Let the Music Play

The first time ever I heard … Al B Sure’s version of ‘Killing Me Softly’, I swooned over the song…and him… rolled my eyes at my parents’ protestations that the Roberta Flack version was superior. I was young enough in the 90s to appreciate the Fugees take on the same song.

Once, and then several times more, in a lifetime, you may find yourself steupsing (sucking your teeth in disgust/despair/disagreement) at a diluted, less vibrant version of a tune you once rocked/cried/loved to.

There has been many a crime perpetrated against the ear masquerading as music. A single arbiter is inconceivable as we are so wonderfully diverse in our taste.  After all some of the best insults are those pelted by one ‘great’ to another: Ballet composer Tchaikovsky said that the lullaby-writing Brahms was ‘just some chaotic and utterly empty wasteland’ –   proof that this is not a recent phenomenon.

For the most part, I’m tapping my feet, nodding my head and thinking the music is in good hands. I’m especially sweet-eyeing (winking at) Ray Blk and Abra.

This post was inspired by listening to http://music.britishcouncil.org/the-selector.

Who’s got you grooving?

 

 

That 80s feeling

Thanks to a friend’s 30th birthday party, I had the chance to relive my teens. Decked in lace, acid wash, mismatched-more-is-more jewellery, neon green nails, fuschia lipstick and a big gold hoop with a key dangling a la Ms Jackson and I was the ‘illest’. In classic role reversal my older son asked me where I was going dressed like that.

It may be the decade that the Style Police would like to give a life-no-chance-of-parole sentence. But while bopping along with MC Hammer, Madonna a la ‘Like a Virgin’ video, Princess Leia, one of the models from the Robert Palmer videos, Elliot and ET and a Rubik’s cube, I concluded that the 80s gave great grooves.

Wave after nostalgic wave washed over me. When the DJ rocked ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go’ and ‘Thriller’, I couldn’t help but be saddened by the loss of so many amazing artists.

If you haven’t listened for the longest while to Loose Ends’ ‘Hanging on String’ or Soul II Soul’s ‘Back to Life’ or Duran Duran’s ‘Say A Prayer’ or Lisa Lisa’s ‘Lost In Emotion’  or LL Cool J’s ‘I Need Love’,go get your youTube on.  I’m giving you a prescription for your current woes. Side effects may include the sudden desire to wear spandex and leg warmers, flowered jeans and jackets with lots of zips.

You’ll  remember a time when life was a bit more complicated because you were a teenager but with the excellent vantage of hindsight, you know it was a lot simpler as well because you were a teenager.

What songs were you grooving to back then?

 

New Year Resolution II

It’s just about 2 weeks into the new year..

How are you faring with your resolutions?

Maybe…

  • the list is too long
  • you need to prioritize
  • you need to choose 1 or 2 things max
  • if you succeed at this 1 thing you may feel motivated next year to do the other things on your list
  • you need some help and some accountability – talk it through with a friend or a professional
  • you need to represent your resolution with pictures and words (cue cutting up old mags or endless google searches)
  • it’s too cold
  • you’re broke
  • there’s left over cheese and sweets

Give yourself a break. The year is 12 months long.

You could make a new month’s resolution next month as they say it takes 21 days to form a habit and Feb only has 28 days.

Or you can make a 3 months resolution at the end of April and have achieved your goal by the time you go on holiday at the beginning of August.

Or you can wait until September and follow the academic year but do some research and planning in the in meantime.

Could your January resolution  be to take time to reflect on what you truly want to achieve this year?

New Year Resolution – Take I

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a while ago as like many I did not manage to keep them a few weeks past the beginning of January.

Yet add some friends, the sea and some gentle pressure about camping and before you know it I’ve declared that I will camp overnight in the desert, possibly near the sea in 2017.

Allegedly, having someone keep you accountable is one of the recommendations for sticking to your resolutions. I made this announcement in front of 2 camping keen buddies, their hubby, my older son and my other half.

So I guess it’s time to add a tent, blow up bed, torch, etc. to the shopping list.

Who’s keeping you accountable for your new year’s resolution?

Sane ranting

I recently transferred to work in the Mental Health Service. Unfortunately like most parts of the world, Cinderella would feel at home. Fortunately, never mind a prince, there’s a team of clinicians and managers primed to change the fables that surround mental health care.

Like all good tales there are and will be advances and setbacks, villains and heroes, hopes raised, dashed and resurrected, tandem comedic and tragic moments and idealism balanced with a pragmatic approach.

I once had the experience of hearing from a recently appointed Department of Health policy advisor. He was addressing a crowd of people with over a thousand years of aggregated mental health experience without any deference or recognition of their experience or knowledge. My nurse colleague and I regarded each other with incredulity and sympathy. Why hadn’t they listened to the real experts during their ‘consultation’?  Why would I have to try and convince the workers at the coalface to implement something they knew was doomed to fail?

My personal Brexit was spurred on by being one of the maligned managers manically trying to implement ill-conceived ideas of politicians. And if I hadn’t already left, Hunt’s statement that introducing a general “manager class” in the NHS may have been “an historic mistake” would have had me considering claiming asylum in a foreign land.

It’s great to be in a place where my skills are desired and sought; my arrival to the department was greeted with joy and relief; and within days colleagues were asking for my help with getting things done.

In the desert, the West is often touted as the vanguard from models of healthcare to press freedom. I’m not a fan of blanket neo-colonialisation especially after seeing the front cover of an American magazine emblazoned with ‘Trapped With A Madman’  and a  headline inside  declaring ‘Kim’s Nightmare: Trapped With A Madman.’”

I guess the whole world has a long way to go when it comes to our mental health.

At this hectic time, how is your mental health?

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving – that’s so American

Black Friday – that’s so… wait orgiastic mindless buying  overpriced things we neither need nor want made by underpaid people in countries we’d struggle to place on a map… bring it on!

I find it fascinating how we can be so dichotomous in our thinking.

Got me thinking about what I was grateful for while filliing my online baskets …for the kids, Godchildren… maybe one or two for me.

I must say having had my bro and sis in law over in early November, made me more cognizant that:

  • Its great to have siblings by birth and by law and by extension family
  • distance need not weaken bonds
  • where I live and how I live is amazing as I saw it afresh through their eyes
  • sometimes you need visitors to encourage you to do or see things you just never get round to doing or seeing– so finally after 6 years we went sand dune bashing and saw the inland sea

It was wonderful to tune into the spirit of this holiday, thanks to Mohadoha  and family with whom we had dinner on Thursday night. And without getting into the ever reducing circular conversations about Christmas and national day celebrations in my part of the desert.

 

 

It’s the last day of October so time for …

…my sister’s birthday. Aww!  There’s lots to say about my younger-but-taller-always-stylish-recently-become-a-mum sister but not today… (Sorry sis). Because the majority of the world (sorry sis) celebrates Halloween on 31 October. Or do they?

Before kids, I happily ignored this holiday. But now, there are so many questions and viewpoints. Whether religious or not, many parents have differing views on this holiday.

My fundamental concern about Halloween is its apparent one-sided-ness: celebrating the dark and the dead while shunning the light and the living. It’s great this year that it falls around the same time as Diwali – the Hindu festival of light – which unless you are a strict (insert name of your faith) if you’re a Trinbagonian you lay claim to. But I digress…

This is further complicated by guilt, having grown up Catholic in the Caribbean, I have memories of vigil mass as the 1st of November is All Saints Day (saints are those who are in heaven whether beatified or not according to Catholic dogma) and the 2nd November was about going to the graves and/or praying and lighting candles for the faithfully departed who were in purgatory. But I digress…

Instead of being mired in the merde (excuse my French), this is what we’ll be doing:
• dressing up – Superman or fireman – super-heroes or ordinary day heroes
• lighting candles in remembrance of those no longer with us
• stocking up on sweets
• distributing to anyone who knocks
• discussing difference, tolerance and acceptance
• decorating – not – the house
• making memories with friends

Wishing you light, love and blessings whatever you’re celebrating …

For Changalang

I’ll wear pink

I’ll  laugh with abandon

I’ll bawl without care

I’ll hug my kids for a bit longer

I’ll hold my husband’s gaze

I’ll reach out to friends and family

Memories flow

Aunty Patsy’s pow and lime juice at recess

Shooting the breeze on ‘the bench’

Cedros for Mr Archie’s Geography project

You explaining the circulatory system in Human and Social Biology

Our unabashed pleasure of making our balance sheets.. uhm balance in Principles of Accounting

Dissecting the Saddhu of Couva in English Literature

Blissing out in Mayaro after CXC

I’ll be pleased we hooked up that one time

You said it was like your birthday come early

MB had also been in touch

We had lunch bemoaning our weight gain

Chided a certain JAC

For not changing since SJC

In your passing

We’ll live and

Your essence will live on

Guava whippings and writing

Having read Woman’s Weekly since I was about five, I’ve dreamt of being published in this magazine. In the desert, it’s a slice of Britannia which I often have with a mug  of tea(Yorkshire,builder’s).

Having had a letter and a photo published, my holy grail is a short story.  Some sources recommend breaking into Buckingham Palace as an alternative. A writing magazine columnist, who makes a significant portion of her income from selling her short stories worldwide, has had limited success in over a decade. She has neither confirmed nor denied meeting the Queen.

Having perused the submission guidelines, I decided to do one of their writing courses. This plan was scuppered by the Great British Passport Fiasco of 2014.

Deleting this from my Ultimate Wish List has been considered and dismissed, often.

Having read, studied, dissected, analysed, critiqued, examined scores of others’ stories; I have drafted, edited, rewritten and proofed several of mine. Out of many, one was chosen to be redrafted, critiqued and rewritten several times before being polished. Same was done with the covering letter. With a hope and a prayer, both were posted.

Eight weeks later, I received a rejection letter. Gutting but expected – part of the writing life. Two lines stung like the welts of a guava whip: the suggestion that I should read the magazine as the story did not reflect the audience and I should consider their fiction course.

As they say in the desert…What to do yani?

Khinkali, khachapuri and churchkhela

And wine…I love a Merlot or a Colombard or a Rosé – when it comes to wine I’m neither fussy nor knowledgeable. What I do know for sure is that Georgia may be one of the most underrated wine producers in the world. In years to come, Mukhrani, Badagoni and Marani will slip off the tongue as easily as any Western European, Australasian or South American wine house.

Dumplings the size of your palm? Choose your fillings: pork and beef, mushroom, cheese or potato? That’s a khinkali – reminded me of pow (Trinidad Chinese dumpling). These steamed beauties were as ubiquitous as they were delicious. Georgian pizza would be a lazy way of describing khachapuri but after you’ve had one, that’s exactly how you’ll feel. Cheese and bread and sometimes a sunny-side-up egg– what’s not to love?

If you have a sweet tooth but trying to stay away from cakes and pastries then churchkhela is the perfect snack. Dried fruit pulp (think Fruit Roll-Ups) wrapped around walnuts. We noticed the sausage-like stalactites of red, purple and peach outside many shops on the way to Meidan place and had to try it and bring some back.

When we weren’t drinking wine or local spring water, we had Georgian lemonade. This was a misnomer as it came in different flavours. I deduced it was cordial which was added to fizzy water. Our favourites were lemon and tarragon. The latter looked like liquid kryptonite and was refreshingly different.

On our last night, our landlady took us to a traditional restaurant about 30 minutes’ drive away in New Tblisi. In this converted watermill, replete with waterfall, we sat on the riverside terrace and ordered a kilogram of bbq pork and a superb red wine. For checking in on FB to the Tsiskvili restaurant, we got a free bottle of sparkling wine which we had been assured was wonderful. The traditional Georgian music, singing and dancing facilitated degustation.

However, to paraphrase a Trinbago saying ‘we eye was bigger dan we belly’. We took some of the pork home and had it for breakfast the next morning and we gave the sparkling wine as a gift to our host.

This is the third and final of three posts abot our visit to Tbilisi.

Tempted to visit?