Happy Sunday. Tonight it’s the Grammy Awards and I’ve had loads of fun reading messages from their hired bloggers and staff on Twitter and perusing their new FaceBook page. Social media is here to stay. One of my friends is having a housewarming party later this evening. I happen to be a member of the Recording Academy but will skip the local viewing event though the restaurant it’s being held in serves a great breaded shrimp cocktail!
Speaking of social media I was just selected to win a complementary admission to the UGCX Conference on Monday. Thanks Mashable! I need to find out if there’s free wifi so I can live-blog it, otherwise I’ll have to do a post later. I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons because I am far from an expert on this. There are four sections: Photography, Music, Social Content and Video & Gaming. It’s in San Jose and a 4-hour RT commute but definitely worthy of checking out.
One of my favorite artists, Amel Larrieux sends out messages to her fans on a distribution list. I always enjoy the light and positivity she puts into them. She’s an indie artist now and one of her largest fan bases is in the Bay Area. I don’t remember the last time I’ve gone to a concert where adults bring their children (I’m talking infants through teens) and an entire family can see one artist. It’s really nice and not something corporations bent on maximum profits at the expense of degrading others (typically Black women in the case of Hip-Hop/R&B) look for when signing artists. All we need is one flicker of light in a dark place to guide us away from it. So I had to share this. She always mixes culture with politics with a glimpse of her family life as well as updating us on her music projects.
Is it merely a coincidence that the name of one of the first bills to get passed by our brilliant president sums up what we will be telling our kids’ kids about the job he did? I don’t think so! Show and prove, baby; SHOW AND PROVE. It was about time. And Lilly Ledbetter ain’t from a progressive, liberal northern environment, either. You can read all about the woman after whom the bill was named and its details on www.npr.org. Pertaining to the subject of President Obama (who, by the way, Laru and I would like to hear more journalists and media folk stop referring to as just, “Obama”), the broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion from the week before last, showcased Garrison Keeler’s tender dedication to our new president and first family in the form of an ode and a song. I was driving my eldest somewhere when it aired and as the tears rolled down my face, she totally got it. If there is ANY WAY you all can access this broadcast from www.npr.org, I feel that you are in for a treat. The media, by the way, would like to keep their jobs, so the sensationalism swirling around this new president about the stimulus plan is one way to get people watching their respective news shows. I’m not fooled here-there is so much of the prior administration’s muck to clean up in that ocean of scum that is Washington and corporate America that of course our president and his folks are going to come up looking dirty before they look clean: they have to virtually wade through!Chris Connor’s buttery voice is the backdrop as I write. Where are you, is the song, which has one of my favorite intros of all time. My favorite cut is called, all about ronnie, and song my mom wants me to cover, She is one of a handful of singers whose inimitable voice I secretly wish to come back with in my next life.☺ Her voice is so warm and dulcet, it nearly intoxicates. Good cold-weather listening. The east and the northeast are brick, (does anyone outside of Brooklyn use this word?), snowy and icy, yet quite beguiling: a classic, northern, powdery, alabaster landscape for your viewing enjoyment, every other day. Yes: to shovel snow and chip ice from your windshield or moustache steals the charm from this season. I am practicing the gathering of any beneficial good from every scenario I am exposed to, to reduce stress on the heart, body and mind. SOCAL might just be the place to be, for those of you who fancy the milder temperatures. Sun and the pacific are quite a sight and feelin’. The burnt sienna of the earth; the fragrance of the flora mixed with the saltiness of the sea; peach afternoons and cinnamon nights. The intimacy of Nina Simone singing, I think its going to rain today, juxtaposed with all that west-coast space and sky kind of helps you not feel so, small.Everybody and their mama has a cold or the flu- my littlest one got hit by the latter and hurled all over the hallway at school, as told by the nurse. My eldest keeps picking up the same, stinky cold and cough, as though she left that particular strain of cold flu on the handle of her backpack. Brew some goldenseal root, if you can handle it. My parents used to make a big thermos of it laced with honey and make me drink it til there was just that green looking sandy stuff at the bottom. But hey- I never had a cold for long. Scout’s honor. The sun takes forever to awake, too. I do the sun salutation way before that pretty sucker even shows up☺ Its kinda kooky, watching my kids eat breakfast in the dark. Reading is essential when holed up due to the weather, so I got the new malcolm gladwell after hearing laru and my mom rave about his other works, and the gargantuan novel, middlemarch, gifted to me by my mom, after we realized I hadn’t read it. I never got around to so many of the “classics”, probably because I was reading my idea of classic: malcom x, toni morrison, alice walker, virginia hamilton, chinua achebe…. Know what I’m saying? Now that we have a BLACK president, I think I can bring myself to read the stuff my eldest has been reading since sixth grade-the year her school dubbed her a “classic reader”. I am actually reading, to kill a mockingbird to my youngest, and I forgot how deeply affective is this book. I may be enjoying it more than she is. The bonus is that if she can put down that twilight series (which I had no qualms with until she preceded to reread them and shun all else) long enough to finish this book, we’ll rent the movie, and what a movie it is! I wanted to hug gregory peck for putting all those ignoramuses in their places. That story never gets old. I think we’ll read middle passage, next. I need to be there when she experiences that writing.Speaking of writing…I am swimming in it! Totally immersed, ensconced, etc., etc. I am afraid to talk on the phone too much as though I could lose words and thoughts; as though ideas would have fewer vessels on which to board if I speak the words instead of writing them. I HEART texting. It lets me use my muscle as well as hold on to my friends and family, whom I could easily offend with my lack of phone action. I go to sleep between 9pm- if I’m lucky- and 10, so whatever’s happening creatively has gotta go down, sometime between 6am and bedtime. I’ve been DVR-ing stuff I like, but the only show I actually ever make time for is 24, though I am two episodes behind and only watch it while I’m doing exercises that are not yoga .You could hear a collective sigh in the larrieux household when that show finally came back. I get all anticipatory and what not, as I did for the cosby show on thursday nights. I did catch the first episode of the united states of tara and –holy smokes, is that show unique! To watch toni collete in this role is humbling, for anyone who has ever dared to consider acting. The only other thing I make time for is going outdoors. Any time of day, rain or shine, I must connect with real air at some point in the day. I worked all day yesterday, and it was not until the sky was dark and the snowflakes had become plump did I find a minute to get some air. One of the few souls with the desire and – quite possibly- schedule to permit such a frolic, I walked- no- pranced along a narrow, river path. The snow glowed about me – as though lit from beneath. It was just pure powder underfoot! And that delightful quiet that comes with heavy snowfall-as though this weightless, magical dust absorbs sound and you are hearing yourself think, for a change. Every inch of world appeared cloaked in the stuff, as though a giant baker from a childhood picture book had sprinkled the earth with confectioners’ sugar. My pace quickened; I felt intoxicated and a bit giddy from all the velvety stillness. Again; the fusion of opposites provoking a similar reaction within me. For that small window of time, the entire world was radiant. How often can you say that? It has not happened to me with much frequency! If only I’d picked up some of those snow pants for myself when I got them for my daughter, I surely would have left my signature: an adult sized snow angel.Food preparation is the chief interrupter of my work, these days. I prepare most of our meals myself so I am privy to all of the ingredients and this way we are safe from preservatives and allergens. The meals tend to be quite swift in preparation due to our particular whole/ real -foods diet and so I can get back to work. My newest fave for myself is so easy and tasty and mega nutritious, I felt the need to share. This is suitable for any meal of the day. Our household has a broad view of what each meal can be: fish and veggies with rice or porridge for breakfast or dinner. Therefore, I keep a lot of organic pre roasted nori around because its good for snacking or crumbling into dishes or making hand rolls. Well, I really love hand rolls, so I’ve been just bringing some sheets of nori to the table to accompany any dish I desire. If you suffer from hypothyroidism you’ll want to make sure to cook all sea veggies as they can encourage goiters, some practitioners say. At breakfast, I may scramble egg whites with onions, spinach and portobello mushrooms, drizzle with toasted sesame oil, sprinkle with some gomasio (mine has sesame seeds, sea salt and seaweed) and stuff it in a sheet of nori. Equally as scrumptious is a combo of brown rice, steamed or sautéed greens (kale, chard, collards are all nice, alone or mixed). If you like fish, you can add one .A canned tuna or salmon will do, if you are short on time. Mix these ingredients together in a pan, drizzle with a good quality, dark green olive oil, sea salt, cracked red pepper, dried basil and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can add gomasio if you enjoy it as much as I do. This is delicioso in a nori wrap, as well. I have fallen hard for the raw, dark chocolate from raw chocolate love, nyc. Its raw, made from super foods, vegan, agave sweetened instead of that mean ol’ sugar, non-dairy, soy and gluten free and 100% organic. I can allow myself and my kids to have it and not feel an ounce of guilt or have an allergy attack! Lastly, I found a great way to make dairy free, vegan pancakes for the whole fam to enjoy but substituting pumpkin puree or applesauce or both for eggs. Just add some cinnamon and nutmeg in the batter and -for an extra dose of healthy- sprinkle in some flax meal. We use gluten free pancake mix and the kids don’t seem to complain. I share these recipes cuz I know how much it helps me to exchange food info with others.As I wrap up this post, I find myself practically lifting off my seat, so full from the sound of Kathleen battle’s voice. My heart stirs and swells and grows wings with the ascension of each, glorious note, until I feel it will burst out of my chest and fly away. And here I am-a puddle of a woman- left weeping to the sounds of another unreasonably, gorgeous voice.I guess that’s what laru means when he says I am dramatic☺P.S.- the recording of kathleeen battle – which anyone in their right mind would want at this very moment- is called, kathleen battle in concert, kathleen battle and james levine. She does a version of, he’s got the whole world in his hands that is, in my eyes, one of the post poignant and perfectly sung pieces of all time. xo amel