Wednesday, June 29, 2011

[Day 22] Almost There

Day 22: Your Academics

... are still in progress. Good news: I am enrolled for Fall to complete my lonely math requirement. I swear, I just might have a gray hair behind this one requirement alone! I don't know what I was thinking leaving something like math until the end, but I did, and you know what? Its not uncommon when it comes to math and english. I will be glad to march into my department adviser's office at the end of the year and officially put undergrad behind me. I might do the Roger Rabbit out the door! A masters would be nice, BUT, I will not be rushing into the next grad program. I need time to recuperate - time to want it again. Kudos to all the mamas who are currently working on or finishing up their masters, I'm watching you and taking notes.

[Day 21] The Future

Day 21: How You Hope Your Future Will Be Like

If I'm lucky, my future will hold a couple of accomplishments that leave me fulfilled, a happy, healthy and centered daughter, a couple of grandbabies, plenty of time to travel the world, and inner peace.

[Day 20] Caution

Day 20: Your Fears

The great fear of the unknown. Its a little control freakish, but I'm not comfortable with not knowing what comes next. This of course puts a real damper on spontaneity. I'm a little bit cool with that. I'd rather have a clear cut plan, even if I have to revise it several times, than jump head first into something life changing.

[Day 19] Missing Links

Day 19: Five Items You Lust After

1. A rewarding career:
No seriously. It'd be great to have a career that provided security AND happiness. Seems like the two never fit in the same position, unless of course you're a CEO with a team who does all the work so you can go outside and play all day. Usually, the happiness producing positions offer less pay, and those that provide the most security, meaning financial, take you away from your family and the things in life that truly matter. I know that folks will say that the key to a position that provides everything you want is to create that position for yourself, but what of us who have no deep desire to build a business?

2. A real vacation:
I'm not even sure if I've technically earned one or not, but a real vacation would be really nice. And when I say real vacation, I'm not talking about a 3-day weekend, I'm talking about a 7 day cruise, summer long backpacking trip across country type of getaway. I am in need of a major change of scenery, where somebody else is in charge of all of the care work and money is no object.

3. A new wardrobe:
At the moment, mine is quite pitiful. I think everything I own is out of date, and the majority are the wrong fit. And lets not even mention my sock collection!

4. A garden:
I have a strong need for growth and light.

5. A new baby:
An odd thing to lust after, I know. However, I can't remove this burning desire. I can only hope that the right time and circumstances will present themselves BEFORE my Emma goes off to college!

[Day 18] First Steps

Day 18: A Problem That You Have Had

"It can creep up inside you and consume you, a disease of the mind it can control you."

That which has been a problem in the past, remains one in the present, and will most likely be a part of my future. When I was first introduced to depression as a term, I was six months pregnant, sitting on an exam table across from my doctor. It was then revealed to me that I had been battling depression the majority of my life. My ability to suppress made this reality normalcy. It was nice to know that I wasn't evil as I had been labeled by the adults in my life, but rather in suffering.

Because I am still suffering, next month I will head back into therapy, with the possibility of being medicated. I am hoping for a new approach and new longer lasting results. We'll see where it all leads.

[Day 17] The Greatest Love of All

Day 17: Something That You're Proud Of

I'm the most proud of my little girl. She's undoubtedly my greatest accomplishment.

[Day 16] I Just Wanna Be Successful

Day 16: Something You Always Think "What If..." About

"I want things to go my way, but as of late a lotta shit been goin' sideways."

What if I never reach my life's purpose?

What if I never experience the purest form of happiness?

What if I remain a mother of one?

There are a lot of "what ifs" that crowd my mind at any given time. Some push me to go harder, while others consume the very core of my soul.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy PRIDE in San Francisco!

Yet again I've managed to miss the festivities, but I'm celebrating with my LGBTQI family in spirit, as I know it has been going all the way down in SF this weekend. There is a lot to celebrate with the recent legalization of Gay Marriage in New York. I hoping that Californians get it together by following in the footsteps of other states and doing what's right for marriage equality.

Happy PRIDE!

[Day 15] Two Places at One Time

Day 15: Your Zodiac/Horoscope and if You Think It Fits Your Personality

Aritaur in the house! Being born on April 20th puts me right on the Aries/Taurus cusp, and the Cusp of Power is a very interesting place to be. I'm not heavily into astrology or following my horoscope daily, in fact, I'm pretty new to the whole concept of the cusp. I grew up believing that I was an Aries because I'd always found that Aries ended with me. I would heatedly defend my place within the zodiac. "I am NOT a Taurus!", I once argued a classmate in junior high. Truth is, my classmate and I were both right because the nitty gritty lies in the time of birth. Although cusp folks pull from the sign that ends before and the sign the begins right after their birthdate, knowing the time of birth will reveal how greatly a person is influenced by the two signs. While I think my Aries traits were stronger when I was younger, I feel like I am now ruled by my Taurus traits, while being in conflict with my Aries traits.

persevering, down-to-earth, stable, stubborn, possessive, prosperous, dependable, physical, sensual, active, initiating, leading, independent, aggressive, impatient, combative, energetic, pioneering, naive, assertive

Like I said, the Cusp of Power can be a very interesting place to be, dualing dualisms and all.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

[Day 14] Bare

Day 14: What You Wore Today

I'd show you, but I'm sure you don't want to know me quite that well *smile*

[Day 13] The Skin I'm In

Day 13: Your Opinion About Your Body and How Comfortable You Are With It

The body that I sport today is my "new body." It's a version of the body that I became comfortable with a couple years into motherhood. There have been days when this body has been unrecognizable to me - a midsection transformed by a new metabolism, a double digit jean; the sudden realization that there is nothing pre-pregnancy about this body. The fact that this "new body" is 8 years old tells me that I must be content with it. Sure, I mourn my single digit frame, and I am sure that one day I will be reunited with it, but for now, I'm rocking what I have, because what I have is still pretty damn hot.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

[Day 12] Eye Candy

Day 12: Five Guys Whom You Find Attractive

This really shouldn't be difficult, but guess what? It is! Hot men are the last thing on my mind these days, but let's see what I can come up with.

1. Derek Luke

2. Hugh Laurie

3. Marcus Chong

4. Lance Gross

5. Maxwell
(always wanted to run my hands through that 'fro!)

Who's on your list?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

[Day 11] Roots

Day 11: Your Family

My great-grandmother:
This is the woman that my mother entrusted me to when I was two years old. She was the pillar of strength that held our family together. She was everybody's Bigmama - her door, arms and heart were always open. She provided a sense of comfort and security that is unmatched, and I was the baby that slept cuddled up to her warmth until I was a teen! There was no bed, nor hug, nor kiss greater that hers. I owe this woman all that I am.

My Grandmother:
My grandmother loves telling me the story of my birth. About how my mother went into labor early with a breech baby, and how she would not allow the doctors to deliver me until her mother had arrived. I often try to picture how the aftermath of the scene plays out. I imagine an abundance of love filling the room after my arrival. After all, my mother did name me after my grandmother. I am fortunately to still have the opportunity to share laughs and life with her.

My Mother:
There is still so much that I wish I could talk to her about. There is still so much that I wish to know about her life - in her own words. 8 years distantly together just weren't enough. I thank her for the gift that she sent me 11 years after her death.

My roots run much deeper than these three women, but it is these three women whom I value the most.

[Day 10] That Boom Boom Pow

Day 10: Put Your Music Player on Shuffle and Write the First 10 Songs that Play

  1. Will You Be There: Michael Jackson
  2. Its About That Time: The Wryters (local artists)
  3. You Are Everything (Remix): Sisqo
  4. Billie Jean: Michael Jackson
  5. An unlabled Mary J song (Can't Do This Alone?)
  6. Forgive Them Father: Lauryn Hill
  7. Just Got Paid: 'N Sync (shot out to Richmond High School Jazz dance!)
  8. Rock With You: Michael Jackson
  9. Got to Get It: Sisqo
  10. The Lady in My Life: Michael Jackson

Not that much of an exciting list, but these are some of the tunes I'm working with. This serves as a reminder for me to invest in an external hard drive so that I can snag all of the music from my old PC laptop. That thing is amazing. It's like, 9 years old and is still running - slowly, but still running!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

[Day 9] Knowledge Really is Power

Day 9: How Important You Think Education Is

Education is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and powerful tools that any of us could ever acquire in life. As I type, my 8 year old is passionately going page by page through her school math book explaining the problems that she's done and telling me which and why they are her favorite kinds of problems to solve. Did I mention that we are now officially on summer vacation? No matter how old you are, education - the ability to learn new things and apply what you've learned to life - never gets old. And the true beauty lies in the fact that education comes in so many different forms. Each new day brings with it the opportunity to learn, to apply, and to share that knowledge with others.

I remember having that same level of passion for learning that my daughter has. I'm not even sure how the importance of education was shaped for me, because honestly, I don't think I ever received the 'education is the key' parental speech, but rather, I was raised by a great-grandmother who didn't mess around. She wasn't raising a street girl, she was raising an independent woman, and if you weren't in the streets, the only other place to be was in school. In school I was, and I loved being there. I was good at it. I don't think there was a time in elementary that I wasn't on the honor roll, and I later graduated from high school with honors. I never viewed school as a forced requirement (until a few years in college). I knew that from elementary you went to jr. high, and from there you went to high school, and in my mind, from high school you went to college. It was just the next step on the academic ladder. I am so grateful to have had that kind of interest and the opportunity to do so. By doing so, with a child, I have now indirectly instilled the value of education into my child. She's barely getting her feet wet in grade school and is already thinking about and seeing the beauty of what college holds because it's just what she's become accustomed to. I will work feverishly to make sure that never changes.

I have to say that I am not pleased at the direction that education is now headed. The opportunity to higher education has been placed in jeopardy for so many with all of these budget issues. It makes me sad to know that some hard working and deserving young people will be robbed of this opportunity or have to delay it due to financial reasons. I am very proud of everyone who is currently busting their asses to find back doors and hidden purses to get as many into school as possible. And although a degree is awesome to have earned, its not the only way to grow within academia. If you can read, and if you have the courage to ask questions, you can self teach! If you've ever met a challenge and kicked its ass, you already have the tools!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

[Day 8] Eat Up

Day 8: What You Ate Today

I'm really good for forgetting to eat. Eating seems like a no-brainer, but it's really easy to do when you don't put yourself on your to-do list. I'll get into the groove of my day, or loose myself in a project, and half the day later I'll realize that it's past lunch time and I didn't even eat breakfast. Today is a non-breakfast and lunch day. After a night of fun, a light snack of dry salame, cheese and water was enough to get me up and running.

I'm headed out the door to test for a state position that I recently applied for, and will be having a sit down lunch/early dinner with Emma and a mama bear friend once I'm all done. I'm thinking a little chicken and waffles would be nice!

What's on your plate?

Happy Summer Vacation

"This certifies that Emma K. has satisfactorily completed the course of study
required for promotion from second to third grade and is therefore entitled
to this certificate on this 10th day of June, 2011"

Her sense of accomplishment is so grand. She turned 8 years old, and "graduated" from the second grade all in the same week! It has been a week of graduations and celebrations. Her class celebrated with an ice cream party, we congratulated 5th grade friends who are moving on to junior high, and high school friends who are now moving on to the rest of their lives. I remember the end of 1st grade. I arrived to her classroom to find not a dry eye on a little face. The entire class was in tears because the school year had ended. This year, instead of tears, there were lots of hugs and talk of future play dates and summer camps. We're happy to have you summer vacation! Bring on the water park, bring on the beach, bring on the sun!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[Day 7] Under My Skin

Day 7: Five Pet Peeves

You mean, you want me to only list five? A better challenge would be to list five non-pet peeves! To use an African Export phrase, I'm "one of them ones" - the ones who generally find irritation in an abundance of things. Some days are better than others, but stuff gets old real fast, and for me, old = irritating.

1. Invasion of Personal Space:
This actually happened to me today. I was standing off to the side of rows of full seats, minding my own little business, in my own little personal space bubble, when up walks a guy and his two daughters. Their approach would have been fine had they not all huddled around me like we were swapping secrets. One of the daughters was standing so close in front of me that I swear the toe of my shoes were touching the heel of hers! And these weren't little daughters, these were grown ass daughters. I thought that maybe she just didn't see me standing close enough to breath down her neck since she had her back to me, until the gang slid over next to a woman who was seated. They could have been in her lap! She became uncomfortable with their oblivious closeness and scooted her seat into the middle of an aisle.

2. Music Ringtones:
I must be getting older because this really shouldn't bother me, BUT, there is something about being in an establishment and having your thoughts suddenly interrupted by two minutes of some E40 song. Just leave the songs for the iPod!

3. Delayed Responses:
I know the world doesn't revolve around me, and I know that not everyone is as connected as everyone else, BUT, when I send out a text, I expect to get a reply right back, especially if two minutes after I send you a text I see that you've updated your status on Facebook, FROM YOUR CELL PHONE!

4. Answering a Question with a Question:
Seriously. If I ask a question, chances are, I'd like an answer to it.

5. Attacking Sexuality:
Just general home grown homophobia. It seems like some people just itch to affix labels to people, while others itch to attack people at their very core. It doesn't make sense to me, and its extremely irritating to be in conversation with someone who is quick to throw out some derogatory term to describe someone.

Monday, June 6, 2011

[Day 6] Life has a Soundtrack

Day 6: Your Views on Mainstream Music

I really do feel that music has the ability to sooth and nurture the soul, and that usually, the kind of music that has this kind of power has great depth. It's music that transcends time. Although powerful, mainstream music usually doesn't really have that much to say and is only around for as long as the next greatest catchy hook isn't.

My radio stays locked into the oldies these days. I love disco and classic soul - music that makes you feel good when you listen to it - music that you can always come back to. A little Prince now and then. I'm not saying that these are the only genres that have music that accomplishes this, but old school brings me peace and happiness when it fills my ears.

[Day 5] To Be Continued

Day 5: Things You Want to Say to an Ex

The things that I really wanted to say were written out, sealed into an envelop, and were carried around in my purse for a quiet a while. It was one of those letters that the receiver was never suppose to actually receive, but there was a part of me that wanted to be strong enough to go the extra step - to find just the right moment to place that envelop into his hands, and to hopefully change the dynamics of how we relate to each other. I never delivered that letter, in fact, I think I may have even thrown it away.

I thought that maybe I could revisit some of those things. I want to. Just not today.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

[Day 4] All in a Day

Day 4: Bullet Your Whole Day

  • 8:15am: Alarm goes off for school. The race is on to get breakfast, get cute, get backpack and get out the door.
  • 9:10am: We did it! Out the door on time, in the car, and on the way to school.
  • 9:28am: Arrive at school, kisses and hugs.
  • 9:46am: Back home to an empty house.
  • 10:23am: Knock out blog post number 1.
  • 11:23am: Knock out blog post number 2.
  • 11:24am-12:55pm: Check the mailbox.
  • 12:57pm-1:03pm: Sit with a beautiful card for my birthday girl and token of love from an amazing mama friend on the other side of the country.
  • 1:06pm: Email amazing mama friend to show her just how much I appreciate her warm heart.
  • 1:07pm-4:15pm: Resume getting through season 2 of The L Word.
  • 4:45pm: Hit the bank and the grocery store.
  • 5:00pm-5:40pm: Sit in my car enjoying the sound of the rain (saving gas) in front of Emma's school.
  • 5:50pm: Pick up Emma and head over to the auditorium for the end of the year Aloha Potluck.
  • 5:55pm: Run into an old school Cal mama alum (I love to reconnect).
  • 7:15pm: The school staff hit the front of the stage to sing a group song, that none of them actually knew, even though they had the words right in front of them. Emma knew the song. Turns out that its a Rock Band classic. She puts the strained and out of touch teachers out of their misery by telling them that she knows the song. She grabs the mic and rocks the house.
And proud mama goes into paparazzi mode.

  • 8:15pm: Back home after an evening of fun.
  • 8:45pm: Because my kid is STILL hungry after a potluck of yummy cultural goodness, we settle in with big bowls of edamame and tall glasses of mixed berry smoothie.

And some Netflix, to which I feel asleep! When I woke up Emma was nestled beside me watching Spongebob Squarepants.

How was your day?

Friday, June 3, 2011

[Day 3] Writing Life

Day 3: A Book You Love

With summer approaching, I am looking forward to an abundance of days where I can sit back, kick my feet up, and loose myself in a good book. A good story can be so addicting. It can keep you planted in the same spot for hours, while simultaneously taking you far, far away. There isn't anything that I am currently reading, but I am hoping to get something new on the shelf very soon.

I have my eye on a book, written by a "mobile homeless" 20something. It's about her experience as a young homeless woman, and about the circumstances that led to that experience. I find a familiarity and solidarity in her story.


The ways that Brianna Karp have navigated homelessness are amazing. A true example of the power of breaking silence. You can check out her website and blog.

I have a special place in my heart for memoirs. I love reading about other people's life experiences, especially when they are similar to my own. I recently read Daleen Berry's Sister of Silence and was completely dumbfounded.

Sexually abused by a family friend at 13, and mother to 4 children at 21, Daleen's story flashed me back to my own relationship with Emma's father, and it gave me a glimpse of what my life would have morphed into had I not gotten out of the relationship when I did. Her story was horrific, but it brought me a sense of comfort because at last I had finally found my own brand of experience in the experience of someone else, which is something that I had not ever been able to find in any rape survivor's group.

I have also recently read the smart little ebook, written by the wonderful Tara Pringle Jefferson of The Young Mommy Life. Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide to Creating the Career You Crave, is full of helpful advice on creating fulfilling financial stability. She provides exercises and resources to get you thinking and acting on achieving your financial goals and realizing your life's dreams.


Tara even takes it to the heart of her audience by providing interviews with moms who have taken a leap of faith and thrown their passions into side hustles. I was fortunate enough to share a little something about my own side hustle, Baby Squares.

Another mama and blog friend has taken to the ebook scene to share her knowledge and passion as well. Jewelry Rockstar, and Love's Gumbo creator Brook Brimm puts her professional voice into action giving advice on love and relationships. Check out her book for all of the ingredients you need.


What books do you love?

[Day 2] Combating Silence

Day 2: Something You Feel Strongly About

"My voice wasn't made to be quiet." - Emma

As people who encounter the world each and every day, whether through social mediums or experience, we all have areas of existence that are very important to us. I feel strongly about combating silence. We all have experiences, and some are extremely life changing and not easy to hear nor to face, but by being allowed the space and respect to voice those experiences, a kind of healing can follow that transcends any one person's sole experience. In other words, speaking out creates a platform for shared experience and the possibility for a collective healing.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than being instructed to be silent. Many are hushed, and then further punished when their suppressed pain ultimately destroys them in one way or another. We have to open our ears to the stories of others and open our hearts to life through their eyes. We may not initially have any answers, but sometimes, the first and most important step is to make it clear that people are being heard.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge

Because invited challenges are always more fun than the uninvited.

Its a brand new month, so why not welcome a 30 Day Blog Challenge? I found the questions for the challenge over at Her Best Hair. If you feel like having a little fun this month, join in!

Day 1: Five Ways to Win Your Heart

And this would be why they call this here a challenge. I'm a natural pleaser, so it is indeed a challenge to contemplate what pleases me. I think its safe to say that these are some of the things that make my heart smile.

1. Beautiful Photography
Maybe it goes back to my childhood picture book days, but I could sit with photography for hours. Doesn't necessarily matter what the photograph's focus is, I appreciate what has been captured - the photographer's eye, lighting or lack there of, the smallest details - a picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

2. Soulful Singers
Every time that Patti LaBelle opens her mouth, chills and tears wash over me. That woman could sing the alphabet and I would still be moved deep within my soul. She doesn't just make my heart smile, but she, and others such as Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia, make my heart rejoice.

3. Crafts!
Whether it be card making, scrapbooking, crocheting or coloring a page with Emma, crafts bring inner joy. What's more joyous than an activity where the possibilities are endless?

4. Beach Days
I have a love/hate relationship with sand, but there is nothing like sitting out in the sun with the breeze of the ocean, watching my daughter play in the stuff. Chasing waves with my little girl surely makes my heart smile.

5. Intimacy
I am an old soul who thrives on a 'rocking chair on the porch-special spot out in the garden' kind of atmosphere. I appreciate quality moments with quality people - I love to bask in those moments.

In Five Days

I will be the mother of an eight year old.