New Years Resolution

Of course I am going to make New Year Resolutions. What would a New Year be, without resolutions! Lose 30 pounds in on one week!

Happy New Year 2016, Y’all!

Happy New Year 2016

We made it!

It ain’t a joke entering a new year! I sat down, waiting for the clock to ring in mid-night, for the ball to drop, pondering about the uncertainty of entering a new year!

Particularly because, I was on the road, traveling out of state, away from my habitual residence, to join friends in welcoming the new year. I left Child of Mine behind, the second year in a row! I have to shamefully confess that, this is my second year, in a row, welcoming the New Year, away from Child of Mine, third out of the last four years

2013 – I was in Uganda, and welcomed the New Year with fellow Drinkers with a Running Problem, Kampala Hash House Harriers. On NYE, I went on a group run around Kampala City, thereafter hangout with the group, and at close to midnight, proceeded to Kololo hill to watch the fireworks.

2014 —I stayed home with Child of Mine, and we tossed to the new Year.

2015 — I went on a two-year run with Pocono Area Running Club, starting 23:00 on New Year Eve. The clock ticked mid-night —New Year’s Day, while alone the route. But I went back home that night and kissed a Happy New Year to COM!

2016 — I traveled to the Big Apple to join my Scandinavian friend, and his international group of friends in welcoming the New Year. I decided not to take COM with me, to give myself a break from “Being Mommy,” and a chance to “Be Doreen”. I left him with his cousins and grandmother, until the following night of New Year’s Day.

I made it safely into The City, in under two hours. I took a public commuter van into The City, for my sanity and safety —no worry about parking, falling asleep in traffic or getting stuck on the road. I slept the entire ride to The City, and woke up in time to hit the bright city lights, and right on time for the party!

Thankful for rich friends, who can afford $2M high rise apartments right above Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan. Reminds me of my friend’s kids who used to cal me “Our Rich Auntie from the Hilton” [Story for another day]. I had a clear “Point of View” of the entire city, on the top @the35th. It looked good, a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets below, packed with New Yorkers and plenty of its tourists, trying to catch a glimpse of the ball dropping. [Oh! “The Ball” dropping! Oh the fireworks!].

Great night! Barilla pasta, and french bread; of Norwegian candy, and french champagne, of Norwegian cheese and middle eastern humus; all courtesy of my former Norwegian landlord in Oslo. An international night! With the Norwegian host, a Norwegian family, an American, a Chinese family, and a Dutch Italian pasta-making man [who made the pasta dinner], and this very Ugandan very American girl. Impressed that all the European men present said, they are the main cooks in the family!

The crowd was a pleasure! All intellectuals, and academics in universities and research institutions. We laughed, cracked joked, ate, drank, shared parts of ourselves, exchanged resolutions, and our confusions at the ‘disappearance’ of the Ball dropping and fireworks at the tick of New Year 2016!

I spent soundly throughout the night, with a beautiful view of The City, the harbor and the Hudson! I woke up, then went back to sleep, until I did not have to. Woke up, drank tea, shared our life trajectories, interrogated our insecurities and our hopes and dreams and commitments with the Dutchman, ate bread, drank more tea. Went for a New Year’s Day run in Central Park in the company of the flying Dutchman.

Back to our 35th, took a shower, went out to the grocery store and picked up a couple of ingredients for dinner. Made another pasta dinner, and tuna sauce and leftover champagne. Then it was time to head back to COM, onto the subway, the bus and Exit 302.

So, back to my resolutions

  1. Giving more gratitude to my family and friends
    i) My family, who love me regardless. I think, and I know, they love me unconditionally. Spoken or unspoken, they show me undying love. They don’t judge me, they don’t pressure me. They wait for me, to rise up, if I fall, and recuperate at my pace. They have outpouring love for Chid of Mine, steadfast love. I do not have to say it umpteen times, because they know I love them…as much as they love me…and I appreciate them. May 2016 be a year to see and enjoy the physical company of my family, more often.
    ii) My friends; I have the best friends in the world —one is Resting in Peace, around me! My friends, know me and appreciate me, regardless. I can call on them in an instant, and they will listen, and hold me down. They are the best the world could ever gift anybody. They inspire me, pump me up, remind me of the beauty of the life within me, and our shared friendships. They see the good in me, and remind me of my strength. They prompt me, knowingly or not, to hang on, hold on steadfast, and continue to pursue my best. May 2016 be the year filled with friendships. Hoping to see my friends in person this year.
  2. Understand Child of Mine (COM) much more. Continue working on being the best mother and father to this child. Work calmly and firmly with COM, listen as much as I speak to him. Support as much as I demand from him. Nurture as much as I suggest from him. Provide comfort and confidence as much as I teach him. Guide, as much as I learn from him. May 2016 also bring us another person into our lives —a partner and father figure for COM.
  3. Become Doreen, again. Do all the things I have always done to represent my brand. Lose the baggage — on my body, my mind, my head, and get back into my fit, healthy, fighter spirit again. Get back into winning and rising above all challenges. I am no stranger to this! Find the go-getter, creator and winning innovative Doreen.
    Keep an active on Social Media, communicating, learning, negotiating, and continuing to grow and thrive as a person and social being. Accepting the challenges of social media, challenge social relations and improve and grow my communication channels.
  4. Grateful, that social media has taught me not to take personal the differences of opinion, but negotiate my place and refine my views. I have become more accepting of difference of opinions and accepted alternative reactions, even when it is personal attacks against me or bitter responses against me. Social media is social living.
  5. Continue writing for fun, for meditation, for inspiration, to share, to relate to others, to learn, to teach and reach other. I hope to publish one or two writings in reputable fora. I hope to get back into writing for active citizenship of the African Diaspora and as a public intellectual.
  6. Focus on finding *meaning* in life, as a journey to *happiness*. 2015 gave reaffirmation that Emotional Intelligence/“Emotional Quotient,” is as important as “Intellectual Quotient,” or “Logic”. I felt vindicated by the social acknowledgement of “meaning” rather than just “happiness,” as key to a fulfilling life.
  7. I will keep treading the hard paths and staying the course. I will keep talking the hard talk, not shying away from it, irrespective of the audience. I will persevere, venture outside my comfort zone: commit to my social causes —of fundraising, building a brand; transforming my passion into my livelihood. I will bring my child with along with me, while we build a brand, to serve others, while also serving ourselves.
  8. Get back into the Dating Game. Intriguingly, 2016 started off with me in the “company of men”; the right kind of men, from the geographical zones I want to live. No! I am not running away; I am running into greatness. Never “actively searched,” but I am open to different avenues of finding love, real love and commitment. I want to date.
  9. Run four marathons in the year; three marathons will be fine. One marathon per season: winter, spring, summer and fall. If my finances will not allow me to sign up for one each season, at I will run a marathon on my own. I know I can wake up in the morning, and ran a marathon. But I hope to afford going out, and running with a group. I have identified four potential marathons, on my bucket list…two in my geographical location; one close to family [will need two air tickets] and will find another, possibly where another one of my family is located. Or another location without a need for a plane ticket or hotel accommodation.
  10. Finally, Give less Fcuks than POTUS gave 2015. With all the achievements on the economy, diplomacy, politics and social service, POTUS still got rotten eggs slammed at him, demeaned, undermined and belittled like a subhuman. So, rightly, he ran out of Fucks to give; haters gonna hate, and he just shook it off! Same here, I am plan to care less about failure, and more about trying again. I am going to pay less attention to disappointments, and devote more attention to rising up. I am going to devote less energy into self-criticisms, and more self-appraising. I am going to shut away the misgivings, misunderstandings, and under-appreciation. I will focus more on transformation, recovery, strength and achieving.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 Y’ALL!

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Running Alone, In a Sea of Runners

 [I wrote a week ago, on the even of Steamtown Marathon 2015, Saturday, October 10]

I recently reSteamtown Expo signad a blog thecatchmeifyoucan.com, the blogger explaining that she chooses to travel alone.

I do not! I neither choose nor like to travel alone, but I do. Nor do I choose to run alone, but I do.

As I sat in the cafeteria of Nazareth Students Center at Maywood University in Scranton, PA, reality checked me. I had just picked up my running Bib and pack for the 20th Steamtown Marathon 2015, happening the next day, October 11. I realized that I am actually running the marathon, as the only person I know.

I am running the marathon alone, in a sea of runners. How could that be? Just like my usual runs, which I always run solo. Even though the Pocono Area Running Club (PARC) exists in my neighborhood, but its schedule does not permit. See, I told you before, “Choice is Illusive!”

That I am running solo, is probably not unique.  I bet there are others like me. I have seen a couple of runners, sitting by themselves around here. But who knows if they are waiting for friends or family? Well, others, thankfully, have families who accompanied them to pick up their race packets. And will probably stand along the route to cheer them on tomorrow.

What is actually unique to me, is that I am the only black woman I have seen here, thus far. True, I have seen a couple of black men, but no black women in sight. And because this is America, we see color and race very quickly.
Steam town race packages

So, how do I always end up traveling and running solo? As I said, I do not choose solo life; it just finds me. But it is not a deterrence to me. I will still run, even if I am the only person I know. I registered alone, so why should I expect to meet anyone I know at the race!

Well, Boston/BA
A 201
5 was different. I expected to meet plenty of runners from my alma meter(s), even though I trained solo in Mt. Poconos. My first marathon – Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon, was the only time
I registered, trained, traveled and run with a group of friends. I enjoyed every bit of it! Matter of fact, I had a pace-mate.

Since then, I have registered for each successive marathon alone, and run so
lo. At the Edinburgh Marathon (EMF), I run solo, but expected to see my friends cheering me on along the route, and meeting me at the finish line. Bet
they underestimated how fast I run! I saw none along the route. In fact, they arrived hours after I was done running, and had downed umpteen gallons of beer!

Now, here at the Steamtown Marathon, I am eating my pre-race dinner, all alone, sitting alone, moving up and about alone. Deterred? I am not! And while I feel…

IMG_1445
…unprepared,   underprepared, undertrained and overwhelmed, I am ready to go out and conquer he World. Let’s Steamtown!

Ignorance is Bliss, Sometimes….

IMG_4254Literary societies pride themselves in the abundant availability of information. They privilege the ability to read and write, communicate and publish. Evidence of one’s name imprinted on a couple of publications, bestows a level of respect and titles, and a sit at several ‘high tables’ as a respectably important member of society.

In academia, we know the common saying, ˆPublish or Perish”. So real that tenure-track aspirants spend their maiden post-PhD years teaching, conducting research, writing and submitting articles to academic journals for publication. While publishing does not guarantee tenure track per se, at least it gains the pursuant important visibility and respect within and outside academia. Writing and publishing provide one a sense of comfort and confidence, adds a paragraph onto one’s literate portfolio, and the self-endowment to sit on one’s very high horse.

No doubt information is very useful, even to everyday living. We need information to operate the microwave, drive a car, assemble furniture, or cross the road. Even in our professions, passions and personal lives, access to information enables our career progression, personal growth, goal attainment and reaching for the moon. Information shapes our job applications, helps us prepare for big events like training for a marathon or nurturing our children into well-developed human beings. Yes! The ones who will take care of you when you are of age; I mean, put you up in a nursing home with abundant information sources – Television, remote control microwave, smartphone, book library, and a temper-pedic with a button to call room-service.

Sometimes, however, too much information is undesirable. Ignorance is Bliss!

For instance, right about now, I am overwhelmed with all the information flooding into my brain as I prepare for Boston Marathon 2015. I do not remember any other time, while training for other marathons I have done, receiving this much information. This time, plenty of emails, newsletters and bulletins mailed, e-updates, web information and running apps. Add to that, Webinars! Really?

Please believe me, I recently signed up for a Webinar on preparing for Boston 2015! I thought I was gonna be about logistics in preparation and getting to Marathon Day, April 20. I did not expect another academic seminar on “panic relief”, “fluid prescription”, “emotional” and “psychological” stamina during the marathon, or a whole chapter on Maslow!

Perhaps this is, indeed the “thrill of a Big City Marathon”? Perhaps it is just Boston

source B.A.A

source B.A.A 

Marathon? I can understand the ‘paranoia’ among the organizers, trying to deter another 2013 bombing. Understandably, extra caution needs to be taken to secure the race before and on the day, to ensure safety, confidence and security for all runners. It never occurred to me that some people actually suffer panic attacks during or in the middle of the race, requiring specialized treatment.

Yes, I know of colleagues who have run to the porta-potties to ease their running stomachs along the marathon course. I know folks who have taken a break, read a novel, adjusted their socks, and got back onto marathon route. None required specialized support and rescue, or sessions of webinar preparation!

In my imagination, running is something one picks up out of interest, as a hobby, ultimately becoming routine part of their existence. Granted, some folks run for their livelihoods and dedicate themselves to as much preparation, training and mentoring as possible. Still, I doubt any of them started out as “textbook runners”. Most of the world’s most elite runners are from very poor backgrounds, and some started out running with no running shoes. While, they have grown into world phenomena, I doubt all they sit around reading textbook from “theoretical runners”, on how to run a marathon. I am sure they might read up on what to expect when registration materials are sent out to them, and perhaps log onto marathon websites.

I must say, all this information is freaking me out! I already have enough responsibility keeping up with my run apps, reviewing run assessments and statistics after every run. Plus the pile of information on training and staying in the winter; buying the right running shoes; tapering; keeping the pace; nutrition and diet during training and on marathon, I am e-receiving from my team coach, and the B.A.A newsletters.

source B.A.A website

source B.A.A website

I want to stop reading, but that is not feasible. I am worried I will miss out on last minute details. Too much information seeping through my ears into my head on marathon preparation is making me crazy. I already have enough worries, whether I will attain my target pace and finish time. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I have all the community support through my marathon running team, I am yet to meet, and the marathon organizers…But please, can I have no more information….Please leave me in my Blissful Ignorance.

April is All the Kool Kids Month! Let’s….!

It is here….and….It is Official! Sun over the First Spring Lake

April is All the Kool Kids Month! Go Figure!

Sorry y’all who don’t fit the profile! I know the, “Damn! Why was I born on March 31? I don’t blame you, I would too…If I happened to fall off the “Kool Kids Train”…oops 🙂

I love April! Nor more ‘smell’ of Spring; it is upon us…in all the realness! The rain, the sun, the pollen, the cooler temperatures, and the flower blossoms! I love April, because I share this coolness with my other most important person in this world…the one who gave me a life —Sweet dear Mother (April 6)! My very beautiful niece too, is also a Kool Kid (April 6).

I love April because it is National Families and Reading Month. Who does not love reading? Thankfully, I gave birth to a reader; we know how to turn the pages, one after another. Often sharing our “pages” with the “paws”,who surely enjoy the magic of our reading! This April, we are both reading to Child’s class: child is reading on April 22, and I will be Guest Reading on April 28 – which also happens to be my Birthday!

What else will I do for my birthday? Not sure yet, but traditionally since childhood, I celebrate and make merry! At the very least, we celebrated with popcorn and tea, which were very big features of birthday celebrations in my family household. Last year, Child treated me to a special birthday, when he won the Student of April Month, with a coupon for a free meal at Friendly’s. So, we decided to dine out on my Birthday! I am sure we’ll be doing something funky and blinged this year as well, including receiving lots of love with y’all! Right?Spring Tree Climber

What I am sure about this April, I will be running my maiden Big City Marathon, the oldest and most prestigious City Marathon born in 1897. It is The Big City Marathon, the rest are races, so they say. I have butterflies, self-doubts, thrills that a bride gets the morning of her wedding night. I am thinking, since I have never been one. Yet, I am super determined to do it. It is not my first time, but this is a Big Deal, Big City Deal! Lets…

Glad to be sharing April with some of the Koolest Kids on planet earth, especially since I am getting cooler myself! Now I know about Star Wars, Super Sonic, Beyblade and Wonder Woman. Now I know all about the solar system, and learning lots of astronomy, thanks to the Child. Plus, my birthday also happens to be International Astronomy Day.

Yeah! There are a couple of more Kool days you too would know about, if you were an April Kool Kid! I plan to enjoy a fair share of those, starting with Fooling Around (April 1); Read a Book with Children (April 2); Skip Work (April 3)Hug A Newman (April 4); Say no to Housework (April 7); Go Patriot [on the Boston Marathon trail] (April 20); pay homage to Earth Planet (April 22); Take a Chance (April 23); and Hug an Australian (April 26) who would become My Mate to Kiss (April 28), very appropriately on my Birthday! How Kool is That!

Oh! Before I go, CrowdRise asked me to tell you that I should ‘give up my birthday to raise money for my favorite cause. I think this is awesome! Wait, how did CrowdRise know that I was already raising $$$ for my favorite charity of the year? Y’all know that I am running Boston Marathon 2015 with the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT); yeah, that’s what’s up!

All proceeds from my fundraising are going directly toward the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition toward support for research on nutrition, obesity, hunger and famine, and to sustain programs that promote health and wellness across the university and within our host communities of Medford, Somerville and Boston’s Chinatown.  Here is the link to my fundraiser; your gift is big to me, and will mean a lot to me and everyone who benefits from Tufts University Medical Services! Please support, and make me the Koolest Kid, ever!

Happy Koolest Kids Month! Bring on April!

Geese on the LakeOnly one Big City Marathon