About Me

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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Right now, I'm going through a top-down transformation. I'm starting with my hair - taking it from processed to natural; and so far I'm loving it. Get updates on my process on newtonatural.com.

Monday, August 18, 2014

More than a third of American adults have no retirement savings: I'm One

When I clicked on the LA Times article link, there was my story, headlined on the web page in like 40 pixel font.

36% of adults lack retirement savings -- 14% of them 65 or over

No. I'm not 65 or older, but when I transitioned from Arkansas to Mississippi, I blew through my IRA. It was a really scary decision. But I think it was still a good one. But every day, as I work to re-build it, I spend a lot of time thinking about what's the right investment amount for me right now.

I'm almost 40. So I can pretty much HEAR the clock ticking down to when I retire . loudly.

And I was doing so well at one time. I didn't start until I was twenty-five, but I was able to save a really large lump sum. Then, I had a really terrible break up from my ex and had to cash out my IRA so I didn't lose my home and could purchase a new car to replace the car I lost in the break up.

After I got hit with the tax penalty, I told myself I would never again cash out my retirement savings prior to retirement. Thus the reason they recommend you never say never.

Another catastrophe to avert. Another cash out.

Well, it is what it is. And now, I'm re-building along with other regular people who are recovering from similar set backs. Here we go.

Read the LA Times article. It's interesting enough.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sorry Business Owners and Drug Sellers Are All the Same

After leaving Home Depot, I drove down State Street into Jackson to see if I could find a store that sold black hair products without having to go to the other side of town or shop at a big box store, and Voila! I found one that had a really friendly staff that helped me find everything I needed. Wooohooo.

On my way there, I passed a Texaco that had gas for $3.06 and made a mental note to myself to stop and address my gas light that was on while I was en route to the hair products store.

After I paid for my gas at the pump, I decided to go into the store to get a beverage - because I had just filled up in 98 degree weather and didn't think I'd make it all the way back to work without something cool.

I went into the store - passed 4 open coolers in the very front that were filled with huge cans of beer. . I went to the back of the store and scanned the refrigerated drinks hoping to find a Lipton Diet Green Tea. But no luck. So, I decided to settle for any green tea. . But no luck. So, I decided to just pick a tea.. But again no luck.

Now, this Texaco was really large, so it took me a moment to figure out what the problem was. . Once I did, it made me really sad. . then angry.

Not including the open coolers that were in the front of the store, there were 12 vertical refrigerators filled with cold beverages. One was filled with different kinds of water. One was filled with soft drinks and juices. And TEN were filled with beer and different kinds of alcohol.

I went to the front of the store and asked to speak to the owner, who was standing nearby. I told the guy, "You have NO tea in the entire store. That's so weird." He looked at me, smiled, and said, "Hmmm. Ok."

I said, "I have never seen such a disproportionate amount of alcohol sold in a convenient store. There's almost nothing else."

And this fool looked at me, smiled, and asked, "Do you even know where you are?"

I walked closer to him and said, "Yes, I'm in Jackson. I live here. Do you?" And he said, "HELL no!"

I was so disgusted; partly because I realized that I had just patronized this fool's store by purchasing gas.

Jackson, MS has its issues. There's no denying it. But the average person values the area they live in because there really is a lot of pride in city. I haven't even lived here long, and I already share it.

Business owners like this one, in ANY city, are no better than the gang bangers and crack sellers on the street because they mean no good for the city or the people in it. I will NEVER shop at the Texaco on State Street again. And I will make sure I tell everyone that I talk to how this business owner really thinks of Jackson, Mississippi.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm COLOR blind, stupid

Why is it that when I divulge to people that I'm partially color blind, they always ask me if I can drive. Or hold up 3 fingers. Or ask me if I can see what they're wearing. Seriously?

For some reason, people don't process the word COLOR and only focus on the blindness. Well, my vision is actually 20/20. And I can read really well. I just can't see variations of reds and greens.

And this challenge didn't sneak up on me in the middle of the night, so don't ask me how it makes me feel. I was born this way. I feel like Anasthia. . What else?

Now, that I know my kindergarten teacher was wrong -- I'm not stupid -- I feel like this challenge just adds to the list of what makes me unique.

But to the person that asked me if I divulged my color blindness when interviewing for my current position. . Mmmmm. No. Did you divulge that you see color like the majority? I wasn't hired to be a graphic artist, the question never came up in conversation, and I think you may have been the kid my kindergarten teacher was really referring to.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Day One Chick: Granny

I was discussing my loyalty for my sons' grandmother with the man I love. "If she called in a favor," I said, "I'd deliver." And he was insulted because my sons' grandmother is also my ex's mother. And his concern was that I didn't feel that way for his mother.

When we really got into this conversation, although I realized he was angry, I was actually really excited that we had discovered a topic we felt so differently about. . because we tend to agree on everything.. so this was an opportunity, at least I thought, to create some alignment on yet another topic.. Well, we never got there. I don't know if we ever will.

Here's the background.

There are not enough words to express how deeply I love this woman or the many, many, many reasons why. But I can definitely scratch the surface with the things that are most important to me.

When I met Granny, she welcomed me into her home and her life so freely. . so completely. I felt a bond with her from the first moment we met. She's so generous with her love, it rains down on you so hard, you can't NOT love her. And then, the fact that I love to eat, and she loves to cook and bake. . and does it SO well.

Maybe what just sealed the deal with me and Granny was our connection to my mother. When my mother came into town, I brought her to Granny's house when I went over there with the kids. And my mother just LOVED Granny. They talked and laughed and Granny showed my Momma, the center of my world, the same love she showed me. . The same love she shows everyone. Then, when my momma died, and I felt so orphaned and alone, Granny accompanied me at the funeral - the hardest day of my entire life - and has been my rock since then. Because the loneliness I felt that day always creeps back up on me. And somehow, Granny always knows when it's just completely unbearable because she calls me and tells me she's thinking about me just in time.

Granny is my Day One. And she's been by my side for TWENTY years. Me and her son broke up over six years ago, and she and I are still close. Yes, if she calls me, I'm going.

The love I have for my boyfriend, spilled over to his Mom way before I met her. This woman is gorgeous, classy, smart, and loving, but she is a Momma Bear. She's not gonna let any old thing be with her son. So, when she thought I was any old thing, she did what a Momma Bear does.

Thank God for understanding, time, and my boyfriend's IMpatience, she and I have come full circle. I love her. I do. And I make sure she knows it. And her love is deep, and boundless, and true, so to be in her favor, truly makes the whole ordeal of getting to know her and earning her respect, well worth the process.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I guess the issue I have with my boyfriend's unhappiness is that he's trying to apply a One Sized Fits All mentality to a situation that really doesn't fit. I can love them both. They're so different that I have to love them differently. My relationship with Granny is 20 years in the making and my relationship with his mom is still pretty new, but forged in fire.

My relationship with Granny at this point has nothing to do with her son. . or even her grandchildren. She is my friend. . and to be honest, the closest thing I have to my momma who is no longer here. I will NEVER forsake her. You just don't do that to someone who's been so true.

We probably won't ever talk about this topic again because it generated so much fire. And it's one of those things that I think my boyfriend has to see in action to understand.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Neck ties turn me on

Today when I arrived home he was wearing a neck tie.

That is all.

I may never be able to look at a man's tie again - especially not a blue one - without becoming aroused.

Not bad for a Monday.

Monday, June 9, 2014

This morning I questioned my own love for you

I woke up this morning thinking, "What the hell am I doing? Do I really love this person that I spend all my time with? The person that I share my life with?" So, I took a few minutes and did an audit of the way that I feel, and this is what I came up with.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We've had sad days. We've had mad days. But since I've been with you, we haven't had a single bad day. 

Never have I had someone who has given so freely, completely, thoughtfully, and unselfishly to me and my family. 

I've never smiled so much. I've never laughed out loud so much. I've never felt so loved and accepted for being Plane Jane Tom Boy Me. 

You inspire me to want to push a little harder, to try again, and see it through. You are my Fountain of Youth. 

Since my spirit has joined with your spirit my faith in love, happiness, and goodness has been restored. And my belief in God's grace and mercy has been fully renewed and no matter what life has in store, it now stands unwavering. 

I have so much love for you I could sprinkle a small portion into several lifetimes, and still feel completely fulfilled in each one.

I know this is meant to be. I know this story is written. And I rejoice in the fact that God chose me to co-star next to you in this lifetime of love.

Yes. I love you Titus.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What am I going to do with this hair?

I am done with the days when I refuse to work out because I'm afraid to ruin my hair. I am also done with the days that I ease my hair maintenance saga by allowing a beautician to braid my hair so tight that I have back-to-back migraines for weeks (and half of my hair falls out when I un-braid it). I have enough migraines as it is. I just can't go back to days in bed filled with painful headaches. What kind of life is that?

I am an active black woman with processed hair and it's becoming a serious burden because I sweat it out everyday when I'm walking, running, and playing tennis. Then, I have to wash and condition it at least every other day to keep it clean and smelling good. And with a perm, it seems like after you've washed your hair about four times, it just begins to return back to its pre-processed state. It costs me $80 a month for the beautician and 3 hours of time. That's all I have to give. What do I do?

One answer just rolls out of some people's mouths: "Go natural."

For a black woman, going natural means discontinuing the process of chemically straightening the hair. Perming your hair is a really awful process anyway . Those chemicals could eat through cement, but we put them in our hair because we don't want to be seen with a kinky, nappy, uncontrollable mess on our heads. I know I don't.

And if the truth be told, I'd LOVE to go natural! No, really I would. I have this vision of waking up in the morning and in a few quick steps being done with this thick mane.

But I work in an industry, in a geographic region, in a facility where the expectation is that you will come in each day looking. . well, like everyone else. I think they would be OK if I came in one day with a full afro. I'm sure I'll hear, "Anasthia, you look so exotic." That's what "people" say when you test the boundaries of generally accepted standards of beauty by doing something a little different.

But I know I will get some negative feedback on coming in to the office with hair that's transitioning from processed to natural. It just doesn't happen overnight.

You think the Pentagon has rigid rules on how Black women should keep their hair? The un-spoken rules that prevail for a woman like me who is not only marketing an organization, but also marketing herself, are far more stringent. And not walking the line can be down right un-forgivable as far as your career is concerned. Yes, sad. But true.

I'm not sure what to do.

Well, for now, I'm going to continue working really hard to keep my hair looking good while I decide a long-term plan, but if you want to reply with some ideas, give me a shout. I'm at a crossroads, and am willing to listen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

3 bedroom 2 bath home for rent in Sherwood, Arkansas

I've lived in Mississippi now for over a year, and my house in Arkansas sits empty. I'm ready to change that, so I'm offering my home for rent.

The home is 1,434 sq ft with 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and a garage with a fully fenced back yard. All rooms have vaulted ceilings, and with the insulated windows there's plenty of light coming in to each room. One of the bedrooms has built-in bunk beds and shelves; and plenty of room for kids to play.

The kitchen has a new (electric) stove, recently purchased refrigerator, fireplace, new central air and furnace. Separate laundry room with washer/dryer connection.

Storage building in the back yard is large enough to accommodate lawn equipment with plenty of room to spare. There's also additional storage off the garage.

I want to help someone get into their new home by the end of April.

Rent will be $950 every month, first and last will be due up front. There will be a NON REFUNDABLE pet deposit of $250.

Download a rental application for my home in Sherwood, Arkansas here to get started.

For more information:

Monday, February 24, 2014

What unemployment really feels like


I've been unemployed since December 27, 2013. . about two months.

I was laid off. . whatever that means.. At the end of the day, if you have been trained to appreciate steady employment, regardless of the reason for an extended lapse in employment, it always feels the same. Like Failure.

I've worked since I was 16 years old: 22 years. I've built up this provider persona that I can't really live up to right now, and it's got me really questioning my identity, my faith, my goals, and how I ended up in my current situation.

That last part doesn't really matter. How you end up in the hole is really an empty question. How are you gonna get out of it? That has to be the focus. That's my focus. But I'm struggling.

I wake up every day, and the first thing I do is look up new job openings. I send out 2-3 applications; if I can find 2-3 relevant positions. This all happens before I step out of bed at 6:10 am. And before the day is over, I read 2-3, "You didn't make the cut" emails, and pray that I can go through the process for at least one more day. . to give God just a little while longer to work this whole messed up situation out and to get me on a team where I can do some good.

That's what I'm starving for right now. After taking care of the kids, the house, the dog, the boyfriend, the entire world.. I have to feel like I've done some far-reaching good. And right now I just don't. I feel helpless, useless,

I've been waiting for about a week to hear back from an employer that I just really really felt was a good fit for me: the interview went really well, my potential boss was really pleasant, they contacted my contacts on time. During the final interview, I actually thought they were going to offer me the job. Then, they told me I was one of 6 candidates (out of 72 applicants) that they were considering for the position.

Everything seemed to be going so well.

Then, I received the dreaded "You didn't make the cut" email. Yes, I've read it dozens of times. I can almost recite the text verbatim. But it hurt me SO bad. Oh my. I prayed on this job. I begged God. I was well-prepared for the interview and picked three strong professional references.

I still don't know what happened. All I know is that I feel like I've been kicked in the gut because I have somehow failed again.

I will brush myself off in a little bit and get back at it, so I restart my career in the position that God has just for me. I'm just licking my wounds. . They hurt. I have to go tell the kiddos that this one didn't work out either and answer to their looks of disappointment once again.

This is SO hard. But I'm strong. And I have to be, so I will be. But ouch. This one got me good.