Updates coming soon. Meanwhile….
07 May 2013 2 Comments
30 Mar 2013 4 Comments
After eight months of working ten-hour plus shifts, six-day work weeks, attending mandatory 9:00 a.m. staff meetings on my only day off, the stress and demands of my job began to take a toll on my 28-year young body. The combination of the long hours, attending evening classes at a community college, mothering a pre-school age daughter, and maintaining my young marriage, one day, it all hit me like a ton of bricks.
Literally, I was meeting with an employee. Attempting to give her an annual performance evaluation. The day, like most, had been a busy one; customer complaints, billing account issues, and more.
I was celebrated by my staff, my peers, and my General Manager for maintaining composure during the most difficult times and known for pulling solutions out of my magic hat to solve bizarre problems. They never saw me sweat. I still believe every problem/challenge has a solution.
On this day, bricks lay on my chest. I remembered taking deep yoga like breaths, confident that the pressure on my chest would disappear and not return. Dana (not her real name), didn’t recognize my discomfort. She was most likely blinded by the anticipation of receiving her overdue evaluation.
I shifted in the chair—to the right— then to the left–but no relief. As strong as my tolerance was for pain, I sat silent… surprised and unable to maintain control through the pain. Tears trickled down my checks leaving shadow like stains through my bronze foundation. The moisture flows uncontrollably.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Pausing… “No. I’m in pain. The pain won’t go away…”
My doctor saw me the same day. Several tests later and a few days later, I find myself angrily sitting in the examining room with my doctor. My tests (Blood, EKG, and a few others returned negative). I’m a mess, but don’t realize it… but I was about to find out.
“Your body is responding to stress young lady. Your work schedule and daily routine is affecting your health. You need to change jobs!”
I sit quietly and listen. He goes on to say more.
At that moment I feel the verge of a nervous breakdown invading my soul. My body wants to shake, convulse, fall on the floor and cry and scream. I want to tell him to go straight to hell. “Change jobs!” I snap. “Easy for you to say, DOC….TOR!!! I’m trying to get my damn education, you’ve got yours!! Asshole!”
He tells me that I need to take some time off from work and writes me a doctor’s note, which places me on immediate medical leave.
“Is he F’n kidding! I run the front office of a hotel. August is peak season. You don’t take weeks off in August.” He tells me I don’t have a choice.
I return to work and looking for the GM/Owner. He’s nowhere to be found. I clear his desk and leave the note with a request for him to call me. He NEVER called me. His only concern was hotel revenue.
During the weeks that I stayed home, I felt battered, broken, and beyond repair. My body, my mind, and my spirit were frail. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was going to fall apart. I followed doc’s orders and rested.
During my medical leave, I applied for a Training Coordinator’s position at a casino (located right next door to the hotel where I worked). I interviewed and auditioned (in August); however, the position was offered to an in-house employee. I was given the standard, “We will keep your application on file, blah, blah, blah..”
Two weeks later I returned to work. In my mailbox was a nasty memo from my GM/Owner,
“Due to your absence, the hotel as lost X amount of dollars in revenue….” The rest is a blur!!
After careful discussion with hubby, the next day I took a leap in faith and resigned from my position. My GM wanted to know how I could afford to quit my job without another job and insisted I work the next two weeks straight without a day off. I refused and worked my normal six-day workweek.
We took a much-needed family vacation to Disney. After returning from Disney, I decided to take a holiday seasonal job selling cosmetics at Macy’s. I previously enjoyed selling cosmetics and thought I could have fun. Fun was the motivator NOT money.
Two days before Christmas, the store is jammed packed, wall-to-wall shoppers. A girl walks up to my counter:
Girl: Excuse me, aren’t you the lady who applied for the Trainer position back in August at Tropicana?
Me: Umm yeah, why?
Girl: Someone left the department and they are looking for your paperwork, but they can’t find it. Are you still interested in the job?
Me: Yes, I am. (I wanted to say hell yeah!)
Girl: She hands me a card, writes down a number, and tells me to call the Director.
On my break I call the Director. She tells me she’ll call me back. Later that day she calls,
“Merry Christmas, the job is yours!!!”
I started my new job on January 4, 1994! It was one of the BEST career moves in my life. The normal, 9-5 like hours, weekends and holiday off, were perfect for my family and school. Starting with my attitude, everything changed for the better. I could see the shine in the sun, every detail around me became clear. I know that I became a better mother, a better wife, and a better student. I was earning substantially less money, but I was happy; happier than I’d been in a long time.
This experience taught me that sometimes in life, the path before us is unclear. Visibility may not be at it’s best; however, if you are doing good, carefully think through situations, weigh the pros and cons, and your core instincts tell you to move forward, then by all means, do it… whatever “it” is!
“Sometimes your only available transportation is leap of faith.”
Don’t sit around and wait for an ideal situation or opportunity to come, you may end up waiting forever.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!
07 Mar 2013 4 Comments
The loud and invasive grinding sound of organic Arabica coffee beans begins at 4:40 a.m. Oh how I wish I could smell the coffee from the comfort of my bed; the aroma would make getting up more pleasant. Less than five minutes later, the dark bedroom is illuminated by the strobe like light flickering from the alarm on my iPhone. “Closer,” one of my favorite songs plays softly in the background. The soothing music is a stark contrast to the bright flickering light. A light that would be startling to the unexpected sleeper, but my sub-conscience reminds me, even while sleeping, that I will be awaken by the light. A visual that moves me to get out of bed.
I am pretty much a morning person, so rising before sunrise isn’t usually an issue for me. I admit though, it is easier to get up when it’’s warm outside and the sun-rays play peek-a-boo through the curtains and blinds. This morning started the same as any other. Except, after I sipped down a freshly brewed cup of coffee, showered, applied my make-up, and styled my naturally curly hair, did the phone ring.
I wondered who was calling so early. “Good Morning! This is the Atlantic City Public Schools, due to the inclement weather, we will be operating on a two (2) hour delayed schedule today….blah..blah…..” Everything else is muffled and fades into the background! Are you kidding? I’m dressed already! The call came in sometime around six, but it was too late. My curls are poppin and I don’t dare lie down and flatten them. So now what?
“Get over it girl!” I tell myself. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest entertained me for a little while, but then I started craving real food. And since the delay meant that instead of arriving at school by 7:40 a.m., I joyfully didn’t have to show up until 9:40 a.m. Sweet!
Instead of being consumed by something that I had no control over, I moved on. It is so simple, especially at the start of our day, to let some ridiculous incident dictate the attitude for the day and wine about it to anybody and everybody who will listen. Yup! Been there, done that.
I am thankful for the extra two hours this morning. After playing around and reading online for a few, I was overcome by an unusual craving for shrimp. That’s right, a shrimp craving at 6:30 in the morning. Noooooo! There’s no baby in this oven. That chapter is over.
I ran to my kitchen and cooked exactly what I wanted. Shrimp! I enjoyed the most delicious home cooked breakfast in a long time!
I lapped up the spicy sautéed garlic shrimp and a spinach omelet! I tried my darnest to savor the smell and to enjoy every bite of my breakfast, but I couldn’t resist. I had this delicious food on one of my favorite pretty blue dinner plates. I was supposed to sit at the counter enjoying breakfast like I was at a nice restaurant. Instead, I ended up with the plate in my hand, off the counter, and up to my mouth sucking up the remaining garlic slithering around in olive oil and crushed red pepper. As my son would say, “Mom, you’re going to the chair of shame!” Lol! I am happy for the delayed start; it made my day even better than planned. In addition to eating an awesome breakfast, I also cooked my son and hubby an omelet and even made time to stop at the supermarket to complete my “after work” errands before I even started work. Nice!
I hope that you enjoyed your day today and that you will have an ever better day tomorrow!
24 Feb 2013 Leave a Comment
For me, going to the hair salon on a Sunday is a privilege. Other than a morning or afternoon jog, my calendar stays clear and I consider the day to be my day of rest.
That said, today was the second time that I took my son to the salon (KinHairitage) for his loc maintenance on a Sunday. His last appointment was at 10 a.m. and he was super unhappy about having to get up early on “his” day to sleep late. The nerve of him! Like he works a job or somethin’. These kids are a trip. I really do understand the wish to sleep late, but come on, he’s got a good behind life… He can nap anytime he’s home. Lol! Anyway, today’s appointment was at 2 p.m. – he was cool with the pm appointment.
Three months have passed since his baby locs were started and his hair is progressing nicely. What am I most surprised at? He remembers to wear his stocking cap at night. Even on the weekends when he goes to bed later, he still remembers to cover his hair at 12 midnight. Thank goodness!! Although Tailor still tells me that he loves his hair, his actions corroborate his declaration, which pleases this mom BIG time.
Here are a few photos. Oh, one last thought— already I’ve had an interesting chat with someone whose child is growing locs. She pays substantially less for his maintenance than I (and wanted me to know) and feels good about her choice. However, he “doesn’t get his hair washed. You’re not supposed to wash the hair when locing !” Sigh!! Already the debating has begun, but I’m cool with it.
I won’t judge her and feel as confident about my choice for my son’s maintenance routine. Washing of the hair is a natural process to maintaining any healthy style. If it is dirty and it smells, that cannot be healthy. I’m just sayin’. I will only say that, conjectures and myths exist in every cultural, race, and religion. The key is always to educate oneself on whatever it is you choose to get involved in.
Check out my baby, he’s so handsome!
16 Feb 2013 4 Comments
Today is Saturday and my day off. Rarely do I cook on Saturdays, but for some reason this afternoon, I felt like putting my apron on and stepping into the kitchen. What’s taken ahold of me? Oh my! I have no idea!
I did my standard grocery shopping, with only one new item on the list. Before the groceries were put away, I already started prepping one dish. I ended up cooking a hodge-podge of whatever came to mind. Maybe I cooked because of the extra day off and I don’t want to cook on Sunday and Monday too. I can’t say for sure, all I know is that my family was thrilled that both ovens were working on a Saturday and they were not ordering from a take out menu. Here is what I cooked…
Have a fabulous weekend!
14 Feb 2013 9 Comments
A few days have passed since I returned from Las Vegas, Nevada. I still catch myself laughing ridiculously aloud in public places (work, supermarket, gas station, etc…). Hilarious images and comments keep popping in my head. Could it possibly be a crime to have so much fun? If so, convict me. Lol!!
Fourteen of us boarded a plane to celebrate hubby’s 50th birthday, Vegas style. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” Yup, I remember the credo, but I have to say that all work and no play makes for a dull life.
Rather than the typical surprise birthday bash at home, I spiced up his birthday with a few close friends. An outrageous and funky limo ride with 14 friends to dinner and a “surprise” birthday dinner in a private room at the Stratosphere did the trick. Great food, drinks, and laughter was in order. Hubby said, “Momma treated me like a king!” I love it! Lol!
Anyway, no matter how busy you are, you have to make time to unwind. The daily grind of work, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of the family can take its toll on the most positive soul, so short getaways can rejuvenate the spirit.
Child care for this trip was tricky. Our son stayed in three different homes, including ours, but he was safe and he had fun. Knowing that he was okay, relaxed our minds so that we could thoroughly enjoy ourself. We left him guilt free; in June we traveled with him to Cancun, Mexico and in August we took a family Disney Cruise vacation. He’s done more traveling in ten years than I did when I twice his age.
He asked why he wasn’t joining us on the trip. I explained the trip was for adults with no activities for kids. On the real, if you’ve been to Vegas, you know that the activities are for adults who are kids at heart.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures. Enjoy!
05 Jan 2013 4 Comments
I am amazed by my daughter’s bone chilling talent! Since Shaina could put a pencil to paper (around age 6), she doodled and sketched. Sketch pads were, and still are, great gifts for her. We could never convince her to take an art class (until senior year in high school) and she was too advanced for the class. Content in her bedroom she continued to perfect her hobby. Drawing takes her to a peaceful and euphoric place, we can all relate to a place that we retreat to for stillness in our lives. Today as a young 20 somethin’ she continues to practice her “hobby.” This morning she shared this stunning piece with me and hubby. Her post on a social network page reads,
“It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a pencil and a drawing pad. I decided to do some portraits this week…” She missed drawing! Amazing!!
I just had to share this amazing piece she calls a “hobby.” Lol! Enjoy!
01 Jan 2013 Leave a Comment
“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”
There was a time when I was obliged to compile an annual NYRL (New Year’s Resolution List). Much of the list was self-indulging and included one tangible item after another, dreamy vacations, and much-needed behavior and attitude changes that never included a realistic plan of action. Pretty much the same list reappeared annually.
Over the years, sudden deaths, tragedies, and other life altering events have ended the insignificant ritual for me.
Instead my focus now resides on what really matters.
- Family: The mere fact that I have healthy relationships with my extended family is a blessing. The core foundation of the family structure is shattered in many family units. Massive amounts of future generations will not experience the benefit of knowing family history or simply bonding with family.My 79 year-old mother is alive and well. My children are alive and healthy. I have a wonderful husband who generously loves, respects, and provides for our family. My big brother is a survivor of what most would succumb to; he has an awesome sense of humor and a kind heart. My inspiring big sister who fearlessly hikes solo all around the world. Seven of my aunts and uncles (age 70 and older) continue to thrive and bring joy and laughter to my life; we continue to share holiday dinners. My relationship with many of my cousins resemble that of loving siblings.
- Health and well-being: Today I have good health for which I am thankful. I wake up every morning because of God’s generosity with the ability to squint at the bright ray of sunlight that beams through my bedroom window. The gift of health grants me a capacity for independence. Bathing, walking, exercising, playing with my children, driving, and feeding myself are simple tasks that are often taken for granted. My focus is to continue to keep up a healthy lifestyle and to share this knowledge with others.
- A home: Not just a home, but also a safe, warm, loving quarter that I can retreat to each day. No worries about where my next meal will come from or memories and fear of bullets smoldering holes in my walls. Just a quiet peaceful place where I can recharge and nurture my family. A home that remains in tact after several devastating storms ripped through our state. Other families are not so lucky.
- A Career: While the unemployment rate has slowly declined, many are still unable to provide for their family. I am thankful for a meaningful and rewarding career that empowers me to help others who are in need. Is my job perfect? No, but no job is. As with everything in life, it is the attitude that we bring to the table that determines the outcome.
As I write this post, I am sitting with my family by the fireplace enjoying the blazing heat. Echoing crackling and popping noises rip loudly from the fireplace and drowns out the voice of Giselle in the movie, Enchantment. We anticipate the countdown to 2013. These moments are special. There is no guarantee that we will live to see December 31, 2013. Faith says that we will, but the reality is that we don’t know this for sure.
A part of me is still saddened by the recent and senseless murders of those babies in Connecticut. The tragedy is yet another wake up call to live a purposely filled life.
Eliminating and minimizing the trivial, meaningless and shallow aspects of our lives is a huge step to opening the door to living a peaceful, spiritual, and consequential life.
In 2013, make a choice to disengage from the senseless drama and negative energy from family, friends, or colleagues. Walk away from it and re-direct your energy to give a warm smile to a sad face, buy a cup of coffee to the person in line behind you at WaWa or an open ear to someone desperately needing to talk.
While I have a few personal and professional goals, overall my purpose for the New Year is to simplify my life and to be a better person; to give more, to love more, and to be a little kinder and patient, especially when the situation dictates other.
My wish for you all is that your New Year is safe, peaceful, healthy, prosperous, and BLESSED!
26 Dec 2012 Leave a Comment
Santa surprised me with these gorgeous Barbie’s for Christmas!
A few weeks ago I saw these lovelies online and shared the beautiful images with hubby. Like magic, the dolls appeared under the Christmas tree.
As a little brown girl born in the 60’s, I seldom saw black dolls lining the shelves of Jamesway, Bradlees, or other retail stores. I loved dolls and was blessed with a generous collection.
The dolls on my Christmas wish list emerged from viewing TV commercials that aired during Saturday morning cartoons.
My mother was the pip-line to my aunt Miriam, who made sure that Santa brought me dolls that looked like me. “Merm” as we called her (some still do) lived and worked in New York. She sacrificed her lunch breaks to scour the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan to find the “black” version of the latest dolls for me.
My hot new Barbie’s roused pleasant childhood memories of my aunt’s kindness and generosity.
Thirty years later, my new doll’s hair really is similar to my hair, which is cool. I think it’s great that some toy manufacturers’ finally recognize the diversity in the consumer market. But I also know that more change is necessary because even in the 21st Century, pricing disparities exist between black and white dolls and certain toys are still only readily available in certain regions, states, and/ or cities.
The current natural hair revolution is phenomenal! Nearly anywhere you go, you can spot a beautiful and natural curly girl strolling casually and confidently. I love it! The motives of why so many women from different cultures are wearing their God-given natural curls are plentiful.
All that matters is that women have the choice to sport their natural curls and the loving and supporting natural community that helps with the transition and for this I am thankful! Happy holidays!
16 Dec 2012 5 Comments
“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me…or leave me. Accept me – or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mind. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.”
Over one year ago and while proudly sporting a two-inch Mohawk, my son proclaims, “Mom, I want my hair like Malakai’s!” We had not seen Malakai for a few months. Malakai is a former classmate – same grade. His friend has the most adorable plush locs that I have seen on a kid in a long time. His locs are maintained by Victoria at KinHairitage Salon and Spa.
I am surprised that during the middle of football season he was thinking about a new hairstyle. Tailor’s request was a shocking because I never encouraged him to wear locs or any hairstyle. The Mohawk was his idea but is typically partaken as camaraderie among football players of all ages. To prepare for locs, at the end of the 2011 football season, his Mohawk was shaved. During the ride home, I glance at him in the rear view mirror.
“Tailor, what’s wrong? You look like you want to cry.” “I’m sad mom because I had to cut my hair.”
I reminded him that to achieve locs, his hair needed to be cut even. He understood but was still sad to see it go.
The big day came on Satirday, November 17, 2012. We were both excited. Finally after a year of mishaps of so-called “trims” at the Barber, my son’s hair grew long enough to begin the process. Yay!!!
From across the shop, I hear his jubilant voice, “this feels good!” I cannot resist a peek, so I quietly sneak over to the shampoo bowl. This is what I see!
His smile says it all! Enjoyment and delight! There is no doubt in my mind that he was grateful for the experience and look forward to indulging in luxurious shampoos in the future. While Victoria twisted his hair, he sat content chatting with her.
I watched in amazement. Why amazed? Because at his age, many children are trapped by the idea of looking like everyone else and trying to fit in. My son has chosen a hairstyle, which is different from all other classmates. He is comfortable and confident with the choice. His choice pleases me a great deal.
How long will he wear his locs? I don’t know. He can wear the locs for as long as he chooses. The choice is his. Speaking of choice… I’ve been asked,
“You’re letting him wear those?!” “Those!” Hmm… “ABSOLUTELY!”
I grew up without the benefit of making choices for myself. As a child and as a teen,
I was told what to wear, what and when to eat, and darn nearly, what to think!
The same person, who tried to “think” for me as a kid, still frowns upon and attacks my personal likes for tattoos, piercings, and other nontraditional accessories. Lol! Frankly, the thought makes me laugh and want to behave like a rebellious child and get more tats and holes! Lol! I refuse to impede my child’s ability to make sound, reasonable, and responsible choices.
Nearly 24 year of parenting has taught me to pick and choose my battles carefully. The phrase is a cliche but it is the crux to surviving the teen years. You get to a point, when you ask yourself, how important is the situation? Is it life threatening? Is it life altering? It most cases the scenario is not and is not worth the stress and aggravation. A friend says, “I’m not trippin on the dumb sh**!” She’s right.
In the weeks that have passed since his first styling, my son has shown a genuine interest in maintaining his hair. Before bedtime, sometimes I get, “Mom, can you fix this twist, it’s coming loose.” Lol!! I love it!
Victoria at KinHairtage Salon and Spa styled Tailor’s hair wonderfully.
Shop owner, Victoria, specializes in loc maintenance and does an incredible job with all lengths and hair textures. Two and half years ago, I started my natural hair journey with ShidaNatural at KinHairitage. More recently, Vicki jazzed up my hair with color and highlights. I don’t know if I will ever return to my natural dingy brown colored hair. Heeey!
Using WordPress’s new photo gallery feature, I am working on a post to show my 2 1/2 year hair journey.
I must admit, I am excited at the thought of my son’s hair thickening and lengthening He is so cute with his new style! Yesterday was his second salon visit. He was shampooed, conditioned and retwisted. He told me that the visit was “relaxing.” Lol!
For now, the locs are a cool and a fun hairstyle for Tailor. Later they may become something greater with more depth and meaning to him. It is imperative though, that he can confidently and accurately articulate his knowledge and understanding of the cultural and historical aspects of locs. Too often I see young people proudly donning cultural, religious, and other styles but lack the historical knowledge base to understand the meaning or possible ramifications of their chosen style. We will learn about the history and traditions of locs together.
I am also certain that in the future, if not already, he will be questioned about his hair and will receive ignorant stereotypical and negative comments. As with anything else, we will talk about specific situations as they arise. Some of the family matriarchs’, including my mother, are absolutely revolted by the site of locs.
“Eeew! How can you wear that mess?!?” “It looks terrible!” Are a few comments made to a family member who is six months into his journey. The comments are absurd and offensive!
It’s a personal choice people; get over it!!
I told my mom in advance about her grandson’s new style. I told her to speak positively or say nothing. Mom did not like my command but it was necessary. My son WILL receive encouraging and loving support from our family. Anything other is unacceptable.
So far Tailor’s journey has been positive and encouraging. His classmates, teachers, and family have shown him much love. He is confident, has a positive self-image, and is upbeat about his new look. We are truly blessed and I thankful.