keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

heightened state

Vignette 1: While flipping through the current issue of Vouge, I landed on a page with a gorgeous watercolor picture of a pair of shoes and was awestruck. Not by the style or the fact that they were Manolo Blahnik’s but by the richness of the artwork and how it so easily enticed me into thinking I could slip them on to strut about. Bewitched I may have been, nuts I was not. Even if I did fall in yearn for these shoes, I would never be able to walk in them, at least not in the rest of this life! Over the years, my feet have sported all kinds of sling backs, peep toes, closed-ins, mules, slides, boots, sneakers and sandals. Whether spiked or platform or kitten or flat, I really do admire the craftsmanship and design that goes into creating fabulous footwear. On occasion I whip out a pair that puts me in a heightened state for a few hours; they travel in a fancy silk bag to the destination, are slipped on before I walk in the joint, and look rather sexy in whatever manner I choose to display them.

Vignette 2: While reading through some paperwork, I heard the sound of a text coming in and noted it was from one of my close friends. She was sending me a picture of a stunning vibrant mural. The painting took up the entire side of a building but what caught my eye and breath was a huge curvaceous figure of a woman in a colorful gown, her height as tall as the row house upon whose side she rose. This creation is a few states away produced by Parris Stancell as part of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, PA. I was in awe at the size of the piece; large scale canvases of any sort are so enticing to me yet when I create, it is usually small scale which I find to be positively intense. Even my photographs are more appealing when printed no larger than 4” x 6” some looking quite provocative in composition as I pluck them from the printer and feel a rush.

Vignette 3: While reclining on the sofa, I scribbled notes on a pen and pad as a soft glow slowly crept behind the drapes. Erykah Badu bewitchingly crooned, “I’m a recovering undercover over lover, recovering from a love I can't get over.” Instinctively I knew that it was a full moon lurking about; a state of heightened everything had been rushing over around and through me for a few days and that day and it was far from done.

Well there are Manolo’s to be plucked from the shelf or covers to get under or…

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

pucker up

As summer winds down, I have yet to eat something barbequed on the grill. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve had any frozen custard either. This is just tragic since summer for me has never passed without having either treat especially barbeque since I’m really not an ice cream person (though I salivate if I hear the Mister Softee jingle and have been known to drive across the state line in order to pucker up my lips to press them against the curl that is the top of a soft serve cone before I take the first long lick…I do have a thing for soft serve). The other day I did have a yen for ice cream. Some companies have been kind enough to make single serving containers of basic and a few gourmet flavors for those of us who only want a little treat every now and again and for those who can easily devour a pint and wish to practice a little self control (you know who you are!). I was about to get in the check out line when the craving hit. I hung a sharp left with my cart and headed to the last aisle; they were out of pistachio. Oh well, I thought, none for me until I saw a bright green box.

Though I haven’t enjoyed my real summer musts, I have ventured into new territory with a couple of tried and true favorites. That box in the frozen food section contained a surprising twist on the ice cream sandwich. Ciao Bella (they also make that tiny pistachio carton I was after) has paired key lime gelato with graham crackers. Perfectly square, they’re all natural with creamy yummy lime that is just tangy enough to make your lips pucker a tiny bit.
Then there is lemonade, a cold drink sometimes pink that is a serious thirst quencher on a hot day. Lemonade calls to my mind a picture of anyone rocking on a porch wiping their brow as they bring a perspiring glass to their mouth, tip it back and smack their puckered lips after that first sip. The first time I decided to make lavender lemonade, I didn’t have as much sugar in the pantry as I thought. Not thinking, I used what I had rather than go to the store; honey and raw sugar made it resemble very pale iced tea but damn if it wasn’t just as good if not better! Each time I’ve served it, folks lap at their glass trying to get every drop.

You know I have had a grilled Bali-barbeque turkey burger and grilled veggies this summer, somebody at Whole Foods made them. Both were tasty but the smell of charcoal combined with whatever food is cooking over it are key for a true grill experience; that meal doesn’t count which means I need to make a big bowl of potato salad along with a huge jug of lavender lemonade and beg one of my friends to fire up their grill. It may be dark before 8:30pm once again but summer is not over yet! Enjoy the last of the crazy lazy days and…

keep your peepers open!® 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

all good

I don’t recall what prevented me from seeing Good Hair when it was in movie theaters. I do know that as long as I can remember, changing my hair has been no big thing. When I get bored, crazed or really sad, an urge to splurge, submerge or purge comes over me. Shopping gets me into trouble, I no longer have a tub deep enough to get lost in until my mind clears and I confess, the latter more often than not has a direct correlation to break ups and deep misunderstandings involving the male species. Not only have I been known to wash a man right out of my hair but have also colored them into oblivion!

The first time I remember coloring my hair was when I was in high school. Back then and many times after, by my own doing and at the hands of professionals, the color of my tresses was all over the spectrum. I’ve never been afraid of color even when I looked in the mirror and should have been. But when I recently decided it was time for a new attitude, my only stipulation was the color had to resemble one that anybody’s baby could be born with. I will no longer wait until it grows out or try to tone down a shade that only a wee one born to an alien could come out with (no offense intended if you’re here from another planet). I used to think, it’s just hair it will grow back. Well that doesn’t always happen for everyone; mistakes are just not an option any more. So back to the movie…

People have always told me I have good hair, nonsense that makes my eyes roll as fast as the words roll off of whoever’s tongue. I don’t subscribe to the notion of good or bad hair. What I do believe in is uncooperative hair which is without a doubt what I have. For my entire life, my hair has had a mind of its own much like the woman it adorns. Perhaps because its roots are connected to the brain, it has its own think tank that tells it what to do, when, and what texture it should be. And speaking of texture, there are at least four that cover my skull -- wiry dry strands around the edges and the center crown, lush loose soft curly sides with tight fuzzy cotton-like curls on the top, who the hell knows where these bone straight very white gray ones come from and then there is the kitchen, that place just above the nape of the neck. Many a Black woman will tell you that this is the nappiest hair on their heads; mine has turned into silky locks, supple, smooth not a kink in the comb.
I think of my hair as a palette from which to create tinted tactile walk about art that can never be replicated exactly as it appeared the day before. It’s all good because I have it and because it is mine.

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

who's lookin'

A smattering of orangish-plum colored leaves distinctly stood out from all the bright green ones, rustled their singular branch just enough to make sure they turned my head to take note of their lusciousness. Thought I was capturing them, as they so desired, while eyes were still closed before they opened to begin the day. Seems like that was not quite the case…

…just goes to show, you never know who’s lookin’ at you kid!

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, August 15, 2010

restoration day

It's a gray day in the Nation's Capitol. I did get out for a walk under the clounds which was really quite refreshing and planned to sit down to the table to collage for the afternoon once I got home. But everything in me said not today, so I went to the spa to let others put their creative talents to use. Maybe they would be able to loosen up the blockage.

As I sat looking out at the falling rain, I relaxed with a red neck warmer soothing the knots formed during the week behind me and words began dancing across the window. Hot paraffin coated my worn out tootsies as thoughts for a spoken word piece took shape in my head. When my nail specialist caressed my feet and made the first stroke of the deep massage that followed, all thought process ceased, my eyes closed, and when I came out of my meditation, my toes looked like 10 perfect pieces of candy. Mind rejuvenated, soul revitalized, spirit revived, body…ready for a serious restorative nap!

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

east of the sun, west of the moon

I’ve been trying to capture the orange sphere that is the rising sun on a hot humid morning with my I Phone to no avail. But a little bit of patience paired with persistence on just the right morning (and thankfully a Lumix tucked into my bra) gave me a chance to get what I’d been after. Walking west, something made me turn to view a sliver of the orange ball glowing on the eastern horizon. I took a few shots thinking yippee for me, tucked Lumi back in place and pleased as punch proceeded with my walk.

Until I noticed two people in front of me with cameras focused east which prompted me to turn around, take out the camera and frame this beyond yippee shot….

Perched nightly on the window ledge of a western nest, I waited for the right night when the full moon would shine bright to get a clearer picture of the dreamy globe than what I’d captured with my I Phone. I parted the curtains of my hotel room each evening, Lumix in hand, until finally there were no clouds in the dark eastern sky to keep it secluded…

Beyond satisfied, I jumped down to rejoice but kept watch from the west. Before long, the moon was interrupted…

…and my how bewitching it was.

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, August 8, 2010

greatful treats

I popped up at 6AM bright eyed without a backwards glance at the bed as I pulled on my walking clothes. My intention was to do 30 minutes, come in and bake for the mailmen/women in my life, then write. Ninety minutes later followed by a quick grocery store run, I was in the kitchen, Billie crooning in the background (just when I think I have heard her sing everything, another new to my ears tune plays on my Pandora Billie Holiday Station. My maternal grandfather had so many LP’s by her; I have an equal number of CD’s. As a little girl, I would stop what I was doing to listen to what at first sounded like a woman slurring her words; I seemed to understand every one of them. I was so enamored with the sensuality that poured from the phonograph). I love Billie any day of the week but especially on Saturday afternoons and rainy Sundays. Though she often sings with the blues all over, under, around and through that voice, love filters between. When I bake for those who are good to me, it is with great affection which I hope filters into my food.

But sometimes not even love can help a dish, which happened a couple of weeks ago when I first decided it was time to lavish a little attention on those who take such good care to ensure that the many packages I receive make their way into my hands. Thankfully, a little voice suggested that I taste that summer fruit crisp before it made its way into the mouths of my intendeds. It was beyond edible! The tart raspberries overwhelmed the sweet peaches and blueberries making my lips pucker! I lovingly baked a batch of chocolate-pecan scones last weekend that though perfectly delicious and very edible, weren’t the right great treat to express my gratitude. However, I know for sure that these cookies will be well received…I’ve made them before for my guys and gals to rave reviews.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Yields approximately 42 medium-sized cookies


8 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp. Kahlua (OPTIONAL)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Ground cayenne pepper – couple of good shakes (black or white pepper is fine too)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1½ cup chopped pecans (you can substitute or add dried cranberries, cherries, other nuts, chocolate chips)

How to Make: Preheat oven to 350°

1) Put chocolate pieces and butter in a large heatproof bowl; set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, stir in Kahlua and set aside.

2) In medium bowl, whisk until well blended flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

3) Whisk both sugars into the chocolate. Add eggs one at a time and whisk quickly and thoroughly after each one (be careful that the eggs don’t cook if the chocolate is still a little warm.)

4) Whisk flour mixture into wet until just combined, do not overmix.

5) Fold in the pecans. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the dough and refrigerate for 40 minutes.

6) Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop well-rounded teaspoons of the dough 1 inch apart onto parchment.

7) Bake until edges are firm not dark, 11-13 minutes.

8) Cool on baking sheet for a minute or two (middles will be very soft and cookies may break if you don’t let them settle) before transfering to a wire rack to let cool completely.

These cookies have a crunchy outside with a brownie like middle and are not overly sweet. Serve with ice cream drizzled with caramel, make ice cream sandwiches or just pour a cold glass of milk!

As I sit here typing, Billie continues to serenade the proceedings of the day, it smells delectable, and as I glance at the pretty out the window, I’m thinking a stroll around the local outdoor market is in order before it closes. But the drive calls for another soundtrack. Gonna’ grab it and dash so...

keep your peepers open!®

ps...Cut #5 off Back in the Day is Eye Know by Del La just begs for me to take the top off of my vintage convertible and cruise. Ciao now.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


An artist I know was working on a series and asked me if I could write something to compliment his canvases, suggested I go to my “dark” side to capture words that would work. My first reaction was I don’t have a dark side so I shrugged it off. But there is a part of me that loves a challenge when it comes to expanding on a thought -- I was tempted, contemplated on the word contemptible and from just that one word, the piece spilled out and along with it a strong visual of sepia tones, of gargoyles high in the sky on the side of buildings watching over the goings on below (couldn't have asked for a better clip art!). I have to admit, I was quite excited and pleased with what I wrote as was the artist who after receiving the poem uttered just one word…inspired!

contemptations © 2009

engaging deviants that seduce with perverse pleasures
enraptured are we.
tempted by the contemptible
no fight or flee
into the sweet stench of sewage we traverse.
drowning in vile
lapping up each drop
an elixir courses through veins
that bind tie tickle strangle
addicted we want more and
acquiesce without a backwards glance.
they peer with cunning discrimination
a spectacle of black scalp hats and raw skin bustiers
foul mustaches over lipstick smeared mouths
twisted smirks mistaken for a smile
beguiling are they.
we trade our souls for six minutes of no pity
six degrees of separation
from scoundrels who gorge on feigned vulnerability
as we willingly let them suck us, fuck us
pick our oozing cries to take me I’m yours, take all of me
and permeate our being.
engaging deviants invading our dreams
with stolen trinkets, treasures that dazzle and destroy
entrapped in la-la land we lie down and become…

phat and fierce, big ballas from City, Suburbia in the good ole U.S. of Our Hood
in double breasted jimmy choo hoodies from target
we strike with lust ridden knives, guns, fists, needles, dicks.
lives next door, sleeps in the next room, lives inside…is us.

keep your peepers open!®

gargoyle photo from word clip art

Sunday, August 1, 2010

delusional conclusions

The truth is better than omission which is worse than a lie in my opinion. Omission is a deliberate strategy that leaves out information for whatever reason which in turn, doesn't allow for informed decision making. To me, omission is more deceitful than a lie. Now, there are times when omission and lies are okay, like when you’re throwing a surprise party, when something good will come of it. But right now, I am thinking of instances when because some piece of the story is omitted, we come to a delusional conclusion. Pictorially, it goes something like this.

I sent this photograph to a few friends last week as an expression of what I was feeling at the time. So many things were happening at once, one of them being my discovery that a trusted individual had omitted information that would have allowed me to make other choices had I known. After cropping some pictures, this seemed to say what I could not…

While it seemed that all of those who received it felt something, I know that each of them had a different reaction; one experienced feelings similar to mine then commented on the picture revealing that it was not clear exactly what was in view. Variations on the same photo are…

…but the full unedited shot makes unmistakable the truth of what is in the frame...

I love to see the pictures within my pictures, to find different stories in each corner. When I send out a cropped photo, the person looking only sees a fraction of the whole because of what I have chosen to remove, they can only form an opinion on what’s there. Since I don’t use my pics for political purposes, there is no negative fall out; my ego can take it when someone questions me and actually, that gets me to my point.

In this era of who’s on first, we and the media fail to question the sound bites and snippets we hear and see. We rush to judgment, placing guilt before innocence, based on information fraught with omissions and distortions then run and tell it as if it was gospel, most recently demonstrated by the Shirley Sherrod incident. People get hurt, reputations damaged. Apologies mop at the mess but can never reach all the narrow minds of ill informed crevices, leaving behind permanent stains that shadow the real truth. Can we continue to behave at this level of ignorance and expect to raise a generation that won’t lead us back to out and out acceptability of witch hunts, lynching, and any other form of unacceptable barbaric behavior? The next time you hear something, the first action taken should be to push pause followed by a little fact finding before you get in the mix, and then…

keep your peepers open!®