2013 So far…

January: I had a very relaxed Christmas break. Lots of time alone, with my thoughts. No cable, internet, or unpleasant interruptions. It WAS awesome, until classes started. I was determined to make this semester different, to work harder and to be more focused. Didn’t happen. I kept putting off completing my intern hours and in general struggled with motivation. However, my motivation to live a healthier lifestyle was starting to pick up.

February: Things begin getting a little foggy in all areas of my life. I began a 28-day fast in conjunction with my church, but mainly for myself for spiritual growth and my health. I started off juicing raw fruits and veggies and eventually included minimally processed foods. 

March: Still juicing. Now exercising regularly. Lost 6lbs. and 3 inches and I’m too excited, but  everything else is slipping. Of course when the fast ended on the 18th I incorporated some of my former favorite foods like pizza and milkshakes. I can’t accurately say how many pounds I’ve gained  but I’ve gained an inch back. Now I’m feeling awful physically and mentally. I’m emotionally drained. I recognize what’s going, I have an epiphany. And now I have to take it to the next level. Time to hit the gym, pray/praise harder and implement some self-care strategies. I’m  being tested, a breakthrough/blessing must be approaching.

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For Whose Eyes Only?

There’s a problem in my office. With the cleaning supply room bathroom that staff uses. For some reason everybody just can’t wait to get into this room. So much so that no one EVER knocks and waits. One day, Papa G (“seasoned” male co-worker) spoke to me in an agitated tone. He said “Can we do something about the staff bathroom? Can we get a sign or something? That says knock before entering? Cause I’m tired of people walking in on me, SHIT!” I nodded and said okay, anything just to appease him so I could laugh my ass off out of his face. And I did. Work week over. Monday morning, the sign was up and Papa G was appreciative. He then jokes about the different instances he’s been walked in on, by whom and how many times. Papa G has one of those old grandpa/deacon voices so anything he says sounds funny. But anyway, we both continued to laugh. But what I was really doing was laughing my ass out. The days rolled by and it’s now Thursday. I close out my projects, grab my purse and coat to head to the door. Then I realize it’s  not a good idea to drive on a full bladder. So I rush to the chemical storage room staff bathroom. You need a key to open it, but once inside you can’t lock it from the inside. So I literally have to tackle the door to make sure that it can’t just be pushed open. I’ll spare you the details about my bathroom procedure, but you’ve seen that episode of The Tyra Banks Show. I heard the lock move. I yell “Someone’s in here”. Then, the door opens and I’m like WTF. I wasn’t even finished and in the door is my co-worker Bubba (middle-aged white dude). In this situation most people would have closed the door immediately after sensing someone in the restroom. What’s worse than having a coworker walk in on you in the restroom? HAVING TO TELL HIM TO CLOSE THE DOOR 😐 What a pervert! Door closes. I laughed  out of embarrassment and then I realized what happened. I became furious and he did right to avoid me. I grabbed my things again to clock out and here comes a student apologizing on Bubba’s behalf because it was he that rushed Bubba to get the bleach out the storage closet causing him to not read the sign and thus not knock on the door and wait for an answer. Then here comes Bubba with his hands in the air like “my bad”. So the next morning, I tell Papa G and Keke about the incident and he laughs and asked “Did he close the door slowly?” Ha ha ha. To make matters worse, Bubba has had his work schedule changed to mornings effective immediately. So now I have to see this perv for my whole work day. Moral of the story, make sure you lotion daily.

Day Seven – Ideal Life Narrative

Although I have the financial flexibility and professional network to live and work anywhere, I choose to use my assets to positively affect my hometown. I live in a four bedroom home with large picturesque windows and open floor plans. I own several businesses here and residential properties throughout the United States. I earn a living by doing what I love, helping people in need to attain resources for a better life. I spend half of my days managing a non-profit organization that provides a variety of services (personal development workshops, after-school recreation, mentoring, housing assistance, job placement, etc.) to the community at no cost. I spend the other half of the day taking care of my family. I have healthy relationships with my family and friends whom I communicate and fellowship with often.  It’s important to me to create joy filled memories, so I make an effort to celebrate good news with my loved ones. I don’t want negative situations to be the only uniting factor. Being fiscally advantageous and responsible with my profits has allowed me to travel the world and vacation twice yearly. I spend my leisure time exercising and reading, staying abreast of current events and volunteering. I also take dance and art classes.

Personal Mission Statement

I value love, responsibility and wisdom. Through education, focusing on personal development, I strive to empower people, particularly African-American youth. To uplift my community to break socio-economic cycles that has created a disparity in the standard of living in urban areas. I cannot create positive change in my environment without first taking care of myself and I will appreciate the vessel God has given me. Life is not a destination, but a journey and I will make thorough efforts to seek silver linings. I chose to not be negatively influenced by adversity and to look to the hills for help.

Not Safe For Work

So, here I am, another day at the office, being the best employee I can be. At this phase in our program development we are setting up the facility. We’re taking almost all our inventory that was in storage and moving it a gazillion times in the facility. Fun, right? After many moves, everything was finally in one big room and sorted. Good job! When I say everything, think about everything an inpatient treatment facility with a built-in school would need, anything from pencils to fridge/freezer thermometers to cough syrup. Next, we (really, I) must inventory everything. Okay. I knew this day was coming, besides its part of my job. Ya know, the stuff I’m good at, organizing. I initially planned to go line by line to check what items we actually have against a master invoice spreadsheet (which lists every item and quantity we should have) Of course that would have been a huge task, but I wanted to be thorough and accurate. It’s nothing I couldn’t have done if I was left the hell alone. What did make that task harder was co workers coming in and grabbing random supplies with the intention of documenting everything they have. I can’t work like that. I’d prefer for me to do what I need to do without others interfering. So the next idea was to stop everyone from taking stuff and to start listing what and how much they have and then I’d do a master inventory of what’s left. Okay, this could work, for now. Everyone gave me a list of what they had.  I, along with three co workers completed a master inventory of what was left. So at this point, scribbled on random sheets of paper, was a count of everything. Next, I had to organize the raw data electronically. No problem, part of my job, stuff I’m good at. Unfortunately, I was off the next day and my co workers must have been idle. #2 in command decided it was a great idea to tell everyone to go AGAIN and get everything they need from the remaining, untouched inventory. What for? Why? We have no clients. The program has not commenced. What work could anyone be doing that they just HAVE to have a post-it note dispenser or a set of color pencils? Anyway, #2 called me that evening, all after the fact and told me about the work day. And I sure did express my discontentment. I’m not trying to be a “supply Nazi”, but when something is my responsibility I want to handle it the way that is most efficient for me and the company. I don’t need people screwing with stuff that I’m accountable for. I don’t need anyone’s help in looking like I don’t know what I’m doing.

So, I returned to work Monday, without seeing the full implications of #2’s actions. It’s only right that #2 has taken the whole week off. Monday, we moved everything AGAIN, this time, to the halls of the building to set up the remaining beds in the dorms. Tuesday, we unpacked the boxes and put the items in the respective areas. When it came time to store the office supplies, everyone went to lunch, except me. Great, doesn’t bother me any. I stored everything neatly. Everything is visible and retrievable. One would think that the hard part is over.

Today, Wednesday, after MOVING SHIT AGAIN, I sit down to tabulate the entire scribbled inventory. Forget checking with what we should have. Shit shouldn’t have to be moved on an average of twice a day. Mind you, I don’t have photographic memory, but my vision and memory are intact. I figured I’d make the master list one sheet and then put everyone’s individual items on their respective sheets, all in one big Excel document. So, I get to the item ‘desktop calculator’ and the quantity reads two. Remember, I put the office supplies into the storage cabinet. I only saw ONE desktop calculator. How can it be, that I only account for one calculator, but my list says two? Hmmm. So what does the Supply Tyrant/Sherlock Holmie have to do? Go around and ask every person if he/she has the damn desktop calculator. So I launch my investigation and I discover that one of the teachers has it. His response, “Well so and so told me to take what I need and wrote down what I took.” She did scribble everything down alright, in her cursive handwriting, on yellow notebook paper. How the fuck am I going to reconcile my records if people keep taking shit? At this point, I’m angry and I rant, audibly. Still professional, I just vocalized my frustrations to myself and the teacher agreed J I hate when people make my tasks harder. I hate when people recklessly complicate things for others. So I guess now, that master list, the one I and three co workers (including #2), worked on for a least an hour, singlehandedly counting everything, has to be disregarded.I’m still going to work on my inventory project but I’m not counting what was put in the cabinet, because I don’t have a photographic memory, nor am I going to go take everything out and count again. I’ll compile the lists of what everyone has against what we should have and whatever is left is assumed to be in the storage cabinet. If the numbers don’t match, oh the fuck well. That’s what happens when you constantly move stuff and people take stuff while stuff is in transition. I hate feeling like I’ve done something in vain. I hate feeling like my time has been wasted. I’m not over reacting. I’ve felt this way several times while working here. I will address my concerns at the next office meeting.

The Princess and The Frog – Review

Characters pictured: Tiana, Dr. Facilier (Shadow Man), Ray (firefly), Louis (gator), Prince Naveen (the frog) and Mama Oadie

On Saturday, December 12, 2009 I decided to do a “Sorors’ Day Out” (in the pouring rain) and catch this movie. I wanted to support it because the princess is Black (bout time!). Learning that the story took place in New Orleans was icing on the cake.  Who doesn’t like a relatable story!? Anyway, I’ll try to summarize the movie’s plot without dropping any spoilers. The story is set in the early to mid 1900s.  It is so beautifully drawn. That’s right, back to 2-D baby! I could really hang up some stills around my home. It’s centered around a young woman with a dream (her father’s as well) of owning and operating her own restaurant/nightclub. She works hard and she doesn’t play (literally) and saves everything she has to bring to her dream to fruition. In contrast, the Prince (of Maldonia), is a partying playboy who has never worked a day in his life and has been cut loose by his parents. He sets sail for New Orleans to marry into a rich family to continue living his lavish lifestyle. Of course, he gets mixed up with the Shadow Man with the help of his (the prince’s) attendant and is then turned into a frog. He meets Tiana, who has just heard disheartening news about her restaurant. Thinking Tiana is a princess, he convinces her to kiss him to change him back to human. From there they journey about balance, self, love and all that Disney jazz. So here are my thoughts on the movie and other reviews I’ve seen online.

1. The music was good BUT it was missing those beautiful ballads, like “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Colors of the Wind”. The movie opened with Tiana singing a New Orleans intro shortly followed by her “Almost There” song. I felt like something was missing from her first full song, but it was short, sweet and ended on a high note.  I kept waiting for any character to sing the song I would want to go home and find the lyrics to. The soundtrack is so New Orleans though, so go cop that!

2. Almost all Disney princess movies has “magic” or “mystique” in them. How many princesses were poisoned/tricked by little old lady/witches? Wasn’t the Genie sprouted from a magic lamp? Wasn’t Jafar a sorcerer?  One should not take issue that the “magic” in this movie is based on Voodoo. It IS set in New Orleans, which most people ignorantly associate with voodoo. Yeah, there’s deep history, but voodoo was not born here nor is it or ever was a primary practice here.

3. Who cares what race the prince is? New Orleans is the melting pot of the South. I don’t know why anyone would be surprised by a character of Creole culture in a movie set in NEW ORLEANS. I think it was a great idea to leave him racially ambiguous, he can be whatever race you want him to be. He could be Black with Spanish ancestry but he can be white in shining armor to someone else. He’s got a tan and curly hair! LOL

4. I would have liked to see more of “Tiana” though. You’ll know what I’m referring to after you’ve seen the movie.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I’d add it to my collection and watch it regularly. Given the fairy tale nature of this movie, the cultural depiction seems to be as accurate as it could be. The accents by some the characters are so strong, it’s funny and creepy. I don’t really talk like that, do I? This movie seemed to lack the “Disney magic” as beautifully drawn as it was, it wasn’t “glittery”. Though the premise is fanciful, I guess that’s the price you pay for having such a movie (young Black woman, independent, working to secure her own). Bottom line: great movie, go see it, IN THEATERS!