Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Last night I attended my first author event at the Free Library of Philadelphia and got a book signed by Toni Morrison. To be in the presence of such a writing's hard to describe. And then I told her that I liked Song of Solomon so much when I first read it that I never returned my library copy and still own it to this day. As library employees stood by. Awkward.
2. I went to the reading and also had dinner at the Kite & Key with my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. A. She was the first teacher I had that really talked about writing like the living, breathing thing that it is and the placed value of expressing yourself in that way. To just get it down on paper even if it's a mess. I've kept that close all of these years.
3. While I dislike the term brutally honest as it implies that the person being honest derives pleasure and is intentionally brutal while being honest, my head was bobbing as I read this buzzfeed article - 19 Advantages of Being Brutally Honest all the Time. This is me in 19 bullet points.

4. Do you have a meal rotation or are you always trying different stuff? I have some standards but I typically cook different meals all the time...then I'm always like hey, why don't I do Taco Tuesdays? I can't win with myself sometimes. I like what's going on at the Nicole Marica Blog with her Cooking Challenge - she's challenged herself to try different recipes and cooking techniques too. What are your thoughts on this topic?

5. For a nice throwback on Thursday, I direct you to some pages from my baby book. If you cannot blow them up sufficiently, I will tell you that the page on the left indicates I had a bad temper, was very active and never still, was affectionate when I wanted to be, and had a mind of my own. The page on the right will tell you that I liked being sung Happy Birthday to. All of these things prove that some things don't change from the time you're born. Left page also indicates I show temper by pushing people out of chairs, stiffening and screaming. I may or may not still do those things. Just kidding! Maybe.
6. My last birthday gift from Lori - a Keep Collective bracelet with my initials. Boom! Thanks Lori. I'm waiting on little pave strips in March & September birthstones to put in between the letters. Stay tuned.
7. Tonight is Dine Out For Life in Philadelphia. We're going to Talula's Garden and I'm so jazzed. I've been wanting to go there. Click here for a list of Philadelphia & Delaware Valley area restaurants donating 33% of their bills to Dine Out For Life tonight.

8. Now for the heavy stuff. Like the utter devastation in Nepal. I always rush to donate to aid for relief but not before checking out the charities. This is a great NPR article on doing so. Please read it and if you have anything to spare, please give.
9. We're all sick of seeing things about looting and rioting by now, so feel free to skip this one. I've seen it all over this week. I cringe a little every time I see the words "they," "savages," and "animals." We should be careful with our generalizations and our pronouns. We should not demand that "they" stop making it about race and respond, in turn, by using terms that sound racist. How we say things is important and can inflame and escalate a volatile situation. 

Those of us who are white and middle class should read number three here and think about it for a minute.

I don't approve of looting and rioting  - who the fuck does, aside from looters and rioters? - but sitting behind smartphones sharing memes about how rioting is a disgrace is not doing a damn thing to stop it from happening again.

Aside from there being an unnecessary death of a suspect in police custody - and I don't care if he was a drug dealer or Satan himself, that's not how the system works in this country and we'd better all thank God that's not how the system works here - there is real poverty as well as lack of opportunity and education; and a fear, safety, rage, and violence issue on the streets in these communities that most of us will luckily never see let alone live in daily. We only talk about these places when they're in the news for something like this. When the dust settles, we want them to go back to dealing with their problems however they deal with them and leave us out of them. It's easy to armchair quarterback the situation and lump everyone living in these areas together as lazy, criminal assholes. Life is not that black and white and it's certainly not that easy. We need to get in the middle and address the underlying issues that cause these riots and stop forcing each other into categories that are too tight for our skin, be it black, white, yellow, badged or not.

Dear Baltimore: I believe in your community. Fuck the criminals, the rioters and looters who take advantage of your distress, the media who skew coverage heavily towards the destruction (instead of images like the below) and feed it to us so we can eat it up like greedy children who don't know better, the crooked cops, and the racists on both sides. God bless the concerned citizens and the upstanding crew in blue out on the streets putting their lives on the line every day for crappy pay to protect and serve us.
Photo by Van Applegate
Well...soapbox isn't in the tagline of this blog for nothing.

10. Ecard of the week:
What are your Thursday Thoughts? Lay 'em on me.

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Linking up with Kristin and Joey for Stuff & Things


  1. One thing about living in another country is I can remove myself from US news that I don't want to drown me...such as the Baltimore situation. I've been having one of those weeks where I just couldn't deal. This week, there were a couple of Aussies that were executed by a firing squad in Indonesia for drug smuggling. That has filled the Australian news for weeks and filled social commentary by Australians. So, I avoided Baltimore. I gotta say, your summary is quite enough for me. I think if I had paid more attention, my summary would be exactly in line with what you said. So, I stand with you on your soap box.

    1. Erin, I was in Europe last week, so by default, my phone pulls up the international edition of news sites now. I saw that as a major headline and I went to the US edition of the news and couldn't find it ANYWHERE. I was so so so so so sad and disappointed that we weren't covering that - because that. is. terrifying. And a huge human rights issue. Baltimore is a problem, but death by firing squad should be reported with equal vigor.

  2. Thrilled that you stay in touch with Mrs.A and that you got to meet Toni Morrison. I really do not understand why
    those posting about "animals" are not as appalled at the ruin and destruction that occurs when sports teams win.
    So it's ok to celebrate a win by destroying, etc. but not ok when too many are killed at the hands of police and absolutely nothing is done about it. I never condone breaking the law- it needs to stop, parents have to teach their
    children, etc. I reposted that picture of the citizens protecting law enforcement on instagram. Don't generalize. We are all God's children. Peace, harmony, love, lights and a ton of angels to all!! Love, Your Momma

  3. i love that you met up with your 4th grade teacher! i can't even remember who my 4th grade teachers were.

    the news is so depressing because it only shows the bad stuff (rioting etc) and not the good stuff (those fine folks protecting the cops). i tend not to watch the news since they gloss over the good things that the citizens of baltimore are doing but try and read other forms of media that cover everything - the good and the bad. did you see the clip of the mother who found out her son was rioting and she beat the shit out of him; yelling and screaming that she did not raise a hoodlum and she was mortified that her son was participating in the looting? i think she won mother of the year just for that.

  4. That's really great that you stayed in touch with your teacher! My mom and dad ran into my Kindergarten teacher about a year or so ago when they were back in Tennessee visiting and she asked how me and my brother were doing. She remembered our names and everything! She was such a great lady and a wonderful teacher and had taught for many, many years so I was amazed that not only did she remember us, but also our names. She's one of the great ones!

    And I couldn't agree more about the rioters and looters and everything...that never solves anything, but neither does the finger pointing and posting crap around the internet.

    Hope you have a great Thursday!

  5. That's so awesome that you got to meet Toni Morrison! I read Beloved a few times, such an amazing and kind of scary story at the same time. The Baltimore riots are just depressing to watch. Is looting a local store really going to bring justice to anyone? That's supposed to be an "expression" of injustice?? It's disgusting to watch these residents tear up their own city.

  6. Baby book comments - totally on point. I died of laughter. I also would like to point out the awesomeness that is refusing to return a library book. I had one of those too. I'm lucky my library card wasn't revoked more than once... still salty about the one time though. Oh Baltimore. I am sick and tired of the self-righteous judgey-judge people sitting behind their computer screens condemning the entire city. WAKE UP. LOOK AROUND. CONSIDER WHY PEOPLE FEEL SO DESPERATE THAT THEY STARTED THIS CRAP. I don't agree with rioting and looting AT ALL... but my god, there's an entire group of people so disenfranchised with our system and the lack of protection of their basic human rights and dignity that they think this the only way to speak out. (Again, not talking about the looting - talking about the other stuff). My heart hurts and I can't even imagine. Oh. I'll send you a link to something that was performed here at a community education event if its online.

  7. Love reading your posts! And so cool that you were able to connect with an old teacher like that! I often think of a few teachers who I would love to talk with as two 'grown ups' rather than teacher/student. I've never read any of Toni Morrison's books, I often pick them up and read the back covers but never seem to walk out of the store/library with one.

  8. I love that you went with your fourth grade teacher. My 5th grade teacher was that for me. I should try to find her on Facebook.

    Amen to your thoughts about Baltimore. I've been avoiding talking about it because I just can't do it rationally. I've even tried to comment and deleted what I wrote 3 separate times because I get too wordy. But I will say this. My heart hurts for the city and all the people affected by what's happened, just as it did for the people in Ferguson. And it hurts that the rioters and looters think this an acceptable form of expressing their frustration at the injustices. I get that they're angry. They should be, after years of poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to basic human rights. And enough is enough with suspects dying in police custody (police officer deaths at the hands of criminals are a separate discussion). But reactions like this have got to stop. They solve nothing. /rant

  9. I 100% agree with everything you said on Baltimore. Seriously. I wish I could just memorize what you said and let it be my response whenever the subject comes up. You rock!!

  10. Oh my that picture of the men in front of the boys in blue - I love it. That's the image of Baltimore I want to hold on to. It is truly sad what is going on over there.

    And - I totally love that you went to an author event! That's super fun!

  11. My heart aches for Baltimore and basically is shattered from the devastation of Nepal. Honestly the news has been enough to send my stress levels into chaotic levels. A have two very dear friends that live in Baltimore and thankfully they are okay.

    I'm terrible about food planning. I just can't seem to wrap my head around it and I never seem to know what I have and what makes what....honestly I am just not a good chef. Baking I can handle but actual food prep and stuff? Fail.

  12. I love that you went with your grade school teacher to the event.
    I meal plan and we have meals that we like that are on regular rotation and I choose like 2-3 to make a week and then add in 2-3 new recipes.
    I completely agree about Baltimore. Arkansassy wrote a great post about this when it was going on in Ferguson but she has since made her blog private so I can't link to it. Any white, middle class American cannot relate to the situation that is going on in Baltimore and other parts of the country. We can say we sympathize but to really grasp the pain and emotion behind The only thing we can do is try to improve the environment and views of this country. So that the stereotypes and discriminate are no longer acceptable. It's the 21st century for fucks sakes.

  13. I never thought of the term brutally honest before, but I think that buzzfeed article applies to me as well.
    I am a sucker for emeals it's so easy and cheap!
    wonderful point about baltimore, and well said. couldn't have said it better myself.

  14. A.) You put words to my precise feelings about Baltimore.

    B.) I am funny, hence fairly attractive.

    C.) Always know your charities.

  15. I hate trying new meals, but it seems to be a must in this household.
    I love the news, but can't stand to watch it. Weird, but I like to know what's going on, but hate how they spin it.
    How cool you went to meet the author! That's awesome. And the best part - admitting to stealing her book from the library...

  16. First off, so cool you met TM!!! My Mom met her at a book signing a ways back and was in awe as well. So, so neat.

    I also love that you had dinner with your teacher as well as embrace her poignant words so long ago. I love that.

    In terms of your commentary on Baltimore, I can only say that your wisdom, kindness and authenticity shines through. You make excellent points and I ALWAYS think it's important to look at the cyclical nature of poverty and crime. Institutionalized racism from decades ago absolutely still affects communities today. And you'd be crazed to think otherwise. With that said, I am always so disappointed in the looting at events like this like you mentioned. Solely for the fact that the people with the real, true message are the men in that photo above. Protesting/Making a stand in the most honorable of ways. Sometimes the quietest action has the loudest message. Thanks for your viewpoint on this, I really enjoyed reading it and took a lot of it to heart.

    PS Mr. Rogers always makes my day.

  17. Oh my gosh how about that TB from your baby book - amazing!! I've seen a few things from Keep Collective and I love the bracelet you got! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  18. What a fun author event that you got to go to! Love it!!! And I love the little peak into your baby book. Our personalities develop early!

    I had to stop watching the Baltimore coverage. Listening to news anchors spewing their own agendas and incorrect information is maddening. It is so sad what is going on there. Yes, the rioters are not serving a purpose or message but you know what...neither is the media.

  19. I wish the news would show the more positive things - like that picture you shared. It's like people feed off of negativity. How is anything going to change if you don't show the world how to change or worse, you don't show them the people who are doing good. I agree with you about the generalisations and stuff, I just hate when people say that. Makes me cringe. You are a very smart, kind person and I love reading your thoughts on things because I absolutely cannot articulate how I feel about things like this.

    On to more positive stuff? Love that you met Toni Morrison and caught up with your teacher - I would love to see some of my old teachers.

  20. You sure haven't changed much for the baby book days! ;) Love it! It broke my heart that the store owners were looted and robbed of their income when they have done nothing wrong. The situation should not be taken advantage of as some excuse to steal. I love that picture and that people are taking a stand. The police are their to protect the community and it is a shame when one spoils the bunch but throwing rocks or bricks at them is not okay!

  21. I appreciate all of this post, I really do. But what I really can picture is you pushing people out of chairs lololol. My always says my personally has been what it is from day one:)

  22. YES to sarcasm being forever! And I love what you said about Baltimore, I seriously can't stand the media and what they do to any situation. Or how we hear more about the Kartrashians than we do real news.. ugh :(

  23. In addition to having the same birthday, I'm 99% sure we have (had?) the same baby book. Too crazy!

  24. I love the idea of Dining for Life. I also love that you went to lunch with your 4th grade teacher. That is so awesome.

  25. I love that you're still in touch with your fourth grade teacher and hang out with her. Even better that it was to meet TM. BTW LOVED how you confessed to hanging on to a library book! haha

    the baby comments were very interesting. it's crazy how much we change as we grow and how much we really don't.

  26. I am friends with my 3rd grade, 6-8th grade AG, and 9-12 English teachers on FB (those are 3 separate people). I would go back and visit my AG and HS English teacher on the regular when I would go home from college. I still chat with them on FB from time to time. It was my favorite thing when they decided treated me like another person rather just another student... also those 19 things, those are me. Oops, not sorry.

  27. I used to go visit my 6th grade teacher after I went on to junior high. She taught us a helping verb cheer that I still remember to this day!!!

    I hate the things that are happening in Baltimore and I was thinking about how rioting has become a lot more common lately. Along with this is shootings in school. What is wrong with these 2 pictures!!!

  28. Thats amazing that you met Toni Morrison and got a book signed by her. She's such a powerful author and voice.

  29. I love your bracelet. And so cool that you met Toni Morrison!

    I feel for the police officers who are also lumped into one. There are some complete assholes out there, but for the most part, they are good people. Same with the protestors: some are being completely peaceful and awesome. It's a shame others have to get violent.

  30. People are either inherently good or inherently bad, no matter their profession. Of course there will be some bad police officers if you go by logic. Honestly, I take issue with the media when it comes to this. This stuff hasn't NOT been happening for the last 20 years. All of a sudden there's one instance of it that makes the news and then they show nothing but these kinds of situations. They're funneling what we see and how we see it. (That's my brother is a cop.)

    And it is awesome that you met such a famous author...with your old teacher no less!

  31. You should give my mom back my baby book pages she is going to be pissed. Haha!

  32. That's so cool you met Toni Morrison! I haven't yet read any books but want to. Very cute about those baby pages. Makes me feel like it's all worth it when I spend time on my kids'.

  33. NO WAY!! I can't believe you got to meet Toni Morrison! I've saved my copy of Song of Solomon all this time too! Good thoughts on the rioting and looting. Everyone talks the talk on social media, but they won't walk the walk.

  34. I'm checking out the website for that bracelet and I love their stuff! One more thing to add to my wish list!
    I agree with you... regardless of his record, he shouldn't have died in police custody. Regardless of him dying in police custody, people shouldn't be looting. It has nothing to do with what color someone is. Asshole-ism comes in every color, shape, size and gender.

  35. Meeting Toni Morrison is very cool! I like to do my research on charities too, so that's a good article. I donated to a local charity (World Vision) who among other things, is setting up safe places in Nepal for kids to play and recover. I love that! Mainstream media is really pissing me off lately and the coverage of Baltimore just topped it off. I get so irrationally angry at ignorant statements and memes and shated articles that I had to take a break from social media last week.


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