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Heteroskedasticity

Yes, I actually do remember Business School 🙂 even though I am doing something very non-MBA right now. ( As in, I no longer sit at a desk, watching crude oil futures prices graphs on the NYMEX and doing a whole lot of market analysis stuff and whatnot! I don’t “worry” so much what the USD/CAD, USD/EUR is doing etc – that’s what I mean) And no, this is not entirely a finance article, well it is somewhat!

The highs, the lows, predictions, rallies, cycles what not…. I am not entirely sure if I miss my life in finance or if I don’t; what I am sure about though is that I am so very passionate about what I am doing right now, and that I will also never really “de-link” myself from financial market happenings. More so, I have derivatives etched very deep into my DNA :-), and intend to get a lot of billable hours out of what I do know about them 😉

So back to Heteroskedasticity (if you don’t know what that means please look it up – its part of the fun to this piece). Lately, I found myself thinking about a situation I was dealing with and the only term that aptly and jumped out at me, to describe the un-said situation is this word. Trust me I am not “geeky” or anything but I found myself just thinking “Heteroskedasticity” – like I was about to take the CFA or Series 63 or something!

Anyway, surprisingly, it kind of settled me down because I realized I was dealing with something that I had no power to “control” in entirety….so I kept it moving. I also realized that even those parts that I could predict, I really could not, with precision; determine what the outcome would be – just like financial markets don’t you think? How many solid models have totally backfired on ingenious market gurus huh!

You unleash volatility in markets and you can’t exactly tell where it’s all going to end. Or can you? (Somebody that has please share!)Last year, at my last position, I attempted to understand implied volatility in derivatives trading; I did get a model going (but without factoring in the volatility part, meaning I had to rework many variables backwards and the LONG way!)….I quickly realized that had I had a solid grasp on volatility, then my model would have taken me much much much less time to build! BUT, I am not doing a PhD in Econometrics – and for good reason. Hahaha!

Anyway, my life right now is rather “volatile”, even erratically volatile sometimes. I can’t predict for sure what, when, how its all going to happen – but I am taking it in stride. The one thing I can predict though, is that I am not allowing de-railers into the already very “aggressive cycle” and that all shall come together!

Yes, I am a realist! And one that believes that everything that happens in my life is for a reason….

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Note: This is a note that I should have posted months ago……but have never quite got around to doing it! But here I am now…

Oprah usually says “never talked about before until now”, and I am following suit – folks, hot off the pan (I love cooking!), here comes:

One lovely evening, Mr Man walked to Ms. Woman’s apartment and “ended” whatever had been going on between them for a while – or as far as Ms Woman was concerned – He ended a relationship between them. Just like that. Reason. “You are too focussed and independent and I don’t want to derail you” – a laughable thing, but not very funny at that particular moment. Ms. Woman refused to apologise for being “focussed and independent”, and said so in both words and by choosing to go on with her life (after dealing with it of course; and for some time). Nway, today, she is a fierce (r) woman with no apology about having a mind of her own and refusing to let people walk over her.

And good people, the above scenario is actually an account of something I went through a few years ago – that I really do not talk about .I blog about this years down the line not because I am all reminiscing about whatever, but because, it keeps getting reinforced in me, that, that is probably the best thing I ever did for my life – the refusing to act “blonde” in order to “keep my man”. I can bet you had I gone the “what-did-I-do” route, my life would be radically different from how it is today…radically different in ways that totally suck…..

– BUT of late, there has been too much talk about independent women etc, some people around me have voiced their sentiments about my being “too independent” and I found my mind wandering to instances that have been alluded to in that respect, as concerns me, in the past. I have also been branded a “woman of the caucus” – Kenyans will get that etc – Like that is a bad brand – thanks for the good PR ya’ll hateful, self doubting people hahaha!

Disclaimer: I am not a relationship expert, a shrink, men/women guru et al; I am just one woman that has a very perceptive mind, eyes that are wide open and ears that work – and a blog where I can write what I think without having to worry about being PC( Politically Correct – Sic!) Lol!

I don’t know if it is just me – maybe it is, but then again, hey, its about what I have observed and maybe actually gone through right?

A recent study, “revealed” – ok pardon my cynicism about the alleged findings, especially seeing I am also currently involved in academic research and is finding out all kinds of things that actually are against commonly held truths

Aside:
Like did you know that some of the purported micro-credit schemes are actually making some beneficiaries worse off than they initially were? As in some members are actually in debt coz they have to borrow money from elsewhere to be able to sustain themselves in some schemes intended to empower them economically – its either a case of poor product research and management, inadequate research and/ or follow up of implemented schemes or simply a case of we-know-but-give-a-blind-eye-to, by the stakeholders that stand to gain? (Story for another column though!)

Nway, I was saying – a recent study revealed, that there is an increase in the number of divorce cases in the age bracket 25-35 because there is a decreasing number of alpha males and increase in the number of independent women. I would say that is probably a co-relation that would make sense and I won’t challenge the findings because I am not privy to the research factors.

But – what got me going was this…why is there an increasing number of “independent women” – I put that in quotes coz people define an independent woman in very broad terms – no pun intended!

Case in point (a real life story by the way), a man and a woman – child hood buddies, currently aged 36 and 35 respectively. Both hold advanced degrees, one a sort after tax attorney the other a senior vice president at global blue chip firm. They both own their homes in affluent areas of the cities they live in et al – basically, they are doing “good” judged from their careers and lifestyles…AND they are HAPPY with their lives….someday, they both hope to find suitable wife/husband to raise families with – or not – they are open minded about their options for having a family – there is adoption for example.

Personally, I am thrilled coz these two are both my friends and I am so grateful to God that we have each other in our lives…they inspire me each day coz they have worked their asses off to get to where they are…and I always tell them – when I am 35 and 36, I want to be like you – not in the truest sense of the word, but coz I am equally ambitious and am glad to actually know that if I keep doing what I am doing – I am on the right track…..Plus – I am also realistic and honest enough to admit to myself the “kind” of success that I want….

Aside:

You know sometimes, people are “shy” to admitting what kind of success they want because of societal repercussions – For instance, people wanting to have a big family with one of the parents staying at home cease to do so because their neighbours are going to think they are “weird”, people wanting to have healthy bank accounts and assets to fall back onto for a long time refrain from doing so because they are going to be branded materialistic etc. The best place in life comes from knowing that only you are living in your skin so it matters not what the next person “feels” about your choices in life. Get liberated already!

Fast forward to “larger society”, my 36 year old, male buddy (John) is a success story and any woman would be “lucky” if he was her husband. Flip-side – my 35 year old, female buddy (Jane) is “too independent” – I mean what man is going to be able to “keep up” with her?

Correct me if I am wrong, but does it not come to some age that, man or woman, you are able to do some things for yourself? I mean if, like in this case, Jane has an illustrious career that she loves, has the money to afford the kind of lifestyle she wants and lives it and is happy about it – why should I, or worse still, “society” care what she does or doesn’t do!

And why is she coined negatively as “independent” because of taking care of her business? The reality is – she SHOULD be able to take care of herself, she CAN take care of herself and she CHOOSES to take care of herself – But my friend will not hear the last of her “kuwa na kichwa ngumu” until Mr Man comes along – Sigh!

Don’t we all have enough of our own issues to take care of to keep worrying about others? – I know I do!

Don’t get me wrong – there is a degree of participation that comes natural as a person that lives in a particular environment – we do not live in voids – but surely there is a thin line between being a responsible citizen and blatantly being up in peoples business at the expense of your own goals, ideals and life challenges. BUT, like I said – at the end of the day – it is about personal choice – and I choose to expend my efforts to those things that at the end of the day will make me a richer person – in the truest sense of the word.

Cheers to all the Independent Men and Women in my life – those that appreciate that this here, isnt a game of who is “better” – but rather a level playing field of “I am me, you are you, lets get this thing called living together going” 🙂

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It has been an extremely busy past 2 months for me. I resigned from my lovely Treasury Analyst position in the US of A, packed up, eeehh, tried to pack up the past 5 and ½ years in a few packages and got ready to relocate, ran around with my sister to get ready for her wedding day, attended a WONDERFUL, the most awesome wedding I have attended in my life and watched my sister get married to a wonderful man then got on a flight and began my 30 hour journey to Kenya. I slept a lot on the way and I made a note to myself to make sure I get richer real soon to avoid flying coach on such long journeys 😀

I will blog about some specifics of all these events later – soon – hopefully. For now I want to talk about my woes trying to use my MasterCard Debit Card in Kenya.

Last time I was in Kenya, I did not have to use my card extensively because for one I was there for only 3 weeks and secondly I had carried some USD with me that I exchanged on arrival. The one time I used my card in Kenya, it worked like a charm ( In Nakumatt) – so I assumed I was going to have the same smooth sailing experience this time around.

I had only about USD 200 on me when I arrived in Kenya, that I exchanged for Ksh and with what I am working on right now ( I will also blog about that soon hopefully), that really didn’t last me for long. So I run out of Ksh and I go to a Bank and try to get some money from an ATM using my MasterCard Debit Card. ( My Visa Credit Card – ( I only have one credit card since I refused to get sucked into the fiscal irresponsibility that we tempt ourselves into by having cards we do not need). So my Visa Credit Card is paid off every month and since I am going to be around for a while – I am not intending to put any balances on it – that is how I planned it period!) – Well long story short, after a trip to Barclays, Stanchart, KCB, NBK etc, I was still Ksh-Less! At one of the aforementioned banks they simply told me “we cannot allow you to use our ATMs” – How rude! And, they didnt even give me the option of getting Ksh via Cash Advancing my Card!

One very nice and helpful young man at NBK and a college buddy of mine via Face book directed me to Southern Credit Bank (they deal with MasterCard) and well – I am thankful to them…. 🙂

It made me really consider being a MasterCard Rep to Kenya – Why aren’t our Banks multifaceted and deal with multiple card companies? Seriously – there is nothing special about Visa – or maybe Visa has just done a good job of branding their image in Kenya. Plus now I will have to get used to carrying around wands of cash! I know that we are yet to get to being a cash-less society – but this little experience made me realize just what vast avenues we have yet to address in our financial markets! Such exasperation, such little annoyances that really could be deterring vast potentials out there!

Other issues irritating me are PEOPLE NOT KEEPING TIME! . Anyone that knows me, knows I am always on time! At work in the US of A, I am the one that would get to meeting rooms and call people still at their desks running late for a meeting!

Last week I had a breakfast meeting scheduled with a person helping me out with some of the things I am working on. The meeting was supposed to be at 8am because I had other things to attend to as well on that day. You can imagine my HORROR when he calls me at 915am telling me he is on his way – and finally showed up at 1030am! Gosh! SO, I had to get on the phone and begin canceling most of my other engagements for that day!!

SO right now, I have a bout of Malaria going on – I have been feeling crappy since Sunday – so I might not be very lucid and a little grouchy typing this…Hehehe! But I guess that’s why they call it acclimatization!!! I intend to get well real soon because I have a lot of things to get done!

That’s all for today – Happy goings!

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Reflections…

I have been having an amazing time just being, reflecting on things, planning for and just bonding with my inner self – A very, ummmhhh, awakening experience I have been having.

I was happy ( very relative term), when the financials for Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi and BofAmerica were released last week – Net Income in the Billions, makes me know that I am not in this profession in vain 🙂 – that there is hope for the global meltdown after-all.

I have also received some very good news – news that will be affecting my next few years and I am so looking forward to ” getting at it ” – Bits and pieces and LOTS of work I will be doing here shortly, but it is both a feat and a challenge that I am going to be embracing, giving it all my all, excelling at – so help me God 🙂 !!!

I have been feeling very “grown up” the past few weeks and I guess its because I have been eating well, getting enough sleep, having plenty of me-time, staying away from negativity ( from negative blogs, news, TV etc), and just taking some time to enjoy being me – My short term “solitude” is really paying off!

I have also been really thanking God for where I am in my life, where I am going, my family and for generally being able to keep my head above water in this crazy world 😉 .

Here is one of my favorite pieces of poetry. It is by Rudyard Kipling, an English Author and Poet.

Happy goings all and remember to always strive for the more excellent way. I went to a high school where our principal did an awesome job of scaring us away from failure. My Mom also did a wonderful job of threatening myself, my brother and 2 sisters away from mediocrity – so the way I see it – well, you all see it! 🙂

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run —
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!
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Rudyard Kipling (1865- 1936)

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So today, we are on an Excessive Heat Advisory till kesho jioni and for the next few days *sigh* It is HOT!….I know it is pretty hot out there because today when I was leaving my house at 715am the temperatures were 82 degrees. Driving back from lunch, temperatures were 102 degrees! BUT, as usual, I am wearing hose –it is summer so it is the sheer kind.

A little information about me and hose, or is it hose and me?

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If there was an award or a club for Panty Hose wearers – I would be a triple Platinum awardee. I just am so into panty hose – I am not talking about shapers or those other “suck it all in” kind of hose – just your regular wear to work kind of hose.

I have all kinds of hose – but my “usual” hose is a Hanes, Control Top, Sandal Foot, Gentle Brown – won’t give the size here lest creative minds begin to visualize my assets. I am petite so jijazie. It took me forever to experiment with shades and the Gentle Brown is PERFECT – you can usually not tell I am wearing hose…..I have been wearing some kind of hose for as long as I have NOT been wearing a Kamisi (which I believe is something like Form 1 second term or on those occasions when my Grandma gives me eyes to suggest there is attire I am missing) – does anyone still wear a Kamisi?

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Aside:

When we were reporting to Form 1 at our beloved high school – we were sent a list of appropriate things to buy – one of the items was Kamisi – so most of our mothers fully complied and armed us with those. Most of my friends ditched those after a quick term in favor of “bikers”. Plus my school was “liberal” in that we were allowed to carry “home clothes”. I think the rules stated “3 simple dresses”, but coming back in second term, most of us had suitcases full of all kinds of attire.

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Other kinds of Hose you will find in my drawers are – Jet Black (which I will wear with my dark colored pant-suits), Hanes – the very sheer (which is what I mostly wear in the summer with skirts), and Toeless (for the peep toe heels) etc…

A typical hose shopping replenishment trip will take me about 5 minutes – I know where to get it and what I want…Easy!

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People have asked me if I am not uncomfortable in hose even in the summer – to which end I hold: NEVER, plus I wear good quality sheer hose that only accentuates my body instead of it being a “drag”. There are those drab, heavy kinds – but I have never developed a fancy for those.
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When I began my first “official” job after college, I worked in a bank and I did the whole “ I don’t wear skirts” kinda thing seeing as my college years were spent in an assorted collection of jeans – then I discovered, there is nothing that can rival a well tailored, well outfitted skirt suit. Complete with a good pair of heels and accessories ( my usual diamond right hand ring and earrings ( I am not that into necklaces unless they are simple or bold depending on the look I want – most days I am usually without neck jewelry) – priceless look!. And I actually look really nice in skirt suits.

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I have all kinds of colors of skirt suits – from the conservative black, navy blue, brown and grey to the bold purple, royal blue, red etc. I toyed around with the idea of buying a pink suit (because I saw some awesome pink heels on sale – yes I have my priorities right) – but I have never really been a pink kind of girl – so I bought the shoes and wear them with other things….
And with my wearing of short skirt suits – comes the wearing of hose – I just like that look…..

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Now, jana I had hose issues….I was wearing peep toe heels so I had sheer toeless hose. As I was parking at work after lunch – I realized I had a run – on the front – and I was in a black on-the-knee length skirt – so the hose had to go. So I took off the hose in my car all the time praying my window tint is dark enough to “shelter” me lest passing by colleagues think they work with a “weirdo” hehehe! Oh – and I have never had such an uncomfortable afternoon being hose-less *sigh* 😦

Then I also started thinking – maybe I should have not put off shaving my legs jana evening – I am usually ok going by for 2 weeks – but that quickly changes when you are in a short skirt and bila hose….So anyway – I made it through the afternoon but it made me wonder just how accustomed one can be to things so small.

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I worked at a Bank here and when I worked at the Branch – hose wearing was mandatory – no biggie for me, but apparently a big bother to 95% of the women. One teller was once sent to the nearest store – Walgreens – to purchase and wear hose before returning to work.

In Nairobi – at the Bank where I worked, wearing hose was not mandated but 95% of the women regularly shopped for and wore hose. We even had one of those mamas that goes to Turkey or Dubai and owned several exhibitions make deliveries of hose (good quality hose) at the bank – how convenient!

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The hosiery debate is a huge one and each has their side – my side is stated with enough finality – how do you not wear hose! But at the end of the day – to each woman her own. It’s what works for you – and you should be able to feel comfortable with what you are wearing.

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But here is a link to an interesting article on hose wearing – I don’t condone some of the pros associated with hose wearing like not taking care of the feet coz they are “hidden” by hose. Hose in my opinion, needs to be enhancing your look, not hiding un- kept toe nails, non- moisturized skin and generally un-attended to feet! I have regular pedicures – self or done at a nail salon and you will NOT catch me with unsightly feet, unpolished toes etc just coz no-one can see them.

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Being confident as a person is about tending to those “hidden” things that no-one can see – be it clothes, issues, thoughts, habits etc
Try have a cool summer everyone – hydrate and take care of those things no-one can see. 🙂

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The Hosiery Dilemma

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My Kenya

Today – I said a prayer for Kenya, I thought about the country that gave me my Me-Ness! God Bless Kenya 🙂 !

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Trusting

Revelations 3:8

“I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name”

When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He’ll catch you when you fall, or He’ll teach you how to fly!
‘The power of one sentence!
God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close.

I received the caption above from one of my friends and it actually is one of those that made sense to me. Maybe because I am trying to sift through a lot of things right now, but most because this year – yes, the 4 months that we have been into it – I have seen so much of my plans actually translate into results!

I am a Christian and I live my life that way – I simply believe there is a God out there! I believe it is my belief in something that is Greater than I am that I am able to be Who I am….But I shall write about that maybe some other time.

As we approached the end of 2008 – actually around my birthday in November, I sat myself down and WROTE down what it is that I want to get done in 2009. My list had 5 things – that’s it. Because I believe that most of the things I wanted to get done were mere details in the 5. And I have actually seen the “things” happen. Some are already off the list – signed, sealed, delivered!

I could have said – it is because I am such a meticulous planner (which I am), focused about what it is I want to do – long term and short term (I am that too) or whatever else; but seriously, there was and still is something at play that gives me the strength to fly all over without getting weary, give my all in my work and current research, realize when some things are not working, be brave enough to venture off that path and embrace new things etc

Some call it, I don’t know – I don’t know! I call it Divine Intervention. I call it God’s favor.

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