Monday, October 29, 2007

The Birds & The Bees & Thank God for Jill Scott

Recently, I was reminded yet again about how difficult it is to talk about sex with a parent. I learned about sex at a very young age, thanks to Mama. She had me when she was young and to prevent me from doing the same thing, Mama made sure I knew exactly where babies came from. Because of these conversations, videos, and books, I was the girl in kindergarten who knew that it took more than birds and bees to make a baby. By second grade, I knew about abortion and third grade it was birth control.

All this sex education didn’t give me any time to ask questions on my own and I got through adolescence avoiding Mama’s worse fear – teenage pregnancy. Now that I am a full-fledged adult, I’d like to think (or hope) these conversations about sex with Mama would stop. Every now and again, she’ll scream to me about how I should be careful and not become an unwed mother. Other times, her messages are more subtle, like this conversation I’m about to describe.

I went to pick up Mama from her hair appointment. Normally, this is a hilarious thing, especially since the hairdresser is my Crazy Aunt. They like to pick on me and I can take it, most of the time. This time, I was grateful for two things: 1. that the shop was empty aside from us and 2. that I had my iPod with me.

Mama: Strength, your stepfather wants to know what kind of birth control you’re using.
Me: Wha-What? Why does he want to know?
Mama: We were watching the news and they mentioned all the side effects that this one form of birth control causes. All of a sudden, he was like, ‘Strength’s not on that, is she?’
Me: *sigh*
Mama: I told him that I had no clue what kind of birth control you were on. Heck, I don’t even know if you’re on birth control.
Me: I wish ya'll would just stay away from my ovaries.
Mama: I’m just saying. We’re looking out for you! It’s not like you tell me anything. What about you, Crazy Aunt? Do you know what form of birth control my daughter is using?

(At this point, I put on the iPod and turn to Jill Scott’s song, ‘Celibacy Blues’)

Crazy Aunt: I have no clue.
Mama: Knowing her, she’s probably got an IUD. Maybe that’s why she’s so evil all the time.
Crazy Aunt: Believe me, that’s not why she’s evil.

This here celibacy thing/ Lawd, just got something over me / Like an addict, I could really use a thing ...

Mama: (smiling) Really! Why don’t you tell me why she’s evil. I'd like to know.
Crazy Aunt: Oh, you know why. Don’t make me spell it out for you. When’s the last time this girl got some?
Mama: Hmmm. There was that one stupid guy she bought around. What was his name …

I'm trying to clear my mind / But all I seem to find / Is this gangsta, gangsta type of need

Crazy Aunt: But that was a looooooooooong time ago. Surely this girl has gotten her nails polished since then!
Mama: I dunno. That’s why I’m asking you.
Crazy Aunt: Well, she does make those trips out of town and you know it’s not just to see friends. You know how she likes to go to the Midwest.
Mama: Oh yeah! I forgot about that fool.

People say mind over matter / But I don’t mind what they say / And it don’t matter

Crazy Aunt: I didn’t. She’s still about due for a tune up, if you ask me.
Mama: Don’t say that! You know I don’t condone that kind of behavior.
Crazy Aunt: Whatever.
Mama: I just need to make sure she’s safe. And …
Crazy Aunt: We know! You’re not ready to be a grandmother.
Mama: Thank you.

This here celibacy thing / Is working on me …

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bittersweet Poetry

One of my friends tacked this poem in her myspace blog. I liked it, so I'm stealing it. I'm especially a fan of the last few lines. You'll see what I mean. Anyway, check it out!

"Full Moon and You're Not Here"

By Sandra Cisneros in Loose Woman Poems, pg. 54

Usless moon,
Too beautiful to waste.
But you, my Cinderella,
have the midnight curfew,
a son waiting to be picked up from his den meeting,
and the fractured marriage weighing on your head
like a crown of thorns.

Oh my beauty,
it's not polite
to keep me waiting.
To send me reeling in a spiral
and then to say good night.

I smoke a cigar,
play a tango,
gulp my gin and tonic.

Goddamn you.

Full moon and you're not here.
I take off the silk slip,
the silver bangels.

You're in love with my mind.

But, sometimes, sweetheart,
a woman needs a man
who loves her ass.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


First off, my knowledge of The Beatles is limited. Yeah, I know the members of the group, the whole 'Paul is dead' theory and what role Yoko Ono played in the group's breakup. I don't know any of their songs, other than hearing 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' years ago in one of those Time Life music commercials. I remember thinking that it was a pretty awful song and I wondered how the band got to be so big time.

That was back before I was introduced to guitar. Now, I have my own acoustic guitar that I've named 'Shug' after a character in one of my favorite movies (more on that later). I've been taking lessons off and on for the last three years. My teacher -- David -- gives us all individualized, one-on-one lessons. He's been trying to teach me fingerpicking, something that I've been struggling with. As much as I love Tracy Chapman, I was unable to get it together when he gave me the sheet music for 'Fast Car' (I'm still trying though!). If I can't catch a song in a certain amount of time, we move onto something else.

Awhile back, he introduced me to 'Blackbird' and I became obsessed. It's not the easiest song to play, but once I started getting it together, the tune was so beautiful that I didn't want to stop. I've googled the song several different times and not only found the lyrics and other artists singing the song, I also found some clips on youtube of Paul McCartney playing it. David told me he was glad I was so interested in the song and that we'd play it until I perfected it.

Well, last Thursday I had no choice but to show up to my lesson early. I planned to sit out in the waiting area, reading a good book until it was my turn. I didn't get to read a bit, because I started hearing the first bars of 'Blackbird' coming from the music room. David was working with Warren, the guy who goes before me each week. I thought Warren was a nice enough guy, up until this point. Now I know he's nothing but a songjacker! David was guiding him through the song, giving him the same advice he gave me about getting it just right. The nerve!

This recent turn of events leaves me with two options. #1. I could beat Warren mercifully with his guitar and tell him to stay the hell off of my song. #2. I could master the song to the point that Warren won't be able to look me in the eye anymore, that he'll think of me everytime he thinks of the Beatles and he'll bow down in my presence. As much as I think about doing bodily harm to people who stand in my way, I think I'll go with option 2.

The next time I face off with Warren, it won't be pretty. It'll be just like that scene in 'The Color Purple', that part when Shug reunites with her preacher father by singing 'God is Tryin to Tell You Something.' David and Warren will be up in the room trying to play and all of a sudden, they'll hear something from outside. They'll open the windows, look into the parking lot and they'll see me, coming out of the shadows. I'll be strumming them notes and crooning, 'Blackbird singing in the dead of niiiiight.' Warren will look defeated and David will get so emotional that he'll be on the verge of tears. Then I'll put my guitar down and I'll say, 'See David, sinners have souls too.' The he'll open his arms slowly and we'll embrace, both of us so wrapped up in emotion that we cry.

Ok, maybe I've gotten ahead of myself with that little fantasy. My lesson is tomorrow night, so I hope to have my act together by then. I must win back my song!

(Photo from

Monday, October 22, 2007

Waiting. Anticipating.

I arrive at work to find my desk covered in dust. The workers are doing something dreadful to the roof and our desks are the latest casualty. I’m peeved as I wipe the dust away and subsequently disinfect everything, including my trusty coffee mug. I prepare for work when the roofers start banging and banging on the roof to the point that I feel like I’m working in a war zone.

It isn’t until a supervisor walks by and gives me a compliment, do I realize what day it is. (This is a supervisor whom I dislike on a professional level, but I imagine her being cool outside of work). She tells me that she likes my hair and that she can tell I just got it done. I thank her, but then I start thinking, WTF? Yeah, I did get my hair done over the weekend, but what was wrong with it last week? Is she trying to tell me that my hair is busted? Like she, of all people, needs to talk about anyone's hair! Then the woman who sits on the other side of my cube makes several phone calls to tell everyone about the 16 bags of leaves she and her hubby had to carry over the weekend. I swear, I had to listen to the story about the 16 bags 16 different times, including the time she told me about it when we walked in. I’ve barely drunk my first cup of tea before I close my eyes and make an honest to goodness pledge to punch her in the throat if she mentions them damn leaves one more time.

And that’s when it hits me. PMS.

Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Those days when nothing goes right and you find yourself doing everyone in the vicinity bodily harm. Today, I’m in the constant state of waiting and anticipation. Days like this, I know it’s going to come, feel it’s going to come and I race to the bathroom several times only to realize that it hasn’t come. Sigh.

Today, I could split the jugular of a male colleague who tried to talk to me as I nearly fainted from mind-boggling cramps. I mean seriously, James, now is not the time for you to brag about how you beat me in fantasy football yesterday. If you value your life, and that of your descendants, you will back away from me with a quickness. Naturally, I don't say this but I think it, real hard. And he backs away. I’m so glad.

This evening, I will deal with a combination of my thrilling research class and Trudy. And theoretically after that, I’m going to be meeting up with a former coworker who has since moved out of the state and is gracing us with her presence for one night only. Theoretically, I’m going to be prim and proper throughout the night. At least that’s the hope. Cuz if anyone acts up tonight, I promise to rip the 2-liter Pepsi from Trudy and toss it in the face of anyone who gets in my way. Today ain’t the day folks. Back away!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Soundtrack

If I belonged to a tribe of some sort, I'd name myself Queen Many Songs. No matter where I go or what I do, I need to have a soundtrack to the occasion. Here's a few:

Taking a bath/shower:

Sade -- Either 'Lovers' Rock' or 'The Best of Sade', since those are the only two cds of hers that I have. I've mentioned my love of her before. I don't know how to explain it. She and her band just do it for me.

On my way to work:

Kanye West -- Specifically, "Spaceship" on College Dropout. I love how this song talks about how he struggled in his miserable job at The Gap, while staying up all night and writing his rhymes. I have to sing this song whenever the going gets rough at work because I know better things are on the way.

Friday nights:

Kelis --There is nothing like a chick who can flip it from talking about her love for her husband to tracks like "Blindfold Me", "Bossy," "Awww S**t" and my personal favorite, "F** them B****s."

Kanye West -- "Drunk 'N Hot Girls". That's basically about men in the club going crazy over some hot, drunk chick. Loves it!

Common -- This man makes the world go 'round. 'Nuff said.

Anger management:

Eminem --All day, every day. 'You don't/Wanna efff with Strengthy/Why?/Cuz Strengthy will effing kill you!' I couldn't have said it better myself.

Jaguar Wright -- If you aren't bitter and depressed when you listen to her first cd, 'Denials, Delusions and Decisions', I can guarantee that you will be after you finish listening to her. I've listened to it so many times that I've become immune, but she is definitely not for the weak.

Working Out:

A medley that consists of The Pussycat Dolls, Beyonce, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse and Kelly Clarkson.

Being wistful:

Another one of my infamous medleys. This one consists of David Gray, Corinne Bailey Rae, Amel Larrieux and Amerie. Some of my favorites are Gray's "This Year's Love," Corinne's "Breathless" and Musiq's "Today." Shoot, "Today" would make a good wedding song.

Anytime, Anyplace:

Amy Winehouse

Chrisette Michele

Eric Roberson

Toby Lightman

Nikka Costa

Jill Scott
John Mayer

Meshell Ndegeocello

Robin Thicke

Macy Gray


Erykah Badu

Lauryn Hill

Plus, many, many more! Sigh. This is just why my iPod is nearly out of space.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Manic Mondays

The next time I get the bright idea to register for a Monday night class, I'm going to look up this post and read it 1,000 times until I talk myself out of it. Seriously, this is what.... the eight week of the semester? ... and I'm already about to hurt someone.

My problem is that the class I need is only offered on Mondays, 4:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. And it's a research class, which is a code word for boring. My task in this class is to do a research paper on George Sand and give a 15-minute presentation on my work by the end of the semester. Writing the paper is no problem -- my thing is that I hate oral presentations. I'm glad we only have about 10 student sin our class, but I'd much rather turn in my paper, take an exam and roll outta there. But that's just me.

Anyway, I've learned that each semester there is one student in class that I want to assassinate. This time it's this girl, Trudy. (I have no idea what her real name is, but she looks like a Trudy to me). Trudy is an interesting character. Each day, she comes to class wearing a black scarf -- I'm pretty sure its the same scarf each week -- and lugging a 2-liter bottle of diet Pepsi. She spends each class either drinking her Pepsi straight out of the bottle or asking the professor questions that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. There have been several times that we could've left class early if it weren't for her endless comments about the state of British literature, followed up with her loud, caffienated burps. Luckily, I've been able to zone out during those times that she gets overly annoying. On those days, I imagine myself dancing on her face while wearing golf shoes. And for whatever reason, that fills me with extreme joy.

Well, I hope the Monday night stress explains a little bit as to why I've been MIA lately. I'll try to do better with the posts, as long as it doesn't interfere with my 'thrilling' research. So far, I'm still sane. Check with me again in December, which is when I may truly lose my mind or make that golf shoe fantasy a reality. I'm hoping for the best!

(Photo courtesy of

Before You Ask .....

A new post is coming soon, I promise! If I could just get a minute to organize my thoughts, then throw them up here, things would be gravy. But at the moment, that's not happening. In the meantime, please sit tight. It's only a matter of time before we return to your regularly scheduled program.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Last Temptation of Strength/Courage/Wisdom

The next person who suggests a TV show to me is going to get a swift kick in the stomach. I mean it. TV is stressing me out and it has got to stop.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I can be a bit on the obsessive side. When I like something, I REALLY REALLY like it and I want others to feel the same way. I also have this insane habit of wanting to be able to contribute to any conversation I stumble across. That combination does not bode well for the plans I made to watch less television.

For awhile, I was doing well. I had my must see viewing list and nothing else. If it wasn't "Lost", "24", "How I Met Your Mother", "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Ugly Betty" or "Grey's Anatomy", it wasn't getting watched. Yeah, I stumbled a bit with "Dancing With the Stars" and "America's Next Top Model," but for the most part I stuck with the plan.

Things changed when a few of my coworkers started talking about their new favorite show, "Heroes." They said it was much better than "Lost," a show I love to hate, so I said I'd check it out. Sure enough, this show rubbed me in the right way and got added to the list.

A few of my must see shows got dropped -- 24 killed off my favorite characters, I kept forgetting about How I Met Your Mother and SVU. I was fine with that, until my friend, Dee, appealed to my inner teenage white girl and tossed "One Tree Hill" my way. I watched most of the old seasons on dvd and reluctantly added that to the list.

But now that the new fall viewing season has started, I'm torn. I stopped watching "Girlfriends" long before they got rid of Toni's character. Now they have the nerve to add one of my many crushes, Richard T. Jones, to the cast. Don't the writers know that he was one of my favorite parts of "The Wood"? Don't they know I watched "Judging Amy" every week just to see him?

Adding 'Girlfriends' to the list makes things even more complicated because 'The Game' comes on right after that and I know I'll end up watching that as well. An even bigger problem is the fact that 'Heroes' comes on at the same time as both of these shows. But the CW Network does reair the episodes that Sunday, making it way too convenient for me to watch everything.

Recently, my friend, JJ, told me about his undying love for "Brothers & Sisters." I thought the show looked cheesy, but I got the first season's DVDs just to check it out. And I was right, it is cheesy, uses every cliche imaginable, but ... dare I say it? ... I can't stop watching. Sally Field is such a great actress and seeing Calista Flockhart again takes me back to my Ally McBeal days. I haven't finished watching the first season yet, but when I do, I'll probably .... you know ... add it to the list. (Of course, this list doesn't even mention the cable shows that I watch on DVD -- "Battlestar Galactica," "Nip/Tuck," etc)

After "Brothers & Sisters", I'm putting my foot down. The list is under lock and key and I'm not putting another show on there. So what if 24 is resurrecting one of my favorite characters from the dead (Tony Almeidia played by Carlos Bernard) ... I'm not going back! So what if ER is adding my other favorite 24 character (Reiko Aylesworth) to the cast this fall ... I'm not watching!!! And no matter how loudly my inner teenage white girl may sing "Glamorous Life", I will not watch Gossip Girl!! Hmph.

(Photo courtesy of

Friday, October 05, 2007

Say It Ain't So!

I haven't been this upset than Flo Jo's death. Sigh. Anywho, check it.

I'm pretty speechless right now, and that's a first for me.