Party?

Having a blowout bash this season? Revisit my ancient grains on the best and worst parts of throwing a party.

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Compliment or Insult?

“You lost weight! You look so good!”

So, I didn’t look good while I still had the weight? *eyeroll*

How are you, dear readers? Stuffed full with Christmas chicken? Enjoying being with family (and sometimes restraining yourself from punching them)? I hope everyone got a nice present or two.

On The Christmas Eve Fire In Nnewi

On December 24 2015, a gas plant caught on fire and exploded in Nnewi, Nigeria. Over 100 people are said to have been killed. The cause of the fire is unknown.

I woke up today and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. All those people, dead.

People who had been queuing all day to fill their cooking gas cylinders. People who were just doing their jobs. People who were just passing by. All dead.

This is where I live, where I studied, where I worked. It could have been me or any of my family passing through or queuing at the station. The odds are that I know someone directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy.

The victims were taken to the hospital I interned at. There were pictures taken by my colleagues, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at even one. I didn’t need to look to know that there was very little hope.

All those people had hopes and dreams. They had plans for today, for 2016. All of them, snuffed out like lit matchsticks, burning brightly and then fizzling into nothing.

Nothing.

May the dead find peace, and the bereaved, comfort.

Christmas Past, Christmas Present

When I was little, Christmas time was the most wonderful time of the year. There were end-of-year parties to look forward to. My mum would have bought “Christmas dresses” for my sister and I in September, with frequent reminders that we’d only get to wear them at Christmas. So, we’d be giddy with excitement at finally getting to wear our pretty dresses.

CUTENESS.

There would be an abundance of food, with none of the usual restrictions on snacks and sweet things. CAKE, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. We didn’t really have boxed presents, partly because money was tight and partly because my mum is relentlessly practical, but we’d get a doll or toy we’d been wanting. We would usually also get to spend a week or so with some cousins, and enjoy playing with them.

Christmas was magical.

I was hanging out with my little cousin last week, and she was so excited for Christmas. She put on her brand new Christmas outfit- dress, shoes, matching purse and headband- just so I could ooh and aah over it and tell her how pretty she looked. Afterwards, she asked me if I’d bought my Christmas dress yet. I had to explain to her that the concept of Christmas clothes doesn’t really translate to adulthood.

It really got me thinking about how jaded I’ve become about Christmas. It’s become less magical, that’s for sure. Yes, I appreciate the downtime the holidays bring, and I love the chill and general goodwill in the air, but… It’s lost that special something. I’m happy to be an adult and to be able to buy new clothes or cake or whatever I want, when I want (within reason), but there’s something to be said for that feeling of expectations harbored and fulfilled.

Maybe I should get myself some Christmas clothes… Oh, that’s right, I already did.

Merry Christmas!

Unexpected Guests

I’m a creature of habit. Having a routine is calming to me. When I wake up, there are things do before leaving the house. When I get back, I have a routine for switching out of Work mode and relaxing.

Unexpected- or shall I say uninvited- guests disrupt routine. When they are there, I can’t take my clothes off and kick it in my underwear until dinner time. When they are around, I have to stay On, be relentlessly polite and courteous. It’s the worst when there’s no food or snacks in the house, and all I’m thinking is, Oh no, no snacks to offer, I’m a horrible hostess.

All that depends on how close I am to the guests though. My friends know that they might find me in less-than-respectable clothes and fuzzy slippers, watching TV. My friends know that they can come right in, take off their shoes and go inspect the fridge for a drink. They know that any baked goods offered will be tasty, even though they might be misshapen or imperfect.

My friends know I’m misshapen and imperfect, and they’ll love me anyway, so they’ll always be welcome in my home.

In response to the Daily Post Prompt: Unexpected Guests

Weekly Roundup

Welcome to my Weekly Roundup, where I share links to things I read this week that stayed with me.

First off, oh my god. I cannot imagine spending some serious cash on a celebrity hair care line that’s supposed to be great for my hair, only to have my hair actually start falling off. Just awful.

Next is this heartwarming story about a baby just born from the world’s oldest sperm donation. The donor had cancer as a teenager and froze his sperm before undergoing treatment; years later, he and his wife, through in vitro fertilization, used that sperm to have a child. The miracles of modern medicine.

Yeah dude, you should probably get that checked out.

Holy hell. How are coat hanger abortions happening in the USA in the 21st century? What are the rest of us supposed to do?

Finally, the Twitter hashtag #mylagosexperiences is hilarious.

Have a nice weekend!

Edited to add: NaijaSingleGirl is doing a blog traffic share; her blog is a hilarious account of her adventures in singledom. Check her out!

Google Doodles

Anyone else really love Google Doodles? I open the search page to look something up, and what’s this? An interesting drawing with something educational attached.

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Image courtesy Google

On November 30, St Andrew is very busy, being the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Russia, Amalfi in Italy, Barbados, as well as of fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, singers, spinsters, maidens, sore throats and gout. Take me, St Andrew, I’m a gouty sore-throated fishmonger! Ahem.

Also, Nigeria has some dedicated doodles, which can be seen here. We got one for the elections in March, which I really liked.

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Image courtesy Google

There are even interactive doodles, where you click on them and something happens. It’s a pretty fun way to spend a few minutes online, especially great for procrastinating.

Today’s doodle celebrates Ludwig van Beethoven’s 245th year. Even if you’re not sure who he is, you’ll probably recognize his most popular works. When you click on ithe doodle, you play a game where you help him save his work from being destroyed, and get him to the concert hall on time. This one is giving me so much joy, as someone who studied music.

When next you hit Google up, take a moment to look at their logo, click on it. You’re sure to be amused and/or educated.

Hot Moin-moin For Sale


Image via Flickr

I
“Hot moin-moin for sale!” She looked out her window when she heard the food vendor’s call. She hadn’t had time to prepare any dinner. The baby in her stomach had kicked so hard, waking her up too early, and then she’d had to get up and get the two kids to school. Then she’d had to do the laundry and tidy up the house, and now it was almost time for her husband and kids to come home. She reached for her wallet and headed out to flag down the food vendor.

II
“Hot moin-moin for sale!” Her shrill voice broke into his thoughts. His stomach growled in response. He usually left his room before dawn, and that meant he usually had no breakfast. He had to get to the building site early, so that he’d be hired for the day, and go home with something in his pocket. It was hard labor, and it was even harder on an empty stomach. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled note.

III
“Hot moin-moin for sale!” The nurse had been on her feet all day. Her shift began early in the morning, and after making sure her son was off to school, she’d had to skip breakfast. Now it looked like she’d be missing lunch as well. There were so many people who needed her attention, and her boss simply refused to employ an assistant. She looked at the full ward, looked out the window, and dashed out to meet the food vendor.

IV
“Hot moin-moin for sale!” The food vendor wiped the sweat off her brow with her apron. Her days were so long and her feet were always so tired, pushing the wheel barrow with the cooler of moin-moin in it. She did it everyday because it kept a roof over her head and kept her children in school. She did it so they wouldn’t have to. Her throat was parched from calling out, so she stopped and drank some water from a plastic bottle. She grasped the handles of the barrow, and pushed it onward. “Hot moin-moin for sale!”

5 Crucial Ways To Practice Self-Care

You know those days when the world is a little (or a lot) Too Much? Maybe you’re having the flu and ache all over- me right now- or you’ve been dealt a bitter disappointment- also me. For some reason, you’re not feeling particularly 100%. How do you take care of yourself?

1. Take a break: When your life feels like it’s spiraling out of control, take a step back from the stress. You could call in sick, take a mental health day. You don’t have to be *everywhere*, doing *everything* at once. You really can take a break.

2. Tune the world out: We’re hyper stimulated all the time, constantly connected to our mobile phones, social media, email. How can we have stillness in our minds when there’s constant noise around us? The constant pings, dings and invasive ringtones of your phone can leave you on edge, never actually relaxed, just waiting for the phone to ring.

You can tune it all out, even if it’s just for an evening. Turn off your phone notifications. Unless you’re an emergency service worker, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will die in the few hours that you don’t pick up the phone. You could check the screen once an hour or so, to see if there’s something really urgent you need to make an exception for.

3. Indulge yourself: That thing you never get around to doing because you just don’t have the time? DO IT. Anything that would help calm you down is great. A few suggestions are: reading novels or magazines with a favorite beverage at hand, watching movies or TV shows, applying that soothing face mask, having a hot soak in the bathtub… The possibilities are endless.

4. Move your body: We spend so much time sitting at our desks and couches, or carrying the unbalanced weights of our handbags and briefcases. Your body is an amazing piece of machinery, but it can wear out pretty quickly. Exercise. You don’t need to pump iron or run a marathon, you just need to stretch things out often, loosen the knots. There are different activities for different fitness levels. It doesn’t have to require a gym membership either; there are many good free workout apps available.

5. Fuel your body right: Remember that incredible machine we talked about? Well, it needs fuel to function. When you’re not in a good space, it feels nice to eat comfort food, but you don’t want to go on a 5-day greasy carb binge. Indulge your sweet tooth and your carb cravings, but apply moderation. Cook up some eggs and sardines or sausages, for a tasty protein-rich meal. Drink a lot of water. Eat slowly. Take time to enjoy the taste of the food.

Do you have any calming self-care activities? Share them in the comments!