stayed if Easy Skanking Chef were to come, but he is not. His position is being made redundant and in a bid to not lose him, they are promoting him and giving him a restaurant to open and run. If that isn't grace, I don't know what grace is. He cannot walk away from such an explicit act of divine intervention to join me on an Island Behind God's Back and sit down and twiddle his thumbs.

So I leaving. I am not staying here. There is too much out there for me to stay here and be unhappy. I have done my time. I have made it a positive step for me.

I am waiting until he gets his promotion letter before I begin talks with the boss about severance. I may be ready to leave, but I am no fool.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Return of Sheer Almshouse

My body seems to reject this place like a bad vaccine. Ear and sinus infections to boot. I had to leave from the airport and head straight for the hospital. I got me a delusional shot of voltaren in my bumpsie to counter the intense pain of ear drums that seemed bent on bursting with infected fluid. Having had two flights by then and one more to go, I relished the stick of a needle.

My ears have been clogged since then, I think largely due to the fact that I was only able to get the prescribed broad spectrum antibiotics today because said hospital was out. I just managed to get some relief about an hour ago. I called Imelda. We had lots to catch up on.

I am calling Rootical now. She answers not. Everybody I know has a social life except least for now. But I certainly had over the past three weeks:)

I went to a writers workshop in Decatur, Atlanta. I am happy I did. Having never had the opportunity to sit among writers to build, encourage, and critique, I think I will really enjoy extending the connection online.

I have not been writing much over the past few weeks, because:
1. I have been busy living and
2. I have re-discovered another tool through which to convey messages-photography. You will see a lot of that on this blog from here on in.

There is a lot going on. Announcements to be made (sort-of-ish)... but all in due time. I haven't even unpacked all the wonderful books that Harlem Mama allowed me to fill my suitcase with.

First day at work tomorrow. I am sure that lots of blogging will take place then.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kiddie DIY


Boy or Girl

Smoker in Distress

After two and a half weeks of kotching up out on fire escapes, donning long heavy winter coats over night gowns to grab a cigarette on the street, and sneaking outdoors just in time before the house alarm is turned on, I just want to be free to smoke.

It is 2:30 am, I just finished watching the Sex and the City movie that Young Aunty recorded for me on the dishmajig... and I want an effing cigarette...and there is no way I can sneak outside without tripping off the alarm...or even open the windows without doing the same.

I must admit that some of my best shots came from smoking outdoors (night shots of harlem from the fire escape)... but right now... I just wish I was free to just go outside and light up a fag dammit.

I see why Imelda insists on getting smoking hotel rooms when she travels. I always knew she was smart.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Once Upon a Time

My cousin on her daughter's bed in a room they decorated together with their own art and craft. Little artists are nurtured from the very beginning. I caught this candid moment as we sat talking in her three-year old's room one night. Timing is truly everything. Thanks for being so comfortable with having having my camera as part of the conversation.

The Right to Write

"We should write because it is human nature to write. Writings claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual being beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connection us both to own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance.

We should write because writing brings clarity an passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in.

We should write, above all, because we are writer, whether we call ourselves that or now."

- Julia Cameron

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wino in the Liquor Store

Cooking Oxtail in Atlanta

I am cooking oxtail for my Uncle and his wife... he gave me a challenge and I refused to back down. We are by nature a stubborn lot and he knew just how to get me to cook him oxtail. If it goes down well, I may be tied to cooking oxtail everytime I visit. All the better. I have to keep my oxtail dish in tip top condition for Easy Skanking Chef.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

For Harlem Mama

Reaching the South

I am always tired after traveling. I took two planes from new york to get to Atlanta. I seem to be suffering from jet lag. I went to bed after 7pm last night. And I still haven't taken the nap I intended to. I am seeing family I haven't seen in as long as 20 years. Will sleep late tomorrow. Will write more when I get around to it. I hate to blog like this.. but I just wanted to touch base to say, I came, I landed safely, and a I had stew peas and gungo peas soup. Selah.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Leaving Harlem

...gonna catch a train tomorrow to LaGuarida Airport and then I will leave New York for the last time on this trip.

...(more to come)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cold no box cover in New Jersey

I had a fantabulous time with my uncle- The Buff One and his Cool Italiano Wife and daughter.

I will add more to this post later on. Sometime... I promise. I just tired now. A good time was had by all. Photos to prove it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Curry chicken back and grung provision

Dear Blog,

Harlem Mama, Melibug, Che and I set off yesterday afternoon for a train ride to Brooklyn. When we got on the train, it was packed with commuters trying to get the most of a free Sunday afternoon. No seat was empty. A kind lady, who was getting off the next stop offered Melibug her seat since she is a three year old and not quite able to withstand the jerking of a train ride standing up.

I sat with her and put her on my lap. Che was in his bag on the other leg. Harlem Mama soon offered to keep him in the stroller. I only asked that she strap him in. Yes, I am really that careful about my role as mother to my brand new full frame digital camera.

We were off too Brooklyn, going to places that I hadn't seen on my previously brief trip there. I even managed to have fresh coconut water -an anomaly on the Island Behind God's Back! I also got some great shots of the whole trip.

My cousin Amazonian Goddess made a rare stoveside performance and made us a dinner of curry chicken back and grung provision- the first I had such a meal in a long, long, long time. We even managed a Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum digestive. I enjoyed my chicken back so much that I chewed on the bones. One friend of hers joked that clearly, I could never keep a dog at my house because it would have nothing to eat. Jamaican dogs eat bones and left overs for dinner. 'Merican dogs eat packaged food. But Jamaican "dorgs" bleonging to Imelda eat mince pelau that smells so good it stirs you from slumber, and all the packaged goodies with a benelful of happiness.

It was a nice informal setting, eating and hanging in the kitchen while she cooked.

Lots of laughter and fun, and Meliabug gave a rousing recital of all her nursery rhymes and Christmas Carols and even started to do a bit of an impromptu scatting when she ran out of songs to sing. The adults joined right in!

I am really grateful to Harlem Mama for taking me there and Amazonian Goddess for opening up doors filled with so much love.

Guantanamera in Manhattan

I went to a Cuban restaurant in downtown Manhattan on Saturday night with Frog Prince. He came to visit earlier in the day and I managed to coax him into taking me out for a little night life.

They had Cuban musicians (a trio) playing fabulous music (congo drums, bass guitar and keyboard). The man who sang lead vocals was short and stocky with a husky tenor that reminded me of Buena Vista Social Club. The keyboardist had a fierce big blonde afro that created an interesting contrast with his skin, and he maintained a beautiful harmony while playing.

I have been having a really good time. I am most grateful for this break.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

New York weather

Yesterday was a warm day. Well, it was, it was warm after the rain stopped pouring. The day before was borderline hot. Then night came. Today is finger cramping cold.

It is my last weekend here and we wanted to get about and get some things done, but it means that I will have to wear a heavy coat and cover my head.

We are going to Brooklyn tomorrow. I may go tonight if my Rasta Aunty comes to pick me up.

In the meantime, I feel like I need to go for a walk alone though. Need to meditate and free up my head space.

Friday night in The Village

Yesterday, a cousin who is battling cancer and her strikingly beautiful teenage daughter visited us in Harlem. It was a good time. A real good down to earth time. I love my family. Later we took the train to The Village for dinner with my uncle- Daddy's youngest brother, who is a personal trainer and sports coach.

He took us to a nice family owned and operated Japanese Restaurant, that had a really warm and friendly family vibe. The owners were hands on and were front of house. They knew my Uncle by name and happily embraced his family as if we were an extension.

I got some fantastic shots. Real fantastic. They were happy to have me photograph the Restaurant and even gave me their email address to send them some photos. I think I will point them to my flickr account. They were so excited that it was infectious. It's the kind of place where you go back several times, and could easily become one of your favourite spots. It was by far, the widest array of Japanese food I have ever had.

I will upload photos at a later date.

I am going to New Jersey Monday evening for the night with said Uncle to meet up with his wife and daughter. I am looking forward to that.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Daffodils at Spring

Springing out of concrete

Black Hair Care

Carol's Daughter

A little goes a long way

Going up to Yonder

Bare Bones

The Church of the People

Meet Me at the Altar

Freedom via Salvation

Pink Stands Alone

Harlem Mama

My last Friday in Harlem

It is a cold, rainy day. The overcast sky and cool temperature seem to encourage nesting than flitting about to discover new views. I am still tired too.

I have a new respect for people who live in these big cities. I witnessed first hand how complicated the laundry procedure is. It's even worse if you have to climb stairs. That said, I did my manual labour this morning helping Harlem Mama take the laundry upstairs. This work is no joke.

Plus I have been getting a lot of excercise. We walk everywhere. I haven't been on a bus or in a train since I have been here, but I also haven;t left Harlem.

Yesterday I went to the Harlem Museum with my little three year old niece, Melibug. We looked at art and we stood back and I allowed her to tell me what she saw. She is such a little artist herself. She saw suns and moons in things I didnt even dream of. But I quite like her perspective.

I should be going to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) today. I am really looking forward to that. I really want to visit as many museums as I can in this trip. I think my life, as I know it, will forever be changed.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Big is breathtakingly beautiful

This is my friend Marcella Andre, a creative being, broadcaster, publicist, actor and writer who epitomizes how great it is to be happy in your own skin.

Shutter release...more scenes from Harlem

The new man

Che Mandela Fidel Obama Manley has been really good to me. Such a rebel! He gives me a proper workout though. My entire body is sore. I found myself flat on hard wood floors last night trying to get in the right position. He is demanding like that. Calls for agility and flexibility. The other day I found myself stooping down in the middle of a Harlem minor road. The results justify the means. That man is my miracle.

I am even changing lens and adjusting the settings. I am learning lots ..and fast.

I had my first studioesque portrait shoot last evening. It was really fun. My model was open minded and free and we had a beautiful creative experience with one desk lamp and my pro mid-range zoom lens. I am really getting to love this one. Pity it's really too heavy and cumbersome to walk about with.

I am going to go soak my soreness in Bohidsattva Harlem Mama's rejuvenating lavender bath salts.
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