Monday, July 27, 2009

Basil and Peach Cobbler

No relationship between the two. Just randomness.

Fresh basil from the garden. Delicious. These were chopped and sprinkled on top of freshly made vegan pizza.


Would you believe up until yesterday I had never had peach cobbler? One of the many problems with being a very picky eater--there's lots of foods I haven't tried! Anyway, I gave making a peach cobbler a shot and while it's not the prettiest cobbler ever, it was slamming. We had it with vanilla soy ice cream. Yum. I used the recipe from my mom's ancient (and falling apart) Betty Crocker cookbook (find the recipe here) with a few modifications (such as adding cinnamon and nutmeg and using vegan margarine instead of shortening and soy milk instead of dairy milk).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

You're Making a Statement!!

So recently I read a post by Seattle Slim over at Happy Nappy Head (an interesting blog by the way) entitled "Solange's Bold 'Statement' Whether She Likes it or Not" and it really made me think. Solange and I are currently rocking the same basic hairstyle: a lowboy. The thing is though that for me personally, this style is definitely not about making a statement. If you've read this blog long enough, you know that. It came about almost as a necessity as I am not willing to wear a wig or weave or anything like that. I prefer to wear my hair naturally. Locks don't work for me or haven't. And anything longer than this length requires more time to maintain that I currently have. So this style is mainly worn because it is practical. It's not that I just love to rock a lowboy but thankfully, it works with my face and the hubby is okay with it. And it's certainly not because I'm trying to say something.

This whole topic is especially interesting for me because at one point, I did use my hair and my look to make a statement. I wanted folks to see me and know certain things about me right off the bat. My look was indeed a political and social statement and I was not afraid of pins, buttons, iron-on badges and bumper stickers. I didn't want to have 7 congo natty dreadlocks just for the heck of it. They were meant to say something loud and clear. But things have changed so dramatically for me. Whereas back then I was one of those folks always trying to figure out what someone was trying to say by their look, these days, I'm more inclined to let live. If you have something you want to communicate to me, please do. I'm not into reading signs and wonders--especially since I've misread them so often in the past. (Ever met the "conscious" dread type brother who turns out to be far less conscious than your average do-rag/fitted cap wearing brother?)

Now I'm not naive: I know that it's human nature to look at people, things and situations and make assessments/judgments. When we see an overweight person, we may think, "Oh, he's lazy or can't control what's going into her mouth". When we see a mom with lots of children, we may think, "She's such a drain on the system (if she's Black)/environment (if she's White)?" It's not always wrong to judge but we should go a step further and reach into ourselves to pull out compassion and humility to realize we don't know it all. At all. We should get off our high horses sometimes and just let people be. That overweight person might be on a certain life-saving medicine that packs on pounds. That mom of many might have planned carefully for (and have enough to provide for) all her children--maybe she even planned more carefully than you did. And that woman rocking the lowboy might be doing it because she just really can't deal with too much hair in the summer or simply because she likes how it makes her look. It's just so oppressive when how you look will make people immediately jump to conclusions. Although I know that is the way of the world--especially in the United States where everything and anything is all about image.

People who see me can and probably do make a lot of assumptions about this style and why I'm wearing it but honestly, that is their business and not mine. It's just not fair to insist that someone is making a statement with their hair whether they like it or not. It's based on unfounded assumptions and seeks to keep people tied down with labels and locked up in neat boxes. And for Black women, it seems, our hair is always speaking loud volumes for us. When will we just be able to be?

Look how they do/did Michelle Obama: What is she trying to say by ((gasp)) showing her arms? Uh . . . maybe that she likes dresses that show her arms?? Maybe it's just that simple. Solange is a celebrity too and obviously that opens you up to a lot more criticism than the average joe. She's still human. For a celebrity, an image can make or break you. I look at India.Arie (who by the way was rocking a lowboy last time I saw her) and I get so angry sometimes. Her music is brilliant yet it's almost like it would kill the radio stations to play her work. And you just *know* it's because of who they think she is and what she's trying to say even when she says she's not (e.g. "I am not my hair").

Most of us buck at unfair characterizations. We hate it when people tell us what we're thinking or what we're feeling. Yet every day people go around looking at other folks and deciding they know all about them based on what they see.

Hair, in particular, is such a politicized thing for Black people and I don't foresee that changing soon. Yet I'm looking forward to the day when Black women are free to do what they want with their hair without being forced to take a position.

Well, now that I think about it, maybe Solange, India Arie, and I are making a statement whether we like it or not. It is "I don't care that you think I'm making a statement--I'm living my life!"

Image "Exclamation Mark" courtesy of Leo Reynolds on Flickr.com

FO: Seraphina Shawl

Remember when I mentioned I had something to show but I couldn't yet because it was a gift? Well, the gift has been given! It was for my sister-in-law who visited a week ago. It was a joy to make because I think (or hope at least) that it will be put to good use. Also, it was a wonderful project because the crochet movement was fluid and the pattern was easy to memorize. Oh, and the yarn was great! I got the yarn super inexpensively at the Smiley's Yarn store sale--220 yards of super soft wo
ol yarn for $2.00. That price can't be beat! [The hubby was able to get all kinds of natural fiber yarns for below half price (I got him into the wonderfulness of wools, cottons, silks, etc . . . )]. So, the project was great all around. Here's it is on Ravelry.

Funny story: You know that having kids kills off brain cells. It has to. I had this shawl packaged and ready to go weeks before my sister-in-law arrived. Would you believe I forgot to give it to her before she left? Do you know when I remembered? Two days after she was back home!! I had to mail it. Doh!!! And it's so true . . . crochet uses more yarn than knitting. It cost me almost $8 to send this. I've sent similar knit items as far away as California for about $5. But I still love my crochet especially for projects like this.

Any . . . without further ado, my Seraphina Shawl!


On another note, have you ever realized suddenly that someone doesn't particularly care for you? You know, it took you a little while and then it just all of a sudden struck you? And then you're kind of embarrassed because it now seems so obvious? Why didn't you pick that up sooner? And then you start wondering why they don't particularly like you. What did you do? What did you say? And then you realize that you don't really care in the first place. Life goes on.

On another note still, if ANYONE can give me a straight-forward tutorial (no technological gibberish) on adding pictures to Blogger with a Mac, I would be eternally grateful. Right now, it's just incredibly frustrating and stupid. Thanks!
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