Erin Go Montserrat!

Today is St. Patrick’s. Yes, it is celebrated here in the New York City with parades, the wearing of the colors of Ireland, consuming traditional Irish food and let’s be honest drinking -seriously a lot of drinking.  While it is a very festive occasion in several Major cities here in the U.S., it is not a national holiday here where schools, banks and government offices close. While many places celebrate it, what a lot of people don’t know is that Montserrat is the only other place outside of Ireland where the date is officially marked as a national holiday.

Montserrat, “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” Irish connections have long been a source of interest for local residents and tourists alike, and over the past two decades have made concerted efforts to bolster its Irish legacy and build upon perceived connections between present-day Montserrat and historic Irish communities. Its most prominent example of these being St. Patrick’s Day, that simultaneously commemorates the island’s Irish heritage and an uprising by Afro-Caribbean slaves and members of the island’s free black community on the same day in 1768.


t-shirt celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Montserrat slave uprising on St. Patrick's Day 1768.

An officially designated national holiday, it has become a week-long festival that includes a parade in national dress, dinners, dancing, pub crawls and public talks.

Part of a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Montserrat

Part of a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Montserrat.

So to my best friend who is from The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Erin Go Braugh!


Today is Day 17 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
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May you always have…

…the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
…the foresight to know where you are going and
…the insight to know when you have gone too far.

Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve pushed the wrong button
and sometime they know exactly.


Today is Day 16 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
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Calendar Girl

It seem a number of people either in real life or here among slicers are all talking about their schedules. With St. Paddy’s Day on Saturday and a birthday celebration on Sunday, I figure I should take a look at mine.

Now, everyone who knows well enough knows – I make no promises to attend anything without consulting my calendar first. Especially after the fiasco a few years back where I did not just double, but triple booked myself for events within the same five-hour time frame. I am very conscientious of managing my time better now.

That being said, I realize now that I have something planned for the next seven weekends and a smattering of weekday events tossed in for good measure. Between birthday parties, a house-warming, movies, Paint Nites, concerts and art galleries and The 24 Hour Project and brunches and friends visiting and posting slices… and… and… and…

And yeah, I’m now exhausted just looking at my calendar.

And yeah, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(See you April 7th GirlGriot!)


Today is Day 13 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
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Not Exactly What I Meant

When I told someone I need to chill this is not exactly what I meant…

tulip buds in snow
…Though it is very representative of my mood right now.

Frosted over, but trying to push through the madness. I seriously chose the wrong year to give up coffee for Lent.


Today is Day 8 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
Let’s how other are slicing and hopefully doing a better job of chilling out today…

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It Catches Up…

Mr. Sandman has chased Ms. Insomnia around the mulberry bush for three days.  I may have slept a total of ten hours twixt these three days.

Maybe it’s all the snow that has fallen on my fair city these past few hours, I don’t know. When Insomnia stopped to take a gander at the pristine snowy city streets Sandman finally caught up to the elusive chick. They are battling still, but I feel she’s losing this round – rapidly and I couldn’t be happier.

My head feels like the marionette string has been cut, I can barely keep my head up. The result being one yawn filled slice before the hay hits me <— not a typo.

G’nite y’all.


Today is Day 7 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.

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Sometimes You Fail Non Stop

I write. I write documentation at work. I write creatively every where else I can. For instance this is me, during my cruise working on a story while waiting to dock.

Writing during down time while cruzing

In the Broadway show “Hamilton: An American Musical”, at the end of Act I there’s a number called Non Stop in which the friends and family of Alexander Hamilton both praise and bemoan the prolific wordsmith.

“How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive?
How do you write like you need it to survive?
How do you write ev’ry second you’re alive?
Ev’ry second you’re alive? Ev’ry second you’re alive?”

This is me to a smaller degree, but not by much depending on who you ask.

If I have an idea I write  or at least try to write a note to myself to revisit an idea later. Trains. Boats. Planes. At a bar. In the middle of a party wherever I am.

However the downside of that is on occasions like today, where I find myself writing so much about the whole fruit, I forget I need to be writing about – you guessed it – the slice.

So for the second day  -er- night  in a  row. I skate in just under the midnight hour.


Today is Day 6 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.

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Stepping Up!

One of the interesting things about my daily commute is the hill. New York City is not known for its hills. There’s a reason we have an area call Flatlands in Brooklyn and the magical phenomenon called Manhattanhenge which occurs a couple of times a year.. Then you travel north to upper Manhattan where there are inclines that can rival San Francisco. The train station where I exit my evening commute home just happens to be halfway to the bottom of one. There is even a simple marker in the park near one end of the station that notes the area as the highest natural elevation on Manhattan.

Suffice to say at over 400 feet deep it’s a long climb from the subway platform to the street level. Essentially, we are talking a five story tenement building climb.

Normally this is not an issue as there are escalators to help. Two going up and one down, plus a standard flights of stairs. A week ago the usual escalator that goes down went out of service for major repairs, scheduled to be back in service, I hope, next week.  As a result, one of the usually two escalators going up, was switched to a down escalator. There was a reason for there being two escalators that went up. This station is a busy station. Two are needed for the volume of ridership that disembark at the station. Down to only one working up escalator the inevitable happened. It gave its all – and died. So this evening after a long day of work, I exit the train and just know by the number or people walking to the right instead of left that the up escalator is broken. This has happened no less than five times last year that I can recall.

Granted, I could walk to the other end of the station and take the elevator, (yes the station also has elevators), but then I would have to walk that same distance back to continue home. What I save in convenience and accessibility, I loose in time. I don’t consider the trade-off worth it, so I climb the steps.

When this happens I dubbed them my “Rocky” steps. For climbing them is very reminiscent of the Philadelphia Art Museum Steps the titular character had trouble climbing. For like Rocky and his steps at the beginning, I have yet to make it up the entire flight of steps without stopping at least twice. I’m faster than a couple of people, much more are faster than I, leaving my in the smoke of their speed. I have no shame, when I need to stop and catch my breath for a moment for a moment, I stop and wheeze and pant. As I stood at the bottom step and looked up at the daunting task ahead of me, I figured today was going to be no different.

Or so I thought…

Today, I plugged in my iPod grabbed a banister and started to climb. It was Drowning Pool and I trudging up the stairs. I didn’t look I simply climbed.  I felt my first twinge telling me I was going to need to stop. I looked up and to my surprise I was more than three-quarters up the stairs!!

But… but… But How?!?!?  

I had never made it that far up without stopping, I was not going to stop now! I continued climbing. My knees started complaining. I looked up and could have counted the steps if I stopped. I wasn’t stopping. I could easily count I had about a dozen steps left when my lungs started their wheeze.

Are you kidding me? Less than a dozen. Not so easy, let alone peasey, but…

Oh! My! God! I! Did! It!

No, I did not jump up and down like Rocky Balboa. 1- I was too out of breath and 2- while I’m sure many would have gotten the reference, 3 – I would have looked absolutely ridiculous in my suit and winter coat jumping up an down on the pavement.

I climb the steps without stopping! That’s not to say I am going to be able to do the same tomorrow if they’re still down. That’s not so say I will not pray that the escalator is working tomorrow.

But today – today….?

Gonna fly now
Flying high now
Gonna fly, fly, fly!!!!


Today is Day 5 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
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Wake Up, Shake Up

My eyes opened on the alarm clock blinking at me.

Huh? Blinking?  Crap!

Apparently the power had tripped some three plus hours ago. Luckily my circadian system still works and that’s what woke me. I glance at the burgeoning dawn outside my window, grab my cell phone and see I have roughly forty minutes to get it together and catch the bus.

You can do this, shake a tail feather, Raivenne!

Please note, I am not a morning At. All. So I am still not quite awake as I haul arse out of bed and head to the bathroom for my morning ablutions. I am under the shower when my brain starts to come online at last.


Why didn’t the alarms on my mobile wake me, even if the clock radio didn’t? 

Oh for fuck’s sake! It’s bloody Sunday!

Sigh – I’m wide awake now, in annoyance.

On the plus side – I’ve changed my sheets, completed the Sunday Whirl, posted the story that sprang from it, checked my emails and now have an easy slice to submit today.

Even better –  once I post this I’m off to brunch!


Today is Day 4 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
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Walk. Chew. Rinse. Repeat.

I’m on the subway, iPod plugged in with rock music. My cell phone in hand as I scroll through Facebook trying to not laugh out loud at some of the silliness my friends have posted overnight in response to Astroglide <– see yesterday’s SOL18 post for that explanation, if you don’t get the reference – among other things, when I feel a gentle, but definitive tap on my shoulder.

I was deep into my personal Lip Sync Battle, giving Steven Tyler a run for his money on that high note in Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and did not appreciate the interruption. Somehow managing to not sigh loudly, I turn to a fellow commuter with a questioning look.

“Hi, I’m sorry, but I have to ask: how do you do that?”

I, of course, do not have a clue as to what the hell “that” is I am doing and state such.

Apparently, I have the ability to not just listen to my music, also but lip sync with it while simultaneously reading Facebook posts and clearly laugh at them.

Really? She’s honestly asking this, non-facetiously? I’m equally impressed and appalled at her single-mindedness that thinks this is norm.

“Multitasking?” I shrug, not getting why I am being disturbed for such drivel.

Rai, be nice to the people, don’t be a Mean Girl – I hear my work wife kvetching at me in my mind. Fine!

“No, you’re reading, laughing at what you’re reading, while lip syncing to the song and still manage to hit repeat on your iPod barely missing a beat as far as I can tell.” She states emphatically.

Uh, just how long has this women been observing me? 

I am a little confused at first, but then I get it that she cannot do those things – simultaneously.

Soooo? I care because…

“If I tried that I’d either be singing the words I’m reading out loud or have to stop either lip syncing or reading.” She continued confirming my thought.

I bit back the urge of my Sarcastic Siren in me that wanted to inquire if she were capable of efficient forward motion in the midst of the consumption of  Wrigley’s Doublemint. Hey, I said I bit her back, but it was a close call.

“I don’t think about it, I just do it.” I replied honestly, “Anything else?”

She shook her head in the negative and we returned to our individual, in my case multiple, pursuits. A couple of train stops later, I felt I was being stared upon. Sure enough it’s her.


“Are you even aware that you added toe and finger tapping to everything else? I mean how?”

What is with this chick? Did she not get enough attention as a child? Was she given too much?

Seriously, Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.????

At this point I most emphatically regret having given up coffee for Lent as I am on my way to work and it’s much too early for alcohol, not to mention it’s kind of – you know- frowned upon.

“Have you ever been to a live music concert?” I asked through near gritted teeth.

“Of course!” She seemed offended that such a thing -her having never attended a live concert- could be the case. I could not have cared less if she were.

“Ever notice how a drummer can play two different rhythms on each hand) with his sticks, as his feet strike a different beat on the base drum, while he take cues from – or give cues as the group lead and sings at the same time?”

Side note to say Thank you To the amazing Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters for popping into mind and being the inspiration for this impromptu object lesson. Some of you will get the reference. Hopefully, all of you will understand the example.

“Yeah..” She nods in the affirmative, but still looks a tad confused.

“Same principle. I have no idea how drummers can do that, they just can.I have no idea why you cannot, but you can’t. I’m not special because I can. You’re not less than because you can’t. It just is. Capiche?” ” I finish.

“My dad says capiche when I’m annoying him. I’m annoying you aren’t I?”

“Why nooooooooo! Don’t let the fact that I’m about to plug back into my iPod and ignore you for the rest of my ride mean anything. It’s nothing personal, honey. Scouts Honor! Capiche?”

I bet you’ve already figured out I was never a scout, haven’t you, dear readers?

So okay – yeah, the Sarcastic Siren mode came out with that one. Enough that a guy sitting on the other side of her snorted, loudly.

I went back to what I was doing and I’ll be damned if I didn’t notice her trying to multitask a few minutes later. I shake my head sadly and ignore her.

The guy on the other side of her catches my eye and smirks in sympathy – at least I think that’s what it is– as he exits. I’m just grateful I exit in a few more stops and I can leave her to work it out for herself.


Today is Day 2 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
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Art and Dollars and Sense

Was speaking with a friend regarding how I like going to galleries to see all the different kinds of art out there and how much I wish I had the funds to purchase some. The discussion eventually lead to the following question —

Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?

No, I do not have to agree with an artist’s personal views to appreciate the art.   What’s the joke…? I don’t know what art is, but I know what I like.  Often times I see/hear/read the art long before I know the views/lifestyle of the artist anyway and have made my own opinion of the art. The last time I checked, artists are people and definitely have their own opinions and theories on any variety of subjects, as I have mine.  There are going to be differences of opinion. Little of which has bearing on whether how I will perceive the person’s respective arts.  If it moves me, it moves me.

So many people liked Tom Cruise’s body work until he became outspoken on Scientology (and the infamous couch jump on Oprah). Okay, he was (is still?) an ass personally. The backlash was odd and misplaced. So many could not separate the man from the various movie characters. It is interesting now that his personal life is such horrid gossip fodder, the general opinion on his acting ability seems to be rising again.  It is/was the same with Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood. Providing Gibson can keep his rants to minimum, and Eastwood sticks to being a rambling curmudgeon only between “Action!” and “Cut!”, that is. I suspect the same will happen with them as well, as people tend to forget/stop caring quickly enough if you let them.  That’s not to say given their respective faux pas, I would never see a movie either are in again because of it.  I know I would simply because I respect their work as actors, if not necessarily the current state of who each is as a person right now.

To spend money on it, though?  Well, that has a caveat or few.

I have a friend who will not purchase anything from a particular band because he despises the lead singer’s political views. My friend loved the band’s music, all the way until he learned of the singer’s view. Now it is all about how the band sucks.  He can’t bring himself to separate the art from the artist.  Now, I agreed the artist is a jerk, however, this artist continually has songs that impressed me in spite of my opinion of him personally. As long as that continues, I can support his artistic work.  If it moves me, it moves me.

As a woman of color in America, should I discover that a sculpture I simply adored and am seriously considering its purchase was created by a staunch, outspoken  member and defender of the Ku Klux Klan, it would certainly give me pause.  As I stated before, it would not stop me from appreciating the beauty of the art, but I cannot knowingly aid someone in a cause I am solemnly against.  If I have already purchased the item before I made the discovery, I would not return it.  I would not be happy for quite the while of my accidental contribution to the cause, but I’d eventually get over it. And knowing me I’d likely have an anecdote along the lines “it’s amazing how could someone so ugly could create something of such beauty”.

After all, if it moves me, it moves me.


Let’s see how others are slicing it up this week:

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Slice of Life Writing Tuesday Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 17

A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.