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October – Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DV logoI thought about something the other day that I had not thought about in a while. I remember seeing a young man slap his girlfriend.  The reason?  She evidently stayed in the restroom too long.  People, we were in Jr. high school so that put us between the ages of 12-15.

Consequently, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month with good reason then.  The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) states, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States.”  And no, this does not include women only because NCADV continues, “During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.   One in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.”  And lastly, “1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

Clearly, this is an epidemic. So much so that I wanted to get information from someone who has a bird’s eye view of this issue.  I interviewed Michelle Allen, a Child Protective Service Assessment Worker from the Memphis and Shelby County Department of Children’s Services.  She has 13 years of experience in case management. And even though the following information is slanted to when the perpetrator is male, as we discussed earlier, the perpetrator can be female.

Michelle, what are the main reasons why men hit women?

Many times a man could have been exposed to a violent environment growing up and now believes this is the way women should be treated. Other times, the man involved has severe anger, mental health, or substance abuse issues.

Why does domestic violence have little to do with economics, education, or intellect?

Because low self-esteem or lack of confidence has no boundaries. Traditional norms of how the person was brought up or raised are key factors as well.

Why does it seem harder to leave an abusive mate the longer a woman stays?

It may be financial reasons (he controls the money). Additionally, the woman may not have work skills, a driver’s license, or even transportation.  Other reasons may include: emotional abuse or suppression, physical abuse, low self-esteem, she has been cut off from her support (family/friends), and just wanting to stick it out for the kids so they can grow up with a father.

Lastly, how can a woman identify early in the relationship that the man is manifesting traits of an abuser?

The woman should become familiar with his background. For instance, what kind of relationship does he have with his mother?  Does he have overly controlling behaviors?  Is he jealous?  And it may sound odd but try to be objective when the man ‘seems too good to be true.’

For those who are suffering in an abusive relationship, please reach out for assistance. If you have no one you can personally turn to, then call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  And for those of us who are not in an abusive relationship, remember these tips for not only yourself but for others in need as well.

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

Ebola Virus – Three Things You Need to Know

featured-bacterial-infections-101The Ebola virus has resurged and become all but an epidemic in parts of West Africa.  As of this past July, as many as 60% of the infected with the virus has died in this recent bout.  But if you are like me, I was oblivious as to what Ebola really was.

MedicineNet.com defines this disease as follows:  “Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a viral disease caused by Ebola virus that results in nonspecific symptoms early in the disease and often causes internal and external hemorrhage (bleeding) as the disease progresses. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is considered one of the most lethal viral infections; the mortality rate (death rate) is very high during outbreaks (reports of outbreaks range from about 50% to 100% of humans infected, depending on the Ebola strain).”

Additionally, here are three main things I found out:

How it’s Contracted

The Ebola virus is native to West Africa, stemming from countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, South Sudan, Gabon, Guinea and Liberia.  This virus lives in animals, and in turn, humans can contract it from these same infected animals.  How?  The main thing to remember is that this virus can be passed on by coming in contact with body fluids of an infected person or animal.  Scientists have deduced one of the ways the virus is transmitted is from eating the infected animals.  In this case, it could be monkeys or fruit bats which are a part of the diet of West Africans.

Another way transmission occurs is by using unclean medical equipment or needles after caring for Ebola patients.  In developed countries this is very seldom the problem, but in poorer countries where funds and trained professional help is scarce, this is certainly the case.  Also, the virus can be passed on from the dead to living.  When infected patients die, those handling the body are in danger of contracting this disease if they are not wearing the appropriate protective gear.

Signs and Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic states that signs and symptoms can start as early as five to 10 days of infection.  At this point, the infected individual may start to experience:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Weakness

Over time, symptoms may worsen to include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
  • Red eyes
  • Raised rash
  • Chest pain and cough
  • Stomach pain
  • Severe weight loss
  • Bleeding – from eyes; worsens toward death, coming from every orifice: eyes, ears, nose and rectum
  • Internal bleeding
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Shock

Cure and Prevention

Even though scientists are working on a cure, there is none at this time.  And since there is no known cure, prevention is the key.  The Mayo Clinic provides some clear-cut prevention steps:

Avoid areas of known outbreaks – if traveling abroad, check for current epidemics

Wash your hands frequently – use soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs (with 60% alcohol)

Avoid bush meat – do not buy wild animal meat while in developing countries

Avoid contact with infected people – caregivers need to take special care to avoid contact with the person’s blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva

Follow infection-control procedures – wear protective gear and dispose of used needles

Don’t handle remains – let specially train teams bury remains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crackhead Mentality

crackheadSoooooo, an older relative of mine had her house broken into recently.  Let’s just call her Aunt Mae.  Yep.  They came through the locked gate, the double-window, bars and the security system.

What did they steal?  Oh, a lot of her better jewelry, some of which she’ll never get back because she had them over 40 years.  But I want to get to the point of this article – what kind of crackhead gets up with the very intention to steal???  Exactly how did that conversation go?

“D’oh, ah.  You know that lady down the street?  (I’m speaking in my crackhead voice now).

She be gone at a curtain time.  So let us go down der and see wha’ she got.

But her got an alarm, don’t it?

I ‘un care ‘bout her havin’ not alarm.  We do it quick, we can beat the po-po der.  Let us just steal something quick and light.

Let us see…a TV?  Nah, nah, nah.  Dat’s too big.

A furniture?  Naw, that still to big, ain’t it?

Hmm…(crackhead is now scratching his temple).  May have to settle on jew’ry.

Yeah!  Dat’s it.  Jew’ry!  We is so smart!  She dun already pulled out the driveway.  Is we got ev’rything?  Den let’s go!”

Then, I imagine the crackheads walked down the street with their crackhead walk.  You know, the way that crackheads do.  They busy their little gnarly crackhead fingers and break down gates, glass windows and such.  They run like skinned crackheads as the alarm goes off and shuffle to where they think the jewelry is.  It’s there.  Minutes are rolling by.  The alarm is still waling and now the crackheads are beginning to sweat.

They get all they can and out the window they go.  Leaving all their little crackhead fingerprints that the officer later lifted and sent in.  What will I say to these puppies when and if they are caught and confirmed as the culprits?  Oh let’s see, what comes to mind?  Oh what name can I call them or will roll off my lips that will wrap up my emotions as well as my Aunt Mae’s?

You.  Crackhead.