Please, just stop it.

​I find myself to be the only Black person in a lot of situations. Today, I’m the only one at a strategic planning meeting.  During the break, a man tried really hard to find common ground with me. He had Virginia stories and fish out of water stories, and then he did the thing that makes me cringe the most. It was like nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to stop him before the words came out of his mouth and walk away. I knew it was coming and there was nothing polite I could do to prevent it.

He held up his hand and began to count. “I have a Black son-in-law. He’s a nice guy. I also have a Guatemalan son-in-law. Wait, not Guatemala. Where is he from? Oh well, it’s one of those countries.  Their wives love them and I have brown eyed grandchildren.”

I know he was trying relate to me. I know he wanted to communicate that he thought he had some understanding of who I am. That was certainly not the way to do it.

Sir, I’m a person, just like you. My skin is different than yours. My culture is different than yours. As a result, my experience and perspective is different from yours. Telling me of the collection of non-white people in your life does not mean that you can relate to my life from a racial perspective. Please, just stop it. 

Better At Home

Today has been almost a completely fabulous day. It was the first day in quite awhile that no one expected anything from me and neither did I. Well, that’s not completely true. Matilda expected to be walked, fed, and cuddled, but other than that, I was free to do absolutely nothing. The only voices I heard were mine and those coming from the television. Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia kept me company during the morning,  and the Fox football commentators talked at me in the afternoon. 

I didn’t have any debilitating aches, pains, or fatigue today, so I could do anything I wanted to do.  Instead of cleaning the bathroom or the fridge, folding laundry or putting away dishes, I chose to do absolutely nothing.

And I reveled in the nothingness. 

I let the pure joy of the nothingness cuddle up with me under layers of blankets and quilts while I listened to the wind whip and howl through the trees.  There were no thoughts of “I should” or “Maybe I oughta”.  No “I wonder why he hasn’t called” or “I hope she’s ok”. Just blank, empty nothingness while I chuckled at one of Rose’s St. Olaf stories.

After lunch, I was inspired to work on a piece that I haven’t touched in awhile. Today, I completely finished the “o” and just about finished the “v” before the difficulty in pulling the needle threatened to steal my nothingness. 

It was at about that time when Matilda decided it was time to go outside. We took a twenty minute stroll in what felt like 20 mile per hour winds and I bopped to the “Hamilton” soundtrack playing on a loop in my head. (Wasn’t Lin-Manuel Miranda awesome on SNL last night?!)

I didn’t feel like cooking dinner, so after a quick check of my bank account, I decided to go out to dinner. I went to my least favorite restaurant in town because they have my most favorite dessert right now, chocolate lava cake. 

Right away, I regretted my choice of restaurant. My waiteess was trying too hard and repeated everything I said.

“Have you been here before?”

“I have.”

“You have. Great! Do you know what you’d like to drink?”

“Water with lemon, please.”

“Water with lemon. Great! I’ll be right back with that.”

People can be so damn annoying. My beautiful nothingness began to erode.

My meal was horrible. My fries were barely warmed over and my shrimp might have been fried yesterday. This place is consistently bad. Why do I come here? After the N-word incident at the bar that my friend experienced, I swore off this place. I need to resume my boycott. I wonder if the food is only bad for the Black customers?  My beautiful nothingness was crumbling like a glacier in the summer.

Dessert was supposed to be the thing that redeemed the meal, but the ice cream was filled with big chunks of ice. Before I could get a spoonful into my mouth, the waitress brings the check and says, “No rush. Whenever you’re ready.” Yeah right, I know you want me outta here. The fragile ruins of my nothingness now stood like the remains of a forest fire.

I high-tailed it back home, plopped on the couch and instantly my nothingness began to regenerate.

I never should have left the house today. 

Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number

The physical age of the women in my family in no way, shape, or form matches their mental ages.  This mindset makes for some hilarious situations.

My great aunt, Sassy*, is a new resident of a nursing home.  She is 92 years old, but since she is a leap year baby, for years she would base her age on the number of actual birthdays she’s had.  By that account, she’s actually only 23.

On one of the first days in her new room at the nursing home, her roommate, who is suffering from dementia, rolled over to her in her wheelchair, and hauled off and hit her for no apparent reason.  Aunt Sassy balled up her fist and punched the woman.  Thus ended the fight.  When asked about the woman, Aunt Sassy responded like this:

Aunt Hassie

She went on to say, “She is old.  She’s in her nineties.”

Years ago, my Grandma, who is two years younger than Aunt Sassy, asked me to take her to the grocery store.  When I got to her house to pick her up, she told me that Aunt Sassy and another Aunt wanted to go too.  I picked up all three women and off to Food Lion we went.  At this point in time, everyone was somewhere in their mid-eighties.  All three women have physical issues that come with aging, but Grandma was able to get around much better than her two sisters.  Grandma had gotten all of her items and was ready to check out, but Aunt Sassy and her other sister were still trying to get what they were after.  Grandma and I walked a bit ahead and she said to me, “They move so slow.  They old.”

My Mom is in her late sixties.  She still insists on wearing high heels, moving and lifting heavy objects, and driving hundreds of miles in one day.  I haven’t heard her call anyone old, other than people who are actually much older than her, but I can tell that she thinks of herself as “different” from other people her age.

Apparently, the women in my maternal family have a serious issue with age.  They can see it in other people, but not in themselves.  It is hilarious to me and I hope that I inherit this mindset.

*Sassy isn’t her real name, but it certainly suits her.


My Bucket List

I chatted with my friend, Beth, this morning and she asked me what was next on my bucket list. I told her about the trips that I’m trying to pull off over the next couple of years, but it made me think about the non-travel items on my list. I haven’t actually read my list in quite awhile and I’m glad I took a moment to do so this morning. A couple of things on the list are now impossible because of death or non-existence, but a few of them just aren’t that important to me anymore. It’s time to update the list, but here’s how it stands at the moment.

Personal Life

Fulfill my life’s purpose.

Fall in love.

Stay in love

Be a wife. (Maybe…)

Be a mom. (Probably not at this point.  We’ll see.)

Raise happy and successful children with my husband. (This assumes a lot.  I was so hopeful when I originally wrote this list.  Lol!)

Adopt a child. (At this point, it would have to be an older child.  I don’t have the energy for a little person.)

Adopt a dog.



Pay off my student loans. (A Sisyphean task, indeed.)

Earn at least $100k in a year.

Contribute annually to ARF (Animal Resource Foundation – That’s where I adopted Matilda.), LDF (NAACP Legal Defense Fund), UB (University of Baltimore School of Law), and LFA (Lupus Foundation of America).

Become financially stable.

Have $50k in the bank. (Woowee!  This is a lofty goal for me.)


Material Things

Own a Mercedes 450SL convertible (Not important.)

Buy and renovate a house.


Simple Pleasures

Plant a garden.

Read all the books on my Top 100 list.

Watch every Best Pic Oscar winner.

Learn to…

Swing a golf club.

Learn to knit.

Learn to quilt.

Learn to play chess.

Learn to effectively use a knife in the kitchen (dice veggies, debone a chicken, etc.)


People to Meet

Michael Jackson (Died 2009)

Prince (Died 2016)

Jill Scott

Jimmy Carter

The Obamas

Have a one-on-one convo with Oprah.


Artistic Fun

Try out for a Broadway show.

Finish and perform my play about lupus.

Be a backup singer for Janet Jackson.

Sing the national anthem at a football game.

Physical Challenges

Go rock climbing. (LMAO!  What was I thinking?!)

Master the art of yoga.

Run a marathon. (Not gonna happen.  Not putting myself through that torture.)



Go to a taping of The Cosby Show.  (too late)

Go to a taping of Oprah. (Feb. 2010)

Attend the White House Easter Egg Roll  (2010) …with my kids.

Attend a Super Bowl.

Attend a Summer Olympics.

Watch 4th of July fireworks from a boat on the Hudson River with a view of the Statue of Liberty.



Achieve commercial success with Covered in Love Quilts.

Become and American Sign Language interpreter.

Write a book.

Have my book published.

Have my book be commercially successful.

Become a judge. (Maybe?)

Run for office (and win) (Not sure I really want this.)

Get featured for an accomplishment in Jet Magazine’s “Tickertape” section. (Publication stopped in 2014.)



Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity  (2014)

Do relief work after a natural disaster.



Visit Greece (2015)

Visit Paris.

Visit Australia

Visit Cuba

Revisit Rome.

See the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Eat lobster on a beach in Maine.

See Mt. Rushmore.

See the Northern Lights.

Experience the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Travel Rt. 66.

See the Sphinx.

Visit the pyramids.

Go on a cruise.

Visit all 50 states.

Visit all 7 continents.


What’s on your bucket list?

I’m Turning Into My Mother

This year, I failed to send my Mom a Mothers’ Day card.  Thursday rolled around, and I knew it wouldn’t get to her in time, so I didn’t even fake the funk.  I just didn’t send one.  Initially, I didn’t feel bad about it because I had already discussed her Mothers’ Day present with her, (we’re going to see a Broadway show) but as the holiday got closer, and I watched everyone gushing over their mothers on Facebook, I really started to feel bad.  My mom’s not good about getting cards in the mail on time either.  I guess I come by it honestly.

This was taken in when we went to see “The Gin Game”, starring Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones in November 2015.

As I get older, time seems to move faster, and it seems like at least twice a week, I see or hear my mother in me.  Sometimes it’s amusing, like when my hair acts the same difficult way as hers, but then sometimes, it’s annoying and just makes me silently shake my head in the apprehensive acknowledgement  that she’s been right all these years and I am just like her.

My Mom is a tough love kind of mom.  You can call her upset if you want to, but you better not be crying.  She’ll tell you she can’t understand what you’re saying and to call her back once you’ve stopped crying.  She certainly can’t help you through all of your loud sobbing and your tears aren’t going to make anything better.  Instantly, you can hear how your tears are frustrating her and making it more difficult than necessary for her to help you.  Mom is known to say, “Shut that noise up and tell me what’s wrong!”.

I’ve always been more of a comforting, “There, there.  It’s gonna be okay,” while I pat you on the back and try to decipher your words through your tears kind of person, but lately I’ve noticed Mom’s way of doing things creeping up on me.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a client who cried every time I met with him.  The first time it happened, I used comforting language to try to get him through this tough time.  The second time, I just sat and stared at him as he cried and waited for him to pull it together before I continued the conversation.  The last time, I said, “Look, I understand you have a tough decision to make, but those tears aren’t going to change anything.  Now pull it together so that I can answer your questions and help you make the best decision possible.”  It was as if the words completely bypassed the edit portion of my brain and as I heard them escape my mouth, I was shocked at how much I sounded like Mom.

So, Mom, while there are certainly plenty of very important life lessons and invaluable pieces of wisdom that you have imparted to me over the years, you should also know that it seems that little pieces of your personality were imbedded in me early on and are starting to surface in my later years.

Happy Mothers’ Day.


Playground Language

In the second grade, I got a very stern talking to by Mrs. Royer for telling other kids on the playground to “shut up”. I didn’t realize that I was saying something mean and I cried because I was embarrassed and because I had disappointed my teacher.

Today, while walking the dog, I was stopped in my tracks when I heard a little girl on the playground repeatedly yell to another in a very threatening tone, “Come the fuck back up here!”. I could not believe what I was hearing.  I looked around to see if anyone else responded the same way I did.  I caught a twenty-something year old laughing at me. It was the only reaction I saw.

Clean the damn water!

“Don’t push me, cuz I’m close to the edge.  I’m trying not to lose my head.  It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” – Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five

Detroit Free Press
Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press

I am absolutely dumbfounded by the situation in Flint, Michigan. Not only am I angry that families have been poisoned, I am ready to fight over the fact that the Governor knew about this and did nothing about it. Look at that water!  People are expected to brush their teeth with that mess?!  You have GOT to be kidding me!  I am pissed to the highest pissedivity!  How could anyone turn a blind eye to the poisoning of an entire town?!

Flint is a blue collar town that has a population of about 99,000 people. General Motors was founded there and it is the place where the Flint Sit-Down Strike happened in 1936-1937, which gave birth to the United Auto Workers union. Still wondering why this crisis has been ignored?

The median household income is $24,834. Still wondering?

A majority of its citizens are African American. Still wondering?

Let me spell it out for you. This town is populated by a demographic that rarely has a voice at the table. It is populated by people who are not viewed as a threat to anyone’s political livelihood. It is populated by folks who barely make enough money to take care of themselves and their families.  They most certainly don’t have the money to buy influence over the decision makers of the state.

When you read this timeline of events from NBC news, if you weren’t already angered by this situation, you will be. GM complained about the water rusting car parts and nothing was done?! Oh wait.  GM has a loud voice in Lansing, so Flint thought fast and made arrangements for GM to use a different water supply, but continued to subject its citizens to the dangers of lead in the water. As the old folks say, they oughta be ‘shamed of themselves.  It is apparent the city of Flint put economics first on its list of priorities and the safety of its citizens is at the bottom of the list. “They don’t care cuz the stay paid anyway.”

This is not just Flint’s problem.  To paraphrase Slick Rick, this type of mess happens everyday to the voiceless people in our country.  Substitute healthcare for water, and you’ve got the same situation in the states that decided against the Medicaid expansion.  Same kind of population. Same “we don’t care about your health and safety”-type decision.

A late apology isn’t good enough.  The lawyer in me hopes that the citizens of Flint band together and sue the pants off the State under the provisions outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act.  The political animal in me hopes that the people of Flint get organized, register people to vote, and rally other communities to do the same.  The nurturer in me prays that the children effected by this are getting all of the care and attention they need.

Now let me find a few dollars and figure out how I can help the people of Flint.


Star Wars Hopes and Questions

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens today and I am more than excited.  Last weekend, I watched all of the previous movies (five in one day and the sixth on the next day) and am ready to be amazed and more importantly have some of my questions answered.  Here are my hopes, questions and thoughts about what’s to come in Episode VII.

  1. I hope Hans and Leia got married.  I really hope that the continuation of the saga keeps them together through all these years.
  2. I hope that C3PO and R2-D2 still have memory of everything that has happened thus far.  R2-D2 is the only one that has full memory of all of the happenings since Episode I, since C3PO’s memory was wiped at the end of Episode III.  I would love to read a story told from R2-D2’s point a view.  He knew before anyone else that Anakin was bad.
  3. My first hope was that Finn is related to Lando, but I couldn’t figure how that would factor into the story.  It would be nice of Hans to be looking after his buddy’s son, but that doesn’t seem much of a link.  Plus, we don’t know what happened to Lando and for some reason, I don’t expect to get that answer, especially since Billy Dee Williams is not in this movie.  Then I was thinking that it would be cool if he was Mace Windu’s son, but since jedi are not supposed to fall in love and marry, the likelihood of this being true are slim.  Finn does look a lot like Captain Panaka from Episode I.  I can’t remember if he was in Episode II or not.  Oh, you can’t remember Captain Panaka?  It’s this guy.  Remember him now? Panaka2[1]
  4. I’m hoping that Leia is a jedi in this movie and that no one really knows about it.  I’m also hoping that Rey is her daughter and is a jedi too.  How cool would that be?!
  5. I’d like to know how old Chewbacca is.  He’s got to be at least 800 years old.  Yoda died at 900 years old and Chewbacca appears with him in Episode III.
  6. I’m pretty sure Luke went over to the dark side.  He was wearing black at the end of Episode VI and there are a ton of similarities between he and Anakin that were readily apparent while watching the movies in one sitting.
  7. How in the hell is the Millenium Falcon still flying?!  Oh, and how did Han get it back from Lando?

I’m going to see the movie on Friday at 4:10.  I can’t wait!!!!!

Like Grandma’s

I don’t know how to make just one sweet potato pie. I always make enough filling for two pies and I usually put one in the freezer. This time, I decided to give one to my sister because I know she loves Grandma’s pie. She’d had the pie for a couple of days and I hadn’t heard from her, so I sent her a text.

“You taste the pie yet?”

“Yes I did. Very good. Like Grandma’s.”

The ultimate compliment. I’m still doing my happy dance.



Sweet Potato Memories

I’ve been looking forward to today all week long.  Today is the day I get started with my Thanksgiving dinner and Day One involves baking.  I started with Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie.

I’ve written down her recipe at least three times in the past and every time I go to look for it, I can’t find it.  This year was no different, so I decided that instead of frustrating myself by continuing to look for the recipe, I would rely on my memory.  I felt pretty confident as I pulled out all of the ingredients for both the pie and the lemon cake I would make later.  As I started mixing things together, I got a little sentimental and decided to call Grandma.

As I talked to her, she asked if I had everything.  I rattled off a check list.

“I boiled my sweet potatoes this morning.  I’ve got the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.”

“Do you have any lemon?”

“Oh yeah, I already put the lemon in there.  I’m about to pour this in the crusts.  Why do I have these eggs over here?  I don’t need those until I bake my cake.”

“Yes you do need eggs!  Lord have mercy.”

I imagined that she was shaking her head at me.  I can’t believe I forgot the eggs.  Even worse, I can’t believe that I didn’t think I needed the eggs.  The mixture looked and tasted right to me, and since I was baking based on looks and taste, I thought I was done.

“How many eggs do I need?”

“How many pies are you making?”

“Two.  I always make two at a time.”

“Well, I guess you need about four eggs.”

Before I cracked an egg, I stopped what I was doing and wrote down the recipe and the first thing I wrote down was the eggs.  I wrote it on the sheet of paper that has my cake recipe written on it.  I’ve decided that I’m going to ask Grandma to write it down for me so that I can frame it and hang it on the wall in my kitchen, that way I’ll be sure to never loose it.  I would hate to have to rely on my memory and not have Grandma to tell me what I forgotten.