Triathlon Training - Group Swim Class

On Thanksgiving Day, I hopped over to my gym for the "Turkey Tri" - basically an indoor triathlon where you do each event for time (go as far as you can in a certain amount of time). The Turkey Tri was a 15 min swim (lap pool), 30 min bike (spin), 20 min run (treadmill). It was just for grins & giggles - nothing was officially counted or paced. The only thing I did was wear my Polar thingy-mcbobby so I could see how many calories I burned to put a dent in the gazzillion I was planning on consuming with wanton abandon.

The swim was fine, we ended up doing 45 min on the bike and I did 20 min on the treadmill at an 10 min pace (always amazes me how much faster I can run on that infernal machine vs. on the road) HUMPH. I wore the tri-suit I bought for my first triathlon because I didn't want to do any changing. I had a blast and burned 980 calories for my trouble.

*mental note - wear Polar on a real triathlon...wonder how many calories I burned at Nations*

While running on the treadmill, the swim trainer was across from me and said, "I saw your Nations swim cap. Why aren't you coming to my Triathlon Swim Training Group Class?"

Well, ummm, errr, see-what had happened was....

I wanted to say that I didn't know about it, but I saw it on the schedule. It is at 5:30am on Tuesdays and 7:15pm on Thursday. Too Early, Too Late sounded like some pretty lame azz excuses .

"I'll see you on Tuesday."

He was waiting for me this morning. I shuffle over all sheepish as everybody is already in a lane, following the workout and they LOOK GOOD! I was feeling mighty pitiful and - well - actually scared because everybody had on those awesome training bathing suits (I had on a regular ole bathing suit - with a damn skirt) and they had training GEAR. I had me, my googles & swim cap.

Rob immediately sensed my nervousness, put me at ease and said "No worries. We will get you up to speed in no time. Everybody is at a different level. Let's work on YOUR stoke. Don't worry about anybody elses."

I exhaled.

He put me in a short lane and had me do 12 laps so he could watch me and see what I needed work on. Rob told me that I looked pretty good, just a FEW things to work on, but I was doing great. He put me back in the regular lap lanes with everyone else and started me with DRILLS.

Jesus be a lifeguard. I for sure thought I was gonna drown - AND I CAN SWIM!

I had to do the following:

  • 200 (6laps) of Zipper Drills...to get my elbows up out of the water. On each stroke I had to pull my had up along my body as if I was pulling up a zipper on the side.
  • 200 of this Core Drill where I was SURE I was gonna drown. Put a kickboard in between your legs - hold it there (kinda like a shark fin) - then touch it with your hand as you bring your stroke back. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I got it though. I sure does work your core, makes you elongate your stroke and twist w/waist instead of shoulders. HARD AS HELL.
  • 200 of a Catch Drill - swim with kickboard out in front. Hold w/one hand and catch it with other as you bring your stroke around.
  • 400 - just swim freestyle and practice what I learned w/o the props.
  • 100 - Kick drill. I kick like I'm riding a bike. Had to practice using whole leg - WOW what a difference when you glide on top of water vs. drag your ass through it.
In one class, I felt like I improved my stroke, gained more confidence and felt so much better about the swim portion of a triathlon by 100%. It was fabulous.

I'm going back - at least 1x/week. I'm going to rock my next Tri.

Oh, as a side note...Triathlon's are an expensive hobby....in addition to needing a new bike, I need to pick up some swim training gear that Rob recommended. I gotta get me a Pull Float (core work) and some Training Fins. Sigh. I blame Becca. Yes I do.

How About a Threesome? Swim, Bike, Run!

Family Taco Night

This past Sunday was The Prince's last night home for Thanksgiving Break. By that point the leftovers were stretched thin and we were kinda tired of them anyway. I decided to break out my latest MyBlogSpark containing an Old El Paso family taco night prize pack which included a packet of original Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase my taco fixings.

I sent The FireMarshall off to the store for our fixings and he picked up 2 Old El Paso Taco Kits, lettuce, salsa & hamburger meat. Princess Erin & Cara got everything ready and the rest of us just hung out around the kitchen telling stories & reminiscing about the holiday.

The Prize pack came with a recommendation to play El Tacodor™, the world’s only family taco night game. Basically the trivia game is supposed to keep the family laughing by challenging each other to quick fire trivia, wordplay and pantomime.

We didn't need the game to keep us entertained. The Steptoe Clan IS TNT - we know drama - and bring our own special brand of comedy and mischief.

If you want a game to play during a family dinner night visit http://www.eltacodor.com/ to download instructions, a score card, and a challenge sheet.

One of the best things about this family taco night was getting Princess Cara to eat something other that chicken, turkey or ham (and that's it, she don't want nuttin to do with no sides/veggies). She was able to help prepare the meat and then was very excited to put together her own taco with the ingredients she chose. I was impressed with her creativity and willingness to eat her taco's that SHE prepared. It made dinner time even more fun.

Check out that happy face!

Now, I'm not going to leave ya'll out there salivating. Would you like to have your own family taco night prize pack? Well, all you have to do is the following:

  • Leave a comment HERE ON THIS BLOG. Tell me how you make Family Dinners at your house fun and/or special. How do you get everybody to SIT DOWN together these days?
  • For extra entries - Tweet the following - "Enter to win a family taco night from @TheTravelDiva #myblogspark"
So, leave your comment by NLT Sunday, December 5th. I'll announce the winner right here on the 6th.


Thanksgiving Memories

I pray that you had a Blessed & Wonderful Thanksgiving.
I am truly thankful for all of my family & friends.
It was a wonderful day.


Thanksgiving Prep-Finale

I think we are ready to go. The house is clean...I still need to run the vacuum. I'll make the rice pudding later before bed. Our midshipman are helping out with Cara & THE HAIR!

I might get to relax tomorrow and enjoy the moment...right after that indoor tri (Turkey Tri) at 7 am.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving Preparations Part Duex

Today was a busy preparation day for Thanksgiving day. I have learned over the years that if I want to enjoy the day with family & friends, then I need to do as much as I can way in advance or else I will be an exhausted mess by dinner time on the big day.

I have the buffet table set and got the snack & dessert table all set up - ret ta go. Today I accomplished the following:
  • Made Cranberry Sauce w/Pinot Noir, put in mold and in fridge.
  • Made Pumpkin Cheese Cake
  • Chopped all veggies that were needed for various dishes & staged them in containers in fridge
  • Sauted meats
  • Boiled eggs for an appetizer
  • Toasted baguette slices for an appetizer
  • Prepared Brine for Turkey
  • Picked up last minute items at grocery store - including a Ham
  • Went for a 3 mile run
  • Took the Queen Mum out for dinner for her birthday
  • Put Turkey in Brine till Thursday morning

I got it in. I got 'er done.

Tomorrow, clean up the house, make the "Kings Arms Rice Pudding w/Custard Sauce" and set table for 16. It is gonna be packed, but what a blessing. I can't wait.

Do you prepare this far in advance? Are you ready to go for Thanksgiving day or do you wait till the last minute?

It's The Queen Mum's Birthday

Happy 66th Birthday, MOMMIE!!!!


Fun Shaped Panny-Cakes

We are serious about BIG BREAKFAST over here at True Blessings. SERIOUS BUSINESS. We don't play. The Queen Mum and I find different recipes to try and even introduce a "breakfast" cocktail from time to time.

Well, last year around Halloween I found some Halloween shaped (pumpkin, bat, ghost) Pancake Forms at Williams-Sonoma. They look like giant cookie cutters except you can use them on a skillet to make different shapes. Here's the difficult part - using a spoon or ladle to get just the right amount of batter in the form can be dicey. You will probably ruin just as many panny-cakes as you get right.

Enter this years outing to Williams-Sonoma to pick up my Turkey Brine & Roasting Glaze. Did you think I was going to escape there with just those two items. NOT. The Queen Mum pssst me from across the store to check out her find...A Pancake Pen. WHAT! STOP! NO! PUT IT IN MY BASKET! It specifically says on the tube that you can make precise pancake shapes with or without a form. I was all in.

But that's not all. The Williams-Sonoma lady saw my find and said "You know we have 3 new bags of pancake form shapes. They would go great with your Pancake Pen." Ya Think. I only bought one bag - this time round - and today was BIG BREAKFAST time with The Prince, Heir to the Empire.

And I made panny-cake shapes.


If you make panny-cakes, You HAVE to have a Pancake Pen.

Best Pancakes - EVER!!!!

Delta Drama #2 - Indiana to BWI

How soon I forgot my dislike of all things Delta.

I booked The Prince on a flight (with a connection) out of Ft. Wayne, IN to BWI for Thanksgiving holiday...and THAT is where the comedy of errors begins. After the his harrowing experience last night I will avoid that airline with every fiber of my being unless it is a last resort. Why?

Delta scares the shyt outta me. At The Prince's departure airport, there were not 1 but 2 planes that had "mechanical problems" and could not be flown. *Well how the fugg did they get there?* After rearranging every bodies flight, the powers that be went to some back hanger out in left field somewhere and pulled a plane outta their hat - that worked.

The Prince arrives in Detroit only to find out that his flight is delayed for...wait for it..."mechanical problems". GTFOOHWTBS. Does Delta have ONE plane that actually works and is NOT being held together with some spit & gum? Just asking. He boards and they decide that this issue is hydraulics and they gotta get off. Delta says that they are going to bring in another plane from Boston or someplace and they would be ready by 7:30 pm. The Prince had been in Detroit since 4ish. Well, 7:30 came and went and the sign on the board changes to CANCELLED.

WTF. 70 passengers are now sitting in Detroit trying to figure out how they getting to Baltimore.

We get the Prince to do some slick maneuvering to a counter person to see what is going to be done and if he can get out tonight. At the same time Princess Erin gets Delta on the phone while I look up every possible flight out of Detroit on the computer. She gets a lovely lady at Delta on the phone, who once we explained the situation was on it like stink on a dog. I found the only flight out with enough time for The Prince to make it (if he sprinted) on U.S Air. Re-booked. Rerouted. The Delta agent on the phone was two-waying us into the counter at the airport. While we were finagling this flight...The Prince somehow worked his magic and got himself a seat on a Delta flight (they pulled another plane outta left field) to BWI but there were only 8 seats left. He got one. 62 passengers had to wait till this morning. SIGH.

The Prince called us from the plane and said they were about to taxi - pick him up in 2 hours.

Now you know we didn't just settle (they might not even take off). The nice lady on the phone at Delta stayed on the phone with us until the flight actually was in the air. THEN, without us even prompting - cause I didn't know to ask - she said "Let me make sure that his return flight is still in order. He has been switched and cancelled so many times today that his return might have been cancelled." Now you want to see me on an episode of Snapped...let that mess happen. She clicked, flipped some switch, and reconfirmed his return flight.

We also logged into BWI's flight tracker and tracked that plane till it landed. No chances.

The Prince made it home 6 hours after he should have...but he made it home safe and sound.

While the Delta lady on the phone was the epitome of what customer service should be, it does not mitigate my fear of flying on a Delta plane. That is just ONE to many mechanical errors for my taste. I need for my plane to have all of is PMCS (preventive maintenance checks & services) done and be in order. They ARE NOT giving a travel warm & fuzzy.


An Open Letter to the Army Football Team

Dear Black Knights,

I'm going to need to you SNAP OUT OF IT! Seriously now.

I am your biggest fan. The true 12th man. Season, after season, after season, I have managed to figure out a way to support the team. I have bought my KnightVision & CBS XXL subscription so I didn't miss a game. I have figured out how to connect my computer to the tv so friends & family can watch along too. I have begged, borrowed and *stole* my way into tickets to events. When you come to play in the DMV, I pay the A-team Club membership that allows a grad to purchase 12 tickets, buy them all and bring a posse to root for Army. I have gear. I have jerseys. MY ENTIRE FAMILY has gear. It is unacceptable to root for Army w/o gear. I tweet & FB the game.

I AM THE 12th MAN.

This year you have shown an improvement that puts the sparkle back in the 12th Man's eye. However, you have been consistently inconsistent in your gamesmanship. SNAP OUT OF IT. It appears that when you start out strong, there is no stopping The Black Knights. And you did it enough to get you in bowl contention. Congratulations. (I have my tickets on pre-order) The Black Knights ARE the pride and dream of every heart in grey...and then some! However, when you run into some opposition, when you get behind, when you make an error or two - you crumble. FALL APART. LOSE HEART. It is obvious. You can see it in the way you play when things are down. NO HEART. NO PASSION.

Last night, I had a bunch of people over to watch you beat Notre Dame. Most of them were not even grads or even in the Army. Even the Navy peeps that came were ROOTING FOR THE BLACK KNIGHTS...and you folded. It broke my heart to hear "civilians" comment how it looked like the Black Knights just gave up. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!

If we are to break the 10 year losing streak to Navy, then WE - the Long Grey Line, the Army, the fans - NEED you to SNAP OUT OF IT and BRING THE PASSION. BRING IT...even when it looks bleak. We can get behind that. A loss, when you played like there would never be football again, is acceptable. Letting yourself get trounced by equally matched or lesser team is UNACCEPTABLE.

Now don't pin this on the coach. He can only do so much. He brought back the Triple Option and you have been executing it superbly - most times. However, the TEAM - THE BLACK KNIGHTS need to bring the rest - bring the thunder. Stop sulking and man up. As an old grad, you know I've got to say - "The Corps Has..." See, when men were men, women were women & Dinosaurs roamed the Plain - we had to KNOW & INTERNALIZE our plebe knowledge. I don't know what ya'll are doing up there now with all that real world business, but perhaps a little bit of the "Fourth Class System" needs to brought back and you just might get it.

There is one piece of knowledge that I if you really knew it, memorized it and INTERNALIZED it might just give you the strength to fight on:

Excerpt from "DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY" - a message delivered to the Corps of Cadets on 12 May 1962 by General Douglas MacArthur

"Duty-Honor-Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points:to build courage when courage seems to fail: to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."

Read it. Memorize it. INTERNALIZE it. DUTY-HONOR-COUNTRY - they are your rallying points. Use it. When the ball gets intercepted, when you get scored upon twice in a row - RALLY. Regain Faith. Create Hope. AND PLAY SOME DAMN BALL!

For..."Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds than upon other fields; on other days, will bear the fruits of victory - "

Play with the same passion as you would fight on any battle field and in the end we will be victorious.



Thanksgiving Preparation Have Begun

Thanksgiving Preparations have begun here at True Blessings. It is going to be very busy leading up to T-Day..

  • Princess Cara has her Orange Belt Test Firday
  • I'm hosting the NSN Holiday Networking Event Firday
  • The Prince, Heir to the Empire comes home on Saturday for Thanksgiving
  • The Army-Notre Dame Game is Saturday Night - Watch Party
  • Big Breakfast with the family on Sunday
  • Meetings & School Conference Monday
  • The Queen Mum's 66th Birthday is Tuesday - party down
  • Start cooking Wednesday

I still have to grocery shop & clean. Lawd hab murcey. I've made out my list for shopping - going through my pantry, fridge, freezer and Lazy Susan to check to see if I already have the ingredients needed. I HATE buying the stuff I already have on hand. HUMPH. I then rewrote the list in the order of how things are laid out in my grocery store - minimize going back & forth. I know - a little obsessive compulsive, but I only want to make one loop round.

I then worked a little on my table setting. I was going to go out and try and put something new together. Scrapped that. I decided to use whatever I had already here and make it work. I went over to the Queen Mum's crib and pulled out her Avon Red dinnerware and some gold chargers. I'll use the napkin rings (maybe - if I don't find a smancy napkin folding idea) I found in Curacao years ago and what you see above is what you get. I'll set it up Monday or Tuesday and it will sit that way until Thursday. I also have to decorate our buffet table. I'll get there. I'll get there.

So, how are you coming along? Are you going a-visiting or are you cooking?


Fitness Challenges - Your Best Teacher is You!

I went to a Bikram Yoga session the other day and one of the common mantra's that the instructors use to get you to focus is - "look into the eyes of your best teacher". That would be you. Focus on you! Keep your thoughts from roaming around the room. Focus on you! I wrote about it the subject near the end of a 31 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge. This time the words sparked new thoughts on its meaning.

It got me to thinking about some of the bullshyat that I have been hearing (and apparently Ninteen69, MsPattey, TriBecca and a few other of my "Elite Athlete" friends) lately about some of the health & fitness challenges that we have all be taking on.

I admit that I LIED about not doing another Triathlon. The shyt is addicting...at least to me. I run races because, for me, they keep me on track & accountable. When you spend $40+ on a race, you just DON'T say fugg it - unless, of course, you got money to throw away. Go you! I also sign up for a bunch of other stuff because my friends are trying new stuff, accepting new challenges and just doing the damn thing where if you got nothing else - you have you health. Let me tell ya...all the money & stuff in the world means nothing if you have to use a walker, are on a respirator, carrying around an O2 tank or DEAD. I am their biggest fan & cheerleader. It is a whole lot easier when taking on a new goal to have people around you cheering you along - and EVEN BETTER - running/swimming/biking/jumping/lifting - whatever - beside you.

Let me tell you what sets this nice lady off, gets my fur all raised up (picture scared black Halloween cat) and makes me pull out my tazer...It's those back handed comments wrapped in an insult and/or those well meaning friends & family that want to warn you about the "dangers" of said event (like they would even have a friggin CLUE):

  • You're crazy!
  • Why would you do something stupid like that?
  • You know you'll be radioactive after?
  • Did you hear about all those people that got a skin disease from the water?
  • You know your hair will turn green, looked fugged up or fall out, don't ya?
  • All those weights your lifting will make you look like a Power Lifter- or make your body/shoulders all manish.
  • You're going to look like one of those body builders with golf balls for breasts.

Name it. I've heard it. I also don't care. I don't care that YOU would NEVER do such and such. I don't care that YOU think its crazy, silly, dumb. I truly don't give a rats patootie what YOU think about what I WOULD do.

Just stop. If you can't manage a "Great!", "Good Job", or "I know you can do it" then just STFU.

Yet, that's prolly not going to happen. There are always going to be naysayers.

"Here's what I know" - aka MsPattey - The only person I NEED to listen to is me. I look in the mirror and look into the eyes of my best teacher & motivator and tell myself everything I need to know to get the job done. If I hear one of those backhanded comments, I just nod - uh huh - and push forward. Let me show you how its done! That ish just pushes me to go more, look for new challenges and JUST DO IT!

So, to all of my peeps out there taking on new fitness challenges and dealing with naysayers...

Look into the Eyes of Your Best Teacher - YOU!



“It Is the Soldier”

“It is the Soldier”
(Charles M. Province)

It is the soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial
It is the soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped in the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Have a Blessed Veterans Day - Honor a Veteran - for they serve so you can live free.


Fiber, Fiber, Fiber

Losing weight and staving off the "hungries" is a challenge for even the most dedicated & committed to their health & fitness. Introducing fiber into your diet is one way to satisfy your hunger so it´s easier to eat less and lose weight without feeling as hungry.

Finding foods high in fiber that doesn't taste like bark definitely a challenge. I was sent the above pictured "Take the Hunger Out Of Dieting" pack and asked to take the "fiber" challenge. It arrived just in time for my 60 days of INSANITY challenge. My goal is to get stronger & toner utilizing the INSANITY workout and to lose 20lbs by New Years. Thus, this package arrived just in time to start my achieving my goals.

According to the packaging
  • One serving of Fiber One® Original Cereal provides more than half (57%) of the Daily Value of fiber.
  • Fiber One Original cereal is a tasty way to start your morning on the right track with 0 grams of sugar, 14 grams of fiber, 60 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving.

Unfortunately, that second bullet...yeah, I beg to differ with the "tasty" part. I gave it a good ole fashioned "give the fiber a chance" try and, ummm - NO. The Fiber One Original Cereal tastes just like it looks - like bark (actually more like chewing on paper). I just can't.

Now, I will give a thumbs up to the other Fiber One products. I love the Fiber One bars & yogurt. Furthermore, ANY of the other Fiber One Cereals are 100% "tastier" than the Original. They ARE a "tasty way to start your morning on the right track". The Original cereal ---NOT SO MUCH.

While I did not like the Original Cereal, I am enjoying the food scale, storage container & water bottle and since what I can tolerate is different from what some of my other diet & fitness warriors out there in blog land can handle, I have two opportunities for you to give fiber a chance and fight off the hungries.

Click on the “Help Take the Hunger out of Dieting” mini microsite below, which houses product information, a high-value coupon and tips. The first 15 readers will be able to sign up to receive a free box of cereal through the microsite.

Additionally, if you leave a comment with your suggestion on how you incorporate fiber into your diet to fight off the hungries, you will be entered to win one of the “Take the Hunger Out of Dieting” prize packs as pictured above.

Good luck and keep up the good fight with your health & fitness goals.


It's my TOP MAFIA; the other half of the HANDY HOTNESS crew and newly awarded "Elite Athlete" runner - Ms.Pattey's Birthday! Get it Girl! I hope you are having a wonderful birthday!

I love you gal!



There is nothing like a "GO ARMY FOOTBALL" Weekend at West Point. At least not in my mind. A home football game at The United States Military Academy just can't be beat. Two Hundred+ years of history wrapped in a blanket of patriotism and topped with some "Duty, Honor, Country" and you have a fantastic weekend of Black, Grey & Gold.

The Steptoe Clan pointed the Party Van North on Friday to see Army vs Air Force. The weekend started with dinner & drinks with our classmate, JGags and a couple other "young" grads at a place called The River Bank (which actually used to be a bank). Great time!

Saturday - Game Day - started EARLY as the Parade with the Corp of Cadets started at nine, followed by a jump in by the West Point Parachute Team. I LOVE A PARADE (except when I had to march in one). It was an absolute beautiful day for a parade too! If you have never seen one, check out the short video below of scenes from the parade.


Then we had to walk UP to the stadium. Let me just tell you that there isn't anything downhill at the Academy. You have to walk up hill to get anywhere of importance. Yes, we walked back down to get to the van, but we then had to walk up another hill (or mini-mountain) just to get to Hotel Thayer for a tailgate.

We arrived at Michie Stadium and walked around to the Holleder Center (Basketball & Hockey Arena) to crash the Basketball Tailgate. The Lichtenbergs have been doing the Basketball tailgate on the terrace of the Holleder Center for over 25 years...they didn't forget The FireMarshall...and we were embraced back like old family. LOVED IT!

Then we entered the stadium to get our seats to watch Army beat Air Force (which did not come to pass). We had wonderful seats, watched the Parachute team jump in the game ball, and enjoyed watching football players of the Cherry Bowl get honored on the 25th Anniversary of The Cherry Bowl. A good portion of the players that came back were the FM & my classmates...and as a result we managed an invite to the Cherry Bowl Football Reunion Tailgate.

Our hopes & dreams of the ULTIMATE comeback (The Commander In Chief Trophy) were crushed as the Army team imploded on themselves with mistake after mistake. Yet, as the 12th Man, I cheered, hollered, boo'ed the refs, and stayed until the last second ticked off the clock. The 12th Man never leaves her team EARLY - *you wanna be, fair weather fans know who you are - Yeah YOU! - the ones I had to yell at to SIT DOWN or GET DOWN so I could see. Yeah YOU!*

We stayed until the very last bit of humiliation and defeat. I stood and sang the Alma Mater and we payed our respect while Air Force sang theirs. SIGH.


We climbed our way down to Buffalo Soldiers Field, dropped stuff off at the van and then climbed up to Hotel Thayer for the Cherry Bowl Reunion tailgate. Good Food, Good Drink, Great Friends.

This morning we had BIG BREAKFAST at The Park Restaurant and then, of course, went over to the West Point Visitor Center where I picked myself up an authentic 12th Man Football Jersey for our Army-Navy Football Party (Dec 11th - you coming right?). We also took a look at how the Visitor Center was redone and were amused by the display of Notable Grads and my classmate, Mark Valley - star of Human Target - was featured as one of the Notable Graduates. Nice picture & write up.

We had a wonderful GO ARMY FOOTBALL Weekend. Hope you had a great weekend too!


For Colored Girls - A Few Thoughts

For Colored Girls Photo

Last night I went to a screening of For Colored Girls at The Charles Theater in Baltimore. I
wasn't quite sure what to expect after hearing so many reviews that slammed it. I decided to go with an open mind and decide for myself. I am NOT a film critic by any stretch of the imagination. Thus, these thoughts on the film should be taken as just that - just some thoughts I had from the movie, not some kind of deep analysis. Roger Ebert - your not gonna get.

The screening was hosted by a two theater professors (I didn't get my pen out fast enough to catch their names) and one of the professors - almost in a spoken word cadence - introduced the original work...

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf is a choreopoem - "it is a not a poem set to music with accompanying dance steps, but rather an integration of speech, movement, gesture, and music...[the poems] discuss the pleasures & dangers of being a black female." The Professor went on to discuss the original authors' (Ntozake Shange) thoughts about the Rainbow. From an interview Shange explained
“The rainbow is a fabulous symbol for me [….] If you see one color, it’s not beautiful. If you see them all, it is. A colored girl, by my definition, is a girl of many colors. But she can only see her overall beauty if she can see all the colors of herself. To do that, she has to look deep inside her. And when she looks inside herself, she will find
love and beauty.”

Our host went on to say that no matter what you think about Tyler Perry and his body of work, no matter which camp you are in regarding, she asked that we simply look at the work - see if these women find Love, God, The Rainbow within themselves...and "loved her fiercely."

That's how I watched the movie and I didn't even think about it being a "Tyler Perry" production.

So...what did I think. In the context outlined above, he did a pretty good job. A bit heavy handed & over the top, a little too long to get to "the rainbow within" and I think he missed a few (or I did) but overall, I give it a B/B-.

Here are some of my other random thoughts throughout the movie:

  • Anquish! Betrayal. Heartbreak. - at a level & intensity I have never known in my own life
  • Is there ANYONE is this movie that has just ONE redeeming quality?
  • Is there ONE man in this movie that isn't the embodiment of every horror in a woman's worst nightmare? ...there was.
  • Janet Jackson's character had THE best monologue on being/saying sorry. EXACTLY!
  • Loretta Devin's character had a great monologue as well when she finally had had ENUF.
  • Phylicia Rashad - you still got skills girl.
  • Whoopie's character...I don't think her character was supposed to come across as funny, but it did to me.
  • Marcy Gray too scary crazy to a whole new level.
  • All the male characters (except for one) - DAAAAAMMMM!

Overall, I believe Tyler Perry did a good job with this piece of work. Oscar worthy - well, if I use the same reasoning/criteria for that Sandra Bullock movie that won last year - then definitely. Ignore the critics, be your own - you'll take something away with you that makes it worth the admission fee.


Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

The Queen Mother and I always take some time to plan our Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and this year is no different. I believe we have outdone ourselves with this years menu. Even Princess Erin is getting in on the planning with taking one of the dishes to create.

So here is the plan:

Thanksgiving 2010 @ True Blessings Estate

Appetizers - Wild Mushroom Toasts & Spinach Bruschetta with Pesto Shrimp

Cider Bourbon Glazed Roast Turkey w/Shallott Gravy
Crown Roast of Pork w/Fennel-Apple Stuffing & Cider Bourbon Sauce

Cranberry Sauce w/Pinot Noir

Three Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
Queen Mum Baked Beans
Green Beans w/Cranberries, Blue Cheese & Walnuts
Spiced Mashed Squash w/Marshmallo Meringue
Broccoli & Cauliflower w/ Horseradish Bread Crumbs

Jamaican Spiced Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake w/Gingersnap-Pecan Crust

Sparkling Side Cars

We gonna throw down. The doors to the Estate are open if you don't have a place to hang your hat & pull up a seat. Bring a bottle of wine and wear stretchy pants (or bring some sweats for the inevitable triptophan coma). Give me a holla if ya wanna join us.

Do you plan a menu or go with the traditional staples? Do you have your menu planned yet?


Just Random Stuff In My Head

A "friend" calls you up crying about nobody loves them & they have nothing to do for their birthday. You invite them over for movies, dinner, drinks. They show up two hours late w/o so much as a phone call or a by your leave and then talks on their cell phone while at your place the entire time.

That "friend" would be getting the stiff arm from this point on. Girl, Bye.

I recently witnessed "the disorder" first hand. All I can say is damn shame and no wonder.

I really wish people would just tell the truth or say nothing at all. Please don't try to justify your excuse or rude behavior when you see me later and when that same damn excuse you gave me should have applied in this situation. Uh Huh.

The silence is deafening. I hear you loud and clear.

I find it rather amusing when the Pot calls the Kettle Black.

Another famous saying from Momz - What's good for the goose, is good for the gander...so, if you can't handle the heat, stop playing with my lighter. You'll get burned.

Why are my shows not on tonight?

How is it that a kid dressed like a princess, pirate, doctor or even shrek akin to devil worship?Sigh. And...if a plastic sword promotes violence, doesn't a naught nun or pirate wench on a 1st grader promote ho'ish behavior?

Just asking.

My sister gets on my dag on nerves...but she is still family. Jeeze.

Run, Girl, Run. I'm so proud of my BFF - 1st 5k this Saturday. Bummed I'm not going to be there...but we are planning that big 10K? 10miler? Half?

Weather predicted Snow for her first run...I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing WITH you. Seriously. Why wouldn't it snow for your 1st ever race?

There are some questions I'm just NOT going to answer. I just don't have discussions with crazy or answer stoopit, irrelevant questions.

Yeah, I said I wasn't going to do another Triathlon. Yeah, I lied.

Mom & I think we have our Thanksgiving menu pretty much planned. We decided that "The Sparkling Side Car" as our signature cocktail will HAVE to be sampled IN ADVANCE.

It's just necessary to ensure quality.

If you don't vote tomorrow - THE STFU & GTFOOHWTBS! I don't want to hear your drivel, your complaints, your rants or your regurgitation of sound bites. Sit you ignant azz down somewhere and accept what you get in silence.

We're voting over here at True Blessings. TRUST.