Thursday, August 31, 2006


I think my mother is having a midlife crisis. She had me when she was young (18) and now that she's pushing 50, she seems to feel like we're in competition. Competition for what, I don't know.

Flashback seven years ago, shortly after my father died. Mom was trying to cheer me up, so we went to the mall and stopped at the M.A.C. Counter.
Mom: Excuse me? I'd like to buy a new foundation.
Saleswoman: Ok. Try this one. You might also want to follow up with this concealer and this as well.
Me: I want a foundation too.
Saleswoman: Okay. (tries a few different kinds on my face, then sighs) You know. You don't really need any foundation. You've got beautiful skin.
Saleswoman #2: Yeah, you don't need anything. You should see me when I take my makeup off.
Me: Thank you.
Mom: Aww, that's so sweet.

Fastforwarded to present day time. Now I'm with the pre-menopausal mother, on the cusp of the senior years. She's on her way to a baby shower and we stop at a kid's clothing store to find a gift.
Saleswoman: (grabbing my arm) I'm sorry, but I have to say this.
Me: Ummm, yes?
Saleswoman: You have really beautiful skin.
Mom: grrrr
Saleswoman: I mean, it's like, flawless.
Me: Thank you.
Saleswoman: I bet people stop you all the time!
Me: Um, not really ...
Mom: Yeah, they only do that when she's with me.
Saleswoman: Guys? Have you seen this woman's skin? Isn't it amazing?!
Mom: You know what? It's time to go. I'm not seeing anything I want in here.
Me: But ...
Mom: (grabbing my arm) Let's go!

So that's the latest example of her midlifery. I tried to tell her that she could also have beautiful skin if she just drank eight glasses of water a day and eased up on the salt, but she looked like she was going to beat me, so I shut up. I heard through one of my aunts that Mom actually likes my new hairstyle, despite all the grief she's given me about it. She told me recently that she bought India.Arie's new cd and that's helping her understand me better. Maybe I need to start watching Oprah. Maybe that would help me understand her and this whole midlife crisis thing.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Get on the Bus

There was something in the air today that told me it would be a good day. I didn't figure out what it was until I got all the way to work and saw a yellow school bus filled with children. Ah yes. It was the first day of school.

Ordinarily, days like this are insiginficant to me. That was back before I moved into my new neighborhood, which is swarming with kids, or as I affectionately call them -- Little Bastards. And I'm not talkng about the cute and cuddly kind of child. I'm talking about the most dreaded of all -- the teenagers.

Throughout the summer, I had to come home only to find a bunch of Little Bastards sitting on the front stoop of my apartment complex. They sit out there smoking and cursing, some of them without shirts on as if someone wants to look at their bird chests. Several times I wanted to toss grocery store applications at them or books or sudoku puzzles. Shoot, I even wanted to drive their behinds to the park. But I never did any of that. Why? Because I'm filled with apathy.

Thank goodness the public school system has picked up where I failed. There was no one sitting on my porch this evening and I didn't hear any loud arguments. I can't remember the last time I sat in my apartment and was able to hear myself think. But I'm sure this will only last a few days. Once the teachers start slacking off on the homework, the Little Bastards will be roaming free again. Until then, I'm dancing a jig.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Training Day

In my latest effort to get the training regimine of Motown Runner Girl, I have started running again. Myself and three (sometimes two) other people get together on the weekends and run around this park until we, or I, collaspe. Yesterday was one of those days.

Our fearless leader, Katie, took us for a run at a park that's different than the one we usually workout at. This new park had hills that felt like mountains. There were only three of us yesterday, which sucked for me. The other guy who usually comes is in worse shape than I am, so it's good to have at least one person in the back when we're trekking to the forest. Without him yesterday, I started out good than had to sputter in the back by myself. No fun!!

Unlike Motown Runner Girl, I'm not planning to do any marathons anytime soon. I'm just trying to find something that I enjoy that keeps the calories off. So far, this is working. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Heather Headley Stadium

It may be hard to believe, but sometimes I make a bad decision. I'm ashamed to admit the number of poor choices I've made in my life. But this last blunder is at the top of my "If I could only go back" list. It was the day I chose a 70s party over Heather Headley, one of my favorite singers.

Here's how it went down: The lovely Ms. Heather was performing at an outdoor concert the same day when an acquaintance of mine, Rachel, was having a 70s party. Typically, this would've been a no brainer for me and I would've just went to see Heather. Yet there was a catch with this concert. There a bunch of other artists scheduled to perform that day and no one had a time that Heather would sing. One of the other artists set to perform was Chingy. I like Chingy, but I don't see how his crowd mixes with the Heather Headley crowd. I didn't feel like being lost in a crowd of 200,000 people that were mostly youngins, hoochies and hotheads. I figured Heather could wait.

So Rachel convinced me to come to her 70s costume party. She planned to dress up as roller girl from "Boogie Nights" and another guy wanted to dress up as Jack Tripper and bring two female dates looking like Janet and Chrissy. It started to sound like fun and an opportunity for me to flirt with a pair of brothers -- Cutie #1 and Cutie #2. (Note -- There were going to be few people of color at this party. Actually, myself and the cuties would account for the color component).

I convinced my friend Tracey to come with me to the party. We were looking fierce -- me with my jumbo Afro wig and dashiki, she with her dashiki, platforms and two ponytails. Just getting to Rachel's place was an adventure. The chick lives in an area that's not known for its racial harmony and we were walking around in our power to the people get ups. We even had to pass a bar that was overflowing with drunks and the sound of Garth Brooks. Sigh. Now I know how white people feel when they enter the hood and hear "gangsta" rap. A sista was scared! Still, we pressed on.

Finally, I get to Rachel's house. She greets me with open arms. And then I noticed something ....

Rachel wasn't wearing a costume!!

I looked around her backyard and no one else was dressed up either. Not even the Jack Tripper wanna be!!

By this point, Tracey's pretty pissed at me, but I try to play it off by mingling in the crowd and staying as far away from her as possible. I later find out that Cutie #1 and Cutie #2 were at the party earlier and already left. Grrrr. So after about 15 minutes of talking to people we didn't really want to talk to, we rolled out as well.

The next day, all the radio stations were talking about how amazing Heather Headley's performance was. I changed stations repeatedly, but each time I found someone raving about Heather's performance. "I can't even tell you how great she was," one caller to the station said. "Ya'll gonna have to start calling it Heather Headley Stadium from now on."

Grrr. So I learned my lesson. When it comes to choosing between Heather Headley and the 70s, always go with Heather.

(Photo courtesy of

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back in Effect

Sorry I've been MIA for awhile, it's just that I've been so .... Oh forget it. I just haven't felt like writing anything. I'll start to post something, then I'll get sidetracked and promise to come back to it, yet I never do. I was beginning to feel like a slacker, but eff it, this is my house. And if I'm uninspired, I'm uninspired.

Somehow today, I'm inspired.

Apparently, Osama bin Laden should've been included in Rev. Michael Eric Dyson's book, "Why I Love Black Women." Osama apparently has a "thing" for Whitney Houston. Kola Boof -- she's Sudanese, also a sista -- is writing in her autobiography that bin Laden is obsessed with Whitney and wanted to take her as one of his wives, as well as have Bobby Brown killed. Kola Boof (pictured) has been described as Osama's mistress or sex slave, depending on who you ask .. but actually, is there really a difference between the two? She once worked as a writer for the soap "Days of Our Lives."

I wonder what Whitney has to say about this. The chick needs to run and hide.
(Pix courtesy of

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


People Envy Your Compassion

You have a kind heart and an unusual empathy for all living creatures. You tend to absorb others' happiness and pain.
People envy your compassion, and more importantly, the connections it helps you build. And compassionate as you are, you feel for them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mixin' It Up

I had a wonderful weekend hanging with some women I met during my freshman year of college -- back when we were teenage brats. I only attended this college for a year before transferring, but I managed to stay in touch with all of them. We camped out at my one friend's house Friday - Sunday and laughed, ate, and laughed some more. It felt like we were in college again.

I realize how blessed I am to have so many close friends. I keep them compartmentalized into individual groups. There's the Freshman Friends, my Friends from my Other College, High School Friends, Neighborhood Friends and Work Friends. I abide by one simple rule -- never mix up the groups. These people had nothing in common, except for me. And if they did have anything in common, there was no need to bring them together at once. I mean, what if they liked each other? Or, God forbid, started getting together without me?

These days, I'm opening my circles a bit. I've invited a friend from the Other College Group into my weekly runs with my Work Friends. I'm hosting a book club meeting next month (we're reading Octavia Butler's wonderful book, "Kindred") where I'll have members of my Freshman, Neighborhood and Work groups. We'll see how this works out. If it does, I'll open my circle even wider. But if it doesn't, and my friends start cheating on me, it's back to the old ways.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Family Secrets

All my life, they tried to hide the truth from me. It took me 29 years, but now I know the truth.

For the first nine years of my life, I lived in a house with my Mom, aunt and my beloved grandmother, Vera. I knew Grandma wasn’t like the other grandmothers in our small town of Nowhere, U.S.A. For starters, she loved sports, but she didn’t watch them on television. She preferred to listen to them on an old radio and yell ‘get ‘em’ to players who couldn’t hear her. She also had a tendency to let people know exactly who they were. For example:
Grandmom: Raynell! Your white friend’s here.
Aunt Raynell: Mom, shhh! Don’t say that.
Grandmom: (in direct earshot of the person) Well, she is white. And she’s fat too.

So that was Grandma -- this beautiful, saintly woman who ate my vegetables when Mom wasn’t looking. She was also the only person able to show me how to tie my shoelaces. I thought I knew her intimately, but I was wrong. All that time, there was something she kept form me. And I learned the truth this week.

My beloved Grandma…… God rest her soul….


She was a …..


Not just not any Republican, she was the kind that used to stand in the corner trying to make other people become Republicans too. I hear folks used to think she was crazy -- an old black woman standing on the corner proclaiming her love for Reagan. I went with her to the voting booth for years as a child and never knew who she was supporting. Now that I know, I wonder how she got that way. My family is the anti-conservative -- we've got atheists, gays, "broken" homes, welfare, criminals, tax evaders ... I could go on and on. So what on earth possessed Vera to become an elephant?

I shared my concerns with my friend, April.
Me: No wonder people treat me strangely when I visit Nowhere, U.S.A. They're thinking, she's the granddaughter of the Republican.
April: Wow. You'll really hate me then.
Me: Don't tell me! You can't be ...
April: (nodding) I just hated John Kerry. At least W. is scum, but he's out in the open with his scum.
Me: Don't give me that bulljive. You only changed because of Justin (her fiance).
April: Well, he had a little to do with it.
Me: Traitor!
April: Hey, it's the party of Lincoln.

So there you have it. Not only am I the descendant of an elephant, but I'm also friends with one. It's enough to make a grown woman cry.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


This song sums up my mood these days. Check out my girl, Amel.
(Press Stop if you don't want to hear the music)

Music Video Codes

Back in the Day

I'm stealing this from Kelley. Feel free to use on your own blog.

Ten years ago today, it was August 5, 1996. what a difference a decade makes!
1) How old were you?
THEN: 19
NOW: 29

2) Where did you work?
THEN: Blockbuster
NOW: None Ya Business, Inc.

3) Where did you live?
THEN: The East Coast
NOW: The East Coast

4) How was your hairstyle?
THEN: It was long and relaxed, with some honey brown highlights
NOW: Short and twisted.

5) Did you wear contacts?
THEN: Hell yes
NOW: Hell yes

6) Did you wear glasses?
THEN: When I'm not wearing my contacts
NOW: The same

8) Which of your pets were still alive?
THEN: I didn't like animals
NOW: My cat -- Simba

9) Who was your boyfriend/girlfriend?
THEN: The First Love
NOW: Me, myself and I is all I got 'till the end

10) Who was your celebrity crush?
THEN: There were many. But I always had Taimak from The Last Dragon at the top of my list.
NOW: He's still my main man. Yeah, I know he's probably gay, but let me have my fantasy!

11) How many piercings did you have?
THEN: Two in each ear.
NOW: The same.

12) How many tattoos did you have?
THEN: None
NOW: None

13) What was your favorite band/singer?
THEN: 'Favorite' is such a hard word. I will say it was then that I started getting into Groove Theory, because I saw them perform and was blown away. Also the Fugees.
NOW: Amel Larrieux, who went solo from Groove Theory, and Lauryn Hill, who went solo from the Fugees. The Fugees reunited, but I'm not impressed with what I've heard.

14) Had you smoked a cigarette?
THEN: Yes, to see what it was like.
NOW: That first time I tried it was enough for me. That was disgusting.

15) Had you gotten drunk?
THEN: Maybe a little tipsy
NOW: Maybe a lot tipsy

16) What kind of car did you drive?
THEN: Chevy Corsica
NOW: Ford Escort ZX2

17) Looking back, are you where you thought you would be in 2006?
Not at all. By now I'm supposed to be a famous novelist who is happily married to Taimak with three kids, a mansion and a summer home in the Hamptons. Maybe I was being a bit unrealistic.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I declare war.

I started my own guerrilla squad awhile back, but now we're in full effect. See, I'm a founding member of my own group that I like to call S.I.S.S. (Sistas in the Single Struggle). Our members are all single women who for one reason or another, tired of the bullshit. I started this group after I got tired of the endless snotty comments I get from members of another group, the M.R.S. (Married, Raising Seeds). Chicks in this group like to flaunt their wedding rings in front of your face and frown upon anyone who doesn't have a husband. (I do have some wonderful, married female friends, but because they're so great, I'm excluding them from the M.R.S. group.) Now that I'm on the cusp of 30, it's like I run into the M.R.S. every place I go. (Still not married, Strength? Do you have any prospects, at least? You're not getting any younger.)

Imagine my surprise when I learned one of my closest friends was an M.R.S. My friend, I'll call her Denise, got pregnant and married when she was 18. She and the hubby have three boys and live on the West Coast. We don't email often, but when we do, I get the same message. What's new with you? Married? Kids? LOL! Hmmmmm. LOL, she said. Last time I checked, that means 'lots of laughs.' Is there something funny about the possibility of me being married with kids? Apparently so.

Anywho, Denise and her brood were in town a few days ago. Another friend had a party, so we were there talking. The conversation went a bit like this:

Denise: Have you gone anywhere this summer? Jamal! Put the ball down!

Me: Nope. New York to visit my friend. Some amusement parks, that's about it.

Denise: I haven't gone anywhere either. And summer's almost over.

Me: I know! It's been like two years since I went to the Dominican Republic.

Denise: (eyes bulging out of her head) Did you say ---? Tyree, chew with your mouth closed! Dominican Republic?! Are you serious? You said you hadn't been anywhere.

Me: I haven't. Not this year.

Denise: (rolling eyes) I meant any trips. Ever.

Me: Oh, well yeah. I went to D.R. and I was in Mexico before that. Both were alot of fun.

Denise: Oh, I bet it was so beautiful over there. TYREE, NO SPAGHETTI SANDWICHES! I MEAN IT!

Me: Yeah, both were really nice. I didn't want to come back.

Denise: I'll bet.

Me: My friend that I travel with is supposed to be coordinating another trip for her 30th birthday. That's in November.

Denise: Oh, I want to go! I'll be 30 this month. Where are ya'll going?

Me: She mentioned Brazil before.

Denise: Wow, I love Brazil. What I've read about it, I mean. Do you think ... Jamal Bebe Williams! Don't make me come over there! ... Anyway, do you think I can come along?

Me: We may not do anything that big, we're in the early stages of planning.

Denise: (grabbing my hand) It's okay! I just need to go somewhere, anywhere. I don't care!

Me: I can get you the information. It might be fun traveling with you.

Denise: Really?

Me: (smiling) LOL.

S.I.S.S. 1, M.R.S. 0.

I'm also looking to take on any new members of S.I.S.S. Anybody with me?

(Photo courtesy of