Wednesday, November 26, 2014

T
o be honest, I have been writing all morning but not for my blog. There have been some other pressing matters.  Finding that perfect bloggy balance feels elusive at times.

I swear I feel like if I don't blog first thing in the morning, things just won't come together in time to publish before noon.  Waiting until the evening is always a battle of blogging vs. heavy eyelids.  At the end of the of day and sometimes night, I have consistently hit that publish button.  That deserves some hand claps.

Blogging tools: journal, candle and endless cups of tea :)  Disclaimer:  The above image has been used in a previous blog post.  
I have also been quite distracted with the current state of affairs in America.  As I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline, I came across a graphic of the U.S. highlighting the 37 states that had protests immediately after the grand jury in Ferguson decided not to indict Michael Brown's killer.  Wow, 37 out of 50 states is pretty impressive.  Did you see what's going on in D.C.??!  Howard University raised the Pan-African flag instead of the American flag yesterday.  The image of that red, black and green flag was a sight to behold.  My question is what are the other states doing??  Why are they choosing to be so basic??

Even Seattle held it down yesterday with marches and rallies.  What I totally was inspired by was the fact that many of our youth came out in droves to be seen and be heard.  I am proud of them.  

It's not like I haven't been writing anything or designing content for an online audience.  I have been doing just that only not for my blog.  I was working on the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) Newsletter the entire morning.  It is scheduled to send at exactly 10:51am PST.  It looks good I must admit thanks to some good ol' fashioned team work.

Assembling a team to create content for the blog wouldn't be a bad idea.  I have yet to guest blog or invite others to guest blog here.  That is definitely a plan for the future.  Right now, I am just focusing on getting through these next few days.  There is always a challenge towards the end, right?  Perhaps, if I plan out my content for these last few days I can avoid any hiccups.  

The truth about today's blog post for NaBloPoMo, is that there have been distractions, finding balance is an ongoing pursuit, and sleepy eyes prove to be a worthy opponent most nights BUT consistency in hitting that publish button has been the key to this 30 day blogging challenge.

Just publish something already!  Sheesh.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the aftermath of a devastating decision by the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri -- what we pack with our kids' lunches to sustain them and provide nourishment is critical.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A
 plethora of third Thursdays had passed before I finally checked out the indoor artwalk at the Seattle Design Center. There must be like six art galleries under one roof to enjoy housing all types of art from abstract to figurative.  I specifically fought southbound traffic to see La Sala's Plex-us Exhibit at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA).  La Sala latino/latina artist's network.


Plexus is Latin for network or connection.
I saw the exhibit before I had stepped foot inside of CoCA through the glass windows.  I remember feeling an immediate sense of play and wonder when I saw the sculptures of steel and fishing nets.  It reminded me of a playground or soccer field featuring only the goalie nets.  

Visual artist Michelle de la Vega shared that the nets represented a network and connection of the South Park neighborhood in Seattle and the Duwamish River Valley.  The nets actual fishing nets used to gather fish in the community.  Michelle hosed them down so those in attendance were spared the fish smell (much appreciated).  On the topic of the Duwamish River and connection, Michelle talked about how "connection gives life."  That made me think about how:

Disconnection from the Source can mean death.  

Composer Jovino Santos orchestrated a sound installation of things one might hear in the South Park neighborhood.  Sounds of children, conversations, planes, water, and the different languages spoken in the community.

The collages of photos and printed snippets from blog posts from fishermen on the daily catch and conditions were arranged like paper sculptures mounted to the wall.  I am so sorry I didn't take photos.  I keep forgetting my camera and there is virtually no space on my phone.  You will just have to see it for yourself.

Chief Sealth High School students (about 115 of them) wrote and shared their writings with us about their own sense of place in their environment both inside and outside of the classroom.  I was really touched by the zines the students made containing some of their writings they did in their art workshops for this exhibit.  I was sure to have my zine autographed by its maker, Consuela.




Plex-us is a lovely combination of the visible and invisible connection we encounter in our environments.  Social networks and the internet are great but that face to face connection is what feeds our souls.  To see the exhibit for yourself visit CoCA at the Seattle Design Center on 6th and Fidalgo in Georgetown. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

C
razy! November is damn near over party people.  What have you got to show for it?  Well, I have all these blog posts, so there's that.   











While blogging daily, I find myself open to more experiences.  Perhaps, it is because I am on the hunt for new content to blog about.  I am staying out later during the week, attending more events and the weekends have become sacred.

I even watch shows that I wouldn't normally entertain like this show called Animal Rescue.  It was only one episode but it was pretty fascinating.  A deer had decided to take a swim I guess, but ended up extremely disoriented and headed away from shore into the middle of the ocean.  The US Coast Guard had to devise a rescue plan without actually touching the deer who would probably kick a hole in their boat.  Ultimately, the deer was "steered" back to shore.  

What struck me most was the insensitive humans snapping photos, scaring the already scared deer.  The flash from the cameras made the deer try to deer paddle the opposite direction.  The Animal Rescue Police types had to get the humans out of there.  Once they did, the deer came out of the water and scurried onto shore back to its family I presume.  It was a happy moment.     
   
Every day blogging has been a happy moment. I hope you are enjoying my attempts to avoid a basic November.   


Saturday, November 22, 2014

W
eekends are for volunteering...both Saturday and Sunday will be spent in service to others.  I just came back from the Northwest African American Museum's 70's themed Naamtastic Voyage party.  I could have stayed longer but my platform boots had a limited shelf life.  My feet are killllllllliiiiiiiinnnnnnngggggg me!


It was all worth it, seeing folks break dancing and shimmying down the Soul Train line.  I had the awesome duty of replenishing the snacks and water.  With all of the dancing taking place, my job that night was of the utmost importance.  I don't know how many trips I made back and forth to the kitchen to refill the water.  Folks were thirsty.  You know the party is still going to at least midnight.

The 70's gear was pretty good too.  I wore bell bottoms and platform shoes.  There were several afros, shiny outfits, gold jewelry, fur coats, and headbands.  Next time, I will have to go with another shoe option.  Having a party surrounded by art is always a good time.  More museums and galleries should have parties with a DJ and good snacks.

Tomorrow, I will be volunteering for the production, I Wish A Mother Would.  I am helping with whatever is needed during the event.  I am really excited because this show is sold out but volunteers get to see it for free.  I wish I could share more about this event but I am so extremely tired.  It has been a long day and tomorrow won't be any shorter.  Peace and love!

  

Friday, November 21, 2014

I
t's Friday y'all!  I don't know about you but this week was packed with many creative happenings that I still have yet to write about.  With the upcoming holidays, I can't help but to think about what I am grateful for.

I am grateful for the relationship I have with my sister.  Fifteen years separate us but as we get older we continue to get closer.  It is nice to have a "B.O.G.O."   She is my person for all of the buy one get one free deals popping up throughout the year.  I love how we are even starting to have the same interests.  She introduces me to new web series on YouTube and I introduce her to the arts and culinary experiences.  

When we went to Paris this summer, I was taken aback at how totally into the arts she was.  She never really dug history but seeing parts of it in person enlivened her spirit.  She was there right along side me elbowing whoever we could to get as close as possible for a selfie with Mona Lisa.


She has even become my muse for my Afro Jazz art series.  It is her face I use from the greeting cards to the portraits.  Most of our time is spent in laughter.  I just truly appreciate her little teeny-bopper presence in my life.  

I hope to travel to many other places with her in the near future.  I just love her to pieces.  She's my little Mooshy-moo :) 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Last year when I traveled to Ghana, West Africa I received something really special...a name.  At the Creating Change! Equity and Inclusion Workshop, led by Carmen Morgan, the first exercise we did was one about the history of our name.  We were tasked with answering four questions.  What is your full name?  Who named you?  What is the significance or meaning of your name?  Would you change your name if you could?  

During the workshop I answered these questions using the name on my birth certificate.  As others shared the vast histories of their first and surnames, I felt some type of way.  I didn't have the full break down of my surname because it does not belong to me.  It is a place holder and a reminder of my stolen status.  I do have another name though.  One that I had to travel to the Motherland to receive.  

Equity and Inclusion 

My name is Tsotsoo.  A Chief of the Ga Tribe in Ghana, West Africa sanctified the name I had chosen for my naming ceremony.  The women dressed me as a Ga Queen with brightly colored kenti cloth.  I had a much deeper appreciation of the craftmanship because I had a weaving lesson from a master weaver the day before.  They danced for me and with me.  I felt so deeply honored.  

The men who were drumming composed a song for me with my namesake.  I can still hear the tune in my head.  A friend of my host stood close by and translated the Chief's words.  He told me that my name meant one should not take my kindness for weakness and that I fear no one but The Most High.  The ceremony seemed to morph into something that was not just about receiving a name.  I stood there with bare feet on the red clay soil, embracing the inherent equity of the moment.  This was an Equity and Inclusion ceremony.


My head is bent as I receive a black and white beaded
necklace from the Chief to remind me of my new name. 

My Equity and Inclusion Ceremony filled my spirit to overflowing.  It was actually a surprise because I thought it was taking place later in my trip.  Those present thought I must be extremely special and important because the Chief was supposed to be gone.  He didn't even know there was a ceremony going on at that time.  For some reason he came back from his trip.  I like to think he came back because he sensed the implications of naming, thereby reclaiming a stolen one.  

When you sit and think about it, it is so fundamentally unfair that so many others know their name on a generational level.  Something as basic as a name is taken for granted.  Names have ancestral ties and significance.  But the stolen ones are excluded from possessing this basic piece of knowledge.  I am forever grateful for the gift the Chief gave me.  

Would I change this name? No.  It is only fair that I am allowed some time to get acquainted with Tsotsoo.  The more I reflect on this experience, the more I start to feel a deeper sense of belonging.  


Share the history of your name in the comments using the four questions above.  I would love to hear the significance of your name.

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