Wednesday, November 24, 2010


- As I look at my latest crochet project, I'm trying not to feel defeated. If its not yet completed, why in the hell would it already look like what its supposed to be? Me and my need for instant gratification I guess. I would at least like it to appear to be going in the direction that I need it to. I'm gonna take a small break from it and come back to it after the holidays. In the meantime, a trip to Michael's is needed. I need new yarn in my space, a new kind of project on my hook... and some sun! So I can get pictures of the stuff that I've already made ::sips peppermint hot chocolate::

- Speaking of the fiber arts and new projects, its time to be out with the old and in the with new! Discounts and new pieces are coming soon to Baby Squares at ETSY!

- Turns out, the old lady couldn't let the turkey stay in the freezer afterall. Looks like we'll be heading to grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I think this is just another step in her plan to stage an intervention between me and my granddaddy. This should be interesting.

- This whole re-housing thing is just rolling right along. I'm really amazed. Shoot, we could be settled in time to break out the ornaments and the tree!

- In a couple of hours, I'll be grabbing the girl, and we'll be heading back into the theater for Mommy Daughter Date take 2. Movie of choice: Tangled. She's really excited about seeing it, and I am excited about spending the afternoon with her, a couple of pretzels and a couple of ICEEs.

Let the fun begin!

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Notes to Emma

Maybe they're just really good friends.

Maybe Little Miss M is just really affectionate.

(name of the affectionate one has been removed from love notes art work)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chasing the Holidays

I'd almost forgotten just how much I love bows. It's what I spend the most of my time on when I'm doing holiday gift wrapping. I'll surround myself with a bag of the colorful adhesive kind, like a little kid, picking through them, matching them up with my wrapping paper selections. Then I'll grab some ribbon and a pair of scissors, curling away for the finishing touches.

I'd also forgotten that learning how to make them with yarn was on my to-do list, until I came across the Creative Yarn blog. Homegirl makes some really cute stuff, and is generous enough to share her patterns. I am more of a video tutorial girl, which is why I completely failed the first time around at making this cute headband, but I eventually got it! For practice, I added one to my hats.

Since we have officially entered the slow season here in the office, I had plenty of time to try, try, try until I got it just right.

Last night I whipped up a couple in Wine and Berry. They are really cute and functional. I am hoping to add these to Baby Squares for the holidays. In between churning out some beanies for my little boys (my shop is really quite sexist isn't it?).

What do you think?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chasing Home

Photo Credit

I wonder how many miles I've put on my car since February. How many hours have I logged while on the grind? Can the amount of shit that I've had to put up with, navigate, and discard really be calculated? As I peer out of Starbucks' picture window, at the wind wrestling through the trees, and the wet pavement on this cool Fall afternoon, I have an abundance of gratitude. The same level of gratitude that I have each time I exit the freeway to find the man or the woman standing there, holding his or her sign, hoping that someone in the line of cars will power down their window and extend an offering. An offering is usually made, and a momentary expression of accomplishment and Thanks comes across the face of the person on the receiving end. The moment ends, and the accomplishment is tucked away to free his or her hands and mind for the next offering.

This is reminiscent of my experience thus far. From house to house, organization to organization, failure to accomplishment, its really hard to focus on what all of those little accomplishments will ultimately add up to in the end, when your sole focus is to be at the right place, at the right time to receive. Well, upon review of all of those little accomplishments, I can now say that I have all of the pieces to the puzzle, and that they are falling into their respective places. The new year will bring with it an end to my homeless journey, and the beginning of the rest of our lives. Steadfast gratitude.

Outfit of the Day

It wasn't until I took my eyes off the road, that I realized, up until that moment, I had never witnessed them at work. As many years as I've studied their place within society, and advocated their respect and protection, I'd had yet to actually speak with, or observe a woman who dons a particular kind of nightly uniform and takes to the streets.

It was almost a moment of exoticization. My reaction to seeing her, and then another and another - in the frigid evening air - booty shorts, heels, no jacket. I remember thinking, "isn't it a little cold for those?" Not once considering the fact that she was not at all out of place, but right on the track. Their corner is one without a traffic signal, which means you have to know exactly where to look if you want to encounter them. Every day since then, I've glanced, at just about that block, to see if I could catch a quick glimpse. To see if maybe I could see who else is watching or perhaps partaking of their time. Obviously not the police, since they are usually congregating a few blocks ahead of the action. Devoting their attention to more important matters. And periodically I will fall into deep thought about what I'd do, the ways in which I'd react - spring into action - should I be crossing their block and one of these women suddenly become distressed. The scene leaves me quite mixed emotional.

On one hand, as an advocate of sex work (prostitution falling under that category), I would not call for the harrassment of these women, but rather their protection. However, without sex work being recognized under the law, with it in fact being a violation of the law, I'm guessing the only protection that these women are receiving is from the police patrols ability to look the other way as business is conducted. On the other hand, with Oakland being a huge player in human trafficking, specifically the trafficking of children, when it comes to street prostitution, police involvement is vital. When it comes to street prostitution as a business, it is not the workers who are profiting, but their pimps/captures/abusers.

As I am gearing up to exit the community, I feel an urge to act.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dear Bigmama

I remember your 76th birthday. It fell on Thanksgiving back then, same as this year, and the year before you left us. I had not yet left you for Cal, had not yet become a mother, and you were not yet fighting. We were all gathered at Mama's house, comforted by the aroma of her soulful cooking, laughing out loud from a collective familial humor, genuinely feeding off of and enjoying the company of each other. Aunt Shalonda and aunt Vicki were there, and so was uncle John. The babies of the family were still babies back then, running around doing their thing, having to be told a time or two to stay out of the way. Those were the days.

You loved to wear your dresses. You were wearing one that day. You had your hair hanging in your signature press 'n curl and a big smile on your face. Plates were non-traditionally being served and reserved between the aunts and granddaddy, and wrapped up to be taken home by uncle. You made your way down the hall behind granddaddy as he had something to show you. It was then that Mama and I made our move. She placed your cake on the table, and I strategically placed a 7 and a 6 on top. Seeing you coming, aunt Vicki met you at the end of the hallway before you could make your entrance back into the party, with both hands cupped over your eyes. I can still hear the two of you. "I can't see!", you blurted out. "Hush woman", she replied in a laugh. She held you steady, until we were ready, and when she lifted her hands, we broke out in song. Happy Birthday to You. This moment forever lives on - when it is on its last breath, I revive the memory via visual media.

I asked Mama for this year's Thanksgiving plan. She said there wasn't one. She said she wasn't feeling it like she used to. Its true. Nothing is like it used to be. You, aunt Vicki and uncle John are no longer with us. I don't think this family has had any celebration like that since you began your fight and lost. I suspect there will be no gathering at Mama's house, or comforting aroma of her cooking because your absence is much too painful for her. To celebrate, would be to acknowledge that which we can not change.

Here's to wishing you were here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When the Comments Section Isn't Enough: Final Thoughts

Oh cute and colorful Ana Gazawi, your comment about "big girl panties" was very entertaining. In case you're still snooping, I'd like you to know that I actually never leave home without them. I was thinking that perhaps I could put em' on a postcard for you, that way, my ass would always be readily available for you to kiss it.

Moving right along in no particular order...

1. The last I checked, this --->here<--- was "my" personal space, which means by default, I get to say, state, share, mention, etc whatever the fuck I want, whether it be a minute by minute account or a recollection from 20 years ago.

2. This blog is not commercial or here to attract a following or writing for an audience or focused on making the blogosphere happy or changing the world or any of that shit. In other words, I'm not writing for you or even to you, I'm writing for myself, because its therapeutic (ie. if I wanna purge within my own space, you can read it, however, don't feel the need to tell me I shouldn't be doing it). MY thoughts, MY feelings. Now, if you so happen to read what I've written and it doesn't sit well with you , either poke your own eyes out or, as my great-grandmother use to say, scratch your ass and get glad. Your choice. Or, if you don't feel like making a lot of effort, you can just make a note to self not to come back by here. See, problem solved.

3. For the folks who were having a hard time understanding why I chose the words I did and why I delivered them the way that I did, aside from what has already been stated in #1, the post in question did have "continued" in the title, which means that there was a post preceding it. Its ok if you hadn't noticed, really it is. Anyhoo... post in question was the ass end of bitchassness that was much more current than that of the asshole collective.

4. Let's talk even more about blog posts. I think they're awesome. We all have a voice and we all get to use it how we see fit. You'll get no arguement from me there. In fact, I don't think we should even ever censor our writing, just let the true YOU shine through, whoever that may be. Its just better that way isn't it? I have no issue with differing views and opinions in blog posts. I, as all of us do, have the choice not to read/participate in them if I don't want to. However, when you have placed a badge/button in support of a cause all up and through your site, without informing those whom it may be offensive to who are also a part of the site, the element of choice is eliminated. A member does not get to choose whether or not they are in support because the decision has already been made and displayed. But, who gives a fuck, right?

5. To date, I have never been released, asked to leave, denied access to anything MOH related (sorry Ana and company). I simply made the decision not to move forward with them because I was no longer comfortable doing so, which included not signing on with the We of Hue network when invited.

Did I miss anything? If so, let me know.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Categorizing, Universalizing and Labeling Continued

A month before becoming invested in the latest babbling bus load of bullshit, I was emotionally invested in trying to figure out why the fuck the folks behind the No Wedding No Womb campaign, and their followers, were so invested in “putting the padlock on our panties.” Why was it so hard for any of them to admit that the language heading their campaign was flawed and disrespectful? Why was it so hard for any of them to recognize why single mothers by circumstance and by choice were so upset and turned off by the launch of their attack? Why was it so hard for married supporters of the campaign to realize that not all married mothers were supporters of the campaign? Hello. And finally, why and HOW did the launching of this campaign get some single mothers to drink the Kool Aid and start viewing themselves as bad mothers for having a failed marriage, or choosing to become single mothers, or never seeking marriage to begin with, or being o-damn-k with the term “baby mama” because they have realized that it is actually a term that is free to be appropriated?

I am still fuzzy on why the campaign took up the term “baby mama” in the first place as a way to address single parenthood as a whole and/or unplanned pregnancy. I am fuzzy on how and why a campaign would take up entertainment (ie Maury Povich) as the driving reasoning behind the campaign and just why the hell these folks feel the need to “save the children of single mothers from single mothers." And if we really want to break the term “baby mama” down, and see the words for what they literally mean, then that would make every woman who has ever mothered a baby’s mother. My name is Barbara Henry, and as my sister Traci stated in her beautiful letter to her son, “I” am Emma’s mother and there is NOTHING about the state of my mothering that is wrong or should be undone or rethought. If I had it to do over again, I’d do it the same way. She continues to grow into an amazing person because of the start in life that "I" have given her, the unique dynamic that has shaped our lives. Emma was conceived in love and is being raised in love. Point. Blank. Period.

I was in complete shock when I went over to Moms of Hue to find the site in full support of the campaign against single motherhood. And yes, the campaign is a full on attack. I was thinking, “how could the site be in full support when there are members of the team who are not in support of the campaign at all?” It was hurtful to read what some of the people that I had been comfortable sharing my life and lifestyle with really thought about women who have had kids out of wedlock. When it comes to Moms of Hue, why wasn’t the team notified of this kind of considered endorsement? We'd always been notified of everything else. Why weren’t team members who were clearly offended contacted by leadership? And where in the fuck is my apology? For these reasons, and insensitive commentary from the site’s founder, I had to end my relationship with the “movement”, and I am publicly apologizing to all of my single mama friends that I even sent over there. Why stay on after it was made crystal clear that my status was not valued. If my status was not valued, why the fuck would my experiences be? Uh huh… BABBLING BUS LOAD OF BULLSHIT.

A Word on Categorization, Universalizing and Labeling

I’ve been told a time or two that I don’t play well with others. I don’t quite see it that way. I just simply have a low tolerance for generalizations, ignorance and elitism. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the need for some to state opinion and personal preference as fact; to stereotype and give tropes power by holding them over the heads of individuals just because they’ve been labeled statistics.

It makes me sad really, to be subjected to the hateful ideologies of others. So then I get too emotionally invested in the topic of discussion, throwing out my counterarguments, only to be met with 10 more motherfuckers backing the one. It’s exhausting.

The latest babbling bus load of bullshit is about welfare recipients and what they should and should not be able to buy with their benefits. More policing of the poor on the grounds that if you are poor, then you should ONLY be spending your government issued dollars on shelter, and since said government issued dollars are not even enough for shelter, then you shouldn’t be spending them elsewhere anyway. In other words, if you are on welfare, you do not have the right to spend your benefits on the same kinds of shit that folks who aren’t sucking society dry spend their hard earned cash on. Yeah, a BABBLING BUS LOAD OF BULLSHIT! Of course it isn't really the article itself that has my ass on fire, but reactions to it by a few Facebookers. I cannot tell you how tired I am of reading and hearing people unleash about tax payers and tax dollars. Why is it so hard to view the tax dollars that the welfare recipient spends as the tax dollars that s/he has already paid into the system? Why is the welfare recipient still being viewed as the scum of the earth, the one who is too lazy to work, and every other negative attribute imaginable?

I recently encountered a student-parent who is worrying herself to death about how she will combine a part time job with being a full time student and mother, because being viewed in the negative light of the welfare queen is so much worse to her than trading in time with her son for time spent in a position that wont even supplement her household’s income, which was cut in half by the recession. She has paid her hard earned money into a system that she is now afraid to utilize, and for what? Because people who are working from what they’ve heard, and a few things they’ve read, hold ill feelings toward people who are trying to survive in this fucked up society, and in addition to surviving, add a little normalcy into their everyday by stimulating the economy? Yeah, a BUS LOAD OF BULLSHIT!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week In Review

- This week, I will have officially been with my new office for 2 months. I am really enjoying my time here. I am learning, growing and applying. This is definitely a stepping stone position, but one that came at the perfect time, with the perfect amount of responsibility, the perfect amount of freedom, and the perfect mix of personalities. I came into this place, thinking that my role here would be one dimensional, but instead found myself submerged within a setting of information, resources and support. Not bad for a part time "gig".

- I'm still a little in awe of the things that Baby Squares has been doing. I don't think I ever expected to be so widely received. To be liked and "liked" so well. The fans have been growing, business has been booming nationally, and my little fingers and bits of yarn have been doing a constant dance of warmth making. I have been learning how to enjoy the success and to question it a little bit less. I have been forced by my wonderful supporters to view myself as a business owner. As the days go by, and the sales continue, becoming a brand seems a little less scary.

- I've been riding dirty for at least 6 months now, and thankfully my lawlessness comes to an end tomorrow! I will march into the DMV, hand over my proofs of this and that, retrieve my expensive little sticker and do the running man straight up outta there! We will officially be able to make longer distance trips again!

- This month, my TWA will turn 6 months old too! Yippie!! That will be a milestone for me. The first TWA only made it to month 5 before stress drove my head into the hands of the barber. Not this time though. This time, the curls are in for the long haul. I'm on my way to Emma status! I've been thinking protective styling, and on my next weekend off, I'm going to give myself some finger coils. I chickened out the first time I attempted them, but I'm going to stretch, break out the gel and put my fingers to work.

- One of my house mates pulled me to the side a couple of weeks ago, and told me that I was much too nice to be there. I told her that we all were.

What's been up with you?