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Hurricaine Katrina: 4 Year Later

I almost forgot that I was in Orlando at Disney World with my, then pregnant girlfriend, my son-to-be and two of his friends when Katrina touched down. Although we were clearly out of the storm's path, the weather was horrendous during our time there.

Now that I remember this actually happened 4 years ago, I'm taken back to the pure astonishment followed by anger that I felt as I watched sections of New Orleans literally being washed away, wondering to myself not why it was happening, but how --- to the extent that it did.

Countless volunteers and benefactors are making life better than it was during those surreal times. But life still isn't what it should be down there. Keep you head up, N.O. Your day is coming. Hopefully we'll be alive to see it...


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Making It All Make Sense

Before this week is over my family and I will all be under the same roof once again after a long-feeling, but short in duration, summer spent apart.

  • My 14 year-old, high school freshman, J.V. football playing son, will be hidden from view behind the door of his room embracing his Xbox 360 Live fighting online with his friends and refusing to show his face accept to raid the refrigerator.

  • My daughter's daily activities will most like not be disrupted by her return home: watching a little bit of Noggin; coloring; drawing; counting; spelling; beginner's reading; demanding everything under the sun; and telling me what to do at every turn, despite the fact that I tell her she sounds rude and not like Daddy's Baby Girl (I'm not sure she gets it yet --- or cares).

  • My wife and I will begin a new journey and chapter in our nine-year saga together as we head into the final days of our second year of marriage; celebrate (hopefully) both our birthdays in September; move into a bigger, but still temporary dwelling that will serve us all a little better in comfort, if not price; and move forward, doing our best to work together versus whatever it was we were doing this summer and have been doing for as many months as I can remember (just keepin' it real, folks).

This summer was a painful one for me. It was also quiet and at times lonely. At one point or another and at times overlapping each other...

  • I didn't see my son for a month and a half.

  • I didn't see my daughter for nearly two months.

  • I didn't see my wife for three weeks.

When these incidents overlapped I found myself with a tremendous amount of time on my hands. With no job and a crumbling self esteem, I wasn't sure at first what to do. I almost felt paralyzed to move without the wife or some kid in tow. But alone with my thoughts I involuntarily began to deconstruct my life in an effort to make sense of it --- the life I lived when none of these other people comprised my life and the life I now live with them. My primary question was, how the hell did I end up as the head of a household? Am I doing enough? What am I not doing right? Why can't I do more? Are my kids happy? Is my wife happy? Am I happy?

After several days of solitude I discovered it is the answer to this last question that is the key to answering all the rest.

On this blog, I've made several mentions of being unemployed, I've even lamented about it. But I haven't talked about how much I love to sit down to crank out my posts from one day to the next (it's almost like a drug). I didn't mention the joy that overcame me when I took an introductory Adobe Dreamweaver class in July and discovered that as a result of blogging I've inadvertently taught myself HTML and CSS (and didn't really need to take the class). Or how the photos I've been posting lately come naturally to me. Or how an established artist pulled me aside to tell me I've missed my calling as a photographer and need to start taking classes yesterday. This summer and long since before then, I've focused on what isn't and overlooked what is.

My solitude was like a blank sheet of paper the size of a football field. I got to sit in the middle of it, look out across it, and retrace my steps while planting new ones. I vowed to do my best to relearn and embrace what it means to be me.

In July, I lost 10 pounds. In August, I traveled alone to Atlanta after having a fight with my wife that would've sent most men to their divorce lawyers or jail (just keeping it real), reconnected with old friends, both male and female, went to dinner (alone), attended an arts festival (alone), frequented a couple of bars, and visited a few schools (a scouting expedition for the kids), relied upon the kindness of strangers more than once as I was rained on repeatedly, attended a film fest, and in sum had a blast and managed to stay out of trouble the entire time I was there given what I left and what was waiting for me back home.

In August, I traveled to every corner of the five boroughs of New York, abandoning my distaste for burning gas and ungluing myself from my fear of going places alone if going alone meant doing the things I wanted to do versus sitting at home waiting for a friend to make time for me (which I did at first). I went to restaurants, bars, get-togethers, a play, cinema under the stars, street fairs, green markets and a couple of friends' author events. I eventually connected with friends who got on the same page with me and had some really great conversations.

In August (yesterday) I rented a bicycle in downtown Chicago and rode along the Lakeshore stopping only to snap photos and ultimately stopped cold by a city sponsored Triathlon route. I eventually abandoned the Lakesfront and rode through some beautiful downtown neighborhoods. And tonight, on the last day of August, I will board a train with my daughter for a 20-hour trip back to New York. I haven't ridden the train since 2001 and I decided I wanted the serenity and a glimpse of America's countryside on one of Amtrak's most scenic routes, accompanied by my daughter's wide-eyed enthusiasm. These are all things that I wanted to do and these were all things that I did, just like I used to when I was just a Man, when there was no Dad and no Husband. These were the things that added to the totality of me so that one fateful day in 2000, a woman would cross my path and make me into a Dad and a Husband.

In trying to make sense of life I've completely overlooked it's simplicity and probably made things more complex than they've needed to be. As far as work goes I've been so hell bent on seeking fulfillment (a bad thing when done in excess), somewhere it got lost in the translation that fulfillment comes from the richness of life provided by the fruit of my labor --- regardless of the labor. Meaning, if I wanted to, I could live like a king, but work for UPS. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for UPS. Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind more than a few times.

So like the birds of the air who live simply from point A to point B, why should I do any different? All I have to do is live each and every day to the fullest --- the good ones, the frustrating ones and the downright I-wish-I hadn't-even-got-up-ones. All I have to do is fight for the richest life for myself by simply getting up each and everyday (well maybe 6 out of 7) and giving my all to this life that has been given to me, pouring every ounce of myself into the moments I have with my children and the wife. It's like Reagonomics, a trickle down of my riches onto my family. If I'm happy and fulfilled with myself, then I will encourage/reprimand/build up/love/endow with life lessons/discipline my kids with prudence and sensitivity and a genuine heart. The same goes for when when I kiss/am honest with/am being a friend to my wife. That's all I have to do. And that's where the hardest challenge lies. Why? Because the only one who's been in the way of this, even when I've blamed others, always has been and always will be...me. Even when someone else is in my way it's up to me to get around them, or pray for the strength to do so. Think about it: the next time you talk about what you can't do or what someone is doing to you, listen to yourself. What word do you find yourself using more than any other? I'll bet you money it's "I".

The older I get the simpler life becomes. Not because life has gotten any simpler. It's actually gotten ridiculously complex, tragic and needlessly violent. But for me, with age, I'm finding my focus getting sharper. The distractions that have kept me trapped in a morass of complexity, especially the ones in my own head, are falling away with each passing day. In their absence, only the beauty and simplicity (even during the tough times) of life remains. It's up to me to keep it that way and I'm committed to doing so upon my return to a full house. The same goes for you and your life if any of this sounds familiar.

I hope you make it all make sense for you in your own special way.

See you in September.

Voting ends today!

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Only 3 Days Left! (After Today)



I blinked and we were in August. I blinked again and now August is just days from being a thing of the past...

But before we see August 2009 on it's way into posterity lets make it a month to remember...

Let us all cast our vote for MakesMeWannaHoller.com, a finalist for the 2009 Black Weblog Awards in the category of Best Parenting & Family Blog...

Let us vote to preserve democracy, because if you don't vote for me, one of the other esteemed finalists will win...

Let us vote because it is Friday and after lunch your mind will be soup as far as dealing with whatever is sitting in front of you at your desk, so you might as well...

Let us vote because who knew a little, shy and sheltered boy from the South Side Chicago would grow up to be a loving father and husband in NYC and crank out 330+ blog posts about it...

Let us vote because it's been too long that men, (especially men of color) have been portrayed, across the board, as cold, distant and not committed to family...

A vote for MakesMeWannaHoller.com is a vote for all the anonymous, committed fathers, husbands and men out there who get up every day, seeking nothing more than doing the best that they can for their families and their communities...

For me, not only is this a vote for the best Parenting and Family blog, but it's also a glowing endorsement of Fatherhood.

If you like what you read here, please vote. You've got until 11:59pm on 8/31/09. If your browser at work doesn't allow you to, then try it when you get home.




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My Power Supply

Hand In Hand by EPayne of MakesMeWannaHoller.com
After landing in Chicago on Sunday, I captured this image within minutes of being reunited with my daughter after nearly two months apart.

Five days left to vote...

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I stood there for a while waiting for his buddies to show up, hoping I'd get to see them transform.

Devastator? Part II
Eventually some more did arrive, but still, none of them transformed.

Vote by 8/31/09!!!

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I'll Be There

I really love this commercial. DISCLAIMER: Although I used to work for State Farm Insurance back in the late 90's this is a mere coincidence and in no way a promotion of their company. I am not being paid to display this post (I wish I was).

It's the beginning of the weeks, folks. In each and every one of us there is the power to make a positive difference in the life of another. In all your lists of to dos, goals, plans, objectives and so on, try to "be there" for at least one person this week, be they a stranger or a loved one. Both of you will be better for it.


You have until
to cast your vote.

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Ruined PosterSet in the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ruined follows a young woman's nightmarish path to Mama Nadi, a savvy businesswoman who—in the midst of a complex civil war— both protects and profits from the women whose bodies have become battlegrounds. At once heartbreaking and captivating, Ruined pays homage to the courageous and resilient women who must piece themselves together after the ruin.

Source: Theatre In Chicago

I had the absolute pleasure of seeing this wonderful play last night as the guest one of my former acting teachers (and now friend) from Harlem School of the Arts. Aside from the amazing Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Lynn Nottage's emotionally wrenching and almost impossibly layered and textured work, and the amazing multifaceted performances put on by all the actors - I was especially tickled because I met nearly all of the cast a week earlier at my friend's home. It was an intimate little gathering where they dined, chatted casually and played...Taboo.

Ruined is an amazing play complete with some of the best actors I've seen. And as someone who's seen many plays on Broadway (numbering in the double-digits), I was knocked off my feet by this slick, Off-Broadway production.

Condola Rashad and Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Ruined's Condola Rashad (Sophie) & Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Salima)

If you're into the theatre, this is one you don't want to miss. It's curtain closes on September 6th of this year. There's still time for those of you who are in New York City or intend to visit in the coming days. Purchase your tickets for Ruined here and be a witness to something very beautiful.



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The Sappiness of Fatherhood (Never Been So Whipped in My Life)

Exactly one week ago, my mother called me because my daughter wanted to speak to me. She's still enjoying her summer in Chicago, but wanted to check up on me to see what I was doing...

  • She asked me what I was doing.

  • She sang me a song.

  • She asked me to come see "her" (my old) room at her grandparents' (my parents') house.

  • She sang me a song.

  • She told me she missed me.

  • She told me she loved me.

  • She spelled out the word, L-O-V-E, for me.

  • I burst into tears.

I'm doomed.


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Do You See What I Do See?

E Payne Self Portrait


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7 Tips For Living With the Unemployed

no_job_adamgI was surfing the Net over the weekend and stumbled onto a great article at YourTango.com entitled, "7 Tips for Living With the Unemployed" by Kayda Norman. I found some of the information to be pretty common sense, but common sense sometimes is the sense that escapes us the most. If you or anyone you know is in this situation (unemployed) then maybe this will help.

The economy is supposedly in recovery, but layoffs are still prominent in virtually every industry. Many more people than usual can relate to a phenomenon usually restricted to the over-60 set: living with an unemployed spouse.
While being laid off and entering into retirement are far from the same, they both often leave one half of a couple with extra time on their hands, and plenty of pent-up energy that their significant other, coming home after a long day at work, can't handle.
WSJ.com recently wrote an article that shared a few words of wisdom on how to deal with this situation. Here are a few of their tips, plus some of our own:

1. Be nice to each other and have a positive attitude.

As hard as it may be, try to not be discouraged during the job search, and make sure to support your spouse. If one of you says something negative, the other should try to come back with a positive. And don't forget, compliments can go a long way.

2. Encourage your partner to take up a hobby, get a side job or join a club (as well as continue to look for jobs).

Typically, people work an average of 40 hours a week, eight to nine hours a day. So is it any wonder that someone suddenly unemployed might go crazy with all that free time?

In order to squash the boredom before it begins, encourage your partner to stay as busy as possible. Stay healthy and join a sports team, or learn how to cook (this benefits your spouse as well). Read: Get Your Guy Off the Sofa And Into the Kitchen

Another option is taking up a side job waitressing or working as a sales associate. This will allow your sweetie to interact with other people as well as earn some money. But, of course, new hobbies shouldn't take up the time needed to continue the job hunt.

3. Encourage them to continue their existing friendships and to foster new ones.

As WSJ.com points out, those who recently lost their jobs are sometimes embarrassed and therefore shut out family and friends. They might cling to their partners for support. Tell your wife or husband to talk to their families and friends. They know and love them, and can be a good support system (rather than a support group of one: you).

4. Take up an activity together or plan a trip.

Though it might seem impossible, with money tight already, one couple solved their problem by deciding to travel the world together. Chris Hutchins and Amy Fox calculated that traveling to developing countries was just as cheap as living in San Francisco.


Photo Source: Flickr


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The Cross We Bear

A little while ago a friend sent me the following in an email. At first, I was caught off guard because he's not the religious type. But you don't have to be (or Christian for that matter) in order to get the gist of this. But praise Him all the same.

We complain about the cross we bear but don't realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that we cannot see.

Happy Monday! Make it a great week!


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Wave Ya Cat 'Round In De Air

Max it Up - Destra

Big up Bajan and Trini massive! Cropover time in Barbados has come and gone...I wish I could've been there.

If you happen to be rhythmically inclined, just take out all the lyrics, "Max It Up," and insert, "I hate cats." If not then simply listen along and enjoy the sounds of the southern Caribbean.

As many of you know, in May of 2008 I wrote a post lamenting my wife's inability to part ways with her cat despite the fact that her husband and children all suffer from upper respiratory allergies and the steps required to function in spite of this. Annoyingly, to this day it is the number one all time most popular post on my site for reason's that escape me.

On our doctors' orders we are not to have the cat be in our sleeping areas. It's additionally troubling that every year I get a physical my lung capacity is a little less than it was the year before. And what does the doctor ask me every year?

"Still got that cat?"

To to all the 5', 4" to 6',8" 250 -380 pound, mountain women who wear organic cotton and have no friends, other than the people they work with at cat rescue centers, who have decided, a full year after I wrote I Hate Cats, to attempt to post idiotic comments ALWAYS under the name, "Anonymous" stating they feel sorry for me for hating a cat, or that I and all the commenters who have all been flabbergasted by the desire to put a partner's well-being behind that of a cat, or sending silly pics of cats beating up dogs, or without knowing me and clearly not actually reading the post, missing the comedy in the piece because of their misplaced advocacy, or passing judgment on who I am because my children and I are living under duress due to our poor indoor air quality, I'd like you to imagine two things:

  1. Breathing into a Ziploc bag until you run out of air - this is what constricted breathing feels like and this condition although not brought on by cats is only exacerbated by cat dander and cat fur allergies.
  2. Two simple and very specific words I have for you...hint, the second word is "you."

Despite my "hatred" for cats...

  1. I feed my wife's cat.
  2. I clean up my wife's cat's vomited hairballs.
  3. I clean up when the cat poops outside the litter box.
  4. I change the litter box (something I am under strict orders not to do due to the dust generated by kitty litter)
  5. I change the cat's water daily.
  6. I clean up all the hair weekly and sometimes daily that is everywhere.

My wife does about 50% of the above. Love her, but it's the truth.

If there's anything I hate...

  • I hate the fact that I love my wife so much I won't put my foot down and "get rid" of the cat like everyone with a medical license and a shred of sense says I should, even with all the medication, air purifying plants and the mini-fridge lookin' air purifying machine we have in the house.
  • I hate that I've tried in vain for 2 years to find a loving home for the cat instead of just leaving her at a shelter.
  • And I hate that my wife, from all outward appearances, seems to be okay with this.
I'm just trying to keep it real. Best believe, I have my flaws too.

This is a blog about a man, a dad, and a husband (all the same person) and his family, not cats or dogs, although a cat and a dog can sometimes play a critical role in family as they do in mine. Everyone has their opinions, but c'mon, at least read before adding your two cents.

I imagine that this post will be so flooded with Anonymous hate that I'll have to close the comment section before the weekend is out, just as I have officially closed the comments for the most random post I've written that simply will not die. And lately, it really just makes me wanna holler...

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Happy Friday Folks!

Makes Me Wanna Holler is a 2009 Black Weblog Awards Finalist!

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You There, God?


Three Little Words

Classic Phone I went to pay my cell phone bill the other day and nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the bill. One reason it was high had to do with me forgetting to pay it last month. The next reason after that: there was a $75 charge for internet use on my son's line. Throw in taxes and you've got yourself a nice chunky bill that will help everyone over at Sprint be able to stock up that much more this winter.

I have explicit rules about unsupervised internet use and my son is fully aware of them. The only reason he had Internet access on his phone in the first place was for picture mail. And unless he downloaded $75 worth of photos onto his phone I seriously doubt he was simply using it for that. I choose not to think of the possibilities, although I don't believe they have access where he's vacationing in VA.

I promptly ended his Internet access and called to let him know. Since we haven't spoken in a few days I didn't want to begin with a reprimand. I began by telling him how much I missed him and how I was looking forward to him coming home this weekend. Then I lit into him --- telling him his Internet privileges were kaput, done, outta here. None of this had the effect it probably could've had, you see, I left him a message because he didn't answer when I called.

About twenty minutes later I received a text message from him:

"I'm sorry, Dad." (Dad was capitalized in the text).

I looked at it a couple times. Closed it and opened it again. It continued to read the same way. When in trouble, my son is not the apologizing type. He's the Oh-God-I'm-in-trouble-again-so-I'm-just-going-to-sit-here-with-a-dumb-expression-on-my-face-and-say-nothing-so-my-folks-will-want-to-choke-the-life-out-of-me type (think Homer & Bart Simpson).

But he said/texted "I'm sorry, Dad." I was amazed at how much that took the edge off of my displeasure. It made me wonder what has happened during his stay in Virginia to bring about such a mature gesture on his part.

Or maybe he's just growing up. I responded, "Okay," and paid the bill. I vaguely remember when a phone was simply what is pictured above. Sometimes, I prefer those days.

Image Source: Flickr

Makes Me Wanna Holler is a 2009 Black Weblog Awards Finalist!

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Home Alone, Not Called, And Priceless

Last night, my wife and I parted ways at Newark Airport where she boarded a plane and embarked on a new chapter in her life: Her Executive MBA program down in Atlanta. She's down there for 2 weeks' worth of orientation and classes before she comes home...I believe it is her intention to get her degree and take over the world...or something...

I smiled...happy for her...happy for the space...but came home a bit on the lonely side...before coming home I stopped over at my mother-in-law's where we drank beer and watched HBO.

My son
doesn't call me, EVER...except to tell me he can't send a text message or receive picture mail...

I think back to when I was a kid and try to remember if I did my parents the same way, in my own way, since there were no cell phones back then...

My father spoke
to me this morning to check on me...my daughter overheard and asked to speak to me...she told me she missed me...she told me she loved me...she asked me what I was doing today...she told me she was getting ready to eat breakfast...I told her I loved her back.

I smiled as much as my face would physically allow...

I dug this up from the archives and figured I'd share. It deserves dusting off. After all, this is a blog about family and kids.

Before you leave, if you've haven't yet (and even if you have) please, don't forget to vote for Makes Me Wanna Holler (dot) com. It's a finalist for the 2009 Black Weblong Awards. Click the button below and you'll be taken to the ballot page.


Have a great week! Holler back.

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Beer, Beer And More Beer...Ale Sharpton's on the Rise

It's the weekend, folks and I rarely cater exclusively to my male readers or those who drink beer. The summer is nearly over, but it's still the summer and these are the hot days of August. I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine, a beer writer by the name of Ale Sharpton (of course that's not his real name). You can find his column at J'Adore Magazine. Talk about turning a passion into profit. This guy got his start back in the day writing about 40 oz. malt liquor, if you can believe that. Now he travels the world, drinking exotic beers, experimenting with pairings and writing it all down. I reconnected with him down in Atlanta last week and he gave me a quick clinic on a very tasty beer.

And I don't even like beer.

Presenting, Ale Sharpton:

Happy Friday! Stay tuned next week when I do a little backtracking, rehashing older great posts and presenting new stuff like the soca remix of I HATE CATS.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

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The Look She's Perfected...

The Look She's Perfected...

...because of the things that come out of my mouth.

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Wednesday's Question(s) of the Week: What Matters Most?

I haven't asked a Question of the Week in months. Now is as good a time as ever to throw one out there so without any further procrastination:

Several conversations I had during my weekend stay in Atlanta were about meaning...the meaning of life, what really matters, why do I do what I do, could or should I be doing something else, etc., etc. If this current economy (and all the other daily madness) has had any positive effect on the microcosm, it has been to cause people to stop (be stopped) in their tracks, or at least slow down (be slowed down) a bit, and look inward. On my way back to NYC, I read a cover story in USA Today about how older white males are hurt more by this recession. But it didn't end before showcasing how many of these men are reinventing themselves.

People are going back to school, many people are tapping into their creative talents with a jackhammer (I'm raising my hand, right now), some are looking to be more of service to others, and still more are simply trying to put food on the table and keep their shirts on their backs. If you haven't had one of these conversations I encourage you to indulge in one with your friends, spouses or coworkers. What might begin as a depressing exercise can definitely become enlightening and empowering.

Besides the obvious paycheck...

  • What Matters Most To You?
  • Has This Economy Created New Goals/Priorities For You?
  • If You Want To Make A Change, Are You Doing Anything About It?
  • If You Are A Spouse Or A Parent Are You Conflicted Because of Your Individual Wants?

Answer one, or answer them all. It's up to you. I just hope it gets you thinking and working.

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The Death of Fat Bastardé (pronounced Bas-tar-day)

BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs - Beachwood BBQ - Seal Beach, CA

Roughly four years before my daughter was born a man named Mauricio re-imagined me into a 173 pound superhero. In other words, he worked me out until I reached machine status. I ran up every staircase I encountered without even the slightest increase in my pulse. Push ups, pull ups, curls, crunches, plyometrics --- whatever it was I did what I was told, never complaining, even when I thought I was going to pass out. I was all business. I had no time for silly distractions like iPods. I got my rush from the adrenaline flowing through my bloodstream and my surroundings --- the terrain of Brooklyn's Prospect Park where I trained, the rustle of the wind through the trees. The more healthy I became the more it reflected in my diet. By the fall of 2005 I had eaten so much swordfish I was probably glowing like a Christmas tree. I didn't touch sweets, I was eating 5-6 times a day and always researching the newest latest trends in health food. No one, especially the woman who would become my wife, had any desire to engage in a conversation with me about diet and exercise. When her friends would ask her why she wouldn't work out with me, her answer was simple: "Eric is insane. I can't mess [she used another word] with him." I can't say I disagree. I was completely indoctrinated with Mauricio's, "Your body is your temple" ideology. And I didn't give a damn because I looked like this:

Bahamas, 2005 - Full blown health-psychopath, complete with crooked teeth.

In 2009, I am but a shadow of that man. Better put, that man would get lost in the shadow I cast now. On July 4, 2009, I decided to stand on the scale in my bathroom and stared, dumbfounded when the digital readout displayed "206". I got on the scale again and it redisplayed what I had just seen. I picked it up, checked the battery and did it again. Same thing. I looked at the half-length mirror across the room at myself, still physically bulked, thanks to carrying a 36-pound baby up and down three flights of stairs daily. But my ever-puffing paunch had a slight hang-over, as in hang-over my waist.

"Oh, heyell no!" I said to my reflection, a man I immediately named, Fat Bastardé.

Around this same time, I had been toying around with running with the wife, managing my depression over being unemployed between bowls of Frosted Flakes and hot dogs and french fries. The two times my wife and I went running through the neighborhood, I trailed behind her like those women you see running with their little toy dogs, bless them, they're so cute with their little legs.

I don't have little legs.

Pissed and distraught I had to make a change...FAST! So, I made the following changes, cold turkey:
  1. I finally stopped researching running shoes and finally bought some white, silver and blue Nike Shox. (I'm into silver running shoes. It dates back to my high school days of believing silver shoes made me run faster). My busted silver Pumas could no longer be an excuse for why I wasn't running properly.

  2. Ice cream - gone. Frosted Flakes - gone. Hot dogs - gone. Chips - gone. I pushed all that stuff to the weekend (and even then, I don't have much of a taste for it) and all before 7 in the evening. After 8, I'll only entertain a salad. After 9, I won't eat.

  3. I got back on the fruit and veggies kick and I threw some new stuff into the mix. My most hated, grapefruit. I read several articles touting grapefruit's ability to lower cholesterol, stimulate appetite and aid in weight loss. Ground cinnamon, a spice I only enjoy in extreme moderation, is known to control blood sugar and aid red blood cells' ability to process glucose, among about a billion other things. It sounded good to me so I went for it. I began to snack on broccoli and freshly popped popcorn (no butter) the way I had downed chips and fries.

  4. I could've very easily thrown myself head first into the gym and quit a week or two later. Or I could've paced myself and gotten a big chest and arms to go along with my growing gut. However, I'm not into the bear look so I decided to first build my endurance before I considered doing a push up or curling a dumbbell. I charted out a path in my neighborhood. I don't even know how long it is. All I know is that I'm dead tired by the time I'm done. The first day I really began to run I felt like I was dragging two bowling balls behind me. The next day I ran, I felt like I had a cinder block hanging from my neck. By the end of that week I realized that there were no bowling balls or cinder blocks. It was just me. Neither my mind nor my muscles were prepared to hurtle 206 pounds down the street. I believe wholeheartedly that this is one of the reasons I ended up at the Foot Doctor.

  5. I made one promise to myself: no matter how tired I might get on a run or how tempted I might be by a cupcake, I can never give up. If I can't run the whole way I should walk as quickly as possible, never sitting down, never stopping, never cheating. The cost is not giving up on a diet or and exercise plan. The cost is giving up on myself and as a Man, Dad and Husband I have too much to do and I owe too much to myself, my kids, and my wife to not be in peak condition. My philosophy is simple: control what I can, the rest I can't worry about...but control what I can.

I climbed on the scale this morning, exactly one month after I did last month and the scale told me I was 197.5. I lost 8.5 pounds in 4 weeks, roughly 2 pounds a week. I've got 25 pounds to go, technically 3 more months. But the human body isn't technical, so it'll either happen sooner or later than then depending on what choices I make and stick to. Fat Bastardé is dead. Now, Fatty Von Carcass has taken his place until I figure out a way to defeat him also.

As we men, who are husbands and fathers, drive full speed ahead into middle age, it's our responsibility to keep up the shop for the sake of those who rely on us. I've got a fourteen year-old who's looking to assert his physical superiority over me (that's not happening) and a preschooler who's starting to get her legs under her. I have no intention of having either one of them leaving me winded.

As an African American man who has watched so many members of my family die painful, needless deaths due to disease spawned from poor nutrition, lack of health care, and superstition over doctors, it's even more critical that we get it together and keep it there.

There's always something to Holler about. Even on the good days.

Stay tuned.

Photo Source: Flickr

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Makes Me Wanna Holler: Making The Cut

I'm back from my sightseeing visit to Hotlanta --- it was in the high 80s the entire time I was there and most of the folks I met were relieved that it was cool. (...) I got to connect with old friends, briefly hang out in Buckhead, peruse the National Black Arts Festival and catch a really interesting flick called, Jerusalema, oh and of how could I forget...I watched the debut episode of this season's Housewives of Atlanta in a living room with about 20 people yelling at the television. I'm happy to be back in the Belly of The Beast, otherwise known as NYC, but I do miss the view from 23 stories up, through the floor-to-ceiling windows of my room at the W Midtown. Thank God for rewards points.


Imagine my surprise, when I found out just after midnight that I made the cut! I am a finalist for the 2009 Black Weblog Awards!!! The category I landed was Best Parenting and Family Blog.

What happens now?

There are two votes, one by a panel of judges and one by you, the wonderful readers of Makes Me Wanna Holler. Show your love (or basic appreciation) between now and August 31, by casting your vote, here. Since it's the finals, it's a little more involved than the nomination round.

I have to say I'm happy, because I typically don't get selected for doo-doo. But thank you for all the support! It's because of you, that I'm on this list. It is truly a blessing to be recognized this far.

Keep reading and I hope to have some interesting stuff this week to make you smile, make you thirsty, and maybe make you holler.


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