Monday, April 28, 2008

Bad Girl Gone Good.

I have to go to work soon, but I felt the need to interject a bit of randomness into cyberspace.

I was thinking about Rihanna today and the album she put out [Good Girl Gone Bad] and suddenly a moment of brilliance swept over me as I realized that in fact I was just the opposite.

Oh man. I have homework I should be doing. Don't tell my mother.

Wait, it's not 1996 anymore. Go ahead. Tell her.

I got a scholarship for $3000 today for a school that I wasn't planning on attending. I gotta say, I'm thinking about changing my plans. Who needs The American University anyhow, right? How snobby are they? As if they're the bloody only American university. That's just silly.

I'm really digging my new gig at Red Robin. Pride comes before a fall and so I'm risking injury here to tell you that I'm really very good at serving people. Pray for me.

Must. Go. Now. Gots to get to work. Guess I can't complain about how much I don't to go, right?

Good day.

P.S. Jermaine called me "M'lady" the other day. I really like that.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blood and Ears

Editor's note: The picture to your right is a shot of my biological brother, Jeremy, me, my kid, and my biological mom, Cathy.

I'm all teary eyed at the moment. I was just on MySpace and my cousin, Tiffany [who I haven't seen in 3 or 4 years because she moved to California] uploaded a picture of her three children. The oldest one smiles just like my nephew. And I can tell from old pictures that he looks like my dad when he was a little boy [they both have huge Patterson ears (:]. Her youngest child bears a striking resemblance to my Uncle Jerry [her dad, who died of cancer when I was eleven].

I couldn't help but feel a pang of jealousy.

Er, um, I'm adopted.

Please, don't get me wrong. I love the fact that I'm adopted. When I was little my parents would say, "Brandy, what are you?" And I would proudly exclaim, "I'm adopted! And I'm special!"

And I've always felt that way. For my 18th birthday my parents contacted my birth mom and orchestrated a surprise reunion. Her name is Cathy and she is wonderful. She lives in Syracuse and we keep in touch. She's coming to my wedding! She has a son named Jeremy [who's 18 and just finished Air Force Basic Training] whom I adore. I get to be a baby sister and an older sister. It really is the best of both worlds.

I don't know my biological father. I know his name is Llewellyn [Pronounced "lou-ellen"] Hitchcock. I'm pretty sure he wants nothing to do with me. I'm okay with that. I have an amazing father whom I respect more than I can adequately express with words. Of course, that explains my jealousy.

My [future [not yet conceived]] son won't have my dad's huge ears [but he will have Jermaine's huge backside [which, let's be honest - is just as weird].

The birth of my daughter was a miracle like no other. Laying in that hospital room holding my newborn, all I could think was, "Wow, she has my DNA." She was the first person in my family tree that I got to see on a daily basis. That affected me.

Growing up, I never had that. And I longed for it. I would hear things like, "So and so looks just like her mom," and feel sad.

Now, I'm borderline whining. Everyone who knows me well knows that my parents are amazing and that my childhood was idyllic.

But after seeing those gorgeous little ones, I felt compelled to write this blog.

So, I did.

This last shot is a picture of me [obviously], my Dad, my Mom, and my brother, Shawn.

I also feel compelled to add that people tell me all the time I look like my mom and that Sadie looks like her Grandmother. Oddly enough, I agree.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've never been big on bridal showers. Or baby showers. Or any of those weird parties that involve grown women playing random games to win dish clothes.

But . . . mine was this past Saturday. And for several weeks now I have been seriously looking forward to it. Maybe it's the fact that I'm excited about who I'm marrying. Maybe it's because I knew I'd be getting a bunch of presents. Maybe I was just psyched to attend a party that was all about me [yeah, that was probably it].

No. I'm kidding. That wasn't it at all [really]. For me, this trip was all about the people. First of all, my best friend Andrea came with. We had a blast. I can't explain it. We are so different. But when we get together I feel 16 again and I can't stop giggling. My dad offered her a beer. Now, we are both 26, but she hasn't seen him since before she was legal. It just seemed so strange.

She and I speak at the same time constantly. It's like we're on the same [off-whack] wave-length. I don't have a whole bunch of mom friends. I'm so thankful that she's one of them. I feel it helps us to relate to each other on a whole other level.

Andrea is not the only fantastic woman I got to hang out with this past weekend. My Aunt Peggy was there, too. Though she's not technically related to me, I love her like a mother. She babysat me when I was a toddler. And after we moved away from Pennsylvania, our families visited each other every chance we got. She told me that out of all the kids she watched, I was her favorite [shhhh, she made me promise [when I was 4] that I wouldn't tell anyone [I told my mom [when I was 5] and she didn't believe me]].

She's my favorite, too. She's one of those rare women, always trying to feed people [she doesn't ask if you want pancakes, she asks how many you want]. And she is an amazing cook. She's hilarious and frankly a little vulgar. She's so talented as a woman [think proverbs 31] and yet so modest. She's simply amazing.

But we haven't been close since I went astray as a teenager. We never talked about it, but I think she might have felt betrayed. Even after I got back on the straight and narrow, things just weren't the same. I'd see her at family gatherings, but it was just . . . different.

This was the first time I've bonded with Aunt Peggy in like 10 years. Of course, it's no surprise it ended in tears. Just before she left she gave me a big hug. With tears streaming down her face she exclaimed, "I just want you to be happy!" Before I knew it I was bawling. Andrea, my mom and my cousin Elizabeth followed suit. As Peggy drove away, feelings of relief and gratitude enveloped me. I realized whatever chasm that had been keeping us apart had just been demolished with one fell swoop. A piece of me returned.

I think the weekend ranks up there in my top three favorite vacations [hmm, I just realized that Peggy was present for two of them].

My all time favorite was at St. Simons Island when I met Jermaine [another blog for another day]. Second runner up was a week at VA beach with my family in between 9th and 10th grade. Anyone who knows me from high school knows I entered my Sophomore year a completely different person [I got a lot hotter, too [but again, that's another blog]].

In all three vacations I learned something extraordinary about myself and people I love [last weekend I learned way too much about Andrea [and that is definitely another blog [and one that I won't write because she would kick my ass [but bff's are supposed to share deep dark secrets [no - she did not kill anyone [that's just silly]]]]]].

Oh look. I made a whole paragraph from parenthesis.

I think that's it for now. I definitely have more to say. But it will have to wait [too much crap weighing down my to-do list].

Thank you for reading my blog.

P.S. I couldn't not add this! Jermaine's Red Bubble career is really taking off. Andrea bought one of his shirts and volunteered to model it on the site. It totally made the front page.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What's in a name?

Let's face it. Let's be honest with ourselves. It's not working.

My name sucks.

My blog name, I mean. I'm rather fond of my given name. It suits me, I do believe. That's not why we're here.

I know, I know. "A rose by any other blah, blah, blah . . ." Whatev [sp?].

Got any suggestions? I would change it. I would. Sadly, I'm not there yet. The best I've got so far:

"Pop Goes The Weasel [And The Weasel Goes Pop]"

And I have no idea why.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Slavery Still Exists.

I have been putting off writing this blog for a while.

It's so serious.

It's so big.

It's so real.

But honestly, these excuses are lame. So let's get to it.

If you know me only from reading my blogs then you might believe that I possess an ability to make people laugh. I don't [except my best friend, Andrea and my daughter, Sadie - but in all fairness they laugh at everything]. In fact, close friends and family consider me to be more serious than most.

I usually try not to transfer my austere nature to my blogs [partly because it doesn't translate well - I end up coming off like a saleslady]. But I suppose for this entry it will prove itself useful.

Back to the point at hand. If you were not aware that slavery didn't end when it was legally abolished then I want you to take a moment a soak in this horrible truth.


Modern slavery is not the same beast that the abolitionists of the 19th century worked so fervently to end. The concept of slavery has evolved into something arguably worse.

I've known about sex trafficking for a couple years now. I don't remember how I came across it. But just before I moved to Maryland I stumbled upon a website called Survivors of what? I pondered. I did a bit of menial research and discovered that there were women and children all over the world who were being forced into prostitution and captivity. I was horrified by this new information but unsure as to how to help. I was a single mom with almost no money and even less time. What could I do? After a bit of contemplation, I decided to buy this bag from the website [pictured just below]. It was win-win. I was doing my small part. And I got lots of compliments on the pack [I loved it because it made me feel like a more legitimate tree-hugger [and I have to say, two years later it has held up fabulously [and I am particularly rough on purses] - but here I am morphing into a salesman]]. I left the problem in my head but pushed it to the back of my mind.

That all changed last semester. I was assigned to write a 20 page paper in my Social Problems and Issues Class on a topic of my choice. Guess which one I chose?

Alas, I seriously underestimated the scope of my task.

First of all, I discovered that though sex trafficking was prevalent and terrible it was not the only form of slavery in existence today. There was debt bondage, also known as bonded labor. For example, let's say your great-grandfather needed an extra bit of cash to cover his expenses for a particular month. An acquaintance offered to loan him $100 [or less, or more - whatever he needed]. In exchange your great-grandfather and his family would come and work in the acquaintance's rice factory until the debt had been repaid. Fast forward 50 years. You have never experienced a world outside of the rice mill. You are 17 and have been doing back-breaking manual labor since you were four years old. Still, somehow the debt has not decreased. In fact the man who runs the mill [the acquaintance's grandson] just informed your father that since he has had to provide food and shelter to your entire family for so many years the debt has doubled.

This concept seemed outlandish to me, but it is reality for millions.

If you watched Blood Diamond then you are aware of the concept of child soldiers. But perhaps you did not know that it is still a terrible reality in the world today. I posted a video about the crisis on this blog. It is a trailer of a documentary called Invisible Children. I've never done that before [posted a video] and so I don't know exactly how it will turn out [or where]. Let's find out together[it ended up near the beginning of the blog as it turns out]. It explains the situation better than I could. The documentary itself was put together by three boys in their 20s. Passionate, adventurous spirits led them to travel to Sudan directly after graduation. They weren't prepared for what they were about to witness. I haven't seen the documentary [I read about it in the book Not For Sale by David Batstone] but I plan to.

27 million people today are enslaved. Tens of thousands of those people are being held captive in America. I didn't want this blog to be about statistics, but I find these facts shocking.

Sometimes I can't sleep. I cried for days while researching information for my report last semester. I felt guilty experiencing joy while people suffered so tragically. They didn't get a break, I reasoned. How could I?

Eventually I concluded that constant worry wasn't the answer. I have opted in a new direction. I hope that someday soon I will have the opportunity to volunteer for a company like the International Justice Mission or The Polaris Project. Until then I'll research and use my voice, my blog and MySpace.

One more thing [shifting...shifting...Ok! - Saleslady Mode]. A guy named Joe Mettimano works for a company called World Vision. He and his team are currently working on a campaign called the "Children Should Never Be Soldiers" petition. They are trying to get a million signatures and when they do they will submit it to the U.S. president, the Congress and the United Nations urging them to take meaningful political action. I went to sign the declaration online and was surprised that they currently have less than 50,000. Come on. We can do better than that.

Thank you for reading this. I would love for you to comment.

This blog took more than 3 hours. My daughter is hungry and probably feeling a bit neglected [I can't concentrate on this, peel her orange and discuss the pros and cons of the latest episode of Larry Boy [but after brushing her off by saying "not now" for the eighteenth time I finally did explain what I was writing - she agreed that it was very important]. I better go tend to her.

I don't feel like I said everything I wanted to say. I would like to discuss sex trafficking more and talk a little bit about why slavery is so rampant today. Another blog. Another day.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Random Stuff.

Hmmm . . .

Hello. Thank you for reading my blog.

Heartwarming random pictures posted throughout.

I got an email from a friend in Charlotte. Her cousin was working out and all of a sudden his body went haywire. The next thing her family knew, he was in the Intensive Care Unit in a coma [sp?]. And his brain is swelling. Please pray for him. His name is Shaine. My friend's name is Cherish. Thanks, guys.

Una otra amiga, who lives in Richmond, might be signing a contract for a house! Fun! Please pray for her, too. Her name is Tiffany.

I bitch-slapped my professor the other day in class. I believe that is the technical term. Another student got to choke him. That was scary.*

My friend Meghan came all the way from Charlotte to help me de-clutter my home. Well, that's not entirely true. Her family lives in Maryland, too. With the help of her ["her" or "she"? I think "her."], Jermaine, his cousin Dwayne and Ikea, we rearranged my living room [soon to be "our" living room]. It looks fantabulous. I have pictures, but I can't find the stupid cord that hooks my camera up to the computer. So you'll have to wait.

I truly thought I created the word "fantabulous." I didn't. I'm quite devastated.

One of my best friends is currently with child. I'm jump-up-and-down happy for her and know that she and her husband are going to make amazing parents. She's been keeping things kind of on the DL so I don't know if she would want me to reveal her nombre.

So, apparently I type my smiley faces different than the rest of the free world. (: I had no idea. But people keep pointing it out. It makes me feel special.

I want to blog about my balcony garden. Unfortunately it doesn't exist yet. All I have are "before" photos [which I am unable to retrieve from my camera anyhow]. Without "after" shots they're just pictures of my mess.

Jermaine is kicking Bubble. I'm proud of my talented fiancé. Check out his work at Red Bubble before he forgets us little people.

I think that's about it for now.

*These events took place in my "Movement for the Performer" class. We are studying stage combat. No professors were harmed in the making of this blog.