Monday, July 21, 2008

Vacationing in Your Own City...(Week in Review)

I had to take vacation time last week before my employer took some of it back. With gas prices over $4 a gallon and plane tickets almost doubling, I decided to take a vacation in my own city and do some things I always wanted to do but never seemed to find the time.

During the early part of the week I had brunch with a friend from high school at a quaint coffeehouse cafe. I think my brunch totaled about 10,000 calories, but it was well worth it. I Indulged with a chocolate-whipped cream-concoction masking itself as coffee along with a to-die-for croissant sandwich followed by an extremely rich piece of Oreo cheesecake. Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? It was good laughing and catching up with my friend. We sat in the covered patio while it rained, then the sun came out and it rained again before we called it a day.

Gotta take time to do that again.

I finally made it to the aquarium and it slipped my mind that it's summer and everyone is fitting in their last vacation before school starts. Many times I was almost run over by kids saying "excuse me" in various languages. The only two I understood were in French and Russian(I think). At least most of the patrons were friendly (especially when I almost walked through a family photo) and I took some great pictures. The two above are a few of the best.

The baseball game was my next stop in the week as I love, love, LOVE baseball!!! There are a variety of reasons to go to the stadium but the most important is the great hot dogs! They cost an arm and a leg, but I swear they are the best dogs I have ever had and they are huge. Top that off with cotton candy (the kid in me :) and a great game that came down to the last out in ninth inning. My friend (pictured with me, it was extremely hot until the sun went down) is not really into baseball, so I gave her a crash course. We really enjoyed the variety of theme-music for each player as they came up to bat, and we REALLY enjoyed the pitcher's mini-video as he made his appearance. (We both have degrees in Film & Television so it's in our blood) We were still singing "one, two, three, you out" when he was pitching, that song was definitely catchy.

To top that off, along with the drunk college kids that decided to battle it out by shouting their college at each other after the beers kicked in (we had great seats, BTW), it was Fireworks Friday. We got a free fireworks show after the game. Gotta love this city!

The Black Arts Festival is in town so my week ended with a tribute to Judith Jamison dance performance. There were three groups performing (picture to the left is of the second group, I forgot my camera so I missed a great photo op at the end) and the first two were okay, but everyone seems just okay when you are followed by anything with Ailey in the title. The third piece was a duet danced to A Case of You. Let's just say I would be grateful to drink a case full of that male dancer. Even Ms. Jamison gave props to that great specimen of a male (her words, but I agree :) at the interview with the three Artistic Directors after the show.

The female lead was wonderful as she executed lifts that had the audience gasping. Yep, they had me ready for my own performance group to start back up. As usual, women were flocking the male dancers outside. When will we learn to appreciate without having to have it? My people, my people...

It was a great week. I highly recommend anyone to take a vacation in your own city. I did all of that and still found time to be lazy on at least three days. The next time I will bring my camera with me everywhere, since I missed a LOT of great photos.

Oh well....back to work.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Once again I have been tagged by my blog world friends. Msknowitall tagged me this time about something I love, music. Here goes...

"List seven songs that you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring/summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs."

1. Alright, by Ledisi
Life can bring loss through any changes, it's alright, just don’t give up know that it’s gonna be alright, People come and may go, that’s just the way that it goes, Everything is everything, and it's alright.
Ledisi has a sultry voice that is simply enjoyable and calming. This jazzy, blues-like song fits right into my new favorite playlist.

2. No Woman No Cry, by Bob Marley
No lyrics needed, the live version is on my playlist. I can listen to Marley all day.

3. Be With You, by Elizabeth Withers
I just want to be with you, turn the down lights low, pull my shirt up slow. Open my buttons one by one, and watch them come undone.
Another sultry singer, she became popular playing Shug Avery in The Color Purple on Broadway.

4. Suffocate, by J. Holiday
Got me fiening for her love can't lie, Man you should see how she got me, Spending all this time with her, And I couldn't leave her if I wanted to, Her love turns men into fools, Tell me what a man is to do.
This song's vibe is nice. One day, I want someone to feel this way about me again.

5. My Joy, Leela James (Be sure to also check out her track Music)
See previous post here to hear this one and see the lyrics. The live version I posted includes a brief description of how the song came to be as well as a brief tribute to the blues. This song is my new anthem. I put it on when things get too heavy.

6. Soul Searchin', by Me'Shell Ndegecello
Come caress my saddened heart, My sunrise and my darkest dreams, All my hostility's tamed, When you kiss me.
MeShell has a way with lyrics that is unmatched by most. This one is old, from the Higher Learning Soundtrack and includes a wicked breakdown in the end that makes you want to grab your SO and... ;)

7. Satisfied, by Prince
Eye'm just trying 2 get U satisfied, Eye'm sure U had another lover, Let me tell U baby, all tricks aside, Eye can get U out of Ur body, Have U ever felt like U were dyin' and felt satisfied?
I LOVE Prince and love the blues. This song combines both...Prince singing the blues? Oh baby, the only downfall to this song is that it is too short.

My new summer playlist is one I can play from start to finish without any major breaks in the flow of music. All of the music is sultry and relaxing. Some of it is new with artists like J. Holiday, Goapele (Closer) and Reuben Studdard (Make U Feel Beautiful) but others are classic like Prince and Bob Marley.

My entire list has a running theme of overcoming obstacles and finding love. Maybe my healing is almost complete, I find myself listening to these songs and thinking of the infinate possiblities of great love.

This one is dedicated to the hopeless romantic in me that is being reborn. I didn't tag anyone, as always let me know if you participate.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peace...Be Still

After a very emotional week, I received this simple title to an email and it made me sit back and take note of my life in its current state.

Last week two of my friends and sorority sisters (one of them my line sister) were dealt the blow of the death of their mothers and one of my uncles was admitted to the hospital. The death of a mother is something I believe no one can comfort you through. You grieve in your own time, and in your own way. Friends and family members can only listen and try to be there for you.

My uncle had to practically be threatened to go to the hospital were he found out his blood sugar level was 400. (BTW, your blood sugar level should only be 70-80)I have 5 uncles on my mother's side and each of them are special to me in their own way. This uncle however, is special because our personalities are very similar.

We are both loners to a certain point. At family gatherings it is not unusual to find us both in my aunt's den watching a game on the big screen while the rest of the family is chatting away (rather loudly) in other rooms. Although we do mix and mingle (and join in the noise level at times) we take our mingling in short doses ;-) In short, we understand each other.

His hospitalization shook me.

It made me look at my life and were I am in relative to were I want to be. I am starting over in almost every sense of the word. And to be honest, most of it frightens me. Even though I have "more options than I can shake a stick at" it still makes me wonder if I am staying on the path GOD has placed for me. Or, if I am so wrapped up in what I want that I am trying to create my own path?

Either way, I am fighting to keep that joy and peace of mind that I found earlier this year. No one can say it much better than this:

'Cause if I thought you were the end all
and my be all
I would've never left you alone
and I wouldn't be on my own
and I never, never would've grown

no, no, no ain't no way
you gone take away
My joy, and my peace, and my strength

Sing it Ms. Leela James.
Enjoy! (I know I did)