Monthly Archives: March 2009

The final word.

Ok, I swear this is the last mention of the birthday. I had a great time, a lot was drank, people laughed, and I had the greatest compliment of all.

This is how it went down in English class.

“Happy Birthday, Miss!”

“Thank you,”I said, smiling that they had remembered.

“How old are you”

“Ah. You don’t ask a lady that!”

And then they started, as I sat there, laughing inwardly.

“Let’s try and guess, I think maybe 34.”

“I think somewhere around there. Maybe 32”

“Well I think she is not more than 36. for sure.”

And then it happened.

“Don’t worry Miss! You’re not old until you’re 40!”


Filed under How old am I?, Might be funny

The Birthday Post

“How much is this birthday going to cost me?” The accountant husband I live with asked, with unveiled exasperation. I had already had one fabulous surprise party, albeit 2 weeks before the birthday, and thereby really starting a 10 day festival rather than simply the wonderful celebration that it was. I had the pedicure, the waxing of all straggly bits, the chocolate brown nails, and now I was planning a second party, for the actual night, of course, and I had just announced that I was “off to the mall to get a dress!”

Well I certainly couldn’t turn 40 in anything I owned.



Okay. I must admit I have made a big deal out of this turning 40 thing. You know those people that say “oh its no big deal” but it really is? Not me. How about those people who really don’t care? No. Not me again. Then there are the extremists who start having a crisis that leads from a too short mini skirt to a face life in a few swift months. That is not me. I have seen this as a process, mainly of acceptance of the fact that 40 is a milestone, like it or not, and that it is time to take stock. Within this process I have had  moments of regret that time has passed so fast and that it will continue to race by. I have looked at myself, my choices and my life as it is and given it some long thought. I have felt vain and wondered if I was beyond the threshold of sexy and passed the point of being found hot. I have realized that once I look all around me, I am actually pretty happy with my lot. And what is not good, I have the power to change. 

My job, this blog, my photography and moosefur have all fulfilled a part in me that was frankly a little lost. Why can’t we have this wisdom, this acceptance of who were are, this shift of maturity when we are young and beautiful? That is the eternal question. But then I realize that there are two kinds of beautiful. The young, hopeful, on the brink of everything kind of beautiful and the knowing, wry, been-there-done-that kind of beauty. I know which is more sexy.


So in taking an inventory of myself at 40 I have come to the very wise conclusion that I am not the best, but I am just fine.


And so I am not brushing off this day and pretending it is no big deal. It is. Okay maybe some people might think that 2 parties and a new camera lens and a day at the beach and umpteen blog posts about all this is over the top. And you may have a point. But I have never been one to miss the opportunity for a little introspection and a party or two, or three. 


See, tonight I found out that a third party is in the works for a Saturday in Montreal in July. I will get to celebrate all over again with my sisterhood of friends and their wonderful husbands.  And I will get a chance, all over again, to feel really lucky. And pretty in my new dress.





Filed under How old am I?, personal


I’ve learnt a lot over these past few weeks. Apart from everything in Mr Bryson’s book,I have also had an education of a different sort. I like to wake up and hopefully learn something everyday. I don’t mean in a cheesy, learn to love your neighbour way at all. No I mean about anything. I like hearing about stuff all the time. The following information is gleaned from a dinner party, attending Carnival Tuesday, going to TGI Friday, watching the BBC news, reading blogs and watching 25 episodes of Brothers and Sisters. 


1. Having someone lend you a whole two seasons of a great show that you’ve always wanted to see is a great gift. I love these characters, they are beginning to become real and if this continues I might need professional help. Have I learnt anything from the show? How so many people can be really attractive without really being that attractive at all. This is no Gossip Girl. These are real looking, better than average people with really good lighting. I have also learnt, once again, to appreciate that good TV is all about the writers.

2. The way that oil companies find oil is to drag a huge ultra sound machine along the sea bed, carefully managing to avoid whales. Sonic seiser wave thingies detect the rocks and earth’s innards and the wavy lines on paper are poured over by expats in Trinidad.

3. Very large women with very very large bodies play carnival and they are fantastic.

4. Never order a Caesar salad from TGI Friday’s in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

5. There are people living in cardboard boxes in Italy. These people are illegal immigrants and have been living up to 4 months in a community of cardboard dwellers. They are freezing cold, have no sanitation and cook with fire. 

6. I was told, upon hearing that I am moving to Uganda, that when I first see a giraffe I’ll be shocked by its height.

7. Most dinosaurs were as small as rabbits. (I must have known this and just forgotten. That is the great fun of learning these things all over again.)

8. That whole crazy blip in my brain that makes me think about food all the time is presently switched off. It is wonderful.

9. Growing up is realizing that even if you are not the best, you are not that bad.

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Doubling on Doubles

A student of mine came back from Paris where she had been celebrating the holidays with her French family. As a joke, and it probably slipped out, I have quite forgotten, I said “Oh you must bring me chocolates!” And she did! Delicious ones from Rue du Pigalle, in a sweet little box with a label. My taste buds wake up every time I have one. (they are small.) The taste is deep and dark and tart but sweet. You can taste sour cherry and dark cocoa and caramel made by hand with slightly burnt sugar. The food in Trinidad is flavourful, very, but a very different kind. Here the spices make the food sharp and high and your tongue gets ever so slightly burnt. These chocolates reminded me that my tongue has different areas, long ignored.


I love Doubles. They are the quintessential street food, cheap, quick and delicious. As I have mentioned, and they are still on my mind, they are a sort of fried dough filled with a sort of chick pea mixture. They taste a whole lot better than they sound. I won’t show pictures because they taste a whole lot better than they look. They are messy to eat and take some practice and there are 3 ways of eating them, regular, slight and plenty. Regular is soft and tasty but a little bland, slight is peppery but not too painful and plenty is hot and pulls the hair out of your nose. I had recently graduated to Slight and weeks ago I accidently ate a Plenty,  feeling rather proud of my self. This from a person who ate spaghetti the length and breadth of India. As you know by now, I can’t eat Doubles, but all I am doing is dreaming about them. Dreaming and blogging. Can you tell that I have Doubles on my mind?

Here is a picture of the Doubles man. His name is George and he works beside another Doubles stand, called Georges Ex. Yup, that is right. George and his Ex split up and she went and opened a Doubles stand right next to him. Divorce Trini Style.






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In search of the DODO brain.


Where is my brain? Will somebody please tell me. I recently got home from a party, where at the moment of my departure an acquaintance asked for a lift home. 

“Of course,” I said. “We are leaving right now.”

We then promptly got into the car, drove off and completely forgot about her.


The other day I asked my rather helpful daughter to please fetch me the lime juice from the fridge. In her usual and not at all grumpy voice, she said “where in the fridge?”

“In the window”. I replied.  


Then I asked my other fair daughter, the one sitting on the sofa eating crisps if she wouldn’t prefer “eating your chips with the chips?”


I am keen to blame it on the sheer quantity of information that comes into my brain everyday, some wanted, some not so much, from the media, tv, blogs. students, kids….

However when I compare my self with a big brain over there in Harvard fusing atoms, I don’t think my consumption of information is really that taxing. 


So I wonder if it is early onset of some awful degenerative brain disease but I normally dismiss that thought because I am not neurotic, nor morbid and I am, on the most part, a positive person.


Finally I come to the conclusion that I am either not paying attention or I am getting a tad bit short of brain cells, especially since my supply has been around for close to 40 years.  Now. I can either buy a Nintendo in a pretty shade of black ( I could never borrow my daughter’s) and do those brain teaser games, or I can start figuring out why I am such a dodo head these days, perk up and start to pay attention! I fear it is the former and I will need click purchase on Amazon shortly.




Filed under How old am I?, personal

Obama is Coming.

In 31 days Trinidad and Tobago will be the host of the 5th Summit of the Americas. 34 democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere will gather here in Port of Spain, home of 1 highway and the 12 minute cappuccino, to discuss and exchange ideas about the Americas, the problems, the solutions and to gossip about who is the most handsome leader of the Western world.  5000 people from 33 countries will gather here, and according to the T&T organizing committee, will have a chance to see Trinidad in another light. Hmmmm. The big question, of course is why did Trinidad get this honour and what benefit will there be to this small island through the hosting of this mammoth event?


Of course, Trinidad is pulling out all the stops. They are dredging the harbour to accommodate both the large cruise ships coming in as well as Obama’s battleship,his home during the event. They are updating the airport, lining the windows of the Hyatt with bomb proof sticky stuff, pulling people from the military reserves out of their jobs (one of our maintenance men at school is going), training people to march and patrol in boots, hold guns and look scary. The other day, streets were closed and the daily traffic jam brought to a halt for a rehearsal. This country is getting ready. They are closing the port and the airport for the entirety of the event, which means no one ( me!) can return from Tobago on the ferry in time for school. The whole country is getting ready to turn into a peacock and show off their best colours to the world. They will tuck away the unsightly feathers, the crime, the poverty, the massive corruption, and showcase them selves as a country worthy of respect and investment.  Apparently there is some assurance that at no point will any VIPs see anything ugly at all. Routes have been laid out so that no cars will pass by the boarded up facades of the formally magnificent homes around the Savannah.


This is a huge undertaking for Trinidad. It takes over 3 years to build an over pass over the highway and here they are dredging the harbour 31 days before the Summit begins. There is much cynicism over the fact that Trinidad is rushing to show off to the world ( and to future investors) long before it fixes its own domestic troubles. Comparing the money spent on this summit to the health care spent on the poor of Trinidad is one bone of contention. The papers are full of criticism for the government and Patrick “Business Man” Manning but I suspect that when the streets are swept and everything is shiny and ready and Obama is actually here, a certain pride will take over this little island and the words of one famous leader will echo through the land.

“Yes We Can.”


Filed under Trinidad & Tobago


She didn’t want a party she didn’t want a big fuss she just wanted to be younger. Aging was a very difficult thing for her. Not just the vanity aspect, although of course that was part of it. Really it was the idea of running out of time. There was so much to do in this life. So much to experience and live. She suffered from an inner frustration and restlessness that never quietened, even as she got older.

One day she decided to run away. She wanted to go to Casablanca and New York and Paris and she wanted to meet and touch and smell different men. She wanted to look and see and taste the freedom of other lands. She wanted to run away knowing that she could come back, knowing it was a temporary split from her reality. 

So she began to think of places and times and realized that she could only do this when she was 50. Leaving her children before that was impossible. The love held her back. So 50. And at 50 she would still be working to pay for those children and their life and perhaps she would be held back by the love of her husband. She suddenly hoped she would be and she began to realize that she didn’t really want to go. And that staying right here at home was the best place she could be.

And so her birthday came and the laughter of loved ones travelled down continents and across oceans. She lay in the crook of an arm when it was all over, nose pressed into a soft neck. She melted into the future, she would not go gently and she would not go alone.





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Filed under How old am I?

Up on my soapbox

Rudeness. This is going to be a written rampage against it. If people were more polite and thoughtful the world would indeed be a much happier place and everybody would look and feel a whole less grim. So here is my diatribe.

Item 1: On the plane returning from London the drunken Scots behind me spoke much too loudly and persisted in punching hard knees into my soft back. Was he not aware that there was a fair maiden trying to sleep mere inches from his sharp knees? Did he really believe that his knees were more important than said fair maiden?

Item 2: At the end of the day my class room is littered with litter. Tissues, Tupperware, juice boxes, shredded paper, sweaters and half drunken cups of sticky fruit punch. Who do they think will clean up this mess?

Item 3: Drivers who cut in, instead of waiting in the long line of annoying traffic, like the rest of us.  Do they really think they are more important than the rest of us? Who made them more important than me and where was I when the voting happened?

Item 4: Man walking in front of me drops his potato crisps packet on the ground. The sense of entitlement is extraordinary. He just believes that there is some magical person behind him lurking with a broom. Lucky him! The rest of us just need to pick up our own mess.

Item 5:  People who do not reply to an email are rude. I made a New Year’s resolution for 2007 that I would respond to all my emails and facebook messages with 24 hours. This is one of the only resolutions I have ever kept and now I am rude for being on my laptop all the time. Really!

Item 6: Speaking of facebook; it is really rude to put up a photo of someone that might be incriminating or unflattering without asking permission. Teenagers, especially, need to think about this one.

Item 7: Forgetting or failing to say please and thank you, failing to exhibit any table manners and generally behaving like Manners are not required. I personally think that Manners are really cool.

Item 8: Who are the people who stick gum under desks? I have no idea who these people are or who their parents are.

Item 9: Children never see that telephone attached to my ear. They talk to me like I am as free as a bird and not talking to someone on the phone. I suppose they think I am being rude for not giving them my undivided attention every single second.

Item 10: In September 2004 my house was robbed. A person threw a rock through my kitchen window, opened the door, walked in and took my computer, camera and all my jewelry from inside my underwear drawer. There are no words to describe how rude this is.



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To Kindle or not Kindle, what shall it be?

Margaret Wente, an esteemed and valued institution in Canadian Journalism writes the following in The Globe and Mail.


It took 38 years for 150 million people to get a TV. For the cellphone, it took 14 years. For the iPod, it took seven years, and for Facebook, five. “

She is writing about the Kindle and how it has a merry place in the future. In her opinion those with an attachment to ink on paper will be soon be considered as archaic as those who still prefer vinyl to the iPod. Having written and pondered the question of my book collection I was fascinated to read her opinion. Imagine having access to 1500 books with the touch of a finger? Imagine replacing shelves and shelves of dusty books with one slim white device? Imagine carrying tons of books, newspapers and magazines on a plane and they all have a combined weight of 10.2 oz? Imagine in 45 seconds having any book on your wish list downloaded straight from Amazon for $9.99?  The Kindle can connect to 250,000 books and blogs! That means no getting up from your desk and walking to a book store, and no waiting for the Amazon post man to arrive.


Ahhh. Sounds so good. Right? And they have even made it ergonomic and easy on the eye. Is this the future? Will my 40 boxes of books, crossing the Atlantic numerous times make me look like a dinosaur?  Can I really part with my lovely books, their smell, their smooth covers, the memories, the shelves filled with words? And what of the bookstores I so love to roam? I can lose myself in a London bookstore for hours, fingering the covers, leafing through the pages, picking up a paperback and flicking it over to read the back.


I am inclined to say NO to the Kindle. But I may be wrong. I am not a technophobe; I love my computer as much as the next addict person, but this might be my last holdout, the last great standoff.
What do you think? Could you exchange walls of books, face clean empty space, lose the soft gentle books filled with ink on paper and move towards the Kindle? Could you let it light your fire?


Filed under Lying in bed with books

Thanks Mr. Bryson

I picked up a book in London that was intended for my daughters. It looked to be one of those books that is essential to have in any home that wants people to know how the world was made and what is carbon and why do stars twinkle and things like that.  What I didn’t realize it that this book was made for me! It explains everything in an easy to understand format with pictures and the odd cartoon and best of all, Mr Bryson’s witty and excellent writing style that I have always enjoyed.

 Bill ( we are on a first name basis now ) wrote a book called A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. It is a big blue book that has been on my Must Read list for sometime now. When I found the Perfect for Young People format of the same book I very nearly jumped up and down in the bookstore in London ( where you will find the best book stores in the world, hands down) and jumped up and down a bit more when I saw that it was 50% off!

 So I lugged it home in my heavy suitcase, showed my daughters who raised their eyebrows in that “Not Another Book That Explains The World” way and left it on a table to gather dust or be used as an impromptu tray, which ever came first.

Then I picked it up and I suddenly became a very clever person, and by clever I mean that I now understand nearly everything about the world and how it came to be and how extraordinary and somewhat like a miracle that it is that we are all here at all. 

These are some of the things I have learnt from Mr. Bryson. (Bill).

1.When the Big Bang happened, it involved a single event where in 3 minutes the universe went from nothing, to 98% of everything, resulting from an explosion of energy that came from an infitessimly small squeezed in combination of proton and matter. Too small to imagine and too blinding to comprehend. So it is okay that I don’t completely understand how this all happened.

2.The Moon was created when a huge meteorite hit the earth and a large fragment of our crust was dislodged and became our Moon! Since we have a centre of hot molten lava and the Moon does not, we have all the necessary gasses conducive to life and the Moon does not. However, were it not for the Moon, we would be wobbling like a dying spinning top and we would all be very dizzy or dead, so thank you Moon.

3.There are molecules ALL around us. And it is the rubbing together of those molecules that creates the heat that we need and like, especially in hot countries near the equator where the earth bulges out and is not perfectly round.

 4.1% of the Static on the tv is actually ancient remains of the Big Bang. ( not sure I really get this, but now the static is certainly more interesting.)

5.Pluto is so far away that if we were to go there, the sun would look no bigger than a shining pin head.

6.Pluto, far from being at the edge of our solar system, is actually barely 1/5000th of the way to the end.

7.Space is so huge that were we to visit our nearest neighbour in the cosmos it would take us 25,000 years.

8.It is not how much the earth weighs but how people figured it out that is most interesting.  It took a lot of men, but ultimately we have to thank Mr. Newton.

9.We all came from a muddy, oozing protein soup and we all have to thank bacteria and gravity and the atmosphere and the fact that the earth is just the right distance from the sun, not an inch to close or too far, and that the sun is just the right size and not too big or any smaller and that we have a hot core that were we to sink a well and drop a brick to the centre would take 45 minutes.

10.It is simply a miracle that out of the whole universe we came to exist through a sliver of a chance on a planet that is just perfect for habitation. This, despite the fact that we are lucky enough that there is any land for us to live on since the earth should really be called Water. By the way, we only live on half a % of the planet’s surface.

(Did you enjoy my easy to understand explanation of how long us humans have been around? Merely one minute and a half.)

And that is only a little bit of what I have learned! Thanks to Mr Bryson, it is all a whole lot clearer now. 


Filed under Lying in bed with books, Miss Teacher