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Lessons Learned

This week is my birthday Mardi Gras!  No big party this year, but I am doing something fun everyday in honor of my “born day”.  I’ve also decided to use this week’s blog to highlight the most important lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime!

1.    Laughter is the best medicine!  I’ve learned to laugh at myself…often.  I don’t take myself too seriously, and laughing is the best way to keep from crying.

2.    Into each life a little rain will fall! Last year felt a bit like a monsoon, but I survived which is a good thing.  If I never felt the rain, I wouldn’t be able to properly appreciate the sunny days.

3.    Friendship is essential to the soul! I learned that lesson in college, but it still holds true today!

4.    Respect must be demanded and earned!  I have learned people will walk all over you if you let them.  I’ve also learned that people don’t get a pass simply because they ask for one.

5.    Make every minute count!  Time is the one thing we waste that can never be recouped.  I treasure time with friends and loved ones, and do what I can to  make the most of every day.

6.    Good things may come to those who wait…but they are only the scraps left behind by those that hustle!  Translation: I gotta get my hustle on!

7.    Seasons change, and so do people. Everyone isn’t meant to be in your life forever.

8.    Coincidence is a word used by people that lack faith.  I’ve learned everything happens for a reason.

9.    You get what you pay for.  Be it customer service or quality of merchandise, it will always come down to how much you pay for it.  The cashiers in Walmart don’t hold a candle to the “sales associates” in Saks, and the food in Applebees can’t touch the food at The Palm!

10.    People will get on your LAST NERVE…if you let them!  I’ve learned to hang up the phone, delete the emails, and walk away from the nonsense.  No reason to let the foolishness and bi-polar antics of other people get my pressure up!

There is one other lesson that I’ve learned that is even more important than everything else I mentioned.  GOD IS GOOD!!!!  His Grace and Mercy has sustained me, and I know I am blessed to be celebrating my 35th year!  Peace and love to all.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Friendship, Life | 3 Comments

The Revolution

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  The revolution will not be televised….it will be on FACEBOOK!!!!  If you have not joined the Facebook Matrix, what are you waiting for?  Last night I watched President Obama deliver his State of the Union address.  As I listened to my President intently…I was “Facebooking”.  My Facebook friends and me commented on the speech and how we thought President Obama did.  We talked about how good First Lady Michelle looked, and how we are looking forward to the changes President Obama spoke of.

All totaled my Facebook experience yesterday was great.  It was fun to participate in the commentary with various people around the country about President Obama (cause y’all know I’m a die hard Obama Mama), but even more than that I got my scanner rocking yesterday and I started uploaded pictures from high school. *gasps*

To all the Facebookers out there, you know one of the highlights of Facebook is the pictures.  Even though I cringe every time I get the notification that someone tagged me in a photo, I too did a little uploading and tagging yesterday.  I pulled out the ICHS album, and commenced to strolling down memory lane.  As I looked at the old pics of my classmates and myself I felt like the Virginia Slims ad circa 1980…”you’ve come a long way baby”!  This blog is dedicated to those long ago friends that Facebook has helped me reconnect with.  Below is the list of the top ten ICHS memories that Facebook helped me revisit during my scanning escapade.

10.  The Sucky Faculty. Aside from Mr. Villablanca, most of the teachers sucked.  I remember having Mr. Young for Physical Science freshman year.  He was mean and had dandruff in his eyebrows. YUCK!

9.  We didn’t have a band. We had a boom box for pep rallies—LOL!

8. Hatim Salahuddin. We had a lot of memorable boys in our class.  One created his own dance, and another fell off the roof of a car at the bus stop.  Hatim was memorable for several reasons (pocket protectors and tie renting notwithstanding), but it was his “Ladies Love” song that stands out in my mind even to this day.

7.  The Bench. I didn’t spend “a lot” of time on the bench, but I did a “bid” every now and then.

6.  Sports. Even though we were a small school, we had a few really good athletes.  ICHS didn’t invest a lot of money in the cafeteria, but they believed in cultivating an athlete!

5.  Running for the 34/94. I live in Atlanta now, and all the kids catch a school bus.  The bus picks them up and drops them off pretty much in front of their homes, and it waits for them.  I WISH a bus driver would have waited for me when I was in High School!  I remember standing at the bus stop in that little blue skirt about to FREEZE as I waited for my bus.  Even with sweat pants on under the skirt, I was still cold.

4.  Fi’s Jams. Back when Essex Catholic parties were few and far between, Fiona threw a mean party.

3. Senior Traditions. Wearing any color sweater I wanted was cool, and half day Fridays were even better. Mostly, I remember the infamous egg-throwing debacle of 1991.  Not sure of the statute of limitations on vandalism, so I won’t say any more about that!

2.  PSAT Day Junior Year. Again, I’ll just leave it at that, because I don’t want to drop any dimes!

1.  Segregated Sections. Freshman year we had 5 Sections (A-B-C1-C2-D).  I started in 9C1, so I guess I was of middle ground intelligence.  I got moved to section 9B, So I wasn’t quite smart enough to be in 9A, but I was smarter than the C1 kids?!?!?!  What kind of crap is that?  Our parents should have protested!

Majority of the people reading this blog probably can’t relate to my little top ten, but hopefully it will inspire you to reconnect with your high school friends and maybe create your own top ten.  Gone are the days of reading the obituary pages to keep up with the people you went to school with.  Even if you’ve relocated, Facebook makes you feel like you still live around the way.  I implore you all to join the Facebook nation, because the revolution will not be televised!

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Friendship, Fun, Opinion, Technology | 8 Comments

In Loving Memory…

As a writer, I should never be at a loss for words.  I guess it’s tantamount to a stripper that has no rhythm.  Use of words is how I “shake my money maker”! In spite of that, yesterday I was at a loss for words.  A friend had died, and when I got the call I didn’t know what to say.  Surely it was a mistake, I thought.  But sadly it wasn’t a mistake, and sadder still my friend is gone.  This blog is dedicated to him, and all of you that may have lost someone near and dear too soon.

If you knew “B”, you couldn’t help but love him.  He was the strong silent type that could light up a room with his smile and laughter.  Our friendship basically was formed over our shared concern for someone that needed us at the time.

“B” was the type of friend you wanted around if you were ever in need.  Be it need of a barber, a diamond, or a good meal “B” had you covered.  He put us on to the best Japanese restaurant in Atlanta. When I was recovering from surgery and my cousin had to leave town on business, “B” was on deck with cranberry juice.  When I had a birthday BBQ, “B” got the chicken breast “hook up” for the grill.  We even had a secret baked beans contest because he thought the pineapple and ground beef made his recipe better than mine *not*!

What is it about death that makes us go through our mental Rolodex of memories? “B” died unexpectedly, but I know even when the death is due to a long illness we tend to be stunned when we get the call.  We immediately think of what we would have said if we had one more chance.  We cling to our memories as a source of comfort.  I’ll never forget the year “B” hosted the Y2K sleepover, or the way I made him laugh when I referred to his store as the “student union”. My memories of “B” are definitely a blessing, and I’d be even more of a wreck without them.

To everyone that has lost someone, as you move through the stages of grief remember how your loved one LIVED and NOT how they died!  We’ve heard the “til death do you part” phrase over and over again, but memories are yours to have and hold onto forever!  I’ve never been one to stand over a trash can fire and “pour a little out for the brothers that ain’t here”, but this blog was my way of honoring a good friend that died too soon.  My favorite “Off The Heezy” boy will be missed!


November 13, 2008 Posted by | Family, Friendship, Life, Love, Society | 6 Comments

Front Row Seating

My cousin sent a very poignant email recently. It was something she had received a long time ago, but she thought it was worth revisiting. The basic gist of the email was our life is a theatre and everyone does not deserve a front row seat.

If you visualize an actual theatre, and put yourself onstage, you want the front row filled with the people that you know love and support you. When you look out into your audience, the first faces you see should be the smiling faces of your biggest supporters. Those people that give you supportive glances and cheer you on at all costs deserve a front row seat. Those eye rolling haters need to be relocated!

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “hook up” mentality, that we forget everybody doesn’t deserve to be front and center. I hate watching award shows and seeing the rappers bring their ENTIRE CREW on stage, or talk about how they “keep it real” by surrounding themselves with the homies. Most of us grimace because we know better….or do we????? How many relationships do we hold on to simply because we feel obligated? Aren’t we basically doing the same thing? Sure, there is no Grammy being exchanged, and People Magazine isn’t there taking the picture, but if we are subjecting ourselves to the negative energy of some old friends or family members do we really know better? Why give someone such a prime seat in your life if their presence only brings you down? Granted they may have tenure, but that does not automatically entitle them to be in your front row.

Some people should be on the Mezzanine or Balcony level because their negative energy will only bring you down. Knowing someone since you were five does not automatically get them into the front row. We need to recognize that we can’t totally cut ourselves off from some of the negative people in our lives, but we can minimize their impact on our performance. Not putting someone in the front row doesn’t mean we love them any less; it just means we love them from a distance.

On this stage that is my life, I will reserve the front row seats for the people that inspire and uplift. I will put the voices of negativity in the balcony, and save the mezzanine for those that drain or discourage. I will put the people I WANT to be close to in my front row, and the people that I want to love from a distance can simply sit someplace else.

This logic works both ways. While we are busy booting people out of the front row, maybe there is someone that deserves an upgrade. Has someone you may have unknowingly relegated to the balcony caught your attention because they always seem to cheer louder than those in the coveted front row?

Take a minute to think about your theatre. Is your seating arrangement one that benefits you, or have you stacked it to your own detriment? Do you have all the right people in the front row, or is it time to open up that mezzanine/balcony and shuffle some people around?


February 14, 2008 Posted by | Family, Friendship, Life | 4 Comments

Emergency Contacts

Many of us have a magnet on the refrigerator with Emergency Contact Numbers.  Some have it there for the babysitter and it lists Grandma’s Number, Daddy’s Cell Number, Poison Control, etc…  Some have the standard county listings for the fire department, local police, and ambulance services.  Every time I go to the doctor’s office they ask me to provide my emergency contact information.  They need to know who to call in case I nut up, or they mess up while I’m in one of those exam rooms.  It’s the standard form you’ve all seen, and probably updated with your mother or your significant others name and number.   Most times we blindly fill it out because we doubt if it will actually get used.

In my regular day to day life I have mini non-emergency emergencies.  These are the situations where I need to enlist the assistance of friends in order to make it through.  Their numbers are not written on magnets in my kitchen, and my doctor could really care less about most of them, but I know they are my own personal 911.  We all have a 911 network of emergency contacts that keep us sane and in some cases keep us safe, but when was the last time you wrote them out for the world to see?

My Consigliere is at the top of my 911 network.  If you watch the Soprano’s, and you are familiar with Silvio’s role you understand what I’m talking about.  We all have that one person that can keep a level head and advise us on how to handle life’s little hiccups.  Not only does my Consigliere keep me sane and safe, he’s a porgy frying expert!

When I have an emergent need for a sounding board, or I need someone with common sense to cosign on my latest drama, I place a call to Peaches.  She’s known me since the 1st grade and is probably best equipped to deal with a mini meltdown.  There’s never been a time that I needed Peaches and she didn’t come through.  Peppermint Patty, Myra, and KC are quick with the replies to 911 text messages.  Even in the middle of the night or on a Sunday morning, they will holler back quick with the answer I need to solve the problem at hand. 

When I can’t get it together I call Plucky.  She can give me her calm voice and talk me back from the ledge.  In the same manner, I call Titi when I don’t want to get it together.  She’ll meet me at the closet happy hour and tell me exactly what I need to hear J!  When I’m sad or I feel like staying in my bed for days at a time, I can call Dweebie.   She is the only person I know that understands and encourages my need to “veg”. 

If I’m lost in the ATL, or I am craving homemade banana bread I call Step.  He’s not the most reliable person in the world when it comes to showing up to events, but if I call him in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic he’s better than a navigation device (and he never forgets my birthday)!  If I have a technical/graphics/myspace based emergency I call J.  He’s a genius with that kind of stuff and can recover or create anything with a laptop and a pirated broadband signal.

In those situations where I need a little old school justice (you know…when you call the homies to help you handle something because talking nicely is not going to get the job done), I can call the former Mrs. Starks.  She may not have her contacts in, but she’s definitely the person I want on my team in case of a rumble in the jungle!  If I need someone to be on my side just because…if I need someone to just go along now and ask questions later, I call Tiff, Bigred, Tink, Little Muffin, or Mik-Baby.  They laugh when I laugh, cry when I cry, and beef when I beef.

I’ve pretty much just shouted out my closest friends (not by their real names though J), because I love and appreciate them.  They are the network of people that have been there during the best and worst times of my life.  There is no magnet that would do them justice, but they are forever etched in my heart.  Take a moment to shout out your emergency contacts.  Who’s in that network that keeps you sane and keeps you safe? 


December 6, 2007 Posted by | Friendship | 1 Comment

Happy Mother’s Day

The second Sunday in May is set aside to honor Mothers.  That day is dedicated to Mommy, Grandma, Bigma, Godmother and Aunt so-and-so.  It goes without saying, and we’ve been doing it since the first time we glued the macaroni to construction paper in preschool.  Now as an adult, there is usually a heartfelt card from Hallmark, maybe a special dinner outing and in some cases a nice gift.  Yes, most of us do this once a year.  With the recent passing of Kanye West’s mother, Mother’s Day was on my mind.  I’ve been thinking of all the cliché sayings and songs written about mothers.  I thought about my friends and their relationships with their mothers.  I thought of Miss Philip, Miss Linda, Miss Stephanie, Miss Kim, Miss Ginger, Miss Estelle, Trish and Hazel.  These are the moms of my closest friends and I credit them with nurturing such wonderful daughters and sons. 

Moms nurture, and in their own way do their best to support us.  Sometimes that support comes with a lecture and a lot of extra commentary, but it’s support nonetheless!  Two nights ago a friend and I chatted about our most recent mommy based trials and tribulations.  Hers was the request to obtain a copy of this month’s Ebony Magazine with Michael Jackson on the cover (because apparently none of the stores her mom frequented would carry this publication and thus my friend was required to purchase it and carry it across the state line and deliver it to her mom on Thanksgiving).  My tribulation involved a recipe for Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie (because apparently such a recipe could only be obtained by going on the internet at MY house.  No one in the same house as my mother would be able to complete this task) *sighs*. 

I joke about my mom, but despite her propensity to drive me up a wall, I love her to death.  I know I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if she wasn’t the woman she’s always been, so to Jan I say thanks!  She may not have written a book or quit her job (yet) to support my endeavors but I know she would cut somebody to the white meat for messing with her baby!  My mom has taught me so many things.  She taught me how to cook, the virtues of a clean house, and the significance of prayer in my life.  No matter how grown we get or how far away we move from home Mommy will always be Mommy and her influence is everlasting.   

With all of that in mind, I decided to write this blog to recognize all the moms out there. Even though the Mother’s Day holiday is still 179 day away, take a minute to celebrate your mom.  Reflect on the lessons learned, or reminisce about the fun times.  Commiserate with your friends about your relationships with a sometimes crazy mom.  (Not crazy in the mental health sense of the word, but crazy in the I can’t believe she just said that sense of the word.)   

If the guilt of eating that last cookie in 1979 has been weighing heavy on you, now is the time to come clean. If she warned you from the beginning that the chicken head with the bad weave was not the woman for you, give her credit.  If you really did take her car without permission back in 1993 and subsequently caused that scratch on the rear bumper, confession is good for the soul! We only get one mom, so go ahead and give her a shout out!


November 15, 2007 Posted by | Family, Friendship, Life | 4 Comments

Everything In Its Place?

When was the last time you were truly honest with someone, even though you knew it would cause you a headache in the end?  A couple of nights ago I was having a conversation with a fellow “Single in the City” friend.  He was telling me about a movie he had just watched where one of the main characters said, “there is no place for honesty in a healthy relationship”.  My friend and I debated the virtues and pitfalls of honesty for a while, but it really made me think.           

At first I was all for 100% honesty.  I truly believe that for me, honesty is the best policy.  I would rather hear the truth than be lied to, no matter the situation.  As we continued to talk I agreed I always wanted to hear the truth, but I don’t always tell the truth.  I have learned over the years that everyone can’t handle it.  I am not only talking about male/female relationships.  I often choose not to tell my friends the truth because it’s easier to “go along to get along”, than to open the can of worms that comes with honesty.  Is that crazy?  By not being honest are we simply enabling the behavior that we don’t like?             

As an example, I associate with two people that are chronically tardy.  I hate to be late, and I hate to be kept waiting, yet these two people in my circle seem to have no concept of time.  For one of them, the tardiness is funny.  I know she tries to be on time, but she just can’t manage it.  I know she’s going to be late, so I expect it and it doesn’t bother me.  Now the other person…her tardiness annoys me to no end.  Not only is she always late, but she doesn’t care that she’s late.  She offers no apology, and it is as if wasting my time is of no consequence to her.  I could be honest and finally tell her how it bothers me.  I could tell her that the always showing up late with no remorse and that “and what” attitude wears on my last nerve.  Yes I could tell her this and a whole lot more but I realized the nature of our relationship is one where I bite my tongue because I would rather suffer in silence than hear her justifications.  (FYI: There is nothing worse than a person that will be dead wrong and then try to tell me how un-wrong they really were).                          

The aforementioned “Single In the City” friend is constantly telling me to keep it 100 (as in be 100% honest).  In the spirit of this blog I decided to count how many people I feel comfortable keeping it 100 with.  I AM SICK! My list consists of 5.5 people (five definite’s and a possible).  Of all the people I know….of all my friends, family and associates (male and female), I can only keep it 100 with five maybe six of them. (I am fairly certain the rest of the people I know can’t handle the truth). *somebody pray for me*. 

We all have that one friend that you just can’t tell nothing, and we would rather take the she’s grown stance than speak our minds.  Is your friendship any less relevant because you would rather spare her feelings than hear her mouth? If you know for a 100% fact your home girl is dating a guy that is a lowdown dirty dog, do you tell her?  It might sound harsh, but if you know she’s not going to leave him, what exactly do you gain?  You tell her, she confronts him, and then tells him EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID, he denies, and then is giving you the screw face every time you come around…..no thanks, I’ll mind my business on that one. She’s grown!

What about families?  If you have a relative that you know is a certifiable NUT will you say it?  Do you call them on their nonsense, or continue with the status quo of their nuttiness because you don’t want to spearhead the next family feud?  We probably know our family members better than anyone, so we know who can take constructive criticism and who can’t stand to hear that her potato salad is not the answer!  Censorship is totally acceptable when it comes to family.  The last thing anyone wants is to see their branch of the family tree permanently severed.

But back to my original point….Do you think honesty has a place in a healthy relationship?  And on a more personal note…Does your “keep it 100″ list resemble a spades hand or is it more equitable?  


September 20, 2007 Posted by | Friendship, Girlfriends, Life, Opinion, Relationships | 6 Comments


In Pre-K I had two very good friends.  At the age of three what do we really know about friends, let alone “good friends”?  As I grew older I formulated other friendships.  I did the whole Best Friends Forever thing in my high school yearbooks, and swore we’d be friend for life.  Time passes and people grow.  Most of those people are no longer in my life.  I guess they were there for a season, and when that season ended so did the friendship.

Fast forward to a new millennium, and here I am.  As I look over my life I see how truly blessed I am to associate with the people I now call “friends”.  A few of them have been there for the long ride; two since first grade, and one since high school.  Majority of the rest of the people I call my friends came along in college or shortly thereafter.  We were all growing up and finding ourselves together.  At some point we clicked, and life long friendships were born.  Even though most of us have moved away and we rarely see each other, we are still “friends”.  It’s not about the quantity of time we spend on the phone or emailing one another, it’s about the quality of the experiences we’ve shared.  I have a couple of friends that I’ve known since the late nineties.  While they weren’t around for my asymmetrical bob, the BSU years, and the infamous bone crusher incident of ’95 they are still my friends.

How do you define your friends?  It’s not necessarily the person that is ready to hit the clubs with you every night.  While he/she might be a friend now, what happens in twenty years when you are no longer interested in the club scene?  Do you really see this friendship growing with you as your path in life changes? 

There is nothing wrong with “work friends”, the “friend from exercise class”, or the “friend that does your taxes”.  They are good friends to have too, but today I’m talking about those tried and true friends.  The ride or die friends that would gladly cut somebody for the sake of saving my life if it came down to it!   The friends that taught me not to take myself so seriously and the people that laughed with me during the good times and cried with me during the bad.  The people I called when I was in need, and the people who knew I’d be there when they needed me.  Those are my friends, and today I celebrate them.

Take the time to celebrate your friends too!  Even if there are several states and time zones between you, pull out the old photo album and laugh at the good ole days.  Husbands and wives can come and go, and children will eventually grow up and get lives of their own.  Don’t forget about those people that were there for you before you became who you are today!  Meet for a “stroll down memory lane” cocktail. Send them a shout out text, or a let’s get caught up email.  Whatever you do, do it in the spirit of the friendship that will keep you bonded for the rest of your lives. 


June 21, 2007 Posted by | Friendship, Girlfriends, Relationships | 6 Comments