My Nomination – One Lovely Blog Award!

onelovelyblogawardHi everyone!

The nicest thing happened to me today…I was nominated for a blog award!  So thank you, LaTanya A. Davis, for the nomination.  She also writes a pretty awesome blog herself called Memoir Notes.

The guidelines for accepting the One Lovely Blog Award nomination are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog.
  • Share 7 facts or things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

7 Things About Me:

I love pasta.

I’m learning French.

I’m reading the book, 12 Years a Slave right now.

Every now and then I like to write a letter in longhand.

I’m trying to lose weight…again!  LOL!

I bought a new house in April of this year.

I have the greatest mom.

I love the following 15 bloggers…well 10.  Didn’t have 15 favs to nominate!  LOL and shame on me!

Mimi G Style

Naturally Curly Me!

Beyond the Eye

How to Take Care of Natural Hair

Curves a la Mode

Write Meg!

Brushes and Burp Cloths

The Artful Desperado

Vintage Vandalizm

The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh!

 

 

 

3 Quick-and-Easy Meal Websites

Girl And Mother CookingWhen it comes to cooking, most people do not compare to how momma ‘nem did it back in the day. But many of us younger ones can still hold our own in the kitchen.  In other words, we won’t starve.

On the other hand, Ma Dear and Aint Re’ thinks it’s a sign of laziness and an oh-such-a-lowdown-dirty shame when we look for ways to keep things in life simple – including cooking. You know what I mean, anything from scratch is revered.  Girl, this chicken? It was nothing, I just raised the chicken out back, fattened them up, rung their necks, plucked them, rubbed them down with my secret herb mix that I grew and grounded up myself and then I cooked them.  Wait…what?!

Of course, I exaggerate and I do enjoy a homemade meal myself. And every now and then, I just might decide to make one in my own kitchen, but on the regular, and like most people, I want to cook something tasty, nutritious but quick.

I found three websites that I love that you might enjoy just as much as I do. Check them out at:

Real Simple – I absolutely love the concept of this magazine and website:  Keep it simple – life, work, family, and of course, cooking.  You’ll find tons of recipes under the food and recipes link.

Rachael Ray Show – Most everyone has heard of Rachael Ray – chef, cooking show host, author, and so on.  But what I like about her is that she knows what the modern cook-of-the-house wants – not to be tied to the kitchen every day!  Love this lady!

Quick and Easy Dinner – I just found this website only just a few weeks ago, but it is amazing.  Tiffany, the founder, out of frustration with finding great, quick meals for her own family, started compiling recipes that she found and now shares them with the world.  Great site.

Weight is More than Just a Number

Women excercisingI’ve really needed to do this article for a long time. Besides that, I’m beginning to think I’m a closet anthropologist because I love to study people, their differences, beliefs, and lifestyles.

One difference I’ve noticed in cultures is the acceptance of weight, or the lack thereof, especially when it comes to women. There are actually societies today (i.e., Mauritania’s white Moor Arab population in Africa) that engage in wife-fattening, where young women are instructed, in preparation of marriage, to purposely overeat to gain weight.

Looking back in history, it’s interesting to see trends when heavier figures were esteemed as beautiful, then slimmer figures were more desired, then back again. I’ve just discovered the term, Rubenesque, which refers to a painter living in the 17th century named, Peter Paul Rubens, who painted the female form physically well-rounded and curvy.  Even now at present day, the term is used to describe women of that body type.

We as humans are very influenced by our senses – what we see, hear, and taste. Because of this strong connection with external queues, it cannot be overstated that what we see is not always realistic or healthy.  Subsequently, weight has not ceased being a hotbed of debate, and there are unhealthy extremes to each side of the debate.  Meaning, no, being ultra and unnaturally thin is not beautiful, but neither is being obese or morbidly obese.

No name-calling here, just the plain ol’ facts…the weight where we are the healthiest and happiest, that is the key. I remember Oprah said it best, “our fighting weight.”  I personally believe it’s not just up to our doctors or medical professionals to tell us that.  It’s up to you to consider how you feel, what’s reasonable for your age and build, as well as your family medical background.

Me? I am a 40-something African American who stands 5’3,” have a small to medium bone structure, and whose family line is rife with diabetes.  According to most of the weight charts I reviewed, I am overweight, to which I agree.  And for those wondering, I am presently working towards my fighting weight and a healthier lifestyle.  But I have never been skinny and do not wish to be so.  In fact, most in my ethnic background prefer a rounder look.  However, for my naturally slimmer counterparts, you already know you are beautiful, so don’t sweat it.

How does the phrase go – do you?  That’s the only way to be really happy and healthy.

From the Mississippi Delta, A Memoir – A Book Review

DrEIMHollandObitSomeone recommended the memoir of Endesha Ida Mae Holland a while back. I wrote the name down but it literally took years for me to get around to it.

This memoir is not for the faint of heart. Ms. Holland, or Ida Mae, does not sugar-coat anything.  I fell in and out of like with her constantly and for various reasons.  Let me explain.  Life was very hard in the 50’s and 60’s for anyone but especially if you were black and double that if you were a woman.

When young, Ida Mae was probably just a typical child from the poor side of town of Greenwood, Mississippi. Then something terrible happened; something that seemed to pull her inside out.  She was raped – raped by a white man old enough to be her grandfather.  What was even more twisted and diabolical is that the rapist’s wife is the one that set the attack up!  After that, any aspirations of Lil’ Ida Mae not only dried up and imploded, but her dreams spat her out and kicked her down a path of loose living, fighting, and stealing.

At first I felt so sad for her. I wanted so much for her to just get a break.  But time after time, Ida Mae got thrown down in the mud; so much so that I guess she decided it was best for her to wallow in it with a smile.  This is where we use the phrase “wild out,” which is what happened to her until a Godsend called The Civil Rights Movement began.  It’s amazing what a purpose will do for the soul.  And in Ida Mae’s case, it saved hers.  She went from literally being a prostitute to a civil rights leader who inspired others.  Along the way, she had a baby, got married three times, got her doctorate, and wrote several award-winning plays.

Her life was like, well, Forrest said it best, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’ll get.”  Her life was chocked full of pain, joys, struggles, noble causes, and triumphs.  She is brutally honest about not being the best mother, at one point not even wanting to be one, leaving her child with relatives.  However, at the point of writing her memoir, she had realized that she almost totally missed out on this once in a lifetime privilege of motherhood.

You know how you have a family member whom you look up to? You love them. You’re close to them.  You know them, or at least you think you do.  That is until Auntie Big Mouth starts digging up the dead cat.  And this time the dirt she’s talking about is on your favorite.  You’re shocked.  You may even recoil.  How could they ever?  I don’t believe it, you think.  You feel let down and disappointed.

That’s how I felt reading this memoir. During the parts where Ms. Holland’s life is so off track, I was ready to give up on her.  Why not?  She had already given up on herself.  But she prevailed.  She was humbled, saddened, educated, exalted, and tempered with the passing of time.  When I closed the book, the lesson I took away is that given the chance, humans can become amazing beings.  We all can live to our potential once provided the opportunity.  And lastly, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself or anyone else is forgiveness.

So What’s With All the Sinkholes?

sinkholeI got out of my car a few days ago and I noticed a hole in my front yard. It wasn’t deep or wide (less than a foot each way), but it troubled me.  I couldn’t remember seeing it there any other time.  I’ve only been in my present house for six months.

On top of that, more and more news reports tell the story of sinkholes. In 2013, at least one man was killed when a sinkhole swallowed his bedroom while he was sleeping.  Before seeing this report I would have never thought twice about the hole in my yard.  But now, it’s definitely on my how-I-do-not -want-to-die-list.

So what exactly is a sinkhole?

The US Geological Society (USGS) defines “a sinkhole as a depression in the ground that has no natural external surface drainage.”  They appear most in a ‘karst’ environments, which means that the landscape underneath is very soluble (easily dissolved).  This type of rock may include salt beds or domes, gypsum, limestone, and other carbonate rock.

Can humans cause sinkholes?

Yes. Mining and drilling are two human activities that can definitely cause sinkholes.  But then this phenomenon can be brought on by can leaky faucets, sewers giving way or as a result of groundwater pumping and construction.

What areas in the US are most susceptible for sinkholes?

Sinkholes tend to occur most often in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

What are signs we should look for when we suspect a sinkhole is forming?

Warning signs are not always present, but when they are, they may present themselves as fresh cracks in the foundations of a house or building, a door frame that is suddenly skewed resulting in a door that won’t shut, cracks or depressions in the ground, or even a tree that is leaning that wasn’t before.

So after all of this, do I think my house is sinking or do I have an overactive imagination? Prolly just my ‘magination, but a-rah, now that I know what to look for, I’m definitely keeping an eye out!

Ciao!

 

 

 

 

No Good Deed – A Movie Review

MovieNoGoodDeedI love me some Idris Elba and big up to my girl Taraji P. Henson! Both starred in and executive produced the latest thriller out this weekend – No Good Deed.  Sidebar:  It makes me so proud to see minorities in lead roles and in executive producer positions no less. Any step in that direction is a step up. So of course, you know I had to go and support.

Now on to the review: I don’t know whether I expected too much or what but this one didn’t deliver everything I imagined.  Of course, like any thriller it moved slowly to build intensity and unfold the story line.  And yes, there was a certain amount of suspense, great acting, good cinematography, but it initially fell short.

An escaped convict named Colin (Idris Elba) drags Terri (Taraji Henson) around scene by scene. Oh, she gives him a run for his money, but he doesn’t kill her.  It makes the audience wonder what’s going on.  You soon learn that it’s part of his torture and part of his plan.  He wants her to see what he knows.  It’s his final act in his own crazy drama, except it doesn’t quite end the way he wants it too.  (You should know by now I do not give away the juicy stuff in my reviews.  Nah.)

But remember I said that it initially fell short?  At the latter half you get a surprise that is worth waiting for.  The screenplay’s formula is not new or original (and maybe that’s part of the problem), but No Good Deed does give a fresh appeal to an old-as-time story line.  So it redeems itself to some degree in the end.

So how would I rate this movie? I expected a great movie, but it was only a ‘good try’ of a kind of movie.  Not bad, just not great.  It is currently number one at the box office (an estimated 24.5 million domestic gross on a 13.2 million budget). If you go see it, write me and tell me what you thought about it.

Ciao!

Playing ‘The Game’ – Are Office Politics Always Bad?

Woman Throwing Paper Airplane at CoworkerEveryone hates a brown-noser, a backstabber, and a suck up.  Usually these terms apply to people who do things – no matter how unethical – to climb the so-called corporate ladder.  But what about those of us who want to advance, are very good at our jobs, but are somehow stuck?

The short answer is to overcome being afraid and put yourself out there.  After doing a little research on this subject, I learned that we all play the game, we all get involved in office politics – some more than others and for different reasons.  For example, one day you see a great, new position has opened up and is now listed on the job board at work.  This is what you’ve been waiting for.  What are you going to do?  You may call someone you know in HR that can tell you more about this job.  They not only give you the 411 about the position, but they let you know how many people have applied so far and how you stack up.

You inform your current boss (who has always encouraged advancement) that you’re interested in this position.  He is excited for you and promises he will personally put in a good word for you as well as write a letter of recommendation if necessary.  You wouldn’t say no to this offer, would you?  You just played the game.  So you see, it’s not bad or evil based on if you play but how you play.  In other words, no dirty tactics allowed.

4 Things You Don’t Do to Win

  • Don’t take sides – Focus on the business.  Steer both parties back to the middle.  This move will build trust.
  • Don’t take it personal – Remember negative behavior on your part will only hurt you in the long run.
  • Don’t think you know or understand before you really do – Be a good listener.
  • Don’t think I must win at all cost – Try instead to go for the win-win for both sides, even if both sides have to compromise a little.

4 Things to Do to Win

  • Network – both above and below you.
  • Get a mentor – someone you respect.
  • Initiate something fun at your workplace.
  • If you lack courage, work on that.  Learn to speak up.