Friday, November 10, 2006

Cleveland's "Teddy Bear" goes home!

Once again I am left numb as I sit and listen to the many remembrances of Cleveland's own Gerald Levert. I can't believe he has passed on at the tender age of 40. Cleveland has lost one of their favorite sons at the prime of his life. His body is gone but his spirit will forever live in this city where in the last few hours everyone is recalling how they knew Gerald or they knew this person who was friends with that person etc. If you live in Cleveland you know how it goes.
Above all the last two days have once again proven that we are not in control and the Master has drafted a plan - today could be your last so make the most of it. Live, love and enjoy each day you have.
My deepest condolences are sent to the Levert family and the many members of Gerald's inner circle. You will be missed.

A Trailblazer Makes His Transition

Hearing that veteran CBS journalist Ed Bradley had passed away left me numb yesterday. I admired Bradley and found that he was one of the best interviewers in the business. Ed Bradley asked pointed questions. He pressed for a response when the subjects tried to evade him. Yet he went from serious to light as he laughed and joked with Tiger Woods or flirted with Lena Horne and cooked up a meal with Aretha Franklin.
Through it all he made you feel as though you were in the room as he interviewed countless celebrities and news makers over the course of twenty-five years on CBS' 60 Minutes. Before ascending to 60 Minutes Bradley was one of the first black journalists on network television and as a youngster I recall watching and admiring this man who was a foreign correspondent as I once hoped to be.
Over the years the number of black journalists on television has continued to grow, but Ed Bradley and Tony Brown of Tony Brown's Journal were the early ones and I am truly saddened to hear of Bradley's passing.
The tributes have been wonderful and Mr. Bradley will be greatly missed. God Bless you Ed Bradley for opening the doors for so many that have followed you, but also for bringing the world into the homes of millions.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tomorrow's the Big Election Day!

Ok, we're not electing a President tomorrow - ah shucks, can we please! Instead we are electing the next Congress and in Ohio the Governor among other statewide elected offices and I can't wait until the polls close.
We have been inundated with the worst smear and smut that I can recall in a non-Presidential election. All of the political pundits are analyzing the elections and issues and declaring victory in most cases for the Democratic Party and laying the blame at the feet of the Republicans and President Bush for his inaction as it relates to the War in Iraq.
Listening to talk radio today I heard an interesting comment and referral to the mega preacher Creflo Dollar and I was a bit surprised. Maybe I shouldn't have been after talking with a few people who follow the mega ministers. It appears that the right Reverend Dollar (and I am assuming here) has joined forces with the right-wing ministers in a "United We Stand" campaign in support of the War in Iraq. To see more stop here.
I am opposed to the War in Iraq for a number of reasons with the Number 1 Being - We Don't Belong There! Let's think back to how we became engaged in war with Iraq. As you may recall we were attacked September 11, 2001 and all arrows pointed to Osama Bin Laden, but our President decided that now was the time to go after his father's nemesis Saddam Hussein and the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Fast forward five years and there are no WMD's, Osama is still laughing at the U.S. and we have now captured, tried and sentenced Hussein to death. Do you feel safer? Have the terrorist attacks ended? Well it's been quiet on our Western front, but the terrorist cells are still very active and continue to hate the US.
As to Dollar a friend said to me 'he's just that Creflo Dollar' and I'm sure he's being paid for his endorsement. This truly saddens me because I recall how a few years back in the early days of the mega ministries Dollar was one of the leaders and he brought many men and women to the Word, but now I wonder how many did he lead down a dark path.
I'll continue to think on this as I prepare my thoughts for my posting on Good vs. Evil.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No More Procrastination!

I have decided to commit to my craft and no matter what life throws my way I am going to work diligently on a novel. Beginning on November 1st I will join thousands of other participants in the National Novel Writing Month campaign.
If you're not familiar with this concept it was designed for people like me who have to have deadlines or life will just get in the way of completing some tasks. I'm sure there are other reasons as well, but I prefer to us life as my excuse.
I have several ideas floating around but I have not determined which I will tackle for November and it has to be new - that is not in progress so the two chapters I have of "Daddy's Girl" don't count.
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's too early for SNOW!!!!

October 23, 2006 and what do I look out my window and see - SNOW!!!
Normally weather changes don't bother me, but fall is my favorite time of the year and here in C-Town that season has been MIA!
Yesterday's snowfall sent me into a real Funk!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Michael Baisden hits Cleveland airwaves!

It seems that Radio One has stirred up a little controversy in Cleveland with the addition of the Michael Baisden Show weekdays from 3-7 p.m. The self-proclaimed "bad boy" of radio has brought hot and steamy to local airwaves. From the Kama Sutra to multiple sex partners, Baisden's show is aimed at the "Grown & Sexy".
When I first began this post I was unsure of whether I liked the new addition to the Cleveland radio scene for a number of reasons:
  1. The content seemed a little risque for the time slot
  2. It was totally uncharacteristic for Cleveland's urban radio
  3. I wasn't sure if we really need to be talking about "swinging, plural relationships etc." on the radio.
  4. Was the show coming to any conclusions or were we being presented "shock" for the sake of entertainment.
I've come to the conclusion that it is a little too risque at times for the time slot, and while it appears Baisden wants to be the black "Shock Jock" he does try to bring home a message.

As an example when discussing swinging and plural relationships one of his arguments is that we have to stop the cheating that seems to be pervasive in some circles and thus if everybody is honest from the beginning this will decrease the number of cheaters. While I'm not sure I totally agree with this opinion I can see where one might believe this would help.

On the other hand I believe that often times men and women cheat for the sake of cheating. For the thrill, the adventure that is associated with trying not to get caught. Thus they may practice swinging with you, and still cheat on you because the thrill is in the cloak and dagger, the undercover and not getting caught. There are also people who just live for drama, it is what adds spice to their lives.

One segment was "Men Cry In The Dark" and featured Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu and they discussed the fact that many black men are taught that it is not macho for men to cry so they harbor their emotions and manifest them through drinking, drugs, violence etc. One thing that Kunjufu stated was very true and that is that women have a number of avenues to vent - their girlfriends, journals and God. We will dish all the dirt to our best girlfriends and tell even more in our journals and most importantly when we%

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Blue Angels

I've never been a big fan of Air Shows but this year I will admit I got caught up! Not enough to pay for a ticket mind you, but enough to venture outside my office on several occasions to shoot some photos of the spectacular planes as they did a regular "fly-by". Here are a couple of the images I captured.
Not the greatest shot, but a pretty good shot utilizing a digital camera without a true zoom lense.
I must say that the thought of free falling in an airplane never looked more peaceful to me. I don't know if it is all of the chaos that has been my life of late or what, but I could imagine myself thousands of miles away soaring with the clouds and being totally at peace!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Catching Up

It's time for me to catch up on my posting. It's been a while because as always - life gets in the way of my writing. This is a dilemma I have got to find a solution to and soon. It's been so bad lately that I haven't even had an opportunity to catch up on reading some of my favorite bloggers. Even worse a couple of my friends new to the blogsphere have caught the bug and are regular posters. If you're interested in Hip Hop and want to get the inside track you have to check out Indy Hip Hop World where my girl Kim is keepin' it real! If you're looking for some interesting beats of the literary kind, you must hop on over to Lori's Old School Mix. Lori is a wonderful writer and soon to be published author. Her work has a lyrical flow and a lot of down home flavor, so check her out!
Learning to say NO!!
I'm really working on this, but boy is it hard. I have a number of interests and work/life just continues to get in the way of me pursuing them. My first passion has always been the written word - both has a writer and as a reader. I have been an avid reader since I was a very young child and that has continued throughout adulthood with the only real hiatus coming while in college when text books took the place of novels.
In my previous full-time career I was a journalist which meant writing on a regular basis and it was and is something I enjoy, however now I have to schedule the time to do it. Today I handle marketing and public relations for Cleveland Public Power (CPP), a municipal electric company in Cleveland.
Over the last several months this has drained me of any energy to enjoy reading, writing or anything else.
As the old adage goes "There is a light at the end of the tunnel" and boy can I see the light! We (CPP) are winding down on our Centennial celebration so I should have a little time to do other things soon.

While in the throws of putting on a week of Centennial celebrations I received a call asking if I would be interested in doing some freelance PR work for a play opening at Karamu House Performing Arts Theatre tomorrow. I said yes of course. Why, because I really have a fondness for Karamu, which just so happens to be the African American performing arts theatre in the country and I'm always looking to branch out into other areas.
Well, little did I know! The principles involved in this production are heavyweights in this industry. The production, Gospel! Gospel! Gospel! was written and conceived by Otis Sallid who is an award-winning choreographer, director and producer. The co-producer of the play is a Cleveland native and Karamu alumnus - James Pickens, Jr. of "Grey's Anatomy" fame!
The long and short of this is - when you already have your plate full, accept it and decline offers that will tax you even further. I learned this the hard way, but along the way I did have the opportunity, however short lived, to meet some amazing people and have a small role in helping them spread the word about this wonderful production. So if you're in Cleveland now or anytime before November 5th, you must experience Gospel! Gospel! Gospel! it's an historical look at gospel music from slavery through the present!
In case you didn't get it - the moral of the story is DO NOT put too much on your plate. You loose your creative juices, energy and the possibility to flourish at something new.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

Kudos to Kiri Davis for producing a thought provoking film short "A Girl Like Me" about the biases that continue to exist in our community as it relates to skin color. Hello! This is 2006 and we (black people) are not comfortable in the skin we're in.
While viewing the short I was brought to tears because we still haven't learned, but at the same time I wasn't shocked because I witness the racism we exercise on our own people daily and the way many of our women are so unhappy with their hair that they regularly spend hundreds of dollars to have "human" hair braided in, sown in and glued in so that they can have bouncing and behaving hair.
I'm also confronted regularly with the statement "Well you have good hair". I don't think it's good - it's just what was passed down in my gene pool and heaven knows their are many days I would prefer thicker, coarser hair.
I have a relaxer in my hair to manage it. For many years I overprocessed my hair as many of us do going to the Shop every six weeks for a touch-up, but then I changed hair stylists and Tammy and I constantly battled over the chemicals. She would greet me with "I'm not putting any chemicals in your hair" to which I would retort, "Well I guess you're moving in, cause I can't get up every morning blow drying kinks out of my hair." We eventually reached a somewhat happy medium and limited the number of touch-ups to about 3-4 a year.
Over the last four years Ms. Ericka has been keeping my tresses in shape and she taught me the importance of using the right products on my hair which has probably cut me down to about 2 relaxers a year along with color which also helps to get rid of the waves.
My problem now is I want the waves. I want to be able to put a little creme on my hair and get up and go but it doesn't work quite the way I would like it to so only on extremely hot days in the summer do I revert to this.
The most heart wrenching part of this piece however was the doll test. Why in this day and age have we not taught our children that black is beautiful and it is not bad. White is not always right and it sho' ain't always good!
I often believe that I write these little ditties to release some of my frustrations and that no one is really reading them, but if you are reading I implore you to hug and beautiful dark skinned black girl or boy today and tell them how beautiful they are. Help to eradicate the negative thoughts that are permeating within our children.
We are all God's children and we are all beautiful in our own skin!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Giving Thanks for Blessings

Today started with a huge dose of blessings from up high! Now let me start by saying that is not what I thought as I made the trek to the Cleveland Heights Municipal Courtroom to appear with Mr. Wonderful. I was not really miffed at him for this appearance but two weeks ago when he was stopped by CHPD and given four citations including one for driving under suspension I could have danced a jig on his head. Why, you ask? Well a few days prior to this I made an inquiry as to when he was going to take care of a previous ticket which led to the suspension and received a vague response.
On the date of this last encounter with law enforcement he was performing a good deed - albeit a dangerous one as he drove our neice and nephew along with their father in a vehicle without the proper car seats. That ticket alone is $110, but today the Lord was shining down on us in the form of Acting Judge Russell Bacon.
Judge Bacon is a gem and anyway who has to appear in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court should pray that he is the presiding judge.
During the hour and a half that I observed his courtroom he treated each defendant with some level of dignity and attempted to pass on his wisdom.
I truly hope Mr. Wonderful was paying attention because Judge Bacon dismissed all four tickets and we went away only responsible for Court Costs.
God is a good God which I have known since forever, but today the blessing was extra special after the crises filled last three weeks.
Today be sure to take a moment and thank God for the many blessings - both large and small he bestows upon you daily.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Managing unruly teens

The annual E. 185th Street Festival came to a close Sunday evening August 5, 2006 but unfortunately I can't say the 5-day festival was unheld without incident. On Friday evening a mini-melee resulted in several area youths being arrested and adults in the crowd complaining about police treatment of the miscreants.
The actions of police on Friday did not deter two young girls from getting into a brawl in the middle of parents and young children trying to enjoy a nice evening in the community.
The problems of youth violence have to managed and I believe one step in the right direction is to hold parents or guardians financially responsible! The actions of the youths this past weekend are detestable for a number of reasons, but as a black women they are first and foremost a problem because the youths causing all the ruckus at this Family oriented festival were black!
The actions of a few jeopardize the enjoyment of thousands. This year the festival was cut by a day and was limited to the school grounds of O.H. Perry School. Speculation on the reasons behind the cuts range from the cost to maintain the festival on the street as well as an attempt to deter the late night fights.
If the latter was a reason, it is evident that the changes did not serve as a detriment and that something needs to be done about these hoodlums who continue to threaten what was once a safe, family friendly festival.
The parents of each of the instigators should be forced to pay a steep fine as well as mandated to attend counseling sessions with their unruly minors - at their expense as a means to help curtail this nonsense.
I understand that is not the only solution, but I do believe that actions will change if people are held accountable by a method that has a lasting effect.

Farewell John Henry

Over the last several weeks there have been a number of incidents giving me reason to pause. The first is the death of one of my mentors, John H. Lenear

Cleveland media giant silenced
Early Friday morning July 14, 2006 John Henry Lenear the Vice President of the Call and Post Newspapers died after a lengthy bout with prostrate cancer.
In recent years John focused a good deal of his attention to increasing the advertising revenue for the Call & Post, Ohio's largest and oldest black newspaper, but he made a name for himself as a feisty, no nonsense reporter and editor of the same newspaper over a span of 40 years.
When I first met John in 1988 he was interviewing me for a position as a reporter with the newspaper - a position I was grudginly seeking because I had a love for the written word and high expectations that I could bring something positive to a newspaper that I did not read for a number of reasons.
The interview was a success and within days I became a member of the Call & Post staff, but more importantly I began a 10 year journey of on the job training. I had studied Journalism at Ohio University and political communication at Cleveland State University. Along the way I worked on the State Senate campaign of Michael R. White and later served as press assistant to then Shaker Heights Councilman - now County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones.
The experience garnered from these positions coupled with a longstanding family friendship led to a position with the East Cleveland City Council. This began as a Communications position but led to my serving for the majority of my tenure as Acting Clerk of Council - where I served for 2 1/2 years before my inability to keep my opinions to myself led to my dismissal. What a show that was - but that's for another posting.
This brings us to my career with the newspaper and my long friendship, albeit sometimes contentious, with John Henry as I called him. John and I both had a love for politics and the political process and its effects on the black community. We also shared a love for the City of East Cleveland leading to my assignment as the beat reporter for East Cleveland and later Cleveland City Council.
John gave me free reign but also entrenched me in the bowels of the newspaper business. There were many late - almost all nighters where I not only typed my stories for his review but later typeset them on the Verityper and then cut and paste the copy onto the page. Now when I walked into the newspaper for the first time and saw that the staff was still working with typewriters and there wasn't a word processer to be found I was appalled! The newspaper had recently changed hands and John H. Bustamante, then President of First Bank was the publisher so in my naivete I couldn't understand why we were still cutting and pasting.
During my tenure we would introduce computers and computer pagination, but that was a few years down the road.
Some of the most contentious debates between John and I in the early days revolved around the content of our front page. John wanted blood, guts, controversy of any kind to lead the newspaper and I fought for good, clean stories of black folk making advances in the community. I would eventually get my way, but then I had to contend with the screams from the guys in circulation - "Why isn't the shooting on 79th the lead!" and other cries were heard loud and clear.
In 1989 the Cleveland Mayor's race would again serve as a point of contention between John and I. As a rookie reporter I felt I had an inside track to White and set about getting an interview and preparing what I felt was a very good piece on the former City Councilman, now State Senator seeking to lead his hometown. The story ran, but on the inside on I believe page 6A. This was proving to be an interesting race because White was running against his mentor George L. Forbes as well as some big names in the white community - Ralph Perk, Jr., Tim Hagan and Benny Bonnano. Hagan, Bonnano, White and Forbes would face off in the primary election and it was predicted that Forbes would be the black candidate remaining when the dust settled.
How wrong the pundits were - during the wee hours of the morning on Primary night I wrote the lead headline for the Call & Post "It's a Black Thang!". White had upset everyone and he and Forbes would face off in the November election.
John and I were at odds again - he was entrenched in the Forbes camp and I was rooting for the underdog, but the negative reports on allegations of spousal abuse by White led to many harsh debates.
In the end the underdog would prevail and go on to become the longest serving Mayor in Cleveland history.
When I left the Call & Post John never quite understood my decision. He attributed to a number of factors that were far from the truth and during one of our last conversations I tried to explain to him that we had stopped being advocates for the black community and therefore my desire to stay was muted.
During his funeral service the old urges resurfaced and I longed for the days when I sought stories that would empower my community. One of the communities biggest champions has gone on to glory and I will miss him.
Rest easy John, I'm sure you Mr. Alexander and Mr. Walker are working hard at producing the angels newspaper - "Heaven's Times".

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Choices...How do we accept them?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the affects the choices we make in life have on us as time passes. More importantly, I am having trouble understanding people who do not fully understand that the choices you make either willingly or by coercion are just that – CHOICES. You play a role in them in both instances.

Let’s say there is a couple hunting for a new home. The wife has a set of criteria for the home and the husband has another list. Well as they are going from house to house each of them have their on preconceived images to fulfill so this becomes a grueling process because they can’t seem to agree on a house. After weeks of this they decide to sit down and dissect their individual lists and come up with a compromise.

The wife has surrendered one of her demands – central air conditioning and the husband has given up a two car garage. With their new list in hand they begin the search again and find a house that on the surface each of them really likes. The wife loves it, the husband really likes it but he would much rather have one just like it with a two-car garage. They agree to look at several more homes and none of them measure up to the initial home without the two-car garage so they decide to make an offer.

Long story short, the couple purchases the wife’s dream home and starts on the path of making this their home. As the years roll by the husband can’t get over his desire for a two-car garage and is constantly moaning about it to his wife. She becomes increasingly irritated by the many arguments over a garage and tunes her husband out every time he begins a tirade.

The issue with the garage festers and after what seems like a million years of marriage this couple has drifted so far apart that they can’t seem to agree on anything. The home they were trying to build has become a fortress of anxiety and the husband places all of the blame on the wife.

This may seem rather trivial, and it may not be the best example to use to illustrate my point that we make choices in life and we have to learn to live with them and make the best of each situation.

The ultimate question to ask yourself is, “Was this a clear case of coercion and I had no say in the matter or did I choose to compromise?”

Life is full of choices and unfortunately we can not go back and erase history. We must begin to live for today and accept the many choices we have made in life and learn from them. If we feel the decision was a mistake – don’t repeat it.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm Back!!!

I can't believe it has been more than a month since my last posting, but life just gets in the way sometimes. I haven't been completely neglecting the purpose of this blog, which is to keep me on the writing path, just been writing in other ways.

The good news is that I have two chapters of my first novel complete and have received positive feedback. Now that I know the story I'm trying to tell makes sense and is of interest to more than moi, I've got to keep plugging along.

It's also been one of those "Be careful what you ask for" times because I have been very busy with newsletter editing, design and other tasks that keep the cash flowing and help to pay the bills. The only downfall has been my greeting cards have been pushed to the back burner and they are not only a decent source of extra income - I enjoy doing them.

The Wine & Gold Have Made Us Proud!!!!!!

I have not been a true fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers for a number of years, but the acquisition of LeBron James sparked a renewed interest that has peaked with this aweseome season! Many may not understand, but if you are a sports fan and live in Cleveland I'm sure you can relate. We needed and wanted something to cheer about and the Cavs did it this year!!! The Detroit series was great - high energy basketball that kept you on the edge of your seat praying. I will now anticipate next year with the same intensity I have reserved for the Browns.

Covenant is Coming, The Covenant is Coming!!!!

If you hadn't guessed I am truly excited about the addition of Cleveland to The Covenant with Black America tour. Cleveland and the state of Ohio for that matter needs to get on board this train and begin to do something positive for the black community. If you're reading Cleveland - make sure you're in the house and representing because we need to do some positive things in this town!

Grey's Anatomy & 24 thanks for a wonderful season!!!

I am both happy and sad to see the 2005 television season come to a close. Now that it has ended maybe I can get more work done on this blog, my book etc. On the other hand I can't wait to find out what's going to happen next at Seattle Grace or how Jack Bauer is going to escape his recent capture by the Chinese.

I have become a fan of Shonda Rhimes. What can I say, she makes you proud to be a woman and especially a black woman with one of the most highly rated television shows on today! Go Shonda! She is one helluva writer and she has roped me in just when I said I was cutting back on my television viewing. If you haven't become a member of the cult, you will after a couple of episodes and then you will be like me, searching the Internet for more. You don't have to look far, the writers have a blog and to hear more from Shonda and the gang, click the link and learn more.

I blame my mother for my fixation with 24. Last Thanksgiving I called her on Saturday to see what she was up to and she told me she was sitting transfixed in from of the television watching old episodes of 24. Having nothing constructive to do that day (well, nothing I wanted to do) I flipped the channel and became hooked! That weekend I took in all the 24 I could get and every weekend after that I was searching TBS or TNT or any station looking for the 24 marathons. That continued during the Christmas holidays and led up to me going to Blockbuster and renting the first six episodes. Reality set in at the checkout counter so I came home and went to the Cleveland Public Library website and joined the hordes of fans on the waiting list for Seasons 1-4. When the season started in January I had watched seasons 1, 2, 4 and I caught up on three at the beginning of this season. Did I not say HOOKED!

I've written more than I should have today, but that's what happens when you stay away. I'll keep it short next post. Until then...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What a Week!

I thought the week would never end! There are about four different projects going on at work and getting everyone to do their part is like pulling the proverbial teeth, but it looks like we are on track to have a successful event in May. Then there is the newsletter and two brochures I've been commissioned to design and let us not forget Greeting Cards I need to make and market. As a friend said to me this morning "Be careful what you pray for!" I'm happy to be busy - I just wish other things would fall into place and make my life a little easier.

My wonderful computer that I will not speak of in anything less than a flattering fashion is holding on, but heaven knows I need a new one, thus the extra work which is made more difficult to complete when Bessie here is having a bad day so please pray for Bessie and me we need it!

To compound the busy week, my car would not start Thursday morning and here it is Saturday afternoon and I am still without transportation. Does anyone else feel it, or is it just me? I think some bad gods are frowning on me, but I will persevere and have faith that "this too shall pass."

Received a wonderful email from my college friend Z! Was happy to hear from her, we hadn't talked in a number of years and she sounds happy and busy!

Also learned that my good friend's daughter was accepted into Stanford's MBA/JD program for the fall, which was great news because she is a very bright and capable young woman who I'm sure we will be reading about soon.

Speaking of reading, I just finished Snake Walkers by J. Everett Prewitt. What a great book. A good portion of the book is set in Cleveland, OH which happens to be hometown for both Prewitt and me. Snake Walkers recounts the Civil Rights Era through the eyes of a young reporter, and offers a new perspective on the movement but the most important theme running throughout the novel is the importance of family. It is a wonderful read, so if you have the time stop by the local bookstore and pick up Snake Walkers, you won't regret it. To learn more about Prewitt and Snake Walkers, click on his name it will take you to his Website.

I've recently completed the first chapter in a yet unnamed novel, which I must get back to. Will post later about the atrocities taking place at Duke University. I've read some interesting commentary on the matter. Check out Rachels Tavern for her take on "White Guys Gone Wildng".

Racism both past and present seems to be on the minds of many lately. Check out Tayari Jones' blog for Pearl Cleage's insightful essay on holding a reading at the Margaret Mitchell House. Powerful!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Marriage is for white people...hmmmm?

My friend Sharon keeps me up to date with the latest interesting tidbits in the New York Times, Washington Post and any number of newspapers throughout the country and today was no different when I opened my email to find a suggestion from the Post, "Marriage is for white people". It was a hectic day and I didn't have time to read the piece right then so I printed it and brought it home to read.

What a read! Joy Jones is to be commended for this well researched and well written article which suggests that black folk have just given up on the "...until death do us part." I, like Jones, grew up during a time when two-parent families were the norm and not until I basically reached adulthood did I begin to notice that a lot of people around me were saying "See ya!" Yet even with many folks getting divorced and many of my friends now having children without the benefit of a husband I still felt that marriage was in my future.

I however, was not rushing and reeling to get to the altar I had a lot of living to do before I would say "I do". I can't say I did it all, but I don't have many regrets about waiting until I was kissing 40 to take that plunge. It was not a quick decision - my husband and I dated and lived together for more than 10 years before making it legal, and ultimately that's how I looked at it for a number of years. It's just a piece of paper. We committed to each other years before and I know that the first time he proposed I was not ready and brother wasn't either.

While I could relate with a lot of what the women and men interviewed said about marriage it was sad to read that so many of us, particularly women are opting not to enter into these unions.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Secret Life of Bees, a must read!

It's been more than a week since my last post and I don't know where to begin. I have just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd's wonderful story of a young girl's search for love, acceptance and the nurturing that you would think only your mother could provide. Wrong! Lilly, the narrator and star of this beautiful story, finds nurturing in the most unexpected place - well unexpected for those who are unfamiliar with the DNA found in black women. If you haven't read it, please do and I promise you won't regret it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar Surprises!!

Couldn't believe the Academy actually chose Hustle & Flow's "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" as best original score! I saw the movie and basically enjoyed it. What I found interesting was the fact that the character seeking a new life was the pimp and in most movies the prostitute is the person seeking a better life.

Heard on the Tom Joyner show this morning that it really is a modern version of the 70's blaxploitation hit "The Mack". I don't really recall "The Mack" so I'll have to find it on tape and take a peak.

Also truly surprised that "Crash" took home best picture! Will admit I have not seen it, but will check it out this week. Seems that in some areas we are taking baby steps forward - that is realizing that issues such as racism do still exist and must be addressed!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hormone levels must be elevated

Riding to the store today I was listening to Heather Headley's new CD and the track "I Didn't Mean To" caught my ear and had me nearly in tears! The song is so sad, but so beautiful. I also loved the fact that a sister was singing about how we (ladies) also do dirt. Don't know why it touched me so. I haven't been in that situation. Maybe it has to do with the characters I am currently writing about. Similar story line in that Mommy leaves, but not due to getting her swerve on elsewhere.

Light bulb Moment!

As I was supposed to be getting dressed to go out to the grocery store this afternoon I paused and caught a portion of Singletarry Says with Michelle Singletarry and it was like being on the highway late at night and the high beams are piercing your eyes. Having a few issues of late with cash flow, because unlike the America in GWB's world the economy in Ohio is still on the very lean side but I digress. Listening to the advice offered to this couple I realized that I am preparing for my retirement future in a large way, but that rainy day fund is dry, so I think I'll divert some of my direct deposits to the rainy day fund until it is whole. Thanks, Michelle!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Protecting our Mental Health

Had a conversation with a colleague yesterday and the subject of how the black community deals with mental health issues surfaced. We were discussing how traumatic experiences from childhood or years gone by are repressed only to cause very complex problems in the years to come. I stated that we as a people have to stop looking only to the church for answers, because the routine response to many of these issues in our community is "Chile, don't you fret. Just put in the Lord's hands He'll take care."

While I strongly believe that we tend to fret about a lot of things that we shouldn't and often times one must "Let go and Let God", but when tragedies such as incest, molestation and traumatic deaths occur it is sometimes necessary to rely on the mental health professionals that God gave the ability to help work through these issues.

This topic has been swirling through my mind for a number of weeks because I am working on a story that deals with Mental Health, as well as the apparent increase in commentary on Bi-Polar Disorder, Manic Depression etc. Over the last couple of years it appears to me that these mental health issues have been attributed to many violent crimes. This may not be a new phenomenon, but I believe it is growing in acceptance to openly discuss bi-polar disorder for instance as the reason "Aunt Mary sometimes sits in her house for days on end without responding to the knock at the door."

So I was pleased to read that Cleveland activist Art McKoy plans to help spread the word about depression and suicide in the black community. It is unfortunate that he has had to deal with the pain of loosing his daughter to suicide, but to see that he will attempt to bring something positive out of his own personal tragedy is to be commended.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Thanks fellow bloggers

If you look at this blog you will find infrequent posts due in part to one of my worst character flaws - PROCRASTINATION, but also in part to my voracious appetite for the written word. You see lately if I haven't been working at my 9-5 I have found myself setting up to do some writing and being lured away by bloggers including Tayari Jones and Nichelle Tramble.

A friend forwarded a post from Jones' blog a few months ago and I have been hooked ever since. She has wonderful topics and is an established professor and author. I truly enjoyed Leaving Atlanta her debut novel and am currently enjoying the Untelling. After daily visits to her blog I was introduced to Nichelle Tramble either through a comment or checking out some of the blogs Jones listed on her site. This led me to read both Dying Ground and The Last King - truly enjoyed both and found them to be well written stories about drugs, crime and violence in our community and a far cry from the Urban Fiction permeating the bookshelves.

Tramble has been interviewing fellow authors on her site every Friday and this lead me to pick up T. Greenwood's Breathing Water - a great story about finding one's own true place in society, as well as overcoming abuse and low self-esteem with a prince charming at the end, but not who you would expect.

Now it's time for me to get to my bookclub reading "Some People, Some Other Place" by J. California Cooper and back to writing a couple of stories I have brewing in my head.

The State of Black America

Kudos are sent to Tavis Smiley for once again gathering a stellar group of Black folk to sit down and discuss the issues plaguing our communities as well as offer some good advice on how to swing the pendulum back up.

The most uplifting segment in my opinion was the morning session which focused on Economic Empowerment. This is the Civil Right that we have just not been able to grasp as a group. Too many of our people continue to live paycheck to paycheck -- that is if they are getting a check and we have not fully grasped the concept investing and wealth-building.

Down home advise on prioritizing our goals in life were offered by columnist Michelle Singletary, and one of them that stuck out to me was her sage advise from Big Mama "If it's on your ass, it ain't an asset!" If that isn't the truth and something more of my brothers and sisters should take heed in. If you're looking for good info on economic empowerment and handling your finances check out Singletary's site.

Another sister waxing financial was Lynette Khalfani. Khalfani found her self in deep credit card debt and turned it around without filing for bancruptcy. The catch to the average joe is that she was making six figures and didn't have the bill collectors hounding her, but I'm sure you'll find sound advice on her site as well.

Rev. Floyd Flake was profound as ever when he encouraged us to take a good look at wealth building and supporting black businesses.

The afternoon session was uplifting in part because of the stellar group of individuals gathered from Harry Bellafonte to Minister Louis Farrakhan. I tell you every time I hear the Minister speak I am moved by his biblical knowledge. Saturday he really got a charge out of the audience when he stated the Bush administration lacked "testicular fortitude."

This year's symposium also served as the backdrop for the release of The Covenant with Black America, which outlines the "state" of Black America and how each individual in the black community can begin to play his part in rectifying the problems.

If you didn't catch it on C-Span Saturday, ask somebody about it and see if they taped it. It is well worth the time. Also check the Covenant site to see if the tour is coming to your community.

Getting Down to Business

Boy, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, but not nearly enough writing! That doesn’t mean the thoughts or ideas have not been racing through my mind, so I’m going to make a commitment to myself to stay on task and at least post something every day. No matter how short I’m going to post!

The Color of Residency Laws

The Ohio Senate recently adopted a bill which prohibits municipalities, like Cleveland, from requiring their employees to reside within the city boundaries. This action has been met with opposition from Mayor Frank Jackson and many of the 21 Council members that represent the city. Mayor Jackson believes the Senate action to be unconstitutional because Ohio is a “Home Rule” state, which is supposed to mean that cities which operate under home rule are exempt from these statewide sanctions.

Others look at this as a slap in the face of Cleveland voters who overwhelmingly voted for a residency requirement more than 20 years ago. At the forefront of this debate are the City of Cleveland safety forces, particularly firefighters who have been fighting to have the requirement removed for a number of years.

My dander was raised when a press conference was held on the steps of Cleveland City Hall by the firefighters and I did not see a minority in the bunch. Not an African American, Hispanic, Asian American, just white men and women who it appears are turning their backs on the residents who pay their salaries.

They will argue that the City has turned its back on them because the school system is in deplorable shape and allegedly services are mediocre. I will not fight them on the issue of the schools, but this is a problem that has existed for more than 20 years and they were well aware of the conditions when they signed on for the job. As far as services, it has been documented that the firefighters and police officers for the most part live in the same neighborhoods. These happen to be the safest and have some of the nicest homes, because they can afford the nicest homes.

I believe that the underlying problem here is race and class. The city is becoming darker and darker every year as “white flight” has escalated leaving behind a struggling population.

I work for the City of Cleveland and had to make the choice to move into the city five years ago. It wasn’t a hard choice. I wanted my job so I found a nice house on a nice street in a neighborhood teeming with police and fire fighters.

It is my hope that the men and women in the safety forces will begin to work in the neighborhoods and with the school system to try and improve the situation for themselves and for those who do not have the ability to run.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Farewell to CoCo

My posts have been few and far between and I really hope to change that with this posting and those from here on out. There has been a lot going on lately to spark my curiosity and raise my dander, but first I must say farewell to my sweet pup Coco.
My precious CoCo went to sleep February 1, 2006 and although she was 10 years old, she will always be remembered as my puppy. She joined the family as a wee little pup only 5 mounths old and she grabbed a piece of my heart from the moment I saw her.

Always full of energy you would never have guessed she was 10 until about 2 weeks before she went to sleep that final night. It had been a grueling week for her as she stopped eating and would only wag her tail from beneath my bed when I came home.

On January 31st I knew that something was terribly wrong and that she was really suffering. That night she moaned and whined all night and I'll never forget sitting in front of the firepalce with her head on my lap trying to comfort her until morning.

That morning we went to the Vet's office and if I didn't know it before we arrived I was certain that she was desperately ill when she took her place on the steel examining table and did not shiver. She didn't mind that the doctor was drawing blood, she just lay there with sad eyes asking for help.

Not able to have her admitted we took her home with meds to await the call from the Vet that would tell us what was wrong. The call never came. I awoke that morning to find my precious puppy had gone to sleep permanently at the foot of my bed.

The pain of losing a pet is unbearable, but with each day it has gotten a little easier.

Farewell my sweet pet, I hope you're enjoying yourself in the doggie here after and that you and Abby are romping through the greener pastures on the other side.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What would God say?

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been taken to task for asserting that New Orleans would once again be the "chocolate city" and for proclaiming that God is "made at the United States." What would God say? Would He agree that He has ravaged the United States with every conceivable natural disaster in the last year because we misbehaved? I'm not sure if that is the case, but if you are spiritual in nature and have read the Bible I am sure that you have questioned over the last several months if we had reached Armageddon and that the end was near.
Mayor Nagin's comments were questionable however, due to earlier assertions by Funadamentalist preachers and followers who suggested the destruction in New Orleans was a result of the city's history of a place of ill-repute - be it true or false both comments should have been well thought out before being uttered.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Unseasonably Warm

Today I am marveling at the weather. The official high I believe was 56 degrees which is very uncharacteristic for Cleveland. Although scientists and doctors purport that going without a coat and dramatic changes in temperature do not cause cold and flu symptoms, I would bet a large number of northeast Ohioans will be suffering in the days and weeks to come.

Oprah Hoodwinked!

Yesterday my "inbox" was crawling with emails about the Queen of Talk being duped by James Frey, author of the memoir A Million Little Pieces, which the Website The Smoking Gun is calling a fabrication. The tales Frey has allegedly concocted would not even make for a good novel.
If the claims are true, it begs the question "How did he get this book into print?" And at a major publishing house like Doubleday to say the least. I'm sure there are a number of writers who have struggled to get legitimate fiction published due to a myriad of reasons, but a work of alleged embellishments soars to the top of the Bestsellers list, and no one seems to be backing down from their role in creating this monster!
Well I'm signing off now, I must go read up on the Confirmation hearings and Mrs. Alito's breakdown yesterday.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Off to a Bad Start

Well the holidays are history! Although this is stated as an exclamation, it is one of sadness and relief. You see, the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving through Christmas, are my favorite time of the year. This year just happened to be an exceptionally challenging season for a number of reasons from family dysfunction to financial embarrassment, but I am happy to say I got through them and "this too shall pass".

The New Year - 2006

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to read a few blogs with great interest, especially when it comes to New Year's Resolutions. I am not big on resolutions, or should I say on making a list of the things I am going to do. The approach I tend to take is to try and make some changes, but not to really broadcast them. After reading Tayari Jones's blog with her list of Resolutions I began to wonder, "If you put them in writing does that add a level of accountability to your resolutions?" If you are a task oriented person and you know that there are still things on your "To Do List", which is down on paper or screen I would suppose the answer would be yes. Also, if you are like me and just want to achieve some things, having them in writing would prompt you to at least attempt to get them done.

I'm not going to take this time to compose a long list of "to do's", but I will briefly state that the goals I set for this year included organizing my home and work offices, becoming more fiscally responsible and kicking the ultimate of bad habits - smoking.

The home office is coming along, you can now see the floor and many of the surfaces but I have found that I just have a ton of paper and books. There are some things that I just have a problem getting rid of - first and foremost books and secondly notes and files on articles I have written in the past. As I begin to seriously try and get back to writing I'm afraid that I might throw out some good research, but on the other hand I begin to think that I'll look at any old topics from a new vantage point sans previous notes.

Books on the other hand are everywhere. They are in my office, in my bedroom and in my craft room. For a number of years I have said that I needed to take an inventory of what I actually have, but I've never gotten around to it. Instead I just continue to add to the numbers. Today I decided to just take a quick count of the books I could see in my office and I counted 190 titles. That's a lot of books, and it does not include the four bookcases in my craft room.

I'm going to add to my list and make a concerted effort to purge some of the books in my collection, mainly the paperbacks that I know I will not read, or have read and will never reread.

Signing off to continue my task of decluttering my life!