Happy Spring

I often say that the best kind of surprises in life are the ones in which you surprise yourself. I invited some friends over this past weekend and it’s not that I’m surprised that they actually came but I do have this feeling of being surprised that I pulled the hosting job off. Folks came, they ate and seemed to really enjoy the food. Everywhere I looked people were talking and catching up with one another. It did my heart good to know that the ladies had a good time and really enjoyed themselves. It’s always humbling for me to feel the light of friendship. Here’s to light and life and longer days and even lovelier nights.

Much love!

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The Last Time

This past weekend I attended and spoke at the memorial service for my last grandparent, my grandmother Eunice S. Ricks. The fact that I wrote that sentence and that you just read that sentence is still a bit shocking to me.

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Obviously as adults we are aware that death is coming for all of us, however, to experience losing the last of your grandparents feels like graduating to a stage of life that I was comfortable keeping at arms distance. If I had to give words to this stage of life the words would flow like this – I am now all too aware that there will be a last time for everything. I remember when I had no awareness that anything would ever end, it wasn’t even a thought in my mind. I am mourning the loss of that innocence.

I am living in a space where I so clearly understand that nothing lasts forever. It is because of that clarity that I intend to go for it and live my life to its fullest potential, to cherish every moment that I have with family and friends, and to do my very best to ultimately respect the fact that every moment is a fleeting one.

Here’s to the here and now and to living life with respect for the fact that there will be a last time.

Happy Friday!

Open Season – My Thoughts on the Murder of Black Men

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The prevailing thought on my mind – aside from “I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful” playing on repeat in my head in Drake’s voice – is “open season.” Open season is a term that comes from hunting. It is a period when it is legal for hunters to hunt and kill a particular species.

I replay those two words over and over again and I shake my head at the fact that it appears to be open season on black men in this country.

I think about the unbelievable courage that it takes to be a black man and how scary it must be to raise a black man and the thoughts that I have are so overwhelming that I decide to think about something else and keep it light. I’m using this blog post today to focus my thoughts and to pay homage to the black man and the struggle that he faces on a daily basis. To be clear I know that my race has advanced by leaps and bounds. The President is black. However black men and women are waging a war on the ground, a battle to stay alive.

I love the black man, I value the black man, and I’ve had nothing but examples of strong black men in my life.

I do realize that there are black men and young black boys out there that make poor decisions – a la stealing from convenience stores or even seeming to approach cops with what may or may not be perceived as a concealed weapon – but how many white men or white young boys live to tell of their poor decisions? How many white men or white young boys get to look back on that robbery or break in, or that time they pointed a bb gun at the cop and fired (see picture) and get to chuckle at how wild and crazy they were in their youth?

This discrepancy in treatment is a shameful despicable thing, however it is very real and it is something that we as black people need to understand. It is the civil rights issue of our time.

It is a thought that will bring you to your knees if you really stop to think about it and the thought is this – white boys can make mistakes in the eyes of the law and live to tell about them, black boys cannot.

And here’s the thing, and I’ll preface this with the admission that I don’t have chick nor child as the old folks would say but I will say this, it would seem to me that if you are raising a young black boy in this country and you are not teaching him the fact that white boys can make mistakes and live to tell about them and that black boys cannot – then you are doing that young black boy a disservice.

When I started driving at 16 my father – as ambiguously racial as he can seem at times (we got pulled over by the cops on a family road trip to Nashville Tennessee and the cop marked my father’s race as white, I digress) – told me that when an officer approached my car I was to have my window rolled down, I was to have both hands on my steering wheel and that I was to get the officer’s approval on every subsequent move. As clear as day I can remember my father telling me to keep my hands on the wheel while asking…

“May I reach in my wallet, sir?”

“May I reach in my glove compartment, sir?”

Let me be clear in saying that this is what I was taught. A skeptical, mild, and overly respectful approach to officers, however that is not what all black people are taught, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be murdered for it.

If I could speak to the police as a collective I would ask – can you please not murder black boys or black men, execution style, simply because they are black and you might be scared of their unforgivable blackness, sir?

These black lives are not yours to take.

 

 

 

 

My Afternoon at the Museum

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going on a lunch date to the Smithsonian – more specifically I visited the Museum of Natural History’s Gem and Mineral Collection. The fine specimen of a gentleman that took me on this date thought that it was high time that I saw the Hope diamond. While the Hope diamond was impressive (I was not able to get a photo that did it justice) there were so many more memorable pieces of jewelry, pieces that were cloaked in their own stories, pieces that danced and sparkled in the light as if they were taunting me with secrets that they would never tell. It was quite a memorable afternoon. Here are some shots that I think are worth sharing.

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Happy Friday

An Affair to Remember – The Record Store

Very rarely do I have moments in which I can so vividly recall my youth that I am almost transported back to it. I experienced this phenomenon last week when I wandered into a record store on 14th street. When I walked into that store my senses exploded. In an instant I was flooded with feelings of excitement and nostalgia as I had completely forgotten what it was like to visit a record store and that we used to actually touch and interact with albums – gripping the group of albums that we wanted to look through and quickly flipping through with our index finger, the light thud the albums would make as they fell against each other and the faint whooshing noise you could hear as you quickly shuffled through the stack was soothing.

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I remember my first record player and the first album that I owned – Aerosmith ft. Run DMC, Walk This Way. I remember my Dad’s extensive collection (which he still has to this day) and him going down to the basement and playing his music so loud that I swear he must have felt like he was at the concert. I remember staring at my Grandfather’s favorite blues albums the covers of which he loved so much he actually hung them on the wall, they now hang on mine.

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So many album covers were pure art and the imagery was deliberately chosen to tap into the zeitgeist of the time.

I’d forgotten that beyond the actual music there was the experience.

I’d forgotten that beyond the actual music there was the art.

Here’s to slowing down and taking time to remember the days gone by.

Much love.

 

 

 

 

Flashback Friday: Virginia Wine Country

We spend so much time planning for the trips that we’re going to take—thinking about our bucket-list destinations, fantasizing about how much more beautiful the far-off place will be—that we sometimes forget that beautiful experiences are right here, all around us. I was lucky enough to be reminded of this on a recent impromptu day trip with some girlfriends to Virginia Wine Country.

Before I went to Napa Valley I used to think that it was the end-all in terms of the wine country experience. Now that I’ve experienced Napa several times I can confirm that although it’s quite lovely (and I would highly recommend it) the wine country experience in Virginia is just as breathtaking. The weather was absolutely perfect, the rolling vineyards against the backdrop of the open blue sky made me feel like I was in God’s country, and the fact that I was experiencing the day with my girlfriends made the wine taste even sweeter.

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Much love,

Happy Friday

A Message From The Universe

The last couple of weeks doubt has been creeping in…doubt in the form of questioning myself and the “why” behind why we (I) have to go through certain experiences. The good news is that it’s not crippling doubt, but either way, I found myself in need of a message.

As I waited in line at Starbucks this morning the doubt/questioning started creeping back in…“why did I have to experience that?” … “I’ll never get that time back.” … and almost before I could get that last thought out of my mind the barista handed me my tall, skim, no whip, no foam, white chocolate mocha and the Universe—more specifically Oprah—sent me this message:

 

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Message received.

This was God speaking right to me. OR it was simply the result of a great marketing partnership between Oprah (she’s now selling teas through Starbucks) and Starbucks—I’ll take it as the former and those words were right on time.

Right now I’m thanking God, the Universe, and Oprah for timeliness.

peace