I've decided to actually start blogging again (haha) but I've moved my blog to a more hospitable location.  check me out here  The Synergistic Pen

Otherwise, have a great new year and a wonderful life...

Science Rules!

Its a new school year... may the force be with us all...
ladies and gents... educate a child, about SOMETHING... please.

Online School
Via: Online School

ok, I'm not in the habit of promoting a musician, but when I like something, I want everyone to know about it.  Sooooooooo... while sitting in a chat room a few days ago, yet another person came in asking everyone to listen to his music and let him know what we thought.  My immediate thought was, ugh, not the "next big thing" AGAIN...

I clicked on the link, and listened, sure I'd want to turn it off immediately.  I didn't. In fact, as I listened to the lyrics, (his voice was so clear, I could actually make them out) I realized this young man was singing about love, TRUE love, and relationships, HEALTHY relationships.  I was stunned, and I told him so.

Q Harper's roots are in gospel (isn't that true of ALL the great singers?) where he and his siblings were tied to the gospel choir in his home church in Detroit.

I was in a family singing group, "The Sensational Harper Singers" and singing was more important than our grades in school.  People takl about how tough Joe Jackson was, but they never met William Harper!  He put me and my siblings through our paces.  Everyone thinks I'm new, but I'm a seasoned singer who has been singing since the age of five."  

His experience in the church eventually led Q to the ministry just as his parents and siblings were led.  But soul music continued to pull at him and in 2008, he heeded the call and recorded his first album, named "One".

Harper loves talking about his live concerts, which he dubs, "The Q Harper Experience", which will indicate what the next CD will sound like.

Every concert I throw is like a party. You'll hear me singing and the band kicking - and we make it blaze.  We wreck the place.  I get the people involved and they feed off that energy and electricity.

I asked him a few questions and promised him I'd introduce him to my world so here he is... Ladies and Gentlemen: Q HARPER

Me: What is your full name?
Q: Quintin Deon Harper.

Me: How did you come to play the acoustic guitar?
Q:  Well, as I began to write more and more songs, I needed melody and chord structure, plus I like having my music totally mapped out before studio, so I slowly began to teach myself guitar and piano.

Me: Who are your musical influences?
Q:  Donny Hathaway, Daryl Coley, Charlie Wilson, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, EWF, Phyliss Hyman:  I'm from the old school when it comes to music.  The Emotions are another strong influence.

Me:  Your lyrics are positive, uplifting and inspiring.  Tell us about them.
Q:  I write from the heart and that is what comes across.  I want people to hear my music and say that they can relate to it.  I write real stuff (reality);  my main subject is love and heartbreak, because its real and it happens daily.  I don't want people to say I hear your music Q, but rather, say I FEEL your music.

Me:  Where can people see you perform?
Q: Well, my name is beginning to get out there, so I might be in your town any day now.  I have dates in Chicago for October 30th at the Arie Crown and New Year's Eve.  I have a November date in Houston and mostly overseas stuff right now.  If you wanna see the Q Harper Experience, call your local promotor and get it booked and we will come tear it up!

Me:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years, both professionally and personally?
Q:  In 5 years, I see myself professionally as the face and voice of love and romance.  I will be the name people speak when it comes to the subject of the balladeer of our generation.  I work tirelessly for this and if I keep at it the sky is the limit. My attorney and the rest of my team think I have sex symbol written all over me (lol).  Like my predescessors, the late, great Donny Hathaway and the incomparable Luther Vandross, , I plan to carry the torch for shonuff singin my way into people's hearts, minds, homes, cars, and stereos!

Personally, happily married, see my 3 wonderful kids make their mark in this world, get them through college and off into their careers, my own full fledged studio, and some travel.  Something most don't know about me is I'd to get back into ministry.  Sharing the word of GOD and demonstrating the love of God.

Me:  Do you have an online presence? If so, where can we find you?
Q:  Yes, I do have an online presence.  I can be found on Facebook (QHarpertime), on MySpace (qharp), Reverbnation (Q Harper), Youtube (search Q Harper).  My official website is down for reconstruction, but coming soon!

Ok people, you need to hear him.  Check out Q Harper.

Oh yeah, buy his cd! 

My son will be attending the American Academy of Art in Chicago this fall.  We're very proud. As part of the process of getting him settled in, he attended student orientation and I attended parent orientation. Listening to the administrators and instructors tell us how our children will be ok, and will learn and are, because they are "artists", are different from other children (as if we didn't know this) and what we can do to help them become the best professional artists they can be.

At one point during the program, we were introduced to the Beloit College Mindset List, and were told that the actual list would be coming out in about a week. The Mindset List is a list of things that incoming college freshmen are aware of in the world.  It is used to give professors a sense of perspective It came out today. I read it.  My husband put me on the suicide list.  Pray for me.

I remember 1991-92. My daughter was 2 years old, my son born in September of 91.  I was complaining about compact discs replacing cassettes. Now, my kids ask why I have CDs and no mp3 player. What a life.

The Mindset List makes note of the things this particular group of humans believe, know and understand about their world, and how the things people older than them believe, know and understand, just don't make an ounce of sense to them.  Like, our son wonders why his father insists on wearing a watch when he has the time on his cell phone. An addendum to that is how he laughs when I talk about winding a watch.  I'm old. 

Both children wonder why I still carry stamps in my wallet and even have envelops and stationary in the house.  They're looking forward to watching me play with my new toy, a slide scanner I purchased to convert all of my father's thousands of slides he'd taken over the years to digital files.  They like playing with my mother's record player and daddy's old LPs.  They wonder why we still have a land line in the house. I'm old.

Check out the list.  It comes out every year.  Just a simple reminder of how the world is changing, moving forward, faster and quieter than we might notice.  Its a look at our past and how our future will be different for us, but just "ordinary" for them.

OK, I've been busy vacationing and haven't written anything.  A girl has to get her rest, right? Right!  Well, I'm BACK!

Check this out... I decided to take a train trip to Jacksonville Florida.  The ticket was comparable to flying, but I wasn't in a rush and I actually wanted to see something other and large squares full of corn, cotton, and/or peanuts.  So, I went to the Amtrak website and hooked up this really cool 30 hour ride to Jacksonville with a 6 hour stop over in Washington D.C.  (yeah, 30 hours, again, I wasn't in a hurry).

I get on the train at Chicago's Union Station at the height of rush hour with folk coming and going and children running around and babies crying and security with drug sniffing dogs and the works.  I was excited.  I hadn't been on a train in nearly 25 years.  I was assigned a seat and climbed aboard the Capital Limited.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to a college student.  Not just any college student, but a petite, talkative Math and Finance Major from the University of Michigan.  Jo is Chinese, Mandarin to be specific as she explained to me how all her Chinese friends at school were Cantonese and she had no idea what they were talking about when they spoke in Cantonese.  After all, Mandarins and Cantonese are two very different languages and cultures.  I'd heard that before, but having it explained by a native made it click.

The train was cold and we commented on that incessantly as the sun sank behind us as we traveled east.  Across the rolling plains of northern Indiana, stopping in South Bend and Elkhart, and then flying like the wind through the night until we reached Cleveland on the far eastern edge of Ohio. There was nothing to see; it was the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep because I've never been able to sleep on moving vehicles; add to that, children who thought running up and down aisles in the wee hours of the night was the ultimate adventure.  NOT.

Pittsburgh at dawn and then the train headed down into a valley and hugged a shallow river as we came out of Pennsylvania and into West Virginia. Several more stops including historic Harpers Ferry and we pulled into Historic (and beautiful) Union Station in our nation's capital 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

I said good bye to my traveling companion who had never been to Washington before. She checked her connection to Connecticut where she was meeting friends before flying to Poland for a wedding. (man, to just travel the world as you please)  We discovered we were 2 blocks from the Capitol building and she screamed as she said good bye and headed out into the midday heat.  I had 6 hours to kill... and found a friend to help me do it.

I returned to the station and my boarding gate only to find out the train to Jacksonville, the Silver Service was running late due to a derailment down the line that had everything coming from the north behind schedule. There was a pigeon in the boarding area.  Several toddlers found this fascinating and followed it around as it walked the floor in search of crumbs. We were finally told we could board an apparently full train and I was seated next to another amazing lady.

Daisy is 68 (I swear I bit my tongue when she told me this), lives in Boston, has been married for 53 years, has a daughter and 3 grandchildren and is originally from Havana, Cuba.  She's lived in the United States for 40 years and would love to go back home but isn't sure if its a good idea.  She is a retired real estate broker and owns land and property in several states.  She's a confessed tree hugger and environmental hut and firmly believes in unity among all people.  She was on her way to Miami to spend a week in a time share she bought several years ago but had been too busy to use. Her eldest granddaughter called every hour on the hour until midnight to check on her.  I helped her in and out of her seat; she'd fallen 3 weeks earlier and broken 3 ribs.

We sat in front of a young man who was from New York, had a cell phone, and wasn't afraid to use it.  He talked loudly in a combination of French and Patois most of the evening and then snored the rest of the night.
The view from the windows through the Carolinas, and Georgia weren't as pictureque as the day before, and it was gloomy as it rained on and off during the day. When I arrived in Jacksonville, the sun finally appeared and I disembarked from the icy train into a 98 degree morning.  What a trip.

I was met by Ma, my sister, her kids, my kid, my niece and cousin.  We had a marvelous couple of days, and my daughter and I drove back home through Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.  Indiana never looked so good.

I love trains; other than perhaps a cruise or a bus, its one of the last ways to sit and talk and visit and explore and see the people, the many different people what make up our world.  I'm gonna do this again next year.  Can't wait!

The Reason Why...

I had an encounter the other day that I can only describe as spiritual.  The young lady I was assisting simply felt moved to tell me something I didn't necessarily want to know.

The young lady is 25,works as a home health nurse, has recently moved out of her parents' very traditional household and has (finally) begun college. She was writing an essay for one of her classes and needed help with sentence structure.  I didn't mind helping, its what I do, help.

My laptop isn't working so I was at my aunt's using hers and my brothers showed up.  I think they came just to harass me.  They don't think I should be going to school.  They think I should be looking for a husband, not going to college.  I was so distracted that I know this essay makes no sense, can you help me?

I was intrigued.  How does a person, still young, still vulnerable, living in a traditional, Jamaican household, where men sit around waiting for the women to "do" for them manage to muster the strength to walk toward the light?

Why did you move out? 
I moved out because if I didn't, I was going to kill myself, and I didn't want to die.

Can't argue with that logic.

My mother thinks I"m crazy.  When I moved out of the house, she damned me to hell.  Daddy said I'd be raped by some stalker knowing I was alone out there.  He said no man would want me because I was not living correctly.


When I told my parents I was starting college, they laughed at me. My mother said she would not help pay for it. I'm ok with that, I can pay for the classes myself.  I can do this. I must do this. If I don't, I will die.  I know I have more to give than my body to a man.  I have a mind, and I want to share it.

I'm sitting at my computer in tears.  I read her words and I wonder what moment pushed her forward.  I know a few things about her that I'd already found fascinating.  She was sickly as an infant and was never expected to walk. She's a virgin and has no problem letting men know that she intends to stay that way until her wedding night.  She love psychology and thinks, maybe, she'd like to go to medical school and become a psychiatrist. She loves her family, she just can't live with them anymore.

Its been so long since I've been to school, I know my writing is terrible.
No, it isn't, just a little muddled.  We can fix this.
Thank you.  I need this essay to speak about who I was, who I now am and who I want to become. I want my instructor to understand the reason why I am in college. I want her to know the reason why I exist.

Yeah, don't we all.  God's speed on your journey girl, God's most precious blessings to you.