My Text Friend

I miss my friend, Mikki, so today I decided to flirt with her via Instagram

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This is the kind of interaction that would drive Henry crazy. He just doesn’t understand my obsession with texting and instagramming and facebooking and tweeting and blogging. He thinks I’m crazy and have lost all capabilities of communicating like a sophisticated human being.

He’s so wrong.

I can still chit chat with folks face-to-face and on the phone but given my druthers, I am totally texting you. Also, the fact remains that if I actually picked up the phone and called one of my girlfriends instead of texting, I know they would be sitting there, wondering the entire time, “why didn’t this chick just text me?” Because if they called me, I would be thinking the same.

This is why they are my friends and we love each other. Madly.

Mikki and I have had wonderful text moments, especially the night the two of us stayed up together and watched Obama win his second presidency. She in Brooklyn and I in the Dirty Jers, both in bed, anxiously watching the polls and texting each other back-and-forth all night.

I love that memory. I also love that we laugh about the fact that we sat there and texted all night instead of picking up the phone and chatting.

Simply stated, it wouldn’t have been the same any other way.

But don’t tell that to Henry.

“All over your body, who’s body? Your body, I can rock a party like nobody” – MC Lyte

I Love My City

Seriously, my addiction to NYC is intense. She’s the lover I can never leave, no matter how much she abuses me, acts like a bitch and shits all over me. I just keep coming back for more.

And here is another reason why.

This afternoon, while walking to the gym with my girl, Emily, what do we happen to cross paths with? Some camels and a burro, just chilling on the street.

No lie.

Here is the picture proof:

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“No doubt, I’m the playa that you’re talkin about” – LL Cool J

Tips for Women a la Big Law

Above the Law posted an email from Clifford Chance, directed to their female associates entitled “Presentation Tips for Women”. Off the bat, without even reading the blog post, I had two questions:

  1. Does “Presentation” mean appearance or are these tips for when speaking before an audience? Upon further reading, apparently both.
  2. And why is this directed towards only women? Do the male associates of Clifford Chance perform and present (since I still didn’t know the context of “performance”) themselves so perfectly that they don’t need any pointers or guidance?

I got a little further into the Above the Law posting and learned that the tips came from the women of the firm and not just any women, but the members of the Women’s Committee. I proceeded to read some of the tips and suggestions in the memo.

ME-OW.

During a lull in a meeting today I raised the Clifford Chance memo with my colleagues and via the ensuing discussion learned that the women of my firm did something similar, but it was not put into writing (smart) and it was not so harsh (also smart).

All of this leads me to the question I often ask myself: why are women so catty and mean to each other in the work place?

If you read the Clifford Chance memo, it’s dripping with condescension and snarkiness from the first line, “You’re a Friendly Professional, Not a Professional Friend” to the clothing tips, particularly “No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage.” The tone of the memo begins patronizingly and continues throughout, losing whatever potential it ever had to be a helpful resource to women of that firm (god help them). This memo could have easily been drafted in a manner that came across as supportive and constructive rather than demeaning and obnoxious. Lord knows I’ll take any tips I can get from people who are poised and professional when speaking before a crowd, but delivered in such a manner, no thank you.

I don’t know what it is about women and why they are so biting and critical of one another; this phenomenon has troubled me throughout my career, mostly because I am not that type of woman. I am happy to help other women and give advice whenever I can, I don’t feel threatened by other women and some of my fondest professional memories stem from working on mostly-female case teams.

Perhaps this is the Barnard in me.

My college instilled a belief in myself and nurtured a sisterhood that I don’t think many women have the opportunity to experience. Am I saying that we could solve a lot of this back-stabbing and cut-throat nonsense that goes on among women by sending everyone to all-women’s colleges? Of course not. But I am saying that those of us who have experienced the sisterhood of an all-women’s education interact with other women differently; we tend not to engage in the nastiness and the snark. We tend to mentor and uplift.

And we certainly don’t draft memos to our junior colleagues, rife with cutting observations and disdain.

(If you want to read the Clifford Chance memo, here it is in all it’s snarky glory:BigLawWomenMemo.jpg)

Jigga What?

We recently learned that Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips made the mistake of shopping at Barney’s while Black. Trayon bought a belt last week and Kayla bought a purse last February, both items the good people of Barneys and the NYPD just couldn’t believe either could afford, were convinced they purchased illegally and subsequently detained and questioned them about for hours. In the very apropos words of the Reverend Al Sharpton: “We’ve gone from stop and frisk to shop and frisk.”

Back in September, Jay-Z and Barneys announced their holiday collection collaboration, said to be worth millions, which many who took to the internet last week called on Jay to cancel. His response: he’s going to wait and see.

I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?

This wait-and-see attitude is interesting to me because if I recall correctly, I don’t believe Jay waited to see anything when he called for a boycott of Cristal in June 2006, stemming from comments in an Economist article attributed to Frederic Rouzaud, managing director of Louis Roederer, the company that produces Cristal.

“It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud views the ‘hip-hop’ culture as ‘unwelcome attention’…I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club nor in my personal life.” – Jay-Z

In that article Mr. Rouzaud made comments regarding his champagne and its affinity with rap artists and their fans, comments which were less than friendly; however, he never said he viewed the attention as “unwelcome”. It was the writer of the article, and not Mr. Rouzard, who described the attention as such. This distinction was brought to Jay-Z’s attention, to which his spokesperson replied that regardless of who made the comment, Jay was still offended.

Jay then proceeded to boycott the bubbly and even write a verse or two about it:

I used to drink Cristal, them fuckers racist
So I switched gold bottles on to that Spade shit

Hmmmm. No wait-and-see with Cristal, but when the company who he’s inked a lucrative deal gets busted acting like backwards racists, Jay’s got nothing to say,  he wants to sit back and get all the facts. Huh?

To say I’m a little disappointed is an understatement.

Those of you who know me also know I luuuuurrrve me some Jay, have loved him since he hit us with Reasonable Doubt. But lately…I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it, but something has definitely shifted between me and Jigga. And this situation just kind of cements those not-so-in-love, have-removed-the-rose-colored-glasses feelings.

I don’t know what I expected Jay to do or say, but I certainly expected more than his complaints of “being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately[.]” I certainly expected more than his let-me-wait-and-see nonsense.

To quote Jay’s own words: Jigga what?

The Big Kid

Sydney, or “The Stepdaughter”, as I like to call her in all of my blog posts where she makes an appearance, graduated from Spelman College this past May and moved in with us a month later. To many step parents out there, my situation is their nightmare, but Sydney and I don’t have your typical step relationship, so I have to say I was looking forward to her arrival in our lives.

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It’s been years since Sydney has lived with us. When she was little, she used to spend every summer with us in NY, giving me a little taste of parenthood before I was truly ready for it and at the time, enriching my life in ways I couldn’t quantify. I have plenty of fond memories of us together in Bed Stuy and Battery Park, from taking her to camp in the mornings to giving her a dollar for every curse word I uttered (I’m pretty sure she made a killing off me). I loved her from the minute I met her, when she came running out of the airport with her braids and bright smile to greet me with a big, unexpected hug.

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My friends always thought I was crazy, having some little girl come into my life every summer and change the pace of things, but I never looked at it that way. Summer was my chance to spend time with this totally cool kid I loved, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal.

Sydney’s friends often wonder about our relationship, amazed that she actually likes her stepmom, that we get along with one another. It’s the nature of the “step” beast, they’re expecting us to live up to the stereotype. But if I can say anything about Syd and me it’s that we are anything but a stereotype and for that I am thankful.

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When she graduated, I was unexpectedly asked to speak at her party and found myself very choked up, trying to put into words what she means to me. The next night it was Sydney’s turn to address the crowd and she bowled me over as she explained the role I’ve played in her life, words I will forever carry and treasure.

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So now she’s here and the four of us are doing this thing. Dash is in heaven, loving the fact that his big sister lives with him, Henry is learning how to be a dad to a big kid and a little one at the same time and I’m just hoping she finds her way in this world, doing something that makes her happy.

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I know the day is going to come when she moves out and gets her own place [UPDATE: she did this, I’m proud of her, but doesn’t mean I don’t miss her], but right now I’m rather enjoying having another girl around the house [UPDATE: it was fun while it lasted]. A huge, huge thanks to her mom for sharing her with me because Syd the Kid is all kinds of awesome.

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“Who runs the world? Girls, girls!” Beyonce

Feeling Lazy (aka Snippet II)

I can’t get my head around blogging today. I have a feeling it’s because I’ve hit a good patch with my writing and I don’t want to break my momentum to blog. So I’m going to cheat and give another snippet of Book Two.

Totally lazy, I know. But whatever. Like you’re going to complain.

Dot looked down on her eldest son and softened, despite the voice inside her head telling her to beware. That was The Sanctum speaking to her, always reaching out and cutting off the ties to her children. First taking them at such a young age and now, telling her to shut them out. But she had always been stronger than The Sanctum, and today was no different.

She reached down and caressed Ryker’s face, a gesture she couldn’t remember indulging in since he was small. He closed his eyes and bowed his head, as if ashamed by his need for her affection. Dot’s heart broke as she watched him, wondering over the years how many times he had craved her touch, needed her arms around him. He was a grown man now but Ryker would always be her baby, so she bent down and did what she hadn’t done in almost a decade: pulled her son into her arms and held him as he cried.

 

“While I’m eatin gettin dressed up, this ain’t yo’ pad, I left some money on the dresser, find you a cab” Foxy Brown

Book Two: A Snippet

Darby stood up and smiled down at Darvin, wiping her bloody nails on his handkerchief, tossing it in his face as she made her departure, swearing to kill him and make it plenty painful.

Which was precisely what she did two weeks later, spying him down by the docks, too late at night to be up to anything good. She followed him for a moment, grew bored quickly and attacked, making sure he saw her face before she ripped his throat open and fed on him in a most vulgar manner, certain to cause inordinate amounts of pain.

Darvin cried out, tears streaming down his face, his heart constricting with the effort to pump blood through his body. Darby was going out of her way to make his experience horrendous, determined he remember how hideously evil she could be when pushed.

Then suddenly she stopped, shoving Darvin away from her like a piece of trash. He crumpled to the ground and lay still, nearly all of the life drained from him. Darby searched his pockets for a handkerchief, took her time and cleaned herself up, then grabbed the youth by his beautifully cobbled boot and began dragging him east to her townhouse.

She buried him in her cellar, deep in the cold earth and waited, wondering if he would be as insufferable a vampire as he was a human. Hours later she heard Darvin rising, languidly pushing through the dirt, looking almost as bored undead as he appeared in life.

Darby laughed despite herself. He was quite the character.

“Pardon me, Miss Winthrop,” Darvin addressed her flatly, “pray tell you have something for me to eat.”

 

“I ain’t passed the bar, but I know a little bit, enough to know you won’t illegally search my shit.” Jay-Z

Things You Should Not Do with Your Parents

This idea came to me around 3:37 this morning as I suffered through a bout of stress-induced insomnia.

My dad has been editing my book one manuscript, then calling me and we go over his edits on the phone. Last night it hit me that the next time he calls, the edits could include some of the sex scenes in the manuscript. And I’m not going there with my dad. So I texted him this morning and told him to kindly email those edits should he find them necessary to make at all, which of course, he found amusing.

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That’s my dad. Those of you who know him will not find that exchange surprising at all. And probably know now that I texted him about this, he will likely make sure to somehow embarrass me.

Which leads me to another story concerning my dad: the time he took me to see “About Last Night”. Yes, that “About Last Night” with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore and tons and tons of sex, in the bed, in the bath, in the kitchen, damn near anywhere they could get it on.

In his defense, I should clarify: he did not choose that film, but we were spending the day together and I really wanted to see that movie, so he did what any dad with a nightmare teenage daughter would do. He sucked it up and took me.

Jesus Christ.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so mortified. I honestly don’t know how much of that movie I recall, or whether it’s even good, because when I think about it all I think about is cringing every time they took their clothes off, and they took them off constantly.

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Even now, I cringe when I think of it. Knowing him, he probably found the whole thing highly amusing.

Fingers crossed that he abides my editing request and I don’t have a new “things you should not do with your parents” memory in my near future.

“Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad real.” Kanye West

Dev and The Bride

I make no bones about my love for Kill Bill, volumes I and II, and The Bride, aka Beatrix Kiddo, in particular, as played to perfection by Uma Thurman. I’m a bit obsessed with those films and will watch them repeatedly whenever I find either one on cable. I’ve told Henry I’m going to buy the movie poster and make Uma sign it for me, then frame it and hang it in our house.

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He’s not really feeling that idea and because I’m a team player, our walls remain Bride-free. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the perfect spot picked out for her or know exactly how I would go about getting Uma’s signature.

But that’s neither here nor there and me fan-girling Uma Thurman is not the point.

I mention The Bride because it hit me the other day that without even being aware of it at the time I was creating her, Dev is heavily influenced by The Bride, from her physical appearance to her mental and physical strength. And before you shake your head no, because you’re thinking of Dev’s deep, brown skin and her long, curly hair, let me just clarify: I don’t mean Dev literally looks like The Bride, rather it’s more about her physical presence. Dev is tall and lean and all muscle and that was Beatix Kiddo to a tee in those films. Girlfriend was fierce.

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The Bride was also insanely hot, determined and deadly. I mean, seriously, the girl punched her way out of a wooden coffin, dug her way to the surface using her super Kung Fu powers, walked back through the desert barefoot and fucked Budd up. If that’s not determination, then I’m a Beyonce superfan (by the way, have you ever met one of those? One word: yikes).

Dev is breathtakingly beautiful, as noted by almost everyone who crosses her path, from The Sanctum warriors hunting her to the vampires assisting her; she is profoundly single-minded, determined to escape Wyatt and continue her hunt for the Breslins, no matter her physical state or his; and most importantly, Dev is capable of killing virtually anyone or anything that crosses her path, as evidenced time and time again, be they Sanctum or Magical.

So is Dev my Beatrix Kiddo? Damn straight and I love her.

“Because I’m doing this for the thrill of it, killin’ it.” Lorde

Bringing the Joy: Cover Art

My friend, Michele Mason Holmberg, is the business!

We chatted over the weekend about some book cover ideas and she just sent me something she’s working on and it brings the joy. Girlfriend has serious skills and is totally modest about it, like it’s no big deal.

Bad bitches out here, getting things done.

 

“My pep talk turn into a pep rally.” Kendrick Lamar