Tragedy struck a few weeks ago where I live and someone's life was perished in a blazing inferno. It started around 6:15 AM while I was snuggled in my bed.
My sister had arrived 4 days earlier for some much needed R & R. All of a sudden the smoke alarms in the building were howling. She became startled. "Ineda....the alarm went off," she shouted. "Sis," no worries, "I replied." "The alarms go off all the time and there's never any fire." "But I smell smoke!," she gasped.
I jumped out of bed quicker than a low-lying cheating spouse and noticed grey smoke bellowing from an upper unit from my window. Sparks were flying. We threw on some clothes, grabbed our handbags and wrestled to the stairwell.
We managed to escape without injury, but one person wasn't so lucky. According to an unofficial report, there were 2 or 3 people in the unit. I was told by police that the fire likely started by someone who had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette. The man was trapped by scorching flames and sadly plunged over a balcony several hundred meters to his death.
Was he shoved or pushed or was it suicide? What started as an innocent fire may have escalated into a well-intentioned crime scene. How tumultuous and terrifying, I thought. I felt sick to my stomach all day.
Unfortunately, it took over 6 hours before the city-area coroner arrived to pronounce the blood-spattered lifeless body as deceased. Due to the nature of the fall and its trajectory, body pieces and broken bones had been strewn on one side of the 4-lane road. Thank goodness, police and firefighters arrived on time to cover the body.
That fire-infested unit was torched and a total write-off. On a positive note, no one else was injured or perished. Everyone returned to their residences, once city officials were satisfied with parts of their investigation and that the building was safe to return.
Regardless of how that fire started or what took place prior to those alarms going off, I couldn't help but think that someone's son, or brother, or boyfriend, or nephew, or grandson or friend was overshadowed by death. And without warning and no time for good-byes.
God bless his soul. May he rest in peace.
The "O"ne and "O"nly Queen of Daytime TV was in Toronto recently taping her self-help series Lifeclass: The Tour. I was there.
The anticipation of experiencing Oprah Winfrey in the flesh and getting all pumped up had me excited for weeks. But I was terribly disappointed; not an "ahh" moment in site. I didn't hear nor discover something that I haven't heard before during the Lifeclass taping on forgiveness.
The $170 Canuck bucks I paid to see the richest Black woman in America wasn't worth its greenback. I was one of 8500 in attendance who had to resort to nose-bleed seats at one of the back-to-back episodes The only view I had of Miss O (and where was best friend Gayle King?) appeared on the television screens that dotted the convention center.
The veteran talk show host, joined by spiritual motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins and Iyanla Vanzant, expressed gratitude to her Canadian fans who supported her long-running daytime series. With cameras rolling she echoed, "I am feeling the loooovvvvveeee in Canada!" Unfortunately, the love I once had for Oprah and her life stories, fizzled like the disappointed ratings for OWN.
To life and living it,
I've been burning the midnight oil lately because my career demands it. No - I'm not a Chartered Accountant. But I am a CA - 'Charismatically Available'!
Spring always has me smiling ear-to-ear. Like a bag of Starbursts, the online dating sites are bursting with sweet and delicious eye candy. I've been analyzing the copius amounts of emails, winks, and favourites that I receive every Spring. And it never fails - I get a ton of it because it's mating season!
The men come pouring in like a flash flood. Single, widowed, divorced or separated - they arrive in my mail box from all walks of life and from every corner of the planet. The playboys will expect a booty call. The gentlemen callers will kick off with casual conversation. And the bold and bulging bicep types will try to slam dunk a date because they're turned on by the whole Demi and Ashton thing.
My earliest call came this morning all the way from Florida. It was Richard. A 58-year-old real estate tycoon originally from Chicago. I don't believe in long distance relationships. Never have. But I suppose one has to have an open mind. We exchanged pleasantries and then I had to cut the call short because it was time to shower and head to the office.
John just finished emailng me a few minutes ago. An ex Antiques dealer with an affinity for the performing arts, he's 61 and stands at 6'4". I like to call him Stretch! And then there is Robert. A sales and marketing guru with a penchant for travel, exercise and romantic candlelight dinners. He's 58, just like Richard.
I have yet to agree to a date with either of them. Perhaps soon. Mike actually called this evening to ask if I'd like to meet him. A soft-bearded gentlemen with gorgeous silver hair, Mike has a PhD in chemistry and a solid career with the civil service.
And who said you couldn't find fun and freedom after 50?
To life and living it,
Easter - a sacred Christian celebration praising the Resurrection of Christ - is a moveable feast and a holiday. It's linked to the Jewish Passover and customs vary across Eastern and Western Christianity.
While some of us will hunt for powder blue Easter eggs and milk chocolate bunnies, others with a spiritual sense will enter His House of Holiness and pay homage. I did neither.
I used to be such a church-going person. But it stops and starts for me. I have never been consistent with attendance and I've never figured out why. But nonetheless, I do not feel like I have betrayed Him on the day that He arose from the dead. I choose to respect and adore the Lord every day of my life - and not only at Easter or on Christian holidays.
Easter is all about bestowing life. We can all rise above and create a metamorphosis within our own lives and spiritual journeys. How will you choose to celebrate life?
To life and living it,
Did I ever tell you the tale about how I managed to pocket $1500 walking to work one day?
The weather called for overcast skies and it was unfavourably windy. I live in a construction zone. There is new high-rise and commercial development surrounding me.
As I strolled through a construction area, a labourer was painting the inside walls of a particle-board type pedestrian walkway. His metal grey coloured paint container and some scaffolding got picked up by the wind, circled the air and struck a pedestrian and then me! I was stunned - to say the least. Thank goodness the scaffolding didn't strike anyone in the head nor the eye, I thought.
Nevertheless, sections of my Coach purse, Gucci loafers, Pink Tartan jacket and designer lunchbag became splattered with gobs of paint. But Kayla - the woman I befriended during this brush with paint - got the worst of it. Her skirt, jacket and boots - even her long, flowing tresses - were undeniably drenched in paint.
And as such, the "Painter's Lunch" was pioneered. I took the bull by the horns, demanded to speak to the painter's supervisor on the construction site, and managed to get Kayla and I reimbursed for the damages caused by way of a nice, fat, juicy check! No questions asked.
As a precautionary measure (stemming from the numerous legal eagles I've dated), I had suggested to Kayla to take a few snapshots of the disaster for proof of evidence. We never ever had to provide those photos to upper management, but it was comforting to know that we had them available if need be.
So this strange woman and moi - whom I would have never met if it weren't for the paint job -bonded and started a friendship. We decided to commemorate our new-found fortune and friendship by going to lunch on a regular basis. We nicknamed this ritual the "Painter's Lunch".
Kayla is a Director of Marketing for a very, famous tourist attraction. She's a mother, a daughter and a wife. We chatted up a storm over our spinach and arugula salads and solidified our relationship. Our range of conversation was like a bowl of alphabet soup. She described her Mom and how proud she was of her 50+ Mother during the onset of the family divorce.
With an impending divorce, no career in site, and half a century old, little did Kayla realize that her precious Mom and me had more in common than she'll ever know.
To life and living it,