Just write already!

 

The world of blogging is new to many, even though it has been around for some time now.  Are you one of the ‘newbies’ who is wondering what all the fuss is about?  You may feel intimidated and aren’t sure how to express yourself through this platform. You might let the fact that you’re not big on being grammatically correct get in the way of getting some words down. Well, you’d might be surprised to know that you’re not alone. The word ‘blog’ in itself  is not the most inviting term. Would you agree? I use to think the same thing while wondering what all the ‘blog’ buzz was about.

I started a blog a few years ago and gave up after a while. I was  getting little to no notice, comments, followers,etc. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any content to share. I simply didn’t understand the whole blogging concept. So, I was basically typing my little heart out while my words seemingly disappeared into a deep, dark abyss; never to be seen or heard from again. Needless to say, frustration reared it’s ugly head, and I gave up on my blog.

After reading several blogs recently and observing the types of things people were blogging about, I decided to give it another try. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at my blogging experience this time around. I now have a better grasp of what this phenomenon is all about. Writing is what I do and blogging  is the perfect way to exercise my passion while connecting with a broad spectrum of varying personalities. I don’t doubt that I would have ever crossed paths with other bloggers, had it not been for revisiting the now infamous planet ‘blog’ .

So, I said all that to say this. As long as you continue to believe that you don’t have anything to contribute or that no one wants to hear what you have to say, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.  Everyone is unique and can bring something authentic to the big broad blogging canvass. There is room for you and your gifts. Certainly, the words are not going to write themselves. So, I say to you, there is no time like the present. Blogging can be fun, stress-relieving, and you can connect with some really neat people! So quit your belly-achin’ and just write already!

 

Pink Dogs – A Hot Item!

 

 

Pink’s was started by Paul & Betty Pink with a $50.00 loan. They originally sold 10 cent hot dogs from a cart on a neighborhood street corner at La Brea and Melrose in 1939. Pink’s was known as the proverbial ‘mom and pop’ hot dog stand. The city of Los Angeles fell in love with this hot dog haven and after 73 years, Pink’s has become an internationally famous landmark under the operation of Paul and Betty’s family – Richard,Gloria, and Beverly. Today, Pink’s Hot Dogs is one of the top 10 Hot Dog Stands in the U.S. as named by Fox News. Is it any wonder that Pink’s has expanded while spreading their ‘hot dog’ love to ten other locations that include Southern California, Las Vegas, and Ohio?

A huge variety of hot dogs,burgers,generous portions and reasonable prices have added to Pink’s notoriety. This establishment is highly recommended to visitors as a “must do” to achieve the “Hollywood” experience that is historically associated with it. Just like anything else, celebrities enjoy a great hot dog too and have found their way to Pink’s consistently over the years! Back in the day, anyone from Orson Welles to Michael Jackson and in between, were known to frequent Pink’s. Today, Pink’s carries on its tradition of delicious food, great customer service, and nostalgically fun atmosphere to celebrities such as Jay Leno, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Betty White, Martha Stewart; just to name a few! And let’s not forget the famous celebrity chefs:  Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis, and Emeril Lagasse. Incidentally, Bill Cosby has been said to have on one occasion ordered 10,000 hot dogs to go! Imagine that! It has also been reported that Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at this famous ‘hot spot’. If the walls of this place could talk, the stories they could tell!

The walls of Pink’s have been adorned with photos of Hollywood actors prior to their big breaks, in hopes of being discovered. Even when these up and coming actors became successful, they still found themselves back at Pink’s. What a great way to pay homage to a place that was a haven during humble beginnings! This is more proof that the magic of Pink’s not only exists, but endures!

Customers have been traveling to Pink’s in every kind of moving vehicle, from pickup trucks to limousines. All in the name of satisfying their ‘hot dog’ hunger. It has been said that, “variety is the spice of life”. Pink’s seems to have this down cold, offering 30 choices of hot dogs to satisfy the hungry palettes of their loyal following. There’s even a relaxing dining room and a patio to enjoy your authentically customized ‘dog’. What more could you ask for? I don’t know about you, but Pink’s just became one of the top 10 contenders on my travel to-do list! Won’t you join me?!

Is there an “i” in Ego?

 

 

There is definitely an “i” in ego. I know, I know. You may be looking at the spelling of the word “ego” and saying to yourself that there is no “i” in this word. You would be correct in your visible observation. However, the “i” in ego is not a visible letter that we can see. But it is the very thing that drives the meaning of this word. Everyone has an ego. Some people display their ego more visibly than others and some have mastered keeping their’s in check. But, you’re still wondering, what does the “i” have to do with ego? Actually, it has everything to do with it!

In normal day-to-day conversation, you probably say the word ‘I’ at least 20 times a day. When you think about it, it’s kind hard to speak without using the word ‘I’.  After all, you don’t normally refer to yourself in the ‘third’ person, right? Do you consistently find yourself on the receiving end of someone who always makes the conversation about them? You may have started off the conversation by sharing a situation  you were experiencing and before you know anything, this person has chimed in and the ‘I’s” have it!   The interaction has become a one-sided one where you find that you can’t even get a word in edgewise. The other person is rambling on and on: I had that same thing happen to me once, they might say as they rudely cut you off in mid-sentence. I this, and I that! This person has totally taken over the conversation and left you standing there looking dumbfounded! You may be thinking to yourself, how did this conversation get flipped completely around? You’re wondering why you even initiated the conversation in the first place. When it’s all said and done, you might rethink your spelling of the word ‘ego’ because this person obviously spells it with an ‘i’! What do you think?

Who’s watching your neighborhood?

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Breanna Edwards posted a story today April 22, 2014, via Pennlive.com reporting that the Fairview Township in a Pennsylvania neighborhood will be under the watchful and protective eye of an unlikely neighorhood watch group. This group will consist of members of the local chapter of the Tradionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. My jaw has dropped and is on the keyboard as I am typing this! It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want this group watching any neighborhood, let alone their own.

According to Pennlive.com, this action was triggered by a slew of break-ins in the area. Supposedly this was a common sense move. The obvious questions might be: common to who and what sense does this make? How would allowing members of a notorious “hate” group watch over any neighbor be considered a sensible move? Again, sensible to who?

Well, it makes sense to the imperial wizard and president of the organization, Frank Ancona. According to Mr. Ancona, the national organization at the local chapter requested the sponsoring of this initiative. He also says that this neighborhood watch program is like any other program and claims that it doesn’t target any particular ethnicity. Supposedly, law enforcement will be notified of anything that program members see. You might be wondering how far this statement can and will be stretched? Will only criminal,violent, and suspicious activity be reported? Or will people whom this group feels look “suspicious” or who look like they may be up to something also be reported to law enforcement? Mr. Ancona goes on to say, “We don’t hate people. We are an organization who looks out for our race. We believe in racial separation. God created each species after its kind and saw that this was good”.

The national organization has approved of this move and the members of the local chapter have put the plan into action. Fairview Township residents living along Ridge Rd awoke recently to find fliers on their doorsteps introducing this new “watch” group and audaciously displaying a man in the familiar pointed hood as you can see depicted above this post. The flyers not only boldly boast that the neighborhood can now sleep with the klan watching over it, but also has the nerve to include a 24-hour contact “Klanline” phone number. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, an event like this comes along and both shocks and disgusts you, all over again! Do you know who’s watching your neighborhood?

 

What would my grandma say?

 

I often wonder what my grandma would say about so many things if she were alive today. She had such high hopes for me and my siblings. My grandma had a unique way of making each one of us feel like we had a special and individual relationship with her. It takes a special person that can make so many feel uniquely special, all at the same time.

I can’t help but feel that my grandma and I shared the most unique bond of all. I was the firstborn and my mother has often told me that my grandma fell in love with me instantly as a baby. So much so that she actually kept me for the first nine months of my life!  This still amazes me when I think about it now in my adult life. It started off that grandma was only going to keep me for a couple of weeks to give my mother a little break. A couple of weeks became a  month, two months, so on and so on until nine months quickly rolled around. My mother actually had to insist that my grandma give me back which my grandma of course did, but reluctantly.

Sometimes, I think my own bonding time with my mother suffered some as a result of the first crucial months being spent away from her. It’s almost as if there’s some kind of unspoken disconnect that exists between my mother and I, even to this day. Now, let me be very clear. My mother and I love each other to pieces, but I often feel that intangible missing link that casually floats between us.

My parents used to take my siblings and me to stay with grandma for the summers. We would cry when our parents dropped us off and we would cry when they came to pick us up. Oh the fickleness of children! My grandma would always promise that one of those old days she was going to come back home with us and stay for a couple of days! But until that time came, we just cried like babies when we had to leave grandma at the end of our summer visits.

This one particular summer visit had quickly come to an end. I knew there was a chance that grandma might come back with us this time, but I also knew that she probably wouldn’t. To our surprise,  grandma announced at the very last minute that she would indeed be traveling back home with us for a visit! We were beside ourselves with joy! We didn’t have to be sad about leaving grandma behind  because she was coming with us this time! We couldn’t have been happier!

I had recently learned to “french braid” my hair and had been promptly given the job of braiding all three of my sisters hair as well. Can’t say that I was happy about that but practice makes perfect, right?  Even though my grandma preferred wearing a wig, she was so excited about my new braiding skill, that she wanted me to try it on her as well. I happily braided her hair that weekend. I don’t know who was happier – me or grandma. Grandma only stayed for a few days as she was preparing to move the next weekend into a new house closer to town. She was so excited about us visiting her there in the future summers. That next weekend, my dad went to pick her up for the move. He could see my grandma sitting in her chair by the window as she had often done while watching and waiting for us to arrive in the summers. My dad knocked and knocked but she did not come to the door. My dad went and got someone to help break open the door. Sadly my grandmother had  passed away in her chair with her coat on waiting to go to her new surroundings, but she never made it. I still remember the day my father came home and broke the news to the rest of the family! I learned later that she had passed away with the french braids that I had done still in her hair! My grandma was indeed a special woman and I still feel a bond with her, all these years later. I hear her quiet encouragement when I am hesitant about a new project or adventure. I wonder what she would think of what I’ve accomplished thus far. Would she be pleased with the adult woman I’ve become? I would love to know what she would make of the world and all of the changes that have taken place since she passed away all those years ago. What would she think about all the things I’ve gone through in my life so far? I may never know the answers to these questions but I do know that grandma is somewhere smiling and marveling at everything. She may not be here in the flesh but she is always here in spirit! I will always love you grandma!

Desperate Decisions….Desperate Measures

 

It seems everyday we are bombarded with stories from the media that put us in the prime position to pass judgement. Even without all the facts. This hardly seems fair, right? Maybe, maybe not. But to err is human and evidently, so is passing judgement. It’s probably one of the single-most common things many of us can agree that we do on a daily basis, even though it may not be intentional.

So, this news story splashes across the t.v. this morning as I’m rushing around trying to make my quick morning exit to begin my day. This story was about a mother who made a crucial and what could be a life-changing decision that will her affect not only her own life, but her two children as well for years to come.

In lieu of a job interview, this woman left her 6 month old and 2 year old children in her car with the windows barely cracked open while she was inside of a building being interviewed for a job! Fortunately the children were discovered in time before anything seriously happened to them but both children appeared to be under distress and were sweating profusely. According to authorities, the inside of the car had reached a temperature of over 100 degrees!

Now, when I first heard this, I immediately felt for the safety of the children of course. Then as the story sunk in further, I started to ponder the decision of the mother. Only someone who was at her desperate wit’s end would make a decision such as this! What would drive a mother to put her children at risk? The compassionate mother side of me couldn’t help but think that this woman had to think she didn’t have any other choice. Her decision came out of a need to provide for herself and her children. Maybe she felt that the interview would not take long and that the children would be totally safe within the confines of her car. The thought of the hot temperatures may never have occurred to her. You can rest assured that it occurs to her now.

Surprisingly, people have really come to her defense and have even started a monetary fund for her that has already reached well over $110,000.00! I must say that human nature never ceases to amaze me! As quick as some people were to judge and desire this woman’s head on a chopping block, there were those that were there to tip the scales, and overwhelmingly so!

Sadly, this mother may be facing jail time as a result of her desperate decision(s) and even more, her desperate measures. Out of all this and for what it’s worth, you can’t help but wonder…..after risking virtually everything…..minus all the media attention…. would she have gotten the job?

Sundown Towns

 

 

 

injustice-files-sundown-towns

 

Last night’s edition of filmmaker Keith Beauchamp’s The Injustice Files: Sundown Towns on Investigation Discovery refocused attention on what is now known as “sundown towns,” places where African-Americans were not welcomed “after the sun went down” and, in some instances, purposely driven out altogether.

I had never heard of the term Sundown Towns until I recently watched a documentary on the subject on Investigation ID.  Unfortunately, this kind of ignorance is alive and well today, according to this documentary. In certain parts of the country this way of thinking seems to be thriving but has been kept hush,hush by the media.  Evidently, black people were warned by signage that they could be killed if caught after dark in these “Sundown Towns”.

A sociologist by the name of James W. Loewen, strongly believes that these “sundown town” situations occur predominately in Northern states as opposed to Southern states as he explains in his 2005 book called “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. Being a native of Illinois, Mr. Loewen focused heavily on this area and believed that this subject had a huge presence there.

The documentary I saw aired on March 21, 2014. One of the places noted in the segment was Martinsville,Indiana where a black woman by the name of Carol Jenkins was murdered at the age of 21 simply because she was caught in town selling encyclopedias ‘after dark’. Miss Jenkins had come to the home of a couple seeking help on the night of her murder. According to this couple, she was very afraid because she was being followed by a car with two men in it. The couple tried to get Miss Jenkins to stay at their home that night and pleaded with her not to go back out but she insisted on leaving and didn’t want to bother them further. Besides her murderer(s), this couple was the last to see her alive. The wife of the couple said she felt Miss Jenkins knew she was going to die that night. Tragically, that’s just what happened on September 16, 1968.

Is this as much a surprise to some of you as it was for me? Please share your thoughts on this subject.

 

Where’s the Beef?

 

The Today Show tv show photo

The Today Show did a short segment on the shortage of cattle in this country.  Reportedly, this is the biggest shortage since 1951. In an article written by Michael Snyder on February 3, 2014, he states that due to an extreme drought, the number of cattle in the U.S. is the smallest it has been since 1951. He also notes that there were about 154 million people living in the U.S. at that time. However, there are now well over 314 million people currently living here.

The U.S. cattle herd shrinking has been going on for 7 years consecutively which is propelling us quickly toward  a shortage of beef that is incomparable to any that the U.S. has undergone before. According to Michael Snyder, the major cause for this beef shortage is the result of a devastating drought that has imprisoned the western half of the country. He also noted that 2013 was the driest year ever for the state of California. This lack of water caused ranchers to start selling off their livestock for slaughter.

Like with everything else, what can be expected when there is a shortage of anything? If the supply is low, the demand goes up and so does the price unfortunately. So what are you to do when you love your beef and feel you must have it at least three times a week? Will you continue to buy beef as the prices continue to soar? Or will you opt to explore other options? You could always go Vegan but that’s going to require a lot of adjustment and commitment. Not that you can’t make the change, but it’s something to consider as you ponder your options. Chicken is always a tasty alternative, not to mention it can be prepared in a variety of appealing ways. But if you feel about beef like so many of us do, you will simply find a way to pinch those pennies a little harder and enjoy your burgers and steak regardless until the beef shortage eliminates this option all together. Even though you may not be feeling the affects of the cattle shortage right now, don’t be surprised if you one day find yourself asking, “where’s the beef?”

If I had known then what I know now…..

 

How many times have you said to yourself, “if I had known then what I know now”. Okay…what about that? If you could go back ten years in your life, what things would you change? Would you make sure to take an actual vacation away from home when your turn came around at your job? Would you speak your mind when the urge hit you regardless of how you might be perceived? Would you have waited until you were a little older to tie the knot? Or maybe you would have had more than one child ten years ago? No matter what the scenario is, you probably would agree that you are sure you would have definitely done things differently ten years ago had you been the person you are now.  A more observant, spontaneous and adventurous person certainly seems to live life more fully than a person who is the opposite of all these things. Do you ever wish you were a bigger risk-taker instead of always playing it safe as you have in the past. After all, where has remaining in the comfort of your ‘zone’ really gotten you thus far?

Here are ten things I would have done years ago, had I known then what I know now:

  1. built a stronger more solid relationship with God
  2. explored other career choices
  3. been more present and aware in the moment
  4. bought a house in an unfamiliar  neighborhood
  5. heeded the warning signs of toxic people & relationships
  6. set higher goals for my financial future
  7. been more aggressive in my career choices
  8. traveled more
  9. listened to my first instinct(s)
  10. follow through on unfinished projects

Well, do you see anything on the list that rings true for you? What are some things you would do differently if you could? Whether you come up with a list of five or ten, one thing is sure. You may not have known then, but you certainly do know now!

Know your Achilles’ Heel

 

 

Would it be safe to say that everyone has an Achilles’ Heel? You know, that weak spot or point of vulnerability that you may try to keep hidden as form a of self-preservation or protection. Being human, you may agree that everyone has an Achilles’ Heel. The thing is to find out what that area of weakness is for you. Some people have become very good at concealing their weaknesses, and with good reason. For example, say for instance you’re a person who just learned that  you’re diabetic. Your family is having a huge family picnic coming up this weekend. Now, you’ve only recently discovered your diagnosis, so your family is unaware. Everyone is contributing and bringing a dish to pass; all the fixins and then some. You’ve already had a private conversation with yourself and concluded that what your family doesn’t know, won’t hurt them. You carry on normally as you would have prior to your diagnosis. You don’t know much about the disease of diabetes, but you were just diagnosed, so how bad could it be? Your plan is to eat, drink and be merry.  And that’s exactly what you do!

There is tons of food, all kinds; grilled meats,baked beans,salads, an array of deserts that you cannot resist. Now, you’ve always had a voracious appetite, so taking in a hefty amount of food has never been an issue. For you, it’s no holds barred. You pile your plate high and eat everything that doesn’t eat you first! It doesn’t take long for you to notice that you suddenly aren’t feeling too well.  You try to guzzle down some soda in hopes that it might settle your stomach but that only seemed to make things worse.  You attempt to stand up but get a major head-rush and have to quickly sit back down. “What in the world is happening?” One of your family members notices you and comments on how pale you look and asks if you’re okay. You can barely respond but manage to choke out a reply saying that you feel very sick and that you think you may need to go to the “emergency” room. This is the last thing you remember!

When you realize anything, you’re in a hospital room and your doctor is standing over you. He questions you about what you were doing prior to coming to the hospital. You told him you remembered being at your family’s picnic and that you were eating at which time you started feeling ill. Your doctor then asks you what you had to eat. As you begin to run down a list of tasty but unhealthy choices, he interrupts you  before you can finish. He very firmly reminds you of your recent diagnosis. Your doctor then looks you right in the eye and warns that you have to be extremely careful about the food you intake. He further advises that you need to view sweets and starchy foods as your Achilles’ Heel and that if you continue to make these unhealthy choices, this disease will progress much more quickly and can be potentially fatal;not to mention all the complications that come along with this disease. You just look at him like he has two heads, but you hear the warning loud and clear. It is explained to you that you had an episode of hyperglycemia and that your blood sugar level was severely elevated. You assure the doctor that this only needed to happen to you once and that you would be making much better choices in the future. It’s one thing to be walking around and not know what your Achilles’ Heel is, but once you know better, you will most likely try and do better!

 

 

 

 

 

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