Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Ya Say Wednesday? ("To catch me is to catch a leprechaun"**)

If you're single and looking, you might want to check this out. Should we look at new ways to compliment young girls? I want to be a quitter, but BGLU says that does NOT mean I should quit my job. Shucks! Apparently, I'm not alone in my feelings about my job. As much as I love strawberry jam, I've never made it myself so this makes my mouth water.

(**Erykah Badu's "4 Leaf Clover")

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letters from the Darker Populace (#5 Postracial America has arrived!)

Dear Mr. President,

We had our company cookout, which is a result of the higher ups trying to create a friendlier work environment. Their efforts have resulted in a daily emailed newsletter, suggestion boxes placed everywhere and constant encouragement to buy raffle tickets. Do I sound unappreciative? Quite the contrary. We could’ve used this committee last year, when we had the cookout and ran out of food, or the year before, when we had so many layoffs that nobody showed up to what was then the company picnic.We could’ve especially used it in the heyday of ‘06, when the execs were so busy popping bottles that no one arranged for a designated driver for the receptionist or our 40-year-old intern who can’t get work anywhere else.

Anyway, we got an email that lunch would be ready at 12:30, so we piled out there at 12:15, with paper plates and empty hamburger buns in hand. I stood beside my road dog “Tracy,” a member of the Paler Populace and we exchanged workplace woes. I told her about how the company continues to discriminate against me. Yes, we now have a vending machine that supplies Sprite, thanks to my previous requests. Yet whenever I go over to said machine, it eats my money and I have to fill out a form to get a refund. I don’t need to remind you, Mr. President, how necessary Sprite is for the members of the Darker Populace. You know how the bubbles in the drink help sustain our melanin, how the lemon lime flavor gives our hair that necessary snap. I’ve seen your pimp walk. I know about your prowess on the basketball court. Think you could do that without Sprite? Think again.

I could understand if this happens on occasion, but no. Every time I go to the vending machine, I have to endure The Great Sprite Fight. Once I lose, I have to submit my refund form to the receptionist who becomes chattier and chattier. Thanks to this defective machine, I know all about the drunken night of passion she had with the intern, how they continue to hook up and how she hasn’t announced her latest pregnancy because she fears that her husband isn’t the father.

So it was with great pleasure that I went to this cookout, which was a tirade of tacky Hawaiian shirts and hefty thighs squished in hot pants. But none of that mattered, because I could have free Sprite with my meal. I noshed, I drank, I even laughed a little. When I was finished, I tossed my plate and returned to work.

And that’s when it happened, Mr. President. I was at my desk, when Tracy approached and handed me two cans of Sprite. The person behind her did the same, as well as the next person and the next person. Thanks to the Paler Populace, I stuffed 24 cans of free Sprite into my bottom drawer. I was so happy I could’ve wept. It was almost like that last scene in Beautiful Mind when the mathematics faculty left pens on John Nash’s (played by Russell Crowe) desk to signify respect. Well, I felt just like John Nash, minus the schizophrenia, genius, imaginary friends and shock therapy. So I’m writing to thank you, Mr. President. Because of your tireless efforts, I’m finally getting a tiny piece of postracial America. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s something waiting in my bottom drawer.


Photo from

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Ya Say Wednesday? ("This is My Machismo"0

Father's Day has come and gone, but it's never too late to celebrate a great dad. But let's not forget mothers, particularly this Black breastfeeding mom. "Fighting is easier than dancing or making love." He's right, this is certainly a 'Diversion.' And here it is, a groove slightly transformed, just a bit of a break from the norm.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Ya Say Wednesday? "I am so hip, even my errors are correct . . . "

Good reads from around the blogosphere:

The Awkward Black Girl creator is just as cool as I'd imagined. I could use this to stomp out the bugs on my messy coworker's desk. "Never be afraid to embrace what you have naturally." I like you, do you like me? An upcoming documentary explores the challenges of dark skinned women, but that's no reason not to love your brown skin. Nikki Giovanni celebrated a birthday recently, which gives me one reason to watch this clip of my favorite Different World episode.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Don't Wanna Play

I’ve matured over the years. I’m a woman, ok? I’m no longer that bespectacled little girl who screamed “I don’t wanna play!” whenever I was forced to join my Lego's with the Boy Who Eats Paste, or asked to make room in my sandbox for the Girl With the Orthodontic Headgear. You see, when you’re already uncool, there is nothing that knocks you further down the popularity scale than being teamed with someone who is even less cool.

Those years are long behind me, but I’ve found myself in an adult version of this scenario in the workplace. As an adult, how do you tell someone that you don’t want to be their friend? How do you tell someone that their good intentions are coming across as stalkerish and insane? This is my problem.

Several weeks ago, I met Pat while washing my hands in the restroom.(Red flag #1) She introduced herself and noted that we were among the .5 percent of black folks in the building. We shared a few “No, I don’t eat watermelon” and “Yes, the president is very articulate” stories and went our separate ways. I was fine with that, I’m always open to seeing a friendly face in the building, especially one of color.

But, I began to see Pat everywhere. And everywhere I see Pat, she wants to TALK. If I’m entering the building while she’s outside smoking, Pat will put out her cigarette to ask me about the weather. If I’m reading and eating in the lunchroom, Pat will come in to ask me what I’m reading. If Pat is on her cell phone when I walk by, she’ll end her conversation to ask me about something on television. Or to gossip about another coworker. Or a popular song.

She leaves books on my desk, with promises of sending more. She interrupts my conversations with other people to ask if I’ve read said book. Once, I found Pat in the restroom and I swear she was waiting by the sink for me to finish up in the stall. I had to fake a bowel movement – lots of grunting, ya’ll – to get her to leave.

Pat is making me a prisoner at my own job. I have no desire to go to the vending machine, to my car, or even to the bathroom. I’m tired of being caught up in the web of her one-sided conversations that go nowhere. Yes, she may be a lonely person who is just hungry for a friend. But she needs to realize that I’m a loud, ticking time bomb of an introvert with raging bouts of pms and my dance card is full, thank you very much. So the next time she comes at me with some of her gibberish, I may just throw my hands up and shout: I DON'T WANNA PLAY!

Photo from

Monday, June 13, 2011

The C.R.E.A.M. Update

I finally got my money, an issue I agonized about in a previous post. I had great plans of how I was going to use my hard earned cash. I was going to save, pay off some debts, and have some fun. But because I’m trying to explore my financial literacy, I’m going to do more saving than I originally planned.

Now that it’s getting warm, the No Goods are making their presence known in my neighborhood and that pushes me further and further toward my homeownership goal. But as much as I’ve been saving, I fear that have not saved enough. So I toss a chunk of the cash into my Dream Home Fund, lock it up and throw away the key.

My new car came about with a great deal of help from my parents. I don’t like to owe anybody anything, so I took another chunk of dough and hoped to pay them back the rest of the money I owed them. However, they threw me for a loop when they told me they didn’t want it, that I should use it to save for the Dream Home. So I took their chunk and placed it in a CD, money that I can’t touch until fall 2012 after it ears a good interest rate.

That leaves a little bit leftover for me. What shall I do? My early plan was to place some into my Sharebuilder stock account and then another chunk in my Vacation account (I’ll be in Martha’s Vineyard soon, there’s nothing cheap about that!) However, there are the Wants, like a new television, a new iPod, a new guitar. Hell, maybe even a new wardrobe. But I’ll tread lightly, because I know that my list of Wants could get pretty extensive.

(Photo from

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sunday Spin ("Life is short. Call somebody today and tell them you love them."**)

1. I'm trying desperately to get into a regular blogging schedule once again

2. I learned that I've been bored, so I did some redecorating to help motivate me

3. The new design and the addition of Twitter has given me some additional motivation, so bear with me as I think of some worthwhile stuff to say

4. I did finally get my money, after mentioning the battle I went through previously

5. I did earn my master's degree, and Hemorrhoid is no longer my problem

6. I've developed mad love for Cee Lo Green, after receiving the Lady Killer cd as a bday gift

7. And I can't wait to tell you all about the web series that is eerily similar to my own life

I'd say that gives me posts to last me through the week, right?? Anyway, have a great week everybody!!

(**Tweet from Malcolm Jamal Warner, May 29, 2011)

Monday, June 06, 2011

'The Help' highlights a familiar hair battle

At the recommendation of a friend, I picked up a book that a white lady wrote about black maids. I had reservations about reading it -- I tend to havea bias against white writers using black characters -- but I enjoyed the book. The book is set in the 1960s, so there's lots of talk about the civil rights movment, the power struggle between blacks and whites, black domestics battling against their white employers, etc etc etc. All that is fine and good, but the thing that struck me was The Hair.

One of the main characters is a woman named Skeeter and she often battles her mother over her clothes and hairstyles. Apparently, her hair is too frizzy for her mother's tastes, so she always sends her to the salon or fusses at her when it's not done right. At one point, Skeeter goes through some kind of excessive hair regimen -- It was foreign to me, so I can't offer details -- that temporarily gives her the hair her mother desires. Sounded a bit like a relaxer for white people. But here is how Skeeter sums up her looks:

My own mother is looking at me as if I completely baffle her mind with my looks, my height, my hair. To say I have frizzy hair is an understatement. It is kinky, more pubic than cranial, and whitish blond, breaking off easily, like hay. (Pg. 65-66)

Her hair struggle is one that speaks volumes to me. I've been natural for about five years, so that has meant that I also baffle my mother with my looks -- this thick head of kinky hair in particular. I often get compliments on my locks, twists, 'fro, etc, but Mom has never been on the natural hair team. She hasn't been as vocal as Skeeter's mother, yet she has made it clear that she would like me to have a relaxer. It's become a bit of a joke in the family. I'll ask if I can borrow something, she'll joke that I can, only if I have a relaxer. She nearly had a heart attack the few times she saw my 'fro. Of course, she had nothing to say when I pointed out that I look eerily similar to her high school graduation picture, the one where she could barely fit her cap over her huge 'fro.

We laugh about it, and I'm still hoping Mom will come around. (I've given up on some other members of my family) I found this online and I know I'm not alone in the mother-daughter hair conflict. Maybe we can all start a support group, and invite Skeeter.

Photo from

Thursday, June 02, 2011

On Tears

It surprises many people to know that I am a big crier. Beyond this wise cracking facade, I can be, as my mother likes to put it, an Emotional Wreck. While I cry at movies quite often, The Passion of Christ, Joy Luck Club, and Marley & Me, are a trifecta that brings about The Ugly Cry. Throughout my life, I’ve shed tears when I’m about to get punished and when I’ve gotten away with murder, when some boy told me he didn’t love me and when another told me he did, at my grandmother’s funeral and pretty much whenever anyone talks about her, when the goddaughter runs toward me with a hug, and when she’s not in the mood. I cry when I’m happy, sad, mad, glad, etc.

So yes,I have a bad case of the waterworks. It is my handicap, and I hate it. Growing up, my mom always said, “Don’t ever get a boyfriend. Because you will be crying for the rest of your life.” No one else in my immediate family has this issue. I only saw my Dad cry once, and with Mom, it is a rare occasion. Just the other day, she watched ‘The Notebook’ for the first time and didn’t shed a single tear. The only movie that gets to her is the funeral scene in ‘Imitation of Life.’

Recently, we learned that my grandpa is dealing with a terminal lung disease. There is not much doctors can do, other than keep him comfortable. He doesn’t have the best of relationships with his children, since he abandoned the family years ago and recent news of other children hasn’t helped much, but we grandkids check in from time to time. He’s in good spirits, despite everything.

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to ask him why he bailed out on grandma all those years ago. Somebody also thought it would be a good idea to have a person ask him a series of questions and record the response. Guess who was nominated? I was never asked directly, but I heard through the grapevine that my aunt wants me to do it. “I’d do it myself, but I’d get too emotional.” My mom outed me as the Emotional Wreck that I am, and volunteered to do the task. She offered to get straight Barbara Walters with it: “The day you left your family, and we had no food to eat, and barely any clothes on our backs, how did you feel?” Sigh. Nothing good can come from this.