Archive | April, 2010

Woke up and the world went mad!

27 Apr

I have to admit there have been a few positives about being sick, one is that in the past couple of weeks I have been forced to pay less attention to world events and happenings. After all when merely coughing or taking a dump is so painful it has you reaching for the bottle of Oxycodone, you tend not to care much about anything else but survival. Thankfully while the pain is still lingering I am making a slow return to my life and with that return to my daily activities of living, I am starting to get caught up on what’s going on in the world.

Um…I swear since I been laid up we (collective we) have lost our ever loving minds…for starters my hometown Chicago. Chicago, what the fuck is going on? Apparently crime is reaching such levels that the buzz is about the fact the powers to be are talking about bringing in the National Guard. People are getting shot and killed left and right and as my Pops told me the other day, it’s no longer relegated to the hood. In other words it ain’t just po folks and folks of color popping caps in each other’s asses.

 Just a few days ago in a fairly upscale area of Chicago (Bucktown) where I lived about 16 years ago when it was starting to get gentrified but still had pockets of gang activity but still felt it was safe. The other night two young ladies were coming home and were robbed by someone who felt it was not enough to rob em, no…this savage beast had to beat the two gals with a fucking baseball bat. Once upon there was some type of honor or code even amongst the lowlife’s and generally at 3 am a robbery does not need to include bashing folks to a bloody pulp. Several weekends ago, in one weekend there was a report of over 40 shootings, and criminals who were exchanging fire with the cops. Let me tell you something those are some brazen bitches. My Pops is ex Chicago law enforcement and our family circle is filled with law enforcement and once upon a time, criminals did not shoot back at the po po. Some shit you just don’t do as Mos Def says…

Moving on now in scary happenings, it appears that if you want to rob a bank, just go ahead and get yourself a Black man suit. Since I am late to the party, I imagine most of ya’ll have heard this but apparently last week, a white boy decided to go on a crime spree dressed as a Black man. Apparently the shit was so good, so convincing that if only this fool had thought to change up the getaway car; he probably could have pulled it off. Of course some poor Negro would have been sent up the river but hey all them Black men are criminals, one is just as good as the next. Took some thought and some balls to actually do that.

Lastly in shit that just has me really going what the fuck, we have Arizona. Damn, Phil Collins had it right, ain’t no fun being an illegal alien, Except now in Arizona it ain;t no fun to be anyone who looks Latino since if you get caught without ya papers, you might be deported. I know I am distilling this down but the fact is if you start profiling one group of brown folks, it won’t take long before the powers to be find reasons to profile all folks of color. Too bad though that so many of us American Negroes are just happy not to be the ones on the hot seat so we think hey that shit happening to them Mexicans got nothing to do with us. Ok, son..You best believe all sorts of reasons can be found to profile our asses too; after all we do seem to have some violent bitches that lurk amongst us. Look, I’m just saying…don’t shoot the messenger just heed the message.

Lawd, all this shit happening is enough to make a Black Girl in Maine want to head back to bed clutching my well worn copy of X-Clan. Instead I write this and hope you too will think about what we can do to stop some of the madness in this world. Or is it too late?

Asking for help

23 Apr

Dear readers, I wish I could say I am back and fully functional but sadly that is not the case at all. It seems that my recovery will indeed be a process that needs the one thing I often don’t have enough of and that would be time. No worries I will one day be back and in full effect talking much shit as I usually do but while I have many thoughts swirling around in my head (AZ immigration situation, homeschooling and the list goes on), running to the computer to write them out is easier said than done.

Instead I am taking a break from my much-needed rest to share a lesson that I have learned and am continuing to learn, sometimes you have to ask for help. It’s funny because as a member of the helping professions, we are often quick to get help for others, in fact we demand it at times. Yet in our personal lives asking for help is often hard to do.

To be very honest life has been pretty chaotic in my house, the Spousal Unit deserves a gold medal or something for juggling a challenging week of work and remember he is self-employed, so if he fucks up a clients work, the repercussions are severe. We learned that lesson years ago when the girl child was born and he had to take care of me and again juggle work, it wasn’t long after when one of his clients pulled their work from him resulting in a huge loss of income that we had to deal with. People often think being self-employed sounds romantic but it can leave you financially vulnerable since if  you find yourself without any work, you lack access to things in the safety net like unemployment benefits. So while its been great to hear friends who are not local telling me to take it easy while recovering the fact is I have not been able to focus a hundred percent on recovery as much as I would like since the Spousal Unit has to work and the kidlet was home all week and he took up 90% of childcare duties on the one week generally that I would have taken a greater share had I not been recovering.

Last night I saw the weary look on his face as he struggled with the fact that I had taken the girl child out for a couple of hours and later we went grocery shopping. He was looking at a serious deadline and I knew he needed to focus 100% and I knew the girl child had been getting increasingly antsy as she realized Mama was still not well, so last night I did something I never thought of which in hindsight I should have done before my surgery. I called in the calvary, that would be I contacted our church that we have been members of now for a while. It’s a fairly large church and while we don’t know a lot of folks in church, many are familiar with me because of my job.

There are some similarities that church folks share regardless of race, class…you get the gist. When a call goes out that a church member needs some prayer due to illness and some help, in most cases the church is there for you. As I type this, I have been informed by the good ladies of the church that dinner for tonight will be dropped off, childcare is coming to assist with the girl child in the form of playdates and they are working on a plan to assist for as long as needed. As I told my church contact who is the same age as me and a member of the ministry team, this was hard to accept but I knew I needed it. She told me she understood all too well because she recently had some health issues and also being the mother of small kids, she too had learned sometimes you have to be on the receiving end at times.

I have tears in my eyes as a I write this because really asking for help is just that difficult for me yet I share this story because among my readers there might be someone who needs to hear this message. It’s not weak to ask for help, people often don’t know what we need until we tell them, so don’t be afraid to let folks know.

As for me, I am going to hobble back to the couch soon and get my nose back into this mystery novel I am reading. Have a good weekend.

Slow your roll

19 Apr

Some of my readers may have no clue what the hell today’s blog title means, yet it was something my Granny used to say whenever we (us kids) were acting crazy or doing things that we needed to be cautious about. It’s funny because as I have struggled with the aftermath of my surgery, I can clear as day here my Granny’s voice saying “Girl, you better slow your roll.”

Folks who know me in real life, know I tend to go in a million directions, I was multitasking long before it became the thing to do. Rarely in my adult life have I ever been forced to sit down and do nothing but I have to say this surgery has knocked me to my knees. I was laboring under the false impression that having my hernia repaired was a minor surgery, after all you are in and out the same day…ha ha ha. Readers, this has been by far the worse pain I have ever dealt with and I say that having had one of my kids with no pain medication after being in labor 4 days. See, after I had my babies while I was a tad wobbly I more of less felt a sense of relief, I mean I was up and showering and eating after having babies.

I had this surgery Thursday morning and have only bathed once since Thursday in part because the bandages could not get wet for the first 48 hours after surgery and also because the idea of moving to get in the shower sounded like hell on earth. To say I have been taken aback by how serious this would be is a understatment, shit simple functions like laughing and coughing are hazardous to me at the moment. Let’s not even talk about the fact that since some of my plumbing was rewired, it’s created a bit of a back up in my pipes…use your imaginations and well when your abdomen is filled with fresh new stitches thanks to the new rewiring job having backed up air in the pipes is really not a good thing.

So now that you are probably grossed out at the visuals, I figured I’d pop in and say I am alive and while I am up at the moment, I am getting ready to lay back down and resume heeding my dearly departed Granny’s favorite words..I am cooling my roll. I am taking advantage of the fact that I am pretty limited in what I can do to focus on living in the moment and thinking about the future.

Catch ya later, when I can get back to rolling along at my normal speed of life.

Making Mistakes

14 Apr

Today was not a scheduled posting day since I am getting ready for hernia repair surgery in the morning. The thought of this surgery along with the idea of being put under general anesthesia is so not appealing that if I had a choice I would rather walk bare foot on hot coals. However I don’t have a choice and unless I wimp out at the last minute I will be getting my abdomen ripped open and repaired. So with that sort of thing on my mind you can see where writing a post would not be a top priority.

However I took part in a discussion today that while I had no energy to get into a verbal sparring match with this person, made me realize I needed to write to do some venting. Long story short the conversation was about young folks who make poor choices and end up dropping out of school but in Maine there is a push to get such folks enrolled in GED programs. Which might not be a bad thing…anyway the person I was conversing with made a very throw away comment that GED‘s are horrible and that kids who choose such a path are relegated to a shitty life.

Um….I don’t think my life is so horrible. For years I out-and-out lied about my early years because of the shame that generally comes from telling someone you are a high school dropout. Yet in the past few years I have started to realize that telling my story especially with youngsters on the edge is a good thing, its one of the reasons I do the work I do. See, not only did I not graduate from high school; I actually never got a GED. I know you are wondering, but didn’t you go to college and later graduate school? Yes, I did. I have no idea if a kid can even do this anymore but a year after dropping out of high school, I went to a community college and before enrolling I took what used to be called the ability to benefit test. It’s exactly what it sounds like, you get a passing score on this test and are deemed to have the ability to benefit from taking college courses and voila you are in school. I took classes at the community college and eventually transferred into a 4 year college and later went on to earn my bachelor’s degree. By the time I applied to graduate school, no on was asking whether or not I had graduated from high school.

I was not only a high school dropout but having a kid at 19 actually means I was a teenage Mom to boot. Statistically, it means I should have 5-6 kids, live in government subsidized housing and if I am lucky have a job as the night clerk at Wal-Mart. Obviously none of those things are applicable to my life.

Yet the point of this is not to say look at me, but to actually say that mistakes including the big ones do not define us. There is more than one pathway to success and hell, how are we even defining success? For most folks success might include a big house, nice car, important job, vacations and fancy toys. Yet none of these things are guaranteed to make you happy. I see plenty of folks who lack all those things yet seem pretty damn happy. I think of my family that just had their 5th kid, they don’t even have car and I saw the Dad walking home loaded down with groceries yet noticed he seemed content. I see his kids daily and to be honest they may lack most of what some of us consider essential but they appear well fed, clean and most importantly happy. This family by the standards of my buddy is a failure yet who are we to judge?

I think especially with young folks it’s so important to let them know that even if they make choices that may seem wrong and generally dropping out of school and having babies is not considered a good choice (let me tell you I get a laugh at the number of folks who look at me like how is it possible that I could have an 18yo kid..After all I am a college graduate in a “good” job. Dude, no one said you have to do life in some type of order) that life goes on and that as long as they are living the sky is still the limit. Yes, it is a lot harder when you lack a minimal amount of education and or skills to get a job that pays a living wage. Though, I found bad paying jobs to be a great incentive to make different choices.

Even if you are not a young person, maybe you are more established yet find yourself becoming a single Mama. It’s not the end of the world and you may find it’s the beginning of a brand new world. As long as you draw breath shit will happen, what you do after that shit happens is what matters most.

Readers, I will catch ya later, if you are the praying type I would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts during this surgery. I doubt I will be up for any blog postings anytime soon, but if you follow me on Twitter I may post a few tweets if I feel up to it. Have a great week!

Marching in Maine

13 Apr

Today’s post might not hold much interest outside of Maine but hey the title of this blog is Black Girl in Maine; so occasionally I like to speak about what’s happening in my corner of the world. Lately it seems marches are all the rage in Maine, a few weeks ago we had a group of ladies who decided to march topless through the streets of our largest city, Portland. It seems these gals wanted to bring attention to the societal double standard that allows men to go topless in public but generally speaking does not extend to women. Turns out though in Maine, ladies you are free to go head out sans shirt and bra anytime you like as we have no law that prohibits you from doing so. The organizer was a tad pissed since it seemed her statement march attracted the attention of a bunch of men who wanted to look at the ladies marching without shirts. I don’t know… march if you like but from my view it seems that to not expect folks to stare is akin to sitting a dish of ice cream in front of most folks…it will be eaten. It’s just the nature of the beast..right or wrong. Though I must be honest I really don’t want to see anyone topless, hell only time I want to see the Spousal Unit sans a top is when…you know where I am going.

After the success of the topless ladies, it seems the open carry folks have set their eyes on our largest city for a gathering. These would be the folks who like to demonstrate that the constitution of these divided states is still valid and like walking around in public like they are wandering through the Ole West fully strapped.

I have been following the accounts of these folks and I guess if I could ask one question it would be why? Seriously, I understand out in California the open carry folks have been gathering in Starbucks….um, is there a high chance of getting jacked for your double shot mocha? For real, aside from the fact that you make others uncomfortable, why wear a gun where we can all see? Funny thing I often wonder how many of these folks carrying guns openly live in areas where it might stop a person from robbing you on the street?

I admit I am not much of a gun person, but hey if you want one in your house I get it. It’s just that when you decide to stand next to me inline flexing your gun on your hip I wonder what is the point? Other than to make me think let me get the hell away from you quickly.

So readers if you like to strap up with the gun when you head out, I would love to hear your reasons why…I am serious.

What Chilli wants…my thoughts

12 Apr

Ever since I read this book recently, I had been planning on writing about single women and the search for the perfect man. I know, I am not a single woman, haven’t been one in 15 years now but as a woman who is more or less happily married, I might know a thing or two about men. I would tell any woman, if you want to get married and settle down, you would do good to go and talk to someone who has been married a long time…at least 10 years. Ideally 20 or more if you can find such a person. Why? Because these will often be folks who can give you some real info, not that crap pumped out by self-help guru’s and folks like Patty of the Millionaire Matchmaker who have never been married. Look, marriage in many ways is like having a child. Yes there are professionals who understand marriage and parenting without ever having experienced it but folks who have experienced it often have a lot to share.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night since elder boy had to head off really early to catch an early morning flight in Boston. I tried to go back to sleep and sleep decided to go  MIA so in the absence of sleep, I decided to catch up on my television viewing. Turns out in the middle of the night, there are not a lot of great options and so I landed on Vh-1 and caught some piece of fuckery “What Chilli Wants”. Chilli is a former member of the 1990’s group TLC and is now looking for a man to settle down with. I know…its vh1. Anyway Chilli is working with a coach who from what I can gather will help guide her in the right direction. Now I will admit I did not see the entire show but often these types of shows don’t require you watch from beginning to end to figure them out.

Now to start off with Chilli seems like a nice lady, she is clearly attractive despite rocking the baby hair…um, what the fuck is up with that? But..and if you a 30 something woman, it’s a big but, she is a single mama. Look, there is nothing wrong with being a single Mama but self-awareness is a great thing. Ladies when you hit your 30’s and still aren’t married, you are now competing not only with other fabulous women in their 30’s but also babes in their 20’s. Seriously a man in his 30’s and this is not a race thing cuz despite the fact that all we ever hear about are lonely Black women and Black men partnering with White women, the truth is whites got it tough too, but that is another blog post.

So if you are a single Mama in your 30’s despite still having a fabulous figure you are actually already coming with a slight disadvantage as far as the pool of men who might want you. I met the Spousal Unit when elder boy was 3 and remarried when he was 5, I suspect had he been older that could have changed the dynamics greatly. In my informal poll, women I know who were single Mamas who did marry someone other than their kid’s father seem to have greater luck when their kids are younger. It’s hard enough for a man to step in and know he may need to parent a child that is not his but make that kid a pre-teen or teenager and it gets harder, not impossible just harder.

So now that we have established what Chilli is working with, lets see what it is she wants. Well she wants a fine man who has a 6 pack, loves God, non smoking, non drinking, has money and oh…he can’t eat pork. Look at that list again and see if you can spot the items that seem based on fantasy island. Look, I can dig the fact that non smoking and non drinking are on the list, those have the ability to impact quality time spent together. But 6 pack abs? For real? Chilli, you are cute and all but do you realize that outside the entertainment world that real men past a certain age well, they might not have 6 pack abs….hell they might not even have a 4 pack. Bodies change and no it’s not about letting yourself go but in the real world at a certain age to maintain those 6 pack abs might require a man who spends all his time at the gym. Do you really want that?

By the way what is up with the no pork? I gotta be honest if you said you are a vegetarian and wanted a fellow non meat eater I wouldn’t even blink, but shit like no pork sounds pretentious..again, do you really want a man? I got to be honest Chilli you seem like you still working with the checklist of a young girl and not a grown woman. It’s ok though because many women do the same thing. For some reason women the idea of Prince Charming is drilled into our heads at an early age and in some cases we never let go then wonder why we aren’t happily married. Well for starters maybe we need to toss out the fucking list, men rarely have a list, hell men generally know in a short span of time if a woman is potential wife/mama material but ladies we are so caught up in the fantasy that we let good men pass us by. Often for superficial reasons, I have joked before, I almost turned the Spousal Unit down when he asked me out. Why? For starters he is only 5’9…never mind he is taller than me, even wearing heels he is still taller than me. Like many women thoughI wanted a tall man over 6 ft tall..funny thing is my first husband was well over 6 ft tall, even still has a full head of hair (how many women won’t date a bald or balding man..I am married to one) yet we did not work out. Yet when I let go of my childish ideas of what a man should be, I found one.

So to all my single ladies maybe its time to do away with the list because really most of the things we tend to put on the list are silly…as for Chilli I hope she finds love thought she is going to have to be willing to adjust her needs and wants. Otherwise Chilli will be a 40 something single Mama looking for love.

Don’t shoot the messenger!

9 Apr

I think in this country, we have a tendency to stick so passionately to our views that if someone who represents a view that is ideologically opposed to ours that even if what they are saying is actually worth listening to, that like a kid sticking their fingers in their ears, yelling “I can’t hear you” that we adults do the same thing. I suspect this is why many are slamming this piece by Bristol Palin telling teens to pause before they play.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you know that Bristol Palin is none other than the daughter of one time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A woman who talked abstinence only to have her own teenage daughter get pregnant. Originally the plan as the public was told, was that Bristol and then boyfriend Levi Johnston were going to get married and live happily ever after…instead like many teenage couples they broke up and now Levi is a baby daddy who must be forced to pay child support. Lucky for Levi he has been able to make a few shekels here and there riding on the fact that he knocked up Bristol so unlike many young men who forget to finish high school and have no careers, at least for the moment Levi is earning a few bucks.

Thing is Bristol made the PSA and there are some who feel it’s a tad hypocritical that she of all folks is the face telling teens to think. Mind you no where have I seen her telling teens don’t have sex but she is saying to think about it. In this PSA she also states a truth that for some is akin to shaming those of us who have less privilege. She states what if she did not have a well-known family and opportunity, how different would her life be? Good questions.

Well as someone who was technically a teen Mom, after all I was 18 when I got pregnant with elder boy and 19 when I gave birth, while I have no love for Bristol’s Mama, from my perspective Bristol speaks truth. Life is hard when you are a teen Mom. While for centuries young women gave birth at an early age it was also at a time when our life expectancies were much shorter, life in many ways was simpler. A young couple could theoretically survive without any special training or schooling.

Once upon a time in this country, the cost and style of living was simple enough that all one needed was the simple desire to work and to be given an opportunity. Alas those days are all but gone, very few jobs that require no specialized training pay wages sufficient to raise a family on. Minimum wage while attractive to a teen with no responsibilities, when one adds a child to the mix it quickly becomes apparent that one cannot raise a kid on that type of cash.

While children bring much joy, when you are neither emotionally, mentally or financially ready for them it adds to the stresses of raising kids. Children can add stress in general when you have been planning to have them, who hasn’t been overwhelmed by the sleepless nights, the meals eaten on the fly, marathon nursing sessions? Those moments when you look at your precious baby and think what have I done yet in your heart you deal because you have the maturity to know this is yet a season in life. Yet when you are still growing yourself and faced with sleepless nights at the same tine wondering how you will keep yourself and your child housed, it adds another layer that frankly is not always pleasant.

Many time young couples break up under the strain which is no surprise since adding a child is a known stressor to older already established couples who again are in a better place to weather the storms. Yet for teenagers time is not seen in the same vein as older folks view time. I can clearly compare and contrast the difference in my approach and attitudes to both my kid’s baby stage, while my daughter was clearly a more spirited kid than my son, in many ways it was easier because I was older. My son looking back was a pretty mellow baby yet at 19, sleepless nights and minor inconveniences of a baby felt so much more severe. Funny thing is I have talked with other women who had babies early who went on later to have additional  babies when they were older and many have echoed my feelings.

I think it’s short-sighted as adults for us to take offense at Bristol’s message because her target audience is teens and sadly we are in a time when for many teens they see celebrities as role models. Frankly I think Jamie Lyn Spears should talk about being a teen Mom as well.

There is no shame in being a teen Mom but the fact is it is hard work and a baby at a young age can make life more difficult. Even the simple logistics of going to school take more work when you have a baby. As more and more of us are working later in life in part because we are living longer and in part because of sheer necessity, it means the likelihood that Grandma can help with the baby is greatly reduced. Grandmas these days are not the same cookie baking sitting around beings they used to be. I think back on my own Mama who became at Grandma at the same age I am right now…she was still raising a kid at home and just starting to go into the world of work. She would occasionally baby sit but her and my Pops were pretty clear that my son was my responsibility. Even now I chuckle when I see my esthetician who is a Grandma but  this gal at barely 50 is definitely unlike any Granny I have ever known, even down to the fact her grandkids have been instructed not to call her Grandma, Granny or any derivation of Grandmother.

No, we simply do not have a society that makes it easier to have kids early and in the 18 years since I walked that path, its only gotten harder. I say don’t shoot the messenger. In this case, Bristol is a young woman living the reality of teen parenthood and I suspect much I like learned the dream she dreamed when she learned she was pregnant is much different from the life she is currently living.

Breast is best but….

7 Apr

Yesterday one of my buddies who is a passionate advocate of breastfeeding posted this article on Facebook. As always these types of articles are designed to bring about much discussion especially in places such as Facebook and other social media venues.

In my personal life most women I know have breast-fed at one point in time, including yours truly. Yet in my professional life the women I encounter rarely breastfeed; its something I thought about as one of my families just added their 5th child to the family. Yesterday I ran into the father and asked how Mama and the new baby were doing and he told me how many ounces of formula the new babe was taking…I admit for a brief second, I felt bad that this babe was not being breast-fed and then I promptly got over it.

In recent years there has been a huge push to get women to breastfeed and rightly so, it’s good for Mama and baby in many ways. There is no disputing the large body of data that supports the fact that by and large breastfeeding is the optimal way to provide nourishment to a baby. Yet as a fierce advocate of the poor, I think all the programs designed to get more Mamas nursing are not designed with the poor in mind. To be honest it can be hard enough to get middle class women to commit to breastfeeding babies, I was reminded of this fact yesterday as I sat waiting for the girl child while she took her weekly dance class and was chatting with the other Mamas.

Somehow the conversation turned to breastfeeding and for some reason many of the Mamas started getting apologetic over how they wanted to breastfeed, but couldn’t…it was one of those awkward moments. Especially because out of the group of at least 15 of us, it seemed only two of us had nursed any significant time, one Mama nursed to 8 months and yours truly who went several years.  Let’s just say when I stated how long I had nursed all eyes turned to me and I got the look…any woman who has nursed a toddler in this country has generally had at least one of those encounters. But I shook it off.

The thing is after reading the article I mentioned earlier in this post combined with my discussion with the dance Mamas, it made me wonder while it’s great to get more Mama’s nursing are we doing damage to the Mamas themselves? No, hear me out. Unless I am in the company of a certain type of parent, one who for practical purposes I will refer to as an attachment parenting style Mama, it seems the breastfeeding conversation brings ups a great deal of tension and judgment.  I have met Mamas who look down on women who choose not to nurse; I have met Mamas who look at those who nurse especially extended breast feeders as freaks. I had a woman yesterday who told me how her sister in law who had a homebirth is still nursing her 3 yo son and you know there is no nutritional value in that! All the other Mamas snickered as to imply the Mama nursing the 3 yo is getting some sort of cheap sexual thrill out of nursing her child. As a Mama who nursed a 3 yo, I spoke up and explained that there is still a nutritional aspect but at the same time it is an emotional tool and that there is nothing weird about it. I suspect I will not be invited to the Mama parties but its all good.

My point in sharing this is to say there is entirely too much judgment that goes on and it needs to stop. Instead let’s respect the choices that other mothers make with regards to how to feed their child. In the case of my client with 5 kids under 6, while I think it would be better to nurse after thinking about how I would handle things it makes a great deal of sense why she made the choice she did to use formula. Truthfully, my kids are almost 14 years apart, it was easier to get up every 2 hours to nurse when I had no other small kids to tend to, I was not facing poverty and lack of access to transportation, things that can make every day survival difficult much less adding in a newborn who needs to eat often.

For those who are passionate about wanting all women to nurse their babies, I suggest directing your energy towards change on a macro-level. Let’s create laws and practices that make it easier for women who work in places like stores and restaurants to have access and time to a safe clean space to pump milk. Let’s make access to lactation specialists and breast pumps available to all, even better let us offer each other real support rather than judgment and let’s share our real stories of our experiences. Breastfeeding is not always a beautiful thing, there were plenty of days I wanted to rip my fucking hair out yet I saw the value and continued. At almost 5, my girl still remembers and talks about when she grows up her babies will have bickey milk and she refers to breast milk.

Thrifting

5 Apr

Excuse the fact that this is going to be a complete drive by post. The weather up here is completely unbelievable, now as a native Chicagoan I expect fairly decent weather in early April in Chicago. However I no longer live in Chicago I live in Maine and generally speaking early April feels more like late winter than early spring but we are on the receiving end of some unseasonably warm weather. Yesterday was 76! 76 is something you see in August in Maine not April.

So with such weather, you just have to kick back, play a little hooky from work and go on an adventure…so today’s adventure was a trip to the new Goodwill that opened up a few towns over from me. This Goodwill is what I have taken to calling the Goodwill Emporium, it’s housed in a building that used to be home to Circuit City so as you can imagine it is fucking huge as far as thrift stores go.

I will be honest I wasn’t too impressed since such a huge thrift store brings out real die-hard thrifters and the casual folks.In other words it was packed and there is nothing worse than a packed thrift store. I spent a bit of time getting bummed that I could not find what I was in search for, some blouses and dresses from the 1960’s and early 1970’s…yes I do have a unique sense of style going on.

Anyway I was getting ready to call it a day when I decided to circle back over to the handbags, did I tell you I love purses? Seriously back when the Spousal Unit and I were living the good life in Chicago I was known to spend ridiculous sums on purses. Sadly, almost all the good bags all got sold on E-bay when we went broke save three bags  that I just could not part with due to sentimental reasons.

So I look around at the handbags several times examining them trying to see if anything looked good or if they were all junk, when I spot a unique little bag that someone has stashed away far on the back of the rack. I take it off and lo and behold its a Prada bag. I look it over quickly and as best as I can determine it’s the real deal and by the way it has no price on it…my heart was beating loudly since I had no idea if the workers would even sell me the bag since it had no tag on it or if they would recognize the label. Long story short, the clerk looked at the bag after determining there was no tag and asks “How about $4.99″…um, hell to the motherfucking yeah. Considering I have seen fricking Fossil bags at Goodwill priced for $14.99 getting a real Prada bag for $4.99 is a thrifting coup.

So dear reader as a dedicated thrifter I just had to share that bit of goodness with you…what deals have you recently scored?

Tolerance is a two way street

4 Apr

It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon up here in my corner of the world, the type of day that reminds me why I like living in Maine despite the challenges I face at times as a woman of color. It also happen to be Easter Sunday which as a Christian I do celebrate, yet I don’t need this day alone to honor and celebrate Jesus, its something I do every day upon waking.

I rarely discuss my faith on this blog in part because I am at stage in my faith walk where I don’t see the need to bring it up at every turn. Folks who are friends know my faith, much like they know my politics. My faith guides every area of my life even down to the professional choices I have made in the last 15 years…I am the director of a small non-profit agency that happens to be faith based. Yet the agency I run serves hundreds yearly without regards to one’s religion, I choose to work in the vein of Jesus where I try and do good to others. I am human and I fail sometimes and yet its okay.

That said, in recent years I am discouraged by the fact that we live in a time and space where acceptance of others is highly touted yet when it comes to accepting Christians, it seems acceptance goes out the window. I grew up in a world where faith wise I only knew folks who were Jewish, Christian or Muslim…in other words the big 3. Oh, and I knew a few agnostics/atheists but that pretty much was it when it came to religious and spiritual diversity.

Yet as an adult I count among my friends who practice ATR (African Traditional Religions),Pagans, Wiccans, Buddhists, and so on. Knowing these folks has added a rich diversity to my life and allowed me to think about why I chose the spiritual path that I did, I most certainly can’t say it’s because it was what I was told to do when I was a kid because when I was a kid, I rarely went to church. There was no discussion of faith, that is funny to many who know me because my father is in ordained mister, his mid life crisis entailed going to seminary and choosing an entirely different way of life than what I was raised with..it caused some ripples in our family, initially but we all adjusted. I suppose because I was not raised as a Christian it makes me unusual in that I actively sought out Christianity in my early 20’s instead of how many are raised Christian and actively seek to leave it behind in their adult years. I like to think it gives me an interesting view of the world.

I find myself growing increasingly weary of how due to the actions of some Christians that all are judged to be simple minded idiots who are intolerant. Yes there are intolerant bigoted Christians but such folks exist across the religious spectrum, but it seems Christians and perhaps Muslims (I admit I cannot speak for my Muslim brothers and sisters so correct me if I am wrong) get the bulk of the animosity and judgment. On this Easter Sunday I found myself growing angry as I hopped online briefly and checked into a few of the places I frequent when I am online such as Facebook and Twitter to see a whole lot of negative statements being directed at Christians.

It saddens me because I truly see tolerance as a two way street. Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of Samhain, yet while it’s not a holiday I celebrate it is one I have respect for because I have friends for who Samhain is an important holiday. Yet when folks belittle my faith tradition I admit the very human side of me at times wants to lash out with the same belittling that I deal with on a fairly constant basis. I write this yet not to condemn anyone but to suggest that we all be mindful in our words whether in our face to face interactions or even online. If we seek tolerance for ourselves and our families than I think its important to remember it starts with us. To ask for something we are not willing to give in many cases is not realistic.