Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

There are several memes going around about being grateful. 

This one is pretty good: (Feel free to insert the name of your personal Deity)

Thank you for the sounds that disturbed my sleep as many woke today and could hear not. Thank you for all the things that I see around me as many woke today and could see not. Thank you for the muscles that move and allow me to get up as many woke today and could not. I thank you most of all for allowing me and those that I love to wake up, as this morning, many woke not.

And I agree, it was wonderful to wake up this morning. I count my blessings every day. Every day I am grateful and thankful. I am a naturally upbeat and cheerful person. I have every reason to smile. I am grateful for my life.

And I am so happy and blessed to be a Mom of three wonderful boys.

It’s Mother’s Day!

Today, though, I was also thoughtful which led to feeling an emotion that I haven’t felt in a while – melancholy.

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.
-          Lao Tzu

So today I am spending a moment in my past. Today I am missing my Mom. I’m not feeling the celebration. I am thinking of all the things we didn’t do together. All the things we didn’t get the opportunity to say to each other. All the times I had stories to share…

I am sad and tearful and miss my Mommy!

I’m glad I could be here to see the birth of my children and my nan-children. I’m glad to be here to have made so many great memories. And it’s these memories that touch me that I could not share with my Mom. Her energy is with me, I know. Her physical presence is what I miss.

If I may I have just this moment, I’ll be better later. I promise.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Earth is NOT your Trashcan

Sorry, I got angry and I had to write this down or I was going to explode. 

I was riding down the road when the person riding shotgun in the car in front of me threw a BAG OF TRASH - from a fast-food visit (I could tell) - out of their car window!! Who does that?

Who told you that you could just drop your trash wherever you stand? Do you drop trash on the floor in your own home? Do you drop trash on the floor at your place of worship? Do you drop trash on the floor at school? Do you drop trash on the floor in a casino? So why do you insist on tossing trash out of your car window? 

What is the reason that you drop your trash along a path in the woods? What makes you think that dropping trash on the sidewalk is acceptable? The earth is your home. Where you stand is holy ground. Mother Earth is your teacher. Your abundance is all around you. When you disrespect your home, it will not be long before it begins to treat you like trash as well.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Remembering Al Jarreau

My friend, Uri, had discovered an album that he couldn’t wait to share with our mutual friend, Chet. So Chet brings the album to my house. It was all green. It had a picture of a rather attractive guy on the cover. Chet put the album on the record player and said, ‘Just listen to this.’ And I was hooked.

It helped that Chet sang a lot like him, which was encouraging to him. I was in love with Chet, and now in love with this guy who had an album, who sounded like Chet.

Fast forward, San Francisco, 1978. I am now over 3000 miles from home. I’ve left town because my mother died suddenly. I am supported by family and brand new friends. I am teaching and dancing full-time. I have a mad crush on my dance teacher.

He loves the Pat Metheny Group. His brother likes Pat Metheny as well. We discover that Pat Metheny is playing at UC Santa Cruz. We buy tickets and make plans to go - me, Alan, and his brother Paul. We are excited.

The night of the concert, we are tooling down Hwy 17, we are listening to Pat Metheny on the cassette player in the car. We are pumped. We are ready for some Pat Metheny Live!

We arrive and the event begins.  We hear a bass playing. Frantically looking out onto the stage, there is no one there, or they are all in shadow, and there is certainly no one playing a bass.

Soon, a man emerges from the wing and it is with his voice that he is creating the illusion - that sound. Remarkable. Astonishing. Incredible. Outstanding. 

Before his set is over, we are convinced we don’t even need to stay for Pat Metheny, the concert has already been fabulous. We have gotten more than our money’s worth. This amazing musician’s name? Al Jarreau.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Of Friends and History

This trip to California took a totally different turn for me. I usually come for an event then visit my friend, JT. We talk and visit, drive down to the beach, hang out, generally comment on the state of the world, watch Netflix movies, and then I make my way back home.

This trip I did attend an event but I went to visit friends that lived much further away whom I hadn’t seen for many, many years (at least 10 in both cases.)

My friend who lives South of San Francisco and I were roommates in an apartment for a while back when we were both in college. I had met her brother a couple years earlier and our relationship just naturally followed when she came to go to San Francisco State University.

We’ve always kept in touch. I was at her wedding. She entertained my children in her pool in her backyard. I flew down to celebrate her 50th birthday.  On every occasion, it was as if no time and no distance had passed.

I took the Caltrain. That was a new experience for me. I lived in San Francisco for almost a decade, but I never had the occasion to take the train. Caltrain provides commuter rail service along the San Francisco Peninsula, through the South Bay to San Jose and Gilroy. She lives just north of San Jose so I took a 90 minute train ride through parts of California that I had never seen. She picked me up at the station, and after a long, hard hug, we started chatting as if we had just got off the telephone earlier that week!

It was wonderful to be there. I had to chance to see one of her sons who is now all grown up! We ate Thai food, swam in the heated pool, drank wine, and discoursed on the state of the nation. We went to the beach, watched the sea lions floating like driftwood, ate clam chowder and calamari, and played in the waves more than ankle deep in the ocean.

There was never any doubt, discomfort or distress. Every word, every pause, every silence was filled with our history, our connection, our yesterday and our now.

I then traveled by BART, with which I am highly familiar, to a station with which I am highly familiar – El Cerrito Del Norte! That’s where I take the train to visit my cousins! I texted my cousin from the station to let her know that I was ‘passing through’ but probably wouldn’t get to see them this trip. What a delight it was for me to see my friend Michalle after all these years!

I first crossed paths with Michalle when I was active in the Broadcast industry and she was the Marketing person for a local radio broadcasting group. We didn’t chat much, but I became much closer friends with her when she opened a store across from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It was called ‘The Angel Store.’ Her store had crystals and talismans, candles and cards, and a machine that read auras. I wandered in there one day with a friend from school who is also into Metaphysics and Spirituality, and there she was!

She eventually left town and moved up north. We still kept in touch now and again by phone. In 2002, she called and asked me to be in her wedding! It was both a privilege and an honor to be a member of her bridal party. We had a wonderful time and promised to keep in touch. This time was a little easier because now there was Facebook.

On Facebook, I had the opportunity to follow her work and her travels. She had adopted a bunch of special needs babies, she was working and moving around trying to fill their needs. I followed her trials and tribulations and would even call and personally check-in on occasion. She came to Vegas once, and we had lunch. But Saturday, at the station, it was that instantaneous moment of recognition, a long, hard hug, and then right into conversation that we could have started days or even minutes before.

These are the days of our lives. Live them well. Love your neighbors. Travel often. Hug one another. Celebrate your friends.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Dream is Free

It turns out that in the past several weeks I have been challenged beyond my comfort zone and I have responded DIFFERENTLY this time. Historically, things come to me so easily that as soon as something gets hard, I quit. I don’t want to work TOO hard for it. My first instinct is to opt-out every time. I mean, there are consequences, but my first response is always to just QUIT.

I’m a substitute teacher in our local school district. My contract expires in February. I was willing to let it go. I didn’t get much work this year anyway, so I was ready to split. However, I got this really sweet gig which is kind of a permanent part-time position, however, in order to get (keep) this job, I had to renew my license. And to renew my license, I had to study, take and PASS (with more than 70%) THREE (3) EXAMS! 

I LIKE my new job. I’m actually making a difference in my new job. It’s even enough cash to keep me in the black on my bank balance. And if I want to stay with it, I would have to push through to learn and memorize several key facts in order to pass three exams.

The old me would have quit. Sure, the gig is sweet, but I would have to STUDY. And there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t know! Did I want to work for it? Did the NEW me think it was worth it? So the NEW me tried to recall what tactics I’ve used to study in the past. It finally came to me, having rediscovered those tactics, I set out to ‘Get ‘er done.’ Whew. Two weeks and four days later, I sat for the exams and passed them all at least 10-15% higher than the required result.

That made me feel good.

Spanish. I’ve been learning Spanish for about a year now, on and off. I decided to commit to getting at least 90 days in a row. The app I’m using keeps track. I’ve been doing this for a while, so although I didn’t have a 90-day streak, I thought I was doing pretty well. I realized, however, that I have come to the end of all the Spanish I have ever heard or learned, or could glean from my previous study of Latin. That was at about day 65, and it was getting somewhat challenging. My option, of course, was to quit. 

I figured I could pick it up again later, if I felt like it, until I remembered why I was learning Spanish. First, the most important reason, is that my eldest nan-child speaks it and I wanted to be able to converse with her beyond ‘Hello, how are you?’ Second, because I am looking forward to travelling in several Latin American countries, I’d like to be able to speak the language.  And, finally, I believe learning another language is a great idea! So, as I got more and more frustrated and was ready to quit…I almost let 24 hours go by – but, nope, I committed, let’s do this.

I am happy to say that I am currently on Day 90. And I’m still at it.

The last, which is the opposite of what I have done so far, is to ACTUALLY QUIT something that no longer serves me - The Casino. This is by far the hardest decision to make, considering that up until now, quitting is something I do well.

I wasn’t hanging out all the time, but it was just too many times for my budget. I have exciting plans this year. I have things I want to do. I have places I want to go. Yes, I win big sometimes, but I’d be having so much fun I rarely took much of it home. I need healthier options when I’m celebrating. I need healthier alternatives when I’m sad. I need new friends. 

I am only two weeks into this one. I figure I would have been there at least four times by now. However, based on the success of the other two…

Is this what it means to be a grown up? I thought I was doing a good job. I was taking responsibility for my actions. But what actions? 

I thought about some things I have done in the past and realized these issues have come up for me for YEARS. I see things that I didn’t follow through on because as soon as they got tough I quit. Or, I would convince myself that I didn’t want to do that anyway, so let’s try this (next thing) instead.

This all came because I was trying to figure out the reason that I am not making any notable progress in my entrepreneur venture and wondering what to do about it. Did it get too hard? Yup. Is there stuff I need to learn? Yup. And did I quit? Almost...

So many times I’ve heard ‘The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.’ And now I understand what that really means to me. Back at it. 

It's right what they say, the dream IS free, but the hustle is sold separately. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016


As 2016 draws to a close, I take time to reflect on what I have done and where I have been.

I have certainly had a wonderful and eventful 2016, for which I am grateful and thankful! I am filled with love, joy and admiration for my friends near and far whom I have visited and traveled with, those with whom I have coordinated projects, and those with whom I have spent considerable time and money learning how to be an entrepreneur. In 2017 I plan to be MUCH further along.

So, for 2017, I have come to the following plans for the New Year:

I want to say YES to continue to INVEST in myself.

I want my website to be current and accessible to my friends and clients by the end of January. If that requires hiring a website manager, then so it is!

I want to say YES to ACTION over Fear. 

I would like to experience actually generating significant income without a JOB. I have production skills, coaching skills, and public speaking skills. Producing shows, coaching clients, and making a few speeches this year would create income. There is definitely money to be made.

For this reason, I want to produce at least 3 webinars this year. January, July, December. I want to produce a successful, motivational and inspirational event showcasing multicultural individuals over 55 who are making a significant impact in their Encore careers. Diversity in Da House!

I want to say YES to LOVE in ACTION

I appreciate that my husband pays my bills and supports me unconditionally, I also want love and affection. I appreciate my husband as the friend that he has been all these years, but I would like a deeper relationship. I deserve healthy love!

I want to say YES to PROGRESS not PERFECTION

I want to reach out to other multicultural communities who may be hosting their own blogs, websites and podcasts and offer them inclusion in any activities that I promote. I would also like to be included as the Encore Ageing expert in events they promote.

I want to say YES to TRAVEL 

I want to travel to Hawai'i, Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and somewhere in South America. When I visit South America, I will be able to cross another continent off my bucket list.

I want to say YES to EXPERIENCES

I want to attend at least two Spiritual and Personal development retreats this year. It would be a bonus if they were in places I want to visit!

I want to say YES to PERSONAL GROWTH

When I do this, at the end of 2017 I can look back and see how far I've come.

It's my hair

I recently had my hair in dreadlocks. I had committed to wearing them for a year starting October, 2015. I usually had them put up into a design pattern. After a few weeks, I would take them loose and wear the locs just hanging, which was annoying as they weren’t really long enough to hang freely so they would stand away from my head. I would also be frustrated by the knots along the hair and I would want to take them out. I would end up trying to untangle the locs and realized that they were part of the inherent nature of ‘locs,’ so I would go back to the loctician and have them put back into a design on my head out of reach.

Today, December 29, 2016, I decided that I was done. It has been over a year. The bottom line is that it’s just hair, so while I still have some on my head, I like to indulge myself in a variety of looks and styles. Locs are beautiful. I enjoyed wearing some of the patterns and I even enjoyed having them hanging loose when they were finally long enough to hang freely. (However, the knots still annoyed me!)

But I’m a hairdo person. I like to change my look all the time. Keep ‘em guessing. So once I decided to take my locs out, my friend came over to help.

At first, I was trying to save my hair by actually taking the locs apart and unknotting them. This process was so tedious that in the length of TWO MOVIES we only managed to take down a small handful.

The next option was to cut them out. I had decided to unlock them a couple weeks ago, so they had been loose for about two weeks. There seemed to be sufficient new growth that we could actually cut them at the first ‘knot’ and then take them out from there.

This left an incredibly asymmetrical pattern all over my head. My hair was long where we had actually unlocked the dreadlock; my hair was shorter in places where we cut the locs out, and longer in places with more new growth. Needless to say this left me with a need to have it corrected.

Ultimately, it seemed like the best option I was going to have was to get my hair chopped off at the barbershop, but I called my hairdresser first. She said she would cut it for about $15. Gave me a 10:30 a.m. Thursday appointment. That seemed like a plan. My friend had gone to a barbershop locally to have hers cut, so I texted her. Her barber charged $10. She gave me the barber’s name and her number. I called twice, left a message once. No response. I took that as a sign.

I called my hairdresser back and said I had decided to have it done instead of just cut and was 10:30 still a good time. She said, ‘Sure.’

As I was sitting in her chair today, I was reminiscing about my first experience with a hairdresser. I was probably in about 4th grade. When we lived in New Jersey, I had relatives who braided my hair and it would be up for a week at a time. When we moved to Philadelphia, we had no such access. My mother worked so she didn’t have time or talent to braid my hair, so after about a year of struggling with it, my mother decided to take me to the hairdresser.

The woman she found could not have been more accommodating. It was like I had a personal hairdresser. My Mother and I would wash our hair at home and then go sit in this woman’s living room and wait our turn to have our hair done. My hair is very soft and doesn’t hold styles well. It would be cute for a minute, but I would have to put pink sponge rollers in it at night.

However, if it was a special event, perhaps picture day at school, this woman would do my hair THAT MORNING! For the school dances, I would wash my hair, get completely dressed for the dance, and then go to her house to have my hair done. On several occasions she assisted me in getting my dress on over my recently done ‘do.’ I remember she attached ‘ringlets’ to my hair for a school dance when ringlets were ‘all the rage.’ I remember her styling my hair on the morning of picture day at school. I even remember her helping me into my dress for the Sophomore Hop!

That summer, however, was the rise of the Civil Rights and Black Panther movement and having one’s hair done went quickly out of fashion. We travelled to California that June and when I returned to school in the fall, I had a short, curly afro that I had fashioned by merely washing my hair and rolling it in my ever popular pink rollers. (Those pink sponge rollers have stood the test of time!)

Today I wear my hair in a variety of styles. Sometimes hot-curled, other times in braids, or my short afro. Never chemicals, so I consider all my hairdos 'natural.' Many folks make a political statement of their natural hair. Other people make an actual issue (there is SO much animosity against Black women wearing natural hair!)

To me, it’s just hair - not really political, not even that serious. Other women might disagree, but that is not where my vanity lies. My vanity lies elsewhere. However, I love my hair. I love my hairdressers. I love my braiders. And I’ve loved my locticians. Thank you all for being kind to my hair.