Thursday, 12 January 2017

Stages of Grief Re-revisited.

It has been 2 years, 9 months and 16 days since my Dad passed away.

Or one thousand and sixteen days.

It’s been ages, yet it has been a split second, at the same time.

Some days are still pretty bad, but some are better than others.  And today started off as one of the better ones.  Since this is a good thing, I decided to be grateful about it, and write about it.

Last night, I dreamt that a very dear uncle of mine was hosting a huge party at his house.  My cousins were there, my aunt and her sisters were there, and of course, my parents and siblings.  It was an awesome party!  Dreams where my Dad appears used to really upset me, but I’ve reached a stage in my grieving where they are more comforting than heart breaking. 

(I've written about the stages of grief before- you can read the post here: ).

Anyway, my alarm went off at 4am as usual, and as I got ready for work I was struggling to remember what happened in my dream.  All I knew is that all my people were there, and that it was a great party. 

The studio was empty when I got to work, and I had at least 30 minutes before the show started, so I decided to check out some Beatles videos on YouTube (the few originals that are left on there!).  My Dad was a HUGE Beatles fan and as I grew up, I learned to love them too.

So there I was, listening to Here, There and Everywhere, when BOOM! Tears out of nowhere.  Crikey, not this again, I thought.  I was doing so well! 

You know, before I lost my Dad, I believed that once people left this earth, they went to some other level that was so far removed from you that every part of their essence was gone from your life.  But I’ve learned that when you love someone, and when that person loves you, they are with you forever.

Standing alone in the studio, crying and shaking, I literally heard my Dad telling me to pull myself together before my co-hosts got in, change the music to something slightly less melancholy, and try to smile.

So I did.  And played Nowhere Man by the Beatles, off my Dad’s favourite album of theirs, Rubber Soul.  I pulled myself together and did the show.

What am I trying to say here?

Whatever it is you are going through, understand that there are stages to everything.  Be kind to yourself.  Be patient with yourself.

And don’t ignore that voice telling you to take a deep breath and be still.  Sometimes, it’s all you need.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Of Tactless Volume Deficient Aunties and Death Grips.

I attended a wedding on behalf of my mother recently, and it turned out to be a test of my manners and overall self-control.

Usually I would have gone with one of my siblings but they were all caught up, so I made my way to the church ceremony all alone, ready to represent the family and make my Mama proud.

I got there early, so luckily I was able to have a chat with the groom before he went in and give him my absent family members’ best wishes and hearty congratulations.

I turned around and spotted one of those senior aunties that one simply MUST greet, on pain of death.  I made a beeline for her and patiently waited my turn to say hello.  No sooner had she turned around to see who had tapped her politely on the arm (me) than she immediately launched into me.

‘’EH EH EH!!! NOW SEE THIS ONE!!’’ I’ve stressed the CAPS just to convey loudness.  Volume control is a foreign concept to this woman.

‘’CAN YOU IMAGINE?! EH BUT WEDDINGS CAN REALLY BRING OUT PEOPLE!!’’ She then proceeded to ask everyone within earshot (and those on the other side of the church building, presumably) when they had last seen me.  

Smiling politely and laughing in an ‘’aww, shucks’’ manner, I extricated myself from the uncomfortable huddle and started to make my way inside the church.

Just before I was able to get in and quietly find a seat, bemused that no one had yet confused me with my sister Kaine (this happens often) I was stopped in my tracks by an elderly aunt.  Peering at me over her glasses, she gripped my wrist and promptly cut off my circulation.

If I may digress: if you are ever stuck somewhere in the wilderness, and need to sever a limb to extricate yourself from under a rock, or to stop snake poison from travelling further up your body, you don’t need a tourniquet.  You need an elderly auntie’s death grip.  I don’t know if there’s  a school where they are taught how to do this, or whether it is something that comes with age.  Either way, that shit is for real.


There I am, frantically trying to recall this auntie’s name (so that I don’t offend her) and wishing she’d ease up on my wrist (because my fingers were changing colour).  She smiled warmly.
‘’So, is this Kaine or is this Siima?’’  Ah.  Here we go.  I should have known it was too good to be true.

She eased her grip a little, so I let the stupid question slide, smiled and answered.

‘’No, Auntie.  I’m Siima.  How are you?’’

‘’I’m fine bambi,’’ she said, releasing my wrist.  Relieved, I began to relax when suddenly she was squeezing my upper arms, pinching my waist and patting my behind.  Alarmed, I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed this assault on my person.  Nope, no one.

She continued.  ‘’Eh, you have lost WEIGHT!!’’ So loud.  I don’t understand why senior aunties develop death grips and the ability to throw their voices.

‘’You used to be FAT, eh!’’ Tactless Aunt continued undeterred.  She even spread her arms for emphasis.  Because clearly the fact that she dragged out the word so it sounded like it was spelt ‘fwaaaaaaaaatiii’ was not enough for me to comprehend my previous girth.

You’d think my humiliation ended here.  Oh no, dear reader.  She kept on.

‘’Eh, even the ki-face was fat!! But now look, you have made it!’’ She said this while stroking my face.  She gave me a thumbs-up, one last congratulatory pat on my recently-reduced behind, and walked into church.

Already exhausted, I walked in to the church.  Saying a quick prayer, I beseeched the Sweet Baby Jesus to duct-tape my mouth shut and not let me cuss anyone out.  I muttered ‘FML’, in my head, then felt bad because I was in the house of God and He’d hear me anyway.  Dammit.

The rest of the service passed by in a bit of a blur.  It was a beautiful ceremony, the lovely couple was all smiles, and the choir was fantastic. 

As we walked out into the bright sunshine to take pictures with the happy couple, I made a solemn vow.

I will not be a Tactless Volume-Control-Deficient Death Grip Auntie in my old age.  I’ll attend my nieces’ and nephews’ functions, and be the smiley, quiet one in the corner.  I’ll just sip my vodka from my hip-flask and be happy.  Because sincerely.  There are enough of them in the world.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Gratitude: Of Bittersweet Anniversaries and Happy Memories

Today marks what would have been my parents' 42nd wedding anniversary.  A day that we always celebrated as a family became bittersweet years ago, as my paternal Grandmother passed away on this date, but even more so now that my Dad is no longer with us.

That said, my siblings and I would always celebrate this day, even as children, before we understood its significance.  We would spend hours poring over our parents' wedding album, and laugh at Mum's stories of how Dad refused to take his shades off when they were posing for pictures outside church (his kasiki was the night before- madness!), and then Dad's stories about the guest who opened all the beers at once so they went flat before anyone could even get a drink in (who DOES that?!).

Over the years the responsibility of throwing a party to celebrate our parents' big day fell to my siblings and I.  Whether it was a shindig with friends and family, or a simple dinner just the 6 of us, it was always an extra day to celebrate love and family.

Having parents who are relationship goals is a double-edged sword.  My siblings and I are so blessed to have grown up secure in our parents' love for us and for each other, which was always evident. I grew up with such a strong example of a man, and a strong example of the woman I wanted to be (and still do.  My mother is a Warrior Queen).

On the other hand, has it made it harder for me to find someone that I feel measures up?  Am I being impossibly hard on myself, wanting a relationship like the one my parents had?  Should I just accept, like any Daddy's girl, that my father was the last of his kind, and be content that I was his daughter? So many questions.

As I have done for the past goodness-knows how many years, the first thing I did this morning was send my mother a Happy Anniversary message.  I know every day is difficult for her- today is yet another day underlining my Dad's absence. How can someone be absent and yet so very present at the same time?  Sigh...

Happy Anniversary, Ma and Pa.  Here's to love lasting forever.

Friday, 18 November 2016

The 30-Day Music Challenge, Compressed Into A Single Afternoon.

I came across this awesome challenge on Instagram (thank you @thisis_esi!) and just HAD to do it.  Of course, there was no way in hell that my infinite FOMO was going to let me do this day-by-day for 30 days, so I grabbed a few free minutes, refilled my coffee mug, and got to writing.

I loved this challenge for several reasons- namely because it totally appeals to someone as obsessed with music as I am, but it also got me pulling out old classics (I say pulling out but what I really mean is scrolling through my iTunes) and reminiscing, singing along and generally making a bit of a twat of myself at my desk.  Thankfully, my colleagues played along and didn't make me feel like too much of a muppet.

So, here's my list.  I'd love to hear yours.

Siima's 30 Day Music Challenge Compressed Into A Single Afternoon.

1.       A song you like with a colour in the title
·         Blue For You- Wet Wet Wet

2.       A song you like with a number in the title
·         99 Red Balloons- Nena

3.       A song you like that reminds you of summertime
·         Start of the Sumer- Ash

4.       A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about
·         Queen of my Heart- Westlife

5.       A song that needs to be played LOUD
·         Song 2- Blur

6.       A song that makes you want to dance
·         Get Down Saturday Night- Oliver Cheatham

7.       A song to drive to
·         Cruz- Christina Aguilera

8.       A song about drugs or alcohol
·         E’s and Whizz- Pulp

9.       A song that makes you happy
·         Mr Blue Sky- Electric Light Orchestra

10.   A song that makes you sad
·         Trying To Get The Feeling Again- Christian Bautista

11.   A song that you never get tired of
·         I’ve Told You Now- Sam Smith

12.   A song from your preteen years
·         All That She Wants- Ace of Base

13.   One of your favourite 70s songs
·         Boogie Oogie Oogie- Taste of Honey

14.   A song that you would love played at your wedding
·         In The Stone- Earth Wind and Fire

15.   A song that is a cover by another artist
·         Come Together- Michael Jackson

16.   One of your favourite classical songs
·         Au Fond du Temple Saint (from The Pearl Fisher, Act 1)- George Bizet

17.   A song that you would sing as a duet at karaoke
·         Don’t Go Breaking My Heart- Elton John and Kiki Dee

18.   A song from the year you were born
·         Don’t Stop Believing- Journey

19.   A song that makes you think about life
·         Picture of my Life- Jamiroquai

20.   A song that has many meanings to you
·         Nightswimming- REM

21.   A favourite song with a person’s name in the title
·         Gloria- Donna Summer

22.   A song that moves you forward
·         Break My Stride- Matthew Wilder

23.   A song that you think everybody should listen to
·         Tallulah- Sonata Arctica

24.   A song by a band you wish were still together
·         FU-GEE-LA- The Fugees

25.   A song by an artist no longer living
·         Songbird- Eva Cassidy

26.   A song that makes you want to fall in love
·         For You- Tracy Chapman

27.   A song that breaks your heart
·         Little Susie- Michael Jackson

28.   A song by an artist with a voice that you love
·         Where I Belong- Sia

29.   A song that you remembered from your childhood
·         Reggae Night- Jimmy Cliff

30.   A song that reminds you of yourself
·         Not The Doctor- Alanis Morissette

Thank goodness for music.  I think I'd go quite mad without it.

Monday, 7 November 2016

An Exercise in Patience, Courtesy of Uber.

I learned a very important lesson in patience last Friday, courtesy of Uber.

My radio show starts at 6am, so I always make it a point to get to studio latest 5.45am.  Just to get into the groove, banter with my co-hosts before we kick off and so on.

That morning, Uber had other plans for me.

I placed my first request at 5.15am, in case the Uber driver was violently opposed to GPS and needed detailed directions to my house, which is almost always the case in my experience.  To my delight, my request was accepted almost immediately.  I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that my driver was completing a trip and would be with me in 17 minutes.  Fair enough, I thought.  Gives me time to chill a bit, and I’ll still be in time for the show.

17 minutes later, I checked the app and noticed that the driver’s car was in exactly the same spot it was 17 minutes previously, that he still seemed to be completing the trip, and was STILL ’17 minutes away’.

Hmmm.  I decided to call him. Conversation went as follows.

Driver: Yes, hello?

Me: Good morning ssebo.

Driver: Yes madam.

Me: Where have you reached now?  You don’t seem to be moving and it’s been almost 20 minutes since you accepted my request.

Driver: Now you see madam, I have this very bad customer, I think he is drunk, he told me to wait for him here and went inside the building, and told me not to end the trip, so I am just here, and he hasn’t come out.  Can you imagine?  Such a person!  And I am here, just seeing these requests, but now I can’t tell you how long I will take, these customers really give us a hard time…

Me: Erm, it’s ok.  Let me just cancel and request another one.

Driver: Thank you madam.

I hung up.

Please note, I felt sorry for the guy.  I understood that he couldn’t end the trip until his wayward customer came back out of the building otherwise he might not get his money.  I just didn’t need the whole story.  I cursed the customer on the driver’s behalf, and thought no more of it.

Checking the time, I was relieved that I still had time, if I was lucky enough to get another driver right away, to get to work on time.  So I requested another Uber.

Lo and behold, who accepts?

The driver stranded with the wayward customer.

Incredulous, I wondered why the hell he was accepting my request when he was stuck.  (Please note, his car STILL hadn’t moved, he was STILL ‘completing a trip’, and he was STILL ’17 minutes away’).  I cancelled, and requested another one.

Same dude accepts.  I’m thinking, what the hell?!  Why can’t he let me prosper and let another driver pick me up and take me to work?

Getting irritated now, I cancelled, called him and asked him to stop accepting seeing as he bloody well wasn’t able to pick me up.

I took a few deep breaths, reopened the app, and requested again.  After a few seconds, a driver accepted.  ‘’Hurray!’’, I thought, even though I could see that the guy was in Kololo and was going to take 17 minutes (what WAS it with that number that morning?!) to get to me.  I’d miss the first song on air, no big deal.

I sat.  And waited.  Watching the little car icon on the map.


So I call the guy.  He answers.  Clearly, this guy is not in a moving car.  Conversation went as follows.

Driver: Harro.

Me: (deep breath) Good morning ssebo.  Where have you reached?

Driver: (clearly giving zero fucks) I’m in Kololo.  At Meditteraneo.  Where are you?

Me: (trying to unclench my teeth, fists, buttocks, soul) In Kansanga.

Driver: (having now gone past zero and entered negative fucks territory) Haaaa, but Kansanga is far!  I’m here in Kololo…

Me: (losing it now) SO WHY DID YOU ACCEPT MY REQUEST?!

I hung up on him.

If I may digress, I hate the fact that smartphones have robbed us of the satisfaction of slamming down the phone.  I miss that.  Trevor Noah was right.

Anyway, at this point I had to accept that I was going to be late for work.  I messaged my co-hosts, who told me not to worry and to just get in when I could.

Taking a deep breath, I requested yet another Uber.

My request was accepted in less than a minute.

My phone rang, and hoping that this would finally be the ride that would get me to work, I answered.  Conversation went as follows.

Me: H-hello?

Driver: Good morning madam!  Please could you direct me to your precise location?

Me: Of course!

I went on to describe my precise location to the lady on the other end of the line.  I even asked her if she was familiar with specific landmarks, she replied in the affirmative.  She was coming from Nsambya, traffic wasn’t bad yet, she’d be with me in 15 minutes.

My Friday was starting to look up.

Until it wasn’t.

20 minutes later, my driver still hadn’t turned up.  I tried really hard to be a bit more patient- I mean, I was already late for the show, for goodness’ sake- but after 25 minutes had passed, I had to call her.  Conversation went as follows.

Me: (trying not to sound panicked) HelloYesNyaboWhereHaveYouReachedAreYouAlmostHere?!

Driver: (speaking painfully slowly. Eh, my people) Yes Nyabo.  Nooooow, I am here at Buziga…

Me: Hold up.  BUZIGA?! How?! Why?!

Driver: Oh no, no.  I am these ends of Makindye.

Desperate, exasperated, I took her through the directions to my house, again.  I spoke extra slowly.  I told her to get to a specific landmark and PARK. THE. CAR. THEN. CALL. ME.

All because I was too scared to cancel this one and call another one. 

I felt like I was being Punk’d or something.

Anyway, she arrived at my house at 7.15am.  Almost an hour after she’d accepted my request.
I’d been standing outside my gate, just to make sure she didn’t drive past and end up in Jinja or some shit.  Imagine my horror when the car approaches and I see an elderly lady behind the wheel, old enough to be my mother.

All my rage just evaporated.  There was no way I could blast this woman!

I still can’t believe I paid for the bloody ride.

But now apart from being late for work and pissed off, I have to deal with the tinge of guilt at being mad at an elderly lady.

I got to work.  Guess what I was told?

‘’Ah, no worries.  We were off air anyway.  Some problem at the mast.’’


Monday, 31 October 2016


I was doing some spring cleaning recently and decided to clean out the glasses cabinet.

You know that cabinet.  The one with the glass shelves and the good wine glasses that only come out when you’ve got guests.  And I’m not talking about the ones you use when your friends come over for a drink up. 

I mean the cabinet where you keep the glasses you serve aunties and uncles with.  The one with the silver set, the one with the teacups your parents were given as a wedding gift- the ones you never, ever touch for fear of breaking them.  

My inner klutz comes out at the most inappropriate times, so I stay away from that cabinet as much as is physically possible.

Anyway, so there I was, listening to music and humming along (tunefully, I might add), carefully taking each glass off the shelf.  I lovingly dusted each shelf, taking extra care to not do one of two things that always happen when I find myself in such a precarious position i.e dealing with glass:

  1. Break a glass and/or glass shelf
  2. Cut myself with said glass and/or piece of shattered shelf.

My life is hard sometimes. 

As I was putting the glasses back, kicking myself for not having taken a picture of the cabinet so I could remember where everything was originally, I started noticing the glasses as I put them back. 

The shot glasses my sister brought back from Spain.

The tiny glass my Mum used to drink Tia Maria out of way back when.

The white wine glass that has ended up solo since the other 5 in the set broke.  (I’d like to state for the record that said breakages had nothing to do with me.)

My Dad’s collector beer mugs. He almost had one from every country we’ve lived in.

Each glass brought back its own set of memories, or memories of my parents telling me the memories they evoked for them.

I picked up one particular beer mug, which, rarely used, only used to come out on special occasions.  A gift from my Mum to my Dad, with ‘To Godfrey, love Sara’’ etched into the side.

My heart squeezed, as it still does whenever I think of my Dad.  Every time I come across something that belonged to him, or was a gift from him, inevitably my mind wanders off and I’m almost floored by the sheer force of missing him.

I sat for a while, thinking about how my parents are just relationship GOALS.  About how blessed my siblings and I are, to have grown up in a home so obviously full of the love my parents had for us, and each other.  And how lucky I am, even now that he’s gone, that he will always be here.  Telling me to smile, and carry on.  And put his mug away before I break it.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

This Mistaken Identity Thing...

I don’t know why, but lately, people keep confusing me with Karitas Karisimbi.

I don’t have a problem with this in principle- I don’t know Karitas personally, I just know that she’s a media personality and was on radio.  But it’s crazy how many people have either greeted me by her name or confidently pointed me out as being her.

I was at a recording studio voicing an ad recently, and the producer asked the receptionist if she knew who I was.  She scoffed at him and rolled her eyes, replying ‘Shyaa.  Of course.  She’s Karitas!’  I was so stunned I didn’t even have the gas to correct her before I entered the booth.  I wasn’t expecting her to know who I was at all, never mind her mistaking me for someone else altogether.

Another time, I was patiently waiting at the ATM for the lady in front of me to quit wasting time, get her money and go.  As always, I had my headphones in and was blasting some tune or other, when she came out and stopped in her tracks in front of me.  I looked up and found her grinning at me.  Confused and a little unsure, I smiled back, not knowing who this woman was, but wondering if she had confused me with my big sister Kaine.

(It happens often, even with relatives.  Why, I will never know, but we have accepted that we are twins, born several years apart and with a whole sibling in between.  But I digress). 

Anyway, I smiled politely and tried to get past the woman and into the ATM.  No such luck.

‘Hi Karitas!’ She chirped cheerfully.  Trying really hard not to roll my eyes, I fixed my grin and turned around.

‘Ha ha, I’m not Karitas,’ I responded.

‘Are you sure?’ she looked at me incredulously.  Like that look you give someone who clearly has no idea what they are talking about and might be somewhat touched in the head.

‘Yes, I am sure.  I’m not her,’ I replied, with more uneasy laughter.

‘Yiiyiiii, but you are Karitaaaaaas!! Stop denyyyyyiiiiiing!! Ok kale you are her sister!’ This woman wouldn’t let up.  I gritted my teeth.

‘I’m not her sister.  I don’t know her, honestly.’ Hoping this was the end of the conversation, I turned to get on with withdrawing my money. 

Two minutes later, I walked out the ATM to find the same woman leaning against the railing, looking at me as if she couldn’t understand why I was denying my true identity.  ‘Bye Karitas!’ she called after me.

I didn’t have the strength to argue.

Like I said, I don’t know Karitas.  And I’m not sure how she’d feel if she knew people keep thinking I’m her, but just to be clear, I thought I’d include a list of other people and/or things that I most certainly am NOT.

  • An Arsenal fan
  • Here for your nonsense
  • Against Marmite
  • Obsessed with Idris Elba
  • A fan of spiders

I think Karitas is beautiful and I’m flattered that some people think we bear a passing resemblance. 

At least I’m not being confused with the wrong end of a bus.  I guess I should count my blessings.