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!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do You Know What You Look Like? Part Two

To recap, the BBW was having a couple of cocktails with the husband at the bar of the W Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.  At some point, I commented that I was over-dressed for the occasion, despite the fact that the temperature had dropped to somewhere close to 40 degrees (let me tell you that while it may never rain in Southern California, it does get rather cold).  This lead to a discussion about the clothing choices of the young women we observed as they came through the bar.

Our story picks up when the hero, Alpha One, invited our heroine, Queen Bee, over for a chat.  Alpha One and his posse looked a little like these guys:

The Queen Bee and her friends thought they looked a little like this (minus 15 years or so):

The rest of the women in the bar looked a lot like...well, this is a family blog and I can't post pics like that on here.  Just use your imagination. 

Do You Know What You Look Like? Part One

The husband and I just got back from California (say it with me like the Governator...Kully-for-neeya) and hmm...I need to send out a public service announcement to a few of my single sisters.  Pretend just for a minute that I am your mama:

What the H3LL are you wearing??!!

Because some of ya'll looked like prostitutes...and while I cannot confirm or deny whether that was your occupation, I am going to assume that it was not since you were hanging out at the bar of the very fancy-pants W Hotel and not out on the strip like Julia Roberts at the beginning of Pretty Woman.  I also cannot imagine that the pros feel the need to travel in packs of three or more nor do they take the time to coordinate their outfits.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Special Dedication

One of the purposes of this blog is to take a light-hearted look at the craziness that is often my life, but I ask your indulgence as I offer a personal reflection and tribute to someone who was in many ways, the anti-BBW—my mother-in-law who made her transition on April 8.

I met her 14 years ago when I was dating her son.  Before we actually met, I was introduced to her kindness.  It was New Year’s 1997 and I had just spent a few days in New York with a friend from college.  The then-boyfriend was in Brooklyn visiting his family, so we arranged to take the bus back to DC together.  He met me at the bus station with a duffel bag and a huge shopping bag full of food that his mother had prepared for him to take back.  Once we found a seat together on the bus, he pulled out a smaller bag that contained two foil-wrapped sandwiches and sodas.  He proudly declared that his Mom had made sandwiches para usted y su muchacha and I thought that was the sweetest thing.

Then, as he sometimes does, the then-boyfriend revealed more than he should have about his conversation with his mother regarding me…  Like most mothers, I’m sure she had certain visions about the girl her son would love, and from his account of her reaction to his descriptions of me, I fell short in two key areas.  First, his family is Puerto Rican, so naturally she asked whether I was too and as you all know, I am not (not even a little bit).  Second, my non-Puerto Rican BBW self neither spoke nor understood Spanish and she spoke limited English.

Thus, seeing as how I was no Jennifer Lopez, I was super intimidated and nervous going up to meet her formally the following summer.

However, the woman who embraced me with kisses at the front door and who served me coffee in her good china and who heaped my plate full of rice and beans never let on that she was even slightly disappointed.  Sure, there was a language barrier and the boyfriend-husband had to do a lot of translating.  But she welcomed me with open arms, and I loved her instantly.

Whenever she sent the boyfriend-husband home with enough food for a week, she portioned some for me as well.  After he bought a car, she typically rode with us to various family events, and insisted that I do most of the driving since I had more years of experience behind the wheel.  If we went out for the evening, she waited up for us—no matter how late.  For big family dinners, she continued to treat me like an invited guest and generally kept me out of the kitchen until a few years ago, when she finally allowed me to contribute to the meal.  She was greatly amused by the intricate ritual of washing collard greens (which she politely declined to eat).  Shopping in anticipation of our visits meant buying a head of lettuce and a few tomatoes despite the fact that she did not regularly eat salad.  She always complimented me on being so flaca even when I had gained a few extra pounds.  For years, she gave us her bed and slept on a pull out sofa, until a few years ago after I discovered how utterly uncomfortable that thing was (and even then she practically refused to sleep in her own bed until we insisted that we could be just as comfortable on an air mattress).  She tolerated my slowness in getting ready for every event.

I could go on...  However, in addition to only mastering a little Spanglish, the only other area where I fell short was in having children.  She prayed and well, it was not meant to be that she would get to be called abuela by one of my offspring.  And that is probably why I think of her as the anti-BBW because her life did not revolve around a bunch of stuff connected to a career, an organization, or anything else that tends to occupy women like me—her life was all about her family and friends.  Even if I could, I doubt that I could ever devote myself so fully to motherhood or friendship and be truly content.  Heck, I have to mentally prepare to spend time with certain members of my family, but I have no qualm that was ever an issue for her.

Ironically, it was her illness these past 18 months or so that put the BBW in me into overdrive.  There are the things in life that you can control and then there is everything else, and the illness of an elderly parent tends to fall into the latter category.  It changes things, but you learn to adjust.  For us, that meant more trips to New York.  I will not pretend that it was not difficult at times, but I learned that there is very little in this world that matters more than what one does for family.

As we process this new reality, I know that as life goes on and we make the necessary adjustments, my life will forever be better because I knew her.  We may not have had the relationship that I thought could have been possible if I had only been Puerto Rican or spoke Spanish or even lived in New York—we had an even better relationship.  I could never have asked for a better mother-in-law.  God bless you Marta.  Adios.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The BBW Unplugged

Edited 4-24 from my computer (the original was posted from the phone)

It has been a few weeks since my last post...and a lot has happened in the life of this BBW.  When first posted, I was checking in from my phone while on vacation in Los Angeles, so this post has been edited from its original publication (without proper capitalization and punctuation, which was very annoying).

I checked in because I am not all that good at completely disengaging.  Per the request of the husband, I reluctantly left the laptop at home (and of course he was wrong about me having free computer access at the hotel since nothing much is free anymore), but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to fire off a few random thoughts here, on twitter, and on my FB page from my Smartphone.  (I have also read a few emails, so I guess that means my vacation excuse won't really work.)

In leaving the laptop behind, there are a few important discoveries I've made about my dependence on technology.  The first, I can live without lugging a laptop around if I can get a tablet as an alternative (hint, hint).  Second, smartphones, while very convenient, are not capable of replacing larger devices (this post was shorter because of screen size and other limitations).  Third, we might need to invest in a GPS device.  Fourth, I can never go back to the world I inhabited just three years ago (although three years ago, I had my laptop, so maybe I need to go back six years when all we had was a paper map and Frommers to guide us through foreign locales)...connectivity on demand is as essential as packing a toothbrush.

Fifth, if only technology could really predict the weather, the BBW would not have spent a week in Southern California with a wardrobe better suited for Miami.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Over the Housewives?

Like many Busy Black Women who rely on mindless TV to decompress, I must admit to being hooked on the Bravo TV Housewives franchise.  It was the perfect mix of trashy drama and total foolishness--it was a lot like watching Dynasty back in the day.  I could not get enough of NeNe vs. Kim, Bethanny vs. Jill, Michaele Salahi vs. Reality, and Danielle Staub vs. the Manzo Mafia wives.  Heck, I even tuned in to see Camille Grammer battle it out against the aunts of the Hilton sisters on the Beverly Hills series.

But when the Miami chicas made their debut, I changed the channel.  And even though my New York ladies who lunch are back, I am not as interested.  And since I never really cared for the mean girls of Orange County, I think I might be over the Housewives in general.

In retrospect, I have come full circle--at the outset of the "Wives" franchise, I found the whole concept of a reality show dedicated to following rich women around as they shopped to be shallow.  I was much more interested in trying to imagine how any self-respecting woman could date Flavor Flav...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late Again

I started to write this yesterday when I was dog tired after having been awake for 19 hours straight (from 4:30 in the morning until around 11:30 that next night), but it was not working, so I gave up with the intention of picking up where I left off to try again.  Instead, I am starting over because, well, what a difference a day makes.

I am supposed to be in NYC with the husband.  But I was not ready when he was ready to leave, so he left without me.  To say that I was pissed is an understatement--not that I was eager to take yet another trip to NYC, but because I felt that he could have waited. 

I am a chronically over-scheduled, procrastinating, never-on-time disaster of a person.  And now, my bad habits are starting to catch up to me.  Yesterday, I was late for court.  Today, I got left behind.  This past summer, I missed a flight to New Orleans.  I routinely stay up late to complete projects because I have convinced myself that I work better under pressure.  And I fully expect that I will continue to miss appointments and deadlines, and never get enough sleep because I am a chronically over-scheduled, procrastinating, never-on-time disaster of a person.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Living Social on Groupons

So as I attempt not to break one of my own rules regarding product endorsements (hint, hint check the title), I just wanted to weigh in on a conversation that took place last week on the Today Show between the last hour co-hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb:  Should a man who uses a meal coupon or gift certificate on the first date get a second date?

Quite frankly, my opinion on this topic is irrelevant since I am not currently dating at the moment.  However, as someone who is married to a person who never leaves home without at least three discount dining deals in his wallet, I might have a perspective worth your consideration.  Yes, I agree that a man who uses a coupon on the first date should probably think twice about the impression he might be making...but the question I have in return is whether anyone should take dating advice from the likes of Hoda and Kathie Lee.

The fact is, there are a lot of single Busy Black Women out there, and if you want to change your Facebook status, then you might need to rethink your criteria for finding Mr. Right.  First impressions are important, but as the great philosopher Chris Rock once said, the person you date in the first three to six months of a relationship is just the representative.  Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy apparently made a great first impression...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quiet Before the Storm

This has been one of those weeks where I needed to chill.  I am about to go into an intense time and I think in anticipation, my body just shut down a bit.  I was lethargic, sleepy and generally not in the mood to do much of anything.

Except of course, I had things to do so I did not really spend the week sitting around.  But I did go to bed early.  Correction: I fell asleep before midnight on top of the bed in my clothes at least three days this week.  Felt like I was back in college.

And that got me to thinking about how nice it would be to be a student again.  That was the life!  On a gloomy Friday like today, I would probably have overslept.  Eventually I would have dragged myself out of bed to head over to the cafeteria for lunch and then do a little people-watching from one of the windows in Upper Manley.  Or maybe I would browse the vendors in Lower Manley.  My friends would make plans to do something that night--usually a trip to the mall for dinner and/or a movie.  Or maybe a party at some new hot spot or at someone's way off-campus apartment.

Life was soooo much simpler then.  And looking back now, I gasp at all of the time I wasted!

Not that I wish that I had been doing something more productive (well, other than studying), but I miss being able to say that I did nothing all day without the weight of a guilty conscience.  Nowadays if I confess to blowing off a whole day, it feels like I have committed the worst of the seven deadly sins--sloth (which is probably not the worst generally, but for a BBW...)

The nostalgia for my college days is not really about looking backwards or about laziness.  It is trepidation about the days ahead.  I have to be a grown up...and sometimes that really sucks.

So here's to getting it together, getting (most of) it done, and to facing the world with my game face.