Monday, July 30, 2007

It's so hard to say goodbye...

I knew this day would come...but I put it off as long as I could. My license plate was due to expire tomorrow. It has a little sticker that shows when your registration expires, you know. Well, usually you get a renewal notice in the mail and you can take care of everything online. But I didn't get a renewal notice.
I waited and waited and waited...until today. This morning I made a very stressful call to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles. I was freaking out a never know when you're going to have a Katrina moment...even two years later. Anyhow...I didn't get a renewal notice because the state of Louisiana decreed that I had an 'insurance lapse' when I insured my car with an out-of-state carrier while I was dislocated. This struck me as ridiculous. Hundreds of thousands of people were dislocated and people had to make whatever temporary arrangements they could. and excuse me for choosing the best quote and having NO clue about this 'law.' Anyway after about 45 minutes of heated exchange with the DMV representative, I threw in the towel. They wanted me to fax in proof of my current insurance and since I am still not insured in Louisiana, I decided my time was better spent doing what I didn't want to do...cutting my last ties to my home state.
I spent half a day in the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, Harlem Office....and I do mean half the day--almost four hours--getting a New York driver's license and plates. Sigh. And just to throw salt in it all, I registered to vote here too. That cut the deepest. Louisiana politics are the best entertainment ever and I'll miss casting my absentee ballot.
So now I'm a New Yorker, I guess. I have to drill holes in my bumper (!) to display my new front plate. It's real bittersweet, y'all...My mother joked (I think she was joking) that this meant I wasn't coming home again.
Maybe though I will not be the victim of vandalism/burglary anymore. My car has been broken into twice and I really think it's because I had out-of-state plates...But I know I'm going to have trouble finding my car now...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tastes good, feels good...

Brunsli blogged about rum at the Appleton Estates in Jamaica. I thought I'd take up the same topic. I like an occasional cocktail, ahem...So I was intrigued to see that Absolut is launching a special edition in honor of my hometown.

Absolut New Orleans goes on sale August 1st. Go on and get you some, baby. 100% of the profits go to charity, so consider it philanthropy. I will be checking around NYC to see if I can get a bottle...Maybe the Absolut people will see my blog entry and send me some. Probably not.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Aging Gracefully...

You all know that occasionally I blog about how I look and all that. I look for things that I can do to improve, or at least maintain, my appearance. Makeup, light peels, hairstyles...all fair game. Recently, I've even been more critical of my wardrobe choices.

Most of it is tongue-in-cheek though. I'm pretty cool with how I look. I want to look the best that I can, but I am not trying to turn back the clock or fix anything...ok--I did 'fix' my teeth with braces, but none of the stuff I do is driven by a desire to alter or replace something about how I look. I want my skin to be clear, my body to be healthy, my hair to be attractive, my clothes to be fashionable...I don't think anything is wrong with the way I look though. I hope that the things that I do will enhance my appearance, not make me look like I'm trying too hard.

But I do feel like I'm in that in-between gap. I'm no longer 'young' but I'm definitely not 'older.' I recently lifted my moratorium on shorts--I guess it's OK to wear them, but I've reimposed my ban on mini-skirts--I will not wear anything I have to hold down or tug on to be decent. Since I no longer drive everywhere, I notice I hardly ever wear all the pretty high-heeled shoes I bought. But I am forcing myself not to devolve into wearing my Aerosole loafers everyday. They are super comfortable, but I do think I owe to myself not to get too complacent about how I present myself. When I choose clothes I try to focus on whether the garment will flatter me than how cute it is. I don't want my clothes wearing me. I'm not attracted to clothes because they are trendy. It's about whether it suits me. Similarly with make-up, I want to look like I care enough to pull myself together, but not like I've cowered beneath cosmetics to hide my insecurities.

I think it's far more attractive for a woman to look comfortable in her skin than seem to be trying too hard to hold on to youth or fighting the inevitable 'maturing' process. Our culture is so youth obsessed, it's hard not to get pulled into currents that just aren't in our interest, to be distracted by a quest for youth rather than embracing who and where we are. I was fortunate to grow up around women of all ages. I developed an appreciation for beauty at all ages. Don't get me wrong, I didn't like finding wrinkles beneath my eyes, but I certainly don't take offense when I'm NOT carded at clubs or bars anymore. I've dated older and younger--I appreciate both. Most days I don't think about how old am I at all, but when I do I don't hyperventilate.

I posted this picture not be catty, but as a catalyst for thought. Where is the line? Is there a point when we are go too far? I was always told that everything that's good to you, isn't good for you. Is it possible for us to lose perspective about we should look or dress? How would we know if we had crossed the line? There are so many ways we can change ourselves, are any off-limits? Are we fabulous or foolish when we do these things?

MAC solutions and retail therapy...

Today, instead of going to the cookout we were supposed to attend, J and I ended up at Roosevelt Field Mall. I am going to have to leave my ATM card at home the next time we go out because the next thing you know, I had bought two pairs of shorts at Steve & Barry's--love Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten line!--as well as two headbands--they fit my big head!-- and a brown all-in-one--whenever I see brown underwear I go crazy...that's what I mean when I say nude! So I am loving Sarah Jessica Parker! Her clothing line is inexpensive and actually had some great pieces. Jeans are $14.98! I wasn't in the mood for trying on too many pairs. The ones I tried were long enough(!), but they would have needed alteration--the waist was too big. But there were styles I didn't try.
Then we ended up at the MAC counter...A few posts ago I was whining that my foundation was all wrong. Sigh. I have been a MAC devotee since 1989. And I was really struggling with the fact that my foundation just wasn't right. We went to Nordstrom's (love them!) and I got a sample of Bobbi Brown foundation which I have every intention of trying tomorrow. But, inevitably, we ended up at the MAC counter. We ran into a wonderful MAC trainer named Josephine and I think she solved my foundation problem! I am so excited. I am wearing MAC foundation in the photo posted, and it seems to be just right! It turns out that I am not exactly a NW45--sigh. She says that I should use NW45 concealer, but...drumroll please....I should use NC50 Studio Fix liquid foundation (I prefer liquid concealer in the summer). She explained that I was probably matched with the NW45 because I usually lazily insist that I won't be wearing concealer (I don't know how she figured that out!...because I DO usually say I'm not willing to take the extra step of using concealer). The NW45 concealer has a warmer tone that covers my blemishes perfectly, but for all over my undertones are actually better suited to the cooler tone, NC50. Further, she showed me how different NW45 looked in each formulation. So I may wear a different color if I change them. I usually wear the Moistureblend or Studio Tech in the Fall and I intend to track her down for another consultation. In the photo, I am actually wearing their Mineralize powder in Dark and an eyeshadow called Lovestruck on my cheeks. And even though I feel like Joan Crawford doing it, I have been filling in my (non-existent) eyebrows with a pencil. When I see the picture it actually looks very subtle. I guess it'll take time to get used to...I'll let you know how I like the Bobbi Brown, but I'll probably end up at the MAC store on 125th Street to get the NC50.
All in all, it was a fun day...

Friday, July 20, 2007


I lost all my photos and friends, recitals, graduations, everything. I have one baby picture--no print.
Anyway...I think that's why I take so many pictures of myself. I don't have any...
Back in the day, for about 10 minutes, I did some modeling. I'm thinking of doing one more go around. But it's been awhile...but I think it would be fun.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bloggus Interruptus

Excuse me??!! The Google/Blogger people temporarily suspended my post privileges because I have the characteristics of a 'spam blogger!' I'm offended. I don't even know what the characteristics would be or how I could be exhibiting them. I've been keeping this blog for years. Has anyone else gotten this message? What's going on?

You can't still be mad...

So Ro was a little miffed after our trip to the vet. She gave me the ice grill for a few hours, but then she seems like she forgave me.
Yesterday morning I was dreading the whole medicine thing. Right before I tried to surprise her with it, I decided to just offer it to her. She licked it right off my finger...she's great. But this morning she really wasn't excited about seconds. I only got her to take about half of it.
I still need to pull my hairstyles out the sixth grade, but I'm trying.
So I saw something I've never seen camera flashed memory card full. Wow. i have a 1GB card, I didn't think that was even possible. I've been taking a lot of pictures, trying to get better. While I was poolside, I took over a hundred pictures of my friends' daughters splashing in the pool. You didn't think I only took pictures of myself, did you? They came out pretty good, but I got that whole aperture thing mixed up. I've been reading the manual and discovering all kinds of features my camera has that I just didn't know about. What I haven't been able to find out is how to set the timer delay. That way I could put the camera on a tripod and not get all these fish-eye photos, but like I said maybe that's just how I look.
Sigh...I hate to say it, but I think my MAC foundation is all wrong. Awhile back I switched back to NW45 and it just looks all wrong against my skin...kind of green. I don't know. Maybe I should try a custom blend. The undertones just always seem wrong. Any recommendations?

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm consistent...

It's official. I've been bitten by the Becks bug...

It's hardly surprising though, I liked this dude the first time around...

And yes, I was a big Police fan...for a black girl in New Orleans. I had two or three of their records, watched them on MTV, and knew the lyrics to many of their songs. And Sting, well he just has that swagger. When he left the Police and started recording with New Orleans' own Branford Marsalis, I knew I was right about him. He was my kind of guy.

Becks...Well, we see about him. I haven't heard him say more than three words in succession. He may be completely vacuous. But my, is he pretty or what? And though he seems keenly aware of it...not especially obnoxious. I mean he does look good, might as well accept it, eh?

But they definitely look like they were cast from the same model number to me.

Cat Saying No

Not me, not Ro...but you know that.

Sorry Ro...

This afternoon Ro went to the vet. She's shedding a lot and Saturday she was holding one eye closed. I was worried. Ro is my buddy. She makes sure I get up for work, she greets me at the door when I come back, she sits on the chair arm and watches TV with me...She doesn't have a job or chip in on the rent, but she also doesn't drink the last gulp of orange juice or use up all the hot water in the shower.
Anyway...Ro had her first cab ride and -because I'm trifling-her first bus ride (I didn't feel like coughing up the dough when I have a Metropass).
The vet suggested what I've already been contemplating...that I get an air conditioner. Kitty is just too hot up in here. Sigh. I feel like a heel. Though it's not polite to mention, Ro is of a certain age. I'm in denial about it, but she is getting up there. She's around 12 or 13...shhh. And she's been through too much to have to sit around this hot apartment all day. Sigh. I'm going to find the super and see about getting a window unit.
Ro was not amused about being scooped into her carrier. And I don't know how she felt about the 'pedicure' she got. Girlfriend's claws were long! She got me good on my hand and wrist--typical and I promptly broke out in hives--but now she's neutralized. Funny how docile she was for the doctor though. Hmmph. The vet seems to think that I will have no problem giving Ro a little medicine everyday. We'll see about that...And she's getting an upgrade on her grub.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Poolside in NJ

I went to NJ today and hung out by the pool. The water was freezing so I took pictures and laid in the sun all afternoon. It was pretty good especially since I had no idea I was going until today. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to be spontaneous and enjoy the summer. As much as I am enjoying New York City, going to someone's house and laying out by a pool just made me miss having a lawn and a washing machine and more than 500 square feet to live in (I don't think my place is that large even). And it made more all the more determined to achieve my goal...saving a down payment to buy a home. Then I could chill out every weekend!
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Talk to Me!

It's only playing on 31 screens (in NYC, LA, and DC). If you're near one, go support Don Cheadle's new movie "Talk to Me." If you don't, it'll be on your head when the "Soul Plane" sequel and "10 Fridays From Now" come out!

*update...The movie opens nationally August 3. But it would help a lot if it made a good showing this weekend. First weekend numbers are always scrutinized closely.

Lock Memoriam...and word to the wise...

This morning, I lost a lock. I wasn't surprised. Last night while watching television and looking for locks to re-tighten, I discovered this one hanging on by mere threads.

The loss of this lock is pretty timely actually. Yesterday an anonymous person asked me about hair loss and thinning with her Sisterlocks. I suggested that she see a dermatologist. A little poking around on the web reveals that over 30% of Americans experience hair loss. That figure is even higher for African American women. Hair loss may be due to a variety of factors and its possible with the intervention of a doctor to find the cause and possibly alleviate the problem.

Anonymous had thinning hair and was frustrated with her consultant. I wasn't quite clear if the two problems were related. But she asked about combining locks, I'm assuming to give the appearance of thicker locks. I thought combining locks for that reason was a bad idea. Especially because her hair is thinning all over. If your hair is thin all over, combining locks might make them too heavy and susceptible to breakage. Consultation with a Sisterlock provider you trust is key. I thought Anonymous should with with her doctor on the cause of her hair loss--medication-- rather than focusing on cosmetic bandaids. Usually combining locks is a technique to address problems with specific locks, not a solution to all-over thinning.

I know we all grew up with hairdressers who claimed to have the ability to 'grow' hair with their cutting techniques, product use or positive energy. But if you think about it, none of these approaches could possibly solve the causes of hair loss. My own grandmother was a hairdresser and claimed to have any number of remedies for hair loss. She sincerely believed they worked and many of her clients did too--who knows maybe they did, but I think we often misdirect our energy looking to someone who is trained to style hair to solve what may be a health problem. Previous generations may not have had access to doctors trained to address skin and hair problems, but now we often do. So use the right tool for the job, so to speak. See a hairstylist for arranging your hair and a doctor to address problems.

Black women are susceptible to alopecia--which can be episodic or permanent-- or hereditary baldness patterns. Medications or untreated health problems could be the cause of hair problems. Don't be afraid to go to the doctor and find out what might be happening.

After I got Sisterlocks, I had hair grow in and had to start new locks in places. And on occasion, I have lost locks. The first time it happened, I was shocked. It's not easy to lose a patch of hair like this. The one that broke this morning came out right in front, taking a chunk of real estate from my hairline. It will require some rearrangement for awhile to cover. But the section of hair where the lock belongs will grow back and I'll start another one. It probably broke due to too much tension...being pulled back into ponytails everyday or when I did the Soft Spike set. That's one reason to keep up with re-tightening, it stabilizes the tension of your hair at the base. It's possible the breakage is due to stress, poor nutrition, reaction to medications...etc. All these factors can affect our hair. Also don't put too much stress on your hair with too-tight hair styles. How many of us have seen poor little girls whose mothers have pulled their hair way too tight-- or teenagers giddy with independence over-processing their hair with too-frequent relaxers and color-- or grown women so determined to get their weave on that patches of hair are missing? Sigh. Many days I have walked around Harlem just marvelling at how we are collectively suffering hair trauma...but that's the subject of another post, another day.

I don't want the loss of my lock to be in If you lose a single Sisterlock, it probably isn't cause for alarm...though it may feel like it at the time it happens! If you are experiencing noticeable hair loss, please take care of yourself by seeing a dermatologist. You may just find that there is something that needs your attention. Hopefully, you'll also get a real solution to your troubles. Take good care of yourself, eat healthy, drink lots of water, take a biotin supplement. Don't ignore health problems. And if necessary, see a dermatologist. At the end of the day, our health is a lot more important than our hair!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday 13th

It's mid-July! The second half of 2007 has commenced! It seems like the year is just flying by...I am doing my best to make the best of my days. To get a lot accomplished and also relax and smell the roses. Not always an easy balance!
Make sure that before today is over you complete one thing you have left undone, and leave one thing you were planning to do today until another. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What to look for in a consultant and installation...

OK...I'm going to get on my high horse for a few minutes.
In the past 24 hours, I have written to two women who have gotten less than stellar results from their Sisterlocks "consultant." This distresses me greatly as I want everyone to love their hair and have as pleasant a Sisterlocks journey as I have had. I also know that many people surf out blogs looking for info about how Sisterlocks look. So I want to give you my advice on how to select a good Sisterlocks consultant and some red flags to watch out for when you are choosing. I get absolutely steamed when I meet women who have had bad experiences with 'shady' characters.
It is really challenging to find out about Sisterlocks...they aren't prevalent in some parts of the country and the method is really a bit different than we are accustomed to with other services. So like I said, here's my opinion...

Not everyone who calls themselves a Sisterlocks consultant is actually a Sisterlocks consultant!
This is shocking and scary but true. There are people who lie about being Sisterlocks consultants. They are the bane of our existence. Make sure that the stylist you are thinking of working with has actually been trained---BY SISTERLOCKS HOME OFFICE-- to install Sisterlocks.
Some people lie about having Sisterlocks training because they are greedy and want to turn a dollar. Some do it because they are of the goofy, arrogant notion that because they "saw" someone doing Sisterlocks, they now know enough to do it themselves. Some claim to be consultants because, instead of going to official training themselves, someone else taught them the technique....
The first indication that your potential consultant is professional and on the up and up is that they have taken the time and have enough professionalism to go to an OFFICIAL SISTERLOCKS CLASS to learn ALL aspects of the technique. They will have a certificate or a receipt or something that shows they attended. If they went recently, their names will appear on the official list of Consultants or Trainees.

You can get good service from a consultant or a trainee...or you can get bad service.
There is a lot of debate about this one. Some will tell you to only go to a certified consultant to get your Sisterlocks. This is certainly the safest, most conservative route. But there are many trainees who do an EXCELLENT job. Many charge less and since they have smaller clientele lists may be able to give you more attention than the limited number of certified trainees available. And as a trainee myself, I can also say that since they are recently trained they may very well be MORE CONSCIENTIOUS about their technique than someone who has gotten jaded and lazy about theirs...
The most important thing...verify that your stylist has been trained--see above. Ask if they have had any refreshers.
If you are contemplating working with a trainee and they have very few clients or haven't had any...they should have a mannequin. Ask them to show you their technique. Listen to how they describe their plan for doing your hair.

Be careful of anyone who boasts or gives you the hard sell about their services or those who run the 'girlfriend' game.
If they are a trainee, they should volunteer that they haven't had as much experience as a consultant. Or if they have been a trainee for a long time without getting certification, they should give you an explanation for why they haven't completed the process that passes the smell test!
A consultant should not have to boast about her work because she (or he) will have the clientele and references to speak for them. They will let you talk to their clients and have plenty of pictures of their handiwork to show you...
So if you meet someone and they are selling wolf tickets, let them pass.

On a related note, beware those who take an overly familiar tone with you..."Girl, I'm gonna hook you up!" If she is about her business, she will project a professional air. The 'girlfriend' game is destined for disaster. Those who run it use it to hide something--like lack of training...or hide behind it when they make a mistake, then instead being your service provider they act as if your 'friendship' should give them a pass. Keep business and social separate. Your consultant should understand that and set that tone from the first time they speak with you.

Pay attention to the environment where they intend to provide your services.
Again this speaks to their professionalism. Is the environment set up with the client in mind? Is it clean? Is the consultant's work space prepared and organized? Do they have appropriate seating? Is their bathroom clean? Look around! Look around! If their space is a mess, in all likelihood so are they!

Get a complete THREE part consultation.
A good stylist will approach the Sisterlocks installation in three sessions...
The first time you meet they will give you information. They will talk with you, find out how much you know about Sisterlocks, about your expectations for your hair. If you are not informed, they will stop there. And let you come back to them after you have thought about your decision and gotten as much as information as you need to decide on Sisterlocks (see above, not giving you a hard sell). If you are informed, they may go on to the second step...
During the second session the consultant will look at and touch your hair to assess the texture and characteristics. They will install TEST LOCKS. And they will instruct you to wash your hair several times and come back to them.
This is very important. Our hair sometimes behaves differently than we would expect from appearances. A good consultant knows this and --wanting to give you the best possible outcome--will want to see how the test locks hold up before doing your whole head. Test locks are how the consultant determines whether they have selected the correct locking pattern for your hair. So why would they skip that? Why would they possibly waste your time and theirs installing a whole head of locks that might be the wrong pattern? It would reflect badly on them and they care too much about their reputation to risk that.
Then and only then, at your third visit, will you get your whole head Sisterlocked. During the first or second visit pricing has been discussed. So you know before you start how much it will be.

OK, so now you're getting your Sisterlocks installed...What should you expect?

Your consultant will tell you to come in with a clean, dry head.
They will specifically warn you not to use grease or oil or anything else in your hair. If you do, they will send you to clean it or they will wash it before they begin.
I don't know where this whole "locking when wet" thing is not what I was taught in Consultant Training class! I'll just leave it at that...

Why is this important?
Any product residue on your hair might retard the locking process.
If your hair has been dampened, its curl pattern will reduce. If it has been blow-dried the curl pattern will have been stretched out. Given those two options better that it shrink than be stretched, but really the optimal situation is neither shrunken or stretched, right?

Your consultant should section and part your ENTIRE head before beginning!
In fact, your consultant should take a LOT of time parting your hair...Those sections are their guide. Beware if someone just starts in...A good consultant will ensure that your sections are laser-parted and that you have a center part and side parts for styling! The time to do this is during the parting before they start installing locks. For you...what if you what to wear a style that is parted? You don't want to find out that your head is a mess of crooked parts. Or that you don't have a side part or a center part. Also if another consultant takes over doing your hair, they will look for those sections to guide them. So a consultant should definitely take a LOT of time on parting.

Your consultant will start with the FRONT sections of your head NOT the back.
Oh my goodness...Ladies, this will be your last chance to run from your consultant! Hee hee. If they start at the back your head....get up!
The front sections of your head should be done first!
1. It is the section you see the most, so your consultant should want to make sure they are their most alert and attentive to this section. That makes sense, right?
2. The front sections are probably where you have your smallest locks. So your consultant should prioritize them first.
3. If there any adjustments or irregularities, don't you think they should be in the back of your head? Why would your consultant work from the back up, or skip around your head and leave the chance that the front of your head will have oddly shaped parts? The answer is...they wouldn't if they know and care about their work!
VERY important, VERY important...

Unless your ends are relaxed, your consultant will leave no more than 1/4 to 1/2 an inch at the ends of your lock.
OK...this is the hot topic. I stand on this firmly. If your consultant wants to start your locks way up high, hmmph, I'd want to know why, why, why. It's either because they don't want to take the time to do all that locking--if you're comfortable with that, go ahead-- or because their technique is shabby. There I said it. What! --I'm from New Orleans, don't mess with me...heehee.
Anyway as I was saying. It is sometimes necessary to do a little backcombing to start a lock. But a little backcombing does not mean teasing up half the length of your hair people. If your stylist is doing this, she may need some help with her technique. By the end of my training class, I was able to start a lock, with my fingers, on synthetic mannequin hair. Surely, an able, capable stylist should be able to start a lock on real hair as close to the ends as possible. That's my bond.
Why do you want your hair to be locked as close to the ends as possible? Well, eventually the ends will be drawn up into your lock. The closer the start of your lock is to the end of your hair, the further down that little bud that starts the locking process will be. If it starts locking further up, those curly ends will end up straggly ends...

Lastly your locks will be the appropriate size...
This seems a bit abstract. What is the appropriate size? Usually that will mean you will have small to medium locks in front and gradually have larger locks in the back section. A whole head of very small locks is impractical and a whole head of large ones may not be the look you want. You should trust your consultant enough to let them evaluate what makes sense. But if it seems like your consultant wants to give you larger looks than you would like because they don't want to do the work of installing them, go to someone else!

As part of your consultant's package, they may not charge you for the first re-tightening session. That varies from consultant to consultant. But they should let you know in advance. They should also explain or demonstrate how to wash your hair.

Finally, I may get nasty emails as a result, but here goes. Be cautious about someone who applies the logic of traditional cosmetology to installing Sisterlocks. The goal of traditional cosmetology is to ALTER the natural state of our hair. It does not work to transfer those techniques to Sisterlocks. Also if your consultant is doing that, it means they are IMPROVISING and CHANGING the Sisterlocks technique they have been taught. It's a free country, and they may have that right. But they should not pass it off on you without disclosing what they are doing. If you want donnalocks or marylocks or susylocks, get them. But it is unethical in my opinion for someone to change up the product the customer thinks they are going to get. Some people who have been trained in cosmetology-- or traditional lock techniques--seem to get very resistant to adhering completely to the Sisterlock method. They bother me.

OK...enough. I hope this helps someone. If not, I got it off my chest. Peace people!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

fleeting moment

Today I was this close to freaking out. Since last night, I had been calling my mother and father and not getting an answer. I didn't think too much about it until I got to work this morning. It's not like my father to not answer or reply to my message, my mother is another story--she doesn't even know how to check her voicemail and doesn't want to learn.

Anyhow I started calling again and again I realized. The fact that I wasn't getting through only made me want to call more. My imagination was racing. My parents still can't get a landline at the house. So they both have cellphones and it didn't make sense that neither of them was answering. The smaller the intervals got between my calls...I had to do it...the more my anxiety increased. Finally my mother answered. She had been having reception problems and everything is fine.

It's things like that I think about. There's no going back to normal...there's only getting better from here. Nothing will ever be the same as before. I catch myself in moments doing things and reacting to life in ways that are so vulnerable and fragile. Sigh. It's fascinating and scary at the same time. None of what I'm writing probably makes much sense. But I'm trying not to be too conscious of that.

Post-traumatic stress is like having a fire drill every day. You know there isn't really a crisis but your body and emotions react as if there is one. And there are all kinds of trauma. There is the trauma of disaster or major events, but there is also trauma caused by personal experiences like psychological or physical crisis. It's hard for me to decide how much detail to blog about, but I have had all three. Most of them I had put into some sort of perspective. But Katrina is like a bad child tearing through the house pulling things off shelves and out of drawers. So things completely unrelated to Katrina get pulled out of mothballs. And just like a fire drill, your brain goes into its files and references anything associated with trauma to figure out how to cope with the latest event.

After having been almost completely shut down, it has been a shock to my system to be thrust back out into life again. And it's taking more time and patience and effort than I would have imagined to get my equilibrium back.

It's not all bad though...the most important memory in my mind's file is that I am strong and able. So most days, even when it doesn't seem like it, I have been sustained by the sincere belief that things will get better. I can't imagine what things what have been like it I wasn't so stubbornly convinced of that. And as I said, lately I have actually had more than just moments where everything seem back in sync. Like when you finally get a signal for the radio station you're searching for...

So that's why I post all the silly stuff. It makes me smile. And I'm not going to stop smiling, no matter what.

Cat Saying No


Hallmark MC Hammer card

If this doesn't make you laugh...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


It's just too hot for makeup. Seriously.

I put an invisible hairnet on yesterday evening to try to preserve my curls. You can see though with the weight of my hair and sleeping on it and lots of humidity, the curls are dropping even in the net.

So after the tease, my fun event was postponed. I can keep a secret so I'll just wait until it happens to describe it.

Instead Robi and I are in here sweating in out because I refuse to buy an AC...I know. Don't say it. I'm going to look up some kitty hotels...the next time there's a heat wave, I'm going to let her get out the heat at least overnight. I feel like a chump watching her slink around in that fur coat.
I read an article about women who use cat fur to knit sweaters. Weird and gross. But I have brushed what must be several ounces of fur off my poor, old, hot kitty. I wish she'd let me give her a shower or something. I figure the least I can do is suffer with me that's exactly what I'm doing.

So last night I went to Wingate Field in Brooklyn to see the first free concert of the summer. J and I have gone for the past few years. It's always a good time. Nothing but laughs. People are generally in a good mood. And you can't beat the price. Last night's bill...MC Hammer, MC Lyte, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. I thought Hammer and Lyte tried to add way too much "new" material. I mean's a Old School thing. I was disappointed with Lyte's set. There must have been some static backstage because she cut her performance short and left the stage. She only did partial verses of some of her songs and kept having the audience recite her lyrics instead of doing it herself. Now I know we are a call-and-response people (heehee) but I want to hear Lyte perform, not the audience. She didn't do I Cram to Understand You...I was steamed. I could have done karaoke at home.

The best was Doug E. Fresh. He is just a really good performer. And even though he also went with the call-and-response thing a little longer than I 'd like and played a few too many of other people's records, all was forgiven when Slick Rick came out to join him. When we left, Doug E. was still going. I have a job though and I am very protective of my sleep now that I'm getting some.

We are going to try and make as many shows as possible. The coup de grace is August 6th when Lauryn Hill herself is supposed to perform. 1) I'm not sure I believe she'll show given some of the reports I 've been reading about her shows 2) Even if she did show, I'm not sure she'll stay on stage...given what I've been reading 3) I am sure it will take forever to get in and I may not be up for going alone...J will be out of town. So we'll see about that one.

Think cool thoughts.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Whatever happened to Baby Jane...

I couldn't decide whether on a style. So I started two-strand twisting, got tired and Soft Spiked the back. This is how my hair looked this morning. Immediately I thought of Bette Davis. I am waayyyy too old to wear my hair like this. Over the course of the day, however, the curls will fall on their own. Probably before I get to work. I have to go to the post office and re-park my car before I head to work, by then my hair will have settled a lot better.
Tonight I 'm going to a concert--Slick Rick, MC Lyte and, wait for it......MC Hammer!--lol. Who would miss that? There are free concerts every summer in Brooklyn at Wingate Field. So I'm going to try and make as many as I can. I set my hair for tomorrow's after-work adventure. Shh. You'll have to wait to hear about that. But I'm sure it will be hilarious. Anyhow, since I have the concert tonight, I couldn't use the Soft Spikes tomorrow. I'll just freshen them up. Hopefully, I have the energy to re-set a couple when the concert is done.
OK. Peace people! Stay out of the heat!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sounds Of Blackness - Optimisitc

This is my other favorite song. I sing it to myself whenever I need to push ahead.

Donnie McClurkin-We Fall Down

I posted the link for this video before...hopefully this time, you'll actually be able to see it!

Fireworks and Photo Theories

OK...I took this fireworks picture at Princeton Reunions. My 15th! I didn't know about the fireworks mode and pointed and hoped for the best. Maybe my batteries are low, but I find there is a long delay between my camera's recovery for another shot. I really need to read that manual.

As soon as I posted those pics yesterday, I figured out why I take so many off center photos! In the ones that are straight on, you can see my most tragic disabilities...I have no eyebrows or chin. ROTFL. It's true! So I think I have unconsciously been framing myself so that my browlessness and chinlessness are less noticeable. We are highly adaptable, complex creatures, aren't we? We find all kinds of ways to protect ourselves...even from the awful But there are a lot more worse things than having sparse brows and a weak chinline, so I'm cool.

Today I WILL wash my hair! I'd really prefer to go to a salon and have someone else do it. But I just need to do it. It can air dry while I go to the library and stuff and by evening it"ll be ready for maybe a SoftSpike set, some twists or plaits. Anything to change it up a bit.

So by tomorrow, it should be hot as Hades in NYC. Ugh. I refuse to buy an A/ these heat waves are a bit unpleasant. There just aren't enough hot days, in my opinion, to justify the purchase. Now in New Orleans you need an A/C from about Easter to Thanksgiving--lol--but here it's needed maybe three weeks total(?) hardly worth the expense of the machine and having to house the thing...Plus I have a standing invite to stay at my friend's cool house in L.I. whenever it's hot. Sweet!. But poor Robi can't go, boo. And she has a fur coat. So eventually I may get something. Maybe another fan would help...

Friday, July 06, 2007


I guess I've been lurking long enough. While I visit and comment on my favorite blogs, I haven't been motivated to write a new post. It's just that so much is going on, I would hardly know where to begin. I don't even know if anyone is reading anymore, but that's OK. I just wanted to say hi.

I was inspired by Brunsli and BygBaby's photographic acumen. I clumsily adjusted my aperture settings to see if I could get some of those sharp 'depth of field' shots they've been talking about! I managed to take some where the foreground is sharper and some where the background is sharper, but I don't remember aperture settings I used for So I'll have to keep at it. The picture of me I took last week. I have this weird thing about off center photos...I guess I think it's artistic. But this is one of the few that I could stand. I always think I look a bit distorted. Though I could just be in denial about how I look--maybe it's not the camera that's I put some older pics in too and if anybody reads this, give me some feedback on how to adjust my settings. You'll see though that depending on whether I take the picture or someone else, I literally look like a different person. I should try to get on at the

I guess the best thing that has happened is that I got a new job at UrbanIvy. I'd been working there since last October in a temporary position and two months ago, I got a great new permanent position. I'm really excited about it, I'm finally getting some budget management experience--which I felt was a weak spot for me--in a completely supported environment. There are all kinds of training opportunities and oversight, so I am not anxious that I'll make a mistake and all heck will break I started right at the end of the semester which has been a mixed blessing. It's been quiet enough for me to settle in and poke around at my own pace, literally all the faculty I work with seem to be out of the country and all the students are gone as well. But it also means that I won't really get a sense of the position's demands until next month or so.

But the new job means I finally have some insurance. Take that, Michael Moore! Well, it turns out all my weirdness is because I have post-traumatic stress symptoms. Yes, Katrina is still part of my life! I have been having panic attacks, insomnia, and general squirreliness--more quirrelly than is normal for me . But because I have benefits, I am able to address it and get things on a better course. Thank goodness for Ambien! Comparing the pictures I took with Gram to these new ones, I can see how tired and stressed I was getting. Huge bags under my eyes! And I felt like I had aged twenty years in the past two! But a few weeks of sleep has helped my skin clear, lessened the bags, and drastically improved how I feel. I'm still easily rattled, but I am doing sooo much better! So the flower picture seems appropriate because I feel like I'm reawakening.
I am on my own for the first time in almost five years. Hard to believe...but this is the first time I have been alone since I moved back to New Orleans. Not completely of course, Robi is here!

I am going to start travelling again--short trips, I'm on a budget! Last week I went to Connecticut and I'm going to Maryland soon. But my first priority is to get my finances on track and start saving for a down-payment on a house. Living in NYC is so expensive, my obligations seem to have expanded to fit my income! I had to start paying back Fannie Mae and SBA ( and don't forget BofA, curse those credit cards!)--chunks of cash that I think would be much better utilized to stabilize my 'situation.' But there is still no relief for those affected by Katrina. My mother, if you remember, was certain that the SBA loans would be forgiven. Maybe they will be in time--it is nearly election time, maybe someone will throw us a break-- but for the foreseeable future, I have to pay against that principal every month! Sigh.

As for my hair, I darkened it and I have the urge to cut it! It's so hot and it brushes across my back and flops in my face. I have become so lazy about styling my hair. I should be arrested by the style police. In the pics that I took in January, I had done some twists that were interesting. But since then, I have gotten way too comfortable with all things ponytail. The one with my hair flopped in my face is a pretty fair representation of how I look every day. I really can do better!
OK. That's it. Until next time!