Archive | October, 2008

RIP Studs

31 Oct

The world is a lot less brighter this evening with the passing of Studs Terkel. I am not one to get overly emotional about the passing of folks I don’t know personally, yet hearing that Studs at 96 has died, has made me a tad melancholy this evening.

If you don’t know who Studs is, google him and then get thee to a library and check out his work. Growing up in Chicago, I have known of Studs and his work for as long as I can remember, one of my Dad’s favorite books is Working which later became one of my own personal favorites. In some ways as I struggle to define myself professionally, there is that piece of me that has always wanted to be a oral historian/storyteller on the scale of Studs.

Anyway, RIP Studs, I know many thought after the passing of your beloved Ida in 1999, you might be short for the world but you proved us wrong.  Perhaps you are enjoying a cool stogie, a chilled martini and catching up with Ida.

Living an organic life on a kool-aid budget

30 Oct

I had planned to skip posting today since its been a flurry of activity with both the spousal unit and I on deadlines. Plus I am still trying to get caught up on client work since I basically lost two weeks of work this month between me and mini-me being sick, plus I start the new gig as director of a community center in a couple of weeks, so I gotta hustle.

However as I was doing my usual tour of blogs, I was visiting one of the homey blogs and the blogger had posted a picture of some lush looking house-slippers that she had gotten her kids, handmade, fair-trade action. Good stuff, you would think until I clicked the link of the place she bought them at…how come these nice lil slippers were $36? House-shoes for $36? For a kid? Come on now…

No, I am not sipping my hater-aid but while I care about getting good quality shit for my family the idea of buying some house-shoes for $36 for a kid who will outgrow them in no time is just not something I personally would do. Shit, I am still wearing the $5 specials I bought last year at a local store, some shit just does not warrant spending a crazy sum of money. Yep, go ahead and call me cheap.

On a deeper level though, I was once again reminded of how living a more eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle is something that is conveniently priced out of reach of the working and poor masses. Seriously, when is the last time you saw someone at the health food store with food stamps? Um, that’s not something I see. Shit, when I go to the local health food place, I can spend $50 and not even have a whole bag full of food. I exist smack in the middle class but even I have to pick and choose what I can afford to do as far as living a conscious lifestyle.

Let’s not even talk about the fact that in some areas, you can’t access 100% organic nothing even if you wanted to, how many times have I talked about life on the southside of Chicago and the best I could get for produce was some damn iceberg lettuce and sorry looking apples and bananas?

Now I know there are folks who do manage to eat healthy on a kool-aid budget, however to generally do this requires living some place where you can grow some food yourself. Last time I checked many po folks live in concrete jungles devoid of any land which to grow anything except something in a pot provided they have some decent windowsills. Shit, one might think it was a conspiracy to keep the most vulnerable members of society away from the good shit as far as good eats goes.

I know I am probably just ranting and shit, but nope no $36 house-shoes here for anyone who can’t earn some cash towards paying for em.

Is it really homemade?

29 Oct

Living in Maine sometimes as a Black woman can get lonely as hell. Yes, I do have some Black friends up here but truthfully everyone is so busy trying to survive that free time to just hang out is hard to come by. Which is why yesterday was a treat for me, I spent a good part of the day with one of my sista-friends, she is going through some life changes and as she put it she just needed to chill with someone who got it and that she didn’t need to be the Black ambassador with, believe me I know that feeling well.

Anyway whenever T & I get together, food always comes up since early this year we had a little tiff around her cooking me a birthday meal that I couldn’t eat because my stomach is sensitive as hell. Long story short she hooked a sista up with a southern style meal, fried chicken, collards greens, baked mac and cheese and potato salad. Sadly since my weight loss, too much grease causes a reaction within my stomach that can only be cured with a long visit to the porcelain throne.

So you know how it is, I was irritated that she cooked a meal I told her, I couldn’t eat and she was mad because well she thought a sista was being an ungrateful wench. However this is Maine and the pool of sistas who connect is small as hell, so we both got over it. But as sistas whenever we hang out food does come up, last night she brought her boys over and I had made pumpkin pie since mini-me wanted me to do something with all these pumpkins she has been collecting.

Now I don’t know about you but trying to cut a pumpkin up and turn it into something edible is really not that easy, I know because last year when I tried it after hacking that pumpkin open, the inside was stringy as hell and rather unpleasant. So not wanting to disappoint the little one, I opened a can of pureed pumpkin and used it to cook with and well I didn’t tell the little one. Thankfully she was 2 so she didn’t notice Mama’s subterfuge.

So yesterday when I made the pie, I did it while mini-me was at daycare and simply moved one of her pumpkins away, so she would think I used one to bake the pie with, now I know some of y’all are laughing. However when my girlfriend came over as I was taking the pie out the oven and she oohing over how great it smelled, I confessed that the pie was not really homemade. See, I didn’t make the crust, in fact when I make pies I rarely make the crust, instead I use the store bought ones since as a working Mama, time is at a premium.

While I was confessing to my girl that I cheated with both canned pumpkin and a store bought crust, she started laughing and told me “Black girl get real, of course that shit is homemade”… I love sista-friends we keep it real with each other. Now my girl, we cool but truth is she ain’t much of a cook outside of a few items (she does however throw down with her greens and sweet potato pie).

Yet once again today I found myself thinking about how much true cooking from scratch I do, see this morning I was at the store getting canned broth for the meal I was putting on for dinner tonight, chicken and barley cooked in the crock-pot. Its a simple recipe chicken, veggies, barley, seasonings and broth thrown in the crock-pot and cooked all day. By the time its done, its a simple yet tasty ass meal, everyone here likes it and sometimes I even make drop biscuits to go along, but I use Bisquick for the biscuits.

Now, with thrift and frugality being in vogue, there are many foodie blogs I visit where folks cook everything from scratch, I must admit I get a tad jealous yet while I like to cook, and for the most part do make things myself, things like broth from scratch are simply a pain in the ass to make. Yeah, I know take your chicken carcass and boil, boil, boil. I tried it and frankly it came out like shit and still didn’t net me enough broth plus I rarely eat whole chickens. Shit, I think last Thanksgivings turkey carcass is still in my deep freezer since I meant to use that to make broth but 11 months never got around to it.

In the end, I guess the question is does it really matter if when cooking you use a few aids to speed up the process? I would like to say no, though I know true foodies would say my shit is not homemade. So what about y’all, any regular readers who cook everything from scratch? If you do, please tell me how you make time for it.

Anyway its lunch time here, today’s lunch is indeed homemade, Maine lobster and salad. Not only homemade but all the food is local. Time to get my eat on, so I can get back to work.

Just a junkie…news junkie that is

28 Oct

Nope, I couldn’t do it. I could not go 24 hours ignoring the news, this morning when I woke up, I automatically turned on NPR as I do every morning to wake up. Let’s just say by the time I remembered I was taking a hiatus from the news, I had already listened for at least 20 minutes…oh well.

However I was listening to coverage from a McCain rally in some town and nearly fell out the bed when I heard a woman state that she felt that most people were economically just as well off now as they were eight years ago when Bush took office therefore she was a McCain-Palin woman because we didn’t need Obama’s socialist ways. Um…. are there really people that silly that they live in a vacuum where they don’t realize that economically most of us are beyond fucked.

I don’t know about you but eight years ago, the spousal unit and I had amazing jobs that paid well, we had great health insurance that didn’t even cost us $100 a month yet we had medical/dental and vision coverage. The mister and I used to take weekend jaunts, had no problem paying our bills and overall were leading a pretty charmed life financially speaking that is. Let’s see in the last eight years, I have obtained a masters degree and expected my earnings to go up instead compared to where we were eight years ago, we have lost an estimated $40,000 since that time…yes, you read that. We have lost $40,000 compared to where we were eight years ago. Oh, did I mention that we had no debt eight years ago.

I suspect we are not the only people who are suffering under the Bush regime, nice middle-class Americans who have one foot dangling in the middle class box but slowly spiraling into the lower class despite all the guarantees that education used to bring that one would be financially sound.

See, I am a news junkie and I know Americans are hurting and it scares me that there are folks voting who seem to not give a damn that their fellow Americans are in dire straits, you know good hard working folks who work hard but no longer get ahead.

I just don’t get why people fear the idea of many of us having access to health insurance, or the idea that if one earns $250,000 or above that you should pay more in taxes. A fellow blogger, OG spoke at length about this the other day, but to me it should be only common sense that if I have more than enough that I can spare a little to help out my fellow man.  The irony being that many of the folks yelling the loudest about wealth redistribution claim to be Christians and well if they had actually read their bibles they would know that Jesus was all about helping folks out. I won’t claim to know the mind of Jesus but I suspect if he was here with us, I don’t think he would be too happy with these tight asses who would deny their fellow man access to basic needs.

So while I broke my promise to myself to watch the news, maybe its important to stay tuned less I become one of the idiots wandering our countryside living in a bubble oblivious to the plight of others.

Plain old tired

27 Oct

Ok, I know I am not the only one but damn does it not feel like this election season has been going on forever? Granted we are now in the home stretch, its a week and a day until showtime. I am nervous, trying to keep my hope face on, but truthfully feeling pretty scared. Scared that in the end, hate will win out and this country will be on a path that we no longer have to worry about securing our borders from folks coming in but instead it will be folks trying to get the fuck out of dodge.

Seriously, I had a dream that McCain won and that not long into his presidency he drops dead and we end up with evil Sarah as the leader of the free world. Can I just say I almost woke up screaming. I wish I could say there is one specific thing about that woman that scares me, but its the whole package. The fact that considering McCain picked her ass out of relative obscurity that now she seems to want more, like a power hungry robot. You would think she’d be a grateful bitch instead she wants more. The fact that she seems really good at bringing out the worst in folks scares me, the fact that she has never came out and taken a stand against the hate that she seems to inspire is troubling at best.

I suspect after catching a glimpse of Sean Hannity this weekend once again ranting about Obama’s relationship with BIll Ayers, I really got tired…by the way, why the fuck did he show a picture of Ayers taken at least 30 years ago? Yeah, I know to scare the folks who listen to the ignorant shit he spews out of his pie-hole. Can I just say that if I ever met Sean Hannity, I would just slap the shit out of him on general principal.

Nope, I am tired and at this point, thinking I need to stop watching the news. Generally I am all about knowledge but this week just feels like a time to retreat into my own world. Of course as a blog junkie, I know I will have some exposure to political happenings but at least its better than full on news which is almost leading me to have a damn panic attack.

So this week consider this a no news zone, at least no political news. Instead I am working hard to wrap up a strategic plan for a client and spend some time getting my Suzy Homemaker on. I have a meeting this evening so dinner will just be burgers, but tomorrow I am trying my hand at that butternut squash soup and apple tart. So stay tuned, I will tell you how it turns out later.

For now, back to work and hopefully in a bit I can go and enjoy some of this sun we are having today. Its a gorgeous fall day in my little town and I am itching to walk on the beach, despite the crisp air. Something about looking at the ocean or really any body of water since back home, while I didn’t have the ocean I did have Lake Michigan and the Chicago River to soothe my soul.

They are all fake

24 Oct

Well I have a little breathing room here today, after breaking down and taking the little one to the doctor yesterday, of course the fever finally broke. Translation, it means Mama has some time to herself today since mini-me was feeling well enough for daycare.

On to world events, or should I say national events. While I will admit that I haven’t started buying the bubbly yet and looking for my dancing shoes just yet, in celebration for what I hope is a historic night November 4. Since I know those sneaky Rethugs will do anything to win, including getting all the damn machines programmed to vote McCain even when the voter punches Obama or some other candidate.

However I am starting to think that their only chance at winning will have to involve since trickery and thievery, since all signs on the ground even in my lilly white state, the blogosphere and the polls indicate that an Obama victory is likely. Now, I will admit I don’t see a landslide but as long as Obama wins that’s all I care about.

Yet what about them Rethugs? Seems ain’t a damn thing about them real. Turns out Sarah must really look like shit since she needed 150G’s worth of clothes, hair and makeup for her and her tribe. Come on, now, you mean to tell a sista the Palins couldn’t afford to go to Men’s Warehouse and get ole Todd a suit or two off the rack? And why the hell did baby Trig need an almost $100 outfit? The 7 year old is lugging around a Louis Vuitton handbag which I hope belongs to Sarah, but still how many average moose hunters even know about a Louis Vuitton bag? Don’t even get me started on the fact that I just read over at Huffington Post that the makeup artist/stylist for Sarah was the highest paid staffer so far this month…

So not only is this bitch empty in the head, she really ain’t that cute? For all that money, you think someone would have given her a better hairstyle, instead they paid an arm and leg to get someone to make her look homespun?? That is shit that makes my mind spin.

Plus I wanna talk about that snippet of interview I caught with Palin and McCain being interviewed by Brian Williams…how come John looked like he wanted to backhand Palin like she was a hoe who had fucked with his money. In fact why did he look like an old pimp? Seriously, he must have some kinda game to convince a young, rich chick to marry his ass back in the day. That’s why he used to be the maverick, shit pimps can talk across the aisles too.  See, John is a player and based off all I have read about him, from his younger days, he was quite the ladies man.

Problem is players get old and generally fade away except in this case, playa wants to be the president which is bad for all of us since he picked a idiot to be his bottom bitch. Normally you a pick a smart bitch to be your bottom bitch but John is getting old.. his game is off. Since its clear that Palin is got stars in her eyes and wants to eventually be John McCain and either be the president herself (should he win or steal this election) or she is positioning herself to try in a few years…2012 anyone?

As further proof that the Republicans are like those dysfunctional family members you see every few years at the family reunion and pray you don’t see again, what’s with  Ashley Todd in Pittsburg? Todd. a McCain supporter claimed she was beat up by an Obama supporter who then carved a B into her face. Of course it was a big Black man who Todd claimed did this horrible act. Turns out she faked the attack, umm… yeah, I could have told you that story was about at phony as a $3 bill. Of course Todd was white, and when you inject the big Black man, the story grows wings.

So not only is McCain not really a maverick, just a washed up old playa, his running mate is an empty bobble-head who must dress like shit for the RNC to spend that type of cash to spruce her ass up, of course maybe the handlers realized she was too stupid to speak so they figured if they prettied her up, we’d all get razzled, dazzled with her charms and just forget that when she opens her mouth nothing comes out. Then their damn supporters in addition to having the market cornered on public ignorance decided to add false police reports to the mix.

Nope it seems there is nothing of substance coming out of the Republican camp these days, if there ever was anything of substance it was a long time ago.

Have a good weekend all, I am off in search of Halloween costumes for me and mini-me.

Drive by post..

23 Oct

No time for serious blogging today but I did want to stop by. My daughter is still sick, we are waiting to get test results back to see what’s going on with her. What can I say? October has been a month of sickness up here in Maine, anyway I am feeling better though I will be going back to the doctor myself to nail down what’s wrong with me but at the moment, I am hanging in there.

I am officially behind in client work so hopefully next week, mini-me will be better so I can get this stuff off my desk and invoices in the mail.

Its officially fall time in Maine, leaves are stacked up in my yard. I am sure my neighbors wish I would go out and start raking, but at the moment its not a priority. Despite my desire to keep the heat off until November, the air is crisp and cold, should mini-me start feeling better soon, I have a butternut squash that needs to be turned into soup and some cranberries that are destined to become muffins.

In world events, all I want to know is for 150G’s how come Sarah Palin doesn’t have a better sense of style? So not only is she empty in the head, turns out her clothes don’t even belong to her. When I think about that it doesn’t say a lot about her.

Anyway I will be back soon as time permits.

White folks and racial naivete

21 Oct

For the past few days I have been thinking about the rather interesting observation that this presidential season seems to be bringing out, the fact that by and large when you are person of the paler hue, one does not have to think about race on a regular basis.

Seriously, both in my online as well as real life dealings, I have been in contact with white folks who are positively stunned at the blatant racism that is coming out the closet as America seems to be edging closer to possibly having its first Black president. It seems that on an almost daily basis, we are seeing effigies of Obama, folks making asses of themselves on TV about how America is a White Christian nation and only white folks get to be in charge. Shit, I am sure Sears is running out of white sheets in some parts of the country.

The thing is as a Black woman, none of this is surprising to me, shit I would be more surprised if we didn’t have folks doing this shit. See, I was born in the early 70’s yet I have been on the planet long enough as a Black woman to know that despite the strides we have made racially in this country, shit regular readers know my Pops grew up drinking from the colored water fountain and never thought he would have a white son in law. Despite the fact that we have made strides, we still have a long way to go. America has never had a truthful racial dialogue, too many white folks would rather see my ass serving them when I am in a restaurant than see my Black ass getting served.

Don’t get me wrong, thoughts of race don’t consume every moment of my waking day, but honestly there are not too many days that I don’t face that reminder that I am Black. Its just good for me that I love my Black self and accept that being Black is a part of my identity. I can never just be a person because in this world, I am Black first and foremost and that’s cool with me.

My kids are biracial, yet they are being raised and have been raised to understand that most likely folks will view them as Black, so while they can call themselves what they want to, just understand folks may view you differently.  Speaking of the kids, my son was 3 when race was brought to his attention and now at 3 my daughter is starting to notice racial differences. It most certainly isn’t anything I have called attention to, but I suspect that children of color notice racial differences sooner than white kids. That’s neither a positive or a negative but just one of those things. I was about 4 or so when I realized race and when I entered kindergarten and was the only kid of color, it was my grand debut into the land of racial differences.

On a parenting board that I hang out at, a white mother encountered a racial minority being mistreated by a white man and her kids were with her and she was at a loss with how to deal with the situation. Other posters (white) suggested that kids are too young to be burdened with dealing with racism.  That stunned me because as a Black child, I was raised to understand that sadly racism is something you may encounter yet I have grown white friends who still grapple with dealing with racism. Honestly, I expect it and rather than being surprised I look for ways to move on less I blow a gasket.

Part of why we as a nation have still not moved on is because in my humble opinion, we refuse to talk honestly about race, what the legacy of slavery has meant to millions of African-Americans. How systematic oppression over hundreds of years cannot be wiped out in 40-50 years. Until we get to that point as well as the point of looking at our own internal biases that may cause prejudice deep within us, I truly don’t feel we are making nearly as much progress as we think. No, what we are doing is that type of cleaning when you sweep all the shit into the closet and under the bed but at a certain point,  the closet door starts bulging, demanding that you move shit out of the closet. That is where we are at as a nation. The closet doors are becoming unstable.

There are those who feel an Obama presidency will usher in a new era, well it will be a new era, but I suspect Black folks will still get stopped for driving while black. Police brutality will be an issue and all the other injustices will happen. So while I might start looking for my dancing shoes soon for November 5, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to truly achieve racial parity.

As for white folks raising kids, don’t fear talking about injustice with your kids, to do so IMO will create a generation that is truly prepared to tackle injustices head on.

Random Monday Babble

20 Oct

My daughter is under the weather today in that way that happens to kids, so my work week is starting off a tad slow, so no real post today since at the moment she is on the couch and I only have a quick moment to post.

For starters, I am so happy that Colin Powell decided to endorse Obama, I think for those among us who like to think, he gave us a lot to chew on with his words. Hopefully this coupled with the record shattering 150 million the Obama campaign raised in September is proof that the Hope Express may really have a chance at winning the election.

I am honest, I am not doing the happy dance until November 5. Right now while the polls are looking good, what really matters though is that folks go out and vote, we cannot get complacent, every vote counts. In fact I am thinking I may utilize early voting for the first time ever because I am paranoid and don’t want to chance anything happening that might prevent me from voting like illness, etc.

So public service announcement of the day is vote, vote early, vote now. Whatever you do, don’t put it off.  We must show the McNasty-Palin folks that there are plenty of Americans that love this country no matter how flawed she is and that we don’t want that vile hate and shit they are trying to sell to our less informed countrymen and women. Lets send Sarah and her rag tag crew back to Alaska so that Todd can continue with his plans to secede from the country and ole John back to Arizona where maybe he can get back to more pressing issues like taking up golf to help with his anger management problem.

On a more personal note, Blackgirl got a job offer after 18 months of being self-employed and doing my Rick Ross hustling imitation, I will be going back to the land of regular employment with hopefully a regular paycheck.

Have a great Monday!

Whose the real terrorist?

17 Oct

Its Friday and I am in a rambling mood, so bear with me as I turn the vent on full force. I was out having my morning butt and thinking about all the articles and videos I have seen coming from the McCain-Palin camp of folks who voice their concerns about Obama being linked to terrorist.

It was about midway through my butt when it dawned on me that folks should look a little closer to home and consider the fact that we have a terrorist in our midst known as the US government and their jacked up fiscal ways that are terrorizing us all right about now.

Seriously, wasn’t it not long after 9/11 when the chief idiot in charge started prompting the American simpletons to do their patriotic duties and help boost the US economy, translation spend children, spend… who cares that you have no way to really pay for anything (um, that small pesky fact that wages have been stagnant or dropped by 2K depending on who you get the news from). No, we must show those evil bastards that we will not be stopped, so shop to your hearts content.

Like good patriotic folks, we commenced to shopping and shopping. Those of us who could bought houses, no mere starter homes, no we need at least 3500 square feet. We bought really large cars too, that drank a ton of gas, we upgraded our homes, we went to the mall, we drank Starbucks every day, in short we had a lot of fun.

Only problem is that the good times could not keep coming because eventually shit comes out and well the truth is most of us didn’t have the real dollars to finance all this patriotic living we have been doing. Now the financial giants, well they aided us in our stupidity by playing all kinds of financial trickery but much like a pregnancy you try to hide from your parents when you are 16, eventually you start to show and well that’s where we are now.

The funny thing is when all of us were in our collective daze many years ago pretending to live a cozy middle class life, no one realized that all the safety nets like bankruptcy had been yanked from underneath us. Of course no good American needs a handout, by goodness that’s for losers. So laws were changed and no one except the lawyers and folks who study poverty raised a ruckus, but we didn’t  care.

Fast forward to recent weeks and the implosion of the US economy with Paulson running around declaring the world was ending, he needed 700 billion dollars. After much fuss, he got the money and now it looks like that money is still not enough to save our asses.

Funny thing is we are bailing out humans who worked at corporations that made way more money than I will ever make, one could say the bailout was just a mere example of socialism. Since ultimately the gubment is taking our money, that’s mister and missus taxpayer and pumping it into organizations that were just a tad greedy. Yet to hear folks like the now infamous Joe the Plumber who isn’t really a plumber out of Ohio, he wants no parts of it. Um, but you are a registered Republican and you seem to be leaning McCain’s way which is essence supports big corporations getting more and more while you get less and since you have tax liens on you, I am gonna make a big guess, your ass really don’t have much either.

No, it seems the US government has hoodwinked us, they have lead many of us down the path of financial ruins in the name of country, provided us with no safety nets and then want to take more of our money so that folks at AIG can have fancy ass meetings. What is wrong with this picture? Shit, I feel like I am the one being terrorized by our government.

The jacked up thing is if the average middle class person needed debt relief via bankruptcy, you would have to jump through so many hoops its not even funny. In fact the laws have changed so that everything about you would be looked at, financially speaking that is. Lets just say that if you tried to file bankruptcy and your accounting records showed that your average ass had just had a lavish trip, you can expect your request for bankruptcy relief might hit a roadblock. Yet when you are a big ass corporation you can plead broke and get millions of dollars despite the fact your records show you are fiscally stupid. Look AIG should have had that meeting at their office or the middle of a park since they are  broke as hell.

Nope, we the average folks get played by the gubment who in essence financially terrorizes us and we sit in quiet compliance. I ask you whose the real terrorist?

Have a good weekend!