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. 😉

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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.😃 We would oftentimes go back and forth several times on just one of his post and in the end, we would always agree to disagree.

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

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

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

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

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

MILF

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

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

“Why not? I want to do it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Weeks and A Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Good, The Bad & The Downright Ugly

Last week I was mulling around on Instagram and saw how an acquaintance published the top ten highlights of her year via her IG story. Man, what an exciting and adventurous 2018 she had visiting new, exotic countries and parachuting out of airplanes.

I was so thrilled looking at her photos that I started going through my own social media 2018 photo History in an attempt to compile my own Top Ten Highlights. The compilation didn’t go quite the way I thought it would because as I scrolled through my pictures I realized that some of my funniest and best moments were not actually captured on camera. They were just sweet, tiny moments that might have taken place during a conversation, something my husband may have said to me, or maybe even the way he looked at me; or even that time in June, on our romantic getaway to Montauk, when I fell flat on my ass after attempting to ride a bicycle, even though I had not ridden a bike since I was 16 years old – that’s almost 3 decades ago.

I did take a ton of pictures though and I was reminded of the good, the bad and, yes, even the ugly experiences. What I also realized was that 2018 was a pretty good year. Yeah, there were both highs and lows, as with most things, but the highs far outweighed the lows.

I measure my success at my ability to smile at my memories as opposed to cringing. The cringe-worthy moments did exist but I am thankful that I can count them, on one hand, and I wouldn’t have enough fingers to count the happy, laugh-out-loud moments and the number of times I have paused and thought about how lucky I am.

The Bad

Scrolling through my memory bank I realize that most of the time I was at my ‘unhappiest’ was while I was at work – either standing in the Courtroom or sitting at my desk. The practice of law has become a daunting task for me. I feel absolutely ungrateful for feeling this way. How many people have I met who want to go to Law School? Or want the opportunity to capture an audience with their wit and intellect in a Courtroom? I used to be one of those people, I used to look forward to “winning” in Court, I used to want to stay up all night and read the precedents in order to prepare my case. I use to practice my oral arguments in my mirror, my pose, my stance, everything – going over all that needed to be said over and over and over until it was perfected. I used to look forward to the back and forth banter with opposing counsel. Hell, I used to get a kind of high from it, but now, now it’s just meh.

I am ashamed to admit that my zeal is gone. Not sure when it left or how it left but what is certain is that it has left and I am not even sure I want to go searching for it. Nowadays, I get headaches, real serious headaches when a case gets too complicated. I am just not intrigued anymore. Could this feeling possibly be from burnout? Maybe! I don’t have a solution for this and I am really not trying to find one, I am also not trying to analyze anything, I am just speaking my truth. Further, I am not trying to make any promises to myself that I am going “to figure it out’ in 2019.

What I know for sure is that years of practicing law have allowed me to develop great skill in the Courtroom and I am a damn good litigator. I will always do my best for my clients; always! However, if I am being completely honest with myself I am over it. I wish I had another means to make money, a means by which I could be extremely enthusiastic and happy while pursuing my passion and bringing home the bank.

The Ugly

In May of 2018, I tried something called Velashape. Velashape is a non-invasive treatment which is “supposed to” result in the reduction of cellulite. Yes, the ugly came in the form of a ton of cellulite on what used to be my gorgeous legs.

I once had voluptuous, long, thick, toned legs. Legs I use to get all kinds of compliments on. I lived in mini-skirts, dresses, and short shorts because I loved my legs. I feel like I had these beautiful legs as recently as last year and then out of nowhere came the hideous cellulite. Like a ton of them, both on the front and back of my thighs. (Sigh)! Was it age? Was it my food consumption? Was I not doing enough cardio? Should I try to squeeze another leg day into my already tight weight training workout routine? Maybe I should consider taking up running?

I did my research and learned about a cellulite treatment called Velashape, further research led to a reasonably priced aesthetician, only a few miles away from my office, who would be able to perform these treatments. I was excited! I was going to get my gorgeous cellulite free legs back in time for Summer.

The research said results varied but typically started to show between 3 to 6 sessions, so I purchased the package with 6 sessions of Velashape treatment. I did 2 of my 6 weekly sessions and on the morning of my third session I got a call from the aesthetician saying that the Velashape machine had broken down the night before, that it was in the process of being fixed and she would call me as soon as it was up and running again. This happened during the third week of May, by the time mid- June rolled around and the machine still had not been fixed, I went in, canceled the rest of the sessions, got a full refund and that was the end of that.

My Velashape treatment was an epic fail. I thought of trying to find another Spa to get it done, Lord knows there are scores of them in Manhattan that provide such services, but I kind of saw the breaking down of the machine as a sign to embrace my cellulite and let go off of my vanity. Truth be told, I detest my cellulite, like seriously. I can’t stand them but I used my refund to pay for Blog Writing Classes, which I did from July to August, and I couldn’t be happier with that choice.

The Good

My marriage has not been without its challenges, we hadn’t lived together before we got married and the first year was, to say the least, a bit tough, the 2nd year was better and by golly this year I think we finally found our groove.

Time spent with my husband has been part of the best memories of my year. We seemed to have unintentionally found a way to read each others’ minds and act accordingly. He still gets frustrated when I stretch him too thin socially, he’s not much of a people person, like I am, but if he doesn’t feel like going somewhere he just won’t go and these days I’m over getting mad about it and I’ll just go by myself.

I also now realize that he wants his time to himself, no social events, no movies, no family time, he just wants to lie by himself in the man-cave part of our house and watch his conspiracy theorist documentaries. When I visit the man-cave I pick up on when it’s my cue to leave and I do so without protest and give him his space. It has been a really good year for our marriage and I hope we continue to grow in the same manner we did in 2018.

Similarly, I hope to grow as an individual in the upcoming year. The New Year is always a time for reflections and resolutions but this year I won’t do too much of that lest I get caught up in the “what could have been” and the “what I hope will be” instead of just living in the present and enjoying the here and now.

Happy New Year everyone!

This past weekend we attended a Christmas Ball. 

The Art of Conversation

I had the privilege of being “interviewed” by my fellow Blogger, http://www.bottomlesscoffee007.com. I put the word “interview” in quotes because it wasn’t an interview per say but simply a conversation, and I had a blast.

WordPress has really afforded me the good fortune of connecting with some genuinely fun, interesting people and 007 is one of them. When he asked me to appear on his podcast I was flattered but a little nervous, since he and I don’t always share the same views but I thought to myself why not. I have pledged 2019 as my year of “yes” so I figured I’ll start practicing saying yes to everything as early as now.

Well, I am sure glad I did. What ensued was a lovely, warm conversation between friends, yes, it actually felt like we were friends. We had some real laugh out loud moments and it was authentic, natural and real; completely unscripted. It was the highlight of my day.

Take a listen and let me know what you think. Admittedly, it is very long (we chatted for an hour and a half) so it’s totally okay if you don’t listen to all of it, I mean really who has that kind of time to listen to a podcast anyway, but I’d encourage you to listen to at least some of it and please, please share your thoughts on the parts that you listened to.

I enjoyed the playback to all of it but I’ll be honest and let you know that I enjoyed the last half of the conversation more, by then 007 and I had settled into a cozy tete-a-tete.

Whichever parts of the podcast you choose to listen to we would love your feedback. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed participating.😀

Happy Holidays!!!!

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/2018/12/19/rakkelles-podcast-podcast-episode-19/