Wednesday, February 25, 2009

High Tea

While in Miami recently, my sisters and I went to visit the fabulous Ms. Ruth. To know Ruth, is to love her. She is one of the most "larger than life" people I’ve ever known. She’s an artist, very smart, and a psychic who responds with quick wit that's always insightful and often hilarious regarding any and everything in life. She’s no joke! The first time I met Ruth was in 1979. I was living in Miami, braiding hair for a living. Ms. Ruth an art student at the University of Miami, decided she wanted to learn how to braid. I was braiding the hair of one of her friends and this friend called her up and told her to come over and meet me. Boy did we ever meet! She was damn near in my lap trying to see and learn my techniques! I was appalled by her overt enthusiasm. I wanted nothing to do with her. She was a pushy, up in your face, older lady (35 yrs. old). At the time, I was 23 and thought I was all that! She immediately set me straight right then… and many times thereafter. To my surprise we became fast friends. She would not give up on me, insisted on being my friend. I was too different at the time for anybody else in Miami to embrace me. I wore extension braids, East Indian clothing and did yoga, totally weird back then. And did I mention the movie “10” was all the rage at the time. Years later Ruth and I eventually became business partners and later opened a Khamit Kinks in Atlanta.

So this visit was long over due. I hadn’t seen Ruth in about three years and my sisters hadn’t seen her in over a decade. She asked my sister MK, what would she like to do if money wasn’t an issue. MK promptly replied, “I would like to be a lady who lunches”. A couple of days later we were invited to join Ms. Ruth at a spot called Hidden Tea Secrets and believe me it was hidden. We were so lost trying to find this secluded enclave.

The Hidden Tea Secret is antique Victorian, flowers everywhere, but very classy and beautiful. We were the only folk who looked like us there. The teas, the ambiance, the fine foods, the over the top fancy hats, it was simply delightful and the company was the very best. Of course I had to ask for honey and that’s when the heart rates went up. The waitress brings this very odd honey jar that has a saucer attached to the bottom. As Ms. Ruth is trying to get the honey to flow, the saucer releases itself from the jar, falls and shatters when it hits the floor. In this very quiet space, I swear the sound was so loud it could be heard in the next county. Ms. Ruth was so embarrassed. But the lovely son of the owner came over and assured us that it happens often… How nice was that?

I had never had high tea before and now I have, thanks to none other than Ms. Ruth. Of course Ms. Ruth topped it off by purchasing each of us a china teacup with matching saucer. I love tea and I must admit it taste so different in a china teacup as compared to a paper cup or a mug. I’m use to drinking out of big mugs, the bigger the better. Now when I really want a treat, I just get out my beautiful teacup from Ms. Ruth. Thank you Ms. Ruth, for yet another great experience. You’re the absolute best!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking for warmth!

I’ve had an usually difficult time with the weather this winter. It seems that I’m always cold, cold at work, cold at home, cold in the streets. I do all I can do to warm myself up. I wear thermals, layers, drink plenty of tea, wear socks to bed, you name it.

Although times are tough, funds are low; I recently took the plunge and went seeking the sun and warmth of Miami Beach for a few days with my two sisters. I was anticipating that feeling of thawing out. Weeks before we left, I regularly checked on the weather. Finally I had to inform my sisters that they should bring along spring clothing because the temps were ranging between 50-70 degrees during the three weeks I was charting the Miami temps.

I thought I was prepared as I had everything from bathing suits to a few lightweight, cotton sweaters. We arrived in Miami around 3:00 in the afternoon. By the time we checked in the hotel and found our way to a restaurant, it was approximately 6:00 pm and the temps were down in the fifties. And that was pretty much the scenario for the entire five days we were there; fifties during mornings until about 11:000 a.m. and seventies until about 5:00 p.m. I shopped around for a denim jacket and there were none to be found. Folks were walking around shivering during the mornings and evenings.

I kept telling myself, “be grateful”, seventies was much warmer than the thirty something temps in my home of Brooklyn, NY. But while we were there, only one day out of the entire week was really warm enough to be on the beach with just a bathing suit on. I have a vision of one day retiring to a city that’s warm year around, but it no longer seems that’s an option in the US, since for me, the desert states (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) are not an option. Even Mexico was experiencing fifty something temps that week. I’d like to retire somewhere warm, but I’m no longer sure that will be a state side option??? Does this mean I'll have to become a expatriate to be warm?

It seems that global warming doesn’t mean that things will just be warmer. Ultimately, it means Climate change is truly with us and that can mean unpredictable and severe weather changes. I’ve noticed that the weather seems to be severe whether is torrential rains, frigid cold snaps, and blistering heat spells. It seems that the weather just swings to extremes or long spells of unseasonable temps.

Perhaps things will change for me when I start experiencing my own personal summers (menopause), in the meantime, I’m shivering right down to my toes!!! But despite the weather, I had a great time in South Beach hanging out with my sisters, visiting with our long time friend Ms. Ruth, and having nothing to cook and no dishes to wash! Holla!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sisters Create Love

On February 13th in honor of Valentine’s Day and in hopes of bringing understanding to the love thing, we had a small forum at Khamit Kinks around the idea of “Bringing Back Black Love”. Some times we called it Bringing Black Love Back! Anyway, I’m sure you get the idea. We had Love Dr. Karen Francis, bring her expertise on the matter to the floor. Karen has done a body of research on relationships, self-development and human behavior. She shared many insights and gave us some great advice, and it was obvious a great was had by all.

Usually after the main event, folks just book. But not at this event. What I enjoyed and what impressed me the most was the kinship and love I felt in our space when it was all said and done. Long after Karen finished her presentation, Sisters stood around in little groups of 5 and 6 and exchanged stories, gave insight, laughed and commiserated and it was beautiful! It truly touched my heart and I went home on a high from the experience. Yes, we had Champagne and Wine, but all I had to drink was Martinelli’s, so my high, was a natural high from Sister Love and bonding.

Many commented that there just wasn’t enough time to drill down deep. So stayed tuned for part 2. We’re going to see how we can continue to offer a space for learning, healing, growth, and the power of true love – love of self that attracts the right circumstances and the right mate.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Self Seduction

During this Valentine’s Season I love to encourage my sisters to remember to love themselves, to get involved in fine art of Self Seduction. If you are without a mate at this time, that’s no reason not to celebrate this Valentine's Day. It is said, that if you don’t love yourself, appreciate and treat yourself well, why should someone else want to? It starts with you! Here are a few of my ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day, if your "significant other", hasn’t arrived in your life just yet.

What not to do: Whatever you do, don’t have a pity party! Do not engage in self talk that is defeatist. That’s definitely not the move for putting yourself in the proper frame of mind to attract that soul-mate who is headed your way.

#1-Sit down with a pen and paper and write out all the things you would do if that perfect person were in your life right now. You'd probably have your hair and nails done, you know you’d get out the pretty undies, take a bubble bath with candles, and put on your best perfume and lounge wear. There’s no reason not to do so at this juncture. So put yourself in the mood and do for yourself what you’ve done for others. Do those special things that make you look, smell, and feel delicious. Invite some friends over and have Champagne, watch movies, dish the dirt, cut up and have good ole time.

#2 – Some times eating out isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and [Valentine’s Day] is one of those times (unless you’re going top shelf all the way). I say this because on Valentine’s Day any descent restaurant is going to be very busy, thus making service and food somewhat lacking due to the volume of folks to be served. Instead, go out shopping for some of your favorite foods and cook yourself an exotic and delicious meal. Something you know you would do to impress someone else. Why not impress yourself?

#3 – Follow the steps in #1 but instead inviting over friends, have some reflective time alone. You may want to make a list of what you’re looking for in that special mate that has yet to come across your path. Write them a letter and keep it tucked in a special place. While you’re at it, make a list of what you have to offer that’s worthy and special. You know you have a lot to bring to the table, so what a great time to take stock of your worth. Read a great book , work on your art, create a vision, take a ride out to the ocean (yes even in the winter), stroll through a beautiful park, visit a museum, or whatever makes you smile inside and out.

#4 - Treat yourself to a body service – there’s nothing like having a great massage or facial to make you feel, "Oh so lovely and Om like".

#5. I love flowers and will buy them for myself any time I’m in the mood. I don’t wait to receive them from others. So buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers and display them in that just right spot.

#6 Purchase Mikki Taylor's Self Seduction "The Path to Inner and Outer Beauty". She's done the research on how to be good to yourself.

#7 Visit Khamit Kinks! We know how to pamper and sprinkle the love and care.

Well, these are just a few of the ways I’ve given myself joy in the past. Until that right person comes along, you've got to get used to being treated in the best way and who better to do that right now than you? I hope it has been an inspiration for your own ideas of how to honor yourself. Remember, there's no better time than now to count your blessing and love you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Natural Remedies for Sleepless Nights

From time to time I’ll have a sleepless night. I used to just lay there stressed about not being able to get back to sleep. That certainly wasn’t the answer for getting back to sleep. Over the years I’ve come across some great remedies listed below.

What not to do: Don’t lie there thinking of a million things, thinking about “problems” and challenges, contemplating the next days events etc, that will not get you back into that lovely land of slumber. On the contrary, as they say in yogic philosophy the “Drunken Monkey” (mind chatter) will take you over and you’ll be on a trip that will last way past sunrise. If you’ve been lying there for over 30 minutes it’s time to get up and take action. I know, you’re tired and sleepy and don’t feel like getting up, but get up. I get up and here are some of the lovely things I do. Don’t do them all in one night, choose one or two of the following techniques per sleepless night.

Technique A – Make a cup of soothing tea like Sleepy Time or Chamomile and along with that take two Valerian capsules. It takes at least 40 minutes for the Valerian to kick in. The pharmaceutical drug Valium is derived from the Valerian herb. But taking pure Valerian capsules are natural and safer option. Avoid stimulants like violent television programs or getting on the computer. Instead, while you’re sipping your tea read something relaxing like a novel or spiritual text.

Technique B-
Another great internal natural sleep aid is called Rescue Sleep. Rescue Sleep is a homeopathic supplement that has worked wonders for many. It can be found at your local health food store.

Technique C – Aromatherapy -Put a couple dabs of Sleep oil on your pillow. This can be found at Enfleurage in Greenwich Village. The scent is soothing and you’ll be drifting off with this heavenly scent guiding the way.

Technique D
– Legs on the Wall – This is one of my favorite “get me back to sleep” techniques. If you have a head-board on your bed you can do this in bed instead of on the floor. Lie down on the floor on your side with you buttocks up close to the wall as possible and then swing your legs up so that your butt is facing the wall and your legs and resting up against the wall. While your legs are up like this all your organ are resting and receiving a great supply of blood that is nourishing and relaxing. While all the organs benefit, the heart is especially affected by this inversion. The heart doesn’t have to work that hard at all because the blood is flowing towards the heart instead of away from it. Leave your legs like this for as long as it’s comfortable for up to 20 minutes. To come down, please do so slowly and gently by bending your knees, bringing them to your chest. Then roll over onto your side and very slowly sit up. Lie back down to go to sleep and witness the calm affect over your entire body. Ahhhh…

Technique E
– This is a very effective technique but the one I find the most difficult to talk myself into at 3:30 in the morning, that is simple Hatha Yoga floor postures. Yes, yoga in the middle of the night will make you sleep long and deep afterwards. Avoid power yoga or Vinyansa at this time, those yoga styles require aerobic activity/movement. We’re going for restorative yoga, which is some times referred to as “Sleepy Yoga”. Sleepy yoga as it’s some times called, is practiced with 20 -30 second rest intervals between each pose. The ten basic postures I would recommend for the purpose of getting back to sleep are - Cobra, Boat, Bow, Camel, Forward bend, Plough, Shoulder Stand, Fish, - Half Spinal Twist, and Yogic Seal, and Corpse pose. For best results these postures should also be done in the order presented here.

Please be aware that I recommend this for only those who are already familiar with these fundamental yoga postures. Also be aware that at this time of the night, you will not be as flexible as usual so don’t strain or over extend yourself. Be gentle and loving and enjoy the results.

Technique F – Hot and heavy sex with yourself or a partner!

Sleep Tight!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A New Change -Weight Gain

My weight has fluctuated throughout my adult life. If I was really stressed out, I lost weight and usually received a lot of compliments. Gee, Thanks. And when I was very happy I usually gained a few pounds. But it was mostly manageable. My weight fluctuations were in a 10 pound range and I could easily cut back on something or another that would get me back to my target weight. Fast forward to the approach of my second year in my 5th decade and I have noticed a change. I had always welcomed change, finding it either a fun challenge or exciting. This new change Perimenopause falls into neither of those categories.

For the first time in my life, my clothes are no longer fitting! This is serious! I can get my pants on and with some effort I can zip them, but I can’t button them at the waist unless I relinguish the fine art of breathing. What gives here? I’m doing all the things I used to do, regular aerobic and free weight exercises, yoga, eating “right”, not consuming too many sweets and as usual a minimum amount of alcohol. Despite all that, the pounds keep creeping up.

I am of two minds about this. One side of me says, hey that’s where I am in my life, go with the flow and accept what is. Be happy and keep doing what you know makes you feel happy. The other side of me is saying, “Oh hell no, we’re not going down like this”! Maybe it’s just because it’s winter??? Blame everything on winter.

So what’s the solution? One thing I could do, would be to change my diet drastically, like go raw or something, skip meals, cut out most carbs. How about, I’ve been there are done all of that and more, many times before. I did do Weight Watchers for a little while. The counting got on my nerves. These days I can’t do [drastic] especially drastic that’s imposed on me by me. Heck no!

The other solution is to work out at a madding pace like some of the [young] ladies I see at the gym. They’re working out feverishly and it seems they’re on a mission and they look like they’ll kick your butt if you get in their way. Hey, my energy can no longer do that pace. Lately when I try that I find myself depleted. I drag around and it seems to take a week to recover. Welcome to your fifties, I mean, my fifties.

On the other hand I must admit I’m finding this a bit intriguing. Perhaps once the spring rolls around I’ll become inspired and find a workable solution. In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to be grateful, count my blessings, and seek realistic and reasonable solutions…