Lost in Cyberspace

Hey!  Have you been following me at my new home, http://www.MrsTDJ.com?

You haven’t???  Oh vey!!  I thought that we had all the back end stuff fixed so that you guys could find me when I moved.  I just received a comment this morning from an old blog buddy who thought I had disappeared and not written anything since March.  I’m sincerely sorry for those that did not not realized I had moved.

Please come on over to http://www.MrsTDJ.com or like my page on Facebook, Just Another Day With MrsTDJ!

Guess Who’s Coming to the Stage???

The last time that I had the pleasure of stepping onto a stage, it was 1989 and I was the props manager for my school’s production of, “The Pirates of Penzance”. About a month ago, prompted by an email from my good girlfriend Nae over at I Choose the Sun, I threw caution to the wind and impulsively decided to audition for a play. Say what now? A play? Ya girl on a stage???

FP

You’re shocked, right?  Yeah, me too.  Go ahead and snicker if you must. I’ve been told that I have a flare for the dramatic, but I’ve never been sure if those comments were compliments or not.  Hmmm………

Well, a super talented group of people in the DC metro area auditioned for the national show, “Listen to Your Mother”, and I’m delighted to confirm that I was one of the 15 selected to perform here in DC. Head on over to the page and check out the full cast list. To be honest, I was already nervous enough about jumping on the stage, so once I saw the full cast list and read their bios? Whew! I am truly in the company of some amazing people.

Of course, I wouldn’t be my authentically nutty self if I didn’t find a way to make things even more challenging for myself.  The show is April 28, the very same day that yours truly had already set up and recruited a group of friends and family to walk/run a 5K fundraiser for LittleTDJ’s school.  And the events are a mere 70 miles apart.  Oh vey!!   So yup, I’ll be loading up on the vitamins that week and bracing myself for a very, very full day.  We’ll hit the race hard at 8am and I’ll be on stage at 2pm.  Yes, I do know that I’m a little crazy.  All in the name of motherhood and LittleTDJ, ya know?

Local folks in DC, Maryland and VA, I’m gonna need ya to come out and support a sista. Info on tickets can be found here and be sure to let me know if you’re gonna come through.  Y’all know that the last nine months have been more heartbreaking and painful than I can express.  A performance in a program like this is so far outside my comfort zone, yet I was instantly drawn to the idea of it.  With just under 8 weeks until the show, I’m feeling kinda giddy.  And giddy is certainly not a feeling that I’ve had in quite some time.

 

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A Moment of Reflection

Time

As I watch my friends and fellow bloggers reflect upon the end of the year, I have a sense of joy for all that is happening to others around me. There is a feature that keeps rolling across my Faceb.ook timeline called “Year in Review”.  Seeing the year that my friends and family have had, makes me smile at their successes and achievements, while continuing to wish them well on the not so great moments.

For me, the year was defined by my husband’s death. Maybe in years to come 2012 will have an abundance of layered memories. But at this moment, the singular, overarching thought is simply that in 2012 my husband died.  Oh there’s more of course. As a ripple to his death, my heart experienced blackness I didn’t know existed, my mind was pushed near the point of madness and my life changed course in the most unexpected of ways.

So, it is with bittersweet apprehension that I peek at 2013.  I can already sense the great relief at seeing a different year in “print”, while acknowledging that 2012 represents a time when my husband was alive and with us. I spotted the quotation above and it struck a chord.  We thought we had more time. Who’s to say how much more time, but we didn’t see his time here on earth ending in June.  2013 starts anew without him.  There will never be another calendar year in which he is present.  There isn’t a day that I don’t think of him at least a dozen times. But he isn’t here.  And I am.  I continue to push forward in fits and starts. Some days I experience bursts of laughter so true and authentic that I feel guilt, even as my face cracks a smile. Other days I feel waves of despair so deep and dark that I think this will be the one to push me over the edge and I struggle to hold it together.

But held it together is what I’ve done. Yup, I’ve done it for 6.5 months.  Not with a flourish or exclamation point.  No, rather with a battered dingy, full of holes and a roll of super sticky duct tape that keeps getting tangled in my hands.  I can’t stop thanking God for this special duct tape though.  My duct tape is made up of tears, deep breaths, long periods of silence, held breath, collective prayer, family, friends and tons of wine.

We have survived my 36th birthday, my 8th wedding anniversary, my husband’s 37th birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Oh what an emotional ride this holiday season has been.  Tonight, NYE marks a “holiday” full of traditions that we built over the years, but that he and I won’t ever share again.

My prayer for 2013 is that I remain gentle with myself as I certainly know there is no “end” to what I’m experiencing while trying to be as in the moment as I can with our son, Little TDJ.   May peace and blessings be upon all of you and your loved ones, today and in the year to come.

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Following The Advice of My Son

Little TDJ has developed a new, favorite expression, “Take it with us.”  He uses it anytime that he wants to bring a toy or a food item from its current place, to travel with us somewhere else.  Normally it refers to the iPad that he’d like to take in the car, or a toy that he wants to take from his play room to another room in the house.

His vocab doesn’t yet contain the words bring or keep, so he uses “take” to represent all three concepts.  Lately, he has been using it to refer to photos of his dad.  Once we’ve completed our nighttime routine and we are preparing to get into the bed, he will grab different framed and unframed photos and say, “take it with us.”  The first time that he asked, I was a little shaken.  He and I got into the bed, along with a pic of our family of three.  I know that he misses his dad and it’s a struggle for him to express how he’s feeling.  That was the first night of many that MrTDJ has “joined” us and whenever he does, our son falls asleep with a smile on his face.

Hmm, I realized that Little TDJ was on to something good.  I’d been trying to find my own way to keep him with me. Regardless of what else is going on, thoughts of my husband are never far from the surface.  And yes, I am still carrying his wallet.  But, I’ve been wanting something else; something tangible.  I know of many who get tattoos in honor of their loved ones.  I debated on that for about three nanoseconds.  Aside from being completely freaked out by the thought of pain, I simply don’t like body art enough to get any on myself.  I’ve seen bumper stickers and back window decals, but I don’t really dig those too much either.  License plate?  Nah.

And then I discovered Posh Mommy.  BAM!  Found it!  My necklace arrived last week and it is perfect.  MrTDJ and Little TDJ in one place.  I touch, rub and twirl it all day.  I am amazed at the sense of calm that drifts over me when I do.  I’ve found my own way to “take it with us”.  Thanks to Little TDJ, a little dude that is wise beyond his years.

***The opinions expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone.  I received no compensation or incentive to write about Posh Mommy Jewelry***

Vegas Then, Vegas Now

Last night, I was supposed to be packing for a my trip this weekend to Blogalicious 2012, but I was distracted.  Preparing to travel to Las Vegas is supposed to be fun, but I couldn’t make my mind NOT wander to the only other time I’d been there – my honeymoon, September 2004.  

MrTDJ and I decided to go to Vegas after a laughter filled conversation.  About 2 months into wedding planning, we sat down to tackle the honeymoon.  We each made a list of 5 places we’d like to go and then we compared lists.  Very scientific, huh?  A quick glance of the two lists showed Vegas as the only place in common.  Done, cause that’s how he and I rolled.  Smooth and easy, whenever possible.  Our trip there was fantastic and I wish I had a few picks to share, but MrTDJ somebody lost the rolls of film and I have no honeymoon pics except for the one we took at “Top of the World“, the revolving restaurant atop the Stratosphere Hotel.  We talked about visiting Las Vegas again, but we never made it.   It’s bittersweet for me to travel there without him.  But, I will and I am. 

In 2010, when I first heard of Blogalicious, the conference was in Miami.  MrTDJ and I discussed it, but the logistics didn’t quite work out and I couldn’t attend.  I thought the stars had aligned in 2011 because it was being held almost in my backyard at the National Harbor, in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Unfortunately, the dates didn’t work – it fell on the same weekend as MrTDJ’s birthday and the national walk for Autism Speaks.  I had already fielded a walking team in honor of our son, LittleTDJ and made big plans for the birthday boy.  Finally, early this year the dates for 2012 were announced and I rushed with excitement to tell MrTDJ.  Vegas is September and he told me that I had to go.  My homegirl Nae and I talked details in the early spring and it sounded like it might happen. 

Then my husband died.  I forgot all about Blogalicious.  One sleepless night in early July, I was going through my Google Reader and read a post on Justice Fergie’s page.  The post wasn’t about Blogalicious, but she mentioned it.  And when she did, I smiled but totally disregarded the idea of going.  Suddenly, the phrase, “Why not?” popped into my head.  I can’t say that was my husband speaking to me because y’all would think I’m crazy, but I feel as if I was moved by his spirit.

Since my husband’s death, writing is one of the few things that brings me any solace.  My sleepless nights are filled with journal entries, a letter or two to my husband, blog posts and work on my fiction novels.  MrTDJ was one of my biggest fans and certainly a vocal critic.  He wanted so badly for me to write freely without the constraint of a daily 9-5 gig.  We used to joke that if I quit my job to pursue a full-time writing career, we’d be living in a studio apartment eating PB&J every night. 

I blog because I like to write and it makes me feel good.  It’s as simple as that.  Folks visit my site and they read because they feel a connection.  Quite simple as well.  I know that if my husband were here, he would encourage me to embrace everything that Blogalicious has to offer.  And that’s exactly what I plan to do!

I’m NOT a Single Mother

I’m not writing to discuss and debate the legitimacy or emotion behind the term single mother.  Nope, I’m not really interested in any kind of deep, political, racial or socio-economic debate about single mothers in our society.  That’s not my soapbox.  If anyone starts that foolishness in the comments, I’ll actually delete ‘cha, m’kay?  Cool.

What I do want to discuss is NOT being a single mother.  I am NOT a single mother.  Let me repeat that once again for folks sitting in the cheap seats without a good view of the jumbrotron – I am NOT a single mother.

In the most basic of terms, yes, I am a mother and no, I do not have a living partner.  I am a widow.  I am a mother.  I am a widowed mother.   To call me single is just inaccurate.  I was raised in a family that encouraged me yet set certain expectations for how my life should proceed.  This isn’t judgement or censure for what anyone else was taught, how they were raised, or for the choices that they make.  This is about ME.  Things in my life proceeded in the way that I felt they should.  I fell in love with my high school sweetheart.  We dated.  We got married.  We bought a house.  We decided together to start a family.  We had a son.  Then my husband died.

I fell in love with a nice kid, who turned into a decent young man, who turned into a good father and husband.  I certainly wouldn’t have written the movie of my life with my husband dying at 36 but I had no choice in the matter.  I did not choose to parent alone.  I did not pick a bad partner.  I was not deserted or abandoned.  My son was not rejected.

I’m in the other box now.  The widow box.  When filing out paperwork, there are boxes for single, married, divorced and widowed.  I am a widow.  I am a mother.  Just as divorced and widowed are not the same, neither are single mother and widowed mother.  They simply aren’t. The person who prompted this post did not deserve my response, so I did not offer one to her.  My stony glare and silence were loud and strong.  Regardless of how it is intended, recognize that it is insulting to my deceased husband and it is offensive to me.  Please do not refer to me or any other widowed parent as “single” because we are not.

Dim All The Lights Sweet Darling

Please allow me ramble just a bit.  This week, three very talented and creative people passed away and I had to write a little something about one of them.  People around the country heard news of Chuck  Brown‘s passing, but it hit the DC area harder than anywhere else.  Since moving to the area in ’91, I learned to love go-go and I owe a huge part of that to Mr. Brown.  Yesterday evening, I heard of the passing of Monica Jackson, a great author of African-American romance and fiction.  She’s the first author that I read under the Arabesque label and I still remember the characters in her novel, “Hearts Desire.”  However, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute and homage to one of my favorite musical artists of all time, Ms. Donna Summer.

I was born in 1976, in New York, into a family who loved music.  Lots of people say they love music, but let me just tell you that my family REALLY REALLY LOVED MUSIC!  I have two uncles and a cousin who were djs, my dad used to play drums in a band and most everyone touched a musical instrument, choir or band in some way, shape or form.  Daddy TDJ and I used to play a game where I’d try to stump him regarding where an album was located in our cavernous basement.  He had over 1000 albums,  yet he seemed to always know where every single one lived.

Being born in 1976 meant that I was born in the height of the disco era, and thanks to my mother and my Aunt Sherry, I had a very early appreciation for the intoxicating dance rhythms.  Over the years my love for disco has grown, and I actually spent a few days in my early twenties whining about never having had the chance to party at Studio 54.  And being the nerd that ya girl is, I actually took the time to do deep, investigative research to figure out the perfect year that I should have been born.  Yes, I’m nuts but you already know that and you keep coming back anyway!  LOL!  Allow me to entertain you with my theory.

I’ve concluded that to truly enjoy and appreciate the music across as many decades as possible, I should have been born in 1959.  Clearly this was impossible as Daddy TDJ was 7 years old in 1959 and Mama TDJ was a mere 4.  However, you understand what I’m saying.  If I had been born in 1959:

  • I could have the Motown sound as the soundtrack to my early years
  • I would have turned 18 in 1977, so disco could have been the music of my high school years
  • I would have been able to party at Studio 54 when it opened in 1977
  • I’d have turned 21 in 1980 and been living witness to the birth of rap/hip hop in NY
  • I’d have turned 22 and still only partially understood what the beginning of MTV in 1981 really meant
  • I would have been partied HARD in the 80s with rap/hip hop as a backdrop
  • I could have been young and hip enough to appreciate new jack swing when it arrived in late 80s

I could go on and on, but trust me, I’ve thought this out in painstaking detail.  LOL!  My passion for disco is deep, deep, deep.  It’s a running joke amongst my friends.  At the top of my disco pyramid of worship is Ms. Donna Summer.  The first time I saw the movie, “Thank God It’s Friday”, my Aunt Sherry (Mama TDJ’s cool younger sister) was babysitting me and I was 9.  From opening credit until the screen went completely dark, I was hooked.

It’s one of the first movies that I ever bought for myself.   I played that VHS so much that the tape popped a few years ago.  ****insert tears, a slow wall slide and a nip of good Amaretto**.   My whining had reached epic levels when MrTDJ got sick of me took pity on me.  He found another tattered, worn VHS tape on ebay and got it here in a hurry.  And, in order to avoid another popped tape disaster, he converted the movie to a digital format.  Why the producers have never released this on DVD is beyond me.  It practically has a cult following. (UPDATE 5/19/12 – Cassandra is the bomb diggy!!  Sony finally put it on DVD and I just bought it!  Woo HOO!!!)

Have you ever seen it?  It’s a hella campy feel good movie about disco, roller skating, and the collective hopes and dreams of everyone there whether they were hoping to win the dance contest, dancing their tails off or finding someone cute to hook up with.  Ms. Summer steals the E.N.T.I.R.E movie when she sings, Last Dance.  Steals it, I tell ya!  Like seriously, she won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for it.

I’m actually listening to my Donna Summer Pandora station as I type this post and I’m trying to keep myself from closing the door to my office to get my dance on!!!!  I love the entire body of her work, but my favorite songs will always be Dim All the Lights and MacArthur Park .  Rest in Peace Ms. Summer.  Thank for you the memories!!

Sharing is Caring

Hey folks!  I’ve been super busy, but trying to make the rounds to all the blogs I love.  Thought I’d share a few of the things that have made me laugh, smile, shop, cry and want to cook over the last two weeks.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight – Yummo!!

Why You Should “Study” Your Spouse – Interesting Read for the married folk

When Is the Last Time You Asked For a Raise? Check out how Ms. Bougie did it! LOL!

Tons of Snark in just one Post – **snickering** Thanks Brooklyn Mama!

Asian Honey Chicken – Man, this chick and her cooking really make me want to get in the kitchen more!!

Catalog of Living – This site give me the most intense giggles!  Some days are better than others, but this one got me for the week.

Readers of AA Mommy Blogs – Your voice is needed for a survey.

Calling Makeup-nistas – Thank me later!

Share the Freaking Gum already – Thanks P for putting another spin on this.

Have a great weekend everyone!

It’s Friday and I’m Loving . . . .

  • My Wrecks-N-Effect station on Pandora!  In another minute and a half, I’m gonna have to bust a Wop, Running Man or Snake.  Seriously!  Fingers flying across the keyboard while my head and shoulders are WORKIN IT OUT!

  • Dried Chile Spiced Mango from Trader Joe’s.  Whoa!!  A co-worker turned me on to these last week and I’ll be hitting up TJ’s this weekend.  Fantastic.  Slightly spicy, a little salty, mixed with chewy sweetness.

  • My blog family!  Thank you for all the comments and emails of support after my post last week concerning my family and our personal connection to autism.  Thanks to those that wore blue, changed their light bulbs and posted pics on Face.book.  I appreciate each and everyone one of you.  There were many questions in the post, so I’ll be sure to respond in another post next week.
  • The weather! This “winter” in the DC area has been amazing!  April is a little cooler  than March, but still beautiful enough to not need a coat most days.  Love these days and I’m looking forward to full blown spring!!
  • TITANIC in 3D!  Yep, I’m on that bus and smoking that ish!  Titanic is one of my favorite movies.  It’s such a layered drama, surrounding a tragedy, with a damn love story in the middle.  Is there any way I could not love this film?  And a re-release on the 15th anniversary with 3D enhancements???  I’m swooning and I can’t wait to see it this weekend!

  • that today is FRIDAY!!!!

What are ya’ll loving today??