Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Cookies

Every holiday for as long as I can remember, cheesecake has always been made and the first to go.  This year, oddly enough, it wasn't even on the menu.  Before I knew this, I had already decided on cheesecake cookies, something I had seen on Pinterest.com.

I think they turned out pretty well and were super easy.  Adding things, such as chocolate and craisins, were kind of fun and the fam (aka taste testers) loved 'em.

Thumbs up!

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve....

Hello America! Its Christmas time in Hollis queens, Momma cookin' Chitterlings and Collard Greens. 

This is what I get for letting my brother get a hold of my blog! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Heaven...

If someone told me that I had to have breakfast food for every meal for a month, I would think that I had won the lottery!  Cereal (hot or cold), pancakes or waffles, eggs, bacon...it doesn't matter.  So this next food attempt should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me.

I found an easy recipe that combined my love for grilled cheese, eggs and bacon in ONE sandwich and finally decided now would be a good time to try it.  This breakfast grilled cheese is a fairly easy one, but if you load it up with butter like I do, its not something that should be eaten very often.  It was probably the best sandwich ever and was inhaled!  Thumbs up if you're a fan of either.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Food Updates...

After listening to conspiracy theories over dinner and spending the day with family, I thought this would be a good way to end the day, before getting ready for the week.

So I have slowly started writing again, mainly because those characters (or voices...whichever you want to call it) wouldn't let me go too long without putting their words on paper.  I'm still not eating and breathing their story as I was before, but I'm getting there.

For now, Pinterest has taken up a lot of my time and my stomach as well as my sweet tooth is thanking me for that.  Since I had a little extra time on my hand this weekend, I decided to try a couple new dishes and make a new favorite.

Last night, I made beef ravioli with garlic butter sauce...not a fan really.  I don't know if it was how light the butter sauce was (or should I say nonexistent) or the overwhelming amount of garlic that the recipe called for, despite the fact that I opted not to use as much as the recipe called for.  Either way, I wasn't a fan.  I won't make it again.

Tonight, I wanted to try oven toasted ravioli, which is a super easy appetizer or light meal, and was super easy. And delicious! After making the lasagna rolls, I became a fan of marinara sauce, but I opted to use spicy marinara sauce, adding the extra kick.  Thumbs up for this one.

To top off the weekend, I made tortellini and spinach soup, a great soup on a cold rainy day.

Another thing that I got a chance to do was check out the movie, Lincoln, which turned out to be a great movie.  For anyone who likes history, it is worth the 2.5 hours.  The movie was more or less about Lincoln's second term and the 13th amendment, as well as the controversy surrounding it.  The ending was a little heartbreaking, but great.  Reminds me of our president...made him a little more human in my eyes.  

Have a great week!

Ps. I need to try pineapple sangria and cheesecake cookies very soon!  I'm thinking the cookies may be a Christmas thing...we'll see.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hate To Cook, But Love To Eat

I have said the following to family and friends:

I can cook, but hate to...It has to be done because I love to eat!

Pinterest.com is going to be the reason why I will be gaining the 15 lbs that I avoided during my freshman year of college (mainly since I opted to live with the 'rents during this time) because I'm always finding a new recipe that I want to try.  

Oddly enough though, my latest cravings had nothing to do with the site... this time!

For the main dish, I made smothered enchiladas since I was craving Mexican food...I think it turned out okay.  I will say that when I make this again, I will probably cut down on the cream of chicken soup and use a spicier taco seasoning.  For me, its perfect though, because it's one of those dishes that can be taken for lunch.  Overall, I wasn't totally impressed by this one.

Note: As most food, these are soooooo much better the second day!

Back story: I was at a friends house for a random get together weeks ago and the roommate made some mint chocolate chip cookies that were out of this world.  Needless to say, I have been craving them ever since.  

So now that the holiday is over and Christmas is weeks away, I figured today was a good time as any to try the two recipes.  

I really could have stopped right here!

Finished product...These may not last very long
All in all, Enchiladas... nothing too exciting, but the mint chocolate chip cookies were amazing!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cooking again...

I know that it has been a while since I have posted anything...I'll explain more later.

Pinterest.com is going to be the death of me...its the most distracting thing EVER!  (I'm just waiting for the day when I go into work and this site will be blocked.)  The pictures and ideas that are posted are enough, but then I found the food section.  

Moving on...

So I set aside three recipes that I wanted to try or make the first time in years.  One (tortellini and spinach soup) didn't make it since I didn't have the tortellini...oops!

The french breakfast muffins reminded me of when my mom used to make them and figured it would be good to try.  Luckily for me, they turned out great...now for me NOT to eat all of them tonight.

The other recipe that I tried were portobello pizza bites.  This was a new one for me since I have only had only had a small bite of a portobello mushroom before this and have never tried a recipe with it, so this one was a little weird for me.  Since I was so iffy about it, I opted for the mini 'bellas and originally made two of them.  When they finished, the water from the mushrooms were draining out and made me wonder if I burned  the bottoms because of the smell.  I didn't!

It doesn't look great, I know...
They turned out so well, that I made a third one.  What I like about these mushrooms is that they are filling and has the texture of meat...great for vegetarians.  Well, minus the turkey pepperoni.  Even the turkey pepperoni surprised me...it actually tasted better than the usual pepperoni.  

Would I makes either of these again? Yes, I would!  

Monday, September 24, 2012

For Me

As my birthday rapidly approached last month, I tried my hardest to think of what I wanted to do for myself... And it had to be drastic.  Something no one thought I would ever do.

The final two choices were cut  my hair or get a tattoo.  Decisions, decisions.

The haircut slightly terrified me despite the fact that it was something I got excited about.  The only issue I had with it was the fact that I have finally gotten my hair the way I want it and its finally healthy, so why mess it up now?

So then I figured if I could find a tattoo that meant something to me, that would be the winner.  After a couple hours of research and bombarding my sister with questions, I had found the design that I wanted and decided on the date before I could back out.

So this Saturday, I picked up my sisters and got my tattoo.  The sketch of it alone blew me away, but the tattoo itself is so ridiculously awesome.  

There is still a tiny part of me that's still can't believe that it's really there, but it is.  Well, that is until something rubs up against it.

Do I regret it?  Absolutely not.

Would I get another one?  Hell no! 

Now to figure out what I'm going to do next year...

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm Black...When Did That Happen?!

I just can't seem to get this out of my head.  Please know that to me, race is one of those issues that can either cause problems or cause people to think.  It's what makes us all unique and allows us all to bring something different to the table.  If we were all the same, can you imagine how boring life would be?

The other day, an older black woman came to the counter where I work with a few questions, which I was able to answer.  Once she got the answers that she came for, the woman lowered her voice and said to me, "I didn't know that they hired black people here."

You know that feeling when your heart starts beating triple time and the room gets really hot while the walls start closing in?  Yeah, that's how I felt.

I managed to brush it off by saying, "Yes, they do, contrary to popular belief."  She moved onto what felt like an interrogation or 20 questions while we were being watched by two other secretaries before she finally left.  When I sat down, the realization that yes, I am black (duh...I'll get back to this) and me working where I do is still a shock to people, both black and white.

You have to realize that when my siblings and I were growing up, my parents raised us with the idea that despite the fact that we were black, we shouldn't feed into the stereotypes that society had for us and that the color of our skin means nothing and shouldn't stop us from getting what we want, without forgetting who we were or where we came from.  We were taught to judge a person by their character and not their skin color, because that is what matters most.  We were sent to schools where we were often the only black kids in our classes.  I was in a government class where the professor did single me out for being the only black student while discussing slavery.  Each of us were all in situations where we were called out for "talking" or "acting white" by other blacks because we were taught that slang is unnecessary if we want to succeed in this world.

Before that woman came to the counter, I had gotten to the point in my job that I was comfortable in my own skin and didn't have to worry about the fact that I looked different.  Yes, there are times when I do have to step back and remember that some of the older contractors are not ready to see a colored face there, but its not often.  Maybe its the fact that race has never seemed to be a factor since I started working here and that I was just welcomed with open arms by my coworkers.  How two of my closest "people" there are nothing like me, but we all seem to enjoy each others company.  

She reminded me that I wasn't the same as everyone else and that I could be portrayed as the token black person.  Or it could be that maybe, just maybe this place is coming to their senses and finally hiring people that represent the citizens that they are serving day in and day out.  Nonetheless, because of this older woman, I realized that maybe I am that touch of color or change that my workplace so desperately needed. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Letter to my teen-aged self

Dear 14 year old Me,

You're probably thinking that this is a joke, but it's not...I promise.  In 14 years, you're going to wonder where the time went and that's okay.  

Let me tell you a few things that no one else, but I could know about you.  

First of all, high school is going to suck but you'll get through it.Yes, freshman year will mean being a victim of a few senior pranks, sophomore year, you'll be taken away from your closest friends and move to GB, junior and senior years will mean that you will have to figure out who you are as a person.  Fine, but you come out as a stronger person.  Know that the clown that you almost fell for has a serious anger problem and you lucked out in the long run.  Continue to watch who you allow close to you.  

That notebook that you'll carry with you everywhere will be a lifesaver. It'll capture every thought that you're afraid the people you love will never understand. Those pages will hold the most honest words that you could ever write and know that at the loneliest of times, you're never alone. In time, you will open up just enough to the let a tiny portion of the world in and let me just tell you, they will shock you.

You may not realize it now, but its a blessing that Mom and Dad make you work for everything.  You'll appreciate the prize in the end.  The need to please them will never cease.  It just doesn't, although I wish I could tell you otherwise.  I will say this though: when you do start standing up for yourself, you will have one hell of a team of friends who have your back every step of the way.  There won't be ton of them, but that's okay.  Hold on to them.  

Remember that in Gamae's last days, work means nothing because you don't know how long you have with her.  It'll hurt like hell (and still does), but know that even after she leaves, she will always be with you and that'll be what keeps you going some days.

Know that no matter what anyone says, it's okay to be a nerd, an occasional loner, quiet.  It'll pay off.    

Being brutally honest sometimes can hurt people, but always be honest.  

Last but not least, as you get older, you will have a wall around your heart to keep from falling because of this constant need to be everything to everyone and that's okay.  All I say is know that maybe, just maybe, the barbed wire and rabid dogs may not be necessary.  This guard will prevent you from enjoying life the way you should.  Let people see that you aren't this evil cold person who thinks only of yourself, but one who will sacrifice everything to make those you care about happy.  


Keep your head up and know that all of the bullshit you deal with now is only a test to see if you're worth the beautiful things in life. 

Know that everything you do now will determine who you are when you're my age.  

Know that not being perfect may be the best thing ever.  It's your strength and determination that will get you to where you want to be.  Never apologize for doing the right thing.

As I look back at you, know that I couldn't be more proud of you.

From the older you

Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies


Watched the Opening Ceremonies last night and let's just say that other than a couple moments, I was less than impressed.  The Beijing Opening Ceremonies in 2008 was amazing and had me glued to my seat.  It was exciting....the complete opposite of this years Ceremonies.  

I did like the historical aspect of it, but goodness, it reminded me of musicals...that I HATE!

Then Daniel Craig appeared on the screen as James Bond to escort the Queen to the Ceremonies...

So much for thinking that she was boring!

Then I got bored again....

And then this happens...

I did like the effort that was put into the show by Danny Boyle, but it wasn't something that I enjoyed....

But that's not the point of all this...

Its for the world to come together....

Go Team USA!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Family Thoughts...

During the past month or so, I got to thinking about the concept of families and what is considered a family in this day in age. Growing up, I was always told that family was blood and blood only, but I'm starting to think a little differently. I mean, yes, family is who you're related to, but there is definitely more to it.

Over the years, our family gatherings have definitely changed. My immediate family would go to 2 holiday gatherings, one for each side of the family. Several years ago, this tradition changed and the two sides, which knew and liked each other, came together. Then the relatives started bringing close friends and it wasn't really frowned upon...unless the guest started some unnecessary drama.

(There is a point to this, I promise!)

Around the July 4th holiday, I went to a friend's family reunion (something I had never done before) as a honorary family member and was a little shocked about what I found. Despite the fact that I had never met these people before that day, I really didn't feel out of place. More so when a few non-family members who I knew finally showed up a few hours later. Yes, there was the awkward "And who are you?" question, but by the end of the night, it wasn't too bad.

At one point in the evening, my friends aunt gave a toast with most of the family and I couldn't tell you what she said for the most part, but this one line did stick out: "Family isn't just blood, but the people who you care about and are there for you no matter what." I don't know why, but this stayed with me. Maybe because its true.

Since then, I thought of the people that I have adopted into my quirky family and how sometimes, they are people that I know for a fact, that like family, I could not live without.  

Maybe that's the idea....

Maybe a family isn't just who you're related to, but the people who have your back no matter the situation, who love you when even you can't see why and who you don't think you could ever see life without.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Does that Make Me Any Less Patriotic?

I'll be honest with you...I forgot the lyrics to the song, God Bless America.  Like, honest to goodness forgot the lyrics.

We were at church on Sunday and at the end, they started singing and I sat there on the pew looking around thinking, 'Damn... I have no idea what the lyrics are to this song!'  When the choir got to the chorus, then I was finally able to sing along.  

Does that make me any less patriotic?  Absolutely not...

Looking around the house as I write this, I am reminded of how blessed I am to be able to spend this holiday with my family.  

I'm keeping this one short and say, Happy Independence Day and be safe!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Thought...

A few days after I went to Grand Haven, I had lunch with my mom, sister and grandmother and was telling them about my trip. What made this convo stick out in my mind was the fact that my grandmother said, "I can't believe that you can just get up and take a trip like that by yourself."

Days later, her words still come to mind. For me to see a movie or go to dinner by myself isn't a big deal, so a day trip to clear my head was a no brainer. For her and my mom, the concept is almost foreign.

When I took that trip, by no means was I trying to make a statement or anything. All I was doing was doing something for myself. In a way, it turned into something for the older generations to think about. That maybe, just maybe, flying solo may not be a bad thing. A challenge even.

At the beginning of the year, I set out to challenge myself and step outside the box. Without realizing it, by doing something that I love, I did that last week while opening their eyes.

So I say this: if you have never considered going on a trip, to dinner, a movie, whatever by yourself because its depressing, you'd be shocked how untrue that really is. If anything, its almost liberating. I say do it. You'll discover another side to yourself that you didn't realize was there.

"Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty- his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure." ~ Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Day for Me

A few years ago, as a way to handle work related stress and to give myself a chance to catch my breath, I started to take sanity days where I could do whatever I wanted.  Days when I would sleep in and focus on me, to rest.  Last year was a little different because of the job situation, but it taught me a lot.  That these days are what save my life, or should I say, my sanity.

There are days when I feel like I am being pulled in several directions, forcing me to try and be everything to everyone.  For anyone who knows how that can be know what I'm talking about.  Not wanting to say no, for fear of disappointing, taking on burdens.  Putting everyone before yourself, even when you're battling your own demons...  

It's absolutely exhausting!

Last week, I figured enough was enough.  Its time for me to make some time for myself for a day, so I took this past Monday off and spent the day in Grand Haven...by MYSELF!  Let me just say that it was perfect.   Yeah, the trip started with an insane thunderstorm that I would have considered to be awesome had I been at home, not on the expressway.  

Over two hours later, I found myself in a coffee shop that was a hot spot for older locals and while sipping on my vanilla latte, this came to me:

Taking a day for myself was the best thing I could have done. Walking through historic downtown grand haven right after a storm is perfect bc it matches the chaos in my head. No one is in a hurry and there are no strangers. A painter meets me at the door of an art gallery just before she urges me to check out her work, which is absolutely beautiful btw.  The overcast skies and the small town feel puts me at complete ease...knowing my car won't be ticketed helps too.

After spending three hours walking through the historic downtown and along the marina with my ipod going, I decided to end my day at one of the beach parks along Lake Michigan and, as usual, it was worth the trip.

And to think, Mom didn't think it would be a good
beach day after the storm that morning

As I drove back home, covered in sand, I don't think I could have been happier.  I had done something for myself and was completely relaxed.  Re-energized...

To someone who has never done anything by themselves, this trip would have been horrible, but for me, it was a reminder that I do need to take time for myself.  Someone I would consider a friend, despite my constant urge to knock some sense into them, said to me that if I want to keep from losing my mind, stressing about the wants and needs of the people around me, sanity days are crucial.  

I couldn't agree more...

Now that I know how relaxing that trip is, I may have to go back...this time with a notebook.

Don't compromise yourself.  You are all you've got. ~ Janis Joplin 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Sucker for Bookstores

*I've been in a funk lately in terms of blogging and my own writing and maybe it's due to the 90 million things I have swirling through my head, but I think today or should I say yesterday's trip to the bookstore may have helped a little.*

“Old books exert a strange fascination for me -- their smell, their feel, their history; wondering who might have owned them, how they lived, what they felt.” 
― Lauren Willig

There is something about wandering through a used bookstore that just puts me at ease when my mind has spent so much time at full speed.  The more chaotic it is, the better.  

The smell that hits you the moment you walk in and its so different from that of a brand new bookstore, like Barnes and Nobles.  

Running your fingers across the spine of each book, making sure you don't miss one, as the music pours from the speakers in the ceiling or your earbuds, stirring up the dust along the way.  The creases and worn pages of each book telling its own story of how it got there.  

The almost sweet musky smell that hits your nose as you flip through a potential buy.

Its the feeling that as you wander through the store that you're the only one there....no pressure.  Its almost a safe haven... no judgement.

The guilt hits as I approach the cash register to pay for my finds, thinking that I should have bought that last book.  My consolation?  I'll just come back for it another time...


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Crossing Over

There was a time when I would cringe as my parents played their favorite albums and think that my generations music was oh, so much better.  

That was then...

Since I have gotten older and my music tastes have matured a bit, I have gone back and added a few of their songs to my own playlist.  What can I say? Their generation of music was onto something.  That it's not the time, but the message in the music.

Over the last several years, I have gotten to the point where I want there to be a message or a story in the song... something that I or others could relate to.  Not the repetitive nonsense that many rappers or so called r&b artists go on and on about in their lyrics.  

I finally got a chance to listen to a few songs that Lionel Richie re-released on his Tuskegee album recently and fell in love!  He mixed classics such as Stuck on You, You Are and Deep River Woman with various country artists without messing them up, sounding amazing.  Leave it to Lionel to say screw the genre lines and do something totally different.  Because of his love for music, rather than caring about what people would think, this album has been accepted by many of his loyal followers as well country fans.  This man just proved that he can still put out a good album.

For now, I'll keep Stuck on You with Darius Rucker on repeat!

Have a great week!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Are We Regressing?

Earlier this evening, I was talking to a friend of mine who sent me a link for, what I initially thought was, a cool picture and a quick blurb telling what made the photographer post this.  

When I finished reading, I was seriously overwhelmed with emotion (and I know this post will not do it justice).  Sadness, anger and sickened.

The man in the photo was telling the woman that he would pay her to go out with him.  Honestly, what gives him that right? 

It is May 7, 2012 and women are still treated as objects to be possessed, rather than people.  That's what disturbs me the most.  It was a cruel reminder that this world has a long way to go in terms of the treatment of women and makes me sick. 

As I was talking about this with my friend, all I could think of was how this way of thinking was being passed down to the younger generation of males and society turns a blind eye to it.  A woman should not have to worry about having to deal with this when they step outside their home.  

As a young woman and an older sister to two younger women, it disgusts me that this is going on.  It shouldn't be allowed and hurts my heart.  This is an issue that only gets worse each passing day and that shouldn't be the case.  Women are not to be bought like an object on a shelf!



The world needs to remember that!

Ladies, Queens, Sisters, stay strong! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Metta World Peace...

As a Detroit Pistons fan, it is ingrained in me to HATE Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace because of the Pistons-Pacers 2004 brawl at the Palace.  Even more so now that he plays for the LA Lakers.

Today, I can't help but want to switch sides and defend him like a Lakers fan. As I sat down to finish watching the end of the first half of the Lakers-Thunder game with the siblings. The first thing that I saw was a replay of Metta World Peace celebrating a huge play. In the process, he elbowed a player from the other team in the head.

The referee's hit him with a flagrant foul 2 and had him ejected. With that type of foul, not only is the player ejected, they are suspended.

Was the call too harsh?  Absolutely!  I say this mainly because it was unintentional.

Ron Artest has the worst history of anger issues and I can't help but wonder this: How long should we hold this against him if he is trying to change his image?

Had this been anyone else, they would have been hit with a technical foul and the game would have continued.

Ron Artest is pure muscle and is an extremely emotional player, so much so that he has gotten professional help. When you have a strong man like that all riled up, things are going to happen. Do I think he was at fault? Not completely.

As much as I HATE the Lakers, I actually feel sorry for them because he really is a talented player.  Yes, it sucks that the other player may have been hurt, but the league may have come down a little too hard on Metta. My brother, who is sadly an LA Lakers fan, and I were talking about the foul and he brought up a fair point. Ron Artest, body and physical style of play, is in the wrong playing era. This man should have played during the 70's to the very early 90's when the refs would just let the teams play without calling could every few seconds.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Thoughts

It seems like just yesterday Michigan was going through that awesomely crazy heat wave. Now I'm back to wearing my coat, hoping like hell that this all just a bad dream.

Wishful thinking right?


So here is what's been swirling around this head of mine.

- The book that I submitted back in September was rejected last month and for some reason, I'm not disappointed at all. So what I'm going to do is take out the unnecessary chunks and turn it into a novella. More on this later.

- I survived another calm holiday. Holidays just aren't the same without the chaos of a big family.

- My sisters are now 21 and 18? Good lord, where did the time go?! Then they are both about to graduate. Insaneness!

- During my time off from writing, I swear my characters are constantly on my mind. I'm still trying to figure out what Devyn looks like in my head and everything I do, I wonder how she and Miles would act in that situation. I'm thinking that I need to get back to writing.

- I found another recipe to try and am now hooked. It's pasta with spinach and cherry tomatoes with chicken sausage. It's pretty basic, but healthy. (Look mom, I do eat veggies!) I added the chicken sausage just to try it and am now in love with it. Would I recommend it? Most definitely!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Words

**I feel as though I have completely failed in terms of this blog, the one place that my words may not be twisted to fit the needs and wants of others.  As I was going through the list of unpublished posts, I ran across this one that I had started in August, but must have lost the nerve to finish.  Not entirely sure why, since it tells a lot about who I am as a person and what, or should I say who, has helped shape me.**

Today, I was thinking about the people that I voluntarily or involuntarily keep around me and how they have managed to help shape my life for me to be the person that I am today.  The people who force me to answer the tough questions when I don't want to.  The ones who tell me to take a chance and if I fail, to get back up and try it again.  Those just passing through or keep showing up no matter how many times you have told them to take a hike.  Or those who have walked beside me through thick and thin.  Those who I have known all my life, a few years or a few months.  Each person has challenged me in ways that another person may not and maybe that's the point. 

As I get ready to enter a new year next week, I can't help but think about how they have all influenced or forced me to step outside the box.  Believe me, that's not always an easy thing to do.  Whether it be food, my slight irritation with people who seem to lack common sense when in a public place, change or whatever. 

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra said "Tell me what company you keep and I'll tell you what you are."  

I have found that most of the people that I have around me are people that are like me and in the end, force me to be a better person.  How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Realistically Unrealistic

Last Saturday, I decided to go see Tyler Perry's new movie called Good Deeds, which was decent.  Decent because there was a point to the story: Don't live for others or base your life on what they think.  Do what makes you happy and live for yourself.

Wesley Deeds, Tyler Perry's character, was the oldest and considered to be the good son by his parents and peers.  He was engaged to a somewhat selfish real estate agent, who was more about herself and keeping up this image.  He gave up his dream when his father groomed and had him take over the family's multi million dollar software company since no one thought his younger brother Walt, played by Brian White, could handle the responsibility.  (Let me just say that Walt was an ass and Brian White played him oh, so well!)  His mother, played by Phylicia Rashad, had high expectations for Wesley....marriage, kids, career. 

The movie isn't bad...predictable like most of his movies.  Its not believable because as someone who kind of keeps up with the celebrities, we know Tyler Perry is not attracted to women so it was easy to tell that the heated scenes with Gabrielle Union and Thandie Newton were practically forced.

What caught and kept my attention throughout the movie were the expectations Wesley faced from everyone around him.  He couldn't say no to his mother because she expected him to be successful, he was his brother's keeper and with his fiance, he is just a safe bet due to his predictability. 

I understand the thought of not wanting to say no so that other people won't get upset or feel as though you have to be that dependable person since no one else will.  Its the parents or other family members, friends that are much like Phylicia Rashad's character who don't see that they are forcing that one person or persons to live up to these high expectations.  Its when the person has taken on such a burden that they snap and walk awat that they realize one of two things:
  1. Maybe we should back off and let them live their lives
  2. That person is just rebelling...they'll come back
As always, Tyler Perry reminds us that we as people, not just the African American community, need to remember to think about ourselves.  That everyone else will come around eventually and if they don't, oh well!  They weren't that important anyways. 

I will leave with the words of Raymond Hull:

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Evening Thoughts...

I'm sitting here thinking about the last few days with mixed emotions, but I'll only write about the good.

  • Yesterday, I spent a day only doing what I wanted.  Woke up late, watched TV, went to see a movie that in some ways spoke to me, despite how predicable and unrealistic it was, and ended the night with take out and a bottle of wine. It couldn't have been any better!
  • Spent today with my family as we celebrated my sister's 21st birthday. It still amazes me how fast the time has gone.  It seems like just yesterday my brother and I were fighting over whether she would be a boy or girl.
  • I opened my mailbox and found a package with this inside!  (Courtesy of KT Mac!  You are awesome, dear friend!)  Definitely a great way to end the weekend! 

My hope for this week is to get back into my writing, since I have taken an unplanned break.  (Please don't ask why, because I don't even know why!)

Have a great week! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where is the Progress?

Yesterday, a friend of mine who sometimes starts the day with an article that often times forces me to think. This article, though, stopped me in my tracks for several reasons. An African American, eighth grade girl from Rochester, NY wrote a paper on Frederick Douglass' The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass for a class and contest. Much to the teacher's surprise, the teen did more than write her opinion to this complex read. She compared it to the educational system and pointed out their failures. She wrote it in a way that the teacher saw this to be an attack on whites, or white teachers. She argued that this was not the case. She was more or less writing as Douglass had in his book.

Long story short, the teen was harassed by teachers, threatened with suspension and other punishments for this paper. Her mother ended up pulling her out of school and is in the process of moving to a new district. She would later win an award for this insightful paper by the Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York and recognized by the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a member of President Obama's Cabinet.

While I was researching this incident, I found a copy of her essay and it blew me away. Yes, there are mistakes that one would expect from someone her age, but reading what she got from it and how she was able to relate it to today's education was brilliant!

There are a few reasons why this bothered me.

  1. This happened in Rochester, NY. Years ago, I went to a couple of the schools in that area. This may seem trivial, but whatever.
  2. The pettiness of those teachers took away the love of education from a young teen. Something that should never happen. What gives them that right to tell a child that they can't voice their opinion in their writing when its a constitutional right?
  3. She was 13 years old and it was not intended to be a racial issue. If any of those teachers had read this book, they would see that that is how Douglass wrote and the teen was just following his lead.

A fact that I ran across while I was reading this article was this:
"Given that only 19 percent of School #3's eighth graders were proficient in language arts last year (and just 13 percent in math)—well below the state average of 60 percent—it's clear that the school and its teachers need to change their approach."
I'm not a parent, but if I were, there is no way in hell I would send my child to a school with those scores.

Who would have ever thought that this 13 year old could cause such an uproar?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Maybe Change Would Be A Good Idea

Over the past two weeks, I've talked to two of my closest friends who know me better than almost anyone.  Sometimes even better than myself.  Friends that I often feel blessed to have because they are often the ones to push me out of my comfort zone.  

In the last month or so, I've gotten to the point where my job may not be the best place for me.  That I am, more or less, paying work there and that's kind of defeating the purpose.  So, one night, I spoke to my parents and suggested that maybe it would be a good time to maybe look for a new job and really focus on my writing...like looking into the new publishing program that Amazon now has. Shockingly, they were insanely supportive, throwing me off guard.  It made me realize that maybe I had underestimated their feelings toward my desire to write.  What an amazing feeling!

Back to my point...

Last week, I had a chance to have lunch with Amy and her little one and I brought this up.  Not only did she agree with me on my decision to move on from this job, but also really consider a change of scenery, which has been an idea that I have been toying with for the past few years.  When I came back from lunch and talked to Katie, another of my closest friends, she agreed wholeheartedly.  

Being a few hundred miles apart, they still managed to tell me the same thing.  If I could step out of my comfort zone in little ways, why not finish the year off with a new job in a new city and state, living for me?  

How is it that the next day, my brother and I were having the same conversation?  He had been feeling like now was the best time to change things up and really branch out on his own.  Coming from a strong and supportive family, we both have realized that if we are to stand on our own two feet, that it was time to leave. Even if it means moving in the opposite directions.

How is that something as minor as a single conversation becomes something so drastic and exciting?  Something as big as possibly leaving everything that I have ever known for a city that I have only been to for days at a time.  

So, here's my idea:
By the end of August, I want to out of Lansing and into an apartment with a new job in the Chicago area.

Am I terrified of this big leap?  Hell yes, but that means that you're about to do something great.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
– Victor Frankl
Have a great weekend!  

Thursday, February 9, 2012


It has been a while since I've written anything here...

And even longer since I have written about my latest food attempt.

Since the last time I've been here, my two favorite characters have not let me forget that they have made a home in my heart and mind.  I'm either thinking about how to make my second book better or how to humanize them even more.  Or is that even possible? 

Tonight, I decided to try making a spinach lasagna with a cream sauce.  On and off for the past few months, I have been craving it.  As usual, I cheated a little when I used carrot matchsticks instead of shredded.  Then accidentally forgot a layer of lasagna noodles.  All in all though?  It turned out great and I'll be making this again.

Now to finish the week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tyranny is No Match for Liberty

As I watched the President Obama's State of the Union Speech tonight, I kept getting chills for several reasons.  I mean, the speech was amazing.  The entire speech seemed as though he was talking to the public, the common people who are now thinking about whether or not he is still serious about the job.  From what I saw and heard, he is.  He wants to hold the banks and lenders responsible for their actions, hold the auto industry to a higher standard since the bailout years ago and remind the American people as well as the rest of the world that this country is still strong.  

I love that he touched on a lot of the major issues that are and will probably always be on the minds of the American people.  Education, jobs, JOBS, government spending, Jobs and energy.  He wants it to be mandatory for students to remain in school until they graduate or reach 18, for teachers to be rewarded for their work, for universities to be held accountable for their raising tuition rates that are making it hard for students to continue their education.  For community colleges to be in a better position to train and educate people as they retrain for new careers.  Each point would lead into the job market and growth.  Keeping jobs in the States and rewarding companies who bring jobs back or to the States.  

How energy needs to be another big concern...

Now that this "war on terrorism" is over, let's spend that money on repaying the debt... That would be nice.  Maybe when that's done, it could free up funds for research for alternative energy sources, education and other possibilities.

I loved that he called out everyone...not just Republicans or Democrats, but everyone.  Even people on his team.  In order to do what needs to be done, the party lines need to be forgotten.  He told the Republicans that they may not like what he's doing and that he could still get the job done.  That it would just be easier with their help.  In layman terms, "I really don't need you."  (ha!) 

One of my favorite lines was said towards the end when he says, "No one built this country on their own.  This Nation is great because we built it together."

Were there flaws in his speech?  Probably, but he answered the People's many questions.  Yeah, he pointed fingers, but he also made it a point to include himself in that as well as suggest possible solutions.

This country still has a long way to go, but maybe, just maybe, he could be the right person to get us there.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Even the Little People Matter...

I tend to forget the different opinions of the President.  Maybe its because most of the friends and family are like me and see him as a breath of fresh air since he is so normal, I guess.  Some people don't and that's okay.  That's how this country was founded and I love that.  I was reminded of what made me a fan when I saw this picture.  I think you'll agree no matter your political views.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Weekend Thoughts of 2012

As the first week of 2012 comes to a close, I finally got a chance to think about my goals, not resolutions, for 2012.  There are a few things that I would really love to do that I have more or less slacked on in the past.

  • Put myself first and consider re-evaluating my list of "friends".  If that means making cuts, then so be it.  I just don't understand why I should be the one putting in the effort to hold the so called friendship together when they aren't.  Also, knowing when to say no to obligations when I'm not feeling 100% with my friends and family or need some 'me time'.
  • I said this last year, but I need to put more effort into my writing and so far, I feel that I have.  Right now, I am sitting on 2 books, a short story and a desire to do what needs to be done.  I feel like if a former coworker can write a book and have it published, so can I!  Once this is done, I feel like MAYBE the people closest to me will take my love for writing a little more seriously.  (You know who you are.)  
  • Become the person that the people that I care about can be proud of.  Last year, my moods were all over the place.  I think part of it was because for a third of last year was so unstable and for the rest of year, I didn't know where I stood with with the people around me.
So far, I have gotten my second book where I want it and am not patiently waiting to hear back about my first book.  (I gotta admit, I wish I had been able to submit the second book. I liked the first book, but love the second.)  I've rewritten the ending and am still pacing back and forth about whether or not I should keep it.  KT Mac probably thinks I'm crazy with my rambling emails, but that's okay! 

I'm sure you're thinking that I'm being selfish with my goals, but I feel like its necessary.  I love the people that I have around me, but I feel like if I'm going to stay sane and achieve my goals, it has to happen and will later benefit the people around me.

To 2012: