Sunday, August 31, 2008


Moonshine, a watering hole, and squirrels on a spit might be the way some folks would have celebrated the Labor Day Weekend, but not me, and not my girls.

Instead, my SistahFriends and I got together for a leisurely Saturday afternoon without our men, and lounged around the pool in our bikinis sipping cosmopolitans and eating BBQ. Throw in one jacuzzi, add a dash of music, mix in a professional masseuse and that equals fun for all. What a way to celebrate the beginning of the end of summer with an all-girls pool party, #61 on my Bucket List.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I was but a wee first-grader when President Kennedy was shot. I remember where I was, though, when I heard the news. My teacher stopped teaching and went into the hallway where other teachers were starting to come together. We students knew something sober and somber had happened, we just didn't know what yet. And when I found out, I maybe didn't understand the ramifications of it, but I certainly felt the magnitude of that moment.

I felt that same way today, that something significant had happened, but this time it was something great. I saw Hillary Clinton come forward with awe-inspiring grace to cut short the floor vote at the Democratic National Convention to nominate her former opponent, Barack Obama, as the next President of the United States of America.

This is one giant step for America. It's larger than life, and we should be proud of ourselves. True, our work is not done yet, but let us bask in this historical moment.

Today, I celebrated #99 on my Bucket List: I lived to see an African-American become the Democratic Presidential Nominee. I never thought I would. Thank you, America, and God bless you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Of all the midnights in the world, I had to stroll into this one at high noon. I didn't actually have to, but I've always wanted to go to the Griffith Park Observatory where they magically create a view of the universe at night in the middle of the day. Today, my first born, (a self-proclaimed Mama's boy undisputed) used his day off to take me there to fulfill #56 on my Bucket List.

The Observatory sits at the top of Mount Hollywood. If you look real hard at the photo above, you can see the "Hollywood" sign behind us. Exhibits abound with interesting facts about the sun and the moon. Inside the Planetarium, the show "Centered in the Universe" talks about the fact that there are more than the nine planets I grew up learning about. They even show the origin of the universe (if you don't believe in Creationism).

Many movies were filmed here, too, the most famous of which was Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean. He died in 1955, the same year it was filmed, and his presence is still felt there. There's even a small bust of him out front.

Now, back to the universe. Did you know the North Star never moves? I didn't, but that's why you can use it if you're driving across town looking for that big sale, and you've gotten lost. Just look for the North Star to get your directional bearings.

And just how do you know which star is the North Star, iStarWoman? Well, first you have to be able to recognize the Big Dipper. You follow the Big Dipper down the handle to the end of the basin, and there are two stars. Follow those up, and there you'll find the North Star. How the Three Wise Men knew all of that, I'll never know. Thankfully, they weren't in Los Angeles with its polluted air. They'd never have found baby Jesus. Obviously, we aren't as smart as them, and that's why God gave the rest of us GPS devices. I don't leave home without it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Everyone's idea of heaven is a little different, and we're all probably right. Paradise is a place of great happiness and great beauty, a Garden of Eden. It's perfect bliss reached by the absorption of oneself into the spirit, where the soul becomes one with the universe, and you can eat all the Nutter Butter cookies you want without gaining a pound.

None of us have witnessed it firsthand, but there is a place that's close to my ideal, except for the gaining weight part.

It's a place where Sarge and I went with a couple who shall remain nameless (or else they'd have to kill you . . . or me.) This paradise has the largest outdoor aquarium in the world, featuring six lagoons with lush plant life surrounding it, 40 waterfalls, five swimming pools, at least 19 restaurants, one giant pyramid waterslide, a dolphin cay, and underwater walkways for viewing the sharks. It was a teeth-gnashing experience watching the diver clean the shark tank. And did I mention they have a casino? Where is this oasis, you might ask? Atlantis, Paradise Island, Nassau, The Bahamas, #73 on my Bucket List.

It's a luxury resort where the likes of Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey stay (not together, silly). It's a bit on the expensive side, but better if you get the all-inclusive package that includes meals, a massage, and two beach towels that you don't have to steal. It was just a relaxing vacation where you eat, sleep, relax, then eat and sleep some more. We were so comfortable at the resort we never left the premises to see the rest of Nassau. Oh, well, just another excuse to go back some day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The beach in the seaside town of Nice, France is aptly named. It's nice, really nice if you like laying out on . . . ROCKS! Yes, instead of sand on the beach, it's rocks. Apparently, that doesn't deter topless women from sunbathing there. Some were laying not on their towels, but bare-back on the black pebbles.

The Diva, the Doc and I had to drag Sarge away from the half nude sun worshippers. Since it was the end of summer and not stiflingly hot, we decided to walk along the Promenade, which is a boardwalk that parallels the beach. Off in the distance, we spotted a seven-foot-high statue of a black man holding a trumpet. We all like jazz, and the Doc plays sax in his spare time, so we walked a little closer and saw that it was a place called Hotel Negresco. Something about that name -- and the big black statue out front -- made us think it might be a place where the Blacks in Nice (if there were any besides us) hang out. We felt compelled to investigate further.

We wandered inside, and it was decorated Art Deco style, rich and elegant. The lobby had red velvet sofas on top of black & white marble floors. Tres chic, as the French would say. It was probably "the spot" in its day. It had an art museum and, of course, stores for the Diva to shop in.

Alas, other than the iron behemoth out front, we could not find one black person -- employee or guest. We still wanted answers, though. So using our CSI-like skills, we sought out the one person who would know all the goings-on at a hotel . . . the bellman. We took him downtown for questioning and he sang like a canary and ratted his employers out. Naturally, he spoke English as does everyone else in Europe, and he confessed that Negresco was the name of the family who owned the hotel, and no, they were not black, but they did like jazz.

Well, crime solved, another case closed. Stay tuned for the next episode. Maybe Sarge will finally take me to the shooting range?

Friday, August 8, 2008

The MOOR the Merrier

Sailing through the Mediterranean aboard the Celebrity X cruise ship, I was struck by how many European countries still had Moor castles, which means they had a black history, as in a history of black folks, and I ain't talking slavery.

My curiosity about them was piqued, so I did a little digging when I got home. The Moors were "black as ink" north Africans who crossed over into Spain, Italy, Portugal and of course, Greece. They were Muslims world renown for their soldiering skills. They built impenetrable seaside fortresses in many countries, and held high ranks in the Roman Empire. Many historians believe the Moors could have conquered the world had they not suffered internal strife. Isn't that always the case?

Blackamoors, as they are sometimes called (an oxymoron if ever I heard one), were a most feared army, hence the phrase, "There are no Moors on the coast," which over the years evolved into "The coast is clear." Black Africans were recruited for soldierly duty by many other countries, too, including but not limited to Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, and even Britain.

In fact, Shakespeare wrote a play whose main character Othello was a Moor. Othello was a general in the army of Venice, and when he failed to promote his ensign Iago to a higher rank, Iago launched a smear campaign in order to gain revenge. He called Othello crude racial metaphors like "vile black man." I guess the "N" word wasn't out then. Suffice it to say Iago played the race card, and it all ended tragically, as did most of Shakespeare's plays, but forgiveth me my digression.

As I shake off Shakespeare, I dig out my photos of all the Moor castles I've seen. They are all now either museums or monasteries, or some other kind of tourst attraction. I'm just thankful they didn't demolish them for new condos.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Prada For Men?

We were off to a flying start when we arrived in London (#2 on my Bucket List), and the bumpy eight-hour plane ride was just the beginning. We made haste through the infamous fog to our hotel via one of those boxy black cabs. There was a plasma TV in the back for our commercial viewing, or to distract us from noticing the steering wheel was on the wrong side.

Our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. From there, we could and did walk to Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace where the Queen was in residence that week, and Westminster Abbey where Lady Di's funeral was held. One rainy day, we rode on the top deck of the Big Red Bus over to Kensington Palace, once the home of Princess Diana. We went to the West End another night to see Wicked, and no, I didn't notice the actors had accents. It was lovely, as the Britons say.

Sarge made me promise not to ever mention our shopping trip to Harrods. I didn't even know Prada made shoes for men!

It was no charge, though, to walk down to Whitehall where the Houses of Parliament were. We found a cute little pub (#42 on my Bucket List) just like on TV! You know I had the beer (warm, of course) and I wanted to order the Shepherd's Pie (also #42 on my Bucket List), but I couldn't bring myself to eat the poor little lamb baked inside.

The British will slaughter a little lamb and slice it up for cooking, but they are so bloody polite when they argue. Take the couple at the table next to us, for example.
"Are you an idiot?" the wife asked her husband as she took the baby from his arms.

"I'm not really an idiot, no," he answered in a monotone.

"Brilliant," she retorted as if he'd asked her how bright she wanted her teeth. But then that's another thing, the British in general don't see the value of a dentist, and it shows.

"Wanker," he said.

"Tosser," she threw back. "Bullocks. I shall put the baby in the pram, and leave your arse."

"Oh, no, you shant," he cried as he rose from the table. "Not the perambulator."

Now, I had no idea what a perambulator was, but the name evoked pictures of some type of machinery that chops wood or eats little children, so that was the point at which I turned and gave them my full attention, only to find her placing the baby in a stroller.
Oh, bloody hell, I thought and laughed at myself. Tally ho, you cheeky dodgers!

And that was how we spent our 30th anniversary, doing what we love to do, traveling. I thank Great Britain for their hospitality, and I thank God He blessed the world with vinegar to give their fish and chips some flavor.