Friday, December 29, 2006

Without Fanfare...

I must thank Brunsli who gave me a gentle shake from an impending pity party. As I type I have had about six hours sleep in the past 48 or so hours. I am so tired and feel so empty. As New Year's Day approaches, I am a swirl of emotions.
I don't do resolutions, but I am pretty reflective.
Though I won't say there were not good days--there were--I am really glad to see an end to 2006. It has played out like two or three different years all full enough on their own.
I spent the first half in Virginia. The last half in New York. And all completely frazzled while trying to keep it together on the surface.
I'm pissed that my life is off track. Some days it really seems to be turning out all stick and no damn carrot.
But I am not going to complain. What am I really trying to do is dig down and find my self, my reserve, my drive. I know its there, because even though I may seem at rest, I can feel the energy swirling.Ii just have to figure out how to harness it and to what end.
I was saying I felt like running away from my life right now. Not because I hate it. But because I hate that its moving at this pace. Its the pace I need rather than the pace I want.
People think patience is a characteristic. It's not. It's a skill, a discipline, a habit, a verb. I do it but I do not embody it. I fake it. What is the inherent virtue of patience? I say there is none. There is nothing, I have concluded, transcendent about having to wait for what is worthwhile. If it is so, have it, do it, be it, live it. But wanting and having are sometimes estranged. I live in that gap. It is tight and uncomfortable.
2006 has 48 more hours.
The closest thing I have to a resolution for 2007 is straight talk. I'm weary of wondering. I am going to get to the nitty gritty. Even if it means some loss. I can take it. I want certainty and clarity and consistency. Everybody needs to walk and chew gum at the same time. Including me.
What does it mean that I can only remember three of the four agreements? Is that subliminal? The one I keep forgetting? Don't make assumptions. I think it may be the hardest one for me to overcome.
That's' why I need the straight talk. Take the pressure off me. Let my brain cool. You tell me. Draw me a diagram. I am not clairvoyant, just very damn perceptive.
I need to work on the other three also. I'm not perfect, just exactly the way I should be.
Why the tough talk? Because I need to grab a hold of myself and be my best friend again. Take care of me. It's the only job I'll have that no one else can do.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Vaguely Speaking...

I have been a bit silent, but not inactive. I meant to post on Thanksgiving, but I didn't, forgive me.
Anyhow...I can't reply to "ANONYMOUS" messages. If you have left an anonymous message, please let me know how and/or where to adddress you.
To answer "ANONYMOUS" who asked if I was doing Sisterlocks...I'd be happy to talk to you about it. Let me know where to reach you.
To answer "ANONYMOUS" who offered me one last clue. I didn't get it. Please give me another last clue.
To everyone else, rest assured, I will blog again!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Black team loses

I hate that I got pulled into watching the last half of that Survivor premiere tonight. The African American team lost and despite myself I was ticked off. Why did they have to lose right off the bat? I don't even know what happened in the first half of the I can't comment. They also sub-divided based on gender...but that's another story. Anyhow...I'm just not sure what the point of revisiting this emotional territory is. I grew up watching my parents and grandparents wince whenver a black person made a bad showing on television and here I find myself in the same psychic territory. Damn that John Burnett!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Deep cleansing breath...

1) I love JetBlue! I got Gram and Sam to New Orleans and was able to meet my parents in enough time to check back in and hop the same plane back. So I didn't have to sit in the airport all day. That meant I didn't have enough time to buy stuff. But really, I have no business frying beignets in here. And (shh!) I know how to order the mix online...which if I keep typing about beignets, I'll be tempted to do.

2) After a cranky start, everything went pretty well. Gram got cross with me last night and this morning. I kept Sam in the dark until it was nearly time to go. Then I swooped down, harnessed him and shoved him in the sherpa carrier. Somehow the little houdini managed to get out. I was terrified I would have to take the huge hardside carrier. After I loaded Gram's walker, luggage and wheelchair, it was apparent that wasn't going to work. So I took the sherpa bag and prayed he wouldn't try the escape act again. He didn't. And as far as Sam's travel record is concerned, things went really well. He cried in the car and a little while at take-off, but eventually he piped down and was mostly quiet.

3) Gram has been wholly unrealistic about what she's going to find in New Orleans. This is her first time back. All year my mother and I have been torn wbout what to tell her and when. And I felt like the Grinch everytime I reminded her that, no, she wouldn't be retrieving her belongings or moving back in her home or cleaning things up when she returns. My grandmother's house was in walking distance from the much-media-covered levee breach in the Ninth Ward. And even though it was the only one left standing on her block, it is condemned and will have to be completely demolished. My father was able to recover precious little when he was finally allowed access. My mother tells me she was quite distressed on the drive through. But in a way, and this is probably difficult for those of you who haven't been through this to understand, it is probably the only way she will be able to accept what has happened and maybe move forward. Neither my mother nor me can keep her in a bubble away from all that has happened. We all have to move forward. It is awful to watch her have to go through this, but maybe that will be the way she comes to accept our help and comfort.

So now, for the first time in a loooong time, I am alone (well, Nairobi is here!) in my own apartment. My family is back in New Orleans and on their way back home. I am in no eminent danger of having to go to Virginia or otherwise check on them. Now, I can focus on getting my life in order. Over the next couple of days, I intend to get a little sleep, give myself a little low-level pampering, and start settling into my new home with gusto. I've already stepped up my job search and my home organization is nearly done.

Deep cleansing breaths and prayers....Here we go!

Go JetBlue!

Today I am taking Gram and Sam back to New Orleans. I am hoping the DirecTv, blue chips, and cookies take the edge off everything. I'll be back tonight. Say a prayer for us all!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not forgotten...

Today is the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville, PA tragedies. Living in New York, it would be impossible to forget, but I wouldn't even if I didn't. I remember the day so very vividly. It was a Tuesday morning and I had left New York just the day before excited because I had decided to follow my heart...leave my job and move to the city. That Tuesday morning I got up and dressed. I remember hearing about the first plane on the Today show. I sometimes leave the television on when I go out. So as I locked the door, it seemed it wasn't clear what was going on...neither Katie Couric or Matt Lauer seemed to know what was going on. One of them speculated it must have been a helicopter or some other small aircraft.

When I got to campus, I tuned my little portable television as best I could. My office was in the center of a cinderblock building and I had the snowiest picture ever. But there was no mistaking what I saw...A full-size aircraft flying right into the World Trade Center. Shock cannot adequately describe what I felt. Was this the start of some full-fledged attack on the country? What was going on? Immediately I thought of my friend Janella and then others who lived and worked in New York. Were they near the WTC? On the subway? The street? I got up and walked across the hall to my colleague's office. It was weird that he was there because, well, he was never there. But that morning he was. And I felt strange saying the words "An airplane just flew into the World Trade Center..." because it felt as if I could be saying anything ridiculous like "hell is freezing over." Like everybody else in this country, I was always taught how improbable it was that the United States would ever suffer hostile attack. Surrounded by 'friendly nations,' exercising military and economic superiority around the globe. Pearl Harbor notwithstanding, the American mainland was supposed to be impervious. I felt exposed and naive and scared.

By that time, I had brought my television to my colleague's office. He had a window and I hoped for better reception. We watched silently. And then they collapsed one after another...He, much older than I, went pale and looked absolutely stricken. My sentient years are post-Vietnam. Besides the techinicolor of the Gulf War, military conflicts were mostly threats in my lifetime that never actually materialized. But his face belied an experience I did not want...I noticed the time. My students...I went down to my classroom. Students were filing in, most wholly unaware of what was happening. But, chillingly, a few walked in with a look I did not recognize. As they took their seats, I told them what I had seen. I couldn't teach class. I told them they were welcome to stay but that I was too worried about my friends in New York to present that morning. One of my students raised her hand, she understood she said...she was in the reserves and figured she should probably check in. I didn't understand at first, but sure enough, as the semester continued many of my students in that class and others began to tell me that they were worried about their military status, about their jobs, about their children...

My thoughts of moving to New York vanished. I was so shaken. The New York I had been in the day before was no more...By the time I drove back to my apartment, it felt like hell had broken loose. Planes were grounded and the lines were impossible. I could not get through to New York at all. Finally, I reached Janella...she was safe at her school. She was worried about me. We started thinking of other people to call. She named people that worked in the WTC or near it. I spent the rest of the morning trying to call them. I saw the news about the Pentagon and then the crash in PA. What was going on? What was going on?

My heart is heavy with condolences for everyone who lost a loved one five years ago. To me, this day will always remind me how tenuous life is, how quickly everything we know can be ripped away. But it also challenges me to be faithful, to be hopeful, and to be steadfast. For all those same reasons we must move forward each day determined to make our own destiny, our own happiness, our own meaning. Whether we are lost or whether we survive...for certain life endures. If we are still here, we still have an opportunity to make a difference for someone else and for ourselves.

Baker sighting!

I finally met Brunsli's cousin Baker! It had to happen eventually. Since Gram has been here I have had a legitimate excuse for going into the bakery every morning. Gram loves coffee and I don't have a coffee pot. It's not that I don't like a good cup of coffee, I do. It's just I drink it so infrequently, it just didn't seem like a good use of space to get a percolator. I'm more of a tea girl. In fact, back in Memphis, I had started collecting tea sets. The ones that are pot on top and a big mug on bottom. Great for lounging in bed with a second cup....Anyway, I digress.
I try to strategize, but more often than not, I have to get up and move the car for alternate side parking. So while I'm out, I justify a trip to the bakery. These days for Gram's coffee and once I get there I figure I should get her a pastry too, and it's a short slide to getting one for myself.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Temporary trouble...

Killing two birds with one stone might have been a good title too. Other hair blogs sometimes give product reviews. I'm not going to do exactly that. But I do want to close the loop. A few weeks ago I mentioned being tired of being a redhead. Well, I wasn't all talk. I would very much like to try being a classic brunette. I moseyed on up to my neighborhood beauty supply and bought a couple of bottles of temporary hair color. Going both feet in seemed like bad idea for a few reasons. One, since my hair is already colored, I was worried about getting the final result I desired. Two, since my hair is already colored, I was concerned about the harshness of effecting a chemical change with permanent color. The temporary color seemed an ideal way to test a new hue with less damaging chemicals.
The problem has been that despite the fact I rinsed my hair forever, it has continued to stain my clothing and presumably my skin weeks later. I am also still a redhead, but that's neither here nor there. The only hitch I can think of is that I did not sit under the dryer after the application. Perhaps the heat sets the color in the hair and prevents staining. Nonetheless I have a towel and several blouses and tees that are worse for the wear after my experimentation. My pillowcases have been molested with color as well. The whole mess is supposed to come out in four to six washings, but I am tempted to get some color remover and be done with this.
I won't say the brand, but I used what I thought was a dark brown. After I got finished rinsing my hair --which never came 'clear'- what was left of the color still clearly showed red. My hair is slightly darker, but it has beenn hardly worth the trouble.
So I am going to put my garments on hand wash and hope for the best...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Don't miss the water until the well runs dry...

I'm going to New Orleans for a day next week. So I immediately started thinking of what I could eat and bring back. Crawfish?! I wondered...
Then I found this...the gist is that it could take years for the crawfish industry to recover. I am one of those epicures who do not eat Asian crawfish. Not that I'm a xenophobe, they just don't taste good. Now I'm scared to check for softshell crabs and oysters too. Oh boo hoo...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I don't even know if anyone evens reads my blog anymore, but I ccertainly haven't abandoned it. Today I figured I would just go ahead and post, maybe explain my lapses. If anyone is out there, I'd love some feedback.
I've been living in NYC about a month and a half. The new place is coming together. I wasn't up to having my Housewarming/Katrina Anniversary party. Too much more needs to happen before I feel comfortable having a party here. But I did have some friends over for dinner which was great fun.
Who knows what I thought was going to happen, but I am still looking for a traditional, full time job. Once I got here, I thought things would just fall into place. I'm still optimistic, but my attention has been divided. My mother decided she did not want Katrina's anniversary to find her in Virginia. Daddy came up last weekend and they packed up and set off for New Orleans. The only trouble is the house isn't finished. So there s nowhere for them and Gram to live. Gram is here in NYC with me. I can't figure out how I would look for a job and keep her so I've put my job search on hold again. I'm also waiting for my mother to find them a place so I can get Gram and Sam on a plane down there.
Today the whole thing was dragging me down a bit...I'd be thrilled to have Gram visit under any other circumstance, but I'm growing keenly more aware that I need to get focused and plugged in here and I haven't been doing that. Since I arrived I've been going back and forth to Virginia, and just generally fuzzy in my movements.
So I haven't much been in the frame to blog. I don't even know what to say. Who knew this would all still be dragging on?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

HEAT Wave!

It is hotter than Hades! I am sitting in a towel in my new apartment trying to stay cool. The idea of buying an air conditioner just to get through a few days of extreme weather seems kind of silly to me. I am determined to get through this spell of hot weather with ice, cold drinks, and long naps. It has delayed my plan to paint the kitchen red. For years, I have wanted a red kitchen and I have the primer and paint all ready to go. There is just no way I could stand the fumes or the labor though so I'm going to wait until the weather breaks.
Wackily enough, I live around the corner from Brunsli's cousin Baker. He has the most delicious pastries ever!. I've had the peach croissants and chocolate souffles. Like I said, I'll never lose those extra lbs. going there.
Yesterday, I discovered Fairway and today a place called Garden of Eden with excellent produce. If it weren't so hot, I would either do more exploring or feel more motivated on the job search. As it stands, it's too hot for anything. I have enough food in the refrigerator that I won't be eating out for awhile.
I went today for new eyeglasses and have decided I no longer wish to be a redhead. I haven't donen anything about it yet. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beyond Katrina

I try to read the Times Picayune online everyday. It's a little way of staying connected to New Orleans. Today there is a fascinating article on the fates of many New Orleans public school students, flung far and wide to make their way in different educational systems.
For some reason, reading about these kids really struck a chord with me. I used to have this recurring dream that I was back at my public high school being told I had failed a math class and therefore hadn't graduated. The implication being that my undergraduate and graduate degrees were invalid and even fraudulent. I also admit to taking those online tests of 'basic high school knowledge' and not faring well, despite the fact that I took not only trigonometry but also calculus...I hate memorizing formulas and never committed to the difference between cosine and tangent.
The students themselves are a mixed lot. Some flourished, some floundered.
It's my turn to do the same. So far, I've been on a couple of job interviews in NYC but nothing has panned out. It has, predictably triggered an existential fit. Am I going to cut it in the New York job market? Am I a competitive candidiate?
I feel like I'm about to jump in the double dutch ropes while they are turning 'red hots.' On the side, I'm weaving and ducking and estimating...and I'm not in yet. I'l still have to catch the rhythm and keep it up when I get a leap. I could slide in or I could fall off.
I've been pretty optimistic so far. And I really do think things are going to be just fine. It's a question of how long it will take for things to fall into place that I can't predict. Or what my life will look like when it does. What kind of life will I settle into in New York?
I even contemplated going back to school. Finding a skill --for once-- for the market, refocusing my efforts. I feel like quite the generalist right now....capable, yes but not as qualified as the perfectionist in me prefers.

Friday, July 14, 2006

New York, New York!

My posts have been sporadic because, as I mentioned, I am trying to get myself back into the swing of things post-Katrina. Having spent many months in Virginia with my mother and grandmother, I realized the one-year anniversay of the hurricane was fast approaching and I determined that it would find me moving forward.
I've been going back and forth to New York City looking around, looking for work, and looking for a place to live.
This last time I found a place to live. I signed the lease for an apartment in Upper Manhattan. After a decade of threatening and thinking about moving to New York, I am as close as I have ever been...contractually obligated to pay rent on an apartment there for a year (lol). Now all I have to do is get the little bit of furniture I've accumulated from Virginia into my new place. If any of you have suggestions on how I could hire three or four people to unload my moving truck, suggestions on what to pay, etc. I'd appreciate.
I also appreciated the apartment search suggestions. I just needed too much hand-holding this go-round. I'm not sorry I went with a broker...but next time I'll have a better idea of what's going on and I can be more cagey. I wanted someone to do the winnowing out and negotiating for me, so I went the broker route. When it's time to move again, I'll have the advantage of already being in the city, knowing my way around much better, and hopefully having more financial resources.
I live just below Washington Heights (or in it, I'm not sure) was a hot spot for awhile, but all of Harlem is in danger of gentrification. My building is pre-war and on a pretty quiet block. I won't know until I move in how the neighbors are, the building, etc. 90% of my neighbors speak Spanish...incuding the super so it's going to be fun to dust off those college lessons and try to hang. My building has an elevator and on-site laundry. I didn't want to let those features be deal-breakers ...but I'm ecstatic I got them both. I am going to cojole Gram into a visit very soon (which she is NOT happy about) and when it gets cold, I can avoid at least one chore-trip (I hate sitting around the laundromat).
Tuesday I go back to clean everything, re-paint (all the walls are yellow, yuck), do my own extermination ritual, put down shelf-liner, hang window shades, etc.
I've already changed the utilities, but I need to get an appointment for cable.
So the only thing outstanding is finding a job...I am thinking good thoughts and staying calm.
I AM going to change my location on the Sisterlocks website. If anyone is interested in a very meticulous trainee who is building her speed, let me know!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why Am I Not Blogging?

Oh dear friends...why you may be wondering have I not been posting? Well the answer is quite simple. I'm trying to get myself moved and resettled in New York City. It is now July and the anniversary of all this crazy Katrina madness is fast approaching (August 29th). I have vowed that I would be living in my new place and (fingers crossed) working at a new job by the time that date rolls around.
So I have been shuttling back and forth to New York answering job posts and dealing with real estate brokers.
I would love to go out and find a no-broker apartment , but I do not know my way around NYC very well and my usual apartment search methods just don't work for a long-distance search. So I may, with little bitterness, end up paying a broker to help me find an apartment. It will likely be the only time I will ever have to resort to such an option. My hope is to find a new place for me (and Nairobi!) by next Thursday. Uptown Manhattan and Brooklyn seem to be the likeliest of destinations. I am wholly unfamiliar with Queens, so I haven't looked there and Long Island, though lovely, really strikes me as a settled-with-a-minivan kind of option.
My hair is holding up nicely! I've met at least three women interested in Sisterlocks, so I may very likely continue to pursue it as a side venture. Though I think my 'long distance' cell number is a deterrent for some. Sigh. Once I get a New York address, I may well have to get a 'local' cell number to match.
In the meantime, summer is flying by and I am doing my best to enjoy it!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fastbreaking News Update

Damn it! I leave my TiVo for a second and look what happens! Star Jones has quit/been forced off The View. I only saw a clip of her statement of the web. Curse it. According to another blog, though she said she would stay on until mid-July, she was asked after the show to leave immediately. Drama! If anybody cares enough, please tell me if she's on tomorrow.
I thought Star had gotten to be a royal pain with her Barbie engagement and fantasy wedding, sheesh. I won't even comment on her choice of spouse...there's a pot for every lid. But to have Barbara Walters hire a woman who has publicly ridiculed you is pretty harsh. Please remember that Barbara Walters did Iyanla Vanzant dirty on a talk show deal as well. And my mother reminds of an apparent hatchet job she did on Diana Ross (I'm too young to remember that). So basically, BW ain't black woman's best friend. Meredith Viera was my favorite and the show went straight to hell as soon as she left. But I feel bad today for's like she didn't even see it coming. Though she should have. Sigh. OK. Back to job-hunting!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Since it's Fathers' Day, I'll say a little bit about fathers. Those of us who are very lucky, like me, have Daddies. The words have very different connotations. Every person has a father, whether or not they know them, whether or not they like them. Daddy is a word that conveys a certain familiarity, a vulnerability, an affection, that is hard to come by and much rarer than the biological tie between father and child.

My daddy is not perfect. But he has always been there. Many women, and men, grow up without knowing what its like to have the man responsible for their existence constantly present. Fortunately, I do not know that absence. Through all his foibles, victories, setbacks and triumphs, my father was there. I have had the privilege of seeing firsthand what it means for a man to commit to being a parent, a spouse, a son. And that has made all the difference. That has provided me the chance to see and appreciate the humanity of every other man that I have met, to define who I am as a woman in relation. I have never felt the void of identity and affiliation that so many struggle to overcome.

From my father I have learned how to forgive, how to laugh, how to be vulnerable. I have learned what to do. I have learned what not to do. And as I met men and women who were not fortunate enough to have shared their lives with their fathers, I have gained a tremendous respect for my father's dedication and true commitment to his responsibilities. I feel very blessed and very loved. Thank you, Daddy.

Besides my father, I was also fortunate enough to have the love of another man. My PawPaw! He was a Grandfather, in every sense of the word. He also gave me unconditional love and unwavering support. There was never a moment when he was alive that I felt uncertain. No matter what I went to my grandfather for, he had it. Without saying much, my grandfather never failed to let me know how very special I must be. That nothing was too good or far from reach for me. That anything I wanted was mine. Some people call that spoiling, those people are wrong--and possibly jealous. I know better. Grandfathers are for raising the bar and creating limitless possibility. With my grandmother, my grandfather gave me security and that allowed me to dream and wish beyond the limits of my experience, to be daring, to be generous, to be kind, and to have the highest expectations of myself.

So today is Fathers' Day... I am very grateful for my father and my grandfathers, but I am lucky for my Daddy and my Paw Paw!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Need Locked Wearer Feedback About Workplace Experiences

I hope you all can help me. I'm working on an article about wearing locked styles in the workplace. I'd like to get the perspective of people in a variety of professions.
Were you concerned about how your hair would be perceived? What kind of feedback do you receive from co-workers, management? Do you believe your hair has an impact when job-searching?
Please let me know if you or anyone you know would be willing to share their experiences with me.

Friday, May 12, 2006


These days I've been more concerned about what's going on in my head than on top of it. So I haven't been blogging. I tried to come up with some vaguely hair-related topic to write about, but it would be half-assed. I wouldn't want to write it and you wouldn't want to read it. Something's afoot and I'll have some clarity by this time next week. Sorry about the unintentional cliff-hanger.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Inservice Day

Today is one that I have set aside for personal upkeep. Now that, ahem, I am of a certain age, I find I have to be strategic about my regimen.

I wrote already that I decided to get a series of chemical peels. I had one yesterday. So by tomorrow, I'll start looking like the insurance lizard's cousin...but it's absolutely worth it. Besides the flaking, I am very much near my goal of feeling comfortable without foundation. In fact, I had a jaw-dropping trip to the MAC store yesterday (Yes, I am a MAC addict!). After almost ten years wearing the same foundation, validated by makeup artists up and down the East Coast, I came to the shocking revelation that I am not an NW45 but a NC50. If any of you wear MAC you know that in essence my skin has shifted from Warm to Cool. I can only attribute this shift to 1) the change in climate, up North here in Virginia, I have been largely out of the sun, but 2) the peels have unclogged my pores and alleviated much of the redness and irritation associated with my acne.

The quest to embrace myself is largely a spiritual one, but I do care about how I look-hello! My complexion has been as issue since I was a teenager. Now that I am an adult, I have pursued options available to me to improve my skin. I also got braces--but that was awhile ago. So I chose to get a series of five--maybe six-- chemical peels. There are some great ones on the market suitable for dark skin like mine. I had one a few years ago that was not as gentle. But even that was not so bad as to deter from doing it again. The product I am getting now is called a Vitalize peel made by SkinMedica. It is so gentle, I don't even feel the application. The results are great. By Friday, I should be done shedding.

But the inevitable sloughing is why I plan to be in the house until tomorrow. So I am also going to get busy with a bottle of Nair for my legs, wash/set my hair, and get a spa pedicure--it's sandal time. Better not mix the Nair and the shampoo! It's all about upkeep today. It doesn't take all day for me to finish everything, but I can't exactly go to the mall with rollers.

It's fascinating to me the things I do for upkeep and enhancement. I would feel like the peels were an extravagance, but I save so much money on my hair--Thanks Sisterlocks! see I managed to squeeze it in--that I can afford to pamper my skin. MAC has become a necessity. I just hand over the money. The only other cosmetics line that is as well-pigmented is NARS. I also occasionally wear Bare Escentuals mineral makeup--but it doesn't photograph well.

My hair I do myself. But I do color at home--which I am not recommending. Also inexpensive.

I could do my own pedicure, but I love those spa chairs...sigh. I'll go and do that first.

What do you do to look and feel beautiful?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Life is a Journey

I know that for the most part I said that I would mostly blog here about Sisterlocks. What I am about to write is at least tangentially related. I am realizing that many women are not living lives that reflect their beauty. I don't mean that in a strictly superficial sense, though that comes into play as well.

When I decided to get Sisterlocks four years ago, I realize in retrospect, I was entering a phase of my life that is about embracing myself as myself. As with many women I have talked to about their transition to Sisterlocks or other natural options, the journey is as much about self-acceptance, self-awareness and self-celebration as it is about looking different on the outside.

I began making career changes, lifestyle changes...doing everything that I could to bring my day-to-day existence into accord with my soul's desires whatever they may be at the moment. That journey has caused me to challenge myself in every way. What kind of life *do* I want to lead? What must I have for this journey?

And since I have gotten Sisterlocks, life has continued in much the same way as before. While I did get some indirect comments at work, I really suffered no repercussions. But when the issue even surfaced, I realized for me that I had finally reached the point where I was comfortable enough with myself not to accomodate unreasonable external requests. --I read Mablean Ephraim is leaving the show Divorce Court in part because she was taken aback about requests they made regarding her hair. I think her response is full of it given the particular context, but that's for another post.-- What finally resonated for me was that for some reason it finally sunk into my head that I am more valuable than any job. And that I would be sought after by employers who valued my contribution as well as or in spite of my appearance. And at the end of the day, I think my attitude has made all the difference.

There is a lot of dust-up about the decision at Hampton University to ban cornrows and dreadlocks for its five year MBA candidates. I was a bit stunned that an institution purporting to cultivate African American leadership would take such a position, it reeks of self-loathing and obsequiousness...two qualities I would not want to instill with future entrepreneurs or businesspeople. But I was most reminded that there are those who face many obstacles to embracing their true selves.

On the personal side, I have also not experienced negative social reactions to my hair. Though I would hardly notice if a man was not attracted to me because of my hair since he wouldn't approach me. I definitely have not received any negative feedback. I wonder who these men are who dislike the natural texture of any woman's hair. All the moreso if they are of African descent. Do they loathe their own self? In my experience, men are most concerned about the length of a woman's hair. When I was relaxed I wore my hair very short to medium length and I got *lots* of feedback about the length. That does not happen anymore. But I wonder now if I got the feedback because I seemed vulnerable to it. I couldn't imagine holding an audience now with someone who wanted to give me an inventory of my shortcomings. And being luxuriously single, I would not choose a partner who did not think me absolutely splendid without cosmetic alteration...chemicall or otherwise. That a man ask me to straighten my hair to appear attractive seems as far-fetched as being asked to lighten my skin.

But I am aware that there are many women who are not being offered support along their journey and further may face real consequences for forging ahead.

So I feel especially blessed that I have had the opportunity to come this far and hope to go much further.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Trainee Debriefing

Well, my class went very well! It certainly gave me lots of things to ponder. First, how involved with Sisterlocks as a business do I want to become? My primary reason for taking the class was curiosity, but as the class approached and definitely during, I became more intrigued by the opportunity it represented for entrepreneurship. I talked to a really, great woman about working in her salon...who knew? I have a lot to think about.
At first, I am going to proceed very slowly. I want to provide the same positive experience to Sisterlocks that I had. That means providing consistent, meticulous technique and a positive, professional environment. The first requires practice, the second some resources. For those who are patient, I am willing to start slowly--probably through personal references to provide Sisterlocks services by outcall. If you are in the DC or NYC area, send me a message and we can talk more about what that includes. Right now my goal is to work *very* closely with a small group of women that I can provide top-notch personal service rather than trying to build a huge volume of clients. I've noticed that when Sisterlocks come to an area, it catches on like wildfire! Which is great, but often it becomes difficult to find a provider.
At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer--that Rachel Dratch character from Saturday Night Live-- I also saw some cautionary tales in the making during my class. As Sisterlocks expands as a business opportunity, those interested will have to become more savvy about who is in the marketplace. A few in the class did not understand or intend to honor that they were learning a trademarked system and agreeing to offer Sisterlocks as it was conveyed to them. I see that as an ethical issue, but for those who may unwittingly patronize these providers there is a great probability of frustration and confusion.
There *are* several locking techniques that one could utilize with great results, but Sisterlocks is a specific, unique technique that creates a particular outcome. If someone offers you a hodge-podge of shortcuts and modifications to Sisterlocks...well, you probably won't get what you thought you would. There is no getting around the fact that Sisterlocks are very time-intensive and exacting to install, but consider only want to have it done once. So make sure it's done right and by someone who is concerned and knowledgeable about your outcome.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's Day Three...

Wow--I can't believe it's Day Three of my Training Class. Tomorrow is the last one and right after I'm jumping in the car and driving back to Virginia so I know I won't be posting.
So I don't want to brag and it will probably be a little while before I feel confident, but I can't believe how much I've learned. My curiosity addiction is definitely getting a fix. Last night I was practicing my locking technique---Mmm,hm...I got 'techniques' now!--and I was completely in my own zone focusing on my hand movements, watching my progress...I love learning new stuff! I know I am going to have the butterflies when (if?) I work with another person (seems strange to even contemplate doing someone else's locks!) but I am looking forward to trying.
Being such a perfectionist, I know it will be somewhat scary because I'll feel responsible 1) for doing as flawless a job I can as a reflection of my own work and because it will be on display for them constantly 2) for passing along as positive experience as I've had.
So I am going to start by doing a mannequin--maybe two (yipes)--but then I guess I'm ready to start working with people. Know anybody who needs a Sisterlocks Consultant Trainee?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What Had Happened See...

I know I never posted the after pictures from my Soft Spikes 'do. First, I was not pleased with my handiwork and I want to redo it...I'm having a spell of perfectionitis that's making it hard for me to finish anything...But I did not post an after picture from this go-round because last week I just was a scattered mess and I wasn't up to it.
So I'm sorry. Forgive me...
Anyway, as I type I am in Newark at the Sisterlocks Consultant Training. I just love being a student...learning new information, fretting over whether I really comprehend it, wondering to what use I'll put the pearls I've gleaned...
So Day One is over. In only Three More Days I'll be ready to go out and help some folks get Sisterlocked. Anybody interested?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

In between...

I really hate how I look when I take my own pics...but this is the best I've got at my own arm's length. Where is my entourage? Makeup? Lights?
Anyway...this is how the curls look when I first take then down. Tomorrow I have a meeting so I'll dress like a grown-up and get a proper after shot...
But Brunsli says she can't stand the suspense so...Nairobi wanted a cameo too, she's a ham! And never takes a bad picture...little diva!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Halfway Through...

Last night, I was supposed to do my hair. But I didn't, so I'm midway through. I just washed out the color and am letting my hair hair dry awhile before I set it on the soft spikes.
It looks like rain, so today is perfect for sitting around with funny curlers in my hair...I guess I'll after pictures tomorrow.

She Done Gone and Done It Now....

Are you ladies aware that there are some new soft spike curlers available? Now there are jumbo Soft Spikes available...
I believe we are witnessing the birth of a phenomenon...

Friday, March 31, 2006


Brunsli says the Soft Spikes lady wants before and after photos for her site. Well, I've been busy all week procrastinating so I'm just getting around to doing it.
I thought about going au naturel...but nobody said I had I put on some makeup...
I should have after pictures tomorrow. I'm going to touch up the color too...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Big Picture--The Politics of Hair

The Village Voice has a fascinating story about the international hair trade.
Many of us know all about some French Refined, Wet and Wavy. Check it out. The decisions we make about our hairstyles can have some very far-reaching economic and political implications. I'm not saying that should necessarily affect anyone's decisions, but it is fodder for thought.
Like all the other products we use, if we are buying hair, we should give some thought to where it came from and how it got our market.
Toward the end of my hair-wearing days, I was using mostly synthetic products--Viva Kanekalon--but I have purchased lots of human hair products. On wefts or in bundles, the trade of hair is a booming business. In the last five to ten years, I notice the market is accomodating an increasing range of hair textures. When I was in college, most of the product was "European" ranging from extremely straight to moderately wavy. Now there are kinky textures available to accomodate afrocentric styles like twists and afros. When I first got SLs, I found a faux lock fall made with kinky-textured synthetic hair and thought how much things had changed. Whereas the intial assumption was that women wanted to conform to a standard of straight, eurocentric styles, now the market has clearly received the message that many women want to preserve, enhance, or even mimic other ethnic looks as well.
In my college days, the scrutiny was directed toward discerning yak-synthetic hair- mixed into your human hair bundle, now consumers need to be aware of the process by which their hair was harvested and processed, even its place of origin.
Different components of the trade are establishing themselves in Asia--China and India-- and Africa, but North America--specifically the US is the largest consumer--over 70%.
Another change is the increasing market amongst white women--I saw yesterday Jessica Simpson may endorse a hair extension line. Who saw that coming? Not me...
Of course as the production and manufacture of hair products increases, we will see an increasing attention on hair care providers. Today I learned about a Chinese-Trinidadian weave master- Clem Lue Yat -he grew up and worked largely with women of color...But as the market begins to target white women, I wonder how it will affect salon and stylist culture. I already have seen methods of weaving that attempt to bypass braiding, I predict even more strange developments...
On a related note, I had a fascinating discussion with the head of the American Hairbraiders and Natural Hair Care Association...I'll blog about that very soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I found my jump drive undamaged and was pleased that among the images on it was this one from my best friend's daughter's Muslim blessing. She is a delightful toddler now. This is one of my favorite pictures...not just because I took it, but because it really captures the spirit of that day.

I'm Trying to Do Better...

The truth is I just need some help. I look at other people's blogs--with multiple images and fancy hot links and --as the song goes--all I can do is sigh...
I can't get my AdSense to work. I've been trying since I set up last January (2005, mind you) to get a picture on my profile.
I consider myself a reasonably intelligent human being, with above average reading comprehension and problem solving skills. But I cannot make my blog do what it do...or even what I want it to do.
So, Help!!!!
If you give me some simple tips for posting multiple pictures for starters and how to post pictures from other sites, I'd really appreciate it I only have until Monday to get it together.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Changes Afoot!

OK...Just to show I mean business, I wasted-- I mean spent-- all morning when I could have been working setting up a new blog. As of next Monday, I will put all my personal-share-with-friends-stuff there and I will blog only about Sisterlocks-related stuff here. So we'll see how that goes, how often I post whatever. If you'd like to continue on with my silliness just let me know and I'll give you the other address.
All the old stuff will be here in the archive...but from now on if you're wondering about my cats or Katrina or if I feel fat...well, you'll just have to go over there.
At least I thin that's how it'll work. This is all sketchy right now...

Morning Call

So this morning, I am trying to figure out what is going to become of this week. Already I am remembering what it is like to share a house with two wacky cats. Yesterday they slept peacefully but these two seem to know it's Monday. They have been up spreading premature sunshine all morning. Now I don't know about you, but those last ninety minutes before I wake up are when I do my best work...real quality resting. Not this morning! Nairobi wanted breakfast at six! The litter box needed cleaning and when I got to the kitchen, I saw the little rugrats had pushed open my grandmother's bedroom door to give her some love too! I fed them and them the little noisemakers jingled their bells around downstairs while I tried to go back to sleep. There are two cures for this behavior...1) I will have to get them a pet feeder...I feel neglectful for about a minute whenever I set up a feeder for them...but I get over it. Why shouldn't they feed themselves? Especially if they want to eat at the crack of daylight! 2) This seems cruel and takes awhile to sink into their little cat brains, but you have to wake them up during their afternoon naps. It sounds cruel but if you've been awakened by a yawrling cat, you actually figure they have it coming. I used to actually wake Sam up and put him on his feet in the afternoons, otherwise he'd run laps while I was trying to sleep. It is essential that your cats understand and respect your waking hours.
I can't believe they didn't spare my grandmother. She claims they broke in and got in her bed yesterday too! Little rugrats...if they didn't mean well, you couldn't stand them. But they run from place to place, saying hello, joining people in bed...and you just can't stay mad at them. But you can wake them up...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

50% Photogenic...

So I added a picture of Sam and Nairobi to the end of the last post but I can't seem to get it in...this also marks the beginning of my heartfelt intention to begin regularly--as opposed to intermittently illustrating this blog. One reason I haven't is my technical fumblings. I often can't get things to work as I intend.
The other that bears further exploration, for a variety of reasons, is that I am convinced I am only 50% photogenic at best. From the fuzzy BPM photo, to candids, to driver's license photos, my pictures are either decent or unpresentable. And I have been so self-conscious about my photos (all in the unpresentable category IMO) that I haven't been posting any though I now have a digital camera as well as my Treo on hand.
I am going to take a deep breath and get over that. I am not going to grow a chin and hopefully the peels will improve my complexion, but beyond that, this is my face and I need to accept it.
I notice on the self-deprecating remarks on other people's blogs too. Why are we so hard on ourselves? I think you all are Cutie Pies ala Mode. Sometimes y'all look a little rough around the edges (smile), but always beautiful. I think we need to collectively get over it and accept the fact that we are devastatingly gorgeous and just live with it. Even on a bad day, we are definitely ready for our close ups...and as soon as I put on some makeup, I'll post mine...

Big Things Are Going Down

So I teased a few days ago about the return of Sam and Nairobi. Brunsli has Cello and Chicco-- and they are adorable...but they are dogs. I have an alternative for you.
After a six month separation...I have finally been reunited with my two cats.
When I last saw them, it was about 36 hours before Katrina hit. I made the difficult decision to leave them at home. Not because I don't love them or even because I didn't want to take them...I left them because Sam hates to ride in the car. I figured the stress of the car trip and then being cooped in a motel room for a couple of days would be worse then being home alone together. Little did I know that they would be stranded in the middle of Category 4 hurricane in a house that took on about eight feet of water. They were rescued from the house on or about September 29, a month later, when we still weren't allowed to go back. And that is where the story could have ended...
Since we got to Virginia, I have been scouring PetFinder, working with the Humane Society and a group called Best Friends, trying, trying to find my cats. I have looked at more mug shots of lost kitties than you would ever want to see. All heart-breaking and fruitless...
It was at the six month mark of our stay here that I said a little prayer that if it was God's will I never see my cats again, that they were safe and sound in a new home. And just like that...there was an email from a stranger.
Now usually I delete strange emails...they could be viruses at worst and usually they are Viagra ads...but this one...
It was a woman who swore she had Sam and Nairobi. She sent her cell number. I was intrigued, but cautious. When I got her on the phone, I couldn't believe what she had to say...
She had two black cats since October. Her friends went down to New Orleans to do animal search-and-rescue and saw two black cats together in a carrier and brought them directly to her. She KNEW they were mine because one had a rhinestone collar with her phone number and even more in their carrier was their vaccination records with their names and MINE.
Now I don't know who you pray to, but that sounded DIVINE to me. She emailed me a photo of a collar with a cracked bell that I knew belonged to Nairobi.
Since then, I have been secretly excited that I was getting my cats back. The woman-- Robyn-- and I exchanged emails about their behavior--naughty--and how we were going to get them from Michigan(!) to Virginia. Just when I had gotten through to Best Friends--who are donating resources to reunite people with their pets...How wonderful!--Robyn calls to say that the women who rescued Sam and Nairobi INSIST on bringing them back to me themselves! They all work at a veterinary hospital in Michigan and they wanted to see their efforts through to a happy ending. So I started talking with a live wire, young lady named Rachael...they decided to drive straight here and straight back to drop off my kitties and a chihuahua named Girl to a man from New Orleans.
So I was worried...Were they really mine? Would they remember me? Would they be angry that I left them alone? Did they have traumatic effects? Had they adjusted OK? Would they adjust to being here? Is it OK to have them here? Now what? Sigh...I'm good at worrying.
So after lots of calls...they are here.
They seem to recognize me and Mom and Gram, but they are really confused about the house.
But I know they'll be OK, because last night they got in bed with me and hogged the mattress. Just like old times...I have to get a king-sized again...
So I guess all's well that ends well...

Friday, March 24, 2006


OK...Gearing up to my Sisterlocks class, I said I'd clear the cobwebs. Tonight/this morning, I am having a mini anxiety attack, personal crisis, whatever. I am taking deep breaths, I cannot sleep, I am freaking out...
I was going to go into the details of what triggered this panic, but that really isn't the point. The thing is, I've felt this way before and I don't know what to do about it. For maybe the past four years, I have been experiencing these spells of I-don't-even-know-what feeling. It's like terror, fear, panic, nausea, hesitance all rolled into one. And when I feel it I don't know whether to forge ahead, recoil, freeze, double over.
It can last for a few hours...
I'm scared I'm going to allow this to start influencing my decision-making. And if I do, I'm not sure I should ignore it or listen to it.
I don't know if this is 'normal.' I have no point of reference. I've been afraid to describe this to anyone else and afraid not to...As I type, my chest is completely tight and I have to make a deliberate effort to fill my lungs with air. I just couldn't imagine falling asleep, so I got up to blog.
I just wanted to get this out...Maybe when I see it posted it will give me some perspective on how I'm feeling and what I should do next.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Few Random Thoughts...

So I was kneeling over a bowl of vinegar yesterday and either the fumes or the tilt jogged some thoughts loose. When I got the email from Brunsli I had to comment. Isn't it weird that you can find a group of people online and discover a sense of community with them? I mean what are the chances that I would be getting my peels when Brunsli is about to blog about medspas?
What are the chances that I would visit BlaqKofi's blog and she'd be writing about the very haircolor I use?

So I am trying to drag my lazy butt back onto the health addition to the fish oil capsules I have been taking, I got a bottle for straight slugging. Sounds gross, but I'm not going to ingest enough via capsule. I've gotten conflicting advice regarding the benefits of flaxseed oil (plant-based) vs. fish oil. I went with the fish oil. So I'm loading up. I first started taking it last spring when I had the auto-immune tests. Fish oil is highly recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties and its great for skin and it allegedly helps with PMS. So I should probably have a fish oil IV drip.

I am also secretly drinking apple cider vinegar. Secretly meaning I am blogging about it, but can not confess to my parents. My father is addicted to the stuff and I have teased him mercilessly about it. Not that I don't believe its beneficial, but he takes it way too far. He would soak in it to soothe his skin. The bathroom smelled like a hot salad! My mother would use it to clean pots, furniture, whatever. There were literally gallon bottles of the stuff in the kitchen and the bathroom. So I can't tell either of them because they would think they had pulled me over to the dark side.

Drinking diluted, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar supposedly aids digestion. One website claims if you drink it twice a day for a week, it will kill internal parasites...I promise I won't share any stories about that. There are sites that claim it will aim with weight my dreams! If it does anything, I'll be impressed. My only concern is that I can't resolve whether it exacerbates or aids internal yeast levels. I have a sneaking suspicion I may have a yeast imbalance. But I don't know what to do about it. I can't imagine following the strict diet recommended for yeast/candida problems. No corn! No wine! Yipes! For thirty days or more! Yipes! I had been loading acidophilous tabs, but I don't think that works. I had been eating yogurt, but I'm nt a dairy girl. Even though yogurt is less irritating, I'm just antsy about it eating it. If you know lactose, you know why...Silk makes a 'yogurt' product and drink with acidophilous...So basically I am ramping back up to the healthy changes I had made in my diet last summer when...well you know.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Confession: I am...

a shameless consumer! I am a label conscious, trend spotting, vain glorious, eccentric/eclectic, spendthrift! Which makes for some fun, unusual excursions.
Since I have the excuse of replacing all my clothing, I have had the opportunity to re-observe myself in the shopping wild. I am a twisted miss!
My latest conquests were from Target. I buy a large parcel of my summer clothing from Target. This has been my way since I went to graduate school in Los Angeles and discovered I could ride the Blue Bus to Culver City and return with bargains galore. There were no Targets in Rhode Island while I was there, but I didn't have any I wore what I had already bought and dreamed about Target. When I got to Memphis, I picked up where I left off and even increased my habit to other seasons. I can say honestly that some of my favorite clothes, now lost were from Target.
When Isaac Mizrahi started designing for them...let's just say there were a couple of mornings I was outside when Target opened.
I juxtapose that with my new penchant, rack roving at Loehmann's. I had heard of them. But I never lived near one. I have bought all kinds of things there. And I LOVE H&M! Though I am near the end of their demographic...sigh. I saved my H&M suits. They are actually worth altering...
I am a MAC Addict! Nuff said.
I wear both Angel and Alien. God Bless Thierry Mugler!
I go to DSW more than I go to church. And for my ministrations, I got a pair of Prada platforms 80% off. I have no idea when I will get to wear them. But I got them. I'm sure I have something from Target to wear them with...
I have convinced the MedSpa to give me a better price on my peels. Yet I soaked my head today in half a bottle of apple cider vinegar from Dollar General.
When I first got here, my purchases were conservative...Lots of feminine, classic-cut suits. Still not corporate...definitely in danger of being inappropriate at any moment. But demure enough that an interviewer couldn't immediately tell I would be a troublemaker. The suit I wore for a second interview at a very large, very conservative firm, for example, was paired with a black cashmere sweater (from Target!), black pearl studs, Naturalizer pumps...but it (the suit) was lavender(!) in October(!)....The interviewer was openly intrigued, but she couldn't quite articulate my transgression. I'm sure it never occurred to her that half my outfit was from Target...that I would be so brazen as to inquire about a management position thusly attired. But perhaps that's why I wasn't
Is this unusual? This juxtaposition of high and low...this sartorial mismatch...
Friday we're going to the Leesburg Outlets!

Jean, Secret Saboteur

My mother, who appears to be a nice, demure lady, is anything but. In fact, my mother is a secret saboteur. She would never admit it, but I can draw no other conclusion about a woman who approaches me at 11:15AM with a box full of chocolate-covered brownies. This is the same little trickster who bought me a girdle for Christmas --she called it a smoother, but I'm not stupid. I'm on to her...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Cats are out of the Bag!

I was waiting patiently to write about this Saturday but Sam and Nairobi are already famous.Yay!

Some things on my mind...

You know, Dr. Phil is kind of a pain in the butt. I watch him and all, but really. He's kind of obnoxious.
And why do men lie about their height? Do they think no one will notice if they do? Is it wishful approximation?
It's 3PM and I still haven't washed my hair. I'm having one of those.
And they still won't sell me my book. I could have ordered it off Amazon...But now I have a coupon for it, so I guess I'll wait.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Book Lover....

I lost thousands of books.
It seems weird to type that. But I assure you its true. I owned and lost thousands of books.
Almost two hours ago, I got a bee in my bonnet about Colson Whitehead's Apex Hides the Hurt. So I jumped in my car and drove to Borders. They would neither confirm nor deny that it would be released tomorrow and they would not put a hold on a copy for me until it had, in fact, been put on the floor.
I've been to bookstores quite a few times these past six months. But tonight I was actually excited about getting a book. I was thinking I would replace my favorite novel (well, one of them) Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. But I want to buy them together. If you're familiar with Ellison and Whitehead, you'll know why.
So instead, I bought another paperback copy of Sula. I still hold out hope that Toni Morrison will replace my autographed set. I left her a note the last time I drove through Princeton. Perhaps I should follow up with a letter of appeal. But I definitely wanted to have that book back.
I have carted books from New Jersey to Rhode Island to Tennessee to Louisiana. As I child, I always wondered why my grandparents didn't have any books. They had lost them because of Betsy and now I too have lost mine. I also lost my childhood books...from Little Golden Book titles on that were packed in our attic.
Books have always held a special place in my life. Some I read over and over, some I had never read, some were rare, some were trashy...but all of them connected me to a different time or place, a different aspect of myself, a hope, aspiration or realization.
Many of the books I can never replace. I think specifically of my catalog from the Whitney Museum show called Black Male. Even when I got it, they were in short supply. I hardly handled it, not wanting any harm to come to its glossy pages. So too my copy of a book called The Black Book, edited by Toni Morrison when she was an editor at Random House. Others will just be a pain to track down like my collection of 1890s African American literature, my coffee table books of Kara Walker's art...
But now I have Sula back...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Changing Directions...

There are a few topics that are always at the forefront of my mind and some of them actually get blogged about. And even though it seems I start, then drop, topics in my blog, I keep a tally of all the themes, topics,and tidbits I've introduced. A short while ago, I lamented again that my blog seemed to be having an identity crisis yet again. So I have made a decision. I am going to clear the cobwebs out of my head as I lead into the Sisterlocks Consultant class in April and then I am going to shift the focus of my blog to talking about my hair and its context.
That means I'll still write about all the crazy tangents I usually do, but I will take great pains to write from the perspective of sharing more about my Sisterlocks journey.
The first cobweb...Katrina. I haven't mentioned her name on this page for awhile. It seems almost redundant. My daily life is a reminder of how my life and family has changed by this natural disaster. My parents are separated (physically, not emotionally) and we are all 'homeless' because of it. But we are also knitted stronger together and defiant in its face. We are taking everything thrown our way and making the best of it. No storm will toss us off our course.
Two members of my family that I haven't mentioned in awhile are also due a mention. My cats, Sam and Nairobi.
I had to make the painful, and very difficult decision to leave them behind when I evacuated early Sunday morning before the hurricane. It was not an easy decision to make at the time and these months without them have been very hard. Some people see their pets as people, but we celebrate ours for their cattiness. And they have been sorely missed as a source of amusement, annoyance, and affection in our daily lives. After six months of being without them, I became resigned to the possibility I would never see them again.
Apparently that is not how the story is meant to end! If all goes well, I will fill in all the developments with Sam and Nairobi next Saturday! With pictures. I love a teaser!
I already shared, I believe, that I have decided not to look for full-time employment until my parents are reunited. I am spending my days helping care for my grandmother. If future employers have a problem with that....well then I wouldn't want to work for them anyway. My grandmother (and late grandfather) took care of me with such affection and selflessness, that there is nothing anyone could say or do to deny me the opportunity to reciprocate. My full-time job and first responsibility now is helping my family. In the meantime, I am exploring my new environs, making new connections and, hopefully, building a network for the future. A future that I will live on my own terms rather than those of others.
Which reminds me of FEMA...Oh how I rue talking to them. But I am due to call them and their more pleasant counterparts at SBA.
Today I am in the house, beholding what my peel Thursday hath wrought!
I really like the aesthetician at the medspa and the ambiance and the whole ladies-who-lunch vibe of the drive there. But, and I welcome input becuase it seems like a no-brainer to me, I found a dermatologist's office right here in Warrenton that does the same peel for a LOT less. Over the course of the five recommended peels I would save almost half the money. Can you comparison shop medspas? I've been trying to reach my sales associate to offer them the opportunity to match the other places price. Is that faux pas? I was going to give her the clinic's number so she could verify the price difference. Is that tipping the new place off to raise their prices? Sigh. I am pretty sure it is EXACTLY the same peel. The derm's office is no medspa, but it would be doctor-supervised. It's hard for me not to go with the price leader here. Any feedback?
Once the sun goes down, I'm headed to the supermarket. I hate sunscreen--it leaves this nasty metallic sheen on my face. I'd appreciate recommendations for product that don't do that.
Sigh...Ok enough rambling for now.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dude, I got a Dell!

Since I started this blog, I 've had intemittent trouble gaing internet access to post. This latest dry spell was caused by hardware trouble. I wrote about taking my computer to a man named Gomer Pyle for service...but the prognosis was bleak and it seemed foolhardy to continue with a computer that was no longer spry enough for my journey.
So I have a new laptop! Strictly speaking it's my first PC. I got my other two PC-based laptops from Anna--it's in the mold somewhere!-- and the last one from The Derrick--bought refurbished, now with a damaged systems board. But this one gleamed right out the packing container.
What did I do while I was out? I enrolled in the April Sisterlock Consultant class in Newark.
And today I went to Reveal MedSpa for a chemical peel. This one was different than the beta peel I had mixed results with a few years ago. But for the gauze pads, I didn't feel a thing. I should experience shedding this weekend. I'm prepared to stay in if necessary. They recommended a series of five, and I was very near paying for the package...but I thought I could do better. I did. I found a dermatologist here in Warrenton that charges signifcantly less. So if I like the results I'll get the rest there.
Why get the chemical peel? Especially when I had mixed results last time...1) I feel like I'm at the age where I need to take care with my appearance 2) I always wanted an improved complexion but wasn't happy with the options available 3) I feel like I'm in a space of overall improvement and general upgrade.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And the Oscar goes to...

"It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" by Three Six Mafia....

Just letting that sink in....I would have blogged this immediately but I was in New York City. So on the drive back I've had time to process. But really, that's the only thing I remember about the telecast.

My immediate reaction was, as Queen Latifah seemed to channel, WTF! My next thought was, "Well I guess they whooped that trick!" Cause I like a good joke...

But then I started thinking about Dave Chappelle. On Oprah, and then more expansively on the Actors' Studio, Dave Chappelle offered poignant and provocative explanations of why he became disgusted with and eventually walked off his show. One of his anecdotes was about being pressured to wear a dress for a movie scene...he rebuffed and the producers retorted "all the greats did it..." The dress-wearing, black (male) comedian has long bothered me. I find it misogynist. Chappelle's refusal could be read as problematic--he rejected wearing the dress based on an awareness that being identified as female was semiotically equivalent to being labeled violable...and his refusal, rather than critique, of that positioning could be seen as falling short. But I know what he meant. And I'm glad he didn't wear the dress.

What does that have to do with Three Six Mafia? Plenty...It also has to do with Brunsli's post about Damon Wayans' attempt to trademark 'nigga.'I figured it all out during the drive to Virginia this morning. Why, I asked myself, did I instantly and reflexively feel a sense of shame about Three Six Mafia's win? Well, there are several reasons. While I am admittedly a bit of a snob about my hip-hop, I don't think there are many who would argue that Three Six Mafia's track is the best representation available...Oh, you thought I felt a sense of shame for the 'race?' No, not so much...I don't ascribe to the good/bad representation dichotomy anymore where African American representation is concerned. No, I realized rather quickly my pain was for hip-hop.

I remember when Prince won an Oscar for the soundtrack to "Purple Rain." That was a worthy prize. While his music was not 'mainstream' for the Academy, the album was and remains a viable artistic achievement. "Hard Out Here?" ...well I can't figure out how it got nominated in the first place. Especially--and here's my sore point-- as the first nomination from the hip-hop genre. "Love of My Life" from Brown Sugar? Hell, I'd take "Lose Yourself" from Eminem...wait a minute, that was nominated, but didn't win. So there's one of my queries, what aesthetic value did the Academy find present in "Hard Out Here" that was lacking in "Lose Yourself?" Like the first hiphop forays into the Grammy scene, the Academy is just way off from a critical perspective here. Now I've heard the argument---there were only three nominations-- that the pickings were slim. And it's possible divided support to the other two songs (I was rooting for Dolly Parton--she, Mary J. Blige and I share a birthday)allowed for an upset. But it's also possible the Academy "chose" Three Six Mafia-- wholeheartedly embraced them, that they liked it. Which gets to the rest of my musings...

As I said, I am a bit of a snob with my hiphop. Even four years of living in Memphis did not soften my palette for Three Six Mafia (or LaChat and the other Memphis set). I just don't care for it. But I respect it, for the most part, as an organic regional expression. And therefore, I acknowledge that Three Six Mafia is at the forefront of that regional contribution to hip hop. But I don't think the Academy has a complex palette for hip hop. So if they liked it, and therefore voted it worthy of an Oscar, they did so on two fronts I can figure: 1) it did the best job of representing the film it was written for...on technicalities, if you will. Perhaps the Academy found the other two songs less resonant with their corresponding films--I can't say because I haven't seen any of them...but that's one 2) they thought the song in and of itself was meritorious...they--to channel Sally Field---really, really liked it.

So that gets me back to the representation part of the discussion...Why would the Academy really, really like a song --a not-so endearing tune-- about the difficulties of 'pimping?'

Why have black people spent the past two and half decades, at least, seducing and 'pimping' the pimp representation? Another bomb soundtrack comes to mind...Superfly. Not to mention Dolemite to Iceberg Slim to Street Smart to Ice-T to Too Short to Snoop Dogg. Black artists have taken a lot of time to extol pimpery. And I don't know why. It's hardly a heroic or sympathetic trope.

Granted it has a certain resonance with capitalism and racism, but very litte credibility. Who takes a pimp seriously? Only a ho...Which is why it's intellectually impossible for me to like the song. Its lyrics attempt to subjugate me...make me sympathetic to the difficulties of pimping and I refuse to go there. But many others have. So two and a half decades later, American popular culture has accepted that premise. And Morgan Freeman to Terrence Howard can be celebrated for their interpretations of that agony....pimping, the Academy understands, is not easy!

Some people argue that African Americans in the cinema are now feted for degrading roles...pointing to Denzel in Training Day and Halle in Monster's Ball. I reject that. White women from Elizabeth Taylor to Charlize Theron hae improved their Oscar chances by playing 'degraded' or 'demeaning' roles...and let's not talk about Hattie McDaniels. I think across race, it's easier for a dramatic role, especially a character occupying a taboo representational space, to be nominated. But it just sticks out like a sore thumb when African Americans do it. We forget, in that instance, that Denzel won for Glory first...and that African American artists are complicit in the elevation of the pimp character. But for the chalice-carrying rappers of our time, dude wouldn't have written a screenplay about a pimp with a dream and therefore wouldn't have birthed the need for a song.

So while I think the song is unbearable, I can't be anything but congratulatory toward Three Six Mafia. They wrote just the song that movie called for and were therefore properly rewarded. Perhaps from now on, we will hesitate before we applaud another unironic portrayal of pimping.

I will have to pick this up tomorrow...I'm exhausted!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I'm not squeamish...

but I'm having trouble watching my schlock for tonight. TLC is rebroadcasting a 'special' originally aired on FOX called "101 Things Removed From the Human Body." As I type, I am avoiding the video of the guy impaled on a length of rebar after off a ladder. Ewwww. Now they are showing x-rays of various 'rectal injuries.' Who would stick a jelly jar (with lid) up their butt? But there's the image. Now I understand the thief who stuck a $125,000 diamond necklace up his butt. That's crime. But jelly jars and bicycle pumps?
OK...I feel like a 13 year old boy watching this stuff. But I can't help it..."My advice to anyone who is contemplating inserting a foreign rectal to not do it." Who can turn off a program offering sound medical advice like that.
Sigh...I promise to read a book or something and elevate my discourse.
Meanwhile I did not wash my hair today. I did fast until noon. Maybe I'll keep it up through Lent.
And I strong-armed my own grandmother into the shower. I'm a cold-hearted snake, but I wasn't taking no for an answer. I promised her she'd feel better after and I think she did. Poor baby. I thought she was going to cry at the thought of having to walk to the bathroom. She tried her hardest to sweet talk us out of it. She had gotten to Mom, but I wasn't having it. She DID feel better once I got the hot water running on her and dried her off. And even more so once she was dressed, back in bed, and rid of the two of us for the night. Mom promises to pay closer attention to the monitor since I got up four times last night. I was so tired this morning, I could hardly think straight.
So be easy with me about the reality shows and talk trash. I need a diversion.
To my defense, I got a library card and checked out Colson Whitehead's John Henry Days. I read The Intuitionist and really liked it. I believe I'm still capable of erudite conversation. Maybe I'll order some titles from Amazon tonight. I always wondered why my grandparents didn't have books in the house. It was because of Betsy. Now I have to replace all my wonderful books. Some of them can't be replaced. They were rare editions, out-of-prints. Not to mention art...prints and the like.
Oh, has anyone else tried the products at Lush? I first visited one of their shops in Boston. Last week when Powerball was ridiculously high, I drove to DC to get a ticket and found the Lush store in Georgetown by accident. I got a great mask called Brazened Honey that I have to keep refrigerated. I love Carol's Daughter but whenever I go there--the Brooklyn store at the old Spike Lee location--they are out of the fresh product I want. What's up with that?
Ok, I'm rambling...Maybe tomorrow I'll wash my hair...or not.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Identity Crisis

I think my blog...and perhaps its having a bit of an identity crisis. There are many topics I'd like to cover but I'm not really sure what note to strike. I could go in any number of directions at any given time or I could focus. There's no wrong answer. But I am aware of the scatterbrained effect of my topic jumping.
That I finally got the monitor for Gram's room. Of course, her first question was how could she turn it off. I hope she doesn't follow up on that for awhile. As far as I can tell she's sleeping soundly. She had quite a busy day. We roused her out of bed a couple hours earlier than she usually gets up. And we double teamed her with wardrobe choices, breakfast options, and marching orders. Rather than go with them to the doctor's office, I decided it would be more efficient for me to run errands. As it turned out, from doctor's office Gram and Mom went to the hospital for x-rays of her hip to see what's going on there. So it's good I went on my own. I went to the Deathstar (Walmart). I know it's wrong. Don't bother chastising me. There's not many options here in town. I got the monitor there and the other household items I needed. Then I went to Home Depot. In the Sunday circulars they had some bathroom safety products featured. I was able to get a bathtub rail and these bars for the commode like seat handles. Hopefully, Gram will feel more confident about going in the bathroom alone when she sees all the improvements I've made.
I also got everyone lunch. Seafood for me and Mom...I fasted until after noon...but Gram got surf and turf. They were relieved that I had hot food waiting for everyone. Then I came upstairs but I'm told Gram busied herself all afternoon reorganizing her bureau drawers. This is why now all I hear on the monitor is her clock ticking.
I think tomorrow will be a good day to wash my hair!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy Mardi Gras!

Eh la ba, cher. And for the rest of y'all...laissez le bon temps roulez! School ain't even closed. How we gon' pass a good time if y'all don't even act like you know it's Mardi Gras. is Fat Tuesday. Not hell, not high water is going to stop that. So wherever you are, celebrate a little for everybody in New Orleans. And everybody in New Orleans, celebrate for those of us who aren't there.

Watching Gram...

I came in at about 1:15-- a long story I cannot tell on my blog--just in time to put Gram back in bed. She was stuck in the guest bathroom convinced she heard me calling her. She said she had gone to the front door and thought better of trying to climb the stairs.
We talked about it. Well I talked. I tried to persuade her she was dreaming. That if she heard me calling her again she'd know she was dreaming because I wouldn't call her out of bed. We pretended that there's nothing wrong with her waking up this way and roaming around downstairs. I made a mental note to get that damn monitor instead of talking about it. I didn't check, but Mom must be sleeping pretty heavy. Then again it's impossible to hear from her room. I tried to take a nap in there Friday or Saturday and it was a fool's errand. In all of this I ended up with a full-sized bed which, of course, means my feet hang ridiculously over the edge. And the mattress is not regular thickness, so I wake up feeling lke the Princess on a Bed of Peas. So I figured I had a good sleep on Mom's queen-sized bed coming. But I never got it because I realized that I couldn't hear Gram from her room. So every time I dozed off, I woke right back up. I never fell asleep for longer than twenty five minutes.
But enough of my griping. I'm glad I can hear Gram. On the one hand, I was a little impressed that she walked herself around so determinedly. At one point last week, I was worried she was going to give up on trying to walk altogether. But I don't like this restlessness. When I told her it was 1:15 she was relieved it was 'so early.' She says she usually wakes up around four. Before she was just laying awake, but now she's on the move. I don't want her to fall or to be tired from not sleeping.
She has a doctor's appointment Wednesday. We have to tell all about the falls and the increased need for assistance. She's still herself, but she's definitely not capable of taking care of herself anymore.

Monday, February 27, 2006

How I know this is not the best day ever...

1) I got hung up on by two Verizon techs this morning. My DSL line is malfunctioning AGAIN and two techs disconnected me in the middle of my fruitless calls for help. The first made me disconnect all the phones in the house and then disconnected me. The second disconnected me when I balked about switching the phone cord on my modem. The third tech made me switch the location of my DSL modem. Which means, though I tried to avoid it, my modem is now in my bedroom. I am surfing and laying. Why should I ever get dressed? I purposefully put the TV and modem outside of my room so I wouldn't be tempted to mope and malinger...

2) Both my elbows ache like crazy. I have some weird patch on my scalp that matches the one on my arm. And I feel like the guy with the bag of rocks hit me again....ugh.

3) My mother is on a tear. She brought home the wrong food and decided I was attacking her when I suggested she return it. That drove me to bed.

4) When she came in, I was downstairs finishing up breakfast for Gram. I'm probably tired because we've been taking care of her. Last week was not good for her. She fell a couple of times and I think it made her depressed as well as sore. So all week we've taken turns getting her breakfast as usual. But also getting her out of bed. If she can be coaxed, I was also making sure she got into the shower. While I do that, Mom changes her bed linens and gets everything down to the washing machine. It takes at least 90 minutes just to get her to the bathroom and get dressed. Then it's time to prepare her meal and I feel absolutely exhausted before the day even gets started. Then at night, my ears are trained like a German Shepherd puppy.

Last night, Gram woke up around 10:30 convinced she heard my mother calling her. That was early...sometimes she'll get up at 2 or 4 AM. So if I'm alone I don't feel like I can really fall asleep. I told Mom I'm going to put a baby monitor in her room so I can be sure that I'll hear her and maybe be able to relax. This is why I felt like I need to shelve the whole job search thing. Mom is too small (though she doesn't know it) and tired herself to do everything for Gram. The first time Gram fell, she tried to get her up alone and ended up laid out herself. I called around to find out about hiring a nurse to come in a couple days a week. The bottom line is that she just can't afford it. As I mentioned, Gram has been denied an SBA loan for the house and she received a couple hundred dollars to repair her roof. So I'm doing all I can to preserve her money. Whenever Mom and Dad are able to reunite and figure out a housing plan, Gram is going to need money for possible renovations to a structure they move into or build. Or if they determine she would be better suited in an assisted living situation, she'll need enough cash for that. The cost of the nurse would require me to cut into her reserve and I just don't think it's a good idea.
I have very few expenses now. Even though it'll be interesting to explain to my future employer, it makes more emotional and financial sense for me to help out right now.

So this morning I woke up tired. After Gram got out of bed, I helped her to the bathroom and back to bed before I turned in myself. When i woke this morning, I found out my DSL connection was down. That I had to get Gram up alone. And then Mom came back and threw a tantrum. So I'm back in bed...and not even the second episode of Maury---you guessed it "Paternity Secrets Revealed"--is helping...

Online dating pics...

I'd love to post photos of the motley crew of fellows I've been chatting with...that would be my top choice. But I don't think that would be right. What I will do is open the issue of my own photo up for discussion. As I previously mentioned, the photo is used is, ahem, not new. I'd like your honest opinion of whether you think the pic I'm using is a fair representation...

Anna Nicole!

Goes to the Supreme Court tomorrow. That sounds like a popcorn on deck moment...
I hope she gets the old coot's money after all. That's the American Way!

Sisterlock cutting...

So last night, I'm kind of bored. And when you're bored, why not play in your hair? Why not, indeed. So week before last I got my locks retightened by a very nice lady in Fredericksburg--Nina Cebrun. This after an unnamed consultant in DC blew off my phone calls. So, I'm bored, and I'm playing in my hair, and see the scissors...
I already had a couple locks break in the front. I'm attributing the loss to 1) stress--of which I've endured quite a bit 2) the haircolor--chemicals are damaging 3)tension differences--it seems to be right at the point I took over doing my retightening...I feel like some kind of tree dating my locks that way. When I visited Nina, I realized that my tightening technique is...let's say quirky. At some point, I reversed my clock. I go counter-clockwise. And it's possible I do something else differently...but that's no matter.
Anyhoo...I had some loose spots in my locks that I hoped Nina could fix. I'm sure she did the best she could. But I'm standing in front of the mirror, playing in my hair and there are the scissors. I ended up trimming one row, right across the front. Not exactly a bang because there was one, undamaged lock and I didn't want it to feel punished. Leave it to my locks to break off almost at the same length, almost straight if they want to be if they all drank the same, sad kool-aid.
So now, of course, I can't stop thinking of cutting my locks...
I used household scissors. Don't happen to have any barber shears around. I cut diagonally. Mostly I was focused on removing the frayed ends of locks that had already broken. I noticed that the curl on the ends draws up so the lock ends up shorter than where you originally cut. Just like when I cut my bangs as a teenager...I never failed to have a "oh sh**" moment. The results are very subtle. Since it's one row, they blend back into the rest. I'd have to do a couple of rows to get a real bang. And I'm not sure I want bangs...
But I am thinking a good cut would be fun. I found a couple of sites where people had cut their Sisterlocks with varying results. My next project is to find some very small, very sharp scissors so I can trim stray hairs from my older locks. I went through and tried to trim stray hairs from the ends. But my eyes lost focus...I am far-sighted.
My mother won't help. She thinks I'm too persnickety about my hair. I think she takes instruction badly. We had a long conversation about the Curl Spikes and she just wouldn't do it the way I showed her. Sigh. So it's probably for the best she doesn't get involved. Plus she and Gram have the long hair fetish and want no part of cutting anyone's hair short.
So I'm going to get some style magazines and think seriously about the wisdom of cutting my own hair. For Brunsli...I know that saying about a lawyer representing themselves having a fool for client...does that apply for hairstyling? I mean I tease my mother all the time that she only combs the hair she sees. Maybe that would happen with me. And I know I would petrify the fair stylists of Warrenton if I walked in asking for a cut...sigh...what to do? what to do?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

For a moment...

I am back on line. I paid a man named Gomer Pyle to retrieve the data from my laptop. But my mother tells me I would be an idiot not to let her buy me a computer. And, you know, she's right. So now, I am getting a new laptop, but this one works a bit.
Old Gomer couldn't tell me why or if the problem arose, but it was definitely a hardware problem and not a virus. So that's what I get for buying a refurb laptop from an ex. The Derrick actually offered to repair this one. But was today, after I paid Gomer Pyle for his trouble.
I watched the Gateway people sell laptops on the Home Shopping Network today. So now I'm wondering if I need this dual core processor thing they were talking about. I was disappointed that this computer couldn't handle my video projects...So I'm also thinking I need to make sure I have enough memory for that. And why not get a DVD/CD burner. The one on TV had a tuner so you could use your computer as a television. That sounds sweet...
I need a budget. How long do I think I'm going to have the computer? What is a reasonable amount to spend? So far I've kept computers for about 24-36 months...Should I revisit my Mac fetish? How long will I keep this one?
Now I have to do my hair..Bye.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Communicus Interruptus

So I haven't been able to post because my laptop up and died. I don't know what's wrong with it. It appears momentum is growing to just replace the damn thing. I'm thinking DVD burner, the whole enchilada. Here's the thing I had some pictures on there I want. Like a baby picture destroyed in the hurricane, pictures of my great-aunt Leola, of Sugar...And resume--which I guess I should be circulating--, a letter for my taxes specifying how much interst I paid on my student loans.
I don't know how much money I'm supposed to spend on trying to recover the data. Or if I should just toss in the towel. I'm not really upset about it. I'd prefer not to have to replace the computer...but hey, I'm replacing everything else.
So that's why I can't post. And when I need to be online most, searching for a good price on a replacement laptop, I can't get on. Ironic.
I schlep to the public library to check in and for the past week, I've forgotten to post while I'm here. Sigh...I have to replace my computer.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A word about Maury...

Since I find myself with a lot of time on my hands, she euphemizes, I've been watching the Maury Show. At least once a week is "Shocking Paternity Test" Day...with the most compelling segments focusing on women who come back multiple times for 'help' from Maury finding the biological fathers of their children. There's a woman named Simone, on today, who has tested eight men...she calls him Murray without irony...
I have come to a few conclusions about these episodes:
1) The women involved cannot possibly understand the mechanics of conception. I can't help but believe that these women are testing men they merely were sexually active with, as opposed to those who could reasonably have conceived their child. I have no moral judgement about what I'll clinically call promiscuity...but I find it hard to believe that a woman has had as many as eight different sexual partners in the 36-48 hour period when she is ovulating. Unless she is some sort of professional sex worker, which these women do not purport to be. D'oh Man #8 is not the father either....Therefore I think these women need a sex education class so that they could sit down and count back the 36 odd weeks from their child's birth to figure out who really might be the father of their children rather than drag every guy they got busy with onto this show.
2)Some people's need for attention is deeper and more compelling than their sense of shame. Given that some people do have negative judgements about promiscuity, especially the men who are being tested--"She's a ho, Maury!" is the most used, plaintive defense offered-- and the fact these children's faces are featured in the segment as well, it would seem that these women's better judgement is being overridden by the opportunity to have an overnight in New York and a hand-holding session with Maury in front of millions of syndicated viewers. I can't imagine it's worth the trouble but clearly for some, the chance to be spotlighted, albeit dubiously, is worth the trouble and embarrassment never enters the equation. Though the women do invariably run from the stage with their hands over their faces when the results are revealed.
3)Maury has discovered quite a racket. In exchange for consideration to the testing lab, he has a sure-fire, low-cost ratings grabber for the show. I'm sure they re-use that manila envelope over and over again...It's to the point where he skips much of his commentary. The guests, already familiar with the format, come out swinging interrupted only by the pre-taped vignettes of the parties insulting each other. From a producer's perspective, its solid gold. The subjects call in, some repeatedly. The format is set...
How can I watch this trash you may ask? I don't know. Even though it's tacky, it's compelling...The idea of going to a national forum to resolve something so intimate, while wildly inappropriate, is compelling. The episodes are compact, contained dramas. The time commitment pays off. In a few minutes, I'll find out if indeed this idiot is the father...In years past, the show would introduce the witless mothers one day and have a reveal show later. But I guess the variability of the syndication schedule and the flexibility in rebroadcasting made it easier and more straightforward to do it more quickly. And it is no-muss, no-fuss...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Post-Valentine's Musings...

Last month I joined an online dating site. I am wholly ambivalent about it. Long have I thought online dating a rather misanthropic concession to our work culture's constant demands on our time. But I find myself in a new town, with no local friends, bored silly. And after a drunken dialing episode last December--that's another story...usually I think they're a bad idea, but this one was overdue and well worth it--I decided it was time for me to get out there again as the cliche goes. When I went to visit J, her brother was with a very nice woman, a Delta no less, who he had met online. So I unimaginatively joined the same site and cajoled J to join me.
It's been interesting. I have been chatted about by lots of men. Some I think would never approach me in 'real life,' and others I would probably not approach. One night, after exchanging Yahoo id's, I played online dominoes and discussed politics with a serviceman. I used my call block feature to dial a bodybuilder in MA last week because he wanted know if I was really female. I have gotten serial 'flirts' from a septagenarian who uses the name "warmmeat"-- I kid you not. The first week, after daily virtual mash notes, a man who claimed to be from London wrote me he was stranded in Nigeria and need me to wire him money. I am being charmingly pursued for coffee by a guy who lives in a neighboring town. And I have had one, real-life lunch date with a very nice guy who lives in Richmond.
In short, it has been a blast. I am still cynical about the whole online thing. I mean how can I take this seriously? The photos could be of anyone and the stories could be ablsolute fabrications. The photo I used is slightly dated, but not unrepresentative. Since I am only 50% photogenic, I rationalized it was OK to use the picture I took at my cousin's wedding when my hair was darker and pinned up because my face was not shiny and my makeup was decent. Now that I have the digital camera, I contemplated putting a candid shot. But I still believe the photo is a fair, albeit best, representation of me. However, I digress...
My point is that cyber-interaction has turned out to be quite fascinating for me. I must admit a snobbishness about poor spelling and grammar. And I cannot respect a man who would post a photo of himself shirtless or posed provocatively--My long conversation with the bodybuilder was spurred by me telling him his shirtless photo was more revelatory of his psyche than his body...He was confused and perplexed--nor will I entertain communication with men who name themselves something sexually provocative. I have decided to not even bother with those who are 'separated'--who needs that drama--and those with lots of children and no divorce are a pass also. This is all before I actually communicate with the person behind the profile. I was intrigued by the conclusions I drew from their self descriptions. And I noticed that I decided not to post a description at all...ever cryptic.
Once I do start a communication with these fellows, I am more direct and bold in my questioning than I am in 'real life,' and I am more observant of their responses. Un burdened of concerns about how they are perceiving me, I can focus my attention completely on how they represent themselves. It has made me more observant of my own priorities and anxieties. Who knew it would be so fun? I know I didn't...