Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flipping the Script

So about a week ago I wrote how I might be putting this blog on the back burner for a bit...and there is a 50/50 chance that might still be true.

But during the week that has passed a few things have happened.  First, I received several encouraging notes and nods from friends and fans who totally understood how difficult it was for me to make such a declaration (and until I send you a personal note of thanks, please accept this very public THANK YOU :).  Second, I took a quick car trip to Philly on Sunday and had some time to think.  Third, I had an epiphany.

Starting backwards with the epiphany--this week is my first blogaversay!  It was almost one year ago that the Busy Black Woman blog was born.  How could I possibly think of abandoning this project in its infancy?  It has barely begun to walk on its be on the lookout for my one hundredth post, which I promise come hell or high water, will be written and posted before the end of this year!

Then while driving to Philly, then through Columbia (by way of Highland MD) for a couple of alumnae association Christmas parties, I had a lot of time to myself alone in the car on Sunday to think through a few things.  No, I will not be able to post every day, but I never could keep that type of schedule in the first place.  No, I might not even be able to post once a week--again, I probably never did that with much regularity either.  But the story of my life has been that nothing ever comes easy...and in a way, that has kinda sorta been the point of this blog.  So what if things are unpredictable and hectic and overwhelming and that there are days when all I want to do is sit on the sofa to watch a TVOne marathon of Seasons 2 and 3 of A Different World (after Denise's departure but before Dwayne and Whitley got together) while drinking a bottle of wine all by myself?  That is exactly the life that this Busy Black Woman has been writing about (more or less) for the past year and dagnabit, I have only begun to write!

Which brings me to the words of encouragement...again, THANK YOU!  Some of you already know why this has been a challenging time for me.  Most of you do not and maybe it is time that I used my blogging as a means to express exactly why I have been offline so much.  But....................................

Not here.  And that is because this is supposed to be the funny blog that puts a humorous spin on real life stuff that some of you totally get because you have experienced similar moments of insanity.  And knowing that others get me means that I would rather not turn this into that-depressing-blog-that-used-to-be-funny-but-now-it-is-just-sad.  So while there may be the occasional post that alludes to the drama of my personal life, the actual writing about the situation itself will take place in the Cafe, which is the older sister to this blog. 

Again, thanks for your support and I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reality Bites

I've been missing you.  But there has been a lot going on in my personal life that has kept me from writing and so before another month goes by, I wanted to let you know the deal.

If you recall a few months ago, I declared that I was going to reclaim my life, and for a solid month, I participated in a reset program designed to help me with that very task.  Well, I trudged my way through until the almost bitter end with the creation of a vision board remaining as the only outstanding project.  My plan was to work on that along with several new ideas for the expansion of this blog, new work opportunities, and most importantly, a new dedication to creating more balance in my personal life.

As the saying goes, life is what happens while you are busy making plans.  In the midst of resetting and envisioning a better life, I have had to deal with some drastic challenges that have literally overtaken my personal life.  Everything has been put on the back burner, especially this blog.

So as I work through this situation, I just wanted to thank everyone for your support this past year, for it was exactly a year ago that I decided to start this blog.  I am not walking away from this project, but I do need to reexamine how I can continue it in light of the circumstances.  I am a perfectionist, and the only way I can make this work is on my terms.  So until I can commit to a regular schedule of posting new articles, I will have depend on other forms of social media to stay connected--I will continue to tweet the important facts about Busy Black Women whenever I get the opportunity, and I will interact with some of you through the Facebook page and/or real life.  Prayerfully, I will return to a regular posting schedule for the blog in January.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Icons Of a Certain Age

Yesterday...just another ordinary day until the first unconfirmed tweet.  Followed by another.  Both of which I ignored since Twitter is infamous for perpetuating false death rumors.  When a friend questioned the veracity of the chatter on Facebook, I determined to find a credible news source to debunk the matter so that I could get on with the rest of my day.

Well, it took about ten minutes of searching, but the unmistakable RIP tweet and TMZ link posted by Harvey "I'm a Lawya" Levin confirmed the mind-boggling truth.  Rapper Heavy D was gone at age 44.

There is a lot I could say about Heavy D, his music, and how the apex of his career evokes a certain time in my life and that of many of my friends.  For it was just about 20 years ago that we were all singing along to his theme song for the comedy sketch show In Living Color.  And just maybe a few years before that when my Catholic girl-school classmates and I were trying to decide which of his Boyz was cuter (G-Whiz or the late T-Roy), or whether it was the Heavster himself who was the most irresistible.  And perhaps it was because of his appeal, guys who might have thought of their bulk as girl repellent, were inspired by his swagger to make plays for our attention.

For those of us who are of that age and now sit in disbelief that we have lost yet another icon from our youth, this is a bitter pill to swallow.

Because those of us who are either approaching or settling into our 40s are navigating the real real world challenges of life, replete with troubled marriages, marriage envy, infertility, empty nests, adolescent angst, terrible twos, student loans, home foreclosures, bankruptcies, mid-career slumps, corporate downsizing, chronic health conditions, addictions, ill or transitioning parents, advance medical directives, life insurance, college savings, stock market fluctuations, pre-menopause, PTSD, low T or ED or whatever they are calling impotence these days--this is rough.

I expect that some callous anonymous pimple-faced teenager will pose the inevitable "who is Heavy D and who cares" question on a blog or news article because, well, that is how idiots express themselves nowadays.  Or the question will be asked by one of those snobby/snarky types who claim to have never heard of the man because "rap music was never my thing".  Or, some truly mean-spirited a$$ will make a particularly trite joke about his name and girth.  Into whichever category these puppy-kickers belong, as they wonder why so many thirty- and forty-somethings mourn the loss of someone most of us have never met, or possibly may have forgotten, we know that the answer is simple...

Heavy D was of that era before life got so complicated. Be Inspired on your Peaceful Journey.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Red Beans and Rice Monday: Halloween Tricks and Treats

I should not be taking precious time from my newly crafted blogging schedule to write this, but sometimes exceptions must be made.  So perhaps I can kill two birds with the same stone...

All over the Twitterverse earlier this afternoon was the news that celebu-tart Kim Kardashian had filed for divorce from her husband of two months and nearly two weeks, NBA player Kris Humphries.  They were married in a lavish ceremony in August, which just aired in a primetime TV special in October.  (These facts are provided solely for the purpose of those who have not been Keeping up with the Kardashians lately :)  The wedding promo is still running on the freakin' E! site!

I could write an entire post based on the previous paragraph...but here is where I return to my regularly scheduled topic, which happens to be Halloween.  Based on the timing (for had they waited to get hitched on Valentine's Day, it would have been too obvious to announce plans to divorce on April 1st), it is quite clear that Kim K and Kris Humphries' marriage was all some massive trick!

And who is gonna top that one, boo?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Our Anniversary!

(Well, it was back on October 5 when I started writing this initially...but please read on :)

Ten years ago, on the night of October 4, I was wide awake and worried about coming down with a cold.  It had taken us six hours to get to New York and then another hour or so to find our way to White Plains because apparently clearly marked exit signs only exist on the New Jersey Parkway.  Anyway, after finally settling in for the night, I called my parents and my father assured me that he would get in touch with my younger brother who was away in college to let him know what was going to happen the next day.

The next day was a beautiful autumn Friday in New York City, and my then-boyfriend of five years and I rode down to Manhattan with a couple of friends from college to get hitched at City Hall.  Of course, nothing went as planned.  We left late and got stuck in midday traffic.  The ceremony was taking place three weeks after 9/11/01 just a few blocks away from what had become known as Ground Zero and workers were still searching through the rubble.  Police were everywhere, so we had to go through several security checks just to drive close enough to be let off near the clerk's office.  Not all of our friends were there at the right time, and we almost forfeited our slot because the office closed earlier than we anticipated.  To this day, I am positive that the ceremony was conducted almost entirely in Spanglish.  Later I learned that my father had casually told my brother that I had gotten married two days after the fact.  And both of us went back to work that Monday morning as if nothing major had happened at all.

Belated September Reset Recap

So I finally posted the September Reset Journal, and so now I wanted to offer a recap of sorts to summarize (for those of you who are not all that interested in reading a day-to-day rehash of the month of September :)

I did ok.  If I were to have given myself a grade, it might have been a D because the perfectionist in me would still be upset about all of the  things I did not accomplish last month (like not cleaning my house, or not making it to church every Sunday, or for not working out three times a week).  Instead, because I know that I am not perfect and God willing, there is always next month, I will give myself a C-.

And I will drink from the half-full glass to acknowledge the things I did accomplish, like avoiding alcohol for the entire month (I even took Alka Seltzer instead of NyQuil when I got sick).  I spent quality time with the husband.  I went to church more often than I have in years.  I woke up early a few times and I arrived on time for a few things.  And I am proud to say that I did accomplish a lot in terms of soul-searching, thanks in large part to the Happy Black Woman 31-Day Reset.  While I am not a radically different person (for there is much room for improvement, such as finishing projects that I start) I am a person who understands why the power to change must come from within. 

And that is my big AHA revelation.  No matter how bad things seem, I can triumph.  I think about how my car was broken into again, and how I chose not to fly off into a rage and simply opted to forgive.  I think about the challenges facing my family because of my Mother's condition, and trust me, being angry at the world did nothing to change the reality of the situation.  Deciding on a course of action has been much more beneficial.  Let's face it, life is hard, yet there is a lot of joy to be found on the margins.  And so, as often as I can, I will look for the joy.

At some point it occurred to me that I already knew this and I had what I will call a 'ruby slipper' moment.  You remember that part at the end of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is told by Glenda the Good Witch that she could have gone home at the very beginning if she had just clicked her heels three times while in Munchkin Land--before meeting the Scarecrow, Tinman and the Lion; before meeting the fake Wizard; and before having to confront the Wicked Witch of the West.  Armed with that information at the outset, Dorothy could had avoided all of the unnecessary drama, but she also would never have gained the wisdom, compassion and courage that she needed to face her various obstacles.  Thus, the power to change my outlook and reactions, to ability to empathize, and the strength to deal with whatever curve balls life hurls at me is right here inside of me.  Yes, I might prefer to avoid the unpleasantness, but in order to get to that joy, sometimes the sidetrip through Oz is inevitable...

PS: For those of you who prefer The Wiz, a 'silver slipper' moment is technically the same thing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Busy Black Woman Returneth!

For those of you who might have noticed that I had not written anything since the beginning of October (and for those who did notice), I'm back!  And I have so much to say that it is hard to know where to I will start at the beginning.

I intended to write a post back at the beginning of the month about my September reset, but then I started another post about the Obamas and my 10th wedding anniversary, which I did not finish before the trip to New York for the niece's wedding, and I only had a day to prepare for the trip to Puerto Rico for a week (sans laptop), so by the time I got back and spent most of last week ripping and running around, it was time for Blogalicious weekend.

And I just noticed today that I pretty much abandoned you all for the month of October. AACCK!

So here is the deal, I will spend the remainder of this month on all of the unfinished and partially completed drafts and ideas that were supposed to be posted by now: the September reset recap, the beauty of weddings and anniversaries, my vacation, my reflections on Blogalicious, and finally Halloween.  That makes five articles in six days, so while I am not making any promises, I hope that you will come back into the Busy Black Woman fold anyway to see what happens next!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Surprise

I did not intend to write a blog marking the start of October by mentioning that my car got broken into AGAIN...probably by the same crackhead that rifled through it the last time.  And again, this time the police came and took a report that will probably end up in the unsolved case file because no one gives a crap about a car that was broken into and was only deprived of meter change (even if it was not the only car that was targeted, which is a crucial point to mention since it was a neighbor who alerted us to the crime this morning after noticing that his car and another neighbor's car had been rifled through).

And if you are worried that this will be another rant, it won't because after speaking with the officer at length about what might have happened this time around, I...will save my feelings for a little later, so please read on (but no, this is not another rant).  The officer suggested that the culprit might have been a known entitity who has caused mischief for years around these parts, and then went on to tell the husband and me how this person has been locked up a few times, homeless, and get this--raised in this very neighborhood!

What in the world???!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Things You Do For Love

And I say this after spending the morning at the salon getting my hair braided, per the request of the husband...because as everyone on my Twitter feed learned this morning right before it all got started, I HATE GETTTING MY HAIR BRAIDED!

Mind you, the husband LOVES braids and specifically requested them for my appearance at the Elder Niece's nuptials which are next weekend.  He made this request back in June when we were discussing a few wedding details with the Elder Niece, her sister (the MOH), and her Mom (his eldest sister and  my sister-in-law).  Mind you, I am not even in the bridal party, so what I look like really should not matter, but then when it was suggested that I might have to pose in a wedding photo or two, then the topic of what-will-she-do-with-her-hair came up (and mind you once more, this question was posed by the husband)...

And then he pulls out the emotional blackmail: "You know how much my mother loved you in braids...everybody loves you in braids" and then makes a sad weepy dog face for effect.  And as you know, I loved my late mother-in-law and would have done just about anything for her, so now I have braids.

And did I mention that the big wedding weekend happens to coincide with the Busy Black Woman's big 10th wedding anniversary?  So since the husband loves braids, and I've been a grumpy grump for the last eight and a half years, I got braids to make him happy.  But please do not tell him that...I'm sticking with the explanation that since we are headed to Puerto Rico the following week, I got braids so that I will not have to think about my hair whilst enjoying a week in the tropics.

Because I love the husband, I will not be participating in a panel discussion about my college years, which would be a totally typical BBW activity for me on any other night of the year.  Alas, it is scheduled for the night of our anniversary, so I thought twice and declined the invitation...but you can tell him it was because I needed to pack for our two trips.

Because I love my natural hair just like it is, I am annoyed that people want to charge me extra for styling it, as if the additional length is somehow a liability.  Yes it is thick and will destroy styling tools without a second thought, but isn't that the point?  But as much as I love this thick mess, I needed a break, so that is why I have braids.

Because this song has been in my head since I wrote the title to this post, here ya go:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fried Chicken Wednesday: Soap Operas

It is a dirty little secret that Busy Black Women watch soap operas (what else do we DVR now that Oprah has ended her show) and it is this week that we pay homage to one of our favorite character actresses, Debbi Morgan, who celebrated a birthday on September 20.  On and off since the 80s, Morgan has portrayed Angie Baxter Hubbard, alongside Darnell Williams, who portrayed her soul mate, Jesse Hubbard on All My Children (AMC).   

Of course you already know this because everybody knows about Angie and Jesse, the first black super-couple in daytime (and apparently the person who put together that fan page, must really love them).  And of course, you know that as of this Friday, AMC will sign off for good, perhaps to be reincarnated online as a web serial.  So Happy Birthday Debbi Morgan!  As of Friday, you’re out of a job…?

Except that is not quite true.  Although AMC will be going off the air, Morgan will be joining the cast of The Young and the Restless (Y&R) next month, another long-running soap on a rival network.  And so, Happy Birthday Debbi Morgan!  You still have a job…for now, since it is a pretty good bet that CBS will rinse its two remaining soaps down the drain before long. 

The soap opera as we knew it back when we watched it with our grandmothers and babysitters is dead.  It is okay because years ago we gave up trying to keep up with those inane soap storylines involving alien abductions, resurrections from the dead, and how many husbands Erica Kane has had.  Quietly, but steadily, we have all moved on to the real-life drama provided by reality TV shows. 

The Joy of Being an Anti-Parent

The Busy Black Woman has no children of her own, but she has younger cousins, nieces, nephews, play god-children, and the children of her friends to dote upon.  And despite the fact that none of these little cherubs actually belong to me, I am particularly tickled and blessed to have them in my life.

Case in point: I was in a F.O.U.L. mood on Sunday--cussing and PMSing while driving with the single-minded intent to ratchet up my cussing and fussing once I reached my destination.  The husband's attempts to reason with me proved futile as he sounded just like an adult from a old Peanuts cartoon.

We arrived at my parents' house, but no one was there, so I drew my guns to take aim at whomever came through the door first.  Five minutes or so later, the first person through the door was my father, but sensing that it was in his best interest to keep walking, he hurried past me to take cover in the kitchen.  Next in was my mother, but right behind her toddled in the Baby Niece who looked up at me, smiled, outstretched her arms and cried out, "YaYa!"

And with that, Hurricane BBW got downgraded from a category 4 to a drizzle and a gentle fall breeze.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Best of Intentions

Disclaimer: This is going to be a rant.  An angry rant.  At times, an unfocused, angry, bitter rant.  I know that breaks certain cardinal rules of blogging, and I know that it might cost me a few readers, but I have some things that I need to get off my chest.  So hold on, because Hurricane BBW is a category 5 bitch of a storm.

So, just 16 days ago, I declared September to be my month.  I was going to focus on me, make life improvements, and maybe try to clean my house a little.  Well, so far NO good.  And that is not because I gave up alcohol.

It is because I received some very unfortunate, but not totally unexpected news.  I was not initially going to blog about it here, because my desire has been to keep the personal stuff light and airy since this is supposed to be a humor and lifestyle blog.  Well f*** that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gratitude for Things Big and Small

I fell a bit behind on my Happy Black Woman reset, and today is hardly the day for me to catch up as I have been in bed sick...after getting a clean bill of health from the doctor just this morning!  But seeing as how I am grateful that whatever this is probably will not kill me (it will just slow me down for a few days), here is a list of 10 other things I am grateful for in my life:
  1. The husband, who came home after a long day and did a load of laundry, baked a cake for someone, and will probably have to sleep on the coach tonight so that he won't catch whatever it is I have.
  2. Health insurance, for after listening to snippets from the GOP debate last night, there but by the grace of God go I...
  3. My friends, because these are the people who have chosen to be in my life, even after getting to really know me.
  4. Family, because they may not have a choice in being related to me, but they have a choice whether to care.
  5. Children
  6. Church folks who plan programs but fail to place limits on the amount of time given to each speaker...although I was beyond tired by hour 3, it was great to see everyone and to hear their reflections.  Next time I'll remember to take a snack though.
  7. Caller ID
  8. Skills that will always enable me to earn a living, or at least be useful.
  9. Compassion for others.
  10. Forgiveness and grace

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Picked a Fine Time to Give Up Alcohol...

I am only joking, but for the past few days I've been wondering if I should have just given up crack instead (another very bad joke).

Seriously, though it is a little weird to be invited to parties and happy hours during the weekend of the big Morehouse vs. Howard Classic and not be able to enjoy a drink or two.  At the same time, it was also pretty weird that the after-game tailgate consisted of a lot of us standing around in an unlit parking lot.  Or that the "offical" after-party that the alumnae association had spent the better part of the summer planning had few, if any alumnae in attendance...where were you my sisters and brothers?

Since there was no one around to hear my explanation as to why I was only drinking club soda, I took a quick survey of the club, chatted with a few folks outside, switched out of the cute heels into my flipflops, walked back to my friend's hotel, got hit on by a couple of good looking guys on the elevator (apparently Mama still has a lil' sumthin' sumthin'), and then watched the rest of the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game.  After receiving some disappointing reconnaissance from the field concerning some of the other post-game festivities, my companions and I went to Clyde's where I had a midnight lobster dinner with fries and three diet Cokes.

And while it would have been nice to have had a drink or two, I did not feel deprived.  Of course, that is how I feel today...check me out later in a week or so to see if I haven't taken a nosedive off the side of this ricketey teetotaler wagon.

How dry I am...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Busy Black Woman meets the Happy Black Woman

Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Rosetta Thurman, life coach and author of the Happy Black Woman blog at a Happy Hour she sponsored at the Dirty Martini bar in DC.  I meant to write about that experience then, but life has a way of messing with my good intentions.  However, sometimes things happen for a reason.  Read on...

OK, so at the aforementioned event, I met several very interesting women: fellow bloggers, Spelman sisters, people I follow on Twitter, business women, and generally all very positive people.  It was not at all like some of the typical DC networking events where there is a list to get in or where you get the feeling that even after you make it past the velvet rope, you are being judged for every single choice (like breathing a certain way).  This was just very cool. 

And I have a confession to make--I went to this event with no clear idea of what to expect.  I saw the event posting and RSVP'd and just showed up. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


(This should have posted two weeks ago, but you know how things get sometimes.  And for whatever reason, it felt as if I was writing in circles :)

On Sunday the 14th, we celebrated the birthday of pioneering Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry with a poll on the Busy Black Woman Facebook page of our favorites among her various film roles.  And by chance, BET treated us to one of her earliest roles in the film Boomerang.

Now, there was no above-and-beyond winner, as we ended up with a tie between crackhead Halle in Jungle Fever and ethereal Halle in Their Eyes Were Watching God.  Of course, I chose TEWWG because it was a film produced by a Busy Black Woman (the Oprah), based on a book written by a Busy Black Woman (Zora Neal Hurston), with a screen play adapted by a Busy Black Woman (Suzan Lori Parks) because Busy Black Women acknowledge the great work of their peers...  But if I had to choose a second best performance, I would probably go with crackhead Halle. 

Or, I might have chosen Boomerang, which may or may not have been among the choices offered, but that is what the husband voted for once he realized there was a poll.  If you were not old enough to see R-rated movies in the 90s or if you were living under a rock somewhere, this movie was Eddie Murphy's last really funny film.  It featured Halle as the "nice girl" opposite Robin Givens as the "not-so-nice girl".  I will not spoil it for you by telling you how it ends, but I will say that Halle made two major contributions to this film: (1) the line that essentially launched Toni Braxton's career and (2) her signature ear-length bob (because before there was the Rachel, there was the Halle haircut).

And that brings me to the point of this article--can we "boomerang" back to the 90s?

Last Day of August

Folks, 2011 has been one grand never-ending challenge and the Busy Black Woman is tired.  Really tired.  So I've decided that it is time for a new start!

I have never actually done anything like this before, and if I make it to the other side, we'll see if it is something I would recommend, but I am about to embark on a major life overhaul.  I am really about to do the unthinkable, unimaginable, and frankly the scariest thing I possibly could do...

I am going to focus on ME for an entire month.  I will not drink anything alcoholic for the month of September.  I am going to put myself on a dedicated exercise schedule, including walking, weekly yoga and ballet classes, and maybe even riding my bike again.  I am going to take control of the clutter in my house and set weekly goals for cleaning and organizing.  I am going to set a bedtime.  I am going to prepare for the day ahead the night before (or maybe a few nights before if needed).  I am going to go through all of my unread and unanswered email.  I will read a book or two.  I am going to church every Sunday in September.  I am going to cook.

In other words, the Busy Black Woman is going to do what she often scoffs at others for doing--I am making New Year September.

There are a lot of reasons why I need to focus on self-improvement and again, since I almost never make resolutions, this will be a challenge.  Like most people, the road to this particular personal hell has been paved with good intentions, years in the making.  Everyday I strive to be a good wife/daughter/sister/aunt/friend/lawyer/BBW but that all gets to be overwhelming especially when I look back over that list, and no where does it suggest that I want to be a good me.   So starting September 1, I am going to do everything in my power to insert 'me' into my list of good intentions.

Why put off tomorrow what I could very well start today?  Well, technically I am starting today by making this declaration publicly on my blog so that people know I am serious and want to be held accountable for falling short.  Also, it helps that I have a few de-cluttering and organizing tasks planned to keep me occupied for the rest of the day.  But in all honesty, because I do have one last day in this month, I also want to enjoy one last guilt-free drink at a party this evening. 

I do need to make clear that I am not abandoning my BBW ways since that is the essence of who I am.  But I am going to take a hard look at how those activities impact me, and whether the BBW persona limits the growth of me, the person.  That means that I might actually say NO to the things that conflict with my new agenda.  I will ask for help.  I will not continue to carry the world on my shoulders and then get frustrated when no one offers to help.  Some of ya'll might not like what I have to say (I'll be blogging about my progress throughout the month)...and I am totally ok with that. 

Well, if the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, then here goes:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Red Beans and Rice Monday: The Irene, MLK Memorial, VMAs, et al Recap

I finally get to do a recap of an award show!  But only a partial one since I only caught the last half hour...So this will be a recap of my weekend instead (I know, you can barely contain your excitement).

Clearly the biggest news of the weekend was not Hurricane Irene.  She came, she dumped a lot of water on us, and she took out a lot of tree branches.  But in the DC area, that could have been any heavy thunderstorm.  Still, I did my Busy Black Woman best to be prepared for the worst case scenario, which was losing our power for ten hours.  Thanks to my strategic planning, we now have four 50-pound bags of sand, a three-gallon cooler full of filtered tap water, lots of non-perishable snacks, and a bucket of Harris Teeter fried chicken. 

And we know that the biggest news was not the cancelled MLK Memorial Dedication, since a lot of the activities took place with a few minor changes before Irene made landfall.  The Very Important People who attend galas and luncheons and prayer services and special fraternity dedication ceremonies got to do all of that stuff and then promptly left town.  The rest of us mere commoners got to see the Memorial all week anyway since it opened last Tuesday.  The husband and I went down there last night, and like every other monument, it was teeming with tourists and their cameras, which means I will be cranky in a few weeks because of the unnecessary foot traffic jams caused by picture-posing clumps of people standing in the middle of the sidewalk.  So the only thing we missed was another speech by President Obama...darn!

In other words, it is a really beautiful monument:

Friday, August 26, 2011

B-cube Update - Don't Mess with Mother Nature

Don't you just hate that?  You spend two good hours writing a great piece about the upcoming weekend of MLK Memorial Dedication festivities; save, post, and tweet the link; head off to dance class then to dinner...only to learn that it was all for naught.

Darn events cancelled due to the approaching hurricane.

But better safe than sorry folks.  Hurricane Irene is now expected to be a lot worse on our region than originally predicted.  Apparently, they can see just how bad it might be from the International Space Station!  The last hurricane that came through this way was Isabel, and I remember how the resulting damage delayed my uncle's funeral by as many as ten days.  Obviously, the images of Katrina remain with all of us...and though I was long gone from New Orleans by the time Katrina hit in 2005, I did have the misfortune to be living in the city during the Great Flood of 1995.  It was during my first year of law school and one thing I will never forget was watching someone kayak down St. Charles Street because there was no other way to navigate the city (pun intended...and that memory might be slightly exaggerated--the person could have been in a row boat) and I was stranded on the third floor of my building for two days with no power because the water was waist-deep.  The point, Mother Nature don't play!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A B-Cube on the MLK Memorial Dedication

Since we survived the earthquake on Tuesday, now all we need to do is hope that Hurricane Irene takes a sudden detour out to sea.  Folks from all over the country are in town to celebrate the dedication of the MLK Memorial and it would be nice if Mother Nature would give us a pass. 

Not that I am arguing with Mother Nature, but she's been cranky this summer.  Heatwaves throughout the month of July and crazy thunder storms for the past two weeks, and then of course, the Earthquake that our friends in California poo-poohed as small.  Well, yeah leave us and our 5.8 magnitude quake (and the 4.5 aftershock that I distinctly felt this morning around 1am) alone.  Just know that you will get NO SYMPATHY from us if ya'll get any snow this winter.

Anyway, back to the dedication info (and a few links in case you need them):

Build the Dream - This is the official site for the MLK National Memorial Foundation and it includes the official schedule of activities associated with the dedication this weekend (still taking donations for the remaining $5 million as well).

Some of the events posted on this site are ticketed events, but in keeping with the B-cube philosophy of promoting activites for the broke, busy woman on a budget, here are the freebies:
  • See the memorial now!  It won't cost you anything to head over to the National Mall to catch a glimpse of the memorial before 10pm this evening when it closes for the official re-unveiling on Sunday.  I drove by earlier today (along Independence Ave) and it looks spectacular!
  • Check out the free public expo at the Convention Center, which opened today and will be open through Sunday. 
  • Free performance tomorrow at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage featuring Raheem DeVaughn
  • Pre-Dedication Musical Tribute, the actual Dedication, and the Concert on the Mall, all taking place on Sunday, August 28 and all FREE
Or you could just skip all of the hooplah this weekend and check it out the memorial whenever...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


OK, so what does a Busy Black Woman do during an earthquake?

She sets down her laptop and runs out of the house barefoot to see if it is just her house rattling like a freight train, then wonders whether Harold Camping was right after all...

Then she calls her loved ones, beginning with the husband (who does not answer); the parents (who do, and report minor damage); the aunt (who stayed in bed through the whole thing); and the brother in law in NY (who called to check in on her and claims that he only heard car alarms going off).  She goes back outside to see more neighbors all standing around with the same puzzled look on their faces.  She goes back inside to survey the damage and finds a broken coffee mug on the kitchen floor.  Then she checks Twitter and Facebook to read the reactions.  On Twitter she learns that it was a 5.8 magnitude quake and that it was felt in NYC.  On Facebook, she sees that the nephew-in-law has checked in to make sure all is ok in DC.  Then she turns on the cable news and learns that the epicenter was in VA but the trembling was felt as far away as Illinois and Georgia.  Then the husband calls in to say that he is OK.  Then she discovers that cell phone service is still down, so she cannot call to check on the brothers or the rest of the NYC family.  She posts a few comments on Facebook, shares a laugh or two with a few friends from California, and thinks that she might go mix herself a drink.

But then it hits her--she is incredibly blessed because this could have been really, really bad.  She thinks about the earthquake that hit Japan earlier this year and how that nearly caused a nuclear meltdown.  She considers the catastrophic devastation wrought by the earthquake that hit Haiti.  She remembers the tsunami of a few years ago.

And she thinks about what she was doing at the very moment the earthquake hit...she was writing a post of complaints on the very topic of how discomforting it is for someone to remind her of how things could be worse.  Awkward.  Ironic.  Probably will not get posted any time soon, if at all.

She thinks about how she's been feeling sorry for herself lately, and how the sense of powerlessness is nothing compared to real powerlessness.  She expects that when she goes to church this Sunday (because you'd better believe she'll be somewhere thanking God on Sunday morning), there will be a sermon in all of this, and it will change her perspective.  Heck, she's not even going to wait for Sunday...

Thank the Lord!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A BBW Top Ten for Summer 2011

I'm back!  (Actually, I just took a short break from posting here...I needed to blow off a little steam at the Cafe blog last week).  And according to my calendar and the Facebook updates of my friends with children, summer is pretty much over.  Which kinda sucks...

And I know I am dating myself by mentioning this, but one of my favorite assignments from the first week of school was the summer recap essay: "What I Did During My Summer Vacation".  I also enjoyed writing book reports, but children's books read to the Baby Niece do not count...

Alas, there will not be a desk or locker with my name taped to it come September, but I thought it would be fun to write the Busy Black Woman's version of that same essay, presented here as a Top Ten List:

1. Walking through the Alumnae Arch - To everyone who does not know this, I LOVE visiting my alma mater, and this year, I went down for a meeting and had the opportunity to participate in the Reunion/Graduation activities.  No, I did not get a ticket to see Mrs. Obama as the commencement speaker (that would have been the cherry on top), but I did get to walk through the Alumnae Arch while carrying my class flag!  This was a very big deal because it was not even my Reunion year.  I also got to connect with a few of my classmates, and I got to see some sisters I had not seen in 17 years!  The downside was the unfortunate photo of my puffy, "ugly cry" face...I started bawling less than five feet away from the Arch and that is when someone snapped the photo.  But the best part about that day was standing on the opposite side of the Arch to greet the new alumnae-to-be as they came through!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Makes Me Wanna Holla

This is a public service announcement of sorts because of a recent incident that has me a bit rattled.  Busy people, please be careful out there!

This morning I discovered that someone had gone into one of our cars, rifled through the glove compartment and the arm rest, stolen the meter change and a cosmetic bag full of toiletries--all because I forgot to lock my door.  I last drove this car this past weekend from a quick trip to visit the New York relatives, and because we got back so late, the husband and I intended to unpack the remaining things the following morning.  Well, as good intentions go, we never got around to doing that and apparently, I forgot to activate the alarm.

I am kicking myself because this is something that I do a lot (leaving the car unlocked in front of the house).  But because I live in a quiet neighborhood with older neighbors who watch every move anyone makes, I never gave my occasional negligence a second thought.  Until now...

Just half an hour before I discovered this morning's jolt of reality, I had been reading in the paper about how an elderly man who was just walking his dog got stabbed by a couple of teenagers who were looking to rob him.  And this was just after the husband had shared a story he heard on the radio about a sociopath who killed several people and is now on death row. 

I am not going to ask what the world is coming to because this type of craziness is all around us.  No one is immune from crime.  I am angry about what happened to me because I know that I should have been more careful...but people also should not steal.  People should not be killed over dumb stuff.  I should not have to fear for my life or have to worry about crackhead thieves who pull on car handles in the middle of the night. 

So this is just a warning to urge you to pay attention to your surroundings.  Busy people are often distracted, which means that we miss things.  I have not exactly been too busy to remember to clear out my car, but I just didn't think about it, and I certainly did not realize that my car had been unlocked for several days.  So please just try to be more aware of the things that you might tend to forget...OK that didn't make sense the way I worded it and quite honestly, I cannot figure out how to re-word it except to emphasize again, be more observant!

(Please forgive me for rambling...)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Lesson from Lucy

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was compiling a list of facts for tweeting and if you are following me on Twitter, you have received several of them so far.  Much of this information falls under the category of random trivia that might be useful if one was a contestant on Jeopardy or maybe at a dinner party with a bunch of women's studies majors. 

You might have also noted that I have branded women from every background as Busy Black Women, which would have been quite a surprise to some if they were still living.  And until I get a cease and desist letter, there are a lot of women still among us, black or otherwise, who are also similarly designated.  So yes, Martha Stewart, Elizabeth Dole, Connie Chung, and Bethenny Frankel, ya'll are all Busy Black Women!

In compiling these facts to tweet, I have learned a lot about the women I chose to profile.  It is always interesting to learn how old some celebrity really is (if the entries on Wikipedia are to be believed), and it is also great to learn that many of the women I admire have really accomplished wonderful things.  It gives me hope that for all of my efforts, one day someone in the generations that follow will research my life and be inspired.

Le sigh...(freeze frame smile of hopeful pride)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to School/Work/Reality

Folks, July is over.  And that means summer is just about gone too.

According to the calendar, one might be tempted to think that we have a full six weeks of leisurely living left, but no!  As soon as those back-to-school sale signs appeared (no less than a day or so after July 4th), it has been clear that the retailers are ready to plunge us headfirst towards Christmas.  As you know, back-to-school sales beget Halloween sales which beget Christmas trees and before you know it, you are complaining about the cold and making New Years Resolutions again. 

The good thing about this past July was that it took forever to end.  But that could also be considered a bad thing since this was the absolute hottest summer I have ever endured.  And just so that you know that declaration is coming from a woman who lived in New Orleans for three years and who spent her freshman year living on the third floor of a non air-conditioned dorm with a window that faced the sun, so that is saying a LOT!  This past month there were days that I stepped outside just to water my tomatoes and literally, walked out into a sauna.

I spent a great deal of time lamenting my overall lack of productivity because idleness is a really scary thing for me.   Then I came to the magical realization today that I was not wasting time, I was relaxing...(ok, not really) but for the first time in a long time, I actually had time off to enjoy.

Thank goodness I didn't totally blow it--I enjoyed the month of July more than I thought.  I watched a lot of movies.  I got a lot of writing done and spent a lot of time with the Baby Niece.  I've had a little time to assess some of my shortcomings in order to make some adjustments for the Fall.  I've had time to plan a few projects.  I've been spending quality time with my family.  I threw out some of the clutter that has been overwhelming me.  I planted tomatoes and peppers again.  I got up and went to church a few Sundays without having any particular reason for doing so.  Before the summer ends, I will make it back up to NYC to spend time with the Tween, Teen and Adult Nieces along with the Nephews.  I will get back into some kind of yoga class.  And in a few days, I will help the husband celebrate another birthday. 

All of this is to say that the BBW is thankful.  Dear Lord, thank you for this past month of downtime.  Yes, I blew off a lot of stuff and will have to spend the bulk of August trying to make up for that, but I think that was simply a part of the grand design.  Perhaps heatwaves are just like blizzards in that you are telling us to stay still because too much movement is life-threatening.

Now I am about to do something completely uncharacteristic--I am shutting down the computer for the night.

Late Night Fried Chicken: Lesser Royal Weddings and Other Snacks

So apparently this past weekend, another royal wedding took place except I did not get word that I needed to rise from my bed at 5am to watch the two-hour long processional.  And then I remembered that I totally missed another royal wedding a couple of weeks ago, so I'm starting to wonder if I am slipping...

Or maybe these royal nuptials involve folks that we clearly could care less about. 

But if you recall, I have a major soft spot for the British royal family.  So the wedding of the Queen's eldest granddaughter and the in-depth coverage of Princess Catherine's recycled outfit is enough for me to indulge in a few late night nibbles with some fancy dipping sauce.  And while we're on the subject of royals, I might as well enjoy a few more nuggets--the royal visits exchanged between the First Family and the Windsors, the visit to Hollywood by the future King and Queen of England, and then the royal wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco.  So if you please, a recap in photos (with a little snarky commentary in my best Geico gecko voice):

The lovely bride, Zara Phillips, and her new husband, Mark Tindall, the bloke with the crooked face.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fried Chicken Wednesday: Soul Train


This is too easy.  Who didn't love Soul Train?  Who among you is crazy enough to admit to such want and deprivation?

To be honest, I am not even sure that Soul Train qualifies as being described as fried chicken-worthy because there is no good reason for anyone to feel guilty about loving this show.  I mean, do you know anybody who did not want to be a Soul Train dancer?  Have you ever met a person who has never participated in a Soul Train dance line?  Did you know that Soul Train is such an integral part of Americana that they are going to preserve parts of the original set in the Smithsonian?  And is there a person alive who does not instinctly know that a blown kiss, two fingers, and a raised fist universally means love, peace and soul?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whose Hair is It Anyway?

This is one of those times when the BBW needs to get a little political, so I want to speak up on the issue of choice: Ladies, it is YOUR hair, so please wear it as you see fit.

See?  Now what is with all the drama lately?

I blame the Oprah's longtime hair stylist Andre Walker, for the comments he made in an interview with Elle Magazine last month.  A couple of weeks later, he was getting called out on Twitter and in this article in Clutch Magazine for coming off as a hater because he suggested that natural hair can be limiting when it comes to styling.  In his expert opinion, kinky hair should be chemically altered.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Cure for My Friday Funk

Let me just start off by saying that this is not another complaint about the least not entirely :)

But this morning I woke up in a pool of sweat and with an unexplained pain in my knee.  Mind you, I went to bed last night with a full glass of wine and a heating pad strapped to my lower back...but it was the failure of the air conditioning that was the source of my misery this morning. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sincere Insecurity

So this weekend the husband and I went on an outing to St. Michaels, MD with our other married-without-children-couple friends to eat crabs.  (For anyone who lives in the DMV, you know it ain't summer till you've had some crabs!)  And yes I know we could have just gone down to the Wharf instead of taking a two-hour trip to the Eastern Shore, but what fun is there in doing the obvious?

The plan was devised and confirmed mid-week.  We were to meet at our house at 10:30am and then hit the road in order to arrive for our 1:00 reservation.  And all I had to do was to clean my living room, dining room, the stairs, the upstairs hallway and the bathroom.

The pressure to get all of this done, and the laundry, and wash my hair, and do a bunch of other stuff by Saturday morning was enormous.  So of course, as you probably guessed, I panicked...and punked out.  I had the husband call the night before to change the meeting location to their house which was 20 minutes in the opposite direction. 

(And in case you were wondering, the only task completed on that to-do list was washing my hair, and I barely finished that on time. Thank goodness for floppy hats!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Latest Obsession

For those who might not already know this, I am kind of an obsessive person.  And I mean only slightly less obsessive than your crazy college friend who would beg you to ride shotgun with her so that she could drive by her ex-boyfriend's place to see what he was up to two weeks after their latest split.  I'm married, so I gave up the stalking thing years ago!

But, I would say that when I get an idea or discover something new that I want, I truly "dedicate" myself to the effort...

Like when I see a new shade of lipstick or nail polish in a magazine ad and I just have to find it...or when I decide that I must watch every episode of a cancelled TV show currently in reruns...or whenever my favorite cosmetic company announces its seasonal bonuses and I make special trips to the various department stores in order to collect the different makeup bags and *free* goodies...or whenever I buy all of the discontinued bottles of my favorite body wash from Marshall's...or when I learn about a company's bad corporate practices and forbid the husband from buying their products...or when I find myself killing time in an independent bookstore...

My latest obsession is a project intended to promote this blog.  Mind you, I am not obsessed with the blog itself (despite what you might think of last week's series), because it is not as if I have been staying up to the wee hours of the morning actually blogging (ok maybe last week).  On the contrary, I have been working day and night to assemble a lot of random information that I hope to start sharing via Twitter.

Yes, Twitter, where most of what people share is about as useful as this stuff here

Of course when you filter out the random stuff, Twitter is the go to source for up-to-the-minute information.  In addition to serving as a quick venue for me to spout off about whatever is on my mind at the moment such as a particularly interesting observation about celebrating birthdays at Red Lobster or the hippies at the Folklife Festival yesterday, I tend to use it for telling people stuff and that happens to be another one of my obsessions--wannabe information guru to the masses. 

(You were right Dr. W, I probably should have been a journalist, but I did teach for a stint, so does that count?)

Anyhoo, in the next few days, be on the lookout for more random information courtesy of the Busy Black Woman.  If you are not already doing so, please follow me on Twitter @busyblackwoman

Oh and one more thing, if you want to get the latest updates to the blog sent directly to your inbox, you can now subscribe to the blog!  Woohoo :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

B-Cubes: Best of the Washington Post Summer Guide

As one of the last remaining households that still gets the newspaper delivered daily (kind of like the folks who still get their milk delivered), I checked out the Post's Weekend section of the best activities for the remainder of the summer this morning over coffee with the husband.  Quite timely given my recent three-part spate of articles on the very same topic...

But I am not a hater!  I see the silver lining and take note that while their list includes EVERYTHING, my list will only include those activities that fit within the B-Cube philosophy: for busy broke women who still want to hang without breaking their budgets.  So big thanks to the editors at the Washington Post for helping a sista with her research!

Smithsonian Folklikfe Festival: Get there before it ends on July 11! My buddy Rachel blogged about her experiences last weekend and now I am planning my escape to soak up the remaining cultural festivities. I am still kicking myself for having missed the Soul Train Dance Party on June 30th, so if the weather holds tonight, I might be spotted doing some salsa dancing or bopping to the Dixie Cups (I think I had that same dress in 1989)! Oh, and because it makes me nostalgic for the sounds of New Orleans, enjoy this clip of "Iko Iko" by the Dixie Cups:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wash, Rinse and Repeat

The mind of a BBW is always churning--a million questions run through my mind on the regular: What should I wear, where are we going, how to get there, how late am I running, did I forget something, can I finish this, should I be here, do I need this, who is it, what do you want now, did I call her back, do I have to read all of this email, can I leave now, did you get my message, do I care, is it done, am I talking to myself, do I have time for this, will you please shut up, do you know what you are doing, did I just hear that, can I get back to you later, why are you asking me, are we there yet, what did I just tell you, how much is it, why me and why today?

Relax, relate, release!

My mind has been going full blast this morning.  I am thinking about my case, robbing Peter to pay Paul, thinking of ways to promote the blog, worried about family members, wondering if I am a hypochondriac, planning activities for the fall, fretting over stuff that I have yet to do and should have done yesterday, avoiding my email, avoiding phone calls, lamenting my age and just generally driving myself crazy! 


Every now and then I need to remind myself that it is okay to be frazzled and it is also okay if people discover that yes, I am human and really I do not have any mutant powers.  That totally belies the BBW mythology that I-can-keep-it-together-all-the-time-because-if-I-don't-the-world-will-end, but sometimes, like in the next ten minutes or so, if the world ends, then so be it.

Here is the deal: I will chillax and calm down and then get back to work until 4:00pm.  Then I will take a walk and maybe do a little gardening and play with the Baby Niece and then I will find something else constructive to do until the husband comes home.  Then I will go to bed early and pray that tomorrow will be better.  And if tomorrow is bad, then I will wash, rinse and repeat until one of these days the sun comes back out.  And if that does not work, then I'm headed back to yoga!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Busy and Broke, Pt. 3

Can you believe I have more to say?  This is one of those instances where an idea that started as something very simple blossomed into something much for the first time ever on the BBW blog, we have a three-part article!  In the words of the great Jim Carrey in The Mask, "somebody stop me!"

(Too late, now this will be a periodic feature to be called B-Cubes for busy and broke on a budget :)

In this latest installment, here is a list of day/weekend trips one can take outside of the city.  Because come August after you've seen the monuments, visited the museums, been eaten alive by far too many mosquitos at the outdoor events, and eaten at every place where you could snag a reservation during Restaurant Week, you are going to be sick of DC.  And no one will be here because Congress will probably be on recess and the rest of the DC natives will be at a family reunion somewhere down south.

So of course there is plenty to do and see outside of our fair city, but you'll have to check back later for an exhaustive overview of the many sights and sounds that await you in Hyattsville, MD or Gaithersburg, MD or even in Annandale, VA.  Nevertheless, I will share a few quick thoughts about some the other excursions that are affordable and enjoyable.

Busy and Broke, Pt. 2

So last night when I started my initial list of things to do in DC when the funds are low and the debts are high, I had no idea that it would become a series...and that some 12+ hours later (minus a few for sleeping, eating, etc.) I would be back at it!  Before I continue on with some cheap eating options, I thought that I would offer a brief back story of sorts.

Yesterday I was feeling stressed so I went for a walk around Haines Point, which is one of my spots for getting in some exercise during the summer.  And I got to thinking about how walking the Mall is a great way to exercise and to see the sites.  And how *free* is definitely a magic number for the Busy Black Woman on a budget who needs low-cost ways to decompress.  Lord knows that being busy all the dang time makes us crazy.  So I made a mental list of all the many ways that my fellow Busy Black Women could find to relax, relate and release. 

(Imagine if you will, Whitley Gilbert relaxing, relating and releasing :)

Busy and Broke, Pt. 1

Yep, sometimes the second 'B' stands for broke...which is not a great place to be, especially during the summer.  So what is a savvy BBW to do?  Improvise, of course!  And DC happens to be the greatest city in the world for winging it (just ask Congress). 

Thus, from the perspective of a bona fide DC native who is always broke, here are a few entertainment options to help you beat the heat and possibly discover something new about the Capitol City:

Visit the Smithsonian: Your hard earned tax dollars have already paid for them, so why let perfectly decent museums sit un-visited?  While some museums are overrun by tourists, several others would love to have you stop by, such as the National Museum of African Art (headed by one of my BBW sheroes, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole); the Museums of Asian Art (the Freer and Sackler Galleries); and the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  If you are feeling especially adventurous, take the shuttle from the Mall over to the Anacostia Community Museum (because it is not that easy to find, even for most locals).

Walk the Monuments by Dusk: How long has it been since you actually visited the attractions that are featured in those cheap plastic snow globes and ceramic doo-dads that the tourists love?  If you have to think back to an elementary school class trip, then you are long overdue in revisiting some of the city's most iconic places.  An early evening stroll is romantic, educational and quieter since there are fewer people milling around.  The must-sees on your list should include the Lincoln Memorial, the ultra phallic Washington Monument, and the soon-to-be unveiled MLK National Memorial, but there really is not much that you will not see on the National Mall (except for the Reflecting Pool, which is being renovated).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bad Black Movies: Fried Chicken Monday?

Sometimes, you have to change the menu, so this week's Fried Chicken is being served on what would typically be a Red Beans & Rice Monday.  Actually, since awards shows tend to air on Sundays and the post-itis commentaries are most timely on a Monday, then we will go with Red Beans and Rice for $200, Alex...

Except, the BBW did not watch the BET Awards last night!  I was out to dinner and while every TV in the place was tuned to the BET Awards, we were seated outside watching the foot traffic.  And I left my cell phone in the car, so I was unable to follow the tweets and FB updates in real time.  And when I got home, I COMPLETELY FORGOT to tune in!  So, I guess no Red Beans & Rice today folks. 

Fried Chicken it is!

What I did watch instead of the BET Awards was Soul Food for the umpteenth time.  And after mourning Big Mama and wondering what in the heck happened to Vivica A. Fox's career, I then watched Jungle Fever--another movie that I've seen at least ten times. 

Now you probably disagree that these two films should be described as bad black films; however, before you accuse me of being a bourgie snob, I'll ask you to think back to the last truly excellent black movie you saw...

And I'm betting that your answer was Love Jones, which came out nearly 15 years ago in 1997!  (Take a moment to collect yourself because it has really been that long). 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The 2011 Michael Jackson Tribute

Of course I could not let this day pass without any commentary.  Although I am not wearing my special tee shirt as planned and I may not get to watch The Wiz, I just had to acknowledge the significance of this day.  It is the day that Michael Jackson became immortal.

I remember every detail of the day two years ago--the youngest brother was just leaving my house and I was headed to ballet class.  While packing my dance bag, the news flash came that MJ had collapsed and had been rushed to the hospital.  In the car ride over to the dance studio, radio stations were already playing his music although there were conflicting reports about his status.  In dance class, I was too distracted to focus and kept thinking, what in the world would it mean if Michael Jackson was gone.

And now we know.  Two years later, and I totally understand how Elvis fans feel every August 16th.  But instead of mourning, I celebrate!

The BBW Gardening Chronicles

I mentioned a while back that I decided to take up gardening again...which is totally insane given where my life is at the moment.  Like if I don't feel like pulling weeds, why am I planting more stuff into the ground?

Which is why I am gardening in containers!  And another cheat--getting plants that were already started at the nursery instead of starting my own from seed.  Yes, I should be ashamed, but I'm not since that is precisely the reason why they sell those pre-started plants anyway.  For busy folks like me who did not start their tomatoes in April, these will do the trick just fine, thank you very much.

Highs and Lows

So the Inaugural Busy Black Woman Hump Day Happy Hour was a success and I am still riding the high!  Again, thanks to everyone who came out and remember to be on the lookout for more events soon!

But, as I am the BBW, I had to move onto the next thing, which includes writing up a few committee reports, preparing for meetings, and planning a conference for the Fall.  Somehow, I need to figure out how to get in some time to exercise so that I can keep the love handles at bay. 

Speaking of exercise, I did make it back to dance class for the first time since the recital and thankfully, class was taught by a substitute who did not have too many expectations...not that it was easy, but let's just say that she was merciful.  And I did not feel anything until this morning when I went for a walk around the monuments.

For a moment, can I just add my voice to the chorus of Washingtonians who find tourists annoying?  I know that the city benefits from the visitors, but there has to be a happy medium between stopping the flow of traffic for pictures with a monument in the background and the economic boon we enjoy from all the crappy trinkets purchased and junk food consumed downtown.  Something has got to give--today I got really close to shoving a woman out of my way after saying "excuse me" at least 50 times. 

And speaking of shoving folks, I am not generally a violent person, but if one more person stands too close to me while I am trying to pay for my groceries in the self-service checkout line...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fried Chicken Wednesday: Hugh Hefner

This is one of those times when I just need to come clean and admit that I cannot begin to explain my fascination with Hugh Hefner...

The BBW cannot explain why, as a life-long feminist, I actually used to watch full episodes of The Girls Next Door.  I cannot explain how I was able to use an article from Playboy magazine in a course I taught and not get into trouble.  I cannot explain why I kinda dig the bunny costumes.  And I cannot explain why the cancellation of Hefner's wedding to a woman old enough to be his granddaughter has me wishing that he would jump on a scooter and make his way back to Holly Madison before time runs out.

Does this qualify as an eight-piece meal with sides?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Now that my dance recital is behind me, the BBW actually has had quite a bit of free time on the weekends!  And honestly, I do not know what to do with myself...

So instead of filling the time with gardening (too hot), house-cleaning (too much), re-caulking the bathroom tile (too lazy), I have been watching a lot of movies.  Actually, I have been catching a lot of bits and pieces of movies.  You know how it is, you start off watching one piece of a movie, and then when it ends and you start flipping channels, you happen upon another piece of another movie, and the pattern repeats until you've spent an entire day trying to catch the repeat of the movie you only saw the end of the last time it came on. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Watch Your Mouth!

The BBW is switching hats for a brief public service announcement aimed at a few folks whom I love dearly, but who are too old for me to put across my just think of me as your Busy Body Mama.

Because for the life of me, I cannot understand why some of ya'll (mostly under the age of 25), feel the need to use Facebook and Twitter to send out dim-witted stream of conscious rants aimed at your equally dim-witted friends.  For real...profanity-laced tirades about nothing in particular?

Here is something you need to know--no, you are not cool.  You are just an overgrown child with a dirty mouth!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just Keep Dancing

On Saturday I did not make it on time to meet my team for the Komen Race.  Not that being late for a meeting is all that out of character for me, but I was really late this past Saturday for the stupidest of reasons, so now there are a couple of people out there who probably think that I am the most unreliable flake.

Thus if anyone who holds that opinion of me happens upon this blog, please know that I am only an occasionally unreliable flake...

Chalk it up to what I call the Newton-Murphy's Law to the Third Power, of which I am a perpetual victim.  In the BBW universe, whenever there is a day when things fall exactly into place, there are two days when everthing falls apart.  And it tends to be invoked when I can least afford to have things go awry.

Last Thursday, I succeeded in securing my trade name and registering my business without getting a parking ticket (which is no small feat in DC these days).  Then I got my new business cards in the mail, opened my new bank account, and got free mailing supplies from the Post Office.  I managed to get some work done for some clients, made it to dance rehearsal, and finished the evening with dinner and a couple of beers at a quirky Irish-Jewish bar.  It was a very productive day!

Home Improvement

The BBW has a confession to make: I live in an old house, so something always needs to be fixed and I love DIY!  Unfortunately, I am the Queen of Unfinished DIY projects...And I am confessing this now in case you hear the husband complaining about not being able to use the bathroom.

This latest DIY bender started when I broke my toilet seat back in April (not by sitting on it), but it could not be fixed so I went to my local Home Depot to buy a replacement.  Since it was late and I was on my own, my plan was to go in, find the replacement, jump on line to pay, and badda-bing, ten minutes later I would be on my way.

Except, as everyone knows, there is no such thing as a quick trip to the hardware store. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recap: Post-Oprah Finale 'Itis

I watched.  And in good conscience, I cannot come up with any pithy, snarcastic comments since this show was so understated and entirely appropriate--in direct contrast to all of the hoopla of the last two days.  Dare I say this...the Oprah has left the BBW speechless!

(Actually, the BBW prefers to wait for another more worthwhile occasion to poke fun at our Most Exhaulted patron maybe after I've watched more than an hour of programming on OWN.)

Anyway, at 4:00pm, I tuned in to watch a composed, calm, serene and humble Oprah Winfrey take to her stage to preach a farewell sermon of sorts to her congregants in the studio and around the world.  And her message was simple: find your life's purpose and then fulfill it as God intended!

I know that to all of the Oprah-haters (and yes, there are apparently as many haters as there are die-hard Oprah-holics out there), this is consistent with her do-good and be-blessed New Age spiritualism, but in her 45 minute benediction, she found a way to mention the universe, Newton's third law of motion, and Jesus without making anyone feel alienated or excluded.  The love she expressed for the millions of people who have watched her show over the years exuded from her like a warm, golden light. 


Fried Chicken Wednesday: The Oprah Finale

In my wildest dreams, I could not have planned for the Oprah finale to fall on a Wednesday, so I guess you know what is on the menu today...a big ole bucket of extra crispy fried chicken! 

In anticipation of the golden crunchy goodness that her final show will bring, I thought that as an appetizer, I would offer up a serving of the Oprah's worst TV moments.  Given that this entire season has been one grand victory lap of self-congratulatory fried-in-bacon-grease-excess, I think that we should take a moment to reflect on ten rubber chickens from the last 25 years:
  1. In the beginning, the Oprah show used commercial breaks to effectively build and/or diffuse drama as necessary.  But in the last few years, there were more commercials than actual show.  That Favorite Things show is essentially one step removed from being an hour long informercial on QVC.
  2. B*&%$-slapping James Frey on her show after it was revealed that he had fabricated parts of his memoir.  Not that he was the only poor sap to face the wrath of the Mighty O--Kim Wayans had to pay penance on the couch too for lampooning Oprah in a classic, but hilarious In Living Color sketch.
  3. That whack "reunion" with Whoopi Goldberg.  Who do they think they are fooling; they still can't stand each other!
  4. Giving shows to the most annoying people on the planet--Roseanne Barr, Dr. Phil, Racheal Ray, and of course, Gayle King (for the third doggone time).
  5. Pretending that no one would notice that she never married Stedman, and then only letting him out of the dungeon for very special occasions.
  6. Beloved 
  7. Not telling Michael Jackson that he needed help, thus failing to perform her civic duty in preventing his eventual decline...or was it all part of her plan to take over the world?  Hmm...
  8. "You get a car, you get a car!"--the exact moment when the Almighty Oprah Show jumped the shark. 
  9. Kissing up to the whackest of whack job celebrities--Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Jamie Foxx, Tyler Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Madonna, Sarah Palin...need I continue?
  10. And finally, wheeling a wagon of fat onto the set of her show to symbolize the 67 pounds she lost, only to regain it all once she started eating again in a few months. 
Did I miss anything?  Probably, but come back later after the show for the itis recap.  Until then, put on some stretchy pants, balance that plate on your lap, and dig in!

Monday, May 23, 2011


OK, one small detail will change in a few days.  Instead of a chunky URL hosted by Blogspot, Busy Black Woman will be moving to:

They (the omnipotent auto-message generating IT folks at Google) tell me that the change will be complete in a few days and that all of my content will migrate to the new address.  Keep your fingers crossed since I will not otherwise know how to access anything written before the change finally occurs.

This is exciting and scary all at the same time.  And the BBW must admit that this latest step really means that I am all in--this is the next step in my quest to build an empire!

And speaking of empire building Busy Black you know, our patron saint, The Oprah, will be shutting down her TV talk show this Wednesday after 25 years on the air.  Can I tell you that I am old enough to remember when Oprah was a news anchor in Baltimore?  For real, and I am not making this up--at one point, she rocked an afro (sho nuff)!  Anyhoo, the next thing I remember was that she disappeared from our airwaves and reappeared on the pages of Jet magazine in countless articles about her new Chicago-based daytime talk show.  This was significant because (a) the only national talk show of significance was hosted by Phil Donahue and (b) locally, Carol Randolph's show was almost off the air at this point (yup, I am that old, and in case you have never heard of her, you need to click that link to learn more).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Still Here? Yeah, Me Too

This post is not really about the is about this blog.

I am attempting to make a few changes, and so things are a little touch and go.  For half a second, an error message that came up about the blog not being found nearly caused my heart to stop...this is what I get for trying to be my own IT person.  A sign that I really need to stay in my own lane, perhaps?

However, until everything gets sorted out, my hope is that you will still be able to find the BBW come tomorrow, or whenever you need a little laughter from one of my irreverent posts.  Once the transition has taken place, it will be much easier to find me (correction: it should be easier to find the blog).  More than likely I will continue to pull off the occasional Carmen Sandiego routine.

Speaking of which, weren't things much simpler when this was life's most pressing question?  Sure they were!

So in the spirit of all things 90s and nostalgic, stay tuned for some of the exciting things to come in the world of the Busy Black Woman, and for old time's sake, enjoy this theme song blast from the past:

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Mr. McGhee, Don't Make Me Angry"

..."you wouldn't like me when I'm angry," said the actor Bill Bixby b.k.a. "David Banner" or "Incredible The Hulk" in the opening credits of one of my favorite TV show as a child.  Then of course, twice in every episode, someone (perhaps Mr. McGhee or another poor soul) pissed Banner off and he turned into his uber muscular green alter ego.

Right now, I am feeling the same way.  Someone out there is just itching for the BBW to morph into her tall, green-skinned, red-eyed, fire-breathing alter ego--the Angry Black Woman.

(I was trying to find a decent photo that did not look too stereotypical, but ya'll know what I mean.)

Back-tracking a bit, the BBW has been away for close to three weeks because life is just like that at times.  I had to do a little traveling, think of something to write, and just get through the daily slog of things.  And quite frankly, this is not how I intended to get back into blogging, but oh well, anger is a good motivator.

Who is pissing me off--doesn't matter.  Why is s/he grating on my last good nerve--do you honestly care?  The point...I'm pissed and when Hurricane BBW comes through, just run for cover!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Recap: Post-Wedding 'Itis

You asked for it, so here it is--the BBW's take on the Royal Wedding!  Sorry for the delay, but *yawn* I just had to take a nap...

First, let me just say that I wish Will and Kate all the love and happiness that the world can offer.  I thought she was a beautiful bride and that her groom was truly dashing (although balding fast)!  Now in my best English accent, onto everyone else:

Prince Harry - You certainly are one big ham sandwich...did you stay up all night partying again? 

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice - In the words of Simon Cowell, "Dreadful."  You two should know better than to let your Mom to dress you:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fried Chicken Wednesday: The Royal Wedding

When I went down South for college &*$# years ago, I was introduced to the concept of having specific foods on certain days of the week.  Actually, that is not entirely true--I was well acquainted with the notion that certain meals were served on certain days or for certain occasions, like black-eyed peas and chitterlings on New Year's Day (unforgettable stench, yuck); fish on Fridays during Lent and Good Friday; ham or lamb in the Spring for Easter; and turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And I knew that some families had a pizza, pasta or taco night at least once a week.  But Lord help me, I went off to college and Wednesdays was the day they served fried chicken in the cafeteria!

As someone who lurves fried chicken, this was an almost perfect development.  Almost, because it being the middle of the week meant that there were more people on campus, and in turn, the cafeteria was extra crowded.  And because it is next to impossible to mess up fried chicken, Wednesday became the one day each week we were assured an edible meal.  But it also meant that everybody--and I mean errybody--had the itis for the rest of the day. 

Did we care?  No...because it was sooooo damn good!  But now that I am an older, wiser BBW, I look back on those carefree days of golden-fried gluttony in horror.  Now that I have to worry about things like high cholesterol, a slower metabolism, and maintaining my dress size, I cannot eat fried chicken like I used to.  Even the the occasional indulgence in a 2-piece meal is fraught with all kinds of Catholic guilt.

The point of all of this is to introduce a periodic segment for the blog called Fried Chicken Wednesdays, which will essentially feature my confession of some random guilty pleasure from my youth that I cannot justify in any rational way.

This week's Fried Chicken Combo is the Royal Wedding on Friday.  And before you judge me, I am willing to bet that I will hardly be the only person awake at 5am on Friday morning, dressed in a proper Sunday hat, sipping on Earl Grey tea!