Monday, December 31, 2007


To everybody out there, have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Dream whatever you desire to dream, go wherever you wish and seek whatever you desire....because life is how YOU shape it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

As a child I always wondered what that meant....I'm still not sure but it's one of those traditions that have stuck. The talk in my office is always good and today has been no exception. We're a committed bunch of people, or maybe that should read a bunch of people who should be committed, either way it works. I have two graphic designers working in the department, both are great guys. They keep me on my toes because they continually challenge me to keep thinking, inside/outside/upside etc, the box. The senior guy in particular pushes me all the time, I'm glad he does because that's what makes me tick.

What does any of this have to do with the title line you might wonder. All week long we've talked about our traditions, it makes me realise how much I miss some things and others not at all. Talking to these people in my department, some of whom I've known for a long time and others who've just come along I am struck by how much it can be like family in a way. Some of them you like more than others but basically you all have to get along so you find ways to make it work. Not everyone has the same traditions but we can still share.

As the old year fades and becomes new again I'm wondering what is coming. Whatever it is, I'm sure we'll all tackle it with our usual equanimity and style or something like that. The philosopher Basho said, " every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home".

Thursday, December 27, 2007

An era ends...

Benazir Bhutto was assasinated this morning. Whatever Ms Bhutto may have been, she was seemingly trying to change Pakistan for the better and became a martyr.

Ms Bhutto was brilliant academically and a role model for many women of my generation becoming at 35, the youngest person and first woman to head a Muslim majority state in modern times. Her life is chronicled widely on the Internet and will be replayed ad nauseum on CNN and other news services over the next week. It is useless to wonder what might have been or at the motivation for this act.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Every year about this time I go into a reflective mode, it's my time to look back and to decide on the things that worked and those that didn't. This year I'm choosing to do something a little differently. Instead of looking back, I'm looking forward. Whatever happened this year is past, gone. I'll try not to repeat the mistakes but time and experience has taught me that you do that sometimes anyway. Forget it and move on.

All those things that I keep putting off, well, that's not on. So, to my friends who take the time to read this, Merry Christmas and a happy, happy, blessed New Year. Let's get together. Adele, we'll be working on that book I keep talking about. Mark, give me the number for the personal trainer, bro- get planning, I'm coming to visit! And to everyone who I've cancelled plans, let's stop making plans and just do it.

Merry Christmas everybody.

It's Christmas..

My friend J, gave me a really wonderful gift this year. It didn't come in her usual inventive, beautiful wrapping unless you count the great outfit she was wearing when it was delivered. J and I have a little tradition, twice a year we get together for a celebratory lunch/dinner. We get together at other times just for so but on my birthday and pre- Christmas we have our little celebration.

Now J is a really happening girl, she's beautiful, she's intelligent, she has a great sense of humour and she's hugely talented. I think she's the bomb and she likes me too. Nice ay. Did I mention that she gives great presents. Anyway, we'd almost missed our date due to the crazed rush that hit us both at the end. Being the determined women that we are we managed to hook up and we sweet talked our way into Angelo's.

I won't tell you what we talked about other than to say we had an absolute blast! After a difficult time, J reminded me of who I am, and that's the best Christmas present. So to J, thank you for caring, thank you for sharing and most of all, thank you for being you! And yes, I started on the things that we talked about....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gotta love the advertising!

Americans, I love em. They can come up with a name for every damn thing and a medication to fix it! Restless leg, SAD, Mad you name it. It's not your fault, it's some weirdness in your wiring or too much sugar or whatever. Terribly funny in a sick sort of way to those among us who have more legitimate ailments.

One of my closest friends has been HIV positive for ten years, every day healthy is a gift even if he's not always appreciative. In the face of that, my depression really isn't so bad. They make meds for that. Yes, it fries your brains eventually but then, your brains are already fried since you're bloody depressed anyway. Oh, for you well meaning types. Don't. Save it. You really don't know so contain yourself please. I cannot "snap out of it", you think I like this? You're one who needs the meds.

I read the paper because I have to, if I didn't, I wouldn't. The crap that people do to other people is astounding. I don't know if we're all lost our minds because we seem to be inured to it all. I blame CNN, all that news at the "top" and "bottom" of the hour business. We've lost any sensitivity or sense of balance. On an aside, when did the hour have a top and a bottom? But I digress, KC and the Sunshine band are playing and I'm grooving while finishing up my days labours...another whole day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And speaking of

Families, you sure can't pick 'em. At least the one you're born with, then there's the family you marry, at least you can divorce them if it doesn't work out. But what about if you can't stand HIM but you like THEM. Well you find ways around it has been my experience.

Which brings me to my former mother in law. Have you ever seen the movie Monster In Law? Jane Fonda has nothing on my former mother in law. Marge certainly had her moments and I'll tell you, we had our ups and downs which I prefer not to think about now that's it's over. I am forever greatful to her though and I've reached the point where I can again think fondly of her.

Marge was a woman of great style. My own mother, while well dressed was and even stylish was not exactly full of style. I got that from Marge, I also got my appreciation of art from her. Whatever else might have been, she never pooh-poohed my love for sculpture, paintings, books, words and fine food. That I learnt many things from her is undeniable and that I am better for the experience is also so. Marge had many frustrations of her own in life, she played second fiddle to a brother and then a husband sometimes at the expense of her own dreams and ambitions. I can relate!

Marge has been gone from my life for several years now, we lost touch inadvertently. I miss her sometimes, just because. But in hindsight, I'm thankful that I did have the experience of her, she helped to make me. It might seem that I've gotten all nostalgic in the last few weeks but I'm returning the favour if you will. The right person will know what I mean and everybody else, thanks for the indulgence.

Happy Birthday Brother

Sunday evening, the sun had already sunk below the horizon as I headed home singing along to Coldplay in the car. I was thinking of my little brother, it was his 35th birthday and he was spending it in transit to his new job.

Thirty-five years ago my parents in their infinite wisdom decided that I needed a sibling. They never asked me, if they had, I would have indicated a preference for another puppy, I already had a perfectly good brother. I think it was explained to me that N was not in fact my brother but my cousin, well, I don’t know about that. For three years, I’m three years older than him, the little bugger had followed me around every waking moment of the day and night. He was my confidante, my partner in crime, my shadow and my alter-ego. We fought desperately but you could not stick a pin between us. So I guess it goes without saying that he’s still my brother today.

To no avail however, in the ensuing nine months my dog disappeared, the pregnant woman could not be around him. N disappeared briefly in the conflict surrounding his parent’s divorce. Needless to say, the new kid was not greeted with cries of joy from this quarter. He was a pale squalling kid; I have pictures to prove it. I couldn’t stand him and wanted him returned at all cost, I got N back though not the dog but the world was okay. What was I to do with this loud kid that I was so much older and wiser than?

We spent many years fighting, me trying to get away from him, he, trying to be my friend. I think there was some jealousy involved. I will admit neither of us had it easy and there were times when it got a little hairy. But, I found out that I did in fact like my little brother, in fact, I grew quite attached to the little rascal though you would have to pull my nails out to get me to admit it.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life looking out for him and I will admit, he looks out for me. I say unequivocally, there are few things that I will war over, but if you hurt my brothers or my dog, I will hunt you down and do damage. I’ve always known that he would be a star, and he is. I’m proud that he admits to having me as a sister. As he starts on his new adventure, I wish him all the best. Bro, you turned out real good, you've made my life a lot richer and I'm glad that you're here. I have no more advice but I’m always here for you. Note however, I do have a back up plan, notice the large hound. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


This has been a tough week in a year full of tough weeks. My guilty pleasure has been to devour Nasty Bits, the semi-new book by Anthony Bourdain. As I've said before, I like Bourdain, in a way, he reminds me of what I could be. Years ago a friend bought me a book about writing. It was called, If you can talk, you can write. Bless her, she thought I would be further encouraged because we all know, if talking were an Olympic sport, I'd be right up there with the gold medallists. Bourdain has one of the best scripts I've ever heard and his producer swears that's really him talking with a text that he writes. If that's so, this guy can really TALK.

A lot of my day is spent reading tedious documents, written in governmentese, a totally separate language from anything you will ever experience. An Australian friend introduced me to Terry Pratchett's books about eight years ago. His fantasy Discworld with it's clever caricature of government in a flat world is hilarious. When I have a crap day, Pratchett makes me laugh at myself and the officiousness of the world that I inhabit. I was crushed this week to see that he's been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. Why is it always the brilliant ones! I hope for his sake and mine and the millions of other readers worldwide that the doctors are wrong. Or that if they are right, that the drugs can stave off the inevitable fading for as long as possible. Terry, we love you.

So to the authors to numerous to mention, who save my sanity after those long, hard days, thank you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thank God it's them instead of you...

Driving to work the other morning the radio DJ played Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas”. It was a moment that conjured up memories that included my best friend V, dancing to George Michael and despite my best efforts to pretend otherwise, a not so worldly teen existence.

That song is rife with references to my mis-spent youth, I can identify each one of the voices, a testament to how much time I spent listening to the radio and watching bootleg MTV. It also reminded me of the do-gooder passion I once had, to save the world, to preserve our heritage, to, well, to do a lot of things. What happened?

In the twenty-four years since that song, some things have changed, but not so much that we don’t need to be reminded that there is still world hunger. That people are still dying in Africa and elsewhere for the stupidest of reasons in “our world of plenty”.

I’m a West Indian, Christmas for us is a time of family, food and fun. We do with all our hearts. This year as I indulged in my ritual closet clean for my friend’s charity haul I realised that I will not be indulging in Christmas, it has become an expensive luxury at a time when I have much else to do.

Will I miss the pastilles, ham, fancy biscuits, and all those other things that we MUST have for it to be Christmas? No, I won’t, I will miss seeing my little brother who is working and will not be home. I'll drink to the friends I lost or said good-bye to, thank goodness I had Granny for another year. The hound and I will continue our tradition of the beach on Christmas Day, I get to watch waves pound the beach be happy, heh gets to displace a heck of a lot of sand! And yes, there will be singing along to Band Aid and hats off to Bob Geldof for having the courage of his conviction to do something, to try to change the world.