Mama Loves Best

Recently, my oldest son had the opportunity to participate in V.A.S.E. (Visual Arts Scholastic Event). It’s like UIL for visual artists. The best score is a 4. That is the score he got! Also, he earned the opportunity to get his letter jacket! As I’m trying to fill out the form, it took me back to when I earned my letter jacket in high school.

I’m a single mother. I was raised by a single mother. Now the difference here is that my father was and is present in my life, and he helped. He still does sometimes. I’m grateful for both of my parents. What I didn’t know though, until I was an adult was how many extra hours my mother worked to maintain our home. She was a teacher (she’s retired now), and she would work extra hours tutoring, being the ESL lead, and working summer school. She made sure I didn’t miss out on all those opportunities like school trips, dances, extracurricular activities, and my letter jacket.

I called my mom while I was at work, pouring over the form and the choices.

“Thank you Mama.”

“You’re welcome. What’s up?”

“I was looking at the form for E’s letter jacket and it just made me…did you pay for my letter jacket?”

“You know, I don’t remember. That was a long time ago.”

“Well, doing this just made me think…” At this point, I’m starting to tear up.

“Thank you for making sure I never missed out on anything. I never knew all the extra work, or I never paid attention, that you did to make sure I never missed out on anything.”

“Well, you’re welcome. Your dad helped, like with the trip to Colorado. He helped with that, but you’re welcome. We do what we gotta do.”

“That’s one of my biggest motivations raising the boys. I work hard so that they don’t miss out anything because you always did that for me.”

“Well, my having my degree gave me some opportunities that you’ll soon have when you complete your degree.”

“Yeah.”

“Alright, well just help them remember to work hard and do their best.”

“I will. Thank you Mama.”

“You’re welcome. I love y’all.”

There is no way I’ll ever be able to accurately pay my mother back for all the financial, emotional, and spiritual support and love she has shown me my entire life. As I get older, and I learn more about family and what it takes to be an adult, my mother shares more and more with me about her life and about our life when I was growing up. There are so many bits and pieces that I don’t recall. I think my mind has a good way of blocking out some memories. I’m grateful for the good memories that stick around though, like that band trip to Colorado in high school.

I’ve always loved my mother, but I appreciate her so much more now that I’m a mother. Mothers are a blessing.

 

Election Night Almost Cost Me My Relationship

It was a rainy, cold Tuesday November 8th night. The election results were soon to be pouring out. My boyfriend was on the way home from work, and I was on the way to work. We were having a lovely texting session, until he sent me a picture. All that was made visible was his handsome beard, yellow plaid shirt, and his “I Voted” sticker. I was proud of him for voting, though I thought he had participated in early voting as I had the week before. He said, “I tried to go vote early but the lines were ridiculous.”

Now, he knew that I voted for “her.” Although he never confirmed it officially, I knew that he was probably going to vote for “him.” My handsome, young, white, Christian, policeman boyfriend was most likely swinging Republican. I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t want to date or spend my life with someone who thought exactly the same way as I do. That’s boring. I joked, “Even though I know you probably voted for the orange devil, you’re still my guy.” He responded, “Are we resorting to name calling now?” Not realizing that he may have taken actual offense to my comment, I replied with the first name and middle initial of the candidate and added the last name of a certain anti-Semitic World War 2 dictator. Although I believe that this person exhibits some very similar qualities, I probably should not have said that. 

My honey’s texts got quiet. I got worried. We are new couple. Although he is very rational and sweet and the things I’ve said to him that would normally freak a guy out have yet to scare him away, I was worried. I’ve read a lot about how politics and religion can kill a relationship. Children, politics, and religion are all touchy subjects. We had already gotten past the hurdles of religion (I’m Jewish and he’s Christian), children (I may want more and he’s not sure if he does), and gun control (he’s a cop and I’ve always been afraid of guns, and wish someone would collect them all and melt them into a beautiful structure to house the homeless or make art or something). Now, the election comes around. I’m not a card-carrying member of any party but I generally identify more with the liberal side. I was feeling the Bern, but since he is not a choice, I went with “her.”  

My comments and my strong feelings against his candidate made him start to wonder whether or not his passions and my passions would one day separate us. He wondered whether or not these ideals which separate our thinking on one level or another would be something we could live with for the rest of our lives. I told him, “My feelings for you have not changed. I have far stronger feelings for you than any politician.” He heard me and after I sat there at work, thinking quietly, I finally heard him, “You just came off very strong instead of processing this with me. I’m not hyper-sensitive personally but that type of vehement intensity makes me try to imagine it in my day-to-day life and that concerns me.”

Dating this man has taught me a lot: 1) I do want love. 2) I need to listen more. 3) I need to listen with more than my ears. 4) Whatever happens, happens. God is in control. 5) As I get older, my hormones are trippin’.

Whatever the result at the end of the night, wish us luck.  

*Update: We’re great ūüôā

Big Girl Rule #747: You’re not a Bookmark

I’m single. ¬†I’ve tried the dating apps. ¬†I won’t lie about it. ¬†It’s a little embarrassing, but like everybody does it, so it’s not that big a deal. Also, I usually get a funny story out of all my dealings with these random fellas I didn’t even know lived in my city!

My friends often accuse me of being shallow or too picky when it comes to guys, but hey..I’m pretty. ¬†I’m a mother. ¬†And I’m over 30, so I really don’t have time to waste. ¬†Why not go for what I want? Right? ¬†Right.

This particular time I started “talking” to a guy who was NOT my type. ¬†He’s like 5’9″, balding, white (the race is fine actually. ¬†Race isn’t a thing), a lot country, and a cop. ¬†Dating a police officer could be cool, yet scary, interesting, and maybe a little intimidating. ¬†He was really nice. We texted all day, all night. ¬†We had awesome phone conversations. ¬†He seemed pretty honest. ¬†I mean, what guy tells you, “oh well I have a date with this other woman on Tuesday. ¬†But I met her before I started talking to you.” ¬†I mean, I was a little put off by this, but I took it as a sign of respect that he was honest. ¬†Then, I was little disturbed that it took him almost two weeks to ask ME out on a date. ¬†He finally asked me out, but it was a week night, which as a single mother is a difficult thing to swing. ¬†He said, “I have it all planned out.” ¬†I said, “Cool, but I can’t be out late. ¬†It’s a school night.” ¬†(Come to find out later, he had a weekend date with yet ANOTHER chick. ¬†Seriously? ¬†I guess you can be charming and not that attractive.)

So Cop and I met at a mutual location. ¬†I left my car parked there and rode with him in his truck. ¬†It was a nice truck. ¬†We had polite conversation. ¬†He said, “Well, I had a whole night planned, but I guess we’ll just go get dinner since you can’t be out late.” ¬†(Mind you, it’s like a Tuesday night. Not Friday or Saturday, or even Thursday. ¬†I’m a mom. ¬†I work. ¬†Tomorrow was his day off, not mine.) ¬† So we went to a casual, sit-down Tex-Mex restaurant that I like. My rule on dates is that I never order more than I personally can afford, just in case the guy is raggedy and doesn’t offer to pay. ¬†I can at least take care of myself. ¬†Also, I don’t like to assume that he will pay and I think it’s rude to order something ridiculously expensive.

So the conversation didn’t flow exactly the same in person. ¬†Not too unusual. ¬†It’s the first time we’d seen each other in person. ¬†You have to process it all. ¬†I asked him, “Do I look the same in person as I did in my pictures?”

He says, “Yes. ¬†Do I?”

I tell him, “Actually, you look better.” ¬†It was true. ¬†He wasn’t the most handsome fellow in the world, but still, in person was far better than in pictures. ¬†I think his eyes are his best feature. ¬†Also, he made me laugh. ¬†So my phone goes off once and it’s my friend checking on me. ¬†To be polite, I respond to her and put my phone on vibrate. ¬†I’m with someone and I don’t want to be rude. ¬†Cop, on the other hand, well, his phone was very busy. ¬†He’s also a single father, but his children are far older and it was not them blowing up his phone. ¬†It was his ex-girlfriend. ¬†“I’m friends with all my exes.”

Hmmmmm. okay then. ¬†“Okay, well, you’re on a date. ¬†It’s just kind of rude to be texting your ex, or another woman who’s not like your mom or daughter, when you’re on a date.”

He chuckles and shows me the phone. ¬†“She’s just asking me if these guys at the hospital where she works are cops. ¬† I’m not flirting.”

I said, “It’s still rude. ¬†You know what she’s doing right?”

He looked confused. ¬†I say, “Y’all text all the time? ¬†You said she has a boyfriend. She broke up with you. ¬†She cheated on you. ¬†In general, you seem like a good guy. ¬†She knows that. ¬†She’s bookmarking you.”

“She’s what?”

“She’s holding on to you without being with you just in case she wants you again. ¬†Sometimes people will like kind of date you, but they won’t claim you so that you feel satiated enough to stick around but you’re not really getting what you want. ¬†They know you’re good, but you’re not completely what they want. Yet they want to keep you around…just in case. ¬†You’re a bookmark. ¬†A placeholder. ¬†A backup plan.”

He smiled. ¬†“She doesn’t want me. ¬†She’s not leaving her boyfriend even if he’s horrible to her and cheats on her.”

“You see. ¬†She has you where she wants you. ¬†Yeah, she probably won’t leave him, but you’re not leaving her. ¬†Your heart isn’t free. ¬†Whether you and I become a thing or not, I really hope you learn to let that go. ¬†And don’t let anybody else treat you that way. ¬†You’re no one’s bookmark. ¬†Until you let that go, your heart won’t be free to love another and you won’t attract nor find the one for you. ¬†There’s somebody just FOR YOU, but you wouldn’t recognize her and she’s not behind you where you’re looking. ¬†She’s somewhere ahead.”

Cop and I didn’t make it to another date. ¬†He says, “I like you. ¬†I just didn’t feel that spark.”

The same “spark” he says he felt with that ex and the exes before who have all cheated and left. ¬†I told him, “I’m fine with just being your friend or nothing. ¬†I just hope that you don’t just wait for sparks but you recognize someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated, and doesn’t just tuck you away in a pocket…or bookmark you..just in case.”

 

The Prodigal Jew

It’s been a really rough few months.¬† The oddest things and some really horrible things have happened to me and my family.¬† Things I couldn’t even imagine to possible.¬† And it’s weird because it started the very day of my conversion to Judaism.¬† When I was Christian, I would hear a saying often, and I’m not sure if it’s a Christian saying per se or an old Black Christian saying that as soon as you turn your life to God and you’re working on getting correct in life that you’ll be tested.¬† There will be obstacles put in your way to shake your faith and make you doubt everything you’ve begun to know.¬† I can’t ever let anything shake my faith in God.¬† I can’t imagine life without Him.¬† I don’t know how to cope without Him.¬† If I’m not talking to God, I’m just talking to myself (I won’t lie and say I don’t have some of the best conversations with myself, because I do).

I told myself when I converted that I would stay as involved as I was before.¬† I went to shul services almost every Friday for kabbalat Shabbat, and I was there on time every Saturday morning.¬† I went to the rabbi’s classes come rain, shine, or illness.¬† I volunteered and was in the choir.¬† After I converted, the world seemed to shatter all around me.¬† All the happiness and joy and contentment, all the great things that had been happening in my life all along my journey to being Jewish seemed to fade away.¬† Just hours after I’d waded in the mikveh and said the blessings, held the Torah and been blessed by the rabbi, and been surrounded and congratulated by dear family and friends.¬† Just hours later, my world started to crash.¬† Why?¬† For a moment, I wondered if this was a punishment for becoming Jewish.¬† But¬†how could that be?¬† There are so many happy, successful Jewish people.¬† Even Jesus was Jewish.¬† How could God be punishing me for trying to get closer in my walk with Him?

As life has gotten crazier, my attendance is weaker.¬† I make as many of the rabbi’s classes as I can (when I’m not working).¬† I help at the religious school on Sundays.¬† There isn’t any choir practice right now.¬† I’ve missed several Fridays and some Saturdays.¬† I’m tired, honestly.¬† I work and go to school, plus deal with family stuff, plus I’m an only parent/single mom of two.¬† It’s not easy to stay awake when I get to be still.¬† I asked the rabbi for recommendations of something new to study to get back in the swing of Jewish life.¬† He recommended:¬† 36 Arguments for the Existence of God (http://www.amazon.com/36-Arguments-Existence-God-Contemporaries/dp/0307456714)¬†.¬† I found my copy at Half Price Books.¬† I keep it on my bed, resting on the pillow next to mine to remind me to begin.¬† I also need to start reading the Torah daily.¬† A Christian friend of mine and I had begun reading from Genesis at the same time and discussing it.¬† Definitely need to start doing that.

I pray constantly. I have little talks with my Adonai all day.¬† I know at some point¬† I’ll find my way out of this…funk…this confusion…this garbage heap that was dumped on me…these clouds and thunderstorms raining on my parade…and I’ll find my way back to me and my happiness and the joy and contentment of my boys and my shul and my future.¬† I just hope it’s soon.¬†¬† I found my way home once.¬† I’ll find my way home again.

The Big Girl’s Guide to Exercise

When you’re a plus-sized cutie, the search for the perfect diet, the perfect look, the perfect weight, and the perfect workout is always on.¬† A few times in your life, you learn to love the body you’re with, but whether it’s insecurity that sneaks up on you or wondering what you’d look like if you lived in a world without chocolate, you start seeking a viable (and quick) weight loss avenue).

Diet, or how you eat, is considered the most important part of weight loss.¬† What you put in your body, when you put it in your body, and how you feel afterwards are very important.¬† Mental and emotional health, and personal acceptance and love, are also extremely important.¬† You have to feel good about who you are in this moment before you will ever be able to truly appreciate who you might become.¬† Your outlook on life may change, your experiences¬†may change, but who you are inherently is who you’ve always been.

Exercise helps not only physical health, but also relieves stress, can be a creative outlet, and improves psychological health and well-being.¬† When you’re a plus-sized person, you may look at the people running down your block like they’re crazy.¬† Perhaps you visualize yourself in tiny shorts with a FitBit and an iPod, running with the best of ’em, but physically you’re not quite there yet.¬† Never fear!¬† You just have to find what works for you.

Suggestions:

Walking- low impact, but effective.¬† Approximately 2,000 steps make up a mile.¬† If you can’t make it outside, you can walk indoors at a mall or even your house (and not necessarily on a treadmill).¬† Look into purchasing a low-cost pedometer to monitor your steps.¬† Start with 2,000 per day and work your way up 10,000 or beyond.¬† Turn on your favorite music or your favorite show and get to steppin’!

Water aerobics- low impact, and one of the most effective workouts you can get.

My personal favorite: DANCE!¬† There are many dance routine workout videos and Wii-based games available.¬† One of my favorites is a bit naughty: Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease.

I also love the Wii/Wii-U Just Dance series:

If you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t keep doing it.¬† So find what works for you and get movin’!

Big Girl Rule #214: Be okay with being alone

So I’ve been single (and this is single by my standards) since my divorce in 2008.  What is “single by my standards”?  I haven’t been in a committed relationship since 2008.  If I wanted to keep it all the way real, I would say I’ve NEVER been in a committed relationship.  Commitment should not be one-sided.  In the case of my short marriage, I was committed, he was not.  Oh well, right?

The funny part about all that is that I’ve noticed something about the men I’ve come in contact with: Karma works.

After my divorce, my ex dated a Hispanic chick.  That’s all very well and fine.  The only thing I would never be fine with, and never stood for, was him having her around my children.  I remember one Sunday, I was going to bring the kids for visitation and he says to me:

“(She) will come pick them up for me and bring them to my house.”

All I could do was laugh.  LOL  Was he serious?  No.  And it didn’t happen.

“No, if you want to see your kids, you need to let me know when you’re home.  I’ll bring them.  She cannot be there.  I don’t know her.  They don’t know her.  You’ve known her for like a week.  Whatever you do on your own, do on your own.  Don’t drag the kids into it.”

That was that.

And guess what?  Not too long after, he came to me asking for another shot at “us”.  Again, quite laughable.  He and (she) had broken up.  Why?  Because she cheated on him…with…his brother!  Crazy, right?

So he says to me, “Yeah, now I know how you feel.  Being cheated on hurts.”

Of course it does!  He cheated on me for a while.  I had no idea and found on accident, actually.  I mean, I don’t know that he would have told me.  Gross.

Another guy I dated long after my divorce, told me that he wanted to stop dating because I wasn’t educated enough for him.  He didn’t want to help put me through college.  I didn’t ask him to!  That was funny to me.  He ended up dating a dentist, and she broke up with him (he who has a master’s degree), because she didn’t think he was smart enough FOR HER!

Interesting, right?

After all this nonsense, sometimes I wish I had a boyfriend.  I want to get married again one day.  I think.  I might want a couple more kids.  The dating pool seems very shallow. There are a lot of hurt people out there.  Hurt people, hurt people. I get tired of getting hurt.  I get afraid of hurting someone else.  Every once in a while, I get brave and start a dating profile or start flirting with single fellas.  Then I recoil into my shell.

One thing I learned from all years of singleness, insecurity, and horrible choices in men…You gotta learn to be okay with you first.  You have to accept your singleness. You have to accept you.  If you don’t want you, why should anyone else?  If you’re not okay being alone, you’ll probably get clingy and weird and overly insecure and drive whomever you catch away.  You have to be okay with being alone with you.

I’ve finally come to a point where I can be alone in a room with myself.  Just me. I can go to bed alone.  I don’t need a man to tell me I’m pretty.  I can validate myself.  That’s the point. Do I still have room to grow?  Of course.

But the rule is:  Be okay being single before you couple up.

Good luck!

Welcome to the Big Girl Rules

Being a “big” girl, plus-sized woman, voluptuous vixen…whatever name you want to use… does not come without a few rules. ¬†In conjunction with convos with my bestest friend in the world, I will be bringing you the Official Big Girl Rules. ¬†*Rules can be applicable to women and people of all sizes, but are especially designed for Voluptuous Vixens.

 

Big Girl Rule # 321

Dressing to make an impression will shake off depression.

Just because ladies who look like you aren’t featured on Vogue or the big girl never gets the guy in movies, doesn’t mean you can’t be cute. ¬†There are a lot of affordable options too! ¬†Yes, Lane Bryant is boss, but shopping there can be pricey.

Here are a list of my fave places to find cute big girl buys:

Lane Bryant $$$

Target $$-$$$

Walmart (Yes Walmart) $-$$

Cato’s (Fantastic Clearance section!) $-$$

Family Dollar (what? yes, they have some cute stuff hidden in there) $

Dollar General (who admits this?  True indeed) $

Stay Tuned!  Share!  Good luck Gals!

cato1

 

My Fave YouTube videos of 2016

Kevin Hart & Ice Cube & Conan: Ride Along 3-School Dayz

 

Because I have to….Channing Tatum & Beyonce

Terry Crews “Indeed” (It’s old but I love it)

Terry Crews “EuroTraining”

 

Denzel Washington at the 2016 Golden Globes

 

President Barack Obama on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”

 

Actress/Singer Sheran Goodspeed Keyton of DVA Productions Inc, the motion picture “The Longshots”, and “Breaking Bad” Season 2: Episode “Bit by a Dead Bee” Fame

 

People’s Choice Winner: Matt Bellassai of Buzzfeed Fame

Breaking up…follow up…

Why is this blog becoming my Dear Diary? ¬†I don’t know…but…

After tears and prayer and talking it out with friends, I finally found the courage to say the words “I feel I have to go”…

I wasn’t expecting to cry, but I realized in that moment, I really do genuinely have love for these people I work(ed) with. ¬†I cried y’all. ¬†And my boss hugged me and said I was part of the family.

Do I wish I could have worked it out? Yes. ¬†But such is life and we’ll see what happens next.

Breaking up (with your job) is so hard to do…

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I never thought quitting a job would be so hard to do. ¬†I go over it again and again in my head. ¬†Why? ¬†Because I hate to disappoint people (well, people that I like). ¬† So I’m nearly 34. ¬†I’m a single mother (only parent really, but that’s a subject for another post). ¬†I have to do what’s best for my kids and for me, right? ¬†Here’s the problem (sometimes): I’m very loyal.

Last year, I left a position that was pretty good. ¬†Not perfect, of course, but what job is? ¬†I didn’t make the best the money but it would have increased the next year. The problem? ¬†I wanted to be able to either pick my kids up from school or take them to school everyday, and I could do neither with this job. ¬†So what did I do? ¬†I searched for a new job, and I quit. ¬†Was it difficult? ¬†Yes and no. ¬†I enjoyed (most of) the people I worked with, the money was going to increase, and I had summers off and spring break off. ¬†My new job? ¬†Receptionist at a Jewish daycare. ¬†Great, right? ¬†I’m Jewish now. ¬†I’m close to my shul. ¬†Close to my home. ¬†I go in late so I can take my kids to school (so I don’t get to pick them up, but you can’t have everything), I have some time to write and do homework (pretty awesome). ¬†Issues: part-time, no real growth potential (I’m pushing 34, it’s something I think about), part-time money, we Jewish people have many holidays. ¬†Why are the holidays a problem? ¬†Low hours or closed on some days which causes me not to get paid some days, which is something I cannot afford. ¬†So I start looking for supplemental income. The problem? ¬†The hours I work don’t leave much wiggle room.

So I look. ¬†I pray. ¬†I think. ¬†I try to be still. ¬†Be grateful I’m employed at all (and I am). ¬†I go on a few interviews. ¬†Nothing substantial.

So tax season rolls around and I usually work at an office during tax season so when my manager asked me: “Are you coming back this season?”

I said: “I plan on it.”

I went to training and tried to figure out hours that would be beneficial to both parties.  Another issue comes up: having my boys picked up on time.  Oy!

So how do I take them AND pick them up?  Can I really have it all?

I go to my manager at the tax office: ¬†“I can let this job go if I can get A. enough hours to be worth it and B. the hours to be able to pick my kids up and drop them off.”

She says, “I’ll see what I can do.” ¬†And she did! ¬†It all works out great, right?

Me: “Okay, how do I quit?”

Friend: “You just do it.”

Me:”It makes me feel bad.”

Friend: “Why? If they wanted to let you go, they wouldn’t have any problems doing it.”

Me: “True indeed.”

Friend: “So just write your letter and do it. ¬†This other job is better right?”

Me: “Well it’s more money and the hours I need.”

Friend: “Seems like a no-brainer.”

Me: “Oy. ¬†I suppose.”

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I’ve quit jobs in different ways in the past. ¬†The ones I actually cared about got a letter, an email, and I sat down and told them why I was leaving. ¬†Other jobs, I just didn’t show up anymore. ¬†(Yes, I’ve ghosted a job. ¬†Some just aren’t worth the gas money. *cough* telemarketing *cough*)

So I’m sitting here for 3 hours at work, trying to get my nerve up, and my boss leaves early before I can go talk with her. ¬†So now, what’s the best way to walk away?

Me: ¬†“Can I just leave this letter on her desk and hope for the best?”

Sister: “NO!”

Friend: “Yes.”

Me to Sister: “Well, she left before I could say anything in person.”

Sister: “Do it tomorrow.”

Me: “I’m going in late tomorrow already.”

Sister: “Does she know?”

Me: “Yes, I asked about that yesterday. ¬†Can I call her?”

Sister: “Yes!”

Friend: “I guess.”

Me: “This is so hard.”

Friend: “No.”

Sister: “You’ll be fine.”

Being a grown-up is so hard!  I have to do what I have to do.  Woman up and make the call and bring the letter and face whatever happens.  But boy, is it tough when you hate disappointing people.

As I’ve told some people (and taking your own advice is the worst):

“They don’t have to give you 2 weeks notice, so why do you have to give them 2 weeks notice?”

“They’d let you go if they wanted without question.”

“You have to do what’s best for you.”

“You have to do what’s best for your family.”

just-wanted-to-let-you-know-that-i-meant-to-put-my-two-weeks-notice-in-two-weeks-ago-aor