Guest Posts

Meet my dear friend, a gorgeous lady who lunches with style. The one and only Diane Duke.

There are some people you meet on your passage through life and even though you’ve never seen them in the flesh, they still carry enough presence to make you feel warm.

Diane is one of such people that I’ve been comfortable to connect with all these months. She’s smart, fun, wise, friendly and has a great sense of humour. I know that one day, I’ll be lunching with Diane and a host of other lovely people whom I’ve met in this space.

Please read and enjoy getting to know Diane a bit more.

Thank you, my lady, for taking the time to have a chat and all the best with the novella 🙂

I’ve lived in one suburb of Chicago or another my whole life. I’ve been married for quite awhile now and have a big blended family of two children, three stepchildren, a grandchild, six step grandchildren and even a step great grandson!


I don’t usually break things down quite like that, they’re just my kids and grandkids. But I daresay if you saw us all in one room, you’d be hard pressed to know who belongs to whom. There’s kind of a lot of variety in ages!

Hubby and I also have two aging fur babies, Chief and Inga. Chief is a Chow/ terrier mix and Inga is a Norwegian Elkhound. Needless to say, there are lots and lots of fur and shedding and summertime is not their favorite time of the year!


I have a B.S. in Journalism and it was so long ago that they call it Communications nowadays! I worked at a non-profit agency in Chicago in public relations and wrote press releases and coordinated fundraisers before leaving my job to get married and raise my family.

Eventually, I went back to work, at first, it was part time jobs, then full time at a law firm back in the city. My second son was born with lots of health problems so I had to leave that job and concentrate on his medical issues, including several surgeries and therapies over the years.

By the time he was three, I started working at home as a court reporting transcriptionist for a Washington, D.C. based firm. Certain federal courts allowed audio recordings, so we would get audio tapes and transcribe them on a deadline and at first mail them back, then later used email.

When I was transcribing, I could type 120 words a minute. I did this for a number of years until I was able to quit working completely and become a Lady Who Lunches! Yes, I’m spoiled and blessed to be able to hang out with my friends and shop and vacation…

I started my blog because I really missed writing – the only writing I was doing was our Christmas newsletter. I actually started getting requests for it from family and friends. So I plunged in and started a blog. This is how I thought blogging would go: I would read books I wanted (romance and light mysteries), write a review, post it on my blog and people would follow me. I found out quickly that if I did that I’d be writing for no one but myself!

So I signed up for WP’s Blogging 101 and made a lot of blogging friends and learned a lot! Since my blog was up and running, I was lucky I had some reviews from Goodreads to repost and keep things going for awhile.

Eventually, I started to write some fiction and some articles about things going on in my life, like physical therapy, personal training, babysitting my grandson, etc. I started exploring other blogs and found how much I loved meeting other people and talking with them.

It still amazes me that I’ve made blogging friends all over the world! I’ve found blogging challenges to be wonderful fun and a great way to meet other bloggers. I’ve done the A to Z Challenge in April and the ongoing Limerick Challenge at Mind and Life Matters and am in the midst of a Kindness Challenge.

Now I spend almost as much time reading and commenting on other people’s blogs as I do writing my own!

I never seriously intended to write a book, but I think I may have been bitten by the writing bug and may start tying together some of my shorter pieces into short stories or a possible novella. We shall see what happens down the road!

My typical days are spent fixing meals when forced, cleaning the house when I have to and going to the gym to work out a couple times a week. Youngest son still lives at home, so he’s going to work out at the gym now, too.

I go to lunch with my friends and I am on a weekly ladies bowling league in the fall and winter. I don’t really like shopping, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like buying! I’m just not much on spending the whole day at the mall. I mow the lawn and garden a little, pick up dog poop in our backyard and shovel snow when needed. Pretty mundane. Oh, and Tuesdays and Thursdays I babysit my three and a half-year-old grandson.

My only published pieces were back when I was in college and in local publications. Well, I guess I had news releases published when I worked for the United Way, but I don’t have any links to those either. The pictures I hopefully attached are Chief (tan dog), Inga (gray dog) and me and Inga having some girl time!


Thanks, Jackie, for the lovely opportunity. I appreciate your friendship so much!

Family · Life · Love · Personal story · Poetry/Poems · Writing

Ude-Aku…The tale of the wrinkled hands

Grandma dancing on the occasion of my traditional/customary marriage.
Grandma dancing on the occasion of my traditional/customary marriage.

I held your frail wrinkled hands in mine,
They were much smaller!
Now! You were old!
The skin of your hands had waxed, waned and tautened over decades;
Toughened by ages of farming and weeding, from lifting innumerable hot clay pots from the burning firewood, from bathing babies; lots and lots of babies.

I caressed them lightly; noting the veins that stood out more prominently; noting the traditionally placed tattoos and the story behind the tattoos;
Beautiful age worn hands that had nourished,
Beautiful wrinkled bejeweled fingers that lightly applied ”Ude-Aku” on my scalp whilst shaping my unruly hair into a bouffant style.

Those fingers were my preferred hair stylist because, you did not pull it tight like Mama Nkechi used to do whilst making the periwinkle hair-do for me.
Beautiful hands that left my little bum smarting from a well-deserved smack after a misbehaviour.

I beheld your face with my eyes. Your beautiful dark skinned face;
I looked! Looking and looking at every lovely lined feature of your face.
Knowing that it might probably be the last time that my eyes would behold your skin.
Your eyes had seen the Civil war, your eyes had looked life in the face, it was a map of times past, etched with love and pain, with joy and laughter, with fear and worry, with seeing things that I can barely imagine…
Your lovely wrinkled face, etched with very fine lines and tiny spots that had stolen in and taken bold space,
Your crown of whitened hair held in a little bun
Everything had grown smaller!
Your skin had shrunk and your capacious bosom which used to cradle my hair, had bowed to the caprices of gravity
You had aged!
I saw it coming! I knew that it would happen!
But I wasn’t prepared!
The pain still cut me deep!
I wasn’t prepared to stop looking at your age-wizened face!
And when you left, you left with the name!
Grandma, nobody ever calls me Nnedim or Ngozika again!
They were your special bequests to me.
You left with your skin all shriveled by death
And you took the lovely smell of Okwuma and Ude-Aku!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Quick Glossary For Words in Native Igbo:

Nkechi:  A native Igbo name shortened from Nkechinyere which means “The one that God gave.”

Ngozikaego: A native Igbo name which means ”Blessings are far better than money” derivatives of the names are Ngozi, Ngozika, Kaego, Ego

Nnedim: meaning ”My husbands mother” this infers to the belief in reincarnation and grandma believed that I was her mother-in-law reincarnated..

Okwuma: Native ointment made from Shea Butter.

Ude-Aku: Local body cream made from oil extracted from roasted palm kernels.

In fulfillment of Writing 201 – Poetry Day 3: Skin. Prose Poem. Internal Rhyme.

Some of the hairstyles back then.
Some of the hairstyles back then.