Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The younger brother and his older sister

Of my five siblings, only one has seen this blog. He is the responsible one. Here is what he had to say of my photography...and the short convo that ensued thereafter:

Younger Brother
u pics sick!!!!
Sheer Almshouse
Younger Brother
dont tell me u crossover to that place where people go where they cant understand younger folk...
...it haad!

Sheer Almshouse


I guess I have won the support of younger folk.

The meeting of namesakes

I am officially going to meet another young woman who bears the same name as me for the very first time in my life. She is Imelda's niece and she just happens to work in Harlem. She is younger than me- by roughly 3 years, but her Aunty thinks a whole lot of her.

We will meet at a cafe nearby me in central Harlem. I will take my camera, which has fast become my traveling ally- replacing my need to carry a handbag. I used to walk around college with my camera as my constant neck jewellery. Now it goes on top of funky beaded necklaces and scarves.

I quite like the fashion of the cold, new york style. Maybe it's because my entire life has been filled with summers but there is just something awfully cool and chic about the mix match of layering. It's the fierceness of fashion biting through the bitter cold: if you have to cover up to face the cold, you might as well do it in style.

I wish I could go downtown Manhattan for more stylish people pics.

Tuesday morning pangs

Missing the Easy Skanking Chef. There is something about the cold that makes you yearn for the warmth of another body. He is always warmer than me anyway. We spoke briefly. He is happy that I got away. And I sent him the photo of the spring blooms and he quite liked it.

Dinner was great last night. Both Harlem Mama and dinner guest, The Bearded One, loved it. I made two different versions because he does not eat shrimp. Both versions were good. Easy Skanking Chef helped me to perfect it some years ago over the phone. I dont like recipes so when I have something I like, I just try to extract all the flavours and recreate. I cooked like him too. Using almost every pot and bowl in my mise en place. And I cooked in stages.

I think I want to try Carbonara next. He makes a mean one. That's a tricky one though. It could easily turn into pasta with scrambled eggs.

Travel on a penny

I am down to my last 10 bucks. I have two weeks left in the country. And when I return to the Island Behind God's back, I will have a full 10 days before pay day. I may not have much money to my name now but I have a helluva lot to show for it.

My cousin, Harlem Mama is leaving New York. She will no longer be "Harlem Mama" I suppose. I am chronicling the daily life of the Harlem Mama on film, well actually jpeg. I have to shoot JPEG for now and not RAW or TIFF because I do not have the space on my hard drive to download such huge files. And I have only 8gigs of CompactFlash memory card space. Yes, "only 8gigs." I have been shooting alot.

Got some really nice shots too. I am really proud of myself for going out on a limb to get my new gear. And yes, it was worth it.

Insurance will come later (for obvious reasons).

Life is even more beautiful through great lens.

Better late than never

He came.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Late dinner guest

Sometimes the writing is already on the wall. I have been cooking since 5pm, going slow, in anticipation of the arrival of my dinner guest. He called and said he was delayed and would be on his way when he was through. That was before 5pm. I started the preparation then. I am cooking chicken and shrimp with pasta in a cream sauce.

I figured that he would be here by 7:00/7:30. I mean, that is a decent time period to arrive to visit a friend you have not seen for a decade, who is staying with family and not a hotel. Maybe it's a cultural divide.

I find that I am always upset with him. He is not dependable. If you agree to something, you don't break your word. And certainly not repeatedly.

Harlem Mama says I am being miserable.

Maybe I am.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shutter release

Spiritual motherland

I love South African music. I remember that even before what I knew what harmonizing was, I was just drawn at a child to the music of South Africa. The fight againts apartheid was well on the way. The fights in Soweto daily as blacks fought for the right to be human.

I didn't realise just how much I understood as a child. It seemed I was brought up in a period of struggle. But isnt every period a struggle? Even in our lives, as we win one battle, dont we unwittingly move on to the next?

Back to the music of South Africa. I love the call and response, the harmony, the simple yet profound arrangements. I dont need to understand Xhosa to understand the music. The Xhosa click fascinates me. I somehow identify with South Africa more than I do with Western Africa, and Ghana, where my ancestors are likely to have come from.

I have been listening to the same song "INkanyeze Nezzazi" by Lady Smith Black Mambazo on repeat. You know how I am with the repeat button. I am now on "Uzizikelele Africa"(God Bless Africa- the South African National Anthem).

I have never listened to any country's anthem for pleasure- not even mine. But this song, because I heard it as the backdrop for scenes and of black people fighting for the freedom of Nelson Mandela, it just moves me.

Aluta Continua.

Sunday in Harlem

It is a peaceful day. It comes after a late night. There is a light drizzle and it is COLD outside...but it is so warm inside.

I feel so loved in this little place. I do. There is a whole lot of good vibes in these walls.

I am flying to Atlanta for Easter:)

Every is just filled with a whole lotta chicken soup for my weary soul

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The storm passes

I heard from Easy Skanking Chef. His position has been made redundant. But there is good news. He got a promotion. His executive chef batted for him and won.

He says his new position is sorta of a step down from the finer dining restaurants that he is used to but he has total authority and will head a new casual beach side restaurant. He will be opening it too, which is something he has always wanted to do. God works in such mysterious ways. I guess it is safe to say that there is no more worry about the job safety of Easy Skanking Chef.

This is such a relief, you can imagine. A HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I guess this also means that Dubai is once again in my future.

Making space for the new man in my life

Literally, I had to. I had to delete SEVERAL music albums to make space for the memory and hard disk space intensive programs. Nikon Transfer and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I have another photo editing programme to upload (Nikon Capture) but I will wait until I get my hands on my external hard drive.

I need memory badly, but I will have to beg for donations for that. It will cost an additional 200 bucks that I just can't get my hands on right now.

In the meantime, I am loving my new man.

Already, he has packed a few pounds on my frame, but I can't leave the house without him.

Sheer bliss.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Harlem Dreams

The Stork Delivers

He drives a brown van and wears a brown uniform. His mame tag said "UPS." This morning, he knocked on my cousin's door and delivered my little bundle of sheer joy. Take a peek

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New York Kinda Love

I had a good day. Quiet. But eventful. Been watching people from the window and firescape. I watched them go by. Still tired. Will write more when I settle down.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In New York

I reach. After two days of traveling. I tired. But I happy. It cold. But it warm inside. There's heating. And plenty coats in my cousin's closet. She greeted me with the heartiest, nicest beef soup yesterday. Just thinking about it now makes me want more. I had two servings yesterday and for all intents and purposes look like a greedy gravalicious hungry-belly. But it nice to find hot, hearty, Jamaican soup in colc, cold, Harlem. Will write once I settle down.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Developments prior to departure

I had booked the 8:30am flight for the island with the international airport tomorrow, but I think I am going to change it to leave later.

I am tired... and no use going over there to do nothing. I need to get the police report from here too before I leave so that I can drop off the claim to the insurance brokers.

Plus unless I get up at 6:00, I am going to be very tired and cranky. I dont leave the country until 8:00 am Wednesday morning anyway. I just feel like I need to be in a mad rush.

I just need to get out of bed by 8am to change the flight. There is no penalty for changing domestic flights within the same day ticketed.

I am tired. And hungry. And it's already 1:00am.

Imelda, I may just take the big black bag after all. Pancake mix is a lot cheaper in the states than here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Marketing Sheer Almshouse

I am faced with a marketing dilemma. I need your input.

On the eve of getting my new toys (camera and accessories), I have to figure out just how I will market myself. Yes I have been in the marketing business for some time, but I have marketed corporate entities, not artists, and certainly not one who uses a pseudonym in blogshpere.

I have two URLS that I bought almost two years ago. One was for my company and the other for a programme that I had in the can. That programme is lost, but the URL is a good one. But very Caribbean specific.

My company was focused on broadcast, communication and event management. I am now re-focusing to deal with audio-visual and literary communication. This includes photography, writing and audio-visual programming for broadcast media (radio, tv, web).

The broadcast element will be the last on stream, because it will take some more time to actually get around to produce the shows I have in mind. One treatment has been completed for a year now. I am still working my way through the other one. Progress has been limited by lack of access to television for research purposes.

Nonetheless, I want to continue to include my photography in this blog, as it has been a crucial part of my expression, but I also want to build my portfolio with the intention of going pro as soon as I conquer most of my learning curve.

Do I market my photography separately from my company or as part of my company? Would I therefore need to register a url in my name?

I was early on the internet... from the mid 90s. Until perhaps 8 years ago, I was the only one with my name online. I searched my name in search engines enough to know. Now there is a proliferation of young women bearing my name, but it seems I am the only black person. Not enough of a distinction for me. My techy programmer ex boyfriend who introduced me to computers way back when, has always encouraged me to purchase a url in my name (more because I use three different versions of it -first and middle, first and last, first middle and last- to protect my identity on the web. They are all still free, because it appears that I share my name with many younger people who are more concerned with social networking than purchasing URLs. I am finally going to take his advice.

So other question is...

Should I build my portfolio as
*the real name
*the real name linked to the company
*the company alone.

Talk back to me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Joys of Being Sacked

Published in the Khaleej Times.

Pradeep Sharma, Abu Dhabi (KT Reader)

18 March 2009

Last week I got a call from a friend who had just been fired from his job.

He had joined an elite class of sixty people who had been handpicked by their management to be thrown out of the organization.

Naturally, he was depressed.

The first day, according to him is the toughest, because you are trying to figure out why you had been picked by the corporate butchers to be slaughtered.

The second day is better, because you sleep better - since last night was spent tossing and turning in bed.

The third day, you want to go out and get some fresh air, and you begin to feel better, and since your mind is a whirlpool of plans you barely realize that you haven't called your parents to tell them that you had been fired.

You worry about how they would react to your joblessness.

Now imagine this friend of mine decides to call his parents on the third day and he is figuring out how best to soften the blow.

Should he tell them that he had been fired and quickly mention the fact that he was not alone and 59 others has to go?

Or should he simply lie and say that he fought with his boss and quit?

Or maybe he could just tell them the truth and become the first member in his family for generations to have been given the sack.

After much pondering he decided to tell them the truth.

And their reaction to it is surprisingly different from what he expected. It quickly dawns on him that they have been reading the newspapers too, and they are quite aware that jobs were being lost to the blaze of corporate greed.

Why some of the neighbours too had to endure the crushing news that their near and dear ones were now without jobs. They struck a rather emphatic tone and encouraged my friend to do what suited him best. They also said that they were with him and told him not to panic. It was a conversation that has helped him get over his blues.

It has been over 15 days now and my friend is not going mental searching for a new job. He has decided to take a brief sabbatical from work. He has in fact decided that he doesn't want to do any work for the next six months.

He will use all the money he has accrued in terms of gratuity to fund his travels across the length and breadth of his native country.

There are places he had always wanted to see, but hasn't been able to because of all the work. He spent 10 years hoping that things would change and he could actually live his dream.

I am happy that my friend has decided to live his dream, because it gives me the confidence that I too could ride over the crisis is something similar happened to me.

Don't get me wrong, I am not looking forward to being fired.

It's just that I know it will not be the end of the world for me. I will find reasonable employment once the world regains its sanity and decides to move ahead. It could take six months, or more, but honestly I am ready to take on life.

One night vacation

I left work yesterday evening at 4:15pm. Work day ends at 4:00 on Fridays. I would have stayed later, because I was so involved with my quest for nose piercing research, but my boss who was the last to leave the office was on his way out, and I would not be left alone. So I came home.

On my way home, I wondered what on earth would I do with myself for the rest of the afternoon. It was a looong way before bedtime and a whole lot of useless hours in between. Never mind that there is always housework. That was not the time.

I took off my street clothes and turned on my Mac and starting browsing, catching up on some of my favourite blogs and reading the news from Dubai. Then the banker called.

"What are ya doing this evening?"
"I'm taking my car and driving to Negril, Jamaica."
"Take me with you."
"Sure. I've got plenty space."

I ended up going by her place, which sits smack dab at the end of the coastline. When I stepped up onto her front pavement which faces the sea, I was greated with the most beautiful picture of the sun sitting pretty right on the edge of the horizon. It was breathtaking.

Pausing to see the sunset is always such a cathartic experience. It makes you reflect on all the good things about life and the sheer passion of God's handiwork, painting fluid coloured pictures across the sky. I knew it was going to be a good evening.

We were assigned one bottle each- she a good merlot and me a chardonnay. I prefer whites these days, though I do like a good pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot on occasion and shiraz. And we chatted. We passed over the salmon and all the other culinary delights left over to the island with a real supermaket and settled on hot dog. The grill was fired up. And we grilled those dogs while a lighted cruise ship floated away from the island.

We chatted until past midnight. I stayed the night. I still do not feel comfortable driving alone at night and being from stricter DUI climes, preferred not to go behind the wheel after a few drinks. I was prepared for that possibility and so I prepared for bed and drifted off to peaceful slumber.

I woke up to a most beautiful morning. We sat on the porch before the sun came up enjoying a cool, strong sea breeze. We watched the tide passionately ebb and flow. We had brewed coffee and orange juice and chatted some more.

It was a good sisterly purge, which has left me feeling like I had a one night vacation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The burdens of Jamaican nationality

While I am in NYC, there are cheap fares to Europe. I mean really cheap. Sub 200 USD to London. I couldn't go even if I wanted to because I have never applied for a British Visa.

Ironic isn't it? The British yanked Jamaica from the Spanish centuries ago and maintained rule until August 6, 1962, and yet we need visas. But we can't blame it all on the British.

The fact is Jamaicans are known to excel at everything we put our hands in. Just look at Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell, Chief Justice Robinson in the International Court in Hague, etc. But we also excel at crime.

For the most part, Jamaicans are a peace-loving people. Kindness and hospitality even to strangers is part of our culture. But there are a few bad eggs who are spoiling our lot in this life.

Dont ask me who are the immigration officers in the states and the UK who let in people who LOOK like criminals, but they have migrated and have improved upon some of the crimes that they encounter in foreign land.

So that now means that decent people like me must join lines and run aound on musical chairs criss crossing like idiots to get visas to go even to the former "mother country."

It's so sad because Jamaicans, and other West Indians played a SIGNIFICANT role in re-building England after the World War. We even fought in the damn war. And before then, it was the sweat of our enslaved ancestors brows that industrialized Europe.

Ironies abound. Maybe the bad eggs making war now on the streets of London are paying back for all the criminality that their ancestors faced under the whip of the slave manster. I dont condone hatred, or war ever... so dont get me wrong. I wish we could round them all up and leave them on an island all to themselves. But then that would be Australia. World history aside, it just sucks that a decent hard working Jamaican woman like me has to reduce herself to a beggar to be granted access to a country that really owes her so much.

I still love my british readers. And I have no interest in taking up residence. I merely wanted to pass through to say hello to the Queen.

Nose piercing research

Research on nose piercings:




I think from my research I am going for a 14-18kt gold Indian screw instead of a bone, in a bid to avoid the embedding of the jewel in my skin.

Thank heavens it's Friday!!!!

I am in the office...yippee. The network is back, but running horribly slow, so I am using an EDGE card for wireless connectivity on the teeny tiny laptop. Somehow it will not configure on the desktop. My files are all over the place because I have to be using so many machines and the external drive I ordered 2 1/2 months ago still hasn't reached. It is a pain to work under conditions where you type up forms online and then have to use a pre-printed version and re-fill out by hand because there is no legal size paper. The condition: systemic inefficiency.But thank heavens I have an income, even though I feel under very false pretences.

Monday is my last day in the office for three solid weeks.

The mason -or whatever these jack of all trades master of none types describe themselves as- cannot come to fix my back door today because he has to clear personal effects from customs. I was tempted to ask if that would take all day but remembered where I was. The irony is that it is perfectly understandable in larger communities, but on an island with 5,000 people days before pay day, just how many shipments do you think will have to be cleared? Anyway, I hope he comes over the weekend. I dont fancy one of his workers because he gives me the creeps. You just dont come around to work as a handyman and try to pick up your boss's client. It's just not done. And he is unrelenting, even though I have given him absolutely no indication that I could be remotely interested with the likes of his very bhutto self.

I am counting down to my departure. I am leaving this particular island on the morning of the 24th and the country on the morning of the 25th.

Back home

Had one drink, a good chat and an offer to store the car while I am away.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Out for a drink with a yardie

I am going to get one drink with a Yardie (Jamaican living abroad).

I need a drink.

He is picking me up and taking me home.

I am wearin a long skirt and a rasta tam.

I dont want nobody chat to me.

Just a pick up mi Corona and come straight a mi yard.

Plus I am out of cigarettes.

Ben Johnson Day

It's been rainy here. Last night, we got the heaviest downpour (not associated with a hurricane) that I have experienced in my 10 months here.

I was happy for it. It rained so heavily that I could actually hear the raindrops on the roof. I missed that sound. Rain makes me sleep better too. Didnt think anyone would be up to mischief in such weather.

I need to figure out what I will do with the car while I am away. I wonder if I could get permission to park it at the police station.

If not, I am just going to have to ask someone. I am not certain that it is best left at my place while I am gone. My neighbour will be here but it's dark and guess where they would be looking to find it anyway?

I so wished I could have gone earlier. It seems the next few days are wasted here anyway. But the ticket prices were much more expensive if booked less than a week and as much as I wasn't paying for the ticket, Easy Skanking Chef's money is my money. Furthermore, I wanted to try and tie up some loose ends before I left. My backdoor NEEDS to be fixed. I should take a pic and post what the door jam currently looks like. Safety hazard really.

I will be taking my laptop with me so I have nothing else that I rather not lose apart from my DVD player and my collection of every single episode of Sex and the City. And maybe my DVDs.

I have contacted a few NYC based friends to let them know that I will be heading their way. I want to see them anyway.

This promises to be a nice vacation, even though I will be broke.

Simplicity – The Key to Inner Peace and Tranquillity

Re-printed from the Dubai-based Khaleej Times

Ani Dave Kukreja

4 March 2009

In times of distress we often tend to lose our balance. We forget that the world around us is a mere reflection of the world within us.

Our mental, physical and emotional well-being governs our social and professional happiness.

At this time when the world markets are tumbling and there is a growing sense of insecurity encapsulating our minds... if we could lose our job? How will our life be? How will we manage our responsibilities?

Let us dare to question ourselves; if we really cannot find a way? If we cannot fight back to what stops us from realising our dreams?

Of course we can!!

If we believe in the power of positivity that lies within ourselves and if we believe that the world has not yet complicated so much. We can simplify the most of our complexities if we see the spectrum of life through the prism of simplicity.

We have to perhaps rediscover the art of simplification that has enabled our minds to imagine and create such a wonderful world around us. We have to now create a wonderful world within us that springs hope, love and a child-like innocence to reshape the world around us.

This would then allow the flow of peace and tranquility within us that will not only keep us in a state of joy but also make us a channel of positivity and help us become as inventive, innovative and creative as we were when we shaped this wonderful progressive world around us.

In simple ways, we can bring joy; we can make small changes around us and see joy and happiness beyond the material world.

The Reader

Starring Kate Winslet & Ralph Fiennes

Just watched that movie. Made me cry. Such a sad one... but still manages to end on a hopeful and redemptive note. Life can be like that. Mistakes aplenty, crimes comittedand convicted of, sentence served and still though not able to erase the wrongs, we can close the final chapter with measured redemption.

I was tired today. Two weeks of haphazard slumber has caught up with me. I went to bed at 6:30 and was out like lightning. For all intents and purposes, I am still out. I just got up to make some lunch and watched the movie while I was cooking (that's if you call what I do these days "cooking").

I am feeling deeply fatigued. Must get back to bed.

I even sprained (slightly) my ankle yesterday because I am so out of it.

My bed calls.

Wednesday can't come a moment too soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So happy I could cry

I am. But not in a laughy laughy kya kya kya way. Just in a sublime peace... that comes from realising that no matter how rough things get, and how those times can shake my faith, I am never alone. The Big Man is on my team. Batting, shielding, umpiring, scoring and leading the cheering section.

All things work together for good. Even this car drama.

I would not have gone to the states for months if it were not for this... and I do need that break now.

I will be seeing my cousins and their little ones (and those on the way shhhhh) and I am just so thrilled. We all lymed at my place some time ago... three of us slept on a double bed. We were all thinner then :)

It's good to be loved... and its good to know that I am loved even when they are people out there who are trying to make me feel otherwise.

Back in the saddle

Yesterday I drove my car to work on four brand new tires. That's close to $500 bucks. And I drive a SMALL car with SMALL wheels. So you see when I mean when I say things are expensive here?

I also drove to the car was and mi amigo de espanish dominicano whose English is as bad as my Spanish hooked me up with a two hour car washing. Most of the paint is gone.

Also, Easy Skanking Chef is sending me to NYC to cool down for a few weeks. Eighteen more people were sent home from his company. Three from his department. Again, he dodged a bullet. This is the fourth tranche. Anxieties are high but I am happy that we have been blessed so. Two salaries better than one.

So I am going to Manhattan, NYC next week and Maryland, DC two weeks after. Boss has signed the leave request and Uncle D has made the reservations and will complete payment tonight.

So I am set. I dont have winter clothes so it will be jeans, leggings and lots of layers for me.

Luckily Harlem Mama is going to be able to take me to all the places where I can get warm stuff cheap because I dont even have shoes without holes.

And one more thing...

I think...

I am going to get my nose pierced.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My 400th post

I get by on mercy....

Water makes the watermelon grow

I have a watermelon growing in my chest. It's swelling bigger everyday, making my chest hurt and my insides feel funny.

I want to go home. I want to be in my bed, with Mr. Bear and my blankie. I am tired. Very tired. Emotionally and physically. I do need a break.

Who will save me from myself?

Where is superman when you need him?

"The Promise"- by Tracy Chapman

If you wait for me then I'll come for you
Although I've traveled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart
If you think of me If you miss me once in awhile
Then I'll return to you
I'll return and fill that space in your heart
Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
If you dream of me like I dream of you
In a place that's warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
I've longed for you and I have desired
To see your face your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
Please say you'll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end
If you can make a promise If it's one that you can keep, I vow to come for you
If you wait for me and say you'll hold
A place for me in your heart.

Love lost at sea

I heard a rather sad story of an expatriate here whose wife came to visit in February for a few months. She died over the weekend while on an innocent touristy cruise to one of the cays. She went with a boat filled people. They had anchored. She drowned. Don't know the details. Never met her. But I am so sad for her and the torn husband and two sons she has left behind.

She is the second tourist to die there this year. It's a place I would have gone to if I had the opportunity. Something sounds fishy. Something not right. What are the odds?

But I feel sad for a woman I have never met. One who traveled thousands of miles to reunite briefly with her husband and meet her untimely death in a place not sacred enough to house good spirits.

I pray for that husband. The poor man cried uncontrollably at church yesterday. I was told. Can't fellowship here. But I can empathise. Life is so uncertain and the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Back outdoors

I went to watch the movie yesterday. It seems kindness is popping up in small doses from places. I have tried to modify my expectations of people to expect the worse, so I am pleasantly surprised when I find a flower blooming through concrete. I try to remind myself that it is a stray flower, with no hopes of finding company among more of its kind, restricted as it is by its concrete casing.

I am back in the office this morning. The boss has offered me more time off if I need it. He and another person also suggested that I move. It is his niece who owns my duplex so I am not inclined to think his suggestion has any other motive than my own best interest.

I am listening to "The Promise" by Tracy Chapman. Beautiful song. Really beautiful. Makes me want to see my man in the most profound way. It would be nice to spend a month with him on his turf and get out of here for a while. To share nights and mornings... and go out in the desert to think and talk. But that is wishful thinking. In spite of that... my heart is there with him...even though his is here with me. If only they could just hover in the same country.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday morning pondering

I got a call from my friend The Banker a fellow expatriate here. "You should have CALLED me! OK let me come get you, I will not have you wallow in it. We can go for a swim, I have lots of junk food, there's wine and we have 17 DVDs to watch!"

I passed on the swimming but agreed to watching Slumdog Millionaire with her later. Neither of us has seen it because there is no cinema Behind God's Back.

The boss is coming to visit later. He would have come yesterday but I did not take his call.

The gentlemen are here to fix the front door, ridding it from termite infested untreated lumber. This apartment is truly shitty. I now see why it's the cheapest available. There is at least one problem every week. Even things that get fixed never seem to stay fixed. Take my heater for example, which has been fixed about three times and I haven't had hot water for a week.

If I decide to stay, I am contemplating moving. Only problem is that moving even into a one bedroom apartment is likely to result in a higher rent. Already I have no elasticity in my budget due to my ambitious quest to equip my company out of pocket.

But I also have the security issues to contain with. I am here alone in a very secluded part of the island with an immediate neighbour who is alone herself. Ours is a duplex.

I have done the math, and if I leave, I will not be able to accomplish my goals. The fact is that if I leave without doing so, I may have to get yet another PR job (which are the hardest to get when people are cutting budgets). Even if I get one, I will be forced to delay my dreams even longer.

I know that my personal life is on pause right now while I am here and I am missing out on a lot of great things. But nothing is cut and dry. These are big decisions and all with bigger consequences. What I need to get to the bottom of is just which road will be better for me long term.

Honestly, without the hate crime bit, it was a no-brainer. I'd suffer through it and stay the length of my contract and leave here with my gratuity next year May. But now, everything is a grey area particularly because when you get down to the bottom of it, I am still here alone.

When the boss visits today, I will impress upon him my concern for my security and see what he can say to assure my that I am indeed safe. I have yet to feel the safety of a village. Let's see if one man can intervene.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No woman no cry

Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" was next on the playlist. Then there was "The Harder They Come" and Redemption Song." There was no coming back from there. I blasted the speakers and sang at the top of my voice, as a chant to surviving this shitstym that I have found myself in.

Then I got an idea... I made a playlist for my next radio show, calling on Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Richie Spice, Queen Ifreca and all the relevant Jamaican struggle music I could find in my library. I can't believe I can't put my hands on "Glass House."

I felt like purging the bad vibes... and music is purely cathartic.

My bed smells like April Fresh Downy and not of me being there all day, every day, all week.

I turned a sheet into a curtain, adding another layer of privacy to my blinds.

I am going to talk about this next week on my show. I need to.

Until then, my playlist is done. So add that to all the little things I have managed to do since sundown.

I miss my iPod.

Confession of a "less care" woman

I had to do something before something do me.

Hotlanta Cousin convinced me earlier in the week that bathing was a good idea. I was literally immobilized when the melodrama of the last weekend sank in. I listened... and cried because I realised in that moment that I was more depressed than I thought. I lit the thick white candles, and hooked up the 23rd psalm by Morgan Heritage & Buju Banton and I pulled out my kosher homemade lemon grass soap from Imelda and I did about 7 cycles of soaping up and rinsing off.

Today, I applied the same care to my eyebrows, giving them the best tweezing since December. I will tackle leg hairs tomorrow.

According to Imelda, I been "less care" misself. The irony is that she has hell to get me out of the house on time in Jamaica when we are going anywhere as I am always titivating in the bathroom.

But this place brings out a little different in me. It's kinda scary on some level. But can you imagine just how much more these women would hate me if I religiously tweezed my brows or shaved my legs?

I shoveled out the sand out of my house, sorted laundry and I actually played music. For the first time all week, I played music. Threw out the trash. And I am about to change my sheets. I still have not gone further than my gate all week. I am sure if I mentioned before that I was on compassionate leave. I still cry too easily.

I am still one tough bitch... but when you are fighting such a bitch of an opponent, you are bound to get a few solid licks and to get the wind knocked out of you from time to time. This wont kill me. For sure.

I need some love. No lie. This is just damn sad. Really sad. And I am not writing this to appeal for sympathy, but just to let you know that I have my moments. This is my therapy. Its easier for me to write than to talk sometimes. I really miss Easy Skanking Chef. Especially a night. I miss my mother. I miss everybody. Just to have an ounce of love in this dessert would mean so much. Nights are still hard.

Ok...Buena Vista Social Club is playing now and I am going to force myself to dance while I make my bed.

Internet and cable service -small island stylee

They claimed they came by but no one was home. So said the card I found outside my door. If they had managed to knock, they would have found otherwise. I heard a noise and looked through the window to see two men fiddling with a step ladder in the back of a truck parked on the other side of the street. Earlier in the week, one of them pulled my gate and came in to re-string wires damaged in the hurricane that ravaged the island almost seven months ago. They didn't knock then either.

But my initial estimate was right. I did say that it would be March before I had landline/ADSL and cable TV. Not sure where the cable station has reached in its restoration. They haven't yet left a card stating that they knocked on my door.

The funny things is that stealing wireless has just become more accessible. Many people have restored their internet and it seems like everyone has gone for a wireless hub this time. I have lots of unsecured networks to choose from.

The fact is that I have managed to live without landline/ADSL for almost seven months. And I managed to feed my addiction for the internet during that time. Yes signals have dropped repeatedly and it has taken me longer than usual to view a You Tube video, but I have simply worked my way around it. I pause the video and do something else while it buffers. I even managed to watch the entire 1 1/2hr video of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" that I shared recently. Same MO.

If I have managed to get online and stay connected, then why would I now volunteer for another bill?

Many persons have also gone out and bought satellite dishes and are receiving over 400 channels for less than what they paid for crappy cable service. Some have even pirated.

In business, if you leave your customers without your service for too long, they either do without or find another supplier. Either way, neither of the two options contribute to your bottom line.

I use a Mac. Had I been a windows user, I would have been plagued by open network viruses by now, as I was on my company issued laptop. And certainly, I would have signed up quickly to restore my own network and restrict access to moi.

I am still contemplating it...if for no other reason than preserving my own file security. Right now, I just don't have the cash.

Dubai a city of magic

I have been looking more at Dubai. First the websites and blogs, then the printed press, and now from You Tube. It is pure magic. But I feel the magic can be lost on you if you do not stay long enough and really get to explore.

I promise to do that sometime within the next 15 months.

I will take lots of pictures and I will interview and write.

The stage has is being set.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The last lecture

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The woman and her all-consuming passion

For the past 6-8 weeks, I have been sort of taking serious lessons in photography.

It started with research into the imaging system that best suited me and then it took on a whole life of it's own.

Seriously, I cannot remember when any one thing has excited me so much...especially without direct stimulation.

I haven't put my forefinger on a shutter of an SLR since the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. That was 2007 I believe. It was the camera of my Guyanese media friend, and I missed a lot of great shots at the opening ceremony in Trelawny, Jamaica because it was the first time I was setting hands on that camera and with the low and fast fading light, shooting from the stands was iffy. I managed at a later date to get a fantastic portrait of him, which he prides as his best ever. We are not as friendly as we once were, but that photo stills a frame of a bond that once was. Such is the power of photography.

My learning curve has been spiking and will spike even further when I get my hands on my baby. I have already named him. Che Mandela Fidel Obama Manley. A big name for a rebel who will revolutionize my earthly and ethereal existence.

I have always been in love with photography, but I had managed to push my love aside in the chase for all things more practical. Long before I got involved in the television business, I used to watch movies and search out the names of Directors of Photography and look at how each shot in a well-shot feature was a beautifully composed photo.

I am in perpetual wanderlust. I don't fantasize about sex anywhere as much as I do about photography. Thank heavens Easy Skanking Chef does not read this blog. Then again he could say the same about food.

It is amazing how life is. It's almost as if I tucked this part of me so far away that I only had faint memories hidden in an old hat box in my closet.

When I jumped off the corporate ladder, it was to pursue much of the same but only on my own terms and to integrate broadcasting more. I set up a communication firm to do PR for clients and get back into broadcast programming. No where did photography factor.

The same about writing. I knew there was a book in me, but had no real idea that I had a voice, much less stylings that anyone would find remotely interesting.

But something really started happening deep down inside me when I started writing this blog. And the more I wrote, the truer I became. Writing was my conduit to the inner me- the trench through which the longings of my soul poured out from sub-conscious to conscious.

It also shifted all the energy I put into long emails to my ex boyfriends...which looking back were desperate attempts for an audience for my self-expression. I hardly write those anymore, and not because I love any less.

The combination of isolation and opportunity on this Island Behind God's Back has encouraged me to write more and to explore who I really am underneath it all. Ironically, though writing on this blog and my radio show are my only creative outlets, I am feeling my creativity in a very profound way.

As hard as things are, and as rough as they get sometimes, I do think this relationship presents a real good synergy for both ESC and myself. We are both inspired.

And I have gotten happier...just being me.

There will be more photos on this blog once I can Che in my hands. I promise. I have been following the tutorials on him... because it's one thing to get a man, it's another to put him to god use. Until then, there will be a helluva lot of sheer orgasmic fantasy.

Reflections In Absentia

The Mother Hen was told, and like a true mother hen, she set about praying, armed with the backative of an entire church on fasting for one whom Mother Hen describes as "too good a child for any bad ting fi happen to."

During all this, my depression lifted.

I did not wake up crying this morning. I even managed to pluck hairs from my chin. But even though my fate is sealed as a bearded old lady, I am not so certain where it is sealed here in the midst of all the melodrama.

With the depression lifted, I am feeling like Sheer Almshouse again (no pun intended). So I am also thinking like Sheer Almshouse.

Imelda and I had a series of good chats about the whole issue. Enlightening as usual. She understood my desire to leave in the midst of the worst economic depression of my twentysomething life because I was afraid. She knows I am not a scaredy cat. And with the inclusion of sharp cutting tools and the piercing of my tires, a simple prank turned into a sinister, devious, and brutal personal crime in her view.

I am not certain what I am really going to do. It is too early to say. I have of course reviewed my options and discussed with Easy Skanking Chef. He would prefer if I leave, because he is powerless to protect me from so far, but he knows there is just no absolute in a time like now, and in the meantime, he prays. He is of course a chef, and the restaurant and hospitality industry is feeling the recession all the way to hell and back. No future is certain. Job tenure is present, but not necessarily continuous.

I had a visitor from work today. She came twice. Give her credit where credit is due. No one else has even called, except the boss who was himself on the crime scene in his weekend khaki shorts on Saturday.

So, I still don't trust anyone as far as I can throw them. And I still don't want people around me.

My compassionate leave is indefinite. I am not certain when I will be ready to work. If it were closer to payday, I would go to NYC and DC and get a break to really think about my options (and collect the camera). I was thinking that taking a trip is not a good idea when I want to leave, but I am no longer so thoroughly convinced that leaving is the best thing for me at this point either. I am ambivalent.

The only thing I know for certain is that I need time. So now that I don't feel so muddled, I am going to pray and meditate on things and wait to see what settles right in my spirit. Mother Hen taught me from very young to listen to it.

Why I love my chef

Here are the reasons:

Unlike a mechanic, he has clean hands. No grime under his fingernails or tucked beneath nethermost regions. He comes home smelling like food, after being in an industrial restaurant kitchen for longer hours than I can stare at the computer...and still heads for the shower.

He cooks. Plain and simple. And likes to- even better. So the battle of the kitchen is not about him watching sports on the couch while I do all the cooking, but about who wants to cook lunch or dinner. This is rare for chefs because they usually hate cooking at home, but this one loves to cook for me. Maybe it's because I am a shamelss gourmand. I thought my own cooking was experimental but Easy Skanking Chef adds dimension to the adjective. Most times its a hit. At least once, I have had to secretly add my secret enhancer. It has to be secret... even though I will honestly say "it needs _____" I use the shortcut.

He does not believe in adding ketchup to cooked food unless it comes in the fast food variety. Even then, if it doesnt involve potatoes and oil or two buns, it stands alone.

He makes his own sauces from scratch. BBQ, and even ketchup... mmmmn.

His taste buds are both epicurean and simple. While he really enjoys eating out, he also appreciates a good home cooked hearty meal. Enter Jamaican classics: Oxtail and curried goat.

He delights in my oxtail...even for breakfast.

He cant cook rice. I am one up on him for this.

He cannot shape a good Jamaican fried dumpling (or Johnny Cake if you prefer). I am two up on his for this too.

He will do the dishes.

He will also tidy and clean house, mop and all. By now, you should know how I feel about the mop.

He allows me to get away with leaving the majority of the domestic work for him because he hates doing laundry that much and thinks that doing dishes and cleaning house is a fair trade off for not having to the laundry.

He listens to reason. OK.. breaking it down. Sometimes...it...is...a...painful...process...to...communicate...reason...to...him...but...if...I...am ...patient...which-I-am-often not...he...will...get...the...point...and...see...the...logic.

He doesn't let me have my own way all the time, but often does. Dude can pick his battles and so well most of the time. Gotta give him credit.

He actually makes time to have the relationship talks that men and woman wrangle over. He listens.

He learns from his mistakes. He is a keeper.

He has an open mind. Loves to travel. Wide-eyed wonderment of the world and everything and taste in it.

He supports me. I get the feeling that if I said I wanted to fly to the moon on a spaceshuttle, he'd be there to take the pictures.

He tells people he has waited 10 years to get me. Dude was pulling a major stealth move and zoned in at the right time for both of us.

He tolerates me. And I am a whole-lotta-woman. Opinionated. Stubborn. Annoying planning everything. Messy. Creative. Bubbly. Reclusive. Spontaneous. Mad.

He wants us to work. Full time. Long term. And he invests himself heavily to that end. He has to... I demand no less ;)

Alright... clearly food has taken up much of this post. But I did admit early on that I am in fact a shameless gourmand.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh Slumber, where art thou?

I am tired. My body is tired. My eyes are tired. Even my poor brain is tired. But sleep evades me.

Maybe I should turn out the lights.

I dont know.

I just came clean on my family website about this whole melodrama. I expect to get tonnes of replies over the next few days. I will have to inform my parents first thing. I have not broken the news to them yet. Ironic, I know. The world does, and my cousins and some uncles and aunts but I have kept it from my parents.

Maybe I just wanted time for a plan. So that they wouldn't worry too much. Parents tend to multiply fear over the safety of their offspring. And I have already given my father high blood pressure and a stomach ulcer from my only daughter teenage antics back in the day. No need to kill him now.

But now that I am weaving a plan together, they must know. Maybe they will even be able to help with the plan. At the very least, additional prayers from doting parents will certainly go a far way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three months notice

My contract requires me to give three months notice or pay back roughly USD$5000 and my own airfare and shipping back home.

So I will hand in my resignation letter at the end of the month.

I am going to need the extra three months salary anyway.

I just pray that I will have the strength to stay that long.

The fat lady's song

I just came across a blog that brought me back to reality, That's the Way Life is is a testimony of just how short and unpredictable life can be.

The question is: why am I staying here and making myself unhappy? Yes I want to save some money and to maintain an income in harsh financial times, but what if, just what if I am wasting what could be the best years in my life?

Money may or may not come, but time, once dispensed, cannot be recalled.

I am not happy here. Have never been. Never will be.

I have however grown to find a sort of numb middle ground of bland existence where everything is boiled and all shades grey. I have been dancing with depression in a place that isolates beyond the healthy dose for a creative.

There are places to see, taste buds to be brought to life, smells to be defined. There is so much wonder waiting to be discovered by these eyes that have only roamed in my imagination.

There is nothing for me here. Nothing but a stifling of my spirit.

I cannot live in this world without trusting even one person. I am not cut out to be the mistrusted outsider. I am not cut out to be hated. Tolerated, at least, but certainly not hated.

I feel like my life is on hold. Like I have pressed the pause button for too long, and the player has just timed out and switched off.


I need to leave.

I am going to resign.

The fat lady has sung.

Sinking in

I woke up to an overcast sky, with water-filled clouds just waiting to be pricked. So I decided not to ride my bicycle to work. So I am home. I have SMSed the man in charge and told him that I am working remotely. Which I am. I had already set up my work email so I could access from many different locations especially since most networks go down here pretty regularly.

I will however have to ride down to the MIS department which is much closer to home to send out some public notices.

Bedtime and mornings are not good for me these days. I mean I was never a morning person but for the past few mornings, I have awaken in a state of depression. It comes right at me long before I can consciously fight it off, and I am left in a muddle for the significant part of my lighted day. It's just hard to wrap my head around the possibility that someone/people could hate me so much and could come so close to me and I didn't even know it.

I have spoken with the police. Again, no leads. They say "to the best of [their] knowledge" they have made contact with the neighbours. The neighbours saw nothing. I told them that under those situations, I felt vulnerable and extremely exposed, especially since I had not done anything to anyone to warrant such a vile act of hatred to be rendered upon my property. I went as far as confessing that I have not borrowed or stolen anybody's husband/ boyfriend, or any man for that matter and that I live a rather reclusive lifestyle since my partner is not in the country.

Officer understood and says that he and others have been stepping up patrols in the area. Last night I heard a vehicle at 4 am but I was too tired to get up to look who was driving on my road. BTW, I live on a cul-de-sac so I cannot imagine it being hard for anyone to notice something strange in the middle of the night.

I have been talking to the insurance company too. They just need the police statement and the pictures. The former will take up to the end of the week. Don't ask me why. I already have the photos at hand. There are talks of deductibles, yadda, yadda, yadda, and the damage may be below the threshold. And so... I may have to foot this one out of pocket.

My Accountable Friend who has moved back home (and who should be credited for encouraging me to insure this car comprehensively) advises that I should not sell the car until I am ready to leave. That way, I will not confine myself to depending on others for trips to the supermarket and mobility during the rain. I am contemplating that option.

The landlord says she has ordered motion sensor lights. When the car is movable, I will have to get it compounded to remove the paint. Thank heavens it was water-based. I will also park it inside the yard and get chains and locks for the three gates. It means that anybody who wants to come in will have to jump the fence. It's low, but should at least be a deterrent. The addition of motion sensor lights will make it more secure.

I could also get a highly sensitive motion sensor alarm for the car. My friend, Splaagy Specialist recommends one of those portable flashlight alarms to keep in the house. These come at a premium ("un-budgeted") cost to me, especially since even basic things are really expensive here.

I honestly do not feel like seeing anybody for the remainder of the week. I wish I could get the week on some compassionate leave or something. I just need time to collect myself properly. I am not altogether ready to face a public whose rumour mill will be tied up wondering whose husband I must be screwing.

And I do not want rides from people either, so I prefer to either ride my bicycle, or not go anywhere at all.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Solid as a rock

Jamaican dancehall/reggae artiste, Sizzla Kolange has a song "Solid as a Rock"

You can't keep a good man down
Always keep a smile when they want me to frown
Keep the vibes and stood my ground
They will never, ever take my crown
Who Jah bless I say no man curse
Things getting better when they thought it would be worse...
...I'm so solid as a rock
They just cant stop me now
Even when they set their traps...
...They just can't hold me down.

I must play that on my show tomorrow evening. That reminds me, I need to arrange a ride to the radio station. But that is an aside.

My first package arrived at my cousin in Harlem a short while ago. It makes me happy. Many more to come.

It has made me think about how resilient I am by nature, and how blessed I am, in spite of people's efforts to kill my spirit.

I am going to make my stay in this place work for my own good. This is the end of my PR days, but it is the beginning of my new life as a working artist. A photographer, writer and moving picture director. I am single-handedly equipping my production company with photo gear, video gear and Mac upgrades.

By the time I am through here, I can manage to have a very menial job doing something I love for short hours for consistent income (perhaps teaching or a radio programme) and have the rest of my time free for professional engagements.

I am also thinking about offshore re-registration to avoid the 33% corporate taxes in Jamaica, but I don't even know when I will re-settle back home. I am setting up my business to be mobile. All my equipment are purchased to that end.

Having been here, I have had lots of time to contemplate what direction I want my company to go in. No more doing all things because I can, I will be doing what I love. Gibran says "Work is love made visible." I used to live by that mantra until I became an in-house public relations practitioner.

When I was growing up, I was told, "Do what you love and the money will follow." I am not certain if money always follows a work life filled with love and passion, but joy does (at least until you get bitter about not being able to make ends meet).

I love meeting new people and hearing their stories and finding out the good things about human nature. I do not like to be around people long enough for me to see just how evil they really are. That fucks up my interpretation of this world and the nature of humanity. Some people always seem to get jealous of me, not because I am haughty-because I am not- but because I do not apologise for my presence. News flash: I never will.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

For the love of photography

I have been finding distraction in photography- mostly other people's phots and tutorials for the camera that I will be purchasing in 2 1/2 weeks. Two weeks and three days to be exact.

I am thrilled about my choice in camera body and pro lens. This is a huge investment and having a good full frame body and pro lenses will give me years of photographic bliss.

I am re-thinking whether I want to take them here now...especially since the malicious destruction of my property seems to be so easy here.

But I am getting them if is the last thing I do.

I am re-learning and advancing, making preparations to shooting my own gear. There is nothing like your own because you get to understand what it can and cannot do and get to know your equipment like the back of your hand which puts you in a position to get the hard to get shots. As Carl Dawson used to caution me, "You only get one shot." You can only be able to fulfil that mantra by knowing your gear and of course understanding the most important subject in photography-light.

I am sure I am boring you half to death.

But this is all that's in my head for the past few months really.

And this whole bad experience with the car makes me even more adamant that now is the time. If I don't make this investment and take the plunge now, I may never get another opportunity to do so.

I am really not interested in completing my thesis. Does not at all appeal to me. Somehow I feel like I have already belaboured that point.

Anyway, right now I am just waiting for the day when I can click "Checkout" on my pre-prepared B& H Photovideo cart.

Until then, I watch and wait to see how the investigation develops.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

NO one is going to break my stride

Listen, this thing may have unsettled me but it will not break me. I am bigger than this and the sum total of my purpose on this earth is greater than any force that is trying to diminish it.

I will clean the car, claim the insurance and sell it.

I will walk and ride my bicycle. It may take me two hours to reach to and from work but I will be better for it. I may even get an extra lens from the proceeds. Whoever is trying to break me, may unsettle me but cannot break a spirit that is not centred on the frivolous or surface.

I have done no evil to anyone, and this is not my karma, I will not embrace it, it will boomerang to the source from whence it came because a curse without a cause cannot alight. I only pray for mercy when they face their own judgement.

I will sleep tonight, because my peace is above and beyond anything earthly.

I rest in the assurance that no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

This song resonates in my head:

Nobody's gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna hold me down, oh no
I've got to keep on moving

My car has been vandalized

I am dumbfounded. Speechless.

Paint thrown all over and three tires slashed.

The place is small. Hopefully somebody talks.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Natty dreadlocks!

There is one major happening that is going down at the end of the month that I am sorry I wont have an opportunity to get on record. Larger Than Life is stepping down. Man this is the biggest news that could hit the Island Behind God's Back and I will miss it. Unless of course I just go to pick up camera and turn right around at the end of the month. Hmmn. I would get a chance to shoot history in the making but miss out on a well needed sanity break.

Which should I chose?

History or sanity?

I am still feeling the euphoria of the acquisition process. I just wish I could buy all the lens I want at once because I will have to wait until I reach the US to be able to get them. That is my only concern about acquiring piece by piece. So I will have to take another trip to the US by June/July/August to pick up the remainder of tools. But I will tie that in with onward travel to Dubai or somewhere else cross the atlantic.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The acquisition begins

Today, I began the first part of the three part mini series in the acquisition of my start up pro photo gear.

I have decided on two lenses because when u are talking pro, the cart racks up pretty quickly with almost nothing in it. But quality supersedes quantity. I am limited to two damn good lenses. I bought the cheaper one and the other small stuff.

The camera & tripod will be purchased on payday.

The final big purchase will be the primary lens.

After that I have two more pro mid range zooms and one more prime. One wide, one telephoto and a macro lens for shooting food.

I just hope I can sleep tonight.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Full stop. Comma, comma, dash dash.

I am reaaaaaaaaally trying to relax now. I mean, REALLY. I have to lower my expectations even further where work is concerned. Had an online chat with someone who has done work here.

most days I am fine and then you have these vile meetings called on short notice and you realise that the undercurrent is that people have been gossiping and discussing you in your absence instead of holding fucking regular management meetings

All Rounder:
Well yes, that's why the country is in the shape it is. Everything gets started on impulse, and then nothing gets follow up. because if they did, it would all be out there

All Rounder: :
And yes, gossip IS the one and only real strong national sport. You just need to have a look at the rags that pass for newspapers there to see just how deeply ingrained that is within that culture. So even though on the surface it may look like just another English Caribbean country, you've got to make drastic adaptations to survive there. PM As far as I can see and tell, the only thing that appears to work on the long term is to develop a very thick skin, and simply learn NOT to give a shit about much that is not your own survival and gratification.

thought i did so but when these things happen, I realise that I have to keep on adjusting and they are also a bunch of liars...duplicitous by nature

All Rounder:
Yes, that's be consistent with what I've just told you: it's everyone's own survival and gratification.So you've got to learn to understand that game, even if you don't wish to play it. Of course they're going to make all sorts of unreasonable demands of you - as long as you keep trying to meet them. What are they going to do if you stop jumping at everything they request - fire you?
1. Big deal
2. They won't do it, coz then they won't have anyone to do the dirty work for them.
3. Big deal

Relax. Go to the beach. Mix the other foreigners and make friends. Have some fun!

As for work, do what you can, and don't worry about what you can't do.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When it takes a village to raise one block

First things first, I did my work plan... capitalized on Imelda's template which made it much less formidable than the convoluted one now being proposed by one who has too much time on her hands and is always busy writing useless papers. But I went a step further. I did it for every month for the entire year. Yes, if is work plan they want, work plan they going to get. I will not be bothered with this foolishness every three months.

I don't know when since a work plan became the sum total of assessment, but hey, this is the Island Behind God's Back and when foreign ideas are imported, some things just get lost at sea.

I did it, saved it as a pdf, complete with my footer. This is the land of intellectual property theft. How can somebody steal your own work? Well I have seen them steal reports, even mine. Literally. Take ownership and all.

The excitement about planning these functions is quickly diminishing for a few reasons. First, I am being called to at least two meetings a week to discuss. I don't think these people get the point that this is chicken feed for me. Especially since I dont have a budget to spend anyway and any real creativity is excessively contained. I get annoyed with the talking talking and the dumb questions as to why I want a simple thing.

So... at this point, I am just preparing for yet another meeting to discuss what? I don't know. I really thought that my Contact Report had detailed all the responsibilities and relevant accountability, and that people would be busy getting shit done for the better part of the next week. I guess not. Here, it takes an entire village to move a block

Appetite gone with the wind

I wonder if somehow I have managed to culture a state of functional depression to cope with life on an Island Behind God's Back. It's not a sad and morose, can't get out of bed, refuse to see the sun kind of depression, but just that my dysfunction shifts repeatedly. I don't have any interest in cooking, washing dishes, and even eating.

I bought about 6lbs or more of chicken wings last week and I have yet to cook one. My taste buds just don't get excited about the prospect of food anymore. Could it be that I am just tired of the whole elaborate cleansing ritual associated with bad tap water in this place? Everything has to be bleached, then rinsed in bottled water, then air dried, covered from flies and creepy crawlies and it gets a little much after a while. To make matters worse, having had my hot water restored this weekend, the kitchen pipe is now trickling water because something went wrong when I turned on the hot water. They were smart enough to use copper pipes weren't they?

Cereal, tea (hot and cold), yogurt, soup, water. I bought grapes on Thursday and am now just going to force myself to eat them before they spoil. And they were amazingly fresh when I got them.

I know I need to fuel my body properly, but food tastes like cardboard.

Anyway, I will try to do better.

Monday, March 02, 2009

BlackBerry to di world :)

I am back in the world of the living. I picked up my FREE Curve today. Turns out I will actually get BB service sponsored by the office. About ferking time. Anyway, I will use it for more personal reasons than business. Just wish Imelda could be convinced of its benefits.

Please call/email/text me back all of your contact info because I did not back up my previous BB even once. I dont even have my Jamaican SIM which would give me back at least 200 of the near 1000 contacts lost.

I promise to back up from now on.

Muse has even told me about painless google backup for online storage. Will setup once I have BB service.

So... I am back. To chatting. I forgot what my voice sounded like.

Bursting my bubble

The man in charge wants to see my work plan. What effing work plan? You think I make a plan other than the strategy that guides me and how I will issue these things monthly?

Effing public sector. They want to see what you INTEND to do, not what you've done.

Stupid asses.

So I must stop to update a work plan when I work alone and should have a unit of at least five to be effective.


No Lazy Bone

I just realised something about me. There is hope for me after all. I hate not having mutliple projects at work. I thrive on having lots to do and things to plan for. I am actually excited today because I have a function (a big launch which presents much of my work) plus the launch a radio programme for the public service, the first ever that the Island Behind God's Back has ever seen or heard.

I also have two newsletters working on- the general one and one tailored for leaders/managers and a regional conference for big-wigged regional officials being held here. I am even getting money to spend. Nine months after I took up this job.

So I feel quite energised.

Could also be that I haven't had rice and weeks.

No seriously, what accounts for the excitement? Otherwise, these projects have all been on the table, but I guess nothing beats the buzz before showtime!

The only thing that could top this is seeing Easy Skanking Chef at the airport at 12:30 when I go to pick up my new BlackBerry.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hate on Me

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