Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Loss of A Giant - Dr. Maya Angelou

Today, when I was at work, I was presented with the saddest news I have heard in a few weeks. Dr. Maya Angelou passed away this morning. I am not very emotional and while I am sad that people pass away, I don't usually show that sadness with tears. Today was no exception, but I did take some time to examine why the passing of a woman I had never met would affect me so deeply.

The answer I came up with was this: I did know her. Not in the conventional way, I guess, but I did know her. She examined her life and allowed all of us to read her deepest pains, sufferings and joys. I, like almost everyone else, read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and cheered for a girl that did not yet know she was hero. It was easy to gobble up the words on her pages-- they seemed to leap off the page at certain points. You could read her words, close your eyes and smell the apple blossoms and dirt roads of backwoods Arkansas. She made you question traditional thoughts of beauty, made you see the dark side of "family," made you hate, love and empathize... all in one book.

I remember the first time I read that book-- I remember the last. I was going through a rough time. There is nothing like reading about someone else's nightmare... it makes yours seem so small. I remember standing up in front of peers at a church youth conference, reciting Phenomenal Woman and thinking to myself that the MOST self assured woman had to be responsible for this magical poetry. And she was magical. She led us through her life, like dogs on leashes on a long walk, pausing at every change in scenery. And we were eager to be led. We ate it up; we consumed HER. And it was life giving.

It is so odd that her passing happened during my month of the 1950s experiment. During the 1950s Dr. Angelou was hard at work, outside of the home, doing what she could to make ends meet. Hanging out with influential thinkers, participating in a movement that she would champion for the rest of her life-- the Civil Rights Movement.  She spent the 50s begin the antithesis of what we think (or have been told) the 1950s woman was. A great example of what I would like to be-- then AND now. Rest In Peace, you phenomenal woman. You have fought the good fight. May we all have the courage to pick up the torch and carry on.

Friday, May 16, 2014

You Are... How You Dress?

So I did a little research, magazine ads directed at women in the 50s, books that were written with women in mind, movies that depicted how exactly "acceptable" women behaved. You know what all these have in common? Women, acceptable women, are well dressed. Being well dressed when you go out helped in representing your family (and your husband) well. Women headed to work, if they worked outside the home; the market or lunch with their girlfriends would have never dreamed about heading out like we do in 2014.

Often, and not because of this experiment, I comment on what others are wearing. Mostly because people do not care what they look like when they leave their home. I mean, we have all seen The People Of Walmart website, right? It is an epidemic. And it doesn't just happen at the Walmart... though I have to say, it is definitely more prevalent there. Just a quick search of images of women from the 1950s will yield thousands of pictures of perfectly coiffed young ladies-- even when cleaning the house. No signs of yoga pants (guilty), jeans every day (guilty) or coming outside still in pajama pants (guilty, but usually only when I am headed to the Walmart).

I say all of this to say that I went on a shopping spree of sorts. Much to my mother's dismay, I am not much of a dress wearer. I went to an all girls school-- uniform skirts, but even before that, I was always more of a tomboy. I can dress up, but really... why? For this month though, I have decided to throw a wrench in my regular wardrobe programming. Unless I am on my way to the gym, no yoga pants. this is hard because I look FANTASTIC in yoga pants and they are just so freaking comfortable-- it honestly makes no sense. The fabric they are made from? Manna from heaven, thank you! Unless I am in the shower at the gym or strolling around the house by myself, no flip flops. You know the ones I am talking about-- the plastic ones that you replace every summer. Those. I have a friend who refuses to wear them. Ever. And she is not even doing a 1950s experiment!

I am also limiting my jean wearing. Gasp. Listen y'all. Jeans are allowed at my job. That should really be all I have to say. They are my go to... after yoga pants. Nothing sexier than me in jeans and a tee shirt. Oh yes. But I am going to try to let that go. I will go from 6 days a week in jeans to 2. And when I do wear them, I will dress it up. No Pearl Jam tee shirts from 14 years ago... I will wear the ones from 3 years ago instead. And a belt, maybe.

Also, with all this dress wearing, I feel as though I am obligated to my fellow chick-a-sees whose thighs *may* rub together... I have found a new friend-- BodyGlide. I usually use to for running, it cuts down on friction when your body is moving for a long period of time... but it also works if you are switching up your wardrobe selection and your thighs are touching each other. A lot. Trust me. You are welcome. Off to put on a dress...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

1950s Mentality - A Beginning (House)Wife

A little glimpse into the life of Hot, Black and Bitter: I love history. In fact, both Lefty and I have undergraduate degrees in History. My concentration in undergrad was 20th century American history, mostly the 1960s. I love the turbulent times of the 60s. I love to look around and see the changes that have taken place because of the selflessness of some in the 60s; the simple audacity of very few that sent an entire country into change. For me the idea of THAT was awe inspiring. I read the news and see the correlation of things happening today and what happened 50 years ago. Life is cyclical and all, just in case you were wondering!

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about the 1950s and how a direct turn from that decade led directly to the movements of the 1960s and how awfully hard I thought those women of the 19502 had it. I mean, they had lived through and been single parents during the war, most born right before the Great Depression. These are the parents of the "Baby Boomers" the most talked about generation... Ever (it seems sometimes). These women (generally) were still participating in very traditional gender roles, they worked in (and showed pride in) the home, raised kids, doted on their husbands and did all the housework. I'm just going to repeat that... Yeah, that is right, they did all the housework. All of this and I am pretty sure they would be (rightfully) shunned if they wore yoga pants everywhere. So I, of course, started to think... "Could I make it as a 50s housewife? First thought? Absolutely not. First, Lefty and I work different shifts and don't spend lots of time together during the week. Secondly, I don't dote. On anyone. Ok, maybe my mother. Possibly. Third, when I think of the perceived attitude that was necessary to thrive in the 1950s... not necessarily subservient, but definitely, um, gracious, that is not the attitude I got. All jokes aside, it is really not my forte. If I am being honest. 

But I have decided to give this a shot anyway. For the next month I am going to be as much of a 1950s wife as I can be. I am thinking that I can take back our home from the cat hair that is floating around, the (still) unpacked boxes that litter the library, the animals that supposedly bring joy into my daily life. Plus, I am sure that Lefty would appreciate a home cooked meal occasionally.  Clearly there are some limitations. The internet was not around in the 50s... and I am NOT giving it up for the next month. Ain't happening. Besides, how can I report on all my mishaps? Internet time will be *slightly* limited though. I will post on the blog but time on Facebook is going to decrease... I am sure that it will have to since I will be spending a lot more time doing other things... like chores. Also- I am not taking a month off work-- so I will have to participate in this experiment during off hours and on the weekends. That generally means that I will be cooking at night and Lefty will be eating it the next day. Ah, the evils of him working second shift. I will post updates, successful recipes, catastrophes, cleaning schedule and (possible) outfits of the day, if I am looking super fabulous. 

I know that I won't be able to totally immerse myself in the time period, but I am going to try my best to show pride in my family, home, husband and get the feel of a 1950s wife. Let's cross our fingers that I make it the whole month!! 

Let's get after it, 50s style! (Be prepared for a few history lessons too... and I am not sorry about it!) 

Monday, May 12, 2014

There Is No Punchline

I really try NOT to get involved in the ever exhausting lives of "celebrities." I am not a huge fan of many, so I don't really care what they do, to whom, with whom, where. But today-- every timeline I have was inundated with news of Solange Knowles trying to beat the holy shit out of her brother-in-law, who just so happens to be Jay-Z. As of yet, only the elevator video has been released, nothing has been confirmed, but man-o-man have people come out of the woodwork to comment on the happenings of an elevator ride.

The memes are plentiful, everyone has jokes. So, my question is: what the hell makes this so funny? Listen, I typed when Chris Brown beat the absolutely cow shit out of Rihanna-- people need to keep their hands to themselves, period. There is NO excuse for grown ass people to fight. Zero. Rumor has it that Jay-Z has cheated on Beyonce, or has hit her, or whatever. If he cheated... they are married... leave his ass and take half his shit. If he hit her, she needs to get her daughter and leave that abusive situation, divorce him and take half his shit. Either way, Solange should not be in the middle, nor should she be assaulting anyone in the name of hurt placed upon Beyonce. Seriously, multi-millionaires fighting in an elevator? Dumb. People making fun of any sort of violence? Stupid.

Remember back a few weeks when everyone, including me, was all up in arms when Columbus Short was accused of choking and threatening his wife? Yeah- you should be that upset at this. Just because Solange is a woman does not excuse violent behavior. It down not make the situation amusing. Now, how would you have reacted if Jay-Z slapped the shit out of her? What if he kicked her back? You still laughing? What if the roles were reversed and he got in her face as soon as those elevator doors closed. All the women I see reposting the video... would you still share? Would the hashtag #whatJayZSaidToSolange still be trending? Would everyone be so fucking giddy?

God, I hope not. People need to really evaluate why one form of abuse if ok and another one will have you screaming for jail time and arrests. Solange needs to keep her hands to herself and everyone else needs to realize that domestic violence, no matter who is doing it, is wrong and should not be applauded. Ever. Grow up.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Race Recap - Hall of Fame Half Marathon

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls-- let me tell you why my legs are so sore. I was a fool who thought I could make it straight through; 13.1 miles without passing out-- next time I say some shit like that, hot me in the MOUTH.

Kidding, slightly. On April 27, Lefty and I woke up at the butt crack of dawn; I slathered Body Glide on my thighs so I would not start a friction fire on the streets of Canton and we were off. It was cold- like 37 degrees cold. Where does that happen? Northern Ohio, my friends. There was a horrible backup at the fairgrounds (parking), I didn't think we would make it to the starting line in time... but we did, JUST in time. We stood around, hugged up until the announcement that the race was starting. Lefty snapped a couples of pics and then the race started.

I have to say-- I wanted to quit about a mile and a half in; I didn't train on asphalt because I wasn't training outside much during the winter. My shins were killing me, I was breathing like a person having an asthma attack and I was getting passed by the elderly. Seriously, someone's grandmother passed me at mile marker #2. And I wanted to trip her. For real.

Once I made it to mile three though, I was determined to make it. I mean, I had done just about a 5K and I wasn't dead... yet. When things got rough or hilly, I walked. I have no shame. Who the hell knew that Canton was so hilly? Lefty called it the San Francisco of Ohio and I have to say-- I freaking agree. So do my thighs (did not catch anything on fire, yeah me!) Y'all listen, that shit was rough. I really don't know how else to say it. It has taken me this long to write about it and I have to admit that I was hobbling around for at least four days. There were points in the race when Lefty would come meet me-- and that was wonderful. There were times when I had to have an internal conversation with myself to keep going... and there were times when it was all I could do to turn up my music and put one foot in front of the other. But I did it. I had 4 hours to finish it and I finished in less than 4 hours.

Just as a parting thought: why the hell do they have photographers at races? I mean, I don't care who you are, you are not going to look nice at any point, covered in sweat and breathing like a freaking fish out of water. I have seen the proofs-- I will definitely NOT be purchasing that shit. I look like a sweaty, black oompa loompa. With a hat. No.Thank.You. They took my picture at the finish line. Grrrr. I could barely breathe but I did hear the song blasting in my ears from my iPod... It was "I've Had The Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing. I can assure you that I.DID.NOT. But I will be doing it again next year. With a faster time. Because I am clearly a glutton for punishment :)

What I felt like when I saw the finish line (thank God for my Lefty):

Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

Finish Line the day before.

 Representing THIS blog, always

How did I feel after the race? I felt like this: 

Let's get after it!! 

Pro Football Hall of Fame

The last weekend of April was very special for me - I walked/ran a half marathon! So, a few months ago I was looking for something to do to get my ass back in the gym on a consistent basis (see: Diary of a Fat Girl). I signed up for a half marathon, thinking 'oh yeah, 13.1 miles, piece of cake' but oh... was I mistaken. Before I get into the gory details, let me just say: I got to tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame!!

The day before the run, because I am sure that they knew they would torture us with the route, all the runners and some guests were allowed to wander through the football hall of fame and pick up their race materials. I am glad that we were able to go, because I highly doubt that Lefty and I would have made the trip for any other reason... he is not much of a football fan and I would not want to pay the admission fee. Hey, you say cheap, I say thrifty. Tomato/Tamata.

Want to know what I noticed immediately (and what would come back to bite me in the ass)?? The Hall of Fame is at the base of a very large hill. Very large. Hills everywhere. It was rough walking back up the hill after this tour... and I probably should have thought that Sunday morning, instead of being a cocky asshole, huh? Nevermind that-- Lefty and I walked through and took pictures and learned of the history of the NFL-- and its Columbus connection. We took a few pics-- and acted like morons (as usual). SO all in all, a good time was had by all.

Me and 'Sweetness' Walter Payton, Chicago Bears Warrior 

The Legend, Jim Thorpe-- look him up! 

Wait, some guys play football wearing a onesie? WTF?! 

The Columbus Panhandles? I NOW know what the name is all about, but at first I thought we were named after beggars on the street...

Legends live here-- and on April 27th, 2014, I became one!

Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio

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