Saturday, September 30, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
"I left jackets out for the kids."
"Mm-hmm. The weather guy said it will be cool tomorrow."
"I heard. Only up to 80-something huh? And 60 something in the morning! That is cool. Maybe they should wear [long] pants?"
"I don't know. And undershirts--we may not make it til October 1st without the undershirts."
"I wonder why it's getting cold so fast?"
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Initially, I was worried about Advisor's response, but the good thing about her (and about revisions in general, I guess), is now I know exactly what she'd like to see--ambitious as it is. ;-p She's always very (read: brutally) clear.
Sometimes I wish this woman settled for mediocrity. But I'm really, really glad she doesn't.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Of all the days/times of the week, my favorite is Friday afternoon. Friday after 4 pm sets my heart racing.
See, even though lots of people love Saturday, I find that it is the day on which I do everything I didn't have time for during the week. Weekend break, hell.
And Sunday... by the time you wake up, fix breakfast, and go to a black Baptist church :-p, it's time to start dreading Monday.
But Friday, Lord, Friday! You don't have to cook. You can lie in bed all evening and tell yourself, "I'll do (whatever task) tomorrow." The kids have no homework and can leave you the hell alone. You don't have to do a DAMNED THING !! Which is why...
Of all the days/times of the week, my favorite is Friday afternoon.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
elle, abd: The Clock Is Ticking...
Now, read this similar, sad tale. Only, sad may be the wrong adjective. How about "pissing-me-off-beyond-all-reason" tale?
If I never told you, I am deliriously happy the FDA stopped dragging its figurative feet and approved OTC EC. But when's it coming? How many more of us will have to go through this??!!
**Update-My story ended with some old BC pills, some creative chemistry, being viciously ill at 3 in the morning, and, like this sentence, a period. ;-p**
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
A few days ago, Quaker Dave considered giving up blogging because:
the Left wing of the "blogosphere," the folks who call themselves tolerant and open-minded and "progressive" - some of them - are amongst the most abusive, intolerant folks I have ever dealt with. Patronizing, sneering, dismissive, smirking, condescending, mean-spirited, insulting. I'm tired of it.And when does this happen? Whenever I mention God or my faith.Ohhhh, he's so right. Now, I haven't caught that much flak in the blogosphere, but that's because I purposely don't write much about religion. I know the eyerolls I get from some of my more secular friends.
Real life is another story. I have a dear friend who often laments that it's too bad that I've been brainwashed. I'm continually surprised by the people who smirk or give me a gentle, sympathetic look when they find out I'm Christian. And to be a "practicing" Christian in the academy? I get the feeling that some people are thinking I should know better!! I think the assumption, in my case, is that because my parents (and especially my mom) are devout and brought us up in the church, I've never taken the time to question anything, to reason and think analytically, to consider how and why and where.
But my faith is not inherited. And the one thing I will say is that my life has been too extraordinarily blessed, that I have survived too many situations, that I have triumphed way too many times for me to think in terms of luck and coincidence. Not to get too Baptist on y'all, but when I think about what He's brought me from and through...
Don't get me wrong--I poke as much fun at Christian fanatics as anyone. And I think I'm pretty vocal about how I feel about the hijacking of Christianity by conservative Republicans and the "Jesus or Hell" crew. But just as Christianity doesn't equal Republican (or mentally ill or vapid or whatever), progressive doesn't equal secularist.
For people who call ourselves progressives, I think we need a closer examination of our own politics of exclusion.
I don't know why fellow TA and I found this so funny: Panda bites man, man bites him back, but we're laughing like idiots. Of course, the man says
"No one ever said they would bite people," Zhang said. "I just wanted to touch it. I was so dizzy from the beer. I don't remember much."Fellow TA and I are trying to calculate exactly how much beer you have to drink to get to a point that touching any kind of bear seems like a good idea.
**update--Yes, I realize that it is Wednesday, now. Thank you very much. And if you don't know why I typed that, don't worry about it!**
I think I am officially "colored."
You see, my parents had me at the Confederate Memorial Hospital and, in keeping with the theme of the hospital's name, whoever filled out my birth certificate listed my parents' race as "colored."
In the mid-1970s.
And they didn't change it when they corrected the spelling of my name on the birth certificate.
The more I think about it, you probably have to be born here to love this distinguished region of the U.S. the way I do.
Monday, September 18, 2006
I love crime dramas.
Accordingly, this week, I get to watch TV again. The two shows I watch somewhat regularly, Law and Order: SVU and CSI: Miami, are back on.
Just the thought of seeing Adam Rodriguez tonight is doing wonders for my disposition. :-p
We don’t work with any of those people because of their ethnicity. We love them because they are all outstanding bloggers, awesome writers, and good friends.But, okay, my sarcasm is getting on my own nerves, The point of this post was actually to direct you towards BfP's wonderful post on the issue. As usual, she's right on point.
Don't get me wrong--black people are disproportionately represented in low-wage, dangerous, unpleasant jobs. But this assumption, that such jobs are "black jobs," has led some scholars to argue that the whole question of who immigrants displace is something of a red herring for deeper questions--like why, in this country, are such jobs the domains of people of color and why aren't we more concerned about that?
I've also found an amazing level of hypocrisy, not so much from people in the field, but from restrictionist politicians who attempt to address the question. On the one hand, they point to poor black communities and the difficulties some of us have in finding jobs and say work would be more readily available if immigration was restricted, if new immigrants didn't fill the dirtiest, most labor intensive, most dangerous jobs. On the other, when the issues of black under- and unemployment and poverty are brought up outside the context of immigration debates, then they are the result of all sorts of black pathology, from children being reared by their moms to lack of internal motivation. Rarely are there structural, systemic, or institutional causes. Somehow, somewhere, somebody brown is to blame.
The most troubling thing is, the whole debate is being used to divide, to cause intergroup conflict between African Americans and Latinos. I ran across numerous newspaper articles with titles like "Blacks join Minutemen" and "Blacks Offer Little Support to Immigrant Protests." I am so worried that we're getting caught up in that "the enemy (restrictionists) of my enemy (Latino immigrants) is my friend" b.s. , that we'll forget the most vocal critics of immigration haven't historically been all that sympathetic to the plight of poor black workers.
Oh, and my conclusions about the issue? You'll just have to read them when the book comes out. :-)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Many people write about their experiences of being the only within the context of the larger group. I've gotten somewhat used to that. Those stories don't focus on the fact that being the only can isolate you within the group with which you identify, too. And, no, I'm not going to get into the "smart-black-girl-ostracized-by-same-race-peers-for-acting-white" dynamic. My onliness is shaped not solely by my blackness, but by the fact that I am a woman and from a less-than-wealthy background. I have felt disconnected from black men in higher education/this field for various reasons, including an initial wariness of being "cliquish," a sort of gentle embarrassment that I cannot explain or even adequately express, and, unfortunately, by issues of competitiveness. It's a zero-sum game, many of us are thinking, and if the department faculty are in love with this one black student, there won't be much room for them to help the rest of us.
I suppose, in a sense, some "onlies" can be proud of where they are going, of being a trailblazer, even if it is for a group as small as a family or a neighborhood. I don't have such illusions of my own grandeur. But what I do have is a keen knowledge that even when you are used to that, when you know that there are just not many people like you, doing what you do, where you do it, onliness can still become loneliness.
Friday, September 15, 2006
As if it wasn't bad enough that people like this have stolen the country, hijacked my religion, and label themselves persecuted...
Now, they're deciding who gets into heaven?
Damn, I'm in trouble!
My initial chosen career path was that of a counseling psychologist. My BA is in psychology. I'd started a Master's program, been given an assistantship and everything but...
I didn't like my advisor,
I didn't want to do a 48-hour program,
I firmly believed I was going to run across some people who couldn't be helped nor rehabilitated,
I remembered how much I loved my African American Studies minor,
I drifted into a couple of history classes at the same school,
I took a seminar in which I wrote a paper about psychological factors at play in the Cuban Missile Crisis,
I spent a lot of time with government documents (especially Congressional records),
I found the prayer given in Congress the day after JFK's assassination,
I found a poignant, gracious letter from Jacqueline Kennedy to Nikita Khruschev's wife written during the former's last days in the White House,
I knew right then that I could do this type of research, in some shape or form, for the rest of my life.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I was a club kid. No, not like Michael Alig and them!! I was never that cool... or high... or murderous.
Anyway, I was one of those really annoying kids who belonged to everything rural schools have to offer: 4-H, FHA, FBLA, I Care (most of the names have changed), Band, and anything else I wanted to have listed beside my picture in the Senior yearbook.
Only, I switched high schools and none of it mattered. But, at my second high school I was class secretary and pretty popular for a fat, awkward, smart girl.
Of course, it was a school for awkward, smart kids. Still, we managed to have cliques--different strata of geekdom, I suppose.
And before I digress any further, that is all. Oh, except to say that it probably is a good thing to get your kids involved in something before they get themselves involved in something less desirable. :-)
Yeah, that was my point.
She was governor when I was an undergraduate and we loved, loved, loved her. Not (primarily) for political reasons--my friends and I were still voting primarily how our parents taught us then--but because of her humor and personality. She was the last Texas governor to possess those things, before the current Shame-upon-the-Nation unseated (I refuse to say "defeated"--I reserve that term for her successor) her. She died, at 73, after a battle with esophageal cancer.
I remember noting with some sadness the loss of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King so closely together. In four months, Texas Democrats have lost Lloyd Bentsen and Ann Richards.
Try as I might, I have no snappy ending for that.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
First, get a semi-decent arch like so:
Then, get a really cute, cropped green jacket and cami with brown gauchos outfit, courtesy of my favorite, Lane Bryant (sorry guys, jacket got left in the car, but trust me, too cute):
Just because you want to make the kids late for school, take time to coordinate your eye color to your outfit (trust me, there are some really cute browns and greens in this). Make sure, if you're an eyelash puller like me, you use a nice dark eyeliner (which I forgot as the kids were on the verge of being late) so your lashline doesn't look so darned bare:
Go to work. Accept compliments. Immediately afterwards, when your head is throbbing and your stomach is growling, eschew going to the library as planned. Go straight home. Open the hall closet, eye the makeup removers there. Say "To hell with it!!"
Now, here's the important part:
Fall onto your bed, rife with exhaustion (you, not your bed, for all you clause-watchers out there). Lie on one side of your face and sleep so soundly that you don't move for a couple of hours. When you get up, I GUARANTEE the eye makeup on that one side of your face will be gone (and no, I am not taking a picture of that!). Of course, so will the spotlessness of your pillow case, but who cares?
At least one of your eyes will be saved that damned stinging!
2. After a significant push, I got the fourth-chapter-which-is-really-chapter-six into advisor's hand. Only thing is, she has an upcoming research trip and may not get to it until after the 24th. Can we say on pins and needles?
3. E-mail from the kid's teacher requesting that I come in for the second conference of the school year (and school's only been in a month). Where as I'm ready to give up and say, "Maybe he should've repeated second grade," she has the gall to be caring and determined and say "He doesn't understand because he doesn't apply himself. This cannot go on. We must figure out how to reach him." The nerve of her!
4. I still can't get a handle on my real chapter four. It's too similar too my chapter two. (This may not all be bad--guess what advisor said: as I glance over your outline again, I see how you might find it difficult to keep ch 4 distinct from ch 2. Maybe you will find a way, but if they keep converging, that might be a sign they need to be one chapter. Nothing wrong with 5 chapters. Nothing wrong with 5 chapters??!! Hurrah!) Maybe I'll call Quinn in on this one.
5. Family coming this weekend for a big football game. Actually, they'll be here tomorrow night--good b/c my mom can go to conference with me Friday for moral support and so, when she gets on the Kid's ass, she'll know exactly why. But bad b/c between now and tomorrow, I have to make a concerted effort to wash the sheets and towels we've used this week, vacuum (Which. I. Hate.) and clean the bathroom from top to bottom. The bathroom is my own personal demon--my sister never even worries about it b/c she knows that I attack it with a vengeance usually reserved for dessert.
You have to be ever vigilant b/c living with two little boys, it will quickly smell like a truck stop. They pee in the general direction of the toilet, I believe. Which is okay, because, tonight they're getting some latex gloves and taking their little asses to work. I want them to see that I'm serious when I'm screaming, "You don't have a maid!!" (And yes I use latex instead of rubber for cleaning. Don't ask why).
6. Something really terrible is going on with my body.
7. I have to make a concerted effort to get deep into chapter 5 today. I messed around with 6 so much, that I don't think I'm going to make my Sept 30 deadline for ch 5. We'll see.
8. I am sleepy and I have a headache. Already. And the class I TA for doesn't start til 10!
Whatever your thing is--prayer, positive thoughts, good vibes--think of me. All weak attempts at humor aside, I need it right now.
Monday, September 11, 2006
The Kid: Is your teacher married?
Nephew: I don't know. She ain't tell us.
The Kid: She ain't gotta tell you. If she got "M-R-S" in front of her name, she married. If she got "M-S", she not.
Elle (from the bathroom, eye shadow brush poised): That's not always true.
The Kid: Mama, yes it is!
The Kid: You know that crocodile hunter?
The Kid: He got killed. By a stingray. That flat fish like we saw-
Nephew: I know! How it kill him?
The Kid: Stung him in his heart. But he was always messing with animals.
The Kid: Messing with crocodiles and stuff. He crazy.
Elle: He was not crazy. He was brave. (keeping my full opinion to myself)
Elle (hearing some kind of growl/roar from the computer): What was that?
The Kid: A tiger.
The Kid (to my nephew): Mariana's brother has a tiger.
Nephew and Elle: What?!
The Kid: A tiger. A baby tiger.
Elle: Does he have a cat that looks like a tiger?
The Kid: No. Mariana says he has a real tiger. I don't know what they gon' do when it gets big.
Elle: (under my breath)Take their asses to jail. (out loud) So Mariana says her brother has a tiger. A cat that can kill people. And you haven't seen it... but you believe it.
Ok, here is where you insert the pause that says "I know you're not that much of a fool." This is where your kid just stands there looking wide-eyed, feeling crazy, wanting to believe something ludicrous, but knowing, by the way your mouth is pursed and your eyes are narowed, s/he'd better not admit it.
The Kid: It must be a cat that looks like a tiger.
Nephew (wisely): Must be.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.And
It concludes that postwar findings do not support a 2002 intelligence community report that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, possessed biological weapons or ever developed mobile facilities for producing biological warfare agents.And the sharp, intelligent Republican comeback:
Republicans countered that there was little new in the report and Democrats were trying to score election-year points with it.I'm not going to say I feel stupid or misled; I don't like this man and never believe much of anything he or his council have to say. And, it is, at base, nothing new--people have been saying he lied forever. But for his damned party to dismiss this as election year tactics? To act as if they have nothing to explain to the American people at large or their own band of clueless constituents (how anyone ever, much less still, believes in these people is beyond me)?
***P.S. Did y'all know "prewar assessments of Iraq 'were a tragic intelligence failure'."?***
On with the topic at hand. A few days ago (okay, it's been more, but I'm catching up), Terrence posted about colorism in black communities and how/why a majority of our children interviewed prefer white dolls over black ones and think that black somehow translates into bad. Where do they get this from, he wondered. I wonder. We all wonder. So, I'm taking a look at my own family. And what I'm discovering is that, even when relatives don't flat out say white is good and black is bad, children still get the message.
So, I'll begin with hair (color will come later). On the earliest professional photo I have, I have on a little blue dress and I am way too cute. But my hair is fighting with myriad little red rubberbands. When I asked my mom why she didn't just comb it out and leave it alone, she promptly dismissed that notion with, "I wasn't gon' leave it wild like that!" Wild, of course, meaning natural. You see, much to my mother's consternation, I was born with what she thinks of as the "bad hair gene." She started pressing it when I was three and by the time I was seven or so, I already had regular beauty shop appointments.
Her efforts in between my every-two-weeks appointments were amazing. She pinned it up every night and every morning before I got in the tub (water was the bane of my pressed hair's existence). She made sure we had huge umbrellas everywhere. I wasn't to "play too hard and sweat [my] hair out." And on Saturday nights, before I could watch Mid-South Wrestling, she had to "touch up" my kitchen and edges. So, we sat beside our gas stove, she slathered heavy grease on my scalp, and proceeded to burn the hell out of my forehead and neck.
But, my hair was straight though. And that's what counted. That is the lesson I took from my childhood--never mind the burns and all day beauty shop trips--the end result was more than worth it.
Which is pretty much how I still treat my hair experiences. I have my hair relaxed every four weeks and would like to cut it to 3 and a half but my stylist says hell no. (Like,I'm scheduled for a relaxer on Tuesday, but if I showed y'all my kitchen today, there are black people who would disown me.) But I want it as straight as it can be. Even if that means sitting in the beauty shop for 5 and a half hours (as I did a few weeks ago) on a weekday when I have so much I can be doing.
And then, there are the nemeses of my hair's existence (well, co-nemeses, because I'm still not big on water), my sister and my best-friend Texas. My parents are so proud of my sister's hair. No matter what she does, it is always long (which is very important in some communities, trust me), thick, and black. Always shiny and lustrous. When it's time for a relaxer, she gets a gentle puff, where as mine rolls back like the Red Sea at the feet of Moses. And, as my mom gushes, she still has that soft curly "baby hair" at her temples and edges. People always compare us and--you guessed it--Elle always loses. We used to go to the beauty shop same day, come out and people exclaim all over hers. And you know what I get? "Yours is nice, too." When she's not around, then my hair is gorgeous and healthy and people love the highlights. But the moment she appears with that damn curtain of hair...
And best friend Texas. She has the mythical black hair that she only relaxes two or three times a year and, that most cherished of all things, when she wets it, it curls into long beautiful spirals. She is biracial, but damn!
But of course, that is from the point of view of the nappy-headed one. They willl tell you that they struggle with being black and having hair issues, too. My sister has always had sensitive, dry skin and eczema so the relaxers really do a number on her some times. In fact, she has to replenish the oils in her hair frequently where as I'm a little-oil-sheen-and-go type of chick. And my best friend spent a lot of time searching for better conditioners, frizz controllers, a stylist who understood her hair type, etc.
But, in the end, we all have straight hair. I'm just not sure we're happy about it.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Why do I keep checking mine, as if I'm hoping that some unknown, prosaic-and-witty entity will post to mine? I like blogging--I just wish someone else would write the posts sometimes :-)
Saturday, September 02, 2006
"I have to tell y'all something. I might have colon cancer. But I don't want you to worry about it."
And I think, in a totally disrespectful manner, Daddy, that is a STUPID thing to say.
But I don't say that. I just stand there feeling this weird hot then cold sensation, like my face is burning but my insides are cold. Sis is firing off all the right questions--why do they think that? when will you find out? what kind of treatment can you get given the failing kidneys and the diabetes? are you going to hide stuff from us? But then, she is bold enough to say,
"Don't tell us not to worry, Daddy."
And he is calm enough to reply, "We aren't going to worry. We're going to find out, we're going to pray, and we're going to let the Lord's will be."
And I say, incongruously, "My speeding ticket is due September 12."