Monday, December 15, 2008

Social Networking in the 21st Century

During the day I am the Marketing Manager for Cleveland Public Power, and as such it is my job to promote the state of Ohio's largest municipal electric company, and while doing so promote the efforts of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson to make Cleveland "a green city on a blue lake".
Last week during our monthly PIO (Public Information Officer) meeting, we had the pleasure of a presentation given by Cool Cleveland founder Thomas Mulready. Mulready's presentation focused heavily on the need for public information officers to embrace alternative information sources such as Cool Cleveland, as well as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Anyone who has visited this blog understands that I might be well intentioned, but regularly posting comes sporadically for me. It is my goal to increase my presence in the upcoming months, and prior to this meeting I had given some serious thought to how I could utilize alternative information sources to help with my job.
I have a Facebook page - of sorts, a find invited me and set up a page, but I've not done much with it since. I'm going to delve a little further into that realm and check out the Twitter world too!
Let me know your thoughts on Social Networking, I'd love to hear your stories! That will also let me know that someone is reading!

Good News Monday!

It's not every Monday when you can end the day wanting to shout from the rooftops and dance through the streets, but this day, December 15, 2008 is just that kind of day!
To start my day off, I had to take care of some business with Cleveland State University in order to register for spring semester, so I made a telephone call and waited a few minutes before logging into the University's system. To my shock and amazement, the problem I had been trying to rectify for two and a half days had been solved, and better yet, grades for the fall semester had posted and I aced my class!!!
Now some might say, well it was only one class, but we must remember this is after being away from a true classroom for more than twenty years. In addition to that, I work full time and have had a number of family issues to deal with on top of it, oh and by the way the government just decided to let us in on the fact that we have been in a recession for the last year. That last announcement came to my household a long time ago, but with perseverance and God's guidance we have survived.
The best news of the day, however, came at lunch time when I received a call from my mom. She called my cell and I was away from the office, so she asked me to call her when I returned. When I called her back she asked what I was doing after work and if I could come by. The back story here is that in July she was diagnosed with cancer, so calls asking for you to come by are met with some level of trepidation. Not one for surprises, I began to question her only to receive the greatest news! As of today her cancer is in REMISSION! We will learn more on Wednesday, but her oncologist was so excited he gave her the good news today.
So, as you can see this has definitely been a GOOD NEWS MONDAY! I hope your day was filled with some level of joy as well!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Workin' It Out

Well I'm working really hard on my issues with time management, and I am pleased to report that I'm making significant progress - in some ways.
Well the holidays have rolled around and despite the wonderful quips we often hear at this time "It comes at the same time every year" this year I looked up and Thanksgiving was only a week away and I wondered where had the time gone. With the holidays always comes the rush to try and create as many gifts as possible, thus the first topic in my discussion of overcoming issues related to time management.
On my needles now are two separate projects for this joyous season. One project is about 98% complete and the second I would say about 40%. This is wonderful news because the second project - wrist warmers were created using a new technique - Magic Loop. See demo below if you're a knitter and interested in a great technique that eliminates double point knitting!

I have been attempting to get started on this technique for several months, but kept putting down the project. Now I am well on my way to completing the wrist warmers in record time! Yippee!!
While I haven't actually put pencil to paper on my work in progress, I have been reviewing what is written as well as critiques in order to help me determine where I am going with this project. That may sound like procrastination, but it really isn't. The key here is that I have a couple of pieces started that actually could fit into one project - so I am working on my writing.
While not part of a project, the fact that I am stopping to update this blog is a definite plus. Earlier today I found myself lurking on a few blogs and questioned how it is I continue to search for time to post, when others particularly authors, Moms etc. regularly find the time to sit down and blog. Part of me wondered if it was commitment. So, I am working hard at making a commitment to post at least once a week.
Still need to work paper crafting into this scenario. Have started a couple of projects, but nothing truly worth noting.
I'll just keep reminding myself that little steps are taken in order to reap large rewards!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time Management!!! Help!!!

For those who drop by every now and then - thank you! Also, I apologize if you've been looking for something new and hopefully interesting to read, but I am having the worst time with time management!
I have entirely too many interests! It is becoming increasingly more difficult to fit all of my interests into my life! What with a job, family, and let's not forget the degree I'm finishing - there just are not enough hours in the day!
I could smack myself daily as I work on completing this degree after 100 years, but what would that do other than give me a headache and further delay my pursuit of enjoyable activities. The truth of the matter is the school business is not really bad, I'm just so angry at myself for having to do it at this time in my life. I am finding it enjoyable, which is a good thing, because I decided to complete my undergrad in order to pursue an advanced degree.
Now to the things I don't seem to have time for - this blog, a novel in progress, knitting, paper crafts and photography!
What has happened is that I come home from work and if I don't have to prepare dinner I usually make a mad dash to the bed for a power nap that turns into a true late afternoon Siesta, and by the time I am up again it really is time to go to bed.
If anyone has any wonderful tips on time management and finding the ever elusive energy stash, I would love to hear from you!

A Joyous Customer Service Experience

I am truly elated! This evening I had the pleasure of a positive encounter with a customer service representative! I will not name the company, but I am checking into tire prices and decided to place a call to a shopping service I somehow got hoodwinked into joining to see how the process works. This is a trial membership and I really had the papers in front of me so that I could call and cancel the membership before it really kicks in, but I decided see what tires would cost - maybe this will be worth the membership.
After looking for the specific tire I requested to no avail I decided to ask, "How does this really work?" The lovely young lady on the other end of the telephone explained that I would order the tires, which would then be shipped to me and I would have to take them to a shop and have them installed. As she's talking I'm seeing nothing but $$$ and thinking to myself - nope this is not the answer. Well to my surprise the young lady went on to tell me that this process really wasn't worth it! Can you believe it! I was so pleasantly pleased I had to share!
This young woman helped me erase some of the very bad experiences I have had lately with customer service in various establishments!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why We Love America

This is why we should all be proud to be Americans!

Early voting - Just Do It!!

Almost one week ago today I stood in line at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to vote in the 2008 Presidential Election.
It was a crisp Sunday afternoon in Ohio and early voting lines had not received a lot of publicity in Ohio so I was not expecting to have to wait long. As we approached the board I said to the Mr., "There's a lot of people voting today. We're going to have to stand in that line." The line was coming around E. 30th Street from Euclid Avenue which is not really that long, but again I wasn't prepared for the wait. As we approached the parking lot we were pleased to see that we would be able to park in the lot and wouldn't have to go off looking for a spot. As we exited the car we found that there were in fact two lines - one entering from the front of the building (as I described earlier), and another coming from the rear entrance. The latter line is where we began our journey to participate in the making of American history.
As I stood talking with Keith in line I did not feel awestruck, or emotional about the occasion. I have followed the campaign, but as I reflected on this day I think I have intentionally tried to keep my emotions in check. As a black woman in America I have seen the tide change right before my eyes and I guess I have been bracing myself for the worst.
The crowd was mostly black with a few caucasians mixed in, and everyone was orderly as the line continued to snake its way through the board offices. Many of the voters were elderly men and women coming from Senior Citizens buildings or from many of the churches in the area that had provided vans to transport voters.
I marveled at a couple of the older women who were dressed to the "nines" and smiling proudly as they no doubt cast their votes for Sen. Obama. You could see the joy and pride in their eyes as I'm sure that over the last 20 or so months they have chatted about how they never thought they would see this day.
Even after witnessing all of this I was not yet anxious or overly excited. I did recognize the significance of the occasion and snapped a few photos to record this historic event.
I didn't really think about the act of voting until the following Monday morning as I listened to the Tom Joyner Morning Show and listed to Tyler Perry's call-in. Perry was so elated and pumped about the prospect of voting - FOR THE FIRST TIME - that he called into the show. I had heard him on the show weeks before talking about the fact that he had registered and encouraging others to do the same, but to hear him in line talking about voting made me take another look at this election.
I thought about my mother who has been so wrapped up in this election and the joy she regularly speaks of and the emotion that I heard in her voice the night Sen. Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. I also thought of my five year old niece who still has not come to terms with the fact that Obama beat Clinton in the primary election. This election is historic in so many ways, but I'm glad it will soon be over.
So whatever your party affiliation or political leanings, take the time out of your busy schedule to vote early or on Nov. 4th!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

RIP Kaelin Mykal Hampton

The day you entered this world your steps had been ordered.
With little steps you walked into the hearts of many. With few words, but meaningful action you let us know that love and kindness were deep within your soul. As you grew into the handsome young man you were destined to be, the shyness had begun to recede, you were blossoming! Sports were a highlight of your life and you were excelling! We didn't know the giant steps you were taking were going to become hollow memories in our minds and hearts. The pace had increased and you were spreading your wings. Wings that would take you to a far away place.
A place where there is no pain, only the love and kindness you shared with us during your brief visit. Your steps were ordered, you fulfilled His plan for you. Our hearts ache, yet are filled with joyous.
The joy brought on by the happy memories our hearts.
Rest easy sweet Kaelin, we love you and miss you but we will meet again on the other side.

Absence Revealed

A little over a month ago I made a promise to myself that I would be more conscientious about my blog with the plan of posting at least once a week. Well as it does and will - life stepped in and said "whoa girl," I'm going to keep you busy and there will be no time for blogging, paper crafting, photography, knitting or any of these things you want to do. We are only going to focus on what you HAVE to do!
It further turns out that none of these were "good" or "fun" things to do. This was life at its best because when you truly live your life you must deal with family issues, sickness and death. In the last thirty days I have found out that my mother has been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, and while there is currently no cure it can be eradicated. Make sense to you? Not me, really. I understand the explanation offered by her oncologist that while they can get rid of these cells, there is a strong possibility that the cancer can come back in some other location.
The deeply spiritual, but not overly religious part of my being says that with prayer and a lot of positive thinking we can fight this and that is what I have to remind myself of daily.
The story doesn't get a better here, it just gets more complicated. We receive the diagnosis on a Thursday and that Sunday I receive a call from my Dad saying he's taking himself to the hospital based on a recurring pain that doctors have not been able to truly diagnose.
Thinking things could not get much worse I go on with the daily tasks in life only to receive a pain filled call from my younger brother that Monday explaining that he is in excruciating pain and needs me to pick up his kids after school, and by the way I'm not going to the doctor I have an important appointment at 1:30 p.m. Briefly I look at the phone with a quizzical "you've got to be kidding me face" before telling him to get to the doctor now and deal with the appointment later. He calls later from the doctor's office with a possible prognosis "meningitis" probably viral and not bacterial. He leaves the Urgent Care offices with a prescription but no relief. The following day he is admitted to the hospital where he will remain for four days.
If you're keeping up with me I have two in the hospital, one diagnosed with cancer and my sister is out of state on vacation so I'm helping everyone cope. I do have my older brother offering some support along with my husband, but the brunt is on me.
Well we get everyone out of the hospital and begin the first round of chemo for my Mom, numerous tests for my Dad who still doesn't know the source of his pain and it appears that life will become somewhat normal.
Tragedy, however, is sitting in the slow lane idling her engine waiting to rev her motor and enter with a propulsion of speed usually allowed only on race tracks. While working at one of the last summer festivals I receive a calm, but anxiety laced call from my brother explaining that my great nephew has been in an accident and he's on his way to see about him. No details, just an accident. I don't know exactly where he's going or what Kaelin was doing so my dread is subdued I haven't panicked or really thought that it would be anything major. Maybe a few stitches, a broken bone something we could fix.
An hour or so later I receive the call that this can't be fixed, Kaelin's gone my brother cries, but I don't want to believe it. He can't be he's only eleven! The worst fears of a family were being realized, a cherished member was gone and he had so much life to live.
So today I am trying to regain some normalcy in my life and continue on my journey.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Congratulations Lori Johnson

This post is Way overdue! I started to write this last spring when my friend and former writing group partner Lori Johnson's first novel, After the Dance, was published and life got in the way, but timing is everything. A few weeks ago when I began a new post I saw this post and said I've got to get back to that and talk about After the Dance but I'm always leery of posting about things that are pretty old, I guess that's the journalist in me.
Well congratulations are still in order for Lori as the audio book version of After the Dance was recently released and Amazon is offering a special on the purchase.

A Review
After the Dance is the fresh modern love story of Faye and Carl. The two are neighbors in a townhouse development and Johnson takes us through their courtship from the vantage point of each of the main characters.
Faye is a strong "big boned" girl in her mid-thirties with her own standards for relationships and she's definitely not seeking a long term arrangement. As the fellas are often accused of, Faye is ready willing and able to "hit it and quit it", allegedly with no regrets. Here's a little excerpt letting the reader into Faye's view of relationships as she explains her single status, "Yeah, I've heard it all before and really couldn't care less. It's not hard to get a man - if that's what you want. I just don't happen to want one - not to keep, anyway. To me, having a man is about as emotionally satisfying as having a fish in an aquarium or some other kind of pet. I'm not into pets. That's not to say that I don't have, well, certain needs and desires."
Carl is a forty-something brother working days at UPS and studying for his MBA in the evenings. He's a man trying to get ahead. Recently divorced, Carl has become a homebody and good Friday evening to him is relaxing with a cold brew and watching movies. He's also basically a good guy despite the indiscretion that led to the demise of his marriage.
The tension between Faye and Carl is evident from their first meeting, and Johnson really brings it home when Carl decides to offer his assistance to a slightly stranded Faye "Instead of thanking me with a big pretty smile and a few kinds words, she said-without even looking up, mind you-"I'm perfectly capable." Can you believe that?! "I'm perfectly capable." You know I wanted to cuss, man, but hey, I played it off like a gent.
I said, "Well, I can see that, Ms. Fix-it, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a couple more hands on the job. Or would it?" "
That's just a taste of Johnson's down home use of language and situations to present an enjoyable story of a modern romance between tenured adults.
So, stop by your local bookstore or library and pick up After the Dance I'm sure you'll enjoy this debut novel as I did. To learn more about Johnson stop over to Lori's Old School Mix.
To hear an excerpt of After the Dance, the audio version. Click here.

Farewell Ms. Lewis

It is only fitting that one of the renewed posts pay homage to Ms. Fannie Mae Lewis, an icon in Cleveland politics, who went home to glory Monday, August 11th. Ms. Lewis was small in stature but monumental in conviction and fight for the little people.
As the Council representative to Cleveland's Ward 7 for the past 28 years, Ms. Lewis stood for those who couldn't speak for themselves. She gave a voice to the downtrodden, the small businessman, the single mother and the working poor. With a sharp tongue and strong faith in God Ms. Lewis served the people of her community.
Monday the airwaves in Cleveland were littered with praise for the hard work she did and the void her passing would have on the community.
May she now find peace and rest at the side of Her Savior! God Bless you Ms. Lewis and we will miss you!


Months have passed without so much as a twerp listed here on my blog and that is not a good thing. Nearly two years ago, at least I think it has been that long, I started this space to help serve as a catalyst to writing but those of you who have traveled this road with me know that it didn't really work. There were spurts of regular postings with some good feedback letting me know that I'm not writing to space. In the end I just kept letting life and some level of fear interrupt me. I seek to change that with this initial re-posting.
Part of my dilemma has been understanding what the true purpose of the site would be. I don't want it to be a soapbox where I rant and vent about my life, but from time to time I will find it necessary to discuss some of the adventures in my life. The other problem I have is that I don't know if I necessarily want to publish to the site some of the pieces that I am working on - both fiction and non-fiction, but I will attempt to share some things that I think are noteworthy.
All in all I think we will learn and grow together. I plan to be more diligent and post at least once a week and I won't be afraid to post something that is not necessarily news in the journalistic context because if you didn't know an event took place until you stopped by here it really is news.
The journey begins anew. Look forward to a few book reviews and posts on the ongoing saga of "Street Lit vs. Literary Fiction."
I hope you will take the journey with me and leave a comment or two to let me know someone is reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Race for the White House

The race to the White House has gotten a little testy of late, but I'm going to hold off a lot of real comment pending further research.
What I can say is that the discourse over the last 14 days or so as been brilliant if you are a member of the Bush White House because conversation has left the economy and the War in Iraq as we have focused on whether Hillary is strong enough, Barack is "black" enough and whether Bill is "as black as Obama"!
Give me a break! Hillary's crying game (well, almost crying game) offended me as a woman! If we are to show men that we are just as competent as they are and more importantly - if we are to prove to this nation that a woman can run the show, her antics have set us back.
It's almost like the adage that black children have been raised with all of there lives - you have to be twice as smart and work twice as hard to achieve in this world. In the case of Senator Clinton she must - to take a phrase from Minister Louis Farrakhan - have the testicular fortitude to stand up to whatever is dished out!
The statement that galled me the most was from Andrew Young when he professed that former President Bill Clinton was "as black as Obama". What! Here you have one of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement proclaiming that this son of Arkansas is as black as Barack Obama - a true African-American!
The conversations in offices around this country have steered away from what is most important and that is where do these two candidates stand on the issues that are plaguing this country. We have been in a near recession longer than we haven't, but this is not at the forefront of conversation! Children and seniors are still dying because they can not afford health care and daily we have soldiers dying in a war that will never end!
Let's get this never ending campaign back on track. Let's debate the issues relevant to the strength and vitality of this nation and not the sidebars that do little more than to continue the divisiveness we have known for too long.

Still Missing You

It's been a year and I still find myself picking up the telephone to call you about something outrageous I just heard, saw or read. I have gone as far as picking up the telephone and starting to dial before something, and sometimes I really think it's you giving me a look like - O. K. get it together I'm not there.
The tears have subsided although today they were trying hard to appear. When I get sad I think about some of the happier times when we were doubled over with laughter and I say to myself "I miss you, but you're in a better place."
As I'm writing this I can't help but think of the time we went on the Haunted Hayride - that was a blast, especially the loud protests from Keith!
Your family placed an "In Memoriam" ad in the paper today - you would have liked it. It was probably one of your best pictures albeit not one of the "glamour" shots, but the message was so fitting - you are missed by so many and that's a good thing because it means you had a positive impact on the many lives you touched.
If Heaven is anything like we imagine it, I'm sure you're busy working on some project with Darryl and Gerald or maybe you've joined John in spreading the good news in Heaven.
You know, when I think about it - 2006-2007 wasn't a good year for those of us left here on earth with respect to loosing those we loved and/or admired. When I think about it, within the span of about what - nine months I experienced the deaths of a number of people. I remember when Gerald died - you were sick, but at that time I couldn't even imagine that two short months later you, too would be gone. When I heard the news I picked up the phone and called you and you confirmed that it was indeed true.
While you're up there keeping an eye on things down here, pay special attention over the next couple of months as we try to pull this wedding together. I've got to get the invitations just right for Thed and Billy so send me some inspiration.
Missing you, my sister, friend.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Osiyo Gone - Oh No!

In a post I haven't quite completed I tell of the New Year doldrums - well they just got exponentially greater! My sister called to tell me that our favorite tea house - Osiyo on Cedar Rd. in Cleveland Heights is no more! I am devastated!
Just the other day I was checking my tea supply and noting what I needed to pick up. My plan was to run by tomorrow and pick up some Dream of Angels and King's Blend. What am I to do now?
If you never had the pleasure to visit Osiyo you missed a great little spot. Upon entering this storefront on busy Cedar Road the noise and traffic were quickly left behind. The room was dark and cozy with several quaint seating areas for couples or groups. On two occasions our book club "The Literary Sistas" held our Saturday evening gathering at Osiyo.
The staff and ownership were wonderful! Thinking Osiyo was Japanese, we were all surprised when the owner - heaven knows I don't recall his name, but he was a very charming older gentleman, explained to us that it was actually an Indian name.
On a couple of occasions I just stopped in for a cup of tea and the opportunity to do some writing in a quiet place.
To see just how quaint this tea house was, stop by here.
I never ventured upstairs to see the antiques, but the tea accessories were great! If anyone knows what came of this wonderful little spot, please let me know. Also, if you know of a great little tea house in the Cleveland area I need to know that too!