Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Seat, A Voice, & Preparation

It’s not enough to just have a seat at the table. We’ve all seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving  where Franklin is yes… seated at the table (albeit franklinin a lawn chair by himself on one side of the table). We’ve probably listened to Solange Knowles’ political statement in her 2016 album A Seat at the Table and didn’t someone bring an actual lawn chair to a swearing in ceremony recently?  Great metaphor. Love it.

However, we cannot be content with simply having a seat at the table. Yes, I know that just having a seat there is important. Critically important. –and I know that some of us have ways to get that seat at the table. Yes, we can get a seat at the table, but then what?

The thing we need to strive for is having a voice at the table. If you have a seat and people are still talking over you, around you, maybe even to you because you are well…there, then what?

We need to have a voice. We need to talk and meet and be heard and offer solutions and share experiences. We need to use our voices to bring our fabulous-ness and our fierceness and our ability to be change-makers, community builders, innovators and problem solvers into the conversation.

My dear friend Angela Patton provides not only a seat at the table for black girls but she provides opportunities for them to use their voices and be heard–an opportunity to research, share, empower, be empowered, encourage and be encouraged.

With this voice, comes skill and a level of preparedness.

My daughter had the opportunity to go to the Jefferson Hotel for Pam Northam’s First Lady’s Brunch (at this point, I should say that I’ve only been in the Jefferson Hotel for a function once and my father has never been there-so we’re making progress here;).

In addition to a seat and a voice, we must be prepared. I have to say that Danielle did her homework, not just for this event but throughout the years via her community service, activism, inquisitive nature and social network.

When Danielle stepped into the Jefferson Hotel today, she knew about issues, had ideas, was confident and was ready. As a result, she used the opportunity to speak up for herself, her community, shared her ideas, dreams, plans and goals. She had the opportunity to be inspired by Mrs. Northam, Justin Fairfax, Angela Patton and others. She also had the opportunity to inspire.

Danielle was not only sitting at the table, which was rather fancy, but she had a voice and she was prepared.  

More than a seat. We need a voice. We need to be prepared.

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Posted by on January 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


I’m becoming my mother…I think

I don’t know when this was awakened in me. Perhaps I had it all the time.

Some people…maybe most people think of 5 reasons why something won’t work. This crosses my mind too in a “shoot…hmm. let me figure this out” kinda way. [I know this might be some sort of control issue thing. I get it.] But, I really do think, What can I tweak? What can I do given x,y, z? What have I learned from another situation that I can bring to bear on this situation and sometimes it’s just sheer grit–a desire to do something and not stopping til I’ve done it or I have exhausted all possibilities and I give up out of exhaustion. In these times I think of the Survivor episodes where the teams have to find the little flag in the hay bales. One team spent sooooo much time trying to find the flags, sobbing and searching in the pitch black when they finally were forced to quit. That would be me. [This is a good time to reiterate to myself that this is may not be the best thing ever. I get it.]

I remember arriving in NYC from Richmond ,VA for college and I was determined to get me and my luggage from the airport and down the street and across campus by myself and I did. I had traveled quite a bit before that so it wasn’t like wow, NY is a completely different world for this country girl. It was more like–I have a task to do and I need to go ahead and do it.

Once I traveled by foot across Morningside Park in NYC to get to church. (for those of you who know Morningside Park, you know what an ordeal this was.) Maybe because there was a guy there that I wanted to see but nevertheless, I got myself there (and so did he, by the way;).
winter tree

Another time , I took the T (subway/train) from work and then walked in a blizzard to pick up Danielle from a friends house. I knew she was safe and I knew that what I was doing could wait but I just had to get there and get back home with her. I will never forget that feeling of wanting to stop with each footstep and thinking about how hard it was to keep moving forward against the wind– but I just kept going.

I’m now realizing quite acutely, that I try to figure out stuff basically all the time (my mom is a master at that. She will lie in bed and just think and think and then she solves the problem). I am becoming more and more like that too and I grow impatient with people who give up easily–people who see a problem for every situation instead of a solution for every situation.


So, alas, the impetus for this reflection/rant is probably due to the  “world stops because of snow in Virginia” is bringing this frustration out in me, even as I listen to cars sliding and screeching on the street outside. (doo doo’s 😉

Maybe I need to build up my chill superpowers since my relentless superpower is pretty well developed at this point. In that vein,  I think I will go read a book and maybe, just maybe…I’m drink some tea. tea cup


Posted by on January 4, 2018 in Uncategorized


Bella barks

bellaBella (the namesake of this blog) has a fast-moving, incurable form of bone cancer. I am going to euthanize her. Funny that the dog vet people tell you about amputation (just gives her a year instead of 3 months) and chemo and pills (with this 1 1/2 years) and everything else but they never bring up euthanasia. Interesting.

So that’s a thing–Danielle’s uncle Sean volunteered to take Bella to get euthanized and cremated. I feel like it’s my responsibility but I just don’t think that I can look at her lifeless body after having so much life. She’s been in my life for 12 years.  tears. lots of tears.

I had a good year. Every year that you have is a good year, huh. This year, I’m a little worried about. I feel that it can go either way, ya’know–like there are lots of loose ends that will (hopefully) come together. I’m not going to try to tie the loose ends though– just wait and see how it goes and then go with it.

I think I will keep my vision board for one more year since I didn’t fully realize all. It takes lots of time to realize some of the grander visions/dreams/goals. Vision boards should be life boards.


2017 vision board

I must say that my 2017 board was a super pared down version of the 2016 board. So that’s something.


2016 vision board

Now I’m thinking that I should do a 2018 vision board… Maybe with just a picture of a foundation of some kind- like the Parthenon for strength. Or maybe a picture of my feet to remind me to stand flat-footed and push through and experience.


So, 2018 lots up in the air. I am grateful for the 2 week vacation from work. The only time that I’ve opened my computer is to write this–and that’s something 🙂

That’s everything 😀

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Posted by on December 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


I Know the Way Home

I Know the Way Home

The moment wasn’t lost on me–the first time in 4 days during my Rest & Relaxation Weekend that I powered on my computer. The moment was just after take off –just after my usual and very deliberate counting down of runway yards until liftoff. 8 hundred yards, 7 hundred yards and counting until between 500 and 400 yards most planes ascend. Wheels off the ground.

As I looked out of the window and enjoyed the takeoff, I watched the beautiful city of Boston, my home for many many years, twinkle by. As I looked down up the city, lovingly noticing the waterfront, The World Trade Center-Boston, the bustling downtown with its vibrant lights and tall buildings and lastly, at the beautifully lit, Zakim Bridge bathed in purple.  I thought about how much I love the city, my friends and my family yet I knew as we passed the Zakim Bridge on the left, that the plane was headed in the wrong direction. I said in my head, we have to turn left to go home.  zakim-bridge

The plane banked left and I felt the wonder of modern air travel. This huge machine taking all of these people somewhere, taking me somewhere, with the power to bank at just the right angle at just the right time at just the right speed.

The aircraft straightened and I knew that we needed to turn more. We weren’t headed home. We did and I saw the beautiful city of Boston–a city that has so many wonderful memories for me, a city that contains so many of my beloved family and friends. I saw it for the second time, smaller now but no less as beautiful, no less powerful.  I thought of how I need the beautiful picture of all of the cities that mean so much to me. New York, Boston and Richmond. I need to look at them everyday. I need to remember everyday.

The plane banked again and I knew then that I knew, I really knew, the way home.


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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


Nose Up-Toes Up, Control your Dissent

On my walk today with my dogs, I realized something about myself–more than realized something, I realized and reflected on a pattern, a way of interacting–a way of being that doesn’t serve me all that well in some situations. A way of being that causes unnecessary emotional bumps and bruises and longer recovery times.

To set the stage, my teenage daughter, Danielle and the exchange student, Blanca, who is living with us, went to the river to rock hop and enjoy the water on a hot summer day. Blanca noticed a narrow rush of fast-moving current between where I was precariously wedged between some large rocks and a calm pool of water. I engaged every muscle I had to avoid the faster moving water, while Danielle and Blanca went on down the “baby rapids”–toes up, nose up — thus avoiding all rocks and having a glorious ride to the calm pool of water on the other side. They in their mini oasis for what seemed like an eternity while all the while cajoling me to get into the rapids. I would not. Nope. Even though I’m a strong swimmer and knew that I could get to the other side, for some reason, I just would not do it. I would not let go.20150525_110219

It was not until my leg muscles finally gave out that I went ahem…unwillingly down the rapids– bumping and getting bruised on the rocks along the way. Instead of going through the churning water willingly to get to the other side, I was forced to by my own exhaustion and the result was painful and embarrassing.

This what I tend to do emotionally as well– I avoid conflict at all costs. I acquiesce. I just go along and figure it out later and often by myself I have trouble sitting in the swirl– being in chaos. I often don’t value my own inner strength to get through it and therefore,  I sit paralyzed, peace on the other side deferred until I can figure out how to devise a contraption or go allll the way around to finally get to the other side. However, more often than not, I get yanked into chaos because I simply get too tired to hold on any longer and I get hurt.

As I sit here writing this and reflecting upon my life, I have to admit that my legs are tired, my brain is tired, my heart is tired. The swirl is here. The swirl is everywhere.  The swirl is real. The key is to trust that what’s one the other side is worth it AND to control the entrée into the chaos. Does one go unwillingly or have a controlled descent–nose up, toes up?! It’s hard to trust that will work and sometimes, even when you plan it all out, it doesn’t work out. So, I’m searching inside for the peace within to get me through the swirl of raging water and the trust in myself that yes, I have incomprehensible strength given by God, I can manage it. Time to let go.


Posted by on July 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


Badass, Goodass Goddess

I have been away from blogging for a year or more as I have been writing quite a bit professionally and just kinda keeping my stories in my head. Suffice it to say that I am an emotional writer (I guess there are worse things) and alas, I have been snapped back to writing (on paper) by several recent events that struck a chord.

For the past several weeks, I have enjoyed reading FB posts by my female friends coping with the relentless winter weather in Boston. I have participated in discussions featuring everything from throwing pantyhose filled with ice melt on roofs and gutters to prevent disaster, enlisting the help of neighbors to push cars out of driveways so very important exercise training schedules can be maintained. Some friends are managing commutes that are 3x as long as normal all the while maintaining pick up and drop off times for little ones and yep, some friends are bemoaning the fact that they have to shovel their own driveways over and over again. But the real icing on the cake in my power of the pen reclamation event was a second party FB post by a dear friend.

The article, 15 Things All Badass, Fearless Alpha-Women Do Differently From Other Types Of Women by Brenda Della Casa on captured my attention as the accompanying picture features the ubiquitous white woman, eyes glazed upwards, arms strongly angled on her hips, standing in a field complete with blousy shirt and yep, heels. (I’m not even kidding!)

Number one on the list of how to tell if you are badass woman is:

They cultivate a life they actually enjoy living.

Great, I can totally get with that because, you know…I’m badass. That’s enough for me to continue reading. I start to look through the other 14 affirmations and by number 4, I see it. Yep, right there:

They don’t need a boyfriend but they’re open to having a partner.

Here we go… and yes, even a badass can see through this. In total, 6 out of the 15 affirmations are directly related to the “boyfriend- strong single woman- don’t let anyone define you category”. There are a few others that relate to this theme peripherally. The correlation of badassness related to single-womanhood really bothered me in this article even though I was a single woman for 10+ years with a child and know that I’m totally badass because of it.

However ,for me, attributing being a badass to one’s ability to cope without a partner is so passé and I said so on the shared post.

Me: Yeah, but why are 6 of the points focused on single-ness, men and relationships…

The response back was something on the line of being fearless and not letting others define your happiness.

I couldn’t agree more but…

Me: Yeah, but then it should have one or two ” love yourselves” and not 6 “you are single so that makes you a badass”. Too much weight on that, in my opinion. I was single for 10+ years and yes I was badass because of it but there’s a whole lot more that I was badass about that didn’t even focus on men/or not having a man.

So, ladies, let’s talk about what IS badass that is not defined by a man.

Going through cancer treatments and asking for help from family and friends when you are usually the giver.  Asking for help. Tracy did that. That’s badass.

Working during the week and on weekends to make ends meet for your family. By any means necessary. Ashley did that. That’s badass.

Dealing with a sudden and tragic death of a loved one and then moving across country to start living again.Putting yourself and your kids back together.  Suzanne, did that. That’s badass.

Choosing to teach in an impoverished school and getting kids to love (I mean really love) learning MATH. Capturing students hearts and minds. Kyle did that. That’s badass.

Studying and working your butt off. Being a great friend and a great servant. Garnering a promotion to be the Senior Vice President, Chief Lending Officer of a major bank in a large city. Being humble and strong. Blondel did that. That’s badass.

Protesting the unjust treatment of young Black males while putting your own personal safety on the line. Being selfless.  Addis did that. That’s badass.

Facing a sudden divorce, picking up the pieces of yourself emotionally and physically and becoming a triathlete in the process. Physical and mental strength. Rebecca did that. That’s badass.

Striking out with your husband and young child to move to Indonesia for five months while you use your research on infectious diseases as a model for instruction in universities. Strong intelligence. Carleitta did that. That’s badass.

Badass is about loving yourself. It is about being a strong woman whether you are single or coupled up not because you are single or coupled up. As my badass friend Diane said, Badass is Goodass. Badass is Goddess.

I’m a badass. I’m goodass I’m a Goddess in my own right and I know A LOT of woman who fit into these same affirmations and while some of us do, some of us really don’t wear blousy dresses and heels and stand in fields. Some of us, like Adina, climb mountains physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s badass. That’s goodass. That’s Goddess.adina


Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Uncategorized



Kyle represents so many teachers in the world. She wants her students to excel academically and personally. Yet Kyle is different in many ways. Her unyielding grasp on her own sense of self, as well as her unwavering and highly attuned social justice orientation leap out before her in everything that she does, especially when she teaches.  However, her in-depth content knowledge, as well as her adept teaching pedagogy arekyle pic1 only a portion of the story. For Kyle, her social justice orientation is the fuel for supporting students whom the system has otherwise given up on, to excel.

This focus on social justice, particularly in schools, particularly in the area of mathematics has been explored at length by educators and activists such as Robert Moses in his book, The Algebra Project. In this book, Bob Moses indicates (and backs up the fact) that mathematics, Algebra in particular is a filter for continued student success, not only in mathematics but in college and the workforce. For this reason, it is vitally important to have teachers like Kyle, teachers that understand the intersection of mathematics and issues of social justice.

For Kyle, these issues are not only apparent professionally and personally for her within the walls of her own classroom, they are also part of her experience as a parent, particularly of boy, specifically of a bi-racial boy. Like many of us who juggle professional and personal around issues of education and social justice, Kyle experiences these same joys and dilemmas, which some may say are heightened by her experiences in a large urban school and in her home as a white woman with bi-racial children.

I am intrigued by how Kyle navigates her world at school as a teacher, at home as a parent and in the school community for her young son as a teacher and a parent.  Kyle and I are embarking on a journey together to peel back the issues as she sees them and document her experiences (and others) in order to not only tell her story but to draw connections to the stories that so many of us share.
Stay tuned. We’re excited.

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized