Category Archives: music

Life of the party

OK so one more shameless plug. My kid and his friends created a band. I drove him back and forth to the studio not really paying mind to what they were doing. Then he played me their first song the other night and I was like “whaaaat?”

When I was 15, I was drinking MadDog, trying to sneak into night clubs and MTVs Spring Break at Club LaVela. I must certainly was not in the studio creating original mixes, my own company and holding business meetings every Monday at 7pm. Yes, they do this. I’m very proud and totally stan GenZ.

They are what GenX could have been, had our parents known where we were and cultivated our brains. So anyway take a listen I promise it’s not some horrible song only a mother could love. It’s a banger! Let me know what yall think and if you like it, go support these kids on their Instagram at @officialbalancedonesmusic and on SoundCloud, Tik, Tok and YouTube by clicking the icon below. Thanks guys!

Cats In The Cradle

catsThis is a hard one to write. Today was my son’s well check up at his pediatrician. We’ve been with her since he was born 12 years ago and the visit seemed normal enough. He’s grown 5 inches since she last saw him and we just have to keep an eye on his snacking habits. Usual stuff. Now that he’s older they do have a moment where they ask Mom to leave the room so the doctor can ask him some private questions and get honest answers. Things like, are you doing drugs,drinking, having sex etc. I know the drill so I walked outside and leaned on the wall smiling as newborn babies were being carried by new mama’s in the hallway. I looked at them and thought that it was not long ago my boy was in my arms and now hes 12 and 5”2. By the end of the year he may be taller than me.

After a few minutes the doctor called me back in and said, “Everything is great Mom, you know that the answers he gave me are confidential but you can talk to him about that. However, I wanted to talk to you about how he’s feeling. He said he was sad and feeling depressed daily, and that he tried to reach out to the guidance counselor at school. He feels sad about the situation with his father and that he feels like he has no friends at school” I remember putting my arm around his shoulder and rubbing his back, i know exactly how he was feeling and I remember thinking that he was brave for mentioning it to the doctor. She gave me a few suggestions for a plan to help him and left the room to get someone to draw is blood for his routine bloodwork.

As she closed the door I reached over to him and gave him a big hug. I asked him if he felt like it was getting worse?- his sadness. He said yes. I then asked if he had a pie chart, could he tell me based on the slices what his biggest concerns are. (For those that do not know my son, he is a mathematical thinker so we often speak on percentages and sliding scales) he thought for a second and said its an “80/20  split”.

And i said ok so just 2 problems that make you said daily?”

Yes, he said.

“So tell me what is the 80/20?”. He replied with “80% my dad not calling me back or answering my calls and 20% are the kids at school being mean.”

And i sat there silent, seething, rage boiling in my stomach. After all what could i do about either situation? My instinct was to protect and my visceral reaction was to go for blood. He noticed the color in my face and asked if i was angry and I told him that No, not at him, just at the situation. He made a joke in his usual fashion and we laughed for a brief moment. The doc came back in and gave us an action plan and we left.

As we got into the car. I said to him “Buddy, I’m really proud of you. It’s hard for a 40-year-old to be honest and you are doing it at 12. How else can I help you?” He mentioned talking to the counselor and then in a very grown up way said “There’s nothing you can do, this is not your fault and Im used to it by now, I didn’t want you to worry”

I will admit it was at this moment that i felt a pang in my heart. A pain that I imagine is reserved for parents in  way that is indescribable. A hopeless feeling. A moment of overwhelming stress. We are his parents we are here to protect him, to nurture him, and I can do nothing about this pain. It is something neither of us asked for, deserved or anticipated. I cannot force his father to show up. I cannot force him to answer his phone. I cannot force him to be consistent. All i could say to my child, who was hurting was that “Im sorry. And I know your father loves you, but right now he just cant be his best and its ok to be mad” We were at a stoplight and the car was silent, when i looked at him and said “I’ll tell you what. How about for the car ride home you can pretend im your dad and you can say anything you want to say. Ill even give you permission to cuss, yell, scream and get angry. You can cry, you can say nice things. And i wont say anything at all. And you wont get grounded because this is a safe place. And when you are done and want Mommy back. Just tap me on my hand.”

He hesitated and said something then tapped me on my hand. I said, well that was quick, do you feel better? do you have anymore to say? And he did. Boy did he ever. He finished by saying that he didn’t want to cuss (he didnt) but that if he could say these things to his face he would.

I ended up pulling over to take him to dinner at a restaurant. The kid deserved it. I took him to the grocery store and bought him a slice of lemon cake. We can work on the snacking part tomorrow. Today calls for comfort. We walked in the house and i turned on the NBA game for him and he’s smiling. Before he got settled in i said to him “Buddy, I know i cant make it stop hurting but I will make you a promise. I will be there for you and love you until my last breath. I will always be here and to if you need more, just tell me. Let me know if im not living up to it. Because you need a constant in your life and if i have to do the job of 2 people I will. Now im gonna fail sometimes, just so you know, im human. But i promise this” and i held out my pinky and we pinky promised. And i don’t know what tomorrow will bring but i know we will do this together. He and I.

And his father may never see this but this is all I have to say:

……I’ve long since retired, and my son’s moved away

I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
We’re gonna have a good time then.”


Confessions of an A-hole

sarcasm So I think every now and then you have to sit back and take an honest assessment of self. Like you know ask the real tough questions you know need to be asked and answered but you avoid and watch YouTube videos about cats instead. They may range from “Can i really pull off faux leather leggings to Should I be worried that I find it better to sit at home then having to interact with people?”

It’s no secret I’m a single mom- duh that’s the name of the blog. And my friends will affectionately joke that “I get sick of people sometimes” – and to clarify I have had most of my friends for over 20 years so my sickness of people really just applies to newbies. Ive been officially single since 2013 and life is good now. My son and I have a groove, a routine. We know when the other needs a little space. We get along great. He’s the perfect roommate lol except he doesn’t pay bills and I have to feed him, clothe him and nurture him.

I often express that I am worried that the more I live alone and get used to being alone that I may not be any good as a mate. Ive grown used to doing what I want when I want. Ive developed and interesting new tic- called Honesty. And its the type of Honesty sprinkled with a dash of humor and a little color. For example, instead of saying “Hey maybe you should take this breath mint?” I tend to say things like “Hey eat this breath mint, its smells like death all up in there” or instead of “that person is getting on my nerves” i say “Every time she speaks i want to commit a crime”. I also tend to pepper in under breath comments when people say stupid things. Its not that I’m mean, its that I have a very low tolerance for B.S and I literally tend to just say whats on my mind. Its like there is very little filter left and that concerns me.  I feel that living alone, and the longer I live alone the stronger my Assholiness gets.

I find that the older I get I just kinda say whats on my mind and I am numb the reactions around me. Now don’t get me wrong I wont put people down or be mean about body, race, religion, sexual orientation or important things like that. No, mine are more comments under the breath to people who’s elevator doesn’t reach the top and make me wonder how they mange to survive this long. See? I just did it.

That being said, I need to learn to adult or be more feminine or soft or some shit like that. I need to use “Bless her heart” and leave it at that, not follow it with “Bless her heart, her mama must have drank through her entire pregnancy” I need someone to follow me around with a Red light and just as I am about to push that person over the imaginary cliff- it needs to light up and be like “Stop it right there” I feel like at 36 I am taking my 86 year old lady liberties too early. I always said i was going to be the old lady that didn’t give a shit, I just didn’t think that my day would come so early.

So it brings me back to my main concern. Do I lack the people skills to effectively communicate with another human being without an eye roll or my acerbic wit shining bright like a diamond?

What made me think of this you ask? Well, let me tell you. I downloaded a new dating app called Bumble. I found a match and he liked me so we began chatting. This is a big deal because literally the dating situation is so dire and desolate that I’m starting to feel like that town in Russia where the nuclear plant exploded. What was that place? Oh yeah Chernobyl. My dating life is like effing Chernobyl. Anyway this morning Mr. Kayak (what i will refer to him based on my fav pic) asked for my number. Sweeeet! This is progress. Of course you can have my number Mr. Kayak… doot doot doot. (Thats the sound of me sending him my number….play along) Anyway he sends the Hey text, i Heeeey back. he answers back that He’s just hanging out on the couch. I say something along the line of “oooh lucky, I’m stuck at work” Now before I tell you how the conversation hit shit town from this- I will say that I have been SO SO careful when responding to any questions and holding myself back from my sarcasm because it does not translate well to a stranger or over text. I need you guys to understand that every response was read over and over before I hit send. I also need to remind my new readers who do not know me in real life that I tend to weed through bull crap really fast and one of my favorite things is to call people out when they are being inappropriate or condescending. Its a sport really. Another thing about me is that I have been so badly hurt in the past that I am pretty guarded as far as letting people occupy the space that is my heart. Add to the fact that I’m a single mom who wants to make sure I make the right choice for me and my child and my propensity for B.S is literally at a negative. That being said you must understand that I am literally walking around guns loaded, scared shitless and using my sarcasm to fill in the gaps where I don’t know what to say.

So back to how I ruined the chances with Mr. Kayak by the third text. Back to the couch text right? “Oooh how lucky blah blah blah” to which he responds “You could curl up to me” to which I give an eye roll so big that it could have literally caused a Tsunami that messed up Eco systems for years to come. Corny as hell right? I also then have like forty-leven red flags (or the crazies) pop up and go- ugh I know where this convo is gonna go- cue the d!&* pics and some stupid sexual innuendo. So i wait, slightly annoyed (poor guy does not know what is coming) And I playfully respond with the this meme0cb50b50f5171b37d36c01cffcc98253.jpgfollowed by “How about I learn your last name or basic info before we go straight to couch cuddles.” Followed by LOL Because Lol makes it OK right? Its like a text band aid  right? “Your mothers a whore!” is insulting but “Your mothers a whore LOL!” is OK right? OK maybe not. Maybe LOL isn’t the magic band aid that I thought. My bad.

So anyway Mr. Kayak takes a minute to respond and says he was just trying to be sweet. Followed by an “Oh Well” followed by his last name. I instantly feel bad, but part of me feels that its important to get across that No shenanigans will be had this early with this girl. Its a shenanigan free zone. I’m not the one to send pics of myself naked or sext or things like that. I’m raising a hopeful future president or Nobel peace prize winner and I need to make sure my life does not mess his up. Though this blog may have done that. (Meh another topic for another time) anyway I don’t want to get into a situation where I’m looked at for just a good time. I’m actually very smart and interested in current events and pop culture…..and I just realized if anyone is looking for a Trivia partner I’m your girl. Anyway texting pretty much came to a halt after that and I tried some friendly text to let him know i was being playful. But I got ghosted. I’m OK. (in case anyone was wondering) but I’m wondering if the bigger problem is me. I want someone who thinks I’m smart and wants to have conversations about smart things.  I feel the need to quote the amazing Tina Fay as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock:

Liz: “I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching LOST. And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks, as needed, like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince. And I want him to genuinely like me even when I’m old. And that’s what I want.”

Except add that I would also like him to like my acerbic wit and my sarcasms and to think that my ass-holiness is endearing. I feel like I have been out of the game so long – circa 2003 that I don’t know how to do this. How to be soft and feminine and attract a decent human being and then actually want to hang out with them and do couply things. And then I just think- meh whats on Hulu? and make some popcorn- cuz i kinda don’t mind the silence and Ive never been a soft cuddly feminine gal and I’m good with that. Until then please understand if were gonna be friends that :

star wars

A Single Mom’s Christmas List

I havMom_Overwhelmede found a wonderful supportive online community on Facebook and I belong to a Single Parents group. We trade stories, atrocities, vent our frustrations, celebrate our successes and make new friends. Sometimes, there are things you feel better talking to complete strangers about then you do with people who are closer to home. I don’t know why but it does. Well at least to me. I have been inspired by the ladies in my groups and have learned that through this all I am not alone in my feelings or struggles or thoughts. I woke up this morning to a blog post from one of a fellow mom’s Emma Shaffer post about her feelings during this time of year. The dreaded holidays. I know when I was coupled up I didn’t think about things that I think about now and I feel that now I’m privy to a broader world outside of my own four walls. Its no secret that being a single parent is hard and I have posted before how sometimes we feel lonely or forgotten and that it is hard to communicate that.

Emma’s post couldn’t have said it better. It reminded me that as a person, I need to voice my concerns and needs and sometimes that is overwhelming so we bite our tongues.Although the post may not apply to all, I am sure it applies to some. Id like to share her post with you as another perspective from a single mother and if you are interested in reading more please check out her blog at If You Say What You Feel

A Single Mom’s christmas list

What do you want for Christmas?

I didn’t used to hate this question, though I always found it awkward. I loathe it now. What do people want me to say?
     “Oh! I’d love a cute pair of red flats!”
     “I would love nice maple cutting board. I love to cook!”
     “I’m dying for a new attachment for my stand mixer!?!”
I always feel obligated to ask for things that feel like gifts to give. People like buying you things that they think are a treat or things you wouldn’t buy yourself. But do you know what I really want for Christmas?

I want groceries. No seriously,  I want groceries. I don’t want to have to play “what else can we put on top of rice” game, and I don’t want to tell my son for the umpteenth time that we can’t go to the store and buy fresh fruit because mama doesn’t get paid for another week. I don’t want to get everything on my grocery list in my cart and then try figure out which third of it to put back. Do I put back the cheese, juice and broccoli, or the apples, milk and tortillas?

I want the money to fill my cavities. My dental insurance only covers one cavity every THREE YEARS, and I have 4 cavities. I have had 4 cavities for a year, and they are starting to get painful. I would seriously love to fork over the cash and have the pain be gone. You weren’t going to spend $400 on my present??? Oh, how forward of me.

I want you to come clean my house. Not because I secretly hate you and want to see you toil cleaning up my messes, but because I am fricking tired, and I just can’t do it all. Not even with a toddler who knows to take a rag to spills and pretends his plastic golf bag is a vacuum cleaner.

I want socks and bras and underwear. Please, PLEASE can you buy them for me? Taking a toddler into a women’s clothing store is my worst nightmare. I can never seem to justify replacing the bras that are only kinda pokey, and the underwear that is totally the wrong size, but not disgusting enough to be               thrown out.

I want more sick days. I use all of my 2 official sick days and most of my paid time off on sick days for both me any my son. We always get sick in tandem, and that always makes for double the days needed off of work.

Among other intangibles: I want to feel less lonely, I want to leave the house on time (OK even half of the time having on-time departures would be nothing short of a miracle). I really, really want to be told I’m doing a good job, but don’t know how to ask for this, and then feel that the reply is genuine. I would really like to feel like less of a burden to society, but I know that I’m asking for a lot here.

So I guess I’ll settle for asking for cooking classes, bath salts and fancy coffee. Because if I ask for what I really need you might be uncomfortable. And then we might actually have to do something or feel responsible as a society for forcing single moms to fit their square peg of a life into a round hole of convenient holiday gift giving. Please just give me the gift of being able to ask for the help I need and not simultaneously feel bad about it. That’s what I really want.

– Emma Shaffer,

Sometimes you just have to date yourself


It’s Monday,  the start of my workweek.  I woke up feeling particularly good today.  Slapped on my favorite black wrap dress,  styled my hair a bit and got my son ready for school.  He’s just come off thanksgiving break and me,  a four day weekend.  All is well. 
  About an hour and a half into my workday i get the call from the nurse that my son is sick and i need to pick him

up. I leave a little stressed because i know i have things that need to get done but the poor guy isn’t feeling well so off to school i go.  We arrive home and i get him settled make him some chicken and rice soup,  gingerale and crackers.  I make sure he does his math homework for the week, feed the dog and the cat,  pick up a little,  catch up on what i can from home in regards to work,  text his father to see if he can watch him at his house so i can go back to work.  After not hearing from him i resign to chasing into yoga pants and a tank.  I tell my son to go take a nap “the body heals while you sleep” i say and off he goes upstairs. 
  I take a short nap then log into HBO Now and decide to watch Sex and the City.  I know in 20 years late and i never got into it.  With my child asleep i can catch up on season 2. I remember my mother in her 30s watching this show and loving it,  i was busy being a teenager then a traveling twenty something so for me to sit still and watch TV was unheard of.  Now i find myself drawn to this show as a 36 year old single woman.  I kind of get it.  I relate on a small scale, cringe at how they behave in certain situations and cheer when it looks like they find the one,  jeer when i realize it’s not.  I get it,  the guilty pleasure of this show.  This show that aired about twenty years ago somehow applies to me today.  Except i don’t have a squad of women to party with or fancy restaurants to try. My days are filled with day to day things that i love. 
   I decide that since i haven’t been on a date in YEARS that for tonight i would cook a nice fancy dinner just for me.  So i did,  a roasted whole chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans,  and I’ll drink it down with a glass of wine.  My son is on soup and watching Jesse on TV so i sit in my sunroom.  It’s 70° even though it’s the last day of November.  I decide to dine out here with the sounds of the Spanish guitar playing from my Spotify list and i even lit a candle.  Aside from the cat and dog occasionally begging for food.  I have to say this is nice.  I should do this more often.  There’s no need for us to miss out on the nice date food or experiences because we’re single or mother’s or work really hard. It just takes a little preparation and the stars to line up just right.  Right now I’m transported to a little café in Barcelona,  i imagine im listening to live music and for a second I’m a new person. Keep dreaming people and don’t forget to do something for yourself ♡

-Go out & be awesome ♡ Denise

Ode to Hip Hop …wherever you are

Love (2)

I have a type apparently. I’ve been flipping through these matches on the dating sites and I’m trying to be open minded. I have not put any parameters on the men I have been looking for. Race or religion does not matter as I figured the more open-minded the better the chance I have of meeting new and like-minded people. I’ve paused a few times on a couple and even tried to do the google search to make sure they are not on America’s Most Wanted list. Today I googled one more and much to my surprise (though no surprise to my friends who know me so well) I am cosmically drawn to a type.

I don’t go out and intentionally seek this type but my heart just seems to know who they are and I don’t know how to feel about this. I don’t know if I am supposed to like this type or go against my norm. I will say that my ex, whom I was with for almost nine years was not my typical type and it was tumultuous, stressful and a very negative unhealthy situation. It started off good, as all relationships do and by the end I felt as if we were both auditioning for a role in the “Shining” oh well you live and learn.

However going back to my “Type” my heart from very early on has been ruled by music. A good beat will stir my soul and fill me with life and energy. Add a great rhyme and you have the makings of the songs in my heart. Hip hop music personified who I was and my love affair with the music led me to love the men behind the beat. Not in a groupie way, but in a way that related to my wild, rebellious yet introspective soul. I was in love with Hip Hop and Hip Hop loved me.

In the early 90’s, Rap City , Yo MTV Raps and mix tapes ruled my life. I wrote poetry and slammed with the best of them. I had the VCR perfectly timed to record videos and I made mix tapes and CD’s for those I loved. Naturally I was drawn to the same crowd. Music was everything and I would spend hours upon hours scouring The Source when it was in newspaper form and trying to get music from New York because Niceville, Florida didn’t get the latest and greatest music. When I would “discover” a new artist I would call my boys and talk as if I had found the holy grail. We would share our music and dreams and talk about our future. When we made it big that we would call it SugarHill. (Yes after AZ’s Sugar Hill) Fast forward a little to when high school ended my friends moved up north in pursuit of their dreams. The music scene was thriving and the chances of being heard and appreciated for their art was better than staying in a small, sleepy beach town. I stayed behind and went to the local community college and studied recording engineering. I was one of the only females in the class and at the studio that I interned at. But the music scene was not as lucrative in the small town so i would take trips back and forth up north to feed my fix for music and love and it awakend my soul in a way that i would never be able to satisfied if I stayed where I was -the sleepy beach town.

I moved to Atlanta some years later in search of something different, something big and got sidetracked. The dream eventually died because I didn’t nurture it and I decided to “grow up” when in reality I stifled my growth. I betrayed what my heart said I needed to do to keep my dreams alive and I settled into the norm and what society expected me to be- a good girl, who didn’t question authority, played by the rules and didn’t ruffle too many feathers.

During those times and in between it all I loved hard and looking back to even recently (excluding my ex- it’s not that I didn’t love him it was a different type of love) I realized that I was attracted to the dreamer, that I would look for men who personified my passion for Hip Hop and music. The guy who strummed his guitar was strumming my soul. But they get me, those types. I can speak for hours with them and even though I am doing a disservice by lumping them into a type make no mistake that they are amazing and unique in their own way. Beautiful souls who were tortured and tattered in some bit and found music as an outlet. Who became one with the instruments be it a mic, a guitar or a turntable. With every beat they bobbed their heads in time with my heart and I’ve never felt more alive more in tune with the music.

For over nine years the music stopped in my head and I fell into a robotic trance. At least that’s what it felt like. I stopped doing what I loved- writing, art, drawing listening to unsigned artists and I fell into the trap of believing if I changed everything about myself to become the perfect mother, the perfect partner that I would somehow find happiness. Mother’s weren’t supposed to dream, we have our duties, our priorities. I need to be a perfect partner. I was young and naive and foolishly bought into what i was being told by outsiders who didn’t know me well at all. What I realized later, is that in denying who I was and not being true to myself I couldn’t show my son what passion truly was. I owed it to myself and I owed it to him to allow him to know his mother as a true person as her true self and her true form. Which is what this year is about. My heart was searching for a creative outlet and I thought that love could be my muse.

Now I’m not saying that loving these men brought me any more joy and less pain, In fact I feel it hurt on a deeper level, a soulful level. When I think about them I think of them as favorite songs that bring you back to a time when things were simpler. I have a soundtrack to my heart and each one filled a place. When you love somebody to your heartsong it is profound and deep and spiritual and nothing can compare. Its like finding the “perfect verse over a tight beat “-Brown Sugar

When it’s over its tears and anguish and pain. It’s like losing a piece of your soul. Every time its as if the music gets a little quieter and I don’t know if this is a good thing.

On one hand my “type” brings me so much joy, so much life, so much of my creativity is awakened. It’s as if the creative soul is yin to my yang, but the thing is about loving these souls, is that they are free spirits and they go where the wind takes them. They are in search of something more. They hold themselves to a standard that can never be reached, an insatiable appetite that can never be satisfied. They are the roamers, the nomads, the passionate lovers gone in the morning and women like me who love them are the forgotten muses, inspirations for the songs and the ones who believe we can tame them. But why would you ever want to tame something that is free and beautiful in the wild?

I myself am a wild spirit, I am Independent, I dance with the wind and I love hard and strong and with all my might. So I get it. We are the same, we are one. I don’t know if that is a good thing. I’m 36 and I have a child. I cannot afford to love with the wild abandon that I did in the days of my youth. Nights spent chatting away about dreams and music are replaced with homework and bedtime. Which I cherish and love. Days are spent clicking away on a computer because of my own responsibilities and my fear to follow my dreams. Which is why i love the “type” it allows me to feel alive even if for one night.

My soul is drawn to these people. Seriously. You could dress 15 men in the same suit and line them up, same haircut, the same shoes and my heart will find the one. The lover of music, the one who stirs my soul. And to be honest I don’t know if that’s a good thing or if it’s what I should have been doing all along. Wading through the emotions of it all and feels so raw, so ill leave you with this:

Hip Hop, wherever you are. If I ever get to meet you – you’ll know that my heart beats to the rhythm of your soul and I’ve never felt more alive …..

or maybe Ive already met Hip Hop…..

And maybe Hip Hop is me and I just need to dance to the rhythm of my own beat.