Friday, July 20, 2018

Fed Up Friday - Everyday Life

Oh, it has been a LONG time, but here it is Friday and I have a long list of grievances waiting to be typed out. This blog has turned into a political forum because we are living in a clusterfuck of craziness, led by the orange clown and his cronies but, surprisingly, this Fed Up Friday is not about them. It is shocking... I know. On top of the dumpster fire that we see on the news every day, I have even MORE nut-tastic behavior to highlight, so here we go.

My kid is a night owl and has attempted to stop napping during the day. Oh, I am not ready for that bullshit, so the (not nice) sign (which clearly says NOT to ring my doorbell) I put on our front door before she was born is still up there (and will remain there for the foreseeable future). So imagine my surprise when someone rang my doorbell - TWICE - and knocked on the door like the police... after Kensie FINALLY laid her little ass down for a nap. I have a crying baby, barking dogs and some moron banging on my door. I opened the door with what could only described as the "I am totally going to fuck up whoever is on the other side of this door" face. Let me just say- I live in my childhood home. I know my neighbors (and their kids). This shit BETTER be an emergency... because I have a toddler screaming in my ear. But guess what? It wasn't. This muthafucka said "do you have a lawnmower I can borrow?" Now I should have prefaced this with... I DO NOT KNOW THIS MAN. And he wasn't coming with a "hey, I'm your new neighbor from down the street" or "what's up, my name is____ and I live down the street." Nah, he just asked to use my mower. Bitch, what? When I tell you that I cut my eyes at him so hard... I have been trying to not say curse words (out loud) because my miniature person running around here is an impeccable mimic, so I kept the "fuck you" look all over my face, yelled "no" and slammed the door. Then I spent 15 minutes bribing the kid with pasta and red sauce so she would stop crying.

This week I read a story about a clerk at CVS in Chicago calling the cops on a Black lady trying to use a coupon. That dude needs his ass beat. I mean, honestly. If you employ the police for non-emergency, nonsensical matters on purpose you deserve a fine at the very least... and your ass served to you on a platter at the very most. Get your whole life together. I do know that all the managers involved were fired from CVS - rightfully so. If you are that scared of People of Color, you need to keep your ass in the house, at all times. What makes the situation worse? The dude that called the police is running for an Alderman position (city council). You want to represent a constituency that scares you? Pathetic asshole.

The last story I have for y'all is supposed to be a feel good story. Supposed to be. There is a media blitz circulating a story that a woman was able to take a proper maternity leave because her co-workers banded together and donated their vacation time to her. First of all: good for that new mama. Her co-workers are stellar. I don't know what I would have done if I HAD to get back to work two weeks after Kensie was born. I mean... I would HAVE to go back to work, but I really feel like it would have been detrimental to both me AND her. So, I have nothing but love for her co-workers. What they did was extraordinary. My issue is: what if her co-workers were not so generous? They should not HAVE to donate their vacation time so a co-worker can have time off to bond with their new baby. The United States is an amazing country (most of time) but the fact that extended maternity/paternity leave is almost non-existent amazes me. The reasons for paid leave have been spelled out several times: cost of child care is astronomical; kids get sick easily; postpartum depression is real; your body isn't the only thing that needs to bounce back after you birth a kid. We want our new mama's to breastfeed-- and low key shame them if they don't-- but we also want their asses to return to work ASAP. We want new parents to raise productive, good citizens but we don't make it easy for families to spend time together during very crucial times (like right after the child is born). There have been several articles written about the slowing birth rate in America-- uh, yeah. Students graduate with extremely high debt. Folks, on average, are buying houses later in life, if at all. And even if they have kids, companies are not making it easy to bond with those children. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn't.

This is it for this week's Fed Up Friday. I am sure I will find something else to bitch about next weekend! LOL Happy Weekend, y'all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This IS Our Country

Just two short days after celebrating our dads and the great jobs that they do, I was surfing the inter webs, getting bombarded with images and audio of the family separation monstrosity that is taking place in border cities. I have come across several SHOUTS of: 
"WTF, this is NOT our country." 
"How can ANYONE think that this is ok?" 
"OMG, these babies."
"What kind of monsters would do something like this?"

Uh, the United States would. Duh. Last month I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN. Anderson Cooper- yum AND he is super QUICK to call out the outright lies the citizens are being told. And I am thankful. Anyway- I was watching Anderson Cooper and the New York Times columnist Charles Blow was on a panel. What he said that night has stayed with me. When asked about whatever stupid scandal was going on, Mr. Blow simply said "Stop being astonished." Man, if that ain't a message. 

I have wanted to post about the family separation policy of the current administration for a week or so, but I waited until TODAY to post this. Why, you ask? Today is Juneteenth. On this date in 1865, a full 30 months after the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation, the abolition of slavery was announced in the state of Texas. Two and a half years late. Stop being astonished. 

Since the inception of this country people have been brought to this land against their will. The founders of this country came here with NOTHING and stole land and resources from the indigenous people. Stop being astonished. 

Slave owners routinely raped their slaves, spawning offspring that were light enough to work in the house, but not white enough to be allowed to play with their half siblings. Stop being astonished. 

Families were ROUTINELY obliterated at slave auctions, with babies being ripped from the caring arms of their mothers; husbands being taken away from their wives; siblings left crying while they head to plantations in opposite directions. Stop being astonished. 

Slavery. The Trail of Tears. The Internment Camps for Japanese American citizens. The Muslim Ban. The poor response for Hurricane Katrina. The absolutely useless response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Stop.Being.Astonished.

What we are seeing right now has happened before. This administration is participating in tried and true tactics. This approach has been proven effective. The scheme is: once the family dynamic is broken, taking what you want is easy. We all know the ploy. So now, what are you going to do? The time of being astonished is over. The highest levels of our government are committing human rights atrocities... while we sit back in our air conditioned homes talking about "OMG, I cannot believe that they are putting babies in cages." But they are. This IS who we are-- this is who we have been from the very start of our country. Now we have to decide if this is who we will remain.


STOP BEING ASTONISHED.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Graduation Advice


So, while I was in the midst of my Own Private Idaho (see previous post) the world continued to turn, right. Y'all, shit was happening! I know that I don't really spotlight my family-- but I have one. LOL Contrary to popular belief I was not found under a rock somewhere. Not only do I come from a pretty stellar family, it is also a LARGE family. Like, there are a LOT of us running around. A lot of kiddos means there is ALWAYS something going on and a month ago was a super huge day for the fam. 

Our family started to expand when I was in college. It is a long story, which I may get into at a later date or maybe over on the mommy blog. In 1997 I met a super cute, rolly poly oly kid when I was home from college on the weekend. He was just really starting to get around on his own, so I picked him up and was in the midst of introducing myself and he puked some red juice cocktail ALL over my white shirt. Quite a first day was had. I did not want to hold any more kids after that because... eww. I can laugh about it now-- kinda! 

The little kid that ruined my shirt has grown into a fantastic man, y'all. One month ago today, that young man graduated from college. Now, I am not a really emotional person, not that there is anything wrong with being emotional... it just isn't me. When something bad happens, my mind goes directly to "what can I do to fix this," not tears. When people pass away I am more overcome with a silent grief than with tears. On May 13th I was overcome with pride. There were no tears (shocker) but the feelings I had are almost indescribable. I was not really around when he was super little (college, grad school, law school... that long stint in Chicago) but I was around for holidays and high school. And college. And the person that he has grown into is amazing! He is kind, generous with his time, uses manners on a regular basis AND he loves his family. 

Maybe it is because I am actually old enough to be his mother. Maybe it is because we are a very close knit family. More than likely it is the fact that we have very similar personalities (because the world needs more Hot and Black bitterness)... whatever the reason when he walked across that stage I felt like WE made it. I felt the pride that I felt 18 years ago when I got my college degree. In a time where kids seem lost I am proud to have a brother who has direction. The world is his oyster and he is inspiring us all by chasing his dreams. 

Ah, to be 21 and at the top of the world again. Dear brother: take this advice from your middle aged, married sister-- go after whatever it is that you want. What YOU want. Don't be held back by friendships, societal norms or even our family. If you are in the middle of what everyone thinks you should do, and you hate it, do not be afraid to change directions. Ultimately, nobody can live this life for you. So do whatever makes you happy, so at the end of your time, you can look back with no regrets. Remind yourself on a regular basis that it is ok to go against the grain. Buddy, folks will ALWAYS try to make you go where they think you belong. Fuck those assholes. Blaze your own path. Love the folks who feed your dreams. Dismiss the folks that try to rain on your parade. This is your time. You represent the culmination of our wildest dreams. Make this shit count, Superman. Love you. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

My Own Private Idaho

I am sure that the majority of people who still read my blog remember the movie "My Own Private Idaho." It was one of the last movies that dreamy looking River Phoenix starred in before his untimely death. The title of the movie has often been used to describe ongoing craziness/self discovery in one's life. For example, you meet up with a girlfriend for brunch, she tells you all about corporate life, her rise and grind, the fantastically expensive vacation she finally went on. Then she asks you how things are going with you and your response? "Girl, I am having my Own Private Idaho over here." For me, that description does not mean that life is good or bad. It means that I am surviving, rolling with the punches... shit, it means I am making it (even if I am BARELY making it). 

So, that is what has been going on over here-- I have been having my Own Private Idaho. I have been surviving. We are (kinda) making it through toddlerhood-- I will be posting more about that slice of crazy on my mommy blog. We got a new puppy, because I clearly am a glutton for punishment. I (mentally) celebrated the anniversary of my sixth year back in Ohio. Most of life has been good. And then some of it, has been awful. Just today I found out that one of my girlfriends in Chicago passed away. Just today. And while I am making it through my tasks for the day, I am utterly heartbroken. She was a good chick-- in a world where folks generally don't care about one another. She was quick with a smile, a good word, a night of dancing invite. And now cancer has taken her away from this world. From diagnosis to death was quick and trust me, we all got cheated. I will miss her, our conversations and our laughs. 


Life is... hard. At times, it is so happy-- like when my kid sings You Are My Sunshine back to me. And dammit, at times, it is devastatingly sad-- like when cancer steals people that you love, like a thief in the night. In the last three years I have lost a friend in her 30s, a friend in her 40s and a friend in her 50s. After each loss, my heart is a little less full. In between these two extremes- these polar opposites- there is the every day. The nap time battles, the potty training (baby and puppy), the making a dinner everyone will eat, the personal growth... the setbacks. Will you make it to the gym or will you be chunky forever? Will you ever have a normal social life again? Will you get that new job? That raise? A date with that hottie you saw at the grocery store? Shit, will you ever have ten minutes to update your blog-- to document this crazy thing called life? Life. The good, the bad, the in between. Our Own Private Idaho.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fifty Years, Little Progress

On April 4 the social media world lit up with quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On the 50th anniversary of his death it seemed like everyone was pulling for a society of justice and equality. Less than two weeks later there is a blatant reminder that there has been little progress made in those 50 years. In the 1960s Black people were regularly denied service at restaurants across the country. In 2018- this week, in fact- the Philadelphia police were called because two Black men were waiting for their friend in a Starbucks. Read that again.

Two Black men walked into a Starbucks. It sounds like the beginning of a tasteless joke. It wasn't a joke, but the behavior that was exhibited by the staff of this establishment was definitely tasteless. So, two guys walk into a Starbucks, tell a staff member that they are waiting for a friend and ask to use the restroom. They were denied access to the restroom and told that since they had yet to order anything, they should leave. Now listen: at this point in the story, I am already pissed off. To add insult to injury, the young men asked why they were being told to leave and a Starbucks employee CALLED THE POLICE. The police came- first two, then four, then six. The men were arrested-- even after their friend showed up-- held for hours and released without being charged. Because why? They didn't want to order overpriced coffee before their family friend got there? Oh, ok.  

A million times over, minorities tell folks that our experiences are not like anyone else's-- and time after time, y'all ask for proof that we don't just fly off the handle, or demand too much. This exchange was captured on video and posted to Twitter. The White woman that was sitting next to these men posted that they were doing absolutely nothing wrong and the police were called for no reason. She has taken Starbucks to task, stating publicly that the men were doing exactly what she has done before-- waiting for a friend. Uh, we have ALL done that before. I have had job interviews at Starbucks for goodness sake. Starbucks is THE meeting place. At the mall, in school, before study group, after a challenging meeting, or just someplace to talk shit about your crazy ass co-workers. So if you are known for being the meet up place, what exactly is the problem? Are you only allowed to meet up at Starbucks if you have your white friend in tow? Do those assholes have a quota for how many Black people can be waiting at a time? Why call the police? There was no scene, no raised voices. Why were six police officers necessary?  


We pretend like society as a whole is super evolved. Some of y'all have the audacity to tell us that we live in a post racial society or that minorities don't have it hard... we are just too sensitive. You tell us that race relations is bad because of us-- because we want too much. You are the fulfillment of the delusional dreams of your grandparents, who 50 years ago were probably spouting the same bullshit. Fifty years have passed and I can't tell-- every day we lose men, women and children at the hands of the same muthafuckas who tried to be enlightened online on April 4th. I call bullshit. This is happening in broad daylight and the reason it continues is: not enough of y'all care because it isn't happening to you.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Oh Look, A Trade War

Last week, 45 took to Twitter (again) and started some unnecessary bullshit (again). Like every other hair brain idea he has, he followed up with some ridiculous argument that he is proud to have started this trade war and it is going to be good for the United States AND easy to win. I cannot believe that I have to type this, but trade wars are NOT good, for any country involved. Ever. I live in a state that is part of what folks call the "rustbelt" meaning that parts of Ohio was part of the once booming steel industry. Those areas are mostly desolate now. So when 45 talks about helping the steel industry, he is talking about parts of Ohio but his little plan isn't going to help Ohio or any other place in the rustbelt. Let's review a few things: 1. the United States of America operates in an international market, 2. the last time the US imposed tariffs it led to the Great Depression 3. we need a leader who can finesse a good deal, instead of being a fat, balding bully on the international stage. 

First: I know that everyone likes to think that the United States could make it on our own, but that ain't the way this party is set up. Our economy is tied to the economies of other countries, like it or not. Most notably we are tied to two countries that 45 is deadset on pissing off-- Mexico and Canada. When the US went through our recession, so did the rest of the world. We cannot just decide that we are going to make significant changes to our modus operandi and expect that we will make it out unscathed. Hell, as soon as 45 announced these new tariffs from hell OUR stock market plunged. It is like other people knew this latest policy change that flew out of his ass was not moving in the right direction. Honestly, the world market has been tied together since World War II... and for good reason. If 45 doesn't like the way that trade is handled with certain goods then he should invite diplomats to D.C. and talk about changing the present set up, like a normal fucking person. 

Second: 45 is what happens when people don't know the history of their country. I wish the assholes that voted for him could feel the wrath of this side-eye I am giving. Y'all. I mean, I know that at least SOME Americans know that Hoover was a President-- and a categorically bad one. He signed a "protectionist" tariff into law and guess what we got a year later? If you yelled out "The Great Depression" you would be right. That shit did not work in 1930 and it is not going work in 2018. If you want folks to use more American made steel and aluminum, make it easier and more cost effective for them to do so. Does 45 know exactly how many industries will be affected by his tariffs? Does he understand exactly what is going to happen to our economy? Do his supporters know that he is notorious for NOT using US Steel in his building projects? I mean, if I am being nice I would say that he doesn't understand much and certainly not the complexities of an economy where you can't just declare bankruptcy to solve your money problems. Hoover wasn't the only president that thought tariffs were the answer to our problems. Over and over again Republicans (W., Reagan, Nixon) have exposed us to tariffs that did not work. Why would anyone believe that this time would be any different?

Third: It takes a certain kind of person to be a politician... and there is a reason for that. Some folks are still acting like they voted for 45 because he was the anti-Washington guy. Yeah, ok... even if that was true (which it isn't but let's just pretend that it is) there is a reason why we gravitate to fucking smooth talking slicksters as our politicians. Ma'am, sir... those people talk and get shit done. They make it sound good. They make you feel good-- and they do the same thing to OTHER politicians. They compromise. That is how they get shit done. They aren't the bull in the china shop because they realize that situation only gives you a mess you have to clean up. Do you get it? That is the reason folks loved Barack. He was stable. Fucking smooth sailing most of the time. Shit, Bill Clinton could still sell ice to an Eskimo. Like it or not, American politics are not the advanced by coming to a decision when you are pissed off, writing it into law and SAYING that it is going to be great. That is not how this shit works. Fucking finesse me, man. But 45 can't... because his plan is shit and he knows it and so does everyone else. 


Starting a trade war will do nothing but hurt the United States. It will further break companies in the rustbelt. The economic fallout will be long-lasting. We are getting screwed by the president. Again. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Not Bothered On Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, my lovelies. Today I plan on hanging with my little family (hubs has the day off) and hopefully squeezing in a nap next to my very active toddler. That is all I want... nothing extravagant, just some lunch and a nap. It is the simple things, my friends. It is the simple things. 

I know that this is a rough day for some folks and I kind of want to address that. When I was single, I had a group of friends who could lead a "fuck Valentine's Day" parade. One year we ordered in and watched the same show, while talking to each other on the phone. Another year we went out the night before Valentine's and celebrated singleness. We found some comfort at the bottom of several shot glasses. Good times. But during all of those single years there was only one year where I really felt BAD about being single. One year out of 40, not bad. How does one make it to spinsterhood without feeling extremely rejected by everyone? Oh, I am so glad you asked!! 

There are three reasons why Valentine's Day never brought out a hot, Black and depressed chick... 1. I have always had a Valentine (Papa Hot, Black and Bitter). 2. Single is not forever. 3. NO matter what station you are at in life, trust me... someone wants what you have. 

The first two reasons why I was unbothered on Valentine's Day as a single are pretty self explanatory, but that third one is a doozy. Rest assured that on your worst day there is someone who would pay good money to be where you are. If being single is the worst thing that is going on in your life-- you have it made in the shade (mostly because number 2 is so very true-- single is not forever). Let's use me as an example. I am super comfortable with where I am in life right now. Shit is good. Life, for me, has been good. So, that one year when I really was down in the dumps on Valentine's Day... there was someone who would have felt lucky to be in my shoes. I think that is the case for almost all of us. While some of us are lamenting our single status, someone in a loveless relationship is wishing for carefree single days. When someone is at their wit's end with a toddler (and trust me, those days are REAL), there is someone WISHING for sweet times with a sweet baby. When there is someone bored to tears in a marriage, there is someone  who is craving the comfort of your routine. 


What you are looking for is coming. The person you are looking for is coming. But until they get to you... go out with your friends, have a couple drinks, buy yourself flowers, have a girl's weekend. Get your ass out there and have some fun. Happy Valentine's Day. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Soulful Sunday - I Work, Baby

This past week has been the first week of 2018 where I actually got some stuff done. We got back to Columbus on the first go January and Baby K came down with a cootie or two. Picture super clingy baby, exhausted mama, doctor visits, fevers, puke and poop. Yahoo, right? Not so much. 

Once we got from under that cloud I learned that another one of my friends passed away. One in December-- his memorial service was the second, and one in January... just a few days after his 46th birthday. The death of folks that you grew up with takes your breath away. Even if you know that they are ill, it is life altering to go to memorial services for people who are your age and have so much more life to live. 


So, I have been experiencing my own Private Idaho over here. But this last week, my mind has really kicked into gear and I have tried to get back to a regularly scheduled program around here. I have cooked a couple dinners, done some business planning, planned some PheMOMena Blog posts and taken Baby K out of the house a couple times. Here is to getting back on the horse and getting the job done. 

Big Daddy Kane - I Get The Job Done

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Soulful Sunday - New Year Edition

Well now-- welcome to the first full week of 2018! That seems so odd to type, mostly because the last time I was all the way "together" was about two years ago before I gave birth to the toddler that is now running through my house. Plus, when looking back on 2017, time seemed to fly by last year. I am glad that 2017 didn't drag-- it was a stressful year-- and I can only imagine that my stress level would have increased tenfold if the year moved at a snail's pace.

When I first started to do Soulful Saturday on this blog, it was mostly the list of songs I was listening to as I got ready to go out (yes!). Occasionally I would post songs that I was listening to as I lounged around the house reminiscing about high school loves, college parties, early 20s shenanigans... you know, all that good shit. Life is a lot different now. First of all, it is Sunday night, almost 10:30 pm and I haven't thought about spending a night out on the town in months. I would trade a night out for a nap. A well deserved, super NEEDED nap. And I would not be sad about it in the least.

So, while my musical tastes have NOT changed, the vibe that I have when posting good music has. I'm not getting dressed, plotting which high heels will stand up to a night of dancing around the club. These days I am typing a sentence or two in between chasing a chubby little girl with bouncing curls from room to room. And life is magnificent. That is the best thing that this blog shows me every year-- nothing stands still. I am ever evolving, ever learning, ever changing. And every day is a gift.

In that vein-- the song for this Soulful Sunday is super fitting for the first full week of 2018. It tells us what this year is giving us time to do... WORK. Work on ourselves. Work on our dreams. Work in our communities. Get to work, ladies and gentlemen. Happy New Year!

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