Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

I am most thankful that I don’t have anyone in my life that I need to pretend to care about when I don’t. And vice versa. 2017 did that for me. 

Cleared out any doubts about those I care about and those who care for me. I am weightless in that care department. Those I care about know it and those who care about me are clear to see.

And I remain thankful for BigG. The G.O.D Himself. He awes me daily in How relationship rawks when you are attuned to Him.

I am very thankful for His spirit and how seemingly inconsequential decisions taken on a whim turn out to be divinely orchestrated and arranged for my benefit.

I am thankful for my aloneness. The quality of it is all shades of awesome and it is highly gratifying.

I thank God for the girls. Their personality daily amuses me and makes me feel so good inside. I ask God’s blessings on them as always.

I thank God for HRN. He likes to argue about being HRS but we both know which he is. Nuff said.

I thank God for my workshop.  Such a grand opportunity. I do not take it for granted at any time. And daily, I learn.

I thank God for too many things:

Life, healing and health. 

The wonderful humans in my life who daily uphold and validate me. 

The kindness I come across every single day without fail.

The great people within my very tiny circle. How that circle stays round, I will never be able to understand. They must be very nice people cos me…….. (er, nothing).

My real live friends who know diasefs and my online people who daily prove that friendship is not necessarily a contact sport.

My extended family who daily teach me to try to be better. I dey try.

I am thankful that I learnt that relying on someone shouldn’t hurt. If it does, it may not be cos of you. Maybe they are not worthy of your faith in them. And that may be why they could not step up. And that is okay.

I am thankful that I have never lacked any good thing. Not at any time.

Looking back, I see how all I have ever learned was leading me to here, now and I am so thankful for the hand that guides me and its seeing eye.

Here is the sum of my thankfulity.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Essential Conversations.

My Dad passed a few weeks ago and I miss him horribly.

I didn’t realize I would feel this way cos I figured he would live a very long time and we had all the time we would need to have essential conversations.

Because he was born on the 29th of February, I made jokes that he is just a teenager but I regret not spending more time talking with him. Reason being, he was such an intelligent man and he had ideas that were waaaay beyond his time. I remember thinking how he was very different from many fathers I knew and I hated that when I was little but as I grew older and became a parent, I realized how much of a good thing that was.

My earliest memory of him is being proud that he did not have that sticker that said ‘Suze’ on his car when I was a child. That sticker represented the sum of promiscuity to my young mind and I wanted nothing to do with it. I was very thankful that my dad did not have it on his vehicle.

Before he died, we had reached such equilibrium in relating that I was very grateful for. He hardly ever called me during the day unless it was very urgent and he always checked in on the first of the month which was when I sent him an allowance from my sister and I.

But I realize how many adults do not have essential conversations with their teenagers and how many adults do not have essential conversations with their aged parents. I feel robbed and I do not much like the feeling so I hope pointing this out will help others avoid this kind of feeling.

So, the essential conversations I wish I had with him are these:

Ask your parents where they would like to be buried and tell your children this information. It is better to be thought morbid and know than to flounder at deciding when the unthinkable happens.  Expand the conversation to include how they would prefer to be preserved. A number of people baulk at being preserved and would rather be buried immediately, I personally would prefer to be cremated but that is me. I am sufficiently aware of the organic nature of the human body to know it’s all just nitrogenous waste but some attach more than its housing value to it and that also is okay.

Ask who they would like to bless with whatever they have acquired. And this is tricky so as not to be seen as grabby. It may appear as being forward so there may be a very important requirement to this. Be self-sufficient when you ask so that your parent is not bewildered at your reasons for wanting to know. As a parent, let the child know what your wishes are about administering your estate or better still, write a will and let your child know who has it. I have written a will for many years on my laptop even though I have not notarized it and I have told my older daughter about it. It may sound morbid but even if it is not legal, it will serve as a guide for my child in any eventuality.

Ask about your parent’s child hood. I was very surprised to realize that I knew very little about my father’s childhood when he passed. It seemed like he was born as a Daddy and I didn’t like it. I even got his age wrong cos I only had one reference year, 1939 which turned out to have been the year his parents got married and not his birthday. It was my Uncle who then gave me the correct information stating that their parents got married in 1939, had a set of twins who passed away before my Dad was then born in 1943.

Tell your child your stories. Let them understand who you are by reason of your history. Spend time telling your stories. As Africans, we already have the culture of storytelling. We do not have to work so hard to do it. The major problem is if we do not cultivate intimacy with our children. It makes sharing inane details difficult. 

Tell them what will aid them in areas that you have struggled with. Even if you think they are doing great. Help them decide who they can be in light of who you are. 

As I prepare to send my Dad off, I am encouraged to speak of who he was. A classmate asked me to share my thoughts about him on my Class of 95 UI Vet Whatsapp group and I wrote this:

'My dad was a brilliant person who lived life on his own terms and we are more alike than I care to admit. He was an Accountant with the Federal Ministry of Establishments who decided to retire to farm. We lived on the (Lagos) Island till he decided he wanted to be a farmer, so we moved to Badagry when I was 9. He spent all that time till his death being a farmer but he is more well known as a youth educator. He was at one time the National Secretary of the Boys Brigade in Nigeria and helped to get troubled youth off the streets into churches doing one thing or the other. He organized camps and I remember once at the camp where a coup was staged and he was 'imprisoned'. I wept when they took him to the 'guardroom' blissfully unaware that it was for fun. It was after the Dimka coup so I was pretty scared. We have always had our differences but always knew we were very alike so we were very forgiving of each other's idiosyncrasies. He raised my sister and I to question everything and to respect only the deserving. He was faaaar beyond his time and he died like he lived, on his own terms. He was found with a cup of tea in front of him, sitting on his favourite chair in his room'.

I am learning to speak to my daughters more and be less introspective and I hope it will stand them in good stead when the time comes for them to say what their mother meant to them. 

Omo rere a gbeyin gbogbo wa o, amin.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Things My Father taught me…..

A week ago, I got a  call that shifted me sideways. I got a call that my father Mr Joel Sunday Adefolarin died. 

My relationship with him has always been beyond father-daughter and mostly in the way that is difficult to explain. I went and saw him and transported his body to be preserved. 

I had awoken that morning and tweeted about my emotional state unbeknownst to me, my spirit already knew what my body was unable to comprehend.

In the past week, I have stayed mostly awake. Not by choice cos I am exhausted but I have found sleep very elusive. To get three hours of sleep, I have had to down liquids I should stay far from and even then. My eyes are puffy like I have been crying but I haven’t.

I decided I would write. HRN has been fabulous calling my attention to how dejected I looked when he saw me and asking me to cheer up. In his characteristic jocular fashion, he helped me see that mourning was the wrong response and to try and see this in the light of a celebration of life. I agreed and hopefully have turned the corner.

I trust that following this piece, I will sleep soundly for a long time.

The things my father taught me.....
1. Hard work does not kill- when we first moved to the farm, my father had the idea to make it a family homestead and so we, his daughters did all the farm work. There are hardly any tasks done on a farm that I cannot undertake. As a teenager, I offloaded truckloads of 50kg bags of corn with my back, made fish meal from scratch, planted harvested and processed cassava into garri and fufu while being in charge of a pen of chickens that I had sole responsibility for, from day old to point of lay. If hard work could kill, I would have died before age 13.

2. The elements are there to serve you- rain, sun, they meant nothing to my father. Other than mutual respect, they did their thing while he did his, they went mostly unnoticed. If it was raining and you ran inside, my father would calmly ask if you had finished your task and if you pointed out the rain, he would ask if you are made of salt. Usually, you turned back and faced your task.

3.  Money is just a tool- he it was who taught me how money is just a tool and a very bad master. If he had, he spent. If he didn’t, he was fine. There was no money too large to give to something he believed in. If he felt you were unworthy, you could be dying and he would let you know the money he had was for so and so and it was his prerogative to spend it as he felt as its owner.

4.Write things down- after the debacle with the ex, I am not sure this is such a good thing but I learnt it from him. If he had half a thought, he would write it down while he thought about the other half. I write mostly everything down.

5. He believed people- you had to have serially exhibited bad behavior before he would believe you could do wrong. He believes in the goodness of every individual. I do too. He worked with young people and was able to get quite a number of young people off the streets into the Boys Brigade in the 70s because of this singular trait. He just didn’t believe there was a bad child. He believed influences could make a person miss their way but always had hope.

6.  He lived on his terms- some may see this as stubbornness or selfishness but I am not sure it’s anyone’s right to make that call. One thing you cannot say he refused to do was own his choices. He did. I dare not say more.

7. Forgiving One’s self for bad choices- he taught me this well. I have had to do same and I understand how it is very important to have the quality of life you need for yourself.

There are so many other things he taught me that I am not ready to share. Maybe I am not even aware of some of them as yet.

I am looking forward to celebrating him and grateful for the time and relationship we had.

Sun re o, Baba elediye 3.50, Pa Ade-Idowu, Baba Idowu, My Daddy Daddy. I am sure you have met up with Elizabeth Iyabo, Aunty mi Yinka and Adefolarin Junior.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

MY LAPTOPS AND I........Part 2

My laptop! 

A crack was across the screen.

I hoped it would not interfere with its use but as I started to type the letter the student needed, it went berserk. I wanted to cry. It was such a raw pain. I could not believe it. 

I started to berate myself. I should have done Lil Miss’ work for her. I should have gone downstairs to get the laptop myself. Seeing what was going on, I doubted that anyone would admit it happened on their watch. So, I refused to think about how it happened and focused on getting it fixed. 

I lamented about it on Twitter and decided maybe to try and get a netbook as a stopgap measure. After all my ranting, a friend offered to send me a spare laptop and it appeared to be a better than ‘buy netbook’ stopgap measure and I set about buying another by getting my sister to help me do the purchase. We talked about it back and forth and even though I was very distressed, she calmed me and assured she would get on it as quickly as her two jobs-two business hectic life would allow.

I used my Acer-with-the crack and developed a thick skin to the episodes of crazy it went through from time to time when the machine developed a life of its own and opened and closed every and anything just to let me know I was not the boss of it.  

A few times, I was so frustrated, I tried to bypass the crazy  by using a USB  mouse but usually, I would have to abandon whatever I was doing till another time.

So, Saturday, my friend had arrived with the ‘spare laptop’ and she had her driver deliver it to me. I received it and immediately set about unboxing it to meet the next in line of the laptops who serve Her Royal Sweetness, my very humble self, even if only in a temporary capacity (my thoughts, cos the emphasis had been on ‘spare’ which I translated to ‘used’ in my head). I was soooo distracted by that word that I missed the fact that the box had Lenovo written on it. 

I opened the box, brought out this sleek machine and it finally dawned on me! This person, had gone and bought me a brand new laptop!

I was stunned.


How had I missed this?

I pride myself on being able to spot a twist a mile away but this one? I totally missed. I wanted to scream and be quiet at the same time. I wanted to jump for joy and curl up in the fetal position in which I deal with things too hard for me at the same time. I was assailed by very many emotions in a huge jumble and I sat on my bedroom floor to examine and characterize each in an attempt to understand. I mentally walked back through our conversations to see how I had missed this and I just didn’t know how to deal. 

I finally settled on writing so I could finally stop being so shocked. Not at the laptop but at how I totally missed any hint that this was what he would do.

Anyway, I love it! 

A Lenovo Ideapad 320. 

It is so me. I rushed to look for a review online and I find it was only released in June 2017 and I am so very grateful. For the kindness and of course the sleight of hand that meant I was totally oblivious till I got it. 

Thank you, you.

For the kindness of friendship and more.

For your unique personality and all. I hope you hear the unspoken words. I can’t put them down, would seem sacrilegious somehow.

And er, did I mention my car has been misbehaving lately? Was just wondering if you had a ‘spare’ car…, you know, a 2017 RAV 4….*flees*

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I love gadgets and I would probably go out and buy one every time I have money. Maybe this is why I don’t have a lot of money….yet. Anyway I do. And maybe this is something I inherited from my Dad cos I remember growing up, gadgets were our way of knowing if Dad had money or not. We would roll our eyes as he explained why he could not live without his latest addition to his stash. But give it a few weeks and he was bored already and more than ready to move onto the next. 

So, I have this love for gadgets and always come up with a reason to get one or the other but I do always try to ensure its not a frivolous craving and I am always willing or able to pay for what I want.
But my laptops…..I have always considered a laptop more than a gadget. I felt it was so fundamental. So necessary (hmmmmm! Even me, I see a pattern here oh! I am my father’s daughter, right?). It is more than a tool, it is like a companion in the walk (work) of life. I remember many moons ago when I felt getting a personal computer would aid the ex to stay home more and got some money together to get one for our house. It did no such thing. He still went out and I ended up making friends with the computer to keep sane.

I think the first laptop I got was the one I bought from a loan I had received from the Distance Learning Center of my place of work. I think the money was about 12500 (a huge amount at the time as my full pay then was probably about 3000 if at all. I got the loan and decided to buy a laptop and ex carefully stirred me till it became two. One for me and another for him. I just wanted a laptop, he wanted a ‘name’ and so I asked my mum’s help and she bought mine and brought it with her when she came home on holiday. It was a Gateway. My first time of ever hearing of that brand of laptops at all but it turned out to be an impressive gateway. Ex got his DELL after a circuitous journey and more money than I was willing to spend. This was probably circa 2006 or 7 as I remember my trip to Canada being around that time. 

That laptop served me ehn?! It opened my eyes to how big the world is and how much knowledge was available at the touch of a button. I had it and did everything with it and it never once did not work. I had it till I wanted a netbook and got one. Again through Mum and did I mention, the name laptop the ex got konked out and I would loan him my Gateway from time to time. He still has it, claiming it as evidence in his silly scheme of events that can only be described as delusionary but that’s another story for a different day altogether.  

So, my netbook was the second in my line of laptops. It was portable, chic in a red colour and absolutely fab. I loved it and it loved me back. I am trying and failing to recall its make now but I do remember it was not a ‘name’ either. I was coming in contact with the brand also for the first time when I got it but it proved to be a worthy brand such that when I arrived in the US for my Fulbright scholarship and got my laptop stipend and grabbed Mayowa to go to Best Buy, I wasn’t going to consider any other brand. Oh! Why can’t I remember the name of this brand oh!

Yes! It was an ASUS! One of their Eee netbooks or so. Don’t be fooled, I had to Google that. We won’t talk much about my memory either. I had left my dependable netbook for the girls to keep in touch when I travelled but they had restricted access to it @$##&%!!!!

Of course Mayowa was scandalized that I wanted an ASUS when I could get a DELL, which I wasn’t very enthusiastic about cos of the experience my ex had with his and so we settled for another name, HP. As luck would have it, I took it home and it wouldn’t start so we went back to the store and I capitulated and got a DELL. I had no high expectations and this laptop matched it. Not outstandingly brilliant but did what I wanted and needed done.

This laptop served me pretty okay till it had battery issues and I even got a replacement battery for it. By the time our relationship ended, it was just pretty much a laptop for the girls to watch movies and for me to search for stuff I could not find on my external hard drive that I was sure I had. My sister whom I had contacted about wanting a new laptop had called me excitedly the very next day to say that Bros Toks, her amazing husband had gone out to look for one for me and found the perfect one on a flash sale and had bought it immediatlely! Luckily, someone was Naija-bound who was able to bring me it. Which is how I got a brand new Acer touch screen laptop as a gift from my sister and Bros Toks. I fell for this one too. Unlike my past laptops, I had heard of Acer but just never had one but aside of not having a CD drive, which was a rude shock, it was so very perfect. It is a touch screen and I am typing on it right now.

Some weeks back, my younger daughter was home for half-term and had a few projects to work on, I hate for anyone to approach my laptop cos with all my work on there, it interferes with my breathing and well-being but I knew Madam had to get her work done and so I gave it up and when she was done, she returned it to me but I had no urgent work and so, I bagged it and life continued. The next day, I went to work and a student required a letter for something or the other and I sent this student to get my laptop from my car downstairs. He brought it, I opened it and my heart broke into many tiny pieces. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

'LANKE mi.....

Olanike, my friend, feels just like yesterday……

I had arrived UI a neophyte straight from Secondary school, newbie in Ibadan. 

I remember our first trip, Mumsie and I, we came by bolekaja (almost unbelievable, right?). 
We came to find out what was needed to become a student as I had been offered admission. 
Events after then remain blurred in my mind in a flurry of travelling to get my results from Jos, travelling back via Kaduna, in order to save the flight money. 

Getting to UI with days before matriculation and being told the result I had was not the one UI required. Heading straight to WAEC in Lagos, being told that I could not get the result and ending up on the stairs, tears pouring from my eyes and the angel that decided I was worth the trouble, who went in search of my result, sealed and stamped it and handed it to me. 

The elation when I returned and got my ‘Authority to pay’ and sitting to check the money I had to see I had just enough to pay and then go back home.

I returned with my clothes ready for classes just after winning some shady 'Miss Lagos' contest like that and waiving my rights to continue in the competition cos school was more important for me (and I was right!).

Heading out that first morning, I didn’t know where to go and walked in the direction of Admissions Office which was the only building I was familiar with. I hung around NISER park and looked at all those scurrying about very sure of where they were headed and despaired that perhaps, I should pack it in and return to my father’s farm where I was not an unknown quantity. 

She came into my view looking as unsure as I was and my inner alarm bells went off. I followed her at a distance at first, then closer and finally, I asked, ‘where are you going?’. ‘Class’ she responded gaily and I again quickly asked, ‘prelim?’ and she answered, ‘yes’. Bold now, I asked, ‘Science?’ and she answered ‘yes’. I was doing cartwheels inside me and tried not to show too much excitement as I said, ‘me too’.

It would be the start of a friendship that has lasted since that day sometime in last quarter of 1988 till date.

We have lived through quite a bit and we have laughed and cried and done the most unbelievable things together and stayed friends.

I wish one could print pictures from one’s mind, I would show you pictures of our early days but the memories are ours to treasure forever.

It is Olanike’s forty-somethingth birthday today (a lady never tells jor!) and I am so grateful to God for her. 

If anything, she has taught me to love unconditionally, to just serve love.  And I am so glad I call her friend.

She is a woman, a mother, a business person, a diligent worker, God’s child, awesome friend, boldly bearing the marks of years of bearing the burdens of being a human being, authentic and unwilling to quit.

I am overcome with emotion just recalling some of what Nike has been through and how gracious her smile is.

Baby girl, years from now, we will still be giggling like we did this morning. 

This here is me saying unashamedly how much I love you. Be well, my darling!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Its no news that I use social media a lot. RME! Some people think too much but I am the only one who knows how much. But if I tell you, I will have to kill you, so….let’s just stick with ‘I use social media a lot’. There! I said it.

So, I thought of doing this post to try and catalogue all the social media apps I use. I even use some for work but to hear some people talk, you would never believe. Anyway, as I was saying, these are my tools for life, entertainment, espionage, fashion, music, pretty much everything and er, of course, work.

I first learnt to use the computer many moons ago by myself and the stubborn streak in me made me keep at it while my pride did not allow me ask for help. Its why I am very knowledgeable in some things and a total illiterate in others. I was then given the opportunity to learn some things at my workplace for a certificate at some point, but mostly statistics.

I also remember Ahmed, my Egyptian Professor of Surgery friend showing me how to use GraphPad when we were both in Edmonton also but my first foray into social use of the internet was borne out of necessity when my partner at the time was overseas and before the advent of GSM. I was a common sight at the ICT center at my workplace staring intently at the screen to read any missive he sent or composing some response or the other about something that couldn’t wait. Or sometimes, it was a child’s birthday and I had a deep need for him to participate in real time so uploading the photos was a do or die affair for me. Thus, I learnt to spend several hours hunched over my laptop doing one thing or the other and it became a habit. 

Several years later, I am still fond of getting stuff done online but I have several devices such that I may not have my laptop but will still do as many things as any laptop can get done at any point in time.

Google has been my oldest and dearest. Search engine, spellchecker and factchecker rolled in one. I can do most anything when I have Google access. I should not tell too much what I can do with it before I scare y’all.

Yahoomail came next. For emails, communicating with others and also saving important documents. I discovered that with it, I could save and retrieve my documents from any device around the world so its not unusual to have me email myself a document if I think its important. My storage file online.

Then there was Yahoo Messenger! Wow! That was a crazy ride.  I did not use it too much or too often but I do remember significant conversations on there at a time, but that’s all in the past now. Craziness was on there at a time so I bailed.

I discovered Facebook while in Edmonton and fell hard. It seemed so, so….so, je ne sais quoi! It was just perfect for my exhibitionist self. While catering to my overactive imagination and celebrating my alternate reality. I loved it and I used it copiously. It grew and grew and then became hydra headed. Mayhaps cos I wanted so much to share my experience of it , I wrote and shared not knowing the potential of evil that some could put it to. I eventually had to acknowledge that not every person who has a brain uses it and not every adult understood the literal meaning of adulthood. 

For some, the use of such tools is to monitor, to limit, to stifle and to abuse. I admitted defeat and packed up and headed to Twitter. I didn’t end my love affair with Facebook though for it ran deep and hard. It had given me some people I could never exchange for those I left behind. It was worth its weight in….relationships, as much as I want, when I want and how I want. That is what Facebook does for me….before the worms in the woodwork made limited use my portion, pox on them!

Twitter! Ah, Twitter! My alternate galaxy. It is such a perfect location for me. The right mix of interaction and anonymity. I can follow, unfollow, mute and block as I wish. Yes, vermin usually slip through from time to time but they expect to be exterminated so you do the needful and they vamoose. 

Of course, we all also pretend like we don’t know that the International Messengers are everywhere looking for what will turn their crank but I have mentioned several times how the only other job that would match the high of being a Vet would be some form of Intelligence/ Secret Service Corps. The misinformation can sometimes be so real, even I don’t know what’s real anymore!

Then there’s WhatsApp. At the exchange of phone numbers, you give up the right to be able to say whether you want to know what they have to say or not. And there are groups! I belong to quite a few, My Class of 88 FGCJos that used to be such a haven but .......The quintessential fool holds court displaying his ignorance and arrogance at will but nor be me go call am to order. The other groups include that of women, my cousins and quite a few other professional groups also. I am averse to opening WhatsApp videos as Nigerians (especially) have zero chill and I don't like gore in any form. So, I mostly just unlook WhatsApp videos. Life is too short to spend your day shivering because your pal sent you mangled body parts for entertainment. Nah!

I also use Instagram or IG as its more popularly called. The older daughter and I find great stuff to laugh about here and I am so proud of her using this social media tool. It’s the only one she uses regularly aside of WhatApp which cracks me up cos she would send me messages from her room across from mine and I get a kick out of asking her to bring me water on it. *evul laff*

We both agree to steer clear of SnapChat. She actually tried it and opted out but I have never felt the need to.
Some of the professional tools I use that also fall under the social media heading include.....

LinkedIn-I under-utilize this for the simple reason that I do not wish to offend a lot of people. You know, people who have no business being on your profile but who want to be anyway. So, yeah I under-utilize it but I use it all the same.

Researchgate is great! I love it for finding people who are doing stuff specifically. Mostly research. I love it! I get frustrated sometimes when it sends notifications to people cos I looked them up so it aint a great stalking tool.

Then there’s Pinterest. Such an awesome resource for a faux fashionista like myself. I have found so many ideas on there, I love what is available on there.

There are a few other apps that make my social media experience even more interesting but I am developing sharing fatigue already. 

I have tried to explain to those who ask why I use social media the reason I do it, I like to control the narrative of my life, I don’t like to just follow and adapt when people have determined who I am, constantly modifying how I am presented. I am proactive like that, I would rather tell it than retell it. 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Mine may not always seem right or sane but they are mine and they do get modified when I come in contact with superior information or wisdom.