Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “news media

So… This Ban… Y’all Know We’re Being Gaslighted, Right?

[EDITED TO REFLECT A RECENT ARTICLE I READ LIKE 5 MINUTES AFTER POSTING THIS, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE]

IF YOU’RE READING TO SEE WHAT I’VE GOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS BAN, SKIP TO THE NEXT ALL CAPS SENTENCE. I’M GETTING ALL PERSONAL BLOGGY FIRST.

Okay, personal stuff first. Did I tell y’all I am going to a bridesmaid for the first time ever this year? My girl Toya (we grew up next door to each other, and she’s thankfully not marrying the boy next door, lol) is getting married in May. She’s one of the only people on the planet who could get me to go to Florida right now.

Chris and I haven’t been to Florida since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. That Stand Your Ground law is such utter bullshit that we decided we would do our best to not go back until it was changed. I’m making an exception for this wedding, then the travel ban is back in place.

Being a bridesmaid is such a mind fuck. It’s like being trolled by my own thoughts. Budget worries, body worries, logistics, etc. To put it more simply, trying on bridesmaid dresses has made me get my whole life together. If I’m going to wear a strapless gown at a beach wedding and get photographed in some forever pictures, I need to do better than what I’m currently doing.

Luckily, this feeling coincided with Chris wanting to be healthier too. So for the past couple of week’s we’ve both been way more committed to exercise, and I’ve been cooking 5-6 times a week. it’s better for the budget and the waistline. Simpler meals (if blood orange & herb glazed baked ribs with mushroom rice and roasted butternut squash counts as simple) have been the goal. So far, it’s going well.

We’ve just hit that point where that initial burst of energy because we’re working out 6 days a week is starting to fade. We still have all our regular life responsibilities and we are tired, man. We are committed to pushing through and getting our bodies used to this new pattern. We just gotta get over the hill. I’m grateful that we have each other for support.

We support our goals, and also our mental well-being. We discuss all the crap going on the world, then watch SNL and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for catharsis.

HEY Y’ALL, HERE’S WHERE I SWITCH TO POLITICS, WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH SYNONYMOUS WITH SOCIETAL GASLIGHTING THESE DAYS.

So, unless you’re living under a rock or know literally no one affected by this travel ban, you’ve heard that there are new levels of dickishness that can be reached with each passing day.

That fucker in the White House spent his first week signing executive orders left and right like he was Dolores Umbridge taking over Hogwarts.

The most recent one that has caught everyone’s attention is this immigrant/refugee ban. If you need a breakdown about it, I got you. CNN explains it relatively well here, here, here, and here.

The people responded strongly and swiftly. If  you need a breakdown about that, I got you. The New York Times covers it pretty efficiently as of two days ago, and you can read that here.

I was all on board for grabbing my pitchfork to join the townsfolk to protest this newest outrage. If I didn’t have crazy work hours (also see above for newfound commitment to not having a terrible beach body), I would’ve trekked out to JFK to join the protests the first night they happened.

For the most part, I’m still on board, but I’ve seen this and I really have to share it with y’all.

If you’re like me and you simply open all links in new tabs to be read after you’ve read the main article (or not at all), I’ll sum it up for you. Shaun King, journalist and activist extraordinaire tweeted a Facebook post by political historian Heather Richardson. If you open no other links in this blog post, READ THIS ONE.

If you’re still refusing to open the link I’ve put in ALL CAPS, well fine, you’ve twisted my arm. To make a long story short, Professor Richardson describes this fuckery aka ban as a “shock event.” If you don’t know what a shock event is, well, just click on the word shock event in the previous sentence. Seriously folks, I’m spoon feeding you here. It can’t get much easier than this… unless you’re reading on a browser that won’t let you open in a new tab and won’t save where you left off on the previous screen, in that case, well, I understand.

Okay, back to this term called shock event. The idea is to do something shocking, that will both distract and divide the people. They are focused on this shocking thing, and they have knee-jerk reactions for or against it along expected lines. You know, for example, like instituting an unreviewed ban on immigrants from seven seemingly random countries who haven’t sent us jihadists.

While the people are still in disarray, mounting their response of protest or support, you sneak in the back door (that’s what he said) and enact your real agenda.

Right now you may be thinking, if he is such a badass, usurping the will of the people, why bother with the bait and switch? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because he doesn’t actually want complete anarchy. He wants the people in disarray so they can’t mount an effective defense. It’s in his best interest to keep them from unifying. He knows his true objective is NOT in the interest of the people, and if they knew what he was truly up to, they’d try and stop it. But if they’re too busy fighting over who loves Muslims more than the next person hates Muslims, they won’t notice that he’s about to fuck them all over for something that benefits only a select few.

Let me put it this way. Those fuckers who have confederate flags covering every surface they own, their wives still wearing t-shirts that say Jail the Bitch, their children bullying yours in school to go back to “where you came from,” their preachers condemning all your gay best friends to hell, their healthcare they swear they don’t want being paid for by your taxes, you know them? Can you imagine protesting along side them when whatever Bannon and Trump have planned is revealed?

I for one have a hard time imagining the same people who’ve had vitriolic responses to the protests since Inauguration Day standing beside me to fight against the complete decimation of our tax/healthcare/education/transportation/energy/housing/banking/regulation/immigration/you-name-it system, or whatever the hell their true target is.

But if Professor Richardson is right, we gotta be vigilant y’all. We CANNOT let this man and his puppeteers take away any of the few things that happen to matter to most of us.

Thanks to historians (yay education!) we have an early warning. We’ve got several jobs to do. One of them is to continue to protest the individual acts of fuckery, like this ban, as they pop up. But today, right now, move one waaaaaay up the priority list.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

You still with me? Good. Hear me out.

I’m not saying get ready to invite the Klan to your family reunion. I’m not saying continue to work with these fuckers people after the fight is won (see what I did there? I’m already growing. grow with me). I’m saying that when the shit goes down, which those smarter than us are pretty sure it will, do not let ideological divides keep you from fighting together.

I don’t know how much time you need. But do some self-assessment and figure that shit out. I don’t know how much time we have. But take some time, do some meditation, and make peace that you may one day march alongside a white nationalist against a common cause.

Take a moment right now. Breathe. It will be okay. If/When that moment comes that we all need to join together, you gotta be ready to do this with us, you can’t let it take you by surprise. If this ban really was a shock event… Don’t. Let. It. Work. On. You.

Stay strong. Resist. Take care of yourself and those you love.

EDIT: So…. I think the big move may have been started already. I think it might’ve been Trump nominating Bannon to the National Security Council. Keep an eye on this one. For a quick rundown, read this opinion piece by the New York Times Editorial Board entitled, “President Bannon.”.

shock-event


Everything Is Awful! A Song That Definitely Wouldn’t Make The Oscars

If you have small children or great whimsy in your life, you know about the song Everything is Awesome. It was liked so much, it was used as one of the performances for the 2015 Academy Awards.

I think about this song because it mostly makes me feel happy/amused/smiley, but the song itself is represents a way to fool the masses into falling in line and distracting them so they don’t question authority. I wonder if a song about fighting the power would make it to the Oscars.

For the past several posts, there hasn’t been much happy in my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I will say that the title of this post is hyperbole. Everything is not awful. Just a lot of things are.

So what awful thing am I talking about today?

I was walking in to work this morning, checking notifications that came up on my phone when I saw the news that Florence Henderson had died. This made me really sad; I immediately thought of her on Dancing with the Stars, and when she visited this past season for Maureen McCormick.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

These days, I have very little patience for white-washed TV shows like the Brady Bunch. But this show came out before I was even born, so I was watching reruns on Nick at Nite as a child before I knew better.

I remember a holiday episode where she sang O Come All Ye Faithful, which for years I wrongly remembered as her singing O Holy Night. It’s an absolutely absurd plot, but I loved it. The kids contemplating cancelling Christmas because their mom couldn’t sing is likely a contributing factor to why I don’t want kids, lol.

I wonder about Florence Henderson’s political beliefs. Is that weird? I’m not sure if she’s on record having voiced an opinion about women’s rights or race relations or LGBTQ+ equality or the Dakota pipeline/Flint water crisis or any of today’s pressing issues that I care strongly about.

I’ve been keeping a running tally in my head for a few different lists:

  1. Wholly Against Us
  2. Suspiciously Quiet When It Matters
  3. Too Little Too Late
  4. Oh, Now You Wanna Speak Up When It Affects You and Yours
  5. I See You Making Efforts, But It’s Not Good Enough
  6. Social Media Warrior, Okay, Okay, But What Are Your Actions?
  7. I See You Speaking AND Acting, You’re Down for the Cause
  8. You Should Definitely Be Considered a Leader of the Movement
  9. It’s Like This Isn’t Even Happening In Your World

Florence would definitely go on list #9. Most people seem to speak highly of her, she was an amazing woman by all accounts. My perception of what makes a person amazing, however, is evolving. I don’t know that I can consider someone “amazing” who isn’t helping the fight for equality move forward.

Today is particularly rough at work too. A lot of the deaths we’re getting in are under suspicious circumstances, very sad, and hard for even the doctors and medical examiners to deal with.

I’ve got a lot of conflicted feelings. For instance, there’s this article in the NY Daily News: NY Daily News: Sorry, America, but ‘The Brady Bunch’ was a lousy show. The tweet for this article was even worse:

twitter-brady-bunch

 

It feels a bit disrespectful, no? It’s not so much the sentiment because I was basically just saying above how a show like this would do nothing but piss me off were they making new episodes today.

For me, it’s the language. “No disrespect…but..” I mean, come on. Only dedicated assholes say things like that. And yes, maybe the show does suck, and maybe that’s been this journalists opinion since he was a little kid. But to decide that today is the day he must share his opinion with the world is a bit tone deaf.

Florence Henderson spent a lot of time defending the show from critics with very real and accurate criticism of the bubble in which the show existed. So confronting her stance on the show is… I guess… fair game. Kinda like when you review someone’s legacy after death, it’s usually okay to point out the parts you specifically agree with.

But the article didn’t address anything she’d ever said about the show. It was just an opportunity to crap all over a show he clearly never liked. This was in poor taste.

I was genuinely sad at the news of her passing this morning, but I think focusing on it today is helping me cope with some personal issues, as well as the continued craptastic current events (Jill Stein getting hinky with the recount money, Dakota Access Pipeline injuries and assaults at the hands of police continuing, more black folks dead at the hands of hateful white people, more minorities assaulted by Trump supporters).

Seriously y’all, how fucking long until 2016 is over? I swear something moderately bad could happen 1/1/17 and I will be less bogged down by it that if it happens on New Year’s Eve.


Life Goes On, But Don’t Let That Fool You Into Complacency

Unless you are an undocumented immigrant, or a Muslim immigrant whose visa is about to be up for renewal soon, chances are you are not one of Trump’s immediate targets.

Do the rest of us have things to worry about? Hell yes we do. But when six months pass and the sky has yet to fall on your head, you may begin to think, “hey this Trump presidency isn’t so bad, I’m living and thriving and no one I personally know has been affected. Maybe we were being hyperbolic to be so damn afraid back in November.”

To that I say, “nah.”

We gotta stay woke out here. History’s great dictators, demagogues, and assholes didn’t attempt to burn the world down all in one day. No, they slowly ramped up their awful behavior until suddenly everyone looked around and realized the hellscape had been there all along.

As usual, I’ve fallen down several rabbit holes on Twitter. I’ve come across some amazing threads that everyone should read to understand where your focus should be. I have them posted at the bottom.

But first:

Am I suggesting you forgo living your life to sit on your porch, vigilant with a shotgun, waiting for the Trump-induced apocalypse? Mmmmmmmm, no…. Not unless you’re independently wealthy, a confirmed bachelor, and willing to raise the alarm to the rest of us as soon as that shit comes over the horizon.

Seeing as how those descriptors describe very few people, what are the rest of us to do? You must keep living and finding joy in life so that anxiety doesn’t take over the world. But you can’t put your head down and stop paying attention.

  1. Re-read Trump’s policies and consider how those policies will affect you personally. Seek out allies who are already building a coalition to fight those policies.
  2. Ask your friends, families and colleagues to do the same. Then discuss how those policies will affect each of you. Become each other’s allies. You may not have to worry about deportation, but you’d be surprised how many people you love have close family members or friends who worry deeply about it.
  3. Stay vigilant and raise the alarm. Don’t stop talking about damaging language or behavior.
  4. Resist the draw of mainstream media. Resist the words of people you admire who are asking you to do things and saying things that don’t make sense. For example, Oprah suggested Trump’s body language shows winning the election has humbled him. To that, I say a giant WHAT THE FUCK, and OH HELL NO. Have any of you ever seen a humble Trump? Even when he’s proclaiming how humble he is? I didn’t think so. Don’t let the people you admire most lead you down a dark and confusing path.
  5. Learn what gaslighting is. Begin to practice real techniques to combat it. Your sanity may literally depend on it.
  6. Lastly, find specific ways to keep life as happy as you can. I suggest exercise, sex and travel, if you can afford it. The steady stream of endorphins, along with constant exposure to different parts of the population will keep you balanced (no Fox News) and keep things in perspective.

At some point in the near future, I’m not gonna make every single blog post about how I’m feeling post-election. Right now, I’m still smack in the middle of stage two: anger.

They say you don’t necessarily reach all five stages in order or at all, but I haven’t come anywhere near bargaining. I can’t think of shit I could’ve or should’ve done that would have prevented this outcome. And I’m certainly not interested in compromising with Trump. I’m looking to resist his dangerous policies at every turn.

Right now, the only thing I can think of to support that he wants to do is improve infrastructure around the country. My main issue is concern for how he’s going to do it.

One of my best friends has this term I love to hear her use: pissed-tivity. It’s usually mentioned as a scale. For example, right now I have a high level of pissed-tivity for folks trying to normalize Trump.

I’m still going to live my life. I’m currently shopping for an external charger or perhaps a charging case for my phone because life. My husband and I are going to Paris for New Year’s Eve next month. We have to start planning activities to try and enjoy our vacation and perhaps plot becoming illegal immigrants somewhere in Northern Europe (I kid, I kid, we’d of course get tourist visas before we’ve worn out our legal welcome).

But trust that I’m maintaining a high level of pissed-tivity, even after I’ve moved past the anger stage of grief. It’s my best way to stay alert and keep motivated for this long fight we have ahead of us.

Now, please see below three amazing Twitter threads you really should check out.

This is from an Iranian American feminist. She knows what it’s like to live under a dictator. Heed her warning about how easy it is for the reality to become commonplace.

This guy is great, and if you love comic books and feminism, you’ll love him even more. This thread isn’t about politics. It’s about the place of black women in comics and media and their imperfect allies, or lack thereof.

Matt McGorry, who I love as an actor and activist, has a lot to say about how to be a better ally, He is a dedicated ally of Black Lives Matter and NoDAPL.

To sum up everything above: stay vigilant, keep living, prepare for the fight, actually fight when the time comes.


Race Baiting. Let’s Talk About It.

Oh yeah, I’m going there.

I spend a lot of time on twitter. Every time one black activist or another posts literally anything about race issues, someone responds with hateful awful language. They usually spout the worst stereotypes anyone has heard about whatever group being discussed.

Sometimes that activist retweets the words or responds to them, usually highlighting the bigotry, prejudice, or outright racism of the language.

Inevitably, a third person responds, accusing the activist of race baiting.  Every time I see that accusation show up on some activists timeline, I get confused.

My first thought always is: how is it race-baiting to simply talk about and acknowledge that race issues exist? How is that activists to blame for some awful language of some random online troll?

The mere mention of possibly settling Syrian refugees in their home state makes many an online troll express dangerous and scary views. I’m an American born and raised, and the words are frightening to me. I can’t even imagine how those words land in the world of a refugee, simply here to make a better life for themselves.

But then, the part of me that is always looking to try and understand the sliver of logic that usually exists in even the most fucked up arguments kicks in. I think: Do I know anyone who unreasonably lashes out at a culture they don’t understand the second they perceive a threat from that culture?

The unfortunate answer is I do.

In black American culture, there is a lot of intolerance towards others who don’t follow traditional black (read: protestant/intolerant Christian) views. The stereotypes towards the LGBTQ+ community, Asians, Latinxs, and women are damn near intolerable to my ears. They are mostly rooted in ignorant stereotypes because of how segregated so much of the American black population is from the rest of the country.

I think about the communities I don’t hear a lot of aggression towards: indigenous Americans, refugees, disabled people, vets. I’m not sure why those people have escaped widescale ridicule in the black community. Or maybe they have and I just don’t know those people.

Let me finally get to my point.

In the times of life where I’ve been present for one of these ignorant rants against another community from the mouths of black folks, their justification is usually along the lines of, “well, if you didn’t bring it up, wouldn’t have to share my crappy views with you on the topic.”

They literally accuse whoever mentioned the touchy subject last of being at blame for their toxic language. It’s the same though pattern that produces such gems as “I don’t care if you’re gay, I just don’t wanna see that shit” and “This is why the black family isn’t intact, feminism is tearing apart black men and women”.

For the record, I’m not saying that ignorance in the black community makes it okay for the white trolls on Twitter. The ignorance of both makes me sick to my stomach.

What I am saying is that because this toxic pattern of behavior touches closer to home for me, I think I understand this thought process a little bit.

That’s how I know it can’t be tolerated. This gaslighting bullshit cannot go without challenge. I’m not suggesting getting into an online fight with a Twitter troll, but I’m suggesting confronting it when you hear toxic language come from the mouths of your friends, family, and colleagues.

You may not change someone’s mind, but we can at least restore some decency in terms of what is okay and NOT OKAY to say to and about others. Free speech is one thing, but targeted hate speech and menacing is on a whole other level.

Even if you can’t get through to someone, you never know who is listening. Maybe the person overhearing your defense of what is right will come around.

Don’t let the accusation of race baiting back you down from talking about marginalized communities. If your words precede someone spewing toxic language, that’s not your fault. If merely the mention of someone different makes someone go off like a crazy person, that’s not your fault. Don’t let them drag the fight down to their level.

Keep standing up for what matters to you. Keep fighting. Keep speaking up. Continue to fight for your own community and work harder everyday to be an ally to other communities.

Don’t let racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and misogynists turn your words of power into bait.

If you’re looking for a sound argument against gaslighting, particularly in light of the results of this most recent American election, check out this Twitter thread.

twitter-gaslight


Thoughts on Getting Millennials to Vote

Do you know who Representative John Lewis is?

He’s a rather inspiring man who currently serves in the US Congress. He is an old head civil rights activist whose name is in the history books, and one of the few alive today to tell the tales of what really went down in the fight for equality for African-Americans in education, voting rights, and housing back when my parents were just children.

He thinks young people need to get out and vote because people fought and died for their right to. Because he fought and his friends died, young people today need to quit thinking whatever they’re currently thinking and go exercise their right to vote.

I happen to agree with him that everyone should vote. But his line of reasoning….. um…. I don’t think it’s effective. And it definitely can come across as a bit out of touch.

A lot of older people are dismissed as being out of touch with younger people. They try to appeal to younger people based on values (perhaps values of days gone by) that are no longer shared. Young people respond with some variation of, “I don’t appreciate your set of values because I’ve been taught something different. Where were you when the teaching was happening?”

When it comes to Rep. John Lewis, I can happily say that he has tried to be a part of the voice of education for youth. He reaches out in ways big and small to try and make sure some of his values and beliefs are seeds sown into the next generation.

In spite of the ways he works so hard to reach younger people, I still think his closing argument needs work. I say that while also believing that the reasons that he and his friends and colleagues fought for their rights and our are unimpeachable.

They fought for a better tomorrow. They fought so that I can vote and theoretically not be discriminated against for my color. A lot of people died so I can go on a 15 min morning date with my husband to the polls on Tuesday morning. That argument resonates with me because of the values I was raised with.

For those not raised with that set of values, it’s a harder argument to hear and have resonate with you. Honestly, the reasoning that made sense to them then and still makes sense to them now is… well, it’s about them. It’s about their fight and their legacy and their opinions of themselves.

It’s no wonder that younger Gen Xers and millennials (and whatever they call those born from 1975-1979) give that argument the side eye. We are the royalty of navel-gazing, self-focused, introspective, thinking-about-me-before-you, personal-happiness-above-all-else thought processes.

If you wanna reach more of us, you’ve gotta answer the question:

What’s in it for me?

I don’t have the answer on what to say. I haven’t been successful in getting people who don’t plan on voting to change their minds. But I’ve seen engagement work in some instances.

There is success in some areas by actually talking to younger people instead of at them. Engaging people my age in a conversation about why it’s important to vote (and to vote in the interest of yourself and those you care about) is not easy. There is no one tweet or tweet thread that will get the job done.

That level of engagement has to happen in small conversations. But they’re powerful conversations. Not a lot of millennials understand the electoral process and fewer get or even care why it’s important. Giving them that small bit of knowledge works, as long as it’s followed by one important question:

What’s in it for you?

If you can get a real answer back, you’ve just gained an engaged citizen, who will hopefully take part in many elections over the course of their life.

John Lewis and his books and crowd-surfing can’t get it done alone. If you believe in our democracy and our electoral process and you know younger people who don’t, bone up on the basic facts of how elections work and what decisions elected officials are in charge of at the local, state, and national level.

After you’ve done that, talk to young people. Share what you know. Pass on the knowledge. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be personally responsible for helping continue the legacy of equal voting rights that so many fought and died to get.

 


Same Day Delivery Anxiety

I don’t know why I did it y’all. I looked on the Amazon forums to check the reliability of the company Amazon uses for same day delivery. Why did I do that?

Up until today, I never used the Amazon Prime same day delivery. I do a lot of online shopping. A LOT.

The strong need for headphones that work coupled with an inability to take a real break at work while the stores are still open on a Sunday will make you do strange things.

Because my job is in an office building, I had my doubts as to whether this was a good idea, but decided to take the risk. The purchase on the Amazon website is always painless. This time was no different.

Item purchased, tracking number generated, then… nothing.

I was confused as to why there weren’t quicker updates, I guess I’m UPS spoiled.

I found the LaserShip company’s website and started tracking the package there. Then, for some reason I cannot explain, I googled LaserShip tracking for Amazon packages.

Welp… Google sent me to a page on the Amazon Carrier Feedback forum. It was not pretty. Since May 25, 2010, there have been 5604 posts from 2636 individual participants, with the most recent post being 2 days ago.

I read back several pages from the most recent, and only 2 statements were mildly positive.

Basically:

  1. When LaserShip invariably fucks up, ask Amazon for a free month of Prime rather than a price reduction on your purchased item
  2. Deal with Amazon first rather than LaserShip
  3. LaserShip sucks
  4. LaserShip really sucks
  5. If you ever want to see your package… TOO BAD

Yeah, if I were a person with uncontrollable anxiety or outward physiological responses to my emotions, I’d be covered in hives and hyperventilating right now.

It’s not even that big of a deal, it’s just some dumb headphones.

But I hate when things don’t work the way they’re supposed to. Amazon is quite often touting their One Day Delivery in the NYC area. I felt like this was a low stakes way to take advantage of a new service. I think I was wrong.

Capture

Fingers crossed that this goes well, and I don’t end up sending a tip to the News12 Consumer Investigations line tonight.

 


Heading to Times Square, After Some Prayer

I thought I’d have a funny story to tell for my first consistent blog post in months. My girl is in town with her cousin for her birthday. They’d never been to New York before, so she wanted to visit.

I know her  through some degrees of separation. My best friend joined a fraternity in college. Her husband is one of his line brothers. The first time we all hung out is when he brought a very pregnant her to their fraternity’s annual party called The Champagne Sip (don’t worry she didn’t drink).

We did have a laugh-filled night at The Waffle House though after the party. And they cemented themselves as the favorite couple I’d met through my best friend. Over the years, we’ve had some good times though we don’t see each other nearly often enough.

This couple now has three children, all of whom call my best friend godfather. There have been many gift-help-picking-out moments over the years, which always result in something fun & educational… and maybe noisy.

But I didn’t see my girl last night. She arrived to her hotel in Times Square yesterday and we planned to meet for drinks at my favorite bar in Times Square, Havana Central.

But then I started hearing about everything happening in Paris, every terrible detail as it arrived in a push notification to my phone from CNN.

I said a prayer for the people of Paris, and decided I wasn’t going out.

Since Chris and I moved to New York, I’ve been more aware of what it means when a major city gets attacked,

I know Chicago is a major city, so is L.A., and a few others. But when I worry about American cities, my first two thoughts go to D.C. and NYC.

Whenever there is a concern for the safety of major cities, my first thought is to stay in/immediately head to Brooklyn. Manhattan is where I spend a bunch of my time, but I live in Brooklyn.

I don’t know if I was overreacting, I just know that I live in New York now.

The world kept turning, people kept coming together in Paris to deal with a tragedy, and I went home last night.

At the time I’m posting this, ISIS has claimed responsibilities for the attacks in Paris last night, Belgium has already begun to make arrests, and Paris is still treating the over 300 people who got injured.

It’s hard to wrap my head around what’s happened, to just continue with a normal day knowing that so much has changed for so many people.

But I’m going to try because that’s what we do, right? We say a prayer, put something supportive on social media, donate some money to a fund, then… keep it moving.

It never seems like enough, but I don’t know what else to do. There’s power in prayer, I do know that.

I’m going to go see my friend today. In Times Square. They say it’s safe. I hope they’re right. I’m definitely going to pray some more before I go.


June’s Wine School: Dry Riesling

As I mentioned when I discussed May’s wine choice, I purchased this bottle from a place in California and had to have it shipped to Missouri, where one of my best friends then physically brought it to me in New York.

Totally worth it though because I really wanted to try the exact wine Eric Asimov suggested, and I simply don’t have it in me to visit multiple different wine shops locally.

Not when it can be found online.

What can I say?

I’m a millennial, don’t judge me.

So, I haven’t been blogging with the consistency I would like, but five posts in four weeks is an improvement over recent history. Plus, I’ve been busy.

I went back to yoga! Hot yoga is the best! I’ve been so busy with this departmental transition at work. if you follow me on Instagram, you saw me post one of my last “goodnight Empire State Building” posts meaning I’m moving to the day shift. I’m still trying out the video blogging thing. A few logistics are tripping me up, but I’m almost there.

And sleep, sleep takes up a bunch of my time.

Anyway, back to this wine.

I tried June’s wine the day after I tried the Sancerre from May.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I love Riesling. It’s my favorite white wine. I was already moving more towards drier Rieslings even before I fell in love with Bordeaux. But since my love affair with Bordeaux began, I pretty much have to drink a dry Riesling if I’m going to drink Riesling at all.

Expecting to love this bottle of wine, I eagerly opened it. And I was not disappointed. I was everything I already love about Riesling: sweet-but-not-too-sweet, acidic tartness somewhere far in the back, feels like 100% juice in the mouth, always inviting me to take another sip.

Let’s talk about sweet-but-not-too-sweet. If you don’t like sweet wines at all, you won’t like this. But Riesling has always been my go-to wine for super newbies to try. People who swear wine is too bitter for them can usually find something to like about Riesling. The wine I usually have them try is now too sweet for me to drink with any regularity, but this Riesling was great, not too sweet.

Now about this acidic tartness. The best comparison is the feeling you get in your mouth when you’re eating sauteed cabbage that’s been finished with vinegar. In my mouth, it has that same tartness. If you don’t like cabbage, ignore that comparison. But seriously, sauteed cabbage with bacon and finished with white wine vinegar? So good. That’s what I should have made to go with this wine!

No time for regrets though. We’re on to the mouth feel. When I say it felt like 100% juice, I mean it didn’t feel heavy. Unless you shop exclusively organic, you’ve at some point bought juice that wasn’t quite all “juice”. That syrupy mouth-coating feeling you get from Hawaiian Punch, Sunny D, or juice cocktail is the feeling I’m saying this wine didn’t have. It just felt clean and clear, if that makes sense.

Last is the inviting nature. I’ve never had trouble finishing a bottle of Riesling, and this bottle was no different. Unlike the Beaujolais, which I had to put in effort to finish the bottle of, the Riesling was gone. And missed. It surprised me when I discovered the bottle was empty. It wasn’t a happy moment.

The bottle I tried was Donnhoff Nahe Riesling Trocken. I found it online, and I think I paid ~$20 for it, not including shipping.

May's bottle of Sancerre and June's bottle of Riesling. Riesling is on the left.

May’s bottle of Sancerre and June’s bottle of Riesling. Riesling is on the left.

Because of the time I took off from blogging, I ended up purchasing the next five months of wine school bottles all at once, which was nice because I saved on the shipping.

If you’d like to see what Eric Asimov from the New York Times has to say about Dry Riesling, click here.


April’s Wine School: Beaujolais

April brought tulips and Beaujolais. Even though I’m super late with this one, I’m still putting it in the blog because wine.

But first let’s talk about tulips. Tulips in the springtime was on the list of reasons why I loved being a Chicagoan. Our mayors spend inordinate amounts of money covering the city in red, yellow, orange, and pinkish-purple cups. So beautiful and totally worth the money, at least in my opinion.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they do that in NYC too. This spring is my first ever here. I came in March once years ago, but it was still kind of cool outside, not really flower blooming weather.

But New York does tulips right. It felt very welcoming to a Chicago girl like me. But to put its own twist on it, there’s also tons of lavender here. If you like the smell of lavender and the sight of tulips, come to Midtown Manhattan in the spring. You’ll be as happy as I was to see April arrive. I still feel that way, even though April was colder than it should’ve been.

Back to Beaujolais. That’s the wine Eric Asimov picked for The New York Times Wine School for April. After surprisingly falling in love with Bordeaux, I didn’t think I had room in my heart for any more new loves.

Since March, whenever it’s available, I order Bordeaux out at a restaurant. It’s so good with any read meat, any hearty starch, and sweet-yet-savory dish, especially if there are berries involved. It’s just freaking delicious in my mouth. The more I drink it, the more I want it.

But March had gone and April arrived. So I bought the Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2011. It was the only one I could find online, and I wasn’t mad that it was also the lowest price.

I have to say, I didn’t love it like I loved the Bordeaux. I’m sure some people welcomed the light flavor, especially if the Bordeaux felt too heavy-handed and lingering. I really tried to drink the Beaujolais as its own wine and not compare… but I couldn’t help it.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it. To me, this is more of a meatball & spaghetti wine, not a steak and potato wine. Just like in March, I drank it over a period of days, trying it with food and alone.

I like the wine the best when I had it with a delicious meal of farfalle pasta with ground turkey and sautéed onions and mushrooms in a tomato sauce. I didn’t really like it alone. I couldn’t pinpoint the fruit I was tasting, but whatever the fruit was had a good taste.

Easy liked the wine more than I did I think. I’m just glad Eric Asimov made it clear that it was okay if you don’t actually like the wines he suggests. It’s all about learning what you like and what you don’t like.

So now I know, when it comes to red wines, I like tannins. Lots and lots of tannins. Anything too fruity or light won’t do. And this makes sense because I remember the first time I tried Merlot. It wasn’t a great Merlot, and it tasted like rancid grape jelly to me. I didn’t try the wine again for years after that.

It’s nice to have a guide that can point to the best versions of whatever I’m going to try. Now I can speak with confidence on my opinion of Beaujolais. And my opinion is: “meh.”


On Attending Wine School in March: Bordeaux

2014-03-23 21.38.08

Last month, I started talking about the series of articles in the New York Times they are calling Wine School. I was pretty excited about participating, and so far it’s been amazing.

Last month was Bordeaux. This month is Beaujolais, which is currently en route to my house for much more than I wanted to pay in shipping. I’m hoping next month’s wine is found locally. Cross your fingers for me.

Before I even get to April’s wine, I have to talk about what an experience March was.

Bordeaux is tannin-ful wine. A quick trip to Wikipedia will tell you about tannins. The short version is drinking something with tannins in it feels like your mouth is dry.

Then they pour sand into your dry mouth.

Then swallowing feels difficult.

Then they add more sand.

Then they let your tongue bake in the sun until it feel like a raisin. Not a juicy raisin though.

Then they add more sand.

At least that’s how I felt with my very first sip of the wine.

But Eric Asimov is a genius and thought to warn lesser-than wine drinkers such as myself to prepare for that reaction.

So I let it happen, and leaned into the feeling. After the sandy moment passed, I felt thirsty, so I took another sip. And another, and another.

At this point, I felt like a character in The Phantom Tollbooth, you know, the one eating subtraction soup, so I stopped drinking and started eating.

I prepared pretty much the exact meal I wanted to prepare to go with this wine. Delicious and mouth-watering red meat really is the perfect accompaniment to this wine.

I used a recipe, also found in the New York Times, for a great skirt steak recipe. I’ve used it again since that first night, and the steak is always flavored perfectly.

Image via nytimes.com

Easy and I had a delicious dinner that night, but honestly, I only liked the wine, I didn’t love it.

When I got home from work the next night, I poured myself another glass.

Things had improved. I went from feeling only dry and nothing else to feeling good.

The wine was now fruity, though I couldn’t tell you which fruit I tasted. It was still dry, but now enjoyably so. I suddenly wanted a hunk of cheese to enjoy with it.

I’m not sure how much wine you should pour into one glass while drinking at home, but we never get more than 4 glasses of wine out of a bottle. That meant with dinner the first night, and my glass the second night, there was one left.

I decided to leave it for the third day.

It was even better the third day. The tannins I was cursing on day one were now good friends. They encouraged me to eat mouth-watering foods that were rich and full of flavor.

And when I finally finished the bottle, it was with regret. I missed it already. There was no way I was buying another bottle of this same wine, the cost was prohibitive for me.

So instead, I dreamed about the wine like a summer-only boyfriend from camp. Wondering if he’d think of me like I would think of him once we were forcibly parted.

I went the next day to my Midtown Manhattan wine guy and had him select another Bordeaux for me to try. I had to try to move on. I was hoping recommended Bordeaux wines were as interchangeable as summer flings

Luckily, the second Bordeaux was also good. Actually it was great. And it confirmed for me that I’m now a Bordeaux drinker, like officially.

So now I’m a Bordeaux drinker. I think it is my favorite red wine for now.

But April is almost over, and I will have to see if this month’s Beaujolais can take the place of Bordeaux. It’s low in tannins though, so the frenemy-turned-best-friend wine ingredient that I have come to love won’t get to play a role in this month’s food drama. I guess we’ll see what happens.


I Can’t Do Nothing Anymore

Recently, my sense of justice has taken a hit. I’m speaking specifically of LGBT rights. I really cannot explain why, but recently their issues have taken precedence over other rights issues in my mind.

I think I got close to the tipping point when I came across an article published on my birthday last year. Michael J. Klarman from Harvard Law School wrote an Op-Ed article entitled Gay Rights May Get It’s Brown v. Board of Education.

I’ve noticed that black people sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction to LGBT civil rights struggles being compared to those of black Americans. The only argument that resonates with me is that under most circumstances, you can’t look at someone and tell they are not heterosexual, but you can’t hide blackness.

There are many fallacies to that argument. Black people don’t always look black. Gay people don’t always blend in. And someone seeking to discriminate usually doesn’t have to search too hard to make it happen.

That being said, the comparison to Brown v. Board of Ed really made sense to me. It was a landmark decision that altered the future of black people in this country. All Michael Klarman was saying is the gay community was on the cusp of getting their version of a Supreme Court ruling of that magnitude. They were on their way to getting a ruling that would alter the future of LGBT people in this country.

At the bottom of the article, it mentions that he wrote a book called From the Closet to the Altar. At the time, I barely noticed that line and moved on with my life and my birthday celebration.

Then around Christmas, there was another article in the New York Times called Utah Ruling Means No Respite for the Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage. They have a quote from Michael Klarman in there. It’s only one sentence, but it stuck with me for some reason and before I even finished reading the article, I went back to his line and read it again.

Then I went to Amazon and bought the Kindle version of his book. I’ve always enjoyed non-fiction as long as it was on a topic I actually cared about, and so I really enjoyed reading this book. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but some part of the book brought tears to my eyes. Some of the people he talks about went through so much and fought so hard, but the fight isn’t over yet.

Also, he mentioned Nate Silver. Nate Silver is basically a rock star in my mind. He’s the most amazing statistician. He was over at the New York Times doing politics, but now he’s at ESPN with his first love, sports. Nate Silver has a model he created that predicts exactly when the states will cross over to 50+% approval of gay marriage. Anybody wanna guess who’s last?

After reading this book, along with the time I spend at the soup kitchen where I volunteer, I have gone from feeling supportive of gay marriage and LGBT rights to feeling even stronger. I want to do something about it. I want to have an active role in improving the lives of people who cannot marry the person they love today. My 2 year anniversary is in 2 days, and there are people who currently live in places where they can’t have that yet.

For years now I’ve donated money to the Human Rights Campaign. I signed up with one of those street volunteers they have out asking people for credit card information and a monthly donation.

Usually I give those people the side eye and keep it stepping, but even though I hadn’t even heard of this organization, their message resonated with me, so I signed up. That was almost five years ago, but it’s not enough anymore

This weekend, HRC is having their annual gala at the Waldorf Astoria. But those tickets are around $500, so that isn’t the way I’ll help either.

I’m going to keep looking for a way to get actively involved with the cause. Something other than buying a t-shirt with a rainbow on it or dancing in the streets during a pride parade. I haven’t done either of those things yet, but I think I will this year. As long as it’s along with something more substantial.

When I think of people defending “traditional marriage,” my feelings are hurt. How could a grown man being in love with another grown man and wanting to make it official for their family and their future be bad?

Heterosexuals aren’t doing a great job with marriage. The divorce rate is awful and when some people are on their third marriage, or getting an annulment because they made a decision to marry after 24 hours, the argument of a rock-solid institution being taken apart by gay marriage doesn’t fly.

Then there are the arguments that the bible is very clear about sodomy being wrong. The bible is very clear about a lot of things, but our interpretation of it over time changes.

For instance, when you sin against your home, do you go to the priest, slit the throat of a young goat, flick the blood of that goat on an altar then rub in on the earlobe of that priest? The bible is very specific about that too.

My point is that quoting one part of the bible as immutable when you eat shellfish, openly disrespect your president, and don’t celebrate three chosen festivals each year is a bit hypocritical.

It’s been hard for me as a Baptist to reconcile how I feel with the teachings of my religion. The church I attend has yet to mention the topic, like at all. The husband loves that church too. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that, but for now, I’m keeping my ears open for any sign of intolerance.

Because I’m a black woman, I know making discrimination go away is frankly impossible. But just because something is hard isn’t a good enough reason not to try.

When I was younger, if I saw an interracial couple, specifically a black man with a white woman, it upset me. I was a teenager at the time, so what the hell life experience did I have to feel so strongly about it? None, that’s what. I’ve dated guys of every race, so I was being such a damn hypocrite.

What changed it for me was moving to an area where there was more interracial couples than other types of couples. After making friends in the checkout line with the hundredth cute biracial kid, I got over myself and my gut reaction to that type of couple. Looking back on it, I feel like such as asshole.

My family raised me to see color, and I’m glad I was. I just wish I wasn’t raised to judge color. Who am I to have an opinion on how someone else lives their life? I keep coming back to that question because that’s the crux of my issue. Who are you to judge? None of us are in a position to judge someone else’s life. If you are living your life and you’re not hurting someone else or making their life worse, live on.

I am at the point where I feel that so strongly, I want to actively stop other people from infringing on other’s happiness.

I was walking down the street to work today and I saw a couple with their children. It was a black man, a white man, and two small children of indeterminate race. I two men were holding hands and making flirty eyes at each other. I noticed a lot about this couple, even down the color coordination of the family’s outerwear.

But you know what I noticed most? Their comfort. I don’t know if they’re married or not. And I don’t care. What I care about is that they are as free to live life openly as the husband and I are. They aren’t hurting anyone. In fact, looking at those two children, I’d say they are helping a lot of people. Those kids were healthy, happy, and full of life.

Any kid would be lucky to belong to that family.

Y’all just give me a few weeks. I’ll be back with a real plan to help make a difference for families like that one. I’m sure there’s some version of this family just waiting for the opportunity to thrive. Maybe they’re in Utah. Maybe they’re somewhere else. This Op-Ed Column I read in the New York Times today by Frank Bruni titled Love, Death, and Sochi reminded me that this isn’t just a domestic problem.

Like so many other stories, I was left feeling frustrated with tears in my eyes. I have to remind myself that as awful as I feel today, there are people who have been in this fight for decades. I have to have strength if I’m going to sustain to help progress move forward.

And strength is something I have no shortage of. I have strength. I have resolve. I have passion. Now, I just need a work assignment.

Google will help me figure it out.

I also have loyalty and confidence.

Pretty soon, I’ll also have a plan.


Waking Up To A New Day

I’ve gone radio silent, it’s true. But I had a good reason. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear about my possible promotion at work. And then there was the campaign. And my dog ate my homework. You know how it goes.

Well, all is well in my house. The husband is off to St. Louis, the land he loves for a quick weekend tour to promote his CD. He loves making travel plans and playing all different venues with his music.

I also have good news for myself. I got the promotion! It’s exciting and potentially overwhelming. In my new job, I’ll still be working in organ and tissue donation. I am switching to working mostly only in the daytime. That will take some adjustment because I’m not generally a morning person. If anything could get me to get my butt up every morning without hesitation, it would be a job I love to go to everyday.

So far, I’ve gotten good support from the folks in my office. I’m hoping it stays that way. If not, you’ll probably notice I never mention work because I don’t want to bash anyone. Let’s just hope I’ll be saying, “work is good,” and moving on from there!

As far as the election goes, I’m happy to report my mother kept her job. She is an elected judge (have I mentioned that before?) and this year was a retention year for her. The people have asked her to stay and she’s happy to oblige. And of course, Obama won. I’m quite happy about that. The husband and I have been making globetrotting plans since we met and we figured we’d have to move up the schedule on a move to London if Romney won. You know, there’s no better way to show your political loyalty than threatening to leave the country if your side loses. [Insert sarcastic face here]

Election was such fun. We had friends over to my parents who just got engaged. We had dinner and a fun little drinking game I made up based on the swing states. Having learned from 2008, the plan wasn’t just to drink every time Obama won. No one wanted alcohol poisoning, so we only had a shot if he won certain combinations of states. There was, of course, beer and wine to supplement while we waited for election results. We popped a bottle of champagne when the official results came in, then turned from MSNBC to FOX news to giggle at their attempts to undermine the results. Nothing like putting negative spin on facts to make them less fact-like.

After the election night fun, it was back to the grind. Settling into my new job has been interesting. Lots more to do, and I’m looking forward to it. It just hit me now while I’m writing this post that I’ve spent no date-like time with the husband in a while. This weekend he’s in St. Louis, last weekend he was on the East Coast. And with my changing schedule, there just hasn’t been time. We’re going to do something about that so we don’t ever slip into complacency. It’s the choices you make everyday people. If we can’t make it happen while it’s just the two of us (plus our crazy cats), we’ll have no hope once we make offspring.

Any good date ideas for me and the husband?


Wish There Were More Hours In The Day

I wish there were more hours in the day. I wish I had time to workout, hang out with the husband, work, keep up the house, and still get 9+ hours of sleep every day. Why can’t days be 30 hrs long?

Okay, okay, I know why. It’s because the Earth would have to be further away from the sun, and then it’d be cold as hell on this planet. So, I suppose 24 hrs will do.

On a happier note, I got through even more of the workout. I spent only about 10 minutes doing my gospel two step and the rest of the time actually doing the cardio routine Tracy Anderson has put together. I’ve officially tried all her nutrient boost week recipes, and they’re good. I officially take back what I said about the diet being crazy. If you take the red meat out of my current diet, change the potatoes to sweet potatoes and make everything un-fried, it’s not that different from what I”m already eating. I think I’ll be keeping the blueberry applesauce, home-made chocolate pudding, and chicken vegetable soup recipes for myself even after I’ve completed the diet plan.

I can get down with a plan that won’t send me into a tailspin the day I finish it. The idea is to stop eating processed foods and to focus on nutrient rich natural foods. Fruits, vegetables, chicken breasts, turkey meat, beans, etc. Nothing from a can. I really can’t wait to try cooking black bean from scratch instead of a can when I start next week’s menu.

On a non-health note, I finally got to spend some time with my friends this past weekend. Although I wasn’t looking forward to going to the wedding with so many details photocopied from my wedding, it was nice to hang out with my friends. I haven’t spent any real time with them since the husband’s birthday party. We hung out at the wedding, the reception, and they came to the husband’s gig at Andy’s later that night.

When you’ve been friends with someone since you were a child, it’s nice to feel the difference in your friendship as an adult. Now when we hang out, we’re going to weddings and then jazz clubs. And we were all tired as hell and in bed by 3:00 am. For people between ages 25-28, I’d say that’s not bad for a Friday night when we all have jobs/husbands/kids.

If I could squeeze one more thing into my day, it would be to make time to watch the Olympics. I haven’t seen a single event. I keep intending to watch it, but I never have time. I wish they would put highlights on Hulu or something. For now, I’ll just keep getting updates on medals won via text from CNN.


Thoughts On A Move To NYC

I love Chicago. I was born and raised here, and except for college, have not spent more than 15 days in a row anywhere else. But I also am enthralled by the excitement and adventure that comes from grabbing life by the balls and stepping into the unknown.

I am blessed to be married to someone who feels very similar to me in that respect. The husband want to move to New York City at some point. I took it one step further and decided that once we were through with NYC, we’d go to Europe. Because I work in organ & tissue donation and he is a musician, we can both work almost anywhere on the planet. That type of mobility leaves me feeling hopeful for our future globetrotting.

One thing that takes my hope and douses it with ice water is a current issue facing New York. No, it’s not the de-criminalizing of marijuana or the ordinance against large drinks chock full of high fructose corn syrup. It’s the stop-and-frisk policy that the NYPD unfortunately still follows.

I’ve been reading several articles over the last several weeks, and they always get me down. I will admit I’ve had a sort of, “it’s not really my issue yet” reaction to the situation. But something about this latest article really gets into my head.

Personal accounts from young black and Latino men really drive home how fucked up this whole policy is.

“The husband and I will be living in NYC. His father is from Honduras and his mother is an African-American. The husband is a young man who will be all over NYC because of his music at all hours of every day and night.”

These horrifying thoughts went through my head. There have been a couple of situations in Chicago in which the husband was stopped by the police and it left a bad taste in his mouth. He’s never carrying drugs, weapons, or open alcohol. He never has anything stolen in his possession. He seldom even resembles someone enough to “fit the description.”

Once we’re in NYC though, it won’t matter. The husband will be stopped and frisked, and if he’s  lucky, he’ll get a wallet sized card with an apology from NYPD saying they “regret any inconvenience.”

That thought has me on a complete What-The-Fuck loop. I can’t believe we’re going to a city where this shit is okay. The New York Times and several other media outlets and public figures are drawing attention to the situation. If 88% of the stops result in nothing except spreading ill will amongst  the minority citizens, why does it continue?!

I can only pray that this mess gets sorted out before we change our address. I’m gonna be on some civil disobedience shit for real if I end up living in a New York City that condones having so many of its people treated this way.


When I Say Supreme, What Comes To Mind?

Do you think of Diana Ross? Only a slim maybe.

I bet you think of all that’s going on with the Supreme Court right now. Maybe you don’t live in America, so the rulings aren’t a huge deal.

But if you live here, and you don’t know, I’m here to help.

They don’t rule on healthcare until tomorrow, Lord help us all.

For Arizona, they kicked in the balls the most egregious part of the law. The part where they can marginalize and detain people merely for looking “illegal”, whatever the hell that meant, is no more. Unfortunately, those they arrest will still be checked for legal status.

They refuse to re-examine campaign finance laws. Big f-ing surprise there. I can’t wait for the day when we actually start paying attention to the finances of certain judges so their “impartiality” can be looked at with truth.

They ruled that some minors sentenced to life can apply for parole. When I think of the sick sociopathic and psychopathic folks that end up with life in prison at age 15, I’m a little worried. But when I think of the poor kids who made his or her life’s biggest mistake and got made an example of, I breathe a little easier. This was a good ruling.

The whole point of this post is so I can say the main reason I hope Obama gets re-elected is so he can name at least one of the next Supreme Court nominees and balance out this mess a little better.


Black, Single, and Female

There is a New York Times article I came across a little over a week ago. It’s from December 20th. In the opinion section, there’s a subsection called Room for Debate. They have a topic up for discussion and then they have some experts offer their opinion.

This topic is started because a black woman is single and says her family and friends treat her like she has some condition that will never improve because the odds are stacked against her. This topic piqued my interest, but not for the normal reasons.

I’m not one of those people who is drawn to “black” issues simply because I’m black. I find myself interested in issues that affect cultures. I’m just as interested in the Jewish diaspora as I am the African diaspora, perhaps even more so because of Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent actions, but I digress.

Back to the black women who are destined to never get married because the odds are stacked against them. Based on my own world, I can say the odds aren’t good. The fiancé and I are having 8 women and 12 men in our wedding party. Only 2 are married, and those are the guys.

5 of the 8 women are in long-term serious relationships that could be headed towards marriage, but there’s no way to know for sure until someone proposes. And we have a boatload of single people at the wedding. In the under 35 range, there’s way more singles than couples.

Perhaps black folk are just waiting until later in life to get married. Perhaps too many black men are in jail, undereducated, under-churched, already fathers, etc. My friends who have really high standards (i.e., wanting a man to match their degrees, earning potential, love for the Lord, lack of parenthood, and good relationships with their mother and father) are painfully single.

I hit the jackpot when the fiancé found me. Even compared the guys my friends are dating, no one’s dating “resumé” looks nearly as good.

But is that what it’s about? Fitting a list of criteria? I don’t know. And I feel like I’m about to be even more out of touch since I’ll only be single for another month.

What do you think is the cause of all this black female singlehood?


Double Giving For Christmas

Alternate post title: How The New York Times Saved My Christmas And My Honeymoon

I read the New York Times Opinion page voraciously. One article I read recently suggested a great gift giving idea. This idea wasn’t novel, but this was the first time I’ve given it serious consideration.

The idea is to give gifts for Christmas that are actually donations made to charities in someone else’s name. I liked the idea for reason both altruistic and selfish.

1) We can really personalize the gifts and spend time searching for the perfect charity that focuses on an area or problem that the giftee really truly cares about. Our families and friends are really very caring people and it won’t be hard to find a charity that covers something near and dear to each of their hearts.

2) The money we’ll spend on charity donations will be far less than whatever we’d spend on actual tangible presents. All that money saved will make sure we can pay for the entirety of our honeymoon. Our joint family is a shitload larger than what either of us had before being engaged, so saving money is honestly a good motivator.

3) We care a lot about the world around us and the fiancé and I have been searching for a way to turn our caring into actual action. Seeking to do volunteer work and/or make a real difference (no matter how small) in the world is something we discuss frequently. This would be a great way to do that.

4) I love giving cards for holidays and a lovely stack of cards would be the perfect way to deliver the news of what we did for everyone’s Christmas gifts. I can imagine personalized cards with our pictures or classic cards with Christmas trees or Christmas angels or something. It will be great!

5) We will be getting tangible gifts for all these people less than two months after Christmas. Most of our family or friends qualify as gift-receivers for their part in our wedding. In particular, our gifts to our parents and the wedding party will be expensive because there’s so damn many of them. I’ve been picking up things here and there, but it’s not enough. There’s a big balloon payment out there looming like an underwater mortgage because I don’t think the fiancé has gotten anything for any of his people. Le sigh.

Of course, we have a number of children to buy actual Christmas gifts for. I can’t imagine anybody in my life under the age of 20 truly understanding and appreciating a gift given to them that’s actually a gift given to someone else. I know our parents’, cousins, friends, etc. will appreciate it though.

I talked with the fiancé about it and he seemed to kind of like the idea. We still have to discuss it further to be sure it’s what we want to do. I imagine he’ll go with it, mostly for reason #2 and #3. I’ll let you know what we come up with.