Tuesday, April 28, 2009

REMINDER: Unite for World Hunger & Hope

Please go back and take a look at this post I did.

I realize that we all do a lot of talking about charity. We talk about feeling bad for the poor and sick and hungry. We talk about what we would do, "if only." We talk about how "there but for the grace of God..."

We see the billboards, ads on TV and in magazines. We look at the nice little logos bloggers have on their sites. We see, but don't see. We talk, but we don't do anything. We feel, but we don't put those feelings into actions.

I really hope that even one person today will DO something. While you talk about hunger, while you see the ads and news, while you feel so bad for those who are not eating as well as you do - take a moment to donate some money or food or time. Empty out your coin purses and change jars. Have your kids go around the house and collect loose change. Everyone take a look through your cabinets and cupboards. Is there anything to spare?

And while we are thinking about so many people who are hungry today, ask yourself how you would feel if it was YOUR child or parent or sister or brother who was missing meals. If you knew that someone you loved was going hungry, how would you feel about all the other people who TALK about the situation without every DOING anything about it.

So while we all go about our merry life, blogging and "social networking," taking meetings, getting together for lunch, or making a run out for a mocha or latte or breve, will it hurt us to take 10 minutes out of our day to find some food to donate or some change to put into a collection? Is it really so much to actually do some small or big or ANY thing?

Do me a favor. Take just this one moment and shut your eyes and think of what is in your refrigerator or cupboards that is not absolutely an essential thing to eat. What's there just because - just because you wanted to treat yourself, just because it's your favorite, just because you felt like splurging. What's there that you could live without? What's there that a hungry child or elder or homeless person would trade for just the most basic meal?

Now open your eyes. Open your heart. Do something.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ghost Hunters

I have this interest in people who chase after ghosts, spirits, demons - whatever you want to call it. There's a reason for my interest & I will explain that in another post coming up soon.

Right now I want to talk about the shows I like to watch. One is the show Paranormal State. This is all about a guy named Ryan and his team of "paranormal investigators." They seem to be seriously interested in examining the problems people have with paranormal disturbances. I also like that it seems they sincerely want to help the people who call on them. I do find it strange that while they are dabbling in the occult (one of the team members is a "pagan"), they often call on the "white light" of the Lord (Jesus) to protect them. In one episode, when the clients were born-again Christians, Ryan joked to the pagan team member to maybe put away her cauldron, etc. I thought that was so odd. It's like they are admitting that there are conflicts between what they do and what the Bible teaches, but they still use the Bible, priests (especially Catholic) and Church teachings in their combats... Strange.

The other show I've been checking out is Ghost Adventures. This one just cracks me up. These two guys take themselves seriously sometimes, but mostly, they seem to think that there is a lot of humor in what they do when investigating ghosts, etc. The one guy (he seems to be more of a camera operator) does not even pretend to be brave. Let something creak, whisper or groan in the dark & he goes into full panic mode. I love it when something weird happens and all you hear is him going, "Dude! Whoa! This is hardcore!" (Trust me, I'm laughing WITH him. I wouldn't even go into a creepy place on purpose, so I know I'd be screaming like a little girl if something spooked me.)

There's an old joke about black people and scary movies - you know, the movie would be over before it began because we wouldn't be hanging around after a voice told us to "GET OUT!!!" Well, usually stereotypes just piss me off, but I have noticed that I never see a black person on any of these shows. I know that even if I happened to be of another race, you wouldn't catch me creeping around some supposedly haunted place, taunting a spirit to come out and communicate. If something did show up, when I got through pissing on it and trampling everyone to "GET OUT," they wouldn't be able to show the film on TV.

Anyway, like I said, there's a reason I have this interest in spooky stuff. It has to do with something that happened right in my own family. I will talk about that later. For now, I'm going back to finish watching Ghost Hunters. I want to see if the ghost in the attic actually shows up and scares the crap out of that one dude...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bzz Campaign for L'Oreal

I got my Advanced Revitalift kit from BzzAgent today. If you've perused Trudy's Tracks you might have checked out BzzAgent under the category of Opinion Sites. If you haven't heard of opinion sites, you should seriously check them out now.

Back to my L'Oreal kit. I recieved a FREE, full-sized set of the SPF15 Day Lotion and Night Cream and a packet of samples of both to hand out to friends.

The way the Bzz campaigns work is, you try products & then spread the word. Between She Speaks & Bzz Agent, I've gotten to try (for FREE) everything from deodorant to chocolate to healthy snacks to cholestoral-lowering liquid nutrients. If you check their site, you will see that they have current campaigns for Pepsi, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, and the GameWave entertainment system among many others...

I'm pretty excited about the L'Oreal product tryout because even though I have been blessed with great genes, I'm still about to hit 48 on birthday calendar. Just because I have great skin doesn't mean I don't like to baby it along! Every little bit helps...

So, here's the thing: I need to get a "before" pic so that I can do an "after" pic in 8 weeks. I have to do something in good, natural lighting to catch every nook & cranny! LOL I'm a dummy with my camera phone and with putting my pics online, but I am going to see if one of my techno-savvy nieces can hook me up. I will post the "before" pic here on the blog & (if I can manage it) either update every now and then or (definitely) get the "after" pic posted.

I'm telling you ladies (okay, guys too!) you need to get in on some of these opinion sites. This is a way to voice off about products you like (or not), and at least this way you get to try most of the stuff for free.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So Very Sad

I got this in an email & at first, I wanted to laugh (there were a lot of humorous comments in the email), but then I started to feel so bad for whoever lived in this house. You can tell that it was a really cute apartment & that there was some nice stuff in it at some point. You have got to ask yourself what was the mental state of someone who could live like this. And why in the hell did no one get them some help - counseling, prayer, cleaning crew... something??? I mean, this is beyond filth. This is so ridiculous that there has to be a reason. I'm just speechless, and I pray that there were no children living in this environment. What the hell is going on in people's lives that they let things get to this point? (A big part of me is hoping that this will not check out on snopes.com)

I have to warn you that some of the pics are pretty gruesome. Also, in the email, it says that these pics were taken of a house in Houston after the evacuation for a hurricane - but BEFORE the actual storm hit. So, no, the storm is not the cause & that's obvious. And the cigarette debris... damn! I hope whoever lived there was able to get some serious help.

OK, here are the pics. Don't say I didn't warn you...

WARNING: The next pics are the super gross ones...

Doesn't that look like a kid's bed?

The more I think about this, I have to wonder if it's for real. I mean, I don't want to believe this of anyone.

That Dang Twitter

I know I keep talking about it, but I do love Twitter. I love being in the groove of what so many cool people are doing throughout their day. I love the little bits of inspiration, encouragement, news, gossip and insight that come in bursts of tweets.

That said, this morning I started weeding the hell out of the people I Follow. When I joined Twitter, I followed a lot of people kind of randomly. Now that I've been tweeting for a while, I realized I had to be more selective. I don't want to follow people who seem to have a) nothing to say, or b) just something to sell - either their services, themselves, or getting the most followers they can, or c) don't seem to be very interesting.

Now, I'm not implying that I am the most interesting person out there. I know I'm not. But I do try to be engaging. That's the whole reason I have tweet and have blogs. A lot of the people I was following didn't have anything interesting going on as far as their tweets and they didn't have anything going on on their sites. Some of the people I do follow don't have sites, but their tweets are so interesting. My biggest peeve is when folks try to disguise their tweet as something interesting & it turns out to be another "check this site where you can make big bucks!" deal. Ooooh - I hate that the most...

So I guess I'm about to get dumped by the folks I dumped. I guess I will at some point get dumped by people who don't like what I have to say. That's fine. That's life.

Anyway, back to tweeting. I'm using Twitzap now & I like it so much better than Tweet Deck or the other apps I've seen...


Monday, April 20, 2009

If You "Country" & You Know It

I was born in West Texas, but raised in Alaska. My husband was born in West Texas and raised there. My husband thinks I talk "white." That pisses me off because what he means is, not that I use the language correctly but that I don't sound flat, "country" and dusty-road raised. Or, worse yet, he thinks that to sound educated is something that only certain races can do. What about Asians and Hispanics and other with an accent?... In his defense, let me say that Tim doesn't really mean to be narrow-minded. I am working on him, trust me.

Now, having said that, I don't have a problem with other peoples accents. Matter of fact, I have the habit of mimicking people when I am around them for more than 20 minutes. I'm not as bad as my sister, who can be a little embarrassing when she does the same thing. When I lived in England, I had to damn near chew my tongue off to keep from doing a bad impersonation of Princess Di. When I get around my Texas-raised cousins, I start saying stuff like "over yonder," "soda water," I ain't studdin; (studying) y'all," and I might even slip in a "chill-run" or two if there are some kids around.

Mostly, though, I speak pretty much with what I think of as no accent at all. But my husband, with his country ass, calls that "talking like a Yankee." Hmmph. I'm so slow that, for a minute,  I thought he was talking about the baseball team! (I'm kidding.)

Whatever accent I speak with, I do know my behind is from the "country." I spent over 30 years of my 47 on this earth in Alaska, but I still have the ways of a country girl. The evidence?

  • I know what hot water cornbread is
  • I have used Vaseline, petroleum jelly - or whatever you want to call it - and olive oil as my primary weapon in the war against ashy-ness (and I use the word "ashy" to describe dry skin)
  • I have at times safety-pinned my money to my clothes
  • I have kept extra safety pins on me (usually pinned to my slip or the inside of a blouse or dress)
  • I have sat around the house after church in nothing but my slip and houseshoes
  • I do know how to "sop up" gravy with a biscuit
  • I was putting bleach in my dishwater before Dawn mixed it with their detergent
  • I like mint in my iced tea
  • I have put a piece of eggshell in coffee grinds before brewing
  • I know what fatback is
  • I have had homemade pork rinds
  • For a long time, baking soda was my toothpaste, deodorant and basic kitchen cleanser
  • To this day, I address folks older than me as Sir or Ma'am
  • I remember chewing tar for the health of my teeth
  • I know what "'Shine" is (hint: it's not for your hair or nails... It's hooch, people. 
  • Moonshine...)
  • I know you can "mark" a baby before it's born
  • I knew people who actually whittled while they sat on a porch
  • I can fix a single chicken to feed 10 people
  • I remember being able to buy dill pickles from a big barrel in a corner store
  • I know people that can fix fried chicken in a bag
  • I've had smokehouse meats - right out of somebody's smokehouse
So, yeah, no matter how I talk, I haven't lost anything about my early upbringing. I'm a country girl & I'm proud of it.

Cedric the Entertainer talks about what the "country" is. (And BTW, we didn't call people "gay" when I was growing up in the country; we called them "funny" and even though we called them that, didn't treat them like they were less than anybody else.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things I THINK Men Want

Since I did a post on the things women want in a man, I feel like I have to do one on what men SEEM to want from women. I say "seem" because I can't get into the head of a man anymore than men can get into a woman's head. I'm basing this post on what I was taught by my mother and my own experiences. Here we go: What I think men want from a woman...

1 - No nagging. They heard you the first time you said something. If you asked them to do something & they still haven't done it after a while, find another way to ask. Don't just keep repeating yourself. That just gets on their nerves. My man actually said to me one time, "Damn, baby girl, I HEARD you!" And you guys know that this is one of those "contemplating homicide" times Chris Rock jokes about... If all else fails, start doing it yourself. This might get to them. (But don't let that get to be a habit or you might end up doing everything by yourself - in which case, why do you need them?)

2 - Keep yourself up. There was something about you that attracted your man in the first place. Whatever that was, keep it up. I'm not saying you have to try to keep up with Halle or some young thing, but do the best with whatever you've got. As a woman, I HATE to see another female looking raggedy. I hate to see a woman out in public with a sloppy attitude - you know, the hair's not combed, there's sleep crumbs in the corners of her eyes, and she didn't even bother to put some lotion on her ashy ankles... There's a big difference between vanity and giving a damn. (Right now, I look a little bit raggedy - hair messy, rip in the PJs... But my man is out of town at the moment. You better bet that if I thought he was coming up that driveway, I'd just about hurt myself getting to the mirror to fix this lazy Saturday morning look I have going on!)

3 - Food. I don't know if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but I know men like to be taken care of. Food is one of the basics. I didn't learn to really cook until I got married this last time, but I can tell you now that I DID learn. And it's not just for my man either. There is something beautiful about putting together a meal to nourish and satisfy your man. Even if you can't cook, you can learn. If you don't learn, you can try. I think men appreciate the effort.

4 - A clean home. This is basic, sisters. For one thing, I don't care if your man is the biggest slob on the planet, I don't think even he feels good about living in squalor. Besides, how can you feel good about yourself when your house is a wreck. I don't mean that we can all afford the best living quarters, but you can keep what you do have clean. (I used to know this one chick who was always complaining about her man not being "romantic" enough. What she meant was, she wasn't getting enough action in the bedroom. Well, hell, if you had SEEN this nasty apartment they were living in... I mean, dishes always piled up on the counter & in the sink. Clothes always about to be washed and folded, etc. Atmosphere does a lot for the senses. I like the idea of lighting a scented candle to set a mood, but I wouldn't have advised this sister to even light a match in her place. Might have torched the whole dang building...)

5 - Trust. Yes, men need us to trust that they are going to be there for us, that they are going to handle things. This one is hard sometimes. You know, when you're worried about that extra money y'all need to come up with to pay that unexpected bill... You might have to clench your jaws & grit your teeth, but you need to let him know that you know he's gonna handle it. (I admit, I might be doing some scrimping on my own just in case, but I'm not going to let him know that until I absolutely have to.) Trust your man at least until he gives you a reason not to.

6 - Sex. Yep. This is the biggie. Steve Harvey calls it "The Cookie." You can call it "quality time," "that special moment," or whatever you want to, but it comes down to keeping the man satisfied in a way that food, cleaning, trust, no-nagging & all that other stuff ain't going to get it. We women crave affection while men want sex. I try to be proactive & start with the affection before he has to ask for sex. That way, we both get what we want. (That doesn't always work, because I think men would take sex 24/7 if they could, but... Work with what you got.)

OK. That's it. I mean, I know there are a ton of other things that men can say they want, but as a woman, I think those 6 are the biggies.


P.S.: And I just couldn't resist doing this one more time:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh, It's ON Now!

This week has seen me reading two of the best books ever written. Ever, hear me.

First, I finished Kim McLarin's wonderful "Jump at the Sun." That book spoke to me in so many ways (as a woman, a wife & someone who chose not to have children) that I can't convey anything to you except: go get it & read it. Now. There were moments when I had to shut the book for a minute just to weep. I kept thinking how glad I was that someone was putting into words what so many of us have felt & could not express.

Second, my blog buddy, Bustabitch, was telling me about Steve Harvey's book, and she went one better. She sent me a copy in the mail (bless you!). Let me tell you something: This is THE book if you want to get into a man's head. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man gets into the guts of why I want to go homicidal on my man sometimes (and why I shouldn't)! I'm not finished yet, but you know what I'm gonna be doing tonight. The only thing I'm mad about is that Steve & I are married - to different people, I mean. That is one fine brother there. But I wander off subject...

Anyway. There must be a "relationship moon" out or something. All my girlfriends (blog buddies & coffee buddies) and I have our relationships so on the brain for the past few weeks. Busta and I are coming at relationships from different perspectives, but we have so many of the same issues with men.

I just wanted to give a heads up on the books. And I need to say that I will be doing the post on the things we women need to be giving our men. (I kind of wish I hadn't read Mr. Harvey's book, though. I don't want his ideas to seep into what I meant to say.)

Last of all, I'm going to throw this in now because I just know I forgot to thank somebody for the Twitter "Follow Friday" mentions... Here are some folks I recommend if you Twitter:


Last, but not least: these young folk here are between 13-16 years old.
Look for them on Twitter http://twitter.com/9miles & check out their site. When you don't know what you are doing on a PC, ask a young person; this is their world & we just stumble around in it! LOL

(And, dangit, I will have to update that list 'cos I KNOW I've forgotten somebody again...)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

6 Things Women (I) Want In A Man

Okay. I wasn't gonna do this, but I keep seeing all these tweets (on Twitter) about relationships: What a man needs to do to keep a woman. How a man's behavior affects relationships. Why men misread women. Of course, I see that most of is stuff is coming from men.

How is a MAN going to tell another man what it takes to understand a WOMAN?

If you want to know something about science, you go to a scientist. If you want to understand a recipe, you go to a cook. You want to know about women, damnit, go to a woman. C'mon, people. This is not hard. I just told y'all about the comedian (a woman) who gives some of the best advice ever about relationships... So, as a woman, I am going to tell you men that there are basically 6 things most women need from a man (OK, so this list is about ME, but if any of the sisterhood want to join in, go 'head!):
  1. Pride - Your own, not hers. Not saying that we want an egomaniac, but pride is multi-faceted. It's pride that makes a man dig ditches if that's the best or only job he can find. It's pride that makes a man back down from a losing fight. It's pride that makes a man stick by his woman & his kids when he could do like so many others & just walk away. Pride will let you be a man without being a bully. Pride will let you take charge without taking someone else's dignity. (And, let's face it, women dig men with at least a little swagger!)
  2. Respect - For others. If you respect others, that shows that you respect yourself. Most of all, you should respect your woman, your responsibilities, your vows, your parenthood, your role as a son, as a employee and as a child of God. (Wives, take not: if you don't give him a reason to stay, your man will and should leave.)
  3. The ability to listen - Not just to what your woman says, but to so many of the things that are left unsaid. You should "listen" to her eyes when you might have said or done the wrong thing. You should "listen" to her heart when the life and duty of just being a woman is weighing her down. You should "listen" to her body when it's trying to let you know how she wants and needs to be desired.
  4. The ability to to talk - With more than your mouth. The same as with listening, you need to learn to speak to all the parts of your woman and your relationship with her. You should learn the way she "hears" you so that you both grow together in that special communication that the best lovers have mastered. I have to say that I have never found a man with this ability.
  5. Masculinity - Being tall or well-muscled does not make you truly masculine. For me, the most masculine man is the one who understands what the role of a man in the relationship. I can feel just as safe in skinny arms that won't reach out to hit me as I can in the strong arms of an abuser. I can look "up" to a short man who loves me the best he knows how as well as I can to the tall & handsome man who has no clue what real love is. I'd rather go to sleep at night in a hovel next to a GOOD man than lounge in the finest luxury with a man who is only waiting for the next version of me.
  6. Hope of a future - If you love your woman, be willing to take care of yourself so that you will be around as long as possible. She's not nagging you about eating right and getting enough exercise and rest because she doesn't love you. She's doing it because she does. (If she didn't love you, she'd put some insurance on your ass and buy you the big bags of chips!)
Six things. That's it. Like anything else, if you have the basics, the rest will work itself out.

And, yes - I WILL be doing a post for the ladies.


Monday, April 13, 2009

What Dreams Are Made Of

This woman right here, she's really got talent. Too bad people weren't ready to see how beautiful she is until she opened her mouth to sing. This is why you don't judge people by their looks.

I thought that damn Simon was going to swallow that pen he's always twirling around!

And the thing that really surprised me: Ms. Boyle didn't seem to realize just how blown away everyone was; she was walking off the stage as if to hurry and avoid the criticism.

Damn. Go somewhere and sit your little hot azz down, Beyonce! Susan Boyle is all up in henh!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Think and Speak

"I'll be damned."
"Son of a b*tch."
"Oh, sh*t."
"G-d d**ned."
"G-d d**n you."


We can all be so undisciplined and unintelligent when we speak. Ignorant and foul without realizing it.

Do we really mean to "be damned?" Or did we really laughingly call our friend's mother a b*tch? And talking about fecal matter so casually, like it's not a crude and ignorant thing to talk about. And asking (or taunting) God to damn us or damn someone else like it's nothing...

The way I speak is not something I normally pay attention to until I am censoring myself. You know, you can really let it all out with your "regular" friends, but you don't want to say certain things when you are in earshot of certain people. Why is that? After all, we mostly censor ourselves because of courtesy or respect. So, when we don't censor ourselves, are we being comrades with certain people - or are we basically saying we don't need to respect them as much as we respect someone else? Are we saying (by our actions) that they don't expect as much of us as someone else might?

Or, maybe, it's just that we need a little zone in our lives where it's all right to be ignorant sometimes. I wonder. My mother used to tell me I should behave as if the world is watching. In this day and age, that just might be true!

This whole train of thought came to me when I was sort of meditating the other day. I was thinking about how I can really act just quite the fool around certain people, but I would NEVER act that way around other people. Then I started thinking that my behavior says so much about me. When am I being "real?" Real for myself and/or real for others? Being what others might expect me to be

Now, I know that we let our hair down around certain people - our spouses, family, friends - out of a sense of trust and intimacy, but ...I don't know. I think that sometimes, by our behavior we are taking some relationships for granted. And I was thinking that maybe (speaking only for myself, here) I should look at exercising more conscious control over my mind and mouth. Maybe if I make myself more conscious of my speech and actions at ALL times, what I say and do will be more meaningful.

Make sense? Okay, how about comparing all of this something we can all probably relate to better: courtship and marriage.

We all know about the stereotype of a man or woman letting themselves go once they get comfortable in a relationship, right? Being female, I'll pick on us women. At the start of a courtship, we keep ourselves looking good, smelling good, acting just so. We don't want our new love interest to even imagine that we "poot," wake up with less-than-minty breath, or ever look less than the best he first saw us. That's not realistic, but sometimes we go too far the other way...

After a while, we stop covering up those little burps, or we don't get quite as bothered when he sees our knees or elbows a little bit ashy. Then we get to where it's all right if he goes in the bathroom right after we done blew it up. Pretty soon, we're walking around with the attitude that "he's got to know I don't feel like dressing up for him ALL the time!" (But we want him to still love us the way he did at first, don't we?)

And before anybody goes off here: I'm not saying that we should live our lives in a false way (especially in a marriage or long-term relationship). What I am saying is, aren't we supposed to be the best we can be for ourselves AND for that man we love? And what's wrong with keeping some things a mystery? What's wrong with not dragging our behinds around the house looking like we just don't care? I mean, my man has seen me sick, and he's seen me in some raggedy shorts and a holey t-shirt while I clean the tub or scrub the toilet, but I can say one thing: he has never seen me looking rough just because I don't care.

Of course, I haven't been married for a full year yet... LOL But this isn't just about marriage. I'm talking about the way we are with everyone we deal with in life. We should care more. We should be more consistent and aware.

What I'm saying is:

1) What we do to present ourselves to others has to do with how we feel about those others AND about ourselves, and
2) We should at least want to be more conscious of how we are presenting ourselves.

Just as a personal experiment, I'm going to be watching my behavior around everyone. I want to be more conscious of what I say and how I say it - no matter who I'm talking to. I also want to learn to take a breath or two before I react to anything anymore. I want to really be aware of how I behave. There's got to be some benefits to that. I'll be sure to let you know.


Monique Marvez Should Give Classes

I caught the Latin Divas of Comedy on Hulu last night. All the ladies were good comics (and Marilyn Martinez who was an amazing talent, has since passed away), but Monique Marvez blew me away. This chick had me laughing so hard I had to snort a couple of times. But the thing is: everything she was saying about men & women was so true.

One of my favorite ideas of hers is that a woman can't change a man any more than she can bend a rock. Priceless.

I'm telling you, her videos could be used for courses in marriage and relationships & I'd be paying for my seat weeks in advance. If you think I'm lying, here's a part of her stand-up:

Yeah. I'm going to sit my man down with a pen so he can watch this and take notes! LOL


Friday, April 10, 2009

Unite for World Hunger & Hope

Through BlogCatalog, I have gotten involved with BloggersUnite. The campaign to catch my eye? The one for world hunger. I thought that I was aware of the problem, but this is what I learned in the first 5 minutes at BloggersUnite:

1 - That 500 million people live in absolute poverty.

I have a hard time grasping or visualizing the idea of 500 million people, but I had a harder time understanding what is meant by "absolute poverty." So, I looked it up. The best definition I could find was on Answers.com: Absolute poverty may be defined as an individual's inability to satisfy basic needs in food, clothing, shelter, and health.

And for those of us just trying to deal with a "downturn" in the economy in our daily lives, we have a hard time doing without what would be considered luxuries to others. To those living in absolute poverty, my whining about a slow internet connection or the fact that I can no longer go and get my nails done on a regular basis... Well, this kind of puts me in my place, doesn't it?

2- That in the U.S., 46% of black children and 49% of Latino children are considered chronically hungry. Those were the numbers from BloggersUnite's page. I went and checked out this site and got more disturbing numbers:
  • 16% of white children are chronically hungry
  • 1 of 8 kids under 12 years old go to bed hungry every night
  • 1 of 6 elderly have an inadequate diet
  • 12 million live in "food insecure" households
  • 2 million rural households experience "food insecurity"
  • 35 million Americans do not get enough food due to lack of resources.
Okay. But to many of us, those are just numbers that are a little hard to comprehend. So let's really look at numbers:

I don't know how to make anyone visualize numbers like 500 million, 12 million or 35 million, so I wondered what it would take to help understand even 1 million. I went over here to figure out how long it would take to just count to 1 million. The answer? Roughly, (figuring it takes 2 seconds per number) it would take 23 days to count to 1 million. 23 days just to count to 1 million!

And seeing how mind-boggling the numbers are, remember that we are not just talking about numbers, but about people going hungry. We are not talking about living, breathing humans just like us, just like our own babies, parents, siblings, friends and neighbors. People. Millions of hungry people.

Poverty. That's not easy for some of us to comprehend, is it? But think of this: as bad as things have ever been for me or for you. As hard as it is to pay our bills and keep up on rent and utilities and car notes, think about the people who are just struggling to have something to eat. Not "good" food, not fast food or fun food or meals-around-the-table food, but just any food to sustain themselves. Food to keep from starving.

Recently, I did a fast. Actually I did a couple of fasts. By choice. One of the things about hunger is just the physical. When I was fasting, I experienced cravings for and fantasies about food. Eventually I got a headache and went through a period of fatigue. But I was fasting by choice and knew that there was food available. Now that I'm involved in this campaign against hunger, I am realizing that there are all these millions of people who are hungry and have no hope of full relief. Imagine what that does to the soul. Can you imagine not knowing when are what you will eat next? Of if you will eat again? There are people who can. There are children who can.

Please, do whatever you can to help those who are hungry. If you can donate, do it. If you can spread the word, do that. If all you can do is pray, do that. Just please do something.

I don't have a lot of money. (Let me quit & be honest: I don't have much money at all these days!) I was wondering what I could do about this. I mean, it's one thing to show my support with a blog post, but if I'm asking you guys to do something, I feel like I need to do something more.

So. **taking a deep breath**

We all know about my nasty little habit of smoking cigarettes. And we also know about the taxes that have pushed the sticks to dang near $10 a pack. I'm broke & roll my own, but that's no longer the cheaper option. Anyway, what I am going to do is.... (and I'm saying it here where my friends, family & blog buddies can nag me about it) ... from now on, any money I would be spending on the nasty tobaccy, I will be donating that in some way to the hungry. If it means donating to one of our local food banks, okay. If it means donating to something online, all-righty. But I pledge now that will not spend any more money on smoking. (I am making a PLEDGE - which means that I am trying!)

This is big for me, people. This is SOOOOOO big for me. I hope that I can stick it out. Please pray for me if you believe in prayer (because I do), or just root for me if that suits you better. And I will be honest & let you know of any slip-ups I have.


Twitter Morning

Twitter has been interesting for me this morning.

First, I got into a mini-debate with another follower over President Obama. Like others, this particular person feels that our prez is being unpatriotic by saying that America has been arrogant. Also, like others who say that, this person failed to acknowledge that Obama's statement had 2 parts: 1)We have been arrogant, and 2) The Europeans have been arrogant.

I asked this person what he would have done instead. He pretty much only said he would have been more patriotic. OK. Well, I don't believe Obama is being unpatriotic; he's being honest - and isn't that how productive, constructive dialogue starts? Whatever. I am not going to try to argue with someone who has their mind made up. My point is: I rarely fully agree with any president or leader, but I respect them. Hell, I had to respect Bush! (I remember living in England when Reagan was in office. I refused to badmouth him. He was my president, like it or not & I wasn't going to trash him to non-citizens.)

Second, I met a new buddy. This chick over at Bustabitch has a blog personality that is so up my alley. I don't think I've enjoyed a blog as much since back when I first discovered my buddies SupaSister, Mz New and Soulfull. We're going to have to form a club or something, I swear. (Girls, we gotta think up a name and raise some hell!)

Anyway, I have to get back to Twitter. But I wanted to update my blogroll and let you know.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sparkle and Fade

I need to break out of this funk. I am in the middle of a family bbq & having to make myself smile.

Been looking back over the relationship as documented in old posts here on the blog & had to shake my head when I read this one, this one, this one, this one... I'll be damned if there aren't a few that I never published. I found some still in draft stage & I'm wondering if I should bother posting them at this point.

Anyway, I was feeling so..I can't even describe it, and I had these words start going through my head as someone complimented me on my wedding ring. There's no title for this thing - whatever it is I just scribbled out on a paper bag. I just wanted to get the words down. I'm sure that at some point I'll need to come back and look at them for strength.

My ring
this thing
I wear
It sparkles
And shines
With twinkles
Of promises
It provides
The only light
I have to see by
It blinks, winks
Teasing me
Like a best friend
Somedays, though
It circles
My heart
Like a leaden
Dragging me
Into despair
And fugue
I feel it
Burning and
My dreams
And still shiny
Polished with
The salt of
My tears
Most days though
It is just
Part of me,
For better
For worse
Band of
Me and him

The Last Seven Words

I grew up in the Church of God In Christ (COGIC), but I grew away from regular attendance and following. My husband (who is living in Texas right now and who attends church regularly) was telling me the other day about the special series of sermons his brother (a minister) has been giving. It's called the Last Seven Words, but it's really about the last seven sentences spoken by Christ. I'm surprised that I had never heard of the sermon.

As a Christian, Easter is a time for meditating on Salvation and what it means. First, you have to think about what Christ endured before he even spoke the words - the suffering and humiliation. Then, looking at how we live our own lives, think about what Christ said:
  1. Father, forgive them, for the know not what they do. Sometimes, because my feelings are so easily hurt, I have a tough time forgiving. The whole thing with my brother cut me deep to my heart and I'm still working on forgiving him. Matter of fact, it's a daily struggle for me. I know people who can be mad about something for a quick minute, then they shrug it off and move on. Not me. I spend days crying over things and going over and over everything about a misunderstand. So, I am going to pray that God help me to be more forgiving.
  2. Today you will be with me in paradise. This one is like a personal promise to me and all Christians, but it's also something that skeptics would just jump right on. I'm sure they'd point out that Jesus wasn't talking to us personally, and they'd harp on the word "today." But a big part of my faith is that I understand this as a promise of paradise when I die. Jesus was talking to the thief on the cross next to him. If that thief that had just known the Lord for a short time could recieve the promise, then I can. I only have to ask and accept the way he did. The skeptics will have to find their own comfort when their death comes. You can't make anyone be faithful; it's something they have to get from their own hearts.
  3. Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. I see this as the Lord telling us to look after each other, to comfort each other. I always think about another verse in the Bible where we are told we won't be left "comfortless." In that case, we are promised that the Holy Spirit will be with us. In this case, we are being told to be there for each other, too.
  4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? I know that there are ministers and Bible scholars who could explain this better, but this one is so personal for me. This makes me know that the Lord understands how I feel when I am at my lowest. He knows that I and all His children feel this way: abandoned and scared and tired. He knows that there are times when we feel like dying instead of dealing with one more moment of pain. He knows. That's the only way I can explain what these words mean to me: He knows. He's been there. And when Christ was feeling that way, God still loved him. When I am feeling that way, God still loves me.
  5. I thirst. Wow. The Lord - my Savior - has felt physical thirst and hunger and pain. This is another reminder to me that Jesus understands not only my soul, but my physical body. He understands my headaches, my sister's pain of losing her legs, somebody's fatigue or whatever physical ailments we deal with.
  6. It is finished. I remember when my mother was dying and we were all watching her sleep and just waiting for her to let go. My sister told her that we would all be all right and that she didn't have to worry about leaving us. I think that's what my mother was waiting on because it wasn't until then that she did just let go. She died forgiven and I'm forgiven. I have to admit, I think of this as being something I will be glad to say when I am dying. I'll be done and ready to go on and be with the Lord in Heaven. I won't have to deal with any of this world anymore. I guess I should say that I hope to be glad to say those words - you know, that I haven't left any "I love you's" unsaid, or that I have really tried my best to live as God wants me to. Either way, I am already forgiven.
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Jesus was going home. We'll all be going Home. We finished here, but we are going on to begin with our Father. I can't really express what this means to me, but I know that it makes me feel stronger. No matter what happens to me here, I have a safe place to rest in when it's over.
So that's what I'm thinking about right now. Salvation and hope and surviving the things we all have to go through every day. And, for some reason, when I was writing this and thinking about my mother, I thought of one of her favorite songs by Mahalia Jackson - "In The Upper Room."

In the upper room with Jesus
Singing in tears blessed fears
Daily there my sins confessing
Beggin for his mercy sweet
Trusting in his blessed powers
Seeking help in loving prayers
Oh in there I feel real
As I see with him the day
In the upper room with Jesus
Well I'm in the upper room
With my Lord
Oh with my Lord
Well I'm in the upper room
Oh I'm in the upper room


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Social-Me Crusade

I'm on a mission. If it kills me, I am going to beef up my knowledge of Twitter. And maybe that damn Facebook. I don't know yet about the Facebook thing. Still mad about it (and I mean mad-angry, not mad-hip or whatever, um ...ya know). The reason why? I am thrilled with Twitter for all that it is teaching me.

Today I did learn a lot from my Twitter folk. I found some music, news and sites I would've missed out on. I also learned that there are either a lot more nicer people on this planet than I've ever realized, or else, the bad folk just lay real low. I learned that there are "Haves" in this world who truly do care about the "Have Nots" and the "Have Not Got It Yets." I learned that there are a lot of smart, funny, kind, witty, lame (but in a good way), sweet, caring, sharing and BRILLIANT folks in this world. (Well, I knew that before, but with Twitter, I get more exposure.)

I am still getting the hang of re-tweeting people, and I only JUST today realized that I could "favorite" tweets that I want to get back to later... Yeah, I'm pretty slow as I get the hang of Twitter, but I am dedicated! Just like with love and relationships of any kind, I guess.

Anyway, the only downside to being on Twitter is that I have to get more organized. I've amassed a ton of links and information that I want to share on Trudy's Tracks, but so far, I don't have the time I need. I mean, I can give up eating, seeing my fam and friends, and just plain go into some kind of hibernation period, but... I don't want to turn into that person. No worries, though, I will get my act together and make this work.

Meantime, if you are on Twitter (and slow as I am), you might want to Google for some folks to follow. I did a search today and found a buncha publishers, writers, agents and all kinds of other folk interested in the same things as me. I even found a couple of lists of people to do with Alaska. Yeah, for real :-)

I'll be too busy working on links for Tracks to post anymore tonight, but just go on and enjoy my playlist up there in the meantime. You might notice I added some tracks. Prince is up there, singing "Adore." Go on and say hi to my lil' man...


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

No WAY!!!

I found a cool page via a Twitter buddy & I was happy for the first couple glances over the site. I love reminiscing, but I have poor recall when it comes to details of my younger days. I know people who remember the names of the cereals they ate, the brands of clothes they wore, and what time certain TV shows came on. Not me. I remember things like the time I got my a** "switched." And I do mean that I got my behind whipped with a switch that Mama pulled from behind our house. (If you don't know what getting whipped with a switch is, save me your outrage about child abuse. It wasn't like that & I have NEVER been to jail or on drugs.)

ANYway... I was telling you about this site called Wanna Feel Old? Maybe it's just me and my feeble mind, but I swear I did NOT realize how much time has gone by since, say, Ghostbusters came out, or Quantum Leap was on TV. I mean, talk about dropping my jaw! I was almost absolutely certain that it was only about 5 years ago that I was turning off the radio every time that damn "Macarena" song came on. That was FOURTEEN years ago???? For real.

And it's been TEN years already that Keanu was killing me softly in that long black coat in The Matrix? There's no way. Not ten years...

I'm going to stop before we even talk about how long it's been since the Sugar Hill Gang broke out with "Rapper's Delight." I'm just gonna stop before I depress us all (or at least those of us over, *ahem* forty-mumble-mumble.

Seriously, though. I guess there is one thing I can be happy about: I look NOwhere near old as some of those folks around my age range. I mean, what the heck does living in Hollywood DO to folk? It must be a hard, hard life somehow...


Monday, April 06, 2009

Ooooh Chile...

See that Playlist thingie up there? The one I tacked onto ALL my blogs a few days ago?

Well, I LOVE that thing. Just love it. But I learned something tricky about picking songs to put on the list. Here's the deal, you might do a search for "Ooh Child" by Lenny Williams, but there's no telling WHO will be singing the song that pops on on the results.

I didn't notice this at first because I had the list on Shuffle & it took a while before "Ooh Child" came up. When I heard the first bars of music, I knew something was off, but it wasn't til I heard the lead vocalist's voice that I was sure. Trust me, when you hear HER, you know it ain't Lenny singing. LOL.

"Ooh Child" has got to be one of my all-time favorite songs. Ever. Before 1991 (when "Boyz N the Hood" came out), whenever I heard the song, I thought of afro-ed Panthers and other young folks feeling despair and disgust over the way society was going. After the movie came out, I either cried thinking of poor dead Ricky, or else I fantasized about me and Laurence Fishburne as community activists/angry lovers. (Don't try to get in my head, it'll mess you UP!) Still, I will always love "Ooh Child."

Here's the thing, though: give this chick on my playlist a listen. She sounds great. Her voice and style hits the song whole different way. I want to say that she sounds like Mariah Carey - you know, when she's hitting those high Minnie Ripperton notes... But I'm not sure.

And you know me. Every time I listen to this version of the song, I'm doing a concert in my mind, but not even in my HEAD can I touch those notes... LOL Crazy. I can probably hit the same notes as, say, Kathleen Turner! I'm so jealous of whoever this chick is that sings this song.

Anyway. Just one of my random rants. You know me and music. Ooh, chile!


Being Cute Will Get You Hurt

I'm only going to tell you this because I'm trying to learn to laugh at myself as much as I laugh at other people. (My suga-niece, Cherie will understand this because I tease her ALL THE TIME.)

First, let me explain that it's a really nice day out (nice for Anchorage in early April). The sun is just BLASTING rays, the streets are not too horrible, and you can get away wearing just a light coat, no ugly boots, hats, gloves... Nice. We can almost feel summer headed our way (well, I say "summer," but I'm talking about those three or four good weeks of above 50-degree days that we Alaskans like to brag about).

So, it's nice out. I have to run a couple of errands, but that's okay on a day like this. I feel good, really good (sunshine does that to me). I feel so good, I've got some music going and I'm cha-cha-ing around the bathroom while I do my hair and such. I'm in such a good mood, I decide to add a little extra to my grooming routine. I decide to wear some mascara.

Wait, wait - I know you're thinking that wearing mascara is not anything "extra," not a big deal. Maybe not for most folks, but it is for me. I hardly ever wear makeup. Okay, I did go through a stage in my 20's when I did the whole Fashion Fair, Avon and drug-store counter thing - buying foundations and lipsticks and eyeliners and mascara. Eyeliner was my favorite, even tho I could never apply it quite right... Anyway, I never really needed makeup. I never had teenager acne or any of the usual problems young women have with their skin. I'm dark and lovely, thank you. I only have makeup because I buy it every time we do photos at birthday parties or something. Like I said, I have a dark complexion and without inside lighting set up by a professional, I usually photograph badly and that's if I can be seen in the damn picture at all.

SO... back to me and this mascara. I have a tube of something dark brown by, I don't know - Covergirl or Max Factor or somebody. And I'm bopping around to Levert's "Cassonova," feeling all summer-happy and putting on this cheap ass mascara. Well, I guess I bopped off beat or something cause I damn near put out my right eye.

Do you know that mascara burns when it gets on your eyeball? And it leaves little floaty flecks on your eyeball? Even with tears streaming (that's from the burning), those flecks take forever to wash out.

I'm like, dang.... Let me leave this mascara wearing to the pros. The next time I want "lush" lashes, I'm going to use some falsies.

That was Cute Mishap #1.

Mishap #2 came while I was driving down the street.

Bopping once again - because there's nothing like sunshine and good music to make you want to bop your head (well, there nothing like liquor, a cute outfit and a club atmosphere, but I'm talking about broad daylight and in a car)...

I'm listening to something by somebody who's probably 30 years younger than me, but it's okay because it's got a beat going. I'm pooching up my lips and rocking my head (you ladies know how we do when we're being all cute) and smiling back at the drivers who are smiling at me. I'm bopping away and damn near slammed into a police car.

Now, I have NO idea why Mr. Policeman has come to a stop in the middle of MOVING traffic when there is NO red-light, accident or other roadway obstruction. No idea at all. All I know is that I'm driving and grooving and I turn my head for one-millionth off a second to check my side mirror and when I turn back around... Boom. There's a big old APD car sitting still.

I hit brakes so hard I think I pulled a groin muscle.

The good news is, Mr. Policeman didn't a) seem to notice that I'd almost bought a city cop car, and b) nobody was looking right at me when I went from mid-bop to approaching heart attack.

Tell you what: that stopped my little groove right there. The cop (I still don't know what the hell he was doing) drove off out of my way and I went into full driving-as-a-responsible-adult mode. I did the rest of my errands driving like I was giving a course in how to look old and respectable. There was NO more dancing, bopping or grooving left in me. I didn't even want to listen to music anymore. I put on the radio and listened to some guy who sounds like he's Rush Limbaugh's crankier, older and meaner brother.

So, yeah, I'm going to save being cute for later (like when I have my own makeup artist) and never in the car unless somebody else is driving.
Being cute will kill you - or at least put out an eye or get you a ticket and raised insurance rates.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Untitled Poetry

not just kisses
or promises
but losing
dreams of
hopes for
walks in twilight
or sunshine
and time spent sitting
dreaming together
over coffee you made for him
a familiar voice
saying your name
in a way like no one else ever will
and breath you have tasted
in special secret
and knowing that
you don't wake alone
until you just exist
afraid to move or cry
because you might
shatter into pieces
of grief
and not having
anymore plans to live your life
with that one
that meant anything
until nothing
will mean something
(by TMC aka Free 2009)

Phyllis Would Understand

How I miss Ms Phyllis Hyman. Like me, she was born under the sign of Cancer. I hope she is still singing somewhere with the angels.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


A long time ago - back when I could spend money on random & interesting things - I picked up a book at Borders. It was one of those little hardback books that get displayed near the cash registers. The title is what really caught my eye: "...If."

"If" is a book of questions on life and love and sex and morality. It asks the reader things like, "If you could change only one thing about your life, what would that be?" Nice conversation starter, huh? (Even for those in-your-own-head conversations.)

Anyway, I was telling a friend about this book the other day and she sprung a question on me: "If you had only 24 hours left to live, how would you use the time?"

Now, I have no idea what happened with that book of mine during all my moves so I can't remember if that's one of the questions, but it probably is. It certainly gets your mind going, that question. Because I am such a mental mess, I had to ask a million other questions before I could even think about answering my friend: "Is money a limit?" "When does the 24 hours start - now or when I choose?"... Told you, I'm a mess.

Assuming no limitations, I came up with more & less than I thought I would. In no particular order, here's what I would do:

  • Make sure to say "I love you" in person to certain people.
  • Ask forgiveness from some people (& let others know I forgive them).
  • Write letters to leave behind for certain people in my life.
  • Have a talk (prayer) with God, asking for His forgiveness. (Um, that should probably have been #1...)
  • Eat a great meal (something involving seafood, the world's best salad and a dessert with chocolate and champagne).
  • Listen to a CD of my favorite songs (& make sure to dance to some of them).
  • Sit in the sunshine under a blue sky and listen to children laugh & play.
  • Go to a playground to swing, slide and ride the merry-go-round one last time.
  • Cut my hair in some outrageous and daring style.
  • Hold an infant and watch their smiles and movements.
  • Ride in a car with the top down.
  • Walk on a beach holding hands with someone I love.
After I thought about all of this, I asked myself why it took thinking of death to make me want to live so much. I wonder what other people's lists would look like. I wonder if there is anyone who could truly say that they've done everything they ever wanted to do?


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Those Housewives

I'm a little depressed today. Too many problems, not enough energy to find solutions, life wearing me down, feeling overwhelmed. Yeah, all that.

Anyway, after I finished cleaning and getting something out to do for dinner tonight, I didn't even have energy to cry. Instead, I chose watching Real Housewives of New York City. I've said it before, but I will go ahead and say it again: what's 'real' about these people? It's not like the represent a great majority of housewives
OR people. What the people on the show need are some real problems. They get upset about things that just make no sense at all. Of course, they all had something to feel self-righteous and upset about...

**Bethany - who I am starting to like - has problems with Kelly.
I have problems with Kelly. (Read her bio on the Bravo site: she has some ridiculous-sounding books out, but she does donate part of the proceeds to New York's starving children - KIDDING! The donations go to Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Because, well, they need it more.) Kelly seems like an idiot with a Madonna complex. Or, at least that's what Bethany thought. LOL.

Anyway, Bethany has problems with the way Kelly sits so high on her horse while pretending to be so giving and helpful to others. Bethany, being Bethany, does not grin in someone's face while stabbing them in the back; if she so much as pokes at someone, she does it while looking them
right in the eye. (See why I like her so much?) Kelly, apparently, would rather be lied to if that's the only way she's going to hear what a wonderful and celebrity-like personality she is. She takes herself way too seriously and decides to confront Bethany by asking to meet with her. Showing up late to the meeting she arranged, she then gets all diva-ish and Dr. Phil-ish with Bethany. Bad idea. Instead of being intimidated, Bethany very calmly got Miss Thang told and told good. Game over. Bethany wins. (I know Bethany won that one because Kelly is the one who stank of flop sweat the rest of the show whenever she talked about how the "confrontation" went.)

**Meanwhile, Jill was upset with Ramona's husband. Something to do with a tennis match being planned & she didn't like the way his emails to her sounded. I guess he was trying to include her without letting her take over and run things. Doesn't matter to her that he is a former tennis pro and the one organizing the match. When they confront each other at a party, he gets on her about wanting to take her toys and go home when things don't go her way. He said that her 15 minutes of fame (through the show, I guess?) has gone to her head. He also accused her of not having a 'real' job, saying that she spends her time dining, shopping and vacationing. What I thought was hilarious (and kind of sad) was that her husband stood by without coming to her defense at all. Matter of fact, after the little tiff was all over and Ramona's husband had gone on to other parts of the party, Jill's husband needed her to reassure him that he wasn't a wimp for not defending her. He said some b.s. about how he's never interfered before... (I guess Jill gets into lots of angry confrontations with people and has shown she can hold her own.) She'll be all right, though; she's got her condo renovations to make her feel useful and busy.

**Alex and her man are just
weird. There's no other way I know of to describe those two. She's strange in a former-cult-member-seeking-a-new-home sort of way and he's stranger than that. Worse about him than being strange is that he is always so intense. Scary.

**The "Countess" is just... well, I think she's just so damn happy to have a title. She loves explaining her title and the do's and don't's of having one. Brother! Just everyone please kiss her ring or her ass and then maybe she'll sit down and shut up.

So, yeah. This was my self-inflicted punishment this morning. I watched these crazy bitches and then felt somewhat better about my own messed up life. I mean, damn, I have problems, but they are
real problems. I have the kind of problems more people can relate to: bills, depression, health... I just don't think there are thousands of people being kept awake at night thinking about someone calling them "Duchess" instead of "Countess." Or who the hell do you who's going to be upset because they get to shop and vacation way more than they have to work a job? I think Melinda Gates works harder than Jill does.

Real housewives my ass. If those people were any kind of "real," they'd have at least some humility. That is their flaw, I think: no humility, no honest compassion for others. It's like they are totally hard and cold and calculating. Everything must be about them. Any good thing they do is done for a selfish reason. Any friend they make is made for self-gain or glory. And when they are being hard and cold, well, that's what survivors do, right?

Enough. I'm being bad now. I'm trying to make myself feel better by beating up on those people. Not that they care, because they are still going to collect a check.