Monday Mindspacing Vol. 63

1) I hate #teamfollowback on twitter.  I will never, not ever be a part of it.  I don't need millions of followers, nor do I want to follow millions.  The absolute worst are those shout outs to all the new followers that take up an entire page on my timeline.  You are now deleted.
2) However, I don't see twitter as something to take personally.  I may like you in life/on your blog/on facebook and find you utterly irritating on twitter.  Follow me or don't and vice versa.  We'll all be okay.  I promise.
3) I feel weird when I'm around Rashan and we don't watch "Family Guy."  He loves that show.  It now reminds me of him.  Sometimes I watch it when he's not around and I'm missing him. (vomit)  The other show that he loves but that I can't stomach?  SouthPark.  Those children are too awful.
4) When people talk about starting to read the bible, they talk about all the "begats," the recitation of lineage of the earliest people, in Genesis as difficult to finish.  For me, the detailed description of the temple and priests adornment in Exodus was far more tedious.
5) It's been so long since I was a cursing machine that it feels weird when I curse.  Sometimes I unconsciously cringe when other people curse.  That's mostly because it wasn't easy for me to stop and hearing it a lot sometimes makes me want to start again.  It's not a constant struggle but it's a struggle nonetheless.
6) I bought this Marc Jacobs necklace at his Savannah store.  It was cute and a great price... until it broke the first time I wore it. :/
7) I love the phrase, "Give us a kiss."  I think it's so cute! :)
8) I seriously don't know how Meredith Viera keeps a straight face on "Millionaire."  This guy had to phone a friend on where are Rocky's parents from...... Kansas & Kenya.  None of the answers looked close enough to it to be confusing.  If you don't know Kansas, you have to know Kenya.  Come on, man!!  Other choices were like Tennessee & Tanzania.  HELLO!!!  How do people not know the president's heri... willful ignorance.  But it just cost you money.  On second thought, he described himself as a 'degenerate gambler' & I know they don't have tvs on the floor.  Carry on.  Go lose your money on the craps table.
9) It annoys me that cows are SUPPOSED TO EAT GRASS but because they are so often fed corn, you have to pay a premium for grass-fed beef.  Problem.  Scowl.
10) Which brings me to another point that Rashan is overjoyed to hear: I'm so tired of spending a huge amount of (his) money on a "fancy" meal that may or may not be good.  The worst part?  The most fancy part of it is that the ingredients are local.  Local is not cheaper when it comes to restaurants.  They use it as a badge of make you pay too much money.  But your $14 meatloaf?  Makes me want to eternally avoid your whole chain restaurant menu in a "local" restaurant name.  And be angry about it.
11) Make people stop telling me about their delightful plantation visits, please.
12) Birthdays on facebook are the best ever!!!  That is HANDS DOWN the best day on facebook!!  *personal dance party*
13) Me & Rashan wanna know why bacon's so hard to open.  Do people steal single slices of bacon??  So of course this thought brought others.  When you put it in other packages what happened?  Does it NEED to be stacked in an array so that every slice is visible???  Is this how you prove no slices have been pilfered?  WHAT'S THE DEAL, BACON HEADS?!?!?!?!


Movies 2010, Weeks 31 & 32

August 15-21, 2010
165) Expelled.  Ben Stein's documentary about the treatment of those who present intelligent design as a theory for the start of life.  Incredibly, annoyingly kitschy in its presentation.  Unfocused.  High production values.  The way the story was laid out was not pleasant.  The combative, slanted point-of-view is one I do not favor.  There was an entire section on theHolocaust that really could've been left out or much shorter.  When you infer and show it for 20 seconds, we get it.   This should have been at least 15 minutes shorter.  Corniest ending ever.  Dropped it even lower.  2.9 stars
166) Monster Camp. A documentary about live-action role players.  We get a look at their lives in play and out of play.  I had trouble suspending my disdain for some people... like the ones who are too busy with games to finish high school after 4 or 5 years as a senior.  There were interesting parts but I think this film would have been much more cohesive as a short.  3.3 stars
167) The FBI's War on Black America.  This documentary included some really amazing archival footage.  It was pretty riveting based on that.  Oh music... not awesome.  A traditional story line didn't exactly exist either.  It started as a rather rudimentary introduction to the topic then went into some detail.  3.4 stars (Mostly for the archival footage)
168) The African Queen. Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star as two opposite-minded people trying to get out of Africa just as the first World War has started... through German territory.  There was some great tension between the two.  Clearly the phrase, "I never been shot in the head neither." is one of the best ever.  Lol.  I don't know who did the sound on the dvd but all of the natural sound & music was way louder than the dialogue so multiple times I had to turn the volume up or down.  Annoying.   I mean... what kind of ending was that???  It was an insane plan that had me like, "And then what??"  Satisfactorily dissatisfactory.  3.9 stars

August 22-28, 2010
Birthday's are so fun! :)  Nope, that does not have anything to do with movies I watched!
169) Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.  Great Frank Capra-directed movie about a small-town tuba player (Gary Cooper) who inherits $20 million from a long-lost relative and attracts the wolves, including a pretty newspaper woman in Jean Arthur.  The original version of the Adam Sandler film.  Very cute.  4.4 stars



Tomorrow's the day I begin teaching my first solo collegiate-level course!  So exciting!  As of right now I have 24 students.  I hope to get a few more to drop so we can have better discourse (and I don't drown in work).  I've planned a tough, but fair approach for the first day so they understand that I have a passion for journalism and won't stand for it being watered down for anyone.  I want them to leave the course knowing they can immediately contribute to a newsroom.  I am empowering the next generation of journalists.  I am also about 9 years older than my youngest student which is hilarious to me.  When did I get this far removed from undergrad? 

Today I had my first class as a student at Wake.  It was very interesting.  I don't have a syllabus yet so I'll reserve judgment.  Tomorrow I have my second class as a student, but with a professor I had at UF so for the most part, I know what to expect.  I look forward to a productive 8.5 months.  After that, I'm Jameil, MFA.  WOW!  Life really speeds right past you.  Even when you're paying attention.  If I'm around less than usual, that's why.  I'm at least 4 recipes behind on posting on the record dish.  But I FINALLY HAVE THE INTERNET AT HOME AGAIN!!!  I was going crazy.  Birthday update coming soon as well.  Adios!


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 62


1) I can't wait to see what magical, mysterious things my people have up their sleeves for me this year!  WOOHOO!!!
2) In just a few days I begin teaching my first college course!  THAT IS SO EXCITING!!  I feel like such an adult!  I've been working really hard for weeks preparing my syllabus.  I want this class to be a challenge and something they come away KNOWING they learned something.  Then I want them to intern somewhere so it can become immediately apparent just how much they learned!  :)
3) I see I need to repeat this missive.  STOP serving bad lemonade.  The idea of lemonade from a powder or that is neon yellow is almost as bad as the taste.  I just can't.  If you can't have fresh, you can at least open up a can of concentrate.  It's really not that hard, people.
4) Also, if you own a restaurant with southern or southern-style food, kill yourself for not serving lemonade.  That is not acceptable.
5) I had bbq twice in a week... Then I had leftovers for 2 days... I'm now over it.  I don't really need to eat bbq again for quite a while.  It helps that I have about 15 (non-bbq) restaurant recommendations!  GUESS WHO'S EXCITED ABOUT THAT??!!  MEEEEE!!
6) It amuses me when people don't know which of the president's daughters is which.  I remember because to me Malia seems like a grown up name and Sasha seems like a cute playful name.  There ya go!  You're welcome & may you never forget!
7) I hate that the media has us so primed with the idea of childmolesters on every corner that a man can't genuinely like children without there being an inkling of a thought that he should be careful lest someone mistake him for something he's not.
8) I've been so immersed in Civil Rights Movement-era books and films for the last 2 years (and before, but really in the last 2 years) that I find Negro appropriate in those contexts and get slightly annoyed when the writer amends, "as they were called in those days."  Like, DUH!  I know that's for those people who will inevitably write about how offensive it is to use that term because they didn't know or whatever their reason is.  *eye roll*
9) Who knew Jethro was something other than a country name?  Not me!  Or I'd forgotten.  He was Moses's father-in-law who gave him wise counsel to seek help.  That's really cool.  It's my uncle's middle name.  I still won't be naming any children Jethro.
10) Whenever I dream about guns directed at me, I always either escape the bullets by dodging them or am somehow magically able to wrest the gun from the (usually male) person's hands or direct the shot they get off away from me or other people.  Very strange.  And I clearly watch way too much tv.
11) I went to an event recently where servers were handing plates ACROSS THE TABLE.  Hol' up.  You are serving food in a bow tie and you're reaching across centerpieces to hand me my food??? Unacceptable.
12) I've already started composing my 35 Before 35 and 40 Before 40 lists...  That is so Aretha of me.  LOL.
13) This is rude.  I don't understand vegetarians who aren't skinny.  If I'm going to be abstaining meat, I'd better have 0 weight issues.  Or my issue should be I can't gain weight.  Can you believe this is the same person who wants to try 2 vegetarian meals per week?


August Babies: We're the Best!!

Are you aware of how close my birthday is???  Have you planned accordingly??? MONDAY!!!  AHHHHH!!  I'M SO EXCITED!!  I LOVE BIRTHDAYS!!  I want something A.MA.ZING!!  USE YOUR OPRAH VOICE, PEOPLE!

August has always been a huge month for me when it comes to events and birthdays.  In my family, we roll deep and rep hard for August.

16- A cousin on each side
20- Uncle's birthday (dad's brother)
21- Dad
22- Parents' (former) anniversary
23- MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
26- Older sister's birthday
27- Grandfather's birthday (dad's dad)

When I got to middle school, I knew we were the most awesome crew ever when I heard the birthdays of 5 out of six of us.

3- AR
21- MJ
23- MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
27- SH
30- TJ

In Rashan's family....
6- His brother
31- His oldest niece

Blog la familia
4- Therapeutic Musings!
18- Naima!  She doesn't blog but she tweets & comments!

More August birthdays!!  MORE, MORE!!!  So in case you didn't know, the best people in the world have August birthdays.  My dad & Bill Clinton have the same birthday so he can't be that bad!  Hey JazzKat, I share a birthday with Kobe!  LOLOL


Wedding Talk

I'm writing this blog well-aware that I'm going to make some of my family members very upset if they ever see this.  1) I don't really care.  I need to get it off my chest.  And 2) it's honest and something I probably should have spoken up about a long time ago.  I also know that posting this will make a large number of you lose your minds over the prospect of an eminent engagement between Rashan and me.  Another risk I'll have to take.

Sometimes I want to completely disengage from my extended family.  All of them.  I get so irritated by their occasional affiliation with me, their knowledge of my life solely from facebook.  It makes me want to delete the ones who've made no effort to know me beyond that and keep the two who, ironically, aren't related by blood.  It's really only semi-ironic since most of the closest people to me aren't related by blood.  This frustration becomes more palpable as I have spent the last summer thinking about my wedding.  At times I'm shocked and dismayed at what I view as their rejection of me.  How could they dare deny themselves my company???  Then (most) other times I'm too irritated to feel anything but annoyance that I even have to consider such foolishness.

I don't want to invite a bunch of related strangers, many of whom I'm certain won't come even if it's just 30 minutes from their homes.  Others I'm certain will come just to be nosy even though I don't know them well or like them at all.  Why should I have to invite them to keep the peace when I don't feel included in their lives or even want to be included in some of their lives?  So though they've never attended any other significant event in my life, I'm supposed to include them in a ridiculously expensive day where I just want to be surrounded by people I KNOW will support our love?

Sounds pretty simple when you put it like that, huh?  But it's not.  It never is.  If you don't know or remember, I have 7 living uncles (and their spouses), 4.5 aunts (and their spouses) (or more if you count the outside offspring I've never met but for these purposes we won't), at least 36 first cousins (AND THEIR SPOUSES... sensing a pattern?) and only God knows how many second cousins.  I've only met about 16-20 of those children of my first cousins. 

The problem with weddings is that you invite one person and according to etiquette, you invite their husband, fiancé(e), or live-in significant other.  And what about children?  You say no children and then people see that the children who were known to be well-behaved were allowed to come but their ruffians were prohibited.  What if the children are better behaved than the parents and you'd rather have them there so they could be around some normal people for once and get exposed to fabulosity?

Then it's like if you invite this person, then you HAVE to invite that person because they're as tangentially related to you as the person you originally invited.  A 75-person guest list easily and ridiculously spirals to 125-person wedding then a 150-person wedding.  And what if you happen to be a foodie who wants no less than a 3-course gourmet meal with alcohol?  Those START at $30/person, not including alcohol, serving only chicken (i.e. not acceptable).  For someone I felt obligated to invite??  Just the $30 plate translates to $4,500 for FOOD ALONE plus tax, plus a 20% gratuity.  That's more than $5,800.  That just sounds crazy!  And guess what?  I can't do it.  I'm not the one to be compromising on food.  Am I supposed to eat "cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off" (name that movie) when I hate cucumber and am equally averse to finger food (PLEASE FEED ME!!) so I can invite Pookie's grandma?  (For the record, I don't know anyone named Pookie. LOL)

So you pare it down to aunts & uncles and close cousins (believing 0 of your long distance family will come because they've come to nothing else anyway and you've spent your life headed in their direction with one reciprocal trip) but then realize you still have to nearly double your original list with all of their plus ones (JUST spouses & fiancées).  And that's still way too many people because what if they all magically decide, "Hey! We go to weddings and funerals!" and show up?  It's enough to make you want to have a destination wedding: everyone pay your own way.  Then we can invite the world!  But the financial burden would be too great for some of the closest members of our families.  UGH!!!

The crazy thing is I've always wanted a huge wedding.  But I'm not independently wealthy.  When I adjusted my ideas years ago (since I've been thinking about weddings since childhood-- so stereotypically girly, I know), I thought 100 people was appropriately modest considering the massive size of my family.  Then I started researching how much weddings cost for the barest of the bare bones ceremonies and balked at the idea of spending $10,000+ on 8 HOURS of my life when all I want to do is get married in a beautiful Jameil-designed dress, have a great party & MOST IMPORTANTLY spend the rest of my life with my love. 

Sometimes I feel sad when I think about not having a blowout party.  Mostly because I really, REALLY don't want to deal with the problem of the dozens of attitudes and hurt feelings people (not technically related, but still quite close) will have because they're not invited.  And what about the outrageous expectations of weddings these days?  Every detail is expected to be magazine quality because somebody is just waiting to rip apart the day you spent months to plan.  Then I get a grip on reality.  I have the rest of my life to have blowout parties.  For every Oscar I win, you'd better we are going to turn this mother out!!  :) 

But for now, I am a student.  I want to own a house, start a company, win many awards for my films and have children.  All in the next 10 years.  I also hold an exorbitant amount  of student loans.  How stupid would I feel knowing I threw all that money at a day (and didn't even spend it on the people I love most)?  Very.  If you have the money and that's where you want to spend it, please do!  Have a great time!  And since you're inviting everyone, shoot an invite my way!  But if you want to save some money and leave me out, trust and believe I understand.

If you're thinking like Rashan, you believe I wrote this to convince myself... It's true.  I also want some help!!!  So if you have some ideas on feeling better about leaving out a ton of people I actually do like along with some I don't like, do share.  Wedding planning sucks.  Even (or especially?) when you have no official wedding to plan.  Don't be surprised when we elope and just stream it live on the web.  It's fitting since we met on the internet.



I have a giant thunder cloud over my head and AT&T IS TO BLAME!!!  I set up my internet on Sunday, then get an email on Monday saying it won't be activated until NEXT WEDNESDAY!!!  WHY DOES IT TAKE YOU 8 BUSINESS DAYS TO ACTIVATE MY ACCOUNT?!?!?! 


I'm convinced everything that's wrong in my life right now is because I don't have the internet ergo THIS IS ALL AT&T'S FAULT!!!


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 61

1) Sometimes I'm amazed by the length of my hair.  I know I've talked about this being the longest it's ever been but every once in a while (about once a week), it catches me off guard.  Speaking of which... does anyone know a loctician in Winston-Salem?
2) I had a piece of pink lemonade cake... hot pink cake with yellow frosting.  That almost made me not want to eat it.  I did anyway because it was highly recommended.  It didn't taste bad.  The cake was incredibly soft and light... but I have had some pretty visceral reactions to food coloring from years of being able to taste it in food (I'm talking to you, red velvet...) so I don't think I went into it with a clear head.  The point, though?  Someone should've warned me about hot pink cake!!!
3) Why do you ask for advice when you know you're going to go off on the person who disagrees with you?  Don't ask and I won't tell.  But if you're going to go off, you can ask and I'll ignore.  But really, just stop asking.
4) I've found a ridiculous number of Mexican restaurants in town.  I CAN'T WAIT TO TRY THEM ALL!! 
5) Why are so many Marcuses black?  I think I've only ever met one white Marcus.
6) Fiancé is a man.  Fiancée is a woman.  The second 'e' is a feminine article.  Now that you know, you may get engaged at will.
7) My dad is shocked I'm turning 28.  He said it seems like just a few months ago I was a baby.  Awwww!
8) When I was younger, I liked the plastic taste of measuring tape from sewing kits.  I have no clue why.
9) I like fragrance-free lotion THE BEST!!  I love a neutral scent.  But my favorite soap HANDS DOWN is Oil of Olay.  I would like it even more if it wasn't so expensive.
10) It was a billion degrees here last week. 95+ with indices 100+.  I broke into a sweat walking to a mail box 100 yards from my front door!!  PEOPLE, PLEASE!!  Get to praying that that was the LAST week of that this year!!  If you care about me at all!!  I implore thee!!
11) Sometimes it's weird to me when people change their last names when they get married.  I always assumed I would but the older I get, the less sure I am of that.  I don't know why it's only sometimes weird, either.
12) So much has happened in the last week I don't even know where to start.  Sometimes I accomplish more in a single day than in 3 weeks this summer.  It's utterly ridiculous and sort of thrilling at the same time.
13) I hit rock bottom the other day... I asked Rashan to tape some Food Network and bring it to me... I'm such an addict.  Pray for me.


Movies 2010, Weeks 28-30

Finally!  I've watched enough movies to justify a post!  It's only taken 3 weeks!  Lol.  I'll do better... maybe.

July 25- 31, 2010
159) Lucky.  Documentary about people across the country who won the lottery and the effect on their life.  Not really groundbreaking.  Too many stories.  The opening was too quick fire where people started running together.  How many I won and I'm weird stories can you hear?  There was only one person I actually liked out of at least 5.  There was at least one I COULD. NOT. STAND!!  Difficult to watch that.  There was another one who really creeped me out.  3.2 stars
160) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The classic film that it turns out is older than me!  Wow!  Which explains some of the bad CGI!  Lol.  But I can absolutely see why people love this movie.  I got weary of the endless action sequences.  I know... I'm terrible.  I still think it's a good movie.  4 stars

August 1-7, 2010
161) Kevorkian.  Documentary about a congressional run by the man known as Dr. Death.  I can't say I was terribly intrigued by the idea of watching his run but when I heard it would also include other things about his life, I knew I'd want to watch it.  This film really shouldn't have even been billed as that since that wasn't the interesting thing.  Strange but definitely worth watching from a nosiness and interestingness of character perspective.  Just a tad too long at the end.  There were a few quotes they could've just left out instead of letting the film drag when it seemed like it had already ended.  4 stars

August 8-14, 2010
162) Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox stars in this film about a time machine.  From the first 10 minutes I was hooked.  Holy 80s movie!  LOL!  I know what you're thinking: how could you have POSSIBLY never seen this movie?  I've seen bits and pieces of course but watching it all the way through = a great joy!!  Loved it.  I'm only going to subtract for the "Oh there's GONNA be a sequel" moment at the end.  4.7 stars
163) The Thin Man. The first of the classic detective films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.  I completely understand why people love this movie.  Delightful.  And I'm going to need a few of her outfits.  Thank you ever so much.  4.5 stars
164) Easter Parade. Film starring Fred Astaire & Judy Garland.  WOW!!!!!  Fred Astaire's dance in the opening number = AMAZING!!!  But how much make-up did they put on him to try to make him look younger?  Made him look older.  I hated her country clothes.  Wow.  Really bad.  The film over all?  Meh.  How disappointing considering its Astaire and Garland.  3.4 stars


The News

Guess what??  I'm going to be a visiting instructor at my university!!  I'm SOOOOO excited!  I've been working hard on my syllabus and can't wait to rock their worlds!!  WOOHOO!!!!  I'm teaching one course and taking 3 for my degree but this will be a great addition to my CV!  Yeaaaahhhh!!!


Birthday List!!

With less than two weeks before my birthday, August 23rd, I know you're clamoring for my birthday list, wondering why it is I haven't graced you with it yet.  To that I say, "My bad! You know I love y'all!"  I was trying to do this challenge and moving to my new place (where I smell my neighbor's cigarette smoke through my walls-- GROSS!!) without internet yet. 

And now I can't stop reading this book "Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away."  It's pretty amazing.  I zipped through it in 2.5 days while unpacking.  I bought it on one of my book-buying binges.  If I don't get these on my birthday, don't feel like you still can't hook a sister up!  I also feel like I have less than 2 weeks to knock some of this stuff off of my 30 Before 30 list and the time is now!

1) A helicopter ride
2) A vineyard tour
3) Nude or grey pumps (like these)
4) A Giada de Laurentiis cookbook
5) An Ina Garten cookbook
6) Jewelry... like diamond studs (My ears are so over costume jewelry somewhat to my chagrin.)
7) An awesome meal in a cute, delicious restaurant
8) A yummy trip to one of the many bakeries or ice cream shops here
9) A tour of the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory (WHICH IS JUST MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE!!!!!)
10) A film (LOL)
11) To win that awesome & incredibly expensive mattress I entered a contest for!
12) Find the random items I'm missing from among my things (my silverware, a bag of shoes I haven't been able to find all summer, aluminum foil (see what I mean by random??))
13) Ride a mechanical bull
14) The Complete Vegetarian Kitchen by Lorna Sass.  I gave this to Stace for Christmas when she was pretending to stop eating meat (LOLOL) but first I looked through it and OMG!!  I was like, "If I had this book, I would totally eat vegetarian 3xs a week like I want to try!"
15) A really sharp knife.  Why?  Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 60

My bad for the delay but I don't have the web in my apartment yet!  So much for that challenge, huh?  Also, the announcement may come tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.  Hold tight!
1) While I know that people have weight issues, it drives me bananas to listen to people talk about theirs when they're not doing anything to change it.  Be happy in your body or make moves.  (There seems to be a theme in these Monday Mindspacings...)  The worst though is when some normal-sized girl complains about not being skinny like some star.  That's a real psychosis???  o_O  Yes, I once had a thigh aspirant (AndieMcDowell-- I wanted my thighs to look like hers when I sat down) but I'm black.  I'm petite and all but my body's design means I'm never going to be stick thin.  I can have a small waist but my lower body will be talking to ya!  And you like it!  Lol.
2) My daily flawless face regimen used to be washing my face with water when I woke up.  I now have to use some sort of cleanser after I work out and moisturizer after I wash my face in the morning.  YO FACE!  Who told you to change on me?!?!  For a minute I had one or two unsightly(ly?) large pimples at all times.  Now that I've switched it up, my face is behaving again.  THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT!!!
3) One of my fb friends: "just had the world's oldest and probably sickest dog bark @ me, lol, like 4 more barks and he'll be in the upper room old. I know he wants to scare me, but it ain't worth his life. lol it needs to save it's energy for more important things like breathing."  ROTFL!!!!!
4) When you're a new mom and your baby's first born, are you all delusional thinking your baby's cute?  Or are you like, "Okay... room to grow.  Not cute yet..."  Or are you like, "Please tell me she's gonna look better than that one day!!"?  Because newborns almost always look like aliens to me.  I'm not saying you don't love him/her but...
5) I realize I prided myself on living away from home and now I'm having to swallow that pill called, "You're almost moving back... only 1.5 hours away."  It is a big pill.  The kind my mom used to call horse pills.  The one it takes a mental reckoning and 3 or 4 swallows to get down.  Okay I will really get over it.  Lol.  What brought me to this revelation????
6) I realized I can now stop saying I'm from Charlotte, NC.  People in NC know what Charlotte is!  Lololol.  I have only lived there one year in the last 10 so that will be a random huge adjustment.  (I hate when people ask me if Charlotte is in SC.)
7) Why is my sister friends with the ex-girlfriends (yes, PLURAL) of several of her ex-boyfriends?  Like the only reason they know each other is because they have the same ex.  Weird.  And funny!
8) Ever since Rachael Ray told me you should only keep spices for a year, I can't stand those spice racks that are on everyone's registry.  I just think about how they were probably packaged three years ago and you won't use even one of them up in the next 2 years and it just grosses me out.  Thanks Rach.  You ruined me.
9) I hate when people say 'every since.'  I mean... even 36Mafia says, "Ever since I can remember I been poppin my collar."
10) I don't like the phrase "champagne taste on a beer budget."  First, I don't drink cheap beer.  Second, I don't drink cheap beer.  Wait, I already said that.  Third, it conjures images of plumbers with engorged bellies and exposed cracks.
11) My sister drinks half and half.  That is exactly what it sounds like.  She takes the little containers, shakes them up and drinks them.  I don't know how frequently she does it but she does it.  Gro.dy.  And then she indignantly asked, "Why is that gross?"  Girl please.
12) I want some nude, rounded pointy-toed pumps.  Preferably patent leather.  Ooh!  Or grey!!  Like these!  I wear a 7.5 (narrow if you can find it) and my birthday is August 23rd.  This is a hint... that I want them for my birthday.  You still have time.


What Is Love... Today?

Is anyone else currently singing the song that I will forever associate with 'Night at the Roxbury'?  No?  Just me?  Mmk.  (ROTFL AT THAT CLIP!! PLEASE WATCH THE WHOLE THING!!)

Whoever came up with this list is trying to make me out to be a simp, son!  A SIMP!!  I couldn't write this yesterday because I was in one of my moods.  Love is a many splendored thing.  I really don't know how to describe it when it comes down to it other than to see life would be useless without it.  I thrive on love in all its forms.  I like to be loved and I like to love people... but only if they deserve it.  I'm stingy with my attention.  You have to earn my love just like you have to earn my respect.  If I don't respect you, SOMETHING about you, I doubt I can love you.

But anyway, can we talk about my day?  WAIT!  I think if I do that, I'll be caught up!  Cool.  #ohledoit!  So today has been pretty awesome.  It started out with a sucky argument and angsty thoughts... so typical of me in a time of upheaval.  Then at 2 a.m. I finally made myself go to sleep since when I listened to the message about jury duty, the first time it said 'disqualified.'  Then it said, 'Report at 8 a.m.' UGHHHHHHHHH!!!! MAKE UP YOUR MIND!! AND DO IT IN A WAY THAT I DON'T HAVE TO WAKE UP AT SIX.FOURTY.FIIIIIIVE TO DO IT!!  Disgruntled.

So I wake up at 6:45 but don't get up until 6:47... you know... true sleeping in.  I get in and the woman tells me I'm excused.  Scowl.  I decide to go to the library to do some research on my next film (ACK!) but it's not open yet.  Blech.  Fine.  I see on the door it opens at 9 so I decide to go get some iced coffee.  First spot doesn't have iced coffee but they do across the plaza according to the bored looking blackberry-groping chick sitting behind the counter of the empty shop.  She's right.  I drink my coffee and surf the web while eating the strawberries and cottage cheese I'd brought from home. 

Then I head to the library, chatting with Stace along the way.  Why is there now a sign outside with the new budget cut hours?  They open at 10.  Really?  This is becoming a comedy of errors.  So I talk to Stace as I begin to feel like the pied piper of the homeless.  I'd forgotten the uptown (downtown to you outsiders) library is their daytime home.  They're congregating on either side of me near the waterfall fountain art installation combo thing.  How's that for a mouthful?  Whatev.  Until they start trying to talk to me... and trying to make eye contact.  Dude... you see me on the phone.  Please.

After Stace gets off the phone, I have pretend conversations to thwart further entreaties for 10 more minutes, wait until the homeless rush dies down a bit (which looks exactly the same as students shoving each other to get on the inevitably full bus at UF), then saunter in to ask my questions.  My best idea of the day comes when I ask an elderly security guard for his ideas for a documentary.  YESSSSS!!  I saw him and had a feeling he'd have a good idea!  Can't wait to explore it further!  I sent out a twitter cry for help finding somewhere to eat lunch and ended up meeting a fellow Hamptonian for sushi.  It's really cool when people grow up while you're not looking.  Still themselves, but a more mature version.  Love it.  We chatted about our significant others.  It was cool. 

I got back from lunch less enthused about my idea.  :/  I'm still going to try to see it through at least until I can get more info but yeah... that might not come to fruition.  I stay for 2 more hours, then head home having spent more in one day than the previous week or so (not including gas) with parking, lunch & an a.m. coffee.  Hmph.  My sister and I hang out, watch Project Runway... LOVING IT!! LOVING IT!!!  That show is so awesome.  I twisted the front of my hair so she could do my head shots.  Then I ate a hot dog with ketchup, spicy mustard & jalapeno sauce.  I wanted to do more interesting toppings but I got too excited and was already hungry so I calmed myself down.  Lol.  Now I'm cyberstalking people.  What?  You didn't hear that.


August Goals

As you see, I'm doing these challenge days when I want to!  Hmph.  What I ate today?  That's silliness.  But for the record, (yesterday) I ate Mexican for lunch (an enchilada, a taco & a chile relleno) with a delicious lime margarita on the rocks with salt.  For dinner, Rashan & I went to the Vortex with Bakima (they are so fun!!).  I had fried dill pickle spears & a chili cheese burger with tater tots & it was delicious.  But today's discussion will be about my goals for August!!!

Here's what I set out to accomplish in August in keeping with my yearly goals and my 30 Before 30 goals and what I have planned for August.

1) Work on my relationship with God.  I surpassed my goal of 120 total chapters in the bible, reading 135 chapters.  My goal for August is to get to 185.  That originally included the approximately 20 chapters I had remaining in Genesis to complete the book but the end was so good, I read at least 10 chapters in one day and finished it before I could get this on the blog!  Here's how I reach my numbers: I estimate an additional 50 chapters knowing there will be some days I can't stop at 1 or 2 because it's too interesting... which I love!  And actually happened!!  Also, I will visit at least 2 churches in my new city this month via bible study or a Sunday service.  I like bible study first as an intro to the church.  If a pastor can't really open up a passage there, at least I've only lost an hour instead of 3.

2) Start my next film.  Wow...  WOW!!  We completed our 40-minute short as you know but seeing super shorts at the film festival in June made me want to complete a film that's 20 minutes or shorter.  I really can't wait.  I feel like there are some great possibilities right around the corner.

3) Take the next step in my career.  There was a significant step in July that I should be able to tell you about by Monday.  :)

4) Try new restaurants.  I just did okay on this but since I'm moving TOMORROW, I'm sure I'll try at least 3 new restaurants in my new city this month.

5) Cook at least 3xs a week, 2 of those new recipes.  I am STILL BACK!!!  I TRIED 11 RECIPES LAST WEEK ALONE!!!  I still really, REALLY like when people ask me for food advice or try recipes I recommended.  Recipes and reviews with pictures are up on my food blog, The Record Dish, including my favorites this month, layered vegetable torte, green chile burgers with tomatillo-lime salsa, Italian flag pasta & falafel.  I really liked almost everything I cooked this month.  For August I want to try at least 2 vegetarian recipes each week.  I really enjoy getting something new out of vegetables and not missing meat in my meals.  Plus some of my vegetarian homies are starting to request it!

6) Watch more movies.  I still have plenty of time to get to 300 movies by the end of the year but I need to pick up the pace.  Honestly, this month I don't even feel like I have time to watch movies and I'm not really in the mood.  If I can watch 10 movies this month, it will be a miracle.  So far I've watched one.

7) Workout more.  I was shooting for 3xs a week.  I did 3-4xs a week 3 weeks of the month and 2 days one week.  Best so far but in August I want 3xs a week EVERY WEEK!  Can't wait to make that happen!!

8) Statecations.  For July, I had no statecation goal.  This month I want to go wine tasting for my birthday!  I think that will be awesome!  I would also be okay with a helicopter ride!  :)

9) Contact my grandma once a month.  I was supposed to finally send her a package of my stuff from graduation & screening.... I didn't do that or call her.  I should fix that.

10) Do FAFSA.  ............ DONE!!  And my financial aid package is nice.


My Parents Pt. II

My mom is one of my closest friends.  We talk almost every day.  We've always had a very open relationship.  I could ask her anything and she would give me an honest, age-appropriate answer.  That's why I think it's really weird when people can't talk to their parents about s.ex.  My mom and I have been talking about it since I was 7.  I haven't wanted to talk to her about any of that since it was actually a possibility because she reacts ridiculously and I also don't ever want to be that age appropriate.  The time she told me I shouldn't kiss until I get married kind of killed it.  It's gross now.  Lol. 

Growing up, we always knew we would go to college.  It wasn't presented as an option or even pushed on us.  It was just the logical next step when you finish high school.  Oddly, though, she never got bent out of shape about grades.  In some ways I think I needed a little more pushing to overcome my sense of procrastination and sometimes laziness.  I wanted to test her theory of not caring about grades but my competitiveness wouldn't let someone I knew wasn't smarter than me do better than me constantly because they worked harder.  But that's not the mother she was destined to be.  Her own mother ruled her with a sort of iron fist.  Not like she beat her but she told my mother what to do with her life and my mom did it with little to no argument.  So instead of majoring in history or political science, she picked the major her mother wanted, music, and has not stopped regretting it.

However, it shaped the mother she is today.  She always made big life choices OUR choices, not hers.  She always tells us we're the ones who have to live with it, not her.  This is huge.  I realize how huge the older I get as I see many of my friends and acquaintances struggling under the weight of dreams of their parents without being given to chance to develop their own.  She delights in our successes and brushes us off when we fail.  Sometimes I want her to commiserate with me when I'm down or at least give some sort of helpful instruction or advice and she's more like, "What do you want me to do?? It's going to be fine."  This can be infuriating!  But I've learned to just pick someone else to help sometimes.  Lol.

My mom struggled with depression when we were younger but rarely let that effect us.  Sometimes when we talk about times she was mean to us, she admits it was a symptom of the depression.  But because she got help, she has become an advocate for mental health in the black community, both in helping to erase the stigma by talking about it and in her job.  She has worked in the legal profession as a paralegal for nearly 20 years and in the last 10 years, she has been able to combine her love of helping people with her job.  She helps the low income get their benefits, whether disability, SSI, the new welfare.  She helps AIDS patients, the homeless, adults who can't read and she loves it.  She finds herself becoming a pseudo-social worker because she wants to help them in every facet of their lives and I love her for it.

We had a very difficult relationship when I hit the age of 9 and began emotional puberty.  There were crying and shouting matches between us.  I was sullen and angry and I didn't know why.  I still don't really understand it but it took us almost 10 years to recover.  I'm sure it amazes her that we're as close as we are now.  It certainly helps that we don't live in the same household.  What also helped was seeing how close my friend B was to her mother.  They talked several times a day.  I was jealous of that relationship so I began working on my relationship with my mom.  Several times a day, though?  That wasn't going to be us.  We did well to start at once a week. 

Despite the rocky years, I felt a connection to my mom.  I followed her footsteps to Hampton and considered majoring in music (but hated theory).  She was happy I went to Hampton but would have supported me wherever I went, just like she did when my sister did not go to our home by the sea.  We grew up surrounded by her involvement with the alumni and her sorority, which is now our sorority.  When I learned through research she was among the first initiates of our sorority at Hampton, I felt even more drawn.    Now me and my sister can also call our mom our sister.  It's really cool.  But today what I'm most proud of is our great relationship and the fact that she supports me and my goals, even if they're not hers.  I have an awesome mom.


Day 3: My Parents

This daily blogging challenge has landed on a topic I don't mind talking about... my parents.  I was going to talk about both of them but I started with my dad and kept going and going and going so mom's going to get her own separate post.

My parents separated when I was 13 after years of arguing and bad behavior.  I was sad that he was leaving, but happy that my mother was finally taking a stand.  They were terrible together.  Their divorce became final when I was 17 but my mom didn't tell us for about 6 months because she was afraid of how we would react.  I was always on her side so I really didn't understand this.  But it really had to do with my sister.  She always wanted our parents to get back together.  I guess she didn't realize how unhappy they were as a unit.  They are much better apart.  Their divorce has been amicable and they are almost friends.  He still gets on her nerves but now she can escape.  Click!  But he still calls her his only wife.  He never wants to remarry.

We saw him whenever we wanted and his home was our second home.  He'd come home after traveling for weeks and have nothing but beer & mustard in his refrigerator & peanut butter in the pantry, the only things that would keep for those long periods away.  We loved going to the grocery store with him to pick out what we wanted to eat.  He would push us on the end of the cart long after we should've been doing it.  I know I had to be 17.  LOLOL!! 

My dad traveled a lot for work when we were younger, sometimes to exotic places like Mexico, Brazil or Sweden for weeks or months at a time.  So we didn't know him very well growing up.  In the summer, though, their off-season, he would be off for weeks at a time.  He would cook us breakfast or lunch or dinner and be our toy.  It was like having a fun visitor during the summer.  A strange thing to say about your dad, but it was true.  He made an effort to be there for our major events and even some minor ones, band concerts, choir solos.  He once told me he had co-workers who missed their childrens' graduations and one man missed his daughter's wedding.  I told him this is unacceptable and not allowed.  Between us, my sister and I have graduated 5 times and he's been present for every one.

My dad is a middle child... OF NINE!!!  He was the baby of his family for less than 2 years i.e. not long enough to remember it.  The day I realized all of this was the day I had a moment of clarity about why he is the way he is.  He is such a middle child, lost in the shuffle.  He is constantly picking at people TO GET ATTENTION.  If he realizes there is something that gets you riled up, that's the topic he will bring up at regular or semi-regular intervals.  It can be maddening.  But my mom taught me a trick for dealing with this: never let him see you sweat.  If he doesn't know he's irritating you, he'll stop and say, "You're no fun."  The first time I saw that in action, I was so overjoyed at beating him at his own game, I started cracking up!  I was out of college and living with him when this happened.  Another middle child trait he possesses: his loner ways.  I cannot name a single friend of my father's from my childhood.  I hear some names now when we talk but he's never had a lot of friends.  (Sounds like someone else I know... (Ahem. Rashan.))

When my sister and I were younger, he would help with our math homework.  He was in the military for several years, went to college for a year but never finished.  His parents never encouraged him to go to college.  It wasn't really something that males did where he was raised.  He's from Robeson County, the poorest county in North Carolina.  His father was a farmer, his mother a housewife.  Most of his five sisters went to college.  None of his 4 brothers did.  But my father was huge on education.  He wanted his girls to have the best.  We grew up with everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted within reason.  He's very proud that two of his daughters are college graduates. 

He has two other children from a relationship before my mother who have not done as well.  He was often a bad father to them.  It really hurt me to see the difference in how he treated us.  I used to be very angry with him and let him know it frequently until I talked to my brother about it.  He said, "You can't hold on to those things."  It was an epiphany for me.  How can I be mad when the one I feel he mistreated has forgiven him and has a good relationship with him.  So now my father and I have a lot more peace in our relationship.

I'm very glad that I moved to Pittsburgh for 3 years and lived with him after college.  Because he traveled so much when I was growing up, it really was our first time living together full-time.  I chronicled our relationship many times on this blog including our ups and downs.  I was able to talk to him like I thought fathers and daughters should and I think help him become a better father.  I think he would agree and so would my sister.  We had daddy-daughter days where we'd go out, just the two of us, for dinner and/or a movie.  We had a great time.  So my dad is not perfect but we've always known that he was there for us and I'm glad to say he still is. And it's also HIS birthday month!  His birthday is August 21st, two days before mine!  :)


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 59

I'M SO HAPPY IT'S AUGUST!!!  Birth.day.month. Birth.day.month!!  So even though I'm doing the daily blogging challenge, I couldn't leave you without Monday Mindspacing!  It also helps that I didn't want to blog about my first love.  I thought I already had but apparently not.  He was my high school sweetheart.  It ended badly when I was in college, we've both moved on.  Lol.
1) I've recently become enamored with style blogs.  Love em!  My criteria is they can't be too self-deprecating (see: skinny girls insinuating they need a diet), they have to feature clothes I would actually want to wear and the poster must be funny!  Right now, my fave is Kendi.  Soon I will be getting all of you in joining me in the 30 for 30 Remix Challenge!  Here is the advice (it'll be more convenient when I put them on the blog).
2) I don't guess I can get mad about spoiler alerts for season 1 of a show that started in 2002, huh?  Lol.
3) Lotion & lipgloss.  I need these two things for my happiness!!
4) My hair is at this weird length right now where it's long enough for a few ponytails but not one.  To lotion my shoulders I need a low pony.  To put on moisturizer I need a high pony.  Workout also requires a high pony.  But I like the ponies!  I just don't wear them out.  I'm also amazed by how much my hair has grown in just the last 2 months.  So cool!  :)  Can't wait til there's just one pony!
5) I think I want my next cookbook to be from Ina Garten!  Mmmm!  I suggest Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavors from Simple Ingredients.
6) Rashan said to me, "I like kids, I don't merely tolerate them."  I thought about this intended slight toward me, trying to brook my instinct to be offended, and said, "You're right. They're not mine."  They go directly in the tolerate category.  I don't know any kids on a personal level so they're cute to me from a distance.  One of Rashan's many nephews is actually my fave child.  He's cute and little, polite and well-behaved.  My favorite kind of child.  He also loves fruit.  That's cute.
7) I really wish Rashan would become a chef.  I'm not saying I'll never cook.  I'm just saying it would be great to have the HH I always wanted.  Even if he won't be my Hispanic (Mexican Chef) Hubby or let me go meet him, can he at least TRY to substitute???
8) I need more dresses and skirts.  Hmmm....
9) Why do people in fashion/on fashion blogs stand with their toes pointing slightly (or not so slightly) in?  When did that become sexy?
10) In middle school, my friends and I would meet in the cafeteria for breakfast sometimes.  One of them used to eat doughnuts WITH SYRUP!!!  Shockingly, she's not currently a diabetic and still weighs outrageously close to her middle school weight after having a child.  Lol.  (And she actually WANTS to gain weight but has insane metabolism.)
11) It's a really good thing I wasn't a teenage mom... because my daughter's name would've been Nautica Alexis.  No ma'am.  I also threw around Sydney Ellen (Ellen's my mom's name).  Ironically, fave roomie's daughter's Sydnee D.  Her daughter's middle name is fave roomie's mom's name.  How weird is THAT???
12) Rashan offered to dye the tips of my locks bright red for me... with KoolAid... then admitted he was going to use FlavorAde.  Hold up.  First you want to use non-dye, then Koolaid, then admit to some random off-brand DRANK on my luscious locks???  No sir.  I'ma have to get him together!!
13) I'm gonna have to ban blackberry photos until y'all can start showing something my eyes can see!!  DOWN WITH BLUR!!!  FAIL!!  GET IT TOGETHER!!!  (I have some mild feelings about this.)


Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself!

My name's Jameil!  So I decided at the very last moment of August 1st to join this challenge I just learned about blogging for 30 days with a daily pre-set topic!  Y'all know I love a challenge so NerdGirl SO failed me on this one!!

Since it's August, let me let you in on a non-secret: I LOVE AUGUST!!  I was born August 23rd & I love my birthday.  The countdown ordinarily begins July 23rd which drives my mother absolutely bat guano!!  She HATES the countdowns and that she'll be hearing them the rest of her life because of me!  Oh yeah!!  Girl 22 days until 28!  Last year I had a late-20s crisis over turning 27.  That sounded and still sounds SO INCREDIBLY OLD to be my age!!  I felt ancient and had the crying temper tantrums to prove it.  It was beyond ridiculous and I had to apologize to my love & my best friend for acting out like that!  But I was seriously angsting.  This year?  I'm gonna be a grown-up!  I'm gonna pull on my big girl panties and embrace 28 and all the magic and wonderment and delightful events it will bring.  2010 and 28 are my years!!  I CAN'T WAIT, IT'S SO ON!!

I'm generally a very happy person but I can flip it on you.  I'm controlling and I like things to go my way.  I like to plan things and I'm not very easy going when plans are changed.  I'm working on this, but I'm well-aware that I'm a work in progress.  We all are and I'm actually kind of delighted by that!  Each day is another day to work on being a better person.  I love life, especially right now that some things are settling down and working themselves out with a little help from me.  Single black female working on her addiction to retail... loving the journey through cooking I'm currently on.  It's so cool!  I tried 11 new recipes last week!!!!!  My goal is 3/week and I hit 11.  Amazing and exciting.  Check it out on my food blog, The Record Dish.  So that's day one: introduction.