Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sickle Cell Awareness

Today is the end of September, can you believe that? I, for one, need the year to slow down a bit. It seems like just yesterday, Lefty and I were driving back into the city limits to celebrate a new year together and now here we are on the edge of October. This was a month of firsts for us. We went to our very first blogging conference together, which was lovely. A first of many, I am sure. Last month we did the ALS challenge and this month is Sickle Cell Awareness month. Like ALS, Sickle Cell and its sufferers are relatively unknown except by those who suffer from it or those who are caretakers.

Many people don't even know what having Sickle Cell Anemia entails. Sickle Cell is a hereditary, blood disorder where red blood cells assume a rigid, sickle like shape. Sickle-cell disease is associated with a number of acute and chronic health problems, such as severe infections and attacks of severe pain ("sickle-cell crisis"), and an increased risk of death. A person inherits two abnormal copies of the haemoglobin gene, one from each parent. If you only have one of the abnormal copies, from one parent then you have the Sickle Cell Trait (like me) and you do not experience the above named symptoms. The highest frequency of sickle cell disease is found in tropical regions (and tropical people... again, like me!), particularly sub-Saharan Africa, India and the Middle-East. In the United States, about 1 out of 500 African-American children and 1 in every 36,000 Hispanic-American children born will have sickle-cell anemia. Sickle cell trait occurs among about 1:12 African-Americans and 1:100 Hispanic-Americans.

And so what are we doing to raise awareness for this debilitating disease? The ice bucket challenge was already taken :) but my almost life long friend... and Sickle Cell Warrior, got me hip to their campaign #BoldLips4SickleCell so, of course I had to participate! Below are my pics, both serious and silly-- lipstick is Rimmel Bordeaux (because Bordeaux is the color that you NEED when doing a bold lip challenge). Educate yourselves, my lovebugs and see what you can do in your community to help bring awareness to this disease. Now... SHOW ME THOSE LIPS!! :)

Excuse the seatbelt shot from Lefty's car-- we were headed to the blogging conference and he is all about safety first... even while taking dreamy eyed selfies :) 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rolling Deep with Aretha...

I swear this is not a music blog. It is NOT. I promise... kinda. Here I was eating dinner and making purple cupcakes- because why NOT make purple cupcakes on a Monday?! Minding my own business when I saw that Aretha Franklin did a remake of Rolling In The Deep. Dear, sweet baby Jesus why did you let THIS happen? I had to listen to it. I mean, I HAD to. I love the Aretha of the 50s, 60s and 70s. I mean, Respect, Chain of Fools, Dr. Feelgood (what?!!?-- Don't send me doctor...). But I NEED Aretha to know when to just have a seat and let a song happen... without her.

Now look. I love Aretha. She has a voice that is very distinctive and funky. Her voice is beautiful, and Adele is, without a doubt, the singer that she is because of Aretha Franklin (and several other Black singers). But oh, my love bugs-- Aretha should have let Adele have this song, because she lost this battle so significantly. Let's hear the evidence: First up, the original (which, I am SURE has been on this blog before-- because when it came out I was going through a crazy break up and this song was on repeat like it was the only song in the universe.)

Adele - Rolling In the Deep

Good, right?! I mean, besides that fool dancing in the powder, I really love this rendition. Relays the pain of dating a douchebag that betrayed your trust (wait, we aren't talking about my break up, right? Oh, ok... back on track). Soulful. Just angry enough. Wonderful. Now let's check out Aretha's version.

Aretha - Rolling In the Deep

See- no. From the 23 second mark, me and Aretha broke up. Cut it out. "Rolling in the deep... screech."

We broke up. We are in a fight. We are not speaking. No, no, no, no. And again, no. I mean, it was so bad. And the mixing of Rolling in the Deep and Ain't No Mountain High Enough. I am done. BROKE. UP. This version is making me long for the Negro Spiritual version from John Legend-- at least it is a cappella... get it, John.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Soulful Saturday - The Cranberries

I am not exactly sure why fall weather makes me want to relive my high school days. Maybe it is because it is technically 'back to school' season or something. Could be. Ah well, here I am, up WAY past what should have been my bedtime, singing along to youtube videos of forgotten songs that once brought out teenaged angst. When I was in high school (oh my God, I just totally sounded like the old lady in the neighborhood IN MY OWN HEAD when I read that sentence back... What have I become?!) Back in the olden golden days of the mid 90s, the music was full of rebellion. Grunge was king of the airwaves, there was anger, combat boots and flannel shirts. Marry that with teenage hormones and there you have it, Hot, Black and Bitter, the high school years! One of the bands that regularly made it onto my mix tapes, and in heavy rotation were The Cranberries. Hauntingly beautiful sounds that you would not normally think would come out of a human... and notes that you should TOTALLY NOT TRY to emulate, but I do... every time. Hey, it is good singing... check it out.





 I Still Do


Ode To My Family

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Every year, on this anniversary, I want to write something profound. Something that makes people feel sad but gives them life, too. Something that makes people remember AND gives them motivation. Something that celebrates the lives lost and something that leads the people that remain to live life to the absolute fullest.

I have yet to find a way to do that... So I have found some videos to do it. First one-- from Dead Poet's Society-- is a great snippet. A reminder that you should do whatever you can to make the life that you live the most extraordinary piece of art that you can put together.

For the lives that we lost before September 11, 2001, on that fateful day, and after, we will always remember you. You are always in our hearts and on our minds... and we are here to continue your dreams, keeping you alive through our good works. People, tell your loved ones how you feel about them. Lay it out for the people in your lives. You never know when it will be the last time.

Sorry, I've never told you, all I wanted to say
And now it's too late to hold you
'Cause you've flown away
So far away

Never had I imagined
Living without your smile
Feelin' and knowing you, hear me
It keeps me alive, alive

And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day
Eventually I'll see you in Heaven

Darling, I never showed you
Assumed you'd always be there
I, I took your presence for granted
But I always cared
And I miss the love we shared

I know you're shining down on me from Heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day one sweet day

Picture a little scene from Heaven
Although, the sun will never shine the same
I'll always look to a brighter day
Yeah, Lord, I know, when I lay me down to sleep
You will always listen as I pray

And I know you're shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day

And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day

Sorry, I never told you
All I wanted to say

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Happens in the Dark...

So for the past two days I have (happily) been avoiding writing about Ray Rice and his caught on video domestic violence. A lot of thoughts have crossed my mind regarding his less than stellar behavior and the type of person that it takes to defend those actions (simply put, if you found a way to defend him, you and I will NEVER be friends... and that is the nicest thing I can say about you). I have written several posts about what I think of domestic violence and the perpetrators of that violence. One of my posts on the subject can be found here.

Honestly, I was not going to say anything- I shared a couple of Facebook articles about the story and said I was happy he lost his job (because I am), but nothing... you know, specifically Hot, Black and Bitter for the fans. Ah, but then I got caught up on all the stupidity on social media surrounding Rice and his wife, and now here I am, typing up a storm. Why? Because I am truly

Let me start out by saying I have a rule: grown folks need to keep their hands to themselves. At all times. There is not ever going to be something said that would justify putting your hands on someone else. If you find yourself in a situation where you are thinking of striking someone, make no mistake, your own stupidity and pride keeps you in that position, not the words or deeds of the other person. Defense of one's self is one thing. If someone is hitting you and you have to hit them back so you can walk away-- I am all for that. I'm all for making it out of a situation alive. What I am not here for is the idea that I could say something that could make ANYONE feel like I should be knocked unconscious and then dragged out of an elevator like a life-sized bag of Jasmine rice. That is inappropriate. Inappropriate and there is no excuse. Hell, I tell my little siblings to use their words- not their hands. If kids under the age of 10 can grasp that concept, why is it so hard for grown ups? 

Then there are the bandwagon fans who are like: "that man should not have lost his job for hitting his wife." Excuse me?  I was actually told that he should not lose his ability to perfect his "craft". People have LOST.THEIR.MINDS. Listen- we, as a society, have GOT to stop glorifying athletes. They get paid to play a game. Their ability (or non-ability) to play that game will not make them good people. It doesn't mean that they are not criminals. It doesn't mean that they have a built in excuse to get out of trouble. The fact that I have to type that shows that people need to get their minds right. The fact that you can take a ball and put it in a net, the end zone, the outfield, the goal... yeah, not a get out of jail free card. Far from it-- those bums should be held to a higher standard, because we are ALL paying them. Ticket prices, gear, shoes, buying products from sponsors, endorsements, etc. We are ALL making them rich. We, as the public, should be collectively outraged that someone that WE pay participates in domestic violence. NO PASS. EVER. 

I was listening to Sports Radio on the way to work and someone called in to say that Ray should sue the NFL because they are essentially hitting him with double jeopardy. Someone else remarked that his wife seems to have forgiven him so we should too. Others have said that the punishment doesn't fit the crime, etc. Let me make a few points, before I close. 1- Ray Rice is serving out this suspension while keeping a $25 million salary-- he is still walking away with money, yet another reason I have absolutely NO sympathy for him. Also, uh, he can get a job. He was not rendered disabled. They haven't taken away his ability to work-- he just won't be able to have his PREFERRED job... like many of the rest of around here. No sympathy.  2- I don't think for one minute that Ray Rice married that woman for love, and I don't think she married him for love either-- call me a cynic. They were married after the attack and married people cannot be compelled to testify against one another... and unmarried people don't get half if there is a breakup, but they do get half if there is a divorce. 3- Ray Rice cannot sue the NFL and he shouldn't. Are you kidding me? He deserves a lifetime ban for the actions in that video. Roger Goodell saw that video, in February, I have no doubt. In fact, I think that Ray and Roger probably watched it together, in Roger's office, over a couple of scotches (because they are both assholes). 4- That video was NOT the first time (and I am sure that it will not be the last) that Ray Rice hit that woman. Her friends and family need to use this time to embrace her, get her away from him and get her some counseling. ASAP. I am not even going to type a response to her critique of the media's handling of the release of the tape... because I truly believe that she is the victim here and I will not victimize her again with, what would be, a scathing review of her comments.

If you, or someone you know, is involved in an abusive relationship, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and get some help, 1.800.799.7233. Someone will miss you if you are gone. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Soulful Saturday - Feel The (Self) Love

I am obsessed with a teeny bopper song. You can't see it, but I am hiding my face in shame. Kidding-- I don't care, I heard it on the radio a few weeks ago, added it to my workout mix and I am ridiculously involved when I perform this selection in a car concert. Y'all, please hear me... I ROCK THIS SONG.

A few months ago I wrote this piece about begin a fat girl... I still am. No shame. No shade. I know that I am not where I want to be. Put in my information to get my BMI... uh, yeah. So, I am working on it. I think that I like this song extra because it celebrates us "non-size 2" ladies. Plus, it is fun (that guy dancing in this video? I need those moves. ASAP.) Plus, I personally think it is HILARIOUS that a white girl sings about bringing "booty back" Honey- it has been back, always been in style! :)

Anyway- first Soulful Saturday of the season... Meghan Trainor, All About That Bass

** Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top **

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