My Oscar Favorites

Anyone else excited about the upcoming Oscars on Sunday evening? No! Only me? 😁 I often listen silently when I hear acquaintances say that they have never seen any or have only seen one or two of the films nominated for the Oscars because invariably by the time the Oscar nominations roll around I have seen every single film nominated and am usually able to predict which films will be nominated for the coveted award as soon as I leave the movie theatre, or even while watching the movie, as was the case when I saw Rami Malek in his stellar portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie about the rise of the British rock band Queen.

I was so blown away by Malek’s performance that before I even left the movie theatre I texted my friend, Carmen, who is a big fan of Queen and told her that not only should Malek be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his iconic performance at the Oscars this year but that he should also win.

20190222_130147848854011655318773.jpg

That’s Malek on the left, during my favorite scene in the movie, and the legendary Mercury on the right.

I had never even heard of the actor Rami Malek before watching Bohemian Rhapsody but I grew intrigued after seeing the film and did a little research. I watched a few YouTube videos of him being interviewed and his general presence is so endearing. What a humble and grateful guy. His humility alone makes me want him to win Best Actor.

Admittedly, the Best Actor race is pretty tough this year. Among them we have the likes of Christian Bale, who did an amazing portrayal of Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice and the always immaculate, absolutely gorgeous Bradley Cooper, who plays an unkempt, washed-up Country singer suffering from alcohol addiction in A Star is Born.

Cooper himself has been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar a total of 4 times (including this year’s nomination) and to date has never won. He is also the first actor to be nominated 3 years in a row, with a nomination in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook (among my top 5 favorite movies ever), in 2014 for American Hustle and again in 2015 for American Sniper. I wouldn’t be upset if Malek lost to Cooper since Cooper, who is an incredibly brilliant actor, has gone home empty-handed so many times, but my money is on Malek.

The other 2 Best Actor nominees are Willem Dafoe, who was fantastic, I mean really fantastic playing the tormented and troubled painter Vincent Van Gough in At Eternity’s Gate and Viggo Mortensen, whose most famous roles were in The Lord of the Rings and Captain Fantastic (another movie I loved), where he was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Lady Gaga has been bestowed with the honor of a nomination for Best Actress for her leading role alongside Cooper for A Star is Born. There is no doubt that there was undeniable chemistry between Gaga and Cooper in the movie, but steamy love scenes and impeccable vocals are not enough for her to take home the coveted Best Actress statue this Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gaga, she is an incredibly talented musician and she played the hell out of Ally, her character in the movie, but compared to the other ladies she is up against in the Best Actress category I honestly don’t think her role was the best performance.

I would like to see either Glenn Close, who is nominated for her role in The Wife, which I reviewed in a past blog post you can read it here Let’s Go to the Movies! or Olivia Colman, who is nominated for her role as the eccentric Queen Anne, who was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1702 to 1714, for her role in The Favourtie.

Both actresses, Close and Colman, gave stellar performances in their respective movies, but if I had to pick just one I would go with Close since I have been a fan since she tormented the duplicitous and unfaithful Michael Douglas back in 1987’s Fatal Attraction. Close was a force to reckon with then and now 30 plus years later she’s still a force to reckon with. She is an accomplished actress, who has been nominated for an Oscar 7 times but still hasn’t taken home the coveted statue. If Lady Gaga gets an Oscar before Glenn Close I would not be pleased.

Glenn Close and Lady Gaga at The 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards, where they both won the Best Actress award. It was a tie.

Olivia Coleman, despite being an accomplished actress herself is pretty new to me. Further research has shown that she’s a British actress that came on the scene in 2000 with her most well-known role being that of the more mature Queen Elizabeth II in Season 3 of the popular Netflix series The Crown.

The other contenders for Best Actress are the newcomer, Yalitza Aparicio for Roma and the very funny and popular Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy has been nominated a few times and has won an Emmy for her role as Molly in the CBS hit sitcom Mike and Molly but this is only her second Oscar nomination, her first being for Supporting Actress back in 2012 for her laugh out loud, hilarious role in Bridesmaids, another one of my faves. McCarthy is nominated this year for her work in Can You Ever Forgive Me? A very gripping tale, the true story of Lee Israel, a reclusive, bestselling novelist who had to resort to illegal activities just to pay her rent when she was no longer able to get published. An excellent biographical film, which I truly enjoyed.

Richard E. Grant, McCarthy’s co-star in Can You Ever Forgive Me, is up for Best Supporting Actor. I like Richard E. Grant from his days of playing Simon in Downton Abby and I thought his performance as a lying yet endearing copycat and imitator in Can You Ever Forgive Me? is worthy of the Oscar nomination he has received, but I would like to see Mahershala Ali win for his role as the pompous, classical pianist Don Shirley in Green Book.

Mahershala Ali, who first came to my attention as Remi in the Netflix series House of Cards, has been on the rise ever since and was the Oscar winner just 2 years ago for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight. I am hoping he does it again and delivers one of his insightful, very appreciative thank you speeches.

Sam Rockwell, who currently holds the most recently awarded Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is nominated again this year for his portrayal of George Bush Jr. in the movie Vice. If he wins this year then he would be the second actor in the history of the awards ceremony to win consecutive Oscars for Best Supporting Actor. The only other actor to have done so was Jason Robards, remember him?

The 2 other contenders for Best Supporting Actor is Adam Driver from HBO’s Girls fame, who is nominated for his performance in BlacKkKlansman and Sam Elliot for A Star Is Born.

I am disappointed that Driver’s fellow co-star in BlacKkKlansman, John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington, did not pick up a nomination for his brilliant leading role in the movie. I thought for sure he would have been nominated for lead actor.

For Best Supporting Actress the contenders are Amy Adams, who gave a masterly performance as Lynn Cheney in Vice. I am a huge fan of Adams and was rooting for her the other 6 times she was nominated for an Oscar, especially for her nominations for Doubt and American Hustle but this year I am going with my girl, Regina King, for her candid Mama Bear performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. Loved the book, liked the movie, loved Regina King in the movie.

Regina King happily accepting her Golden Globe earlier this year for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

I have been a fan of King since her days on the TV sitcom 227 and later on when she played the annoying next-door neighbor in the hit movies Boyz in the Hood and again in Friday. King has been cleaning up on the awards circuit this year bringing home both the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Awards for her Beale Street role, here’s hoping she does it again on Sunday night at the Oscars.

The other nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Marina de Tavira, whom I have never heard of but liked her acting in Roma and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz both of whom played alongside Olivia Colman in the historical period piece, The Favourite. Stone and Weisz are extremely talented actresses in their own right, Stone has been nominated for an Oscar 3 times already and has won once, for her role in La La Land, a movie I thoroughly hated. I like Stone though and think she should have been nominated last year when she played the role of tennis great Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes. While Weisz won an Oscar for her 2005 supporting role in The Constant Gardener, a movie I still haven’t seen.

There are 8 movies nominated for Best Picture this year, all of them very good films, despite being very different from each other. This year we have our first superhero film nominated for Best Picture, it was the highest grossing film of 2018 and perhaps the most popular film of 2018. I loved Black Panther, saw it in the movie theater not once, not twice but three times. In as much black pride as I was filled with watching Black Panther I don’t think it deserves to win Best Picture, simply because it’s a movie about make-believe and fantasy in general.

BlacKkKlansman, the true to life story of a black man who was able to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan is the movie that deserves the Best Picture award. Brilliantly acted, well written, with some laugh out loud funny lines, and relatable experiences permeate the entire plot of this must-see film. Spike Lee, who is one of the producers and the director of BlacKkKlansman, has been in the movie-making industry for decades and this is his first nomination from the Academy. It would be a joy to watch him take home both the Best Picture and Best Director statutes on Sunday night, if not both, then one or the other.

Spike Lee is nominated for his first Oscar this year.

My other favorite to win Best Picture is The Favourtie. Period pieces are some of my favorite films and this was a remarkable movie. This film had 3 powerhouse actresses, Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz sharing equal screen time playing off of each other in a very dramatic story filled with unbelievable twists and turns, which made The Favourite a very entertaining film. It’s up for Best Director as well and leads this year’s Oscars with 10 nominations alongside Roma, that also has an equal 10.

The other Best Picture nods are A Star Is Born, which in my opinion shouldn’t win since it lacks originality. This is the 4th time A Star Is Born has been made. I enjoyed the movie but enough already. We also have Vice, which is an excellent political drama. It’s very one-sided in its liberalistic story-telling but a good movie nonetheless. Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book and Roma round out the Best Picture list, of which Roma has also been nominated for Best Director.

Roma, a Netflix movie, was the last of the nominated films that I watched. It’s a subtitled Spanish film done entirely in black and white, with excellent cinematography. It tells the story of Cleo, a Mexican maid (the role is played by Yalitza Aparicio, nominated for Best Actress), and the trauma she endears in 1970s Mexico City. The story also parallels the life of her white employee played by Marina de Tavira, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Roma, which is directed by Oscar-winning Alfonso Cuaron, has been doing well on the awards circuit this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they also cleaned up at the Oscars. Despite being a decent film it’s not my favorite to win in any category. The Academy has been known to blaze its own trail and not necessarily follow the choices of the Golden Globes, The Critics Choice or even the SAG awards. Let’s hope this rings true for this year as well as it relates to Roma.

The movie-junkie in me is excited for Sunday night and I can’t wait to see who this year’s winners will be. Let’s hope I won’t be as disappointed as I was last year when, as my friend so eloquently puts it “the movie about the strange fish in the water” won for Best Picture. She was referring to the Shape of Water. Oh, what a stupid movie that was!

5 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

Marriage is one hell of a compromise, sometimes we have to give a little to get a little in order to get through certain disagreements that being in a relationship inevitably brings. I sometimes forget that I have a good man, a great man even; and admittedly I sometimes tend to take him for granted, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I cannot think of a better time to let both him and the World know how much I love, respect, adore and appreciate him.

1. He is Reliable

He is not the take out the garbage kind of reliable. Lord knows that there are too many times that I have to drag the garbage out myself on the night before Sanitation comes since my husband always forgets garbage day but he’s the kind of the mortgage is due on the 5th and it will get paid reliable. I can count on him for the big things, the important things.

Greg has a saying, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll wrap my arms around the situation and take care of it.”

The first time I heard those words from him was 3 months into our dating. I was faced with a seemingly daunting situation. Said situation had nothing to do with Greg. I was just sharing my plight with him since he was my boyfriend at the time. I didn’t expect him to fix it. I didn’t expect him to even assist me in any way. Greg saw it differently though. He didn’t like to see me sad or worried and he said as much. He told me he “would wrap his arms around the situation and take care of it” and he certainly did, much to my surprise and pleasure.

To this day, 6 years later, he still says those words to me, big problem – leaky roof; or minor problem – slow leak in my tire. Greg is always willing and ready to wrap his arms around any and all problems and fix it.

2. He Loves My Son

When I met Greg I had been divorced from my first husband for 9 years and was raising my son alone. Don’t get me wrong, my Ex was/is still very much a part of my son’s life but the reality is that he is a weekend Dad, more like an every other weekend Dad, so the bulk of the responsibility of rearing Blake, my son, fell solely on me.

The middle of the night fevers was all me. Teaching my son how to read and doing school projects with him was all me. Schlepping him back and forth to all his activities, which over the years included soccer, baseball, piano, Tae Kwon Do, the flute, football and swimming lessons all me. So Blake and I became a little team since it was just me and him for as long as I can remember. Like every parent, I love my child, therefore, my main concern with dating as a single parent was if you can’t love my child then we can’t date. We, Blake and I, came as a package deal, there is no having me if you can’t accept him.

When I split from Blake’s dad, you can read all about it here 5 Lessons I Learned from my Divorce, Blake was only a year old. I started dating again when Blake was barely 2 and I had the unfortunate experience of coming across men who didn’t care to hear me talk about my son, much less want to meet him, or didn’t understand when I had to cancel a date because I couldn’t find a babysitter.

I had a policy that I never wanted to date men who didn’t have any children of their own because they wouldn’t understand my obligation to my child so I was hesitant when I met childless Greg. Surely, he wouldn’t get it either; but what a pleasant surprise Greg proved to be when just a month into dating he suggested that the 3 of us hang out on a Saturday afternoon because he wanted to meet this Blake that I talked incessantly about.

Well, the rest they say is History, they bonded over skateboarding and watching WWE wrestling, and when Greg suggested that I allow Blake to stay up past his bedtime on weekends and I actually complied that was when Greg became almost God-like in Blake’s eyes. It didn’t take Blake very long to figure out that if he needed something from me it might be best to go through Greg first since it might increase his chances of getting what he wants.

The first time I heard Greg refer to Blake as “our son” I melted. I knew right then and there that he was a keeper.

3. He’s My Biggest Fan

Greg believes that I am “all that and a bag of chips”. Like seriously, this guy thinks that not only am I great but that I can do anything. He never ever doubts me, even when I doubt myself. I once read somewhere that if one person sees you as succeeding then you will succeed. Well, Greg is my one person.

During my seemingly endless dating years, I remember wishing for that one guy that would love me for me, with all my imperfections and idiosyncrasies. Someone who, no matter my shortcomings, would be able to accept me. Everyone seemed so judgmental and was looking for perfection, despite not being perfect themselves. I am oh so thankful that my husband doesn’t judge me and accepts our differences.

Greg doesn’t dim my light, he supports and encourages me. I remember waking up last year and out of nowhere told him I wanted to write a book but I needed to start writing a Blog first in order to hone my writing skills and build my voice. Despite having zero writing experience and publications Greg was excited for me and truly believes that I possess the talent to one day write a New York Times Bestseller. As I procrastinated, Greg would ask me every day had I started writing my Blog yet.

I have never had a partner that wanted me to shine as much as Greg. He sees my talents as limitless and that makes me believe in myself.

4. I Like How He Treats Others

Greg is so nice. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have wonderful things to say about him. When you first meet a man or a woman, listen to the way their own people talk about them. Greg is loved and I saw that quickly when he was among his co-workers and his friends. People like him and respect him.

A few months into dating, Greg and I were in a building looking for a specific office, we came across the Janitor and I will never forget the manner in which Greg spoke to him. He addressed the Janitor as “Sir” and was so respectful in his ensuing conversation with him. I think that was when I started falling for him.

I once went on a date with a guy who yelled at our waiter. The waiter had made an obvious mistake but being talked down to by my date was uncalled for. On the way home, we argued about the way in which he spoke to the waiter, that was the decline of “our getting to know each other” phase. How you treat others, especially those who might be lesser off than you, speak volumes about who you are.

I have always been delighted with the manner in which Greg talks to and interacts with everyone, be it the janitor, or the crossing guard, or the housekeeper; Greg is always kind and respectful.

5. He is Eye Candy

You know how sometimes you meet a guy or gal and they have such amazing personalities but they might not be physically your ideal but you’ll date them anyway because they are so sweet. Thankfully, I didn’t need to settle on physicality with Greg. I am very attracted to my husband.

At our wedding, we wrote and spoke our own vows to each other, I remember saying how very attractive I am to Greg and then mentioning that I never get tired of seeing him naked – I had all our guests in stitches – Poor Greg blushed so hard he turned visibly red…Well, I can safely say 6 years later I still like to see him naked. 😉

20190213_2154343853607596947095728.jpg

Happy Valentine’s Day, Greg! I know this blog post will surprise you.

The Art of Conversation – Part 2

Have you ever met someone and knew for sure you wouldn’t like them? The first time I came across a blog post by http://bottomlesscoffee007.com I was so sure the post was written by someone I could never like. His views didn’t align with mine at all and he was harsh in his criticism of “the other side”; and since I am here (on WordPress) for some lighthearted conversation and humor, I stopped myself from leaving a commentary with my opposing views and just moved along to someone else’s blog post.

It was only a couple of days later when BottomlessCoffee007 showed up again. This time he was in the comment section of my blog post. I rolled my eyes when I first got the notification that he had left a comment on one of my posts. What did he have to say about what I had written? As luck would have it he had left a humorous comment. I chuckled as I read it and then I replied. A few minutes later I got a notification that he was now “following” my Blog and since I am a big advocate of reciprocity I followed him back and that was how 007 and I started.

He would show up in my Inbox daily, sometimes twice or thrice with his controversial opinions, arguments, and rants. Admittedly, his pieces were thought-provoking and gave rise to discourse, even though they were views I didn’t readily share. I eventually started commenting on some of his posts and lo and behold he wasn’t miffed whenever I didn’t agree with him, which happens frequently.😃 We would oftentimes go back and forth several times on just one of his post and in the end, we would always agree to disagree.

I came to admire the manner in which he wrote his pieces and invited dialogue. He addresses every issue you put forth before him and he is never obnoxious in his response to your comments even when you have opposing views. It’s surprising to me that 007 has become one of my favorites on WordPress, despite his controversy, and I am learning to embrace our differences.

007’s blog has taken on a life of its own and now he even has his very own Podcast, which has risen in popularity in only a few months. I am honored to have been the first Blogger he interviewed on his Podcast back in December. You can listen to that interview here: The Art of Conversation. We recently switched seats and he allowed me to interview him, in an effort to have his readers learn more about him. It was truly an interesting and fun conversation that lasted over an hour and forty-five minutes. If you’re interested in listening the link appears below. I promise you won’t be bored.

What 007 has taught me in this extremely divisive climate that we live in is that we don’t have to see eye to eye to get along. If we would only pause and listen, I mean really listen, to others who do not share the same perspectives and views as us we could possibly learn something; and not because we are not on similar sides of the coin it doesn’t mean we can’t have a decent conversation punctuated with a few deep down, genuine, belly laughs.

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/2019/02/05/the-voice-behind-the-keyboard-racquel-interviews-bc007-tidepodcast-episode-52/

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io (This is how I imagine 007 as a kid screaming his rants into the microphone 😃😃😃).

MILF

“Mr. Pannell asked me to participate in your school’s career day.”

“Noooooooo!” said my 15-year-old son. He was visibly annoyed.

“Why not? I want to do it.”

“Mom, no! I’ll talk to Mr. Pannell in the morning.”

“No, you’re not gonna talk to anyone because it’s something I want to….” My son cuts me off abruptly.

“Do you know that you’re a meme in my school?”

“What? A what?” I was a little confused.

Blake was getting more annoyed by the moment. “You do know what a meme is, don’t you?” He said while rolling his eyes.

“Of course I know what a meme is. How am I a meme? That doesn’t even make sense.”

He sighed, “All my friends think you’re hot. You’re like the Mom with the body. I don’t want you around my friends.”

“Well, aren’t you happy you have a hot Mom? I mean…” I trailed off as he interrupts me again.

“No, I don’t! No!” with that final statement my 15-year-old walks away.

I’m left standing there a bit befuddled thinking to myself, “What just happened? Is this kid for real?”

This was a conversation that took place last week between me and my 15-year-old son, Blake, who attends an all-boys private school. A few days later I posted the conversation on Facebook as my status update and my friends, for the most part, were amused, and to tell you the truth I am a little amused by the entire thing myself. My Facebook friends, who are all people I know in real life, most of them even know Blake personally, started to weigh in on whether or not I should participate in Career Day.

The opinions were split down the middle, 50% who gave their point of view believe I should adhere to Blake’s wishes and not participate in Career Day, some of which were my male friends indicating that I just wouldn’t understand since I am not driven by testosterone and raging hormones. The other 50% were of the opinion that Blake will always have to deal with his “Mama being hot” so I should indeed attend and Blake will just have to get over it.

My take on the matter is that I should go, for several reasons, the main one being that I can motivate and inspire by giving a talk to young, impressionable minds on the benefits of entering the legal profession. These days we never know where someone’s inspiration can come from and I think it would be a wonderful thing if I am able to reach even one student and inspire said student to one day apply to Law School.

I mean, to this day, I remember the lawyer I met while I was in high school that made me want to become an attorney. Well, I didn’t really “meet” her, she was in the bank conducting business, where I was waiting on my father while he too conducted business in the same bank. This woman was striking and fierce, as I eavesdropped on her conversation with the banker, I realized that she was a lawyer. She was well-spoken and polished, and she had the bank employees eating out of the palm of her hands. She had a commanding presence, and I remember thinking, “Damn, I wanna be like her when I grow up.” 😃 That was the moment when the seed of becoming a lawyer was planted into my brain. Obviously, there were several other circumstances, over the course of the following years, that made my determination to become an attorney a growing ambition but it started in the Cross Roads Branch of the National Commercial Bank in Jamaica.

I get it, teenagers are going to ogle. Blake is uncomfortable with his friends ogling. He probably ogles his friends’ moms too. It’s life, maybe even a rite of passage for teenage boys, if you will. I don’t know – I have never been a teenage boy – but what I do know is that Blake needs to get over himself and stop telling me what to do. As it stands, I am forbidden from attending his basketball games because his friends “look at me and talk about me”. Really?! My son plays Center for the Junior Varsity team for his school and I am so proud of him for even making the team and now I am not permitted to go cheer him on because he is “uncomfortable”. Mind you, my husband is allowed to attend the games but I cannot.

I have gotten to the point where I want to tell my 15-year-old to get over himself and his discomfort. My patience is wearing thin with him and this foolishness. I will respect his stance on the basketball games (even though I did sneak into one of the games a couple of weeks ago) because it is a mere social activity, but I was invited by a faculty member to participate in Career Day and I think it is very important that I attend.

One of my very good friends from Law School, a male, has been advocating for Blake all week. He has even sent me private messages saying I should sit this one out. He totally understands Blake’s “plight” since he “was once a teenager with a hot Mom too”. He says it “can be a lot for a young man to deal with”. My response to that is the fact that I have to sit out the basketball games and now he wants me to sit out Career Day, it would seem as if Blake wants me to sit out the remainder of his teenage years. My former Law School buddy promises that “it will get better” as Blake “matures”; but what if it doesn’t? Should I really wait for Blake to get over his “discomfort”? His teenage years will be over in the blink of an eye. He’ll be going off to University in just 2.5 more years. Am I to miss out on the limited time I have left with him, as my child in my house, because of such unbelievable nonsense?

I asked my husband, Greg, the neutral party and always the go-between for me and Blake, what he thought of the entire situation. He supports my perspective and thinks Blake should learn to start properly handling the situation instead of giving his friends too much of a voice. Greg states that in years to come when Blake’s buddies are all adults, he will still have friends that ogle me because some dudes are just “disrespectful” like that and Blake needs to learn as early as possible how to handle those “friends”, the sooner he learns, the better. Blake’s advocate disagrees with Greg and believes “friendships are important at any age, that life is never easy for teenage boys and young men, who go through a lot and are oftentimes told to put on a brave face and act tough because society expects them to”. According to my Law School buddy, what all young men need is “those they love to listen and understand their point of view”.

Now, I am at the point where I am going back and forth in my mind about this situation. I love my son, obviously, and want to make him happy, but for me, this shouldn’t even be a discussion. Like seriously, back in my day, my brother wouldn’t dare tell my mother not to show up to his school for Career Day, there wouldn’t have been a discussion. Hot mom or not.

According to my husband, the situation could be worse, the situation could have been such that he was being teased for having an unattractive mom. One that no one wanted to look at. Despite, the disagreement among my Facebook friends on the topic, the general consensus is that I ought to be “proud” that I am a hot Mom and that this is a “good” problem to have.

I have verbally agreed to participate in Career Day but I still haven’t handed in my formal notice of participation yet. Career Day isn’t until mid-March so I do have some time to think about it. I would love to hear your take on the matter. Should I go or not? What’d you think?

Three Weeks and A Day

The plan was to burst into 2019 fist pumping, screaming “Rah – Rah!” Ready and raring to go, to take on any and all challenges, fix my less than stellar habits and to toss my absolute worst habit, procrastination, out the window. The plan was to make a list of everything I wanted to achieve in 2019; followed by another much longer list outlining all the necessary steps that I needed to take in order to achieve those goals. By now I should have been well on my way to cultivating the good habits needed to kickstart my ambitions, but alas that is not quite the case.

Instead, it has been 3 weeks and a day into the new year and this is my first time blogging, not because I didn’t want to or I couldn’t; but because I am overwhelmed. You know the feeling; the one where you look at your daily To Do List, cringe a bit at the length of it, yet promise yourself, that despite the length you’ll get everything done before you roll into bed at the end of the day.

Well, it has been three weeks and a day into 2019 and I have not been able to complete any of my daily To Do Lists; instead, I keep adding to the list as opposed to completing the tasks already outlined. *Sigh*

The laundry gets done, but then it takes days to get it folded and put away. Or I’ll start working on a case and while focusing on one element of the case, something else, I hadn’t previously thought of, will pop into my head and I’ll spend hours exploring another approach to handling the matter instead of sticking to my original plan of attack because God forbid I could get an idea and not follow it to see where it leads.

I complained to my husband this past weekend that I have not blogged since the year started and his immediate response was, “Why not? You love to blog. Why aren’t you doing it?” I shrugged. Then he smartly added, “Well, you’ve been doing so much. You really haven’t slowed down for a minute.” That’s when it dawned on me that I should focus and what I have done instead of beating myself up for the things I haven’t.

The Christmas decorations had all been taken down and placed back into its storage area well before the first week of the year was completed. As small a task as this may seem you have no idea how proud I am of actually completing it in a timely manner. In past years this daunting task usually takes weeks into the year to get done. Is there anyone else out there like that? I once met a guy, who told me he didn’t take down his fully decorated Christmas tree until June, and the only reason he did was to make room for a new piece of furniture he had purchased. No judgment here, because I am a hell of a procrastinator myself.

I am also proud of the fact that I have been sticking to and committing to my year of yes. At the end of last year, I proclaimed 2019 to be my year of yes, a year in which instead of doubt and too much contemplation and general over thinking I would just say yes to “sane” proposals in an effort to think and act outside of my comfort zone.

So far my year of yes has me adopting a new, healthier lifestyle, going to the Cinema to watch a foreign film entirely in subtitles (which turned out to be one of the most riveting films I have ever seen), and even have me agreeing to go snow tubing, which for a 45-year-old Jamaican female is a big deal.

My year of yes also has me agreeing to invitations to social activities that I would normally have zero interest in, like when my 35-year-old niece, who is all about manifestations and positive thinking, invited me to her Vision Board Making Party. My initial inkling was to flat-out decline the invitation but I reminded myself that it was my year of yes so I gracefully accepted, went and I had a blast. I spent the better part of the first Saturday of 2019 with a bunch of vibrant, proactive, confident ladies, who are all about setting intentions for their lives. It was such an uplifting, exhilarating experience.

It’s so easy for us to focus on what we are not doing, or what we should be doing instead of what we have done. Self-doubt coupled with the notion of “not doing enough” has completely taken over today’s society.  We are always striving for bigger and greater things, we always want to do more or be more, I know I am guilty of that, and if we dare fall short of our aspirations, we beat ourselves up, another thing I am guilty of.

Well, this year,  I have decided to be nicer to myself. No more drowning myself in guilt for not completing the daily To Do Lists. I will be content with whatever it is that I get done and if for some reason I get absolutely nothing done well tomorrow ushers in another day filled with more opportunities, where I can attempt to make strides or baby steps towards my goals.

20190122_214003181886171247754748.jpg

WordPress – The Experience!

Wait! What?! Why am I in your inbox again when I was here only 2 days ago. My readers know me as a weekly Blogger so why am I showing up again??!!

I admire those who make the time to blog daily, sometimes even several times a day, but I always thought I just don’t have the time or enough topics of interest to blog with such frequency. However, I have laid down the gauntlet and issued a personal challenge for myself. I have decided to end the year with a bang by completing 30 blog posts by December 31st, this is blog post # 24.

My first blog post was on July 14, 2018, and so far I have posted an average of once per week. Considering that I get bored with things easily I think there is something to be said about the fact that I have been able to maintain my Blog with some amount of consistency. I am rather proud of myself and I hope to continue the pace well into 2019.

WordPress has been a wonderful yet daunting place. I like to reciprocate so I read posts by other Bloggers who take the time to read my own. I follow those who follow me and I always “like” and “comment” on those posts I find fun and or interesting. All of this reciprocity does take time though and sometimes I find myself on WordPress for hours, which can be daunting when you have a ton of work to do, the type of work you get paid for, and let’s face it with only 24 hours in the day, and since I’m a girl who needs to get her beauty sleep, finding the time to search out new bloggers and read their well-written, interesting posts can be formidable when considering time constraints.

WordPress, however, has brought with it new “friends”. The anonymity on the site is real so half the people I don’t even know by their real names or what they look like, but what we do share is a desire to write and share our personal thoughts. We also like the validation of being “read” and for the most part the interaction with others, especially those who share our opinions, makes WordPress a fun place to escape to.

From the very beginning, there have been people I just clicked with and connected with, some even have differing views and opinions from mine but they are open to discussion and it is always good gaining another perspective, especially when it’s done in a non-confrontational manner.

I would never have thought when I created my Blog that I would have had this decent a connection with other WordPress users, when you think about it, I really didn’t even know what to expect. I mean there are people on here who actually look forward to my posts, that just blows my mind; and if I am late with posting I get an email inquiring about my whereabouts. Do you know how good that feels?! It’s awesome! Similarly, if a few of my “peeps” are off the grid for a couple of days, especially if they are daily bloggers I actually miss them and I wonder about them.

Recently I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting in real life someone I connected with on WordPress. Yes, this actually happened. Heather and I first connected not on her Blog or even my own, but on someone else’s in the comment section when we both shared a similar opinion that one can, in fact, write a successful Blog about one own’s life, with general stories and anecdotes without a running theme. The writer of that particular Blog didn’t agree and Heather and I bonded over the fact that we “disagreed” with Mr. KnowItAll. Soon we had subscribed to each other’s Blogs and the rest as they say is history.

Heather has become an avid reader of mine and I don’t think she has missed even one of my posts. I try to do the same but I am pretty sure I have missed a couple of hers. Heather is a beauty blogger and self-proclaimed Avon Lady. Her posts are interesting and chock full of beauty tips that actually work. Like, who knew we were using hairpins incorrectly all along.😃 I have learned a lot from Heather and just last night I learned that eyelash curlers are not a thing of the past and that one can actually perm one’s eyelashes. Who knew?!

Heather and I took our communication off of WordPress only a couple of weeks after “meeting” and started doing regular email exchanges. She is funny and sweet, even though she doesn’t seem to think so. She is an excellent writer and can hold my interest even when writing about the most mundane subjects such as hairpins and what kind of rags to bring while traveling.😁

Heather is also a technical whiz and I have often called on her to assist me with WordPress technical stuff. I am a writer, not a techie, even though I am quickly learning that these days both things go hand in hand, especially around here.

Heather lives in Oregon and recently visited New York City with her husband. We planned a double date (with our spouses) months in advance of her trip and by golly we actually made it happen. We dined at the trendy Tao restaurant and it was a fun, festive evening filled with good conversation and laughter. My husband, who is the complete opposite of me, and frowns upon social media and meeting strangers therefrom actually enjoyed meeting Heather and her husband.

WordPress has turned out to be a pretty interesting place. I never really considered it a social media platform, but I guess it is. I have discovered a whole new world of adventurous, mysterious, entertaining cohorts, which, in my opinion, is so very cool.

20181202_1633196936434761101366577.jpg

Heather and I.

My Boy!

It’s that time of the year when we string the lights, decorate the tree, bake cookies, drink too much eggnog and overeat; but before we do all of that I’d like to first acknowledge the human who gave my life added purpose. My life always had meaning but I got a swift kick in the behind to make sure I do it right 15 years ago today when my obstetrician handed me a 10 lb bundle and said, “Here he is. What’d you think?”

Honestly, my first thought wasn’t, “Oh my gosh, he’s so precious. I’m in love.” Instead, my very first thought was, “Who’s baby is this? This kid doesn’t look like me. Why is he so light?”

I quickly got over the lack of resemblance when I took a closer look at the nose. Yep, he was mine alright, that nose is unmistakable. Blake didn’t scream or cry when he first got here, instead, he just stared, he actually seemed to look around the room, observing his new surroundings. Fifteen years later and by golly he still does the same thing, I’m always in awe when I watch him carefully observe his surroundings instead of just walking right in.

20181205_1024506024341304036034833.jpg

My next thoughts as I held him was “What do I do now? What I am I supposed to do with him now?” Blake seemed to read my mind as he nuzzled against my chest and started searching, he found his food supply, latched on and went to town, pulling and sucking and feeding hungrily. Damn, that shit hurt!

It’s been 15 years and Blake’s appetite has not changed. He still has a voracious, healthy appetite. The kid will eat anything.

It’s astounding how much Blake’s current persona mirrors my labor experience. I was scheduled to deliver the baby on December 4th, which I thought was kind of cool since it was rapper Jay-Z’s birthday; but Blake had other plans and arrived at 12:06 am the next day. He was not to be rushed and to this day, he still does things on his own terms and refuses to be rushed or cajoled into anything, which can be both good and bad.

My labor was fairly painless, I had a surge of pain for a few minutes, called for the epidural, which I had initially thought I wouldn’t want since I always saw myself as an Amazonian natural labor type of girl but when that indescribable pain ripped through me and I wasn’t dilated enough to push I quickly called for the epidural in order to get some kind of relief. Honestly, the only pain I felt during labor wasn’t more than about 15 minutes but it was the longest 15 minutes of my life.

20181204_2240131692796802706395962.jpg

Similarly, raising Blake, luckily, has been rather painless. Yeah, there are the usual ups and downs that come with parenting but thankfully he has made it relatively easy for me. The disappointments and WTF moments have been few and far between and for that, I am eternally gratefully.

Does he make me repeat myself too much? Sure! One day I decided to count how many times I had to tell him to clean his room before he actually cleaned it and it turned out to be 8 times, all of 8 times before I had to threaten him with the wrath of God in order to get him moving.

I am in sheer disbelief at how lazy my teenager can be. Like, seriously, how hard can it be to put your clothes in the laundry basket when you take them off instead of tossing them on the floor; and how many times do I have to tell my child to make his bed before he leaves for school in the mornings and for God’s sake why won’t he hang his wet towel back in the bathroom after he has used it instead of throwing it on his unmade bed?

The kid is as loving as he is lazy so even though I bitch at him to clean up after himself I still get all the hugs and kisses and “I love you” that I can handle despite him being at that age where it isn’t considered cool to do so.

It has been a tumultuous, loving, exasperating, sweet, mind-boggling and beautiful 15 years of motherhood. Blake was sent here to get me out of my comfort zone, the one where everything I did I got it right and was so self-assured and confident about all my endeavors. Motherhood has had me second guessing every decision I have ever made. Am I doing it properly? Am I getting it right? Am I too strict or am I too lenient? Should I impose a weekend bedtime or allow him to stay up as late as he wants as long as he gets all his homework done? Should I have the password to his phone? Or should I allow him his privacy?

It’s crazy that after all these years together, I am still not sure if my parenting method is correct. I figured by the time I got to child #2, I would have had it all figured out but it is obvious that child # 2 is not happening. Growing up I always thought I was going to have a few kids of my own, at least 3 or 4, but as faith would have it that was not in the cards. However, every day I thank my lucky stars that since I only got one I am thankful it’s this one. I couldn’t have picked a more ideal kid that compliments my own personality.

Blake is not perfect but he’s perfect for me. Happy Birthday to the biggest reality check I’ve ever experienced. The kid keeps me on my toes in a such a crazy, weird yet fantastic way. Not only do I love him but I like him too.

Here’s to Big Blake! My 6′ 2 15-year-old who makes me oh so proud to be his Mom.

20181205_0033505415603076746604425.jpg