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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Grammatical Pet Peeves

Everyone has them, right? Well, I’m no different and I make no qualms about it. Some of the same mistakes I’m about to attack, I make myself. The difference with me is that I try to correct mine while others purposely irk me by doing the same ish over and over again.

In no specific order, the following are just a few of my most annoying pet peeves.

Let’s start with condoms, shall we? When I hear the words, “the condom broke,” that really gets under my skin – I ABHOR (with capital letters) that terminology! First of all, a condom is a rubber, is it not? I mean that’s what folks of a certain generation called them back in the day. Why? Because they’re e-las-tic which means they s-t-r-e-t-c-h. So, if that’s the case, rubber would rip or tear, right? Rubber would only break if it’s frozen or hardened, right again? I mean, let me know if my way of thinking is wrong. You cannot rip something that breaks. For example, I couldn’t rip a crystal vase but I could break it. If I were to drop it on a hard surface, what would happen? I hear all of you saying, “it would break,” and guess what? You’re right. If a condom (used or not) were to fall on that same hard surface, would it break?

I rest my case. A broken condom is an oxymoron!

For the most part, I recognize when something is not quite right – doesn’t flow well. Although I know there’s a conjunction-junction-what’s-your-function type rule – I don’t remember what that rule is – maybe one of you can re-teach me, but what I do know is that I learned things a certain way because I was taught that way in elementary school. For instance, the terms “exact same” and “same exact” are used interchangeably and wrong! I was taught to include “ly” to the word “exact” to say or read “exactly the same.” Isn’t it redundantly redundant to say “exact same” and “same exact?” Makes sense, right (see next paragraph on “sense”)? I’ve even heard professional news people and talk show hosts use those terms, and it burns me up every single time I hear it. Don’t they know better? Haven’t they gone to higher education institutions where English was a major? Were they not taught the rule (the one I can’t remember) to add “ly” to the word “exact” just as I learned it in the early 70’s? Wait – have they stopped teaching it – is it no longer a rule?

And folks, we make “sense” not “since.”

And please don’t end a sentence with the word “at.” I’ll let that simmer in your mind for a minute as you try to think of one….

And be sorry for someone’s “loss” not “lost.” If I see another post on Facebook with “women” preceded by “a” I am going to scream! “Woman” is singular; “women” plural.

“Mine” should never have a(n) “s” unless it’s in reference to coal mines or the like, but when saying “mines” as in showing possession, it’s just wrong. Drop the “s” and say “It’s mine.”

We’ve gotten so comfortable with shortcuts that we’ve also forgotten every dang contraction rule we ever learned as kids. “Should’ve” is short for “should have” and should never ever be confused with “should of” – there ain’t no such thing and y’all grown asses should know better! That may be how you say it, but it darn sure ain’t how you spell it. I’ve always taught my kid this rule from the moment she learned to read, write, and spell – “if you say it wrong, you spell it wrong!”

And finally, I sometimes still get confused when it comes to using “has” and “have.” I look for the squiggly line underneath the word when it’s used incorrectly or sometimes I look up the correct way to use both, but like I said in the beginning, these are just a few of my pet peeves. Now, don’t get me wrong, I make grammatical errors all the time – my writings are not error free, including this one. No matter how many times I edit, edit, edit, before posting, it’s guaranteed I’ll find something that should have been corrected. I don’t write in a King’s English kind of way, but at least you can understand what I’m sayin’ – I’m just sayin’….

Happy Belated Birthday, Detta!

Conversation with my kid… explaining that awkward stage

First, I must say that blogging is really interesting. I now have international followers! With that in mind, I must say this – I will now include “players” at the beginning of each blog (if necessary) for those unfamiliar with me and mine.

Players: Nirvana, my 14 year old daughter. Wayne, my husband and Nirvana’s father.

Conversations between Nirvana and I are at best interesting and honest. I try to and hopefully succeed at teaching, preachin’, praying, training, informing, bothering, annoying, and learning as well. I always let her know I can learn from her, “because I don’t know everything and need to hear” her 14 year old’s perspective. She thinks her mother is so smart and sometimes, heck, I think I am too. There are subjects I’m not as familiar with (but try to answer anyway) and if they come to mind before I finish this post, I’ll mention ’em. At times when I’m uncertain or don’t know how to initially respond to a situation, I honestly tell her, “I don’t know that one, babe,” or “let me think about it for a minute,” which she’ll find hard to believe.

For me, it could be the time of day that makes the difference between knowing and not knowing. If it’s in the A.M. before brushing my teeth, I really don’t know because I’m not ready to part my sticky mouth. If it’s during my Young & the Restless time, I may not know then, and she’ll say, “But it’s on DVR, Mom!” I shrug and realize, she’s right. I turn it off and we talk (Wayne would ab-so-lute-ly cringe and shake his head if he knew how real our talks were). Because she and I converse daily like we’re on a talk show, the few times I just mentioned about my ignorance is nothing compared to how often we get it in.

This particular topic came up when I showed her a photo of us from five years ago (if I knew how to add photos in a blog, I would have done so; someone let me know if I can). At that time she was going through her awkward stage where she didn’t like the hairstyle I forced upon her (I thought the afro puffs were cute and ethnic – oh, well), her weight, how she looked in her clothes, blah, blah, blah. But she only feels that way about her former self because she’s now a lovely swan and can’t appreciate the awkwardness she had to go through to get where she is now. Teenagers!

I spilled my guts by defending the hair style and that the clothes were age appropriate as was that nine year old chubbiness. She’d prefer I get rid of all awkward stage photos – told her she could forget that; not gonna do it! So, to make her feel better, I then explained that I too, have gone through awkward stages. As a matter of fact I was going through one on the day of conversation – told her I still have days where I may not like my look (maybe I should update my wardrobe). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still cute though, but I have to be honest with my kid to let her know it’s okay and normal to not feel or look your best. I told her, “You’re just looking at a photo from years ago and last week I felt that way about myself, and again today.” I stated it matter-of-factly; not like I was obsessed with gloom about it. I explained that no matter how old you get, it never ends and it’s all in how we handle it. There will always be a prettier, smarter, slimmer or thicker, version of you who will do better, have longer hair/weave, dress nicely, travels – the list goes on. You’ll wonder why someone else’s life seems better than yours when they could be the scum of the earth. Little does she know that some folks have it so bad, they NEVER get out of that mode – hence depression, but I wasn’t going into all of that. But on the real, isn’t there something about all of us that we would change if we could? You’ll see my list coming up next.

She had brought up the subject and was going to get an earful (sometimes she regrets starting a conversation or asking a question). I did mention – because I think it’s worth it – that some women are not satisfied with the way they look even in their 40’s & 50’s (yeah, I know it’s in each decade, but I tried to simplify. She thinks that older folks should have their ish together). Some are still consumed or concerned with how much better someone else looks – “even ya mother!” Sure, I told her I’d love to have a more curvaceous butt, a back that doesn’t hurt, boobs that are more in the direction of north than south, and able to do things with my body that I can ONLY dream of (can you say contortionist? Wayne would be a happier man!). She’s not surprised by my admission because she’s heard me say it all before and I’m fine with it. I told her it’s okay to admire another female because there’s something that someone admires in her.

Bottom line is even though she understands that everyone has gone through and may still be going through their own form of awkwardness – she still wants those pictures burned!

My Kid: Then & Now

Thursday, June 20, 2013 is a very special day. It’s the day Nirvana will participate in the promotional exercise for the 8th Grade Class of Bache Martin Elementary School. We parents were told not to call it a graduation because “8th graders do not graduate; 12th graders do.” And that is also why they do not wear a cap with their gown. I learned this earlier in the year during a meeting with the principal when she politely corrected me after I mentioned the word “graduation.” Thank you, Ms. Duperon. I say that with no malcontent because I like and admire the lady. Because of her, Nirvana is involved in the Emerging Young Leaders program sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Nirvana began her first school experience in Bache Martin’s Comprehensive Day Care when she was 3 years old. She told me yesterday how it finally hit her that she would no longer be in Bache; said it was the only school she’s ever known. Color her bittersweet. I feel the same. I’ve become close friends with some of the parents. We’ve been on trips together, gone to Home & School meetings, worked Spirit Day together, school bazaars, flea markets and a host of other things… yep, definitely bittersweet for me as well.

I remember so vividly the day Nirvana’s babysitter, Bren-Bren, kicked us to the curb. She said, “Tillie, I can’t do anything else with her. She needs to go school” – words I never wanted to hear. How dare she say that! I still laugh at my response (read on).

My wandering mind thought about my little Nirvana leaving the comfort of that cozy and nicely decorated house with all those neatly aligned collectible magnets on the refrigerator. The same refrigerator that held all that home made food Bren-Bren had fed to my baby. She was Nirvana’s surrogate grandmother. I thought about my girl going to school with other children she (I) didn’t know – children with snotty noses and bad habits. All the things that would take me out my comfort zone! I shook my head and said, “I want her to go to college from here! I don’t want her to leave you!” Well, needless to say, Bren-Bren kicked us out and forced me to enroll Nirvana in school! When Wayne and I first carried Nirvana into Bren-Bren’s house, she was just 3 months old – and now she was kicking us out!

True story: Nirvana is introduced to her first human contact that made her uncomfortable. I received a call at work stating she’s been crying and has the other kids crying as well. I let her cry until I got off work (I wasn’t leaving just because she was crying). When I walked into the room, I understood why the entire class had been upset – the teacher’s aide’s eyes were bulging and going in the direction of east and west! The kids were frightened out of their minds. The aide told me that Nirvana made everyone else cry because they saw her crying; said she kept repeating, “I don’t like the eyes, I don’t like the eyes!” I must admit that while I was speaking to the aide, I didn’t know which eye to look into so I stared at that nothing space in between. “I’ll talk to her and calm her down,” I said. How do you tell a 3 year old not to cry at something they’re afraid of. Nirvana didn’t want to go to school the next day – but she did. I heard her screaming as I walked out of the classroom and down the hall….

To this day, she remembers the eyes, but nothing else about the lady – pause – she seems well adjusted to me….

June 20, 2013, she’s grown into an intelligent (debatable at times) gorgeous young lady who I am immensely proud of. She keeps God in her heart and she wants to please her parents and her big sister, Muriel. I look at her and wonder where my little girl went – the one I loved picking up under her arms when she was small enough to do so. She tells me now, “I’m still here, Mommy, and you can still pick me up.” I chuckle when I visualize her shaving under those same arms. I laugh/cringe when I see her growing body has more curves than mine. “I don’t think so, babe,” I say.

But I love her. Have I been braggin’ on my kid? You damned right! Wouldn’t you? Haven’t you? Shouldn’t you? I love my kid! Thank you, Lord, I love my kid and I wouldn’t trade her for anything in this world.

A Simple Father’s Day Purchase

Friday, I was in a card store buying Father’s Day cards along with a special card for my kid for her upcoming graduation, and a “just because card” because I’m so proud of her.

As my items were being totaled, the young guy behind the counter noticed my Father’s Day cards and used that as a conversation starter. He began talking about how fathers were unappreciated and how they sold “way more cards on Mother’s Day.” I engaged him in conversation thinking it would be a short one while making eye contact with the lady behind me. I chuckled and said, “Yeah, you guys are cheated on Father’s Day.” Apparently, he wanted – no, let me change that – NEEDED to vent. He started talking about how he does what he needs to do as a father for all his kids (can’t recall how many, but more than 2) and how he’s tired of the corny gifts that doesn’t take much thought, and how (he got hyped here) he would like a phone call every now and then instead of when something is needed (he blamed the mother(s) for that). I nodded in agreement saying, “I understand, that’s fair enough.” I looked to the lady behind me for a little support and she was like, “Don’t look at me, I ain’t saying nothing!” And she didn’t; just stared at the ornaments on the counter, leaving me to make the young fella feel better.

At that point, I’m thinking to myself that I should have gone elsewhere because he had gotten a little too talkative, but then I was like, “No, maybe God wanted to place me where I needed to be placed.” As I’m thinking that thought, he was still going on, like something you see on television where someone’s mind is wandering but the other person is still rapidly talking…yeah, it was like that.

He told me he was an artist. I said, “Oh, there are a lot of things you can get as an artist.” I named a few things, which excited him even more. He was like, “Yeah, see even you get it!” He continued and at that point, the conversation went on longer than it should have. I picked up a last minute item (you know how they strategically place things near the register to get your last pennies), an ink pen and added it to my order – little did I know the pen’s caption read, “#1 Grand Pop” when I just knew it read “#1 Father.” See what distractions will do to you?

I told the young man that perhaps things would get better, “And if no one else tells you, you have a Happy Father’s Day!” By then items were in my bag, my time was up, and he had a smile on his face! “My work is done,” I said under my breath while rushing out of the store and looking back to the lady who was next in line. “Your turn now,” I thought to myself.

So, I said all of that to say, Happy Father’s Day to all the men (uncles, stepdads, surrogates, & whoever) who are being real fathers! And a special Father’s Day shout out to all the men who feel underappreciated – just like the clerk in the card store.