Negro, colored, Black, kinky, nappy, curly or coily

There I was sitting at my mom’s kitchen table going through some of my dad’s old coins and tokens. The metallic discs were spread out on a crisp white laminate table with a sea-foam green boomerang design. Dad had amassed quite a collection of coins from all parts of the world. No, he wasn’t a world traveler, but being on the demolition side of construction allowed him gather many interesting artifacts. I currently had in my hand a brass coin that read “Copper Clad Crank Club.” In the middle on the face of the coin a guy dressed in armor stands squarely on a swastika.Copper clad On the flip side of the coin two more swastikas and a four leaf clover. Did this belong to some secret Irish Nazi group? Hmmm.Copper Clad coin
After a little research I found out that Copper Clad was a pre-Hitler stove company and the swastika was a sign for good luck. Wow!
Then my mind started to wonder and reflect on how the word black lost it’s derogatory meaning in regards to my skin. As a kid I remember it being especially cool to be Black and proud.

 

Now, everyone wants to be in the black (financially) and women everywhere  desire to have at least one fabulous little black dress. Lena Horn in that little black dress

In the same way that we adopted and embraced being called black, the word Nappy is embraced to describe the coily spirals that are the identical to the DNA strands that define man.

 

Isn’t it wonderful that the first humans wore on their head a replica of all humanity?  two generations

Happy Easter!

I started sewing about two years ago. I was pregnant with my third son, and having a hard time getting around. I was mostly limited to sitting. Not washing baby clothes, not preparing the nursery, just sitting. I figured, at least if I was sewing something for me or my new baby I could feel like I was getting ready. So what started out of boredom became a full blown passion. Dresses, jeans, a blanket, bean bag chairs, and my new favorite winter coat, almost everything I wear, I’ve made.

In my heart though, a new boredom crept in. I can only make myself so many things. I tried making some things for my (3) boys, but it’s hard to convince a 4 year old that basket ball shorts and an over-sized superman t-shirt aren’t considered “haute-couture”. I am a little jealous of the moms out there with their daughters all decked out in floral leggings and ruffles. If I were blessed with a 4th child, odds are good it would be another chubby cheeked boy.
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Beyond khaki’s and a button down, the small selection in stores leaves much to be desired.
Even though I don’t have a baby girl, I know several people who do. So I sat down at my sewing machine to have fun and make something special for my cousin for Easter. I had some beautiful wax print fabric and in about 2 days, I had a matching set for three adorable sisters. I think they are the cutest ever.
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Mink, boots, and a snow shovel

Hey. I know I’ve been missing in action  for some months now. I’ve had plenty of life changes and challenges in the last few months,  the most  notable being my dad’s passing. I was privileged to be there when he transitioned on and I thank God for providing an example of loving parents in my life.
Today is a special day. It is the day of love, February 14th. While thinking about some of the plans that I have scheduled, today I had a chance to reflect on how the love shown and given to me has influenced the  person I am today.

I love vintage!

I love vintage!

While we normally share flowers and candy and sweet things with our  mates, I find myself listening to the chorus of  voices of those that constantly told me ” you can do it!” when the  challenges came. So yes I can rip out that bathroom down to the studs, I can change over my HVAC system from summer to winter, and I can patch, paint, sand, and refinish any and every project I put my mind to, while caring for my kids.

Just a little rose colored bling!

Just a little rose colored bling!

I hope that today you guys are being built up and filled with love to strengthen you for the challenges you face. A little  snow, no problem.  Let me grab my coat, shovel and boots then add a few  pins just to make it look pretty.

All done and stamped with approval!

All done and stamped with approval!

Biscuits

In my earliest memory, I was standing on my tip toes, trying my best to watch my mom cooking on our 70’s green counter-top. I remember being excited, hoping to sneak a taste of the cake she was making.

mom

Growing up, food was one of the ways she loved on us, so it follows that it’s one of the ways I love on my family. One thing she did always biscuits almost every Saturday morning. Not from a can, or even a mix, but made from scratch. So I had to figure out how to do it myself. There’s always a learning curve, and my family will attest that not every casserole, cookie, or crock pot recipe I find on Pinterest is a hit. But I can do biscuits with the best of them.

biscuits

Tip: if you are looking for a good recipe, I like this one but I add 1/2 cup of shortening or butter.

Making Memories

When I got pregnant with our first child, my husband and I started talking about what kind of traditions we wanted to start. As DINKs, (Dual Income, No Kids) we had no traditions. We pretty much did whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. But now I love that we have several. We have donuts most Saturday mornings, go to the park Sunday afternoons after church, and every fall we take a big family trip to an orchard out in the country. It’s kind of a big deal.

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We try and meet up with my husband’s family for breakfast, then drive a winding country road lined with trees in beautiful fall colors to our destination. The boys feed some goats and llamas and marvel at the colors on the exotic chickens. Before we go we ride the little train that goes around the apple orchard, down the ravine, past the pumpkin patch and back up by the pony ride.

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I’m not a country girl by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s just something about sitting on a hay bale listening to live folk music as a gentle breeze makes the gold and crimson trees dance with the tune. I sit with a hot cup of apple cider as the steam wafts notes of honey and cinnamon in the crisp fall air. We always leave with apples, maybe a pumpkin or two, and tons of great memories.DSC_0688

 

 

Hue

Yesterday I sat down with a new fashion magazine and I was reminded of when I was a little girl flipping through my mom’s copies of Essence. On occasion when her stack got too thick, my mom would bring home a couple poster boards and my brothers and I would go through and cut out all of the beautiful chocolate men and women that we liked and taped them on that board. By the time we were done every square inch would be covered in all the many shades and features of beautiful black people. As a child it was natural. Why wouldn’t everyone make a beautiful collage, what else were they doing at home? As an adult I realize the wisdom and beauty in our little craft project.

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I don’t know if you’ve seen the documentary  Dark Girls on Netflix, but it’s worth looking at. Growing up in rural Tennessee, the only time I wasn’t the “fly in the buttermilk” was Sundays at church, but I never saw myself as less than because of my skin color. So for all of you out there that could use an extra dose, we are all runway ready, drop dead gorgeous in whatever hue we are.

 

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A Bit of My Legacy

Some of you guys live in the most wonderful places. I remember as a kid being fascinated by elves, dwarves and fairies in the enchanted forest. You know the familiar story lines of little girls and boys taking a passage through the woods to get more quickly from point A to point B. Well this summer I had an opportunity to walk a trail as beautiful and lush as those in fairy land.

Lake 22

Lake 22

Hiking near lake 22

First let me say I have a fear of heights and I don’t like narrow trails. Especially, those where one side is a vertical mountain wall and the other side of the narrow path is a shear drop. When I first stepped onto the path the sounds of the city were ushered out only to be broken by the gentle sounds of water and the occassional singing of birds. It’s hard to describe but in this particular set of woods I felt as though I was being hugged and loved as I was greeted by the heavy fragrance of fresh pine. I had entered the enchanted forest were the pine trees were mighty and the fallen were covered with with thick moss and brillant fungi and lush ferns. It’s indescribable.I love you Seattle…. Lake 22….. I’m not saying I made it all the way up to the top….but it was beautiful none the less.

Hiking near lake 22

Hiking near lake 22

What made it more special was to see one of my favorite endeavors being passed on and made better. Other than the creator, my family gets my best. It seems my love of nature was passed on to me by granny Rena and so it continues….

My Son

My Son

Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier

Nerds

It’s about 7 when we pull up alongside of a road cut that I’ve been eyeing for the last few weeks. I had conscripted my conspirator in the dastardly deed into collecting some rock samples this Saturday morn. We, or should I say he, grabbed  about 20 good sized rocks and we scurried home. It’s hot  and sticky and here I am bent over with a hammer and a makeshift chisel splitting rocks searching for fossils. So far not one, I was just about to give up. I picked up my last rock, carefully looking for seams. I placed my screwdriver along the seam and stuck the head hard enough to separate but not cause it to crumble. The rock split perfectly. No fossils, but instead the gray stones interior revealed an unexpected iron oxide deposits with dendrites that reminded me of those beautiful sonoran desert scenes.  Instant nerdgasm.

If you know what a road cut is, you, my friend, are a nerd.
 
 Do you have a budding nerd in your circle of influence? Is there some special ability or talent that you can cultivate and pass on to the next generation? Start with something simple.
When my kids were very young, we would ride up to one of our favorite spots, Greasy Creek, and collect everything from rocks, crayfish, newts, fish, you name it. From there it blossomed to “speriments” in jars in the bathroom,  model rockets, building telescopes, electric cars, flying cars and on and on. Every summer I’d buy workbooks and paperback classical novels, and some new “speriment” to try. We weren’t rich, just average, so back then at least  a fancy  pair of sneakers and cable bill could pay for a lesson or two and even a summer’s  project.
Though I’m no numismatist, geologist,  nor ornithologist I enjoy sharing these light hobbies with my budding grand nerds.
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Healthy Air

I know you have all seen the articles encouraging us to share our space with house plants. Those stories typically stay by listing all the reasons for poor air quality and resulting health hazards then recommends one large plant per room.  The first thing I do when I come across these stories is replace my overdue furnace filter, but on this day I happened to walk by the house plants and these two little guys spoke to me.

Green Plant Purple plant

Well, I’m not a green thumb, as my husband will gladly point out. But I grew up in a house filled with plants larger and older than my brothers and me, so I’ve tried with mixed results. We will see how well I do keeping them going.

Braided Dreadlock Updo

For the Fathers

For the last six weeks like many of you I’ve been riveted as we watch our nation go through this season of growing pains. I don’t know about you but for me everything is off, I’m behind in my gardening, I missed my Mothers Day post, Memorial Day celebrations have come and gone, and now Father’s Day is upon us. In a way, in this season of change is much like the spring weather here in the midwest. I’ve witness lightening while snowing, snow at easter, extreme heat, tornados, and gentle rains. But here in the MO and particularly in the land of the “big canoe” or  the “show me state” after the storm we are witnessing change and hopefully peace that comes after the storm.

This Memorial Day season I find myself reflecting back on the images I experienced as a little girl riding in the back of my dad’s old cadillac, undulating along those 2 lane highways of southern MO, Memphis, ending in Clarksdale Miss. That was in the early 60’s. I can remember as a small girl listening with my grandma on her radio and hearing the voices of King and Kennedy, but I digress…
I’ve been very fortunate, no blessed by having strong and powerful male influences as a kid. I’m not saying that I’ve arrived, heck no, but I’d just like to take a second and honor my dad. He was the son of a sharecropper, with barely an “8th grade education.” I can remember him going back to night school, working six days a week doing back breaking labor in demolition and in  steel sometimes working two jobs to feed his family. He often told us that he could teach us to work hard with our hands but he wanted us go to school and work hard with our minds. My dad had dirty jobs back in the day, when there was no OSHA. He is a man’s  MAN.
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I know some of you are doing double duty, this is not a slight against you. I’d just like to give props to the dads, the men and the fellas that are holding it down for their love one’s and making the little ones like me “daddy’s girl” or boy, or niece, or nephew, or cousin or friend…..