On one level, I suppose he thought he was protecting them. We'll never know. He was a man who was trying to do the right thing. He was married, raising his family, feeding them, clothing them, kept a roof over their heads. Then the bottom fell out from under him. Or as far as he was concerned, it had. Read his note.

I wanted to attempt to see this from the point of a man in America. A BLACK man in America.
So I asked my husband why he thinks Mr. Lupeo did it.

My husband's life mirrors his. After a moment's thought, he spoke quietly.

It is the job of the man to provide for his family. Its a hard job, even when things are going well. When something goes wrong, we panic. Some handle it betters than others. Some don't handle it at all. I know I wouldn't hurt my family tho. I think maybe he was afraid they they'd be separated or people would think less of him. Being unemployed makes one feel impotent.

As a woman, I could see that. My husband has been unemployed once since we've been married. It was the worst 6 weeks of his life. We fussed, he was angry and bored. He hated that I was struggling to pay the bills and he couldn't support or help me, which is what he promised my father, before God that he would always do. He was taught to be the provider, and couldn't be. That has to be the worse feeling in the world.

Mr. President said it would get bad. This tragedy is the human example of what happens in a recession. Its not the same as the selfish act of suicide after losing millions of dollars in the stock market; its the selfish, yet, somehow, unselfish act of trying to find a way to make the pain that all will suffer because of the loss of income just go away.

I'm not suggesting in any way, shape or form that what Mr. Lupeo did was right. Killing of self or others isn't the way to solve any life problem. We'll never know what exactly was going on in that household, with those people, with the dynamic of that family, that brought them to this place.

All we can do is pray for their souls. All we should do is reflect on what may happen to US in the next few months or years, and make sure we "do the right thing" for ourselves and those we love.

Rest In Peace Lupeo Family

I intentionally waited 24 hours before posting this one... I needed time to reflect... and to consider the words heard by our new president AND the people I encountered along the way....

I've seen some wonderful things in my life. I've experienced some amazing happenings. I've witnessed some awesome situations...

This was better than all of that; indescribeably better. It was as if I was standing there with all of my ancestors; they were watching this event through my eyes, my heart, my spirit...

We were happy, excited, laughing with total strangers and playing with little children. We had conversations with Kenyans, Nigerian, British, Canadians, Australians, Germans, Brazilians, Swedes and people from almost every state in the union.

When the oath was taken, the place became silent. Eerily silent. And then we cheered. One, perfect cheer. We danced and hugged and cried.

When President Obama began his speech, it became silent again. If a blind person had stepped onto the mall, they would have never known anyone was there. I took pictures of people simply in awe, mentally analyzing every movement he made, watching his face, digesting his every word.

And then it was over. I hugged people whose name I never learned. I was kissed by people I'll never see again. I screamed with people that will go home new, different, changed.

There were not arguments, no fights, a few snags in the exit from the mall, more snags on the Metro, but we had FUN!!! It was worth it.

We spent a few minutes just sitting, in the cold, watching and listening to the people. The college students from Princeton climbed trees; people handed their cameras up to them so they could take pictures of the crowds. The fundamental religious groups shouted scripture from megafones to us, their captive audience. People commented on the First Amendment rights of those who shout through megafones and we asked them to be quiet. They stopped, for a few minutes. The park service policeman told me it was ok to lean on his car to rest my legs.

The group of school children from Alaska had on bright blue hats, the ones from California had on bright red. The large, extended family from Florida all had on green. I was interviewd by Cyberpress/Montreal and the BBC Radio Network (still looking for my words out there) We blew kisses at the National Guardsmen who wouldn't let us cross the street. My friend who was a volunteer at the parade called to tell me how much he hated cold weather.

I smiled at the text message from my son (I HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT MA!! WOO HOO) I dozed off in the booth at Burger King. We had a really meaningful conversation with a guy with a fabulous Jamaican accent who "worked for the government". We called 911 when an older gentleman tripped and fell on a loose grate on the sidewalk and hit his head.

The student council from the elementary school in Dallas all had on yellow and black and most of them fell asleep on the train. The young people on their way to the Youth Ball sitting behind us were dressed to the 9s. We cheered again as a woman in a ball gown came running down the escalator and stopped, pulled off her heels and raced to catch the train about to pull off (she made it) There were women in ball gowns and men in tuxes at our train stop. It was cold. It was amazing. I slept like a baby....

It had been a long time since I'd been to Washington. Its very different from the what I remember. Yet, somehow, its the same. Or is it? History was made this day, and I got to see it. I'll have a DVD of all the pictures taken by me and my "correspondents" in time for Black History Month... I hope...

Man I'm tired. Good.

I'm cold. Ok, I admit it...

with that said, I must say, I had the most amazing day today. After figuring out how to get to the Metro station without getting lost we stood in a long line with people from all over the country... Minnesota folk in front of us, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and North Dakota behind us...

we were excited, giddy... joyful even...

for some, it was about Bush FINALLY being gone... for others, it was about Obama FINALLY taking office...

for me, it was about listening to the words of people who had something to say... and so much was said...

After getting tickets, finding our way to the train and riding into the city, we found ourselves among even more people, simply NEEDING to be there... old, young, citizens and non (there was an African man standing in front of the White House yelling in his native language as his friend videotaped him. When he finished, he bent down, kissed the concrete, stood crying and simply walked away. I was awestruck). There were protestors, celebrators, performance artists, students completing service projects (one was dressed like bush with a prison suit on)

We were all acting like tourists, yet we weren't. We were acting like children in a candy store, yet we weren't. We were/are happy.

I'm tired. I swear I am. I'm so excited I don't know if I'll be able to sleep.

More later...

Ok, its 8:30 pm and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Culpeper, Virginia listening alternately to my cousin read the local paper to me, and the Pittsburgh/Ravens game. I'm exhausted.

Travel tip: buy a map of the place you're going: Google Maps sucks.... we spent 1.5 hours wandering up and down a mountain on a secondary road we didn't need to be on...

Another travel tip: NEVER NEVER NEVER answer the cell phone when you KNOW its your "know it all" uncle on the other end....

Culpeper is a nice little place. We have lucked out; its relatively warm (ok, the people here think its cold), its 34 degrees (it was 15 when we left the house this morning) I've called a couple of friends, checked in with hubby and mapped out the gameplan for Monday.

This is gonna be fun!

Its 2:54 am, Sunday, Janaury 18th as I write this. I'm dress, packed and waiting for my cousin who lives 20 miles away and who said she'd be here at 2:30. She called at 2:22 to let me know she was just putting her stuff in the car.

Oh, did I mention we're on our way to Washington to be Obama groupies? Yeah, two crazy chicks from Chicago driving in the middle of the night on ice covered roads to a place we'd rather visit in the spring.We're going to see something we might not see again in our lifetime.

The Inauguration. Hot Damn!!!

I am taking the laptop and will drop my random thoughts here as we enjoy our little adventure.

I will say right up front, I'm nervous. Not because of the road conditions or the trip itself. Not even because of all that I'm sure we'll encounter along the way. I'm nervous because... hell, I don't know. Maybe its not nervousness, maybe its anxiousness. I've invested a great deal of time and energy in "pretending" we're just going to the inauguration, when in fact, yes, this is probably going to be the most historic event of the century.

I wish Daddy were here to see it.

I wish all my ancestors were here to see it. THIS is what they got up every morning and endured insult and injury and pain and suffering for...
THIS is it... the opportunity for someone who WANTS to be more, to simply BE more...
and as I've said before, there is no longer any excuse for the rest of us now, is there?

What is so special about Barack Obama that he came from nothing, and decided he would be something, and then proceeded to allow nothing or noone keep him from what he desired.

Ok, gotta go... cuzin is here!!! Off we go into the wild, frozen EAST!!!

more later...

Body Language 101

In a previous life, I had a job where I had to be able to "read" body language. It was imperative that I listen with both my ears and my eyes to what was being presented to me.... I loved that job... I swear I did...

I took a moment to watch a video clip of the 4 living presidents and president elect Obama as they met in the Oval Office. I immediately noticed something interesting. So, I scouted out some still photos to make sure I was seeing what I THOUGHT I was seeing... and there it was.

Body Language that, if you consider who was doing what, says alot about the man and who he is or was or might become, in this job.

Let's take a look at the "boys" shall we?


5 men, standing:

Daddy President : hands in pocket, left shoulder deferentially behind the soon to be president, laughing at comments being made, glad as hell he gets to go back to Maine or Texas or whereever the hell he's living now, when this is over. He is the most comfortable person in the picture.

Mr. President-Elect: hands folded in front of him, left shoulder also in a deferential position, (or is that beingg "pushed" back?) smiling and quite possibly still pinching himself over all of this. He's ready to take the job, knowing these men will be of help to him. He's patiently waiting for the current president to "go away". He makes a nice "bush" sammich there, don't he?

Mr. President: hands at sides, palms open, standing obviously, and intentionally one step ahead of the two men behind him... the one that he replaced and the one that will replace him, he alternately turns his back to them both; he's still in charge, if only for a couple of weeks. Respect him dammit.

Mr. Playboy President: hands behind his back, standing stiffly. Interesting alignment, standing closely to the current president. Or is that trying to get away from his neighbor on the left? Its generally known he and Carter don't like each other, but damn.. play nice will ya?

Mr. Senior Stateman President: hands at his side, notice the right hand almost in a fist position, and/or held stiffy in fron of him... he is allergic to Clinton. Standing apart from the group (again, doesn't like Clinton, who decided to put them next to each other anyway?) He, like Daddy Bush, relishes invitations to the big house, but looks forward to getting back to the farm.

now... make note, this is just MY observation... I can respect the 3 formers not saying a great deal, dubya and barry are having THEIR moment; but behaviors don't lie. If you check the video, Clinton, the attention seeker, keeps poking his head into the shot, Carter is trying to escape, Daddy wants to sit down and take a nap, and the once and future presidents are jocking for position...

man I love politics, even the unspoken stuff... don't you?

I Determine....

So the other day, I made the decision NOT to make New Year's resolutions because I knew I'd last about 5 days before breaking them all. In doing this, I found myself making DETERMINATIONS instead...

For instance, I've determined to get my online jewelry store online by the first of February. I made this determination after having 2 conversations while at a Kwanzaa Festival in Chicago.

The first conversation was with a man from New York, who is a tailor. He brings his beautiful afrocentric inspired clothing to every single event in Chicago. This means, of course, that this man is doing well in his business. Aziz Fashions has been around for a while, with a shop in New York and the whole bit. The man has a website,(and I've misplaced his card, so can't give you the addy, sorry) but hasn't begun selling online. Which has always bothered me, cus when I need a new hat, dammit, I have to wait til a festival to get one... We always laugh about that...

So I told him he needed to get an online store. His eyes lit up when I said that. I gave him the name of one that was recommended to me and he asked if I wanted to be on his mailing list. (of course I did). I bought a hat and a shirt for hubby and I moved on.

The second conversation I had was with a woman from Racine, Wisconsin. She makes jewelry, same as me. Beautiful stuff! We talked, I picked out a few things and then I asked her if she had an online store. She proudly told me that her store would be launching the end of January.She has a myspace site available. Shea Brojae's LLC is a collaborative effort between her and a sister in law who is a loctician. Good for them! I bought three pairs of earrings, a choker and an african walking stick. We shared our favorite jewelry wholesaler websites and she admired my earrings and headband (both my designs) and I went on my way.

On the ride home, I thought about it. What am I waiting for? Isn't this supposed to be the year of "no more excuses"??

I am determined, ladies and gents... to do this one thing this year. There are other things I have promised myself I'd do. I determine to get those things done also. (yes, cheerleaders, I am working on the novel)

If others can live out their creative dreams, why can't I? Why can't we all? You do have a dream, don't you? Are you determined to make it happen?