Glad I Did

Me, sporting the b-fly ring my Auntie gave me!

I spent this past weekend in Connecticut.

My cousin Kaitlyn recently graduated from Sacred Heart University and is about to soon start grad school in Hartford, CT. Child Psychology…

I’m so very proud of her. She and my cousin Arthur are the first to graduate in this family since Kaitlyn’s father, my uncle Ken. She’s so mature and I truly do see a lot of myself in her. I didn’t tell her that, but I do. She’s thirsty for knowledge…but, she’s going the distance. (Interesting analogy since Kait used to run track). It was also a birthday party. She turned 21 on July 1st.

Kaitlyn and her boo, Stan…isn’t he cute? 🙂

When my mom asked me if I wanted to go, I said yes immediately. I wanted to go and support my little cousin, but I also wanted to just SEE them. My uncle, his wife Kathy and their two girls Kaitlyn & Megan live about 2 hours away in CT. I don’t drive. My mother visits more than I do, but often her trips have an agenda…normally church-oriented. I’m not into church like she is. She and my uncle both are reverends…so, I tend to want to stay home. Due to this being more about Kaitlyn, family and fun going wasn’t an issue this time. I figured, we’d go and come home. The day OF…my mom informs me that we’d be staying. One, she’s not driving the 2hrs there to turn around and do it again later that night. I couldn’t be mad…but, I didn’t really wanna do an overnighter. I sighed hard and reluctantly got up and began packing a bag. All of a sudden, I wanted to stay home. I love to travel places, but sometimes I just want to be by myself. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. Sue me…lol

We got there and before long my uncle had checked us into the nearby hotel. He’d secured (and paid) for rooms for us all. We rested and eventually back at the house for the tent-covered BBQ in Kaitlyn’s honor.

In attendance (other than my uncle and his family) was my Aunt Iris, her youngest son Arthur, his girlfriend Tracey and my other cousin’s daughters, Damia and Amaya. My youngest uncle, Maurice came with his wife, JoAnn, son Stephen and my grandmother and matriarch, Mary. Missing in action: My sister, Monifa and her man, Michael, Damia and Amaya’s dad, Damyan and my middle uncle, Ernest Sr., his wife Lorraine and their sons Ernie Jr. and Eric. (Down south: My cousin Tisha, her husband and two kids. Their brother Ken Jr…wasn’t there either, even though he lives in NY.)

It was something like a mini Family Reunion…but there were also others there from my uncle’s church family, his in-laws and neighbors and friends of the girls.

Food was served, live blues was played and we fought for our lives against the mighty Connecticut Mosquitoes. LOL I was eaten alive…back, legs, arms…chile…it was a BBQ and we weren’t the only things snacking out there in the woods. LOL

Sunday morning…we all congregated at my uncle’s church. He preached a wonderful sermon out of 1st Samuel 19. To summarize: Sometimes no matter how good a warrior you are, you have to let GOD do your fighting FOR you. Those who think they can conquer you when God has already sought your victory…are foolish and will be dealt with. In the meantime, to quote his sermon’s caption, “I’m Running For My Life”. I realized just how much of that I’ve been doing. In the past I could have stood my ground, made my statements, retaliated back with words of things I shouldn’t have said…but, I chose silence. While doing so…others who know and love me, spoke for me and perhaps that may have irritated my adversaries…but, the truth is the truth and no matter what spin is put on it…the truth needs no garb.

I came away from this weekend…spiritually rejuvenated and duly refueled. My reluctance to go died a very quiet death on the 95 to CT. I didn’t want to go on Saturday, but I’m glad I did.

I love my family…they’ve proven to be more than I even knew. God bless them and those who have become my chosen family. Life is good. God is better…I’m blessed. PERIOD.

Feliz Compleanos ~ 2011

For whatever reason…this year’s birthday meant so much more to me than my birthday usually does. I couldn’t put my finger on why it was I was “little girl antsy” about my upcoming day. From Thanksgiving on, I saw my birthday roll in on rapid waves of anticipation. Christmas came and went, with New Year’s Day coming right behind it. As usual…on New Year’s Day…I start counting.

My New Year’s Eve and Day was unceremonious and very lonely. I was missing my grandmother…something horrible. I was coming into a resolve (that I’m still working on) about how 2010 manhandled my emotions. Maybe, when I was sitting in my room on New Year’s Eve…drinking Chardonnay and feeling some kinda way…I was mourning 2010. Forever and ALWAYS, me and 2010 will have beef. It’s just one of those years that came in and started immediately pushing me around. Testing my patience…my convictions…but, the truth is…

I knew it…

In early 2010, I “predicted” with a comment on someone’s FB page…just what my year would be. There was a question about how do you say no to people, yadda yadda and my response was this (recalled loosely): “I am learning that you can’t do everything for others while doing nothing for yourself. I feel a change in my spirit. I see a journey on the horizon and I can tell it’s going to be a lonely trip. Those who love me will either, come along…be here when I return…or fall by the wayside…”

Many fell by the wayside. The fucked up part is that most left of their own free will. I didn’t send people packing. The moment I began changing and polishing my spirit…the crowd divided and faded into the night.

So, yea…when this year came around, I needed something to feel good about. I needed a reason to celebrate my 38th year. I’m all about mastering the road I began traveling…and having this birthday began a whole new year for me…not the 1st.

My weekend was stellar. My girl, Joy came through on Saturday. We went to see “Black Swan” starring Natalie Portman & Mila Kunis. I loved it. It’s that psycho-suspense thriller that had artistic depth. Joy says it weirded the shit out of her (snickering) LOL. We then went and shopped a little, made a pit-stop into the liquor store, picked up some Moscato and made a final stop to Mickey D’s. We grabbed the grub, a taxi and once home, commenced to eating, drinking, laughing and being e-bad. hehehe. She was my gift as well as what she’d treated me to…and the next day, I made her breakfast: Salmon croquettes, scrambled eggs w/cheese (which she loved even though she doesn’t like eggs) and home fries. She definitely help kick off the kween’s birthday week.

Isn’t she gorgeous?

When I got to work today, my co-worker had left on my desk a Happy Birthday note with a toasted blueberry muffin. It was SO good. I had to eat it with a fork and I treated it like it was birthday cake! I usually go to work with a ponytail and no makeup, but today I wore my hair down and had light eye shadow and lipstick. I received many compliments and lots of “Wow, you look good for 38” 😉

I came home, relaxed a little and then went out with mom to run a quick errand. When I came home, I had two gifts waiting for me. My friend got me a set of my fave bake ware and a huge bottle of Cinnamon Buns body wash from Philosophy! OMG…this shit smells like it came fresh out the oven. LOL. I’m going to get attacked by confused and hungry animals…and quite possibly (and hopefully) a nice man. lol

Thank you, God for the mercy. The beneficence. The grace. The love. The opportunity to live, learn, grow and begin again. Thank you, Mommy for having me on this day. Thank you to my friends and family who continue to love me and show me what love is made of.

Feliz Compleanos, to me 🙂

I O U…

Sorry that I short-changed you guys yesterday…I had a full Friday. I went from work to the Bronx to meet up with my girl Joy, so we could go to Manhattan. Our friend Celeste’s belated birthday dinner was at Dallas BBQ’s. Since Celeste moved to Georgia last year, we’ve barely seen her. This was actually my first time seeing her since her move. It was great to see her…very brief, yet a very cool “butterfly” weekend.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely…taking pics, eating, and laughing. After dinner, Joy and I made our way back to her place in the BX and made a bee line for the bed. Today, I attended a cotillion for “Golden Divas”…a group of cherished ladies in their Golden Years. It was a beautiful dedication to four ladies who have been active in the community and church. This gala took place at my grandmother’s church and was put upon very nicely. There was a musical/dance selection that had me on the verge of tears. An older woman of 50+ did a wonderful interpretive dance to Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman”. She was so very graceful and expressive. I was impressed.  The débutante danced with their escorts.  Here’s a quick view of them dancing:

I was so tired. I hit the ground running Friday morning and didn’t stop until I reached my room going on 7pm.

Do you think I lied down? Nope. Still up…fighting sleep like a baby. I hate that yesterday’s blog escaped me. It was unavoidable though. Since I didn’t have the good sense to actually write it BEFORE leaving…fitting in time to write was damn near impossible.

So, here I am…writing as the clock turns 12am (actually going into a THIRD day of non-blog).  I had to post SOMETHING. My mind is too tired to give a damn about how lengthy and substantial this thing is. At least I gave you pics. LOL

Here’s another. I took this on my way to the Bronx on the train. One of my faves. Good night 🙂

Happiest 2nd Birthday, Syre Boo!

Today is my little Pufnstuf’s 2nd birthday. He was born early…2 whole months early. His mom was supposed to be on bed rest, but the bills demanded that she work. My godson Syre Christopher was brought into the world and became a ray of sunshine for all who love him.

He endured a couple of surgeries and a couple of months in the hospital. When he came home from the hospital, his mom and dad rented a limo to bring the little star home. He was so small…but so strong. I saw him in the hospital. I saw him a month after his trip home…and then again a few months later for his 1st Christmas. A whole year went by without seeing him. I saw him again on Christmas of 2008. We saw him frequently into the New Year, and then his mom asked for my help. It was then…about 2 days after my birthday…that I returned home with her and Syre. I stayed in DC for 2 months caring for him, waking up with him everyday.

That little boy is a TRIP. I’d wake up and he’d be standing over me like 3am smiling. He has a sense of humor to rival some adults. He knows EXACTLY when he’s being funny. Take that picture up there. It’s one of my faves. His mom and I were talking, just gabbing along…both of us on our laptops…when we looked up and he had on her new beret. He had it tilted right and everything, with this smirk on his face like, “Am I funny…huh?” Of course Auntie had to flip out the camera phone and take pics. Too hilarious for words. There were so many more moments like those. I got to bond with him, teach him…and in the interim…learn from him as well.

I miss him like crazy. Happy Birthday, Syre. Godmommy loves you.

Happy Birthday, Kali

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 36. I’ve been told most recently so, that I don’t look over 30. *yay me*. I don’t dread aging like a lot of people do. People think aging puts some sort of limitation on you…like you’re expiring. I feel like I’m just getting more in tuned with who I am…what I am. If I can live as long as my great grandmother Katie did, and most of her 17 siblings…I think I’ll be doing well…90-something sounds cool. I’ll be able to tell any grandkids (if I’m blessed to have a child) or any children in my family of how I lived to see a black president take office. I’ll also be able to tell them how I was born at a time when it was safe to walk the streets alone, before Halloween candy had to be inspected, before sex became a possible death wish, and when parents could actually BE parents. I’ve seen a lot in 36 years…not as much as others, but enough to keep me abreast of life’s tender issues.

My mother missed the mark this year…she was sick and slept a little longer, but she usually woke me up no matter where I was to wish me Happy Birthday at 8:36am. I woke up a little after 10am and the first thing I did was call my maternal grandmother. She’d sent me a card (the only one I received) and laced it with a $20. Right about now, that ish felt like $200! LOL My mother wanted to make me breakfast, but being that she is SICK, we decided that “special virus” pancakes wasn’t the business. My sister, being that she doesn’t cook often…was not a prime candidate so I made my own. Pancakes w/cooked apples, turkey sausage and coffee. We ate together, watched movies together, ordered pizza in (due to the weather we weren’t going ANY where…snow). Watched more movies and prepared for a guest…my godson and his mom. I will be going to DC on Monday with them to babysit for a month or so. There I will hook up with a few people I’ve been friends with for over a year or more and seal the deal on some cool friendships. Anyone who says the Internet is a bad place…hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting people and making connections. Sticking with “what you know” can sometimes cut your blessings. I’ve met some fabulous folks in 2008…and intend on broadening more horizons this year.

I had a birthday party on the 9th. Blogtalkradio style. CLICK HERE to read all about it and hear the playback of the show. We counted down New Year’s style to my birthday and had fun acting up. I received nothing but love all day Friday and on my birthday the next day. I didn’t do anything special like go out, dance it up in a club or anything. I kicked it home on a snowy day in a warm place with warm wishes and thoughts. My biggest gift was God’s gift of life. The moment I rolled out of bed…I had celebrated my birthday for the 36th time. Happy Birthday, Kali!

Alabama or Bust

Well, I went on my trip to Alabama. I left NY’s Westchester Airport in White Plains around 6:30pm on June 20th, and made it to Alabama by 10:30 that night. Dionne’s Birthday Weekend was officially in progress.

Getting off the escalators after deplaning and seeing Mama and Dionne standing there was so cool. All those weeks of talking about it, planning and waiting…were no more. We were together finally.

Our weekend was too short. I felt like I could’ve stayed. Saturday we went to the cemetery to see Dionne’s sister. Before we got there…a car swerved out of control after it’s tire blew. It was a couple of cars in front of us, and had anyone hit it…we’d probably be laid up in a hospital or dead right now. Dionne was seriously shaken up, but we made it to the cemetery to do what we came for. We then went to eat at the China Buffet where Mama ended up in the corna twice, Dionne and I…once. LOL We’re too much. We then went to Birmingham’s Botanical Garden where we witnessed a wedding in progress. The bride’s gown was GORGEOUS! But, HELL if it wasn’t the quickest wedding we ever saw. LOL We took pics and then left to go back to the house.

The next day…we got up and went to a place called Scrubbs BBQ where Dionne’s dad had paid for some food to be picked up. We drove out there, where the place is basically a “house or shack” behind someone’s home, set up like a drive-thru. We took the food home and then went to a mall area called “Bridge Street” where Dionne had her ring fixed and we sat outside while Mama danced to a one man band’s strummings. Mama, Kasey and I put our feet in the fountain and then we left. I napped a little before getting up, eating and joining the family in a water gun fight. Dionne’s girls (Kasey,11 and Kennedy,5) were on Mama’s team…while Dionne’s son, Jordon, 13 was on the team with Dionne, her fiance’ Teddy, and me. We ALL got soaked head to toe. We ran around that yard spraying each other like we were crazy. The kids laughed with their Me Mah (their name for Mama) and were so happy.

Dionne opened her gift that Mama bought…a wireless keyboard and mouse. She received a Louis Vuitton purse the week before from our sister, Netty! (Which she rarely put down) Her “stepdaddy” bought her an amethyst ring…and I was just one big ole gift. LOL

Dionne taught me to drive that night. Yep, she knew that I had never learned because of my Narcolepsy, so she put me in the front seat and let me drive around her huge backyard, to the end of the driveway, backing into the yard again and parking the car finally. It was amazing. All I kept saying was, “I WANNA GO FAST!” LOL

Taking Mama to the airport the next morning was agony. We all cried like babies. Mama wouldn’t even let us stay…she shooed us off. Even after finding out that her flight was delayed for 2hrs, she wouldn’t let us turn around and sit with her. Dionne, the kids and I, were all sad, especially because we knew that it was my turn next.

I didn’t want to come home…but, I am sure that I will make a return trip to Alabama. Hopefully Mama and Dionne will be making a trip to the North come fall. Either way, I feel blessed to have them as family. I truly enjoyed myself. I have a home there.