Home Ownership 101 or something like that!

We purchased our first home little over seven months ago. After more than 18 years of apartment living, we are living in a single family house…it’s beautiful, spacious and for the most part it was move-in ready. Over the last few months our trips to Home Depot have increased. New locks, a new door bell, lawn bags, lots of lawn bags. Of course living in¬†Chicago, we bought rock salt and a shovel.

But going to Home Depot or any of those big home improvement stores has always stressed me out. It’s so overwhelming! And there is never enough associates on the floor. If I do see someone there is usually a line of people asking for help. So I wander around, hoping I find what I need. But I really just waste time. I see all that lumber and I want to build my own house. I see plumbing and I think about all the pipes that could break in my new house, I see all of those light fixtures and I begin to dream of all the new lighting and I keep hoping I see a mirrored disco ball to hang in my bedroom (always a house head ūüôā ). But all I went into Home Depot was for more rock salt and a lint catcher for the washer. Simple! I go in with my cart and head straight for the salt. That’s an easy find. I’ve purchased it before….but they moved it to a more convenient location. Nice blizzard marketing move, Home Depot!

Now for those lint catchers. I think, “where would I put the lint catchers if I was in charge of the world? Of course, next to the washers.” And I head to the appliances but before I get there I remember that Home Depot isn’t that simple. And they aren’t going to make it that easy for me. So I head to the plumbing department. I start wandering around thinking, “when you buy a house there should be some sort of orientation about where to find these simple products. like a ‘home ownership 101: taxes, minor home repair and navigating a home improvement store’. I pulled out my phone to ¬†email to my favorite Realtor and tell her about my wonderful idea.

Instead, I opened my chrome app and GTS (Googled That Shit). “where are the lint catchers in home depot?” It took me to home depot’s mobile site. It showed me there there were 43 in stock at my local store. and right beneath that, there was a button that said “store map”. Could it be that simple? I click the button and there it was a map of the store with the exact location of the lint catchers down to the aisle number and bay number. It was like a real treasure hunt, a map and all. I found exactly what I needed in the very next aisle. I grabbed a stack and I walked up to the register¬†beaming from my accomplishment.


Parenting Sucks

I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. Having¬†the bonus child 4 years ago¬†saved me from the empty nest. My older children were 17 and 14 years old when the bonus child was born. I always thought, I’ll never have any empty nest because by the time they all leave I’ll be busy with the little one and when he leaves I’ll have grand-babies to fuss over.

Then it happened.

Last night, it was so cold in Chicago. Too cold to go Trick or Treating. Too cold for trick or treaters to ring the bell. The bonus child dressed up in his Captain America costume ready for the trick or treaters that never came. When the door bell did ring it was the pizza being delivered.

And it hit me. As we sat at the kitchen table eating pizza.They were gone. The children I’d spent 21 years celebrating Halloween with were gone. I began to cry into my pizza. They were out with the significant others (a story for another post) and I was home missing them like crazy. Aching to hear them laugh, tell me about their day, listen to them talk to each other,¬†listen to them¬†argue over who got the most candy, talk about all the crazy costumes we saw. But silence filled the room. My face streamed with tears.

The bonus child was concerned and interrupted my silence, “what’s wrong mommy?”

“I’m missing your sister and brother,”¬†I replied.

“Don’t worry, mommy. Meme is dressed like Starfire. And AJ is dressed like Batman. Papito is with Tori. They’ll be home later,” he said laughing at me.

The voice of reason from a 4 year old. Still my pizza filled with my tears.

I was not prepared for this…it’s like a break up. You spend years building a strong relationship…loving, crying, celebrating, arguing, growing together…then they just move on with their lives. You have to watch and be happy.¬†I know this will pass and I will be too busy to get lost¬†in the silence. But I also know that there will be more growing up to do…I just hope I can grow up without them.

House Music and Shabba-Doo


Hoimage7use music was born in Chicago from the disco scene and that’s the era that Shabba-Doo has his roots. A native Chicagoan, Shabba-Doo¬†spoke¬†about the dance scene, “In ¬†the late 60’s and early 70’s soul music was big in Chicago.”¬†

“House music influenced a style of dance called the waacking dance. Waaking Dance is a derivative of a dance style called punking,” said Shabba-Doo. In the 1970s like many of straight djs in Chicago, Shabba-Doo went into the gay night clubs in Los Angeles and created a hybrid form of dancing. ¬†“I created the first bi-sexual street dance form,” said Shabba-Doo.

People often ask where does he get his creative dance moves, he replies, “I put the Puerto Rican in it!” Latinos have a major influence on¬†American¬†culture¬†and¬†Shabba-Doo has been at the forefront since the 1970s.

Shabba-Doo gave me an education, a history lesson. ¬†He introduced me to Tom Moulton. Moulton was the¬†original remixer on the national level. According to wikipedia, Moulton “was responsible¬†for the first continuous-mix album side, on¬†Gloria Gaynor‘s disco album,¬†Never Can Say Goodbye, earning him the title the ‘father of the disco mix’.”

“House music was the heartbeat, the pulse,” said Shabba-Doo. The bass and tribal beats of house music gets to the very soul of a dancer.¬†

When working on a dance routine, he feels the music, like a heart beat, using his body to interpret the music, creating a personal music score. 

Today, Shabba-Doo is still dancing. He teaches all over the world. Often giving back to the community. He recently joined the¬†Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum Development Team.¬†In the Fall of 2014 he is scheduled to release¬†an¬†autobiographical book. He is also working on a film, ” A Breakin’ Uprising: The Movie”. ¬†

One of my favorite Shabba Doo quotes…

‚ÄúKnowledge is the new swagger, intelligence is the new cool and the new dope. God gave us all potential but education helps to unlock that potential. Without an education, without knowledge, you are like a baseball player that only has talent but doesn‚Äôt know how to use it. Talent will get you at bat but education gets you home.‚Ä̬†

Background of¬†this blog: A few months ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and Shabba-Doo was in my news feed. I thought about the movie “Breakin'” ¬†how much I loved it, watching it over and over again in the 1980s and all the great music. I recently discovered that Shabba-Doo is from Chicago. So I wanted to know if and how House music influenced his style of dance. He graciously agreed to an interview.


An Interview with Byron Burke


I received a call to go and interview a female dj from Europe. She was on vacation, touring the USA and was available for an interview. The request came through a friend, I was hesitant because I prefer to set up my own interviews. It gives me the opportunity to prep the interviewee prior, giving them the choice to talk with me or not. But I trusted my source and drove 20 miles to conduct the interview. When I arrived, I was told I had just missed her.

But Rocky Jones of DJ International was wrapping up a business meeting with Byron Burke. Jones suggested I interviewed Burke. So here I was sitting across from Bryon Burke. I was not prepared in any way to conduct an interview of Burke. I enjoy preparing interviews and I love to research the subject before I conduct an interview.  As I was introduced to him, I was told he was from the group Ten City. I knew Ten City but I didn’t know Byron Burke. Burke was also put on the spot but being so gracious and kind, he agreed to the interview.

I listened to Burke talk about parts of his life journey; from growing up on Chicago‚Äôs West Side, as a trumpet player, dancer in Shy Boys dance crew, became a well-known dj and then signing with his group ‚ÄúB Rude, Inc‚ÄĚ to DJ International Records all before he was 19 years old.

Music was Burke’s sanctuary. He played the trumpet in Grammar school. In the 8th grade he began djing on Technic 1100s, he practiced 6 hours a day for a year. He made over 200 mix tapes until it was just the right mix to be submitted to a promoter to get a gig. His first major party, at the age of 15, was with Shawn Robinson and Farley Jack Master Funk.

He grew tired of mixing records and wanted to make his own records. Burke called Rocky Jones, and began to hang out at the office of DJ International Records and eventually got a record deal with his group ‚ÄúB Rude, Inc.‚ÄĚ. ¬†The members of the group consisted of Byron Burke, Anthony Nash, Shaun Robison. Shortly after the group was established, Tommy Williams and Byron Stingily paired up with the team. However, the group struggled to get anything off the ground. After a year, Burke got out of his contract with DJ International Records.

He continued to work with Byron Stingily after the B Rude Inc. disbanded and joined forces with Marshall Jefferson and formed a group called The Truth, followed by Ragtyme which included Herb Lawson. Ragtyme was signed to Atlantic Records and changed their name to Ten City. Ten City’s debut album, Foundation, included “Right Back to You” and “That’s the Way Love Is.”

According to Wikipedia, along with his work on Foundation he also¬†co-wrote and produced¬†State of Mind¬†for Atlantic Records, one album entitled¬†No House Big Enough¬†for East West Records and one album entitled¬†That Was Then, This Is Now¬†for Columbia Records. The records spawned ten Top 20 Billboard magazine dance songs,¬†five Top 10 Billboard Magazine Sales Chart Singles, ten Top U.K. Pop Chart Singles, a Gold Album from South Africa and a Silver Album from the U.K. that received international acclaim on four continents.‚ÄĚ

Today, Burke is the founder and president of BB Media Global Group. According to their website, BB Media Global Group works ‚Äúwith a select group of Start-up and established corporations develop creative strategies to position their brand for success.‚ÄĚ Burke is also a co-owner of 905 FM Brooklyn New York, a 24 hour internet, smartphone and In-car radio station.

Burke’s faith has been a major influence throughout his life. The voice of God has guided him throughout his career. Since 2002, he has led weekly online bible studies and attracted people from all over the world. Burke’s sermons can be heard on http://byronburkeministries.com/.

First set: Numark dm500 and Technics Slb10s

Favorite house song: Love Dancin’ by Roger Sanchez

Favorite quote:¬†This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe¬†and¬†do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely¬†and¬†have good¬†success.¬†–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Amplified Bible

Midwest DJ Fest

September 8, 2013–Perception Lounge, in Berwyn, hosted the Midwest DJ Fest. About 100 Djs from around Chicagoland gathered to network, to check out new equipment, trade music, listen to other djs and have a great time.

I’ve hung out with djs for more than 20 years, unless the are behind the decks, they find it very difficult to turn off their critical ear and enjoy the music. So this event was a breathe of fresh air. People were mingling, laughing, cheering each other on. ¬†The only ones dancing were the bartenders, although the music was great, a mix of old school and EDM. Most of the djs were just lost in the music or caught up in their conversations.

I got to mingle with other djs’ wives. That is always a treat! Meeting other women who love house music despite it being our husband’s mistress. We understand the lingo, the music and the passion even if the only time we touch a turntable is to dust it off. ¬†ūüôā and sometimes not even that!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DJ Hall of Fame-1st meet and greet!


August 26, 2913‚ÄĒ We arrived at the¬†Alhambra Palace,¬†on W Randolph St in Chicago. The restaurant looked like a palace with high ceilings, velvet curtains, mosaic tiles and beautiful artwork. The waitress led us to a long, curvy stair case and said, “the djs are in the room at the top of the stairs to the right.” When we arrived to the top of the stairs we opened one of the heavy double doors and walked into history.

The large room was filled with excitement and laughter. Old friends¬†catching up. Rocky Jones, the founder and owner of DJ international records and Martin “the Boogieman” Luna were on the stage discussing the order of the night’s events. We saw some of our friends, said some quick hellos but quickly grabbed our seats, as Luna announced to clear the dance floor.

As people cleared the dance floor, I looked around the room and saw Chicago house music artists like Curtis McClain, Harry Dennis, Keith Nunnally; djs like Martin “the Boogieman” Luna, Tim Spinnin’ Schommer, CZR just to name a few and producers like Rocky Jones, Sal Amato and Benji Espinoza.

Luna introduced Rocky Jones to a roar of applause and accolades. Jones got right down to business. There was a 3 point agenda for the DJ Hall of Fame: in the works was an official non-profit organization with a 501c3 in progress, an awards show for djs and a House Music museum to be located in Chicago.  Jones emphasized that all of the work would be done with excellence, dedication and ethics.

It was clear to everyone in the room we were a part of history in the making. Following Jones’ announcements he called upon Keith Nunnally. Nunnally reminded the group of Chicago’s place in the history of house music. He encouraged the group to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Following  the announcements, people began to mingle, take pictures and exchange information. It was truly an honor to witness the beginning stages of what will be the most unified House Nation ever!