Wednesday, April 6, 2016

All I Needed to Know About Life, I Learned Before Kindergarten

I think that most lessons that I needed to learn for life, I learned by Kindergarten.  I did not go to preschool. I stayed instead at my grandmother's house while my newly single mom worked. I watched The Young & The Restless. I watched Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. I practiced counting with my good friend The Count from Sesame Street and I learned shapes and colors from my granny.

I learned that you cannot make a square peg fit into a round hole. If it does not fit, you cannot force it. I believe I picked that up on Sesame Street.  Or maybe that was from the game Perfection. I cannot really be sure.

I learned that only one person should talk at a time otherwise no one was being heard. I also learned by watching my mom then nothing is more important than taking care of your household first. That means it all I do is dedicated to my daughter. Anything else that comes along falls in line after that. If that is a problem for anyone, then they can continue on about about their way. I put nothing in front of my house because no one would foresake theirs for me.

I also learned by Kindergarten that I like to play outside. I liked to play with other kids. I liked dirt. I enjoyed playing with Barbies.  Therefore I learned to cultivate a variety of interests. I don't rely on one person from my source of entertainment or my connection to the world. It becomes really sad to me when people don't have any outside interests other than their significant other or spouse.

So with these things in mind, I have come to assess the state of my relationship. If you must choose between me and someone else -- by all means -- pick the other person. I am not a choice to be made. You just don't happen upon people like me every day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shifting my world to the friendly skies

I've craved change for a while now.  I have tried to no avail to get into the airline industry.  And when I tell you that I have tried, I mean I have tried.  I have applied to be everything from an airline store manager to a ticketing agent and everything in between.

Why?  Well, it's simple really.  I crave change.  I've been in the same job title since 2007 and the same career field from 2002 and for what?  The field has consistently shifted and left us further and further away from civilization.  I know.  It's a library.  How bad could it be?  I could tell you stories that you wouldn't believe, but that is neither here nor there.

I have longed for a job with some stability and fabulous benefits.  When I say benefits, I mean flight benefits .  I've got my obligatory substandard health care courtesy of my employer -- for the record, it's expensive as hell -- and my flexible spending account for health stuff.

This opportunity could change a girl's life right here. I'm so mobile and I need to be able to fly like I want to, especially since I travel with a little one in tow, which equals two times the fare.  Last year alone, I cannot tell you how much I spent on travel.  As far as I can see, working for an airline is truly the move for me.

So now, I'm up at bat again.  The company has contacted me back for an interview for the second time.  The first time was for a  highly competitive position and I still remain a candidate on that list I believe.  But this one,  this one feels different.  This one has legs and I think it's going somewhere.  I feel really optimistic, so wish me luck.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Keeping up with the Joneses... Well kinda

I'm a girly girl.  Well, as girly as a chick who always wears pants can be.  So when it comes to lip gloss, I'm on it!  Anything that adorns the face? I'm with it.  So when I looked at a fellow dance mom's eyelash extensions back in November at a dance competition, I knew I had to have some.  So I did what any savvy mom would do, I waited till there was a Black Friday special on them!

So for months, I did the dance of getting this filled in.  Working like the dickens to not rub my eyes (knowing that my Bambi-like curled lashed couldn't withstand that much human touch.  Hell, they were barely making it through my oh-so-gentle cleaning with lavender baby shampoo.

And then came the fateful February night that I ran into another dance mom who had also boarded the eyelash express with us on the quest for extra-girly lashes.  I asked where were her lashes as I knew that she was going just as diligently as I had been.  Then she pointed out that she'd had hers removed and lo and behold, her own natural lashes were thin and short now.  Oh, shit.

Yep.  Just oh, shit. Nothing more poetic to say than that.

So I decided then that I would not continue applying my well-loved, long lashes because they could have been wearing down my very own.  So the next weekend, on what would have been a eyelash fill in weekend, I decided they were sparse enough to begin removing them at home.  Yes, I said at home because I'm a renegade like that. For the record, there is a professional removal method, but I took matters into my own hands because I had so few lashes remaining.

About an hour and a fair amount of olive oil later, the faux lashes slid off and, yes, some of my own had disappeared, too.  My eyes looked funny,  They were no longer framed by curly lashes that would make any doe envious.  My remaining lashes were tiny, faint and stubby.  Oh God!  What have I done to you? 

Here it is exactly a month later and I have lived to tell the story and, yes, they did grow back. But this last month of transition was pretty ugly.  I couldn't leave without my very own Younique 3D+ Mascara.  I didn't want anyone to see me bare-faced.

Lesson learned.  Everything ain't for everybody... Back to my mascara I go!

Monday, November 23, 2015

That's What Friends Are For (man, I hate that song)

When you have a friend as long as I've had a friend, you know one another's idiosyncrasies.  You know when the person is happy, when they are sad, and when they are pissed beyond all belief. Well, it saddens me to see my best friend frustrated.  And as I ponder her situation, I cannot help but notice my own.

Understand that I still believe in fairy tales. I still believe that there is the perfect person for me out there. I still want to see other people's marriages and relationships be fruitful. It gives me hope. It lets me know the world is not as cruel as it can be.

When I look at my past, and all of the scattered the rubble of relationships past, I often wonder why I am not able to find the perfect person for me just yet. The person that will share my bed every night and snuggle.  The person who will make coffee in the morning and rile me out of bed.

But then I look at others and have always taken comfort knowing that they found their person. So surely mine just must be wandering about looking for me. That sounds really good, but clearly the muthafucka is lost and has no sense of direction.  Nor does he have GPS on his phone.  In this day and age, who doesn't have GPS on their phone?  I digress...

I've dated a guy for little over a year and in that year, there has been lots of fun, lots of bullshit, and lots of memories made.  Problem is, I wonder if he is the one.  You know that mythical one that I'm supposed to ride off into the sunset with who understands me better than the rest of the world.  I'm not so sure, but day to day, I make the best of it.

After consulting with my very own relationship guru, also known as my cousin, I lamented that this had just been a tremendous waste of time.  She corrected me and noted that I had fun and so there was no waste there.  I tell myself that she's right even if I am not so convinced myself.  A girl's got to believe in something, right?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Help! I smell smoke: How I was able to break out of my shell and attract the man I'm seeing

There's something to be said about not being a shivering waif waiting for someone to speak up for you.  I'm single.  So much so, I've forgotten what it's like to have a steady companion aside from my daughter.  But one day, I decided to stop waiting for a man to speak to me and show interest.  After all, that method didn't seem to be working for me.

The last man that showed interest, after about a month and some change of dating straight disappeared.  I'm talking that Harry Houdini himself would have been amazed at how crazy the shit was when it happened.  I figured at that point that I was slipping.  I expressed my concerns to a couple of my friends when I had a gut feeling that something was amiss and they said I was basically paranoid.  But when he vanished.  I knew.  And I was pissed.  I was pissed because I let my guard down and suspended my disbelief only to be disappointed.

Then there was the man before that.  He was my companion of all of a year.  I'd overlooked a few key things: the hatred in his heart for his ex wife, the gas and lights at his home being shutoff, and his perpetual need to prove that he could sustain a business -- even when it was painfully clear that he could not.  But the final straw was how clear I could see his character when my mother died.  That was it.  Check please.  I'm outta here.  And I was gone.

So flash forward to today.  I'm leaner, meaner and a lot more discerning about who is allowed to call my home and say that they are interested in a date.  I've for the most part, laid back and watched and waited someone I was interested in, not just the lucky dude who flags me down.  I could hear my cousin's voice saying you better stop waiting on them to say something to you.

I was sauntering out of my condo on afternoon, sundress and natural puff of curls blowing in the breeze when what to my eyes should appear?  Not one, two or three firefighters.  Four!  I said hello and there was one.  Our eyes caught and his hello seemed just a tad friendlier than the others.  So I locked onto his glaze and smiled.  But I had my daughter with me.  That's a no go.  I don't flirt with her in view.  But what was I to do?

He was handsome with his rugged exterior and twinkling eyes.  Well, I did what any girl would do.  I proceeded to the gas station.  After all, I was low on gas.  As soon as I stepped out of my SUV, I calmly called the gatehouse at my condo.  I asked the security officer if the fire department was still there and she said yes.  So I asked her to convey a phone number to Mr. Twinkly Eyes and I heard her as she gave him my name and phone number.  Later that night, I had a text of him introducing himself and my heart almost jumped out of my chest.

Well. that was at the tail end of July.  I am happy to report that I've been seeing him pretty much ever since and there is something to be said for taking a hell of a chance.  He makes me feel extra girly and he's an unparalleled cook.  Who knew?  Well, I wouldn't have, had I not said a simple hello that afternoon...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Made it back from Vegas.  Whew!  Needed a vacation from the vacation.  A sista was tired.  Sure, there were dance shoes to keep track of and a hormonal 'tween.  But there was also Circus Cicus' Adventuredome, the Michael Jackson ONE show by Cirque du Soleil, and countless hours roaming around The Strip.  I stayed within my budget and enjoyed our time.

And now, I'm settling back into life in the big city and back to reality.

The reality that I'm in need of working out a realistic budget for myself.  I've already started saying no to going places and it really is quite liberating.  When I discovered that I could not be everywhere at once -- something I often tell my daughter about her social schedule -- it freed me to stop spending so damned much.  Take for instance last pay period, I allotted myself an entertainment allowance and guess what?  When that money was spent, no more outings for that pay period.  Simple as that.  I don't think I allowed myself as much fun as I wanted, but hey!  Live and learn, so this paycheck's fun money will have a little bump in the fun money fund.

The joys of budgeting out my existence as a single mama extraordinaire!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here I am set to embark upon our trip to Las Vegas.  I've never been with a child before.  The first time I ventured there was to get married in December of 2001.  What an adventure that turned out to be...

So now we'll be headed there tomorrow for a dance competition.  Gotta get my head in the game.  This dance season has worn on me unlike any other and I am not quite sure why.  Maybe it was the financial stress.  Maybe it is the realization that no matter how long I wait, my mom is simply not coming back to assist me.  Maybe it is just the thankless life of a single parent.  It is really hard to say.

I've spent the better part of two weeks counting shoes, tights and costumes while learning on the fly to apply false eyelashes.  Oh, the life of a dance mom...

My goal on this time is to find a little corner of sanity.  Just a fragment of vacation time because right now, I have the impending dread that every moment will be consumed by thoughts of tights and leotards when I'm in the country's adult playground.

Then there is the fear that sweeps over me when I wonder do I have enough money to go.  Food everyday.  Souvenirs.  Admission to various places.  Oh, the stress.  But then I hear the little voice saying you have all that you need.  What more could you bring?

As a single mama, the crunching of the numbers doesn't stop just because I get a temporary change of zip code.  So, I'm just going to brace myself and enjoy as much of this one as possible.  After all, a girl doesn't get to travel to Vegas everyday.  Alone or with a kid in tow...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Change is Gonna Come (with respect to the late Sam Cooke)

I was born by the river in a little tent / Oh, just like the river I've been running ever since

The winds of change have been all around me.  I excitedly packed my 11+ boxes of belongings and headed across town to bring my youthful managerial style to a new location.  I feared the unknown and wondered -- both privately and publicly -- what I had just asked for when I began the journey.  And, yes, it is only across town, but even that is a world away from the dissatisfaction I felt trapped in a passive-aggressive environment.

That freed up a lot of my life.  I felt like a weight had been removed from my chest and that everything else would fall into line.

And it pretty much has.  

I'm with people that I work well with and that understand my vision.  I have freedom to experience the world as other managers do.  I can hit the streets and do outreach and attend meetings without eyeballing my dreaded enemy: The Clock.

There been times that I thought I couldn't last for long / But now I think I'm able to carry on

But more than that, it has freed my personal life.  I know that I spent an unhealthy amount of time internally hating those who hated on me.  I was unhappy because of them and because I had allowed myself to grow to hate them so.  I also discovered the magic of carving out my own time.  I no longer feel as though I have to report to those that I supervise.  The people that I left felt as though I needed to explain the inner workings of my life so they could validate my rationales.  No more.

Then the cherry on top of it all is that I got the opportunity to do something I've wanted to do forever and because my career has right-sided itself, I am able to embark upon another journey.  How exciting.  More on that later...

I am thankful for the opportunity that I have been given to recharge and reshape my focus!

It's been a long, a long time coming / But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year

This year, more than those passed, it hit my that my daughter is growing up.  She wants to continue believing in Santa though the evidence from friends and classmates is mounting.  She still wanted to visit Santa at the mall and let him know that she had her eye on a shiny new MacBook for Christmas (didn't happen).

But she's still a kiddie.  For now.  Don't get it twisted.  She is a girly girl with the gifts of social graces, beauty and dance.  But the little girl part still resides there.  And as long as it does, I will do my best to stoke its fire.  Too often, kids find themselves forced to be miniature adults due to circumstance and peers.  I know my job is to counteract this.

What better way that the holidays?  It's the time of year when magic can happen and reindeer can make their way from houses to apartments in the blink of an eye.  It's a time when there is still something quite magical about snowflakes and snowballs, so I take advantage of it.

Yesterday, was a day full of Santa's sleigh offering the magic of Monster High dolls and fun bands to make jewelry.  For the last two years, the sleigh has docked at our humble home unleashing everything from nail polish to iPhone cases.  And I've been thankful to have a little girl who still battles to believe.

After shifting through mounds of wrapping paper and twistie ties, I needed a nap before heading us out forty minutes west to my cousin's home.  There, children played throughout the home's spacious upper level and sounded as though they'd come through the floor and they stomped so hard.  Adults laughed and ate our homemade casseroles and drank mysterious alcohol concoctions out of a cooler.  We laughed as people tried their hand at karaoke and my aunt explained why she felt the need to purchase a walker that she found an insanely good deal on at a local estate sale -- despite the fact that she's an avid dancer and ceaselessly spry.

But somehow this combination of laughter, kids and -- the ever present -- wine, made the holiday brighter.  I am reminded this morning that we all went through the losses of 2011 and said goodbye to my mom and uncle.  And we are still standing and able to come together and celebrate what remains.

The magic of family.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

This is your life & there's no sleepwalking allowed

I always find shards of my life entertaining.  My daughter came to me and informed me that for Halloween, her school asked that students wear a shirt that indicates their chosen college.  Bear in mind that we are talking about the college leanings of an 8 year old.  :)  Anyhow, she lets me know that she needs a Spelman College shirt and instantly, I am flashed to the 17-year-old me moving into my dorm room at Spelman's Howard-Harreld Hall on the second floor.  How I wished I had stuck it out and -- from time to time -- it plain haunts me.  I regret leaving in the second year of my stay there.

I was haunted that morning and into the afternoon when I pined away for greener pastures behind the gates of Spelman College.  I spent the day assessing my life and wondering where it would all lead me.  My career as a librarian has stalled out.  When I walked across the stage at 24 having received my Master's, I remember the longing to rise.  I was already a Librarian I at a suburban library.  I dreamed at the time of becoming an Assistant Manager, but that was not to be at that place, so I set my sights on a library that offered more opportunities.

So, here I sit.  Monday will mark my 35th birthday.  I became that Assistant Manager I dreamed of.  Then I became the Manager that I sought out to become and then...  Well, that is where it seems to escape me.  Somehow along the way, I stopped dreaming and envisioning something better.  I could blame it on the death of my mom, which would be a logical out.  But the truth of the matter is I settled into this complacency long before that ever happened.  I digress...

On Thursday, I spent the afternoon volunteering to arrange the library's Friends book sale items and was all prepped for the dust and cobwebs that would mar my clothing and hair.  When what should I discover as I set out to arrange the Black biographies?  The book by Spelman College's first Black female president Johnnetta B. Cole.  Hmmm.  I could say maybe this is a sign of something greater...  As I continued my quest to make the section more inviting, I stumbled across a worn copy of The Story of Spelman College.  I could say at this point, someone is trying to communicate a very clear message to me.  But then it was certain as I continued working only to find the text for Spelman's required African Diaspora & the World class.  That was it.  I would be blind and lying to myself if I said that it wasn't clear to me at this point.

So today, I have decided to create my five year plan because in just five years, I will be looking at 40 and there will need to be change and progress.  Otherwise, I'm not living and breathing.  I can't just sleepwalk through the next five years of my life.  I often tell my daughter to walk with purpose.  This time, I am listening to my own advice.  I must walk boldly with purpose into the next five years.  No sleepwalking allowed.  :)