Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What now?!!

We are now coming to end of October and I figure that I should be well on my way to healing! I'm sure it's rather premature, but I 'feel' just fine, unlike my other surgeries.
But where the main entry and gall bladder exit wound is, it's pretty swollen. So i'll give it more time.

I try to rest and on days when I can wear my super woman under-ware (control top) I do. But there is still soreness and a little bulgie thing. UG!

I had difficulty with some adema 2 years ago, and have been taking water pills for it. Things had drained down, but there are some days where I see my ankles puff up. So I figure being in the medical field, I would up my dose. Hey, what do you know? it worked! That became my system.

The last little while, due to stress I was noticing that I was needing to take 2 every day, which meant I ran out of them very quickly. I went to my Dr. got a new prescription, dropped it at the pharmacy and they refused to fill it due to the fact that I should still have some from the last prescription. I explained that I sometimes take 2 on my Dr.'s approval. The pharmasist said I would need a letter from my Dr.s office confirming this.... ok.. a bunch of crazy rigmarole and a VERY INCOMPETENT secretary at my Dr.s office; I got the approval but with my Dr. saying I only needed one.

Now due to running out of the pills, I was already beginning to retain water as my weight started to creep up about 6 pounds! I haven't been eating the best, nor have I been walking etc... i'm a sloth right now... anything I have to do quickly I do it holding the top part of my bulgie tummy.

So I figured FINE. I'll take just one. The next day, I took my one pill, next day one pill... 3rd day saw my weight up another 3 pounds but I took JUST ONE pill. Day after that 8 pounds!!!!!
WTF! I am now 18 pounds heavier.....kept doing the one pill for the last 5 days.... no decrease.... but no increase... but 18 POUNDS..... aaaaaakkkkkk!!!!!
I've gone back to deciding on my on amounts!

Diva M

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Now, Where Was I?

I was moving and shaking and making plans before my family was hit by cancer. Then 3 weeks later was my gall bladder surgery. All is seeming quiet right now as healing is taking place.

Now, where was I?

I was making plans to record a new Jazz and Blues CD.
It still is a plan, but it will take a little longer as I can't save any money until we are back on our feet and working. Or unless some -one makes an investment, or I find a sugar-daddy or win a lottery that I don't play. Regardless I will have a CD in the next year or two!
I will be getting back to the plans shortly. I just needed to write something to remind me where I was!

Diva M

Surgery 101

After 13 years, I finally decided to have my gall bladder removed.
The little sucker had bothered me long before that, but with the pregnancy of my 5th child 13 years ago it was in full force and giving me alot of pain, which resulted in plans to take it out. I didn't want to risk the pregnancy. It stayed put.
Through the past 11 years I was fine, not one attack just the odd... 'ahhh, I don't feel so great'
In that time I have had added a few notches of "other" surgeries under my belt
Appendectomy: which was unnecessary I might add.
Not that this was a surgery but from the unnecessary appendectomy I ended up with a pulmonary emboli (blood clot) in my lung afterwards which makes me susceptible to blood clots every surgery I have, which makes susceptible to death.... but we are always susceptible to that. The recovery time from the blood clot was about 4 or so months.
And, a Hysterectomy which resulted in a long 4 month recovery as the incision was not healed and was growing on the outside (proud flesh).
I had had previous surgeries but i'm only counting the ones since my last child was born.

4 years ago I started to have the odd attack which would lead me to the hospital to be injected with some sort of great narcotic to help me pass the time and ease the pain a bit. Again it was time to remove the gall bladder but due to my unusual past recoveries I had decided to just hang on to it and honestly I didn't have the time in my life to take off to have a lengthy recovery or blood clots.

This past year I decided to go for it, but after only after certain singing engagements and festivals, so some time in the fall.
They would be doing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which is an easier surgery. To remove the gall bladder they would use 4 puncture wounds in the belly as apposed to a 6-8 inch cut on the side.
There was a possibility that they wouldn't be able to use the laparoscope on me due to scarring from my past abdominal surgeries and my body size, but Dr Cunningham would give it a good try! He felt that due to my weight loss and new health routine I was a great candidate for the laparoscope and he also felt my recovery would go along much better than it had done in the past. I was hopeful.

Our family has been in a cancer trauma for the past 4 weeks and I've been the big girl to hold it together. Just before my surgery people would ask me, "are you scared?" "Nope, I'm just fine"
Well Monday morning I woke up in a complete panic! I text a few friends to tell them that I was freaked out and to say a prayer. I shake it off and with my best stoic face I head to the hospital. Once there in my hospital gown and hooked into an I.V. I begin to get weepy. I start to panic and can't decide if I should puke, have diarrhea or just go home as they wheel me into the O.R. holding room. Laying there I heard the nurses talking about an anesthetist who was late, not sure if it was mine as I was in a line up of 5 other patients waiting to be cut open for other reasons.

As I'm being wheeled in she arrives and either she hadn't read the instructions or someone didn't inform her that due to my blood clotting condition I would need a heparin injection before surgery which she was not doing, I'm not paying attention to this either. I'm still in my crazy panic mode (trying to think how to get off the table) and begin to cry. The nurse concerned with my tears asks if this was my first surgery I say no my 5th and explain that I don't want to take 6 weeks plus to recover and I don't want a blood clot. This alerts the anesthetist and she then reads my chart and then runs out to get the medication. She comes back and begins putting in my I.V., and because she's trying to work too quickly the drug is hurting like a hot damn up my entire arm, I'm complaining. She asks is it hurting as she is tapping my hand, (as if that's going to help) while the nurse is putting the mask over my face to knock me out... I'm now angrily saying YES... MAN... GEEEEZZZZE THAT HURTS tap tap tap ALL THE WAY UP MY ARM... GEEEEZZE tap tap AHHHHHH. I'm out.

I wake up with no searing pain across my tummy from a large incision and then what appeared to be the Dr. saying everything went great! I realize it was a great success and that I'm not going to be sick anymore! Every time I open my eyes they end up looking in different directions kinda googly eyes.
The recovery room is rather empty and the recovery nurse and I begin to chat it up. She gets in trouble when it begins to get busy we both roll our eyes as we were having a great conversation. I tell her I wish I could give her a hand! ha! But I'm not quite in the best condtion to help...

An hour later I'm back in day surgery hanging out there and asking for a warm blanket every 15 or so minutes. I wasn't cold but I LOVE those blankets, I am sure I ended with about 5. I knew I should have been sleeping but just couldn't seem to let myself go out. They get me up walk across the room and then they call for my ride.

Once home I rest in-between watching u tube videos with my kids and conversations. My girlfriend arrives in the evening and we chat until about midnight. I wake up at about 3 am and begin talking with her again. I was too excited about the great surgery etc.
The Fella calls out from the other room... "STOP TALKING AND GO TO SLEEP YOU HAD SURGERY TODAY!"

I drifted off for a bit......

Diva M


October is a strange month for me I was married in this month many moons ago and divorced in this month just a few moons ago. Still kinda hanging out with the fella... (but that should be another story)

Thanks giving is about giving thanks for family, friends, God, life, long weekend etc. etc. bla bla bla... but more importantly for this Diva is the TURKEY! I love turkey! Why I don't just buy one of those suckers and cook it up other times through-out the year, I shake my head and have no idea.
This year we went out and got a typical sized one, I REALLY wanted a big one, for.... the left overs! But, 13 pounds or so was all we could get.

We started to make plans of 'when' we would do the deed and Saturday became quite fetching for me! Ahhh yes, cook the turkey on Saturday, Sunday Church and other relaxing events and then Monday TOTAL DAY OF SLACKNESS!

Saturday the stuffing was made mid morning, and due to health changes we are making in the home we decided NO MORE ENAMEL POTS. So off to cost-co to buy a new stainless steel one.... with the most awesomness drip pan EVER!
Bird is stuffed and the house begins to smell divine. We will have a table of 10 and a friend bringing the most amazing cheese sauce to die for! And all I can think of is.... THE LEFT OVERS! I haven't had a turkey sandwich on WHITE BREAD in for... almost never.
We cook, we forge, we clean (well the kids cleaned... which is one of the MAIN reasons for having them) and we are soooo stuffed and satisfied. I look at my meaty left overs and they are sorta scarce, not bad, but not enough for another dinner AND sandwiches.

The next day many of them go to church. I stay home, cause I wanna and can! I get a phone call from daughter #2 who says her boyfriends dinner got canceled and that they might be coming back to our house. WHAT?? I don't 'really' have left overs for a whole 8 person dinner. So I call the fella and mention to him to go and pick up a couple drumsticks or thighs and we'll cook them to add to what we already have. Everything is pretty pricey so we chat a bit and decide what the heck BUY ANOTHER TURKEY!! As he is standing there, turkey in one hand and cell phone in the other a man comes up and says "do you have one of these?, it's a $10 off coupon" woo hoo! we now just got ourselves another turkey for $15.00!

We figure no point in stuffing it as there are leftovers of stuffing and all the other 'stuffs' that go with dinner from the previous night. All I'm thinking of is the leftovers!! Into the oven it goes.
Just before dinner we begin warming up the other parts, and the turkey is out in it's waiting mode.
Suddenly the power goes out!
After a few calls to my cell phone, we find out the power is out in the entire southern Island as well as well as a few neighboring islands ... woooo wee! was it too many people cooking turkey?? :o) (it wasn't by the way.)

So we are now in the dark throwing bowels into the oven to keep warm and I'm outside on the Bar-B-Q making a big-ass pot of gravy and keeping the cheese sauce warm.
Daughter #3 arrives home with 3 friends in tow. "Can they stay for dinner?" I say sure whats 11 people?? (no turkey leftovers is what that is...) but we have a beautiful candle lit dinner around the table with some kids who hadn't had 1 turkey dinner let alone 2 like my family! It was wonderful.

There were a few bits from the first turkey that allowed us to make a sandwich or 2 and a couple of open faced hot sandwiches on WHITE BREAD....on the Monday, but there's always a hankering in me for more leftovers......

Diva M

p.s. I did think about getting another turkey on Monday.... but figured we would wait for the sale on Tuesday.... get me 2 more!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A New Favorite Drink For The Diva!

I have a secret 'day' job where I hang out a few days a week. It should be a boring job, but my personality can make a mundane job quite fun. I'm a Book-keeper for an online software company. I love my job, I work on the computer all day and get paid lots of money.
Yes, I'm Book-Keeper by day and Diva by night!! ooo la la!

So at my day job the employees list keeps increasing and the office is just bursting at the seams, I take my 4 days off and come back and there are new employees added, desks re-arranged chairs stolen! (they all KNOW never to take my chair!!)

Today our Internet was down (not good in our
line of work... but then that means you have to find things to occupy your time) they had a big meeting, I figured it would be fun to pretend we had MSN with sticky notes. One co-worker actually drew one of his emoticons, I laughed so hard!

Well with all the new employees my bosses decided to have a welcome party at their home. Well this Diva has been under a lot of stress and was quite in need of a party!!
My bosses are from the UK and started the night
by serving everyone a Pimm's! We all asked what it was... here of course is the Wikipedia version....

Pimm's is a brand of alcoholic beverages now owned by Diageo. Its most popular product is Pimm's No. 1 Cup, a gin-based beverage that can be served both on ice or in cocktails. The recipe of Pimm's No. 1 Cup is secret; it has a dark tea colour with a reddish tint, and tastes subtly of spice and citrus fruit.
Pimm's is most common in Britain, particularly Southern England. It is one of the two staple drinks at Wimbledon, the Henley Royal Regatta and the Glyndebourne opera festival, the other being champagne. As a result Pimm's has the reputation of being a drink for the upper class.
Pimm's No. 1 Cup is the essential ingredient in the Pimm's Cup, which mixes one part Pimm's No.1 with three parts lemonade or lemon soda (sometimes ginger ale or Indian tonic water), ice cubes, borage leaves (nowadays a wedge of cucumber is usually substituted for this ingredient - they have a similar taste), mint leaves and slices of lemon, orange and strawberry.

Well this Diva has found a lovely drink which goes down way too easy if you know what I mean! They served it only with the strawberries and oranges. I would probably just drink it straight up as well. I have the same affinity with the liqueur Hypnotic, a person asked what I liked to mix hypnotic with? I said mix? I like it in a tall glass with ice!

The Pimm's was a great success and some had more than others, but the bottle was emptied in short order.
Monday morning I was MSN'd about where was the Pimm's? and with that a few of us decided that we should have FRIDAY'S BUS TO WORK AND DRINK PIMM'S DAY!

In closing.....Buy a bottle with all the fixings, pretend you are getting ready to watch Wimbledon with the upper class but MAKE sure it's a Friday Night!!

Diva M

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


When do you make the transition from handshake to hug to kiss on one cheek to kiss on both cheeks?

I realized that I am in the public eye a lot, and have made lots of acquaintances along the way. I start out by a good firm hand shake. A hand shake should always be good. Why do some people give such lousy handshakes, weird, flimsy, creepy, grab the hand wrong, or one that was done to me; didn’t cup the hand just shook a flat hand in mine. WEIRD!

We talk about bad handshakes all the time too, so how come those that give the bad handshake don’t question ‘their’ handshake. “Hummm do I have a bad handshake? Are they talking about me?” YES! WE ARE!… and we would like you to stop doing weird handshakes. And boys, none of this wimpy stuff, get it in gear and show some strength!

From the handshake greeting we move into the hug. Hugs are good and apparently we need many hugs/touches a day. I think after you’ve know a person for awhile it’s good to give a hug in a greeting or a departing. I won’t criticize hugs, because it’s people in your ‘personal space’ so maybe your weird hug is because you don’t want people that close. Go back to the handshake.

I’ve recently moved on to the ‘fake’ kiss on one side. How do you know when to do the fake kiss? How do you know they won’t try to turn in and really kiss you? Or maybe you might WANT the real kiss. But how do we know when the fake kiss comes into play? Do we send out memos?

Dear new Acquaintance; I feel that our relationship has moved beyond the hug level, we are now going to do the fake kiss on one side, please check off whether you are the right side or the left.

And then when do we move to the fake kiss on both cheeks? Again what decides this? It is very perplexing to me and my little world. Or is this all just a European thing?

Maybe I should have gotten some sleep last night.

Diva M

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just When Things Were A Movin' and a Shakin'

Well the road of life is a strange one? Of course we all know that, but sometimes wouldn't you just like to have a boring humdrum life? A life that is typical, predictable, and a sure thing. My answer, YES! give me a season of humdrum boring predictable life cause this ol girl could use a break!
I've only been blogging for a few months and I can see the changes that have happened in my heart and soul in that short time. I feel like I've jumped forward in leaps and bounds and ready to take on the next phase of life only to be gut punched down.


My childrens father came home from working away after 3 months with a 30 pound tumor in his abdomen. Errrrrrrrrrrrrch that was my car coming to a complete halt.
He has been sick for the past year and could never pin point just what it was until now. Thank God he got in when he did, I don't know how much longer he could have carried on as his internal organs were so stressed by the large tumor.

Nothing in life prepares you for this or any other kind of trauma, and so you have no choice but to grab a hold of the crazy ride and hang on. We called upon our friends and churches to pray and send well wishes, which has given us a strength to walk this journey. With all the support of prayers, meals our family does not feel alone, and never before have I understood the concept of "we MUST not go through life alone" and it's even more evident though a trauma.

We are not out of the woods yet, as we are still waiting for the pathology report to tell us what the tumor was, and how they will proceed.

But we are not alone.

Diva M

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's up with Racoons

I have a bass player friend who I met and performed with once in Vangroovy. We became myspace friends & facebook friends (poking is a must)! He has helped me out a couple of times with music and the likes, and has lived about 4 years in Vangroovy.
A few weeks back I was stalking his FB pages and looking at all his unique pictures. This one was a doozer! I exclaimed in my comment THREE racoons on your porch?

He quickly commented back and said no there were FIVE! FIVE!! little midnight devils! The photo opt scared them off.
Due to work etc. my friend and his wife move back east, this was about 3 weeks ago. I get a raccoon alert msg in my inbox! They are living in an apartment on the 2nd or 3rd floor and a group of THREE raccoons came to visit them on their balcony. Two were there to wrestle and the other was just a spectator. Back to my original question, "what's up with raccoons?" Are these distant Ontarian raccoon relatives to the Vancouverite raccoons coming as a welcoming committee to welcome back my friend and his wife? How could one family have their paths crossed eight times by raccoons, (and within 4 years) where through my entire life I've never had one come near my home.
There must be a unique communication that the raccoons share.... "hey we got some people friends that just moved away from Vancouver, why don't you guys go and welcome them back to Ontario" I figure the 2 wrestlers were probably fighting over who could ring the door bell.

Diva M

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Gramma Still Gots' It!

My Gramma was born in 1915, she is 93 years old. She likes to tell me she's 93 and half! I say go for it Gramma! My problem is that I start saying she's 'almost' 94 and then when her birthday comes I forget that she was 'turning' 94 and think she is already 94 and turning 95. I come by it honestly.... my mother does the same thing!
This amazing woman still lives in her own home, gardens, shops and looks after a cat named Jeremy.

(rabbit trail) all the spending that I like to do...? you know the stories I write in my other blogs? YES, those ones! I come by the spending addiction honestly. My mother and my Gramma have the same problem. My Gramma still goes and buys things she doesn't really need. (end of rabbit trail)

I digress.....
I was in my former home town and did a show at one of my favorite restaurants. The place was packed with so many wonderful familiar faces. One older gentleman came in, a face I did not recognize, but I did notice his 'proper' manners of removing his hat as he entered the room. I didn't pay too much attention to him, just noticed that he had come in and had a glass of beer.
Later as he was leaving he shuffled his way past my Gramma's table just as she was getting up to us the restroom, the two of them trying to get past one another in their polite ways. She smiles, and he says "how are you?" she replies "very well, thank you!"
This exchange was rather intriguing cause as the gentle man continued to the door, there was quite a ruckus at my Gramma's table of questions of, 'who was that?' 'do you know him?' etc. Those that were asking the questions kept looking at the gentleman and as he left he turned and mouthed ..................... "SHE'S HOT!"

Diva M

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hi My Name is Diva M and I have an Addiction....

TO SHOPPING.... no, that's wrong... NOT shopping... but the FRUIT OF SHOPPING!

The beautiful bountiful filled to the brim glorious un-recyclable bags of merchandise!
Pay days are my killer because at that moment I feel RICH RICH RICH... and so it's easy to SPEND SPEND SPEND!
ohhhhh the damage I can do on a lunch hour....it's ghastly. I first stop off at the little kiosk that sold the expensive straightener I own, to buy a holder for the flat iron.... ( shhhh I burned the rubber edge of my sink by accident) the holder will hold the hot iron....ok it kinda holds it because I can't get the little suction cups to lay flat. But I'll figure something out as this is a better idea than leaving the sucker to burn down my house. I have a friend who has the same sort of 'panic' and so she actually takes her iron to work, worrying that she has left it plugged in. She said that one day she went off to work realizing that she couldn't remember un-plugging it so she turned back around to home to pick up the appliance. I don't want to be THAT crazy (giggle) so buying the holder is much better. (still gotta remember to unplug it though, maybe taking it with me is not a bad idea!)
I digress.....
On I move to Aldo accessories! To look at their jewelry! I have been drooling over this beautiful piece which is rather expensive..... (a friend looked at it after and said it was "too over the top, even for me" ) I don't totally trust her opinion, but whatever, it was money I didn't spend! WHEW!

I'm headed for the MAC store when the Lotus Wear screams out! YOGA CLOTHING and catches my ear and eye.... I proceed in, knowing that yoga clothes are expensive but found the 50% and 40% off wall! I look at a pair of pants and see that they are quite large, might even fit. I look at the tag, it says size 14. FOURTEEN!?? I pull them out and hold them up... THIS is no size 14! I ask the clerk about the fact that they are so big, she replies "our clothing is generous" I'm thinking your clothing is sized WRONG, but i'll take it.... it makes me a teeny size 14! BAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I try on a top and pant at 40% the two together are the price of a pair of non-sale pants. Now, don't get me wrong, I love to spend money, but I LOVE a good deal more! Remember my last yoga clothing experience? THAT WAS AWESOME! But, these looked great on me, and because I'm going to yoga everyday it would be a great to have a second set so as not to have to make sure I've washed and hung everything to dry to be ready for the next 6 am class. (not bad eh?) plus I looked very cute in the outfit!

Out to the MAC store.
I've started using paint pots (eyeshadow) and they are wonderful, so with the goal to have all of them and using my wonderful 30% discount I buy 2 more colours and a small brown dry eyeshadow and the holder for it. The girl gives me a sample of a face cream, which was another reason I went into the store for.

I finish with an icecream for my daughter and I.
Home after work, dinner done, and off I head out once again to the 'other' MAC store. This one I can't use my discount as THE BAY has some sort of rule.... GEEEESH! but this MAC store has brushes that are 'exclusive' to The Bay. A set of 5 different brushes for the price of one. I don't even need to explain anymore.

My daughter was in need of a bra so we struggled a bit but found a one.
cha ching (it's small cause it wasn't for me)

I head to London Drugs to look for cordless phone batteries. All 3 of my cordless phones do not last my ability to talk, COMBINED. I actually have 5 cordless, but, ok, I have nothing to say about that. I bought the batteries along with bus tickets for my kids.
CHA ching (half was for me)

and since we are at this mall, off we move on to WINNERS. My daughter was in need of some shorts so we went in and found some... 3 pairs, which are bought for her birthday. I of course am puttering around the yoga clothes. I find some tops ( I only have one, which I had bought earlier)
I find 2 tops, one black one white, I go for both, and they were a good price. Much more affordable than the lotus wear clothing.
Ok confession. When I bought the last 2 items, I purchased one through debit WITH the shorts, the second one I put on a credit card, so as to hide it from the joint owner of my bank account.

and that my friends was a day in DivaM-land!
I don't even want to tell you how many clothes I have......
Happy Shopping

Diva M

What's the Avoidance?

I have 'meant' to write, a lot! And I know how good intentions work. They don't.
I have had many thoughts run through my head on 'what' to write, but those "good intention" type, thoughts never make it to the keyboard.
I've been tired.
As a new yogagoer, going 5 days a week at 6 am and 2 days at 8 am, I'm one pooped out girl.
Lots of things have been going on in the last 2 weeks (other than writing) I am realizing how deep the yoga can hit your soul. I have had times where I begin to weep in savasana due to really, really, really, letting go of 'stuff'; allowing peace to settle a little deeper with in, giving myself grace where I have not allowed it's sunshine to warm my soul, getting in control of my crazy head mixed up emotions.
Yes, this is my yoga.
I have stretched my body beyond what it's used to, and have worked hard to achieving a bit more of the poses, as my soul is trying hard to heal. I have found that I move into a deeper resting place when I sleep, some nights having a genuine sleep, which is a bonus!
But there is a deeper level of avoidance with in me, sure the writing but that is on the outside, but what are the things that I allow myself to avoid within so as not to be real with myself?
That's a REALLY good question.

Diva M

Monday, June 30, 2008


I figured it was time to check in about the Yoga.

Ok, I'm in!
Yup, I'm a yogagoer! It is official I bought a one month pass for the special that they have going on in July.
Can you believe it, I am hardly believing it as I type this.
Remember when I said that I was counting down how many more times I had to go? Now when I go I am counting how many I have left.

Bikram yoga has a special on "take the 30 day challenge for $99.00" This means that you can go every day as often as you want for a hundred bucks. That is pretty good since the drop in fee is $20.

I have gotten myself to 2 days a week now, and as of July, I will go 4 days a week, during the challenge. I really am wanting this to help heal my body and to help increase the weight loss of course.

Now, I have no problem talking myself into going, I DO have a problem talking to myself to STAY IN THE ROOM.
About 1/2 to 3/4 through I'm ready to go home. So I begin telling myself that it's almost done. Once we hit janushirasana (Head to knee pose with stretching pose) paschimotthanasana I'm know I'm home free.
Another session achieved!
It's still a struggle to do the poses properly, but I'm doing what I can to the best of my ability which apparently gives you 100% of the benefits.
Let's hope so!
Diva M

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Finding a Mate on Ebay!

I'm watching the news the other day, and here is a 'news worthy' item. No, it wasn't the world crisis, war, death, famine, or crime; no, it was a beautiful blond, Florida woman, who was tired of not meeting a man and was selling her home (with bride) on Ebay.
THIS, is news worthy? Please. Had she been ugly and not a real estate agent with a beautiful home, would the news actually air this story. I think not.
There were re
ports of an Italian man who was interested and on his way to Florida to meet her. I'm a little dumbfounded at the whole thing. If a beautiful successful woman can't find a mate, what hope is for the rest of the single population?
Take me for instance. I'll post myself on Ebay.
"For sale, a home in Victoria to rent for $1920.00 comes complete with an attractive, black woman with a few extra pounds and 5 Children."

Humm, maybe I shouldn't add the 'amount' of children part. Maybe I could say,
"a home in Victoria to rent for $1920.00 comes complete with an attractive, black woman with a few extra pounds and a handful of children."
This way I am not really committing to the amount of children that I have. I feel this would be ok as 2 of my children are adults, but they do live here with me. I'm thinking the 'rent' part doesn't sound to appealing either. So, I think it will be a no go for me.

"a home in Victoria complete with an attractive black woman some children, for a man who has a job"
I figured I could pay the rent, but I wanted to ween all those out who would just be free loaders.

So this is what we've come to, a single woman with a house trying to sell their home and themselves on Ebay, what a strange time we live in.
I personally feel it was to draw attention to herself probably for her business. Any sort of promotion and name recognition is huge, and in the real estate business, this was a very smart move on her part.
I am certain that someone will also capitalize on this "selling your home to find a mate" idea on the internet and turn it into some sort of money making scheme.
I know I would.....

Diva M

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Conflict Resolution!

What's that?
Today I feel that I am learning what conflict resolution is. I think most people don't actually achieve resolution, I, am at the top of that list.
I am a fairly confident woman but have areas where I struggle, stuff from my upbringing and simply from living my life.
One area I struggle with is being heard, of being acknowledged, of being accepted. When conflicts have come up in my life (some of them are pretty harsh and of course many are petty.) I have no idea how to function in them.... 2 of my most famous strategies are,
1) fight, fight, fight, fight, fall down from exhaustion; Then wait until the next burst of energy or the next fight.
2)Run like hell away from the conflict. This usually involves hiding, not speaking, randomly ignoring (very hard to do when you live int he same house, outsiders... PIECE OF CAKE! to ignore)
Those 2 fascinating strategies are failures, but, they are what I know.

I have a friend who I am close with, he is male (the kinda species I really don't do well in conflict with) So my friend resembles in personality many of th
e men I have struggled with all my life; controlling, demanding, pushy, ok.. yes, he has other nice attributes but this is not a describe the good parts of my friend blog.
We have a fairly good relationship we can laugh, plan, encourage etc... but then comes the days when he resembles all the evil conflicts that I have experienced in my life. What does this Diva do? of course! You already know because it's mentioned in my 2 points. Well this friend does not handle my responses when things go amuck. He waits a few days then 'checks in' to find out what is going on. I respond some what but struggle with really expressing myself as I think it will become like the 'other' conflicts that I have had.
He will continue to talk to me going around the mountain chasing me to become real about where I really am. As I open and share my perspective he TOTALLY GETS IT! he listens and hears and acknowledges me where I am at (even if it's EXTREMELY crazy)and then he accepts me. I had no idea that this was a possibility, I had no idea that this was my wrong reaction in what I do and have done in my life. Rather shocking.

I was undone by it.
Now I am scared by it.
But it gives me hope by it.

It was easy (but painful) to go through life thinking, no, KNOWING that all men are assholes. But, through my friend and a couple of very emotional conflicts I have had with him, I have been shown that it's just not true. This is scary to think that I can trust men to be honest, caring, kind and respectful of me.
It has c
hanged so much of how I think.
This giv
e me hope for future relationships, that I might be able to have a healthy relationship that can have conflict resolution.
What a thought!

Diva M

Friday, June 20, 2008

In The History Of The World....

Well, in the history of the world of a 'Maureen'
This is a very rare time in my life and it will only happen once and it will last for 5 months. I've actually been in it for awhile, but just haven't gotten around to write about it. Never again in the history of this Maureen will it take place, no siree! This my dear friends is a once in a life time happening, and not many people have accomplished this great task, nor will many accomplish it after me. I dont' even think my mother accomplished it, close but no cigar. I have another relative who might
have me beat, but she doesn't count. You wonder, what could it be...... I, am the mother of five teenagers!

Yes, my dear son this past year became a teenager, and my oldest is still only 19. I have just a few short days left in this great happening in my life. Then I will be the mother of a twenty year old.

When he became a teenager, it was quite a momentous occasion for him. I know we all want to hear special sound effects as we do something grand, but there never is any fanfare, much less music. But with my youngest son, I think he 'really' hears the fanfare, I think something really gets played for him! This occasion in his life was grand and he truly felt different. He is fortunate!

This also marks the last of my children in Elementary school, as he graduated from grade 7. There was a ceremony and it took quite some time as there were 92 grads, from four classes. Each teacher spoke a spoke a few sentences about each of their students. It was quite nice to hear a little bit about each one, highlighting some of their special or not so special qualities.... typically "they liked to talk... a lot"
So, this is the end of my elementary era! yay...
I only have to get 3 more to graduation!

Diva M

Monday, June 16, 2008

To Yoga or Not To Yoga???That is My Question!

I took the plunge last January and stepped into 2 classes of Bikram Yoga.
My boss gave me 2 free passes for 2 people for 2 days. I have never done yoga before, and thought it would be something to at least 'try'. My oldest daughter was visiting, so she became the other person for the free pass.
Bikram yoga is HOT yoga! No, no, no, not in the sense that something is 'hot' as in hip, cool, gorgeous... no it's FRICKEN HOT!

Bikram Yoga, also known as Hot Yoga, is a style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury and a Los Angeles, California based company[1]. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (40.5°C) with a humidity of 40%. Classes are guided by specific dialogue including 26 postures and two breathing exercises. Classes last approximately 90-minutes. People of all levels, ages and body types practice and start together as this is a beginning yoga class.
Who in their right mind goes to a small room where the heat is 40.5? Don't people die in that temperature? Well, we head out anyway. I'm wearing a coat as it is winter here and they take us into the room to let us lay down our yoga mats, she suggest that we, as beginners should stay near the door, as it is a little cooler. I just about die! Instantly I can't breathe and am sweating like crazy, I am however still wearing my winter coat.
They tell you as a 'first timer' to try to just STAY IN THE ROOM. Even when you can't do some of the poses, JUST STAY IN THE ROOM! This evokes thoughts of me running to door, begging and pleading to leave and those in charge standing as drill Sargent's yelling out loud resounding "NOs"!
We go in and find our mats and lay down. The room is soooo hot! The heat is supposed to be a good thing for helping your muscles warm up, stretch and it helps to prevent injury. We are to keep silent in the room as well. I'm questioning how this could be for beginners. Like come on, I might need to moan and groan and whee.
We begin.
They start with the beginning breathing exercises, I'm embarrassed to say were quite difficult! The breathing I could do, but keeping my arms high and trying to make my elbows touch, was rather difficult due to the large amount of boobage that I carry.
We carry on and do more of the poses. Each one was rather difficult, you want me to do what? and grab what? which way should my hand go? and then the pose would be over before I would even be close to catching on. I was rather discouraged.
There were a few I could do, not to the full extent, again this brought discouragement. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to be able to stand on one leg with my other leg wrapped around my head 2 times, I just wanted to at least get half way around. (no poses have you wrap your leg around your head, I say that for exaggeration, and some poses do kinda feel that way)
Towards the end we are in savasana (which is to rest) and I look over at my daughter who is silently screaming what the F did you get me into. At the end I wasn't even able to get up to my knees with out feeling dizzy and nauseous. And to think, I had another free day of this..... woo hoo akkkk!
They like you to wait 5 days before coming back.
I waited about 7, then ask my daughter to go back with me, she didn't want to... etc etc... I was VERY discouraged about going, and I really didn't want to go alone I just wanted to back out. Too often in my life, when the going gets hard, I quit. So with determination and a few tips from my boss about modifying the poses I venture out on my own.
I was shocked at how different it was for me, I went in attempting to do the pose to the best of MY ability, and there were points were I could stretch farther than I did last week. I was very proud of myself. I still found at the end that I couldn't get up on my knees with out feeling weird and woozy, so I laid those ones out, (savasana)
I left with amazing energy which is unheard of for me. When I exercise It takes so much out of me that I have to almost check out for the whole day. This was amazing and I was hooked for the moment.
A couple weeks later I attend a free class. This one wasn't so good as my gall bladder started to act up. It is common if you have ailments in your body, bikram yoga will help your body bring healing. My tummy nor I was none to fond of the healing process.
The spring comes and my boss decides to give me the gift of yoga! she also gave me this book. Which would help understand some of the modifications that are necessary to help. I smile nicely and cringe inside thinking how am I going to be able to do this?
Just before this time, I had decide to book myself to have the dreaded gall bladder surgery.
I do not recover well from surgery, but with the weight loss success I have been having and walking 2 km 3 times a week, maybe the yoga would help me to continue to lose and would help post op. in the healing process.
Those that are yoga fans, whole heartedly agree that this is the case. So I begin again trying to pay attention to the poses that might be aggravating my gall bladder, attempting to take it easier on myself, and counting down how many more classes I have to go to.
Day 2 completed only 17 more to go!
I don't wear the appropriate clothing for yoga, actually I WEAR clothing, many of the people there wear as little as possible. Bathing suits and teeny tiny 2 piece yoga costumes. The tops are a bit of fabric to cover the private parts and then string to hold them on, and then itty bitty shorts for the bottoms. In my world some clothing is great as it holds in the bulgy parts and absorbs a lot of the sweat, especially when you need to grab your leg, it's not all slippery.
I do however feel out of place in my lack of 'yoga' costume. So as I'm out shopping at a consignment store with with daughter number 2, I find a pair of XL yoga pants. (I say XL as the XXL were too big YAY!) They were brand new (tags still on) regular price was $89.00 store price $29.99! Then I find a sports bra (tags still on) from the same company around the same price and down to $19.00. A new sports bra was really needed as my regular wired bras keep me high chested and off the floor when I am laying on my tummy. They want you to lay flat on the floor, and this just doesn't happen as with large amounts of boobage, you become a bit of a lopsided teeter-tauter.
Well, I couldn't very well pass up on such a great deal, and thought I will look more the part of a yogagoer! All I need was my own mat!
I've been renting a mat for $2.00 each time I go. Over the course of my time I would have given the company $40.00 in mat rental. I thought I would keep my eyes open for a good deal, especially since I might do more in the future.
I started reading the book a few days ago and it said that if I went every day it would HELP me even more. I'm thinking my pass will be over quicker!
This past Sunday I had some free time in the afternoon, so I packed my bag with my new REAL yoga pants and sports bra, still haven't found the right yoga top for me and nor should I just go in the bra, as I think some people do.
After Church and lunch I had to talk myself into going to the studio. It's easy to talk myself out of going. "oh you just ate sushi, you'll feel sick", "oh you are too tired", "you shouldn't go".
Once I'm there I see they have yoga mats on sale, and so I buy my very own yoga mat. I'm really looking the part.
I go to the change room to change, something I don't normally do(due to the FREEness of the women, but that is for another story), I typically come dressed. Down I head to change, I'm really moving into a professional yogagoer!
I venture into the room, this Sunday class isn't too full. I feel great in my new yoga clothes on my new yoga mat and I decide that since this is session 3 for me, I thought I could try to move a little closer into the room, away from the door.
We begin!
Breathing exercises, and I am now realizing that my elbows CAN touch at the end of the cycle! this is good! still not the complete form, but hey! they are touching! And I can do more than I had done before letting my arms drop.
I continue and work as hard as I can at the poses, but by the time we hit the floor I think I'm going to die from the heat, so I move myself back to my corner by the door where it was radically different in temp for me.
I made it though session 3, and plan to try to hit the studio twice a week (I will be able to get through this membership quicker!!)

The verdict is still out on whether or not yoga will help me....
but at least I will look good as I decide

Diva M

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Hate Band-Aids!

I don't want my heart to break anymore, I really can't take another blow.
I can't handle anymore failure in my life.
I don't think I will be able to breathe....

When you go to take off a band-aid. It pulls and tears and hurts so bad.
First of all, when ever I have to have a needle or something that requires a band-aid, I usually refuse it. The knowledge of how much it's going to hurt prevents me from taking one.
If I do happen to have one when it's time to remove it, I usually try to take it off slowly. I just can't do the quick draw tear, even though it will be instant pain and then the relief will begin.

I guess that's what I do with my life. I go through painful experiences that require a band-aid to protect the wound as it heals. My refusal of the band-aid lets me just run around letting the 'air' get on it, banging it on things where it just never heals properly and then I'm left with a very large tender scar. I carry on in life with this scar always babying it, and introverted on myself and the wound.
Then tiring of the pain I finally look for some help I go for the band-aid and it brings relief. I want to live with the band-aid forever. Something to protect and keep it from being opened up and torn once again.
The band-aid becomes responsible for my well being. But eventually the band-aid get dirty and start to loosen. That's where a tearing comes once again! I HATE IT!
I don't want to see what's underneath, to be honest I don't want to rip it off and see the healing and growth that has and will need to take place. I am too weak... and too scared.
I do much better living behind the mask... just dying inside.... well, not really.

My mask is a mask that I wear even to myself... I just don't want to be real about where my life is right now.....
so I tell myself some things... but I don't say what is really killing me... I am too afraid of that one. So I only share what is obvious... but not what the reality is....

But if I rip it off and let the wound completely heal, I will be able to grow up out of this place and not hurt anymore. I will be stronger.
I need to admit to the truth of where I am, even though I feel overwhelmed and can hardly breathe. I feel lost. I feel fearful. I have no idea how to solve so many of these problems in my life right now.
I am going on a great quote by musician Kevin Proche "whatever is denied, can not be healed"
So from that quote I will not deny the truth of this wounded soul that I carry.
I will be truthful to myself.
I will try to look behind the mask and see what the 'truth' is.
And I will try to take a deep breath and rip off the band-aid.

Diva M

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Can I Grasp The Overwhelming Feeling?

I have a feeling that I can't seem to shake. Actually I can't seem to really put into words what it is. All I can say is that I feel Overwhelmed. I enjoy my job, I have great kids, I am an entertainer, but there is always something missing. Something that is just beyond my grasp.

My move to the big city has been good, but I can't live in the lifestyle that I am accustom to; which tends to be rather lavish. I have to pour most of my money into my accommodations, it's just not right. I am in my forties and I am spinning my wheels to make ends meet, this is one of the things that is just out of my grasp. I feel if I could just jump high enough I just might reach it, and then money wouldn't be a stress anymore. But reality check says, it's a problem, and unfortunately I don't see an end in site.

My relationship has left me with that dirty cotton ball feeling in my mouth. I am alone and lonely. In my relationship I was alone and lonely, which I think is worse. It was a horrible situation where no ones needs got met and no one comes out alive. It's was sad state of affairs. There is no new prospects of a better relationship. I don't' think I even know, or would know how to do a good relationship. This scares me, I like this part out of my grasp, then I still feel safe.

In this move to the big city, I haven't gotten to know people that well, nothing like it was at home. I struggle feeling alone, but it is more in a soulful place. My friends from home, they, know my soul, and it is hard not to live near them. This brings a strange feeling of isolation, I do have chats with them on the phone; but it's the feeling that I can't just slip out and feed that emptiness in my soul. That, is what is just out of my grasp

My body has gone through changes these past months, I've lost 47 pounds! It is quite an accomplishment but the plateau's are not so good. I still have a lot of weight to lose and I feel discouraged in this area as well, it's such a struggle to lose the weight. Another thing just out of my grasp.

No money
No relationship
No Kinship/Friendship
No weight-loss

That's what overwhelming feels like.

Diva M

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Slave No More!

I am not your slave
and you are not my master
I will not bow to you
and live a life of disaster

You've tried to own me
beating me with your words
controlling me with insanity

trying to be my Lord

I will rise up
be a woman of strength
I will stand strong
a woman you can't break

Diva M

The Wife Of Many!

I'm realizing that in life we have many relationships er, may I say many hats that we wear.
I, being the mother of many children have worn many hats in my 20 years of motherhood. I've been Mother, Father, House Keeper, Doctor, Wife, Lawyer, Judge, Seamstress, Teacher, Prison Guard Counselor just to name a few.
Now that I am older, and can look at different past relationships in my life. I see that there are different people that you need in your life, these 'hats' relationships are necessary to round you out and those you are in relationship with.

I have had many men in my life who I have been the 'wife' to. Not the lover wife, but the wife that meets a certain need in a certain area of that particular persons life. I've been the female friend wife that can listen without personal agendas and feelings, so that he gets his point across. I've been the musician wife to many, they speak in musical terms and emotions and it's an area I live because I'm a musician so understand and can relate to them. I've been the laughing wife, who thinks that everything he says is funny. I've been the encourager wife, who give you that extra push again with no agendas.

I've enjoyed my experiences within these relationships, and I feel in some ways it has helped me to be a better person. I know that it had made some of the REAL wives uncomfortable, some thought that I was looking for something more, but that was never my intention and boundaries never were crossed. I guess a lot of my needs for different husbands in my life was just as necessary, and this need was being met for me.

Diva M

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lights Camera Action

The band has just performed their first show, it will be the first of many to come!
The on stage connection was excellent, it was just as we practiced in rehearsals. All the songs came together and together we pulled ourselves to another level.
We were mighty pleased with our performance. Our only negative was, due to the lack of a proper sound check, we had a flood of volume on stage, and lack of monitor volume. I relied a lot on memory as I couldn't even here myself within myself. No biggie, as the show MUST go on.

I feel honored to play with these talented men, and I have learned a lot by working with them. I guess the talent rubs off and spills on others, I certainly am great full for that!

I was quite excited about the gig, which is a rare thing for me. I'm usually pretty subdued for the most part mingled with a bit of fear. This was not the case, I was excited and not fear full at all. Apparently I was over dressed as it was a dance for mostly hippies! But I came as I want to be represented. Classy.

The let down was a lot for me, I felt pretty blue the next day and was suffering from exhaustion, my office gig definitely suffered. But the show must go on.

My personal life was suffering over the weekend too and much that went on has left me rather rattled. For many things in life, time is the healer for just about everything, I have time for the most part so let the healing begin!

What's up ahead? I have a few more shows this month and I am looking forward to them, lots of work but VERY rewarding! I'm looking forward to my future and looking forward to when the lights from the camera a super BRIGHT!

Diva M

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The lengths of THE dress

I was in Florida last year (which is so far my favourite state) Spring time there is hot, and when you are a girl from Canada, you start to realize by the 4th daily shower, imagine the summers there; the temperature would be so hot for me, I doubt that I would ever leave the shower at all! We stayed at a summer house just a stones throw from the ocean. I loved it!

A perk for me as a Jazz singer is the clothes! I love to wear all the glitzy dresses, and jewelery the more sparkle the better! But as a plus sized woman it’s not easy to find sexy dresses that have the chiffons and rhinestones etc. in Canada. In the states....... (drool) it’s a jazz singers dream. I purposely bring an empty suitcase to fill with all my wonderful finds. When I travel I’ve never looked like I’m going for a weekend, I look like I’m moving in.

The southern hospitality is lovely, “yes ma’am, how can I help you” and the southern accents ring like the fragrance of sweet apple pie cooling on a warm breeze. So, my dress spree begins these glorious department stores where the air is cool and clothes racks are full! One particular dress that my cousin was wearing, I loved, had to have it. So off I go to search for it. We had been at the beach house for about 4 days, with people who ‘knew’ the area and did all the driving. (We were staying on a bit longer to make it a little bit more of a holiday) I paid close attention on how to get around and which way it was to the mall.

The first mall we ‘knew’ had many department stores not the one that I needed. So I drop my companion off and head off in the direction that I could remember. Wa la, I find it and it’s in wonderful mall area with more department stores. I head in find the dress, it’s one size smaller than I normally take, so I figure ‘try it on’. It kinda fits, but the next size up would be GREAT. In the mean time, I do find another dress. At the cash register the young girl asks me, “did you find every thing you want ma’am ?” I tell her no, that I could use a different size. She suggests calling another store and seeing if they have it, sure enough they do. Put that baby on hold, I’m on my way.

I ask her for directions, but she seems rather vague because she is so young and not an experienced driver. An older woman says that she knows where and begins giving me directions that I do not write down.... but the words BIG OL BRIDGE were some where in her instructions which lead to her sharing that she doesn’t like to drive on it. I thank her, she compliments the dress I am buying and off I go, to the department store next door which I have a wonderful credit card to use from a previous visit in a different state. Once again I find a lovely dress that will do for another show and a few other items. At the cash register I ask the gentlemen ringing in my clothes where the Dunn Avenue Mall is. He promptly starts these very simple directions that do not sound like the ones I was just given. Very easy to remember, I figure he MUST know what he’s talking about. Off I go to get ‘my dress’! I follow his instructions and after awhile I see it THE AVENUES MALL and the department store I am looking for! Proud of navigating through this huge city with success I head in, and ask the Sales rep for the dress that has been but on hold. She says, there is no dress on hold for me, I tell her the style and off we go to search. Nothing, I thought how weird, the other store phoned, gave the ID number and my name. I say the brand name and she says “ohhhhh we don’t carry that brand at THIS store” I said “I was told to go Dunn Avenue mall” she interrupts and says “oh, THIS is the ‘Avenues Mall’, Dun Avenue is on the other side of city.” Her co-worker promptly goes into the back and uses map quest for me, smart girl! She explains the directions but throws in tips that map-quest doesn’t tell you about. “When you get to this point, you want to move over to the 4th lane to the right and stay there so that you can take the correct exit. I leave confident with my map, and a couple of extra driving tips. Now, we all know that map quests times are approximate, and the directions could be out dated. Being a small city girl I had NO idea just how long it was going to take, or if I had taken the correct exit after the first turn. I continued noticing that some of the signs were the same ones on my map, whew. I traveled through what I realized was the ‘down town’ of the city. This place is HUGE! After each turn I argued with myself that it was a wrong turn and how the heck was I going to get turned around on these interstates, especially when once on them, the surroundings ALL LOOK THE SAME?!

My map quest was correct; I did heed her ‘extra’ instructions and got off the right exit. Only to find at this last turn, the mall should be there. I am lost. I see a girl walking along the side of the road I turn the car around and ask her ‘where the Dunn Avenue Mall is?” she says, “there is no mall around here.” I think WHAT!! She starts explaining where a mall is and that I would have to get back on the interstate and turn this way and that... my world is spinning at this moment, NO, way am I going back turn around to these instructions that don’t even closely resemble my map quest. I smile politely and tell her thank you. I look down at my instructions again and notice after my last turn I still had another 6 miles to go not a few feet!

SAVED!! I realized I have found my pot of gold, and casually go into the store. Since my ‘dress on hold’ call was 3 ½ hours ago, I decided that I would just go in and buy the dress. I wouldn’t embarrass myself of what should have been a 40 minute drive which took me in the complete wrong direction. There it was, I picked it out, tried it on, and yes it was a better fit. I promptly went to pay for it, speaking to no one to give my Canadian accent away. At the register, the woman starts to ring it in and then asks “are you the woman who called earlier about the dress?” I couldn’t believe it, how did she know? I didn’t speak I’m trying to blend in but it didn’t work. I thought about lying but said yes. She said “oh, well this is not the dress on hold for you, it’s this one” OH MY GOSH! It was an absolutely ugly dress, nothing that a jazz singer would wear, not even for casual gigs. I laughed and began to explain that I was rerouted to the ‘Avenues Mall’ and that it had taken me this long to get here for the wrong dress. She promptly starts to say “poor baby” and then proceeded to tell her co-workers and the other customers my plight. Soon everyone around was just shaking their heads in disbelief and compassion for this “poor baby that ended up at the wrong store in the wrong direction for the wrong dress taking all this time to get here. I loved hearing her singsong voice.

Success, I have the dress and now how to get back home? I ask these older women who are still calling me poor baby how to get home. But I don’t quite ‘know’ where home is. I tell them the name of the first mall that I was at. It wasn’t really recognizable to them, but together they told me to take a certain interstate North, but I thought to get here I was taking a North interstate. I tried to push aside my concern that they were telling me to go the same way in which I came, my experience is always go back from whence you came. I ignored my reasoning and took their advice. Off I went, doubting the whole time that I was going the right way, again concerned that each interstate looks the same; divided highways, 3-4 lanes and trees on both sides. I am amazed that the locals know where the heck they are with no land marks on these highways.

Then I begin to feel calm as I see the ‘big ole bridge’ that I had traveled on in previous days with the other visitors. I begin to laugh again at this crazy day of GREAT shopping, the thought of all this driving for a dress on hold I would never buy. With the possibility that the one I wanted might have not even been there!

Diva M

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Maureen Washington ~ Photo by Dean Kalyan Focus Magazine November 20 & December 11 2014 JAZZ ALIVE! MAUREEN WASHINGTON &...