Category Archives: Life

It’s a Domestic Affair

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One of my favourite things to do in the mornings while on vacation is to watch local tv talk shows. I find Smile Jamaica quite refreshing and informative … and the host are just wonderful.

Yesterday (ok, this is more like a year ago, since this blog has been in draft since 20-May-11), they interviewed the president of the Jamaica Household Workers Association, a group that provides support services and forums for domestic helpers in Jamaica. I didn’t see the interview from the beginning but caught it in time to hear that she would be going to Geneva Switzerland to attend the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference from June 1 – 17, 2011. Just the mere mention of the International Labour Organization (ILO) piqued my interest as I had the opportunity whilst being a part of the Union movement of my company some years ago to attend a workshop put on by the ILO. At the time, the focus was on working conditions, equality of wages for men and women and the right to union representation in the organization.

This year, one of the agenda items is “Decent Work for Domestic Workers”. This brought a smile to my face for several reasons. If anyone of you has had a helper or knows anyone who has a helper, the description usually brings about some amount of humour to the conversation. Domestic Workers or Helpers as we call them in Jamaica, are generally stereotyped as illiterate women who got pregnant at 15 and was able to do nothing more than wash, clean and iron to make a living. I didn’t have the luxury of having a helper … yes, I had to wash clean and iron for myself for my entire adult life until about 2 years ago, I convinced my husband that my body and our life as a couple would not hold up much longer if I was just tired all the time. Fortunately for me, I’ve only been through 2 helpers, 1 who went on hiatus after an illness and the other who came in to fill her space and did an excellent job of handling my chores while I spent more time doing other things, such as spending time with my children, reading, gardening, etc.

For many families, the idea of a “helper” doesn’t begin to describe the level of involvement of this person in their lives. The helper to some is the very backbone of the family. These are usually “live in helpers” and do everything from washing clothes, cleaning and maintaining the home, ironing, cooking, taking care of the children before and after school, helping with homework and in rare instances, supervise other worked who are also employed to serve the head of the household in whatever way (gardener, chauffeur, etc.)

I would like the day to come when the Domestic Workers association will seek to further empower these women, and remove the astigmatism that comes with the job of being a helper. There are so many people who treat these women worse than their own dogs, because they view them as “maids” or “slaves” who are worth no more than the minimum wage most of them earn. These domestic workers deserve much more respect that they receive today. Don’t get me wrong, as in every profession, there are those that give the good ones a bad name, by destroying people’s clothes or furniture, steal money and grocery items, and possibly abuse children. These are NOT the ones to which I refer. I am referring to those women who take their job ad a domestic worker seriously enough to do the job well, professionally and with due and proper care. Many families could not survive or function efficiently without a domestic helper. I salute all deserving domestic helpers who give their employers a reason to be proud. My hope is that the Jamaica Domestic Workers Association will garner the support necessary to provide the necessary guidance to this group of very important workers. There are courses that can be done in Household Management, and they should encourage their members to avail themselves of these courses to make them better at what they do.

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Me in my skin

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I’m literally counting down the to my vacation. So much has happened this year, personally, financially, professionally, socially, politically, etc. And yet, at the end of the year, I’m thinking about what did I achieve? What did I do differently this year than last year? What did I do to change my world 1 person at a time? I always get into a reflective mood as the end of the year approaches.

Well, this year, I must say that I’m proud of myself on some fronts, not so proud in others, but all in all, loving me more and more each day. It is this love of self that brings me again to making a commitment to myself and ultimately to my loved ones, to make and stick to some lifestyle changes. I’ve made many changes this year, especially in terms of diet and exercise primarily. The food part I’ve improved on but still a work in progress. The exercise part, I keep getting on and off the wagon. It seems that there is just not enough time in a day to do everything there is to do. When you are the woman of a household with man and children to take care of, many times YOU get neglected. So, the time is spent taking care of them, the house, the car, etc. and then, no time left for yourself. I remember the days when I used to go to the beauty salon on a weekly basis to get my hair washed and styled and my nails done. These visits now take place at most 2 times a month, unless there is a special occasion, which I usually don’t have time to go to anyway. It’s not only this that has suffered. I started out a couple weeks back on an exercise regimen. Working out on my eliptical machine which I spent good money on, is now a showpiece in my bedroom. I enjoyed my work out immensely and managed to do 1 hour after going at it for 2 weeks … then came the long hours at work, the getting home later than usual and the focus on getting homework done and then kids to bed. By then I would be physically and mentally drained, enough just barely to take a shower and curl up in bed to watch TV or read a few pages of the books that hold my interest at the moment. My partner and I started exercising together, then came his long hours and I just couldn’t find myself getting out bed at 10:30 at night to go outside for a work out. Yes, I know these things take sacrifices but at the end of it all, where do I draw the line? One thing I’ve learned is that rest is important, and if it’s one thing I don’t sacrifice it’s my 8 hours sleep each day/night. I’ve also done well to manage my stress I think so that’s a good thing.

So, what am I resolving to do now? Really, I just need to maintain my exercise program and I’ll be happy with myself that I’m doing what is necessary to keep healthy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to become a vegetarian overnight. My personal view is all things in moderation, control your portions and you’re good to go. No way I’m cutting out chocolate from my diet!!

Next up on my agenda is VACATION!! Yes! 2 weeks from the dungeons of work. No conference calls, no follow up on issues. No campaigns to launch, no financials to analyze, no marketing collateral to review and approve. No boss! I’m planning to go to Portland while I’m on vacation. I’ve been putting this off for too long, having not been to Portland in over 10 years. I’m sure Stunner will have some great suggestions of things to do and places to go while in the island gem of the west.

So, that’s it after my unintentional sabbatical. Am I welcome back with open arms?

I have no intention of quitting this blog. It is such a great outlet and I really need to utilize it more. As a matter of fact, I’ve started another blog, more professional that I’ll share with you when I think the time is right.

Until then, you can follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/#!cooldestinynj

Love you all! Bless up!

Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone

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It is only 10 months since I lost one of my closest friends and here I am mourning the loss of another one of my close friends. Gone Too Soon, the famous Michael Jackson song, is so appropriate to describe the death of these 2 beautiful women.

It is so hard to comprehend the concept of death. When you lose a loved one, especially someone so young, the thoughts of why immediately enter your mind. Even Christians, who have a deep faith and belief in God and a better life after death, have to grapple with the thoughts of WHY. The what ifs, the maybe if, or even just the if. The thoughts of what we want to be when we lose someone is enough to make you become insane. I remember my first encounter with death. I was 21 years old and one of my then best friend’s brother passed away under very tragic circumstances. I remember being in disbelief. I remember driving and not knowing how I actually got home that evening after hearing of his passing. I remember the pain I felt and the need to be strong for my best friend. I remember his mother, being heavily sedated in order to make it through the days from his death leading up to the funeral service. It all was just too much to bear.

Today, it’s been 17 days since the passing of another one of my closest friends. I’m still in disbelief that all this is happening. I’m having a really difficult time accepting the reality that she’s gone, leaving behind her loved ones, including 2 sons, one of whom is just 1.5 years old, to continue to live their life without there beloved mother, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, companion. It is only the grace of God that has kept me going. I keep saying to myself if I’m feeling so distraught about it, I can’t begin to imagine what her family is going through. I was asked to do a tribute at the thanksgiving service for her life tomorrow, on behalf of our company. I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to say goodbye to her, in this way, one last time.

I continue to pray for strength and comfort for those of us left behind to mourn her death. I wrote this poem in her honour.

Still can’t believe you’re gone
Still can’t accept the reality
Still trying to understand
Comprehend, rationalize

The spirit of your smile,
The warmth of your voice,
The encouraging words,
The frankness of your criticisms
All the things that made you
Who you were

The void you leave
Compares to nothing as empty
Vessels, brains, promises
Just empty

From where should our comfort come
From God? Yes!
And from the pleasant memories you left
From the indelible mark you left
On everyone you came across
From the thoughts of your
Compassion, empathy, friendship
The wonderful thoughts of who you were
That sustains us
And makes us smile
Even though you’re gone.

R.I.P. Kerrian. Words cannot express this sadness.

I’m Back … Again

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Wow! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted here. It seems like it was just the other day, but alas … it’s been a while! It is truly amazing at how some things in your life just take a back seat as you go through the rigours of life. It’s not for a lack of things to post about, or a lack of desire to share with you some of the exciting and not so exciting happenings in my life, or a lack of things happening in the world and in our region that have warranted many rants and comments … but … For one reason or another, just never get around to making a post.

Anyhow, Happy New Year to all my blog peeps who are still stopping by to see if CD has something to say. It really means a lot especially when I know that I haven’t been keeping this blog as up to date as I should.

Nonetheless, a lot has happened with CD since the last post. From going back to school to pursue a short 1 year skill diploma, to going through many changes on the professional scene (although having the same job title … grateful to still have a job!) to losing a very close friend of mine to the dreaded disease called Cancer to starting a new exercise regimen, to getting some much needed rest during the Christmas holiday, to spending some time with a few friends … all in all, CD is happy about life and where she is right now.

This has been a very surreal period for me as well as last year this time, I was in and out of hospital, in excrutiating pain and give God thanks that I am here to talk about it. So many didn’t make it to 2010 and for those who went too soon, they are an inspiration for me to live my life to the fullest.

Yes people, as last year’s American Idol Kris Allen sings in his billboard single, “Live Like We’re Dying”. Tomorrow is promised to no one and we should all make the best of every minute of every day. Show the ones you love that you do.
Do good to others, no matter how small. Keep a song in your heart and a smile on your face, even when things are not going exactly the way you want. Spend more time with your family and loved ones. Don’t get caught up in the job and other things that are secondary or just a means to an end. The very breath you take is the hope you should hold on to … you are alive therefore, anything is possible. Live your life enjoying every minute despite the stresses of the real world and real bad situations you have to deal with. If you have friends and family to support you through a difficult time, you are fortunate and blesssed that you’re not alone.

That’s my kick off for the new year and plan to keep that outlook comes what may!

Have a fabulous day blog peeps. Love you all!

Time Flies Pt 1

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It is amazing how fast the time flies by. I can’t believe my last post was one month ago. I missed out on posting about the World Championships in Berlin which showed Jamaican athletes at their best. We had a wonderful showing there, similar to Beijing. I missed out on talking about all the interesting things happening in Jamaica, all the interesting things happening in my life, the recession, etc. etc. etc. What can I say? Facebook is partly to blame. Death to the creators of Sorority House, YoVille, Farm Town and Scrabble Worldwide. They did their best to create interesting activities that kept you coming back for more like a junkie hooked on Propofol and would do anything, sacrifice anything just to get more. I must admit, work has been very hectic for me the past few weeks and I must say, FB has given me solace … my stress relief has come from plowing and sowing seeds of peas, cotton and strawberries, and harvesting them at the market, levelling up and making more money to by a larger farm and an expensive farm house. Oh yes … thank God for FB. But alas, it is completely to blame for keeping me away from you, my few yet faithful followers and for that I humbly apologize. Despite having crops to harvest as I type this post, I made a vow to myself today that I would post and I am living up to that promise to myself.

On another note, today was an extremely shitty day at work. I said to my closest colleague and to the BF that I would like a Red Ryder B-B Gun … similar to the one Charlie wanted on “A Christmas Story” … just to pop a shot on some of the idiotic nincompoops I have to work with, with the hope that it would jolt some semblance of sense into them. Doing the work is hard enough as it is sometimes, but when you have downright imbeciles working with, it makes me want to scream … Funny enough, 1 other manager outburst in the office “A wha do dis mad woman doh eh”. I just had to laugh and ask her if she would like a B-B gun too. It’s amazing what you put up with just to have a job to make ends meet.

Speaking of make ends meet, I would also like to use the B-B Gun on the toll operators who in their absolute wisdom, have raised the Portmore toll AGAIN to TWICE what it was at inception in July 2007. How crazy is that? Mad people. B-B Gun fi dem!

The most important thing that happened in the past month is that I went on vacation for one week. And me and my family went here
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And here …
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And we had a fabulous time. I was glad to be able to give my children the experience of being on a plane, which they enjoyed thoroughly, didn’t sleep a wink … and they were such troopers at Disney. The more time I spend with them, the more I understand that that is what life is all about, creating memories, loving life and each other.

CD gone to get some shut eye … catch up with you again soon.

Bless up!

Natural Cures

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During my recent period of illness, I had the opportunity to read the book  Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About by Kevin Trudeau.   If any of you have read the book, you would know that it speaks about a few lawsuits short of a conspiracy perpetrated by the medical profession, the drug industry, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Now, I’m not one to be easily brain-washed, and I use that term very loosely.  But, after reading the book, I felt vindicated that there was actually someone else in the world who shared my view.  I guess having grown up in the modern world, we were exposed to so many pills and surgery that could “cure” our ailments.  It is quite disheartening to learn that there are natural cures for so many chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Disease that are being surpressed by the FDA that I cry for the world we live in, where the love of money is the root of all evil and it continues to rear its ugly head all around us.  From wealthy people taking poor people’s money under the guise of attractive returns on Investment (Good riddance to Madoff) to drug companies charging an arm and a leg for medication that is not curing any condition to associations claiming to trying to find a cure for ilnesses that are plaguing the world and causing thousands of death annually.

I had a “not so serious” illness and it cost me almost J$1M for medical care including surgery.

There is a lot said about Kevin Trudeau and the fact that he is making millions of dollars doing what he does.  This is someone who has served time for mistakes caused by greed.  The FDA made successful attempts to censor and put him and others out of business.  The truth is, there is a place in this world (and more so the land of America, the land of freedom and opportunity) for everyone – diverse medical opinions, diverse religious views, diverse work ethics, diverse relationship practices.  To each their own.

For me, I am sold on Kevin Trudeau and his theroy about prescription and non-prescription drugs, eating habits and other health and lifestyle practices.  I have made small adjustments to my lifestyle based on what I can afford and what is most convenient to my circumstances.   It just may make me live a little bit longer.

Bless up.

My New Hobby

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I have suddenly developed a new interest in Gardening.  I love to see a well manicured lawn, and since moving in to my own home 2 years ago, have done some gardening to make the front of the house look warm and welcoming.  Now, I want to do more with it!  Bring some more colour into the landscape, remove some of my plants that are still in pots and plant them in the soil so they can grow and be nurtured by the natural earth.

I had a plant, not sure of the name but it was a very weird plant, in that, it loves sun, but if you left it in the sun for too long without watering it, the leaves would actually shrivel and wilt.  Immediately upon watering it, the leaves spring back to life in a matter of minutes.  I found it quite amazing.  Unfortunately, for me, the plant met its dismal day when I came home from work to find all the leaves literally dried up – not wilted, not shriveled – DRY!  You can imagine my distress.  I try to be good about watering the garden at least every other day, but sometimes, the bed, the TV and now La La keep me from wanting to go into the garden in the evenings/nights after my children are gone to bed.

Anyway, I took the tree from the front of the yard to the back to see if there was any hope of reviving it.  When I looked at it, the stalks were all black.  I frowned.  I was very sad.  So, I started to remove the dead leaves from the plant.  In the process of doing this, I cut through one of the stalks … and … lo and behold … there was sap!  Yes!  Life!  There was hope.  So, I proceeded to remove all of the dead leaves, and remove the stalks that were really dead.  I then put the plant to the side of the house that gets the least sun and I vowed to bring it back to life.  One thing I was concerned about was the fact that there were no other flourishing plants around this one so, from the plant psychologist world, he would not have inspiration or company to make him want to grow.  So, after a few days of daily watering of stalks and root, I got a pleasant surprise!!!

This is my beloved plant, springing back to life.  I never knew I had a green thumb .. ok, that may be pushing it a bit, but I felt quite proud and vidicated when I saw the first tiny leaf sprouting on the plant.  There are a few more leaves on it.  I have moved it back to the front of the garden so it can feed off the energy and growth of the other plants at the front.  I think I may really have a knack for it.  I know gardening tends to be something for older more mature ladies so I’m concerned that I’m getting “old” … :-\

On another note, I never get tired of seeing Usain Bolt win.  My eyes are on Yohan Blake though .. I think he will be the next big thing in Track & Field.  I hope Kerron wins the Golden League or at least gets to share the US$1M!

Bless up.