Day 15 ~ please support local businesses


I bought a duplex a few years ago to help my kids out during their trying and growing times.  They have diligently paid their rent up to April 2020.  They are both studying online and working in the service industry in various roles.  What this means to me is I am carrying the weight of the mortgage now.  The mortgage, the city utilities, and randomly sending them items to keep them comfortable and going.

I am blessed because I am still employed, but this extra cost is still a struggle.  They are blessed because I bought the duplex for just such an occasion.  Never, ever expecting such an occasion. I know I am blessed and do not take it for granted.  They know they are blessed and do not take it for granted.  We are lucky.  Not everyone is so lucky.

I watch the news and see families getting evicted from their homes because they cannot work.  There is no safety net for these folks.  I hear people bastardizing landlords for evicting people who can not pay their rent.  That’s not fair.  The average landlord (like myself) is not rich.  The average landlord did not spend their life savings to purchase a house to keep random folks afloat.  COVID is not the landlord’s fault.  COVID is not the renter’s fault.  We are all caught up in a horrible situation.  There is no safety net for these folks.

The average person out there has no safety net.  I hear blame going around.  “Well they should have saved more money for an emergency.”; “Landlords are beasts and should not evict their tenants.”; “Tenants should not take advantage of their landlords.”; “Why do so many people need to get free food?”.  The questions and the blame keeps on escalating because this is an unexpected and never-ending situation.  There is no safety net.  All we seem to have are political figures who have A LOT of money (not their fault) holding back for political reasons in providing even a small safety net for the people who are really trying to stay afloat.  Really good people who are really trying hard to just stay afloat.

I really empathize with these folks.  There was a time, not so long ago, that as a single parent who was trying to put myself through university and only living on about $7,200 – $17,000 annual income for close to 15 years. I also had no safety net. My house was robbed 2x in six months and I was advised to move from that neighborhood.  I had no safety net and had no way of moving.  I had 2 small children and ironically had nothing really worth stealing. Blaming others for their situation is so unfair.  I luckily and eventually moved away from that situation but it took over 15 years. I cannot imagine how it would have been had COVID occurred on top of everything else going on in my life.  I would have drowned.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying. I just had ZERO anything set aside for an emergency.  I CANNOT IMAGINE.

So I encourage others to not pass blame or judgment on folks standing in food lines, evicting others to save themselves, losing their homes and needing more help.  Becoming homeless, hopeless, and helpless.  Where ever you are .. whatever you are doing .. give something.  Even if it’s just a smile or some form of recognition for the struggle that folks are feeling and going through. Give people some dignity.  There is no safety net out there and sometimes it’s no one’s fault.  Sometimes it is (VOTE VOTE VOTE)!

I am blessed and it’s tough for me.  I don’t have a lot extra to give and living in Africa right now, it’s tough to support my local businesses.  I want to emphasize that supporting local businesses during these trying times is so important.

My current favorite is a local artist from Spokane, Washington.  I have received a specially drawn Christmas card for nearly the past10-15 years.  He just put these cards on ETSY and I think you all should check them out.  I have also purchased some of his bigger art pieces (below).  I am a fan of Dali and Dr. Seuss so you can see why I’m a fan of Billy.

One thing I really like about his work is if you look closely at the art and the cards, you will see that he has some reoccurring characters.  The art represents the people that have been in his life that currently are now permanently residing in his fantastical worlds.

I hope you enjoy.

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My favorite cards

Even if you do not want to buy, stop by and comment on the newest cards.  If you love them.  I’m sure you can comment that you want a bigger print.  You can visit his ETSY site here:  THELOUNGEGALLERY

Stillness


I started this post in 2016… life had been very “unstill” at that time.  It is more still these days.. and yet with the government shutdown.. less still internally with the insecurity of what is going to happen to myself and others who have no idea when the government will open back up.  Waking up in a panic wondering if I still have a job..though once the cobwebs of sleep clear.. knowing that I do.. but wondering how we got to this point and when it will end.

So with time on my hands.. restless and yet so still… I thought this would be a good reminder to get back on the move with becoming more still… and patient… deep breath..let’s go.

 

Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.   ~~~~~Morgan Freeman

Thanks for visiting.

Further posts on stillness or serenity

Aishwarya, Dailypost, Wanderlust, Deetravel, Another Voice, pixiedust, emptythoughts, lifeaccordingto, memoirsof, doris, jardin, joan, momma

I am woman.. hear me…


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You.Are.Amazing.

As. you. are.
Stronger than you know.
More beautiful than you think.
Worthier than you believe.
More loved than you can ever imagine.
Passionate about making a difference.
Fiery when protecting those you love.
Learning. Growing. Not alone.
Warm. Giving. Generous.
Quirky. Sexy. Funny. Smart.
Flawed. Whole. Scared. Brave.
And so, so, so.much.more.

Be Strong. Be Confident. Be You. ~ Copyright: Tia Sparkles Singh, 2011

I have been living and working in Lagos, Nigeria now for 18 months.  One of my favorite things about this country is how vibrant and strong the people are.  Specifically the women.  Talk about inspiring folks.  Every day there is a new surprise that faces me down.  In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, my friend and I visited the Nike Centre for Art and Culture.

Every time I visit this gallery I find about 200 pieces I would love to buy.  The work covers everything from photography, to bead work, statutes of wood and metal, oils, fabrics, and really just everything you can imagine.  Well, this installation was possibly my favorite as it covered all of the artistic genres mentioned with a focus on the strong women who create the work.

What I love even more is the owner of the gallery.  Nike Davies-Okundaye – Nike Davies-Okundaye a.k.a. “‘Nike Davies'” a.k.a. “‘Nike Twin Seven Seven'” a.k.a. “‘Nike Olaniyi'” a.k.a. “‘Mummy Nike'”  – Wikipedia

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Talk about a strong woman.  I. LOVE. HER.  She is Nigerian.  She is strong. She is intelligent. She is kind.  She is an art piece all by herself.  What an amazing person.  So generous with her time and her ability to explain every piece of art in her gallery.  If you make it to Lagos, Nigeria and do not stop in to her gallery, you are missing a treat!!

The art presented that was specifically on display for Women’s Day was spectacular.  Created by women about women.  I did not take enough photos to really give it due respect.

My favorite pieces were so amazing!! They were huge though.  If I only had a place big enough to house them.

All of the other work was equally impressive and to be fair, there were many more “favorites”.  Even the work not specifically on display for Women’s Day, had a flair that I could not stop going back to.

For more Nigerian artwork that focuses on the Nigerian woman’s perspective, this book would be an excellent choice to get started.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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Travel theme: Woman

Other woman links:

Woman! Women of Cuba A daily stroll through Bucharest ; Roaming Urban Gypsy2017/03/12/athlete/Woman | Ladyleemanila;

Now in Nigeria-make your own hype


I think it’s very easy to get caught up in all the hype.  The hype about people, places and things.  As I headed to Nigeria, let me tell ya, there was a lot of hype.  A lot of negative hype.  Most definitely, a lot of the hype was true.  I’m not going to get into what the hype was, you can google it and make your own decisions about Nigeria.

It’s also easy to get caught up in the now.  The now about people, places and things.  Sometimes the now turns into a rut and it’s difficult to get rid of the impression of the now when you don’t even attempt to discover what is the real of where you are.

Thankfully, I have almost always been able to move myself and remove myself from the nows and the hypes of where I am.  Sometimes it takes hours and sometimes it takes months.  I have now been in Nigeria for about five months and both the hype and the now have been very slowly mutating into an interesting and wonderful experience.  Sure, there is still the truth of the hype, and some of the nows will probably never change, but the reality of many of the nows are truly changing my mind and my impression of what the rest of my time in Nigeria will be like.  I have a very good feeling about what is to come.

I have started getting out  a little more and recently attended a showing of a documentary about a group of Yoruba master musicians from Lagos, Nigeria called Faaji Agba.  (trailer) The documentary was simply amazing.  It took Remi Vaughn-Richards about six years to film this group of 68-85 year old musicians who were rediscovered by the owner of Jazzhole Records,  Kunle Tejuosho.  If you get a chance, you should check out all of the above links.  An amazing story.

So back to my story.  Since watching the documentary I have set myself on a casual journey to find this fabled “Jazzhole” establishment that was profiled in the documentary.  Lagos can be a difficult city to get around in and my effort was a bit stymied by my work, traffic congestion, and just all of the normal things that force people to stay saddled in the nows of their lives.

I had a free day yesterday and decided to take a drive around to see if I could find the Jazzhole.  I drove by the location I thought the place was supposed to be according to my Blackberry’s Google map application and of course, there was nothing there but construction.

I drove down a back road, directly off of the main road and ran into this art cafe, restaurant, hotel, craft store called Bogobiri House. (The now of most Nigerians is that if you have some space you should use it wisely and get as much out of it as you possibly can.) Ironically, I had just randomly attended an open mic at this amazing little find two nights before.  Open mic here involves, improv Karaoke with a live band, poetry readings, and a host of musicians that play every type of instrument you can imagine.  I’m hooked.

After spending about an hour walking though this amazing find, I asked if the Jazzhole still existed and sho’ nuff, one of the guys at the Bogobiri House gave me directions.  Ironically, this iconic establishment was about a 10 minute drive from where I stood and only 15 minutes from my very home.

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I walked in and it was on the inside exactly what you would expect on the outside only better.

After walking around and seeing the massive amount of vinyl, cds, and books on every topic, I made my 2nd most exciting discovery.  I was standing right in front of the maker of the documentary I had just seen a few months before AND one of the members who had been profiled in this documentary.  The very same guy who is now between 70-80 years old (I think) and STILL playing jazz.  He was going to be playing at Bogobiri House that very evening.

WOW!!! Further, this very evening a little music exhibition was going to be playing at the Jazz Hole. The featured singers would be a young lady named Falana who I had never heard of before and who was simply amazing.  Not only was her voice unique, she was able to add some insight into the instruments she was using and while singing, encouraged the audience to sing along with her.  I was super disappointed that she only sang a few songs.

Her act was quickly followed by the main event, Blackman Akeeb Kareem. This was another musical soul who had become disenchanted with his now and left Nigeria for Europe.  However it happened, he was there and my own now was made incredible and better.  He was, and is at 70-something, an amazing musical story-teller.  He spoke of his time back in the day in the 60s and 70s and explained how Africans know that music is wasted if you are not up and dancing to it.

A man who has the ability to involve you in his story and the resolve to show you the now of his existence.  The now of how he believes Nigeria and the world could become if we would only listen.

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I know that just one random day in Lagos altered the now of my existence in Nigeria.  Thanks for stopping by.

Now

Sometimes, we get caught up in nostalgia, future fantasy, or both, and we don’t embrace the “now.” For this week’s challenge, take a moment to notice your present.

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