Friday, September 30, 2011

Take Your Loved One To The Doctor

Since he's been broadcast in my area, I have been listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS). TJMS has declared today as  "Take Your Loved One to the Doctor Day". I am fully on board with this. It seems they started with "Take Your Man to the Doctor Day" because historically, women have a tendency to get check-ups and screenings while men, not so much. I'm not going to pull statistics because by now we have all heard that prevention and early detection are life savers. This call has expanded to all loved ones because, honestly some people just need a nudge and it's not only men. I encourage parents to ensure that your children have their yearly physicals including a visit with the ophthalmologist and semi-annual trips to the dentist. Ask that full blood work ups be performed because sometimes children don't complain, but there are issues that can be detected. If you are sexually active, get an HIV test, even if you believe you are in a monogamous relationship.

I may be a little selfish but over the past year I have spent way too much time in hospitals and nursing homes. I encourage everyone in my circle to get to the doctor and know what you are dealing with. Get the pap smears, mammograms and prostate exams. I know they are uncomfortable but they can provide you with information to help you make wise decisions about your life. Chances are you won't get to see a doctor today but call now and make an appointment. I want you all to live long and abundantly. While you are at it, consider becoming an organ donor, a blood donor, or a bone marrow donor so that you can help others achieve optimum health as well.

On that note, I'm off to make my dental appointment!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Round and Round

I realize that I have a pattern of starting and stopping, the same things - basically going round and round in what seems to be a never ending cycle. This is my fourth blog - I start - I write - I stop - I start again. I looked at a post I wrote in 2007 where I was mad hype because I had an action plan. I was going to lose weight and be all fit & fly (for the umpteenth time!). I had just gotten my learner's permit (for the third time). I was on those lessons and going to be driving within months. In my head, I worked out that I was going to finally complete school since I had already attended three colleges and earned not one degree.

Yeah ... let's fast forward to the present. Still on that losing weight tip. My permit will expire on my birthday next year if I don't do something about it. Haven't graduated yet. These are just a few items that come to mind; I have some others that are on perpetual repeat also.

On the surface, it may look like "wow, this chick can't get it together, huh?" But what I recognize is that this is a process. Life is happening all the time. There are things I didn't anticipate which I have handled and now they are done. To do lists may not be completed, but relationships are being built and strengthened. As long as I have breath, I have another chance to take a stab at my goals. I may look as if I am in the same place, but I am not. Each time I begin a cycle, I get closer to achieving my desired result. I also learn something, either about myself or the world, that helps me and provides an opportunity to share with others.

So today, as with everyday, I will continue moving forward, content with the knowledge that I am where I need to be at this moment in time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

High School Daze

So, my first text of the morning was telling me that Stuyvesant HS ranked #18 on the US News & World Report's list of Best High Schools for Math & Science, while Brooklyn Technical HS ranked #50. My son & I attended an open house for Stuyvesant last night and this text was follow up, to reinforce that there should be no choice between the two schools; the obvious one to try for is the highest ranked.  (There is another school in the city that ranks higher, Staten Island Technical HS #13, but who goes to Staten Island?)

I feel as if the game has changed since my daughter entered high school in 2002. She attended a small private middle school and went to a pretty small Catholic HS in our neighborhood. She tested/auditioned for the specialized high schools, but it seemed we already knew she was staying in private school. Her father and I didn't want her traveling too far because we wanted her to be able to participate in after school activities and not worry about her safety coming home late. She didn't want to take more tests than needed, so she skipped the whole independent school process. We didn't go to high school fairs or open houses. I wasn't scouring the internet for months in advance and reading reviews or report cards.

This time around? My son has already been accepted to an independent school (that hasn't opened yet) during the early admissions process. I mentioned this is high school, not college, right? Wow, an acceptance? Sounds like the work is done and we should just be sitting back waiting for next year to roll around, right? Wrong. The tuition is almost 60% of my annual salary and we are on the financial aid waiting list (I'm a little curious about who was granted aid if I wasn't deemed needy enough, but ...). Anyway, the process continues and it seems to be a tedious one. September through November are crammed with fairs, open houses, buddy days, admission and scholarship exams, applications and letters of reference.

But I had to stop and think, did the process really change or did I change? What I realized is that I need to be more aggressive and vigilant about my son's education than my daughter's. Not because her education was un-important - she is 21 and currently in her second year of graduate school - but because the world views young, Black women differently than young, Black men. My daughter is not perceived as a threat to the establishment so wherever she went to high school, as long as she applied herself, I knew that opportunities for internships, college and careers would be available and not too strenuous. Not so with my son. Young, Black men are viewed as threats, some think they are an endangered species. His intelligence and diligence will not be enough. He needs to be positioned strategically so that he can have access to the most opportunities for future success.

My son has been blessed to have started his education at an African centered, Christian school where he was nurtured with knowledge of self and faith in God. He is currently in a school that continues the tradition of academic excellence and preparation for the next steps in life. It is my job to ensure that his training encompasses a well rounded experience providing access to high quality academics, current or cutting edge technology, facilities that are conducive to learning, appropriate social development and opportunities to serve the community. I am glad that he is taking ownership of his future and is fully engaged in this process. So we press on and the search continues.

It's really happening ...

After years of pregnancy with this dream, Spirit Song: the lyrics of my heart is actually going to be birthed. The book has been sent to the publisher and I am awaiting the copy for proofing.

I thought I didn't want this anymore yet when my daughter recently asked what is going on with my book, I thought, "why not print it?" It's been edited and formatted for years. The ISBN #'s are going to expire soon if I don't use them. I figure this has been a year of transitions, a year of seeing what I'm really made of, so I might as well go for it. I've always said I just want to see my stuff in print, want to be able to hand my children a book that says, you can do anything you put your mind to. There you have it.

I want to thank everyone who has been in my corner, supporting me, critiquing me and providing whatever it is I needed from you. I even want to thank those who were blocking me because I was able to grow through those experiences as well.

So, just be on the lookout for the post that says "buy now" because it will be coming soon!