Where did you go to school?

Last night, February 16, 2018, I attended the Reagan Day Dinner that was hosted by the Dallas County Republican Party. The keynote speaker was none other than our current Vice President of the US of A, Mike Pence. I guess I should tell you I’m not a Republican. But, I am not a Democrat either. I’m not Tea Party or Green Party or any other party. I dislike aligning myself with groups that will create a barrier between someone and me based solely on association. So there you have it.

According to my name tag, I was assigned to table 111. When I arrived there was a couple there. She was smiling, cheerful and full of energy. He was quiet, distracted and eating the dessert that was preset on the table. She smiled brightly, introduced herself then after reading my name tag she asked where I went to school.

I’ve grown use to this question over the years. At first it took me by surprise. That and the other question people ask to determine your pedigree. The very first time someone asked me, “What does your father do for a living?” We had just started attending an evangelical, conservative, Christian church. I was thrown off kilter and slightly offended. Since I didn’t grow up with my dad playing a direct role in my life I didn’t want to or feel the need to talk about him. I asked my then husband why people kept asking me that question. He said they were trying to determine who I was which was based upon my father’s occupation. Well, how do you politely tell people it’s none of their business or better yet who he is does not define who I am. I’ll move on. We can discuss my father issues another day.

Back to the question of where I went to school. It may seem innocent enough but is it really? In a matter of nano seconds I wondered how she would judge me based upon my answer? Will this give her confirmation of biases she may already have? Will this become a potential place of judgement if I didn’t graduate from the “right” school?

I responded to her question. I have a bachelor degree from Texas Tech University and a Master of Education from the University of North Texas. As our table filled up she took on the role of table host and introduced me by my first name and the colleges I attended. The rest of the members of our group were related so I ended being the only one formally introduced.

Why does this matter? It’s one of many things that divide us. It’s one of the many barriers that keep us from changing parties or being able to hear what’s being said. If I walk away from you self conscious and feeling belittled then I will not expose myself or my life. I might feel judged and maybe even feel as though I don’t fit in. It’s hard to blend in at dinner that cost $175 per person. It’s not the church picnic. (Just to clarify I didn’t not pay to attend. I know people who know people.) The conversation is different, the dress code is different, the expectations are different.

I grew up in a neighborhood that was filled with single mothers. It never crossed my mind to ask about someone’s father or to ask where their mother went to school in reference to colleges. Back in my mother’s day there was one public high school for people of color, Booker T Washington. There was no need to ask until Pinkston became the second segregated high school in the area. The assumption was not that our parents went to college but more of the men were drafted and went to the Vietnam war or maybe one of the HBCUs. If our parents had gone to college we would not have been living in that apartment complex. At least that’s what I like to believe.

On the other side of the road education and your father’s occupation determine your level of worthiness or pedigree. I’m not saying it’s intentional but it’s definitely there and for me it’s uncomfortable and still not something I ask. It still doesn’t cross my mind or seem relevant to who the person is or their station in life.

Funny story time:

There were seven other people at the table. Six of them were guys. From my assessment they were all related. One of the elders started quietly yelling at the other elder. His face was red and he was visibly angry. The angry guy was the uncle and the one he was taking his quiet rage out on was his brother in law (bil). Apparently the brother in law lost the uncle’s phone. The uncle demanded the bil get up and take pictures of VP Pence. He slowly got up to take the pictures. Meanwhile the female who was also the girlfriend of one of the younger guys asked, “did you call your phone?” He angrily replied, “call with what phone?” One of the younger guys called the uncle’s cell phone. The suit pocket of another of the younger ones started to vibrate. The uncle immediately calmed down and regretted calling his bil an idiot a few minutes earlier. He ordered one of the boys to make an apology to his bil for the mistake. That was the highlight of my evening.


Step Up to the Microphone

I’m currently attending a community safety forum to hear professionals talk about keeping kids safe on the internet. Great information. There’s a microphone on the floor for question and answer but all I can think about is singing Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” karaoke style. (I’m a terrible singer but that’s a minor detail)

I’m often overcome with a need to perform when I see a mic in a large room.

Know what I mean?

Josiah’s Family Meeting

I could write a whole book on how events in my my childhood affect who I am as an adult and the decisions I make as a mom of four. My mother raised three children as a true single mom. There was not a dad around. It was just her. She made all the decisions and her decision was final.

Fast forward to today. I decided to have more of a democracy. Every family member is equal and has a say in all major and minor decisions. We recently took a trip to Maryland over the Christmas holiday. I asked everybody if they wanted to go. If one person had said no then we would have stayed home. We literally had a conversation about putting up Christmas decorations and specifically a tree. I could care less about a tree. They don’t like taking down decorations. We scaled it way back and with a compromise we put a metal tree with lights that’s meant for the yard up in the house. Don’t judge us. It worked. I have the final vote on major things like buying the house we are in now. Everybody went with me to look for houses. My daughter, Melody, wanted one house and even through a mild fit. I told her she could not see what I could see. I was not only buying a house but a neighborhood and a way of life. Living on a cul-de-sac three house from the neighborhood pool proved to be a great choice and worth less square footage.

All of that to say, anybody can call and conduct a family meeting in our house. Josiah had requested to hold one to discuss his new guidelines surrounding waking everybody up in the mornings. Now Josiah is the third child. He is a typical attention seeking, vivacious, charismatic middle child who also likes being punctual. His school bus arrives at 7:40 so he has the alarm set for 6 am.

He had taken on the responsibility of waking everybody up if they were sleeping too late. He’s done a fantastic job at this self appointed duty. He has helped his siblings, especially his sister and younger brother, make it to the bus just before it stopped and opened the doors. He has even saved the day by finding neighbors willing to give them rides when it seemed they would not make it on time. After a year and a half of this daily activity he resigned from the self appointed position because of the stress. He did not provide any notice. It was effective immediately.

After a couple of days he realized how much they had grown to depend on him to get out of the house. He was sympathetic to their plight. During the meeting he said they would each get one free wake up per month. Unfortunately Shawn had already used his. He also told them the unused ones would accumulate from month to month. There was much discussion and shouts of outrage an insult or two and threats of bodily harm. At some point I heard, “objection!” and somebody yelled “order in the court!” It may have been the same person. For some reason the oldest gets unlimited wake up calls because he has a car. That created another uproar among the other two. But it was a good strategic move. Stay on the good side of the person with the car.

In case you’re wondering why the oldest doesn’t take everybody to school on a daily basis, it’s because he has late arrival. He will take them if they have activities in the morning.

I truly feel like I’m helping them find their voices at an early age and most of all realize they are an important part of this family and I value their input and points of view. They might decide there was way too much discussion and not allow their children to have any input. I won’t be offended. Everybody has to walk their own path according to the influences in their lives.

Be well,



Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

I came home from working out yesterday and saw my two youngest sons standing in the kitchen. The baby of my bunch (he’s 11) was holding an egg slicer with an unpeeled cutie in it over a cup and squeezing with all his might. I asked them what they were doing and they responded, “Making fresh squeezed orange juice!” My response was, “Well that’s not going to work.” I did wonder why they were putting so much effort into that when there’s a juicer sitting on the counter. Is that innovation or wasted energy? It’s hard to tell. Nevertheless I’ll pick up orange juice on my way home today.

Remind me to tell you about the family meeting we had last night.


Happy New Year!?


How many days into the new year do we stop saying, “Happy New Year”? Sometime after the 3rd it started feeling awkward to me but then I decided that maybe it was appropriate for people you hadn’t seen or spoken to just yet. But I’m not really sure. Is this a question for Miss Manner or Amy?

If you haven’t been told by anyone lately, Happy New Year. I sincerely hope your year is filled with joy, peace, love, abundance and the ability to endure the difficult times.

Be well, healthy and whole.


The Sisterhood

Yesterday, I became a lifetime member of an exclusive sisterhood. 

Don’t be jealous. 

Joining this sisterhood is not like joining a sorority where you’re bonded together by a common goal and a mission statement. 

It’s not as glamorous as becoming a member of an exclusive country club. 

Unfortunately it’s not even as beneficial as belonging to SAM’s or Costco club. 

I don’t know of anyone who anxiously waited to join the ranks. 

No one is sitting around contemplating what to wear to the nonexistent induction ceremony. 

There’s no welcome party or monthly meetings. 

This sisterhood is composed of girls and women who have lost their mom’s. 

The ones who no longer have that earthly  representation, in human form, of life that gave them life. 

I didn’t want to be a member. I never signed on the dotted line. 

But now I’m here. 

It’s official. 

I am now a lifetime member of this exclusive club. 


The Wait

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who charge you or will not see you if you are late but don’t provide the same consideration. 

How many times have you waited on your hairstylist, mechanic, doctor or anybody else for an extended period of time even though you made a appointment? I know ish happens and it throws off their schedule. Why not call me to say you’re running behind? Give me the option of coming in later or rescheduling for another day. 

A doctor’s office may charge you a copay for being late and make you reschedule your appointment. But what do they do for you when they are running late? My time is just as valuable as theirs. 

Yesterday I waited 42 minutes, yes I was watching the clock. Why? I needed to get to a PTA meeting. I gave myself plenty of time by scheduling at 2pm and the meeting was at 4:30 with a 20 minute drive. I started getting anxious because I wasn’t sure if this was just the first wait. You know how you wait in the common area but then wait again in the room? I had mentally given them until 3pm to come get me. 

I made a different doctor’s appointment during lunch time for something else. Forty-five minutes later…I approached the front desk and asked, how much longer? Their response? About an hour. Are you kidding me? I requested a refund of the copay they insisted on collecting upfront. They looked confused and offered me a credit. No thanks. That forces me to return to you for services. As politely as possible I told them it was rude and inconsiderate of patients to make them wait. “You could have called me and said you were running behind.” 

If I go through the process of making an appointment the least you can do is see me on time or call me if it’s delayed. Making me wait is unacceptable. Especially if you have a firm late policy that cancels my appointment and charges me a fee. My time is just as valuable. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if clients or patients could charge a fee or receive a credit every time they are made to wait longer than 5 or 10 minutes? I think so. 

Thanks for listening.