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.


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. 

Cup and Saucer

Many, many, did I say many? moons ago I remember hearing people talk about standardized testing and how they are biased. The specific example I remember hearing was regarding a question along the lines of, what do you place a cup on? The correct answer was a saucer.

A couple of months ago during a volunteer opportunity/work event I was talking to a teacher who works with students of financially challenged parents. She was teaching her class to set a table for a meal. As she provided instruction for sitting down at the table, she said, “like you do at home” to which a student replied, we don’t have a table at home. That was a reality check for the teacher. Never assume the students have tables, chairs, or anything else.

When I was growing up, my brothers and I ate in our individual rooms and usually in front of the television. I remember a table at some point but I also remember them having a fight, breaking the table then using the top to break dance on. They were resourceful fellows and the first in the neighborhood to repurpose furniture for entertainment. The guys in the neighborhood learned how to break dance on that table, I became their agent and manager by finding places for them to dance for money.

But anyway…

I don’t remember sitting at the table as a family. I don’t recall ever using a cup and saucer. I would sometimes make my mom a cup of instant coffee but I didn’t give it to her with a saucer. I didn’t drink hot tea back then. I would not have been able to pick out a proper tea cup in a line up.

I honestly didn’t learn how to set a table until I was in my early 20’s. I learned after a very embarrassing incident during a visit at the home of the parents of my boyfriend at the time. It was Christmas. His mother asked me to set the table. Uh, what? At the time I swear she was trying to expose my ignorance in many areas in order to discourage him from dating me. I pulled him aside and confided in him my delimna. I had never set a table in my life. After telling me lay down, he told his mother I had a headache and needed to rest. He set the table for me.

Cup and saucer… we make a lot of assumptions about the lives people live and the experiences they have. The affects of those assumptions are evident when only a certain group of people are invited to the table to make decisions about an entire population of people. The decision makers pull from their limited experience without regard for others. I will not say it’s intentional, although I’m not ruling that out. I will attribute some of the decisions to ignorance, being out of touch with various people groups and perhaps not caring to understand.

Some might think or even say a person who grew up in a household without a table is doomed or will not have the ability to over come. These are the people who are easy to discard and write off. I say to you, you are wrong. I believe if given opportunity, education and wisdom most of us will thrive.

Are the tests bias? Of course they are. The question I have is, how do we bridge the gap between the decision makers and the experiences of the test takers?


I didn’t realize the strangeness of Bob until I was talking about him to my cousin. The thing that’s strange is not that he exists as much as my daughter named him Bob. He is a presence that lives in our house. 

He makes himself known by closing the cabinets in the upstairs bathroom or walking around. I hear him when the kids are gone. I use to think somebody lived in our attic and would come out when the they were visiting their dad but then I realized it wasn’t just me who heard him. We have all experienced him and my daughter named him Bob. 

Last week I heard an audible knock on my door. My alarm had gone off moments before. As I lay in the bed contemplating what I was wearing to work and whether or not I was going to the gym, I heard it. I thought maybe it was one of the younger two so I waited for the “mom?” but it never came. I waited to hear footsteps walking up the stairs but that didn’t happen either. 

A day or two later I mentioned the knock to the kiddos. My daughter said, “I guess Bob is back from vacation. He’s been gone for a while.” One of the younger two said he heard footsteps the other night. 

Welcome back Bob. 

Random thoughts

I haven’t written anything on here in a while. I’ve been struggling with pulling my thoughts together and staying focused on one topic. But my mind is cluttered with a variety of things and happenings so I decided to just share some thoughts that will actually make sense or not by the end. 

The year was 2006, I was newly pregnant with my fourth baby and had not made the announcement to friends and family. I had a nursing infant and as the office staff of my OBGYN had indicated on my folder,  I was “advanced maternal age.” My then dear husband, the three kids and I were visiting with a pastor, his wife and they’re gaggle of kids. I realized during the visit this was an interview or recruiting session for me. My dear ex husband wanted to join this church (read cultlike body of believers) and this dinner with them was his way of convincing me this was the way to go. 

One of the rules of their church was the children were watched or monitored at all times. This was done to keep them from sinning. Because we all know that you can’t sin with your parents or church elders watching. (Have you ever had an inappropriate thought?) 

Some time during this visit the mother came to us to apologize for her young daughter’s actions. The little girl had given my 6 year old son a note stating she wanted French kiss him. The parents were extremely embarrassed. The kicker to me was the apology offered by the mother. She said if she had been in the room with the kids this would have never happened. She blamed herself because it was her duty to watch her children and keep them from sinning or behaving inappropriately. 

I knew right then that I was not joining this church and as far as I was concerned these people were nuts. I grew up with a single mom with zero adult supervision. It’s a wonder I survived. I hoping to achieved a happy medium with my kids. 

Have you heard of, glanced at or dared to read on of the many articles about millennials leaving the church? Every single article I’ve ever read places the blame on the church. Have you ever heard the phrase, employees leave managers not companies? Okay… stay with me. What if they aren’t leaving the church but leaving their hypocritical parents? Hang on… The children are the witnesses to what their parents are living and doing when they aren’t at church. They hear the conversations and see the truth day in and out. They hear the arguing, gossiping, racist comments and other words that don’t align with the pretense shown on Sundays and in life groups or Bible study.   They know the truth. Perhaps they are choosing to live an authentic or at least alternate life that is not encouraged at church. 

When I was upset with the ex, I still sat next to him at church. Eventually, I sat on the other side of the room. I stopped pretending for the sake of others. It felt good to me but I’m sure it was awkward for people who asked me where he was and me telling the truth. I didn’t want to sit next to him. 

I don’t know where that couple or their children are today. But I’ve spoken with other children who lived under similar conditions or saw through the religious sham and not only walked away from the beliefs of their childhood, they walked away from relationships and some from their parents as well. Marriage? No thank you. They saw the lie their parents lived. Pray. No. They didn’t see any positive results as children. Read, worship, attend church? No, no and no. 

 What do you think? Are children leaving the church or are they leaving their parents?

I See Color

There aren’t many things more beautiful or captivating than a sunrise or sunset. 

What makes us stop and stare in awe or take photos?

The colors

Whether they contain shades of yellow, red, orange or the bluest of blues

There is just something about sunsets and sunrises

Ever look out at mountains and catch your breath?  

Purple mountain majesties indeed

Clear blue water and white sandy beaches

Red roses

Gray clouds

Yellow canaries

Green grass

Brown eyes

The color of a nation’s flag

Color is all around us

It can’t be avoided

Why should I try to deny it

I see color all around me

You see it too

Tell me this one thing

How do some not see the color of skin?

When I read or hear some one say, “I don’t see color” I wonder how that’s possible

I’m officially giving you permission to see skin color

It’s beautiful

But just like the colors in a rainbow, none are better, more qualified, more dangerous, less able, more believable, less captivating or more deserving of being anything other than a color in a rainbow

One color cannot create or sustain the rainbow alone

When each color stands alone it is monochrome

Still just as beautiful and captivating

But like a sunrise or sunset the beauty lies within the aray of colors not just one

It’s okay to embrace the colors around us

It’s okay to see the colors of our skin

The hue of our skin doesn’t make us lesser women or men

RSVP aka Let Me Know Either Way

Have you read the news articles about people billing guests who no show? Yes, you read me right. If you said you were going to attend an event then don’t show up you might receive a bill in the mail for your portion. When I first read about this I was slightly appalled but I understand.

A few months ago, while working for a caterer, I was asmugness a weekday wedding. They were expecting 75 guests. Thirty minutes after the start time only 30 people had shown up. They decided not to wait any longer. I looked into the bride’s eyes and could see her disappointment and sadness. But the show or wedding in this case, must go on. The staff watched from the window. It was really heartbreaking. There were so many empty seats during the ceremony. Most of the attendees were in the wedding.

It seems like no big deal in the surface. They still got married. They were served a wonderful plated meal. The DJ was playing great dancing music. It was  memorable evening minus about 45 guests. That was 45 people who said yes to the invitation. That was 45 people who were to receive a slice of cake that costs upwards of $5.00 per slice. That’s 45 people who would have received a party favor. That’s 45 people who would have received the appetizers and plated meal served by the hourly paid staff. That is 45 people who did not update their RSVP the week of the wedding so the couple could update the caterer who would have bought, prepared and transported less foods as well as scheduled less staff.

Recently, my daughter and I planned her first cookie/ ornament exchange. Out of 15 invitations I received two regrets but no RSVPs to me. A few of the girls said they would attend but their parents, their rides, the purchasers of the ornaments or cookie dough ingredients never responded. I cancelled the event. My daughter was extremely disappointed. She said to me, “RSVPing is old school. Nobody does that any more.” Well baby girl if they plan to come to an event at my house then I need to hear from the adult. How do I know how much food to prepare? How do I know how many crafts to purchase? How do I plan for an unspecified number of people?

Why have we become so lackadaisical? In this age of technology it takes less than a couple of minutes to send a text, FB message, tweet, snap chat or old school e-mail to say yes or no. Notice I didn’t say phone call because that really is old school. I understand we are all busy and have things to do that are important and high priority. But so is an RSVP. You don’t need to provide an explanation. But an answer or a status update is requested.

Would I ever send a bill to the inconsiderate no shows? (Yes, I know emergencies occurs.) I’m not sure that I would. Is it petty to charge no shows? I don’t know.

For the people who don’t RSVP and show up anyway, why do you think that’s okay?