Thursday, July 30, 2009
(my son, the ham)
My son, in all his three-year-old glory, loves to be around other kids. He loves running, jumping, kicking balls--the usual--and gets so giddy when he sees other little people around. Although, he used to be THAT kid (borderline playground terror), he's turned out to be quite a nice little boy. But as he gets ready to enter preschool, I'm starting to get a little nervous about the habits he'll pick up from other kids.
One thing I've noticed is that my son is usually so eager to play with other kids, that he can be a little too over the top. Often times he follows other kids around the playground, gets really close to them (in a nice way), and can't seem to get the hint when they don't want to play with him. When we're on the playground, I often have to call to him and tell him that so-and-so doesn't want to be followed around. When kids shun his friendliness, his feelings are completely hurt, and he comes to me crushed and on the verge of tears. My heart can't help but ache a bit, and I'm quick to give him some mommy love.
As I hold my son and try to assure him that someone else will want to play, I sometimes wonder how I'll teach him to be a confident, respectful kid who won't be a follower and will not be devastated when kids are mean.
I posted my question on twitter, and got some sound advice from another mother:
Although I'm starting to have more and more conversations with my son (and I feel like he actually UNDERSTANDS what I'm telling him), it never occurred to me to have him address not only me, the adult, but the offending child as well. It's so simple right? But gearing up for preschool I was so worried about him being mistreated and allowing it to go on, or worse, reacting to it and then being blamed, that my first bit of advice to him was, "tell your teacher if someone's being mean, ok?" He usually nods his head and then runs off a whole list of people he'll tell (mommy, daddy, abuela, pawpaw), as if we'll all swoop down to his defense. While I'm happy he knows he can count on us, I'm more interested in teaching him how to deal with these sorts of situations on his own.
So how do you teach your kids to stick up for themselves respectfully? How can I prepare my munchkin for the newness of preschool, and protect him from picking up new bad habits?
I'd love to hear from the mamas (and the papas) on raising confident, respectful kids. Comment!
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:53 PM 4 comments
Saturday, July 25, 2009
These past few days I've had the opportunity to circulate amongst some of the most powerful female bloggers in the nation. It has been a truly eye-opening experience for many reasons. Most of which have to do with my growth as a writer/blogger, and how I can become more focused and improve upon what I'm doing now, and others, dealt with just plain ol' life issues.
It's been almost a week since Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested outside of his home near Boston for disorderly conduct. Since then the media has been focusing on how, in "post-racial" America (gag), people are still dealing with the uncomfortable issues that surround race. President Obama added his two cents to the debate, acknowledging that Black & Latino men are racially profiled at higher rates by the police, and for that, he was accused of race bating by Conservative pundits. Normally, I would ignore their faulty analysis, but I'm starting to realize that SO many people have SO many opinions about race, that we might as well just put it all out in the open and talk about it.
The charade has ended. Let's not pretend that Americans are post racial. And to be honest, we will probably never get to the point where one's color, one's visible difference does not matter. Oh, we'd like to pretend we are THAT deep, that self-actualized, that progressive, but when it comes down to it, many of us still harbor some of the divisive stereotypes from the past.
Today I attended a BlogHer session on Marketing to Women of Color. The room was ethnically diverse and packed. I was psyched because I was amazed that so many non-colored girls were interested in US. Although sometimes I feel like black bloggers are marginalized to ONLY having a Black audience, I thought perhaps, this would open my eyes to something different. Then the conversations and questions became reruns of past conversations. The jist being: We want to be included too! Many women of color (WOC) bloggers shared that they sometimes felt disrespected by companies approaching them because they wanted to target a certain "urban" (read: black) audience in a certain way. While on the PR side, many lamented the difficulty of being an all-white firm, pitching to black/brown consumers. Although the conversation seemed honest and authentic, one thought kept running through my mind:
Learn what makes me tick. Read me. Study me. But not in an "oh, you're so exotic" kind of way. Learn my customs, my culture, how I live. Because, honestly, as a WOC that longs to be successful, I have no choice but to study you. So why not return the favor? If you're a company and your whole staff is white, you should probably investigate why you're whole staff is white, and not focus on how you'll be perceived as a white person pitching to a diverse crowd. Not that you have to go out and hire a token black/brown person, but in 2009, your company should already look like the world.
After the session, my suspicions that we weren't really past race were confirmed...with a tweet, no less.
It seems as though a blog that focuses on Moms of Color intimidates people. Why? I'm not sure. It's not that we, moms of color, don't deal with the same issues as all moms, because we do. I can only infer it's because of race, being that all other things--parenting issues, the products we buy for our kids, our children's development--remain equal.
It's sad that we've found new ways (and mediums) to segregate ourselves. The Henry Louis Gates issue has only pealed back the bandaid we've used to cover our race wounds. I would hope that, at some point, and through serious, honest conversations we will get past our differences and enjoy learning about each other. Maybe then we might reach the mystical, magical lands of post-racial America.
Listen to Denene Millner, founder of MyBrownBaby discusses race, the web, and blogging while brown HERE
Do you think the web is segregated?
How can we TRULY become a Post-Racial America? (or do we even want to?)
What do you wish others could truly learn about YOU (or your culture?)?
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 4:07 PM 14 comments
Thursday, July 23, 2009
If you haven't noticed before, I love Twitter (follow me!). It's allowed me to connect to lots of interesting people, with fascinating ideas, words, and blogs. It's continually shown me how small the world is becoming & how connected we all are.
When I was in San Francisco, I saw a tweet from Renee Ross about an opportunity for Moms of Color to attend the BlogHer conference. BlogHer is a site for women bloggers to interact and promote their sites and their conference is its premiere event. It brings together women bloggers from all across the word and hosts sessions on writing, building your business, social media, and so much more. I've eyed it from a distance, always wanting to go, but never taking the plunge. Most of my travel surrounds visiting beloved, or taking the munchkin someplace cool, so when I saw Renee's tweet, I decided, "what the hell" and I sent a message to the sponsor, Mom Noir.
Mom Noir is a new site for moms of color that will be covering everything from beauty to travel, parenting advice to pop culture. I'm excited to see it come to fruition, and I'm also excited because they are sponsoring my trip to BlogHer '09! Who knew sending one little tweet would lead to an all-expenses paid trip to one of the hottest Blogging conferences in the country? To borrow a phrase from the yougins, I'm geeked up!
I'm leaving tonight, heading to Chicago, and onto a new adventure. This experience, finding a sponsor, has opened up a whole new world to me. I can't wait to meet powerful, interesting, and engaging women who blog. One of my goals is to stop working for someone else & sustain myself through writing. Who knows, this conference may help me make connections and learn how to reach my goals.
Are you going to BlogHer? (or have you been?)
Has Twitter (or any other site) changed your life for the better?
If you had a sponsor, what would you like to do?
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:07 AM 1 comments
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Kiss the Sky, Farai Chideya’s debut novel, follows 30-something has-been indie rocker, turned TV music critic, Sophie Lee, as she struggles to overcome her demons and finally reach superstar status. When we meet Sophie, her band, Sky, is preparing for a benefit show that could catapult her back onto the rock scene. After stumbling upon mild success before drugs tore them apart, Sophie and her ex-husband/band mate/love of her life, are trying yet, again, to reach the mountaintop. Between Ari’s constant drug abuse, Sophie’s lack of confidence and incessant love for Ari, and the band’s scheming manager (who is also Sophie’s lover), Sky’s chance of stardom seems nearly impossible.
Chideya’s transports the reader to pre-9/11 New York City, describing the streets, the smells, and the attitude of the city before ever corner was dotted with Starbucks. Chideya allows Sophie’s blunt, vulnerable, and self-conscious voice to drive the story, leading us through her various neuroses, childhood scars, bad decisions, and her accent to success. Despite Sophie’s self-destructive habits, we find ourselves rooting for her to break through and become a bonafied rocks star.
Kiss the Sky is a fun, fast-paced novel that guides readers through the sex, drugs, and drama of the underground New York City rock scene. Pop in your favorite mix tape, and prepare to have a good time.
Have you read, Kiss the Sky? (thoughts?)
What are you reading now?
What do you want to read next?
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 12:00 PM 4 comments
Monday, July 20, 2009
The road trip was a success, despite adding my father at the last minute. He's not exactly the EASIEST person to get along with at times (especially when he's drinking, which is all the time), but we made it. We saw some beautiful sites up and down the California coast, lots of ocean views, miles and miles of farm land, and some cows. The kid got a kick out of seeing all of the animals, and even though it took a while, I felt an odd sense of accomplishment by driving the entire trip.
As promised, I'm sharing some of the photos I took along the way. Enjoy!
Down at the boardwalk.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was a lot of fun. This was our first stop on the road trip. We got to the boardwalk at about 7pm & found out that on Mondays & Tuesdays all rides were only 75cents! Yes! The kid road trains, and boats, he drove cars, and played games to his heart's content.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
I've been to a few aquariums in my life, but this one was, by far, a step above the rest. The hall of Jelly Fish was amazing, and there were seals and otters just sunbathing in the bay. Wonderful!
Even though I'm a native Cali girl, I had never been to San Francisco. It was a fabulous city, but so damn cold! (somebody should have told me to bring a COAT!). The weather definitely threw me (60s in the day time!), but we had a great time riding the historic cable cars, strolling Fisherman's Warf, and exploring the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. I will definitely make my way up to the bay again (and soon!).
(one of the hearts that decorate Union Square)
(you can ALLLLLMOST see the Golden Gate Bridge. the cloud were so low, it was hard to make out *even when we drove over it!*)
(the roof of the Ca. Academy of Sciences is alive, literally! It's covered in grass & plants. it was beautiful)
I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of my road trip. Hopefully this is just the first of many!
Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, what is your favorite spot in the city?
How was your week(end)?
Got pictures to share? Link to them in the comments!
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:22 AM 4 comments
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
After a busy, busy weekend of hitting up Sea World & the circus, the munchkin and I are hitting the road again. A few weeks ago I mentioned taking a road trip, and it's finally here!
Today, the munchkin, my mama, my little bro, and I are driving up the California Coast. I've planned a couple of things to see along the way: The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Golden Gate Park, and The California Academy of Sciences. But I'm sure, like most road trips, we will fit in a few detours. I'm planning on driving the scenic route, snapping a few pictures with my new camera, and sharing them with y'all.
I (probably) won't be posting this week, but if you're curious about how it's going, follow my twitter updates for pictures & the lowdown about the trip. When I return, I'm going to share my review of Farai Chideya's new novel, Kiss the Sky, as well as some of the things I've been writing this summer.
Be blessed y'all & enjoy the week!
What are you reading this summer?
Do you guys have anything planned this week?
Are you hitting the road this summer, or enjoying a staycation?
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 12:12 AM 0 comments
Thursday, July 09, 2009
I have always loved a good story. Times like these, when I am off from work & school I tend to devour books. It's so easy to get lost in a world that isn't like my own (or JUST like my own, only different lol), and marvel at the talent and imagination of writers. For as long as I can remember, I've always liked making up stories. When I was young--maybe 7 or 8-- I would create knock-off muppet capers on our old typewriter and beg my mom to send them into short story contents. She never did, but I never stopped thinking up stories.
I've always run from the title, "writer" (apparently, I'm not the only one). I certainly don't get paid to write, although I do love it. Even though I've yet to see a story in print, I'm still like the 7-year-old me, thinking up stories in the middle of the night. Lately, I've been getting back to my love of words. For the longest I was too tired, too lazy, too busy to just sit down and write. For the past few nights, however, I've been staying up way into the wee hours of the morning...writing. And it's been good. For the first time in the long time I'm not procrastinating. I'm just letting it flow, and not thinking too hard about it (this is still a struggle). But it's coming. And I'm so happy about that.
So, in the spirit of the 7-year-old me, I'm going to share a little something with y'all. Comments and critiques are always, always welcome!
"I can't believe this is happening to me again." Nina muttered aloud as she lay in her bed, annoyed.
For the past few days she contemplated the remnants of her life. As always, she had a plan, and as usual, it had once again been derailed in an instant. As she lay in bed, she struggled to make sense of her world. Struggled to figure out what to do next.
"Well, get up..." She told herself. She in need of some serious convincing, but didn’t move.
"Get up, girl. Snap out of it," she tried once more.
Again, her body did not move. And again she tried to will herself to her feet with empty rhetoric. Nina's mind was willing, but her flesh, very weak, choosing instead to remain in the comforting lull of her pillow top mattress. Although she knew she couldn't afford to spend another day wallowing in the blueblack coziness of her bedroom, she was just so tired. Not physically, but mentally, exhausted by having her dreams dashed, again.
As Nina lay in her bed, she didn't feel like fighting anymore. Didn't feel like getting out into the world and blazing another trail for herself, only to have it blocked by yet another devastating roadblock. Today, Nina thought, she'd rest. She rationalized that she’d spend just one more day wallowing in her defeat, and tomorrow she would scotch tape together whatever was left of her life.
Nina reached for her remote and flipped on the TV, hoping to find some sort of reprieve from the doubts threatening to overtake her.
She flipped on the Today Show and watched as Matt and Meredith tried some delicious, exotic concoction. Her stomach twinged. Nina hadn't eaten for two days. She hadn't even thought about eating, too busy caught up in her own head. But watching them dance around the kitchen taking large bites of spiced curry shrimp, made Nina suddenly want to eat. But it wasn't that simple, little ever is. Since her self-imposed hiatus from life, she hadn't been to the grocery store, and she knew that whatever was left in her refrigerator was probably toxic.
Nina’s stomach growled angrily. Instead of pulling on a hoodie and jeans to go to the store, she flipped off the TV, pulled the covers over her head, and slammed her eyes shut. She willed herself to fall into near coma, hoping that tomorrow she’d awaken, and this would all be some sort of hellish dream.
Thoughts? Should I keep it going or kill it?
What are you writing/working on right now?
What are you reading right now?
Read the first part of the story I'm working on right now, "This Side of the Wall"
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:26 PM 4 comments
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
(photo courtesy Goff White Design)
Today the world stopped. Literally. As if it has been thrown into retrograde and stopped spinning all together. For ninety minutes millions of people around the world paused to mourn the death of Michael Jackson.
I wasn't going to blog about Michael's memorial, there are so many people doing that already, but the commentary kills me. Twitter was popping, as usual. Many people were being respectful, and others were being themselves (asses), but twittering while I watched the memorial was like sharing it with a big group of friends. The web has made the whole world so tiny, and this man's music brought MILLIONS together. I am awe stuck, not only by the popularity of MJ, but by the sheer power of music.
And then, Donny Deutsch had to come along and wreck my high.
Deutsch was a guest on MSNBC's "the Ed Show" and he threw some serious shade on what was a joyous home going service. He claimed to not to want to be the "cold-hearted" guy, but claimed that all of us who were touched by Mike and shed a tear for him and his family needed to get a life.
After offending MJ fans everywhere, he went and hit me in the heart. While he continued to relegate Mike to being only a "great singer and dancer," he uttered some fighting words.
"I don't think music changes lives."
Record scratch. Say word?
Music has changed my life. It is something I take very personally. There are songs that have indelibly scratched themselves into my memory for all eternity. Moreover, I would not be a writer, would not have had the courage to speak my own story had I not heard Nas' Illmatic. Donny, music not only changes lives, it births them, it saves them, and it gives us something to keep striving for. How many babies have been made, relationships saved, revolutions started, and riots calmed just by music? When Africans were enslaved in America, music not only changed lives, it helped them spread the word about a path to freedom.
So Donny, don’t tell me music doesn’t change lives. If I have been reminded of one thing today it is how easily we can be united by a common thread. Despite racial, cultural, or economic differences, we can all find a commonality through music. It is truly a universal language.
Posted by the prisoner's wife On 6:06 PM 0 comments