Sunday, December 09, 2007

Urban Decay-The Decline of the Inner City

It was with great interest that I read the feature "Can We Save Our Neighborhoods?" in the Plain Dealer today. The focus was the rise and fall of Cleveland's Mt. Pleasant neighborhood over the last 70 years and how this community's roller coaster status is reflective of the entire city and region.
I found the article to accurately reflect the trends in this metropolitan area, but what continues to be missing from articles of this nature are answers to the deeper sociological questions. Why did one lot of people in large numbers develop or react to dire straits in such hard and callous ways?
Many scholars and experts will take you back to the Middle Passage and slavery, but that appears to be the simple and easy response. If in fact all problems were rooted in slavery - why then have some descendants excelled and others have not? Wouldn't this theory impact each descendant in the same way?
Well of course not! Just look around you and you will find siblings who share the same DNA, same developmental environment, but have extreme outcomes on both ends of the spectrum. During a conversation not long ago - one of Cleveland's "movers and shakers" further simplified the source of urban decay when he said, "It's poverty. The lack of jobs has led to an indifference." I would disagree that this represents the totality of the problem. Blacks have been impoverished since the Middle Passage, yet many have found a way out of poverty. Those that did not find a way out of poverty had something more purposeful and that was pride. With that sense of pride was also a faith in something larger than themselves and an abiding hope for a better tomorrow.
What are your thoughts on the decline of the inner city? Respond to the poll on the right as we continue this discussion.
Also check out the "backstory" on this issue. The Plain Dealer has presented a full multi-media package on this issue and it can be found here.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fire Safety & Winter Cold Spells

As the mercury drops residents of the midwest and northeast portions of the country are fighting to stay warm and often the measures they take are fatal.
In just that last two weeks, Clevelanders have heard horrific tales of house fires as a result of electric space heaters or other such devices to keep their homes safe. The most tragic was the story of the three sisters who succumbed after their home went up in flames as a result of a problem with an electric baseboard heating system.
These tragedies have prompted me to ask all to become more familiar with these devices before using them in your homes, and to take all necessary precautions to prevent these scenes from repeating themselves.
For more information on electric space heaters and safety check out the site referenced here.
Our prayers and condolences are offered to the
Ogbuji family as they continue to mourn their loss. A fund has been established in the memory of the girls at KeyBank.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Secret - A Year Late

Ok, I'm a year or so late, but I just took the time to watch "The Secret" and while I found it interesting and somewhat enlightening I was surprised that "The Secret" really isn't a secret at all.
I guess I believe that most all of us are aware on a certain level that we have some level of control of our world based upon our actions. If you sit back and analyze your life - the good, the bad and the indifferent I believe that you will see that your "state of mind" was very similar to the events that transpired.
One portion of DVD that stuck with me was when one of the commentators said something on the lines of "Give it to the Universe" with reference to asking for what it is we want in life, don't just think it and say you would like but hand it to the universe.
You might ask, "Why did that stick with you?" Well in the Black Church it is a well established fact that if you want change in your life or if you have a problem that you are having trouble tackling you are to "Give it to God" and He will show you the way. So in many ways I found that the theories behind "The Secret" are very similar to those of the Christian teachings.
Another section made mention of having the persona of happiness, love and contentment but the actions of the extreme opposite. Here again, I was able to take a look at the Church and its members. In a previous post I spoke of "Good vs Evil" and how that is really one of the downfalls of our community today (global community). I have had the opportunity of observing a number of men and women proclaiming to be devout Christians and who attend services every Sunday - sometimes twice a day and are usually at Wednesday Bible study as well. These individuals are well versed in Scripture, yet their actions are those of Lucifer himself.
In making the comparison to "The Secret", these same people are constantly wondering why it is that nothing good is coming to them - "I pray daily, go to church weekly and tithe regularly but my life is still going no where," might be the lament of anyone of them. So just as you must exude positive energy to receive positive results, one must not just attend services, but lead a life in a similar fashion to Christ in order to receive the bounties.
Ultimately what I found is that "The Secret" is positive motivation to begin to put into action the lessons learned throughout life. As my mother has always told me, "If you want to do something you can - just reach for the sky, because there is no limit to what you can do!"
I'm reaching and I will achieve!

Breast Cancer Month Socks

I've been away for a while, but I've been working on some of my other creative muses. The pic below is of a pair of socks I made during the "Peas Love Pink" Breast Cancer Awareness event held at Miss Chickpea's Funky Fibers, one of my two new local knitting shops. It's a great little shop in Hudson, Ohio with lots of great fibers and staff!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I would like to correct the previous post which indicates that none of the students had records as I have found out that Mychal Bell was convicted as a juvenile of battery. Will look into this, but I still believe that to charge the youths as adults for attempted murder initially was excessive.

I Love My People - Keep the Movement Going

This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but here it is a day late.

Feeling good to be a Black woman today!
The end of the day has finally arrived! Thank you Jesus! As I hop into my black SUV the late summer sun is beaming and the thermostat reads a whopping 85, which explains why I'm feeling all sticky right now. I tune into the Michael Baisden show on WZAK FM 93.1 and immediately my state of discomfort is washed away as I listen to the brothers talking about the march and rally planned for the next day in Jena, LA. The sun shining down on me as become the beacon and ray of hope in my world as I smile with deep pride.
Not since the Million Man March have I felt such a deep pride in my brothers and sisters, particularly the younger set. My emotions are heightened, but at the same time I'm kicking myself for not being in a position to make that journey - this is history in the making! Many people were still making light of the situation and straddling fences, but I knew deep within my being that the BROTHERS would step up in LARGE numbers to bring attention to one of the many injustices leveled against my people on a daily basis.
Fast forward to this morning. Every morning I awaken to the sounds of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and today was no different than any other except I also turned on the television to see if the majority media had decided this was a story WORTHY of their coverage. I was pleasantly surprised to see NBC and CNN with reporters on scene reporting back that the buses were rolling in large numbers.
I proudly donned by black apparel in support of the Jena 6 and began my short commute to work. In route I tuned into the Russ Parr Morning Show and caught Rev. Jesse Jackson's interview. Arriving at work I was pleased to see that many of my co-workers had also donned black in support of the Jena 6 and there was a buzz in the air as everyone wanted to know, "Have you heard anything, has the march started?"
Tuning into to we were able to keep an ear and eye on the activities during the day and to see the masses gathered took me back to October 16, 1995 and the bubbling joy I felt as I traveled I-76 to the nation's capital in a sea of black.
As I wallow in joy this evening my hope is that the Movement continues. I continue to discount the naysayers who have claimed "these were bad boys - they have records." Well if that were the case I'm sure this would be plastered across the television, newspapers and the blogsphere!
Do I support the act of violence that landed these young men in jail? No, violence is not the answer, but over zealous prosecution is not either! If high school brawls were subject to this type of prosecution across the board we would have a lot of vacant high schools.
I applaud Michael Baisden, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Ice Cube, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the countless others who stood up for injustice! It warms my heart to see that so many of our young people have found something that they can come together on.
Take the spirit, energy and conviction for right and wrong to your hometowns, schools and communities and let's show the world that we are strong and committed race of people who will no longer settle for what is offered and will stand up when we know that our rights have been trampled on!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Rise in Urban Violence

Hailing from the land of Cleve has never been a problem for me, and even today it's not but recent media reports have me wondering if I have been transplanted to the Wild, Wild, West. About ten days ago there was a tragic traffic fatality in downtown Cleveland. A suburban couple ventured into the city to see The Lion King in celebration of the wife's birthday, but tragically she was run down by a stolen vehicle driven by a 13-year-old before the curtain even had a chance to rise.
Adding to the tragedy is the emotional outcry from the community and the underlying theme of race. You see Mrs. DiGiorgio, the victim, was white and the four suspects are all black males. Yet when writing about this story everyone has tap danced around the implications of race only stressing the need for an increased police presence, a louder voice from the Mayor and an end to lawlessness.
When I first heard about the crash I, too, was outraged because another human being had died senselessly. I, too, called for tough punishment for the 13-year-old driver. During a conversation shortly after the crash I implored "he was grown enough to steal a car, and run from police so he's grown enough to do adult time in jail."
This young man's actions and those of countless others like him leave a bad taste in my mouth because when all the dirt is done somebody, usually a mother, sister, aunt or grandmother with a tear streaked face laments "He's not a bad child. I never had any problems out of him, he just got mixed up with the wrong crowd," or something along those lines.
My question becomes "how did he get with that crowd? Where were you?" Over the years I have learned to give some slack to some parents who really have attempted to steer their children on the right path but for whatever reason "ManMan" was just destined for criminal activity. But many others have left their children to raise themselves while they either struggle to survive or live their lives as though they are childless.
Much attention has been given to the violent crimes that are taking over our streets, but all in all I still don't feel unsafe in my home. I still freely travel the streets of Cleveland - some worse than others without tensing up and fearing I am going to be the next victim, but I am real concerned about the lack of values being taught behind the closed doors of the homes I pass.
When we as a society return to what I call "Basic Home Training" we should begin to see a decrease in some of the lawlessness that is permeating our communities. Beginning as toddlers we set boundaries and rules that we carry on through elementary, middle and high school and just maybe we would have a different culture of young teens walking the street.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Update Kiri Davis Won Cosmogirl Contest!!!

Yippee! Yea! Yea! I was particularly happy to stop by Tayari's site and find out that Kiri Davis, the young lady from New York featured here actually won the contest! I was a little concerned after the claims that there was tampering on the contest site, but it's official Kiri won the $10,000 prize and then some. For details check out the Cosmo site!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Finding Peace in the Sunset

A good deal of my time has been spent finding solace in some of my other pleasures - this photo of the Cleveland sunset is one of them.


I have not posted in the last several months, but I have been busy reading and re-evaluating the blog and what the focus should be. I'm still toying with this, but I hope to publish more frequently in the weeks to come.
A few things I will do more of is linking to sites that I find helpful, intriguing and/or just fun! Here are the first of my link submissions:
If you're looking for some good southern humor then look no further than LadyLee, I've been lurking on her site for quite some time now and she is sure to give you a laugh when you're in need. She doesn't claim to be a writer yet, but if you read some of her stories you will probably wonder why she's not published!
If you're a writer looking for great tips advice and just a little down to earth knowledge from an accomplished author - check out Tayari Jones' blog!
Writers looking for sites seeking submissions should check out Ericka Dreifus's Practicing Writer
Soon to be published author Lori Johnson offers more southern humor and thoughts at Lori's Old School Mix.
Hip Hop fans will learn much at Indy Hip Hop World.
That's it for this posting - see you soon in the blogsphere!

Can You Legislate Morality?

There is a strong debate going on in Cleveland after Ward 11 Councilman Mike Polensek penned this scathing letter to a young man recently arrested for at least the second time for suspicion of peddling drugs in Ward 11. As a resident of this community I was not at all offended or appalled by the Councilman's actions.
When I first heard of the controversy I said Councilman Polensek could have chosen his words a little more carefully, but knowing him - I know this is how he replies when he is passionate about something and he is very passionate about Ward 11.
I had a conversation about the letter with someone very close to me when they first saw a newscast recounting the story and he was upset with the Councilman because he felt Polensek was just irked that the young man would not shake his hand during there first encounter. However when my friend saw the Councilman on another newscast and learned the history between the Councilman and the suspect he had another viewpoint - one which left him reeling at the mother.
The problem I have with this whole controversy is that a mother has taken the harsh criticism of her son by the Councilman and tried to shape it into a threat against her son. In a televised interview she stated that her young daughter - 12 - I believe questioned whether the Councilman was going to kill her brother. If you read the letter there is no implied threat against the young man.
In the first "reference" to death Polensek writes "There are only two places you will end up at the rate you are going - that is, prison or the nearest funeral home." Now, what mother, father, preacher, teacher hasn't spoken those same words to some child headed down the path of destruction?
His second reference comes in the closing "Go to jail or the cemetery soon,". Again, he in no ways says I will send you, help you etc. So the only way the daughter could have implied such is by overhearing adults in her home come to their own conclusions about the statements.
My second problem with the mother is that she has implied that Polensek's "dumber than mud" statement has a racial connotation. As a black woman I do not compare my appearance with that of mud so therefore I don't take offense with the statement.
There has been a lot said about whether the same message could have been sent without the use of profanity - possibly, but having been in a similar situation before I believe that oft times you have to use the terminology the recipient is familiar with and can relate to in order to get the point across.
About ten years ago I was in the process of rehabbing a house that had been left vacant for a number of months when I encountered children ranging in age from 8-about 13 who had come to see this property as their playground. I stopped what I was doing and went outside and politely explained that the home was no longer vacant and that they could no longer play in the yard. About fifteen minutes later they were back. Again I went outside and attempted to reason with them - to no avail. The last time I went outside I used profanity to get my point across and my problem was solved. My mother who was working with me, took offense to my choice of words saying "They are just children," but a large number of the children of today are not being raised in the manner in which my parents raised me. That is where the problem lies.
Cleveland City Councilwoman Fannie Lewis recently stated, "you can't legislate morality" in response to questions concerning Polensek's letter. Lewis said she understands the frustration of Polensek and that there is a problem that has to be addressed.
Again, Mike was harsh in his terms but I as a resident of Ward 11 applaud his actions because he is committed to the same things that I want - a community free of drug dealing teens and adults who think they can destroy my community.
For more on this controversy, check out this link. My friend Radiogirl also blogs on this subject - check her out here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Support Kiri Davis

How about some happy and positive news today! I'm all for it, how about you? Well another young lady in our community is making a name for herself and I would like for you to join the efforts to assist Kiri Davis win the Cosmogirl Take Action Hollywood Film Contest.
For those of you unfamilar with Kiri Davis please check out the video linked here. It is powerful, but also sad that in this day and age so many of our youth are still not comfortable in their own skin.
After checking out the video, please go vote for Kiri to win this $10,000 prize. Thanks to Tayari for bringing this to my attention and to those of you who have voted for Kiri. She is now in first place!

Now go on over to the Cosmosgirl site and vote for Kiri Davis!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Effects of Violence

The poem below was read on the Michael Baisden sydincated talk show on Monday. At the tender age of 16, Yvonne Espinoza offers keen insight into the violence that continues to rage through our communities. As you read try to imagine the heartfelt plea she offered on the radio. With strong conviction, passion and anger Yvonne recited this poem through tear filled eyes. I hope this moves you and prompts some dialouge in your community.

By Yvonne Espinoza

We’re violent because this is all we know
You taught us this along time ago
We’re violent because you made us this way
You beat us naked, you hung our people,
Raped our kids and stripped us of our pride
And you now wanna ask why?
Give us a reason not to be
You can’t, it’s impossible

Because to give us a reason, you’d have to right all the wrong you’ve done
But you can’t and if you could then
You’ve only just begun
You’d have to beg for mercy, plead and cry
You’d have to feel the pain we felt
The pain that took lives

You go through the hardships,
The trials and tribulations,
The suffering, the heartache, the dying babies
You sit on a boat full of hundreds of sick,
Old people living to die
How about you dance to make money
Look ignorant on t.v.
Go to jail for nothing
Harassed because others don’t like what they see

Have your people get beat to death
By those who get paid to protect
You eat trash to survive
How about you watch your people and babies die
Get sold for a dime
Kill themselves because they don’t want to live this life

We went through it then and we go through it now
And you know it’s true, and you still ask why?
How dare you have the audacity
Who made you king?

Despite common belief and despite what you think
There is only one king, one God
And he walks with me, with us
The ones who were forced to live in grief
Who were cut, killed, raped and beat
Like animals, brainwashed to think like you

You hacked away, pulled and dragged us down
Until we didn’t want to be Black or Brown
We didn’t want to be Colored or Negroes
We wanted to be High, Suddity, White Folk
We though if we looked, smelled, and act like you
We could live a regular life, and though we tried
You still continued to beat and lay us out
To hang us from our necks, to laugh at our bodies

You could never blame us for being this way
Because you taught us violence
So how dare you think of forming any kind of alliance
Now we know that two wrongs don’t make a right
But since we have none,
Why should we spare your life?

It’s your fault for all of this
And if you didn’t teach us violence
Then who did?
It couldn’t have been us
Because, remember, we’re ignorant!

You should be careful what you say
Because your words have power
Say it enough and it’ll come true…
I know you’ve heard of karma
God have mercy on you.

Good vs. Evil

For months now this topic has been playing in my mind and I have wondered just how I wanted to address it. Well I think the "Don Imus" controversy has finally given me a good platform from which to launch my views on the continual lack of good in our society. Our world is becoming more and more evil by the second and Imus has brought this to the forefront.
Over the last three days I have listened to everyone from Al Sharpton to Michael Baisden lament the outrageous comments made in reference to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. This whole controversy spoiled a wonderful experience because I had the good fortune to watch these young ladies fight for the championship in Quickens Loan Arena here in Cleveland. It was a good game, they are a very young but talented team with long careers ahead of them.
When I first heard about Imus' comments I was appalled and saddened for these young ladies who did nothing to deserve such degradation. They are some of the best and brightest in our community and they work hard daily to try to improve their lot in life. Something that everyone hopes for and encourages in young people. How then did they become the brunt of some sick old man's "joke".
My question is, "Where was the joke?" Then there are all of those who have stated well he's a "shock jock" and their aim is to do things that shock you into listening to them. Unfortunately for a large segment of our population this type of entertainment is acceptable and something they look forward to, I for one, had only a vague awareness of Imus prior to this incident and based on everything I have heard since I'm happy I did not have the opportunity to waste any brain cells or valuable time listening to his take on life.
As I pondered this situation I had a number of conversations with many people who agreed that the comments were outrageous, degrading, sexist, racist and they all called for harsh punishment. One conversation with a twentysomething male however rendered a different response. While he found the remarks offensive he felt the outcry from the National Association of Black Journalists in particular was unwarranted because they just as Imus are protected by the 1st amendment offering the freedom of speech. He also recounted comments made by nationally syndicated radio host Russ Parr who also spoke of the freedom of speech and indicated that he himself has said outrageous things, but because he doesn't have the following of Imus they don't make national news.
According to my young friend, the Parr show regularly hosts skits on the Chinese, elderly black women etc. Which leads me to my title - Good versus Evil.
Today we (the black community) live in a world in which young men and women appear to have a genuine disregard for one another. We do not respect one another and find it acceptable to use derogatory language in song, comedy and the written word. Many of our young people proudly peddle negative images of themselves and their community, but why?
In many ways this is because they see adults performing in the same manner. We have become a society of people with limited levels of self-esteem and the way one attempts to elevate oneself when hurt is by hurting others. But this phenomenon is not limited to the black community it is a reflection of the larger community. In the constant fight to move ahead we must first denounce and step on those who are the least among us.
It was encouraging this evening to hear that MSNBC had dropped the Imus show, yet despite their statements about the image of NBC Universal I would bet it had a lot to do with the fact that Procter & Gamble, General Motors and Staples had withdrawn their advertising dollars from the show. The bottom line in America is the bottom line! To that end I applaud the aforementioned advertisers for taking a stand against hatred in our community.
I strongly believe in the Freedom of Speech, but I do not believe in degrading young women of any race!
Let's all take a lesson from this incident and attempt to live our lives in a positive manner. As our mothers taught us - "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything", and barring that make your point without being hurtful and bigoted in your remarks. Think before you speak, write, rap or make public your views!

Monday, March 05, 2007

I.N.N .- To the Nth Degree

First I have to thank Tom Joyner for my title, which if you're not familiar is an acronym for "Ignorant Negro News". This evening I was taking in the news when I heard the following story that I am now paraphrasing:
Garfield Heights (a suburb of Cleveland) police decided this weekend to do a sting of sorts on illegally parked cars on Broadway Avenue a major thoroughfare in this small suburb. The report said they and residents were fed up with the many vehicles regularly parked illegally near a Sport Bar. So they called out the towing company the city has a contract with and began citing and towing all illegally parked vehicles. One young lady comes out of the club to find her car has been towed and decides she will beat the system because as the tow truck operator is hoisting up other cars she gets a ride to the impound lot which is apparently unattended and drives off in her car, using a second set of keys. I'm not sure why she used a second set, but that's neither here nor there. She then retires for the evening only to be awakened a short time later by police officers standing over her announcing that she is now going to be charged with theft of her own car and the car is towed again. She and her mother state the police overreacted and she had no idea they would track her down.
Now my question is what made her think she could get away with just idly stopping by the impound lot and retrieving her car? Secondly I want to know why her mother was supporting her in her actions?
This is exactly why children, teens and young adults do such idiotic things - they don't believe there are consequences for their actions and why should you if your parents support your idiocy?
To read for yourself check out this site Newsnet5.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A new form of segregation?

I meant to write this post last week, but what can I say life got in the way. I was truly intrigued last week when I read Thomas Ott's story "Shaker Heights may penalize landlords for tenants' crimes" in the Plain Dealer.
In the story Shaker officials indicate they are trying to deal with "quality of life" issues in one of this community's first integrated suburbs by proposing a law that would penalize landlords if tenants commit crimes within 1,000 feet of where they live. I read this and began scratching my head, and wondering what were these officials thinking. Landlords should be held accountable for the state of their property and for the actions - to some degree of their tenants if it truly becomes a nuisance property, but to tell me that I am responsible for the actions of someone away from their home is ludicrous.
The more I hear of laws like this I begin to wonder what country am I living in? We are becoming a society of knee-jerk reactionists and no one seems to want to look at the real problems that are causing some of these societal ills and taking the time to try and address the causes not the effects.
Now why would I ask is this a new form of segregation? I'm glad you asked because sadly I have a response. A few years ago, Shaker began to selectively tackle the problem of absentee landlords by aggressively citing residents for neglecting their property. The postcard for this neglect was a black grandmother who was in her late 60s or early 70s with a number of health issues and she was struggling to correct the problems at her property. What did this wonderful community do, they arrested her!
This case sparked my interest because I know several people who live or own property in Shaker and I have watched how they selectively cite certain areas of the city while you can drive through other sections and notice some of the same problems that just continue to persist. The areas they seem to concentrate on are heavily populated by blacks and happen to be closest to the border of the City of Cleveland.
Shaker Heights has always been a progressive city, but this level of progress appears to be more of a regression to times gone by, times many of us don't want to see revisited.
This article was also interesting because a slight comparison was made to the efforts of Bedford officials to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children if they were detained or arrested repeatedly. This is like comparing apples to oranges - there is no comparison. Parents are the first line of discipline in a child's life and if they shirk that duty they should be held accountable. If they find they cannot handle an unruly children they should be looking for sources to help deal with them, but if you claim ignorance to the behavior I'm sure a $250 fine will enlighten you!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Venting! I Can't Do People Today!

I haven't posted in a few days because my life has been so hectic! It started out as a good hectic, but over the last two days I have come to the conclusion I CAN'T DO PEOPLE! I am a regular lurker on several different blogs, some of which I have listed on the sidebar and others I don't but one of my favs is Radiogirl. One of her recent posts was on Positive Thinking and I really try to look for the bright spot in everything and everybody just to make life a little easier for me, but today I've had it and I'm done dealing with petty, egotistical and ultimately shallow people! I just can't take it anymore.
I know this sounds a bit like rambling and I apologize, but that is where I am at this particular moment in time. Later today I hope to have calmed down so that I can post aobut my Artist's Date over the weekend and Daddy's Little Girl.
Thanks for listening, reading if anyone is out there!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

This Week's Hot Topics

Here are a few events over the past week that caught my attention:

Grammy's slam Bush!
Now I had heard all about the controversy with the Dixie Chicks - you know the ladies who were ashamed to say the Prez was from their home state. Well after making that off-color (to some) remark about our leader the ladies were booed, threatened and their records sales plummeted. That was two years ago. Fast forward and the ladies put together a nice little ditty "Not Ready to Make Nice" in response to the backlash they received and what do you know they ended up taking home five Grammy's including Record of the Year for the above referenced song!

Mary J shines at Grammy's
Mary J. Blige was also a big winner at the Grammy's and she offered up some powerful performances to boot! Go Mary!
She put her heart and soul into this performance!

What's Up with Hardaway?
If this was not putting the proverbial foot in one's mouth I don't know what is. Really! Was it necessary to rant about a situation that no longer affects you? Men and I believe black men especially can be so homophobic! Now Hardaway is loosing money because of hateful comments. One day people will learn to think what they want and speak lightly - there is no need to be so mean spirited particularly as an African American.
At the same time Amaechi needs to keep it real too! During an interview on the TJMS he purports that he was never excited or felt any stirrings for any of the players he worked with because he was at work. PUHLEEZE!! Give me a break. Everyone has experienced the hots or just looked at someone while on the job and thought "Uhm Uhm Uhm that's a fine specimen" be you male, female, hetro, homo or bisexual. That's just a fact of nature.
It is unfortunate that we as a people and country can not separate what someone does in the privacy of their homes and who that person is as an individual.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Valentine's Day at Roy's Place

What a week this has been! We had an official snowstorm Tuesday into Wednesday that left the City blanketed in snow that will not go anywhere soon because of frigid temperatures. Last night it was -4! Because of this storm Cupid had a difficult time delivering many Valentine's to his sweeties either because the delivery truck couldn't navigate the streets or Sweetie didn't make it into the office.
Well Cupid didn't have any problems finding me! I was treated to a romantice meal at Roy's Place! As you can see from the photo, my Cupid went all out! The most spectacular part of the evening was the fact that Mr. Wonderful prepared the meal himself (with a little help from a friend) and oh, was it scrumptious! The menu consisted of:
  • Butternut Squash Soup with shrimp
  • Three Greens salad w/raisins, bacon bits, cucumber & carrots (ugh!)
  • Broiled Lobster Tail
  • Steak
Now to truly understand the importance of this meal you need to learn a little more about Mr. Wonderful. First off, he doesn't cook, which has been a small sore spot in our relationship for the last seventeen years. I'm of the belief that any human being above the age of 8 who needs to eat should learn how to cook. Cooking is a survival tool!
Also, the last 10 or so months have been tenuous at best in our household and the need for some romance and WE time was overdue!
On the bright side, throughout the years Mr. Wonderful has usually been a true romantic. You don't have to remind him about anniversaries, birthdays because he is always trying to come up with something a little different and the element of surprise. The latter is usually difficult because he has a former reporter for a wife and I love to sniff out a good story - even if I'm the main character.
Valentine's Day is extra special for us because it marks the first date and the beginning of the journey leading us to today.
In summary for the second year in a row, Mr. Wonderful has come through with a great Valentine's/Anniversary gift. The cutie to the right is a "mini-me" of Mr. Wonderful and represents Valentine's 06.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Can’t Be Sick without Big Brother Watching!

Ok, I’m sure some of you may have experienced this degradation already, but my first encounter was on Sunday. I went to the local Walgreen’s to get some OTC cold medicine to try and finally rid myself of this cold that has been lingering since January. After standing in front of the area marked COLD/FLU and having no luck finding Advil Cold & Sinus or something along those lines I march back to the Pharmacy only to see what I’m looking for on full display. There were a number of choices so I had to ask the clerk to hand them to me so that I could decide which package represented my symptoms.

Decision made, the Clerk now requests my photo identification and then begins to input my name, address and driver’s license number into the computer. I couldn’t believe it! I asked where the information was going and she said she didn’t know, but she would inquire. The Pharmacist came over to explain that it was input into an internal database because by law I can only purchase a certain amount of this OTC per day, week etc.

I thanked her for her response, but left the store fuming – the Drug Addicts have now prevented me from being ill in private! This is ridiculous, nothing is sacred anymore! I truly believe that there is some list down state listing how many times you purchase these medications; it is not just housed in Walgreen’s database. What will they monitor next?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Crafting at it's Best

I want to send some love to radiogirl! My good friend, who a little over a year ago knew nothing much about this whole world of blogging, has become the blog Queen! She's got three sites now, but I'd like to send you all over to her Card spot! She has some great cards on the site and wonderful ideas for those of you into Card crafting. Stop over and give her a holler, I'm sure you'll like what you see!

My Artist's Date

This past weekend I took my Artist on a Date as part of the 12-week "The Artist's Way~A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity," as outlined in Julia Cameron's book of the same title.
The focus of the program is to rejuvenate your creative spirit through a number of excersizes including the Artist Date. On the Artist Date you take your Artist on a date and partake in activities that you might not normally do or those that you have neglected because you have been focusing on everything except your Artist.
One of my new hobbies has been Cardmaking, but I have not created a card - good or otherwise in a number of months and I have not visited my local craft store either, so last Saturday I took a class on Valentine Cards and it was a blast!
It was great to see Rochelle, the lovely proprietor of The Rubber Stamp Studio and her able assistant Jenny as well as to spend a couple of hours with ladies utilizing their creative talents.
I had been doing really well with the Artist's Way program until this week when I really, really, really slipped as far as my Morning Pages are concerned, but I do find that my inner creative spirit is attempting to flourish - just not exactly as Julia Cameron had hoped.
I think she would be happy to know that it has begun to flourish even if I haven't kept strictly to the plan. I'll work harder at that over the next week.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rekindling the Creative Spirit

There are a number of blogs that I visit on a daily basis for inspiration and a good story or two. Tayari Jones' blog is one of my first stops and recently she had a post on The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron that really piqued my interest.
My spirit, creatively and otherwise, has really been missing over the last several months and I thought this might be the answer to some prayers.
So I went out and bought the book and began reading it. Now, I'm not normally one who reads all of the forewards etc. to a book because I like to formulate my own views and just jump into a book. For some reason I read the Introduction and everything else at the beginning of the book and my curiosity was further raised.
Why was I so impressed? Partly because there were a number of references to God and your spirit and recently issues of spirituality and faith have been popping up around me. It's as if God has been pulling me toward Him in a number of ways.
So I decide I am going to take this journey with Tayari and guests. This is a twelve week course meant to bring your Creative Spirit to the forefront. In the first chapter there is a discussion of your champions and members of your "Monster Hall of Fame". The Monsters you might have guessed are those who have injured your spirit, and made you doubt your abilities.
I don't know if I was lost in the clouds somewhere at the time, or maybe it was the illness of my dear friend that left me preoccupied and unable to focus - but initially I couldnt' really put my hand on a Monster.
Throughout my writing career I have been fortunate in that my family has supported me and most everyone around me has offered some sort of support, never any real negatives. Yet, after further evaluation I remembered the Publisher from hell. I was working for a local weekly newspaper and the publisher and I did not see eye to eye on my writing style. At the time I was younger and more egotistical than I am today and I didn't give his opinion any weight or credit. He was very negative in his criticism and I felt it was more personal than professional so I brushed it off.
Not long after this I collaborated with some friends to start a Youth Magazine, but when that didn't pay enough of the bills I was offered a job in government where I remain today. Looking back on that time in my life I believe that subconciously I let the publisher into my head and I began to question my abilities, and this attributed to my inability for a number of years to actually sit down and get serious about my writing - creatively or non fiction.
If you're having trouble recognizing your Creative Spirit, pick up The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self - I promise you will find something in there to help you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Farewell my friend, my sister - I'll miss you!

I'll See You On the Other Side

Spankee, I woke up this morning around 3:30 a.m. with an uncontrollable cough. It wasn't hot, the normal cause for these fits, but it persisted for about a half hour before I could return to sleep. Of course I then overslept and decided I'd take the day off. I was a little congested so I took some Sudafed Sinus and went back to sleep around 8 a.m.
I didn't know at the time, but around the time I was fighting the cough you were making your transition. You were finally at peace and the suffering had ended.
So I ask, "Were you saying goodbye, letting me know that you were now totally at peace?" I know you can't answer, but I am going to take this as a sign, and say that you were sending me your positive thoughts because that's the type of person you are.
Really though, I think it was God at work. See He knew I was having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that your time on earth was coming much sooner than anyone expected.
Just so you'll know, I'm holding up pretty good. I know that you are in a better place and that your spirit and the memories of our sisterhood will always be with me, but it's hard already not being able to pick up the phone and run something by you.
Poochie and I were sitting around reminiscing today and we kept saying how 38 years is so young, but as I think back over the last few years I would have to say you achieved a number of your dreams and your experienced a lot that many of us will never have the opportunity to enjoy.
Rest easy my Sister, my friend, and I'll see you on the other side.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yippee!!! Yahoo!!! Bears vs. Colts in Super Bowl!!

I can't contain myself. I have just spent the day enjoying some really good football and being a witness to history in the making. For the first time in the history of the National Football League two black head coaches will lead their teams to the biggest game in football.
Congratulations to Lovie Smith who, with the early win, became the first black coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl and to Tony Dungy. Both men coached a helluva game, particularly Dungy waging the biggest come back in the game's history!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How do you define a happy marriage?

During a recent conversation with a 20ish young man I suggested that he needed to begin looking to the future. Staring at me blankly he questioned, "What do you mean. I'm always looking and planning for the future. If you're talking about marriage - that's out. I can't name three happy marriages."
I was left to ponder the thought of what defines a happy marriage from an outsiders perspective and do I know three happily married couples. I do know more than three couples that I would consider happily married, but does that mean that they are effervescently bubbly, always pawing one another, groping and kissing? No, but their interactions are usually loving and exhibit an overall affection for one another.
That is not to say that at some point in their relationship they have not hit a rough patch. I would say that is what a marriage and any serious committed relationship does. You have good times and bad times and pray the good outweighs the bad.
You may roll over one day and look at the person laying next to you and wonder "How did I get here?" Because on that particular day the person you have vowed your life to has taken you to a place you don't want to be and you are not very happy with them. This condition may persist for a day, two and maybe even a week or more.
However, at the end of the day if LOVE is what brought you together you will roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty as you work to rectify the problems.
What are your thoughts? Do you know how to define a happy marriage?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Go Bucks!!!!

Today is the day of reckoning for The Ohio State University Buckeyes! For the entire season they have been ranked No. 1 and tonight they must defend this ranking! I am pulling for the Bucks to tame a 'Gator or two!

Here in northeast Ohio we are especially proud because about 1/3 of the players on this Buckeye team hail from this portion of the state - not to mention the fact that the dynamic duo Troy Smith & Ted Ginn, Jr. are from right here in Cleveland!

Make us proud and bring home the trophy!!!!

Are Men from Mars/Women from Venus?

This question has been lingering in my mind recently for a number of reasons, but probably first and foremost because I found an old CD by Koffee Brown aptly tilted Mars/Venus. The underlying theme of this album is relationship drama - from infidelity to trying to make the love thing last.

Everything is summarized in an Interlude at the end where the male half of the duo states, "There is no us til we understand we and I understand you and You understand me." That in and of itself is the key to a relationship.

Let's look at fruit - if you have a whole apple and you cut it down the center you now have two halves. Well in life it is just the opposite, you have two halves that come together and pledge themselves to one another forming the whole apple.

As I listen to various people on a personal note as well as radio show hosts and television shows about relationships it appears that we as a people have lost our way in becoming one. We bring individual lives into a relationship, yet don't see a need to alter them in honor of that whole unit. We are putting our individual pleasures or experiences in front of the unit we have pledged ourselves too.

My question would be "How do we prioritize outside interests for the goodness of the whole unit, or how do we meld the two?" Any thoughts?

New Year, No Resolution - Just A New Outlook

It's the Double 07! Is that a good thing, or just a continuation of the previous year under new cover. Well that all depends on the slant you want to use.
After a tumultuous start I have decided to take a positive slant - the 007 is going to be a good year for me! It's got to go up 'cause 06 was a mutha-shut your mouth.
This year I hope for this to be a more active space with interaction, dialouge and feedback - so if something moves you, please take the time to let me know what your thoughts are - good, bad or indifferent.