A Rose In Bloom

Better than I could be. Not as good as I’d planned.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hair Testimonial
My hair is complex. As a bi-racial woman, my hair and I have battles on a regular basis and usually I am defeated and simply slick it all back in some sort of a ponytail. Every once in a while, we communicate well and the mass of curls on my head can be beaten into submission and respond with a beautiful tumble of tight curls flowing around my face. Or, if the beating requires lots of product and a flat iron, I can emerge from war with a lovely mane of straightened achievement. Truth be told though, I rarely wage real battle with it at all and hardly even remember to have it cut, let alone truly styled.

As a child, my hair was usually pulled into a couple of ponytails that my mother would have to put in while I screamed and kicked and cried from the pain of brushing out kinks and knots. It wasn't until the invention of Johnson&Johnson's No More Tears that I was allowed to brush my own hair. I got my first hair relaxer when I was in the seventh grade, you know, junior high , I'm a woman now kind of hair. All through junior high and high school I would wash and blow dry my hair straight every Sunday night, a two hour ordeal that I was glad I only had to do once a week. (Yes, Black folks don't wash their hair everyday, if we did, it would probably all fall out.) It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I embraced my curls and decided that being curly was a fabulous thing and started going natural more often than not. With the curly hair, it's usually a wash-and-go kind of thing. Pretty low maintenance which means that I never even really think about it. But there always comes a point when I slowly realize that my hair needs professional attention.

On Friday, realizing that my poor hair was on it's last legs, I made an appointment at a hair salon in the East Village. This was my first trip to a real Black woman salon. I know, I know...why hadn't I gone before? Why had I been content walking into a salon with people who just looked at my head as yet another curly girl without direction disatser and settled for the (overpriced) cuts they shelled out? Well, really, I never new what I was missing out on until after I left my appointment yesterday with hair that looked like I belonged on a Pantene commercial. After three hours, (yes, that's right...Black women salons are an all day affair, but I knew that going in) a deep conditioning treatment and a sit under a hair dryer trying not to fall asleep (what, with the sound of the humming and the warm air and the Roberta Flack music, it's a feat that I wasn't drooling all over myself) and a non-lethal hit of the hot-comb, I am a convert for sure. From here on out, I am embracing my hair weaving, press-and-curling, cornrow braiding, afro-striaghtening hair roots and will be swishing my white-girl hair all across Manhattan! Don't get me wrong now, I'm not saying that the curls are gone by any means, they will be back this week when I was the hair and am too lazy to do anything with it, but I will be making regular stops at the salon to make sure that the hair I have been given continues to give back. This could be the begininng of a beautiful friendship, twenty-four years in the making.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Sexy Politics: A Newsworthy Concept?
I don't know what is worse about this article. The fact that it even needs to be written or the way in which it reads more like a piece of romantic fiction than a legitimate piece of political response. I mean, I don't even like the woman (generally not a fan of Black Republicans, a little bit of an oxymoron if you ask me, although Colin Powell is rather dashing in an if-I-wasn't-a-Republican-I'd-be-a-great-grandfather kind of way) but I digress. The point is, the woman, whether we like her or not, holds one of the most commanding offices in our political system and instead of talking about the issues, this article talks about her clothes, saying junk like "Rice's coat and boots speak of sex and power" and " the coat blew open in a rather swashbuckling way to reveal the top of a pair of knee-high boots," the author even goes so far as to compare Condi's outfit to that of Keanu Reeve's in The Matrix! WHAT?! Are you serious?! This is news?! I am appalled--mouth open, eyes big-as-saucers appalled--that The Washington Post has room in it's line-up to talk about how saucy our Secretary of State's wardrobe is when real news is out there waiting to be written but is left ignored because it isn't wrapped in a commanding cape. Politics as usual I guess, disregard the important stuff and remind us why half of Americans don't even bother to vote. I mean, heaven forbid we shoudl wear the wrong thing to the polls.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Get off my bench"...cause the bench is moving to Broadway! Tickets go on sale today!

The Southern woman in me is filled to the brim because we all know that "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion" too! (I can't wait to hear Delta Burke say that!) And if you want to read a few more of some of the best lines ever written for Southern women, aside for all of those spoken by Julia Sugarbaker of course, look here!

Side note: I'm still taking suggestions on the Make-Out mojo post...thanks to those who've responded! And for those of you who haven't, don't be shy...scroll down a bit and leave a note.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The weekend visit with the best friend was such a good one, that I was done and in bed by ten o'clock on the night that she left.

After a weekend in which we walked through some art, saw a musical, caught a movie, met up with the cute companion for drinks, sang out loud, did some shopping and repaired my (apparantly) very sick computer, there was nothing left to do but sleep it off!

It really is good having that kid so close...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Make-Out Mojo
Okay, so here's the question? What songs work up your make-out mojo?

It was asked of me and so I am asking it of you, all of you...here's the task: If you were going to make a mixed tape variety compilation of all of the songs you'd want as the soundtrack to your movie love scene, what songs would be on it.

I'm not talking goofy songs either, not something you would make for your sixteen-year old high school boy-toy, I'm talking something for your twenty-six year old lover (yeah, I said it!) I mean, we're all grown-ups here, we can handle telling the truth about the songs that set the mood for the main event. That doesn't mean that they have to all be sensual lovey dovey songs either, there are many stages to the mating game, so feel free to mix it up. You can post your songs in the comments field (anonymously if you want) or use that G-mail link and send them to me if you're way to shy to share with the world (your secret's safe with me, I promise) and I'll post some of the results here, to share the love for all of those whose make-out mojo could use a few new moves.

To get us started, here are a few of my picks:

No Ordinary Love--Sade
Say, Yes--Floetry
Try a Little Tenderness--Otis Redding
Reach--Idina Menzel
Use Me--Bill Withers
Crash Into Me--Dave Mathews Band
Brown Skin--India Ari
Here I Am (Come and Take Me)--Al Green
Turn Me On--Norah Jones

Now, you go...Project Make-Out Mojo in full effect!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In honor of Black history month....
My office is adjacent to a music production office of the R&B/Rap/Soul variety. I have never spoken to any of the brothas who work in the office but I pass them in the hall and I hear them blasting music and laughing out loud through the wall on a pretty regular basis.

I now know that they have a water cooler.
How you ask...oh, let me tell you how.

As I was walking to the ladies room yesterday I saw one of the brothas on my way. He was in the stairwell, standing inside of the janitors closet with about three of those big five-gallon water cooler jugs. He had a tube attached to the nozzle of the sink inside of the closet and had the hose running into the top of one of the jugs filling it full of "natural spring water" directly from the sink and then was rolling the big jugs back inside the office on a chair.

What people don't know, won't hurt them I guess.
Just like Black folk...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Who I am...
I'm the kind of girl who looks for a new job on her down time at her current job. Then re-works her resume and cover letter at the office getting ample help from friends via internet text conversations. Then prints out her resume on the nice office printer and stuffs it inside of one of the big fancy envelopes in the work mail cabinet. But, don't worry, I used my own stamps...cause I'm not that kind of girl.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Insult to Injury
After yesterday afternoon's lackluster dating excursion and induced junk-food-funk. Today is Valentine's Day. I am not typically one of those people who despises today because I am perpetually celebrating sans man. On the contrary, I like Heart Day. Things are pink without apology and chocolate in fun shapes are everywhere and Valentine's cards made by hand or adorned with teddy bears and kittens can be cute and fun. And having a reason to tell the people in my life that I love them is always nice. No, I genuinely enjoy the made-up Hallmark holiday and it's not just because I am a Gold Crown Member either! But this morning on my way into work, a gorgeous French man stopped me on the sidewalk and asked, in his melty French accent, "Do you know, please, where I might can buy the flowers?" In hopes of making some (assumed) French woman's Valentine's Day dreams come true, I told him where to go and I refrained from telling him where he could stick them once purchased. See, I told you I'd be better!

Happy Heart Day Internet!

(Oh, and this just in. In honor of Heart Day. The woman who served almost eight years in prison for "raping" her student is now marrying said student. If you'd like to buy them a gift, they're registered here. Love does conquer all doesn't it...)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Don't wish don't start, wishing only wounds the heart"

Drowning my sorrows in pizza and ice cream. It will pass, it always does...

Check back tomorrow, I'll be better....

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I read this wonderful article in the New York Times yesterday about this guy trying to woo potential Valentines by cooking delicious meals. The article was great, but it was enhanced mainly by this wonderful cartoon, a culinary comic if you will...

Posted by Hello

In other news...as I was out grabbing lunch yesterday I saw this turning at the corner of 51st Street and Broadway. I thought maybe they were coming to get me, but alas, they turned the wrong way. That didn't stop me from getting all excited though!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"Hold, please...(ummm,) Eric?"

I am a really bad answering machine. Seriously, I'm terrible. I am a great secretary/PR/marketing/coffee grabber type person, but not so good at the actual task of answering phones and taking messages. When more than one line rings at a time I get a little nervous and often forget which ones are on hold for whom and sometimes even hang up on one, or all, of them. But the biggest problem, the one that my boss has kindly instructed me on a couple of different times has to do with the names of the people I talk to on the phone. More often than not, I can't understand the people on the other end and I write down the name wrong on the message memo slip and suddenly Matt Margel becomes Max Mardel. Only a couple of letters off but suddenly Matt the important business contact becomes Max the man who doesn't even exist. The other problem I have with the name game is that I usally completely forget the name of the person on the phone the minute that they tell it to me. So I end up telling my boss that Brian is on the phone (and he looks at me funny trying to place this person in his head) and then he picks up the phone and says "Oh hi, Derrick!" Yeah, I have no idea! I mean really, I can't be bothered with the little formalities of remembering who calls our office everyday to talk to someone about something. I have much more important things to do, like update this here blog!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Weekend:
It was a wonderful weekend in New York. First things first: the weather, oh the weather. The sun was out, the skies were blue, and the temperature soared all the way to the low fifties. Down right warm in these parts! I spent Saturday afternoon sipping Lemon Drop Martinis and British Sangria with Elly at a cute new bar we stumbled across. We eventually stumbled out of the bar, a bit happy for four o'clock in the afternoon, after stumbling into a cute companion and then Elly proceeded to get a drunken haircut down the street and I proceeded to write out drunken Valentine's Day cards! Later that night we grabbed some dinner and met up with a couple of friends to, you guessed it, have a drink. Sunday was certainly less drunken, as I am an old woman now and can't handle those days like I used to. I went to Lincoln Center to pick up a ticket for a concert at the end of the month and then treated myself to a (wonderfu) New York priced movie. I took a stroll through Central Park and stopped in Whole Foods to pick up a couple of things before heading home to watch the most boring Super Bowl Haf-time show in the history of the world. Sir McCartney, a Beatle legend you may be, but a half-time show main attraction you are not! So I opted to clean up my room and surf the net (thanks to new wireless internet at my apartment) and listen to some downloaded music instead. Yay for weekend reviving!

Just a couple of things to keep you occupied...


And, in the infamous words of gossip columnist Cindy Adams, "Only in New York, kids, only in New York:"

Friday, February 04, 2005

Good things come in pink packages...
The other day I had some time to kill between the end of the work day and the start of the play that I was going to see. I decided that I would make my way up to Columbus Circle to grab some dinner at the Whole Foods and browse around the Borders bookstore and make a stop inside the mecca of home cooking stores, Williams-Sonoma. After I ate a bowl of red Lentil and Coconut soup with a big chunk of crusty bread, I made my way over to the mecca. As I walked through the front doors it took every bone in my body not to immediately buy everything in front of me. In honor of Valentine's Day, the mecca of home cooking stores decided that they should sell all things in pink. Oh, yes, my weakness was tapped. I drooled over the pink plaid kitchen towels and the pink aprons and the pink spatulas and the pink Kitchen Aid mixer (mentioned before in a previous post!) and the pink cups and plates and, well, you get the idea. Well, like I said, fighting against all of my being I left the mecca of home cooking stores without purchasing a single item, merely grabbing a (slightly overdone) brownie from the baker in the back of the store (yay, even the perfect chefs overbake on occassion!) and I hopped the train back down to 48th Street.

Well, since then, I had seriously been thinking about breaking down and buying maybe just the spatulas when I come home yesterday to a UPS note from a missed delivery from, you guessed it, the mecca of home stores! Wait a minute...did I accidently, in my sleep or in a pink haze, order something online and forget about it? Well, my roommate stayed home today and signed for the re-delivery and when I get back to my apartment after work there is a box, addressed to me from Williams-Sonoma. Inside, with a cute note from a friend wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day is this to wear in the kitchen (or just while watching TV!) and one of these to whip up some tasty treats--both in pink, or as the mecca calls it, "Rose."

I think I have mentioned before what kind of kick-ass friends I have...point proven!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Good Fortune

The last couple of days have been good ones. I'm having the kind of morning where things just look good from the place I'm standing. Where the journey feels right and the good graces are coming in abundance. Here's some reasons why:

  • Last night I went to see the play Gem of the Ocean. It's one of those works of art that makes you think, really think, about the reasons that I am able to do what I can today and make you hurt for those who are wasting the gifts that they have been given because of the fight of those who came before us. It's set in 1904 in Philadelphia and centers around a wise old Black woman whose journey through slavery has shaped her life and changed the people around her. I was so moved in the second act that I ran out of tissue. I am forever changed by this show. And the most amazing part, the matriarch was played by one of my favorite moms, Claire Huxtable, aka Phylicia Rashad. This woman, words can not express her talent. And at the end of the show, I camped out by the stage door just to let her know how much it meant...and she was so gracious and I thanked her for doing art that made a difference and she looked me in the eye and thanked me for believing in the work enough to say something about it and she signed my Playbill and took a picture with me. A new treasure to cherish indeed.
  • In a school like NYU, where I am nothing more than a number, in a program where I have had two different advisors already, my new professor, in a class that I worked hard to get in to, has taken a liking to me and offered, without having seen any of my work, only hearing me talk about it, offered to be my advisor because he believes in the work that I am doing. I am so grateful and ever humbled.
  • I have a job, a relatively good job, and my boss has made it clear that my work is good and appreciated and that he hopes I stay for a long time. But I am still in search of work after I finish this master's degree that means something to me and that will make a difference. I have started the search slowly and have received help from some amazing people. A friend just this morning gave me some great news about a possiblity and I am so luck to have the kind of friends who believe in me enough to offer up my talents with their complete and total support.
  • My friends, seriously, my friends! They take the time to do silly surveys and send them back and IM me with witty banter all day and make me laugh so hard I want to pee my pants and make me love so much that sometimes I feel like my heart will burst!

Sometimes I forget, but when I remember I always mean it...my cup runneth over!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Obsession vs. Passion

A few days ago my roommate remarked about the intensity with which I throw myself into a new topic. Actually, she said that when I become "obsessed" with something, I waste no time in gathering all of the info that I can about the topic. Her comment got me thinking: Do I have an obsessive personality? Or am I, as I have always thought, just passionate about certain things? It is certainly true that once I discover something great--a new cause, a new talent, a new "idea"--I do what I can to gather information about the issue. I want to know everything I can about that topic because if it's cool enough to capture my interest, it's cool enough for me to understand it in its entirety. I partially blame the internet for this! I am at a computer all day and the internet makes learning about new things as easy as pressing a couple buttons and researching a few key phrases. Suddenly, anything that you want to know (or maybe don't) is right there in front of you. For instance, in class last week a professor was showing old clips of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and a segment with Pearl Bailey came on screen. I have heard of Pearl Bailey before but had no idea that she played Dolly Levi in an all-Black cast of the musical Hello Dolly back in the 1960s. So my obsession, or passion, kicked in and I spent an hour online finding out all about her career, her history, and in particular, her work in one of the great musicals of our time.

Was that intense research then an obsessive move or a passionate one? Wanting to better understand myself, I went straight to the dictionary (it's bookmarked on my computer) and looked for decisive descriptions of both terms. Their dictionary definitions are listed below:

obsession: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling

passion: a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept; see enthusiasm (lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity)

These dictionary terms make it all seem pretty clear. My interest in certain people or things is neither "disturbing" nor "unreasonable," it is, however, usually "strong" and even a "desire" to know more or understand better. I have always been hesitant to describe myself as obsessive, although I do use the term occasionally, I never really mean it. Case in point, my "obsession" with all things Barbra Streisand is no way "disturbing", but I am passionately devoted and enthusiastic about her work and the things for which she stands. With that distinction made, I guess now my question is, what's wrong with being passionate about something? If more people in this world embraced the things which they are passionate about (considering those things were not disturbing or unreasonable, read: obsessive) couldn't we all benefit? If I could pass on my passion for movies that educate and enlighten to someone else who, in turn, gathered their own passion within it and then passed their passion on to the next person...perhaps a chain of passionate people could actually change things, if only even themselves.

In my life, I want to be passionate about all things that matter to me. I want passion to overflow to the people that I love, to the literature that I read, to the movies that I watch, to the theater I see and the music to which I listen. I want to lay in bed each night exhausted because I lived my life so full of passion that at my rest the passion still flows through my body. I've decided that my passions in life are nothing to be ashamed of, but to be openly embraced, one passionate step at a time.