Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Discomfort Food

We all have foods that for whatever reason we vow to never eat or drink again. It might not be the taste and more so the memory associated with it.

I have a serious aversion to Gatorade. Whenever I think of Gatorade I think of being sick and having to drink Gatorade to keep hydrated. I can't even publicly share the really really bad memory I have of Gatorade. But it's kind of ironic that a guy I have dated LOVES Gatorade. His favorite flavor is the one that I have the WORST memory of. I used to keep it stocked in my fridge for him. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

I also have an aversion to Ramen Noodles. It makes me think of the brokest time in my life, mainly college. I always vowed that I would never ever buy Ramen after I graduated college. It became a personal goal because Ramen, in my head, represents being broke and struggling to survive. Again, same guy LOVED Ramen. He would buy it for me when I was sick. But technically I didn't break my vow because he bought it, not me.

I like bananas, I don't like bananas is my cereal. The texture of a banana combined with corn flakes or cheerios I just don't like. I have a kinda strange memory associated with this one. My Dad died when I was 6 but some things I distinctly remember about him. Like how he would try to get me to eat cereal for breakfast and would put bananas in it. I wouldn't eat it. He would call my Mom at work complaining that I wasn't eating. And Mom would ask, well what did you try to feed her, she's kinda picky about her food. He would mention the bananas and Mom would tell him to make another bowl, minus the bananas. But no matter how many times my Mom would tell him this he would never remember. So once a month we would have this banana in my cereal situation. To my Dad's credit, he worked a lot and so it was only about once a month where he was 100% solely responsible for getting me breakfast. Most days my Mom or Grandma handled that task. Honestly, looking back, I wish I could sit down with my Dad for breakfast. I'd eat whatever he gave me.

What are your discomfort foods? Are there foods that provoke a certain negative memory for you? Enough talk about food...let's EAT. Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Comfort Food

There are certain foods that make me feel good. And it's not because the food tastes so great but because I have a particular happy memory attached to them.

The other day I was at my side hustle and I noticed there were Lorna Doone's in the vending machine. I IMMEDIATELY had to have them. I haven't had Lorna Doone's in years but when I think of Lorna Doone's I think of my Grandmother. It was something she would give us as a treat.

I'm almost 30 years old and for as long as I can remember I have eaten Chef Boyardee's Beefaroni. If you come to my apt, I always have at least 1 can in the cabinet. Again, this is another food I associate with memories of my Grandmother. And she didn't have the pleasure of a microwave or the new single serve microwave containers. I remember her heating it up on the stove for me for lunch.

Whenever I get sick I HAVE to have chicken noodle soup from a chinese takeout. Especially if whatever that has me sick is making me throw up. For some odd reason I can deal better with that coming back up then say Gatorade or ginger ale. As a kid I would throw up the soup and a few hours later ask for more. I know, not the most comfortable memory, but my point is that it always makes me feel better and if not, I don't mind throwing it back up. LOL

What are your comfort foods? Are there foods that provoke a certain memory for you? Tomorrow I'll talk about discomfort foods. I know the timing for such a topic might be weird but it might make me appreciate my Thanksgiving dinner even more.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Disproportionate

I don't want to be one of those Black people that ALWAYS thinks someone is out to get my race BUT is it me or are Black people disproportionately more affected than other races in negative situations?

With the recent housing crisis it seems that a larger number of Black people were negatively affected by sub-prime mortgages than any other race. If the auto industry went under, as one Black journalist put it, "a good brunt of Detroit area's Black middle-class and the businesses it supports," would be disproportionately affected.

When layoffs occur at a lot of these companies, but media companies in particular, the percentage of Black people is already low to begin with. So when you layoff one Black person that could equal a high percentage. I'll use my own job as an example. Before we had layoffs our team was 17 people. Of those 17 people, 3 were Black (including myself). The staff was about 18% Black. Well my 2 Black co-workers were laid off (leaving just me) and we lost another staff member so we are down to a team of 14 people. So the staff is now about 7% Black. If you were to just look at percentages and not number of people we took an 11% loss of Black employees (also can be called an 11% loss in diversity). It is ridiculous that I now represent 7% and if I was to be laid off they would be at ZERO.

I'm sure we were all told growing up that life is not always fair. But when I stop and think about the current state of affairs for Black people it just seems like life is less fair for us. I don't know, maybe it is just that recessive Black people conspiracy theory gene we inherited from our ancestors.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Love Affair

I have been having an affair for the past four years. With each passing year the bond grows stronger and stronger. I have tried many times to let go and move on. Saying this will be the last time. But I'm always drawn back....to LAS VEGAS!!!!

It's very obvious that Las Vegas is by far one of my favorite cities and on the top of my list of places I like to travel too. It started in December 2004. It was my first trip to Las Vegas. For me, I was in love from the moment my plane landed.

And I just keep going back. Twice a year...three times a year...four times a year. I just can't get enough. I bought a timeshare there and that was the reality check. I cancelled it before I got too connected.

I have told EVERYONE and no one seems to believe me but for 2009 I'm taking the year off from Vegas. I don't care what is happening there...I don't care if I have a free place to stay, free airline ticket, whatever it is...I will not be going to Las Vegas in 2009. There are so many other places I have never been too before I can't continue to waste precious vacation time and money on the same city.

So I'm going back to Las Vegas. One more time to say goodbye. I'm hoping that I can get tickets to the boxing match that will be going on the weekend while I'm there. It would be a symbolic example of the struggle I have in my Vegas affair to have my last trip to my beloved city end with a fight.

I know, I know... 2009 won't be the same for me without Vegas. But we have to go our seperate ways for a time. See what other places I can visit. You know you truly love something when you are able to let it go...no matter how badly letting go hurts. The seperation may be good for us. And maybe, when we see each other again, it will be like we never broke up...it will be love at first sight all over again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Family Pet

I blogged about the funniest report on the first family. Today I'm going to blog on the second funniest report. So much attention has been given to what the first family pet will be. I was actually amazed to learn that there are hypo-allergenic cats and dogs.

Growing up, my home was animal kingdom. We had cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, hamsters, gerbils, snakes, ferrets, fish, hermit crabs...just about any critter that it is legal to have as a pet. In middle school I developed asthma and severe allergies. But when I was tested for allergens I wasn't allergic to my pets. Good thing, cause I think my mom might have gotten rid of me before them. J/K So it wasn't until I went off to college that I fully lost my immunity to furballs.

I have always wanted to have a pet. As much as I like dogs they are just too much work. If a pet relied on me to be on a regular schedule in order to be able to walk them or feed them, they would be in a world of trouble. But I have always loved cats because they are self sufficient. You don't have to take them to the kennel. Just make sure if you are going away that you leave a clean litter box and enough food/water for them to go about their business.

So I'm thinking about getting a cat if I can find some hypo-allergenic kinds. BUT I also don't want to become the cat lady. I think cats can kill a dating life because I know so few men who actually like cats.

I'm also going to talk to my asthma/allergy specialist about tackling my allergies head on. It would require me getting a shot twice a week for the next year or two. And that is a serious commitment I don't know I can maintain. I miss my chiropractor appointments all the time and that's supposed to be twice a week every week.

Do you know of any hypo-allergenic cat types? Anyone inspired by the first family to adopt an animal? Anyone had success with allergy shot therapy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Changing Media Landscape

Every year we talk about "the changing media landscape." But the media is changing in a way I could have never imagined.

In my short career I have seen several cycles of layoffs and buyouts in newspapers. I began my career in magazines at a time when they were going through buyouts. But I have never seen anything like this before. Media is shrinking and not just at print publications. I work at a website and was always told and taught that online was the "safe" media but when your website is tied to a print publication there is no safety.

I just want this period to be over. The daily reports of people being laid off here and laid off there. You can only take so much bad news before you mentally or emotionally breakdown. We won't get back to normal but we will figure out what the new normal is. When the dust has cleared what will the media landscape look like?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Personal Censorship

I don't like censoring myself. I consider myself a very open person. I share a lot about myself. I don't feel like I have anything to hide. But recently I had to put A LOT of people on limited profiles and I essentially had to edit my Facebook.

When it comes to Facebook I think it's a good reflection of my work/life balance. At work I work hard but when it's time to play, I play. Anyone who looks at my Facebook pictures might notice a few patterns. Like when I go out I tend to wear things that show off my legs, I think they are my best asset. I go to Vegas...A LOT...a lot of my pictures are from various trips to Vegas. I like stripper poles. Stripper poles are fun, sexy and a great prop to pose with :)

But I'm beginning to truly understand how everyone that is my Facebook friend is not really my friend. And some of those people don't know me or don't know me that well. So they see a picture of me posing with a pole and want to use it to judge me or to call in to question my performance at work. If anything, when I see photos of someone having fun outside of work on Facebook it helps me to see how well rounded and hopefully grounded they are.

We live in the United States where freedoms such as freedom of speech and expression is a bedrock of our nation. But I must now make sure to self-censor myself. And I hate it. So excuse me while I go check my Facebook friends list and see who else I need to add to the limited profile list.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grounded

My one vice is travel. I travel more than the average person but less than the average business person. I average about one trip a month. But the airlines are determined to ground me.

One by one the airlines have been adding fees for checked luggage. I've never had a problem with them charging for 2 or more bags. But to charge me for my 1 bag that I have to check because of the liquids inside is just unfair. What I think sucks most about the baggage fee is that you have to pay both ways. So on top of the airline ticket you have to pay $30 plus just for your luggage.

The number of airlines that don't charge for checked bags was down to 3: Airtran, JetBlue and Southwest. Then the announcement came on Friday, my beloved Airtran would be charging for checked bags as well. What is a leisure traveler like myself supposed to do? Southwest does not fly out of NYC. So I'm not going to drive to Philly just to get a plane, I might as well pay the baggage fee. I like JetBlue but it doesn't fly every where I want to fly and it only flies out of JFK. I prefer to fly out of LGA, it's closer to my apt.

I'm not really sure how I'm going to deal with this change. On shorter trips it won't be a problem. I just came back from Atlanta and I carried on and kept my liquids to a minimum. But what will I do about longer trips? I have to go back to Atlanta in February and even though it will just be for a weekend I'm going to a wedding and I don't want the dress I'm wearing to be crushed in to a small carry on. I'm thinking about paying for the baggage fee one way and then just rolling the dress on the way back so I can carry it on. It won't matter that it's wrinkled for my trip home.

How are the fees for checked baggage affecting your travel? What, if anything, will you do differently when you have to fly?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't Take It Personnel

Before all my copy editor friends jump on me I used the word personnel instead of personal for a reason.

In my career I have always been fortunate to stay ahead of the curve...AND ahead of the cuts. When the Philadelphia Inquirer had a huge layoff that would have directly affected me if I was still working there, I was at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. When the AJC had several rounds of cuts I was already working in New York. I haven't based my career on moving on and moving up before the cuts come, it's always been coincidental.

Who hasn't been indirectly affected by layoffs? Every layoff has a domino effect even when the layoff wasn't at your place of employment. I've also been fortunate that I have never had to let any of my employees go or watch as co-workers I have grown close too, had to leave....until now.

I'm sure everyone has read the news reports about how Time Inc is cutting close to 600 people. For weeks it has been this state of anxiety. Who will stay...who will go...how will I be affected. We knew the cuts were coming and they were going to affect everyone. The cuts were going to hit at all levels and everyone would have to make sacrifices. Do more with less and still get it all done. I knew this. I expected this. I thought I even had prepared a plan to deal with this. Because this is the way of our professional culture. But knowing all this didn't make the cuts any less surprising.

Some that were cut were on my team. They worked directly with me and for me. It's a double edged reality. On one hand I am happy to still have my job. As I tell anyone that asks me, I love what I do. Every job has it's good or bad days but the position I have is perfect for my type-A personality (see I said it, for my friends who think I refuse to admit that I'm type-A). But on the other hand I hate to see anyone lose their job and ESPECIALLY anyone that is on my team. It's hard for me to think about them not being there. They helped me to transition when I switched publications.

The sad reality of today's layoffs is that it's not about performance. When your position is being eliminated it has little to do with how well you have done. Most companies do not have another position they can move you too. Sadly it is a numbers game and any of our numbers can be pulled.

So to anyone who has been laid off or might get laid off...Don't take it personal. It's not about people but personnel.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Family Fascination

Is it me or have people not been this fascinated with/by a first family since the Kennedy's? The news outlets report on EVERYTHING about them.

I think the funniest report thus far has been the secret service names for the family. I don't know if white fraternities and sororities give members line names but BUT black greek organizations do. And the first families secret service names sound like line names.

Barack Obama = Renegade
Michelle Obama = Renaissance
Sasha Obama = Rosebud
Malia Obama = Radiance

Personally I think these will be Malia and Sasha's line names when they go to college. Daughters of the first black president and their Mom is an AKA...they need to just make them honorary AKA's, pass go and give them their letters NOW.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HNIC

I had a random thought. We always joke about who is the HNIC or being the HNIC and NOW we know who the HNIC is...Barack Obama. He is our nation's HNIC elected to be THE HNIC. Personally, I think I'm the HBIC and if you get on my bad side you will quickly find out what I mean.

For those of you who don't know what HNIC stands for I suggest:
1. Seeing the movie "Lean on Me"
2. Looking it up in the Urban Dictionary

For those of you who don't know what HBIC stands for I suggest:
1. Watching the first two seasons of "Flavor of Love"
2. Looking it up in the Urban Dictionary

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Public Housing

I was in Atlanta this weekend. It was both a business trip and a pleasure trip. I went to check on my house...the one that I can't sell so I'm just trying to make sure it stays rented out. I also went to one of my closest friends 30th birthday party and then her bridal shower the next day. So I killed three birds with one stone.

When I lived in Atlanta I used to attend New Birth Missionary Baptist Church where Bishop Eddie Long is the Senior Pastor. I had an overwhelming desire to go to church no matter how late I was going to stay out the night before. So not only did I go to church but I went to early morning service (how I didn't fall asleep in service was a miracle in itself.)

Bishop Long said something very interesting in his sermon. He said Barack Obama and his family were about to move in to public housing hopefully for the next 8 years. Public housing...interesting term to apply to the White House BUT it is 100% true. It's just not what people typically think of when you say public housing.

Projects, PJ's, public housing, section 8, whatever you want to call it I grew up in public housing. There were kids in my neighborhood who thought I was only visiting family that lived there. They didn't believe I lived there because I was a ghetto nerd. I could hang out in the alley ways but I also spoke correct English. Yes, the fact that I used English more than slang meant to the other kids that I must not live there.

But just think if all the kids that are living/growing up in public housing thought of the White House as another type of public housing that they could aspire to live in. I think it could be a huge motivating factor.

Personally I am blown away by the thought that the house that slaves built is now going to be the home of a black president. Just proving once again that life is a circular cycle.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tears of Joy

Not sure what's going on these days but I have been crying a lot lately. And it's not because I'm sad. It's because I'm happy...touched...moved...amazed...pick any positive adjective and it fits. Lately it doesn't take much for me to get all teary eyed. And no it's not hormones or PMS...I'm on the birth control shot and haven't had a visit from mother nature in quite some time.

I cried election night and several times throughout the rest of the week in relation to Obama winning. I cried when I read this article from the Washington Post about a former butler in the White House. You have to read it all the way to the end to see what touched my heart strings.

I got teary again when I was landing in Atlanta. I love Atlanta. It will always be my home away from home. I was just so happy knowing that I was going to see my friends and I was looking forward to spending the day with my best friend/sister and partying with my ATL friends.

Growing up I always thought crying was a sign of weakness. If I had to cry I would find some place to privately do it. Even at a very young age, 6, when my dad died I didn't want anyone to see me cry. So I locked myself in the bathroom and when my family wouldn't leave me alone, I ran in to a bedroom and crawled under the bed. My tears were my own.

Nowadays I've softened my stance on PDT (public display of tears). One of my girlfriends even posted a picture of me on Facebook from election night where I was both crying and smiling. So tears are okay and I prefer tears of joy to tears of sadness.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dead Tree Sell Out

I can never, ever, ever remember a day where every single newspaper across the country SOLD OUT!!! At a time when newspapers are shrinking and magazines are following suit it was a refreshing reminder. When it comes to momentous occasions people want to have something in print to remember it. A website link is not as valuable when it comes to historical posterity.

I grew up with newspapers being a daily part of my life. My grandmother was an avid newspaper reader. Every day while eating breakfast before school my grandmother and I would read the newspaper. New York Daily News and The Record were the two papers we read every morning. When my sister came home from working in NYC she would bring a copy of the New York Times and New York Post. Newspapers was how we stayed informed and sparked many a conversation. I still read the newspaper everyday. I pick up AMNY and Metro every day and I read Washington Post and The New York Times online.

I could tell you how much I normally spend on newspapers a year. ZERO. But for this historic occasion I spent $.50 on the New York Daily News, $.50 on the New York Post, $16.20 on the New York Times (ordered it at nytstore.com), and $7.45 on USA Today (ordered it from usatoday.com). I'm still debating if I want to spend $59.95 for the Washington Post* (or just wait until I go to D.C. for the inauguration) and if I want to order the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. Basically I spent more in one day on newspapers than I have spent in the last year. And subscriptions are cheap so if you add up what I spent that at least equals a weekend subscription to the New York Times.

But I, like most people in my generation, relies heavily on the Internet. I used to subscribe to newspapers but they would pile up and pile up and I never got around to reading them like I wanted too. The guilt of not having time to read the newspaper on a daily basis is one of the main reasons young people cite for not subscribing to the newspaper.

If I some day have children I want to be able to pull out the newspapers I have saved from major historic events. I think it would make my grandmother proud.

*I just found another area of The Washington Post.com that is selling copies of the paper for much cheaper. If you want the EXPENSIVE reprint of the page it's here

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NOT the First Black President

I bet some of y'all didn't know I was a double major in Multimedia Journalism AND African American Studies. I remember people asking, "You are black, why would you major in that?" or "What are you going to do with an African American Studies degree...teach?" I majored in it because I knew I would never again get to study myself from such a deep historical and cultural perspective inside the confines of a classroom and have it be integrated in to my overall higher education. What I did with the degree? I went to South Africa after graduating from college and worked on a team that built a website about women living with HIV and AIDS. If that's not combining my majors in a useful way, well then I just don't know what else I should have/could have done.

I know you are like what does this have to do with the title of this blog post, you are burying the lead. Well I like giving background and having a buildup like a story not a news article.

Anyway a few Tuesday ago (no lie it was a Tuesday) I went to a screening of The Secret Life of Bees with one of my girlfriends (see this blog is also related to relationships in the sense of friendship)...anyway, after crying through the movie (if you see it bring tissues) we decided to go get something to eat at a spot in Harlem called Mocha. We get to Mocha and surprise, surprise it's a spoken word event. Who knew there was a spoken word event every Tuesday night at Mocha. So as I'm enjoying my catfish fingers and fries (I highly recommend them) the MC talks about how if Barack gets elected he won't be the first black president. I almost choked on my catfish. So I yelled out who were the others? He responds, you didn't know that? And random people in the audience start naming names. Supposedly there were 7 (I could only find 4).

So the next day I was inspired to reach out to one of my former UNC professors. Perry Hall was one of my favorite African American Studies professors. Not sure if he ever knew how much his teachings impacted me. So I emailed Professor Hall and asked is it true that if Barack Obama is elected he won't be the first black president? If this is true, which I could completely believe given the history of slavery in our country, who were the other black presidents? How many were there? What number would that make Obama?

His response. That idea comes from some work by historian-journalist J.A. Rogers. "World's Great Men of Color," and "The Five Negro Presidents" are 2 of his books. Look it up. That's a Perry Hall answer...he won't just give you the answer but will inspire your search for the answer.

So I looked up the author and his books. Here is what I found:
"In 1963, When Attorney-General Kennedy and Senator Javits said there might be a Negro President in the next thirty or forty years, FACT, most outspoken of the big magazines, replied there was already one and in its January February, 1964 issue had an article “America’s First Negro President.” It named Warren G. Harding as the one and had affidavits from elderly whites who knew the Harding family. But before Harding three other Presidents had been loudly proclaimed by white people as being of Negro Ancestry...Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln." Here's an interesting link I found.

And it makes perfect sense. Just think about Lincoln. This man led us through a civil war and freed the slaves. Essentially he freed his people. And what happened to him? Assassinated. John Wilkes Booth carried out the attack thinking it would aid the South which had just surrendered to Federal forces. But I now think Lincoln was assassinated because he was black AND he set the slaves free.

I wrote this long blog to say that Barack Obama is NOT our first black President. BUT he IS our first RECOGNIZED black President. This does not diminish or take way from the importance of him being elected. It just puts it in to a larger historical perspective. I still believe this is MLK Jr's dream being realized because we will have our first openly black President.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back On The Blog

What would it take for me to return to the blogosphere...you guessed it. A BLACK PRESIDENT! But since the focus of my blog is dating and relationships I'm going to talk about the relationships with family and friends.

First, yesterday was personally historic for me. Three generations of my family voted yesterday. I wish I could have gotten a picture of my mother, brother and myself in line at the polls early in the morning. Or my niece in Ohio voting in her first election. (Thanks Ohio!) Or my niece in NJ, also voting in her first election. Or my uncle in Virginia (we did win Virginia right?) Or all my other family members who are spread across the east coast that represented at the polling booths. Is there some kind of cliche I can insert here about families that vote together? Like a family that votes together don't go broke together...or something like that. If not, oh well...it was still a historic day for me personally.

Next, I gotta give some love to all my friends. From my friends that were with me (Heights Crew) when the announcement happened and understood why I could not stop crying. To my best friend in Chicago who was texting me from the rally. To my friends in Atlanta who were also feeling blessed despite Georgia electorate going the other way. To my facebook friends, the status message updates just say it all. To ALL my journo friends who kept the inbox over flowing. To Poppa K who was emailing me and by far he is the biggest Obama supporter I personally know.

I have to thank my American family. That's right, my fellow Americans. You helped to make Martin Luther King Jr's dream a reality. A dream deferred is now a dream realized. This was his dream and I am alive to experience it.

Last but not least I have to thank my ancestors. There are just so many people who I wish were alive to see this. My great grandmother who never talked about her family and there was a complete disconnect because she married a black man. My great grandfather, a self-educated business man, who never got to meet his full potential because of racism. My grandmother who experienced so much racism as a child and was the first person to talk to me about politics. My father who always said and believed some day there will be a black president.

Even now just thinking about how far black people have come, how far America has come, its an overwhelming joy. From 9/11/01 to Barack Obama in 08, who could have imagined this.