I had the Monday Blues today…

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I cannot believe how irritable I can get sometimes! I’m not good with spending; pulling out money to buy honey cornflakes which I know will come in handy when I can’t step out for lunch can set me off. And I think that’s what happened earlier this afternoon. I decided to put up a status update on Facebook indicating that I am pissed off because I need to get over myself before locking the office door and taking a few minutes to soak in Sam Smith. Then I got a call.

One of my closest friends – made sometime this year – called to update me on the progress he had made on a hurdle he was tackling. He has been hitting a brick wall in a vital personal project and this weekend the sun broke through his clouds. We took forty minutes to talk and laugh and sigh and celebrate.

Then I got an email from a close family member who recently suffered two strokes in quick succession – just two weeks apart – which rendered her right leg and hand less-sufficient-than usual. She is making huge progress and has been able to compose an email to family and friends, just today, letting us know that she is okay.

Now here I am drawing up a list of things I would like to spend money on in December. First of all, hangers for the clothes I never wear because they are heaped on top of each other at the bottom of three bags. Second, a road trip; the said friend (above) and I have been planning this for a while. The rest will follow and has to include a facelift for my place – should I decide against moving in the new year.

Cheers to the rain, to friendship, to positive energy and to Sam Smith!!!

Reading IS the new Sexy (among other things)

I have sat with people around tea or coffee more than I have probably walked the earth. What can I say? I’m a woman. We always have words to spare and nothing brings them out like a hot beverage with great company after a long day at the office.

Over the years, I have started to notice a new trend in gossip where men are involved. We girls like to talk about boys: the ones we love, the ones we can’t stand, the ones we wish we had, the ones who got away (either because we let them or because they weren’t exclusively ours to begin with) and the story has read like the original script of Romeo and Juliet. Even the Hollywood version was pretty close to Shakespeare’s original.

But my ears have started to pick an exciting new sequence in the narrations. More girls like men who read! Now, my findings are biased. I hang out with friends and friends of friends who resemble the first generation of friends. But hear me out. I am hearing more ladies chattering excitedly about blokes whom they can describe as “well read”, “widely read” “a fun of reading/books”. Books and I have had a love affair long before I even knew what love was and I cannot begin to express my utter joy at these new findings. And just so you know that I am not collecting statistics from the same pool, I eavesdrop on conversations sometimes. Yes, yes, not a particularly wonderful thing to put out on the world wide web, but I’m just being honest here. There is the likely chance than book lovers and lovers of book lovers hang out in coffee shops and quiet restaurants, but I am still pushing my agenda.

I may be stretching it if I say that the generation of men  that uses lines like “Me I would never touch a book if I didn’t have to do exams” is on the brink of extinction, but a girl can dream. Plus, the world would probably be less fun with no guys using pickup lines from books and getting the general idea or context of what they are quoting (to impress you) all wrong. Yes, the world does need more colour.

In my personal opinion, I like readers because I have noted a close parallel between this one habit and emotional intelligence; which I equate to being able to read between the lines, take a hint, know how to actually use what you know to keep up with the general dos and donts of human association. Now, just because I can, I will add that your stakes are significantly improved if you also happen to be musically inclined. I’m just saying. And that definitely does not include crying with me when my cat gets run over, but having the just-right-thing to say or letting me know that you genuinely do not know what to say or do to help the situation – and sometimes giving you the exact words I’d like to have spoken back as the ideal consolation.

There. I’m done. See you again when I’m feeling inspired!

And She Brought the Calvary

Ever engaged in a pissing fight with one of your colleagues at work? Well, a friend of mine, let’s call her Jane for humour’s sake, was recently caught up in the sequence of such a duel and sat me down to give me the details. This is her hypothetical story.

So the person with whom Jane is tossing passive aggressive cards finally called her (Jane) out in the presence of all the directors. Recalling a few readings from The 48 Laws of Power, Jane opted to admit that she could do better and made it clear in her email response to everyone copied that she would stretch herself whichever way she needed to so as to ensure “the continued smooth running of the firm as has been the trend”. What Jane’s archnemesis remains unaware of is Jane’s two meetings with the managing director to express frustration under the closed-fisted and bossy rule of her supervisor. Although she started the copying-of-more-powerful-forces into email exchanges when she kept running into the same bring walls, Jane had adequately thought through the attempts at using this same move to make her opponent look bad. She is yet to master herself for a final blow.

When she first realized that her frenemy read through her stuff, Jane crafted and posed a resignation letter on her desktop. It took a few weeks of leave to have the rumour of Jane’s indelicate and abrupt departure soak through the office walls. When she returned, refreshed and with a few pounds about her, everyone told the same story and pointed to the same source: “We just didn’t think you’d be coming back. She told us all. that you’d left for good.”

It all started with the snide remarks, the personal questions, the constant need to tell Jane about everyone’s scruples and dirty little (and not so little) secrets, the unsettling free advice, the endless errands and chores unrelated to her job description. When Jane started to defy orders and ask questions, she was either talked down at or ignored. Then she learned that her cheques were always the last to be released; initially on the afternoon or evening of the last day at work, and then after a day or two into the new month.

Now, Jane has been bullied by other women in the past. Usually, the ones she works with closely. And although she had considered leaving, quitting her job to venture into a new business she had finally set up with her savings or taking up the handful of offers for employment from one of her clients, Jane has decided to stay and fight a little longer.

“She decided to bring the calvary last night,” she said in her usual lazy uninspiring tone last night while seeping on her second mug of coffee, “so I guess I should stick around for a bit and see how this plays out.”

How Goes?

I didn’t jog this morning. I think I need to start seriously considering the pain in my shins which cleared up after skipping a day and the pain in my left calf which got me thinking that there’s something I’m doing wrong. I know for a fact that I need to eat better in the evening – early and a full meal and a pre-workout snack. I also need to work on a stretching before going out into the breezy morning mist (or drizzle).

That aside, I am glad to finally be done with Blurred Boundaries, a four part series I have been working on rather diligently that tells a story so close to home. I use to judge, rather harshly, people who had affairs. It changes your thinking around the circumstances when someone you know and/or care about is entangles in such a sticky situation. I don’t condone affairs now, but I am a lot less coarse in my handling of persons who have had affairs. The stories are on my other blog, sharonogugu.wordpress.com, which I have dedicated exclusively to my short stories and attempts at poetry.

I attended BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) yesterday evening and felt rather refreshed to sit in a group discussing the Bible with no agenda other than to foster a deeper understanding of it. I also ran into old friends who share my joy in anonymity and personal growth. As I said, very refreshing. I can’t wait to officially join – there’s quite the waiting list and women are clearly still leading in numbers so it might be a few, or several, weeks before I officially become a member.

I didn’t jog this morning. I know I’ve already said that, but it’s bothering me. I have my BNI meeting tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. so I can’t do it tomorrow morning and I feel bad about slacking off in spite being unable to run both ways almost 4 weeks since I started on my route. I was hoping to be running up and down that path up to four times at the end of this month yet here I am being inconsistent and struggling with 1.5 times the distance.

However, all is not lost. Sadie (not her real name) is moving in for a week so we can help each other eat better and remain physically active so I that should be a nudge in the right direction. If all goes well, we should be able to visit Nina (not her real name either) soon and discuss our plans for the future with regard to school and work.

I’m still struggling with the sequels of two stories I’ve written: The Past That Is and Under The Weather I. If all goes well, I should be done with both by this coming weekend. But that also depends largely on personal inspiration and time. In fact, time is probably 5% of the problem. I need me some new inspiration and I need it fast.

In even less important news, I am recently amused by my new found vanity. My new Grandma got me this 3 in 1 serum cream thingy for my face (it’s very light and has left my skin feeling like velvet and smelling rich – I really don’t know how else to place that scent on a scale) and my aunt got me a foot cream to nurse my dry and chapped soles back into moist and acceptably shiny health. I also have Nivea for my skin – because somehow Vaseline petroleum jelly feels so only-fit-for-baby’s-bum. Three creams for my body! When did I get here? My right big toe is painted dark green and my left is brown, by the way. And I wear my Maasai sandals to work so my feet will breath, although one set of house shoes sits in my desk and is used rather frequently. I like my job, people. Not everyday and not all the time, but I really do like my job and the small bits (or chunks) of freedom that come with it.

I’m really starting to soak into the characters in The Red Tent – my current read borrowed from Johnny (also not his real name) and I’m looking forward to enjoying a home cooked meal rich in kale and corn flour. I’m even willing to skip out on chai with a few friends. I’ve been obsessing over Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters so I think I’ll read The Fault In Our Stars a third time after getting it back from Nick (yes, you guessed right; another alias).

Adios good people. I need to go get caffeinated. The neighbour’s blaring music system from this morning obviously did more damage than I’d thought. Him and the idiot who leaves his freakishly loud engine running for several minutes at the not-far-enough-to-not-notice basement! I need a beach house like yesterday. Really.

Made It!

Hello sunshine! Guess who managed to run all the way and halfway back to the starting point just this morning. Yes, you’re reading from her.

This week I have been a good girl on the exercise front. And boy has the running/jogging helped me fall asleep faster. I’m still sleeping rather lightly so I hope to start running 15 minutes earlier than usual every week for the next two or so weeks. Either that or I’ll start doing more indoor exercise. Or both. The pot belly is still there; and will likely take more than 5 more weeks to start disappearing and getting replaced by cubicles of muscle. The awesome thing about exercise is that it leaves you energized during the day, builds you appetite earlier in the day (when you should eat the most anyway) and forces you to hydrate throughout the day (which is how we should drink water anyway).

The boyfriend has classes all day and since we’re two hours apart and the sun outside is burning like a blow torch I will spend a little time staring at my newest (and maybe older) drafts. We’ll see.

I had had every intention of writing and reading during my last weekend, but I found myself in bed with Sherlock Holmes from Elementary. Then I started on White Collar. The only upside to that was that I have been feeling well rested all week – and it’s Wednesday. That’s a very good thing.

Let’s see whether I can make as much progressing with writing as I have been doing with reading. I’m currently gnawing at 50 Great Short Stories edited by Milton Crane. That’s a story for another day, though.

Have a happy healthy half week!

Long Weekend

Ola people!

I have had a rather dull week. I guess coming back to work to find things having ground to a near halt can be frustrating, but you never really feel ready for it, do you? I mean, you do know that things are going to be slow for a time, but then you start to worry when you find that you’ve replied to all the emails, made follow-up calls, scheduled viewings, rescheduled viewings, gone out on errands, gone into the field – all this yet the crickets are still louder than ever. Rather unsettling.

Then there’s the part where my weight is bugging the heck out of me. Worse still, I have only run twice this week and I can’t help but think I need to up the miles if I’m to find any peace about my tummy. It just sits there, round and bulging, pressing against my waistband and often forcing me to change my posture (read: slouch in my chair) and unzip my pants after a meal.

The yoga helps with my back and warming up before running, but I also look forward to running around a little more during the day and to working out for a little longer starting Sunday morning. So help me God!

I really want to have a memorable weekend these next few days, especially because Monday is a holiday. In an ideal setting that would mean skipping town for the night or hosting a sleepover yet here I am planning to spend the weekend running, cooking and watching Glee when I’m not watching Elementary.

I’m feeling all read out because I can’t seem to make any progress with Beneath the Lion’s Gaze (an incredible book, and that’s just 17 pages this week), but I will move at my mind’s pace. I have been reading a whole lot these past few months so maybe I need some more outdoor time. Or time to work on my drafts. Or both.

Whatever happens happens. Irrespective of the threat of rain, I am headed to the Michael Joseph Centre to watch performances prepared to honour Breast Cancer survivors.

Have you gone for screening? When was the last time you went for a breast exam? What of a pap smear. It’s important.

Cheers y’all!

TOUCH ME

s.ogugu:

I am yet to come across a work as noble and open and honest as this one is in the appreciation of the struggles women go through when an ailment causes them to lose a part of themselves.
Do take the time to share and reflect on the persona’s experience; she represents someone’s true story.

Originally posted on Outside my mind:

Touch me here, See me now,

I am still a woman, When you touch me here…

Some answers are more terrifying than questions,

I never asked but am now in receipt of an answer,

I wince when I raise my hands,

Like my grandmother before her and my mother before me,

I empty the bags of fluid when no one is home,

I wear loose clothes, careful not to tangle the tubes…

Touch me here, See me now,

I am still a woman, When you touch me here…

I wake in a night sweat, waiting on the hot flash to leave me,

In the dark, absent mindedly,

I touch them, where they used to be,

I do not remember the soft mounds of flesh that jiggled there,

But joyful pain of my daughter’s embrace,

On the day I came back home.

Touch me here, See me now,

I am still…

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