Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tag - I'm It!

Great Way to Get Me Going....Joy just told me it was time to post. Thanks Toni! :)

The rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

What is the What
by Dave Eggers

"We're all Dinka, but their customs vary. Many clans scar themselves when they reach manhood. You've probably heard of this."

I haven't been on in waaaay too long.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Mary J. Blige had an epiphany in "Enough Crying"...

"The sex was good ya had my mind. And I let ya come back everytime, you would violate and cross the line, and you knew that I would be the type to always wait so patiently , thinkin you was comin home to me, well, damn I never heard the key or felt your tap saying 'are you sleep?'. I've done enough cryin', cryin' cryin'. It's time to say BYE-BYE-BYE!"

Jennifer Lopez also had an epiphany in "Enough" the movie, and between running from city to city, desperately strategizing and taking self-defense lessons, she managed to "put down" the man who bruised her face and her heart repeatedly.

So what does it take before we say enough? Enough of the heartache, disrespect, unfulfilled needs/wants, when is enough, enough?

For me, like many women, (Dana McGreavy/Silda Spitzer??) it was with public humiliation and scandel.

I personally have decided that, THAT is TOO damn much!

I watched as Silda (and Dana) stood by her "man" with a sort of surreal, catatonic look on her face and thought "Why the hell do we go soooo long and put up with soooo much?!"

I think there are many answers to that question. I certainly am NOT the expert considering I needed a train to hit me before I said "enough!" However, I think we must closely examine and question what we are teaching our daughters through example, the media, innuendo that might cause them to feel that a man behaving badly is a good man for them.

Someone said to me, after learning that my now ex-mate probably needs to "live in Utah" given his "commitment" choices that women are wired differently from men. True. But does being wired differently mean that our standards for respect, love and treatment from others are lower? I think not.

I know that women are biologically made to endure intense pain for hours (otherwise mankind would be extinct) but does that mean we must endure endless emotional pain as well? (Physical abuse is a no brainer for most of us....but why is the line between physical and emotional abuse so nebulous?)

We tolerate the public humiliation, misogyny and exploitation of women in pornography, music videos and rap lyrics, Hollywood's glorification of Polygamy in "The Bachelor, Flavor of Love and Big Love" and the endless images/ideas that teach us that we get and keep men through our looks, game playing and how much we can do for them." AND to let that asinine Dr. Laura tell it, "it's OUR fault if our men do "whatever the hell they want"?! This is EXACTLY the message that I DON"T want my daughters to learn.

Hopefully the ENOUGH comes when women realize that no matter how many times a gourmet dinner is on the table when he walks in the door, or how many times he is met by his mate wearing only stilettos and a sequined thong, it doesn't matter if he/she is a cheater, liar or perpetual adolescent. He is STILL going to do what the hell he wants to do.

What we learn in the end is that all of it is a big "non-reality" show. If our daughters are learning to shove aside their true thoughts, feelings, ambitions and desires so they can be with a man, she is living a "non-reality". This is the behavior that enables a man to ignore/abuse her, go on prostitute sprees, have a secret gay life or multiple families. "Thanks honey for being soooo understanding while I do what I want when I want without regard for your feelings. I love you." Yeah right!

Dr. Laura is right I guess. It IS our fault when our men behave badly. The FIRST time we feel disrespected, hurt, ignored or mistreated we should say "ENOUGH", "Strike One", "Have you lost your DAMN mind?!" , or something that will get his attention and let him know that certain behavior will NOT be tolerated.

I was able to do a Mary J. "Enough". Get your stuff, get out, I am taking my life and self-respect back fool!. But trust, I know that many women have been pushed to a J-Lo kind of "Enough". I don't condone it, but I understand!

Know when enough is enough.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Double X Apparently Means Double Standard

I know this is not a new thought, idea, conjecture, but what the hell is up with the double standard in, what is this, 2008?

Women have been working full time forever! I am talking about ALL the working we do. Not just out of the home for someone else, but in the home as well, and I KNOW first hand that stay at home mom's work harder than ANYBODY that gets to leave the house from 9-5.

So why is it, that those human beings with an X and a Y chromosome must constantly remind us that they "have been at work all day". They need to WIND down. "I just need to have some peace and quiet for ONE hour."

"EXCUSE me?!" I worked all day TOO! Maybe I got up at 5 a.m., fixed breakfast (while you slept), made lunches (while you took a shower), woke up all the kids( while you watched the news) and then took a 3 minute shower, put on wrinkled pants and got out the door with NO time to spare, dropping kids off here, there and everywhere while you are looking and smelling like a rose and rolling up to the office leisurely. But somehow, you are working harder than me!

Maybe I got to go to work with grown-ups and meet other peoples deadlines, time-crunches and demands, or maybe I did the same thing, just at home with babies, toddlers and other short people.

And at 5 o'clock p.m. I am having Deja Vu. This time however, I am cooking dinner (while you watch the news) helping kids with homework (while you watch the game) and giving babies baths (while you snore in the chair).

Now, being that we are intelligent, compassionate beings, we say things like, "Honey, do you think you could run the bath water for the kids, while I finish up the dishes?" Ha-Ha!

"I just want to finish watching the last quarter of the game! You know I've been working all day!"

I am not begrudging him the game, I just DON'T want him to begrudge me my long luxurious bath at the end of the day. Why is his game non-negotiable, but my bath is?

Why do they insist that what we do all day, is less tiring, less stressful than what they do? And this entitles them to more play time?

Or what about the Daddy Baby-Sitter? The daddy babysitter is the guy that you have to "ASK" ahead of time if he is available to watch HIS OWN kids while you...DO ANYTHING!

"I have to go to the grocery store..."

"Yeah, okay. How long will you be?"

How LONG will I be? What is that? It's not like I said I was going to the club with my girlfriends! I said I was going to the very exciting GROCERY STORE.

"Oh, I don't know? I get a little carried away, thumping the Honeydew melons sometimes!" PUH-LEEZE!

But when we DO try to go to a movie, out to lunch, or participate in any other entertaining activity, we get,

"Uh, sorry, I'm going to a Laker Game!"

Huh? ! Why is it that if I am doing something outside of the house, I have to ASK ahead of time, like a teenager. However, HE just goes. Knowing that the mother, woman, primary care-giver, will be home ( or arrange for an acceptable caregiver to be there?)

I get it, but I just don't GET IT. Reasonably intelligent men, become complete (insert your best word here) when it comes to what they believe their home, parental and relationship responsibilities are. They have a freedom, a laissez faire that I don't understand. You know things like going out to a meeting and three hours later they call and say "oh, i got into a pick-up game at the park." How the hell did you get from a business meeting to the park?! All while I was home doing laundry, chasing a 4 year old and sweeping the floor.

Of course there is the one where you're trying to reach them via electronic device and you may or may not get an answer. But if YOU don't pick up on the second ring or text back instantaneously, they send out the National Guard. We are supposed to be readily available, at all times. They will "get back to you when they can"

This just touches the surface of the double-standards that seem to be socially acceptable or just "accepted". I am not begrudging men their freedom and right to rest and relax, just please don't begrudge me the same!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No Child Left Behind...Yeah Right?!

So, after I make my grand resolutions, I didn't open up my blog page for 20 days!
However, I have been paying particular attention to my son who is in 8th grade and going to high school next year.

I unfortunately would not send him to a public school in Los Angeles unless I could personally go in and handpick each one of his teachers, every year until he graduates. Being a teacher myself, I know that would be a nightmare to everyone including me. So, my son and I have spent the last couple of weeks filling out applications, writing essays and setting up interviews for private schools.

He is a 13 year old boy and so he asks very erudite questions regarding his next educational institution. "Do they have a great basketball team and cute girls there?" This of course helps the process immensely.

It is a very difficult thing to be a teacher, who began a career in public schools and not feel remotely confident in sending my children to public school. I know first hand of the lack of QUALIFIED, caring teachers. But more so of the bureaucratic bull-shit that keeps the status quo. It is the fact that overwhelmingly, African American and Latino children are being under-served (if the majority of them are doing poorly on standardized tests, something is wrong (DUH!), a disproportionate number of African American boys end up in special education and ignored because teachers do not understand, or care to learn how to teach in a way that makes as many children successful as possible, but also that teachers(new and veteran) do not get the support that they need because of politics, egos, and administrators who have had their integrity (balls) confiscated by the "body snatchers". Or... maybe, they just forgot that our job is to TEACH children, not "make sure that I park my Porsche Cayenne away from any possible 'ding' situations!"

Don't get me wrong. I am not begrudging hard-working people their lifestyles. However, I am a little upset that my options for a quality education for my children are so narrow.

So my son and I are writing, reading and setting up appointments for some very wonderful, prestigious, and EXPENSIVE private, college prep school here in the Los Angeles area. My son of course is brilliant, and this is an important step towards his future, so I am being very diligent in this quest. But I can't help but think of my other students and the millions of students around the country, who are also brilliant but because of their color, or circumstance are not guaranteed a quality education.

We are really talking about our futures here. Mine, yours, our children's. This is a Martin Luther King holiday weekend. My step-daughter is marching in a parade in his honor. But I must acknowledge that we are still sooooo far from his dream and the dream of thousands of others who fought for the rights of every child to have an opportunity to a quality education and a purposeful, successful life.

I am fortunate. I will be able to send my child to a wonderful school that will match his needs and aspirations. Not easily, and not without sacrifice, but I can do it. But what about the millions of mother's, fathers' and children who cannot? What becomes of them. They are brilliant, they are talented, and maybe.... they are stuck?!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Although I have poo-pooed New Year's Resolutions vehemently in the past, this year has been a year of change. Change is difficult, but usually best. So, in the spirit of change and growth, and in the spirit of being it goes.


1. Be more patient. Impatience is usually a struggle against something which you have no control over what so ever. It takes you out of the the "moment" and usually snowballs into frustration which snowballs into irritability, which usually makes everyones life miserable.
2. Be less judgmental. Judgements also seem to come from a place of needing or wanting control. Judgement seems to be misplaced control. It is true that if I am judging someone else (good/bad, right/wrong) I am usually worrying about what I am doing that is good/bad, right/wrong. My opinions on someone else's behavior probably won't make any difference in their choices or behavior anyway. My judgments usually only get my own panties in a bunch, and I certainly don't like the feeling of bunched up draws!
3. Accept things that I cannot change. There is peace in just dealing with what is real and right now, peacefully and without placing a value on it. Things are the way they are for a reason. Usually we are where we are because there is something that we need to learn. This doesn't mean that we don't aspire for more, that we don't want change for the better. But it's important not to spend too much time, thinking, worrying about, fussin' about, the way things are. There is grace in acceptance.
4. Listen better. I talk a lot. My friends and loved ones have wonderful things that they want to share, get advice on without being interrupted, or hearing MY version.
5. Honor my body and health because as I near 44 (5 days away) it is becoming clear to me that this is the only body I am going to get and I better make it last. I am far from an exercise zealot, but I am fairly active. I live to eat, but do most things in moderation. ( I haven't worked out chocolate in moderation yet. But I try to keep it to dark chocolate, you know the Anti-Oxidant kind! LOL) But, I can no longer squat all the way to the floor( you know bend at the knees to see eye to eye with my two year olds), AND I have to hold reading material farther and farther away from my face to get it in focus. If you haven't hit 40 yet, you probably have NO idea what I am talking about, but keep living and you will.
6. Take myself out (or let someone else take me out) at least once a month to do something that I looove to do. Other's know how to love you by the way you love yourself!
7. Watch a movie from beginning to end once a week. I pay for "500"movie channels every month, but have not seen an entire movie from beginning to end, in one sitting all year long. That is ridiculous!

And because of a few amazing women that I have come into contact with, (because my life started falling apart and I decided to blog) I have been inspired to...

8. Spend more time observing and listening to the wonders of my children like Lisa at Loony Bin.
9. Frequently post witty, insightful blogs like Liz at Los Angelista.
10. View the world with thoughtful curiosity and compassion like Mes Deux Cents.
11. Be able to read ( a whole lot more) and make thoughtful commentary on what I read like Toni, at Sew Transformed.
12. Read the news and other information, important or trivial everyday like Joy at Sweeter the Juice.

13. Not beat myself up if I don't do all or any of the above.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Healing Power of Soul Train

The Soooooooooouuuuuuuul Train. Do you remember that wonderful baritone voice? Don Cornelius on a Saturday morning introducing the great likes of The "The Isley Brothers" , "The Emotions", Rufus featuring Chaka Khan"? Who was your favorite?

I am up in the middle of the night. As usual. Working on "getting a life".

But "Soul Train" is on and it is giving me some sort of familiar comfort.. Big 'ol afros, plaid Fred Astaires, leisure suits and platform shoes! I love it.

A Soul Train Line is sometimes all it takes to de-stress, relax, have a great laugh, and be in the moment. This or any other throw back can be great medicine. Not in a "perpetual state of reminiscing" way but in a "keep the good moments for when you need them" way.

The Isley Brothers are doing it for me right now. "Live! Live it Up!, Live! LIve it Up!"

Soul Train........!. Rewind is good for the soul!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Is It All Just Too Much?!

I cleared a pathway through my living room and dining room 5 times today. This was after I discarded of all the tissue paper and gift bags, torn wrapping paper and bows that had made their way under the couch.

My son lamented "Mom, there is not enough room in the trash cans. I gave him a lesson on how to be a human trash compacter in order to get more stuff into the big cans and what to pull out for the big blue recycling can. His cries continued, "Moommmmm! There's still no more room!"

"How could that be?!" I said to myself as I pushed a scooter out of the way, picked up play money and a cash register from the middle of the floor and dropped 1, 2, 3, FOUR Dora dolls into the toy chest. I squeezed my way past the HUGE Dora tent staked in the dining room, kicked past several empty boxes and random pieces of wrapping paper in the kitchen and out the back door.

He was right. No more room. No more room in 2 huge black cans + 1 big blue recycling can.

I think it's just too much.

Despite our vows to NOT make gifts the "reason for the season", somewhere we failed. Our house runneth over. In addition, we made the "hoarders" mistake of not getting rid of the old toys prior to bringing in the truckload of new ones.

Something must be done. In the immediate, since I am chicken, I will wait until the little ones are at daycare, and then I will snatch up all the old, un-played with toys and take them to a women's/children's shelter.

For the future, I will do my "self-discipline, don't get caught up in the cute toddler faces" push-ups to help me resist, (better yet help their father resist) buying everything in sight because he wants to see their dimples when they are grinning at him.

If it's more than can be put away. It's too much. If each gift opened leads to questions of "where's another one?" It's too much.
If you can't fit all of the trash in your trash cans. IT"S TOO MUCH!

Remember the reason for the season.