Great Expectations

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It’s one of those sayings that rings true for me as I am one of those homo sapiens who doesn’t deal well with being caught off guard. I overthink, analyze a situation to bits and I hate surprises. More and more I listen and watch the news and ask myself: “Self, how much more of these types of stories can i take?” I barely got over that pore-raising murder of Dana Seetahal, not to mention the “pace” of the investigation. Then there was man forgetting baby in the car,  Volney changing his mind, criminality surrounding Lifesport programme, a murder here, a murder there, corruption and cocaine video, thousand-man/woman march and now another video which (allegedly) shows the Honourable Minister of Sport locked in hotel room 201 with narcotics and chicks.

It is since that last video mentioned that my Son-Son is beginning to think that news is a form of entertainment as most nights there is something to drop the jaw as if we’re watching a summer tentpole movie. I am actually considering limiting his viewing which is incredibly sad yet I understand that at the same time he needs to be aware of what it going on. More and more though I need to keep explaining and in some cases correcting, justifying and reasoning. It’s as though I’m writing General Paper all over again.

I’ve realized that I have had to do the same at work many times when discussing current affairs and politics with students. Interestingly most of them see  politicians as liars and thieves, opinions which I’m sure have been influenced by parents on both sides of the political divide. I try to encourage them and give examples of historical, political figures both at home and abroad,  but it is becoming more and more difficult to marry that into present circumstances. I’ve reached the point where I tell students to ensure that their moral compass is pointing in the right direction and they will know right and wrong once they follow wise counsel and feel it in their gut.

Sadly though I teach in an area where marijuana is heavily cultivated and “yes it is illegal but only when you get caught.” Getting money is priority number one, education is priority number two. It is not a new phenomenon, impacting generation after generation and deeply vested into the culture of the community.  So imagine on one hand you are trying your best to influence students to put dong de weed, don’t do what your parents did, find a future for yourself…..and on the other hand we have Mr. Minister (allegedly) rolling and boasting in a hotel room, filled with girls….the good life….the kinda life my students crave. How do I justify that to them? Especially as he has been endorsed and supported explicitly by the Ministry of Communications and implicitly by the Prime Minister? What does the Minister of Education have to say on how this impacts primary and secondary school children? These children are the ones who are going to take the reins, the ones who people talk about when they complain: ‘We need new blood!’ Should I go ahead and tell them “well yeah, go ahead once you don’t get caught but if you do, make sure and deny, deny, deny and of course, ensure that you blame somebody else” (read: Rowley)

I dunno nah, I don’t want to believe that Trinidad and Tobago is going to hell in a handbasket but it’s hard when the evidence is stacked against me. I feel like I have to fight but it is hard not to feel disenchanted! In the meantime, along with other like-minded citizens who are not easily gaslit, I will continue to do what I must…keep hoping and keeping those expectations where they should be.

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Bless up.

TMIDM

And Counting…..(part 1)

This evening I came home, sat in my gallery, listened to the birds and stared at my dog Castro (a truly gentle soul befitting of the name).

I was trying to release the day but somehow my brain thinks that “releasing the day” means “fervently studying the plans for the next day”. So in the middle of trying to create a reverie, I started wondering what to mix and match to wear to work, how to vary one lucky student’s torture of a lunchtime detention and how to get those Form 3s to realize they actually have National Exam in a few weeks. Today really felt like a Wednesday, haunted and humpy, just in the middle and neither forward nor backward until I realized that today is the Wednesday in between Week 5 and Week 6 of an 11-week term. In other words: Dear Teacher, almost half down, half to go.

I should have known this feeling was near since for the past few days the gremz have been eating packaged salted and sweetened snacks from Holiday Foods, Sunshine Snacks, Bermudez, Kiss and the like. I started off the term very well trying to vary with fruit and inventive stuff like Lunchbox Dad (who by the way makes me feel like a lesser mortal, far less mother).

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I’m not an artist but I took his cue and did well enough, but honestly I knew it wasn’t gong to last too long. I applaud him though jeez.

Lunch reflects a pattern as well consisting of bread and (insert filling here):

What you want for lunch? Bread and………?

I want cheesepaste!

Ughhh, so much work!!!

Jam?

Cool! You?

Fried egg and sausage?

Nah! Too much work. I’ll do it Saturday.

Nutella?

There ya go! Ting to cut and spread quick man!

As for me I’ve been eating random frozen foods like Jamaican patties that could fling quick in the microwave and be called George. Doh talk for the husby, hm!…poor fella probably wondering why since Mother’s Day this woman get so delinquent during the week.

Now before the judgy Janices and Jacintas jump on meh case, I will hasten to add that the gremlinz love sandwiches and I’m usually stocked with assorted things to put between two slices of bread. They also eat after-school snacks like jelly cups, rolls, croissants and pizzas and of course maintain their juice and water intake. That, I will take the time to do but I think mentally my brain is winding all the way down even though it’s only week 5. I’m wrapping up curriculum, seeing Form 5s in exams and hearing summer jams on the radio. Not to mention the distance to work REALLLL getting on my nerves now (more on that later). Therefore, with regards to lunch kit prep  I want it easy, quick and not too much at the expense of their health and my pocket. So one sandwich, an Orchard, Kiss Goodie and some chips in a sandwich bag is in order and will kill noone. Le sigh, I will jump back on the Super Mom train soon enough man, no worries! 😀

Bless up

TMIDM

Mom In D Middle Fitness

Carnival ended a while back and with it ended my dedication to a set fitness regime. I love the gym but I have no patience for the gym-rats and especially at Carnival time where everybody swallows the same pill to get the same magical result. Their on-season is my off-season so like my church on Christmas Eve or a  New Years Eve, I happily give up my place for another. It’s now on-season for me again but somehow I can’t find back myself. They say the hardest thing is to press reset right?

Yesterday afternoon husby was home to watch the gremlinz so I decided to go for a run. By “run” I mean walk very fast to give the illusion that I am running. I really wish I could run though, people who run 5Ks make me nervous. I even placed a half-marathon on my bucket list! One day…. Anyway, at the savannah in my neighbourhood,  this elderly gentleman who kept running past me over and over drenched with sweat gave me the resolve to again get in the game. I don’t know if it was inspiration or pure unadulterated shame but I’ve decided to restart my fitness regime.

Now I don’t want to lose a setta weight eh. I just need a decent sweat once a day to keep the body inna order and to keep the health in check. Mommies hadda look sexy right? 😉 But because of my responsibilities and the fact that I can hardly carve out an hour for myself on a weekday afternoon/evening/night, I have decided to create a home gym. Now the definition of gym here is used very loosely as it technically consists of a table, a mat, (2) 5-pound weights and a laptop chock full of exercise videos from the internet thanks to the fine folks at YouTube. Voila!20140514_185458

 

I landed upon a YouTube channel BeFit http://www.youtube.com/user/BeFit which has so many top shelf exercise videos across the span of workouts from Jillian Michaels to Billy Blanks to Jane Fonda! So I figure I will (try to) get up early some mornings before I get ready for work and do some yoga, some core in the evening, lower body one day and upper body another day, mix it up a bit. I’m starting slow but increasing stamina and strength and all from the comfort of my living room so I have ZERO excuse. Peep the yoga video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5nyrD4eM64

Maybe for whatever reason you find it hard to get out and exercise, take a look through the YouTube channel and you may see something you like. You can save videos to your device using sites like http://www.savetube.com for a starter and once you get in the groove, you can amp it up to suit you.  I still plan to try to run. I want to see if I can actually make the whole rounds of the savannah, but when I move from “walk fast” to jog, we’ll see how that turns out.  Maybe I will eventually catch up to Pops and pass him straight, who knows? I sure as hell won’t be holding my breath.

Bless up

TMIDM

For the Moms

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To all the Moms out there:

For that time when you watched your newborn, kept checking to see if he’s breathing and wondered if you really ready for this,

For the time when you heard her crying for YET ANOTHER a.m. feeding and let her cry because “Lord Jesus, i cyah get off dis bed nah!”……and then you get off the bed……….

For that time when he fell out the crib and you felt your heart crawl up your gullet and bust straight through your scalp (true story, both gremlinz),

For the times when you pack a baby bag and people wonder if you’re going to New York for the day,

For the times when you keep sniffing her neck because baby smell and giggles are so addictive!,

 

There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother 

From the Mahabharata
Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva
Section CCLXVI

 

For that time when they got the first vaccination and you tried to hold it together….and failed……,

For the times when seasoned mothers, aunts, grannies and total strangers make you feel as though you’re an alien raising a baby,

For the times when chaos follows the sentence “Mummy watch this!…”,

For that time when you walked into a room and found him and your furniture items covered in flour or powder or grease or lotion or powdered milk etc…(another true story)

For that time when she started kindergarten and you tried to hold it together……and failed……..

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For the times of yawns during homework, never-ending spelling lists, ‘whiteman’ on the knee, sibling fights, sibling-kiss and-makeups, silent screams for your alone time, bad moods, licks, cousins spending the night, toys all over the place, spending more time with the pardners, Common Entrance jitters, SEA paranoia, struggling to raise a smart, functioning teenager, boyfriends, girlfriends, breakups, fights, weddings, grandchildren and finding the balance in the middle of it all…….

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World Ovarian Cancer Day

WOCD_Sharable_Graphic_square_NoYRWorld Ovarian Cancer Day was officially put on the calendar on May 8th 2013 and brings awareness to ovarian cancer, the most serious of all the gynecologic cancers out there since it has the LOWEST survival rate. This is interesting to me because it is from the ovaries that humanity begins its journey. To be under such a threat is  scary but possible since the symptoms amount to:

  • Persistent abdominal pressure and bloating
  • Persistent indigestion/gas
  • Pelvic discomfort/pain
  • Decreased appetite/Feeling full quickly
  • Having to urinate a lot
  • Increased abdominal size
  • A persistent lack of energy
  • Low back pain

Since these symptoms could lead to a whole host of medical issues, too often there is late diagnosis which is a factor in the low detection and survival rate.

At present there is no screening test for ovarian cancer. Many mistakenly think a Pap smear will cover cervical cells and ovarian cells as well but it doesn’t. You should consult a physician if you have any of these symptoms and if you you may have a family history of ovarian cancer. Your physician may conduct a complete pelvic exam, ultrasound and blood test. He/she may also refer you to get genetic testing to confirm any diagnosis.

You can get more information on Ovarian Cancer from the official website: http://www.ovariancancerday.org or from the Trinidad and Tobago’s Cancer Society’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TrinidadandTobagoCancerSociety.

So be aware, wear teal or a teal ribbon and support our cancer society in bringing awareness to this form of cancer and others that are detrimental to human life.

Bless up

TMIDM

Dear Ms. Dana…

I didn’t know you but somehow your death has resonated with me. “Ordinary” murders are met with a measure of momentary concern on my part and the news cycle has made me somewhat jaded especially when it comes to anything with the label “gang related”. The manner in which you were “assassinated” struck me as colossal though. I was getting ready for church and in an idle moment, absent-mindedly scanned my timeline. Your face was at the very top of my feed and the greatest feeling of dread lifted the hairs on my arms and my neck. I felt winded so I could never imagine that moment when you realized that all of it would soon end. All of the work you have done, all of the work you were doing would be left to your legacy and to be eulogized in your remembrance. I interceded peace for you when I got to church and I will keep praying for your eternal rest.

You have left me thinking. 

I have listened to you speak on a variety of topics and I have read your articles which were so incredibly insightful and digestible! I’m glad you were that intelligent and fearless and better than that, that you took the time to share your wealth of knowledge and expertise to the generations of lawyers that followed in your footsteps. I sincerely hope that they all turn out to be as brave as you, ethics before fortune, risks included, prosecuting for the sake of our country. But you know they can’t do it alone. The lawyers, the police, the jurists alone can’t bear the burden of getting it under control. I wonder if you ever felt like that? Like on a rough day you think ‘oh hell man! why won’t people just behave dey blasted self so my job could be easier?’ (Sigh, you see why I would make a bad lawyer?)

Ms. Dana this crime situation runs so deep, did you ever feel like you could honestly make a huge dent based on your life’s work? Put away the bad guys and make an example. I heard on the radio that your death erupted cheers and celebration in Golden Grove. You could imagine that? But you know, because of the way in which you died, some people thinking differently now about who the criminals are and what kinda beasts out there walking around in human form. People starting to worry because it was you, so it could have been any one of us “ordinary” folk. Did you think you were weighted by damning secrets about crime that would cripple the whole system or the whole underworld? Did you carry a heavy burden that would need a release valve often in games of chance? I don’t blame you nah, that’s a lot for you to bear you know….and in any case everybody has a vice.

People are alleging that your assassination was political, military, drug-related, kidnapping-related, gambling-related all kinda thing. I’m sorry to say but I don’t think we’ll ever know. I’m not saying that the police who have solved less than 10 out of the 150 murders for the year, will not be able to solve yours eh. But I think they up against a lot, chief of which is an unwilling populace. You think people know the power they have? And better than that, how to exercise it to take back our land? They say they’re waiting on the government like any government could EVER have “an answer for crime” or a “crime plan”. Doesn’t lawlessness engender crime? Aren’t we a lawless people? Looking out for our own, doing what we want, paying for driver’s licenses, forging certificates, taking land not belonging to us, cussing, pushing, rushing, hustling….one crab on top the next…and oh Lord doh talk bout the children….

I could have never been a lawyer, It’s intense and I don’t have the drive, passion and commitment for it like you. But I admire what you’ve done. I think I could only do what I can in my circle of influence which is to stop the lawlessness and to impress upon my students and my young people to exercise the same. I can’t do it big like you and the other eagles who fly on your level. My passion is to arrest the criminal manifestations and machinations from the seedlings. The adults are far gone for me and it’s the only way I am able to do my part. Maybe it can be a reshaping of a new future because I realllll worried about the kind of Trinidad my gremlinz will grow up in if today or tomorrow I close my eyes as well. I hope it is enough yes Ms. Dana, I hope your death was not in vain.

TMIDM

Nestlé Health Fair and 5K

I think I was an eternal fan of Nestlé products from since I was a baby. I was a Klim junkie and NO Zonal Primary School Sports in the stadium did I miss. I was not an athlete but free cold Milo from a ginormous cooler down by the track was enough for me to cheer for just about anybody. So the sign at the Queen’s Park Savannah that announced their Health Fair and 5K in celebration of 100 years, prompted my willingness to attend for more reasons than one. I wanted to be there from the start however finishing my chores, picking up Mam’zelle from ballet and getting Saturday food delayed me a tad.

I arrived at about 4:30 when people were just crossing the finish line after the 5K Fun Run/Walk but there was still a lot of action inside the paved area. Booths were lined around the perimeter with services including Nestlé, Optometrists Today, Arrive Alive, Pink Hibiscus, Precision Fitness and The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service sharing information and very important literature which ranged from components of a good breakfast to information on ticketable road traffic offences and fines. Many people took part in the 5K, but there was also a fair amount of spectators and visitors present, milling about from booth to booth. Hans Des Vignes served as host and was busy mingling and engaging people to win hampers. I tried to strategically position myself so I could be “randomly” approached but it didn’t work. Clearly I need to work on my nonchalant look a lil more cuz I didn’t want to look too terse. :’D

Many took advantage of the free screenings for vision, blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI, HIV Testing, Pap Smears and individual breast cancer exams. I was glad to see that the lines for the caravans were very long but I would have liked to see more MEN and more young people standing and waiting. This is a generalized question eh but what do men have with getting check-ups? And a lot of our young people are dropping because of lifestyle related diseases and I think it’s important that they get themselves screened as well! But this YOLO phenomenon….

So of course no Nestlé Health Fair would be complete without sampling!!! There was an array of products and I’m so thankful that nobody was getting on like leggo-beast’…yuh know us Trinis and free ting!!! The gremlinz had their fair share of different flavours and variations of Orchard, Milo and cereal like Cheerios and then they hit the bouncy castle. I had Fitness, a cereal which I’ve never had before and is truly delish (and I had Milo as well, no resistance…). Husby didn’t feel like eating breakfast at 5 o clock in the afternoon but I coaxed him into trying pumpkin rice which was flavoured with Maggi and although I’m not a big fan of the Maggi seasonings, it was admittedly very tasty.

So I had loads of fun! Although it was mostly walking around and checking out booths, it was good to get out with the family. Have a look at some of the pics I took of the event. I honestly wish more companies could do these kinda family related stuff on a grand and very organized scale as Nestlé did. Thumbs up to them!

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