Monday, March 31, 2008


Adele gave me some soap as a Christmas present. No it's not a message about my personal hygiene. Though I am not considered a true girl, I do like the luxuriousness of hand made soaps and these are wonderful, she knew I'd like them.

I was reluctant to use them up because they're so lovely, not only are they appealing to the eye, their perfume is delicious. You are tempted to eat them. In the shower they're a little bit of escape as you lather up. One is made with a layer of sand to exfoliate those rough spots. These soaps are heavier in your hand, slippery but not mushy. Unlike mass manufactured soap, they feel less like detergent and more like indulgence. The scent fills the whole bathroom, take the time to enjoy the sensory pleasure and the moment.

Sadly, I didn't have anyone to wash my back but who knows, if the soap is as great as it felt, maybe I can find a volunteer.....


This Shouter Baptist Liberation weekend Casa Coffeewallah underwent a small frenzy of "spring" cleaning. Now what is with that spring, summer thing? A store clerk on Saturday mentioned that I should come back next week because they were getting in their spring/summer line. Eh? Clearly delusional but say what, at least he was pleasant unlike the surly behaviour that we've become accustomed to from store clerks.

Anyway, I got home from the whiz around Port of Spain and decided to do something about my house which was in grave danger of degenerating again. It's dry season people, it gets dusty, full of leaves and other stuff blown in by the wind. I am easily seduced by the lure of bed and book in the fleeting hours I spend here. Dog is an enabler, he demands to be played with at the expense of cleaning. I will admit that I am fed up of the tired paint, the icky carpet (the bane of my existence!) and other sundry household trials but I could at least do something.

At the moment there three bags full of stuff sitting outside on the wall with another two to go out. Five bags full of clothes await delivery to some person in need. Surfaces have been dusted, furniture moved around to make it more pleasing. In short I've done most that I could without painting and outlaying on new, much needed furniture. And I'm happier about it. There is something eminently satisfying about doing physical work until your arms are tired. You feel like you have accomplished something, even if it is only conquering that Mt. Everest of laundry. Every time I pass by the bathroom door I smell the soap that Adele gave me as a Christmas present but I am loath to use because it smells so good! What if I can't get anymore!

In the living room, the curtains are fluttering in the post rain breeze and my bed is emitting it's siren call from the blue room. Outside there is little street book awaits.

My journal collection

I type faster than I write. It's sad but my handwriting, always of the spider dipped in ink and dropped on a page type variety, now looks like the spider was fed speed prior to it's dipping. I prefer to commune with my keyboard since my brain speaks to my fingers without actually going through me. So how does this explain my fascination with books, not the reading variety, the blank ones that you buy to impart notes, thoughts, things.

I have a lot of them. When I go shopping in the metropole I usually come back with a couple of notebooks, lined with funky covers, that kind of thing. I get them as presents because I am a writer, or so my friends claim. It is somewhat bizarre that I collect them, accumulate them in my book room (with the printed matter) when I generally use my computer to write.

As a child, my nickname was "sours". According to the passel of uncles, I didn't speak much, I didn't like people, I certainly had no pretensions to being sociable! My mother might have hoped that this would have been remedied by the time I was of school age but alas, I went through primary school in this state. Needless to say I was not one of the more popular kids. In fact, it wasn't until after Common Entrance results, in an attempt to make Kim Robinson feel better about not passing for a "good" school even thought it was her second time, I opened up. After a while she turned to me and said, " you're really quite funny, how come you were never like that all the time? You should be yourself!" Well blow me down because up until then I hadn't really dared to speak to her, she was like a little princess and I was intimidated.

Over the years I haven't changed so much on the inside but I have learnt to play to my audience a bit better and I'm intimidated by very little. But that's where the journal thing comes in. I don't write all that much down but I like looking at the covers, some handmade for me by Richard who understands me and catches me in the books he makes for me. Inside, the pristine pages are an invitation to explore, whatever. It will not matter, I can be me. Even if I never write it down, the promise is there. When I do get around to using one, it is like an old friend that gets lugged from place to place until the pages are all covered in my scribble.

You know...

the trouble with depression is that you get bloody depressed. You can't always be sure that it is a bout of what Winston Churchill called " the big dog on my back" or simply the blahs when you're a bit fed up. They both have a way of creeping up on you and getting you down when you least expect.

Oh yes, there are times when you know that you'll be hit but not always. I could live without the body hurt and the dragging feeling. It's tough having to drag yourself through the motions of living. What's the fun in that right. But enough about me.

I was rather surprised recently when an acquaintance whom I've always thought of a a livewire mentioned that they thought they suffered depressive periods. Blow me down! Though maybe it should not be so surprising because a lot of people put on a good public front.

There are lots of mechanisms that you learn when you have depression, there's exercise, practicing positive affirmations, hanging around with supportive people, meds, all useful in their own way. To often it is easy to get into, eat, shop, sleep compulsively, withdraw...etc. The bottom line, get through each minute, hour, day at a time until you come out the other side.

I got to thinking about these things, of late I have a had a number of people relate their depression stories. They're becoming more numerous as our lives become more crammed with things to do.

Friday, March 28, 2008


The trouble with four day weekends when you're a confessed workaholic is that you stop doing for four days. Then you have to start doing again. Whoops, trouble. It's hard to get the old motor running sometimes. Considering that several of those days were spent contemplating the not white, cobwebby ceiling. Or face buried, figuratively speaking since arms length is more user friendly, in a book. Not to mention that if you angle the laptop screen just right you don't even have to adjust the pillows too much to view the DVD. The Bank Job was particularly good, give 10,000BC a miss. 300 it is not.

There was no manic trek to the beach, no limes planned as if for a campaign across the Russian Steppes in winter; nor was there tremendous amounts of food and alcohol on tap during the long weekend. There was however, some contemplation of toes that led to a basin full of hot water, a pumice thingy and Vixen red nail polish. A red car summarily being backed out onto the driveway and a hose, bucket full of suds and some elbow grease applied. Some more contemplation of the ceiling and then the insides of eyelids. Desultory tennis ball lobbing at hound to keep him occupied and in between, serious belly rubs and lovies.

Yes, that was the life! And then, it was Tuesday. Alas, the first meeting was at 9:00 am. Brain was still in weekend mode, not pretty. The blog held no comfort, too much of an effort to get the fingers to curl around in the appropriate asdf ;lkj mode after hours of brain numbing meetings, fervent exhortations and deadlines. All to drag aging body to newly washed car, home to sulking animal. Too tired to ball toss, to chew, to even change the channel on the remote. Which led to, sleeping face down still partially dressed with make up. Were it not for a lack of TP, there would have been no grocery run.

And now we have another of long weekend. Again. Oh dear.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Easter holidays meant the ever popular trek to the beach with a bunch of uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents - sans father of course.

Easter meant hollow chocolate eggs to fight over with Nigel then Michael.

Easter meant two weeks of freedom from school, to read, to watch tv, to do nothing.

Easter got to mean, oh boy, another Easter feature piece to write/produce/document.

Easter, weekend to sleep, listen for the Catholics from the church across the road following the way of Christ on Friday morning.

Easter, to have fish on Good Friday despite not being a practicing anything anymore.

Whatever you decide to do, be happy, be safe. As I plan to scuttle home to finish off the Hot cross buns with Zeus, sink into my bed with fresh sheets, to gratefully not get out of my pj's except to shower and change....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Long weekend!

Yee ha people! Heads up, we have long weekend coming up! I don't know about you, but I have no plans to go do anything that requires large amounts of energy. That includes driving long distances, making elaborate plans to meet up with anyone and cooking large meals. So if you're hoping that I'm going to bestir myself and actually get out and do things, the most I might do is wash the red machine. It's filthy and I keep getting icky stuff on my clothes.

Of course I should really be waxing lyrically on the importance of Easter and all that, but since I no longer provide the material for the Tourism website I don't feel obligated to act as the defacto tourist board on my own time. The short version for you foreigners, Easter is another time when we get to slag off for four days on the pretext of religion, I'm not complaining, especially after the last two weeks. This morning I plan to sneak off to the nameless bookstore having a sale and pick up another stack of reads, minus the bodice rippers so that I may have a choice of material for my downtime. I hear the big chief is going to be off island so the rest of us braves are using the time to recuperate before the insanity starts again. We have lots of insanity around here, but that's to be expected.

On a different note, I seem to be surrounded by writers of late. That is in addition to the bloggers club. Last week my friend James who writes psycho thrillers was in town and we had a giddy. Then yesterday I got an e-mail from Fiona Walker. Fiona writes hugely successful novels for women. They're well written and entertaining with complex characters in over the top situation. I wonder if the universe if trying to tell me something, like get off your ass and write woman. Things to make you go hmm.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pratchett revisited

I've resorted to reading Terry again. I'd given him a little break mainly because I've read most of his Discworld series and couldn't find the ones I didn't have. But this weekend, in between the frantic - "we must get this presentation ready or the world will come to an end" - and -"oh God, we're all going to get fired" - or -" are these people insane?" ; I skated into the little bookshop in St. James and bought myself a stack of "read in the wee hours of the morning books" (since I no longer have a life and that's when I do all my reading). I felt somewhat like Jeff Goldblum when he spins his iBook around to the Bill Pullman in Independence Day, "Mr. President, the clock is ticking!"

In my run, I picked up two previously unowned Pratchett's. I was in the shop for all of 15 minutes so I might have missed a few others, people, if you see them, please leave them be, I'm a desperate woman who needs some laughs. Or I might go Postal. I l might have mentioned a time or dozen that I love Terry Pratchett's work. In the days when I actually wrote something, Greg, an Australian friend, turned me on to Terry because my style was very similar. Or so Greg thought anyway and I thank him, it did wonders for MY ego. I then went out and bought every Pratchett book I could lay my hands on, I even got Michael and several other friends to lug them in from the UK for me. The Discworld series are satirical send-ups on Government and they remind me very much of where I live. Fellow Pratchett fans can relate to the idea of building over buildings until you have a whole subterranean world. Ankh Morpork is Port of Spain, we too have a river that catches fire and no water to put it out. It's hilarious, in a sick sort of way.

For those of you who may not have read him, Pratchett is sort of like JRR Tolkien who also wrote satirical novels using "fairytale" characters. Except Terry is a LOT funnier. He lends a perspective that is helpful, you learn to laugh, lest you think longingly of all those movies where people lose it, shoot everybody and then become heroes. Those of us, for whom Terry makes the world a better place, hope that he can go on for a little longer. He's got one of those dread 20th century diseases where your mind turns to mush.

You know, for every writer there is the hope that someone will read your stuff and connect with it. That it will make them laugh/cry/connect or influence them in some way. The goal of the writer is not merely to sell books for pots of money, though that you can is not a necessarily a bad thing, it is to comment on life in some form or fashion. Hats off to Muse, Elspeth and everybody else who's trying. One of these days when I re-join the ranks of people who are real, I trust I'll pick up the slack. Until then, thanks for keeping me sane Terry ( and my fellow bloggers!).

Happy Birthday - a date later

Yesterday was my friend Mark's birthday. I'd written a whole blog about him but blogger was busy and wouldn't upload. I think it was a sign because really, he would have been mortified by my gushfest. So I'm going to keep it simple, Happy Birthday Markie, hope you have a fabulous year!

Friday, March 14, 2008

How do you know when you're in an abusive relationship

Does it make you feel bad about yourself? Do you feel like you're not appreciated, that there is no consideration for the things you do? Does the other person put you down constantly and do they attempt to undermine you at every step, no matter what you do or how well you do it? Abuse is not only about someone raising a hand and hitting you, it often starts with the above.

In my TV days I did several pieces about violence against women, I've also written on the subject over the years. Abuse is about control. It is not about love, or commitment or even the other person/s being evil. It is about having dominion over another person to the point where they suffer for the inflictor to feel superior. While physical abuse is repugnant mental abuse is just as bad. In fact, as I've been told by many abused women, it's worse when your mind is f******, bodies heal, it's harder to fix your mind.

But here's what, chances are if you were being abused in a relationship you or someone who loved you might be moved to do something about it. Not everybody gets away but at least there is the possibility that you will get help. If the signs above are about abuse I have to wonder. I see more and more people at work heading off for EAP because that's how they feel all the time. And I think, why would you want to stay in a situation that makes you feel bad all the time? Because many of us do. We settle for crap on the job when we probably wouldn't in our personal lives. Think about it. And remember, life is too damn short and work does not die or get ill, people do.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Night off

Jane Austen wrote, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Well that may or may not hold true today but I still think it's a damn good opening line. I don't really know any single men of fortune so inquires are on hold until I find one. Last evening I was fortunate enough to spend some time having dinner with a friend whom I sometimes work with. He's a pretty intelligent dude and we're in the same business so we talk shop or not as the case might be when he's in town.

I'm a little envious because he's done what I can only dream about. He's published three novels and is working on a fourth, they're psychological thrillers, quite dark. We have a good natter when we get together, last night we discovered that we like Nevil Shute novels. They're largely out of print but a good read, if somewhat dry. Do you know how fabulous it was to sit around and talk books, drink wine and just enjoy the lime without the hassle? It was a good night, I had fun and went home to dog and grouch. All that communing made me realise how much I miss that sort of contact.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Knowing when to stop

Originally today's blog started off as an oration on my devotion to work, but that's just plain boring. We all acknowledge that I'm a workaholic and I need to get over it. Moving right along.

Should I talk about cake like the one ordered for Mark's birthday. It is literally death by chocolate and he'd better damn well appreciate it and not give me lip about not eating cake for lent. Nah, that might get me into trouble with the cake nazis so scratch that topic.

Lets' see, what should I be writing about that will not give me acid indigestion, a headache or make me want to go bang someone into the ground? Running out of topics here. So I figure, if I have nothing positive to say I need to not say anything, for my own sake. Practicing for the zen existence now. Off I go to meditate, breathe, chant and be one with the universe. Ah, calm, peace....

Um, meditating here...I wonder if I could squeeze in a cranberry facial this week. Stop, clear my mind of frivolities. Right, meditate....should I clear out my closet tonight when I get home...oops, mind wandering again. Have to get Sean to finish that design. Okay, clearly this is not successful. Oh dear. Taking suggestions as to how to de-stress and become one people.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good humour

E-mail forwards, what did we do before we had unlimited access to people and all we had to do was type a bunch of addresses into the To: line? I'll tell you what, nothing. Unless you were one of those annoying people who painstakingly copied stuff and them put it in an envelope and mailed it to everyone you knew. Now, it seems every time I go to my &%%$£* mailbox there are ten legitimate work e-mails, four messages from friends making sure I'm still alive and a hundred ****** forwards touting everything from how bad soya is for you to huge power point things that piss the IT department off.

Okay, I'm as guilty as anybody else of forwarding "forwards". Some of them are kind of cute, like the one with the pictures of men as bon bons...and thank you friend who shall remain nameless for that one, it certainly made my day! But that aside, I get a trifle tetchy at the religious ones, the chain letters tick me off - why should I bombard everyone else with spam spreading bad luck. Most of us can do that all by ourselves without help. The aforementioned IT department is constantly sending us e-mails begging that we utilise our work mail for work. And yes, some people copy my private e-mail as well so I get it in both places. Thanks. Just what I need. Two loads of spam.

Then I get a gem that makes me smile and grudgingly admit that not all forwards are bad. Like the one sent a week ago, the title line was, "As I mature". For a moment my finger hovered over the delete key. I really could not stand the thought of yet another soppy Maya Angelou words of wisdom yadda, yadda. But this one redeemed itself. There were lots of pearls of wisdom in there but these two are my favourite (this week):

" I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just assholes"
" I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to others -they are more screwed up than you think".

Oh yes, for those of you avidly following the great weight loss, diva body thing...ack, ack, gah! This was much easier when I was 28! Do you know how hard it is to get fat to go away when it has firmly cemented to your upper thighs and lower stomach? BLOODY HARD! I'm getting my money's worth out of the elliptical walker but it sure ain't pretty. And if one more person mentions cake, that would be Muse and Blue, I will come over there and...leave the rest to your imagination.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sometime Sunday

Let me preface by saying that generally, I never used to be an avid reader of bodice ripper type novels. Oh occasionally I'd indulge in some brain rotting as stress relief. I read a lot, it's a life long habit that has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. It's always a mixed bag, I like different genres and like the way I listen to music, my tastes are many and varied. Sunday mornings used to be go to the beach, watch the waves and read my book. Sun, sand, sea, cooling breezes, Caribbean idyll.

These days I'm lucky if I can pry my eyelids apart at the crack of dawn to take the hound out for his constitutional. He's pretty insistent and he'll dig you out of the sheets until he gets your attention, so bleary eyed, drooling and PJed I drag outside until the wretched animal is done before scurrying back to pull the sheets over my head, maybe even a pillow, curl up against the man and go back to sleep. For as long as possible. Don't call me before 10:00 am, I will not answer the phone. Even the hound has learnt not to disturb my repose at his peril.

Unfortunately Sunday mornings have become chore days. Alas, my attempts to transform the flat into oasis of calm and light from its usual state of tip is usually in vain. With no help from man or hound, they will move remote or tail out of the ravening keel of vacum cleaner but that's about it. Meals served tv side are even more welcome. It's a never ending battle to get Casa Coffeewallah to heel but I try. That is before slipping off to my cool cotton sheets, blue walls and billowing white linen curtains. The hound usually embraces martyrdom at this stage of the game. He usually sighs before draping himself across the bottom of the bed, strategically placed to get as much fan benefits as possible. After all, he's the one with the fur coat right.

I read in bed until I drift off. Sunday's are still about doing nothing, watching movies, reading and communing with hound, or at least I try for the fleeting moments that are allowed me. I think everybody is entitled to downtime and I relish mine as much as possible. Must be off, valuable sleep time being encroached on!

Friday, March 7, 2008


You know that feeling you get when you know it's time to stop and go home. Well, I have it. I've been reading the same damn paragraph for the last hour. I've also been playing a set of back in times on the iTunes player. It's Friday. I spent last weekend working, long hours. And then all this week. Ms I'm not a morning person had an early morning meeting WITHOUT COFFEE!!!!!! Oh horror, that was hard. I'm surprised I made the contributions that I did, my boss was reasonably pleased so it must have been okay.

Right, that does it! I am packing up the titanium machine, bunging it into the bag and heading off for the red car. After I finish bopping around my office to Barry White much to the despair of the cleaning staff. But I like Barry White, he of the sexy voice. That man's voice is pure sex. Hmm.

Oh gad. I just remembered I made one of those crazy bets with my best friend. I now have to fit into my one piece swim suit and regain my 28 year old body in a month. Before I go on vacation. OH GOOOOOODDD, I must have been out of my head last night. Okay, suck it up or in as the case might be. Girding the loins now. Will keep you posted on the progress.


I love mango chow. As a kid, living in the "country" I used to spend my every waking moment up some fruit tree or other. In mango season we literally lived on mango chow, we always used to have a bowl going. Not hard, we had eight julie mango trees in the yard to go with two plum trees and some oranges. Some time during the day someone would find an enamel bowl, break up cloves of garlic and raid the herb patch for chives, shadon beni, thyme, pepper and whatever else we felt like throwing in. It would all be ground up by hand using my great-grandma's river stone "mortar and pestle". We'd peel and thinly slice the mangoes, toss it all up in the bowl which was then left in the sun to "cure" for a couple of hours and then go to work on it.

Granny was filled with despair because we ate so many half ripened mangoes that we ate very little else. I will not tell you what it did to our digestive systems, suffice to say it was not pretty. But we all did it. My uncles (bane of my existence), my cousins, my brothers and me, we were chow makers and chow eaters. It was fabulous, the juice dripping down your hand as you sucked up the little slices, every mouthful imbued with taste, each bite exquisite torture. Ears not burning? More pepper needed! You had to be careful not to rub your face at all lest the skin be scorched off.

Admittedly mangoes were not the only things we turned into chow, we used plums, cucumber, orange, pomeracs, pommecythere's, whatever fruit that would be enhanced by the addition of pepper and seasoning was dutifully "chowed". Interestingly enough, when I was growing up, way, way back in the dark ages of the 70's and 80's, if you ate things like doubles, chow, sada roti and the like you must have been from the country. All the "bouge" kids looked down their nose at you. Funny, they're the ones I usually see lining up at the downtown doubles man. We who know what real doubles taste like laugh.

Occasionally while traipsing around POS I wash up at Lal's preserves and avail myself of the chow there. Largely because I can't be bothered to go in search of fruit myself. Lal's is okay, a pale representation of my youth. I still think my uncle's make the best chow and smile to myself as I look at all the city folks in their suits lining up, I just have to go home and put in my request. Hmm, that sounds like a plan, I might even be able to talk my uncle into a curry duck as well.....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

To paraphrase

Be the change you that want to see in the world - Ghandi. This goes out on most of my e-mails as part of my signature. It's a truism that I have tried to live for most of my life. Of course, it's easy to be smug and think you know it all and that your answers are the correct ones. To be sure they are not. But change is a moveable feast and so we plod on until we get it right or we change ourselves.

Some days I think that I would greatly benefit from bright red cape and tights, Wonder Woman bracelets too but alas, I don't think I'm really super hero material. For one thing I can't even get my hair to behave far less squeeze myself into bustier and tights. I might dream about it, but otherwise I plod along and try to do the best that I can in my civvies with varying degrees of success. So if perchance you pass by the office and see a red-haired woman twirling and chanting, "by the power of Isis" do not run screaming and call the funny farm. It's just me trying to channel my inner superhero...without the costuming!