Sunday, November 27, 2011

Focus: Of the Day and of the Season

The focus of that day following the wonderful day of thanks is to pick up all the Christmas gifts that you think is necessary for those ecstatic kids and family members. People have the reason to believe that the discounts are so worth it that they devise delicious schemes to stand on line as early as possible to be amongst the ones who get the early bird specials.
Merchants triumphantly display their stores for those filled with ambition to shop. Some people are calm on the lines, waiting patiently until it is time for the extravaganza to begin. They are there simply to buy what is on their list and leave. Their attitudes are not intimidating or berating. They are just ready to run at sprinter’s speed into the stores when the doors open so that they could enjoy the various pleasures of the early morning.  But some have perfect unconcern for others like them who decided to wait and so, the shopping experience becomes less than a pleasant one and instead, competitive shopping.
I have never stood on line in the early morning. I will admit that sometimes the deals seem pretty good, but for me, I am the type that could go around an entire store, pick up things and then see the line and put everything back. I am not a fan of the long lines or the large crowds.  Yet still, something led me to Roosevelt Field in Westbury, NY for this year’s Black Friday event. I purposely decided to reach there after the rush thinking it would be safe to enter into the mall at 10AM.
I was not the most accurate person. I thought the fuss would be somewhat diminished by the time I got there, but I was wrong. For one, I decided to bring my favorite little cousins to go shopping. Just being around them is like a shower of blessings and so, I felt this joy being able to bring them there.  As we walked into the doors of the mall, we walked into a strained alliance between two woman that caused a fist fight. That was not a comfortable or snug event that I wished for young kids to walk into. But we were already there and were not going to turn back over somebody else’s peevish attitude. I knew that there would be crowds but the heavy foot traffic was not something that made me happy at all. And the sales weren't that great to be rushing into the mall and standing on thirty minute long lines. I did everything I could to get out of there quick, but not without the few discounts that I do look forward to every year at Victorias Secrets and Bath & Body Works.
I have to admit, shopping on Black Friday has lost its luster.  There always seems to either be someone getting trampled over, hurt or some kind of madness within the stores. And then I think to myself, Black Friday is exactly one day after the day we give thanks and exactly one month before the day we celebrate known as Christmas.
So I have decided that for every day until Christmas, I am going to find something to be thankful for.  On Black Friday, it was the experience after the mall, when my babies and I went to Benihanas to eat Hibachi style.  Have you ever eaten there?  It is a restaurant that has some great food and just seeing them cook right before your eyes is exciting for the entire family. The combination of the food, the Hot Sake, and seeeing young faces light up calmed me down. It was great going there.
I was also thankful for deciding to stop with them at the movies to see, Tower Heist, the new movie featuring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. They are an incredible pair of actors and teamed up together, offered non-stop laughter and good times. If you have not seen it yet, go because it is a great movie.
Christmas will soon be here and how can we not acknowledge that in November we are having temperatures in the upper sixties; another thing to be thankful for. But today, I find myself being thankful for the gift of singing and the ability to hear music.  I was able to read my 300 plus pages, listen, sing along and also write parts of my paper and it made the experience even better.  

Though I have been a witness to stores playing Christmas carols since mid –October, I love the caroling and lights of the true holiday season, even when the true focus of the season gets lost in all the things you can buy. Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. 
 While Black Friday is only one day out of the next 30 that we have left to shop, Christmas is not about the gifts. Will we think about that now that we are in the first week of Advent when Cyber Monday comes, to remember to include someone who is less fortunate on our lists?  Will we remember that on Christmas Eve which falls on a Saturday this year when we go to Macys or Toys R Us to pick up our last gifts that God is patient and so we must also be while waiting on those hour long lines? Christmas is the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Is it possible that on Black Friday, the eager lady on the early morning line in California, forgot the reason for the season when she pepper sprayed the other people on the line so she could get a gaming console at Wal-Mart? Let’s not forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My I.D. and Me

MY I.D. and ME
At first it was used to regulate and define. I learned a skill and was forced to apply it without even having a decision. I was an outsider looking into the love of someone else who was a black belt and knew all the important factors of making it something successful. As for me, it didn’t hold that much significance in my life. 
But then, I found myself scribbling down the silent bars of music that passed through my history.  The concept seemed wonderfully wise and strong. I was looking at it from a different perspective and it somehow had this natural elasticity around my heart. My mind was always drifting into the world of writing where I was this caricature invented by a ballpoint.
Words would flow like waters of a rain storm in November.  It started as poetry first, rhyming the sorrows of my heart in couplets and stanzas. Fiction writer Charles Chestnutt said, “It is the dream of my life to be an author,” and suddenly, I felt like him and my heart began to sink into the puddles of the fall storm.
Passages of time never seemed to remove me from this awesome love story that had begun to develop. Writing stimulated the life of the mind of a young woman. It had deep significance on my life because the rhymed stanzas and poetry turned into something that could be sung and made me refocus my energy over to writing songs.  I loved writing poetry and songs, and I loved singing them because I loved to sing.
I am surrounded by deep thoughts that often get emptied out on to the naked lines of papyrus. I am on the subway and the signs that string around the car provide some kind of message worthy of jotting down.  I am caught up in the midst of reading Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice, and a situation that is so peculiar sparks some kind of idea that I could possibly build on.  A quote from V.S. Naipul’s A House For Mr Biswas gives so much inspiration, that it inspires a brain storm that causes me to burst my cloud and let the words all out. Then I am sitting down watching a commercial, and a significant gesture makes me want to write something down.
One day before the break, I found myself looking at the world on a deeper level. I was me in a different mask looking at life through a stranger’s eyes.  It was not my life at all, so I was simply seeing it limited in view.  I became too busy for me.  I stopped writing on my own will except for what was dictated for me to write based on assignments. I stopped holding concerts for the four wooden walls of my basement; literally. I had been trapped in a box unable to find desire or that passion I once held for what gave me my identity.  How could I leave myself out of my own life? I had to change direction.

I couldn’t speed ahead because who knew what would be found there, so I was forced to slow down the process of moving forward to be on the sane side. All I knew was that I had to change the current because who I am required me to put pen to paper, and I stopped doing it without reason or rhyme.  So I decided that it was time to reclaim myself because I am nothing without my passion. That’s when I applied the brakes and suddenly, I began cruising on a Celia Cruz salsa groove that was layered with history and shimmied me back into the flow of things.

My history is writing. I write and I sing. I love to write and I love to sing. Therefore I am a singer and a writer and I claim them both.  And here we are again, on the road to happy. Or rather, on happy. 
Some people depend on substance to give them a boost or a high that just changes the face of the earth, even for a moment in time. But all I need is a notebook and a pen and I am alright because I carry them wherever I go. Writing is my music. Music is in my spirit. I have a song with me at all times. My notebook is almost as important as my ID because in all actualities, my notebook is my ID.  My I.D. and me.  There is no me without it.

My Notebook


And if you were to find one of my many notebooks laying around somewhere, here are some selections you might find (Click on the link to view):



In the Twist of Your Comfort Zone (A Poem)

The Saga of Pinot (A Short Story)

A Piece of Musical Art (A Short Story)

Breakthrough (Lyrics that Made a Song)

Face the Music (Lyrics that Made a Song)



Thank you for Reading. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving filled with family and love. God bless!!! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Year in Review

I find myself in need of moments to refresh and recharge more and more these days. Perhaps it could be that I am an over-analyzer or simply because I have become a professional juggler, trying to handle so many different things in my life at the same time. I admit, nothing has really changed in my life. Yet, it simply satisfies my sweet tooth to make sure that my days are coupled with unique designs and electric movements.

This year has been a really tough one.  I have experienced a layoff, bounced back on the right foot, found placement and have also been continuing my education while I also sing. No one told me that life would be easy except me thinking that I was superwoman and could handle “the fury of the storm as does the willow tree” (James Weldon Johnson).

But besides the things that have happened to me directly, we lost Heavy D who from a distance, practically grew up in the homes of all Americans and abroad. Even though it was on television I would see him, he was always there in his songs, like a cousin who would come by to bring joy to my day. I'll never forget Video Music Box with it's fly videos that used to stream across the scream. Those were some wonderful days.

I used to make it a priority to watch Andy Rooney with his witty self on Sundays and all of a sudden, the inspiring journalist has found a place in heaven.  We have had a major hurricane here in New York and also a snow storm that knocked out power all over. The news seems to have more and more awful stories featured in it everyday which kills the spirit to know awful things happen new and fresh daily; right in our own neighborhoods at that. This world can be a lot to absorb at times.

While my life is a developing story, I have realized some truths about myself. I am my own worst enemy. I have found reasons to doubt in all aspects of my life.  I was trying to pinpoint the very reason and for years found trouble with forgiving myself, even though I had physically moved on with my life, progressively.  Yet, my thoughts seem to retrace their steps back to the past where all things began.  That coupled with trying to survive a turbulent semester has really put a strain on me.

For one, who thought that English was an easy subject to study?  While this question is somewhat rhetorical, it also made me realize how much writing I have not been doing.  Last night, I attended a book signing event featuring Randall Robinson. He recently wrote a book entitled Makeda, and came to talk about it at Medgar Evers College.  And so, with all the desire I had in me to receive some guidance from the author and activists,  I asked him for advice to a young writer. “If you write then love to write but be prepared for failure.” He said, “But keep doing it until the day comes because it will come. If you love to write, write.” 

And so, here we are again, on the blank pages of a document, writing away.  I have been writing for school but have neglected to include myself in writing elsewhere; even in songwriting though I am still head over heels in love with singing.  I am learning to trust God boldly and have decided to join forces with the sun. They say home is in the heart and there is nothing like being in the place where love puts you. Love has put me on a writing frenzy and I feel wonderful and blessed.  And my inspiration came from someone who I hardly even heard about except through the words of a wisdomatic pedagogue.  

If you get the time, you should read Makeda.  Just from Robinson's storytelling, it was wonderful but when I cracked open the book, I found a world of culture and history told in a somewhat fictional way, and it was great.  If you are interested, here is the link: Link to Makeda

This year has been a stretch of strength, soft blows and sudden change. But the rich and bright colors of life have been here with a goal of reincarnating my faith to live organically breezed again. I write this with sisterly affection and intention to just share with you the minutes of my convention. I have a brand new heart and also thankfulness to all those who took the time to read my story.  God bless you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mama I Want to Sing: Writing on the Movie and on Talent; An Extended View

Each person is born with a unique talent. Ephesians 4:1 says that "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." A calling is a direct link between you and God. Our duty is to uncover that gift. That means that we are to follow our dreams with all its risks because our dreams are our very own.

There are millions of movies out there with swarms of talented individuals taking on a role that can make a difference in the mind of the viewer. There are also movies with a message embedded in it that can help a person to thrust forward in something that they can relate to in their own life; especially in holding on to faith and pursuing dreams. That was the message in the movie "Mama I Want to Sing," a movie adapted from a 1986 off-Broadway play written by Talisa Jackson. It spoke to me because I sing, write songs and other things and also produce music and do acting jobs.  It was a movie all about setting your doubts and fears aside to follow the dreams. I used to have fear so much that when I would get on stage to sing a song, I would shake like I had Parkinson’s disease or something; used to be the weirdest thing. It was about believing in yourself even when others you would like to don't. I have had doubt come at me more than softballs hit at me standing at third base ready to out a person ready to run to base to claim a point. But I had to overcome them because singing is my first love. The movie was about using those God-given talents as wings to soar like Eagles. It was about thrusting into the limelight and remembering not to forget where the blessings came from. The movie had a nice storyline and a great message behind it that truly spoke to me.

The entertainer, Ciara is the star of the movie. She plays the role of Doris Winters, a young singer who rises to become a pop superstar. Her father Pastor Kenneth Winters (Marvin Winans) is a preacher at their Harlem-based church where he preaches the good news and instills wisdom to all those who are blessed enough to be in his midst. During one of his Sunday morning sermon's, he falls to his death and leaves behind his wife Lillian Winter (Lynn Whitfield) and his two children Doris and Luke (Kevin Phillips).

Before his passing, Doris' father told her that her dreams are to be pursued if they are worth it; as long as where she came from is never forgotten. And so, her musical career began. She is picked up by her manager Dillan (Billy Zane) who pushes her up the ladder of success. She used the name Amara as her stage name. Her mother is not very happy with her decision. Lynn Whitfield plays the role of a mother always worried about her children. She is worried that Doris will get lost in the limelight of stardom, though she herself has become the star of her own ministerial show preaching the Gospel on a national level. She is also afraid for her son Luke who decides to use his photographical skills to become a photo journalist in Baghdad where he could use his camera as a weapon against war.

Luke is used to wars in his own household. While peace should be the centerpiece of family, sometimes it is the goals of a person that drive families apart. In the movie, "Mama I Want to Sing," Lillian never supported or accepted Doris's musical career and it drove a wedge between them; always arguing and never seeing eye-to-eye. Instead, their relationship was out of control.

Oftentimes, families do not realize the importance of supporting the dreams of their loved ones. But it is important to not neglect your anointing. It was poured into your life for a reason. If your son or daughter decides that they have a dream of doing something, don't nag them because it is not what you want for them. Instead, give them a word of encouragement. What God has for one person may not be what he has for someone else. Just try to be there for them because your children still need you even if they do not agree with you. If your loved one decides they want to pursue something that you feel they will not be great at, do not joke about or downplay their goals. That can cause friction in your relationship which is not a good thing at all. Instead, give them your blessing and send up a prayer for them because that might be the kind of support they need. It is not always about what we want for a person that is important; that person might have their own sets of wants and needs that are important to them. Remember, it is always better to send up a positive force as opposed to negativity.



I know a young girl who wanted to go to college so bad that even though she knew that her parents could not afford to send her, she knew that she would find the way and the means of getting there. She applied for every scholarship and grant that she could. Her friends would look at her as if she was crazy to think that someone was going to just hand her a free pass in. Her sister made her feel as if she was not smart enough to succeed in her ultimate goal. Little did they know that God was working through her as she penned all the essays she had to, to find a way to fulfill her dreams. Then one day, she received a letter in the mail. She won two scholarships that would cover all four years, room and board and her books. If she had listened to her friends, she would have given up, but she knew her own strength and let God lead the way. People may not always have your book or might even hate you for trying to climb higher heights, but it is important to remember that God has the final say. Use the negativity as a stepping stool to rise above it. You have all that it takes to make your dreams come true.

Talent is meant to be used and shared. God says that you have faith as small as a mustard seed, that you will conquer your dreams. If you dance, dance as if you are on a stage in front of millions of people even if nobody is there. If you are a singer, sing with all the voice you got without fear or worry about what anyone has to say. If you are a writer, write. Whatever your dreams are, pray on them because they are your’s and nobody else’s.  It is about exercising your talent and using it because you love it. In the movie "Mama I Want to Sing," Luke was the perfect example of using his talents regardless of consequence. With all he had in him, he packed up his photo equipment and went to Baghdad to pursue his calling because that was what he was born to do. Life is all about staying focused and being patient with God through it all. You can do all things through Christ. Just believe and he will do the rest.

Here are Some Sites To consider For Supporting The Dreams of Your Children:
Dreams Do Come True For Your Children!

Teens and Parents in Conflict

Mama I Want to Sing, the Soundtrack

Collosians 3:21

10 Prayers for Strength

The Dream Giver: Following Your God-given Destiny

Make It Happen
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC_nxHHVDJo


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Layoff Chronicles: How to Survive One; A Poem

Busy working, working hard
No time to dream upon the shooting stars
The only time had is to honor the punched card
Even though it’s been years in that position you’ve been parked

Side of the life cleaning of the dust and the cobwebs
Ticketed for not knowing your right from your left
Now you feel as if you are the victim of a theft
Because you only looked your history and not at the life that’s left

So technology came in and stepped up its game
It’s your turn to bat to try to swing and make it safe
The only thing stopping you is that you’re starting to decay
You never thought about the new world on the way.

So now you are forced to come into the new
Your belief system determines the outcome, but if you fail you are screwed
Now you walk around town crying and feeling blue
Because you feel your length of service guarantees it to you

Though seniority should gear respect in the oncoming transition
The company now puts you in a rush to win the election
Because in order to keep what you have in your present situation
You have to be able to handle a new position

So they call you in and say a layoff is in your future
The cuts and bruises and hurt cannot be sutured
In the dictionary there is no word other than layoff that is uglier
Because not only does it destroy lives, it makes you feel less worth

You worked hard and dedicated all of your time
You were there every day and doing the work right
 You were there for the long run and enjoying the long ride
Until one day out of nowhere, restructuring comes to swipe

It is happening everywhere these days and all
Where companies merge with another or when companies fall
And departments at a time get the layoff call
And you find yourself crying to yourself in the privacy of a bathroom stall

It hit close to home and even happened to me
A shop steward, hardworking employee and the department’s baby
I was given the option to stay or leave
But my life would change regardless of my plea

What was worst was I had to share it with my work crew
They were much older folks and much wiser too
A test would determine their smooth transition into the new
Excel was the cause of some people’s insanity letting loose.

But now we are in the new world and doing okay
Some left with a package while some decided to stay
No longer union or the shop steward but now in a new day
Maybe it was intended for things to happen this way

We can cry about changes that are the only constants in life
I know; it came and totally turned around the smooth running of mine
But it is not the end of the world, just a start of different times
But always remember that God is on your side

My suggestion to you:  learn and keep up to date
Stay positive and don’t let doubt step in the way
Because it is hard to be laid off and not have a steady income rate
And it can be hard to keep positive if laid off when you have a family to raise

Remember to do your research to find out about unemployment benefits
Update your resumes and look for work that you might feel comfortable with
But most of all, keep yourself busy so that during your hardship, you don’t lose it
With God on your side, You have all that it takes to get through this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Student $avings With Microsoft Office Home and Student 2011

           I can’t believe the polite attitudes I was greeted by when I called the Microsoft Office customer service line.  Who would have thought that someone would just sit with me and take the time to deal with my issue for hours without getting tired of working with me on a one on one basis?
It all happened when I went to Staples the other day.   I’ve been so tempted to get a newer version of Microsoft word so that when it comes down to completing papers and assignments for school, I would not come across issues like my free trial has expired or I cannot open this version that was saved on my junk drive in the version that I had stored on my desktop. I also appreciated the fact that with Office 2010, you can save your files as a PDF.  That is such a cool feature and I love it. It comes in handy when teachers post assignments on Blackboard and students are forced to submit completed assignments via Internet; especially since everybody uses a different format of program or even computer type. PDF is standard.  Plus the updated ribbon is also a great feature. And so, I purchased the latest version of Microsoft 2010 Office Home and Student which includes Word, Powerpoint and Excel.
I got excited when I noticed a wall of coupons on the side of the service desk that was for a free download of Access, Outlook and Publisher with any student purchase of Office.  For one, I recently started learning how to use Access and I love it. I think it is such a cool program and I plan to master it someday.  Publisher is a very good program and I also like Outlook since it is a program I am already familiar with, I thought it would be pretty cool to have to use anytime I wanted to. 
I came home and after I uploaded my Office products, I went to the website to get my free downloads, but for some reason, it would not work.  Have you ever tried, tried, and tried again only to fall on your face without any positive solutions. I had followed all the instructions. I even received an email confirming my actions. But for some reason, to download my free products, I couldn’t. I was determined to be able to use Access to create my own databases. I’ve seen it done and got so impressed that I took a training course on it, but with experience comes strength; and that is exactly what I need. So I called.
How cool was it to get a rep, who sat and worked with me until the issue was resolved without getting an attitude or even putting me on hold. She just listened to my concerns, tried to figure things out and fixed it. I finally got it to download after about four or five hours on the phone with her. It was incredible to me that she dedicated her time to me and I truly appreciate good service like that. But not only that, I truly appreciate the free downloads that Microsoft has provided for me for not only buying the product but for being an active student.  
Are you a student interested in purchasing Microsoft Office and Student 2011? If so, you are in for a treat. If you purchase Microsoft Home and Student 2010 from now to September 25, 2011, you qualify for a free upgrade which includes Microsoft Access, Office and Publisher. It works by first downloading the original purchase and then accessing the website www.office.com/3appbonus when you can get your three free products. It’s a pretty cool deal because the Microsoft Office Professional which includes these products runs for over $250 sometimes. To actually get anything free is pretty cool for us students. Visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FLYT2K/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thehaitian&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B004FLYT2K to order your Microsoft Product today. Good luck in your classes. I know I am eager to finish someday soon and am hoping I excel. I hope you do to.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

JNotes - Writer's Log: Organic Band

JNotes - Writer's Log: Organic Band

Organic Band

Something goes on in my head when I think about the band Organic. You might be wondering, Who’s that? Just to let you know, they are a band of musicians and singers from NYC with heart and style. They come from different walks of life but come together on the thing they love the most and do it well as a family.

Who Is Organic?

In this crazy mixed up world, while things can break you down and bring water to your eyes, a group of talented individuals like those in the Organic band are just the thing that can make the difference in relaxing your mind. That is the one thing that had me going in circles when I first became a member of Organic. Organic is that band that has that natural strong flow of life in it; created to bloom in the hearts of others.
   

Organic Band members include Michael Collins who is the band’s keyboardist and musical director.

Also in the band are Phillip Smith on guitar, Ozzie Jones Jr on bass, Martin King on drums, Arielle Adamy on vocals and Stephanie Jeannot on vocals. We work together on cover songs from the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, today’s music, Motown and top 40 music. But we don’t just play the songs, we play them with a touch of incredible love that overflows in the sound that guests come back once more and again to capture.

Have you caught any of the organic shows yet? You should because Organic is an incredible band. You will hear some of your favorite songs being covered well and also receive a great stage performance. There is no sitting around just staring at the band while they are on the stage. No, the crowd is usually up, singing along, dancing and having a great time. When the storms of life are threatening, taking in one of Organic Band’s shows just seems like the perfect thing to get you back on track.

Videos From Past Performances

Here are just some of the videos from their previous shows.

Do I Do Cover
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0q8B18h0F8

Martin King Drum Solo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoZg8_FDjk0&feature=related

Organic Band Instrumentalists Jam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euplfmXsBKA&NR=1

What’ Love Got To Do Cover
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHke9NoUIdE&feature=related


At Last
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYCP4UTYel8

Live Organic Reggae Jam Session
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIK6UOhCEaY


WEBSITES 

You can keep up with Organic to find out more about them like where they will be, Follow them on at http://twitter.com/OrganicetheBand

or

Chek out their gigmaven page at
http://www.gigmaven.com/organicband?f=c

or

friend them on face book to see photos and more at www.facebook.com/people/Essencia-Organiq/100001403667673

 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Enhanced View at Independence Day in New York, 2011



The first Monday in July, 2011



That day of summer joy will be Independence day



A day of sun, family and friends



A night of fireworks over Lady Liberty



What will you do in New York to celebrate her 125th anniversary?



Will you celebrate the beauty of her spirit by reading



“Emma's Poem: The voice of the Statue of Liberty" by Linda Glaser and Claire A. Novala?



Poetry of that beautiful structure that stands on Ellis Island sounds great.



Get your copy
here of their work of her history.


Will you cut a juicy watermelon or barbecue spare ribs?



Will you enter the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest in Coney Island?



Will you bake in the sun at Manhattan beach



And take a swim in some of Brooklyn’s finest water?



What a good way to celebrate this great day of summer.



Or maybe you be at the classic car show in Saratoga’s Congress Park Plaza.



Visit
http://www.saratogajuly4th.com/index.htm for more info on Saratoga All American Celebration.


Will you gaze into the sky



To watch fireworks light up over the city?



Will you enjoy the day of celebration with family?



Will you be at the party on the flight deck of the Intrepid



Taking in the Macy’s fireworks show?



Will you be watching the movie

Independence Day on Widescreen?

Get your copy of Independence Day
Here


and watch it in the comfort of your own home?

Who doesn’t love Will Smith in his air force suit

Defending the earth from an alien invasion?

But that is definitely not the day to be sitting on the couch


Playing all your favorite games on the play station.

Will you be at the four hour top shelf happy hour

At the Hudson Terrace party?

Viewing party will be on West 46th between 11th ad 12th avenue

Visit


http://hudsonterracenyc.com/nightlife/?p=event&i=5 for more info.


Will you start your day in the Cazenovia New York



5 mile to 10 mile races on the morning of July 4th, bright and early.



What a great way to start your Independence day.



Register by June 24th to take part. Visit
http://www.caz4thrun.org/ to run in the race.


Whatever you do on July 4th this year



Make sure it is filled with fun and joy



Get up and have a ball all the day long



But don’t forget your sunscreen and water replenishments



That you might spend it in dancing in the sun



Enjoying summer’s warm weather and time with family and friends.

















Saturday, June 4, 2011

Running for a Higher Purpose All Over The World

Everybody has their passion. There is that one thing for everybody, which seems to bring a genuine smile to the face. For me, it is singing. Some people love to dance. Others enjoy running.
The idea of a love for running was no surprise to me. My best friend in college was on the track team and he was an amazing runner. I had a young cousin who in her high school days would accomplish incredible feats on the track field. For some, running is their life.
On Saturday, May 21st, 2011, there was a half marathon in Brooklyn, NY.  Over 8,000 runners gathered to run 13.1 miles across Brooklyn. The race began at 7AM in Prospect Park and ended on Coney Island’s boardwalk. Some of the running clubs that took part were Van Cortland Track Club, ING, Central Park Track Club, New York Flyers, Dashing Whippets, Prospect Park Track Club and Christian Runners Group.
I became very interested when one of the many runners from the Christian Runners group stopped and told me about their organization. The Christian Runners do not only run in marathons in groups, but run throughout different cities in entire groups and encourage others to come and run or walk. Their organization’s headquarter is in Atlanta, but they have locations around the United States and Canada and overseas.
The important thing is to get out there and do it to give your heart that love it needs. Maybe you have found interest in gaining running stamina but never pursued it. Or perhaps you or someone you love has found a desire to do more walking but hasn’t felt comfortable going alone. The Christian Runners Organization has found a way to make a difference in that. They run together to further the kingdom of God. They seek fellowship and encourage like a family would to fight against that deadly disease known as heart disease that take so many lives unnecessarily. I’m actually thinking about getting up one morning to do their 7AM session. They have different distances for runners and walkers and I can appreciate that.  But first, I think I might pick up a good pair of sneakers.
It has been said that after running on the same pair of sneakers for about six months, the support is no longer there.  I like Ryka sneakers. Have you ever tried them?  I have flat feet and they have a great arch.  Ryka sneakers seem to have just the right amount of support for my ankles and ever since I was introduced to them by Avon back in 2003, I have been wearing Ryka faithfully. Check out the full line of  Ryka Sneakers  at Amazon. Hopefully you’ll find the right running sneaker for you also.
The thought of running aside the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn seems pretty interested but I am not much of a runner. So I’ll walk sometimes and run sometimes. And you can join too. Check out their website at http://www.christianrunners.org to find out when and where the next meet up run/walk will be in your area and sign up to be a part. Maybe I’ll see you there some day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Let's Talk Cardio!!!

I remember the first time I went to the gym to work with a trainer. It was an incredible experience. He pushed me to the limit and even though sometimes I objected or whined about how much I couldn’t do it, I did.  Those were some excellent workouts that he had me doing and until today, I cherish the thought of having someone get you to know the power that you truly have within. 

During one of my sessions, the trainers were competing against each other. Their trainers were to do a series of exercises, workout progress and more.  One of the tests us trainees had to do was to run on the treadmill for 12 minutes. Since that was a part of my daily routine with him, I knew it would be a piece of cake.

I started on my 12 minutes and when I reached a mile, I got a little lazy and stopped really pushing. I ended doing about 1.1 mile in 12 minutes. While I thought that was great, the rating I received was average. I was surprised but also motivated to come up some.

Everyday from that point on, I was on a mission to do 1.5 miles of running in 12 minutes and after a few tries, I accomplished it.  Bally’s Fitness Club seems to make it even easier for their customers to stay on the treadmills. For one, now the treadmills have fans on them.  Seems a little odd right?  You are on the treadmill sweating and having the fan blow right at your chest. Catching a cold was my initial worry. Yet, for some reason, I seem to look for the ones with the fans now because it makes the running experience great.

Another thing is that Bally’s has these big screen televisions strewn across the wall. On some screens, you can watch the videos of the exercise music that is streaming in the background.  Others show sports programs. Then there are other screens that have popular shows on them. The television is a good option. Though sometimes I like to bring a magazine to read while I am walking, you can’t really read and run at the same time; so the television is a good distracter from checking the time left ever two seconds. There is something else and better to focus on.

Though running is one of the most effective ways to lose belly fat, it is not the only exercise that you can do to give your heart the love it deserves. Jogging, speed and moderate walking are also great cardiovascular exercises. If you are the type of person who enjoys sprint running, run.  Some people might prefer jogging; so jog.  But jog to the best of your ability to nurture your heart.

If you are unable to run, don’t let it discourage you from showing your heart love.  Walk! Walking is excellent. Next time you get on the train, get off one stop earlier than normal and walk. Instead of getting off the train and waiting for the cross town buses, walk the three city blocks. Three city blocks are equivalent to a half a mile. Instead of driving to the supermarket up the block and around the corner, walk. Do a community walk. Even some of the marathons get individuals who instead walk for five miles. Not only are they great workouts but they are also charity events.

I actually tried walking home from school one day. A 2.9 mile walk took me 45 minutes and I felt invigorated. It is not about distance or time but more about doing the necessary actions to keep your heart healthy. The more exercises you do that benefit the heart, the less of a chance you have for developing preventable diseases.   Why not do something for your heart today and get into the keep your heart happy and healthy exercises. 

If you know of any others that might benefit each other, please share it because I am very interested. Hope to be chatting with you soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Suzanne Engo To Speak on HIV/AIDS Awareness Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College always seems to have some great events happening right within the doors of their educational center. They have the tendency to not only keep their students educated to the best of standards, but also keep them informed with what is going on in today’s world.

Beginning May 8, 2011 begins HIV/AIDS awareness week. It is a week of getting the message across to the world that HIV/AIDS is real and that there are many people living with the virus. It is a week to promote the HIV/AIDS prevention.

It is common that many college in their Freshman years where they experience independence, enter the world of sexual contact for the first time. But even in the first interaction of sexual activity, a person can come in contact with HIV/AIDS and/or many of the other several sexually transmitted diseases.

Suzanne Engo has conquered tremendous feats in her lifetime. Since the age of six years old, she has been dedicated to fighting against the HIV/AIDS virus. She was named one of the top 40 youth who fight against AIDS by MTV. When she was twelve, she and several women co-founded African Action on AIDS (AAA). She has dedicated her life to living a life of fitness and AIDS awareness.  Of some of the many walk/runs she has participated in, she has run across the states from NYC to Chicago and internationally she ran across parts of Europe and Africa. She also cofounded the New York AIDS Film Festival.

In the Founder’s Auditorium of Medgar Evers Bedford Building, Medgar Evers College will take part in the fight against HIV/AIDS. AIDS activist Suzanne Engo will deliver a keynote address on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM as part of HIV/AIDS awareness week. 

More about Suzanne Engo

An article on Ms. Engo appeared in A&U magazine. If you would like to read the article, visit  the following link: http://aumag.org/wordpress/?p=1379

Suzanne “AFRICA” Engo is officially ranked one of the top 40 youth AIDS activists in the
world as proclaimed by MTV NETWORKS and the KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION
who put her face on the Times Square MTV jumbotron on World AIDS Day. The article was featured on CNN’s website. You can read it at http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-57213  


Read about the Cameroonian Philanthropists which include Suzanne Engo among others.




Saturday, April 23, 2011

Singer Stephanie Jeannot


Stephanie Jeannot is a singer and songwriter who grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She had an awesome upbringing and was provided for by excellent parents who did their best to build her up with their Christian values.

It is said that every child is born with a unique gift and her’s is singing. She started singing at the age of six years old when she heard the song “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” by Deniece Williams and has grown to love the art ever since.

Since then, she sung in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Elementary School church choir, St. Edmund’s Catholic High School choir, the New Age choir at Temple University, and then went on to become the worship leader at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Elementary School church in which she attended during her elementary school days. Upon leaving her role as worship leader, she became the youth choir director at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and also worked as the choir director for the mass choir.

While she grew up and found training in both classical and Gospel music, she also had opportunities working in the studio, on stage with some fabulous bands and doing stage work in a few off-Broadway plays including “Rock-A-My Soul where she portrayed a role as a Southern Bell.

She has worked with Ma’at the Band, Nineteen South the Band, Organic the Band, The Renegade Band and Jamaikit Funky Band. She has performed at such places as the Riverside Church, The renowned Apollo Theatre, Harvey’s Lounge, Club Essence, Russos on the Bay, The Norfolk Country Club and The Bean Runner Café among many others. If you are interested in having her perform at one of your events which include but is not exclusive to weddings, corporate events, street fairs, bar mitzvah, mother's day celebrations, birthday parties, and more, please feel free to visit her gigmasters page at http://www.gigmasters.com/Variety-Singer/Stephanie-Jeannot/ where you can check out her repertoire, listen to a few clips of her singing live at past events, and book her for your special event.

Stephanie Jeannot is also a producer of music in which she writes and produces many of her original songs. Recently, three of her original songs have been distributed to the public and are available at ITunes. Go to ITUNES and do a search on Stephanie Jeannot to download her tracks for $0.99 or you can visit her tunecore tuneplayer http://widget.tunecore.com/swf/tc_run_h_v2.swf?widget_id=63255
where you can listen to a snippet and download today.

If you are interested in finding out more about Stephanie or keeping up to date with upcoming events, please join her twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/musiqal1 to stay informed. Also, she has a youtube channel where you can see videos from her past performances. You can check them out at http://www.youtube.com/user/sj1and0?feature=mhum
                                                                                                       

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Quote Mile Stretch

A few years back, I was invited by the chief shop steward of my local union to attend a shop stewards seminar.  I am a shop steward for the Local 153 division of OPEIU and it was such a great meeting. Not only was it informative, but it was the way that the proctor conducted it that kept me going.

He used a series of quotes to help people to identify with him. Ever since that day, I have fallen in love with quotes. I have never found myself looking for quotes more than I do now. I think that sometimes the intelligent things that people say can have a direct effect on my life. And because they do, I have chosen to add quotes to the flow of this blog to talk about a few things that have recently entered my mind about the state of being and defining life.

While we can define life, can life really be summarized in just a few paragraphs.  I mean think about this, in 31 in a half years of life, a person lives through one billion seconds of breath.  In one billion seconds, there are so many things to have gone through that I would see it as impossible; even in the simple filling out of an application or just putting together a resume that truly points out who you are or what you know.

“There are only a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and change.” – Darren Hardy

I am starting to agree with this quote. As I grow older, I have found that the only thing that has remained constant in my life was my ability to change my mind. I love doing so many things that my heart seems to switch very easily.

Back in 2005, I set a goal for my year that I was going to start dieting and exercising and decided that I was not going to allow anything to stand in my way.  From that moment on, I gave up eating meat and went to the gym seven days a week.  I even got a trainer to help me work out at my local Ballys.

In just three months, I lost fifty pounds and dropped from a size 14 to a size six. It was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced. My peers could not believe my instant success. Not only did I look great, but I felt great to have been able to accomplish something of that enormity.

I enjoyed the idea of working out so much that I had decided I wanted to do something in my future that involved directing people how to work out.  So I decided to change my major from Psychology to Physical Education.  For one, I loved working with youth, enjoyed the idea of education and was really motivated at the idea of working out.

Like Darren Hardy’s quote said, the idea of physical education as a major brought on the death of my previous major of Psychology. Though it had been about seven years since I had been enrolled in a collegiate program to obtain a degree, it had changed my mind and made me want to go back to school again.  And suddenly, I was being taxed over $3000 for enrolling in two classes.  But it was what I wanted to do and so I did it.

“Excellence is a process, not an event.” – Mark Zimmerman

After three months and losing 50 pounds, I should have stuck to what I was doing? The faster you lose it, the faster you gain it back. But as soon as the 50 pounds were eliminated, I stopped doing the exercise and the dieting that had got me there and that was a mistake. 

I lost my ground. I started to lose hope in myself. All the work I had done to get where I was, was for nothing because in a short matter of time, I gained all the weight back. When Mark Zimmerman said excellence is a process, it is true because it was the process of sticking to the plan that got me to the event and once the event happened, the process was eliminated.

I rejoiced in the event as opposed to the process which was more important. My life journey was suddenly changed by my downfall. But how could I have allowed myself to satisfy the skeptics who saw my failure before it even occurred? It was important for me to learn how to find my groove back so instead of letting my gaining the weight back upset me, I found ways to be motivated to find another approach to keep joy flowing in my life; especially since Brad Worthley said, "your smile is your biggest assett."  I couldn't let my shaky ground steal my smile.  

“Be creative and have the tenacity to make lemonade out of sour situations” – John C. Maxwell

 It is true that when you are at the end of your hope, some of the most creative things can come out. I wrote more poems and songs in that short period than I ever had. I started gaining confidence in other areas.

Songwriting seemed to really be calling my name.  I had never felt more inspired to do so.  I started going to this open mic night at Soul Café that kiss FM used to host ever Sunday night and would switch up sometimes doing covers and sometimes doing originals.

I met a few amazing friends there who later on got me into the studio.  With one, we worked on about four songs and with another, we worked on over thirty original tunes. It was then when I decided that I wanted to try producing music on my own.

And so, I started building a studio.  I purchased a little Tascam US 122 soundboard thinking that as a  beginner, I didn’t really need something so sophisticated. I got a Triton LE keyboard with 61 keys and the Sonar Cakewalk software with the hopes that I would be able to produce my own music.

I enjoyed the process of going to my friends’ studios and working together as a team to produce some amazing songs but the experience of sitting at the booth and working on the musical tracks and then laying down the vocals was such a wonderful experience. If you are looking for the perfect keyboard for your studio, check out the  Korg TRITON LE 61 - Key Workstation. It’s a great piece of equipment.

“Visions are God’s ways of communicating things.” – Russell Simmons.

I seen it for myself that when you get a vision, sometimes you cannot just let it go because you might forget it. I remember when I was working in the off-Broadway musical, “Rock-A-My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” a friend of mine was a songwriter and whenever a song idea would come to her, she would run to her cell phone to leave herself a message of the exact melody that she thought of. Even if it was during a short three minute break for costume change, she was ready to record the ideas that flowed through her mind. 

Her responsiveness to her own creativity never left my mind. Until today, I follow her mind set so that when I get home I will be able to go and work on that song idea.  I could be standing at the bus stop with ten thousand people waiting for the B49, but when a song idea comes to me, I just start singing and find a way to record a voice note to make sure I won’t forget it. Listen to some of my orginal songs at www.myspace.com/melodiaz

But there are more things that amp my vision for a song; if I hear a great message, I am constantly writing key words that I hear from it. It is weird how many pages of basic thoughts from inspirers who really speak to me and make me want to write. I think that is when I decided to change my major to English. But perhaps I chose English as a major for the wrong reasons.

“The most important relationship in the world is the one you have with yourself because everyone and everything is a direct reflection of the quality of that. So when you invest in your own personal growth, you have an unshakable sense of self.” – Mari Smith

I thought that as an English major, I could become better grounded in saying the right thing so I could apply that into songwriting.  I wanted to familiarize myself with the language so I could use it to my advantage in my songs. Should I have majored in music?  I mean, if it had not been for my high school English teacher's forcing us to memorize and interpret Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech, I would never love English as much as I do now.  I wanted to write like the great William Shakespeare. I wanted to move people like Langston Hughes. I wanted to write amaing articles like NY Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert. But I also wanted to write songs as wonderfully as Carole King. So I thought English was the major that would get me there.

I love to sing, but I also love to write.  Singing is one of those things that I wake up thinking about. I don’t remember a day that I didn’t envision myself one day singing on that Grammy stage.  While that is a dream that might seem a little far fetched, dreaming is healthy. 

I also love to write and am learning to love so many different aspects of it, now that I am pursuing a degree in English. Check out some of the things I have written at http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/56521/stephanie_jeannot.html

"You have to be willing to learn new things everyday, every minute." - Russell Simmons

I took this amazing poetry class during my occupation as a college student and it has helped me to use the English language in a different way in my songs, which I love. I never thought it would be so challenging being that I have bins full of notebooks featuring poetry. But it was a great experience learning different forms of it and tapping into my creativity to write what the old me hadn't.

I am really enjoying the idea of writing articles in magazines while taking a course on Magazine article writing which is really great. I used to always receive the greatest remarks on my papers with teachers actually telling me they would write me reference letters based on my writing, but she critiques me in ways that make me want to come up some in my writing. I may not be happy with her comments, but I know it is only to help me to improve on myself.

I also enjoy the idea of perhaps writing grants as I am learning about the process in my Advanced Professional writing class. I have many books on writing grants but I think I like the idea of learning from a live instructor; moreeover, someone who was successful with it, to learn what worked for him. But one class has made me think differently about English as a whole and that is Technical writing.

‘Each person has to be moved individually before the audience can be moved.” – Peter Guber

I was a head counselor at a summer camp one year, and during one of my breaks, I took a walk over to Staples. It must have been my luck because on that day, they had a $10 off anything in the store coupon in the circular. I left Staples with so many free things that day, that from that point on, I have became Staples biggest fan.

While some find their favorite shopping items being purses, shoes, hats or other things, my favorite thing to buy is paper. I love paper. I like pretty paper that I can write poetry on. But I also love stationary that I can do other creative things with like creating business cards, flyers, brochures, posters, press kits, event programs and other technical documents.

I have been creating promotional items for years, but never considered it as a field in the English department to pursue. Even when I worked on my self-published Gospel album, “I Believe,” and was creating posters, flyers and other promotional items, I never considered that I was involved in a field that I might actually be able to pursue. Technical writing is a great field and I am very interested now. "I Believe" is currently available at http://melodiaz.0catch.com/Profile.html 

Sometimes, too much to think about causes us to stop thinking all together and do nothing.” – Darren Hardy

When there are so many interests, which one is the door to success? When you do so many things, which of those things that you are doing are the ones that you choose to stick with?  Am I to pursue a career in health care administration because I have worked in that field for the past decade?  I am more than experienced in that field. Maybe that is the best road? 

What about singing though?  I love to sing. Do I just not pursue it to follow another star?  But I am really good at it.  Do I just let go of something I have been dreaming of for my entire life?

I have been writing poetry since the eighth grade?  I have attempted writing a poetry book in my past.  But then I also enjoy writing freelance articles.  Can I just claim a title as a freelance writer which does not tie me to any particular field? Or do I have to choose to be a grant writer or a technical communicator just to fill out an application? 

Then lately, I have been considering completing my English bachelors degree and going for a masters degree in nutrition to write about nutrition and fitness; especially since these past few days have been submerged in a new lifestyle diet and these great Nintendo Wii Fit games that have changed my exercise habits and have actually been helping me in my fitness quest.

“Whether you like it or not, reality has a good grip on you.” – Glenn Solomon

What if I still don’t know which way to go? How can I look for a job when I don’t know what I want to do?  Does monster.com have job postings for singers? I never had a harder time with an assignment to simply find a job posting and write a resume than I do now. I already have a resume.

The problem is, it does not feature the career experiences; only my jobs. But that is what a resume is supposed to have on it right?  

Eventually one has to choose. The challenge is choosing the right thing. While many know what they want to do in their prime, I am already almost halfway to my Biblical promise of 70 years, and I am still trying to decide.

If it were possible, I would just want to write on my resume, to pursue being a business owner. Maybe I should have majored in business.  Maybe I’ll figure it out one day. Maybe I’ll write the next best novel featured on Success Magazine’s top ten books of the month.  Or maybe I will see that performance on the Grammy stage fulfilled.  While I am left with many questions, the true answer is, wherever God leads me I will follow.  So I know I’ll be okay because my faith has me praying for it. If you are interested, let’s network on twitter with each other. Find me at www.twitter.com/musiqal1