Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Way to Roll: The Long Walk Home

 This is the day I have that appointment this morning  that will facilitate a big change in my life.

 Unfortunately last night,I got a call that my ride will not be able to carry me. Stuff happens; it was unavoidable. It was too late to make other arrangements so now I am face with a dilemma how I will do this.

Well this is how; I'm going to walk to the appointment.

Fortunately, it is about 2.5 miles away from my home.  I have been able to walk up to 2 miles on my current walks,that being round trip but never 2.5 miles 1 way!

But I am so determined to keep that appointment I will not let anything deter me from keep that appointment!  Fortunately for me it will be a gorgeous day and its a scenic route. I'm off to have a power breakfast; on will come the earphones,stretch a bit, carry my water and off I will go!

The good thing is I will have probably a couple of hours rest time before making the return trip home.  I am going to find out today what I am made of, of what my body will do for me.

But when you are focused, one will find that way out of no way!

The end result will be worth it for me; I want that loft with the windows.  I want the 50% reduction in my living expenses, I want those windows  :=) .

I want to be DONE.

One day in the not to distance future when I am on a stage somewhere as a keynote speaker, I will speak of this day and many others of how after the rug was pulled from underneath you that I/you found a way to do the do as James Brown used to say.  It is not unique to me, we have a history a very rich history current and distant past of ones who paved a way.  I am not doing anything more then many of our "ane-sisters" and brothers have done before.

Its a long walk home, but it is going to be done

So folks who when they sprout off about "THEY" as in "THEY don't want to work"; "THEY just want to live off the system" "all THEY have to do is.." "THEY should just need to lose weight" "THEY are too lazy"...  

I am here to tell you 'taint so.

So if you see this 60 year old woman on a cane with earphones, sneakers with that fierce determination on her face getting to her destination...

That will be me.

Don't find fault, pity or think what you don't know.  

You are welcomed to join her...

Simply cheer her own her way and say

"Way to Roll"!

'cause I got it like that!

"Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start." ~Unknown

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shout out to Sister-friends:African American women 18-40


My name is Rikesha Fry Brown and I am a Counseling Psychology doctoral student at Howard University. I am currently working on my doctoral dissertation, which is chaired by Dr. Angela D. Ferguson. I am writing to ask for your help by participating in a study that will help me assess African American women’s experiences and attitudes toward media. The only requirements for participation are that you are an African American female between the ages of 18 and 40.

Participation in this study is voluntary and you may withdraw at any time. It will take you approximately 45 minutes to complete the survey. Your responses will remain confidential such that only the researchers will have access to your data. You will never be asked to provide your name and identification codes will be used to assure your anonymity. After full completion of the questionnaire, you will have the option of providing an email address to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 American Express gift card. Only researchers will have access to the data file containing the email address, the email address will only be used for the purpose of the drawing, and it will be deleted following completion of the study.

If you would like to participate in the study, please visit the following website:

If you have any questions about this study, feel free to contact us by email at or or by phone at (202) 806-6015. 

This research study has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at Howard University. Questions concerning your rights as a participant in this research may be addressed to the Institutional Review Board by phone at (202) 806-4759; by email at; or by mail to:

Institutional Review Board 
Howard University
525 Bryant Street, NW
Suite 137
Washington, DC 20059

Thank you for taking the time to consider participating in this study. Your participation is valuable and much appreciated!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saved by the Bell

This tickled me so much I had to post this for amusement:

Interesting History

The next time you are washing your hands and complain
because the water temperature isn't just how you like it,
think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their
yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by
June. However, since they were starting to smell . . ...
Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man
of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then
all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the
children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so
dirty you could actually lose someone in it. 

Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"
Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw - piled high, with no
wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get
warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs)
lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and
sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof . ... .

Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the
house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs
and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence,
a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top
afforded some protection.

 That's how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other
than dirt. 

Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." 

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,
so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh 
when you opened the door, it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.

Hence: "a thresh hold".

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big
kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit
the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly
vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the
stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes
had food in it that had been there for quite a while. 

Hence the rhyme: "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas
porridge in the pot nine days old".

 Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." 

They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat".
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status: Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. 
The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather
around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.
Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive . . .

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.  Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, "saved by the bell" or was "considered a dead ringer".

 Now, whoever said History was boring!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Go with it;Flow with it...JHM©11

"I want to be lean and clean for the future, dust off my wings. I know for sure that doing so will make it easier to fly."~  Oprah

"Stash's Sunset" photography by JHM©08

I am just in a good place right now and I am simply going to enjoy it...Circumstances around me have not altered to any great degree.  I'm just very happy.

Happy is as happy does and what I am going to do is flow with it, go with it.   I don't have to work to prolong it, simply enjoy the feeling. 

I have sunlight streaming through all my front windows, listening to my favorite show CBS' Sunday Morning, preparing to read my Sunday paper and have a healthy breakfast.

I joined several groups recently who have similar interests.  Maybe it is the shared interests that suits my sensibilities that is contributing to my feeling of continual happiness, I don't know.  

I am simply going to go with it; flow with it.

Maybe it was going through some of my photography and remembering the pleasure in shooting them helped.

"Betty's Table" photography by JHM©10

Don't matter;I am simply going to enjoy it.

Could have been my finishing up a project that I've procrastinated for weeks, sticking with it and knowing it is done and I don't have to do it again contributed...

Don't matter; I'm going to enjoy it anyway.

Or it could have been dreaming about decorating a new loft space with wonderful floor to ceiling windows in a new space, relishing the challenge of shaping it into what will work for me now, where I am now having said to myself it is just doggone fine to now format my space for who I am today.  Feeling my adventuresome self, seeing the world with childlike wonder and old school experience could be fueling this.

Don't matter; I am going to go with it;flow with it...

Or is it seeing images of veggies and flowers who have long since returned back to the soil to replenish and re nourish?

"Arty-chokey" phtographyJHM©08

Or seeing a picture of my eldest daughter with 2 of my grandbabies (her niece & nephew) sound asleep. She was on her off day from work and helping her sister out so she could get to work.  It makes me feel good that my children do indeed have a sense of community.

Or the trust my grandbaby, Tassandra age 11months,secured in sleep that all is right in the world, even if the world is not acting right, that Mom & Dad, Auntie and Grammy will make it alright with all they got.

And big brother Tevin almost 3yrs can camp for the camera:

Maybe it contributes. Don't matter; I am just going to go with it; flow with it

Could it be possible that shutting down a situation that was an exercise in futility; of releasing someone to go where they need to go as long as it is not near me be a contributing factor?

Don't matter,I am simply going to go with it; flow with it.

I had been so stagnant in trying to get the mojo working keeping it going which is almost near impossible to do with so many things working in opposition to what was need.  I had thrown my hands in the air as I could not push what was not there.  For those who can, more power to you!  I applaud that ability; it is  a skill I do not have or acquire and don't see the likelihood that I will.
I've always known in the later years of my life that there is always a way out of no way if as my good friend would say "if I could smooth myself out of the way".  I am what I am, a work in progress & as I figure it out, things get done.

And done well, I do tell...
Has this acquired knowledge contributed to feeling happy?

I am simply going to go with it; flow with it.

"The foolish (wo)man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his/her feet".~- James Oppenheim

"Standing out in a Crowd" PhotographyJHM JHM©08

All rights reservedJHM©11

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Clap You Hands.. clap your hands...

Maybe its the respite from cold, maybe it is the wonderful sun beaming in low 70 weather this week, but here I was early, early Saturday morning online writing... 

I woke up at 2:30 AM as in "sez wyut"? What on earth?

I had gotten already about 5 hours of sleep, but was not planning to be up this early...

But I know in part what it is about; I had a great day yesterday overall & on impulse I went by to look at a converted space that I had been curious about for months...

Since I had decided I will move this spring from where I am currently living, I figure what the heck, let me go and see.

Big mistake...

When they showed me the only available unit as I came down the entryway and turn the corner, my immediate response was OMG!  What hit me was floor to ceiling windows with a gorgeous view of New Orleans.  I rushed past seeing the other rooms to immediately go to the window which also had bay seating.

 The windows were not unlike these except wider.  I've always love Mister's house in The Color Purple.  I love lots of light, lots of windows...

My instinctive, knee-jerk reaction  was so ok "this is it"...

"Whoa slow down Nellie.. Be a grownup look around the apartment and ask question... Hold on hold you can do this, you can be mature about this" all the while my heart is doing Zumba!

The one two punch came when I discovered the rent was 50% less then I am currently paying, the building is green and it is walking distance in any direction to all I need to attend to.  Adding to boot it was high ground.

For those who may have been hiding in a cave,  you want high ground if you are to live in N.O. especially since Katrina.  Call it a knee jerk,although totally justified, reaction  post storm, you just might want the highest ground in case of flooding.  If info given me is correct, this was an old department store built in the early 1900's so you know it has survived many a hurricane, solid as a rock.

The neighborhood although having seen like many large cities a seediness, some by accident, some neglect, some by design but a neighborhood not unlike many others in this city or any other metropolitan ;it is now going throw a regeneration , a re*sparking;there are many pockets of this re-emergence all around. Fits & starts, an unplanned plan that will not benefit all, sadly.

In 2-3 years it will be impossible to get this area or at this price.  It has been known for awhile almost a decade that this area had been eyed for the expansion.

When you start seeing artists, visionaries, entrepreneurs moving into an area its a clear heads up a happening is getting ready to happen! But for the right now there are some who won't see it that way which suits me fine for the moment. Until we are priced out of the area.  I've always kicked myself one too many times by not taking advantage of the time, when the time stares me in the face...

But getting back to the apartment.. 

When I could slow my heart down some and stopped my eyes from bugging out I took a look at the rest of the unit. It is minus 1 bedroom as I currently have, does not have some of the architectural features in my current place,(but I can correct that) AND I would have to give up my veggie garden and a back yard.  Upside there is a farmer's market within walking distance.  The owners seems amendable to taking a tiny corner in the back for my  garden containers, but even in the end it is not feasible for that I could work with it. There are a few things I have to give up, but I would gain others.

Please know I am so NOT a fan of apartment living.  Its been decades for me to live in one.  Even where I live now is a 125 yr old house converted into 3 apartments.

But something about this place resonates with me.

Did I mention the windows?

 In the bedroom is also those massive windows facing the New Orleans skyline of downtown and the river. 

One things that struck me is running parallel to the building across the street is a now empty lot that in it hey day was my father's business when I was a little girl.  This area was during the height of segregation was what I called New Orleans' Harlem... Now it is, not unlike Harlem & like me, going through a resurgence.

What was shown to me, someone already got, but the next door unit will be coming up for rent after the 1st of March & larger then the one shown me. Quite timely with spring around the bend.

I am going to propose something to the owners of making the halls a walking gallery, there is lots of space for that... And of course it being my art even if it is in the common areas...The majority of the people living in the building are over 55.

So now, how will I do it.

I will find a way.

Reducing my output by 50% is quite enticing. The worst that will happen right now is I have to stay put if someone beats me to the unit.  Eventually, another will come up...

What my job is to put it out there, to speak words to truth to be ready & open for when the opportunity arises...

And clap my hands, clap my hands (with glee)

Now maybe I can go back to sleep....

The addendum to my 2AM  couldn't go back to sleep musings. 

Now I am completely wide awake!

Landrieu (Sitting) Nagin (last) & Morial (previous to Nagin).
Why? I haven't the foggiest notion, but I've learned to pay attention to my dreams; it is my subconscious, yearnings or challenge that needs figuring out, especially the ones I remember all or in part.

I know it had to do something with the place I spoke about in part one.  I also know each one had innovative visions of what New Orleans was to become and each were in different stages of that when their time ran out sans the sitting Mayor.

I look at each of their contributions, some successful some fell flat and thought of one things.

Let me put a disclaimer in here; I am not a fan of politics...

It was my dream and why they were there I don't know.

 It was a  dream...

 I was asleep.

Now, sometimes we all have things we envision or hope for yearn for to happen with us or for us.  Some will come to fruition, some will come through but not in the time or manner of our expectations and others will fall flat, not unlike these three men.  Mayor Landrieu is still the freshman Mayor, still fresh, still in his honeymoon period . Some will fuss, a LOT will resist & others will find ways to toss a monkey wrench, the kitchen sink & a baseball bat  into his vision. 

I simply am an observer

But as in the case of them or us, in certain matters, we have to wait until things get to its final conclusion. I, too, like others at times want instant gratification but despite all the effort, I simply may not get what I want when I want it and in the manner I want it. 

But it will come. 

And precise in the way it should but I wouldn't know that until the final conclusion.

Slowly I've learned, put it into practice but awhile away from it becoming a habit, to smooth myself out of the way allowing something to come to its final conclusion.

Case in point last fall I planted some wildflower seeds in a pot and nothing happened.  I tossed the pot and the residual seeds in a pile on my back step where I kept my pots and promptly forgot about them.  I did not think they would survive neglect nor the winter especially since we had a colder then seasonal winter of us.  The winter being a weird roller coaster ride in temperatures.

Much to my surprise a few days ago I came to discover they not only germinated & grew, but survived the neglect.  One pot, not only grew but gave me flowers all winter!  I did not know wildflowers could survive cold.

So i took the others thinned them, re potted all of them in new pots giving them space and air thinking that if they survived the transplants they'll be just fine.

Well as I would have it when I stepped out to get my paper this morning, the biggest one gave me blooms! Yes blooms! In 3 days! And all the other pots not only survived my transplanting but look mighty sturdy.

It brought a smile to my face apart from the fact you can tell it is the beginning of another lovely day.

I say all of this for a reason.  Sometimes we have to smooth out of our way.  

Everything and everyone has an appointed time when things  happen.  Sometimes even when we are neglectful or doing things others may look upon as not the "right" way something is to be accomplished, just may, despite everything grow & blossom if we let it be.

Those wildflowers had their own way; I was in their way & I gave up on them far too easily since they did not do things in the appointed time that I designated for them.  And then when I wasn't looking (Whew) they did what they needed to do.  Grow, glow and gave me a pleasant gift this morning...

So as I be about my day I will remember this and as I continue on working on new habits and refining the old ones I will repeat here what I saw in a woman's office yesterday: "Thank God for what you have; Trust God for what you need". 

There are some things I do not need to control; it will happen if you give it (or us) room.

Clap your hands... Clap your hands...

"Spring Rendevous" by one of my favorite artist, Charles Bibbs

Monday, February 14, 2011

Say Yeah~In an Effie Mode Today : Reposting

I just felt like reposting today:Say Yeah… say yeah

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©11

Say yeah...
Say yeah...
I say yeah.
Go down Moses… 
Tell Pharaoh that I'm in an Effie mode today...
This is a hand on the hip, gutbucket groan….
That can only come from someone who knows...
Who’s been there more then on time?
In a scene where she be on familiar terms with stuff…
And stuffed people who distinguish themselves with nothing other then
Bits & pieces
(It is not yet their time yet)…
But knows experiences trumps assumptions
And one does not know
But knows...
When it is time to say yeah...
Say yeah
Say yeah.
To do what is necessary
To see what's possible
And then pull off the impossible
When one must say yeah...
Say yeah...
Say yeah...
All Rights Reserved JHM 2-14-11©

I am taking a break this minute from doing & pushing, knocking on doors literally & figuratively.
And for whatever reason why, the song from the Broadway and the movie rendition of Dreamgirls popped in my head.

That determination, angst, anger clear, single-minded ferociousness so wonderfully done by both Jennifer Holiday (the original Effie) and Jennifer Hudson (movie version of Effie) said it all for me.

There's a point when you simply have to have that gut bucket hand on the hip un-huh yeah girl  soulfull-ness with no shame or concern for how anyone or anything view it. Or what they are doing.  It just need to be said or done.

"Say whatcha wanna, I'm not gonna leave ya..."

"I just wanna be free.."

Singer India Arie
Step up or step back, or get otta my way...

Say yeah... Say yeah"...

For the record we can apply that to what each and every one of us are doing here, or any "here" that you are working on.

"Start by doing what is necessary, then by what's possible, & suddenly you are doing the impossible"

"Say yeah... say yeah"...

Old Mill at the End of Park~Photography by Jackie Walker©09 France

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hot off the Press-Images of art @Buttonwood Art Space...

I just received these from the art space show The Note Illustrated.  The business manager just sent.  She said they were very well reserved & there was a very large turnout for the "soft" opening.  The big Kahuna opening is the 1st weekend in March.  I so want to go, by George!

Buttonwood, an advertising agency did a smart thing by turning there office into an art gallery.  And smart way to do the business of advertising and allowing their clients + the public to see & buy art in all the genres in their space.  May other business see it is an excellent move to the same!

 Improv @ Dat Sharp Eleven (closeup)

 "Steppin Out on Dat High Note" (center)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I am Clear (About) ..What I am Not...

"Sometimes the very thing you are looking for is found in the very thing you weren't".~ YKWTD (You Know What To Do)

Decisions,decisions, decisions.  Will they ever go away?

Well if you are over the age of 5, no.  Although I say this somewhat in cheek, making decisions is hard work.  It may not seem that way say if someone is deciding "Is he the one" or "Do I take this job although it means moving away from my family"  or do I want mayo AND mustard"?  Some decisions are harder to make (or keep) then others.

Time and experiences make some decisions really easy to make and implement without nary a bump.

And then there are the others...

I have to make somewhat painful decisions; this I am clear.

What I am not is do I want to do this? Will I do it.

What I am clear about is I need to do things for my well being.

What I am not is how.

What I am very clear about is that my present situation needs a radical change.

What I am not is not can I be radical but WILL I be radical.

I've not doubted for a minute my returning home to my beloved city of New Orleans was a right one, I now doubt whether long time I will stay.  And it is not that I don't want to, but I've changed.  The city is changing, some of it very good and badly needed, others well, it is the same old song just repackaged.

Mind you as I say this that it is not you who are not from here, never visited here and only know what the news tell you , which is so blown out of proportion, bad schools, extreme poverty, over the top crime  yada yada yada, it is not anywhere near that.

We have to remember even with so called  "traditional" news the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality rules.  Here is a radical concept: New Orleans is really no different then many major cities (and minor ones, ttowns or boroughs) in its ills.  But it true Franco-Lousiane manner it is blown way out of proportion.

What it is is a place steel reeling trying to restore its equilibrium after the most devastating (un)natural disaster in the history of this country & having carpetbaggers, visionaries, the young seeking adventures, hipsters, con artists, idealist & people rife on exploitation who have jumped into this restoration gumbo with little thinking of what or how to go about it without destroying the city.

And in this flux, I am clear that it is going to be a heck of a lot more work involved and more  hands involved working extraordinarily, exceptionally hard to do the almost near impossible, but possible  retaining/maintaining a measure of control.  In every aspect of this we can sometimes wrecking havoc on our health & well being; of not knowing or seeing the way out; wanting to be as healthy, as autonomous, as fully engaged as we need to be while the world once known is fragmented.  Of putting pieces back together or really fully have what is needed so one can indeed be independent, contributing community.

Or individual...

The way is not always clear.

Sometimes things gets muddled, we may have to redirect, revisit the choices and then step out...


Understand I am not exercising the often futile sport of what is wrong with New Orleans or what is wrong with me... This is clear.

What is not is how to stop this sick sport from continuing.

I am clear that while undergoing the worst time of the worst time of my life, I am happy that I am not gone backwards in my work on reaching a healthy weight.  Truly there is plenty of room for improvement, but I am good with that...

What is not is will it happen here? Can I do more to reduce even more the chronic stress that continues to keep my blood pressure high?

The easy answer is yes; 'cept it ain't that easy.  

On paper the answer are definitive; get my economic circumstance improved and the rest will (truly) fall into place...Duh..

What is not clear is How? Where? When?

I am at the conclusion there is some huge really bad cosmic joke being played, but I did not get the punchline. 

 And the joke is being played over & over until I get it.

Alright! already!

If determination, fortitude, resilience, effort, heart, drive was money I would be wealthy enough to rival Gates, Winfrey or Forbes. And telling me I am not alone doesn't help.  It stresses me more just knowing more people are hurting and hurting as badly if not worse then I am.   And that raises my blood pressure more, not less.

Just like with my home town as it is going along trying to really shape its future and its present, so am I.  As a good friend calls it, something we have to smooth ourselves out of the way in order to make that way.  

We are in perilous times, far more serious then people like or want to believe.  I am not talking from a national time, but a global one.  There is a lot of shifting going on and whether we want it or not we are on the ride of a lifetime.

That I am clear...

What I am not is so what do I do now?

A friend had this on a email she sent me:

"Searching for a miracle, expecting the impossible"

So I guess now I've answer my own question...

And hold on...

What's difficult in life is to stay centered when somebody does 
or says something that tempts us to close our hearts 
because their heart was closed. That is hard. ~
-Marianne Williamson