Quarterlife Mocha Girl

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Man Recipe

I've gone through my morning ritual of reading my blogs. Not one, not two, but three of regs had something to do with relationships. I'm so sick of this ish! If I read one more email, blog, book, article about how to get, keep, maintain, sex, marry a man, I'll scream!!! Yes, I do this to myself--immersing myself in the internet and media. There's always a story on what to do to please a man: cook, play hard to get, be forthcoming, but not too much, have sex with him if you want, but don't do it too soon. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Geez, it's ridiculous! We've become afraid to be ourselves. We're so busy wondering if we're wifey material, the jump-off or the peice on the side. We haven't even taken the time to be ourselves. How do I know? Because I've done it. I am the QUEEN of playing hard to get, not calling, getting back at and "keeping it playa" (compliments of my Houstonian BFF). Where has it gotten me? Nowhere fast! While I'm seen as a mystery and guys do have this admiration for The Chase, the shit gets old. Hell, I'm tired of doing it.

Let's note that I'm not in (or anything related to) a relationship, so I'm on chill mode. But reflecting on past situations, I have played MAJOR games. How dumb. The most basic rules of men and women don't and probably won't ever change. I think I'm safe in saying that women even two decades ago were fairing a lot better than us now when there were less self help books and persons who profit off of our guilibility (is that a word?). I don't see literature for men on how to get a woman, etc. Go figure. Maybe it's true that it's a man's world (Damn you, James Brown, but rest in peace!).

The fact is that we will never think or act like men and vice versa. What we should do is use common sense. Unfortunately, it's hard to find when matters of the heart are concerned.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Miss The Boot!

Yep, I do! There was a time when I thought I'd never say that (circa 2004, when I was in grad school working a dead-in job).

So, if you have ever lived in Lousiana and went to Southern University, specifically, you might be subconsciously trained to get in a Louisiana state of mind around the following times:

-Bayou Classic
-Mardi Gras
-Essence Music Festival

Today is Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. How I took these things for granted while I was there! Being out of school or off of work for Mardi Gras break, being able to run to New Orleans, even for a quick minute to catch a parade or just to hit the streets. King Cake, Ms. Greta's crawfish etoufee. Daiquiri shops. Yummy!

Today, I am officially missing Louisiana. It's a part of me (literally-my daddy's from there). I am wishing I could be there among all of the people, just wanting to have a good time. Catching beads, hoping I get the big pearls!


In the meantime, I'm streaming radio stations in BR and N.O. to catch a little bit of that feeling.

Rebirth Brass Band - Keep That Body Shaking -

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pitch and Bat

The summer after my sophomore year in college, I interned at a metro newspaper in a nine-week program. The first four weeks, I was a writer's assistant, working on spreadsheets, collecting information for the obituary (deathly boring, no pun intended) and writing two and three-line copy for the weekend dining and gardening events sections.

The last five weeks, I was officially a reporter. I reported and wrote weekly stories that were featured in a special section of the paper. There were several other interns, but I started two weeks after a girl I'll call Tara. Tara was the first one to be at the beck and call of the city editor, Mr. Brown, also known as Jerome. He was stocky black guy with glasses that he wore on the tip of his nose. He was a man of few words. He gave you your assignment and you were off.

Sitting at my desk in the newsroom (still an assistant) I noticed Tara at Mr. Brown's desk. Whatever he was saying was not to Tara's liking. Before I knew it, she had run around the photo editor's desk, made a beeline for the hallway (the interns' refuge). She was in tears. She later told me at lunch that Mr. Brown was cut-throat with his edits. He even told her she might possibly be going into the wrong profession. How could that be? She'd gotten accepted into the program over hundreds others, right? She warned me that he was "terrible" and I should be afraid.

Within the next two weeks, I'd gotten my first assignment, a story about a postman who won some prestigious award for something (damn shame that I can't remember). I drove to the suburbs to meet him on his route. I rushed back to the newsroom to write the story. Within an hour, I was standing behind Mr. Brown at his desk as he pulled my story up. I didn't see a lot of edits at all. A few minor things. He actually liked it. I was in the clear and the next Wednesday, my story (complete with a pic of the postman) was there--in color. Wowww.

What's Tara's deal, I wondered. Ole' Romie Rome wasn't that bad.

Weeks later, another editor (who sat in for Mr. Brown during an illness) ripped my story in two. His writing style was the exact opposite of Mr. Brown's. When I was younger, I despised any criticism of me. Any. Even if it was constructive. But I learned to grow a tougher skin and actually listen to some people because hey, they might be on to something.

In the writing game there are standard rules. I don't know all of them now. Everyone's writing style is different, as are their ways of thinking. Because of that, I'm not afraid of the red pen--or the editor's notes in all caps. How will I get better?

I've been following Aliya S. King's blog since I found it two weeks ago. She has a great section called Pitch Me!. I did. Here's what she and other great editors/writers had to say:


Shout to you, Aliya and the Secret Society. And the anonymous editor.

Be Careful What You Ask For

So, I neglected to tell you that last week I cried in the car. Yes, this one of my favorite lines from Friday, but I mean it...literally. Why, you ask? Well, let's just say that what Uncle Sam wants, Uncle Sam gets. I'd just said that I was going to stop taking so many assignments from this magazine editor because I thouht it was sapping my creativity (LOL). I spoke too soon. I'm all for it now, as I need the moolah (not that I didn't before). I used to think she was just piling things on my plate because of lack of staff or just being plain pushy. (Me: "Does she want me to write the entire magazine?") Then I read Aliya's comment on her latest post:

When I was editing at The Source, I did call certain writers over and over for certain sections. But not because we were friends. It was because they were reliable, fast and gave me clean copy. It’s the grunt work: the news stories, the front of the book pieces that pay little, the heavily researched pieces, THOSE stories are not being saved for anyone’s friends. And those pieces are the pieces that help you become a go-to writer for the other stuff.

Maybe that's the deal? I hope so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Womp Womp Day

Today is a Womp Womp Day. Maybe it's the fact that I practiced for an annual Black History program which consisted of 2.5 hours of African dance and step, with little to no breaks in between. Maybe it's the fact that the weather here is crazy. Hot, then bone-chilling cold like yesterday. Maybe it's because I trekked through that cold and rain yesterday for a class of mentally-exhausting students. Whatever the case, today is...Womp Womp.

I have a few things to do, yet my body and my mind is tired. There's so much I should/could be thinking about. Right now, I'd rather just sit here. An idle mind is never good, so I decided...to write.

But, I need to read more. When can I find the time? For someone who wants so desperately to in a magazine, I sure do have a hard time buying one if I'm not already subscribed. A mag can hit you up for a good $4-$5. Just cheap.

I've just gotten word that I have tix to see Mary Mary perform at the Grizzlies game this Friday. I love them. I wish I could meet them so I can tell them, "Hey, I'm the one you talked to for that phone interview for Clutch." Like they care. Oh well. Off to try to actually DO something today.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Speaking of Love Day

I'm officially off of my soapbox (for now) about Black History Month. Let's focus on Love Day. This is not a male-bashing post. Nor is it a self-empowerment, independent woman post either. This year, I have no choice but to face Valentine's Day head-on. Last year, I was at All-Star about to be knocked off my game again on the 14th. I was more concerned with the weather and what I was going to wear to go out than I was Valentine's Day. This year, however, I'm here. On Saturday, I'll be working, practicing for a Black History production and maybe even doing some social work on the side. I am single and so far, no one's hinted at a date.

Nevertheless, I'm so good. I've planned to get a pedicure. Not because that's my way of pampering myself because I don't have a man to do it. Simply put, my feet are a fool. Straight flour-kicking all day, ya heard me? I'm sticking with that plan. Maybe grab a bottle of wine. I honestly don't have anything planned and despite guys' terrible attempts to inquire my plans with other guys, I'm going on as I would any other Saturday.

BUT, if someone wanted to show me their love or care, I would suggest the following:

A deep-dish pepperoni piza from Gino's East in Chicago (it has to be ordered and shipped)
A dulce de leche cheesecake with pralines from Cheesecake Bistro in New Orleans
A GREAT chilled bottle of Riesling
A concert featuring chill artists
A massage (at Massage Envy)

Funny how most of those have to do with food. Hey, the way to my heart is through my stomach. I hope that anyone reading this has a WONDERFUL holiday. If you're still out of ideas to try, whether you're single or booed up, use these tips...written by me!


Valentine's Day vs. Black History

Last week, my status on Facebook said something like this: "Southern_Lady thinks the man uses Valentine's Day to overshadow Black History Month." It got a lot of "interesting", "never thought about it that way" "So true!" and "You ain't never lied!"

I was serious when I wrote that. I also added that yes, I know V-Day has been in existence lonnnggg before BHM. I also know that LOVE is universal. It applies to all people, not just black folks. Maybe that's why I was drowned in a sea of pink and red when I walked into Wal-Mart the other day, but couldn't FIND anything pertaining to Black history besides the thousands of specially-published Obama magazines and posters (I'm all for this, of course!). But still.....

When I was a little girl, you always knew it was Black History Month. Granted, I attended an all-black elementary and junior high school (well, we were the majority there), there were always programs, posters, little unknown facts about us. Now, I gets nothing. Of course, my supervisors aren't going to quote Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey before they open or conclude the weekly staff meeting, but can I atleast get a showing of "Eyes on the Prize" on PBS?


As an adult, it's my responsiblity to educate myself. I can no longer depend on my teachers or the Black History Month Committte to tell me the inventions by Black folks, or the importance of HBCUs. It's up to me, especially if I have children. I attended a Kwanzaa event for teens in December and they barely knew the Black National Anthem. I couldn't believe it. By now, a lot of people are thinking that our work as a race is done. President Obama has taken us to the mountaintop, right? WRONG. As great of a feat as it is, it doesn't overshadow all of the other things we've achieved. Not by far.

I think that's the end of my vent.

Wait, read this comment from a reader and tell me how you feel. It's taken from this story: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/feb/08/debating-future-of-history/

'No some races do not have a month to celebrate their history but they got a better start to improve their lives.'

What BS...There are multitudes upon multitudes of immigrants who have come to America's shores seeking opportunity and gaining riches. They had no government help, no media lovefest over their 'victim' status, no one at all to help them.

Instead, they took fair advantage of the opportunities this country has historically offered to everyone who comes to its shores.
No it wasn't always easy or fair. Outsiders always have to fight harder to succeed. Just the same as if I went to another country and decided to live there and work there and build a business.
No one would give a rat's rear end who I was or where I came from.

But somehow blacks who have not had to go anywhere but home from the hospital seek special treatment because of 'history'.

They are not outsiders, not foreigners, not aliens from another planet and yet many blacks have been unable and unwillingly to assimiliate and become 'Americans'.

They refuse to take adavantage of free education, free healthcare, (available to othe very poor only) and the other amenities of life paid for by those who WORK. They see these as not stepping stones meant to provide help and relief until they can better their lives by working hard and taking adavantage of the American system that works very well for others, regardless of skin color or ethnic background. Instead, they view these helps as the foundation upon which they can live their lives. Always in need, dependant, victims, etc..

Black history month is an insult to the many people groups who never get honored and don't need honoring to achieve. I've had it with calling up Kroger's pharmacy and having to listen to some poor pitiful racist story about some black who merely worked hard for what they got. Others do this all day long and there's no pat on the back, much less a month dedicated to their group's achievements.

Proof blacks have arrived is that the most stupid, unqualified, unprepared, inexperienced presidential candidate in history was elected President all because of his skin color.
And he's well on the way to destroying the American way of life that gave him the very opportunity in the first place and will without a doubt go down as the worst President, the worst Black President in history.

It has truly been black history year. Enough is enough. Start your own country if you still aren't happy!

Monday, February 09, 2009

I Don't Usually Do This, But....

I wrote this awhile back. Who carries jealousy better?...

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be the pathway that leads you into a new space in time, hopefully with new things just around the corner. For some it is a time to reflect on the past 364 days and look ahead to the next 365. It is a chance to find crooked places and lay them straight.

Others take another approach though: Keep the party going because nothing needs to be changed.

Back in high school, as a lowly sophomore (our high schools were only 10th-12th grade then), I bonded with several seniors whom I took electives with. Looking back on it, there was no real difference between us sophomores, who were affectionately called “Slops” and them. Maybe a driver’s license, college recruiter or two, but that’s it. Honestly, we did the same things: mock our teachers, rush to finish homework before class started and complain about extensive project assignments.

One of the seniors I absolutely adored was a guy named Terrell who I took World Geography with. I never liked him in a romantic way. What I loved about him was he had the same silly sense of humor as I did (and still have). Our class time was spent cracking on our teacher and discussing my favorite subject: Martin (before Tisha Campbell left the show). We could always count on each other for laughs and answers to blank take-home quizzes.

By the end of the year, I was sad to see him and select few graduate and leave. I think I even signed his senior book even though I wasn’t a senior. The Christmas break during my freshman year in college, I ran into Terrell at a party. Like old times, we chatted each other up laughed until tears welled in our eyes. He’d dropped his meanie girlfriend he’d had since high school, but was in yet another relationship. We exchanged numbers to keep in touch. Cell phones weren’t the norm then, so of course, I lost the paper it was written on. Needless to say, we never kept contact and as they say, life goes on.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve of 2008, nearly ten years later. My bestie and I were doing it up for the holiday and her birthday at a party in Miami (a long way from home). Just after the clock struck 12, I felt someone staring at me. I turned, and lo and behold, who did I see? It was none other than my long-lost schoolmate, Terrell. It was as random as could be, so I’m sure the look on my face mirrored his. Shock.

He immediately walked over and gave me a hug. “Oh.My.God. It’s been like….forever since I’ve seen you,” he said.

“I know! Oh wow. I can’t believe it either,” I say. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, so I know I was beaming.

“I live here now. Are you here, too?”

“I’m living at home now, “I said. We were still in awe of the random meeting, clearly.

What college did you end up going to?” he asked.

It was hella noisy, so he leaned in to hear me. “So—“

Before I could finish my reply, I was cut off by a woman reaching through the small crowd of people standing next to us. She pushed through them, grabbed Terrell’s arm and pulled him away, causing him to stumble and almost spill his cocktail on my friend. The look on her face said one of two of things: “My man knows you, but I’m sorry, I don’t, so beat it!” or “Terrell, bring your ass on NOW!” Either way, it wasn’t flattering for any party involved. In fact, it was downright embarrassing.

I immediately thought of Martin’s joke about the “crazy-deranged” woman in his first stand-up movie, U So Crazy (my all-time favorite!). “Miss Thank You, Have a Nice Day, your job is to check coats…Check ‘em, bitch!”

Everything happened so fast, I didn’t even realize he was with a woman.I kind of just stood there in disbelief for a minute over the mini-fiasco. I’m non-confrontational, I wasn’t so sure of the dynamic or history of their relationship and refused keep the drama that she created going because of her immaturity, so I backed off. They immediately got into a heated argument. I couldn’t hear it, but I definitely saw hand gestures, rolling necks and eyes and intense looks. Terrell was not a happy camper. He never came back over to say goodbye or even apologize for his girl’s behavior. I can’t say I expected him to either. He was obviously used to her antics, and it just wasn’t worth it. As I remember, his girlfriend in high school held a tight rein, as well. I guess that’s what he likes, so I love it.

Later that night, Terrell walked into the second ballroom for drinks and he still had this melancholy look on his face. My initial attitude about the girlfriend’s “snatch-up” had gone from disgust to pity. How sorry I felt for Terrell and her. If that show was a result of her insecurity or mistrust in him, they both had a long road of ahead of them.

What a way to bring in the New Year. Keep the party going, I guess.

Editor's Note: I told an old mutual friend of ours (myself and Terrell) about the incident and she had all reason to believe that the girlfriend was suspicious of him because he was the "Infidelity King" in high school and college. Who knew??

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

3:45 Inspiration

I'm inspired all over again.

I read blogs. Like tons of them. It's possible that I come across atleast two new ones every week that are of note and value to me. Or maybe they're just plain entertaining. I lurk. Yep, sure do! Some bloggers don't like, but until you have make yours invitiation only, I'm lurking. I don't consider it that. I see it as seeing what your opinions and thoughts are.

Today, I found Aliya S. King's blog. It may not mean much to you, but as an aspiring writer, I think it's second nature to have a mental rolodex of great writers who have great stories in great magazines. Ms. King is one of those writers. I remember seeing her name on stories in all of the hot publications: Vibe, The Source, Upscale, etc.

There's nothing better than reading a regular blog from an established writer. She has great posts on her journey in journalism. Like this one. If this isn't inspiration to writers, I don't know what is.

Gotta keep on pushin'!