Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Letter

Photography by Bucks County Frames available on

August 30, 2009

Dear Perfection, She types and wonders if this will be a good-ahem, I mean a most excellent post.

You and I, we've been at this thing for far too long. Surely in those earlier formative years, you led me to see my full potential; godspeed, pushing me beyond my comfort zone academically and socially, only to now become a paralyzing hindrance.

You see, "Idea" doesn't like you; you create seemingly insurmountable obstacles for her with great frequency. You know that way you do what you do, you and your minions "Anxiety" and "Doubt". And, you know what else, I bet it was you, way back when, you invited "Depression" into our lives with deliberation and total disregard for her lack of hospitality. What a wretched guest! She has surely overstayed her welcome here. My family doesn't like her-well the ones who acknowledge her presence; they like to tip-toe about minimizing both the presence and perilous impact of the pachydermatous one. How do I feel about her? Well, that simply goes without saying- of course, when she's here I don't do very much talking, I don't do very much of anything.

And "Art", sighs and sulks-"Art" and I, we...well we're in love, "Perfection". And, you just don't understand a love like ours...because...well, it is based on this intrinsic connection that we two share. There's a symbiosis in the way she and I move and breathe, think and connect, one which exists and flourishes in spite of your objective stranglehold. We will continue to be together and we will bring forth great things from this blissful union which lovingly includes "Idea", "Happiness", and even "Abandon"-on rare occasion. There, I said it! Cleansing breath. Are you okay? 'Cause, I'm okay...I actually feel pretty damn good. I certainly hope you're okay though, because...well, before you completely back off, I'm gonna need your discerning eye for a moment whilst I tweeze my brows.

What's in your mental out-box today?

Inner peace

PS: I spell-checked about 4 times and re-read 4 more than that. How ironic it would be to denounce "Perfection" in a most imperfect display; surely she'd think me reprehensible.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Dream: Woman With Birds

Art: Woman with Hens by Brenda Rose on Etsy

The haunting sounds of visceral moaning awoke me, and there she sat, this faceless woman, at the far northeast corner of my bedroom, legs splayed. I sat up and nudged the dream man, but nothing. I stared frightened for a few more seconds before I rose and grabbed my robe. Hesitantly, I approached the strange, faceless woman; realizing her girth, knelt before her. She pulled the end of her pale blue gown up above her wobbling knees and exposed the lock-in double handles of an industrial deep-fryer basket. Wide eyed, a bit of nausea sets in along with that painful temple throbbing that preceded my usual histrionics. Gingerly, I untangle my hands from each other and grab hold of the handles. She smiles excitedly, okay madly and nods in a way that indicates I've done something good. Now, I nod too-not really in agreement, more like the insane nervous shaking in the rest of my body has now made it to my head.

As she continues to labor-I guess that's what you'd call it, I can feel the intermittent breaks in the suction-like hold her pelvic floor has on the fryer basket; indicating she is contracting. And, suddenly the hold breaks. I instinctively pull; only, there's no cathartic birthing howl. Wait! There's no woman either! It's just me alone, on the floor of the far northeast corner of my bedroom with the lock-in double handles of an industrial deep fryer basket full of animated dead birds with "X"s for eyes in my grasp. Had any weird dreams lately?


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Buzz: Chocolate 2008

Chocolate 2008 is my latest "Buzz"-worthy film pick. This film combines the martial art film norms; vengeance, the gang, the girl and the deadly showdown with a solid storyline that is, at times, touching.

Zen- played by my new, next life wife, Yanin Vismitananda is the autistic daughter of Zin; Thai gangster, "No. 8's" love interest (read: possession) and her forbidden Japanese lover, Masasahi (Hiroshi Abe ) He's pretty hot too.

The story follows Zen and Zin, taking refuge in a Thai ghetto and living above a Muay Thai school. The mother, Zin spends most of her days bedridden with cancer, Zen spends hers toggling between obsessively watching the young Muay Thai students from the window and various martial arts films. It is from these fervent observations Zen's talent to mimic martial arts masters is discovered and honed by her cousin and sole companion Moom.

Together Moom and Zen take to the streets to earn money for Zin's chemotherapy treatments by collecting from a ledger Moom discovered in Zin's belongings. The ledger however, belongs to "No. 8" and, in the process the word of Zin's whereabouts gets back to her jilted ex-lover. Eeep!

Get all of your guilty snacks in order before you hit start, this film is action-packed from beginning to end and, the choreography is phenomenal. The fight sequence between Yanin Vismitananda and "Epileptic Boxer" Kittitat Kowahagul is equal parts martial arts and B-Boy moves, I actually screamed! This film was thoroughly enjoyable, I'm looking forward to more work from director, Prachya Pinkaew, my Thai Quentin Tarantino. Chocolate 2008 is in Thai with English subtitles, it is available on Netflix.

Peace and a good film

Current project: Inspiration India

Last week, I received this fun package of ephemeral bits and bobs all the way from Secunderabad, India courtesy of Etsy friend, Nutmeg Click. The pieces have been sitting out as you see here whilst I draw inspiration for their final resting positions in a mixed media art collage. And today, I am ready to begin. What are you working on?

Peace and art

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion...Part Two

I'm back with the results...phenomenal! My trial run was a success. In fact, the only thing I'll change for the holidays is the addition of olive oil in the masa. I've included it already in the recipe below. The absence of animal fat made for a less than clean removal of the cooked pastele and I'm a bit of a presentation whore. As if there was such a thing as a pretty pastele!

I think you'd probably die if you consumed the uber-filling fattening Malta alongside a plate of yellow rice and pasteles, but that doesn't stop it from looking like a grand idea! I picked up a 6 pack of these babies to help set the mood whilst, I mean preparing the dish.

Pre-drained, frozen, cubed and later marinated in a bit of fresh sofrito juices extra-firm tofu.

Last step before the final dollop, wrap and 45 minutes of bubblin' salted boil

Vegetarian Pasteles makes 10-12

2 large green plantains
3 very green bananas
1.5 lbs Yucca root
1 large Russet potato
Peel and cube the bananas and plantains, placing them in a large bowl of salted cold water while you grate the potato and yucca root. Then, add the cubed bananas and plantains to a food processor, puree and mix with the grated mixture. Add salt to taste and replace the fat from your non-existent meat filling with olive oil, your masa is ready once it is the consistency of cooked oatmeal.

1/3 lb extra firm tofu well drained, frozen, thawed and cubed
2 medium bell peppers cubed
4-6 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 medium white onion cubed
1/2 cup chick peas
1/3 lb extra firm tofu cubed
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
a pinch of fresh saffron threads
3-4 cloves garlic
3 Morningstar farms bacon strips
1/2 cup olives with juices
Tomato sauce, tofu chick peas and olives aside, puree all of the above ingredients in a food processor. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large frying pan and add mixture cooking over a medium heat until all ingredients have cooked down. Slowly add your tomato sauce and cook the mixture for about 30-40 minutes on low heat allowing all of the flavors to meld. Remove from heat, add tofu, olives with juices and chick peas and cover. Allow the mixture to sit until cool (or overnight which is recommended.)

Beckon your minions, parchment paper, aluminum foil (or string if you're really bad ass) and begin the layering process as follows: Add 1/2 cup of masa, spread it out on the parchment paper. Add 4 tbs of filling in the center, bring all four sides up a bit with the end of your spoon or spatula and add a final large dollop of masa to cover. Wrap in parchment paper like a present, flip and then wrap again with aluminum foil (y'know if you're not bad ass).

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add your pasteles allowing them to cook for 45 minutes. Give a few minutes to cool, it'll make for a cleaner unwrap especially since the vegan recipe is lacking almost all of the fat in the original . I learned this the hard way-hence the not so sexy photos.

Peace, roots and culture

Monday, August 24, 2009

Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion...Part One

Before I'd ever heard of West Side story or happened upon this scene-wherein Rita Moreno blurts this post's title in full-on sarcastic saccharinity, I knew I loved Puerto Rico. If I am to be honest, this love began with Puerto Rican boys, the Ortiz brothers, if I am to be unabashedly shameless!

Growing up in
NYC; the melange of beautiful people, languages and customs, ensures you will not escape culturally unenriched. A friend said to me just last week, "Meek, you're the only Black girl I know who knows more Spanish than Spanish people." To which I replied, "You should hear my Greek and French!"

This week, with my Favorite Guy home for a few extra days, I decided to schedule the trial run of veganized pasteles. Pasteles are a traditional Puerto Rican cuisine served at Christmas. The recipe consists of two main components; the masa or dough comprised of pureed root vegetables, green bananas and green plantains (pumpkin or calabazas is also used by some) and the filling, which is traditionally a strained guisadas (stew) of pork butt or shoulder. However, as animals are our friends, I've gone with marinated firm tofu cubes and chick peas combo in a rich tomato base. And of course, before all of this happens, you must whip up a batch of sofrito, no-I mean, no Puerto Rican dish is complete without sofrito.

The most beautiful head of garlic ever and a bright bushel of fresh cilantro

Sofrito with bits of soy bacon for smoky flavor

Grated yucca for the masa (dough)

The finished masa: salted green bananas, plantains, a Russet potato and yucca

Only one downside, we have far fewer willing preparation participants than a traditional Puerto Rican family holiday gathering, so this experience will be continued...

Peace, roots and culture

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Moms of Hue

As many of my regular readers are aware, motherhood is one of the many hats I wear. In that role, I write weekly articles about parenting and more specifically parenting from the perspective of a woman of color over at Moms of Hue.

I understand at times, we- myself included are turned off by anything that boasts racial specificity or deems itself otherwise exclusionary. However, I would encourage my blog readers and others to see beyond those barriers and willfully familiarize themselves with the diversity that exists within humanity; there is indeed great strength in education.

Below is a header excerpted from my current article and a link to the post in its entirety. I'd appreciate it if you all would stop in and weigh in on ways you have either experienced, or have been educated by my post or others on the rigors of hueism within communities of color.

I am a dark-skinned woman, and while my complexion has never knowingly stopped me from attaining any pre-set goals, I am aware of its stigma. From Bollywood to Hollywood and all stops in between, romantic leading ladies are generally fair to medium hued. To that end, leading men of sinister or otherwise sub-par moral character are darker hued. You do remember the darkening of OJ Simpson’s mug shot for the Time magazine cover brouhaha, yes? A couple weeks ago, I was made privy to the other side of hueism, as it relates to mixed people of color. [...continue reading here]

Peace and enlightenment

Monday, August 17, 2009

About Me: Stuff I Like

A few weeks ago, neighboring Etsian and blogger Amy of Ponder & Stitch tagged me in an About Me post. I'm to list 10 things about myself. I've done quite a few tags about quirks and other randomosities so, today I'll write about stuff I like.

Enjoy, and of course consider yourself tagged, if you so desire.

Spinach and Swiss omelet on artisan loaf: by Favorite Guy

1. Breakfast food: anytime of day breakfast is alright with me

2. Blogging: I've been remiss in my blogging and I am so feeling it. I miss all of my blog buds and am looking forward to catching up on every one's going ons over the next few days.

3. Obscure, understated and cerebral films: Ma Vie en Rose, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul, Monsieur Ibrahim, Raising Victor Vargas and Before Night Falls are some of my favorites off the top of my head.

4. I believe firmly in the healing properties of dark chocolate, wheat beer and silence.

5. Hobbies, crafts and other time-occupying endeavors: They are a must to keep your grey matter from atrophying and dripping from your ears.

6. Anthropomorphism for 1,000 Alex: I can spend, er...waste hours minding the minds of my menagerie and stringing tales of catnip and carpet wallowing. Every cat in the house has a purr-sonality, a voice and a special talent.

T.Allen-Mercado 2008

7. ACEOs: Love them, love them. Did I mention I love them? They're like portion controlled art; all of the satisfaction of a huge piece with minimal residual aftermath. They're amenable to collector pockets and artist's busy schedules, alike.

8. Etsy: Etsy is more than just a marketplace for handmade goods. I have met some remarkable people there. Etsy, in a few clicks is: shopping, work, a drink with friends, a new friend, a new discovery, an intense debate and so much more. Never been? Go [here] now!

9. Humans: Even when they overwhelm me; as they have this past week-hence my absence. I can't get enough of the bipeds; I watch, I listen, I analyze. I'm thoroughly intrigued by humans. I keep my distance, but I can't curb my curiosity.

10. Old stuff: Old love, old lovers, old words, phrases, furniture, fashion, growing old (Yep, I'm intrigued and a little excited even by the changes in my appearance, outlook and attitude). I love old stuff, it hold secrets, lessons and character.

What sort of things do you like?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Art-filled Life

Available this Fall on iTunes

I think- and I could ask my mother, just not today-I was diagnosed as "weird", by the rest of the family at about age nine. There were a few concerned teachers before then, but I'm gonna guesstimate nine as the year of my uncloseting: I am an artist.

At thirty-six, much of the chiding has subsided save for the occasional, "well you've always that". And Joe, my Favorite Guy, his family is still holding out for him to get a real job, y'know one with a pension. But, on days like today, I'm grateful that we are weird, misunderstood, unstoppable creative forces sans pensions.

Jordan, Puberty Man as he is commonly referred to here at The Honey House has been "diagnosed" as well. I remember falling prey to playground politics when he was about 6 or 7 and wanted to be a school custodian
. I nearly died! What?! You mean you don't want to be the president? A lawyer? A doctor? Who was I fooling, I didn't want to be any of those things either. In fact, I only chose something because I had to. Truth is, I felt quite content being who I was already; I didn't need a career-I had a calling and, it was art.

So, in the spirit of acceptance, we shifted gears way back then. Make no mistake we shifted gears with as much ease as one loses weight or gives birth-it was an arduous undertaking. We encouraged Jordan to pave his own road; wouldn't you know, it led right back where it began: art.

Jordan is a talented lyricist with an- and I say this as one of his toughest critics, uncanny mastery of metaphoric prose. Rap music is not my personal genre of choice, so I rely heavily on artistic content in deciding if I'm going to lend my ear to a project. The kid has certainly earned my ear-not without the occasional pearl clutching and grimace, I mean artist or not, I'm still his mom.
Peace and, of course art

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I thought this challenge, courtesy of Execumama's Akilah was an awesome way to start the week. I hope my list inspires you to unveil and bask in your innate brilliance, as well.

My Shine

Original Collage by T.Allen-Mercado 2008 Copyright by Karma

I love my name/s.

Tameka: teacher artist mother entreprenuer kitchen magician ad infinitum

Growing up, I wanted a more "conventional" name; one people pronounced correctly, one like the other kids at school, a name found on a gift shop mug. Now, I can think of no other me I'd like to be: Tameka!

-I unabashedly-albeit graciously, challenge the status quo.

Grown, ornery, hard-headed becomes free-thinking, assertive, fearless

-I choose love

I can't even begin to touch upon the doors that opened for me when I opened myself to the understanding that love begets love. Love is my religion.

(Starts to feel the sting of "I" statements, but continues...)

-I get it

As an Empath, HSP and someone who lives with the often debilitating effects of depression, I see the world through a different lens. I appreciate the view from here. It allows me a special place in the hearts of the misunderstood; privy to the things they long to tell but dare to speak. I listen with my heart, we communicate through my writing. It's a gift I feel privileged to possess and obliged to share.

-I am beautiful

"Oh no she didn't". Laughs. I have to put this out there because it's the truth. (Perhaps I should have chosen brutal honesty?) Meh, too late now.

I am my mother's nose. High, round behind, thick thighs and broad hips.
My father's almond eyes, crooked teeth and full lips.
My Nana's moles. My Grandma's high cheekbones.
I am the rich brown of the sweetest tea.
Goddess. Lover. Wife. Mother
Beautiful. Black. Woman.

Show your shine, speak your "peace" [here] or in the comments section.

Inner peace and self-love

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Unplugging for Avery

My cousin lost her teenaged son suddenly and tragically in an automobile accident last week. His "Going Home" is tomorrow.

The moments following the phone call from my mother were the know those kinds of moments where everyone is a loved one and every child is your child and you are the divine mother of everyone and in everyone you see the Divine. It's that awakening moment when your whole world yearns for cohesion because the reality of its fragmented fragility is presented, in a phone call. So, I'm unplugging tomorrow for grace, strength, love, family, peace and cohesion.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Designing for Fall

I'm finding designing for Fall particularly challenging. At 115 degrees, it's difficult to think of cool designs-pun most certainly intended. I think tomorrow, I'll literally throw some beads together; toy around with color schemes and textures and see what speaks of clear skies and autumn breeze. I'm thinking bright, almost royal blues, antiqued copper, hints of cream and plum.

And you, what colors say autumn to you?

Peace and a cool breeze

Monday, August 3, 2009

Emily, Woot!

Tomorrow, our God-daughter arrives...that's just 12 hours away, for three weeks! Three whole, twice the pubescent angst-filled weeks! And yes, there's more-I'm kinda excited; in a perverse, push yourself to the very limits of your sanity sorta way. And, y'know what else? I may even be just a tiny bit proud. Yep, we're the type of crazy that people trust and respect. Joe and I? Huh?! Who'd have thunk?! Winks. Well, just in case she rethinks this whole thing as her flight is landing, there's this sign you see...this sign, with her name on it. Just in case she wants to exit Sky Harbor International with some high-brow folks or something. We just can't stand for that sort of thing, especially when we've been up all night drinking beer, making signs and waiting excitedly!

Welcome to Arizona, Emily! Evil laughter ensues...

Peace and good times

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Looking Forward

Breathes deeply and smiles. Well, all of our summer celebrations are done as of tomorrow. Thanks, all of you-my dear blog friends, for your kind and congratulatory comments. It's now time to set business and learning goals for the remainder of the year. Which is actually quite nice; I enjoy this brief period of relative normalcy before the brouhaha of holidays comes around.

Things are changing so rapidly; this year, I have one student, Jordan begins his college career this fall. Shudder. The label's expanding in new directions; increased demand for creativity there, as well as my writing projects (Moms of Hue, Tea & Honey Zines and, one TBA). We're still adding personal touches to our new place and learning to build upward versus outward to maximize space. And, somehow with all of this in front of me, it just feels normal. I guess the business of building and creating is my "thing".

I spent nearly a decade doing much of the same with a great deal more recognition and a nice amount of money-can't say that I ever looked forward to it though. I think the best part of getting older is unapologetically being and subsequently doing what you love. So, tell me, what's your "thing" that you love?

Peace sans apology

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tomorrow: One

Tomorrow is the day,
6,570 yesterdays, many pounds, a modest pompadour and two children ago;
When we became one
Tomorrow is another imperfectly perfect day to journey
Tomorrow is a clean slate; flushed of yesterday's troubles,
Yet damp with it's teachings
Tomorrow is green, pristine; blossoming with promise, buzzing with possibility
Tomorrow isn't promised
Tomorrow is earned
Tomorrow; our reward for choosing to love today
Because of, and in spite of yesterday

Peace and love

Note: I'm participating in August's National Blog Posting Month; Theme:"Tomorrow"

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