Thursday, July 26, 2012

Part 3: 30 Things I Want to Be

Now for the final installment of this writing exercise. For the next seven minutes, I will write out the first 30 things that come to mind about what I want to be. Just like the previous exercises, this can be anything. It can, also, repeat from the first two exercises but, of course, with the idea of "to be" planted firmly in the mind. Another part to this writing exercise follows but I'll mention it below.

Side note: Seriously, when will I learn to do these blog posts in a timely fashion; it's nearly 3AM and my eyes are drooping.

30 Things I Want to Be


 1. happy
 2. secure
 3. in love
 4. loved
 5. accepted
 6. wanted
 7. a professor
 8. a published author
 9. a motivational speaker
10. an accomplished actress
11. a produced screenwriter
12. a better mother
13. thinner, quite thinner
14. neater
15. more proactive
16. a doer, not a procrastinator
17. a wife
18. a world traveler
19. fulfilled
20. desirable
21. sought after for my knowledge
22. an awards show hostess
23. settled
24. taken care of
25. dr. cannon
26. focused
27. inspiring
28. unforgettable
29. respected
30. appreciated
*~~~*~~~*still going*~~~*~~~*
31. understood, as much as i can be
32. a go-getter
33. more spiritual
34. loving
35. patient
36. kinder
37. obedient to God
38. important
39. remembered for my good work like shakespeare
40. tactful
41. living up to my potential
42. degreed
43. owner of many houses
44. present in the present
45. organized

I actually completed this well ahead of my seven minutes, in fact, I still had a minute and a half left when I felt the well go dry.  I managed to squeeze out a few more important things but I was still left with 30 seconds. I jotted down that last and, oh so, important thing I want to be as the seconds dwindled. Do I bother to number them? I shall.

Another note: the first 11 are in no particular order; my mind raced with answers before I even hit start so the words tumbled over each other to be written.

Anyhoo, I'm sleepy. I'll do the next part of the exercise tomorrow. This involves looking at all three columns/lists and finding recurrences/patterns within them. I'm pretty sure you can see a definite pattern in mine. Hope I can find my book tomorrow.

QoMV

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Videos That Made Me Go :D

Yesterday, while perusing several news sites (as is my daily habit), I came upon two articles with embedded videos that made me go :D.

The first one was about a fan video made by a young boy that copied the editing and the choreography of Beyonce's Countdown to 99.9% perfection. Lip syncing is nothing new; Beyonce fans are nothing new; dancing to a Beyonce video is nothing new. What excited and awed me was the editing. Yes I'm a bit of a dork but this BOY pretty much taught himself how to do what people get paid loads to do. I don't care that he's Asian (as some commenters on the video pointed out); his ancestry has nothing to do with the persistence, determination, skill, and healthy dose of nuttiness/obsessiveness it took to remake this video. He did a GREAT job and is to be commended (and hired?) for that. Even Beyonce took notice and put his video on her tumblr page under the headline of "Brilliant". Good job, Ton! See below:




The second article drug up a decade plus of nostalgic moments as it talked about Tevin Campbell's YouTube video which showcased him singing Can We Talk. The video was posted earlier this month. Listening to him sing made me long for the 90s in the way these two articles (spitefully) pointed out the chronological gulf that exists between the 90s and today (boo, maker of the article). This tumblr page doesn't make me feel any better either (boo, maker of this tumblr page). His voice sounds nearly the same and not like the tragically strangled sad notes of long-gone R & B artists. I want him to take his voice on a tour. If Jon B sounds the same, round him up too. Grab some other awesome 90s artists if they've kept their voices up and put them on stage. I would totally pay to be transported, even momentarily, back to my childhood. Enjoy.

QoMV

Part 2: 30 Things I Want to Do

I've got to put in earlier hours; it's nearly 1AM. Man, I'm tired. But, as promised, here is part 2 of the 30 Things exercise.

30 Things I Want to Do


 1. Get published
 2. Produce movies
 3. Host an award show
 4. Travel more
 5. Spend more quality time with my children
 6. Find a mate, a life long mate
 7. Lose 70lbs and keep 'em off
 8. Get a house built from the ground up
 9. Sky dive
10. Snorkel
11. Get over my fear of success
12. Stop procrastinating
13. Stop biting my nails
14. Finish the four screenplays that are flitting through my head
15. Finish the two fictional/romance books I've started
16. Write the children/young adult series that's living in my brain
17. Create positive traditions for my family
18. Take my boys on an awesome plane ride
19. Make my vision real
20. Direct movies
21. Create my girls' symposium
22. Leave an indelible mark on history
23. Create scholarships in my grandfather's name
24. Complete my doctorate degree
25. Forgive myself
26. Move forward
27. Sever ties with my painful past/use it as foundation for my stories
28. Find love
29. Love
30. Live fuller moments
~~~*~~~*~~~
These three things came to me as I was going back to number the ones above after the time went off (pretty amazing that I got 30 in just at the timer-- I thought I was short). I guess, my mind was still going.

31. Have more kids
32. Adopt
33. Eat better

Tomorrow's post will be the 30 Things I Want to Be. This one, if I remember correctly, gets seven minutes as opposed to five.

Anyhoo, g'nite.

QoMV





Teacher Becomes the Student

This morning, I woke up with school on my mind. No, not teaching school but learning in school. Not just any school but Full Sail University. No lie. After answering a crazy number of text messages (guess I was very popular this AM), I had Full Sail on my mind. Might've had something to do with the 30 Things exercise I did last night/in the wee hours of this morning.

So I sat up, grabbed my laptop, and pulled up their website, intending to look further into their Creative Writing MFA. But there was an ad for another degree that gave me pause-- Education Media Design. And, yet, another degree-- Entertainment Business with a Sports Management Elective Track (this one I drooled over). And another degree-- New Media Journalism. This one, I was like, eh. That narrowed it down to just three choices. All three are just a year long but, at $30k per program, I can't afford to pursue all three (I wish I could) so I needed to whittle it down again.

In looking at their scholarship opportunities, I saw they offered a nice size one, up to $12k, for teachers if they are pursuing either the Creative Writing degree or the Education Media Design masters (there was another degree choice but it wasn't on my radar), as well as two smaller ones for which I qualify. Well, that narrowed down my choice to two-- Creative Writing and Education Media Design (but I would still really love to do the Sports Management degree). So I thought about the range of possibilities for work/finding another job.

The Creative Writing degree would help give me the discipline I need to finish my screenplays and my other works of fiction. Plus, an MFA would allow me to become a college professor of the same subject, Creative Writing. Some of my dreams are to be a college professor, produced screenwriter, and a published author. Also, I would receive tuition reimbursement from my job considering that I'm an English/Language Arts teacher, and, up until this year, the Creative Writing teacher.

But the Education Media Design degree will not only help me (better) utilize technology in my lessons, it will, also, open the door into me leaving public school teaching all together because the skills I'll acquire are perfect for the corporate world, giving presentations and/or being a Corporate Trainer. It's still teaching only with a better salary and more opportunities for growth.

But that's not really what persuaded me to complete an application for the Education Media Design program; it was the possibility of getting the scholarship(s) and using the unused loan money to pay for and finish my MFA in Creative Writing degree at National University while earning the MS degree at Full Sail. I'm halfway through the program and it's been a real source of depression/disappointment that I have been financially unable to complete the program for the past five years. I only have five more classes until I have my degree in hand. The possibility that lies before me, the ability to obtain two Masters, to finish what I started, is an absolute dream. I want it. I want it soooooooo badly.

I need it for my kids. They don't need to continue hearing from me the phrase "I can't afford..." They need to see me in pursuit of my dreams, my passion, my goals so that they can understand the sacrifice and dedication it takes to achieve their desires.

I need it for my grandfather; as I type this with my eyes closed, I have a vision of him smiling behind my tear-stung eyelids. It's like he's saying, "It's about time you understand". That's crazy how his face just popped up, his (mostly) salt and peppered mustache resting like a caterpillar above the curve of his bottom lip, two smaller hairy caterpillars sit one above each eye, which are filled with the ever-present twinkling essence of the stars. In this moment, I feel his approval draping my soul as if he spoke the words aloud.

I need it for me. I need the completion, the open door, the ability to take control of my life. Teaching is a trap door for those who have no calling for it; once you fall into the job and the longer you stay in that position, the harder it is to pull yourself out of it because it creates complacency.

I'm entering my 8th year as a teacher, the longest position I've ever held with little to no upward mobility. My raises have been laughable, if at all existent. Thankfully, recent government actions have made the job uncomfortable. That was just the kind of push I needed to seek the fulfillment of my potential.

So, today, I've completed my FAFSA; I've sent in my application for admission into the Education Media Design & Technology program at Full Sail; and I've committed myself to my pursuit of passion.

QoMV



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Part 1: 30 Things I Want to Have

I've got just enough time to create this post before I go to bed. I've had a lot of things on my mind lately, trying to figure things out and sort through the muddled mess of my mind-- not in a depressing way, mind you, but more in a prioritizing way. I have story segments running into life dreams, desires colliding with fears, tail-chasing questions endlessly circling, creating another furrow in my brain. Just thinking, thinking, thinking.


Something I've been thinking about over the past week is a book I read a few years ago (maybe 5 or 6 years ago) called Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. The premise behind the book is that writing things down sets the wheels in motion for action. By reading and doing the exercises, you start rooting around the subconscious, unearthing desires that you may never have fully acknowledged. 

 The one thing about this book that stuck out the most for me is the 30/30/30 list you're supposed to create within a set amount of time. I love this exercise so much that I do it with my students before they make their vision board. Now, my mind's a little rusty but the categories are: 30 Things I Want to Have; 30 Things I Want to Do; and 30 Things I Want to Be. I don't remember the timing for the writing of each category but I know it falls between 5-7 minutes. Because I'm tired and it's late, I'm going to do just the first category tonight then I'll follow up with another one tomorrow and the last one on Thursday. 

The Sandman cometh. 

30 Things I Want to Have (5 minutes):

 1. long pretty natural fingernails
 2. a beautiful afro
 3. two more children, girls
 4. a husband
 5. a house by the beach
 6. a personal chef
 7. a personal trainer
 8. enough money in the bank to be comfortable and a help to society
 9. my girls' organization
10. published books
11. produced screenplays
12. a few more real friends
13. a wonderful car w/o a car payment
14. a job that doesn't feel like a job
15. my doctorate
16. a projector
17. a number/weight on the scale that is less than 200
18. a real chance at happiness
19. a spacious apartment in New York
20. a swimming pool
21. a pool boy
22. a close family
23. a Canon camera that also records video
24. an iPad
25. a writing studio within my house
26. the life i dreamed
27. a house that i designed
28. house parties
29. fun
30. freedom
31. security (I didn't have these numbered while the timer was going but this is definitely a major one for me-- physical, emotional, and financial security are BIG deals to me)

Well, that's all for tonight.

Until tomorrow,

QoMV





Saturday, July 21, 2012

Condolences to Colorado

They said he was forgettable.

Early Friday morning, the Batman Killer made sure we knew his name-- James Holmes. Somehow, this brilliant young man, a medical student with prospects of being a doctor, the guy with twinkling eyes and a shy smile that spoke of secrets and mischief, the kind of which Dennis the Menace would be in awe, transformed into the stuff of which nightmares are made, a red-headed bogeyman who penetrated the excited yet peaceful atmosphere of the Aurora, CO movie theater just fifteen minutes into the midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, terrifying its dark spaces, indiscriminantly wielding weapons no human should ever point at another human-- an assault rifle, a shot gun, and pistols. In his wake, he left a score or two of people injured and a dozen dead, including a girl as young as six.
His AdultFriendFinder profile obtained by TMZ

Yet he was arrested without incident, calmly gave himself over to the police without any resistance. On top of that, he told police of his explosive-outfitted home, knowing full well the investigation would extend to his place of living. The police turned up months of planning as well as this degenerate's booby trapped lair.

I have to ask why. Why would a man, hell-bent on the destruction of peace and innocence and humanity, give up his final hurrah? And why didn't he resist arrest? Why did he stop shooting? Why didn't he kill himself? He had to know that there was no happy ending waiting for him. What was his motive? What did he hope to accomplish?

Until now, I never gave thought to the safety of the movie house. There's something very sacred and American about the shared experience of watching moving displays of creativity under a blanket of total dark. I don't ever give a glance at my unknown neighbor (unless my eye is grabbed by the glaring blue screen of a cellphone); I don't ever sit in apprehension of the exit door. Now that will all change. At least, for me, this incident has just ruled out midnight showings; they're too isolated in that the parking lot is emptied of people strolling to and from their cars into the theater. That first layer of protection is gone, the layer of the public. At a midnight showing, everyone is inside, ensconced within, captivated by the action up on the screen, vulnerable to such an attack.

I truly feel for the people of Colorado and the family of the killer. My condolences go out to them. But I, also, feel saddened for America. Yet, again, we are stripped of our innocence, separated by tragedy and fear from one of the last safe places left within our nation.

I can't begin to think what ramifications have yet to ripple from this frightening event.

QoMV

Fat Wishes


This time around, when I regained the weight, it all settled in places different from where it left but mostly in my stomach. I was told that has to do with age now that I’m clearly in my 30s (just turned 33 a few weeks ago). Apparently, weight settles in women’s stomachs when they get older. That explains why older women tend to have thicker waists. Wish I knew that before hand, not that I’m certain it would have made a difference.
I remember being on that scale when I was younger, saying I don’t want to pass the 150lb mark. Then I remember, saying I’m good as long as I don’t pass the 200lb mark after having my 2nd baby at 20. I remember the heaviness on my shoulder when I first saw the scale say 206lbs. But that didn’t stop the line in the sand from moving to 250lb then 300lb. I never got up to 300 but, at one point, I got close. Luckily, my health gave me a good wake up call when my right leg would swell just from sitting for a little while and heartburn erosion ate away my voice. For three months I could not speak without getting winded, I lost the ability to sing, and, metaphorically speaking, I realized how much I needed a voice, my voice. That scared me enough to get into the gym and down to 251lb.
But, a couple of years ago, I climbed back up to 264lb. Lost down to 228lb, now I’m back at 245 after losing 10lbs this summer. I definitely feel like I’ve done more damage this time around even though I’m still about 26lbs lighter than my highest recorded weight (271lbs). If I have more fat in my stomach than before, as evident in the mirror, then that means that fat has to go somewhere, probably around my vital organs.
While I would love a shot a being on that Biggest Loser ranch, getting the time away to focus on just me, realistically speaking, for me, each video I sent out was like buying a lottery ticket. There are lots of people trying to have their number called but only about 20 out of the 200,000 will be given the golden ticket. So while I do have a voice in my head saying, “Why not me”, I have another one saying, “Why not now?” So I can’t wait, especially after reading articles that say belly fat is linked to many cancers, especially after reading that fat requires an increase in estrogen, which leads to those cancers. I don’t want to have the wasting away death I’ve seen in some cancer victims or to stick myself with needles to test my insulin or to wake up in the middle of the night clutching my heart. This may seem morbid but those scenarios are not the way I envisioned living/dying.

QoMV

Sprint vs TMobile

So I left Tmobile last week and jumped over the edge, landing on the dark side (iPhone).


AT&T's new shared data plans ruled them out of the contest for my money. Verizon's notoriously high plans kicked them out as well. That left me with either sticking with T-Mobile and dealing with their increasingly shoddy service and customer service (the service was such that I left mid-contract) or returning, like the prodigal daughter, to the place where I got my mobile phone start-- Sprint. 


Given that my son's 16th birthday is next month and the iPhone was the only thing for which he expressed a desire, I made the leap from where I've been for the last decade, a part of the T-Mobile family, to Sprint. I wish I could say that I felt like I made the right choice but I can't. I'm a person for whom loyalty ranks pretty high on the list of values and, until T-Mobile took away my ability to tether my HTC Sensation to my laptop, I was torn about leaving. Even as I stood in the Sprint store, my heart felt as heavy as lead. Even with the iPhone in hand, my feet dragged slowly from the store, no smile to be found upon my face.


For five day, I hated the iPhone, hated its small screen, hated it's fragility, hated the necessity to purchase a case that disguises the sleekness of the iPhone (the one thing I love about it), hated Sprint's inability to access data while I chat on the phone, hated the true 3G (slow) "speed" of Sprint. I never had those problems with my Sensation or T-Mobile. 


But, at least, I can talk on my phone in my apartment. My biggest complaint with T-Mobile, one to which there seemed to be no solution, even after talking to numerous techs and pointless customer service personnel within the company. I threatened to leave but they knew there wasn't really any all-around comparable company out there. And there isn't. Not one that offers fairly low rates, great speed, good overseas signal (with no roaming fees) and useful phones (I really liked my Sensation). 


However, Sprint has them beat on customer service and has comparable rates with discounts for teachers. They also have the best plan for the iPhone, as well as an old phone purchasing plan. I got $100 for my old phone towards the purchase of my iPhone (but I could have gotten $200 on craigslist as I found out today much to my chagrin). So while I miss the internet speed and being able to access Google while talking with my best friend on speaker phone, as well as using my Cardio Trainer app (not an available app on the iPhone), I'm content with what I have. My son's happy with his early birthday gift and I'm happy with my slightly lower bill (and Siri). 


I may not be enamored with the iPhone itself but I do love its apps and Sprint in general. One app that I’ve found most useful this past week has been MyFitnessPal. I’ve been wanting to keep a food diary for years but I was never the diary type, often losing my books or forgetting to write but this one is right on my phone (I rarely forget my phone). I love it because it is very easy to use, it gives me nutritional value of everything I eat, and it calorie counts for me. I went to IHOP a few days ago and had the deeee-licious strawberry pancakes dinner. Wouldn’t you know it, that whole meal was already one of the choices on the phone. (Good lordy, that meal was over 1000 calories by itself and packed a LOT of sodium). I’ve found myself consciously thinking about what I’m eating and if it fits in my calorie allowance. But last night, I started thinking of my sodium allowance too (I have high blood pressure– makes sense to use the information). I actually decided against two slices of pickles (only 5 calories) because I was already over my sodium allowance.


Anyhoo, here's to hoping these next two years with Sprint/the iPhone are uneventful with relation to my cell phone service .


QoMV

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seeing Double


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my goddaughter finding out she was pregnant and posted a picture of the tests.

Well, today, she called me from the doctor where she got an ultrasound done. Turns out that I was right; she wasn't six weeks like her LMP suggested because her periods were abnormal-- she was 3 weeks. Aaaaaaaand, turns out I was right about something else...she's expecting TWINS. So, as of today, she's 5 weeks with 2 in the belly. :D

Her symptoms (crying for no reason, crabby/moody w/ bf, sore bbs, fatigue) came REALLY early, within days, I suppose, of getting pregnant. She didn't have implantation bleeding until three days before she took the test and she was still getting pink on the toilet paper when she wiped as of this Monday. Also, her stomach had already pudged out by the time I got to see her on the 4th of July, which would have been when she was 3 weeks.

They say that twins make you grow faster.

I'm so excited. Praying for some really sticky babies.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

FLOTUS Grassroots Campaign in Miami

Today, I attended the First Lady of the United States grassroots campaign event put on by Organizing for America. Now, I don't know just who was in charge of the event but it was very poorly planned. Maybe there were just too many young and inexperienced people in charge. 


We, the attendees, were told to leave our umbrellas as they would not be allowed into the event-- an understandable request but there was nothing provided for those standing in line. There wasn't any water for attendees until 10 minutes before entering after waiting 2-4 hours in line in that "steamy summer heat." When they did get water, it was given out in paper cups, which, as you know, only contains a swallow of liquid-- hardly enough for the people losing the fight to the heat. There weren't any tents. Thankfully, I had two umbrellas in my car (it's Florida, you never know when you'll need one) so I was able to shield my friend and myself from the inevitable barbecuing affects of the sun. 


Using high school interns for crowd control wasn't a smart idea because the kids were absolutely annoying with their lack of direction (on the other hand, it was a good experience for them). I spoke to another volunteer inside the event and she said the teens were the only ones who would work the event for free. I beg to differ.


Those of us standing in line were badgered, sometimes immediately by people one after another, about whether or not we registered to vote and whether or not we wanted to volunteer to help with the phone banks or registration drives (I worked a phone bank this past weekend). That was a major annoyance for me. Then, once inside, the elderly and slightly less elderly were made to climb stairs in order to sit in the bleachers, otherwise there was only standing room on the floor level of the gymnasium. Watching them struggle up the stairs was really heartbreaking but, at least, there were well-mannered young men who gave up their seats for the less-abled. The air conditioning took a while to even make a difference and it was an hour's wait after entering the gym for the FLOTUS to take to the stage. 

BUT it was a good experience to have once. The videos outlined all that the POTUS has accomplished in his three short years, given the near-Depression Era economy that was handed over to him by the previous administration. He's done a good job despite what others would have people believe and he's been graceful in dealing with his detractors and a childish congress ("You're not my friend so I'm not going to play with you or listen to anything you say." "Mooooom, Obama wants people to have access to opportunities and that's not fair."). The crowd did get fired up but it was largely made up of teachers, retirees, and union workers, as well as the two extremes-- young and old. I'm assuming the people in the middle were working.  


One cool thing that happened before the First Lady came up on stage is that the crowd sang Let's Stay Together. What I would have given  to have had the president singing it in person.
video

While I'm glad I went, I just really wish the event was better organized. I hope the rest of the campaign stops are. 

Side note: I'm a person who doesn't vote party for the presidential position because it is one of a great deal of power for one person and (s)he is the face of this country. So I actually listen to what the candidates say and watch what they do. I can most certainly tell you I will not be voting for Romney. 


I'm not joining a campaign driven by negativity and hate. America needs positivity and progress. It has been the Republicans in Congress who have kept this nation from achieving both, a promise they uttered when and have stood by since Obama took office. They're not truly against his policies as much as they are against the person. As much as they hate "Obamacare", it's interesting that it was a health care reform first introduced by a Republican and what's also interesting is that many of the Reps like what is within the act itself. So what's their problem? Obama. I can't with good conscience elect a person who participates in that elementary/childish way of thinking.  


QoMV


In her words:


"My father was a blue-collar city worker -- worked at the city water plant all his life. And my family lived in a little-bitty apartment on the South Side of Chicago. And growing up, let me tell you what I saw. I saw how my parents saved and sacrificed, how they poured everything they had into me and my brother. They held us to the same high standard of excellence because they wanted us both to have the kind of education they could only dream of.

"Education was everything in my family -- everything. It was our ticket to the middle class. It was our pathway to the American Dream. So my mom spent hours volunteering in our neighborhood public school, and she made sure we got -- handled our business, that we finished our homework every single night -- young people, every single night.

"And my parents did everything in their power to support my college education. And while pretty much all of my tuition came from student loans and grants -- a very large portion -- my dad still paid a tiny portion of that tuition himself. And let me tell you, every semester, my father was determined to pay that bill and to pay it on time. He was so proud to be able to play a part in sending his kids to college, and he did all he could with his limited resources to lessen our financial burden by ensuring that neither me, nor my brother ever missed a registration deadline because his check was late.

"And more than anything else, that is what is at stake. That’s why we’re here. It’s that fundamental promise that no matter who you are or how you started out, if you work hard, you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids. That is the American Dream that we’re working for."

— First Lady Michelle Obama

Monday, July 9, 2012

TBL14 Open Call Follow Up

I've been meaning to share the outcome of the Biggest Loser 14 open call I went to in June (wrote about my decision to go in another post found here).

Long story short, I wasn't found "deserving" (reference previously mentioned blog post) enough at the open call and did not receive a call back. Let's retrace.

I woke up Saturday morning with a bad case of the sniffles; I've never had a nose so runny. Rushed out of the house to pick up my son at a friend's house, dropped him off at the local university for a football camp, then headed up to the audition. As I drove, heavy grey clouds portended a soggy Saturday but, luckily, when I pulled into the parking lot exactly at 10AM, the rain had passed. Unluckily, the sun decided to make a scorching appearance. The heat and the rainwater clashed, creating a steamily suffocating muggy mess. Plus, only two hours into my wait, the accompanying aches to my cold descended upon my shoulders, leaving me sore, sniffly, and sweaty. Aaaaand I'd forgotten to eat breakfast (rushing does that to me) so my positive good mood threatened to give way to a negative bitchy one. Thank goodness for my company in line. Her incessant chatter and sense of humor kept me from completely falling apart.

But, at least, I looked good even though I didn't feel good. I had on this gorgeous color-blocked dress with a cute pair of earrings.

Five hours from the time I first joined the line snaking around the corner (I was #384/387/something like that), I was seen by the casting director along with seven other people. My nervousness returned full steam, just in time to give my mood an extra lift and plaster a 1000-watt smile on my face (the free 5-hour energy shot* that was given out may have had something to do with it as well). I saw what looked to be a glint of recognition in the casting director's eye when I said my name and an expression of appreciation when I spoke of what I am most proud. I thought it went well; I certainly have no delusions about myself but I seriously expected my phone to ring. It didn't.

I wasn't crushed; I didn't turn over in my bed and cry like I did many seasons ago. This is going to sound conceited but I kinda felt sorry for casting that they passed me up that day; they didn't realize I am deserving. I've come a very long way from where I've been and I'm the kind of person they need representing their brand, the kind of person who is itching for an opportunity so I can pay it forward.

They get one more crack at me, though, because I sent in an audition tape nearly a month ago. It's one of the best audition tapes I've ever made. If they pass up the chance to have me after watching it, it will truly be their loss as this is the last time I audition to be on the show because I will lose this weight somehow and I'll find a way to help others myself. Girl Scout's honor.

It'll just take a little longer.

QoMV

*Note to self: You have high blood pressure; it's tooootally stupid to drink a 5-hour energy drink. Don't do it again.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cozy and Comfy

Pregnant clouds loom
over head while I'm cozy
in my bed, covered up
from leg to hip
while gently biting
my fingertip. Questions
dance in my head,
should I read or blog
instead? Should I leave
and risk the rain,
or should I here just remain?

I promised to go make calls for the Obama campaign but the dark and threatening sky causes me to hesitate. I hate driving in the rain; I already can't see as it is. I'll give it a few more minutes. If the sky opens, my door stays closed. If the clouds move on, then I guess I must too. Gotta keep my word.

QoMV

Saturday, July 7, 2012

100th Blog Post: Browsing Blogs

First off: IT'S...
Whoo-to the muthafreakin'-hoo! To quote the Rhodes Scholar, Paris Hilton, "That's hot."  :D

Secondly:

I've spent part of the morning and early afternoon browsing blogs (trying to make it my summer habit to read more of them). One thing I've noticed that most, if not all, do is ask questions at the end of each entry. Now, I'm not saying it's wrong to do; I mean, who am I, a novice blogger with a mere five subscribers, to say such a thing?

I'm sure there is a blogger handbook somewhere that says this is a must. But I, personally, find it annoying. I feel like the asking of such questions demands a response from me and that I'm no longer a voyeuristic reader getting a glimpse into the mind of the writer. I guess that would be the point of the questioning, to elicit comments from the readers but I can't say that I like it.

In fact, alluding to the contrary nature I spoke of at the bottom of an earlier post, I defiantly move past the blog on to the next one. I mean, if I feel compelled to say something in response to what I read, I do so. No one ever has to ask me for my opinion because I definitely possess one or two or three. But that's just me.

Again, I'm not saying it's wrong; it's just not my flavor of kool-aid so I won't be drinking that punch. If it means I get no responses from my anonymous readers then I guess I'll just have to live with that. Besides, I write for me and I get satisfaction from knowing you're out there taking the time to read my words anyway.

So read on, reader. If you have something to say, say it; if not, thanks for stopping by.

So, readers, do you feel...hahahahahahahaha! I'm just playing. Enjoy your weekend.

QoMV

Vinny, Vin D, Vici: Auditioning

Courtesy of YouTube
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how much I abhor auditioning and the reason(s) why that is so. Today, while coasting blogs (I have no idea how I landed anywhere), I found one that talked about type-casting and on that post was a reference to Vin Diesel's short film called Multi-Facial, a pun on the word multi-racial. I never considered Vin Diesel much as an actor. What I mean by that is, I never thought of him as a good or bad actor. I, usually, just went to see his Fast & the Furious films for the dreamy Paul Walker. Goodness, that man's smile!

I digress.

So I looked up the film and my search landed me on this blog post. I have to say, after watching the Vin Diesel short, I'm really impressed with the piece. And, thinking back, I guess he's always been believable in his Fast & the Furious role, so much so that I took the character for granted. I looked at it as this was just a guy playing himself. But, after viewing the short, I've come to realize that whatever his name is in the FF movies (just heard that the name is Dom Torretto) is just a role, a character. And I also came to the realization that Vin Diesel, when I can't see his muscles (I'm so not attracted to big muscles), is really, really, really cute, especially with hair on his head. Yum.

Anyhoo, I've embedded the YouTube clips to the short below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. And, back off, the Diesel's mine. ;)

QoMV



Getting Back on Track

Yesterday was a pretty good day.

I found out my god daughter's pregnant. Well, I didn't just find out; she did. I pretty much knew it already. I was feeling a baby around me and her face popped into my head. So I texted her out of the blue about a week to two weeks ago and asked her if she was (I did that to my brother a couple of years ago and I was right then too). This positive makes me a "grandmother"at the ripe old age of 33. Oy!

My son and I went for a bike ride. I got the really ambitious idea that we would bike from my apartment to my grandmother's house. I figured, since I used to walk four miles in an hour last year, biking three miles should be a piece of cake. Yeah, a melting-in-93-degrees-with-no-cloud-cover-biking-against-the-wind-with-my-heart-thudding-against-my-chest piece of cake.

Once I trudged up the driveway of my grandma's house, pulling in breaths of air, dragging my bike behind me, I entered the house, pointed the fan in my direction, flopped on the couch, and promptly called the aforementioned god daughter to come pick me up. There was NO way I would be able to make the return journey home on that rock-hard bike seat. How the heck did I used to do this as a kid, as a teenager, biking for hours with no indication of fatigue or a near-death experience (I swear I saw the light yesterday)?

Internet Cheapie on top; Dollar Tree on the bottom.
My god daughter and I went back to my apartment and chilled a while, talking about the baby and what needs to be done in order to make sure she's healthy and the baby's healthy. I had her take another pregnancy test because I really wanted to see it (I just so happened to have a couple of Dollar Tree tests and some internet strips (had a scare last month, don't judge me) laying around in my file cabinet). Boy did the results take a LONG time to come up (about 3-5 minutes) and, even when they did, they were extra light. She would be considered six weeks by her last period but I think she a week or two less than that, judging by my extra sensory perception. You can barely see the lines on the picture but they're there (in fact, the $Tree one didn't show up before the internet strip; I went back to look at it a little while later and saw the line. She sent me a picture of another $Tree test she did this morning, much clearer). Then we watched a bit of the BET Music Awards before going our separate ways.
Source and more pix

Chaka Khan (l) Nicki Minaj (r)
*Side note* Chaka Khan looks like an older version on Nicki Minaj. When she was performing, I was like, "OMG! Are they related?" Well, I didn't say "omg"; I just don't feel like typing the whole thing.

Then, later that evening, came the best thing of all-- yes, even bigger than finding out I'm going to be a grandma (it's a corny but funny joke to me). Last night, the Queens of the Screen got back together and had a creative meeting about our script that was put on hold for the last two years (the direct result of creative differences). It felt so good to see the project revived, to see my baby come back to life. And, last night, it was truly a collaborative effort; I no longer felt like I was carrying the brunt of the writing-- I mean, I know I'll still be doing the writing itself, but, this time, the ideas, the outline we're drafting, are not just from one or two people but all three of us. I'm even more excited about it now than I was before and I didn't think that was possible.

The two-year break served us all well. Everyone is more experienced, ready to get back into the saddle and really see this thing through. We're not out with our feelers anymore; we're really stepping into this thing with more knowledge, more wisdom than before. It's no longer naive ambition; it's driven ambition. I'm praying we can get the full first draft done before the summer ends, while I have the time to write and focus on just this because next school year promises to be hella busy. Good thing we already have half of it done.


Man, it's been so long since I've been excited, since I've had so much positivity going on in my life. It's been truly missed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mad at Myself

I figured it out. I'm sabotaging myself. I'm refusing to write on the grounds that I will have to commit to something and do what I said I would do. I would have to keep a promise to myself. I would have to be a responsible normal adult who can not blame ADD or home life for the fact that I have yet to put my fingers to the keyboard and create imaginative magic. I mean, if I don't try, I can't fail, right? Is that what it is?

Grrr!

I'm driven to tears right now because I'm really upset and frustrated with myself. Why won't I write??? No, I don't mean why won't I write these blogs; I'm, obviously, doing that, aren't I? I mean why won't I WRITE? Why won't I take these ideas and put them down on electronic paper; heck, I could even just go old school with a pen and a notebook. Why am I being so obstinate? So resistant? WHY WON'T I WRITE?

Riddle me that, huh?!?

DAMMIT, WOMAN, GET OFF YOUR BLOG ALREADY AND WRITE!

Geesh...I'm going, I'm going. After this bathroom break. 

Love/Loathe My Hair

I simultaneously hate my hair and love my hair or, rather, anticipate a love for my hair when it gets longer.

Though I love the texture of my hair when it's moisturized, I hate it when it's dry, resembling not quite a Brillo Pad but close. But every time I think of reaching for the creamy crack (a relaxer), I see a picture of a natural sistah with hair a little longer than mine but with the same texture of my moisturized hair. And I envy her. I drop my hand off the rough surface of my head, reminded of the journey to which I committed. I knew going in that going natural wouldn't be easy for a person like me, a person with no hair skills whatsoever and virtually no money to allow someone with skilled hands to craft this hair don't into a hairdo.

I've gone natural before, again for spiritual reasons, and I lasted for 18 months. If I hadn't given into the pressure of trying to be picture perfect (I had senior pictures to take), I would have been celebrating my 11th year of being my natural self. But taking that journey the first time wasn't so hard. I had a woman who would twist my hair for just $35 so that made it easy to keep it done. I didn't have to experience the kinks that occur when I don't sleep with a cap on my head.

Now I'm thinking about doing a preventative style, either getting twists, braids, or a sew-in. I'm leaning towards the sew-in because it lasts longer and my hair would be protected from this insane summer heat. But that leaves the question of money. Good hair is about $150 for two packs and getting it done is over $100. How is that saving me money? And the glue used in the cheaper glued pieces instead of sewed-in hair can kill ya.

Argh.

It's enough frustration to drive me to think of cutting it all off and just rocking a low cut. But my hair grows fast and I'm looking at getting a haircut every week. Again, how is that saving me money?

I can just go back to relaxing my hair; that's only $8 a box. However, my hair was quite damaged. And, besides, I read somewhere about a study that found relaxers weren't good for my health, as if I needed more health problems. So, I definitely want to stay away from the invasive/destructive chemicals.

This hair journey is not just a spiritual one but an emotional one. I'm being tested on my (lack) of patience. I want the full wavy hair now! But, like anything, it takes work and time to see the fruits of my endeavors. So, until my hair gets to the length I desire, I'm going to have to stop looking at natural veterans with envy but with hope. One day, I'll be there too.

QoMV

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Je Suis Americaine: The French Debate

America or, rather, certain pockets of America have gotten it in their head that being American is simply not good enough. I don't say this from a nationalistic standpoint but from one that is fed up with being compared, as a female, to another nation's women.

Case in point, this article, which compares the American woman's approach to love to the French woman's approach to love. Seriously? This is a definite case of comparing apples to oranges.

First off, America was built on the prudish puritanical values of our forefathers, values to which our society clings. *Gasp! I saw a nipple. How DARE she breastfeed out in public???????* So we're not as free-spirited as our French counterparts. We're still fighting for the right to have our insurance cover birth control, to choose what we want for our body, to say the word "vagina" aloud in front of congress.

Secondly, our men, by society's rules, don't give in to passion or show much of it lest they are thought to be unmanly. * Cry in public? For shame!* How can we women give in to "feel[ing] free, passionate, etc." when we're not even sure we're in an emotionally safe space/relationship to do just that? We all know stories or have had experiences of putting ourselves out into the fire only to end up badly singed or consumed.

Thirdly, our men are often reluctant to grow up, choosing to add the proverbial notch in the belt with each female conquest instead of another patch of grass to the yard behind the equally proverbial white picket fence. So going with the flow doesn't tend to be an option unless you don't mind being a f*ck-buddy or just one of the guys or having the man's dipstick checking out the oil in many different engines. Times have changed; terminal diseases (and very unpleasant ones) are rampant. Being lackadaisical about promiscuity is not the way to preserve health.

This is not just an American thing. Look, even Greek women know that getting a man where you want him takes strategy. As said in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "the man is the head but the woman is the neck. And she can turn him any way she wants."

Fourthly, our nation isn't set up for the luxury of singlehood, especially in the big cities like Miami where the standard of living is over $70,000, the cheapest rent for a very decent one-bedroom is over $1000 (if you're choosing to live away from where the work actually is then a car, car insurance, toll & gas money are a must), but, due to this being a tourist town, most jobs pay under $40-45,000 before taxes, insurance, and other deductions take place. So, unless you're one of the professionals who has a well-paying job, being single for very long can be quite a financial burden.

Fifthly (not finally), we, American women, are competing with not only other females but men in a larger number than should be deemed biologically possible.

If they aren't gay, they're married; if they aren't married; they're taken; if they aren't taken, they're caught up in the player mentality; if they aren't caught up in the player mentality, they're momma's boys; if they aren't momma's boys, they're in prison; if they aren't imprisoned, they're dead. Out of the small number of available men, you've got your woman beaters, your crazies, your porn addicts, your video game addicts, your drama-filled baby mommas/past relationships, your I only date x/y/z (short, tall, black, white, latin, thin, thick, models, etc.), and your too-focused/not ready to date. The men who fall into none of the aforementioned categories must be in hiding because there are mobs of women waiting to make them husband material.

While the axiom, "love comes when you least expect it" may be true, what's also true is that love comes with packages you least expect too e.g. kids, divorces, wives, credit issues, criminal records, health issues, etc. So the hunt for love has developed a criteria checklist.

Now I'm no scholar on French living, having been in Paris for a paltry six days (not my favorite city) and having only seen the grassy greenery of the French countryside out of a moving bus's window, but I'm willing to bet that French men aren't exactly like American men.

Even if they are, I'm tired of being compared as a woman and made to feel less than. Even Oprah (my (s)hero) bought into the whole be French idea a few years back. If it's not How to Love Like a French Woman, it's How to Eat Like A French Woman, How to Dress Like a French Woman, How to...

Merde. It's exhausting just being a woman (a Black one at that) in America and, now, even that's not enough.

Is it really so far-fetched of an idea that someone can actually fall in love with me, choose to be faithful to me, and desire to build a life with me-- without French-ifying myself?

Should I even bother to continue smoking this pipe dream?

Guess I'll keep waiting for love to do more than bite me in the ass.

QoMV

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Marriage Material?

Today's the 4th of July, the day when the United States of America celebrates its independence from the tyrannical clutches of the English monarchy (funny how we crave/celebrate all things British these days...mmmmmmmm Idris Elba...yum). Of course, you know this day not boasts the beautiful bursts of brilliants balls of light across a night sky and unending American flag waving, but it's also filled with familial moments, food, and beachy fun.

As I drove from the family festivities at the beach, a picture flashed in my mind of all the non-blood family members that were there. My family is predominately male with a smattering of females throughout. Now all the males of my generation who were present today were all there with their long-time lady friends (in the case of one, his wife). Every single one of them. But here's what's interesting to note: none of the females of my generation were there with their male friend (no one's married).

I got to thinking about all the females in my family of my generation, present or not, and I came to the startling realization that none of us really have anyone. We're all pretty single with no marriage prospects. It doesn't matter if we are 39 or 29, we are all single (well, the youngest, who's 20, has a boyfriend but she doesn't really count in my generation). All, yes ALL, of our male counterparts are coupled up in long-term relationships (girlfriends for years or wives).

Why is that?

It's really disturbing to think about. Could it be that growing up in a predominately male family ruined us be hipping us to all the preposterous games men play? That we have become a little male-like in our own way? That we're too independent because we don't really want men like the men of our family (mostly players) and that's pretty much what exists out here in Miami? All of us have our own place, car, and paying job. All of us can take care of ourself.

But, honestly, I don't want to be single. I know I'm very independent, ambitious, driven, and a little unfeminine (I loathe flowers, pink, and compliments). But, according to a very in depth psych analysis I had to do back in November for a reality show, I'm the typical woman in that I want someone to take care of me (also, according to this exam, I have a teensy weensy problem with authority). I like having the choice of being independent but I'm tired of having to make all the decisions. I wouldn't mind a 55/45 relationship (okay, okay 60/40). I want a man who's a man. I need a father dad for my boys and a lover/partner for me. Why is that so hard to find?

I'm starting to worry that, maybe, I'm just not marriage material.

QoMV


A Call for Moderation: Return to Childhood

Today, I got called a conservative because of the way I view today's society. This person's exact words were: "you seem very conservative for someone who was a teen in the 90s...You must have come from a conservative, traditional family...Nice to meet you.." 


What I wrote to elicit this reply was: "I wouldn't go as far as to say it's child abuse to talk about sexuality but I do think it doesn't have its place within our school and our early youth. That's not the time for exploration b/c, as you pointed out, there are a lot of negative side effects. Not talking religion but human nature. I like the message of "It gets better" b/c life does. But kids have enough to deal with without adding the pressures of sexuality and finding an identity so early to it. This world is way different than when I was a teen in the 90s. There are more baby daddies/mommas than there are parents, more drugs made out of the stupidest (synthetic) stuff, more pressure for a degree (the bachelors is the new high school diploma), the recession/depression, insecurity, child pornography, sexting, blatant pedophilia, etc. Getting molested in the bathroom by the girl/boy in your class is not a needed pressure."

Now I hardly think my views regarding this article were conservative. The truth is I'm a moderate but I'm also a teacher, single mother, molestation & rape survivor (which made me into an unwed teen mother), reader, and an observer of life. 


When I was growing up, kids were not allowed in a grownup's conversation; they asked to speak and waited to be spoken to. I had a mother and a stepfather who took us to the library as a field trip and rewarded us with a traditional Wednesday trip to the local ice creamery. I grew up in a neighborhood where neighbors reported to each other the doings of the neighborhood kids. I watched Saturday morning cartoons religiously, nothing at all like The Real Housewives of Blah Blah City. The only drama I relished was that of the Wile E. Coyote vs Road Runner chases and the wait to see what musician's video made it to the number one spot that week. The only real strife in my life was my relationship with my mother. I didn't live a youth as today's kids do. I feel so sorry for them. They don't know the meaning of respect, honor, or patience. Many of them don't know what it's like to play with the neighborhood kids, to bike, skate, walk, play until dusk fell and the street lights came on, signaling that it was time to go inside for the night. They lack real social skills because they hide behind computer screens. Their bullies are invisible yet ubiquitous. And their solutions all point to either murder or suicide. School was an escape; now it is a prison. Being a kid today sucks. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Procrastination's Whore

I wanna write about something; I've been meaning to do it all day. I swear. But, instead, I've been lying (or is it laying) here in bed being Procrastination's whore. It's totally, like, 50 Shades of Lay up in here. Every time I think of grabbing my grey laptop and sitting up in all seriousness, with my fingers all poised over the keyboard, ready to bang out some really esoterically (appropriate word? Idgaf) deep prose, Procrastination grips my hand in an iron fist and forces me to open...one...more...link to yet another pointless article laced with pictures of Barbie and Ken's wedding day. Really. I totally swear.

So I spend another day doing nothing (isn't that the point of vacay anyway) except watching time blink by until my eyes become overpowered by the Sandman's eyelid anvils and I give in to chaotic dreams that I try to remember upon wakening because they were just that good. So I open my laptop to begin rehashing my dreams when Grey grips my hand in an iron fist and forces me to open...you get the point.

I'm Procrastination's whore. I was hoping for a better occupation, one, like, oh I don't know, paid freelance writer cum awesome acclaimed author.

All this blithering blathering is coming out of my head as I force these words out in an attempt to fight back against Procrastination's dominance over my life.

You see that, Procrastination? I wrote something. Ha! And I'm about to hit publish. So suck it!

And with that I bid you g'nite.

QoMV