Give Thanks '08

Loved Ones,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it is that time again, time for my annual message of gratitude and appreciation. This year has presented many highs and lows, in my life and in some of yours, as well. Personally, I am experiencing a metamorphosis of sorts, and it has affected me in ways that I cannot quite explain. However, I will say, that I am meeting a new "me", and reacquainting myself with aspects of myself, I feared I had lost. For this, I say hallelujah!

Last year, I encouraged you to create a list of things you wanted to accomplish for 2008. Two-thousand eight is on its way out of here, so how did you do? I was supposed to learn to swim, in order to conquer fears that grip me when its time to take a next big step in life. Those lessons did not happen, so it will be carried over to my ’09 list. The reasons are not so important, so long as I have not given up the desire to learn. I shall swim! I have begun to face my fears in other ways though, and it’s a process but I see the good in it. It frees me up to maximize my potential and share my gifts.

The Creator will allow us to remain in spaces that are difficult and challenging, and sometimes dark, until we learn the lesson(s) for which he has presented the situation in the first place. If you ever wonder why certain things keep happening to you, look within first. It is our nature, to be hardheaded and stubborn at times, and usually, we stand in our own way. This is "blocking your blessings" and if you take a moment, and look within, you are sure to recall times when you have done this to yourself. I say, please stop. We’d be best served, I believe, to name it, claim it, and then move out the way. I'm done lecturing. :)

I am thankful this day, for my family and friends, near and far. I’ve reconnected with some childhood friends and that has been a highlight for me. Today, my parents are in Chicago, as are my Aunt Day Day, my uncles, my brother, and a host of cousins and life long friends. My Auntie Lil' Mama is in Nashville along with my cousin Bertie and other cousins. I will be spending the day with my L.A. family, and for them, I am SO grateful. They, along with my LA friends, offer a sense of belonging and normalcy.

What I love most about Thanksgiving is that it is a reminder that you are never alone. It is a chance to come together with people you like and love to relax and be comforted. We eat ourselves into oblivion and return home with a smile. It is a time to put your troubles aside and celebrate the goodness of life (and watch some games.)

Although we are living in uncertain and stressful times due to the economy, and what seems like a never-ending war, I encourage you to remain faithful, knowing that this too shall pass. We must come together, and support one another in any and all ways possible. No longer can we afford to live in our own cushy bubbles, as if the world outside, around us, is inconsequential. You see where that has gotten us.

I give endless thanks that I was here to witness the election of our first black president. I know I have not spoken much about it, and there aren't too many things that render me speechless, but this is one of them. I must admit, I am STILL soaking it in. It's a proud moment in our history and for our country, and I can't wait to take this journey with the Obama family! I could not ask for a more shining example of manhood, womanhood and family.

As always, I am honored to know you, and blessed by your presence in my life!

With Endless Love,

RSY aka The Maven


Drop It

In the last moments of my dream this morning, before I awoke, I found myself driving along, when suddenly, my car stopped. No warning, no jerking, no smoke, no noise.

It just stopped.

I got out and began to push it towards a service station, and as you know, dreams can be weird, so as I began to push and guide the car, grocery cart handles appeared on the trunk. Go figure. Anyway, I got the car to the shoulder of the road, which by the way, was very reminiscent of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, and there was the gas station........at the top of a hill! So I pushed and pushed, and the car, having a mind of its own, would occasionally, get turned around. I was maneuvering the car by the grocery cart handles (imagine a cart with tricky wheels) and it was turning in all sorts of directions, so at times I was pulling it up the hill. There was a man standing at the top, filling his car with gas, and he looked like he wanted to help, but he was hesitant. Nonetheless, I kept at it, I had to get my car some service. I had places to go.

I finally made it to the top, the service department was closed, and as I was standing there trying to decide my next move, the car rolled back down the hill! I stood there, jumping up and down, yelling, for someone at the bottom to catch it! But it rolled off of, what seemed like a ledge, and crashed. I ran down to the bottom, and there lay a smashed piece of metal, almost compacted. I picked it up in my hand and cried.

I am relaying this to say "let it go".

This is what my dream told me. It told me to let it all go. We can push and pull and prod and sometimes we still lose, but after more reflection, in that loss, there is the victory. Be still! These are trying times for many people and if its not you, its very likely someone you know. Of course, "trouble don't last always" and if you think back, I'm certain there is a time in your life where you felt you wouldn't make it through, but somehow, by His grace, you did.

Listen, we cannot solve every problem or be all things to all people. Sometimes, we can't be everything, even to ourselves. Just take things day by day. Wake up and count your blessings. Choose one thing to be happy about, or ten if you've got it like that. But, by all means, choose to be HAPPY. Choose to smile. Choose to laugh. Choose to help someone else; be an angel in disguise. Choose to accomplish something new, TODAY!

Its all good for the soul.

I love you.

The Maven


Mediocrity Just Left the Building

Believe me when I say.....this has been the most emotional day of my life! I am proud to be an American and proud to be an African-American.

He is our President, she is our First Lady, and they are our First Family.

This is the end of mediocrity and the beginning of excellence!

Get ready to be great!

The Maven

Just one more reason....

I wish my Grandmothers could have lived to see this day, my Aunts Robbie and Rozzie, my cousins, a few friends and mentors.....

I am blessed that my parents have experienced this day so that we may share in these moments and memories together. It would be nice to be home in Chicago today, but I'll be there in spirit.

Entering the polls this morning, I felt so many things.......excitement, nervousness, joy, and sadness. I was so full as I walked home, and the tears rolled down my face, and the sun was shining, and I am happy. I am happy to have experienced this historic moment, first hand, up close and personal.

With love,

Obama '08!


Can you Smell What Nov. 4th is Cookin'?

If you have yet to vote, get ready for a busy Tuesday. Please don't be discouraged by long lines or inclement weather. Take your lawn chair, reading materials, some water and snacks, perhaps an umbrella, and some comfy shoes, just in case you must wait for hours. Charge up your I Pod or get extra batteries for your radio. Take your I.D.; even though it is not always required, have it just in case. Also, know that if you are in line before the time your poll closes, you cannot be turned away! Stay the course!

Wear your sunscreen, take your shades, or bundle up if your city is chilly. Lay low on the political gear, just in case it is an issue. Check with someone elderly or impaired who may need assistance getting to the polls. Be patient and kind with the poll workers, as they will have a rough day.

Don't hesitate to ask questions if you are uncertain of procedure and for goodness sake, check your ballot twice, before submitting your vote, especially if you are voting electronically!

Remain positive and smile to all whom you encounter, be encouraging, as this is a historical time, and we are blessed to be able to participate.

There is no telling what time the results will come in, so get ready to settle in, possibly, for an intense night, and maybe, morning after.

Below is a gift from D.P.


The Maven



Nearly twenty-four years ago, on Chicago's South Side, a promising young athlete, a basketball phenom, was gunned down, in broad daylight, on a cold wintry street near his high school. Ben Wilson was seventeen. I was fifteen. I didn't know Benji, as he was affectionately called, but his story touched the entire city, and the senseless killing rocked me to the core. I couldn't understand, couldn't process it, but, I shared the grief felt by many others my age who knew and loved him. I remember it so well. I remember they took him to St. Bernard Hospital, and I remember when the news came over the radio that he did not make it. The DJ played T.ramaine Hawkins "Goin Up Yonder" and I was in the back seat of my Daddy's Volvo, and I cried quietly, because I didn't know if it was okay to do so. If I remember correctly, the radio station broadcast live from Simeon's gymnasium, where students gathered to mourn and comfort one another. I remember the sadness, the wailing, the words of comfort from adults. It was awful and it was frightening.

Goin Up Yonder - Tramaine Hawkins

Years before that, when I was just a little girl, one of my cousin's was murdered, by gunfire, on the South Side, and I believe he was a mere fifteen at that time. I remember my family gathering in the emergency room of the hospital where my mother worked, and again, if I recall correctly, she was part of the team working to save his life. But, he didn't make it. His bullet riddled body couldn't maintain the blood that they were frantically pumping into him.

There are a few other stories I can tell, stories of violence in my beloved city, the city we natives lovingly refer to as "The Crib." However, the Jennifer Hudson Family tragedy is most prescient in my mind right now. When my girl MoMo first mentioned it to me, I jumped online to search the story. As the details rolled in, all I wondered was "why", then I prayed and asked God to allow myself and the Hudson family to lean on Him and not our own understanding. I began hearing T.ramaine Hawkins song again, and somehow, it is tied, in my psyche, to senseless tragedy at "The Crib." I awoke yesterday to the news that a body, that of a young black boy, had been found, in the SUV the authorities were looking for, and mu heart sunk. By end of day it, it was all clear.

LA is so very different. I do not know the hood here, the way I do at home. I'm familiar with The Jungles, I handle business on Crenshaw, I lived in Compton for some time my first year here, but its different. As I've been watching WGN and all other news reports covering the story, I see faces that feel so familiar, hear a dialect that is so country. :)

There is an element to the hood in Chicago that is so distinct, so sad, yet loving and rich with "down home." There is desperation, optimism and complacency that are so intertwined, so blurry, that one wonders if this cycle can ever be broken. Just when there seems to be a glimmer of hope, that someone "from here" can make it, shht like this takes place. There are those who want to leave and those who want to stay, and the reasons are various, but ties always remain, because as Jennifer said, "it keeps me grounded" and you can't forget where you came from.

When I get home to Chicago, the first place I want to go is Harold's on 87th Street. I want to drive around and see the city that raised me, I want to hit Stoney Island, King Drive and Cottage Grove; Hyde park and Downtown. I want to go Steppin'. I grew up in London Towne, at the tip of the "Wild Hundreds" and if I don't make it to the old neighborhood to visit, there are consequences to pay from those who played instrumental roles in making me into the woman I am today. When I go home, I feel recharged; the city is no punk. It is arguably the most segregated city in the country, but there is beauty in that, because you can drive or ride "the El" from one area to the next and experience different cultures and people. I did this for four years during High School. The city's history is legendary, roaring with jazz, blues and classical music. The politics are unrivaled, and the food...incredible. I grew up listening to House music. I attended the strongly rooted Trinity United Church of Christ. I have kept in touch with virtually all of my friends, starting from kindergarten.

I must admit though, that things are changing. Gentrification has reared its ugly head and the dynamics and landscapes are forever altered. On the South and West Sides, crime has increased and the living ain't necessarily easy. I hear it when I talk to my friends who are cops, and my friends who are funeral directors. The heartbeat is different, the soul has been sucked out some.

P.alin and McC.ain should visit this "real America", where school-aged children are gunned down on city buses, to and from school. They should familiarize themselves with the "real America" where little seven year old boys die at the hands of guns, along with their grandmothers and uncles. You know, those wonderful firearms that P.alin uses to hunt Moose? They aren't so wonderful in the hood. However, O.bama knows these streets, so don't underestimate his gumption, his toughness. He is sensitive to this plight, and not necessarily because he is Black. Don't start that shht with me. He knows it, because he cares to know and understand.

J.ennifer H.udson's life is heading into a new chapter now, where she must cope with the inexplicable deaths of her loved ones, and while it is both sad and troublesome, the most heartbreaking thing is that these types of crimes are committed daily in hoods all across our country, but its so prevalent that the media doesn't bother to report it on national news. Just like the Hudson's neighbors in Englewood didn't bother to report gunfire, because "we hear it all the time."

Get your ass out and vote next Tuesday. No excuses.

The Maven


A Monday Mind

Less than ten days, less than ten days, less than ten days............ VOTE!

This may be the largest voter turnout, ever, in the U.S.!

The reality of an O.bama presidency is becoming more and more real and I am beginning to feel many things, like, excitement, nervousness, anticipation, pride, restlessness, joy, weariness, and sadness that loved ones who are no longer with me, didn't live to experience this milestone in history.

Did I tell you that someone hit my living room window, with my O.bama sign as the obvious target? HATERS!

Does Mc.Cain cry himself to sleep at night? Is P.alin plotting for world domination? Is E.lizabethH.asselbeck her co-conspirator? Just how much MORE wealth did G.W. accrue over these past eight years? How many more Red Party's are going to come out in support of "That One", really?

The bailout was B.S.

The J. Hud tragedy has me shook. The Crib is no joke sometimes.

Its time for me to go back to braids. I'm over the fro'. I say this lovingly.

The 30th anniversary of The Wiz was this past week. I love that movie, and its subliminal messages. Q and them were on one when they filmed it. LOL!

Los Angeles weather has been superb.

Kindred has a new release. Gotta get it. Love them.

My mom loves Link TV (check your local listings) and I haven't revealed this to her, but I have grown to dig it too! Knowledge truly is power. This channel is chock full of educational goodness.

Speaking of knowledge, if we all seek the truth about our country's underbelly dealings within and abroad, all indications would point to a need for revolution. But, we don't want to know the truth, we can't HANDLE the truth. We're too afraid we might miss our favorite TV program.

Back in the day, I was a bartender. I worked in the same place for six years. GREAT memories. This past weekend, I was called upon to bar tend a private, family function for a friend. So, I decided to take it back a lil'. Cute bobbed wig, push-up bra, tight jeans, high-heeled boots and loads of charm....... and yes, I made out very well in my tip jar. Some things never change. LOL!!!

Set a new goal today. Create an opportunity for someone else.

I have a confession........I ate a bag of 'skins over the weekend. Bad girl.

Credit is evil, but is it a necessary evil? Pay cash dammit!

Did anyone watch the Bubba, Ed, and Ted H.ipH.op Awards? Sigh.

There is something blissful about consuming pizza and beer, maybe it has something to do with the nap you're forced to take afterward.

B.enR.oethlisberger and B.rettF.avre combined for 6 INT's on Sunday; they are my Fantasy Football QB's, so each week is a toss up for me as to which one I will start. My boy D.H. refers to me as "Season Over", LOL! Speaking of season over, can you say Cincy?

Donnie Mac held it down against A-Town, of course. Can I trade for him? I need to look into that; someone tell JT to holla at his girl. (JT is in my fantasy league.)

M.ikeS.ingletary is a head coach. This is gonna be interesting.

I.saiahT.homas,what really good?

Basketball season is here! When the basketball and football seasons overlap, life is good.

J.immyR.ollins and R.yanH.oward are delicious, and so are C.arlosP.ena and B.J.Upton, and that's all I have to say until there is a winner in this series.

Where is season three of The Boondocks? I have worn the first two seasons out, I know the dialog. Someone tell A.aron Mc.Gruder to holla at me. I NEED SEASON THREE!

Facebook is a helluva drug.

Keep your eye on this shht our gov'ment just pulled in Syria. What kind of timing is this?


The Maven


Is She Serious?

I am sitting here watching a P.alin interview on C.NN and I believe that I am going to relieve myself of the French Onion soup I ate for lunch.

First of all, why do I always feel like I'm at a hoe-down when she's speaking?

I have grown exceptionally tired of listening to her spew rhetoric, hatred and lies. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what she's speaking about. Who are J.oe The P.lumber, P.hil The Bric.klayer, R.ose The T.eacher, and "Tee-Toe The Builder". Are they pissed that now they will or have become points of national scrutiny? Does she have to address her crowds as if they are kindergarteners?

If you notice, Say-Rah, begins her talking points, aka, her run on sentences, with hopes that she sounds sensible or intellectual. However, she comes up snake eyes every time. She is a walking crapshoot, a bad dream, a worst case scenario. Seriously, SHE STILL CAN"T PROPERLY OUTLINE THE VP JOB DUTIES!!!!

According to this broad, I may not be a "real American". "Real America" is in small towns where folks "love this great country", work hard, are patriotic and love God. But I'm here to inform Ms. W.asilla, that although I don't live in a small town, I do live in a small apartment, drive a small car, and have a small amount of money in my bank account. Am I not good enough to be christened a "real American?"

See, S.arah, I'm AM a real American. Would you be mine, could you be mine, won't you be-my-neighbor? I mean, gee whiz Say-rah, you aren't averse to living next door to me are you? It will be okay.....I will cook a pot of collards and mustards for you, and you can hook me up with your favorite Moose stew and we can swap "war" stories about the pain our ancestors suffered while helping to make the country so wonderful. We spread the wealth a LONG time ago, in hot ass kitchens and cotton fields, so don't give me that B.S. about O.bama spreading the wealth and how bad that will be for "real Americans." Your coded talk doesn't fool anyone. You are playing to the fears of "real Americans" who want to maintain their piece of pie.

With Obama, there will just be more pie. And not apple. Sweet Potato.

If we dig deep enough through the recesses of the cyber mind, we find FEAR! Folks are afraid of a "black planet", where countless negroes will arise from the doldrums and spread Hip-Hop all over the world (oops, we already did that.) They should not worry though, we won't "take over", we will simply continue to make our dignified and important contributions to history and society as we've been doing all along.

Racism is alive and well and y'all better stop taking naps. Remember, our forefathers made moves in the shadows to get ahead. Things have not changed. Get your flashlight.


Happy Anniversary, Love Birds!

Although it is seldom mentioned in the mainstream, the obvious love, admiration and respect shared between these two is very refreshing. While "Black love is beautiful" may seem cliche, the reality is, we cannot survive as a race of people without it. Furthermore, the entire human race will not survive without love.

Personally, the bond that The Obama's share gives me comfort and more confidence in a productive Obama presidency. When I see them together, its like I hear India.Arie singing, "boy, where are your people from......"

Without question, a loving, strong and balanced home life, reflects in our professional and social lives. There is great candor, I believe, to the phrase "behind every great man, there is a great woman" and in this case, nothing could be more true.

What do you think?


Pig Tales

I am bacon's bitch.

Few things please my taste buds more than a slice of the swine.

I take mine extra crispy.

I like to hear it crunch as I chew.

I'm not mad if its slightly burned, I enjoy that taste too.

I love it when my bacon has cozied up next to some syrup on my plate.

I also love a good pork chop, fried (oh my, I could squeal with delight just thinking about it!) You see, Honey, my maternal grandma, she used to make fried apples, pork chops and biscuits, and it was my favorite thing in her culinary reportoire. Damn, I miss her.........

Now for the tricky part..........

I am thinking about divorcing pork (GASP.)

Don't worry, it won't be difficult.

I never cook it at the crib, I only have it when I'm at a restaurant.

I know many of you are anti-pig, and that's cool. I know its not good for you, but the pork industry came with it when they marketed their goods as "the other white meat."

So, I will keep you posted about my final decision, and if you love bacon as I do, BLESS YOU and as my girl Paper Doll says..."stay strong in the struggle!" LOL

The Maven


A Monday Mind

So, Ive been taking a break. But, I missed y'all, so I'm back.

I'm attempting to limit my News intake. My obsession with all things political and Salty Balls Wall Street is affecting me daily and I'm not functioning properly as a result. I have not been sleeping normally because I'm disturbed and my mind is cloudy. Seriously, my name is Toss and Turn.

T.inaFey and A.myPoehler have served up some of the funniest shht SNL has broadcasted in YEARS with the P.alin spoofs! I'm sick of that cheerleader! What was that K.atieCouric interview all about? WHAT WAS SHE SAYING??? Anyone up for meeting me for a beer Thursday to watch the VP debate? I have GOT to see this.

I'm tired of all this money being wasted to bail out some knuckleheads I don't even know. We're not even sure if The Bailout Plan will work? Is there a Plan B? Can I slap someone?

We all need to strengthen our financial acumen and be more involved with our government because clearly, they need a chaperon.

The debate was a bit dry, and yes Big B missed some opportunities to take the Samo Sword to the old man, but he did a fair job and I tip my hat his way. Next time, though, he needs to get intellectually gully. I'm sure he knows how.

C.hrisRock put W.illiamJ.effersonC.linton on blast and I would personally like to thank him! Bill is so obviously bitter.

All of the above makes me feel like this....

Moving on........

Check out my girl Traceye Smith at RollingOut.com.

My Poppa said that Miracle at St. Anna is a MUST see. I will be going this week. What about you?

K.eyshawnJohnson makes waking up on Sunday mornings that much better. Bless him and E.SPN N.FL Sunday Countdown.

B.rettFavre. He may have very well saved my season. I won't know until tonight, as I have the R.avens defense playing to close it out, but I'm only thirteen points away from a W, and that is mainly because Brett was a scoring machine on Sunday. However, should I lose this week.....I am 0-4. Damn injuries!

Prayers for M.attBryant and A.nquanBolden. Football really is life.

My White Sox live to see another day! (SMILES)

That Bears D is ferocious when it counts!

I think its a shame that ATL is still having fuel issues. My boy CAB calls me to gripe and I feel so bad for him. My cousin tells tales of waiting in the car with her kids and its all one big hassle. Its affecting peoples home life, work and businesses. Why can't we get it together for disaster preparedness?

I'm telling y'all, we need to hold Uncle Sam more accountable. The problem is that we've been lulled to sleep with perks, amenities and fancy gadgets. We THINK all is good, until Mother Nature rolls through, or our banks fail, or we lose our homes, and then its like "Oh Snap". No more of that, get your ass prepared!

I was a greedy pig this weekend. I am ashamed to name all the stuff I've eaten. But it comes in spurts, and my ladies can identify the culprit. All I know is, food is good!

Went to my lil' cousin's Friday Night Lights football game. Its little league and he looked so cute. Just don't let his Daddy hear me say that!

Can't wait for that R.obinThicke album on Tuesday!

Happy Monday! Obama '08!

Lets hope for a quiet week.



Allergy Schmallergy

My allergies are currently the bane of my existence. According to pollen.com, the counts in my area are medium to medium-high, which explains my suffering to some degree. But, I'm not new to this.

As a child, my summers were full of cold presses, snot rags, and B.enadryl. I can remember my mother looking at me with pity when my eyes were itchy, puffy, and often swollen shut. I spent many days sitting on the porch with a cool towel over my eyes, watching my homies play. Mosquito bites were also a HUGE problem. If I was bitten, rest assured that it would swell up into a knot and cause me great discomfort and sleepless nights. Who didn't get bitten by mosquitoes while outside playing in the summertime, so you understand my suffering, right?

Luckily, I've grown out of THAT, but I sill suffer and the symptoms have morphed into scratchy ears and throat from sinus irritation. Go figure.

I should probably mention that I went on a long, beautiful and peaceful walk this evening looking at beautiful homes and gardens, and have been exposed to all sorts of greenery and fresh air. (Smile)

My homegirl, and best friend from high school, Dr. J.M., is a pharmacist, and she suggested Z.yrtec; she also suggested I lay low at home after I take it.

I have taken one already, and I feel the drowsiness setting in, so I have to kick all of you to the curb.

Nite Nite



Hump Day - Obama Hustle

I love this video for several reasons.....mainly because my people are so fun-loving, and also, it takes place at a lounge and that is so "Midwest", and I aspire to be a Lounge Lizard.

People love line dances, and I can't quite say why, but quietly, I dig them too.

I'm going to learn this one and pass it on. Everyone will be groovin' this come November 5th!

Obama '08

The Maven


A Monday Mind

Football is magic. Pizza is magic. Beer is magic.

I'm catchin' flicks this coming weekend y'all! The Family That Preys, The Women, and Righteous Kill all open on Friday. Can't wait!

Speaking of movies, is Laz Alonzo gonna be a breakout star after his performance in Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna? Looks like it to me.....

A.ndrea K.ramer, who was once a poster child for the plain janes has stepped up her fab game once again this season, while my girl P.am O.liver missed her weave chair appointment once again. Damn, I swear she's one of the baddest in the sideline reporting game, but she could use a glam squad (no hate). M.ichelle T.afoya is my girl too. All of them are incredible, actually.

Will eating fresh baked spinach and swiss croissants and having a glass of bubbly every Saturday morning contribute to the increase of my rumpshaker (by the way, that's a good thing for me)? If so, I'm on a roll, 'cuz it has become a weekend ritual. The cute, young, tender French boy who sells the croissants at the Farmer's Market doesn't help either......

So, my cousin and I give Game's CD top billing over Wayne's joint. Besides, I barely understand what Wayne is saying half the time.

This natural hair care is no joke, but DAMN my hair feels good! I'm always lovin' up on my scalp. LOL!

If you have never stepped before, find a class. There is a Steppin' community in most major cities these days. Chicago is sharing! You will love this dance.

Serena Will is that deal! Congrats on the Open victory and welcome back to the number one spot babygirl, you are overwhelmingly deserving.

......as for the opponent Jelena Joke-a-witch, get some tact about yourself. You used your first appearance at a Grand Slam event to make an absolute fool of yourself with your immature antics and poor sportsmanship, during AND after the match. For a minute I thought commentator Mary Carillo was gonna go upside your head with her microphone.

While I'm checking folks for their behavior, I would be completely remiss if I left out Serena's father's.....ummmmmm, lady friend. Her romp on the tennis court after the match was uncalled for and borderline embarrassing. You were not at the Rucker.

I stopped by theybf.com to check out pics from the VMA's red carpet and my question is this......"what's wrong with people?"

When are Squirrel's gonna pull their pants up? I DON"T WANT TO LOOK AT YOUR ASS!!!!

When are Squirrel's gonna take full rows of jewelry out of their mouths? Is that hygienic?

I love the new Swiffer commercials with the "baby come back" mariachi theme. Hilarious.

The gov-ment just took over Freddie and Fannie? Who's next? When will we rebound from all this shht? I feel sorry for our children.........they will look back in history and say we were irresponsible and spineless for allowing the current administration and the, "whichever way the wind blows" media bend us over at will.

Say-Rah Paid-lin is giving ONE damn interview?? Are you kidding me? We're really going for this? WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!! We need to be on her raggedy, lying tail like they were and still are on B. Rocka.

My Auntie Day, back home in The Chi, said she cooked some collard greens yesterday. Now, I want some. But, they take SO long to cook, properly.

F.OX News is scary. I repeat, F.OX News is scary.

I'm trying my hand at an indoor plant. I got an orchid. Cross your fingers.

Does any one watch A.rmy W.ives? Is it good? I need a new show.

What are you reading these days?



P.S. When I use period's within words, it is deliberate and serves a purpose. I'm not crazy. :)


Countdown, Baby

So, today is The Football League's highly anticipated Kickoff Sunday!

Every year, millions of fans begin their weekly Fall ritual of couch potato-ing by watching countless hours of games and analysis, and eating artery clogging items off the menus of sports bars and chain restaurants. And, lets not forget the LIQUA!!

Usually, I subscribe to the Sunday Ticket, however, this season, I opted out because here, in LaLa, we get a wide variety of games due to our lack of a home team and the huge size of our tv market. I also opted out because it was an unnecessary expense (I'm exercising financial responsibility). :)

This time of year also signals an onslaught of Fantasy Football League's where diehards very seriously take on the task of "running their own teams", either for fun, bragging rights, or financial gain, but mostly for the latter. I can't hate though, because I've been playing faithfully in the same league for the last eight seasons. I've also joined Dallas Penn's Pick 'Em league and look forward to the challenge!

People always ask about my favorite team, and I have no definitive answer, other than I follow the Bears, cuz' I'm from The Chi, and I follow McNabb cuz' he's from The Chi. I follow the Raiders games because they are still much loved here in LaLa. The truth is, I just really dig this game and I'll watch just about any team, and if they have a Squirrel QB, that's a bonus.

Football season also reminds me of my late Granny Helen because she was a huge sports fan (where do you think I got it from?) and I spent lots of Sundays at her house watching games.

Now for the kicker....I start a class at 8 AM, this morning! Yes, I registered for a class that meets on Sundays for FIVE hours! I must have been HIGH, right? LOL! Well, not really, I am just on a mission so I had to sacrifice. It won't last all season long, and I will get to see the second round of games, so I'll be good. Just don't let me forget to set my lineup every week. The guys in my fantasy league are notorious for shht talking and I would never hear the end of it.

Happy Football Sunday folks!

Obama '08!

The Maven


Say Rah!

I've been avoiding the political talk. I just didn't want to put my two cents in, mainly because its a circus and I'm just plain tired of it all.


The Red Party's version of the Bev Hillbillies is completely over the top. They've literally brought the Clampetts (oops, I meant the Pay-lins) all the way from the edge of the country, front and center to a Life of Washington.

I've always felt that the Bush son was a puppet for the machine, but this is just ridiculous; they've now gone and picked a woman to sit in as their new extreme right wing marionette.

Women, beware. Our overall credibility is at stake.

Sa.rah Pay-lin's delivery was great. She showed poise and confidence. But, did she really have a choice? She was coached to perfection by her puppeteers, which resulted in great reading of the speech written for her.

Never mind that her youngest child licked spit on her hand to smooth down her baby brother's (or nephew's) hair, then later used her index finger to pick his nose, "Pay" was at the podium laying wood to The Blue. Granted, there was no substance to the speech (family, blah blah, McSame, blah blah, war hero, blah blah, insults, blah blah) but her attack was deliberate, and scarily enough, could be defeating and successful if we aren't careful.

Basically, its showtime folks, and only the strong will survive. One of my boys seems to think that The Blue Party will surely curl up and die, or bend over, as I like to say, but I'm a contrarian, and I believe that The Blue is ready to rumble.

Has the Red Party spun another web of deception and lies? Of course! But what I will say is this, Red sticks together like glue. They know full and well that Say-Rah, their small town cheerleader, has the qualifications of a whore in church, but you will never hear them say it. Across party lines, they are in agreement that she is ready and fearless, a wonderful representation of what they stand for, just what the party needs! But, Blue has yet to learn this lesson. Blue takes two cars to the set, when one is clearly enough. Some of our self-proclaimed spokespersons, and oldskool squirrel's can't keep their pissy opinions and displeasure about O to themselves. Why does our divisiveness always have to be on front street?

Let me say this, words have power, and spoken from an ill-willed tongue, they can spell disaster. The Red Party will be speaking negatively about the The Blue from here on out, doing their darnedest to discredit and devalue the platform the O campaign has brilliantly and strategically built. I encourage you to speak truth to power. I caution you, not to relax.

In the weeks to come, the gravediggers of both Blue and Red will be working overtime to bury one another. Certainly, some things will surface that are sure to shake tail feathers and melt the pundits pancake makeup. So, anchor yourself. Be ready. Register someone to vote, donate to the campaign, make yourself useful.

By the way, tell me again, who is this woman?????




Tear ass!!!!!!

(translation: get out of here with that B.S.)

Yes, Barack IS Enough

Imagine a scene in a movie when they show a character, in slow motion, in a crowd of people or amid some type of hurried activity, but the sound is off, and all you hear is the character's breathing, while they look around at their surroundings.

Is that what Senator Obama felt last nite when he took the stage? Did he have a moment of peace and calm wash over him as he stepped boldly into his destiny?

I certainly hope so. I hope he took one moment to take it all in.

The speech was was fluid and confident. Purposeful and succinct. Obama came in like a verbal marksman and picked off his detractors with skill and GQ style.

Now, after bringing the funk, some are still asking, "what now?", "can he deliver on all those promises?", "is he ready to lead?", "is he qualified?". To those people, I ask, what is good enough? To those people, I say, don't worry so much about whether Obama is ready, ask yourself if you're ready. What role will you play? Will you sit idly by again, like we've mostly done during this awful Bush administration? Your answer should be no. I hope you get involved and help Barack hekp us all.

This man has laid it all out for you....his family tree and humble beginnings, his ivy league education and his selfless sacrifices to uplift others after graduation, his amazing choice in a spouse, whom he unashamedly references as "the love of my life", and his beautiful, all African-American little girls, who are just as normal, grounded and cute as some of your own.

His choice in a running mate is more than respectable, it is decidedly brilliant. His ability to move the crowd will be legendary.

I have resolved to ignore the naysayers and negativity. Some human beings are never satisfied. Everyone cannot be made happy and all are entitled to their own opinion. I say this though, get out the way if you don't want to get on board because this train is rolling full steam ahead. Change is here and it wasn't attained by ill-gotten gains. This change is of divine order.

I know there are a great number of people who won't vote for Obama because of his race, and some won't vote because they are still bitter about Hillary. Obviously, some are staunch Repubs and cannot fathom crossing party lines, but I think that the majority of those who are unsure are simply afraid of something different. To those individuals, I say, there is no better time than the present to face your fears, and if you're that damn scared, hit me up, I'll hold your trembling hand.

The Maven


It's Official!!!!!!!

Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for the 2008 election for President of the United States of America!!

I have lived!


Roll Call

I am overjoyed right now.

The reality that Senator Barack Obama will become the 44th President of The United States of America, and the 1st African American man to do so, is becoming more and more evident.

As I sit here and watch this roll call, it warms my heart to hear the overwhelming number of votes cast for Barack and the tears are rolling down my face.

I'm 38, and although, God willing, I still have plenty of life to live, I never imagined that I would experience such an electrifying and historic time.

I am sitting here, excited and moved to tears.

Black folks STAND UP!



Michelle, My Belle

Since I was a little girl, I've always been engaged by and excited for "our" moments to shine. Black folks being on TV was once a really big deal.

While some things may never alter, and the "struggle" may take much longer to end, my people have come a long way and hurdled some difficult obstacles. Our bar is always being raised and last night was no exception.

Watching Michelle Obama last night, present herself and her family to the world, brought chills to my spine and tears to my eyes (of course). These are moments that I never imagined I'd see. Witnessing the landslide election of a Black mayor in Chicago (R.I.P. Harold Washington) was one thing, but this right here.......there are no words!

Seeing this regal, beautiful, and smashingly intelligent woman, a Black woman, stand before that crowd and affirm her humanness, her pride, motherhood, and the love she has for her MAN, was obviously overdue, and right on time.

Women tend to take issue with one another for various ridiculous reasons, in addition to the sexism we face daily, but in that crowd, there were many misty and teary eyes, because Michelle touched the core of family and womanhood. I wish we could connect more on those most basic levels. The world would be a calmer place.

I'm not going to speak for all of my folks, because we are not a monolith. But, last night was a proud and unforgettable moment for me. It would have been better, only if I were there in person.

The Obama's are my First Family. Put that in your hater pipe and smoke it.



Grow Out Blow Out - Three

Wednesday, the braids came down. Thursday I got a "press 'n curl", for the sole purpose of getting my ends trimmed.

While this growing process is taking awhile, I am rather enjoying the exercise in patience. They say its a virtue, you know.

I am quite pleased with the progress, but I must tell you, I am not a hair person, which is why my short and sexy haircut worked for me. I'm the broad that needs to stay in the salon chair on a very regular basis. For example, Friday, I woke up, unwrapped the hair, and looked like I was wearing a football helmet. I followed instructions. I even slept with the ceiling fan on full blast, so I wouldn't sweat it out. But noooooooo, I still woke up looking like I stuck my finger in a socket. So, Friday, I rocked a ponytail. Go figure.

Yesterday, I succumbed to the shampoo and conditioner, and brought out the trusty Miss Jes.sie's Curly Pud.ding, and did a double strand twist. I love the feel of my natural hair (I'm sure I've said that before) and I will rock my 'fro for a week or two, then head back to the C-O-M-P-T-O-N, to get my braids "re-did".

The Grow Out continues. When will I stop? December '09.

Just in time for the Big 4-0!

Yeah.....that sounds like a plan.



He Wept, Amen

Step your game up with your heavenly pleas. Invoke his holy name with some purpose and conviction. Basically, stop begging the Lord for "stuff". He will give you exactly what you need. Remember, he promised you your daily bread. Nothing more. You've got to work hard for the extras. Its called grindin'. I have to remind myself of this everyday.

Please, save those trivial prayers for your favorite team to win a pennant or division title; don't be prayin' for the Stanley Cup or the Vince Lombardi Trophy to roll through your city. Divine requests are not meant to stop your baby from pickin' boogers in church or your teenager from doing K.att W.illiams impressions in class. The Almighty is not gonna make the McRib sandwich a permanent fixture on Micky D's menu. The Holy Spirit is not gonna provide you money to get a new lacefront or enough loot for some rims. "Lawd, please" is not gonna make traffic move any faster or cause your boss or spouse to disappear into thin air.

We need fervent and sanctified prayers for some real things. Little Chinese girls aren't pretty enough to sing on international airwaves. Ok, seriously, folks are falling into trouble, the economy is in a tailspin, and need I remind you that there is still world hunger, drought, AIDS, war, and criminal miseducation of our youth. Clutch your Jesus piece for THESE things.

And by all means, if you want to send a few extras upward for the Obama campaign and family, I think that will be just fine. Go right ahead.


The Maven


Flower Child

My thumb is getting greener. Once upon a time, a plant was sure to meet early demise in my care. I just didn't get it.

Growing up, I lived next door to an avid gardener. Her name was Willa and she did not play when it came to her shrubs and flowers. My playmates and I would catch hell or high water for running across her grass and trampling her marigolds. She spent serious time tending her yard and the mere thought of anyone, especially someones little nappy-headed child, walking on her consecrated grounds was enough, I'm sure, to set her sponge rollers ablaze. Believe me when I say, that there were consequences to pay for running through her yard, namely a tongue lashing sprinkled with a few expletives that to me sounded as beautiful as her garden looked (yes, I love the art of cussin').

Fast forward some years to my mother's garden. As she matured, she too caught the gardening bug. Her yard and landscaping is not for punks. For a city dwelling, a Chicago bungalow, to be exact, The Lady's greenery is something to talk about. I used to look at her out in that yard like she was crazy. I mean, who wants their hands all up and through the dirt, and who has the patience to care for some plants and flowers until they mature, and who in their right mind would be putting certain plants/bulbs away for the winter, only to replant them in spring and start the process all over again?

Well, a few Thanksgiving's ago, on The Lady annual visit, I told her I wanted to spruce up the outside of my LA bungalow (very different from the Chicago style). Little did I know, that she would set me on a path to gardening glory! Mom set it off! We amended the soil and planted all sorts of things, and through trial and error, I must say that I have become pretty good. I lost a few things in the process so now I mainly go the container route with lots of clay pots; its easier to keep a handle on it this way. The dollar store sells clay pots, so I usually stcok up for when the mood strikes me to plant something new. I have mums, vinca, zinnia, and verbena to name a few. My tool game is on point too, I have special shoes, gloves to mactch and knee pads. I'm just missing a big sun hat, but I will wait for next summer for that, I don't wanna seem to frantic! :)

Once I get a full-fledged backyard, y'all better watch out because its gonna be like something you might see on HGeeTV, with vintage benches, a hammock, and some kinda well-behaved dog running around too.

My friends laugh at my green thumb, but I know they consider it classic Maven behavior, and they respect it.

The Lady was always right, gardening is therapeutic, and it is one of the most relaxing things I have ever done. Of course, the mimosas or glasses of wine, and the "Gardening" playlist on my I.Tunes makes it that much better. But, if you can, man, woman and child, I encourage you to try it. You'll have no regrets.

Side note to the PhDiva, get the little Capricorn's garden started!
Side note to K & K Lee, I got you next time I'm in The A.

As for Ms. Willadean, I hope she's looking down on me with approval because I think of her often when I'm diggin' in that dirt.



Sweet Dreams, Uncle Bernie

I woke up yesterday morning to a text from my girl back home, informing me of Bernie Mac's passing. I immediately jumped online to read the details and a sadness covered me like a blanket.

Bernie Mac was/is a Chicago legend. He epitomizes the Chi Town Hustle and will live on as a shining example of how to pursue and attain your dreams while taking no prisoners.

Arguably one of the most funny comedians of our time, Mr. Mac defied the odds of stardom and "making it" in Hollywood. He didn't have a Tinseltown pedigree and didn't come from a wealthy family, but he had heart, desire and loads of talent.

I remember once, back in the day, my girl JCC, the mouth of the Southside, who had aspirations of becoming a stand up comedienne, signed herself up for amateur night at The Cotton Club in the South Loop. Mr. Mac was the MC/Host that night and I don't recall word for word what he said to her when she finished (even though her routine was a hilarious mess), but I can say for sure that he wasn't harsh with his words and he didn't seek to embarrass her. That wasn't his style.

Last year, I had the honor of speaking to Mr. Mac via phone, regarding a charitable event that I was managing. The host wanted him to participate, and I had the honor of calling to ask if he could attend. While his schedule would not permit, he was humble, regretful and gracious in his response and I will never forget that moment. Dealing with celebrities is not always a pleasant experience, but Mr. Mac was a class act.

Its a known fact that at times he felt slighted in his opportunities, and he rarely missed a chance to let you know that he wasn't scared (you know the quote), but I would want him to know that he was always a star at "the crib" and in our community, and we weren't scared of him! He was and always will be truly loved. Uncle Bernie will be sorely missed!

I will be checking for his upcoming movies, and I'll continue to watch The Bernie Mac Show re-runs. I gotta get a copy of The Kings of Comedy too! He was brilliant!


The Maven


See The Justice of the Peace Instead

D Penn frequently gives examples of how and why Black stays losing. Well, here is some supporting evidence.

I enjoy my fair share of Reality TV. I won't go into detail about which shows I love, but I get down with the dysfunction of others on a regular basis. However, I will admit to watching B.ridezillas, faithfully. It is my guilty pleasure and this clip showcases my all time fave gutbucket, chittlin' circuit bride, Ms. Brandi. She is the epitome of what a cake top figurine should represent.......

Remember when I told you I was watching this over the weekend and LMAO! Now you know why. You MUST see it in its entirety. Check your listings!

Thanks to Cousin R Double L for the heads up!



So Presidential!

Happy Birthday, Senator!

A Monday Mind

Hugs and Kisses Y'all!

The weekend was juicy like D.erek L.ukes' lips. Not juicy in a gossipy or raunchy way, but fun and filled with happiness.

For me it began on Thursday, as I decided on a whim to dust off my roller blades and hit the beach. What a grand decision! It was a lovely So Cal day. It wasn't too crowded and it wasn't too hot. The wind was just challenging enough to make me skate harder, my iPod was bumpin', there were some cuties out too, also skating, jogging, or bike riding. At one point I sat down on a bench to relax and take it all in. I became fixated on two kites and my were they fancy. Kites have come a long way from my days as a pup. I think I want one! LOL! Anyway, like I said, the iPod was bumpin', and it was in shuffle mode, and all of a sudden Ree Ree Frank came in singing "Mary Don't You Weep" and at first it was sort of odd, because my surroundings gave no reasons to mourn. But, as the song continued, it gave me pause to reflect on my blessings and the beauty of life, and the song took on more meaning. It was funny though, to watch carefree, happy people frolic in the sand by while hearing "Pharaoh's army drowned in the red sea", and I began to think about tsunami's, so I quickly forwarded to the next track. I skated back to my ride, drove to Pinkberry, got my usual small with fruity pebbles and blueberries, and headed home (with a nice lil' tan, I might add).

Friday night, I went steppin'. By the way, the folks in the video are from the LA crew. I'm gonna tell you.......I gotta get some better shoes for this. Being cute and sexy is cool, but by the end of the night, my feet are usually crying for mercy. I love it though. If there are steppin' lessons in your city, trust me, go and join in, because it is an amazing and sexy dance. Great for couples if you wanna take your boo. Great for singles if you wanna meet someone new. Good cardio also.

Saturday night, I saw Eric Roberson at the Temple Bar here in Santa Monica. Supa Lowery Brothers opened for him. I copped their CD at the Third Street Promenade one day while they were out there playing. They are VERY good. As for E Robe, with the beautiful smile, he didn't disappoint AT ALL! I have been listening to him for a few years now, but this was my first chance to see him live and he gave me house music, freestyle, beautiful ballads and personality plus. He is very charming and incredibly talented. The band, Franklin Bridge, is phenomenal, and I was happy to see cutie pie Curt Chambers in the flesh. I'm gonna give the drummer some too! Great night!

Sunday, I chilled. I studied, I chatted with my girls back home on BB Messenger (hilarious stuff), I cooked a nice dinner, cracked open a nice bottle of wine, and watched that craaaazzzzy B.ridezillas with my momma and my cousin, over the phone. We laughed SO hard at those broads. WHERE do they come from???? Toe Jam at its best!

One more thing, The Football League Hall of Fame Game was a teaser. Not fair. Bring on the real thing! I'm ready!

The Maven


Shake It Fast, Watch Yo'self!

OhhhKaaaay! Earthquakes are not cute. I grew up with blizzards, and in comparison to an earthquake, I'll take the waste deep snow, bitter cold, and Lake Michigan whup-your-butt wind and chill.

The thing about the 'quake is that it is unpredictable. Its like that slap upside the back of your head from your momma, that you NEVER see coming. My friend here knows that I am a wuss about the 'quake, so he immediately hit me on the BB Messenger to see if I was okay (and to tease me). The cell phone service has been locked up and the news is abuzz with various reactions from citizens and experts alike.

I am not close to the Valley area where the earthquake took place, but I felt it nonetheless. It was also felt in Sin City and San Diego.

This one registered magnitude 5.4 and I am happy that it wasn't worse, but there is always talk of "the big one", and that makes me nervous. I don't wanna get caught with my boy shorts down, ya' know?

There is gonna be a big earthquake drill here in November and I will be there front and center!

I am gonna be about the business of getting a disaster preparedness kit. Water, blanket, radio, batteries, toilet paper, band-aids, canned goods, a good book, etc.

........'cuz you never know.

I'll holla back, The Wendy Williams Show is on.



I've spoken before about my affinity for those in their golden years. The following is a prime example of why........


I See You Jayceon

There is a certain LA boy swagger that you just might not understand unless you live here. This video gives you a taste.

Yummy, right?

(Trav and X, I see you too!)

G, you BLESSED us with this one! Between you and Nasir, I feel rejuved about the Hop.


Get Better, Baby

In case you didn't know, within the pecking order of male dominated sports, football, for me, is tops. Basketball tightly closes in at second, and that beautiful, peaceful and relaxing game of baseball pulls up the rear.

With The Football League commencing its player-dreaded camps this week, some things stood out in my mind.

1) Young Chad is gonna be happy that he stayed in The Natti. I have a feeling that this is their year. Raymond James Stadium or BUST.

2) Damn, if J.ason Taylor doesn't look good in that Skins uni.

3) Donnie Mac is back! That NFC East is gonna be a beast!

4) Hurry up and get better. Antoni.o "The Smile" Gates is going to finally be back in action from that horrible turf toe injury, to be available for my Fantasy team, and also, to make my day when the corners of his mouth rise to display those amazing pearly whites!

In case you didn't know......put your damn shades on, its gonna get bright!

God Bless America!


The Tale of Sexy Potbelly

The great thing about a house party is you never know what to expect. Starting with the host can be a great litmus test, but that is not always a telltale sign of the vibe.

I attended a backyard get down this past weekend that I shall never forget as long as I live.

I was rolling with my girl Dan Belle (of course), who, by the way, now goes by "Big Ticket" (I'll get into that later). We were accompanied a friend, whom we will call Flight Wings, for the purpose of this story. I should note that the night began with a crew of five, but quickly dwindled down to three after some parental responsibilities took precedence for one and some CRAAAZZZY, Starsky and Hutch tire screeching, kidnapping, relationship drama took place for another (I swear I can't make this shht up).

Moving on, my com padres and I headed off on a small journey about an hour outside of LA. We arrived at the lovely home of one of Dan Belle's colleagues and that's when the madness began. Barring the absolutely INSANE comments made to Flight Wings about his personal involvement with Dan Belle by some folks he'd just met, the evening proved to be quite entertaining; a smorgasbord of blog fodder under the dark starry skies.

When we arrived, the hostess was on the mike singing along with MJB's "Just Fine". She really has a decent voice, so it was funny to see, but in a good way. We said our hello's and bum rushed the bartender, and basically sat right there for the rest of the night. There was food, so we smashed the buffet, then settled in for some people watching. Dan Belle was socializing with her folks, so that left Flight Wings and I to take in the fun that was happening on the dance floor.

While there was plenty of rumpshaking, droppin' it like its hot, and line dancing, the apple of my GTFOH eye, was a guy I dubbed, Sexy Potbelly. This cat was INCREDIBLE. Think, a broke down T. Howard, or Hustle and Flow's D Jay. Homie danced all night, and he had chicks lined up to dance with him, literally waiting for him to bend them over and simulate backshots to the beat of the music. He danced to every song, regardless of genre, like he was a male exotic dancer, with the hokey snake moves and all. I say this because, it wasn't appealing, at least not to me. He wore gray sweatpants and and a dingy wifebeater, and although he wasn't a big dude, he had a little potbelly and it was all too stank and funny.

I was tempted to go over and dance with him for the private amusement of myself, Dan Belle and Flight Wings, but I was afraid of what he might smell like, 'cuz like I said, he was dancing all night, and consistently sweaty, although that didn't seem to matter to the broads who STILL couldn't get enough. Well, Sexy Potbelly's shining moment came when he left the dance floor and headed to the buffet. This Squirrel opened two chafing dishes and went right in with his bare, nasty, sweaty, booty and crotch grabbing hands, and picked out a rib and a hot link and devoured them as if it were the last supper!!!!!! Flight Wings and I sat there in stunned silence for a spilt second before we erupted in laughter. It happened so fast, but it felt like slow motion. That's why I don't like to get down at a buffet, and had we seen that when we arrived, we would have never indulged. At the time, Dan Belle had just gotten a plate of veggies, so we opted not to tell her about the food dive until we left. To top it all off, Sexy Potbelly took his soft shoes right back to the dance floor, greasy bar-b-que hands and all and resumed his stripper boogie with a big girl.

Our next source of laughter came from a Huxtable sweater-wearing, toothless semi-old timer who came to the bar and asked for Gin and Juice......."Did he just say Gin and Juice"? (Crickets).... The answer to that question was a resounding yes, and the Squirrel was dead serious. He successfully put the icing on the cake with that request.

It was time to go.

So we left.

But I have a word of advice to you all. If you ever meet a friends love interest for the first time, DON'T take it upon yourself to divulge info about your friend and make comments that might be embarrassing or hurtful to the friend or their date. A woman, who by the way, told us that her people call her Aunt Juicy (seriously), told Flight Wings that she hoped he had some loot because Dan Belle was a Big Ticket. It was classless and egregious and she should have known better; the Itch gave GAW everywhere a bad name. I was through then, and I'm through now.

The Maven.


Those Annual Sports Awards 2008

I think the most memorable moment of the night for me was at the end of the show when the camera went to a shot of D Fish after Jesus Shuttlesworth slyly remarked "another win in LA", as the C's accepted their award for Best Team. Fish looked like he was gonna meet Mr. Allen in the green room and lay hands on him. There was clearly an elephant in the room at that moment, certain to be dealt with next season in a three-point barrage by Fish against the C's. Might not work though, seeing how Sugar Ray has the sweetest stroke and counter-attack in all the NBA. Look up the art of shooting baskets and you're very likely to see his smiling face.

Another momemt of note was the look on young Eli's wife's face when the so-called host was clowning her man about winning the Bowl and coming out of his brother's shadow. Embarrassing.

Overall, the show was decent. I am not a Timberfake fan, so that made it just a bit unbearable to watch, besides, his constant references to Memphis and Kansas were annoying. Get over it already, will ya?

It was great to see Kevin Everett walk on stage to accept his Jimmie V award, God is good all the time! It was also wonderful to see Ms. Robin Roberts and the Chicago homie Stu Scott there present the award. They are both brave and amazing in their own accomplishments and respective battles with cancer.

The honoring of Tommie Smith and John Carlos with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was a proud moment indeed, as they seem to have put behind them, a few disagreements and hard feelings that have tainted their legacy over the years. It is likely that we shall never again see a black fist raised in a display of solidarity and black power, ever again. I feel an ESSPIN original movie coming.....

As for the "fits", everyone looked fairly nice. A man in a well-tailored suit NEVER gets old. Adrian Peterson looked VERY nice. Thumbs up to my girl Q, for her styling prowess with Mr. Whitaker and the Lady Baller, Ms. Parker.

The Maven


The Wrap Up

I owe you an apology. Perhaps I had you all anticipatory and excited to hear of my daily exploits in The Chi, yet I let you down. I didn't post after that first day, and again, I apologize but............. I WAS KICKIN' IT!!!!!!!

Lawd, Today! What a trip. IF you have never been to Chicago during the Fourth of July, you are missing out on an incredible Black experience.

The weather was beautiful, that Chicago summer air, especially at night, is intoxicating. Yes, its muggy and sticky at times, but its still love.

Because so many days have passed, my account of festivities and happenings will be abbreviated for times sake. I realize you don't come here to red a novel.

Day two, Friday, after hanging with Pops, I went to visit The Lady, albeit briefly, because she had to go "make the donuts". Then I went to visit my best friend, The Good Doctor, in her new diggs, to check it out. I am very proud of her accomplishments as of late and she and the little lady Capricorn aka "the future MD", love their house, so I love it too! Later that night, I went steppin' in CC Hills at Sweet Geogia [sic] Browns, a South Suburban lounge. I got a chance to dance with one of my long time friends and he was quite impressed with my progress, besides, he is a really good stepper, so i felt good holding my own. My girls (The Good Doc, Stella, Prof. Woo) and I laughed and drank and took pics, and I danced as much as my feet could stand. By the end of the night, my dogs were yelping from pain. Clearly, I'd worn the wrong shoes, but I was cute! I ended that night with a White Castle burger (a late night staple in The Chi), and it tasted delicious, but one was enough for various reasons (smile).

On Saturday, I hooked up with one of my oldest friends, Ms. ILM, and we scooped my girl Ms. Sophisticate (in from DC) and headed to the Old Skool Picnic. Chicago's OSP is not for the faint of heart. It is an ALL day affair full of grilling, drinking, socializing, reminiscing, and of course - Chicago House Music! For my generation, it is one of the most anticipated events of the summer. People bring their spouses and children, set up tents, and lay out blankets, for what ends up being a wonderful reunion and a humongous party. It is an incredible sight to see. I saw friends from grammar school, high school, college, and old jobs. I saw the twins that used to braid my hair.... what's up Doublestitch! I saw some of my homies (wassup Scilla), long lost friends, former enemies, ex-boyfriends, Squirrels and dips, (both mine and my girls). I even saw other LA transplants back in the saddle....wassup Coodie! I had a ball and it was just great to be amongst my own without incident or problem. That night, my crew was talking about keeping the party going at some aftersets, but my ass was tired and I had to haul it all the way back to the woods to Pops' house. That is a LONG drive.

Sunday was lovely. It was family day! I had breakfast with Papa, The Lady, Auntie Day Day and my cousin L. After eating, we went to catch a flick, and saw that new Big Willie movie. It was entertaining, and I enjoyed it for the most part, but it gave me a King K vibe at the end, and I always have issue when any brotha in a movie, sacrifices himself or his life to save Miss Ann. I'll leave it at that. After the movie, The Lady and I went to church and it was sooooo good to be in the TUCC sanctuary. I love that church! I reconnected with a member that I used to mentor alongside, I saw my boy who plays drums for the choir, and saw one of my grammar school teachers, Ms. Tripplett. She was still as fly as ever!

After church, I went to scoop my girl Mama So, and headed North to have tapas with The Ghandi's, MoMo and the CEO. It turned out to be quite eventful due to the topics of conversation, but all in all, we had a good time. Once again, I had to trek back to the woods....ooh wee, that's a drive, but it must not have worn on me too bad, becuz, I stopped by Stella's crib to see her beautiful chillun'. Please note though, that she too lives in the woods so I was close to home.

Monday and Tuesday I TRIED to slow it down. Monday, The Lady and I went downtown and afterwards we hit up the Harold's on 87th Street so I could have my fix, a Gizzard and Wing combo, mild and hot sauce, with salt and pepper. Hood Scrumptious! I then went to visit Grandad and Emo. No sign of the little brother though; he was in the streets. Later that night, I went to have a drink with MoMo. She and I went to Parc 52, our friend MBB's spot in The HP. We sat at the bar and had great girl talk. Girl talk is excellent sometimes, like when there is no game on! LOL! Once again, back to the woods for a good nights rest. But not before I stopped by a lounge where my girl Stella was hanging for a colleague's birthday celebration. One thing about The Chi, the lounges are poppin', and I aspire to be a Lounge Lizard, or Lounge Beyotch (as I like to say), so any time spent inside one is time well spent, in my book.

Tuesday, I had breakfast with The Mouth of the Southside (she knows who she is), and then headed into the city to the old neighborhood (London Towne) for a visit with my second Mom, T Maxx. Next I headed to The Lady's crib again for one last visit, and my cousin, Pretty Black, brought her boys by. They are so cute! To end the day, I went to Papa's house and we ordered pizza, drank brew, read the paper, and watched that (B)ubba, (E)d and (T)ed reality show about those LA kids in the Hills. Lights out.

Wednesday, my final day, I basically hung out with Papa. We went to run some errands, ate breakfast, and stopped by Mama So's parents house to see her and her boys. I had not seen those boys in about two years and they just amaze me; they are so nice and are growing by leaps and bounds. It was good to see her Mom and Dad too!

I took a shuttle from the burbs to O'Hare and my Papa's quest to get me there on time was like being in Talladega Nights or something because he was driving like a cannonball on fire.

I am back in LaLa now, completely and utterly exhausted and a little sad, because I'm coming down off my amazing home "high". Its like I'm living Stevie W's "Rocket Love".

In the midst of this whirlwind, I missed a few B Days. Happy Born Day to JM, Moose, EY, and JC! Please forgive and charge it to the game!

I'll catch y'all in a day or two. Promise. A Squirrel's gotta get her bearings.

The Maven


Say Chi City-Day One

It was a long day, but Day One at the crib didn't disappoint. I had a crack of dawn flight from LA and made it into O'Hare mid-afternoon. My girl Clarice picked me up and we went to meet another homegirl, Stella, for a bite and some spirits. Well, let's just say, spirited it was! I drank a carafe(small) and a half of Sake and they drank other wines and we laughed our black arses off for what seemed like hours. We were at some Thai spot in Indiana and I'm almost certain that our server was spittin' in our water becuz we were giving her the flux. I asked the broad for cold sake and she brings it room temp, so I had her rig an ice bucket out of a plastic pitcher. Who does that? Who chills their sake in a water pitcher? I do! My girls were laughing, reminding me that I wasn't in the City of Angels. I must caution you that it was still early, and even moreso for me since I was on Pacific time, but I digress because I LOVE drinks in the afternoon!

By the time Stella dropped me at my Pop's place, I was having difficulty forming sentences and I attempted to sit up with she and my Dad to chat, but it was futile. I had to shut it down. By 9 or 10, I was showered and in bed. Day one was done.

When I woke up this morning, I had text messages about a party I missed, but it didn't matter because I was hungover. My Dad was up, all bright-eyed, blasting Coltrane, telling me to get up. So, I did, and now we're in the streets and I'll holla at you all later, after I see my Momma or something. Thangs are just getiin' started 'round here!

The Maven


Hump Day House Music - Home Edition

Yo! I'm headed to the crib in the morning! Can't wait. I get to see the smiling faces of the two who gave me life! I need this break, badly. Haven't been to the crib in a year and I'm homesick. I need to recharge. See my best friends, old friends and loved ones....Wake up to see deer running across my Pop's lawn....Taste The Lady's home cooking....Eat some Harold's, Curt's and Giordano's....See the Skyline....Roll on Lake Shore Drive....Walk down Michigan Ave....Hit up the Taste of Chicago and the Old Skool Picnic and listen to some House Music... Go to Hyde Park.... Make my rounds in London Towne....Go to church (TUCC)....Get some steppin' in somewhere on Stoney Island....Maybe get in a Sox game....

I will be checking in while I'm gone, but just know that this is EXACTLY how I will feel when I get off that plane.......

Love Injection - Trussel


A Monday Mind

What goes through an opponents mind when they are staring at Venus or Serena or Venus and Serena (doubles matches) from across the net?

How do you know the difference between being in love with "the one" and being tested in preparation for "the one"?

Pets and children don't have bills. Can I return in my next life as one or the other?

Baseball season is really holding it down for me right now. The Windy City Series did not disappoint. Its a little strange living in a city far from the hometown and watching said hometown teams wallop on each other for six games. I wanted to be there. Go White Sox!

Football season is coming! That means my Fantasy League begins, Season 8!

I'm just gonna put it out there.........if for some reason I end up dating outside the race, and it becomes serious, and my future in-laws disapprove of my chocolate goodness, then I'm bailing on dude before things get out of hand. I love my life. How insane is it that a grown arse man would concieve of having his daughter-in-law, the mother of his granchild, ICED? Predjudice and racism is a muthaskunna. To my Indian brethren, your skin is brown. Get over it. Besides, black folks are that deal!

Sleep is underrated.

I can't say this enough. Ladies and Gentlemen, mani-pedi's are your friend.

Warning.....hold off on going to a new restaurant within its first few weeks of opening. They're still working out the kinks and you're probably gonna be irritated and turned off by the ambiance, food, and/or service. Trust me on this one. I've worked in a new retaurant and I've patronized them too. Good things come to those who wait.

Speaking of restaurants. As a hostes, why would you wear stripper shoes to work, knowing that you have to seat people all night? Hostess Girl, you were a great source of entertainment, as I was sure that you would eventually fall and bust your butt while tippin' across that slick floor.

Its probably a good idea to learn Spanish and/or Mandarin, and teach your children too.

How did we become so desensitized to human suffering?

I know its Monday, but hang in there!

The Maven


Green Day

This is about golf. I don't know how to play, but after spending my work-related day at a lovely course in Malibu the other day, I am convinced that I must learn. First off, this is Southern Cali, so the weather is usually "boss".

It was an absolutely beautiful day, the tournament was charity driven and the participants were all accomplished and very pleasant urban professionals. One of the best elements of the day for me was the peacefulness. Ladies, if you're trippin' about the hours upon hours that your Squirrel spends on the links - just STOP. I completely understand why he's out there.....its relaxing and serene and he gets to chill with his boys, drink brew, compete and talk BIG shtt for an ENTIRE day. Trust me on this, for a man, this is major. They love us, but a day without "lip" or "mouth" is priceless.

I can speak on this because, although its a mans world, I can navigate it. I don't intrude, I blend in. Chameleon style. So perhaps you can join me for those lessons and get your weight up too. Plenty of our female counterparts already know this (shouts to my BFF, Dr. Dill) and they are playing and playing well. Plus, the networking, socially and professionally, is priceless.

Now, I will sit up and watch T Woods, but I have never been a golf "fan". I'm just convinced that all that beauty and quiet I felt whilst driving my cart around the course all day, has to be good for my mind, soul and spirit.

Be good,

The Maven


Sugar To Shht

Is there beauty in the uncertanties of life? If you view every experience, good or bad, as a lesson, then I suppose so. I am making concerted efforts to maintain this mindset.

Friday, my day began with a smile. Granted, its been hot enough here to fry some stank bologna on the ground, but I'm not complainin'; I just slap on some sunscreen (yes, Squirrels, we need to wear it too) and drink enough water to swim inside myself. Anyway, I was having a good day. My hormones were in check, so I wasn't my sometimes moody Capricorn self, and I was going about my day,productively. I was completing a project for a client at her place of business, when one of her employees received some upsetting news via cell phone. Apparently, there was disharmony in here household amongst her children, and the drama had this poor lady all twisted. There are moments when the Spirit urges you to witness, and this was definitely one of those times for me, so I asked her if she wanted to pray. She obliged, we embraced and I spoke to Jesus. Afterward, she let loose some of what she was feeling through tears and I too felt lighter, having shared in that moment with a stranger.

Fast forward to later in the day, and I get home to find a few things out of order in my own life. My how things change in the blink of an eye. Now it was my turn to worry and cry. I did what I had to do....I dropped to my knees and had a talk with The Father. I called my girl Dan Belle and vented to her as well, then I did my best to pull it together and continue on with my day. There were no instant solutions to my issues, but there were great lessons to be learned, and so I stand humbled.

Saturday, I got up and began the day with a smile, again. I did some work, then spent time with my friends (like twelve hours), eating and drinking, in the hot arse California sun. Fools gold, I'll call it, because Sunday morning, I was beat down! I spent the afternoon with my lil' cousins (see Who Moved My Chucky Cheese's), and we had a pretty chill day. They swam and I watched.

I relay all of this to say that the daily occurrences, the twists and turns, the Sugars and Shhts of life, are simply that. Hill Clint knows this firsthand. Seldom do we have great control over life, and its best to be faithful and kind, while doing the best you can do, when you can. Oh, and don't forget to smile!

The Maven


In Honor of Papa

Today is Father's Day. By the grace of God, I happen to have the coolest Cat Daddy on EARTH, for a father. Unfortunately, we are not able to spend the day together, as I am home in Cali and he is in Florida for a work-related conference.

In honor of my Papa, I am enjoying his favorite work of art - Jazz music. He is especially fond of John Coltrane, thus my very own affinity for all things "Trane". As I am writing now, Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk are playing "I Want To Be Happy"; so apropos.

My Dad and I represent the epitome of a father-daughter relationship. Our initials are the same, with my first name being a derivative of his, and my middle name is that of the daughter of a well known jazz musician. Papa is by all accounts, my first love, most certainly one of my best friends and definitely along with The Lady, my staunchest supporter.

I could not imagine what type of woman I would be, were it not for his guidance, love and lessons. Papa is a Virgo, and if you know Virgo's then you're aware of how determined and direct they can be. Papa is King of the lecture (he once lectured one of my boyfriend's on our front step about bringing me home after curfew). I've been getting lectured for as long as I can remember, and although I sometimes tire of them, I appreciate them nonetheless, especially since they are highlighted by his distinct, silky smooth dialect. The Lady (Mom) laughs at me because no one is better at imitating him than I. I can never repeat something he has said without using "the voice", it wouldn't have the same effect. For those of you that know Papa, now is your time chuckle.

When I was a little girl, we were attached at the hip. We used to share lots of laughs and junk food (i.e. Twinkies and Suzy Q's). One of my fondest memories is riding in the car with him, listening to, you guessed it.....JAZZ!
We would take a ride to River Oaks (a mall) or spin on Lake Shore Drive, windows down, music blaring with sweet, warm Chicago breezes kissing our faces. On the weekends, when I might sleep in, I would awake to the sound of Papa's music outside because he played it while washing his car. When I got to H.S., I would often stop by his downtown office on my way home, and hear him fuss for "coming up on my jooobbbb"! Secretly, I know he was happy to see me! Sometimes, we would ride the train home or if he had driven, we might stop by Granny Helen's house on the way to the crib, to say hello.

Papa is set to retire this fall and I know he is a bit anxious. He speaks about moving to California, but only time will tell. I want to let him know that I am so proud to have him as my Dad and I am so grateful for all the sacrifices he made along with The Lady, in order for me to have an amazing childhood. Thank you, for continuing to be there for me, even now. You always offer encouragement and wise words. I also want to take this time to apologize for blowing your hard earned cash while away at college. My bad (Smiles).

With Love,

The Maven


Before My Very Eyes

Have you ever watched someone you love and admire blossom and excel into the very thing you always knew they could be?

That's how I feel about my little brother. Granted, he's a grown man now, but to me he will always be the one I doted over and kept my girls away from (or tried to, at least).

Seeing this video, made by Sam's high school classmate, brings back great memories of his college games when the family would trek to Normal, Illinois and sit out in the brutal, midwest cold or the scorching heat to watch the games. Just so you know, he is a shut down Corner! What a special and magical time! It was a pleasure watching Sam and his teammates, some of which he is still cool with (what up Mondo, what up Wayne!), play their hearts out and battle for each other on that turf week after week.

What I love most about my little brother is that he is not a quitter. Yes, he had his brief stints in the NFL, but he never gave up and has made a place for himself in the CFL (I've since grown to adore Vancouver). He plays in Winnepeg now, on the same team as his college roomie, the then and now team QB, Kevin Glenn. They have grown to become remarkable and upstanding gentlemen and for that I am very grateful. They're in camp now, working hard and preparing for the coming season, and I can't wait to watch their games. Go Blue Bombers!

As always, Sister loves ya!

Hold it down!

The Maven


Hump Day Music - Ride With Obama

Blissful. That's how the moment felt for me. To hear Barack declare himself the Democratic nominee was bittersweet. To see he and Michelle standing strong together......there are no words. I am SO very proud!

Now, the real journey begins. If ever the Obama's needed our support, they really do now. I implore you to pray with conviction, encourage others to involve themselves in this historic political process, stand tall, donate to the campaign, and take all of this VERY seriously. You have witnessed history! Black History! American History!Be proud and express to your children, your relatives and friends, the importance and relevance of this time, just as our parents did for us in terms of The Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm, Martin, Shirley Chisholm, The Kennedy's, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Jesse Jackson, Motown, etc......

Ride With Me - Emily King


Bulls Eye

So, I'm talkin' to my homeboy Drewski, he's like a brother to me and our conversations are legendary. He plays in one of those "I'm Still Tryin' To Hold On To My Youth" basketball leagues. You know the kind where guys in their mid to late thirties and forties, sacrifice life and limb for a few hours of bragging rights and bravado. Apparently last night during one of these geriatric games, an opponent inadvertently gave him a gash over his eye while going for the ball.

As he recounted the mishap, and all its bloody mess, AND his subsequent dizziness, he initially had me thinking that his cornea had been scratched. Once upon a time, I suffered an eye injury, diagnosed as Hyphema, so I don't take things like this lightly. According to him, this injury required stitches. The cut was in the eyelid area; the cornea was unscathed. That was good for him, but he was still hurt.

At this point, our conversation went something like this:

Maven: "So, did you go to the Emergency room and get stitches?"

Drewski: "I should have, but nah. I took a shower at the gym and rinsed the cut good."

Maven: (Thinking to self, "Okaaaaaay")

Drewski: I put some peroxide on it when I got home. [Daughter] said "Daddy why is your eye red? Why are you bleeding?"

Maven: "What did wifey say?"

Drewski: She didn't say nothin', she's use to me getting hurt."

Our conversation then turned to the possibility of a Lakers - Boston Finals, before it eventually returned to the gash.

Maven: "So at what point are you gonna drive over to Emergency?"

Drewski: "I'm not going. What's the point? So I can sit there all night?" "It takes to long to go to the Emergency Room."

Maven: "So you're just gonna let it heal on it's own and risk a keloid, huh? That's how you do it."

Drewski: "Why you gotta go and jinx me like that?"

Maven: "No jinx. I'm just saying." "You would rather risk walking around for the rest of your life with a big ass scar, than spend a few hours to get stitches and make sure your injury isn't worse than what you think it is."

Drewski: "I'm damn near forty, what difference does it make? No one is going to be on me like that!"

Maven: "Squirrel! You're almost forty, not almost sixty!"

Drewski: "I'm not going."

Maven: "Oh, okay. So, you wanna walk around looking like Mitc.h Gree.n for a few days?" (Laughing)

Dreski: (With a chuckle) "Riiiight!!"

Maven: "You have officially earned yourself a blog post!"

At that point we pretty much got off the phone. I can't wait to see how this turns out, men are stubborn creatures. For this Drewski has earned a big fat "Squirrel Please! This is Toe Jam at its best.


Tears Of........

I am prone to crying. I'm an emotional beast. It seems that my tear ducts are always loaded and the slightest, most tender things set them off. I have three friends in particular who are equally as sensitive, they cry at the drop of a dime, just like Justine on Run's House. You broads know who you are so I won't put you on blast.

Continuing on, I get completely overwhelmed and misty when I see hummingbird's up close or a full, glowing moon. These two phenomena are the most delightful, beautiful and calming things I've ever laid my big brown eyes upon.

As I was growing up, I cried when I got picked on for being a bean pole.

I tear up when I think someone I love or care for is hurting or sad and obviously I can say the same for those times when I am pained or melancholy.

I cry often when I think of loved ones I've lost, especially my grandmothers. There is an inexplicable emptiness without them around.

Sometimes, I still let a tear drop when I remember Hurricane Katrina and how my people's bodies were floating around in that murky water.

I cry when I feel I've disappointed someone.

I cry when I've let myself down, like the time I dropped my cats off at the shelter.

I cry when I am in the midst of PMS.

I cry when I feel a Jones coming on behind some Squirrel I call myself liking.

I cry when I see stories of triumph and major accomplishment on t.v., or when I learn of something wonderful and charitable that has been done to help people in need.

My tears are never spared on some of my favorite flicks like Love Jones, Shakespeare In Love, The Color Purple, The Wiz, and Imitation of Life. I also cried the first time The Boondocks aired their Season One classic episodes, Return Of The King and The Passion Of Reverend Ruckus.

I still cry during A Different World, when in 1992, Dwayne Wayne wedding crashed and rose up to ask of Whitley, "will you?", as she stood at the altar to marry Byron. I have this episode saved on my Tivo.

I cried when Martin proposed to Gina.

I cry sometimes when I'm talking to the Lord.

Lately, I'm always choking back tears whenever I'm around kids. My maternal clock is wreaking havoc on me.

Now don't get me wrong, I certainly cry when I'm happy. Why, just tonight I shed a tear of joy because I finished the first phase of a goal I've set for myself.

Whenever my parents come to visit me, I get so excited once I get to the airport, that I cry then too.

I cried when my best friend recently obtained her PhD.

I cry during gut bucket laughter everytime I talk to my homegirl Clark-Crittle. She's the funniest person I know.

I cried at the weddings of two of my girls last summer and fall. They were both gorgeous brides.

Trust and believe that the tears will be joyfully and proudly flowing when Barack is finally our President.

I believe my tears are my fountain of youth; keeps my soul replenished; keeps me youthful and breathtakingly fine! LOL! (I'm serious)

I share all this with you so that you may feel liberated to cry or boo hoo with the ugly face, for whatever reasons move you. Really, it's ok. And, if you have any problems tapping into that part of your emotions, just imagine that I am weeping on your behalf, because as you can see, I am not a tear-phobe. I cry all the time! (Smile)

Have a WONDERFUL day!

The Maven