Softball and Switchblades

Softball and Switchblades

I’ve had to say goodbye to a hefty number of family members in my life, but bidding farewell to my auntie (pronounced aint-tee) Rita Kaye Robinson Purvis has been almost surreal to me. I can’t really believe she’s gone. If I ever believed anyone was invincible, it was her. I still haven’t really fully accepted that she didn’t tase the heck out of cancer. She stood 4’11”, but she was one of the feistiest people I’ve ever known. She was fun to be around, but she didn’t take no mess either. She was the only girl smack dab in the middle of a bunch of boys (like me! I’m the only girl and middle child too 🙂 #youcare), and she was tough yet nurturing. She was one of those people you definitely wanted on your team. She was fiercely protective of anyone she loved.

I love these pics. Her smile tells you most of what you need to know about her.
I love these pics. Her smile tells you most of what you need to know about her.

As I was reading her obituary, I realized that even though I’ve always known she was a single mother, I never labeled her that. One line in her obituary caught my attention more than anything else: “She was proud to be a single mom to her four children.” I began to wonder why I’m so ashamed of my status when I’ve admired her all of my life. I still don’t have an answer. It never even crossed my mind that it was anything but natural for her to be my cousins’ solo parent and protector. As a matter of fact, as I’ve been navigating my way through this single motherhood thing, I didn’t even think about Rita as a role model of single motherhood. Isn’t that crazy? She’s definitely been a role model for motherhood–as are my mom, my cousins, and others. But when I think of single mothers, she just didn’t come to mind even though she’s never not been in my life–so how could I overlook that? Of course I was a child so I wasn’t privy to some things, but she never seemed upset about her “plight” or resentful or any of that. It’s kind of been a lightbulb never-ending moment since I read that line. I’ve been thinking about this almost nonstop. I think the biggest way I can honor my aunt now is to figure out how to start being completely proud of my journey as a mother. And maybe, as well, to be willing to share with my village, which includes her children, when I’m feeling overwhelmed the way she and my mom shared with each other. It’s really hard for me to show my hand and let people know when I’m feeling really down, but I know I need to start, as they reminded me this weekend. (I’m listening Shun and Chelle, I promise!)

When I think of Rita, I will always remember her coming down from the scorekeeper’s box to give me a hug when I arrived at the softball field to watch a game. As I noted in my blog post about my granddaddy, baseball and softball are a family tradition, and of course, she played, and when she stopped playing you could still find her at a game. Keeping score, socializing, making everyone around her feel special, and talking much smack.

Still at the ballpark
Still at the ballpark

And yes, that second part of this blog title is how I will remember her as well. My aunt never left home without a boxcutter, switchblade, taser, SOMEthing. She gave me my first taser after I started living by myself. And when my neighbor was effing with me, I’m sure Rita wished she were in Atlanta to stick up for me. I hope I made her proud when I decided to start walking my dog with my softball bat in my hand. That definitely solved my problem! I didn’t hear another threat once I showed I wasn’t taking any mess off of him! I can thank Rita Kaye for her feistiness when it came to protecting myself. She would say “I don’t care how much bigger they are, how much stronger they are, I got something for em.” And she always had a way of making you feel so much better and more optimistic about a situation after she finished with her pep talk and but-I’m serious-though jokes.

I will absolutely miss my aunt. I’m happy she’s no longer in pain. I know her mom and children and grandchildren and brothers and nieces and nephews will carry her in our hearts forever more. Rest in love and power and happiness, my firecracker aunt.

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ONE is the magic number!

ONE is the magic number!

Every year on my birthday, my mother tells me “Happy birthday, even though I did all the work that day.” And I always laughed, but I never truly appreciated the true essence behind those words. Until today. Today is the day that I celebrate the life of my precious son, but it is also a day that I pat myself on the back for laboring for nearly 19 hours then pushing an 8 pound 9 ounce real-life person from my nether region and for holding us down for a full year. Who is the bomb???? I AM! Lol!

Frederick Daniel has changed my life, and boy, is he a character. He is one of the most charming and expressive and funniest little people I’ve ever known. Watching him grow and develop and discover daily is so astounding and amazing. He went from being able to only lie there looking up at me to crawling up stairs in one year! And I must admit, there is nothing I can compare the feeling of when Frederick reaches out and hugs me now. Those chubby little arms around my neck or hands on my face just make me melt every single time. There’s always a moment every day that he does something, whether it be looking so peaceful while he’s sleep, or pointing at a picture of a dog and saying “Dog!”, giving a laugh from  his gut like I’m the most hilarious person ever in life, or trying to run with his bowed legs, that I just stop and think “Man, I love this little boy.” I’ve always spent lots of time looking ahead and not living in the moment, and since he’s been alive, I’ve managed to slow down and just enjoy time with my son.

I love me some him. Can’t you tell? Happy first birthday, Frederick Daniel Todd! I look forward to many, many, many, many, many more!

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My Soundtrack of Life

My Soundtrack of Life

I came across a song on Spotify yesterday that made me travel back in time and up to today’s reality within the 3 minutes and change that the song lasted. It reminded me of a song by Musiq that I loved from the moment I first heard the opening melody and provided me with a timely follow-up/update to it. Here’s Greatestlove by Musiq–the song that represents the past.

Baby, you and me, we’re so good together
Look at how we harmonize
Girl, we’re like the perfect melody that keeps getting better
We can stand the test of time
All we had were letters till we formed the words
Started from the lyrics till we found the verses that can bridge us through
Baby, we could be the greatest love song…

And here is the song I found yesterday. I’ve listened to Karina Pasian on YouTube and added her to a couple of playlists, but I had never heard this song until I searched her name in Spotify. I looked for the song on YouTube so that I could share it and only found the live version, which is still good but you can’t hear the lyrics as well as you can, of course, in the official recording. You would think I would have had this epiphany after hearing Melanie Fiona’s Wrong Side of a Love Song, but that song didn’t speak to me the way this one did. Although, I could probably have gone with Toni Braxton’s Another Sad Love Song, but it doesn’t use the metaphor of music like these two (Musiq and Karina) do. Anyway, here’s the song that represents the present.

Now all that’s left of us is just another melody
Just another song I sing
Can’t believe you’re just music on my radio
Not in love with you no more
I’m over you
We used to be a symphony
You used to be my everything

Now you’re just just another melody…

If you know me, you know how much of a music fiend I am, so using music as a metaphor for love is just perfect to me–touches my soul in a special place. I love how songs can capture how I feel at a given moment or over a span of time, so I thought I’d share a little glimpse of my experience (which makes me a wee bit uneasy, but I’m going for the gusto, lol). Happy Friday!

Happy Thoughts on a Happy Friday

Happy Thoughts on a Happy Friday

I was just thinking again about being home and remembered one of the cutest interactions of my pregnancy. One of my “big sisters” who I’ve known since I was a college sophomore and the older sister of one of my dearest friends, Adrienne, came to my shower with her two cutie pie daughters in tow, who were mini hostesses for the event. When we were all wrapping up and getting ready to leave, Taylor and Sidney asked me to tell the baby they said hi when he comes out. And I told them they could tell him right then because he can hear them! So they excitedly greeted him (and Sidney waved while saying hi–too cute!), and he started kicking! Their eyes got big, and all three of us grinned. It was such a perfect moment.

Taylor, Adrienne, and Sidney!

Hope everyone is having a great end of the week!!!

In a Sentimental Monday Mood

In a Sentimental Monday Mood

Time for Memory Lane Monday. Ever since my Pretty Girls Rock post, my mom has been finding pics for me, and it’s sent me through lots of reflection and sentiment. My mom surprised me this weekend by sending me a Polaroid of my grandma and Vernita together, a pic I had never seen before, and it is something super special to me. So bear with me as I reminisce. I promise I’m not always so somber. 🙂

When I think of funerals, I always think of the older people in the movies who have to go to everyone and get a program as a souvenir, lol. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people. I really don’t like funerals, and it’s probably because I’ve been to quite a few. I go because I totally get and subscribe to the school of thought that you have to celebrate a life and send your loved one off.  And I go because the family gets together in numbers greater than usual, and we spent the whole repast laughing and telling stories. And I’ve gone to a couple where I didn’t really know the deceased but I did know a living relative who really needed the support. If you didn’t know, I am really really sensitive so I get really upset when I see other people really really upset. An empath of sorts? I don’t know, but I’ll never forget my grandma Neva’s funeral, simply because it was the first time I had ever seen my mom cry and I really felt that pain on top of my own.

But this post is not about that. It’s about the celebration of life. I spoke a lil about my grandma before, so this time I want to talk a little more about my aunt Vernita, whom I mentioned in the Broke-ology post. In my brain, Vernita was the epitome of lively and adventurous. Every time I saw her she was full of sass and style. She seemed fearless on her quest to take life by its horns. I’m sharing a couple of pictures of her, my mom’s baby sister.

foxy and looking just like my ma!

Remember to take advantage of life while you have it and keep in mind that you’re creating memories for those who will be here after you’re gone. Make them positive ones. I think of Vernita often. Sometimes I think I channel her busybody spirit. Imagine my mom’s reaction when I got my nose pierced like Vernita’s had been. Haha! She commenced to fussing and I probably laughed it off the same way her little sister would. “Oh it’s fine. No it’s not a hindrance. It’s just a little sparkle!” Now if I can just find my cousin David, her son, I’d feel great. We were very close as kids, but we haven’t talked in years and I don’t really know how to find him (and his name is really common so Facebook has been a bust). If anyone out there does pro bono P.I. work, holla atcha girl. 🙂

Anyway, give someone special a hug today. And fill your spaces with pleasant memories. I think my next art piece will have something to do with the beauty of the women in my family. You know, do something with all these pics my mom is finding for me. 🙂

And because it’s also Music Monday, here’s a flashback that will make you fuzzy inside. Happy Monday! Have a productive week!

MLM: Life’s Challenges

MLM: Life’s Challenges

I picked this post, written 10/10/06, because it’s funny to me now, 4 years later, that I actually titled it “Life’s Challenges” (when the challenges seem like much more of blips on the radar–but maybe that’s a brain thing–maybe my current challenges are just as surmountable as they were then and as soon as I overcome them, I’ll be laughing about it). It’s also funny just how consistent I am.  In this post, I talk about someone who can dish smart aleck comments but can’t take them, I talk about my birthday plans, I talk about my social life, and I talk about being busy.  Well, guess what.  I was just dealing with someone who can dish the sarcasm but can’t take it; I just sent an email about part 1 of my birthday plans (an awesome trip to do some volunteer work in New Orleans, my fave city) and I’m still trying to figure out part 2; I was just telling a friend that I feel old now because it seems that now I hibernate in the winter with the exception of Red Tie Soiree and that I’m not the young socialite I used to be; and I am still as busy as ever (but now I have a handle on it).  I love it that even my blog shows what people tell me all the time–I’m one of the most consistent people alive.  Another thing that is consistent over time is that when I’m stressed or feeling challenged, although it’s hard sometimes, I try to focus on other, not so stressful parts of my life while overcoming the challenge (which is why only part of this post is actually about my challenges then).  Anywho, I hope you enjoy this window into the past.


I didn’t go to bed till about 5:30 this morning. And I have to leave my apt to 7:25 to ensure timely arrival to work. I left at 7:45. Yes, I was late. WHy did I stay up so late? Because my partner in one of my classes is something… He sent me his part of the paper we’re writing (mind you, I’m the one compiling our findings to make a consistent and worthwhile paper AND editing) at 12:15. YES, 12:15. And do you think he appreciates any of the extra I’ve had to give in order to make assignments even remotely okay? Nope, cuz he’s too worried about whether or not I’m kissing his ass (and I’m not). Every thing that I say results in a “Why are you so mean?” or “You shouldn’t be so sarcastic.” To which I reply, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it. He always has smart ass things to say, but he can’t handle when I simply reply. I know this is a test from above, so I’m trying to hold my peace and make it through this class without cursing him out. And the paper still isn’t done. But after his monologue about how we’re a team and if he needs to sacrifice to get it done, he will, I’m letting him. I’m sacrificing my assurance in myself to write a good paper to let him write a possibly mediocre one since I had to take off work last time we had an assignment because of his late ass. And he had the audacity to tell me how he’s juggling so much as if I’m not. UGH! Lord, help me through, PLEASE! But because I wrote most of it and gave him directions about what is needed to complete the paper, hopefully, he can’t botch it up too bad. And I’m still going to review it before we turn it in. I just hope I have enough time to edit if I need to.

Anyhow, on to more positive things to think about. I woke up because of a very plain but somehow very meaningful “Good morning.” text from someone I only see in a social setting every blue moon, and it really made me smile and get on up and tackle a new day on less than 2 hours sleep. Looks like I quite possibly got my mojo back. *hmmm* I need to find my calendar so that I can try to make time for special people.

I am throwing a birthday party the weekend before my birthday. I’m so excited about it. This weekend and next weekend we are gonna shop venues. I’m leaning toward the Royal since I’ve been there more than once and since it’s one of those low-key under-the-radar spots. But I’ll have to see if I can get the DJ to be a smidge more crunk. I usually like the laidback thing, but I have a feeling I’m gonna wanna shake my groove thang that night. But we have a copla more places on the list to check out. I would go back to Sutra (where I threw my graduation party) if they hadn’t tried to kick me out of my own party even though I wasn’t doing anything but sitting down looking inebriated. Ugh. But yeah I’m sure out of the places on this list we’ll find a good spot. I just gotta find me a super fly outfit. And I gotta do something with my hair. I don’t think I want the big fro that night. I think I’ll want a sleek sexy look. 🙂

Have I said on here how much I love being a little urbanite/socialite? I love mixing and mingling and expanding my social network. I like it that people know they can count on me to support them, whether it be a community service activity or a party or a roundtable discussion or a happy hour. I like being that girl that people love to send their evites to. I bask when people call during their event to ask where I am if I haven’t arrived yet. I didn’t really have a point for that besides that I just really enjoy the social part of my life.

Who am I kidding? I pretty much enjoy all parts of my life. Staying busy with the stuff at the top of my priority list keeps me happy. Yeah, I get stressed out every now and then, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have my hands in a bunch of worthwhile activities/projects at one time. I enjoy seeing projects from start to finish. I enjoy seeing stuff executed properly and successfully. I enjoy working with those people with whom I work very well. Oh yeah, and I enjoy making A-‘s on my first midterm! *yay me* I still want to push to do better on the second midterm and final, but I’m so happy that so far I have a solid A in that class. I’ll need it since I’m not so certain about making an A in the other class. And since my stream of consciousness has guided me full circle, I guess it’s time for me to sign off. Until next time, folks!

And I’m still talking about my hair and what to do when I’m not wearing a big fro.  lol. I have an event in a couple of weeks, and I need another “sleek” style.  We’ll see what happens.

Here’s a song to get you through life’s challenges.

Happy Monday, folks!

MLM – Appreciating the Rain

MLM – Appreciating the Rain

Well, I’ve been dealing with some personal storms, and this morning, this story came to mind.  I posted this on 8-18-2003, and the story actually occurred in 2001.

On my way to work, I kept having the feeling that I left the stove on. So I turned around, and of course, it was not on. Luckily, I wasn’t late for work, but I hope I’m not becoming obsessive/compulsive. My ma says it’s probably just that I am growing up and realizing that I no longer have anyone to check behind me. Anyhow, it reminded me of two summers ago, my first summer in Atlanta, when I had an internship here, and I lived in the graduate apartments at Emory. I didn’t have my car with me in Atlanta, so I would walk to the Marta bus stop and catch the bus to the train and ride the train to my internship. Well, one particular morning, I was running late. It was raining lightly outside and I couldn’t find my umbrella or my hooded windbreaker, which was odd since I didn’t have much to look through. So I decided to walk through the drizzle so I wouldn’t be too late for work. The closer I got to the bus stop, the harder it rained. The whole way I fighting tears and asking the Lord to please let it stop raining until I got on the bus. When I got to the bus stop, it started pouring down. Rain was just beating down on me, and I was so upset that I was standing out there in the rain and that I would look a mess when I got to work. I decided to walk back to my apartment and dry off and start over. During my walk, I kept asking the Lord, “Why would you do that to me?” while crying and trying not to be hysterically upset. I walked back in my apartment completely drenched, and there was my answer… I had left my gas stove on. I immediately apologized to the Lord for doubting Him and started laughing after my heart stopped beating so fast after turning the stove off. What a tragedy it’d been if that gas had stayed on from 8-6… After I started over and got ready again, guess what. It was beautiful outside. And of course, I found my windbreaker under my books and folders in my bag (the one I was digging through as I walked in the rain trying to find something with which to cover up). And my umbrella was where I had left it–beside my desk… Unreal, huh? It’s instances like that one that let me know there is a higher power, and that I am watched over all the time. Well, let me get back to work.

One of my mantras is “perspective.”  Everything happens for a reason, yanno.  Even if it seems horrible or sad or negative now, there’s always a greater purpose that you’ll recognize when you try.  Even when you seem to not have any support or “covering,” God’s always there crafting and managing the situation.

One of my favorite quotes is “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

And there it is.  Time to put my dancing shoes on.