Pause on Friendships

The Anonymous Life

A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. The emotion or conduct of  friends, otherwise known as friendships. I have come to really think deep about this term in the last couple of months. What does being friends really mean? Is it just knowing someone for a long long time? Is it when people are more compatible with each other? Or is it something completely different, something that which I am unable to fully understand.

These are trying times for me. I consider myself to be a person of very high tolerance. There is very little that can test my patience. Though I used to be intolerable when I was but a mere child, I have come to control my emotions. That being said I am human. Last few months have been a whirlpool of emotions for me. I had gotten bad news…

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Surviving the “dark months” of the year in Sweden.

As i sit here contemplating how much i need to do before it starts getting dark, i realised how much influence the weather has over people in this northern country in Europe. Conversations with family, friends, neighbours, co-workers as well as strangers are centered around the weather – “oh, how i hate the darkness” – is a common statement from the locals. Then there is another group – people like me who migrated here for different reasons. For this second group of people, the change is gradual – it sneaks in on you. I remember my first year in this country, i did not understand what the fuss was all about. Eight years later, i am one of the numerous people dreading the coming months. The dark months begin in mid November and last until late February. After surviving 8 years in this country, i have compiled a list of how to get through the dark months in Sweden.

  1. Don’t think too much: thinking about the darkness can become so engrossing that it blots out every other thoughts from your mind. Not only that, it draws on your energy – you get tired easily. As the darkness overwhelms you, it takes away your will to get up from bed and do anything productive.
  2. Get some vitamin C and D from your local pharmacy: Using these vitamins during the dark months may help substitute for the lack of sunlight (the sun is on holiday and can not help you!).
  3. Surround yourself with the special people (animals) in your life: This will help shift your focus from the looming gloom and fill your life with positivity.
  4. Go out, often!: Do what you have to when it is still bright outside (you have, give or take, 6 hours daily to accomplish this!).
  5. Excercise: Be it running in the park or working out at the gym, make sure you keep your body active during these months.
  6. Dream of sunny days to come: However dark it may get, the sunny days will come, eventually. Dream of the warm days ahead and start planning for the outdoor life!

These six tips have kept me going for the past 8 years. I hope you find it useful.

XOXO

 

Don’t help with homework! Talk about math instead.

Source: Don’t help with homework! Talk about math instead.

On the Run: Blogging the European Refugee Crisis

The blogging community has been actively engaged in the ongoing humanitarian crisis across (and beyond) Europe.

Source: On the Run: Blogging the European Refugee Crisis

Poverty, thou art cursed.

As i observed the spectacle stirred on social media by Tottenham striker, Emmanuel Adebayor and his extended family last week, i could not help but ponder the state of the world economy and it’s devastating effect on human relationship. I want to believe that Adebayor wrote that post on Facebook because he felt he needed to defend himself against allegations of neglecting his family but it quickly became a mud throwing competition between his family members and him. From the picture of his mum posted on Facebook, you can see shame and bewilderment on the woman’s face. To make matters worse, the sister that was accused of mismanaging or misusing the building he bought in Ghana, came out to disown her brother publicly. What a show of shame! What is poverty doing to us? I wonder if all his family members were successful individuals, that can cater for themselves and their nuclear family,  will this issue arise?

Still baffled by Adebayor’s case, i watched to a CNN coverage of the situation in Cambodia where parents are selling their 8 years old daughter into the sex-trade so they can put food on their table and a roof over their head; for as long as the money last (which is not too long!). When the money is finished, the parents start to regret what they did to their daughters. Unfortunately, crying and wailing will never heal those little children you sold to those God-forsaken pedophiles that defile their little undeveloped body.

A mother will make her own child mad, if the child (usually based abroad) demand to see the house he/she has been sending money to build. I know a pretty deranged young woman around Egbeda/Akonwonjo area in Lagos, Nigeria. Story has it that she was based in Italy walking the “red light district” daily and saving the money with the hope of coming home to Nigeria to settle down and build a family. She sent her savings to her beloved mother to buy a piece of land and build a structure on it on her behalf. The mother kept sending pictures of “work in progress” and demanding for more money. The said lady obliged joyfully – her house is almost complete and she can return home at last! When she returned to Nigeria unexpectedly and asked her mum to take her to her house, the mother (who has spent all the money her daughter sent to finance her lavish lifestyle) decided to consult a traditional medicine man. And that is how the dark pretty long-legged lady became deranged. Instead of wandering the red light districts in Italy, she is wandering the Egbeda/Akowonjo road, naked. I will never forget her story because it scares me

What in God’s name will make a mother to do something to hideous to her own child?! The answer is poverty! Poverty will turn a mother and a child against themselves. Poverty is destroying the strong foundation on which the African heritage is built, family! Poverty and money are indeed the root of all evil. A mother will turn siblings against themselves, in competition, to see who becomes her “new favorite” child. The child that can offer most money to their mother wins! And the siblings rivalry continues and escalates.

Oh poverty, thou art cursed! Cursed to destroy happiness, trust and relationships! You are the wandering evil that seeks out love and banish it! You are cursed to cause pain and suffering. May you wander far from my family and I. May you wander far from the people i care about most. May you wander far from every loving family and every hardworking person. Leave God’s people and never return!

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Balancing Usability and Security in computer-based IT systems

The growing rate of information insecurity has reached an alarming level with banks, governments, hospitals and schools becoming targets of cyber-attacks and information security breaches. Banks and other financial institutions have lost substantial amounts of money to these cyberattacks. In 2013, the “Carbanak attack” resulted in the theft of over $300 million from different banks in Russia, USA, Japan, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. In each of these attacks, hackers penetrated the bank’s networks through computers, information systems and other end-point devices. Therefore, academicians, researchers, practitioners and students in the fields of Information Systems (IS) and Information Security (InfoSec) are looking at improving computer security, without compromising usability, to prevent unauthorized access to information and bank networks.

This survey is an effort towards achieving a balance between usability and security in system development. Achieving this balance may help curb the rising rates of cyberattacks on banks and other organizations.

Who is Prince Harming?

A guy who is either trouble – or troubleD. I confess up front I’ve had my share. Been there, dated him. Unfortunately many guys start off super nice – then pull what I call a “date and switch” – usually after sex starts – which is why I advise women delay sex for a while – until you know a guy’s true core self – his true character. If you want to be happy in love, you must take the time to see past a guy’s “superficial lures” (hottiness, funniness, smartness, success, status, power, fame, glory, wealthiness)— and discover his true core self – true character. Why? Because many of the biggest problems in a relationship occur because of a weakness in character – which I explain further in my book. Personality/looks/wealth are all the tip of the iceberg. Character is the foundation of who someone is.

Unfortunately it’s very easy to get hypnotized by “superficial lures.” In particular, those fumes of chemistry can dizzy a gal into making stupid love choices. It’s hugely important to remember: Yo! Hot steamy chemistry eventually fades—and what’s always left beneath is a person’s true soul — his true character.

A few years ago I saw an article about “The Psychopath Checklist”—a helpful list criminal psychiatrists use to test the potential of someone being a hardcore psychopath, capable of committing repeated evil and violent crimes. The list?

– Glibness
– Extreme charisma
– Need to always be doing something
– Feelings of high self-worth
– Pathological lying
– Proneness to boredom
– Emotional unavailability

I realized all these personality traits described my ex-Prince Harming boyfriend – who turned out to be a dont-get-me-started lying cheater. The lesson? A good personality is never to be confused with good character. Charles Manson, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all very passionate, charismatic, intelligent, successful guys—but that doesn’t mean you should have dated them!

Aristotle says there are 3 kinds of relationships – and only 1 brings true happiness.

1. Relationships of Pleasure.

These are partners who are all about sex, drugs and rock and roll. You might share soul-less passionate sex and soul-less playful banter—but they’re all about pleasures of the body or ego. They never soulnurture you with insight and growth—so never bring you real-deal happiness. Hence, these partners are Prince Harmings—not Prince Charmings.

2. Relationships of Utility—a partner you spend time with in hopes of garnering greater wealth, status, fame, power, glory, or beauty by being in their presence. These partners also don’t nurture your soul—only your ego. Again, these are Prince Harmings—not Prince Charmings.

3. Finally there are Relationships of Shared Virtue. These are partners who stimulate you, challenge you, inspire you, root for you to grow into your highest potential—who nurture your soul. A good example is Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets who says: “You make me want to be a better man.” When you prioritize seeking a partner who supports your becoming your best self—instead of just crushing on someone’s superficial sexy looks, charisma and wealthiness—you wind up with a soul mate/a Prince Charming/a definite keeper!

~ Karen Salmansohn author of “Prince Harming Syndrome”

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Five Themes for Writers and Readers

The WordPress.com Blog

In the past, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite themes for longform enthusiasts and bloggers who just want to write. Today, let’s take a look at five free themes, launched in the past several months, that offer a distraction-free writing and reading experience.

Radcliffe

radcliffe readabilityRadcliffe combines bold typography with a clutter-free post layout, as shown above. Ideal for longform writing, the theme works blissfully out of the box for those focused on lots of text. The default headline font Abril Fatface is strong but not overbearing, while the Crimson font for your body text completes this pleasurable reading experience.

Calling out text in various ways also looks fantastic — for example, the blockquote styling is simple but sophisticated:

Radcliffe blockquote

But don’t be fooled by Radcliffe‘s simple design. Your photography has a place here, too: full-width featured images give your posts visual flair, while galleries also look lovely, as seen on Sage and…

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Is joint custody the best for children?

When she rushed into the kindergarten on March 6th 2015, she met a worried teacher and a crying little boy by the door. The teacher had tried to call and inform her that her son is still at the kindergarten (KG) at 16:25. Usually, she picked the children from school because they live with her, mostly. But the father had informed her, few weeks earlier that he will pick the children from school and KG that friday. But he never came. This kind of occurrences are, unfortunately, part of their lives.

She has lived in Sweden for 8 years. Out of the 8 years, she has spent 5 years in court fighting for the custody of her children. She was married to a Caucasian male who happens to be a doctor. She is an African who is still struggling to complete her master’s degree while being a good mom, home keeper, daughter, friend and entrepreneur. Every time they walk into the court room to fight for custody, she finds herself the only person of color in the room. All other persons are Caucasians. How will justice ever be served in this kind of situation? She thought. Even the lawyers that represented her is Caucasians aiming to further the cause of their own. She will never play “the race card” but she hopes to tell the world what is really happening. The only time she came close to winning in court was when she represented herself. That year, she almost won the case for her children. But she was stupid; she listened to wrong advice; advice she thought was coming from a Christian. Who knew there could be so many devils in the house of God? She asked me.

So, the court case continued. During the last hearing, she was basically accused of forcing her ex to be a father when he wants to work. The court thinks he needs to work while she needs to take full responsibility for the children. They gave him 50% right over their children and 0% responsibility. He comes whenever he wants; and stay away whenever he wants. That Friday was one of such days. He had sent her an email that he would pick the children from school and KG but he never did. Instead, he called her daughter, who is 9 years old,  57 minutes after he was supposed to have picked her and said he couldn’t come because he was working!

Later in the day, after she had calmed the children, she called him from the privacy of her room. She asked why he had abandoned the children at school and KG. He said it was her fault; and she was not cooperating. She asked why he did not have the decency to call the school or KG and inform them that he was not coming to pick the children, he had no answer for her. He said he did not plan to pick the children that Friday because she told him not to pick them. She then asked why he had called their daughter and told her he couldn’t come because he was working; That was when he got nasty (she said he always get nasty when he is in a corner). He started shouting and she shouted back. Then he hung up.

She has told the court numerous times that the trust and communication between them is non-existent. Without communication, how can they make joint decisions regarding their children? The counter-argument the court have used on numerous occasion has been “joint custody is the best for the children”. She stated that there should be a point when joint custody has to be dissolved. When a parent uses joint custody to perpetrate crimes against the children, joint custody should be dissolved! When a parent continuously abandon his/her children to make more money/work, joint custody should be dissolved! When the children are abused and mishandled by a parent, joint custody should be dissolved!

According to her, her ex has abandoned, abused and maltreated their children physically, mentally and emotionally over the last years. But he kept winning in court. All he needs is his skin color, a few “staged pictures”, empty promises and a lying lawyer. But she plans to continue going to the court until they see past her skin color and do what is right for her children.

If you have experienced similar situations or if you have advice on what a parent should do in such situations, please leave a comment. All constructive advice and ideas, for this woman, are welcome.

A very “Christmasy” mess

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The only time of the year when I am happy to see my family make a mess all over the living room floor is on Christmas Day 🙂

The eagerness to unwrap the gifts makes the paper wraps fly in the air! And I don’t mind at all. I actually enjoy it!

Merry Christmas!!!