Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ice Cube'd

I was pretty excited after my girls' weekend o' fun despite the lost wallet. I decided to register for an accounting class for kicks at the nearby community college, and was able to get the class paid for AND get VIP access in the registration line all during my lunch break.  I floated back to work on Cloud 9, still in shock that a $650 course would only cost me $30. Not even an hour after my return, I receive a call from the college alumni office.

"Miss, I think I have some very good news for you."

At this point I'm thinking "Is she going to WAIVE the $30 TOO? No way..."
I manage to reply a cool "Okay?"

"We received a call that someone found your wallet in a cab.  They called our office and I pulled your student record.  I was not sure if you wanted me to share your telephone number, but I can conference her in so you two can speak."

Speak? I'm speechless! How did...What?!?  I spit out a "Yes! Please!"

We were connected and I thanked her for grabbing my wallet and finding me.  I thanked her for proving my theory that people ARE inherently good. I confessed that I believed someone would call me.  Many people say karma is a b...  but I beg to differ, because without fail, my karma is good. Like, I can't believe this is happening good.  Like, there's gotta be a God good.

During my girls weekend I remember discussing trust.  One girlfriend confessed that her trust must be earned, requiring people to prove their worthiness before she lets down her guard.  I told her that I believe life is much more enjoyable when you assume all people are deserving until they prove otherwise.  I shared my belief that people are inherently good, and ultimately all we can control is what we put out into the universe in hopes to positively impact the lives of others.  But trust is like charity.  The blessing is in giving...not how the recipients utilize that gift.

I trusted that an honest person would do just as I would, and find the owner.  She did.  And as I wait for my wallet to arrive, I am thankful to God and the universe for this example when both my trust and faith in the goodness of the human spirit were justified.  The only thing that can complete a moment like this is theme music. Too easy...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dude, Where's My Wallet?

Out hanging with the girls. Fab time.  We decide on Indian for dinner, and aside from Arab, and Mediterranean, Indian food is my absolute favorite. Something about garlic naan and chicken tikka saag make my insides jump for joy.  But back to the story.  I reach for my wallet to grab the travel size hand sanitizer stashed in my Coach clutch.. Ok.. not in that pocket...(checking the other side) or that one either. Where is my wallet?? Not AGAIN, I think.  I'm notorious for leaving something.  Keys, sunglasses, purse, phone, something.  And without fail when I'm juggling more than three things in my hand.  Two things at a time I can handle...one item per hand.  But when I get to three, inevitably something gets left. And sure enough I did it again. This time, in the process of managing an umbrella, my recent purchase of The 5 Love Languages from Borders, watermelon sour patch kids, a pack of Doublemint gum, my cell phone and my clutch wallet. Somewhere between the checkout at Borders, pitching my umbrella, hailing a cab in the cold rain and arriving at our Indian restaurant I managed to keep track of everything BUT my wallet.  smh.

Our appetizers arrive at the table in the midst of my realization, and my girlfriends quickly move to act. One calls the cab company to try and track the driver.  One searches diligently from the door to under the table to make sure it didn't fall on the floor.  The other girlfriend grabs my Border's receipt to call the bookstore.  I say aloud "Nana Danso."  What? (They ask in unison).  Nana Danso, the driver's name.  I don't know why his I.D. card stood out to me as I sat in the back of his cab for the duration of the ride, but for some reason I had fixated on it.  1) I know a "Nana" and 2) "Danso" reminded me of Danskin...you know the athletic gear.  Idk, but it did. For the moment I thought this was a divine sign.  And although 3 hours later I am still without my wallet, I'm hoping I remembered his name for a reason and that Nana Danso comes through.

As I realized my friends hadn't touched the appetizers poised to co-conquer my dilemma, I gesture towards the food "Eat! We can't let this situation ruin our dinner. I insist"  As I finished cancelling my cards and freezing my account spending I joked "Since this meal is on you guys, I will be sure to enjoy it thoroughly."  We all did.

My girlfriends commented on how calm I remained, and joked about how frantic they would have been if in my shoes.  Hearing that I was pleased. Almost proud, but I'm not sure I can take credit for my calm.  I mean, it's not like I haven't lost my wallet before.  But as I think about it...even then my temperament was the same.  In the midst of a crisis I usually do stay pretty calm.  But why, oh why, when it comes to matters of the heart does every mole hill appear to be a mountain?

So even though I'm still praying that Nana Danso re-emerges into my life with my wallet, I may chalk up the $60 and Best Buy gift card it contained to a lesson learned. Perhaps my lesson is to tap into my inner Spock (one time for you Trekkies) and apply my stoicism in the midst of relationship situations when I'd normally over react.  Perhaps playing it cool in the midst of a crisis needs direly to be sprinkled across other areas of my life as well.  Ahhhhhhaaaa! (said in my best Eddie Murphy Coming to America Jewish Man in the Barbershop Voice).  I think I'm on to something.  But as we wait patiently for a subject to test this new theory, please send up a prayer for my wallet to make it back home safely.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grey Days

I've always been sensitive.  Tough exterior, and childhood bully, but as long as I can remember I was a big crier. Yes, I'm warm and fuzzy, I skip AND cry...but for some reason I'm still told with my 5'9 frame that I can be "intimidating". Go figure.

But as an adult, I've evolved. Being composed is having control. Tears are weak. Big girls don't cry. We eat ice cream by the pint and shop our worries away. So I don't cry. It's not like I suppress it, but for some reason rarely does the hand I'm dealt feel cry worthy.

I mean, I'm not suffering through the aftershock of a 7.3 earthquake in an already impoverished nation.  I'm no soldier in this endless war, or a spouse who has to explain to my toddler that daddy's never coming home. No.  My life isn't tear worthy.  And I guess my tear ducts agree...or they're on strike.  Well, except for Thursdays.

But like a snake sheds skin, women NEED to shed tears.  Tears are cleansing...a relieving opportunity to let go, feel (pause) and move on.  So TGIT.  Thank.God.For.Thursdays.  THANK GOD for Grey's Anatomy. Because of Grey's I can cry.  And not a mild cry...I'm talking about a "Don't call me I can't pick up" cry.  An "I know my nose is dripping but I can't move until the commercial" cry.  And I know it seems silly, with the predictable scripts and endless round robin soap opera relationships, but Thursdays are cathartic.

Christina and her stoic exterior, yet innate need to feel believed in. Meredith learning to love and be loved without ever seeing what that really looks like. Bailey and her failing struggle to give 110% to career, motherhood and being a wife and the tragic consequences. And even though I can relate, it's not me.  I can cry because it's THEM. THEIR pain, and not.me.

If I had to diagnose myself, I'd say that perhaps I'm suppressing my true feelings.  But honestly, it doesn't FEEL that way. And although this nagging pain across my shoulders suggests otherwise, I don't even feel stressed.  I think just like men need avenues to channel their testosterone and aggression (usually through recreation and violent sports), I need my weekly fix to balance out all this estrogen.

So after nearly two months feeling like Amy Winehouse searching out a pipe...Grey's is back, and so is my habit. Please know that once again Thursdays are sacred time and I can not be reached. The DO NOT DISTURB sign is in full effect and thanks to Private Practice, hours have now been extended from 9-11pm.  But don't worry, Friday morning I will emerge a refreshed and recharged woman counting down the days till we can do it all over again.  Ahhh...simple pleasures.  But now that I've had my weekly fix, excuse me as I go find a Massage Envy so they can holla at this shoulder pain.  eeemmeeediately

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I know I'm too old to pout.  But have you ever had a moment that reminded you of the past and your stomach dropped a little?  I'm there. Today. Two years ago...smh.  So much has changed in a couple years, yet remained the same.  Ok, enough of the ambiguous language.  I just had to poke out my bottom lip real quick...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow Unhappy

After appreciating the beautiful, picturesque (yet very brown) landscape of California, it was nice to return home to the lush green of the East Coast. Springtime Philadelphia left me in awe, and I found myself noticing the incredible and historic local architecture in a way I had never before. Previously I HATED the North East for its pollution and overpopulation, but gradually I developed an appreciation for my city and the opportunity to re-experience it as an adult. Summer was HOT, and to a summer baby, I enjoyed every day.

But then the season changed.  It was cool (ok) initially, but only for a New York minute. Very soon my grumbling evolved in a outward disdain for the cold, winter, this dreary city, and most recently...the snow.

The first snowfall began on a Saturday.  Truthfully, it was one of the most beautiful moments to see the pure white snow fall so delicately and abundantly.  23 inches.  But like a needle pushed across a record, my nostalgia was interrupted at 8pm by 1 word. My father: "We need to go out and shovel before that turns to ice."  I know, that was 12 words, but my problem was the "We".  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was he serious?  I've purposely purchased property so I DIDN'T have to worry about trifles such as mowing and shoveling.  I haven't pushed a shovel since my teens.  Was he SERIOUS?  Yes. Tragedy.

So I pull out my insulated rubber boots I still had from Inauguration and threw on my brothers old ski coat and went out to brave the cold looking like an overdressed sumo wrestler.  We were the only ones initially, soon joined by our Indian neighbor who just moved from Florida and never managed snow.  Luckily the snow was powder so after an hour or so we cleared our driveways and front walkway and helped our elderly neighbor do the same.  Needless to say I was warm and stayed dry, so it wasn't too bad...until the next morning.

Sunday, 10 am: "Come on, we need to get out there again" he says.  I looked around trying to figure out who he was talking to then pull the covers back over my head.  It can't be me. He heads out without me and I peek outside to see the few extra inches that accumulated overnight.  He can handle that without me (I think to myself).  I hear all the neighbors talking and working together and soon the rumbling of a snow blower.  I'm saved!!  Knowing my dad he'll borrow the snow blower and be done with it. 3 hours later he comes back inside.  Not unusual because he's like the Mayor...talking, waving, taking pictures and kissing babies...so I knew "shoveling" was really "social hour".  But anyway, he comes back in and I'm reading a book.

"I was waiting for you" he says. "Really? I heard you go out and then heard the snow blower and thought you didn't need me" I reply, kinda feeling guilty. "No, I needed you" (no he didn't) "Everyone else was out there with their children" (ok, it's all starting to make sense). "I need you to help out."  I reply "But Dad, I was out there with you last night, I did help."  At this point I'm thinking "Give me a break.  I'm a young lady! MEN are supposed to do these things, anyway." Ok, that was a diva thought, but seriously, isn't there someone we can pay to do that kind of manual labor?!? Sheesh!

"I need to be able to show you certain things so you know how to do them."  I choked. Is he kidding?  I'm almost 30, and we lived in CHICAGO!  It's not that I don't know HOW to shovel, I don't WANT to shovel.  He can't possibly think THIS is a skill 1) I don't have 2) need to develop. But I've been guilted.  Needless to say, if it snows again the streets of Philadelphia will be seeing the return of the overdressed sumo wrestler (smh in disgust).  But dearest Philadelphia, and dear God, right now I'm only asking for two things: 1) DON'T let it snow anymore 2) PLEASE make sure this time next year I'm living someplace where snow boots, shovels and rock salt are all distant memories.  Ameen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Telling Secrets

I wish I could say I read The Secret...but sometimes the rebel in me fights to go against the grain.  Now we can all occasionally benefit from being the lone sheep (individual) that strays away from the herd (maintream), but I'll save that subject for another day.  On this day, I wish I had listened when Oprah endorsed the book in 2007. 

But anyway, like I said I still haven't actually ever read the book...but one day in 2008 while rummaging through the stacks of movies accumulated from my dad's care packages, I ran across The Secret DVD.  Prior to watching the documentary, the word "Believe" had always been a source of personal inspiration (believe in the God, believe in the your dreams, believe in the goodness of others, etc.).  After watching the DVD, the word became my personal mantra.  Essentially the concept of The Secret, is that the key to a prosperous life is to believe in your limitless possibility.  If you're into the power of positive thinking, I won't ruin it for you so you can read/watch for yourself.  However, in the spirit of New Year's resolutions, and personal growth, taking a tip from The Secret may help us all be more successful at attaining our goals, and welcoming into our lives the things we deeply desire.

Often times we seek to break bad habits with the thoughts like "today I will stop..."  Unfortunately many of us don't realize that merely how we communicate our goals can affect our success achieving those goals.  The problem is that when we communicate our desires, often times we say what we DON'T want, so our mind still visualizes the bad habit or negative behavior we seek to correct.  For example if I say "don't run out in the street"...what does your mind see? Take a moment. Most likely you still see a child, or a person running out into the street (contrary to what you said).  Crazy right?  So whenever we speak in terms of negative action, our mind and subconcious still visualizes the behavior or things we DON't want, vs. the positive things or behavior we truly desire.

Napoleon Hill, an early pioneer for personal success literature, is often quoted for his statement "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." So the key is utilizing positive language so your mind can visualize positive action.  So "don't run out into the street" becomes "wait at the bus stop" and "I want to stop eating junk food" becomes "I will drink two glasses of water and five baby carrots when I need a snack."  I was amazed at how this philosophy translates not only to how we communicate to ourselves but to each other.  How often do we tell our partners and friends what we "don't like" or they "don't do" without actually really communicating the image of what we really want?

Think about it...and try the concept on for size.  I bet you will emerge a "believer" too :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Simplicity

I've always prided myself for being "down to earth."  You know, fly enough to kick it with the girls, but cool enough to hang with the boys.  And although my look is pretty conservative, I swear my alter ego has locs and is tatted up with a nose ring.  Somehow I've always managed to feel like a chameleon, able to adapt in any environment among anyone...but lately I have moments that cause me to question my "realness."  Moments that have left me feeling as if I am really pretentions, superficial, and judgmental.  Call it age, but I think my comfort zone has decreased in radius...and I don't approve.

I started to wonder if I'm missing the simple splendor of life while observing a friend in her elegant simplicity.  Her apartment is cozy yet unassuming and deliberate.  There is no obnoxious flat screen tv, cable, or even high speed internet, rather a big bookshelf filled with books that paint a picture of a life well lived and well traveled.  At Whole Foods, I watched as she delightfully and fearlessly sampled from the food displays.  The organic cocoa walnuts in an open bowl, the sundried tomato veggie dip, and the freshly sliced pineapple.  She urged me to try, and FINALLY, I realized she wouldn't let me refuse.  I (hand dramatically placed on chest) don't. eat. from open food displays (I thought to myself).  After my FOURTH piece of deliciously juicy omg, can't get enough pineapple, I started to wonder how much I (hand dramatically placed on chest) have been missing out on.  How much I haven't enjoyed because I dismissed it/him/her at first glance.  It was like the matrix was revealed and she was Neo.  Suddenly I realized how little wiggle room I left to enjoy the unexpected.  Am I really a *gasp*control freak?

In the recent age of self-help advice, and Steve Harvey's "Act like a Lady, Think like a Man", I've been poised to map out exactly what I want and communicate appropriately.  I've been challenged to define the mold I fit into, and proclaim to the world definitively what I want from life, friendships and relationships and refuse to deviate or settle for anything less.  However, in an effort to blossom into my better self, I've abandoned my inner chameleon to be replaced by high standards, unwavering expectations and the predisposition to plan and play it safe. 

Granted, I want the best for myself and believe in the power effective communication and visualizing your desired reality...I'm there.  I just know that perhaps the best part of me (or anyone) is the ability to appreciate others for who they are, AS they are...not constantly measured by a lengthy checklist I've created as a barometer for what is "acceptable".  The reality is, I'm not too confident that God isn't still working on me, so I've decided to release my inner control-freak and reopen my heart to whatever He brings in my life.  Once again living, loving, learning and appreciating without boundary.  So I declare 2010 the Year of the Sponge.  A year I declare to humble myself, and hopefully absorb the lesson(s) intended for me.  Oh, and the checklist? Still in effect, but with the help of my simplistically elegant friend, the list is miraculously holding at #3...and never felt so complete.  Have a wonderful New Year, good people, and may this year be equally enlightening to each of you.  And if you have the chance, stop and sample a little pineapple on me.

Curious to know my new checklist?
1) Relationship with God (shared values)
2) Kind/Gentle Command (ability to lead with respect and kindness)
3) Strength and Stability (personal, professional and financial)