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Happy 2009 -- Keep Your Head To The Sky

Happy New Year!

Well, 2008 is drawing to a close. What a year it was!

Barack Obama – who knew? A skinny kid with a funny name will become our 44th POTUS. I voted for him to be president of the Harvard Law Review. Who knew I would be voting for him for President of the United States? God is good, all the time!

On a sadder note, 2008 might be known as the Year the Laughter Died. We lost George Carlin and Bernie Mac. We also lost Isaac Hayes, too, even though he had stopped playing the role of “Chef” on Southpark a long time ago. Those Chef love songs used to make me so laugh so hard that I’d fall off my sofa.

We also lost all that was good and sexy from the 40’s and 50’s when we lost Eartha Kitt. My single girlfriends in Oakland would purr her famous line from “Boomerang” to our single guy friends just to mess with them: “Marrrrcuhhhhssss, I’m not wearing any pahhhhnnn—tieeees . . . .” And she’ll always be Catwoman to me, no apologies to Julie Newmar.

Although I wasn’t a Tim Russert acolyte…

Trusting My Instincts: No More Fire Turkeys

I'm more of a cookbook cook than a real cook. As the saying goes, "Good cooks never measure." I'm an okay cook. I measure.

But most recipes are, at best, a blueprint for your own creativity. And when that blueprint seems all "cattywhampus," as they say down South, I often fail to trust my instincts and just ignore the recipe.

For example, I'm always looking for a better turkey recipe. I didn't realize that there were many ways to make a turkey until my 30's. Then again, I never had to make a turkey until my 30's. I had been faithful to the Silver Palate Cookbook's recipe for roasting a turkey because it had delivered faithfully -- a succulent, if slightly bland, turkey. I then came to expect that no matter what you did to it, turkey was just plain bland.

Then I found an interesting recipe in Real Simple magazine for a turkey with molasses, butter, salt and pepper blended together and stuffed under the turkey's skin. What a cool idea! Th…

Wishing You A Cozy Christmas

There aren’t a lot of Wal-Mart commercials that tug at my heartstrings. This year, they got me.

You’ve probably seen the commercial with the three small kids sneaking out of bed in an attempt to catch Santa while their mom comments that she bought all of them new pajamas – for sleeping, that is.

Yeah, they got me.

When I was a kid, my mom would buy each of us six kids a robe, slippers, and pajamas for Christmas. As a small child, this gift was a predictable part of Christmas and not the most exciting. What five year-old gets excited about clothes for Christmas?

But as I got older, I came to appreciate the robe, slippers and pajamas because they represented coziness and warmth. Like a hug from my mom. As a older child, I would get ready for bed early just so I could put on my new nighttime togs and wiggle my toes in my new fuzzy slippers (hey, it was the 70’s – the slippers were always fuzzy). While I was in college, I would return to my drafty dorm room or apartment with my warm a…

Well, Hell, I've Got Some Shoes To Throw

An Iraqi journalist throws two shoes at the President as an insult, one of the highest insults in his culture. And the mainstream American press brands him "crazy."

The hell he is. If he's crazy, so am I.

First, what kind of punk-ass Secret Service do we have that anyone could get close enough to throw not one, but two shoes at the Leader of the Free World? I don't know who was on duty that day, but they need to be furloughed before the REAL President, Barack Obama, takes office. Those kinds of mistakes are not acceptable. Not at all.

However, if I had known that it was that easy to roll up on POTUS and show my discontent by throwing shoes, I, too, would have hurled some shoes. And I don't part with my shoes easily. But if it got the point across that this president, more than any in my recent 45 year-old memory, was a complete and total failure, then, yes, I would have hurled some shoes, too. For example:

* A pair of stack-heeled black pumps to the side of the head …

No Excuses: If You're a Woman, Buy A House

It represents a significant portion of my take-home pay, yet it’s a bill I couldn’t be happier to pay.

It’s my mortgage payment. My first.

I’m happy to pay it because I realize a lot of people can’t make their mortgage payments these days. I’m happy to pay it because it will relieve the tax burden BMNB and I face as DINKs. I’m happy to pay it because I love my house and my neighborhood.

If I had known I was going to love making a mortgage payment this much, I wouldn’t have waited until I was 45 years old to buy a house.

And so, this is my message to all the women who read my blog: Don’t wait until you are married to buy a house. And definitely don’t wait until you’re 45. Ideally, don’t wait past 30.

In the intervening years since I graduated law school, I’ve missed out on the wealth accumulation that appreciated home equity means. Even despite the last couple of wacky real estate market years, home ownership, although not a bullet-proof method of wealth acquisition, is a substantial one o…

What I'm Thankful For . . .

. . . An Obama presidency. If Sarah Palin had been elected Vice President, I think I would have . . . well, now I don’t have to.

. . . My blog, which is now over a year old. Happy Anniversary to me!

. . . My husband. He never ceases to amaze me. He is the most sanguine, chill person I know who doesn’t smoke weed.

. . . My friends. They suffer my failure to keep in touch and still keep me within their circles. They are the most non-judgmental people I know, although they will check me when I need it.

. . . My new home, the purchase of which has been one of numerous recent distractions keeping me from my blog. Now I’m trying to decide whether I want to work on getting all my younger nieces and nephews into homes of their own, because the wealth transfer that home ownership represents is too enormous for young parents to ignore. Plus, it’s so nice to be able to actually attach contact paper to the shelves, put holes in the wall, and plant whatever I damn well please without havin…

This Is It: VOTE

For any African Americans who haven’t voted yet, I have only these words from the song “This Is It” by Kenny Loggins. Mind you, they’re out of context – they deal with Loggins’ dad’s failure to fight a debilitating illness head-on – but they do apply in this context:

For once in your life, here's your miracle
Stand up and fight
This is it
Make no mistake where you are
This is it
You're going no further
This is it
Until it's over and done

Vote. As African Americans, we are accountable for today’s presidential outcome – not only to our ancestors, but to the generations to come.

Vote.

Girl, Put Your Records On (Do It For SWIE)

Girl, put your records on
Tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down . . . .

from Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On"

You don't need me to tell you that times are hard. The Dow fell over 700 points today. Folks are losing their jobs and their homes. Those who aren't are trying to make the same stagnant wages cover higher costs. It's tough all over.

Yet, it could be worse. It could always be worse. Ten years ago today I was experiencing one of the darkest days of my life: Making funeral arrangements for my mom, whom I refer to on this blog as SWIE (She Who Is Exalted). Mind you, my mother wasn't dead. But she was terminally ill with both cancer and Alzheimer's, and I was scheduled to return to my teaching duties in Mississippi. There wasn't much I could do for her but make funeral arrangements.

And even though this day ten years ago was one of my darkest, it doesn't color how I remember my mother. I don't remember her as …

Burn, M*****f*****, Burn

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire
We don’t need no water
Let the m***** f***** burn.
Burn, m*****f*****, burn.


Anyone who partied during the 70’s and 80’s remembers this old school chant, which would usually get started at the height of a really good party. Some DJ worth his or her salt would seamlessly mix a slower groove like “Genius of Love” along with “Funkin’ for Jamaica”, and “Word Up”, ending in a crescendo topped off by “Got To Give It Up, ” “Thighs High,” and “One Nation Under A Groove,” and somebody would start off:

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire . . .

You couldn’t have paid anyone to get off the dance floor at that point. We don’t need no water, let the m*****f***** burn. People of my generation often forgot the last part of the chant: Burn, m*****f*****, burn.

Well, quite frankly, the last part of the chant has been forgotten by the barons of Wall Street who are pimping Secretary Paulson and Fed Chair Bernanke for a bailout. Wall Street players like Goldman Sachs…

No Budget? No Taxes! No Problem! (Somebody's Gotta Feel This)

The California state budget stalement is allegedly coming to an end after more than 80 days, the longest the state has gone without a budget.

In the meantime, appointed officials and legislative staff have gone without pay. Retired annuitants, temporary employees, and student interns have been laid off from general fund agencies. Vendors have not been paid. Schools have not received funding. Health services programs that rely on state funding have suffered, as have the people who rely on those services.

To quote Kid Rock, "Somebody's Gotta Feel This."

So, here's my proposal to prevent this from happening again: A ballot measure enacting a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the state from collecting any taxes or fees without a budget. And I don't mean some stop-gap spending measure. I mean a budget, signed, sealed and delivered.

This measure would also prevent the state from collecting those taxes and fees retroactively, or from raising taxes and fees…

Memo to Obama Camp: Ask The Damn Question

So far, I haven't heard the Obama campaign ask The Damn Question.

You know the question: The one question politicians are afraid to ask when they're running because they're afraid it will be turned back on them when they're in office.

You know the question:

"Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?"

Or, in the case of this failed Bush administration, "Are you better off under W than you were under the Bill?"

Somehow, we've allowed the country to lose focus of what's at stake: Four more years of being on the wrong track.

The Bush administration has failed this country domestically, internationally, environmentally, you name it. And people forget that we're not just electing a president (or vice president, for that matter), we're also electing a party. The likelihood that McCain won't drag back into office more Republican ideologues? Not high. Not high at all. Idealogues who paint Democrats as tax-and-spend liberals and then…

The Council of Meat Bees

I don’t know whether Senator Obama or Senator McCain will be the next president, but I do know that what the next POTUS should have is a Council of Meat Bees.

What is a meat bee, you ask?

I found out a while back that I’m a meat bee. Or at least as persistent as one.

When I first started working for a state agency, I was in a meeting with a boss of mine who was meticulous to a fault, seemed to enjoy elevating form over substance, and was constantly correcting the work of others without regard to whether the corrections were needed. We were in a meeting, and in the meeting he glossed over something he had gotten wrong. In the spirit of tit-for-tat, I pointed it out.

“But you were wrong.”

My boss continued his schpiel as if he didn’t hear me. When there was a break, I said it again:

“But you were wrong.”

He eyed me dismissively and continued with his talk. When he ended, I turned to him, looked him directly in the eyes, and said, “Why do you have so much trouble admitting you were wrong?”

By th…

Palin Comparison

If the Republican Party had any pride or shame, it would simply take a powder and sit out this presidential election. It would be refreshing to hear the chair of the RNC say to the American public, “You know, the last eight years? Our bad. We’re gonna sit this next one out and get our act together.”

But NOOOOOOOOO. . . . . . they had to try to make their case for another four years, including a canned hack speech from that blowhard windbag Fred Thompson, topping it off with Gov. Sarah Palin, clearly a benchwarmer even among Republican women politicians (What? Sen. Liddy Dole was unavailable? Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson had better things to do than be second-in-command to the Leader of the Free World? Condi Rice had a memorial oil tanker to get back to? Sen. Olympia Snowe can’t stand your behind?)

Watching the Republicans attempt to make their case for another four years is like watching a pimp put pigtails on an old crackwhore and make the case for her virginity. Yeah, you hear t…

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

The Clintons redeemed themselves.

Hillary gave the speech of a lifetime and was the portrait of magnanimity by voicing her unequivocal, unconditional support for Barack Obama. By making the motion to nominate Senator Obama by acclaimation, she showed the nation's women how a real woman loses -- with grace, dignity, and pride.

President Bill Clinton, the DNC's prosecutor-in-chief, laid out, in no uncertain terms, the case against the Bush administration and the Republican party.

And Senator Obama reminded me why I am a Democrat and made me proud to be one once again. My love-hate relationship with the party is no secret. Today, I'm a born-again Democrat. Because I, too, believe we are a better nation than what we have been during the past eight years.

I had to work late last night, so I missed hearing Obama's acceptance speech live except for the last of it on NPR. So, snuggled up with a stack of reading from work and some Otter Pops (for the hot flashes), I watched the spe…

A Little 'Tang at the 'Stang

“You’re a phenomenal woman. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” These kind words from BMNB this morning as I was dragging my tail and my spirit to work meant the world to me. He could see that my heart was heavy and my eyes were sad. “Keep your head up,” he advised.

This morning we discussed our future. Or rather, he told me in no uncertain terms what he was willing to do to secure our future, financially and otherwise. To make joy a regular part of our lives, not an occasional treat. To put our little family first. In other words, he assured me that in no uncertain terms he had my back.

For all of that, I would have willingly allowed him the pleasure of a little “‘tang at the ‘stang.”

You see, BMNB just returned from three days on the road driving most of our worldly possessions from a storage space in Aurora, Colorado to Elk Grove. He was tired beyond measure when he called me from Winnemucca, Nevada.

“You know,” I started slyly, “you’re in Nevada, where prostitution is legal…

But How Many Did She Threaten To Kill?

Harriet Tubman remains a blazing star in the firmament of African American history. The “Moses” of African American slaves, the Conductor of the Underground Railroad, she lead many of our people to freedom. When her “passengers,” because of fear or other reasons, threatened to turn around and head back to slavery, she supposedly would pull out a gun and threaten, “You’ll live free or die a slave!” She never lost a single passenger, even when there was a $40,000 bounty on her head.

My question is, how many of her passengers did she threaten to kill?

I’m reminded of this because of an orientation speech given by the principal of PS 7 Middle School. In his speech, he talked about the character traits the school requires of its students, and one of them is “coachability” -- the willingness to take instruction and do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal. I would imagine that some of Harriet Tubman’s passengers may have ceased to be coachable when faced with swimming in snake-infeste…

Broke Cuisine

I recently heard from one subscriber to this blog – my sister, to be exact. She said she hadn’t read my views on John Edwards’ infidelity (pretty much a Democratic party male norm, to wit: Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Antonio Villaraigosa, Rev. Jesse Jackson (not only a philanderer but a spiritual counselor to philanderers)) or seen any comments by me on the passing of Isaac Hayes or Bernie Mac (both major losses to the African American creative community). What happened to Black Woman Blogging?

She’s now Black Woman Sleep Deprived. Now that I have a ‘tween living with me five days a week and going to PS 7, my days are planned around carpools, back-to-school night, checking homework and making lunches. My day starts at 5:00 am and ends at 10:30 or 11 pm. A big transition from my DINK (Double Income No Kids) lifestyle of less than a month ago.

In fact, when I embarked on this path, I became yet again in awe of my mom, SWIE, and the fact that she …

My Life's Just Fine

It's been a long week, I put in my hardest
Gonna live my life, feels good to get it right


Mary J. Blige, "Just Fine"

This was the first week of a huge educational experiment. My (great)nephew came to stay with me during the week for the purpose of going to PS 7. Since he has a cousin and a family friend who also go there, I drove carpool.

And BMNB has been out of town, chowing down on Southern food in South Carolina, calling me with restaurant dispatches while he's ordering ("I'm at XYZ restaurant ordering seafood gumbo, and one of my colleagues is ordering shrimp and grits . . . ")

So, for two and a half days this week, I was the equivalent of a single mom.

I had absolutely no appreciation of how difficult that is. I am in awe and I bow down to your organizational skills and sheer will, single moms.

First, I realized that if I don't get up on time, nobody gets up on time, except maybe the dog, and that's because she's hungry.

Second, I learned that…

I Miss Oakland. I Miss Me.

It hit me when I was pulling into the parking lot at Peet’s Coffee to treat myself after surviving carpooling with three very sullen teenagers facing their second day of school. XM Radio’s “Suite 62” started to play Tony! Toni! Tone!’s soulful hit, “It Never Rains In Southern California,” and it brought back a flood of memories.

Tony! Toni! Tone! was from Oakland.

Once upon a time, I was, too.

No, I wasn’t born in Oakland, but in a way I was. Fresh out of law school in 1990, I landed in – no, made a beeline for – Oakland to begin my life as a Mary Richards-esque independent, working, single woman. In Oakland I had my first apartment by myself, up the hill from the Grand Lake Theater; my first independent single woman car – a deep red 1982 Honda Prelude (that my sister gave me, so maybe I wasn’t all that independent); and my first real job, working for a top law firm making $65,000 a year – more money than my parents combined, more than I could handle well, and Lord knows I didn’t. In Oak…

Somewhere Over The Meno-Rainbow

It arrives like clockwork, around 2:00 am, with the speed of a bullet train. Next thing I know, I’m flying out of bed, tearing at my clothes like I’m on fire, because that’s what it damn sure feels like. When it ends, I’m drenched in a cold sweat, groggy, sitting on the toilet naked, and hoping I can return to sleep unmolested.

It appears I’ve bought a ticket on the bullet train to menostop.

I have no idea why they call it menopause – my “meno” ain’t “pausing.” “Pausing” implies that it’s going to resume at some point in the future. Nope, my “meno” is hitting the brakes. Hard. I guess this is my belated forty-fifth birthday present.

When it first started, I wanted to blame my husband, BMNB. He is his own nuclear energy plant. The man has an extremely high metabolism, and he kicks off a lot of heat when he sleeps. Could meet the electricity needs of a California prison, that BMNB. I just assumed it was because it was summer, I was sleeping too close to him, and I was heating up…

MySpace: The Skank Archives

I feel sorry for the MySpace generation. They live as if they’ll never have children. Or grandchildren for that matter.

My introduction to MySpace, which I refer to as “The Skank Archives,” came when I visited my sister-in-law’s home and saw my nephew and his friends huddled around his computer, staring at a MySpace page much the way our people probably huddled around a hearth telling stories in the 1800’s.

If the photo they were oogling had been a story, it would have been rated “R” for mature audiences.

Some young lady had posted a photo of herself in a bikini top that barely contained her “assets” and a bottom that pretty much showed off her bottom. She looked as if she were auditioning for a “Girls Gone Wild” video. The boys were smiling, snickering, and laughing. She was one of my nephew’s MySpace friends, or whatever you call them.

“Nephew, that girl’s a skank,” I told him in no uncertain terms. “No woman who respects herself puts that kind of photo on the Internet for the …

The Peace Perimeter

I made the mistake of asking. It was all my fault.

I asked one of my relatives how some of my other relatives were doing. What a can of worms I opened! Tales of self-centered, irresponsible, janky, triflin' adult behavior from folks old enough to know better flowed. I learned more than I needed to know.

I spent the rest of my afternoon in my backyard garden, too mortified and aghast to do anything else but seek refuge in compost and perennials. Why did I ask? People don't change overnight, if at all. Their patterns of poor choices persist until they decide to change or they die. They don't care who they affect with their lousy choices. Until they change, they're like an albatross on the spirit of those who, by family ties and by having made better life choices, are duty bound to watch out or care for them.

It came to me between the roses and the lantana. I had to create my own spiritual Green Zone. A Peace Perimeter, if you will.

From now on, I won't ask abo…

And the Croix de Estrogen Goes To . . .

Today is Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. Tomorrow is my dad’s 83rd. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison and ultimately received the Nobel Peace Price in 1993. My father served a 24 year sentence of his own, but the best I can do for him is to award him my own prize: the Croix de Estrogen.

You see, since my father married in 1952, he has never for an extended time lived without a woman. He lived with my mother until her death in 1998, except for a few brief, shall we say, “time outs.” However, my father spent 24 years living with five women – his four daughters and his wife. At one point, all of his daughters were of menstruating age and his wife was menopausal. That in itself was a special form of hell.

But my dad earned his sentence. I’ve heard stories of how he was quite the Lothario back in the day before he married my mom. If I recall the family lore correctly, he met my mom while he was hanging out in a parking lot, watching two women fight over him. He walked away with my mom…

I Tried To Make Me Go To Weight Watchers . . . .

"They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said 'no, no, no' . . . "

Amy Winehouse, "Rehab"

I am the Amy Winehouse of Weight Watchers. Like rehab for her, it just doesn’t stick for me as of late.

Let me first say that it’s not Weight Watchers’ fault. When I first did Weight Watchers, right before my wedding, and followed the program diligently, I lost seventeen pounds within three months. But for Weight Watchers, I wouldn’t have looked as good as I did on my wedding day. Well, but for Weight Watchers, a slammin’ makeup and hair artist, and good lighting.

Whenever I have stuck diligently with Weight Watchers for more than a month, I’ve always, always seen results. But since then, I just haven’t been able to make it stick. Or rather, stick with it. And just as Amy Winehouse probably blames the people in her life, her success, etc., I blame the things going on in my life – the moves, the job changes, family demands, finances, etc.

I also get resentful when …

Days of W(h)ine and Nuts

Not a good week for political surrogates, this past week.

Former Senator Phil Gramm thinks we’re a nation of whiners, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson wants to cut Senator Obama’s nuts off.

First things first: If I am indeed a whiner, then pass me a big hunk of cheese (preferably Brie) to go with this whine. Gas at $4.51 per gallon is not all in my head. Nor are rising food costs, even at reliable ol’ Winco. And don’t get me started on my tax bill and my feeling that professional, childless couples shouldn’t have to subsidize people who had more kids than they can afford via the current income tax system. I was totally down with Steve Forbes’ flat income tax proposal. If everyone knew from the get-go that they had to hand over 15% of their wages to the government, we’d all plan accordingly. And better.

Second, it was sad to hear yet another politician get caught on yet another “hot mike.” But Rev. Jesse Jackson on Fox News? Come on, now. When you’re a liberal on Fox News, every mike …

Can't We Just Kick This Old School?

“Can’t we just kick this old school?”

From the movie “Juno”

My niece tells me that my husband and I are the youngest “old school” people she knows.

We take that as a compliment.

My husband, BMNB, and I, think a lot alike. Blame it on our parents.

My husband’s parents are from Alabama, while my dad is from Arkansas and my mom was from Sacramento. When you have at least one southern parent, you’re bound to be “old school.”

What exactly does it mean to be “old school”?

It means telling a young but wayward man in your family that he needs to get a job and stop living off his mother.

It means that you make children in your family respond to you by saying, “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am.”

It means you don’t negotiate with children. You listen to them, you consider their points of view, but when it comes to the important things in their lives, like education, increased freedoms, etc., you are, in the words of President Bush, the “decider.”

It means you don’t brook sarcasm from children. Sarc…

A Girl's Gotta Have Her Own Money

I was speaking with one of my nieces about one of my great nieces who is happily ensconced in another state, living with her sweetie. My niece then told me that my great niece didn’t have a job.

Whatchu mean she ain’t got no job?”, I replied. Yes, I can go from zero to vernacular in a nanosecond.

My niece assured me that, yes, she didn’t have a job.

“Oh, but see, that’s not acceptable. She has GOT to get a job. A girl’s gotta have her own money . . . .” And on I blathered, espousing truths I deemed to be self-evident.

One of which is: A girl’s gotta have her own money.

The landscape is littered with formerly happy girlfriends, spouses and, yes, lesbian partners who were bounced out on their tushes by their sole wage-earner boyfriends, spouses and lesbian partners with nothing to cushion the landing but cellulite. It ain’t pretty, and it ain’t painless. A girl’s gotta have her own money.

My mother, who was financially tied to my father because of me and my five siblings, always drilled int…

Nothing Has Ever Felt Quite Like This

I am an enormously blessed person. I don’t say that to brag. I say that to glorify Him.

Today I learned that my great-nephew was admitted to PS 7 Middle School, a charter school that is part of the St. HOPE charter schools in Sacramento. This is an enormous opportunity. Huge! PS 7 is a feeder school for St. HOPE’s Sacramento High Charter School, which recently had 81% of its graduating class admitted to four-year colleges. How many public schools – inner city public schools, to boot – do you know of that can say the same?

PS 7 doesn’t have state-of-the-art digs, but it has state-of-the-art thinking: A longer school year, longer school days, individualized education programs so that students can work at their pace no matter how advanced, and inculcation that, from day one, students are not just preparing to graduate high school, but to graduate college. So much so that the signs outside each class’ door don’t read “Second Grade” or “Third Grade,” but Class of 2021” or “Class of 2…

It Ain't Summer Until . . .

It Ain’t Summer Until . . .

. . . .you’ve worn flip-flops

. . . . you’ve grilled something in your own backyard, especially for family and friends

. . . .your feet are as dark as your forearms

. . . you’ve had a homemade glass of sparkling limeade (Thanks, Martha Stewart! Recipe to follow . . . )

. . . you’ve spent time talking over the backyard fence to your neighbor about your respective backyard gardens

. . . .you’ve taken a child swimming

. . . . you’ve eaten a grilled burger that would put fast-food chain burgers to shame (Thanks, BMNB, and thanks to Memphis Minnie’s Rib Rub)

. . . . you’ve had to wait to walk your dog in the evening because it wouldn't cooling down

. . . . you’re looking for recipes for Southwest Corn and Black Bean salad (lost mine!)

. . . you’ve had Tiramisu ice cream at Baskin-Robbins

. . . you’ve made peace with your body and worn that swimsuit/tank top/summer dress anyway, perfection be damned.

Happy Summer, Y’all.

Martha Stewart’s Sparkling Limeade

1 cu…

Close The Door, Baby

Close the door, baby
And let me know you're mine
. . .

from "Close The Door" by Teddy Pendergrass

Those enticing words from 70’s singer Teddy Pendergrass were alluring to even those who had no hopes whatsoever of garnering the attention of the sexy crooner, including a middle-aged mother of six in the Sacramento suburbs (that would be my mom). But those words also have an application outside of the fantasies of middle-aged women from the 70's: They apply to situations where you have to let go of what once was and close the door on that which could be harmful to you.

For example, last week I ran into an old friend, a former friend to whom I haven’t spoken in more than ten years. Why we ceased being friends is still a mystery to me. All I know is that I wouldn’t go to Las Vegas with her after she broke up with her most recent beau (these break-ups were pretty common back then) because I had just started a new job, was assigned to a make-or-break-my-future case (or so …

Now I Know I'll Need Therapy: My Hair Stylist Retired

After nineteen years of relaxing, dying, conditioning, cutting, setting, and blow drying my hair in addition to dispensing tons of good ol' Mother wit and blunt truths, my hair stylist has decided to retire. To leave behind what I imagine are now exorbitant rents in the now-yuppified but formerly ghettofabulous area that was Hayes Valley in San Francisco where she has had her shop. To finally get off her feet and kick up her heels. To be with family.

Now I know I'm going to need a therapist.

Although I'm ecstatic for her -- her retirement reminds me that not every black woman has prepared for or has the means to retire -- I'm saddened to lose someone to whom I entrusted my joys, fears, man issues, and family issues. To lose someone who bluntly and necessarily told me when I was being stupid -- with men, with my money, with my family. Given that my mother's ability to do so waned with the early onset of her Alzheimer's, this blunt truth and Mother wit that only a …