Monday, December 24, 2007

Bah humbug

Oh yeah Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy “insert whatever holiday you celebrate here”.

I’m spending Christmas in NYC with my mom and cousins and am having a great time reconnecting with them all since they live in Europe and Miami. It is however hard for five women to get ready in a reasonable time with only one bathroom. It takes us FOREVER, to get out of the house. Since I’m time crazed and getting five different personalities to follow a schedule is like herding cats I had a little mini melt down as we started our 9 hour shopping marathon.

I’m anal regarding time and I know it, so I took a deep breath and decided to let things go as they are. So what we don’t make it to all the stores and sightseeing spots on our list. We’re enjoying the holiday season and all the NYC Christmas sights.

On our way home via subway we were serenaded by a man playing a sax. He came in to the subway car spouting all kinds of nonsense and then started playing his sax; he refused to stop until someone gave him some money. There were some kids on the train who were trying to shut him up and it just got funnier and funnier. What did I do? Filmed it of course. Only in NY!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Bible

I’ve never read the bible, and no one in my immediate family (parents, step mom or siblings) has a bible. The bible is a book I’ve seen in Church pews when I attended mass with my grandmother as a child and when I attend weddings but it’s never a book I’ve actually picked up and read. My parents grew up in the Catholic Church and my mom shockingly enough has never read the bible either. She studied the history of the catholic religion and the catechism as required in her catholic school but never actually read the bible from cover to cover. My step mom’s dad was a Methodist minister and none of her siblings participate in any form of organized religion.

I took an introductory religion class in college but it focused on the history and brief teachings of the world’s largest religions but never drilled down into the details. I was talking to my step mom not too long ago and mentioned how the bible is referenced in literature, movies, songs, and now that religion is a hot button issue on the political circuit I’m feeling that my overall education is lacking. I’d love to understand what the references mean even if I don’t agree with them, so I got online and purchased the bible experience. I’ve taken to listening to books on CD to help the commute go by faster so why not the bible on CD.

No worries Hostess, I won’t try to set up my own cult and force you guys into it. Similar to how Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Salinger are required reading to give kids a well rounded education of the classics, the bible, the Koran and other religious texts should be included to give kids a point of reference when passages from those texts are mentioned in every day literature.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blast from the past

This morning I tuned into my favorite Caribbean radio station online and they played one of my favorite zouk tunes from the late 80's.

It immediately conjured up memories of a summer in Haiti, visiting family, spending time with my grandmother, mom, uncle, cousins and our trips to the beach. Listening to zouk and compass songs and having an amazing summer.

I haven’t been to Haiti since 2001 for my grandmother’s funeral and for me that’s such a long time. I used to travel there almost every other summer as a child and when I graduated from college and lived at home I went once or twice a year. For the last few years there hasn’t been a reason to go, the country was in turmoil, my cousins have all pretty much moved to the U.S. or Canada and life there wasn’t as carefree as I’d remembered as a child.
Christmas 2008 will be spent in Haiti, rediscovering some of my favorite beaches, reconnecting with family, listening and hopefully writing down some memorable family tales. It’ll be the year my cousin introduces his wife and kids to one half of his heritage. It’ll be the year I meet my uncle’s new wife and my new cousin through marriage. Although Christmas 2007 hasn’t passed yet I’m looking forward to next year where I’ll be frolicking on the beach in a bathing suit listening to some awesome tunes as the waves crash onto shore.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Following Up

Last week I exchanged emails with an old colleague who recently moved to Europe with her husband and kids. I met her when I first moved to D.C. and we worked for the same company. I haven’t seen her in a while and when I told her that I hosted my very first thanksgiving dinner she said “You go girl; I'm so proud of you. I remember when all you did was make chicken on your ge.orge grill”. I chuckled because that’s all I did. Chicken and rice, or chicken and salad, that was it. I’ve always cooked, even in college but it was always chicken breaded and sautéed in a little oil and rice or corn or insert some random vegetable.

I can’t remember when my interest in cooking meals for variety and flavor instead of just cooking for subsistence happened. I just know that for the last few years I’ve started buying cookbooks and dropping hints to my parents that a gift certificate from William Son.oma would make my birthday/Christmas extra special.

Gone are the days of grilled chicken on the GF grill, tonight I made Mediterranean style chicken breasts stuffed with feta and olive tapenade with a side spinach salad.

Here are some pictures from my Thanksgiving dinner table.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scared Sh*tless

I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to blog about this but after reading the Hostess’ blog today and also hearing the news of Sean Taylor’s passing after being shot by an intruder I figured why not share. Some of you guys know I live in a transitioning neighborhood. In DC that means the haves and the have not live side by side in the same neighborhood. There’s a half way house for women 2 blocks away, ray ray and ‘em down the street, grand parents, single women, men and young upwardly mobile couples all in the mix. I’m a city girl born and raised in Brooklyn so I am always careful about my surroundings and make sure I’m secure in my car and in my home as best as I can be and make sure I have gotten to know my neighbors on all sides of me. Not just because I live in a major city with a crime issue but because safety should be everyone’s number 1 concern even in middle America and even in the ‘burbs. Hell there are gangs fighting in Gaithersburg, MD and people go missing and are attacked everywhere in this country from the hood to classy and rich neighborhoods.

As I sat on my couch watching an episode of the 1st 48, for which I blame the Hostess for introducing me to, and talking to a friend at about 11:20 PM someone rang my door bell. No one I mean no one just rings my door bell that late at nigh so I knew it wasn’t someone I knew but then when the hard knock on the door followed I thought maybe it was a neighbor, as I walked toward the door I called out and asked who it was. The person responded and said their name, which I didn’t know and said they had ID. Since that meant nothing to me I responded that they should go away and I didn’t care. The person then proceeded to put their hand through the mail slot to show me their ID and I could tell that they were trying to look through the slot. I went red and was pissed and scared all at once. I started yelling and said I was calling the cops which I immediately did. My friend on my cell phone and 911 on my landline. I’m grateful the dispatcher waited on the phone with me until they showed up because I was shacking with anger and a bit scared hell I’d been watching the 1st 48 which is about solving murders.

The person who I believe was a female was long gone by the time the police showed up and unfortunately I didn’t actually look outside because I was busy dialing 911 and didn’t want to get near the door or window in case. I made my statement and will be following up with my neighborhood list serve, the police list serve for my area and at the next community meeting. The person probably just wanted money but showing up on my doorstep at 11:20 PM and sticking your hand into my mail slot puts me in attack mode and the only way I know how is to make sure my house is secure and my alarm is on at all times and by making a big stink about this and alerting the powers that be (neighborhood commissioners and police) that more patrols are needed

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is here!

I'm hosting my very first Thanksgiving and right now the house smells fabulous.

I made some pumpkin muffins for tomorrow's breakfast, boiled the water with the brining seasoning for my turkey and am getting ready to bake Monica's southern comfort cake. Later this afternoon before the 'rents get here I'll make the cranberry sauce.

I decided to take Tuesday and Wednesday off just to relax and get some stuff done around the house and thought it would be great to have my dad and step mom come up instead of me going down to NC, I figured we'd eat at my aunts house or my step mom's cousin's place. Little did I know they thought I was inviting them up to eat at my house. lol! After the slight panic I came up with a game plan and so far so good. The rest of the menu:

Green beans and almond slices
Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes
Macaroni and Cheese

I can't wait until tomorrow!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some of My Favorite Things

I've been meaning to blog about something for a while now but I've been busy with life, work, school, and just general chillin'.

Over the last few weeks I've been on a quest to fill up my wine fridge with delicious wine and also make sure I have enough so I don't show up empty handed when I'm invited to gatherings or dinner parties. To do that, I've had to drink lots and lots of it. It's a tough job but I'm up for the challenge. I made my choices first based on my instant attraction to the label, followed by the description of the wine and what the vendor thought it would pair well with in regards to food. Cool, funky labels seem to draw me in as I'm browsing through wine aisles.

So here goes, some of my favorite things (wines):

The first one is called a cupcake chardonnay, the name alone resonated with me but the buttery and creamy flavors of the wine has me buying a bottle every time I pass a world market.

Now this Sauvignon Blanc I picked up at Costco and although pricier then a table wine it's absolutely delicious. Crisp and light, this New Zealand white is really refreshing.

If you don't like sweet wines but wanted to try a Riesling this dry one is delicious. I actually like sweet wines but tried it because the label in the store said it worked well with spicy Asian food and I was preparing a spicy Asian style fish stew that night. It's really good although the Hostess thought it was just ok.

This label caught my eye and when I realized it was a Riesling I had to pick it up. I found it at wholefood for only $8 and it's a great wine.

This isn't a wine but I thought I'd add it to my favorite things because it's a beer that needs a corkscrew to open. A delicious Raspberry flavored Belgian Beer, which btw, is now all the rage in my hood. They add Raspberry flavor after the initial fermentation or something like that. The end result is a delicious bev-raj that is way better then the flavored malt liquor stuff they make for women to drink.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Out of Control

I just watched a clean house marathon and am thankful for the common sense god gave me to keep my house uncluttered. I know I’m being judgmental but the people on these shows need some serious psychological help. Serious help that only a mental professional can give them. They also need style help, mirrored walls? On purpose? Don’t get me wrong I collect stuff, clothes especially but twice a year I go through my closet and just get rid of stuff I haven’t worn in a year.

I have that “you just never know” feeling about some of my stuff but my house is about a 1,000 square feet and I just can’t afford to keep everything. If something is coming in, something has to come out otherwise it’ll have that stuffed look. Stuffed isn’t cute nor does it make any sense.

I just did a complete reorganization of my home office/guest room and threw out a bunch of papers and stuff I’d collected since 1999, when I moved to DC. If I hadn’t looked at it since I moved into my house in 2003 it was out the door. Clearly I didn’t need it. Some of the “stuff” I couldn’t part with because of the "you never know" element I placed into small storage tins that fit on my book shelf so they’re tucked away until I need it, if ever.

I have to fight the pack rat feeling because my parents struggle with it as well and that’s one habit of their’s that I do NOT want. So I will continue to fight the urge to keep stuff and make sure my house is clutter free.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Staple

There’s nothing worse then trying to figure out what to cook for dinner when your fridge and pantry are pretty empty. I had two pieces of tilapia defrosting in the fridge but couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do with them. I then remembered that there was a can of light coconut milk in the pantry and I’d purchased some green and red Thai curry paste a while ago. Some green curry, fresh chopped ginger, garlic, brown sugar, a splash of fish sauce and a bit of chicken stock. 20 minutes later a green fish curry over rice. Yummy!

I’ve decided to always have fresh ginger and coconut milk on hand just in case I need to make an Asian influenced dish.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


That’s what I did this past weekend when I watched season 3 of the office. I LOVE that show! It’s ridiculous, outrageous and un PC but so damm funny! I watched the original British version on DVD last year and started watching the American version earlier this year.

I actually made a habit of watching an episode every morning before I headed to a work site back in March and had to deal with “le menteur” from my previous post. That was really the only way I could deal with that muhhhfking liar.

So now I’ve caught up to the episodes I missed from this season and am clamoring for more! More office please!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Too Nice

Sometimes I’m too nice and wish I could tell people exactly how I really feel. So in typical blogger fashion I’m letting some of it out. The names and language has been changed to protect innocent and not so innocent.

Au Menteur : Mais sa va pas ou quoi. Tu pense que je vois pas ce que tu fait ? Ferme ta Guelle et va te faire. Si je pouvais je te dirais la vérité que tu est rien et un jour le monde va le savoir.

La fille : Tu sait pourquoi rien ne marche pas pour toi ? C’est parce que tu est méchante et dieu va pas te bénir avec du bonheur a cause de ta mechanste. Parfois tu me dégoute.

Le Ga : Pour quoi tu chante pas ? Femme la ce bonheur mwen, ce miracle mwen, vie mwen. Mwen tombe pu li.

La Copine: Reste ou tu est. Ca vaut pas la peine de venir parce que j’ai vraiment pas envie de te voir. Je suis fatigue et franchement je préfère m’asseoir sur le divan et rien faire pour tout le weekend.

La collègue : Tu a toujours des excuse. Arrêt ca n’aide pas ta cause. Je m’en fous si tu dois aller nourrir tes enfants. Il ya du travaille à faire et chaque fois qu’il ya quelque chose tu me donne une excuse. Frankly my dear I don’t give a damm.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Pumpkin

Someone stole my pumpkin and they also stole my neighbor's pumpkin. I jumped on the Halloween/Fall bandwagon early despite the heat and purchased a nice pumpkin at Whole Paycheck for only $5. That's a great price in my opinion but someone stole my pumpkin so either I'm going to have to buy another one or just go without this year. I HATE RAY RAY and 'em, seriously hate them and hope they rot like my pumpkin would have, had it NOT been stolen from my front stoop.

I didn't exactly see the ray rays steal my pumpkin but I'm really wondering who else could it be. That's what Rays Rays do, they steal, loiter, sell and do drugs so I'm blaming the missing pumpkin on them. Maybe the kids who walk down the block on their way to school did it. Lil' Hoodlums throwing checker wrappers on the street and just generally being lil' ray rays. I hate 'em too.

Bitter? Yes I am. I hate when people steal my stuff.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I Love Hip Hop

There I was having a sip of wine, doing some homework and chatting with Diva in Demand on IM when she mentioned the Hip Hop Honors on VH1. I’d actually turned the TV off to focus on some homework and job related emails I but turned the TV back on and got sucked into this tribute. It suddenly hit me that I LOVE HIP HOP!!!!!!

I think I forgot how much I love it because what’s on the radio today isn’t what I grew up listening to in the 80’s and 90’s. I found that hip hop had lost it’s way except for a few who managed to keep the flame of what I consider real hip hop simmering. This special on Vh1 reminded me how great hip hop was back in the day. Why is it that all the good stuff is the old stuff?

It’s almost midnight and I’m way behind on what I wanted to get done tonight but that’s ok because I’m rediscovering how much I hip hop tonight.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Case for a Tic Tac

Last week I went to a panel discussion and reception hosted by one of our client organizations. While on the drive to the meeting I popped in a piece of gum just to make sure my breath was minty fresh. Last thing you want to do is chew gum when meeting with a client so I tossed it out.

Unfortunately after mingling and talking to various people for about 30 minutes straight and not being able to move toward the drink table I realized that I was in need of a mint. Talking to clients/colleagues and sucking on a mint is almost as bad as chewing gum so that option was out.

If only I’d had a tic tac, not just because they’re a low caloric treat but because they’re small enough no one will notice that you have a few in your mouth as you mingle and talk business.

Note to self – pick up some tic tacs before the next client meeting.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What to Say?

I haven’t updated the blog in a long time and although I have a bunch of topics swirling in my head putting them down on the computer has been a little bit hard for me.

Let’s see I’m back from my work trip to Africa and I’ve decided to make it my mission to get back to West Africa as soon as I can. Despite the 12 hour work days I had the best time. There’s just something about Mali and Senegal (where I ended up for a long weekend) that has me wanting more experiences. Hopefully next time I’m there I’ll be traveling with someone who I can do some traveling with. The one regret I have is that I spent a month in Mali and only headed outside of the capital once. As a woman I don’t travel alone to remote locations in foreign countries EVER. I hate that I had to limit myself and missed out on a chance to travel to Dogon Country and Timbuktu but I’m just a stickler for personal safety and I’m not that type of person who straps on a back pack and goes on an adventure alone. Next time though I’ll be better organized and hopefully will have someone I can tag as a traveling partner.

I did manage to make it to Dakar, Senegal to visit a friend for a long weekend. It was a great weekend and I was able to visit Goree Island and hang with some of her family and friends. My last vacation was to also visit a friend and while I loved the sightseeing aspect of my trips I also loved interacting with the family and friends.

On an extremely sad note one of my colleagues is dying. He’s been diagnosed with a degenerating lung condition and there’s no cure. He goes into the hospital later on next week to do a biopsy to figure out if there’s a way to make him more comfortable. They’re also unsure of how long he’ll have to live. It can be just a few months or up to 2 years. I’ve also had another colleague die in the last year of cancer so we’re all really weirded out about this.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Flash Back....

I’m sitting here writing my report and watching some video channel out of France that pretty much plays hip hop, R&B and African jams all day long. Their “Legend” hour is on and they played this little number.

Talk about blast from the past. At first I figured this song came out when I was in 8th grade but then looked it up and realized I was actually already in 11th grade when this one came out. Either way I immediately thought of Sunday afternoons when my mom would once in a while head over to Tower Records on Broadway and buy tapes. I remember having this tape and think I may have thrown it out along with the other fifty-eleven tapes I had under my bed collecting dust.

Oh now they're playing Vogue! I loved, loved this song.

I remember during the Pajama Jam my senior year this song came on and this guy I had a crush on danced the entire video voguing moves and all. I mean the ENTIRE thing. The following year I heard he came out. Like duh I should have figured that out when he did the entire Vogue

Ok now they're playing "Hey Mr. DJ". I can no longer concentrate on work. I'm off to begin the dance off in front of the mirror in my hotel room.

Hope everyone is having a fab Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Gringo

Shortly after I posted about my lack of friends I was invited on a short sightseeing tour by the director of the office I’m consulting for. Last Saturday I woke up at about the crack of dawn (7 am) and headed out to a small town/village about an hour away from the capital Bamako.

The Malian landscape is absolutely beautiful and I was just amazed by such rich colors in the scenery we passed. We decided to hire a guide and hike up some pretty interesting rock formations which was a first for me. The extent of my outdoor activities consist of the annual camping trip I take with some friends but hiking isn’t part of our activities. Despite my initial reservation, I took to it with gusto and think I may need to find some friends interested in hiking when I get back to D.C.

Unfortunately I solidified my gringo status when the New Yorker in me decided that my purse couldn’t possibly remain in the car even though there wasn’t another person around for miles. So I proceed to hike around for about an hour and half with my coach purse slung over my shoulder and my large water bottle in hand. WHO DOES THAT?!?! Apparently I do and yup I’d do it again or leave my purse at the hotel.

I took pictures but was a little uneasy at taking pictures of random people without asking first. So I have far more scenery shots then I do people shots but hopefully I can fix that next weekend. This last week was a series of exhausting 12 hour plus work days so I decided to relax and chill out this weekend. I adventured out to the National Museum, had some lunch, did some touring around and then settled down by the pool. I didn’t have any friends to hang out with this weekend but I needed some quality alone time so I didn’t mind too much. Hopefully I’ll get someone to take me shopping for souvenirs next weekend.

[I've added most of the pictures I've taken to my FlickR page. Click on the collage on the side to check those and other pictures I've taken on various trips. If it doesn't work just refresh the blogger page]

Monday, August 20, 2007


I didn’t jump on the My Space bandwagon when it first started because I figured it was something that the “kids” did online. I believe by the time I even realized there was a My space or a Face book I was fully hooked and addicted to blogging and I can only have one internet based distraction at a time. I have my space biases and think folks 30 and younger shouldn’t be on it (not sure where I got that age from) but in any case I do feel it’s for the ‘youngins and at the ripe young/older age of 33 that doesn’t mean me.

Yet some folks I know don’t feel the same because in the last month I’ve had 3 different friends who are over 30 bitch and moan to me about something some dude they liked/used to date/are dating did on my space. It’s either some picture they saw of dude and another chick, or some chick’s comments or something someone commented on their page that made them realize that they were really not in town when they said they were etc, etc, etc. At first I was actively listening to their story and injecting some tidbits when needed. However the moment they mentioned my space and the dude in one sentence I became distracted.

I’ve been sent my space pages of random people before by some of these friends so I could “see” what they were talking about. To me it was a bit like stalking and although I will refresh a blog page fifty eleven times (CreoleinDC’s) to see what’s been updated or what new comments have been posted on a controversial topic (Hostess) I don’t see that as stalking. Now going to someone’s my space page fifty eleven times in a day, clicking links to other people’s my space page who happen to leave provocative comments is stalking to me. In fact it seems like one big soap opera mess to me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Making Friends

So far I’ve seen the inside of my hotel room and the inside of my client’s office. I did manage to take a walk yesterday to the ATM, saw scenery I thought would be cool to take, and ripped my pants in the process of trying to take a picture. I have like 2 casual (chilling pants with me for the month) uhhh! The office driver has offered to take them to the local tailor to get them fixed and for that I’m grateful. I’m also grateful I got a tetanus shot before I came and my skin didn’t get pierced when I climbed over the iron gate.

Whenever I travel for work I’m usually either going to a project office where there are local staff and foreign staff working or I’m traveling with 3 or 4 other consultants for a specific assignment. I’m generally never the only consultant on an assignment where we don’t have a project office which is the situation I’m in now. For me that has meant a lot of nights ordering room service which I’m not used to at all. When I’m traveling I usually have dinner with my teammates at least several times a week and if we’re new to a particular country we make plans to go sightseeing together on the weekend.

This trip is a bit different as I’m alone really and although the client is here they haven’t offered to meet up for dinner and/or offered to take me sightseeing. That’s fine because they live here and have their own lives going on and honestly they hired me to do a job, they don’t need to play Julie cruise director and I hate feeling like I’m imposing or forcing myself on people. So now I’m on a mission to make some friends because at this pace, I’m going to finish up all the casual reading material I brought with me way before my departure date.

So I’m on a mission to make friends, which I’m finding is pretty hard and awkward for me. I’m not one of those people who just randomly strike up a conversation with strangers. I often wonder how people come off a plane with a new best friend. I sit down, dig out my reading materials and put on the headphones.

So now I just have to work on getting out of my comfort zone because this traveling alone stuff is so not what I’m used to.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


In the last month or so I started working on an assignment at work that required me to use my French language skills. A bit rusty, I’ve been trying to practice speaking a bit more with my parents and other francophone friends. I started thinking about language and how we learn it and realized that I never consciously learned French the way I learned Italian or Spanish in H.S. I guess it was similar to when most toddlers start comprehending and speaking I always remember speaking and understanding French. In fact when my mom often reminds me that although, I was born and raised in NYC, French was actually my first language. That’s what my parents spoke and since they were at that time firmly entrenched in a Haitian enclave of friends and neighbors that’s all I heard around me. According to my mom I didn’t start really speaking English until I went to pre-K when I was four. Go figure, I remember learning how to read and write English and French in school but comprehension was always there. Similar to Haitian-Creole which I always remember understanding without any difficulty. I was never formally thought Creole (Kreyol) but similar to French it was spoken around me since infancy and I guess I just absorbed the language in that part of my brain.

I’m heading to Bamako, Mali now via Paris and although I haven’t spoken French on a regular basis since my trip to Brussels last Christmas it’s all flooding back in. Wish me luck as for the first time in my career I’m actually going to be conducting meetings in French. Gasp! I’ve only had to speak to friends and family in French since I graduated from college so we’ll see how forgiving these clients are at my accent and grammatical mistakes.

This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stuff to blog about over the next month.

Friday, August 03, 2007

They Asked for Forks!?!?!

Last night I got together with a few bloggers because BC was in town on his US tour. Since, the Hostess, the BC and I are addicted to Ethiopian food he suggested to the dinner organizer, CreoleinDC that we head there for dinner. The invitation was made to the blogworld and Tsiporah, onefromphilly (no blog), Royce’s Daughter and another blogger decided to RSVP to hang that night. We were going to one of DC’s many many many Ethiopian eateries and I was pretty excited because if I could, I’d eat Ethiopian food EVERY DAY, it’s that good to me.

It doesn’t always dawn on me that there are people out there who don’t care for the food because well it’s like someone saying they don’t like cake. Just weird to me lol! I’m so used to eating it communal style that I never thought that not everyone is ok with the traditional style of eating Ethiopian food which is around a big communal plate where you take pieces of injera to eat your food. Similar to how other Middle Eastern and African cultures eat. Just make sure you use your right hand because traditionally the left is used to uhhhh clean oneself.

There was a lot of confusion and distraction not just because there were 8 people who’d been reading each other’s blogs but never really met but because one of the bloggers was giving everyone MUCH blog fodder. Check out the posts of the different bloggers who were there to see what I’m talking about.

So, Creole asked the waitress for a fork and I think I clutched my imaginary pearls. Creole doesn’t really “do” communal plates and I can respect that because that's how she is. Then half the hands at the table started going up in demand of forks. I just felt my heart dip a little and I may have yelled out “ahhhh NO”. Some tried the injera and just couldn’t get past the taste but without the bread you really can’t eat the food traditionally. I actually think the bread is good but I only take off little chucks so I won’t get too full too fast. Most of the people I know who don’t like Ethiopian food don’t like it because of the bread.

I feel like Ethiopian food is a DC staple just like the Smithsonian museums. A must do when you’re in DC especially if you’re anywhere near the U Street/Adam’s Morgan area. Either way the evening was a great success that ended waaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I’d rather be reading Harry Potter

I haven't finished the book yet. I quickly read a chapter this morning at 6:30 AM when I woke up although I'd stayed up until 1:30 AM to read for an hour before going to bed. I’m usually very excited when a new Harry Potter book comes out but this time I wasn’t so thrilled with the timing. I have a new project that requires a lot of my attention at work, my regular project still requires my attention, I’m in the middle of putting together a section of a group project, and finals are less then 2 weeks away. So my downtime to actually read and finish a 700+ page book is slim. I really thought about taking Monday off so I could finish the book but then thought about all the work I had waiting for me in the office and realized I couldn’t in good conscious do that. So I steal away some time and read a chapter here and there hoping that this weekend I will have a few hours of free time to finish the book.

I’m really in this predicament because I am the number 1 procrastinator, I procrastinate at every aspect of my life (except for time, I’m pretty punctual). I’m not sure why that is because I feel such a sense of satisfaction when I actually get things done immediately. Why am I not continually striving for that constant sense of satisfaction by getting things done? I sometimes have this constant feeling of dread because of all the things that are on the constant “to do list” that I just put off because of the time it would take to get it done. I’ve been browsing the Internet looking for some self help tips and hopefully I can get it under control. I even procrastinated with this post and have been thinking of updating the blog for about a week now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Letter to UPS

A package was sent to my home address on 7/9/07 and arrived for delivery at my home on 7/10/07. That evening when I received my InfoNotice I contacted UPS immediately and ask that the address be changed to my work address since I was not going to be home during the day to receive the package. I receivd 2 subsequent infonotices and each time contacted the 1800 number located on the notice and asked them to send it to the new address. Every customer service representative I spoke to apologized for the mix up and stated that the package would reach me at the new address the next day. I called every single day since and was told the package would be on its way.

I finally recieved a call from the Landover, MD UPS location after asking three times for someone to notify me as to why I still haven't received my package at the correct address and they finally left a VM this morning on 7/17/07. Unfortunately I wasn't able to understand a word the UPS representative said because it appeared that they decided to stuff cotton in their mouth before dialing my number.

I would have never thought I'd experience this type of service from a company that seems to pride itself on customer service. It has been 7 days and I have not received my package yet one that would have shipped from Landover, MD to McLean, VA which is less than an hours drive away. It has taken 6 phone calls and I still haven't received my pacakge and yet when I asked for someone to contact me they gave the assignment to someone who could not articulate their name or phone number. This is absolutely deplorable. I hope you improve your customer service becuase the next time I'm sending a package for work or for personal use I'm not using UPS.

Side Note: I don't even know who sent me the package, I didn't order anything and I can only think it's someone sending me a birthday gift. IT better be good! lol!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Something About That Song

A year or two ago, I heard this song on skyrock, a French hip hop station. Maybe it was because I was going through a tough time emotionally but this song just spoke to me. It just reminds me to keep my head high, not to compromise on my wants and desires and to keep working on the fabulousness.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Drunken Paranoia

A few weeks ago I went out for a happy hour with some co-worker friends. I was home by 9PM changed into my PJ's and settle on the couch with another glass of wine and a tofutti tutti in front of my computer and the TV. I settled down and to watch Top Chef at 10 and right before they announced who was going to be kicked off this week I fell asleep. I woke up at 12:30 with all the lights on. I got off the couch, made sure the alarm was set, closed the TV cabinet and went to bed.

At 3 AM I was startled by what I thought was "ray ray" making lots of noise outside my window only to realize that my television downstairs was on. I crept outside of my room in the dark to see if the cabinet was open and if I could hear anyone downstairs. I could have swore that it was open and someone was down there. I locked my bedroom door and started to call 911 but then decided to see if maybe just maybe the channel playing was also a channel that my Tivo would typically record. Once I verified that with the TV in my bedroom I turned on the hall light and crept downstairs. My TV cabinet was closed but the TV was blaring. I could have SWORN I'd turned it off before going upstairs. I turned it off made sure the alarm was engaged and all the doors were locked before returning upstairs to bed.

Once in bed I realized I didn't check to see if someone was hiding in the other rooms upstairs so I locked my bedroom door again and listened carefully. All I heard was the cat scratching at the carpet outside of my door.

I feel asleep and woke up when I heard a boom at my door and thought my suspicions were true someone WAS in my house. Turned out it was the cat trying to do a Kamikaze through the door because it was 6 AM and he wanted food.

Lessons Learned:

1) Always double check to make sure the TV is off in the living room
2) Don't go to bed tipsy

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Olivier Needs a J.O.B

My neighbour and I decided to run some errands together on Saturday and stopped by Petsmart so I can pick up some supplies for Pierre and Olivier.

Neighbor: Da hell, you just spent $93?
Me: Yup but it's a months worth of food and supplies
Neighbor: Yeah but dang they better get a job or something. Can you put them in commercials?
Me: Bwahahha! (thinking: That's not a bad idea)

So if there are any animal commercial producers reading this. Olivier and Pierre need a JOB stat! Here's a video of Olivier I took two Christmases ago, please consider this his audition tape.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


You ever want something that you know you really didn’t want? It looked shiny, intriguing even. Just not for you, yet you couldn’t help yourself. You just wanted to touch this shiny, not good for you toy. Knowing that the shiny new toy would eventually fade away to reality, you still want a peek.

Maybe its angst and maybe I should just put that toy back on the shelf.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

PSA: Left Lane is a Passing Lane

I haven’t taken a drivers test in 15 years so maybe just maybe they’ve added new rules. Hell I break road rules every so often (snicker) because sometimes that “No U Turn” sign isn’t helping. However, driving below the speed limit in the left lane and driving slower then the speed of traffic in the left lane is UNACCEPTABLE EVERRRRRRRR. Last time I checked the left lane was the passing lane, not the just sit there lane. In fact if there’s more then one lane on a highway so do us all a favor and just chill in the right lane UNLESS you’re ready to pass someone. For the life of me I don’t understand why people are so rude to think they can SIT in the left lane while people are passing to the right.

Maybe it’s because I’m in my car in highway traffic for more than an hour a day and feel the frustration of those inconsiderate people who hog the left lane when they’re not passing anyone and god forbid are driving below the speed limit.

To the idiot dude in the Jeep Cherokee who hogged the left lane going slower then the speed of traffic, whom I passed on his right this morning at 7:20 AM on GW Parkway I’d like to say VA TE FAIRE!

Clearly I need to find a job downtown. This commute from DC to Tyson’s Corner is driving me bananas.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Keepin' it Real

I was catching up on my school reading when my home phone rang at about 9:30 PM. I figured it was one of my parents since everyone else calls me on my cell phone and answered.

Quick background, I have a very very basic home phone service. No caller ID, voice mail or even answering machine and I don’t even have long distance capabilities on it. My cell phone has all those services included in the plan so I only used my home phone to dial into my company’s network. When I finally got DSL I kept the home in operation to make those just in case calls and so I wouldn’t “burn up” my cell phone minutes when I worked from home.

To make a long story longer, the person asked for me and then proceeded to tell me that my number was listed as an alternative telephone number for my little brother. That was news to me because I don’t think my little brother even knows my home number. I can count on one hand the number of times I talk to him in a year and that’s just because we’re not particularly close and we generally catch up when we see each other on holidays and over IM. The person on the phone identified himself very quickly and then asked me for a way to reach my brother. I was a taken aback because 1) I had no idea what this was about and 2) I was weirded out that they called me looking for a way to reach my brother. Since I don’t give out anyone’s number all willy nilly I asked the caller to tell me his name again and where he was calling from.

Now here is where things got a little bit dicey. The dude on the phone immediately got snippy and then tried to use some scare tactics such as “I know your bro is still in XXXXXXX (to use The OE’s term) and that it was in his best interest to contact them. That’s when the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got a little bit pissy and said I’m not giving him any information until he tells me what this is about. That’s when dude said I’m not going to waste any more of your time and said goodbye, so I hung up.

Remember that scene on the Chappelle show in the “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” segment and the girl receives a wrong number? Well that’s how I felt so I called my brother who assured me he didn’t have any clue as to why the person called me and that he was current on all his bills. Then I “Starred 69” the number and then gave it to my brother. I could have called what appeared to be a bill collector back to give him a tongue lashing but I saw what happened when folks “kept it real” and really it’s none of my business.

I’m just trying to figure out how in the world they received my number since I’m pretty sure my brother 1) doesn’t have it and 2) why would he give out my number as an alternative when he could easily have given them my dad’s number or a fake one.

I saw a 20/20 episode one day about the scare and illegal tactics bill collectors use to try to intimidate folks who owe money and if there are any out there reading this:

“I hate when mofos ‘be’ playing on my phone”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What would you do?

If someone you liked, like really really really liked tried to set you up with one of his friends. You and dude have hooked up on more then one occasion. You profess your undying “like” to him and that you want more. He gently tells you that he needs to work on himself and isn’t ready for more. Yet you find out that a few weeks later he flies across the country to hang out with some chica. You then tell him you can no longer hook up. However you continue to hang out on occasion, IM, email, phone and of course hook up. Two weeks after the last hook up you organize a Happy hour to where you each bring friends. Walking back to your respective cars, he repeatedly asks if you think Tom is cool. The next day you realize he gave your email address to Tom, who asks you to hang out.

What would you do?

Monday, June 18, 2007


You ever talk to someone who has an excuse for everything! Who is always justifying their actions because they know they shouldn't be doing x, y or z. I seem to be surrounded by indecisive people and people who have excuses for things that they KNOW are unacceptable. I’m not throwing rocks because I live in a glass house. I KNOW I shouldn't have bought and ate that bag of cheetos when I stopped for gas last week. So what if I’d just ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill. I used that tidbit and a crazed work day as my excuse therefore I had no one but myself to blame when I couldn't fit into a pair of shorts from last year.
There are reactions for every action even if you don’t think your actions warranted that reaction. Am I making any sense? I’m not saying you have to watch every single thing you do or anticipate every reaction. BUT you do have to think about how your actions are going to affect the people around you.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Green With Envy

I don’t typically “envy” people but right about now I’m pretty envious of folks without any vision or tearing problems. Some of you may remember the clogged tear tuck, if not click here. I ended up having the surgery to create a by pass and unfortunately I’m now in a wait and see game. I’m still tearing and have had two subsequent doctor visits after the surgery and so far they’re still telling me to hold on it should get better. Since I’m using medicated drops the doctor made a stress test that included putting in yellow drops in my eyes. Unfortunately I still had my contacts in. On the way back to the office I looked in my rearview mirror to “check my hair” and saw this looking back at me.

I’m laughing now because I look like someone possessed by some alien life form. Either that or a new X Men character. I wonder what my powers would be.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Girl Scouts

A friend and I were walking back from the neighborhood "likka sto" (the kind with bullet proof glass) and ran across this squirrel on the side walk. He immediately ran up the tree and started munching on his prize. After a closer look we realized he'd snagged a girls scout thin mint cookie. He had one eye on us and the other was focused on grinding his little rabid teeth into the cookie.

Didn't realize that squirrels liked cookies let alone thin mints. You learn something new everyday.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Mine is pretty nice and we get along which should be a given since she’s been my step-mom for almost twenty-five years. We’re definitely not Mother - Daughter close, not even Aunt – Niece close but more like 2nd Cousin close. As a kid I remember her not being able to comb my hair and I’d come home looking like a crazy person. I remember her throughout my child hood as someone who made sure that my dad who was no Ward Cleaver, made an effort to have me visit every other weekend when they lived in NYC and at least once a year when they moved to NC.

Yet throughout the years there’s always been that layer of uncertainty on how close we should be to each other. How close do you get to someone who isn’t your mother, yet has that role for your siblings and is your dad’s wife? Now that I’m an adult we see each other several times a year and she comes up to visit with me and some of her family in DC without my dad at least two or three times a year. I went on vacation with her and my sister a few years ago and she’s the one I communicate with when I’m planning a visit. That layer of uncertainty has thinned out a bit but is still there.

At my age there’s a greater chance that I may be a step mother. How close should I get if I’m not raising my husband’s child, how close should I get if they live with us? As a stepdaughter who has gone through the awkwardness what kind of stepmother would I be?

One of my good friends is going through some drama with her family now and a lot of it centers on her feelings towards her step mother who raised her and her dad who isn’t exactly Ward Cleaver. Her real mother is sort of in the picture but is emotionally unbalanced and they have a turbulent relationship. She’s relied on her stepmother to give her that maternal love and unfortunately according to my friend she doesn’t feel it. Family dynamics can be dicey to begin with and then you bring in the step parent element and it can get even messier.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Fight between Good and Evil

For the last 9 months I’ve been fighting a battle with an evil force. Although I’ve learned over the last 32 ½ years that the world isn’t black and white, I believe in good and evil forces. I believe I have my two feet firmly planted on the good side so it’s hard for me to understand how to fight the good fight when Evil comes knocking. Last Friday, while literally under the knife (I had out patient surgery to repair the clogged tear duct I have (more information on that in another post), the Evil forces had worked up to derail what was potentially a life saving force on the project I manage.

The crisis took 6 days, 3 conference calls and countless emails to fix and while Good has prevailed, Evil orchestrated such a blow that I’m scrambling now to put up shields and get my weapons in order because Evil will be back and I want to be ready!

In other words, I wish a muhhhfucka would!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


It’s been a crazy last 7 days, returning home from vacation, catching up on 400 unread emails, dealing with a kitchen renovation and hosting my cousin has meant that I haven’t had time to write about my trip.

Morocco was AMAZING, just magnificent. When I landed in Marrakesh and stepped down from the plane onto the tarmac I was like hot damm I’m in Africa! I know, it’s not sub-Saharan Africa but it’s still my first trip to the continent. Once I was outside and saw the bustle of people on foot, in cars, on bikes, the women half of them covered (scarf on head) I realized wow I’m in a Muslim country. [I’d gone to Indonesia for work years ago and although that is the country with the largest Muslim population most of the women I saw there didn’t cover their heads]. I was taken to the guest house we were staying in and decided to take a nap since my friends were running late driving down from Casablanca to meet me. When they arrived it was as if someone said “On your mark, get set, GO!”.

5 cities (Marrakesh, Essouira, Casablanca, Rabat, and Fez) in 8 days. Talk about whirlwind. My first night in the country I didn’t go to sleep until 7 the next morning. My friends arrived we hung out, went to eat, went to two clubs, went to a casino, grabbed more food and then finally back to the guest house to sleep. It was a bit crazy.

What I also loved about my trip was that I wasn’t just on a bus with a bunch of tourists being schlepped from place to place. I was there visiting my old officemate and friend who’d decided to move back to Morocco to be closer to her family and friends so we got to hang out with them, sightsee and get an up close and personal tour of life in Morocco.

I did things I’d only dreamed about doing, like riding a Camel on the beach, petting a Monkey, watching snake charmers in a square, eating and discovering great food. The whole country just oozed ancient history and rituals. I went to a Hamman which is a tradition in N. Africa which involves, a steam room, someone scrubbing all the dead skin cells and dirt off your body and a massage. I never felt cleaner and wish I could do it here so cheaply. I walked through the Souks, bargaining with the shop keepers for souvenirs, I took lots of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quick Update

I know its not unusual for me to only blog once a week or even once every two weeks but I am heading home from an 8 day vacation where I resisted the urge to get on the internet to even check personal emails. Now that I'm transiting back home I thought I'd put out a quick update.

I just spent the last 8 days in Morocco and it was FABULOUS, words can't even describe everything I've experienced in the last week. Howeveer, so many blog worthy things happened that I can't wait to have an hour to sit down and write a proper post later on this week. I'll upload some pictures from the trip as well later this week.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Special Thanks

I'd like to give a special thanks, a shout out in fact to the Internet. Thanks to you internet I am able to listen keep up with the diaspora music while at work and in my car (via my iPod). A further thanks to the good folks at for having such a service that enables me to watch the videos for those songs that would more then likely not appear on American MTV, VH1 or gasp BET.

Medhy Custos is back with a new single.

So I heard this new song on the internet radio from Martinique and it's been playing on my iPod on repeat. The song is by Admiral T and features a group called Kassav' who virtually propolled the Zouk phenomenon through out the Francophone world. I've been listening to Kassav's music since I can remember even listening to music. The message is about how together the country can be strong and prosper. Good stuff.

I just discovered this great Jamaican artist called Gyptian and I've been rocking some of his songs for the last few weeks.

Thanks again internt.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


On Monday afternoon I headed to the gym in my office building with a colleague and saw the breaking news about the Massacre at VT. I remember stopping for a minute thinking how messed up that situation seemed, put on my ear phones and started running on the treadmill. I looked at the images on the TV screen and remembered being annoyed that they were showing the same footage over and over again. I finished my workout, showered and went back to work.

Later that evening I joined my colleagues for a work sanctioned happy hour and on my way home I just kept having that feeling that this whole incident/catastrophe was just so removed from my life. Sure it occurred four hours away and there are a gazillion VT grads in the DC metro area but I didn’t know any of them or even anyone who was there. I remembered a conversation that happened on my list serve about what type of violence/crime a neighborhood or area was used too and the shock when something equally violent and horrific occurred that wasn’t part of the general status quo. I started wondering if school shootings, mass murders were starting to be part of our general status quo and got worried.

The next morning the victims and the families of the victims started talking and expressing their grief and disbelief and it finally hit me that I too was shocked, saddened that so many lives were lost and realized that no matter what the numbers were, not matter that this shooter achieved a new US record that even one victim was one too many. Over the last few days we’ve been discussing the need for more gun control, the need for more mental health interventions and what exactly could have been done to prevent this. Hopefully we all figure it out before it just becomes the norm.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Before It's Too Late

I need to talk about my Saturday night a few weeks ago. I went to see one of my favorite Haitian groups play and had the most amazing time. That night I partied like a rock star and was up until about 4 AM but it didn’t matter that I spent all of Sunday in recovery mode. Like seriously I had such a good time I can still remember how the “happy” endorphins entered my system when they played hit after hit. I’ve been pretty down because of work lately and day dreaming about how much fun I had helps to take my mind of this crummy project I’m working on.

So now I’m listening to this song with my headset on and trying not to rip my hair out. Serious though, I love listening to my Island music as my friends call it. It takes me back to happier times when I was partying like a rock star.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


No this post isn't about the show, although I've heard it's great since a friend/acquaintance who I never talk to on the phone called me yesterday out of the blue because she was looking for someone to discuss it. I've never actually watched it since I can't keep up with all the L&O's currently on and now that the Sopranos are back I can't tackle on another show right now.

This post is actually about how we somehow LOST Spring. Have you seen it where you are? Ours disappeared from the DC Metro area. I went from getting a pedicure on Saturday wearing open toed shoes on Monday and Tuesday to some tiny snow flurries on my way into work in Northern VA this morning. WTF!

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's Friday Night!

Just got paid, party hopping, feeling great. I think those are the lyrics. Either way I’m actually sitting on my couch this Friday night excited to be home and relaxing. I’ve had an extremely busy week and now I’m catching up on Tivo’d L&O’s and Oprah’s. It was such a nice day outside I decided to head home at 4:30 to begin my weekend and apparently everyone in the DC metro area made the same decision because it took me over an hour to get home when it usually takes me about 40 minutes.

Spring is HERE and you have no idea how excited I am about it. I got home, took the grill cover off the grill, cleaned it and grilled a piece of steak for the warm steak salad recipe the Creole Princess posted on her site a few weeks ago. Delicious and good for you too.

In the next few weeks I’ll slowly start planting herbs and flowers in my lil’ garden. In the next two weeks I’ll remove the covering off the outdoor furniture and relax outside while reading the Sunday paper.

Aren’t you glad spring is here?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fake ID

Sunday evening I took two girlfriends who are moving out of town to dinner to congratulate them since I’d missed the group festivities that occurred during the weekend. We decided on a Tex-Mex place that was near our respective homes because the weather was nice and they had a great large outdoor patio section. Unfortunately by the time we were ready for dinner it was too cold to eat outside so we settled inside and ordered drinks. I ordered a Margarita on the rocks and when the waitress asked for my ID, I was flattered and my friends thought it was kind of cool that folks still checked my ID. The woman took my license and examined it for several moments before looking at my other two friends who although black looked nothing like me before giving me a puzzled look.

“It’s me”, I said “with a different hairstyle”

Still she gave me a puzzled look and then I handed to her a credit card with my picture on it.

“You look different in this one too” she said.

“Well it’s me” I responded.

She walked off to I assume put in our drink orders and my friends and I cracked up about how she examined my driver’s license and how stupid she seemed since I was clearly over 21 even if I do look younger then my 32 years. I was slightly insulted that she’d think I’d give her a fake ID since I never resulted to those tactics when I was under 21 but I was more amused by her dumbness. My friends thought I’d handled the situation well although they admit that they would have been pissed and we change the subject.

Five minutes later a new waiter approaches our tables and asks if we’ve already ordered drinks. After we tell him we have he then asks me for my ID again. I think I saw red, I was pissed and while bitching and moaning pulled out every piece of ID I had with a picture of myself on it including my Carolina ID with my 1992 picture. I asked to see the manager and relayed how pissed I was that they’d think I’d give them a fake ID for a freaking Margarita on a Sunday evening. WTF!

I told the manager that I was insulted and although he explained that he wanted his staff to check ID (they didn’t check my friend’s ID for her glass of wine) I was insulted that they’d think I was giving them a fake one. I reminded him that black women often change their hair style and they’d better get used to it because I may return the next week with a different hair style but the same dammed driver’s license picture. I was trying not to come off as crazed angry patron and accepted my margarita and shut up. The manager did end up taking our order because I think he could tell that we wouldn’t have welcomed our original waitress to our table. One of my friend who was with me did mention that that particular waitress was a bit rude at times but I can’t fathom what in my opinion was an idiotic move since everything I showed them including my license has my name on it. With the new tamper proof licenses who has a fake ID with their real name on it?

I discussed this with a friend who said she would never return to that restaurant and although I would tend to agree a part of me wants to return and see if they’d try the same shyt with me again. I don’t believe it was an entirely racial incident but I do feel it showed the un sophistication of a restaurant owner/manager and his staff in a diverse city and neighborhood.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Almost Healed

A year ago I woke up and realized that I’d bumped my head and accumulated a credit card bill that I couldn’t pay in full at the end of the month or the next year. I felt like I was drowning and whenever I’d pay the monthly bill, half of what I paid was added back onto the total in interest charges. Looking back I can’t tell you exactly what I’d charged that accumulated into a pool of credit card debt. I do know that it wasn’t a car (still driving the silver bullet) or a bunch of fancy clothes. I do remember that some of the charges stemmed from a pricey and unexpected car repair bill, an airline ticket or two that I’d sworn I’d pay off with the next check but then needed the cash for something else. Numerous trips to Costco and who knows what else.

I remember telling a friend that I was working on getting out of credit card debt and she was shocked that I even owed more then $10 on my credit cards. I’m known as the frugal one, the one who has nice things but nothing too flashy, I usually don’t get on the new electronic gadget bandwagon until after some time has gone by and the prices have lowered. I was the one who graduated from college with only school loans and a $100 credit card bill. What happened in the 10 years to get me to where I was this time last year? I wasn’t vigilant, I wasn’t paying attention to my spending habits or I should say I chose to ignore what was happening and kept right on spending. Ever since I received my first credit card almost 14 years ago I’ve fought the battle of not using it unless I could pay it off in full. I usually win and can say in those 14 years I’ve really lost my head three times where it took me more then a year to pay it off but that was three times to many.

I’m constantly fighting a money management battle. I’ve had two examples growing up, my mom who is extremely fiscally responsible and my dad who is the exact opposite. That man has champagne tastes with a beer budget. I’d say I fall in the middle. When I was saving up for my house I cut a lot of unnecessary expenses out and put myself on a strict allowance so I know I can do it. It was just an extremely painful process and I am struggling to find a happy medium. About a year ago a friend introduced me to her financial planner and although I was skeptical about spending money to hire someone to do what I figure wasn’t rocket science I knew I needed help. I was tired of drowning and the vicious cycle hasn’t helped me build the kind of wealth I’d like to have “just in case”.

In a week and a half I will be completely debt free! Writing down the debt per credit card in a notebook made it real and crossing off cards that were paid off has been an extremely liberating experience. I’ve put myself back on an allowance and am looking forward to watching the numbers grow in my savings account. I have two vacations planned for this year and it’s going to feel amazing to use “cash” to pay for everything. It feels great to get back on track and I’m taking steps to make sure I can’t get myself into this situation again.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On the Road Again

I’m on the road again for work after being home for about three weeks. To say I wasn’t looking forward to this trip is an understatement. First there are so many issues with this project I don’t know where to begin. Some of them are beyond our control but there are many that are within our control which is why I’m here. I’m supposed to fix everything during my two weeks here but since I don’t have magical powers or even a magic wand I’m not sure how much I can move things forward since a lot of the issues are personality driven.

I fly a lot and spend a lot of time sitting in the cattle car, otherwise known as economy class on long haul trips. I usually fly United and have enough miles that I can sit in that premium section of economy with the extra leg room. I know it’s not much but when you’re in economy you often end up with the person in front of you putting their seat so low that it’s in your face. Only problem with the premium section of economy is that it’s near business class and I have to sit and watch them get all the preferential treatment. I’ve also flown business a few times so I’ve had a taste for the good life. Forgive me guys, I’m just bitching and moaning because I could use my miles and upgrade but I’d rather save them to fly free around the country. I’ve gotten over it. Because my approval came at the last minute I wasn’t able to fly my usual route with United and ended up on a Virgin Atlantic flight to London.

As for the economy section I was not impressed. In fact after hearing so much great stuff about Virgin it was disappointing. Sure the Single beds they have in “upper class” looked great but I ride in the cattle car and they’re giving you a place to sit still for 8 to 10 hours and a bite to eat, yet I continue to expect more and am disappointed every time. The trend in the industry seems to be moving toward less passenger services and higher prices so I should know better. So far I’ve flown economy on United, American Airlines, Delta, US Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Virgin Atlantic, Macedonian Airlines, Austrian Air, BMED (a subsidiary of British Airways). My favorite so far in terms of service and amenities (i.e; quality of food and drink) has been BMED. Those of you who travel frequently what are your favorite airlines and why?

Apparently I'm not the only one concerned check out this article

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reality Check

On Tuesday I finally had my 2nd visit to an Ophthalmologist in an attempt to figure out exactly what was wrong with my leaky eyes. The visit was extremely painful and couldn’t imagine having ever been in so much pain even when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I know have a diagnosis, Nasolocrimal duct obstruction which basically means my tear tucks are closed. I still produce tears but they’re not draining the way they should. The doctor was able to clear out my left one but I will more then likely need surgery to fix the right one. To say I’ll never be able to not break out in a sweat when someone says “stick a needle in my eye” in an understatement.

Just the idea of having my eye operated on had me in tears from the doctor’s office. I bitched and moaned to a friend about my situation only to realize 2 minutes later what an ass I was being about this. Here I was complaining about my minor and curable issue to a friend who has MS. I didn’t have cancer, MS or but something I had an answer and potential remedy for. Sure I spent a half hour having a needle stuck into my tear ducks but I’m fine, healthy even and blessed to only have experienced only a little discomfort.

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Been a While

Let’s see, I finally saw Dream girls on Tuesday evening at a fundraiser. Wow! That was a great movie however I feel like I’ve been lied to, hoodwinked in fact. Why did all the talk shows, articles, blogs say Beyonce was the lead? Why was nominated as a Lead actress for that movie? She was playing a supporting role to Jennifer Hudson’s character. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Beyonce and she looked great and played the beautiful “not really a singer but I look good” role perfectly but she was NOT the lead.

Last Saturday night I hung out at Costco and the grocery store. I’d just come in from Kyiv the night before and had nothing at home so when I finally got myself together around 5PM I went food shopping. I’m sure lots of you have heard to never go to a grocery store hungry. Unfortunately I did, because I was desperate. Surprisingly enough I didn’t do too badly at Costco because I spent almost an hour and half there going up and down the isles and back and forth having a debate with myself for EVERY item I put in my cart. Good times, I tell you good times. Then off to 14th &P to the good folks of Whole Paycheck, where I munched on free cheese samples and was able to get out of there with only a $22 bill. You ever get something at the supermarket that was incorrectly weighted and miss priced and feel like you’ve won something? I got a good size block of parmesan cheese for $1.97 and felt like I was good to go. Lol! Parmesan cheese is expense.

Some of you know my real name, first and last and one of the reasons I moved to this anonymous blog format is because my first name isn’t common in these parts called the US of A. In fact it’s fairly uncommon and old fashioned even where it originated from (France). My last name is also a male first name in the English speaking world so, everyone always switches my name around and I get “Dear Mr.”. Yesterday several people including people within my company after reading an email I’d sent out responded by saying “Dear Honest’s last name”. Clearly people DO NOT pay attention to emails because the email went out as follows:

From: Last name, First name (typical for my company)
To: Folks who don’t read “good”
Subject: Blah!

Dear Blah,

Can you update your CV and forward it to me by tomorrow morning.

Best Regards,
First name

Ms. First name Last name
Not head honcho
Company in the ‘burbs
Tel: 555-5555

Bitter, yeah I am because I’d had a long day that involved going to our lawyers’ office for something some renegade colleague did. It does however help with telemarketers since I don’t have caller ID at home I pick up and when I hear can I speak to “Mr. Honest’s last name” I say you have the wrong number. hehe!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Elles Demandent

Thanks to Youtube I can get my zouk video on. I actually saw this video at a restaurant/lounge/strip club in Kyiv last week and just looked it up and realized it was also on Youtube. This was my favorite song of December '06.

OK now for the background on the restaurant/lounge/strip club deal. A colleague and I went to a restaurant recommended to us by a local colleague but went in too late to eat dinner so we decided to venture down the street and look for another place. I happened upon the word Pectopah (which is the only Russian word I can read in Cyrillic) and figured at 9:30 PM it was better then nothing. We entered in what we thought was a family type restaurant since there was a kid running around and were given the option of sitting in the front dinning room where a pianist and guitarist played or the lounge area with flat paneled TVs playing videos and a DJ playing lounge type music. We chose the lounge area, sat down ordered drinks and food when I realized there was a room beyond the lounge with a pole in the middle. My female colleague and I started laughing our arses off and kept thinking of ways to take pictures of it without being detected.

10 minutes later the reason there was a pole in that room walked right past us with very little clothes and clear stripper heels and proceeded to with the pole. I learned that evening that clear heels are universally stripper heels and appearances can be deceiving.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lucky or What?

My mom recently told me that I’m lucky because certain areas of my life just fall into place exactly how I need it to without a great deal of effort on my part. According to my grandmother who was disappointed that I wasn’t baptized when I was an infant, Saint Carmen, whose birthday I share would bring me good fortune. According to my mom she wasn’t talking about money just that despite not being baptized (I was eventually baptized at age 11 when I asked to be) being born on July 16th meant that Saint Carmen would look out for me and things would be ok.

As I sit here typing this post at 2:30 AM, suffering from day 3 of jetlag, I wonder if Saint Carmen picked and chose what path she’d help me with from the beginning or if it’s something she choose randomly. There’s a small area of my life where things don’t just fall into place and it happens to be the one area where I just don’t think I have any control over. People may disagree but life and all these years gone by is telling me differently. My life is good, I have my health and my family is healthy so I wonder if I should just be happy with what I have or pray that Saint Carmen will decide to add an additional area.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

11 Incidents

That’s how many car accidents (including cars that skidded and ended up facing the wrong way)I counted in a 30 mile radius on the Dulles Toll Road (for those in the urea). A friend and I headed to the Leesburg outlets so I could exchange a pair of shoes I’d bought before the Christmas holidays and didn’t see a drop of snow or even rain in D.C. When we reached the toll road we saw some flurries but nothing major. In Leesburg, an hour from DC the snow was coming down so we decided exchange the shoes and run into one other store before heading home. We were at the outlet stores for maybe 45 minutes and then headed up only to find the highway had accumulated at least an inch of snow. My silver bullet is great and reliable but isn’t a snowmobile so I kept my speed to about 40 mph.

Unfortunately there were a bunch of other Bozos who figured they should keep at the regular posted speed limit and ended up on the side of the road, in a ditch or with a jacked up car. I was anxious to get home, it was after all a snowy Sunday afternoon which means sitting in my pjs watching TV and drinking hot cocoa but despite my interest in getting home quickly I had no interest in dying so I keep it slow.

This is our first snow fall of the winter season and people in the DC metro area are notorious for loosing their minds when it snows. What I don’t understand is why won’t folks just SLOW DOWN! Ain’t nothing at the end of the journey to risk my life or someone else’s for. The folks with the SUVs are also notorious for speeding during inclement weather in these parts; I haven’t read anywhere where SUV manufacturers say they’re safe to drive fast in snow and icy conditions.

Let’s talk about the supermarkets; I walked into a Safeway near my house for Empanada fixings and quickly walked out. The lines were at least 30 minutes long. No way, when I didn’t need to have Empanadas tonight. Armageddon is not here, so I can’t understand why EVERYONE had to be at the grocery store today even though it was snowing. I figure the majority of the patrons lived in the area so that means there are also at least 2 mini market/bodegas/7-11 type stores within a two or three block radius of everyplace in DC proper so there’s no threat of starving to death if folks run out of milk or bread.

I’m hoping for more snow so I can work from home and if that happens I’ll just walk to the local mini market or grocery store if I run out of food.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

I suddenly have the urge to blog lol!

You ever catch someone from work lying in an email? I asked a colleague to send an email asking for additional information about a move taking place that may affect the budget on my project. The recipient of the email responded that there wasn’t a move and “things weren’t as they seem”. WTF, does that mean? I have no idea. I do know that on Sunday an email was sent by the recipient (I was cc’d on it) stating there would be an upcoming move. Turns out I deleted the email but thanks to the good folks of Google Desktop I was able to pull up a cached copy of the email and forward it on.

My immediate reaction was disbelief; I knew I wasn’t going crazy and remember seeing an email on Sunday about a move. Then I got pissed because for a quick second I thought this lie made me look like an idiot and there’s nothing that I hate more then having egg on my face at work. Then I laughed and remembered who I was dealing with; this guy has a shady rep. Once again thanks to Google desktop I was able to prove that I wasn’t the idiot and am anxiously waiting to read what excuse he’ll come up with to get himself out of this one.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Breaking Down and a whole bunch of other stuff

Blogging doesn’t seem to have the same appeal to me that it did when I first started 2 ½ years ago. I love reading other blogs but I’m having trouble keeping mine updated and often times feel like it’s a chore instead of an outlet. I don’t want to give it up yet so I'm taking the pressure off and updating when I have something to say.

I’m 32 years old and my body is breaking down. My cholesterol level is high, I need to work out more and I have an eye drainage problem. Yes, ladies and gents my right eye doesn’t drain properly so every 15 to 30 minutes or so a tear just rolls out of my right eye and down my cheek. I have bruises around my right eye lid from the constant rubbing and for a few days I was convinced I’d developed some type of skin cancer. I went to an ophthalmologist who recommended an eye lid specialist and since specialists appear to be in demand, my appointment isn’t for a few weeks.

Commercial Break:

I’m watching that I Love New York show and WOW, WOW, WOW! How in the world?!?! Where do they find these people? Lawd there’s a dude on there quoting scripture!!!!!! He’s on a crazy VH1 show to win the hand of New York and says he puts god first and starts quoting scripture. That made me laugh.

Back to the program:

If I receive my undergrad transcripts by the 22nd I will be taking my first online grad school class in about a week or so. I’m excited, frightened and very nervous. The class is in project management and will definitely be an asset. It’s not the grad school program I wanted but I don’t have the time to attend a brick and mortar program at this time and figured this course would help me with work now.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finally A Post!

I’ve been going up and down the blogsphere sucking my teeth at people who haven’t posted in a while, when I realized I haven’t posted anything since 2006. I’m feeling a bit stressed after being on vacation for 2 weeks. I haven’t taken this much time off in (hmmm since college) and it felt great. Now I’m sick and have a ton of work I don’t feel like doing but hope that this weekend will help me get over this achy, sick, head cold feeling and I’ll feel more like myself.

I spent Christmas and New Years with my mom, aunt, cousin and his family in Brussels. I had a great time listening to some of the same old stories I’d heard over and over through out the years and heard some new and interesting ones that made me think about fate, our paths in life and how one event could change the course of your life. I’d heard that my aunt didn’t like my dad and didn’t attend my mom’s wedding but I never knew why until last week. I’d asked my mom if she was hurt, angry or sad and she seemed to brush it off her shoulders.

My mom and dad meeting in Brussels in the 1960’s seems to have took my mom and her family down a different path that wasn’t anticipated when she and her sister left Haiti in 1964 to study in Belgium. The plan was that they’d get their degrees my aunt in Nursing and my mom in Chemical Engineering and they’d return to Haiti get jobs and settle down with someone from a “good” family. In the meantime my aunt finished her nursing degree applied and was accepted at an Anesthesiologist nursing program in Canada and was all set to go when my mom met my dad. Apparently my grandmother didn’t want her to leave my mom all alone in Belgium with this man (my dad) since my mom was still in school. So my aunt didn’t go to Canada stayed in Belgium and met her ex husband who was Belgian. After 40 years she’s still living there and recently retired. Two years after they married my mom moved to the US with my dad since his entire family immediate family lived in Jersey at the time. She never finished that degree in Chemical Engineering and when I asked her why she said something about being married was overwhelming and when I gave her that are you kidding me look and said “you’d never let me get away with that” she agreed and said hell no I wouldn’t have. She did eventually get an undergrad degree in business.

This sequence of events makes me really think about fate and our paths in life. Sure if my mom didn’t marry my dad I wouldn’t be me or even alive but what if they’d gotten married and she finished the degree she initially started, would they have moved? What if my aunt ignored my grandmother and went to Canada would I have practically lived up in Montreal where she was supposed to live? Would I be the same person? I am, who I am largely as a result of my experiences and believe that slight changes could have played a role in how I view the world I live in.