Friday, April 7, 2017

'LANKE mi.....

Olanike, my friend, feels just like yesterday……

I had arrived UI a neophyte straight from Secondary school, newbie in Ibadan. 

I remember our first trip, Mumsie and I, we came by bolekaja (almost unbelievable, right?). 
We came to find out what was needed to become a student as I had been offered admission. 
Events after then remain blurred in my mind in a flurry of travelling to get my results from Jos, travelling back via Kaduna, in order to save the flight money. 

Getting to UI with days before matriculation and being told the result I had was not the one UI required. Heading straight to WAEC in Lagos, being told that I could not get the result and ending up on the stairs, tears pouring from my eyes and the angel that decided I was worth the trouble, who went in search of my result, sealed and stamped it and handed it to me. 

The elation when I returned and got my ‘Authority to pay’ and sitting to check the money I had to see I had just enough to pay and then go back home.

I returned with my clothes ready for classes just after winning some shady 'Miss Lagos' contest like that and waiving my rights to continue in the competition cos school was more important for me (and I was right!).

Heading out that first morning, I didn’t know where to go and walked in the direction of Admissions Office which was the only building I was familiar with. I hung around NISER park and looked at all those scurrying about very sure of where they were headed and despaired that perhaps, I should pack it in and return to my father’s farm where I was not an unknown quantity. 

She came into my view looking as unsure as I was and my inner alarm bells went off. I followed her at a distance at first, then closer and finally, I asked, ‘where are you going?’. ‘Class’ she responded gaily and I again quickly asked, ‘prelim?’ and she answered, ‘yes’. Bold now, I asked, ‘Science?’ and she answered ‘yes’. I was doing cartwheels inside me and tried not to show too much excitement as I said, ‘me too’.

It would be the start of a friendship that has lasted since that day sometime in last quarter of 1988 till date.

We have lived through quite a bit and we have laughed and cried and done the most unbelievable things together and stayed friends.

I wish one could print pictures from one’s mind, I would show you pictures of our early days but the memories are ours to treasure forever.

It is Olanike’s forty-somethingth birthday today (a lady never tells jor!) and I am so grateful to God for her. 

If anything, she has taught me to love unconditionally, to just serve love.  And I am so glad I call her friend.

She is a woman, a mother, a business person, a diligent worker, God’s child, awesome friend, boldly bearing the marks of years of bearing the burdens of being a human being, authentic and unwilling to quit.

I am overcome with emotion just recalling some of what Nike has been through and how gracious her smile is.

Baby girl, years from now, we will still be giggling like we did this morning. 

This here is me saying unashamedly how much I love you. Be well, my darling!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Its no news that I use social media a lot. RME! Some people think too much but I am the only one who knows how much. But if I tell you, I will have to kill you, so….let’s just stick with ‘I use social media a lot’. There! I said it.

So, I thought of doing this post to try and catalogue all the social media apps I use. I even use some for work but to hear some people talk, you would never believe. Anyway, as I was saying, these are my tools for life, entertainment, espionage, fashion, music, pretty much everything and er, of course, work.

I first learnt to use the computer many moons ago by myself and the stubborn streak in me made me keep at it while my pride did not allow me ask for help. Its why I am very knowledgeable in some things and a total illiterate in others. I was then given the opportunity to learn some things at my workplace for a certificate at some point, but mostly statistics.

I also remember Ahmed, my Egyptian Professor of Surgery friend showing me how to use GraphPad when we were both in Edmonton also but my first foray into social use of the internet was borne out of necessity when my partner at the time was overseas and before the advent of GSM. I was a common sight at the ICT center at my workplace staring intently at the screen to read any missive he sent or composing some response or the other about something that couldn’t wait. Or sometimes, it was a child’s birthday and I had a deep need for him to participate in real time so uploading the photos was a do or die affair for me. Thus, I learnt to spend several hours hunched over my laptop doing one thing or the other and it became a habit. 

Several years later, I am still fond of getting stuff done online but I have several devices such that I may not have my laptop but will still do as many things as any laptop can get done at any point in time.

Google has been my oldest and dearest. Search engine, spellchecker and factchecker rolled in one. I can do most anything when I have Google access. I should not tell too much what I can do with it before I scare y’all.

Yahoomail came next. For emails, communicating with others and also saving important documents. I discovered that with it, I could save and retrieve my documents from any device around the world so its not unusual to have me email myself a document if I think its important. My storage file online.

Then there was Yahoo Messenger! Wow! That was a crazy ride.  I did not use it too much or too often but I do remember significant conversations on there at a time, but that’s all in the past now. Craziness was on there at a time so I bailed.

I discovered Facebook while in Edmonton and fell hard. It seemed so, so….so, je ne sais quoi! It was just perfect for my exhibitionist self. While catering to my overactive imagination and celebrating my alternate reality. I loved it and I used it copiously. It grew and grew and then became hydra headed. Mayhaps cos I wanted so much to share my experience of it , I wrote and shared not knowing the potential of evil that some could put it to. I eventually had to acknowledge that not every person who has a brain uses it and not every adult understood the literal meaning of adulthood. 

For some, the use of such tools is to monitor, to limit, to stifle and to abuse. I admitted defeat and packed up and headed to Twitter. I didn’t end my love affair with Facebook though for it ran deep and hard. It had given me some people I could never exchange for those I left behind. It was worth its weight in….relationships, as much as I want, when I want and how I want. That is what Facebook does for me….before the worms in the woodwork made limited use my portion, pox on them!

Twitter! Ah, Twitter! My alternate galaxy. It is such a perfect location for me. The right mix of interaction and anonymity. I can follow, unfollow, mute and block as I wish. Yes, vermin usually slip through from time to time but they expect to be exterminated so you do the needful and they vamoose. 

Of course, we all also pretend like we don’t know that the International Messengers are everywhere looking for what will turn their crank but I have mentioned several times how the only other job that would match the high of being a Vet would be some form of Intelligence/ Secret Service Corps. The misinformation can sometimes be so real, even I don’t know what’s real anymore!

Then there’s WhatsApp. At the exchange of phone numbers, you give up the right to be able to say whether you want to know what they have to say or not. And there are groups! I belong to quite a few, My Class of 88 FGCJos that used to be such a haven but .......The quintessential fool holds court displaying his ignorance and arrogance at will but nor be me go call am to order. The other groups include that of women, my cousins and quite a few other professional groups also. I am averse to opening WhatsApp videos as Nigerians (especially) have zero chill and I don't like gore in any form. So, I mostly just unlook WhatsApp videos. Life is too short to spend your day shivering because your pal sent you mangled body parts for entertainment. Nah!

I also use Instagram or IG as its more popularly called. The older daughter and I find great stuff to laugh about here and I am so proud of her using this social media tool. It’s the only one she uses regularly aside of WhatApp which cracks me up cos she would send me messages from her room across from mine and I get a kick out of asking her to bring me water on it. *evul laff*

We both agree to steer clear of SnapChat. She actually tried it and opted out but I have never felt the need to.
Some of the professional tools I use that also fall under the social media heading include.....

LinkedIn-I under-utilize this for the simple reason that I do not wish to offend a lot of people. You know, people who have no business being on your profile but who want to be anyway. So, yeah I under-utilize it but I use it all the same.

Researchgate is great! I love it for finding people who are doing stuff specifically. Mostly research. I love it! I get frustrated sometimes when it sends notifications to people cos I looked them up so it aint a great stalking tool.

Then there’s Pinterest. Such an awesome resource for a faux fashionista like myself. I have found so many ideas on there, I love what is available on there.

There are a few other apps that make my social media experience even more interesting but I am developing sharing fatigue already. 

I have tried to explain to those who ask why I use social media the reason I do it, I like to control the narrative of my life, I don’t like to just follow and adapt when people have determined who I am, constantly modifying how I am presented. I am proactive like that, I would rather tell it than retell it. 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Mine may not always seem right or sane but they are mine and they do get modified when I come in contact with superior information or wisdom.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

While I walked....

I typically try to wait till its bright outside before I start walking and I power on my app that tracks my walk. 

Since getting this new phone, I have not sorted my music out so I have all sorts jumbled up unlike my usual playlists where there is one for good days and another for craze days and such like. So, I could be walking and a preaching audio would come on and I would need to break my concentration to skip to the next song or find something else to listen to.

Today, I took one of two routes away from my house. That should be flat but I like house for now. I walked past that house that I keep wondering what was on the owner’s mind when he started? Or why build such a tasteless grotesque thingy to live in when you obviously have the money to hire those who will design you a lovely place to live or help you get glasses to hide your lack of taste and style.

I watched the boy and girl on opposite sides of the road, holding a conversation. I met up with the old man pushing a wheel-barrow full of gravel, his cheery good morning was lovely. 

I am well and truly a Yoruba Aunty, I can’t even lie anymore. I watched a young lady come out with two small bins and empty them in the big blue one at the entrance to her house. I mentally cautioned myself as I spied that the bins were dirty and discoloured . 

Such things bother me and as I approached and she smiled her good morning, I heard my mental ‘worrahell!’ just as I spoke. 

I actually told her to buy that yellow and black nylon to line the bins so she doesn’t always have to deal with the dirty bin ish. 

Thankfully, she merely smiled and looked at me with sad kind eyes. Probably thinking, ‘eeyah, she needs people to talk to’.

When I hit that road, I peeped the sun acting coy behind some clouds. I debated taking a picture and decided not to. The red SUV was parked out as usual. 

Descending the road towards the big red building, a guard sat on a chair and eyeballed me. I decided he won’t get a cheery greeting and looked straight ahead. 

Circling back, I pass my friend’s house and mess with the dog. He hates me cos I docked his tail myself but how do you explain to your patient that you were asked by your friend whom you can’t refuse anything? I had to! But dog has not forgiven me ever since. Sigh.

I headed home and tried to convince myself that I would make almost 5km. I don’t always make 5 but I always aim for that. I decided to circle around my favourite house in the estate once more. 

My route is mostly informed by my mood, my thoughts or how energetic I am feeling. No pattern or rhythm to my walk and that’s the best part!

I also always try to finish off with some danceable music at which point I hone my shoki or whatever move is currently my fave.

When I am done, I am supposed to pump some iron, bust some moves on my piece of equipment to tone my upper body but that’s more an exception than the rule. It’s why I need a gym membership asap!

While I walk though, I am most at peace, in sync with me and my body parts and thoughts. I tolerate no distractions and I am truly excited about what the sexy body is becoming. If only I can eat right…yea, that’s the next blogpost. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My 5 new favourite things

I am human and constantly evolving, maybe more than most sef. I just recently noticed that my favourite things are changing. I remember writing about some of my favourite things (or was it people? one time). Anyway, my new favourite things, short but profound in my eyes are listed below. What are yours?
1.    Exercise (why are you laughing?) I kid you not! I have now developed a fondness for exercise. It helps to clear my head and more of my clothes now fit. It is also exhilarating to see my Nike Run app tell me how many kilometers I did in how many minutes. Yes, I now truly like exercise. I know I used to do it to stay alive before but now, I really don’t have to be coerced.

2. Sleeping (SMH! If you don’t quit laughing, I will stop here) Yes, I have developed a new fondness for sleeping and resting. It used to be that I could never relax enough to get to sleep and once I did, I started investigating intergalactic spaces and so I usually woke up exhausted even when I do manage to sleep. Also, I always felt life was passing me by while I slept, afterall, Its always morning somewhere on the earth.

3. I now like salads…..hehehehehehehehehe!!! Even me, I have to laugh at this one. I used to call this the ‘grass diet’….and me, I used to be carnivorous. Eating my meals with flesh of some kind was compulsory, not required. I couldn’t understand how my babies when they were, could eat a meal of swallow without meat or fish. But I now wake up craving salads and actually make them, eat them and enjoy them! Nothing wey God nor fit do. I however tolerate very few vegetables so my salads are always lit and I still like to have some flesh in them and I usually garnish with suya pepper. Hmmmmm! Delish!

4.I now value my solitude more than even before. Being a hyper person( in my head), I get exhausted when I spend time with a lot of people. I therefore always need the time away from crowds to recharge and reenergize. I can be the life of the party only for a short time before my batteries run down and out. Lately, I log out of interactions to be alone. And more and more, I am loving it and while I am not antisocial or anything, it does enhance my enjoyment of being around people knowing my time alone will soon come up.

5.I am enjoying minding my own business. In more ways than one, I find that I have no real need to volunteer information about what I know to be right. Some people deserve their delusions. I had mine and mayhaps I am thankful that some people minded their business enough to allow me them. Using social media a lot means you come in contact with a lot of ignorance and arrogance, sometimes dwelling in the same vessel, and I am learning more and more to leave well alone. Some people need their ignorance, some, their arrogance and so I am getting better at minding MY OWN business. This sometimes means my work, my play, my family, my health or even my sanity.

It’s really invigorating to look at your own evolution from time to time and just enjoy it; which is what this post is really about. Anyone who knows me well, knows being racked by doubts and insecurities has never meant I loved me any less (usually, a little too much) and I am more loving and accommodating of me nowadays. So, what are your new favourite things?

Friday, January 13, 2017

What Love is not.

I am usually unable to write a blogpost till my birthday week which for me marks the beginning of a new year but 2017 seems to have too much to offer and words have assailed me from the very first week of the year. I tried to ignore but these words, they won’t let me be.

Already, in 2017, I have seen how systematically, a change has begun, in places only I can discern and I am so excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.

Today, I remember my mum who passed 5years ago and I am astounded at her strength and person and the gift of friendship we eventually found as she passed. Our tumultuous relationship was comical mostly and looking back, I see how she raised me to have my opinions and encouraged me to stand up to whatever I felt wasn’t up to scratch which informed too many of our arguments. 
I remember her life with fondness and wistfulness.

As I went on my daily exercise walk earlier, I mentally wrote this article. I had so much to say and smiled at the deep wisdom I would exude cos I wanted to write about what love is not, which is one of the profound things I have discovered in recent times. The number of things mistaken for love is mindboggling but as I write now, I can hardly marshall two points together. This is why I say I am no writer and why when someone gushes over something I have written, I tell them thanks but…..Still, I will try.

Love is not being called upon to make sacrifices. Too many people mistake this for love. It is manipulation. Sacrifices by their very nature are a product of your inner convictions and when demanded, will usually clarify those convictions but some people use it to manipulate others to crystallize their commitment. No, that isn’t love.

Love is not grudging. If you have to really try, it usually isn’t. The effervescent quality of love is undeniable. And I don’t mean the giddy heady feeling alone. That is usually your raging hormones.

Love is not being used for another’s ends and means. That’s abuse. The scheming and planning to make you ‘toe a line’ and God-esque tendencies, determining what you are ‘allowed’ to do and how far you are allowed to go without a commensurate influence with that person. That ain’t love.

Love is not jealousy. I repeat, love ain’t jealousy. Too many have fallen for this untruth, believing that a person being jealous over them is love. It is a huge falsehood. There are many reasons why a person may be jealous over you without any real appreciation of your person. Sometimes, it’s a fundamental flaw of who they are. Nothing to do with you.

Love is not just service. A person can devotedly serve you with their life without loving you. Sad but true. For many whose love language is being served, they will fall for those who serve them and choose to believe they are loved regardless of what the truth is.

As with all things, I have learnt it upside down, first by finding out what it isn’t before seeing what it is.

Love starts with you, knowing your value and choosing to use that value as you see fit and being able to utilize that value in ways that empower, enable and elevate another but always retaining the key to your value in yourself. 

Too many hand their value to undeserving folk who decimate their being for any number of reasons in the name of love.

While what works for each of us differ, the fundamental nature of love is retaining the value of yourself and handing it over or taking it back on your own terms. Many may disagree with this assessment but this is what I have found to be true. 

At any time this choice is taken away from you, it is no longer love. It needs to be called by some other name which may not necessarily be bad but shouldn’t be disguised as love.

Hopefully, someone will read and learn something and do better but mostly, I wrote to get the words out of my head so I can think other thoughts. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

SHEA Sheer Brilliance

While in Jos, I went for my daily walk with my friend and longterm mate, Abdul. 

We are constantly ribbing each other but I would trust him with my life. Even the way he came to get me, I swear, if it had been any other person, they would get a slap. But its Abdul, he came and got me out of bed and cos I had missed (by this time) like a week’s worth of walks, I was chomping at the bit to go.

I knew he needed the exercise and my Nike Run app droned on and on about how slow we were walking and how below par we were performing. So, I tried to get him to do better (he’s lazier than me and more out of shape). You know, speed up. 

Problem is, was, I was wearing a pair of pants that were not happy about my voluptuous thighs touching and they split to allow the extra flesh room, but the rubbing continued. Which is how, by the time the 3km+ we walked were done, my thighs were on fire.

I rushed to the room and took off the offensive pants and wow! Angry red was the colour and boy! Did it sting?! 

Luckily, I had brought  a small tub of shea butter with me for creaming my body. I remembered Jos weather and my hatred for the Vaseline that attracted dust (which was available in abundance) at every movement but which was really the only salve that protected the skin from the harshness of the weather, so I had brought my shea butter along.

My skin has been lucky. It feeds on mostly natural stuff. 
Since I had my first child in 2002 and had after several warnings about the unsuitability of Johnsons baby products for Nigerian babies skins and my dowey eyed hypnotic stance upon entering a shop and seeing and liking the entire range and buying and using it on her which caused her to break out in angry red rashes all over, I had cried to my mum who promptly advised me to switch to coconut oil. I have since only used that for my skin. And luckily, my dad’s farm is still located near enough to Badagry that I can always get the purest form of it which I usually buy a 5litre keg of at a time which means my skin and that of the girls thank me glowingly.

But I digress.

I had my tub of shea butter and not just any. The special kind. 

I have 2 giant tubs of shea butter that has been finely blended and smoothed and scented and essences added cos I am a very sensual and smell-loving person. I watched my friend do the mix, one tub for hair and another for my skin. These two tubs are huge and I don’t take them out of my bedroom. I also have two small tubs of shea butter, and of these two, I had one. These two were created for me by the same friend and are special. One has chocolate essences and the other is a banana  flavoured tub and they are both beyond compare. I use either when I feel the skin feels dry and needs some pampering. I was describing the banana one I brought along to Jos to a classmate and he exclaimed, ‘no wonder you always smell edible’! Yup! It is that good.

Anyway, my droning about the shea butter is in relation to the very bad red, angry wound I was now nursing between my things, a very painful spot just a few centimeters from the seat of power. 

The poor wound was not helped by me donning a pair of jeans the following day and spending extended periods walking up and down to find an airline to fly me home from Abuja and the ensuing 7hour wait at the airport before throwing in the towel to try the following day. By the third day, it had become a huge sore with attendant pain. During all this time, I tried to put a coating of the shea butter on it which were the only times I was pain-free.

By the time I returned home, I was ready to cut out a portion of my thighs to obtain relief and I was now severely worried about infection. I got my antibiotic cream and tried to use it in between the shea butter application but no, those times I applied the antibiotic cream, the pain returned and it appeared only the shea butter gave me any relief.

So after a while, I ditched the antibiotic cream and used the shea butter alone and to my surprise, the healing sped up. I marveled at how much more effective the wound healed. 

Before my very eyes, I watched the neovascularization I had talked about when I was studying wound healing during the work I did with my Masters’ thesis  and the regranulation of my skin occur in quick succession. The itching that accompanied the healing alerted me that the tiny cells which carried histamine were rushing there and dumping their contents and angry red changed to bright pink and then white spots and then, black (melanin) returned and in under a week, my skin was healed.

I wish I had photos to share but like I said the wound was way too close to the seat of power and there is NO WAY I was taking or sharing any photos from there. It just got me thinking about the wound healing properties of shea butter and how it needs to be looked at again with respect to what it can do for surgical wounds (Researcher mode activated)🙋.

And of course I thought of how blessed I am to have the friend who blends and prepares my shea butter mixes. For her, it is a business born of love and I have watched her work at it with incredulity at how much she lovingly mixes and mixes till it is just right. I daresay the love in each tub adds to the power of the shea butter to heal, soothe and caress the skin. Whatever it is, I am won over (again and again) by the shea brilliance of shea butter.

Thanks Ajoxy baby! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Christmas Wishlist

In my alternate reality, I am the daughter of a stupendously rich man with a stupendously rich boyfriend who loves me so much and panders to my every desire while I live the life of a spoilt little rich girl doing whatever takes my fancy, one of which would be Veterinary clinical practice.

In this alternate reality, Christmas is coming and as is usual, both my rich father and BF are out to outdo each other to grant my every little wish and so, they ask direct and indirect questions to try and decipher what would catch my fancy and secure them the number one spot in my affections for the Christmas season.

So, I am having such a hard time deciding what I want as I already have so much and these that I am to ask for are just another in the long list of things I can get by reason of being the rich Daddy and Le Lover’s  girl.

So, if all was well with the world and I had no strong dislike of war and the attendant problems were all solved and here in my country, I’d already visited all the IDP camps and bought enough food for a year for them while I think up how to buy food for the next year. I’d provided housing for them, each one with their own flat large enough for their family to have privacy and good beds to sleep in and of course, bedsheets! I’d had schools set up so everyone on the camps can learn. Flown in teachers who want to teach and who can be compassionate and not mock any struggling student. Be they 6, 16 or 60years old.

Then, my Christmas wishlist would read something like......

I’d like a dream house with large rooms, walk-in dressing rooms and even larger bathrooms. The house has at least 5rooms so friends can come and stay when they like and the girls and I still each have our own room. There is an open plan kitchen-dining and light open spaces filled with bookshelves loaded down with books.

A semi-silent generator that has enough oomph to power everything and a battery and solar powered inverter mean I have always-on power.

 In the garage, I’d like an SUV, a 7 or 8 passenger minivan with drop down screens to watch movies when we travel and of cos my car....

Right now, I’m crushing on an Opel Astra in blue.

I’d like a designer bag, something pricey and quirky. Prada, Gucci or Gidan Nodza.

Something decadent to put my new brand new phone in. As per phones, I don’t do the exclusivity club, and even though I peep into that world sometimes, cos of my love for gadgets, will not be buying one anytime soon. 
And oh! A powerbank....😕

I’d like a tablet for the older daughter, just cause she is so smart and so disciplined with her things and hasn’t had a gift in a while. And she’s also such a geek!

A smart phone for the younger one for all her Youtube videos….

They both would also get a rack of new books from that online bookstore.

I’d like new bedsheets for all the beds we have. I already know where I am getting them. I have one new set but still want the new ones. That’s what being spoilt is about, no?

I’d also like five million dollars just because….please and thank you!

But most of all, I’d like to spend Christmas morning with everyone watching the sun come up and not wondering where their next meal would come from…..