Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!!

katrina in vampire hello kitty It's Halloween - please visit Where's the Bubbler and Fartwood Manor today as I'm sure they are chocked full of great spooky fun!  And for the best Haunted House story ever, please stay tuned.

Here, you'll have to settle for something a little more mundane.  No special Halloween fun for me this year, being in Nigeria and all.  No beautiful red and orange fall leaves.  No snow.  Even if our Celsius temperatures were in Fahrenheit, it'd be too warm to snow!  (Average lately has been 37.)  No candy corn, no vampire teeth, no jack o'lanterns.  But the season still makes me think of all these wonderful things and fondly recall my previous Halloweens.

My favorite part is not the candy.  Don't think it ever was.  My favorite part has always been the costumes!  Lovingly made by Mommy, and inspired by who-knows-what.  I can't remember every thing I ever was, but I'm going to recap a few of them.  I wish I had pictures to post, but they're at home in photo albums or on my external hard drive.  You'll have to settle for pictures of what the costumes were of, and random shots of Katrina.  Sorry.

I think my favorite ever was the year I went as Jafar.    image Mommy worked so hard on that costume!  (Is Halloween a fair use for making a derivative work?)  Mommy was very creative, getting the shoulder things to stand-up like that.  I had to walk side-ways through the doors at school.  We made the staff out of paper towel and wrapping paper tubes.  And the shoes were covered in red duct tape.  I had a stuffed parrot on my shoulder to be Iago.  The best part was taking my little sister trick or treating.  She was in 1st grade, I was in 9th, so she was (and still is!) much shorter than me.  And she was Jasmine. hee hee  I even ran into someone from school who didn't recognize me, but recognized my sister.

Another favorite costume of mine that Mommy made was my image pumpkin costume!  It was actually a jack o lantern.  It was a big round ball with arm holes and filled with tulle to make it puffy.  Wendy had a similar apple costume, but I think she wore that a different year.  I think she was a vampire when I was a pumpkin... Mommy would know.

Everyone has at least one costume sometime in their life with image some sort of functional problem, eye holes you can't see out of, shoes you can't walk in, etc.  Mine was the year I was a birch tree.  Couldn't sit down.  I remember going to the gymnastics open house at Midwest Twisters and basically having to take off my costume, which was made out of poster board, in order to do any of the activities.  But I really liked birch trees.  We had one in the back yard... .

  There's also that one costume in everyone's repertoire that nobody else knows what it is.  Mine was in 4th or 5th grade, I can't DSCI0017remember if we'd moved yet.  I went as Daddy.  People kept thinking I was Albert Einstein.  I wore a suit, had a big poofy white curly-haired wig that we sprayed with paint to add a bit of black and grey, an old pair of glasses frames and I carried our backgammon game as a briefcase.  It's not fair, I go as Daddy and people don't get it.  When Wendy went as me, everyone at school got it, and they told her that her skirt wasn't short enough!

As I got older, I either got lazier or less creative.  I still did Halloween costumes late in high school and in college, but not for trick or treating.   For the late night double feature picture show!  Midnight showing of Rocky Horror at the Oriental.

Katrina as FrankfurterRHPS07-the chair pose

(Doesn't Katrina make a great Frank 'n Furter!)
One year I went as a baton twirler and wore, gee, my actual baton twirling costume and carried my real baton.  Another year, I went as a cat, in my catsuit that I wore nearly every week anyway.  I just added a little cat-eared bonnet.   Pretty much the black cat equivalent of the pink bunny rabbit I was at 2.  Then I wore my footed pajamas and a pink knit ski-mask-hat with bunny ears on it.  I was so cute with those little drawn on whiskers!  (both times)

I got more creative again in Zambia.  We weren't dressing up for Halloween then, we just had themed costume parties every time we were all together.  For the Heaven and Hell party, I was Adolf Hitler.  It was simple and I had everything I needed.  Eyeliner to draw a moustache.  Black leotard, and a red bandana folded over and tied around my arm with an electrical tape swastika on it.  Boy did my BOMA-buddy (nearest neighbor and thus usual partner for various activities) and I start laughing when we saw each other.  He was a Rabbi!  For the Circus party, I went as the little girl that goes to the circus.

And for the Texas Man-Fest party, I went as Texas Trash.  I made a mini skirt out of a pair of jeans I had bought at the market.  Paired it with a silver shirt tied at the chest and plastered with two big blue stars.  Flared it up a bit with a garter skirt and fishnet stockings, and topped it all off with red white and blue 7" stripper shoes.  My friend Nikki commented that I was probably the only person she knows who would have 7" stripper shoes in Africa. ;)  I think that was the party where Mary tried putting stripper poles in the backyard.  Set them in cement, but they were bamboo, so when Anna was trying to spin upside-down down the pole, it bent over.  She got a sliver. :(

And last year at Halloween, I finally got to be something I'd always dreamed of being.  What I'd always wanted to be when I grew up.  My idol.  Jessica Rabbit.  And Daddy Bunny was Roger.  It was great, until another Jessica walked into the party.  But my dress was better, more authentic.  Hers had straps and no slit.  And she had a wig.  I grew my hair out for the costume and dyed it bright red.  This one I actually have a picture of: race car rachel, tina turner and jessica rabbit


Hmmm... I seem to remember carrying the Birthday star wand around, maybe I was a princess or fairy one year.  We definitely had pink wings that Wendy and I wore with poofy skirts at some point.  I seem to be missing a lot of my life; I can only remember one other costume.  I think it was from sophomore year of high school, though it could have been late middle school.  I was Alice from Alice in Wonderland.  Mommy made a big blue basically mumu-styled dress and then I put my white daisy-kingdom pinafore over it.  Mommy must have liked that costume; it was probably one of the simplest ones I ever had.



daddy the vampire

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Clerk Who Wore a Pot on His Head

Today Dr. Y sent the office clerk out to buy us some beverages.  She told him to go buy drinks, 6 plastic bottles of some citrus flavored soft drink called Farouves (I have no idea how to spell it and can't find it; she said it's French).  The clerk came back with 2 tins of peas!  2 tins of Farrows brand peas!

What were we gonna do at the office with canned peas!?  And how was Dr. Y supposed to open them?  With her teeth?!  "Oh, I'm so parched..."  "Here, have some peas"!?  "It's really hot out today, I wish I had some nice peas to cool me down"!

I felt so sorry for the clerk.  We ran into him on our way out of the building and he looked absolutely dejected.  The other guy in the office had made him go back and return the peas!  Returns aren't really the norm in Africa.  And I know of few places that allow returning food in general.  And this poor guy had to go back out in the hot sun and return these cans of peas.

I, however, have not been able to stop laughing all night.  Peas!

Click It or Ticket

As I mentioned in the last post, we had a bit of an adventure on our way to Nasarawa State University.  As we entered the town of Keffi, we had to slow down and pass through a police barricade.  The professor from the University sitting in the front seat had not had her seat belt on for any of the almost hour-long ride.  As we approached the police barricade, she quickly clicked it.  Too late.

The police flagged the car to the side of the road.  The driver obeyed.  "Driver's license?"  Produced.  "Papers?"  Produced.  "Fire extinguisher and hazard triangles?"  "In the boot."  Checked.  Then the police officer began talking about how the lady hadn't had her seat belt on.  He took the driver down to the police truck off the road. 

Things seemed to be going ok.  I didn't see any problem with the police stopping the car because someone in it was breaking the law.  Dr. Y thought differently.  She started ranting about the police just wanting money and stopping people for no reason, and insisting that there was no way they could know the professor wasn't wearing her seat belt. 

Dr. Y got out of the car.  I was like, oh boy, here we go.  She went over to the officers and started yelling at them, arguing, arms flailing, whole nine yards.  I just kept thinking about the Chris Rock video about how not to get beat up by the police.  I even thought she might deserve it if they threw her in jail.  I couldn't understand how yelling and insulting the police was going to do any good.

While all this was going on, another set of people were in a heated argument with the police.  The police had removed the driver and passenger from their vehicle and were driving it to the side of the road.  The vehicle was a federally owned ambulance for a local hospital!

Eventually, everyone that belonged in our car came back and we headed off.  First stop, the Traffic and Road Safety Office.  The police had kept the driver's license and said they would give it back to him there.  The professor who hadn't been wearing her seat belt went into the building with a slip of paper she had been given down at the roadside.

While she was gone, the police drove up, in the ambulance!  They had taken it from the driver.  police man deflating ambulance tireThe driver was with them and went into the building with some of the officers.  While inside, one of the other officers took out a pen and began letting the air out of the drivers-side front tire!

As the air wooshed out of the ambulances tire, the professor returned.  We went to do our visit at the school, but our adventures with the police weren't over yet.  After visiting the school, we had to go to a specific bank in town so the professor could pay the N1,000 naira fine for not wearing her seatbelt.  Then we went back to the Traffic and Road Safety Office with the receipt from the bank.  There, the professor turned in the receipt and finally got the  driver's license back.  The ambulance was still sitting there, all its tires now deflated.

ambulance with deflated tires

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nasarawa State University Law School

Today Dr. Y took me to Nasarawa State University to visit the law school there.  Classes were supposed to resume this past Monday, but there were no students and only two professors around.  We're scheduled to go back in a couple of weeks to meet the Dean and some other professors, and sit in on a lecture.  We did still tour the school though and I was able to take pictures.  Fellow Vanderbilt students, take note!

The University is fairly new, only 5 years old.  The buildings are all painted a bright yellow. sign in front of school

law school faculty building


The parking lot is dirt and buttressed by a field of beans.  The parking spots are still marked though!

parking lot 


The professor that showed us around raved about the accommodations for lecturers.  They each have a toilet and an air conditioner!  He showed us a vacant office.  It had plush carpeting and rich wood furniture, although the walls were still the standard African painted cement.  Not all of the offices had carpeting either.faculty office


The building containing the faculty offices also held a small conference room and the moot court room.small conference room

moot court room

Moot Court room sign


The classroom blocks were adjacent to the faculty offices.  Arranged in a U-shape, the blocks surrounded a shady courtyard.classroom blocks

classroom block courtyard


The lecture halls in the classroom blocks were quite large and filled with wooden desks.lecture hall desks

lecture hall board


The students IT library contained one computer, presumably for the librarian, and a lot of large wooden desks crammed together in the small space.  The faculty library however, had a few more computers and shelves with books.

  IT Library sign

faculty law library


Grades from the last session were posted on the bulletin board out back.

grade board

grade board close


My favorite part was the statute of Blind Lady Justice in front of the building.  She looks like she traded faces with those guys from Easter Island.

blind lady justicecloser view of blind lady justice


We also had a bit of an adventure on the way there, but I'll save that for another post. ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So You're the Man Behind the Curtain

My 10th week at the Nigerian Copyright Commission, and I finally met the DG!  The Director General is the big head honcho (called Oga here); he's like the Nigerian Marybeth Peters.  He runs everything.  A lot of the attorneys in the office get really nervous whenever they see him.  I think it's funny how people can be so intimidated by such a little man, but then, I guess some of the most intimidating people in history have been little.

image image  image 

It was great to finally get to meet him.  He's really nice and very smart.  In fact, he was offered a professorship at Marquette Law School, but he didn't take it.  Said he didn't think twice about refusing it, possibly because of the cold....

I wasn't expecting to get to meet him today.  Someone just called the office in the middle of the afternoon and said, "come to the DG's office."  I was so upset because I wore my least-best suit!  Ok, second least-best.  Still not what I would have worn had I known, but oh well.  Here is a pic of me with the DG, and then one with his driver and his body guard. (nice gun, right?)

me and DG 

DG's driver, me, DG's guard

Monday, October 27, 2008

Swim Shoes

gangsta pic by the pool

In case anyone was wondering, this is me in my swim outfit.   (For this swimsuit.)  Though on this particular day I chose to wear different earrings.  These have lil' baby phat cats and lots of bling! :)  And that gangsta next to me is the Great Matthew Ecclestone, actor extraordinaire.

I Know I'm Going to Miss Her, My Sister Turned into a Tomato

Ok, so it doesn't really have the same ring to it, but that's where I'm at.  Tomato.  Bright red.

We went swimming at the Hilton yesterday.  Laid outside all afternoon in the sun.  Beautiful warm weather, nice breeze, palm trees surrounding us, sparkling blue water, waiters with funny cone-shaped hats bringing us fruity little drinks.  Oh yes, and the Indian guys nearby playing Lil Wayne songs.  Ah, paradise.  It seemed a world away from the grey office in which I spend most of my days.  (In fact, it's less than a mile away; I pass the Hilton everyday on my way to work.)   It was a very nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon.  But, as I said, I'm now a tomato's twin.


The people at home were very funny.  "You've changed colors!  How?"  Auntie Stella asked.  "It go back to normal tomorrow?" says Uncle Tubsosu.  I tried convincing Feyi that Auntie Hope put me in the microwave and cooked me, but she didn't buy it, "you're too long to fit."  Dr. Y took one look at me at work and just started laughing.  Oh well, at least I won't be pasty when I get back to Nashville in January!

Some random guy in the pool tried telling me I had to take out my swimming earrings because I could get hurt.  Uh, whatever!  I am so not going to change my outfit just because I "might get hurt."  Please!  It was bad enough I had to wear my beige sandals because I didn't bring my yellow swim shoes.  (Suitcase only has so much room.)  At least I didn't have to wear flip flops, ugh!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mosquitoes Kill, Kill Mosquitoes*

dara and feyi with balloon hats cropped Dara and Feyi had malaria the other day.  Yep, just one day.  They were miserable, fevers, chills, throwing up and diarrhea.  The next morning, they were fine, running around and making a ruckus as usual.

mazoka cropped Mazoka had malaria a few years ago.  I still remember getting the text message.  Barely a few months after leaving Zambia; I had just arrived home from work.  Don't think I'd even taken my work clothes off yet when Mommy came into the sewing room and found me crying.  "What's wrong?"  I couldn't even answer, I just handed her the phone to read the text message, "Mazoka died this week - malaria."

I loved Mazoka so much.  He was one of my favorites.  My little brother.  The one that I would let come play in the house when no one else was around, because he always cleaned up when he was done.  He was so cute and could always make me laugh.  And he was polite, not like Chipo.  When his little brother, Nchimunya, was born, he was so proud, and he worked really hard to be the best big brother ever.  He was only three at the time, but he would help his mom, Ba Joyce, with anything.  I would often find him out in the fields with her, picking cotton and stuffing it into his little red and blue striped sweater.  During planting season, he'd be out there with his own sickle, helping to clear the old brush.

Mazoka only had one eye, he was born that way.  In Zambia, I used to wonder how that would affect him as he grew up.  Would the girls like him?  Would it bother him?  I remember thinking when I read the text message, "well, that doesn't matter anymore."  But maybe that's why no one ever seemed worried about when he grew up.  Why worry about something you aren't even sure will happen?

When Dara and Feyi got malaria, their mom, Auntie D, gave them medicine from the cupboard.  When Mazoka got malaria, Ba Joyce took him to the local clinic in Chona (about 10km from the family compound), but the clinic was out of medicine.  Dara and Feyi knew about Mazoka, they had seen his picture in my little photo album and had asked about him.  When they found out they had malaria, they were scared and told their mom they didn't want to die.  She told them not to be silly, that malaria wasn't going to kill them.

But that's the difference, isn't it?  Auntie D and Uncle Soji only have two children, because they don't expect them to die.  Ba Lenix and his wives had well over a dozen, because they don't expect them to live.



dara and feyi at nigerian day





Dara and Feyi in their traditional Yoruba clothes at Nigerian Day.





fam cropped

Family photo, 2004.  From left to right:  (Back row) Ba Maureen (2005), Ba Eunice (2005), Ba Crispin, Ba Feya holding Nchimunya, Ba Joyce, Me, (Middle row) Jemulaye, Trust, Ba Lenix, Ngandu, (Front row) Peppino holding Chipo, Joshua, Mazoka (2006).

*"Mosquitoes Kill, Kill Mosquitoes" is the slogan of NetMark Mosquito Nets.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Another Trip to Africa

Hello all.  It's been a long time and a long trip since I last guest-posted in Cali.  But Mom says it's time to share my perspective again, and as every good child knows, when Mom says do something, do it.

So, I'm here in Nigeria with my mom and my cousin, Foo Foo.  Auntie Katrina had let Foo Foo visit me in Nashville, and Mom brought him along so I'd have company.  I'm really glad she did.  I never leave the room the three of us share.  In Zambia, I had a lot of company, CheerBear, Ba Alfred and Duck, not to mention the visitors and neighbors.  In Cali, it was just me and that was very lonely.

Here, there are only ever two visitors.  They never stay the night, and I'm not sure if I like their visits.  They're very cute little girls, but....  they like to tie ribbons on me and Foo Foo, especially on our ears.  Boys aren't supposed to wear ribbons.  They also make a big mess every time they come to visit.  Sometimes mom cleans it up as soon as they leave.  But other times, Foo Foo and I are left laying on the bed covered in barrettes, clips, and those darn ribbons!

One really nice thing about this place compared to any place I've ever gone with Mom before: she's here every night!  Every night she scoops me up and hugs me tight, Foo Foo in her other hand.  It's really nice to have her here all the time.  And to only have to share her with Foo Foo.  Nobody throws me on the floor or tries to take me away from Mom.  Our bed's really hard, not at all like our soft squishy beds back home, but at least it's big.  So big that Mom keeps books and speakers and a picture on it, too.  It sort of reminds me of a long time ago when Mom lived at school and there was also a limbo stick and two bouncy balls on our bed.  And that was a much smaller bed!

Even though I stay home all the time, I still have fun.  Mom makes the bed and tucks me and Foo Foo in before she leaves.  During the day, I play with Foo Foo.  In the evenings we listen to music with Mom.  And at bedtime, the computer reads us a bedtime story.  It's the same one every night, but it's a very good story.  I'm starting to have it memorized I think, "it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife."

Traveling is always a bit rough on me; this time seems worse than usual.  I'm so dirty.  But I can't take a bath because I'm in dire need of surgery.  (I've asked Mom to help me put up a picture so you can see.  This is me and my cousin, Foo Foo.)

daddy bunny and fufu cropped  

Mom's apologized a lot; there's no skin scraps here for her to fix me.   The only thing she has is sort of bluey-green with gold sparkles on it.  I told her no thank you.  I'm a rabbit, not seafoam.  I'll wait 'til we get to Grandma's in December.  Grandma has drawers and closets and bins full of fresh skin.  I'll also be glad to be in Grandma's dry house.  It's so humid here; I'm always damp.  I feel like I never dry, even though I never bath.  And it'll be Christmas time then, when we get to Grandma's.  That means Auntie Katrina, Auntie Wendy, Uncle Nathan, Gibby, Timmy Bear, Grandma and Grandpa will all be there!  Mom will make me a Christmas hat, and maybe some shoes or a tie.  And I'll get to help Mom open her Christmas presents on Christmas morning, like I do every year. 

I'm a little worried about Mom.  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and grabs me.  I can feel her heart pounding when she holds me tight against her chest.  One night, I saw her just staring at Foo Foo, as if he was some monster that was going to attack her.  And she's been crying again, but she smiles while doing it.  This is strange.  She also talks to the computer a lot.  She puts on these big ear muffs and sits on the bed and talks to the computer.  Sometimes she picks me up and I wave to pictures on the screen.  I hope she's not going bonkers!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Change is in the Air, and on the Blog

Regular visitors to this pretty little playground may have noticed a few changes recently.  I would like to take a moment to highlight a few of these and then explain what prompted the changes.

What's in a Name

There are no more archives, no more labels, no more friends and such and no more followers.  (I don't associate with followers anyway.)  Everything has been renamed.  Why?  Because it's fun, and I'm not boring.  You can call me lots of things, but boring is definitely not one of them!  (Someone else has that job.)  Now all titles fit with the theme.  What theme?  The theme of the blog; the theme of my life: fun knickers and childhood toys.

Customer Service

There are now even more ways for you to make sure you don't miss any of the fun.   My sidebar offers three great options.  First, at the bottom of the sidebar, if you have a blogger blog or profile, you can sign up to be a Really Cool Person.  There's only one so far, but Jess is so super cool, that she's holding down the fort quite well.

Not cool enough for a blogger profile but still fairly tech savey?  You can Be One of My Playmates.  Sign up for RSS feeds of the Posts and Comments to have fun sent right to your reader of choice.

No blogger profile and not up on the whole reader thing?  No problem!  Mr. McFeely can help you out.  Just type your email address in the little box at Speedy Delivery and new posts will be speedily delivered to your inbox.  Readers who already receive posts by email may prefer to use this service instead as they will then have control instead of me,  mwahhhh haaa haaa.

The Impetus for Change

I am so cool, that one blog isn't enough to contain all my awesome-ness.  I'm just kidding.  But yes folks, for those of you who don't check out my profile for fun, I have another blog.  It's not just me though.  It's a joint effort with Mr. Trizzle.

Unlike this blog, which is a personal blog, and a very girly "this is my life, I'm so special" one at that, the other blog is a topical blog.  It is about intellectual property, IP for short, and is called Ip's What's Up.  Most of you, readers who are amused by bunny-written guest posts and five year-old perspectives of the world, will probably not care a smidgin about Ip, but you're welcome to check it out anyway.

In the month it's been in existence, we've already gotten over 200 visitors from at least 24 countries.  The readership stats on that blog are blowing this one out of the water!  Thanks in no small part to a British IP blog that gave us a shout out and a Congress-watching website with linkbacks.

It was in making adjustments to create a more reader-friendly atmosphere on Ip that I discovered the possibilities for personalizing the features and learned how to add external features (like Speedy Delivery).  So, being, as I said above, not boring, I had some fun playing with my little toy.  I hope you like the changes and continue enjoying your visits to Garter Skirts and Legos!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


  You know that kind of sickening feeling you get when you feel something thud against the underside of your car?  You quickly check your mirrors, look around.  Perhaps you catch a glimpse of some antlers or fur on the side of the road, or maybe a whiff of skunk in the air.  You drive on, and the sickening feeling subsides.  When you get home, you might check the car for leaks or other damage; it's all soon forgotten.

That's what happened to Dr. Y yesterday, that sickening feeling.  But it didn't subside as she kept driving.  It got worse and worse.  So bad that she couldn't sleep.  So bad that she left all the lights on in the house and called a friend to come stay with her.  You see, when Dr. Y looked around, she didn't see antlers or fur.  She saw legs, wearing pants and shoes.

imageIt was on the expressway in Abuja, just after dark.  Rushing cars ahead of Dr. Y were swerving, so she followed suit and swerved with them.  It wasn't until she was passing that she saw why they were swerving, those legs with the pants.  And then she felt that sickening thud.  She kept going.  She had to.

You see, as Dr. Y explained it, if you stop, the police hold you responsible.  They arrest you.  They take you to the police station and charge you with the accident.  So no one stops.  And no one did.  They just kept swerving.  For who knows how long.


[image from:]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Iron Your Socks and Underwear

Ok, I was kinda vampired-off when I found out about this, cuz one of the first things I did when I got here was ask the girls at Flat 007 if Nigeria has botflies.  We had them in Zambia, and I don't think there was anything I was more afraid of.  Ok, well maybe the black mambas.  They had no idea what I was talking about.  "You know, those flies that lay eggs on your clothes and then if your clothes aren't super dry when you wear them, the eggs burrow into your skin and hatch in you and then the little larvae try to come out of the big boil on you."   They said there was no such thing here. 

So here I am, not ironing anything that doesn't actually need ironing, and then I find out - there are botflies here!  A girl from Pakistan told us this weekend about a friend of hers who got one from a bra she took out of the cupboard!  In Zambia, we just let our clothes dry for three days and then we could wear them.   The climate wasn't as humid as it was here, so things left out for three days generally dried pretty well, killing any botfly eggs in the process.

Well, here we have to iron.  Luckily, I have electricity and an electric iron.  Every morning, and every evening after bathing, it's time to get out that iron and iron away.  Have you ever tried to iron a push-up bra with an underwire?  It's not easy!  That certainly wasn't a problem in Zambia.  We didn't iron all our clothes in the village.  It wasn't practical; charcoal was expensive.  I saved my ironing for really important things, like sewing.  Besides, I was about 35lbs heavier, and a good chunk of it was in my chest.  Oh well!  Back to the iron.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Would Just Like to Take a Moment

... and say that it's about time something in the news made me smile.

If you want to smile, too, read.

And thanks Steve, for bringing this to my attention.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Natives

This week, I finally got my other natives that I ordered with my "seafoam" outfit.  I picked the style out of a Nigerian fashion magazine.  These are their own oddities, usually just pages and pages of photos of ordinary people at weddings and funerals.  For both these occasions someone picks out a fabric and everyone gets their outfit made of the same fabric.  So the magazine will have two or three page spreads of many different styles of dresses, all in the same, usually hideous, fabric.

Although it's a little more Jane than Elizabeth, I still like it.  And I really like the color and print.  But just so we're clear, this is a Nigerian dress.  People stop me and say, "ah yes, you are wearing our clothes now," or "our clothes look very nice on you."  And I try not to smirk at the absurdity of this style being "their clothes."
I think there are two truly Nigerian aspects to my new natives.  One, you can see: the onion print on the fabric.  The other is hidden: the way the garment was put together.  It sort of reminds me of when I was first learning to sew and tried to make Barbie clothes from scratch.  I can't wait to get home and show Mommy.  I'm sure she'll say, "that's an interesting way to do that."
pride and prejudice natives cropped

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Walking We Will Go

I really like walking to and from work!

My feet however, may feel differently about the matter.

bandaged toe

glossy toe

bloody heels

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going, Going, Back, Back

During the past few months overseas, I've seen a lot of IP conferences and events that I wish I could have attended. I've also found several companies that seem like ideal places to work. And they are almost uniformly in the same place, in the Yay. It seems like the best place to be for what I want to do. And Bar Exam registration is right around the corner; decisions need to be made.

So, I guess, in the words of the Notorious B.I.G., "I'm going, going, back, back to Cali, Cali."  Hopefully, the similarities between our journeys will end with that.

I'm a little nervous, the weather in the Bay isn't exactly my favorite. And as anyone who was reading this during the summer knows, I have some issues with yuppies. The bowling's expensive; the food's expensive; the housing's expensive. But, there are plenty of good things, too. The public transport is great. I have family out there, and a bunch of friends, too. Ok, I borrowed most of the friends from Mr. Trizzle. But they're good people, and he doesn't seem to mind sharing (usually). Oh, and the music scene is a nice piece. Where else could I stand 5 feet away from Angelique Kidjo!  Besides, it's just a starting point; I can always move. Maybe even go back, back to Mil-town. ;)

yeaaaaah (3)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Me

Today, I decided to walk home.  Well, I didn't really decide.  I just started walking.  I needed to walk.  I didn't feel like dealing with the taxi drivers, so I headed off in the opposite direction, towards the room.  And I just kept going. 

I'd thought about walking to work before, it doesn't seem far.  I figured it might take about an hour or so.  I was wrong.  It only took 40 minutes.  Work is even closer than I thought; probably just 2 miles.  Much shorter than the walk from my hut to transport in Zambia.  More cars though, less cows, so I guess it evens out.  And thankfully, no crazy turkeys like that one that chased me.  Still got the chickens.

It was a nice walk.  A pleasant day, not too hot, mid 80s maybe.  Early evening, so the sun was low in the sky.  It's dark by 6:30 here.  The breeze was cool and heavy with moisture.  Dust covered my shoes and darkened my legs.  It felt good to feel the sweat dripping down my face, reminded me of Zambia, reminded me I'm alive.  How do people sit in one place all day, every day?

I'm starting to wish I'd remembered to bring my inhaler.  The weather is changing.  The air is heavy but it doesn't rain.  The dust is coming off the ground.  It feels like we're breathing sandy mud.  I drink my water and try to take deep breaths.  And I'm thankful for the blue backpack Mr. Trizzle gave me before I left.  It's soft and cushy, well padded and designed to shift the weight of my heavy books.  It doesn't suffocate me like my old backpack, doesn't crush my lungs from behind, doesn't strangle me or make me hunch over to balance the weight.

The walk was so nice, I didn't even mind that there was no power when I got home.  My eyes adjusted to the dimly lit bathroom and the cold water cascading out of the shower head felt delightful.  I stood there long after the last soap suds had washed down the drain, my skin soaking up refreshing drops, others rolling gently off my shoulders.  I closed my eyes and felt so peaceful.  Nobody was snapping at me, no one was yelling or criticizing.  My legs ached in the pleasant way that lets you know you've used them.  It was wonderful.

Maybe I'll walk home again someday.  As soon as the blisters on my heels heal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chop Chop Chop*

I can't really get to used to it, these people who eat until they are full instead of just until the food is gone. It's strange, and it annoys me. It annoys me how they constantly remark that I'm taking too little. Or that if they were to make a sandwich for lunch they would need many pieces of bread. "That's not a sandwich; that's a loaf of bread," I tell them. It annoys me how they fill their plate, finish it and then go eat my food. It annoys me how they will eat and eat and eat and then talk about how much more they could it as if it's something to brag about. I used to do that too, but I was 13. I didn't know any better. They're adults.

But these adults live with Auntie and Uncle. They don't pay for anything. They don't work. They stay home all day and then gripe about the things auntie and uncle ask them to do. They complain about the foods they don't have. This place has more food than I've seen in one house before. A fridge, two deep freezers, a gigantic walk in pantry, kitchen shelves and cupboards, all filled with boxes, bags, containers of food. Much of it brought back from trips to South Africa or the UK. Sometimes, as I make my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I think it's all too ridiculous.

We weren't poor growing up, but Mommy and Daddy taught us to be prudent and thankful for what we had. One can of veggies split accordingly, a potato per person, and however they divided the meat I didn't eat. That was enough. It was a meal. And a good meal, too. Everybody took a portion, being sure to leave enough for the others to get a decent share. Almost always, there was a little bit left in the pot, nobody wanting to take the last of it until they were sure everyone else had gotten enough.

I'm sure there were times, especially when we were teenagers, that we were ungrateful. "But Mommy, I'm still hungry….." we'd whine. "Too bad. You ate dinner." Maybe there'd be some ice cream in the freezer or cookies on the shelf for dessert. But once the food on the table was gone, the leftover meat put in the fridge, and dessert had, dinner was over. And that's still how it is - sort of.

I may make a big pot of pasta or chili, but I only eat a bowl. The rest goes in the fridge for the next day, and the next day, and the day after that. Don't get me wrong, I eat. I eat frequently. So often my friends poke fun at me. But I watch what I eat, how much I eat. Partly to make sure I get enough of the right nutrients, partly to make sure I only spend what I can.

Uncle Tubsosu likes to gloat as he takes half the rice or spaghetti, piles it high onto the biggest plate he can find, "me, I can chop now. I can finish this-o and still want chop again, abi." Just because you can eat an entire horse doesn't mean you should. I know I can drink a gallon of milk in a day, but I make it last a week. I buy a pack of crackers and split it so that I have a few crackers to take to work each day for my mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Could I eat a whole pack everyday? Probably, but why?

If they want to eat Auntie and Uncle out of house and home, whatever, but I wish they'd leave my food alone. I work hard to make that box of cereal last two weeks, or that loaf of bread a week and a half. I can't complain because Auntie and Uncle are being so nice and doing so much for me. It is their amala, moin moin and eggs that I eat each week. I feel like I should share what I have, but I get so angry when Auntie Stella takes four slices of my wheat bread. There is no reason anyone needs to eat four slices of bread in one sitting! That's two days worth of my lunches!

Argh. Blogging about this was supposed to help, but now, I'm even more upset. I'm going to eat my three morning wafer cookies now. >(

*"chop" means "eat" in pidgin

Saturday, October 11, 2008


 I'm becoming afraid to come back to America.  What will my country look like by December?

Eku Ojobi!

    It's my sister's birthday today.  A whole quarter of a century.  I'd say she's getting old, but she can't be; she's my little sister.

The vampire face must be genetic

See, so cute and little!

Happy Birthday Wendy Woo-Hoo

Now - so much bigger

 Wendy and her violaok, ok, so she's not quite this big - but she wouldn't come home for Christmas so Katrina and I had to make her out of snow.

Here's the real Wendy now - all grown up, *sniff*


herp coll (4)

at work ^ and at play v

KUSA 9 Packers



me and wendy in lincolnI love you Alfred ~ your big sister