Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mon Petit Chef

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A few days ago I was so busy with work, I mean staring at my computer screen so intensely all day. Bolaji came home, hugged me and asked me what I wanted to eat. I must say I was floored and shocked and excited at the same time. I mean we all know that food is also the way to a woman's heart :-) After teasing him a little bit about this wonderful surprise gesture, we settled on fish, vegetables, and couscous. That was all the direction I gave him, so I didn't tell him any recipes or anything like that. Just said a bit of fish, some veggies etc. We're trying out a pescetarianism diet which essentially just means we've cut out beef and other red meat but will stick with eggs, dairy, and seafood. But this is is perhaps another blog post so I will digress.

Bo ended up making one of the most scrumptious meals I've ever tasted. I mean seriously.

Mediterranean Cod with roasted veggies and couscous. It was so yum. Yes, the servings are huge that for a second please. The fish was cooked with a bit of soy sauce, tomatoes, and uhm...i don't know what else, that's all I remember! The veggies had carrots, eggplant, red onions (which are delish when roasted), courgettes, red peppers, garlic. Again that's all I remember. He got the recipe from checking online but I can't remember the site either. So sorry. I was so excited about my boo cooking and when it came out phenomenal I think I kept on asking if he was proud of himself because I was so proud of him. You see, Bo almost never cooks. Let me put it this way, he's a terrible cook most times (although I'm starting to suspect it's all a ruse!). I love cooking so I just do it, so I was so happy that he surprised me with cooking dinner but also that he did such a good job of it. In fact the grilled veggies were so good I asked him to make them again yesterday and we ended up with this:

I made the pasta with shrimps this time but still I think the veggies stole the show. Since I made the pasta off-hand, I don't really have a recipe but I think I put some olive oil on, added garlic, added chili flakes, fried for a bit, then added mushrooms. A few minutes later added fish sauce, cooking wine, lemon juice, black pepper, then shrimp. Cooked to reduce, then added a small paste of cornflour and cold milk (pre-mixed), then quickly dumped in the cooked tagliatelle. It was also delicious I must say.

I guess this is a foodie post!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Good Wife's Guide

Thursday, January 20, 2011
There's a popular guide to being a good wife that's been making the rounds on the internet for probably years. Some say it's a hoax, some believe it's real, some say it's still a valid article for today's world, some say it's antiquated and irrelevant to today's society. Everyone's free to make up their own assumptions. I'm not so concerned about whether it's real or not as I believe a lot of 1950s women would definitely recognize some of the advice given inside. Now in Nigeria, I'm absolutely certain most women believe and agree that the advice is sound advice as a matter of course. Sometimes I believe our society now mirrors America in the 1950s and 60s, whether that's a good or bad thing is entirely relative.

As for me when I read the article I think I try and understand the motive behind the writer giving the sort of advice he/she gives or what exactly are they trying to say. In my home of course I try and make it a sanctuary, a home, a safety zone for my husband and I, and of course I'm mindful to always look nice and smell nice etc because...well, he's my husband and I need him to desire me. To me it's natural to want these things. Where I think I differ is that I would require my husband to also feel that same way and want to do those same things too! I think it's both our responsibilities to make and keep our home a sanctuary. We both have to be ready and willing to listen to the other and to talk to each other. I see these things more like a partnership where it's each partner's responsibility to nourish the soul of the other and ensure that the other is fulfilled.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the list:

The Good Wife’s Guide

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

5. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

6. Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

7. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

8. Be happy to see him.

9. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

10. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

11. Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

12. Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

13. Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

14. Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

15. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

16. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

17. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

18. A good wife always knows her place.

Not a Happy Bunny

I'm sitting at my desk today and I've been sad pretty much all day. Bo came back from Europe yesterday evening, from the airport went to work, from work came back home at around 9pm, then went into our study and worked until about 1am. This morning, he left the house at 7am and is off Dakar for work and wont be back till Saturday. It's a busy period for him and he is essentially juggling three massive projects right now. By massive, I mean pretty much a big deal and at least one of those deals will certainly make your daily newspaper, the other involves a lot of money. I get it. He's busy.

I've mentioned before Bo is an investment banker and I'm a management consultant, and in between the two of us we have really, incredibly busy periods, but when those two periods mesh? then we're in trouble. I'm also working on two really time consuming projects right now. Getting a call in these last few days has been tough, it's either we're both working, rushing off to a meeting, or sleeping. We tried to talk about spending some quality time together but Bo barely looked up from his computer. I'm so exasperated. Yesterday was a very eventful and long day for me and since he's been gone there's just been so many happenings that I haven't been able to discuss with him and was looking forward to talking over, however my babe didn't even look up from his Excel spreadsheet for more than 10min. That's all I got. Most times I don't even feel married (and this is a good thing in my books), I just feel like I'm continuing on in this great relationship but then there are times like this that I'm so very aware that I am married and no matter what both he and I must resolve this issue. I allowed myself to think to myself what would I have done, or what would I be thinking if we were just dating not married. I know I would have said to myself, "Kemi are you ready for this kind of a lifestyle?"

Being two professionals with demanding jobs and living together as husband and wife I think is challenging at times like this. I think I can now understand it how a partner can quit their job and become a housewife, because maybe a marriage can only withstand one high-flying career at a time. Yesterday I felt a bit like the housewife in that popular '50s "the good wife's guide" that was published by Housekeeping Magazine. Number 10 says,:

10. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

THIS is how I feel sometimes. And I work about 50-60hours every week as well! I'm hoping when Bolaji gets back we can sit and properly discuss how we're going to find us time in between the chaos, even if it means leaving some work undone until the next day. I'm just upset because I seem to do this much better than he. I still got my million kisses to wake me up this morning and some hugs and kisses when I dropped him off this morning, but there was a lot of silence in between. I hate when there's tension in the air, we have to talk it out as soon as his work trip is over.

PS - I think I'll post the Good Wife's Guide next. Should be fun :-)

PPS - To lighten up the mood of the post, here are a couple of pictures of my bouquet. I loved it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stylish & Versatile Blogger award

Monday, January 17, 2011
Thanks to Lily Johnson who gave me this award. I'm supposed to write 7 things about myself and also give the award to 15 bloggers. I'm going to try and make it interesting. So here it goes!

  1. I'm a singer/songwriter. Well, maybe I used to be. I had an agent, a manager, and a producer once. I even had a demo CD with songs that I wrote and I performed in one or two places. I was going to be a star I thought but I was in college and I firmly believe you can't do the music thing and do the school thing at the same time. It was taking so much of my focus, money, and time. I remember sitting in my room and making the decision of which path I was going to choose. That night I chose to continue with my education and career path full time and since then I haven't written one song! I also don't sing any longer.
  2. I'm cousins with a Nigerian celebrity. A popular one ;-)
  3. I love to cook and I'm a good cook if I do say say so myself. I've always loved getting my hands dirty with food from the time I was young. I don't remember exactly the very first thing I actually cooked but I do have an early memory of deciding I was going to make apple pie and bugging my mother to buy the ingredients. I may have been about 12/13 years old. I don't think it turned out as well as I had wanted but the cooking bug was born! Now it's Bo that enjoys everything, our everyday menu reads like a restaurant. I hope I don't get tired of it as the marriage matures.
  4. In line with cooking, I love entertaining. There's nothing I love more than a well-stocked kitchen so that in the event of entertaining, I would have all the little knick knacks available. If you come to my house, there's a dish for every possible item, I have different vases, depending on the mood, trays, cups, mugs, glasses etc. You name it, if there's a specialized item for it I either want it or i've gotten it! I want people to feel like they when to come to our home for a meal, they're going to be treated like special guests.
  5. I get uncomfortable when I talk to a lot of newlywed Nigerian brides that I meet because I feel they always want to bond but I don't think we have many things in common. Case in point, just the other day I was at a dinner and the lady seated next me struck up a conversation with me once she found out I was recently married. In the course of talking, she mentioned "...for example, you know when you ask your husband what he wants to eat for dinner and he doesn't respond..." I had to tell her I almost never ask my husband what he wants for dinner! It almost never crosses my mind unless I specifically do not want to make anything and I call him to kind of inform him we're going to be having indomie...ha! He's pretty much doomed to eating whatever I happen to make for us to eat and tends to be just grateful for food lol. Then there's always a bit of silence which is both awkward and uncomfortable between myself and the other lady. I always feel bad because I don't know what to say and they look at me like "you don't ask your husband...?" or "you mean your husband doesn't do ...?" No, no, and no.
  6. I keep a book by my bedside called 306 Ways to Spice Up your Sex Life. And I read it often. Why? Because these things are just necessary ;-) Bo is not allowed to read it as it's always about the element of surprise I think.
  7. If I could do the whole wedding thing again, I would do a simple court wedding, church blessing, and small intimate ceremony. I loved my wedding, it was beautiful and small and amazingly to my personal taste but it could have been a little bit more low-key.

There you have it. I'm supposed to select 15 bloggers to award this too but I think I'd rather throw this open to all my followers! Just remember to link back or leave a comment to me so I know to check it out!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fighting Fair

Friday, January 7, 2011

I've had this blogpost in my head for a while. The other day we went out to dinner with a few friends and I don't remember how the conversation turned to this but somehow Bo & I flittingly mentioned fighting or arguing about something and my friend goes..."get out of here, you and Bo NEVER argue, give me a break." Bolaji and I just looked at each other and told the table in fact we were just arguing walking up to the restaurant! We argue ALL the time. Okay, fine, not all the time but honestly we disagree about something at least once a week. We both have very strong personalities so we both always feel we want to be heard, lol. My friend was shocked about this, she didn't think we ever argued. I guess this is to our credit and we must be doing something right.

I know in the beginning stages of our relationship before engagement even entered both our heads, we talked about so many things. We laid ground rules of discord. We both never want to shout at each other, we will always try to listen to the other's point of view, there will always be "full disclosure" - everyone just spit out what you REALLY feel, and no matter what never ever belittle or talk down to your partner in public. This is out of respect. I mentioned to Bolaji that for me I feel that when I couple disagree in public it brings the two of them down in the eyes of whoever is around to witness it. It removes respect just a little bit every time. I feel strongly about this. So if ever I'm upset about something, I only discuss it within the sanctity of our home (or more often in the car, driving home) and never in view or hearing of someone else. I may be mad at that moment but I don't want anybody disrespecting my husband because they heard me dress him down or something. No way.

The other day we were visiting one of my closest friends and she had to step away to attend to an unexpected guest for about five minutes. Bo started agitating and said he wanted to go. Whereas I wanted to stay. I became really upset the more I thought of it there because I felt whenever he wanted to go somewhere I make a trip out of it but I felt in that moment the things I want to do are not important unless HE wants to do them as well. I don't know if any of this makes sense but if you're married and reading this just nod your head :-) Bolaji then says, "I mean I was sleeping and you woke me up to come here and I still came so why are you saying we don't do what you want to do?" Now this upset me even more! What does he mean? I wasn't aware we were counting these things. Usually when I get upset with him, I just shut down, don't listen, don't say anything, just shut down. I kept this up until we were in the car downstairs and I had worked myself up into a magnificent state of lividness I just let him have it. In trying to get my point across however, I didn't know when I started hurling f-bombs all over the place. I don't even remember now how we solved this crisis, but all I remember is when we were talking things over after we got home, Bo looked me in the eyes and said, "Did you know you were swearing?" My heart just sank. That was one of our rules - no swearing whatsoever in anger. I had broken one of our cardinal rules. I just felt so ashamed from then and apologized immediately. He said it was okay that he just wanted to bring it to my attention. Even now thinking about it, I'm ashamed of myself. The next evening we were just generally playing around and I grabbed his face and said again I'm sorry for swearing. Of course he was fine but I had to say it again when things where all cleared up so he knows I truly didn't mean to break the rules.

I think one of the most important things about couples is how they fight, not that they fight at all. I love that we never yell at each other. I love that we always come back to talk about what just went wrong, almost immediately. I love that I'm a love sap and can't stay mad for long :-) In the beginning of our relationship, yonks ago now, Bo told me you know every relationship is ebb and flow. Some days are so passionate, so hot, and you're both in tune. Other days the person just gets on your nerves, or you feel there's no passion. He says for him that's all part of the relationship. A little disagreement is normal and it almost never throws him off track. So now I'm learning the same. Our disagreements don't define us, or the fact that we've chosen to love one another, to be each other's life partners.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Up and Away!

Thursday, January 6, 2011
I find it so so so hard to be away from my husband. I mean incredibly hard. I would have never figured myself out for the type who's extra sappy and clings to her husband every time there's a hint of a small separation, but turns out I am. Bolaji is gone for about a week on a business trip. He's somewhere in Europe. I mentioned that we are both making career changes this year and well, his is going to take him all over the place, a lot of traveling. This is actually the semi-horrible part of the job.

Yes I know the nature of his career but it just doesn't get any easier. I have an over active imagination and every time he tells me he has to travel somewhere my heart sinks. I then start steeling myself and reassuring myself in my faith, God is the only one I can cling to. I actually hate him traveling domestically more than internationally but the fear is still there all the same. Apart from that, I miss my beau so very much. This trip has been weirdly very emotional for me. From yesterday I started the process of steeling myself and then this morning when he actually had to leave for the airport I started getting very misty eyed. Bo was very amorous and kept on telling me he wished I was traveling with him as well. Then he'd give me a kiss and tell me "I love you too much". He did this several times. We also do this thing where I say "I love my husband very much" and he'd respond "well tell my wife she is loved and cherished". So we did that. When the taxi that was taking him to the airport arrived, I asked that he say a prayer like we always do whenever we're about to travel. I was already quite emotional at this point but then in his prayer my beau says,

...And Lord, for my wife that I'm leaving do keep her safe and protect and comfort her. I know what she means to me in my life and I thank you for her love and life...

I don't know why but the tears came and I tried to hold it in but as I opened my eyes after the prayers the tears just fell. I don't know. I felt, little old me. Imperfect old me. And this wonderful, loving human being, sounding so heartfelt and sincere, asking God to please keep his wife. Now this is amazing. I'm going to cry again just remembering how special I felt.

I imagine this is one of the rituals of wifehood. I imagine all happily married women, certainly the newlywed ones, have watched their husband go off on some trip and felt literally like their hearts have been ripped open and packed right along with the luggage. I think there's a time you realize, my gosh, all I have is walking right out that door and into an airplane somewhere and I'm not that easily accessible to him if anything goes wrong. Especially for Nigerian wives, certainly. I mean I even feel that responsibility whenever Bo gets sick. I think to myself, "what would I do? what would I say? who would I go to?" This I think is one of the magic experiences of wifehood. This panic and responsibility for another soul who's so intrinsically linked to yours.

I can't even begin to think about what it'd be like when we have kids...!
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