Archive for May, 2012

30
May

Love Blog to my Husband

I’ll take a stab at this, but I warn you I’m not a poet

I’m hoping to score some points and simply not blow it

I am not ashamed for the world to see

All of the love and joy you bring to me

Each day you do something to make me smile

So I’m guessing I’ll keep you around for a while

I awake in the morning to another day with you

And, I can’t quite imagine what crazy things you’ll say or do

I write these blogs with you in mind

Knowing that you are reading every single line

I hope you’ll always be proud of the things that I do

Because I simply couldn’t imagine any of it if it weren’t for you

29
May

Fish Therapy for the Sole

Recently I treated my husband to a special pedicure treatment and massage at a local day spa. The pedicure was one that I’d heard about on television a while back called a fish pedicure. This treatment uses garra rufa fish that actually feed on a person’s dead skin. Not to be confused with the garra rufa’s toothed cousin – the piranha – who would feed off of live skin, I thought this would be an unusual birthday gift for my hubby.

Surprisingly, he was game and immediately headed off to the spa where the fish themselves were treated to the unexpected all-you-can-eat smorgasbord that covered his heels. One hour and a glass of wine later, out emerged a new man with smooth, callus-free heels.

Less than a week or so later, I decided to go to the spa to get a little fish therapy for my sole. I mean, what woman wouldn’t love for someone (or something) to suck on her toes? Ok…maybe that just’s me, but anyway…would you believe that those fish just swam around my feet and didn’t so much as touch my pinky toe?! The salon technicians said that they’d never seen this happen before but consoled me with assurances that the fish were full and that my feet were “baby soft.” However, my husband (who came along to see if I’d be squeamish) stood by and heckled me the whole time, suggesting rather that the fish were neither carnivorous nor suicidal. If looks could kill, he would be sleeping with the fishes right now.

Disappointingly, I settled on a regular pedicure with the hopes that I’d be able to return on another day when the fish were ready for some fine dining. Until then, I’ll just be grateful to my little finned friends for saving my bed sheets and calves from my husband’s feet.

25
May

“Idol” Chatter

Today I was having some idle chatter with one of my girlfriends about my one guilty pleasure on TV – American Idol. I’ll come clean and admit it, folks, I am an American Idol junkie. I don’t know why, but I truly enjoy watching reality talent shows like American Idol and The X Factor. Even though I personally couldn’t carry a tune across the street, I enjoy singing and have a great appreciation for music overall. Plus, it’s heartwarming to see all of these young people pursuing their dreams of stardom.

Anywho, my friend and I were chatting about how amazing Chaka Khan looked on the show’s season finale. Chaka was prancing around the stage, noticeably thinner, singing “I’m Every Woman” and showing those young thundercats who the real star was. I loved it, and was so proud to see her on that stage strutting her stuff with that happy, healthy, and lovin’- it glow about her. You see, that’s how we should all age, gracefully.

Then there came Fantasia. (Please pause for a moment of silence.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some ‘Tasia…but she was wrong, wrong, wrong for that outfit she decided to pour herself into. When I saw her, I wanted to drop to my knees and cry out “Why, Lord, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?” And, to top it all off, she had to have at least 3 packs of weave on her head that stretched past all that junk that was stuffed into the shiny, skin-tight, thigh-baring, black onesie that she was running around in!

Fantasia is blessed with a voice that can take you from the club floor all the way to the church sanctuary. That girl can SANG (not sing, but sang)! You see, she actually has talent. She doesn’t need to do the Lil’ Kim or Nicky Minaj and run around half-naked with weave running down her back. She can just stand in the middle of the stage and sing. No fluff, no frill. Just sing.

If I could just share my nobody-asked-you advice with Fantasia, I’d say “I love you, girl. But you’re going to need to fire (or hire) your stylist!” Keep doing you, Fantasia…just a bit more gracefully. 

23
May

Not a Gang!

Just the other day, a white colleague walked past a small group of three professional Black women (of which I was a part) and said cheerily “uh oh, looks like trouble.”

(Screeeeeeeeeech….music stops.)

Ok, let me just be the one to rip the Band-Aid off of this issue. I’m going to operate under the assumption that perhaps she (I’ll call her “the offender”) didn’t know that she was committing a serious wrong when she uttered those words. News flash — comments of this nature are generally offensive to many African Americans.

Why? Well, for one, I honestly cannot recall one single time during my professional career when this same comment has been made to a group of white colleagues congregating. We are not a gang. We are simply a group of professionals who have paused for a few moments from our rigorous schedules to catch up on life, work, or the latest episode of The Braxton’s. Whatever.

The point is that we should not feel as if we need to low crawl through the office or speak in code just to engage in the same conversations that are being shared by other non-minority employees. I can only hope that our Caucasian colleagues will peer through our darkened lenses to gain perspective on how this makes us feel. But, until then I recommend that we try some new tactics to turn the tide on issues like this.

When a fellow employee makes some non-filtered comment about more than two African Americans chatting, respond as follows:

  1. Look “the offender” dead in the eye, raise your closed fist in the air, and yell “Revolution!”;
  2. Start chanting in unison “Give us free!”; or
  3. Take a more peaceful approach and silently hum an old negro hymnal

 

Ideally, either of these actions might give him or her reason to pause the next time before stating aloud something that clearly should be kept under the white cloak in his or her head.

 

20
May

I Am Not My Name

Do you all recall the scene in the movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” when Ike Turner demanded during the divorce proceeding that his wife Tina Turner “give him back his name”?  This scene, beautifully portrayed by actors Lawrence Fishburne (a little too realistically) and Angela Bassett, was one that no doubt has played itself out in courtrooms around the nation when some scorned man has grasped at his fleeing tether of control by trying to take back the last symbol of a married woman’s identity. The thought brings to mind an image of a dog trying to uproot and carry away – like a long, lost bone – the very tree that he just pissed on.

Just imagine if you had to change the very name that you built an entire professional career on. Imagine having to recall and change every email, bank account, credit card, login, etc. that you’ve ever created. Imagine having to change your social security card and driver’s license. On that, imagine the line at DMV…on any day. Imagine the awkwardness you’d feel when your children’s teachers and friends called you by your child’s last name. (This is a challenge I face regularly as a divorced, now remarried mother.) The point I’m trying to make is that it takes a great deal of sacrifice and effort from a woman when she decides to lawfully merge her life with another’s. (Fellas, when was the last time you had to change your name?)

And, did I already mention that this is a choice? In most societies today, it is a woman’s choice to take on another name. Just as it was a choice to take on that name, it should also be a woman’s prerogative to rid herself of it or keep it, not the man’s choice. Besides, a person’s name does not define who he or she is. A name only identifies who that person is to other people. I’ll hush now and just close with words beautifully sung by India Arie and say simply, “I am not my [name].”

17
May

Neighborhood Watch or Nosey Neighbor?

When I think of a neighborhood watch, I picture an uber-concerned resident who patrols the streets looking to combat crime. Essentially, they are the difference between sleeping soundly through the night and waking to find “Bruh Man” crawling through your bedroom window. I love these folks and tip my hat to their efforts to keep neighborhoods safe. But, what happens when the neighborhood watchman becomes the nosey neighbor?

By my definition, a nosey neighbor is a person that has taken the neighborhood watch concept to another level. This person is not only watching your back but also your front, sides, comings, and goings. They are going to keep you apprised of all the haps’ in the neighborhood… including your own!

Well, somehow my very own husband has become an honorary member of this exclusive group. I fondly refer to him as El Negro Capitán of the Neighborhood Watch. Of course, I didn’t realize his new appointment at first. Perhaps I should have questioned why all of the older white ladies in the community called him by name. Or, maybe I should have been concerned when he informed me that the neighbor a few doors down had installed a ramp inside the garage – INSIDE the garage. But the jig was definitely up when he called me at work one day to tell me that over a dozen police officers had swarmed the house next door and he suspected foul play!

I’m not certain how my husband was nominated into this exclusive club of neighborhood snitches, but the image of him running from room to room, peering through the blinds, whispering conspiracy theories, and muttering aloud “These coppers will never take me alive!” Priceless.

11
May

“Attachment Parenting” … as opposed to what?

The recent Life magazine cover titled “Are You Mom Enough?” which depicts a mother breastfeeding her 3-year old son has started water cooler discussions on the concept of “Attachment Parenting.”

I had never heard of the term “attachment parenting,” so I turned to my trusted Google search tool for answers and came upon the official website for Attachment Parenting International. After reading their mission statement and the eight attachment parenting principles, I am now truly confused about why this seems to be a novel concept. The principles are as follows: (1) prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting, (2) feed with love and respect, (3) respond with sensitivity, (4) use nurturing touch, (5) ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally, (6) provide consistent and loving care, (7) practice positive discipline, and (8) strive for balance in personal and family life. One such supporter of API stated that “attachment parenting” means that one has to commit themselves to their children 24-hours a day.

What is so unique about any of this? I consistently and lovingly care for my children and look after them. I provide a safe home in which they can rest. I practice positive discipline. And, I work hard to do each of these things and more every single minute of their lives. It seems that the controversy is simply on the “feed with love and respect” principle. Listen, while I certainly am not pulling the step stool for my toothed children up to the tap for dinnertime, does this mean that I have failed to feed them with love and respect? I think not.

I do not judge any woman’s right to do with her ta-tas what she will, but please spare me the foolishness that if I choose to feed my children a chicken nugget or two that I might have failed to attach to them in a loving and caring way.

05
May

My hairdresser is ruining my sex life

Every time I go to the hairdresser, my husband seems to be singing a new tune in the bedroom when I get home. At first, I guess I didn’t pay it much mind; I mean, it’s really difficult to decipher someone else’s mood when I am already trying to decompress from my own exhausting day on the job. Besides a monthly visit to the hair salon is always a much needed, and from the looks of my split ends, long overdue treat. I just assumed that he was equally exhausted from his long days and commutes, or perhaps he needed to unplug from the noise and chaos of the four (yes, count ‘em, 1 – 2 – 3- 4) kids. Whatever his reason was, I found myself too tired to figure it out, so I would shrug my shoulders, wrap my hair, adorn my fleece pajama pants and sweatshirt, and dive under the warmth of the comforter. (Aaaaaah, nice.)

Well, the truth finally came out. Yes, my husband really despises when I come to bed with my sweats on; apparently, he has visions of the naked, flexible me (or at least I hope it’s me) floating around his mind. But, it’s not just the sweats, it is the head scarf that accompanies the sweats after my visit to the hair salon! Come on, folks. I just spent $50 + dollars to get my ‘do done, so I am simply trying to protect my investment and maintain the style for at least a couple of days. Look, I understand that it’s not the most attractive bedwear, but seriously who’s looking at my head? And, more importantly, why is it that men think that women are supposed to come to bed looking like sex kittens when they are over there farting and scratching their balls? (Can I say that?)

He says that my scarf confuses him and that when he wakes up in the morning he’s not sure if he needs to throw up gang signs or order a hot stack of pancakes. It looks likes there will have to be a little bit of marital compromise here. How about this? I’ll throw in a French maid’s uniform and ask him how he likes his hotcakes, because the scarf is here to stay!

03
May

You can’t quit me

Just the other day I found myself in the awkward position of having to mediate an argument between my mother and her sister. I knew my mother was upset with her sister about what she perceived to be my aunt’s adult children wrecking havoc in her life, but I had no idea how deep the issue was until my phone chirped at midnight with a text from my aunt pleading for me to help her reconnect with my mother. Apparently my mother was ignoring her phone calls and avoiding her. (Did I mention that they live four houses away from one another?)

Anyway, as I was pondering about how I could get the two of them talking again, I thought about how for years my mother would preach to me about my relationship with my own sister. You see, my sister and I are polar opposites. She is the yin, and I am the yang. We have been like that much of our adult lives and it has often strained our relationship. As a matter of fact, I have often felt that, although I love my sister, if we had not been born to the same parents then chances are that I would not even speak to her on the street…or (gasp!) even like her. I know it sounds a little crazy, but that’s just the honest truth of how I felt for years. Of course, as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to better appreciate the differences that people have even within members of their super, immediate family.

Additionally, I have been worrying about a dear friend of mine that I have been trying to reach for weeks, to no avail. After texting, calling, and sending up smoke signals, I began to question whether or not I had said or done anything to offend her the last time we talked. So I began mentally analyzing every segment of our last conversation in an attempt to find out if I might have opened mouth and inserted foot with a careless comment. When I’d finally comforted myself with the fact that our conversation had been upbeat and non-offensive, I became a bit ticked off.I mean, WTH?! Why wasn’t she returning my calls.When I finally heard from her, she was very apologetic and began telling me all about the things she’d been busy with in the past several weeks. She had been living life…the nerve! Well, once I finished chastising her about leaving me hanging for weeks, I laughingly told her “You can’t quit me. You’re stuck with me.”

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation with a friend, sister, brother, mother, hubby, or wife when you felt like it might be time to just “give it a rest”? I’m not talking about cutting the ties for good(although there are many instances in which its necessary to torch the bridge) but rather accepting that sometimes we all simply need to just step back and live life…apart. Just don’t forget to leave them with a few parting words ““heifer, you can’t quit me. We are connected for life.”