In Memoriam... One Year Later

On August 29, 2005, thousands of people died. This time one year ago we were watching the images of a beaten and battered Gulf Coast. Places I had been were destroyed. Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, New Orleans, Louisiana. No one thought the damage would be this widespread or still be in place one year later.

You only had to have the television on for a few minutes today to become bombarded with the images of what people from the Gulf have to deal with everyday. The clean-up continues and there is a long road ahead. Let us never forget. You already know I feel the pain of Katrina victims through the lives of my friends and family every single day. I'm obsessed.

Today I spoke to one of those friends from New Orleans about how she feels. She's going through the stages of grief. Last year she was just sad. This year she's more upset. Its hard to watch such a vibrant person go through this. Her parents are going to rebuild even though they know the city will never be what it once was. That's the hardest thing. The New Orleans of her childhood, the Biloxis, the Gulfports, the Pass Christians of so many childhoods, forever decimated.

Throughout the night, as the levees continued to leak water, 75 to 80% of New Orleans was underwater, including the homes and schools of two of my closest friends in college.

That same day, Dr. Kenneth LeVar Riddle, a 2004 Hampton grad from the School of Pharmacy died. Kenny was a wonderful person. He was nice to everyone, spoke, remembered your name, always had a smile and abounding energy. I cried and cried and cried when I found out he died. It was just so unbelievable. I made arrangements to go to his funeral near DC. The church was filled with beautiful young Hamptonians whose lives he'd touched. I have no problem with saying good-bye. I've been doing it since I was six. But this was one of the hardest funerals I've ever had to attend. I almost chickened out the morning of, but Morgan wouldn't let me. I'm glad I went.

Every morning, Kenny did this Daily Profession of Faith.

I am the head and not the tail.
I am the lender and not the borrower.
I am above and not beneath.
I am healed, I am healthy, I am delivered, I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I am restored. I am blessed. I am highly favored. I am prosperous.
I am a MAN of GOD.
I am a friend of GOD.
I am a great MAN of valor and integrity.
I ama spirit being seeking after the likeness of GOD.
I am consistenet in the things of GOD.
I am a changing person in a new place.
I am intelligent and divinely creative.

I will bless them that curse me.
I will pray for them that despitefully use me.
I will love the Lord God with all my heart, all my mind and all my sould.
I will love my neighbor as myself.
I will bless the Lord at all times, and His praises shall continually be in my mouth.
I will walk worthy of my calling, with meekness and lowliness, with longsuffering, forgiving and forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
I will honor the Lord with all my substance and the first fruit of all my increase.
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not to my own understanding.
I will acknowledge Him in all my ways, believing and expecting Him to direct my path.
I will be a good steward of my mind, my body, my spirit, my soul, my territory, my mouth, my gifts, my annointing, my time, and my relationships.
I will walk by faith and not by sight.
I will make my calling and election sure.
I will choose life and speak life.
I will meditate on the word of GOD both day and night.
I will obey the word of GOD.
I will sacrifice for the promise.
I will manifest the word of GOD in my life THIS DAY.
I will be an example of the body of believers in word, conversation, faith, charity, spirit and purity.


His mother and fiancee were the vision of beauty and strength that day. Both of them were able to speak about Kenny. This is an excerpt of the message his mother put on the funeral program about watching him lying in a hospital bed after his car accident, before he died.

"As I watched you lying there in a body that was once so full of life, creativity, imagination, praise, intelligence, dance, humor, oratorical skill, class, style, warmth, care, prophecy and worship... I thought to myself an angelic bus is coming and he's making the decision to leave me... The Lord has been grooming you for this move and I will bow to His will... Kenneth, you'll be glad to know that I'm manning up and staying with it! (smile) God is giving me strength, peace and comfort on a daily basis... We'll part company for a few, but I know we'll meet again."

That is DEEP y'all. That is some kind of strength and faith.

Rest in peace Kenny, and the more than 2, 000 other people who died one year ago, today.

The Birthday Trip Pt. II

You'll want to start at Part I...

... I walked in... and everyone turned... and stared. One second... I don't recognize anyone. Two seconds... ok I recognize her but I don't think she'd come to a party in my honor. Three seconds... oh, there's Ashli. Four seconds... there's CC. The floor fan blows my tulle skirt a la Mariah Carey videos of the last 5 years.... "SURPRISE!" Blank stare from me. Blink. Blink. Blink. "Girl we were tryin to surprise you, damn!" <--- But who are you? Didn't know this person from Adam. I said to the bf, "Who are all these people?" He said, "I don't know. I don't know half these people either." Huh? Hilarious. Then Jamar came into view. I said ok that now makes 4 people who I knew before the bf started working at ESPN. Most of my friends couldn't come because they were so far away. I expected that from most people. There were a couple of people I was looking for who weren't as far away.

I had asked for a surprise party including his friends and my friends. For awhile there were a lot of people I didn't know. I was kind of confused. And when I walked in I was actually scared. I love to be the center of attention. This is true. But everyone stared at me for 5 seconds without saying anything, just kind of grinning. Some of them were looking around the room. Probably b/c they didn't know this was for me... hilarious. CC and Ashli brought me an earring and necklace set, a sweet card and a cute black and white striped tank.

I walked in said to the college bartender extraordinaire, "Make me a drink." She says, "Do you want some Hennessey? Umm... no. So Ashli took a barcardi concoction with pineapples in it, put it at the bottom of an infamous red cup, then poured a generous helping of Tanqueray Silver on the top (that's right, we only drink the good stuff), gave it a stir and handed it to the guest of honor. Whheeee!! This is gonna be a great night! I took a preliminary sip, and said, "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm so good." I proceeded to drink that. Then the bf pulled out two champagne flutes, and popped a bottle of Moet. Oh boy! That's what I'm talkin about! I finished one glass, then filled another. I also had Ashli make me another drink.

Word to the wise (and I already knew this), champagne does not play well with others. I started doing Hampton cheers with one of the other Hamptonians, who I met that night. "Rock the Blue and White, Rock the Blue and White!" then "Pump it up, go head, go head, pump it up go head!" then "If your team's alright, alright let me hear you one time, yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah whoo!" Oh I was on fi-yah! I wished Classy Jojo was there. She never hesitated to join me in doing the cheers in the stands sober as the day we were born.

The bf tried to get me to eat but I wasn't interested in food at that point. I later grabbed a hot dog, but didn't eat much of it. Some random girl was calling herself the dj playing all this slow music. It was horrific. Somebody sit her down. Ashli, another drink please. And I got a tour of the house. Very cool. Exposed brick walls. Lovely.

Laid out on the cool red couch. Convinced the bf to leave at like 130. Y'all know I can't hang anymore. My bedtime is like 3 pm. The next morning definitely had the angry stomach. GRRRRROWL! We went to McD's for breakfast, watched "Boomerrang," then headed to the grocery store to shop for our mini dinner party. I made honey-glazed pork chops, rice, and broccoli. I picked up the organic broccoli. The bf says, "Organic? What does that mean?" "No chemicals." "No chemicals?! But does it still taste good? The chemicals make it taste good." "What?!" Wow... really? The chemicals make it taste good. Hilarious. A city child. Oh yeah, I also made my now famous peach lemonade. People love it. Minute Maid frozen lemonade, fresh peaches and lemons, sugar and people lose their minds. Why did his friends walk in and have to turn on LIFETIME so they could watch the Fantasia story. Oh HELL no. Appalled. And one dude was taping it for some girl. I was like y'all did not have to watch this. Foolishness. At dinner the bf announced my promotion... I'm now a producer. Are you proud? :D

The next day we hung out, watched the Fantasy Football Draft Special on ESPN. It was hilarious. Bought some beer, then we went to a restaurant downtown. I think it was Max Downtown but I can't remember the name. It was in the same restaurant family as that restaurant in Hartford. Then me, him, Ashli and CC went to open mic night at this bar. A black bar. This guy was horrid. Like seriously no one should have ever let him on the mic!! Someone should have told him in life. Like maybe his family. A sister, a cousin. Someone should have said, "You can't sing. Don't ever go in public. Thanks."

The next day I left. Fabulous trip, even more fabulous bf! :D


The Birthday Trip Pt. I

I bought my plane ticket for Thursday night. I later found out the bf had planned a movie screening surprise birthday party for me at the 40/40 club. That's right THE 40/40 club. But he had to cancel it and our NYC hotel room because my flight came in too late. I would've changed it but he wouldn't tell me why he was so upset about me getting in late. I'm not saying give away the surprise but you can say you have something planned for that night! 40/40?! Geez.

Thursday was a rough day. I felt much better when I realized I would be going to Connecticut to spend a fabulous vacation with my bf for days. Yay! So get their Thursday night. Because of my day, I walk into Kyle's room, turn on the light... and there's a bag. A gold bag with black writing. It says Kay. WHEE! For my birthday, I'd asked for an Ipod first. Then I changed my mind. I told him I wanted diamonds. Silence. Hilarious. So I laughed. Then I said, I just want something pretty. He said, "What does that mean?" I said, "Something pretty." Which in my defense, is infinitely more guidance than he gave me! So hmph!

Anyway, I said, "Is that for me?!" :D Of course the answer was yes so I shook the bag, peeked inside, took out the little box wrapped in gold, took off the wrapper, shook the box, looked at the bf, opened the box, saw the little blue velvet box, shook that, said, "What is it?" Then opened the box to see princess cut diamond earrings winking at me! Do you know what he said, "Do you like them?" Do I like them?! Lmao. Lolololol Silly man.

Then we watched "Something New." I liked it. Then we went to sleep. But first he told me we were going to Boston the next day. So we woke up early, got dressed, went to breakfast, then got on the road to Boston. We checked into the hotel, took a nap (because I love naps), then drove to the Alewife station on the T. We rode the redline to Park St. since we didn't have much time that night. We got off there to get some dinner at the Beantown Pub. We walked in, walked toward the back. It was the weekend of the 5 games between the Red Socks and Yankees in one weekend at Fenway Park. A huge weekend in Boston. Little did they know the team would be clobbered the first two games, and beaten the next 3. The game was on, the rap music was blasting. It was nearly a full house. The waitress directed us to additional seating. The bf said, "What did she say? I could barely understand her." I said, "Oh that's because she's from a different country. I think she's British or something."

We wandered back around to the entrance and took a seat there. The aforementioned woman was our waitress. She took our orders in this bizarre accent. The bf said, "I had to watch her mouth to understand what she was saying." I said, "Yeah, she's from a different country." The bf says, "No she's from Boston." He said the look on my face was priceless. I was floored. Flabbergasted even. "No she's not." "Yes she is. That's what their accents sound like." "That strong?" "Yes." "But that's nothing like I've heard them on tv. Are you joking?" "(Laughing) No." Appalled. Anyway I ordered a sandwich with ham, turkey, and swiss. Sooo yummy. He ordered a meatball sandwich. We both got Sam Summer, a seasonal beer. Yum.

Then we went to this cheezy nightclub called "The Big Easy." The lamest Yankee caricature of what they imagine New Orleans to be. I got sleepy (as usual) so we left. The next day, went to breakfast, then back to the T. This time we rode to Fenway around game time. Red Sox fans filled the streets and poured out of "Game Time" and another nearby bar. We walked around the area. I got a sausage dog, the bf got a steak sandwich from a cart outside the park. Both were yummy.

Went to a pastry shop owned by a former White House pastry chef, called Truly Jorg's, got a piece of raspberry cheesecake. MMMMMMMM. For no reason. The bf got a slurpy from 7-11, which as a VA native he was overjoyed to see. It was hilarious. Got back on the T, rode to the car, then went back to CT. He was rushing me. He never rushes me. I always rush him. So I knew something was up. "What is your problem?" "Just come on." "You have something up your sleeve. What time do we need to be wherever we need to be?" "I don't have anything up my sleeve. There is no set time." "Ok. Well, I hate my hair. I need a blowdryer." So we stopped at the mall, then went back to his place so I could wash my hair and rock the fro.

Then he told me we were going to "Barcelona" in Hartford to take salsa lessons. I was so excited... ish. I was being rushed and I wasn't being given any information. That made me cranky. So he rushes and rushes me and rushes me and we finally get out of the house. We head toward Hartford, park the car, then walk to the club. There's no one there. Including his friend we were supposed to meet there and Ashli isn't answering the phone. Which is further pissing me off. We go inside... its empty. Only the staff is there. And they're sitting down looking confused as to why we're there. I'm looking at him like shoot I don't know why we're here, either.

He says, "Well C lives down the street, let's walk up to his house." I'm like, "I don't feel like walking." "Its only a couple of blocks. Come on Miss Crankypants." *sigh* "Fine." He says, "I don't know which building it is, he just moved here." I say "Why don't you just call him." "No. Let's just walk around here." *larger sigh* He grabs my hand, we walk around. Then I see balloons... and hear music... and see smoke wafting into the air in the backyard. My heart starts pounding. We walk up to the door and I'm trying to suppress my smile. I'm thinking, "Is this for me? But maybe its not. Maybe he's just chillin at his house before going to the club. That's pretty cool." The bf knocks on the door, then pushes the door open....


I'm Here!!

So I'm in the cafe at ESPN, the world wide leader in sports typing this blog. How many of you are salivating? I know Jarrod is. Wipe ya mouth baby. We're going to Boston today. Tomorrow I have a surprise! I'm so excited!! Whoo hoo!! And since I had a rough day yesterday, I got my birthday present early.. diamond earrings! :) yay!!! princess cut of course b/c he pays attention. Good boyfriend.

I have absolutely nothing to talk abt. Children should not be allowed to fly until they can articulate proper sentences. This two year old was running around, screaming, general child-like behavior. I don't have the patience for that at this stage in my life.

I forgot to tell you guys I just discovered Gloria Naylor. LOVE her writing. I started with Mama Day. One of the best books I've ever read. Now I'm reading the Women of Brewster Place. I like that so far too. Very good reading. I suggest it for anyone.

Oh yeah. We walked past the basketball court (yes they have a bball court here. how ridiculous is that? there's also a play station center. hilarious). Some guy said hi to the bf. The bf asks, how you doin? The guy says, its hot, but not as hot as you (to me). Hilarious! LMAO.

He's back. GG. Adios!!


The most hilarious faux chef EVER!!!!!!!

My friend's daddy makes the most hilarious combinations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! today she got scared when she walked in the kitchen and saw these ingredients in front of chef boyardaddy: canned salmon, peanut butter, wheat bread, rice with some ish in it, oh yeah, onions, carrots. shut up!! hilarious.

i know y'all been cursin my name, callin me everything but a child of God. but i been busy! can a girl not blog for a week w/o gettin death threats, STACIE VON KUTIEBOOTS!!!!!! there are a million things i was going to talk abt but since this is day 6 of 9... i think i'm just gon chill. y'all might have to wait until thursday. and guess what happens on thursday.... i go to CONNECTICUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and my birthday's in 11 days!! 24 here i come!! whoo hoo!!!

and its taking every fiber of my being not to beg, cajole and CONVINCE my friends to send me a copy of the email he sent them abt my surprise. i know he's surprising me. i'm horrible w/surprises b/c i don't ever want to wait. and he loves to try to surprise me. so sweet that one!!



No, not sp's favorite show. The actual procedures. Why doesn't anyone want to be old anymore? I really don't get it. Now I have an inkling it may have something to do with the fact that people are well aware that sun causes spots, wrinkles, unsightly bags, freckles, moles, cancer... To quote Gnarls Barkley, "And I could go on, and on, and onnnnnnnnnn, but who cares?" They obviously don't. The people who give themselves these skin nightmares I mean. Maybe, no I'm sure I don't get it because I'm melanin blessed. I mean I see the pale Nicole Kidman skin. I can understand why you wouldn't want to look ghostly white, give Casper a run for his money. I do not however understand why you would run for the sun or the tanning booth for the rest of your life knowing your fate.

Now we know black don't crack. My favorite? Essence magazine once a year does the black don't crack article. That's not what they call it of course, but its all these black women who look 35 and are 98. Or look 12 and are 38. That's what I'm talking about. That's who I wanna be. Plastic surgery is up 444% in the U.S. since 1997. 444%. Wth? That's ridiculous. Everyone wants instant gratification. This will sound foolish. But I wouldn't mind losing 7 lbs. I don't hate those 7 lbs. If I don't lose them I won't die and I won't be heartbroken, but it would be cool. Do I want to do the work for it? Not particularly. Am I obsessed with the 7 lbs? Nope.

And I know what you're thinking. She bought that mini-skirt, put it on and thought she was fat. She listened to the girl who said she had thunder thighs. Nope! Lol Though your responses to that were quite hilarious. I'm just not one of those people who thinks she should wear something unflattering just because its cute or trendy. Plus I'm not some shapeless 12 lb. child.

We've all seen the tv shows with the people who are already 5'10" 112 lbs. and think they need to lose some weight. I was watching Celebrity Fit Club 4 last night. These people are crazy. Why on earth would anyone want to be a celebrity? I mean I know the money and the fame. But they have some serious issues. Some of them are a size 8 or 10 feeling fat because they're surrounded by youth and perfection. Why would you want to put yourself through that?

People used to think body image issues didn't effect black people. Wrong. We're not immune to it when surrounded by other people who have the same issues. Botox is the most psycho thing in the world to me. Um... foreheads are SUPPOSED to have lines. It is not normal to inject a CHEMICAL into your FACE to PARALYZE it. WHAT?!!! Bizarre. Surgery-free face-lifts and such. Odd. Just saw a close-up of Paula Abdul's face. Definitely botoxed the forehead. PEOPLE!! We grow old! Its called life. Be glad you still have one. That is all.


Goooooooo Bucs!

Hmmm... I wonder if black people know bucs is a synonym for pirates. B/c in my nearly 24 years of exposure to the Hampton University Pirates, I've never once been encouraged to call them Bucs. Ever. And yet, all the white schools I've ever visited who's mascot was the Pirates i.e. East Carolina University, Charleston Southern University, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates, I always here "Gooo Bucs!"

So tonight I went to the Pirates/Braves game. Looooooved the Braves as a kid. For you baseball heads, the pitchers were Smolz and Snell. The bf told me I have to know the pitchers. You know I don't care. But that little bit of info before the game actually helped me sound really smart to my dad's co-workers. Can you believe I posted twice in one day? Aren't you proud? I know. Me too. D's job gave us the tickets. Parking: $10, peanuts: $3.75, ny style kosher hot dog: $5, 12 oz. bottle Coors Light: $6. Wow.... trippin. We actually didn't drink. That is amazing for both of us. We love our beer. But I did get a hot dog and he got peanuts. The hot dog was quite yummy.

Gangsta white boy. Maybe 7 years old. Sitting in the row in front of us (3rd base side, row L, GORGEOUS view of the city. For no reason. If you go to Pittsburgh ever, you have to 1) holla at your girl, 2) go see PNC Park. You will be impressed even if you don't like baseball). Back to the gangsta white boy. I don't know who his momma is. He didn't have a tint to his skin. Daddy must be redneck because the first thing I saw him do was fill his sweaty Pirates baseball cap with water, play with it to see if the water would drain out through the other side. Then he looked at it, smelled it, brought it close to his face, took a preliminary sip and then... that's right. Drank it right up. EWWWWWWWWWW!! LMAO!! Me and my dad. So disgusting.

Why do I say gangsta and question his maternal roots? Well you know how each player gets to select a song to come out to when he goes to the plate, right? Well, one player's song was Chamillionaire. Do you know this lil boy put on his ill grill/mean mug and sang along, "Patrollinnnn, they hatinnn, (unintelligible), tryna catch me ridin dirtayyyyyyy, tryna catch me ridin dirty, tryna catch me ridin dirty...." LMAO!! Me and D's Texas homeboy. Hilarious. Another player's song was Sean Paul, here he goes, "I got the right temperature..." What???? Who have you been hangin with?! Lolololol

You know who won. The Braves. The Pirates are horrific. This is their 14 consecutive losing season. 2 more and they will have the MLB record. The score was 4-1 when we left in the top of the 9th. I know you guys want to know what I was wearing. Pink tank top, brown woven belt, Sergio Vallente stretch denim skirt w/a longhorn on the right back pocket, 4 1/2 inch wedge sandals. I know. I couldn't help it. My dad said, "Gee Jameil. Thanks for dressing down." I said, "Oh, you're welcome!" Then I looked over and he was giving me the face. Heeeeey! I tried. I can only dress down so much. You know who I am. I can't help the fly." When we're leaving, this guy says to me, "I like your longhorn." Then blushes. Yeah... that definitely tells me you were looking at the booty. Should've kept that to yourself. Men.


So... I know you're all wondering how the Roots were. I would love to know. It was sold out. Who knew the Roots would sell out in Pittsburgh? Talib Kweli didn't. And I see how crunk people get over Jeezy. I just knew for certain they wouldn't care about the Roots.... but they did. So I didn't get to go. I went to sleep. And tried to make plans to see them in a different city. First I tried Cincinnati. But then I realized how far that is and that I would have to go by myself. Then I saw Philly. The bf and I were planning a trip to Philly for my bday. Then I decided I wanted to go to Connecticut and see him, go to Boston and have a birthday party. So who knows when I'll finally be able to see the Roots.

That Wednesday I went to see Kelly Clarkson. VIP. Very nice. Row P for free. She was actually really really good. Very down to earth. She went into the audience and put on the shirts two people gave her that said Kelly Clarkson 2006. It was so cute. Not an American Idol fan. Its also very hard for me to listen to the station that plays her music for more than 15 minutes, so I didn't know very many songs. Still enjoyed it. She can sing.

Friday: Went to Mad Mex w/my dad. A Pittsburgh/Philly/State College/Columbus Mexican restaurant. It's actually very yummy, tho I hear it depends on the location you go to. The menu was hilarious. Los wingos?? Word?? Los booze y brews?? Friends don't let friends drink cheap beer??? Drink responsibly, have at least two??? Practice safe mex??? Lololol. I had a peach margarita and the dance marathon burrito. It was chicken, spicy spinach, rice, black beans, portabello mushrooms. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm!! So delicious!! Or excuse me. For Stace and Karamale, muoy delicioso! Hahaha bitches!! I know you guys thought I was going to mess it up. Stop hatin on me.

So after that, I met a co-worker in the Oakland section of the city to go to a bar. We were supposed to go bar-hopping but her sister's friend's band was performing at Peter's Pub. We went there but it turns out they were last... so we were stuck there all night... wow... The band wasn't bad. None of them. I just don't want to sit at a bar listening to rock music for 2 hours when that wasn't the original plan. I would like to recognize a single song. But I was glad to be out of the house! Ahhh yeah!

Last week was pretty uneventful. One of my favorite coworkers is moving to Orlando :( so sad. So I'm in charge of planning the longest good-bye ever. It started Sunday at the Grand Concourse. Yummiest brunch ever. Would you like to know what I had? Here we go. 3 mimosas (stop hatin, everyone had 3), lemon chicken w/mushrooms and artichokes, hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, bacon, chicken fingers, penne pasta, smoked blue fish, hot apple dumpling, french vanilla ice cream, key lime pie, fudge brownie, white chocolate cheesecake. Now before you start gettin all crazy wondering where I put it all. For the meats, I only had one piece of each. For the dessert, I had one small square of each except the dumpling. I ate all of it. Yummmmmm. Still a lot of food right? But it was soooooo yummy. And clearly I left some stuff. We're going back next week. Round 2 son.

Then we went to Bar Louie for another drink. I had a strawberi fizz martini. Stoli strawberi, cointreau, champagne, strawberry puree and a fresh strawberry. Yummmm. Wednesday we're doing drinks somewhere. Thursday, Chili's, Bar 11, Jack's Bar (classic Pgh bar on the South Side), and Town Tavern. So get ready for those details. I'll stop being so lazy and post more often. Or I'll try anyway. I make no promises.