new HAPPY year

Give thanks for we have made it to another year! It amazes me how fortunate we are to be alive in this day and time. Boy, we have it ultra-easy compared to those who have lived before us.

I am extremely grateful for my good health, for clean water, for earth and sky, for my amazingly fit body, for my incredibly supportive and fun-loving family, for a strong heart, for a decent, safe, and comfy home, for experiencing love in many forms, for an abundance of food (a special shout out to Kale and Beets), for friends who inspire me, care for me, tolerate me, and teach me, for the many skills acquired over the past 15 years, for art and the artists, for creativity, for reiki, for vipassana, for yoga, awareness, for dopamine, for the ability to travel, and most of all, for peace of mind (stillness).

Each year gets better even when it feels like a tough one. Hindsight is a teacher and blessing. With each triumph, loss or mis-hap, I discover that the universe is on my side and everything that has happened to me has made me stronger, wiser and more capable.

For me, 2o11 will be primarily about 3 things:

1. My New Web Site and Book Project (W.D.I.E.T)
2. Love, Partnership, and Relationship Building
3. Awareness, Conservation, and Education

What about you?


I want to acknowledge the people who inspire me, encourage me and accept me. I love each and every one of you tremendously with a whole heart and positive spirit. Thank you for being a part of my life and for keeping our friendship or relationship alive and ticking!

You know who you are!

Lots of love and productivity in 2o11!

*Lala*

merry christmas mom

season greetings oh beautiful one!

when we were kids, my parents (or santa πŸ™‚ showered, i mean monsooned my brother and me with gifts on christmas day. we would come downstairs to a living room filled with the latest and greatest toys, dolls, robots, bikes, clothes, video games, and candy! thinking about it now, it was mad-crazy-ridiculous! and i thought that every kid in the world experienced christmas in this way with lots of love, toys, gifts, food, family and friends. oh what a wonderful world that would be!

bad photo but it's an old christmas photo

i’m not exactly sure when i stopped celebrating christmas but it was a loooong time ago. i suspect it was a combination of many things. perhaps i was absolutely fed up with being broke or pretending that i was something i was not. i also had a shopping problem back in the day and it’s taken many years for me to drop the habit. christmas shopping is my internal trigger for this addiction. once, i get the shopping bug, it’s difficult for me to put on the brakes. i would buy a gift for mom, then two gifts for me, and a gift for my boyfriend and three more gifts for me…until i had over $10k in debt and had to eat hot dogs for six months just to hold onto my apartment. those were not the days!

i remember decorating my first place in philadelphia with christmas stuff; but after the first year, i couldn’t justify spending money on shiny plastic and other frivolous items “made in china”. nothing against china but does the U.S. manufacture anything anymore?

removing myself from the holiday hype, i made a conscious decision not to shop or support the retail giants who brand holiday cheer while using sweat shops and charging exorbitant prices in an effort to make record breaking profits. i gradually pulled away from christmas but it was not so easy and it still isn’t because many people i love cherish this time of year.

some years it feels like i am standing in the bleachers with my back turned and the whole team is booing me. it’s all good, i can take it plus my brother doesn’t celebrate it either which takes some of the focus off of me.

please, please do not get me wrong, i am not a scrooge! i will show up at xmas dinner tonight with bells on and genuine holiday cheer all over my face. however, i don’t believe i have to celebrate christmas just because almost the entire world does. maybe this will change, when i have a family but for now i am sticking to my story.

the best part about the holidays is: the loving, giving, smiling, and togetherness!

my mother has caught on this year and will not be spoiling her two grown children with gifts and i get it. we spoke the other night and i suggested that next year, we volunteer at a soup kitchen together, give to our favorite non-profits or independent effort, or buy a chicken or goat for a family in need.

5 of my favorite organizations to support: (feel free to comment and add your favorites)

1. Democracy Now
2. Story Corps
3. Partners in Health
4. The Rural Haiti Project
5. Doctors without Borders

Mom, merry christmas to you and thank you for making the sacrifices so that we could spend our childhood in heavenly toy-filled bliss. the best gift you can ever give us is to keeping taking great care of yourself and being a positive presence in our life!

we love you and appreciate all that you are and have done!

I’m back from Cali and here are photos below from an exhibition in LES at the LZ Gallery where my friend, Jasmine Murrell, was a part. Go Jazz!

self-portrait by Jasmine Murrell



have a splendid weekend and to quote Mr. Santa:

HO*HO*HO* Merry Christmas!!!

*Lala*

ps. as of 2008, i no longer use credit cards and i am debt-free! now that’s something to celebrate!!!


nature’s way

the honeymoon continues in the bay area. i keep finding new things to love about this enchanted city.

as i grow older, i am becoming closer to nature, i.e. plants, trees, soil, and even animals. the last few days have involved helping to build a fence from chicken wire, walking in the woods, eating from my friends’ garden, and spending time with a tropical bird. Hi Kiwi! this afternoon was no different. we visited one of the best nurseries in the country, the Berkeley Horticulture Center.

this morning, when my mother told me that snow was expected in the east and my brother announced the freezing temperature just minutes after i phoned him, i simply gave thanks because at that very moment i was warm and feeling super awesome.

the awesome part surprises me since i have gone completely overboard in the eating department. i should know better but it tastes so good! so far, i’ve eaten at:

Prather’s Ranch Meat Co.
Tartine
Osha Thai
Zachary’s Pizza
Bi-rite Ice Creamery
Cafe GoLo
Pica Pica
Gracias Madre
Champa Garden
Brown Sugar Kitchen (beverage only)
Scream Sorbet
Gregoire
The Summit (beverage only)

I AM A LITTLE PIGLET !!!!

even though my belly is dancing with the stars right now, i am thankfully breathing through my nose — both nostrils. in New York, pizza alone ignites a sneezing fit and at least 36 hours of hampered nose breathing. in cali, i have been able to eat pizza and ice cream in the same day with no miserable consequences. now that’s worth me moving here in itself.

can you tell i’m having a fantastic stay in the Bay! that rhymed πŸ™‚

oh a special HELLO to Hadley in Berkeley representing Home 101 – a terrific boutique that resembles a candy store but for adults with a sweet tooth for antiques and treasures for any cozy abode.

sending sunshine and warmth to you and your family! it’s the season for citrus. Vitamin C is our best friend during cold season so get your orange, grapefruit and lemon on!

this is a budding lemon tree!

and last but not least Happy 9th and 14th Birthday to my nephews – I love you both!

auntie *Lala*

left coast loving

yesterday in the bay, it rained and rained and rained some more but the temperature was a delightful 60 degrees Fahrenheit. i am loving the west coast or the left coast, a political expression that has been re-purposed in the art world on this side of america. it has everything to do with being in a new environment after nearly one year in NYC. what can i say, i am inspired by traveling and new experiences!

you ask, hey Lala! why do you love San Francisco so much?

1. FOOD – healthy, whole and heavenly. today we had lunch at Gracias Madre, an organic vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission district. i nearly broke down and cried. yum yum! 3 words: Butternut Squash Quesadillas (with pumpkin seed salsa)

2. PEOPLE – easy, breezy, and friendly. many people greet each other on the street and everyone has been super helpful when approached (i’ve gotten lost a few times already πŸ™‚

3. WEATHER – it’s not hot or even warm but it’s not freezing πŸ™‚ need i say more?

4. LANDSCAPE – breathtakingly (is that a word?) gorgeous!! the architecture and surrounding mountains lift my spirit and my calves.

5. CLEANLINESS – i looked up in the subway station and was not horrified plus my allergic reaction to cheese pizza is non-existent here.

6. NATURE-ORIENTED – aren’t most Californians?

7. INTELLIGENT – in quoting the NY Times, San Francisco ranked in the top 3 of book sales around the country in 2009. reading is fundamental. i visited 4 or 5 bookstores within blocks of each other today and to my surprise, each were bustling with curious readers.

8. ARTSY – this post pays homage to the amazing 3 day art festival art called, Left Coast Leaning. my hosts, bryant and jidan got tickets for saturday night’s performance. each piece was engaging, meaningful and vibrant. this event was held at the Yerba Bueno Center for the Arts. a lovely evening which began with another fantastic meal at Osha, a thai restaurant owned by two sisters.

9. GREEN – there are recycle bins everywhere and reminders to conserve too.

10. ENTREPRENEURIAL – San Fran is a city full of boutiques, thrift shops, cafes and bars run by young, progressive types.

this is not a “dis” against NYC, my hometown. my love for the Big Apple is deep and undeniable. however, i can see san fran in my near future.

i should really go to bed now. i trust that you are keeping warm, drinking loads of herbal tea and eating hearty and whole food! winter is right around the corner!

love and light and more love

*Lala*

san fran man

i’m in love again.

with san francisco, that is. it’s only been 3 days since we reunited but i remember its touch as if it were yesterday. since i have limited time to write or edit my writing, here are a few images that will give you a glimpse of Day 2 in the foggy city. later this afternoon, i will journey to oakland for the first time ever. i have a feeling my stay will become more colorful moving forward. considering i worked for most of the day yesterday, i am going to the hot springs in japantown for a morning of peace and relaxation. it’s always about balance πŸ™‚

had a lovely breakfast at Cafe GoLo (corner of Gough and Lombard)

i am weak for french toast - this was delicious

John, owner of Cafe GoLo, very accommodating

time to get to work at the ferry building - got some good interviews

famer's market - one of the best on saturdays, i hear

it's chilly by the wharf, needed to warm up with hot chocolate - Blue Bottle style

you can park your bike in the subway - yay!!

made it to the Mission District but was too full to enjoy tacos 😦 but next time!

super dope music at Revolution Cafe - thanks to Sam for the recommendation

thrift shopping in the Mission - had to buy gloves

more thrift shopping, but now in the Haight - hi Austin from L.A.

ended the evening with a film, Wasteland about artist, Vik Muniz. great story.

remember to EAT YOUR GREENS!!!

hugs and love from the Bay!

*Lala*

HIPpyHOPpy [explicit]

New Podcast! [explicit lyrics]

my first hip hop album was LL COOL J’s Rock the Bells or was it the single, My Adidas by Run DMC or maybe even La Di Da Di by Slick Rick. It doesn’t matter, the point is that I’ve spent the past two weeks searching for decent hip hop that is void of just one of the following words:

  • Nigger
  • Bitch
  • Motherfucker
  • Ho

Sad to say I was unsuccessful. Hip hop music, simultaneously went mainstream and took a turn for the worst in the early nineties. I remember listening to N.W.A.’s Fuck tha Police and being blown away by the sheer bravado of it all — from the name of group to their outfits, attitude and lyrics. It was the perfect soundtrack for far too many incidents of police brutality happening at the time — with the Rodney King beating occurring just three years after this song was released.

Fast forward to 2010, while waiting for the train this week I noticed the November issue of XXL Magazine. I have never read this magazine but the cover got my attention so I photographed it with my iPhone.

November 2010 Cover of XXL Magazine

As the late great Marvin Gaye said, What’s Going On?

Look closely at this image. Do you see the penitentiary-like homosexual undertones here? Why is a grown-ass Black man wearing a mask standing behind a smaller built Black man who has his underwear on full display? I have never seen two Black men chillin’ like this in my neighborhood. So why? and I’m all about artistic expression but … Damn!

Per the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans account for only 14 percent of the U.S. population, yet an estimated 53 percent of all prisoners in the United States are Black. Don’t be misled, this is mostly due to racism and discrimination but those are the facts.

At first glance, most of these details were lost on me but at closer inspection, this image glamorizes prison life or a lifestyle that will eventually lead to death or prison and the sad thing is that both 50 Cent and Soulja Boy appear to be willing participants. Some people will do almost anything for fame and cash.

Dumb Down is the first full length track on my most recent podcast, it does a great job of highlighting the problems we are facing. Non-Black persons are not excluded. If you haven’t noticed, hundreds of thousands of men and women all over the world are emulating the hip hop community.

Tahir Hemphill

This past summer I met an artist named Tahir Hemphill who founded the project, Hip Hop Word Count that uses a series of algorithms to determine the education level needed to understand various rhymes, employing analytics of metaphors, similes, cultural references and other measures of sophistication.. Fascinating stuff, check it out here.

it can get better

Recently, many young people have taken their own lives because other cruel people and society made them feel worthless, strange, and different. Although I am not a homosexual, I emphatically support the gay community and I would like for every one to realize that WE ARE ALL CONNECTED and DESERVE LOVE in all forms — no matter your color, age, beliefs, nationality, economic status, or sexual orientation.

My brother’s girlfriend shared this video with me. It was produced by a few employees who make movie magic at Pixar Studios. We must BAN or speak out against artists/musicians/politicians/clergy men and women/family members and friends who ostracize or abuse others. Too many people speak as if being gay or transgender is a sin or bad thing. It absolutely is NOT and we must not tolerate this behaviour. It can get better if more of us, speak out against cruelty and violence done to members of the gay community.

Whether you are homosexual, bi-sexual or heterosexual, I am sure that you can relate to what is being said here. Acceptance and respect of other people directly relates to self-acceptance and self-love.

If you are gay and have considered, suicide, reach out to someone or go to:
The Trevor Project.

Please share this YouTube video with your loved ones and have a restful weekend!

*Lala*

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