Friday, September 21, 2007

Things are looking up...


Even though I can't sleep...I feel much better. This has been a crazy week. But it's over. I know thngs are better because I have been trying unsuccessfully to Simpsonize myself for over a week. I figured it's four in the morning, take a chance. It worked! I finally got through. So here I am in all my Simpson glory. I think I look pretty cute!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How to gain back the weight you lost....



When I'm stressed out sometimes I rationalize having a treat. I don't really have a problem with emotional eating as they call it but I can see how things can spiral out of control.

Now that the semester has started, my favorite dining services cafe is open. Yesterday they had a surprisingly spicy paella with huge shrimp, mussels, and even a little squid. And the squid wasn't tough which is usually my complaint about squid not served as fried calamari...Anyway. Last night, I was still feeling funky. I decided what I really wanted was some mashed potatoes. So I got the bag of frozen-don't open unless emergency-mashed potatoes. Instead of buying quarts of milk and letting them spoil--because I am lactose intolerant and only use milk to cook-- I started buying those little milk boxes that don't need refrigeration. So I mixed two boxes of milk with the frozen potatoes. Because I still refuse to cook...but that too is another topic. It was definitely not the best mash I've ever had. I mean it's really lazy not to mash my own potatoes...it's super easy. But like milk, I stopped buying potatoes because I cook them so infrequently they end up growing eyes. I used excellent portion control with the mashed potatoes. I really just wanted a taste...but since there's milk involved, I can't keep it indefinitely.

No...my downfall has been the fact that there is a McDonald's in front of the bus stop. Right in my face when I come home. Last week, I was thinking how empty my refrigerator was and went into Mickey D's. I wasn't observant enough to see the sign that advertised buy one, get one free Quarter Pounders...and ended up buying the new Angus burger (with Swiss and mushrooms). I enjoyed it so much, two days later I went back for another. And today since I waited over 30 minutes for the bus-- I just don't want to ride the train, I decided I deserved another Angus burger. The third one was not as good as the first one. Yesterday, I tossed back a soda and today I had a Snapple. You know over time the calories would really accumulate.

This summer I ate lots of vegetables and ramen. Because it's cheap and because there is hardly any cooking involved. But the fast food is dangerous. There's nothing wrong with a splurge every now and again. But having a huge burger then coming home and sitting on my duff is a really easy way to gain weight. So I'm going to cut it out. Hopefully, my soda craving will also pass.

Today the dining hall was hosting a local Korean restaurant. I had mac and cheese--it always makes me sick after-- and some really spicy beef dish. Yum.

Great meals...But I haven't been eating rice or potatoes all summer. The desire for comfort food in the winter, along with fewer outdoor and physical activity is a perfect storm. But I'm curious to find out if I can keep these pounds off.

OK people. It's past my bedtime. Ambien awaits.

The best laid plans...

I was planning to blog about stripper culture, but then life got very serious for a moment. Thank you for sending good thoughts and messages.

Like I said, I can't be specific on my blog about what happened...But what it boils down to is that I can't tolerate a lot of volatility in my life right now. When I look back though, I wonder why I ever tolerated volatility. Right now, I have a very slim margin of error. As Jay-Z says...I cannot lose. So for maybe the first time in my life, my instinct for self-preservation is extremely sensitive. There is no one and no thing that I am going to let have control over my peace of mind. I handle that in different ways. Sometimes I shut things out, sometimes I push through, and sometimes I run like hell. What I don't do is nothing.

So that's all I can say. Things are cool. It's been a tough seven days, but I got through it. No one and no thing...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Send Positive Energy Please...

I am worried about something that, unfortunately, I can't blog about here. But I would really appreciate it if you all would say a prayer, send me positive energy, whatever you call it. I just need to borrow some strength, some optimism, and some courage.
Matthew 6:27 and 6:34 are foremost in my mind now.
Just join me in hoping that, indeed, there is nothing to worry about at all.
r

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The cost of Sisterlocks...


Apparently there is an ongoing discussion about how "expensive" Sisterlocks are. I have been doing my own hair for the past five years and really don't understand how this has even become an issue.

In my opinion, there are Sisterlocks to be had at any price range...some consultants are expensive, some are not. In different parts of the country, consultants are hard to find and in others there are more to choose from...But in every scenario, I don't think Sisterlocks are expensive.

Even if you go with a very high-end price for installation---I've heard $700 tossed around--and factor in the cost of retightenings for six months to a year every six weeks--let's say at $150...even then the cost of Sisterlocks works itself out--in the long run.

If you are willing to pay from $150-200 every six weeks to get braids--that's what I was doing before I got Sisterlocks-- in a year's time you would have gotten your hair redone 8.67 times...let's say 8 times. That's $1,200- $1600 for the braids plus the cost of whatever kind of extensions you use-- from Kanekalon at about $20 more per session to human hair which might add say another $100 per session...

Over that same year if you got Sisterlocks installed January 1st for $700, then got 8 retightenings over the course of a year, that's $1900 for the year. A difference of as much as $500....

But what happens after a year?

If you continue to get braids done at the same interval by year 2, you have spent $2,400 -$3,200 on braiding. But if you had Sisterlocks, you would probably be able to take the re-tightening class...which is now $250. After that, you could do your own maintenance. So year by year 2 with Sisterlocks, your expense is $2,150...you've saved at least $350...

Beyond year two, if you had braids, you would continue to spend the same amount each year while your Sisterlocks would cost you nothing...I occasionally go to a salon for conditioning treatments, but I could do them myself...

And I'm not even going to touch the cost of chemical services over the same time...

The point is...however you choose to wear your hair, if you need a stylist, there will be an expense. Even 'traditional' locticians charge. If cost is an issue for you, and I think it is for just about everyone, do the math. You will probably have Sisterlocks for several years. Consider not just the initial cost, but the real cost of how you choose to style your hair. You may find that Sisterlocks are not as 'expensive' as you think.

I did these calculations using the highest figures I've heard. If you are willing to use a trainee consultant or live where there are more consultants available, you may spend less than my calculations.

Stripper Culture...

Consider this a tease...
Later today...or maybe this weekend...I want to get some things off my chest about the state of popular culture right now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fashion Alert

I bought a pair of these...now I'm afraid to wear them!

It's Britney, Bitches...



Well, I did post about Lauryn Hill...

Britney Spears. Sigh. Last night on the VMA's. Sigh.

I have a real soft spot for this young woman. Maybe it's because she's from Kentwood, LA-- a place that I will forever associate with goodness because of the natural springs there. Mostly though, it's because she seems so utterly lost, defeated and vulnerable and I can't help but feel sympathetic to her. Despite the fact that she is at least the figurehead of a multicorporate brand of music and merchandise...despite the fact that she has toured the world as a performer, Britney Spears is an obviously unsophisticated, untutored young woman who seemingly has never had the opportunity to find an identity outside the entertainment machine that she has been so lucrative to for the last ten years. She has spent what would have been any other young woman's formative years being packaged and distributed. While other young women her age were going to high school and college, Britney Spears was on the road making money, for herself and everybody around her with no vacations, no room for error, and no one who wasn't also on the payroll. In the same way that I see Lauryn Hill's so-called unravelling as a rebellion, so too do I see the undoing of Britney Spears.

Truth be told, she's been coming apart for awhile. Not that it was the cause, but from about the time her relationship with Justin Timberlake ended, she has been on an increasingly determined downward spiral. Not because of the loss of love, but I think because she suffered such a blow to her public image in the wake of the break-up.

Just before it happened, I remember seeing Britney and her mother on the Oprah Winfrey show. Almost exactly like what was engineered around Brandy's pregnancy...but that's another post. Anyhow, Britney and her mother were there promoting her upcoming film Crossroads and fielding questions about her relationship with Timberlake. The press wanted to know whether she was still a virgin--no one's business, in my opinion, and it was alleged that she and Timberlake were secretly living together. Eventually they broke up and her clean, albeit 'not so innocent' corporate image was irreparably shattered. His song "Cry Me A River" kind of solidified this recasting of her public image as false and made her into a villain. She became increasingly more provocative about exploiting her sexuality and misguidedly trying to embrace a bad-girl image.

Seemingly flung out of the protection of her parents, she began making the party circuit. At first her public drunkenness was dismissed as youthful exuberance. But then she 'got married' in Vegas to a childhood friend. She was obviously pressured to annul the marriage within hours which made the coverage even more vicious. From that point on, she seems to have completely turned against her 'handlers.' By the next year, she was married to the second, expectant father-dancer in her entourage (the first was that guy from Stomp the Yard) to even more ridicule and negativity. Predictably enough, the relationship ended in shambles. Now made to look like a laughingstock, Britney was the mother of two and had been off the music charts for quite some time. Hmm, sounds a lot like Lauryn Hill, doesn't it? Unfortunately, she seems to have made all the worse mistakes possible after her divorce-- a traumatic time for many much less a young woman under constant public scrutiny. She fell into the train-wreck of Paris Hilton-Nicole Ritchie-Lindsay Lohan. Nicole Ritchie never was, but Paris, Lindsay and Britney were all photographed panty-less. It seemed to me like some sort of dare between them. And instead of 'just' being drunk, it appeared that Lindsay and Britney were under more serious influences. Britney's divorce remained contentious as she and her former husband fought over money and their children...

And how do we know all this...because other than Princess Diana, I cannot think of anyone who is more viciously stalked by the paparazzi than Britney Spears. Maybe Anna Nicole Smith...but that was for a concentrated period of time. Britney has been stalked like game for the past ten years.

Not that she hasn't aggravated things...going barefoot into public restrooms, making a reality show out of her illicit relationship with a man whose girlfriend was pregnant...again and of course, flashing what should have been covered for all to see on more than one occasion. She shaved her head...I'm convinced to avoid the results of a drug test. She attacked a car with an umbrella. She's ruined dresses at magazine shoots, she's flubbed television appearances...She was even sent to rehab. She's apparently feuding with her mother. She almost dropped one of her babies, she took one out without a car seat. It just never stops. On top of all that, there doesn't seem to be a day of the week that she does not go out to a nightclub. It's wearing me out and I'm not even living her life. I can understand why she looks so worn down.

So last night. I had heard a snippet of the song online. And like that Betty Wright song when I found out she'd be performing it on MTV, my first reaction was "I know you're not going sing that song..." It opens with her whispering "...it's Britney, bitches"...which since Dave Chappelle's Rick James skits seems to be the thing to say. The song is not awful. She sounds bored, the lyrics are trashy.

I actually thought she'd back out...but by 9:45, no cancellation. She was going through with the performance. She came out in a rhinestone studded bra and panty set with fishnets. Her hair was in a more-presentable though still, not great weave. She looked terrified...and seemed high. Her lip-synching was clumsy. There were many wide shots as she half-walked through some sections of the dance. There were no illusions with magician Criss Angel as rumored. While not especially toned, she was not fat as some press coverage has been calling her. Were it not for the fact that she is a seasoned performer, it wasn't that bad. But for Britney Spears, it was not that good at all. The performers in the audience seemed at a loss for how to react. They sat frozen, 50 Cent looked completely perplexed, Chris Brown sweetly sympathetic. Then it was over. Comedian Sarah Silverman came out, and as she had done to Paris Hilton, came out and told a series of cruel, vulgar jokes about Britney. The audience seemed uncomfortable and uncertain how to react. Only when Silverman told a joke about confusing Cee-lo and Kanye West did the tension break. The press coverage has been harsh and heavy-handed. In my opinion, Rihanna can't sing a lick either. The difference? Rihanna came out to a supportive audience...she's the new It girl. Britney was competing against her old image, the disappointment of the public, the weight of all that schadenfreude...Sigh.

My conclusion? Britney Spears looked like she was going through the motions, doing the only thing she has ever known how to do...go out onstage and perform. But my message to her is that she doesn't have to do it if she doesn't want to anymore. And that's how she seemed...like she was miserably doing the only thing she knew how to do even though she no longer had a desire to do it. I hope she realizes that she is free to walk away from it all...forever or even for awhile. I hope she decides to find and take better care of herself. To discover her own mind away from the image and expectations of the entertainment industry. I hope she separates herself from the entourages and hangers-on. I hope she realizes that getting high really doesn't make it better. I hope she makes peace with her family. I hope she finds peace of mind. But it seems unlikely that will happen anytime soon...the album will be in stores November 13th...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Strangely enough...

...for the past two days, my hair has smelled like food. Yesterday it smelled like Lowry's seasoning salt...today I think it smells like chicken-flavored ramen noodles. I know...it sounds crazy. But it woke me up. I did go to Amy Ruth's last night. I had catfish and cherry kool-aid. Yes, indeed! For some reason those two items aren't on the online menu..they were right in front of me last night! The menu says "Kool-Aid of the Day" but for all the years I have gone there, every time I've been-- it's been cherry. Which is fine by me...I like cherry kool-aid...or as we used to call it...red. But that was a treat, I can't go off eating fried catfish, fried okra, buttered corn and cornbread... wash all down with a big glass of kool-aid and expect to keep off the 11lbs. I lost. But a treat is a treat, so I really enjoyed it. As soon as I wake up, I'm going to wash my hair really good and rinse it until it doesn't smell like soul food anymore...not because I don't like it--I'm sure other people like it too-- no, I going to get this smell out so I can get some sleep already.
As it is I can't stop thinking about going back for some smothered chicken and waffles...but for giggles, I think I'll go here to get them. Wow...who is the genius that put smothered chicken and waffles together? That is like heaven on a plate. You see...this is why it's not good to have hair that smells like food, it pervades your thoughts and keeps you awake all hours of the night...
whoo...I crack myself up...






Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We are lymon people...

I cracked my friend up one day with my observation that African Americans must be particularly fond of the mythical lymon fruit. Then today I saw this, I feel vindicated. I just think there are an inordinate number of lemon-limey, clear, fizzy drinks marketed to black people. There is 7-up (of course), Sprite, Sierra Mist, and Mountain Dew...I almost forgot about Slice... and according to wikipedia, there are several others. When I was little I remember people used to put gumballs in their bottles of 7-up. I thought that was plenty gross...but I don't like gum, so what do I know. Of course, it's not only black people who love the lymon, but I don't know what they like. Why, for example, are we not enjoying Fresca--an oddly grapefruit-flavored concoction?
You know, it might be residual loyalty to the 7-up man campaign of the 70s...you remember the Un-Cola Man....ahahaha! That Geoffrey Holder!...he does the same little laugh in Boomerang...cracks me up...
I just needed a little silliness...

Take that!


I am so proud of myself! I just signed up for automatic banking--I know, welcome to the 21st century--and discovered that some company was making regular 'membership fee' withdrawals from my checking account. What?! So I called them up and got my money back.
This company was pretty slick. They signed me up for their 'services' when I bought a movie ticket online. Pretty sneaky...They gave me a 'free' 30-day membership then started kicking in with the charges. No matter that I never wanted their services in the first place. They had been siphoning off $20 a month. Just small enough that I hadn't caught it on my paper statement. But their number was up today, because when I logged into my account statement they were at the top of a queue of 'pending transactions.' Well, I ain't having that.
Watch out for these hidden agreements...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Marjorie Newlin...



I'm probably running late because I hadn't heard of this woman before today. Marjorie Newlin is an 86-year-old bodybuilder. That's right...I typed 86.
Now I as I type, I am reclined waiting for Larry King to come on (lazy, lazy, lazy)...I haven't lifted weights since 2002. I don't know why I stopped. I really enjoyed it. I'm very competitive with myself and I enjoyed pushing myself. Plus you get to see the tangible results of your efforts. Some women are afraid lifting weights will make them look masculine. I don't get that. You would have to train like a professional athlete to get those kinds of results. Plus the benefits of weightlifting--not just improvement of physique, but also maintenance of bone density, acceleration of metabolism, etc.--far outweigh any concerns one might have.
But back to Marjorie Newlin. She started training at age 72 and has won a slew of awards--often competing against women forty years her junior. Apparently, my Tivo was broken when she appeared on the Oprah show and the mail carrier swiped the copy of Essence she was featured in...cause I missed both....
I figured Marjorie was a good example and good inspiration...Age well. I need to move that coffee table and get those yoga and pilates dvds out. Get moving ladies!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The first day of school...

Tomorrow is the first day of the fall semester at UrbanIvy. I have to say I don't miss it. But it has been exciting to see the energy build up. I suspect that since I left work last Friday night a whole lot of activity has taken place. There were a couple of first-year events last week. But they are all still moving around in a pack. All the other students will have descended by tomorrow.
I have no idea what to expect. I started at the end of the Spring semester, so I really haven't the slightest clue of the amount of traffic in the office or the kinds of things that will come my way on a daily basis. I'm kind of rolling with the punches.
I haven't made much of it, but over the summer I lost about eleven pounds. I hardly ever drive. I eat breakfast and lunch rather than dinner. I've diminished my portions. And because of the heat, my diet choices tend toward the healthy by default. I'm not eating rice, bread, pasta, or a lot of sugar. I don't recommend the two meals a day thing. It's just been too hot to turn on the stove when I get home after work. I am a big fan of frozen vegetables. I put a portion in the microwave and voila...dinner. Since I drove out to Long Island for a party, I figured I'd make a proper grocery run. There's a Stop & Shop in the Bronx. Sigh. One of the few things I enjoyed when I lived in Providence was making groceries at Stop & Shop. Anyway, I got some seafood for the freezer. I put away portions of salmon and tuna. Tonight I'm going to grill some scallops.
I thought I wanted to lose 20 lbs. But I'll be satisfied right here.
Unfortunately, all my clothes are now too big. I know...cry me a river. Me and my fake problems... Yesterday I went to Loehmann's--there's one right next to Stop & Shop--but it was just too overwhelming. I think I'm going to find an Express and get some pants. I'd like to go to Century 21...maybe this weekend.
After so many years of school, this feels like the beginning of the year. So bring it on...