1994

In 1994, I was a care-free, early twenty something, no-child-having, young woman. As the year ended, I had a birthday and moved into my first NY apartment.

It was also the last time I went on a “real” job interview and was hired at a starting salary of $44K (my ending salary at that same company had more than doubled by the time I left 13 years later). Twenty. Whole. Years.

The last time I dwelled on something that happened twenty years ago, I was trying to remember the last time I was dumped (I’m usually the dump-er, not the dump-ee).

That fact hit me this morning while I was in the car as I tried not to worry too much about all of the things I’m doing wrong. All of the personal things, financial things, and emotional things that I need to fix, to do better, to repair. In all that I do know, interviewing is flawed because you depend on humans with their personal backgrounds, pre-conceived assumptions about you and their silly pet-peeves. In this day and age when people are LOOKING for a reason to not hire you, interviewing is baffling, very baffling.

I kept saying to myself that the interview went well. The two women were laughing and smiling the entire time. The older woman, with grown children (yes, during the interview I had both of them volunteering personal information in the midst of my “conversation” with them – they were THAT comfortable with me), would sit back with an approving nod (or so I thought) as I talked and made eye contact with both of them. I just knew I was going to be hired thanks to a church member in a particular position at the company, and then I remembered the older woman had to leave the interview for about 5 minutes. Five minutes with the younger woman. The younger woman who didn’t look older than me. The younger woman who asked most of the questions. The younger woman who I believe is the one that had an issue with one word I mentioned. Younger women with power – sigh – the people who cause so much unnecessary strife in the 21st century because they are so judgmental.

Oh yeah, she “liked” me but one word, just one word, was a reason I will most likely not be hired. One word erases the fact that I have the intelligence, the skill, and the maturity to handle the job and to do it well. One word that in-and-of itself may not sound right but when coupled with the way (I think) I turned it around to my acknowledgement of an area I needed to improve (that was the question you asked me but it must have not mattered to you), that one word would be the nail in my coffin.

One word, one simple word.

I can honestly say the words that have been swirling in my mind all weekend were not nice words.

They were not words of self-encouragement.

They were not words of hope.

They were not words to make me fight even harder as I look for employment.

They were words of defeat and embarrassment that I can’t even get a job making less than one-third of what I made at my last real job. (Oh yeah, and stop asking what my last salary was on the job application, you’ll probably never see those figures in your lifetime at your company here in the underpaid state of NC).

Now, let me get ready for this job fair today. Hopefully I’ve learned that honesty does not count when looking for a job. While saying what they want to hear, remember that they’re looking for a reason to not hire you. I did know that, but I let their smiles allow me to forget. Lesson learned.

1994 was a good year. Here’s to hoping 2014 will be an even better one.

2013 Year in Review

It’s been almost an entire year since my last blog and I’m not sure if that means I should delete the blog or get more serious about blogging.

Anyway, I wanted to write about some of the GOOD that has occurred in 2013 and I knew it was too much for Facebook so here I am. I don’t how you will remember 2013 but I’m trying to remember the good so here we go:

January 2013 – I finished my online Technical Writing course. I’ve always “enjoyed” organized, structured writing and had done a lot of procedural writing in the past so I decided to take the course. Vey economical and lots of editing information. It would be nice to gain part-time or full-time work as a Technical Writer.

February 2013 IMG_2188– My son turned 16. I am officially old.

March 2013 – I drove 5+ hours to celebrate my paternal grandmother’s 90th birthday. For me, that was a monumental event not only because of the family gathering but because I HATE DRIVING. I can not stand it. I get tired after driving 2 hours. Only because there aren’t any reasonable flights between us did I drive and it solidified my hatred for driving. To make matters worse on the drive back, a truck rolled past me, a rock hit my windshield, and a small crack grew 12 inches by the time I arrived home. Needless to say, 9 months later, I have yet to fix the windshield and it has grown. It will be fixed in the next week since I have pass inspection sooner than later. IMG_2276

 

 

 

 

 

Tacked on to that same weekend was my sorority’s Commemorative March on Washington. This was to be the 1st of many trips to Washington D.C. for me.IMG_2323

 

 

And finally in March, I fell between the bleachers at the sorority Greek Olympics and I STILL have the bruises on my right leg 9 months later. I assume it’s not normal but since I don’t have health insurance and it doesn’t hurt, I’m good.

 

 

April 2013 – I won lottery tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll!! Such a fun event although it was BLEEDING cold in the morning and very foggy. As the day rolled on, the fog lifted and the sun came out and a good time was had by all. Celebrating Easter and the White House Easter Egg Roll with family and friends was a wonderful way to kick off the second quarter of 2013.IMG_2527

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I also was able to witness my “little sister” being initiated in to my beloved sorority. IT’S ABOUT TIME!photo 2

 

 

 

May 2013 – I interviewed, was accepted and completed orientation into a 6-month program (fully funded) to be an EHR Trainer (Electronic Health Records).  My aunt told me about it and I jumped!

June 2013 – 2013 was the centennial year of my sorority and June was when my chapter, Charlotte (NC) Alumnae, held its Centennial Torch parade. Lots of fun, plenty of sorors, and just a drop in the bucket of all of our centennial events for the year.IMG_2845

July 2013 – My son went away for 7 weeks and I was in Washington D.C for 7 days for my sorority’s convention. The time by myself was an eye opener and the 7 days in DC at my convention was wonderful. IMG_3511

 

 

August 2013 – I began a Friday morning radio talk show with my Bishop and a new friend, I went BACK to Washington DC for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington with my mother and my son via charter bus with the local NAACP chapter. (It’s a financial blessing when your sister lives in the area). That was GREAT and I’m so glad I decided to go. I contacted several groups trying to find a bus going to DC and through my EHR Trainer course (see May 2013), I knew the secretary for the local NAACP chapter who was the only one selling the tickets. Favor!543129_10201026293831802_1364564298_nIMG_4600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also attended the Charlotte (NC) Moral Mondays march. We have to show up, voice our disgust, and be a part of the change if we do not agree with what our local government is doing. If more Americans were on top of what their state politicians were doing, we wouldn’t have so much discourse on a national level.IMG_3587

 

 

 

September 2013 – I completed orientation to be on the substitute teacher list for the county. This is only temporary, this is only temporary, this is only…..

 

October 2013 – My church held Holy Convocation at our new building! That was a great event. My church rocks!IMG_4256

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2013 – I celebrated another birthday, enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family members that came down, and realized not having the lawn fertilized and seeded in fall 2012 or spring 2013 was a BAD IDEA so I coughed up the cash this fall. I will regain my crown with the healthiest grass on the block in 2014!IMG_4668

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2013 – I successfully completed the EHR Trainer course and had a quiet Christmas. I am eagerly anticipating what I will do in 2014.IMG_4920

Happy New Year everyone!

Are Men to Blame for High Divorce Rates?

Are Men to Blame for High Divorce Rates?

Although the title may upset some of you, the point of the short article is that for the most part, men select their mates [women don’t do the chasing]. If more questions were asked during the dating phase, if you actually discussed deal-breaker topics, you wouldn’t be so shocked by the actions of your mate.

All I know is when I go on a first date I ask questions the entire time I’m out. I’m too old to sit back and wait for events to happen to ask basic questions. If a man really wants to see you again, he’ll answer your questions – just don’t go crazy during the conversation.

Sit behind a mask of ignorance if you want to, but like so many of my friends, I have 20+ years of dating experience behind me and I use my knowledge.

Act like the skilled interviewer you are and ask on baby, ask on.

Click on the link, read the article and let me know what you think.

How Much Space Do You Need?

There is a massive tree I pass every weekday when driving my son to school. It has a thick trunk supporting all of the branches and it’s a healthy looking tree.

What I also noticed was that there weren’t any other trees or bushes in its way. It was allowed to grow as tall and as wide as it could. I thought, how effective could we be in our families, in our communities, and in our houses of worship if we took that same stance? What if you were told that God has given you the ability, the strength, and more importantly, the grace to do all that you think you can do and more?

If you believed that you were unstoppable, what would you do? How healthy would your physical, financial, emotional, and personal branches be?

Would you continue to grow as this tree did or would you stunt your own growth by talking yourself out a situation before you even get started?

Would you take up all of the space you could find or would you slow your growth “just in case someone else needed space?

I’m trying to be like this tree. Growing in all directions to be a reflection of what God has promised me. Like this tree I want to add beauty to this world, some shade to those in need (there’s a house behind it) and give “oxygen” to anyone that needs it.

What would you do if you, like this tree, had nothing in your way?

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Spiders, Rabbits, and Critters, Oh My!

I love being outdoors, soaking in the sun, enjoying a good breeze, and sipping on sweet tea now that I live below the Mason Dixon line. I enjoy looking out of my windows and instead of seeing bars to keep me safe, public housing out back or feeling the thumpity-thump of the neighbor’s loud music through our adjoining wall, I see trees and bushes, and grass, and…..animals.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew I would encounter a few animals and I’m not one of those illogical-screaming women that run away from a fly. I was the one in the freshman dorm that was called to kill a flying cockroach.  I can set a mouse trap and I have been known to pick up a sticky trap with a squeaking mouse on it and throw it out (in Brooklyn). I don’t like it, but I can do it.

So in 2012, I had the bright idea to start a vegetable garden behind my house after a friend talked me into it on Facebook. I had grown vegetables 30+ years ago in a children’s gardening program at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, NY so I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch. I happily planted tomatoes, peas and string beans from seed with the expectation that my parrot Beau would eat all of the (nasty) peas and we would ‘share’ the tomatoes and string beans.

My vegetables when they started out.

I ended up planting in buckets because I didn’t have the time to have the raised bed I wanted built, and got started.

5-gallon buckets and $6 pots  were used. I punctured holes in the bottom and used organic soil and compost with my organic Burpee seeds.

My tomato plants did well for my “first time” and the high temperatures.

A few tomatoes on my window sill. I saw a bird (hawk?) flying off of a tomato stake one day so I decided to bring in my tomatoes after they started turning red.

Well, well, well, wouldn’t you know it, all of the animals in the woods behind my house must have sent out a message that there was a smorgasbord nearby because everyone came out to see what I was doing.

I already knew there were deer in my neighborhood, a desiccated frog was smashed between my front door and the back frame when I first moved in 5 years ago (had to get someone else to peel that off LOL) and I even saw a turtle last year but I wasn’t ready for everyone else.

I, literally, had no less than three rabbits casing my garden on a daily basis for about 3 weeks.

Look between the fence posts and you will find two brown rabbits waiting for me to walk away…

I have had more HUMONGOUS bees than I have ever seen before, and a Black Widow spider even chose to use my backyard for dinner.

Yes, I got close enough to take a picture of this Black Widow pulling a worm. And no, I didn’t kill it and I’m not sure why I left it alone.

I had a bird hatch eggs in my Walmart hanging flower basket and the worst part of all of it is finding out what Tomato Horn Worms are.

One of many Tomato Horn Worms I’ve plucked this summer.

These things are the exact same color as the tomato plant branches, they hang on the underside of the leaves so you can’t see them, and they start out skinny but can grow to the width of your finger (and they ooze out a green substance if you squeeze them too hard as you are trying to pull it off of the branch, yuck!)

What about you? Do you garden? Plants or vegetables?

What animals and critters have you come across?

Do you run away, shoo them away, scream, or kill them?

Speakerphone Madness. Say What?

I’ll just start this off by saying I want to hang up immediately on people when I realize they’re using the speakerphone function to talk to me.

I’m typically not one for long, drawn-out conversations and using a speakerphone makes a conversation go slow and makes me go mad.

Yes it does! If you don’t agree, then you’re one of the people I’m talking about (wink, wink).

Years ago, you would find yourself missing the beginning of sentences and speaking on a delay to hold a simple conversation by speakerphone.

Here in 2012, YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE SAME THING FOR SOME PHONES for several reasons:

  1. The background noise is SO LOUD, I can’t understand a word that you’re saying.
  2. The engine of your car is SO LOUD, I can’t understand what you’re saying.
  3. You refuse to turn down the music in your car, and I can’t understand what you’re saying.
  4. You don’t follow the rules of listen-wait-speak and we end up talking on top of each other.
  5. Your phone is wack!
  6. The reason why you choose to use the speakerphone in the first place, is distracting you from the conversation, and you fade away causing me to go “hello?, hello?” Then you apologize, tell me what you’re REALLY doing, talk, and then we repeat again.
  7. You walk away from the phone like you’re on the USS Enterprise with Captain Jean-Luc Piccard, thinking your speakerphone can pick up your conversation all over your house. Guess what? It can’t, this is the real world, not television.
Confess, do you use the speakerphone often? Where are you when you do it? In the car? In the house? On public transportation? (you’re my enemy) Do you tell the person you’re calling that they’re on speakerphone? Am I getting too old? And most importantly, could you please stop? LOL

5 Things I Didn’t Expect And I Can Not Avoid

There are some things we expect to operate the same way all the time and we don’t think much of it.

  • We don’t “hope” the water comes out of the faucet, we assume it will [as long as the water bill gets paid].
  • We put the key in the ignition and turn [or push a button for you new fancy schmancy folks] and the car turns on.
  • I wake up in the morning expecting my string bean, tomato and pea plants to still look alive [unless peter cotton-tail decided to feast but that’s another story for another day.  Wait, as I’m typing this, I see him hopping in the next yard – sigh.]

So I was thinking about all of the other things. Those things that have caught me off-guard, shocked me, made me laugh and made me mad because I was, simply, clueless.  Here are 5 of them:

  1. Air conditioning can really play havoc on your joints.
    • Now I had HEARD older folks talk about this but I never gave it any thought.  I didn’t believe that would be my issue any time soon until this past weekend when I was out and I did 1 too many line dances (Have you heard of the Biker’s Shuffle?).  When I sat down afterwards, I realized I was rubbing BOTH of my knees for the remainder of the night. LOL Needless to say, the next morning was not a good day! Does that make me old?
  2. Your eyes will fail you one day. 
    • Growing up, we were always told not to sit too close to the TV because it would  ruin our eyesight.  You didn’t believe it, but you did it anyway so you could watch the remainder of the show in peace. Fast forward 30+ years, and your eyes are playing tricks on you and failing you years before you think they should.  Denial can only last so long before you purchase reading glasses or see an optometrist.
  3. Your kids get some of their most annoying habits honestly – just blame yourself and move on.
    • My son is extremely laid back. It used to drive me crazy that he’s not scrambling to do something, go somewhere, and meet new people until one day a few years ago we were in the car and someone was asking him questions.  My son answered in one-word answers and I knew he was barely listening.  The person asking him questions said “Do you want me to stop talking?” I busted out laughing and said “I know I do!” And then it hit me, he’s the exaggerated part of me that wants to be left alone.
      • The part of me that wanted my own room growing up because my older sister would play the radio at night and keep me up.
      • The part of me that went to The Dominican Republic by myself because I needed to be somewere ALONE because I felt like I couldn’t breathe (and ran into a family group that included multiple people from my job at Pfizer Brooklyn). And then I was delayed for 1 day on my return home because a volcano on the island of Montserrat was spewing ashes all over the Caribbean and shut down all flights in the area.
      • The part of me that lets the phone ring because I’m reading a book or watching a good show and I don’t want to be bothered.
      • The part of me that goes out by myself from time to time because I want to do exactly what I want to do – and I know there’s nothing wrong with that.

4. Boys can’t smell their funk and don’t always see a need to wash.

  • I don’t know when it was that I realized this but only upon talking to other mothers of boys did I realize it was common.  Sending your son away to boy scout camp during the summer and smelling him when he returns 7 days later is a RUDE AWAKENING that I would not wish on anyone.  He washes regularly now, (well, I think he does), but I’m still mad I had to go through it at all. I saw an article for Stinky-Boyz products and I recommend you look into it to save your stinky boy.

5. Sometimes, a PB&J sandwich is all you need to curb your hunger although I still think of it as food for a child.

    • I love food.  Always have.  I love food with lots of flavor and I especially love spicy foods.  The idea that later in life I would actually WANT a peanut butter and jelly sandwich seemed ridiculous to me. The smell of a good meal, the sight of a good meal, or the thought of one, makes me salivate like Pavlov’s dog. People that forget to eat or choose to eat bland food or a small variety of food bore me to pieces and I view them as sad people, unable to handle gastric happiness.

What foods do I enjoy?

  • Steamed crabs
  • Shrimp prepared any kind of way and any kind of seafood honestly
  • Any thin pasta (I don’t like big noodles) in a tomato based sauce (I don’t like alfredo, I’ve tried it multiple times) with lots of seasoning and spices
  • Most caribbean food – curried, jerk I don’t care. Just make sure you know what you’re doing back there when it comes to seasonings and I’m happy
  • Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican…too many meals to name them all. Just give me a plate please!
  • Most vegetables – steamed, sauteed, fried and raw.(Seasoning is good for you. If God wanted us to eat bland food, he wouldn’t have given us taste buds)
  • Ripe fruit
  • All candy – I don’t discriminate

Hmmmmm, now I’m very hungry but as I said in the title, there are some things I didn’t expect and I can not avoid.  What has shocked you, made you laugh at yourself, made you mad or made you question yourself? Let me know.

So You’ve Bought Yourself A Parrot

Yes, I have a parrot, and many times I wonder what in the world was I thinking?

My Domain

At the beginning of 2011, I realized I didn’t have long before I could have an empty house. There’s only the two of us here and he was ending his freshman year in highschool.

No one plans to be alone or wants to be alone for the rest of their life especially when it comes to parenting. Life happens and you deal with it because time waits for no one. Parenting (and living in NYC) consumed me so much prior to moving to NC that I never gave much thought into how my life would be when my son left the house. I immediately thought of what I had the power to do and since I found myself unable to get a date [still], I thought about getting a pet. Of course, I thought about the typical cat or dog and then I remembered:

  1. I don’t like cats.
    1. They’re too sneaky and quiet
    2. Scratching my furniture would require sudden death
    3. Stealthily weaving themselves in between my legs like a snake makes me want to kick them (not that I would, but the thought would cross my mind.)
  2. Although I thought about a Labrador a few years ago, a dog would add to the periodic havoc already present in my house.
    1. There’s the need to walk them daily
    2. I don’t like being outside in the cold or the rain. (I LOVE watching The Dog Whisperer and I’m mad at all of you for letting your dogs terrorize your neighbors, yes, it IS your fault.)
    3. I would have to fence in my backyard (something I ALMOST did but now I’m glad I didn’t)
    4. The thought of a puppy going to the bathroom on my furniture, my bed, and pooping all over my house absolutely disgusted me
    5. I didn’t want a dog barking in my house when I need peace and quiet

Sooooooo, I ran across a message from a childhood friend talking about his mother’s Congo African Grey (CAG) parrot that had just passed. I googled the parrot and thought it looked pretty and started reading about it and I couldn’t stop – these things happen when you don’t have a life LOL.

I wanted to find a local place where I could see a Grey in person but I couldn’t find any until I clicked on Companion Parrots Re-homed / Parrot University. They take in parrots, educate current/prospective parrot owners and find new adoptive homes for these companions. The next moment I could, I stopped by and had my eye on Beau – who was at least 46 years old and didn’t talk “human” like his species was famous for.  I filled out a prospective adoption application, visited often, took the required classes, passed the home visit and brought him home on April 1st.  Oh the irony! LOL

Beau has turned into a whistling maniac, he tries to talk human when we’re out of the room but I have no idea what he’s saying, he always flies onto the floor when he’s out of the cage and immediately goes for anything and everything to destroy and he’s GREEDY (and I know greedy.) So, in a sense, I’ve got my old, cranky man (set in his ways that needs me like a baby needs his momma), to keep me company after the kid is gone and just like I was told, it’s a lot more work than you think it is.

People are shocked when they find out I have a parrot and all I can say is yes, I have a parrot, and many times I wonder what in the world was I thinking?

Do you have a pet? Does your pet make you question your sanity or is it just me?

Just Getting Started

Sometimes I talk to much and other times I can say absolutely nothing. Welcome to my blog!

If you had a blog, what would you talk about?
Would you tell the world your most embarrassing moments?
Would you talk about family, work, love, health, books, movies or TV shows? (Scandal!)

Would you change it up and talk about your city, your background, your favorite foods or your dream car? (Range Rover, yes!)

Here you’ll be able to find a little bit of everything. And since I’m a new pet owner (1 year and counting with my Congo African Grey parrot Beau), you’ll get a little bit about him as well.

See you next time.

If you had a blog, what would you talk about? Let me know!