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This Is My Son

 I took this picture of my son 3 years ago. It is framed beside a picture of his sister beside our front door. Like #Trayvon, he was born in 1995. His name starts with the letter T. He plays football and basketball, loves sweet tea and almost always has candy on him. He is now 6'2" and weighs 165 pounds. His features are sharper, sleeker. He is actually more dashing. Way more dashing than I could have ever dreamed of being when I was his age. He volunteers at the Humane Society. He holds doors open for women. He carries groceries. And he does listen to hip hop. He sometimes wears his jeans low (not too low if he doesn't want us to embarrass him). But even if his appearance had changed as they often do once a teenager begins to rebel. Don't we all now there is a child beneath all the nonsense --- all the heavy makeup, the short skirts, the tattoos, the drinking from Solo cups, the puff puff pass, the foul language we all once (and some still do) thought was cool? And he is occasionally grumpy and clueless. Filled with angst. Trying to make sense of who he actually is. Just as I was when I was his age. Just as I do now.

This is my son. I have been avoiding the similarities because they are almost too painful to bear. But it is undeniable. Each time I look at pictures of Trayvon Martin I see my son and my eyes fill with tears of sadness and anger. He is Trayvon Martin. But why is Trayvon Martin now infamously, Trayvon Martin?

This is the question that must be answered if we as humanity ever expect to be as enlightened as we believe we are because we own iPhones and iPads.


Mondays With Michelle: The Power of Juice

Happy Monday, and welcome back to Monday's with Michelle! In case you are wondering what happened with my Half Marathon that I mentioned a while back... I did it! It was last weekend and I finished and I am still alive and kicking. :-)

Today, I want to talk about Juicing. Juicing is basically, taking  whole bunch of fruits, veggies and herbs and running them through a juicing machine to extract all the juice to create a delish concoction chocked full of nutrients in liquid form. Some people do this for the purpose of fasting, to replace meals, and some just to have Clean, Fresh, Yummy juice.

I started juicing a while back after seeing the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I started having juice in the morning since that was the meal I was missing the most anyways and its  great way to start the day. I have to say I love it! You can mix any combination of fruits and veggies that work for you. Check out my favorite "green" juice..


How To Survive During Pollen Season

Is it really surviving or is it simply existing? Even the most unfazed by anything among us are finding themselves sniffling now that Spring has sprung. Why? Because due to the sudden onslaught of warm weather everything green thing is in bloom. In a couple of months this will be a beautiful thing. But right now all these plants and trees are blooming, AT THE SAME TIME. After a recent trip to California, where it was cold and rainy (go figure?), I came home to Atlanta to a neon green dustbowl. Cars every color of the rainbow now all look as if they've been dusted with bright lime green flour.

Then came the sneezing. The itchy, watery eyes. The scratchy throat. The swollen sinuses. The never ending headache behind your eyeballs. The phlegm.

Antihistamine and psudephedryn help to subdue these symptoms or at the very least assist in one's tolerance of the unbearable. If this doesn't work, then a trip to an allergist and a dust mask might be another option for you. You can also follow these simple tips to increase your quality of life during a time period none of us have any control over:

  1. If you have a hose, use it to hose down your cars just before sunset and before driving them into your garage.
  2. While you're at it hose down your front stairs and the front door, if you use them to enter and exit your house. Doing this will prevent you from tracking pollen in through your front door and will keep it off your hands.
  3. If you have a dog that hangs out in the backyard or that you take for walks, wipe down his or her paws and coat before you let them get too far into the house.
  4. If you want to hang outside or let the kids play after school, do it just before dusk when the pollen count is at its lowest for the day. Mornings are highest.
  5. Wash your hands as soon as you come inside.
  6. Take a shower before going to bed to get it off your skin. Take in deep breaths of the shower steam to soothe, clean and moisturize your sinuses. 
To learn more you can visit this website.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


The Brother P-Touch Label Maker Stands The Test of Time

After packing up a 3 bedroom apartment and moving into a 4 bedroom home best believe I did what most people and especially men do --- I unpacked what was essential and the rest I stuffed away not too neatly in corners and the garage, making the mental note to "get to it later." Later didn't happen until now.

Armed with my Brother P-Touch Label Maker, 2 sets of wire racking, a Husky tough hook and some generic wire hooks from IKEA I set out to change the unbearable into the functional.


The Accountability Disconnect

I often find myself frustrated with the glaring deficiencies in my teen son's ability to communicate --- what he's saying, what he means, where he is physically at. He says he'll be somewhere when he needs to be picked up but without being a psychic I know beforehand once I arrive he'll be somewhere else, or just not outside waiting for me. His plans with his friends are erratic and sometimes elaborate, constantly changing cluster-you-know-whats. We often play "Who's On First" because he claims he told me something I never heard him utter once. I often find him unaware of things that need to be done because he claims he never got that pertinent voice mail I left or text I sent. Lately, my mustache and goatee has been getting grayer and grayer.

But when I sit down and think about it long enough I really can't blame him. It's the thing that can't be pried from his hand that's mostly to blame for his, mine and nearly everyone else's often nonsensical way of communicating.

The technology of communication --- the very lifeblood that drives this blog --- the thing that came to make communication and connectivity easier, in the ever evolving ecosystem of communications and Social has created massive holes in effective and basic communication. How many times have you heard or said the following:


Letting Go Of The Stuff - Part 1

This post is especially meaningful considering that the pastor of the church I attend spoke on this this past weekend.

Now that I am thoroughly settled into my home, thoroughly ingraining myself in my community and doing my best to do my best on my new social media gig at one of the largest companies in the world (no pressure), I have begun to sift and sort through my stuff...

Garbage out...
Once I hit adulthood I began to collect a record of my happenings --- ticket stubs from great concerts, pictures with the handful of famous people I'd bump into on the streets of New York, my documented experiences and paraphernalia from my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Playbills from famous Broadway plays. My thought behind doing this is that should I suddenly cease to exist on this planet, as is often the case with humans, particularly African American males, those I leave behind would be able to sort through my stuff and piece together the life I've lived --- who I was and where I've been. There are journals that spell out in great detail my goals, aspirations and dreams. In the midst of my stuff anyone looking will find my heart.


Mondays with Michelle: Arroz Con Pollo

Here's another "In case you missed" it from my Foodie Blog. This one is about preparing a healthier version of one of my favorite Puerto Rican dishes Arroz Con Pollo... enjoy!

Tonight's  plan for dinner is one of my childhood favs, Arroz con Pollo (chicken with rice). I picked up some chicken legs the other day (since they were on sale at Kroger) with this dish in mind. I've experimented with this fav a ton, I've made it in the traditional one-pot fashion, I've tried half rice cooker/half stove top, I've added pigeon peas (yum), I've tried a more Spanish style and cooked it in the oven... like I said, I've experimented a ton and it has all be delicious.With my recent weight loss efforts I decided that I would change this recipe a little bit to make it as figure friendly as possible. In order to do that, I decided to use brown rice instead of white rice. Keep in mind this changes the dish quite a bit because the texture of brown rice is different than white rice, but that doesn't mean that it can't be just a flavorful.

The recipe is listed below, but before you get to that here is a step by step via some photo's I took during the process, check it out...

Season the chicken with Michelle's Essence


Selling Your iPad2

I'm currently suffering from device and information overload. I've transitioned into the next realm of computing and connectivity. I'm a lifetime PC who has in less than 4 months gone completely Apple. I'm very happy and very blessed with the new upgrades that have come with my new occupation as a social media strategist and the generosity of immediate family members who saw fit to do something I would've never gotten around to doing --- upgrading.

Despite my satisfaction, I'm admittedly a little tempted by the March 7th Apple announcement and presentation of its iPad HD that the hitting the shelves on March 16th. The technical upgrades as far as visuals and graphics, one of the spaces I work in as a budding photographer, immediately appealed to me (not to be confused with taking pictures with an iPad which I personally believe looks ridiculous - but that's just me). The ability to review, display and potentially edit photos and videos on the fly with touchscreen functionality is really appealing. And like any device, there are people who don't need all that and would be quite satisfied with a gently/barely used iPad2.

In trying to figure out where I would begin I completely forgot about my eBay knowledge and their Instant Sale functionality. It works like this:

1. You locate your item.


Talking the Talk...Too Much

At a very critical point in my life I talked too much. But I'm glad I learned during this critical time via critical mistakes. From them I learned not to kiss and tell, not to reveal my dreams until they were close to being realized and most important, be careful who you share your information with, perceived friends may prove to be real foes armed with what you thought were your secrets.

I distinctly remember the day: I was a junior in college, a somewhat new member of my fraternity and there was some event coming up that involved girls. I distinctly remember (to this day) making a comment about not having a date and a frat brother quickly remarking that it was always something with me, some drama, some debacle, some something that always had my name on it. At first I was shocked' then I was upset and attempted to defend myself and then this particular individual began to tell me about all my antics and exploits, not because he had some sort of inside scoop on me but he was repeating the very things I had told him and anyone else who'd listen at the time. I was talking too much. In honesty, how could I be mad at the consequences I created?

Well I was. But I didn't stay mad for long. I got even. But not in the traditional sense of the phrase.


Mondays with Michelle: The Death of a Lobster

Here's another "In case you missed" it from my Foodie Blog. This one is about my experience cooking a live Lobster... enjoy!

Yesterday while roaming around the Dekalb farmer's market, I came upon one of my favorite area's in the whole place... the fish market. Sure it's smelly and cold, but there is so much to choose from and the prices are generally pretty good. Anyhow, I looked up and saw the big sign hanging on the lobster tank... "Live Maine Lobster $9.99/lb". I turned to my better half, and I said. I wanna do it. I want to finally cook a live lobster. Truth be told, I have never cooked a live lobster. Ever. Tails, absolutely. But a living, crawling lobster. No. Until last night.

Don't eat me...

On the way home I could hear the bag rustling in the back seat... it kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. Totally made me think about Julie from one of my favorite movies, Julie and Julia.

That was the exact scene in my kitchen last night. I filled my stock pot with water, added sea salt and brought it to a rolling boil. Then I stood there staring at the lobster for a while, trying to get up the courage to pick him up and plunge him in the water. I finally said a little prayer, thanking him for his life and dropped him in.

 The hardest part was over... next it was time to break him down and get it ready to eat.
Bright red lobster ready to be broken down

Lobster Claws, knuckles and tail

Pulling out that yummy tail meat...
Like I said the hard part was over. Breaking down the lobster and pulling out the meat was a cinch. You also have to remember to pull out the digestive track once you free the tail meat.... not so glamorous, but it needs to be done. Also, don't you dare throw that lobster body away! It's perfect for making a lobster/seafood stock, I'll be sure to do another post on that.

The meat was perfectly sweet and succulent. I decided to heat it back up quickly in some butter and garlic for a little extra yumminess. Since it was already done I had to be careful not to overcook it. So I just heated some butter in a small saute pan with garlic and dropped the lobster meat in for just a minute constantly pouring the butter and garlic over the meat with a spoon.

Yum!! The final product... lobster drenched in garlic butter and a few sprinkles of parsley

The end result was amazingly delicious, so buttery and tender. It was definitely worth it. Another experience I get to mark off my list!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Swingline's New Stack and Shred: Shred It And Forget It

(Sponsored Post)

I hate junk mail, actually I hate mail period. Not hate mail, just mail in general. It quickly becomes clutter and if not protected it easily can become a goldmine for anyone looking to swipe an identity. Before I was shredding I was spending hours tearing up mail and important documents. And then I reached real adulthood (age 25 or so) and I invested in my first shredder, a piece of garbage that attached to the top of my garbage can and created long strips of paper. It took less time, but then I had new problems --- paper jams, overheating and occasional smoke.

It seems that with each degree of maturation, the more advanced the shredder I've acquired along the way. I made the leap to semi-high end cross-cut shredding a couple years ago and never looked back. But it's no less time consuming and god forbid I spill the container while dumping. The clean-up is similar to sweeping up broken glass, you just never seem to get it all.