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EPISODE 37: How 1 pandemic won’t stop the show

How 1 thing, 1 day, 1 time is still a monthly matter–but with masks and social distance. The 25th Project masks up, tweaks protocols and keeps the service moving.

Welcome to another installment in Planet Noun’s COVID catch-up series—chats with past podcast guests to find out how they’ve been faring during this rough year.

This time, I’m catching up with Jay Herriott from The 25th Project—an organization that started by helping the homeless at least once a month—on the 25th. The inspiration stems from the last time Thanksgiving’s roving date matched up with the static date of Christmas…the year both were on the the 25th of their respective months.

Jay says the organization and its volunteers are still fulfilling their mission—but to keep everyone involved safe from volunteers to the homeless people they help, they’ve made tweaks recommended by health experts. Other than that—they’re keeping things moving.

Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.

Here’s where to learn more about Jay Herriott and The 25th Project—on their website. You can also listen to Jay’s Planet Noun interview from last year, learn more about the initiatives they’re undertaking throughout the year—from the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, their ongoing propane drive during the winter months as well as their yearly Soup and Socks drive.  If you feel so inclined, drop them a donation.

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Insiders, outsiders, travel, COVID and a book

Welcome! This episode is another installment in our COVID catch-up series…I’ve been chatting with past guests on Planet Noun—to find out how they’ve been faring during this rough year…known as 2020.

This time, it’s a first time guest to the show…but THIS dude…I haven’t seen in SOOOOOOO long. We overlapped at college for a bit where we sang in the same choir…then poof!  No sightings for many years—until Facebook came along.  Still haven’t seen him in person since the 90s.

His name? Brian Watts… author and host of Knowledge is the Key on Envision Radio.  He’s also an author and an educator.  We talk about a range of things including how his love of travel led him to Kuwait, how getting pulled over by the police so many times factored into that decision and experiencing the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in another country. We also talk about his book—which delves into how parents can help their children to help themselves.  

Let’s get to it with Brian Watts…on Planet Noun!

Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.

That was Brian J.T. Watts. Peruse his website to learn more about him. You can also learn more about his book titled “How to Help Your Children Help Themselves.

And here’s more info on his radio show, “Knowledge is the Key” from the man himself!

Thanks again for stopping by… until next time, take care!

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LaKeischa and the topsy-turvy upside down COVID year

Dr. LaKeischa McMillan catches us up on how she’s been faring and adjusting in this COVID year, and how she’s helping patients connect their health dots through a new book, and a women’s health tele summit.

This episode is another installment in the COVID catch-up series, where I’m chatting with past guests on Planet Noun—to find out how they’ve been faring during this rough year known as 2020: The year ‘Rona rode US hard and put us away wet.

The last time Dr. LaKeischa McMillan was on, we were talking about family health history. It was about two years ago, and the episode dropped just ahead of the United States’ Thanksgiving holiday.

Welp, this year, Thanksgiving will look a lot different for so many. Some (if you call the families of more than 200,000 people “some”) have lost family members to COVID-19, while others may opt not to gather due to concerns about asymptomatic spread to high-risk family members.

There’s a lot to talk about this time around, so take a listen to Dr. LaKeischa McMillan—on Planet Noun.

Learn more about Dr. McMillan and the different services she provides as an integrative GYN, an author and a speaker.

Let’s start with her book. It’s called The Other PMS: Your Survival Guide for Perimenopause & Menopause

She also hosts the Women’s Health Show every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.

Keep up with her latest activities—including the multi-day women’s summit she’s hosting this week.

Thanks again for stopping by… until next time, take care!

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Finding joys and blessings in a janky year

Our guest for Episode 34 is no stranger to Planet Noun. Stacia D. Wright’s been on the show before. She’s an event and media strategist and owner of B. Reel Media Management, LLC. As I’ve said in previous episodes, small business owners fascinate me because of the risks they take and lessons they’re open enough to learn in order to keep progressing along the entrepreneurial pathway.

Well, this year has presented a ton of loss, lessons, risks and pivots–thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. We talk about a bunch in this episode: From how the pandemic has affected her business and family life, to Zoom school and learning to go with the ebbs and flows of her children’s new educational reality, to new ways of spending time with family, and how this year’s adjustments have led to finding unexplored treasures.

Yes, even though this year has been a train wreck for the WORLD in so many ways–woven into everything are blessings and joys.

Connect with Stacia on social media:

Facebook: @StaciaDWrightofficial / @TheDriveSDW

Twitter: @TheDriveSDW

Instagram: @StaciaDOfficial

Check out Stacia’s first interview on Planet Noun! In this chat from 2018, Stacia has a thing or three to say about knowing your worth, the value of your time and what you bring to any table. If you want to start your own business, her reminder: Working for others has invaluable lessons as well.
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Fall, winter, spring, a virus, summer, restful edges & Fall again

Hey folks!
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So it’s been about a year since the first episode dropped with Lenina Mortimer. At that time we were talking about her new book.?
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Well, one year later, it’s time to catch up. A round of guest catch-ups is something I was thinking of for some of the folks I interviewed a couple of years ago, but 2020 is so janky, one year ago feels like five! ?
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Find out what’s been going on in Lenina’s world, her work, and lessons she’s learned from the pandemic and this period of social unrest and racial tension—on this episode of Planet Noun!?

Quick warning: This episode contains a couple of cuss words. Personally, I don’t care. This advisory is just in case you have little ones around who like to repeat things. ?

Welcome to Planet Noun, and enjoy!

Lenina’s also on social media. You can learn more about her and her coaching services.
Facebook
Instagram

You can also check out her first episode on Planet Noun:

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Sister friend chat: Pandemic coping & thriving amid persistent racism

Sometimes you just need to talk it out with friends…to catch up, to listen, to process and share.  Welcome to this conversation with a longtime friend.  A fantastic friend with a beautiful mind—one who is a constant wonder, one who I admire, one who I am constantly learning from and inspired by.

Our relationship has often been symbiotic.  When we were in the same classes, she learned by teaching, and I learned by ingesting and we both learn by doing.  

Welcome to Planet Noun, where it’s all about the people, places, things and ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents…

Joining me—is a repeat guest…my dear friend Pamela “RareEpiphany” Best….A renaissance woman, indeed. 

Last time she was on the show, we caught up to each other in Philadelphia…and recorded our conversation between there and New Jersey…sometimes in her rental car…another part during an old-school slumber party in her hotel room. It was mostly about her erotic poetry book—Soul Kisses (https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rareepiphany)

This time—we’re talking via Zoom. 

So Rare and I talk about a range of things….starting with this COVID-19 pandemic that’s turned us all topsy turvy and how it’s affected her. We also get into how the never-ending soul and structural pandemic of racism in America hit close to home this year.

One tidbit of info I learned from my friend:  George Floyd was an extended family member of hers. She also tells me about the concerns she has for her teen son as he navigates through a world that isn’t always primed to see the best in him because of his skin color and, as he matures, his stature.  

Let’s get to the conversation…on Planet Noun.

Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the people, places, things and ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents…

You’ve been listening to my friend Pamela “Rare Epiphany” Best….we Zoomed for about three hours that day…so more of our conversation could show up in later episodes.

Catch up with her on social media on Instagram and Facebook.  

Don’t forget to follow Planet Noun on Social Media… Facebook, Instagram and Twitter…We’re on SoundCloud…. Oh, and please stop by Apple Podcasts and rate the show!

Thanks again for stopping by… until next time, take care!

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Leaving all dreams on the table with author Keosha Turner

You want dreams.  Well dreams cost. 

If you don’t remember Debbie Allen uttering those words on the television show Fame, we can’t be friends.  

Kidding!

But seriously,  what I’ve learned from interviewing folks on the 30 previous episodes of Planet Noun, is that there’s a cost to realizing goals and aspirations.  Even when it seems like luck, trust and believe—there’s a lot of work that goes into being ready for that “lucky” break and being ready when opportunity calls.

Today’s guest is Keosha Turner—a woman who has a busy life, but she manages to write fantasy books in her spare time, like a page turner called The Disappearance of Magda Harden.

In this conversation, learn more about Keosha’s path to writing, and her writing plans.  

I’ll have to circle back to see if anything has changed, because this episode was recorded a little before the COVID-19 ish hit the fan and a national emergency was declared in the United States.

So if you’re looking for something new to read—even as things are opening back up…check out Keosha Turner!

And good news—the second installment of the Magda Harden Series will be out in July…that means not only one, but two of Keosha’s books for your spring/summer reading list!

Oh, and if you don’t know that “Fame” reference I referred to earlier, that means I’m getting old…and you’re about to get schooled, lol:

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Revolutionary in the regular with poet Romus Simpson

Meet today’s guest, Romus Simpson. He always has a funny story to share, and has been a vivid storyteller since I’ve known him.  I don’t even remember the year we first crossed paths, but it was through my cousins at their parent’s house—many years before they both passed on.  

Years later, we ended up in a long conversation after my aunt’s memorial and became pals.

He reminded me that I asked him to come on the show for National Poetry Month earlier this year.

A short time later, the world CHANGED with COVID-19 and worldwide stay at home orders and lockdowns.  As cities and states grapple with reopening plans, we still don’t know what it’ll look like when things get back to “normal.”

But finally Romus and I got to chat virtually — right in time to bid adieu to this year’s commemoration of the poetic form.

Romus Simpson…right here on Planet Noun. 

Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.

Life and our surroundings present us with ample opportunities to chronicle daily life—opportunities that are ripe with the ordinary.  And for anyone who’s been marginalized, thought of as less than, and constantly delivered mainstream messages that your life and experiences don’t matter (NOTE: Those messages are LIES), revolution can be found in the regular, everyday occurrences—that can shatter the racism of low expectations.  Black history is as much the big, course-shifting names and events as well as the unknown citizens and everyday moments stepped in our humanity: Life and black history through everyday poetic moments.

Don’t forget to follow us on Social Media… Facebook, Instagram and Twitter…We’re on SoundCloud…. Oh, and please stop by Apple Podcasts and rate the show!

Thanks again for stopping by… Hope you enjoyed this episode! Until next time, take care!

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We’re so interconnected

I took part in a Zoom girlfriends conference call earlier. About five of my longtime friends and I met up in a room set up by one of my decades-long pals…

Living during a pandemic and social distancing and shelter in place orders…made me realize that I allowed work to get in the way of maintaining my friendships.

But no one’s knocking work. It’s important. It allows me to buy things—like food. And toilet paper. And more hand sanitizer—when I finally track that down.

But one of the things we discussed that is sticking to my mind—how interconnected we are—top to bottom, side to side, everyone incredibly integral to everyone else’s survival and well-being.

Doctors.
Nurses.
Hospital Techs.
Custodians.
Physical plant staff.
Guards.
Police officers.
Fire/EMS.
Dispatchers.
Grocery workers.
Restaurants.
Journalists.
Research scientists.
Imma say that again for the people in the socially distant back who may need to read it again.
Research scientists.
And everyone in between.

Let’s not forget the delivery drivers—shout out to all of y’all from the Amazon, UPS and FedEx folks to the gig-working drivers who deliver app-based food orders.

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March 17, 2020 at 7:40 PM

Good God Almighty! I haven’t written a stitch in my journal since July of last year, and a whole heck of a lot—hell of a lot might be a better description, because it feels that hell is nigh—a whole hell of a lot has happened since then.

First of all, Kobe Bryant is dead.

Yes, Marley, dead as a doornail. In a helicopter crash that killed nine people total…including his middle daughter, Gianna.  What in the world? Like, why? I’m still asking because I’m STILL getting over that one. 

It STILL hasn’t trickled down to that hardly disturbed gathering spot—the place where facts go once they actually make sense…or that other settled place where we accept that they won’t EVER make sense.

But still. It. Just. Doesn’t.  Maybe it never fully will settle in.

 I was working the editor’s desk at WTOP that Sunday morning, and it was a flurry of an afternoon. Seems like such a distant memory now–barely two months later…because LOTS has happened since.  Including Super Tuesday (I worked the desk that evening, too—Lord—keeping track of all those states and American Samoa was a pleasantly exhilarating chore), Democratic presidential debates, and just life.  I’m still working on my podcast–my free-time labor of love, Planet Noun, and have some pretty good interviews in the can, but now, this heifer named Rona is trying to steal my joy.

Rona’s not its real name.  It’s COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.  It’s been traced back to Wuhan, China and it’s spread the globe, to nearly 200 countries.  Once Wuhan was the epicenter, now Italy is the new epicenter.  So many people have died there, and the death toll in the United States is also climbing. The number of cases in our area keeps rising, and each part of the DMV is reporting deaths. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

I don’t know what else to do, but write out my thoughts so they don’t crowd my mind… and create stuff.

I wrote some darn-silly lyrics for Rona…First time I heard someone call this outbreak The Rona, Bobby Brown’s song Tender Roni immediately came to mind…

SneakyRona

Truth about The Rona 

It’s a sneaky little virus

Don’t treat it right, fight it back don’t hold it tight. 

Only sneaky Ronas can swirl around the world

A special pandemic where symptoms can even hide.

If you believe in health and all that it can do for you 

Buy you some veggies

Buy some fruit tooo-oooo

And if you find that sneaky Rona has crept up on you

Make it official

Go get it a di-ag-noooo-ooo-sis 

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love

Verse 2

Truth about Rona

It’s always on the move

Don’t matter what you look like-it can come for you…

So stay your hind parts home. 

And cook you some food. 

Netflix and chill and Amazon Prime too

(Just don’t order food)

If you believe in health and all that it can do for you 

Eat you some veggies

Eat some fruit too.

And if you find that sneaky Rona has crept up on you

Make it official

Go get it a di-ag-noooo-ooo-sis 

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love

Bridge

The truth about Rona—it’s a sneaky skank

Bout as sneaky a skank thats around the way

It makes the toughest homeboys get fever, dry cough. 

Sore throat runny nose or-no-symptoms…

Wash your nassssy hands to keep that Rona out your life. 

 Cover your mouth

Don’t go out in a crowd 

You don’t want the Rona cause the Rona ain’t right…

So getting toilet paper it might save your liiifffffeeee.

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love. 

(Repeat 2x)

Sometimes foolishness is what saves us (read: me) from anxiety or panic.  And panic and brawling over fibers used to clean hindparts is not what I’m about. But then again, sheer foolishness and selfishness is what leads some to do just that.  Hoard and fight. 

Rona Shopping

Made a Target run yesterday, and found toilet tissue. May make another run tomorrow morning for a few more things.  

Things with this COVID-19 outbreak have totally upended he way we do things…folks staying at home, teleworking, San Francisco on lockdown, part of New Rochelle, New York on lockdown, gatherings of 50 or fewer banned—then that number squeezed down to 10 people or fewer. 

I’m usually glad and content to stay home—but there’s the knowledge that I’ll get to go to the store and get what I need.  

But just like Kobe Bryant’s death fractured the once secure lenses through which folks may have seen life, COVID-19 has tilted us into thinking that we may have to hunker down for a long time…that resources that were constantly stocked on supermarket and big-box shelves may be scarce.  Yes, if everyone buys 80 packs of toilet paper each, yes, things will be scarce.  

To make sure we all have what we need, we must be committed to being good humans and not moved by fear.  And moved to thank our store clerks for their service along with medical teams, servicemen, firefighters, cops—and journalists who help us stay informed.  As a journalist, I’m biased about that last one…But during that Target run, I made sure to tell staff members “Hey, I’m glad you’re here!”

I’m afraid all of this will be our new normal.  Already, I’m longing for the halcyon days when I was getting over a bad breakup…or those days when I worked seven days in a row here and there—and the only thing I had to worry about was being a little tired. 

It’s thrown many of us for a loop. And we’re just trying to navigate and deal, and adjust. It’s the human way.

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