The Breakup

Jon and Kate Plus 8 is one of my guilty pleasures.  Along with Tori & Dean, Keeping Up with The Kardashians, and The Hills –  But, in my eyes Jon and Kate were a break from the typical reality show.

Over the years, as I watched the show I would think that I was corny for being fascinated by this couple that was working together to raise 8 children.  But how could you not be fascinated??  When this show first came on I was 26 – they were 22 with 8 kids!!!  I couldn’t even fathom that.  I would often dismiss my fascination as my answer to any part of my biological make up that thought that it was “time” for me to have kids…the site of 8 crying children definitely calmed me down.  But if I really think about what fascinated me the most, I think I watched the show because I thought they were different.  Maybe I thought they were the Cosbys of reality TV. 

I wanted so badly for Jon and Kate to be different, but four years later it turns out that Jon and Kate’s reality is all too common.  Unfortunately the pressures and pitfalls of a life lived in front of the camera got the best of them…I’m taking this hard.

In my heart I’m a hopeless romantic.  I look at couples that have been together for years, and that seem to have worked together to build something strong, and when they break up it boggles my mind.  I think to myself, what was so bad that they couldn’t make it work…why couldn’t they just try harder??  No one said that a relationship would be easy.  I guess, as my grandfather would say, I need to keep livin.

DS Download:  One of my favorite movies is The Way We Were (put it in your Netflix cue).  No matter how many times I see that movie, I always want the end to be different…I always hope that maybe Katy (Barbra Streisand) and Hubbell (Robert Redford) will realize that their love for each other is more important than politics or trying to change the other person.  But what if, individually, they decided that they loved each other enough to change without having to be asked?  Setting aside their foolish pride and their certainty about how life should be lived to account for the other person – the person that they fell in love with.  

In positive change, there are elements of compromise…and granted, I don’t know much about love but it seems to me that change and compromise are some of the ultimate acts of love.

I think it’s our unwillingness to change that makes us prone to sad endings.  If you push back on what Jon and Kate were saying or not saying on last night’s show, doesn’t it all drill down to their unwillingness to change for each other?  Kate’s unwillingness to go back to life without the cameras and the unending opportunities that her family now receives because of the show, and Jon’s unwillingness to accept that his life (in terms of anonymity and the family unit) as he knew it, as far as him being the breadwinner/provider etc. will never be the same again. 

Perhaps each person is asking the other to much, perhaps they’ve outgrown each other, or perhaps they’ve just never paid attention to each other’s need for change.

I’ve seen relationships break a part that have literally shocked me, but I guess when it comes to matters of the heart there are often times no clear answers.  I hope that TLC is at least asking both of them to attend counseling…do it for the children, do it for us.

The Trouble with Some DJ’s

This weekend I had an encounter with a DJ that border lined on the absurd.  Nine times out of ten you’ve experienced this encounter as well.  You know how this goes…you approach a DJ politely requesting a song, he/she looks at you with a contemptuous glare, as if requesting said song was an infringement on their artistic freedom.

**Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I’m not knocking DJ’s or meaning to belittle them in any way.  I understand that although anyone can buy the equipment to be a DJ it takes TRUE TALENT to assess a crowd and compose a soundtrack that will make the party be an unforgettable one.  No doubt, a DJ has the power to make or break a party.**

But, I’m not sure when DJ’s (or people in general, for that matter) began taking themselves so seriously.

DS Download:  I think DJ’s should be reminded from time-to-time that they are in the business of customer service.  Can I understand a DJ feeling creatively stifled by request after request? – Yes; Can I understand a DJ not playing a club-banger because of his disdain for a song? – No…and that’s exactly what happened this weekend.

To set the scene, I was at a lounge celebrating my girl’s 30th birthday, the party started around 10:30.  At 11:30 a member of the party requested Soldier Boy’s Swag On…around 12:30 it was requested again…at 1:30 when I heard the birthday girl remark that her song still hadn’t been played (club was closing at 2), I walked over to the DJ and politely requested that he play the song – my request was answered in the following way by the cocky skinny jean wearing DJ:  “THAT SONG SUCKS.” 

If you’ve met me, you can imagine where things went from there. 

This was NOT a situation in which the DJ had been bombarded with request after request from the audience.  I know this because we were on the upper level with the DJ, in an area where people were not able to walk up and request songs.  It was just my girlfriend’s party and the DJ; A party that my girlfriend and her husband paid handsomely for in the midst of the toughest economy since the great depression.  So while I can understand that the DJ has his own opinion about certain songs, I have no tolerance for a DJ being rude or disrespectful to paying customers.

In the end, the cocky skinny jean wearing DJ who went as far as stopping the music, and telling us that he was from “the street” and that he would see us outside after the club – was put in his place by the manager of the establishment…approximately 10 minutes after the DJ called himself coming out of a bag on me he had to eat humble pie and play the song that was requested. 

We’ve all had to eat humble pie, but my hope is that this young, skinny jean, high top adidas wearing DJ with thick black rimmed glasses and styled hair got one of his first lessons in customer service.  Granted, I didn’t know what “street” the DJ was from, but I’m pretty sure that by the end of the night, he was put on FRONT street by a group from the suburbs.

Oh Shrimp & Grits, How Much do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways…

At present, I am extremely grateful that my appetite, and lust for an amazing meal is not an indicator of my size….if it were, I would be in TROUBLE today…and why, do you ask, would I be in trouble?  Because I woke up this morning with shrimp and grits on my mind – and 6 hours later, I am counting down to tonight’s meal.   

Not only did I wake up with shrimp and grits on my mind, I have meticulously planned today’s meals around the feast I plan on having tonight.  I skipped breakfast (I know, I know, this is a huge no-no), and had an avocado and some wheat thins around 11:30.  Now I’m sitting at my desk, locked in some sort of staring match with this apple – the snack that I told myself I should have if I plan on eating a plate of shrimp and grits with andouille sausage, shallots, and creamy stone ground grits!!! (Crème Café, U St.)

It’s amazing how delightful a good meal with good friends is.  How I am going to reconcile my love of a good meal, with my eventual (IMPENDING) need to watch what I eat is going to be maddening.  It’s going to take self control that I am going to have to borrow from someone. 

DS Download:  As of late, I’ve found that self control, in the form of dieting, is something to behold.  I wish I had the kind of determination you see in people that are sticking to their diet – it shows character and control.

On Monday I was having a conversation with a woman in my building about a new liquid diet that she was on…the minute she said “liquid” I kind of tuned out BUT, I think I recall her saying that she had to drink only liquids for 30 days.  <insert moment of silence and dismay here>.  When I saw her on Wednesday she said that while at work on Tuesday she almost passed out, so she got home and allowed herself to eat something.  Thank goodness.

On Wednesday evening I was having dinner with friends, when one woman mentioned that she was thinking of trying the hard boiled egg diet…I immediately thought to myself “great, she’ll lose weight but have high cholesterol”….Sweet.

I understand that at some point I am going to have to take a long hard look at my eating habits and make some major changes about what I choose to indulge in, but for now, I’ll have a glass of red wine, a caesar salad to start, and the shrimp and grits please.

Here’s to hoping you enjoy a lovely meal this weekend with even lovelier company!

DC Bashing

As of late, my biggest pet peeve has become DC bashing – this is the tendency that many have to relegate Washington DC to some uninspiring town with little more to offer than politics and law firms.  I’ve heard it all about Washington DC; that people aren’t friendly, that people have no sense of style, that creatives can’t flourish here, that people here “just don’t get it”… and I’ve had enough of all of that talk.

I most certainly understand out growing a city, and feeling the need to move on – I’ve done it – but for a person to malign an entire city just because it did not give them what they needed speaks volumes of that person. 

Of course, there are some things that certain cities are known for; you wouldn’t come to Washington DC to start your film career, just as you wouldn’t go to LA to be at the epicenter of the political world, but just because a city is known for something, that doesn’t mean that the city is that thing to everybody…if a person gets caught up in the hype of a city, then that’s on them.

DS Download:  In any city, we get to be who we want to be and although there may be an overall culture to a particular city, that culture does not have to define us.  We can seek our own inspiration and march to the beat of our own drum…and when we tire of the music, we can appreciate the city for what it had to offer and move on to the next city…for now, I’ll stick with Washington DC, and for all of the people who aren’t inspired by this city I will express my feelings about the beauty of Washington DC via the following pictures….  

DuPont

DuPont Circle

RubySlippers

Ruby Slippers on Embassy Row

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The Wharf

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A beautiful day on the pier at the wharf

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The Kennedy Center

My Thoughts on Mothers

In an ideal world, all moms would teach their children to be beautiful people.  Not the type of beauty found in the pages of fashion magazines, but the kind of beauty that radiates from within; beauty that allows a person to rejoice in others success and identify with others pain.

Ideally, all moms would be there to catch their children when they fall, to show them that in spite of hard circumstances, there will be better times. 

Mothers are our rocks, they hold the power to build us up in preparation for journeying throughout life, and they make a decision to be fearless.  Of course, I am not proposing that mothers do not get scared, and worry for their children – but from what I’ve observed, they make conscious decisions to work through their fears and anxieties…and if they are afraid of something, their instinct to protect their child is a formidable match for any force that forms against them.

I spent mother’s day with a woman that fits the descriptions above perfectly.  She is my rock in hard times, she helps me to be fearless, and she is constantly teaching me to fish – with the hopes that when I am navigating this landscape on my own, I will know how to nourish myself.

DS Download:  My observation is that making a decision to be a mother, is just that, a conscious decision to love a child and prepare them to make their mark on this world – whatever that mark may be; and that decision is something totally different from giving birth to a child. 

The ability to give birth is inherent in the female species, but the act of actually being a mother requires a woman to do much more than give birth, it requires them to be fearless and give selflessly to a child.  Because of this, any woman with the ability, and the desire to summons the necessary strength can be a mother, and that is a beautiful thing about life. 

From a woman’s point of view, our mothers not only give us strength, they give us our role models…women that teach us to be women – Grandmothers, Godmothers, Aunts, Great Aunts – they give us our village, and for that I thank God for mothers; My mother, my friend.

An Imaginary bar Fight with this Economy

I was going about my day yesterday, soaking up a rainy Thursday morning when I received an email from a close friend stating that they had been laid off. 

As I read the email, I felt as though I’d been punched in the stomach…punched in the stomach by an economy that seems determined to stick the country’s cheek in the dirt, while placing its proverbial foot in the backs of people from all walks of life.   

After I felt the air go out of my chest, I immediately felt the sensation to fight back – but fight back against what?  As a friend, I offered my comfort and certainty that my friend WILL BE ALRIGHT.  I am a firm believer that when a door closes, another one opens and that god is a way-maker…however, I know all to well, that when you’re in the midst of the storm, it can be hard to imagine a clear day. 

Inspirational speak aside, sometimes you just need more!  I needed to get even with an economy that is attempting to have its way with me and the people that I love, so the following is my account of the bar brawl that I had (in my head) with this economy, or Economia – as she will be referred to in my story:

…..I walked in the club ready to have fun and enjoy a nice night with my girlfriends.  HOP UP OUT THE BED PUT MY SWAG ON started playing and we all ran to the dance floor, we were having a great time until – out of nowhere – someone bumped into me and spilled their drink all over me and my friend.  My first reaction was to flip out, but I played it cool, the perpetrator said “I’m sorry” with a smug look on her face.  My friends calmed me down, and I thought my night was ruined until BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL came on and I got right back into party mode…I was feeling it, when all of a sudden a head full of hair slammed right into my face, I turned around and it was the same girl!…she looked at me indignantly and said, “my name is Economia and I’m not going anywhere, I run this dance floor, if anything, you can move!”…almost as if I was out-of-body, I watched my hand slap Economia’s face – she let out a Prince like shriek – as she was holding her face in disbelief I followed with the old shirt-over-the-back move, and a swift kick in the pants!  As Economia sat on the ground in sheer amazement, I pressed her cheek to the floor and said “this is what happens when you constantly mess with me and my friends”….at which point she responded… “the Dow Industrial Average indicates that I’ll be here at least through the first quarter of 2010”…I ignored the remark and left Economia there to think about what she had done, I was certainly in no mood to discuss the Dow Jones……

DS Download:  It was a good imaginary fight…never mind that back in reality I’m job hunting in the toughest market ever, while thinking of ways to start my own thing – but for one, brief and shining moment I got to kick Economia’s ass.  As my dad would say you can’t keep a good man (or woman) down!

Have a great weekend 🙂

Your Breadbowl Runeth Over

bread-bowl       bread-bowl1    bread-bowl2

If Domino’s insists on bombarding me with pictures of their unappetizing breadbowl, then I have no other choice than to air my grievances here – in this public forum, with my 7 regular readers.  My hand has been forced!

Domino’s did a horrible job of advertising this offering.  Instead of the breadbowl coming across as a delicious meal, they managed to inspire most viewers to cringe at the thought of having one placed at their table.  The commercial shows a breadbowl that has been previously constructed – focusing on the pasta that seems to have been freeze dried into place in the center of the breadbowl.  Given the public’s interest in fresh, wholesome food, it seems to me like they would have paid more attention to showcasing preparation – NOT focusing in on a shot of multiple breadbowls, sitting on a table looking like plastic food props.

NO ONE wants to imagine someone at Domino’s taking a frozen mass out of the freezer, that is then defrosted, then micro waved/baked to form into a lackluster, sodium drenched breadbowl. 

BUT, one may find it appetizing to see images of freshly baked bread, rising in the oven, alongside a delicious, piping hot pasta dish …followed by a shot of a ladle whisking the freshly made pasta into the freshly baked breadbowl. HELLO, this isn’t rocket science.  Show “fresh” ingredients, baking bread, piping hot, mouth watering creamy pasta – and you’re good to go…people would be in line, waiting for their breadbowl to runeth over.

DS Download:  Some ideas are great, and others are better left on the chopping block.  There are some things that just seem unnecessary, so before someone starts manufacturing hamburgers and hot dogs with buns that automatically inflate and condiments baked into the meat….or seats that are automatically attached to our behinds …I say, some things are better left untouched.

KFC’s new grilled chicken, on the other hand deserves a standing ovation.  You don’t get the sense that it’s a gimmick, you just get the sense that it’s finger licking good!