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.