Mom is the one who first told me about sickle cell disease and the sickle cell trait. I can’t tell you what prompted the discussion. Maybe it was hearing about a childhood acquaintance who had the disease, was in crisis and in the hospital. Maybe something else prompted her to open up that discussion.
I have the trait, and so do you, is the essence of what she said.
Because she was who she was. She earned first name only status with an exclamation point (ARETHA!) AND ascended to royalty (Queen of Soul).
Because she played a role in the Civil Rights Movement and helped others. Much-much respect!
Last but not least, I’ll miss her for accompanying us through the human experience. She was the only artist who could make me raise a hand, and say a heartfelt “Hallelujah” for ALL the life reasons: From “Precious Lord” and “Mary Don’t You Weep,” to “Bridge over Troubled Water”…
And from “Daydreaming” to “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Dr. Feelgood,” which could be the reason some of y’all exist today.
Once upon a time, I used to create hair buns using elastic bands, but I have decided to ditch them for most of my styling needs. They’ll still be used to section my hair or hold the ends of my hair in place for certain styles…but for these updos? Nah, son. I’m done.
Much love for The Puff Cuff! It’s becoming my go-to styling tool for updos!
At first, I was doubtful. But since I learned about this product from someone I deem trustworthy, even though we’re not well acquainted, I was more inclined to take a chance on this styling tool.
So I opted for the family pack. It includes four versions of the Puff Cuff. The four sizes are the Original, Junior, Mini and Micro.
This style was created using one Junior and one Mini. I also use Eco Styler gel with coconut oil and a detangling brush. Once styled, I spritzed a lightweight shea sunflower finishing sheen onto my hair.
Learn how to achieve this updo right here:
This styling tool has won my heart because I can wear a cute updo without using elastic bands, and the Cuff doesn’t generate headaches!
The best sanitary supply bags are hidden in plain sight…
Cute.Jazzy.Snazzy… with a little bit of flair or not—depends on what floats your boat and makes your heart sing.Because your uterus isn’t singing during your period. It’s weeping blood.
In this bonus episode of Planet Noun, Liz and her sister, Lea, pick up with their discussion about stuffing the perfect Pad Bag. That’s just another name for a to-go sanitary/feminine supply bag.
In a nutshell, here’s what you need:
A cute bag.Animal print is recommended, but whatever design or color makes your heart sing.
A pack of pads in a size that suits your needs.
A pack of tampons that suit your needs. For example, I’ve been trying organic tampons by L.
A ‘backup to the backup’, is needed.Back in the day, Le-Le and I used Depends, which are diapers for incontinent adults. There are other brands available as well.A really good friend of mine recommends Always Discreet.
Wet wipes, towels, soap, and “smell good.”
A portable shower (kidding…but if you can swing this, we ain’t mat atcha!)
Shoot, you might as well pack a doggone overnight bag.
From there, we also talk about praying the ‘Broids away, and whether we think that works…to how social media can be harnessed to findconnection with others grappling with uterine fibroids.
NOT HEAVEN—OR HELL–So. What happens when the faith you’ve had for years slams into the realization that “it ain’t necessarily so?”
What happens when the faith you’ve cultivated or the spoon-feedings you’ve accepted since youth crashes head-on with a musing-turned hard-core question: “what if we’re getting it all kinds of wrong?”
And what happens if you share your changing views with folks who aren’t ready or willing to give another perspective mental due process?
Come Sunday, a recent Netflix release produced by This American Life (yes, the WBEZ originated show and podcast) is about all of that. Bishop Carlton Pearson was an evangelical rock star…until he shared questions with his mega-church congregation about what he saw as a biblical contradiction…. Namely the subject of God’s love vs. what his church taught about the existence of an eternally burning hell… and the idea that all who don’t believe and accept Jesus as savior are doomed to roast in the afterlife. He couldn’t reconcile a loving God with teachings about an eternal rotisserie. Pearson says he heard God’s voice say Jesus is enough for all the world’s salvation, even those who don’t ever hear his name… which led him to figuratively say, dammit to hell. Pearson tossed the hellfire doctrine from his trove of beliefs and embraced a new theological worldview—the Gospel of Inclusion. This American Life told his story in a 2005 episode that was entirely dedicated to sharing his story.
And his chu’ch* folks weren’t having it. I don’t want to tell all the ups and downs of the story, but let’s just say he was an outcast’s outcast. Pearson is convincingly played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and his minister of music at that time, Reggie, is played by Lakeith Stanfield (Selma).
It’s a convincing story, to me, because I can relate to the journey and realization that yes—you may still believe…but you know you can no longer abide by all of the ways in which you were taught to believe…when your views of right and wrong are being encased in a chrysalis, surrounding you with mid-life metamorphosis… but you aren’t quite ready to tell all…Definitely not to anyone who might dissuade your self-inquisition.
Pearson didn’t have that luxury. He, convinced it was God’s voice, was compelled to tell his congregation. After all, as a purveyor of “Good News,” how could he stay silent and smother what was so liberating to his spirit? He lost his church and more before it was all over. His journey is depicted as rough and tear-stained, but the consequence seems to be a peaceful conscience.
*bet you didn’t know chu’ch was a contraction for church. Not really–but it exists now. Say it. Chu’ch.
(LA -LA STATE OF MIND)—Hometown is a big place for me. Heck, I’m from Los Angeles. Ain’t nothin’ small about it. I live in the DC area now, but whenever I get homesick and am stuck between plane tickets, count on me looking for movies with those damn trees in the air.
But the Netflix series called On My Block dropped into my lap instead. And I let it stay awhile. The opening track by Daye Jack had me at hello.
On My Block immediately gave me the Friday feels—with a lado de la vida en South Central Los Angeles. And the first two minutes hooked me.
However, and this doesn’t happen often, nine minutes in, my thoughts degraded quick-fast. “This show is corny AF. What’s up with this dialogue. Ain’t no way these characters come up out the hood,” I scrunched my face.
Life is filled with so much beauty and artistry.
From word play…
To picture play, painter’s creations—whether they be a portrait, landscape, still life.. or walls.
To tapestries hung on a rod or fine linens clothing the insides of a room.
So is drink.
That’s where my next guests come in–founders of the Skarlet Beverage Company.
They’re bringing some spice to the world of upscale virgin drinks.
I learned about their business on my Facebook page. Full disclosure—I went to school with them… lost track after graduation—and reconnected via Facebook.
If you haven’t heard of Skarlet Beverages… Now you have.
Rare/Pam keeps a constant stream of writing activities on her docket.
“I have a cookbook coming, too, as soon as I learn how to measure,” she tells Planet Noun. “I’m a classic Southern cook. I don’t measure anything. I just sprinkle ’till the spirit of my ancestors say ‘Enough my child.’”
She’s also working on a poetic autobiography and a second book of erotic poetry. Her projects include a collection titled “Think.”
“It’s funny, because the main script for think was done before Soul Kisses was done. I just never released [it]. And I figured there’s a reason for that, so I gotta go back through and try to look through it and figure out what’s going on [with] “Think.”
That project, Rare says, is built on a series of writing challenges.
“I specifically ask people, when I don’t feel like I’m writing enough, I’ll ask for challenges. So it can be a word challenge. Give me 10 words, and I’ll take those 10 words and…build a piece around these 10 words. Or I’ll say give me a song. And I’ll write a poem based on how the song makes me feel, or the story of the song, where it takes me. It can [also] be a quote–something to kind of push a poem out, and that is how a lot of Soul Kisses was written,” Rare adds.
I”m always working on some project or another. And then I’ll get pulled into another project, and then I’ll get pulled into another project. And sometimes I just need a breather from something like the autobiography,” Rare says, which is psychologically taxing project because it delves into her entire history, which includes being sexually abused as a young girl.
When her pen needs break, she opts for happier writing projects.
“Let me write about rainbows and unicorns and stuff. Feel good about life,” she muses.
A one person play. Haven’t been to very many of these, and was a tad skeptical after accepting an opening night invitation to a production about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
How in the world would a one-man play keep my attention for 90 minutes? I doubted it was possible. But I was open to the idea, else I wouldn’t have left home for Olney Theatre Center as the rain fell that evening.
Curiosity is what drove me through that rainfall. I wanted to see if I’d learn a little something-something new about the first black United States Supreme Court Justice. I had never seen a play about Thurgood Marshall. Never read a book about him either. Never have really done much study about him aside from Brown v. Board of education section in history books, and an occasional browsing of the Internet. Outside of that, my knowledge about this legal icon of the civil rights movement was paltry.
Didn’t know his first name was Thoroughgood before he shortened it to Thurgood.
Didn’t know he was married two times. Didn’t know his first wife died of cancer at age 44. Didn’t know they dealt with a few miscarriages.
I did know he went to Howard University because the University of Maryland law school didn’t admit tax-paying black folks because of their blackness. In place, ostensibly, was a separate but (not) equal facility for training black lawyers. Some tried to pass it off as good enough.
But it wasn’t. And Thurgood Marshall became a force of intention to change that by using the law as a weapon to achieve actual equal justice under the law instead of some oppressive, inequitable, pseudo-facsimile. After all, those words “Equal Justice Under Law” were (and still are) engraved into the front of the Supreme Court building.
The theater was cozy and intimate, and the actor who portrayed Marshall, Brian Anthony Wilson, managed to pull in this one-man-play doubter and convince her that even her (my) attention could be held for 90 minutes with one man talking the whole time.
And Justice Marshall’s theatrical mouthpiece reeled me in from start to finish. First he’s as an older gentleman, slightly lumbering and leaning on a cane, then memories spring forth along with a more animated, agile gait in tandem with lively words, Wilson-as-Marshall leads a trip back in time to his younger years.
Childhood in Baltimore.
Rejection by the University of Maryland School of Law.
Howard University Law days.
The footwork required to build what would become Brown v. Board of Education case.
Marriage and sacrifices.
His first wife’s death.
His second marriage and children.
Supreme Court appointment.
That’s a sketch of what the play covers in 90 minutes. However, there are so many events, solemn and defining moments, and slathers of good humor in between those lines. And a reminder, in my mind, that while the law can intentionally be used as a weapon to bring about justice for all, it can also be wielded, depending on the benched interpreter, as a weapon to roll back the march toward justice for all.
I hate to end on that depressing note, so I’ll end with a surprise:
As I left a post-play reception, I opened the doors on my way out of the main theater building. Two people were also opening the doors in the opposite direction.
Well, whaddya know? One of them was “Thurgood!” Or Brian Anthony Wilson. And he consented to a selfie! 🙂
Check it out Thurgood at Only Theatre Center! By: George Stevens, Jr. Directed by: Walter Dallas
July 19-August 20
Tickets: $55-$70. (Prices depend on selected day/time.)