Johnny Dankworth (and Dame Cleo Laine, Lady Dankworth) – Let’s Slip Away

Happy New Year!

Cleo 240x300 Johnny Dankworth (and Dame Cleo Laine, Lady Dankworth)   Lets Slip AwayWhile frantically searching for the lyrics of this song, I was proud to discover that one of my favourite vocalists, Dame Dankworth, is of Jamaican descent! I didn’t find the complete lyrics anywhere online so I’ve decided to listen and share what I hear with you who may also be searching, frantically!
From the Divas of Jazz collection.

Let’s slip away somewhere quiet
Let’s slip away and live on a diet of
Love and kisses all day
Slip away, slip away

Let’s slip away, let’s play truant
Let’s go today just us- me and you
And the hour we’ll let slip away
Slip away, slip away

Can you picture those lazy mornings?
Can you picture those crazy nights?
We’ll be alone and on our own
We’ll touch the heights

Let’s slip away we just need
Enough time to play, a garden of Eden
Where love is happy to stay
Nevermore slip away.

Can you picture those lazy mornings?
Can you picture those crazy nights?
We’ll be alone and on our own
We’ll touch the heights

Let’s slip away we just need
Enough time to play, a garden of Eden
Where love is happy to stay
Nevermore slip away
Nevermore slip away
Nevermore slip away.

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50,000 Words in 30 Days, 29.

I started off 2011 with high hopes that at the end of the year I would have taken 365 photos – one for each day – as a documentation of my life and to combat boredom. At the beginning of the year, I was unemployed and I shot and shared every day but one [due to illness] for the first three months. As soon as I landed my current job I was always too tired to shoot, or simply forgot.

However disappointed I am in myself for having aborted the Project 365, it has not stopped me from taking on a new, and several times harder, challenge- I will be writing a novel in 30 days, sorry 29.

I have taken the first step of temporarily leaving facebook, [now what?]. My dear friend Google provided me with a leaflet on ‘The Parts of a Novel’ and I feel that I would have been better off if I hadn’t read it. This now feels like a technical task but perhaps the fun will return once I find my problem, develop a theme and chart the plot [I know it’s the other way around].

There is a story, though, that I have desired to tell for the past several months and although I doubt that 30 days will extract it from my soul, I am endeavoring to at least make a novel of the simplest part. I hereby pre-thank all those who will read it and pray for the energy to deliver something that will make it worth your while.

– Karee

20111102 160546 50,000 Words in 30 Days, 29.

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Duck Season. Rabbit Season. Flu Season.

I foresaw myself coming down with the flu two weeks before I actually exhibited the first symptom [discomfort in throat] last Friday. Now, I am very much aware that I am not psychic and not every misfortune that I imagine will befall me; however I believe that some of these thoughts were indeed warnings to make preparations for, or safeguard myself against the worst possibilities.

Instead of rallying my multivitamin supplements and a healthy diet to build me a fort, I ate all the dairy and sugar in sight, and washed it down with carbonated beverages and irish cream. End result: I am stuck with an irritatingly runny nose, and have to be downing huge pills and a dreadful tasting liquid every single day; not to mention the huge chunks of garlic I am now forced to swallow. Let’s see if I’ll learn my lesson.

Here are a few tips on flu prevention and recovery.

Flu Prevention Tips

1. Wash hands regularly with soap and [need I say clean] water. Keeping your body and your surroundings clean and germ-free is the best way to prevent infection.
2. Avoid rubbing your eyes and nose; don’t put your hand in your mouth unnecessarily.
3.  Avoid close contact with sick people [not easy for me as I spend several hours in a public bus each day]. If you’re sick, please be considerate and let your contact with others be minimal.
4.  Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and try to sneeze into your arm, as opposed to your palm/fist.

20110914 032740 Duck Season. Rabbit Season. Flu Season.

Lysol is a good disinfectant for surfaces, but vinegar and bleach are just as effective.

Dietary Flu Recovery

1. Honey and Lime – this is as effective as any commercial, chemical formula and doesn’t cause palpitations, drowsiness or ‘bad feeling’. Add honey and as much lime as you can tolerate to warm water.
2. Ginger tea – it relieves pain, helps to heal  sore throats and encourages rest. Steep crushed ginger in boiling water, strain and enjoy without sugar; honey will do if you need a sweetener.
3. Chicken Soup, heavy on the garlic.
4. Fresh garlic as a natural antibiotic that won’t harm your immune system in the long run.


Keep safe and healthy. Arrivederci.

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… and I love you, Jamaica.

Dear Jamaica,

Sorry to say so on a day of such grand jubilation, but I think our main developmental challenge lies within the fact that we are too independent (or believe we are) of each other.

It grieves me that we do not all seem willing to understand or accept our fellow countrymen’s differences of opinion and lifestyle. We are well beyond slavery according to the calendar, but division still blatantly exists; not only between rich and poor or among black and white and ‘coolie’ or literate and illiterate. It disgusts me to see the little things for which we can hold our brothers and sisters in contempt – things that don’t matter in the end.

Whether you prefer to celebrate today by being entertained at the National Stadium, having an Old Tom and tonic in the comfort of your living room, partying like it’s 1999 or basking in a good summer read at the beach, I love you, I need you and we’re gonna have to do this together. Dunce or bright, slim or fat, have or not.


P.S. (micro rant from iPhone) let’s urgently get over it and deal with the bigger problems. We don’t want to end up like Haiti or, God forbid, Zimbabwe. Again, I love you.

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Great Expectations

Recently, I have had reason to examine the procedures governing the adoption of children in Jamaica. While doing so, I discovered that the laws were biased in favour of single women and married couples. I found it disconcerting that single men were not allowed to adopt female Jamaican children unless in exceptional situations. On an average day, I am ‘feministically inclined’ so it also puzzled me that I was not comfortable with this situation. It led me to ponder the question “What do Jamaicans expect of men?” Why are single men less worthy than single women to care for children who are not biologically theirs?

I decided to run the question by some of my Facebook friends. The general consensus that men are not considered to be nurturing, they are seen as a source of financial income and physical strength. They are perceived as irresponsible, unruly, disorganized and more likely to be criminals – murderers, thieves and swindlers – than parents. Let me point out at this juncture that Jamaica is not the only country that discriminates against single men in the adoption process; I still believe strongly that we should never underestimate the vices of women.

I also pondered whether the ‘average’ Jamaican man would even consider adopting a child. With the prevalence of what I like to call ‘Virility Music’ – dancehall lyrics that promote frequent and vigorous heterosexual intercourse with multiple partners – a man would be labelled as sterile or gay should he attempt to ‘commit’ such an unthinkable act. Perhaps if a single man expressed interest in adopting a child, he would be suspected of paedophilia.

The relationship between our expectations and reality could be considered a lot like the chicken/egg situation. People anticipate and react based on previous experiences and traditions. It is also true that our expectations and attitudes can influence the actions and general behaviour of those around us. It is a difficult cycle to ponder. Chief among the causes of Jamaica’s various social ills is that we do not expect much from our men. In this arena we need to adopt Digicel’s slogan “Expect More. Get More.”

Please examine the below photograph of Robert and his three boys. I met them at the beach where he was watching over them as they played around in the water and sand. I remain encouraged.

5357864299 f89d7b9985 Great Expectations
I strongly believe that if we persuade our men to believe in their capabilities there would be more admirable men and an even more beautiful Jamaica. Perhaps it is the smoke from my flamingly patriotic heart that has clouded my eyes but I still have great expectations for my country and I do believe that one day she will live up to them.

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365: The 2011 Edition (One Day at a Time)

It certainly feels wonderful to have made it to 2011. New Years were never significant to me until 1999 when I was only 11 and it was widely thought that the world as we know it was going to come to an end at the dawn of the new millennium.  Nothing happened. I have lived 11 more years and doomsday has now moved to December 21, 2012.

I am not convinced that anyone is aware of when exactly the world will end and I do not think it matters whether we know or not. What we all know that we will die sooner or later, thus it is important to take life one day at a time and try to enjoy every bit of it while it lasts. It is also essential that we take care of the earth we have been endowed with, and try to make it as safe as possible for those who will use it after we have departed.

If you have been following my last few posts, you will have realised that photography is among my hobbies. I have decided to, for 2011, take a photo on each day of the year in order to document my life and develop my skills. The first week was quite interesting, I was greatly discouraged at the start of it and I had a few sick days as well but I persevered. I hereby invite you to accompany me on the journey.

Happy New Year

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More Hope – a Power Saw, Children and a Motorcycle

It has become a trend, that wherever I wield my camera, I collide with dreadlocked men who think I have the power to help them fulfill their hopes. A week ago, I met a man who was searching for love, and on Saturday I met another who was searching for a power saw.

Prince1 4 300x225 More Hope   a Power Saw, Children and a MotorcycleI often visit Milk River Hotel & Spa in Clarendon, Jamaica and on each occasion I meet Alvin Morgan, or Prince, a man famous for having befriended the crocodiles and infamous for the potent roots drinks he prepares and sells. On my first visit, I was very enthusiastic to see the crocodiles and asked one of the spa’s attendants about a river tour. I was informed that there was no river tour, but Prince could call them [the crocodiles] for me.

Prince2 2 300x225 More Hope   a Power Saw, Children and a Motorcycle

He did manage to get one crocodile to surface, but on subsequent visits he refused “true dem a kill off the people dem.”

So, on Saturday Prince spotted my companion and got him to buy some of his roots. When I caught up with them, Prince was expectantly posing with a bottle of bitters; I was inordinately polite and asked him if I could take his picture. “Me think you take it a’ready,” was his response. “Big me up so me can get lucky, you hear,” Prince continued while I photographed him, “cause anything possible.”

Prince2 300x271 More Hope   a Power Saw, Children and a Motorcycle

I wasn’t exactly sure what his intended luck was, until he resumed his conversation with my companion [see videos below].
Prince explained that the condition of the road to Milk River had reduced the number of visitors to the bath, thus affecting the sales on his roots drinks. He desires the mobility of a motorcycle in order to take his product to Portmore, but first he needs a power saw.

Below Prince shares success stories of his roots designed to boost male and female fertility.

I certainly hope Prince acquires the motorcycle, although I don’t support what he intends to do with the power saw. If you would like to buy some roots drinks or assist Prince with getting a motorcycle, feel free to contact him at +1-876-461-0576

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So Browning, you Just a go Walk Past me so?

Jamaican men are infamous for their pickup lines; in fact, many women who have emigrated say that being hailed by men on the street is among the things they miss most about their island home. No woman is exempt from this kind of attention. Even though I don’t recall having been interested in any man whom I have encountered under such circumstances, I have learned to be respectful and courteous to them. My strategy is to smile and wave, while proceeding along my merry way.

I find that the men who employ such techniques are usually the ones embedded into a certain spot [wall, piazza, sidewalk] each day of the week, ‘holding a meds’. It would certainly be a cultural disadvantage if suddenly we had a flood of jobs, permanently removing these men from the streets [I am not serious].

The main technique employed is calling to a woman by describing her physically; less tactful men will make a hissing sound, ‘pssssssst’. What I find remarkable about the strategy of the Jamaican man is that even the most undesirable attributes are glorified in their attempt to get a woman’s attention.  Women on the fatter side have more names geared towards them, like ‘fluffy’, [heavyweight?] ‘champion’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy body’, ‘my size’, and ‘big ooman’. Slimmer women are simply, ‘slimmaz’ or ‘modeller’. Unlike in African American culture, ‘shorty’ actually refers to a short person and not any woman and a light-skinned woman is hailed as ‘browning’.

Ladies: It is important to respond politely, as the slightest sign of a ‘dis’ could cause an onslaught of equally descriptive insults. ‘Fluffy’ could easily turn into ‘mampy’ and ‘slimmaz’ to ‘crawny ’, the ‘browning’ could suddenly become ‘red gyal’; some men even have the gall to use expletives. While you may not have the time or desire to stop and converse with these men, being graceful and polite will perhaps help to brighten someone’s day who has probably never received a favourable response. If nothing, it will at least spare you their wrath.

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Stress in my Left Breast – Really!

A common expression used in Jamaica on occasions of hearing labrish1 is “What a stress inna mi lef’ breas!”2. From discussion with consultant etymologists,3 it has been concluded that the phrase originated in the mid to late 90s, increasing in popularity after being used in a local play/comedy show. Up to a few days ago, when I first felt the tingling sensation in my left breast, I was quite convinced that this was just another nonsensical rhyme with a touch of innuendo, of which we Jamaicans are excellent composers.

Last Tuesday night, I had a very difficult time sleeping. In fact, I went to bed a few hours later than usual and had much trouble falling asleep; it was a night of tossing and turning. I felt the tingling and pricking in my breast from time to time but I was not sure whether I was experiencing trauma from the brassiere or some foreign object in my bed. After a few hours I awoke feeling very groggy and out of place.

When I had finally settled into my routine I continued to feel the sensation and decided to immediately see a doctor; after all it is October and breast cancer was the first diagnosis I made even though I recently had a mammogram, I also thought I was having a heart attack. I spent a good while with the doctor, and he concluded that the tingling sensation was a symptom that I was suffering from anxiety. The other possible causes were shingles or any nerve disorder – I do not have either.

“The dictionary says that “stress” is “a factor that induces mental or bodily tension” or a “state induced by such a stress.” (Another definition is “a force which distorts a body,” which explains why we get all bent out of shape when we’re stressed.)
Anxiety is defined as “painful uneasiness of mind” or “abnormal apprehension and fear, often accompanied by physiological signs, by doubt about the nature and reality of the threat itself, and by self-doubt.” Now, that’s an interesting definition.
Stress and anxiety are not the same thing, but they do tend to reinforce and perpetuate each other. Stress makes you anxious, and anxiety increases your stress, and it’s very important to interrupt that cycle.” –

So, yes, stress can indeed manifest itself in one’s left breast!

I am now on a mission to, in the words of Dr. Glenda Simms, ‘take back my breast’ and the rest of my mind and body which have been affected by my anxiety disorder. Henceforth, I will be thinking only positively, believing in my abilities, eating right and exercising daily.

  1. Patois word meaning something scandalous, gossipy or shocking []
  2. Patois for “Such stress in my left breast!” []
  3. not trained professionals, just highly opinionated friends []
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“Just a Friend” – An Unjust Phrase

The other day I ran into a schoolmate at the grocery store. I was chatting with a gentleman before she came along and halfway through the conversation she asked whether this man was ‘him’ [supposedly meaning my boyfriend]. I responded in the negative so she proceeded, “So he’s just a friend then?” In that moment I realised all the things about that phrase, ‘just a friend’, that peeved me so I quickly changed the subject.

In this post, I will try to explain why I never use nor acknowledge the phrase ‘just a friend’. I believe friendship is at the highest level of human relationships. A friend is someone you know and embrace in all their glory and obscurity. You are happy with the person and want nothing but the best for them. You love them, regardless of differences that may arise. In your mind, their efforts are akin to yours and you would bare your very soul before them.

The man in question was not my friend, so to respond affirmatively to this would be lying and if I denied, I would be rousing questions that require extensive explanations. This man was, at best, an acquaintance. We knew each other’s names, had mutual acquaintances and other things in common but we had no close association or any sort of intimacy. We didn’t truly know each other and the relationship we had was, essentially, without consequence. He was disposable, quite unlike a friend.

While sex is not to be regarded as unimportant, it doesn’t necessarily improve upon what was a friendship nor is it a requirement for a fulfilling relationship; plus you can always DIY. To me, a lover/sex partner is not more than a friend. Humans are capable of forming long or short term sexual relationships with people they barely know. To many, sex gives an illusion of intimacy and mutual fancy. Being ‘more than friends’ with someone you are merely having sex with is a terrible illusion – in most instances one doesn’t even have to be friends with a person to sustain a sexual relationship with them. I would imagine that a solid friendship should be worth more to us than a rickety marriage or any relationship that happens to involve sexual contact.

It is the sad reality that we are not usually romantically attracted to our friends; when this attraction exists it is not usually mutual although I must admit I have heard people say they married their best friend, which should be an ideal situation. Certainly, it is desirable to find both a friend and ‘lover’ in the same individual. The mutual respect, trust and concern that exist in a true friendship will enhance any sexual or romantic relationship as the terms would be derived with great care and the knowledge and openness you have of and with each other would likely diminish instances of hurt and secrecy.

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