Multiple Choice(s)

 

All of us have had to make choices at some point in our lives. Some have been easy and required little to no thought, while others have been difficult and required much consideration. You might be someone who finds it stressful deciding what you’re going to where to work every day. Or you might be the person that undergoes much stress in deciding which shoes go better with an outfit for an upcoming fancy gala. No matter how superficial or crucial the decision(s) may be, a choice has to be made; a stand has to be taken. Now, you can always opt to simply do nothing. But how far will that get you?

According to the Associated Press, a New York teenager by the name of Kwasi Enin has recently been the talk of the  national news media. You might question why? This student found himself in a most unique situation;one that I’m sure was the envy of many. Incredibly, Kwasi had been accepted to all 8 Ivy League Colleges. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, he was also accepted to several New York colleges. Is there no end to this teenager’s potential? And just think….he’s just getting started!

Kwasi’s parents, Ebenezer and Doreen Enin, who both emigrated from Ghana in the 80s, have always encouraged both Kwasi and his sister Adwoa to excel academically according the Associated Press reports. Evidently, the message was heard loud and clear! A.P. also states that Yale has always been a top contender for Kwasi in terms of his choice of colleges. A recent visit to this prestigious university’s campus tipped the scale as Kwasi made his decision. He liked the fact that everyone was welcoming and that he had met many geniuses during his visit. Kwasi also noted that Yale’s residential college system is good to all of the students as reported by AP.

The Associated Press reports that Kwasi wrote a passionate essay for his Yale college application where he expresses his love of music. Yes. He is also an outstanding musician! Surprised? Hardly. Even though Kwasi has a great love for music, it is not the direction he is headed. He aspires to become a physician and will be attending medical school.  Wow! Quite a lot to absorb for a student who is only 17 years old. But something tells me that he will do just fine. Kwasi Enin was faced with a huge decision and he had 8+ selections to choose from. After careful consideration, he weighed all his options and made his choice.  How would you handle it if you ever find yourself  faced with multiple choices?

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That’s My Dawg!

 

Out of all the different breeds of dogs there are, not to mention the cross-breeds, my all time favorite has to be the very regal German Shepard. For as long as I can remember, I have always been partial to this highly intelligent and protective breed. It is simply the most beautiful dog ever!  Yep, this is my quest! The next dog I will own will be one of these beauties!

The closest I’ve come to owning a German Shepard was when I owned my dog Sasha who past away last June. I miss her dearly. She was a Shepard mix but had all the great qualities of a  full-blooded Shepard. Sasha was loyal to a fault.  And talk about a bark….oh my! I can remember being on the phone and being asked by various people, if I owned more than one dog. I would simply laugh and remark that all the barking was coming from one loud-mouth, lovable dog.

Sasha was the perfect pet, friend, companion and protector. I never knew how strong the bond could be between a dog and its owner, until Sasha came into my life. She had more personality than some humans and was smarter than a whip! You couldn’t get anything past her; eyes always on me, keeping a close watch. Even though I know I will get another dog one day, it is painfully obvious to me that Sasha can never be replaced and will never be forgotten!

But until then, I’ll keep my eyes on the prize. I hope to raise a Shepard from a puppy and plan to take her everywhere with me! When we’re out and about, and someone asks me, “who’s that you have with you?” I will simply respond in my Chris Tucker voice( from the ‘Friday’ movie), “that’s my dawg!!!

 

My mother – The Unknown Comic

Everyone has a mother. It would be nice to think that everyone loves their mother. Maybe you have a mother only you could love. Would it be safe to say that nothing or no one can replace your mother’s love? Fortunately, I can say that wholeheartedly. My mother has always been a constant and rock-hard presence in my life. She has fought for me as a child, when I knew nothing of fighting. She came to my school when I was harassed almost every day by the same boy during my 5th year of high school. I remember coming home upset, sometimes in tears, complaining about this ‘same’ boy that continuously bothered me. My mother never hesitated;she would show up at the school promptly as if she were reporting to work. She would in no uncertain terms, let the principal know that there would be problems if she had to keep coming down to the school. I wish now that I could rewind to those times and watch it play out again. I’m sure my mother had the principal and staff in stitches. Especially with what I now know about her natural sense of humor!

I recall a time in my life as a grade school student, the Halloween season was in full affect. The children could wear costumes,bring treats, and their parents were invited as well. My mother showed up that afternoon dressed in attire that was a combination of a hobo and a farmer! I know….can you even imagine?! I just remember being mortified and just staring at my mother as if she had two heads! If I could have run away and denied even knowing who she was, I’m sure I would have. But I was embarrassed, not crazy! At the end of the day I survived, but I think I stayed on guard after that…never quite knowing what to expect from my blossoming comedic mother.

I’ve come to notice over the years, that she just seems to get funnier. And she doesn’t even try to be funny – it just seems to happen.  My mother was recently ill, so I took her to the ’emergency’ room. As soon as it dawned on her that she would be waited on hand and foot, she quickly dug in and got very comfortable with the idea. Please understand, this is not to take away anything from the fact that my mother was ill. She was and gave us all quite a scare. But by the same token, I’m sure the staff were tickled to tears by her, but were happy to say goodbye when the time came!

My mother lives outside of the city;what some consider the country. I live in the city, but have been staying with her while she recovers from her illness. Honestly, there have been a few times where I could have pulled my hair out from the roots…and I love my hair. My mother is not the easiest person to live with, not to mention her current ‘under the weather’ state of being.

I had been on a phone call with one of my sisters. My mother always gets a little jealous concerning our interaction. Still trying to figure that one out but hey, that will probably be another post!(smile)  I was on the phone with my sister, and my mother interrupted the conversation numerous times to say the darndest things that could have waited until the call ended. When that didn’t work, she even went as far as to crouch over as if she was struggling; in the most dramatic fashion. It took every bit of self-control I had to continue my conversation without allowing her to interrupt as was her plan. I had to fight back the strongest urge to burst into hysterical, teary-eyed laughter, but I maintained!

She had a follow-up doctor’s appointment yesterday of which I accompanied her to. She had began making little complaints before we even left the house. She was getting around fine, so I started the car and waited for her to lock the front door to the house and get in. I heard her ever so lightly mumble under her breath that I didn’t even help her get in the car. I just started praying on the spot for God to give me the strength to get through the errands without my head popping off my shoulders. I took the deepest of  breaths as she got in the car and sat in the passenger seat.

When we arrived at her doctor’s office building, she exited the car with her cane (that she doesn’t need mind you) and proceeds to try and cross over to the building by way of the grass and bumpy landscape. I suggested she use the sidewalk to avoid falling, but of course she insisted on doing things her way. There was a small flight of stairs once we entered the building. Now here I am, about to assist her up the stairs after being almost ‘torn a new one’ from not assisting her to the car in the first place. She walked up those stairs with such speed that I almost fell down in shock. I had to quicken my step just to keep up with her. All this, after moping around the house at the exaggerated speed of a snail. My mother the comedic actress! We got to the check-in window and of course, everyone there was familiar with her. They all greeted her at the same time by her first name. You know, kind of like on the sitcom Cheers whenever ‘Norm’ would enter and they would all say, “Norm” together in unison. I was thinking, “where am I?” They were reacting to her like they were her fans and she was of course loving it! I was merely a bystander.

I accompanied my mother to the exam room to help fill in any blanks she might leave out when speaking with her doctor. Her doctor asked if my mother was depressed. My mother thought that was a silly question and pretty much said as much. I, being in the role of bystander as far as my mother was concerned, knew the doctor was on point in asking her if she was depressed. She had been wearing the most ‘woe is me’ expression and demeanor. Why wouldn’t she be asked that?! And out of all the discussion that went on at this appointment, my mom’s main concern was whether or not she could eat ice cream! Okay…that was it! And this appointment was only the 1st of many stops that we had to make on this journey! As you can see, we made it through! I tell you…if my mother weren’t so downright funny, this would definitely be a different kind of post! Gotta love her…and I do!

 

 

Two Wings and a Prayer

Ever since I was a little girl, airplanes have fascinated me. I remember my grandmother taking a flight occasionally and how she seemed to do it with ease. Every time I saw one of those gigantic objects in the sky, I simply could not understand how it could possibly stay in the air, not to mention fly from place to place. I had secretly sworn to myself that I would never fly.

Little did I know at the time, that those feelings of fear and apprehension would manifest securely into my adult life. I knew that I was not alone in my fear of flying, better known as aerophobia.  I of course came to understand with much more clarity what was happening in adulthood than when I was a kid. I realized that there were maybe 2 little men flying this large piece of equipment.How could these planes possibly stay in the air? Couple that with dozens of passengers with baggage adding to the weight of this already over-sized aircraft. Being aware of these facts only made my fear of flying stronger, if that were possible.

I wondered for years about this, but was not so curious to find out for myself. However, deep inside I knew that I wanted to conquer this fear but how? I wasn’t even able to accept the fact these planes could stay in the air, even though I had seen it a hundred times with my own eyes. But, I couldn’t help but be curious about how cool it must be to fly from one place to the next and arrive fresh and collected. Would this ever be a possibility for me? Or would I just resolve myself to driving everywhere? There went my dreams of seeing California and Rodeo Drive, considering my east coast residency.

An opportunity came up in August 2008 giving me the chance to conquer my fear of flying once and for all. My sister was planning a mini-vacation to Baltimore, MD and D.C. and asked if I wanted to come along with her and my niece. I jumped at the chance. I knew that once I purchased tickets for my son and I, there would be no turning back! I was extremely excited about it, nervous, but excited.  I was finally going to go on a real vacation and fly some place to do it! It was a first flight for myself, my son and my niece.

The flight went well and I handled it with much more ease than I ever thought I would. The take off was totally exhilarating! Once we landed, thoughts rushed into my head promptly reminding me that I still had to make a return flight back. Thankfully, the flight back went smoothly as well. I had prayed, I had flown, I had done it! I had finally accomplished something that has been haunting me for years! But would I do it again?

I caught a late night episode of Nightline recently and what do you think was the featured subject? People with a fear of flying! Evidently, there’s a retired USAF pilot turned therapist called the Plane Whisperer! Who knew? Where was this man when I needed him? He offers these classes where people with this fear, take lengthy flights to try and conquer their fears of flying. A  good portion of these classes center around teaching people to learn to control their breathing when feeling anxious. The Plane Whisperer also supports that there is a 1 in 60 million chance of dying as a result of flying, no matter how often a person flies. Amazing! Somehow, I think that even had I been armed with this information prior to my own flight, I don’t know that it would have made much difference.

During a flight with the Plane Whisperer and other passengers, one woman was practically hyperventilating and became very nervous and agitated and wanted to stop and open the windows. It’s like she didn’t have any air.  Her feelings of anxiety were very evident and I felt like I could relate to what she must have been experiencing. The fact that she wasn’t in control of the plane was the biggest thing for her to get over. By the end of the segment, she was calm and was making her way to putting her fear(s) behind her. It had taken her 4 classes to make the flight to Las Vegas, but she did it. Another man, changed his mind about the flight after his fear overtook him. This very fear had prevented him from attending his own parents’ funeral. But he still couldn’t bring himself to get on that plane. He just wasn’t ready.

It would be safe to conclude that the only way to conquer this fear or any other for that matter is to just do it! But you have to resolve it in your mind that you will not let your fear(s) keep you from living and doing the things you love. So say a prayer, then take to the skies by way of 2 wings and a prayer that are only going to help get you there! Happy flying!!

Why Microwave Popcorn Is An Absolute Health Nightmare

Thanks to ‘Be Like Water’ for sharing this very informative article. I have never been a fan of popcorn and evidently, that’s a good thing! Read more…..

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?!

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!

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