Warm and Fuzzy

It all started with sweet potato pie. I have known my sista’ friend, Pat Lewis, since college. During one of our frequent phone conversations, she told me she made her mama’s sweet potato pie and that it was all she could do to keep from eating the whole thing. Although Pat resides in New York and sings with the 50’s revival group, The Crystals, she is a Bama girl, born and raised in Birmingham, AL. It was there that Ms. Margaret Pritchett, Pat’s mother, made sweet potato pie. Pat, consistently over her mom’s shoulder, took heed from her mother’s words. “Keep it light.” Ms. Margaret is no longer with us, but her pie’s sweetness and “light touch” generate a warm and fuzzy feeling. But, then, our talk of such things was on, like a pot of neck bones! What?!

Pat recounted how her mother used to flip the sheets over to freshen them, and I quipped,So did my mother! On Saturday mornings, she would come into my room and flip the sheets with me in them, laughing.” It was the best feeling ever, so I gave my kids the same thrill. Then, there were the mama rub-downs.

The Crystals! My friend Pat is on the left.

My mom, affectionately called “Amon,” is no longer in this realm, but her spirit lingers through rub-down memories. When besieged by a cold, Amon used to gently come into my bedroom and rub my chest with Ben Gay and swipe under my nose with Vicks Vapor Rub. Then, she would take a piece of flannel and pin it to my undershirt. I swear, I can still feel it. For Pat, Ms. Magaret used to rub her legs and feet with tallow, a cream she would make of beef fat. “Whew, that stuff really smelled,” but it was a healing remedy. She also remembers her mom rising at 4 am to go to work. She did not see Ms. Margaret until she returned shortly after Pat and her sister, Maxine, came home from school. Yes, to cook the way she did – scrumptiously.

My mother left for work early too, but not before I would sit on her bed and watch her dress for work, put on pancake makeup (the only makeup for Black women then), and finish with her glorious lipstick. She looked so fine. “Mother only wore lipstick,” Pat recalled about Ms. Margaret, but “she was beautiful.” (I can attest to that).

Walking home from work, Amon could barely make it to the corner of our street before my brother, Bernie, and I would run to meet her. She never really wanted to work; we were her joy. Daddy never got home till after 7 pm, so it was Amon until then, taking us roller skating, to the rodeo, park, library, dance class, music lessons, and downtown to the museums on Saturday.

Pat and I went on and on; Pat in New York, me, in Florence, AL. With each remembrance, my smile deepened, and I’m willing to bet Pat was smiling too. When done with our phone call, I thanked Pat for launching our memories. Warm and fuzzy.

I would love to hear a childhood memory of yours. Believe me, it feels so good. What!!

Margaret Pritchett (Mother) and Irene Basley (Amon) our loving mothers.

Image of pie: Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Joy Juice

Both Pat and I were groomed in Church and knew/know the activation of God working in our life. Unfortunately, childhood is not all fairy tales. Sometimes we have to search for childhood memories we can cherish. I have sympathy for so many folks that have horrid childhood memories. However, I still encourage all to find the sweetness, the warm and fuzzy feelings experienced when anyone – a parent, teacher, family member, or friend, reached out to you as a vessel of the love that is inherently yours.

These memories can help us navigate these times. These times call for finding your light, holding on to hope, and faith that God is working.


For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Love is like a baby: it needs to be treated tenderly.African Proverb


“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2022 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Yo’ Mama…

…was the comeback for any insult in the ’50s and ’60s on most Black streets.Yo’ Mama! ” We would throw it off the back of our shoulders, as though there was a chord of truth that a mama could resemble anything crass, ugly, or, much worse, laughable. “Yo’ mama” was perceived as a funny dig because most of us knew the truth about our mothers. We knew they were our touchstone, our “goo,” the symbol of vigilant light, perpetually burning for us. During those days, as they rocked us, they had to be our rock.

Whether outside or inside the home, mamas fielded their working lives, cooking, nurturing, keeping us straight/straightening us out. And when out of line, you had the neighborhood mamas to contend with. Wait…maybe that’s why we knew we could take the jabbing at “mama;” we knew our moms could take on the world if it messed with them/us. And mama might not be by societal norms; mama could be your auntie, grandma, a neighbor, or even your daddy. The mama energy is powerful!

Featured image: Kaylee, Christian, and Amon, (Mom). Couldn’t leave Mo out of the picture!

Today, that energy, the collective mama in this realm or the next, is proud of her children. She carries us, as we navigate the trials of the day, and whether we are protesting or praying, we know that energy is with us. So let’s flip the switch:

When they say you are not worthy of having a good man or woman to love, you say,

Yo’ Mama.

When they tell you your kids don’t need to be fed by any means necessary, while you are working every day to do so, you say,

Yo’ Mama

When they tell you symbols of oppression ought to stand in public places, you say,

Yo’ Mama

When they tell you that your childbirth or medical experience cannot be topnotch; that you don’t “require the same help as others because you are ‘strong,'” you say,

Yo’ Mama

When they tell you your body is in the hands of anyone but you, you say,

Yo’ Mama

When they tell you that everyone, no matter what race, gender, or faith should not be loved the same, you say,

Yo’ Mama

And when they tell you chants, meditation, and prayer don’t work, you say

Yo’ Mama

Carry that mama energy with pride and know that it flows generously through each of us.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

Joy Juice

I call on my Amon (mother) almost every day. She represented the power of nurturing God through her love, strength, gratitude, and hope. Once a year we celebrate the Mother, but each moment we are aware of our mothering energy. Ase’

Proverbs 31:28–29: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.'”

“A mother is like a kernel, crushed by problems but strong enough to overcome them.”
– Congo proverb

Like a mother who protects her child, her only child, with her own life, one should cultivate a heart of unlimited love and compassion towards all living beings. – Guatama Buddha

“WE STAND UP FOR THE LOOKOUT” – Indigo Girls

“It’s all good/love/God”Victorine

© 2022 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

The Sunshine State?

My sweet family invited me to take a road trip to Orlando/Kissimmee, FL., where they were visiting their family. Then, they invited Mr. K. Of course, we said “Yes!” (Mr. K. met us there from SC.) Wonderful! Haven’t traveled with the fam in a few years.

We were on our way two days after the Smith/Rock Oscars fiasco; so you already know our topic a quarter of the way there. Y’all!…we turned that slap upside down and inside-out! Finally, we agreed to…well, we never did come to an agreement. We only agreed that we were tired of discussing it. Then, came the music.

The big fun for me was to be introduced to their music, and I liked it. So Strong, by Labi Siffre, was the first of the myriad of songs they played for me. After about the fifth song, I realized I was definitely in the car with activists; every song was about standing up. What!

I guess activists don’t eat. Them kids would not stop to eat for nothing! You know I was like, “Y’all don’t eat?!” An 11-hour drive calls for some vittles. They finally stopped for fast food, and at this juncture, I was game. By the time we got to our Airbnb house in Kissimmee, we were famished. Mr. K. to the rescue! He arrived with a healthy frozen stir-fry, which I whipped up, and we were all good to go. Oh…he had baklava too!

The next day Mr. K. and I headed out to Orlando. Here’s the deal; Mr. K. used to live in several places in FL. So, we went on a search to find his former residences in several cities, Orlando was one of them. I got to see Martin Marietta, where he worked for years, and also found his house. Great for Mr. K. after 40 years.

Also great for Mr. K. was our visit to the small African American museum, Wells Built which highlighted a deceased friend of his, Bob Billingsley. He also recognized another friend who made local history. Then we tried to be tourists to take in several sites, which didn’t work for us. (Remember where we are, in Disney territory.) We ended up at Bahama Breeze for dinner, but not before I had one of my epic falls.

I already told y’all about me in Danger Zone. ‘Thing is, due to foot issues, my balance is off. Also, I do not pick up my feet when I walk. I’m strolling the walkway to Bahama Breeze and before I know it, I’m falling, and I hit my head. Mr. K. and onlookers were quick to come to my rescue, but this time I had to sit a minute to make sure I was OK. I was/am., but every time I think about the fall, my head hurts. What!

Y’all, I can’t walk without chanting! That way I pay attention to what I’m doing. All this to say do what you gotta do to move in a healthy way.

For the next three days we visited St. Petersburg and Clearwater, again to find Mr. K”s homes, St. Petersburg had a coastal area, which was OK, and after quite a duration, we landed at a Jamaican restaurant, Yardie Yvbz. As a family, we also drove to Gainesville to meet my niece and her family for the first time and had a blast. The last day was a Vicki day.

Visiting the Wells Built Museum
Airbnb house, us, and Family!! Nothing better! Hey! where are the boys?!

Off to the Orlando Museum of Art, we went, and guess who was there waiting for us? Jean-Michel Basquait! Really a great exhibition and the museum was wonderful. The museum store clerk sent us to the Park Avenue district for walking and Thai dining at Orchid. I was all up in my zone, and so was Mr. K. We walked and later toured the district to see the massive homes and Florida architecture. We had a really nice ending to our Florida visit.

Florida, at least Central Florida… not for me. Maybe it’s the energy. (Sometimes, you could feel Ron DeSantis). Traveling with family and Mr. K.? Absolutely! Of course, I had to adjust to the screams during the Hawks’ game and the silence of the cell phones, but I understood the assignment. What?!!

Joy Juice

When the kids dropped me off I said, thinking I complained too much, “I know you guys don’t want to travel with me again.” My daughter told me she was hurt when I said it. We recounted the trip and she reminded me that my boys are older now, and that she has to deal with the sports stuff daily. In response, I realized I could hang. (They want me! They really want me)! Of course, I was left with challenged eardrums, but I can adjust when needed.

We are adaptable in this season. Life is too fragile to waste a moment. We open our minds to new ways of doing anything, and realize that if we are not expanding and growing, we might as well cash it in.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

“It is better to live as a lion for one day rather than 100 years as a sheep.African Proverb

“It’s all good/love/God”Victorine

© 2022 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Always the Drama…

…This time, my daughter, Camille’s whole family healing from Covidflu. Yes, you heard that right; not just Covid, but the flu with an insomnia chaser that sent all of us spiraling into gangster mode for healing. I tell you it’s the worst when your family needs you and you can’t touch them. Many of you know the feeling of fear and hopelessness, which makes you affirm what you already know – God is. We are talking 24/7 alert with all participants stressed to the max, but blessed. (Thanks, Prayer Warriors). A week into healing, I had a new experience, a film crew in my home. Yes, I am now in the annals of reality film, uh, I think they call it a“documentary?What?!!

A crew filming an Apple documentary on Alabama racial justice advocacy is scheduled to come to my home. They are featuring Camille and Project Say Something, but due to post-Covid at her house, they shoot at my home. You already know. First, I had to ready my house. Then, I found out they are interviewing me, so I have to decide what to wear to look casual, but not too fat. They want us doing what we do in the kitchen and such, but...post-Covidflu. Hello!

Enters the crew, who is absolutely fabulous as they completely move all my furniture to reveal all the dirt I did not clean. I just threw my hands up and followed their orders. I had to mic up under my top and into my leggings Huh?; not easy, but with the help of one of the crew members, done quickly. I sat on my famous red couch and they had to keep positioning me to the best angle for filming. As soon as they were ready, I grabbed my pillow to hold, just like a baby, I smiled and answered their questions.

We were going strong until my son, Miles, had to leave and put his dog, Bama, in her crate. Y’all, it was on!! Bama started to whimper and moan. I couldn’t let her out; she doesn’t do well with strangers, especially with cameras. I had to send her to the backyard to play. We finished the interview, and with ease, I let her back in. She walked around the house grumbling like Jaws to our laughter. Thank goodness, most of the crew had dogs.

Yes, the Red Couch again!

Next, we had to wait for the star to arrive. Camille called and told me she was moving slowly and running late. I had to do a dog and pony show for an hour and a half until she could get here. Thank goodness, Administrative Assistant, Unique Morgan Dunston, came in, and we discussed some of Unique’s projects.

Unique Morgan Dunston

Our kitchen scene turned into me cooking and the camera following me. I was like, “I am not Martha Stewart!” I made baked mixed potatoes, garlic-lemon salmon, and zucchini, with salad. I tried to throw some lemons on the salmon to spruce it up, but…

Finally, Camille entered. In spite of the fatigue, she looked good. I served dinner to Camille, Unique, and finally sat down myself. (The crew ate takeout from Tzatzikis). We had great discussions about the many bills being challenged in Alabama, but nothing was better than seeing my child eat a full plate of food and asking for seconds. Again, post-Covidflu. Afterward, Son-in-love, Taurus, and grandson, Morgan, entered, and familiar laughter started, as they exited with all leftovers from snacks and dinner. Mama was happy.

At last, the crew put all of my furniture back and took out my garbage. The experience was really exciting for me, and I was so impressed with the crew. (They are also doing a documentary on Nikki Giovanni). After a long day, from 12:30pm to 8:00pm, the crew bid goodbye and promised, “We’ll be back to shoot some more!” What?!!!!!

Camille, readying th next morning for Lobbying in Montgomery

Featured image by Millicent Garland photography

Joy Juice

After going through h _ l l with this virus, I had a life-affirming experience. I have seen God move throughout our healing process, and this filming was no exception. It activated our family light, and through God, we showed up and showed out. Healing is still a part of our process, but I know so many of you share this experience and hold faith in knowing that with healing, renewal takes place. Ase’.

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” ~Psalms 103:2-4

“If you have health you have hope you have everything.” African proverb

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2022 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

I Know Where I’ll be in ’22…

…I will be spending more time with YOU.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! You need me to affirm that we can still have joy in our lives. This relationship is reciprocal; I need you to embrace your strength and the vital force of Joi de Vivre to affect your world, which includes me. We need to know we are OK, and who can we call to keep us going? US!

I am visiting Mr. K. in Columbia, SC. We brought in the New Year together. While we were toasting, one of his loved ones got the virus, two people I know transitioned, and one is on her way to the next realm. How could we count our blessings, laughing, while so many suffer illnesses and loss? Just like you, we choose to reach out our hands to find sustenance, and we yield to the unwavering gift of gratitude.

How to be Grateful (Don’t you dare turn away; we need this).

Check-in with your body.

Me: Thank God, I’m breathing! (For this I give gratitude daily).

Me: I’m doing a body scan. Knee? What’s your problem?

Knee: I’m gon’ hurt you today unless you pay attention to me,

Me: I love you, Knee, so I am going to put you up and do the ice-heat switch, Sound Therapy, go see my Chiropractor, do Reiki, do exercises, and pray for healing. I’m grateful I got you. I’m grateful I am willing to do whatever it takes to heal you.

Knee: Suppose I don’t heal?

Me: I do what I must do with you and all body and mind parts to stay vital, including therapy, surgery – by any means necessary!

MindStimulate It

Along with reading and writing with y’all, traveling and exploring culture always stimulates my mind. In Columbia, I was all up in museums. I was bowled over by the Museum of Art; they had an exhibit of 22 Black artists whose work is shaped by their experiences in Carolina. Of course, every exhibit held my fascination.

We also visited the South Carolina State Museum, where Mr. K. introduced me to where, as. a volunteer, he ushered many visitors to the planetarium. The telescope was under repair, so Mr. K. couldn’t do his thing with me, but there was so much South Carolina history there. Some, I could’ve done without, (Confederacy), but I was surprised to see they balanced exhibits with the truth about the ravages of slavery.

Stars, quilts, and antiques. Can y’all believe these objects are now antiques?! What?!

I also play Solitaire, Word Scapes, and Word Stacks nightly, as I dance in front of the TV. What?!

Spirit – Practice Makes Perfect

Cedar and I

Do what makes your spirit soar. Connecting with friends makes me smile. Mr. K.had business in Augusta, GA, so I gave a holla’ to Cedar and Rodell. We intended to do a drive-by-we-vaxed & boosted-hug, but it turned into a great lunch, shopping, and we were still there in the evening. That’s what happens when old friends gather, spirits soar.

Personally, no matter where I am, It’s the same ole’ song for me – Yoga, QiGong, prayer, meditation – my daily routine. But whatever you do, it’s time to hold on, go within, and stay close to God or whatever you call your Higher Power. We are still convening on Zoom every Sunday, but that spiritual food sure tastes good!

I know I said you needed to hear this, but y’all already know. Whenever you breathe, just say THANK YOU; your mind, body, and spirit are affirmed each time you do.


Joy Juice

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“Give thanks for the little and you will find a lot” Nigerian Proverb

“Be grateful for your life, every detail of it, and your face will come to shine like a sun, and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful. Persist in gratitude, and you will slowly become one with the Sun of Love, and Love will shine through you its all-healing joy.” Rumi


“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2022 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


 

Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Continuing Our Celebration of Gratitude: Chattanooga

My sister-friend, Millicent Garland, and her husband, Bro’ Carlton, invited Mr. K. and me to visit them in Chattanooga. So, after Thanksgiving, I asked her, “You ready for our visit?” I’ve visited them plenty of times, but not with Mr. K. and not since Millicent retired. ( I know she looks 30+, but she ain’t). She assured me she had plenty for us to do and did she ever! Extending our celebration of gratitude, we were off to Chattanooga, TN.

First of all, chez Garland is very lovely and accommodating. It sits on a hilltop subdivision. Beyond the numerous living and sleeping areas, and the fabulous deck we love, it boasts a serious man cave, where we watched Halle Berry in Bruised, a photography studio, and as a young retiree from TVA, Millicent has a great space for 30+ years of memorabilia. This space is also shared with Millicent’s treadmill and sewing machine.

Man cave, (I sleep on the couch on the right). Millicent’s Memorabilia room

I swear, Mr. K. is never tired after driving, but he does sleep late. Not me!! I sleep during movies, but I get up early. Millicent and I did our usual ritual of a light breakfast, over great convo, and when Mr. K. readied, we headed out to the downtown festival, Main X 24. (Carlton had work to finish up before joining us).

Downtown, we met a lively festival with vendors inside and out and willing participants, young and old, to bask in “We are finally out” bliss. Chattanooga boasts artful spaces, from galleries to colorful eateries. The city is eco-friendly. with vendors heeding the call. Y’all! Ya’ girl was doing the Samba in a dance demonstration and cavorting with a fairy. We had to experience the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, where we watched the ice skaters and finally sat down for a snack. (Not that my feet hurt or anything). What?!!

Carton of water from Gallery 1401, Mr. K. and I at the Choo Choo Hotel
Learning the Samba
Fairy, Mary Beth Gray from Fairhope, AL, no less!!
Mr. K. chowing down…
…on cobbler at a Choo Choo restaurant

Carlton caught up with us. I was sleeping in Millicent’s car when he arrived. We walked to the Walnut Street Bridge so Mr. K. could experience the site, but to my surprise, there was a powerful memorial to Edward Johnson erected outside of the bridge.

The Ed Johnson Project

“This reflective memorial recognizes Ed Johnson, his brutal death and sacrifice, honors the heroic and historic efforts of Noah Parden, Styles Hutchins and the African-American community that supported them, and commemorates the landmark Supreme Court case that changed the course of American history and civil rights. The memorial is a welcoming, contemplative space at the south side to the Walnut Street Bridge where people of all backgrounds and cultures can come to learn, reflect, mourn and find inspiration.”

I was moved to tears, and I must commend Chattanooga for “getting it,” the truth of history must be told, no matter how painful. The project was reminiscent of the monument in Montgomery, commemorating the many lynchings in Alabama.


Caption: Sculpture of Ed Johnson and his attorneys, Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins


After walking a bit of the bridge, it was time to dine at Proof, where we had a reservation. Lupita Nyong’o paid a visit to the restaurant and tweeted rave reviews, so Millicent had to get us there. The restaurant is a concept spot, an “Incubator,” with 3 chefs cooking their cuisine. These chefs utilize Proof as their launching pad, to introduce their specialties, in hope of starting their own restaurant. Nyong’o raved about Chef Kenyatta’s food, so we ordered his gumbo, a Po’Boy, Brisket Meatball Yakamein, and the dish Nyong’o loved West African Red Red. All were delicious. We were so pleased that Millicent reserved a 5:30 spot. By 6:00PM, the diners were filling the seats.

Great restaurant – menu linked.
Dining at Proof

Were the Garlands done? Noooo!! Then, we drove to the Edwin Hotel for drinks. Y’all, it was whimsically sophisticated and wonderful. While waiting to be seated, I did a walk-about and ooohed and ahhhed until they called our name to be seated. The bar was plush but comfortable. However, it wasn’t the bar Millicent wanted us to experience; it was the view from the balcony. Although beautiful, I was like “Girl, we going back inside; it’s chilly.”

Elevator doors at the Edwin Hotel
Inside of the elevator
Mr. K. and I on the balcony at the Edwin Hotel Bar
Libations!

After the Edwin, Mr. K. and I were totally satisfied with a fabulous visit, but we drove to the Westin for a final nightcap. We met and chatted with the Garland’s favorite waitress, recounted our fabulous day, and went back home to popcorn and a movie. Ask me what movieyou already know…zzzzzzzz

Here’s the treat I have not yet mentionedMillicent Garland Photography. We were the recipients of a photographer’s whims. Everywhere we went, she took photos…of us! And to top it off, I ended up with a real studio photoshoot that I will always cherish. I tell you, we loved our visit to the Garlands.

Oh!! I forgot to mention Carlton’s hot wings, which I crave. I wonder who took the leftover wings back to Bama? What?!!

Joy Juice

No words – just my expression of joy and gratitude for you!!

Thank you, Millicent Garland Photography

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name(required

Email(required) Website Message

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

GARDEN SPICES MAGAZINE ART- Dorothy Small-Spaulding: Why Not Paint!

The featured image is a card sent to me and created by my longtime friend, Dorothy. It sits on my family room shelf as artwork and inspiration. I’ve known Dorothy Small-Spaulding for over 40 years. We met in Cleveland, OH, my first friend there. With bright eyes, wearing a generous amount of turquoise jewelry, and a warm invitation to eat lunch at the Art Museum, Dorothy steered me to the artistic side of Cleveland and was part of my tribe. Dorothy introduced me to the art of making jewelry, to Sun Ra, and to Coventry, the neighborhood where all cool things thrived.

We both left Cleveland, and thirty years later, I caught up with Dorothy. It was no surprise to find her living in California and to learn that she had near ’bout traveled the world.

I resumed my relationship with Dorothy by phone and briefly visited her airy condo in Camereo, CA. To my surprise, there were paintings, watercolors created by Dorothy. There you have it; whatever her creative interest, Dorothy finds a way to put her fingers into it.

Today, Dorothy resides with her husband, Bernard, in Palm Springs, CA. Initially a hobby, her work is now exhibited at her clubhouse gallery. I asked her to let Garden Spices display some of her work as an inspiration to ignite us to be brave enough to delve into painting/our passion. – Victorine

About the Artist

Dorothy is a visual artist, who has always had a great appreciation of the arts.  She worked for years in the cultural area, by the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio.  Dorothy started with jewelry making and painting wearable art.  She fell in love with watercolors after taking classes at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, in Thousand Oaks, CA. 

“Painting with watercolors has become my passion.” Dorothy Small-Spaulding


“Artist of the month at our clubhouse”
Dorothy Small-Spaulding

Copyright 2021 © Camp Goldston Publishing,. All rights reserved.


Vicki Goldston (Victorine)

CEO, Camp Goldston Publising, LLC, Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Garden Spices Magazine and Spicy…a garden spices blog by Victorine

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Yep, that’s me, sitting with my legs up and iced typing this.  I had to suspend blogging memories of my travels to tell you this:  You may feel as though you are 35 in your head, but your body commands respect, I mean Aretha R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  What?!!

I recently told you I am on a weight-loss journey, which I am enjoying.  An integral part of it is exercise.  For me, that means walking, marching in front of the TV, Turbo Jam, Taebo, and now I am embarking upon cultivating a serious Yoga practice. I have the best Yoga instructor/coach, Charlene Carter, who demonstrates how to invoke the energy, strength, and flexibility that each of my muscles needs.  She exercises caution, and I look forward to my sessions. 

Here’s the first thing:  I have no cartilage in my knees.  In order to do certain poses, I had to get on my knees to be able to learn them. The second thing is that Charlene offered pads for my knees; I said “Nooo;” Yoga bricks, rugs, “No.”  I just stay on my no-cartilage knees until they begin to hurt and I have to roll off of them.  Did you know I’m a good student?  I practiced what I was learning at Charlene’s at home, on them knees again. What?!!

Y’all!  I been living with these knees for over 20 years.  I know how to treat them – no high impact, rubber sole shoes, bend at the knee, with swelling, knees up, and number one, DO NOT KNEEL FOR EXTENDED PERIODS!!  Needless to say, I kicked the dognot the Downward Dog; I injured my knees.  OK.  I know how to handle thishot and cold compresses, legs up for at least a day, Osteo Bioflex (given to me by Mr. K.) for strengthening, and Ibuprofen for pain. 

Speaking of dogs, after a two-day rest, I decide to walk my visiting granddog, HenryThree blocks in, my left leg begins to hurt.  Suddenly, I’m limping and can barely make the remaining block to my home.  Then, I could not put weight on my left leg and I had to try walking with a cane. I was in pain on a cane!  Long story, short, I dissed my knees, and they showed me that they command respect, as does the rest of my 71-year-old body.  What to do?

Henry chilling at home.

I spoke with Charlene, who was sympathetic and really nurtured my spirit by assuring me that rest and time can heal all wounds, and I was blessed to have Charlene’s sister, Deborah Carter, ND, a Naturopath, pay me a home visit.  She felt I had a torn ligament and did sound therapy, which helped me to walk. She also advised me to double up on the Bioflex, apply cold compresses, and use knee braces.  My kids kicked in:  Miles looked after me, and Camille brought me tennis balls for massaging my legs.  While I know it will take some time to completely heal, I am giving myself a couple of weeks to see a shift.  If not significant enough, I will see a Bone & Joint MD.

“A word to the wise should be sufficient. RESPECT is the word.  Our older bodies need the care that sustains them; that enables health and wholeness.  We don’t have to prove anything to anyone.   Sometimes we have to get somewhere and sit down. What?!

Joy Juice

Now that we’re a bit past the onslaught of COVID, we are feeling ourselves and want to do more.  Doing more includes listening to our minds and bodies.  Our souls command what our spirits need, and we hear both. Ase’.

 “Only a fool tests the depth of a river with no feet.” African Proverb

“For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2Timothy 1:7ESV

“Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence.” – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 216.

“It’s all good/love/God”Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


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Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

“Everything’s Bigger in Texas!”

Texas Stars

Yep! We were rolling into Corsicana, TX, and we had ranches with big land rolling right with us. We were on our way to visit Mr. K.’s sister, Glenda Williams, their Aunt Gladys, and Marvin Mitchell at their G&M Ranch. Slick Vick “Home, home on the range.What?!!

We were pleased to meet their beautiful house with the famous Texas star on the front doors. This spacious “ranch” is elegantly appointed with an open design, a welcoming veranda, deck, pool, and outdoor kitchen. Beyond their home, are the 50 heads of Black Angus cattle on 54 acres of land, and we cannot forget Lily, the Dalmation they inherited from the previous owners of the property.

Almost as soon as we got to Corsicana, the sky fell open and the rain began, lasting for 5 days — five days of waking up to my meditation and prayer on the front porch, walking to the cattle (only to have the cows back away from me). Lily running up to me for a hug and keeping me company for a while, before scampering away. That’s Lily, such a sweet dog.

House: Front, Back veranda, and Outdoor kitchen with poo
l
Living room, opening to kitchen, which opens to the dining area.
Beauty in black and Lily

As you might imagine, the daily maintenance of the ranch had Mitch mowing, gardening, and overseeing the workers contracted by Glenda. Of course, as a contractor’s daughter, Glenda would be right with Mitch for the construction jobs, and the inside was her domain. Mitch took us out on the cart (his mule), to see the vastness of the land, the ponds, the cows, and where the hay will be stored. That barn had plenty of equipment for working the ranch, and the garden was growing beautifully.

We had lazy days with Glenda’s good cooking and watching Mitch and Glenda shape their ranch into their own. I loved spending time with Aunt Gladys.

Corsicana is a small town, but you know we found our way to an upscale restaurant downtown. It was my birthday, and we celebrated royally at Across the Street Bistro. Why did they have Chilean Sea Bass? I was in heaven. Mr. K. ordered a slice of luscious Lemon Cake, which was to die for, and I had 1,2,3 bites of it.

Mr. K. reclining in the She-shed chair

Then, there was the famous chair. While the rest of the family gathered to watch TV, I would go exercise to a video, and then, the piece de resistance, “the chair.” Glenda’s she-shed chair held me captive almost every night. So relaxing, it was like a cocoon.

Thanks to our hosts, this visit was wonderful, but when the rain let up, Mr. K. and I said our “Thank yous” and “Goodbyes” and scurried to beat the rain to our next destination, Prairie View, Texas, home of Prairie View A & M University, Mr. K’s alma mater and a visit with Aunt Irma, a fascinating woman.

Stay tuned!!

Joy Juice

The open range is beautiful, another expression of the Creator’s beauty. I don’t know if I could live in this particular kind of splendor, (It took me a minute to relax and do nothing), but I prescribe the experience for everyone.

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Chicago…Always!!!

I guess y’all can’t believe that we had the nerve to drive to Chicago in July. We had to. First, to celebrate Mama Jeanette, that beauty I blogged about, and secondly, to introduce Mr. K. to my city/friends-family/sights/food, and third, to see the Bisa Butler exhibit. What?!

Mr. K. had his introduction to chez Pat’s, (Pat Charles Kline), meaning every amenity, fully accommodating fridge, beauty, and her welcoming hug. Of course, as soon as I arrive home, Nedra Shelton is on the phone and making her way over to greet us. Both Pat and Nedra meet Mr. K. as though they have known him forever. Indria Perrilloux is still in Vegas, but with us in spirit, following our every move. Ahhh, Besties!

We relaxed the next day. I was Mr. K. was tired from driving, but still ready to dive into Chicago cuisine. In spite of it being post-Covid, there were quite a few restaurants open, and our first pick-up was corned beef samiches. Now, there are cute corned beef sandwiches, and there are slightly greasy, serious, can’t-eat-the-whole-thing, samiches. We drove to AP Deli for the real deal, and they delivered. You get at least 2-3 meals out of their samiches, and it’s sooo good.

The next day, Pat took us to the Harbor at Navy Pier for appetizers and drinks. Thank God, we had Joy Gill, another one of my sisters, with us. After drinks, we walked the harbor to, ta-dah…Rainbow Cones. Can y’all believe I adhered to Noom and had sorbet instead of my luscious 5 tier cone with cherries, almonds and, deliciousness? That’s OK. I got my rainbow at the famous Buckingham Rainbow Fountain, our next site. We waited to see the transformation. Still so beautiful, as it changed colors, the fountain reminded me of my childhood.

Why the “Thank God we had Joy?” Joy is a walking history book. We started from the Water Tower to the Magnificant Mile, to the University of Chicago, Hyde Park, including Honorable Elijah Mohammed’s home to the Obama’s residence. Joy knew all the backstories of every site, and we were thrilled to learn all the information we never knew, even as Chicagoans. Of course, both Joy and I went to St. Thomas Apostle high school, and I had a few stories about fun times spent in the Hyde Park community. What?!

Magnificent Mile, University of Chicago, Hyde Park, Joy and I at our high school reunion


The next day we were blessed to attend the beautiful celebration for Nedra and Deegee’s mom, Jeanette Fairley, and saw so many family friends who paid tribute to a life well lived That celebration went into the next day when the family gathered for food and sharing updates and memories.

Mr. K. and I went solo the next day. We explored one of my childhood favorites, The Museum of Science and Industry. (Why did everything look so big, when I was little)? Many of the exhibits were Covid-closed, but Mr. K. enjoyed the exploration there. Afterward, we set our GPS to see all of my old haunts.

Mr. K. playing at the Museum of Science and Industry and the wonderful Colleen miniature fairy castle,

We started with my last Chicago apartment on North LaSalle, and after experiencing Near North and Old Town, we GPSed to my second apartment on Roscoe, which was in a vibrant, diverse community. Oh, the memories. When I wanted Japanese food, I would simply go downstairs to Chris Kobayashi’s place. Mexican food – to Sophia Guadeloupe Maria Garcia’s aunties house. I got Greek food from Grocery Diana’s, and almost everyone I knew from those days was in the Free Theater, including one of my besties, Laurel Heiss. Peace, love, dove + Power to the People. What?!

Laurel Heverly Heiss and I still yucking it up today. (Y’all see she’s still rocking an army jacket, a style from the ’70s. )What?!

We found a great Thai restaurant, Kinnarree Kitchen that was open-air and only a block away from a parking space. We dined while people watching, made our way back to our car, and back to the Southside we went. On the way, we passed 8 Track Recording and the Tribune, where I worked, then to Englewood, where I grew up. Nothing left in my neighborhood, but green grass. The railroad decimated my childhood streets, but a mile away, St. Martin, my elementary school, still stood. We drove back to Pat’s.

St. Martin, yes the daily, long snow walks The doors of St. Thomas Apostle


Next, Bisa Butler, Bisa Butler, Bisa Butler. Pat, my cousin-niece, Deanna Kemp, Mr. K., and I ravished every bit of the breathtaking exhibit.

Finally got to see her exhibit.

A short story: I was viewing one of Butler’s pieces when I heard this woman quietly describing every thread, color, the nuances of the artwork. I listened intently, enjoying her interpretation. I stepped back a bit to see another lady. The two were together. Friends, one telling the story, and the other, blind and intently listening. I could not help but talk with them discovering that the blind lady was a quilter who was losing her eyesight. I felt an overwhelming sense of admiration and compassion for the two women. They moved on to the next exhibit, and I soon followed. The interpreter told her friend, “Oh, it’s our new friend coming to join us.” She meant me.

A composition of compassion

We all were enthralled with the Butler exhibit. I had been waiting forever to see it. Our bonus was the Obama portraits, (on Featured image), also impressive. Satisfied, we made it to our car and discussed where we would meet Nedra to eat. I opted to go to the Southside to one of the homestyle Greek restaurants that serve big portions of good food.

How ‘you gon’ get a salad, entree, wine, and a dessert for less than $20? We all ordered the Special and were like, What?!!

Finally, time to hug and love on my family, from my first cousin, Jo-Ellyn Smith, and her kids, Deanna Kemp, Wilhemina, and her husband, David, and kids. Oh, what love and fun we had at Mina’s house. Of course, we had to have Giordano’s Pizza and Garrett’s Popcorn chaser.

Cousin Jo and David, Mina, David, and the boys, Mr. K. with Baby Devin, Jo with her crew, and Dee dee with me.

Next, the gathering at Pat’s with so many Chicago friends, like family visiting to meet Mr. K. and to say their hellos and goodbyes to us. Always a sacred part of my visit. Oh yeah…Chicago, always. What?!!

Joy Juice

Yes, we did it again! We embraced every blessing we encountered in Chicago. What fun to show Mr. K. my Chicago. just as he showed me his Carolinas. I bet every one of us can tour our hometowns with new eyes, finding nooks and crannies, some unnoticed and some, new. I challenge you to discover something about where you live. Maybe a theater, a community center, park, or street. At this age, we always need something new! IJS #everythingoldisnewagain #chicagoisrefriedandgentrified

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

“Whatever precious jewel there is in the heavenly worlds, there is nothing comparable to one who is Awakened.” Buddha

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“Knowledge is a garden. If it isn’t cultivated, you can’t harvest it.” African Proverb

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!


Scroll down for news about Patreon.

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.


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Images:

By TonyTheTiger at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3092975 Magnificent Mile

By TonyTheTiger – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33848282 Harper’s Court

By Victor Grigas – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42754817 Old Town Chicago

By Daniel X. O’Neilhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44051756 Roscoe

By MrHarman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20801543 Englewood