Friday, May 30, 2008

Oooh look, a pretty picture...

I think I'm going to just start posting random pictures on this blog; a bait and switch just to lure in readers. People like pictures-really they do. I've been near homicidal for the past couple days trying to figure out my NEW! sewing machine. The instructions look like petroglyphs and I'm a textophile. It got me to thinking, are we really that dependent on pictures, visual stimulation as a culture? Methinks.
I even stumbled across a thread in the Etsy fora this evening and there appears to be an inordinate number of people (can't be certain of genders based on avatars) who have an aesthetic ideal for penes! (The correct Latin pluralization of penis, by the way.) Have you ever? What are they going to do with these fancy phalli? Encrust them with diamonds (Swarovski crystals for the Sierra Leone sensitive) and hang them from their hybrid rear view mirrors, bicycle helmets and the like? Not the uncircumcised ones though, unless they are accompanied by a bundle of those pine fresheners because those bad boys are funky. Yep, that's what they tell me, "Those with the hood just don't smell good". Note: This information is not just ignorant banter, it is fact based fodder from the proboscis of an experienced schlong sniffer.

I don't pretend or profess to always make the right parenting decisions or to even know the right answer, but there has to be a better argument for maiming a perfectly healthy little person than trying to reproduce the pretty little picture of perfection in your mind's eye. That, and of course the pre-emptive strike on body odor.

I have given vaginal birth-yeah that creepy place down below, to two awesome, beautiful children and can tell you; there are few things funkier smelling than a dirty human. I'll tell you what, don a towel lined plastic bag, you done with that? Okay, lie on your back, vomit on yourself, and clench your fists. Now, urinate and defecate. Good, good-you got it. A short time passes. Now, tell me, do you smell like posies? Not quite, perhaps we should chop you up now and avoid any further worry hmm? Or maybe, just maybe you should start reading things that don't always have pretty little pictures. Winks.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Random Thought: Why Can't I Do Stuff?

I can't drive. I can't sew (much to my chagrin). I can't read a map. I can't tell left from right unless my wedding ring is on. I'm geographically inept. I can't decipher instructions without words, you know the Ikea furniture petroglyph type. I must be destined for royalty by design. Where are my servants, jester, seamstress and driver?
I'm very sad today because I want to do stuff, but alas my noodle is designed for creative thought only. Perhaps, I can design someone to do all of my handiwork. Thinks. "I tried that twice and it didn't work". Oh well. What are you thinking about this Thursday? What can't you do?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Read my blog and comment or else...

I love my Etsy peeps really I do-not all of you, but Rob White has requested that I no longer reach out and notify those whom I do not harbor such frilly feelings. So, yeah while you guys are the spayed/neutered, indoor, rescue, never Petco or Petsmart purchased cat's meow- sometimes you all need to just chill out.
In the past calendar week there's been bitching about the Etsy Bitches, pissing (or the mandating of said pissing) on the privacy of the poor, listings wordplay, tawdry tagging and the FDA, mystery toxins, the traumatic effects of cinnamon, glove and ginger, WTF and SPF! I'm no Nostradamus, but all of this brouhaha seems like the the latest in the meanderings of the menacing minds behind separation of vintage and supplies from handmade? Bored are we?
I've been refreshing the page over the past few days dropping a bit of wit and wisdom from time to time, but the fora is draining. Who are these people and when do they actually make shit? Everything is going to kill you, ruin the economy, fund the building of more Walmart stores and lead to a dramatic increase in the animal population unless you start reading my blogs and commenting.
Too much ranting here? No worries-drop by my art blog where I'll feature a new artist every Tuesday. No, they have not been screened for product safety or sound business practices but if you post a comment, you'll be granted immunization and blissful ignorance. Not the kind of immunizations which cause terrible side effects but, the NEW! improved handmade by organically fed vegan pacifists who support the troops but not the war. And, they're made from the recycled plastic backings of those dreaded disposable diapers and pads. Talk about supporting the cause!
Bleh, it may not be a sound marketing technique, but it sure as hell is working for some. Nothing draws traffic to your shop like a FSA (Fora Service Announcement) and a little bit of fear. Wink...oops my eye's stuck must be the mercury in my mascara.
Note: I'm a vegetarian, homeschooling, extended nursing, attachment parenting, family bed advocate, who wears cloth pads, buys handmade supports/owns indie business and a philosophical anarchist who lets people live their lives of their own design so I can free up my time to make shit, and you know what, it isn't half bad.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day, sigh-I try, really I do. If nothing else, please respect the fact that you believe my voice is worth fighting for. I don't support the war, or the hyped up cause. I don't believe in this government's design. I don't believe in gubernatorial amendments to cardinal doctrine. I don't believe in cardinal doctrine. I don't believe any of us know the path to forgiveness, liberation or acceptance. I DO believe in the power of words. I do believe at the end of it all, he who mixes the best Kool-Aid shall inherit this Earth.

I've developed a particularly deep admiration for Talib Kweli: Black man; seeker, speaker of wisdom, truth, knowledge. Listen up.


I got a part to play, we going hard these days
Fuck the harder way, we doing it the harder way
To my god I pray, that's how I start my day
The bullets starts to spray the revolution starts today
I say the shit these people ain't got the heart to say
Fuck the harder way, we doing it the smarter way
To my god I pray, that's how I start my day
The bullets starts to spray the revolution starts today

You say you never scared there's kids in other countries
Making jerseys, jeans, and sneakers they could never wear
Parents never there, they're busy building homes they can't afford to buy
Cars they can't afford to drive
Working jobs that don't support their life
You busy screaming gangsta, gangsta all that talk is trife
You already know lost the fight if you don't know the cost of life
These kids is forced to fight a war they can't outrun
Ain't got no shoes but got a gun
Now where the fuck he pulled that out from?
People ask me how we wearing diamonds
When there's little kids in Sierra Leone
Losing arms for crying while they mining
Probably an orphan who's momma died of AIDS
He built a coffin working often but he never paid
Forever slaving in the world that's forever cold
Becoming the man of the house at 11 years old
This reality rap, I get inside the mentality that...
Terrorize you like a cowardly act

I was sold to a sick European by a rich African battlin'
Middle Passages, I can't go back again
Battlin' years of denied history, lies and mysteries
Wives with misty eyes watchin' their husbands be beaten viciously
Battle in the wilderness of North America
Run by the river, only stoppin' to pray chased by predators
Terrorists with etiquette who vote and kill their president
Their capacity for evil so evident and prevalent
Ain't no hesitation involved, a nation dissolved
While we sit back waitin' to evolve
Those who would trade in their freedom
For their protection deserve neither
Not a name, not tradition
Religion, you learn Jesus
Turn the other cheek
Inherit the Earth, just stay meek
Fuck the way you speak
Try to run, we chop off your feet
Fast forward to 2004 we selling
Yo this ain't what I'm settling for
I want more, yo

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Nature Walk

Yael and I went out on another Science Walk today. Science Walks serve a few purposes; mom gets to power lift her bi-glutei muy maximus (Forgive me my trespasses.), save gas, the planet, money (Walmart is the mid-point.) and, Yael gets some invaluable one on one happy mom time! (Mom is happy with anything academic, Disney channel-not so much.) Note to my Anti-Walmart readers: I do what I can to save the planet and the economy-if I cannot eat, I cannot live and therefor cannot help. Thanks.

Today was especially enlightening as it has recently rained here in the Valley of the Sun. There are few sights more magical than the rapid metamorphosis that occurs with just a little bit of water as its catalyst. Along the way we discovered the remains of a huge bee colony that I'd been watching (frightfully) during my power walks. I was immediately saddened to see the combs thrust about. It appears they set up camp in a storm drain that was uncovered to prevent flash flooding. I love the balance of the universe, I was just telling the favorite guy how I feared the swarm's disturbance by an unsuspecting child, jogger, or other pedestrian.

This discovery prompted a lengthy discussion about bees and their importance. It also shed some light on fear and the human condition. It was interesting how easily I could change Yael's negative perspective about bees simply by mentioning their importnace, their purpose and how stinging is a defense and not an offense.

Our walks and talks-albeit sometimes ear bleeding, are a part of this journey that I'll always treasure. How cool am I, the Science Walk/Talk mom with one great ass?! Enjoy the slide show.

What a great day, rain in the desert and more...

Admittedly I've been stressing about my finances; my finances as in the money that it takes to keep Pretty in Peace up and running. As supportive as favorite guy is we have some very real responsibilities that expound way beyond the creative machinations of our Cancerian minds. As it goes, good things come to those who wait (and worry) this afternoon I landed my second sizable wholesale order from an East Coast affiliate and received payment from another order. Wipes brow.

I'm thoroughly grateful, as I jokingly said the other day (Keeping in mind that most serious matters are introduced in jest.), "Honey, my business is going under." I was considering closing shop for a bit to regroup and rebuild. I'm far from a quitter, but I've been in the world of start-up and keep-up long enough to know when it's time to re-up. The best part of being a grown up versus pretending, is the grey hair...Ha! I caught you paying attention! Truth, the best part is shedding that ego-maniacal exoskeleton that deems each endeavor an entitled win and toughening the true exterior that shields each failed attempt with the virility to subsist and the wisdom to succeed. (I made that up)

I started my visual arts blog today. I've separated the magic that is Tea & Honey Bread prose from my right brain endeavors. Each are equally dear, but even in my monkey mind (Thanks, Secret Lentil) they need and deserve a place of their own. I wrestled with the idea-more like bare knuckle boxed, I had to root myself and grasp the depth of Tameka-ness behind these ventures. I don't currently receive many comments- the standard measure of blog success,but the depth of the e-mails and comments received are just the right amount of bio fuel needed to keep my cogs spinning. I guess I need to remind myself that I do it all for me, and any recognition is more than I was getting doodling in my bedside journal; secret machinations of my Cancerian mind.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thursday's thought: The cost of love...

There is a deep labyrinthine me that I reserve for special moments but, as a whole I kinda see things quite fundamentally. As an example, I compare child rearing to a bank account, "Do not expect to get out more than you've invested". Employment and education, "You can work hard or work smart". Success is a journey not a destination; "If you think you've arrived and you're not dead, you're lost". Ambition; "If better is an option, good isn't good enough". There's more, but they're expletive laden off the cuff ditties I save for younger siblings, my spouse and the offspring. Laughs.

But, this love thing-I don't get it. You can invest your all and still come up overdrawn and under appreciated. You can read every self-help communication; Dr. Love, Mother Phil, L'il Oprah Annie (Landers) and Colonel Sanders to no avail! No matter how hard or smart you work at it, there's just no predicting the mine field of emotions which await. What the hell?

So today I'm ranting- I know you can't believe it right? I kid you not, I'm going on about a friend who sucks (I totally want to hyperlink a picture of her right here!) and, in a moment of clarity (Most of my rants are profound and worthy of copyright and publishing) I write:

"my number doesn't change because the sun is out. i have to keep reminding myself as much as i like to help, that i don't 'charge' for my friendship, great ear and advice. free things are never appreciated in the same way you appreciate the stuff you have to work hard for/at. (that advice is free for you) anyway, i gotta go teach, but make sure you let someone know today that their presence in your life at whatever capacity is appreciated and worth a great deal...even if it is the toll clerk or someone that holds a door."

I immediately thought, "How true"! If you've ever been heart-broken, lonely or just in need of a friend, you know the insurmountable value of love. You know how beyond your reach and "budget" lost love feels, and yet we fail to save for those rainy days.

Thursdays' thought: If loving is a choice and, being loved is a privilege-where does entitlement come into play?

For all of the things I've figured out in my years, this is still a mind-boggle. What are your thoughts on this topic or anything else today-weigh in. Peace...and of course love. Winks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Stuff Kids Say...

Deep breath. We're quite the comical bunch here on Pierce street, namely because we're all passionate observant types, you know creative people. We're also very moody and boy have the past two days been rough. I accept that Puberty Man will likely be insane until he mates and starts his own tribe, but the rest of us are just not gelling.

Yael is in a weird phase, she's trying on personalities like outfits which for someone like me, who doesn't deal well with new people is a fate worse than itching! (I prefer death to itching and/or nausea.) I'm just not sure anymore from day to day which annoying Disney Channel character awaits.

Yesterday she giggled incessantly until I threw her out of my room and she told favorite guy that, "I burst her bubble". I have never used this phrase, ever. Because he is the best thing since Tandoori garlic naan, favorite guy gathered the hyena and her hormonally challenged sibling and off to the movies they went allowing me to wallow in my own misery-okay scratch that. Their departure allowed me to gossip while creating two new jewelry designs, map out the details of my Buzzy Bee project and eat my roasted lightly salted almonds in peace and plain sight.

Today, in retribution for bursting her bubble, she asks in a seemingly Yael-like inquisitive tone, "Hey Mom, do you know what I just realized"? I turn to her and say. "No, Shoob, what?" She replies, "When you put your right leg forward, your right butt goes like this"...She then does a grossly exaggerated hip shimmy to the right. Not noticing that I've lost my loving gaze, she continues. "And, when you put your left leg forward your left butt goes like this". Yes, and she does it again. Now, I am fairly thick-skinned and, no that is not an excuse for the illusion of having two butts, but today on another exceptionally hot Arizona day with my Pitta Dosha quite unbalanced I could only muster up enough energy to request that she remain in her room for the duration of, "this stage of development". I'm known for coming up with cruel and unusual punishments, but even I was unprepared for this.

Truth be told, I'd like very much this week to do nothing but make stuff in my pajamas-even hygiene is questionable; I'm just beat. Buzzy Bee has been stripped and sanded and the mixed media shadowbox from hell is actually beginning to look like the project of my mind's eye. And, it's birthday party planning time, so of course I'm bound by the pressure; "Can I outdo myself again this year?"

Y'know, the toughest part of this journey has to be the fact that parenting happens on the express track with very few stops along the route, well that and, it's over before you know it. If Etsy's Antinatalist street team happens to be reading, please note again-I am not miserable, this is just one of the less joyous phases of the side-splitting comedy that is child rearing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twice recently; growing pains, changing relationships and identity crises have come up in casual communications. And this morning, while getting in some quiet reading, I stumbled upon an interesting topic; individuals versus groups. (Funny when that happens, yes? Hence, my theory on the wisdom behind horoscopes and fortune cookies...sorry I digress.)

I am the quasi-eccentric. My whole existence is a hodgepodge of ideologies many of which conflict with general populous. I think as I age it just gets more complex. The diminished need for acceptance has brought upon a plethora of interesting opportunities for growth and self exploration. As much as I enjoy the awareness of my metamorphosis, like others I too feel the burn of growing pains and separation. Almost subconsciously I have been purchasing vintage toys, as if trying to preserve parts of a life I once knew. Even more interesting that I opted for things and, not reaching out to friends and relatives that knew me when.

I'm in an interesting place on my path these days, with my children getting older and becoming more autonomous I suddenly have a lot more "Tea-time", time to just take it all in. I'm realizing more and more-as I've learned to truly taste this life and savor it, the flavors of people and places and things that I find over bearing and/or unnecessary. Much like food, I find company- when rich and flavorful can be satisfying in much smaller amounts, and better for your overall health! Laughs.

This all comes at a time when theologians are worried about 2012, ecologists are worried about global warming, economists are stockpiling fuel and food and, politicians are once again speaking of change. Change isn't something that just happens. It isn't this jolt that we've come to make it out to be. Instead, it is a slow process-like digestion. It's elusively taking place before the meal is placed before you and long after you've tipped your server and went on your way-and, not just on your hips. If it all came to a halt tomorrow, I can honestly say that I've tasted this life. Would I like to ginger the palate and try a few more flavors? I wouldn't mind-but I'm certainly not going to be greedy.

In other news, I'm almost done with my mixed media collage which has been a creative obstacles laden journey. I think it was a forced project-it definitely screams of hemispheric'll see. Winks. But my next challenge I'm looking forward to. I'll be upgrading The Buzzy Bee (pictured above right). I actually owned this same toy (not this one, in particular) as a child and since bees, and honey are still symbolically a big part of who I am, I've decided to rework this baby to more closely match the changes I've made in the years since I played with her. I'll start with an outdoor photo shoot and slowly begin her rebirthing. If I'm not captured and institutionalized photographing a pull toy in the green belt tomorrow, I'll post pics. Laughs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

After last night's crippling hip hop (power) yoga workout, the only thing functional are my sweat glands and grey matter. Figures, the two things any sane and seemingly vain person would like to turn off every now and again. All is not lost though, I dreamt up the finishings on the bright whimsy-filled piece that popped up last week. I'm going to get working on that tomorrow, and hopefully there'll be pics and good things to report.
This will be my first go at bleeding papers as a medium, so the prototype will likely be gifted or kept, but not sold. I love how Etsy artists are so multi-faceted; it's rubbed off. It makes sense since creativity is creativity but, until Etsy it appeared so few of us ventured. For me, if I couldn't write, I couldn't exist. Now, I find joy in conjuring musings while constructing jewelry, or day dreaming of new jewelry designs while I decoupage. It's a pleasant plus, and even more so when I can actually fit it all in.
Short sweet post tonight, Favorite Guy should be in any minute, the L'il Lady is with her BFF and Puberty Man is at the theatre, serenity at last. Winks.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Manic Thursday

Oh sweet mania, how I hate thee. The plus, I did Crunchless Abs I and II, a 1 hour power walk and yoga today. The downside, I have an unfinished mixed media project on the table, a container of marinating tofu for a NEW! recipe in the fridge, orders need packaging, laundry is washed, but needs putting away and I'm tired from thinking about it all. I have a new sewing machine complete with an untouched instruction booklet, two new books both which I have started reading and enjoy, but I haven't read a daily devotional in, Bob knows how long, nor have I meditated for longer than 7.5 minutes without peeking at the alarm clock's digital display. Supplies are coming in daily and I keep buying more but, have yet to design any new jewelry or pay my listing fees for last month. I should create a to-do list and a person to do it all, or at best someone to coddle me over the guilt of not getting it done myself...Yeah right, another unfinished project in the making. Sighs and collapses.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thursday's thought: "Is real life real?"

The Etsy fora has a way of raising questions, concerns and heart rates. It's a train wreck, but y'know what they say, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger". Well that is my random thought this Thursday just how much of what we believe will kill us actually will? How many flavors of the Kool aid are we ingesting?
Rena of AZ adds to the fora Unpopular Opinion Thread, "Most of life is bullshit". I'm inclined to agree. While I'm not as cynical to say that all of it isn't true, I'm wise enough to extrapolate from what I've witnessed these past 3 decades, most of it is indeed bullshit. Let's have a look at today's' trends: (In no particular order) ADD/ADHD-Granted, a valid concern and medical diagnosis for some, for many however your problem is BAK/LAP Bad ass kids, lazy ass parents. Low carb dieting, Glycemic index, The Zone-You don't have to be Pythagoras to plan a meal; eat less + move more =lose weight. The gluten-free craze-If you've been eating it for 35 years, thoroughly unaware, sans Celiac disease and you have yet to swell up and die- chances are your symptoms are psychosomatic and not an actual allergy, put back the $6.00 pasta.
Clinton, Obama, your mama-The presidential debates hold as much weight as Student Council debates; they can promise pizza everyday and an end to homework until the powers that truly be veto. Foreign adoption; what do the celebrities have against poor infants in the Bronx, Los Angeles, Chicago? The travel expenses alone could feed several local albeit less fashionable hungry minority children. I won't touch how not Green it is to make several fuel powered, private jet trips to foreign courts and consulates. And last, stimulus payments (Have you gotten yours?) this reminds me of a bad sit-com where the dopey dad takes the rent/mortgage/holiday shopping money-which is already short and, gambles it on a sure-thing horse with a bum leg. For the record, I've historically figured my taxable amount within $20...Uncle Sam doesn't pay interest, and while their overdraft fees are near usury, the "Evil Blue Octagon" does.

Thursdays thought: Is this for real, are we for real-is anything? I mean really, what's really real?
What are you thinking about this 93 degrees Fahrenheit, clear blue skies-filled Arizona day?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I started working out again today, all I can say is, "Wow". Literally, that's all I can muster up the energy to say... Peace. Rises from chair with shaking, aching muscles and retreats.

I'm going to die...

Die, diet, exercise; it's all relative. I'll be 35 this July 12th (Pauses briefly for applause) I'm fairly comfortable in my skin, actually I'm quite comfortable with my body-lately however I've been shall we say, "Getting a tad too comfortable". At 5'3, and way past my pubescent years wider is the only way for this chassis. A little junk in the trunk never hurt anyone but I'm pushing it. (See photo right) Laughs.

Why am I sharing this? Two reasons, first this blog is a historical record of the insanity that is me and second, dieting is one of those things of which I must coax and convince myself. I am a certified snack junkie and every meal, every meal is followed by a "treat". Way back in my city streets pounding youth, the good genes/jeans Gods looked upon me favorably. I guess I pissed them off along the way and now I'm trying to redeem myself before it's too late. Wish me luck and countdown the days with me. (See below)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Mother's Day booty and more...

Ha! I bet you came in all psyched to see me drop it like it's hot, yes? is kinda hot-but I meant the other booty. Favorite guy has done it again! Not only does my darling put up with the daily rigors of my insanity, but he does it with grace and love. He's a treasure! Look at all of my goodies, what more could a girl ask for?

It's been an amazing journey; this parenting thing, never a dull moment, seldom a day's rest and yet there is nothing I'd rather spend my life being. I've been a bit disheartened of late, lots of antinatalism talk going on in the world. I'm just not sure how I feel about the concept. For one, the decision or not, to become a parent is based on a number of factors; biological and psychological. Ecological? Not so much.

In my naive albeit ideological youth, I never intended to have children, but the universe had a whole other plan in store. When I became pregnant with my first child, I stumbled upon the realization that I'd confused having children with becoming a parent. I would sooner itch (my personal damnation) forever than be pregnant again, but I would jump, leap, soar at the prospect of parenting. It isn't a choice but, an internal beckoning.

Yes, there are too many people on the planet- agreed. There are also too many cars, electronic devices, homes, packaged foods and more. I'm all about making a difference, after all I'd like to leave a smidgen of planet for the two people I've created. I just don't know that robbing others of the gift of parenting and even procreation is the route I'd take. Call me silly, ignorant even (as I've previously heard it coined) but I fail to believe we; man as a collective have any real control over the universe and her destiny.

Look at our track record, don't use paper, use plastic. Don't use plastic, use fabric. Buy PVC, save a cow. Don't buy PVC the machinery emits pollutants, instead buy recycled leather. Okay, so when everyone else joins the "Save a Cow" campaign...just where do you propose I obtain this 'recycled' leather? Meh.

We are vegetarian, we conserve energy, we recycle, we're fixed, our pets are rescues and they're fixed too, we shop local when financially feasible. There really isn't much more we can do, but live. Sometimes I wonder in my own warped way if the universe is saying. "Okay smart-ass, you figured that out, now how about this?" It's as if she's given us just enough rope to hang ourselves.

Surely, had man not ruined land to build homes, built pollution laden vehicles to travel, industry to pay for it and, government to control it all, there might just be enough trees and bees for us all, yes? And yet our hypothetical fix is not to go without man-made luxuries, but to go without man. I guess I am ignorant because I just don't see this plan working, not even a little bit. Contrary to modern popular belief the hankering to espouse and reproduce derives naturally, and with far more intensity than the need for a SUV. By nature man is designed to reproduce, to form tribes and build communities.

So, once we've threatened humanity in an antinatalist effort to "recycle", and "utilize current resources", how do you propose we reach the future? How can you be so certain this life is it? Perhaps it is all some divine plan to wipe the globe of its current inhabitants for a greater purpose. It is possible? Remember the dinosaurs? You can err on the side of caution or, you can accept the consequences of our actions; chalk it up as a learning experience, history even. I'd like to think there's something bigger, better and much less destructive in the cards, surely Mother Earth can do better than the "Carbon based Destructos" of today.

Yes, change is needed; we must learn accept the things we cannot change. Change a light bulb, buy a hybrid, plant a tree, worry about the here and now. Who are we to design the future when we've already botched the present. Truly, there are some things left in this world even we have no control over, be thankful.

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. ~ Nathaniel Branden

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Tofu Triumph

Tofu, triumph or tragedy? Pretty much, there are no two ways about it. This time it was a triumphant undertaking. The container that slid out of our grocery tote and under the front seat of our vehicle undetected for 3 Arizona heat filled days and nights, tragic...most tragic. I think the car still wreaks. Well, here you go:

Country fried Tofu with Buffalo Sauce Shredded Carrots, Celery Sticks and Bleu Cheese

Country Fried Tofu
1 pkg Extra firm tofu
Corn meal
Whole wheat Flour
Seasoning Salt (No MSG)
Vegetable oil for frying
Chef's Essence
Black pepper

Buffalo Sauce:
Cayenne pepper sauce

Bleu Cheese/Bleu Cheese Substitute

Tofu Must do:
Drain and freeze, thaw, drain again and marinate. This is key or you will surely end up with the most bizarre-and, not in a good way textured stuff you can imagine.

Slice, cube, julienne-whichever you prefer your tofu
In a bag, mix your breading... 2:1 parts flour to corn meal add your seasoning salt (I used .5 tsp) to the mix and some fresh black pepper
Shake pieces to coat
Heat .5" vegetable oil in small frying pan

Mix your Cayenne sauce with butter/margarine/substitute 1 : 2/3 is your ratio, respectively
I nuked it for 1:30 or just until the butter/margarine/substitute is fully melted
Stir and add to ramekin. You can get out your celery carrots and Bleu cheese/substitute now.
Add your tofu to the heated oil
While tofu is frying, prepare some paper towels or a cheese cloth to drain excess oil.
Brown on both sides, remove from heat, place on cheese cloth/paper towel and sprinkle with Chef's essence while still fresh out of the oil. Say, "Bam!" seriously, it'll make it taste better.

Note: Tofu will toughen upon not expect the "meaty" texture at once upon removing it from the oil, once the breading is golden brown, remove. DO NOT overcook...bad business.

May the force be with you. Winks, laughs.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mothers on The Red Carpet

Whether or not we have children ourselves, we have parents. And, like it or not, our parents have had a huge influence in how we define ourselves. The relationship is a complex one, but it is essential to our growth. It is a part of God's design. We have the parents we have for a reason. As we learn and grow we view these people in our lives, and our relationship with them, in different, more expanded, ways. ~Lissa Coffey

I received this in my inbox; one of my many devotionals. If you're not familiar with Lissa's work have a read, her essays have been instrumental along this path of education and enlightenment. This particular passage really stood out, I have an-at best, odd relationship with my mother.

For years, every year around this time; Mother's Day when the masses are bumbling about, siblings trying, vying to outdo one another-I'm drowning in indifference. She puts herself first, she's betrayed me, she's disappointed me...she's, she's well...she's human. Yes, she's a mere mortal with a triune brain and a host of flaws.

The thing about being a parent, a mother is like celebrity; you're expected to don the obligatory cloak of perfection, the crown of sound judgement, and shoes designed to walk the righteous path-be red carpet ready. Much like most parents, you and your offspring have a very dissimilar sense of what is fashionable and entertaining. This is where it gets ugly! Laughs.

My mother often chides about the time she scolded, okay lambasted me for something and I looked her in the eye and said, "Don't yell at me, kids are people too". Huh? Or, the time she wouldn't give in to a request and I called her "Obstinate"; I was about six. Oddly enough, knowing much more about the human condition now, I can begin to understand my mother and her antiquated train of thought. I see how she might have found me challenging.

Years passed, not much changed, and she eventually gave up. You know, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". So, she continued (s) (I now have siblings)-to yell and scream, holler and harangue and I have in my travails developed more than enough ways to duck, desist and detach.

It is Mother's Day yet another year and as much as you'd think I'd be over it/her, I guess I'm not. I have two children of my own now, and as challenging as times get-and they do get challenging, the one thing I know for certain is that there are no do-overs, the only time is now. I've got one chance at this and, thank Bob! Could you just imagine if I had to get them back in there again?! Yikes! Well, I'm coiffed and 'coutured', my ankles are a bit wobbly, but I'm making my way. How about you, are you red carpet ready?

Facing a mirror you see merely your own countenance; facing your child you finally understand how everyone else has seen you~Daniel Raeburn

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ugh, I'm in the most bizarre creative funk! My mind is manic while my body is near vegetative. I bagged and shelved my lotus collage, I think the Boo-hag is lording that project. This would be the second time injury has impeded my plans to work on it. They don't sell thumbs on Etsy yet, so I'm going to sit tight on that piece for a while. The thumb is pretty much integral to any jewelry making I might embark on as well, so here I sit whistling as that's the only thing I can muster with pursed lips, a scowl and an incapacitated thumb.

The voices in my head keep screaming papier mache, bright colors, glitter, sparkle, fun. I even took these things out of my supplies stash but the motivation is nil. I find it interesting when I'm thinking bright and feeling dull. It's one of those amazing tips the universe gives when your chakras need feeding; balance beckons.

Speaking of feeding (I love when my yammerings acquiesce) aah, the art of the subtle segue. I'm trying a new recipe; Buffalo tofu! I'm singing Buffalo Tofu in my head right now to the tune of Buffalo Soldier, I wish Joe was here-he's great at filling in the rest of the lyrics. So far, I have my tofu cut, drained and in the freezer for texture. Tomorrow I will put it all together and hope for a delicious outcome. Pictures to follow. Unless something disastrous happens and I flip out and throw it all away. Yes, that has been known to happen. Think the spirit of Gordon Ramsay in a short black woman cooking vegetables.

Thursday's thought: Tameka Day

Just before we retired for the evening, favorite guys turns to me and asks my request for the Mother's Day breakfast menu. Eggs, I say of course (I'm competitive, I want to see just how high I can make my cholesterol) I later amend that request to quiche, more specifically. A few short seconds later, I request solitude to go along with that quiche, and beer.

Well, it got me to thinking...who is this omnipotent trendsetter who makes para holidays happen, and how do I get one? I don't want to be a high roller like Santa or the Easter bunny, but for Pete's sake, groundhogs have a day. And look at that, Pete has his own old people's expression.

So yes folks, while I am ever grateful to have Mother's day to share among the masses of other stretch marked, saggy boobed, snot and other bodily fluid covered deities-it just wouldn't be me if I didn't request my own day. For the smarty pants who thinks they have the short and sweet of it; I know I have a birthday. That's the day I put my mother on the Mother's Day celebration map-it is not my day. I want to be on Google headers and dollar store calendars. Yes, I want your children to cut out little brown Tameka figures and add Birkenstock sandals and clothes that don't necessarily match.

Today's random thought: How cool do I have to be to get my own day? And you, what are you thinking this glorious Thursday?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just who is this Murphy guy?

And what have I ever done to him?! I woke up, I did all of my mom stuff; cooked chili for the kids, a delicious stir-fry for the favorite guy and I. I did the vacuuming, cleaned out the litter boxes, took out the recycling-all preparation to spend the remainder of the evening completing my lotus collage project. Just as I am about to call Jordan to dinner, I realize the beans for the chili are still unopened on the counter. Not such a big deal, yes? It's not like they're dry beans; just open the can, rinse, add stir and heat. Not. After searching high and low, (Yes looking for my kitchen tools is a little game Jordan and I have played since the dishes became his responsibility). alas I find the damn opener, I open the can and voila nearly amputate the same punctured thumb from the pliers adventure while pushing up the jagged lid. Why Mr. Murphy, why?

This isn't my random thought for Thursday, but you gotta admit it is fairly befitting. Oy vey.

Monday, May 5, 2008

NEW! Random Thoughts Thursdays

Random Thoughts Thursdays, yeah...I like that...that certainly works.
Some time ago I blogged about why the color bleu (French for blue) isn't brown, it certainly sounds more like what you'd expect brown to sound like, if colors made sounds. It occurred to me when a poster commented in agreement that perhaps, all of us creative geniuses (Wink) have similar random thoughts. Let's share, until I become intrigued by something other than random thoughts to blog about on Thursdays; this is it! I will allow anonymous posts just for Thursdays where we can all share our random thoughts. Tell a friend, tell a few, let's make this an interesting study of random fodder beginning this Thursday May 08, 2008.

A new moon...

A new moon tonight, it's certainly time, I'm feeling eager for change and advancement. I've been toying with my blog in my mind and really trying to hone in on what I want this blog to be for me. Do I want to have featured artists, items and themes; cohesion, or do I want it to be a mix of things; literary salmagundi. There is the ambivalence from reading others' blogs and their many comments and blog links and fans, that got the cogs spinning. Truth is, in real life I'm complex and varied and my friends fans and foes are few and far between. I guess I just solved my own conundrum, eh?
My lotus collage project still sits atop the table vying for love and completion amidst the ingredients for my next piece of art candy. I'm toying with the idea of moving my workspace again. After setting up rather nicely in a corner of my bedroom with a peaceful view of the trees, birds and bees in our backyard, I sat and realized that OCD prevents me from working with the left side of my body towards the wall and Feng Shui prevents me from working with my back facing the door. And, we're off again. There is great lighting and two outlets in the foyer, so that's a possibility. It also puts me fairly close to the central command station-what most would call their front door, with full view of the company my charges keep. Winks. I just can't call it.
Jewelry sales have been slow, I'm relying heavily on consignment for funds these days. I've been fortunate and can't complain. Pretty in Peace hit the ground running, I'm looking at this lull as an opportunity to devote my creative energies to other endeavors, like this blog and creating a propitious workspace.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

All Quiet On The Western Front

Sigh of relief. Things are going much better at home. We had a family summit at the local greasy spoon and, the husband and I are speaking the same language with minor variances in dialect. Overall, much closer to understanding each other than days' previous, it is a most pleasant end to an uber shitty week. Here's to more peace and love on Pierce Street.

Other nibblets of newsworthiness: Yael had her first sewing lesson on Saturday in preparation for the arrival of a sewing machine. This is going to be exceptionally fun and challenging as I do not man machinery quite as well as my noodle and fingers. And, I've never successfully sewn anything, not even a button. She, on the other hand seems to have caught on quickly, per the untrained eye of a proud mom.

Lucifer is here! The Lucifer Principle came in yesterday, just in time for Project 40. First the book- a few weeks ago I engaged (against my own better judgment) in a debate about supporting the troops and the definition of murder sans justification. Per usual, fellow Etsian and artist Reverend Ross stopped in to drop a piece of knowledge. This time it was genuine; Rev has a rather odd sense of timing his replies, deliberately and pretty funny, I might add. Only, this time he recommended The Lucifer Principle as an explanation of the history of war and violence.

The Lucifer Principle per what I've gleaned in the first 30 pages is a scientific theorem of evil as an intrinsic versus extrinsic force. Without giving away all that I've read thus far, I will say that Howard Bloom was listening to me explain to my ever worrisome grandmother how listening to Guns & Roses would not cause me to harm myself or others. She's really cute and old fashioned; even gullible at times. If evil is in fact a learned/observed behavior, what's up with the other animals? Did the planet's now extinct predators just TiVo this shit for us ? Hmmm? Anyway, thanks Rev!

You'll notice some changes here at the Hive, I've moved things about and will continue to do so until such time as HTML leads me to the path of total blog annihilation or I get it just right. The banner is especially lovely, yes? I swapped a piece of jewelry for design services. Pretty in Peace, almost a year in the making needed a more prominent presence here. The designer without prompting chose the Lakshmi ring for its beehive resemblance. When I initially designed the ring, I saw the great Goddess Lakshmi; golden and luminescent, standing tall and strong in representation of wealth and prosperity. There has to be some sort of universal connection here. Artistic interpretation is intriguing, yes?

Subtle segue...I am on Etsy fora timeout for pointing out malicious intent in a thread. For what it's worth, the temporary muting is fair practice per Etsy standards. On a personal note, it's like, "Whatever". Yes, I did say, "It [was] starting to smell like cat shit", in reference to the overall tone of a thread and all of the estrogen induced mania. I just feel on the general scale of fora posting madness, my comment; a mere pimple on the ass of life-is surely not mute-worthy. But, as the NEW! adage goes, "When one thread closes another opens". I'm now going to use all of my power for the greater good and keep my wit, wisdom and abrasion right here, LIVE! and Uncensored at the Hive. I can't in good conscience spend nearly as much time in the fora as I have previously, as a rule I avoid casual socialization and, as it appears virtual communications are pretty much the same. I doubt I'll ever play nice with others, so I create, alone.

And last, but certainly most important, Project 40! I'm excited and ambivalent about this. One of the most arduous tasks for me is shut down/up. Lots of mental restarts going on here, but no genuine log off, shut down and just be. I'm consistently trying to complete my mental to-do list or adding shit to the actual to-do list. (Sings) "These are the thoughts that never end, they just go on and on my friends, 'cause when I get to thinking-well, just thinking ain't enough then I will add more shit to my agenda just because..." repeat until you crack. The folks at Yoga For Everybody have challenged me-(Yes, every e-mail short of genitals enlargement spam is perceived an authentic challenge) to a daily heart health meditation for 40 whole days. Those ancient spiritualists were really a force with whom to be reckoned; I generally lose interest in commitment to anything/one in a week or so. So for the next 40 days I will devote 15 preciously neurotic minutes to total relaxation. *Faints*

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My Not so Extreme Makeover

Uh so tell me Blogger aficionados, is HTML ESL for "How to Make Lunatic?" I can read, write, type and have exceptional spelling and grammar skills. Is that not enough to qualify me for frou frou blog status without the hype that is HTML? For Pete's sake, I think I'm doing okay, and then I pull a savant move like adding a friggin' JPEG file and end up with 167 line spaces between my last thought and the image. Can I get a break, don't tell me bloggin', alongside craftin'-ain't easy.

I've recently summoned the aid of an Etsian graphics designer to give me a face lift for my anniversary. June marks a year in the life of a blogger. Throws confetti. So postings will be few far between and fairly scant as I prepare for my NEW! look. Have a gander at some of my previous yammerings, on occasion I have found myself quite profound...near genius even. Cheers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Aggression, Assertion and Assholiness

It's been fairly quiet today in the aftermath of Tuesday's tempest and Wednesday's warpath (see photo right). Little has been resolved, actually nothing has been resolved-but I'm okay. I need this time to come down a notch, medicate and transcend from aggression to assertion. Luckily I'm also fora grounded so I will not be overwhelmed by stupidity during my transcendence. I wish I'd known someone was going to scold me, I would've at least made it worth while. Note to those who are easily offended; "Don't start none, won't be none". I wasn't going to tell this rudimentary tale, but as it turns out it is a suitable segue for the next topic in my communication series.

First, let me quickly refer back to, "Don't start none, won't be none". I find this is where most folks go wrong. "Don't bark with the big dogs and piss like a puppy". I'm all about the nice nice, and I love good conversation, but you can't open up a can of kick ass, "pat it , roll it and mark it with B" once it's open it's on! There is a difference between aggressive approach and assertive approach which is what many don't seem to get. Let's go into some examples, okay?

Say you're having a discussion and you want it to end because the other person is getting on your last damn nerve, they are interrupting, raising their voice-overall just not presenting an effective argument. What do you do: a) Say shut-up b) Please shut the fuck up c) If you continue to yell and interrupt me I am not going to have this discussion with you. Of course the initial gut response is "A" (as much as "A" and "B"actually tend to work better) the correct answer is "C". The reason is the other options are an attempt at controlling someone else's actions which is not your job. Asserting yourself is just that, putting yourself in a position of assertion; a firm stance.

The other two choices are acts of verbal aggression. Depending on who you are having this heated discussion with any act of aggression will only result in further aggression ("Did you hear that Dubya"?)

Assertive lies somewhere between Aggressive and Passive, I think it differs in each individual. I'll use myself as an example. When I am faced with an act of assholiness, my initial reaction is to be passive. Really, I know it is hard to believe because I am very temperamental, but before I give the business, there is a very brief period where I consider and sometimes utter a passive word. "OK." "You're right". "I'm wrong". "It's done." "Let's just forget about it". "But no! (says like Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden) "You gotta be a blabber mouth!" Aggression, here I come, and now all of the eloquence has left the building with Elvis and it's time to ride the USS Fuck You with me as your Cap'n. Seriously, that is who I really am. Then in sweeps a moment of reflection and feeling like I just got caught with a head scarf on, knot in the front and, a cigarette dangling from dry lips, in a mu-mu with tube socks and sandals-I run for cover, fix up and return with my cape on as Assertive-woman (with the occasional hint of condescension, but I'm working on it) and resume all faculties and head back to the land of reason and eloquence.You're in really good shape if you can get there without all of the intermittent shenanigans!
I've a childhood friend who is about to marry soon, and we often discuss the human condition and how it relates to the woman and man conditions respectively. Now as Black and Hispanic women we have a penchant for histrionics, so I want to play this scenario especially for my committee member as I see it all goin' down.
The Dinner Dance
Female: What do you want to eat?
Male: I don't know, whatever.
Female: What do you mean whatever, tell me something.
Male: With raised voice-"Whatever! Whatever! Why you gotta make such a big deal just make something! Damn..."
Female: Rubs hands together like an evil fly and makes the one meal you know damn well he doesn't like.
Male: Ah c'mon you made ________!(Insert quick easy not too dandy tasting meal here) Stomps around house in disgust.
Female: You know what pendejo/asshole, I fuckin' asked you what you wanted and you said whatever so that's what you get and if you don't like it comer mierda/eat an ass.
Male: What's your problem?
Female: Nothing.

The steps to the dance are: neutral, passive, aggressive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, aggressive/perpetual victim, aggressive/guilt-ridden, passive, passive, jazz hands, repeat.

The Dinner Date

Female: What do you want to eat?
Male: I don't know, whatever.
Female: Why whatever? I need an idea so I can get it started/ordered.
Male: With raised voice-"Whatever! Whatever! Why you gotta make such a big deal just make something! Damn..."
Female: (Calm but firm) I cannot continue this discussion unless you lower your voice.
Male: Still ranting.
Female: This discussion is over until you are able to speak to me respectfully. Hang up/Walk out.

Give it a few, he'll likely call with a man reason, what women tend to refer to as an excuse. Now you're probably too pissed to eat anyway, but he can't come back and flip it nor did you give up any dignity in the process. You stood your ground without raising the roof.

Male: I'm sorry honey/mami, I'm just really tired. I'll pick up something on the way home.
Female: I understand. I'll see you soon.

Screaming Wench Disclaimer: The first time you address your partner like this he is going to check his beer for anti-freeze or sleep with one eye open and one shoe on. It's okay, they will eventually come to respect you for it and even learn something...hopefully. Rolls eyes.

Hellraiser Disclaimer: When he comes in for the love of Bob, please do not ask, "And what did you have your ass on your shoulders about? I was just asking you what you wanted to eat. Shit, that's what I get for being nice, I'll never ask you shit again. and I don't want that shit you picked up nobody told you to get that. Slams door.

Laughs, that's all for tonight. If you haven't taken the poll yet, please do. Thanks and be nice.
Note: Blogger is taking me within reach of a complete pscychotic break with the paragraph spacing issues...seriously.

Grin and Bear It

Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus...Is it really that difficult? Interplanetary correspondence and comprehension? I mean, is it really that difficult? I'd like to think in this great age of technological advancement we could narrow these broad communication ranges. Hell, with the internet and all, you're seriously telling me it has to be this complex?! You have got to be shittin' me!

Lately life in my house has been a lot like world travel, in some Quantum leap I have landed in the world of, "No-one-(my husband and teenage son) has-any-idea-what-the-fuck-I'm-talking- about." (Bob, I love that word, have you seen the movie? Good shit, I highly recommend). What do you do in a situation like this? Last night I cried, and I went to sleep with so much tension on my brain that I contemplated removing my eyes with a grapefruit spoon to allow my burgeoning amygdala room to breathe. Then I remembered my sonar is off so, not a brilliant idea. I then thought, perhaps I'll eat a box of donuts...nah, I'll just then be overweight and misunderstood. Well, here I sit on this glorious Thursday morning looking much like a tourist in my own home. I've a "Haven't-the-vaguest-idea-who-these-crazy-people-are-or-what-they-want from-me" expression on my face and a cup of molten lava hot coffee as I grin and bear it.

Oh and by the way Mr Gray, women are from Earth, Mars is where men go so they can pretend they can't hear what the hell we're saying! Want to preserve your sanity and the sanity of those around you...see here and tune in again tomorrow.

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