Why?

That’s all I’ve got today. A simple question with no simple answers.

Why?

I used to not watch the news. Ever. It was so depressing and weighed too heavily on my spirit. But somehow, the news, particularly in the morning, has crept back into my life.

And every day it’s the same damn thing.

Murders. Drive by shootings. Rapes. Robberies. Neglected children.

And the perpetrators always seem to be one of us. Black.

Now. The black men, the black people, I know are good. We are educated. We are well traveled. We love our lives. We don’t commit crimes. We go to work. We love our mamas and our daddies. We love and raise our children as right as we know how. We tail gate. We hold it down at home. Even the ones who are trife are just trife-light. Late on child support, drink a little too much, can’t keep a job – but still good folks at their core.

But I’ve got to wonder what is going on in our community that we just seem to be wilding out every day, in every way possible.

Why are these kids killing each other? Why are they killing the elderly? There was a woman here – 67 years old – who was found beated, raped, stabbed, strangled AND shot. My God. A woman was held at gunpoint and raped by three men in broad daylight at a gas station. No one responded to her when she cried out for help. No one.

Is it Godlessness? Is it babies having babies? Is it absent fathers? All of this? None of this? Don’t other races experience these situations as well? Why aren’t they acting a fool all over our cities and states?

I’ll give you a small bit of media bias, but that can’t be all of it.

Why? What are the solutions? What are your thoughts on this?

 

 

 

Monday morning randoms

  • How cute is this? Got a text this morning – apparently LG and her camp BFF were thinking along the same lines when they laid out their outfits last night. And this couldn’t have been planned because everything LG is wearing? We bought yesterday. Eager much?
  • MSB
  • Summer is, for all intents and purposes, over. LG goes back to school on August 7!
  • Speaking of August 7…why? This is the last week of summer camp, yet school doesn’t start until the next Thursday. For three days I won’t have child care. Oh, but I will. Someone will be joining her father in his big rig. I wish camps and schools would synchronize their foolishness.
  • School. I start on August 25. I’ve got less than a month to finish cleaning my house up and out and getting everything organized so that home/work/school doesn’t drive me any battier than I already am. Y’all pray for me.
  • I said I wouldn’t complain about this any more. On twitter. But this isn’t twitter, so…my pregnant coworker is driving me crazy. Every day she complains. And complains. And complains some more. Now I’m the first to admit that I had the easiest pregnancy and delivery in the world. And I try to be sympathetic. But it aint working. I know more about her body, symptoms, and issues than I want to. And she’s only about 7 weeks pregnant. I need to figure out a way to remind her that some things only her doctor and husband need to hear about without cussing her out (this is hyperbole – I don’t cuss people out!) and hurting her feelings. Okay, I’m done complaining about it on here as well :)
  • Oh wait. I do have one more complaint about her. She used to have an on campus parking space. Now she doesn’t. So she waits for me in the parking lot so we can walk in together. I realize I sound petty whining about this, but that’s my quiet time and she’s harshing my mellow. Okay, now I’m done for real.
  • I’ve kicked up my working out – I’m trying to work out at least 4 days a week and have done so for the last 3 weeks or so. I take a light weight lifting class, a 30 minute high intensity class, spin, and bootcamp. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost not one single pound -_- I’ve been eating better as well, but I guess I need to make some more adjustments in the kitchen, because I know I should see more change than I do.
  • Have y’all heard of the sandwich method of doing your nails? I tried this last night to see if I could make it through the week AND do a lot of heavy chores and still keep my manicure looking good. Right now, my nails are good for a week, but I don’t do a lot of heavy cleaning during the week. I was too…lazy to do all the steps she calls for. I did a base, gelous, color, gelous, color and topped it off with Seche Vite. 5 coats instead of my usual 4. Hope it works.

I think that’s it. Have a glorious day!

Road Trip!

roadtrip

My cousin – I lived with him and his wife my freshman year of college – died. So, on Monday afternoon, after a few hours of work, LG and I found ourselves in a rental car headed to Pine Bluff for his services.

welp!

It’s a quick drive from here to Pine Bluff. About 4 hours. The speed limit is 65 mph in most places. But there are a few speed traps along the way where the speed limit just drops from 65 to 25 or 30. Lake Providence, LA is one of those places. And I guess they want you to know it!

LCM

“Hey Mom? Can we stop here?”

“Here LG?”

“Yes. Matu and Batu (what the grand kids call my parents) said you should learn something every day. And we don’t have anywhere to be until tomorrow. So I think we should stop.”

And that’s how we ended up taking a quick tour of the Louisiana Cotton Museum. The museum, in Lake Providence, is closed on Mondays, but we walked around, looked at the buildings, read the placards, and took a few pictures.

shack

A sharecropper’s cabin

chapel

A plantation chapel

pose

My precious, precious girl that I am glad will never experience the life that those before her did.

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My mom flew in from Cali and we met up in Pine Bluff. We went by the family land. The house where my mother grew up has been torn down, but it was nice to be there with her as she talked about time, perspective, and how things and places change yet remain the same in our memories.

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Of course we stopped by campus and LG humored me by taking a picture in front of the lion. All the while talking smack and stating her allegiance to JSU. I’m surprised we weren’t kicked off the yard.

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I promise half my face doesn’t live in the sun, the other in the shade. And I have all of my teeth. No matter what it looks like in this picture.

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And finally, this is my brother’s birthday present. We do gag gifts every year and I could think of nothing better for him this year than ugly rejects (this photo does not accurately reflect their horribleness!)  from the bookstore clearance bin –  a neon UAPB tshirt and a blue cap with gold lettering. UAPB’s colors are black and gold. This cap looks like the illegitimate child between UAPB and Southern….just fugly!

 

Home Alone

As you know, LG and I were recently on vacation with my parents, niece and nephew. Well. Once we got back to MS, my parents planned to go to AR visit my brother and SIL, then to Houston to drop off the niece and nephew and then head west back to Cali.

The night before they left, my mother, my brilliant, brilliant mother was all “why don’t you let us take LG with us on the rest of this trip and Smoochy can pick her up in Houston sometime next week when he has to run a load to Houston?” Stop. The. Presses.

You mean I am going to have this here house, to myself, for a week? Hammer time! I juked around my kitchen like my life depended on it. And then I juked some more! Then I lifted my hands to the heavens and praised God from whom all blessings truly do flow.

You have never – and I mean never – seen someone kick it into high gear the way I did. I probably had that little girl’s bag packed in less than 6 minutes. Adios homeslice, adios!

I haven’t had time alone like that since before I was pregnant with LG. Yeah, around 2003.

I had all of these grand plans. I was going to the gym every day. I would go to some of my favorite restaurants, call some friends and hang out, catch a movie, date night with Smoochy…the list of possibilities was endless!

Do you know what I ended up doing? A whole lot of nothing. LG left on Wednesday morning. I did go to the gym every day that week. But the rest of the time? I saw not one movie, ate out not one time. I laid around the house, finished OITNB (OMG – how great was this season!!!) and on the one day I was feeling productive I threw away about 75% of my nine year old child’s belongings. I loved every minute of it!

Smoochy and I had a date night planned for Saturday. We cancelled. We stayed home, turned off the lights, opened the windows, turned on the radio (okay, Pandora) and chillaxed. Hard.

I know that some people cannot bear the thought of being away from their child(ren). Apparently I am not one of them. I had the best, most relaxing week I’ve had in a long, long time. I’m already trying to see how LG and her grandparents can spend some quality time together next summer. I love that little brown girl, but just piddling around being Nerd Girl was some kind of awesome. I think I ate PB&J sandwiches and/or salad every day she was gone. I didn’t even use the microwave.

I used to just think I was jealous of my friends who are able to send their children away for a week or three at a time. Now I know I’m jealous of them!

This is a Pandora’s box my parents may regret opening.

My SIL in Houston (niece and nephew’s mom) kept LG Sunday night and into Monday until Smoochy picked her up. We were talking about how nice it was to have kid-free time. I’m thinking she and I need to make a deal of some sort. She teaches and has summers off – I will keep her kids one week during the summer if she’ll agree to do the same for me and keep LG. Everybody wins, yes?

The little girl came home yesterday morning. As happy as I was to see her, I was sad that my week alone had come to an end. And apparently she felt the same way. “You know mom, I just don’t think I was gone long enough to miss you.” Touche LG, touche!

 

 

Nice Try Kid

LG:  Mama? I think it’s time to upgrade my babysitter.

Me: Huh? What are you talking about? Ms. D. is marvelous.

LG: Well, yes, she is. But I’m the biggest kid there. She keeps babies. All they do is cry and follow me around. I need bigger kids to hang with.

Me: LG. You only go to Ms. D’s when camp is closed. I think you can handle 7 or 8 random days a year over there, babies and all.

LG: Well, I still think you should look into care-dot-com. They make it easy to find better care for your whole family.

Me: LG. I am not getting on the internet to find a virtual stranger to care for you. No ma’am. You are tripping.

LG: Well, I’m pretty sure Ms. D. was a virtual stranger the first time you met her…

Sigh.

If

If you were going to buy this shoe, what would you wear it with? And I know y’all…if you wouldn’t buy this shoe, feel free to state that as well!

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Image

 

Family Vacay 2014

So. We are back. Thank God for traveling grace!

This is probably going to be a long, rambling post. Consider yourself warned :)

This year’s vacation was a road trip! My parents drove from Cali to Houston, picked up my niece and nephew (ages 12 and 9) then drove to MS where LG and I joined in the fun. We then drove from Mississippi through Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia to arrive at our destination – McGaheysville, VA.

On our first day’s drive we stopped in Birmingham, strolled around Kelly Ingram Park taking in a bit of civil rights history then went over to the Civil Rights Institute where we happened upon a performance that a theater camp was putting on detailing the civil rights era. Let me tell you something – those kids were phenomenal. They ranged in age from 10 to high school seniors and they were a talented bunch. I couldn’t believe that they’d only put in two weeks of work for their show. They’ve been received so well that the Civil Rights Institute has requested they perform throughout the summer and not just for the week-long run they’d originally scheduled. I wish I could remember the name of the group, but if you are going to be in/near Birmingham this summer, I strongly suggest you catch one of their performances at the Institute – and it was free :)

We spent the first night in Knoxville, TN then drove another six hours to our vacation destination.

McGaheysville, VA is home to the Massanutten vacation resort and is where we spent a week in chill (mostly) mode.I thought Massanutten was absolutely gorgeous. I’d never been in the mountains of Virginia before and everything was so green, so lush, just idyllic. There were deer bouncing around and fat little groundhogs chilling everywhere. The thing I didn’t like was that everything cost. And I mean everything. I wish I’d been better prepared for that. I knew it, but I didn’t know it, know it. The kids went to the waterpark, we all ziplined, they went “mining” for gems. There were a bunch of other activities to participate in, but we didn’t because like I said – they cost and with three kids those costs add up quickly! If I were to go back, I’d definitely budget differently. I’d love to tube down the river and maybe go horseback riding.

We spent a day in D.C. and it was crazy. I should’ve planned better. We toured the Capitol building. Then walked to the White House and the MLK memorial. Those three things – plus a brief detour for lunch at the world’s most hood McDonald’s (security with a gun AND a bullet proof vest?!?!) – took us ALL day. I don’t know how that happened, but I’ll take the charge for it. We got in at least 12 miles. By the time we made it to the Smithsonian? They were closed. And I was really hoping that we’d be able to pop in to at least two of them. Oh well…moving on.

The rest of our time was spent on the grounds, at a group dinner (there were 32 people in our group with all the cousins, in-laws, family friends, etc.), and at the African American Day in Harrisonburg, VA which we hit up on our way back home.

My next vacation? I want to relax. This was a do your own cooking/laundry type deal and I don’t want to cook, do dishes, or laundry on my next vacation. I want to lay around, do the activities I want to do, and leave the chores at the house! The cousin who organizes these trips (same group we went to Spain with) is vehemently opposed to cruises. And while I get her arguments against them (and even agree with some of them) I think for a group as varied as we are, a cruise would be a good, relaxing choice. We shall see….

On the way back to Mississippi we stopped at Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain. Absolutely breathtaking. Ruby Falls is an underground cave that just so happens to have a waterfall in it. Lookout Mountain – specifically Rock City – was once a private garden that’s been open to the public for years. I know a garden doesn’t seem particularly spectacular, but it was. It’s huge, has all sorts of paths, caves, sculpture, and greenery and from the top? You can see seven states – NC, SC, AL, GA, TN, VA, KY. I didn’t even know such a place existed and I’m so glad we stopped to see both of these points of interest.

Now. Let’s talk about the dynamics of vacationing with one’s parents, child, niece and nephew. Whew! My parents are not used to kids and the kids are not used to my parents. I felt a little trapped in the middle because I’m used to both of them :)

My parents? They fuss. A lot. And I really didn’t want to hear all of that on vacation. There’s a lot to be said for correction. But not all the time.  My mom was all “well, they’re way different than y’all were as kids.” Well, of course they are. They’re being raised by different parents in different times. We were different kids than our parents were but I don’t remember my grandmothers fussing at us like that.

In my parents defense, they haven’t had kids at home for a long time. They are used to getting up and going on their own schedule and not dealing with the mess and noise that kids create. And I get that. Look forward to it. But for the next decade or so? It is what it is.

Last night at dinner my mom told me there were some things I need to work on as it relates to raising LG. LG is too soft, has too many options, I’m not consistent enough, and I explain too much to her. And here I was thinking Smoochy was the lenient parent -_-

LG is kinda soft. She’s a sensitive kid. She doesn’t have siblings so she’s not used to that dynamic and when she’s teased she cries. Smoochy and I have talked to her about this. “You can’t take what people say to heart, stop crying, tease back, you have to decide for yourself that you’re not going to let things bother you, etc., etc.” I really don’t know what else to do. I don’t want her to think there’s anything wrong with being a little sensitive – I have those tendencies myself – but I do know that she can’t cry every.single.time. she’s upset. She cried nearly every day in K and 1st grade. We’ve made GREAT progress. We still have work to do. I think she’ll grow out of it.

And yeah, I need to be more consistent with her. Been working on that.

But. (You knew there was a but coming, yes?) I deliberately try to be…softer with LG than my parents were with us. I remember feeling tense a lot as a kid. My dad in particular is very critical and I never thought anything I did was good enough. I want LG to feel and know that she is good enough. Always. So maybe I err in being too accepting of what she does. I don’t know. Yes, we have standards and expectations of her but I refuse to flip out over every single thing she does or to stress myself or her out on a regular basis.

I told my mom I was trying to find a balance between being so critical and uptight and being overly lenient. She told me I’m not there yet. Sigh.

Talked to Smoochy about it. He basically said that our parents raised us well, but that we are not perfect and that we will all raise our kids well and they won’t be perfect either. Pretty much Smoochy, pretty much.

Anyhoo, all in all we had a good time. I’m glad we had this experience. And next time? We need separate lodging!

Do you vacation with your parents and children/nieces/nephews? Do you parent the same way your parents did? What do you/will you do with your children that’s similar/different than what your parents did with you?

(Photo dump tomorrow)