Archive for February, 2009

Random Thoughts

All of my recital pieces are finished — at Lula’s at least. I teach three classes there and three at Colburn. None of the dances at Colburn seem to be coming together, because kids come to class sporadically. Don’t get me wrong. My classes are always full. They just never have the same consistent students in them. I hope this changes, but I doubt it. The students there juggle fifty million extracurricular activities, because their parents think it’s actually possible for every kid to master every subject. They end up missing class every time they have a soccer game or an ice-skating competition. It’s pretty annoying.

In other news, I’m starting to change wedding venues more often than my daughter changes schools. Apparently, there were people living in the original venue we’d selected. This is unfortunate, because our invitations went out a month and a half ago. Guess who found a new venue in less than 30 minutes. It’s closer, cheaper and cleaner than the original location. The owners are not college boys, who look like they’ve taken so many downers that they could be spokespeople for gravity. I feel more comfortable this way. While my fiance works on getting the deposit back, I’m designing change of venue cards to mail out by tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also Mooch’s Black History Month Show at school. I have no idea what to expect. I’m looking forward to it though. I’ll probably be her only parent there, because one has a show and the other will be in school. I would videotape it, but my camera has been tripping lately. They’ll be there in spirit.

It seems like everything is trippy recently. I spoke to my dad yesterday and he called today acting like he hadn’t heard from me in weeks. He’s really kind of losing it. I hope my sister and nephew are alright. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to swing by there. A friend said she saw them in the emergency room Monday night. Apparently, the kid had diarrhea and my sis had a sore throat. The doctor claimed both were symptoms of the same virus.

I can’t wait to meet my fiance’s mother in person. She’s so much fun on the phone. We speak all the time. His sisters are hilarious, too. It’ll be interesting to watch all of our crazy blood mixing and mingling. Hopefully no fisticuffs ensue.

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Untitled – 2/24

Ebony sat right in front of him. Thin wisps of hair framed the nape of her caramel-coated neck like theater drapes. His eyes followed her loosely gathered ponytail down her spine to the small of her back, which was hidden by the pale green wood of the bus bench. Peeking out slightly, where the seat meets the back, was her round corn-fed rear. It was squeezed into seemingly painted on denim, and he couldn’t help but stare. “You got a Newport?” He asked.

Slowly removing her shiny lips from the Coke bottle she had inhaled, Ebony let out a sigh. She replied, “You ask me that everyday. No! I don’t smoke.” She clutched her books tightly and looked away. The street was anemic. Every once in a while a beat up car would roll by as though its owner was running the car Flintstone fashion.

“Why don’t you come inside and have a beer with me?” he asked.

His words were like wet napkins. She folded away his voice, put it in a sandwich bag and placed it on a shelf. She didn’t want to remember the time she had gone to his place out of some sort of misplaced sympathy, and stroked him. She recalled sliding her hand, in a moment of boredom and half-baked empathy, between his legs and feeling his penis. It reminded her of uncooked tofu. The appendage stuck out like a giant shapeless finger. He wanted her to kiss it. She started to go down, but the smell of soap and rotten eggs wafted up her nostrils. She tapped it tenderly and said, “I’m not your girlfriend.”

“Hey, you’re beautiful. You know that?” She didn’t reply. He asked, “Why don’t you come in and let me get you something to eat?” She silently turned up her nose. “I’ve watched you eat onion rings at the bowling alley every Sunday,” he persisted. The mashed potato gray clouds hovered in the reflection of the diner across the street. Ebony’s head felt like it was filled with pipe cleaners. She knew she had missed the bus, and her stomach was flipping like a dolphin. Turning to look at him ever so slowly, Ebony took in his two chins covered in more than a five o’ clock shadow. He had on a basketball jersey that was so old, she couldn’t make out the player, and his pinky toe was practically peeking through the side of his filthy Air Force Ones. His whole life seemed like regurgitated country music.

Ebony thought about the creepy people in the diner. This guy wasn’t going to give up until the cook, with the tattooed tear drop and the crucifix on his chest, made something that resembled breakfast. She’d have to sit there enduring nosey questions from waitresses named Princess and listen to fifties songs on the jukebox. “I like having Coke everyday for breakfast, but fine I’ll have a meal,” she replied.


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The One About Mooch

My daughter is bossy. Her friend will do a 100 piece puzzle with her and like it — even if she’d rather do something else. I’ve been trying to teach her to sugarcoat her words without crushing the leader in her. Each time she instructs one of her friends, she has a valid point, but when she’s done expressing it, they’re ready to go home.

When she was under 5, I didn’t sweat it. Her empathy skills were still developing, so she probably wasn’t thinking about how her behavior was making her bulldozed buddies feel. These days, I know that she is aware of other people’s feelings. I just don’t think she finds them as important as her own.

Social dictators are used to having grown-ups do whatever they say. This doesn’t happen in our house though. Sure, I play with her — a lot. I don’t, however, play the obedient Boots to her demanding Dora. Where is she getting it from?

At her last school, most of the kids were … well … not too bright. Maybe the two years she spent there conditioned her to take charge. Her older brother does what ever she says. Maybe he’s responsible for her swagger. Maybe I’m bossy and she’s modeling behavior. Nah.

Whatever it is, I need solutions quick. There’s going to be a new kid on the block shortly, and I can’t have her forcing my little one to eat magic potions made of rubbing alcohol and toothpaste. By age 6, she should have it together, but I’ve heard the attitude problems come at age 7.

I could start rewarding her kind gestures. She’s already very thoughtful though. She does all of her work and chores without a problem. She’s smart and funny as hell. It’s her words that cut deeply. I picked her and a friend up from school today and they were playing in the kitchen. My daughter said, “I’m going to be the chef. You’ll be the serf, because you’re short and boring.”

Each time she says something offensive, I ask her how her last statement could be rephrased a little more nicely. She does it. It’s just not a habit yet. She does fine with older kids. It’s like she understands the pecking order. I don’t know. Maybe I should keep her around the big girls to get her humble juices flowing. What if she adopts their attitudes though? Ugh.

I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I’m pretty consistent. She has got to develop a little bit more compassion — soon. Any suggestions?

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Point of No Return

Apparently, Marlon Jackson has lost his damn mind! According to the BBC, this moron wants to develop Badagry, one of the most historically horrific sections of Nigeria, into a Jackson Five slave resort. I’m not making this up. He, and the creator of “The Power Rangers,” have an “ambitious plan” to invite African-American tourists to visit the place where their ancestors were chained together and beaten until the “point of no return,” and then “retire to their five-star hotel for cocktails by the pool.”

Admittedly, one probably needs a drink after this emotionally charged experience, but tourists bobbing their heads to “ABC” while paying their respects at a mass grave for Africans who died before even boarding ships to cross the Atlantic seems … wrong. The marketing approach is that after guests visit the grave, they can “travel a few yards in a buggy to play a round of golf.” Seriously? Tourists can visit a replica slave ship before visiting “the world’s only museum dedicated to the career of the Jackson Five.

Holographs of the Jackson Five and Slave ships do not go together! This is like one of those pictures in my daughter’s Highlights Magazine that requests young readers to circle the items that do not belong. If I see Africans packed into ships like sardines alongside Tito, I’m going to circle Tito! I would expect this type of exploitation of painful history out of the Wayans Brothers, but the Jacksons? Their dad really messed them up.

Marlon and the rest of the development team are arguing that the resort will provide jobs for Nigerians. Nigerian commentators have, however, condemned the project stating that it is culturally and historically “inappropriate” and “moral reprehensible.” Nigerians love money. That’s no secret. If even they are saying “too far,” then it’s probably too far. A boycott will probably ensue.

The museum alone, when placed along side the transatlantic slave trade, makes the Jacksons seem incredibly self-important. No number of Grammys makes one’s legacy comparable to the torture of millions of people. What’s next, a Magic Johnson Theater at the point of no return with a Summer Jam concert featuring Beyonce each year?

“Money-making and historical memory are allies in the extension of capitalism. You cry with one eye and wipe it off with cold beer, leaving the other eye open for gambling,” — Toyin Falola (professor of history at the University of Texas )

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"To Bed, to bed I Said!"

Sometimes I eat my daughter’s vitamins for dessert (Yeah, this blog is going to be really random, because I don’t have a topic, and I’ve been up since 6am). We really don’t keep a lot of sweets in our house. There’s cereal. I love the way the clusters of honey glazed oats crunch and the contrast of the smooth ice cold vanilla rice milk, but I’ve overdone that this week. I should probably just drink some water and go to bed.

I have a private tap student bright and early tomorrow morning at the Colburn School. After that student leaves, I have a class of about 20 five-year-olds, followed by a beginning tap class of ‘tweens. Saturday has become a complete dance day, since I began consistently taking African dance classes in Long Beach to clear my mind (and tone up for this commitment ceremony). I should be completely pooped by the end of Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t mean I won’t get freaky though. Hey tomorrow is one of my bridesmaid’s birthdays. Happy birthday, Felicia!!!

Today is “Black Love Day.” We usually celebrate that, but my pre-hubby works on Friday nights, so this year it didn’t work out. Also, since the Pan-African Film Festival isn’t at the Magic Johnson Theatre, it’s a little weird. We don’t feel like trekking all the way to Culver City to watch a 15 minute short film. Sorry PAFF. We’d love to support, but …

My back itches, and it could use some support. I have a beautiful desk, but no chair. My daughter has a desk and a chair. I should go in her room and type this. Meh. I’m so delirious right now. I feel like Rocky though — must win blog challenge! It’s no fair that he’s used to writing and posting a column everyday. This is getting easier though. It’s a pretty cool outlet too (when I actually have something to say).

Oh, the social worker called yesterday. We have a meeting next Thurday at Lanterman Regional Center regarding placement for my sister and her son. Hopefully, things will end well. That situation stresses me out. I don’t just have a lot on my plate. I have a lot of plates! Unfortunately, most of them are delicate fine china, which could break at any moment.

There’s so much to be grateful for though. A couple of the parents at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre have really stepped in, because I’m planning a wedding without a mommy. They are not only helping me choose things, they are listening when I’m flipping out, driving me around and helping me find and pay for stuff. I really appreciate all the love. My house has been so peaceful lately. A bit of stress and chaos can really help one appreciate life’s mundane tasks and chores.

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