Category Archives: Family

The 2016 Oakland Book Festival

While it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Oakland can still put on a gathering which  reminds me while I have been living here virtually non-stop since 1992.

Last weekend’s Oakland Book Festival held downtown was a true local pleasure. It isn’t the largest book festival. It didn’t attract all of the A-list literati, and there were scheduling conflicts. I suppose the latter is a good thing because it means there lots of interesting topics.

My only misgiving regarding the festival was the lack of us. Where “us” means my black community. That’s not to say there weren’t any black folk in the house. I just wish more of us would show up at these things. These sorts of events take their programming cues from the communities which attend them. Know what I mean ?

Given the current climate around race.We can’t always stand aside aloof legitimately criticizing the oppressive racial climate which exists.If a genuine, grass-roots opportunity to be in community with a broad spectrum of the Oakland racial landscape makes itself available. It’s worth our while to take advantage of it. Most of the countries’ issues around race are BECAUSE we don’t spend time together. Not to mention that a day in community around books and interesting ideas is good day. No matter who you are.

Finally, unlike our neighbor who shares a northern border with us. We are the Oakland Book Festival, and  being about Oakland is way more valuable to me than being about the Bay area sometimes.


It Effing Hurts

No music, no clever quips. We buried 4 cats in the last 6 months.Two, Paris and Talulah were new kittens brought into the family after one of our elder cats, Simone, died. Paris and Talulah were amazing additions to the family before FIP got a grip on them.Lively amazing kittens. Classic in their energy.

One of our  elder cats, Simone,  was almost 18 years old when she died. Simone was always Ms. Grumpy Pants;a tiny puff of a cat. She had a thyroid problem which we suspected over the course of her life stunted her growth. Nonetheless,she was the queen of the house without a doubt.

Nina was by far and away MY cat. Towards the end of her life she would hide out in our room until I came from work. Then upon hearing me come in she would come out onto our bed for some head scratching. I knew she was sick. She should have been dead a year ago due to cancer.  She managed to stay with me until March 19 of this year. On her final night, she woke us having a final spasm down near the foot of our bed. That was it, she was gone.

Across the span of all the cats I have owned in my life,and I have loved hem all, there are  three clear favorites. Nina, Thelonious, and Monk. Of these three Nina is the  queen.

Death is a strange and permanent thing for both the one who dies , and those who are left to remember them.


Bye Nina, I hope I see you on the other side