She wants to lead the glamorous life!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baby Love

I sent my girl Octavia a text this morning asking what she and the baby Ava were going to do today.  I had not seen them in a couple of weeks and thought today would be a good day since I am off for Good Friday.  She responded that she was trying to get her hair done, but could not find a babysitter and asked what I had planned.  Nothing today, oddly enough.  She then asked if I wanted to make $20.  Sure, why not?  I was surprised.  I could not believe someone would trust me with their precious, non-replaceable baby.  I mean, MJ Poppins has watched kids before, but they were old enough to 'go sit down somewhere'.  Or watch t.v. by themselves.  But more importantly, it was usually it was for very short periods of time.  Think, a smoke break, that sort of thing.  But Octavia needed to get her butta whipped and her mom was busy, so I was chosen and asked.

I get over here and at first Daddy leaves, Ava is cool.  Then Mommy gives her some goodbye 'suga' and walks out the door.  Now on this little face, I see real signs of concern.  This less-than-one-year-old angelic force is giving me the 'playtime is over' look.  I mean, she is really not impressed.  All of a sudden her favorite dolly, just ain't funny anymore.  I, like the amateur baby handler that I am, pulls every toy out in an attempt to make her happy.  She's cool, but not amused.  Then here is comes.  That first whimper.  Then it comes again, the toys are not helping.  Finally, her eyes are watery and I panic.  Uh oh, now what?  I was told she should not eat again until noon, it's 10:30.  So I can't bribe her with food, although that always works for me.  Does she need to be changed?  She cries the moment I put her on the changing table, plus I can't get my finger deep enough in her diaper to tell for sure.  All I know is when she sits still, she gets pissed.  I'm hoping she is sleepy, but Octavia said she will not go to sleep on her own.  Aww hell...  Okay, think MJ, what would ease you into a late morning slumber?...BESIDES food...  I cut the lights off and turned the t.v. down and I walked.  Slowly, deliberately and while rubbing her back firm and gently I walked this small 1-bedroom condo.  From the bedroom to the dining room, I kept it moving.  It was the only thing that kept her from crying.

I used the mirrors I passed to get a glimpse of her, had she fallen asleep yet?  At first, no, then suddenly I felt it.  I felt her little butt, get even heavier on my forearm.  She was sinking in deeper.  Then came the head.  With a soft thud, it laid on my chest.  I had her, she was asleep!  When I felt she was deep enough in her sleep, I laid her down.  And that's all she wrote.  I sent a picture of the sleeping baby to her mom, who replied: 'Damn!  Good job MJ!'  I like when my maternal instinct shows itself; it's not often, but it's in there...somewhere.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Follow the Leader

I had a great salsa class tonight!  I mean, a really good class!  I usually take the class on Mondays, because remember I was following my class crush.  I am over him now and I did not end up going this past Monday, so I dropped in on tonight's class as a makeup.  The class starts later than my usual session, so it is a bit of a different atmosphere.  Of four classes in the series, tonight was the third.  Let me preface by saying, I did not feel like coming to class tonight.  I was going to cancel, come home and go to bed.  But, I did not want to switch classes on them twice in a row, so I went.

The class I am taking now is called Hot Chips and Salsa.  It is the next level after you have taken the introductory class.  There are two HCS classes.  Although there is no specific order to take them, you must take them both to proceed to the next level.  This means, you could be taking the class with someone who has already taken their first class or a newbie.  My Monday class seems to have more newbies, but this class I took tonight, was a bit more polished.  Even my arch dancing nemesis (we'll call him Ned) was not so bad tonight.  And that's saying a lot!  But it was on my way home that I finally understood the whole salsa process a little better and it's direct correlation to my dating life.

Salsa is quite simple at it's heart.  There is a 'Lead' and a 'Follow'.  The lead, is the guy and the follow is the girl.  When I first started the class, it was hard for me to follow.  If the teacher gave instructions on what combination to perform, I would anticipate the next move (whether he wanted to do it or not) and dictate the step.  In salsa, however, this is completely wrong.  Whatever the lead decides to do, is up to him and the follow should follow his lead every step of the way.  I really struggled in this department.  So much so, I soon had to close my eyes or look straight ahead and not at the leads feet while dancing.  I stopped paying attention to what the teacher said, and let the lead learn it.  After all, whether he got it or not, I have to follow his lead.

In dating, I have also taken on the lead role in error.  Scheduling dates, picking out the place, making reservations, calling as much as I wanted to, etc.  But lately, as in my dating situation now, I just go with the flow.  Although I would love to have my friend take me on a night out on the town, I just keep doing my 'basic' step until he gives me the signal he wants to switch things up.  I used to be the girl who initiated all communication, saying out loud, everything that was on my mind.  Communicating all feelings, with no regard TO my feelings, a total misstep.

In salsa there are a lot of turns and twists.  As it is a partnered, there is hand holding throughout the dance.  But there can be a disconnect while your partner is turning or spinning you.  At first I would try to meet my partners hand so that we could reconnect.  I literally put my hand in his, forcing the connection.  But as my teacher (she's my favorite partner, because that's where you get the best one-on-one instruction) tells me all the time, and tonight even:  'don't make it easy for him.  Let him find you.'  Also, when my teacher, (a woman acting as a lead) who is no taller than 5'2", first turned me, my instinct was to duck under the arm.  But she instructed against that.  You are always supposed to stand tall, shoulders back.  There should be no slouching.  The lead must find a way to turn you over your head.  You do not bow to make it easier for him, he MUST figure out how to spin you without messing up your hair.  His lack of height is not your problem.  In dating, there have been times when I have lowered my standards, to better accommodate my partner.  I have shrunk, to help him.  I have bent at the knee, to avoid a collision, because he wasn't tall enough for me (metaphorically speaking).  Now when I dance, my goal is to just be there and let the lead get us to our next move, all while never skipping a beat.  My feet stay in constant motion until we are both in sync.

Due to a lack of leads, we dance with partners in a circle, until the teacher says 'switch', then you move on to the next.  And that is my final lesson tonight.  If you don't like the lead's style, moves, actions or signals, if his turns are sloppy or you always end up compromising to get him on point or if you just don't feel comfortable with him for whatever reason, there is always a way out.  Whether you have to dance alone for a little while and wait your turn to be partnered again or you move on immediately to the next, I find comfort knowing I can keep it moving...while effortlessly looking good no less.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beauty Tips, Shopping Trips and More...

Today I wanted to share a beauty secret, which isn't really a secret.  But in case you were not aware, or are looking for a product to handle dry skin and exfoliation, do not, I repeat do not go out and buy an expensive scrub.  All you need is sugar, any kind (I used white), and olive oil.  I used a disposable plate for a quick disposal.  Poured some sugar and added the olive oil in the plate, mixing it with my fingers.  Then I got in the shower and before turning the water on, scrubbed the parts of my body that needed exfoliation (arms, elbows, legs, knees and bikini area- I got a wax on Sunday and I bump easily, this helps calm that down) then turned the shower on to rinse.  The result, smooth, soft and well oiled skin.  I used my regular soap to 'suds up' then applied more of my concoction as a finishing touch.  This way, when I got out of the shower I patted myself dry (not too much) and the moisture and oil were locked into my skin!  Try it at home, super simple!  SIDEBAR:  I use Claus Porto soap.  It is a product from Porto, Portugal.  The soap is $16 a bar, but lasts a looong time.  I have a sphere from my last bar that I have been using for at least two months now.  Established in 1887, you can find it at a few specialty soap shops or online directly from Claus Porto (international shipping fees apply) or sites like Amazon.  Here in Chicago, I get it from the Merz store at the Palmer House.  The soap boasts of 100% Shea Butter formula and 100% vegetable base.  Plus, it smells so good.  It will add a fresh scent to your bathroom.  And if that's not reason enough, the packaging is very art deco, so it looks good waiting to be used.

Moving on to clothes, I went shopping today both online and in-store at Ann Taylor (surely becoming my favorite store).  I bought the following items (I did not know how to add a quick-link, they are below, so you will have to go to the Ann Taylor store and pull the item numbers up, sorry):  258463, 256451 and 255868.  There was a fourth item but they no longer sell it online.  I could describe them, but it would not be the same.  But basically, a dress, skirt, shirt and pair of cropped pants. Too cute!

Finally, my trench coat I ordered from Topshop, finally came in today.  There was free shipping when you spent a certain amount, but because the store is in the UK, the coat was being shipped via Royal Mail.  Yeah, try tracking THAT down!  Anyway, it is so adorable and I am glad it came.  I was getting nervous.  On the plus side, Topshop is soon to be opening a flagship U.S. store here in Chicago.  I cannot wait.  Here is the coat's item number:  07N09YNAV.  Check them out, very funky, but sharp items.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cable Ready

Some of you might know that I am so anti-cable. Not the cable itself, but the ridiculous fees they charge to view it. I have a love hate relationship with Comcast. I love my favorite shows (True Blood, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, etc.), I love On Demand (THEE best on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon), but I hate having to keep track of Comcast's Mayan-like calendar system to monitor my spending. The last time I got rid of Comcast, my bill had shot up to about $130 per month. Now I did have the internet as well, but damn!! So I kindly paid my past due bill (it was over $200) and shipped them their sh!t back! Although now that I'm thinking about it, I may still have their remote.

I have been making due without cable, even in the winter months! As I have been down this road before, going back and forth, cable, no cable. During this last stint, I have become better acquainted with my PBS shows, and pretty much an internet junkie of sorts. As I type this I am looking at a perfectly clear signal for NBC, thanks to my old school antenna with tin foil to match. If I can't get a signal, I watch something else. But my antenna is definitely on it's last leg, so I decided to suck it up and get cable tonight. I even went so far as to sign up for the 'digital preferred' package WITH HBO and WITH a DVR. Yes. I. Did. But here's where Comcast makes me want to kick them in the corporate face. For the first 6 months, I get the package for $39.99. Three of those months, I get HBO and the DVR for free. From months 4-6 (this is the way the girl is saying it) I only pay $10 for each bringing my total to $59.99. Then months 7-12 what I pay goes up to $79.99. And because that STILL isn't the real 'full price' fee for the service, months 13 and on, it takes a jump to $114! I sure hope they use lube...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Before I go to bed...

Okay, so tonight I'm talking to my mom on the phone with the t.v. muted. And low and behold, what do I see? A McDonald's Real Fruit Smoothie commercial starring my CTA crush! He told me he had done a commercial, but I had not seen it. Well, correction, he did not tell me directly, I overheard him talking to his co-worker explaining why he wasn't at the staff/team meeting that previous day (*rolls eyes* whatever, like you don't secretly stalk cute boys in your head!). Anyway, he said he was shooting a McDonald's commercial. I tried to youtube it, but could not find the clip. It may be too new. He looks a little weathered and worn in the commercial, but he's still cute to me. Plus, we shared a moment last week when the crowded bus we were on came to an abrupt stop and accidentally backed it up on him!! My mother said that that sad and I shouldn't share my public transportation perversion, but hell, it's been blah, blah, blah since I've had some rah, rah, rah!

If you see a Real Fruit smoothie McDonald's commercial with a brotha with a Maxwell-style fro and mustache, that's him!

This is some bullsh!t!

This is some bullshit!! That's what I am always thinking when I go to my Core Barre Ballet class on Tuesdays. I registered for a month of the once a week class. Today was my fourth and final week. I skipped last week's class because I really did not feel like it. But I already paid for my month-long unlimited classes through Living Social and I planned to get my money's worth. So begrudgingly I went today.

When I signed up for the class, I thought it would be a ballet class, plain and simple. No, this is an intense pilates, core training and strengthening class. Basically some exercise nazi bullshit that I abhor. I take an outdoor bootcamp class, I have run 52 flights in 14 minutes and I have completed two 5K runs, and I still have sweated the most in this class! I mean sweat is all over my face. I sweat normally, do not get me wrong, but not on my face and neck like I do here. Plus, I leave the class feeling sore. Oh how I want a strong massage of my legs, calves and feet right now.

Apparently the regular teacher of this class is on maternity leave. So I have had two different substitutes. I must say, I liked today's teacher better than the last one (I am not speaking personally, as I do not know either ladies, only there sinister workout tactics). However, sometimes I wonder, like today, if instructors make up weird stuff in their head for us to do. Some of the movements we did today, were awkward and seemed like something she discovered by accident. 'Wow that hurt when I picked up those keys like that, eureka, I'll have my class do it in reps of eight!' Are you phucking kidding me!?

With all that said, I am debating whether to continue taking it. It does feel affective and an hour and 15 of that, plus, 2 hours of bootcamp, another hour of salsa and ballet, that's 5 hours of exercise each week. Maybe my stomach will get to the Janet Jackson flatness I so desire. Because you know I am secretly a fat girl trapped inside this slender figure. She is breaking her neck to get out, but MJ ain't having that! I want to stay slim and trim before I settle down and have my 2-3 kids. This fitness stuff does not get any easier the older you get, you combine that with a little one at home, and we're talking a recipe for 3 chins! And I'm too cute for that...

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Randoms...

Today in Salsa class, we turned and turned and turned, it was fun. I got a ride to the train station from my class crush, he becoming less of a crush and more of a cool guy I like. Then while on the bus headed to my car this boy sat down next to me. He could not have been older than 13 or 14. He had a big book bag and was eating Wendy's while talking to the young girl and grown woman he boarded the bus with across the aisle. He faced outward with his legs in the aisle space. This caused his bag to push up against my arm, very annoying. I wanted to ask him to put the bag down, but feared backlash from his 'mother'. As I am trying to read my magazine and not be absolutely annoyed by him and his bag, he turns to me and says, "I have to tell you, you are a very beautiful woman.' Totally, caught me off guard!! I managed a 'thank you'. But was cheezin'! Then he asked what I was reading and told me he disliked how crowded the bus got everyday. His stop was 63rd Street, by then the bus has become more sparsely populated. But it does not matter, because he is about to get off anyway. I was so happy. Here was a seemingly well-adjusted boy, who was polite, charismatic and comfortable talking to adults. Or maybe he thought I was know I'm so youthful...

The Panties

I had a really good weekend. On Saturday, I spent the night/early morning with a boy. We will refer to him as Jacob. He and I have been casually chatting on the phone and flirting via text for about two months now. I have visited his house once before and we have spent limited time together previously. We first met in '99 or '00. After losing contact for several years, we reunited on, where else, Facebook. I was hesitant, but decided to give him another chance and 'explore' a possible relationship. The funny thing is, we are relatively comfortable with each other and get along quite well. But, just because you knew someone in the past, does not mean they are even remotely the same person now. You have to start all over. It has to be as if you have never met. Also, I do not ever take for granted a 'new' man's life, their lifestyle or their true dating status. Unless we have set some initial ground rules or put a title on the situation, I assume nothing.

Moving along, we met up earlier in the night and reconnected after about 2 a.m. Yes, granny was up past midnight. We went back to his place to chill. A little snuggling ensued, a kiss or two while watching 'Bad Boys'. I was getting tired and joked about taking a nap. He asked if I wanted to stretch out in the bedroom. I said, 'sure'. We get in there, and he immediately apologized about the room's condition. So that you can get a visual, his house is a true man's bachelor pad. To use his words, 'I'm a dude.' Sidebar: I like that a bit too. Probably, because I too can be junky. When I meet extra meticulous men, I get nervous about what they may think when they see my place. Anyway, the room is completely dark with the exception of the very dim cast of light from the lamp posts outside. He asked if I needed him to leave the room while I changed into a t-shirt he provided, I said no need (I have perfected the quick change). He was a complete gentleman the entire night.

We get in the bed and cuddle some more while spooning occasionally. Now, he slept like a baby, snoring, talking in his sleep, I on the other hand, not completely comfortable with the new surroundings, slept very light, if at all. Mind you, at this time, it's well past 3 a.m. The sun is soon to come up. And when it does, it hits my eyes through the pale off-white blinds. I rolled over to face the window directly, as I opened my eyes, there 'they' were. To my curious mind's eye, in direct line with my vision was a scummy pair of women's underwear! Yep, some woman's draws! They were too big to be his daughter's, and I had mine on, so they most definitely were another woman's. I can honestly say, 'I have never...'. The funny thing is, I was not shocked, surprised or even angry, just interested. Whose panties were these? And why were they so gross-looking?

So here is the dilemma, how do you bring this up? He is not my man, we are not in a relationship and it is his house. I just do not ever want to encounter it again. So today while at work, I get a text. We start chatting about our day and the visit. I joked about him talking in his sleep. Then I not-so-gracefully segued into the conversation with a: 'since we're talking about Saturday night, let me segue into another topic'. He was opened to the shift. I told him about my discovery. He said he saw them as well when he woke up and was pissed. Apparently, he let's his brother use his crib as a jump-off spot. He said he royally cussed his brother out and was embarrassed to think, what I might think. I explained that we had no particular ties and he was free to do whatever. But he quickly responded that appearances mean everything, and if something 'went down' that night (which it did not; we had a wholesome cuddle-fest) it would have come across extremely negative regardless of the story. He added that it would have not made him look good at all. He apologized and laughed at my 'scummy' draws comment.

I explained to him that back in the day, I was truly the 'aww hell to tha naw' type of girl. But that I am too old and too tired to go around jumping to conclusions and cussing EVERY-body out to prove my point. Instead, I collect the facts as they are presented, form my own conclusions and move forward the way I see fit. Instead of asking, 'who the fuck is she?', now I meditate on the type of person the man has presented himself to be. I let his actions be my guide to trust and his ultimate believability. I do not sweat the small stuff; in the end, it usually does not matter. Panties would typically go under a 'big stuff' category, but in this case it did not come across that way. My major concern was, what does this say about him, if he dates girls that wear Dollar Store panties to go screw?? I wish I took a picture of these things, it looked like she had gone to the playground with a skirt on and played in the sandbox, for an hour.

In the end, the situation turned into a great 'icebreaker' for a lightweight text discussion on trust and anger management. He complimented me on my attitude and said he handles issues the same way. I like him. Who knew strange panties could be such a unifying factor?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring is in the Air

It is officially springtime. Or at least it especially feels like it today. The weather was nice or maybe just nicer. The city had that little buzz it gets when the weather warms up; that unmistakeable feel-good vibe. It makes people kinder and gentler. When I was getting out of my car earlier, I saw my neighbor. He looked fresh and clean. He was also getting into his new Audi (someone must have gotten a nice tax refund check). I made a point of saying a very upbeat 'hey, how you doing'. I followed that greeting with a 'you look very springtime'. He smiled and said, 'it's beautiful today'. I agreed, adding: 'it's gorgeous', while walking away. We both exchanged, 'have a good day(s)' and went on about our business. This exchange was so cute to me, because a few years ago he had left a note on my windshield asking me out for coffee or tea. I ignored it and later he asked if I had received it. I said yes and that I had a boyfriend. Now in hindsight, that 'boyfriend' was an a$$hole. I really could have giving him a little play. But instead I dismissed him, politely, but a dismiss nonetheless. He then proceeded to make an extreme effort to ignore me. He did not speak to me for at least a solid year. I finally had to start forcing him to speak, by speaking to him, trying to stay cheerful and light. So maybe this has finally, completely broken the ice. I have no hard feelings toward him, but if he were my boyfriend, I am sure he would expect me to tell any interested parties that I was taken.

Today also marked the start of my bootcamp class, on the other hand my Taste of Salsa class ended. My cute classmate signed up for the next level, so I did as well...shaking my head. I am not stalking him, but it is nice to progress with someone you have already danced with, that's what I am telling myself. Between my bootcamp on Saturdays, the Introduction to Ballet I start tomorrow, the new advanced salsa class on Mondays and the core barre ballet class Tuesdays, I expect to be sore this season. The good news is my core barre class ends in two weeks; I hate it. I know I am taking a lot of classes, but they are a great way to keep in shape without hitting the dreaded treadmill or doing an awful spin class. Also, I have the time and means. Plus, why not? My girlfriend last night, asked if these were items on my 'bucket list'. I was a little offended and even got a bit defensive. Why do I have to be clearing a bucket list? Why can't I just be doing me? She is a good long-time friend and means well, so I got over it quickly. I am very much aware that this kind of time and freedom is very precious. I plan on enjoying every minute of it. Awww, springtime in Chicago, cannot beat it.