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Tuesday, April 22, 2003
      ( 7:40 PM ) Jackie  

Keeping Busy

I've been busy this week working on a community forum on police violence in Oakland. The forum was triggered by the recent police riot at the Port of Oakland.

This is actually a great way to avoid completing painting my kitchen, which I began BEFORE I went to Maui!! That was in February.

I vowed I'd finish it up today but .... didn't. I do have a nice planting of poppies in the back yard from Annie's Annuals. I was -- in many ways -- fortunate that a dear friend visiting from Ithaca called and we gardened together. It's a lot more fun to work in the garden while catching up on the news from a friend!

And in the front I've mowed and weeded and added to my little sidewalk strip garden.

In addition to the Mexican Poppies and Cala lillies that I put in a few years ago -- transplanting from the back yard -- I have some volunteers...gorgeous blue bachelor buttons from the neighbor to the north, lively yellow-orange coreopsis from the neighbor to the south, and nasturiums from my own garden. I just added two plants whose names I can't remember. One is a vivid almost neon purple daisy looking flower. The other is a more delicate deep apricot flower. After weeding and planting, I covered the remaining ground with bark "nuggets". So I'm hoping the moisture will stay in better and the weeds will stay out.

This week-end is the long-awaited World Rhythm Festival in Seattle. Which reminds me that I bought some water repelent renewer to spray on my jacket in preparation for the Seattle rains. Another item for my To Do list!

I haven't mentioned the HeartRhythms drum performance. I'd hoped that Linda would have some pix that I could link to. But if she does, I haven't seen them. The performance was terrific. We were inspired in our playing. Our guest, Master Drummer Massengo Constant, was amazing. The audience was loving and enthusiastic.

I also wanted to acknowledge the passing of two amazing people.

Babatunde Olatunji brought the drum to the universities, the concert halls, and to the streets of the United States, returning a part of what was stolen to the African people here. I remember the first time I ever touched a drum, at a MoonSisters drum camp in San Francisco. One of our teachers talked about how Babatunde came to her neighborhood in Brooklyn and began teaching the young people to drum. He is /was an incredible musician, performer, and spiritual presence and teacher. He has left a vast legacy of great meaning.

Nina Simone.... what can be said. She too left us a great legacy. It is to our great shame that she told a reporter "I don't like America, I never did, and I don't want to go back unless I have to. "

Asked how she wanted to be remembered, she replied, "I want to be remembered as a diva from beginning to end who never compromised in what she felt about racism and how the world should be, and who to the end of her days consistently stayed the same "

Thank you, Dr. Nina Simone. I'll remember you that way. And as the beautiful woman with the heart-catching voice who sang the most beautiful love songs and used your voice to sing the truth.

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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