Category Archives: washington Post

Outdated in a 10 second society..

I can’t STAND shopping. I despise Shopping malls even more. Yes, I am indeed a girl, and yes, the statement above probably makes me an anomaly, but there it is.

So imagine how I broke out in hives at the mere  THOUGHT of having to enter a mall recently and here is the culprit- my FIRST generation IPad that I was hoping to get “tuned” up because it was acting sluggish.

.

The poor Apple tech looked at me like I was crazy and informed me slowly and gently, that my machine was just OLD.
So old in fact, that it wasn’t compatible with the new micro processors they are currently using and all she could suggest was that I give the thing a proper burial or hold on to it for posterity sake.

As I looked on lovingly at my device and then at her young and chirpy face, I suddenly felt old too and wondered if as I aged, I would become disposable like so many of the elderly around us.
Here is the deal- we all eventually slow down and while our memory may not continue process at the speed of sound,  there is a definite amount of wisdom that comes from living to a certain phase in life that many could tap into with loads of benefits. History and it’s contextual meaning serves a purpose that will help us to garner lessons and avoid certain pitfalls. That comes from the folks who lived long enough to recount what books and historians don’t always capture.

Not only that, we could practice patience and empathy and kindness when dealing with the seasoned members of our society because one day, should we be so lucky to live a life of length, we too will need it.

So as I snapped back to miss chirpy in the Apple Store describing the newest machine and the slice of my liver it would cost to upgrade, I chose to hold on to my ancient  device until it decides it has had enough of me.

It’s the least I could do. Don’t judge me. Just smile and cluck at my sentimentality and wish me and my outdated machine well.
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

High Apple Pie in the Sky Hopes..

Steve Jobs was an eccentric dude who had a dream. He was laughed at, ridiculed and often scorned for his out-of-the-box thinking, and even lost several Jobs and failed at business ventures a few times. He kept at it and what he left behind in these apple Products through his ingenuity with a partner that believed in and joined him, is priceless, has forever changed the way we use technology and forced other companies to step their mediocre games way up.
Oprah Winfrey- the little “black gal” who was too ambitious for her britches, was told by the station manager that if she moved from her “cushy” job in Tennessee to Chicago, she would most certainly fail. And yet, she followed her gut and kept going through her mistakes by remaining authentic and sharing herself fully, which connected her to billions of people eventually. She dared to dream of owning her own network and had the balls to shut down her successful show, close HARPO studios in Chicago and took her entire life to Los Angeles.

All kinds of obstacles were thrown her way and people she thought would stand by her side, judged her for doing what her heart said. Because why did she have to be so bold in wanting a network? Didn’t she know what a mistake that was?  Why wasn’t she yet married? Why did she share so much of her personal life? Why, why, why? She hunkered down and kept moving with the few who believed.
Today, she has a successful network, studios larger than the one she had in Chicago, and has given us one of the BEST pieces of programming in “Queen Sugar.” Her boldness has created jobs, launched people to become their best selves and on and on. Imagine if she had listened to that station manager and her daddy who thought she was just out of pocket in following her heart.
These are just two examples of many who dared to actualize their purpose. 

Why am I saying all of this? When people don’t understand YOUR dream, or they feel uncomfortable with what they can’t possibly visualize, they WILL try and derail it with their opinions.
You will feel hurt and angry and discouraged but what you must NOT do? Is give up. The world deserves what is inside of you because you never know how you are impacting mankind in your bravery and determination to follow your PURPOSE.
To the naysayers who can’t seem to help themselves with their doomsday comments and judgements of those around them that are daring to explore what they dream about, please understand that you are only fuel for dreamers to keep moving and growing and doing. 
The cemeteries are already too filled of people who died with their dreams within because they were told to keep that “stable” job or whatever the thing is said to deter people no matter how well intentioned you may be. Just because it doesn’t make sense to you, it does not make you right.
Failure is also not a bad thing. It teaches us the lessons that will create the solid foundation as we move to higher heights. So allow people to fail UP instead of talking them DOWN to your level of comfort. Be unselfish enough to get out the way of the ones who carry the fire within the pit of their bellies to live beyond the pale.

We all aren’t designed to simply exist in the boxes we allow others to create for us. 
So while you keep judging, we will keep those high hopes. No matter what.
Dueces and mad love,
DivA 

Good Googa Uber!!

So I had to get an Uber for several Days  in a row and I have come to the conclusion that many of those drivers listen to people confessing their souls while giving up a few confessions of their own

Chile listen… it ran from the ridiculous to the scary but this one dude made me gasp, smile and shake my head all at once.. 

When he got to my door and saw my infirmities, he hopped out his car, got my crutches and bags and was just wonderful in a way that told me he was special. His Hat was on backwards and when I got in his car, I noticed the back of his seat was almost reclined to a sleeping position.

He slid in and sat up with his seat just that way. I didn’t question because I have seen it way too much with young guys driving around in Philly.. they will keep chiropractors in business with that mess but I digress..

After asking if he could call me Miss Andrea and my answering in the affirmative, he proceeded to tell me that he was originally from Ohio but was transplanted to Reading at a young age and after feeling like he had too few opportunities, he moved here after meeting a young lady online and had been here in Philly now for a few months.

As he shared his life story, he said “you know, people judged and asked why I was making these moves and taking these risks and I told them I am the author of my book. I didn’t ask for editors and I am writing the story the way I see fit.” I damn near high fived the back of his head for those profound words of wisdom!

He went on to say,  he was filled with nuggets but had a hard time taking his own advice.

Then it got real. 

He said he would always choose women for their bodies and what was between their legs instead of what was between their ears and that he realized he was choosing Shallow intimacy over substance because he didn’t want to put in the work it required to have a good relationship.

He is so into this new woman who, from all accounts is so smart, he wonders Why she is with him, that he made a pact to NOT have intimacy with her for a year. He is coming to the end of that year and swears he loves and appreciates her all the more because they spent time learning about each other and doing things beyond the bedroom. 

Well I’ll be. 

His lesson and the way he chose to go about changing his habits, showed up this way and who am I to judge?  He truly believes in the power of intention, following ones passion and hard work, after he met the owner of a Car dealership while being his waiter and the owner found him to be so personable, he offered to train and hire him to sell cars.

He went from making $7 an hour to 60k per year AND he Ubers on his days off! I love it!!

The tenacity of the human spirit is something else. 

When we got to my destination, he took my stuff to the door of the building, shook my hands, thanked me for listening and odd he went.

I learned so much from him, not the least of which is to not stay stuck in your circumstances and to take bold leaps even if you can’t see where you will land.

We don’t get to judge people in their journey because it’s different from our own- our oath is simply that. Ours.
Dueces and mad love.

DivA

The Season of CHANGE…

Early last week, seemingly out of the blue, I received a phone call from one of my mentors who said she felt the unction to pray for me so she stopped what she was doing and we prayed over the phone.

I couldn’t figure out what that was about because I was cool and life was good… and then, the very next day, running in my bare feet to answer the doorbell, I slammed my left foot into the base of my sofa.

And broke not one, but two toes.

Ouch.

I knew immediately at least one was broken because the searing light I saw as I went down on those fluffy cushions, was a vision of heaven and hell all at once.

But to know me fully is to know this- I’m super determined to do whatever I set out to and so I got up, and went about my business while limping. I was so bold, I walked in a fashion show two days ago, changed outfits 4 times and had 5 inches of heels on and didn’t miss a beat. No one would have guesssd I was in pain at all. See for your self..


And it went on for days. Six to be exact, where I went to work and attended events, before my husband forced me to go have my foot x-rayed because we Iced, elevated and taped those toes together to no avail. 

So by the time I got the delightful news that I had done the obvious and they gave me crutches, the ugliest shoe known to mankind, my films and a referral to see a surgeon, it was slowly sinking in that I would have a new normal for the next few weeks.

This is where it got interesting- my phone began to ring and texts came in at all kinds of hours about what folks can do to run errands, take me to work etc and I was simply blown away. We live in a “I’m doing me and you better do you”  society, and yet here I was, the grateful recipient of love in the midst of this change happening around me. 

I’m freaking grateful. Believe that.

I also noticed something else too. And I will be back to address that at another time but this mentor had not a whole week ago, sat me down and said the season of change is upon me and the ones who don’t want that change to take place, will be the least kind or helpful and may even eliminate themselves by finding a reason to disagree about something to create issues.

The thing is this- I have been swirling with the winds of change for a while now and that meant stepping into spaces of discomfort and off ledges of  comfort and complacency.

If we want to fully actualize our purpose here on earth, what other choices do we have? If you are the smartest person in your circle, you need to get over yourself and elevate with people who already are where you are trying to  go so you can learn and grow.

I can see with these broken toes, the lessons in this new season has begun but the beautiful part is simply this- prayer works, the turmoil won’t last forever and the sun on the other side of it all, will be blinding in its splendor.

Never let the challenges deter you from you mission but also cocoon yourself with at least ONE person, that you can call and share with no matter the hour.

To my dogmatic mentor- you know who you are-thank you.


Dueces and mad love,

DivA

The way THESE eggs are set up…

What a week this has been. I am still recovering from Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in our home and all the shenanigans of love that took place within.

My husband was feeling especially mushy for some inexplicable reason and at one point, sat on the porch with me saying how grateful he was for us. I reminded him we had guests after telling him I was grateful for his love too and so as we walked back into the confines of the house, he says from behind me to the entire family, “we have news to share, Andrea is having a baby.”

I kept walking to the kitchen as his crazy family members clapped in glee and without turning around I replied ” what the hell is wrong with you?”

He cracked up and told them he was playing and I thought that was the end of it.

Later on that night, I learned from his mother that she would not be opposed to us having a child and in fact, she was looking forward to it.

Now see here. 

Did they forget I was a clapback of 50? 

When I reminded them of my not so tender years, I heard ” Janet Jackson is 51 and she’s doing it!”

Ummm… my name ain’t Janet. It ain’t Jackson if you nasty either. Not to mention I am sane enough to know these eggs have done their final drop some two score and plenty years ago and they fitting to scramble and retire for good in these Fallopian tubes. And I have an excellent retirement plan called menopause awaiting their arrival

Chile no.

I spoke about it at length with my husband this morning and it seems he seriously has been thinking about it.  I refrained from asking him to get his brain checked as we are now grandparents and instead worked hard to see and connect with his sentiments.

He agreed the baby-ship has sailed  for us once I laid out the facts but was happy I heard him out.
Lawd have mercy.. 

Men should be able to get pregnant. I bet you it would alleviate some of this baby talk. Women aren’t toaster ovens who pop out little humans on cue. This is a lifetime thing and honey, our “baby” will be 21 in 3 months and seeking to live abroad once he finishes college.

I seee the horizon and it has no wailing babies that I can’t send back to its parents in it.

Hell does indeed go with no.

Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Shaken and stirred, but not destroyed…

My husband curled into my back recently as he awakened, and let out a long, deep sigh. I knew what was on his mind and gave him the space to talk while being careful to listen without judgment or forming an opinion.

It was helpful to him and he went to work in a much better place. As wonderful a person as he is, like everyone else, he sometimes questions decisions he made that he wishes he could do over, and watching his consciousness shift into realizing even the mistakes serve a purpose, has been immensely helpful to his own personal growth and well being.

I immediately began thinking of another person who reached out  and contacted me a little over a year ago and was in such crisis, it physically hurt my  heart  to sit in her space and listen as she bravely bared her soul to an almost perfect stranger she knew very little about, but was led in her heart to contact me anyway  knowing I could have said anything but yes to meeting with her.
Her bravery was just the spark I needed as I began to challenge the stories she told herself and asked her  to create a vision board or statement of the things she loved and what was it that made her sparkle at the very thought of doing it.

I could see in her eyes that she wasn’t sure but at that juncture, what else did she have to lose? So she went about the business of putting one tiny step in front of the other even as the winds of life hurled her like a rag doll and “friends”felt like cold rain drops on her tattered soul.

She dug deeply and I encouraged her by supporting her dreams. She makes creative and  excellent fare in a way that has my husband groaning for more which was great sign indeed!! So she made our meals as we needed them and we were never disappointed. She was definitely on to something! I seriously love her meals and everything is made with fresh herbs and spices to perfection.

Today I called her for advice on some rolls and the person who answered the phone was full of life and ideas and had big catering jobs in front of her to do!!

I am not even sure if she realizes  that she chose to find the piece of her soul that would redeem and continue to validate her very existence on earth and that led to the place where she is currently.

We are NOT  defined by our mistakes when we can see them as lessons  that are shaping us to go on the next parts of our journey on earth.  No one said our pots wouldn’t be shaken and stirred from time to time as there is no ying without a yang.

We must give ourselves permission to breathe beyond our mistakes and allow them to define our next moves.

Take the time this holiday season to give the gift of compassion. We could all use a little.
Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Getting to the heart of the matter…

Every morning, unless I’m ill, I am up at 4 with the target time to walk through the gym doors between 5 and 6. Yes, before Jesus is awake. It’s a routine that energizes me but there is a deeper reason for it all that I was reminded about this morning.

It was TIME for visit to the cardiologist. 

I dread those visits because I worry that I will get bad news and so as I prepared myself to go, my movements became slower as I played every possible scenario in my head and by the time I got to the Office building, had convinced myself  they would find something wrong and began making plans.

So I crawl/walk into the office and prepared for the worst. I held my breath as I was being strapped to the EKG machine and when the nurse kept clicking and was eeerily silent, I couldn’t take it any more and asked her if everything was okay.

She said yes and I went on to visit with the doctor who essentially said that while I had a strong family history of hypertension, my heart was fine due in large part to my fitness routines and choosing wisely what and where I ate. Salt is not my friend.

After being released and told I didn’t have to see him for another year, I literally bounced out of that place, all the imaginary symptoms I walked in with, all gone.
Why did I share all of this with you? 

I don’t think I am alone in my fear of hearing bad news  to the point where it’s tempting to not go to see a doctor or worse, ignore any real symptoms we may encounter.

But as we get older, our bodies require Maintenace and sometimes, due to family history etc, a tune up to remain in working order.

That ounce of prevention is definitely worth the pound of cure and no matter how afraid you may be, doing nothing only makes things worse. So take yourself to the doctor and have all your pipes checked.

Ya dig?
Dueces and mad love 

DivA

A safety pin? Y’all so easily distracted…

Madness, Tom foolery and chicanery erupted after the Presidential elections on November 8th 2016 and if it was possible, I would  have spared my soul from running the gamut of emotions listening to people rail at outcomes their votes didn’t want,  and then watched in morbid fascination as the blame game began.

White folks were embarrassed, people of color were miffed to hell and back and political party Leaders were stunned into shocked silence.

And then it happened. Reports started coming in about new Marginalized groups being targeted in the Jewish and LGBTQ communities and someone decided that the best way for folks to know who allies were and create solidarity, were through these safety pins that are now adorning clothing everywhere.

Black Folks went from miffed to hell no and the furious debate began.

I am Looking at all of this unfold and the only clear winners I see here are the savvy business heads  who jumped And began selling safety pin necklaces for upwards of $300 because I guess, even pins need to be Leveled up several social classes in order to adorn certain necklines.
People. Please. Enough already. Let whosoever  chooses to identify their affiliations through this pin, do so as they please because for me It’s a clear symbol of Privilege in a way that says should the wearers of Said pin become targets for their act of revolution, it’s a simple Matter of Removing it and blending in.

No Such  luck For Folks of Color .
So while we keep being distracted by this newest movement, let is not forget to focus on what really matters- surviving these next few years.
Dueces and mad love 

DivA

The Five Second Rule…

Mister and I share and banter with each other like no other as evidenced below. I posted this conversation  on my facebook page last year…..

So I’m fussing at hubby about making up the bed if he leaves the house after me and was winding up to give my reasons why when he walked over and lifted both my arms..

Me: what are you doing?
Him: looking for the “return” sticker. I know you have one some where. I signed a money back guarantee for you.
😳😳😳😳😳
The look on my face made him drop my arms and laugh so hard, I cracked up too despite myself…😂😂😂😂

It ain’t THAT easy to return me buddy…

Every single day, we go back and forth and howl with laughter because we so appreciate the genuineness we share with each other.

We also have this steadfast rule that we chat on Saturday mornings before the world is awake and get caught up on our week. His days are 16 hours long and one would be hard pressed to catch me this side of the continent as I travel around for work.

Stay with me because this is good.

After reading an article this morning, I turned to him and asked if he believes men should be the one to approach women and not the other way around. He paused and replied “we should never paint a broad brush over anyone or anything. It’s nice for us men to go seeking what we desire but it is equally nice to be desired ourselves. I think it’s okay for a woman to show interest if she has it.”

“That is interesting and I am so glad I asked you. So what makes it difficult for men when the like a woman?” I asked.

“When they are deliberately coy and play hard to get to the point where we turn the corner and get someone else. It should not feel that difficult.” 

He shifted and looked at me and began to remind me how we met. He remembered key things like what I was wearing, what I said to the audience in the room but he was more struck by my authenticity and kindness to the people around me and wanted to know me better.

We cackled and howled to the blue corn moon when he said for a whole week in 2015 he simply did not like me for purging the house and throwing away everything.

We got to reminiscing when he shared about the one week we didn’t speak very early on in our relationship because we were upset with each other and he said it felt like the longest week of his life. He knew without a doubt then, he was going to figure out how to get me to marry him. I confessed I missed him horribly too.

He shared he cried for almost an hour on our wedding night because he was so filled with gratitude to finally have a wife who he could share everything with and would love him no matter what. He said he prayed hard for this to happen but when it did, he couldn’t fully express his happiness and it came out in tears.

We spoke about these misnomers floating around that people follow instead of their own soul which is why unhappiness abounds.

He took my hand and said  “do you know why we have not once had a full blown argument about anything? I believe in the 5 second rule. If we take time to process things and not allow our emotions to spew negativity, anything is workable. I love you enough to never scream at you and I am certainly not going to lob obscenities your way. Not only would you not hear the message that would be lost in the screaming, It’s disrespectful to you and us as a couple. You are everything to me even when I drive you nuts.”

Lord Jesus. Did I say I love him?  If  more couples would talk things through, we could all deal with the crap life throws our way. My husband and I have had our fair share but he always reminds me that at the end of the day, we are it and he will die protecting what he prayed so hard for.

Now.

When you are able to feel a love like this, what does one do but return it?

I can’t ever tell anyone who they should choose but what I can say is this- see beneath the outer package and look at the heart and soul. Too many well dressed, well packaged empty souls are walking among us that can do untold damage if we aren’t careful.
Dueces and mad love 

Diva

My Sojourn to Paisley Park 

Mannnn….. in late August when the news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson’s estate was going to be opened up for public tours, I went immediately into a purple purpose, looked at my calendar and proceeded to book a flight and then buy those VIP Tour tickets with the ONLY other person on earth I knew loves Prince like I do.

If you have no idea who the purple king of shade was/is, you can stop reading right here and go atone for your egregious sins because I am about to go IN about this experience and it’s not for the Prince novice.

Anywho, we were up and out our doors at a time that would frighten fish and landed in Minneapolis before noon only to see an airport that was devoid of folks and the car rental agency had zero lines anywhere. I inquired and was told it’s usually snowing this time of year here and nobody visits this place in the winter.

It was our lucky day I guess and we were cool with that! 

I took my friend Tanisha to see a couple of places where Prince used to frequent and one of them was First avenue where he filmed parts of the movie Purple Rain. She was super stoked and it was cool to watch her experience for the first time  what I had an opportunity to soak up last May when I took my first trip here after he died.



We then went to get ready for our tour which was to begin promptly at 5 pm and as I dressed, I could barley contain myself at the thought of what was to come!! 


Hontey!! I was ready baby!!

We took off and when we got within a mile of the place, I told Tanisha to prepare herself but when we turned the corner, she was shocked that the estate was RIGHT there visible to the highway. We pulled into the grounds and I could hardly contain myself because 6 months before, I was looking wistfully through the fence determined to be back and be inside.

We have arrived. 7801 Audobon Rd, our Mecca to all things Prince!!


We collected ourselves, hopped out that car and made it into that building in record time! We were given our Instructions, bought our flash drives for a special opportunity and off we went. Our VIP group consisted of 5 people and so we were  feeling special especially after seeing another group that was super large.

We were ushered into the entrance and the first thing we saw was Mural of the shady One with the inscription “I am watching you.” Right above that was a camera which told his guests he had cameras on them at all times. I cackled at the shadiness of it all.

Our phones were locked in special bags as NO pictures were allowed to be taken and it allowed us to fully soak in what we were about the see. On the first wall were all these gold and platinum records from his early and future work. As we stood there in awe, Tanisha was visibly shaken and leaned on my shoulder with tears in her eyes.

When we stopped into the atrium where he hung out and peeped into the kitchen where he spent loads of time when he wanted to relax , I could see him in my minds eye moving about within and felt his spirit strongly for some inexplicable reason. I was soon to find out why.

Smack dab In the middle of that atrium were his remains. I damn near fainted looking at that purple urn built into a replica of the Paisley Park compound and encased in fiberglass. 

Lawd. I got emotional. Had  a quiet moment.

 There were also two doves sitting in large cages above the atrium and we were told they were 24 years old. The lifespan for them is usually 15 years. That atrium looked like you were standing in the middle of heaven with clouds and points of light everywhere.

We went on to visit his office and it was in there I noticed how freaking cool his furniture was!! Deep purple and designed in the most unusual shapes!! I was fascinated!! We saw his handwritten songs in rooms dedicated to Paisley Park, Purple Rain, Musicology Tour and the list went on!! He was a pack rat and threw away nothing. They are still finding and archiving things. His penmanship was beautiful by the way. They found vaults of music and video. He was famous for firing editors and spent hours editing his own work. He was simply a creative genius!

He had hundreds of guitars. No exaggeration. My head spun at the volume of them we saw in every space! His costumes too were out of this world right down to the shoes of which he had over a thousand. Chile Listen.

We visited studios A, B and C, each space carrying his strong presence and we could feel Him Throughout. Studio C especially was lined with cherry wood for perfect acoustics and we were told artists like Stevie wonder recorded there.  

Hallowed ground I tell you. 

We got to listen to a jazz piece he was working on shortly before he died. I hope they release it because it’s dope.

This place was deceptive looking from the exterior because within was 65 thousand square feet of space !! He has a main stage that could hold over a thousand people, was 12 thousand square feet and had concerts there along with filming parts of his movies. We walked around and marveled at the rich history within. Behind the main stage was a more private setting to seat 120 folks and we heard Madonna performed for him in late 2015

We saw a wall of the artists he supported and the ones who influenced him. Tower of Power, Jimmie Hendrix, James Brown, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire and the list went on. We saw his numerous awards, the bike he filmed Purple Rain on, pianos in purple and a sundry of Other colors but I wasn’t prepared for this one. At all.


I’m told he bought it on the late 90’s. He was such a man before his time.

We had a special photo opportunity in Studio B that I will share soon and that was special.

Whew!! I think I captured the essence of the visit. 

Wait until you see his zen space. So peaceful!! He also loved scented candles and they were everywhere.

We left on a happy purple haze of peace and closure after buying stuff from the gift store but don’t tell my husband😂😂


Babay did we ever have a rocking good time!!! This place is for the true Prince fans!! I sang along to his music and even did a slight jig  watching him perform in various rooms.  I saw a clip of him in Philly during the Musicology tour and was ever so grateful that I was front AND center at the concert they highlighted..

We saw a piece of history and Prince was right there with us. How does it even get any better than that? Go see what has become the museum of his life if you can. Dude lived and died in his purpose and it affected millions of us around the globe.

That alone, is worth the sojourn there.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva