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Simply Love

Today the choir I sing in sung for a Unitarian Universalist service. The service was on Holly Near. Holly Near is an American singer-songwriter, actress, teacher and most importantly, social change activist. We sang several Holly Near songs including “I Am Willing” (I have a solo), “The Great Peace March”, “All That There Is”, and “Simply Love”. The words to “Simply Love” are as follows:

Why does my love make you shift restless in your chair
And leave you in despair
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

It’s a simple hand on a warm face to say
A glance to see if love is still ok
A glow at dawn when love is still there
Tears and strong arms at the end of the day
And simply love – my love for a woman

It’s the laughter as the kids clown
And tease our weary thoughts away
It’s looking ’round the table
And knowing hard work fed us one more day
And simply love – my love for a woman

Why does my love make you shift in your chair
It’s the bombs across the border
That should make you tear your hair
And yet it’s my love leaves you screaming out your nightmare

Perhaps you know there’s something you should fear
If my love makes me strong and makes
you disappear
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

When we sung “Simply Love” in our Spring Concert last year, I had a speaking part as part of the introduction before the song was sung. I talked about my marriage to my wife and how it’s not only not recognized legally where I live, but was also not supported by all of my friends and family. Several months ago I gave this introduction in the city I was born and raised. This was shortly after I was married. Of course, being in my hometown made me think about my mother who does not support my marriage or the thought of me being a lesbian and before we could get through the song, I was in tears.

Well today I felt that same deep moving and was unable to get through the song without crying. The words are beautiful, and the song is beautiful. Every time we sing the song, it makes me think of my mother who I haven’t talked to in over a year now and people in the world who want to judge me because of the person that I love.

My mother and I use to be close, very close. We would talk everyday and we would talk about everything. After I came out, we did not talk for almost a year. Eventually we started talking again, but she was short and distant. She never would call me; I would always have to call her. If my wife’s name (girlfriend at the time) ever came up she would shut down, and basically the conversation would be over. Eventually I got tired of being the one that always had to do the calling. I got tired of her shortness. I got tired of her being evil. I got tired of the uneasiness of our conversations. So, on January 1, 2009 I stopped calling her. I stopped subjecting myself to her shortness. I stopped subjecting myself to her evilness and the uneasiness of our conversations. When I stopped calling, we stopped talking because she refused to call. I am her oldest daughter (she has 1 other daughter) and she has yet to pick up the phone and call me.

Recently my wife and I have been talking more and more about having kids. It’s sad to think that a child that I birth will have no interaction with their biological grandmother.

I’d be remised if I didn’t however mention my father who has been more supportive than I could have ever imagined. He was not only at my wedding; he walked me down the aisle. He has tried to get my mother to come around, but to no avail.

So when we sing “Simply Love” I honestly wonder why my love for a woman makes my mother shift restless in her chair? I can’t fathom while people are so concerned about my marriage when we are in not one, but two wars? I am in a healthy happy relationship with a wonderful woman. She is one of the kindest people I know. Sadly, my mother hasn’t even tried to get to know her. She doesn’t know what a wonderful person I have in my life.

The service today was good and gave me a lot to think about. Thank you to Holly Near for all of the social justice work she has done and continues to do and thank you to my wife, my family and friends who support me and “Simply Love”.

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March 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

A much needed work venting!

(This was written at work on 3/11/10)

So I’m at work and I’m supposed to be working on an article about one of my students that needs to be submitted (tomorrow) for our state’s student journal.  About 20 minutes ago, I completed the article (or so I thought), printed it and asked my Administrative Assistant to read over it.  She reads it, comes into my office and tells me she thinks it’s a good article if it were for a publication, but she was under the impression it was for Washington D.C. legislators (we are a federally funded grant program) and therefore it needs more.  She goes on to say that as a Director, I should be able to articulate the impact & importance of a program like ours on our students.

I’m trying to take into account that I am feeling very blah today, but as you can probably guess, I have A LOT of issues with this conversation.  First, this is not the first time I have felt like she is talking down to me.  Her issue (my opinion) is we have 3 staff members; me, her, and one guy.  The guy and I are both younger than her (by at least 20 years), and we have more academic schooling than her (I have a Master’s, he’ll be done with his Master’s in June and I think she’s maybe taken a few college courses).  While this is not an issue for me or the guy, it’s clearly an issue for her.  I think, in her past, someone (or some ones) more educated than her has made her feel less than so she has internalized it by thinking that people more educated than her, think they’re better than her.  So, when she talks to me her tone can be condescending and sometimes say “educated folks think you’re smarter than me, but you’re not.  You really know nothing.”  She enjoys pointing out when “as a Director”; I should do something, should already know something or should have done something different.

My next issue is that I have been in this position for 7 months.  While I understand I can’t use “I’m new” forever, it does apply in this scenario.  I have interacted with the student I’m writing the article about maybe 3-4 times.  While I can certainly tell he’s dedicated to the Program, to say that I know him well would be a far stretch of the imagination.  So, in order to prepare for the article, I emailed the questions to him and asked my co-worker for some descriptive language about him and his connection with the Program.  The only thing she added was the name of another group he’s in, the big positive influence the previous director had on him, and she told me I should call the mom of another student I also wanted to write about so I can see how the Program impacts a low-income single parent.  Now, while I’m sure this other mom will have lots of good information to add, unless I hear back from her daughter, it won’t matter because I can’t do the article.  And if my co-worker thinks it’s so critical to include this parental perspective, then why didn’t she give me hers?!  She to fits into the same category as the parent she suggested and she has one student in the Program and another one that just graduated last year!  So, she gives all this wonderful advice to me, but doesn’t give me the descriptive words for the student or how he’s been impacted, which is what I asked her for, and which is what would have made the article more impactful, the way she thought it should be.

Not sure how much more of this I can take!  To be honest, most days at work, I’m bored.  The other issue is, there are sooo many little things I probably should know, but don’t and she makes the situation hell.  I can’t refer to the old Director anymore because I am 99.9% sure my co-worker is telling her how incompetent I am and I don’t need to be a part of that.  I want out!  I know this is not for me.  I am (trying) to be patient and do the best I can do until my true calling comes along!

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hope Springs (part I)

Today (3/4/10), and the next three days are dedicated to the work of Hope Springs Institute.  Several months ago, I was asked if I might be interested in serving on their board of directors.  After doing a little research on what they were about, I decided I had an interest and decided to apply.  After submitting my resume and a bio, a vote was taken, and I am now an official board member of Hope Springs.

The thing that most drew me to this place that I had never visited was its mission.  The mission is
“To Provide Sacred Space for Feminist Education, Responsible Green Living and Transformational Work
In the Service of Healthy Relationship with Planet Earth, Global Peace, Social Justice and Equality, and Personal Development”

The mission seemed to speak to a part of me that has gone from a quiet whisper to a more gradual, louder whisper.  I’m drawn to the idea of feminist education.  I’m drawn to the idea of social justice and equality.  I’m drawn to the idea of personal development.  I am even starting to hear the whispers of working on responsible green living.  On the car ride here, we were discussing our signs and I was talking about (the joys of) being a Gemini.  I’ve found that here lately, I am really struggling with my twin (yes, twins, not triplets, or any other higher multiple!) personalities in terms of figuring out my career path.  For the most part, I’ve always worked with students, and in or around education.  Here lately, there has been a yearning for more work in the area of diversity, social justice, LGBTQ issues, etc.  I’ve toyed and am still toying with the idea of going back to school.  The issue (money & time) has really been, go back to school and study what?  Of course part of me wants to continue my studies in education, but another part of me (a part I feel like may be growing) wants to study diversity and social justice issues.  I think MUSE (choir I sing in) helped to spark that fire, and I think Hope Springs will continue to fan the fire. 

I am so excited about the work that is going to come with my commitment to Hope Springs.  Tonight we were sitting around a fire watching it slowly burn.  Afterwards, people were free to share what was on their heart.   I kept thinking that as excited as I am about my work with this place, I do have some apprehension.  I am going to soak up all of this wonderful work in this space, but what happens when I return back home?  At first I thought, this is just what I need to help nurture my other twin, but now I think that what this will force me to do is really take a harder look my career, my career path and whether or not, this is really where I want to be.  I must admit I’m scared to have to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure out what I see, and what I’d like to see because I don’t think they will match.  I know that the work I do is good and needed, but I don’t think it’s fulfilling for me.  I guess before it has sounded selfish to verbalize that, but I’m beginning to see that it’s not selfish.  It’s where I am and it’s something I have to work through.

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Stick a needle in me……..I’m done!

Week before last I had a bad pinched nerve in my right arm.  It hurt so bad, I was ready to rip my arm from my shoulder!  At first I thought it was just a pulled muscle.  The more my wife and I talked about it, the more she realized it was probably a pinched nerve.  I figured, I probably got it from the way my mouse is situated on my desk at work. 

I called my doctor, and she suggested Advil and physical therapy.  I knew that physical therapy would take up way to much of my time, so I called back.  I told the nurse “I know I’l probably regret asking this, but will acupuncture help my pinched nerve?”  She told me that acupuncture can help almost anything, including a pinched nerve.  Unfortuntely she did’t have any appointments left for that day, so I had to suffer through the weekend, plus Monday (holiday). 

Tuesday morning came and I asked my wife if she was going with me (we both had snow days).  She said no.  I kept asking.  Finally I told her I was scared and wanted her to be there with me.  She said she’d go with me (she also said all I had to do was tell her I was scared from the start!).

My doctor is a great mix of traditional medicine and holisitic medicine.  I’ve been seeing her for several years, and am very comfortable with her.  She could tell I was nervous, and she kept reminding me to breathe.  She had me take off my shirt, my (knee) socks, and my (knee) boots.  I arrived thinking the pain was in my arm, so the needles would only be put in my arm.  Little did I know they would be in my head, my neck, my hands, and my feet!!  I ended up with over 20 needles in my body.

After about 20-30 minutes of the needles and a little electroshock therapy, it was over.  The doctor warned me that I might have some sore spots from a few of the needles and that I would be a little off kilter.  The needles that hurt the most were the ones if my feet and one that was in my right hand.  The ones in my head actually didn’t bother me.  The doctor sad they would feel like bobby pins going into my head- and she was right!   When I sat up I did feel off kilter, and actually felt that way for a few hours after my acupuncture. 

 I am happy to report that the pain was soon to go away.  I haven’t been to physical therapy yet, and I’m hoping I won’t have to go.  I might actually go back for some more acupuncture.  Who knew the needle-phobe would become an acupuncture gal!

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ten Years In The Making……

On Tuesday, February 9th my favorite artists, released a new album, Soldier Of Love.  Sade hasn’t released an album since 2000.  Sade’s lead vocalist and band frontwoman is Nigerian-born Sade Adu (full name Helen Folasade Adu), who is the band’s only female, has so far been the only consistent band member, and is also the only one portrayed on any of the album’s covers.  Many mistake the band name Sade for the lead singer Sade Adu, considering her a solo act or artist. In fact, Sade has included the following band members in addition to Adu: Stuart Matthewman (guitar and saxophone), Paul Spencer Denman (bass), Andrew Hale (keyboards), and Paul Anthony Cook, who played drums from 1982—when Sade was first formed—to 1984, when Cook was actually kicked out of the band.

 To say that I’ve been excited about Sade coming out with a new album would be an understatement!  I had been doing a countdown months before the album was set to come out.  I am a HUGE Sade fan.  At one point in time, I have earned all of her music, most of it in tape form.  I can remember listening to her tapes in my last two cars, which both had tape players.  When I was in college, I’d always pop in a Sade tape to get from school to home. 

As most cd’s do, Solider Of Love, was set to come out on a Tuesday.  My plan had been to leave work at 9:45 a.m., so I could be at Target at 10:00 a.m.  My wife made the mistake of letting me know that Meijer puts their cd’s out at midnight.  So, after a little begging and pleading, my wife agreed to go with me to Meijer at midnight so I could get my cd.  I got in from choir rehearsal about 10:15 Monday night.  My plan was to stay awake until it was time to go to Meijer.  I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve, so my wife told me I had to lie down and be quiet!  I laid down, but of course I couldn’t sleep, and didn’t want to take the chance of falling asleep and missing the opportunity to get my cd at midnight.  I was successful at staying up and while I was almost able to stop driving my wife crazy, I did not do a good job at not driving myself crazy!  We were at Meijer by midnight.  The cd was not out on the shelf when we got there, but the guy working there went to the back and got me oneWhen we got back to the house, I opened up my new cd and was excited to find the words to all of the songs!  Although it was past 12:30, and there was a slight chance I’d have to go to work in the morning (chance of snow) I downloaded the cd to my laptop and listened to a few songs before happily falling asleep.  The next morning we woke up to several inches of snow, and found ourselves snowed in.  I was sooo glad I had gotten the cd the night before!!

So, for those of you that are living under a rock, and haven’t gotten the cd, here’s a little break down for you.  The cd only has 10 songs on it.  It’s a little disappointing to only have 10 songs, but they are 10 quality songs.  My favorite is of course the title song, Solider of Love.  It’s upbeat and has a wonderful rhythm to it.  It’s also the first single off of the cd.  Sade has performed on several U.S. t.v. shows,  recently (Letterman, The View, Today Show) and this is the song she has performed everytime.  My other favorites include Babyfather, which is also a little upbeat and reminds me of a positive ‘babydaddy’ anthem, and Skin, a slow song about a toxic relationship. 

I love Sade’s silky distinct voice.  I love her deep and haunting lyrics.  I love the sound of the band.  They have been sorely missed in an industry that has sorely been missing good music.  My one hope now is that they will tour the U.S. again because I have never seen them live.  My wife already knows, that if there is a tour, we have got to be at one of those concerts, even if it means a little bit of a drive.  Please don’t let me down Sade!  We need one more U.S. tour!!!!

Morning Bird
How could you
You are the river
Pour out of this life

How could you
You are the morning bird
Who sang me into life every day
Fly away

You are the blood of me
The harvest of my dreams
There’s nowhere I can find peace
And the silence won’t cease

Nothing’s quite how it seems
The ghost of my joy
Won’t let me be

If you set me free I will not run
I will not run
I will not run

-Sade

February 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Journey

The following blog is long.  It’s more for me than you, so if you don’t want to read it- that’s ok.  I needed to write it for me.  It was actually written in a notebook earlier today, and now I am putting it on my blog.  If you do chose to read it, thank you in advance.

On the bus.  IPod blaring, drowning out the talking, the laughing.  Focused on myself.  Focused on channeling my thoughts about this experience.  Everyone seems so calm, and so peppy and chatty.  I know for some of them, this is not their first time, so maybe that makes it ok.  For me, it is my first time- ever.  Well, unless you count the time my mom made me go get my sister.  Honestly-I probably would have let her stay a while.  What she did was stupid.

How am I feeling?  Well, the word I used on my FB page is “somekindofway”.  I think this encompasses a lot.  Nervousness, nauseous, curious, excited, apprehensive.  Part of me understands the point of this journey, but a bigger part of me does not. 

So, the question on your mind (for those of you that don’t know) is probably where is this bus taking me?  What journey has got me feeling “somekindofway”?  Well, I along with my beautiful MUSE sisters are on our way to do what we do best- sing.  We are taking our music to another group of women.  What’s so different about this performance?  Well, this performance will be done in a women’s prison.

The strange thing is, it’s not like I haven’t been around people (women and men) who have been in prison before.  I have family members and have worked with students who have been in prison.  I’ve always been comfortable around them.  I’ve treated them no differently than my other family or students.  I think part of my issue is the thought of being inside a prison.  The thought of seeing women handcuffed and or shackled.  Wondering if these women could be dangerous?  Will they be able to reach us?  What if something goes terrible wrong?  Relax.  Breathe. 

Earlier in the week I discovered that one of my previous students was in the prison we are on our way to.  She has several drug charges.  Her and I had an interesting relationship that started out rocky to say the least.  She got in trouble- a lot, so I had to “discipline” her- a lot.  At one point, she told someone she wanted to “shank” me (prison term).  My staff and our security wanted me to press charges.  I didn’t.  I brought her into my office.  I told her I knew what she said, and asked her why.  She said she didn’t like me.  I told her that was fine, but I was going to continue to help her until she left the school.  It would be up to her to decide how she left.  She could be put out (by me) for her behavior, she could drop out by her own choice, or she could do what she needed to do and graduate.  I told her, as long as she was my student, I would continue to discipline her (when needed), but even more importantly, I would continue to help her in any way I could, even if she didn’t like me.

Thinking to myself- these women are in prison, doesn’t that mean you did something bad?  Why is our choir Director so passionate about us going to sing for them?  I can understand being passionate about wanting these ladies to receive actual rehabilitation.  Wanting to make sure that the issues are addressed so that they have a fighting chance when they are free of not repeating the mistakes that may have gotten to them to where they currently are.  What I am struggling with now is why the fight for a concert?  Why the yearnings to make sure we can connect with them, make eye contact with them, and get them to interact with us?  These are the thoughts I will take inside with me………………….

So, I’m back on the bus.  The experience is over.  Several hours spent in a prison.  When we walked in, we had to give our i.d., have our name checked off a list and sign our names.  They kept our i.d.’s and gave us a visitors badge.  From there, we went through the metal detectors.  I took off my shoes, belt and coat- no beeping!  We walked across the grounds to the building we were singing in in groups of 5.  Our singing space was a gymnasium.  There were bleachers and folding chairs in front of the bleachers.  On my way to find the restroom, I heard someone say “hi” to me.  I turned around to see a prisoner smiling at me.  She was setting up the rest of the folding chairs.  She was black, had locs, and a nice smile.  She looked to be in her 20’s.  She looked like a normal young woman who could be my sister, cousin or student.  I said hi back and found myself smiling back at this woman who was a prisoner.

Most of what I expected, was not.  Women were walking around the grounds on their own.  No escorts, no handcuffs, no shackles.  They came in groups and filled into the folding chairs in the front.  They were young, some older, black, white.  Most of them looked like everyday folks I would pass on the street.

We sang for about 1.5 hours.  We sang a variety of songs.  We sang up-tempo, slow, a cappella, with (wonderful) piano.  We also added several spirituals to our repertoire.  For the most part, most of them seemed engaged.  Some of our music is not traditional, but it is weaved with beautiful and intricate melodies and harmonies.  They seemed to get it and clapped enthusiastically even when we weren’t singing in English.  They were most moved by our spirituals.  Several of them sung along, stood, clapped, tapped their foot.  As is often done with our audiences, our director led the group in a few sing-alongs and more of them sung along than didn’t and they seemed to enjoy themselves and us.

After our last song, (India Aire’s “There’s Hope”), we received a standing ovation.  They were grateful.  They were happy.  They enjoyed us and I enjoyed them.  They hadn’t looked at us like “why they hell are you here”.  They hadn’t not clapped.  They had smiled.  They had a good time.  As they were leaving, several of them turned around and thanked us for coming.  A few of them even asked how they could look up the group when they got out.

The end left me drained both physically and emotionally.  I think most of us poured all we had inside of us out in an effort to try and pass along all that we had to offer to these women.  We sang hard, we smiled, we made eye contact, we swayed and we sang out hearts out.

I did not get to see my former student, and I was a little disappointed.  She did end up graduating from high school and I supported her all the way.  She gave a speech at the graduation luncheon and recalled me telling her I would put her out, but that I would also support her.  Sadly, I don’t think she had the support she needed when she left high school.  She made some bad decisions, and I hope she is getting the support and guidance she needs now.

As we climbed back on the bus, several people asked me if I was I glad I came.  I answered them all with a big (but tired) yes.  It was an awesome experience and one that I won’t soon forget.  I have no idea what the women inside that prison had done to get there, but I do realize that although they have made bad decisions, that doesn’t mean that they were bad people.  So many of them could have easily blended right into our choir.  I was blessed to grow up in a strong two parent household in a great neighborhood and I know that has a lot to do with me making the decisions I have over the years and becoming the person I am.  After listening to a few different conversations on the bus, I realized that some of them may have gotten themselves into mess that may not have been all their fault.  Of course some of them were there because of their own doing, but the question is what is the system doing to help them make better decisions?

Yes, they were in prison, but they needed us.  They needed to see a kind smile, they needed to hear our beautiful music and realize that they are strong women supported by other strong women.  There is talk of us going back.  This time I will not hesitate to sign up.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

What About the Children…….

The earthquake that hit Haiti was devastating.  The pictures and video are heart breaking.  Thanks (or no thanks) to technology, we in the U.S. have been able to watch and track most of the devastation.  However, no matter how much we watch, we cannot even begin to fathom what they are actually feeling.

Every time I start watching some of the coverage, I find myself glued to the t.v.  I find myself thinking “I could never (survive)”.  I find myself feeling helpless, but wanting to be helpful.  Like many other people, I am most drawn to the children.  These children who have endured so much even before the earthquake have now faced something that most of us as adults have never and will never face in our life. 

Many times since the earthquake, I’ve found myself wanting to bring one of those Haitian children into my home.  Adoption has been in my heart since I was a young girl.  I’ve always had a hard time knowing there are children in this world who don’t have a family to live with, love them, and support them.  I’ve never before thought about adopting a child outside of the U.S.  Actually, I’ve always said I didn’t want to adopt a child outside of the U.S.  To me, there are enough children here in the States that need homes.  The issue I deal with now is I feel like the orphans in Haiti (and probably other countries) are so much worse off than the orphans here in the U.S.  The other thing that actually pisses me off, is the U.S. claims to be such a great country, so advanced, so ahead of other places.  If that is the case, why do we have so many children in our system without homes, and mistreated in our system?  As such a “powerful” country, we have the ability to do more, and we need to do more.

My wife and I will celebrate our one year marriage anniversary in May.  We have started having more and more conversations around having children.  Within the next 12 months, we will begin to actually make moves towards starting a family.  If someone would have asked me 12 months ago, what my plans were for children, I’d probably say I wanted us to adopt a U.S. child and then maybe I could have a biological child, but wasn’t set on it.  While I think it would be great to have a biological child, I wasn’t sure about actually delivering a child.  Now I have so many mixed feelings. 

As my clock begins to tick, there is a (bigger) part of me that wants a biological child (sooner than later).  Issue- my wife and I can’t just decide to have a biological child and make that happen on our own, which means $$$$ and lots of it.  No matter what, I do still want to adopt.  My heart still at this moment aches for the children in Haiti.  So many were orphans before the earthquake, and so many more are orphans after the earthquake.  Of course, we would have the same issue with this scenario as we would with the first scenario and that is $$$$ and lots of it.  The other option is of course to adopt a child here in the U.S.  The process itself doesn’t come with the hefty price tag that the first two options do, but it still has its drawbacks.   The main drawback is all the preparation that we have to do to please someone else in order to be certified as adopted parents.  Not that we wouldn’t prepare on our own, but really?  For example, you have to have the crib, before you get the baby which could happen at any time.  That’s all well and good, but what about the baby shower and our friends buying stuff for us?  (Ok, just venting)  Now, picking one of these options doesn’t mean we can’t also pick another option.  Left up to me, we’d be the proud mommy of 6 children, but (probably thankfully) my wife is a little more grounded in reality so that won’t be happening.

Feeling like Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) and wishing I could click my heels and make our child appear.  Again, back to reality so, over the next several months, we’ll need to research, pray, and tune into our hearts.  No matter what decisions we make, I know we will be loving and wonderful parents and I look forward to our journey.

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

(some) Dreams Do Come True

Wednesday one of my biggest “I wish I could” moments happened.  I was in Chicago, at Harpo Studios, watching a live taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show.  Most people who know me, know I am a HUGE fan of Oprah, and all things Oprah.  Last year, my wife tried to get us tickets, but had no luck.  This year, they changed the way you can get tickets.  Now, you can go online (for a short period of time) and submit your name and information to the block of shows that will be taping.  So, my friend, my wife and I, all submitted our information.  I wasn’t selected.  My friend wasn’t selected.  My wife WAS selected and got a ticket for her and 3 friends.  I won’t even go into how hard it was to select 3 friends, and how some of our friends had attitudes because they couldn’t go.

We left Tuesday afternoon around 2:45 p.m.  I drove my wife, one of my sorority sisters, and one of my MUSE sisters the whole 5 hours without stopping.  I must have been really excited about going to Chicago!  When we arrived, we checked into our hotel and hit the streets (on foot) to enjoy Giordano’s, Chicago’s famous stuffed pizza.  It was delicious and we were all stuffed! 

That night, we said we were all going to bed early, and we tried.  The lights were out by 10:30.  Every time my wife turned over, I realized I was awake (or she woke me up).  Every time she moved, I thought ‘Shouldn’t it be time to get up?  We aren’t oversleeping are we?’  Eventually I hear my wife get up, and I know it’s time to be productive- finally.  Once everyone is up, I discover, I wasn’t the only one feeling like the night was dragging on.  I guess we were all anxious!

After we were all dressed and looking good, we headed to Starbucks.  After Starbucks, we headed to the studio.  There was a line, but luckily it wasn’t outside.  We got in line.  Let me just say, the whole process was extremely efficient.  Waited in line a while.  Gave our i.d. at the desk and checked in.  Checked our coats, and then it was time for security.  We walked through the detectors.  After that, they check your purse- and I do mean check.  They take everything out, and basically keep everything electronic (i.e. cell phone, camera, iPod, etc.).  After that, we head upstairs to the holding area.  All the workers are really nice, smiling and greetings us with good morning.  The waiting room was nicely decorated, filled with pictures of Oprah and her guest and a few t.v.’s with clips of unforgettable Oprah show moments. 

At this point, I still can’t believe I am actually at the Oprah show.  When my wife told me she had gotten tickets, she said I didn’t seem very excited, and she was probably right because I just couldn’t believe it.  Now, here I was in Harpo Studios!

Fast-forward……We all have release forms that we are suppose to read and sign.  I think, why would I bother to read and sign this?  If this form said the only way you can get into the show is by giving up your first born child- I’d still sign it!  On top of the paper is a number, and that’s what used to call folks into the studio.  I think I was 151 or something like that.  Our numbers are called and we are on our way into the studio! 

The studio is smaller than I think it will be.  There are only two levels.  The first one and one a few steps up.  It’s intimate and no seat is a bad one.  Some workers come out and talk to us and get us hype and excited.  Then we wait.  As we are waiting and chatting and making friends with the sweet older women in front of us- it happens.  She walks out.  It’s Oprah!  I scream!  (A bad scream that scratches my throat.  I should be a better screamer; I was a cheerleader for over half my life!)  I wasn’t expecting to see her right then.  There was no announcement, no drum roll, no dimming of the lights- she just walked out.  She came out in a green shirt and tan pants with her glasses on.  She informed us that something was wrong with her eye, but it only hurt when her eye was open.  She said she’d be leaving to see the eye doctor as soon as the show was over.  She was very down to earth.  She chatted with us during the commercials.  My favorite line is when she is telling us about being in Maui with her dogs.  She says “dogs love to roll around in cow shit”.  I thought, ‘oh goodness, Oprah cusses’!  Lol! 

The show we are there for is Marriages Around the World.  I won’t go into the details (you can check out oprah.com if you are really interested), but I will say the conversations were interesting.  During different parts of the show, I had to remind myself that I was actually in the studio, and not at home watching on t.v.  Surreal.  Everything was so laid back and casual.  And then the show was over.  Although she said she’d be leaving right after, she did the after the show (which is online) and then she stayed and continued the conversation after that.  Eventually she said bye so she could get to the doctor.

After we gathered all of our checked stuff, we headed to the Oprah store.  Very nice!  I bought a sweatshirt, keychain and coffee mug for myself, and coffee mugs, shirt and baby booties for friends!  I also bought, wrote, and sent (they have a cute little mailbox in the store) a postcard to my dad, thanking him for the Christmas money I spent in the Oprah store.

So to wrap it up, we hit the road, stopped for lunch and headed back to Cincinnati.  Once I came down to my Oprah high, Thursday was a long sleepy day at work.  Thursday after work, after getting the scoop from friends, I watched my 5 seconds of fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

This is an experience I will never forget.  I appreciate the friends who shared the experience with me.  I appreciate and love my wife for working so hard to make my dream come true.  I know how much it meant to her, and I feel blessed to be married to someone who enjoys making my dreams come true!

January 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

I’m Back (hopefully)!!

Soooo, I’ve been away from blogging for quite a while now.  I figure the longer I take to come back, the harder it will be, so I need to go ahead and jump back in- feet first!  I haven’t blogged in 4 months (tomorrow), so it probably doesn’t make sense to try to re-cap everything from the last 4 months of my life.  I’ll just do a few highlights. 

In November, the 23rd to be exact, my wife and I celebrated 6 months of marriage.  I know that when people get married, they consider themselves to be the ‘luckiest person in the world’, but, I whole-heartedly believe that I have that title, and I am grateful to have such a wonderful woman in my life.

My first married Christmas had its ups and downs.  The ups included opening gifts with my wife for the first time.  She finally got her IPhone from me, and the look of excitement on her face made my holiday.  I was excited to find that Santa (my wife) left me (just to name a few) a Keurig Coffee Maker, a new I-Pod, and tickets to see A Christmas Carol, my favorite Christmas movie!  I promised my Dad I’d come to town, so I did.  Things have really changed in terms of being at home at Christmas.  I refused to go to my parents home  because my mother and I haven’t spoken since New Year’s Eve (last year) and I feel like if my wife isn’t welcomed in her home, then I won’t be there either.  So, my Dad met me at my Grandmother’s.  I saw 1 (of my 4) sisters at my Grandmother’s also.  My wife and I were supposed to stay the weekend with my sister.  However, she was too busy spending quality time with her (ex) boyfriend’s family.  It seemed silly for my wife and me to sit at my sister’s house by ourselves looking at each other, when we could be doing the same exact thing at our own house.  I wanted to get out of that city, so we came back home.  My dad was disappointed and made the comment that he may not even celebrate Christmas next year.  Part of me hopes he doesn’t so I won’t feel bad about not going home……

So now we are several weeks into the new year, and I have yet to make any new year’s resolutions.  I know what things I need to work on.  As always, those things include eating better (and less), exercising more and doing better with my finances.  Added to that list would include finding my passion.  I started a new job in August.  I am grateful to have a job.  Ok, that being said, most days I am bored out of my mind!  I am use to interacting with students every day, and in this job, I don’t have that.  I sit in my office, usually only interact with my two co-workers, and see my students about once a month.  Sad.  So, I’ve been playing with the idea of going back to school.  The question is for what?  If you know the answer, please share it with me!  The Gemini  (yes Gemini and proud) in me is driving me crazy.  Elementary school teacher or Middle school teacher certification?  Maybe a doctorate in higher education or diversity education?   Not really sure, but hopefully I’ll figure it out soon!

Well, I think this comeback blog is long enough.  I have started a day zero project, 101 things to do in the next 1,001 days.  I think I will add blogging at least once a week to that list. 

Have a blessed New Year and welcome back to the music in my head!

January 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 5 Comments

High-5 Friday(s)

Another installment of High-5 Friday (I will combine the last couple of weeks.  Opps!).  Thanks to the help of my wife, my hope is to provide 5 pictures and 5 descriptions of things that have I have done and/or seen since the previous Friday.  I know I will look forward to this weekly blog and I hope you will too!

1.  Mya and MeMaya and Me

A few weekends ago  my Goddaughter was Christened.  My wife and I drove up for the occasion.  My close friend since we were like 4 or 5, and her husband have been in the process of adopting Mya since she was a few months old.  She is now officially their daughter, and I am blessed to be a part of her life.

 

2.  Dress BarnDress Barn

My wife recently had a birthday.  As part of my birthday gift for her, I made her a gift certificate that she could redeem to go shopping for clothes at the store of her chosing.  She really has been wanting to ‘grown-up’ her wardrobe.  She chose Dress Barn.  We had a fun time with her trying on clothes and me paying for them!  🙂

 

 

3.  pink drinkParty Time!

blue drinkI have a great group of friends, and they know how to throw a party!  We had a house party for a friend that was turning 40, and there was a full bar.  It’s not often that I drink, but I enjoyed myself this evening.  Here are two of the many drinks I had.  Don’t worry.  I had a designated driver.  Thanks honey!

 

 

 

4.  Steel Drum BandSteel Drum Band

A woman I sing in the choir with plays in a steel drum band.  She invited the wife and I to hear them play at a local coffee shop.  This was my first time hearing them.  It was really nice!  The music was good, the food was good, and we had a good time!

 

 

 

 

5.  Root canalRoot Canal

Last Saturday I had a pretty bad headache.  Eventually I figured out the pain was coming from my tooth, and not my head.  I went to the dentist on Monday and found out that I would need to have my first root canal.  Wednesday, I was sedated (I sought out a sedation dentist because  I don’t do well at the dentist) and had my first root canal.  All I can say is thank goodness for Vicodin!!!!

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment