To see the first part of this story click here.
Like I said, things were going superbly with Dax and I until I met his parents. A few things to know about me. I come from a blue collar family. My mother is a nurse, my father is a computer tech. At the time of this story, I was working two low level jobs, and getting ready to attend college. A few things to know about Dax. His family is affluent. We’re talking WASPy affluence. So imagine the surprise when said affluent WASPy members find out their little Dax is bringing home, not only a blue collar, undereducated small town girl, but she is brown to boot!
I am empathic. It is one of the reasons it is hard for me to be around a large group of people for an extended period of time. A lot of times I can feel what the people around me feel. When I met Dax’s parents, what I felt was not cool. His father was basically shooting off “What the hell is going on!?” vibes. I maintained my own and stuck it out, and got out of there as soon as I could. On the way home, I explained what I felt to Dax. He brushed me off saying it was fine, and that I was being silly.
A week later, he called to break up with me.
Before everyone boo/hisses about the phone call break up, please remember we live an hour apart. I wasn’t mad at the fact that he called to break up. I was mad that he let his father get into his head about me.
Dax stuttered and stumbled through his break up thoughts. They were mostly that we are different people (I would hope I wasn’t dating myself, that would be super difficult…and kind of vain), that we were in different places in our lives (I was 23, he was 28.. he had financial and emotional support to go to school and do things in his life. I did not and was getting around to him late. He knew all of this WHEN WE MET), and the kicker was that his father thought I wasn’t very healthy (aka I was fat, and his dad did not approve) When he got finished I spoke. I informed him that I thought I was dating him, not his father, and if he wanted to break up with me, that was fine. But they needed to be for his own reasons, and not some reasons his father drilled into his head. He got quiet and spoke softly on the phone “I don’t really want to break up.” That settled that. Truth be told, we should have probably broke up then and there. He was family oriented. Really family oriented. I already knew I didn’t feel comfortable hanging out with his family, as they had already let me know (through a proxy no less) how they felt about me. What can I say? I was Britney Spears in that moment (“My loneliness, is killing me.”)
Our relationship went on. for a while. He brought up hanging out with his parents again. He told me his mother was fine with us and it would be okay. I rolled my eyes and went along with it. His family had me over to dinner at one point. For some reason, bi-colored corn got brought up by me, his mother stated she thought I said “bi-colored porn.” At this point, I just wanted to go back home. To my hole, and die.
His mother sent me a hand written note to my house to invite me to Thanksgiving. My mom and I read the note together and looked at each other. “Who sends handwritten notes to a family affair? Are you getting engaged!?” my mother screamed at me. “No…LORD NO!” I responded. I kept looking at that note. I felt cynical. I felt like it was a trap.
While it wasn’t a trap, not a more awkward Thanksgiving was had. I watched what I ate, lest it was said that I was eating too much, I was suspicious of the turkey, as I never saw the whole bird. They took it in another room, cut it up, and served it. Plus, I don’t think his mom cooked much, because she didn’t have a schedule, cooked the bird very first. By the time we ate, it was dry and ice cold. We stayed there the entire day. Long after his brothers left, we stayed. I began to notice some things. His father sort of ran the house with an iron fist. His mother wanted the gas fireplace on. His dad told her to “Don’t be stupid, we don’t have the instructions anymore, we will not be doing any fires.” She just said okay and went with it. Dax’s two brothers weren’t impressed. They were from his mother’s previous marriage, so Dax’s dad was their stepfather. and Dax was their half brother. They started telling me stories of how they would scare the shit out of him when they were kids. Dax’s mood just got darker and darker as they talked. He was bullied as a child and still had a hard time being the butt of anyone’s jokes.
I would like to say that things improved after this day. They didn’t. I started to notice things. Certain things he did, I was embarassed about. The turning point of everything was one Memorial day. My family had a party and I lied to him and said my family was going out of town. Why did I lie? Because the party was being held at my uncle’s house that had a swimming pool. All of the kids would be in the pool, and I knew if I had invited him, he would be the lone adult in the pool, prompting my family to ask “what is wrong with him?”
The breakup wasn’t mutual, he broke up with me (again). While I was sad for a short while, I feel like part of myself was relieved. I didn’t have to deal with this anymore.
We have both moved on, years later he is married with a child and I am married. I am grateful for the experience of Dax. It made me realize what I wanted in a significant other more than anyone else I had ever dated. I also decided that at that point in my life, men were a distraction I couldn’t afford. I stopped dating when I went back to school. It got a little lonely, but it forced me to focus on myself, and the bettering of myself. It allowed me to make sure that I would never feel how Dax’s family made me feel. I knew back then I was a good person, but I didn’t realize my worth until someone else tried to set that for me.
In 2005 I was 23. Having spent ages 19-21 out of my mother’s house in a different town, I had come home. I was looking to go to school, and have a better future rather than living paycheck to paycheck as I had been. I wasn’t born with a silver (or mother of pearl) spoon in my mouth, so I knew the only way this was going to happen was if I went to school.
There were a few problems with this. The main one being my lack of transportation: I come from a small city that had no public transportation. If you wanted a cab, you better know to call a day ahead; otherwise you would spend a good portion of your day waiting on one. In order to get a car, I needed a job. I had a job, working for a popular clothing company, whom I love to this day. I was not full time, so I needed a second job.
Because I was depending on my family to get me back and forth to work, I had to be careful about where I found another job. Because the clothing store was in the mall, I applied to other jobs within the mall. I briefly worked at a bookstore. I was so excited. Being a bookworm, I figured that working at a bookstore would be in my top 10 jobs. This job was not for me. Everyone who worked in the store was depressed, and it had a way of dragging my mood down as well. The manager that seemed to be on duty every time I worked did not have a car, yet would have to take a deposit to the bank daily. The final straw was the day she belittled me for not having a car to take her to do the deposit. I asked her if she could hear herself. She sputtered and huffed off. I was done. The general manager thanked me for my honesty as I left.
While I kept the clothing store job, I found another job at a daycare center. It was a 20-minute walk from my house, so it was perfect.
In the midst of working two jobs, and saving up for a car, I was lonely. I had friends, but my friends were off doing their own thing. By that age, most of my friends were engaged, had been engaged, and had popped out a kid or two. I spent a lot of time on my own.
Growing up in a typical black family, your geeky experiences are few and far between unless you seek them out. I was a bit of a black sheep in my family (still am), so I was hesitant to let my geek flag fly. One thing my family did not know is that quite often, I used to Internet to talk to and meet people. If my mother would have known, she would have clutched her pearls and screamed about Internet predators. Plus the Internet let you open up to people that you rarely would have. It’s how I slept with my school mascot 6 years after high school (don’t ask). With the loneliness and boredom, I decided to dip my toe into online dating.
After putting up a profile on OkCupid, I browsed the profiles. And that is how I met Dax*. Dax and I hit it off instantly online and decided to meet up for a date. The problem was I was in the middle of moving the rest of my belongings home, and accidentally stood him up. I felt horrible, and composed a long heartfelt apology. Dax accepted and we were going to try again. As a gesture of good faith, I was going to him. I borrowed my mother’s car and headed that way. It was a decent date, one of the better ones that I had been on at that time. As a result, we fell into a relationship with one another. We spent as much time as we could together. That was primarily weekends as he had a full time job, and lived in Indianapolis, and I had two part time jobs and lived an hour away. I also didn’t have a car, so he was gracious and would pick me up on the weekends.
Things were going really well, until I met his family.
(…To Be Continued)
*Dax is not his real name.
Twitter is an amazing thing. I follow a random group of people. From Awesomely Luvvie to Anderson Cooper. I am all over the place. I have varied tastes, so of course I am going to follow a multitude of people. I am a fan of Star Trek. Deep Space 9 and The Next Generation are my favorite. I have had a crush on Brent Spiner since I was 6 years old. Because of this, I follow the casts of both on Twitter. I happened to be on one day and Brent Spiner tweeted the best thing I have ever seen in my life:
In case you cannot tell, It is Data naked with Spot and Geordi brandishing his violin.
Oh. My. God.
After some investigative work (Read: bugging the shit out of anyone that retweeted the picture) I found the creator of the picture and she shared some more of her incredible artwork with me! I had to ask her for an interview, and she complied.
Everyone, meet Christine Parisi!
What’s your name?
Christine Parisi, although I have been thinking about adopting a pseudonym for my new found fame. I’m considering the name Alanis Morrisette, since that is a totally original name that I made up. It won’t be confusing at all. Or maybe I’ll just use my initials as to avoid sexism like J.K. Rowling and go and the ambiguous, C.M. Parisi.
Where you from?
Chicago, IL. Although I actually grew up in the burbs. Big surprise that my art is not really addressing any heavy social justice issues.
Tell me what you do?
I was a high school art/English teacher for many years. I got cut like so many other teachers in Chicago, and now I am trying to be a full-time artist. I substitute teach to supplement my income. I love being a substitute. It’s so easy. I did this watercolor Chewbacca while I was subbing the other day because I read Girl with a Pearl Earring the day before.
What kind of geek are you?
I’m a cool geek. Like, I know it’s “cool” to be a geek now. But I’m pretty sure I was always cool. Below is a picture of my boyfriend and I in our matching WOLF sweatshirts. See? COOL! (Leslie Note: You are totally awesome and the shirts prove it)
Are you a total trekkie?
I really can watch it forever. I think we should teach it in schools. I flipped out when I found this drinking vessel at a thrift store the other day. Also, I’ve been Star Trek characters for a few Halloweens. Below is my borg costume. It had a working mechanical arm that I’m not wearing in the picture. I used an erector set for the motor and had different attachments, like forks and stuff. So, I don’t know if that means I’m a total trekkie. (You are the best borg. You should know this)
What series of Star Trek is your fave? For the record mine is a tossup between TNG and DS9.
TNG hands down. I had to stop watching DS9 but I did go back to it. Bajorans just annoy the S&%# out of me. I really liked Voyager except that episode where Q is romantically interested in Janeway. That’s totally unrealistic and would never happen. (Bajorans can be a bit….much.. BUT THE SISKO!!!)
Tell me about how you got started making your art.
I was trying to master acrylic portraits and I found myself lacking subjects. I was painting these kind of dark, punky, sexy girls (see below) because people really like them and I wanted to practice painting bodies and faces. However, I also wanted to sell art, and I thought, “ who is going to be interested in a picture of a person unless it’s either a sexy-ass person or a celebrity?” So, I just did a Data portrait and someone bought it immediately. I started feeling like I was getting really good at capturing a likeness from a photo, so I started mashing things up and getting more confident using my imagination. It’s hard to create realism and light if you don’t have a photo of the exact thing you are painting. So, once I started getting REALLY good I felt ready to do the Venus of Data, for which I had to combine photos from different sources. Obviously Brent Spiner didn’t pose nude for me, so I had to imagine the male body, using the female from Titian’s Venus and Manet’s Olympia as a template for shading. I don’t feel like I have mastered any styles or even fully developed a style of my own, but it’s getting there. I think a humorous or sci-fi angle will tend to incorporate it in my future work, but I also want my technique to catch people’s eye. There are SO many talented portrait artists out there and I want to find a way to set myself apart. I’m still experimenting. That’s where I’m at right now.
How did it feel when Brent Spiner (Le Sigh) retweeted your pic?
Oh my god! I was freaking out. I was not a twitter user. I made an account and jumped in there and posted a better version of the painting like “Me! I did that! Me!”. I don’t know who took the photo or how it got to him, but the buzz was awesome. The next day, Spiner sent me a PERSONAL MESSAGE!!!!! Virtual degrees of separation between me and Brent Spiner=0. (I AM SO JEALOUS AND I MUST NOW HAVE YOUR HAND THAT TYPED TO HIM #NOTCREEPYATALL)
Where can we see your art at?
Right now I have a lot of work hanging at GMAN tavern in Chicago. The show has been up since Oct. Since it is next door to the Metro, an excellent music venue, I have sold art to Amos Lee, Cults, and Three Floyd’s Brewery. That coupled with the Spiner thing, I’m kind of on cloud nine with all the famous people buying my art. The Venus of Data is there next to a print out of all the tweets. It has not sold yet.
How do we purchase one of these awesome pieces?
www.facebook.com/christineparisiart Message me through the page or my email and I will give you details on specific prices for prints. The prices for the originals are listed on the FB page.
What kind of crossover television show would you love to see and why?
Star Trek TNG SVU!!! Why? Because Picard would not stand for space rape. (YAAASSSS!!!!)
Head on over to Christine’s page and let us know in the comments which one is your favorite!
Two days before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were exhausted. We both work full time jobs, and were hosting turkey day. The kitchen was relatively clean, and neither of us were in the mood to mess it up with dinner. Around dinner time, my husband uttered the words that I would soon regret agreeing to:
"Do you want to go to CiCi's Pizza?"
For those of you that do not know, CiCi's is an all you can eat pizza buffet. The pizza isn't great, but it is cheap and there is plenty of it. Two grown adults can get full here for less than 20 dollars. You can feed an entire family of 5 for like 25 dollars. This is why I should have expected everything that happened.
We walk in the door, and I am treated to two little girls attempting to bargain with the cashier. Their parents aren't paying them a bit of attention. One girl was roughly 7 or 8, the other 5 or 6. between the both of them they had two dimes and a penny, and was trying to convince the cashier to trade them for two quarters O.o. The cashier was patiently explaining to them that the money they had equaled 21 cents and that she could not give them two quarters because that was 50 cents.
"Well, can we have a quarter?"
Parents, please do better with your children. I know math is difficult, but don't have your little kids up there asking for random amounts of change. It makes me want to grab a whiteboard and sit people down and teach math.
We should have walked out then. Eventually they got the hint and returned to their seats. We paid for our meals, got our drinks, and proceeded to grab some pizza. There are children running EVERYWHERE, parents not paying attention, and little kids playing at the soda fountain. I walked out the door, looked up, and came back in. My husband asked me what I was doing. "I wanted to make sure we aren't at Chuck E. Cheeses.
Eventually someone notices that their kid is up to no good. Instead of going to grab them we were treated to the following for roughly 10 minutes:
"David...David come here.. DAVID I SAID COME HERE!!! DAVID PUT THE SALAD TONGS DOWN AND COME HERE! DAAAAAVIDD WHAT ARE YOU DOING COME HERE I SAID!!" For. Ten. Minutes. Believe me, I counted.
My second trip to the pizza line, and I just gave up at life. I was attempting to recover from a long day. The day was nothing but a series of disasters, one right after another, and I was trying to just eat dinner in the midst of Lord of the Flies.
(Me, shortly before we took our leave Fox.com)
A little girl had been ripping and running up and down near the pizza the entire time we were there. I knew something was going to happen, and knowing my luck, I should have known this was going to happen to me. The little girl weaved through my legs as I was taking a step. I stumbled, but righted myself, but my pizza? Landed right on top of her. She began to shriek like she was on fire. No worries, I didn't burn her. Pizza was lukewarm.
At that point, I felt like I should probably leave this place. I set my plate down next to the little girl who was now alternately shrieking and eating the pizza from her head, grabbed my purse, and my husband and left.
Cici's pizza isn't the best thing on earth, but it is plentiful. The employees are super nice. They greet everyone that comes in the door, they visit the tables and ask if there is a specific kind of pizza you would like to see on the bar. They deal with this nonsense EVERY DAY. There is one particular guy, I am not sure if he is a manager or not, but you can tell he truly loves what he is doing and I appreciate that. However, I feel like CiCi's is the place where people are going to congregate after the apocalypse happens and they are left behind. Just a bunch of crazy people, honey badgering it.
I need to tell you a story.
Many years ago when I was a junior in high school, we were tasked with the reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Our teacher (HEY MRS. STOKESBERRY!!!) being the awesome person that she was, showed us the movie as well.
Dear reader, I don't do well with horror flicks. I have an overactive imagination, and incredibly vivid dreams. These can sometimes turn into vivid nightmares. The three weeks we spent with this book and movie, I don't think I got a full night's sleep. The version of Frankenstein we watched was the 1996 version with Robert De Niro.
I feel like he captured the pure essence of Frankenstein's monster.
Imagine my shock (Not really, they are remaking everything) when I go to the movies a couple weeks ago and find out there is a new Frankenstein movie coming out called "I, Frankenstein." Imagine my utter dismay when I found out Frankenstein now looks like this:
I apologize right now for everything I am about to say, because I am going to go into a rant. When I saw this on the screen at the movies, I was whipped into such a frenzy that the woman next to me moved, terrified at what I was going to do next.
Look, I realize that this movie is based off a graphic novel. However, you kept the spirit of Mary Shelley. The monster was created.
FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER WAS MADE FROM THE BODIES OF DEAD CHOLERA PATIENTS AND THE AFTERBIRTH OF WOMEN!!!
This Frankenstein looks like they hacked up the torso of Hugh Jackman, put some scars on it for effect, and said "Done!"
Look here Hollywood. Mary Shelley did not go through everything she did in life to get that book published for you to come along and sex it up. I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!
What the hell happened to the creature that tormented my dreams?
My husband does not understand my unusual rantings about this book/movie. Hollywood WILL NOT turn this into some Twilight franchise. NO.
Now, if you need me, I will be rocking in the corner. I swear on everything that's holy, if this Frankenstein sparkles, I will punch the nearest person in the face.
Yes, I am channeling Bryan Adams, so what?
I am stuck in the 90s. This is a known fact to my family and friends. When I found out the Theme song to Portlandia included the lyrics “The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland,” I started looking for jobs and a house in Portland. They are my peeps!
Sadly though, I never made it to Portland, though I plan on visiting someday. My husband keeps asking me “Why on earth do you want to visit Portland?” I just scream “THE DREAM OF THE 90s IS THERE, DO YOU NEED ANY OTHER REASON!?” He goes back to his computer and rolls his eyes. Hater.
As part of my 90s loving, I tend to listen to a lot of music from my teenagedom/young adulthood. A lot of Nsync, and R&B, back when it was great. All of my music is on my phone, and nowadays, ear buds come standard with phones. Here is a little secret. I can’t stand ear buds. No offence to them, but my ear holes are tiny or something, and they just fall out. My husband, noticing my sad predicament got me some bigger headphones. While I do love these things, I can’t really wear them in the office. Could you imagine me looking like this showing up to fix your computer?
Plus I spend roughly 80% of my day on the phone. So no, headphones would not work.
My husband to the rescue again.
While this thing may look like a Pokeball (which is what I call it), It is in fact a Bluetooth speaker by DBest of London.
This little thing is great. It fits in the palm of my hand, so it is unobtrusive. I sit it on my desk, hear a little *blorp* noise, and know my phone is connected. I am enjoying tunes and podcasts all day with this thing. It charges by USB, so If I am worried that it is going to die, I charge it the night before I go to work. This thing has a lot of battery power however. The most I used it without charging was two weeks straight for 8 hour days.
It does have it’s drawbacks. If I pause whatever I am listening to, leave the range of the speaker, and then come back, it does not automatically connect. I either have to turn it off and turn it back on or turn off the Bluetooth on my phone and turn it back on. It also have little crevices that are hard to keep clean. I am not the tidiest person in the world (read: Messy Marvin), but I do take a Q-tip around it every once in a while.
It comes with it’s own little velvet pouch (LIKE A MINI CROWN ROYAL BAG Y’ALL!) and a USB/audio plug in adapter, just in case you don’t want to use the Bluetooth. I keep the adapter in the pouch along with the speaker when not in use and stick it in my purse. It takes up hardly any space. I love the fact that I can take it anywhere.
I loved it and raved about it so much that my husband asked for one for Christmas, and ended up getting a non Bluetooth one on accident. Oops. He’s still quite pleased with it.
So, tell me, what little gadget do you rave about to people? Is it something I would like?
**This is totally not a paid advertisement. DBest of London has no clue who I am. If they did I may fan girl out, and they would pelt me with speakers to make me go away. This was a gift from my husband. WE share the same bank account, so you know, I paid for it too. There you go FTC.**
Those that know me, know that I am.. a bit of a prissy person. That’s a lie. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a LOT of a prissy person. A year or so ago, my husband broached the subject of camping. Apparently him and his family did it a lot growing up. This was new to me. My family’s idea of a vacation growing up was a theme park close to home. I was interested in this thing he called “camping.”
Imagine my prissy surprise, when I found out about tents, and PUBLIC BATHROOMS! Pretty much anyone will tell you that my worst fear, other than spiders, are public bathrooms. I always end up in one where someone is making weird noises in another stall. I can’t take it.
If we were going to go camping, we had to do it my way. We rented a cabin in a campground (with a private bathroom) and it was great. I had a great time. We made fire, had s’mores, cooked out, and just relaxed.
A year later it was vacation time again. I booked another cabin in a different part of our state. It was in the middle of nowhere with questionable cell service. We drive two hours to this campsite, to have no one greet us when we get there. No one to check us in, and no one to give us keys to the cabin. To say I was livid was an understatement.
On the way down, my husband noticed a campground he went to as a child, and recommended that we go there for the night, and see if we can get in touch with someone the next day.
We pull into Starve Hollow State Park, and was able to book a couple of nights in a cabin. I didn’t pay attention to the woman checking us in, until she said “comfort station.” Ladies and gentlemen of the geekies, a comfort station is another word for public restrooms and showers.
*Cue minor freakout*
We had to head back into town, because the cabin has a bed frame, but no mattresses. We needed a blow up mattress, and some other essentials. We also ate in town, because it was getting so late.
We get back to the cabin, and I decide to check out the comfort station. All I could think was nasty filthy public restrooms. Imagine my surprise!
These restrooms were probably cleaner than mine at home! I had no problems with them at all. The rest of our (brief) vacation was fun. I tried my hand at campfire cooking.
And made a pretty good (if I do say so myself) chicken and noodles
We ate this with this gorgeous view
After this trip, I feel like I could handle pretty much anything camping wise. I even made a little friend! His name is Gloomy.
We are thinking of taking another quick camping trip soon. I am so looking forward to it. We both are. We both enjoy camping so much that for our 5th wedding anniversary, we are thinking of purchasing an RV, for jaunts like this. I want an Airstream (completely out of our price range), my husband on the other hand, has his heart set on an RV like the one from Breaking Bad. I just arch my eyebrow at him and gave him severe side-eye.
No matter what we do, I am totally excited. Who knew the great outdoors could be so much fun?
I am not truly a product junky. Yes, I have a ton of samples floating around my house, but I don't run out and buy the latest and greatest thing (Not anymore at least). I have 3 staples.
- Belle Butters - Premium whipped Shea Butter
- Nothing But Curl Wake Up Spray
- Kyah Alexandria Hydra Moist Leave in Conditioner
You will noticed that third one is not hyperlinked.
Leave in conditioner lasts me a really long time. I don't need a whole lot of it. I plop a little bit on right out of the shower, and then use my Belle Butters to take me the rest of the way.
KYAH ALEXANDRIA DONE GONE OUT OF BUSINESS YALL!!!! *SOBS*
I am nearly out of it after two years (told you it lasts me a while), and I went to the website to purchase more. Every time I clicked the link to the product, it would give me an error. So I tried other links on the page. Dead as well. I went over to her Facebook page and found this:
"Hi all. After much deliberation and careful consideration we've made the decision to close down kyah Alexandra. I've had a few deaths among family and friends this year. Soon we'll have a new baby and will be attending graduate school. So as you can see a lot is going on and will be going on in the upcoming year. I will still make myself available for those who have questions about their natural journey. Therefore I will keep the Kyah Alexandria Facebook page active as well as the YouTube channel. Most importantly, I would like to thank you for all your support and business."
I have a backup leave in conditioner that I use (Shea Moisture), but I don't really like it. It is watery and doesn't give me the moisture I need like Kyah.
Do you have any suggestions on a great leave in? Have you had a product you love discontinued? What did you do?