Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Southern Vacation

This weekend was a weekend of discovery.

The first thing I learned this weekend is that white folks in the South weren't afraid to steal land. My mother's family, as well as other African Americans owned land that was taken from them and turned into a spillway. You can find the story behind this
here. (Stanley Riley is, in fact, a distant relative of mine.) My family is among the many that have yet to collect. This is a story that I knew about. What I did not know is that my great-great-grandfather, a Frenchman by the name of Ducongeaux, owned a large plot of land that spanned from Dauphine St. to the Mississippi River. The Ritz Carlton New Orleans marks the start of the property. Upon his death, the deeds were "lost" and his black wife and family driven from their home. Gotta love the US.

"Foxy" aka Grandma is doing much better than she was. She was so excited to see me. I know this is shocking, but I'm the spicy grandchild. She also digs the fact that I call her Foxy. It's well deserved though. Prior to her illness, I wouldn't have put her past 60-65. On top of that, Foxy's wardrobe ain't no joke. I discovered that she's turning 78 soon. Go Granny! I'm so glad that I saw her this weekend and I will call and visit her more.

The second thing I learned is that the time I can spend with my sisters before having to crush the desire to suffocate each and every one of them in their sleep is very, very small. I wanted to smack each of them with a back of "shutdafuckup". I love them dearly and if anyone else were to say such things about them, they would be handily pummelled on site. But to say that absence makes the heart grow fonder is an understatement.

My dad is recovering quite nicely from his cancer treatment and he's going to be starting school in the near future. My step-mother will also be graduating soon with a degree in, uh, something or another. I just know that it was important for her to finish so, go Step-mom!

No trip home is complete without some ignance. Evidently, the wife of the ex is bothered by my existence. There was some hullaballou abou tme being "at her house." This consists of me being parked in front of her house while my 4 year old retrieved a jacket that she should NEVER have been allowed to leave the house without in the first place. When my kids walked out the house, she slammed the door like somebody crazy? What the hell? Simply because I try to do something about my appearance and she looks like a fat man rode her to glory face first, is that my fault? That's DNA. Get mad at ya mama.

I had the opportunity to visit the best spa in the world. Belladonna is, colloquially, what we refer to as "The Shit". I literally fell asleep during my facial. And I don't mean polite sleep either. I mean borderline drool sleep. I mean the drool was "peeking at the door". But a sister is SPARKLING right about now. A sister is "no makeup" sparkling. I'll try not to hurt anybody...but I offer no promises.

I also visited a bonafide hole-in-the-wall juke joint. That shit is hilarious. Little Milton and Koko Taylor all night long. If you go to a juke joint, you can get "right" off $10...$20 will get you straight twisted. However, the men of these places are used to seeing "women" as opposed to "ladies". Therefore, me and my girls were looking like movie stars when compared to the sister whose back looked like a busted pack of store brand biscuits. The open face gold teeth and jheri curls were in full effect. Then they had a bunch of brothers that looked like they had just bought all of their outfits off the back of a truck that very evening. The entire night was a study in comedy, however, when the man walked in looking like a pimp Uncle Ben, we knew it was time to bounce.

I considered driving past my old home to see what things looked like, but I really had no stomach for it. Though the city is not desolate, there is still ample evidence of what Katrina did. Traffic signs are turned around, stop signs are completely gone, there's pile after pile of bricks from buildings that crumbled, and this is what I saw in populated areas. I couldn't bring myself to see what my hood looked like.

I guess it can be said that I feel like Maryland is my "home" now. By Monday, I was ready to be in my own bed with my, ahem, electronic device. I'm starting to feel like this move was a great idea.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Revisiting an issue

I enjoy surfing my own blog. I like to make fun of my typos or just generally see where my mind was at that point in time. Of course, I also like to check out my comments as well. Therefore, I don't know how in the world I missed he following comment related to my August 15, 2005 blog post about the Willie Lynch letter:

Breez you should know and understand the comment you made about the "Willie Lynch" letter is exactly what the European-American male want to here. If you read further on in your life, you find that it is the women of color that possess your like minded opinion.

For the most part, more African men were torchered and murdered than African women. The slave owners needed the women to releave them of their sexual desires when their women were pregnant, on their cycles, were waiting to be wed or simply did not want to perform their wifely duties. Or is this something you don't care to read about, remember or even discuss, because either you choose to deny the event or you are one of those women of color who choose and perfer the European man anyway.

Which one is it? Being from New Orleans, it is a known fact the most of those African-Americans are mixed with a little of everything. Am I correct?

Huh? Because I don't believe in a document that no one has ever seen, I'm buck dancing for Mr. Cholly? Stop.

In slavery, was the splintering of the African family, and ultimately the African sense of community, through some of the most heinous means imaginable a tactic used by slave masters? Definitely. But I never once disputed that. What I disputed was the authenticity of this document. I believe that we, as black people, rather than regurgitating everything that comes across us via email, should stop and deal with FACTS. Since the European American man wants me to believe that Willie Lynch is fake, why hasn't the African American man not put it in his museums? Since its "discovery", the document has not been displayed anywhere. I wonder why that is? I will state for the record that if ANYONE can tell me where I can go to actually see the document, I will happily admit that I'm wrong.

However, rather than focusing on the actual issue,
Yvonne (who is seemingly lacking a blog of her own) felt obligated to insult me because she doesn't agree. Okay...we can go there. If you want to believe in the letter, fine. For me, there are far too many verified and documented accounts of slavery to refer to. I maintain that putting so much weight into a fictitious document is not even remotely productive.

As far as your disparaging remarks regarding the racial heritage of many New Orleanians, that merely highlighted how small minded you are. Yes. My grandmother is a Creole woman. My grandfather was a Creole man. My grandmother on my other side identified both with her African and her Native American heritage. So? We are beautiful black people. I can speak for myself and my family in saying that we have ALWAYS identified ourselves as black people. News flash. In this day and age, African-Americans EVERYWHERE are usually mixed with a little bit of everything. Remember that slavery thing you were talking about? Yeah, that's a result of that. Stupidity really isn't a good look for the season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Chitter chatter

For those of you that find my blog addictive, think that I'm cute, or maybe just too looney to ignore, you can OD on me here. Even though I think 360 is kinda gay, I'm a motormouth and I love to be heard. Ah well.

Yesterday on my 360 blog, I griped about people being increasingly one-dimensional. However, after doing some surfing I believe some people should just stick with what they know. Good grief.

I need to keep a pen and paper in the bathroom. I get some of my best blog ideas in the shower. Unfortunately, by the time I get to work, I either forget about them or the fragments that I do remember aren't nearly as amusing as when I was brain storming. One might argue that indicates the idea wasn't that amusing to begin with. . .Nah, that couldn't be it.

I'm going home this weekend. For the first time actually. First I have to stop in Shreveport to see my grandmother. She's been in the hospital for two weeks and I just found out about it the other day. I'm also going to visit my babies that I haven't seen since October 1!! I miss those bobble-headed creatures.

I'm sure I'm not the only person that thought Richard Pryor was just always going to be around. From what I understand though, MS is excruciatingly painful, so if there's any joy to this, it's that he's not suffering anymore.

What's up with people saying "thongs". As in, "I'm wearing thongs." Okay, here's my thing, if you're broadcasting your underwear, cool. It's whatever. However, if you're wearing more than one, that's a little weird. It's a THONG. If you have that much ass that you require two, well, frankly that's another blog topic altogether. One thong thong.

Remember the days of yore? The good old days when, if you wanted to be a spokesperson, you had to know how to speak? What is this new crack that Proactiv is smoking? Diddy or whatever the hell his ambiguously gay ass is named these days? I'm sitting there like, "Did this muthfucka say 'moisturize my situation', 'preserve my sexy' and, my favorite, 'I jus' ain't want no bumps in my face'??" Wow...heavy. This begs the question, what sexy is he preserving? Ew. If 50 starts pushing Invisalign, cremate me on the spot.

I knew that I was going to miss the drive thru daiquiri spot (wimpy ass Maryland), but I didn't know how much. Not only do they not sell liquor after 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, but in Montgomery county, you need to follow the fucking North Star to find a liquor store. What is this madness? I'm used to stores that say "Beer, Wine & Liquor", not just "Beer & Wine". What's the point of that?

Isn't kissing great? And I don't mean the tongue fucking grope fests that people call kissing these days. I'm talking about real honest to goodness kissing. Where you're vibing with someone and you just sort of fall into them and get that "yeah, this is what it's about" feeling. There are a lot of things in this world that you can fake (or attempt to fake), but a good kiss is not one of them.

Why do people say that they've made a 360 degree turn? Wouldn't that indicate you've gone back to past behavior?

The terms "haters" and "grown and sexy" have officially become overused. Let it go.

I embrace my inner punk. In high school when the other brawds were changing into miniskirts and midriffs, I was changing into ripped jeans and Sex Pistols t-shirts. Piercing my lip and having pink hair was my sole mission in life. (I did the hair, but not the lip. I decided my luscious soup coolers could stand on their own.)

Can I state for the record that I miss New Orleans po'boys...BUT HOT DAMN if Potbelly's don't make a mean sammich.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blues for a Tropical Negro

This week has been something else. It started out with me going to Ikea (AKA Satan's Furniture Emporium). Everyone told me how inexpensive Ikea is. Nobody told me that it's because they work the fuck out of their customers. Though I'd rather chew my foot off than buy one of their ugly ass sofas, their kids' bedroom furniture is pretty cute, so I got the munchkins' bedroom needs out the way. HOWEVER, I'm a 5'5 woman, therefore, picking up a bedframe is NOT happening in this camp. So I asked one of the guys to help me. Am I the only person that gets annoyed when, after asking a store rep for help, they look at you like you asked them to fuck their mother?
After finally getting my stuff then had to lug it over to home delivery. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an EXTREMELY painful procedure. See, they've already gotten your money, so they KNOW you're not going anywhere. Therefore, they make sure that you wait on them, just a fraction of a second prior to your commiting homicide. In any event, my experience there only compunded the other anger/emotional issues that I've got going on right now, so I went to bed almost as soon as I got home.

I woke up Monday morning to discover that we would be getting snow, not Monday night, but Monday afternoon. Okay. I can do this. And I made out fine. However, when I got home last night there was a message from Ikea telling me that my delivery would take place Tuesday morning between 8-12. After I was told that I could get evening delivery. Bitches. So I called them to let them know that I was able to purchase that shit because I have a job and therefore needed to reschedule. I was told that since it was so late, they could not reschedule? Uh, this is 12 hours before your supposed delivery. You're not coming on the Pony Express. Tell those hoes not to come. This situation is still simmering, so we'll see how it turns out.

This morning I woke up to everything blanketed in white. My neighborhood looked positively picturesque. And that's ALL that shit is good for. A fucking picture. I busted my ass this morning. Twice. While listening to my iPod. Essentially, I busted my ass to a soundtrack. Not sexy. After I fell the second time, I was like a traumatized kid. I was ready to stay my ass on the ground and not move until the snow melted.

I'm just gonna keep telling myself that it's going to get better. Coming from the Souf, Timbs are for fashion. I didn't realize that they were actually functional. Go figure.

Friday, December 02, 2005

It's like that?

"I know somebody payin' child support for one of his kids
His baby mama car and crib is bigger than his."
- Kanye West "Golddigger"

Okay, this song is cool for entertainment purposes. However, I read a man's opinion of child support and it was somewhat unsettling. Among his gripes were the following:

There is no ceiling on child support

The mother’s baby has the full support of the Child Support Enforcement Agency, attorneys, agents and supporting cast and they have one mission: Drill him! Beat him down! Make him pay! Scare the hell out of him!

A warrant for his arrest can be issued against him at the drop of a dime, without any proof or legal standing. All the mother has to do is call the OCSE Office Of Child Support Agent and say these magic words, “He didn’t send me my money!”

Let me state for the record that I find he-bitch fits intensely unsexy. I find men that use exaggerations, panic tactics and lies to be complete idiots.

Let me say this. I am not so naive as to think that there are not people that get enjoy nothing better than busting a guy's balls because shit didn't work out. HOWEVER, to say that there is a mass conspiracy is pathetic. For every father that is bitching about child support payments, I'm willing to wager that there is a father that is straight up handling his damned BUSINESS.

There IS a ceiling on child support. A certain percentage of your income is taken. However, consider that if you are married with eight children, your disposable income will not be the same as when you were married with one. Therefore, if you decide to start downloading babies, the same principle applies. Your disposable income decreases.

It takes more than Sapphire-ish behavior to have a warrant issued and a driver's license suspended. It must be proven that a person is in arrears in the amount and/or time period deemed excessive by the state.

Now, one thing that was mentioned that concerned me, and that was the "playing Daddy" scenario. There ARE women that have babies for other men and for one reason or another, allow another man to raise that child as his own. One sub-scenario is that she's a skank and went with the "prime choice" (i.e., brother least likely to leave, with the heavier pockets, etc.) without his knowledge. The other sub-scenario is that the guy does in fact know that he is not the father, but makes a conscious decision to be the father in that child's life.

For obvious reasons, I won't even address the first situation. Personally, in this day and age, I'm not against DNA testing being standard for all pregnancies. There are some brothers that have gotten caught up in some bullshit behind a bad decision.

In the event that two consenting adults embark upon parenthood knowing that Daddy ain't Daddy, that can get a little tricky. The adults involved have to realize that this decision affects an innocent third party. The mother is precluded from pulling the "This is MY child" card, as is the father from pulling the "This is NOT my child" card when it comes to any decision making. This would also include custody if, for some reason, the relationship does not work out. I'm still on the fence as to how I feel about people doing this. I don't think it's a choice I would make, but I can only speak for myself.

On top of the initial comment, other men went on to comment on the gentleman's opinion as follows (I include my commentary on said comments in red):

THIS ONE IS THE KICKER -- A man needs to work overtime to be
able to live a decent livestyle after paying child support. He has
to pay HIGHER child support for his overtime hours, therefore, he
actually can easily take home less for working an extra 10-15 hours
a week than if he worked 40 hours.

The kicker? To quote the great animated philosopher Eric Cartman "What's the big fuckin' deal bitch?" My parents were together and BOTH of them worked overtime and grabbed side gigs when ish got tight. When I had to make ends, I held down a full time gig, slung Avon (used to run the bomb ass foot care specials) and scrubbed toilets to handle my business. It's not even a matter of manning up. Grow the fuck up. When you have kids, whether you like the other parent or not, playtime is over and you do what the hell you have to do.

I want to know what about the women who have these bastard babies just to bust some man's face and his bill fold. Who don't take good care of them and abuse the children....who just see it as a means of financial gain???? Many black women I know want to make all of these bastard/prison fodder babies who are usually born messed up due to alcohol and drug addictions, plot and plan to get a SSI check and usually end up as the umpteenth generation of ghetto trash. . .Black women seem to think it is their right to have these bastard money makers ad infinitum.

An interesting side factoid is that this dude is a pastor. Some Christians can really be something else. Point blank, there are some trifling hoes in this world. Of that, there is no dispute. There is also no disputing that coming from a single parent home can often stigmatize youth development. But that makes me ask this: why leave your kids with such a person. Let's say your child's mother is an abusive crackhead. What do you do? Drop them off after the visit with you and say "Good luck dodging blows and stepping over crack pipes. Holla back next Wednesday, aight?" I maintain that just as a woman knows she's dealing with a grimy dude, a dude knows that he's dealing with a grimy chick.

Let's be wild for a moment. If you meet someone and you can't see yourself being tied to this person for the rest of your days, DON'T FUCK THEM. You can wrap it up, pop pills, take the shot and use the rhythm method. However there is ALWAYS a chance that a kid can come from that situation. It's disturbing that folks care more about where they park their car than their genitals.

I think the flaw with my idea though is this: people meet, go out MAYBE twice, and the next thing you know, somebody is ass up in the back of an El Camino. You know...because they were "vibing". Yes, I know...we've all bought into that once or twice...or maybe every other Saturday, but I digress. Seeing the end result of such behavior should be a wake up call.

If a person finds themselves in a situation where the other parent is not holding their weight, then yes, being annoyed and even angry is appropriate. The fact that the two of you couldn't work out a relationship also makes the inability to see eye to eye at all times also understandable. However, to decide that forces beyond your control have conspired against you to either get you pregnant or make you pay for all these kids that you didn't want is stepping outside of reality and sanity.

I have seen more than a few examples of men and women that hold it down. I know women that receive enforced child support, but I also know women who never had to go through the system to receive it. I know men that go above and beyond what they are required to do. I know men that have kept the African village mentality and not only provide emotional support for their own child, but look out for their other siblings as well. I'm not saying that's a requirement, but that definitely shows there are some good brothers out there.

I'm the first to admit that child support can be a hot button issue for so many reasons, however, the main idea is to support the child. People can argue about what amount is fair and who is getting got ad nauseum, however, when it's detracting from time you can and should be spending with the CHILD, you need to rethink your position. How productive is constantly harping on how trife your ex-whatever is (and let me say off top that such behavior in front of your children, whether they are also that person's child or not is deplorable)?

We'll all have good days and bad days when we are tied to an ex through a child or children, but allowing the negatives to consume you is toxic. Let that shit go. Not only will that be damaging to you, but it impacts what you should be most concerned about: your children.