Sunday, November 22, 2009

Extending the Vibe

I did just as I’d intended this weekend… I took it easy… or at least easier than I usually do, and guess what?  No headaches!  In fact, I had a really wonderful weekend and I feel more like my adult self than I have in months.

Yesterday, I got up bright and early and checked out the Barkley Hendricks’ symposium, The Evolution of the Cool at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA).  Hendricks’s The Birth of the Cool will be on exhibit through to Jan. 3, 2010.  I recently became familiar with Hendricks’ work and it’s incredible.  He mainly does portraiture, with bold colors and subjects exuding a.t.t.i.t.u.d.e.  He’s also a native Philadelphian and a PAFA alumnus.

The portion of the symposium I attended featured Hendricks, jazz musician Randy Weston and dance scholar, Brenda Dixon Gottschild. I spent two hours on the edge of my seat listening and absorbing.

This morning I made it to my floor barre class and spent an hour on my back while the instructor, Miss Rhonda Moore, worked the class of both professional dancers and non-dancers to the bone.  This class is no joke.  It’s intense, difficult and I feel so accomplished at the end of the hour.

After today’s class, I checked out Precious with Loverman and my girl. Lori.  Yes, it’s a difficult movie, but I do think my expectations were a bit tempered by everything I’ve heard from folks who saw the movie last weekend.  Lee Daniels did a great job with the casting.  Precious, played by Gabourey Sidibe, is fabulous and Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and even the too brief appearances of Sherrie Shepherd are also incredible. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mo’Nique, and I’m not too sure this role was a real stretch for her, but she is really scary in this flick.

I’ve already had a few heated discussions with both Loverman and my mom regarding the tone of the film, but the three of us agree that the fat, black, illiterate is an overworked character type in American film. Why is it that when White depravity is portrayed on film it’s ensconced in suburban accoutrements, but Black depravity is showcased in grease-laden fatback and urban filth? Overall, I enjoyed the film, but just once, it would be nice to have a Black story heralded that isn’t coming from such a dark, suffocating place.

Well, tomorrow’s it back to work, but fortunately, it’s a short holiday week and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to extend my newly acquired cool vibe through to next weekend too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seeking Relief

I’ve been on the DL most of this week.  I’ve been battling a debilitating headache since Monday.  For the past few evenings, I’ve made my way to the bed as soon as possible and prayed for sleep to come quickly. I got absolutely no relief from Tylenol, a warm lavender bath or a cup of chamomile tea.  In fact, I envisioned the beastly headache laughing at my pitiful attempts to tame it.

When I got up yesterday morning, I felt as if I’d been in a battle most of the night trying to beat down the throbbing on the right side of my head.  The headache wasn’t as intense, but felt as if it was laying in wait to pounce as soon as I let my guard down.  I needed to find some relief because I couldn’t imagine suffering a fourth day in such discomfort.  I called my chiropractor, Barry’s, office hoping he could see me right away.  No such luck… the receptionist explained Barry doesn’t have Thursday office hours, but she could get me in to see him first thing Friday morning.  Not good enough… I desperately explained that I needed to see someone NOW or I was headed to the emergency room. 

Mercifully, Amy, the receptionist heard the urgency in my voice and asked if I’d ever had acupuncture and if not, would I be interested in trying it out.  Without hesitation, I said, “Sure!” and assured her that I could get to the office in the next ten minutes.  At this point, I was open to anything and sticking some pins in my head, neck, shoulder, whatever, couldn’t be any worse than what I’d been dealing with over the last couple of days.

After completing some paperwork, I limped into the examination room, explained what was going on and when Dr. Freedman proceeded to rub where I indicated the area at the base of my skull from which the pain was emanating, tears streamed down my face. The muscles along my right shoulder and shoulder blade were sore to the touch.  The diagnosis included constricted neck tendons and neck muscles. The doctor bought out some contraption that vibrated along the affected area, after which he did a bit of cranial manipulation, and finally he asked if I was up for some acupuncture. Again, without thinking twice, I said, “Yes.”   Dr. Freedman explained that it would be nothing like I’ve seen on T.V.  It wouldn’t be gentle and would probably make me feel a little worse before I felt better.  After this warning, I was still up for it and took a deep breath as he stuck the first pin in my shoulder blade.  It felt as if the tip of the pin penetrated the nucleus of my pain.  Once the pin was positioned properly, he tapped it gently. The pain was almost paralyzing and yet it also provided relief because it was tangible and affirmed the severe discomfort I’d felt for days.  The doctor repeated this process along my neck and shoulder.  It took less than 10 minutes, and once he finished I did feel significantly better. 

Dr. Freedman urged me to schedule a follow-up with my chiropractor within the next 48 hours.  He also explained that my muscles and tendons are in bad shape and my current state has been a long time in the making.  It didn’t happen overnight.  He asked if I had any idea of what may have triggered the lemon-sized knot on the right side of my back.  I honestly can’t think of anything, but who knows… our bodies internalize stress that we’re not even aware of. 

By the time I got home yesterday, I could feel the pesky headache about to make its nightly appearance, but when it did, it didn’t seem as fierce as it had been prior to the acupuncture.  I was able to actually help Yannick with his homework and I even stayed awake long enough to check out Grey’s Anatomy. 

This morning I felt a bit refreshed, but looked forward to my 9:30am chiropractor’s appointment.  My chiropractor reviewed the notes from my visit with the doctor yesterday and after his initial examination, he concurred. Lying on his examination table, I endured another cranial manipulation, deep tissue message, heat pack, neck and back adjustments.  By the time I left his office, I felt like new money.  Barry’s magic manipulation beat my once-unbearable pain into total submission and I feel like myself for the first time in almost a week.  Hallelujah!

I’ve promised myself that I’ll be taking it easy this weekend and I’ll be right back on Barry’s table first thing Monday morning ready for whatever suggests to keep me straight and headache free. I think I also need to give some thought as to what emotional adjustments I need to make when it comes to managing my stress. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is It a Party?

What are the base requirements for an 8 yr. old boys’ birthday party? 

I ask, because of what transpired last Sunday when I asked Lovermn to take Yannick to his buddy, Tommy’s (not his real name), birthday party.  We received the invitation on Thursday for Sunday’s party.  Sure, I know everybody’s busy as all get out, but jeez! I need more than 48 hours notice!  Anyway, I promised Yannick we’d do our best to make Tommy’s party while I said a silent prayer of thanks because at least it was on Sunday when Loverman would be available to take him instead of me.

Sunday arrived and I sent my two guys off to the party with a $25 gift card to Game Stop and assured Loverman that Tommy’s father was a man’s man and would surely have a few beers for the daddies attending the 3-hour party.

When Loverman and Yannick returned, I could tell Loverman had a bit of an attitude. Yannick didn’t have much to say about the festivities either.  I gave Loverman some time to decompress before I asked him for details about the party and boy did it sound lame—O!  In short…

  1. 10-12 seven and eight year old boys
  2. no planned activities
  3. pizza, soda, birthday cake
  4. other than Tommy’s dad, Loverman was the only other daddy on the scene

Fortunately, the weather was unseasonably warm and the boys could play outside in the courtyard of the dad’s apartment.  The boys played tag football, raced back and forth and finally resorted to throwing ice cubes at each other before Loverman decided to call it a day and head home. 

Sure, I’m all for male bonding and fellowship, but I also think it’s important for parents to put forth a little effort.  Tommy’s dad basically invited a bunch of boys over for a play date and if Loverman hadn’t hung around, the birthday boy’s daddy would have seriously been outnumbered.

But maybe, Tommy’s dad simply did the best he could and like Loverman said, Tommy seemed to enjoy having all of his little friends together. I just know it’s going to like pulling teeth to get Loverman to pony up for another kids’ party anytime soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

An Upside of Tweendom

At 10 ½, Olivia is moving full-steam ahead into tweendom and yes, I often find myself taken aback when I or her brother or Loverman find ourselves face-to-face with one of her seemingly unprovoked funk-isms.   Sure, I understand she’s maturing, growing, changing, but like my grandmother used to say… “Miss Thing is really smelling herself these days!”

One unexpected upside of this new and not-so improved Miss Olivia is her desire to earn some extra cash.  I’m not one to pay for things she should naturally be doing around the house, but I have agreed to pay her weekly for doing the dinner dishes. Yannick, not wanting to be left out, sweeps the kitchen floor when Olivia finishes and for a few brief moments, all is good in the world.

All I can say is... WOWZA! This little perk of growing up and wanting more responsibility has freed up my evenings and allows me to retire to my boudoir with a nice glass of wine in peace.