So, from the pics of the baptism, it is obvious that I HAD to speak to my dad again sometime, right?

Thanks to everyone that read and commented on the "dear daddy" post. I go through these phases while blogging. If I write something random, funny, or shallow, I don't think twice about it. But when I write about something that's close to my heart or close to my hurt, I feel too exposed. Oftentimes, I don't come near my blog. I take a mini-break to regroup and write something surficial to balance out the blog vibes and to keep me from deleting the post.

But back on topic, I didn't stay in the N.O. long. The first day, I didn't say much to my dad at all. So you can imagine how awkward that is when he was the one that picked me up from the airport. I kept my attention on J, which was easy b/c he was trying to condense his whole summer into a 30 minute conversation. Aside from the car ride, I kept my distance and I could sense that he was keeping his. I got the impression that he didn't know what to say to me. My greatest concern was that my stepmother would approach me and want to discuss the letter. She tends to play the peacemaker role.

The day of J's baptism; however, we broke silence. When he spoke to me, he talked slow and chose his words carefully. I guess that's what I wanted even if it looked as if he struggled. When he dropped J and I off at the airport, he unloaded our bags out of the truck and bent down to kiss me. I turned my cheek towards him.

Since then, he randomly texts me during the day to tell me that he loves me. That should probably make me feel good; but honestly, it makes me uncomfortable. The first time that he did it, I texted a girlfriend to ask if it were possible to tell when someone is sending a text to multiple numbers. It's sad to think that it's so foreign for my own father to tell me that he loves me that I have to investigate why he's telling me that. It's hard. When you don't hear those words spoken growing up, the response "I love you too" doesn't exactly roll off my tongue with ease. Especially when someone's words doesn't match up with their actions, it lacks authenticity. My girlfriend kept telling me to give my father the benefit of the doubt. I did, but I didn't tell him that I loved him back.

The texts became more frequent. And then there was one about him valuing me as his daughter. That one threw me for a loop. I honestly thought that my stepmother was either telling him what to say or even typing it for him.

My heart is so hardened that I don't know what to do. We can talk about football, J, the weather, the price of gas, but verbally expressing affection makes me physically feel some kind of way. I see he's making an effort, at least. And I'm sure that this is what I wanted, but why do I need more time? I guess that I'm waiting on him to turn back to the regularly scheduled program.

making it do what it do

I've had J back for a week now, and just like that, life has returned to normal. I had my fun participating in Happy Hours in the middle of the week (unheard of), doing some salsa, and last-minute trips. But having my baby back really keeps me sane. He will turn 9 y/o on Tuesday, the first day of school, so I took him to Laser Tag to celebrate last night and we had a ball! My thighs still hurt from running up and down those ramps. While there, a friend of mine commented on my hair, saying that she was shocked that it was so curly and she was trying to figure out how I got it to do what it does.

Had I worn a wash n' go, the answer would've been simple...I wash, shake, and go. But lately, I have been going hard on these Sh.ea Mois.ture products, trying to perfect my twistouts. I'm in a phase, now, where I refuse to wear my twists in public. I was fine with doing that all winter last year, but for some reason, I just do not like the way that I look with them. And secondly, I just do not want to devote the time to doing mini-twists anymore. As I've said before, I've spent a great deal of this summer doing wash n' gos. But lately, I have been opting for 10-12 big twists, left to dry overnight. I then take them down and fluff.

When I went back home, I don't think that I relaxed for 5 minutes before my stepmother started bombarding me with natural hair questions. She has been natural for at least 10 years, but her style has ranged from baby locks to a fade, with a texturizer in between. She is currently growing out a faded up texturizer. And since she is my FB friend and commonly sees me post pics of my hair every now and again, she also wanted to know how I get my hair to do what it does. And honestly, I have no clue. I'm trying to figure out what's happening.

I love this Cur.l Enh.ancing smoothie so much that I have been putting in time trying to figure out the best technique for achieving predictable, fabulous hair days. What sealed the deal for this being a staple product is that the above pic was taken back home, while sitting on the porch for hours as it rained. While my stepmother wanted to talk products, I decided to do an experiment in between. In my mind, if my hair can survive N.O. humidity, then there is nothing in this world that we can't conquer together. My roots puffed up, but you had to put your fingers in it to feel (I had my "friend" do that for me ;-D)

But here's the thing...those 10-12 big twists never dry in time for me to get ready for work. I've tried it on dry hair with aloe vera gel and even after 10 hours or so, my hair is still damp. Yet, I take the twists out...b/c I have to. At that point, I have some definition, but my hair is mostly droopy and limp. An hour or so after that, my hair dries completely (I guess b/c it's out and the twists tend to retain moisture). When it dries, my hair is way more defined and moisturized. To me, it doesn't look much different from my wash n gos though...aside from it having more body and shine. It is more voluminous than my normal twistouts, which I had begun to dislike. I was beginning to wonder if my natural curl pattern is fighting whatever stretched look I'm attempting to achieve. My hair stays moisturized for days. I haven't had to do my oil spritz at night in a while. It seems as if I have reached some happy hair medium, but I can't figure out if keeping my hair damp when I twist out is what's achieving these results.

I'm going to keep playing around with it. I guess that I'm not comfortable with the idea of accidental good hair days.

Do you have a technique or regimen that works for you everytime?

old dirty bastard

My former employer hired a senior level (over 20 years of experience) designer in my department almost a year and a half after I began working there. I was one of the 2 females in my department (as usual) and also the youngest. Old Dirty Bastard (ODB) was a very knowledgeable guy and soon became my source for answers to any questions that I had. He was the most accessible and ODB was more than happy to serve as a mentor.

He would compliment me often. One day, he liked my dress. The next, my hair. Initially, I dismissed his statements. I foolishly thought that they were innocent since I've been complimented at work before. He would drop by my cube under the guise that he was checking up on me and making sure that I had everything under control. Then one day, I came to work and found a note on my keyboard. It said that he was sorry that he missed my birthday lunch and he wanted to treat me to lunch on that day. I didn't think anything of it and was more than willing to be treated to lunch, 2 days in a row.

We went to a nearby restaurant. He drove. First mistake. For an hour, I listened to him tell tales of his youth, his home life, his teenage kids, and wife. He tried to paint the picture that he was a rebel or a bad boy. I should've been clued in at that moment. During the drive back, he pulled out a Prince CD from his collection. Anybody that knows me, knows that I'm a Prince fan (and it probably tipped him off when I dressed like Prince for the company party). He played a track and then in the middle of it, he says,

"You know, Prince has this song that makes me horny everytime I hear it."

He repeatedly pressed the "search" button, while the other hand remained on the wheel. I couldn't speak. I was in shock. I DID see the office in clear view through the car window and couldn't wait until he parked, so that I could do the Du.kes of Haz.zard roll on the hood and get far enough away from him. It was pretty clear then. Those times when he would ask what I was doing on the weekend had nothing to do with him trying to make sure that I knew of every event going on in Rich.mond. I started mentally counting how many times he would find an excuse to touch my arm. And then I thought of that time when he startled me while I was walking down the hall and felt it necessary to touch my back. And then there was those times, when he would leave random things on my desk.

I struggled with reporting him b/c I thought that my dismissal of every instance that he crossed the line made it my fault. Had I been firm with my disapproval of his compliments, it would have never gotten that far. I should've never said "thank you". I should've never smiled. Working in a male-dominated industry, I have heard and seen a great many things. I've had female coworkers that have reported cases of sexual harrassment and have watched as the female is labeled as uptight (to put it nicely), while the man got a slap on the wrist.

From then on, I decided to avoid him as much as I could. This was VERY difficult since we worked in the same department. The one time that I broke silence, he took full advantage of that. That's when he said,

"Why don't you come and sit on my lap?"

This time, there were other guys around. Some of them snickered. I walked away. I remember being so upset that day. I talked to my friends on the job and told them what happened. One urged me to report him. Two others acknowledged his creepiness. And the other two were in just as much shock as I was to even respond.

For some reason, I didn't report him then. I can't say that it was embarrassment. Then again, maybe it was. I just wanted to disappear. I stopped wearing dresses and anything that I thought would draw attention.

And then one day, we had a department meeting. As I sat there, he blew a kiss at me across the conference room table...in front of my supervisor, no less. Yes, he reached a new level of boldness. My supervisor looked away. ODB said, "I guess that I shouldn't have done that. Very inappropriate, hunh?" And that's when I went from embarrassed and ashamed to outright angry. I had an overwhelming desire to stomp ODB clean in the nuts. How did I get here?

After the meeting, I went back to my desk. Too busy fuming to do any work. Finally, I requested a meeting with my supervisor. I brought up what just happened (since he chose to look away) and told him of the other times that I was made to feel uncomfortable, minus the car incident. At first, he looked as if he didn't know what to say. But then, I read the look in his eye as his not wanting to be involved. He informed me that ODB had come to him. ODB told my supervisor that I didn't see eye to eye with him. He made it seem like I was unwilling to work with him. Well, I couldn't deny that.

He gave me an option. I could either drop it or give him the ok to move forward with reporting it to HR. I asked of the outcome. ODB would have a note in his file. I thought, "What in the f*** is a note going to do???" I though, afterwards, ODB would most likely make my job a living hell...as if it had not gotten to that point anyway. It started to seep into my personal life as he tried to friend request me on FB. After blocking him, he would mention it everytime he saw me. He would say, "I'm just trying to be your friend."

I know that I've mentioned what I've just written before in previous blogs, here and there. I don't think that I went into as much detail. I'm not sure of what's more embarrassing...the fact that it happened and I didn't report it immediately or my detailing what happened for others to view and judge. One of the main reasons that I was bitter after the layoffs was b/c the company kept him and let me go. The same supervisor that I'd confided in was the same one that made that decision. The morning after, ODB started requesting my phone number from my coworker friends, claiming that he just wanted to make sure that I was okay.

Last week, my team leader (a female) came to me and asked me if I knew ODB. My body froze. She explained that he had submitted his resume to the company and it was currently in review. I hesitated, at first, not sure if I should get that deep. But then I thought, "I'll be damned if this asshole gets another chance at making me uncomfortable. Not here." I told her what happened, amongst other things. She understood my feelings, having experienced a similar situation before. I asked that she not tell my director in as much detail. She said that she would just tell him that she didn't get a good recommendation for ODB.

I prayed that this situation would be over. Then, a couple of days ago, my team leader called me into a conference room. She told me that the director was looking to hire ODB b/c our department is in need. She let me know that she shared the other things that I said b/c she wanted to insure that this situation wouldn't happen to me again She didn't want to risk losing me. My director understood and as far as I know, this is a done deal.

Today, I got a text from a former coworker. ODB was fired. I don't know why, but I guess that he saw it coming and that's why he was floating resumes. I feel not one ounce of sympathy. I never got a chance to physically stomp him in the nuts, but blackballing him feels just as nice.

the baptism

I went back home to the N.O. last week for a very special day. J decided over the summer (sometime in July) that he wanted to be baptized. I kept asking him if he knew what that meant...asking if anyone coerced him to do it...asking him if he was sure. He was unbreakable. So, on August 29th (yes, the 5 year anniversary of Ka.trina), J was baptized.

He was so excited the whole day.

Baptized by his grandfather, a deacon of the church. I would like to get this photo touched up and sketched (by an artist greater than I). I think that this would make a pretty cool picture to put up in his room.

Right before taking his first communion,

This was the same man that christened him 8 years ago.

Taking the Lord's supper.

Accepting his certificate.

Proud momma!

He smelled this cake in the house the night before.

Bling 1.

Bling 2.

Bling bling.

Kids grow up so fast...his christening (May 19th, 2002).