This Semi-Fit-Fam Life Is Tough

It’s 11:48 pm. I have no plans to go to bed for the next hour and right now, I am hungry.

 

 

 

 

 

In a bid to be more responsible about my eating habits, I decided to cut out all that late night chowing I have become fond of. Feeling like someone whose birthright was slimness, I’ve been known to start cooking in the middle of the night and have dinner way past midnight because …well just because. In light of recent events (Re – last post here ), old habits are dying. However, days like this test my resolve. I have just eaten half an avocado – cos the other half was not fit for consumption and I was too hungry to toss the entire thing. That has done little to soothe the pangs, but as my six packs need some help to shine through, let me ‘face my forward’ till I can have my next meal guilt free at an hour holier than now.

Here I am whining about my self-induced hunger. I can’t help but think about those who are hungry because there is nothing left in their pots, pantries or pockets.

Spare more than a thought tomorrow. Find someone who’s in need, and give.

Happy Holy Week everyone!

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When Motivation Finds You

Some years ago, I conceived a dream of having washboard abs.  I’ve gone through the time that has passed since that dream began with way more talk than action about my future six pack abs. At some point, with the cockiness of the naturally skinny, I made the grand declaration that ‘the gym is not for me’, and I have gone on to become the bona fide Chocolate Keeper on my team at work – the one who stashes away sweets and soda and the extra bags of chocolate travelling team members bring, to make sure we have a steady supply for as long as they last.

And then one fine day a few days ago, I looked in the mirror.

While I was ‘carrying shoulder up’ and acting like the self-appointed president of #SkinnyGang, all my reckless eating has steadily been finding a home around my waistline.

I looked in the mirror to find that I suddenly will need to suspend all bodycon-related activities till this muffin-top that is forming around my tummy is appropriately handled. With my tail between my legs, I quietly packed long-abandoned workout gear into my bag and have retraced my proud steps to the gym.

Until further notice, the gym is now for me. 😐

This seems like a really shallow post as we are a lot more than our body proportions, dress size or numbers on a scale, but here is today’s lesson: Some days you find motivation, other days motivation finds you. Whatever it is you want to be, do all you can to make sure you and your motivation remain in the same space. Keep your eyes on your target, and reach it.

(Off to do some flutter kicks with pot-bellied tears in my eyes.)

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Will This Be Hello, Or Welcome Back?

Coffee makes me feel like a superstar.

I’ve been gone a long time, cos in addition to my laziness, I decided to switch webhosts.

You see, if you’re remotely connected to Nigeria, you’d know that in the ‘spirit of recession’ (whatever the hell that means), we’re all on the lookout for anything that seems like a better deal. And that’s exactly why I decided to go with a less costly host to save a lot of money. And me being me, I figured I could do the transfer myself. Hello DIY!

Like a good friend once told me, if you do not want to spend money, you will spend time.

Indeed, time have I spent. Let’s just say that this life is not by gra-gra. One month after my old plan got cut off – and website went down- and I’m still on the matter! Files on the old server have been deleted, so it’s time for this to become a prayer point.

Knowing me and my strong head, I still shall not give up on DIY’ing. Matter of fact, I really should go and install my window blinds – drill in hand, stool under my feet, all by myself!

I really hope this doesn’t turn out to be the very first post on a new onenigeriangirl page with old posts stuck in my back up files ‘unrestorable’. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt too badly cos I’ve still got you. We’d have more to share. 🙂

Speaking of super-stardom, yesterday was International Women’s Day. I don’t mean to be such an ostrich, but am I the only one to whom this feels like the very first IWD? I don’t recall the day ever being celebrated this widely. It really does make a difference to listen to life lessons and draw inspiration from the lives and achievements of women who have made a mark. Sometimes we all need reminders that we’re not here to just get by and go. We actually are put here to thrive and rise above it all. Above our challenges, above our weaknesses, above our pain, above our limits.

Coffee does make me feel like a superstar. But that lovely feeling passes after a few minutes. The kind of feeling I’m ready for now is that which comes from crossing out the items on my goals list. New tip to use: keep your eyes on a star. Or a few stars. Remember how those three wise men found Jesus? Find your star, follow it, trust the process, believe, and you will find the manger you seek.

And one of mine is getting this website back up!

 

ADDENDUM:

 

 

 

 

 

Mama we made it!!! To the Glory of the Most High, I’m back at ya! After tinkering under the hood a bit, I finally fixed the glitch.

Welcome back guys!

XO

 

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When I Become Rich and Famous…

(The soundtrack to this post is the song by Praiz that begins with the line above. Feel free to play it while reading. JK).

At the weekend, my friend had a family function in a town a few hours away, and we planned to go out and support her. On that morning, I and another friend set out to Sagamu- the town where the Owambe was taking place. It was a nice day, the skies were clear and it was promising to be a smooth ride. There was just one little snag: Neither of us knew the way there. The straightforward route which we could have taken is via Lagos- Ibadan expressway . However, just days earlier travelers down on their luck had spent up to 15 hours stuck in traffic on it. No kidding. There was no way we were going to try to find out ‘what the road was saying’ that morning. After donning my Ankara asoebi, and getting picked up by my ‘co-owambe-attendee’ who was driving, and we began our trip.

Because we serve a living God, we were just in the Lekki area when we spotted a car driven by a gentleman wearing the same fila colour as the party we were heading to. Taking a closer look, at the passenger side was a lady dressed in the same Ankara! Google maps for what?!

To make it better, their car was escorted by a security vehicle and some policemen. We entered full wanna-be mode. You see, I and my friends are pretending to be regular folk at this point in our lives – the kind that get stopped at check points by the Military, the Police, Road Safety, LASTMA, VIO, Civil Defence, TRACE, OGROMA, LAWMA… I exaggerate, but you get the gist.  We bluff when we’re fully complaint and go all “Oga abeg” when, for whatever reason, we are not. (For the record, we are law abiding citizens. Thank you). On this day, however, we were determined that there would be no stopping us. So complete with blinking indicators, we joined ‘our’ convoy and were on our way. It was so fulfilling to very quickly wave through the police checkpoints that we came across. Thank God for asoebi! In addition, it was just fantastic not having to stop and ask for directions as we found out there was  no way at all we would have known the route without our guides who I suspect had no idea they were guiding us. On and on and on over bad, winding, narrow roads we went with total confidence while jokingly examining the possible scenario of the convoy actually going to a different destination first, before heading to ours. Our brilliant plan in the event that happened, was to jejely park and wait with/ for them before we all to continue to our destination when they’re done. Aren’t we the smartest?!

A few hours into the trip, however, ‘our’ security vehicle suddenly took a detour off the road, leaving us and lead car. This was when confusion set in. At this point we started to wonder: wasn’t that ‘our’ escort? Surely the synchronized indicator lights with both cars turning their lights on and off together (with us following suit) couldn’t have been coincidental.  Or perhaps they had noticed us trailing them and devised some sort of way to fix that?  There had been a fourth car which we thought was in ‘our’ convoy but had unexpectedly turned out to be heading someplace else in Epe earlier in the trip, and we wondered if this was yet another wrong assumption. Or very simply and most likely, they had gone to run an errand. Without missing a beat however, we continued to follow lead car as we exited onto the Sagamu – Benin expressway.

Or attempted to.

I suspect you already know but in case you don’t, I’d like to tell you that there is no such thing as a comparison between a 2005 Acura MDX and a Range Rover Sport. On that expressway, we were reminded of the the timeless lesson :know your place and act accordingly. There was no amount of firing the accelerator that was going to save us here. It’s hard to explain how it felt when in a matter of minutes, we literally could not see ‘our’ car anymore. The dusting was epic. There was no hope. With humility in our hearts, we whipped out phones and called on our forsaken friend, Google Maps, to save the day in order not to suddenly find ourselves in Benin or Akwa Ibom.  The stone the builders rejected…

After stopping to ask for directions a few times along the way, we successfully made it to the town, spent a few more minutes looking for the venue and finally found our party. And guess who we saw right there? The security car parked right behind lead car!

We were determined to join our convoy back home, but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. The lure of a trip without Police stops was not enough to tear us away from the live band and small chops. Luckily for us, on our way back to Lagos, by some stroke of luck we happened upon another convoy while waiting in line at a checkpoint. We coyly joined it, sped past checkpoint and a few others, and followed it all the way into Lekki. The funniest part of that one had to be when the Policeman in the escort vehicle prevented another vehicle from getting ahead of us so we could all continue to ride together, blinking indicators and all. Road trips really could be fun 🙂

Lest I forget, the purpose of this post is to let you know that when I stop pretending to be ordinary,  I’d let you join my convoy.

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Remember When Life Was Simpler?

child-happyI had a good dose of laughter at lunch today, swapping stories with friends about childhood, our silly juvenile antics and dramatic discipline.

Growing up Catholic was interesting. I vividly recall preparing for my First Holy Communion. I must have been seven years old or so. We had to go to church for Catechism to learn the teachings of the church. There was a little red book, written in question and answer format, that pretty much served as the syllabus. I still remember the first few questions by heart.

“Q1: Who made you?  A: God made me.

Q2: Why did God make me?  A: God made me to know him, love him, serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”

Q3: Is whose image and likeness did God make you? A: God made me in His own image and likeness.

Q4: Is this image and likeness in your body or your soul? A: This image and likeness is chiefly in my soul.

(Recalling the exact way we emphasized the ‘chiefly’ just made me laugh out loud!)

We recited the answers from memory in a sing-song way, and I still remember Brother Augustine the teacher – who made us get punished one fine Saturday afternoon.

My mum had dropped us off at church as usual. Unfortunately for us, the day’s session was over earlier than the time she was meant to pick us up, and rather than wait with us till she came, Brother Augustine decided to walk us home. Nah, that’s putting it nicely. He decided we should all trek home together. That was probably great of him, however, we grew up with a few ground rules. Following strangers was a definite no-no. And it didn’t matter that he was the Catechism teacher who we saw in church every week. We should have known better than to agree to go with him. While we were on our missionary journey, Mummy had gone to pick us up, and did not meet us there. As you can imagine, she panicked. In the middle of her panic, she comes back home and sees that we’re there already. I recall her being livid, and us getting punished. I still remember we had to kneel down and there was some butt whooping that day.

That was definitely the last time I did any nonsense waka with anyone as a child.

Speaking of rules, I remember bedtime. 8 pm at the latest. Matter of fact, we usually got sent to bed by 7:45. Once in a blue moon, we got lucky and were allowed to watch New Masquerade. Too often, we fell asleep on the sitting room couch, and woke up in the bedroom. We loved it! So much so that sometimes we pretended to be asleep so someone could pick us up, only to ‘wake up’ laughing while being carried to the room. This bedtime routine was definitely reason why I slept so much during night prep in boarding school.

Boarding school. Yet another library of memories – from the silly songs we sang in pretend Tiv accents, to hiding at the sick bay in the mornings in order to avoid going for breakfast(?!!) to that time someone snuck a sulphur compound out from the Chemistry lab and placed it all over the mattress and locker of someone who had bullied her, leaving her corner smelling like rotten eggs.

Now we’re grown. Time to make new memories.

Got any hilarious ones you’d like to share? Go ahead, tell 🙂

 

 

 

 

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My Weekend Miracle

 

Saturday night.

After a long day filled with chores, I was headed to the other side of town to visit family. Here I am driving alone, listening to The Economist and feeling funky when above the sound of the narrator’s voice, I hear a weird noise that is somewhat like the combination of hoots and whistles. Slightly alarmed, I lean in towards my dashboard – I’m not sure how that was supposed to help- to listen more carefully and after a few confused seconds, realize it’s coming from the trailer that’s beside me. Phew. A few minutes after, my relief is cut short when I glance at my dashboard and notice my heat gauge is at a disturbingly unfamiliar level and I realize with alarm: I didn’t top up my radiator water today!

A bit of background information: My car generally doesn’t give me wahala. Apart from routine servicing, I hardly have to go to the mechanic except when someone ‘jams’ me, which hasn’t happened in a long time to the glory of God. (Kindly note that I’m never at fault please. Thank you.) However, in the last few weeks, my radiator has been acting funny. I have to religiously pour a few litres of water every morning as it appears to dry out at a rate I can’t explain. With the car also sounding like it has a sore throat when I start it, I know it’s time to get it checked. However (contrary to what some of my friends think), I am a girl. We don’t like mechanics. So I’ve continued to quench its thirst every morning, and drive it around like that.

Tonight however, it looked like I was about to reap the fruits of my procrastination. Of all places in this entire world for my engine to start overheating was Apongbon. In traffic. At night. Lagos people will understand. The worst!

I calmly begin my game of move-stop-rest car-start again. Switching lanes here and there to avoid having any heavy duty vehicle being right behind me, I continue this while keeping my eyes peeled on the heat gauge, with the level almost getting all the way to the red end at some points! My goal is to get to Bonny Camp but the heating is not letting up. I begin to think of the time my two sisters got robbed on that road. I remember when another sister got threatened by a man with a gun in traffic when she refused to wind down to be robbed. I remember when my friend bargained with a thief there to take N5, 000 instead of her phone. Interestingly, still no panic. At the point where I’m wondering when and how I’d successfully make it to my destination, my phone rings. After initial chitchat, I tell my friend I’d have to call him back after I sort myself out. After telling him what the problem is, he asks me to turn on my car heater as it will help with dissipating the heat.

That was legit the voice of God. It worked like magic. With my window wound all the way up to avoid stories that touch, I commenced the sweaty drive into VI, where I decided to make a stop, shop for a bit while waiting for the engine to cool properly before I add water into the radiator, and continue my drive home. I could literally feel the heat on the eyeballs (which reminds me, avoid Hell!) At the end of the day, I learnt a few lessons: 1: NEVER FORGET TO CHECK YOUR WATER. 2: Don’t procrastinate (this seems to be a recurring theme) 3. Finally and most importantly, my God is still in the business of doing miracles. Cos that phone call was a major miracle. I would never have got the tip that most definitely saved my mind, saved my money and maybe more.

That being said, my birthday is this week 🙂 And so speaking of miracles, if you are led in your spirit to bless me with a car just because, please DO NOT RESIST. Allow God to use you. Feel free to go ahead and be an instrument of the Lord in my life. Thank you in advance.

*drops mic*

XO

 

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A Little Sleep, A Little Slumber…

I can’t believe it’s been months since I was here. I can’t believe we’re in the eighth month of the year. I can’t believe the year is almost up. There are a lot of things I can’t believe, but no one needs me to believe because like it or not, time has passed. Time is passing. We are getting old. The days go by; sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. Not much changes from one to the next. Yet we look back and see how so much has changed. How? Why? When did it all happen?

Ever felt like you’re so preoccupied with making it count that you end up wasting time worrying about how you’re not making it count?

Breathe in. Breathe out. Live.

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He Broke My Heart

broken-heart-1207381_1920

It was a glorious Saturday. The kind that was just perfect for a visit to the PHCN office to pay light bills despite it being humanly impossible to recall the last time a bulb flickered with government-generated current. It was that kind of lovely day that a few hours were spent getting a car checked and oil changed while gisting in the mechanic’s workshop with my brother and thinking of the future. It was the kind of day when the search for duct tape took me on that ill-fated journey to The Palms mall at Lekki, the venue of the event of the shattering my tender heart.

In the process of running some very banal errands with my brother, we made it to the Game store at the mall in search of duct tape. If you’ve been to that store, you may have noticed a shopping area close to the section for appliances, where random items which have been heavily marked down are displayed for sale. On lazy shopping days, I like stroll past and see what oddities they happen to have there. On this lovely day, sitting in all its glory was a Kenwood Premier Major kitchen machine. (Well, four of them actually.)

Now, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about cakes. A lot. I’m constantly ogling pictures on Instagram and I follow maybe a dozen bakers for my steady supply of cake picture medicine. And so naturally, I began to think that maybe baking may be my thing. I started to shop around for a kitchen machine and settled on the same little Bosch model that I grew up baking with. Little, functional, plastic, ever faithful. I was on the verge of ordering it on Amazon for the equivalent of less than forty thousand naira, when my sister suggested I get one with a larger bowl and food processor-ish features. And it looked like this was my day.

So here in Game I see this Kenwood gem – stainless steel, 6.7 litre bowl, three whisks, glass blender, meat grinder, chopping attachments, you name it. Best of all, it’s on sale. However, there are two prices on the same item. One large yellow price sign placed on top of the box reads ‘Was N76,000/ Now N45,000’. Another sign close enough but not directly on the item says ‘Was N250,000/ Now N120,000’.

Confused but hopeful, I point out the two prices to a shop staff and ask what the correct price is. She confidently tells me it’s N45,000. I’m struggling to breathe. I decide to wander through the store while checking the price online. I’m chattering away about how I’m so excited and I’m imagining all the things I can do with it. I see it for four hundred pounds on Amazon and two hundred and twenty thousand naira on Konga. At this point I and my brother are convinced the lady I got clarification from has no idea what she’s saying, so after finding what brought us there in the first place, we decide to walk to the information desk and ask again – as we were not about to carry the item to the counter only for my bank account to disgrace me there. I fetch another member of staff from the desk, show it to him, and he tells me it’s N45,000. My smile could have lit up Nigeria – PHCN be damned. My brother adjusts his stance in preparation to lift the large box, only for this bobo to say ‘Wait, who put this price here?’ I respond ‘I should be asking you.’  He goes on to say the N45k price tag was actually for a water dispenser displayed close by, and that the correct price was N120k. I felt like I should slap him. But you know how humble you are when you can’t afford stuff? I jejely walked away without protest, bought chocolate chip cookies and Amstel Malta to heal my pain, and went on my way.

I’m not sure you’d understand, but that guy broke my heart. He lied to me. How can I learn to trust again? That kitchen machine was meant to be mine, and right now I just might have been whipping up some batter or dough to make the cakes and cookies that will make my friends at work grow fat while devising strategies to build my empire à la Martha Stewart, but here I am, thinking of what should have been and nursing what’s left of my heart.

It hurts.

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Mismatched

Socks
There are five frogs sitting on a log. One frog decides to jump. How many frogs are left?

Five.

Because deciding is entirely different from doing.

Too often there’s a mismatch between what we want to be, and what we actually do. Think about it – you want to be multi-lingual. You want to speak French, German, Spanish and Arabic yet all you do is watch Africa Magic and listen to Wazobia FM. That sure will help with your accent.

You want to build an empire. You want to be a boss, but each day after toiling at your 9 – 5, you head back home to spend your life on Instagram, rather than draw up a business plan. It shall be well.

You want to be fit. You want to run a marathon. But that tub of ice cream needs some eating and the burger guy needs a reward for his labour. Gym what?

You want to be rich and all the things you’ve done so far haven’t brought the much anticipated wealth. But you stay where you are, changing nothing. Your helper is on the way.

You are much more than you think you are, and you can be all that you dream of.

The secret is easy: Believe, and put in the work!

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Know Thyself

woman-591576_960_720pixabayA while ago I met some boys who played sports, went to the gym and had six packs. I felt like those packs will look just as good on me, and there began long, unsuccessful journey to sculpt my abs.

At various times in the last six years I’ve gone through several bursts of inspiration where I start one routine or the other in a bid to achieve this goal – from sit ups, planks, crunches and butterfly kicks at bedtime, to early morning mini-workout sessions, with each of these lasting only a few days at the maximum. I do remember one time when my core was noticeable firm, and my bodycon dresses were popping – no sucking belle needed – but that’s the closest I ever got to my six pack abs.

To get to the (free) gym and trainer so graciously made available at work, all I really have to do is leave my desk and climb a flight of stairs but those are a few steps too many. I’m that girl who comes with her gym bag to work, gets done for the day on time, picks the bag up and takes it right back home where it is most useless! And the times I do make it in, few and far between as they are, while obeying the trainer all I can think of is when the session will be over.

Now the interesting part: I always assumed everyone felt the same way in the gym – that working out is a necessary evil. I only just realized, in the course of a conversation with a ‘co-gym struggler’ this week, that people actually do enjoy working out. Like really, truly enjoy it. It may not sound weird to you, but it really was a light bulb moment! You may not understand the gravity of this realization, but to me it was like suddenly realizing that Benue people are from China. And what this means is that I can now finally embrace the reality that the gym is not for me.  And silly as it sounds, it was such a liberating moment. I suddenly understood rather than struggling to be this other person, I can stop feeling guilty for all the times I plan to resume working out and end up procrastinating. I am free!

And you can be too.

Reach for the skies, but know thyself. If you’re 29 and have never ridden a bike, you will never become a 28 year old MotoGP champ. Choose your battles wisely, but don’t make excuses. Challenge yourself, strive to push your limits and break down any barriers, but stay true to who you are and come to terms with your weaknesses.

…but really, this long story is just because I don’t want to go to the gym?!

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