Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

Happy New Year everybody! 2010 really went by quickly, didn't it? Crazy. Here's hoping our 2011 is better than our 2010. I know that's what my family & I are hoping for.

I usually don't believe or buy into resolutions, but this year, prior to the ball dropping, I made a conscientious effort to write down my goals for 2011 and going forward. I realized that you don't really know what you want to do until you write it down. Sometimes, you just can't visualize everything. You can't keep everything in your head. You have to see it in order to make it possible. I damn near filled up my small notepad with notes. At 26, I realize that the biggest thing I want, and the overall theme of ALL my goals, is stability & happiness. I am going to become fiscally, physically & emotional more fit in 2011. These are my main goals.

As a woman, I realize that it is infinitely important for me to be a grounded, stable force for my daughter and husband. But in my 20s, it has been difficult for me to let go of the selfish "me" phase that plagues us all in this stage. While I am a very selfless and self-sacraficing person, I can still hold on to grudges and the past harder than anyone I know. Yes, I have had a diffult past, but it is also true that people (like my husband, for example) have had it harder than I have and yet are able to still function and adapt like adults should at our age, whereas I become more aggressive and my attitude makes it hard for people to work with me. I do understand and accept that there are other extenuating issues that I have that make that difficult, and I won't necessarily elaborate on that here, but these are fixable issues that I need to work on and hope to work on in 2011 and beyond. It has impacted my relationship with my family in a way that, if I can reverse and capitalize on positively, I can have a happier outlook for my (and our) future.

I realize in 2011, God is blessing me with many possibilites and a lot of potential, but He is going to make me work for it, inevitably. He's not going to hand me anything on a silver platter. I'm going tow ork my ass off in 2011--but I still have to make time for myself and also my family. I can't let fatigue be an excuse in 2011. As I am still working on my education and other pursuits, I'm going to continue to be pulled in many directions...but I'm going to have to get myself organized and cut out all the bullshit, quite frankly. While I'm not perfect, I'm going to have to keep errors and excuses to a minimum if I want things to get done quickly, efficiently and correctly the first time. This principle can be extended to not only my professional and educational ambitions, but also my family ones as well. Overall, as a woman, I just have to tie everything together. My time and stress management don't just effect one side of my life...they effect everything.

This is just a glimpse into what I'm looking to do in 2011. Hopefully you all are letting the ball drop on your negativities this year as well. While I'm not expecting perfection, I'm expecting significance. I pray that for all of you as well.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your GED leaves you SOL if you wanna defend your country...WTF?

...I'm blogging in class tonight. I probably shouldn't be but suddenly I have the necessity to write about something I learned earlier this session...

...The United States is at war. HUGE Duh right? Military leaders have, for years, been crying about needing more Americans to join the differing branches and how we're suffering for volunteers; in addition, we've heard about standards being lax and enlistment bonuses increasing in order to entice younger Americans and excellent re-enlistment bonuses to existing service members to stay in. As a military dependent, wife and vet, I know this very well. 

...So imagine my surprise when today I found out that the military is capping their acceptance of GED recipients unless they have 15 college credits to go with it...


...In a time and society where volunteers are needed in a war that is rivaling Vietnam in length and ridiculousness, our government is stating, oh, if you have a GED you are still inferior to those who obtain a high school diploma. We only want high school diploma holders and up to have the opportunity to go and defend our country and better themselves and their families...

...Last time I checked, nothing in any high school curriculum in America taught a person how to shoot. That's all you need to know if you're going to war. How to defend yourself and your country. Can you shoot the enemy before they shoot you?...

...Our armed forces is already overburdened and overstressed. My husband has been to the middle east THREE times. He is 26 and approaching his third reenlistment. He didn't intend to make the military his career but it has become so by default. He had dreams that, due to the war and circumstances, have been deferred. Possibly permanently. Yes, he received a high school diploma, but I can tell you that if, in combat, he had to choose between a Doctorate recipient and couldn't be dependable versus a GED recipient who was loyal and fought to the death, I'm sure he'd go with candidate number 2. 

...Judging a person who has a GED, who can go to college with it but not go fight, is totally ridiculous. Who knows why they couldn't earn a diploma, but who are we to degrade the effort to at least earn a GED? To try and be better for themselves and families? I have a few friends who went back to earn their GED and were so proud of their efforts because they actually made an accomplishment. Leave it to the government to skeet on their accomplishment with an elitist BS opinion...all it's doing is hurting our service members and their families and leaving us open and vulnerable in an ongoing and increasingly dangerous world...

...America, get your shit together...again...


Monday, November 22, 2010

Forgive me!

I know, I know, I've been a BAD blogger...

But with my beloved husband coming home from Afghanistan,  me finding a new job, etc...I've been very busy & also very noncreative...praise God...

I promise to be more thought provoking in the very near future.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

From Free Huey to Free Weezy (& where have all the Black leaders gone?)

Unless you've been living under a proverbial rock (regardless of whether or not you care), you probably know that the "F" in Weezy F. Baby could now stand for "Free" or he could be called Freezy F. Baby...okay I know I took it a little far there but oh well...

Weezy's freedom and literally every step he's made since being freed is an ongoing feed among media outlets...when he came to Yuma for probation, the media was there...when he was courtside at the New Orleans Hornets game, we saw his custom grill shinning all over the screen...Mack Maine has given us the play by play of everything Weezy has done or is planning to do...including his official welcoming on Sunday at a strip club in Miami, where they allegedly have already purchased dozens of bottles of alcohol that Lil Wayne can't even drink under the terms of his Arizona probation. My point is that I can give you an entire paragraph of Lil Wayne's movements because they've been so publicized that they even eclipsed the fact that T.I. has gone back to prison within this same week.

I'm a huge fan of both artists, actually. And while I know hip hop has missed Lil Wayne, I wondered why his comings and goings from prison this year have been so closely followed this year is that he is more of a generational presence than others may be. I am not going to say T.I. isn't a cultural icon in his own right, but the fact is regardless of what people want to admit to, Lil Wayne has transcended this entire generation. He is the vocal and visual point guard for this generation. Hip Hop wasn't the only audience waiting for Lil Wayne...he's been recognized by current President Obama and even former President Clinton as a lyrical genius and cultural icon. The last major project he did before he went to prison, Rebirth, was a rock/rap hybrid of sorts. Not widely understood by the hip hop masses, but accepted nonetheless. And even though it wasn't the phenomenon he hoped it would be, you still couldn't even count it as a loss. Everything he has touched has turned to gold, business wise (signing Drake & Nicki Minaj, and watching them temporarily carry the torch for Young Money Cash Money (YMCM) in his absence, and his hustle is not only to be respected, but also feared. 

The thing is, the masses are willing to follow if there is someone strong enough and vocal enough to lead. A few decades ago, there was a similar cross-generational movement for a young black leader of another sort--Huey P. Newton, who was imprisoned a couple of times during the Black Power Movement of the 60s and 70s, only to be shot dead in 1989 after a drug dispute.

As you can see in the above picture, Black Panther members weren't the only ones screaming Free Huey just as Black kids weren't the only ones screaming Free Weezy over the past year. When you have a message--when your voice is heard and it resonates with a generation, then you are looked at as the leader of the generation and thereby followed by the generation and not just a certain section. Newton's messages of freedom now by any means necessary resonated primarily with Black people since we were the main ones oppressed in this country; however, the message was one that women sympathized with pertaining to the feminist movement, Asians in their quest to be equal, people of Spanish origin, etc. The ideologies of the Panthers, and the fact that they practiced what they preached (i.e. the Breakfast program for the urban youths that they instituted, the rallies where they carried weapons in public against the law, etc) gave them and their leaders (Newton & Bobby Seale) who were brilliant and eloquent in their speech, credibility. 

I'm sure there will be people who will criticize me for dare comparing Lil Wayne with Huey Newton--but in this day and age, where we complain due to the recognition of not having Black leaders, why is it so far fetched that we may need to look to influential Hip Hop leaders as potentially leading the way? If you look, YMCM is sort of structured like the Black Panthers--all male with one single strong, intelligent female voice (Angela Davis vs Nicki Minaj) and Drake as the proverbial, light-skinned Canadian Bobby Seale. I'm not saying that they are trying to be the new Black Panther Party or that they are even daring to be political--but their messages dare to not just be beats with voices over them...they have something to sayu and have become voices of our generation. Nicki has stood up spreading messages of confidence among Black women and strength among homosexual teens. Drake is not only a heartthrob but he actually utilizes full verbal attacks where he not only sounds credible but intelligent at the same time. All the while, Weezy has rapped about everything from his own drug habit to his sexual prowess (which he has aptly showcased through his various and beautiful baby mamas) to his love for his native Louisiana and his people, and how his hustle will continue to keep him at the top. And honestly, I can't doubt him. 

If we are the Hip Hop generation, then perhaps we need to stop looking to politicians for leadership. We need to stop avoiding Hip Hop like a horrible plague and embrace it and demand that it represent the best of us and the best of them. The trouble with hip hop is it demands credibility, which almost always demands demoralization, in order to be popular or mainstream. As long as Wayne is talking about his drug use, or Nicki talks about sexing a man then that's going to get played; but more prolific lyricists like Common and Mos Def, or more serious cuts from mainstream artists (Wayne, Nicki, Drake, etc) are pushed to the back. I like the fact that YMCM and other artists are daring to be intelligent and give words of empowerment to the generation that they understand is looking to them for the next move. After all, we are all sheep, looking to be led either to glory or the slaughter. We might as well get some shepherds that have a sense of direction..

Monday, October 25, 2010

America--Get Your Shit Together.

This post will temporarily break from my usual witty repertoire (well I don't know, it may not)...but I just wanted to explain my absence...

I've been nursing a sick 3 year old for the past 2 and a half weeks. 

For everyone who keeps screaming about Obama turning us socialist due to Universal Healthcare, let me assure you that after the hell I've just endured, I am MORE than happy to be a socialist, thank YOU. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm in a more blessed situation because I actually have insurance. As a military wife, my family and I ascribe to Tricare Prime. Contrary to popular belief, it is not free, as a portion of my husband's paycheck (albeit a small one but a portion nonetheless), is removed for this very purpose. Now we may have the most sophisticated military in the world, but the military certainly does NOT have the most sophisticated health insurance. 

First of all, what is the point of having regions for health care? Can anyone explain this to me in simple terms? And if regions are so necessary, why is it that said regions can not TALK to each other? When my daughter came back from staying with my mother in Michigan, she was transitioned back from the Tricare North region (which isn't even called Tricare. It's called Health Net Federal Services) to Tricare West region (called TriWest). Welllll at least I THOUGHT she was. Maybe the problem, first of all, is that they don't even have the same frickin name. But I digress.

Alas while my daughter is fighting some mystery illness that went from cold to fever in a week's time & she's subject to febrile seizures, I call TriWest to get her a pediatrician, only to find out she is not, in fact even insured by TriWest. Now, a month or so ago, I called and had our primary care managers switched from California to Arizona. Jazmyn AND Me. No problem. Now I get a rude, huffy-puffy PMS'ing heffa who wants to interrogate whether or not I completed the application to switch her over. Umm, excuse me, what about your fellow TriWest employee who said that she was already in the Western Region?

"Well YOU'RE supposed to make sure that the application is filled out". 

And now a word on Customer Service. 

I understand that call center work is a thankless job. Trust me--I've done it and I don't miss it; however, it is not MY fault that your current education & work experience qualify you for this position at this time. If you were to say, step your cookies up & utilize public funding for a better educational opportunity, then perhaps you can learn to rise above and get the fuck OUT of the shark tank of non-advancement that is call center work. IN THE MEANTIME, since you don't own or operate this company, do not think that it is acceptable for you to talk to me any kind of way, as you will get told about yourself and hung up on promptly because I know damn well there is a better way. 

Which is, exactly what I did. & the next rep was hardly any better. I'mma need you to step up your training, TriWest. Where's that smile-through-the-phone service I learned? 

Basically for the rest of the week, I battled with the different regions going back and forth since they can't even call each other to find a way to take her to urgent care, or get the paperwork turned back in so I could get her a pediatrician: ALL TO NO AVAIL. By the end of the week I had my fuck it moment and took her to the Emergency Room, where she had a 102.1 temperature and we spent 3 hours for a 24 minute diagnosis of a double ear infection and then another subsequent 20 minutes of my life to discharge. 

While in the Emergency Room I bonded with people who had been there over 4 hours for obviously more serious issues (Kidney Stones, Gallbladder issues, a possible stroke, liver failure) and they were left to rot. One lady whose side was obviously swollen ended up leaving. They all shared their subsequent horror stories of ER neglect: a little girl died due to cuts in her arms because her parents couldn't get off to help her and the hospital refuses to help anyone under the age of 18 without a parent or guardian present; a woman gave birth in the bathroom; a girl was throwing up blood and not seen for 6 hours (I talked to her directly)--this same girl had an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit that they did not see on the ultrasound and then refused to help her because they claimed she was just in there for pain medication. She went to another hospital 3 hours later after it BURST; and the horror stories kept coming. I went numb. Thank God Jaz slept through it all. 

I need America to get its shit together because I'm over it. We voted Obama in because we wanted change. Then he got in and because the change hasn't come on fast forward, they say he's failing. No one's taking into account that he's been trying to act on his promises but members of his own party keep sabotaging his efforts. They struck down the healthcare bill the first time because of ambiguity on language of whether or not abortion would be covered by this insurance, because, as we all know, control of a woman's uterus is a hot topic in 2010 (See "No Wedding No Womb"). 

The point is, this BS needs to stop happening. The health care system we currently have is irretrievably broken and ran by people who, if given a pocket full of fucks, wouldn't LEND you one with 100% interest. (Has anyone seen Michael Moore's "Sicko"? If not, shame on you--here, go redeem yourself). 

My situation may not be the most dire of circumstances, but if someone who is supposed to be guaranteed health care by virtue of her husband defending his life for it is going through this type of bullshit, imagine what the everyday civilian (possibly yourself) who is unable to afford the pitiful health care plans offered or unable to get the full care needed because of preexisting conditions has to go through. Think about them. 

America--get your shit together. 

Peace & Love,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

& Today's award for trying too hard goes to

Mariah knows how to dress a nigga...
Nick Carey--err, Cannon, 

Okay look...I understand that ever since he's married Mariah Carey (& possibly impregnated her) he thinks he's walking around with a huge "S" on his invincible...

The "S" on that bird chest is for "Stupid" and "Sit Down" because that's what the hell he needs to do.

Since "Drumline", he's been struggling for significance. "Wild'n Out" was HIS show and he were CONSTANTLY overshadowed but the actually-funny fellow cast members (Katt Williams, anyone?). Since then, the only thing he did worth mentioning was marry Mariah..and the jury is STILL out on whether or not those nuptials are legit. 

Now every time I turn around I see him throwing shade on somebody--mostly white celebrities. He tried to start with Eminem & he completely & utterly DETROYED him. I don't recall any beef with Howard Stern but I have to come to understand that he apparently had some ish to say about that. And now....NOW I open my MTV News App on my Android this morning & see that he went on and on about Chelsea Handler. (Now for those of you not well gifted in twitter-ease, you read from the bottom up. I will post this foolishness in 2 pictures. Picture 1 is the first half & Picture 2 is the second half):

Umm pause...a comic roasting another comic is like a pimp snitching on a pimp? Since when did comedy and pimping become one in the same as an art form? And when I think of pimping, the LAST person I think of is Nick Cannon. But of course this is the whiny Nick Cannon we all know of...he then proceeded to take it too far, as usual:

So even if Chelsea DID have sex with the head of E!, it's known that you have what you have (a tour? a record label? any face time on tv at all right now?) because you managed to plant a seed in Mariah Carey. So you can GTFOH with that BS, Nick. 

& what, pray tell, did Chelsea do to encourage this rant ? :

@chelseahandler I just heard nick cannon is starting a comedy tour. Who's going to do the comedy?

ummm...I'd like to know the same thing. 
The only thing funny about Nick Cannon is his uncanny ability to date beautiful women. Christina Milian, Selita Eubanks & now Mariah Carey. I don't see it. There's nothing about Nick Cannon that, to me, is attractive, physically or psychologically. From what I understand, he can't stay faithful to any woman, and he's much more famous in his mind than his actual career.

And then in his final tweets he brings Eminem up again. It must kill you to see that even after a couple of relapses with drugs, two divorces to the same woman and losing his best friend to murder, Eminem is STILL going to be more successful than you. He's talented and about his business. His album was so anticipated that he beat out Drake, whose hype made him rich off of mixtapes  (much like my boo, Nicki Minaj), before his stellar album even came out. In an unrelated sidenote, Drake & Eminem, together, made my summer. I'm SO ready for "Pink Friday" to be my winter soundtrack. 

I think I like's definitely different. I can't wait!!!
Oh, wait, what were we talking about? I got totally distracted talking about blog-worthy artists that I...ohh...oh yeah that fool...

Nick Cannon is so insignificant I sidetracked my own blog post to talk about relevant people. That should tell you something. 

The moral of this story, obviously, is that when Mariah is away (in Asia, working, actually still performing) her little shadow is over here playing with fire & about to get burned...better yet, he should just continue to be blatantly ignored. Chelsea is a successful comedienne and author who has worked hard to get to where she is, and she's actually legit. She doesn't need anyone to get her notoriety, and it seems that Nick Cannon hates that. Even riding the coattails of the most successful R&B diva of my generation, he's still a joke & an afterthought. Jealous much?

Seems like wasted potential to me. Get over yourself Mr. Carey. 

Peace & Love,

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Upgrade Theory (follow up to the Homewreckers post)

Alright let me first start out by saying this is not my fault. I had totally vented about the Homewrecker topic & was at peace with myself. Then I got into a conversation with my husband about this & we went back and forth quite a bit, particularly on the Alicia Keys/Swizz Beats situation. Through that debate, he and I came up with a possible explanatory theory not only with their situation, but perhaps with multiple similar situations, which could clarify why our culture is sort of numbed by this whole phenomenon. 

Walk with me & indulge me jusssst a bit. 

The Upgrade Theory, as we have named it, is quite simple: in the public eye, cheating is acceptable/forgiven as long as you have "upgraded" your partner. That is, found someone richer, prettier/more handsome, good looking, successful, etc. 

Conversely, if you downgrade, that is, are found to have cheated with a partner that is less desirable in any of the above topics, you are then guilty of not only adultery, but also poor taste, which makes you doubly horrible & therefore you must be destroyed. 

Let that marinate for a second. 

Think about it though: Swizz Beats was not a paragon of virtue & had been guilty of sleeping around before. He had three kids fathered by him during his relationship with Mashonda Dean including the son she actually had by him and not including the child she LOST with him because of the stress she endured after finding out he had impregnated another woman (and he had Mashonda name this other woman's baby since she'd lost hers. Seriously.) 


Now he's happily married to & expecting a child with Alicia Keys and suddenly it's A-Okay. Why? Because he went from Mashonda Dean to Alicia Keys. From video girl to Grammy Award Winning Artist. 

Now look at the other side of this coin:

Fantasia Barrino and the T-Mobile Boy. Although it was hinted around that Fantasia was playing house with another woman's husband (including a big hint in the form of his name tattooed on her chest), it was not confirmed until the jilted wife told ALL in the divorce papers. Suddenly Fantasia needed to account for her actions. Suddenly everyone was shaking their head at the American Idol winner all in unanimous though of what she "could have been". What did she do? Attempt suicide. (So they say) That was the only reason Fantasia got off easy...she had to pretend to be suicidal (& I say pretend because she joked about it a few days later): read about it here.

You can take it a step further by examining more of the highlighted exploits:

Dwayne Wade & Gabrielle Union? UPGRADE
Jesse James & Michelle McGee? DOWNGRADE
Tiger Woods & (insert hoe here)? DOWNGRADE
Kobe Bryant & the hotel girl? DOWNGRADE --although Vanessa Bryant made SURE she was upgraded:

No Comment Haters, I let the ring talk for me.
Now I'm not necessarily saying that this is always the way it is...but it seems to be the way it is most of the time. Our culture has become more desensitized to adultery to the point where hoes & homewreckers are comfortable to being identified & seen in public. Where's the admonishment? Where's the backlash? Oh, it's called being a hater. If you are saying something against these couples then you're just hating on them. 

Ummm No. 

The fact of the matter is, I believe in love in every mushy detail. You can fall in love with someone else--that is human. However, if you decide to pursue a relationship with one person while attached in some way romantically to another, then I believe that's wrong. Falling out of love with your significant other is a sad possibility in life; however, you owe it to that person, to get out of it the right way. They should not have to find out you wanted to be with someone else all the time. 

Just because most regular men would gladly trade in their wives for the likes of Alicia Keys or Gabrielly Union does not magically make it acceptable that Swizz Beats & Dwayne Wade did it. At least it shouldn't. But as the tone of our culture changes in that respect, one must wonder if the institution of marriage will ever be fully respectable again. Movements like "No Wedding No Womb" assert that we should make a man "put a ring on it" in order to validate our relationships with him. Shouldn't we make sure he has fully taken the ring off of another woman's finger first?

Or, is it as long as there's an upgrade then there's no upcharge? I mean, why buy a cow if you can milk it and then decide whether to purchase it later?

Peace & Love,