Category Archives: Sports

Why Lawd?

From time to time, I will write about my husband who my friends affectionately know as Mister. He is hilarious, smart as a whip and dense as a bag of nails all wrapped up in one but make no mistake- I adore him for the man that he is and for the woman he fully allows me to be with no judgement.

He has been sick for the last few days and could barely lift his head on Sunday, so I assumed he would call out of work on Monday only to see him pop up and head to work.ūüė≥ūüė≥ I was so over him and I have been trying to no avail, to get him to stay home.

Then this happened-

So I’m dressed and heading for the gym and stopped briefly to wave to the infected one before walking out the door..

Him: can you skip the gym today please? The entire heating system for the house is being replaced and they are coming super early because it will take them all day..
Me: excuse you? Skip the gym? And I gotta work today so who is going to be here when I roll out in a couple of hours? My schedule doesn’t allow for babysitting folks working in the house. And why am I just hearing this?
Him: I knew it- I told you months ago, put in on the calendar in your office, asked you to put it in your phone and I knew your schedule for today, which is why I will be back home before 9 so I can be here with them.
Me: so lemme see if I heard you correctly- you wouldn’t take a sick day for your body to heal but took a personal one for the heater? Is you crazy?
Him: there’s no right way to answer that is there? 
Me: ūüė≥ūüė≥ūüė≥ūüė≥ūüė≥
Him: I would kiss your royally pissed face but I am infected after all which is probably best for my soul right now judging by your squinted eyeballs and tense shoulder blades. I love you babe.. I know you were supposed to be  boxing this morning so the next time you go, pretend my face is on your trainers body and knock him out!! You have my permission. There is no need to hold that angst. Show him what you working with!!

ūüėāūüėāūüėāūüėāūüėāūüėāūüėāūüėā I looked at him and roared!! My mister.. Gotta love him…  

Marriage isn’t for punks of the fickle minded.. It’s a ton of work loaded with all kinds of compromise but in our home, we laugh a lot and just don’t take ourselves too seriously.. And when all of that fails, you walk into a gym and take it to your trainer in prayer as evidenced belowūüėāūüėā

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Boxing with Kenny…


Deuces and mad love,

Diva

The car or the pole?

For a few days, I was traveling with my friend LuAnn Cahn as she does 30 dares in 30 cities to promote her book, “ I Dare me

One of those dares, was to be the Pit crew for a racing car from NASCAR in Morrisville North Carolina at the PIT school.

I was so excited I could hardly breathe as I am a fan of speed and nascar fascinates me to no end. My feet never touched the ground the entire time I was there because the thrill of this kept me floating.
Luann was being taped for a segment to be aired on WBTV in Charlotte, so I had all the time in the world to poke around and ask all kinds of questions of the pit crew until their poor heads spun! I wanted to know how long did it take for them to complete the school, how many of them landed in a NASCAR pit after this and most importantly, how many women had ever completed the program. The answer to the last question was two but neither made it to NASCAR. I got an immediate glint in my eye.

When I picked up a 70 pound tire with ease, those men looked at me differently and so when I was given the 3,400 pound race car to jack, we were all surprised when I did it with three pumps! They dropped that car several times and I jacked it right back up each time much to their awe and delight!

I was asked to consider taking the 8 week course because they had never met a woman of my strength level which is what they need for a pit crew in nascar.

My goal now is to do just that and I’m willing to see if I could be the first woman in a nascar pit crew. What do I have to lose? It is important that as women, we don’t limit ourselves especially if it’s something we have interest in. I always loved tinkering around in cars and my father taught me how to change a tire, oil and brakes but discouraged me from wanting to fix cars because it wasn’t a ” girlie” thing to do. I kept hanging around one Jamaican mechanic soaking up all that I could but he caught on and shooed me away too.

So one would think after doing something like this which was indeed pretty impressive, I could do anything right?

Wrong.

Later on that evening, we made reservations for something neither one of us had ever tried. Pole dancing exercise classes.

We walked into the studio and I took one look at the instructor who was perfect and said ” I don’t even think so!”
She slid over to a pole and launched her self up like a feline and did some of the most intricate moves I had ever seen and it left nothing to the imagination.

At this point, I’m beet red and told LuAnn there was no way, I was trying this thing.

In a deep part of me that I always thought was so open and free to explore all sides of life, I froze.

Not only did the thought of that pole was daunting me, I felt exposed and different and very uncomfortable.

I finally met my match. It was silver and shiny and cold and I wanted no parts of it.
I struggled with my heritage ( women of good stature in society would never do such a thing,) this is not something “good girls” do, it felt debasing, I was mortified on several levels and I worried about what my sons, love and my father would think! All of that ran through my head as I stood there fully limiting myself on purpose based on learned beliefs and in that moment, could not work my way past any of it.

I stayed long enough to do a few warm up exercises which were great and watched as LuAnn tried a few basic moves with Amanda the instructor.

What we recorded is something we are not quite sure we could upload anywhere publicly but it was funny that I spent an hour in an F-16 breaking all kinds of sound barriers, am ready to tackle race cars and got stumped by a pole. Literally.

I have to honestly say that I wondered how many people are quietly leaving their corporate jobs and hitting those poles because these places can be found in every major city in the country.
LuAnn had this observation as we discussed it-
” poles are associated with strip clubs and I while it takes an incredible amount of athleticism, we are in influential positions where we tell young women
To value their bodies and themselves. This seemed debasing. The stigma of the pole is still alive and well.”

We are on a journey to try new things. We went out of curiosity, got an eyeful and realized we just couldn’t go there. There is a part of me that felt hypocritical for encouraging others to face their fears and try new things only to find I did indeed have my own limits based on what I was raised to believe. I recognize I’m not the only one that feels this way but I also acknowledge there lies a deeper issue here of what is considered normal and acceptable in today’s society and those things we choose to follow blindly for whatever the reasons.

We do think women are fully reclaiming themselves in these studios and this requires a strength level and athleticism, I had not ever seen before.

To them, I say bravo.

I’m going back to “normal”
Things like flying in a fighter jet and seek introspection about the simpler things I just refused to try.

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The Unhappy Penguin

Some women have mates that are snazzy dressers and connoisseurs at being metro sexual and they are well put together everywhere they go. Sometimes they even outshine the women themselves..

Welp. Not over here in this camp.

My Mister threw on what was clean, loved his dark colors and gave “no damns” because he was comfy and happy.. Throw in a huge piece of meat and ESPN and you would think Glory shone on his life.

It took some eye rolling, a couple of threats and a few tears on my part, to get him to pay attention to what he wore and now he loses sleep, each time we go somewhere fancy because it takes him hours to make a choice..

His dressing gene is completely missing.

Keep following me here…

I spend a lot of time traveling and attending fancy events that requires a gown and he would be right beside me in a really nice black suit. I had other thoughts in mind however but waited for just the right moment so he wouldn’t feel the pressure all at once.

A few weeks ago, with another such event approaching, I quietly suggested that he gets fitted for a tuxedo and gave him the reasons why (not to mention every grown man should have one in his closet.)

He agreed and without my having to remind him, he did just that. I was so proud of him, I could burst.

As the event quickly approaches, I turned to him and asked if he had the appropriate shoes to wear with his Tux. He said
Yep. Just gotta find my black shoes around here somewhere.”

I gasped in horror and replied

what? You can’t be seriously thinking of wearing those horrible things with a tuxedo!”

He looked at me and said

but they are comfortable. I tried on tuxedo shoes and my feet immediately began to throb. I’m already going to look like a penguin, must I be a limping one too?

I leveled him with a ” you fixing to start something” look and he sighed and said he would go find a pair of penguin shoes.

I kissed my unhappy penguin, told him I appreciated his efforts and that I loved him for being willing to do this for his diva. He grinned and told me

anything for you dear.”

Success. We work hard at compromise and collaboration around here. I could have been snarky and told him women suffered in heels for men all the time and while it crossed my mind in the midst of our discourse, my love for his willingness to try, was a strong reminder to be grateful for the victories without gloating..

I!m so looking forward to our next event…

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It begs the question….

Recently, a well known radio Disc Jockey called and asked this question of me; “Do you think children are being socially promoted by schools even when it is clear they are not ready to move forward and just how prevalent did I think this behaviour was in School Districts across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania?’¬† What ensued was a discussion rich with data and comparisons¬†from one ¬†State to next, which then led to the public school system, what was being expected of the children within it and these new mandates every few “seconds.” The family that understands how to navigate their way through, will have successful children no matter what the income level and Education of the parent/guardians. It boils down to simply this; if you are visible, it makes a huge difference for your child.

 

Our discussion then led to the often perceived¬†“low expectations” of children of color, especially if they enter a new school from an urban setting. Time and again, we see children who were tested as gifted, being questioned about the authenticity of said title ¬†and made to go through that process all over again which is not only demoralizing, it is often wrong. We discussed how parents get discouraged an opt to leave their bright child in a regular setting instead of forcing the issue.

And then we went there.

The subject of well educated parents of color who moved into the suburban settings, bought the big home, had their children in a great school district but are never visible. Unless of course, it was football, basketball or any sporting event where they are found in large numbers, cheering on their athletes. If one tries to locate those same parents for many other activities, they are often difficult to find.

Whomp.Whomp.  We both acknowledged that not all parents are this way obviously but is incredibly noticeable.

 

I could not disagree.¬† I tried to, but history says otherwise.¬† Which begged the question; why is that?¬† Are we still in the ” I paid good money to live here and the schools better educate my child?” Or is it ” I am really not feeling comfortable with asking certain things or knowing where to go, so let me not show up at all?” It could even be just total apathy on many levels.¬† One thing is for certain; Many parents are not as visible for PTA or¬†many school held meetings on any topic that may benefit the children but the numbers are worse for parents of color.

My youngest son has a role in the school play and when parents were asked to volunteer a few hours on a Saturday for set building etcetera, I bounced in only to see I was one of one. It stayed that way for the entire time I was there too. Oh by the way?  He is in the 12th grade.  Parent involvement should not cease at Elementary school.

 

For well  over a decade now, we have been beating the consistent drum on parental engagement and have been known to hold schools accountable when history have shown them to discourage family participation, and families where there has been apathy that leads to, in my humble opinion, unnecessary suffering of their children.  If research has clearly shown that all you need to do as a parent is be visible 30 minutes a month in word or deed, what stops us from doing so?  Can we then totally blame the schools for what is ailing our children who we clearly know, follow more of what we do and less of what we say?

Can we then totally blame an institution for our children and their lack of progress?¬† The old adage ” The squeaky wheel gets oiled” is still very true; we need¬† more of you to be¬†visible through emails, phone calls, volunteering from home or in school and just any simple task that leads to the educators knowing who you are.

 

So while we are in the middle of holding schools accountable, take a little time to hold our own feet to the fire as well.

Enough said.

“I Love you but you have more issues than Congress”

Happy New Year and all that jazz.

Life around here has been fun, energetic, nail biting and just so much happening , I have not blogged in a couple of weeks.. Children sat on me for no reason other than it’s the comforting thing to do, We ran around the house laughing about one thing or another and¬† planned the annual Holiday party.¬†¬†Once the holidays are over, the next big thing is my birthday. National holiday I know, but we ran into a serious snag.¬† The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC Championship and the game against the Saints was slated for, you guessed it, the evening of the national holiday aka my day of birth. So, in true diva fashion, I took to Facebook¬†with a quasi serious experiment; Should I let Mister off the hook for dinner that evening, or should he skip the game all together and take his diva out to dinner?

Keep in mind here, that I had already decided to graciously leave him alone because I do not know another person on earth who is a more die-hard Philly fan than he is. Like, to the extreme. No, really.

Anyhow, the responses to my query bordered on hysterical.  Here are a few;

“Take one for the team!¬† He will make it up to you!”

“What? are you nuts? who knows when the Eagles will make the play-offs again? At least your birthday comes every year”¬†

” Give him the day and then let him celebrate you all month”

You get the point.¬†¬† It was a “free Mister” rant for a few days and I laughed at how interesting it all became.¬† When I told them giving him the day was the least I could do since he is awesome 365 days to us, Someone in boxed me privately and¬† said how they wished they had such a love like this, that it was difficult to find a good mate etcetera.¬† I did not disagree and in hindsight, maybe I should have.

There are good, kind decent people all around us and if we do not do the work on ourselves, we may never see them.  I took a look at myself many years ago and figured out that I was the common denominator in relationships that went south.  It was me who chose to accept things I knew were wrong and once I figured that out among a few other things, not two months later, here comes Mister.

He found me, I was not looking for him.¬† He knew we would be great friends if nothing else and when we became a couple, it was like finding the right piece for a jigsaw puzzle.¬† We shared the same values and took the time to really communicate through the challenging times because lets’ face it good people, they do come.¬† We understood it was really important to like each other before we used the “L” word carelessly.

 

One of the things I figured out about myself, is that I needed  a mate who exemplified who my father was for me as a child,  in word and deed.  A man who was not afraid to put his family first, protect us and do everything in his power to keep us safe and happy. Mister is such a  man.    What unleashed in me, was a woman who went above and beyond to put smiles on their faces through my own words and deeds.

The end result has been nothing short of hilarious around here.

Due to the recent weather predictions of 3 degrees with a wind chill of -17, I had the bright idea of making a pot of soup that would last, at least in my head, the entire week.   The pot was huge. Like enough to feed a small army huge.  I chopped veggies, threw the raw chicken in the pot and got to work. an hour later, the scent of this soup had the entire kitchen humming and I went about the business of finding large containers to store it.  Just in case I was off base ( because they can eat like grazing elephants) I also made a double batch of baked Ziti.

 

Pleased with myself, I left the kitchen and went about my business.  When I checked the refrigerator this morning, two thirds of  the ziti was gone and one half of that large pot of soup.

 

I started ranting like a mad woman that this was ridiculous, they had no sympathy that I stood for hours cooking and if they THOUGHT I was going near that kitchen the rest of this week, they had a another thing coming to them.¬† Mister walked into the kitchen somewhere in the middle of this tirade, watched me pointing the long spoon and said ” Dear, I love you but you have more issues than Congress this morning.”

I stopped mid-rant, looked at him like he had ten heads and then doubled over in laughter.

 

Just like that, crisis averted.  He knew just what to do and it worked.  I am still not cooking anymore this week. I mean it.

 

Enough said IMG_2006

The Pathology of Parenting…

I saw commercials recently for an episode of Iyanla Vanzant’s ¬†“Fix My Life” that caught my attention.¬† It seems Mr Terrell Owens, ex- super star of the NFL,¬†was the subject of the moment and in my head, all I heard and saw¬†was this;

Release the Kraken!!

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I have watched T.O. for years and each time would shake my head and ask where IS his momma? While arguably one of the best players the NFL has seen, his antics on¬†AND off the field made me cringe. What was worse, were the people who watched him destroy himself and took full advantage of his “fame” knowing all too well it was fleeting because let’s face it; one cannot survive on an ego that large for too long.

Sure enough, things started spiralling out of control and the once celebrated athlete/ diva went  down the drain in the vortex he created.  I also knew most assuredly, there was some seriously bad pathology behind that, shall we say, less than stellar behaviour.  I was soon to find out it was worse than I thought.

If you watched the show, you learned that Terrell’s mom was a teen who slept with the married father of two across the street from her momma’s house, got preggers, somehow left her child with his grandmother and he had NO idea his dad lived across¬†said street from him until he was eleven and liked a girl who turned out to be his sister.. Sweet mother of God… That, sweet pea, is how he found out who is daddy was.

whomp whomp

Say what now?¬† Oh but it got better.¬† Daddy lived across that street from his son for all those years AFTER his kid found out and never fully acknowledged him.¬† Terrell watched the family across that street and wondered why was he not special enough to have that kind of acceptance and the thirsty desire for attention was born. The NFL became his family and the fans his arena for gaining the “love” he sought.

Lawd, did he EVER take advantage too.. It was almost painful to watch and see what he was going to do next. I will spare you the gory details of said drama because one would have to be in a cave, Under a boulder to not have experienced the beast he was. As the story unfolded and the pieces came together, one could visibly see a new T.O. being born. The Terrell that was robbed of a childhood where he felt loved and wanted.¬† The Terrell who¬† was treated ( in his head and heart) like he was an “issue” that his grandmother took on. The Terrell who never saw his parents together in a¬†room being decent to each other until he was darn near forty years old. That Terrell was being replaced with one who began to fully recognize his “stuff” and saw his¬† responsibility in his downfall. Not the media, not the NFL, not his baby mamas but HIM.

That could ONLY happen once his own father acknowledged he failed him and that paying child support was not enough to raise a child. I believe T.O. has turned the hard corner into becoming who he really is and pray that he will be a better man to his son than his father was to him.  That took work and humility but kudos to the brother, he did it. I wish him the best moving forward.

Which leads to my next point.

One of my biggest passions beside writing of course, is parenting and as a direct result, I travel and am contracted by School Districts to work with families on how to navigate schools while being a collaborative partner.¬† What I have found is that in order to discuss¬† being a parent, schools, how they operate, the chain of command, how to navigate their child’s formative years and work with educators etcetera, we had to go all the way back.

To their childhood.

What has happened as a result of doing this crucial exercise, has been powerful beyond words and opened doors to their collective hearts in minds in ways that still leaves them and the School districts astonished ten plus  years later. it never ceases to amaze me just how powerful this work is and until more Districts fully authenticate the need for solid parent work and development as partners with them, we will continue to struggle with the charges we both love dearly; the children. No matter how educated/ uneducated a parent is when they walk through a school door, navigating school systems continues to befuddle them. Heck to be truthful, the continual changes befuddle many educators too.  Parents need help, not ridicule.

But I digress.

Parents, raising children is never an easy task. It is understood that your own childhood¬†may not have been¬†¬†perfect and trust me, in my years of doing this work, I think¬† I¬†have heard it all and then some.¬† What I am going to implore of you is this; do the work to heal and forgive as much as you possibly can, so that your off –¬†spring can have a fighting chance in hell not to repeat the pathology that was given to you.¬†It is the only way to start breaking the vicious cycle¬† that abounds.¬† Try to find someone who you can trust to speak with, to release the anxieties you may be experiencing.¬† It requires WORK on your end but the rewards are plentiful. You only have to look in the eyes of your children to see that it is worth the effort.

If you had a wonderful childhood, my ask of YOU is simply this; try not to stand in a place of judgement for those who are doing the best they can.¬† You can even go one step further and be a helpful presence through kindness and deed.¬† Be careful not to make people feel like you are “wonderful” for doing such a thing. Come from a place of authenticity or it most certainly¬†will back- fire.

Above all, remember that children are innocent in  the idiosyncrasies of life and need us to shield and raise them with the very BEST we have within.

Enough said.