Sunday, February 28, 2010

Black Thoughts

So today is the last day of Black History Month and I have had a plethora (I love that word) of things concerning my peeps that I have been wanting to get off of my chest. I guess today is as good a day as any. Here goes . . .

On Black Women Being Single

If I have to see another television special featuring a group of single Black women talking about how Black men have gone extinct, I'm going to kill myself. No, no wait . . . if I have to see a group of Black men talking about how mean and angry all Black women are THEN I'm going to have to kill myself. Guess I'm going to have to kill myself some time this week, because the network I work for will be airing that story in a couple days.

Uplifting the Black Community

The guy that I have been working with (I'll just call him "Mr. Jello PuddingPops" and if you don't know who I'm talking about then kill yourself google it) turned a lot of my people off a couple years ago when he said that the poor folks in the Black community have not been holding up their end of the bargain. The more I work with him and speak to those nearest and dearest to him, the more I have to agree with his message. The other day, I saw a toothless deli worker and a little old man curse each other out at my local grocery store. (She made a mean sandwich, though, let me tell you! Mmmm :-) On that very same day, I'd been informed that my 13 year old niece beat up a classmate and then began to assault her own teacher - who is now pressing charges. And on top of all this, at this very second I am watching a news story about the second child this week to be abandoned somewhere (not counting, of course, the infant that was tossed over a bridge a couple days ago). All of the people that I have mentioned have something in common. They are all Black folks and they are all in the poor community.

As someone who grew up in the projects just like "Mr. JP-Pops," I feel some kind of way about these shenanigans. I was talking to Pop's old homegirl from around the way a couple days ago and she was telling me (actually bragging - and with good reason) about the high standards that she, her sisters and the rest of the neighborhood held themselves to. She talked about the pride they took in keeping their community clean, abiding by strict moral codes and dating only the best of the best. In essence, she was telling me that they were poor (she used the term raggedy, lol) but it didn't define them or any other aspect of their lives. In other words, everything else about them was rich. How beautiful is that? I think that's a wonderful way to think. And it reminds me of the standard in which my family lived by (even though the rest of the neighborhood was a hell-hole). Either way, I can definitely get with Mr. JP-Pop's message, but I still think that the "talented tenth" aren't holding up their end of the bargain either. Donating money isn't the only way to extend charity and the "teach a man to fish" proverb isn't just some quaint little story. It means, you have to get your hands dirty and actually SHOW people how to live right rather than donate money to some random cause and hope never to have to cross paths with another Black person from the lower rungs of society. Just my thoughts.

Yes, We Still Need BHM

Every year I hear (some) people complain that there is no need for Black History Month anymore. I think it will continue to be necessary as long as Black folks continue to make history. Is that confusing? Allow me to explain. Ex: Barack Obama is the first Black president of the United States of America. Some lady at my job is the first Black woman in the history of the (blank) company to hold a specific position as an on-air person. As long as we are breaking boundaries, Black History Month is necessary because in this day and age it's disappointing that we are still even uttering the phrase "the first Black person to . . . " Until we are fifty years out from ever hearing that phrase again, Black History Month is necessary. Again, just my opinion.

Ummm...I think that's all I got. Enjoy your last day of Black History Month everybody!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Auditions (or a Little Thing I'd Like to Call Throwing My Current Friends Under the Bus)

So whilst watching my new favorite "girlfriend bonding" show Let's Talk About Pep, I felt those similar feelings that have always seemed to dwell in the pits of my...I dunno...loins? bowels? My seasonal wish (and I say seasonal because it comes and goes) craving for a group of gal-friends to brunch with and chat it up with on random Saturday afternoons throughout the month.

All right, lemme grab my box of tissues and find my way over to the leather couch.

Disclaimer: the following stories will have more than a few references to shows like Living Single, Girlfriends, Sex and the City and Let's Talk About Pep so if you've never watched any of those shows I've provided links as help. (Oh, and seek help :-)

*Eh, eh, eh...Ahem* It all started when I was a youngin and Living Single came out. The show (starring Queen Latifah and some other chicks) was about 4 beautiful, single (Black) women living in New York City. At the time that it came out, my 10 year old mind said, "Heyyyy!!! I have 2 sisters and my Mom. That makes 4 of us!" and from that point on I was Maxine from Living Single minus the New York City, the sex, the being grown and being a lawyer part. Either way, we were all living single and nobody was Sinclaire and everything was great and we were in a nineties kind of world and my mom wore a bunch of wigs and then my sister got engaged and preggars while I was away at college and our plan got shot to the fiery pits of hell (and there is a part of me that will never forgive her for that - even though I love those little brats).

Okay, so the show Girlfriends comes out and it's onto plan B. Who wants to live in New York City anyway? I was in college and while I already had girlfriends, they were all in different groups and I couldn't seem to get them all together at once. So in search of sisterhood, I joined a sorority. All of us were young, Black, single and living la college loca. We were going to go to parties together, eat lunch together, go shoe shopping together and date hot guys and just be awesome. We were really going to DO it. Oh, wait...did I say we? What I should have said is that they were really going to do it. I was too broke to do anything and after pledging for a million years, I was left looking like the (homeless, broke, needing a handout, college student) "Lynn" character minus the free ride and lost interest in the show and lost interest in the whole wanting to do the girlfriends thing anyway in the first dang place because who cares and I'm SO OVER IT! (Which then lead to a downward spiral of having nothing but guy friends - who didn't really give 2 craps about me outside of trying to get me naked - but that is for another therapy blog session, my friends). So yeah...foiled again.

Now we're in the post-college days. Picture me...a mid to late twenty something Arnetta Green, working in my professional field, living in a major city with a good amount of girlfriends around the time the Sex and the City movie came out. Too conservative to be Samantha and too liberal to be Charlotte. Too fun to be Miranda and I write a lot so I guess that would make me Carrie. I'm not rich but I can afford to treat some girlfriends to lunch (stop shaking your head man-friend, I could if I wanted to!) but about those impromptu lunches? Yeeeaah (said like guy on office space) that's not gonna happen. You see, you gotsta have time for that kind of thing. And time...I do not have. And it still wouldn't be one of those "girlfriend" situations either because I still can't seem to get more than one girl together at the same time. (And yeah, that probably sounded a bit molester-ish, didn't it?) Either way, the desire was suffocated yet again...until, of course, Let's Talk About Pep comes onto the scene reigniting my teeny weeny wittle wish to have brunch with a group of women (that would actually get along with each other) once or twice a month. Is that asking too much random internet people?? Well, IS IT???!!!

So because my hours suck and my current friends suck and want to be all separate and not randomly go to lunch together, I've decided that I want to put out my own This May Sound Crazy Classified Ad, so here goes . . .





Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Own Language

Now I don't know if this is true of anyone else, but one thing I've always noticed is that if I am around someone (anyone) long enough, we begin to develop our own language. I mean to the point where I can have a whole conversation with someone and no one else will know what the heck I am talking about except that one person. Maybe it's because I grew up as half of a twin-set and you know what they say about twins making up their own language. (Even though with my sister, we didn't exactly make up a language. We just transmitted thought signals. LOL - but seriously . . . we did).

Anyway, since I feel free to say whatever I want to say on my little piece of the blogosphere, I thought I'd share some of the "words" and "secret references" from a few of the languages I have created with friends, family and colleagues over the years.

"Daisy" - (pronounced Day-zee) - mainly, a girl who has no clue that her boyfriend is a freak (bisexual, sexual deviant, whorish or just a plain ole fashioned cheater.)
ex: So I saw Jonathan the other day, hugged up with Daisy.

"Shabadoo" - (pronounced Shah-Bah-Doo) - carry on, continue.

"Conducting a business meeting" - going to the bathroom.
ex: Hold my calls, I'm conducting a business meeting in a couple minutes.

"Taking a call on line 1" - Peeing

"Taking a call on line 2" - Pooping

"The deal went through" - Give the bathroom about 15 minutes.
ex: The merger was a success. The deal went through.

"Peanut butter and jelly" - Great, awesome, wonderful.
ex: That shirt is PB&J!

"Purple Stuff" - a drink of any kind, specifically your favorite drink.
ex: I'm going to get some purple stuff. You want anything?

"Kappa Nu" - any group of people who belong to an elevated professional status, usually getting their job through "butt-kissing," nepotism or some other equally dishonorable avenue.
ex: I'm not a member of Kappa Nu, I'll kick your mother-(expletive) (expletive)!
(This expression was coined one day when a particularly angry man-friend was telling me about his stupid coworkers. He turns me on when he goes into his "hood" rants.)

Well, I'm going to have to cut this short so I can enjoy some ice cream and watch some movies. Keep it classy Sandiego!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My New Favorite Commercial

and . . . he's (cough, cough) kind of (cough) cute too! lol

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Beans and Rice Didn't Miss Her

So as promised, I am posting pictures of my attempt at red beans and rice. I subbed out a few ingredients but all in all I followed Emeril Legasse's recipe to a "T."

And I would show you a picture of the finished result, but it turned out so good that there's none left. Sorry!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

My favorite Mermaid with feet, Cecilia has bestowed upon me the prestigious Happy Award. It's my first time receiving an award . . .

The Happy Award

and to be honest, it makes me feel like a real blogger. It's good to know that people are reading my randomness and actually enjoying it. Thank you Cecilia, and it sucks that I can't award you right back because your blog brightens my day too! So as the rules go, I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and then award 10 bloggers that make me happy. So let's get started . . .



Call me a big baby but I totally get "the Cookie Monster." If I'm eating a crunchy cookie like ginger snaps or oreos, I HAVE to dip it into my milk for precisely 4 (Mississippi) seconds and then slurp the milk out of it and CRUNCH. This is a ritual that I must partake of in front of the television while watching something additionally addictive like 24 or Lost. I'm getting happy just thinking about it.


I am happy to be a part of something that millions of people see every day. I am happy to be smart enough, competent enough and confident enough to deal with both people and machines, being trusted to ask poignant questions and creative enough to manipulate video in order to tell a story. While I am not always happy with my job, I am happy most of the time. And it beats the heck out of working at The Olive Garden (trust that!).

Cuddling is wonderful. I love the feeling of waking up after a long night, wrapped in someone's arms. It really helps that the man-friend is an amazing cuddler and gives me rubs (even while he is sleep). I swear I go to sleep feeling his hands rubbing my back and wake up to the same thing.


I am a huge fan of Spring anyway, but after the horrible blizzards that have been pounding the East Coast my level of appreciation has skyrocketed straight through the roof. Seeing the birds coming back as the weather gets warmer and watching the grass get greener fills me with joy.

#6 - MY NIECES (and all little girls, really)
I have three nieces. A 6 year old, 4 yr old and 2 yr old. As any proud Aunt, I think they are the brightest, funniest, cutest, most special little girls to ever walk this planet. It breaks my heart when they look at me (with their huge, baby eyeballs) and just thinking about them makes me happy.

Today I was physically tired, sleepy, bloated, and in an anti-social mood. I didn't feel like going to work for seven hours (starting at 5 am) and I darn sure didn't feel like going to church right after. Despite all of this, I prayed for strength walked into church, sat down, concentrated on the message and walked out feeling rejuvenated, mentally stimulated and morally challenged. And I always feel this way when I take the time to feed my spirit (whether it be reading the bible, praying, or just going to church and getting encouragement.) Spirituality makes my soul happy.

He's not actually a puppy. He's 2 years old.

George is big, he's smelly, he sheds EVERYWHERE and he has officially turned me into one of those people who is obsessed with dogs. The older he gets, the more I see his personality come out. I've seen him smile, cry, get angry and throw himself down like he's having a temper tantrum, watch TV (he's watching figure skating right now), get scared and try to jump into my lap (like Scooby Doo), outsmart my family, protect smaller dogs and try to cheer me up when I'm sad. Oh, and he also likes to listen to Bob Marley. I love this dog. He makes me happy.

I love music and I think that dancing is one of the truest expressions of joy. It is one of the few things that give me instant happiness.

#2 - the Man-friend
I've been "seeing" the man-friend in one way or another for over 4 years and I still gush over him as if we've just met. He is the embodiment of the word "gentleman" and has stepped my "dating-game" up by 100%. After him (if there is an after) I can only hope there exists another guy with half the man-friend's charm and poise. And that is real talk. He makes me very happy.

#1 - WINE

I love wine. It's sophisticated, tasty, healthy and just plain sexy. It goes great with good food and good company. It can make any evening feel a tad classier and puts you right to sleep when it's done (just like something else I know. wink! wink! nudge! nudge! High five . . . no? okay). I think I'll have a glass right now!

But not until I list the 10 bloggers that make me happy.

They are . . .

Islandbaby at A Beautiful Recovery
She Bloggs at She Bloggs
Her Mommy at Embellish.meant
Blackgirlinmaine at Black Girl In Maine
Invisible Woman at Black Cinema at Large

Thank you guys for making my blogging experiences wonderful. Also, a special thanks to Cecilia for giving me the award in the first place. In the words of Simple Jack of Tropic Thunder, "Youuu muh-muh-muh-meh-meh-maaake me haaaappy!"

So I award the Happy Award to the aforementioned bloggers. Please pass it along. :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Desperately Trying to Fit It All Into One Post

So my favorite Mermaid with feet, Cecilia awarded me with a Happy Award and as part of the stipulations I have to list 10 things that make me happy and award 10 other blogs with the "Happy Award" as well. As the over-thinker that I am (and because it's my first award) I'm getting my little list together that I will post tomorrow on Valentine's day. So bear with me.

Also . . .
I'm trying to get my "Betty Crocker" on and tonight I will be making red beans and rice (imagine me saying that with a Carribbean accent while doing my little rendition of the "dutty whine"). Anywho, I'm hoping it turns out well and if it does, I will post pics (no, not of me doing the dutty whine) and the recipe. Sometimes inspiration comes from an innate urge and sometimes it comes from an outward kick in the arse.
My Innate Urge - Me: "Hmm . . . I need to start eating more fiber. Maybe I'll cook something from scratch."
My Outward Kick in the Arse - The manfriend: "Mmmm, the neighber is cooking something and it smells soooo good. I think I'll call her and see if she'll bring me a plate." (DROPS DEAD as he proceeds to call her) :-x

Also . . .
What is up with my man uhh . . . what's his face . . . "waiting on the wooorld to change"??? . . . ummm . . . John Mayer! That's it. LOL Somebody get John Mayer's PR person on the line, please. I'm not even going to get into what he said, but in light of Black History Month I'm going to extend a courtesy to my Caucasian friends and tell yall what not to say/do around this time . . .
- Do NOT, under aaaany circumstances, utter the N word. It doesn't matter what the context is, whether you're trying to be funny, or whether you make a valid point. Just don't do it. Actually it doesn't matter what month it is.
- Do not reference fried chicken, watermelon or collard greens until after the month is over.
- Do not call yourself or any part of your body a "White supremacist" unless you really are or it really is.
There's nothing wrong with not digging the sistahs John Mayer but "White supremacist dick"?? You're a douche-panther (someone who seemed cool at first, but their douchey-ness snuck up on you like a panther) <--use it, love it, live it
Also . . .
Valentine's day is tomorrow. So I'm curious. What's everybody doing? I don't have anything planned (that I know of) but I love stories so if anybody is doing anything or has an interesting story to share about V-day, I'd love to hear it.

That is all!

p.s. Also . . .
Because I'm being random, here's a video with a bunch of random people in it. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Thoughts - Why I Would Never Want to be a Celebrity

So, I work in the entertainment biznazz. The reason I wanted to work in TV/Film was because as a youngster, I wanted to entertain and be the center of attention. My desire to be in the limelight has since waned, and I am more attracted to the idea of pulling the strings from behind the curtain, "Wizard of Oz" style. Although, I don't see celebrities on a regular basis, I have seen my share. And while at times I desire the money, clothes and expensive lifestyle, when I look at these people, whether in person or in pictures, I always have a little bit of pity for them (very little pity - mind you - there are plenty of people with problems way worse than being overly rich and popular). Either way, these are all of the reasons that I appreciate and would take my life (low-income and all) over a celebrity life any day . . .

1. First and foremost, PRIVACY!!! I am one of the most discreet people you will ever meet. I absolutely hate (with a passion) having people up in my koolaid (and don't even know the flavor - I just taught my boss that saying and he LOVES it. Bless his heart! :-). Nothing irks me more than knowing that I cannot defend myself against every vicious rumor that churns it's way through the rumor mill. As your average gorgeous and vivacious person I have to deal with rumors and haters and nosey people enough as it is, but at least when I get on the train every day I'm a nobody. At least I can go out to the store and wear some sweat pants and sneakers or fly out to some island or other and know that nobody gives a crap. I don't have to worry about the whole world finding out about my grocery list or getting secretly taped while I'm doing "the do" (which could be anything from having sex to taking a dump). I will never EVER be jealous of this . . .
(Referring to picture: That is NOT how you're supposed to enjoy Rio!) I love my privacy and I wouldn't trade it for all of the fame in Hollywood.

2. Being folksy and relatable. The idea of working a nine to five job makes me cringe, but it also gives me a rite of passage as an American that allows me to relate to 95% of our culture (who are employed). I can even relate to the unemployed having spent about 30% of my adult life looking for work. I take the train to and from work, I go to the Starbucks (when I can afford it) and buy my little Passion tea, oatmeal and croissant. I complain about taxes. I have goofy (ghetto) relatives. I complain about my belly weight or desire to have these $1200 shoes.
Call me crazy, but sometimes I actually enjoy my little sufferings. My life is not perfect, but I couldn't imagine losing some of the things that make me unique or even some of the things that make me just like everybody else. It's wonderful.

3. Selling Sex. (I'm mainly talking about gratuitous sex) One thing's for sure . . . every sexual act I've done in life, I've done because I really really REEEALLY wanted to and I've done it for free. I didn't have to worry about my mom seeing that 'ish and I also didn't have to worry about the world knowing how much I got paid to do it, either. I think it's a whole different ballgame when someone actually pays you to crawl around in hot oil for a music video, say all kinds of freaky things in your songs, get naked for a magazine or have sex with Billy Bob Thornton for nearly 10 straight minutes. You ever hear a celebrity (singer, actress, etc.) after getting naked for the fifty-leventh time say something like "I'm showing another side of myself" or "I want women to be sexually liberated" and think to yourself, "Yeah, whatever bish." That wouldn't work for me, because it would mess with my obsession with being discreet and it would also bother me to know that in order to sell records/movies/products I gave the world the ONLY THING they haven't had access to and that's "my goodies." Also, there are just some people that I would NOT want fantasizing about me.
*shivers* But I swear I feel like I've seen some celebrities naked more than I've seen myself naked. It gets old. And who wants to be put in the "Been there and seen that naked a million and one times and ooh, look at that new girl that just got naked let's all go oggle her because such-and-such is old news now" category. Not me.

4. The Guilt of the Overly Privileged. Now there's your regular "I'm sorry that I didn't finish my dinner because there's children starving in -insert country here- guilt" and then there's celebrity guilt. You know the "I'm sorry that I'm so stinking rich that I have to find creative ways to waste my money" kind of guilt. They try to make up for it with phrases like "I'm just like everybody else" but who's really buying that ish? Yes, a celebrity may be friendly. They may put their pants on one leg at a time. They may even decide to donate to charities, but when you have that much money, you will always look like this to people . . .
Also they can never erase the fact that they have "people" waiting on them hand and foot every single day, giving them money and free stuff just to show up. Which is kind of an effed up luxury to have when you think about it because so many "regular" people work their butts off, doing important jobs (teachers, city workers, pilots . . . yes, pilots) and struggle to make a living wage. Being that stinking rich is a luxury that carries a lot of guilt with it. A guilt that I will never know. :-)

5. Political Correctness. With the exception of shock jocks, part of being a celebrity (and I mean, a real celebrity) is having to be politically correct all the time. And when you're not, you have to apologize quickly or you'll risk losing sponsors. That's just not my thing.

6. Being Around Douchebags Like I said, I don't see or work with celebrities every day. But during the times that I have worked with them, I couldn't count how many douchebags (and I mean REAL douchebags) I have had to come across. People with bad tempers and bad attitudes who would "go off" because of the most trivial things. Crazy people who somehow get invited/sneak into events and follow everyone around trying to take pictures, making conversation and asking stupid-a$$ questions. People who think they know everything, smack on gum, wear torn jeans and call everyone "Babe" or "Dog."
And the kicker is that most times these are the people with money and influence whether they know someone or whether they are that someone. These are the people that are hanging out in the dressing room, behind the stage, at the cocktail party before the event. They always have some glaringly obvious social defect that makes you wonder how it's possible for anyone to be around them for more than 2 seconds. But for the sake of money, everybody acts like everything is normal. When I am working any event, I always have to do some serious meditating and praying because I never know what kind of insane person I'm going to have to encounter. I am magnet enough for the crazies. The way I see it, at least as a regular person I can limit the amount of time I have to spend with lunatics.

I think that about completes my list for now. Call me crazy, but this is something that runs through my head from time to time, especially when I am reading some of my favorite celebrity gossip blogs.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Interview

As most of you know, I had an important interview yesterday. Being that I was interviewing at my current job, with someone that I am all too familiar with, it took a whole lot of the edge off of the process. I'll sum everything up in a series of lists.

Things of Note:
- I thought I was running late and dang near broke my neck trying to get to my job in time. A car almost ran me off the road and I beeped at them and they beeped back aggressively only to find that we were both going to the same place. Thank goodness it wasn't anyone important (that I know of, anyway)

- I got to the interviewer's office at precisely 10am on the dot (the time of my interview).

- The guy who was interviewing me (let's call him Mr. Ford) got there at 10:20 - in other words, 20 minutes late.

- Mr. Ford told me that he was thoroughly disappointed that I didn't apply for the job when it was first posted on the company website. There was a small part of me that actually hoped he was so disappointed he didn't want to give me the job.

- When I asked Mr. Ford any questions about the job, he would answer it as if I already had it. For ex:

Me: Mr. Ford, would I be backing up the other (blanks) or would I be filling in for them on Saturday nights?

Mr. Ford: Well, that's something that I would want you to work out with them. Preferrably, you could alternate shows and . . . (etc, etc, blah, blah, blah)

Now I could be blowing that one out of proportion but it really felt like he was talking about me specifically.

Things I wanted to say during the interview, but couldn't:

- "Okay, let's cut the foreplay. Do I have the job or don't I?"

- "Would you mind if I took a raincheck on this whole thing. Can you interview me in a year?"

After Mr. Ford tells me that my job has had a hiring freeze in effect for the past two years and that's why I haven't been considered for higher positions.
- "Uh . . . why the *BLANK* didn't you tell me that before?!"

How I felt after the interview:

- Relieved and a little Anxious

What I did that night to resolve those conflicting emotions:

- Got drunk

I'm a Jean Jones and the Number 8

Warning: Kind of a sentimental post!

Just recently I was blessed enough to be able to find my favorite teacher on Facebook. Just wanted to share some background info into the kind of impact that she made on my life.

Part 2

So a couple of days ago, while lolligagging around and getting dressed for work I downloaded "Imma Be" by The Black Eyed Peas on ITunes (don't judge me) and giggled a little thinking about my beloved teacher "Imogene." It's funny how the brain works isn't it? One minute, you're dancing around in your underwear and the next you're sitting in the first seat, second row of your third grade classroom. I remembered that she was 41 when I was 8 years old and calculated that she should be around 59 now. The man-friend asked me why I was smiling (because I guess I should have a serious face on when I'm dancing around in my undies?) and I mentioned Ms. Jones - a name he's heard plenty of times before. I asked him to google her, which he did (spelling the name wrong, of course) and her facebook page came up immediately. Excited, I practically knocked him over trying to get to the computer and sent her a message asking if she remembered me, what she's been up to and practically begging her to be my friend.

By the end of the day, she accepted my friendship and sent me a long letter catching up and asking about what I'm up to. Here is some of what she said . . .

Hi Arnetta!

Of course I remember you!!! You were so little, so imaginative, so intelligent, and a READER! You would challenge me with your questions.Where are you? What are you doing? I just imagined that I would see that you were some sort of artist, or a writer, or an attorney. I dunno, but I know you are doing SOMETHING interesting with your life.

You have changed. You are such a beautiful young lady and all grown up! Where did the time go? I can still see you (in my mind's eye) in my third grade classroom though. Where are your glasses? I love your hair!

The letter brought back so many memories. She told me that she was disabled and had way too many doctor's appointments to try to continue teaching. Knowing the kind of teacher she'd been, I felt it was a tragedy that she wasn't in a classroom somewhere doing what she loved to do. I sent her a letter asking what her ailments were. She sent me back a seven page letter that broke my heart.

Lupus, extreme allergies, IBS, PolyArthritis, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, Dry Eye Syndrome, partially lost vision, Rheumatoid Arthritis (which she takes chemotherapy treatment in order to prevent from getting worse), tennis elbow and a host of broken bones and weakened joints. She told me about the pain that she's suffered and the loved ones she'd cared for and then lost to the same disabilities. She told me that a little boy and his father on the way to a grocery store (out in the country) stopped by her house at 8am in the morning and the little boy begged her to come back to teaching. "We'll be good," the little boy pleaded. (I think that was when I got up and ran to the bathroom to sob like a baby get some air and try to get through the rest of her letter). She told me about the students that she'd taught coming to her house and visiting her, including a girl who asked Ms. Jones to be the godmother of her child. She told me about her 40th high school reunion, her niece and nephew, her dog Marleigh, her college years, her brother who committed suicide, her hobbies, memories and hopes for the future.

That letter was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It made me wonder why good people have to go through so much. It also gave me a glimpse into the kind of strength and resiliency she has (and that I'd like to have). I remembered the tall, statuesque woman with the big hair and the big smile who looked invincible to me back then. It made me sad to know that if I saw her today, she would not look the same. She would not be in the same pristine condition. With all this, however, the letter was not sad. It was just real. And that was Ms. Jones. Real.

Finding Ms. Jones motivated me to reach out to other teachers that have touched my life. (I found one on facebook 2 days ago but another teacher - who helped me to pay for college - I could not find.) I guess it just really made me realize how rare it is to have a good teacher, especially in a poor school district. I am the first person to complain about bad teachers and I have had my share. Teachers who couldn't care less about their students. Teachers who absolutely hated coming to school every day. Teachers who teased their students, ostracized their students, molested or physically harmed their students, cursed at their students and punished them for no reason whatsoever. Teachers who sabotoged grades or just passed students right along through the school system. But having one teacher that cares really does make all the difference. And it wipes away all of the pain and frustration from the other teachers. (I know I sound like a "The More You Know" promo, but it's sooo true.)

Ms. Jones and I have been corresponding back and forth over the past couple days. We found out that we had a lot in common from joining the same sorority to having the same experiences. I gave her a break yesterday because we both have a tendency to write long letters and I didn't want to wear her poor fingers out. But there's no doubt in my mind that I will be seeing her soon. I plan to make a trip out there in a month or so (if she's comfortable with having company in her condition). With her bold personality, I don't think she'd mind.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I'm a Jean Jones and the Number 8

Warning: Kind of a sentimental post!

Just recently I was blessed enough to be able to find my favorite teacher on Facebook. Just wanted to share some background info into the kind of impact that she made on my life.

This is Part 1

In 1991 I was 8 years old and starting the third grade. That year, my twin sister was excited to be getting Mrs. Wysocki "the nicest 3rd grade teacher ever." I was stuck with a new teacher. *Mrs. Jones. My mother gave me extra attention that morning, reassuring me that I would have a great day and to tell her everything about my new teacher.

I remember lining up alongside the building with the other children, some who were familiar faces and others who were complete strangers. We filed into the classroom, hung up our jackets and found desks with our names on it. A very tall, brown-skinned Black woman with thick long hair, glasses and a toothy grin, smiled at us as we walked past her and found our seats. I was caught off guard. A Black teacher? A tall, Black woman teacher who wasn't a little old lady like Mrs. Gould or Mrs. Henry? She waited patiently as the last students took their seats and then started speaking to us as if she'd known us for a million years.

"How is everybody today?"

"Gooood," we all said, in that lifeless, well-rehearsed, sing-songy way. Something learned from years of conditioning.

"Well, that's great!" she said, full of life and energy. "My name is Ms. Jones as you already know and I'll tell you a little more about myself. My first name is Imogene." With that, she'd just threw out the first law of being a teacher. (Guarding your first name with your life.)

I'm a jean? I thought to myself. Who would name their child "I'm a jean"?

"Does anyone know how to spell that?" she asked. Silence. "All right, let's give it a try." She started handing out paper and pencils and we all tried to write Imogene. "Sound it out," she chanted quietly as we all thought extra hard and scribbled onto our paper. "Okay, who thinks they've got it?" Almost every hand went up. "Hmmm," she said as she surveyed the classroom, scanning excited eyes and waving hands. "Ooh! ooh! I know, I know!" some kids were saying.

"You . . . Kristina!" she picked a curly-haired, redhead who'd been waving her arms wildly and leaning forward nearly tipping her desk.

"I - M - O - J - E - N" the girl spelled out confidently.

"Noooo, but close," Ms. Jones said. Duh, I thought to myself, you forgot the two A's. Eventually, after several failed attempts, Ms. Imogene Jones wrote her name on the chalkboard and explained that the "G" made the "J" sound. Next, she threw out the second rule of being a teacher. "Can anyone guess how old I am?" she asked. Silence. "Come on, guess," she coached. Even at 8 years old, we knew not to go there. "I'm forty-one years old."

*Gasps all around*

Forty one years old and she's still ALIVE?! "That's right! Forty-one," she said as if answering that question.

A little black boy (with a "gumby" haircut), a long head and poppy eyes raised his hand. "Yes, Detrick."

"Forty-one?!" he said with his scratchy voice, "Ms. Jones, I thought you were twenty-three!"

"Why thank you Detrick! That's very nice of you." Ms. Jones said smiling broadly. Another hand went up. "Yes, Quentray"

"I thought you were twenty-two," the boy said shyly.

"Oh you guys are goood," she laughed out loud. About six more hands shot up and Ms. Jones allowed each student to tell her how old young they thought she was.

And with that it was official. Ms. Jones had won her 3rd grade class over in five minutes. That day, she broke nearly every rule in the teacher's handbook. Not only had we learned her first name and her age, we also learned that she used to be a social worker. She explained to us how she helped children who didn't have good lives at home. She talked to us about going to people's houses and making sure they were being nice to their children. She told us that it hurt her feelings to know that children were having such a hard time and explained to us why she decided to start teaching. Being that my hometown was such a poor district, most of us knew about social workers and broken homes. We were all ears.

As the year progressed, it was this kind of candor and sincerity that earned Ms. Jones the student's trust and respect. She didn't have behavior problems in her classroom. She also didn't have to repeat herself very often. She was firm, but fair and when we did what we were told, we were rewarded with fun activities, interesting stories and her approval which out of all of these things meant the most to us. On Fridays (upon looking back on it, maybe Ms. Jones didn't feel like teachinig on those days, lol) we would take part in some kind of non-academic activity. I remember doing aerobics (Sweatin to the Oldies with Richard Simmons) or learning the "Electric Slide."

It was in Ms. Jone's class that I developed my love for reading. I'd started reading Ramona Quimby Age 8.
Ms. Jones told me that she thought it was wonderful that I loved to read. After that, I read every Beverly Cleary book that existed. After getting back from the library, I couldn't wait to show Ms. Jones the new book that I'd picked out. "This book is about a mouse that rides a motorcycle!" I would tell her excitedly.

"Wow!" She'd say. "You'll have to tell me how that works out for him."

Being that this was my second year wearing glasses and I was a bit "Tomboyish," it seemed like every other day Ms. Jones was helping me to tape up my glasses after recess. (This was back in the days when glasses were plastic . . . aaaand mine happened to be cheap Medicaid glasses, so it didn't take much to snap them in half). When I would get called "four eyes" which I thought was the absolute worst thing in the world, Ms. Jones would give me the same (bad) comeback response that my mom would tell me to use. "Tell them to stop calling you that because it hurts your feelings." She would explain to me that having glasses is not a bad thing at all, because they helped me to see better. "I wear glasses," she'd say with pride and in a little way, that always made me feel better.

I'd like to think that my relationship with Ms. Jones was super-unique but it probably wasn't. She had a way of making every child feel special, as if they were her favorite student in the classroom. Needless to say she was getting called "Mom" by accident on a regular basis. Being 8 years old, I decided, was the best age ever and Ms. Jones was my favorite teacher ever.

And before I knew it, the year was over. I went onto the fourth grade and my twin sister had to repeat the third. Every teacher from that point forward, paled in comparison. In the following years, I would visit Ms. Jones whenever I got a chance. Sometimes, I would see her around the neighborhood. She and my mother had developed a friendly relationship while I was in her class, so they would have long "grown up" conversations about health problems and the school system. Ms. Jones would, of course, keep it light with me asking if I was still reading. "Yes," I would say shyly and tell her about whatever book I'd been working on. After a while, I stopped seeing her as much and then not at all for several years. She'd stopped working for the school system due to some health problems and issues that as a child, I didn't understand. I assumed it had something to do with the long conversations she'd have with my mom.

I found her again, somehow, on Yahoo Instant Messanger when I was in my junior year of high school. I told her about my desire to go to college and different struggles that I was dealing with. We talked for several weeks and then lost touch again. I never forgot her, however, and always maintained my love for reading, my regard for women who wore glasses and my (slight) obsession with the number eight.

*In order to protect people's identities . . . you know the deal. No real names.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

It's official. The Master Cleanse is over. I sat down and had a (small) bowl of romaine lettuce covered with granny smith apples, gorgonzola cheese, spiced walnuts and tangy dried cranberries drizzled in italian dressing. Hold on . . . I'm having an orgasm. Ahhh yes!!!

Anywho, I found the gym that I would like to join. Being that we are on the verge of experiencing THE STORM OF THE CENTURY, CENTURY, CENTURY, I won't be able to go until Monday. So until then, I will have to behave myself until I can work it on out. I'm excited and can't wait to get started.

All right, what's going on in my little corner of the world? I have my interview for the ---- job on Monday. For all of you "pro-Japan" people, this does not mean I'm giving up on Japan. I'm just weighing all options and seeing if these folks will make me an offer "I can't refuse." Either way, the man-friend (for his own selfish reasons) hopes that I get this job. My mother is thinking it's a sign from God. Me? I stopped thinking a long time ago.

Ummm . . . what else? Nothing really. Let me get back to watching "Confessions of a Shopaholic." Thank god for instant viewing on Netflix. Some movies should never grace a television screen, lol.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Case You Didn't Notice . . .

I've been attempting to fix up the ole' blog (as mentioned in the News Years Resolution post). As someone who is not very computer savvy, I've been poking around in the dark for the past couple of weeks trying to find a layout that fits, a new name that fits and a masthead that will work as well. I haven't had too much luck (or time) until recently.

Today, I plopped myself down in front of the computer and really got to work. So . . . um, what do you think? I likey. :-) My only problem is that the Navigation bar is now gone. I will have to try to figure that one out. I feel like such a loser, LOL. Either way, old Betsey is getting there so please be patient with me.

Thank you!

Arnetta Green

Day 5 and . . .

. . . I'm still alive. Today has been really busy and exhausting for me, so I don't feel like writing much. And I won't. But I have to honor my statement about blogging every day until this diet is over. Oh, and in honor of the Super Bowl (which the man-friend says he HAS to be able to eat during), my diet will officially end on Saturday. :-) The end.

Have a lovely Thursday folks! (Yeah, I'm a quitter, lol)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 4 of the Beyonce Diet and My Stomach Pains are Sasha FIERCE

It's Day 4. I lost another pound. Still not hungry. But I want to taste food again. Blah, blah, blah.

Now I'm going to get real with you guys. If you don't like conversations about poop, then I suggest you click the little x in the corner of your screen. This is real talk all right? Not pretty. Here goes . . . I have not had any solid food in my stomach for 4 days. On top of this, I have been drinking herbal LAXATIVE tea. You figure it out.

This diet would be a piece of cake if it wasn't for the occasional cramping from the tea. My body has never done good with laxatives but the man-friend is doing just fine and dandy. My only wish is that we had a loud bathroom fan so that I wouldn't have to hear him exploding every morning.

I swear I will never look at Beyonce the same.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 3 and I weigh 143 lbs

Quote of the Day: "Even Georgie's dog food smells good now!" <---The Man-friend

So it's Day 3 of my Master Cleanse diet and shockingly I'm still not really hungry. The lemonade really holds me over and I haven't gotten tired of the taste...yet. I lost 3 lbs and the man friend has lost 7. I'm not mad at him, though. He can stand to lose a few more pounds than I need to. Either way, I'm trudging along even though I have a slight headache (which I get from time to time regardless of being on a diet, so I'm not sweating it.) I've been trying to stay inactive as much as possible. No exercising, no moving around too much. The way I see it, I'm not really taking in any calories so why should I over exert myself when my body will just naturally burn throughout the day? Plus, I'm scared that I might pass out or something could go terribly wrong if I do too much. Either way, that's the update. No six-pack tummy just yet but when I get one, I will be sure to post pictures and put all of you "eaters" to shame!

That was the hater coming out, sorry! :-(

Anywho, one of the things that is helping me to take my mind off of cheeseburgers is . . .

I love me some Tabatha!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 2 of the Master Cleanse Diet and Some Other Stuff Too

Day 2 of the Master Cleanse diet. I had a little headache last night as well as this morning. Also, I've been getting some serious stomach cramps. Still, I drunk my laxative tea and will be drinking my lemonade soon. Fun! Oh, and before I move onto the next subject I really want to say that I'm not hungry, so much as craving certain foods. The lemonade is still tasty, but everything else just looks and smells sooo much tastier. Sidenote: 3 hours of my day yesterday was spent tutoring my former-coworker on some software while she snacked on Tostitos and complained about the spicy salsa and her ex-husband. I wanted to kill myself. Onto more interesting topics . . .

Life Gets Complicated
In order to supplement my (lousy) income, I am working (temporarily) on an award show and got the chance to talk on the phone with "Mr. Huxtable" himself. The great Bill Cosby (and no, he didn't ask me if I wanted any pudding pops, daaaw!) He was delightful, but his involvement in my work puts a whole lot of pressure on me to do a good job.

Since our phone conversation, I've been running around getting things done for a video package I am putting together for him and one of the people I have to interview for the package works at my regular job. So while talking to the woman about the interview, my old manager walks past. To give you some background on the manager, he played a very big part in giving me a chance to actually work at my job in the first place. The lady I was interviewing beckons the guy over and asks him why he didn't come over to speak to us. The manager stands motionless, looking at . . . scratch that . . . grilling me.

"I'm mad at Arnetta," he says with the icey cold stare that he always gives me. He's like the really mean dad that I never wanted. Of course, both me and the lady break into the "whyyyy?" chorus like 2 whining children.

"Because there's a (blank) job open and she didn't even apply for it. Never asked me about it. Nothing."

Then there's silence. He does an about face and walks away. Now I'm going to pause things right there and mention that I have not been able to move up at my current job for over 3 years. I have been at the same part-time, overnight, weekend job for the past 3 years. Let me repeat that . . . OVERNIGHT, WEEKEND . . . 3 YEARS (that should give you an idea of my social life). Any attempt that I've made to move up has been ignored or brushed off. It has been my all time dream to move to a specific position at my job and everyone knows it. People have been lobbying for 5 years to get me to that position with no luck. Now, the job is open.

Problem: I am moving to Japan in May.

The job that he is speaking about has been on the company website for a month. I knew about it, and it hurt my heart to know that it was open, but my mind was already set on Japan so I never even thought about applying. I put so many years of my life going after this position only to be laughed at and told that I would never get it (at such a big company). That it wasn't possible. I was told that I should move to a smaller job market and try working my way up elsewhere. And after years of hearing this, I decided to stop wasting my life working overnight/weekends while everyone around me was getting married, moving up in life, traveling around the world and working interesting jobs.

Either way, I am seriously considering putting my heart on the line (again) and applying for the job. After all of the people I told about my going to Japan . . . after all of the money I spent for passports, documents, and insurance policies . . . after hiring a travel agent . . . after SIGNING A CONTRACT, I am considering not going at all. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about all of the crow I'd have to eat and all of the things I'd have to sacrifice if I end up staying. Of course another problem would be regret. The position would require that I work odd hours (again) and it's still only part time. So while sitting at work on a Saturday morning, will I be kicking myself for not going to Japan?

Downside to Japan
If I take the job in Japan, would I be giving up on a goal that I took 5 years of my life trying to attain? Would all of those years have been for nothing? Would I be burning a bridge?

It all comes down to whether I apply for this job and get it. For all I know, I could just get turned down anyway.

Either way, I have a bunch of crap to sort out. Time to drop off this resume!

(Oh, and Steph over at Not the Oxygen featured my guest post on her blog today, so check it out. Her blog is great and I am honored to be a part of it :-)