MY MOMENTS AND A SONG

There are moments in our lives – good and bad – where the experience we undertake is accompanied by song. The song and the experience intertwine to create a memory that is triggered by merely hearing the song. Also, the memory cannot be played back in our minds without the accompanying song in the background. It is through this complex orchestration of elements that defined who we were as individuals during that life moment. The beauty or sorrow experienced is an experience that lives on forever. I can appreciate the revelation into my soul because of this.

The DedicationAll That I Can Say – Mary J Blige

We lay together in each other’s arms on my bed. We were relatively silent after a time of loving on one another. It was late night and a song came over the radio. As the song began with its specific and recognizable beat – you looked at me and said, “I dedicate this song to you. I love you.” I don’t recall ever having a tender moment like this and at that time I didn’t want to be anywhere else except where I was – lying with you in my arms taking in the moment and hearing the words all that I can say.

My Ni**aIn the Air Tonight – Phil Collins

We probably shouldn’t have been on the road that night given how high we were. But somehow I knew shit was cool and I didn’t worry about too much. After smoking a joint, drinking a fifth and hanging out that evening we were on the road, top down on the Mitsubishi Eclipse cutting through the warm Dallas air on a clear night. The song has always been a favorite of mine so when it came on we both recognized its brilliance in silence, heads bopping, and the moment was etched in a memory forever. My “boy”, my ni**a, my confidant was born.

Unbreakable BondTribe – Bas & J. Cole

The birth of the moment that I knew we would always be connected no matter what. The road trip proved to be one of spiritual awareness and human connectivity. While it started off as any other moment – filled with apprehension, tension, and uncertainty, it became clear that it was the defining moment in which I saw you grow before my very eyes. We connected in a way that we had never connected before. I recognized our before and after images were vastly different providing a powerful contrast, yet, identical in the same breadth. We both felt the power of what we had experienced and knew that we would always be there for one another.

My Angel on EarthStrawberry Shortcake – The Sky’s the Limit theme music

How can reliving a moment time and time again of the very essence of life given by God as a gift to cherish throughout your lifetime ever get old? It doesn’t. You embody all that was promised to me when I was in need of love. When I knew that life was about to change in a way that was unrecoverable you were conceived. Your spirit embodies your name and you never prove me wrong for the love I unconditionally provide. If ever a simple moment turned into a gargantuan of a mountain it was our time together enjoying a simple yet unforgettable tune that resonated our time together in your young life.

Conditional LoveF**k You – C Lo Green

Anger, disdain, hate and generally pissed at you and the horse you rode in on. Like, really? I don’t quite measure up to your idea of a man that provides, huh? Not the loving companion that showed up in your fantasies? Was I just a sorry-ass waste of a male figure that happen to show up on your doorstep during a desperate moment in your life? Perhaps, but, thankfully, my confidence in who I am and who I get to be will always outweigh the projection put upon me by your own lack of self-worth. For that, I am thankful of the experience.

Go well and with love good peeps.

My Non-Bucket List (or Things I will Never Do In My Lifetime)

Ah, life, filled with such joys, mysteries, and pleasantries. I want to get out more and more these days and enjoy these moments as I have become wiser with age. My eyes have experienced many things, my ears have heard the essence of beautiful music, and my senses have been brought to life because of my surroundings; therefore, I thought it would be good for me to reflect on some things that I promise myself I will never do at this stage of life. You do with your life as you desire, as for me, these following things will never make it in my book of life upon its completion.

  1. Become the next RAP/Hip Hop sensation – I’m quite certain I missed my calling back when I owned my beatbox, 2 turntables and a microphone. Sad to know I sold them at my garage sale.
  2. Skydiving – naw, I’m good here. Even if I live to be the ripe old age of 100 I will not have any desire.
  3. Eating deep-fried grasshoppers – really?? Do I even need to explain?
  4. Visiting Liberia – well, unless I join the missionary.
  5. Discovering nano-nuclear energy – technically I can still do this, but I’m having too much fun avoiding school at this juncture.
  6. Shooting zombies – I think I would get great pleasure blasting some zombies but what if it was someone I knew, like the guy I’m friends with in Accounting? I hope it doesn’t come to that because I’m sure he’d still remember the screwed up financials I provided him. My bad dog.
  7. Bungee jump off a bridge in the Amazon jungle – see Skydiving explanation above.
  8. Become a Texan – not even sure how this could be remotely possible, albeit it this is one thing that COULD very well occur given my employment. I’m just not cut out for wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a cotton shirt with a big ass Texas flag across the front. Oh brother.
  9. Time travel – I know many of us are waiting for Marty’s return to the future but I’m guessing most of my generation will not see time travel come to fruition. Besides, who wants to end up like Jeff Goldbloom in “The Fly?” That would suck.

Yes, I know my list is fairly exhaustive and of course anything can happen. I won’t necessarily count these things completely out but I am 99.99% sure they won’t happen; although, I can really see myself as a shining rap star – kind of a cross between Kanye and Jay-Z perhaps? Only time will tell but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

The 2003 Cubs Collapse as a Microcosm of Life

I was thinking, as I always do and it usually lands me in hot water, about the 2003 Cubs and how the resulting Steve Bartman interference caused the impending doom of the team to reach the World Series. Everything unraveled in such a way that it was like watching a train wreck – you couldn’t take your eyes off of it and you knew the ending was not going to be pretty. And today is that infamous anniversary of this train wreck.

Steve Bartman

However, the biggest issue surrounding this collapse was blaming Bartman for starting the butterfly effect. We’ll never know whether it was Bartman or not but humans are notorious for blaming (me included). And it is a very difficult task to overcome. To refresh your memory; Bartman reaches out for a foul ball as most baseball fans would’ve done – this causes fan interference – runs score and the Cubs lose the game – the next game the Cubs lose again – no World Series. This was further complicated as the Cubs were up 3 games to 2. So close and yet…

So what about life? If an action I take sets some mystical aura in motion that then has an impact on your life am I truly the conduit for the change / impact to your life or am I merely a part of the process? If we were predestined to follow the paths we do in life (unbeknownst to us) then is it really my fault for setting in motion those events that change your life? Or is it just life and your ability to deal with the changes?

Many of us will say it’s our inability to accept the changes that we are dealt and we should be stronger in doing so. Yet, we don’t truly believe this for ourselves because we continue to assert blame in various ways.

We blame the President for a bad economy although the motions for a bad economy were ever looming. Wives blame husbands for their discontent when it might be more to the matter. Children blame parents for the way in which they behave. Nations blame nations for tragic and unfortunate circumstances impacting their individual citizens.

In some cases the responsibility clearly lies with the firestarter – such as Hitler where we can all agree he was the culprit. Yet, life is full of choices. The choice to follow someone like a Hitler. Or another example is slavery. Many blacks were forced to come over on slave ships. And we all agree there is some blame for the African-American’s plight to overcome. Yet, many people feel that by now blacks should’ve already overcome. Take responsibility. Yet, there were so many other elements to add into the history and mix that make this almost an impossible scenario to accept the singularly responsible trigger.

So we stay hypocritical in aspects of life in which we can relate and we stand resolute on our beliefs in other circumstances where we do not comprehend. We are complex individuals no doubt, but ultimately it comes down to choice. And the choices we make can be deadly (to ourselves or families), might be wrong (Sarah Palin as a running mate), or cause more madness about us. But we do have to accept that our responsibility in all this does matter and has unseen consequences.

Are you willing to totally accept your own responsibility and the butterfly effect you have on life or are you still prone to think other individual’s actions are the reason you are where you are in life with mountaining barriers to overcome? The choice is yours, but choose you must. Good luck with that.

Go well and with love good peeps.

BFFs For Real!

Best Friends Forever – or something like that. Regardless, the truth of the matter is the meaning of true friends.

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When I recently met with an old friend (of course we are both young at heart) I could not imagine the feelings I would have as we shared in conversation. We talked and laughed and both had a general appreciation for our friendship. Our conversations picked up just where we had left them almost two years ago since last seeing one another face to face. Having a connection such as ours is special especially in this microwave age in which we live.

Therefore, it made me think and appreciate those BFFs in my life. I can imagine we all have those “ride-or-die” types that will be there regardless of where we are in our life’s journey. Think about what makes that friend special; it can be the simplest of things or actions to the more complex.

  • As for me, those moments of understanding come into play. Having an understanding of one another and how we have gone through life and the journey we each faced.
  • Providing some level of support always makes a great friend. When you turn around and there is no one else to turn to there is that friend who is willing and capable to provide support when all else seems lost.
  • A friend is a person showing a genuine level of appreciation for who you are. While we all have our hang-ups and bizarre nuances it is a treasure when we can connect with another person that still appreciates our personality and quirks. It is not always the easiest thing to do thus we should cherish this effort when we recognize it.
  • Living life to the fullest can include having fun. When you connect with a good friend you have a ton of fun – however fun is defined for you – but usually you all share a similar definition of fun that is recognized and appreciated by both. It is a welcoming experience.
  • Our desire to connect is strong outweighing the highs and lulls of life. Whether we experience down time from friends as life’s activities dictate (family, career, schooling, etc.) we can always find our ways back to common ground as we reconnect. Reconnecting is the great part. This is what brings value to our lives.

Living in this age of social mediums and instant communications we have a tendency to take our friendships for granted. We don’t purposely do this we just develop a sense of instant response and gratification – but we don’t put as much value on the long term emotional connection created with our friends as we should. I for one recognize this with my friends and I routinely attempt to call myself out to show my appreciation and support. I may not be the most together person at times but I can honestly say my heart is genuine. And I am happy that my BFFs recognize this within me and continue to call me BFF.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Life’s Not so Black and White Moments

Over the course of the last number of months our society has seen its share of tense conversations. These conversations should not be taken lightly but many times we find ourselves on opposite ends as we discuss our thoughts and beliefs. Beliefs that may be contradictory to your own. And I don’t presume to judge what belief is right or wrong but merely point out our very diverse thinking. Our thinking is made up of our experiences, our upbringing, where we live, where we play, our character and other influences. At some point we all merely want to be understood. Not necessarily right, just understood. Because with understanding comes acceptance.

I sometimes try to recollect those events and polarizing stories that challenge us in ways beyond comprehension. Then I try to lay them out in a way determining the significance they have on society.

My thoughts in a list:

  1. OJ – The surreal Bronco chase and then trials. Unbelievable how this segregated race to a level never before seen in my lifetime.
  2. Rodney King – Was he illegally speeding? Yes. Did the cops need to beat the crap out of him? Debatable. Did it lead to major uprisings? Unfortunately yes.
  3. The Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction – Really at some point we have to face a profound truth in our desire to do what is right. We have to be honest with ourselves to recognize our proper motives. However, not everyone has proper motives.
  4. Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri – An unarmed teenager killed by cop. Now, I could add black teenager but that should not be the focus – however, based on our own life experiences the color of his skin and treatment of individuals in the area becomes relevant to the story.
  5. Gun Control – I personally don’t have much more to say then to say “look out.” There are scary individuals that jump on a variety of bandwagons and this is one of them.
  6. Police Brutality – In general, America seems to be headed toward a very strict Police State. The police are losing the title of “To Serve and Protect” and replacing it with “Beatdown when Necessary.”
  7. Corporations as humans – Much power is given to corporations or a group of rich folk as they become more engaged with human rights. We may complain about the separation of government and religion but we allow corporations more rights, albeit under the cover, than we tend to give our own citizens.
  8. The Decline of the American Family – Divorce, people marrying later, unwed pregnancies, etc. There is a plethora of blame but not much action of fixing.

This is merely food for thought. No responses needed. No LIKEs desired. Just food for thought. Lost in all of this nonsense is our future generations. The well being of our children should be what drives us to do better.

I like to believe in humanity and that we all want what is best for the good of all of us, however, I am just a dreamer. And this dream that I dream may not come to fruition in my lifetime. But I do hold out hope.

Go well and with love good peeps.

 

Rejuvenate

The serene lake glistened from the light of the morning sun. Barely a ripple was made from the fish as they lazily made their way to the surface in search of their morning meal. The smell of pine permeated the air as background sounds of the forest bounced around the tall trees which guarded the lakefront. The tiny splashes along the shores caught my ears as my eyes wandered across the lake looking for an area on the lake to settle. I exhaled, breathed in the fresh air, and appreciated the mist from the lake as I sipped my slightly sweetened coffee from an oversize mug. After a month of chaos and turmoil my mind, spirit, and body was in need of rejuvenation. And this was my moment.

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It isn’t often that we can pull ourselves away from life to enjoy the small pleasures presented before us. We find ourselves engrained in our daily experiences that will drain our energy and leave us with nothing to replenish the calming thirst our spirits require. Instead, we fill ourselves with various vices to help us get through our hectic days but not realizing the importance of slowing down. This was my moment to slow down and focus only on my breathing and the world of nature around me.

As I packed up my folding chair to head back into the cabin I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. A deer peered at me through the brush trying to decipher whether I was friend or foe. Our eyes locked briefly although it felt like an eternity. I appreciated the young doe in her habitat and I did not want to disrupt it. I thought about the days behind me and how I might relinquish my pain, frustration, and anxieties as I took in this moment. I proceeded to pack up my belongings in quiet reserve while assuring the deer I was a friend. Nature has a way of helping us to revitalize ourselves. This was my moment. I thought to myself “rejuvenate yourself.”

Goodbye and Hello

My weekend is filled with blissful fun – like packing and moving. Woo-Hoo! Nothing screams “change” like a new residence. The old residence contains family memories neatly packed away in U-Haul boxes awaiting the arrival of a few young men to complete the transition; while the new residence is a welcome change in eliminating strife and confusion from a wayward marriage. We all welcome these moments as we move past the pain, heartache, and sadness and look forward to new horizons.

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As I packed, I flipped through numerous pictures of me and my family. I looked through albums and smiled as I gazed at the pictures of the births of my kids. The pictures brought me back to all of those wonderful times captured in the four walls of the brick and mortar we called home for so many years. I smiled.

I rid myself of the various toys played with by the kids. I remember nearly every single toy I purchased and when my kids played with them. It’s a wonderful thing how the memories come flowing back. I caught myself basking in the moment. I smiled again.

The items left behind from my previous garage sale were stacked kindly along the curbside awaiting future homes to be adopted by other families. Neighborhood kids rummaged through the newly found treasures making their careful choices among the loot. I smiled again.

And as I prepared my new residence for the arrival of my “stuff” I felt a peaceful calm overtake me. I had a brief moment of bliss that I had not felt in a long time, a feeling that reminded me about the good in life. These are new beginnings, accomplishments through the storm, my kids and their smiles. I can’t help but smile again.

I’ve traveled a long road toward this moment as many people have and I haven’t cracked to the point of no return. I have held steady as I wound my way around those evil moments. I am nervous as any would be, but I feel I am in a good place. My mental capacity is strong, and I see the reaction of my kids to the new surroundings. They feel comfortable and secure even with less. And for this I smiled.

When it’s all said and done – even through the tedious tasks of packing and moving reflections of life are bound to occur. These reflections will be of the good and not-so good of the memories created through my family experiences. I can recall days which I can explicitly recount what we did as a family, the laughter that filled the room, and the smell of the family meal. All these events are happening simultaneously in my mind. The memories may be gone, but I have new ones waiting.

My kids see the change to the new residence and they embrace it. I see the event of change approaching and I slowly make my way toward it. I hope to embrace this change with the desire it will continue to rid me of my pain. I feel there is a positive smell of change in the air regarding my new residence with the smell catching me just under my nose and pulling me closer to acceptance. It pulls me toward the direction where my new future awaits. I smile again for the last time in my current humble abode.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Time to Face the Change, Cha-Cha-Changes…

This is a significant week for me in terms of my transitions. My life is about to take another turn, albeit a welcomed turn, but a turn nonetheless. It’s MOVING DAY! Yah!

I hate moving. It’s annoying, tiring, and never seems to be worth the effort.

I can’t end my procrastination (hence my writing and avoidance) when it comes to preparing for this inglorious day. However, I have moved so many times in my lifetime you’d think I was cool with this (at least 30, but hey, who’s counting). But I’m not.

I remember my college days when my roommate and I moved when I got off work – at 10 PM! Yes, we went until about 4 AM. Let’s just say a lot of beer was consumed during the time.

Then there was the time I moved into my first house some years ago. My friend and I had to move an old, heavy 10ft couch and decided the best spot for the couch was the trash. Unfortunately, the small access areas throughout the old Chicago apartment complexes caused us some difficulties in throwing it off the back stairway. The couch got entangled on the back fence after we tossed it from the 3rd floor. This forced us to do acrobatic tricks in untangling the mess we created. It rained cat hair and loose change for an hour.

There was the moment of clarity when I felt “I’m getting too old for this shit” when I literally had two full 18ft U-Haul truck loads to complete. My small army of volunteers was exhausted from the full day battle. However, I did provide libations at the end of the day and we even had one for our fallen homie who had to “cut out early because of family.” Grrrr.

I finally reached moving nirvana when my employers moved me (multiple times – sweet!). I sat back and watched the magic occur. However, I did have to supervise as they would have packed my sleeping cats if I hadn’t stated “those aren’t statues.” I remember unpacking one of the boxes and it was my kitchen garbage can full to the brim with trash. Talk about being thorough.

So here are my pointers to consider for your DIY move:

  1. Plan as much as you can ahead of time. This is easier said than done but it will prevent you from stressing.
  2. Take a moment and pack a box here and there throughout your hectic week.
  3. Make lots of friends; and then enlist them when the time comes. It’s not manipulation but it is investment for your future.
  4. Get rid of shi…stuff. I know it’s not easy but we are all guilty of holding onto stuff. Like you I’m always hoping there’s that six-figure check I misplaced and happen to find during the move.
  5. Stock up on your favorite beverage to keep you motivated. This includes beer, wine, whiskey, Diet Mountain Dew, or whatever your heart’s desire to help you make it through the event.
  6. Make sure your beloved pets stay clear of packing hands.

Have fun! Regardless of the pain of moving, both physical and mental make it an outing to cherish. It not only gets you through the time but it will become a cherished memory itself.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Always Savannah Liebster’d Me!

Savannah’s When Nothing Goes Write questions for me:

1. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Why?  I’m aware this is two questions.

The egg clearly came first. There was this big bang and…well never mind!

2. What is the favorite blog post you have written and why?

My Day of Positivity Starts…Now!”  Any time I write with the backdrop of my kid’s images it makes me feel great. They are my most important muses and they are what keep me strong during my times of weakness. It may sound cliché but it’s true. I love my little meeces to pieces!

3. What is your favorite blog post of mine and why?

The Struggle is Real – I enjoy almost all of Savannah’s posts and they seem to put a smile on my face. I often envision having conversations about our blogs in some coffee shop in some college town. The blogs remind me of how awesome life was when I was younger and how it still can be as I have matured. Besides, that’s one helluva title!

4. What celebrity would you most like to bang?

Uh, lot’s of ’em. Am I a pig for saying that? For sure Halle Berry and Salma Hayek top my list – although Halley would be a handful in a long-term deal. But we’re only talking banging, right?

5. What is your favorite sad song?

One of my favorite sad song’s is Amarillo Sky by Jason Aldean. Yeah, I’m a black man who can appreciate a little C&W but his song really speaks to me about the struggles one goes through in life and how we continue to persevere. My life has been full of challenges thus the song speaks to me.

6. What is your job, career, or hobby?

My job is in IT – a geek of sorts, although I am a project manager. I manage projects. I make sure people do what they’re supposed to do. And then I report it. To someone. Anyone that cares.

7. If you could be anyone besides yourself, who would it be and why?

Colin Powell. Without the Republican affiliation. He is a very respectable man, seems to be very smart, and he’s even debonaire. If not Colin Powell I’d be James Bond. He gets all the chicks.

8. What is your biggest regret?

Not having kids when I was younger. I have enjoyed my offspring so much I am somewhat sad that I messed around and didn’t have them 15 years earlier. However, I am more than grateful for my kids.

9. If you could go back and change #8, how would you do it?

Nope, never, it was meant to be. If I can’t guarantee that God would provide me the two same Angels into my life at 28 I would wait till I received the same 2 Angels in my life.

10. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Mind control. I’m not really sure why it just seems like it’d be cool. I’d pull that Jedi-mind-trick often.

11 Random Facts About Myself:

I was born in a foreign country but I’m still an American.

I am a military brat.

I had an article published in the Chicago Sun Times back in the day.

I have a third nipple. It’s very small, like a wart, but confirmed by docs. Maybe I should get it pierced.

My kids and I almost appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live – we were 1 of 4 finalists.

I had very good English teachers that pushed me to write well and express myself.

Although I seem to be an extrovert I am an introvert at heart.

I believed I would be living the American Dream at this time in my life – however, dreams are not always meant to be realized.

One night back in college I saved someone’s life. The woman didn’t realize she was about to get hit by a train as she stood too close to the tracks. I grabbed her at the last-minute, pulled her off the end of the railroad tie, she turned to me and started crying, and then I calmly walked away as the train sped by. I hope this experience left meaningful impression on her life.

I purposely gave my daughter a name that began with the initial of one of my best friends. Therefore, her initials match mine and my best friend’s last names.

I own the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series on DVDs. I really dig Sarah Michelle Gellar. Is this weird?

Cultural Differences or Systematic Divides

I found myself stranded downtown Chicago a measly, yet, 1.5 miles away from my automobile. I was celebrating with friends having drinks and singing karaoke, and before I knew it time had flown past. Dagnabit I thought to myself, now I have to walk my ass to my car and I wasn’t looking forward to it; although it was a very pleasant August evening. I was too cheap to grab a cab and too annoyed to walk. And when I looked around at my surroundings deciding my course of action I noticed the blue and white sparkling Divvy® bike rack awaiting me. Light bulb moment, “hey, I’ll take a bike!”

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This blog is not an advertisement for Divvy® or its sponsoring company. This blog is not meant to increase ridership of the bikes or to claim how health conscious I am (which I am not). Nor is it an exploration of how these bikes became so popular in my fair city or in a neighborhood near you. Incidentally, are these bikes as popular in other parts of the country and world? Feel free to educate me.

What I noticed about these bikes is there are not as many blacks or Hispanics casually riding these bikes between convenient locations throughout the city during their hectic days. As a matter of fact, this was my first time riding the bike. And it dawned on me that I was the only African-American on a bike riding through downtown Chicago to my destination; granted it was later in the evening but there were plenty of others out on a beautiful summer night.

I was thankful for this mode of transportation when I needed it. It was easy to use and it saved me a few bucks from taking a cab. Now I can use these bikes throughout the city and make my stops and get in shape at the same time. However, there is one problem – certain neighborhoods do not have the bikes. So what gives?

Maybe the bikes wouldn’t stand a chance from theft in these not-so-desirable locations. Or maybe the citizens in these areas don’t have aspirations to ride the bikes. The bikes are cheaper than cabs but they do cost and I am talking about areas where many folks do not have much disposable income. Maybe the company isn’t marketing the bikes in these locations because of preconceived ideas (judging) about what the people in these markets want. It is a sad commentary on how our cultures differ on something as innocent as bike riding.

I do know some African-Americans and Hispanics that ride the bikes all the time. I’m sure some of my readers and friends will vehemently disagree with me, stating, “Hey I’m black and I ride the bikes!” However, most of these individual riders are in neighborhoods where bikes are located. It is very obvious when riding through the city where holes exist in providing bikes.

I hope to teach my kids that this is a nice transportation alternative. I expect others will continue to migrate towards this decent way of travel. I recognize there are some cultural differences in acceptance of the communal bikes. I hope certain communities can positively influence good ideas to other communities and allow folks to take advantage of these opportunities. It was an exhilarating feeling to ride my Divvy® bike through the city with the wind blowing in my face on a wonderful mid-summer night. Everyone should have the chance to experience this feeling.

Go well and with love good peeps.