My Trip to Paisley Park

This week I’m in Minnesota for Residency for school as part of my doctoral program. Well, I’m here at least yesterday through the rest of the weekend. Anyway, I knew I had to make this trip and when I realized it was the day after my favorite artists’ Prince’s, birthday I thought I’m going to Paisley Park! So I immediately got online and started doing some research. I found the website and looked up the tickets. There were a lot that was sold out but it just so happened on Thursday, June 8th at 1:40 pm there were tickets available. Which was perfect because my flight got in really early and I didn’t have to register until 6 that evening. It was meant for me to go! And by the way, if was going on this tour…I was going VIP baby! Yes, I bought the VIP tickets! I was all in for this one. So I purchased my tickets about a month and a half before I went; you can’t buy tickets at the door in case you plan to go.

I arrive in MN totally exhausted because I had to get up at 4 for my 6:15 am flight. But I didn’t take a nap when I got to the hotel I was a little excited about going to Paisley Park. I googled it before I got here and found out it was only 20 minutes from the hotel; can you believe it 20 minutes! How could I have not gone?! Anyway, you can arrive 20 minutes prior to your tour time. I wasn’t sure about the traffic here so I got an Uber about 12:15 and we arrived too early. They are serious about that 20 minutes. You are not allowed on the property until 20 minutes prior to your tour time. They were not kidding. So I had to hang out in the gift shop area until my time. Which was fine I got to scope out some things to buy and talk with some people who had already been on the tour. I met a woman who had to be in her late 60’s or early 70’s she had a shirt she had made with Prince and some other things on it. I thought she bought it was a nice shirt; when I asked her where she got it she said she had it made for herself. She was from Atlanta and saw him at his last performance there prior to his passing. She asked me to take some pictures of her with some of the posters in the tent. She was sweet but so cool. She had the Holiday Inn shuttle van bring her there and was waiting for them to come and pick her up. Is that not the best?!

My tour time came so I went to the front entrance. I had my ticket, as you walk in there is a sign stating there is no food, or drink, no photos allowed and to please wipe your feet before you enter. These folks are serious about preserving the integrity of the building and respecting its owner. The security guards, who I think also worked for Prince, were dressed in black suits with earpieces, the first one meets you at the door to check your ticket and to get you in the correct line, either General Admission or VIP. The carpets are read with the paisley park symbol on them. Once you get to the desk the attendants check your tickets, VIP’s are given a red band around their wrists. They ask if you have a cell phone, if so they ask you to power it off, they take it and place in a green case and lock it. They give it back to you until the end of the tour. If you have a smart watch you are asked to take those off as well. They are serious.

The house is pretty much the same as when Prince lived there with a few modifications for the sake of the museum and to preserve items. Like his awards are now behind plexiglass to protect them. Some rooms have been changed as well and we were told which rooms on the tour. As we entered there is a mural of Prince looking over the entry way that he had done it was awesome. There are gold and platinum albums on the wall he had put up. On the left on the wall is the letter President and First Lady Obama had written expressing their condolences to the family.

Now as we walk into the first room there is a white marble floor with Prince’s famous symbol in black in the middle of it. Oh, the furniture is still there, were not allowed to sit on it to preserve it. Anyway, this room is full of light due to the skylight he had installed. As such it was a favorite room. Because it was one of his favorite rooms the family decided to….wait for it……place his ashes in this room…We did not see that one coming! You could hear our whole group gasp! The tour guide said we can now take some time to pay our respects if you like they had tissues there because just about everyone started to cry, including me. I was not expecting was surreal. It was too much to take in. I hope I didn’t spoil it for anyone who may go. The woman I met in the gift shop..never said a word about it.

Then there were several rooms named after his early albums we could into, as well as his office that has been untouched. I’m telling you it was too much to take in. The VIP tour was an hour and a half. It included additional rooms, studios he recorded in, they took a picture of us in one of the studios and we got to record a track of one of his songs in the studio as well. Most of sang Raspberry Beret, we could choose from that one Creme or You Got The Look. It was so much fun! Prince liked to play ping-pong and the ping-pong table he played on was up and we were allowed to play ping-pong while they were taking out pictures and people were recording. And we could take as many pictures as we wanted, they put the pictures and the recording on a USB. One room that had been modified was the room where he had done choreography. The big mirror was still up but it was now the Purple Rain Room. It had one of the three bikes from the movie, the purple outfit he wore when he sang Let’s go Crazy, his Script from the movie, the small keyboard he danced on, you can see the scuff marks on it. I’m surprised he didn’t fall off that thing it was small!. Also, the Oscar for the best soundtrack was in this room. The movie was playing on the wall. It was AMAZING. There was so many words can’t explain it. There were a group of women from Kentucky who were just as stoked as I was; in fact, my whole tour group was crazy excited. They are my new BFF’s 😁 one guy from Texas had been there seven times! A few of them when Prince was there.

The tour ended in a room just outside the kitchen which is still in operation with the chefs who worked for Prince. Pancakes were his favorite food so just outside the merchandise are you can order a stack of pancakes to eat. There is also screen playing Prince’s SuperBowl Half-Time Show (best half-time show ever!). They also had a portion of the fence where people had left mementos when he passed. The rest of all of that is being archived to be preserved. There was another security guard who we gave our phones to and he unlocked them took the case and gave us our phones. After the tour, I bought a crazy amount of stuff, because when am I going to get to do this again?

It was a long tour and I had to do a lot of walking. Even though my physical therapist said I could do some walking, that hour and a half was a bit much. I was hurting a good bit by the end of the tour. So after my purchases, I sat down for a bit while I waited on my Uber to come and get me. I had the best time ever; I’m so glad I went some folks in my tour group were surprised I was there by myself. I told them a few years ago I wanted to go see Prince in Pittsburgh for my birthday and no one would go with me. I won’t make that mistake again.

I won’t be able to purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, it’s an hour and a half away 😢 and my class schedule really tight the rest of the time I’m here. But I had a blast on this tour and met some great people. So I’m good.

Carpe Diem!

Paisley Park



Friendship, Meditation, and a MRI

As those of you have read this blog know I had a MRI scheduled on Thursday to hopefully find out what is going on with me. But before I get to that I want to talk about my friend Susan. As I mentioned in my last post she is now my emergency contact she had no idea what had been going on until I asked her permission to use her for this position. We had made plans to meet for dinner on Thursday; well as things sometimes go, when we finally got the approval for the MRI the appointment would be the same day and time we were supposed to meet for dinner, 530 on Thursday. I let Susan know about the appointment and without missing a beat she asks if I would like her to go with me. Honestly was taken back by her question, I mean really it was just a MRI and if you know me I function pretty much independently. I mean I’m the one who takes care of everyone else, that my job, it’s my role.  So I gave my typical response, “Oh that’s okay you don’t have too, I’m good”. To which she said “it’s no problem” asked me what time the appointment was, she was not letting me off the hook. 😄

The day before the appointment I get a text from Susan asking me how I was feeling and what time we were meeting, it should be noted Susan and her family have a lot going on right now, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to “bother” her with this “simple” appointment. Anyway, I told her what time to meet, but here’s where I realized what kind of friend Susan was, when I told her what time to meet, she asked me if I wanted her to come and pick me up and take me to the appointment. Instantly I started to tear up and cry. Now this may seem silly to some but let me explain. My friends are very important to me, when anyone describes me the one word that is typically used is loyal. I know I’m a good friend but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that friendship has not always been reciprocal. I’ve since learn my patterns of dysfunction that have contributed to that and I’ve “trimmed the fat” so to speak and let go of some people that were not healthy for me (hard lessons). When I bought my house (my current address), “my friend” whom I had known since I was five years old and at the time referred to as my “best friend” she said to me “I won’t come and visit you down here”. I was stunned by the comment from my “friend” one because she said at all and two because it wasn’t that far away. But the statement did have an impact on me, from then on no matter who it was I would always accommodate them so they wouldn’t have to go out of their way to come see or anything. And it all went back to that one statement. So you see when Susan graciously asked to pick me up for my appointment, that person and her statement came to mind; and the difference between her and Susan and the type of friend Susan is to the type of friend I thought the other one was given our long history together, brought me tears. True friends are so very hard to find.

Needless to say I didn’t have her pick me up, not because I didn’t want to inconvenience her I was leaving from work and to go home would have been out of the way and I would have been late for the appointment so it would have just been easier to meet at the office for both of us. Had it not been for that I would have accepted her offer. But it gets better. Thursday comes and I arrive a little early, (traffic was better than expected). So I start with the paperwork, Susan arrives a few minutes later, and we talk until I’m called back, she keeps my purse while go back. It turns out I was glad she was there I was a little nervous.

The MRI technician, Sally, was so very nice, she did everything to help me to be comfortable. She told me the MRI would take about 20-30 minutes, I had no I went out and told Susan, she said “oh yea, I know, I got my book”. I was like okay..still in disbelief she was going to sit there and wait for me. I get into the room and there’s that tube I had to go into, Sally, gives me earplugs, a sheet to cover up and asks me what I like to do. I told her running of course, she says close your eyes and picture yourself running, to help me calm down as she puts me into the tube. She then offered me a small cloth to put over my eyes to further help me calm down. She was so great, as she got me ready she offered me headphones to further block the noise, she said relax you are running and before I knew it I was in a meditative state, my breathing was slow I could feel my body, and I was running a full marathon in my mind. It was a beautiful sunny day and I saw myself running and completing the marathon before I knew it, the MRI was over. Meditation is a wonderful thing. I was somewhat startled when this guy started taking things off of me, I asked where’s Sally? He said she’s at the control panel. When I got up, I went in gave her a big hug for being so nice to me and making this a pleasant experience. Being a healthcare provider myself, I know all to well that healthcare providers too often have a tough go of it and are not told they are appreciated, I wanted Sally, to know she was.

Anyway, Susan was waiting for me when I finished I hugged her too and thanked her so much for coming and staying with me. She had a pretty stressful day so that fact that she was with me, speaks volumes about her. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant and then we parted ways for the day. I haven’t gotten the results yet, hopefully early next week I will know something. But even without the results yet, I learned a lot from the experience for which I am grateful. 😊

My friend Susan and me on my birthday this year.

Unexpected Changes

Life is full of changes it’s the one constant that we can always count on; why so many resistant change I will never know. As you know I’ve “been on the bench” since I’ve had my issues with my knee/leg. That was/is an adjustment that has caused me to miss a race and quite possibly the next one coming up on January 29th the second one in the series I registered for this winter. The next big change came when I got an email from my academic advisor with an updated schedule of courses that pushed my graduation back from 2018 to 2019; in part due to the research courses related to the dissertation. I called it a punt on the football field of life…not happy about this unexpected change but I’ll adjust and move forward just as I am with my leg. But just as with my knee and leg there are some things I can do. I can double up on a class or two during a semester when I won’t be too overwhelmed. As for my leg/knee I can continue to do stretches and other exercises to help the healing process.

I work with a population for the most part many of them the first thing they say is “I don’t like change”. Well for as long as we live, as sure as the seasons change, we are going to have change in our lives. So we may as well accept it, stop resisting it, and learn to cope with it when it happens. What gets us into trouble and frustrated is how we respond to change. But what I know for sure is mindfulness and gratitude can help anyone through any change no matter how easy or difficult.


31 Day Blog Challenge: An Old Photo of Me

Well this will be an interesting post as part of this challenge. Interesting in the sense that I will not be posting an old photo of me. I don’t keep any pictures of me when I was little, my grandmother has most of them. I choose not to keep any, well I take that back I have one but only as a reminder of how far I’ve come in my life, I think it is my third grade picture. The reason I don’t keep pictures of me when I was little is because you can see how very sad I was when I was young. You can actually see I was a child with no voice. So I would rather not keep such painful memories around me.The story behind all the sadness is not necessary to put here but what is good to know is I’m not in that place anymore far from it. 🙂


31 Day Blog Challenge: 10 Favorite Foods

Favorite foods this blog challenge keeps getting interesting so here is a list of my ten favorite foods in no particular order:

  1. Chips and salsa. I could make a meal out of chips and salsa! I could eat Mexican a few times a week; that’s how much I love it. My favorite place to go is Mi Cocina de Amor  the best Mexican restaurant in town, in my opinion, with the best chips and salsa..yum!
  2. French ’em.
  3. Fresh baked bread..I switched to wheat bread years ago..but every once in awhile I gotta have hot fresh baked bread with butter.
  4. My chicken Alfredo..I can make a mean homemade Alfredo sauce
  5. My grandmothers sugar plum pudding…she only makes this at the holidays. Since she is 92 she has someone else make it under her supervision. It is too die for! I have to confess I tried to make it; mine does not turn out as good as hers even under her supervision. Bummer. I also don’t eat as much of it as I used to because it’s so rich. Sacrifices come with lifestyle changes.
  6. Strawberry ice cream
  7. A good prime rib
  8. It’s not quite a favorite but I’m learning to like it since I started making food changes..fresh salmon. I’ve learned how to fix it so that it doesn’t taste bad 🙂
  9. Baked sweet potatoes the way my grandmother fixes them..the best!
  10. I know a there are many who don’t like hot dogs…but there is nothing like a West Virginia hot dog.

I’ve made a lot of changes in my diet since I started running and for other health reasons as well. Moderation is key as well as portion size; I’ve been able to do this particularly during the holidays. I haven’t had the large helping size plate the last few holiday seasons I usually have a small plate with small portions. To which my grandmother always says “did you get enough to eat?” She’s from the old school and worries about everyone eating; of course she’s 92 and has lived through more than I will ever know or experience so I get it.

31 Day Blog: 3 Personality Traits I’m Proud of

Three personality traits that I’m proud of interesting if I was doing this a few years ago I may not have been able to come up with anything…but times have changed or rather I have changed I and now I can jot three of these babies down:

The first one would be I’m loyal. It’s the one characteristic or personality trait many of my friends have said about me time after time. I will stand by and support my friends through it all even when I probably shouldn’t; a hard lesson to learn. Heck I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan since way before Dak and Zeke; I’m tellin you I’m loyal. Just don’t cross me. I will be honest, I have been disappointed when I have found the loyalty that I have had with some friends has not always been reciprocal, another hard lesson to learn.

Secondly, I’m determined, when I set my mind to do something I typically do it. When I started training for my first 5k there were moments when I didn’t think I would be able to do it. A friend reminded me of that by telling me “Tammi have you ever set a goal you didn’t make?” and she was right. If I set goal I’m determined to meet it. I remember when I was in college there were times when it was just hard and my academic advisor was no help and honestly discouraging telling me she didn’t think I would graduate. Well she didn’t know what my plans were I had to get my degree! There were no other options it was my degree or bust! Now here I am working towards my doctorate degree! She’ll know next time to tell someone what they can’t do. 🙂

The last one I don’t know if I’m necessarily proud of it or have just learned to embrace it. I have always been a quiet person (I know those who know might find it hard to believe) but growing up I was crazy shy. So sometime in meetings or large gatherings that part of me returns and I will sit back and take it all in; which some may misinterpret as not knowing or understanding. But trust when I do speak I know what is going on; I’m not one who needs to be the center of attention, talking all the time, dropping names, letting people know I’m the smartest person in the room. Sometimes it’s best to be quiet.


31 Day Blog: My Guilty Pleasure

Guilty it just me or does anyone else find anything wrong with feeling guilty about finding things pleasurable? (Ashley I know we agree-ha!). I love it when I get a massage and when I get one I have no guilt about what so ever–trust! In my work I have to reaffirm this with many clients, particularly women all the time. Running has became one of my pleasures too; it’s my thing that I do for me to decompress, meditate, chill out, it’s my space. It helps me to be a better me. That’s why I miss when I can’t do it. Which is what I explain to many clients who think it’s some kind of crime to put themselves first when it comes to taking care of themselves; the first thing I hear is “I feel guilty”. Taking care of yourself and feeling good about is necessary it helps us to be better people, spouses, parents, friends, etc. We can’t run a car when the gas tank is empty why do we think we run ourselves when our tank is empty? If we are not taking care of ourselves we have nothing to give. So there is no need to feel guilty about feeling good about taking care of ourselves and finding it pleasurable to boot. Consider it making deposits into your emotional bank account the more you have in it; the more you have to withdraw.