Friday, August 19, 2011


Recently, a friend hooked me up on a blind date. She had described the man and he too, gave me a concurrent account: dark skinned, 6”4’, low Caesar haircut, and athletically built. My friend also mentioned that he was close to our age. When I met the fellow, I immediately thought forty years old. I would need a telescope to see forty since it’s so far off.

We had a pleasant enough dinner, wherein I discovered he was forty-seven years old. He would be better off dating my mother, I thought, but decided to enjoy the time together anyway until he uttered some deal breaking words. He was recently divorced from his wife of eighteen years, with whom he had four children. Two of his "children" are close to 25, and the youngest is a senior is high school. You know what that means? They talk back. I can’t deal with a man that has grown kids whom I’m more likely to be partying that rocking the step-mommy title.

So folks, this post is inspired by that date, an unexpected bonus. Oh yes, Mr. 47 and I are not going out again. It was an unspoken farewell message in our good night hug.

Without further adieu, part 1 of my deal breaker list (in no particular order):

1. Reggae. If a man despises reggae, we are not going to make it. I need a dub in a club, basement bashment, wave yuh rag kinda man. Someone who enjoys Beres and Sanchez in concert. Listens righteous music, beyond an occasional Bob Marley track and enjoys old school dancehall, not that Vybez Kartel spin me like a satellite dish ting. Chuh. Will do his best to dance the reggae set at a party. Just try is all I'm asking. Stoosh man nuh fuh me.

2. Teeth. If a man’s teeth are different lengths, shapes, colors, or visibly missing, we’re not going to make it. The minute I see that, my face will scrunch up in horror.

3. PDA. I am all touchy feely in public, and if a man doesn't like that, it's okay. There’s some other woman out there for him who will throw anti in front of public displays of attention.

4. Bruk. Sure, being a conservative spender is smart, but a man who complains of thin pockets ALL THE TIME is just more that I can bear. The minute he figures out I have a coin jar to shake out at TD Bank, he’ll want to tap the coffers or mention how much he’d like to take me out but this isn’t a pay week and funds are low so maybe I can pick up the tab this time. Again.

5. Cook. I know men like a woman who can cook, but I like a man who throws down in the kitchen and backyard. Know how to use a barrel? Psh. Major points. And yes, I can cook. In fact, the kitchen is my favorite place in my house, and I love cooking for two with my boo.

Have a few deal breakers to share? Post 'em in the comment section. Part 2 of mine will post next week.

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy Ice

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Some things just don't change, like my Laundromat habits. I was going to write another laundry lunacy story, inspired of course by my new supply of disinfectant spray, which still makes babies and grannies choke and others stare at me with annoyance, but decided to pull a post from the archives. :-)

Since the last laundry post, I switched establishments. The new Laundromat attendant told me I couldn't spray disinfectant in the machines "because the owner said so. It damages the machines." So you know what I did? Sprayed the machine anyway and told her to tell the "owner" that until I see him clean these machines, I need to spray for my own safety. After, she was done coughing, she rolled her eyes and let me wash my clothes in peace.

The post:

A little something I wrote while at the Laundromat. Enjoy ☺

I'm sitting at the Laundromat watching someone's plaid boxers spin in the dryer when one of the owners/workers/whomever goes to retrieve the patron’s now-dried clothes. This broad starts dropping MAD clothes on the floor! Socks, shirts, sheets and drawers! Now, someone just paid 80¢/lb for drop-off service only to receive dirty drawers. The dude that will have to wear those drawers may as well rub his genitals on the floor as far as I'm concerned. Just nasty. She didn't even try to shake some of the dirt off...looked more like she intentionally rubbed the floor with them like it was a dust mop...without the stick!

See folks, my OCD won't allow me to drop-off my clothes, suffering through the incessant megaphone-like chatter of two two broads running this Laundromat.

I spent my hard-earned $3.50 to wash and the damn rinse and spin cycle went berserk so what happened? My frickin' clothes tumbled out soapy!!! I love some Tide but when I saw all my clothes foaming like a bubble bath, I called her over. And guess what? The broad doesn't speak A WORD OF ENGLISH! I'm not against immigrants but c'mon. You want my money and can't provide a English? I just spent $16.25 just to wash and had to break a Jackson just redo an entire load – just for a better rinse. On top of everything else, the broad only understands gestures and guess what? She touched my clothes! See, when you have to gesture people get all touchy-feely. Her clammy hands were just picking crabmeat out her teeth (for real) and what was left over was wiped on that man’s drawers. Ill. Floor dirt and crabmeat; that’s one unlucky dude.

Part II:

I took a break from writing, thinking the saga was over, but no way.

I'm still waiting for my “rinse only” load while others dry. My shopping cart is in the rear, near the washers and my back is turned. Why did this raggedy white dude walk in who look like he could use a tumble in the washer himself? He just smiled but I'm really laughing at him. He was putting is dusty clothes (maybe he was driving in the desert?) in a machine next to mine. I had to hurry up and move my shopping cart before my "need to line dry" clothes was coated with dust like the kid in Charlie Brown. What’s his name anyway?

Part III:

Wait, I really thought this blog was done. The devil is a liar!!!!

This brother looking like a Bob Marley reject walks in with 3 big bags of dutty clothes then disappeared. Remember now, I moved my shopping cart to a safe location to avoid the dust flying from the raggedy white guy. The Bob Marley reject just resurfaced with about 7 more bags! Then presumably, his main woman came in smiling at me with a big bow in her hair like Dorothy. If that wasn't enough, the broad used the stool reserved for short people to add detergent, to turn the tv channel. It's midday and there's no frickin' cable to watch CNN but that doesn’t seem to bother her so she attempts to turn to another station for what? A soap opera. SMH...

Clothes, please hurry up and finish...LMAO

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy Ice

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Claridge Casino, Atlantic City, circa 2006.

My mom, sister, several cousins and myself headed to Atlantic City for a ladies-only day out of food, shopping, and a little bet on black. Cousin Maria went with us. She had never visited Atlantic City, but heard of it but and was fascinated by what she called one arm bandits (slot machines). More impressive to her though, were the food options: she didn't think so many restaurants could exist in one building. She RARELY dined out because she didn't trust other people cooking her food. But that day, she made an exception.

My mother suggested we head to the buffet for lunch and everyone complied except me because I detested food left in the open. She convinced me that the "trick" was to wait at a station until a "fresh batch ah food come out." I did.

When we first arrived however, Cousin Maria loudly said, “Whattah lottah food at dis buffet!” pronouncing the last word like the surname of Warren Buffet instead of "buf-fay." Raucous laughter ensued, but my Cousin Bailey, the family matriarch, was incensed—and embarrassed. In addition to her mispronunciation, Cousin Maria held up the line by arguing with the attendant who neglected to return her change. Loudly she said, "Don’t try fuh pilfah me money!"

Cousin Bailey quickly ushered her to a seat to diffuse the growing spectacle. When we all finally sat down to eat, Cousin Maria said the attendant neglected to give her "her copper change."

"What? One pennie yuh mi di argue 'bout?" Cousin Bailey said. As she spoke, Cousin Maria, who in short order had managed to pile two plates full of food, started wrapping up all her fried chicken and biscuits in napkins. She quickly pulled out some plastic baggies and stuffed corn on the cob, string beans, and mashed potatoes in each of them. Then, taking furtive glances, she stuffed all the items quickly in her large brown purse and zipped it close. We all stared at her. Aghast.

"What are you doing?" Cousin Bailey asked, disgust lacing her voice.

"I don't want di food fuh run out so I wahn save mine fuh later. Look how much people dey pon line. And dem onli big! Look at dem bellie!" Cousin Maria said pointing. "By de time all ah dem come een, di food wahn done off. De sign mi sey all you can eat but ah 'fraid the manager change him mine and limit we. Dey done teef me monie, but dey nuh wahn teef me outta food"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I recently found an old print ad I designed during undergrad; I majored in advertising and graphic design. I was a good designer, but un-noteworthy. I was however, a better writer. I was smart. On design teams, I always volunteered to write copy, something designers hated. Me? I loved it.

During one semester, my classes were centered on creating single-page ads for a myriad of consumer products that ranged from beer to crayons and bread to greeting cards. My favorite, however was hot dogs, which to my dismay, drew the scorn of my professor.

“Who’s work is this?” he asked, pointing to my work on the class critique board. Every student was required to display their work on this board, often scotch taping the corners or push pinning the white border to prevent display damage. My work was pinned with pink pins, which complimented my very green ad.

I raised my hand as high as my right ear. I was proud of my work. Sort of, anyway.

“What was your inspiration for this ad?” he asked. The sneer in his voice made me want to hide.

“Well, my product was franks,” I started. “And, I thought I would try something a little different. You know, funny,” I said smiling. I glanced at my work and wanted to laugh. I thought I was witty, and better yet, my work, hysterically engaging.

“Where would this type of ad run? Out? The Advocate? It certainly discourages me to buy hot dogs. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever eat another based on this ad.”

My classmates started to chuckle. I didn’t think it was bad. Maybe I could design it better, I thought. But, the concept is still good.

“While I’m at it, let me take a seat. This ad also discourages me from standing.”

So rude and pompous. Even though I felt like my professor had unnecessarily raked me over the coals, I miraculously found the nerve to defend my work. “Um, I was actually thinking bigger than gay publications. I think my work is more suiting to a Times Square billboard. You know, since it’s attention grabbing.”

My professor moved on, in disdain, to the rest of my classmates work.


I found the ad on a CD recently, and since it still made me laugh, thought I’d share it with you folks as well. I had to resize it so you can read the text, but figured it could be something else to talk about during your Fourth of July festivities…especially the tag line.

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy Ice

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Though my parents sent me to a tiny, predominantly White parochial school, me, along with most of the "ethnic" students wound up riding the same van, driven by Mr. Poland to school. Incidentally, Mr. Poland was Filipino.

Most of the young kids sat in the front, and although I was only in the third grade, had to sit in the second to last row of the silver four-row van. The latter rows were reserved for the upper classmen of our school—the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Since I was one of the last kids to be dropped off, I forced to sit in the back.

One day, out of rudeness, a twice-left back seventh grader named Shareece took off her shoe and extended her leg along the window’s edge so I could see her dirty, blackened foot. And smell them. I was two minutes away from home, and was hoping she would not harass me that day as she often had. Apparently not. As tears hot, silent tears started streaming down my cherubic face, all the upper classmen, including Shareece started to laugh. Loudly.

As I exited the van, I saw my mother waiting for me. She took one look at me and started yelling.

"Whey di azz yuh de cry fah?" Though her tone was gruff, I knew she wasn't upset with me; she was concerned...and probably panicked.

As I started telling her the story, Mr. Poland was getting ready to close the door and drive off.

"Just you wait a minute," my mother said to Mr. Poland and stepped closer to the van. She had code-switched to standard American English so he could understand her.

"What kind of van service are you running where my child gets bullied on her way home?"

I could see Shareece glaring at me. I almost wished my mother had not said anything.

Turning crimson, Mr. Poland apologized, stating he couldn't see what was happening in the back but would move my seat closer to the front the next day. Thinking that was resolution enough, he made a move to close the door, only my mother stopped him. She climbed in the van, then turned to me and asked me to point out Shareece. I was mortified, but not idiotic, so I complied.

Shareece adjusted her two long cornrows in front on her shoulders. Despite her attempt to be cool, nervous was visibly taking over.

"Now you look here, Ms. Shareece." My mother had sneered the word miss, so I knew Shareece was about to get it. Good.

Shareece looked.

"The next time you take off you stinking foot and shove it eena me chile face, I'll climb into the back of this van and shove my foot right in your face.
A hot, sweaty foot that was in nursing shoes all day. Then tell me how funny it is."

My mom climbed out backwards, her eyes never leaving Shareece's face. After she slammed the door, we stood there until we could no longer see the van. Then my mom turned to me and said, “Don’t you ever be a dummy again and let someone disrespect you like that. If I find out that happens again, I’ll be out here with a belt.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My cousin, whom we refer to as Auntie Bailey, is the family matriarch. She has a very elderly 100+ pound dying dog named Chestnut that has been dying for the last year. Because she loves Chestnut so much, Auntie Bailey has committed her retired life to making Chestnut “comfortable” instead of traveling the world, playing Bingo, and going to Mohegan Sun like most of her friends. The issue now is that there is a family trip coming up and everyone wants her to attend. Her reply? Tentative. She doesn’t want to leave Chestnut alone, and putting him in a dog kennel in not an option. And apparently, Cousin Maria is out of the picture as well; she used to be Chestnut’s babysitter.

“Jesus! Lawd have mercy! Ooh, not ah’tall. Not me. Not this time,” Cousin Maria started.

“What are you talking about?” I asked. Her outburst seemed odd since we were talking about buying food in bulk from a local wholesaler.

“Auntie Baily middi buy food di oddah day fuh Chestnut.”

“Okay,” I said, trying to follow the exchange. Cousin Maria was a mid-conversation topic switcher.

“You know di dog soon dead. Talking about food reminded me di dog sick bad. Ah nuh wahn watch him!"

“Did Auntie Bailey ask you to watch Chestnut? I mean, if you did, you would miss the family trip,” I reminded her.

“Yuh nuh di listen? Me juss sey no. I middi clarify dat fuh yuh.”

Did she forget I didn’t inquire?
I wondered. “Who are you, the Canine Reaper?”

“What? Ah who dat?”

“Never mind.”

“All ah di sey is this: Di minute Auntie Bailey travel an' me come ova, dat dog wahn dead. Just like dat. Blam, blam! Chestnut juss di wait fuh she go whey and leave him. He nuh wahn die in frontah she. So me minding ah dying dog? I wouldn’t know what to do, who fuh cyall. I might just run outta di house an’ leff him dey dead!”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


My friend and Melanie and shared the same birthday. One year, she was gung-ho about a dual dinner; I wasn’t. A few days passed, and as we talked about it more, I slowly warmed up to the idea and started looking forward to a festive night with friends until she called with the worst idea ever. She had recently experienced another dating disaster and was subsequently ready to swear off men. Frustrated, she said that she didn’t want men to be a part of her life then added that our birthday evening would be better spent with only our respective nearest and dearest girlfriends.

Immediately, I was incensed, mentally hurling every epithet I could think of at her. What were we doing every other time we went to dinner, brunch, hosted holiday parties or slumber parties to console another girlfriend after a breakup? I thought. Wasn’t that enough girlfriend time? She was bugging! We had gone from a potentially pleasant dinner with the usual male and female friends to an estrogen-atrocity. As she rambled on about restaurants and more reasons to despise men, my mind wandered to the dependency some women felt on each other, whining about their lack of dates, hypothesizing on what men were doing or thinking, and simply wasting good ‘flirt-with-man’ time on conversations with each other. Charlie Brown syndrome took over as she continued and mentally, I compiled snippets of previous discussions which wound up sounding something like this:

“How long has it been since he called?”

“Over a week. Things were going well between us and he just seemed to disappear.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what’s going on. He’s seeing someone else. Probably some broad that he just met that’s willing to give up the booty just because the brother has a nice house, a good job, a few dollars, and a Range Rover. See, women like that? Uh, don’t get me started. They make things so easy…opening and closing their legs like a refrigerator! Then, when someone good comes along like me, dude is so jaded and jacked up in his thoughts he don’t even recognize a real self-respecting, saved and sanctified woman like myself. I mean, I’ll engage in a little petting on the side you know, but a man can’t just run up in me after three dates. Brotha, please. I don’t even know your middle name.”

“I know you’re trying to be helpful but this conversation is taking a different direction. I don’t want to male-bash and you’re starting to relive some stuff with your ex so…”

Interrupting and undeterred my friend would continue, not acknowledging my statements.

“Yup, that’s exactly it! Should have known! He has someone else. Probably some project biddie with a slew of kids waiting to be rescued and there he is–accepting a sub-par woman because he’s too afraid to step to an educated, intelligent, career-minded, independent, fine sister. So what does he do? Call that ghetto bunny his girlfriend because he can buy her some Similac, sneakers, and a used Subaru and she’ll do anything he wants. You know what I call those men? Suckas! Suckas, I say! What’s the name of the guy you went out with again? Oh it doesn’t matter. In the happenstance that he’s not seeing the ghetto girl, he definitely chasing one of those high faultin’ glamour girls who’s looking for a man to impregnate her so she can sit her Louis Vuitton ass at home, practically tethering him to her because she has his baby. You know what, you don’t even need a man! You should just be grateful that you have good girlfriends like me to school you.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


My first dance partner was my mother. I was a chunky rhythm-less child and my mother had missed her calling on Solid Gold, left to practice her fancy footwork in the living room, and oftentimes dropping to the floor in a bounce then coming up back up for a quick spin and snap her slender fingers while saying, “Whoo!” She was hot. My mother was also patient, holding my hand in an attempt to spin me around, which to her demise, only made me dizzy. I couldn’t keep up, barely able to snap my short, pudgy fingers to the beat.


Right before I turned ten years old, my classmates and I were scheduled to perform on-stage in the school auditorium. It was supposed to be a talent show at our parochial school, a showcase of entertainment skill for our peers, parents, teachers. Somehow at my predominately White school, the only other Black girls in the third grade—Brenda, the fat one and Alisha, the scrawny one—and I became a lip-synching dance team. Our song of choice was a throwback sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Brenda said she had the record, and since we all lived nearby, we practiced our two step until it was flawless. For once, the prospect of dancing didn’t terrify me.

On the day of the talent show, Brenda announced that she couldn’t find the record. I wanted to slap the Jheri curl juice dripping from her short Afro, but instead, pleaded with my mother to lend us a record from her collection, which was also the only one we sort of knew all the words to. After much trepidation, she allowed me to borrow it.

We went on stage, wearing seventies-styled pink-with-a-black poodle skirt my mother had made for us, which would have been apropos to our original song. Looking out, I saw mostly White faces starting back, waiting for us to entertain. I nodded to the DJ, our third grade teacher, who scratched to record before playing it. For fifteen seconds, only the beat of our new song blared, then Rick James started singing, “She’s a very kinky girl…the kind you don’t take home to motha!” At the end of our “Super Freak” performance, my mother was the only person who clapped, then yelled, “Encore!”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011



During my senior year in high school, the graduating class went skiing and eventually after a long day of tumbling down the slopes, we headed straight for the pool. I loved my leopard print bathing suit that I knew no one else would be wearing because I had ordered it from a Brazilian catalog–one of very few that was not a thong. While I was certain to be a banging babe in it, there was the matter of my feet. I couldn’t let the entire senior class– including all the cuties–see how busted my bunion-laden feet were.

My friend-roommates all headed to the pool while I lagged behind. “Go ahead, I’ll meet you there in a minute,” I said, trying to stall and figure out how to get in the water without anyone noticing my feet. Putting on my white scrunchy socks and pair of high top Reeboks, I left the hotel room armed with a camera and a white over-sized Ralph “Polo” Lauren teddy bear towel.

Once poolside, I goofed around, taking pictures and sipped on sodas for a long while. Eventually, my friends beckoned me to jump in.

“I can’t swim,” I offered up in a meek protest.

“The pool is all of five feet. You’re almost a foot taller. Quit playing.”
“You know I can’t mess up my hair. I just got it permed and the chlorine water….shoo. I don’t even want to think of the damage that will cause,” I said, even though I was wearing a swim cap. “Water can still seep in.”

“Really? You’re going to sit sideline? That’s whack.”

Another senior jumped out of the water and threatened to push me in if I didn’t comply. Damn friends, I thought. Slowly, I dropped all my stuff and painstakingly took off my sneakers at the pool’s edge. Thankfully, I was hit with an epiphany and jumped in with a big splash– with the white scrunchy socks on.

“Why are you wearing socks in the pool?” someone asked.

Heads turned in my directions and some even chuckled.

“I don’t know what kind of germs are on the pool floor. It could be all kinds of foot fungus so I’ll just pass up on that,” I said.

“Lemme find out your feet are busted,” someone yelled.

“Take it off, take it off, take it off,” a small group chanted. And I did. Then my hair got wet once the swim cap floated away but the socks were imaginarily cemented on. In every poolside picture of my high school senior ski trip, I’m wearing wet white socks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


During my freshman year in high school, I had a crush on Tremaine, a senior. We were in French II class together; I had spent several years studying the romantic language at my Catholic elementary school, and was able to jump to a higher level.

Hoping Tremaine would notice me, I went to school one day in one of my best outfits: a paisley print button down shirt with shoulder pads that I had pilfered from my mother’s closet, khaki pants, white Nike sneakers, and mismatched socks.

I sat behind Tremaine in class, and in an attempt to get his attention, I kept raising my hand to answer questions. Midway through class, he turned around and looked at me from head to toe with a smirk on his face.

“Hi,” I said, smiling shyly at him. My fingers were itching to run through is mini curly Afro. Whatever sheen he used had his hair glistening.

“There’s something that’s been on my mind since you walked in. I can’t even concentrate today…” Tremaine said.

My smile faded slightly. That was not the comment I had hoped for, yet I said, “What’s that?” Hopefully he wants me to be his tutor, I thought while holding my breath in anticipation of his ask.

“What made you decide to put on two different color socks today? That look is so played out.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This story is an excerpt from a larger work, but decided to post for Anecdote Tuesday since Cousin Maria made an appearance. :-)

Thanksgiving dinner was usually at my mother’s house and one year I found myself practically falling asleep post-dinner, succumbing to the itis. I walked into my bedroom; my absence was unnoticed by my family since they were engrossed in round two of turkey dinners, pecan pie, and pina coladas. Two minutes later I emerged wearing a sweat suit. Immediately, my cousin Leah started laughing hysterically and asked, pointing to my ensemble, “What is that you’re wearing?”

“What? My sweat suit?” I asked, surprised.

“You’re ridiculous. I can’t believe you’re going to the gym on Thanksgiving.” Before I could respond, Cousin Leah continued, “If anyone should be going, it’s me. Relax yourself because those fitness instructors are out eating turkey too.”

While she had a point regarding the gym, Leah was also five feet two inches and two hundred pounds. Since she had misconstrued my sweat suit intention, I made an attempt to clarify the situation, saying, “Hello! I’m not working out. I’m getting ready for bed.”

Raucous laughter from my other cousins ensued, encouraging Cousin Leah to continue. “In that? You’ll sweat to death!” she said in between gasps for air.

“Excuse you. I happen to get cold at night,” I explained. “And since it’s almost 10 PM—my usual bedtime—my body is ready to feel the warmth of the sweat suit.”

“You don’t have a comforter?” Cousin Leah asked.

“I’m anemic,” I defended. “My doctor said so.”

“If you’re still cold wearing that sauna suit, I’d say you’re sick. It’s a wonder you didn’t melt away yet.”

Soon after, my mother joined the impromptu roast on my behalf adding, “She sleeps in that outfit every night—with the hood on her head. I keep telling her that when she gets married, she can’t sleep like that. She’ll have to wear a little teddy.”

“Or nothing!” Cousin Marie squealed, simultaneously getting up to high-five my mother and other cousins. “Me nevah wear nothing ahtall ahtall to bed wid me husband and we me have plenty fun, gyal!” she added.

“First of all, this is an inappropriate conversation, especially on a holiday like this. My virgin ears are bleeding,” I said.

“Gyal, bedroom talk is nevah inappropriate. We di try give yuh some tips to tantalize di mahn, but yuh di talk foolishness ‘bout virgin,” Cousin Maria said. “I mean fuh sey, how old dey now? Yuh nevah been wid ah mahn yet?”

I was mortified.

Chiming in, Cousin Leah added, “We are all family giving you advice. Good advice. I’m listening too,” she said winking.

“Second,” I continued, ignoring them, “No one uses the word ‘teddy’ anymore Mommy. That’s so old school.”

“You knew what it meant, didn’t you?” my mother countered laughing.

Undeterred, I said, “I have no intentions of going to bed naked when I’m married. While you all are running around in silky negligees—and let me tell you silk doesn’t breathe as well as cotton—or just naked, my husband will have to find me within the folds of the sweat suit.” I laughed at my own wit, proud to defend the sweat suit and happy that I’d cleverly come up with the latter part to support my statements.

“Find you? No man has time to find you when he wants nookie at night. Keep that up and you’ll get divorced quickly!” my mother said.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


By now, I'm certain you believe I only see Cousin Maria at backyard cookouts, but, there was this one time my family drove to a beach in Long Island…


Even though it was midday on a sweltering Saturday, things were going well. My family had secured three picnic tables covered with food and drinks, and any grub that wasn’t on the table was still sizzling on the grill, which Cousin Maria manned. The peas and rice and was in the cooler to prevent it from spoiling. Someone had brought a super size radio that needed eight D-batteries so we could all jam out. It was turning out to be a good day—until it was time to go swimming.


"Psst," Cousin Leah said, beckoning me over. "You see anything on my pants?"

"No. Why?" I said.

"My friend came unexpectedly and I don't have anything," she said, stressing friend and anything to let me know it was that time of the month. She had asked the other women in our family for sanitary supplies, but no one had any with them. Except Cousin Maria.

Since Cousin Maria apparently had bionic hearing while manning the grill, she overheard the exchange between Cousin Leah and I.

"Whey wrong wid yuh?!" Cousin Maria shouted, bringing unnecessary attention to herself. She was completely sober. "Yuh neveah even ask mi! Oonu treat me like strangah!"

Embarrassed and exasperated, Cousin Maria and made the request.

"Hmphf, I shouldn't give yuh anyting ahtall ahtall, but wait," Cousin Maria said. She had left her grill station, with Cousin Leah and myself in tow, to rifle through her bag.

Looking quizzically at the bundled up beige polyester cloth Cousin Maria proffered, Cousin Leah said, "What do you want me to do with this?"

"Yuh crazy or what? It's ah pad and ah panty. Me walk wid dem eena mi pocketbook every single day! You nevah know when somebodie wahn have ah accident."

NOTE TO MEN: Most women do not carry drawers and sanitary supplies daily.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


At every family event, I arrived with my big-mini paparazzi camera, which most of my kin detested until Cousin Maria announced that she was traveling to Belize for the holidays. Our other cousins there wanted to see current pictures of “di fahmly eena di States,” because it had been over a decade since we last saw each other. Putting their annoyance aside, my stateside family smiled slightly, and for once, I was capturing more than palms.

”Whey yuh di snap dey evalastin’?” Cousin Maria asked, pushing back errant strands of her salt and pepper wavy hair that escaped from her taut ponytail. Without waiting for my response, Cousin Maria said, “Mekka see.”

I handed her my camera and showed her how to scroll through the current images as well as the ones I had forgotten to delete from our holiday and backyard gatherings. The more family fetes Cousin Maria saw, the more her smile faded away. After looking at four events, she had turned completely sullen.

"What's wrong?" I asked, concerned.

"Dis," she started, pointing to herself and leaving her fingerprint on my camera's screen. "In every picture me di wear the same shirt."

I looked. She was right—and she was wearing the same black and white stripe shirt that day.

"It's alright, we're family," I said, trying to comfort her.

"No! Everybodie have on ah nice pretty frock or press-up dungarees and me one have on ole clothes. Even mi shoes dem look mashup eena di pictcha and now dey have a hole," she said showing me.

I looked. Two of her toes peeked out.

As Cousin Maria’s brows furrowed and her big brown eyes started to water, she picked up her bag to leave and announced, "Me wahn juss stop come out." And at that, she was gone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


With much groveling, I had convinced my parents to allow me to attend a public high school instead of the all girl-girl Catholic school I had been accepted to on an academic scholarship.

At my mother's insistence, I had signed up for keyboarding class, electing to sit next to a girl who warmly smiled and waved me over. As soon as I sat down and squeezed my new five-subject spiral notebook and pens into the tight space between our archaic typewriters, the girl scooted her chair closer to me, then tossed her knapsack on her thighs.

"Yo girl," she said, startling me.

She doesn't seem so friendly anymore, I thought.

"Hi," I mumbled feebly.

"Look over here," she said pointing to her lap.

I looked at what seemed to be dirt in a plastic bag. "What is that?” I whispered.




"Dirt?" I asked in response. At fourteen, I had never heard that word nor seen weed.

"No," she hissed. "Weed. To smoke." She rolled her eyes, taxed that she had to even explain what it was.

I looked again and a light bulb went off in my head. "Reefah? I said, my Belizean accent automatically changing the "er" to "ah." I had only heard my mother mention reefah when referring to wayward, often ostracized family members.

"What?" The girl snapped.

"Reefah. That's what that is, nuh? Drugs?"

"No one says reefer anymore, and it's not really drugs. Just a little something to mellow you out," she explained, once again smiling.

I was rooted to my chair in fear of being labeled a drug-user, or worse, expelled. My public school experience was turning out to be nightmare. Maybe I should go back to Catholic school where it is safe, I mused in my naiveté.

"Here, try it," the girl said, offering me a smaller baggie. "I'll give you a free sample and tomorrow you can buy some from me."

"Um, well, my parents wouldn't want me to have it in the house so..."

"Smoke it in your bathroom when they're not home and spray some air freshener. You do know how to smoke, right?"

I avoided her question, instead saying, "Well, I...I won't have any money tomorrow. I think I'll pass, but thank you for offering," I said cordially.

She looked at me with disgust and started pitching the other student to the left of her. In an attempt to be helpful, I interrupted the girl’s presentation and showed her a sign that read, Say No to Drugs.

She glared at me then scooted her chair further away.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


At 28, I was still unmarried, which was akin to cardinal sin in my Belizean family.

During another family cookout, my mother decided it was apropos to roast me in front of everyone, loudly proclaiming and complaining that, "After giving birth to five pickney, all me have is one grandchile."

Like grandchildren are items someone can pick up in the grocery store, I thought.

Glancing at me, she shook her head and walked away dismayed. I was her eldest child and by her standards, should have been wedded, bedded, and made a couple babies by now.

Feeling sorry for me, my cousin, Maria, sidled up next to me, gently taking one of my hands into her two clammy ones.

"Gyal," she began in her heavy Belizean dialect. "Whey di tek suh long?" she asked of my seemingly perennial singledom.

"I don know...I want to meet the person I’m supposed to be with and love forever. There's this one guy I kinda like, but..."

Cousin Maria interrupted me, sucking her teeth. "Love? Yuh di fool 'rung, gyal! Yuh mussee di wait fuh di perfeck mahn, but mekka tell yuh something: He nuh exist! Dat is di problem wid oonu young people today; oonu want nice nice all di time."

"Maria, you’re missing the point. I'm not asking for perfection, just someone who is compatible with me emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially..."

She interjected. "Gyal! Dat is too much! Di mahn yuh like--he fat? He black? He bruk?"

"Well, he's kinda dark and thick..."

"Lookyah, none of it matters," Cousin Maria said, caressing my hand in comfort. The clamminess was irking me.
"When yuh get eena di bed and di lights off, he can be any mahn yuh want him fuh be. 'Membah dat," she said winking, then walked off.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



Two kids are playing in a pool—a toddler girl and boy. The little girl looks between the boy's legs then asks, "Can I touch that?"

The little boy replies, "No, you already pulled yours off."


My cousin, Maria, who was born in Belize, but has spent half of her forty-three years of life living in the United States, only recently heard of the letter 'z'. Until 1981, Belize was called British Honduras and accordingly, people—including Maria—learned to spelled words the European way like color instead of colour and theatre instead of theater.

During a family backyard cookout last July, my precocious nine-year old niece,Kate, started spelling all the words she knew that started with the last letter of the alphabet. Hearing her, Maria turned to my sister, Kate’s mother, and asked in her distinctive Belizean dialect, “Ah whey she di sey dey?”

"What?" my sister queried, clearly confused.

"What was di fuss lettah di chile mi sey juss now when she middi spell zebra?" Maria replied, pointing at my niece.

"Z," my sister said.

"Z? Ah whey dat? I nevah hear ’bout dat before.”

Raucous laughter erupted from my mother, siblings, and cousins who had all paused with their pina coladas in hand to listen to the exchange. When everyone settled down, my sister turned to Maria again and said, "After being in this country over two decades, how is it you have never heard of the letter 'z'?"

"Me don't know. Me always said zed. Like zoo woulda be zed-o-o."

Got a joke or funny anecdote? Holler! BTW, today's joke was the courtesy of Tiger. :-)

Later Lovelies,
-Betsy Ice

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

HELLO 2011

Hello there! Happy New Year four days in, Lovelies!

I know…so long. Sooo long, but I’m back now.

2010 was an amazing year. Sure, I had a modicum of setbacks, but overall, my 365 days felt like one big happy adventure filled with family, friends, several passport stamps, fun-filled follies, and lots of self-awareness. Before the year ended, I thought about the people that brought me the most happiness and pleasure as well as those that provided serious stress, grief, and heartache. I mentally thanked every single one of them for the life lesson s/he provided.

I’ve already had my share of prima donnas and princes on poor behavior a few days into 2011, but no more! This is another great year in the making and allowing triangles in the player’s circle causes chaos. Folks, clear you life from bedlam in the form of people and things. Go for realistic goals and surround yourself with people that have something intellectually, spiritually, socially, financially, and/or emotionally to offer. To get started, here are a few tips to a happy, healthy, prosperous, and cheerful new year:

1. Set realistic goals
– Folks always want to lose weight. If you gained thirty pounds in the course one year, you’re probably not going to lose it all in one month. And if you didn’t have a baby, how did you gain all that weight anyway? Don’t tell me love! “Oh, girl, I loves my man and cooks for him all the time. That’s how I got fat.” No, you got fat because you went to the Chinese spot and ordered four chicken wings with pork fried rice and lo mein three times per week. Two other days you went to Crown Fried Chicken to buy buffalo chicken wings; one night you cooked a pasta dish and ate a pint of ice cream as dessert; to end the week, you went to Ak to get the “good hero” with all the works. That’s how you got fat. Instead of trying to lose thirty pounds, try losing five per month. Once you cut down on Kum Kau, you’ll drop a few pounds and save a few dollars in the process.

2. Be a better entrepreneur – Your business is successful when you can show a real profit, not one floating in your head. Make better decisions regarding your business. Whether it’s a side hustle or full time gig, make sure you’re paid—on time. Pro bono is great if you agree to it upfront, but there is no reason why one year later (and then some) you should be waiting for your client to pay you. Whether your client is new business relationship, friend, or family member, ask for 50% of your fees up front. If the person doesn’t agree, move on. The next person will.

3. Do something crazy – Yup, I said it. Whatever it is you want to do may seem crazy, but it probably isn’t. Pole dancing? Not crazy at all. Actually, it’s a lot of frickin’ work and I popped an almost new brand pair of stilettos trying to swing on the pole. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. You should. I had a blast and even have pictures to show. Other not so crazy things: Go on vacation solo. Write a love letter. Send an apology letter to a friend you know you hurt. Run a half marathon. Give away last season’s Manolo’s, Choo’s, or Todd’s. I’m a size 10 folks!

4. Share
– Give your time, energy, and knowledge via volunteering or helping a family/friend build their strategic plan.

5. Help Betsy
– Post comments. All the time. Even if it’s a one-liner and forward the link to your friends. I’m doing big things this year and it would help me immensely to know that folks are out there reading and liking the blog. And if you don’t, that’ okay too; just post a comment telling me why. I’m a reasonable human being and amenable to your suggestions. Grrr. Tiger, that growl was for you :-)

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy Ice
(Yes, I dropped the “Baller” this year)