She wants to lead the glamorous life!

Friday, June 29, 2012

To Be Young

It is officially summertime at the gig.  Which means intern season.  Every year we get a great batch of kids.  I mean the kind of kids that make you want to actually have some in the hopes that they will turn out to be as polite and mannerable as the young men or as smart and kind as the young ladies.  One other thing the 'kids' spark in me, is a regret that I really wasted my youth not being as proactive and career driven as I should have been.  I was foolish enough to think the world really was my oyster and I had so much time to kill.  Whether it be with less than worthy 'boyfriends' or dead-end jobs that did not do much for my skillset or resume.  I was focused on the wrong thing:  living life.  I wanted life to rush hard and fast at me, but did not think it would sweep me up in it's mist in order to mature and essentially age me.

I thought I was so smart and well put together, but in hindsight, I had no clue what the hell I was doing and where I was heading.  I knew I wanted to live.  I would cringe whenever people asked what I wanted to do.  I had no idea.  I wanted to get paid a respectable and livable wage and make the rest of it up as I went along.  My major concerns as a younger woman was having a man.  Having fun.  Kicking it.  What 32-year-old MJ knows in contrast to 18, 19, 20-year-old MJ is I could have been laying the groundwork for that then and doing those things now.  I guess the thought of 32 seemed so old.  Back then, my futuristic, and might I add idealistic and unrealistic eye, had me married with a few kids.  My husband would be a professional of some kind, making lots of money.  We would live downtown or on the North Side.  I would be chillin' with a boutique my husband would have bought for me or be a stay-at-home mom or even someone with a cool job that allowed me to dress professionally fly.  Yeah, that's how shallow my thought process was, I just wanted a 'cool job'.  I wish I was more focused.  I wish I put some thought into having a specific accredited skill.  I wish I knew that life did not have to stop at 30.  That there is a whole lot more life to live and enjoy.

I see these kids and I think, 'what if?'

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot Pants

I have made it no secret that I have gained 5-10lbs more than I care to admit or carry on these hips.  This fact makes it hard to wear certain articles of my wardrobe because either the clothes do not fit or they are ill-fitting.  A skirt that used to be flirty and short, has a more sexy, bootilicious effect with the extra butt I'm carrying around.  A pair of cute, perfect-for-the-summer, pants will not zip- AT ALL!  I refuse to buy replacement clothes because I do not intend to be this weight beyond this summer.  Plus, as you know, my FA ain't having it anyway.

Last night I went out to hear some music and decided to be a bit daring.  I wore one of my favorite pair of shorts.  They are Calvin Klein and I love them.  These shorts used to be staples in heavy summer rotation, but I have gained the weight obviously and it has just been consistently hot enough to wear them without looking to thirsty.  I rarely, if ever wear these shorts without heels.  In my mind, they are made for heels.  So I put on a throwback pair I had honestly forgotten about, and a form fitting long sleeve and slightly see through top.  For the first time in a couple of months, I felt all out sexy.  I was kind of worried for the reaction.  Are they too short?  Walking to my car from my apartment building, heading over to the place, I heard, all the way from down the end of the block it seemed, "Hey, how you doing?".  Yeah, they're short as hell.  When I arrived at the venue, I felt a bit 'over dressed'.  So I sat down.  Plus, I could feel the eyes of men on my every move.  The women's stares were a bit more judgmental.  But as I carefully and secretly pulled them out my crack periodically (they were tight) I thought, I need to enjoy and appreciate my body for what it is now.  As opposed to longing for what I feel it should be later; constantly critiquing myself, my shape.  Or coming down hard on myself when I break my diet goals for the day to indulge in a cupcake given to me by my co-worker (which happens more than you can imagine).

Yes, those shorts were tight.  But if I were single, I could have pulled some action.  In reality, I am not that far from my weight loss finish line.  Being hard on myself is not going to help.  Will I be wearing those shorts everyday?  No.  But it was fun to pull them out for a hot occasion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

May I Use Your Bathroom?

I enjoy the bathroom. When I am at the Gift's house, I try to cut down on my meditation time. But sometimes I can't help it. I take a shower, wash my face, then the fun starts. I can stare at my face for at least an hour. I pick at it, examine it, critique it. I know he wonders what exactly I'm doing. Once I'm done with that, I start assessing my body, then hair. It gets a little tedious, but I get wrapped up. Last night I had one of my bathroom moments and as always he doesn't say anything. He will even use the other bathroom as not to disturb me.

In my dream house I want a large vanity, full length mirror, music, t.v., heated toilet seat and floors. Not to mention, I'd like a claw footed tub, his and her sinks and one of those showers that sprays you all around. Until then, I'll create my own sanctuary.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Apologize

Today I got in a bit of a tiff, which resulted in me receiving an apology.  I gracefully and meekly accepted the apology and quickly ended the conversation.  There was a time when I would have forced the apology and done a Deion Sanders-esque high-step in my head signaling victory.  Not anymore.  Now I fully understand the humility and maturity it takes to give a genuine apology.  It is not easy and it is not fun to admit you were wrong.  Or to take the high road and apologize, even if you were not wrong.  I welcome the apology, when it is in a sincere form.  But only give a half-hearted, "okay" or head nod, if it has been tossed out on several occasions.  If you continuously have to apologize, that means you are taking way too many liberties with my kindness.

I liked today's apology and especially the person who stood tall enough to come back to the scene of the crime and admit the mistake.  I have made a point to apologize more frequently, if for no other reason, to give that person the comforting feeling that there are no hard feelings.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The $150 Trip

My FA has been budgeting my money as you all know.  In a couple of weeks I will be in Vegas.  She writes a list of all the bills I have to pay for each check.  As I set up payments for my next pay period, I noticed I did not have much spending money for my trip.  In fact, it amounted to about $150!  I asked her what we could skip, so that I may have a fun trip without being tight.  She argued, in first person I might add, that she did not have anymore money.  What she put aside was all she had for me.  As if it was her money.  We scheduled a face-to-face on Thursday, because I am not a believer.  She, in between giggles, later told me I had Michael Jackson plans, on Tito Jackson money!  She even addressed me as Tito for the rest of the day.  The nerve!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Church House

I made it to the church house today.  I woke up at 7:01am and thought, "let me take my ass to church."  Yep, just like that.  I had some things on my mind that I could not shake, and I felt it best to take it to the One who can handle it best.  I took it to the Lord.  It felt good to lay my 'burdens down'.  I was late and extremely casual.  But I knew my attendance was more important than my appearance.  If I can go 3 weeks in a row, it will increase the chance of me forming the habit of going on a regular basis again.

During prayer time, I turned to my neighbor and lifted two names up as my concerns.  I included the individuals' names and was sincere in my thought and request.  The first was a no brainer, someone in my life has been suffering from an injury that has had him out of commission for the past couple of weeks.  The second was a woman who has recently come into my life.  I thought she was nice at first, then I learned of our connection.  We share a mutual friend.  She new who I was, but I, only a short time ago learned of her full identity.  With my new knowledge, I can go back down memory lane and know for sure, she has never been genuine or kind.  She is a shit starter and it pissed me off.  It has been on my mind and it makes me leery of any future interactions.

Instead of whining to others about her,  I decided to hand it over to the all knowing.  I felt no one would actually understand and I would have to reveal too much to get my point across.  Yesterday I watched an episode of 'Oprah's Next Chapter' that my mom had recorded.  Oprah interviewed 50 Cent, who said something to the effect of:  'you either pray or worry, it makes no sense to do both'.  I have always thought 50 was smart and I liked hearing what he had to say, but that rang so true.  It has been a new mantra for me.  I will not worry about this person any longer.  She will not rent space in my brain or thoughts.  Clarity feels good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hips Don't Lie

I had a good workout today in boot camp.  So much so, my hips are hurting.  I know I have had a major workout when I am sore when I leave class.  It is one thing to be sore the next day, but to be sore the same day, that's when I know I put in work.  My elbows hurt.  My legs are tight.  My abs were so sore right after class, I felt like I needed to throw up.  Being nauseous and sore is not a good feeling, but I feel like I am getting closer to my goal of dropping 15lbs.  When I finish working out, I am so hungry so I usually eat something and take a 2-5 hour nap.  Today, I had errands to run so I am a little crabby for only having the chance to sleep for a rough 30 minutes to an hour.  I will sleep like a baby tonight and my body will fit back very comfortably into a cute 2-piece soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent!

Today I received an e-mail from my landlord.  She rarely contacts me, as she is often very busy with school and work or traveling.  The subject was 'Hello'.  I opened it, wondering what news I would receive.  I figured it had something to do with my lease being renewed.  It did, but she also wanted to inform me that she would be raising the rent to cover the buildings assessments, which she had previously been covering in lieu of increasing the rent.  It will be an additional $50 each month starting the 1st of Sept.  She noted that she totally understood if I decided to move.  With the relatively short notice, I would not have much time to move, even if I wanted to leave.

I replied that I would be renewing my lease.  I like my apartment.  And more than I like my apartment, I hate moving!  So another year with the same mailing address.  I am blessed I have the option of staying if I choose.  Plus, my landlord is mad cool and I appreciate her for even covering the cost for a couple of years on my behalf, unbeknownst to me.  Take your blessings as they come.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time Flies

The past three weeks have been flying by.  The space between Monday and Friday is getting shorter and shorter each week.  Usually I look forward to time flying, but lately it feels like I am missing something.  The summer seems to be passing me.  Maybe it is my budget that I have been relegated to by my FA.  Or the fact that since the Gift has come along, a lot of my days are spoken for and earmarked for couple time.  I no longer feel the need to socialize and get out more.  In fact, I find myself wanting to retreat from others and pass on events.

I have a list of things that are a must for the summer, now if I can just get my FA to loosen those pursestrings...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tatted Up

I think it's cute how the behind the ear tattoo has become so popular with women as of late.  I say this with a condescending smirk.  These are the same girls who look down on those with neck tats.  I guess they feel the more discreet location adds to the acceptability of it.   But the truth of the matter is, it's still a neck tattoo.  Why not just drop it an inch and be done with it?  Hood it out and claim it.

When I was growing up, my mother said she thought tattoos on women made them look like biker chicks.  Side bar:  She waited until she was past the age of 50 to get her first, which was the name of a lover, she no longer loves.  Then she got a second one to cover that up.  Kids these days.  I, not understanding her original sentiments waited until I got to college to get mine.  After the pain of it and the gradual realization that it did not turn out the way I envisioned it, I soon got over the appeal.  The good thing is, the location of mine is very easy to cover.  I have to admit, now I hate tattoos.   They no longer have an edge.  I can appreciate the art of a 'nice' one, but I have a hard time holding in my guttural groan when I hear of someone getting their first or God forbid a new one.  

So when I see the stars that travel up the back of the neck.  Or a special symbol only the person who got the tat can explain, even a name lightly written in cursive, I think, 'why not just get it on your neck?'  The thought is 'no one will see it if I let my hair down, or pull my collar up'.  But I am sure that was the thought of the first girl to get the 'tramp stamp' that we all are subject to seeing every time she gets up out of a chair with a too little top or some low-rise jeans.  The ink was originally for her and her special someone, now I have the pleasure of seeing it accompanied by tiger stripe-like stretch marks.

Can we all agree it is just better to claim and be honest that you like or (in some cases) are addicted to ink and stop spuriously claiming modesty?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All She Wrote

I cancelled my gym membership, yeah, I know.  Anyway, I did this because according to my FA, I was not going enough to warrant the monthly fee.  It did not fit my budget.  When I enrolled, I signed up for auto-pay and when I called to cancel and followed up, per their request, with an e-mail to confirm, I thought they would discontinue attempting to charge my account.  I was wrong.  They not only continued to attempt to charge the account, they were billing me a $30 insufficient funds fee each time they were unable to collect the the balance owed.  I instructed them to discontinue charging this card.  According to them, although I cancelled my membership, the account itself was not closed...blah, blah, blah.

On Friday, to dispute this, I wrote one of my infamous letters.  It was long.  I had pulled e-mails and information from their website.  Plus, I collected the names of both the CEO and CFO.  I was so heated, I did not touch the letter again until today.  With a clear head and renewed set of eyes.  I was able to edit the 3 page manifesto-like disgruntled letter, to a 2 page directive.  I included about 13 pages of highlighted backup e-mails.  I feel proud of this letter and hope it is received in good standing.  I do not mind paying the past due amount, but the fees are crazy ($60-90).  I give them my debit card number and once they have it, the billing department will just charge whenever and whatever they want?  Not on my watch.  I let them know when they could expect the balance.  Hopefully, they will reverse the charges.

After compiling that letter, I began writing a recommendation letter for a friend.  I had good things to say of course, but then I wondered, "is this too mushy?  Is it believable?"  I decided it was; I mean I was giving a character reference so I did not have to be that detailed about work skills.  I focused more on her personality.

In a nutshell, I have been writing all day, which is most likely why I do not feel like writing/typing this post now.  I am all typed out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pet Peeve

Pet Peeve# 215:  If there are multiple stalls in a public bathroom, please don't choose the one right next to me. Especially if you're planning on doing something other than taking a tinkle. Nothing says 'F you' like opting to bypass the handicap stall, to sit next to someone else. I mean, isn't that what the handicap stall is for, besides the other more obvious reason of course.  Someone did this to me today, and sadly, it wasn't the first time.  Can we all make a conscious effort to give a girl some room? Is this too much to ask?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Define Yourself

I find it funny when people define themselves as a diva, princess, sexy or the like.  The likelihood of them actually fitting the description is slim to none.  A few years ago, there was a surge of shirts and jogging pants that boasted of everything from Porn Star to Hot.  I will never forget my cousin saying:  "if you have to wear it on your shirt, than it doesn't fit."  Truer words have never been spoken by her.  This came to my mind yesterday when a woman, on two occasions, referred to herself as a "Diva".  I beg to differ.  In fact, most "divas", don't even consider themselves divas.  They will try their best to convince you how 'down to earth' they are.  I can speak from personal experience.  My girlfriends have this notion that I am bourgeois and to use my girl, Lady L's words, "yeah, you're stuck up".  I really don't get it.  I feel like a down-to-earth girl, who happens to have very specific tastes.  Well, what I consider specific tastes, comes across as the finer things.  Yes, I enjoy attending the opera, having tea at the Drake, Broadway shows in New York, annual trips to Mexico, hosting potluck vision board parties, drinking Hungarian wine, monthly facials, specialty cheeses and cupcakes.  But who doesn't?  For this I have been told many times by friends, "you know how your are".  That is the difference between the diva and the self proclaimed "diva".  How you perceive yourself is usually not who or how you really are.  Drunk people rarely admit to being drunk.  I just thought it was funny.  She made a big deal about it.  I think it's important to define yourself, but when it comes to being fly and/or a "diva", let someone else compliment you or vouch for your behavior.  When you do your own advertising, it loses some weight of validity.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Anti-social Drinker

I am at a party right now and as usual, I am bored and I feel totally out of place. So I am currently sipping my 3rd rum punch in an effort to keep myself busy. The Gift is doing his thing and I am doing mine. Which amounts to trying to look friendly, sipping and being my normal socially awkward self. This is how I end up getting drunk at parties. The one person I was talking to, has found someone more interesting (but of course). This already feels like a long night. I want to be more social, but it's not natural for me.  I'm about to insert more water and food
No need to embarrass myself further. I'm so Daria.

Friday, June 15, 2012

One of Them Nights...

I had a good night tonight.  The air had cooled and the energy in the city was so positive and filled with love.  What I love about my city in the summertime is how everyone is genuinely happier in when the weather warms up.  I left my friends and headed home on the train, then bus, then car home headed southbound.  I felt like I was in New York.  In the NYC, it may be well after midnight and you lose track of time because people are out and about as if it's noontime.  That is the way I felt today.  It was about 10:30pm and I was out alone, a bit tipsy (maybe more than a bit) and I felt totally safe.  I felt absolutely surrounded.  That is what it means to be in an urban setting.  That is what it feels like to be part of something.  More than yourself.  I got home by myself and felt uncomfortable not once.  That is when life if good.  When you can move about and feel free, safe and good.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Friends

A girlfriend of mine recently told me that she has declined some of my 'events' and get-togethers, because she is 'too old to meet anyone new'.  In her words, every time she hears about me doing something, it involves new and different people.  People she does not know.  I told her if she came out more, not only would she know the people, but I would have 'old friends' there instead of all my newbies.  Along the same mindset, a friend said that I was too social, because I hang out with new people and co-workers.  I think this is funny.
There was a time when I only socialized with about 2 different people max- usually at different times.  I would not go anywhere alone and I always had to be accompanied by 1 or 2 of my 'stables'.  Overtime, I learned that I was not only wearing my friends out, but I also put too much pressure on those couple of individuals to be my mainstays- my everything.  If I had a wedding, it was that person or I wouldn't go.  A party?  You know who I was going to call.  If it was something I was interested in, I had to compromise or convince them of the good time they would have.  If I fell out with a friend, or wasn't feeling them, I felt lonely and had to go back to square one to find a 'replacement'.
But in time, I saw the error in this.  It made no sense and I was constantly stressed, making adjustments or bargaining to get my way.  I asked God, yes God, to bless me with new and more improved friends. When I say improved, I mean, I wanted them to be well rounded, have similar interests as me and add value to my life.  I also prayed for help being a better friend to my friends.  As always, He took care of things.  I started not only meeting new people, but I was more receptive to them and doing things outside the box.  My new friends seemed to share my interests and were open to new ideas.  I no longer have to plead for an individual to do what I want.  Instead, I find the friend who is most likely to appreciate the activity and enjoy the outing with them.  Plus, I get to mix things up socially while giving my friends a break from me.  I know, I can't imagine why anyone would want a break from me either.
Tomorrow I am meeting a new friend for after work cocktails.  It will be our first outing.  She works across the hall and is friendly.  So why not?  Cheers! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

5 Questions For Him

They're baaack!  I felt like we were long overdue for another installment of 5QFH.  For this go-round, I brought back two favorites, John and Jay and added a newbie to the mix.  His name will be 'Ron'.  He is 42, in a relationship, no kids and has never been married.  I decided my questions would be retrospective and summer influenced.  The answers tickled me.

The Questions...
1.  In your life, what have you found to be the benefits of being in a relationship as opposed to being
2.  What are some major differences between how you handle relationships at your current age and 10  
     years ago?
3.  What would you tell your 22-year-old self about relationships?  About life itself?
4.  It's summertime.  What's your favorite thing about women's apparel?  What do you like to see or
     look forward to this time of the year?
5.  What's your favorite old school place you recall picking up girls?

The Answers...


This question is pretty loaded in that I want to be careful not to make one “relationship status” any better, or more important, than the other. I will preface my answer by stating that there are ways for me to be effective and make personal progress in either state. Each stage has presented me with opportunities to grow as an individual (whether I utilize the opportunity is an entirely different story!).  The stage that I am at currently is an introspective one. I’m reading a book and the author describes that men have three “hoods” in which we can dwell; “malehood”, “boyhood”, and “manhood”. Having said that, one of the benefits in being in a relationship is that it offers me the chance to dwell in the hood of “manhood” as a husband. As a man, I like to accomplish things and find where I can truly be “great”. For me right now, being great as a husband is the adventure that I couldn’t embark on as a single person. This is an entirely different state of living. While I can be a great single person (which I wasn’t great at all) and still dwell in “manhood” as a single person, a relationship allows me to direct all the passion and affection I have to give toward one individual. I get to plant seeds in one place and look for a harvest of love, affection, and respect from one place. As a single person, I couldn’t focus because I was too busy searching for “the one”. I was distracted by the search and all of the games it can sometimes involve. Being in a relationship allows me to focus and be intent on the direction in which I spend my time, money, and attention. So, in the end, a personal benefit to being in a relationship is a concerted effort in one direction that can be a wonderful, and fulfilling, experience that is reciprocated by another.
How I handle relationships now is totally different. As a twenty-something it was much more superficial. I really had no clue what to expect from a relationship so I was putting in random things. Sometimes I was a gentleman; sometimes a freak; sometimes the playboy...essentially all over the place depending upon what I wanted emotionally and physically at the time. Now, I have a much more clear expectation of what I desire to get out of a relationship. I heard something that has crafted my thought process and actions when it comes to relationships: “Women are built to grow and return the seed that has been given to them (e.g. baby). For a man, if you don’t like what your woman is given back to you, check what seed you are planting”. I am much more careful what seed I am planting now. I don’t look at what she is doing/ not doing, I look at what I present to her and adjust my actions accordingly. It has worked seamlessly since utilizing this wisdom I received.
I would give my 22 year old silly self the same advice that I was offered. Also, I would tell myself to “be and do what you do not have or see.” Essentially, be proactive in reaching inside of yourself and be great. You didn’t have a great father, so what, be a great father. You don’t have a lot of mentors, so what, begin to mentor someone else. You don’t have the pedigree of (fill in blank), so what, work your butt off and be as great as you are destined to be...Oh yeah, leave that young hood chick alone, you know you are not going to marry her!
I love everything about summer apparel on women...except those blasted leggings! There are sometimes that I have to look away, not because I’m married and I’m not supposed to, but because of the ratchedness that is being presented! Please leave the leggings alone if you got curds and whey attached to the back of your legs and behind! I really enjoy a well put together woman that utilizes color and her natural beauty to stand out. I love Transformers, but some of these women are decepticons when it comes to the way they look. Fake lashes, hair, body parts, spanx, etc. They are a totally different person. It’s 90 degrees outside, I know you hot under that lace-front wig, boo!
I used to love meeting girls at the mall. You had your good outfit on, she had her “hair did” with her cute outfit on...I could even front like I had some money by walking around with a huge Footlocker bag (even though it was just socks). I actually was pretty bad at picking up girls so I don’t have a lot of stories to display my prowess. Actually, I was pretty good at hooking up during the summer camps my mom would send me to. Probably no different than the reality t.v. shows. If it’s 10 boys and 10 girls staying somewhere for a few weeks, SOMEBODY IS GOING TO HOOK UP!
I think the biggest benefit to being in a relationship, is the fact that you have a companion in your corner for the bad times as well as the good. Sometimes you may not have that extra support when you need it, as a single person.
I would say some of the major differences between handling relationships now vs. 10 years ago, would be, more patience, more appreciation, and definitely realizing the benefit of quality over quantity.
Be more attentive, patient, make thoughtful decisions, and try to look at the big picture.
Anything that shows and/or compliments, the booty, hips, thighs, and pair of beautiful legs!
Back in the day it was McDonald's on 95th and Halsted, Wendy's on 87th and Stony, and White Castle on 79th and South Chicago.
There aren't benefits to being in a relationship versus single.  A relationship really has no perks with the exemption of guaranteed sex partner and no pressure to satisfy in the sack.  Being single has all the perks, it has all the benefits of the most important resource...time.  Time to do what I want and when I want.
The major difference for me has been compassion and patience.  Ten years ago I would make a girl cry then get mad and further attack her because I genuinely didn't get the at my old age, I simply try to hold back my first choice of words and pull a what would a person with a softer side do or say?

This is easy I'd tell my 22 year old self to stay doing what you do least as far as relationships.  About life...dude it gets harder.  Follow your heart and passions not the checkbook.  Money will come if you are content....

Honestly.. I hate seeing the sandals and feet.  Women think its sexy so I guess that's why all I see is toes...I like women in jeans, T-shirts, and max's!  I look forward to sitting on them 24s on the avalanche.  Sorry I'm a simple man, apparel don't make my year...

I don't pick up chicks...chicks pick me up!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pink Slip

I had to let my housekeeper go today.  I had been putting it off for some time, because I could not figure how to actually tell her that her services were no longer needed.  My housekeeper has cleaned my apartment only twice (I live alone and it doesn't get that messy), but I sent her my keys thinking it would be a more long term arrangement.  I could not slink off like the chicken that I am and just ignore her.  I have to get my keys back.  My new housekeeper, FA and all around 'Girl Friday' is my mom.  She has already been by my house to clean and rearrange it for free.  Since she has been handling my books, I asked if she could fit herself into the budget.  Of course she said, "yes".

So today I sent 'B' a text to let her go.  I know it's insensitive, but her English is not very good and she prefers to communicate that way so her son and husband can help her translate and respond.  My message essentially was me telling her how greatly I appreciated her service and how I planned to send her referrals.  I let her know my mom would be cleaning for me from now on and she could send my keys in the mail and I would reimburse her the postage cost.  Her reply was laced with gratitude.  She asked if I would tell my friends about her as she needs more work.  She pretty much reiterated everything I said, which proved my professional language was not necessary and total inappropriate for this situation as she did not understand.  I could have kept it simple.

Our texts ended with us both repeatedly thanking one another; so I just ended it with her last 'thank you very much'.  It sucked having to let her go, just for the human side of it.  She is a small business owner basically and although I have not used her in a couple of months, my text sealed the deal that I did not need her anymore.  That's one less check to count on or add to her income equation.  Plus, I too have been told my services were no longer needed.  The feeling sucks and is so final.  And you have no say in the matter.  Overall, we both handled it well.  Luckily with my mom, there's no firing her.  She's here for good.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Second Opinion

The post I originally planned to post today involved a girlfriend of mine. I was going to (at least in my mind) cleverly disguise the details where (again, in my mind) no one would be the wiser. I had been trying to post this for awhile, but couldn't conjure up the proper wording. Or the much needed courage to write it. So I asked my best friend and unpaid life coach, Antoine, his thoughts. He said an affirmative "no". That under no circumstances should I post my thoughts. Fair enough. A lot, and I mean a lot of people need to thank Antoine. More people than I would like to admit have been saved a verbal lashing, or outright complete 'you mean nothing to me so I'll just ignore you' treatment.

I have, over the years lost quite a few friends do to my 'honesty', or me getting something off my chest. And for what reason? Antoine has taught me the importance of moving on and past people's faults. He has also taught me the importance of letting go of people without letting them know you're letting them go. Or How you can disapprove of something without having/letting it affect you personally. I wish everyone had an 'Antoine' in their corner.  Just a "sounding board", as he called it, to get things off your chest allowing you to move past your own ego, which would have you (me) believe that this is information that must be shared.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Comfort Food

Today I had a rough day.  The kind of day where you cannot stay fully awake, due to genuine exhaustion.  When I feel like this, I want a certain food.  I need something specific.  Sometimes only watermelon will fill me up.  Other times I need/want something warm and full, like mashed potatoes full of butter and cream.  Whatever it is, I need to feel the food hug my soul.  Something that will fulfill my immediate food needs.  Not leaving any room for error or extensive hunger.  Today, the only thing I wanted, was not my leftover steak tacos (which were good), instead, I wanted a pint of Ben and Jerry Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream.  I wanted to curl up in the whole pint.  Let it hug me all around, inside and out.  So I left the house on a mission to find some.  Although Walgreens had a BOGO sale, they did not have an wide variety, i.e. no Chocolate Fudge Brownie.  I thought about getting a Symphony chocolate bar, but I really didn't want that.  I drove a little further and sure enough, two blocks north, there was a Baskin Robbins!  One scoop of vanilla, one of pralines and cream with hot fudge on top.  No calorie counting today.  I just rushed home and curled up on the couch and ate that ice cream as if the doctor ordered it.  I am not one of those people who has to eat in shame and in private.  So I don't consider this to be a problem beyond the fact that I cannot and will not do it everyday.  That was around 4:30pm, now approaching 8:30pm, I am completely full and desire nothing else.  The only thing left to do, is head to bed.  Sometimes you just need a little comfort in your food.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stingy Ass!

I know this woman who is stingy, self centered and lazy.  Yep, all of those things.  It was very recently that I put it all together.  She is the type who will never ask if you want or need anything, but is quick to get in on a food run, with no shame.  "Oooh, that sounds good.  Can you get me something?"  She is really caught up in her own world and will only let you in if it involves giving or doing something for her.  This same woman has on many occasions asked me to travel up to 2 hour distances to cheer her daughter on in cheer competitions, but has never asked how I have been.

She is selfish.  And at times it irks me.  Then I stop and think, her life isn't a bed of roses.  She has experienced some heavy family issues as of late, both immediate and extended.  I wonder if this is the cause of her total self involvement.  Is this her sub-consious way of taking something for herself?  It would not surprise me.  I just sit and think sometimes about her.  What it must be like to be her.  Then I pull back from my annoyance and try to pray for her.  I say, 'try to', because she can irritate me that bad.  My Grandma used to say, "You never know when you gon' need a glass of water."  In other words, do unto others- you know the rest.  I have lived by my Grandmother's words for years.  It has helped me put aside some of my hard-headed and stubborn ways.  But the one thing I would add is, you never know when someone else will need it too.  You have to give like you know it will come back, understanding that it will, just maybe not from that particular person.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Father's Day

Yesterday while in Walgreens, I decided to shop for my dad's Father's Day card. I typically don't buy them, but I thought I would do something different this year. I encountered a bit of a problem; the selection was kind of limited. My dad is a Black man born in Gulfport, MS, in 1931. He does not want Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, or any characters drawn on a card that don't look like him, i.e. White folks.
But that seemed to be the majority of the cards. The 'Black' section tended to be all super sappy, or some kind of 'at a boy' sentiment. As if the thought is, "I'm so glad you stepped up to be a father to your child".  Or, "there are daddy's and fathers, you're the good kind!" (insert hive five, on the black hand side). I wanted something funny and cute, but if I wanted a brotha on the cover, it had to be a little more emotional. 

Beyond the obvious lack of diversity, the 'mainstream' section simply just fell flat. My dad is not the barbecue grilling, steak-eating type. He's a vegetarian in fact. He digs beer, but cards with that 'theme' just seem lame.  So those jokes wouldn't work. I found a decent selection of cards that are for wives to husbands. Again, this helps me none. I want the card manufactures to know that there are good fathers, who happen to be Black. They raise their children and keep close and lasting relationships with them. Those same dads don't need a trophy or long dissertation on how wonderful it is that they have done so.  They are real men.  They handle their business.  Period.  What that means is they have a sense of humour.  They can take a joke.  And they come from all walks of Black life.  So there is no need to present a unidimensional portrait of the Black father. 

With that said, the mainstream cards should be more multifaceted.  I noticed that next to "our" section, was the Latino father section.  Those cards intertwined a bit of Spanish.  Again, why can't there be diversity in the mainstream section.  All the artwork doesn't have to feature White people.  If you have a card with only the hands of a dad and daughter, why can't they be brown, representing Black, Indian or Latin folks?  I am now on a hunt for better and more diverse greeting cards for every occasion.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Calorie Counter

I have, to say the least, gained a bit of weight. Being without boot camp, Zumba or even yoga, combined with eating as if I was still taking each of  those classes, has lead to these cute hips spreading. So until I get back on a regular fitness routine, I have started counting calories again. It's pretty intense. Although I know I'm annoying everyone around me. I can't stop. It becomes a challenge for the control freak in me. I want to own those calories. I want to dominate them.

Whenever I'm in this mode and mindset, my greatest ally is's My Plate program. I tell it my weight, that I want to lose 2lbs each week and let the fun begin. Apparently I'm not the only one. There are so many calorie calculations, both verified by the site and just average folks adding their 2 cents based on their own findings and the portions they have consumed.  If I can't find my food item there,I begin my search elsewhere.  The good thing is I'm able to prepare before a meal. Going out for tacos and tequila? Which is less- battered fish or steak? How many calories are in a skinny margarita? Meeting a friend for cocktails after work?  What's the caloric difference between vodka dirty martinis and those made with gin?  Counting beforehand, keeps me from blowing my 'count' for the day. It makes me more conscious and cautious about the things I ingest. Also I can prepare. If I want ice cream later on, I keep items I eat during the day, to a minimum. Yes, I've become a sort of food Nazi. But I mean well and I have to be accountable for my weight.  How many calories have you taken in today?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don't Get So Upset

I have been told numerous times "don't get so upset". What most people consider as me being upset, I look at as my natural "spirited" nature. I love a good animated chat, debate even. Things can and do get under my skin. But I think what really gets me riled up is how others have a hard time being understanding about you (me) getting "upset". Because you have deemed something as not important doesn't mean there is no validity to the subject at hand. What is water under the bridge to me, may mean everything to you.  When you, with a wave of the hand, blow it off with a "why do you even care?", it seems a little dismissive. 

What I have decided, is not to be someone's entertainment. I won't go on one of my Julia Sugarbaker/ Bill Mahr/Tommy Gavin rants for someone else's shits and giggles.  I won't provide the laughs as I speak on subjects that mean something to me, no matter how trivial it seems. Some opinions are better left to one's private thoughts. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Line

I am standing in a line waiting for my girlfriend. We're attending an Eric Benet listening party tonight. She's running late, I'm already ready to go. You see I hate waiting in lines. Especially to get into a club or event like this, where I cannot guarantee that the event will be worth the wait. Also, it bothers me how promoters advertise an exclusive event that ends up feeling like a cattle call.  The event is free, but you must rsvp to enter. "Your name has been added to their list." Furthermore, you're dressed for a nice event. Which means heels are usually a must. It gets tiring standing on any heel for a certain period of time(s). And lastly, you get to see just how petty women/girls can be about one another. You hear the sudden hush when a outfit comes by. Or the snickers. It is sad and so predictable. I'm guilty myself. Maybe, shoot probably, the reason I hate this is because I, myself don't want to be judged. That's junior high school MJ talking.  I used to have the same anxieties in school.  Certain situations just never seemed right or felt comfortable.  I guess I just need to build up my shield and brave myself.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stretching the Weekend

I had a really good weekend.  A while back I learned the secret to stretching your weekend.  Here are my tips:

Go out during the week. Friday and Saturday nights are, well let's face it, amateur night. Try a Tuesday night activity. Catch a movie on Wednesday. Or do drinks on a Thursday.

To piggyback on the previous point, if you can at least do something Friday, it seems to feel like a lifetime away from Sunday.

If you can, "get up and at 'em" on one of those off days, it just gives you the feeling that you have more of your day.

Finally, if you can help it, be greedy about your days off. Only do what you want to do. You already may feel annoyed by work, why have more tension on your free days. For the parents, I'll give you a pass on this one.

Yep, those are my non- scientific, but tested by yours truly, methods for a successfully stretched weekend.  If you have any tips of your own, please share.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Death of a Neighbor

Ever since the 'Gift' and I have been hanging tough, I have a new 'weekend spot'.  I put it in quotation marks because my visits/stays have consistently exceeded what one would consider an actual weekend.  At first I referred to his place as the Weekender, now it's more like my second home.  I go to my actual home every few days to restock my clothes for the Weekender.  On Friday I stopped to pick up some things.  On the door at the front entrance of my building was a handwritten note with memorial service arrangements for one of my neighbors.  This particular neighbor is not necessarily young, but I still felt the need to double check to make sure I was thinking of the right person.  I have another neighbor who will be turning at least 95 years old next month; my mind kept thinking it was her.

On another neighbor's door across the hall from the deceased was a note giving him the memorial service details and asking if he would like to be a pallbearer.  What was weird about that request is that he has not been in the building longer than about 6-8 months at the most.  That made me sad.  Then I felt like I missed something.  I know I could not have stopped her from dying, but I still feel like I have been away too long.  I liked that neighbor.  I have never been in her apartment, or chatted with her beyond just basic pleasantries, but I liked her.  She would speak to me with her body blocking her doorway; I could never see inside.  But she never got in my business.  When I had a slight flood in my apartment, she left a note on my door warning me not to turn the lights on for fear of electrocution.  I remember her walking up and down the hallway stairs as a form of exercise after most of the building was out to work.  Once I was awakened early in the morning by my apartment buzzer being pushed frantically; she yelled, in a panic and inaudibly through the intercom, "Fire!  Fire!"  Another neighbor, who is no longer in the building (thank goodness), had set her apartment on fire in a drunken and/or drugged stupor for the second or third time.

Most people these days don't even know their neighbors; I'm guilty of that myself.  So it really saddens me that one of the good, old school neighbors, has literally, left the building.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Registry

On sunday, one of my good girlfriends is having a baby shower, in celebration and anticipation of her first child.  If you knew my girlfriend, you would understand how exciting it is that she is expecting a little princess for her to spoil with loads of tulle, pink, bows and ribbons- whether separate or in one giant girl explosion!  This kid will want for nothing.  I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever really shopped for a baby gift with the guidance of the parent's registry.  I either get a gift card, or buy some random cuteness in the form of miniature clothes.  But this time around, with the help of my Financial Advisor (my mom), I gave the dollar amount I could/wanted to spend and together we hit Target's baby aisles with our blue paper printed gift registry.

The two of us were totally out of our element, my mother being out of practice and me, just out of the know.  We were matching item numbers and prices; looking for the right color.  There is a major difference between a ball and a rattle ball.  One rattles, the other does not.  It seems simple now that I know, but I came really close to throwing the wrong item in the bag.  A blanket we envisioned in our minds to be full sized, ended up being a cloth that wouldn't even cover my belly (that's not saying much since I can't seem to put the cocktails and brownines down-hold your laughter please) with a cuddly toy attached.  "This can't be it", my mom said.  "That's it", I replied after carefully reading the description for the umpteenth time.  We had a couple of those conversations.

When it was all said and done, I only went $4 over my allowed budget and I got some great items!  We tried to mix it up- cute and pratical.  Today, just for giggles, I checked the registry again to see if the uber friendly check-out girl (I'm being sarcastic, she barely parted her lips to speak) properly scanned each item to reflect on the list.  She did.  I must say, it was kind of fun.  I could not have invited a more worthy partner in my scavenger hunt.  Do you like registries?  Or do you prefer gift cards?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Friday Blahs

I went to bed fussy last night.  Although I slept well, it spilled over into my morning, not with anger, but nostalgia and a bit of sadness.  The weather here in Chicago is not helping either.  It makes me want to crawl in the bed, cry and sleep it (whatever 'it' is) off.  For that reason, I am glad I had to come to work today.  I would have just put myself in an even funkier mood if I stayed home alone.  In this way, work can be a relief.  The song I had to listen to this morning, is the same song I have had to listen to for about a week now:  Gladys Knight and the Pips, 'You're Number One (In My Book)'.  It pulls all the emotions I am feeling into a pile that I can sing out as a feelings exhale.  Gladys' voice, like molasses, is thick and rich and I can't get enough.

Yes, it's good that I am out of the house.  If not, I would be on the couch or in bed playing that song over and over and over again.  Hoping that it would release me from this feeling.  Whatever this feeling is.

Click to listen.

That was earlier...

Now, I feel great!  I received one last birthday week roundup gift from 'the Gift' in the form of a gift basket that totally caught me by surprise.  A co-worker bought me lunch, which was yummy.  And I had a couple of after work drinks with some girls from work.  Plus, the sun has come out.  I like these 'then and now' posts.  They truly help me put things in perspective.  What may start out as a crappy morning, can turn into a beautiful afternoon.  Cheers to the freakin' weekend!