First of all, I know this post is a quarter late and probably not what you want to hear from me but I’m remiss to keep you all up to date. We’ll get into the details of the last 3 months in the coming days and don’t get tired of me.  ūüôā Let’s carry on from where I left off. I began this post and never came back to post it.

I’ve explained to you before that I’m not into resolutions. Planning is my sort of thing. The last time I did this was 2015 and that turned out pretty good. So, here I am prepared to document my plan for the new year. Please know these are in no particular order.

Prepare for all ID renewal

I need to renew all legal identification this year. This includes my driver’s license and passport. This is always a dreaded time for me. I wait until the last minute, don’t think my look out and end up settling with the outcome over the next couple years.  In 2017, I vowed to get everything prepared as if it’s New Year’s Eve. The picture below should serve as a reference. I’ll be sure to post the results through the year. Now, if I could get my hair to do this again I would be happier.  

Pack A Lunch

Last year, I struggled with packing my lunch. Only because it’s so convenient to go down into the food court at work and pick up something.  According to my banking analysis for 2016, I spent more than 2,500 on takeout.  WHO THE FUCK HAS MONEY FOR THIS? Certainly, not me.  I have to do better as I prepare for the next stages of my life.  So far, I’ve only spent a few dollars on takeout but my planning for a small afternoon meal is getting better. It totally includes packing my lunch and hauling that lunch sack into the office at least 4 out of 5days a week.

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Save More Money

My financial goals were realized in 2016. I saw the purpose of a savings account – and it certainly was not to purchase shoes and airline tickets on a whim. Thanks to my Facebook group, I’m doing all types of savings challenges.  Envelope, $5 bill and spare change. All funds from these initiatives will be deposited into my savings account quarterly to keep money from being in my home. In addition, I’ve planned to continue to figure out how I can cut costs.  Here’s an example of a savings challenge.

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Reduce Cholesterol 

With my recent health issues/concerns, I have become a prisoner to a Lipitor prescription. I want out of this medicinal jail. I know what I have to do and this is my way of getting it done. By the end of the year, I want them to tell me I don;t need the meds anymore. True, my numbers are not bad but I have to prove I can responsibly manage my cholesterol to reduce plaque production.

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Purchase Martha & Marley Spoon/ Blue Apron Box

After my birthday, the next day I’m in great anticipation about is not even Valentine’s Day this year.  It’s Feb. 13th. That’s when Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party comes back to VH1. I’ve always loved Martha. My mother is a really good cook and would watch her show every day after Oprah. I learned how to fold sheets, dye eggs and set up for a kickass dinner party. In my efforts to cook more, I stumbled across this subscription box from Martha. I’m on board and will keep you informed on how it all works out.

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Be moved by May

I have alot going on this year including several reasons to celebrate. This calls for a more visitor friendly environment.  My planning is based on being moved into another home by May.  We’ll see how this shapes up and I’ll keep you posted on the search options.  Will it be outside of Detroit? Not a chance! I know my heart would break. For every bad that everyone can point out, I know the good.  This will ALWAYS be home to me.

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Date Nights

I generally don’t do the same cliche things others do in relationships.  My independent spirit has always lead to me creating better memories and becoming more creative. This one has been playing tennis in my mind for some time.  These will be instituted this year especially in the second half of the year. In addition, I have so many clothes in my closet with tags only because I think it would be great for when we go out. Let’s ramp this initiative up with some urgency – I’m not getting any smaller. (wink wink) LOL

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Stop Frequenting Cheap Nail Salons

Within the last month of the year, I visited a really good foot doctor and he gave me some solid advice and unexcepted news. I’ll give you the good first. I didn’t have toenail fungus, just two badly bruised great toenails. The advice “you get what you pay for, maybe pay a little more for your pedicures to make sure they’re doing quality work.” Damn strip mall nail techs. You probably thought I was going to go there.  Not even but I thought this would give you a good laugh.

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Don’t Lose it at the Graduation 

I don’t know what I’m going to need to do but this one seems almost out of my control. Please direct me to some YouTube videos or something. I’ve already broken down at the championship banquet, senior parent meeting and on the sofa when he’s away. It’s something about that moment when you realizeY’all know I don’t want to embarrass the kid but something tells me it’s on the horizon.  Give me some tips or something!

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Park on Level 4 All 2017

I’m in between driving and ride sharing to work daily. I don’t mind driving but the walk from the parking structure is a chore some days. So, I’ve vowed to never park above level 4. at the end of ’16, they made us park in the company paid area or be locked in the structure. I like familiarity and driving around and around looking for parking is not a high point of my day. In the coming days, I’m considering purchasing a vehicle and this may change (you should see how some of these people park.) In the meantime, level 4 or bust.

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Everybody has their own goals and vision for 2017. These are the core items on my to-do list.  The numbers of the year have me energized, it’s me burfday scrambled. This seems like a pretty decent plan I can follow. What are your intentions for the next 12-months (or 9-months)?

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It was a nice August 16th and I actually wore a dress to work. I was fighting a headache for about 3 hours. ¬†While joking with some co-workers, I realized I was unable to communicate in my normal fashion. Ut oh, this thing is happening again. I sat polarized for a few moments waiting for it to pass. ¬†It didn’t and I packed my things up to go home. ¬†As I walked through the door, my son knew something was wrong with me. ¬†I was in complete denial. After 7 hours, 3 phone calls, my sister, and mom visiting, 2 hours of reading aloud, my son decided to drive me to the hospital.

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As I walked from the parking lot to the receiving desk, I cried. What was wrong with me? He had to speak for me because at the time – the words would not form as articulately as I desired them to. They rushed me to the back. ¬†No real information had been given and I was extremely agitated when they told me I would have to stay. I let the kid know he could go home, no sense in us both being uncomfortable in this overcrowded Detroit hospital ER. In addition, I let the doctor know the only way I was going to stay was if they gave me something to go to sleep. Whatever it was that they gave me I didn’t wake up until someone was trying to take off my pants. (It was good but I ain’t had NOTHING that would make me NOT realize my pants are being removed.) I was in my own room. Oh shit! I need to let somebody know where I am. True to form my phones needed life support. Mission: Text as many critical communicators as fast as possible.

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Yeah, you read it right! They believed I had a small stroke. Not a TIA again.  An actual, fuck yo life up stroke. What was my 36-year-old ass doing in here being diagnosed with this? Something called an ulceration of my carotid artery. Causing me to experience some speech impairment. My son had contacted my family. Some of my FB family reached out to me that were actually working in the hospital and in communication with me through our group message. I had reached out to the Mister on my way home the previous day and he found out they were keeping me later on. I felt a lot better but I really just wanted to get out of there.

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I took so many tests my head began spinning and every day I thought would be the day I’d be going home. Home wasn’t on the agenda until Friday. While I lay in that uncomfortable hospital bed with these foam boots on my legs, I analyzed my life. I never planned on¬†leaving my son alone without a sibling. ¬†He was 17 and depending on only himself. ¬†I thank God I had grocery shopped over the weekend. He would stay late into the night then go to practice and come see me afterward. My room buzzed in the evening hours with visitors. It was nice but I wanted to go. When they began talking about me leaving, I perked up. ¬†When she brought me the discharge papers, I was dressed. The nurse wanted to wait for a wheelchair, I opted to walk out. ¬†The smell of the fresh air was welcoming. The taste was fulfilling and walking through my front door brought immediate satisfaction.


The main side effect I experienced from this was -slight aphasia. In my eyes, this was right up there with losing the function of one of my limbs. I know it may sound a little vain but communication is one of my strongest attributes. ¬†As I sat alone in complete silence, I would speak aloud – searching for the right word and annunciation. Each day I became more frustrated and withdrawn because I wasn’t 100%. No matter how much better others said I was, there was no I could accept it.aphasia

The doctor had referred me to speech therapy but I was waiting for them to reach out to me with an appointment date. In the meantime, through my Googling, I learned that continuous communication would help my chances of strengthening/curing my ailment. I didn’t want people to hear me like this but I knew I had A LOT to be thankful for considering what I had been through.

Saturday was my 1st full day out, I got dressed and went to get my nails done. Once I returned home, I received a call from the security desk with a delivery. The kind people from my job sent me a welcome home present. I could just eat up all the kindness I was feeling, no LITERALLY. This was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to do better with my eating habits and fruit never hurt anyone. A few family members came over to share in the get well greeting.img_1601

I wanted to get back to work. I needed to feel normal again. After a few long conversations with a good friend, it was decided that I would work from home for a few days then return. Monday morning, I slid into the office picked up a few things I needed and was whisked outside to prevent me from taking on any additional assignments. While at home, I realized I needed this time. My body was still tired from the uncomfortable hospital and early morning test. It felt good to be of some assistance to my team again. They all instructed me to take as much time as I needed. They knew more than I did because I hadn’t thought about the 99 follow-up visits. They all stopped by to check on me and wish me well. This was appreciated but I didn’t wanna feel like an invalid. Moreover, being back at work has certainly assisted with overcoming the slight aphasia I was diagnosed with my the doctor.

Mission: Take pills as instructed. I hate taking medication because I believe the body it so sophisticatedly independent – it doesn’t need any help getting better. Not so this time, I was ordered to take what I would consider to be a fist full of meds.

Taking this medicine was almost as frustrating as the aphasia. I had alarms everywhere. The pills were on the dining room table and I felt like shit if I forgot to take them. Then one day while out on a Sunday afternoon to get some air, he asks “Mom, what happened to your legs?” I’m completely oblivious. ¬†I look down and around and-

The bruising caused by the Plavix and aspirin combination was too much and I fell into a depression. I struggled with if I had bumped myself by accident, should I look into getting some of those foam boots I wore in the hospital or stopping the meds. Which one do you think won? If you guessed stopping the meds, you’re absolutely right. ¬†My vanity was taking control of me. I reached out to my doctor and she gave me the green light to stop taking the Lipitor. I continued to take the Plavix and the bruising continued. ¬†It wasn’t until I went back to for my stroke follow-up that I was instructed to continue the Lipitor and aspirin to stabilize the cholesterol. It was during this visit, ¬†I was referred to psychology. Check out the reason he thought I might need it. Ya think!?img_3019

I never used this and by this time I had been to the speech therapist. She was very comforting and gave me some good information on what I could do for continued strengthening of my vocabulary and communication skills. By this time, I was experiencing sporadic episodes of “not being able to find the right word.” I had to get better.

 

 

Mission: Look for alternative ways to stay alive.¬†I’m sure many of you can guess this hasn’t been easy on my family. I’m so young and we have a history of stroke in our family. More than that, we have a long life expectancy. I mean my mother is 70 still cruising around doing her own thing. One night The Kid walks in after football practice and says, “I can’t go away to college and you’re sick.” No truer words have been spoken by a mother, ‘I’m going to be fine. You go on and live your life.’ ¬†This put me on a task like nothing else had already done. I have to stay healthy. Not only for me but mainly to keep this stress off of him. The main concern of the doctor is controlling the cholesterol. I can do that! I MUST do this.

Here’s what I have learned in my short recovery:

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These are the signs of stroke. I have to table my fear of the hospital and bills. If they could put all my medical info at the dentist office, I’d be alright. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I need to be open with those around me if I should have such an episode in the future. ¬†Time is the most important thing. (If you pay attention to the first image in this post. You’ll see I’m extremely blessed to even be typing this right now.) There are NO signs of severe stenosis¬†and no apparent reason to consider the surgical removal of the ulceration. I have a be a little more patient with myself and keep my phone charged (ain’t no telling where I may need to go). I like the way it was explained to me. “A stroke is like and accident on the freeway. There will be traffic while they are trying to clear it up and traffic begins to move as if nothing had happened. The wait is determined by the size of the wreckage.” I just had a small fender bender and I have to be more careful to prevent a pile-up. This happened to me to force me into a lifestyle change. I need to eat healthier – bottom line. My cholesterol isn’t bad but I need to get back to the gym to assist with this, as well. Most importantly, I made the decision to NOT have any siblings for my son and by God, he will not be alone until the creator is satisfied my purpose has been completed.

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I was totally outdone about not having told you about my son’s pool incident. In addition to this, I was trying to locate Matthew. Then something came over me. I needed to meet that officer that saw it necessary to perform CPR on The Kid one last time. Where was I going to find him?

My son told me a while ago, ALL POLICE OFFICERS have a Facebook account. With the newspaper clipping in my hand, I typed in Officer Todd’s full name. The next few seconds consumed several reactions. These included tears, smiling and shock (my son may actually be right). ¬† Scrolling through what I believed to be his page, I didn’t know what exactly I was looking for. We had never laid eyes on each other and maybe he had moved to another location. Then I caught a glimpse and recognized the Belleville location. This had to be him. Most of the posts on his page were with regard to law enforcement and fallen officers. I asked #80 if he’d like to go with me to meet him. His reply- YES with a smile. After I composed myself, I set out to send him a message. I composed the note the night before and pushed the send button the next day from my desk.




As you can read, he had been thinking of us as well. I knew he would be proud to know about that little boy he saved that day. Over the next couple weeks, our schedules in the Wilson household prevented an opportunity to make the meeting. Between the football, practice, school, and travel, we were both being pulled in all directions. I’m confident we’ll make this happen in the coming days.

Happiness is what I felt most by being able to make contact with him. Happiness because I’m proud to present to him a young man with no criminal record, on task to go to college and respectable. A kid that still doesn’t believe all of this happened to him but knows he owes his gratitude to the many individuals that helped him that Ill-fated day. And with all the news and media reports about bad policing, I know for a fact there are some good officers serving the communities across this land. Officer T. Schrecengost is our hero. Now, if I could track down Matthew, I’ll include them both on everything happening in the coming months of The Kid’s life.

Picture it, Detroit the year was 2016 it was Halloween and I was on my way home from getting my tire fixed. My face was covered in makeup and I finally had a chance to check my emails. I’m scrolling and I see a message I’d been looking for the second half of the previous week. The sun was out and I started smiling even harder. Read this!
You got it! I was on my way to the Wendy Williams show. This screenshot is what I sent to my people that were interested in going. We were scheduled to attend the November 11th show. I packed my small bag and prepared to spend some time in NYC after the presidential election of 2016. Sitting in my 1st class seat, I drank orange juice & closed my eyes as I prepared to experience New York for the 1st time. Of course, my hitter, Shawn, was all set to go. We arrived in the Big Apple to some wet conditions but it wasn’t going to dampen our spirits. Grabbing my favorite souvenir in the history of all my travels – my Metro card, we got our directions and were on our way.

 

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We stayed at a little boutique hotel that I will not name because the service was so terrible. I needed to get something for a godforsaken runny nose I was fighting on the flight in and the E-Train. After swiping this magical HSA card, we were off to find food – glorious food. Stumbling into Pad Thai Noodle Lounge. Great food, service, and prices. The little foodies within the both of us were on a roll. We went back to the room and mapped out our plan for the next couple days, then it was time to eat again. I’m going to say this if I had access to this much food all the time, I’d never grocery shop. Six minutes down the street and around the corner took us to Bubby’s near The High Line.

Up the next morning, we got ready to get over to the studio. We scooted around the tight room like two women from Detroit would, complaining about how small everything was in this place. And like always, we turned our frustration into gut busting laughter. The best part about the lodging was its proximity to the train station. It was literally steps away from our door.

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Within 7 mins, we were at our stop for the studio. Walking pass the studio we headed to get a warm beverage and something so our stomachs wouldn’t start growling uncontrollably. GiGi Cafe was someplace different and we wanted to try it. Then we headed back to stand in line for the doors to open. While standing in line, we had forms to fill out and we’re given a number. We experienced people from the area and afar wanting to be one of her co-hosts.

After a whole lot of clapping, standing, laughing and smiling. The show was over. I had a great time and we were all given a Joe Thomas cd (don’t worry yourself about checking this out), e-cigar & a beautiful red rose. We walked out of the studio and what do you think we were looking for? I’m sure you guessed – FOOD. We settled for sushi at one of the sushi restaurants near us. However, we managed to pick the one that was undergoing a health inspection while we were there. This quickly changed the dynamic of our experience. I don’t remember what the name was but I’m sure it isn’t going to affect their bottom line. On our way back to the room, we opted to go down to the World Trade Center Memorial. This was a very moving experience. Then we found Century 21, it’s like TJMaxx on The Clear, lol. I was slowly but surely falling for this place.

After a quick ride back to 14th street, we changed to go have dinner at The Meatball Shop.

The next day, we headed to Time Square and walked on the outside of Central Park.  We tried to get in the Carnegie Delicatessen.  As you can see from the picture, there was absolutely no getting into this historic site scheduled to close at year end.  A pizza stop gave us a little energy for our trip back to the room.  Enjoying the sunshine and the hustle of the people was breathing life into me.  There wasn’t a need for a heavy coat with all the walking one is required to do in this environment.

We got back to the room and I got my coat for our journey into Brooklyn. Why did I need to go to Brooklyn? It was NY’s version of Detroit. It’s the hot place to be. Not to mention the bus driver asked us, “where we were from?” We replied with undeniable pride saying ‘Detroit!’ He continues with the following statement, “have you ever heard of Brooklyn, that’s a pretty bad neighborhood but there is one place that’s worse than Brooklyn. DETROIT.” Of course, we know the ills of our land. So we had to see what the hell he was talking about. Shockingly as I walked those Brooklyn streets, I felt at home.  The energy was the same.  You could go from really pretty to wtf within a block or two. This wasn’t home but I definitely got comfortable even adventurous in the evening lights of a place viewed as dangerous.

While here we enjoyed the hipster atmosphere of The Mayfield. The drinks were delicious but I wasn’t trying to get sauced in a strange land.  I don’t care how comfortable I’d become. For the 1st time, I tried raw oysters and liked them (well if you put a little hot sauce on them.)  It was Friday night and I had the fish and chips.


Saturday morning I was on my way to say “Hello Detroit!” Hell, I had a football game to attend. It was only a few short days but I had a great time. I’ll be sure to get back.  It lacks the space a Detroiter is accustomed to but all that food was a dream come true.  I’m sure this type of environment is in the near future of my hometown.

I DVRd the Wendy episode and caught a few snaps of myself on national television. Now, if I could figure out what I was focused on that had my face frowned up like this…. Anyhow, NY gets a big thumbs up in my book.

We all have a bucket list and even if you don’t there are a few things you’ve identified that you have to do. ¬†I’m just like you. ¬†Over the past few days, I acknowledged the things I want to do as soon as he is he goes away to school. ¬†It may be safe to say these are the things I want to do after he turns 18. ¬†It may not be impressive to you but I wanted to share and document it for myself. ¬†Lord knows I don’t need another list running around me. ¬†ūüôā

1. Watch the sun rise (DAILY).

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In the summer of 2014, I moved right on the Detroit River. ¬†Two years have passed and everybody has been trying to figure out why I’m not in my backyard more often. ¬†I don’t even have the answer to that. ¬†Sometimes when I’m on my way to work, I look at the sunrise in my rearview mirror and I’m amazed. ¬†The sight fills my spirit with optimism. ¬†In the future, I’d like to take the time, have a cup of tea and take it all in every day.

 

2. Discover USA via Amtrak

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Train travel is exciting to me. ¬†It’s not as quick as planes, involved as a car or luxurious as a cruise ship. ¬†It’s practical. ¬†This mode of transportation takes you to a time when this was the fastest method known to man. ¬†There’s a great percentage of this vast land that I haven’t seen. ¬†I didn’t realize Amtrak serviced so many destinations on my list of places to see. ¬†The fares are relatively cheap. ¬†A round trip from Detroit to St. Louis was $162.00. Chicago is the central hub of all the activity. ¬†So, the plan is to travel to Chicago every other month and journey into one of these foreign places to experience them. ¬†I might not make it to the West coast via train but the other locations look rather exciting.

3. Travel to Europe

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My passport expires Feb 2018 and I still haven’t made it across the Atlantic Ocean. ¬†This will come to an end next year. ¬†I’m gifting myself a European vacation for my 18 years of parenthood. ¬†You can call this a Pull Gift – you know the reverse of the Push Gift. ¬†ūüôā ¬†(The one I wear almost every day.) ¬†I haven’t narrowed down the exact location but the contenders are:

You’ll be the 2nd to know where I’ve decided to go. ¬†ūüėČ

4. Purchase a home in Detroit

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I’ve been renting for a couple of years now. ¬†Let me tell you – I don’t like it at all. ¬†The amount of money I’ve paid out in the last 2 years was enough to purchase a small bungalow in Detroit. ¬†The jig is up next year. ¬†This year I have been focused on resolving some concerns on my credit report and rehabilitating my credit score. ¬†My hopes are to raise it enough that I will not need a special program to purchase. ¬†The downtown Detroit market is booming. ¬†This area is first on my list due to my 7-10 work commute. ¬†Right now, I am unsure if I want a house or condo. ¬†I’ll¬†know what’s best for me when I get there. ¬†This probably should’ve been number one but who’s judging me. ¬†lol

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5. Start an aquarium

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This originally said get a dog or start an aquarium. ¬†Then I did a “what type of dog is best for you” quiz. ¬†Let’s just say the results didn’t appeal to me. ¬†So, the fish won. ¬†I know owning a saltwater tank is hard work but I have a secret method. ¬†My dad! ¬†He’s the guru on aquatic life and starting aquariums. ¬†The freedom of fish is very calming to me. ¬†I would get a bird but I’m terrified of them. ¬†The dog would have made a great companion but considering my work schedule and travel plans that might not be the best idea. ¬†I’ll swim with the fish and allow my dad to teach me how to maintain it.

6. Start dream car project

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It’s hard to be from Michigan and not have muscle car dreams. ¬†This is the ‘Motor City.’ Home of the Woodward Dream Cruise. ¬†On my vision board you will see several old model vehicles and I plan to start that collection soon. ¬†The 1st vehicle I have selected is the classic 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS. ¬†I don’t want to trick it out. ¬†My vision is to restore it to its showroom beauty. ¬†I have found a forum to purchase from and gather parts. ¬†In addition, I plan to do part of the work. ¬†I bet you can guess what the exterior color will be. ¬†#itsMyFav This will become my Friday/Saturday car.

7. Learn to play piano

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I’ve always wanted to purchase a piano. ¬†Where’s the joy in owning a piano if you can’t play. ¬†Over the next several years I will make this dream a reality. ¬†I think you all know how important music is to me. Yes, I may not become Roberta Flack¬†but I will enjoy the learning opportunity.

There may be more things I want to do with this newfound freedom. ¬†This is just a quick list off the top of my head that I wanted to share with you. ¬†Just a few things to encourage my happiness. ¬†ūüôā

 

Taste of Chicago is the largest free open air taste fest in the United States. ¬†Food has been a cornerstone in my immediate family since before I was alive. ¬†I’ve been kinda down over the past few weeks. ¬†So, when Shawn sent me an email from Amtrak to Chicago. I couldn’t refuse. ¬†I’ll give you the play by play of the event and taste we experienced during our first trip to this event.

You can’t turn down a chance to go to Chicago or Toronto when you’re from Detroit. ¬†A getaway with the packing is a bonus. ¬†I called us an √úber and we were on our way to the closet size Detroit station to board the train. The ride lasted longer than expected but we reached out to Amtrak Customer Support to discuss this foolishness.

Let me tell you, when we two get together it’s a wonderful combination of the practical bougie. We’ll hop on the bus, catch a cab, ride a train or walk if we can’t have valet. So our 1st stop out of Union Station was Starbucks for Mango Black Tea Lemonades. ūüôā From there we headed straight to Zara. ¬†They were having a massive sale and we took full advantage of it. ¬†My hunt for floral pants is officially over and I copped another leather piece for my closet. ¬†From there we headed straight to Grant Park to try out the local food options.


Let me tell you there was so much food- there’s no way for you to taste everything in one visit. ¬†There’s a million stations down the main walkway then there’s a right turn full of food as well. ¬†It reminded me of the way the old festivals use to be in Detroit. ¬†Food and people from everywhere. ¬†We made a plan to share our taste portions and experience new things. ¬†Don’t be mad at me if our taste buds don’t agree on a specific fare. ¬†Here we go!!

Rattlesnake & Rabbit Sausage


This had to be the scariest thing I’ve ever ate because I told her to get the alligator sausage. ¬†Thank God do the cheese on the sample that’s the only way I has it through this one. ¬†I told everyone it was worm & squirrel sausage. ++


Missed Opportunity РLobster on Board


The line told us this was the bomb but we certainly wanted to make the most of our time.  So when the guy from off the truck started talking to us without an offer to slide us a sample without the wait.  We dismissed his small talk and proceeded with our plan on this 88 degree day in the sun.  We walked past the famous Buckingham Fountain.


Bacon on a Stick – Bobak’s


There was no way I was walking pass this. ¬†It was literally the thickest slice of bacon I had even seen on a stick. ¬†Let’s not even talk about¬†the fat! ;). This was a favorite of mine but we had so much more to try I had to keep my options open. ¬†How could you NOT? ++++

Fried Cheese Ravioli¬†– Punky’s

Absolutely delicious.  Everything was perfect from the sauce to the temperature of the ravioli.  They gave us a great portion to taste.  I may have to try this at home.  As you can see, we destroyed the appetizer before I remembered to take a picture.  It was that good! ++++


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You can tell by the sign and the black truck this was going to be serious. ¬†One of my favorite foods covered in some things I had never considered pairing them with. ¬†here’s a look.

This was an interestingly good pairing of flavors.  It reminded me of the Detroit favorite Chilli cheese fries with and additional twist. The chorizo was unexpected but very welcomed. ++++


The next stop blew me away.

 Seafood Ceviche РMAD

This may not be the best picture but I was overcome by the relief of the shaded area.  This ceviche was top-notch.  The right amount of squid, shrimp and veggies.  It was prepared just the way I like it. All I needed was a larger bowl of this and some chips. +++++


Malnati SaladLou Malnati’s¬†

So, tell me how we decide to take it light and get a salad after the ceviche only to end up with lettuce coupled with bad dressing. ¬†I’ll tell you how – we stopped at Lou Malnati’s. This salad was horrid. ¬†I love black olives and Parmesan cheese like any other person but it did NOT work on this salad. ¬†We ended up throwing it away. ++


Mustard-Fried CatfishBJ’s Market & Bakery

OMG! The last few stations proved to be the worst so far. ¬†The worm and squirrel sausage was moving up in the rankings. This was the worst. I couldn’t even finish it. At first bite, you can feel the southern inspiration then the mustard aftertaste hits you and the regret sets in. ¬†I’ve never been a real fan of mustard. ¬†I confessed my inability to finish that nugget and pitched it in the trash. +


 Fruit Popsicle РMexicana

We had walked at least 4 miles in 85+ degree weather and struck out 3x. ¬†A sure thing was the best thing we had going for us right now. ¬†She chose watermelon and I got mango. ¬†Scurrying to grab a piece of the shade we sat and ate while we cooled off. ¬†There isn’t much to report about these other than they were very good. ¬†No processed sugars or artificial flavors. ¬†I’d buy one again. +++++


A walk through Millennium Park and we were back off to Union Station. ¬†We saw 2 little ones in the fountain making wishes on other’s dimes, quarters and nickels. A young lady squat to pee in the same water and I was almost attacked by a bee. ¬†On our way back, I got a picture of the sign that ushered us in and out of a great day.


The Taste of Chicago is an experience each person that has an opportunity should attend. We had a blast but will we be lacing up our shoes to hit it next year – not necessarily. This was a mutual understanding. ¬†Now, if my beau asks me to go, I’ll have to oblige.

This was just what I needed to knock me out of the funk I was in. ¬†For a short while, I was free from my worries. ūüôā

Everybody in Detroit knows the best place to get your fruits, vegetables and flowers is¬†Eastern Market on Saturday. ¬†America’s oldest open air market and I’ve been going since I was a kid. ¬†It’s a great way to stretch your grocery dollars. ¬†The has been my only reason to go to this location, until now. ¬†My director asked if I’d be interested in attending a charity event here one day after work. ¬†I said, ‘sure.’ ¬†I had one of the best nights of my life.

It was a fundraiser for the Rising Stars Academy. ¬†I was excited, the ticket mention food and I love any event that brings your attention to the food. ¬†In an effort to be prepared, I texted the kid and told him to get ready because we were going out. ¬†I clad in my color-block fit and cork shoes. ¬†Number 80 in his highlighter kicks and all black. ¬†We hit the streets to enjoy the eats. ¬†As we walked in, there was a calm over the event. ¬†It wasn’t stuffy. ¬†People were having a good time and enjoying the food and we jumped right in on the scene. ¬†He started with pizza and I started with the Detroit Distillery Vodka.

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We walked that pavement with no abandon as we tried all the different dishes out palates¬†found intriguing. ¬†There was¬†so much to choose from and a cooking competition going on. ¬†We stopped and talked with my host, his wife, and son ( who was a pure joy to talk to). ¬†There were sweets, pulled pork, popcorn and so much more. ¬†The event had the Bravo Bravo feel with the strict dress code. ¬†Could this possibly be the alternative to a summer staple? ¬†The kid got a kick out of BWW being there and I think they knew. ¬†ūüôā

In all of the cards I collected, I found out I won something and I need to call and redeem it. The biggest winner was the academy. ¬†I’ve made it part of my business to help get the word out to increase the profits and awareness of this awesome event being held right in Detroit. ¬†All in all, we had a great time and I’ll definitely be back next year.

 

I’m sure many of you have heard of the crisis of the Detroit Public School system.  If not, catch up on part of the story.  As a parent of a current student, I was trying to find out what I could do to help.  This lead me to meet up with several people and resources to gain more information.  I was always concerned – I learned where to go for assistance.  

During the reporting of the crisis,  DPS opened their ears to the parents at several town hall meetings.  It was in these meetings that we were given information about the current state of the system, what it meant for the students and what we could do to help.  The school system set up several committees to address common concerns of the parents. These included Nutrition, Safety, Facilities, Customer Service, Supplies, Curriculum and other.  These were composed to address the complaints/concerns efficiently.  Those town hall meetings were brutal. Not because there was no order but because there was a lack parent participation.  There were parents there that knew all the ends and outs of the school system over the last 20 years.  I felt so far behind and out of the loop.  Moreover, I was determined to learn more and become active.

This lead me to the MLK PTSA meeting.  This was an experience for me. In a school that boasted some of the most successful students in Detroit, the parents were missing from this meeting as well.  It was here that I learned, my son’s school has a surplus of 400 students, has the highest man population in the state and that’s including the all boys institutions and they are trying to maintain during these difficult times.  The part that disturbed me the most about this meeting was the lack of parent participants.  Not more that six months before – I sat in this room with the parents of the football team and it was packed.  Have we systematically placed our children in one or two boxes? Sports or education.  Here is a recent meeting we had with the football team. Notice the change in attendance. I literally had to stand up after turning down a seat offer. The place was packed.


On April 14th, Detroit Public Schools Office of Parent and Community Engagement held a one day seminar and I was eager to attend.  Not to mention, I was the chair for the Customer Service Committee.  I had to be there to learn more, engage the parents and be supportive in their efforts.  Here we met the new interim superintendent, Alycia Meriweather.  I took several sessions during the day while linking up with several other parents of high school age students.  This was a very good exercise and I learned a great deal.  It felt like things were going to be moving in the right direction.  I had a good feeling about the steps they were taking. 

In the following days, there was more disturbing info coming out.  The teachers were on the verge of a strike after being told they would not be getting paid as agreed upon in their contracts.  “Working for Free!”  No way – we were back on the sick outs and who could blame them.  The teachers, parents and students were rallying for the right thing to be done to help this struggling district.  After 2 days, students returned to the classrooms with hopes of finishing the school year and looking forward to the summer vacation.

I’ve said my piece about DPS.  They have done a disservice to some of the students and failed the community.  A very valuable take away from the seminar was “trying to regain the trust of parents.”  This is the cornerstone of this districts revitalization.  I don’t trust them but I’m willing to fight for what is rightfully all childrens – a sufficient education, no matter where the call home.  I heart DPS because I am a product, these teachers are the soul of the city (they have not abandoned us) and the system will have to get better to draw more families and individuals into the city boundaries.  This fight won’t be over in the next 15 months – but I’m dedicated to the idea of fighting for the education of all Detroit children.

I believe Malcolm X said it best,¬†“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ¬† As parents, we expect the¬†educational system to provide a sufficient foundation for our children to build upon during¬†the next steps in their life. ¬†After Brown vs. The Board of Education, there was a blanket of security wrapped around black people who assured them they would receive the same education and opportunity as their suburban neighbors. ¬†During a time of great social unrest and concern for #BlackLivesMatter, we find ourselves in Detroit preparing¬†to go to battle regarding education and its numerous failures to our children. ¬†Sit back and read my frustrations mingled in with the facts being presented in relation to how DPS and the political machine have left these children and teachers out. ¬†This is an extended emergency and too many have turned away.

Over the pass several weeks, the teachers here have become “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and have been demonstrating through sick-outs. ¬†The first I heard of¬†this was one day when I pulled up to drop The Kid off at school. ¬†He said, “Aww man Ma, I might have to go back home¬†because these teachers have been talking about a sick out.” WHAT?! With no time to drill him about this, I went on to work and classes were not canceled. ¬†It was later on that day that I learned what was going on.

I completely agree with the sentiment expressed in the video. ¬†After countless messages via email and my representative about books with limited to no response. ¬†This was puzzling to someone who is only 17 years out of high school herself. ¬†Yes, I attended public schools in Detroit and they always gave us the ” it’s not in the budget” speech. ¬†However, look at how much enrollment has decreased in the city. ¬†I’m not making these numbers up. ¬†Not as many kids, would mean to me, there are more resources to allocate to the students. Right?

Enrollment

They’ve closed numerous institutions within the city to cut the cost of under-populated schools and pushed kids to other schools that are not in their neighborhood. ¬†All in an effort to become more efficient. ¬†So far the plans they hatched, cracked, cooked and shitted out are not working. ¬†As I said, I attended and graduated from DPS and here is the short version of the history of my former schools. ¬†The first school I ever attended was Sanders Elementary School.

This was the only picture I could find of the place because it was demolished very early in this century.  As you can see, once I left there it was no question where I was going next. The school right across the baseball field was my next stop and that was РHarry B. Hutchins Intermediate School. Every day I looked forward to crossing through these doors in anticipation to learn ANYTHING.

This school held a special place in my heart. ¬†It was here that I was exposed to my love of science through DAPCEP, was inducted into the National Junior Honor’s Society, developed my personal style, learned to swim, got paddled on the hand when I was out of line and experienced my first school dance. ¬†It was a wonderful time but as times and populations changed so did my beloved middle school. ¬†Here’s a small slide show of the place that cultivated someone eager to learn continually. (Some pictures including are courtesy of this site.)

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You will notice that my middle and elementary schools were a standoff point during the Detroit ’67 riots. ¬†After leaving this school, some family concerns forced me to split from my friends and I entered Beaubien Junior High School and went to Mumford for a short spell. ¬†All to return to the same high school my entire Detroit family graduated from – Northern Senior High School. ¬†NorthernHighSchool

This is the only institution still in functioning order. ¬†The only difference now is it’s home to the Detroit International Academy for Young Women. ¬†I’m sure you can imagine all of the memories I created within these halls and the expectations I had as I became a parent. The education was sufficient even though we could have had more but the budget never allowed us to get everything the teachers wanted for us. ¬†We made due with what we had, we succeeded and I graduated in 1998.

The Diploma

So you can imagine my frustration when I kept looking for the answers to where his educational tools were. ¬†The tools I was looking for were books. ¬†Books for all his classes. There¬†was one day I asked him about homework and he showed me a picture on his phone. ¬†What kinda lazy shit was this?! He told me, this is what he needed to do because they do not have books to give each child. ¬†WHAT?! ¬†Are you implying they don’t have money to get you all the supplies you need? ¬†He couldn’t give me an answer but in his 3 years within the Detroit Public School system, he has only brought a book home twice and that was when he stole it out the building. ¬†So, you need to steal to get an education in Detroit in 2015? ¬†This was and is unacceptable. ¬†I had more questions the teachers/administrators could not answer. ¬†So when the shit hit the fan about the “sick outs”, I was on board. ¬†These are the concerns I have been having. ¬†Not only for my son but all of the children. ¬†Why? ¬†I’m seeing the reports stating “Detroit students are not prepared for college when they leave high school.” ¬†Was this a bad side effect of no child left behind? ¬†My mind continued to race for information and resources to get answers. ¬†My mom told me about a state representative that was explaining all the details at the church and brought me some literature to read. ¬†I read it but it still wasn’t clear to me. ¬†I didn’t get any solid answers until the beginning of 2016. ¬†The SICK OUTS finally hit Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School. ¬†In a quick crawl through social media, I was given an over abundance of information. ¬†Let’s start with a declining timeline which begins right after my graduation year.

Schools

The writing is right there in this infographic supplied by one of the educators within my circle of Facebook friends.  Feel free to open it up and take a good look at it.  From Surplus to bust with almost 120k missing students in the last 17 years.  Where are the students? Falling over into neighboring districts for an opportunity at better.

Enrollments

This wasn’t even an option for me. ¬†The kid wanted to go to KING and who was I to deny him his dream. ¬†I graduated from DPS and I was alright. ¬†I needed to know what was so wrong that they needed to go this far to protest in the middle of a school year. ¬†Things should be better by now. ¬†Nope, my timeline was littered with the truth. ¬†This information was disturbing. Here’s some of it:

Parents

Teachers

Bad Deal

These were the answers I had been looking for but didn’t want to find. ¬†The system was failing our children on a higher level and the parents had no idea. ¬†The teachers have taken all they could and now they wanted action. ¬†In my support for them I found more upsetting information about our schools:

Horror House Unhealthy

I posted these things and videos to show what was going on and my frustration with the way our children’s welfare is being handled. ¬†The institution my son attends does not have any visible signs of wear, I can see, from my numerous visits inside. ¬†This for me was about the community and being a voice for those that I felt needed my help. ¬†During all of this the one thing that kept jumping out at me,¬†was¬†everything minorities have been through to obtain an education in a land that provides it to its residents and I became angrier and focused on learning how I could help. ¬†I used my social media pages to spread the word to parents of DPS kids, charter school kids and children outside the district. ¬†The community needed to become outraged. Generally speaking, we all are products of DPS that have ventured off but this is the system that showed us there was more for us in this world. ¬†How dare them deny our young for whatever reasons they may have?! ¬†Hell, we’re only one generation out of school before this decline began happening.

This system was already FUCKED up when my son got there in 2013. ¬†I made a plea to leave this place for better and he chose to stay in this school. ¬†He and I have talked about teachers that have walked out on them and never returned. ¬†He’s been through more substitutes and abandoning teachers than I have had my entire scholastic career. ¬†Then people¬†wonder why the students are having an even harder time learning. ¬†They can’t adjust to the daily changes that are happening at home and then school as well. ¬†The only consistent thing some of them have is their friends. ¬†That’s also lofty idea because there¬†are still parents ripping their kids from the district in search of better than THIS. He’s been bounced around from class to class in search of instructors or lack there of. They don’t know if the teacher is coming back or they have to fend for themselves. ¬†This certainly isn’t a way to learn or trust the education system.

It’s not enough to say the system was already bad. ¬†It’s not an option to relocate these children in haste. ¬†It’s not fair to give the appearance that learning is being done and it’s not. ¬†Have we lost our will to fight for what we believe is fair? ¬†Have we turned a blind eye to the educational needs of our children? ¬†Is the future of our children less important than our own? ¬†I do not want to accept yes to these questions. With four Emergency Managers over the Detroit Public Schools, no one has found solutions for the EMERGENCY of these children not receiving a proper education in the wake of financial ruin – year after year. ¬†As the old saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” ¬†We’re desperate if you can’t tell.

#SupportTheTeachers

#StandUpForTheStudents

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year was 1999.  I was 19 and in April of that year I was given the charge of being a mother to a boy Рa black boy.  In my efforts to raise him, I vowed never to let my single-parent status hinder me from being a support system for the kid.  His father, who cut out soon after due to another birth and a decision I had to make has been figuratively present.  In his absence, I ran to my brother for help and that was working out okay until this year.

I’ve told you all about some of our struggles and triumphs in high school so far. ¬†As I’m preparing to close the bojrok on this chapter of his education. ¬†A portion of my¬†support system has been broken. ¬†In February, we learned that his dad would be required to serve 2 years with¬†the Michigan Corrections. ¬†This is due to his involvement with illegal drugs. ¬†My son got the news from friends at school that know his dad. ¬†A hard blow to get during a time when your mind should be focused on your learning. ¬†No matter how much he hasn’t been involved in this kid’s life, he still loves him because that’s his father. ¬†When he came home to me, the 1st thing he said was “he’s not going to see me graduate high school.” ¬†I didn’t realize that was a big deal to him. ¬†In turn he started going to my brother¬†and talking to the Mista more. ¬†I felt comforted because he still had a few men he felt confident he could talk to when he has questions. ¬†He has a few more uncles and grandpas but these were his go to people.

A few weeks ago, we learned that my brother will be away from the next 6 years in the MDOC – you know the reason. ¬†Another blow to the structure I had in place to support me as I try to encourage him to go on and be great. ¬†It seems like my son shutdown after getting this news. ¬†Now, his favorite uncle wasn’t goGZing to see him move on in life after high school. ¬†He has went to see him a few times but I can tell the change in his attitude. ¬†You know us women, we like to talk but he hasn’t wanted to open up about his feelings on either of these situations. ¬†I have overheard him talking with his friends on the phone about being disappointed and not wanting to let them down. ¬†He still has the Mista, but at this point, I think our situation isn’t permanent enough for him to trust another man right now. ¬†I see him trying to figure life out on his own.

This whole ordeal is working on¬†me and all I am able to do is educate myself on how I can assist him during this time. ¬†It’s not going to be easy but here is what I’ve discovered so far that semi-mirror my story and offered me advice:

He has found a few people to look up to through his football team. ¬†All I can do is hope, pray and help him get through these next couple months and his senior year. ¬†I have a few people in my network that have offered to sit down and talk with him. ¬†In the meantime, I’ll keep you all posted. Moreover, I really just didn’t need this to happen at this time.

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