Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CHICKEN TYRANNY

I live in a house with people who could eat chicken in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night.

The first 3 words TK said were "Daddy", "Chicken" and "Chicken". Notice, "mommy" is not amongst the 3, right? That is just to let you know how important chicken is in my household.

Well, as the head chef of my home, I have had to learn multiple ways of creating chicken dishes. They like chicken baked, broiled, fried (which I hardly make) and of course, stewed. As per chicken stew, I actually think my chicken stew nabbed my husband for me. The first meal I ever made for him was chicken stew, with rice and fried plantain. In fact, when his younger brother tasted my chicken stew the first time, he exclaimed, "Now, I know why the man fell in love with you!" =)

Anyway, like i was saying, my people LOVE chicken. Unfortunately, I do not care much for chicken. I can eat it fried, but am not big on fried foods. I can eat it curried and in fact, just destroyed some curry chicken and chapati less than 5 minutes ago (Yum!). But, I swear the thought of how much chicken my family consumes is beginning to make me nauseous! While we were in Dominica, I let it be known that chicken was not my thing, so I ate loads of mahi mahi fish (called dolphin fish there), yum!
http://kungfuwebdesign.com/pic/Hate_Chicken-001.png
Anyway, I am going on a chicken strike!


No to the tyranny of chicken stew and chicken in general!

No to the domination of children demanding "fresh chicken stew, please!"

No to the suppression of my love for beef, lamb and that other white meat - pork!

*standing on a soap box with a loud speaker in my hand*

"Join me people! Join me in the quest to reduce the amount of chicken consumed in your house."

"If you are forced to eat chicken day in and day out because of your loved ones, join me in bringing an end to chicken tyranny!"

"Let us sing in unison - 

We no go gree oh, we no go gree!
No more chicken!
We no go gree!"
*ends solitary protest*

Now that I got that off my chest, I'm done.

*sigh*

Monday, April 26, 2010

SUGARCANE BABY

My husband LOVES sugarcane and on some level, I think he is happy that I do not eat the stuff. I remember how, during our trip to Costa Rica, the man pulled over to the side of the road, to take sugarcane from a farm. The farm belonged to the hotel we were staying in and he informed them of his 'thievery' at the reception desk, but you get the drift, the guy likes his sugarcane.

Well, somehow, my husband has passed his love for sugarcane to my children. It must have been a little hard for him when, one by one, their sugarcane genes kicked in, because that meant a shortening of his rations, lol! In fact, the love for sugarcane amongst his children is so high, the only thing that can make my daughter, TE, stay quiet for more than 5 minutes is her being focused on eating sugarcane. Same goes for TK, who will walk into the pantry, stand on his tippy toes, grab a huge sugarcane stalk and hide away from everyone else to destroy it.

But of all the sugarcane lovers in my house, nobody matches the commitment of Bomboy to sugarcane. Even before he got as many teeth as he now has, he would suck on a little piece of sugarcane. Now that the guy's mouth is full of teeth, sugarcane does not intimidate him at all. He insists on a large stalk of sugarcane for himself whenever his father shares his sugarcane with the kids.

Well, on Easter Saturday, the family took a drive to see the Cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC and we ended up at the Vietnam Memorial in Virginia, nearby. While there, the kids ran around in the grass, and we had a little picnic during which Bomboy took 'sugarcaneism' to a whole other level.

You see, Bomboy picked up a large branch that must have fallen off a tree, and put his teeth on the thing. Of course, I shouted at him to get the branch out of his mouth to which he shook his head 'No'. As I started walking towards him, the guy quickly explained, "It's my sugarcane, mommy!"

I eventually convinced him that he couldn't sink his teeth into a thick, dirty branch. But when he finally got a taste of the thing, he said "Yuck!", tossed it on the ground and joined the rest of us to have juice boxes, crackers and cheese.

And, just in case you were wondering, Bomboy, TK and TE had actual sugarcane after dinner that night. Clearly, Bomboy's performance during the picnic reminded his father that it was time to stock up on sugarcane again.

Anyway, I hope you guys are all doing well.


*singing Jesse Jagz "♫Sugarcane baby, got me going crazy. Sugar cane baby, you got me going crazy♫"*

Friday, April 23, 2010

TTTEC: 419

This week's installment is a first for me to address. I am hoping that you guys will be able to give this young lady some solid advice.
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Tony and I have been in a serious relationship for one year and we are talking about marriage. I am very happy because I feel that for the first time, I am seeing a guy that likes me very much, is kind and truly is my best friend.

However, a recent incident has made me doubt my relationship. I took a trip from Boston to New York to visit my aunty and while there I went to a Naija party in Brooklyn. At the party, I met some guys, one of whom was attracted to me. I told him I have a boyfriend and he asked me who. I eventually told him Tony's name and he looked at me and said I could do so much better.

I was offended so I walked off. Later on the guy was talking to my cousin, Austin, and explained to him that he only said what he said because I seemed like a nice girl that did not know I was dating a yahoo boy. My cousin told me this on the ride to their house and I just couldn't believe it. I was so upset and called Tony immediately. When I told him what happened, he just laughed it off and told me not to worry about what people say. I later returned to Boston and never again thought about what happened at the party.

Two weeks ago, I got an email from my cousin Austin. He ran into another Naija guy who apparently was a Yahoo guy back in Naija and confirmed that he had done runs with Tony in the past. I confronted Tony who after a long time denying the accusations, eventually admitted to it. He said he only did it a couple times and that he doesn't do it anymore.

I am very shocked, because I didn't think Tony and I had any secrets and definitely nothing like this. We haven't talked in a week since I found out about his past and I honestly am not sure what to do. This is someone I wanted to marry but how can I marry someone that was a fraudster? My two best friends are not helping. Rachel keeps reminding me that Tony is loaded, takes good care of me and loves me, while Yetunde wants me to report him to the police immediately. Yetunde, by the way, has never liked Tony for some reason.

He keeps calling me and sending me flowers but I am not talking to him because I am too confused. There is no way I can bring him home to my father given his past, but I still love him.

Please what do I do.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TK'S VIEW ON CERTAIN STORES

Context: Earlier in the day, I took TK and Bomboy to a supermarket and bought Indomie Noodles (their favorite), some snacks and fruit. Walking distance from the supermarket is a Target which I enjoy visiting early in the morning as it is empty and I can stroll through the store and plan out my day while the kids run around and ask me a gazillion questions. Well, while at the supermarket, the boys were sweeter than cherry pie. I got kisses, lots of "Thank you for the Indomie noodles, mommy" praise and much more.

However, within minutes of getting to Target, both boys started to throw huge tantrums. I handled them as normal (i.e. Naija mommy style, thus no nonsense taking) and got everyone calm while I strolled through the store. Below is a conversation I had later in the day, and post spankings, with TK. The spankings stemmed from the lack of good behavior at the store. Yes, folks, I do spank.

PS: This post is not an endorsement of any of the store brands mentioned below. Please read, and enjoy my pain...

TK: "Mommy, you know what? I don't like Target."
Me: "Oh really? Why?"
TK: "Yes. There's no food at Target. If you take me to the supermarket, I'll be happy."
Me: "Mm hmm, really?"
TK: "Uh huh! The supermarket has food so that makes me happy. You can take me to Shoppers or Safeway, but not Target..."
Me: "...Because there's no food there, right?"
TK: "Right!"

Please keep in mind this is a prelude to a fuller post explaining how TK affects my shopping habits. It comes up next week, but I had to share this little fresh nugget with you all. *sigh*

What's a mother to do, eh? Believe me, I did not argue. I simply patted my sweetheart on the head and asked him to come upstairs with me.

And just to let you know, my Husband's reaction when informed of this polite notice that I was given by my oldest son - "YES! YES! That's my boy. Succeeding where I am yet to. Yes!"

It's a conspiracy...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I DIDN'T WANT TO DO THIS BUT...

*Long post alert*

Okay folks, I just watched a video from Judith Mazagwu called "Ikebe Na Money". I really don't know what to say, I just know how I feel.

Basically, 'Afrocandy' (her stage name, it appears), was telling everyone that her booty is money-making business. She is not the first to make such claims - think Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown etc. She is not the first to make a video which many will find grotesque and disgusting (I leave you to your own conclusion on that). But, what is saddening about the song and the video is the reality is expresses. Nigeria, an incredible country, is struggling to educate and employ young men and women.

Now, imagine that you are a young person that has struggled to go to school and is expected to get good grades. Your school is shut down due to strikes of one kind or another and when you finally graduate, (sometimes, months and years after schedule), there are no jobs. And, being unemployed does not in any way change the cultural obligations on most Nigerians that are expected to contribute financially to their families who are likely suffering as well.

As a consequence, some under-educated, under/unemployed young men take to crime - kidnapping, violent robberies, militancy, cocaine/drug smuggling, scams etc. Similarly, some young women take to prostitution, scamming, sleeping with powerful and rich men to make ends meet. That unfortunate reality is all I could think of as I watched 'Ikebe Na Money' in shock and awe. I wondered what 'Afrocandy' could have been if she had better opportunities. I can't lie, I also wondered if her loved ones had ever encouraged her to be the best and not resort to physical attributes but brain power to become a success.

Now, I don't want to knock this woman's hustle. I might not like or respect what she has to say, but technically, she has a right to say it. I know the censorship board in Nigeria will have a field day with this little nugget. However, I think a quicker way to addressing the issues presented by this video, and the realities it represents would be to deal with the actual challenges and not the fringe consequences like videos. Education needs to be on track. Infrastructural development (i.e. roads, electricity) needs to be on track. Health care (i.e. mothers not dying during delivery, babies living past a few months or years) needs to be on track. And, yes, I cannot expect Nigeria's current acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, to achieve all of these goals, but I surely expect him to do some positives so that the next President and administration can build upon the successes. And for that to ever happen, Nigerians cannot allow the sort of men who pay to be 'entertained' by the Afrocandy's of the country to maintain control of the nation.

And with all that long talk, I will simply ask, what do you think about the video? As you can tell it had a serious impact on me and I just had to write about it. Forgive me for having to show you this video but it is available when you click the 'Read More' link. *sigh* It is not safe for work as in NSFW at all.


Friday, April 16, 2010

TTTEC: NIGERIA BASHING

It turns out that I got this question because I am married to a non-Nigerian. I think you guys will have some valuable advice to share as well, so please read and share your thoughts.

Thanks!

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I am an Italian married to a Nigerian living in England. I met my husband years ago when he came to Italy to visit and aunt of his. We communicated for months and he would come visit me whenever he could. In no time, we fell in love, I moved to England and we got married.

His family has been very kind to me. Even though I am oyinkbo, I was accepted fully and his father loves me. I think it is because my husband only has brothers. So, being that I am the first daughter in law, he treats me like he would his daughter.

The problem I face is with some of my family members. Even though I have been married for over 4 years, many insist on saying hurtful things about Nigerians. Never about my husband though, at least not to my face. Anytime there is a news story back home involving Nigerians, I get an email from one relative or the other telling me what "those Nigerians" have done again and warning me to be careful being that I spend a lot of time with my husband's friends and family.

It is ridiculous! because of their attitudes, the last time we went to Salerno I made sure we did not spend the night. I was worried that someone would say something rude. I faced some opposition when it was announced that I would be marrying Peter, but my mother, my father and siblings supported me. My grandmother was vehemently against it and it seems she leads a contingency of family members who will do everything to make my life uncomfortable.

I make sure my husband does not hear about this, as it is very embarrassing, but I believe he is beginning to suspect, if he is not aware already. I do not like confrontations but I know that something must be done. I am expecting our first child and I cannot imagine having to not interact with many of my family members during the pregnancy and afterward. But I worry that news of my pregnancy will only cause more problems.

Please help.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MAMA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG...

I typically limit myself to one new bag a year. And, when I buy it, it must be able to fit everything and the kitchen sink in it. But, in 2009, I purchased a total of 4 bags. I returned 2 of them because they just were not practical. The first return victim was this one below - the Taj Mahal Kelsey by Isabella Fiore. I have regretted this return the most and am still looking to buy it once again. I returned it because for it's price (and you don't want to know), it was too big and thus would not be used everyday. I must mention that the company was very helpful in answering loads of questions that I had about this bag. It was a limited edition and well, I'm still hunting it down. *sniff*



The second returnee was also by Isabella Fiore. The Taj Mahal Charlize was just too small even if it was trendy.



A third bag was returned just over a month after purchase because the bag's handle fell apart. It's the Hype Janice.
Hype 'Janice' Knotted Suede Tote
And, when I contacted the company to inform them that I would like a replacement as I was in baglove, I was told to simply return the bag - no other options available to replace the sold out bag. I have got to say that was superbly horrible service on their part, especially because since I returned the bag, a basic search has shown that I am not the only one whose bag had faulty handles that didn't hold up. But, oh well.

My fourth purchase has proven to be all that and a bag of chips. Yes, I am in baglove again and I'm not ashamed to tell the world! It's by Andrew Marc and the only drawback is that after purchasing it, I found it online for so much less, I almost cried, lol! Well, it's a big bag, which comes in handy for carrying spare diapers, wipes, and all the things I need for the kids. Yet, it's stylish, so that makes me happy!
I know people usually show you what's in their bag, but trust me, I've got diapers, wipes, gum, lipgloss...oh okay, let me just show you guys... Nahhhh, my bag is a mommymess right now, so I will have to pass. =)

Anyway, I wonder what bag I will purchase for 2010. Ladies, do you have any bag suggestions?

Monday, April 12, 2010

"CALLING IT QUITS": A CONFESSION

So last year was the most difficult year I had as a blogger. I was pooped. It really started with the Free Elendu campaign the year before. That project, while extremely worthwhile, left me fatigued afterward.

It got me thinking about whether or not I wanted to keep blogging. I saw fellow bloggers bow out and wondered whether it was time for me to do the same. I would go to some of my favorite haunts only to find that the blog had significant dust and cobwebs. That thrill I had while waiting for the page to load, evaporated immediately. It was a disappointing feeling and going through it over and over again was exhausting.

And so, I struggled for a year and finally decided to shut down this blog. Yes, I did. The books I am writing have been suffering from all my other activities - writing, freelancing, antiquing etc. Blogging just wasn't fun anymore. Nigerian Curiosity needed more attention and my rankings seemed to be slipping.

And here I am confessing that I almost called it quits. So, when I see other bloggers decide to leave the community, I feel a tinge of envy, not sadness, quite frankly. While I know I could technically shut up shop, I just feel...obligated to keep going. I'm not sure if anyone knows what I mean, but I feel that I would disappoint others the way I have been disappointed when a blogger I read leaves the 'ville. I don't want to do that to anyone. I feel I would disappoint myself in the long run as well. Yet, I realize that this cannot go on forever.

Blogging has been one of the most exciting things I have done in my life, oddly enough. I have discovered the strength of my non-legal writing, I have met (online and offline) some of the most interesting people. And, believe it or not, all the hours of writing has landed me some very exciting opportunities that continue to unfold wonderfully. I look at things now and remember last year when I had a few disappointments with a couple projects and at the time, I spoke to friends and family about them. The resounding suggestion was "Breathe, say a prayer and let Him guide you through it." I followed instructions and well, I am laughing heartily and thankful that those so-called opportunities fell to the wayside. I am especially happy that I took Husband's reminder that my experiences, my skills, my intellectual capacity should never be underestimated and that it will get me through everything. During those days of confusion, his encouragement was crucial. And, he was right.

Ah, blogging. Its like my 6 mile run when I think about it. The first mile is wonderful. So is the second mile. But the third mile gets a little taxing and I look up and pray to get through (yup, believe it or not, I do a lot of praying when running. I must look crazy at the gym!). Once I get to the fourth mile, I know I can make it through and it then simply becomes a matter of pacing myself because most times a 6 mile run turns into a 7 mile run and I feel great in the end.

Although my first blog posts were published late 2006, last year, 2009, was my 3rd year as a blogger. I don't celebrate each year, just like I do not celebrate each mile I run. And, just like running, it was the toughest mile to get through. But now, so early in the 4th year (or mile), I feel the exhilaration coming back. I see the rewards of hours of writing, SEO strategies, networking and just keeping up with my computer friends paying off in a way I never imagined, didn't anticipate and am still shocked by.

Well, I am thankful for this and other blessings. And, I am thankful to every single person who took the time to read a post, respond to a post (good or bad), react to a post on their blog, or just send me a note of kindness and encouragement. THANK YOU! Because of you, and the Big Guy upstairs of course (can't forget to give God a shoutout), I'm still here and still open to more opportunities to become better at what I do and open doors for others as well. Since I'm giving shoutouts, I must thank the people in my life Husband, Shine Shine (aka my mommy), Dee, Dr. U., Aunty Maridoggie, Moose, Young Man John, Osize O. (whose early advice was priceless and has paid incredible dividends, may God bless everything you touch), Sokari Ekine (who has become a friend, a kindred spirit, full of advice and just pure wisdom) and everyone else that just cannot be mentioned right now because I am beginning to sound like a rapper refusing to get off the stage until all the shoutouts to all the "dawgs" and "homies" are done.

My hope is that we will all manage to transform whatever it is we enjoy doing into an opportunity that is fulfilling. Now, will I be here for another mile or two or three? Well, who knows. All I know is I'm glad I haven't called it quits.

Friday, April 9, 2010

TTTEC: OF HOUSEHELPS & ABUSE 3

Happy Friday, everyone. I got another email related to what seems to be an issue many can identify with. Anyway, read along and please share your constructive advice and suggestions. There are quite a few people and names involved in this issue.
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I am an avid reader of your blog, especially your help section where readers get to chime in on issues. It seems today, I am the one in need of some advice.


I read your post on househelps and was talking to my cousin Ajike about it. In fact, I was at her place and made her read it. When she was done, we discussed the matter and gisted about all the people we think might have slept with their housegirls. During the conversation, I said something like "I would never see something like that happen and not say something about it." Well, Ajike looked at me and asked what I would do if my brother was sleeping with our housegirl, Patience. I told her I would tell my parents and make sure he stopped sleeping with her, after all Tilewa is 25 and Patience if 14.


That is how Ajike then informed me that my brother Tilewa actually slept with another housegirl we had many years ago. Her name was Kudirat. I was young at the time and my brother must have been 15 or 16. Kudirat was older than him, I know that for a fact. Ajike told me that her brother made my brother sleep with Kudirat so as to 'disvirgin' him. Apparently, her brother was disvirgined by their housegirl as well.


I do not know what to think and it has been hard to even talk to my big brother. I can't believe he and Bola would do such things. And from what Ajike says, both Bola and Tilewa slept with Kudirat several times. Now I think about it, it is no wonder she seemed to leave so suddenly all those years ago. Ajike says that Bola (her brother) has always had a habit of sleeping with their family's help. When I asked her what her parents thought, she said her mother has always just brushed the matter aside and told them not to tell their father. It doesn't seem like her mother or even her (Ajike) is very worried about the matter.


Should I confront my brother? I mean, I don't think he would do it again, but I just feel weird knowing about this and being silent. Maybe I should just let bygones be bygones. But, I have a 16 year old brother, and I cannot help but worry that Tilewa (who has always gotten into trouble) will try and have the same thing happen to Akin, my little brother. We have a housegirl in our house (Patience) who is 14. She is like a little sister to me and I would never want her to go through that. Ajike tells me that it is normal for young guys to sleep with househelps, it is a way for them to 'practice'. But, maybe I have just been too sheltered because it doesn't seem right at all.


Please help.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

THE 'TTTEC: ASSAULT' EPISODE

Many of you know what TTTEC is - it is typically a weekly segment in which readers send in their concerns, issues, questions to myself and the Easier Crew (meaning, you). Over the years, I have had the privilege of communicating with so many people in an effort to be of assistance to them. I have had the privilege of learning some of the most intimate intricacies of their lives, and cherish the faith they have that I will respect them and their circumstances.

So, it was with great disappointment that I read some of the comments between us members of the Easier Crew. Although I usually monitor the comments section, I had to focus instead on TK, who had what turned out to be a week-long ear infection, TE, who turned 6 and myself, as I became unwell. During that absence, TTTEC became a free for all, with many attacking others and forgetting that the principle aim of the segment is always to focus on helping others even when we Easier Crew members disagree with one another.

To say that I was embarrassed, would be an understatement. And since I do not tend to understate, I will simply say that the comments were hurtful. They were hurtful to the young ladies who came to us looking for help. What many of you failed to realize is that these girls are babies - a tender 18 years of age. Our "bo le ka ja" (come down and fight) session over here had the victim, Miriam, further retreat into her depression because she thought that even we were telling her that she deserved her fate. And, her friend, who took the time to reach out to us, was crushed by certain suggestions.

I am not one to fight people over their opinions. After all, I can be very opinionated and do not take well to anyone telling me what or how I am supposed to think. However, I do endeavor to engage others in debate because I like a challenge, but I always keep in mind that it is better to respectfully disagree than descend into vitriol. It seems that even though that is how I feel, we didn't aspire to be that way during the last TTTEC session.

And because it is important, I will tell you all where I stood on TTTEC: Assault. Specifically, I informed the ladies that because crucial evidence from the assault (there indeed was an assault) was lost when the victim had a shower, a legal case against her assaulter could be hampered. I also informed the ladies that that in itself does not necessarily mean that there are no legal possibilities. I encouraged Hawa (the friend who wrote in) to be her Miriam's biggest supporter and be a shoulder upon which she can rely on regardless of whether she opts to challenge Ibrahim in court, outside court or not at all.

I do not tolerate rape or the assault and battery of women and children. I believe that no matter when or how, when a woman says "No" a man must acknowledge that she does not want to have sex and back off. As an old friend wisely said, if the attraction is there, the act will occur eventually, thus, no man should use his strength or size to intimidate a woman and take away her right to her body. And, even though some might disagree, I believe this applies even in married relationships.

That being said, I am desperately asking everyone who reads this blog to please feel free to express yourself. But, please keep in mind, that TTTEC only makes sense if we help those who write in for help. It also only makes sense if we as a family (all be it online and relatively anonymous) can freely discuss without fear of retribution, insults and stress. You guys stressed me out last week. Me no likey, at all, at all.

I like and respect all of you and I only hope that when you are here, you will at least respect each other as well. I do not think that is too much to ask and thus, I expect that we will all respect each other.  Make una hear word.

Well, I don talk finish. I wish you guys a great week. I will put up the TTTEC that was originally scheduled for last week. I pulled it off the schedule because I didn't think it appropriate to put up another segment without us first addressing what happened in the last installment. I know that we Nigerians are a passionate bunch, but I hope that we will manage to argue without it getting too heated in the future. I thank you all for taking the time to read this. I thank you all for taking time to constantly come by and check on the kids, and participate in TTTEC.

And, now, I am off to write a post about TE's bday and how Bomboy gave me a heart attack - twice!