Friday, January 2, 2009

I Started

A new private blog today.

Basically, I type 10x's faster than I write and so I figured a private blog would be more efficient. I think I'll still keep my journals going but we'll see.

Anyway, the blog is to work out my personal issues and demons and stuff. To vent. To cry. To laugh at ridiculous things. To bug out. To be crazy. To talk some sense into myself. To talk to myself.

We'll see.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Where did the time go?

2008, are you gone already?
You were a blur.
I'm more confused now than I was when you started
More ungrounded yet more unable to move
I've stayed in the same place
Or else taken two steps back
Instead of answering questions
You gave me more
And now the answers seem so much more obfuscated
I thought you'd give me some direction
Instead you turned me around with not so much as a compass
But you did give me the chance to see my boys grow so lovely
You did allow me to finally see me and not some distortion
In you, I learned to be a bit more self-sufficient
If it counts, I don't know, won't know
Until proving time
In you I found calmness and stillness in speaking a sound
I found a small place
Free to go within
And retrieve myself
You did give me love and change
Laughter, kisses, and hugs
You didn't give me hunger, fear
Or too much pain or sorrow
2008 are you gone already?
I was just getting started
Or at least thinking about it hard
Can I hold on to you 2009?
Make you do what I want you to do?
Or will I be writing to you too once you're gone
Where did the time go?

Photo Credit: "Lotus Flower" by wasoxygen on Flickr

2008 Knitting and Crochet Projects

I hope to finally knit a pair of socks next year and to learn some new techniques. With a new baby this year, knitting and crochet was mainly about enjoyment and not learning/advancing in the craft. I think I did some good work in 2008. Can't wait to see what I make in '09.

Happy and Prosperous New Year Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Isn't it funny how the more politically correct racists try to be, the more their racism shines??

I have a huge problem with Food Network. Up until this year, Food Network had no problem with all it's personalities being White. This year, they added some color to the mix but I can't have been the only one to notice that these chefs are actually cooks. In other words, none of them seem to have any professional training as chefs. It's true that many of the other personalities on the network don't have any professional training either but I for one am tired of whenever it's a Black person doing the cooking, they are cooking some "down home" food. Never mind that there are about 50 million shows devoted to Italian and French food and hardly any for "ethnic" food, i.e. food from non-White parts of the world (I think I've seen one where the chef had a guest on from Nigeria). Except for "down home" soul food. There are no chefs of color on Food Network doing "fine cooking". The unspoken message is that there are no chefs of color; no Black culinary artists. But I sucked it up and said to myself, "Well, at least they finally have some folks of color on here. It's a step."

And don't get me wrong, some of the chefs on Food Network I actually really dig like the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten. Sure, she's an elitist and all that but her food is real. I can respect her. She cooks food from scratch with real ingredients. Her food takes time though and I understand we don't all have time like that. But it doesn't have to go to the other extreme. Like this chick Sandra Lee who does the show Semi-Homemade. The concept, if you don't watch the Food Network, is that she takes "help" from the store to create foods that look and taste homemade. Yeah, whatever. So I was reading my blogs this morning and ran across this post on KellyBelle's blog Ephaphtha called "This is Kwanzaa" where I found this unfortunate clip.

Now, I can't stand Sandra Lee. She can't cook to save her life, seems to like to drink a whole hell of a lot and is obsessed with "tablescapes" (no time to bake cake from scratch but lots of time to make tablescapes). But I digress.

Aside from the obvious nastiness of this cake, the whole thing speaks to my issues with Food Network. If they wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa, couldn't they find somebody, anybody who actually celebrates Kwanzaa to come on and do a 30 minute or hour long special on some of the recipes that they have come up with to celebrate the holiday while sharing with us what the heck the whole thing is about? Honestly. It's as bad as during Black History Month when they had the Neely's (the hosts of the first Black cooking show) asking us the viewer to celebrate with Food Network. Food Network had never made any attempt to celebrate "the coloreds" during February before this. Again, whatever.

But alas, isn't it funny how the more politically correct racists try to be the more their racism shines through? There are so many substantial and actually meaningful things you could do if you truly wanted to celebrate diversity. But it's all lip-service, it's all political correctness. Smoke and mirrors. To give the illusion of progress and open-mindedness and inclusion. I guess they realized that us coloreds watch too.

Add to that the fact that Food Network likes to pretend that unless there is some meat involved in the cooking, it's not really cooking. That is why till this day they have completely ignored vegetarians and vegans, a growing demographic in this country. Not even a nod in their direction. And I'm not talking about throwing a Portobello mushroom on the grill (the same grill the meat was cooked on) for those "poor vegetarians" who can't enjoy real food. Whatever.

I guess you really shouldn't expect much from the Food Network. After all, it's where Rachel Ray got her start.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Huntress

This is my cat Sophia. We got her from the animal shelter about two weeks before I found out I was pregnant with Z1 because we had mice who come inside when the weather gets cold. Sophia is a fabulous cat. She doesn't tear up the furniture and she's great with the children. She doesn't claw Z1 when he harasses her (and yes, he is always harassing her) and she doesn't bite Z2 when he pulls her tail. She comes to you when she wants to be petted, is friendly, and doesn't have any annoying habits.

Over the last three days, she has killed four mice. Look here, mice, you guys don't stand a chance in this house!

Ms. Sophia, you are the bomb. Aside from the fact that you inspire me with your ability to always be a sophisticated lady, regal, prim and proper even when you are taking a dump in in your litter, you are a damn good hunter. And since I hate mice, you are on my "very special being" list. :)

Now if only you could dispose of aforementioned mice in a better fashion than leaving them laid out in various places all over the floor . . .

Blessed Earthlight Beloved!

My sweet Z2 turns one year old today. I simply cannot believe how fast this year flew by. It makes me a little sad but also motivates me. Time moves. Fast. I cannot afford to procrastinate on things. Now is the time to do better.

I'm not in the mood to make a cake or anything. Maybe because it's winter and so dreary. Actually, I know that's the reason why. Would it be too bootleg to have a combined party for the boys in August? LoL.

In any case, Blessed Earthlight Beloved. Mommy loves you! <3

Confessions of an Economic Hitman Falls Flat

I finally finished it just to get through and see what suggestions he has.

I do not like reading books where the protagonist is condescending and/or patronizing. And that, to me, is exactly what Mr. Perkins is.

"The real story of modern empire--of the corporatocracy and that exploits desperate people . . . has everything to do with us . . . we prefer to believe the myth that thousands of years of human social evolution has finally perfected the ideal economic system, rather than to face the fact htat we have merely bought into a false concept and accepted it as gospel. We have convinced ourselves that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. Finally, we have persuaded one another that . . . people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation."
-p. 216

Mr. Perkins, you might want to replace all this "we" stuff with "some of us" or "I". Stop trying to make your own despicable story universal. Some of us who are reading your book were born at the fringes, were born to people who lived on the fringes or still live on the fringes. Even here in the "great" United States, people are hungry and needy. The U.S. government took billions of tax-payer dollars (or money that needs to be paid back by taxpayers) and used it to bail out some of these corporatocracy folks and none of that money filtered down to the common person. Oh, everything has looked rosy for a while in this country Mr. Perkins but it's becoming more obvious that the victim of your exploits were not just people in third world countries. Yes, Americans are guilty as sin for consumerism and being happily oblivious--I won't argue with you on that. It has been a trade-off yes. Americans have been bought off with fancy cars and flat panel televisions in exchange for not making too much of a fuss when those in power do their dirty business. But how much real power does a common person possess? You could reject all those creature comforts and find that "the powers that be" are still going to do their dirty business. And if you get in the way . . . You suggest to me the reader that I cut down on how much I buy and read your book as ways to rectify the problem. Really? I think not sir. The system must go down and, by George, I think it is. Revolution is just that.

"The fact that you read this far indicates that you can relate on some personal way to my confession."
-p. 224

Actually, no. I'm fascinated by the level of wickedness that has been perpetrated by those in power in this county. I'm fascinated by how deep it goes. That is why I kept reading.

"Now it is your turn. You need to make your own confession. When you come clean on who you are, why are here during this time in history, why you have have done the things you have, and where you intend to go next, you will experience an immediate sense of relief. "
-p. 224

Mr. Perkins, please.

Overall, a confusing "confession" replete with stories that I hardly believe. The book reads like some kind of spy novel with vague references and lots of Mr. Perkins' regrets. Unfortunately, he still sounds proud about his exploits and as far as I can tell is still sitting on a cowdung-load of paper. This book is good for the information. Good to get a sense of how the U.S. has gone about making a global empire. You could watch a documentary like "Life and Debt" and get a far better sense--and see how real people are exploited by this system. I'm sorry it took Mr. Perkins doing all the dirt he did before he finally was able to extricate himself. I don't even know if he extricated himself because he felt badly or because he saw an alternate way to get more money that didn't rely on a sinking ship.

Consciousness is the first step to change, truly. I hope that as the veneer of wealth and prosperity wears off for most Americans, we will become interested in learning the truth about things. Becoming conscious. This will mean turning off the t.v. and Wii entertainment systems, cracking open books (not just on economic exploitation but on self-sufficiency and spiritual growth). That we will boycott fake and illegitimate new sources completely. That we will consciously seek out news sources that tell the whole story, or a different story--that place America not at the top of things but right in line with everyone else. (Notice on the BBC's front page there is *nothing* about the U.S. but check any U.S. based news organization and they must have something about the U.S. even if it's trite.) Americans will have to become conscious of the fact that America is not the center of the world no matter what the news says.

I'm sometimes frustrated by how little I can actually do to change things. I often feel implicit in a system that systematically exploits people all over the world--many of whom look like me. I used to feel that leaving the U.S. would be my first step in freeing myself of my role in the system. But it's so much more complex than that. Going to Nigeria and Ghana has showed me how much more complex it is. There are no easy answers. So I am doing what I can where I am . . . and realizing that the only thing that stays the same is change. And so all this is going to have to change. I want to do my part to make it change for the better.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baking Bread Using the Food Processor and Recent Book Buys

I realized that the bread I have been making was making me feel terrible intestinally. I think I may be allergic to wheat gluten. I'm not sure though because I can eat unbleached white flour (which is not gluten free) without issues. But it seems that if it's a product that I actually add gluten to like the wheat bread I was making or the vegetarian sausages, it makes me feel awful.

Generally speaking, I use my stand mixer to knead the dough for my bread. Today I thought I'd try the food processor. I have a 14 cup Cuisinart. I've done pizza dough in it before but never bread. I decided to us the recipe that came in the food processor's booklet called Classic White Bread. I substituted olive oil for butter. The results were excellent. I've had a couple of slices and it is sitting very well. It's flavorful but still bland enough to be great for eating with peanut butter or jelly or mock tuna spread or with soup. I may have to stick with this one.

There's a book I've been eying called The Bread Baker's Apprentice which is a totally comprehensive book about the art and science of bread baking. You will notice the glowing reviews on Amazon. But while making the bread today, I realized that I really need bread baking to be a simple activity. No starting a day in advance. Making special concoctions. Hunting all over for ingredients. I just need bread to be flour, oil, water, sugar, yeast. So while the idea of baking all kinds of fabulous breads appeals to me, right now I have enough on my plate. Bread baking isn't a hobby now. Maybe one day it will be but I bake bread because we eat bread. So, I'm putting the book on my wish list (and taking it out of my shopping cart). I have a few other books I could use the money on. I did recently purchase some books using my birthday money: Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times, When Technology Fails (Revised & Expanded): A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables, and Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners. I'd like to purchase three more books: one on astrology and two on herbs and herbal healing. Did I mention I love books?

Do you really make the world with your thoughts?

Louise Hay in Meditations to Heal Your Life says that "What [you] see in your world is a mirror of what [you] have in your mind."

Sometimes I wonder though. If I found myself in a war torn area where I was the target of some genocidal mandate or if I found myself watching my children starve to death or suffer from entirely preventable and curable illness, how would changing my thoughts change the situation?

Would it actually change the situation? Or just how I perceive it and react to it?

In college, I regularly failed my chemistry tests and almost flunked the entire course. Would that reality have changed if I had just shifted my thoughts?

How many times have I changed my thoughts and it hasn't really made a difference? How many times have I been hopeful and it hasn't changed a thing. Are there just some things that I will have to experience no matter how much "right thinking" I do?

Read "Forever?", a very thought-provoking blog by Angie over at NuVision for a NuDay.

Can you even control your thinking? Or just your reaction to your thoughts? Isn't it really just training your mind to focus on good thoughts just to crowd out the negative ones? Because isn't there a balance to everything? Good has to be balanced by bad? So isn't the real challenge to make sure the negative doesn't take over?

Sometimes I get into a mode when I think about an impending economic collapse. I think about all the worst case scenarios and play out all kinds of survival/self-sufficiency scenes. Am I speeding up that eventuality with my thoughts or just preparing myself for anything? I mean, look at the situation the U.S. is in now . . . so many of us never thought we'd be here. But here we are. How does karma/reaping and sowing come into play?

I tend to think that no universal law works independently of another. In other words, yes, we make our world from our thoughts but other laws mediate that one. And, it seems, just plain old reality plays a large part too. Genetics. Where you're born and grow up. Your natural talents. Things you can't change by thinking about it.

I also tend to feel that on a collective level, changing the ways in which we think will ultimately change the world. But how do we that? You can't force people to change their thinking? You can appeal to their higher selves but . . . what else can you do?

I don't know . . . maybe I haven't read the philosophical piece that makes it all clear but these are the questions I ask myself.

So, do you make the world with your thoughts?
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