Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm such a slacker, eh? I see so many amazing blogs and the people who love them. I just can't perform on command. Laughs. This is exactly why I work from home. I've tried playing nice in the sandbox with the can do. Some days I feel like a nut some days I don't.
On the home front things are swell but, I've been feeling personally, quite emotionally vulnerable lately. The Nicholas Francisco case coupled with the downward spiral of a close friend's career and life and then the news of another childhood friend's passing. It isn't a good time for me. I'm very sensitive and intuitive to the subtle changes in energies in my environment. It permeates my very existence. I couldn't really teach today, my attempts at piecing together beads and stones for my work were futile. All in all, I'm feeling rather tainted and heavy and, well vulnerable.
I think I'm going to check out for the next 3 days. That is usually enough time for me to meditate, focus and strategically prepare for better days. Those of you who've been peeking in from time to time and dropping comments are much appreciated. There is so much of my story to tell, I'll definitely be back. Peace. Winks.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Photopalooza presents: The Gembalaya Collection

As a person, as a woman, as a parent I am all things unconventional. I'm a hippie, I'm a liberal, I'm a vegetarian, humanitarian, I'm progressive and old-fashioned and traditional. I'm spiritual and apolitical, I'm philosophical and cynical. It's all part of the whole.

About 2 months ago, I created a piece I call Harmony. I mentioned a bit about the differences in my immediate family that have always made our home, home of the oddballs, sanctuary for the misunderstood. It turned out to be one of my favorite pieces. Fast forward a few weeks and, I'm looking for a dish which would salvage our rapidly ripening produce in the crisper. In a strange, although habitual turn of events, I ended up on Wikipedia reading the etymology of jambalaya. I'm enamored by the old wives' tale about the wanderer's late night request. "Jean balayez!" Rough translation, "Jean, whip me up something". It hit me...the piece of jewelry I'd created, I just kinda whipped it up as if the process was being directed by divinity, The Gembalaya Collection was born.

My new line is centered around the fleeting patterns in my mind's eye, my flighty nature, and the clever way my life and art are always all encompassing yet free. I'm elegant, and bohemian, eclectic and classic, ethnic and generic, I am abstract. I am Tameka. This is Gembalaya.
The second piece in the collection is titled Jarabacoa, after the mountainous region of the Dominican Republic. This piece is colorful and spicy, fresh and flavorful. It is one of a kind and currently for sale in my Etsy shop, Pretty in Peace.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Photopalooza Friday-Gullah Folks

I am a Gullah gal. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents are/were Southerners, inhabitants of the low country. While we maintained our place in NYC for careers and educational opportunities, our home lives were always very much centered around Gullah tradition. Fish and grits Fridays, okra soup, hoppin' john (pois pigeon), and of course the Boo-hag.

I clearly remember spending summers at our home in St. George, SC and the reunions at the Camp Grounds of Shady Grove every October. (A series of log and ply wood cabins where the servants stayed during the white Christian's Camp Meeting) Each year in October for 2 weeks we'd give up our cozy homes with indoor plumbing, MTV and electricity to pay homage to the way it was. As a child, it was just plain fun, I never quite "got it". As I aged, and my awareness grew I felt a strong sense of belonging during Camp Meets. It was a time to really learn about my history; black history, from black historians, not just text books about us.

I haven't been "home" since 2004. My paternal grandparents have passed, my maternal grandfather has passed and, my maternal grandmother, "Ma" prefers travelling to all of our respective homes to having us gather in SC. I suspect the migration to NYC was much more her idea than my grandfather's. She definitely headed the assimilation project. I love her, she's a very intelligent, progressive woman for her time, not to mention quite hysterical . I don't know when I'll make it back, all of us grandchildren and great-grandchildren are agnostics, and liberals, urbanites and buppies. A 2 week long religious themed, camp-out sans indoor plumbing and wireless internet is well...not the new black. Pun not intended. Laughs.

These are pics from my last pilgrimage home, as my youngest child, Yael meets her Carolinian kin-folk. If you look closely, you can see a few real-life historians in the mix. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eeek Eighties...more Photopalooza!

Alright, let's see it is Thursday. I missed the lunar eclipse because it rained. What are the chances of rain in Arizona? I'll tell you, chances are if I'm eagerly anticipating the ever occasional total eclipse sighting we shall be blessed with the ever occasional precipitation. It's what we call irony around these parts.

I've got photos to post today, yes? I'm not sure who or what I want to post pics of's going to take some pondering. There's a buzz about 80's pics in the fora, but 24 hours (or more if I slack off) of an embarrassing 80s photo, in full view of everyone on the interwebs is a bit risque even for a thrill-seeker like me. Unless of course... I take the favorite guy down with me, because two silly looking folks is of course much less embarrassing than one! Alright, I'm in. Here we are:


My favorite purple BUM Equipment shirt. We are 16 and 20 years old here on the NYU campus in NYC. Aah, sweet nostalgia! Not only was that hairstyle deliberate, but it was a good hair day and I was quite stylin' in all of my natural goodness! (The gods prevented me from capturing the full magnitude of Joe's giant Drew Carey-esque specs!) Cheers.

"Y'know I really like this Photopalooza thing, thanks WallCandy".

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In true Tameka fashion I am spread thinner than my fragile psychological state allows. I'm all over the place. I've committed myself to catching up on house-cleaning whilst keeping my business afloat, keeping the children educated and the cat box from putrefaction. I need rescue or beer. Well, the one thing I did manage to do, and inadvertently no less is post to the photopalooza that I joined a mere 6-7 days ago. So, late but not not out of the running yet.

I often speak of the 2 decades of love and insanity I've shared with my favorite person, Joe. Well here we are. This is a pic of us in 1996 celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in Montauk, L.I. New York (We still lived in NYC then) The picture like the couple has been through some rough times but still lovely!

And again 10 years later, now in Sedona AZ. This time celebrating our youngest child's 7th birthday about 60 days shy of our 15th wedding anniversary. I came across these while dusting. Of course I didn't just come across them, I sat comfortably in modified lotus pose, placed my dust rag down and decided that although there are a gazillion other things I could be doing, I want to sift through old photos and bask in the glories of graceful aging. At the end of it all, I'm a happily married, self-confident woman with a fairly dusty family room, and a late albeit auspicious start to Photopalooza. Please enjoy.
And the friggin' spell check is still not working, someone is really trying to knock me off my 'A' game.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Greets. I was so spot on and ready to go with lots of wonderful blog-worthy goodness, but the heart won't let me part from the Francisco family and their current dire situation. Funny thing about women and how at once we are so supportive and loving of one another and yet filled with such condemnation and contempt. Christine Francisco has quickly entered and carved a very deep spot in my heart. A woman I've never met from many miles away has closed in on my world and the worlds of so many others. We're all sisters...all of us wives and mothers are sisters. Exclusive of race, socio-economic status, and faith we share the same basic intrinsic nature to love and nurture.

The Etsy community has really tightened around the support and search efforts for the Francisco family, short of checking local news, the community forum is the place to be to send love, money, support. prayers positive vibes and even donate goods. Local artists are also participating in the search. I haven't had this much faith in humanity since living in NYC during the 9/11 attacks. It's not a full restoration of faith, but it is a shimmer of hope that we haven't totally lost it.

I'm here in my dining room enjoying my morning coffee and catching up with my favorite guy on the latest homefront happenings. The usual routine but with a bit more substance today. Today I'm looking at him and thinking "I've spent just about every day of the past 18 years of my life with this person, more years with him than without him. We've built a family, established traditions, developed our own recipes and vernacular...of course I can live without him, but why would I want to"?

At your desk now, or on your walk home or over dinner, on the commute-wherever, tell the people who make your life special that you love them and that you cherish every moment you are together. When you're done, make an offering of prayer, love, positive energy, strength, grace or faith to The Francisco family.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Please read!

Have you seen this man? In lieu of my regular posting, I am trying to help a fellow artist and Etsy community member by posting this picture of her dear husband Nicholas Francisco.
Nicholas has been missing since February 13,2008 when he called home to say he was on his way from work to bake Valentine's Day cookies with his 4 year old daughter Zea. He has not been seen or heard from since.
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with more of the details in the links below. All comments, prayers and well wishes for his wife Christine, daughter Zea 4, son Noah 2.5 and their third child who is expected this October will be copied, pasted and forwarded to them via e-mail.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Have I mentioned my Anju? Anju is the subject my PC adoption story. No, I didn't travel to some exotic land, didn't pick him out of a catalog and believe it or not, I don't take him on shopping trips. Anju is a rescue kitten.
Sometime in November between the lack of sunlight and Jordan's upcoming 16th birthday, I started getting all...well sensitive and mushy and maternal. So while lying in bed I turn to the favorite guy and say "Mercs, I need two kittens." He nods his head, "Yes", prematurely and then the reality of 2 kittens sets in and he exclaims, "Two!". I go on to tell him how we have more than enough space for 2 kittens and since I'd be adopting them it wouldn't be costly blah blah blah. As with most of my late night requests, proclamations and epiphanies, Joe wakes up refreshed and with a clear, as in erased mind.
Forward a few days and there in the FREE! West Valley View newspaper is an ad for FREE! kittens to a good home. The good home part caught my eye and well y'know the FREE! part captured the husband's heart. So, I call the number and a woman answers. I inquire about the kittens and she starts to describe them, she says 2 were already adopted since the ad premiered! I tell her to hang on to the solid grey one for me and I'm on my way. Joe grunts for a while, I think he may have sulked and stomped as well, but nevertheless, I won.
We pile in the car and head to Phoenix. I've been here for 4 years, but I'm totally uninterested in the areas that aren't designated photo opportuinities and/or shopping. I have no clue where this place is. I give Joe the address and he makes the fasten your seatbelts, turn your stones in and lock the doors face. Whatever man, I want some kittens. We arrive and just as my mind's eye painted, it's a wear worn home, with a bazillion pets and a little lady who smokes entirely too many cigarettes. I am a snob. Let's just get this out of the way now. So my immediate thought is these kittens have to be super young because she's a lot more living quarters liberal than I am. Jordan, he is his father's son. He enters and sits on the sofa, and all the way back too-back and head pressed firmly into the cushion. I turn to him and with the church smile say "My, Jordan you're awfully comfortable, have you been here before?" This is Tameka, for get your head off the nice cat lady's sofa. Yael is all about it, she and I are each balancing our coccyx at the very tip of the cat lady's couch.
She coughs a bit and searches for the kittens, there are 18 in all. Right, yikes! She brings the little grey one out and one eye is sealed with gunk and it's super tiny, but adorable. She needed more time with her mom and we were just about to arrange an appointment to come back in a week or so when she'd be ready. I look over and Jordan has been petting this sweet tabby the whole time. So muchy mom that I am I say well, this one likes us so we'll take him too. She agrees to giving us the younger kitten as, well since she would be with a familiar house mate. It's in the stars. the husband shakes her hand and much like a drug transaction hands her some money for the kitties and we head home...
Please be advised the good IT folks at blogger are working on fixing spell-check. Please bear with me, I'm really dying inside worrying that I have embarassing typos in my posting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So, I coincidentally tuned into the 50th annual Grammy awards while Kanye West was performing two his favorite songs of mine. His performance of Stronger complete with fluorescent lighting and the two beat machine playing technophiles is what separates Kanye from the masses. It isn't often that I speak of what this society deems celebrities, because my personal feel is that celebrity is an affliction-but Kanye is an artist and he should be respected as such. He lives beyond the boundary is his art, and in his life, and that is okay. Atleast it is okaty with me, "Go on Kanye"!
Stronger was followed by his ode to his mom. It was heart warming and heart wrenching at once. As a mother, it is surreal to make such a huge impact on another human being, as surreal as it is tragic to leave them behind. You almost wonder if being so good cuts your time short, I mean after all, our time spent here is a lesson of sorts, yes? He performed beautifully with just the right amount of strength and sensistivity, he delivered. I know his mom is proud. Hugs to the West family.
Barack Obama won a Grammy! That is pretty cool, huh? I should be nominated for talking shit, I can totally talk some shit on a good day. Make no mistake, Barack is an incredible public speaker and I wish I had an in to vote for him in the Grammy's as I will not be voting for him or anyone else in this election. Without hijacking a lighthearted take on the Grammy's, I will say that I am a philosophical anarchist and I will elaborate on my stance more as the election nears. I do not vote, I will not vote, nor have I ever voted. Pretty interesting tidbit about me.
Alicia Keys and John Mayer's performance was to die for, two progressive young artists whom I happen to have a great deal of admiration. Beyonce and Tina Turner....aaaah Beyonce and Tina, well they had fun. All in all the gospel medley was my favorite part second to Kanye...I've decided in all of my atheistic glory to burn some gospel tunes for my morning walk. You Brought the Sunshine has got to be one of my all time favorite gospel songs, and while I believe the sunshine is a combination of preexisting gas, elemental and chemical reactions-that song charges my carbon based body.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Le Troisieme ACEO

This is my third installment in my NEW! ACEOs Collector series. For those of you who are just tuning in ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals, they are miniature pieces of collectible art. As my collection grows, I will post short musings on what each piece means to me as an art collector. I love the way that sounds, I get a mental image of myself donning a monocle and thumbing through my collection in white gloves. Laughs.

The third piece in my collection came quite the distance from Trieste, Italy to the comforts of my cozy Goodyear AZ home in the United States. I must admit searching for just the right piece for my growing collection can become tiresome and tedious even, but just because they aren't costly doesn't mean I should go about the business of collecting without a deeply pocketed mindset.

While perusing Etsy on the evening of January 21st I came across this piece by Dilkabear. The piece is titled New Dress and it is an image of a black child in... well, a new dress. I don't know what it was about the piece but I sat and stared at it for some time. I just fell in love with it, as cliche as it seems, it was love at first sight. All sorts of nostalgic thoughts ran through my mind. Thoughts of a time before the hair weave and the chemical relaxer. I thought of sitting on pillows between my mother's knees holding the Bergamot hair dressing in one hand and the comb in the other. She'd alternate between plaiting and parting, I went from gasp to grimace in unison. It is disheartening at times to see so many images of blackness that are simply darkened generic images that pay no homage to the complexities of color and texture of our people. I didn't feel any of this when I encountered this original ink drawing. Dilka manages with a pen and watercolors to paint such vast imagery, there is so much story in this piece. Her tightly woven hair, the innocence in her gaze and of course, the profound beauty of her new dress.

I have a perfectly pristine daughter, nothing and I mean nothing on her little body has been altered. I hope as she blossoms into a woman, she remains true to form desiring only, to renew her inner sense of beauty with the occasional new dress.
Dilka's growing gallery can be found in her Etsy shop, Dilkabear. Thank you. Please leave a comment in appreciation of her fine work(s).

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