Sunday, 19 June 2011

40 days of thankfulness

I've not had a chance to update my blog this week but I have been keeping track of my days of thankfulness and making quick notes in my iPhone! I don't know what I did before this phone of mine- well actually, I carried my notebook - I still do most days but there's something nice about not having to rummage in my satchel for a pen that I like...

Today is day 28/40... This is going really quickly. So to round up my week:

Day twenty-three: thankful for people that say the right thing at exactly the right time, without really knowing how powerful their testimony is to me. This happens to me a lot actually - perhaps they know something I don't... perhaps they're angels...or perhaps I just hear what I want to : )

Day twenty-four: thankful for finding time to read by book.I sadly find it hard to make time to just sit down, chill and read for pleasure. Today I did- yey!! I'm loving 'eat, pray, love' and I'm fantasising about someday, one day, having a similar sort of book published. Someday...

Day twenty-five: today was such a productive day at work. You know one where you're in the zone and just feeling positive. I also felt really good that I work amongst people that make me laugh. I love to laugh- I'd laugh all day if I could, but then people may think I'm crazy....

Day twenty-six: we got home to find a parcel, for baby girl. It was a little baby doll (that looks like baby girl) bought by a wonderful couple of friends of ours who live in India and the UK. They're such a wonderful couple and I'm so happy to call them friends. Today I just felt so blessed on behalf of our daughter. She is so so loved and probably has no idea how much and for this I'm eternally grateful!

Day twenty-seven: thankful for stumbling into Selfridges today and meeting an international make up artist call George at the Bobbi Brown counter. She was a White lady with a fro! This, I love! She showed me how to do the most fabulous nude lip. I had no choice but to treat myself. Sure she was only doing her job, but for a dew moments, I felt fabulous!!! Also thankful that I am fit enough to run from the bus stop to the train station with a suit ass and a bag of shopping!!! I caught the train to London and spent the evening attaching up an old(my second oldest) friend.

Day twenty-eight: thankful for being able to confide in old friends.

Mrs O

Monday, 13 June 2011

40 days of thankfulness

Day Twenty: Thankful for being able to squeeze a million and one things into my Saturday and still fall asleep smiling.

Day Twenty-One: Thankful for being able to just chill my two favourite people and being able to have a top five daytime nap (it really is the little things)!

Day Twenty-Two: Thankful for having THE world's nicest, longest, most loving snuggle with Mr O before having to get up and out of bed - kisses for breakfast really is the best thing to start my day. I've had a pretty good day and this mornings 'cuddles' (yes I'm a big kid) still tops my day! But then again, I haven't watched the glee season finale yet or Funda vs Caggie... : )P

Mrs O

Friday, 10 June 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Nineteen - blonde skin and hair accessories!

Today started off awfully and I mean awfully - painfully!

We were driving to work and I had a conversation with Baby Girl - it came out of the blue. I was totally unprepared for it. It was heartbreaking and it went like this:

Little Miss O: I want to be like Lucy

Me (knowing exactly what she meant, but hoping I was wrong): What do you mean you want be like Lucy?

Little Miss O (touching one hand with the other): I don't want to be like this

Me: What do you mean you don't want to be like you - you are you and you have beautiful brown
chocolately skin - like Mummy and like Daddy...

Little Miss O: I want to have blonde skin.

We arrived at nursery and my heart was somewhere in the pit of my stomach. It's a conversation that I imagined I would have to have with her someday - just not today - and not when she was aged three and not when I was about to drop her off to play without my supervision - and not when she was sitting behind me in the car and not with me unable to hold her beautiful 'chocolately' hand whilst she told me she doesnt want to be black!

The conversation was just wrong on so many many levels. Heartbroken, I tried so hard not to make a big deal out of what she had said. After all, she is only three.. she says a lot of random things.. like she'll say 'I don't want to go to sleep for a week!' or 'I'm not your friend anymore' or 'my baby brother gave me the biscuit' - this one is especially random as she doesn't have a baby brother...!

But today - this random comment hurt me so much. I took Little Miss O into nursery and I tried hard to acknowledge her comment without showing emotion about it (I was in shock partly!) and making her freak out over the issue but I tried so hard to say the right thing - whatever that is in such a situation!

As we walked into nursery, I pointed out the multi-coloured faces of the children and staff and commented that everyone is different and that's why everyone is special. I explained that that's why God loves us all, because he made us all different on purpose and that 'Mummy and Daddy love you very much!'. I don't know what she absorbed from our little 'chat'. She seemed very excited to enter her room and see her friends, but as I walked back to the car, the flood gates opened and my eyes filled with tears.

I got into the car, closed the door and just collapsed on my lap in the passenger seat - no doubt Mr O thought I was insane. I was distraught at having to have had that conversation so early. I felt disappointed - what had we done wrong? Why did our three year old already want to be someone else - a white girl?! I blubbered through my tears to Mr O saying 'now, she wants to be white (sniff!) - tomorrow she'll realise she will never be white (sniff!) and then the next day (sniff!), she might decide to bleach her skin (sniff!) and then she'll want to relax her hair like all the other girls in the playground (sniff!) because he thick afro wont be 'pretty' enough (sniff!)...

I went on and on and on! I was probably   definitely over-thinking, but sometimes we do that we're not sure what to do. About 15 minutes later, I walked into work. When my office-mate asked 'how are you?', my usual chirpy 'great..bla bla bla about you?!' was replaced with 'Not good, I am so upset because baby girl doesn't want to be black!'... She was really sympathetic and told me it was significant but not life-destroying! She was right and she's a great gal to have round the office.

A couple of years ago, I would never have said that to a colleague (in fact anyone other than Mr O) that I am 'so upset'. I would just have said 'fine', which I know understand to mean Freaked out Insecure Neurotic and Emotional! : )

Now, I know that this post has been super long. It's long because today's conversation with my daughter was one that I imagine will shape our relationship - I almost feel like I have had a revelation!

Day Nineteen:

Thankful for realising that everything I do and say (and don't say) has an impact on my beautiful, bright-eyed, afro-headed brown baby and the way she sees herself and the person she will become.

Thankful for not feeling compelled to say 'fine' when I'm really really not! [big achievement for me!]

Thankful for all the hair accessories that I got for free today - to prolong the wearing of my current favourite twist-out hair do.

Thankful for finding my Matthew Williamson pashmina which I bought about 5 years ago even though I couldn't afford it. I bought it because it had my (then) initials 'M.W' on it! I enjoyed wearing this pashmina for 3 years and then I lost it! My aunt returned it to me - and then I lost it again for about a year, so I am so so so so happy to have found it today and I'm wearing it now and I will probably sleep in it! - just to make sure I don't lose it again!

Mrs O

Thursday, 9 June 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Eighteen

Today has been a funny day. I have pretty much laughed/danced uncontrollably for the whole day! Good times...

A lady at work, who I have to say has always gone over and above the call of duty where I am concerned brought in a mass of jewellery today and said 'free for all'. I actually ran to the coffee room to scavenge! Now, I know I said yesterday that I hate shopping, but when it comes to accessories, I don't even need to go to them - they just come to me! I love accessories and was super excited to see all the rings and earrings glittering across the table...

The story behind it is that my colleague's Husband who works as a shop-fitter and when his company goes to refit shops, anything that is left behind gets thrown in the skip - except when he takes it and gives it to my colleague and daughter. How amazing is that. All this jewellery was from the various concessions at Selfridges  and all the females in my huge building came out to take their pick. I bagged myself a couple of pairs of earrings and a ring... and then I had a cheeky thought...

What if there was more of this stuff that I could take to the charity shop where I've started volunteering at?

Now, my Mum taught me that if 'you don't ask - you don't get', The Bible taught me to ask and you shall receive and so what did I do... I asked...and I received.

My lovely colleague gave me a bag of items to take to the charity shop and I was absolutely chuffed! She even said that she would bring some more items in for me tomorrow. This is a blessing, she has continuously been a blessing to me without even knowing it. I am so so grateful because not only will people buy this brand new (and very nice) jewellery, but it will get them back in the shop (possibly) in the hope that there is more jewellery there...


Day Eighteen: Thankful for other people's generosity - and for Mr O bringing out a surprise tub of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough!

This day has been a good great one!

Mrs O

40 days of being thankful- day 16 and day 17

So, today I'm doing day 16 and day 17 in one go....

Yesterday was good... the particularly positive parts:

1) I realised that for 16 days straight (now 17) that I have been thinking positive, whinging less and spreading sunshine all around! Woo hoo!

2) I'm really excited about Mindy Kaling's book release in November.I only heard of Mindy recently actually when I started watching the American Office. The number of parallels between Mindy and I is a little freaky, but I love the show and can't seem to get enough...  Her book 'is everyone hanging out without me (and other concerns)' is exactly the sort of book that I like... full of short sweet chapters, where I don't have to concentrate on 10 plots that have been skillfully woven together. I'll admit it, my attention span doesn't really lend itself to reading long prose. Sometimes I wish I could - but so far, I don't seem able to do this. Give me a collection of Maya's poems or even a script from a scene of Romeo and Juliet and I can be left alone for hours..

The first few pages of Mindy's book (I guess it's a sneak peek) made actually laugh out loud. I was just really excited to have been introduced to this book and I can't wait for my copy in November!

Day Sixteen: Thankful for the persistence that has helped me reach day 16 of my 40 and for people who introduce me to things that make me laugh.

Onto today. Well, I can't actually express how happy I am today!!! Today definitely took a convoluted road to 'thankfulness' (which isn't to say I have spent the day whinging/being negative/being ungrateful) but the day was just topped of by my impromptu shopping trip!

Now, I like going to the shops and stumbling upon items that scream my name BUT I loathe - detest even, shopping with a purpose - unless its for a gift and then I love the treasure hunt! For me though, there is little worse than heading out to the shops to find a specific item of clothing... for some reason, I never EVER find what I am looking for. I have toyed with the idea of becoming a seamstress JUST so that I don't have to shop for clothes anymore - that is how much I can't stand traipsing around the shops looking for said item or worse itemS! This evening, that is exactly what I did : ( I traipsed round (thank God for UGGs) looking for a black shift dress to wear for my graduation. I walked along wishing that I already owned one, kicking myself for not buying all those cute shift dresses I had surely caught a glimpse of in the winter months. Why oh why did I have to wait until I needed this item before looking for it! Huff! Alas, there is no such dress - in my size available to buy in the shops where my wallet will stretch to....I wont even look in shops that I cannot buy from (this just wastes my energy and makes me even more fed up - and slightly depressed and envious of others - not a result guys!!) So, I was getting fed up, my shoulders were aching, my feet were trobbing and this is after less than 2 hours of shopping albeit also after 9 hours at work!

I turned the corner in my final shop (yes, I had decided it was my final shop! I only really enter 5/6 select shops nowadays. In fact, make it 5 as I am black-listing H & M now for anything other than causal gear. So, I turned the corner in my final shop (Zara) and there it was - a stumblee! I just stumbled upon what I think I will wear for my graduation next month. I didn't even try it on. I just took what I know to be my now fuller size and paid for it. Just like that. I then popped into one of the even fewer places that I buy shoes from and bang, they had my size! I had searched for this exact same pair of shoes in 2 shops already and they didn't have my size. You can't imagine my happiness when the shop assistant came out holding my shiny shoes - and they were in the sale! So, in less than 2 hours I managed to get an outfit plus shoes for my graduation!!!

I am soooooooooooooooooo happy right now. Like I said, this is one shopping trip I was not looking forward to - but I think I have covered it in one fell swoop...

Woooo hooooo!

Day Seventeen: Grateful for stumbling upon clothes instead of having to traipse around looking for them! Serious joy!

Monday, 6 June 2011

40 days of being thankful

Day Fourteen: Day fourteen was actually yesterday, but I had a choice between doing a much needed face mask, hair mask and body scrub or writing on my blog. My choice is clear and its actually what by the end of yesterday I was most thankful for. It was great just to spend a bit of time with me, myself and I. It was lovely. Call me a narcisist, but I really enjoyed these precious moments with myself.

Day Fourteen: Thankful for being able to spend time with 'me'.

Day Fifteen: That is today. I popped to the bank to sort out one quick thing and ended up chatting to the customer service advisor - let's call her Annette, for an hour and a half! She asked me about my studies and work and stuff and congratulated me on being able to change my account to 'Dr'... yes, it has really taken me this long! Anyhow, I'm not at all sure how, but we started talking about houses, mortgages and kids.... some of my favourite lines she said were:

'you just don't put off children.. you just don't... unless you're waiting so you don't have 2 children in nursery at the same time?!

'some people say they're 'trying for a baby' but what does that even mean!'

'you wont find a Mother who says putting off children is a good idea... sure, the 'childless' will but no Mother would'

'once you have an age gap between the first and second child, it's easy to try for the same age gap between the next two and then by the time you get that stage, there'll be something that gets in the way...and then there's the birth...if you have one baby, you think the second time wont be as bad, but then the second time you also think you're going to when it comes to thinking about baby no3, you ask yourself 'do I really want to go through all that again?...'

Seriously, all this advice came from a stranger. The weirdest thing is that she was saying the same things that other mature women have said to me before. I'm sure they all say it for different reasons, but the advice is always the same - and she was right, I've not met a single Mother who advises 'putting off' children until X or Y or X... but I have met many 'childless' that say that... its strange.

I said to her 'Annette, you're a blessing. Sometimes people say things at the right time, even though they don't realise it... you're a blessing'. At this point, she grabbed a rather chic mid-thirties guy and told him what I had said! lol I was a bit unsure why, but I sang her praises and told him how much I had gained from popping into the bank today. It turns out that he is the bank manager. Now, I know he 'supposed' to be nice to his clients BUT we got on like a house on hire... and now we're best of friends...

Day Fifteen: Thankful to have established a good rapport with my bank manager!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Thirteen

After my exhausting week, day thirteen has been really bright!

It started with me eating brekkie in the garden with Little Miss O. She picked a rose (with Mr O's help) from the bush and presented it to me saying - 'you can put it in your hair'. She knows me so well already - and so I did just that - I put the rose in my hair (sure it wilted through the day, but I enjoyed it whilst it lasted)!

I then headed off for round 2 of my volunteering. I have to admit, I almost felt like I was in my element seriously - turning one man's junk (and I use the term loosely) into another man's treasure is the epitome of recycling for me - I love it.

I'm a total moocher-turned hoarder-turned-seeker of all things with a history, a life before we 'met', anything random, anything I have never seen before and especially especially anything shiny. I admit it - I'm a magpie...or worse a baby; anything shiny and I'm salivating all over it!

Basically, I enjoyed working at the charity shop today. I loved that I did it for free and simply because I want to give back to the church and God that I get so much out of. It's not a lot of time, but its a little more than I had been doing... so its a step in the right direction : )

After the charity shop, we went to this Afro-Caribbean party in the park. It didn't exclude non-African or non-Caribbean people, but it was full of food from these nations, artefacts, jewellery, info. about fairtrade stuff! Basically, it was my kind of place to be on a Sunny Saturday afternoon...

Anyhow, Little Miss O loved bopping around to the music and playing in the park. At one point she announced 'that's Jennifer Lopez' as soon as the song started! This was hilarious for me because I have spent the last couple of weeks having the following conversation:

Little Miss O (excited as she loves X factor): That's Cheryl Cole!
Me: No it isn't. That's Jennifer Lopez.
Little Miss O: It is Cheryl Cole, she has the same hair and the same clothes
Me: No, it's Jennifer Lopez!

I was so happy to realise that she does take in what I say... when we bought ice-creams, she even said 'what do you want guys?' after selecting her own! I just felt so proud of her the whole day!

In the park, there was this swing where several swings were arranged in a circle and facing one another. It was an interesting play structure and every one commented on it. I sat opposite Little Miss O whilst her Daddy pushed her. It was great being able to watch them, whilst swinging too! Next to me was a black lady with her natural hair in rolls and next to the lady with rolls in her hair, was her daughter. Her daughter had the cutest cornrows and braids. I thought 'I want her hairstyle - for myself!'... The other Mum and I gave each other that natural-head acknowledgement; It's almost like a mutual understanding that I can't really articulate in words, but it felt good. The little girl told Little Miss O 'I like your hair!' and Little Miss O beamed. She gets this compliment quite a lot - mostly from people who want to touch her 'minnie mouse pom poms'... but I think getting such a compliment from a fellow little girl had some sort of novelty for her - it was such a cute moment!

So that small experience made me feel positive.

We rolled down a few kills, ran a few races, are a few ice-creams, went for dinner and just enjoyed the weather...

This is all a very haphazard account of my Saturday, but heck, the sun was shining and it really was a lovely day! Fine, it rained in the end and we had to rush and get all my laundry in - but hey - if doesn't rain the flowers wont grow, right and if the flowers don't grow, what will my baby girl have to give me to put in my hair? This alone will make me smile next time it rains - seriously.

Day Thirteen: Thankful for having the freedom to offer my time voluntarily, roll down hills wearing a dress and indulge in my family's culture!

Mrs O

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Thursday, 2 June 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Eleven

Today has been one of those rough days where I've barely had time to inhale, let alone ponder upon what is 'the most positive' thing that has happened. So I suppose I should just be thankful that I can actually breathe... that I can see to type these words... that I could read all the random pieces of paper that were thrust in my face today... So many people cannot read, cannot share the written word of others, cannot share knowledge and enjoy other people's imaginations. I can. I am blessed. More to the point, I am fortunate enough to be able to read and write in English. So many cant and millions upon billions of pounds and hours are spent by people wishing they could read and write as I can. Again - I am blessed.

Gosh, to think that today I was struggling for the space to even think about my blessings. My blessings are present in the most basic of things.

In fact, just writing that makes me feel positive. I'm thankful that I have someone (someone pretty special) to come to today - after all, not everyone does. After my hectic day, I've been able to come home and off-load... relax and have fun x I am really blessed for that. So many people crave companionship - and so, for that - I'm thankful.

Day Eleven: Thankful for companionship and for being able to read and English...

P.s. if you can read this, you're already blessed!

Mrs O

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

40 days of being thankful: Shout out to my Mr

Today has been one hectic day at work - it's been, as is common for such days, the day has passed by in a flash.

I'm still at work as I type this and in 10 minutes, I'll be leaving.. not to go home (boo!) but to a conference, where a world famous professor is going to be talking about global health and how to make the world's most unhealthy people more healthy. Now, I know this can't be done in an and a half BUT I'm going because health is one of my main passions - it's what I do for my day job and it's the only 'proper' job that I have ever wanted. Still, I couldn't do any of these random 'extra curricular' activities without the support of my super-fantabulous Husband.... so here's a small shout out to him.

Mr O - you're actually the best. No doubt ever girl thinks they're married to the bestest Husband ever, but I really really am. I am forever greatful for your support and encouragement and general good humour. I know that its hard being married to an ambitious woman, who always has to be doing something, planning something and making things happen, but just know that I appreciate everything you do and say for and to me. I really do. You (and the Big G) are my absolute strength - you're a rock - my rock and you rock!

I could go on forever, but (rolls eyes) I've gotta run. Baby, to be continued when I get back xxxx

Mwwwwwahness - always!!

Day Ten: Thankful for a super-fabulous and supportive Husband!

Mrs O
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