A 45 Year Marriage

Since it is Mother’s Day on my side of the World the plan was to blog about my mother and all the lessons she has taught me, but then something felt uneasy and weird about the day. My heart felt heavy and I attributed that to all the rain we are having today in New York City but then I went into my Google calendar to add an event and I realized that today is May 12th…May 12th!!!! My father died on May 12, 2015!

So that’s what it is! The heaviness in my heart was from that undeniable feeling of loss, I sometimes don’t even recognize. It’s weird, isn’t it? I know the anniversary of Daddy’s death was coming up and I had planned to honor him by writing about him in one of my blog posts on the actual anniversary of his death but I didn’t realize that this year the anniversary of his passing would coincide with Mother’s Day.

It doesn’t seem fair to write about my Mom on the anniversary of the day I lost the most formidable man I have ever known and it doesn’t seem fair to dedicate my blog post to my Dad on Mother’s Day. I could just cop out and not write at all since I am not feeling my best and let the sadness take over my day but I am way overdue a blog post so I have decided to write about them, both of them, and their marriage, instead.

I was one of the lucky ones, it wasn’t until I was in elementary school that I realized that not every household had a mother and a father. I had taken it for granted that all my peers were being raised by the people who made them but that wasn’t always the case. This fact made me appreciate my parents’ union more and more and when I became a full-blown adult going through my divorce I realized what it must have taken to stay married for the 45 years my parents were. They were lucky enough to be able to live their vows and did not part ways until the day my father transitioned into another World.

He had kissed her that morning, she said. He had kissed her on the morning of May 12, 2015, for the very last time. It was almost as if he knew he was leaving her forever on that day. My father had been really sick for the past few months and had become bed-ridden since February of that year when the Cancer had ravished his body so brutally his legs could no longer carry him and he was confined to a wheelchair.

My mother took care of my father like she always had during their 45-year union during those last few months of Daddy’s life, except, taking care of him in those last months was very different and more demanding than all the years put together because now she had to bathe him and sometimes even feed him and care for him in a way she had never done before. As she fed him breakfast that morning he motioned for her to come closer to him. When she did, he kissed her, he planted his lips squarely on hers, something he hadn’t done in weeks, maybe even months.

In retrospect, I am almost certain that that was his way of saying goodbye without alarming her. A way of saying good-bye, without letting her know that those were his final hours. My father was that kind of man. He was that old-fashioned kind of guy that would bear the brunt of pain, suffering, and difficulties by himself without unloading on anyone, especially his wife. In his eyes, his number one responsibility in life was to take care of his wife and his family despite whatever he was going through no matter how difficult the circumstances, without complaint; and take care of us, he did

Growing up we were never in want for anything, anything at all. My father was an excellent provider. The irony is that when they first got married my mother made more money than my father. She has often told me the story of how she had to apply for the loan on their first house because she had a nice, stable job as a civil servant with the Jamaican government and my father was merely a soldier in the Jamaican army. He was not making much money back then and would never be able to get a loan, but my Mom stepped up to the plate and did what she had to do to secure their mortgage.

That may have been the only time in their marriage that my mother had to step up financially because my father, who was a visionary, left the army a couple of years into their marriage, and with his keen sense of business and leadership qualities built a company from the ground up which had over a 100 employees on the day he died. He was a shrewd businessman, who knew how to take risks and turn over a dollar. He was driven, disciplined and determined and I admired that about him so much.

Isn’t that what marriage is about though? The willingness to step up and help your partner for the betterment of the union as a whole. My parents’ marriage wasn’t easy; I witnessed first hand a lot of compromises and sacrifices. It wasn’t easy but it worked and somewhere along the way they learned the art of compromise and didn’t view letting go and letting the other person “win” as one individual getting their way over the other.

One of the many things I admired about them was their ability to listen to each other – not just hear the other person but to listen. No doubt, my father was the head of the household but he listened to his wife. No important decision was made without her, even though he was the head. He was in charge but not above “taking counsel” from his wife. They complemented each other because they never competed with each other, they each had their individual role to play, which they did very well and happily too.

On May 12, 2015, a few hours after my father kissed my mother for the last time he took his last breath. It was his goodbye. He let himself go after she had left their bedroom. In those last days, she was with him all the time but not even an hour after she left the room at approximately 1:05 pm he let himself go. He took his last breath, knowing she wasn’t there, because in his own way he might have thought it best not to alarm her or not to let go in front of her and make an already sad situation even sadder.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Moms out there, but especially to my Mom, who gave so much to her children and her husband. And to Daddy, the reality of your death has a way of striking at the most inopportune times, I still think it’s crazy how your larger than life persona was reduced to just a shadow of who you really are in the end. I will always remember you though as the strong, fierce, force to be reckoned with that you actually were. A man who loved his family, his wife and his children, more than anything else. A pillar in his community, a tower of sheer strength and determination. A real family man.

Like what you’ve read? Please let me know by hitting the like button and leaving your thoughts in the comment section. Don’t forget to follow/subscribe if you enjoyed this piece. Thank you! πŸ’•

You’re Getting Fat!

“Babe, your thighs are looking a little chunky there in my boxers.”

I was startled out of my daydreaming. That was the sound of my husband’s voice but clearly, I wasn’t hearing the words spoken accurately. Did my husband just tell me I am getting fat?

I have a habit of wearing his boxers around the house and as I waddled up the stairs to our bedroom those were the words I heard coming out of his mouth. He was behind me.

“Did you just call me fat?” I said challengingly.

“Your thighs didn’t use to look like that in my boxers.”

“Like what?” I said threateningly, as I spun around to look directly at him.

“So big.” He said matter of factly. “Did you gain some weight?”

I was horrified! My husband did just call me fat.

I tried to answer but I stumbled over my words because this was a completely new one in our marriage. My sweet, dear husband, who, on my worst days always has something nice to say to me about my weight was now telling me I was fat. How many times have I squeezed into a dress that was obviously too tight and asked him if I looked fat and he always told me I looked “great”. I could feel and even look like a bloated pig and my darling husband always tells me I look great, he has always maintained that I am not fat yet here he was staring defiantly at my thunder thighs while asking if I had gained weight.

I was so hurt. I felt the tears forming in the corner of my eyes. Don’t blink, Racquel, don’t blink. I felt defeated. I was so hurt I couldn’t even get mad. Truth be told I had packed on the pounds, quite a bit of it too.
I sighed and tried hard not to let my husband see how much his innocent words had affected me, “Yeah, I think I gained a little.”
“How much?” He asked. Oh my Gawd, why won’t he stop talking???!!!
“I’m not sure.” I lied.
Of course, I knew how much weight I had gained. I weigh myself at least twice a week. I have been doing so for years. I had noticed the numbers steadily climbing for quite some time now but I was in denial. At first, I fooled myself into thinking it was muscle gain, after all, I lifted weights regularly in the gym; then my clothes started getting super snug and I explained that away since clothes generally shrink after a while when you wash and or dry clean them so, of course, that’s the reason my clothes were now tight. I was in major denial.😟
A few days later, hubby and I were getting dressed to attend our annual Christmas Ball and the zipper on my gown would not go all the way up.
WTF??!!!
Luckily, my Mom was visiting for the Holidays and was able to do some kind of trick with the zipper allowing me to still wear the gown but boy was I uncomfortable all night. I looked gorgeous in the dress, take a look at The Good, The Bad & The Downright Ugly but I didn’t feel gorgeous at all. When you stop feeling gorgeous that’s when you know it’s time for a change.

Weight Watchers

As clichΓ© as it sounds, I decided that I would embark on a new, healthier me for the New Year. I had some success on Weight Watchers back in 2010 so a few days after the Christmas Ball, while examing the increase in cellulite on my thighs, as my husband’s words replayed on repeat in my head, I joined WW again.

I had heard about the Keto diet, which seems to be all the rage these days so I did some research on it but I wasn’t interested in trying anything which forced me to eliminate entire food groups. I needed something sustainable, a program that I could possibly keep doing for the rest of my life, as such I joined WW on December 31, 2018, and I am happy to report that it’s been 3.5 months and I am still sticking to the program.

My favorite thing about WW is that you can eat pretty much anything, no foods are forbidden, as long as you don’t go over your allotted caloric intake, or as Weight Watchers calls it your “points”. Mind you, those points go extremely fast.

When I first joined WW my daily allotted points would be all gone by lunchtime. I would freak out because it would literally be midday and I would have consumed all my daily calories. This frequent occurrence forced me to turn to the zero points food in order to sustain me throughout the rest of the day.

WW has named quite a number of foods such as grilled chicken breast, vegetables, and fruits zero points food. You’re permitted to eat as much of these foods as you want and not use any of your daily points. These zero points foods have saved me many times but it had gotten to the point where if I ate one more grilled chicken salad (without dressing) for dinner I was going to keel over and die. 😁

I hate boring food, and I especially detest vegetables. I am not much of a broccoli, eggplant, kale kind of person. I am a carnivore – a kind of meat and potatoes kind of gal so this is where I had to learn portion control. I had to exercise discipline and cut my eyes past that 10-ounce ribeye and instead whet my appetite with a more reasonable portion. Man, that was/is hard.

Portion control is the most difficult part of the program for me. I still struggle with eating just a cup of chips instead of ripping open a bag of Lays Wavy while reading and just popping a few pieces in my mouth every few minutes until the entire bag is gone.

I have developed some healthy habits on the program though, like juicing. Since I don’t like eating my vegetables (I swear I sound like a 4-year-old πŸ˜ƒ) I had to learn to juice them and mix them with fruits in order to make it more palatable. The Nutri Bullet which I have had sitting in my kitchen cabinet for years has proven to be a godsend.

Exercise

Another great thing about Weight Watchers is that you get to eat your activity points. The more you exercise the more you get to eat. Each and every activity you can think of, even something as simple as walking the dog, is outlined in the WW app and has points value attached to it. Therefore, the longer I stay on the elliptical, the more points I get back so that I can devour that 10-ounce ribeye. πŸ˜‰

I challenge myself daily to see how much activity points I can attain just so I can eat them later that day. If I want to have that martini or glass of wine then I have to stay on that treadmill or in the weight room or do an extra challenging class so I can earn that reward, this forces me to workout at least 5 days a week. Thankfully, I actually like working out and enjoy (yes, I said enjoy) going to the gym.

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It’s been 3.5 months and as of this morning, I’m officially down 21.2 pounds. The first 10 pounds seem to come off steadily, then I struggled to get down to a 15-pound loss, and I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it was to reach 20. It seemed as if each and every time I got down to a 20 lb loss, that I’d wake up the next morning and gain back a pound or two sometimes even three. It’s a nightmare! I’m still not even comfortable announcing the 20+ lbs weight loss because it has been a struggle to maintain and sometimes it feels as if I have plateaued.

Plateaued or not, I am not about to give up because the non-scale victories blow my mind, like the fact that I can now fit in clothes I haven’t worn in years, that my jeans no longer pinch my inner thighs, that I can actually see a reduction in my cellulite (even though they aren’t all gone), that I have lost inches off of my waist (my girlfriend told me recently that my waist looked “snatched”), that I feel stronger, that my skin is glowing, that I can now see my collar-bone and my husband, the one who started all of this, has remarked that I shouldn’t “lose too much weight” because he doesn’t “like skinny girls”. πŸ˜‰

7 Random Things About Me!

Who doesn’t like awards and the recognition from their peers that they are deserving of such awards?! My fellow Bloggers seem to believe I am a versatile blogger since in recent months I have been nominated a few times by various bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

How the Versatile Blogger Award works is that once nominated one has to share 7 things about yourself with your readers. Since I started my Blog in July, 2018 I have shared quite a lot about myself Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One) and Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part 2) and yet I am still concerned about oversharing BLOGGING FEARS so I am not entirely sure what else, if anything, I’d like you all to know about me but I’ll have a go at the nomination anyway.

So without further ado, here are 7 totally random bits of information about me:

1. I recently lost 18 pounds! It’s surprising to me that my 18 lb weight loss doesn’t really show that much. I think 18 lbs is a lot so I figured everyone would have noticed that I am shrinking but not really. A few people have noticed and commented but in the grand scheme of things not as many as I had hoped. In any event, I am extremely proud of myself for having the discipline to have lost some weight and I am super excited about getting to my desired weight goal. When I first started my weight loss program I told myself that I would write a blog post about it once I lost the first 20 pounds; so who knows there might be a weight loss blog post coming next week.

2. I blog about my husband and my son a lot, but there are 2 other important people in my World who are among my favorites – my mother and my brother. Both my Mom and my brother think I overshare on my blog so despite my admiration for and the fact that I would love to write about them, I am fearful of doing so because I don’t want to inadvertently trample on their privacy.

3. I sometimes feel burdened being the matriarch in the household. Why should I be responsible for what everyone eats on a daily basis? I get so annoyed at the beginning of the week when I have to meal plan or figure out what dinner is going to be for the next few days. The flip side of that, however, is I recently discovered that I actually enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes (psst; don’t tell my husband πŸ˜ƒ). Three weeks ago I made Lasagna for the first time and it was to die for. I am so excited to make it again, among trying other new dishes.

4. I am not impressed by how much money you have, the size of your house or what you do for a living. In fact, I get turned off by people who believe that such things define an individual. I am impressed by character. Are you loyal? Do you have integrity? Are you personable? Are you a pleasure to be around? Those are the things that impress me. The size of your wallet or bank account does not make a difference to me if your personality is lacking.

5. I like watching pimple popping YouTube videos. There, I said it! It’s so gross and disgusting but I inexplicably and weirdly derive some satisfaction from watching all that “stuff” ooze out of the pimple or cyst once it pops. I can’t explain why I enjoy these videos so much, I just do. I find them oddly relaxing and apparently 4,999,999 other people do too since Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper has 5 million subscribers to her YouTube channel alone, this doesn’t even include her Instagram and Facebook pages.

6. People who tell me they have no friends scare me. I am of the view that in order to have a friend you have to at least be a friend so if you don’t have even one friend then there has to be something amiss about your personality. When it comes to friends and friendships quality trumps quantity; so for someone to say they don’t have any friends, not even one, makes me wonder about them, and all I can do is raise my eyebrows and think to myself what the hell is wrong with that person that s/he doesn’t have even one friend.

7. I have a brand new niece. I haven’t met her yet but I love her. When I saw her pictures I immediately fell in love. She is only a few weeks old, and looking at her pictures makes me wish I, myself, could have a daughter. Meet Sonia Christina…..

Disturbing!

By now you must have watched the HBO Documentary, Leaving Neverland. The documentary is essentially a 4-hour interview in which two adult males, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, describe being seduced and sexually molested by Michael Jackson, at the height of his stardom, when they were mere children.

I watched Leaving Neverland when it premiered last Sunday, I watched it again on Monday, and today, four days later, I still cannot get the graphic details of these allegations against Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, out of my head. To say I am troubled and disturbed by the allegations is putting it mildly. I am not one to get into celebrity gossip or stories or the like, but I simply cannot get the details of this controversial documentary out of my head and it has left me wondering about the veracity of these horrific accusations.

Both Safechuck and Robson alleges in graphic detail the sexual seduction and abuse they suffered at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were merely 10 and 7 years old, respectively; at the time Michael Jackson was a grown man in his 30s. The age difference is staggering and one can only label Jackson a pedophile, if, and I repeat if these allegations are true.

Safechuck met Jackson when he won the role of a lifetime playing opposite Jackson in a Pepsi commercial in 1987 when he was only 8 years old. His relationship with Jackson soon blossomed after that as the allegations purport that Jackson not only seduced the then 10-year-old Safechuck but also his entire family, including his parents. Jackson became “friends” with Safechuck’s mother and in Leaving Neverland, Mrs. Safechuck even describes how she regarded Jackson as one of her own children. She describes him as “a son” and talks about preparing meals for him, speaking with him on the phone daily for hours and having him over for dinner several times in their home. It was therefore relatively easy for her to say “yes” when Jackson invited them on a vacation to Hawaii and later invited the then 10-year-old Safechuck to tour with him on his Bad tour. It was also relatively easy for her to comply when Jackson requested, while on the vacation in Hawaii, that her 10-year-old son sleep with him (Jackson) in his room.

Robson, who was born in and resided in Australia, met Jackson when he was merely 5 years old after winning an Australian dance contest where he won tickets to Jackson’s concert followed by a meet-and-greet. Thereafter Jackson allegedly told Robson’s mother to look him up if she ever came to the United States, which she did 2 years later, and was miraculously able to get in contact with him; and remember this is in a day and age before the Internet. It makes you wonder if certain things were just meant to be, or this is what Robson’s mother believed.

Robson and his family were invited into Jackson’s home while on their stay in the US and again the allegations are that Jackson was able to charm Mom into agreeing to allow her then 7-year-old child to spend time alone with Jackson in his private bedroom.

Dan Reed, the Director of Leaving Neverland, goes back and forth with the camera as both Safechuck and Robson are interviewed for the documentary. He does extreme close-ups of both men’s faces as they describe in very graphic details the sexual acts performed with Michael Jackson when they were mere boys, at 7 and 10 years old. Truthfully, the entire thing made me shudder and it was extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around the allegations. My gosh, they were not even teenagers yet (not saying that would make the allegations any less disturbing) but 7 and 10 years old! My gosh! They were mere babies!

Safechuck alleges that his sexual relationship with Jackson lasted from the ages of 10 to 14, while Robson states that his relationship with Jackson was on and off for 7 years from ages 7 to 14. The indication is given in the documentary that Jackson preferred it when the boys were very young and as they entered their early teens he abandoned his relationship with them for other younger boys. Robson even claims that he was replaced by child actor Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone fame.

It is interesting to note that Culkin has vehemently denied any inappropriate conduct from Jackson during the several years they “hung out as friends”. It is also interesting to note that Dan Reed, the Director, never bothered to interview Culkin or any other of the several children, who are now men in their 30s, who were always seen in Jackson’s company at the height of his stardom.

The premiere of Leaving Neverland has, of course, revived sexual abuse allegations made against Jackson in the past. In August of 1993, Evan Chandler, a dentist, accused Jackson of sexually abusing his 13-year-old son Jordon Chandler. Jackson vehemently denied the allegations and both Safechuck and Robson gave sworn testimonies in affidavits stating that Jackson is a wholesome person, a good friend, that never once touched them inappropriately. Jackson later settled out of court with The Chandlers for $23,000,000 (yes, that’s right 23 million) and in September 1993 the criminal investigation related to the Jordon Chandler case was closed.

There were similar allegations within the following decade made against Jackson which culminated in criminal charges being brought against him in January 2004 when then 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo accused Jackson of sexually molesting him. This time there was no out of court settlement and the case went to trial, a trial that lasted several months. One of the key witnesses for Jackson in this 2005 trial was none other than Wade Robson, who testified for days about the innocence of his friendship with Jackson.

Both Safechuck and Robson were adults in 2005 during Jackson’s sexual molestation trial, Robson, who was 23 years old at the time, testified under oath that Jackson never sexually abused him. Safechuck, who was 27 at the time, stated in the documentary that when Michael contacted him to testify on his behalf in 2005 he refused, told Jackson to never call him again and hung up the phone.

The fact that both Safechuck and Robson defended Jackson in 1993 when 13-year-old Chandler accused him of sexual molestation and misconduct and Robson again in 2005, defended Jackson, this time by taking the stand has many die-hard Michael Jackson fans questioning their credibility. There has also been talk about both men making the documentary for money. However, it has been postulated over and over again by Director Dan Reed, that neither man has been “renumerated” for telling his story.

Oprah Winfrey interviewed both Safechuck and Robson after Leaving Neverland aired and she asked a pertinent question of them both, “Why come forward now?”

Both men, who are now married with sons of their own, have essentially said it is because of their children. They are now watching their own children grow up and are motivated to tell the truth as they watch the innocence of their own children on display.

Safechuck has said “I want to speak the truth as loud as I spoke the lie. Michael made you feel like you did it, that it was all your idea, Then you look at your own kid, and for the first time realize, “What? That just makes no sense.”

Today I read on BBC.com that a statue of Michael Jackson has been removed from the National Football Museum in Manchester, England. I was a bit taken aback. I also read a few articles where radio stations are considering no longer playing Michael Jackson’s songs.

Say what?!

Jackson’s music has always uplifted me, admittedly it still did this week even after watching Leaving Neverland. Jackson is no longer alive to defend himself and it bothers me that these allegations are now being made when he should be resting in peace.

However, there is something about Safechuck, not so much Robson, but James Safechuck, as I watch him give his interview to Oprah that makes me believe him. His eyes are filled with pain, his face distorted in disbelief that he simply cannot believe he’s actually doing this, that he’s actually talking out loud about something he had vowed to take to his grave. You can almost tell that he takes no pleasure from all of this. He still talks about his “love” for Jackson and the fact that he “feels like he is letting him down”.

In all honesty, I don’t know what to believe about Michael Jackson anymore. I am a fan. In light of these horrible allegations will I remain a fan? Should we now shun the man, his legacy and his music because of a controversial documentary? Or should we separate the man from his art? What say you? Do you believe that the King of Pop was capable of such appalling acts, especially against children?

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.

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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. πŸ˜‰

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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.πŸ˜ƒ 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 πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ).