My Mother’s Day…

Golden brown hands with fingers like branches on a Dogwood tree
Nails trimmed with a faded dark red manicure

I often held your hands with its naturally etched road map of 91 years
The roadmap which exposed the journey of your hands long before they changed my IMG_2847diapers

Your hands were always soft and smelled of lotion
Lotion I forgot to rub on your hands as you lay dying at home

Those beautiful hands also had the medals of small burn marks from the cooking you did
When the oil decided to rebel after water touched it surface

Your hands made the best food, the best tea, the Bestest, best ever BLT
Your hands grabbed onto mine when we walked through icy streets to do grocery shopping

Your hands also gave me the finger, when I got on your nerves
I miss your hands so much as much as I miss you

I have only pictures of those hands that once held me and made the world less scary

You can’t…

“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need”-Rolling Stones

To have
teeth, white as fresh snow that bedazzles the eye, I want that expensive Sonic toothbrush

To have
the cleanest floor, one a Queen can eat off without plates, I want that Roomba

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To have
the fittest body, tight in the right places and loose where it ought to be, I want that Equinox membership with a personal trainer

To have
the best frying pan, that distributes heat evenly across its radius, frying food to perfection, I want a Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Shallow Frying pan

To have
the best running shoes, that will propel my body forward, moving faster than any others running with mediocre shoes, I want the Nike Zoomx Vaporfly.   squareSole-Trees-usage-pictures-162.gif

To have
the best piano, whose strings would bring out the highs and lows of classical music, the best of my banging, I want  a Bösendorfer

Well…

I can have all I want in my mind
Because the money to buy the things I want
is not sitting on fluffy golden cushion in my bank account

At times, the want is not what I need.

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In The Time of Coronavirus…

Resigning after working 3 years at a job I thought I would retire from. Moved up the ladder every year but alas, through internal transitions, resignations and new hires, I hit the glass ceiling of the most uncomfortable kind. The glass is thick and stunts my growth.

My wings are clipped like a bird trying to fly as its’ owner tries to bend self-determination into submission. I would like to blame this on the time of Coronavirus, but no, it was happening long before.images.jpeg

So, I’ll be unemployed like millions right now trying to survive financially in financial uncertainty. My unemployment is of my choosing, for at times it is better to be sane than having anxiety control your life and taking meds to undo the control. Those who are unemployed due to business closures in the time of the Coronavirus had no choice.

It makes me laugh at times how I planned to do some soul (alma) searching after the resignation to find my new path in life but, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. In the time of Coronavirus with isolation and working remote from home, I have plenty of time for alma (soul) searching.    

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Daily routines, like the gym, trotting in Prospect Park, taking long walks with Katie (greyhound) no longer exists. Instead the routines are replaced by unhealthy eating, Doritos, Chardonnay and…BACON!!!

If we make it through this, I will reap the rewards of gaining unwanted pounds of fat. This I will blame on the time of Coronavirus.

As there is always positives in negatives, I picked up my knitting needles, got frustration and picked up my crochet needle. I am reading while eating, watching CNN as if I own stock and breaking up daily cat fights.

As the Game of Thrones, cat style has yet to be resolved. I wonder which of my four cat owners will sit on the throne?

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Is it okay to go just a bit crazy in the time of the Coronavirus?

Home bound in the time of Coronavirus or…Bored.

How Fate looks like.                                                   What Fate looks like to me.Unknown.jpeg

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What Tara-Habby looks like.                         What Tara-Habby truly is.

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What Winnie looks like.                               What Winnie looks like to me.

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Who Big E thinks he is.                                                        Who Big E is.IMG_0918

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Who Katie thinks she is.                                                         Who Katie really is.IMG_2335.jpeg

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How I think my furs see me.                                      How they really see meUnknown-4 12.57.45 PM.jpeg.

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Once or…one time only.

Once,

I dated a Boy who loved me and whom I loved.

This sensitive Boy was a poet who composed songs with fragile words on a guitar.

I,

was the girl who recorded black and white visuals of everyday life on an Olympus camera.

Alas,

the Boy needed care in ways which depleted my heavily guarded plethora of emotions.

Drained,

the guard broke, and I left, taking my reserve with me.

The Boy,

recovered, found strength in his songs with fragile words on guitar and now tours all around the states.

His followers,

follow him in awe of the songs with fragile words on guitar.

Once,

I dated a boy who looked like Sting.

This boy,

was an aspiring editor who cut through slices of life with no remorse.

I,

was the girl who recorded black and white visuals of everyday life on a Nikon F3.

I,

married the boy who didn’t love me but loved what I offered in terms of him moving ahead.

Sycophant,         Image result for sycophants

is what a co-worker once called him.

I,

did not know what the word meant and looked it up in hardcover bound dictionary.

Sycophant,

suited him well for he used people for his own benefit.

The Boy,

who composed songs with fragile words on guitar was far more truer to himself.

He,

reached for the stars when they were out of reach and grasped a bunch that paved the way for his travels.

I,

self-sacrificed my recorded black and white visuals of life on a Horseman 4×5. For no one said I was good enough and I was not true to myself.

The boy,

moved on, to a sycophants’ ultimate dream of scoring one who had connections that would propel his self to a lucrative outcome.

Pity the boy could never relied on his own strength and worth.

That or Which or…What did you say?!

I work at a place

that promotes peace and self-determination.

I work at a place

which is anything but peace and squashes self-determination.

I work at a place

that practices a means for communication and conflict resolution.

I work at a place

that due to its shaky beginnings creates chaos, bad morale and internal strife.

I work at a place

which strives to be about diversity, inclusion and opportunity.

I work at a place

that recruited diversity without knowing how to relate to peoples of other races,lacks knowledge in what inclusion encompasses and due to funding lacks opportunities for growth.

I work at a place

where staff are at times, treated like the characters in “The Help” minus buckets, mops, brooms and dustpans.

I work at a place

which allows a false sense of hope in terms of promotions and breaking that glass ceiling.

I work at a place

that gives the allusion of breaking through a glass ceiling and moving upwards­–while in reality–the only movement is lateral with added responsibilities.

I work at a place

that is in dire need of micro aggression repair and reconstruction, involving staff, those who supervise staff and those who should not supervise staff; those who are clueless to culture nuances and those who fall into an economic cushion which does not include eating dollar ramen for a week.

I work at a place

that has new leadership, new structures and systems in place, grant proposals, new directions and staff training that will take this organization to its fullest potential.

I work at a place

where I respect the CEO, the undertakings at revamping an organization in need of restructuring, the hard stance on change and acknowledging what was not acknowledge for so long.

But alas,

I can no longer work at this place.

Que Sera, Sera…or, What the Bejesus Just Happened?!!!!!

Four days in a week turned out to be four days of

Stress, Drama and Conflict.

The results of my reacting to situations instead of choosing not to react.

Stress, Drama and Conflict

greeted me when the New Year kicked in along with some outright, down home-grown rudeness from others bent on hurting those crossing their paths.

I chose not to react.

A lovely staycation week from a toxic place of employment followed.

And, it was peaceful.

Until I returned, one week later.

Stress, Drama and Conflict

greeted me as I passed through the entrance door of the place called work.

And continued to linger around like Pig Pen’s dust and dirt.Pigpen

Two weeks later I started out on a birthday escapepation (escape + vacation) journey to another State.

But…

Stress, Drama and Conflict

 had no intention of leaving me alone.

On the MTA to the Amtrak station, I was shoved by an Emotional Disturbed Person on the #2 train heading to Penn Station.

Why?

Well, my backpack was rubbing against him and I, the little gnat in his scheme of the world was crushable.

Stress, Drama and Conflict

followed me as I exited the train at Penn Station and made me way through the throngs of people locked in their New York Minute rushing to whatever destinations meant to reach.

As I made my way to the Amtrak station with tears streaming down my face with no Kleenex, my intent was to leave all this behind, as it was my birthday weekend, with much to look forward to.

No,

Stress, Drama and Conflict

came along for the ride as the train rolled out with me sitting in the ‘Quiet Car’. They say, “You can’t take it with you…” but I did, as the mofo (mother f***er) hid away in the side pocket of my cheap Amazon roll along luggage.

Stress, Drama and Conflict…
Stress, Drama and Conflict…
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was January’s contribution to my birth month.

My birthday escapation (escape + vacation) was not what, it intended to be, but rather a hard knock into what truly is and my avoidance at seeing what was in front of me.

Stress, Drama and Conflict.

A necessary part of life that counterbalances all the good feely great days in between. When everything groovy, smoothy and loveable falls into balance. A euphoric high, bliss for hours on end. images-1

Until…

the time arrives welcoming,

Stress, Drama and Conflict.

 

**Photos courtesy of the WWW

 

Tara-Habby Natural Born Killer or…”I killed a mouse and got away with it.”

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Tara-Habby came to Berkeley Place as a kitten, curious and full of, well…serious attitude!

Who would have known this independent, my way or the highway kitty would grow into adulthood with a ‘tude (attitude) of ‘God save the Queen’ (she is the Queen­—all others, peasants).

The Hab lived with mom and each respected the others’ routines and weirdness. With mom’s passing, she was confused, normalcy disrupted and left alone for long periods of time in the apartment she shared with a person no longer there.

As I was also going through grief, I felt sorry for Tara-Habby. We bonded as kindred souls missing the one who loved us unconditionally. Not sure if grief is over for her as it isn’t for me.20545222_10214218078151672_6773839232260018413_o

She’s adapted well to living in a household with three cats, bent on dethroning her reign with a stint in the dungeon ending with a beheading!!! The greyhound she accepted as I believe she thinks dogs are stupid and not worth the stress.

And yes, the greyhound is basically Santa’s Little Helper.

Tara-Habby is a natural born killer of mice. No compassion, no empathy, no nothing…

She’ll taunt and growl as she plays soccer with their precious bods and although I have tried to intervene, she manages to grip the mouse in her mouth, threatening me, sort of like, “If you come one foot closer I’ll off the head”.

She drives me crazy, but alas she is my mother’s cat as I am my mother’s daughter.

Happy New Year Tara-Habby!

 

 

 

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The Good Work or…putting this piece to use.

As a person of Afro-Caribbean descent, growing up in pre-gentrified, Park Slope, I was that someone who would go to FDNY for help rather than approach a New York City police officer. In my ‘hood, once a place to escape but now a place where most want to live, for me the presence of cops was not a good thing. I treated the NYPD with caution since my experience was that interactions became confrontations, with no guarantee of my own safety.

Years later, when I joined the organization I currently work for, I came with a suitcase of administrative skills; but in the side pocket of that suitcase was also my distrust of the NYPD. I shared these feelings with colleagues and our former CEO, in response invited me to observe one of the NYPD mediation trainings.

After going over our curriculum in preparation, the CEO informed me that I was not only going to observe, but I would be co-training segments as well! Through his encouragement, I was able to demonstrate mediation techniques to the officers. The officers were not just receptive to my instruction, but to my surprise, they shared another side of who they are.

While demonstrating de-escalation skills used by mediators, the conversation naturally shifted to how officers feel they are seen by the public. I felt privileged to hear from them about their challenges in meeting difficult objectives in a difficult environment, and responding to a public that distrusts their blue uniform. As one officer stated, “Civilians don’t trust us and see us in a bad way”along with another officer’s experience as being called ‘a killer’ when responding to 311 calls are some of the stories I heard, and still hear. During breaks and lunches, the officers and myself shared personal stories of a New York City going through many political, racial and economic changes. We also shared family photos and compared tattoos.

Over time, rather than seeing the antagonism I experienced from officers in the past, I saw hardworking, dedicated men and women who care about their work and communities! To me, they were no longer officers behind a uniform, but people with families, going through life, experiencing ups and downs as we all do. Essentially, they could be my next door neighbor, the boyfriend of a friend, the person I joke with on the check-out line­­—in other words, a regular person.

Police officers are required to attend the trainings provided by the place I work for and usually show up reserved, unhappy about the morning commute, the disruption to their schedules, and unsure how mediation training will help them through a tour. The officers accumulate mediation skills to fill their own suitcase of knowledge. At the end of four days of training, officers are better equipped to mediate conflicts before they escalate, defuse charged interactions, and build relationships and repair trust with their communities. They also learn to appreciate that when we slow down escalated interactions, we begin seeing others more three dimensionally, something we also teach our mediators.

What I didn’t expect was that I would be the one learning to see police officers more three dimensionally.

I am honored beyond all measure to train and coach NYPD officers of various backgrounds and have come to appreciate what they do to keep us safe. Thank you, NYPD, for your dedication towards the job and most of all, thank you for doing what you do!

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After the glory…or Marathon Blues 101

Wowza.

So, I did a little something on November 3rd, 2019.

That little something transpired from 6 months of training runs breezing through Spring, suffering through Summer and damn right anxious to get it over with by Fall.

I completed my 2nd TCS NYC Marathon and crossed that finish line 30 minutes faster than last years’ time at the same marathon when it was my 1st. 989336_297160320_XLarge

Oh my…

The glory is truly mine!!!

Actually, the glory will always be mom, my mom, who encouraged me to trot (run) the marathon in the first place.

So yeah.

The glory is mine anyway!!

But…

After the marathon is done, the pain in the hips and knees linger for a few days. The ravenous appetite, the rampant endorphins, Facebook pages blowing up with “Congratulations” and other accolades galore—the glory gradually dissapates.

Glory, Glory…hallelujah!

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Yesterday the doldrums came and took the place of glory, sometime after midnight, while I was trying to sleep, fighting with my greyhound over bed space she feels entitled to. Today the doldrums left and I’m back to reality.

No guts…no glory!

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Back to a schedule, back to work, back to crowded subways, back to garbage pick-up days, back to life back to reality.      

 Glory be.

 In three weeks, (God willing) I’ll be running another marathon on another Sunday, November 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Got to keep chasing Glory!!!

 

 

 

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