Saturday, December 31, 2016

Call of the Wild

I don't need to tell anyone who has a toddler that this has been quite a year. I've probably already told you several times that I am in way over my head. To borrow a phrase from my Spelman sister DYN, parenting ain't for pussies! So if the Babe makes it unhurt to midnight tonight, I ought to do a cartwheel. In fact I need to do an Olympic caliber floor exercise.

Yesterday could be categorized as an epic Mommy fail because I had good intentions that went awry as soon as I took my eyes off the kid for a few minutes. I was on the phone in the bathroom, she opened the door, and then she walked off with her toothbrush and toothpaste. I am unsure how much time elapsed, but when I last saw her she was watching TV.

I wrote this recap on the FB page, so feel free to enjoy the short version.

Now here is the long version, augmented by several of the details I omitted. So I mentioned that I was in the bathroom and the she had taken her toothbrush and her toothpaste with her into my bedroom, found a quiet spot on the floor in front the TV, and was busy watching whatever was on PBS Kids for a few minutes while I was on the phone. Right there, several veteran parents should be shaking their heads.

For the rookies, you need to know that my first mistake occurred long before I left the Babe to her own devices. My first mistake was to get the Babe dressed and ready before I got myself dressed and ready. You see, my plan for the day included a few errands on this side of town before we were to be at my parents' house by 2pm. I had my itinerary mapped out, I was showered, so I just needed to get dressed and to pack the car.

I was dilly dallying on the phone and it was about 11:30 when I realized that she was too quiet and discovered her covered in toothpaste. We didn't leave this house until 1:30. My FB status update came just before 2pm while I was waiting in line for gas at the Costco. I had just texted my Dad to let him know that I was on my way to the house per our understanding that I would relieve my mother's caregiver because my brother was out of town. I also texted the caregiver to let her know that I was running a little late. In response, she asks me to get a few things.

Mind you, I am sitting in the car with a finally napping toddler, watching the parking lot at the Costco fill with folks anxious to stock up for the holiday weekend. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Top Ten: Part Two

It is either sad or hilarious that I just posted an "I Hate Christmas" piece this weekend with several of the same reasons I cited when I wrote this piece about how much I hate Christmas a few years ago. I really might be a to avoid any nocturnal otherworldly visitors, I wanted to create a list of things I like about Christmas (let's just hope there are ten):

1. Pictures of children with Santa. I especially like to see pictures of crying children on Santa's lap because well, it's a rite of passage (and I promise to post a picture of my kid wailing on the big guy's lap on the FB page).

2. Classic, unadulterated Christmas movies that we all recognize as classic, unadulterated Christmas movies: It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and A Christmas Story (1983). I can even enjoy a modern classic like The Family Stone (2005). But no colorization and only certain modern remakes like The Preacher's Wife (1996).

3. Stevie Wonder's Someday at Christmas album, which is absolute holiday perfection.

4. Any rendition of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. I need to start playing it in the car on long rides with the Babe, and of course once she is old enough, we will be front and center watching it performed on stage (will begin taking the Niece this year). Ovation TV will soon air different versions again this year although I guess I will never see my absolute favorite with Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland on PBS again (hint, hint Great Performances)...

5. Last minute Christmas shopping with my Dad. Funny how something that probably was not intended as a tradition (because my Dad does everything at the last minute) has become something that I have come to cherish.

6. If you are of a certain age, you probably have memories of elaborate department store window displays. We used to make a special trip downtown just to see them. Nowadays, you don't even have to make a special trip if you have creative neighbors like these folks in Dyker Heights, NY.

7. Holiday decorating and general preparation. Until it becomes a series of never-ending chores, I really enjoy getting ready for the season: decorating the tree, finding a unique way to display holiday cards, writing our holiday newsletter, mailing cards, wrapping presents, making coquito, etc. And I'm on it, just as soon as I finish this piece...

8. Christmas cookies baked by my niece Mandy. True holiday happiness can be found in her three-layer cookies.

9. Handel's Messiah has grown on me over the years. My Mom invited me to accompany her to a performance at her church many years ago and I had no appreciation for it at all. I went with her a few more times, not reluctantly but as a tradition of sorts, each time gaining a bit more tolerance. It got easier to enjoy when Quincy Jones' Soulful Messiah was released. Recently, I have been taking her to the performance at our church. I have no idea if the music is making any impression on her anymore; I am just glad that she can still attend.

10. Of course I love, Love, LOVE Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and almost every rendition of it on film, stage and in animation. Almost. I do not like any modern version that has Ebenezer Scrooge re-imagined as a Martha Stewart/Oprah-esque old maid or as a heartless corporate tycoon (too soon). My absolute favorite version is George C. Scott's definitive take, who sets the gold standard of miserly perfection. I could try to list my favorites, but there are too many: from Bill Murray's comedic turn, to Albert Finney's musical version (don't judge me, Thank You Very Much), to the Michael Caine version with the Muppets, to everyone's animated favorite starring Mr. Magoo.

It is a little known fact that I almost got to portray Scrooge back in the eighth grade; alas, I was the only one who learned all my lines so I never got to undergo the transformation. Perhaps that is why it has been easier to dwell on all the things I hate about Christmas...when in fact I actually do love this time of year. And in the spirit of the season, here is a bonus:

11. I love the opportunity to give. The older I get, the more I realize that life itself is a gift, so whenever one has a chance to spread a little cheer, it is so worth doing. Someone recently called to simply wish me a happy holiday just because I had once been kind to him. I had no idea that I had made such an impression and it just proves that even a small gesture of generosity can be a priceless gift.

So in the words of Tiny Tim: God Bless Us, Everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Top Ten - Part One

Recently on the Book of Faces, a couple of friends challenged others to post their non-political unpopular opinions, with the posts ranging from the mundane to the outright absurd. For a self-described unrepentant Scrooge such as myself, the timing of this trend so close to Christmas gives me an excuse to list all of the humbug I endure between Thanksgiving and the New Year. So here is my official non-political list of things I hate about Christmas:

1. The obligatory Christmas album recorded by the pop tart of the moment, which always includes some sappy secular ballad (Snow in California) and a remake of a beloved classic (Santa Baby).

2. Radio stations that play continuous Christmas music that literally starts the moment when the last piece of Halloween candy has been distributed, and abruptly ends just as the lines start forming at the mall for gift exchanges and returns. And why come they play all genres of Christmas music except for gospel?

3. D-list celebrity Christmas specials and very special Christmas sitcom episodes.

4. People who complain about spelling Christmas as Xmas or being wished a "Happy Holiday".

5. Christmas decorations that go on display in August, but never go on sale until December 26.

6. Crappy holiday cards, like the kind that one finds at the Dollar Store with animals dressed in tartan sweaters while frolicking with cardinals and snow families. Equally bad are those of you who email PDFs of your holiday greetings.

7. Hallmark/Lifetime holiday movies. I hated these movies before I read this article (because yeah, duh), but also because they suck. Worse, Hallmark preempted the Golden Girls in order to keep this crap in constant rotation, which is just blasphemous!

8. People who wear Santa hats in public.

9. Those inflatable decorations that people put in their yard. I swear they must be sold as 'buy one, get five free' because no one ever has just one on display. And isn't it just a little creepy that an eight-foot tall Mickey Mouse Santa is standing next to the Baby Jesus alongside inflatable Wise Men and Frosty the Snowman?

10. Anyone who complained about the black Santa at the Mall of America and for that matter, anyone who complains about Santa's race but stays mum on the topic of Black Peter.

This is my humbug list, but as any good Scrooge who finds religion after the visitations, check out my list of what I like about Christmas in Part Two.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Staying in Your Lane and Other Holiday Observations

Today is the Friday after Thanksgiving. For some, it is the beginning of your Christmas/Holiday shopping; for others, it is the day when you travel back to the homes you left earlier this week. There are plenty of things you might be doing right now--holiday decorating, making lists and checking them twice, TV binge-watching, cleaning house, or otherwise enjoying the day. Whatever you might be doing today, I hope it does not include licking wounds from any hurt feelings you might have received yesterday.

Meaning, I pray that you did not make the mistake of doing or saying something that was unappreciated. Pretty much from now until New Year's, you need to avoid hitting the third rail of holiday gatherings by saying, seeing and doing anything offensive. Try not to be like the Hub, whom I had to drag on the Book of Faces yesterday for making the unbelievable suggestion that I substitute Sriracha for red pepper flakes in my collard greens!

(If you are reading this and maybe do not get why this was absolutely the stupidest thing he could have said, let's just say that he should have stayed in his I-didn't-grow-up-eating-greens lane.) Look boo, I know you think you done learned a little bit about soul food by watching the Neely's, Sunny Anderson, and G. Garvin, but that don't mean you know anything about cooking greens! Sitting there on the sofa making blasphemous flavoring suggestions...and then got the nerve to try and 'splain yourself by listing the ingredients of Sriracha, as if that matters. Dude!?!

See how I did I went from mild-mannered wife to Busy Black Woman with an Attitude?
How he's lucky I found the red pepper flakes (hidden behind something in the cabinet because he still does not respect my shelf organizing system) and he only suffered some minor ribbing?

And what's funnier is that he was not the only offender yesterday. I won't name names, but some of y'all had some dry, over-cooked turkey because you let the wrong person take charge of the bird. Somebody thought they were being helpful by bringing a less-than-appetizing side dish to the table. In the words of someone else's FB post, Thanksgiving is not the time to be experimenting; yet, somebody wanted to impress the family with some new dish she saw on Pinterest. Nor is it, contrary to a rather misleading assertion from the New York Times, the opportunity to provide a "grown up version" (read alternative) of a classic dish like macaroni and cheese.

Naw folks, you don't go improvising when it comes to the most anticipated family meal of the year. Somebody's mama set the precedent eons ago by staying up all night to produce the most sumptuous meal, and daggonit in her memory, you will not mess with the formula! You will not bring a store-bought pumpkin pie. You will not substitute white sugar for brown in the yams. You will not set a vegan dish on the table and not expect to take all of that crap back home with you. You will not offer any credible excuses for why something got burned. If you don't know how to cook, just say so and bring a bottle of wine or a liter of soda.

And even if you have been savvy enough to avoid those landmines, then don't mess up by asking questions about new hair, how many tattoos, whether someone plans to get married, when did someone else finalize their divorce, who/where is the daddy, or can we watch something else other than football. Don't even discuss the election unless you know in advance that everyone at the table voted for the same candidate. Don't brag about the half-marathon you ran that morning, not bring anything, and then take home a shopping bag full of leftovers.

Too late? Did you already commit one or more of these sins? Well, lucky for you this is a holiday season that runs through January so you'll have other opportunities. You will remember next time not to wear something too new, too cute or too tight (unless you are under the age of seven). You will remember not to debate that relative who gets all of his news from the left-wing radio station. Because you aren't seven or younger, you will not wrinkle up your face while asking what is in this (instead you will scoop a small dollop onto your plate, take a taste, politely excuse yourself to go use the microwave, and then dump it in the trash). You will pace yourself, not drink too much, help clear the table, and pray that Auntie doesn't remind everyone how you were the one who brought the burnt corn bread at the last gathering.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Time to Exhale

It is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I will get down to the business of cooking shortly. I just wanted to take a minute to remind everyone that is time to breathe.

Take a deep, cleansing breath. Relax. Drink a glass of water. Let your child run around in circles until she gets dizzy. Back away from the Twitter, the real and fake news articles, the petitions, and even Facebook if it is causing any form of agitation. Turn off the cable news and switch to the Food Channel, the Disney Channel, the Hallmark Channel, or the Game Show Network.

Please y'all, just take a damn break. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I know. We can decide to be upset about the origin story of friendly, unsuspecting Native Americans feeding hungry, opportunistic European colonists who later killed them with diseases and war...or you can choose instead to read the proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln that established this holiday. I urge you to do the latter.

If nothing else, this year has reminded me that life is precious and special. We were in the midst of an actual Civil War that threatened to tear this country apart when President Lincoln issued that proclamation. And somehow we managed to come back together (however imperfect). We can and will survive this.

And that is it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Hits Keep Coming

I found out about the death of Gwen Ifill earlier today by accident. I was driving and heard the new text message 'ding' on my cell phone, but I did not see the Hub's text; instead, I saw that someone had reposted an old link from the Busy Black Woman Facebook page with an "RIP" tag...

So I broke the law to look at my phone since someone had actually reposted one of my old links! And then I spent the rest of my drive trying to process my disbelief.

Can I just start with the announcement that 2016 has about six weeks left and there are several beloved famous, well-known folks we need to check in with, just to make sure that they know before it is too late that we love and appreciate them? And then there is everyone else whom we actually know that need to be told, right now before another shoe drops, that we love and appreciate them.

Because I did NOT see this coming.

I did not know Gwen Ifill personally. This being DC with about two degrees of separation among black people, I knew people who knew her. I never had the pleasure. I had a neighbor who knew her. I did a stint at the organization currently run by her cousin. She was my Soror and I attended her initiation. I followed her on Twitter and I occasionally watched her on the News Hour.

I may not have known Gwen Ifill, but I mourn her passing. In fact, I am totally blown.

Because I did not know her and did not have a chance to watch the entire "Evening with Gwen Ifill" rebroadcast that my Dad is DVRing for me, I can only say that my emotional reaction is akin to the sudden death of Tim Russert eight years ago in the midst of the 2008 election. Every now and then, I wonder how Russert would have moderated a particular debate, especially this year when it seemed that a certain person was allowed to say just about anything without ANY serious follow-up or challenge to its veracity. And I place Gwen Ifill in that same pantheon of take-no-shit-from-professional-BSers, which is why her absence due to illness during this election cycle was indeed noticed.

I do not have much else to say because I just considered her to be decent, polished, insightful, witty, and always prepared. I have written several of these quick remembrances this year for various people and it is getting to me because with each memorial, the loss seems more personal. I may not have known Gwen Ifill, but I did. She was a Busy Black Woman icon.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Can I be honest? I have been faking the funk these past couple of days.

I am mad. I do want to get out there and take to the streets and raise hell. But I have been in my house, either curled up in the bed or on the sofa. I have been writing to keep from crying. I am going through every stage of grief on a continuous loop like this is Groundhog Day.

I know that I am not alone in feeling so utterly confounded by what happened on Tuesday. I am not as surprised as I am disappointed. I look at this and wonder if I have been living in the Twilight Zone for the last 30 years.

Because for me, this is less about what happened to HRC than it is what is happening to the rest of us who saw this country make a LOT of progress from the stories we heard from our parents and grandparents. For me, this is less about seeing the first Woman or the first Black family or the first Latina, Muslim, Hindu, Asian-American, etc. in positions of power that were previously only occupied by white men. This is about seeing folks celebrate the victory of a person elevated on the strength of his bigotry and ignorance. This is insane!

So let me get this out of the way so that everyone understands that this is not about sour grapes that a Democrat did not win. We have lost plenty of elections, and believe me, NO ONE would be out in those streets in protest if Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio or even Ted Cruz had won. Hell, even a Romney win four years ago would have been met with disappointment, but definitely not protest. And an HRC win would not have resulted in protests either because in spite of the hatred she inspires, NO ONE thinks that her presidency would have meant the end to our civilization as we know it.

But this???

I am trying to minister to myself here (and maybe to the three other folks who read this blog), because I know that almost no one who voted for him reads this blog...but if by chance you happen to come across this and get curious, please understand the reason why so many of us are just inconsolable right now. We thought we had evolved past mob mentality.

My husband called me in tears on Election Night. TEARS. This man has only called me in tears one other time in our marriage and that was when his mother passed. He expressed his fears about what this means for our daughter. You might think that is over the top, but you have to consider that she is Afro-Latina. Her father believes people are going to look at this child and hate her on sight and not consider her life as having the same value as the pretty blond girl seated next to her. Other black parents like me understood this all along...and he just got it the other night, but not because his Nuyorican life has been so rosy. He got it the other night because his life has NOT been all that rosy and like every other parent, he wants the world to be better.

Unlike some of my peers who are cursing at third party voters, I applaud your courage in NOT yielding to the temptation of choosing between choices you found unconscionable. Believe it or not, that was the right thing to do. Anyone who thinks that voting for someone you hate is easy, well at least those people did not choose HATE. So you've missed me with that anger.

No, my ire is at every voter who just made it clear that you could care less about the least of these in this world. All of you so-called Christians. Have you seen the pictures of Aleppo? You are worried about refugees, but not their plight, just whether they will come here and stain your suburban world. And by the way, you voted for the man who admires the Communist dictator who supports the dictator who created Aleppo...yeah because that is what Putin is in case you haven't been paying attention. A real fucking Communist (which by the way, Obama was not). And because I am so mad about that, I just need to remind you that it is Veterans Day and the fight against Communism is why we went to Korea, Vietnam, and spent billions on a Cold War which is why we have been in Afghanistan for decades--but you wanted your country back, and just gave it away!!!

And that isn't even the surface of what pisses me off about this election because I have yet to address racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and every other box of bigotry that gets checked off every time he opens his mouth or takes to Twitter to insult someone. Let's just focus on the fact that the man who will become the next President is a BULLY who takes pleasure in insulting people based on their looks, their infirmities, and their perceived weaknesses. 

I'm almost done with my rant...but that is pathetic.

But in order to be a light in this darkness, I will not fight fire with fire and call anyone names. I will not demean anyone with insults. I am going to pray for you, your families, your communities, and your lives. I will pray for mercy, understanding, and grace. I will even pray for the President-elect.

God help us.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Sun Still Rises

The election from hell finally happened, but our long national nightmare is just beginning...

The Busy Black Woman has some post mortem thoughts on what happened the other day. Feel free to agree or disagree, but just know that after all of the finger-pointing, the head-banging, the binge-drinking, fear-mongering, and name-calling ends, we've got work to do.

First - All of you pollsters were WRONG. And all of you poll watchers (like the Hub and my Dad), y'all need to come up for air and observe the world around you more. There was a lot happening that you missed while you were analyzing data, mainly that the people who voted for the President-elect were not responding to polls. They were in the streets.

Second - A trending hashtag that came out this summer after the convention was #girlIguessImwithher...that ain't enthusiasm; that is resignation. It was only in the closing days that more people were willing to declare #Imwithher but that was because her best argument was that her opponent was scary and that his supporters were crazy. Yep, but now the Boogey Man won and the crazies have taken over the asylum.

Voting for someone is not the same as voting against someone.

Third - NO ONE, and I mean practically NO ONE in my very demographically diverse, progressive, and hip inner city neighborhood had Clinton yard signs. We don't have one. Even my political consultant neighbor didn't have one. As a matter of fact, you could drive through DC and see a lot more old Obama-Biden bumper stickers. Between now and Inauguration Day, I guarantee folks will be buying more Obama gear.

Fourth - Too much of the conversation about the lack of civility in our national discourse has been one-sided. Sure, the Troll King and his alt-right followers are mean, but what about us? Has calling anyone a racist ever made them change? Did mocking the supposed stupidity of our fellow Americans make them wise up and make different choices? Nope.

Perhaps we should take closer look at our shady moral high ground. I'm going to leave that metaphor there for you to ponder while I get some tea...

Fifth - I did a little something and got Lil Ron Ron and 'nem to register. I voted early and took my parents to the polls. The Babe and I wore our matching pantsuits. The Hub donated and traveled to do his Election Day job. But what did you do, Boo? I saw a lot of social media activism and a lot of talking, but when the action is taking place in the streets, are we commenting, posting pics, or are we MARCHING?

So let me confess that what I did was NOT enough. I made the excuse in the days leading up to Election Day that I am a new mother and the adjustment has been cray (and it has, more on that in another post). But I also once made the argument to the Hub that the mothers during the Civil Rights Movement never shielded their children from the ugliness. I do not have the luxury of pretending that my beautiful Afro-Latina daughter will not encounter a whole lot of ignorance in this new reality. My job is not to stay home in the protective bubble of this messy house that I ain't trying to clean...

This is not about HRC and any disappointment we might have felt about not shattering that particular glass ceiling. Elections are not about making history, they are about setting policy. I am mad as hell that a morally bankrupt reality TV personality will be the next President, but I'm not sad for our country because this is how democracy works.

I ain't scared either. If folks are hanging nooses and singing Dixie in the streets, they have that right. But this is also my America, still the land of the free home of the brave. And I'm ready to get back to work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Forward March!

Well. This is NOT the piece I expected to write today.

I honestly don't know where to begin in terms of expressing the various emotions I have experienced. I went from excitement to exuberance to nervousness to disbelief to shock and then finally to defiance this morning. Since then, I have fallen back to disbelief with occasional bouts of resignation. But I am here to write about resolve.

So Hillary Clinton will not be the 45th President, nor the first woman. This was still a historic moment because electing a woman to the highest office in this country is still a possibility. Just not today.

The work we have ahead of us is clear. We must prepare for the future by nurturing the next generation of leaders, regardless of race, gender and whatever other categories we need to obliterate as invisible barriers to achievement. We need to educate everyone about the way government really works by encouraging more civic participation. We need to ensure that our children know that this nation is a work in progress, which is why we are already great.

Yesterday was not a failure. It was a stumble, thus we have learned a valuable lesson in humility. Sometimes we lose the good fights, but we get back up and try again. And again.

For a paragraph can I tell you how I have been very discouraged at times about the direction my life has taken? How I have been mired in despair by uncertainty and questions of my relevance? How I have felt hopeless...but then all it takes is a small breakthrough for my mustard seed of faith to take root. For example, just yesterday this blog got a lot of traffic because I posted a quick live video on Facebook, despite the fact that I have been writing for years. But I will take it!

So we regroup, we strategize, and we move forward. Some of us will put on our marching shoes and take to the streets as necessary to continue to fight. Others of us will click our heels on those marble floors of power and demand to be seen and heard. We will survive to fight again. And again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Those Parents

Have you ever been somewhere public and there is a crying (make that a screeching) kid in the vicinity, but you see no signs of any harried parental units? And this is not at the library or at a museum where everyone, including agitated toddlers, is expected to remain silent, but it is in a public place where at least someone should be making an effort to comfort the inconsolable child by removing him/her from the situation…but nothing.

Have you been a person who is appalled by the apparent apathy of that parent? Do you know someone who fits the description of that unconcerned parent? Have you been that parent?

I issue the preemptive disclaimer that because I know my child, I have maybe once (thrice or more times) been that parent. My child recently had an epic meltdown at my parents’ house and I am sure that my parents, my brother, the neighbors, and the construction workers who were repaving the sidewalk down the street were wondering what kind of horrific torture was this child enduring. And I just let her scream, yank on my leg, and even watched her throw her little body to the ground. She just needed a nap.

I have also been that red-faced parent who has fled the room with a child on the verge of a nuclear meltdown. In those instances, the circumstances called for her immediate removal or risk the public shaming that comes from not heeding the warning signs of pending disaster. Like last week when we left the Kennedy Center during a performance. I had anticipated that our evening might end earlier than planned, and the beginning of the end came when the Babe decided to produce a load as soon as we sat down at our seats. Luckily, we were seated in the mezzanine section at my request, specifically to hasten our departure with minimal interruption to the rest of the audience. This happened mere minutes after I had schlepped across town and found a parking space; after I read the sign at the entrance of the lobby that indicated the play was for mature audiences only; and after we had left the inaccessible bathroom with no changing table. Despite the diaper change it became clear that the Babe had no intention of sitting still for even a few moments, so I did a quick scoop of our belongings, waved goodbye to the friend seated next to us, and literally exited stage left.

I have been guilty of over-estimating my child’s attention span, like in September when we were kindly escorted from the IMAX Theater at the Air & Space Museum. Right before our expulsion, the manager announced that any patrons with children in the audience who could not keep it down would be asked to leave and given a refund. The Babe had just sat through the first film with minimal agitation, so I gambled that she could make it through the second film and lost. But I was a good sport about getting kicked out since I got my six bucks back and there was a McDonald’s on the premises!

I usually know better than to venture into certain situations because I am the rational parent…so you already know that this my mea culpa about how I made the most egregious mistake of abandoning my common sense by listening to the husband. I let him convince me to take our child with us to a cocktail party, and though I had an exit strategy in mind, it was still, in a word, STUPID.

I will skip ahead to the conclusion—there was no meltdown. But let’s just say that we will forever be known anecdotally as those parents who brought their 18 month old to an adult cocktail party. The Babe was reasonably well-behaved for an 18 month old at an adult cocktail party. And while the hosts were gracious enough to have given the husband the thumbs up in advance to bring her, it was evident as soon as we arrived that I should have faked an illness so that we couldn’t leave the car. Because she was the only 18 month-old at the adult cocktail party.

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, I would never be that parent…well maybe you would not be that parent on that particular day. But I know you have been that parent under other circumstances (unless you have no children, in which case, I hate you). I was that parent who chose to skip Homecoming (again) this year and I’m still a little salty even though I know that I made the right decision. I am becoming that parent who realizes that this child-rearing thing involves a lot of trial and error, and it is alright if there are more than a few harmless errors. Like how it might be okay to take the kid to an R-rated movie during the day at the Mommy Matinee; but probably not such a good idea on a Friday night.

We live and we learn. Although I’m still not convinced that the cheap diapers are equal in quality to the more expensive ones...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Petty Party Over Here!

Being a bitter black man-hating feminist is hard work, but the Busy Black Woman is totally here for it!

A few weeks ago I vented some of my frustration after reading a thread on FB regarding the curious timing of the resurrection of Nate Parker's sexual assault case. Then a week or so later I vented a bit more in response to his PR defensive, had an enlightening twitter convo with a friend, and stewed in my own pot last week when it looked like everyone on my timeline seemed to be advocating for the film. I debated posting one more tirade (actually two), but then several things happened:
  1. Pu$$ygate blew up on Friday (more on that in a bit).
  2. I never found the time to write between Mom duties, Daughter duties, Sisterhood duties, and then the unfortunate mouse that scurried out of my shoe...
  3. I got discouraged and second-guessed my position on the matter by Sunday morning. Not whether I should see the movie, but whether I needed to engage any further, especially after I felt dragged by the entire exercise of sharing my opinion (more on that later as well).
  4. The Debate on Sunday and the subsequent political morass that we find ourselves unable to escape.
Let me start with the big fish and then work down to the it took a hot mic and Billy Bush, the Fredo of the Bush dynasty, to finally offend your sensibilities? You mean to tell me that y'all are just realizing that DJT is an unrepentant slithery poor excuse for a human being? Really America?

And then some of you backtracked when he trotted out Bill Clinton's past sins, because we must have forgotten that he TOO cannot keep his married hands to himself. And for good measure, just remind everyone that Hill was once a humiliated and vengeful wife. And then to really dig in, remind us again how America's favorite TV Dad was just a really horny actor...

On top of all of that, some chick decided to write this crap; however, I decided that after reading this brilliant clapback I was redeemed.

This is the conversation we are not really having right now, the one where sexism reveals itself to be just as insidious and odious as racism, religious persecution, xenophobia, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled, and callous disregard for the least among us...that locker room/golf course pu$$y talk that Maxy, Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan, Roger Ailes, Nate Parker, Bill Cosby, Clarence Thomas, Scott Baio and the rest engage in while the bitter man-hating feminists are out burning bras and boycotting mediocre movies.

Save your fake outrage and pull the lever that best reflects your own inner thoughts about women. Then call your mother or sit down with your sisters and daughters to explain why it is totally acceptable for Maxy to be the next POTUS. I mean, if: (1) none of us saw it happen; (2) it happened so long ago; (3) this is merely an attempt to discredit and malign the character of decent God-fearing men; (4) this movie/country is bigger than just one man; (5) blah, blah, blah...then why the hell not?

No, I am not conflating. Sexism gives some the impression that a woman is a bitch for speaking her mind. Sexism tells us that of course the rich boss-man can walk into a room full of half-dressed women for a "look" around, to inspect the merchandise if you will. Sexism says that a young woman cannot file charges against the men whom she claims sexually assaulted her unless she was a sober virgin. Sexism argues that the most powerful man on the planet getting a blow job from a 21 year old intern is not a big deal. Sexism is body-shaming, hurling personal insults, and ridiculing a woman's appearance. Sexism is expecting sex in exchange for career advancement. Sexism presumes that your reputation as a philanthropist is more important than the accusations of random women you allegedly drugged and raped. Sexism looks a lot like jamming to misogynistic lyrics because you like the beat. Sexism is assuming that all woman who identify with feminism hate men.

Sexism is ALL of this and SO much more. But you don't have to take my bitter, blog-writing, shea butter using on my natural hair, black film boycotting, dancing in the corner by myself to Meshell Ndegeocello word for it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Because She Says So

So after thinking a little more about this cray cray election and recent polls suggesting that this race is tightening, I had a revelation of sorts into why I think people hate Hillary. And fair warning to my sisters who might take offense, but someone has got to say it.

Hillary Clinton is that sitcom caricature of the know-it-all mother in law that everybody hates. She is the smart girl who sits in the front of the class with her hand perpetually in the air because she knows all the answers. She sits at first chair in the woodwind section of the high school orchestra even though she plays the oboe. She is the vice president of the student body who does all of the work for the pretty boy president because she has a crush on him. She and her weird sister own that feminist bookstore that you only go to for special events because you want to avoid getting stuck in a conversation with them.

If this was the election for the high school student body president, her opponent would have mocked and baited her (as he does now)...and sadly, she would have responded to all of his disses and insults (as she does now). And she would come this close to blowing it even though EVERYONE knew her opponent was just a rich aardvark.

I am not saying that Hill will lose, or that she will win because I have no clue. I guess I am tripping because this could be a disaster. Hill is perfect for this job, everybody knows it, but she is her own worst nightmare. It is because she's known how perfect she is for the job for decades, and has been acting like she cannot believe anyone would think otherwise. Like who deigns to question the inevitability of her ascendancy...


She imploded eight years ago because she just assumed that everybody in the Democratic Party with a brain knew better than to challenge her...and she got her feelings hurt when she lost in Iowa. And so she let us know it by shedding some tears (still not convinced they were real) and she made a comeback in New Hampshire, only to screw it up again in South Carolina, and then it was game on. History might have repeated itself in this election cycle, but she got lucky.

Hillary is too perfect for her own good. Perfect people are often the beneficiaries of good luck, but they refuse to believe that. Instead, they are adamant that their positioning in life is preordained because of their intelligence, good habits and virtuousness. Their faultlessness is what separates them from the rest of us heathens, which is why we should submit to their superior judgment and moral leadership. Because they say so.

Mitt Romney had the same superiority complex. As did his running mate, Paul Ryan, which is why they are probably still smarting from the 2012 election. Jeb Bush most certainly believed in his inevitability, which is why the challenge from his protege Marco Rubio shocked him beyond the point of rebounding in the primaries. Hillary is the most prominent woman to reach this point in American politics, but she is hardly the first high profile woman to stumble over her own hubris--Martha Stewart, Margaret Thatcher, and even our patron saint of Busy Black Womanhood, the Oprah have all had to eat some pretty large pieces of humble pie.

Hill's lucky streak most certainly began when she married Bill, something that she will never admit but we all know to be true (because if she had not married him, she'd be that bookstore owner). He is not at all perfect and is so up front and in your face with his flaws; thus, we naturally love him in spite of himself. He claims it was his good fortune to meet and marry her...and it was, because he has no shame in saying that she could have done better. I have yet to see where she has even come close to suggesting that there was some clever strategic thinking on her part to hitch her star to his. I am no marriage expert, so that is all I have to say about that.

Let's be clear that Bill is neither her biggest liability nor her greatest asset. She is both. She can win this election on her own once she stops acting like it is hers to win or lose. This election is not about her--this is about the future of this country. She will be a historic figure regardless, so its time to get past the glass ceiling symbolism of it all and get down to what really matters, which is whether she cares more about serving her country or convincing us that she is the only person who can save it.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Oh the Hillarity

I've been waiting for just the right moment to dump on Hillary Clinton, and this week probably is as good as any since we now have little less than two months before this election is finally over!

(Wait, why dis Hills, you ask? Isn't the Busy Black Woman all in, with her, etc? Well, yes but no one is above ridicule...)

On the BBW Facebook page I bemoaned the media obsession with Hillary secretly having walking pneumonia for two days. Clearly this was one of those non-stories that is only good for fueling a scandal-less 24-hour news cycle. Because on any given day of the week, half the women you know are dealing with some form of chronic illness or pain. A story would have been Hillary actually fainting and having to be rushed to the hospital and needing a blood transfusion and the only compatible match being Melania T. That is newsworthy.

Also newsworthy is how sexist Maxy has been in his attacks on Hills by alluding to her supposed poor health and mental instability. It is also newsworthy that he released his medical records on the talk show of a guy named Oz (anybody, anybody) and that the quack who performed his physical examination looks like a roadie for the Grateful Dead. It is also newsworthy that Maxy held a news conference to announce that he finally believes that President Obama is an American and then promptly blamed Hillary for giving him the idea to become a birther in the first place.

Now, none of that is really about Hills, but it totally is because according to some of the polls she and Maxy are in a tight race! How is it even possible that she could LOSE to THIS dude?

I was enthusiastic about Hillary 20 years ago when I was a college student (actually, I was a law student then), back when I was a young idealist who wanted to change the world. Hillary was one of several icons of feminist achievement who were taking center stage at that time: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Carol Mosely Braun, Donna Brazille, Janet Reno, Marian Wright Edelman, Madeline Albright, Murphy Brown, Barbara Streisand...too many to remember.

And we loved Bill because he seemed to get it so we all cast our first votes for them. And all was okay until Bill's messiness was uncovered and became a distraction and then an impediment to getting anything meaningful accomplished. She defended him by claiming that there was a vast right wing conspiracy organized against them. Which was probably true, but he was screwing an intern. Instead of doing the self-respecting feminist thing and kicking his impeached a$$ to the curb, she chose to run for Senate.

So we shrugged and agreed that whatever arrangement they had was their business. We had our suspicions about Bill's decision to set up his foundation in Harlem--like really needing to be within walking distance to Sylvia's, that new Starbucks, or just wanting to be surrounded by brown and black people who loved him unconditionally...while she lived in Chappaqua.

And though we understood that Hill's new gig in the Senate was merely a set up for loftier goals, we figured that after 9/11 when she really had to care about New Yorkers, she might check her ambition and really care about New Yorkers. And then in 2004 when John Kerry got upstaged by that unknown dude with the African name, we assumed that she would change course and spend her twilight years as the liberal lioness of the Senate. She would succeed an aging Ted Kennedy and mentor promising up-and-coming political minds and send them off into the world as policy wonks, political operatives, and elected officials.

So eight years ago, as she hinted at the possibility of a candidacy that she had been planning since 1972, I was not with her. Historical prospects aside, I understood her pain, but had no desire to ping pong back and forth between Presidents named Bush or Clinton. Surely there was someone else waiting in the wings...besides John Edwards (and seriously who other than his mistress and his wife got excited over John Edwards)? Enter Barack Obama.

I will need to devote another post to my position eight years ago, so I will skip ahead to where we are today and the fact that I am with of four months ago. Not that there were better options, but DC had the last primary election so I decided to feel the Bern.

And I will conclude by stating my belief that Hill might be the unluckiest person to run for President since Thomas Dewey. She might win, but she might also lose. And seriously, if she loses to THIS guy then God help America.

It's Handled, for Now

This is one of those pieces that I started but did not finish (because I wrote a few others in the interim); however, thanks to a new perspective, I am so glad that I waited to revisit this topic. I read this interview with actor Nate Parker a few weeks ago, and then this opinion piece the week before last written by his co-star Gabrielle Union.

For those who needed to hear from her regarding a position on his actions (not the film), you have it. Sorta. She offered him no absolution and stopped short of damning him, which means that she can condemn his behavior and still promote the film this fall. A brilliant King Solomon contrived by a savvy Olivia Pope-ish publicist no doubt.

What Union did say in her statement was something more profound about how we as a society treat victims of sexual violence across the board. We want to compartmentalize and rank experiences so that rape, sexual assault, pedophilia, and child molestation all operate as separate sins in different rings of hell. They do not. Crimes of sexual violence may take on various forms, but the damage done to the victims is the same. Irreparable.

When I read the Parker interview, it took about five minutes for the clouds of cynicism to form and ruin my inclination to give him benefit of the doubt. He used all of the right buzz words: calling himself a man of faith, invoking his roles as a husband and father, addressing male privilege, and even imagining a father-to-son talk with his 19-year old self about the concept of consent. But my hope faded with his admission that he never once in the last 17 years thought about the impact his actions had on that young woman until he learned that she had committed suicide back in 2012.

Let me make sure you fully get that: Nate Parker did not give a second thought to what might have happened to this woman after that fateful night 17 years ago. Let that marinate for just a minute.

Windows on the World

This might be the first time I posted the same piece on both blogs...the reason being that I had two and a half (three) glasses of wine and a whole Xanax last night when I started writing...

I had plans to leave the house today for a reason other than to try to get this child to sleep. She did sleep, but only during the Window.

Parents know what I mean. There are these rare opportunities of time called Windows, that must be used wisely, or else you end up un-showered, unshaven and dressed in pajamas or sweats all day. These Windows are like anomalies in the space-time continuum when you can get a very specific task completed while the Babe is asleep--until it closes and then you are back on her time. In my world, the Window only lasts for about 90 minutes.

Last week in Chicago, I was blessed with a Window. The Babe was restless and needed her nap, I had an errand to run, so I strapped her in the stroller and rolled out. First errand completed, but of course, this chick did NOT go to sleep, so I had to think of a Plan B--an impromptu trip to the mall. She found her second wind, so I let her run free around the Nordstrom until she began circling the stroller. I let her climb aboard while I took a spin through the food court. She was still sitting upright as I searched around for an elevator, but just as I found it and leaned over to press the button, the Window opened! I made a mad dash back to the hotel.

My official apologies to the Planned Parenthood activist in the wheelchair, because yes, I really do support your cause, we do give money, but no I had NO time to talk because you were cutting into my Window. By this time, the Babe had been asleep for maybe about 20 minutes. I needed a shower, to get the room in semi-decent shape since the cleaning service had not come while we were gone, and time was a-ticking.

Yesterday as usual, the Babe was refusing to nap and was literally spinning herself in circles fighting valiantly to stay awake. So I loaded her into the car and with no particular destination in mind, got ready to leave the house. The mailman saw me and trotted up to me with a package. Bless his heart (and I do not mean it in the snarcastic way), he hands it over and says I see you are about to roll out with the kid, good luck Mom. I'm guessing he recognized the exasperated I-need-tranquilizer-darts-NOW, or maybe he knows all about creating the Window.

This might be the only parenting advice I ever offer because I am THAT hot mess mom: the one who barely makes it to story time even though it is a 15 minute drive away; the one who takes her kid to the matinee where they show rated R indie films and is not the least bit ashamed; the one who believes cheerios eaten from the floor must have special powers. The Window is real.

And a word to anybody who writes one of those mommy-war envy pieces about wishing she could stay at home and get stuff done while her kids napped...again, one word: Window. Lady, I don't get anything done unless I get that Window. (Except right now since I have turned the Babe over to her father for the day). Your lovely fantasies about immaculate homes, well-balanced dinners already prepared from the slow cooker, Martha Stewart decorating projects, and Hallmark card moments of hugs and kisses...yeah, right.

Let me go take a shower.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

America's Pastime

This Busy Black Woman does NOT do football.

I have been known to watch a game if I'm in a place where there are no other options. When I was a kid, I watched because I lived in a house full of men and there was only one color TV. Also, and more importantly, that was the only way to get some of my mother's onion dip. And of course, I had the fever the years the home team* went to the Superbowl, especially in 1988. In college, I was a dancer** in the band, so I had to attend the games and actually enjoyed going in the years after. Until recently, I was known to enjoy Superbowl parties and certain halftime show performers.

(** I carried the banner onto the field because I was too tall to be a dancer)

But in hindsight, my interest in football was only because of the onion dip, home town pride, band camaraderie, social engagement with others, and the Superbowl halftime show. I never really cared about the games or the outcomes (except when it involved the home team).

Which leads to my first reason: the name of my home town team has been the subject of controversy for the last 20 years or so. And as a self-proclaimed professional protestor of injustice, I join with those who find the name offensive and simply refuse to care until they change it. That puts me in the minority in a city where folks bleed burgundy and gold, but I would rather be unoffensive, unpopular and uncool.

My second reason: I am a Busy Black Woman! My attention span is about 8 minutes and while football is by no means as painful to watch on TV as baseball or golf, I just don't care enough (even if my Mom could whip up a batch of her onion dip).

My third reason: football is violent, both on the field and in real life. I've followed the news reports of athletes involved in all manner of domestic violence. And I saw that film Concussion with Will Smith. So...

ALL of that preamble is to get to this point: I would not have given two craps about Colin Kaepernick until last week precisely because I DO NOT do football. But this headline compelled me to write. Because you've got to be kidding me!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Life, a Job and a Haircut

I was a teenager when I first coined that phrase as a potential insult...but I am pretty sure that I never had the balls to use it as intended. Among friends I was known to say that so-and-so needs to get those things and it got a few laughs. And I remember that back then, hurling my great imaginary zinger was really more about how my friends reacted than actually saying it to the target of the insult.

The Busy Black Woman has decided that in this social media climate of hyperbole and meanness, it is way past time for to resurrect that phrase because there are sooo many folks in dire need of a makeover:

Starting with the King of the Trolls, the current GOP candidate for President might not need all three, but most of us would appreciate if he finally got a better haircut. Seriously. He could also use a life, since when does someone who is running for the most powerful job on the planet have time to tweet insults?

His sister from another mister, Sarah Palin can definitely benefit from all three. She needs a life so that she can get a real job because being a professional twit (terer) is not what we expect from someone who almost could have been the Vice President. And she might want to do something with that hair.

The Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, is allegedly considering the need for a new job. I cannot speak on his need for a life, but that might be necessary if his new job involves relocating to another state, like Arkansas. And he might as well go and get himself a shape up...Ray Ray's chair at Close Kutz is waiting for him.

Pastor Mark Burns needs a life and definitely a new job. Who attends his church, those angry black Republicans from that Key and Peele sketch? He's bald so no haircut, but he might need to reconsider those colored contacts.

Ryan Lotche did get a new haircut after the old-new haircut made him look like the infamous entitled all-American a$$ aardvark. And apparently, he's got a new gig on Dancing with the Stars, so maybe he's good for now.

Anthony Weiner. Whew, all three dude, and like yesterday!

Huma Adebin, you clearly need a new job because all that time spent away from home with Hillary...and a life because of all that time spent away from home with Hillary. And a haircut, just because.

And speaking of Hillary Clinton, who is hoping for both a new job and a new life...let's just wait to see how she botches both endeavors with another ridiculous scandal. I like her haircut, though.

Chris Brown. Sigh.

The trolls who came for Gabby Douglas at the Olympics need all three. New lives because Grandma is tired of you living in her basement. New jobs because being the manager at the Chik-fil-A is still a sucky job even if you were promoted from cooking the waffle fries just last week. And haircuts because all of that concern about Gabby's edges probably means that you paid entirely too much for whatever hot pink messiness you got going on your head. And if you happen to be one of those I-wear-the-American-flag-on-my-a$$ trolls who attacked her for what was deemed insufficient patriotism, it is way past time to change your underwear. Seriously.

Ditto for those who have been coming for Leslie Jones.

And finally, there are the trolls who allegedly dissed little Blue Ivy Carter. I am by no means a member of  the Bey hive, but I saw that gorgeous photo of Bey and her daughter and wondered how I might recreate the magic captured in that iconic image. So color me shocked to learn from the Facebook that some aardvarks reacted by saying all kinds of nastiness about Baby Blue. Need I remind you that she's a kid, y'all. When did it become okay to talk badly about a four-year old? So, I declare an acute and critical need for lives, jobs and haircuts! New lives would require an evolution up to the human species, but try that and let us know how that works for you. How about you just get a job, any job? And new haircuts, wigs, better weaves, whatever...because that troll look is just tired.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bad Mommy Days

If I were to sum up my impression of motherhood these last few weeks in two words, they would be tub poopie. Or I could go with no nap. Or if you prefer something more general then it would be MOM DOWN.

In this latest episode of Busy Bad Mommy, the Babe developed a high fever out of nowhere last Monday so she and I spent the entire day curled up in bed. I nursed her, gave her juice, tried several times to give her Tylenol, and even took her outside for fresh air. My Aunt and Dad checked in periodically with advice, but by 9 o'clock when the Hub got home from work, her fever had not broken. Around the same time I received a call from a cousin who asked me the most obvious question...which I could not answer because (head smack) I never took the Babe's temperature!!! So in my frantic attempt not to look like a complete moron, everything went haywire and we ended going to the ER. This is me at 3am right before we were released:

Diagnosis: too much wax in her ear.

The next night at bedtime she began screaming for no good reason after she had been asleep for about an hour. Her father came in and declared that he had it under control but she continued to shriek as if she was on fire. So I loaded her into the car for a ride around the neighborhood, which worked for about 5 minutes until we got back to the house. She went to sleep eventually (probably after my Xanax kicked in).

I recently saw a documentary on the Kennedy family and of course there was the always-smiling Ethel Kennedy with her 11 children. And I wondered aloud, how in the hell? I know they had nannies and servants and other kinds of help, but I struggle to manage one tiny little kid.

Mind you, I used to be great with children. My cousins can attest to that. My Niece has generally been easy to manage. The NY contingent of nieces and nephews love me. Even the new Baby Niece and I get along quite well. But with my own child I am out of my league.

For obvious reasons there is no asking my mother for advice. But even if she could offer me some motherly wisdom, she would not. She would ridicule my inability to do basic things like prevent the kid from eating cheerios off the floor. She would declare how superior she was as a mother, call me a silly girl, click her ruby heels, and take off on her flying broomstick. In her place is her sister, my Aunt, who also flies in on her broom to occasionally chime in on my ineffectiveness.

Surrender Dorothy...

There are no other close family members to offer me much advice or support. My Dad was away in graduate school during my early childhood, so apparently his memories of me began around the time I hit puberty. On the Hub's side, all of the nieces and nephews are grown (and his mother was around to assist). He has several friends and coworkers with young children, but I do not.

So, if I wanted advice, I would have to turn to the village council of senior mother figures. And based on my past experiences with a few of them, I would rather just clean up tub poopie. Remember how the pediatrician looked at me like I had six heads when I said yes, the Babe still nurses at nine months (now 16) and no, she is not in daycare? The play group nannies brag about successfully sleep training their charges at birth, while I wrestle with the Babe to take one nap. The library nannies, who always arrive early for story-time to secure the best spots at the front of the room, look upon me with annoyance whenever the Babe wanders too close to their well-behaved charges. And the FB mommies who work several jobs, have successful side hustles, and pursue advanced degrees, while I am a SAHM with a blog no one reads? Yep, lots of support there.

I do have good Mommy moments (I do, I do, I do, I do). After all, I was clever enough to buy her shoes with squeakers and she is reasonably well-behaved in restaurants. Perhaps we should spend a lot more time at the mall.

I know this time will pass quickly and one day I will look up and she will be a teenager. And then if I'm lucky, she'll call me on the phone one day with questions about her own toddler (and thanks to this blog, I will not be able to lie).

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hypocrisy, Confusion and the Futility of Arguing on Social Media

Long title to address a topic that has a long history...or just my way of stating the obvious. Arguments on social media really are futile, thanks in part to hypocrisy and confusion.

This week, after weighing in on a heated debate and reading through too many disappointing and frustrating comments, I should just let it drop and move on to other less controversial issues, like Ryan Lochte. I am sure that nothing I said swayed any opinions. Yet my ego compels me to attempt the impossible...

I admit to not having read all of the requisite facts, but I have read various news accounts, am intelligent enough, and have lived long enough to have an informed opinion. And in my opinion based on what I have read and my own life experience: Nate Parker might not be a convicted rapist, but he is an asshole. (Note, I have used a lot of profanity in this piece, so continue to clutch your pearls.)

When an adult R. Kelly married then-15 year old singer Aaliyah and later urinated on a 13-year old child, he became forever in my mind, an asshole. Children cannot consent to sexual behavior with adults. R. Kelly is a talented man who has written some very inspirational music, but I will change the channel and/or leave the dance floor whenever one of his songs is played. I do not want to hear shit in terms of how these children in question were somehow responsible for what happened to them. 

When Bill Cosby was accused by one woman of drugging and raping her, then another woman and then 40 other women, he is now and forever shall be in my mind an asshole. A drugged aspiring actress or unknown model is still a vulnerable woman who cannot give consent to sexual relations. His pioneering career, past philanthropy, and other good deeds are overshadowed by decades of alleged predatory behavior. I do not want to hear shit about the absence of a conviction despite multiple similar accusations.

So when Nate Parker has been accused, tried and acquitted of having raped a woman back in college, he is now an asshole as well. A woman who is intoxicated is not a willing sexual participant despite the fact that there had been a prior consensual sexual relationship. An intoxicated woman cannot consent to having sex with multiple partners. His current project is indeed important, as a film about the Nat Turner slave uprising is long overdue. But I do not want to hear shit about an acquittal being sufficient to justify supporting his work.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Free Melania!

I was all ready to write a second piece to urge compassion for Melania T…but did I read that she might have gamed the system and entered this country illegally??? Girl bye!

I could make a lot of this little detail, but I shan’t. She will get far worse in the weeks to come from the journalists whose job it is to vet her “qualifications” to compete in the First Lady Pageant. I have already staked my position against that entire enterprise, so she gets a pass—but a little tiny one like the size of Zoolander’s cell phone.

Of course there is the UGE irony of her little scandal and the invective spewed by her husband against undocumented immigrants and a visa system that allows in too many people who “take American jobs”. Yeah, whatever Max. We expect you to fix that just as soon as you bring back those well-paying sweatshop jobs that employ the folks who make your clothing line. We believe everything you say.

We want to believe your wife, who in all sincerity, is merely a passenger on that private plane. She surely is not the co-pilot (a job that must belong to one of your kids because it sure ain’t your running mate either). No, the beautiful Melania is…

Well, I will not refer to her as the pretty stewardess because no one uses such politically incorrect terminology. No, she is not the pretty mermaid on the mast of the ship—just an artful way of calling her a mascot. Nor is she the pretty trophy Stepford wife; the pretty Gold Digging third baby mother (who performed her function of producing both a male heir and anchor for her to stay); the pretty May to his gray December; or whatever other sexist description that we could think of to diminish her. She could be a real life Pretty Woman and this is how a second movie might have ended…

However, in all seriousness she is pretty obviously trapped in a gilded penthouse. 

The facts that we know about her are these: She came to the US from Slovenia as a model sometime in the mid-90s, met Max and became his consort, bore him a son, and is now infamous for swiping a paragraph from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. The fallout from her botched speech prompted a more thorough review of her background, which led Maxy’s people to scrub her bio and build a wall of sorts (perhaps using cheap Mexican labor) to repel those who seek the truth.

In a more delicious twist of the ironic, Melania has herself, been silent (or silenced). In the same week that Max questioned the silence of a grieving mother while her husband spoke on their behalf about their dead son, Melania has gone quiet. Sure, there have been tweets…but not written by her (unless I missed the cut and paste function on Twitter). Actually, Melania has been rather quiet all along.

I recall one interview she gave a few months ago about her husband’s candidacy. In response to a question about his rhetoric, she said that she has told him to tone it down. Then I don’t think I heard from her again until that convention speech. And I suspect that we will not hear another word from Melania again…unless it is HELP!

Omarosa Manigault, a Maxy minion (ha), offered a reasonable defense of the Melania speech scandal that was way more credible than the explanation offered by the alleged ghostwriter. For a woman who rarely speaks in public, it was a challenge to do so with the poise and grace Melania demonstrated, especially in front of an audience of millions. It also must be damned hard to have the attention of an audience of millions and NOT beg for someone, anyone to set you free.

I noticed the icy body language between Maxy and the Missus a few days later when they arrived for his Ascension. The moment before they both realized they were being filmed, he shot a glare at her and her recoil suggested that he was reminding her not to say or do anything except smile and wave. And on cue, she did just that. 

Later when the camera panned over to her, I scanned her face to see if there was any hint that she might drop the supportive spouse facade and blink out an SOS. Nothing. So maybe she really is happy, she and Max are equals, and that she gets with Lady Ivanka every week to gossip and braid each others' hair.

And if you believe any of that, I'm building a UGE wall along the Mexican border out of Chinese take-out boxes.

In Defense of Melania

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Politics Unusual

At times the 2016 Election cycle has felt like an episode of Looney Tunes. On the one hand there is Yosemite Sam and his running mate, Elmer Fudd and on the other hand there is...well I have to be honest, I do not remember the name of the girl bunny who was not a major character until the 90s which seems a tad condescending, so here is cartoon Hill from the Presidents Song (she appears at 2:58). But I hope you get my point. This is the craziest election I have witnessed in my lifetime.

And while this election will indeed be historic, it is also quite sad that in order to elect a woman her opponent has to be someone so ludicrous that the best compliment is to compare him to a cartoon character. But I am jumping way ahead of myself by declaring a winner...

Several of my friends on social media are practically obsessed with proving Yosemite's unfitness for office, almost to the extent of waging a religious crusade. And I agree, he is totally ridiculous which is why I refuse to even say his name anymore. Apparently he thrives on seeing his name in print, even if he is being criticized, which then results in his saying even more outrageous things to keep his name in print.

So, my first point of order: STOP. The articles, the analysis, the editorials, the tweets, the quotes, etc. We get it. We're already convinced...

Friday, July 8, 2016


This has been the WORST WEEK EVER.

In one week, there have been two police shootings caught on tape, which was outrageous enough. Then today I woke up to the news that there had been a sniper-like attack on a dozen police officers with five of them killed.

As we mourn publicly the senseless loss of lives, the sadness I feel is compounded by the resignation that this will only polarize us into camps of black lives versus blue lives versus all lives versus gun control versus gun rights versus whatever else is out there to make the world worse than it already is.


I am a mother now, and something strange happens when a little life enters the world with half of your DNA. You see everything with new eyes. You ask different questions of yourself. You look upon this little person with his/her emerging personality and wonder about the future. Your reactions to events is much more emotional. You realize your shortcomings and pray that in twenty years or so, the therapist will be kind.

So when I wake up every day this week to one tragedy after another with my baby girl sleeping so peacefully next to me, I am at a loss. Some of you have to explain this to your babies; luckily I do not, but one day I will and it hurts. Because she will ask me why and what will make it stop, and I will have insufficient answers.

Yet we do have the ultimate answer inside of us if we are willing to ignore the anger, the hate, and the fear. We can choose LOVE. We can decide that not just for the children we have been given, but for all of the children we will choose LOVE. Choosing love allows us to feel compassion for the families of everyone who lost someone this week. Choosing love allows us to participate in peaceful protest with police protection with the expectation that our legitimate grievances can be met with policy that serves all of our best interests. Choosing love is not choosing to value one life over another. Choosing love is to disagree about the means, but to agree that the end is certainly not more senseless death.

Live and LOVE.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sick of Lemonade

When life keeps giving you lemons...I mean, how about an occasional lime so that I can make margaritas or mojitos?

I recently had another BIG Busy Black Woman meltdown over a slight that I could have overlooked, but chose otherwise. The details are unimportant, but let's just say that the Hub will might think twice before forgetting to text me the full details of one of his half-baked, last minute plans involving the Babe.

Yet, the real reason for my meltdown was not the Hub's sin of omission, but the postlude to time spent with my mother. We had such a good start to the day that I was lulled into a false sense of satisfaction, then shit went awry. Add to that the fact that I was hangry and probably operating on maybe four hours of yeah, I unleashed a category 5 Busy Black Woman Hurricane.

So just know that there are days when I am not hearing the life and lemons speech because I have had enough lemonade. I am too through with trying to make the best of a fucked up situation. I am not feeling any motivational memes or biblical truths about adversity making me stronger or hardships setting me up for something greater. Screw that.

Sometimes when I catch myself wondering whether this is all really happening, and then reality bites to prove that yes, this shit is real, I fantasize about the Glamorous Life. You know, that blissful, unapologetic existence of perpetual self-involvement. The freedom from guilt or anxiety for choosing to do for myself instead of everyone else.

I get it though...I invented this persona, gave it a name, and have proven time and again that I really do have superpowers. It is the ability to handle everything even though there are plenty of other able-bodied and of-sound-mind folks in the vicinity.

Besides, you would not be reading this if I were a Busy Black Man (unicorn).

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gone Too Soon

Last night I was scrolling through my FB timeline when I saw an update on Pat Summitt, the former women's basketball coach for the University of Tennessee. Until a few years ago, I had no idea who she was...and unfortunately the reason why I know about her now is because of what she shared with my mother: a diagnosis of early-onset dementia related to Alzheimer's disease.

They were diagnosed the same year, in 2011. Pat Summitt passed away last night at the age of 64. What I saw earlier on FB was an update that she might be dying and I was hopeful that it was an exaggeration. Yet, as we have learned all too frequently, these imminent death watch updates tend to be fairly accurate, so I was not surprised by the news this morning.

However, I am surprised at how quickly her condition deteriorated. And my emotions are all over the place.

I feel for her family. Her son was born the year I entered college, which means he is only 26. The last five years of his life (the beginning of his adult life) were spent watching this horrible bitch of a disease strip away at his mother's memory and her dignity. At some point, she became so incapacitated as to need placement in a care facility. And then, literally, in the blink of an eye, his mother is gone.

And that is where I end up all in my feelings about what is now happening to my mother and what the future holds for my daughter...

While there is so much I want to express, to do so makes this all about me. And Alzheimer's gives no fucks about me, just like it gave no second thoughts to destroying Pat Summitt, totally upending her son's life, and erasing all of who she was until 2011.

Alzheimer's does not give a fuck about any of us.

I regret that I did not pay attention to women's basketball, let alone know anything about Pat Summitt, who was clearly a living legend. I know that as effusive the praises were for Muhammad Ali, who succumbed fairly recently to Parkinson's disease (another undiscriminating neurological bitch of a disease), there will be no such accolades for Pat Summitt. Other than tennis, women's sports still have a long way to go, even if you are badass enough to have won more games than everybody else. So I resolve to read her book, connect to her foundation, and do whatever else I can never to forget Pat.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Busy Black Baby

I am writing this at the end of a very intense week of over-scheduling myself and the Babe, with moderate success. If you are reading this on Monday when it posts (or thereafter) it is entirely possible that I will not have learned my lesson and will either be at a library story time or a funeral. In either event, the entire month of May has been one grand experiment at trying to be that perfect, always-have-a-plan Mommy.

Let me rewind to the beginning of the month when I was having one of my self-pitiful panic attacks about being a bad mother. This was how I comforted myself after the Babe's birthday fiasco and how I chose to address some of the conflicting emotions I was experiencing at the approach of Mother's Day (still writing that piece) and well, whenever I convince myself that I am under-doing it...

I began plotting and researching ways to enhance the Babe's social development. I investigated home schooling; purchased tickets to child-centered performances; populated my calendar with free cultural events for us to attend; finished her passport application; am taking an eight-week class on baby language development; am also learning some American Sign Language to teach her so that we can communicate; and plotted every library story time within a 15 minute drive from our home. And I still have another full week left in this month!

Mind you, no one has suggested that I am over-doing it, yet.

And no one will because I have learned that motherhood is a competitive contact sport (like roller derby without the skates and the skimpy outfits, but in heels/sneakers and classy sweater sets/yoga pants). The goal may be to raise a decent, honest kid, but there are so many, many ways that simple plan can be derailed. No one expects half of this effort from fathers, but we all recognize that the success of one's child(ren) is wholly dependent on how intensely the mother pursues every possible opportunity to gain an advantage. Do not be fooled into thinking otherwise.

For example, the husband and I took the Babe for her 9-month checkup and let's just say, we left that appointment feeling like illiterate teenage parents. The doctor suggested that there might be some language delays and it immediately tripped the Hub's inner defensiveness switch, which led us to investigate a variety of services and programs for which we were ultimately deemed ineligible. And that might have been the end of that line of inquiry, except by chance we took advantage of another opportunity that convinced me that we have been seriously slacking!

Of course which is not true, but clearly my job as a stay-at-home-parent is not merely to keep the Babe from killing herself. It is to expose her to any and everything she is missing by not being in day care, which in addition to communicable germs, is pretty much everything. So she goes to play group once a week to see and play with other children. And upon that foundation I began formulating a master plan which is what led to the creation of a massive color-coded wall calendar in my kitchen filled with daily Babe-centric activities and events.

The fact that I am exhausted is irrelevant. The fact that she might be overwhelmed is too bad since she cannot protest, yet. The fact that this is only the beginning and that things will become much more complicated and involved as she gets older is well, LIFE.