Monday, July 7, 2008

A Look Into My LA Experience

A couple of nights ago, while at the gym, I notice this muscular, slightly chiseled, half-way attractive personal trainer. Sporting a grey G-Unit tank top (of course garnished with a black stripe down the shoulder straps), black gym pants, and some black NewBalance sneaks, I wouldn't have even given him a second look if it weren't for the fly, energetic, Ms. New Booty he was training. ***Don't worry I love men and men only, but I'm not a hater and can appreciate another woman's beauty…which usually causes me to push harder on the treadmill***

While struggling on the stair climber, I observed the various lung sets he was having her perform. I'm taking mental notes saying to myself Okay, left knee up, squat to the left, back to starting position, right knee up, squat to the right, back to starting position, repeat. Feeling confident I retained his whole forty-five minute routine, I vowed to go home and "work it out". Yeah, so that didn't work. After thirty seconds of squatting to the left, I squatted my too many cinnamon bun buns on my plush red sofa and repeatedly flipped through Channels 2 – 699, for the next 2 hours.

Okay, so it wasn't that I didn't remember this trainers regimen, it was I didn't have him sitting there smacking me on my butt saying, "You got this Tammi. Four more sets to go! If you want Rhianna's legs, Beyonce's booty, with that '04 Janet Jackson abs you gotsta work!" I was missing the accountability, the motivation, the muscular, slightly chiseled, half-way attractive personal trainer. So I decided to make a change – I was getting a personal trainer. No, don't be silly, I wasn't going to hire a personal trainer. See what I figured was "Why hire a personal trainer when they train in public?"

So last night, while at the gym, I stood approximately 15 steps away for the Ms. New Booty and her trainer and just did everything he was instructing her to do. I didn't want to be too obvious so I positioned myself to the side of her. For the first ten minutes everything was going great. Maybe it was because he was only on the stretching portion but everything started going down hill when he got to the squatting portion of the training. Well I wouldn't say down hill more like it would have made for a great parody on Saturday Night Live.

I guess he realized I was doing everything Ms. New Booty was doing because he whispers something to her and as she continues to squat to the left, left knee up, he walks over to me. I'm trying my hardest to look focused, unwavering, determined to complete my set. He says nicely, "Hello Ma'am, if you would like to utilize my services you can speak to the front desk and they can give you my schedule." I'm still looking forward, trying not to lose concentration at the task at hand. Act like you have NO clue what he is talking about Tammi.

"I'm sorry Sir; I'm not sure what you are talking about.” Squat to the left, left knee up, squat to the right, right knee up.

"Well Ma'am I notice you are copying my client's exercise". I stop, look him right in the eye, with a hint of disgusted, "Excuse me, but when did you create the Squat? Do you have a patent on it or something? Is there a sign on the wall which says 'Squatting only to be performed in the care of a Personal Trainer'? I think not. So until I see such a sign, I will squat all I want." WOW?!? Where the heck did that come from?!?!

The personal trainer walks away, again whisper something in Ms. New Booty's ear and I try to stay face as she turns and looks at me. As they both walk away, I continue to do my squats with an added lunge or two just to personalize it.

Okay, five minutes later, I get a tap on my shoulder, "Excuse me Miss. We received a complaint about you. If you don't mind retrieving your possessions and following me." So did they have to go tattle to the manager on me? GEESH…

So tonight, while sitting at my desk typing this, sore from 23 sets of squats and lunges, I realize, maybe I didn't need a personal trainer. I should have just struggled on the stair climber, because at least then I would still have a gym membership. Big sigh as I stare at my Big Texas Cinnamon Bun.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...{{{true story}}}

After a Friday night of dancing, chilling with my girl, and several 'hollas' from my male counterparts, I was really feeling myself. Deciding we were having too much fun to end the night, my girl and I decided to hit up Denny's.

If you could have seen me walking from my car to the Denny's entrance (why was I strutting to go into DENNY'S of all places…I'm telling you I was really feeling myself) you would have thought I was about to go in to meet up with my husband I hadn't seen in six months.

"Hey Boo", I hear in the distance. Usually I don't respond to such callings, but I was looking RIGHT and was so deserving of the attention.

"What's your name?" this young boy yells in my direction. Hmmm, should I waste my time on this kid or should I humor him. Well it is late and it would be fun…

"Lorraine" I replied in my most sultry voice (I always give an alias if I'm not really interested).

Don't walk to fast; yet not too slow. Walk it out Tammi, walk – it – out…

"Where are you going, ma?" he yells, as I'm walking across the parking lot.

"Same place you're going, bout to get me a milkshake" I reply over my shoulder.

Cause mmmyyyyy milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and that's right its betta than your…That's fresh Tammi; just don't trip while trying to cross this street…and switch those hips, show him whatcha working wit…

"Why are you answering for her?" the boy looks at me with confusion as he points to my girl…

As I pick my face and my ego off the floor, I walk into Denny's and ate a BIG SLICE of pie…

The Game - The Rules {part 2}

***Read The Pre-Game/Narrative FIRST***

So here is the tricky part - The Rules

They vary from person to person but they all have the same underlining theme: "I really don't care"

Seems a little ridiculous right, especially since we date because we DO care and want to get to know the other person better. What is with the whole fa├žade of "I can go either way"; when inside we are screaming "PICK ME! PICK ME!".

Here are a few of the Rules I've received in my journey with Sean:

"Don't let him know you are too interested girl." Okay so how is he supposed to know I'm interested? The whole point of me trying to "holla" is for him know I'm interested. You read the description of Sean in the earlier blog; the Brotha is all of that, and a bottle of Don Perion. I WANT him to know I'm interested before the next chick does. But according to the Rules, this is a 'No, No'; I'm supposed to give him the initial "I dig you" vibe then pull back and hopefully that vibe will do the rest.

So after he gets a hint of the vibe, he should be inquiring about my time, BUT…"Don't make yourself too available!" Dangit why not?!? I want to spend time with him and get to know him better. Plus if I say 'No' too many times wouldn't he just give up?

Even my mother who's been married for 27 years and never been in the Game knows about the Game as she prompts me to "ignore some of his calls, let them go to voicemail." But what if it were an emergency and those were the last three minutes on his boostmobile? What if he were feeling spontaneous and wanted to take me to see the sunset over the beach?

"When he emails you, don't email back right away. Make it seem you have a life and aren't sitting there waiting for him." I have a life, a very busy one might I add, but I check my email all the time. (Isn't that why I pay over $100 a month for a BlackBerry? So I can receive and send emails in a timely manner?) That is where I conduct most of my business and I HAVE been waiting for an email from him got dangit. Why is that so bad? Why do I need to act like I haven't been? And if he emails me from Myspace, homeboy can see I've opened and read his message. Doesn't it seem silly to send him a response three days later? What has changed from the time I opened it and three days later? NOTHING! Just the idea that I wasn't too pressed to respond back.

God forbid he is your buddy on instant messenger. "Girl don't delete him. BLOCK HIM! BLOCK HIM! BLOCK HIM! " We can't even be IM buddies because that is making myself WAY to available to him.

From the rules of this Game I'm not supposed to answer his calls more than once a week if that, wait a few days to respond to his emails, and never, no, never have him as a buddy on my instant messenger. And in turn he will see I am not too pressed to be with him, my time is precious, and I have a life…which will cause him to seek my attention even more. Makes perfect sense right?

So in the end how the heck is he supposed to reach me? Through a friend of a friend? Sending a dove with a letter? By showing up at my door? After I follow all the rules of not reaching out to him, ole dude is going to think I am just not interested. When in actually fact it's just the opposite.

The Pre-Game / Narrative {part 1}

I was out of the Game for over four years. Participated in a little sideline action; coaching my friends through the Game, had a few 'players' run out of bounds into my lap after fervently running down the court for the perfect dunk – basically trying to score. But it had been awhile since I was out there on the court myself. Blocking, rebounding, shooting, showing off my adroit moves. While bunned up for four years, I didn't get the full spectrum of the Game – like I said before – just the sideline view. So now that it is my turn to get out of the celebrity half court seats and on to the bench with hopes of actually making it out on the shiny wood floors again, I feel overwhelmed and in need of a few more months in training camp. Times have really changed and there are so many dag'on rules to this Game with what seems to be no chance of actually winning.

What is the purpose of this Game? Why can't I just walk up to Sean Brown and tell him I'm feeling him and would love to get to know him better, as I would have done half a decade prior?

---- So let's digress for a moment. ----

Sean Brown, yes, the subject of my frustrations. My description of him will do him little to no justice but I will attempt to so you readers can relate.Sean is as distinct as the cologne he wears. He is polished yet masculine, an individual yet classic, strong yet not overpowering, he radiates confidence. The type of man you don't have to think twice about accompanying you to that black-tie event, who can hold his own in a board room full of executives, but can also throw on some sweats and cook you that spaghetti meal. Through all of his sophistication and accomplishments, he is still extremely humble.

Sean is a mans man, he embodies masculinity; even so, his quiet, unique spirit can be seen in his kind, comforting smile. I have to say he had me hook, line, and sinker with that smile. With every sultry line Mr. Brown speaks my mind start racing. My eyes soften and lips creep into a smile with every sarcastic comment he makes. His quick wit and canning humor cause me to fall out of my seat in laughter.

He is the type of guy that you want to surround yourself with. One who never points out your faults but you automatically seem to improve yourself when you are graced with his presence - spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. In my year of knowing him, he has made me want to progress to a level I never felt I could reach. All around Sean Brown is a spectacular man, whom after much evaluation I've concluded is worthy of my time and affection.

---- A BIG SIGH. A little daydreaming. And I'm back. ----

So what is the problem you ask? Like Kelly Pitts from CW's "The Game" (no pun intended) said, "Black women are always complaining there aren't enough good Black men out there; you better lock yours down before one of mine does." Why haven't I locked this brotha down or even secured a second date? Why am I forced to play this Game with him in order to get to the next level? These are questions I've been asking myself over and over the last six months. Hoping for some clarity after writing it down, to no avail. So you know me, share it with the masses. Over the next few weeks, I'm just going to share with you my perspective of the Game using my experience with Sean. And don't worry fellas Sean is NOT you, so you can rest easy, I won't divulge your 'whack' game…LOL (just kidding). I'll discuss the Players in this Game, the Rules, the Coaches, Halftime, the Goal, and of course, most importantly POINTS.

Why I, Tammi Lorraine, will no longer allow male patrons in my bathroom!!!

My friends get on me because I have certain HOUSE RULES. I won't apologize if this offends them or makes them feel a little uncomfortable because I pay the mortgage (or rent; speaking in faith) and my "RULES" aren't outrageous or crazy. For example, I ask they take off their shoes at the door. Easy enough. Or if they have to release any bodily waste in my toilet - light a candle; simple common courtesy things.

But one of the most IMPORTANT rules in my house is "when you use the toilet, BEFORE flushing check to make sure you didn't leave anything on the seat and put the toilet seat cover down". Is that so hard? Is it such a vile request? I think not…my grandmother taught me this as a little girl…when you flush the toilet; water particles enter the air and land on various items in your bathroom. Could this be false information? Maybe. But for a sound mind I live by this. And I seem to get a lot of flak from men regarding this rule.

Last night I had a male friend over to watch a movie, he knows the rules because he's been over before. Half way thru the movie, I got tired and told him to let himself out as I went to bed. Somewhere between my sweet slumber and him 'letting himself out' this nigg… ***bite tongue*** …man used my bathroom. Not ONLY did he not "cover before flushing" this 'man' PEED ALL OVER MY TOILET…

So just imagine me, waking from my peaceful sleep, walk to my bathroom, notice the cover UP, then notice pee all over the back of my toilet. With a piece of toilet paper I lift the seat up and to my disgust I find PEE all over my dag'on toilet and on the floor…

FURY... REPUGNANCE…PURE ANGER floods me…What the hell son. Did you not see this BEFORE you flushed and HOPEFULLY washed your hands and left my house? I have disinfectant wipes right above the toilet for your convenience. Why not use one, huh? Better yet, how about learning to use the bathroom like a grown man? And not a five year old little boy.

BIG SIGH…

Okay I already hear the cackling, "not all men pee on toilets", "most men know how to aim"…and all I have to say is I DON'T CARE…if you are a man and have to use the bathroom, use it before you enter my house, in the bushes out front, in an apple juice bottle, hmmm, better idea YOUR OWN HOUSE!!!!

Because as of October 24, 2007, I, Tammi Lorraine, have officially closed my bathroom to any and ALL male patrons. PERIOD!

Apple Bottoms

If you are a woman of color or have a REAL body you can relate to the frustrations of finding jeans that fit. My girlfriends whom are much smaller than I am will go shopping with me for anything BUT jeans. A day of attempted jean shopping can cause me to return home empty handed and broken hearted. It’s 2008 and the fact more jean companies aren’t making jeans for the more curvaceous women astound me. I tried Gap, Express, New York & Company, Macy’s, JC Penny’s, and a slew of other brands, stores and ’girl I swear by these jeans’ from my less voluptuous posse.

Then finally I decided to try on some urban wear jeans. Why didn’t I start with them you ask? Well I didn’t want to be rocking Apple Bottoms just so people can be looking saying "dang she got an apple bottom". Call me crazy but it seems even the flat booty chics that slip on Apple Bottoms miraculously appear to have an ample backside. And I didn’t want all of that exposure. So I ventured to the less explicit brands. I tried on Derion, now Beyonce’s behind must not wear her ’low-end’ creations cause first off there was NO stretch (1st strike), then my booty was smashed in them (2nd strike), and lastly the most notorious problems with me and jeans is the waist was SUPER big (3rd strike). Beyonce should have known better then that but like Jay said "this ain’t for everybody" and they were definitely not for me. So speaking of Jay, I tried on some Rocawear, to no avail. Jay – Bey ya’ll got'sta do better.

I tried on almost every brand in the store, just to lead me back to Apple Bottoms. I swallowed my pride, found my size and went into the fitting room. Ahhh…. When I say smooth as budda, I mean SMOOTH AS BUDDA. Those Apple Bottom jeans slipped on me with such ease it was as if Nelly’s seamstress had taken my measurements and proceeded to sow them on me. I couldn’t deny the truth: I have an Apple Bottom. Well maybe more like Apple Bottoms are the jeans for me. They had me looking at myself in the mirror dance like that one black chic on the Gap commercial. I was elated finally a pair of jeans I don’t have to dart or worry when I sit my Victoria’s are showing. I have finally found my fit.

I only write this to say to all my Bootilicious woman, don’t fight it, don’t deny it, embrace the fact you have an Apple Bottom. Save some gwap and purchase those $100 jeans cause they are Nelly’s gift to the big booty…Luv ya…Ms. New Bootie

Valentine's Day Interview

Words of Wisdom From A Godly Couple
by Tammi Lorraine

Throughout their sixteen years of marriage, Sharon and Will Blount have ministered to numerous couples in their church and community. Parents to three children, they understand the importance of balance and the power of praying together. I asked them questions concerning what happens when the honeymoon stage has ended and what to do when you feel like giving up on your marriage. Join me as I receive words of wisdom from this godly couple.

TAMMI: Valentine's Day is a day devoted to love and treating that special someone in our lives special. In your sixteen years of marriage how have you been able to incorporate that same love and passion into the other 364 days of the year?

SHARON: One of the things we do is pray together. My husband Will, will not leave in the morning until we say a prayer. It has been important over the years to keep us connected.

WILL: I agree; I also think taking care of each other on a day-to-day basis. Trying to pay attention through all of the distractions that we have with work, this committee [and] that committee; you have to make an effort to ensure your spouse feels they are wanted and appreciated.

TAMMI: Many couples were married last year at H.O.P.E.'s House. What would advise the newly- weds to do when the honeymoon stage ends and the monotony of everyday life sets in?

SHARON: It's important to spend time together. Do date nights. [The] reinforcing things that might seem corny, but does prove itself over time. We'll have Friday nights where we have sushi and that keeps us connected. Making sure [that] as you have kids and your family expands you are still committing to your private time. [And] get away on the weekends without the kids.

WILL: The two most important people in the relationship are the husband and wife. We sometimes forget and start putting the kids first. Now sure you have an infant [and] your infant is going to need you, but even when you are with your infant, you know [that] your responsibility [and] your commitment [and] your loyalty is also to your spouse. Your union is the most important union in the house, because it is the thing that is going to guide, nurture, and protect the babies as they get older. It's crucial to always understand the number one relationship in the house is the married couple.

TAMMI: If you could give do's and don'ts to married couples what would they be?

WILL: Don't say it. Words began it all, because He spoke it all into existence. You can say something and put it in someone's heart and they will never forget it. It will go inside and eat away at them and eat and eat and eat. You'll never get it back. It's like getting on a mountaintop with a pillow full of feathers. You flap all of the feathers into the wind and they go all over the land and drop. Those are your words, your careless words. Now to take it back, you have to go over the whole land, and pick them up. Don't say it because you can't get it all back.

SHARON: ... you have to know [that] in an hour you aren't going to be feeling those same harsh feelings. You have to know it is going to come back to love. So I really want to be mindful of what I say, [mindful] of my words and my behavior. That is really important to know. Your good feelings are always going to come back.

WILL: As far as the [to] do, going back to the point we made earlier about our date nights eating sushi. We have the same meaningful time when we have coffee. The main thing is being together, spending quality time together. So if you can't have sushi because of your budget, [then] go have some coffee or just sit out in your car looking over the ocean. You have to make time for each other.

TAMMI: I have one more question for you two. In recent years, marriage has been made to look so disposable. What do you say to the couples that want to give up on their marriage?

SHARON: There is the love element and the commitment. The commitment element wins out because your love waivers. You're mad, you're not mad, you're this and that, but the commitment cannot waiver. It has to always be there. You really have to have God in the middle of your life and relationship. Because if I'm not feeling so great about Will all I can do is pray about it, and pray God changes me. God can change me and God can change Will, but I can't change Will and Will can't change me. We have to understand that element. People get into relationships thinking he has this and she has that and oh I'll fix that. You can't. You can't change anybody. It has to be his or her desire, and God will work on that.

WILL: You drive down the street [and] you look at the billboards [and] there is the beautiful woman and the handsome guy. They live in the great house and they have all the money. It's spiritual warfare against marriages, because you are always seeing this [and] you are sometimes unconsciously comparing your stuff to the world's view and definition and you see how that is going. You need to keep your focus on God. You didn't get married by happenstance; He put you together. Because you have something that is unique, and they have something that is unique, and God put you together to blend that and make something of that. He did it. You have to look back and focus on why you got married. We have picture nights where we will open our photo albums and look at when we got married, baby pictures, [and] whatever is there. What you had at the beginning is still there, [but] sometimes you just sort of loose track of it. And every once in a while you need to be reminded ... that too shall pass.

SHARON: And that is like what you were saying about the infatuation part of the relationship. That does wear off pretty quick ... you really have to press forward because it does get that gray area where you don't feel those fluttery feelings anymore. That is very normal; people think the infatuation feelings are supposed to last forever and when they disappear then that must mean I don't love him anymore. We've renewed our vows and when I said to Will I want to marry you again, now I know him. When you are getting married in the beginning you don't know who that person is, who this person will unfold to be, and when you redo your vows you are saying, I know you; I know all your flaws [and] your weaknesses, and even still I will marry you again. And that means a lot. But that infatuation period is not the marriage it is the hopefulness and the newness and then once that wears off it gets down to who we really are…

WILL: Because of John 3:16, we know [that] we are sinners and we don't know it all. We have to learn how to forgive other people and ourselves, because He died for that. If you can forgive yourself and forgive others, you have a good fighting chance in your marriage.

Thanksgiving Day Blues

***Thanksgiving is over but this is still applicable...wanted to share...Love You***

Thanksgiving Day Blues
by Tammi Lorraine

"I woke up dis mornin,
'On Thanksgivin' Day.
Ah should be smilin,
'But my family three
thousan' miles away.
I gots the blues...
The Holiday Blues …"

The enthusiasm I awoke with quickly fades as remember my family is all the way on the East Coast. There is no smell of bacon frying or the familiar sound of my mom calling all females to the kitchen to help cook. I, along with my two younger sisters, am always drafted into her cooking, baking and cleaning regime every holiday; a tradition I usually loathe, but this day yearn for.

Loneliness silently sneaks in as I lay in my bed reminiscing of past Thanksgiving days. My phone rings, snapping me out of my nostalgia.

"Are you up? Are you ready to go?" the friendly voice on the other end asks.

"No, not yet, I'm just getting up now," I answer.

"Well hurry up. I'm ready to eat," they reply jokingly.

A smile creeps upon my face as I jump out of my bed with a newfound joy. "Okay, okay. I'll be ready ASAP."

I'm reminded of John 14:16, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, who will never leave you." Although Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, peace settles in me as I thank God for my H.O.P.E.'s House family. Many people know I am out here by myself and extended their homes to me on Thanksgiving Day. God knew where I would be during the holiday and He wasn't going to leave me lonely and in despair. He was going to provide. As we embark on this holiday season, be comforted in knowing God doesn't want us feeling lonely. He knows our every need.

As Thanksgiving Day ended, I counted my blessings, lounging on my comfy couch, wrapped in my Redskins throw, full from a delicious meal and the love of friends.