Archive for the ‘I’m just saying’ Category

Hello There!

Before I get into this post, please let me share this:

One of my brothers, my sister and other members of my family live in NYC.  Hubby’s entire immediate family is in Queens.  My mother-in-law and her husband, two sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law and our little niece all live in Rockaway.  It was one of the areas hit hard by Sandy.  Though they sustained flooding and loss of electricity, they weren’t as hard hit as others in the area.  Like many others, they didn’t leave because they didn’t think it would be as bad as it was.  Things could have easily been a lot worse for them.  The bay is not even a block from my MIL’s house.  They have a generator and thanks to the kindness of others and my sister-in-law who lives in the Bronx, they are fine.  I’m are very thankful that all of our family, friends and blogger friends are well.    Please keep them and all those affected by Sandy in your prayers.

Now to the blog post:

The last time I was around these parts was exactly one month ago!  October was a little busy: Bridal shower and wedding for RJ’s sitter, PJ Party  and Trunk or Treat at RJ’s school(The last two events I organized and they kept me pretty busy).  Also, throw in a litte work drama for good measure (that needs it’s own post).  All of that and I really wasn’t feeling like posting.  However, I have enjoyed reading everyone else’s blogs:)

Now it’s November! *Where has the year gone?!*

We finally took RJ to get his haircut.  We took him to SnipIts.  It was his first cut so it was free.  We just paid $5 for the 1st cut package. They took his picture,  he got a certificate and a baggy with his hair.  He was such a trooper.  No tears or anything.  The boy had A LOT of hair with two different curl patterns.  He hated to have it combed and the tangles were endless. Also, I would send him to school with his hair out and he would come home everyday with one big braid in his hair:| One day he had one big braid and a tiny braid in the back.  During the summer, the teachers would do it or put it in a ponytail because it was hot and he would sweat a lot.  I could understand that. I would even send him with it pulled back sometimes.  However, when the temperature changed he was still coming home with his hair in a braid.  Now, it’s all in a low curly fro.  If he comes home with braids now, we will have serious problems.

All caped up and ready to go!

“Hey RJ you just got your first haircut. What are you going to do next?”
“I’m going to McDonald’s!”


The big November news *besides the election tomorrow…GO VOTE!* is that my baby boy will be turning 2 one week from today!!! Everyday he does of says something new and I’m in complete awe.  Words can’t express how much I love that kid.  Last year, as we got closer to his bday, I kept replaying the days leading up to his birth.  I find myself doing that now.  I guess I will do that every year.

We’ve decided to take some cupcakes to his class next week instead of a full blown party. I’m hoping this will set the tone for an every other year party.   The day after his birthday, he has a photo shoot to mark his big day with the photographer who took our family pics.  My birthday day is exactly one week after his. I think,  the weekend after his bday and before mine, we will just do something as family to celebrate both.   Then, it’s full steam ahead to the holidays!!!

Ahhh it feels good to type out some thoughts after keeping them in my head for a month!

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Thought Process

We’re in the middle of a new student in-take at work.  Last week I conducted an orientation with to adults, a man and woman, both in their 50s.  Both with extremely low literacy levels.  

Meeting these two students broke my heart.  I mean I literally had to hold back tears just talking about them to my co-manager.  I kept thinking, this could be my aunt or uncle.  I just wanted get up from behind my desk and give them a hug.  One of them has a very lofty goal she wants to accomplish.  How do you tell someone that the one thing they’re trying to achieve to improve their circumstance will probably take years not weeks, if it happens at all?  Or imagine if you were in your 50s and couldn’t spell the name of your closest loved one or the name of the city in which you’ve lived your entire life?

I love the humbleness of these two students and the fact that they are seeking help.  My prayer is that they don’t give up.   Sometimes life gets in the way.  I see it everyday.  Students who are so close to their goal get distracted by life or the fear or actually succeeding.  It’s the latter that drives me insane and frustrates me.

A few months ago I watch a documentary on HIV.  They interviewed a doctor who was discussing a patient who was HIV positive but had no plans of telling her partners and wasn’t using protection.  When asked her thoughts on the patient, the doctor working in an inner city hospital, she had to change her thought process.  She couldn’t apply what would be a rational decision for herself, but what was rational for her patient and the lives they live.  That statement really struck me.   I often come home with stories of my students and things they’ve done or situations they’re in.  I’m always telling Hubby how I just don’t understand some of the choices my students make.  He always responds in the same way, “Jen not every one thinks the way you do.”

image source

I want my students to have more choices down the road.  I think obtaining their GED leads them on a path to those choices.  When the economy tanked, many students found themselves laid off and out of work.  Then they were met with a brick wall when they discovered they couldn’t get back in the job market without a high school diploma or GED.  So, they came to us.  Then, jobs started hiring and they quit school, without a GED, yet again, to take a dead end job.  Notice the cycle? I don’t care if they’re working at a fast food restaurant or the dollar store.  I want them to have options. The option of being a manager of that fast food restaurant, the option of taking a job they want to do as opposed to one they have to do.  However, many of my students are more concerned with now and not down the road.  I them to understand there can be a balance between the two.

Let’s face it, times have changed.  Nowadays, it’s very rare, if not impossible, for a person to get a good job making decent money without a high school diploma or GED.   Hell, you can’t be a custodian at a school in my county without a high school diploma AND a  WorkKeys certificate.  I’m not pushing every one to go to college, but I am pushing every one to at least get your diploma or the equivalent.  Changing your thought process can create options.

image source

*In December of 2013, the current version of the GED test will expire and so will the scores of over 1 million people who have started the test, but haven’t completed it!. If you or someone you know are one of those people, I urge you to finish the test now!  You won’t have to re-take any parts of the test you’ve passed.  Only 4 out of 10 current  high school students can pass the GED test in the form in which it is given today.  I’ve seen samples of the new test and…well… it’s not getting any easier.*


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Status Update

If you have a Facebook page, I’m sure you’ve read a lot of status updates and thought to yourself, “Really, you just wrote that on Facebook for all to read?!” . If you’re like me, you’ve blocked a few of those “friends” becuase you don’t care to know about the fight they had with that “B” down the street, or the tons of subliminal statuses about he, she it or they, who are always in said “friends” business.  Well, this past week I came across a couple Facebook statuses that made me think, “What is about Facebook that makes people put intimate details of their lives out there for the world to see?”

Note: I’m using their stories in my post because, well, I feel it’s fair game since they’ve put it out there! No names are used and my page is private.

Last week I read a status about a friend of  mine who discovered a child he’d loved and cared for wasn’t his and how the fall out from that lead to a physical altercation with the mother. *Yes, he actually wrote he went “Chris Brown” on her! SMDH* He also posted a recent HIV test because he says she was casting doubt to others about his health status. What the Hell!! These thoughts swirled in my head: He freaking hit her and is not ashamed to tell people.  Why is this on Facebook? Why the need to prove the status of your health to people you haven’t seen in years? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Sunday, as I was scrolling through my FB timeline on my phone, I came across the status of close relative…really close.  It began like this, “Yes, I’m bisexual…” I think I stopped breathing for just a second.  Not because I wanted rush out and find holy water to sprinkle on them and “cure” them, but I was TOTALLY caught off guard.  As I said, this is a close relative and coming out is a big deal! However, it’s not something I prefer to find out right after a read a status about the cookie Kevin ate for breakfast.  Would you want to scroll down your Facebook timeline and find out your best friend, sister, brother, etc. is got married,had a child or died?!  To me this news was on that scale.  Also, I have no clue if this person told their immediate family: parents, grandparents, siblings, before the post. I’m praying very hard that was the case.  I can understand the need to come out,  but I think that respect for your loved ones should play a part, too.  Anderson Cooper came out yesterday *well, to those who live under a rock*, but his family and close friends have known for years. He came out publicly, via letter, to millions of people who don’t know him on an intimate level.  My response to my family member’s status was a simple “love you lots”. True and heartfelt statement.  I wanted to type “love you lots, but did you tell your momma before you typed this?”  However, I didn’t want to seem as if I was putting conditions on the “love” with the “but“.

Have you ever been floored by a Facebook status or read one that made you ask WHY?WHY?WHY?

What is it about Facebook that makes people want to poor out their inner-most thoughts, feelings and drama?

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I started my natural hair journey over 2 years ago. Over the past 2 years I’ve done a couple posts on this journey like this one and this one.   One of the first resources I used to aid me in the journey was curlynikki.com. It is part of the holy grail of natural hair sites.  So, when a Facebook friend mentioned Nikki would be hosting a natural hair meet-up in Charlotte, I was all for it.  I went to the site and RSVP’d right away.  Initially, entry to the event was with a ticket only and I wanted to make sure my spot was secure.   Later, due to a technical glitch, the tickets were scratched.

Outside the venue. Poof bra! Too much?! Yeah I thought so too, but I rolled with it! LOL

My very 1st friend, Tiffany, and me.

Let me say, I was really excited about this event.  I’d seen Tweets and blog posts about similar events in various other cities and was looking forward to the experience.  Not to mention, the free hair loot!!  So, Saturday evening,  my oldest friend and I, really she was my very 1st friend we go back to pre-k, braved the heat and headed to downtown Charlotte.  The event started at 6:30pm and we arrived around that time hoping we hadn’t missed the gift bags.  *The product lines featured were Design Essentials and UR Curly.* Well, our on time was way late! The place was PACKED and it was an inferno up in there!  It was a beautiful sight to see so many women of color with natural hair in so many different hues, lengths and styles.  However, once I got over the awe of it all, I began to soak in what was happening…a whole lot of NOTHING!

Everything that I’m about to say could truly be my own fault for not really doing my research on such events.  Like I said, I was familiar with meet ups but I guess I never actually read a post or paid attention to the structure of them, or lack there of. Maybe if there wasn’t a ticket glitch or it wasn’t so damn hot in there, it would have been different.  I don’t know, and I hate to use the “D” word but I was very  disappointed:(

The place was jammed packed so much so that moving was difficult. (I later read on Nikki’s website that 800 women showed up and I believe it) *P.S. Nikki’s post and view on how the event turned out is very different mine…hmmm* Anyway, you couldn’t tell a line for something from just some women gabbing.  Oh and boy were there lines.   We waited in a slow moving line at the DE table for this:

The die for dramatic size effect!

We waited in a line for UR Curly for a raffle ticket!  We waited in a the longest line of all for hor d’ouevers and when we finally made it to the food, there were 5 meatballs left…literally…5! There was a line to take pictures with Nikki, obviously from the pics I’m using, I didn’t wait in that line. There was a cash bar, which was fine, but with no food and sweltering heat, drinking was not on my list.  One chick passed out!! Like literally, “Man down, code 10!”  OUT!

I guess I just expected something just a little more intimate, where we could discuss hair in an controlled environment and not over blaring music from the dj. Maybe time to field questions from product reps or the pros. Most of all,  I wanted some hair swag! I’m not sure if they gave out gift bags at all that night, but we were there for at least an hour or two and I didn’t see one swag bag. *Can you tell I’m a little salty about the lack sample products?!*  Also, I’m not one for just going around the room asking women what they use in their hair.  So, after I snapped a few pics, we gather our 1.8oz bottles of  “swag” and headed out to dinner.

Let me say, Nikki was adorable and she is probably the thinnest woman alive. her waist is the size of a Barbie Doll! The chick is TIIIINY! She seemed to come across as she does on her blog, down to earth, fun and lively.  I love her website and will continue to check it out. However, I won’t attend one of her events again.  It wasn’t my cup of tea.  I like her and all but at a natural meet up I’d prefer an environment where I could get knowledgeable information about natural hair from an experts not just pictures with someone who has cool hair.  You feel me?!

Nikki “Curly Nikki” Walton

Have you ever attended an event you were really psyched about, only to end up disappointed?

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A while back I took a typical trip to the nail salon for a pedicure and some “me” time.  While I waited, I overheard eavesdropped on a conversation between a nail tech and a female customer.  The nail tech was of Asian decent the customer,Hispanic. *I’m only specifying this because it may have some bearing in the point of this post…may.*

Anyway, the customer is saying something that was really annoying me at the time but escapes me now. *Obviously, it’s not important to the story or I would remember!* So, I deduced she wasn’t someone I would get along with.  Of course, it didn’t matter if she was or not because we were in the nail salon and I’ve never made an actual friendship connection in nail salon!

Fast forward to me sitting in the massage chair having my feet pampered.  The female customer ends up in the chair beside me.  Our techs are hilariously funny and goofy.  While joking around with them, I realize the female customer has a sense of humor and is quite nice.  In between the awful jokes the techs are telling, I’m playing Scrabble on my iPhone.  My the female customer’s tech asks, what I’m doing and I tell him.  I’m floored to find out he has NEVER heard of Scrabble! I almost fall out of my comfy chair when the female customer admits the same! I proceed to show them the screen and explain the game. I tell them the game is an American classic and they have to play at least once.  That gets the female customer to tell me that she and her friends have game nights often where they play cards and board games, etc. *At this point I’m really not understanding why she’s never heard of Scrabble:|*  Then it happened!

She says she must get my cell number before we leave the salon and invites me to her home for game night!

Ok call me crazy, but I don’t randomly give my number to strangers I’ve met for 20 minutes in the nail salon. *Granted, I’ve given my number to guys in clubs, bars, airports, but I was a 20 something then and that’s besides the point!* I really thought an invite to her home was a bit forward for the start of an impromptu friendship! Could we start with getting together for coffee at Starbucks, lunch at Panera or at least see each other again at the nail salon?!  I had no clue where her house was, what her living situation was, what kind of friends she had… or if her idea of “game night” was to sacrifice a seemingly innocent, 30 something, black female with perfectly polished toes! *Too much?! Ok!* Also, have you noticed I haven’t used her name? Well, it’s not for anonymity purposes, it’s because I have NO CLUE what it is!!! How do invite someone to your home and they don’t even know your name?!

Maybe this is a common thing in her culture.  Has being born and raised in America made me so skeptical I can ‘t  even take a nice gesture for face value?

That may very well be the case. However, needless to say, I smiled nicely and said “sure”, then quietly forgot to give her my number as I snuck out of the salon.

Please know, I make friends with new people I meet all of the time. I’m a regular social butterfly! However, they are usually people I encounter through friends I already have.  You know, my friend pool! That way I know someone I trust and love has already vetted them for instances of crazy, deranged, psycho tendancies:)

What do you think? Did I totally overreact?  Would you have given her your number and gone to game night?! Do you have steps to making friends with with people outside of your friend pool?

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