Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Since then I've kinda reigned it in a little. This year I spent a little over $100 (peanut butter & jelly all next week y'all).
1. The Crochet Answer Book. I checked this book out from work last year when I was working on a hat and came across a stitch that I never heard of, back post double crochet. None of the many crocheting books I had at home even mentioned this stitch. This was the only book I could find it in. The subtitle is Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face, Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask. It is true. There is one for knitters, too.
2. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. I can't call myself a vegetarian. I've been eating a lot of chicken, turkey, & seafood. Chicken & turkey are soon to get the boot. I just don't like the way I feel after eating them and the processing plants they grow through are appalling. Seafood will always be a part of my life in some form because I just love it too much. The bulk of my diet is vegetable based and I plan to expand it further. This book will be my bible. It covers everything from choosing utensils to recipes. Rivals The Joy of Cooking.
3. You: Staying Young. This book was actually on sale this weekend for 50% off and I couldn't pass it up. I probably know all the information in it already, but I already own all of the You books and I wanted a complete set. Since nobody really has encyclopedias anymore it is nice to have a complete set of something.
4. Get Your Crochet On! Fly Tops & Funky Flavas. When I was growing up (in the olden days) all the yarn was hard and acrylic and all the crochet books were for afghans and doilies. The possibilities now are endless. I am always looking for sewing, crocheting, cross stitch - any craft book written by African American authors. This book is written by Afya Ibomu. She is truly a 21st century hip-hop crocheter. In addition to being a master crafter, she is also a natural health consultant and the wife of Sticman from the hip-hop group Dead Prez (if you aren't familiar with them, check out Dave Chappelle's Block Party). This book and her first book, Get Your Crochet On! Hip Hats & Cool Caps, feature models like her husband, Erykah Badu & Common. Nice halter tops, a crocheted dashiki, thigh-high socks....these designs are really hot and current.
5. Pattern-a-Day Crochet 2008 Calendar. I buy this every year and make only one thing from it. Just like every year, I vow to make more next year.
6. The Secret 2008 Calendar. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid.
7. A 2008 Spiral Planner. See this post.
8. Joyful - Ayo. I haven't listened to this yet. But I remember seeing her video and liking it. Plus it retailed for only 9.99 and with 40% off....it is okay to experiment.
9. Make Sure They See My Face - Kenna. Again another video I saw and liked. This guy is produced by the Neptunes and it sounds like them mixed with a little Coldplay. I like it when Black people make "alternative" music. I listened to it only once so far and look forward to diving in again.
10. Frank - Amy Winehouse. I don't want to brag, but I was early on the Amy Winehouse bandwagon. This is actually her first album and because of her success it is now being released in the US (earlier it was available only as an import and it cost an arm and a leg). I listened to it on the way to work this morning and I really like it. It is more jazzy and soulful than Back to Black, but it still has the same touch of hip-hop and clever lyrics that I love.
So, there you have it.
Addendum: While putting the books away, I discovered that I already had The Crochet Answer Book. It is just so small that I could barely see it. I will return it tomorrow and get something else.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
1. I wear my clothes in the order of appearance in the closet. My clothes are separated: shirts on one side, pants & skirts on the other (I don't own any dresses). I choose the first shirt and then then choose bottoms to go with it. If the shirt isn't suitable for the day or I just don't feel like wearing it then it goes to the back of the line....and so on, and so on. If something keeps coming up in rotation and I never wear it, then I get rid of it. Also, it makes my clothes feel loved because everything gets touched.
2. I always meet my celebrity crushes. Sometimes it takes years, but our paths somehow cross. After I meet them I don't care about them anymore. And they usually turn out to not be nearly as attractive as they photograph. Except for Shemar Moore. I couldn't look him in the face cuz the fineness was blinding.
3. I am a good cook. But I only cook for myself so nobody believes me.
4. I have Van Halen & Fleetwood Mac on my ipod.
5. I have never had a manicure, pedicure, had my eyebrows plucked, or shaved my legs. I'd rather read a book than spend all that time on maintenance. Just don't have the money for that stuff (that's why I wear dreadlocks). Plus, the hair on my legs is very thin and my eyebrows have a perfect natural arch (if I say so myself).
6. I am addicted to calendars and planners. I buy one, sometimes two every year....but I don't have nothing to plan!!! At the end of the year they are empty!
7. I am afraid of statues. Sometimes I think they are moving when I look at them. I grew up in Washington, DC with statues on every corner and the Smithsonian Museum's exhibits. I think that this is the one that ruined it for me.
Unfortunately, most of my friends don't have blogs so I don't know who to tag. I have to wait until I get some more bloggin' under my belt.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
started 11/5/07 finished 11/15/07
Y'all know that I am not a fan of "urban literature". Tales of drug dealers, hustlers, and golddiggers don't appeal to me. For the most part, their intentions are good. A lot of the books focus on the street life and urban culture that a lot of our youth are drawn to. While they tell those stories, some of them also show the downfall of that life and what it can lead to.
Now Kalisha Buckhanon's books don't necessarily fall into this category, but if you know someone who loves urban lit and you want to steer them to something a little more substantial, then her books are for you. Her first book, Upstate, was amazing. It told the story of two high school sweethearts deeply in love and devoted to each other. While circumstances force them apart, one goes to prison and the other to college, they vow to always be there for each other. The books chronicles their letters to each other over time. Go get this book now!!
Buckhanon's second book doesn't disappoint. Conception is the story of a Chicago high school girl who finds herself pregnant. With no father in the home and a mother who barely acknowledges her presence, she has begun an affair with the husband of the family that she babysits for. While she ponders what to do about her pregnancy, she meets a boy (a fellow castaway) that she immediately connects with.
The highlight of this book, however, are the chapters told from the point of view of her unborn child. The child describes the many times that it has almost been born and what happened to the prospective mothers. These chapters are some of the most beautifully written ones of the book.
I believe that both of these books are appropriate for teenage girls. Especially if you want them reading something other than Gossip Girls!!
started 10/22/07 finished 11/5/07
Okay, I finished this so long ago and I checked it out from work so I don't have it in front of me. Because of that I can't give you specific details and quotes and anecdotes, but I will say this: It was funny!! There were a couple of times that I almost laughed out loud on the train during my commute. It wasn't as funny as Jon Stewart's America, which was written like a school civics textbook, but if you enjoy The Daily Show and the Colbert Report then you will love it.
started 10/22/07 finished 11/1/07
Those of us who live in large urban areas are quite familiar with the subject of gentrification. Over the years I have seen neighborhoods in Washington, DC (where I grew up) and Atlanta (where I live now) go through huge transformations from low & lower middle class predominately Black communities to upper middle & upper class white ones. On the surface there are positives: property values rise, cities are able to raise property taxes, crime stabilizes or declines, etc. But what lies beneath? What issues arise between the old guard and the new regime? Where do the poor and working class move to?
Nathan McCall addresses this subject in his new novel, Them. Set in the Sweet Auburn district of downtown Atlanta (if you have visited The Martin Luther King Center or his birth home, then you have been there), tells the story of a set of neighbors in this changing neighborhood. Barlowe Reed is an African American loner who works in a print shop. Born and raised in a small town in Georgia, has a healthy distrust of authority and White people. After being dismissed by his girlfriend and lots of time in the library, he decides that he finally wants to settle down some roots and purchase the house he rents. In the meantime, a young white couple, Sean and Sandy Gilmore, move in next door. Barlowe and Sandy strike up a semblance of a friendship that highlights the tension felt in the neighborhood.
While I did enjoy this book, I kinda wish that someone else had written it. I loved Nathan McCall's collection of essays, Makes Me Wanna Holler but his fiction writing leaves a little to be desired. Sometimes I felt that the dialogue could have been punched up a bit and the storytelling a little more descriptive. The story was really interesting and I liked how he made sure to include characters who represent African American homeowners. In news stories about lower income neighborhoods Black people are almost never portrayed as actually owning their own homes.
Although the writing was a little flat, I do recommend this book. If you want another take on gentrification, please read The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears that I talked about here.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
First, you put financial misgivings in my head and tried to get me to cancel. Fortunately my friend (& travel companion) Joy talked me out of it.
Then, you lay me out with a cold that came out of nowhere - that I couldn't even treat holistically when the symptoms first appeared, cuz it just hit me hard. But thanks to rest , Mucinex, Nyquil and my co-workers homemade chicken soup (the best I have ever had), I am almost back to normal.
Next, knowing that our main reason for going to NYC was to see Fantasia in The Color Purple before she leaves in February, you convince the stagehands to go out on strike leaving Broadway dark and our tickets useless.
And your coup de gras is to take the cold that I am getting over in Atlanta and make sure that Joy gets it in Los Angeles!!!
Bravo!! You have pulled out all of the stops to make sure this doesn't happen.
I don't know who you are.
If you are the Universe, then you are doing this as a test to make see if I will maintain the safe rut that I am in and won't get out of or if I will do what you really want me to do - get out of town and rejuvenate my spirit with new adventures.
If you are some random person who dislikes me and has some sort of elaborate voodoo doll of me set up somewhere, then you are in trouble. Because I know a little voodoo, too. And some Santeria & Hoodoo and all that. I am also on a first name basis with the aforementioned Universe, God, Allah, Buddha, and various other deities that you may not be familiar with.
And while I have been too sick to sew the fabulous big city wardrobe I had planned, you can best believe that I will be getting on the plane Friday in my country mouse clothes and going to NYC.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Work has been exceptionally stressful. Way more stressful than a retail job should be. This is not good because I am a stress eater, and I realize now that I was consuming large amounts of sugar (my drug of choice). So, this week I have 2 days off in a row (a rarity in retail) and what happens on the second day? Bang!!!!! The universe hits me with a monster head cold or flu or walking pneumonia --- I can't tell the difference between any of these! Subconsciously, I must have know that this was on the horizon because on the way home from work before my days off I picked up the fixings for lentil vegetable soup (I never crave soup). The good news is that I haven't had any sugar since Friday. In fact I don't even want to eat the soup. I am so wore down that I just want to be fed intravenously!!
So, more book posts are coming and even some sewing posts. Still not in the mood to sew, but I am going to NYC in a couple weeks to see the Color Purple before Fantasia takes her last bow in February (have to go now because in retail you can't have any time off between Thanksgiving and New Years), and I have no clothes!! I mean that literally. My wardrobe looks like the clothes of a Starbucks barista (cuz that is our dress code) - khakis and black polo shirts. I don't know how to dress that up. I don't even have a little black dress or a skirt that fits, so I gotta get sewing.
Book posts coming up - Them by Nathan McCall, I Am America, And So Can You by Stephen Colbert and a couple others.
Stay with me y'all!!!! (That's from me & Britney S.)