Category Archives: Women

The Ascension

Artwork by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

 

Artwork and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

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The Ascension

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After the most horrific year 2020 is finally coming to an end!! When the smoke clears, and you start to feel whole again might just be the best feeling. My father is cancer free and on the mend. My mother and I gave him the support he needed to find the will to live though stage four throat Cancer. Our friends and family could not have been more caring and constantly checking in during this time. He is the true miracle this Christmas, and just turned 65, before Thanksgiving. My mom is healthy, and all three of us in our house together. By the end of Christmas Eve, I was sobbing because that feeling is not one to be topped. It was the first time in 24 years we were all under one roof. My mom really made it perfect from the décor, baking, presents, and the people you found necessary to be in your presence are the ones who counted. 

No looming feeling of dread to see people you do not find meaningful in your life.

 In a way that is amazing when you think about it. Maybe your family is divided, and you did it separately for the first time. There was no arguing just peace. PEACE when was the last time you felt that?!  I fought through every minute of the last two years of my life in different ways. I changed my way of living 130%. Which I am grateful for choosing my family over everything, and everyone.  

I tried my hardest and someone lived.

I am the lucky one this year. No matter what happens from here. I have these moments to remember forever.  I will never take that for granted. Even though the virus is still raging in a disgraceful government; honestly, it is how we the people treat each other that matter. Other than on the financial end, they have nothing to do with you being a good person and looking out for people you care about!! There is no one to blame if you have not immersed yourself in the forward-thinking changes that we are about to embark on in our country. 

I always talked about my odd black cloud jokingly through the years. A series of injuries, illnesses, and recoveries. Maybe all of that prepared me for this. 

I have been home since March 16th, 2020 with no real end in sight. 

I still have a place in the city, but is it worth it to keep, or time to see something new? 

I have moved onto crypto from the larger stock market tickers. If Corona did not show us we are going paperless with money, I am not sure what will. I guess we will see what that brings me. Currently Ethereum is up to $740 as I am looking at my phone. I started with penny stocks, educated myself, waited until Tesla was about to hit the S&P 500 sold, and bought Ethereum. I talked about a little of that in my previous piece, for better clarification. I still am not exactly sure what I am doing, but I know enough to be happy at my rising portfolio. Which also Includes Derek Automotive, who will be going public in 2021. 

Derek has built an up-and-coming empire in a global pandemic, all while using his forward-thinking ideas to take on the clean electric car movement. Derek Mobility is the second sector of Derek Automotive. The little lover scooter, e-bike, and commercial van. His company is a force to recon with in 2021. I cannot wait to write the full piece about all his progress. Being a black business developer with new technology taking on the world in 2020 and winning!! Also, who I now call a friend. You want people that do not let you make excuses for your circumstances, and help you rise with them in your life. That is true entrepreneurship. 

Some of the companies I partnered with this year, sent me an overwhelming allotment of product to protect my family’s immune systems during COVID. 

Which were my favorites?

Liquid-Iv every month by the bags. Not just the “influencer” promo pack for the month. I drink that every day! I hate the word influencer, but if I can promote being yourself and telling everyone to fuck off that does not like it so be it!! I wondered how I missed out on this hydration pack for so long. One packet on your worst hungover day, and you will feel 100 times better. The tangerine wellmune helps protect your immune system is my favorite flavor! The energy multiplier with matcha, lemon, and ginger is my second. 

I also receive the Splendid Spoon box. They like my content, so they give me the box full of smoothies, detox shots, and vegetarian bowls. My favorite is the green goddess bowl, digestive shot, and the power greens smoothie. Please refer to my Instagram for promos on boxes, and other partnered products. I will not be posting that here. I only talk about the wellness products I use in my everyday life. 

Verb Energy bars are great for that afternoon pick me up as well. There is no crash or bloating from drinking too many fluids. It is powered by 65mg of green tea caffeine no matter the flavor you choose. Which is less harsh than coffee.

Quest Nutrition sent me the biggest box of goodies. I have to say; the salted caramel shakes are my favorite. They are also great protein coffee creamers! The loaded taco chips, sprinkle donut, fiesta chips, and the lemon protein bars all measure up the same, drool worthy.

To the companies that have shown my whole family love in COVID thank you!!

On the opposite end of that spectrum, there is still no Toilet paper in stores and the vitamins still stocked. 

That alone makes me question people’s sanity.  I have a mask for every outfit, and I still have melt downs keeping people away from my compromised parents in food stores etc. I do not see that letting up any time soon. We still do not get it here in America. Speaking of vitamins, I personally take a quite a few including a B-Complex stress formula, calcium and magnesium, vitamin-c, and astragalus which oddly enough protects your respiratory system during cold and flu season. 

The news is telling us to stay home yet promoting shopping across the city, and holidays things to do. I wonder if they hate their jobs as much as we hate hearing their utter daily dose of Bullshit. The funny thing is I have more freedom here to write about my experience than I would if I were on the news reporting something similar. 

It is REAL…

I feel terrible for the teachers in our country who were, and some still are being subject to exposure everyday by germy kids!! One of my best friends is having to deal with this and I am not so sure I would have been able to keep going in. I give her so much credit for sticking to what she also fought so hard for to achieve.  I love kids, but there is not a right amount of money to pay someone when that was never part of what they signed up for at that income rate. 

It is kind of like the under performing NFL. Why would you risk your full potential as an athlete to have respiratory, and heart issues? Eight months in and some people are still recovering from COVID. We do not know the real long-term damage of this virus yet. The fact they are still playing games shows you how much money is dumped into gambling. Believe me I learned about that too. I rode that DraftKings rise as well in the end of summer early fall when sports came back. 

Thanksgiving crept up and I was feeling kind of lost not being able to do anything positive to give back.  

Then I volunteered again and saw firsthand what the hospital first responders are going though. The Trauma Survivors Foundation has fed 17k front line workers as of Thanksgiving Day. Ronnie Chakler has been there for my family and I through this entire thing. Another person that when they say they got you, they do. Ronnie and the members of his Lodge made that 100 Turkey Dinner meal run possible from Manny’s Deli. They put together delicious plates for all. Dennis Carraidin the curator of the foundation met us at Jefferson Emergency entrance. We made a lot of heroes happy that day. We were on a few of the news stations as they were covering people giving back in this hard time. I went home to make the Thanksgiving Turkey and was never more thankful in my life for what I have. I went to sleep happy that night. 

Only to wake to a nightmare, I have been writing about my life, and the ups and downs of dating someone with a demanding job for years. If you take anything away from this piece; check on your friends in high positions. If you think something is wrong keep asking. Tell people what is going on. At least if they pushed you away it is because they were not ready to face change, but you still fought for them to live. Stress kills, apart of me died on the day after Thanksgiving. My phone rang and it was the last person on earth I would wanted to speak to. 

Especially after having such a nice holiday with my family. 

I was informed my ex passed away. At first, I just fuck you buttoned him, because why disrupt my actual peace? After I heard what he had to say I have never felt such rage. When you talk to an entire group of people begging for help and they do not. How did you have the nerve to call me? The funny thing is we kept in touch, so he was still telling me about his life issues even with a new girlfriend. Which was fine, for the same reason I had left our home a year ago. Nothing changed; and the stress mounted. I have the utmost respect for him even though we did not work out. He deserved to live for himself and feel free. My heart aches for his mother, and I hope she one day she finds peace. Being highly intuitive sometimes can be a burden you do not want to bear. I saw something no one else wanted to wake up to. At least I know he is at peace and will always hold a piece of my soul. He was my past and will be part of my drive to not only be better but to protect my own happiness. 

 I have the right people in my life to be there for me and that is what matters. It took a long time to find that and I will not give that up. It is not the money; it is who really will ride with you on the way up. Not showing up on the doorstep once they made it. Be careful who you let in your life. It means everything in the end. A lot of people do not like me for this. You know pointing out the truth, and what is right. I’m glad I never gave a shit about that or I would probably be dead now too. 

When I really think about it. This year alone we have lived through two sets of riots in Philadelphia and watched the Cheeto bunker dive. There were a few hurricanes and tornados. The entire service industry here is dead. There is no indoor dining, or anything to do to bring joy, hobbies, etc. On this second round of semi lockdown. They want the people who are still employed to work and have no joy after?  Fuck that.

The number of tears I cried this year for people going through so many different things including myself; makes me confident the people whose lives have not changed in this will be hard for them to adapt/ relate to people who have seen it all. Especially with no cohesive plans for our country to heal. 

I lost 3 people that I am still processing. 

If your friends/ family are not taking care of their health now again, please try to help them. 

Check in and tell them you love them. 

Stress relievers for me:

Medical marijuana has kept me in shape and honestly sedated thankfully, an appetite, and a few pounds gained purposely. 

Yoga took a while to get acclimated to years ago, I thank god I learned that patience. 

If you are suffering insomnia try it before bed. 

Writing always clears my head. Although at this point, I feel so overwhelmed I started painting instead. I guess it is true if you are creative you can really channel it anywhere.

I am sure I’d pass the kindergarten art test, although my content maybe questionable. 

Food and cooking used to be my thing; if I ever cook another meal after this ……..

I do miss my top 50 in Philly and fine dining. I pray for our friends in the service industry dying in a state that refuses to help small business yet is the only thing it thrives on besides its history. 

I voted in person and there was no better feeling than voting for change. 

Before all this insane madness, I had a few brief moments of peace in the Hamptons, Philly, and NYC. Distanced of course to feel a shred of my own existence again. When your friends take a giant chance to see you getting covid tests and all; that means something! I do not care if you are not supposed to fly at this point. If someone went through all of that to see friends who are dealing with ill family members, I am doing the exact same thing for them on New Year’s. I am going to live, mask, and distance out of this god-awful state. 

We also watched our country run into the streets and celebrate the demise of Trump. 

That was a defining moment. All cultures coming together in the streets to cheer despite covid/ riots. 

That type of victory is history. 

We are living though American history. 

If you made it this far you should feel lucky to be alive 

with 336k dead as of December 30th, 2020 in the United States alone!!

When this is over are you going to be happy with how you spent your time? 

Did you do enough? 

I have been happy, depressed, enraged, hopeful, & flat out floored over a cancer win, and all mixed with my ADD brain worst nightmare, but that ADD gave me the ability to do 5 things at once and finish the projects.

I am not sure what 2021 is going to bring, but I hope more understanding and empathy for people no matter their situations.  I personally have been through enough. I am raising the white flag to 2020. 

I will be in Miami when this bitch turns 21. 

If I die from that decision so be it. After living though everything above to feel alive again is everything to me. 

I have done my due diligence here. It is time for me to breathe again before all the government aid runs out. 

When it does it is going to be bad here. 

Take your opportunities to do good things, but also still be good to yourself now. 

Parents that have lost jobs or have kids to provide meals, toys, winter coats, at home learning tools, or deliver to the compromised elderly. Do something!

Unfortunately, it is not our greatest victories that define us. 

We may think that way, but it is selfish. 

It is your ability to Rise up and keep going despite the above, being resilient and helping people that need it.

Something we should be teaching if we embody that in our personalities. 

Have a safe and healthy New Year Friends! 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/thriving-through-anarchy/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, History, lifestyle, Media, News, Philadelphia, Politics, Popular Culture, Science, Travel

A.H. Scott: Freefall

Photo: AH Scott, Copyright 2020

 

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Photography and Text by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2021

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Freefall

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When I think about this year of 2020, there are so many thoughts that fill my head. Yet, an emerging pair of questions that come to the surface time and time again. The first question bleeds into second question I toss into the wind. 

When will this year ever end? 

And, no, that isn’t a trick question. But, I will get to that in a bit. First up, my second question comes into view. 

Did that happen this year, too? 

Let’s go back to January 2020 and our jaws will drop at all the other things that took the spotlight of attention for a brief moment in time. 

Thursday, January 16th, 2020, a Presidential impeachment trial started in the United States Senate and February 5th, 2020 a Presidential impeachment trial ended in an acquittal.

Sunday, January 26th, 2020, NBA player, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna, along with seven other passengers perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The news of Kobe Bryant’s death shook the world of sports and popular culture; as parent and child were taken so unexpectedly.  

When these two events happened within the first month of 2020, no one would have fathomed the Devil’s fractured finger of misfortune and perversity poked us all in the eye.

But, the weirdness and irony didn’t stop there as I drop another pair of dollops into the history books of events that took place earlier this year. 

Monday, February 24th, 2020, movie producer and mogul extraordinaire Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault. 

Saturday, July 4th, 2020, Kanye West announced his run for President of the United States of America. 

Damn you, 2020, ya’ almost made me forget this bizarre stuff was real also!! 

I gotta admit a few snickers came out of me when seeing how the mighty have fallen low into being shuffled off to Rikers Island and how a candidacy can be a frivolity. It’s funny. Not ha-ha funny, but so damned surreal this year has been. 

From the ridiculous to the revered, let me take a brief spell to remember just a few public figures that we lost in 2020. 

Four icons [1] of their perspective fields of excellence were John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kirk Douglas, and Rafer Johnson. Otherwise they are known by some of us as Mr. Good Trouble, The Notorious RBG, Spartacus, and Olympian.

Each were persons of action and conscience in American culture; varying from civil rights, the law, the arts, and sports. 

As his flesh was bloodied by hate, John Lewis built bridges of brotherhood with a backbone of faith’s fortitude. Not a little lady of meek opinion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wielded her dissent collar with the flair of a ferocious lioness of the law. For that glitz and glamour of old Hollywood, Kirk Douglas could have rested his laurels on his famous chin; but his chiseled jaw was nothing compared to the flexing of his iron will. Being an Olympian of the most versatile competition, Rafer Johnson went for the gold and won it with focus and flair. 

Kirk Douglas’ courageous choice of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo during those dark days of America, when tagging a person as an enemy of the people seemed like a blood-sport by politicians might seem like it was done in days so ancient. Yet, it was not centuries ago when it occurred. 

Even to this day, people who have never seen the 1960’s film, “Spartacus” know exactly what it means when the following three words are proclaimed by anyone: I am Spartacus!

As I note Kirk Douglas, another person who was a friend of his, Rafer Johnson also passed away in 2020. I’ve always been interested in history and as I found out more about the latter of these two phenomenal gentlemen, he also had a connection to that classic film. Having read for and won the role as a gladiator in “Spartacus”, Rafer Johnson had to turn it down for he would have been ineligible for the Olympics that year. 

After becoming a victorious Olympic gold medal decathlete in 1960, Rafer Johnson, proved his sterling humanity once more by having a hand in history in the Ambassador Ballroom in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. 

These four lives were well-lived and their legacies upon our history should be remembered beyond the haze of 2020.

Topsy-turvy is what 2020 has been, as one event that may seem so outrageous and heartbreaking or heart-stopping, just gets obscured by that which has now become a part of our lives – Covid-19.

The toll of the pandemic for the United States is one-quarter the entire amount of the worldwide cases of Covid-19.

The numbers don’t lie. The patients in hospital beds, both regular and ICU are not a figment of imagination. The second wave of woe has crept up upon us, even as the first wave seemed never truly to have subsided. From coast to coast, the toll ascends. 

Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are hope. Yet, we are all on Covid-19’s timetable. Our place in the line of being vaccinated varies from the position we are situated. Some will get the vaccine in the first month of availability, while others of us shall be in a line long down the horizon’s trail of future months. 

A vaccine is a good thing. But, it is not a cure. There is NO CURE for Covid-19. For the time being, there are only three methods of mitigation from being infected by this contagious virus – wash your hands, social distance and (like a broken clock which rings over and over and over again), WEAR A MASK!! 

Oh, and if you don’t want to. Hey, do whatcha’ like. But, don’t come anywhere near me. Stay in your own lane with the other naysayers who snicker about things being fake and a sham. In New York, it’s been ten months since things were by anyone’s lax term of being ‘normal’. I actually shrug now when that certain word is used to describe the time period before January 2020. 

To see the numbers in motion, there is a running data count of Covid-19 confirmed cases and deaths at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center [2]; which tracks the levels, both for the United States and worldwide. It is updated daily. 

In an interactive map, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center has the tracking of cases, for both the United States [3] and worldwide.

And, so it goes onward in a somber sonata of repetition. 

2020 is the longest year. Not by expanse of day, but by an unrelenting jack-hammering of the psyche. This year has upended the way we go about our lives. 

This year seems like it will never ever end. But, as these days and hours of 2020 wind down, it is a thief, a marauder, a casting shroud of malevolence. 

Taker of lives, taker of traditions, taker of things both tiny and huge; 2020 is like the Devil who claws back at humanity in wanting more and more and more.

We who have lived through 2020 have our own personal stories. So, let me take a brief moment and tell you about mine.

I thought in some small way I could be shielded from the calamitous touch of Coronavirus’ repercussions personally, but 2020 is the cruelest of culprits. 

On the first Friday of December 2020, my cousin suffered a medical emergency and needed to be rushed to the hospital. When the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital closest to where she lives near Mount Sinai Hospital, she was taken further downtown to Lenox Hill Hospital instead. The second surge of Covid-19 in my hometown is the cause behind a hospital bed shortage at Mount Sinai Hospital, which was the reason the EMTs had to take her to Lenox Hill Hospital. Hospital restrictions have been tightened around the city, with only a single visitor being able to visit a patient per day. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, she was moved into hospice and passed away the Sunday before Christmas. 

The odd thing about life is the timing of our last breath is never on a schedule of our choosing, but that of the heavens; as my cousin had just celebrated her 79th birthday a few days before she fell seriously ill and was taken to the hospital for a final time. 

I was always close with my cousin, even before I could talk or crawl. You see, she was the person who had set up a nursery with crib and all the other niceties when my parents had first brought me home from the hospital when I was born. 

My cousin and her four daughters were there by my side when my mom passed away a few years ago, and yet now in 2020 I was not able to be by their side when she passed away. 

For me, not being able to have that final farewell to my cousin is what this whirlwind of Covid-19 took from me. To actually be there in the hospital or hospice to say goodbye to someone you love is something which seems so ordinary in a time of mourning. Yet, these are far from ordinary times. Another somber reality is not being allowed to have a funeral or wake, because of the need for social distancing. As of now, I haven’t even been able to hug or touch my second cousins or extended family. My only contact with them since we all were together in person was last Christmas at my cousin’s apartment. 

Whew, thinking about this damnable virus and all which is diminished by it, just sinks the heart. Wow, I miss just my daily phone calls with my cousin. Damn, just to talk to her one last time would have been so sweet, but that bitter taste of absence is what remains.

A descent of sorts, from that which seems so normal in other years or even the first months of this year is that pit I sensed inside of myself. You know, I think we all would like to go back to what is considered ‘normal’. But, even when I write that singular term now, I’ve placed it into quotes. Whoa, this has shown how Covid has even bastardized a memory of what is considered something of everyday before 2020.

Can the year 2020 be described in a single word? To toss a label onto a period of the past twelve months would be foolish simplicity. 

More apt would be a culling of what has vividly unraveled from the threads of American society.

I’ve been thinking. Okay, let me restate that; we’ve all been thinking. What is it? What could it be that taps upon the mind like a dulling drop of water on the brain that never seems to cease? Could it be uncertainty of the days past, moments present, and a future being not as far off into the horizon? I would say that is what I’m pondering.

Of all the things which happened in 2020; one overarching proposition has taken the forefront – freefall.

Yes, 2020 is the year of freefall! 

American society has been on edge for longer than just the past couple of years; as problems were brushed under the carpets of those who averted their eyes to what was just beneath the surface of all which seemed most placid. 

Incompetence or indifference:

Was it incompetence or indifference of how this year was handled? 

If it’s incompetence by those who supposedly are in leadership, then maybe they aren’t up to the jobs they are elected or selected for. But, then again, they have people on staff to help them carry out their duties in a better way. 

So, that leaves indifference by those fortunate few who can scamper off behind the gates of their fancily named estates. In the way certain people have acted over this year, I would chalk it up to indifference. 

You see, incompetence can be buffered a bit by knowledgeable persons you can gather around you to give assistance on the things you may not know much about. Yep, you can fake a bit of competence in doing that with experts in varied professional fields. 

Now, indifference; well, fuck, that’s what you learn from your mother and father in not acting in that callous way. And, if it is indifference in not taking into account another soul’s humanity; then that’s something nobody with all the diplomas in the world can’t transfer in some kind of mind-meld to you. Treating those who are the other as you would yourself, is something you can’t tap onto the shoulders of an aged-ass man or his ilk like golden glitter from a wand by a fairy Godmother. 

With that indifference as the main course and incompetence as the side dish, the feast of freefall is what we have been served up in 2020. 

It is that indifference, which is an accelerant of economic and societal woes for the American people. Casting about this being fakery or a hoax and that being an enemy of the people, is that caustic corrosion of delusion and derision from the lips of wannabe strongmen who are in actuality the weakest ones of all.

Businesses are on the brink, as the economy continues to shrink. As the calendar switches onto another month and year, temporary edicts by the government of an eviction moratorium on renters and additional unemployment benefits will come to an end. Across America families will face evictions, diminished funds and hunger. 

On edge is where we are. From our nerves, to our health, and to our economy. And, least we ever forget or minimize another aspect of existence; our democracy is on edge.

Freefall is where our democracy is, as a petulant pisser decides in words, actions and inactions to turn everything in his wake to ash, just because he isn’t getting the ass-kissing he thinks the American people owe him in some kind of pseudo-authoritarian carnival of idiocy.

Date of January 20th, 2021 looks like a galaxy away from where I stand in these faltering shadows of December 2020. So, for me when I think of freefall that final push of the miserable year of 2020 is this American democracy being tossed into the abyss by a tantrum of a childish person who won’t swallow the reality that HE is a LOSER. 

Oddly enough, from the first month to this last month of the year 2020, freefall married chaos. Decree of dissolution arrives soon, but we must stay vigilant on expunging the poisonous aftertaste of what the past four years of what some have so willingly consumed. 

Well, enough about that person, for I shall end on a positive plateau. I am an optimist, for I have hope for there being a better tomorrow.

Dare to dream. Dream to dare. Hope for the day after the next into this coming New Year.

2021 is coming into something anew, as those who have lived through these past twelve months of 2020, hoping it is in our life’s rear view. 

Now, there is only one thing all of us can do; nod in affirmation and humbly say “Thank God you’re here 2021, we’ve been waiting to greet you!”

Peace. 

“2020: Freefall”

A.H. Scott

2020: Freefall Footnotes

Four Icons

Footnote 1 – 

Civil rights icon, John Lewis, February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020

Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020

Actor, Kirk Douglas, December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020

Athlete, Rafer Johnson, August 18, 1934 – December 2, 2020

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center 

Footnote 2 – https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

Footnote 3 – https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map

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About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by Ms. Scott, go here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/flag/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, History, lifestyle, Media, News, Politics, Popular Culture, Science, Travel

Studio News: House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antonette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

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House of Antoinette 1950 has been delivering sassy statement accessories since 2010. The products are a stylish alternative to mass production generic accessories. All items are limited edition or one of a kind. Our jewelry comes from Japan, China, Thailand, Russia and many more exotic places from around the globe. The accessories are top quality, durable and forever lasting.

The accessories have been featured at New York Fashion Week, special events like birthday parties, expos, and New Years Eve celebrations. House of Antoinette 1950 has been featured in media publications such as IndieFlava Magazine, World Fashion Media News, Philadelphia’s Main Line Today and a variety of fashion blogs. The accessories continue to delight clients from all over the world. The company founder, Antoinette Nassef is based in Philadelphia.  For inquiries to purchase her hand made works of Art, email:antoinettenaseef8@gmail.com.

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House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

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Portrait of Antoinette Nassef

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Katie Kerl: Thriving Through Anarchy

Artwork by Blur, Copyright 2020

 

Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2020

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Thriving Through Anarchy

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October 1st, 2020. I have been in Corona Virus lockdown since March 16th. Although, our government only shut down selected states as a deadly airborne virus plagued our nation. To this day with nothing changed only isolation ended, we are willingly or forcibly being exposed. Crippling small business and giving me a level of stress, I did not know existed. Currently Philadelphia has the tightest restriction in this pandemic. I have not seen the inside of my place since the end of August. This is the 199th day for me. Trump putting all the responsibility onto states that they were not equipped to handle world outbreak, was the move of a coward afraid to make decisions. In turn leaving him to say what a disgrace the way every state is handling it. He would rather murder people, sit back, and point fingers when it goes to shit. Rather than do his job as an AMERICAN PRESIDENT.

If that is not the current theme in the United States today, I am not sure what is. There is no empathy, guidance, relief, or form of substance deeper than bailing out large corporations so they can re-invest in the market to make it seem like our economy is recovering. Many of these large companies contributing to the decline of mental health in adults, but also in children. There are no regulations on fake news across social media platforms. So that click you just made is going to algorithm you into more and more misinformation. I will get to all of this in a later post. I have decided to break this up into pieces being there is so many working/devastating parts to all of this.

I am collecting unemployment for the first time in my adult life. Let me tell you what shitty feeling that is when you were gainfully employed, and happy right when this happened. I have been writing this whole time. I never know where to stop because the severity of this situation keeps getting worse, and this has changed our lives forever. I have about forty thousand words written though the process. For those that are new to reading my lifestyle pieces, thank you for taking the time to HEAR me.

Having a VOICE right now is especially important for a woman. Everyone that is having a hard time right now I hope you find what gives you clarity and new purpose. I have been personally attacked in public for wearing my masks to shield germs from not only me, but my immune compromised parents. We stopped believing in SCIENCE in the United States which totally baffles my mind. The Chinese cover their faces when sick for as long as I can remember. They do not do that for no reason folks.

I have had more middle aged racist white men try to tear me down because my words do carry to people. I do not say things without looking them up, speak straight with conviction, and know the level of integrity you display during this time. I most certainly am not letting any middle school dropout racist try to tear me down for being a woman in 2020!!!

How the hell did we end up here?

On this day in 2017, I wrote my first article with some revealing photos Tony had taken.

I said it last year and I will say it again.

Whoever told you taking your clothes off got you nowhere LIED to YOU.

That sparked a slew of other published pieces. My advice? Use what you were blessed with to get where you want to be. Hard work and studying also pay off, but have you ever met someone interesting that led a traditional life? I personally have not. Complacency is suicide, and we are currently watching that play out here as everyone is sitting around waiting for things to change. We collectively as a population put forth the effort to get results needed to live freely again. The gas was already poured here Trump just lit the match and danced around the blaze as we continue to burn. Until you start looking at yourself and how you can make a difference. We are still totally fucked. You can mandate anything as president, compliance is the issue here. Which he nor most of the general public seem to grasp.

What means the most to me in all of that; I can promote speaking up and fighting for the SEVEN MONTHS we have lost of our LIVES.

Let me tell you how many people think I am dumb until they start speaking to me. They will either immediately engage or be so put off by my sense of self; they try to silence my views.

The age old saying, “If you are the smartest in the room, you’re in the wrong room,” has never been truer as we are fighting for our lives. Do you really want to associate with people who do not help you progress in life and believe in you?

Is that vein to say? Absolutely, but it is one hundred percent true. Pretty, smart, and finds ways when there are none. Be an unstoppable force people will have to reckon with if they cross you. Let me be clear when I say reckon with, I do not mean in a scare tactic, or fear. I mean educating the ignorant there is a difference. Reconditioning is exactly what our nation needs now in recovery. Recovery from isolation, PTSD, lost homes, jobs, businesses, and 200,000 lost lives. To the people who lost loved ones, and did not get to say goodbye, I am so sorry. I experienced that myself in this as a dear family friend passed away.

Letting people know it is ok to feel however you do about this situation is the goal. No matter the route you choose dig yourself out of this black Trump hole; it is going to require 130% of your effort. Reason being? He gave up on his own country and led us here scrambling fighting for our lives.

Believe me, I have worked harder in isolation than I have in my life. We are in devastating times. You are not alone. If anyone wants to talk or share your experiences with me, please direct message my Instagram or E-mail provided below.

I am going to begin back peddling a bit. My last Piece was on my father’s recent cancer diagnosis. It took me seven months to be able to sit at my laptop and write something meaningful. I had the words, but my own brain fog was just too heavy. We were shut down March 16th. His biopsy was the next morning. Which I was terrified of him being in the hospital in a new global outbreak. The biopsy tests were so delayed. It took about 8 weeks to finally get him into treatment with stage 4 throat cancer. Throat cancer is also one of the most progressive cancers and his tumor was already huge. The doctors were not overly optimistic.

We were looking at possible voice box removal if they could shrink the tumor enough to proceed safely. Even then they guaranteed us nothing. I was convinced I was losing my dad in a global pandemic. Even with best insurance you are still just a number on a paper. Your cancer patient CAN NOT do this alone. They need advocates for their care, and someone in the home who can make sure they are getting the medicine, nutrition, and support they need. 

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David Kerl receiving cancer treatment at home

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I was in no way ready to face this I had just filed for unemployment and had my job halted, but you HAVE TO take care of the people that have given you everything. After the biopsy came teeth removal, hospital stay for a chemo port, two hospital stays for complications, then chemo and radiation. I have never been more scared in my entire life of losing my best friend. No heart break, or someone’s dusty son can compare to this trust me.

My heart is now unbreakable.

Speaking of crusty sons, when your ex pops up and tells you he still loves you in an outbreak. He is lying, he just does not want to be alone. If a grown man cannot tell you why they love you RUN. That was enough for me. Everything I fought so hard for in that time in my life was true. He made the giant mistake. While that man is in the same place as he was a year ago. Letting people walk all over him.

Katie Kerl died and resurrected a whole new human. This is the time to change your life. What your body goes through doing these poison cancer treatments is one of the most heartbreaking to watch.

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Liquid nutrition during cancer treatment

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My fathers throat was so burnt from radiation he could not eat, or drink water for three months. They inserted a feeding tube, and we used formula boxes so he would get the nutrition to fight. Now if only Emily from the home care company did her job right, and sent us the supplies we requested from three different doctors, nurses, and receptionists we wouldn’t have had such a hard time with the food. I am not going to make light of cancer and what it does to people, or the lack or competency in some of the employees I have had to deal with.

There was a good month or more where I would get up at 2 am & 6 am to make sure he got meds in time to not get sick, and even down to sleeping on the floor of his room. When you cannot communicate verbally you need someone near you. Now, when I was a kid my dad used to lay on the floor at the foot of my bed when I could not sleep. That is exactly what I did for him in return. Being scared when you are sick and not knowing what the outcome will be while you are fighting for your life is so overwhelming. People that told me I was doing too much I have something to say to you.

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Prescriptions to treat cancer

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YOU ARE NOT DOING ENOUGH

Being sleepless is nothing to me, having gone through all kinds of trauma that I guess in turn prepared me for this. Did I have a ton of meltdowns?  Absolutely, and I am sure there will be more. Imagine going to pick up meds at the drug store and having the pharmacist give you a hard time for trying to pick up the lifesaving drugs to keep my dad out of pain and not to vomit. It is infuriating certain aspects of medical care is so disorganized and not patient first. They are $ MONEY $ first.

We are also lucky enough to have Dr. Nick & Dr. Rubin of Rittenhouse Oncology attacking this in a way I was not sure of at first. As time went on, I could not do it alone anymore. My mom was being heavily affected by the virus as well. She could not work being immune compromised either. So, we moved her in so we both could help my dad. For the first time since I was twelve years old, we are under the same roof. I’m not going to say that transition was an easy one, but we have found a way to make it work and save a life. 

That is right!!

SAVED A LIFE, and have a whole new skill set as a caretaker. Yesterday the doctors said my dad would be on his last chemo treatment, and then it is just maintenance after the feeding tube is taken out.

THE CANCER IS GONE

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David Kerl on the mend at home

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I am not so sure if you know the statistics on stage 4 throat cancer survival; let me tell you it was grim at best. My father’s brother died from it. The day they said the tumor was GONE it took a few days for all of us to really comprehend that all our hard work was not for nothing. No surgery and he will get to keep his voice box. If you know my dad, the Kerl gift of gab is not something we can have taken away from us and expected to carry on with life. His voice is slowly coming back, and he is gaining weight weekly. If I can protect him from infection, and the ignorant people who refuse to wear a mask in COVID I will do what I need to so to keep my family SAFE.

Having the largest overflowing plate of life issues was not something I could ignore either. On about my 50th meltdown at five in the morning, I was watching the news and saw all the biotech stocks for the COVID vaccines starting to be publicized. I helped my dad then I opened the Robinhood app that I had downloaded to give a friend credits who invested a stock years ago.

Never having gone back to it, I did that day.

Each morning I get up read all the business news, The Journal, NY times, Stocktwits, Market Watch, Barron’s, and Zacks. I research companies before I buy them and look at their earnings. I picked a few and dove in. That month was a catalyst to me realizing that; I in fact can make the most out of every bad situation. My biggest fear was to lose him in this. That everything I worked for personally would be gone. I started out with about $750 and turned it into about $6k now. That is even taking a loss, I am not lighting the world on fire, but for just starting out people were asking me what I was buying in the financial field. Which again I find amazing.

I thought about giving it up at one point after things tanked to be safe, but that is also the name of the game. I just recovered that money this week in September IPO’s. I was also in for the Apple split and got to see how that works in the stock market. I have to say; I get why people think it is exciting. You get the firsthand knowledge before it hits the censored news, and the money for just reading and being intuitive. Id say that is pretty rewarding being I am still at home, not seeing my friends, family, and waiting to hear about work. Play their game and stop buying useless shit with your unemployment!

Also, the Kodak insider trading incident. The Trump Administration set up the loan to have them use their chemicals to make generic drugs after cutting ties with china. Now, I know some republicans in higher places that were privy to that info and profited in the millions the day before it was released. Damaging a family film company is disgusting.

Now what to invest in?  COVID vaccines are in human trials which I find very risky phase one and two were much more profitable for me. I also do not want to invest in human trials that could potentially make someone sick. Volunteered or not, these are rushed vaccines going against science. There will be consequences to that. Other sectors that I believe in now are the antibody tests, plasma companies, home learning tools, cloud computing, 5g, green technology, & alternative energies.

Overall, I get to see where the 2% are dumping their money in a volatile market. You can watch the fake news all you want. If you want real information, follow the money and play their own game.

I just remember crying in the middle of the night in my kitchen talking to every dead family member, and god to give me some sort of direction in this because I felt like I was literally losing my mind and my dad. If by accident,  or a prayer was answered I have new life meaning, my father gets to recover, and live the rest of his days however he wants to.

That was my mission in COVID. Your parents protect you and watch you grow into an adult they can respect. Respect does not come with a dollar sign. It comes with character, effort, and respect.

The next few pieces I will be touching on wellness in COVID , Trauma Survivors Hospital Hero’s Drive, Philadelphia Riots, beauty recommendations with mask irritation,  home renovations, reopening of Philadelphia, and real citizens experiences.

Including a second piece on Derek Bailey as he gets ready to open his Derek Automotive Lifestyle dealership in Florida. Look out for that soon.

Thank you everyone that called and prayed for my family. I now get to spend time with both of my parents in the same house and make new memories.

For that I am forever grateful and can guarantee am going to make the most of this time.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!!

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Katie and David Kerl

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/odds/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, lifestyle, Media, News, Politics, Portraiture

Bob Shell: Jargon Overload

Artwork: Milt Ward. The Alphabet Series, Copyright 2020

 

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020

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Jargon Overload

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George Orwell wrote, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.”

To which I’ll add my own statement. ‘Nowhere in the US Constitution is there a right to not be offended.’

One of my favorite magazines is Poets & Writers, a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to be a wordsmith.

But the September/October issue made me feel let down. I read an essay titled ‘Return to the MFA’ by Namrata Poddor, MFA being, of course, the Master of Fine Arts degree that many consider essential for a successful writing career (I don’t believe that and don’t have one, but that’s another story).

As I was reading this otherwise thoughtful essay, I tripped over a linguistic hurdle. I consider myself pretty up to date on jargon, but it threw me when she talked of ‘LGBTQIA+,’ which I’d never heard of.

Back when I was first studying to be a writer, I was taught that the first time you introduce a term that might be unfamiliar to your readers, define it. I always tried to do that in my writing whenever I used technical terms, and I know my readers appreciated it.

I knew, of course, what ‘LGBTQ+’ stood for, but ‘IA’? I had no clue, so I asked a good friend on the outside who puts up with my questions. She didn’t know either, so she researched it for me. Turns out the ‘I’ stands for ‘intersex,’ for which she could find no definition. I have no clue, still, what that’s supposed to be.

The ‘A’ stands for ‘asexual,’ persons with no interest in sex. Personally, I doubt such creatures exist. For hundreds of years we were told that Catholic clergy were asexual, but we saw how that turned out!

Besides, wasn’t the ‘+’ in LGBTQ+ supposed to make it all-inclusive? Keep adding letters and symbols and pretty soon it will take a whole paragraph just for the abbreviation!

Further along, Ms Poddor says that ‘BIPOC’ is an “important revision’ of POC. Huh? Bisexual? I was lost in undefined jargon land again.

Turns out this means ‘Black Indigenous People of Color.’. Does POC not already include Black? I thought POC was just an updated version of ‘CP,’ as in NAACP. This latest revision does not strike me as ‘important.’ It strikes me as profoundly silly. Would my Cherokee ancestors want to be called BIPOC? I’m sure they would not.

Later, reading my latest issue of THE WEEK, my favorite news magazine, I came across a story reporting that ‘Generation X,’ those twenty to thirty year olds, feel that putting periods at the ends of sentences is “hostile.” I’m not joking, the article really says that!

One of the problems for those who venture to translate ancient languages is that they hadn’t invented punctuation yet. Readers just had to intuit where one sentence ended and the next one began. Punctuation was a major step forward in human communications. Do we really want to go back to the way things were before its invention?

The purpose of language is communication, the transfer of complex ideas from one mind to another. On this planet, only humans do it at the level we’ve achieved. Without language, we’d still be at the level of apes living in trees.

Until recently, the only thing BLM meant to me was Bureau of Land Management, that overblown federal agency that controls most of the empty land in the American Southwest, whose pistol-packing agents used to regularly hassle me when I was doing photography on ‘their’ land, even though I wasn’t breaking any laws or rules, and the land belongs to all Americans. (One officious idiot even argued that the ‘no shooting’ rule on sections of BLM land included ‘shooting’ photographs!)

So now it’s ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Well, of course Black lives matter! So do lives of every other color. ALL lives matter, and I’d venture to amend that to ‘ALL LIVES MATTER EQUALLY.’ Isn’t equality what everyone professes to want? Yet, I’ve read that wearing ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ is racist. Huh? That’s racist how?

Like almost all Americans, I’m a ‘purebred mongrel,’ a mix of multiple lineages. The ancestry I know about includes Irish, Scot, German, and Cherokee, but I’m sure there are others. Should I have T-shirts printed saying ‘MONGREL LIVES MATTER?’ Maybe we should all just, regardless of ethnicity, wear T-shirts reading ‘MY LIFE MATTERS.’

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/culture-war/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, History, lifestyle, Media, News, Politics, Popular Culture