She wants to lead the glamorous life!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Tomorrow Brings

So here it is, New Year's Eve 2011.  It is the last day of the year and I have finally decided what my goals are for 2012.  Last year I had so many awesome and outright blessings that I was able to document each in bulk on Facebook for an entire week.  This year was a little more quiet.  So instead of breaking 2011's events down, let's look forward.  Here are my goals:

Be a Better Friend
When I tell you my friends look after me and take care of me, I am not exaggerating.  They have been so good to me; yet, I feel I have been lackluster in showing reciprocity.  I just finished a 30 minute conversation with my Mom about me and my friendship.  It is sad you have to get tips from your mother on being nice to people.  I mean it's not like I'm in kindergarten, but some things need to be said.  I need to learn to depend on me more and use them less for necessities and allow them to just be friends for friends' sake.

Visit Friends in Other Cities
I make a point of visiting Antoine in every state/city he decides to move to, no matter where.  I say state/city because I only visited him when he lived in Orlando not Tampa (I do not like Tampon, I mean Tampa).  So Orlando covered his Florida move.  Yet I still have not made it to Las Vegas, where he currently resides.  Which is crazy, because I could not wait until he moved there so I would have a cool place to visit.  Tickets to Vegas can be a bit pricey and I keep putting it off.  Knowing Antoine, he may be anywhere in the next couple of months.  So the sooner the better.  Then there are 3 other good friends of mine that I need to visit who also moved out of state.  I promised each I would, but this year, I am going to make it happen with at least one.

Pay Off My Car and All Credit Cards
I have discussed this before and so here we are again.  In my post IR(arely)S(ave) I discuss how I want to have at least one of my cards paid off by the end of the year.  It seemed possible and it was until the hood of my car flew up, while I was driving mind you!  My 'baby' is currently in the car hospital being repaired (hopefully to good as new standards).  That put a bit of a dent in my plans.  But fear not, I will have that Ann Taylor card paid off by February.  I have $551.96 left, which I can knock out in two payments, just not now.  After that, there is the $2000 balance on my Visa.  It is actually less than $2000, but when it's that close, there really isn't a difference.  My goal is to clear that up in 4-6 payments.  My car needs to be paid off soon and very soon.  I feel I can appreciate my car more, if I did not have to pay for her every month.  By June, I should be free of all three.  Then I will focus on my medical bills.  If you remember I had a surgery in September; that was not cheap.  All in all, this all seems manageable and doable, so it will be done.

Get Back to Europe
This is not life or death, but it feels like it.  So it has made the list.  I am just going to claim it...nuff said.

Start Actively Dating Again
Yep, I said it.  And I am not the only one who feels this way.  I just have the courage to say it/write it out loud.  When I think back on 2011, it seemed as if I had a lonely existence, but actually, when I do the math, I can say I went on at least 16 dates this year.  Not bad considering 2 were from eHarmony (yeah I gave that a whirl for all of 2 months), 1 was Nigerian (before you 'shutter to think', I liked him the best), 1 Serbian (I liked him to), 1 was 6 years younger (purrr) and 1 had a girlfriend, now fiancee, with whom he lived.  You remember him from We Can't Be Friends, he was 'trying' to break up, but never did.  Well now his Facebook relationship status reads engaged, with the link to the other person!  Yikes!  I am not counting Panty-Man, because we never actually went out on a date- broke mutha... If you factor in my 5 month hiatus where I couldn't do any strenuous activities, doctor's orders, I did alright.

With that said, I want to take it up a notch in 2012.  I am truly ready to settle down.  I feel like this is my year.  I say that every year, but I really feel it this year.  Although, I have not secured a steady, long-term mate, I have noticed, my caliber of men has shifted.  They are all 'on point' as I like to say.  We did not have a love or sex connection (read), but I still liked the fact that I have increasingly attracted 'better' men (in my opinion) as I have matured.  The most recent men are more of a reflection of my tastes.  I just need to find the one whose personality links best with mine (not an easy task).  Of all of my goals for 2012, this is the hardest because I have the least control over this one.  But I feel if I put in the Universe that I want to establish a positive and healthy relationship, blessed by God, where the man and I are mutually suited for each other, it will happen.  Doubt and worry are for non-believers...

Give God More of My Time
I need to get back on an active church schedule.  I have really been trippin' this year!  Not only do I want to start back going to service on a regular, I need to be more active in the church again, joining a Bible study group and choosing a ministry to participate in, God has been so good, I cannot even begin to tell you, but I'm sure you have your own stories so you know.  I can at least try to give back with my time not just my tithes (yes, although I have not been active in the church, they take their 10% off top from each paycheck).

So there, I have exposed my personal goals in the hope of conquering each in 12 months time.  I am a firm believer that the way you bring in a new year is indicative to how you will spend that year.  But regardless of if I kick it, kiss someone, party or get 'tipped' on champaign tonight, here's to new beginnings, good friendships, happy and healthy family, good times and love across the board!  However I usher in 2012, I have 366 days (it's a leap year) to get it right.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blue Christmas

Today is December 27th.  In observance of Christmas, my company gave us yesterday off.  So today, being the first day back after the holiday, the #1 question wasn't the typical, 'how was your weekend?'.  Rather, 'how was your Christmas?'  Although I wasn't dreading this question, I was dreading the awkward responses I anticipated receiving when I said my holiday was, 'meh' with a shrug.  As a follow-up I said it was alright, with a face that told it all.  I spoke the truth, because there is no use lying.  I was in a blue funk pretty much all weekend long.

There were a couple of things that triggered this indigo mood, but I don't even feel like going there right now.  What I do want to focus on is how holidays, especially Christmas, can be duds.  I don't know if it was the fact that Christmas landed on a Sunday this year, or what, but I was not in the mood.  I did not get too many gifts this year, which really makes people weird.  It's like they feel sorry for you, even though I'm a grown woman who did not give it much thought.  Nor did I give gifts this year myself.

I am happy to report that after taking a 3 hour nap yesterday afternoon, I found that I felt increasingly better by the minute.  I don't know if it was rest I needed, or special attention, but by 7pm, I was back to dancing around my house to the music in my mind.  Maybe watching my favorite shows, marathon-style, on my dvr did the trick.  I particularly enjoyed the 60 Minutes feature on the 20 Eastern Orthodox Monastaries of Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece.  These monks prayed 'without ceasing' as instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  All day long, no matter what they were doing, their lips were moving as they prayed almost continuously something to the effect of, 'Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.'  Although this group is extremely private and they do not allow women on the island at all, I really appreciated them and found them inspiring.

While I was going through my funk, I called a good girlfriend up to tell her how I was feeling.  She told me simply not to fight the feeling, just kind of let it wash over you.  She knew I was grateful, because I started the conversation saying that I knew I was being a brat.  I quickly rattled off a number of things that I was grateful for, but I admitted that I still was pissy.  What the monks and my girlfriend showed me was not just to be grateful and appreciative for what God has given you, but also, take life for what it is at that particular moment.  More importantly, push through to the other side.  For me this meant mentally listing things I am grateful for whenever I wanted to cry.  Or, taking the advice from another girlfriend, pretend what you thanked God for today is what you were given tomorrow.  This will really help you change your attitude to gratitude.  If you think of only having what you have thanked God for, you will run out of time trying to fit it all in one day.  The monks had no t.v., very little communication with the outside world, two meals a day (10 minutes each), and other rules we outsiders would consider restrictions.  However, they seemed healthy and happy and at peace.

I had the blues, but now I don't.  It is not the easiest emotion to have around Christmas, I'll admit, but I am only human.  The key is, I pushed through.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eat Me!

When I was a little girl, I spent weekends with my sister's mother,my father's first wife, who I referred to as my step-mother.  Yeah, we were a blended family indeed.  Anyway, Rosa was a good cook.  She is single-handedly the sole person responsible for my love of blue cheese dressing and pickled beets and my ultimate respect for 'government cheese'.  One of the many fond memories I have of Rosa *God rest her soul*, was how she would sit and watch me eat.  As a little girl, I was sometimes annoyed that she would ask me over and over, 'Is it good?' or 'Do you like it?'  As a woman and still a relatively self-proclaimed novice cook, I now understand.  It means a lot and it's such a good feeling if someone genuinely enjoys your food.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to eat.  What people may not know is that I enjoy cooking.  But cooking does not always come naturally to me as it does for others.  Which makes me shy when it comes to sharing my food.  I make certain people test it out, but for the most part, I base the success of my food on my personal tastes, which in my opinion I have an impeccable palate (but doesn't everyone think that??).  So I rarely invite people over to try my food, and I hardly ever offer to cook.  However, lately, I have been expanding my food tasting 'circle'.  Plus, I have been trying certain new recipes and perfecting others.  By perfecting I mean, I try to cook it more than once.  I used to have a bad habit of just cooking something once and not trying it again, only making a mental note of what I needed to do the next time to make it right.  The good news is, folks like my food.  I have 'tried' my guacamole on at least 4 people, all of whom loved it.  One of which comes from a traditional Mexican family.  Now that may sound racist, but it meant a lot to me that she enjoyed it and asked how I made my guac, because her mom still makes homemade tamales!  So the girl knows her Mexican food.  A couple of weeks ago, one of my BFs came over for pot roast and sauteed brussel sprouts and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  And just this week my Aunt came by for some chili (which I jammed on).  I asked her for her honest opinion and she called to say that not only did she like it, but whenever I make it, she wants me to set aside some for her.  Add the fried green tomatoes I made for my grandma last week and the artichoke parmesan casserole a few weeks prior and I am on a roll!

It may not sound like a big deal, but I enjoy food too much to rely on other people (even restaurants) to feed me.  I made a pact with myself in October to cook a meal every week.  I also promised myself that I would share my food.  So far, I have stuck to this.  The thing about food is it is so personal.  I have had people invite me over for dinner, with the confidence of a good cook, and I was highly disappointed.  Which lessened the chances of me going back for seconds.  To a food lover like myself, by sharing their food, they kind of shared themselves.  A real food lover does not forget a bad meal.  So as I thaw out my lamb chops in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner, I am scouring my favorite recipe site for meals I want to try and master.  Bon appetit!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Sex On A Platter

CONFESSION:  I am hot!!  I am not referring to the, as my mother refers to it, 'ghetto project heat' in my apartment.  I am speaking of the heat that radiates within.  The sizzles that makes your body ache in the midnight hours.  The sometimes throbbing pulse that makes it hard to concentrate.  That thump that makes regular dudes start to look like Idris.

I will spare you the details of how long and with whom and so on and so forth.  But I will say, it has been a minute.  Every time I think I have hit my brick wall, another month will pass and I think to myself, 'whoa, this is crazy!'  I have a good girlfriend studying ministry who lights up when I talk about it.  To her, this is the way it is supposed to be until you are married.  Hmmm, something to think about.  Another friend scoffs when I tell her I have no prospects.  She thinks I have potential suitors to cool the fire, I just have to separate my feelings from the act.  That is much easier said than done.  A male friend of mine shared her sentiments, stating, and I quote, 'You need to take care of that.  You're too young.'  He feels I need to have someone knock the dust off of these pipes for my sanity's sake.

I agree with all sides of the argument.  Yes, I feel if I do not cool off soon, I will implode.  But, no, why waste my time (and sweat) on someone not worthy?  This means my 'throwbacks' are out.  If the person is 'new' that presents an even greater problem, because you take on the risk that it won't be good period.  No emotion added to bad attempt, we are talking an all around disaster.  Since I cannot be guaranteed it will be a Jimmy 'JJ' Walker dy-no-mite-esque experience, I think I will pass.  While my internal thermostat continues to go up, I will increase my cold showers, pick up my knitting again (don't be surprised if you see me on the boulevard with a full knitted suit!), try some new arts and crafts and just keep praying that someone worthy of these rolling hills will show up soon.      

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mean Girls

As I look back on this year, I cannot help but to think that 2011 seemed to revolve around the Black woman and her 'plight'.  Her plight of singleness, single motherhood, too much education and so on and so forth.  Although this may be salacious and titillating to outsiders (i.e. single Black men with no intention of settling down any time soon, the married or coupled black women who always have advice on what you have to do, because that's how they met Darnell/Michael/Greg or whomever or mainstream media and Harvard professors) this is not nearly as heartbreaking to me as the angry Black woman.  

This week, I had a few unsavory encounters with angry Black women (we'll refer to them as ABWs).  Each encounter was on the bus, which may be the real issue, but that's too easy and general to be true.  I started the week running for my bus.  I called out to the woman already on the bus stop to hold it for me.  She did, even though it wasn't her bus.  I thanked her and I got on.  I always greet the bus driver with a 'hey how you doing', 'good morning', etc.  If I've had to chase the bus down and they stopped, I make sure to start with a grateful 'thank you'.  This day was no different.  The bus driver however, shook her head, 'no' and started complaining about how, you have to be on the bus stop and they cannot wait for passengers anymore, because they are behind their schedules and yadda, yadda, ya.  I simply said, 'well thank you anyway'.  

I headed back to an open seat, where this woman had her purse.  I, as always, in an effort to be polite and kind, asked, 'may I have that seat?'.  The 'lady' responds in a nasty tone, 'I don't care.'  Okay, then what's with the nastiness?  If I had grabbed your purse and threw that shit on the floor, you'd be mad (and I'd probably have some injuries to report, ya'll know I don't fight).  I squeezed between her and another passenger and she continued her frivolous conversation with a standing passenger.  They apparently live in the same building and used to work for the same company, and this was their first conversation.  It was shallow and the 'lady' was acting all extra, in that, 'I'm above it all', type of attitude.  She had a bad lace front, that she put a barrette in, I guess for authenticity.  And although she moved her bag, she could not do anything with those hips-a-plenty...okay, now I'm just being mean-spirited...I digress.  So the two of them were annoyed with everything, the girl standing up was younger and seemed to have a glimmer of idolization in her eye for this 'diva'.  At one point the 'lady' mentioned how she goes to Manhattan on business and would love to live there.  The younger woman asked (and I quote), 'now where's Manhattan?'...I can't...I just had to throw that in so you know what we're working with here.  She eagerly asked a lot of questions and started mimicking the same snooty attitude while being asked to move out of the way by passengers coming and going.  The 'lady' at one point said, 'I hate people.'  To which I thought, 'no boo, you hate yourself.'  And I can't say I blame her.  Instead of letting their contagious nastiness affect me, I closed my eyes and did my morning prayer.  I prayed thoughtfully for both of them.

Another morning, a woman who is on the bus a lot, scolded a mother for not having gloves and a hat on her baby.  When I got on the bus, she had just started, 'Where's the baby's hat and scarf?'  The mother replied, 'We're getting off the bus and walking right into the building.'  That didn't satisfy the woman, 'But it's cold, you shouldn't have her out without a hat and scarf.'  The mother, who happened to be White, responded tersely, 'I'm her mother and she's fine, thank you.'  The woman went on, mumbling about 'young mothers' (even though the mother was at least 35) and then asked her bus buddy in the wheelchair, if she had her DCFS badge, that she should call the mother in!  Really!?  Would this older Black woman be so bold if it really was a young mother?  One of these 'urban' Black girls who are quick to talk slick and dare you to say something, less they have one of their girls meet you at your bus stop.  I bet she would not have said anything.  And to try and get this woman reported to child protective services?  Come on!  It was not even that cold.  Plus, we all know *racial stereotype alert* that our White brothas and sistas have a different tolerance for the cold than we do.  You have seen them out with a wool hat, shorts, gloves and flip flops on, while we have 5 layers of clothes.

Finally, yesterday a bus driver who was 3rd in a line of buses at the bus stop, refused to open the door until she moved up to 2nd in line.  When I got on the bus, she dryly and coldly stared straight ahead.  I cheerily said, 'hello', to which she did not even flinch, saying nothing.  Point taken.  What struck me in all of these incidents, is how truly angry my sistas can be.  I reflected on it intently and came up with this:  there seems to be not a lot of in-between when it comes to our Black 'sisterhood'.  Either Black women are kind, warm, good and sweet or they are just ignorant-ass bitches.  Yep, I said it...ignorant-ass bitches.  There is not a lot of, 'hey I don't know you, but I'm courteous and polite regardless because we are both adults and human.'  And furthermore, there is very little, 'gee I'm grateful that you are courteous to me, although you don't know me.'  

While everyone is talking about our dating lives, what is really hurting us, is our attitudes.  The problem is, if I was a bitch, because those women were bitches, it would have just spiraled out of control.  Now, although I'm not a sociologist, I understand that there are many factors as to why sistas are upset, irritated and mean.  I get it.  Because I used to be that way myself.  I understand that there are a lot of factors that bring you to the point where you are just angry and frustrated.  I grew up in a family of ABWs.  It was a family of strong, good, loving women, but they'd be quick to cuss you out if need be too.  As everyone has grown older and changed some things in their lives, this attitude has softened for the better.  But you have to want to change and you have to have the strength and courage to remove yourself from certain circumstances.  Our 'plight' as Black women and the spotlight that is placed on it, which is not helpful or is only concerned in a condescending way, would make anyone irritable.  But let's not find solace in that anger.  Let us not turn on each other.  It is true, hurt people, hurt people.  So when I think of the 'lady' on the bus, stating she hates people, I knew in her statement, that there was no real and genuine love for herself.  The fussy bus driver and the one who had totally checked out, both were well over 50 and probably just tired, not just because of that day's work, but of work overall.  The bossy and nosy lady lecturing about motherhood, left the bus asking for a late slip to give to her boss.  It does not take a rocket scientist to know she is powerless at work.  That is why she is bold elsewhere.  She looks about 60 and I'm sure she understands that in this job market, you have to hold on to what you have.  Not many employers are looking for job seekers over 50.  

Some of you might be saying, it may be time to try another commuting method.  But I think the bigger issue is how we as Black women view ourselves.  How we view others as they can be a mirror of ourselves. The anger and eager annoyance you show someone else, is evidence of the lack of love you have for yourself.  And that is unacceptable and sad.  If women's view of themselves was humble, yet proud, and that became their normal method of operation, they could more readily pass and receive a positive light.  Paying forward the goodness they themselves have received and repelling any negativity.  Think of how much closer our sisterhood could/would become.  Just a thought...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Be Lady

If you call woman African woman, no go 'gree, she go say I be lady o.-Fela Kuti "Lady"

My father played Fela around the house when I was growing up and as an adult, I really enjoy and love the music.  The song "Lady" is one of my favorites.  As with all Fela songs, the groove is infectious and steady.  Although Fela was a revolutionary and social commentator in many ways, the lyrics always come second to the music for me.  The steady Afro beat is tribal and urban, new and old all at the same time.  However, when I first heard this song, I liked how he described the woman as brash and crass and unapologetic about being a 'lady' despite her actions showing otherwise.

This brings me to last night.  Long story short, I met a guy yesterday at the ATM on Michigan Ave.  He was tall, dark and handsome.  Not to mention polite and charismatic.  He initially asked me what part of Africa I was from.  I told him Chicago was my home town; he was Nigerian.  He invited me to a house warming party for his friend, taking place that same night.  I agreed to go.  My friend Nicole would be going with me as backup in case something went down.  After speaking to him and confirming I would go, he text me the address and Nicole and I got ready at our separate houses.  I was hell bent on wearing this sweater dress, but could not get it to work.  I settled on black riding pants, my favorite 'go to' top (knit cap sleeve shirt, that is a complete sheer button up in the back) and my red booties.  When I picked Nicole up, I saw she opted for some cute jeans and a nice delicate top with embezzled ballet flats.

We get to the building and in the elevator some girls call out to hold it.  Here we go...  The first girl to catch it just stood and blocked the door without any apologies.  The maintenance man who happened to be helping some new tenants and was on the elevator as well had to encourage them to speed up so we would not all be waiting.  When this group got on, I new immediately that they were going to the same place.  Nicole text me in the elevator (showing me the message on her screen) that she felt absolutely underdressed.  I didn't, those bad weaves alone (that ALL of them had) knocked their outfits down at least  5 notches.

We get off the elevator and start walking.  One of them behind us says, hold on.  And the only guy in the group goes, 'are we waiting?'.  I could feel them drilling a hole in the back of my head.  So of course, despite my sore ankle, I sashayed passed and proceeded to the party with Nicole.  We get in and the host introduced himself and his roommate.  He offered to take our jackets, but I wanted to scope the place out a bit first and Nicole was not having it at all, so she requested to keep hers.  There was food, drinks and a relatively lively group.  Everyone was dressed to impress.  The men seemed nice enough, but the women, oh the women.  The party was African dominated.  I normally would have enjoyed the atmosphere, but in a too tight, box apartment (I'm sure he's paying waaay too much) where nearly every woman and I mean EVERY woman has her eyes on you, it was too much.  I felt like a lioness who just stepped off of a safari tour.  I don't think the lone white sista had this much awkward staring.  Was it my braid-out funky afro?

Furthermore, I had apparently forgotten how my new friend looked, because after eyeballing a couple of random men and pointing out at least 4 that I thought were him.  I soon discovered from the host, that he had not arrived yet.  It was now 11pm.  Past my bedtime and way over my bullshit limit, I was getting impatient.  My new friend was not answering his text messages and Nicole was feeling extremely uncomfortable.  To boot, every woman, including the little 5 year old that kept bouncing around, with the exception of 2 people had weaves!  All of them bad.  All of them!  They obviously took the party very seriously, I mean women were wearing what I call booty dresses and sequined numbers, including a sequined booty dress and a sequined bustier!   Side bar:  are sequins in this season?  I haven't heard word of it.  But I digress.  Party dresses with sky-high stilettos were all around, but not a single blender or Target gift card in sight.  Not the traditional house warming we were expecting.

I asked Nicole if she was ready to go, I had another 30 minutes in me to wait, but would not subject her to it if she did not want to be there.  It was now about 11:20pm.  We had been there for an agonizing 25 minutes or so.  Nicole looked up to me (she is shorter than I, and has on flats remember and I have on booties) and said something to the effect of, 'we don't have to, but I would like to'.  Enough said, let's roll!  We went to the closet where I had hung up my jacket and beat it!  The host, on our way out said, 'you're leaving?'  Now I am still a lady, so I kept it very positive:  'yeah (insert apologetic 'yeah' face), we had a good time.  Thank you.  You have a very nice place.'  As we walked out, we heard the apartment lock click and looked at each other like, 'what the fuck was that?  As we got on the elevator this brotha was getting off, he too was at the party.  He asks, 'ya'll leaving?  Where are you headed to next?'  I responded, 'anywhere, but here.'  He says, 'whoa, whoa, what happened?  I'm riding down with ya'll.'  We could not quite describe it, Nicole and I just kept looking at each other, trying to find the words.  I finally said, 'they kept looking at us like, "oh, my God, her hair is so nappy"'.  With a look of disgust and confusion, he replied, 'oh, that's weak, that's weak' referring to the girls.  We thought he would be kind enough to walk us to our car, but instead he kissed his 2 fingers into a peace sign (yes, you read that right) and bid us a good night.  I guess he had to hurry up and get back to those 'weak' sistas.

Nicole needed a drink; she had refused to partake at the party.  My new friend had finally responded to my text.  He was on his way.  I was to ask for DJ Fine Boy in his absence.  I text back that we decided to call it a night.  But my Cricket phone, did not send the text, so I had to resend (hopefully he didn't get 5 duplicated messages, my phone has been known to do that).  Nicole and I headed over to our favorite spot, the South Loop Bar Louie's.  She had her normal Pink Lady cocktail, while I drank water.  We split buffalo wings and a basket of fries until we were just plain ole worn out and tired of being out and witnessing the ghetto mess that was at Bar Louie's.  We lamented on how bizarre that whole party was.  Why did all of them have bad weaves?  Was what I kept asking.  Nicole thought the night should go down in our social history book as one to remember.

On the ride home, we mercilessly mocked the whole situation in terrible African accents.  We imagined they were all talking about us like dogs.  This made us giggle and laugh the whole ride.  Yeah, he'll never call me again...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh How I Love Essence!

I grew up with Essence magazine in the house.  My mom held a subscription for years and even when I was too young to understand it's purpose or uninterested to read the articles, I loved looking at the pictures.  The women in Essence were beautiful.  Most importantly, they looked like me and the people I knew.  When I became a pre-teen YSB (do ya'll remember that one??) and later a teenager, Vibe magazine were what spoke to me.  During junior and senior year in high school, I preferred Cosmo.  As a young adult in my early 20s it was all about Honey magazine.  But now, at 31, my favorite magazines are Marie Claire and Essence.

Those are the only magazines I read religiously.  I take their suggestions, tips and advice to heart.  I love the articles and I like the fashion.  Both publications speak to me at this exact age.  So you can only imagine my giddiness when this past Saturday, while attending a natural hair meet-up (Treasure Our Tresses) a brotha with a camera walked up to me and asked if he could take my picture.  He informed me the photo would be featured in's photo gallery.  I nearly lost it.  First, let me say, my hair was fabu!  So much love to my stylist Trina at NV Hair Studio.  Second, everyone's hair was fabu.  The natural sistas came out looking good.  So the fact, out of the crowd of beautiful women, I was part of a chosen few really gassed me up.  So I gladly took a few pictures (I am one of the most un-photogenic people you will meet).

I figured the picture would be featured in their Street Style gallery, so I started checking on Monday.  Finally today, there it was:  Hair Street Style: Windy City Naturals.  I clicked and clicked and clicked until I landed on photo #10.  There I was; I was so geeked at work!  I even showed my boss!  What a dream!  Here is a website that I visit everyday like clockwork; and I am now part of it's archives.  Words cannot begin to describe.  I love Essence and I love my hair.  Who would have ever thought the two would be connected somehow.

Check me out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Heavy Lifting

One of my favorite past times is talking to men about women.  What they like and find attractive about us.  Their thoughts about relationships, etc.  I find men's opinions so funny and at the same time intriguing.  Their outlook is so different at times than most women's.  One of the things I find the most fascinating is how they view the woman's body.

A friend of mine keeps close watch on my weight.  Whenever I talk about dropping a few pounds, he shares his contempt.  If he notices me eating lighter and healthier, he shakes his head in annoyance and lectures me on the importance of, not just keeping my weight, but gaining more.  According to this friend, I not only look fine, I am actually getting too skinny and should gain about 10 good pounds.  In his opinion, women should be soft and not hard.  I explain, I only want to tighten my belly fat and pull these thighs in just a quarter of an inch each.  He, frustrated, tells me that what I am doing is not going to help me lose just those parts, but all of my 'good parts' too.  So if he catches me eating chips or junk, he nods in absolute approval.  Today, he bought me warm chocolate chip cookies from Subway, just the way I like them.

Yesterday he, in an animated tone, predicted if I gain, instead of lose the 10lbs I am trying to drop, I will be married in 6 months time.  The way he sees it, 'skinny girls get no love.'  My friend suggests I gain the weight to catch a man and then lose it once married.  Because in his words, 'all women change when they get married anyway.'  I asked another friend his thoughts and he said, 'you have been looking kind of frail lately.'  Umm, I am a good 162lbs, standing 5'7.5".  That is not frail.  Did I mention he is hilarious?  Debating him is so fun, because he is so steadfast about his opinions on everything.

My argument was I have no desire to be skinny, I just want to tone up a couple of things while I can, like this stomach.  He stated, men love bellies.  That a woman is supposed to be soft and not hard.   My friend lamented that this is the midwest and it gets cold.  Men want something to hold on too.  Another guy friend I asked stated that Black women look better with meat on their bones.  The upside is, I was born into a great culture that embraces me being a grown woman.  The downside, who if not your man, will tell you to put the Sprinkles cupcake down??  He wants something cuddly to lay on and cuddle up to, okay, I agree.  I am not necessarily a fan of women with the bodies like men.  You know the type where your instinct is to check for an adam's apple, but you're scared if you stare to hard, you'll get your ass whupped.  Yeah, those 'girls'.  But what really irked me, is how unhealthy we as Black women become and are, in an effort to stay/be 'thick as hell.'

I have often said, there is a thin line between being thick and just being fat.  Too many of these 'thick' girls I see are a burrito away from exiting and entering the house through a garage door.  Sad to say, a lot of times that mentality comes from men.  I remember years ago, my sister's then husband said, in reference to her adopting a healthier lifestyle and losing weight, 'just don't lose that ass.'  Well newsflash, you show me a girl with a big ass, hips and thighs, and at least 70% have bellies, arm and back fat to go with it.  There is rarely an in between.

Their attitude about this issue is only one of the many reasons why I love brothas.  I remember the reactions I received at my heaviest weight.  I lived in Tampa with my cousin; together we created a decadent lifestyle for ourselves.  We would eat Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for dinner (yep, just the cheesecake, no food), drink martinis and wine and spend our weekends laying out on the beach for hours on end.  With no exercise included, my body shot up to the 10lbs my friends speaks of so fondly.  Let me tell you, I was a biggin.  I did not realize it until I saw pictures of myself, or tried to fit my size 12 hips into an unforgiving size 6; I was totally in denial!  I remember crying in dressing rooms, buying extra clothes (the ones I had did not fit), getting winded climbing a simple flight of stairs and most of all my sweaty thighs rubbing together walking in that hot Florida sun!  The brothas in Tampa were not feeling me; shoot, I wasn't feeling me!  When I returned home after 6 months, I will never forget being in Hyde Park, walking north on Blackstone, a northbound, one-way street.  Out of no where, some dude in a car coming from behind, shouted, 'ay-ay short-ay!'  I should have been insulted that he had totally objectified me in public, I mean, he could only see my butt.  He had no clue what my face looked like.  Regardless, the smile that crept across my face was priceless.  I was home!!  It did not stop there, out at clubs with my girls, brothas didn't seem to mind my new juiciness.  One even affectionately whispered how nice my 'big legs' looked.  I dated this guy, soon after my return; we fell off for a couple of months.  We reconnected after I had slimmed down about 20lbs, to my surprise, he was a bit disappointed, stating he thought I looked too fragile.

The fact that, according to, African American women are 35% more likely to die of heart disease, is even more reason to be mindful of our inner bodies (you can be svelte and still be unhealthy) as well as our outer bodies.  Oh men, if we listened solely to them, we would be jacked up.  So as I lift my fork-full of salad while writing this, I chuckle to myself.  It is good to know I can gain weight and still have a relatively large population of brothas who would accept me for who I am and how I look.  But in the meantime, I have my own goals for my personal physique.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Call Me Bourgeois

...or booshie, as I have been referred to by some friends.  But there are some things I cannot get with, for instance chain restaurants.  Or rather, heavily chained restaurants.  In an effort to set up a potential date, a young man asked me if I liked Chilis.  He was referring to the Mexican inspired restaurant chain that you have seen in many-a-mini-malls.  I had to think long and hard how to reply truthfully and not come across as a snob.  I opted for a text that stated, 'not particularly a big fan of Chilis, but I'm open'.  Since he likes tacos, I suggested a place in the Bridgeport neighborhood.  He was game and we continued from there.

Now you can call me 'booshie', but I am against chain restaurants on first dates.  I mean there are exceptions to the rule, Rosebud, Shaw's Crab House, McCormick or Schmick's to name a few.  But your run of the mill Chilis, T.G.I. Friday's, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory or even Houston's- can't do it, on principle alone.  I think those locations should be reserved for friends, family and already established couples.  'Hey honey, let's just grab a bite at Grand Luxe.'  Don't get me wrong, I love to drizzle extra Italian dressing on my Olive Garden salad, but don't take me there if you're trying to impress me.  Those restaurants are so mundane.  Considering the city in which I live, Chicago, there is no excuse for brothas not to research new and different food establishments.  I will not hold it against this man, because I don't think he meant anything by it.  That just might be his 'spot'.  But at the same time, I don't want to set us both up for failure by pretending I am cool with something that I am definitely not.

If that makes me stuck up, oh well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yeah, I'm a Flake!

It occurred to me today.  I am a flake.  It has taken me awhile to figure it out, but yeah, it's true.  I typically only do what I want to do, with the exception of things I have to do, like work.  What really irritates people is how much I embrace this part of me.

It all started a few years ago when I was hanging out with this crew of girls.  We were close, or at least I thought.  I was friends with one and by osmosis, became friends with her friends.  They were fun to go out and kick it with, but I never really felt like I fit in completely.  Yet, I still considered them to be my girls.

One day, my original friend, her best friend and I were hanging out.  I asked the best friend to give me a ride somewhere, where I cannot even remember.  Regardless, her response was a flat out 'no'.  She came up with some lame ass, but honest excuse about how it was out of her way and she did not feel like it.  At the time it really hurt my feelings.  Mainly because, thinking these were my 'girls', I had previously done things for her I did not feel like doing in the spirit of good friendship.  My question that day, while fuming to myself was, why?

She had every right to say no to my request.  She did not owe me anything.  Even if she did, it was her prerogative to be an absolute asshole.  I learned an important lesson that day:  do not waste your time making frivolous deposits into your imaginary reciprocity bank.  In other words, do good if you want to, do not get caught up in feeling obligated.  In the long run, you may never reap those 'benefits' back.  Your thoughtfulness may never be returned.  Do not hold it against people if they are not as considerate as you.  Furthermore, do what you want when you want.  Do not get caught up feeling pressure to be this or that.  It will only irk the shit out of you when the favor is not returned.

If someone asks me to do something, and I do not want to do it, I try my very best to be tactful, yet honest.  Let me be clear, sometimes, I opt to stay in and watch a movie or my DVR recordings.  Or maybe a book and a good soak in the bath seem more appealing.  I may choose to hang with someone else.  Whatever the case, that day that young lady said no to me, as if I had never gone out of my way for her, helped me realize, life is too short to try to please everyone.  Do not waste your time doing anything and your heart is not in it.

I have been known to withdraw from friends and family alike for simple disinterest.  My feelings may have not changed, just my attitude about the situation.  I am of course more aware of friends' actions in real life situations, not just within social gatherings.  I do, do things for people when I do not feel like it, but I make sure that it's what I really want to do and not because I expect it back someday.  I do not wear myself ragged trying to be everywhere for everybody.  So yes, I can be a flake sometimes.  You may even go as far as to say an asshole.

I'm so gifted at findin' what I don't like the most
So I think it's time for us to have a toast.- Kanye West, 'Runaway'

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Lately I have been dreaming and dreaming and dreaming.  I typically dream a little, but especially and more vividly during those special times of the month when my 'girlfriend' is in town.  But that was weeks ago, and I have not been able to stop.  The dreams are random, clear and leave me exhausted in the morning.  I finally came to the resolve that I am stressed or worried, about what I wasn't sure.

The dreams have involved everything from the morbid to the weird.  The night before last I dreamed about attending a funeral with a former boyfriend at a hospital that doubled as an open-spaced, island-like funeral home.  I kept wondering and finally it came to me, I am stressed about work.  Last night confirmed my suspicions.  I first dreamed that we had some important people visiting our CEO in the office.  I was being nosey and collecting My Coke Reward points from discarded pop cases in a recycling bin (I do this in real life).  My goal was to pull the tabs before the two men came around the corner, but instead I tripped over and toppled the wastebasket in front of them.  My CEO shook his head, made a 'you're so stupid comment' and walked away while chuckling.  I was totally disregarded, but giggled and felt embarrassed at the same time.  After that dream, I snapped at a co-worker who was getting on my nerves.  I shouted, calling him something horrible which made him leave the room in silence.  Then I dreamed of being in a beachfront California-style house with a concrete parking lot instead of sand.  I was allowed to visit the first floor, but the second was reserved for the owner.  Somehow, we snuck up there anyway.  And a slow stressful, chase of sorts, ensued.

Yep, I'm stressed about work.  It is official.  My co-worker and friend had her baby (finally) on Monday, and I am now responsible for a lot of her workload during the maternity leave.  I did not realize how bad it would affect me.  But I know now; that's what I have been having anxiety about.  We kept trying to meet beforehand to discuss what would be expected of me during her absence, but it never seemed like I had enough information.  Now that I have covered her for three days so far, I am still having the dreams, but I am sleeping a little better.  I have been busy since she's been gone.  Last night, I realized I had not even read yesterday.  Crazy, I know, but I read it everyday!  Yes, that's how I gauge my busy-ness, 'do I have time to read a little during the day?'

Now that I know what's bothering me, I have been praying.  Not so much just for sleep, but rest.  My goal is to have less anxiety-filled dreams and more sound sleep, allowing me to wake more refreshed.

A girl can dream can't she??

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Birthday Celebration

This weekend, the crew and I celebrated our girl's birthday, in our typical fashion.  Now while other GNOs consist of dinner and drinks, we like to take our celebrations up a notch.  This weekend was no different.  In the past we have done everything from a suburban roadhouse to a downtown blues club, even a ghetto strip club.  Our goal collectively is to make the outing special, and make sure it's a night to remember.    Due to schedules and out-of-town distance, everyone could not make it, so three of us had to hold it down for the birthday girl.  We decided on a Blackhawks game, which she (unbeknownst to us) has always wanted to attend.  Perfect!

We began with the Blackhawks and ended the night at a Hyde Park dive bar called The Cove on 55th Street (east of the viaduct) .  This helped to calm our nerves since the Hawks lost, 4-5 in an overtime shootout.  Now with any really fun night out, there are always quotes that you find yourself chuckling out loud to by yourself when you think of them later.  Here are that night's soon-to-be classics:

In response to Ryen telling us about her new boo, I gush, 'I love dorks!'  K-Hubb:  'I love di...oh never mind.'

When the Blackhawks score, Ak Fe, yells:  'Go SOX!!'  *wrong team*

K-Hubb:  'Beyonce is the Kelly Rowland of the Screen Actors Guild.'

Ak Fe:  ' tomorrow I'm going to Missy's party.'  Me:  'Missy Elliot?'  *I had to put down the Amstel Light and laugh.  The look on her face was priceless.*

As the 'jumbo-tron' camera captures random people enjoying the game, K-Hubb says, real nonchalant:  'They need to be shooting the 4 black people in here.'  *For the record, I counted 10 total.*

What a 'suite' view!
Until next time...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Didn't Mean To Turn You On

Sunday, when I woke, I began to write this very long and detailed post about a text tiff I had in the wee hours of the morning.  When I say 'wee', I'm talking 2:48am, Sunday morning to be exact.  First, let me say, I usually cut all alerts, except phone calls off when I sleep.  For whatever reason, I did not do so that night.  So the text woke me up.  I was not happy.  Second, unless we are a couple, or dating, you cannot communicate with me at all times of the night, after 9:30pm, to be specific.  I am irritated by the whole situation.  Furthermore, the text exchange I had with this man, who we'll call Jack, was so entertaining and audacious that I wanted to blog in detail about the entire communication.  Five descriptive  paragraphs in, and my girls were calling for details about the apple orchard outing I had coordinated.  I had to go.  So I saved what I had, with the intent to come back later and finish.  After thinking about it further, I decided not to put the gentleman on blast.  For a couple of reasons, but mainly because I feel the issue is not limited to just him.

To make a long story short, we were digging each other, apparently, but had very different ways of showing it.  I invited him to a major sporting event, which he could not attend, fine.  No hard feelings.  He, however, proceeded to discuss my physique via text.  What he considered letting me know that he 'liked' me, I thought was downright disrespectful.  He called himself admiring my body.  I felt objectified. To him, he made it blatantly obvious that he liked me.  But I thought he did not take me serious.

But he is not the only one.  I have another young man, who calls himself liking me, but just sends me random texts or gives me verbal compliments on how well I carry myself.  I do not mind this, but in both cases my confusion is, why not just ask me out on a date?  Jack, seemed puzzled as to why I did not understand his flirting.  The other young man keeps saying how cruel I am to him because he never sees me outside of my workplace.  For the record, he is not a co-worker.  He is a regular delivery guy, who I see rather frequently on the job.  I told him I was ok with hanging out, but I get the feeling he wants me to make the first move.

Do men even 'court' anymore?  I do not want to set the tone in a pending relationship, taking on the role of the 'man' or dominant force.  I have enough in my life to think about.  I do not want to have to coordinate every aspect of my love life either.  Jack finally texted, 'Fine can I take you out sometime?'  I responded, yes.  You see, I'm not mad at him, but rather disappointed that no one has previously explained to him how to treat a grown woman, a lady.  It is well into the fall season.  School is now officially in session.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Cemetery Across the Street

Perpendicular to my residential block is a large, prominent cemetery.  When I first moved to the neighborhood, about  four years ago, I was not a fan of this cemetery.  It felt creepy and weird.  But over time, I barely thought about it.  Recently, however, it has served as a reminder of life.  You see, every 6-8 weeks, like clockwork, I catch a Saturday funeral procession.  Those are the worst.  Here I am, coming home from boot camp class, parking my car and I will  witness that long, never-ending slow procession.  Or, while washing dishes I may see through my kitchen window, a horse-drawn chariot enter the gates.  Today, I sat in my car gathering my things and sat to watch how the CTA bus would treat the temporary traffic jam.  It fascinates me so.

I have seen the procession of people who's lives have been cut short, due to violence (there were sign-carrying 'stop the violence' marchers accompany them).  The slow steady crawl of mourners of people I presume to have been police officers.  My mood is usually a weird mix between sadness, gratefulness and restlessness.  The last mood, restlessness, comes when I think of how little time we have.  I catch myself before tearing up to think, 'now is the time.'  I am sure most of the deceased who have been  driven through those gates had something marked on their calendars for an upcoming date and time.  Or something they kept putting off until later.  All probably had at least one or two items left of their bucket list.

A co-worker told me yesterday, he likes reading my blog, because I have a very 'robust' life.  I was flattered. He finds it funny that I look at my life as quite mediocre.  Which, to some degree, I do.  He compares me to the movie 'Brown Sugar'.  In his eyes, there is so much to my life.  And it is; but I told him, there is so much more out there that I have not even tapped into yet.  That cemetery is my reminder.  There is a national commercial that runs relatively frequently.  It features a man riding a motorcycle narrating how he became a biker.  It ends with him saying he wants to leave this world exhausted (or something to that effect).  Basically, as dancers would say, leave it all on the stage.  Live life to the fullest.

I visited the cemetery for the first time a few months ago with a girlfriend who's mother is buried there.  My girlfriend had not been to the grave sight in years.  She has always said her mother would watch over me since we're neighbors of sorts.  If she is, I hope she likes what she sees.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I was watching a new show on CBS tonight called, '2 Broke Girls'.  The basis of the new fall comedy is two girls who work together in a Brooklyn diner have come together as friends and roommates because both are broke.  One girl is an heiress who has fallen on hard times and the other comes from a poorer background.  The show has 'canceled' written all over it.  But, it is CBS, and they have a following that likes quirky comedies and shows.  Does JAG and Big Bang Theory come to mind?  Anyway, watching the show and the tough-talking characters made me think of this memory...

I, along with my girls Nicole and K-Hubb, had flown to New York after work on a Friday last year for a quick getaway weekend in the city to see the Broadway show Fela.  Antoine was also meeting me there from Denver ( I think, I can't remember what city he was living in then).  We were staying in Battery Park and decided to go out for drinks as soon as we landed since there was limited time to kick it.  We went to a nearby pub.  The bartender, a woman, asked what we were having.  I answered, 'I don't know surprise me.  Whatever.'  This usually delights bartenders, because they can test out new concoctions and be creative.  But not this heifer.  She impatiently replied, 'No, you're going to be a big girl and tell me what you want.'  I think I ended up telling her to fix a gin and tonic.  She rolled her eyes and turned around to mix my drink.  Bitch.  Gotta love New York.

Antoine and I that night at the bar in NYC.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Desperately Seeking a Life

It came to me this morning.  The realization that I have a problem, a real problem.  It was exactly a week ago today that I was starting to slowly and with wave-like nausea, come to after an hour and a half long, anesthetic-induced sleep-imposed minor surgery.  I have been instructed by my surgeon to keep physical activity light, no heavy lifting and rest for a full and quick recovery.  No bootcamp, no problem, I'll just keep my diet in check.  No heavy lifting, good, there is less risk of breaking a nail.  Rest, well we all could use a good rest, but where, when and how long becomes the issue.  I was prescribed, along with a bottle of 30 hydrocodone (vicodin), 2 full weeks of medical leave from work.

It was determined and agreed prior to surgery, by my father and I, that recovery would take place at his house.  I actually like being 'home'.  I sleep in my old twin-size bed.  Watch my old 13" t.v., which sits on my old 80's furniture.  As ridiculous as it sounds, I still have clothes here.  In fact, last week I found a nightgown I have been missing.  My dad cooks breakfast and we coordinate dinner, just like old times.  He has not (sarcastically) requested I leave yet, so I will stay.  But what occurred to me this morning, as I perused Facebook and my favorite gossip websites is, an idle mind IS the devil's playground.

Lately, I have been praying about my curt tongue, snide remarks, endless irritation of others and overall judgmental thoughts and comments.  My good girlfriend Lorraine advised that I am to love everyone and not judge or persecute them for their life decisions, even if said decisions are absolutely absurd to me.  We also discussed my Facebook stalking skills, or lack thereof.  How I pieced together unfounded nonsense about a mutual friend based on pictures posted and my own personal issues.  Recently, although we just had this conversation a mere 2 Saturdays ago, I was at it again.  I know it's time for me to, as Antoine says, 'get off of Facebook'.  If only for a few weeks, or at least limit my negative posts and stalking.  My stalking is the worst!  I start clicking on friends of friends of friends so tough, I cannot even remember how I got to the particular person's page!  I know, I know.  Once I went so far, I had to literally stop myself from commenting on a stranger's photo.  I really did want to 'Like' it and tell him how fierce he looked...shaking my head.

My self-diagnosed craziness reminded me of a cousin of mine.  She lives abroad with her military husband.  She is a housewife and stay-at-home mom of 3; a full-time job, indeed.  We are actually no longer friends on Facebook and have not spoken in about a year.  It's sad and stupid, but I don't feel like digging up old garbage.  The point is, a lot of our recent arguments and issues of late have surfaced since she started moving around and living the stay-at-home life.  Also, her pregnancies seem to present a problem too, we have fallen out around child #s 2 and 3.  It could be a coincidence, but I digress.  My cousin has been known to stir up gossip, spread stories throughout the family and giddily tell you what negative thing another family member has said about you.  She would scour MySpace (when that was popular) and Facebook and then report her disdain for the person who got pregnant before marriage, or got fat.  The person who is aging poorly, the designated ghetto girls or the couple who will not last in her opinion, have all come under her fire.  The reason this all sounds so familiar to me, is this type of snobbish rhetoric has graced my lips as of late.  This behavior is my new norm.  And why?  Because like my cousin who casually took classes at whatever local college was nearby where her husband was stationed, who's daily life was broken up only by taking the kids to daycare or having lunch with her husband, but who had a hard time keeping friends (even the other military wives) because she was moving around so, I am bored!

Boredom is tricky.  It's better than craziness knocking at your door, but it will drive you insane.  It is easy to be behind a computer or laying down watching t.v. and be so annoyed with everyone else, I mean, what else is there to do?  Sure 2 weeks off from work sounds fun initially, but if you have an injury or are limited in what you are able to do.  If you have only left the house a total of four times in a week.  If your conversations mainly involve the only other person in the house, sprinkled with daily progress report calls from your mother, you get bored!!  I want to heal completely before going back to work.  But when I'm back to normal, I assure you, I will not be nearly as interested in Facebook or petty website gossip.  Instead I will return to living and having something of value to talk about.  My stalking will again heavily consist of good deals and pieces to add to my wardrobe collection.  That's the best prescription yet.  Until then, it's almost time for the People's Court...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Enough Already!

I read a post on that just irked the shit out of me.  The 'Write or Die Chick', Janelle Harris, wrote about an article she read where an ignorant mofo said that he discourages his single friends from marrying a woman who did not grow up with a father, as she will not know how to treat a man.  Oh-kaaay!  Can we just stop!  What nonsense!  Can we stop reading, writing and sharing this ridiculousness? Why is the 'plight' of single black women always come back to us?!  Here are the most annoying reasons why we are single (if you believe them):  We are too old.  We have kids.  We have too many kids.  We don't have kids.  We have been married.  We have never been married.  We are overweight.  We don't take care of ourselves.  We are to selfish and vain.  We are ghetto.  We are quick to have an attitude.  We emasculate men.  We're not white (one of my personal favorites).  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Can we all agree that some brothers (and maybe others) are just not trying to settle down now?  Not to mention the overall stats of population (men vs. women).  They have more options than ever and men are taking advantage and taking their sweet little time.  That's if they decide to settle at all.  But to say women who did not grow up with fathers will not make good wives.  Come on now!  I have officially heard it all.  I agree with Ms. Harris' sentiment on this issue.  Read the article here.  I have now taken a stand to not read another study, article, book passage, blog posting, or the likes about why I, MJ, is single.  Because if I believe in the Creator, as I do, than I have to trust and know that it is, what it is.  It will be, what it will be.  What is mine is mine, what is meant for me cannot be determined by some professor's jacked up data collected by women I cannot verify are even telling the truth.  Hell!  I can't even verify these 'subjects' exist.  Who knows where this information comes from or how it was collected.  I will not buy into it.  I will not open my ears to utter bull, any longer!  *exhale*

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Imaginary Wealth

Out of the blue, my 23-year-old nephew contacted me via Facebook instant messenger to ask me to send him ‘some money’.  He initiated the exchange by saying he was attending Heartland, a local community college in his town.  My nieces and nephews know that education is my weakness.  If they mention school, I get excited.  I want them to go to school and make a positive mark on the world and their lives.  Call me optimistic, but I feel it’s never too late to do something positive with your life.  With that said, I did not believe him.  I ignored the message and did not respond.  
You see, I was not raised to give men money.  Especially for reasons like doing someone ‘a favor’.  Which is what my nephew offered as an explanation.  He did not ask for a specific amount, or detail what he planned on doing with the money he was asking for.  In fact, this able-bodied young man, who is only eight years younger than me, has not even contacted me since.  I am okay with that.  Because I hope he understands the message I am sending via my non-response.
There is this misconception that just because I work and do not have any kids, I should have all this expendable cash. Wise spenders have extra cash. Just because I am responsible, does not mean I am 'responsible'. Or that I have cash for you. No I do not have school supplies to buy, but my 'supplies' are just as important, like the cute suede peep-toe booties I bought last week. Or the four pairs of earrings I just had to have, that I ordered with a giddy smile on my face the other day. I got paid a week ago and the check is just about gone. Am I proud of this?  Not necessarily (I’m working on it). But this is one of the reasons why I do not have kids now. I am my own child.  I take care of myself. I spoil me!  Traditional parents buy back-to-school clothes, I shop for fall trends that translate for both day and night.  My field trips are to the Sprinkles cupcake shop, Ann Taylor and the Loft, Century Centre Cinema for an indie flick with my girlfriend, Sanctuary Nail Spa for a minx pedicure and basic manicure, not to mention spa services at the Peninsula and trips to wherever, whenever.  Please do not ask me for money; my 'baby's' gotta eat!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Call Me

I was short on cash this weekend, so I decided in an effort to avoid spending money, I would limit my activities.  Yesterday, I got up at 7:30am, did bootcamp, went grocery shopping (about 9:45am) and spent the rest of the day in my bed catching up on my DVR recordings.  By this morning I was suffering from cabin fever and decided to clean up my dining room (I was sick of seeing it look like a disaster zone), visit my cousin and spend some time with my dad.  He has been trying to collect this $20 I borrowed about 2 weeks ago and we needed to do some research.  What kind of research?  Glad you asked.  I have the distinctive honor, and/or burden depending on how you look at it, of getting my 80-year-old father, his very first cell phone!

I had already done my part of the research over a month ago.  But trying to explain what I discovered, without visuals was very difficult.  So today I brought my laptop and portable internet hotspot over his house to show him my findings, in the hopes we could wrap up this entire process soon.  The phones and plans we checked out are from AARP's Consumer Cellular and created specifically with older adults in mind.  There are plans as low as $14 a month for 100 minutes or $0.23/minute.  I think the 100 minutes will suffice for now.  Daddy wanted to know if the minutes rolled over.  He did not believe he would use them all, however, he was already asking what the cost would be if he received incoming calls.  He insisted on a camera phone.  Mainly because a friend of his (a woman) asked if he had a cell phone so she could send him some pictures.  I told him to have her send them to my e-mail.  To this he replied, 'what if the pictures are nude?'.  Good question, but I did not need the visual, thanks.  So instead of getting the phone I think would be the best one for his needs, with the best overall reviews, I am going to order the camera phone.  In case he may or may not receive potentially nude pictures.

The total cost will end up being $35 to activate the account and $14 for the month.  We will order it this week sometime.  He seemed satisfied.  And I feel as if I need a drink!  So if you get a mysterious butt-dial from a strange number, with abstract jazz music playing in the have been warned.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Pains

I had a dream last night.  I had given birth to conjoined, or Siamese, twins.  They were small and perfect and fit right into the palms of my two hands.  The twins had two heads but shared everything else, a single set of arms, legs and one chest.  They were a beautiful brown and each had a full head of straight, jet-black hair.  The doctor or an authority whose face I did not see or cannot remember, said one of them would die.  I kept asking which one, but she wouldn't tell me and said I would know.  The twins shared a strong healthy heart that I could feel thumping in my hand while I held them.  Thump, thump.  When I woke this morning, I looked up the meaning of Siamese twins in a dream.  Here is what I found:

A bond between two individuals (emotional bond, family bond, marital bond, etc.)—for better or for worse, taking the good (companionship, support, etc.) with the bad (disagreements, irritations, etc.).

I am still trying to figure how this relates to me.  All I can say is I have been going through a metamorphoses lately.  I have been bold and kind of annoyed, happy and sad all at the same time, giddy and worried.  You can see my mood in the Mac Ruby Woo lipstick I bought last week and have been wearing faithfully.  Find it in my popped denim jacket collar.  Or in my stride that effortlessly moves me block after city block.  I am on a mission.  I do not know the full scope of it yet and I am not sure where it will lead, but there is a force that is moving me.  Onward.  

What struck me the most about the dream, was how the 'authority figure' had given up on the twins and my maternal instinct kicked in naturally.  I felt so comfortable and proud and hopeful, encouraged that they would survive.  That there was more life in them.  What the 'authority figure' could not see or feel or even understand, I knew.  Thump, thump.  I was moved and blessed by the notion of having given birth in the dream.  Pregnancy in dreams usually symbolize something new, a creation coming forth.  I welcome pregnancy in dreams.

When I survey how I have been feeling lately, irritated, excited, sad (I actually cried yesterday when I stepped out of bed and discovered it was cold and summer is over.) sensitive, but assertive and strong, hot in the pants and eating like a weirdo (I ate bbq chips and seafood salad for breakfast this morning), I feel like I am mimicking a pregnant woman.  If I was having an active sex life, I might be concerned.  Alas, I am not pregnant with child.  I am pregnant with possibilities.  What I am going through right now, according to an insightful friend (he is the only person I verbally shared my dream with), is the 'labor pains' that come with all pregnancies.

I am praying, not just for a speedy labor, but a healthy one.  I want to give birth to a real bundle of joy.  The kind that only God can conceive.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Honey(s) and the Babe(s)

Before you say it, I will say it for you, 'I'm a hater!'.  There, now we got that out the way, let's proceed.  I cannot stand, the Honey/Babes.  That is what I am naming 'them' for this post.  The Honey/Babes are the couples, usually very new, but already in intense relationships, who refer to each other as Honey or Babe.

You know who I am talking about, 'Hey honey, where did you put the bottle opener?' or 'Babe, have you seen my socks?'  Blah, blah, blah.  Shut the front door!  I never feel these couples are sincere or real.  It always seems like a set up to imminent failure.  Real couples, the ones I grew up around, the ones who have lasted into the double digit years, tend to use each other's real names, or maybe 'dear' as a pet name.  That always seemed more endearing.  Acknowledging the person and their wholeness, not creating some minimalist, sugary nickname.  'Sweetie, can you hand me the soap?'  I see these Honey/Babes, and I think, you've got a long way to go.  You have not even scratched the surface of real life love and romance.

Of course I want my own 'Honey' or 'Babe' (like soon); but I think I'll just stick to calling him by his given name.  I will welcome him into my life, cautiously at first, then wholeheartedly if he shows himself worthy.  I want to take him for who he is, not an anonymous, generic and fictitious man with no name.  Got it babe?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strip Club Follies

This past Saturday, in celebration of my girl’s 30th birthday, the crew decided to do something different.  Here we were, five educated women, who originally met at an all girls Catholic college preparatory high school years ago, trying to figure out exactly what to do.  We kick it, but we don’t kick it. Typically we are the dinner party, French Market fresh produce shopping, outdoor music and art fest, drinks at a lounge or blues club and neo-soul concert-going type.  But we’re talking a 30th birthday here; you have to go hard, or go home.  
As a group, we decided to fly my girl in from Seattle, where she had recently relocated for her career.  The night started out wholesome enough, dinner at Hamada’s Japanese restaurant in Tinley Park.  It was here that we collectively agreed that the party would continue at The Factory, a BYOB strip club.  Now if you go to the website, and check out the girls, you get the impression that it’s primarily white, ex-porno-type ‘talent’.  But don’t be fooled, it’s straight booty-clapping, ‘get down low’ girls.  There were only about 3 white, latin or undetermined ethnicity strippers.  
The club has been open for a few years now.  I can recall how upset the nearby church members were about it’s opening.  These were the same church folks (primarily black) who had to fight to get their chosen location because the neighborhood (primarily white) did not want them around either.  Lately, it’s popularity has grown amongst women.  It is ghetto.  And until you get a little ‘oil‘ in your system, kind of uncomfortable.  Once inside, with my purse strap wrapped closely around my arm, I realized, it was like a big ‘hood’ club that just happened to have strippers.  So here we go...
Parking= $15
Entrance= $30 (even for us ladies; this price increased to $40 later on)
Getting drunk with the girls and having an all out ball= PRICELESS
We witnessed and/or experienced the following...
A stripper get yanked off the stage by a female patron, while she was performing.  A serious Jerry Springer-esque fight ensued.  When she emerged from the floor, topless, her wig was off.  Yikes!
Another fight, this time on our side of the stage.  We weren’t sure who was actually fighting, but liquor was thrown and security had to intervene.
The DJ had to interject the music several times stressing that if you were not on stage, the ladies were to keep their underwear on.  There was lap dances and stripping by the ‘audience’ as well.
Strippers with C-section scars and deflated and severely wrinkled former pregnant bellies.  We just casually turned our heads until the ‘gross’ ones left.
Lessons learned...
Although it is against the rules, I found it beneficial to pick up dollars already thrown on the stage that landed near me and throw it back at the girls.  I mean, why spend my own money when someone else has already been so kind to spend theirs?
If you are slick with it, you can actually come up on some extra cash.  From time to time when the brothas made it ‘rain’, I picked up the dollars on the floor and either gave it to the strippers as if it was my tip, or kept the money for myself.  Yeah, that was the liquor encouraging the ‘no one gets hurt’ thievery.  Let’s just say I left with $5 dollars I did not come in with.
Also, if you go to the bathroom, and almost break your neck because there is about 3/4 of an inch of mysterious liquid on the floor, charge it to the game and pray it’s spilled water.
Will we do that again, hell no!  But was it a blast that will go down in history as one of our most memorable and fun nights together, hell yeah!
Until next time...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same.

This is one of the realest things ever stated.  This morning before jumping in the shower and heading out to my boot camp class, I rolled over and read the last 30 pages of my autographed paperback copy of Terry McMillan's, Waiting To Exhale.  The book, originally published in 1992, was not on my 'must read' list at 12.  Don't get me wrong, by 12, I had tackled Dick Gregory's autobiography, Nigger, read Alice Walker's, The Color Purple, enjoyed Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place and even tried to complete Alex Haley's, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (sadly I failed; I'll pick it up again, one day).  Although it was on my mom's bookshelf for years (I'm envisioning the hard cover now), it was never read.

My girlfriend and I attended the 2011 Lit Fest in June.  Terry McMillan was a featured author.  She read excerpts from the sequel of Waiting To Exhale.  Afterwards, the audience was given the opportunity to have Ms. McMillan sign any copy of one of her books you had.  My girl's friend was kind enough to give me a copy of a book she brought, 'Girl, I by books all the time!  I've read it already and I have other books she can sign.'  I was grateful.  Terry McMillan is an author I truly enjoy.  I wanted to meet her.

I, as a book lover, like to pick up and buy multiple books.  I collect never-before-read books, then I have the hardest time trying to figure out which one I want to read next.  I just finished Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (another one I tried to read when it first came out, but did not get it at all at the time) and wanted to follow it up with something good.  Sex and the City dealt with being white, rich (or at least financially comfortable) and single on the world-famous island of Manhattan.  So I was not sure I wanted to read about sistas struggling with dating too.  I mean, haven't we all been reading the articles about how Black women are, if you believe these ridiculous studies, the most undesirable women on planet Earth?  I sucked it up and decided to read it anyway.

The story, which takes place nearly the entire span of 1990, has the exact same themes and issues in it, regarding dating while black and woman, that we are still talking about and facing today.  The book could have been written in 2011!  The four characters this 'fictional' story revolves around, are all in their mid-late 30s, all single, whether newly (Bernadine) or habitually (the rest of them:  Savannah, Gloria and Robin).  I put fictional in quotes, because although this may have been a fictitious novel created by Ms. McMillan, let's be honest, this story is familiar to all of us.  The characters are not far-fetched or out of most of our 'norms'.  Robin is dealing with a dog-ass dude.  Her hopefulness will not allow her to see him for what he is.  She is one of those 'feeling' girls.  You know, the 'I need to feel some kind of chemistry' girls.  Savannah, as smart, talented, self-sufficient and sharp as she is cannot seem to catch a break.  Gloria uses food as her comfort and is unofficially married to her teenage son.  Bernadine has learned the hard way how easily someone can take your loyalty and time for granted.

Now most have read the book or seen the movie; I am not going to give a review.  What struck me to the core was, here is a book released when I was 12 and now, 19 years later, at 31, I still can relate.  The story is still relevant.  I could look at that as being a sad situation.  But I choose to look at the bright side. It means I am in good company.  Women have been dealing with the single state for years.  Black women have had the same gripes, complaints and issues with brothas for years.  And in reading Sex in the City, I have come to the conclusion, White women are not immune from the lonely and single 30s club either.  The women were real or based on real people Ms. Bushnell knew or had met in life.  They were all in their 30s or 40s and in different states of singleness.

So there is hope.  Terry McMillan signed my book with:  Maya Best of the best.  Yes Terry, best of the best!

Please Forgive Me

Any 'good Christian' learned from an early age, the value and power of forgiveness.  However, at an early age it is taught as something you do to be a good 'brother' or 'sister' to someone else.  You forgive others, because you would want them to forgive you.  The lesson is a good one, but the greater lesson is the importance of forgiveness in the lives of the person who is actually forgiving.

I have rekindled about four relationships recently.  Each one special in their own way, varying in levels of importance.  I had pretty much written all four off, thinking we had reached the point of no return.  What I discovered was, there is no need to 'return'.  Instead, forgiveness gave us a chance to move forward.  With each situation, I felt relieved, at peace and at rest once we reunited.  The restless feeling that can come with anger and the uncomfortable anxiety that accompanies hurt, subsided.  I remembered why I liked, or loved them in the first place.  And I moved forward.

I cannot say we will be at the same level we were when we left off, but the importance is each of them is one less person I have had to write off entirely.  They each represent one more person I can flex my maturity muscles with, by being the bigger person or following the lead when they are the bigger person.  The individual situations are proof that the initial effect of our 'fall-out' behavior has not really affected me in the long run.  Not negatively at least.  I have kept my stride.  Have I forgotten how things went down?  No. I probably never will.  But for the time being, I am taking it one day at a time, with the understanding that nothing last forever.  And 'forever' is what we make of it.  If I meet someone and spend a mere 20 minutes with them, that is our forever.  And that is okay.  Today, thinking of this lesson that has come with time, I feel fresher, lighter, freer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Point of View...

Good Thursday morning to you!  While in the past couple of weeks, the plight of the SBF (single black female) has been the major topic on everyone's mind.  This week, I found myself discussing and debating the new movie The Help.  Our last post, so honestly written by Antoine Banks-Sullivan, was one view.  Here is another.  This is also written by a guest blogger, a friend, who wanted to remain anonymous, but was downright annoyed and outraged by the movie.  He admittedly has not read the book, but feels the movie is tasteless and insulting.  Like Antoine, he is African American, accomplished, loves literature and someone I enjoy listening to.  Read his thoughts.

The Help and Astute Student of Black Folklore and Fiction

“Minny did what?”

The true literary would understand that the surface messages shared in folklore must be taken totally in the proper context to understand the character’s true meaning.  Even if the author missed it, as she reveals the stories of the maids of Jackson, Mississippi, we who understand the culture know what Minny is really doing.  Miss Hilly had a phobia that Minny exploited.  The point she makes is that we can use separate toilets, remain subject to the scorning of bigots and worse, but maintain the upper hand.  Why?  Because as maids in the households, we are left alone with the children; we feed Missy and her entire family, and  we can put some real funky ‘crap’ in the mix at any time we choose.

Now as a son of the southern black family, I know without any doubt that no Christian black woman would ever violate the trust of the family she serves.  I also know that at various moments of frustration she would share conjecture with her friends that many horrible acts are possible.  And possible beyond reason.  She might share with all who would listen (even folk like Skeeter) that 'Missy made me so mad I wanted her to think that I contaminated her world'.  I feel you Minny.

I struggled to get over the obvious grossness of the act reported, but my literary sense of the true “BLACK” culture of that era  tells me that either the author was ill equipped to deal with the folklore that had been shared with her; or she simply made up a poor story in her ignorance. I kept waiting for Minny to tell her pals that she would never ever do such a thing but she wanted to leave the ‘insurance’ out there since it was working so well.  

I imagined the unveiling of this truth at a celebration luncheon.  I hear our heroine in a rich voice and character blurting out for all to hear….”Chile, that Minny is a mess! ”