I know by now you’ve figured out I wasn’t doing my traditional yearly countdown.  There was so much going on and I wanted to handle this special time of year in a new way.  So, I decided to make an extra long post and bring you up to speed at one time.  I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you prefer the other way.  These are in no particular order but these are the moment that stands out in 2017. Let’s get it started.

Moving to 7732 – After a rocky and moldy ending (literally) in my old apartment, we were relocated to another unit on the complex. As you noticed through this blog and pictures on Instagram, I invested a lot of time into making that place feel like home. So when I moved over here, I didn’t even have the energy. We’ve been here since March and I still haven’t got this place organized. Let’s add that I truly thought I would be moving into the home I purchased this year but you all know what happened there. It’s a better apartment. Larger. Better views of the Detroit River. The neighbors are priceless. However, over the last half of the year, I’ve been living in a constant MAJOR construction site. They’re completely overhauling this property. This includes digging to install gas lines to offer residents forced and central air. Well, the majority of this smelly work is taking place right outside my windows and the smell is sickening. Now, the query on my brain is – do I wait for them to finish or move on to another place? I have time to think but I truly need to weigh out my options.


Year of Music – Oh, I saw some great acts this year starting with Thundercat. Chene Park offered up a few artists I couldn’t pass on. I didn’t hit the road as much this year for music but I had to see Chris Brown in Chicago. My cousin even got me out the house to see Xscape. Solange, Tyler the Creator, Boney James, Roy Ayers, Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, Chante Moore and my jazz festival crew. In addition to those people, I saw a true legend this year – Patti Labelle. Outside of the live shows, I discovered a crew of new artists that I have every intention of seeing live – Smino, Moodchild, H.E.R, Daniel Caesar, and a few others.  My ears and heart were pleased. I didn’t make it to Paisley Park but I’ll get there in the new year.  My SeatGeek and StubHub notifications are loaded and I’m sure I’ll get around a little more in the new year.

AVMs – on Dec. 6, I called 911 to assist me because somehow the entire right side of my body went numb and I couldn’t get it to do what I commanded. As the dispatcher listened to my request for help, she asked, “why do you feel you’re having a stroke?” My response lacked no candor, ‘Bitch, because I’ve already had one. Help me.’ That was the best I could give her. The EMTs arrived and I dropped another B bomb. By the time I arrived at the local hell of emergency rooms, all my faculties were functioning. Afraid of a repeat battle with aphasia, I kept talking and reading everything. After a few hours and some rushed tests, they came back and said it was a TIA. Oh yeah, I thought, ‘fuck this I’m outta here’ and signed myself out. Then, my friend, Reggie appeared only to walk me back to the emergency room. (You never know how blessed you are until you look into the faces of your friends. My friends are unmatched. All of them are true blue. That’s only because they know the type friend I am.) As we sat there, catching up, laughing, trying to see if this nurse was worth him shooting his shot lol and talking about life, I appreciated him a little more. We were only planning to go out that night, I guess we did. Ha! He had done God’s work. I stayed in that hell hole until Friday. While I was there they diagnosed me as having another small stroke/TIA/vasoconstriction/AVMs. The reason it wasn’t a stroke is that I have no residual deficiencies. This TIA business was still up in the air but they presented 2 additional causes. These grabbed my attention and I needed to get to Dr. Miller at Henry Ford to confirm. I was active in a situation where I did NOT trust the people who had my life in their hands. After styling on them for one week in comfortable pajamas, twisting my hair daily, cleansing and moisturizing my face (thanks to Tamika) and laying on my satin pillowcase, I walked out calling my neurologist. He made room for me and I’m going to take all these findings over to him. I’ll let him tell me what our next steps are. One thing I know for sure, I’m going to live.

Rocket Love – After 4 years, the relationship I thought was going to mature into spending the rest of my life with Gino S., is over. Yep, that’s his name. I kept that real close, lol. himThis is the main reason I’ve gone missing over the last part of 2017. I don’t even have the energy to type it out. Bottomline: The feeling he had was that I was spying on him for the UAW or someone more powerful.  He’s being psychologically manipulated and I’m helping them do this to him. He doesn’t trust anything I say or even being around me. Trust me, I’m still confused but hey – maybe entering the institution of marriage – isn’t in the cards for me.  I still believe in love but at this point, I’m not sure if I even want to go through this again. This one hurt more than any other. The reason for this is because I’ve done none of what he believes and I truly felt I had found my best friend and life partner in this man. I stayed single for so long and when I opened myself up again, BAM I got hit. Understand this is the one thing I was protecting myself from and it still happened. Feel free to listen.  There is more but I just wanted to share a piece. My truth is all that matters to me.  Something that I’m not aware of happened (mental health issues) and he needed to push me away.

Book Author Ambitions – This year I decided to write a book. After writing this blog for 5 years and putting this idea on the back burner, I’m finally going to dedicate some time to finish it. If you follow me on Facebook, you can find out the title. I can promise you – it won’t be a short story. 🙂

New Assignment – In June, one of the best bosses I’ve ever had transitioned to the next chapter in his professional life. We truly had a great working relationship and you all know how much I enjoy stability but I had to accept this. His transition spearheaded mine and that included me moving away from everything I was familiar with except my parking garage. Lol, that had to remain the same. I may have started kicking and screaming. Moreover, this was my opportunity to show my worth on the team. Display that I had grown from the time I had joined the company. I had become more proficient and knowledgeable in the role. More importantly, this showed me they trusted me to transition seamlessly and learn about the new business organization I would be supporting. What I didn’t know was, this was only the beginning. At the end of November, I was informed I would be supporting our newest Senior Executive Leader. Wow! As word got around, the congratulatory messages and visits came and none was more surprising than that from Captain Stadwick. I still call him boss and always feel like I represent him and Rebecca. That’s the type of person I am – I just don’t want to disappoint the people that believe/support me. My new director seems nice and I’m sure we’ll build a great working relationship. Do I see you on the horizon STABILITY!? 🙂

Kid Graduating – I’m still excited about that kid graduating. He’s sincere about getting a degree. I think my sermons about making a life for yourself got through to him. With one img_4230semester under his belt, he’s still excited about school. We’ve experienced some bumpy roads but it was time for me to let him go & grow.  He’s becoming his own man and there’s not much I can do for him at this point.  He needs to work those things out for himself. I’m a little nervous about some military conversations he’s been having with some soldiers. I mean who would want their child to be in the military with a leader like 45. I’m not putting that guy’s name in my post but feel free to figure out who I’m talking about. Him graduating was certainly a major highlight of my life.

Lance – Y’all remember when I 1st start talking about getting a new car. I still love Cole but it was time for me to move on. After talking to our Technical Assistance Team, I settled on the CTS. Let me just tell you – I really love all the bells and whistles included in this vehicle. Eff all that – I love this car as a whole. The connectivity is unmatched. I haven’t even had it one year but I know I’ll be a repeat customer. It’s perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong there’s a vehicle from each of our brands that fit me. Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Silverado & GMC Yukon Denali. This Cadillac just spoke to me. Now, to try out the manual features when the weather breaks and only God knows when that’ll happen around Detroit. Lance

This hair – I still have my edges, more silver strands and it’s getting thicker. My plan is to wear wigs for the entirety of 2018. In addition, I will be doing chebe, hair supplements and deep conditioning on a regular basis. Some essential hair care practices were neglected throughout the year. My goal is APL by the end of 2018. I believe I can do it. So many stresses that were buried in my mind have eradicated themselves or I’ve made a pact to not allow them to drain me anymore. My complete health is important to me and that includes my hair. It may not be billowing curls like Tracey Ellis Ross but it’s all mine. I heart my hair, still.

My favorite Asian – On a quick getaway to Battle Creek, Michigan, I bumped into an Asian store owner. I’ll be the 1st to tell you, I only remember 25% of what he said. The thing that will remain with me until I die is something he said about time. “To waste time is to waste your life.” Even one minute is waste…. I share this message with you, don’t waste one moment of your life.

LIVE…. I’ll see you in 2018 with more smiles. 🙂

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So when your Beau asks, ” do you wanna go to Traverse City next weekend?” Some of you may be jumping for joy. I was kinda in unfamiliar territory – I’m the planner and I didn’t have a hand in this at all.  I had never ventured into the northernmost parts of Michigan. This was going to be an adventure and I was willing to take it with him.  My hair was done, a bag was packed and we were on our way to a place we’d never been before.

A four-hour road trip was ahead of us, that may seem scary to some but I was ok with it. I even went as far as to not bring a book with me to stay engaged.  As always, we talked and listened to music.  I was in more amazement of the scenery – I love nature.  The ride was so peaceful and for some odd reason unknown, he really knows how to pick the right music for any mood.  We were cruising down the road and he pointed over yonder to the right of me and said, “that’s where we’re staying.”  So far so good.  It was the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, very nice.

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We walked in and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The room was magnificent and the view was breathtaking.  I placed that bottle of champagne that had been weighing my purse down on the table and took in everything.  This man had done a good job. There was a small wrapped package that brought me great pause. ‘What was it?’ Oh, just chocolate covered strawberries to welcome me to my Mother’s Day weekend getaway.  I totally forgot it was Mother’s Day weekend.  My kid was so old and breathing down the neck of adulthood this event has just slid by me year after year. Another point for this man!

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We got out of this beautiful place to eat and see more of the local area.  I was lightweight overwhelmed with the whole thing.  I didn’t want to spend the weekend taking pictures of different things and places.  I really wanted to focus on the time we were having together. It was beautiful and just like that we were on our way back to our regularly scheduled programs. A million ideas went running through my mind over those four days and I had missed the main one.  He just wanted to do something nice for me for Mother’s Day. Needless to say, I saw a different side of him that weekend.

I was surprised by how much I like it.  We’re polar opposites when it comes to travel (he’s a lake and I’m an ocean, literally) but I’m sure this won’t be the last time I get to “Cherryland.” There’s a little place within me that’s designated this as “our place.” We’ve even considered some alternative destinations on future travel.  I’d love to be there during the warmer months to do a little star gazing. The next time he’s ready to go I won’t have any trepidation. Moreover, he’s proven himself to be trustworthy when making travel arrangements that include me.  🙂

I love music and live music is euphoria to me.  It had been a while since I had been to a concert.  You all know I get out to the Jazz Fest every year but I mean a real purchase my tickets show – not since the OTR show.  This wasn’t going to be my fate in 2016.  The way the year was shaping up, I better get out and see my favorites before I get a breaking news notification on my phone. RIP Prince. I didn’t get to all the shows but I saw a few.


It all started with Foreign Exchange.  After a change in plans, I ended up going to this show alone.  Needless to say, I always know somebody when I’m out but I truly enjoyed myself and will check them out again in the future.


The Queen announced her tour after Lemonade dropped and I had my coins together to purchase my tickets.  As I sat at my desk in some serious password detective work with Wait Wait Whut, we finally got through and got my tickets.  I didn’t know who I was going with but I had 2 seats at Ford Field in Detroit.  I had never witnessed Beyonce perform a solo concert.  She was amazing!  I sang along with my favorite songs old and new.  This was a perfect way to start the summer.


In Detroit, we have this thing called River Days and it filled with family fun and music. We’re a music town (only second to being a car town.) I had to see one of the greatest performers and bands of my life on the schedule. This year I saw Mint Condition and Jeffery Osborne. Would you believe it started raining? Not a big deal for me, I have the hook up to the VIP tent and was shielded from the elements. It was truly an enjoyable evening.

The Jazz Fest allowed me to witness a portion of greatness through the lips of Roy Hargrove.  He was accompanied by the DSO Strings section to play selection from his album Moment to Moment. It was a beautiful set filled with memories and classics such as You Go To My Head and I’m Glad There Is You.  There was a quiet murmur in the Carhartt Amphitheater with regard to the performer’s current drug use.  I tuned that out and listened to the familiar sounds of the strings and the trumpet.  He was the highlight of my Labor Day weekend and I saw both shows.


The final show came after listening to The Heart Speaks In Whispers album by Corrine Bailey Rae multiple times and deciding I needed to see her live.  The again, I sang along to the tunes and swayed my narrow hips and newfound weight.  Yes, I traveled to St.Louis to see her but it was well worth it.


I’m ready for 2017 and all the music it’ll bring my way.  The start may be my birthday weekend there are some pretty big names on the calendar.

 

I love a good underrated project and this Monday my cubicle is filled with the sound of KING.  If you love good music like I do, take a listen at this then add it to your playlists.

I need to follow them on social media.  This sounds like a show I need to experience.  A shame I always have to find about the good music by accident.  Either way, I find it.  🙂

Let me know what you think!

I’ve been waiting on Frank Ocean like a little kid on the porch counting the minutes until their parent comes to pick them up from grandma’s house.  His music is unexpected and captures some foreign emotion that pulls at me.  I’ll give an artist a substantial amount of time to get their creative juices flowing to put out a good project.  After that amount of time has passed, I start looking for them even harder.  Check out some of the tweets I published in search of Mr. Ocean.

So, you already know how excited I was about the new music released last week.  This album has been on repeat, repeat 1 song, shuffle and let’s go back to Blond again.  I just wanted to share my most played song.

I removed the link due to copyright.

Are you enjoying Blond?  If not, I’ll give you a while to jump on the bandwagon or take a long hard listen to another great body of work from the elusive Frank.

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.  🙂

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.  🙂  (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.  😉

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

My Area

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.  🙂

 

Since 2008, I have been making the pilgrimage to the Detroit Jazz Fest. Alright, alright alright… I know I live in the city! That doesn’t mean that it’s any less stressful to get to the event every year.  The 2015 was sure to be even more exciting for me after I heard who the resident artist would be – Pat Metheny.  This was going to be the highlight of my summer as always.

Tweeting

In true fashion I made it down a few days and enjoyed myself.  I posted a few pictures on Instagram and videos on Periscope. Pat was amazing and the festival is the unofficial end of summer in Detroit.  Everyone shows up even if they don’t like jazz.  The shit is free.  The worst part about that is it’s a little difficult to enjoy the music.  This is why I have found it very important to come down a few days at different times.  The earlier it is the better your chances are to hear the music.

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Whatever may be going on around town never really matters to me during this time.  This is the only place I want to be.  Until next year – get ya jazz on.