Popular Posts

Monday, July 27, 2015


So the kids and I were in a store and I see a former coworker. I tell them to go on and find two items.

"Just two items!" I told them as the former coworker walks closer to me. "DON'T COME BACK WITH MORE THAN TWO EITHER!" I added for show purposes. The kids looked back at me perplexed.

I chat with her for a few minutes and our son walks up. After saying Excuse Me, he shows me what he has: ear buds and a soccer book. Each five dollars or less. "Your son plays soccer?" coworker asked. "Yes ma'am," he answered before I could. She seemed shocked and informed me that her son, same age, played football and basketball. I told her that our son played football before. Not using skills I'd taught him, our son jumps in and said, "Mama that was three years ago and it was flag."

Raising my eyebrows at him I changed the subject, "Where's your sister?" He looked around the store. I could do that, I thought. "Go get her and tell her to come on!" As I finished our conversation, our daughter appeared.

"Mommy, look what I found!" she said, and over-the-toply showed me a book. A book about the Beatles.

"Okay," I told her but unable to relish with her in her excitement. Her brother walked up, shaking his head. "Mama they had other books over there. She coulda got the Supremes or Jackson Five."

"They didn't have that!" she said, flipping through the book. "I would've gotten Dr. Who if they had it but I didn't see any," she added.

"Dr. Who?" former coworker asked, perplexed again. Daughter was happy to tell her all about him but I cut that short.

"Girl we gotta run. Ya'll bring your stuff up to the register." Coworker waved goodbye and started her shopping.

On the way to the car, son continued the conversation about the choice in purchases. "But if they did have one of those books you wouldn't have gotten them. You don't even know who they are!"

"I do know who the Supremes are. Diana Ross sang with them." I wanted to feel proud but that was an easy one. Jackson Five would've been easy too. "Just get in the car," I told them, exhausted from our deficiently cultured ordeal.

I managed to start the car and get out of the parking lot before he said something else, with his nostrils flared, "You don't know where they from!" Staring out the window, without flinching she sarcastically answered, "The United States."

Wailing around in his seat, with too much confidence he scoffed,"See Mama. See! She don't know her history. They from the mother country, Africa like you are!"

He was the only one in the car so hyped up...and wrong.

"You do know that Africa is a continent and not a country. AND...I was born in a hospital in a CITY in NORTH CAROLINA...a STATE!"

It was quiet the whole 15 minutes home. No radio and no more Egos.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shaking My Head

Saturday is cleaning day in our house! A little ritual I took from my mom. No getting up to watch Smurfs or Super Friends, before I did my chores on Saturdays.

So everyone is busy in some part of the house- cleaning something. Not the everyday things like making your bed and straightening your room but the things you don't do throughout the week: vacuuming, dusting, etc.

I heard my name but it wasn't really clear. Actually it was but I really didn't feel like leaving what I was doing to see what the person wanted.

"Mama, Daddy needs you!" one of the kids yelled.

Again, I really didn't feel like leaving what I was doing.

I yelled down, "What is it? He can't come up here?"

"Mama, Daddy needs you to come downstairs!" our daughter yelled. "He said he thinks he needs to go in!" Go in meant to the Emergency was Saturday.


Raced downstairs to find him on the floor holding his face and head and rolling back-and-forth. Squinting, he said "I think it's my sinuses again!"

I grabbed an ice pack from the fridge, moved one of his hands and put it on his head. I called a friend who is a nurse. When I couldn't get her I did what I usually do...

"Where is my cell phone?" I yelled to the kids, while I held his head.

Now he's visibly and clearly in pain- moaning, groaning and still rocking back-and-forth. Oh and again, he's ON THE FLOOR!

Our daughter strolls down the stairs with the phone. Stops to mess around with something on the steps. Not in a hurry at all.

I snatch the phone and do what I usually do... I Google "What to do for sinus issues". I mean all the answers are there. A trip to the Emergency room would be fiscally foolish. If he started having breathing issues I was prepared to help with that too. I could do it using videos online.I mean Tracy Ellis Ross performed a tracheotomy on Deon Cole (Charlie) right there on her kitchen table with a straw from a Juice Box, on an episode of Blackish so couldn't be too difficult.

Couldn't believe what was going on while I was trying to Google information to save their father. Our daughter continued, just a few feet away, to clean the stairs and she was SINGING!! Finally her brother came downstairs.

"MamaDaddy, look what I found in the computer room." Before I could say anything he answered his own question. "It's an electronic Spanish and English translator."

Thinking he somehow just missed what was going on on the floor, directly below him, I asked, "DO YOU NOT SEE THAT YOUR DADDY IS IN PAIN ON THE FLOOR?" He managed to look away for a few seconds and without moving he said something- "Daddy you aight?"

"Hey let me see that!" his sister said. I tried to give her the phone, thankful that someone would help me. "Where did you so call find this? It's mine. Daddy gave it to me when I was in fifth grade!" she told him, trying to snatch it from her brother.

They were about to argue over it. Just a few feet from us. "Daddy? Daddy? Tell him that you gave this to me!" She actually waited for Daddy to look up. Shaking my head.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where is Louise?

It was quite obvious, the other day, that our son wasn't fully cognizant of what Alzheimer's disease is.

After misspelling a word he rubbed his head and in a melancholy voice he said, "I think I have Alltimer's."

"No. You just forgot how to spell the word. Look at it again. I'll bet you wrote it too fast," I assured him.

Sure enough, he looked at it and saw the mistake.

"So I don't have Alltimer's?" he asked. "What is it?"

First I had to say the word slowly and tell him that he was saying that word incorrectly. And I have heard some folks over the age of 12 say it the same way.

I gave him some information about it and suggested he look it up, online, and get more.

"Do you know anybody who has it?" he asked before I could leave the room.

My maternal grandmother had dementia but I'd never heard anyone mention the word until my adult years when we reminisced about her. She passed away when I was in sixth grade. When I was told, later, that she had it I easily pulled up vivid memories of my time with her and I could see glimpses of it but as a child I would never have known anything was wrong. I just loved her deeply.

My first encounter with Alzheimer's was probably in 1990. I'd just graduated high school and found a cool job for the summer as a nanny/sitter! After speaking with the owner of the agency by phone (landline) we agreed to meet at her home. I arrived and rang the doorbell. The friendly owner let me in and asked me to wait in the foyer while she ended a call in another room.

"This is my mother," she said, pointing to the lady, dressed to leave, who was leaning on the wall near the stairs.

I smiled and said hello.

"Hey baby, how are you?" she responded. We exchanged pleasantries and then she asked me if I could let her out.

I looked at her. She was, as I said, dressed to leave. She had on a coat, hat, shoes and a purse with a short handle that made me giggle because it looked like the one Esther had on Sanford & Son. Sure she was close to the door and could walk on her own but I didn't think much about it.

Not wanting to be disrespectful but helpful I obliged and went to open the door. Another first- had never seen doors where you had to unlock the door from the inside with a key. The key was still there so I easily turned it and held the door open for her. Wasn't I sweet! Points for me...I was definitely getting the job now.

Made sure she got down the two steps outside the door, waved bye and went back in to wait.

The owner came in about two minutes later to apologize for the wait. Before she could finish her sentence she yelled out,

"Louise!" then waited for a response. I did too. Wasn't sure who Louise was.

After looking around for her she asked if I'd seen Louise. I told her I'd never met a Louise. "Louise is my mother," she informed me. "She has Alzheimer's"

"Oh! She was ready to go so I let her out," I told her.

She ran upstairs yelling for someone else. Her husband.

I knew things were bad because he came downstairs with shaving cream on one side of his face, razor in hand, boxers and those brown slippers everyone bought their uncles for Christmas.

They both ran out! She ran back in and asked me to wait in case Louise came back.

I felt so bad but I didn't know. Sure there were clues: she had on a coat and hat in summer; why couldn't she get out on her own, etc.

To sum it up and this post, they were able to catch her walking, two blocks down the road in the neighborhood.

Glad she didn't swing that purse, like Aunt Esther.

Still got the job!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Chicken Wing Agreement

"I thought we talked about this," I leaned in from across the table and whispered to my husband.

He pulled the bone from his mouth.

There wasn't anything, I mean anything left on the bone!

"Oh my God! Look at your plate. You left all that meat on the bones," he countered.

We've had these conversations before. The agreement was that we he would NOT clean the bones when we were out in public. Family gatherings and at home, we he could eat the whole bone if he deemed it necessary.

Some people have a real talent for wing eating- they can put the whole wing in their mouths and pull it back out, completely bare, and you never see them chew. That's amazing! Maybe enough to be on America's Got Talent or something.

He added the bone to the others on a separate plate. Our plates always look totally different.

Now he was pouring Blue Cheese dressing over the remaining wings. Pushed his sleeves back before the attack.
As he raised the wing to his mouth, I looked around the restaurant and slouched in the booth.

Blue cheese all around his mouth and fingers. I held my breath, hoping some meat would be left on the bone when it came out.

No such luck. Meat, skin, and marrow was gone!

I couldn't take it. I excused myself to the bathroom.

When I came back I just kept my head down until he finished. I knew it would get ugly if I looked up to see the devastation.

Finally, the server came over.

"Whoa! You crushed those wings! You must've been hungry. Oh my God! You even ate the bone!" This is my interpretation of the look the server had when she brought the check.

"How was everything?" is what she really said.

"See how she looked at your plate?" I whispered.

"No. She shook her head at your plate because you wasted food," he laughed.

He surveyed my plate. "You got a lot of meat left," he added.

In desperation and fear that I would have to watch it all over again, I touched all of the wings and put my napkin on top of the plate.

What's Good for the Goose is NOT always Good for the Gander

The kids think it's lame. "It's for old people Mama," is what the youngest told me. But I love Twitter! I've had an account for about three years but just started actually using or engaging regularly, last year. I'll admit that I get excited when celebrities actually reply to one of my tweets. I love to let the kids know when this happens. They aren't usually too impressed.

One time I got a notification that I had a new follower!

"Oh so y'all think it's lame. Okay...look who is following me!"

I ran into our daughter's room. Her brother ran in behind.

"That's not Selena Gomez! It's her fan page!" they scoffed.
I didn't understand why she would have followed me anyway.

Well, recently I saw an author on Twitter, who I absolutely had to start following: Judy Blume!
The mere sight of her name took me back to my elementary days. I fell in love with reading because of her books!
Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Sheila the Great! But my favorite one and the one that affected me the most was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

It was the "coming of age" book for girls. I remember when our daughter brought home her first Judy Blume book! The nostalgia, the glee, giggles and...the worry. Background music starting with happy music then moving to Jaws theme music.

I side-eyed her a few times when she brought home Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I watched her movements and the refrigerator!

Okay. That book was, as I said, the "coming of age" book for girls when I was younger. I was all caught up in the game. I believed in it with all my heart; definitely my mind.

So I was this skinny, obviously confused, little girl who thought I could change my body by doing what the main character, Margaret did. Not thinking rationally that I wasn't supposed to have big breasts at that time.

Just as the main character, Margaret, did, I would pump my arms and repeat, "I must! I must! I must increase my bust!" I did it whenever I was alone: in the tub, splashing the Palmolive bubbles and sometime Tide all around the tub, in the kitchen while eating Sugar Smacks when adults weren't around, even on my knees while saying my prayers in my too small, faded pink Onesie.

But that wasn't enough. When the bust didn't increase I modified the exercise.

Again. I wasn't thinking rationally.

Not sure where I got the idea but...

And this is what got me in trouble.

I got the crazy idea to add something to accelerate the process.

I didn't have mental health issues either.

Needed something from the refrigerator.

My mom caught me!

Standing in the refrigerator.


Onesie partially zipped open.

Eyes closed, arms pumping back-and-forth, chanting, "I must! I must! I must increase my bust!"

"WHAT THE HELL!" My mom yelled. "Git outta that refrigerator!" she yelled. "Who told you to put butter- GO TO BED!"

So I was so glad I never saw our daughter pumping her arms nor standing in the refrigerator late at night.

My mom and I never spoke of this. Ever.