Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An announcement

I have a cold.
What I thought was worsening of allergies has settled down in my throat (my poor, sore throat), and I am feeling quite punk.

On the up side, it's a mild cold.
On the downside, it's the first week of school and all I wanna do is sleep.

My question is, are chocolate chip cookies good for a cold?

Monday, August 27, 2007

I write, therefore I am/Revisiting

Whenever I get discouraged by blogging, I find something which gives me hope or proof that my writing is doing work. Usually it's just doing work for me, but it's work all the same. Sometimes when I feel particularly adrift, I connect back up with something essential by reading my own writing.

Tonight I had cause to visit the archives of this very blog and I found an entry from October 2006 which really touched me. It's a review of sorts, of a documentary by British Actor/Writer Stephen Fry called "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive".

All day I've caught snippets on the web about Owen Wilson and his alleged suicide attempt. Perhaps that puts me in the mood to revisit the subject of mood disorders. Perhaps it's because I'm thinking of doing some outreach at school around the subject. Who knows.

In any case, I urge you to click through to that entry for some fair writing of mine and a review of a documentary you should watch if you can get hold of it.

I'm stuffed

Really, stuffed. So, as much as I'm into this Fat/Body Acceptance thing, there are some times when I really don't like the weight I've gained. So there's that.

What's weird is that I'm kicking the vegetarian styles for nearly every meal lately. But I don't know why I say "it's weird" as if being vegetarian and being thin were equal to one another.

Tonight I ended up making two dinners which were nearly identical. The boys and I had gone to the Co-op for food on Friday and picked up a variety of veg we needed to cook: a zephyr squash, a zucchini, some carrots, sweet onion. I sliced these up on the diagonal, took some seitan (wheat gluten), and the 8 yr old and I agreed on a green Thai curry. Once the sauce was made I realized it was going to be far too hot for him, so I added garlic and sugar snap peas to the veggie mix and made a stir fry for him. I put some Ginger People Ginger Lime sauce in it and it was GOOD.

We ate the curry/stirfry with white basmati rice and ate in the livingroom because we still don't have a dining room table. I found a perfect small table for us but won't have it until Thursday. By the weekend I hope to have a couch as well and then I can begin to think about entertaining.

School started today and we took the bus! Our new school district (along with our old) doesn't begin classes until the 4th, but my school started this morning. Both of my instructors were very kind about him being there today, let's hope they feel this way all week!

The bus was fun. The ride was less than 15 minutes, and I didn't have to park in the crazy lot! Okay, did I say it was 'fun'? It was the bus, but it was wonderful to have that time to chat and relax. It will be an adjustment (especially to the lack of control), and I did have a wee anxiety attack (just a racy heart OMG feeling for a few minutes), but overall and okay trip. We got a ride home from my fantastic buddy J, and she gave me her Algebra book (she took the same course over the summer). So the first day was pretty good. I've got a couple of hours of homework for which I am far too tired, so I'm either going to rest or go to bed early and work on it over coffee in the morning.

It feels good to have gotten so much done today (cleaned, recycled lots of boxes, baked cookies, did laundry, did dishes, plus all of the other stuff I wrote about), but I am ready to stop being busy and rest.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Dinner tonight was delicious and vegetarian (Eggplant-pepita enchiladas with homemade red sauce). Still didnt have access to my sauce pans or soup pot, so the sauce was done entirely in the slow cooker and the filling was cooked in a stainless steel bowl in the oven. Let's hear it for making the best of things! The enchilada sauce turned out well, and the whole kit and caboodle was quite delicious (but not very attractive, so no pictures).

I also whipped up a bean salad, which I've been wanting to make since I "discovered" it at a local restaurant. It's a lot like a three bean (sweet and sour dressing) but it's just dry beans, no green or yellow. Served the bean salad with some slices of perfectly ripened avocado, lo que muy rica!

Vegetarian cooking has been on my mind lately because the 12 year old came home from NY as a vegetarian. I think it's funny and then feel bad for not totally respecting him. However, he doesn't cook for himself, so it's a little funny. Gives me a chance to get back in touch with my inner vegetarian.

What's funny is that he's not even having dinner with us tonight!

I'm so beat, this not-sleeping thing is really a bit of a drag.

Oh, did I mention the part where the toilet overflowed and I ended up having to mop the floor and wash all the towels and the rug that got soaked?

Since I'd planned to mop the bathroom today, it wasn't all bad. But still. Also, a great excuse to use my new dryer, which is huge and drys clothes really fast.


  1. Sometimes I *do* make the best of a bad situation: just now I noticed the sun had come out, so I sent the children out to play with a picnic lunch, a watch, and instructions to try to stay outside for 90 minutes, weather permitting. This allows me time to clean and plan the rest of the day's activities, as well as sitting down to have my own lunch.
  2. The weather seems to have turned suddenly (it's been raining raining raining and the ceiling in our office was leaking yesterday, but they've hopefully sorted it out for now), so hopefully the boys won't be stuck in the rain.
  3. "The Lives of Others" was really good on second viewing. It left the 2nd run theater last night and is on DVD now, so if you've missed it, go rent it.
  4. I somehow managed to wedge my pots and pans into the drawer under the oven in such a way as to prevent it from opening. This is very nearly tear inducing, as I was planning on making some red sauce for enchiladas (never mind cooking the filling). For now I threw the first ingredients into the crockpot and plan to slow cook it until I can get bf to come over and help me wrest the drawer open.
  5. Bipolar disorder sucks. Srsly.
  6. Me encanta espaƱol.
  7. HDTV is pretty cool, and the difference in picture quality in the analog and digital over-the-air channels can be stunning - check out the PBS series about Islam in Spain, it's gorgeous in HD.
  8. My Netflix Queue isn't very...organized yet. Things are lumped together by genre and actor, as that's how I found most of it. I'm looking forward to watching Cache this evening.
  9. The apartment is going to look great. Eventually.
  10. I'm feeling incredibly anti-social and hungry for company at the same time.
(So what's a latin word for list of crap that sounds like errata? Because I realized too late that errata was a list of corrections, and this is just a list. Regesta maybe?)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now I never have to leave the house!

I've signed up for Netflix, picked up a teevee on which to watch the DVDs, got my DSL hooked up and now I NEVER HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE AGAIN.

Okay, that's an exaggeration, I will have to do stuff like walk the kid to school and attend my own classes. But when I need or want to hermit, I've got things set up (still need a couch and bookshelves but we are getting there!).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Upcoming posts...boring depression update

So I've been driving all over hill and dale finding wifi hotspots in town while waiting for my internet connection to be hooked up at my place. In the meantime I've started composing blog posts off line (gasp!), but we all know I'm an impulsive creature and this doesn't suit me as much as you'd think. I love the immediacy of writing and publishing one-two-three.

Tonight I've been working on a couple of film reviews and a longish piece on depression (particularly in black women). It's rough and not pretty and right now it's all over the place. Writing while depressed can be quite a slog. I'm pretty 'high functioning' even when at my worst - that's to say I generally shower and wear clean clothes during my down periods, but actual doing of things, up to and including thinking clearly - that's a struggle.

Being bipolar means that antidepressants are generally contraindicated (at least by themselves) in part because they can precipitate euphoric/manic states (which unbeknownst [hey, that isn't really a word, is it?] to me they did for a while). I've taken two different mood stabilizers, both of which dampened down my irritability and highs but did nothing for my lows, making life pretty unattractive. Right now I have been nearly craving prozac for the lovely near mania it produces in me after a few weeks. I'm so sick of being low, I cannot begin to tell you.

I hate talking about it knowing that it turns people off, but I also hate feeling as though something which right now is a very large part of life is not on the table for discussion. It's important to acknowledge it and when its relevant, talk about it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I can't conjugate my verbs!

Okay, I was going to title this post "autumn is coming" in Spanish, but for the life of me cannot recall how to conjugate venir properly. (El verano otoño esta viendo veniendo - is that it?)

Oh well.

The 8 year old and I are sitting at yet another local cafe (internet at home seeming like an impossible dream), outside this morning, and we are both COLD. It's a mere 63° F here, and breezy.

I'm looking for a photo that the boys and I took yesterday with Photobooth...
yes, the almost 12 year old is back in town and we've had a really wonderful time so far. Tonight we are having a 'sleep over'/movie party, I think we are going to make homemade pizza...

Okay, that picture. Oh, there were many crazy ones - here are a few gems...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"CARE turns down Federal Funds for Food Aid"

A very interesting article from the NYT about how CARE is moving away from subsidized food aid (which supports US Farm subsidies) toward other types of aid which support the growth of local economies (at least, that's my take from a cursory glance at the article).

Worth a closer look, but my time at the coffee shop is growing short, so I had to blog about it right away.

An excerpt:
MALELA, Kenya — CARE, one of the world’s biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.

Walter Otieno, a Kenyan farmer, with his children in the small store he has been able to finance from his sunflower sales. More Photos »

CARE’s decision is focused on the practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that in some cases, it says, compete with the crops of struggling local farmers.

The charity says it will phase out its use of the practice by 2009. But it has already deeply divided the world of food aid and has spurred growing criticism of the practice as Congress considers a new farm bill.

“If someone wants to help you, they shouldn’t do it by destroying the very thing that they’re trying to promote,” said George Odo, a CARE official who grew disillusioned with the practice while supervising the sale of American wheat and vegetable oil in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

Under the system, the United States government buys the goods from American agribusinesses, ships them overseas, mostly on American-flagged carriers, and then donates them to the aid groups as an indirect form of financing. The groups sell the products on the market in poor countries and use the money to finance their antipoverty programs. It amounts to about $180 million a year.


(click the pic for the punchline)

I love Cat and Girl!

Vanity, fair or foul

Okay, so I've been taking pictures of myself again - I used to, A LOT, along with pictures of other stuff. Bf would always make fun of me (which wasn't very nice, btw) for taking self portraits, and eventually I got depressed enough that I didn't want to take pictures of anything. So... I see my return to self-portraiture, as it is, as a positive development.

And my hair looked SUPER CUTE yesterday. I have yet to try the Mixed Chicks products, or Miss Jessies Curly Pudding, or the recommended products from Naturally, but I've taken to not using shampoo each time I wash my hair (the "no poo" approach to naturally curly hair care), and it's helped!

The picture above isn't great, but it kind of shows how cute my hair was. A little.

Right now I'm happy to feel even the vaguest urge to be vain, because it means I care about something. And that is good enough for me, venial sin or no.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Just a short note to say: if the 8 year old and I spend much more time together with his BAD ASS ATTITUDE, it's gonna get nasty.

I really really should have put him in summer camp this week.

No internet and no phone make lava lady something something.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

quickly quickly

I'm at the library where the unsecure network could "allow people to use software which would record [my] keystrokes".

Man, just what a paranoid needs to read.

Anyhow, the scoop is:

I've not got phone or internet at home for a week, at best. Although I'm a little adept at becoming a bandwith bandit, I'm mostly s.o.l. when it comes to keeping myself in the know via this series of tubes.

And obviously, posting will continue to be light.

Also, how do you 'sniff' wireless stuff? Because I wanna know how. Just to know.

When I get back I'll be posting [oh, so late] on the International Blog Against Racism Week. Links a plenty.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


What can you do when its a rainy day, you didn't reserve a moving truck, and you would rather just lie in bed?

Put your hair in pony tails, slap on eye make up like a 16 year old, and wear lots of lipgloss.

It's good fun, and I personally think it didn't hurt with the guy at U-Haul.

Now I gotta actually load stuff into the truck. YAY!

zomg, cute


Monday, August 06, 2007

But I don't wanna...

It's time to get up, get dressed and accomplish a lot.


But srsly, I gotta get moving.

What I really want to do is talk about the film Sunshine, or the book I'm reading (finally finishing up John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man), or how much I detest American politics, or how out of place I am (philosophically) at the mall, or sex, or the kick ass locally-roast fair trade coffee I drink, or anything, really.

But I gotta go pick up the 8yo from his da's place, run various and sundry errands, and get ready to sign the lease for my new place.

And some day, some day, I'm gonna start writing about race. It's a topic fraught with danger and I don't always have the energy for it. But it's gotta be done.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Big cloud, judiciously ignoring it, failing, pretending not to notice my failing.
It's complicated.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

It's hard being a mamma

My wonderful 8 year old son is MAD AT ME. And honestly, I'm mad at him too.

He is tired and acting like a tired 8 year old boy. But I am also tired, and I am not taking any mess. So he is waiting by the front door of bf's place for his daddy to pick him up (early, because I will not let him play with his new toys right now).

Daddy (the ex) said he won't ring the doorbell, so the 8YO has to wait by the window.

Double Sigh.

In our family I have always been (and will always be, I guess) the one who does the disciplining. I am ALWAYS the one who says "no". I am ALWAYS the one who then has to stand by her "no" so the next "no" is taken seriously.

In the case of stuff with my older son (family court, relations with paternal family members) I think my resolution has been seen as a "Black" thing, or a "crazy" thing (because black women are so often seen as crazy, maybe just a black thing after all).

I haven't really talked about my feelings about the racially motivated (or coded) stuff that happened while I was in the family court process. In many ways I think if I were "blacker" (nobler, more "hard-working", humbler - good negress), I would have had more sympathy from the guardian ad litem and family court counselors. Maybe. Of course more sympathy doesn't mean better treatment in any case. But having pity for a person often makes the pitier *feel* as though they have done something for the pitied... Whatever it was, I feel as though my non-white/otherness was a problem for some of the people in the system, and my family suffered because of it.

Anyhow, it's hard being the mamma, being the hard ass, being the one who says "no", but I see so many spoiled children, and I've KNOWN so many...I cannot abdicate my responsibility because it's uncomfortable.

Few things in life have been as difficult as dealing with the other people who call my children family.

Well, as I wrote this, the ex came by and I got a big hug and kiss from the now calmed-down 8yo. He's okay, I'm okay, We're okay.

But damn, sometimes it's hard being a mamma.

Friday, August 03, 2007

8 years

Eight years ago tonight, I went into labour for the second time.

I was so sick of being pregnant (big baby, middle of summer, due date passed), I dosed myself with black cohosh tincture and some sort of leafy tea stuff (raspberry leaf, probably).

It worked, and I started having regular contractions right around this time of night.

My youngest was born a few hours later (I don't know the exact time, let's say 2:23 am or so).

Tonight it occurred to me that I started feeling exceptionally lonely right around the time T8YO was born, but it didn't have to do with him coming along as it did with the rest of my crazy life. I think my bipolar disorder really started taking off during my pregnancy, but it went largely unnoticed (and of course, totally undiagnosed).

Right now I'm looking forward to the cake I've got to bake in the morning, the decorating we will be doing later, and the happiness it all will inspire. Birthdays are special to me, and I like celebrating them. My *kids* birthdays are even more special, as I carried and gave birth to them. Both of the boys are fans of the birthday celebrations we have. Here's to many more.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my boy as a baby, but I do have one from yesterday. He's a fine big boy.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Yay! I got my dream apartment, I am SO EXCITED.

I sign the lease on Monday, get the keys and start moving in, piecemeal. The apartment has a place for my washing machine, but no gas hookup for my dryer. But there is a laundry room down the hall, so if I choose to not get a new dryer, I'd be aight.

This will be the first time in 10 years that I've lived without forced air heating (there is radiant heating in the flooring). I'm super excited, because this means that I'll probably have a really healthy voice this winter, and the (turns 8 tomorrow!) little one will likely be breathing easier too!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Love is a Psychopath

If you haven't been watching Jekyll*, you really ought to.

Bf and I just finished watching the last of the six episodes and they did a really wonderful job with the mini series overall.

*just started this past weekend on BBC America, or as always, available from a tube on the interweb at your convenience.

Howling Monkey and the Slavic Soul Party

I've been super got-damn tired the past couple of days and today broke down and bought an 'energy drink' at the grocery store. I am sick of being too tired to get anything done. So I picked up a Howling Monkey Cola (sugar free). It's got a whole bunch of non-cola things in it, like quinine, b, c and e vitamins, iron and zinc... It's actually tasty, kind of a uppercrust cola flavor with lots of lemon. I bet even the sugar-full variety is tasty. Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised by it's flavour.

Unfortunately, Howling monkey has a very annoying website which appears to be nothing but a flash animation. That's a shame. I wanna know more about Howling Monkey.

And just now I ran across this song by Slavic Soul Party and it got me feeling pretty good, so I had to share it.

Update, after drinking the entire can of Howling Monkey: I have a headache now, but I am wide awake. And to be fair, a headache has been bothering me on and off for a few days. So six of one, half dozen of the other. Also, I'm kind of hungry, which never helps. I'm gonna put some Aleve on top of the H'key and see what happens.

Later I was hoping to drink alcohol - it's incredibly hot out and a frozen cocktail is really tempting (I gotta kill the virus with *something*, right?), but I should probably hold off for one more day...

Homophobia Ruins Everything

One of the many generic insults I have for people is to call them a "mo". It's short, I think, for moron, kind of like calling someone a mook (which may or may not be a variant of the word "moke", which was likely used as a racial epithet a long time ago, but of course makes me nervous because words mean things).

However, I recently read an blog post which sadly makes my use of "mo" a bit more delicate - if only because it reminded me that some people use "mo" as short for "homo" as code for gay-in-a-bad-way.

Damn it, homophobes, you ruin everything.

For a long time I was aware of many parts, if not a large part, of what constituted hip hop. I knew people who were into it and gave me mixtapes, I listened to the Tribe Called Quest/Jungle Brothers/De La Soul/KRS ONE kinds of groups, and I watched BET. But that was a LONG TIME AGO. I have little idea what goes on in Hip Hop anymore, just as I have no idea who is on the top 40. And I'm not exposed to street level culture much at all, emo, hip hop, country, whatever, I don't have casual conversations with many people, and rarely do I talk to "the kids" these days, even at school. So things like "no homo" are just out of my range. I was really saddened to hear about it though, because GOD DAMN, we don't need that shit. Isn't it hard enough for men to be normal without having to qualify everything they do which might be interpreted as being nice to another man for fear they might "look gay"? Fuck. That. Shit.

This is article by my old school chum (and would be paramour, as he made my young heart flutter in 6th grade), Peter S. Scholtes interviews Tori Fixx, a queer MC in the Twin Cities.

And here is a great, "STFU" post directed at a particular subset of the hip hop crowd.

All I know is that my children are going to get an earful from me if I hear them calling things 'gay'. I hate that lazy kind of insult. I swear like a sailor, which is bad enough, but at least I keep it gender and race neutral. Damn.

p.s. Peter, email me the next time you are in town!

More simpsony me

This time from - upload a picture, get transformed!

August, cleanliness complaints

Feeling much better in August!
Turns out I have a summer cold, which left me fatigued and a bit bereft.
Still worn out, but a'ight otherwise.
Decided to read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", which I've had out from the school library since JUNE. It's a pretty fast read, so far, as long as I keep the various acronym straight.

I also finished rewatching the first half of the 3rd season of LOST yesterday - I forgot how pissed off I was that they got rid of so many of the colored characters. Plus I just cannot abide by how *clean* everyone is. That is a bunch of bllsht. One of the things I didn't like about The Tudors. Nice teeth, everyone looked extremely clean.