The “Precious”

 


I can hear the  soft hum my machine makes while polishing some of my stones. My daughter and I recently went through my stash, as  I was was heading in the direction of a  hoarder. There she sat going through “rock” after “rock” insisting that I de-stash at least some of my little “precious”. I sort of fiddle around with a little bit of silversmithing for myself from time to time. I love stones, crystals, fossils. It amazes me how unique and beautiful each one is.

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nicer stones in various stages before mount

This desire to work with this material started kind of innocently as I sat and watched one of the female characters of an early Star Trek series adorn her neck with raw dilithium crystals. Those same crystals provided an emergency power source for the Star Ship Enterprise.

 simpler stones converted to ponytail holders

simpler stones converted to ponytail holders and tool charms

Back in those days I loved all of the Star Trek series. I loved the costumes, the aliens the diferent worlds, but most of all I loved the beautiful intelligent, sexy, feminine female characters. Who can forget communications officer Lt Uhura aptly named for uhuru is swahilli meaning freedom.

Lt Uhura played by Nichelle Nichols- http://www.startrek.com/database_article/nicholsnichelle

Lt Uhura played by Nichelle Nichols
www.startrek.com/database_article/nicholsnichelle

 or Fenna, Nidell’s ethereal manifestation that stole the heart of the debonair Captain Sisko. 

DS9 (Deep Space 9) episode 2-9 “Second Sight.” Captain Sisko played by Avery Brooks and Fenna played by Salli Elise Richardson.

I loved Fenna’s hair. It reminded me of an updated Lady Godiva.

 Fenna from DS9 (Deep Space 9) episode 2-9 "Second Sight." played by Salli Elise Richardson.


Fenna from DS9 (Deep Space 9) episode 2-9 “Second Sight.” played by Salli Elise Richardson.

fenna back 4

As much as some would like to poo poo the importance of hair in our culture and globally, it still is and will always be our crown and an expression of our beauty.
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Adorn pomade added to seal in moisture. Easy 10 minute up do highlighting our hair ties available in the store with  hair pins to follow.
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Create this style by dividing the hair into three horizontal sections. The top section is a loosely pinned boufount top knot. The mid section is a Samurai bun and the lowest section hangs loose. Try it straight, wavy, or curly in loc-ked or loose hair.

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

 

 

Things girls shouldn’t do

Junk to scale.

Junk to scale.

Fifteen or so years ago (boy am I getting old) I had dreams of owning a recycling business. Reusing old scrap metals wasn’t quite as fashionable here in the midwest and neither was the idea of women driving dump trucks. Back in the day, my dad was part owner in a demolition business. I can remember going to a job site after many days of begging and pleading. You see, little girls didn’t do such things like exploring old factories. I remember one particular building we explored was an old laundry factory. It stood about three stories tall. Inside was slide that spiraled from the top floor to the ground floor about 30 feet high. Oh and I forgot to mention the fireman’s type pole. That was before OSHA and of course no one told mama.

So a couple of weeks ago I was called to recycling duty….or should I say Fred Sandford duty. How and why….just know I did. Yes, I drove a loud pick up truck to what used to be called a junk yard but what is now a recycling center. If I were single, suffice it to say there were plenty of  helpful guys, business owners, driving expensive rigs, but I digress….I saw all sorts of big boy tonka trucks, tractors, rail cars, chippers,

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Gotta keep it cute! Check them out, in the store.

etc.  The recycling centers are big business. Our recyclable metals are taken to the centers, sorted, chipped, sold to China for pennies on the dollar, while China refabricates our junk and sells it back to us.  Hmm. Just thinking.

The trip to the junk yard brought back old memories….and what ifs…

Big boy/girl toys

Big boy/girl toys

Junk pre sorted and pre- chipped.

Junk pre sorted and pre- chipped.

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Metals now sorted, chipped loaded on rail cars to be shipped to China.

Mom's drafted for the cause wearing her recycle Eath Day tee.

Mom’s drafted for the cause.

More big boy/girl toys.

More big boy/girl toys.

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.

 Flexinmycomplexion

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.

 

ad.jpghttp://41.media.tumblr.com/a53c4701bf4fc326cb6615170056bdd6/tumblr_mwsnebDGAr1r5yu4bo1_1280.jpghttp://gospelconnoisseur.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/LA-Fashion-Week-Spring-2010-Louver-Runway-15.jpg

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

Paying it Forward

One day while checking my facebook (which I know I do more than I should) I noticed a post about the latest twitter war between rappers. So I had to google it. For the next 20 -30 minutes I read about the major players, their history, what lead to the dispute, other people connected to both of them, and response from every other blogger and journalist that had an opinion on the quality and tenor on the resulting diss tracks. Then I happily shared that information with my husband who nodded politely while going on with his day. At that moment I felt convicted. I know, being and adult means you can have an opinion on the latest “it” bag and civil rights. I think most will agree that anyone with very strong convictions, and no knowledge of pop culture is a bit extreme.

But today articles came up on my phone about the lack of teachers, and an abundance of abandoned homes in my city, and the first of a long season of presidential debates. So in addition to clicking on the latest videos of people doing “the Quan” I’m also trying to find out where Habitat for Humanity is building next and becoming a foster family. Just my small way of “paying it forward”.

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

Living to His Glory

I stopped for a moment to try and keep the sweat from dripping completely in my eye. There it was, a perfectly round drop precariously dangling from my lashes. It’s not quite 7 am, but I’ve been out pulling weeds from my neglected flower beds.  In between the sweat, humidity, unusual rain showers,  and heat of  a  typical St. Louis summer, I’m dodging fuzzy bumble bees and dragon flies as they harvest my garden.  FlowersJust as I was about to finish up, out of the corner of my eye   I spied the familiar sort of side gate topped off by four white fuzzy paws and a gray beard. He is in high spirits as he loudly proclaims to the fellow hounds in the neighborhood “Where my dogs at!”

Duffy

Duffy, the pooch in question, is a 14 year old miniature schnauzer with a pup’s energy and attitude. What’s so amazing about this little fellow is about 5 weeks ago he was attacked and received injuries so severe the vets were counseling me on “putting him to sleep.”  Suffice it to say I said no, and in less than a week Duffy was ready to go and they were glad to be rid of him. The dogs, animals, the rumbly bumbly bumble bees I watched this morning, all living their lives doing what only they were meant to do.

Nappylocs style Dreadlock style