Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

2010 Bests, Worsts and Just Wrong

Looters run from the Haitian policeman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 19, 2010, after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused severe damage on January 12. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov Photo via Newscom
Looking back on 2010 I can't say it was a perfect 10 of a year for me. Maybe it was for you.  But news wise it was very interesting.

We Can Never Forget
The year kicked off with devastation when a big earthquake rocked Haiti. It felt like we were watching Hurricane Katrina all over again. Bloomberg News reports about 230,000 people were killed.  Now the country has another battle on its hands: cholera outbreak. The world poured in a lot of money to help the earthquake victims. Like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I still question after all of the money, volunteers and aid sent to ease the devastation what's taking so long for a recovery?

Most Inspirational
Chile was also hit with a deadly earthquake early in the year. The 8.8 quake  took the lives of hundreds. I've been in 7.0 quake and I can not imagine the rumble and fear from one that size. But there was a ray of hope later in the year when 33 Chilean miners were rescued after being trapped underground for two months. And you thought spending the snowed-in holidays with your in-laws was bad.

Juiciest Guilty Pleasure News
It rained golf clubs and jump offs in 2010. Oh, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.  The scandal began around Thanksgiving 2009 when rumor was Woods' wife Elin could swing the heck out of a golf club and had good aim, especially if you were caught cheating on her--allegedly.  The number of women claiming to have romped with Tiger kept growing. The man had more side dishes than the dinner buffet at the Rio Hotel in Vegas--allegedly. All of that, ahem, playing cost Woods his marriage, endorsements, reputation and a lot of money.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 08: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and her daughter Sasha Obama arrive at the Marivent Palace on August 8, 2010 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
First Lady and Daughter
in Spain

Most Graceful Under Fire
From her chiseled arms to her initiative to curb obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama gets criticized for the most ridiculous things. But Mrs. Obama still keeps doing her thing.  Earlier in the year some in the media labeled her "Marie Antoinette" after her lavish trip to Spain during hard economic times.  Lady O says she made the private trip to visit a close friend who lost her father.
Most Lame
John Mayer dropping the "N-word" and comparing his penis to a "white supremacist" because he's not sexually attracted to black women. Which is why I denied his bootleg "Hood Pass."

Watch your hands Regis.

Most Disrespectful
Regis Feelbin or Philbin? I didn't blog about this earlier but Regis Philbin patting Nicki Minaj on the butt was sooooo disrespectful. I'm not a Niki Minaj fan and I know her lyrics aren't the most PC. I also know she wore a tight knit dress to her performance on "Live with Regis and Kelly." But that doesn't give Regis the right to touch her without permission. When I saw the video, my mouth dropped open like the time Kanye crashed Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. I'm sure plenty of women have come on the show with tight clothes. Look at the tape. He looked at Minaj's butt like it was a pork chop. Philbin did not apologize for the butt pat.  I think he disrespected not just Minaj, but his wife.  Mrs. Philbin may or may not care. His tasteless act definitely changed my view of Regis Feelbin, I mean Philbin.

Just Wrong
In October, Judge Cassandra Mullen sentenced Tony Simmons,  a New York juvenile probation counselor who plead guilty to raping and sexually assaulting 3 teen girls to PROBATION.  There's debate over whether the judge was too easy or the light sentence came through a plea deal. Still, a confessed rapist of children who abused his powers  is punished with probation. What the...??? The teen, now 20 years old,  who reported the rape 5 years ago was sentenced to a year for a falsified report. Of course, officials now know the accusations were true. Now Judge Mullen may stiffen the punishment because the counselor has shown no remorse and she considers him "a danger to the community."  Apparently he thinks the alleged sodomy, rape and oral sex were all consensual.  Maybe he would've gotten a harsher punishment if he killed dogs.

Made Me Sick

The capture of the alleged Grim Sleeper serial killer who murdered poor, black women in South Los Angeles for two decades. Now pictures of 180 women found in his home have police questioning how many he really killed.

Biggest Mess
BP's oil spill in the gulf. It hurt our environment and small businesses. BP's  cheesy commericals didn't help either.
Elizabeth Edwards

Most Strength
I want boxing gloves like Elizabeth Edwards. Even through the cancer, the loss of a son and her husband fathering a child outside of their marriage, she still held her head high. Mrs. Edwards fought for her life and her family with admirable class and grace. That is an example of true strength.
Teena Marie

Fly Ladies We'll Miss
I ain't gonna let you go that easy you've got to say you love me too
Teena Marie is gone? Teena Marie? I can't believe it. She was only 54 and died day after Christmas. Her songs are part of the roots to my love for music. I remember listening to her records in my uncle and aunt's den with family. She had a beautiful voice and lot of soul.
Leena Horne, Dorothy Height, Rue McClanahan and Dixie Carter are some fly ladies we lost this year.

Favorite Interview

Photographer Saddi Khali
Saddi Khali is just as fascinating as his work. I enjoyed our interview and learned so much from him about survival, pursuing your dreams, self-love and appreciating the chunks and chips of life's pleasures.
Another favorite, Joey Mazzarino, head writer of Sesame Street, heart-touching story about making the "I Love My Hair" sketch that went viral of the internet. Plus it was cool talking to someone who works with Big Bird and Elmo.

Janelle Monae
Best Album
I listened to Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid so much I had to stop for a while. I could hear the songs in my sleep. Take me back to Wonderland.
The woman is super-crazy talented and underrated. If Justin Beiber and Katy Perry are big hits...I'm just sayin'.

Andy Allo's UnFresh

Favorite New Artist
Love, Love. Love ANDY ALLO.  Her album UnFresh is hella fresh. And she has an inspiring story.

Immigration rally in LA
photo cred: Jenee Darden

Don't Underestimate
The Latino Vote. California governor candidate and former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman spent the most money on a campaign and had a strong lead in the polls. Her ratings took a dive when her former maid, a Latina went public claiming Whitman knew she was an undocumented immigrant but fired her after deciding to run for office.

Sarah Palin isn't
going anywhere soon.

Liberals are wishing for Sarah Palin to run in 2012 but don't underestimate this woman. I've said this a million times. Palin is well liked by many and knows how to draw people in.

Most Over Exposed
Speaking of Palin,I need a break from the former governor and her Alaska family. I was done after Bristol's run on "Dancing with the Stars." It was too much. But I know Sarah "Everyday I'm Hustlin'" Palin and her family aren't going anywhere.

Please STOP
If Lindsay Lohan weren't a movie star, but some young woman from Fresno who worked for Walgreens she would still be sitting in a jail cell. I'm tired of her foolishness making headlines.

Just Ridiculous
Airport security pap smears and prostate exams  pat downs and screening photos. There has to be a better way to ensure our safety. Seriously, there has to be.

Don't Mess with Her

Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the use, impact and accomplishments of federal appropriations provided to improve the education of children in the distract, in Washington on September 16, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom
Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee upset a lot of people with her tough approach to fixing Washington, D.C public schools. Voters made sure the Chancellor didn't come back. But that hasn't stopped Rhee. She's taking her passion to a national level with her non-profit Students First. I've worked in public schools and a change is needed. The U.S. will not remain a superpower with the poor-quality education many of our children receive. I'm looking forward to what she has in store for 2011.

Det. Ferris Jones
NYPD Officer Ferris Jones was off-duty and getting her hair done when some fool decided to rob the salon. Officer Jones shot the gun out of the robber's hand. She was promoted to Det. Jones. Don't mess with a woman during her "Me Time."

For the History Books

Pres. Obama signing DADT repeal
 Healthcare Reform passes but it cost the Dems the house.

Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks who can't hold water or top secret government documents.

The UConn Huskies Women's Basketball Team breaking UCLA Men's team winning-streak record

Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone. No questions asked.

If you have 2010 Best Worsts or Just Wrongs speak your mind in the comments.