Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One)

I am seated in a crowded airport waiting to get on my flight to JFK. I am tired and I am miserable. My flight has already been delayed more hours than I can count because of snow on the ground at home in New York. We were originally scheduled to leave at 6:15 pm, well it’s now 10:45 pm and we still have no idea when we will actually be departing. Not the most ideal situation for creativity and or writing but since I am committed to fulfilling my promise to participate in Reader Request Fridays I just pulled my laptop out of my carry-on and we shall now begin.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to ask me fun, interesting, provocative questions, some of the answers came to me quickly and easily, while others gave me food for thought. I was asked way more questions than I had anticipated, some of the questions even came from my Facebook friends and one Twitter follower, while others came from real life friends.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll be doing my Reader Request Friday responses in 2 parts, that is in 2 separate posts, I don’t want to make it too long and I especially don’t want to bore anyone so please note if you don’t see your question posted here this week, rest assured I’ll be responding to it in my next installment of Reader Request Fridays.

Without further adieu let’s get to the questions and, of course, my answers:

Reader Request Fridays was created by my fellow blogger the controversial https://bottomlesscoffee007.com, who provided me with the first set of questions to respond to:

Q1. I would like to hear the story of you growing up in the Islands.

I was born and raised in Jamaica. We were a typical middle-class family. We didn’t want for anything because my father worked hard and was able to more than adequately provide for his family. I am the eldest of my parents’ three children and I am the only girl.

My father, a former military man, was all about discipline and raised us in a very strict, rigid household with a thousand rules. My mother, on the other hand, was quite liberal in her parenting style (thankfully) so this kind of created a tolerable balance.

I think I might have been the toughest of the 3 children to raise since I was quite the opposite of everyone in my family. I was an extrovert growing up in a household of introverts. I always wanted to go out partying, socialize with the other kids next door, listen to all kinds of loud music with somewhat raunchy lyrics, namely Rock and Jamaican Dancehall, talk loudly and generally just hang out. My father didn’t think any of that behavior was very ladylike at all, so I just kind of kept in line so I wouldn’t get in trouble with him. Growing up I was very scared of my father. Truth be told I was still kind of scared of him even in my adult years, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy, who expected the best from his children, and I never wanted to disappoint him.

Q2. When and why did you move to New York and what was the transition like?

In the Summer of 1998, I was visiting New York and met a very, cool, confident guy that swept me off of my feet. We spent the entire summer hanging out and by the time I was ready to go back home to Law School I was in love. We did the long distance thing for a few years and every opportunity I got to come back to New York, during school breaks, he would send me an airline ticket. When I graduated Law School he encouraged me to move to New York to be with him so I did, much to my father’s displeasure. We later got married, had a child, then divorced.

Despite the divorce and circumstances that caused the divorce, I have no regrets about giving up my solid life in Jamaica and moving to NYC. I love living in New York and I enjoy being a mother, which I don’t think I would have been if not for my Ex, so zero regrets here.

The transition from Jamaica to New York was fairly easy, the only thing I had to get used to was the Winters; but I am so in love with Winter fashion; coats, knee-high boots, gloves, scarves etc., that not even the Winters bothered me much.

Q3. What do you miss about the Islands and how often do you go back there?

I miss my Mom, who still lives there. My Dad passed away a few years ago so in some strange way I miss him too.

I miss the food, the freshness of the food. The way everything tastes light and organic, as opposed to being heavily chemicalized or fertilized.

I miss the greenery, the lushness of the backdrop of the Blue Mountains as I drive through certain parts of the island.

I miss listening to our dialect every day. I also miss the very special way in which we (Jamaicans) create and invent new words all the time to perfectly fit any given situation and circumstance. Gosh, I love my people. πŸ˜‚

I go home at least once a year. A trip I always look forward to.

Q4. Also, have you taught your children about the culture and traditions of the Islands?

Child – not children – just one. Yes, I most certainly have. My son has been going to Jamaica every year, sometimes twice a year, since he was only six months old. He will be 15, in a matter of weeks, and you can’t tell him he isn’t Jamaican himself. He understands the dialect and speaks it better than most American children born to Jamaican parents. He loves the food, the music and the dances, which he surprisingly does very well. My son has claimed Jamaica as his own and doesn’t like it when I refer to him as a “fareign pickney”. πŸ˜‚

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Map of Jamaica with the flag’s colors.

The following questions came for the emphatic Nova at https://mynamaste365online.blog

Q5. Do you spread spaghetti sauce all on top of your noodle or mix it all together?

Mix it all together.

Q6. What was your favorite snack as a kid? When did you last have it?

Chippies Banana Chips, which, of course, is from Jamaica. However, I find it in New York from time to time. I recently had some.

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Q7. Do you have a monthly subscription box? If so, which?

Nope.

Q8. What’s your favorite perfume?

Good ole classic Chanel No. 5.

Q9. Top pet peeves.

i) People who spit in public.

ii) People who act like they know everything.

iii) Unsolicited advice.

iv) People who talk during a movie.

v) Long recorded messages that ask you to press a thousand different numbers before you can actually talk to a real live person.

Q10. Do you own a dishwasher?

Yes. Believe it or not, I hardly use it though, I like doing my dishes the old fashion way.

Q11. What would the warning label to your life say?

Combustible! She goes from 0 to 100 in under 60 seconds.

Q12. If you could meet anyone who would it be?

Oprah Winfrey.

Q13. What food can you absolutely not eat?

Frogs. I hear it’s a delicacy in some countries but I’ll pass.

Q14. If you weren’t in the profession you are in right now what would you choose to do for work?

A Writer, of course. It’s my dream to get paid for my writing.

Q15. If you could use one superpower for a day, which would it be?

Ha! I’d want to be invisible. Imagine the things you could find out if you were invisible. πŸ‘€

Q16. What allergies do you have?

Thankfully, none.

Q17. Do you read magazines?

I use to but in this day and age of the World Wide Web, I don’t really read print magazines anymore. I use to have subscriptions to O (The Oprah Magazine), Essence, Cosmopolitan, and Parenting Magazine.

Q18. What has been your hardest challenge this month?

A particular case I have. Well, it’s not even the case, it’s really the client that has been challenging.

Q19. Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition? If so, what?

Not really. We usually eat Thanksgiving Dinner with another family at their house. I rarely ever host Thanksgiving, I did it once and I don’t think I want to do it again.

Q20. What’s something you do without realizing it?

Raise my voice. I do it out of excitement, annoyance or anger and don’t even realize it until I’m asked, “Why are you yelling?”

Q21. What would be in your self-care kit? Lip-gloss, mint-flavored gum, movie tickets, a pair of dumbbells, a great book and my debit card.

While the fun and comedic Britchy over at https://bitchininthekitchen.org wanted to know the following:

Q22. What is your favorite color?

Red!!! I adore everything red. Red cars, red dresses, red sofas, red walls, red lipstick, red cell phone covers; I always go with red. All kinds of red; fire-engine red, apple red, brick red, wine red…Red! Red! Red!

Q23. If you could go to any play or musical what would it be?

Hands down Springsteen on Broadway; mezzanine tickets are going for at least $1,200 a piece. Of course, I can’t afford to go at those prices but oh how I wish I could.

I also have an interest in seeing Hamilton, another ridiculously priced Broadway play.

Q24. Who would you invite to a dinner party? Ahh, let’s see…

  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. Chris Hemsworth
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Viola Davis
  5. Denzel Washington
  6. Usain Bolt
  7. Bruno Mars
  8. Stephen King
  9. Diego Maradona
  10. Sebastian Maniscalco
  11. Martin Scorsese
  12. Shabba Ranks
  13. Serena Williams, and
  14. Jerry Seinfeld.

Q25. Where would you like to vacation? I’d like to go to Egypt to see the pyramids.

Q26. Can you recommend any good books?

Of course! Here are some favorites:

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Defending Jacob by William Landay
  3. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  6. The Stand by Stephen King
  7. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseinei
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  10. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  12. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

Q25. What pets do you have or would you like? I wasn’t blessed with a love for animals.

Q26. What types of music do you like?

I listen to just about anything but I do have an affinity for Rock, Reggae and Jamaican Dancehall. I even enjoy some of the rap music my son likes to listen to.

Q27. Did you enjoy school? If yes what subjects?

For the most part, I did. Favorite subject, hands down anything to do with English Langauge Arts; both English and English Literature were favorites of mine.

Q28. Were you ever a girl guide? Nope.

Q29. Do you like fun fairs? Yes, I like fairs. b) Favorite fair food? Cotton Candy.

Q30. Do you prefer wine or cocktails or soft drinks? I like red wine but I prefer a tangy tasting cocktail and if I opt for soda, it’s usually the diet version, like Coke Zero. My favorite drink is water though.

Q31. What would your favorite dinner be if you could pick anything?

Well, since I’m a carnivore I’d have to go with a porterhouse. Next up would be a nice roast chicken complete with stuffing.

Q32. Kiss, Kill, Marry; who gets what?

Kiss – Bruno Mars/ Kill – (I can’t think of anyone I want to see dead)/ Marry – Chris Hemsworth.

Q33. Is there anywhere in the US you’d like to live more than where you are now?

Nope! I love living in New York. I might opt to move around in different parts of New York but I really like it here. My favorite thing about New York is its diversity and inclusivity, all are welcome, everyone has a home here.

Q34. What TV shows do you like?

I like laugh out loud comedies. I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, Black-ish, Modern Family and I always watch The Jeffersons re-runs.

I can also sit and watch endless hours of Law and Order.

Q35. What are your favorite clothes shops?

  1. Lord and Taylor
  2. Desigual
  3. Top Shop
  4. Zara
  5. Express

Q36. Who is your favorite historical man and woman?

Bob Marley and Rosa Parks.

Q37. Do you prefer to fly or drive?

Flying gets you there quicker but considering that I am still waiting around in this damn airport after 7 hours of checking-in for my flight, I am not feeling flying right now. 😟

Q38. Baking is important to me. If I was to bake for you, what cake would you like me to make most?

I’d probably go with anything chocolate, with chocolate fudge and chocolate chips.

20181116_0534371043823758107854812.jpg Me, right now, in the airport trying to get this Blog done.

I’ll just keep going until they call my flight – Up next we have questions from the illustrious Claudette over at https://writerofwordsetc.com

Q39. Favorite Bon Jovi song

The irony here is that my favorite Bon Jovi song wasn’t even done by Bon Jovi, the band, but by Jon Bon Jovi, as a soloist, when he recorded Blaze of Glory for the movie, Young Guns II.

My favorites from the band would be Bad Medicine and I’ll Be There for You.

Q41. Do you have a phobia or aversion to something?

I freak out around creepy, crawly, slithery things. The give me the heebie-jeebies.

Like you, Claudette, I went down the rabbit hole called the Internet and found out that my phobias have names – Ready for this? Entomophobia is the fear of one or more classes of insect while Ophidiophobia describes the abnormal fear of snakes, and herpetophobia relates to the fear of reptiles in general.

I suffer from all three.πŸ˜’

Q40. Did you ever watch the Walking Dead and if yes do you have a favorite season or character? If no, why not?

So I got hip to the Walking Dead when it was already well on the way to becoming one of the most popular shows on television. Me being me tried to get in on the excitement and watched the first couple of episodes of Season One but I wasn’t feeling it. I thought the zombies looked fake and they weren’t scary, not that I like scary, but it just looked like a B-rated 90s Horror film to me. I couldn’t get into it.

Prior from over at https://priorhouse.blog wants to know…

Q41. What would you call your autobiography?

One word – Fierce!

Scherezade Ozwulo of https://edifyingthespiritblog.com wanted to know

Q42. What was the best piece of advice given to you by a loved one or someone you respect, that could be passed onto your child?

My grandmother always said, “Manners will get you everywhere!”

On that note, it’s 3 am and I am about to go board my flight home. This was a great way to pass my time in the airport. I’ll be back with Part 2, next Friday, maybe even sooner.

Thanks for reading!

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Ask Me Anything!!!

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I have agreed to participate in Reader Request Friday and I am nervous already. My fellow blogger, who you can find at https://bottomlesscoffee007.com has created Reader Request Friday, where his readers suggest topics they want him to blog about on the upcoming Friday. He has asked me to join the party and of course, me being me, I had to oblige. πŸ˜‰

How it works is that you, my dear and wonderful reader, get to ask me anything your heart desires and I am supposed to answer your questions in my blog post for Friday, November 16th.

I am willing to post on damn near any topic and answer any questions except those on Politics and Religion. Those subjects are way too divisive and I am not here for that. I am here for the light, funny, non-controversial topics. I am not about the acrimony. There is enough acrimony in my line of work, I can certainly do without it here. Sorry! Not sorry!

Some topic suggestions are fashion (my all-time favorite topic), entertainment, movies (my second favorite topic), books, humor, music, life in general or anything really. I am okay with answering personal questions too but you all know I have a fear of oversharing, see my previous post,Β BLOGGING FEARS.

With that said, I invite you to ask me anything. I look forward to your suggestions, questions, and queries. Please leave your questions or topic suggestions (be specific with the topic suggestions please) in the comment section below and I will do my best to adequately answer them this coming week on Friday, November 16, 2018.

Side note for my real life friendsΒ Β This one is not only for my fellow bloggers but also for you guys so feel free to participate, if it’s in your pleasure.

Bring on the questions – ask me anything! 😁

 

Photo used in this post courtesy of Rawpixels.com

Birthday Shenanigans

It was a stabbing pain to the left side of my forehead, my temple throbbed, as I opened my eyes and blinked and tried to focus on my husband, who was standing at the side of our bed with a tray in his hand.

“Wake up…It’s your birthday breakfast, Sweetie.” He said as he smiled and handed me the tray with the plate of bacon and eggs. “It’s your favorite.”

The left side of my head was throbbing unmercilessly. “My head hurts…Noooooo…Not today…Babe…Motrin, now, please.” I rubbed the left side of my forehead as I sat up in bed.

I couldn’t figure out why today of all days, on my birthday, I woke up with a headache. I was not amused as I looked up at the ceiling and issued a warning to the imaginary Gods of the Universe. “Today is my day and you’re not going to screw with it. I will enjoy MY day!”

Damn, I’m Determined

My husband suggested that it might be the “wine from last night” that was causing my headache. My thoughts went back to the night before; we certainly started the birthday celebrations off with a bang. Greg, my husband, took me to see the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway, which was excellent. I was singing and dancing with the rest of the audience, especially with the gay couple who sat directly in front of us and who were having the time of their lives. By the end of the night, one half of the gay couple and I found ourselves in the aisle of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater dancing up a storm to Hot Stuff and Last Dance. Oh, what a fun time it was!

After we left the show we walked the 6 blocks to Gallagher’s Steakhouse, me in my high heels strutting my stuff pretending not to feel the start of the inevitable high heel ache that comes on after a few hours of wearing stilettos. Oh, how I miss my youth! I used to be able to rock those babies all night long; but not anymore. I made a mental note to slip into my sandals as soon as we sat down in the restaurant, but for now, the birthday girl in her birthday outfit needed to keep moving along gracefully in those 5-inch heels. Yes, people, I walked 6 NYC blocks in 5-inch heels! My Mom always said, “Beauty feels no pain.” Someone should have added to that saying “until the next day.”

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The high heel wearing ache was nothing compared to the migraine that was trying to force me to spend my birthday in bed. I wasn’t having it though, I swallowed some Motrin and hopped out of bed and started getting ready for the gym. Greg thought I was crazy. I tried explaining that for the past decade I have been going to the gym on my birthday every year and I wasn’t about to break the tradition. Besides, my gym gave away a free protein shake to everyone on their birthday. I had waited 365 days for my free shake and I was going to get it.

Greg looked at me like I was insane!

“It’s my birthday, Babe. I have to go to the gym. How else am I gonna see my gym buddies so I can get my well-wishes and birthday hugs? Greg just stared at me in disbelief and walked out of the room. He was clearly fighting a losing battle trying to convince me to stay in bed until the headache subsided.

So I donned my birthday button and left for the gym. πŸ˜ƒ

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I have been wearing my button every year for longer than I can remember. It’s so much easier than telling everyone I run into that “today is my birthday.”

By the time I arrived at the gym, the Motrin was taking effect and I was feeling good.

At the start of the Aerobics Step class, the instructor had the class sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I loooooved it!!! It was a scene right out of grade school, the only thing missing were the cupcakes. I couldn’t be happier. The day was headed in the right direction.

As I walked out of the gym sipping on my free protein shake I noticed the morning clouds had cleared, the sky was a gorgeous blue and the temperature was a lovely 75 degrees. Afternoon showers had been predicted but the Universe knew it was my birthday and gave me the best day weather-wise.

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The Crash!

Greg and I had planned lunch and the movies – since going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes, what better way to spend the afternoon. (Check out my blog piece on the movies here Let’s Go to the Movies!)

As we sat having lunch at the restaurant across the street from the Cinema, I felt the migraine coming back. Truth be told I felt the headache trying to make a comeback while I was getting ready to go out to lunch, but I refused to stay indoors, I refused to take more painkillers and go back to bed. I was fighting the good fight, I wanted to be out and about on my birthday. I tried helplessly to ignore the throbbing pain on the left side of my temple. Then it happened – A cough followed by a sneeze and that’s when I knew I had no more fight left in me.

“Take me home,” I whispered to my husband.

The poor man look worried. He could not believe his ears. No, I did not want to go to the movies anymore. No, I did not want the “birthday” chocolate mousse dessert I was offered by our nice waitress. Yes, I was sure I wanted to go home. Then I sneezed again and I almost cried. I was getting sick…On my goddamn birthday!!!! What kind of cruel joke was this?

I had dinner plans that night with my best friends, another birthday tradition. I couldn’t afford to be sick. When I arrived home I got under the covers swallowed some flu medication and dozed off to Kavanaugh’s voice vehemently denying the allegations levied against him. Yes, my birthday was the most historical day of the Senate Judiciary Hearings.

Never underestimate the power of a nap! I woke up a whole new woman, got dressed and headed out to meet my girls for my birthday dinner. It was a fun evening of great conversation and loads of laugh but I dare not touch a drop of alcohol because I could feel the migraine waiting in the wings to make a nasty comeback.

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The Birthday Party

I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that I have a birthday party every year. This year the party was planned for the Saturday night, 2 days after my birthday.

The day after my birthday, that is the eve of my birthday party, I spent most of the day in bed. I was miserable. The day should have been spent delightfully running around doing last minute prepping for my party, which thankfully was a small party, a very intimate affair, this year; but instead, the flu-like symptoms came on full force and I spent the day in bed cursing at the untimely onset of my illness and trying to decide whether or not I should cancel my party.

I was sneezing and coughing and headachy for most of Friday but woke up on Saturday morning, the day of the party, feeling like I could conquer the World (thank you God for Tylenol Flu and Cold tablets). The party was on, and when Greg came home with my birthday cake the party vibe hit me even more.

I spent the better part of Saturday busying myself with party preparations, I thoroughly enjoy doing stuff like that, and was content with hanging balloons and strategically moving around stuff in my house to facilitate my guests until the endless coughing and sneezing came back just 4 hours before my party was supposed to begin. I was livid! What made it worse was every time I coughed or sneezed, the cough or sneeze triggered a ruthless headache that lasted at least 10 minutes.

I even tried to bargain with God, I promised him that if he would keep me in good spirits for the rest of the evening he could make me bed-ridden all of next week. God wasn’t having it though and at 3:30 I had to crawl back into bed even though the party was scheduled to start at 7 pm.

Again, never underestimate the power of a nap. I still wasn’t a hundred percent when I woke up but I took a look at my cake and my dress (one must draw inspiration from wherever one canπŸ˜‰), turned on some Donna Summer music while I was getting ready and willed myself to feel better; and oh yeah took some more of that magical Tylenol Cold and Flu tablets.

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In the end, the party turned out to be a success, I remained “fierce and fabulous” in true Racquel form for the entire night. However, this birthday taught me that I can’t do it like I used to, now I need to take naps in between in order to keep going. πŸ˜ƒ After all, I am a year older; but I won’t give up though, I will never settle into being old, I will never readily concede. I am never ever going down without a fight.

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One love, Racquel!!!!

Birthday Alert!

Today is my favorite day of the year because today is all about me. Today I get to be unapologetically selfish since today is my birthday.

I love birthdays because it’s a time of celebration and reflection. It’s an excuse to celebrate yourself and to examine strides you have made, no matter how small, and to plan goals for your next 365-day orbit around the sun.

One of the things I like to do on my birthday (or during the week of my birthday; since the actual birthday itself is always chockful of activities) is to write down all the things I am grateful for that occurred during the past year followed by another list with a few goals I would like to achieve during the upcoming year. Doing this gives my life intention and even though things may not go exactly as I planned all the time it does give me some purpose and a lot to look forward to.

My husband loves my enthusiasm surrounding birthdays and has confessed that his birthdays have gotten so much better since he’s known me.😊 I not only make a big deal about my own birthday, but I also make a big deal about everyone else’s. I use to wake up my son with a dozen or more balloons every year on his birthday (while singing him “Happy Birthday” in my tone-deaf off-key voice) simply because when he was little he loved balloons.

I cannot emphasize how special it is to experience a healthy, stress-free birthday. Life should be celebrated. Always! We get so busy with our everyday existence and obligations that we run the risk of not celebrating ourselves. The least we can do is to take a day – at least one day – where we indulge ourselves with our whims and fancies; and what better day to do it than on your birthday. You are so worth it!

To each his own, but as long as I live I will never understand those who tell me that their birthday “is no big deal, it’s just another day.” Yes, of course, it’s another day but it’s your day a day that should be acknowledged, recognized or celebrated even if in the smallest manner.

My celebrations started last night with the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway followed by a nice dinner with my Love. The birthday is off to a great start, and I am truly excited to continue celebrating, not only today but also the remainder of the week. Happy Birthday to Me!!!!! πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽ

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Remembering Jason

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September is a bittersweet month for me. Living in New York I love the change of the seasons that September brings, transitioning from hot and sticky to nice and cool, but not cold, is always a pleasure. September is also my birth month so it gives me an excuse to celebrate my life. However, as I celebrate my own life my mind also goes to my baby brother, Jason, who died unexpectedly on September 10, 2012, just a month shy of his 29th birthday.

When my cell phone rang at 1 o clock that afternoon and I saw my Mom’s number on my phone screen I got an inexplicable eerie feeling. I had just talked to both my parents, who lived in Jamaica, earlier that morning so why was my Mom calling again?

I answered my phone, I recognized my Aunt’s voice. My Mom’s phone but not my Mom on the other end of the line, the eerie feeling grew and I pulled over, something told me I shouldn’t keep driving.

“Jason is dead.”

“What?” I was certain I hadn’t heard properly.

“Racquel, I’m so sorry! Your Mom just came home and found Jason dead.”

“What’d you mean by dead?” Suddenly, I didn’t know what the word meant and I was sure my Aunt didn’t know what she was talking about. “Let me talk to Mommy please.” I refused to believe what I was hearing.” I started shouting. “Where is Mommy? Lemme talk to my mother!”

My mother came to the phone and she was belligerent with grief. I couldn’t understand much of what she was saying because what she was doing wasn’t even crying, she was howling. Howling in pain and disbelief.

What I do remember is that I hung up the phone and immediately called my father, who had just heard the news and was racing home from work. He instructed me to call my other brother, who lived on the other side of the World, and I did.

I drove straight to my son’s school, Blake was in the 4th grade at the time, I signed him out of school and while we drove home I was sighing so much, he kept asking me what was wrong but I had no idea how to tell him. Blake had only just gotten back from Jamaica the week before, where he used to spend all his Summers; and he was extremely close to his Uncle Jason.

In the days that followed; the autopsy report revealed that Jason was born with a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which led to his sudden death. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy otherwise known as Cardiomegaly is a condition where one has an enlarged heart. Apparently, Jason was born with this genetic condition so as he got older, his heart grew and grew and grew and kept growing to the point where his heart got too big; so big that the heart could no longer work effectively or efficiently and one day it just stopped. Jason’s death was just as simple and uncomplicated as that. A simple death for a simple, uncomplicated life.

None of us knew that Jason had this heart condition because he was never sick. For the entire 28 years that he lived, he was physically healthy. My Mom does recall that in the weeks leading up to his sudden death he had complained a few times about being extremely tired. She would suggest that he get some more rest, that perhaps he was doing too much. Maybe he needed a vacation, some rest and relaxation; but his complaints were never serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

The fact that Jason died of an enlarged heart is ironic because he really did have a big heart. He was one of the kindest, most compassionate people I knew. During his short life he gave and gave; of his time, his possessions, his love, his money; just about everything. Have you ever heard the saying “kind to a fault”? That was Jason! So incredibly kind and always doing for others without any expectation of anything in return and it was no big deal for him to inconvenience himself to make others comfortable. He was as affectionate as he was compassionate and I am not ashamed to say that of my mother’s 3 children he was the most loving.

This year on the Anniversary of Jason’s death I lit a candle in his honor, it’s not something I had ever done before, and I am not even sure why I did it but it’s just something I felt like doing. I lit the candle and what I did afterward was weird, at least for me it was – I spoke to him. Yes, I spoke to Jason as if he was seated right next to me. I was alone at home at the time and I thought to myself what if I heard a voice answer back. What would I do? Then I thought to myself I wouldn’t even be scared because Jason was so harmless in life he would certainly be harmless in death. Then I thought to myself why are we so afraid of the dead?

Jason didn’t respond as I spoke to him, not that I expected him to. Also, there were no signs that he heard me; the curtains didn’t mysteriously blow through a windless window, no chairs moved, or a radio or TV didn’t suddenly turn on by itself but I got a sense of inexplicable peace, almost as if he heard me. Yeah, weird…I know!

I don’t know what happens to people when they die, and I have no theory or beliefs on the subject but the sense of peace I felt from having a one-way conversation with my dead brother was one I have never really felt before and his memory have not left me for weeks thereafter.

I find myself thinking about him endlessly, thinking about the fact that he loved music and he used to blast Linkin Park all the time. One of his weekly rituals was to head out to a music store and pick up CDs. It was his thing, he wasn’t much of a singer and I’ve never seen him dance but he still loved his music.

He was also into astrology and had an unbelievable knack of remembering everyone’s birthday – everyone’s. You only needed to tell him your birthday once and he’d never ever forget it. He enjoyed analyzing someone’s personality based on their zodiac sign. It was just something he got a kick out of. When he passed away I couldn’t believe how many books I found on astrology as I cleaned out his bedroom.

Jason also enjoyed having conversations with people who were much older than him, he would sit and talk to my grandmother for hours. He visited with her regularly and she loved it. The young usually don’t have much patience for the elderly but Jason sure did.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 6 years since I last heard his voice, 6 years since he left us so unexpectedly. It’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that your own life actually moves on even when someone you love doesn’t exist anymore. It makes you wonder where they are and what exactly is going on with them? Sometimes memories of him come to me out of the blue and I smile.

Jason was a good kid. My only regret is that being 10 years older than he was, I didn’t spend as much time with him in his teenage years, as I would have liked to, I was out of the house and away at College when he was experiencing those awkward teenage years. When I was around I did try to be a good big sister though, and I only hope that in his last moments, as his entire life flashed before his eyes, he remembers me as such.

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Jason: October 7, 1983 – September 10, 2012

26 Questions

1. I was asked by my fellow blogger at https://edifyingthespiritblog.wordpress.com to answer the following 26 questions about me:

2. Who are you named after?

The 70s film star Raquel Welch.😊…Yup.

3. Do you like your handwriting?

I do, actually. I have always been told I have great penmanship.

4. What is your favorite lunchmeat?

I don’t really like lunchmeat but if I had to choose I’d probably go with Boar’s Head Chipotle Chicken (the one with low sodium).

5. Longest relationship?

The Ex…Dated 4 years and was married for 4 years. Total 8!

6. Do you still have your tonsils?

I think so. 😁

7. Would you bungee jump?

I won’t even go on a roller coaster at Six Flags so that would be a hell no!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Am I the only dork that will answer yes to this? I have seen no one else do it but yes I do untie my laces before taking off my sneakers.

9. Favorite ice-cream?

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!!! Also, love Pralines and Cream from Baskin Robbins. I wonder if they still make that?!

10. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their posture and their shoes. I am constantly looking at how people stand and carry themselves; after that, my eyes go right to their shoes.

11. Football or Baseball?

Cricket! Hahaha…I’m only playing…If I’m going to sit down and watch a sport my first choice would be basketball.

I do go to (or host) a Superbowl party every year though but that’s only for the hype.

12. What color pants are you wearing?

Not wearing any. It’s after midnight and I’m in bed. Don’t judge me!!!!!

13. Last thing you ate?

Chocolate covered almonds.

14. If you are a crayon what color would you be?

Red!!!! Bright and bold…I love anything red. Red cars, red dresses, red lipstick, red fingernails, red pumps. Even one of my bedroom walls is painted red. Bring on the red!

15. Favorite smell?

The smell of cakes or bread being baked in an oven.

16. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My husband.

17. Hair color?

My natural hair color is black (might even be grey now, who knows) but I wear hair extensions all the time and right now I am channeling my inner Beyonce and rocking a mixture of chestnut-brown, blondish, dark brownish colored hair extension.

18. Eye color?

Dark Brown.

19. Favorite food to eat?

Chicken – Baked, fried, roasted, sliced, diced, barbecued – I love chicken.

20. Scary movies or happy endings?

Neither! I mean everybody loves a happy ending but I’d rather get engrossed in a suspense whodunit thriller…..I am also a big fan of comedies.

21. Last movie you watched?

Blackkklansman.

22. Favorite Holiday?

My birthday – They need to make my birthday a national holiday so everyone can get the day off to party with me. Hahahaha. Since that won’t happen I’ll take Christmas. I am like a kid at Christmas with the decorations and the baking and the presents and the lights and the ugly sweaters. Man, I love Christmas!!!

23. Beer or wine?

Wine – specifically red. Cabernet Sauvignon is my fave.

24. Favorite day of the week?

Fridays. I always look forward to the start of the weekend.

25. Three favorite bloggers, you want to learn about?

Awww man, why do I have to only pick 3 (pouting) I have so many favorites on here. Aw well, since I can only pick 3…

https://hopelesslyheather.com

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com

https://riversworld.live

26. The added info you didn’t know you wanted…

I am tall – 5’10 but I still love wearing heels.

Bonus Question: Who’s your favorite superhero?

Thor – God of Thunder, from Asgard. He’s arguably the strongest Avenger (don’t get me started on that stuff). 😊

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Let’s Go to the Movies!

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I love going to the movies! My love affair with the movies started with Saturday Night Fever, which is the very first movie I ever saw at the cinema. As silly and juvenile as it may sound I thoroughly enjoy the movie-going experience, from the freshly popped buttered popcorn to the reaction of the other movie-goers when something exciting happens on the big screen, its sheer joy for me to sit there in the dark with complete strangers and get transfixed with the plot unfolding on the screen. I try to get to the movies at least 4 to 6 times a month but this Summer as work and deadlines came at me expeditiously I realized to my dismay that the summer was ending, a few summer blockbusters had come and gone, weeks had passed and I hadn’t gone to a single movie. Gasp! The horror! πŸ˜ƒ

I decided to remedy that situation and for the last 2 weeks I took advantage of a not too demanding work schedule and saw not 1, not even 2 but 5 movies and I enjoyed each and every one. Nothing is more disappointing to me than when I hand over my $15 at the box office and the movie falls short of my expectations, and might I add that I’m not the type to actually walk out of a movie because I always sit there hoping it will get better. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Thankfully, I was happy with all 5 choices recently – The Wife, Searching, Crazy Rich Asians, Juliet, Naked and Blackkklansman – five completely different genres of movies that would appeal to different types of audiences for varying reasons yet all five movies appealed to me and left me with some deep-seated thoughts. There is nothing like a well-scripted, thought-provoking movie.

The Wife

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She’s back, folks! Glenn Close, who rose to fame playing the diabolical one-night stand in Fatal Attraction is back with a truly brilliant performance in The Wife; it is the story of a devoted and loving spouse who walked away from her own fledgling career as a writer to wholeheartedly support her husband’s writing career instead. While being the devoted and sensible wife Glenn Close’s character, Joan, manages to turn a blind eye to her husband’s infidelities as his fame grows as a great American novelist.

The Wife had me thinking about the patriarchy and the general sacrifices so many women make in their own lives, happy and content to stand in the shadows of their husbands, being the perfect spouse instead of being great for themselves.

My favorite line in the movie was delivered by Close when she warns her husband that “Nothing is more dangerous than a writer that has been rebuffed”. I love that line because it is an excellent reminder that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. A fantastic film that every writer should see.

Searching

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Searching was shot in an entirely digitized manner, from the face time calling conversations, to the movie’s plot unfolding on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, this movie serves as a reminder that what we see on social media are oftentimes not the way things are in real life. Things may look one way and be entirely the opposite. The person with over a thousand “friends” on Facebook could very well be the loneliest person in the world, who doesn’t even have one real friend. Further, how do we know who we are really talking to when we engage in online conversations with strangers?

John Cho, who is known for playing Harold in the Harold and Kumar films, plays a father whose teenage daughter goes missing. He uses social media to try to track down his daughter’s last known whereabouts and as he investigates her mysterious disappearance he comes to the sad realization that he really didn’t know his own child.

This one had me thinking about my own 14-year-old and how much do I really know him. I almost invaded his privacy after watching this movie. I wanted to go into his phone and his laptop to find out who he has been talking to online and what they have been talking about. I restrained myself though and instead tried to have a conversation with him about the perils of online communication with strangers. What I got from him was some serious eye roll and a comment that I should lay off of the movie watching with my paranoia.

Crazy Rich Asians

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This movie had me believing in love again. Are you in the mood for a feel-good movie? Well, Crazy Rich Asians is it. Admittedly, when I first saw the promo for this movie in the Coming Attractions I was like WTH is this garbage. Yes, I was judgemental because the title totally turned me off. It’s like saying “crazy rich white people” or “crazy rich blacks”; it just sounds off-putting and wrong.

The fact that this movie remained #1 at the box office for 3 weeks in a row, seriously piqued my interest so I figured I would go see what all the hype was about. I loooved it! It was such a romantic, almost fairy-tale like film that you can’t help falling for it and rooting for Rachel, the female lead, played by Constance Wu. Rachel, who is Chinese American and lives in New York meets and falls in love with her Chinese boyfriend, Nick, who hails from Singapore. They are a year into their relationship when Nick has to go home to attend his best friend’s wedding. He invites Rachel to go back to Singapore with him and she does. What ensues is everything fairy tales are made of. Rachel discovers that her Nick is not just rich but “crazy rich” and is snubbed by Nick’s mother/family/friends because not only is Rachel from a working-class family but she is American, and doesn’t and will never fully understand the real Chinese culture or fit into their world. So so good. The opulence in Singapore was superfluous and astounding and had me thinking how lucky is Rachel.πŸ˜‰ I wanna be Rachel, just for a day. Ha!

Juliet, Naked

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Who doesn’t love Ethan Hawke?! Such a great actor with a list of box office hits to his name. Such a natural on the big screen, you sometimes forget that he is a movie star and feel like he is the guy next door that you can chill with in the backyard and sip on a cold brew. He is so cool and cool he is in Juliet, Naked.

Hawke plays a washed-up rocker, Tucker Crowe, who disappears from the music scene decades before the movie takes place. He still has a following though and one obsessed fan, played by Chris O’Dowd, with his heavy, sexy Irish accent has an online fan club that idolizes Hawke’s character. O’Dowd’s character, Duncan, is in a relationship with Annie, who absolutely cannot stand the obsession her boyfriend has with this washed-up, has-been rocker that no one has heard from or seen in a million years. As the plot develops, a series of events unfold (no spoilers here) and Annie ends up meeting Tucker Crowe, the has-been rocker himself. The film also contains a few sub-plots that come together to make this a super cute, relatable movie that encourages second chances and forces the movie-goer to examine one’s own life and answer the question. “If I had a chance to do it (life) over, would I make the same choices?”

Blakkklansman

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Directed, co-produced and co-written by Spike Lee, Blackkklansman is the incredible true story of how the first African-American police detective in Colorado Springs was able to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Unbelievable! It spins an embarrassing tale (embarrassing for the KKK, that is) on how seemingly easy it was for a Black man and his Jewish partner to go undercover and uncover, and later reveal the plots and plans that the Colorado Springs Chapter of the KKK had to murder innocent black students, who spoke openly against white supremacy, police brutality, and racism.

The hate that spews from the characters who play members of the KKK against Blacks and Jews made this film hard to watch. Luckily, Spike Lee punctuated what could have been a potentially dark and heavy film with moments of humor and ridicule at the Ku Klux Klan thus illustrating the stupidity and simplemindedness of even the highest member of this hate organization making this movie enjoyable, despite its outrageousness. Blackkklansman, which was set in the early 1970s, left me with the raw thought that the more things change the more things remain the same. The sad reality is that the United States is even more divided today than it was in the 1970s.

I can’t bid you adieu without mentioning that Blackkklansman stars John David Washington, who is the son of Denzel. His acting was phenomenal in this his first feature film and I wouldn’t be surprised if he embarks on an illustrious acting career comparable to that of his famous father.

What are your plans for this weekend? How about grabbing your favorite person and heading to the movies to see one of the five mentioned above. Wait, what’s that? You have no one to go with…Then go alone. Three out of these five movies I saw alone and of the two my husband saw with me he fell asleep in one of them. I won’t tell you which one though. πŸ˜‰

So how was your week?

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