Chemistry at Work

Chemistry at Work
with love to my friend Chem

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chapter 6: Verse #2 - Stay Hungry....Stay Foolish

Still amazes me how much times moves so quickly and yet at times seems to stand still.  It's November 1, 2011 : 11/1/11- to some mystics considered a magical day. If this is true I sure could use some magic today.   My last post was about the most magical night I believe I've ever had.  Sadly enough, that was the last of my "big" fun. Before this turns into a brooding post on how stressed and crappy things are, I must acknowledge the things that I am grateful for.... EVERYTHING.

In September my good friend in New York saw fit to send me a one way plane ticket to come out and explore the city once again and look for work. His hospitality was unexpected and so gracious I get a little teary eyed just thinking about it now. His awesome brownstone in Harlem afforded me the comforts of being around my people and historic sites like Langston Hughes home, the infamous Mosque No. 7 and classic restaurants.  Even President Obama came to Harlem to eat at Red Rooster- which was right around the corner from where I was staying.  Armed with my computer, an overweight suitcase, $100.00 and half enthusiastic attitude I arrived in New York a couple of days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I didn't tell my friends or family I was coming. I did my best to stay in the moment and try to have an open heart to have some fun and drop my bag of worries at the airport.   I failed.   5 days into being there, I knew something was wrong.  I was sick.  I tried to masque it but sneaking off to the doctor in New York confirmed that I needed to get home, back to LA to address my illness. I stayed in New York for 3 weeks.  I didn't let my host know I was sick- he was so excited to have me there and spent great efforts to convince me to move back to New York.  I just didn't want to let him down or be a "downer. "  I tried my best to keep my spirits high and get through the hustle of New York City energy.   I did have fun getting to know my friend better, he's super cool and a Scorpio like me.  I did see some friends, have a few meetings, couple of job interviews but it was very hard for me to stay energetic.  Sprinkled with some great club nights; Q-tip dj'ing, Brooklyn Bowl with Questlove and all of my friends, there were a few days I felt like my old self.  I missed her.  I wish she would come back and stay longer.

October seemed to have killed me but I'm still here- on November 1st seemingly to have weathered another storm.  My body was slow to recover due to stress -mainly financial.  I've sunk into a cave and I can't be social.  My energy is so awful I can't imagine anyone wanting to be around me- especially when I don't even want to be in my own skin. Trying to heal my body and mind at the same time has proven to be challenging to say the least. But I guess I'm not different from any other human that is facing life challenges so I can't pretend that my story is somehow unique or deserves special attention.  I just watched the Stanford commencement speech given by Steve Jobs again.  It is 15 minutes of pure inspiration. I must note that Mr. Jobs just died of cancer a few weeks ago so there has been a lot of focus on his life story, genius and how he changed the world.  Even now, I'm sitting here typing this blog on my MacBook Pro with my iphone next to it.  He ended his speech quoting the final words of the editor of his favorite magazine, The Whole Earth Catalog.  That quote was, "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish."   I don't know what made me play this video clip again today but I'm so happy I did.  It was the perfect reminder for me to remember to follow my heart, don't settle for less and no matter what, do not let other people's loud voices drown out my own intuition.

I am desperately believing that I can finally leave the music business and open my cafe/bookstore.   As I sit in these meetings/interviews I'm sick to my stomach thinking how uninterested I am in doing anything related to music.  I think about how much I loved it and how I'm so proud of the work I've done over the last 15 years but now it just seems like that it was someone else's life. Not trying to sound over-dramatic but its the simplest way to describe how I feel.  Switching careers, switching lives with no financial stability is terrifying. Just this morning, before I sat down to write I sent a proposal to a major music publishing company demonstrating how qualified I am for the open position.  It felt completely counter-intuitive to what I want to do next but the pressures of financial burdens feel worse. I think they equally suck.  I know I can do the job without question but what's in my heart is something completely different. How long do you wait for dreams to come true? Or do you just stay stuck on the hamster wheel until you fall off?  Everyone should be able to do what they love.  According to all of the "greats" it is the key to living fully.  This philosophy can't be just for a select few.   I guess today I'll continue to stay foolish.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chapter 6: Verse 1- Summer Rain

I'm always shocked at how quickly time flies. In a couple of days it would be almost 4 months since I last wrote. Spring has come and gone and seems like Summer Solstice  was just yesterday. In reality, it's been almost a month since summer officially started. As I sit and reflect on past events to write about I come to a moment of clarity that time waits for no one. Last I wrote, I was lamenting over my then, current circumstances of having to jump back into the music business as I took on the task of working with Ms Lauryn Hill.  Three weeks after my last entry, I flew to Hawaii to meet up with her and my "business partner"/ employer JB.  Since I have to so much to say this time I'll keep the details of my trip short and sweet. After seeing 2 high energy performances in Hawaii, my meeting with her on my last day there went very well.  JB gave me a very gracious introduction and she was so warm and kind. I met her beautiful children and I flew back home to LA on the red-eye. During my stay I had a very cleansing moment-most would classify it as a psychotic breakdown but I'll stick with healing moment for now. Hawaii is a magic place. A lot of spiritual people and healers believe there is healing in the water and ground and it certainly worked for me on day 2.  It rained so hard as I cried uncontrollably for 3 hours. I couldn't figure out what was wrong but all I knew was I couldn't stop. I sat on my balcony in the rain and just cried. The rain stopped long before I was finished crying. Slowly but surely I snapped back to "me" and felt 1000% relieved. In retrospect, I think it was just time for a release.  It had been months of stress and chaos and I would have never guessed that a trip I didn't want to take would be the best thing for me.  God is funny like that.
Diamond Head Volcano, hotel balcony

The day of my return a very old friend reconnected with me - my friend Carl. He was in town recording for his new album and I was so very happy to see him.  A few hours after landing, I was off to the studio. I had such a good time and I LOVED hearing and seeing him sing again.  Even though I've seen him a handful of times over the past 15 years, this was the first time we hung out like we used to when we first met back in 1995.   I so needed some fun and it was served up on a platter from the most unexpected source.  April turns into May, Carl leaves and my saga with Prince starts.
Carl in the booth :)
Short intermission- I do an event with my boy DJ Hapa at the Grammy Museum and I meet Chaka Khan who closes out the event by singing "I Feel For You" right in front of me.  She was the coolest and the session teaching kids about the art of DJ'ing was inspiring. The History Of Hip Hop Exhibit was there and made my heart filled with such fun childhood memories.
Chaka Khan, DJ Hapa- "I Feel For You"

My absolute most favorite person/artist/musician on the PLANET is Prince. Every since I was 9 years old he was "my guy."  Prince was in LA playing 21 Nites at the Forum in Inglewood. This residency proved to be my ultimate fun and distraction for the month of May.  My bestest girlfriend Ny, surprised with me with tickets and we had an amazing time.  A week later, my dear friend MP so graciously hooked it up for me to buy tickets that were top choice seats for my many return trips thereafter.  MP used to play with Prince, hence the choice seating.  When he came to town he ended up sitting in on a few shows and to this day I can't tell you which show was better. They were all different and amazing each and every time.  I felt like I was 14 all over again.  One show was Stevie Wonder's birthday so I sat in amazement as I watched Prince, Stevie, Sheila E and MP on the stage at the same time.  My moment of " how in the world did I end up right here right now?" stuck with me for most of that show.  I was able to attend one of the more exclusive plays when Prince played 3 shows in one night at the HOB  Hollywood.  That night was the most spiritual, magical night of my entire life. I  need a separate blog dedicated just for that night. It changed me and I am so grateful for it.
Magic Night at the HOB
In conclusion,  I realize nothing profound was written in this entry.  The gist of it comes in the form of choppy reports of "catch up."   But I can say that many ah-ha moments, clarity of heart, life lessons and resolutions were interwoven in these reported happenings.  I swear,  I hear my dad's voice in my head right now saying
 "just write babe, that's what you do."  I find joy in writing and why I don't do it more is just silly.  Stay tuned, verse 2 coming shortly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chapter 5 Verse #1: After Winter Must Come Spring

Its been over a month since my last installment. No matter how much I say it or know it, time surely escapes me and I wonder how fast this year is going to fly by. As usual, so much has happened and changed since February 9th and all I can say now is that I'm happy that  "official" Springtime is just a few days away.  Spring Equinox is March 20th at 7:21pm EST.   Living in Los Angeles doesn't really offer the change of seasons like it does for most of the other states, the changing of the seasons is so much more than just weather patterns for me.

One week ago, Japan suffered a 9.0 magnitude earthquake which in turn created a 30 foot tsunami that took out much of the northeast region of the country. In wake of the disaster, the nuclear power plant in that region is now in chaos as a nuclear meltdown has occurred in all four reactors. Total disaster are the only words to describe what the world has witnessed. Last Thursday night in the early AM when I came home from a Pharoache Monch album listening party, was when I heard of the quake and tsunami.  At 2:30am I watched CNN in horror as pictures and video showed the real-time destruction taking place. The quake was one of the largest recorded in decades and Hawaii and the entire west coast of the US was put on Tsunami alert. As I write, I have the most amazing view of the Pacific ocean which illustrates the irony of this blog. By 4am I'm in slight panic mode and decided that I'd rather be safe than sorry by heeding the warnings.  I got a full tank of gas, pulled some cash from the ATM and came home to decide what to pack and put in my truck in case of an evacuation.  My mind ran wild with a million disaster scenarios. Since the west coast sits on the "ring of fire" - the area that geologists call the quake zone, I thought if a 9.0 hit in Japan, the earth plates could shift over here just a easily, potentially causing the same destruction right here in Santa Monica.  The realization hit me when I stood in the middle of my apartment trying to decide what was important in my life that could fit in my truck.  After 45 minutes of scrambling for my lock-box of important documents, packing my computer and all the hard drives, lugging tubs of pictures down 2 flights of stairs, I looked around at all that would be left behind with great sadness. My lesson in attachment to things was very clear. And while I stood there in full awareness of this lesson, it didn't make the potential parting with these things any less hurtful. Flashes of Hurricane Katrina and Haiti victims came to mind.  In that moment, I accepted what could be gone, held the memory of those things dear and finally I let go.

8:30am comes- the arrival time the tsunami was to hit Santa Monica.  By 9:30am, everything was still normal.  The coast, looked as it did everyday. The news helicopters were steady in the air in front of my place as the blades created a haunting sound of doom. Mixed with the helicopters of LAPD and the Coast Guard, it sounded like a war zone outside of my window. As irony would have it, the day was so beautiful.  Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze flowed through my patio door screens.  At this point I had been up for over 24 hours.  I couldn't sleep and preparation to evacuate was still at the forefront of my mind.  One amazing thing happened to me in one of my trips down to the carport at 4am.  Right by my truck directly in front of the trunk hatch was a single white feather laying on the ground.  Not necessarily unusual for feathers to be found at the beach but I just knew that this was no coincidence.  I knew that is was a sign from my guardian angels that I was safe.  Even though I continued to be prepared, a sense of peace came about that allowed me to detach from the media-induced fear and focus on praying for Japan.

This same day, I get a call from a colleague who is now managing Lauryn Hill. He asked me to join the team.  After I hung up all I could do was just laugh because in the midst of chaos, life still continued for everyone else, including me.  The laughing coming from a place of relief, irony and sleep deprivation.  Now 5 years later since my first encounter working with her, I'm back at the door of Lauryn Hill. Even though this opportunity is different from before, I'm still here - with her. When I hung up the phone,  "Everything is Everything" video came on VH1 Soul.  I laughed out loud again thinking what a great sense of humor God has.   With supreme reluctance, I finally accepted the opportunity.  It's always scary to work with people you admire.  I'm praying that WHATEVER it is in our karmic journey together gets resolved with love and peace as I strive to move onward to my vision of opening my cafe.  I am such a fan and I don't want to loose my reverence for her as a musician in the process, as I have for so many others I've worked with throughout my career. Maybe this is a lesson in acceptance and non-judgment for me.

So here I am. Winter is almost over.  I've weathered the winter of my personal life and now I'm praying that spring will usher in the rebirth of all things new and great.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chapter 4; Verse 3: Rap Game Surprises Me AGAIN

Thanks to the wonderful folks of I learned just yesterday that the rapper Waka Flocka has signed on to be the new spokesperson for PETA! I pause with a million question marks running through my mind as to how this unlikely paring came about. I must emphasize the word unlikely as directly related to my own judgmental perceptions I have of this guy. Honestly speaking, I'm not a fan of his music. What I've heard of his talents follows 95% of today's "dumbed-down" & minimal lyric-filled approach to hip hop music. This is why I refer to him as a rapper not an emcee.

I admittedly have judged him as a rapper and quickly dismissed him as a musician simply because I do not feel inspired in any good way when I listen to his music. My judgments range from shallow, boring, ignorant and a pawn of the dark evil forces that decide what hip hop music should be popular. So to my absolute and TOTAL shock of the news that he has a cause that he is participating in, it nearly knocked me over with skeptical excitement. He's quoted, "Animals should be treated the same as you would a kid. Would you want someone just to walk up and skin your kid? Hell no!"

My very judgmental self kept me from full celebration of this event as I immediately thought; 'Does this guy really have a passion and concern for animals or did he get a fat paycheck to take some photos for the campaign?' I didn't say it was ok to think this way but I'm just sayin'! Honesty is in full effect here. But even as I write this, I begin to think about all the other celebs that have signed on for PETA campaigns in the past and recent past. I'm not 100% convinced that Klhoe Kardashian was an animal lover prior to her campaign. She appears to be about as engaging as Waka's lyrics. SO who am I to judge? ABSOLUTELY nobody. If Waka's campaign can bring more awareness about the injustices taking place in slaughterhouses and mink farms to an audience that most likely could give a shit(again my ugly head of judgment stands up here), then ROCK ON! This gives me another opportunity to reassess my O.G. hip hop mind-state and embrace the latest evolution of a culture that I love so much.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chapter 4; Verse 2: The Emergency of DJ Kool Herc

In the past couple of weeks, Hip Hop founder/Godfather/kick-starter/pioneer DJ Kool Herc made the hip hop news wire with regards to his health issues and financial quagmire. The man who is responsible for creating hip hop is in much need of an operation for his kidney and has amassed over $10,000 in health care bills. The hip hop community cried out in rage over this seemingly easy problem to solve. The social networks and websites were all a blaze demanding that it was the responsibility of the multi-millionaire hip hoppers to kick in what would be club money or jewelry money to take care of our architect of hip hop. I myself couldn't understand why the debate over raising money lasted as long as it did when the likes of Jay Z, Diddy, Russell, Kanye, Rick Ross, Will etc are all in a position that $10-$25K is money that they sneeze at. DJ Premier and Chuck D joined forces to do a benefit show and an upcoming album to create a fund for him. Countless consumers and lovers of the culture have poured in their dollar donations in reverence and consciousness to help the man who created the culture that we all love so much.

Brilliant Kevin Powell wrote the most moving blog about this emergency. So much more eloquently said than I can ever hope to express, here is the link:

I read today that Russell Simmons has "stepped up" to help Kool Herc but I found one of his comments a bit disturbing. He is quoted, "We need real health care, that's for sure. As far as helping out, I'd like to help out young kids but I'm going to help out Kool Herc as well. Yeah, I'm going to be one of them and so will a lot of other Hip Hoppers. [We'll] bail him out but I don't think it's their job. I think it's the government's job to take care of people who can't afford health care.,"

I think we ALL understand that it's nobody's JOB to bail out anyone. You do what you do from the kindness of your heart. Now,  I could be over-reacting but it really sits with me strangely that he said this. I'm going to assume this came from the reaction from the hip hop community that demanded that it is their (mulit-millionaire hip hop moguls) job to save him. If this quote is in reaction to that sentiment then it absolutely seems more palatable to digest.  In such a case I would agree. It is nobody's job to do anything. BUT one would think as a natural progression of circumstances, that if you got it do it! This isn't some old no-name dude off the street. This is THE man who created a musical and cultural movement! This new music genre has thrived and it effects the lives of countless people around the world, including those that have cashed in brilliantly on it.

This news also comes on the heels of today's hip hop headlines that Rick Ross just welcomed Wale to his label by gifting him a $44,000 black diamond Cartier watch. Absolutely not hating on that. Good for him. As Superbowl celebrations and label welcomings were happening yesterday,  DJ Kool Herc is still asking to receive donations so that he can live. I'm not one to tell ANYBODY how to spend their money but there is just something inherently uneasy in my soul to know that this is the heart-state of those in our community.

This quote from Kool Herc is taken from his statements from

Following his release from the hospital Kool Herc has now taken to raising awareness of the many issues plaguing this country’s health care system.

"We live in one of the superpowers of the world!" said Kool Herc in a statement to MTV News. "'Give me your tired, your poor ... ' and then you don't take care of them? There should be no weak ants in the colony. There shouldn't be anyone fighting for health care! This has been going on too damn long!”

“Now we are fighting for health care not just for me, but for everyone,” said Herc. “I see this situation as another quest for me to shine light on a sensitive issue for the community. I'm an instrument of God. I'm here for a purpose and I want to be here for the solution."

So as much as this is a Hip Hop emergency, it is also a HUMAN emergency as we as citizens in the United States are facing a health care reform crisis. I have struggled to pay for a breast cancer surgery when I had very limited health care. I have no savings left as a result of staggering health care bills and fell behind in payments to other creditors and now my debts have overwhelmed me. Yes, I'm college educated and worked for a small company that could not afford health care for their employees and had to pay for a policy on my own. Well, that minimum policy did just that; it gave me minimum relief from the mountain of costs it took to restore my health. I understand the stress and the frustration. I am dismayed by the insanity of those who still think in the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" mentality. Sometimes, people just need help. A wealthy society and government such as our own should not think twice as to providing health care for every citizen. Again, it just seems like the right thing to do. I applaud President Obama for going the distance to bring about reform but even as I write this his health care plan repeal hangs on judgment of Chief Justice ? which is terrifying. In the world of bullshit politics, I know more is at play than the simple idea of doing the right thing.

I can only pray that one day soon Mother Earth and human life is valued more than money.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chapter 4; Verse 1- Revolution & The Power of Words

I can't believe that the entire month of January flew by in the blink of an eye. There were many days that I sat at my computer with the intention to write but came up blank. So much has been going on with me personally and the world, at times it just felt overwhelming to pick a place to start.

The past few weeks the Middle East has exploded again with civil unrest. Starting in Tunisia when a man set himself on fire in protest to the government regime. Tunisia-a small Islamic country kicked off a series of revolutions throughout the Middle East with Egypt at the forefront of all the world news headlines. I'm shamed to say that until the protests started I had no idea that Egyptians were so unhappy and oppressed by their current President, President Mubarak. I've known of him only from our own government's praises that Egypt has been a staunch ally to the US all of these years. It's been 30 years that he has been in power and I do remember as a little girl in 1979-1980 ( I was 10) when the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was assassinated and Murbarak came to power. President Jimmy Carter was in office.

The young people of Egypt took its cues from Tunisia and took to the streets in a united voice calling for the end of the corruption and brutality of Mubarak's regime. He is a stubborn and proud man and even as I write this he has not conceded to the people's wishes. I watched on Al Jezeera TV - stream on my computer, the peaceful protest that is happening now in the streets of Cairo. Over 2 million people have gathered and are in for the long haul until the president steps down. It is a very powerful sight to behold.

In these recent events and even looking at the state of political turmoil and resentment happening here at home in the United States, I wonder if revolution will ever take place again here. The climate is heating up for one but I'm unsure if the citizens of the United States have reached their tipping point yet. Speaking with my daddy a few weeks ago, I was venting on my frustration of not finding a job since I've been unemployed for a year and half and the insane process of receiving unemployment benefits. Some republicans wanted to cut the benefits after the initial 6 month allotment but President Obama has extended it multiple times now. THANK GOD for it. Even though my earnings have gone from $1500 a week to $400 a week it is SOMETHING. The audacity of the wealthy saying that people will become dependent on government assistance is absurd to me. There is no way I can ever get used to maintaining a lifestyle that I worked hard to achieve to basically poverty level. At 40 years old, I'm considering going back to school to get my master's degree but hesitate only because I don't want to acquire more debt of student loans and still have nothing available to me at a decent wage when I'm done earning my degree. Feels very much like damned if I do and damned if I don't. The divide of the wealthy and the poor is growing fast here in America and once the divide collapses to the majority being poor, I firmly believe the revolution will be televised. It's exactly what the country was founded on (revolution) and it would be remiss of the government to not keep this in the forefront of their decision making and political agendas on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chapter #3;Verse 1 - New Year & Creating Space

As I read this article this morning I thought it was a great reminder for everyone. I don't know about you, but I've spent a lot of time clearing my space, energetically and physically most of 2010. There is so much that I want to do and experience and sometimes I feel like I'm going to bust if I can't get it all done- especially when these feelings are equated to "stuckness." I feel like I've been dragging around cement shoes and I'm ready to run and not stop. Creating joy and my life on purpose is my goal. In addition to that, I now allow myself to be open for all of the wonderful, serendipitous things to fall in line. So here is the article from Jennifer Hoffman who publishes her inspirational works at;

Create Space for your Intention

Every new year begins with resolutions to be better, smarter, more successful and happier. And this generally lasts for a little while then we step into our old ways and the new year can become a repetition of the previous one. What happened? We set out with good intentions and yet nothing changed. There is a very subtle understanding that will help you create resolutions that you will be able to keep and see the results you want in your life, and it has to do with how you set your intention.

We make new year's resolutions at the end of the year, when we look at all of the things we didn't do, the things that didn't happen or all of the things that did not work out the way we wanted to. Our resolutions then become the focus for fixing our life. But there is nothing to fix because there is nothing wrong. Everything is always perfect and in divine order, in that moment. We can change anything we want to change when we do the one thing that will allow change to happen, which is shifting our thinking. Without that, nothing is ever going to change because it is the energy of our thoughts that creates the reality in which we live.

When we intend for something to happen an energetic vortex is created that begins to move energy towards our intention. This new energy vortex connects with everything that supports and is in alignment with it and clashes with everything that is not. We feel the alignments as supportive, positive events and the clashes as fear and resistance. And if we try to hold on to everything, we are going against the transformative energies of our intention and not allowing them to manifest. Then we feel stuck.

To create powerful, positive and lasting change we must start with the realization that everything in our life is perfect. Then we can allow the energy vortex to expand and as it does, it will attract what resonates with it and push out everything that doesn't. One thing we can learn is to gracefully release what is trying so hard to leave so we can invite its replacement. This flow of release and receiving is what allows our intentions to manifest. For this new year set your intention for what you wish to have in your life in this moment and be prepared to gracefully let go of whatever needs to leave so you can create space for your intention and allow miracles to unfold in an effortless flow that creates the fulfilling, powerful, joyful life that you dream of and can create, with the right intention.