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I Don't Know Where I'm Going, but I Can't Stay Here

"You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."

~ Host of any black house party to remaining guests at 2:00 am

If you've ever gone to any black house party, a good black house party, you know the party starts to have its own momentum and takes on a life of its own.  Left to its own devices, the party wouldn't stop.  That is, until the host or hostess, mindful of their next day's obligations, says to the remaining guests, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."  No one is offended.  It's just natural to note that all good things, even a really good party, has to come to an end.  At that moment, the party goers have to make a decision -- Do I go home?  Do I take this party somewhere else with this really cool group of people?  Or do I just take someone home with me?

Well, my not-so-good party of an occupation has reached the same point.  I don't know where I'm going, but I can't stay there.  I think my s…

Let's Stop Flipping Thanksgiving the Bird

I had a great Thanksgiving yesterday.  The meal I cooked wasn't up to my standards, but it was more than made up for by the good company and conversation around the dinner table.  However, you couldn't watch anything on TV without being bombarded with Black Friday ads, most of which were really about Thursday night shopping.  Thanksgiving has been turned into yet another American "shopportunity."

We Americans have joined corporate America in flipping Thanksgiving the bird.

Sure, there have always been stores that stayed open during Thanksgiving, but they were grocery stores that stayed open to give an assist to harried home cooks trying to put on a great meal for their families.  They weren't clothing and electronic stores trying to push Black Friday ever more closer into to Thanksgiving or just straight up intruding on Thanksgiving.

After Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) and I drove ahead of our Thanksgiving guests after dinner to help them find their way out of th…

Let It Be, and Pray the Serenity Prayer

"Let it be."   ~ The Beatles

"Whatever it is, let it be." ~ Jill Scott

I was watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN, and Eckhart Tolle said something that was what Oprah would call "a slap upside the head," or what I would call a spiritual b-slap:  "Stress comes from wanting something to be what it isn't."

Word.  I have spent way too much of this great year wanting things to be what they aren't and expending time to make them what I wanted.  Some of that time was just straight-up wasted.

Now the holidays are coming, and I know many of you are going to want things to be what they aren't.

You're going to want your family to get along.

You're going to want to afford to do things you can't afford to do.

You're going to want to make people happy.

Before you continue wanting things to be what they aren't, my advice to you -- and to me -- is to stop.

Just stop.

Take a deep breath.

And pray the Serenity Prayer:  "God grant…

Why Mitt Romney and the GOP Lost: Ask Maya Angelou

"When people show you who they are, believe them."

~ Dr. Maya Angelou

There's been a lot of punditry going on about Mitt Romney and the GOP's loss of the presidential election.   It just isn't all that deep.  Just ask Dr. Maya Angelou.

Dr. Angelou has been quoted a bazillion times for saying, "When people show you who they are, believe them."  Simply put, Mitt Romney and the GOP showed the American electorate who they are.  And we believed them.

Mitt Romney showed us he's the kind of man who would strap his family's dog on the roof of the family minivan in a pet carrier.  And we believed him, hugging our pets closer to us all the while.

Paul Ryan showed us he was the kind of person who would decry entitlements for everyone else despite the fact that he collected Social Security as a minor after his father died.  And we believed him.

The GOP showed us they have hated President Obama since day one of his presidency, when they vowed to make him a &q…

Words of Wisdom That Have Blessed Me

"You have to acknowledge and accept the fact that you can't have or be everything all at the same time." 

 ~ Teri Hatcher, as quoted in "Career Comeback:  Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want," Lisa Johnson Mandell

Gentle Readers, you know how I am:  If I find something that I think will help someone, I feel compelled to share it.  Well, these past few days, I've been treated to -- no, blessed with -- some real words of wisdom that have not only lifted me, but freed me.  Perhaps they'll do the same for you.

First are words of wisdom from my second-oldest sister (SOS).  Before I begin, let me tell you the value of having older sisters around when your mother is deceased.  Older sisters are like vaults of your late mom's wisdom, if for no other reason, because they knew your mom longer than you did and have more of her wisdom.  When I'm feeling down or blue, I love talking to my sisters -- all of my sisters are older than me -- because they&…

This Time, I'm Voting for Obama Because He's Black

This time, I'm voting for President Obama because he's black.  Before you accuse me of "playing the race card," a phrase I find offensive because it is intended to thwart any meaningful and real discussion of race and racism in America, hear me out.

Last time, I voted for President Obama because I believed he was the candidate with the better intellect and temperament to deal with the challenges American would face.

I was not disappointed.  I knew that there was no way he was going to be able to reverse the tsunami that would become the Great Recession in only four years. But you could not have told me that the GOP would have, from day one, conspired to make President Obama a "one-term president" before he had even done anything to deserve such animus.  To my knowledge, the GOP didn't even conspire to make Roosevelt a "one-term president," and his agenda was decidedly more radical than President Obama's.

You cannot tell me in good conscien…

Living in the Monkey House

I picked up a copy of Tim Gunn's "Gunn's Golden Rules:  Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work," at the Dollar Tree and happened on this passage that I think applies to a whole lot of people in life:

When presented with bizarre circumstances -- such as radical (and radically unappealing) cosmetic surgery -- I'll mutter, "That person is living in the monkey house."

What does this phrase mean?  I'm assuming that most readers have been to a monkey house at a zoo. The stench of it is like nothing I've experienced.  Every time I visit, I can't help but declare, "This place stinks!"  Well, after about ten or fifteen minutes, it no longer smells as bad.  And after half an hour, it doesn't smell at all.

The trouble with that is the following:  It still stinks.  We're merely used to it, so the smell disappears to us.  However, anyone walking into the monkey house anew is going to scream, "This place stinks!"

Tim Gunn, &…

Angry Feet (Don't Wanna Be A Player No More)

I'll be the first to admit it:  I buy shoes the same way I used to date in the '90's.

In the '90's, after Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) and I had broken up for the second time, I started dating for the first time since 1982.  I was attracted to the same qualities in men then that I tend to be attracted to in shoes now:  Cute, unsupportive, and ultimately harmful to my well-being.  Back then, I'd date a good-looking brother who could talk a good game and look good on my arm at events, even if he was unsupportive of me and harmful to my psyche.  I dated guys who looked good but weren't good for me.  And I kept repeating the cycle, like some kind of psycho player.

I also used to wear killer shoes back then, and I mean killer -- high-heeled pumps and my favorite, pointed-toe slingback heels, my drug of choice.  I wore killer shoes so much that I had a doctor tell me I had to stop wearing heels every day or risk damaging the tendons in my calves.  I was prescrib…

Born In The 47% (A Million Little Miracles)

You know, I kind of feel sorry for ol' Mittens Romney.  He's the only presidential candidate in my recent memory who has successfully opened up a can of whoopass on his damn self.  That said, I, like, say,47% of the country, took offense at his remarks about the 47%.  Because, unbeknownst to me until recently, I was born into the 47%, at least for a while.

Like ol' Mittens, I, too, used to be on my high horse about people on public assistance.  I would see women at the Winco with their manicured nails handing over their EBT cards or hearing in the news about folks using their EBT cards at casinos and I would think to myself, "This is just wrong.  I get up and go to work every day, took a pay cut, cut coupons, and watch every penny, and they're going to casinos and getting their nails done."  I started to look down on healthy-appearing folks on public assistance and started to voice my disdain of them to my family members.

Until my oldest brother informed me t…

Don't Laugh. It's Paid For.

I drive a 2007 Honda Accord EX with a huge crack in the windshield.  There's nothing fancy about it other than it's color, red.

Don't laugh.  It's paid for.

You see, I hate having a car payment.  For the first six years after I graduated law school, I didn't have one.  In my family, we recycle cars.  We hand them down.  After graduation from law school in 1990, I was handed down a 1981 Honda Prelude.  Red.  That car had been purchased by my oldest sister when I graduated high school.  In 1988, she purchased another Honda and handed the '81 Prelude down to my sister The Writing Diva.  I don't recall how I ended up with it, but I did.

I literally drove it until it fell apart some 15 years after it was purchased, all my fault for taking out the undercarriage on a curb.  Given that that '81 Prelude had already survived one car accident, it was a shame how I ended up taking it out.  It ran like a dream.  All I had to do was keep the oil changed, get regular …

My Family's Revolution: Home Ownership

Well, my family's revolution has come to an end.  And a beginning, of sorts.  We've discussed family mission statements, credit, budgets, sou-sous, gentle nudges, financial literacy, estate planning and career planning, and entrepreneurship.  The last two modules of our series of talks, titled, "Something to Think About," were to address home ownership and educating our children.

While we were cruising our way toward finishing up the modules on home ownership and educating our kids, real life got in the way.  A revered elder was stricken with cancer but has not only survived, but thrived with chemo.  Another family member faced a life-threatening illness but continues to fight back.  God is good, all the time.

Needless to say, we all got a little distracted, and family meetings had to be postponed.  We finally finished in August, and I'm going to devote separate blog entries to the home ownership module and the education module.  This one is for home ownership.

F…

The GOP Pussy Riot: Shit Just Got Real

Soooo . . . . the GOP, from ol' Mittens down to Karl Rove, are running for the hills and taking their money with them, trying to distance themselves from the ignorance that is Missouri GOP senate candidate Todd Akin.  Akin got on a local TV show and revealed his complete and utter ignorance about female physiology, telling us that. with a "legitimate rape," the female body can somehow shut down conception.  After getting woodshedded by his party superiors, he walked back his statement, apologizing for using the term "legitimate rape." The entire GOP is telling Akin to drop out no later than today so they can put another candidate in his place.

WTF?

What we have going on here is a GOP pussy riot.  It's not that they're ashamed of Akin's uninformed and antiquated views.  Heck, Paul Ryan and many GOPers have sponsored bills with Akin to eliminate abortion rights except for "legitimate rape," whatever that is. And there are many ignorant GOP m…

GOP "Gaslighting" the American Electorate

To hear ol' Mittens Romney and Paul Ryan tell it, President Obama has plunged the American economy over the cliff, and only they -- the GOP -- are in a position to rescue America.  Even Mrs. Romney has bought into and perpetuated the narrative of Mittens as "Superman" saving America.

WTF?

This is what could best be described as the GOP "gaslighting" the American public.

The term "gaslighting" comes from the movie "Gas Light," in which a husband tries to make his wife think she is crazy so that others will, too.  According to Wikipedia:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

So when I hear Paul Ryan say that President Obama made o…

It's Not Just a Table; It's a Tradition

When you look at this table, it looks like an old, beat up, unloved piece of furniture.  A hot ghetto mess if you will.

There's so much more to this table than meets the eye.  It's not just a table; it's a tradition.

This table is a solid maple Colonial-style dining table that my parents bought sometime during the  1960's.  It is the only dinner table I ever knew in our household growing up.  With its three leaves, it can seat up to ten people.  Sometimes during the holidays, our eight-member family needed the extra space for guests.  They don't make tables like this anymore.  When I say it's solid maple, I mean just that -- no veneers, no composite wood.  Solid maple.  It takes at least two people to lift it. At least.

I'm pretty sure I learned to walk leaning on the legs of this table.  My late mother, SWIE (She Who Is Exalted), took great care of this table.  Despite the fact that she had six children and she never allowed us to eat in any part of the h…

Gabby Douglas Is Not Her Hair

Sometimes, we black women don't know how to act.

We have the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in the all-around women's gymnastic competition in the Olympics, and sisters are criticizing her hair?  Are you kidding me?

I've warned white folks to stay out the hair conversation when it comes to Malia's and Sasha Obama's hair.  Now, to my black sisters:  Grow up and stop projecting your own hair issues onto Gabby.

I am often among the hair challenged.  Some days my hair is bouncin' and behavin', some days, not so much.  But I'm too focused on handling my business to care if I've hit the hair mark each and every freakin' day.  I've got far more important things to do than to worry about whether other people approve of my hair.

And, apparently, so does Gabby Douglas.  Like coppin' two gold medals.

But I've seen this kind of criticism before.  I recently spent time with a friend who just couldn't let go of the fact that …

Big Mama's Dead, So Get Your Shit Together

Most of us black folks who came of age in the '60's and '70's grew up with at least one matriarchal figure in the family who held things together and held up the triflin' folks in the family.  This matriarch was usually older, someone who always kept a roof over her head, paid her bills, and always had a meal available for anyone who crossed her threshold.  She always seemed to be able to dig down in her bra and find a twenty for someone to "hold," knowing full well she'd probably never get it back.  She'd co-sign for some young'un in the family trying to get a car or some furniture and wouldn't think twice about mortgaging her house to get her child or grandchild out on bail. She was the kind of woman who maybe worked a menial job, cooked up a storm on Saturday night for family card games, and pulled herself together for Sunday school and making a huge Sunday dinner.  She was Big Mama.  And if there were an Olympic sport for putting every…

Ride, Sally, Ride (Rest in Peace, Sally Ride)

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space and a fellow Stanford alumna.  I never met Ms. Ride, but I was inspired by her.  And I'm not fond of math or science, either.

What was inspirational about Sally Ride was that she made the love of math, science and engineering seem absolutely normal for a woman.  She didn't fly any geek flag whatsoever.  She just did her thing, not underplaying the enormity of her accomplishment, but also not making it appear as if she and she alone were capable of the accomplishment.

Sorry to borrow a bad pun, but Sally took millions of little girls along for the ride when she went in to space, and especially when she came back.  She could have been a NASA "queen bee," like many women unfortunately become when they get to the top and don't want any other woman there with them.  Sally wanted women to follow in her footsteps.  She wanted to inspire little girls to believe that space exploration wa…