Monday, December 17, 2007
Well that's not true at all. But she is trying to limit her amount of dairy. So this weekend I made a vegan fruit smoothie (fruit,tofu,soymilk,sugar) and vegan mac and cheese. Well the smoothie is delicious and the mac and cheese was much like velvetta shells and cheese. So it was all great edible alternatives but of course it wouldn't be my first choice. . But my stomach hurts right now, just like it would if I had lactose. So what gives? This so defeats the purpose of leaving out the dairy. Am I alergic to soy? *pouts*
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Well my roomie and boyfriend are planning something for my birthday. I swear they are terrible at trying to keep a secret.
My cellphone acts crazy all the time and never rings. On Thursday I sat waiting for his call since we were going out that night. So he calls the home phone and she answers it. We don't have caller id but he's the only one who ever calls it. So she starts talking to the person on the other end which I know is him. Then she hands me the phone. I talk to him for a bit. When I was finished, I asked her what he wanted. She says "He wanted to hook me up with one of his single friends." Well that was a blatant lie. So I knew then they were planning something. Great, because I didn't plan a party this year.
On Saturday I was at his house and I went to log into Gmail. Well when I pull up the website it goes right into a mailbox. I see there was an email from my roomate but the title says "Aisha's Present". Then I remembered that this was his computer so thus it's his email. I sit for a second and debate on opening the email but I decide to not ruin their surprise what ever it is. But they are doing a sucky job at hiding whatever it is from me.
Friday, December 14, 2007
So I have all my bills set to be paid automatically. I check my statement and I realize my bill is late...this can't be so since I have it set to pay auotmatically. I look and the last payment was processed a day early. Therefore when the next bill was due it wasn't paid because on time because the payment I made was reflected in an earlier billing cycle.
So I call Citibank to resolve the matter. I've never paid my bill late in over 10 years so it shouldn't be a problem. I talked to the lady and we got the matter resolved fairly quickly. "I'll take the late charge off for you but don't you ever do this again." What happened to customer service? She reprimanded me like I was stupid and she was my momma. I'm like well isn't that funny. It was very early in the morning so I didn't flip out on her. I am just going to write them an email and just change my automatic payment date so I don't pay the bill too EARLY!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I had a meeting out in Rockville. I've been to this place before. I know how long it takes to get there. I did metro trip planner just to be sure. I gave myself an extra 15 minutes just in case something happened. Well Metro politely ate that up and wouldn't even say what was going on. We are just waiting on the platform went from saying "Shady Grove 2" to "Shady Grove __." So I was late to my first meeting as manager. Well by the end everyone had forgot it happened. It was such a good meeting. So next time I will give myself 30 minutes grace period. I'll just sit a little longer in the lobby if need be. Being late is not a good look.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
From the Los Angeles Times
Maxene McGinnis, 1926 - 2007
Group home founder turned around lives of troubled girls
By Jocelyn Y. Stewart
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 8, 2007
In the end, Maxene McGinnis did more than offer a home to girls nobody else wanted. The founder of Jacqueline Home for Girls offered the girls another way of seeing themselves, a view from a different mirror.
The girls questioned their worth; McGinnis never doubted it. They said they couldn't achieve; she said she expected no less. They hung their heads; she told them to lift them high.
With that view, McGinnis wielded a power that transformed the lives of troubled girls.
McGinnis, who helped raise 210 girls in her group homes, later operated child-care centers that served 160 families and was honored with a star at Staples Center's Star Plaza, died Nov. 27 of stomach cancer at her home in Los Angeles. She was 81.
On Tuesday, the nearly 200 mourners who packed Grace Chapel at Inglewood Park Cemetery heard of the lives McGinnis helped salvage.
"She never made me feel like I was her job," Debra Johnson, who spent some of her teen years in McGinnis' home, told the mourners. "She made me feel like I was her child."
For former group home "girls" like Johnson, Phyllis McNeal and Sharon Cameron, time spent at the home was the best experience of their childhood.
"I never saw love like that. . . . I thought it was just on TV," said Cameron, who at 15 was labeled the "worst of the worst" and sent to the home.
If McGinnis had followed conventional wisdom, the Jacqueline Home for Girls might never have come into being.
Born in 1926, she graduated from UCLA in 1948 with a degree in sociology. She was eventually hired as a social worker in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services. The Texas-born McGinnis, who was raised by her mother with the help of a close extended family, grew up in Dallas during a time when opportunities for African Americans were few. Jobs like hers were an accomplishment to be proud of, not to leave.
But in the 1960s, McGinnis was young and ambitious and had a vision of running a home for children in need. That vision began in her youth, grew after a stint teaching Sunday school and kept growing and refining itself; it would not let her rest.
At the social services department she was placed in charge of a unit that trained the daughters of welfare recipients to find work. But she found the girls' life skills so meager that "we had to begin with proper dress, personal hygiene . . . proper grammar and the most basic manners and social skills," McGinnis wrote in her unpublished memoir.
The girls were eager to do well, but they needed to get out of their chaotic surroundings to achieve, she said. So she gathered them together and helped them find an apartment and stayed in their lives to help them. Later she learned that a change of environment would benefit youngsters who were in juvenile hall and other locked facilities simply "because there were no other places to go."
Driven by her vision, McGinnis left her job and rented a home in the Wilshire district, opening the Jacqueline Home in 1968.
The home would eventually be filled with as many as six girls from various backgrounds, all wards of the court, referred by the county Probation Department. For each girl, she received $307 to $355 a month, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
"She was a black woman in the '60s running this home for girls," said her daughter, Michelle McGinnis. In the beginning "most of the girls were very affluent. Most of them were white."
At the house, McGinnis was "mom," and she set out to raise the girls. She disciplined them to correct behavior, visited their schools to make sure they were performing, encouraged and rewarded them and listened to them.
"It's a happy house," McGinnis said in a 1969 Times article. "People always expect something dreary and sad, and they're surprised to find that it's not."
In 1969, she married Essic McGinnis, and the following year she gave birth to Michelle, now a prosecutor in the Los Angeles city attorney's office assigned to a program through which she assists youths at Markham Middle School. In addition to her daughter, McGinnis is survived by numerous cousins.
Over the years the house earned honors for its work. McGinnis expanded to three houses, but in 1977 closed them and moved into child care, in which she continued to work until retiring this year.
Long after she closed the homes, some of the women who had lived there as girls remained a part of her family. In the end, their reclaimed lives were a testament to her work.
"She gave me hope, encouragement, pride and unconditional love," said McNeal, who holds a master's degree, is a probation officer and runs a program to dissuade young people from crime. "If not for my mom, I wouldn't be working for the system. I'd be in it."
Monday, December 10, 2007
Your life is continuing to change and today's New Moon can send you into the next phase of ongoing personal growth. Whatever opportunities are presented to you should be received as a message directly from the cosmos. It may take time to understand the significance of the next few days. In the meantime, be gracious as you accept what arrives on your doorstep.
Well today is my first day as Project Manager. I've never been as excited to go to work as I was last night. I feel a renewed sense of commitment and I really think it's my time to shine. I haven't been that confident at work these days but this new development is just the infusion I needed in my life. It doesn't come with a raise but we were all scheduled for raises this week anyway. Wish me luck.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The summer before I left for UNC I gained about 15lbs. I had stopped working out and I would spend all of my time at Ben's Chili Bowl. It's a DC institution and the food is expensive for what it is but I would go there mulitiple times a week. I would go because it was the place where everybody knew my name. The staff members made me feel at home. Often times I was served by Timothy Spicer because he had a crush on me. I would walk in and he was tell the other guys that i was his customer. He tried several times to get me to go on dates and he would flash his charming smile. Last night I learned that he had be killed in a car jacking. I shed some tears because he was a good kid. He went to work everyday and enjoyed what he did while trying to craft away through music and art to a better life. I'll miss you Tim.
Earlier my my dad called me to tell Ms. McGinnis past of a heare attack. Ms. McGinnis owned Bene Pre-School where myself, my niece and my 2nd cousin attended. At this school I learned all the basics. It wasn't daycare it was true learning. Ms. McGinnis was all about learning but she also employed many people that wouldn't otherwise have a chance. Besides my family, this is the person I've known the longest. I'm truly going to miss her. I don't have that many ties to the old neigborhood since my mom died. This is one less.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Well today was also crazy. Somehow I managed to put my tampons into the fridge at work. I meant to put my lunch in there but I put the wrong bag in. Secondly, I was talking to some of my coworkers and one asked "what's that near your belt?" Well it turned out to be a random piece of a tampon wrapper. Whoa is me.
I've noticed that my life has been much better since I started riding my bike to work everyday. I do not have the "how not to holla experiences" anymore. I look like a dork with my helmet on and well i'm on bike so no one is going to talk me. Well sometimes other black bikers talk to me. Mostly the bike messengers messing with me because my bike is so cutesy.
I never thought I would be an outdoorsy person but I love riding my bike. It's like 30 degrees outside and I'm still riding to work. My coworker is going to bring me some cold weather biking gear. The only thing is that I just wear my regular work clothes. I haven't gone so far to wear bike gear because I'm not that hard core. So hopefully it will all pay off. But I really don't care about all that, I just love it.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I've been sick for the past two days but I had a draft of a report due today. I worked pretty hard on it and everything. So after I emailed it off at 3pm. He responds "thank you for working on this while you were sick." I went downstairs and watched a movie and then took a nap. I finally get of my ass around 10pm to go to bed. I look at my cell phone and it says 6 missed calls. Who could that be? It's my project head trying to tell me that there was no attachment. It's not so bad because it was just a draft however, what if this was something more important? I could have gotten fired. So this is a lesson learned. I was using the web based version of outlook and there were some extra steps I wasn't used to. So I'm glad this happened now and not when it really mattered.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I prayed that I wouldn't get sick this year so I could hold on to all my paid time off. Of course my body didn't listen. I clearly remember being sick last thanksgiving. I was offered some southern concoction to relieve me. I tell you those southerners sure are special. I'm gong to Lynchburg again so maybe I'll take the cough syrup this time. So I am at home and that's why I am bringing you this lovely blog entry.
I'm guessing I'm sick because I haven't been nice to my body. My diet has consisted of carbs and liquor for the last 7 days. If I don't get on top of it I'm going to get lose all the loses that I've made recently. I was feeling festive this week so I was out on the town. Thursday night it was $5 shots of patron and wings. Okay so there was some protein in that meal and does the celery count as vegetables?
Friday was probably the highlight of the weekend. I went to Wonder-Full. This is a yearly tribute party to Stevie Wonder. DJ Spinna and Bobbito get on the wheels and turn the party out. I've never danced so much. I only left the floor because I was tired. It was good to party with friends who really just wanted to drink and dance.
Saturday was also a great night but it almost turned into disaster. We attended Old Ebbitt Griill's 12th Annual Oyster Riot. I got gussied up and rock the sweater dress I had been holding on to for a while. I put on my fishnets and suede boots. I also put on these earrings that I had been holding onto for a while. I loooked really good, no cleavage but the dress just brought out all the assets of my shape.
B shows up and I see he's wearing jeans. I didn't really trip but I gave him some words about jeans not being appropriate for this event. Then he took his sweater off and he was wearing a tshirt. I nearly lost my mind. Now if I thought of him as Bamma with no home training, I would have been sure to tell him how to dress. Well I assumed wrong about this one. We almost didn't make it to the event because I was a bit irate. I explained to him that given the price we paid for the tickets and that it was a night time special event for this venue he should have known how to dres. I just couldn't believe he thought jeans and a tshirt were appropriate. I sat on the stairs and moped for a while I considered changing my clothing so I didn't look over dressed. Then I said fuck it, I'm not changing my clothes so that he doesn't stand out. I looked fucking hot as hell and I'm not dressing down. He said something about wanting to be comfortable and as a die hard fan of Stacy London, using the comfort excuse for dressing sloppy just made me cringe.
We get to the event and it's amazing. There are oysters, wine and champagne everywhere. It was a bit crowded and people were everywhere. In true white people fashion no one bothered to say excuse me if they bumped into you. Given how crowded it was I didn't expect everyone to say it every time. But if you bumped me hard or bumped me to the point that I spilled something on myself you should say excuse me. I wouldn't be pressed to go again but I recommend it to all those who like oysters on the half shell.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
game you wanted.
Him: I'll buy it and you pay me back.
Me: No I want to buy it for you.
Him: Wel make sure you pre-order.
fast forward 3 days
Him: did you order it?
Me: No. I didnt have time.
Him: you didnt have time or you didnt make time?..
Me. Well I still plan to go get it that day.
Him: im irked. Ill just do it myself.
Me: okay. Im sorry.
Fasrforward to the day the game comes out
So i decided with some consultation that i would stilll purchase the
game. I had every intention of getting the game but did not pre-order.
I shouldn't have been in trouble until I failed to come through. He
probably bought it for himself but I decided that technically I did
what I promised but not the way he wanted. If it was sold out then he
could be disappointed.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Well today I just opened Microsoft Word and started writing because I didn’t want to do any work. I am envious of my friends who blog everyday. I have time to do so but not the desire. However, I never meant to go this long without writing. So what have I been doing instead?
During the summer, discovered spinning at the gym. I loved it so much and that’s why I bought a bike. However spinning bikes are more like racing bikes so the feel isn’t the same. Well I’ve been riding this:
But then I realized that it’s more for grandmas to ride around the park than it is for commuting to work or anything else for that matter. It was very cheap from target so I don’t care so much about the money I’m going to lose when I sell it on Craigslist. I did some research and went to a real bike shop this time around and test rode some bikes. My online research had me in love with a certain bike. However, I got a much better feel from the bike I eventually purchased. So I bought another one this past weekend.
As a novice bike rider I always thought the speed of your bike was determined by how fast you move your legs. That’s only part of it. The type and weight of the bike you are huge factors. These bikes may look nearly the same but they are not. This bike has thinner tires, more gears and is much lighter than the bike I have now. It’s hard to see from the pictures but the old bike has the old school curved handle bars so it was impossible for me to squeeze next to cars. So I got an entry level hybrid bike that goes fast enough that I won’t die in traffic but not fast enough to win any races. If I use the bike I have consistently for 18 months then I might upgrade to the next level. So I will be riding to work most days and hitting some trails this fall to see the scenery.
With all this research I learned a lot. I had not idea there were bikes out there that cost $5000 dollars. That floored me.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Since we don't really need premium channels we forego HBO except when the Wire is on. Well I realized that I am also missing my other favorite show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. The creator of Seinfeld, Larry David, has a show about the mishaps of life. Actually I really wish this blog was a written version of Curb. Just when I was considering canceling Netflix, I think I am going to fill my queue with the last few seasons of Curb. I never liked Seinfeld mostly because I was too young to get the humor but, even in syndication Seinfeld doesn't amuse me the way Curb does. So I am going to bless you with a scence from one of my favorite episodes, "Krazee-Eyez Killa"
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I'm convinced my roomate and I have perfected the art of doing nothing. Saturday we picked up breakfast from Mocha Hut, ate, did nothing, picked up Mexican food, ate that, did more nothing. We giggled to ourselves all day that we were doing nothing. It was kind of nice.
Well that meant sunday I had to everything I needed to do in one day. So I did brunch, shopping, cleaning and laundry today. I even managed to stop by my new office put up the decorations I bought. I'm doing a beach theme in my office because that's what is inspiring me to work right now. I'm earning money with the thought of my next beach vacation.
Tomorrow it's back to the grind and a hectic week. Wednesday I start intermediate spanish and Thursday I am panelist at UMD speaking about careers in heatlh education. So enjoy your week everyone and hopefullly I can fit in a real post sooner rather than later.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
,"July 27, 2007
I have this in aqua (or teal, I can't remember exactly) and it is one of the pairs of underwear in my drawer that I classify as "comfortable." I agree with the posters below in that it becomes baggy with wear, but I have found that each wash will restore it to its proper shape. It's kind of like jeans - they're pretty tight when you first start wearing them, and when they're all loose 'n' comfy, it's time to throw 'em in the wash."
Last time I checked we only wear undies once and then we wash them. This has to be one of the grossest things I've read in a while.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Yesterday I checked my horoscope and it said something about “a turn in your career.” I read my horoscope about once a month when I am bored. However, since I haven’t been working to my full potential at the new gig, because they haven’t given a reason to do so, I was wondering if that meant I should save up for an impending loss of work. This morning I get an email from someone in another department saying they saw my resume and were impressed with my background and appreciated that finally someone has the same skills that they have. She’s also a very young black woman with a PhD and an awesome sense of style. Frankly, I’d love to be her.
In other news I’m sitting here at my desk trying to figure out how I am going to make it through the day. As previously mentioned, I ramped up my workout routine quite a bit. This week I finally added some weight bearing exercises back into my routine. Now I am stiff and can barely move in a normal fashion. I’m telling my mind to walk but my body, my body is telling me no! So today I begrudgingly got on the Metro instead of walking. This was particularly hard to do given that it would have been delightful to walk on a day without humidity. Given that I can barely put one foot in front of the other it was best.
As I am walking the block from the metro to my job I am thinking about how bad I feel as everyone is passing me. I get to my building and someone walks in behind me and I notice a faint limp. It was a man who seemed to be slightly physically impaired. He gets off the elevator a few floors before I do and I watch him walk to his office. The elevator operator who always seems antsy says to me “You know he was hit by a Metro Bus, he’s lucky to be alive.” That was a little bit of a reality check and I always hate when that happens.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tonight and Friday:
Using spoken word, oral narratives, step, tap, and hip hop movement, Aysha Upchurch explores the plight of today’s youth and how children are a product of their environment—family, friends, schools, church, communities, and the media. Part of the Local Dance Commissioning Project. Free at Millenium stage.
9PM @ The Red and The Black1212 H Street NE
Free Shuttle from Union Station
Live music by EmoniFela, Tanya Morgan, Che Grand and of course Dumhi and Sankofa.
Another year in the making, this Sunday, September 9th boasts the famous 29th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival. Always on the second Sunday in September in Adams Morgan, one of Washington's most diverse neighborhoods, the namesake international cultural festival stands behind its neighborhood roots.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
My father's" lady friend" passed from cancer a week ago. He had only known her about 3 months but had completely fallen in love with her. B said, "when you are that age you already know what you want." I'm inclined to agree with him. I called my father to see how he was doing. He proceeds to tell me about every moment in their relationship in great detail, which for once I do not mind. Listening to him was my way of showing sympathy. I knew he really needed to get all of his off his chest. He ended the call with some words of relationship wisdom which I gladly accepted.
Fifteen minutes later my phone rings and the caller id shows it's my father again. I answer and he says, "Can you send me a sympathy card?" At first I don't respond because I was trying to convince myself that I misheard him. No I was correct he wants me to send him a sympathy card. Actually I had considered sending him one before he called. Now I didn't want to send him one at all. I stopped myself from berating him but I sure did want to. I'm not sure what possessed him to call me to ask for a sympathy card. You don't ask for sympathy cards. I can't tell you why you shouldn't but you just don't. Is it sympathy if you ask for it? Yesterday I begrudgingly went to the store and bought him his card. I really didn't want to though but if that's what he needs I'll do it.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
After I met with Richard the travel agent I ran to my room to change into my bathing suit. I couldn’t wait to get on the beach. I had not been to the beach in 4 years. Since moving to the East Coast I have stopped going to the beach for three reasons. I can’t deal with driving hours to the beach when I grew up only 15 minutes from the beach. In the Boston area the water is freezing and what’s the point of that. Also, as I have mentioned in this blog before I’ve gained 25lbs since then and I kept telling myself my body wasn’t beach ready. It took a lot for me to go to the store and buy a bathing suit and even more nerve to show that much of my body in public.
I strolled out there and decided that I couldn’t be concerned with my flaws. It was the beach in another country so I could not let my insecurities ruin my relaxing vacation. I find myself a beach chair and an umbrella and lay down. I took out my book with the intention of staying out there all day reading. I read two pages and then I realized that I didn’t want to read at that moment. In fact, I would not read any of the 3 novels I toted with me. I just laid there staring at the water and the beautiful white sand. I was captivated with my surroundings and I could do nothing other than gaze into the open ocean.
There were only a few open thatched umbrellas open and unfortunately I was near all the water sports equipment. After a while I realize this is advantageous as I get to watch people wind surf and go out on their kayaks. There are a group of guys who are in charge of the water sports who are constantly out there helping guest with the equipment.
“Hola!,” says the young thin man with the grey eyes. I greet him in return. He begins speaking Spanish but I have to explain to him that I don’t really speak that well. As usual he questions me about my background. There is a couple next to me and he starts talking to them in Spanish. I can understand most of what’s he’s saying. He’s telling them that I am the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. So every time he walks by me he says something to me or to them.
“I lover jor eir. Can I touch it?”
I just laugh it off. Then I realize that he isn’t always speaking Spanish. He’s speaking several languages and I realize he’s talking to everyone about me. I don’t know what he is saying but from the reactions and the pointing I know he’s talking to everyone about me. He’s acting like a teenage boy.
“Hey how many languages do you speak umm, como te llama?” I ask.
“I speak Spanish, Italian, German, French and English. Oh and my name is Gabriel (Gah-bri-el).
He was very good looking with a great body and the attention he paid me helped the day move along.
I went to lunch and on my way back I hear “Hola” again and I see someone waving at me frantically. He runs over and before he gets started I stopped him from bombarding me with Spanish. He asks me if I am interested in taking part in any water sports. I tell him I’m not and looks puzzled.
“You came this far and you are just going to look at the water?”
Indeed sir, I’m just going to look at the water. Later on he stops by my chair just to chat. He convinces me to try snorkeling. I actually get excited and I am looking forward to it. He tells me that he has to do it after work so I should meet him out there at 5pm. When the time comes he walks by and says “let’s go” and starts walking before I can even get out my chair.
He’s changed from his work shorts and is wearing jeans and flip flops. He grabs some equipment and he tells me to put it in my purse. We start walking towards the less crowded side of the beach. He continue to walk and I am aware that he’s starting to take me off property. I ask him how far we are going and he tells me we need to get to a part where the water is more clear. I am hesitant as I am alone with a stranger. We continue to walk but I keep looking back to make sure we aren’t getting that far. I tell him that I am not interested in walking any further. He informs me that this isn’t the best place but if this is where I want to stop we can try it.
He hands me the mask and explains to me how it works. He takes off his pants and we get into the water. The water is warm and we are right on a reef. Although I had been in the water earlier I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not sure what it was but I start getting nervous. I begin to panic and he tries to calm be down. “Tranquila, tranquila,” he says. His efforts are futile and he helps me get out of the water. “You can’t snorkel unless you are relaxed. Let’s sit here for a moment and then let’s try again,” he tells me. He takes my towel and makes it into a cushion so I can sit on the rocks. I was embarrassed that I was freaking out.
“Yo creo que estoy lista pero no era la verdad,” I say nervously.
He laughs, “We will get in when you are actually ready. You just let me know.”
I giggle nervously for the next five minutes.
We sit and watch the water for a while. We start talking about where he’s from, how I learned Spanish, and our families. There are quite a few moments of silence that I welcome; something that I usually nervously fill immediately. At no point did I feel like I was talking too much or he wanted me to be quiet. The surroundings are comforting and I start to dig my toes into the damp sand. My companion notices this and begins to bury my feet in the sand. He takes care to make sure that every part of my feet are covered. I get nervous as I realize how sensual it is when he caresses my ankles to pack the sand around them. At that point I realize that I have forgotten his name. He tells me his name is Coco but I ask him for his real name. He takes his index finger and writes his name in the wet sand, C-A-R-L-O-S. Two hours pass with ease and I never get back in the water. I get hungry and we walk back. I thank him for the company. He suggests that tomorrow we go for a ride on the catamaran since that doesn’t involve swimming. I tell him I’ll think about it.
The next day I go out to the beach and I don’t even bring any books with me. I plan to just sit there all day and get some sun. “Hey Aicha, why are you in the sun? You are going to get too dark. You have the perfect Domincan color, not too light, not too dark,” Gabriel exclaims. I was taken a back at how openly people talked about skin color. This was the third time someone told me “don’t get too dark.” For some reason this day Gabriel didn’t have much to do and he seemed to be really comfortable around me. When he would walk by he would sneak up and pet my hair, sprinkle water on my feet or throw sand at me. A couple of times he just sat on the edge of my chair and made me speak with him in Spanish. During the afternoon I decide that I need to make sure I get an even tan and I start to lay on my stomach. I’m nearly asleep and then someone sits on me. It’s Gabriel, I start laughing and calling him names in Spanish. The German couple next to me is laughing too because he’s been telling them he’s fallen in love with me. I start playfully hitting him but then he stands up all of the sudden. I ask him what’s wrong.
“Coco is over there driving the banana boat and he just saw me sitting on you and started shaking his head.” he tells me.
“I bet he’s going to be mad at me,” he continues. I don’t really respond.
“Is Carlos your boyfriend? I saw you guys walking way over there yesterday.”
I looked stunned and said “No, he was teaching me how to snorkel.”
“Well he’s your boyfriend now.”
I was confused because I didn’t know what just happened. Gabriel leaves and I go back to sleep. I see Carlos and I ask when we are going to take a ride on the catamaran. “Later,” he says curtly. I start to get restless so I go take a swim in the ocean. The water is warm and I stay out there for a while. When I get out of the water I have to walk right in front of the water sports booth and all of the guys are sitting around doing nothing. I hear someone say “hey!’. I turn around and wave and I hear in unison “Hola Coco” accompanied by a thunderous laugh. At that point I am really annoyed. I was convinced that Gabriel was the mastermind of this incident. When I run into Carlos later I tell him what happened as best as I could in Spanish. “People just like to talk,” he tells me.
My last day comes around and I skip breakfast and I go directly to the beach. I get out there and walk around trying to soak my last moments on the beach. Gabriel of course is the first one out because what he loves more than me, is the beach.
“Estas aqui temprano ,” he says.
“It’s my last day out here. So I skipped breakfast since I’m leaving at noon,” I inform him.
“No! Ah, ¿porque te rompiendo mi corazón?” he asks.
“Of course I wouldn’t purposely break your heart.”
“Look she’s going to leave me here and I don’t know what to do,” he tells the Dutch couple.
They laugh hysterically.
“Well let me help you find another woman,” I tell him.
“There aren’t any other women. White women are ugly and I don’t like Dominican women,” he says with a straight face.
“What’s wrong with Dominican women,” I ask?
“I just don’t like them.”
I decide not to press him any further.
“Well, before I leave let take your picture.”
“Why? So you can tell all your friends ‘this is the crazy fucker who wouldn’t leave me alone on the beach’? ” he says in his best English.
We both begin to laugh hysterically.
He convinces me to go out with him on kayak. I agree since I really wanted to try something new. We go and get life jackets and I see Carlos. I try to engage him in conversation but it’s clear he doesn’t want to talk to me. I am confused with his demeanor and I realize he must be mad that I was hanging with Gabriel. I laugh to myself as I realize that after two days I have caused drama amongst co-workers. I’m known for this but it never happens this fast.
At this point I was glad this was my last day on the beach. I don’t think I could have taken the drama. I was on my do nothing vacation and I didn’t need anyone stopping me from relaxing. A couple more hours pass and I say my farewells. Gabriel was out on the boat and I didn’t get to say goodbye. I hugged Carlos and went on my way.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Based on the reviews at Tripadvisor.com, I knew that most of the resort staff would not speak English. This was simultaneously exciting and nerve racking. In 1998, I was nearly fluent in Spanish. After 3 years of high school Spanish and one semester of college Spanish, I could have a conversation in Spanish with almost anyone. Nearly ten years have passed and I have lost most of my command of the language. My career and my social life could benefit immensely from knowing Spanish.
Upon arrival, the first person I encounter is the bell hop. He says something I don’t understand. I assumed that he wanted me to leave my bag with him so I did. Another guy says something that I understand to mean that I should register then come back and tell them my room number. After leaving my bag with him I headed to the registration desk. I hesitated to talk in Spanish lest he think I could actually speak Spanish. I was able to check in using a mix of English and Spanish and I was on my way.
As I waited for the bellhop, I sat next to a very dark skinned brother who started speaking to me in Spanish. I gave him a sly smile and said “Solamente hablo un poco de Español.” He started asking me questions and I could only understand 30% of what he was saying. After that we were very quiet until he wanted to know the time. “Diez y diesicuatro,” I said. Then I realized fourteen was catorce and not the literal way I said it. I’m sure he now really believed that I wasn’t Dominican. The bellhop comes to pick me up and asks me for my room number. “Seiscientos y veinte ocho” I tell him. He starts to speak to me in Spanish but I inform him that I “entiendo mas que hablar”. “You aren’t Dominican? You don’t speak Spanish?” I'm sure it's also strange that I keep telling people in Spanish that I only speak a little Spanish or that I understand better than I can speak.
At that point I didn’t realize that I would be asked this every time I encountered a staff member. The bartender, the waiter named Amable (which I knew meant friendly), the hostess and the travel agent all thought I was Dominican. The resort does get a few local tourists on the weekend so I was starting to understand. I wasn’t expecting any Dominican tourists.
During my first day I met with Richard from Coco Tours to inquire about excursions. I knew I did not have time to explore but I wanted to know more about it for next time. He spoke English well and is very animated since he is a salesman. At lunch Richard sees me eating alone and joins me. We start making small talk in English. The waitress approaches me and asks me what I want to drink in Spanish. Richard interjects “en ingles” but before he could get it out I answered “Coke por favor.”
“You speak Spanish?” Richard asks in spanish.
“A little I learned it in High School.”
“Well then, solamente en espanol.”
For the next 30 mins I had to speak in Spanish. I was nervous but excited for the challenge. We talked about New England as Richard got a scholarship to go to Providence Community College. He studied mechanical engineering in undergrad but he is a travel agent because he loves to travel. He’s going to Brazil in September because Sao Paulo is so popular. He also loves baseball but informed me that Dominicans don’t like Alex Rodriquez because he denies his culture. We also talked about my fear of water sports and he encouraged me to try something out while I was there.
I was actually hoping that I would find time to have a full conversation in Spanish. I got my wish. I felt somewhat confident that I could even understand what he was saying. However, I was disappointed that I couldn’t speak better. At least my accent still sounds authentic. I’ve been meaning to take Spanish classes at the USDA graduate school and this ensured that this time I would actually do it.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I arrived at night to Punta Cana airport in the Dominican Republic. As I walked down the stairs of the plane I had to assume that the thatched roof structure in front of me was the airport terminal. It is an open-air airport so the weather is right there with you as large ceiling fans try and cool you down. I wasn’t sure how long I would spend in immigration and customs before I could get on my way. Surprisingly it took about 30 seconds to clear immigration, 5 minutes to get my bags and 3 minutes to find my driver.
After booking my trip I didn’t realize how far my resort was from Punta Cana. On the map it looked close but it was really 90 minutes away. There was another airport that was closer but flying there cost about the same price as my flight with transportation. However, I would have loved to save the time. I get into the van and we start on our journey. As we drive through the mostly two lane roads of the DR, it is quite dark and I cannot see much but the lush vegetation. However, I can smell everything and I am able to use my sense of smell to discover what I cannot see. I can identify sugar, trash, and cow dung. When I could see I rather close my eyes.
Dominicans are very aggressive drivers, which left my heart in my throat for most of the ride. It’s common place to pass drivers on the left on a two lane road. It often turns into a game of chicken as the driver tries his best to pass while another car is coming straight for us. Plenty of people walk uncomfortably close to the road and the cars don’t bother to move over. The main mode of transportation is the moped. When you are in a city you see women or two to three men on a single moped speeding along on the road. The cars get very close to the mopeds asserting that the road belongs to them. The mopeds ignore their flashing lights, honking horns, and the fact that the cars are less than an inch away from mowing them down. Driving is like ballroom dancing and I suppose they were driving Bachata, very close, very trusting but dance with the wrong person and it can be dangerous.
In the cities of Punta Cana and Higuey, I was able to see many local people before I got to my white washed tourist destination. I don’t think I saw a single person with skin lighter than me. It felt like I was at a family reunion and everyone could be my cousin. At 9pm on a Saturday you see packed churches, bars, and pool halls as evidenced by dozens of mopeds in front. It’s colorful, the flat roofed homes in every pastel imaginable. Merengue and Reggaeton continuously blare from the pool halls and clubs. Women with painted on jeans, halter tops and a fresh blowout or cornrows. This is the DR I want to eventually experience but not on this trip.
After 90 minutes we finally arrive at Canoa Coral my home for the next three days.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Go to your local library. When I got the idea that I was going to the Caribbean on a whim, even before this whole penny pinching idea, I needed to do some research. I went to tripadvisor.com and Frommers.com, two very reputable travel websites. I looked around but I really was getting sick of the web and I wanted to read a book.
That day I decided I needed to get a library card. I walked down the street from my office to the library in search of a Caribbean travel guide. To my delight they had at least a hundred or so travel guides about the Caribbean alone. I got high as I walked through the aisles imagining all the places I could go not for this trip but for the rest of my life. It really made me feel like I was missing out on this world since I haven't left the country as an adult.
The other things I have been meaning to learn are how to knit and make beaded jewelry. Yet another reason to buy a book right? I seriously lack hand eye coordination, as evidenced by my poor typing skills. Instead of buying books for a new hobby that I don't even know that I'll like, I decided to go to the library get some books and try it out. That's about $60 I would have willingly dropped at Borders or Barnes and Noble and the library is free.
I actually don't need to penny pinch. I make enough money to do what I need to do and then some. However, why not try it out so that I can do even more with what I already have? I have a tough time with discipline so this is more an experiment with delaying gratification than actually saving money. I want to be able to say eff it all and move to South Africa at a moments notice. There is so much freedom in that. That's what I'm striving. Let's Get Free!
Monday, July 23, 2007
I’m not very good at this whole penny pinching thing considering I’m going out of the country. One of my goals for the year was to leave the country twice. It didn't happen in the first six months and I didn't know if I would get anywhere the rest of the year. So the trip fufills half of that goal.
Yesterday I took it upon myself to try to save money at the grocery store. The first step was seeing what I already had; tuna, ground turkey, chicken breast, pasta and a can of clams. That translates into tuna salad, turkey tacos or burgers, chicken parmesan and linguine and clams. You all know I can cook but I am often lazy. This inspired me to “bust out” some of my tried and true meals. The second step was passing by Whole (Paycheck) Foods and going to Giant since many things are cheaper at the chain grocery store. For the most part I just bought what ever I needed to complete the meals I listed above. I wanted also to buy my favorite summer snack Jell-O. I see the six pack of Jell-O jiggling in my face and I grab it. Something told me to look at the price and that is something I rarely do. It cost $2.29 for six small cups of Jell-O. Sugar, gelatin and some water that’s all it is. So I took a gander down the desert aisle in search of a box of Jell-O. A box of Jell-O cost 80 cents. I was proud of myself for investigating and going with the deal. Now most of the time I am a fan for paying for convenience but, making Jell-O takes 3 minutes. I’m also saving the environment since I am not throwing away 20 Jell-O cups a month. Okay well I just thought of that added benefit right now.
Well that is $1.50 I saved is a one day tip for housekeeping at the resort. Also my coin jar was full so I cashed that in at the Coin Star. It was a good bit of money so it should cover my extra spending cash in the DR. The way it's looking I won't have to take any money out of my checking account for this trip. Well not until September that is.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I think this is XXXX, from John Burroughs? You probably don't remember me, but I remember you, and for all these years have wanted to apologize for being so mean in junior high. This is Liza XXXXX, whom you invited to your b-day party, which was one of the best birthday parties I had gone to in junior high. I believe this was seventh grade, when we were in Ms. Williams science class, and we watched with your cousin/little sister videos of some teenagers dancings (was it Kids Incorporated? "K-I-D-S!") and ate yummy bite sized sandwiches. I had the time of my life, because I felt so at peace, and a surge of excitement being with you upon the brink of our teen years.
So then I don't know really remember what happened after that. I think I developed an injection of that film "Mean Girls," and was mean/ cold to people. There is no excuse for that, and I wanted to say that I will never forget your warm heart and sense of humor, after what, 29-13 years...my math is fuzzy at 6am...It just suddenly occurred to me to write you when I was in the shower.
Gotta jam, but hopefully you are well, and this is the right Aisha, and I wish you all the best in the future and in the present. You deserve well.
I really can't believe that she remembered all these details about the bday party that only she showed up to. Even I had blocked that out of my mind. I haven't talked to her since 1993. Our favorite song used to be "Let's Chill" by Guy.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Just in the last post I said I was pinching pennies. However, I just convinced myself that I need to get my summer getway on. I have a week between jobs and I just didn't want to sit around the house. So I pulled out my trusty gold card and set off to find a vacation. I set a budget for flights and accomodations and a few other parameters. It should be near a beach but somewhere very relaxing so South Beach was out. The catch was that I wanted to leave on June 28th which was less than two weeks away.
All week I sat around searching on line sites and I couldn't really find anything that suited my need for short flights and relaxing environs. This morning I decided for one last try. Orbitz was having a sale on packages to the Dominican Republic. As I logged into the site they further reduced my package for being a "loyal customer". In addition it asked me if had a promotional code which I did not. So I googled to see if some nice person had posted a promotional code that applied to my package. Well they did and I had yet another discount.
So I will be spending 4 days and 3 nights in La Romana, Dominican Republic. I'm exicted to just get away from it all. (always plan to woo a sexy DR man with my Spanish)
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I got a new job! Hooray me! I realized over this past weekend that I am very emotionally attached to my current job. However, it just isn't the correct fit. I love my job and I don't mind going to work everyday. However, when I get yelled at from time to time, realized how bad the raises are, and that the benefits aren't as good as I believed, I feel less than satisfied. It's the tangibles that make me dislike it. It's the intagibles that make me love it. I like my coworkers and I will remain friends with at least two of them when I leave. I like the work that I do and I feel I have made a great contribution to the work. It's nice to work for an organization that has a great mission.
I've never quit a job before. It won't be a surprise to anyone because they all know that something is missing for me. The only thing that sucks is that one of my supervisors is on vacation. She's also the one most affected by my departure. We were in the beginning of planning a big project. There isn't much I could do about the timing since I got the offer the day she went on vacation.
I am getting a 20% pay increase and full benefits including tuition reimbursement. The only glitch is that I won't get my first paycheck until September 1st. I think I have enough money to make it but since I have been dipping into my savings a lot so there isn't much there. This is a test of will for me. I buy a lot of clothing and shoes and I buy expensive groceries. I go out to eat and drink with friends as well. So for the next 6 weeks I will have to spend significantly less money. I know I can do it but I know I have a hard time sticking to anything. In fact I already have my eyes on:
So it' s a six week fast from spending. I have to figure out how to get more out of life than being a consumer. I should be able to live 6 weeks without buying anything I don't need. However, I haven't proven that to myself in the past.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
ha ha ha......that was really funny
too bad my breasts aren't even real
they felt real
yeah you let me feel them before.
wait when? let you? I don't remember this.
a couple of years ago on my birthday.
really? dude i remember everything. please stop playing with me.
no I carressed them.
what was my reaction?
you didn't react.
i can't believe this.
i'm really serious. you should stop drinking so much.
actually i didn't drink that night. you were the drunk one.
maybe you imagined this because i would remember something like this.
let me do it again so you can remember this time.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
After being sick for a few days while on vacation, I made my return to work this morning. Last night I decided to pack my items for the gym so I could back into the swing of things. I woke up this morning at 6:30am which is exactly when my class started at the gym. I overslept, even slept through the alarm which is something I never do. Given that, I could get in another hour of sleep.
I was still coughing and hacking but decided to goto work anyway. To combat how I felt, I put on the best non wrinkled summer outfit I could find. I even put on earrings, lipgloss, and "Stunna Shades II".
I get there and I am already tired and disoriented. I tried to do some work but I couldn't. Also there was something looming over my head that I would like to get resolved fairly quickly. I went to take a sip of water only to realize that there was a giant piece of paper in my new water bottle and it took me 3 hours to notice. That's when I knew I was out of it.
I checked the bus schedule so I could time my departure perfectly. I walk out the door into the sweltering heat and the bus pulls right up. I sit on the seat and it starts. Loud noises from my stomach. It's going crazy and I'm not sure if i'm going to make the 10 minute ride home. I start to think "Will I be like the girl from flavor of love 2" ? I never saw that infamous episode but I know enough of the details to know that I have to make home. I do just that.
I made it home in time to relieve myself and just in time for the rain. This morning the weather man stated that there would be no rain today we would have to wait until tomorrow. I feel sorry for all those scantily clad women downtown who were caught off gaurd. It's rather nice to be laying in the bed in the rain.
p.s. this blog doesn't have adventures anymore so I need to work on a new name. any suggestions? I picked a new one for now but it doesn't fit either.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Today I went to the DC Caribbean Carnival. At some point a boy asked me to dance and I obliged. Then he continued to follow me and act as if I was his possession. I was having a difficult time keeping him away after a while. My friend noticed this and stuck up for me and tried to help me out of the situation. She yelled at him and asked him to leave me alone.
The whole Carnival was pretty lackluster until we went to a cookout near by. We met up with some male friends of mine I had not seen in a very long time. We had a lot of fun and met some fun people.
Afterwards my friend and I walked back to the home of one male friend. We get there and I realized how tired I was. He gets us some water and I just chill on the couch.
My friend wanted a tour of the house and goes upstairs with my male friend for that purpose. I just chill on the couch talking to my other male friend. She comes back downstairs after a while and sits on the couch again. I don't notice anything different about her demeanor. Then my male friend comes down later.
Another two friends show up and they chat for just a little too long. So my friend taps me and says she wants to go. I agree as I am getting tired. My male friend had previously said he would take us home. So I alerted him that we wanted to go.
We go outside and she says to me "something bad happened." I asked her what and she doesn't say. She says she is going to walk home. We were pretty far from home and her walking alone in the dark or the two of us walking didn't seem like a reasonable option. Besides I have no idea why she's brining up the walking option. So I said "well I'll just have him drop you off first." I was a little confused and it didn't occur to me to take an alternate form of transportation home since she was visibly hesitating on the idea of my friend taking her home. The whole thing caught me off guard. I was starting to sense there was a problem that I wasn't aware of. However, it doesn't occur to me how uncomfortable she may feel since I have no idea what is going on. I was just very confused.
We drive her home and she gets out of the car. I ask her to call me tomorrow. We drive a couple of blocks and my male friend says, "Your friend has an attitude." I asked him what happened and he doesn't answer because his boy was in the car. As a woman, I interpreted his statement to mean, "Fuck her for rejecting my advance."
That's when it clicks. Something did happen, between the two of them. Before they went upstairs everything is all buddy buddy. When it comes to the car ride home she doesn't want to go and he's saying she has an attitude. The last 5 hours everything is all good now she has an attitude? What did you do to make her react this way? I let you out of my sight and you may have acted like less than a gentleman towards my friend?
Something happened between them and I don't know what it is. I would never knowingly put a friend in danger or an uncomfortable situation. I also trusted the male friend to respect my friends. I'm not sure if he just tried to holla or if it was more than that. It had to be more than that now that I can look back at the situation. She let her guard down because she was supposed to be around a people I trust.
I left her a voicemail and asked her to call me. She didn't call back. I've known her for about 4 months and she was moving from being an acquaintance to a friend. I would never knowingly put her in harms way. Now I think I may have compromised a new friendship. She will never want to meet anyone I know again. Earlier in the day when I was in harms way she really helped me out. When she was in harms way I didn't do the same for her. I unknowingly forced her to stay in the situation even if it was only for 5 minutes more. For her perspective it might look like I ignored her feelings although it was more so that I didn't have enough information to make a proper decision.
As I write this I keep thinking about what I could have done differently. I really don't think I could have done anything since I wasn't there when the incident happened nor was I fully aware of the situation. I'm still not aware of what happened. However, I should have been more sensitive to her hesitation to be around my friend.
In general I am a lot more savvy when my girlfriends are in uncomfortable situations when we are around strangers. Since I was with someone I trusted I wasn't looking out for the same clues. There was nothing to indicate that I should.
I hope she calls me so that I can get the full story and take action.
As for my male friend I am trying to wait and hear her side of the story. However, she may never call me again. Even though I have known this guy for years I wouldn't just take his side. He apparently did something my friend didn't like and that needs to be taken care of. I'm not really interested in his side of the story or hanging out with him for quite sometime. He damaged my reputation and broke my trust and I don't appreciate that.
I'll feel all fucked up and will continue to until I can get this matter resolved. Obviously none of this is my fault but I still feel bad about it. It's hard enough to make friends as an adult without other niggas fucking it up for you.
I called her again and left an apology message stating that I was very sorry for whatever happened since I don't know any of the story. I think leaving an apology voicemail was wack but I felt I couldn't let 24hrs go bye without saying what I needed to say. That's all I can do for now and it keep moving on.
Cheer me up or give me a dose of reality in the comment.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
With the oppressive heat we've been experiencing in the metro area, who wants to eat a hot meal? We are fully into salad season. I'm excited and ready to embrace it.
However, my food snob radar has been going off lately. I have been really sensitive to people ordering ranch as their dressing of choice. I feel like there are many dressings that will make your lettuce stand to its feet. Especially as adults, we should expand our palettes so we can enjoy life that much more. So today I offer to you a recipe, Aisha's Chinese chicken salad.
1 chicken breast chopped (grilled or pan fried)
chinese cabbage chopped (tough stalks removed)
cilantro chopped (or other fresh herb)
1 Can mandarin oranges
combine the following in a bowl with a sealed top
Juice of 1 Lime
3 TBSP Sesame Oil (or olive oil)
1TBSP Chinese mustard (or Dijon)
Rice Vinegar (or white or champagne vinegar)
Shake Well. Pour on salad.
They say "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." In my next entry I will explain the salad dressing making basics so you can get creative.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Living in DC you pay more "state" taxes than almost every other state in the country. If I moved to VA or MD I could would effectively get a 3% pay raise. I pay more and get less. Eleanor Holmes Norton screams her heart out on the house floor all for naught.
If I'm not going to get all the benefits I am entitled to as a citizen of the United States let me make sure I get all I can for my 9%.
1. Swiming Lessons
They are free to district residents. I will be in the 2008 Olympics best believe.
I work 2 blocks from the main library and from Barnes and Noble. Well BN say goodbye to my money. I'm not paying sales tax to buy books anymore.
3. Street Festivals
If the city sponsors it I shall be there.
4. Department of Public Works
Potholes, Graffiti and Trash. They will get a call from me post haste.
5. I will research any all other free city services. It's my right.
If you know of any free things the city offers please let me know. Let's get all we can from this crummy government.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
****geez what did blogger do to my orignal posting...sorry for the previous madness.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
My senior year of high school I nearly failed English. My teacher wasn't very effective when it came to helping me with my technical difficulties. I have always been a master orator but writing is something I will always have to work on. I have great ideas but they don't translate well on paper. To make matters worse I was also a very slow reader, I ponder on every single word. I'm not sure where that orginated given that I started reading at 3 yrs old and spent my entire summers in the library.
This particular teacher, whose name I cannot currently recall, was very boring and didn't make AP English palatable in anyway. After I figured out I might not pass I just started sleeping in my car during her class and I would just do the assignments on my own.
Towards the end of the semester she assigned Richard Wright's "Native Sun" I read most of it but it is a pretty long novel and there just wasn't enough time to read it that week.
I had to write a paper on it and since I didn't finish reading it I just made it up. At the time I didn't know all that had befallen Bigger Thomas. If I had access to the internet I could have looked like a literary genius. The teacher was well aware that I didn't finish the book and gave me a D. I didn't care because she was easily the worst teacher I ever had.
Since then I have read almost all of Richard Wright's work, a literary genius. A few years ago I donated all my books by black authors to a high school here in DC. It was hard to give them up but I hoped that a student with an ineffective English teacher might pick up his work. Several times since then I have thought out repurchasing all of Mr. Wrights works. However, I opt for a contemporary work everytime.
In Oregon I found myself in a used bookstore as I was browsing I ran across a hardback copy of both Black Boy and Native Sun. I believe they were both original pressings. It felt good to have them both in my possession again. I'm thankful that I didn't let one person stop me from discovering great literature. I'm hopeful that some student in Anacostia high school will discover the same.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I didn't change the channel as I wanted to see if I could finally understand. I now know that she is actually a great songwriter if she writes those songs. Also her band did a great job of surrounding her with beats and melodies to sing a long to. The other highlight was Kameelah Williams ,formerly the lead singer of 702, was one of her backup singers. If I was Ms. Williams I would be extremely annoyed that I had to sing back up for this hack. Ms. Williams got a few solo moments and she really stole the show. Her vocals are impeccable and I would welcome hearing more from her.
Macy does have a few strengths. She knows where to find good talent. She is the manager for Sunshine Anderson who I hear is coming out with a new album this fall. I hope she will be helping Kameelah Williams go solo as well. Also she's a decent actress. I enjoyed her roles in Training Day and Lackawanna Blues. I would prefer that she stick to artist management and acting where she really excels. I tend to like things that no one else likes and Macy's music seems rather unlikeable. Usually I can find something beautiful if I look hard enough. Not so. However, many people really enjoy her music and if it moves them I can't take that away.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
It doesn't have a name, afro, naturally curly I guess.
Well you look Sidamo, girls from Sidamo wear their hair like that.
I never heard of it.
You've never been to Starbucks?
I don't go there often.
No. I just don't really drink coffee.
Well if you do go try Sidamo. Since you look Sidamo I am sure you will like it.
It is one of the hardest days of the year for me. I won't sit here and make yall sad. At the end of it all I use this day to remember that she was a survivor and I am thankful that I was given 22 extra years to have her in my life.
So call her, see her, love her, cherish her.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I had about three hours to kill before my flight so I attempted to do something cultural. They have a large Native American population and there is this tour of an underground city they built way back when. I got there at 3:30pm and the last tour had already left. Then I tried to walk over to their museum but it was closing in 30 mins and I wasn't giving up six dollars for 30 mins. So then I just drove around a bunch. I started to stop at the public library but I kept driving and found Walmart. I have never been so happy to see Walmart before. I thought for sure I could kill an hour just browsing. Despite being a Walmart supercenter, the women's clothing section was itty bitty. I then tried the book section but the selection of Sudoku books left a lot to be desired. I was getting kind of hungry but I knew there had to be a local place I could eat. I didn't want to eat at Chu Man Fu Chinese or Taco Bell. So drove around downtown some more when I spotted Main Street. This Main Street was just like you see in the movies. Small stores and what was probably a really thriving area before the advent of Walmart. I then spot Great Pacific Wine and Beer and decide to stop and get a bite to eat. It was a neat little cafe that served pizza, sandwiches and of course wine and beer. Being on the west coast you can get great avacado so I opted for a sandwich with avocado. You also had a choice to get mayo or a dijon yogurt sauce instead. I had never heard of that kind of sauce but anything has to be better than mayo and it was. The sandwhich was very good and they had an excellent wine selection. You could tell it was a place where the more affluent locals hung out. Probably the professors of the local college.
I drove a little further down main street and I discovered JCPenney. I couldn't believe they actually had a department store. Well not the way we think of it. It was super tiny but it was interesting that they actually had it. I was starting to think the only place to buy clothing was walmart.
I'm at the airport on my way to Medford Oregon. I opened my computer to do some work and to my astonishment they have free wireless internet. Yay Pendleton. It has allowed me to write this nice entry. I need to do this more often because I have lots of adventures but before I write one I'm on to the next. I'm going to try to pen something on the food I have eaten in the last two weeks.
Friday, May 04, 2007
"Well me, I'm not. I don't speak to them and I have no idea where they are"
Thanks to the internet specifically, Myspace, I have gotten back in touch with two people I dated over ten years ago. It all started with a high school friend sending me a message. This guy just happened to look extremely similar to the guy that I dated most of high school. That prompted me to look him up on myspace. I had completely lost his whereabouts and our high school has seemed to stop having reunions. Since he had a rather unique last name, I thought it would be easy to find him. Low and behold there he is. I now know that he is married to what appears to be, for the purposes of this tale, the other girl. It was kind of neat to see where he ended as I often wondered what happened. I probably wouldn't really like Wu-Tang or Outkast if he didn't introduce me to them. We started dating when I was 13 and broke up for the final time when I was 17. That's an enternity in high school years. There were no real hard feelings way back then. He doesn't know this but a lot of who I am today is a result of that relationship.
This whole interaction led me re-tally the score in one particular realm of life. As I have mention before in this blog, when my relationship ends the dude gets married within 6 months. Well I had no idea what happened to him therefore he was the only wildcard. He got married after me too. The girl he married was one of those uber nice girls so I had a feeling that he would get back together with her way back then. That was just an inkling I had in 1996. It was right but I didn't extrapolate that to marriage because who gets married to someone they met in highschool? Well he did! However I don't know the time frame in which they got married. It doesn't matter because I'm still counting this one in my record.
Now just yesterday I get a message from an ex that I had not thought about in a very long time. Actually he came up during thanksgiving because B also has a friend who tells people he played sports at the university of spoiled children. Total bullshit from both of them. Yhey never even applied to the university or any university for that matter. I spoke of him and then his memory left my mind. The message said "Let's see if you can figure out who this is. It is the person who gave you the nickname Ishari." It's been about 10 years since he blessed me with that nickname, a combination of my first and middle names. To this day a few people still call me that. It's a part of my email and my aim name. Despite having that name stuck to me forever, he rarely comes to mind. So we are doing the requiste small talk but I wonder what made him look me up. We broke up on very strange terms and barely spoke after that.
I thought he started the trend "leave Aisha and quickly marry" but apparently he was the second. Since we were neighbors, a guy who lived on his street told my sister that he was married. I was shocked and confused at the time. I've come to terms now with the scenario because it's so familiar now. I've had a bad habit of getting back together with my exes. So I've surmised that have to get married or the toxic relationship will come back to life. Sounds good right?
This whole thing has made me think about how much I've grown up. In some ways I'm the same but I'm so much wiser and i have a lot more integrity. There is a link to my blog on my myspace so they just might be lurkin. So if you are reading this, hi guys.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I booked the tour and it would be the last thing I would do before I left town. Earlier that morning as I was driving from my appointment I ran into some homes with significant damage. The closer I got to Lake Ponchatrain the more damage I observed. Street signs at odd angles from wind damage. The stores that were open had mylar banners indicating so; if you drove too quickly you would think they were out of business. There was a house that looked like no one had touched it in two years which was probably true. The mold covered the entire facade and the grass untouched. The windows were blown out so I pulled over and peaked in. The furniture was strewn all over and you could see the extensive water damage on everything in sight. It didn’t appear that the family who previously inhabited the dwelling had returned to retrieve anything. Actually, there was nothing to retrieve. An entire history lost to the storm surge and to the incompetence of our government for the last 30 years.
On every block there were several homes just like this one. The symbols from the rescuers still graffiti home after home. As I viewed the numerous symbols I tried to remember what it meant. The storm hit on 8-29 and every home was dated with somewhere between 9-14 and 9-24. Their homes weren’t checked for at least 15 days after the storm. Fortunately the number on the bottom on the X was always 0. Which means they did not find anybody dead in that particular home. They all escaped, fortunately.
The news has focused on the lower 9th ward, where there was total devastation and where many of the stranded poor black residents resided. I went through every part of town, rich, poor, large homes, small homes. Every one of them with a rescue squad symbol and a waterline. Each home featured a gray, brown or rust colored line that told the story. The waterline, the point where the flood water settled ranged from 2 feet to about 16 feet. This doesn’t include the 20 to 26 foot surge. Many one story homes had the rescue symbol on the roof indicating that when the home was checked the water was so high they probably checked it by boat. I passed by many two story homes with their first floors engulfed with quickly rising water.
Then there were the holes in the roofs, the attempts to save themselves from the rapidly rising water only to be me stuck in 100 degree without food, water, or a radio to find out what is going on. Even though the French Quarter survived how can you stay in a town with no electricity, no potable water, no police force?
Many people are back in town now. For every home you see untouched, you see at least one with a trailer in front. I even found a block where every home had a trailer in front. You also see numerous “Katrina Villages”, parking lots that have been turned into trailer parks. The trailers are very small, although we joke about them, they could at least give them a double wide. You also see the little red flags marking spaces where trailers are to come but haven’t arrived yet, two years later.
Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel. After passing by Fats Domino’s house we turned the corner to see two blocks of bright pastel rebuilt houses. These houses were a part of Musicians Village. Habitat for Humanity and Harry Connick Jr. started a project where they are building houses for displaced musicians. They get interest free loans and they must put 350 hours of sweat equity into the home. We rounded another corner and there was a family on the porch. They waved and clapped and they were happy to see the tourbus. Their house was in the middle of renovations but I saw three generations of New Orleanians enjoying a nice day in April. This was the end of the tour and I had slipped into a depression. Seeing those people happy with what they had brought tears to my eyes.
My camera battery died early during the tour so the links represent some of the areas where houses are still standing. In many places, whole neighborhoods have been lost. It was probably for the best because I stopped trying to get the best shot and just took it all in.
We rode around for 3 hours and I have no idea how many miles we covered but we covered many. The area impacted was much bigger than I could have ever imagined. I have heard many people talk about how the recovery is going slow. Now that I see that it’s much bigger than what we see on TV, I can’t see how they can go any faster. With so many people not returning, no insurance money for homeownwers to rebuild and no help for displacd renters I understand why it is the way it is. Almost every home in the city has some damage. New Orleans is much bigger than DC but if every home in DC was destroyed I can’t see it all being rebuilt that fast given that there isn’t any precedent for the situation. We didn't have a plan. Whatever plan they did come up with will not make everyone happy because there are always winners and losers. I want to go back soon. One to do more tourist things and volunteer. Everyone needs to see it for themselves because there is no way to understand the magnitude of what happened the day the leeves broke.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
For the next month, as well as last month, my travel schedule is crazy. Every other week I am out of town on work related business. There are several things I want to write about but I just can't find the time to do it. I'm writing this just to do although there are stories to tell and things ponder. I'll see you all next week.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
However, where it went astray for me is that have several close relationships with Asian people and I know that their communtiy is devasted as well. Now Asians don't secretly pray "it won't be them" because racist executives don't even portray them in the media, negatively or positively. I think many asian people will be embarassed because "we don't do that sort of thing." They are equally concerned about their image as are Black people. I can't tell you how so many of my Asian friends haven't lived their dreams because they are afraid of what the extended family will think of them. I know these aren't isolated incidents, Berkeley is like 55% Asian and my highschool was like 40% Asian.
While I get the point the person was trying to make and I thank him for making it, the behavior he was referencing is found
Thursday, April 12, 2007
A friend of a friend does restaurant reviews for dcist.com and I am so jealous. So right here, right now I'll stop being jealous and take a turn at it myself.
Last night after a marathon meeting for one of my community endeavors we ventured out to the U Street corridor for a cheap but satisfying meal. We eventually settled on Polly's Cafe. I haven't been to Polly's in about two years and I didn't remember being moved by anything other than the apple crisp.
Polly's is a very small restaurant in the basement of a brownstone and it doesn't seat very many people. When we arrived we were cramped at a table that was oddly placed in the middle of the floor where nearly everyone brushed me as they walked by. It was also very dark as I could barely read the menu. Myself and my companion settled on ordering the turkey burgers with a side of spicy coleslaw. In addition, I ordered a glass of sangria to help me wind down.
The sprite my friend ordered was more like seltzer water. My sangria was just okay but I wasn't expecting much from a place that probably more focused on beer. Our turkey burgers came and I was surprised by their size. The burgers were somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 pound with accompaniments so large I would think they were genetically modified. The burger itself was very well seasoned and not dry as turkey burgers tend to be. The spicy slaw was indeed spicy almost too spicy but it was a unique take on a dish that I usually don't care for.
I don't usually have favorites because it's hard for me to give that honor to anyone. However, I think Polly's has the best turkey burger in DC. The only downside is that Polly's is cash only and not too many people carry cash these days. It feels very much like a neighborhood place unlike many of the newer establishments that are in the area and prices aren't that bad either.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I've been on a businesstrip/vacation for the past week. Apparently I missed when Don Imus insulted the Rutgers women's basketball team. As I was waiting around in the Detroit airport, FoxNews informed me that he refered to the team as "nappy headed hoes." I was outraged at his comment and more than an apology was needed.
However, I feel conflicted. Recently Ludacris released the song "Runaway Love" and I everytime I hear it I think "I really wish he would go back to bitches and hoes." Don Imus didn't just pull the phrase out of his ass...he's heard it somewhere. Probably from Ludacris. I'm not blaming hip hop but... Don Imus is dead wrong but let's put it in context.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
So today was going great. I got my hair did. I went to lunch with my father and talked to my uncle for a few minutes. Then I went inside with my father to try to ask him some questions about his life since I am trying to write his biography. Well out of no where he wants to talk about his love life. So for 45 minutes he tells me about all the trials and tribulations of his life. He talks about the ladyfriend he really loves, the one who needs validation by meeting me and another one with issues. For 30 of the 45 minutes he was digging around for some piece of paper to show me. So after a while I asked him what he was looking for and he told me it was a letter he wrote her on valentine's day. I told him to stop looking for it . I sat on the couch and I damn near cried because I was incredicably uncomfortable with him telling me about his love life. There are boundaries that I need to maintain with him. You can't wait until I am 28 years old and all of the sudden you want to talk about relationship yours or mine. I didn't reallly talk to my mother about these things either. So at about minute 45 he switches gears and starts to tell him what love is. He does this by asking me questions about Brent. I pretendend they were rhetorical and didn't answer anything. At about minute 48 when I really thought I was going to start crying because I wanted him to stop. I just said, "you are belaboring" the point. Then I made an excuse and said I needed to leave.
I havent seen my dad in 6 months and I hated to end my day long visit on this note not knowing when I would see him again. For my sanity I needed to leave the situation. I think I'll call him right now and apologize for my abrupt departure.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
The plane ride from Baltimore to Oakland was long and horrid. I got a nonstop for convenience on southwest because every other flight had a connection. After today, I really think I might actually be a fan of the short layover. You get to stretch and get something to eat. Also if you have a 2 year old kicking your seat and smelling like shit, you get a chance to have at least half your flight go better.
I'm in my hotel in Oakland, CA waiting for my coworker to arrive. I wanted to leave and go to the Burrito Shop since I ate there at least once a week when I was going to school. I thought it wouldn't be wise decision since she would be arriving soon and we still need finish up a few loose ends before the morning. An hour later and she still hasn't arrived. I doubt I will get to satisfy my burrito craving so I am kinda upset. However, I found Top Dog. Top Dog is where I discovered the chicken apple sausage nearly a decade ago. At the time I didn't eat beef or pork so being apple to eat chicken sausages was great (yes i know the casing was pork). I got a Lemon Chicken today which was my second favorite sausage. They grill them just right and put them on this delicious bread. I haven't been back in Oakland for at least 5 years and I am kind of sad that I will only be here for 24 hrs.
I was on the plane trying to figure out what my favorite bay area restaurant was. I don't know if I have one since during college you can't really afford to eat well. I remember eating lots of burritos, crepes, Thai, pizza and "smart fries".
Operation Stunna Shades continues
I forgot to put my shades on when I left the plane which had disastrous consequences. I was approached by a 65 year man who wanted to chat. We talked about DC because his son went to Howard Law and worked on the hill. Innocent enough I thought. Then he started hitting on me. He had a cane and his eyes looked hella glossy like he just smoked a blunt or something. He was completely invading my space. However, none of this would have ever happened if I had of remembered to put my glasses on.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This week I have been trying an experiment. I bought some sunglasses that are more glamourous than I am. They aren't expensive but they have that star quality eventhough I purchased them in Rocky Mount, NC. They have been nicknamed my "Stunna Shades". Don't know what a stunna is...well think about David Blaine the stunt artist. Why does he do all those crazy things? Just to show off. So for this spring and summer i'm a Stunna and "i'm bout to show off".
I've been trying to reduce the number of people who feel it is okay to randomly talk to me. First I tried headphones but my hair is so big they never realize that I have headphones on. I don't like people thinking I really can't hear them because that's how people get attacked and purses stolen.
This week I started Operation "Stunna Shades". I'm testing the hypothesis that wearing these sunglasses makes me look unaproachable and less men will aproach me. It's Wednesday and the only thing that has happened is a hiss which was ignored because when you have Stunna Shades it means you can't hear it. Also the first day I didn't wear them in the metro but I noticed that other women do. So I started wearing them in the metro but it feels weird because it's kind of dark down there and they aren't needed to block the sun anymore. However, If I want to maximize the effect of Operation Stunna Shades I have to wear them whenever I am outside my home which includes the metro. Yesterday I even read my Metro free paper with the Stunna Shades on. However, the point of the Stunna Shades is make people think that you have lost all your senses as soon as the glasses go on. So I guess I can't read on the train or it negates the point of my operation. I'm going to continue to keep track of this especially as the big, bulky, winter clothing comes off.
Since Operation Stunna Shades is going so well I don't have a "How not holla." Sadly, something much worse happened today. I went to work pretty late today so there were plenty of seats on the metro. I rarely sit down because I only go two stops. I sat down today and a short porty man in his signature red and black TGIF friday uniform moves towards the pole near me. There were plenty of other places to stand or sit but he chose to stand right in front of me. I previously had been staring at the floor but when he got close I rose my head up to eye level. At eye level, I noticed that he was tenting, he had a hard on. At that moment I was secretly hoping that my Stunna Shades truly did turn off all my senses
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I wrote a couple of posts that disappeared into the blogger graveyard. I'm sure they were both funny, witty and fabulous but I have no idea what they were. Only thing I really remember is the "How not to holla" that happened to me two weeks ago. In summary I was told "I'm so happy to be able to stand next to you."
Now for the more current events! I am working with a group on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in DC. Today we held a discussion group about social factors that lead to HIV. There was this group of men from a community based organization there. A few of them were in my group and we had a lively discussion. One in particular J had the Gary Dourdan look. His arms were very muscular and they accented his tattoo just right. So after the formal discussion I asked them where they were from. They were all currently in a drug treatment program. *record scratch*.
I know this is pretty ignorant of me but I completely buy into the stereotype about drug users who have problems serious enough to warrant enrolling into a program. I'm basically reminded the drooling crack head who tried to kiss me 4 years ago. There were no outward signs that they were in drug treatment program and I would have never figured out they were former users if I hadn't asked. All the points they were making were on point and I learned a few things about drug and gun policy from them.
So after that knowledge I looked at J differently. I shouldn't have been looking that hard to be begin with. I started looking at his arms to see if there were track marks. I can get a little out of control with my stereotypes. As he was leaving he reminded me that his phone number was on his sign in sheet. I giggled to myself.
I needed the reminder about not judging a book by its cover as this is something I am really struggling with right now. I'm trying to make more authentic contact with people who aren't like me. I think I can learn a lot and get over some of the "isms" I hold.