keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

about funny

Funny how things come about…

My plan was to go to Italy in 2012, visit Rome and Milan then take an extended vacation in Tuscany. I recently received an email about a trip to another part of that country which I almost flagged to get back to later until I caught a glimpse of a photograph that accompanied the message. Back in June 2009, I received a Powerpoint slide show of fabulous places from all over the world that had no information about the exact destinations. One image was so colorful, vibrant…I had to print, cut and paste it into my journal. I wrote that it seduced me, made me want to be part of its scenery; I still had not tracked down the location of all the bright houses and buildings tumbling one after the other down a mountainside overlooking beautiful blue water as I captured my thoughts about it. But with the right combination of words, Google told me that I had become enamored with Manarola, Italy.

The picture in the email I received recently held a vision that was so familiar to me. It made me stop, read about a trip that I didn’t have on my list of top ten places I want to visit. But something about that dazzling picture of vibrant homes cascading down a hill leading to sparkling blue water captivated my mind, made me remember…I had seen it before. I pulled out my journal to discover that no, it isn’t Manarola that I have decided to journey to later this year it’s the Amalfi Coast.

Things do come about in a funny way. I know for sure that a tiny Italian seed was planted when I stepped into that picture of Manarola and imagined I was there. I needed to escape for a few hours that day, calm my mind, took my time scrolling through all the images contained in that email someone sent me. Who knew that that short diversion would actualize itself, that I would be planning to venture to a location just a hop, skip and a jump from the place in a photo that made my heart skip a beat.

Yes, it is funny the way things come about, funny…though never by accident.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


When my taste buds requested a BLT this past weekend, my mouth began to water thinking back to the sandwich my grandmother made -- crisp iceberg lettuce, juicy red ripe Jersey tomato slices and thick cut pork bacon piled on white bread toast sans the mayo. I headed to the market to gather all the fixin’s but as I checked out couldn’t help but notice that I had organic lettuce, red tomatoes from a local farm, turkey bacon and whole grain whole wheat bread, oh and Miracle Whip (don’t ask!) in my basket. So was I really making a TBLT (sounds too much like a disease)? Maybe an OBLT (guess I would need to loose the MW to make it organic)? Or maybe a BLT lite?! One thing I do know is my sandwich did not end up tasting like the one of yesteryear when I didn’t have to worry about what was in the food I was eating or how what I was putting in my mouth affected my health. But now that I do, adapting old favorites has become a creative adventure in cooking experimentation with some results more satisfying than others. What I’ve discovered and accepted is there are recipes that just must be prepared with everything old school; I have no problem whipping them up when the craving hits. Reason…my palette and body know they can’t have those things on a regular basis and totally enjoy them when the mood strikes. So perhaps the next time I want one I won’t stray from a GBLT, right grandma?

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

just because

I don’t know how your winter is going but at the beginning of February, I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that the month of January was over. As I balanced precariously on one toe, I prepared to set me down easy finally on all ten … if only. Three weeks into the second month of the year, the roller coaster ride is still surging along but, there have been some cushions to keep me safely fastened into my seat.

I either heard or read about the calming effects of walking into a room to behold a bed that is made up. One morning on a day in a month that I can’t recall, though I know it was during the last quarter of 2010, I got up and made up my bed. It felt good to smooth out the wrinkles on the comforter, position the pillows just so. It felt even better when I came in that evening, exhausted beyond belief and there it was … ready, waiting and beckoning. I took my time folding back the covers before I climbed in. Stretched across the cool sheets, my face snuggling into a silk pillowcase, I let out the biggest sigh before I began to giggle, something I do when I am SO happy to be in my bed; I have been making it up ever since. A bowl of oatmeal or a cup of tea taken to my nest coupled with a book of positive readings has added a nice touch to my well made bed, has seriously slowed down the pace so my system can settle. Reestablishing a morning ritual, something that was well overdue has assisted in keeping me grounded. And then there is the eclectic eye.

Last weekend, a person who is close to yet so far away from me asked me why I write. I don’t quite remember how I answered him at that moment but thinking about it now, writing the blog has become part of my weekly rhythm. It’s a constant when everything around me is inconsistent and even when I don’t have much to say or am in a frightful mood, I still sign in. I get to work it out, work me out as I type it out. I write out loud for anyone to read for the girl who wrote silent compositions never voiced or heard. I put down thoughts, think carefully about the accompanying pictures for the woman whose creative offerings received an average grade from opinionated psuedo-figureheads with stagnant minds. I string together jargon that on many occasions is not syntactically correct for the exasperated chick who taught others how to write “properly” for business purposes (my how stifling that was!). I hope someone is reading, perhaps benefiting from what I have to say, that would be wonderful but what I find most comforting is capturing my unfolding life; many times the blogs have hidden meanings, are written for, about or to people, have been cathartic allowing me to stop the ride and let go.

So that’s the long answer. The short one...I write because I simply love writing.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


A funny thing happened not on the way to but at the Grammy’s. Almost asleep while supposedly viewing the festivities, I was jolted to an alert awakened state when I heard the announcement that angered lots of folks based on all the nastiness taking place on Twitter and Face Book. I watched as talent trumped popularity and wondered how on earth Esperanza Spaulding had slipped under my radar. Me, a female vocalist and jazz enthusiast! I stayed tuned in long enough to type myself a note for the next day to check into this young woman of color; in less than 24 hours, I had secured two CD’s, her newest and to my surprise, another that was originally released in 2006. So now I was really baffled…how did I miss this gifted talent who not only plays the bass but has a voice I could get lost with for hours? Upon listening, I realized I had indeed heard her before, wondered who I was hearing that made my ears perk up and tingle with wanting to know, was miffed not being able to find out who the artist was wherever it was that I had heard her music playing.

Thankfully, something shook me from my doze at the right moment to see this bushy haired girl in a gold-toned gown rise to collect her golden prize and the title Best New Artist…and now not only do I know who but also why. Not taking anything from those who did not win, I applaud all the nominees as I sing goodie, goodie for her and shout out cheers to the element of surprise which is our reminder to…

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Sunday, February 13, 2011


Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. In the last few months, too many people I know, have had heart scares that have been cautionarily (I know it’s not a word) to way too very scary. I'm sure I am not the first person to think that on the day when heart shapes symbolize how much we care for others, that we should take the time to care for our own self, care for our own heart both physically and emotionally so it can beat to the tune of love for many years to come. And while you’re at it, before you throw away those flowers from whomever including your children because Valentine’s love is not ONLY about the love between lovers and likers of the opposite or same sex, make a token reminder that someone cared, mark the date, write a note then press it in a book of your choice. In some year to come you or someone, maybe another family member, will stumble upon a small piece of passionart from the past and hopefully smile, maybe shed a tear remembering. I had the pleasure of discovering passion between the pages when I opened both a cookbook and an old Bible from my grandparents…love notes, faded rose petals and clover blossoms were resting as a reminder of a couple who cared for one another until the moment my grandfather passed away from a heart condition. And even after he was gone, she still cared as did I; tomorrow is/was her birthday.  

on Valentine’s Day
go create passionart
and every day
take good care of your heart!


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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

quiet time

there are days when all the words tumble out wrong, so quiet I need to be...

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

watching, waiting...

It's hard to believe that only a few short months ago, I passed through
Tahrir Square
more times than I can remember snapping photograph after photograph each time I was there. It's a little surreal seeing places I visited, restaurants where I had a meal, and the hotel I slept in on the television screen surrounded by millions of fed up people demanding a better life after too many years of oppression.

As I watched the events in Egypt unfold these past two weeks, I didn't focus on being thankful we were not there when the peaceable mass of people was suddenly attacked. I thought more about why they were there in the first place, about why the desire for democracy brings about such violence. Though I know the answer philosophically and historically, the optimist in me still hopes that at some point in my lifetime, peace will win out, be utilized as the way finding solution to whatever the issue is when so much is at stake for so many. I also thought about people we met, a few who we grew close to, taking a stand much like my own ancestors; civil rights for people of color was and continues to be a struggle. But only because so many stood up, stood their ground, were knocked to the ground and buried under it bloodied, beaten, burned and/or maimed am I able to sit where I chose to live and type these words.

I am grateful to have set foot in a magical country that made a huge impact on me when I did because it forever changed last week right before the same eyes that had the opportunity to take it in last year. The thousands of pictures taken while abroad are now more treasured than they were when I took them.  As I scrolled through them, I viewed with a different eye…

…Cairo, Alexandria…I was just there. If I touch the TV screen, I can feel the heat of the air no longer too hot for me to tolerate, recall the smells no longer foreign, savor the spiced dishes no longer distasteful, be back at Khan El Khalili Bazaar in conversation about life in the United States and how it differs and is similar to living in Egypt with my tour guide, my friend who is somewhere in the midst of his countrymen and women taking their stand for the world to see. I wish all of them well and as we stay tuned in the days ahead…

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Script writing was one of my best classes in undergraduate school. Creating a story by visualizing each frame presented me with writing challenges unlike those encountered when I wrote short stories. Lost for hours, my imagination furiously developed dialog, movement, camera angles copied in script format in a notebook of filmy paper. It was an art form that I did not recognize as such back then; I truly thought I would go on to be a screen writer, I was so engrossed with the work and did that well in class. But my road took me on another venture that along the way introduced me to people who lived as if they were following a script. To this day, whenever I encounter them, part of me wants to grab my old notebook and take down what sounds to me like lines being read in a dress rehearsal. I find myself blinking in disbelief as they regurgitate buzz words and quotes from the mouths of others, recite dialog that seems unnatural for the person who they are, fashion
sentences that sound like what they think is supposed to be said no matter how insincere, say what they think someone else wants to hear no matter how nonsensical. I always wonder if these folks are following a script they think will please others past or present, if they are actually verbalizing words and actions that no longer make sense for the person they have become but are either ignorantly or blissfully oblivious. I so want to hand them a fresh manuscript or better yet a blank notebook…if only they would use it.

And then again, maybe it's just time for me to begin exploring other writing formats both new and old to stimulate my brain. I am sure if I do there will be pages taken from the wealth of priceless stuff I've heard because really, some of the things have tickled me to no end! So we'll see, but until I figure this out...

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