Talking About a Revolution 

IMG_0094Don’t you know
They’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper…
While they’re standing in the Welfare lines/
Crying at the footsteps of those armies of salvation/
Wasting time in unemployment lines/
Sitting around waiting for a promotion/
Poor people gonna rise up/
And get their share.
c1982. SBK/purple rabbit music

Many folks think that we have come a long ways Baby and that the circumstances of America’s poor, disenfranchised, Not the talented 10th (or the Well heeled 10%) has improved since Tracy Chapman penned this song in the 80s.

I wonder.

Having been a card carrying member of the Movement during the 70s, And a poor person (I was a college student in Los Angeles working 3 part-time jobs, an unwed mother (now pc term Single Mom), a culture seeking, I love My People sistah who volunteered many wee hours growing food, cooking stew , sewing dashikis, teaching reading, tutoring and Workin’ for the People of Watts.

Often in the company of members of the Real Black Panther Party who were laser sharp serious about feeding hungry children in the city of the Angels only a stone’s throw from Holly weird, Shoppers- paradise-Rodeo Drive and right up the road from the Happiest place on earth.

Is it possible that things really do change while remaining the same?

Fast forward to 2016 and the country is immersed in holiday cheer, spending $ like water for a day that is supposed to honor a King/healer/leader/ Teacher and not an obese man in a redsuit.

Uh uh, here she go humbugging Christmas.

Readers, Like many of you, I luv the holidays and all the lights and carols and decorations and eggnog and gift giving/receiving and baking and hosting and TV specials and excitement on the faces of little ones opening their gifts on Christmas eve…

Remember I’m a Boomer and grew up in a Black household modeled after Leave it to Beaver, Father knows Best, and My3Sons. We DID Christmas thoroughly and enjoyed it.

But that does not mean we and America get to take a pass just because it’s the Holidays and the cofers of capitalism need replenishing.

And before you think it..I’m not talking about the seasonal well meaning middle class gestures of throwing some loose change (do they take debit cards now) in the armies of salvation kettles, or buying a pair of socks for the angel tree.

Hunger, Virginia is a 24/7 proposition. Being poor for too many children is a lifestyle handed down from previous generations and like crack, it’s hard to break the cycle.

Like Dredlocked wearing, folk song singing, visionary Tracy Chapman says…
Oh you better run/run/run//run/run …talkin’ bout a Revolution.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good nite!

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B IS FOR BABY BOOMER

 

What happened?  One minute she’s turning out Blogs like a well oiled machine and then BAM! Nothing! Silence where there used to be laughter, songs, shared experiences, reminiscing, poetry, etc. etc. etc.

Such is the nature of a Writer; the ebb and flow of life sometimes takes us away from the Words and then brings us haltingly back again.

I won’t bore you with the details of my absence from these pages except to say Life happened.  And when you are 60+ (as many of you fellow Boomers can attest to) it can be challenging.  No one prepares you to be a Senior…there is no course you can take…(sorry AARP)…it just seems you wake up one day and nature has started taking its course.  And the best laid plans are just that… Plans.

Like working in the dirt (gardening), writing had become my antidote to no longer being a 9 to 5er.  But as with so many endeavors, we often need to pause, step back, take a break and regroup.  And that is what I have been doing.

 Boy, she is the master of roundaboutthebush!  Still aint said WHAT she being doing all these months!

I have been buoyed by those of you who have missed my Words and inquired about when/if I would return to blogging.  And to those of you who have signed on to follow me during the period of my absence, I apologize.

I will say during my absence from the page, I have been musing pretty heavily about what it means to be a Senior.  I moved from my urban townhouse/garden to a Senior community this year and have some real serious questions about whether people of the same age should all be thrown into one living environment.  I will write more about this in the coming months ( a la the horrible, no good Vegas trip Blog) as I consider whether to renew my lease at “The Villa”.  For those of you who saw the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold  Hotel (I and II) and left the theater fantasizing about living with other Boomers…remember that was a movie AND they were in  India (or a Hollywood set).

Health issues, mine and others (family/friends) have found their way into my sphere.  I have watched on the sidelines the past few years as others have succumbed to ravages of age and now it seems it is my turn to dip my toes in this pool.  It certainly does give one pause and challenge those of us who have always been strong of mind, spirit and body.

Changing relationships with parents/siblings/peers/significant others seem to be a hallmark of becoming a Senior.  Again, No one prepares you for this…it just happens it seems and can be daunting to say the least…somewhere between the muck and the mire, I would say.

And of course, the usual concern of the nolongeremployed.  What am I going to do today? Tomorrow?  Many Boomers are so obsessed with doingsomething that they forget they are supposed to enjoy their retirement. Does that include the whopping $5 increase in SS benefits?

Yeah, I have those moments sometimes, but I also have no guilt about spending an entire day binge watching House of Cards, Catfish, All the seasons of Dowtown  Abbey, Love and Hip Hop (New York and Hollywood), Being Mary Jane(future research)…in my pjs surrounded by my snacks of choice. Thank goodness for the Senior discount at Harris Teeter, Kroger,Walgreen..unfortunately the ABC store hasn’t figured out we are one of their most consuming consumers).Now if I can just remember which day they give the damn discount…(must be a test of our fleeting memory).

Many thoughts to share with you in the coming months.  I hope you will once again join me for the Ride! And Thanks for Reading…I’ve missed you!

BRAGGing RIGHTS

Okay, I hope this doesn’t sound like a commercial, but I’ve been spreading the word about the benefits of the Bragg Vinegar drink to my friends near and far, so I’ve decided to share this with you my dear Readers.

If you find yourself tired to the bone, sluggish, out of sorts, dread getting out of the bed, can’t put one foot in front of the other, wish it was Friday when its only Monday, then you need to learn about Bragg Vinegar. This product has been on the market well over 100 years-since 1912-and is the forerunner of the healthy products movement.

I won’t belabor the point here and bore you with the history, but Reader this is a product you need to add to your grocery list Today. Once you have it at home, the simple recipe to make it into a palatable, energizing drink can be found on the back label.

In a glass, stir together One to two teaspoons of Bragg +8 oz filtered water+ honey+ lemon juice, and chug. Take this upon rising, at lunchtime and for those of you who need an afternoon pick up (instead of heading to the office vending machine), down a glass of this drink.

The results are immediate. You will feel lighter, energized, clear headed. I suppose its that action of the unfiltered apple cider vinegar scrubbing your organs and releasing the antioxidants in your blood stream. Since the time of the Egyptians, ACV has been used for its amazing natural cleansing, healing and energizing health qualities.

I started drinking Bragg vinegar back in the 70s during my heady, almost a Black hippie, what sign are you, free your mind days of L.A. I was in my 20s and working three part time jobs And attending Paralegal School. Bragging as we fondly called it back then was at the forefront of the back to nature movement. And any bonafide card carrying member of the natural food/vegetarian/potsmoking movement was slurping this concoction at least 3 times a day.

As a Baby Boomer, the need to eat healthy, exercise, take supplements ( to avoid purchasing one of those lil pink pill box) has become a constant refrain from the media, AARP and Dr. Oz. I have always subscribed to a healthy lifestyle because it was ingrained in me from childhood. Having a grandmother who lived to be 100 plus and who drank vinegar daily and fasted on Fridays was something I took note of early. And while I would occasionally fall off the wagon (I am a Foodie and luv a good Restaurant), that small still voice would always bring me back to reality.

The ravishes of high cholesterol almost brought me to a crashing halt some  years ago when despite my regime of working out daily at 5 a.m in a fight gym (to fight the menopause 10 (pounds that is), before going off to teach a raucous group of middle schoolers, followed by feasting on copious amounts of bbq at the Extra Billy , I had chart topping numbers. No amounts of niacin, garlic, coq10, red yeast rice, policosanol, would bring those LDL number down below 200. I dreaded the thought of taking statins…the commericals listing all the side effects…that followed the glowing pictures of the healthy couple rowing a canoe… were frightening to say the least.

After much prodding by my trusted physician, I did, however, venture into Lipitorland, then Zetialand, then Pravastatinland only to have my body reject each of these manmade concoctions.

Finally, I had an epiphany…hmph wonder if she saw stars.. returned to my senses and embarked on a regime of healthy eating: more vegetables, less meat (Restaurants only once or twice a month), growing my own seasonal vegetables (fat tomatoes ,hot habaneros/jalapenos, crispy kale/collard/spinach, juicy romaine and spicy arugula, topped off with  fresh herbs- oregano, thyme, sage, lemongrass, mint and MORE),  together with exercising 3 times a week at the local Y or daily walking of the dog …you remember Lucky…and a  glass or two of Bragg every day, I was able to reduce those LDL numbers and keep them down.

Now that’s what I call BRAGGing rights. Feel free to comment with your thoughts/experience on BRAGGing and thanks for reading!

IMG_0240-1

HAVING THEIR SAY: Our Grandmothers

Lately, I’ve been thinking about being a Nana ( to 4 grandsons). The announcement by two close Boomer friends ( FH, SS) that they were about to enter Nanaland was the trigger for this contemplation. Like many other Boomers who are now being called Granny, Grandmama, Mima, Abuela, Baba, Nai Nai, Grandmere, Ya Ya, Oma and the super cool hip hop Gmom, my knowledge of this role comes from my interaction with my own Grandmother Rachel.

Grandma Rachel lived to be 100 plus years. No, she didn’t get her picture on the Today show smucker jelly commercial, but she did receive many accolades/awards during her lifetime. Much of it was for service in her NY community and church where she remained active until her later years.

My fondest memories of her were the summers she traveled from the big Apple to Norfolk to make her yearly sojourn down South. A native North Carolinian, Grandma Rachel had made her home in New York, but her roots ran deep in southern soil.

News of her impending visit, would always cause a bustle of activity in our household as my mother supervised our cleaning/polishing/scrubbing activity….girl you better use that comet to clean under that toilet..what you afraid of?

But I knew Grandma Rachel didn’t care about whether the house was spic and span, she just wanted to visit her children and enjoy afternoons on the porch sipping ice cold coke while she braided my long Indian rope hair and reminisced about summertime in Scotland Neck. The memory of those visits can literally turn my frown into a smile and brighten my hectic days.

A few years ago, I reconnected with my 93 year old cousin Mamie who also has fond memories of Grandma Rachel…she called her Mama. The 30 year difference in our age makes the idea of her being my cousin somewhat eyebrow raising to many, but she was in fact my 90 something year old father’s niece…talk about a family tree. Out of respect for her and the significant age difference between us, I always referred to her as Aunt Mamie which seemed more fitting.

Aunt Mamie was a phenomenon. A survivor. A Bible Scholar. A pillar of the community. Loved by many grands, nieces, nephews, blood and non-blood. She was a praying/God fearing/believing Grandma whose hands had seen many days hard work. She raised her own 5 children and those of many others including my brother and I (for one year).

Her melodious voice which often reminded me of someone singing was never without a word of encouragement/praise/forgiveness for those who had the good fortune to be in her presence. She loved a good laugh and often delivered some one liners that were comedian worthy. As the ravages of old age began to invade her body, she remained stalwart believing that her God was always right there delivering her from the pain, the sickness, the dark days. He is worthy to be praised she would sing, smiling that almost ethereal smile. She was a blessing. She was Mima . (Thank you Minnie).

The book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 years by sisters Bessie and Sadie Delany comes to mind when I reflect on these strong women. Their story is a testament to the strength/survival of African Americans. It is also an example of the oral tradition so important in documenting the lives of African American in this country.

For the Delany sisters, their story begins with freedom and ends with an understanding of the importance, not only of their lives, but of all who struggle to comprehend our raison d’etre.

Although the Delany sisters did not experience slavery firsthand, their account in Having Our Say replicates the structure of the slave narrative juxtaposing the slave’s experience with that of eventual freedom. The color issue, ever present in this personal history, impacts the lives of the two sisters with a deafening insistence often found in African American culture, even today.

The opening chapters of the book provide an introduction to the members of the Delany family complete with a description of their physical attributes including color.

People would look at us Delany children and wonder where in the world this bunch came from. We were very different shades from nearly white to brown sugar. I (Sadie) was one of the lighter children and Bessie was browner.

Sadie’s forthright, philosophical approach to the color issues does not, however, reflect the general sentiment of other members of the race. In fact, the acceptance of racial identity is an integral part of the rite of passage of the black female in this society. Her acceptance of racial identity is crucial to survival in a world which is often hostile to people of color.

As we learn more about the personalities of the sisters, we find that Sadie is the calmer, more passive sibling while Bessie struggles with the anger and frustration brought on by dealing with a hostile, color conscious world. Adversity has made Bessie the stronger of the two. She attributes her longevity to meanness and sheer determination. This same attitude/fortitude has made survivors of many of our mothers and grandmothers.

The sisters eventually (like my Grandmother Rachel) left the South and migrated North to Harlem. Bessie continued to battle racism and sexism by gaining admission as the sole black female in Columbia University Dental School. Sadie became her mother’s companion and spent much of her time traveling through the South. The sisters finally made their home in Mt. Vernon, NY where they enjoyed the privileges of the Negro Intelligentsia.

The sisters’ journey ended following the publication of their book…Sadie at 106 and Dr. Bessie at 104. Their memoir remains an important document in American history. It refutes the portrayal so common in history/literature of the black woman as mammy/matriarch/sex object/ or THOT.

The Delany sisters experienced the multifarious damage and distance of class and race in the segregated South and went on to battle the racism and sexism of a Renaissance North. This oral history is a testament to the determination and strength which makes GrandMamas a force to be reckoned with.

Is Fido the “New Black”

IMG_20160106_073831Okay, okay,  let me make myself perfectly clear- I  DO like dogs.  Not the ferocious I wanttoeatyouforbreakfast kind of dogs, but rather the panting, wide eyed, cannot wait for you to return home,  what can I do for you, Master kind of dog.

In fact, I have been the proud owner of several pooches in my 60plus years, as well as the adopted owner of two such canines- Lucky and Harry ( Some of you may remember my Award winning…seriously folks….Blog about daughter Js beloved Lucky who came to visit and never left). It was the Most Read of all my blogs in 2013! And was selected for publication in an online magazine. Certainly, a testament to America’s love affair with fido. ( and possibly my writing skills).

this girl never gets tired of tooting her own horn, does she?

So, why I am proposing that Rover is now the New Black? It all started when I was on an impromptu trip to MYrtle Beach during the frozen tundra winter of 2015. Searching for some sunshine and warmth, I boarded a Greyhound to MB in mid January for what I hoped was a respite from the el nino induced winter weather plaguing the East coast. MB, apparently, is the place where hundreds of Canadian “snowbirds” flock to each year from January to March..an alternative to Florida shores..in search of the Sun.

I thought this woman was Black. What she doing in Myrtle Beach with some Canadians..Hmph!

It was on one of my early morning strolls down the sparsely populated MB beach ( the temperature was a balmy 60 degrees) that I encountered not one, but several men of a certain age taking a similar outing accompanied by a little puffball at their heels, or in their arms, or in one instance strapped to his chest in a dog carrier.

Each of these older gentlemen seemed in some state of other world bliss as they walked fido stopping to offer encouragement, bag poop, or feed a perfect sized treat to their small companion. After day 3 of observing this ritual on the beach, in the mall, down deserted side streets, it occurred to me that something was missing! Where was the gentleman’s spouse, girlfriend, better half, or even sidepiece?

Being the inquisitive, never miss an opportunity to talk to a stranger kind of person, I posed this query to one of these happy go lucky dog walkers. The answer? Wait for it…Wait for it. There was none! She (or he) had been replaced by Fido.

I told you something was wrong with this girl..how can a dog replace a girlfriend…she done had too much Sun down there in MB!

As a person who likes to shore up her observations with evidence, I began to pay closer attention to men (and women) in my age group who were partner-less, but ..aha..had a relationship with a canine.

I will proffer the ‘One Who Remains Unnamed’ as my final piece of evidence. ( Many of you remember him from my Vegas adventure which was the catalyst for my first Blog). His ongoing relationship for the past 10 years with a Pomeranian named Marley exemplifies the point I am trying to make.

Not only has this  6 pound ball of black fur become the source of his constant attention, recipient of specially prepared meals, purveyor of expensive treats..when did dogs start eating duck jerky.. a place at the foot or side of his bed,  or constant admonitions by said dog owner to me:  Hon, I got to go home and see my dog…that movie/dinner/flat tire..whatever.. Will have to wait!

Huh? Reader, do you get my point? And no,  I am not jealous of a dog. I just believe all God’s creatures have a place in this life. That humans were made for each other’s companionship, misery or whatever.

So have we taken this dog thing too far?  Is having a relationship with another human too taxing, too much work, a relic of the past?

I believe a dog Can be man’s best friend..but best girlfriend??

Oh well, time to go watch some Reality TV. Until the next time.

 

 

technophobia:a 21st century disorder

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Look familiar? These are the ravages of a 21st century disorder!

Hi, I’m Linda. I am a Baby Boomer.  I am not afraid of Technology.

In fact, I was the first on my block (back in the 80s) to have a MAC desktop courtesy of my employer. And despite my title as a teacher of English, I ran the computer lab and became the unofficial fixer of all problems MAC and otherwise.

Through the years, I graduated from MAC and became a PC user (Higher education folks looked down on us MAC users). I even became a proud member of Blackboard club and successfully taught freshman English to someone. ( Never sure who the students were since they could easily sit in their basement, blowing smoke and pretending to be on my roster).

Recently, I even enrolled in an online course and literally taught myself. Glad I didn’t have to pay for that travesty, but  it is one of the perks of living to be a ‘senior’. I digress.

Beyond the computer, I have owned a number of smart phones, tablets, and my most recent toys- Bluetooth keyboard and headphones.  My point Reader, is that I am not a novice when it comes to technology.  And as further evidence, you’re reading a Blog which I singlehandedly setup on this site. With only 2 consults to the ‘help’ button.

My technology concerns however, are not my own but rather global ones. Because, you see, I fear that we have gotten ourselves in somewhat of a pickle with this whole computer driven society.

For example, I was one of those ( former) hard working government workers who received notification that my security information had been hacked and all my personal information (including my SS#) was floating around in cyberspace.  The government’s response to this travesty was to provide all hackees with free identity theft services for a few years.

After spending several hours online providing the id theft fixit people with more of my personal info, it occurred to me what happens if they get hacked…what then?  And in fact, after I was awarded with a user name and a strong verified password by said id theft fixit company, I attempted to  log onto my account  only to find that my user name and/or password was not correct. Denied access to my own protection site..hmm..is that  like the pot calling the kettle black?

After several torturous hours of waiting on the phone for a customer service rep from the id fixit company, I was told someone would have to call me back as they were overwhelmed with other government employees seeking “the answer.”

Two whole days later, Jenny did call me back. But alas, I was cruising down the road and couldn’t talk to her. She hurriedly stated that it would be some time before I would get another crack at a rep so I pulled over to a parking lot and engaged in what turned out to be a fruitless foray into notgettingwhatyouaskedfor.

And despite her assurances, that everything was now fixed, when I returned home and attempted to log onto my id protection site, I was still denied access.

Despite all of this, Reader, like many of you,  I unfortunately drank the kool aid and continue to participate in using plastic for money, paying Peter and Paul online, shopping at the 24 hour Amazonia, and downloading movies/music  when the spirit moves me. I just pray the Hackers are gentle.

Blogging Again…

Well readers, it has been a minute since I last sat in front of this blinking cursor. Let’s just say like my grandma used to say, God required me to ‘sit down’ for a minute.

The genesis for this came in the form of a rear end accident that occurred almost 2 years ago while I was parked at the local post office…yes, I believe in snail mail…even have all my hate mail/bills directed to a PO box that I check periodically.

I had just left said establishment and was sitting in my car perusing the latest edicts from AARP…10 Best Places to Retire (if you have money, of course) when a loud boom followed by a forceful slamming of my venerable ’99 vehicle assaulted my body.

The perpetrator of this action was a delivery van backing into my unmoving vehicle (I did say I was parked didn’t I?) at a rather high speed for said parking lot. I saw the lady parked next to me running from her car with a look of fear on her face and because of the times we live in assumed it was some type of attack being rained down on said  PO…maybe a worker gone postal even…outside of the building.

Or perhaps, it was some type of random assault in which I was the starring victim. But imagination aside, it turned out to be an errant driver-in-a-hurry  whose actions turned me into an “accident victim” resulting in long hours lying on heating pads, mildly addicting pain meds and muscle relaxants, endless visits to physical agony (oops) therapy sessions and even a deja vue experience standing in a courtroom pleading my case to an understanding judge.

The legal wrangling alone is worth a Blog, but I was warned by my legal mouthpiece to refrain from discussing my case while it was pending.  And it is now just a mere 2 years later that this ‘case’ has been resolved and I am able to find my voice again.

did she just say that she hasn’t written a blog in almost 2 years because she had a court case pending? girl please…

Well, reader, I wish I could say I was “richer and wiser” because of the experience.  What I can say is that my 65 year old neck/ back will never be the same again and I think I have PTSD for the Post Office.  So much in fact that I just signed up online to pay my yearly PO box fee. Now, if I could figure out how to get them to mail me the contents of my always bulging box. Hmm, that might be a way to save snail mail.

Well, it’s approaching daylight….no, my insomnia has not disappeared…and I will bid adieu to you.  I hope that you will allow me to visit your inbox sometimes when my creative juices are flowing.  As always, I look forward to your comments. What is a writer without a reader.

But guys, be kind, like Ericka Badu said…I’m an artist and sensitive about my ****.

Happy Holidays!