Gomes No Gone No Weh

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I’m glad I read this. The differences in language is amazing. I could still read chaka-chaka and prappa-prappa. Love it! I’m of two minds when it comes on to sex education. One says, if it happening or could happen talk about it. Be open. Stop pretending we’re saving the children. They are full aware of what’s happening and what they are or will be doing. The other mind set it, timing and content. However, I’m not certain when timing would have been appropriate in this instance. I wonder how the content played out in their presentation? Was it a question and answer segment or something else? If it was part of the presentation then I can understand the ‘noise’. I prefer mindset number on though.

Jamaica Woman Tongue

Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below.  The first, which I call  ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling.  The second,  ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist phonetic system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy.  It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

JamaicaforJusticeB20080815C Carolyn Gomes

Wednesday gone, mi see big-big headline pon front page a Gleaner: ‘Gomes goes’. An mi seh to miself, “Ah weh shi gone?” Ongle fi find out seh ah no gone shi gone. A resign shi resign from di board a Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ). Cho! Whosoever write dat deh headline tek alliteration ketch mi. Dat a one a dem tapanaaris English word weh come from Latin.

Alliteration simple mean yu a mek style. Yu pick couple word weh start off wid di…

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30 DIY Hacks to Better Your Home

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Excellent!

The Inconvenience of Cancer and then some

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I have this weird outlook on life. I call it weird because everyone else believes it is. The outlook is simple. We are born, we live, we die. That’s it. Fanfare happens in between. Some of us have it great and smooth, others have it bumpy and the rest of us are bitter sweet or sweet bitter. Whatever our circumstances are one thing is certain, death.

ImageSome of you may already know that my mother, a few years ago, started her fight against breast cancer. The truth is I don’t know much about this fight because I only know what others have told me or what I gather whenever I called. What I can say truthfully is that chemotherapy is a strain on your pocket, you lose your hair and weight and National Health Fund is in no hurry to place Herceptin on their subsidized drug list. You can do so much and no more if money runs out. After that you pray it stays in remission.

Shortly before Christmas 2013 my mother started complaining about pain she’s been feeling and the fact that it is getting worse. Its not just surface pain that a little pain killer eases, this is some deep down racking her pain. She did a bone scan and the results showed that after a year of no chemotherapy, the cancer is in her bones. I don’t know what that means in the eventual.

So here’s my problem and I guess others may or may not share this, what to do when others are surprised that I am not crying uncontrollably, tearing my hair out, running around like a fowl without a head, being by her side every waking minute and calling like credit don’t cost money. I’m uncertain as to why any of that is necessary. I like to have the facts, I want the doctors to say something that makes sense to me. Something like, Mrs. Lewis you’ll have to do another 6 rounds of treatment to place this in remission, or Mr. & Mrs. Lewis start putting your affairs in order we don’t know the minute or hour. That I understand. That tells me how I can help. That is concrete, no state of limbo. 

I came to terms with death a long time ago. After death there is nothing. Some believe that you are reincarnated, others believe that you roam the earth. I, don’t care. But why are we on death? Why is the thought now that she’s going to dead? She’s still alive. I’ve learned in my short time on this earth that faith can move mountains and prayer heals everything no matter the outcome. Either way, she is still here. I do not feel the same way you do. I am not capable of feeling what you feel neither do I believe I should be feeling how you think I should be feeling. I do not have the same relationship with my mother as you have with her. Whatever unresolved issues my mother and I have is irrelevant now.

When you ask me “how you doing”? My answer will always be I’m good. I’m well. I’m blessed. Even if there are tears pouring down my face I am still doing better than many others and I am still in a better place than my mother, physically and emotionally. I do not understand nor can I even begin to imagine what she is going through. We all have our cross to bear one time or another.

I’m not bitter. I’m not cold. I’m not in denial. I am angry, because this disease is rather inconvenient in more ways than one. It doesn’t affect one person, it spins and pulls us all into this dirty vortex that I don’t want to be in. It’s spiraling to a place I don’t want to go. I’m doing things I wouldn’t otherwise do and speaking to people who don’t speak to me under normal circumstances. If I’m this perturbed by it I can only imagine how my mother is feeling having people at her home doing for her what she use to do for herself. It sucks! On all levels.

I will end with this though. I am grateful for the family and friends who have been there from before and are still here now. I appreciate you for doing what I am unable to do, emotionally and physically. Your presence is and will always be a blessings to my family and I thank God everyday for you.

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A Wonderful Pairing

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Lately I have started pairing cooking with alcohol. I love cooking, I love trying new recipes. I don’t always want to do it but the practise has to start for the new year. My remedy to that is to have a glass of wine or beer to lighten me up and open my mind to creativity. I don’t think my girlfriend is going to be too happy about that part but let’s see.

I’ve also started to buy inexpensive wine just to see where my taste bud lands. I’ve only ever had one really great red wine and I don’t remember the name only that its South African and I shared it with great friends over great dinner. Someone tossed the bottle before we doubled backed. I don’t want to be stuck in white wine mode. Its easier on the palate yes, but there is so much to enjoy in other grapes.

I’m deliberate in the price point for alot of reasons. Some of which are, there are good wines at $1,000 (US$9.61), I don’t believe I need to spend $2,000 (US$19.22) or more on wine that is as young as 2012 and last but not least, its a luxury item I do not need. Minimalist living, remember.

I’ve had quite a few wines over the years but lately I’m taking the time to document them. The first in this list is Frontera Carbernet Blush (Chile)
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This cost me about $1,070.00 (US$10.30). It nice and easy on the palate because of the slight sweetness to it. I’ve not had it with food but usually after a meal or during the cooking process.

The second bottle is LA Ray Red Wine (Spain). Its a blend of grapes I figure, hence the simple name. This was probably the least in cost for the three wines I’m showing today. It was probably $850 (US$8.17) at the time. It wasn’t my favourite. Although its suppose to be semi-sweet I found it to be really dry. I did use it to scrap some bits up off the bottom of the pan and that recipe wasn’t bad in the end. I had the last if it while cooking Chicken Alfredo.
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The third on the list is new to me. I have not had it yet. I’ve had a Shiraz but not a Syrah. This is the Vina Maipo Syrah (Chile). This cost me $1,117 (US$10.74). If anyone knows about this please let me know.  
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It just occurred to me that two of the three wines are Chilean. I need to change that for variety sake.  It might change the price point.

Today I’m testing out my new Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker I received as a pixie gift from work. Its not the exact one I wanted because it doesn’t ha,ve a timer setting. Nevertheless I’m grateful because its more than I had. I’m preparing my version of beef stroganoff and I decided that this preparation needs beer. So I had the Smirnoff Red Berry Crush. I enjoyed it. If only the slow cooker would start bubbling.
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What is your preparation pairing when cooking is the last thing you want to do?

Happy Holidays
Tracey

The Perfect Imperfection

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It was an OK day at work today. The day was fairly cool in comparison to the other days filled with heat. I received a blog from The Minimalists and it got me thinking about my imperfections. Like everyone else, there are days when I am OK with them. Other days, not so much.

It’s the end of the work day and I’m walking to the compound’s gate and I see a student from a high school close by walking with a man who seems to be “putting argument” to her. She looks very uninterested and only seemingly entertains the conversation because he refuses to stop until he has finished speaking.

I go through the gate and I called to him because his face was all white as if he forgot to wash the soap off. I could not and did not resist the urge to speak with him. While he was walking towards me, I thought to myself, why did you do that you know he will think you’re attracted to him. When he was closer I asked “what is on your face?” His reply was “mummy you waah si seh is a likkle bleaching cream mi rub on.” Please note I am not his mother but Jamaicans (depending on your area of residence) use this word very loosely to address, informally, “older” females. So I asked further, “why?” He looked proud of his answer, “to ketch mi summa colour. Mi kno seh is not summa but mi a get cool fi di Christmas.”

I am looking at this young man and his appearance makes me never want to see him on a lonely Street during the day much less at night . His hair was brown and looked like two puff gone wrong. Some of the cream had settled on the inner curves of his ears. He is wearing a sweater in this bright warm sunny moment. His dirty denim pants legs are rolled to a few inches above his ankle. He is wearing dirty flip flops and his toenails are dirty, very, very dirty or it could be fungus.

He looks at me and asks “suh mummy yu nuh like it?” I wondered if all of a sudden I had stumbled on the set of Ity and Fancy Cat Show because I thought my expression said it all. Naturally my answer was “no”. He further explains that he likes to have a cool light complexion and that he does it once per year during the summer. That makes no sense to me since we are now heading into winter. Hmm. I guess now is an exception. I expressed concern about him not loving his own colour and that in only bleaching his face so he will look multicoloured. This in no way phased him and he assured me he was bleaching his entire body and that’s what he likes to do. His last statement on the matter was “bwoy mummy in a few weeks time yu nah go kno seh is me.” He wanted to know what my occupation is and to let me know he upholsters furniture. I bid him farewell and walked to the bus terminus.

I began to think and realize that he was groomed to believe that his skin colour is an imperfection. For years I thought that my wide gap and twisted front teeth are imperfect and ugly and I never smiled. I never laughed of loud because I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable when others saw the twisted gap teeth. A recent Facebook conversation sprang into my head, it spoke to studs/butches whose lesbian lovers and close friends refer to them in the masculine gender (he, him) and why that was an issue to outsiders.
Imperfection takes on so many different faces. It could be a freckle, acne, wrinkles, psoriasis or even your gender. The point is, in some form or another, we all see ourselves as imperfect and we try to change it if we can.

The question I have is, what makes one type of imperfection OK to change and not others? We encourage and counsel individuals having an issue with their biological gender to seek the change their hearts truly desire and we ridicule and discourage persons who bleach their skins. Why? Bleaching is very hazardous to the skin. I’ve seen what I call “the melting phase”. We are willing to build offices dedicated to helping those who choose to change their sex or physique to match their inner feelings why can’t we do the same for bleachers?

Yes, you can argue the side effects but bear in mind that every change comes with side effects some more lasting than others. This cannot be the case of the least of two evils. I often wonder what their upbringing consisted of and if it had any bearing on how they see themselves. I love imperfections. I love my perfect imperfection. I smile for the camera as often as I can because until I can come up with J$500,000.00 (US$5,000.00) to make some more needed changes to my front teeth, I will. have to live with them. So I smile. Widely too.

Get in the habit of loving yourself just the way you are now so that when the change comes you are prepared and ready to handle it. If you can’t love your previous body how will you accept your present body. Stop looking for flaws. Just try to be the best you. You are perfectly perfect.

The Minimalist’s Life

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I’m having a conversation with my girlfriend earlier this week and we got to talking about eliminating all debts so that our credit card company owes us. We want to get to the point where we have over paid on our credit card so that we can make purchases online and not worry about repayment. So in essence, our credit card will only be for online needed purchases.

2014 Suzuki Swift
2014 Suzuki Swift

Our next goal is to purchase a car, cash. We’ve thought about taking out a loan and making monthly payments for the next 5 years but I know myself and somewhere in that time frame I’ll get bored and stop paying. Yes, bored. I’ll find some other thing to tickle my fancy and place my energy and money in attaining that. Hence, cash purchase. It has to be a new car. Our flatulence should be the first in that vehicle other than the manufacturers and dealers.

How do we attempt to accomplish these tasks? The first plan is to emulate the process a couple in the USA followed to ensure themselves debt free in one year. We have modified their process to fit our own. Firstly, we are not moving in with my parents or her family. Out of the question. I’ve prayed too hard to stay on my own to go back. The couple purchased 10 items from the grocers religiously for meal for 1 year. They also shared a car; this was easy because their shifts allowed this. We don’t own a vehicle so that leaves us with one process to follow.

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/finfit-got-50-000-worth-090000674.html

Since that can’t be the only way to save we decided to also do the following. We’ve already started to unplug everything when leaving the house except the refrigerator, so we’ll also do this in the night and include the refrigerator as well. As a matter of fact she wants to turn the breaker off; I like light during bathroom calls it tells me I’m not still in bed wetting myself (for those of us who remembers those dreams).

To ensure we aren’t going to fail at this, we have 2 fail-safes. One, we will treat treatourselves once a week to anything within a price range set by us. It could be a slice of chocolate cake, a piece of chicken or ice cream. Also, we will only do this for one month starting November 9 to December 9, 2013 (we chose this date because our electric meter is read on this date). We said one month so we can tweak it and then start again in January 2014 for that entire year.

To recap below is what we will be doing for one month:

  1. Purchase a minimal amount of food. No fast food purchase.
  2. Unplug all appliances, turn off all lights when leaving the house for the day except the refrigerator (turn breaker on).
  3. Since the refrigerator will have minimal food, we’ll also turn both sections of the refrigerator to minimum.
  4. Minimize the use of the internet = less electricity usage.
  5. Turn breaker off at nights (maybe).
  6. We spend J$1,110.00 (US$11) per month on bottled water, how to eliminate this is still up in the air. I will investigate the cost of a proper water filter for the faucet. Portmore tap water tastes horrible even when boiled.
  7. We will still use the washing machine. We usually only wash 4 – 5 loads every 3 – 4 weeks anyway. We will however not use the dryer for all loads, only the darks to eliminate all the lint.
  8. We’ll be bathing from a bucket and brushing our teeth with a cup of water. We don’t usually flush when only urine is in the toilet. We’ll continue to do this.

The goal of the exercise above is as follows:

  1. Lower the amount payable for electricity.
  2. Lower the cost payable for water usage all round.
  3. See our savings after all regular recurring bills have been paid.

This should be doable, right?

I will also be attempting training to run 5k’s next year Sigma. I did say run. Go on laugh I’ll wait for you to gather yourself. I feel the vibes to run. I think I’m missing out on a lot by not running. Let’s see how that goes. Maybe I’ll do some video clips on my progress. Maybe.

Wish me well and motivation to see this through 🙂

Walk good.
Tracey-Ann

Sadamite

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Support_Love___Gay_by_Grave_Robber_JessGrowing up in Jamaica as a lesbian is quite a challenge. Thoughts of being ostracized by family and close friends swirl about your head daily. Some of us even wonder if coming out will cause job loss, client loss or loss of life. Navigating this emotional roller coaster of Jamaica’s homophobia is not for the faint of heart.

As an out lesbian I have not personally faced the harsh realities of this however I have experienced homophobia within a community I previously lived. My partner and I were verbally abused whenever we were seen together. This continued for months until the distant verbal abuse became threatening advances the block our path home. Sadamite Gyal! (of Sodom; derogatory term used to describe a lesbian) Lightning! (hope that God will strike us dead with a lightning bolt) Fyah! (fire; burn in hell) Man Royal! (derogatory term used to describe a lesbian who does not confirm to gender norms) These were the words that followed us the last night we spent in that community. We tried to be discreet by choosing a dangerously unlit path, walking briskly to avoid unwanted attention. Needless to say this was a short lived idea when a concerned resident inquired about our well-being. This raised an alarm to the group of men who made it their point of duty to bellow at us these words. Our pace had to be quickened because our location had been compromised; a well lit area was still yards away and they were gaining on us.

I have been asked on a number of occasions if I had made a report to the police and my answer is always “and say what”? “Good evening officer I’d like to make a report about idle boys and men within my community who make it their point of duty to call to my girlfriend and I using derogatory words. No officer, they have not invaded our personal space nor have they trespassed on our property. No officer I do not know these men and I may be unable to identify them since these incidents mostly happen at dusk and the lighting in our area leaves much to be desired. Yes officer, we do feel threatened especially since they are now leaving us no alternate route of avoiding them and getting home. Once again that too is correct, we are unable to clearly identify them. We are only here to report this for reporting sake. After all, the powers that be thinks that violence against lesbians/gays is fabricated and we are doing it to our own friends”.

As sarcastic as my tone seem to be, this is a serious issue. That situation would have been cited as “boys being boys” teasing the pretty lesbians. As we say “what is joke to you, is death to me”. Under reporting of abuses and discrimination does not help the plight of lesbians, however, when the professionals charged with the duty of assisting or protecting us also becomes our “grim reaper” where is our safe place and redress?

This brings me to a point of contention. Religious, bible tooters and their followers (those who have never read a verse in the bible but regurgitates second hand information) have always used the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to show that homosexuality was the cause of these cities destruction. I’ve read Genesis 19 and its surrounding chapters and I did not get this information. Ezekiel 16 vs 49 – 50 (KJV) says:

“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good”. This is not the only passages which speak to the reasons of its destruction.

I am not one to attempt to fight religion or beliefs however am I the only one that has an issue with Lot volunteering his daughters (who by the way were to be wed) to a group of apparently “horny” (using the argument of some religious individuals) men for them to have their way with?! So once again, women are paraded as sacrificial with no choice. These were grown ass angels with powers, who were very capable of defending themselves. For heavens sake they came to destroy the cities. Why would you offer your two virgin daughters to be gang-raped by a city of men?! Lets not forget that after they left the city and found a cave to live in the daughters got Lot drunk and had sex with him just to get pregnant. *raised eyebrow*

So if it is that even in Biblical days our will was not ours what does that leave men in today’s society to think about women? This thought is further magnified when they are face to face with lesbians. Lesbians apparently have never had good sex and some men will go as far as rape to correct our preference. Being a lesbian is not all about sex just as it isn’t all about sex with heterosexuals. Our relationships do not differ. We are not different from you. We are not trying to be anyone other than ourselves.

Give us the same respect you would want for your mother, sister, aunt, cousin, wife and daughter, because we are them, whether you know it our not.

Walk good.

Tracey-Ann Lewis

@traceyannslewis