Category: Miscellaneous



Image courtesy of can-it-go-bad.net

He’s life’s bitch,

A slave to his bottle,

Fucked up, sad boy,

Everything is

Not his fault.

He’s life’s bitch,

His job sucks,

His Windsor

Isn’t cold enough,

He’s all alone.

He’s life’s bitch,

Darkness,

bleak and drunk,

No shower for weeks,

The stench of

Depression.

Holding onto the walls

As you stumble

Around the house,

Drink until you

Pass out every

Fucking night.

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Source credited:  atrl.net

Source credited: atrl.net

When I was a little girl, I remember hearing the song, “Rhiannon” many times during the afternoons when my mom would have the radio on. Her voice, her mystical-looking presence, the glittering shawls she wore, her magical twirling on the album covers drew me in, but it has always been Stevie Nicks’ words which have kept me captivated over the years. Her ability to write relatable, heartfelt, bittersweet lessons within her lyrics is unprecedented.

Although Nicks is most known for being a musician, an artist, and a dancer, she is a writer at her very core. Of her writing history, Nicks says,
“I was never trained. Nobody ever sat down and taught me how to play the guitar or write a song or play the piano. I love to do it to this day, it’s the greatest love of my life. That doesn’t take any discipline for me, that’s what I like to do. Where other people would rather go out and party, I would rather stay at home with my grand piano and candles and incense and a glass of wine and an idea” (In Her Own Words).
Her passion for writing comes through strongly in her words and it’s a large reason her fans love her work. Nicks can weave a story like no other.

Stevie and her typwriter

Source credited: In Her Own Words

 

It all begins for her with the typewriter. For Nicks, it is as if her typewriter becomes an extension of her fingers as she taps away at the keyboard when inspiration hits. In an interview with Jim Ladd in 1983, she explained, “…..And I want to go on the beach with my silent typewriter and I don’t want anybody to bother me… because I want to enhance this planet. I came here for a reason. I didn’t come here to be a mother. I didn’t come here to be a nun. And I did not come here to be a cleaning lady. I came here to be a poet” (In Her Own Words). Fortunately for fans like me, her poetry at some point is joined with a melody, which then turns into a song that inspires and touches the heart.

There are many songs written by Nicks that deeply resonate for fans, but one in particular is her song, “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You.” Not only are the words breathtaking and meaningful to anyone who listens, but they are accompanied by the most beautiful piano melodies your ears could ever hope to hear. Just listening to the notes softly playing out before she sings gives me goosebumps from head to toe.

Typing away.....

Source credited: sabrina-writingcorner@blogspot.com

The story behind her inspiration for writing the song is amazing and not one I had known about until I started to do research on her for this project. It brought tears to my eyes. If I ever had a doubt about how much this woman’s words inspire me, it disappeared that very moment. She shared in an interview in 1983 with Jim Ladd, “It was written for one person and it was written as a song for somebody that had written a song for somebody else. And it was like, ‘Okay, you wrote this for that person. Now I’m gonna write this for you’” (In Her Own Words). The person she is speaking of is Joe Walsh, from The Eagles.

Nicks was struggling while on tour with Fleetwood Mac and had found a friend in Walsh. She had been complaining about being on the road, complaining about all kinds of little “first world problems” that many people tend to confide to their friends. Walsh decided to take Nicks on a long drive one day in Denver, Colorado when they were taking a break from touring. During the drive, Walsh shared a story with Nicks about losing his three year old daughter. It was his gentle way of showing her that although the smaller problems in life can seems so large, they really aren’t so terrible when compared with something like the sorrow of the loss of a child. The lesson changed her viewpoint about how to look at life and the dark parts of it that she may encounter along the way. Walsh wrote a song for his daughter, and Nicks decided he should have a song too. Inside the cover of her album, Timespace, she writes, “Thank you, Joe, for the most committed song I ever wrote. But more than that, thank you for inspiring me in so many ways. Nothing in my life ever seems as dark anymore, since we took that drive.” Writers often write about what they know and the lesson Nicks shares within this particular song is valuable to anyone who would choose to listen.

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night....

Source: gaygamer.net

 

If a person hears Stevie Nicks mentioned, the song, “Rhiannon” is usually referred to in some way, shape, or form. It is her signature song. It is a song that has created a mythical presence inside of Nicks while she performs it onstage. She wrote it two months before she and Lindsey Buckingham became a part of the band, Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood Mac recorded the song and it took on a life of its own. Nicks articulates the experience of writing the lyrics for “Rhiannon” in an interview in the 1970’s, “I read the name (Rhiannon) of it in a….in a….just a novel and really liked it and thought, ‘that’s really a beautiful name.’ Sat down, tap, tap, tap…about 10 minutes later wrote ‘Rhiannon.’ We think that she was, in fact, Queen and that her memory became the myth. I definitely feel that there’s a presence…” (In Her Own Words). It is my feeling that it adds to the magic of the song that there is a mysterious, unknown Welsh witch out there that Nicks believes in. She gives credence to an “otherworldly” aura without pushing her personal views on a person. Instead, the music washes over the listener and it creates a world in the mind that doesn’t have to be one certain way.

She twirls

Source: Houston Music Review

One of the things that cemented my feelings of connection with Nicks’ “Rhiannon” was that it was recorded the year I was born. That fact speaks to me and makes the song even more special. In a 1976 interview with Jim Ladd she explained,
“So it is….it’s just about, it’s just about a very mystical woman that is finds it very, very hard to be tied down in any kind of way, and she’s uplifting all through the song. That’s… that’s what I wanted to get and that’s what the band got really well was that uplifting of wings kind of a feel, you know, when you feel like you see a seagull and she’s, she’s like lifting up. Well, that’s, that’s Rhiannon. Rhiannon….yeah…..she’s moving up” (In Her Own Words).

When one reads the words of “Rhiannon,” it’s as if Nicks is creating a legend similar to those like King Arthur or Beowulf in the reader’s mind. It takes a special talent in a writer to create that kind of story, one which endures for decades. The words of “Rhiannon” weave a spell that speaks to the free spirit within us all.

Gypsy

Source: fanpop.com

Another personal favorite of mine is Nicks’ song “Gypsy.” It speaks to the adventuress in me, it helps to give me strength when I have failed at something and have to begin again. It centers me in a way that not many other songs can. If a person could have a theme song, “Gypsy” would be mine. When discovering the inspiration behind the song, the words made even more sense to me and it left me with a feeling that I understand Nicks’ writing much more than I had originally believed. Nicks shares her experience of writing the song in a 1988 interview, “And Gypsy was written when my best friend (Robin) died of Leukemia and uh …about the fact that she wasn’t going to see the rest of this: ‘I still see your bright eyes,’ it was like she wasn’t …going to make it. And uh, I was like the lone gypsy….this was my best friend from when I was 15 and so I was a solo gypsy all of a sudden and it was very sad for me and that’s sometimes when I write my very best songs. Robin had been on the road with Fleetwood Mac for five years. As my speech therapist and also management, an incredibly efficient helper. ‘I still miss your bright eyes’….that’s why we don’t do it on stage…..it’s because it’s really too hard for me to sing. ‘Lightning strikes maybe once, maybe twice…’ that means one time in your life you find a very good friend, and maybe if you’re incredibly lucky, you might find a second. ‘It all comes down to you,’ means but you have to look very hard” (In Her Own Words).

For me, it’s as simple as the lyrics, “To the gypsy that remains… faces freedom with a little fear….I have no fear, I have only love…” Sometimes, when a person has hit a wall or a crossroads in his or her life, it is essential to get back to the basics, recognize the person that they are inside. This song tells the story of going back to something familiar in order to gain strength to move on to the next phase life has to offer.

Source: Billboard.com

Source: Billboard.com

Stevie Nicks is known around the world for her beautiful, haunting voice and her magical presence on stage, but she is a writer first and foremost. It is at the very core of who she is. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, she said, “I’m lucky that my favorite evening is still going to a grand piano in a beautiful room with incense and candles and sitting down to write a song for the world” (Sheffield). When she writes, she does think of the fans, but her words come across on such a genuine level because she puts a piece of herself into every song. She explained to The Island Ear in 1994, “What a writer wants to do is put stuff out there and make people mull it over in their minds until suddenly it’s something that’s way more important than turning on the stereo” (In Her Own Words). It is fortunate for fans like myself that she still has many more songs within her waiting to come out onto paper and into our hearts.

Sources Cited
In Her Own Words. Inherownwords.com, 2004. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.inherownwords.com/index.htm&gt;.
Sheffield, Rob. “Stevie Nicks on Twirling, Kicking Drugs and a Lifetime with Lindsey.” Rolling Stone 2 Oct. 2014: n. pag. Print.


Image found at underdogcontest.blogspot.com

Mary Tyler Moore Statue which can be found on the Nicollet Mall, Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Image found at underdogcontest.blogspot.com

That is not an exaggeration!  I am feeling like the girl who “could turn the world on with her smile,” as of late.  Last week was an amazing whirlwhind of promotion to Art Director of the school newspaper, Spring Play auditions, an interview with a New York Times National Best Selling Author, and many newspaper deadlines and events to cover.  School and career are finally taking off!  I am feeling so very fortunate and I am frequently tempted to pinch myself just to make sure it’s all real!

This week, I found out I got a part, a much better one than I had thought possible, in my school’s Spring Play.  I am over the  moon with excitement.  I haven’t been in a play since I performed The King and I with the Saint Paul Opera Workshop when I was 12.  I have sung on a stage since then, but not acted.  I am so very, very grateful to have the opportunity to learn more from this new experience, to soak in all the information I can from the Director and my peers, and to just have a blast while doing it!

Today I will be participating in a Student Success Day panel showcasing my Honors Project on Anne Boleyn.  I am so thrilled to be asked to do this and I can’t wait to show off my work!  I loved the Anne Boleyn project and am so proud that my British Literature professor recommended me!

Going to travel to Madison, Wisconsin for the very first time right after the Student Success Day panel.  I plan to take a lot of pictures to practice my photography skills for the newspaper.

I just feel like I can’t stop smiling.  I never in a million years thought that when I started school after 20 years and having never been to college that I could do all of these things.  I knew I loved to write.   That was it.  Now… so many changes, so much richness has been added to my life and I feel it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I’m not looking back.  I am moving forward full steam ahead!!!!!!


I don’t often write about personal things on this blog, and I have decided it’s time I changed that.  After all, it IS my blog, and I have decided I’m going to write more about any damn thing I want, instead of things I think others might want to read about.  I love to take pictures to commemorate the small but wonderful moments in life with family and friends, and I have decided to include those more as well.  To kick off this new little “decision,” I have decided to post my highlights of 2011 in pictures.  All pictures belong to me unless stated otherwise.  Enjoy!

JANUARY 2011

My friend Troy made these beautiful luminaries for New Years and I got some pretty decent pics of them with my hokey little camera!

FEBRUARY 2011

The hubby and I had a super fun fondue party for Valentine’s Day with a few close friends!

MARCH 2011

In March, I performed a wedding for a couple from North Dakota.  Hubby and I had a fantastic time!

GOTTA have the Jameson!!!!!

APRIL 2011

In April, me, my hubby, and my son participated in the Fraser Walk for Autism at the Mall of America.  My nephew, Luca has Autism and we wanted to show our support for an organization that has helped many, many children with Autism and families of children with Autism.  You can learn more about Fraser here:  http://www.fraser.org/.  It was really well done and a lot of fun!    I plan to participate again this year!

MAY 2011

My hubby and I attended a Toga themed party.  It was a blast!

I also performed a wedding for two friends on May Day in Duluth, MN.  It was cold, but beautiful!

Also in May was Easter.  Time with family!

My son and my niece

May was a SUPER busy month!  I went to a “Facebook Mom’s Night Out” with a bunch of friends from high school I hadn’t seen in forever!  It was an absolute blast!

Me and my friend, Amy.  Even though she’s giving me bunny ears, I still like this pic, LOL!

JUNE 2011

In June, I took my son to the Twin Cities Pride Parade for the first time.  I very firmly believe in equal rights for everyone.  EVERYONE.  I wanted to pass some of this on to my son in a fun, yet educational way.  He had a blast!

JULY 2011

In July, we went to Cumberland, WI to have a family reunion on my dad’s side of the family.  It was wonderful to see so much of our family all in one place and the weather was perfect!

Hubby shucking corn.  🙂

My youngest sister Angie and her boyfriend, Tom.

My middle sister, Jennie with her best friend, Vanessa.

My son, about to take a whack at the pinata!

Dad, Mom, me, and my sisters

Of course, it’s not July without celebrating the 4th!  We went Downtown, Stillwater to watch the fireworks!

AUGUST 2011

Unfortunately, the laptop I purchased in April of 2011 ended up with a failed hard disk in the middle of September.  Consequently, I lost all photos from August 2011, photos of a wedding I performed for a friend from high school, and photos of my son’s birthday.  I was sad to lose them.  😦

SEPTEMBER 2011

Procrastination paid off a little in September because I didn’t upload a lot of the pics from that month right away, so they were not lost with the others from the failed hard disk fiasco.  Hubby and I took our kiddo to the Renaissance Festival as we do every year and we had a blast!

In September, I caught a fun moment with three of my friends at a going away party for one of them.  I love these ladies!

Me and my friend Emily

Last but not least, in September I also had the honor of being personal attendant for a wedding for a wonderful couple!

OCTOBER 2011

In October, me, hubby and kiddo went to my aunt’s retirement party.  It was nice to see family, as it always is, and it was the last time I got to see my Uncle Sal alive and kicking.  I will forever cherish that.

My great aunts!

Cousins!

More cousins!

I love October… it’s the month I married my husband and there’s also Halloween!  My favorite holiday!

My favorite boys carving pumpkins!

My gruesome zombie kid!

The Red Queen and Mad Hatter!

Me and my sisters

NOVEMBER 2011

November really didn’t have many events, but I did manage to take quite a few random photos with friends and family.

Our fur babies, Lily and Asher

Hubby and Lily

Love my purple streaks!

Ready for a night out!

DECEMBER 2011

December flew by faster than I could keep up with, which is what usually happens.  First thing I got pics of was a Christmas celebration for my dad’s side of the family.

My dad, his brother, and two sisters

Me and my cousin Frankie who is like a brother to me

And of course, there were a lot more Christmas celebrations, and a lot more pics!

We had Hot Dagos for Christmas with my Dad’s super awesome sauce!

My mom’s Bruschetta

Panzanella Salad

Mom and Dad in the kitchen

The tree at my parents’ house

My dad’s sauce! YUM!

Pasta!!!!

Lily loves to curl up on Hubby’s jacket 🙂

Some nice family pics  🙂

Christmas at my sister in law’s house

This past year has been a very good one for me.  Lots of changes, lots of tough decisions.  One thing I didn’t portray in pictures is my biggest decision of the year; to go back to school after twenty years.  It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!!!!!  I am very happy with the way things are at present and am looking forward to seeing what 2012 will hold for me, my family, and my friends.  I wish you all a safe and happy New Year!  May 2012 bring everyone extraordinarily wonderful adventures!

Thankful Reflections….


In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about the things I am most grateful for throughout my morning.  My life in just the past six months has completely turned around in the most positive ways.  There is so much more to life for me now and I can’t help but smile about it and try to hold on to that feeling for as long as possible.

Here are the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving 2011:

1.  First and foremost, FAMILY.  They are always my first priority and I love my family through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  They are my rock, my reason for striving for better in life.  This includes my extended family as well.  I feel that I on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side we are a very close, tightly knit family unit.  We always have each other’s backs and that is a pleasantly rare thing.

2.  Second, I am grateful for my FRIENDS.  Like my family, my friends are always there for me and have my back.  There are a small handful that I could not ever do without.  My sista from anotha mutha, the Princess, the Monkey, Ms. Blekum, X and T, DL and his wonderful girl, and then there’s our “alternate family” friends as a whole group.  They are so much more than my hubby and I could ever ask for!  I love you guys, and if I don’t say it enough, I will rectify that!  I appreciate all of you for the unique, fantastic, fabulous, beautiful people you are and I am so thankful to have you all in my life in one way or another.

3.  Third, I am grateful for MY JOB.  I absolutely 100% feel as though I have finally found a place to work where I can have fun, I fit in, and it’s so perfect in so many ways, one of them being that it is SUPER close to home!!!  Who can complain with a commute like that, right?  I have awesome co-workers and I absolutely LOVE what I’m doing!   YAY for being employed in a still iffy economy as well!!!!

4.  Last but most certainly NOT least, I am grateful for SCHOOL.  Going back to school after twenty years was scary as hell.  I was worried that I was too stupid to do well.  I worried that I would cave and not finish, that I wouldn’t like the classes, that I wouldn’t be able to do all of the homework.  I am delighted to say that I was SO WRONG!!!!!!!  School has opened up an entirely new world to me and also has shown me just how much I am capable of.  If my sister, Jennie wouldn’t have bugged me to get off my ass and try, I would never have taken the steps to do it.  Thanks, Jen, Jen!!!!!!!  I’m loving school and so happy I took the chance!!!!!!

So there is my short list.  There are a lot more things I am grateful for, but we would be here forever, lol!!!

Today when you are all out doing your various visiting, cooking, eating, drinking… whatever other activities that strike your fancy, really take a moment to stop and truly SEE the wonderful things in your life.  It makes it so much more worth living!!!!!!!

Have a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!!!!!!


As some of you may know, I live in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley…. Stillwater to be exact.  Ever since I was a child, I have always loved being here, of all the places I have lived (and there are many), Stillwater has always felt like home to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  It has it’s share of traffic issues, political issues, small town gossip, etc, but honestly, there is no place else I would rather live.

There is a lot of history here, some of it widely known, some of it untouched.  I have been thinking about this a lot lately, partly because of the fact that I love researching history, and partly because I am concerned that some of the beauty and history will be wiped out very soon.

Yesterday, I was compelled after leaving work to go Downtown Stillwater and snap some pictures.  The quickly melting ice and rising level of the St. Croix has me really worried about the possible outcome of the flooding this year.  Maybe the devastation in Japan has me appreciating my immediate surroundings more, who knows?  All I know is that I really feel for the proprietors and homeowners along the rivers that will be affected by this year’s flooding.

And.. then there is the bridge.  The Stillwater Lift Bridge is a historical landmark that has had much controversy over the last 20 years.  I won’t go into that right now……..but I will say that I feel it’s dangerous and in terrible shape.  If the river gets high enough, or the currents get strong enough, it may take that decision right out of anyone’s hands.  It could very possibly be swept away.  Thus, the end reason why I decided I wanted to go down and take pictures of it.  It sounds grim and rather negative, but I wanted to appreciate it before it came to a point where I couldn’t appreciate it any longer.

Without further adieu, I give you my pictures of Downtown Stillwater and the Stillwater Lift Bridge.  My humble tribute to the place I call home.  🙂

(The Water Street Inn’s parking lot is completely blocked off right now.)

(This is by the Water Street Inn.  They are so close to the water, it’s scary.)

(You can see how close the water is to the bottom of the bridge here.)

(This is over by the Dock Cafe)

Surviving Winter


Helloooooo!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but that is now OVER!!!!!  The Winter seriously tried to eat a hole through my brain as of late, but now that it’s officially Spring, I have hopped back into my writing mojo and will be posting much, much more often!

This Winter, I have noticed many things that seemed different to me than any other previous Winter.  It seems people have just gotten REALLY cranky, not to mention downright ANTSY waiting for all this snow to melt.  But, this year, it’s a double edged sword, especially since there will be a LOT of flooding of the rivers this year.  Living so close to Downtown Stillwater, I have seen the river rise almost overnight and it’s scary.  It makes me concerned for those who have property or a job down there.  Not even half the snow and ice on the river has melted and it’s already getting too close for comfort at the Water Street Inn.

I’m just really grateful to have survived this grueling Winter with most of my sanity intact!  It wasn’t easy, but keeping active has really helped with this last part of the frosty season.  So, my readers…. how did you survive this Winter?  What kept you moving forward instead of hiding in your nice warm beds?  If I get enough interesting answers, I may have to come up with a prize for the most unique.   🙂

HAPPY SPRING!!!!!!

Getting back on track, I will be posting biographies on Mondays and having Weeds Wednesdays coming back as well, so stay tuned!


(Image from newsinfo.iu.edu)

In eleventh grade, I had my very first experience with Maya Angelou’s work.  Our teacher, Mr. Martin, assigned to us “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”  We were to read it and do a book report on it.  English was my favorite subject in school, so this assignment was something I actually wanted to do!  I had no previous knowledge about the book, but had heard many wonderful things about it’s author.  After arriving home from school that day, I immediately started reading it.  ( Did I mention that I LOVE to read?)  I didn’t get very far.  There is a specific point in the book where she tells of an experience of sexual abuse.  At first, I couldn’t get any farther, the part in the book just having this enormous effect on me.  I didn’t want to pick it up and read it.  The book had hit home with some of my own personal experiences, and I just couldn’t do it.  So.. the next day, I went to the English teacher and spoke with him privately about my wish not to read the book.  I asked to be assigned something else.  He did try to explain to me that if I could get past that particular part, it’s truly a wonderful read.  I told him I would take his word for it.

After a couple of months passed and I had completed my English assignment and had read a different book… something in the back of my mind started to wonder if I hadn’t been wrong about Maya Angelou’s book after all.  A lot of my other classmates had read it and loved it.  So, I checked it out from the local library.  Once I started reading it again, and got past the part I had previously had trouble with, I really just devoured the book.  It was and IS a FANTASTIC book!  I am so glad that I had changed my mind about reading it!   Since then, I have become a huge fan of Maya Angelou’s work and I am excited to share with you all what I have learned about her during my research!

(Image from Harlem World Blog)

Her Early Years

Dr. Maya Angelou, originally named Marguerite Ann Johnson, was born on April 4th, 1928 in Saint Louis, Missouri.  She was born to Bailey Johnson, a doorman and Navy dietician, and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a real estate agent, trained surgical nurse, and later, Merchant Marine.

At a young age, her parents’ rocky marriage ended.  Maya and her brother where sent alone by train to live with their father’s mother, Annie Henderson in Stamps, Arkansas.  They lived with their grandmother for four years until, their father appeared unexpectedly and uprooted Maya and her brother Bailey Jr. again, this time returning them to their mother’s care in Saint Louis.

At the age of eight, while living with her mother, Maya was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman.  She confessed what had happened to her brother, who then told the rest of the family.  According to what I found on Wikipedia, Freeman was found guilty, but was only jailed for one day!  I can’t even fathom how Maya must of felt at him being released from jail so quickly.  It had to have been frightening to say the very least.

Four days after Freeman was released, he was found murdered.  The whole experience was so traumatic to the young Maya, that she became mute, thinking her voice, naming him, had killed him.  She felt her voice could kill others too.  She remained mute for nearly 5 years.  Shortly after Freeman’s murder, Maya and her brother were sent back to Stamps to live with their grandmother.

With guidance from a teacher and family friend, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, Maya began speaking again.  Flowers introduced her to authors such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and Douglas, as well as introducing her to African American female artists like Frances Harper, Jessie Fauset, and Anne Spencer.

When Angelou turned 13, she and her brother returned to live with their mother, who was residing in San Fransisco at the time.  She went on to study dance and drama, on a scholarship at San Fransisco’s Labor School.  At 14, she dropped out to become the very first African American female cable car conductor.  Maya later finished school and gave birth to a son at 17, naming him Guy.  Now the young, artistic, and intelligent woman had another road ahead of her… that of a young single mother.

(Image from anthurium.miami.edu)

(Image from achievement.org)

Early Adulthood and Career

As a young, single mother, Angelou supported herself and child by working as a cook and waitress.  However, she had a strong passion for poetry, music, dance and performance and it would soon take center stage in her life.

During 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera, Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Al Ailey on television variety shows, and also recorded her first album, which she named “Callypso Lady.”

In 1958, she moved to New York and joined the Harlem Writer’s Guild and delved very deeply into her writing.  Although her writing was her main concentration, Maya had also managed to find time to act in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.  Quite a busy woman!!!!   And what an amazing life so far!

In 1960, Dr. Angelou and her son Guy, moved to Cairo, Egypt, where she worked as the editor of the English language weekly newspaper, The Arab Observer. By 1962, she was on the move again, this time to Ghana, where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama.  She was also a feature editor for the The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

Throughout her years of extensive traveling, Dr. Angelou read and studied insatiably, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and the West African language, Fanti.  While living in Ghana, she met Malcolm X, and in 1964, she returned to the United States to help him form his new Organization of African American Unity.  Unfortunately, soon after Angelou’s arrival, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved.

After Malcolm X’s assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. approached Dr. Angelou, asking her to serve as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  King was assassinated before their plans for a peace march could reach fruition, and Maya was devastated.  Dr. King was killed on her birthday, and for that reason, she did not celebrate for many years.  Instead of celebrating, she sent flowers to Dr. King’s widow every year until Mrs. King’s death in 2006.  At the encouragement of a friend, novelist James Baldwin, Dr. Angelou dealt with her grief and then went on to channel her energy into her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which brought with it her first international recognition and acclaim.

(Image from famouspeople.com)

(Image from Boston College Chronicle)

Later Career and Life, Present Day

A groundbreaker in both television and film, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film, Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Angelou has continued throughout the years appear on films, such as Roots, and Poetic Justice, and has been a guest on television shows such as Sesame Street and The Oprah Winfrey Show. The list of her public writing, both fiction and non-fiction now includes more than 30 best selling titles.  In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta.  In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.

My choice to write about Dr. Maya Angelou for my first biography feature was a very personal one for me, because her work truly touches me in many ways.  Her struggles in her life and in her books have always resonated with me and inspired and encouraged me to strive for better in my own life.  If you have never read a book written by Dr. Maya Angelou, I would highly recommend picking one up at your local library.  You won’t be sorry you did.

My Favorite Maya Angelou Quotes:

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

(Image found via random Google Image Search)

Random Minnesota


Many people who have never lived in Minnesota have a somewhat skewed view as to how we must live.  Between the frigid cold and the snow, I’m sure it doesn’t paint a pretty picture to someone who lives in say… California?

I’ve been asked by out-of-towners…”Do you guys even go outside in that weather?  How do you see people?  Isn’t it a pain to put all that crap on just to go outside?”  Yes, it can suck… it can suck a whole lot.  I’m a person who likes to have my bare toes in the sand… I like to be warm and not have to wear three layers of clothes outside.   However, there are very beautiful things about where I live and I plan to show you the beauty of living in Minnesota.

The above and below pictures are of luminaries.  They were made with ice and the fun thing about this weather is that it is plenty cold enough to keep them that way!  My friend made a whole bunch of beautiful luminaries for New Years and the Winter, and on a beautiful, clear night he lit them for me so I could see how gorgeous they look!  He wasn’t kidding!  It has to be one of the prettiest Winter spectacles I’ve seen this year… and I was reminded that if I lived somewhere warmer, I wouldn’t have had this experience.  Here is one of the small things about living in Minnesota that I consider to be beautiful, charming, and most of all…. home.  It may not seem like much, but to a girl who has lived here all her life, these are one of the things that make me smile.  🙂

Enjoy the pretty pictures!


Okay, dear readers, I have finally made some decisions about some upcoming topics for this page!

First, Mondays will now feature a biography of the week…. it’s just going to be random how I choose the person, unless I get some requests.  A friend of mine requested Mark Dayton, so I will be researching and featuring him at some point in the near future.  Extra snaps to the reader who can help me come up with a catchy “name” for my Monday Bio Feature of the Week!  🙂

Second thing I have decided…. I have chosen a series to write about from beginning to end.. it was also at the mention of a friend (SEE?  I take requests seriously, LOL!).  I will be doing a weekly feature on the Showtime series, “Weeds”.  I have decided that Nancy and her crew would be a hell of a lot of fun to write about, episode by episode.  I still plan on doing other series as well, but I think “Weeds” will be a great start!

Third thing I have decided is that I will be doing one other sort of feature and it’s going to be called, “Random Minnesota”.  I came up with this idea because although this state is horribly frigid a few months out of the year, I do truly love it here and could never think of anywhere else as home.  My mom raised us on a lot of knowledge out our very changeable state, and I want to share some things I learned and grew to love as a kid.  Having a sister that works for the DNR helps when I have a shortage of ideas, LOL!  Who knows?  Maybe I will have her as a guest on my blog sometime!  The basic purpose of this particular feature is going to be to show others who have never been here before what it’s really like to live here.  Maybe some are not interested and that’s fair.. but I do know that some people are incredibly curious about how in the world we even manage to go outside with all the cold and snow!  🙂

So there you have it, my friends, readers, passersby and curious onlookers.  Some decisions made and changes coming and I’m super excited to start my research!  Happy Wednesday!!!!

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