No Vaccine for Victorine on Valentine’s

What is happening?!!!  Why is it that everyone I know is vaccinated but moi?!!!  I mean the search is a challenge I wasn’t ready for.  I just knew that when the site opened for the 65+ year olds in Bama, that I would be one of the first to receive one.  I signed up to be notified.  So, of course I thought this meant I would be scheduled somehow.  No?  Oh well, I’ll just get up at 5:30AM and get to the site at 6:00AM.  Just drive up and take my rightful place to get vaccinated.  Oh wait…there are a few more cars…more…more...around the corner more.   “I ‘ll go back a few hours later.”  More cars, wrapped around two corners now.  Thank goodness a policeman alerted me that most these cars were here for their second shot.  “They only have 100 vials today; you might as well go home.”  What?!!!

I was listening to NPR programming, when they announced that Walmart would be giving the vaccine.  I hightailed it to a store at 8:00AM, walked around Wally World for an hour, (I’m not a fan, but I shopped that day thinking it might give me “favor” in getting vaccinated).  Nine o’clock sharp, I stroll up to the now-opened pharmacy, first one there, only to be told that I have to schedule online.  Hah!  no problem for me; I live on the computer.  I Google Walmart.com, only to meet an error code – no vaccines yet.  I call the pharmacy to alert them.  I am told they will fix the error.

I know all the tricks.  I leave my tab set for Walmart, so I won’t miss a beat, checking each time I think about it to see if the error is fixed.  I swear, all I did was blink, when my girlfriend, Judy Claytor texted me that her cousin got her appointment with Walmart!  I scurry to get mine,  this is what I get:

Needless to say, I checked every Walmart from here to Timbuktu; nothing…nada. Jacqueline Johnson tried to move mountains for me, (bless her heart), alerting me to every place she would hear about landing the shot, but nothing. Do you hear me? Nothing! All my friends are bragging, “I’m going back for my second shot.” I’m like, “WHAHHHHH (t)!”

I want my shot now! I can be patient. The main thing is I don’t want any of you to feel guilty  ABOUT GETTING YOUR SHOTS and telling the world.  Mr. K., don’t feel badly about leaving my house early and securing your vaccination here in Bama, instead of SC.  No, don’t feel bad, just GET ME VACCINATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh…and Happy Valentines Day. 

 


Joy Juice

I love to laugh with y’all.  How wonderful so many people are getting vaccinated, tending to the possibility of our nation ridding itself of this pandemic.  (love) No vaccination?  They will be allocating to more sites, (love), on time.  Always, God steers my time.  (LOVE)Ase’

“It’s all good/God/love” – Victorine

Mr. K’s Valentine’s orchids, (as if y’all haven’t seen them all over Facebook. What?!!)

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


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 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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Low Country…Hilton Head and Chez’ Statham

The splendor of Low Country preceded Mr. K and me with lush greenery and dotted shops along the way. We were making our way to the land of luxury, with upscale homes, resorts, and outlining beachesHilton Head. Driving in, we GPSed our way to cousins-in-law, Gloria and Carl Statham. Thank God!

Gloria had been trying to get me to visit them since her cousin, Bob, made his transition. Fourteen years later we drove through a tunnel of trees, manned the twists and turns to the Statham’s home. The physical appearance of a house has little to do with all the beauty we experienced. However, this spacious house was intentional and had every room and appointment you could ask for. My “Thank God” is defined by the welcome Mr. K. and I received. After me Oohing and Ahhing over the house, we were greeted with a smorgasbord of delights. In spite of our plans to stay with them for only a day, we were invited and taken up to our suite to stay with them. our entire stay. What?!

I don’t know why I didn’t keep shooting the video up to their house. What?!

Let’s get this out of the way: Gloria cooks like her mama, Aunt Nick, who had lick-the-plate meals. So, every meal was delicious. After breakfast, (the woman had lox!), we planned our day. Of course, Mr. K. wanted to show me his old haunts; I wanted to walk the beach, and Gloria and Carl had clear calendars for showing us what they love about living in the Low Country. We did it all.

Hilton Head is loaded with venues for outdoor activities, bike and hiking trails, jet skiing, parasailing. This vacation spot also boasts art and music spaces, and taking note of historical Hilton Head, it has a multitude of former plantations, now, swank resorts (Hmmm); Mr. K. has vacationed in plenty of them, all impressive. (As impressive as they look, unless you are staying on the grounds for the day, do not pay to see them…ask me how I know). The beach was all I wanted; so Mr. K. pulled into the Marriott, and we walked through to the beach, which enabled a lovely beach walk. We made our way back to our house to Gloria’s and readied to go to the town market.

It was so nice to walk the weekly market and to meet all kinds of vendors, even kids selling items for fundraising. We settled on some delicious-looking bread, (.I wonder why…). We bought a couple of loaves, and while the guys found a bar for drinks, Gloria and I went looking at the various shops on the outskirts of the market area. We joined the guys for drinks and made our way back to the house.

Gloria and Carl live on a golf course, so they loaded us into a couple of carts, and off we went to see the country club, its amenities, and the greens. All were gorgeous, but Carl’s landscaping was the “Wow” for me. We also enjoyed their Low Country Boil, which was tumbled onto a patio table where we stuffed ourselves. Key Lime pie followed. (I only at two three fork-fulls). What?!

The next day, we packed our bags for goodbyes, but not before experiencing a spiritual talk in the Sunroom with Carl and a great breakfast, this time, with Gloria’s loaded grits. (Mr. K. had the nerve to try putting butter on them. Those grits were cooked with butter!) Their Sunroom lends itself to serenity, and that’s exactly what we felt leaving our visit with cousins, Gloria and Carl, serenity...our Hilton Head visit.

Living room, dining room, some of the many sculptures, They have many original pieces,including the ones over our guest suite in the vibrantly yellow room
Our Gloria and Carl’s house, family room, sun porch, view from the sun porch, patio overlooking the golf course, Carl’s “hobby,” landscaping.

Carl and Gloria at the market, in the kitchen (Yay), a goodby selfie, and Mr. K and I, leaving our home resort.
Gloria and Carl

Joy Juice

It took this long for me to be able to experience the love connection of Carl and Gloria without feeling the pain of losing Bob. Grieving a loved one can do that, put a hold on connections that you feel may be painful.

Thank God that rejuvenation can reawaken the spirit. (Of course, I give Mr. K. some credit here too). Every old friend and family member we visited on our trip welcomed Mr. K. with open arms, which means they continue to lift me up, and I am grateful.

“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.  

Travelin’ On…Oyotunji

Photo: King, HRM. Oba Adegbolu Adefunmi II

On our way to Hilton Head, SC, Mr. K. and I searched for it and found it – Oyotunji, the African Yoruba Nation, in Sheldon, SC. I could not wait to meet the Yoruba village that was said to be Africa in America, and indeed we found a self-sustaining village/community that practices and lives the Yoruba and Dahomey spirituality and culture. We took the tour and what impressed me was the sovereign spirit. The village is self-sustaining, and Oyotunji is its own nation, independent of the United States of America. What?!

This nation/village was started in 1970 by King (Oba) Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi I; it is intentional, with families and individuals that come to be initiated socially and spiritually into the Yoruba culture. The children are home-schooled and we were told their scores rank higher than children schooled traditionally. We were introduced to the many sculptures representing the Yoruba deities and orishas, and we met the current King, HRM. Oba Adegbolu Adefunmi II. Since my website had been hijacked, I asked him which diety influenced communication. (Y’all notice? I didn’t ask for revenge).

King HRM. Oba Adegbolu Adefunmi II instructs me on paying homage to a deity to protect my websites.

Our tour guide was previously a Social Worker. This is her story:

We only caught a glimpse of the rich representation of Yoruba life, and unfortunately, we missed their Festival by only a few days. There, we would’ve experienced a celebration of life as they know it, but there’s always a future visit.

Flyer for the 2021 Festival at Oyotunji African Kingdom
Altars, statues, and drawings of orishas
The king and I, Osun, and Osun’s altar

Read more about OYOTUNJI YORUBA AFRICAN KINGDOM


Joy Juice

What a joy to have a partner-in-adventure who would forge the back roads to a village where we can see and feel the Ancestor/African past-present. Wherever we go, we find a different kind of joy, unlike our own; we expand our understanding. That’s what traveling does, gets us out of the way of ourselves, See you in Hilton Head!

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


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 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 Beauty of Jeanette: My Memories

 


I was around 8 years old when I first noticed her.  It was at a Birthday party, and my thoughts exclaimed, “Nedra’s mother looks like a movie star!” I had claimed Nedra as my best friend, so I got to see quite a bit of this “star,” Mrs. Fairley.

I was around nineteen, still living in Chicago.  My memory fails me, but I think I met with Nedra at her job downtown and Mrs. Fairley stopped by. I was discussing my audition for Hair, when this guy overheard us and remarked, “She should be auditioning for Hair!” Was he referring to Nedra, whose fro’ was so huge, it had a life of its own, or me, who had a headband that deserved serious hippy status? No! This guy was looking at Mrs. Fairley!

The thing is, her glamor never got in the way of honoring the beauty of her daughters. Like herself, Mrs. Fairley dressed her two girls impeccably, and although she was Baptist, she looked to the Catholic schools to educate them. As a result, I witnessed her beauty at every dance recital and school event; she was there, everywhere her girls needed her. When requested, she chaperoned our club parties, and when the dance school traveled to the Bahamas, Mrs. Fairley boarded the plane with her girls, not missing a beat. 

A good” village” mom, Mrs. Fairley took me with her as a Birthday surprise to Nedra at Southern Illinois University. (Thank goodness, when we knocked on the door, we weren’t surprised !). Don’t think Mrs. Fairley didn’t throw a mama hint on the way home. “Don’t you want to go to college too?” But, of course, at that time, her suggestion fell upon deaf ears.

I suffered an assault in Chicago that same year, and I welcomed Mrs. Fairley’s compassionate calls and her visit. Nedra was away at school, but I knew Mrs. Fairley wasn’t stepping in for Nedra; she was a village mom.

I finally went away to school and called to tell my Chicago sisters I was marrying a man I knew for only three months. Of course, everyone thought I was crazy, except Mrs. Fairley. She had my back.

Growing into middle age, I began to call Mrs. Fairley “Jeanette.” (She looked too young to be “Mrs. Fairley”). Because I no longer lived in Chicago, I wasn’t in her company much, but Jeanette was always a part of my visits home, and she was with me in Alabama at my kitchen table helping to make favors for my daughter’s wedding.

Both my mom and daughter swear that “Jeanette (was) funny!” During the car ride from Chicago to Alabama, Jeanette’s stories had my mother rolling with laughter. During my daughter’s encounters with her Godmother, Nedra, my daughter must have experienced Jeanette and got to hear some of her stories; I heard them during our phone visits.

I also heard her stories during a trip to Barbados, where I began to call her “Queen.” I remember being proud to be in her company. Queen Jeanette nurtured those she loved, her family by blood and by love. And when the time came for her to be nurtured, as she well deserved, her daughters and her Chicago family gave her love.  Those of us that lived elsewhere, sent our love from afar.

Her health now an issue, Queen’s heart still managed to look out for her girls. Fully masked, she boarded a plane to Kansas to see her youngest daughter, Denice, and her family, and meet and mingle with her new great-grandson, Tatum. Tatum met her heart, and her sense of humor (she danced). 

As pictures reveal, my Mrs. Fairley/Jeanette’/ Queen was still beautiful.  Her beauty was demonstrated inside/out.  I remember.

Jeanette

From a wide range of beauty, Clockwise from Top, Jeanette’s sister, Bernice, Jeanette, her mom, “Granny Camille,” and her grandmother!!!


Mrs. Fairley and her girls, Denice (L) and Nedra (R)
“Jeanette” with Nedra and Denice
“The Queen” with her girls, leaving Barbados. Pat, Daughter, Nedra, Sonya, (who worked at our condo), Jan, Linda, and I’m in the yellow.
Jeanette mingling with Tatum


Joy Juice
 
I am so blessed to be able to honor those I love in this way. 
My honor comes from having had them love me.
 

“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.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Just a Reprieve…

Guess what?  Doing a travel blog is no joke.  I still got at least 4 more places to share with y’all.  This is just a breather for some Black (Little) Girl Magic sweetness. There are four little girls that have crossed my Facebook page with so much cuteness till I thought I would share their images.  Two momma and two grandmamas said I could, so meet…


Ruby Joie (French spelling) Byrd, 5 years old. She loves fashion, Barbies, nature, collecting rocks, leaves, sticks. She said when she was 4 that she wanted to be a fashion designer and model!!  She has been to Paris about 4 times and loves it!
Joie

LIVING HER BEST LIFE (wearing a tee shirt for sun protection…already burned)!!
Ruby Joie
Grandma says, “She has a very sensitive side too…loving!  By the way, she poses her way…Jennifer wasted money on a photoshoot once!!!
A little bit about Leia Rice, (from her mom).  She is very outspoken and outgoing. She loves to dance and sing, she enjoys watching the Princess & the Frog and any Disney movies that double as musicals (almost all of them lol but she can be picky too). She loves school and learning, she has been read at least one book per night since birth and now she refuses to go to bed until we’ve read something.
Leia Mitchell
She likes teaching things to others and is very protective of her baby brother, Jules. She is very hilarious, there is literally never a dull moment with her. She’s creative, she loves to draw, and has even made up a song/rap about her favorite hairstyle (I got a ponytail). 🤣
Leia
She says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She is my little feminist and activist in the making. She attended her first women’s march with me when she was about 1 year old & she’s already learning the importance of standing up for herself and others (like Jules) ❤️
 
Poster girl for Juneteenth, Leia loves to dance too.

Alayah Nichole Bailey is three (3) and loves clothes, baby dolls, cheerleading, and swimming.
 
 

 
She wants to be a doctor when she grows up and “treats” her family for injuries or ailments. Residence: Tuscumbia, AL Parents: Jonathan and Kimberly Bailey Photographer Credit for Cow and Unicorn Pics: Amberly Lynn Photography in Muscle Shoals, AL

Caleigh recently turned 10, and her mother says she has been blessed and has been a blessing to the lives of others.
 
…This message was about Caleigh posted on her mom’s Facebook page :
❤This young lady is truly an angel. I know I met you two when I worked at Dollar General in Killen. I was going through a very depressing, near-suicidal time. When I tell you God needed me to meet this child… Her attitude and smiles and the love for people that she exudes… She gave me hope, and I’m here today to tell it.❤
 
From Caleigh’s mom, “I had a picture of Caleigh on FB and she sent me the post on my page in the comments with Caleigh’s picture.  This lady didn’t even know us!  She told me how Caleigh Saved Her Life!!🤩
 
 

Featured Photo by Alex Nemo Hanse on Unsplash
 
Joy Juice
See all the above!

“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.    
 
 
 
 
 
 

On to Charleston

…and we’re driving to North Charleston. We got lost for a minute GPSed our way to our North Charleston Marriott Hotel, which was minimalist swank. I was like, “OK, Mr. K!” We were pretty tired from driving. (I haven’t touched the steering wheel yet). Whew! We rested that night and were ready to meet the day for Charleston sites. The restaurant we wanted for breakfast was closed, so we ate at the one next to it. Marie’s Diner is a neighborhood restaurant, that was meh, but we were pleased to meet the Police Chief of North Charleston, and he was Black. Of course, Mr. K. had to talk with him about his “ministry,” Khan Academy. “Think about how many kids he can reach!”

We hit the road to Charleston and upon arriving, we drove around to see the historical splendor of the architecture there. Then we hunted down the Charleston Visitor Center for planning. The moment my feet hit the pavement of this town filled with history, I could feel the powerful energy of this city where the ravages of slavery started. So, of course, we asked for a Black Tour. We had a wait for the tour, so the guide suggested we walk to tour The Rhett-Aiken Mansion and its slave quarters.

We stepped down from the lobby to tour the building in the back of the mansion, the slave quarters. Painful? Yes. Feeling the depth of the experience of our Ancestors, Mr. K. and I acknowledged the resiliency of Black people.

Aiken-Rhett Mansion, image by Wikimedia Commons
Slave Quarters

Just touring the grandeur of the “big house,” as compared to the sad slave quarters, told us we would not seek any more of the Antebellum mansion experience. We were ready for our Black tour.

Charleston’s #1 Gullah Geechee, Black History, & Porgy & Bess

combination City Tour

This is how the tour pamphlet reads, and the tour was all that and more. Al Miller is a quintessential tour guide that taught us everything we needed to know about Charleston’s Black culture. He explored Gullah history and, at intervals, spoke their language, even teaching us a few idioms. We got off the bus to pay homage to the big mama, Angel Tree of John Island in Charleston, and Al told us how the legend reads that she carries the ghosts of slaves with her and that sometimes they appear.   What?!

We were treated to hear the history of the opera, Porgy & Bess, created in Charleston by Gershwin. He told us about Gershwin’s affinity for jazz, and how jazz influenced the opera. Miller is a member of an ensemble that performs Porgy & Bess and he plays several characters, one being Sportin’ Life, the villainous minx.. Miller stopped, stood, and in a booming baritone, sang “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” We were thrilled!! He also took us to church.

Miller is a cousin to 4 of the 9 Emmanuel AME Church members killed by Dylan Roof. He drove to the church and showed us where Roof entered. Then he shared the history of his family’s historic church and he recounted the strength of the woman cousin that expressed forgiveness for the murderous actions. Miller also admitted he could not be as generous with his forgiveness. Again, painful.

Miller gave us a glimpse into the church services he was used to. He clapped a rhythm and had us mimic him. Then, he started to clap in a syncopated way, as we kept the steady beat, and he sang again this time gospel. What a guide!

Of course, there was so much more he gave us, including tips and sad tidings about many of the restaurants. Some of the Black restaurants did not survive Covid. As he closed his tour, he pitched his book, Tourists Can Say the Darndest Things!  . Mr. K. gifted me the book, and I received an autograph and an agreement that he would appear in my blog and magazine. I have only started to read his book, and I am already laughing/crying as I learn even more about the history of this fascinating city. Thank you, Al Miller, for introducing us to where and how Black America entered this country and in spite of challenges, thrived.

Phillips Simmons sculpture and sound exhibit ,
Samuel “Goat” Smalls, the reall Porgy
Al Miller, Tour Guide, Marker signifying that Charleston is the home of the anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” Emmanuel AME Church, The Tree, and the grave of the real Porgy

Miller schools us on “The Color of Money”

Meeting Place

Remember this?

 

After finishing the tour, we were really hungry and decided to try the place suggested by our tour guide, Hyman’s Seafood, on Meeting Street. We were met with a tray of hush puppies, a hello snack to waiting customers. (I didn’t succumb!) To watch with no wait, we chose sidewalk dining and our wonderful server took our order. In Mr. K’s style, he began to chat with a family waiting in line in front of our table. He invited the elder mother to sit at our table, rather than stand in line. (That’s Mr. K.!) While the family entered the restaurant, our low-country boil came with hush puppies, (This time, I succumbed).

While dining we made friends with Phil and Tiffany Oliveira a delightful young couple dining next to us (via Mr. K. again). We were having so much fun that our waitress summoned the owner of Hyman’s, Eli Hyman. He shared his family’s history with the restaurant, and we swapped quips about raising family. It was clear that service was at the core of the success of this establishment. We went back to our hotel feeling full of great history, fine food, and friendship.

Notes of positivity are given to customers and this sign is plastered to the front of the window.
Thanks, Tiffany Oliveira
Our server and Tiffany and Phil Oliveira, young folks making us smile.

The next morning we made it to the restaurant next to the Meh one, The Junction Kitchen; and we chose vegetarian splendor for breakfast. We headed towards Charleston and decided to walk downtown Charleston before heading out to Hilton Head. We did not know if the famous Charleston Market was open. So we opted to get on the road to Hilton Head.

I don’t feel a bit bothered by pages unturned in Charleston. I know I will open this book again to the history, the sights, and the cuisine of this spirited city. Next, Hilton Head!

Joy Juice

Not to be discounted, Charleston carries the energy of a sordid history, past and recent.  While feelings emerged, so did the appreciation of the beauty of the city and the blessing of being with a partner who appreciates all that I do.  (The girls I travel with do too!). We met fine folks; it’s always part of a travel package. We attract them, and so will you.   I encourage us all to travel.  I don’t care if it’s to the town next door.  It’s where our perspective broadens, where our spirit grows. 

Beloved I pray that you may prosper in all things… – 3 John 1:2

No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow. ~ Congolese Proverb

 “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

“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.

…Brief Visits

On the road from Charlotte, we stopped for a brief visit to meet “The Boyz,” Mr. K’s “family” of mechanics in Columbia. They tried to move him to the Shoals with me; I was like, “No, you guys take good care of him.” They agreed and admitted to the strength of their kindred friendship.

We made our way to Augusta, GA. No touring sites, but a great visit with old friends of mine, Cedar and Rodell Lawrence, and I finally, met their stunning daughter, Raegena.

The Lawrence family has retired beautifully from academia, with a home ready for visitors (hint, hint). While Cedar, Raegena, and I spoke of soul journeys and creating a She-shed for Cedar, Rodell and Mr. K. found they had so much in common, and were so encapsulated by their many life stories, we had to call them several times to come to the beautiful lunch prepared by Cedar. What?!

Cedar and Raegena flanked by much of their art collected during their travels and stations in higher education.
Mr. K., Victorine, Cedar, and Dr. Rodell Lawrence

Although brief, we had a wonderful visit and promised to return for a Lawrence tour of the Penn Center and to see the University of South Carolina, which holds their hearts.


Joy Juice

Nothing like rekindling spirits.  We have experienced so much this past year, visits like our time spent with the Lawrence family remind us of the importance of staying connected; how we must affirm our collective strengths, beauty, and resilience. (Pictured:  Two COVID survivors, a Caregiver, and a Cancer survivor).  We are blessed.

Oh…not to forget “the Boyz.”  I witnessed the strength of making family wherever we land in our life. Indeed, blessed!

“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.

And So It Begins! Charlotte, NC

Here we go…here we go!!!

First of all, I flew. I FLEW! That’s a big deal, post-COVID. I had a pleasant flight experience to Charlotte, NC, with absolutely no hitches. Mr. K was at the airport waiting for me, and off we went to our hotel. Mr. K and I are big-time GPSers. So, Mr. K. found our Wyngate destination near the airport in an area that was rather seedy. I was like…uhhh. FYI, there are several Wyngate hotels in Charlotte. We were at the wrong site. Always check your address before checking your GPS.

We settled in, I unpacked, and off we went to meet Kobi and Emory, Mr. K’s daughter and granddaughter. Our first-time meeting is encapsulated in one word – delightful; they were both down-to-earth, engaging, lovely women. Emory has a passion for writing, which is fed at Brown University. (Y’all know I couldn’t leave our visit at just one word, and don’t think I didn’t ask Emory to grace Garden Spices with her words). What?!!

Eating Charlotte

Inside Leah and Louise, North Charlotte

We ended our visit with Kobi and Emory hungry to taste Charlotte’s cuisine, and Kobi suggested what she considers to be the best restaurant in Charlotte, Leah and Louise. Unfortunately, we were too late and only experienced this…

…instead of this:

Cuisine at Leah and Louise, A Modern Juke Joint Camp, Camp North End
SARU Ramen, Camp North End

We were disappointed, but since we were already in Camp North End with stalls offering a myriad of choices, we landed at SARU Ramen and ordered the ramen Tonkutso noodles with bone broth, meat, and veggies. Here’s the thing. You order ramen…you eat noodles, right? You do unless the noodles are on top of a deep cup and you have to stir up all the goodies to get the full breadth of the experience. Of course, Mr. K. and I did not know this until I nosed over to the next table and noticed how they were eating. By this time, we had eaten quite a bit of our noodles. We stirred and really enjoyed our ramen. (Now, when somebody says they are eating ramen, I won’t think of the college dorm noodles).

Gotta Have My Art

The next day we let our hotel feed our stomachs for breakfast and The Harvey B. Gantt Center feed our souls. Thank goodness it was open, and we were able to view the wide collection of art by African Americans. From contemporary to ancient works, the center was filled with the cultural treasures that define Black art.

Our visit wasn’t long enough to sample the many cultural spices of Charlotte, but we were there long enough for me to taste the flavor of this city. It is progressive and high-end from the eye. Due to COVID, so many places had limited access, but the people were diverse, and every one of them was masked, indoors and outdoors. Mr. K. drove me through many areas of the city from North Charlotte and Midtown, to South Charlotte, Piper Glen, where his daughter lives. He says it won’t be my last visit, and I can’t wait to get back there to really dig into all Charlotte has to offer.

Joy Juice

I did have one more event. I met one of my “daughters” for the first time, Carla Renae, from SugarPearl’s. Never met so much joy, exuberance, with humility and beauty to boot. The only thing…we didn’t get a chance to have her cook for us.
NEXT VISIT!!!

“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.

Where Do I Start?

I’m starting with me!   Y’all, I been traveling, but before I started, I had to come to terms with what I did during COVID. I ate and sat… and sat and ate, had a bout with COVID, which made me lie down, but afterward, I resumed my daily routine.  A hot mess, I was. After I got vaccinated, I knew I was ready to hit the road with Mr. K. and had to do something soon, so I decided to Noom. What?!!

Yep.  I bit the bullet and joined Noom, a different kind of eating program.  They got ya’ girl doing psychological warfare on crazy eating, serious accountability. I got all kinds of studies,  on anything from dialectical thinking to endocrinology, but what really helps me dig in are a lesson and a tool:

Lesson:   I have a thought, which triggers me to take action; if that action is against my well-being, my consequences are contrary to my ultimate desires.  Tool:  I got an “elephant,” (I call him Trumpet), that likes to eat and wraps me in his trunk when I eat what does not serve me, and I got a “trainer/rider,” Tara, that tames Trumpet and soothes me into doing the right thing.  Oh, I let Trumpet have his way, from time to time.  I need his assistance – to be able to identify him.  Noom makes me think and act like I have some sausage sense.

I got a bazillion tools that assist my process, and they are in concert with all my daily spiritual practices – meditation, mindfulness, what I talk about all the timeNo food is off-limits, but Noom’s got me learning how to enjoy the food I choose and not ingest the copious amounts I felt I had to eat to be sustained.  See this picture?

In Charleston, SC with Mr. K. and a Low Country Boil

Now, there was a time when I would have lit into that food until it screamed for mercy. HELP!!! But Mr. K. and I shared every bit of food we had on our vacation, and I even had bites of his dessert. What else?

I learned something really important; that sitting on my behind for hours at a time is the equivalent of smoking – it’s deadly. I turned 71 on May 14th. I intend to be here. You think I’m not up every two hours, walking, marching, dancing, doing whatever I can to save my life? Y’all betta’ get up too!

No, I have no “Before and After” pictures to show you, and the scale has only moved 15 pounds since March, but Y’all, my clothes fit again! I feel good, healthy, and confident that the results I need to find my balance will come. Of course, I’ll take you on my journey, but we got other stuff to talk about first.

Mr. K. and I were vaccinated, and we have been seriously vacationing. What?!! Stay tuned!!

Image: Food from SugarPearl’s

Web MD on Noom


Joy Juice

Here’s the thing…all that stuff I preach about meditation, intention, frequency, and balance apply to every aspect of our living, including eating.  Today, I feel I have found something that reminds me of what I know.  I hope you find what you need outside to remind you of what you have inside, that takes you to your balance.

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.

“It’s all good/love/God “- Victorine



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.

You My Mama!

So, everyone that has had any recent contact with me knows that my digital magazine, Garden Spices Magazine, was hijacked.  Yes, directly after the George Floyd verdict, my site was hit and left with articles written by the devil itself.  The tunes sung were about Black trans athletes, Blacks against whites, George Floyd was a criminal, you get the picture.  I was devastated, but not as outdone as my warrior, daughter, Camille.

Y’all know I’m Miss Spirituality.  So, while Mr. K and I were set to travel (road trip, road trip!), I decided I would leave my computer home to release and let go of my magazine troubles; to let God have its way.  And whoa…God worked through warrior Camille to get my magazine up and running and to help track down the culprit.  Although we have not yet found who committed the terrorism, Spicy will be making a guest appearance in the new issue of Garden Spices!!  Oh yeah…it’s done!  Mr. K and I were driving through Atlanta jammin’  to Mystical’s Bouncin’ Back, and I was thinking of the terrorists as I rapped with Mystical,

“You keep bumping me against the wall
Yeah I know I let you slide before
But until you seen me trust me
(You ain’t seen bouncin’ back)…

Ah stick ya chest out, keep your chin up
‘Cause sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up.” – Mystical

You guys already know how I am.  I’ll find God in anything, including rap music.  What?!!

Let’s look at Miss Irene, my mother.  She didn’t want us to worry about her, so she moved from her beloved Chicago to Bama.   If you knew her, you knew a woman who expressed gratitude for every nuance of her life, was fierce, and had a life well-lived/loved.  She was incredible and a great mentor.  However, she never stopped exclaiming how much she learned from me, even during her last years.  I now find myself shouting like my mama.  I learn so much from my daughter, Camille.

I tease and call her “The Dragon Lady,” and if you know her activism, then you know why.  However, that’s not what I want to talk about.  Beyond her activism, I am in awe of what she does to stay centered and how mindful she is.  She moves her body at least one hour daily, prays, meditates, eats well, and reasons beyond my expectations or ability.  When complimented, she always says to me, “You my mama,” giving me the credit for how she rolls.  I dare say that as we age, our mother status shifts, and we see ourselves through our daughters.  And although vice-versa is true, this shift still feels complicated.  How do our daughters know so much about navigating life? Sometimes, it downright makes me mad that her thoughts are so much more logical than mine.

Next week, I’ll be 71 years old, and my daughter is teaching me when to hold ’em and foldem; how much information to release and when to stop running my mouth.  Y’all know I have yet to learn my lesson; I tell y’all everything!  She’s always on me about being too judgemental, nick-picky, and bossy, and swears I don’t know how to ask for what I’m worth.  Guess what?  She’s right, but it just don’t feel right coming from someone you birthed and bathed. What?!

What does feel right is to take this moment to thank Camille for tapping into and expressing the Mother-God within her.  Thing is, Mama-God resides within all of us through intuition, compassion, awareness, strength, and of course, nuturing.  Recognize her when you see/feel her; she’s everywhere present, just like Father-God.  So, of course I want to wish you all , every age and gender, a Happy Mother’s Day.

Joy Juice

Motherhood has played a powerful roll in every faith practice.  Mr. K and I went to visit a village that practiced African spirituality, and were told that the Chiefs seek counsel with the women.  Then there are so many stories about the role Mary played with Jesus, including birthing him and releasing him to do his work with a mama nudge “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” (John 2:5).  “In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna pointed out to his disciple Arjuna that women are as worthy and as capable as men of achieving liberation, or moksha.”  

Recognize, honor and celebrate the mother within you.  We so bad, the universe gave us a holiday. What?!!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!  That’s what!

© 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.

Don’t Pull it!

With recent events, the lynching of Dante, and the trial of Chauvin, I tend to stay in an angered state – wound up. It takes so little these days.  Let someone post what they feel is innocuous, but not to me, and here I go.  I get in my feelings and I’m ret’ to rant.  News from posts, films, videos, and media, in general, make me want to scream.   I love the term the young’uns came up with – “trigger.”   Yes, I get triggered, and my stomach churns in a real visceral way.  Yet, I feel compelled and a responsibility to keep tuned in, post, and comment on current events.

How do I protect myself?  I’m too old advanced to be blowing a gasket, and y’all already know about my ‘Pressure.  I figured out, actually, the young’uns (my daughter, Camille) taught me; I do not have to pull the trigger/get sick/take it out on loved ones. Let me share what I do to prevent self-casualties:

Don’t Pull it 101

  1.  Get your spiritual practice on.  I’m not qualifying what you believe in.  All I know is that for me prayer and meditation a day keep pulling the trigger away. Finding your center keeps you grounded. I throw in some yoga, Qigong, do my own ceremony, and I listen to the Staple Singers and ‘Halia.  I go interfaith/by any means necessary to seek clarity, awareness, and become centered.
  2. Find a touchstone  Get what you need to prevent breaking down. When needed, I see my counselor.  No shame in my game.  I belong to several groups with which I can connect and stay aware.  However, restraint is easier said than done.  Poor Mr. K. has to hear me screaming, moaning, and groaning about the weight of world events. However, I consciously talk to him, knowing that while he shares my sentiments, he is also going to help me take a chill pill.  I’m consciously venting, but I’m not pulling the trigger.
  3. Shut It Down. I am a social media activist, so I read and post on social media.  Folks send me stuff they are afraid of posting themselves.  If my spirit cannot stand the heat, I get out of the fire…for real.  If you feel triggered by a film, don’t watch it; triggered by social media, etc., take a break.  The world will still be shifting without your attention, especially if you need self-care.
  4. Breathe. My friend, David Walton, introduced me to take 7 breaths. (He learned it from Indigenous People.)  If I feel a whirlwind of emotions, I take a breath-break.  Here’s the thing, you have to be mindful while breathing.  You may have to close your eyes.  Don’t worry, you won’t miss much. What?!
  5. Laugh.  Activism is serious business, but some of the antics put forth in self-righteousness, (from me too), crack me up; memes too. 
  6. Use your creativity. Dance, drum, create art,  write; do anything that sets you on your course to #7.
  7. Release and Let Go.  Digest this any way you need to that allows you to surrender to the process of finding your truth; your hand is on the trigger, but your Higher Power’s/Self’s hand is on you.  Let go.

It doesn’t hurt to do some affirmations too.  “The right and perfect outcome of this trial is taking place.”  “Everything has to come up to come out.  The perfect outworking is at hand; all part of a necessary shift.”  Get over yourself.  You don’t run this. Ask the Ancestors; they know.  They are the ones that warned me, “Don’t pull it.”


Joy Juice

While writing this blog post, I heard about a 13-year-old, Adam Toledo, gunned down by a Chicago policeman.  This time, I felt robotic, as I posted the report of this tragedy.   I do not know what to say, except to tell you to find your center.  These shifting roads have been perilous, but we have each other to support our cries.  We lean on God/Jah/Jehovah/Higher Power to embrace us, as we make our way, knowing the darkness can never consume the light.

It’s all good/God/love – Victorine

“Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46: 10

“You will not be punished for your anger.  You will be punished by your anger.”  Buddhist quote

“No matter how hot your anger may be it cannot cook.”
(African Proverb)

“You must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market. “— Beninese proverb

“Help Me Lord Jesus,” the Staple Singers

 

© 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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