July 06, 2008

I felt a shadow cross my heart...

Darlene Patricia Sims

September 29, 1945 - June 27, 2008

"It's not just a shame that they had to die, but that we have to live without them."- Neil Peart

Darlene Patricia Sims was born on September 29, 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the first of five children born to the late Eli Green and Vernetta (Prince) Green. Darlene was called home by the Lord on June 27, 2008, making the peaceful transition in her East Cleveland home surrounded by family.
As a child she grew up in the Glenville neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. She attended Chesterfield Elementary School and Patrick Henry Middle School. In 1963, Darlene graduated from Glenville High School. After high school she worked at the Sterling-Linder department store. In her spare time she traveled the country visiting both Washington, D.C. and California. In June of 1970, she earned her associate’s degree from Community College. In May of 1971, she married Howard V. Sims Jr. She had two sons H. Virgil Sims III and Damon Patrick Sims.
Darlene will be remembered as a devoted wife, a loving, supportive mother, and a true friend with a kind, enduring spirit. For 31 years she worked as a secretary at the University Hospitals of Cleveland where she displayed a strong work ethic and a warm disposition with her co-workers.
She was a member of the Friends Fellowship Bible Church. Darlene was an avid reader and loved music. She enjoyed learning new recipes, watching games shows and spending time with her friends – eating, laughing, and shopping. Darlene was never too busy to share her thoughts and wisdom with others.
She is survived by her husband of 37 years Howard Jr.; two sons, Virgil and Damon; mother, Vernetta (Prince) Green; one sister, Delores Green of Marietta, Ga.; three brothers, Eli Green Jr. (Martha), Kenneth Green and Tyrone Green; two half brothers, Curtis Moore and Luther Green of Chicago, Illinois, and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and neighbors.
At 9:30pm on that Friday my mom took her last breath. I kissed her on the cheek and said goodbye. After calling Hospice I step out onto the front porch of her house, the same house I grew up in, and lit a cigarette. Trying to push back the tears, I looked down at the front steps and immediately thought about the time when I was four and I tried to ride my tricycle down those steps, I thought I was the black Evil Knevil. My mom was pregnant with my brother at the time and I can still see her dashing over to me trying to keep me from tumbling down the stairs. Unfortunately she was a tick too late and I bounced down the concrete steps on my face to the walkway below. My mom then immediately swept me up and tended to my wounds both physical and emotional. That was just one of the many times she has done that for me. Then as if on cue, a flash of lightning and the roll of thunder filled the summer sky, and then the rain began to come fall. I knew right then my mom was entering heaven.
Even after a week it is still difficult for me to believe that I will never see my mother again. She fought so hard to try to overcome her illness, as we fought right along side her. Unfortunately it was not enough. I miss her terribly now, and I know that I will miss her even more in the days, weeks, months, and years to come...

February 11, 2008

Living one long sunrise...

I am trying my darndest to stay positive, and not fill myself with misery. Things have come to almost a complete stand still, and I can feel frustration building up. I was able to finish my business plan so I can try and get some money so I can be more agressive marketing the business and gather the necessary supplies to run it smoothly, but once again I have fallen victim to the lack of having a working printer. I was able to print off a few flyers and business cards using a friends printer, however that proved to be an ordeal that I would rather not experience again. The computer I was printing from did not have the same program in which I created the documents so I had to go through the arduous process of converting over to another program and reformatting everything, and where as the end product was satisfactory, it was not at all what I had originally envisioned. Plus ink was in short supply(as is cash), and I fell well short of the desired amount that I needed to effectively carry out my initial marketing blitz. All this could be rememdied if someone, anyone called me back in regards to employment. When I left 'the Grind', I knew I would have to get employment elsewhere in order to make this a go, I must have put in upwards of 15 to 20 applications and resumes over the past two months. Unfortunately nothing has yet to materialize, added to that I had two party cancellations. Like I said, I am trying to stay positive, I don't regret leaving 'the Grind', if I was still there I am sure I would not even be as far along as I am now with the business. That place had a weird effect on me. I had no sense of hope about the future, no ambition. So, leaving was the best thing I could have done for myself. However, my personal Homeland Security Code has reached Level Orange. I need something to happen and happen quickly, or I will be in a world of hurt. My sleep pattern is all jacked up and I am having a difficult time remaining focused(and awake) during the daylight hours. Even when I force myself to stay up all day after an all nighter so I can sleep during normal sleeping hours, as I am doing today, I still can't seem to get back on track. Insomnia is getting the best of me. I am looking for a job at night seeing as that has become my time to shine, so to speak, but those jobs are not as plentiful as I once thought. Despite the obstacles, I am still optimistic, although everyday is a test of my resolve. I keep telling myself to hang on, and stick to the plan, because it a solid one and it will work out. Problem is I just haven't been afforded the oppurtunity yet to prove that it will, and that's what's frustrating...

Another foggy dawn
The mountain almost gone
Another doubtful fear
The road is not so clear
My soul grows ever weary
And the end is ever near

January 24, 2008

I'm not looking back, but I want to look around me now...

Boy, it's been a busy couple of weeks. After my meeting with the people down at the Small Business Association, which went very well by the way, I have been rippin' and runnin'. Thankfully the MLK Jr. holiday gave me a chance to cool my jets, even if for a moment. I was able to visit mom and make sure everything was well with her- and it is, everything is progressing as planned.

I have, however, reached a critical point, the allocated funds for my hiatus are running out, and the search for a supplemental job, has yet to turn up anything fruitful. I am not too worried though, I have come to realize that this is just how my life is going to be while I get the business up and running. I have faith that everything will be okay, and soon will be thriving. I just need to get through these next couple of months. In the meantime, all of my marketing materials are completed, and the business plan is going through it's last bit of cosmetic makeover. I originally thought of outsourcing these task, but decided that I was intelligent and creative enough to do them myself. I am very pleased with the outcome, plus it fills me with a sense of pride that I was able to do these things myself, and it is more of a true expression of me, not what someone else thinks I am, or thinks I am trying to accomplish. That being said I'll end on this...the website is complete(kind of anyway as it will always be a work in progress.).

FreshStarts Catering

January 10, 2008

Hope is epidemic, optimism spreads...

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a counselor at the local Small Business Association. They are going to help me finalize my business plan and put it into terms that the banks like. I am a bit nervous as this will be the first time I have laid out my idea to someone other than family or friends. I am not sure what to expect, but I am optimistic. The thing about going into the food service industry is that it is a cutthroat business, and it's tough to seperate yourself from the multitude of people who have there own ideas about how to serve the public. I think my plan is pretty good, actually damn good. I just hope I can convince someone else besides me. I am debating if I should take a sample of my wares with me. I am not sure if it would do too much good, since these people don't decide if I get the money I need, but I feel it would be a nice gesture since they work on a volunteer basis, and maybe it will provide some sort of inspiration in their counseling.

In other news, mom is ready to start her next round of treatments. Yesterday I took her to the hospital for her pre-checkup to make sure she is strong enough to start, everything turned out fine, and she is getting better everyday, slowly but surely. Also the house is slowly but surely coming together. Most of the plumbing has been repaired, and the electricity where it is operational, still has a bit of repair ro be done, but thankfully my parents have been able to stay in their own house while all of this is being done. It should all be completed soon, but we are still trying to formulate an exit plan for my parents, it is time that they lived somewhere else, somewhere safer.

As for the rest of my life, it is still a work in progress. There are still some "demons" that need to be exercised. But I feel that I am making good progress. I am healthier than I've been in quite sometime, getting out of that chair at my old job has been benifical. I finally once again feel "in charge" of myself, and not just another sheep in the flock. So far 2008, as young as this new year is, has been positive. Hopefully I can keep riding the crest of this wave of good feelings...

Now I've gained some understanding
Of the only world that we see
Things that I once dreamed of
Have become reality
These walls that still surround me
Still contain the same old me,
Just one more who's searching for
A world that ought to be

January 02, 2008

Driving down the razor's edge between the past and the future...

Finally Holiday Season 2007 is over, as well as 2007 itself. As expected mom spent Christmas day in the hospital, which made it difficult for me to enjoy the annual family gathering that night. Hindsight being what it is I should have just spent the whole evening with my mom in the hospital, but she wouldn't have allowed me to do that. Mom was able to leave the hospital that Thursday and she is now home resting and restless. It hard to keep that woman down, it takes nothing short of major surgery. Her next sessions of chemotherapy will start in a couple of weeks. With the plan to be a little more aggressive, hopefully by spring she'll be back to her old self, or close to her old self anyway. Unfortunately we had a scare yesterday, as mom had to make a trip to the emergency room. All me and my brother received were voice mails telling us she was going, but no explanation as to why(thanks pop your a fountain of information). It turned out to be minor, but still without the ability to contact my parents for awhile, things were a little tense.

But despite that 2008 has arrived, and I feel good...I guess. I didn't do too much for New Year Eve. I did get together with some friends for dinner, but no big party or bar/club hopping. It was a nice evening though and safe so I won't complain. I really hope that this year goes a lot better than last. It's not that last year was all that bad, just frustrating as hell. Hopefully, I can get 'unstuck' and finally make some headway. I have started to further expand my personal recipe collection, and even started to stray of into the world of improvisation, one such experiment I took as my contribution to dinner the other night, and it was a hit. But now the fun stuff is over, and I need to actually start to shop my wares. There is a lot of things that I need to do and quickly. Most of it is clerical, and I hope to have these things done within the next couple of weeks, at which time the website that I've started building will be up and running, and hopefully me too...

Workin' them angels - Overtime...

December 25, 2007

...and that's faith enough for me.

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

December 21, 2007

It's a test of ultimate will...

So far Holiday Season 2007, has not been as festive as I thought it would be. I have the same feeling of "stuck-edness" that I have had all year. I am feeling a bit restless, and want to get things underway. Maybe I just caught a spell of cabin fever. I have been coasting here for a while. Where as it's been nice not to have to be somewhere, I feel it's time for me to get going and start to generate some gainful employment, more importantly get my life back on track, or just on a track. Things are coming together slowly, but my impatience is getting the better of me right now. I am suppose to put together a small sampling of my cooking, for an actual professional chef, talk about intimidating. I have no formal training, unless you consider watching The Food Network as training, but I am confident in my abilities. It mainly that this is a brand new experience for me, meeting with someone in the business, someone who has expertise, someone who can actually help me out. I still have to pinch myself sometimes, to make sure I am not dreaming all of this. If I were still at 'The Grind'...scratch that I don't want to think about that place right now. Brings up too many bad memories, even worse too many good ones.

Mom is still in the hospital and it looks like she is going to be there through Christmas, so that is where I am going to be spending my day. Turns out that the cancer did come back. The obstruction was removed, but she is still having the same pain she had before going in. I'm praying and hoping that it's just a "mental" reflex. Her doctor did say that there were a couple of other spots that he was going to monitor, but everything was removed during the operation. I've been to that hospital so much that I feel like I work there. Not that I am complaining, I just want mom to get better and get out of there. Although the nurses will miss her, she's their favorite patient. Feisty, was the term used to describe her, but in a good way.

Then, to add insult to injury, while the family was at the hospital during mom's had surgery, someone broke into my parents house and stole all of the copper plumbing. They took nothing else, no televisions, dvd players, or money, just the plumbing. That's the new rage now in the old neighborhood, break into a house and pillage it for the copper. It's mainly abandoned houses that this happens to, which makes this so odd. Good thing is they rent so it is not their responsibility to have things fixed. Bad thing is with mom due to come home within the next few days, and the house has no water or electricity, and no heat. If things are not ready by her discharge she'll have to stay with my brother. He lives in a basement apartment, so it would be easier for her to get around and he has a few more amenities(cable tv) than I do. She is now very determined to move out of the old neighborhood, but there seems to be some resistance from my father, but that's another story for another time.

So the "Toughest Year Ever" continues on. I can't wait for 2007 to finally end. Ten days and counting...

Some would said they never fear a thing
Well I do
And I'm afraid enough for both of us
For me and you
Time, if nothing else, will do it's worst
So do me that favor
And tell me the good news first