Archive | June, 2010

Burnt Out

28 Jun

I don’t like to blog about my job because one of the drawbacks of living in a small state like Maine is folks tend to know who you are so things like anonymity just don’t exist even on the web. Hell, a good portion of my Twitter followers are Mainers and it turns out the degrees of separation even on a site like Twitter when it comes to Mainers is probably about 2 degrees at best.

Yet as I have been reading some real cool blogs lately that talk about the non-profit sector as well as related articles, I feel there is a segment of the non-profit world that writers and consultants leave out. That would be those of us that work at the tiny of tiniest agencies. I am talking the agencies and organizations in many parts of the US that do serious front line work like food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters where at best there is 1-2 paid staff members and a cadre of volunteers that provide the services. The IRS recently instituted guidelines this year that all 501c3’s must now file a 990 so that they can get a better sense of who really is out there in the non-profit sector. The best estimate is that there is approximately 31% of all US charities have gross receipts under $25,000. That means until recently those folks didn’t have to file a tax return, yet that is a hell of a lot of agencies doing work and making do in many cases with some less than optimal situations.

I know because I work at such a place, granted our gross revenue is higher than the previous  minimum threshold required to file taxes but our budget doesn’t even tip 6 figures. Which when you consider the fact we are in the business of providing after school and summer programming for kids is a miracle. It’s a good thing we are faith-based because we are praying daily to keep the doors open.

Lately I have been encountering others like me though who love the work we do yet we are burnt out. However unlike life in any major sized city where even with the economic downturn if one gets truly tired of their job, one can generally make the decision to look for work at another agency it becomes virtually impossible to do that in a rural state. In 8 years of living in Maine, very little of mid and senior level management positions have turned over at any of the larger agencies in my part of the state. Of course not! Where would these folks go? Unless they are leaving the state or hanging out their shingle as a consultant or retiring from the work force, there simply is no place to go.

Which means for Gen X’ers or even some of the Gen Y folks the only viable options to get management experience is to take on the leadership roles at the tiny agencies. Yet after 18 months in my current position, I am burnt out. I wear multiple hats at my job, oh let’s share all the hats I wear: program director and designer, chief fundraiser and sole grant writer, director of volunteer management, manager of the actually site (though I do have a solid volunteer who works directly with the kids as well). On a bad week though I might even have to physically clean the facility! Two months into my position, my site guy was out on sick leave and I had to con the Spousal Unit into assisting me as I mopped and cleaned toilets. Yeah baby! Talk about the glamorous life of an Executive Director.

Though as you can imagine after 18 months of juggling all these balls in the air, it was only a matter of time before I started asking myself what the hell am I doing? I earn peanuts, have no paid healthcare benefits, thankfully I have a flexible schedule (why the hell not, I am the creator of the schedule) and generous paid time off. I will tell you that at the root of it all I love the work that I do, I love knowing our agency makes a difference, we are there for kids who have very little in terms of safe options after school and in the summer. Families trust us. Yet lately I struggle with the needs of my own family, since technically my gig is only part-time but like my predecessors I work closer to a 40 hrs a week schedule because simply put the job needs to be done.

In many ways the work I am doing goes against all I learned in grad school as well as in my job experiences in Chicago yet in rural and small town agencies it’s the only way to get the work done. Generally speaking I believe organizations have a responsibility to treat its employees well, pay them an acceptable wage and so on. On the other hand as the creator of my organization’s budget I know first hand what we can and cannot afford so realistically I can not get a salary increase when the money simply does not exist. Right now I would love to bring in a consultant to work with my board and jumpstart us towards creative and energizing ideas but that too is not within the grasp of our budget and none of my connections in the consulting world can take on a free job at the moment.

Previously I worked as a non-profit consultant with a focus on strategic planning and fundraising, most of my work was with small agencies and often we would have great sessions, renew the energy yet in smaller agencies without enough hands to do the work, such plans often go flat. So I am aware that even an excellent consultant can’t change the course of our ship without one hundred percent buy in from all participants.

So if you have ever worked or currently work in a small agency how do you stay sane? Share your tips and ideas.

Not all skinfolk is kinfolk…living in Maine while Black

27 Jun

From time to time well meaning friends and acquaintances who live back in Chicago or places with far more diversity than my current state of Maine will lament with me over how hard it must be to live in a state where to be honest there is not a lot of racial diversity. In my early days in Maine, I would often associate bad days with the fact that if only I had more folks who looked like me, all would be well. As if the mere presence of Black and Latino folks would be my magical Tara from which I would draw my strength.

In the past year though while I do wish certain products and services were more readily available, personally it bothers me less and less that there is not a great deal of diversity here. See, not all skinfolk is kinfolks to quote the marvelous Zora Neale Hurston. I was reminded of this recently when I went back to Chicago and actually decided to leave a day early after dealing with some interpersonal shit with my so called friends.

Let me go way back to a time when I was just a wee lass growing up in Chicago so you can get a sense of who I am. I grew up with two Black  parents who raised their 2 kids to be Black. Yet I was that geeky kid who well to be honest was bookish, my cool factor was diminished in the eyes of my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members because we lived on Chicago’s northside and not in the hood. (considering my folks were Black hippies we were hardly living large, we were broke) I attended schools where in the early grades I was the only fly in the buttermilk to quote my Granny.

This meant when I got together with family and family friends I was teased mercilessly for talking and acting like a white girl. See Black Girl in Maine, cannot jump rope aka double dutch to save her life, my dancing skills are well limited though I actually keep time with the music these days and don’t make a complete ass of myself. Whenever I tried to hang with my folk’s fact is I got burnt emotionally and was made to feel like I didn’t belong and was not welcomed.

Last time I saw one of my most fervent torturers was almost 7 years ago when my Mom was dying and even then this relative tried to as we used to say throw shade on me and clown me. Only problem was at that point I was a grown ass woman and at that stage in my life with my Mom in rough shape I had no interest in playing those games. I also let that same relative know we could take it outside and she would learn that the lil girl she used to tease didn’t exist anymore. I might still talk white at times, but don’t get fooled, if need be I will handle my business. Interestingly but that relative died 2 yrs after my Mom and now what family members do talk to me, often talk about maybe there was value in the way my folks raised my brother and I. In our generation of the family we are the only two have had no brushes with the law, or any outward signs of hard living.

Funny thing is at this point and I think I speak for my brother we don’t give a rat’s ass about them; though the lack of family and my kids makes me stay connected in an indirect way because I feel my kids should at least know these folks. Even though not all skinfolk in ya kinfolk.

So yeah my relationship to most of my family except for literally a handful of folks is strained at best. I am not sure I fared better when it came to relationships with non family members. In the 5th grade I met a sista who has been in my life ever since. Yet some shit went down recently that has me realizing that not everyone we call a friend is a friend some folks are merely acquaintances even if we are tight and have known each other over 25 years. Those 2 facts don’t make us best friends forever…

Don’t get me wrong its not as if I have had lousy relationships with all folks of color and great relationships with white folks because that is definitely not true. No, instead I have realized its important for me to just be around good folks who nurture me and offer friendship who I can reciprocate with. Fact is some of the best damn people I have met in almost 40 years on this planet have been here in Maine. All except for a few are white but true connection allows for connecting across race and culture. Yes, there are differences and yes they can be annoying at times but at the same time it is very possible to make connections and find a home.

It’s that point that was brought home for me when I landed in Chicago a few weeks ago and as soon as I entered the terminal at Midway Airport, I saw a sea of faces that looked a like mine. For a moment my heart rejoiced but within an hour I was reminded again not all skinfolk is kinfolk as I stood in line for the bathroom and a woman who looked like me with a cellphone had a mouth so foul and believe me when it comes to cussing I can cuss with the best of them even I was bothered. It didn’t help that when our eyes met she gave me a look that chilled me, I would love to say that was a one time event but any illusions of connecting with the sistas went out the window. When I returned to Maine, I talked to a dear sista friend of mine who left Maine in the past year to be in a more diverse area and she confirmed that she too had had some of the experiences I had in Chicago on my brief trip. My girl had left Maine seeking to reconnect with Black folks for the sake of her own sanity and for that of her kids but realistically she had not found it though in her case she was close enough to her biological family that the move was still a good one.

There are places where Black folks connect and are good to one another, yet in many urban areas that is not the case, I am sad to say. Obviously there are a myriad of reasons for why our young are hell bent on destruction but coming from Chicago and being where I am now a place that while it lacks diversity and a few other things gives me a pace of life I do like. I think for now I am going to stay where I am until the wind blows me in a new direction.

Why People Beat their Kids

26 Jun

Disclaimer, its late and Mama has had a long day. When those two things happen, I tend to get slap happy and nonsensical, so if my bad sense of humor offends you, get a coke and bag of chips and push on. Otherwise if you are a frazzled parent, who is finally catching their breath now that the kidlets are asleep, pour a glass of wine or make a cup of tea and commiserate with me as I kvetch.

Preschool ended for the almost 5 yo kidlet a couple of weeks ago and while in my mind I saw us sharing many tender Mommy-child moments together this summer, my reality has been um…exhausting. The kidlet has always had sleep issues from age 0-almost 3 she would only fall asleep if she were physically carried or attached to one of us. There was a good 2 year period where I forgot what the Spousal Unit looked like at night since around 18 months he took over nighttime duty for fear he wasn’t going to wake up one day due to his frazzled sleep deprived wife snapping. Turns out the man is far better suited to going without regular sleep than yours truly.

Even when she started sleeping in her room last year she still required a parental unit’s involvement at some point in the middle of the night (yeah, I know developmentally appropriate and when your firstborn got the hang of sleeping at oh 6 weeks getting a kid the 2nd time around who hates to sleep rocks your fucking world) so to be honest its safe to say she has always had issues around sleep. Kidlet will go to bed late and wake up early. I tried the consensual route at one point believing that she would fall asleep when she needed and get the sleep her body required. Bad idea, instead we had a kid who was constantly over tired and making our lives a living hell.

No, it took getting hardcore and regimented and having a consistent schedule that seemed to make our lives easier though we still never knew (know) when she will wake up. So imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when she started sleeping late, I am talking almost 9 am! I felt like a brand new person being able to sleep that late instead of hearing the call at 6:45 am…”Mommy, Daddy I am up”. But all good things must come to end and that week of heaven on earth (think about the best sex you ever had, shit so good it was like heaven, the moon, the stars..you get the point) has ended only to now return to super early wake up time and a kid who is always high energy having even more energy.

It’s that energy that brings me to today, we were out as a family enjoying our community and time together, all said we were out about 7-8 hours and after a long warm day outside we (the big people) came home and were wiped out. Yet the kidlet came home and had more energy that 5 yo triplets combined. “Mommy, let’s play store.” “Mommy, let’s play dress up”…after reading 3 long stories, “Mommy can you read some more”? It went on and on. Finally I said “Chile, how about we watch some tv (sue me, if your kid doesn’t watch tv, well you are probably a better parent than I, hats off to you now pass me a drink!). Here I was offering unfettered access to the idiot box and she said no, um…..NOoooooooooo!

It was in that moment I realized just how easy it would be for a parent with less resources and more pressures to just snap on the kid. It’s the reason when you are in places like Target and the evil Wal-Mart you see parents just snapping on kids. Kids push our buttons, thankfully the Spousal Unit came in and ran interference and after being left alone for an hour I was happy to hang out with her. But dammit for a split second it ran through my mind how easy it would have been when she was having that whine fest to do as the ole folks would say and just pop her and tell her to shut the hell up.

So while I am not proud of the thoughts that ran through my mind, I am glad I had the ability to get back on track and be the best parent I can within my reality but at the same time I realized why some parents spank their kids. Its less about the kid and more about how we handle stressful moments.

A Black Girl in the Woods

24 Jun

This past weekend the family and I did something I have joked about wanting to do for years but never really had the nerve…we went camping.  Yep, me?  A born and bred city gal who can quickly identify a pair of Louboutin’s or Manolo’s decided to hit the North Country. We actually had been invited as part of a larger group that was planning on climbing Mt. Katahdin, Maine’s largest point. Well my much slower than expected recovery from that pesky hernia repair surgery put the kibosh on my climbing plans but I figured I might as well still go and enjoy the woods.

I will admit the first half of our time at camp was rough, turns out the campground we were at had no connections to the outside world. Let’s break that down, it means your cell phone, smart phone and laptops cannot pick up a signal. Turns out it wasn’t just the campground, the whole area the closer you got to the mountains it turned out there was no connection to be had, luckily a few miles in the opposite direction and a connection could be had. I will be honest, initially I freaked the fucked out, 2 days in the woods and no phone, text or email? Yikes! Turns out once the initial shock wore off, it was down right liberating to be forced to unplug from the world.

The only real downside was the shared accommodations, I had to room in the gal area and well let’s just say I prefer not to room with others unless we are related by marriage or family.

It’s a hot day up in my corner of the world so rather than a long post I will leave you with some of the sights I took in up north.

On the road, off to the wizard...opps the woods!

 

Our fine accomodations, yeah I know it looks not so rustic

 

Ray, our fabulous boat captain and tour guide

 

Lake Millinocket from the boat

 

The ducks allowed us to get quite close

 

Had to snap this, it was um...interesting

 

Good food plus met one of the local brothas here, there are 4 total!

 

What the????At Dysarts in Bangor on the way home..a bank of phones..WOW!

It’s all about getting that cash

19 Jun

I have been using various forms of social media now for well over a decade now. In the late 1990’s  I discovered discussion boards, I was contemplating making some life changes and was in need of a supportive community and at that time the net was small enough that I hooked up with a couple of online communities that met my needs. Over a decade later, I have met some amazing women many who have become real life friends.

When I packed up my life in 2002 and left Chicago and landed in Maine, it was those same online communities and friendships that sustained me until I reached the point of having some local support in Maine. I guess what I am saying is I have been online for quite a while. My first husband was and still is a computer geek, back in 1991 when we married he was going online using BBS (bulletin board system) I remember back then thinking what the hell is he doing, little did I know how much that early exposure to making connections online was going to impact my life.

In the past 5-6 years we have literally seen social media go mainstream, I remember just a few years ago before sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter became household names explaining my online activity to real life friends and being looked at like I was insane. After all who communicated on a computer with people they didn’t know? By the way this was in the early 2000’s…many of these same real life friends now use sites like Facebook and others as staples in their daily life.

I stumbled onto blogs probably about 4-5 years ago, many of the early blogs I read were true labors of love. Often folks sharing amazing tales of their life, awesome writing. Back than folks often just started blogs to have an audience, another way of making connections. Take bloggers like the very popular Pioneer Woman, she just wanted a way to stay connected to the folks in her life, she had no idea that one day she would be writing books and last I heard there is talk about a movie about the story of her life. I think many women particularly mothers gravitated to blogs as a way of making connections. In Maine we have Amanda Blake Soule of the blog Soule Mama. Her blog chronicles her life here in Maine with her 4 kids and their creative endeavors.  Her daily life and adventures became the basis for the 3 book deal she later landed but from what I have heard (Maine is small, while I don’t personally know Amanda, I have friends who do) she didn’t start blogging with the intent to land a book deal. She did something she liked with no expectations and well good shit happened.

 Initially when I started this blog, I had my eyes set on achieving some level of fame that would translate into a paycheck but over the two years I have been blogging, now it’s about my process. For me it’s about strengthening my skills as a writer but also having a voice, lastly as a woman of color its about connecting with others. This blog has allowed me to connect with folks in Maine as well as outside; I have met some fellow bloggers and readers that one day I would love to sit down with and share a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

I also think that when I let go of dreams of turning this blog into a cash cow, it allowed me to stay true to myself and my creative being. I also use social media such as Twitter to promote this blog but even Twitter allows me to connect with others especially some of the most creative and free thinking minds in Maine. Just yesterday I caught lunch with a young lady of color who recently moved to Maine. So yeah money might be nice, but making human connections is even better.

I say all this to say that as a long time user of social media in all its forms I see some disturbing trends developing. More and more I read blogs or see Twitter users turning themselves into a brand…the brand of me. Twitter for many is about promoting oneself, one’s business. Look there is nothing wrong with promotion if you have a legitimate product to promote but in many cases I see complete and utter bullshit being packaged in a slick glossy package and well its empty as hell.

The problem with this new trend of self promotion is that it takes away from authentic connections. How can we truly connect if at the end of the day you are more concerned about sealing a deal and getting paid? Look maybe that works with the youngsters but for an old head like myself its a huge turnoff. I think about some of my ex favorite blogs, ones that landed the book deal or through blogging landed a great job and then the original blog lost its spark.

There is a fashion blog I have followed for a while and when the blogger initially started off, it was great. You as the reader connected because you saw a regular person putting together articles of clothing that were accessible to the masses and rocking the hell out of that shit. Year down the road, this blogger blows up, to the point she quits her job, now she attends Fashion Week, has corporate sponsors up the wazoo and basically her blog reads like an advertisement, a glossy magazine.

Funny thing is this particular blogger is one of the biggest influence in my returning to my love of vintage clothes, she gave me some great ideas. Yet now I occasionally visit her blog and feel much the way I feel when I read a fashion magazine. That what she is hawking is inaccessible, furthermore as a follower of hers on Twitter, the constant promotion of herself as a brand is making me reevaluate whether or not I should even continue to follow her.

The thing is we have a zillion books and consultants who all for some cash will tell you how to market the brand of you, giving away so-called secrets that will make you into a social media superstar and of course earn you some cash. Look, and can I be frank most of what they are telling you is bullshit. You don’t need to have a brand called you because guess what? You are you! I admit as a graduate of a masters level organizational management program, I am well familiar with consultants and having even done a brief but successful stint as an organizational management consultant, I am here to tell you most of what these folks say is designed to earn them money and leave you wondering.

I admit occasionally they may give you a nugget of truth but I believe that much like real life relationships the only key you need is to be your authentic self in all that you do. Folks like The Pioneer Woman and Soule Mama achieved a high level of success in the social media world by simply being themselves, no gimmicks or special conferences needed. When we lose our authentic selves even in an electronic medium we risk becoming a mindless automaton who is programmed for one thing, getting that cash and really aren’t we more than that.

Is it harder now?

16 Jun

Technically I am off of work this week but that is really just a technicality as my phone is still ringing, emails are still being sent and basically no one seems to have gotten the memo that I am closed for business despite the fact this is my week to decompress before we hit the busy season. It also happen to be the week between preschool ending and day camp starting so I get to pretend I am a stay at home Mom rather than a work out of the home Mom. Can I tell you that I am plain fucking exhausted! The kidlet has the energy of triplets rolled into one body. To say I am exhausted is a understatment but hey what can you do?

Yet I find myself wondering if modern-day parenting is harder than it was say 30 years ago? I was taking a stroll down memory lane yet without my Mum around to ask questions of, maybe I am wrong but I swear my Mom didn’t work nearly as hard as any of the Mamas’ that I know. Play just happened, no dates to arrange, I was mostly left to my own devices. If we played together it was the occasional board game but she never spent hours on end in the floor with me, perhaps it’s because one puzzle and multiple games of dominos later and both the Spousal Unit and I are sore as hell after playing on the floor. So this stuff is on my mind. Yet its in these moments I long for the days of yesteryear in parenting , when I felt less like the manager of child activity and more like a parent.

Today I ended up talking with a woman who initially thought the kidlet was my only child until I explained that I also have an adult child as well and it turned out she had a similar situation though in her case her kids were 17 years apart. We had a good laugh talking about how our parenting evolved, in some ways it was the type of discussion I needed as the woman I was talking to was also African-American. She instinctively seemed to get how with the kidlet I had flipped my parenting script 180 degrees to the point even elder boy has told me that if he tried half of what his sister does the old me probably would not be as gentle as I am now.

Yet lately as I see my girl grow as much as I love her I admit I now question some of the parenting choices we have made but more importantly I wonder if parenting these days is simply harder than it once was? We have so much more as far as activities, technology and the list goes on…you would think our parenting lives would be easier yet it seems we work so much harder to parent than our parents and grandparents ever did. Why is that? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Unjobbing..what the???

13 Jun

Last night I was wasting time on the interwebz as I am prone to do, when I stumbled on an interesting new term that I just had to share with you. Language is a funny thing; there are so many ways to say the same thing, so I suppose I should not be surprised to learn this term. Yet I think its one of those terms that who is saying it is what makes it somehow seem special.

So if you find yourself unemployed and unable to find a permanent job that meets your needs whatever they may be, ultimately most of us would find a way to cobble together a living. Hell, that’s what I did a few years ago when I spent 18 months as a self employed non profit consultant. I looked at what my strengths were and started marketing the hell out of myself. Turned out I wasn’t half bad but having a spouse who is already self employed, I tend to feel more comfortable having a traditional employment situation.

Well if for whatever reason you find yourself needing to cobble together a living, well you can just call yourself an unjobber. Yes, you read that correctly, unjobbing. In a nutshell unjobbing is described as “Unjobbing is a method to sustain a chosen lifestyle without the primary means of sustaining that lifestyle being a sole occupation in exchange for wages. Unjobbing is a creative choice.”  In other words earning a living however you can without benefit of a single job or jobs.

Now much of the literature that I found in my quick search of unjobbing is related in part to the unschooling movement. I got no bones to pick with the unschooling movement, I know a few folks who have made that choice for their families and for most of them it seems to work. I admit it’s probably not a path I would ever take in part I know myself and I know my kid. We both need a certain amount of structure but I digress.

Let’s get back to this unjobbing thing. For starters how the hell is unjobbing any different than folks who hustle together whatever work they can find to keep a roof over their heads and food on the tables? Really, I am not trying to be snarky. I suppose one could say it’s more of an intentional choice and that people who unjob probably make a conscious life choice to seek fulfillment outside the work world. I can dig it, most folks who unjob generally live outside the primary economic system, many living in the cash economy from what I can tell. Um….folks in the hood often do the same thing but it damn sure is not sold as a lifestyle choice, its survival.

Hell, at various times in my life maybe I should have claimed the unjobber status rather than saying I was trying to make ends meet. I got to be honest, the only difference I see here is that it’s more likely that white folks who hail from a certain background may gravitate to being unjobbers. Whereas persons of color who lack permanent employment for whatever reason might say they are getting their hustle on.

I know this piece might bring out the wrath of the PC police, hey lighten up! I admit discovering this term was enlightening to me. Who knows, I am dealing with some discontent in my world of work, maybe I will become an unjobber. All jokes aside for more information on unjobbing check out this link. By the way what do you think about unjobbing? I’d love to hear your feedback.

It’s Loving Day

12 Jun

It was on this day in 1967 that the United States Supreme Court decided a case that made it possible for folks like the Spousal Unit and I to get married. Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and a black woman married in 1958. Unfortunately at that time there were states that still had anti-miscegnation laws on the books that made that simple act a crime. You can look up the story of their lives to get the historical background needless to say as someone who has been involved in an interracial relationship since the early 1990’s, the story of the Lovings is one I have come to know.

I rarely write about my marriage and the fact that I am married interracially on this blog since after all these years, I simply see the Spousal Unit as a man who happens to be my husband and yeah he’s white. There is also the fact though I have been pretty intentional in stating that should we ever for any reason part company I most likely would never date interracially again.  Yeah, I know that sounds bad and yes the Spousal Unit is aware of my feelings lucky for him, I have no intentions to unload him anytime soon.

 However folks like myself do have a debt to the Lovings because if I thought it was hard to be married to my first husband in 1991 who was white, I can only imagine how hard it had to be back the late 1950’s. Even now there are still moments of the uncomfortable pause when folks realize we are married. Of course I will never forget when my first husband and I were married and I was pregnant with the elder boy and we were out at the old Grant Park in Chicago and a white woman came up to my then husband looked at me with disgust and said to my then husband “What white woman did you so bad….” you can fill in the blanks.

We have come a long way baby! Yet we have so much further to go when it comes to marriage equality in this country but that’s another post.

HappyLoving Day!

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and a Graduation

9 Jun

Hello Readers,

I am back from my travels to far away and exotic lands known as Chicago, Il and Kenosha, WI. Let me tell you it was an adventure indeed considering I got up at 1:30 am on Saturday morning to catch a 6 am flight 2 states over in Boston, MA. I was reminded of why it’s been a while since I hopped on a plane…good Lord! Why do we even bother getting dressed when we head to the airport? It might actually make things much easier if we arrived at the airport buck naked and sent our luggage ahead via Fed Ex. Yep, I got jokes.  Thankfully I cleared security and was allowed on the plane, to be met at Midway airport by my Pops and my brother both of whom I had not actually laid eyes on since about 2006. Before catching the train to Kenosha, I was able to catch a fabulous diner breakfast at the White Palace Diner over on Roosevelt Rd as well as tour the brand spanky new Millenium Park. It is a beauty.

Anyway I won’t give you the blow by blow but a good time was had by all and here a a few pics from my travels.

I rarely will post a picture of myself online so I will probably remove it in a few days so enjoy for now. Its a busy week at work but I will be back soon sharing some thoughts on big cities. Until we meet again, ciao.

Off to the city and to see a son graduate

3 Jun

Black Girl in Maine is coming out of her cave to hit the big city! Seriously, all jokes aside my son graduates from high school this Saturday in Wisconsin and since his location is mere minutes away from the Illinois border, I will be doing a quick stop in my hometown of Chicago.

It’s been six years since I have been home and as the time passes I miss it less and less. But it is the city of my birth, I did spend damn near 30 years there and hey the best pizza in the world is there.  Oh and yeah what’s left of my family of origin also is there, so not only will I see my boy graduate I will visit with family members.

Speaking of the son, a few folks have asked what happened as far as his college plans. Well after his first round of applications netted 3 no’s and 1 waitlist, we did a second round of applications and hit the jackpot. He was accepted to St. Norbert’s College in Wisconsin, a small Catholic liberal arts school that not only accepted him but gave him a generous scholarship (and it wasn’t even for being a half a Negro). So while we were looking forward to him coming back to the east coast for college, as anyone with a college bound kid knows, generally you go with the school that comes up off the most shekels. Since at this stage in my life being a pole dancer probably is not the greatest option for funding his college education and bank robbers never net much money!

All jokes aside, I am proud as hell of my son. Anyone raising a young man of color understands the challenges inherent in that task. So this evening I say to my son (who reads my blog) I am proud as hell of you, I say even to my ex spouse thanks for riding the boy to keep him in line.  In this case it truly took a village to raise my son and I am thankful for that village.

I will catch ya’ll on the flip side and might even break my own policy of not posting pics of my family when I return.  Ciao for now.