I went to this awesome Women in Business conference this past weekend at this classic and prestigious university. There was this professor, this word wizard, who in the midst of a myriad of great and profound sentences told us do something. My memory, a bit hazed to her exact words, simply recalls the general request to own both the good and the bad of our personal histories. In the midst of pseudo middle class play perfection, of domestic bliss and of professional mountaineering, I was ripped to a place where I asked myself a simple question:
When will I stop being the janitor’s daughter?
My mother was spit on.
My mother was called a nig*er.
My mother work for less than minimum wage.
My mother struggled with feelings of depression and worthlessness.
When will I disown the feelings of inadequacy born out of the socio-economic status of my parents?
Though much of what she experienced is not part of my adult life journey. What my mother experienced has, to a significant degree, shaped my adult life journey.
I’m not ashamed my mother was a janitor, I’m regretful that this fact somehow caused me years of a steady feeling of worthlessness and humiliation. I should be proud my mother was a janitor. In a world where women are left to die if for some reason their husbands/fathers/brothers are unable to provide for them. In a world where an able-bodied woman may be forced to watch her children starve to death because tradition excludes her from the workplace. I should be proud to say that my mother WORKED and fed us, she clothed us and did her best to love us when should did not know how to love herself.
So today, my dear blog readers, I come to peace with and in fact publicly embrace, I am a janitor’s daughter. I was born poor and told I was ugly and destined for poverty. But, I grew up to be rich in spirit, in love and in the opportunity to fulfill the mislaid dreams of my fore-bearers.
Any holiday presents this awesome opportunity to create genuine and long lasting family traditions and opportunities for bonding. Our little ones were so curious about what Mommy and Auntie were making and the finished product drew tons of squeals and hilarious screams, with giggles that were very infectious. Try this easy to make JELL-O worms recipe and it is sure to be a hit.
JELL-O Worms Recipe
Makes about 100 worms
1 (6 ounce) box Raspberry JELL-O
1 package unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups boiling water
15 drops green food coloring
100 flexible, bendy straws
2. Gather straws together and place into large empty container like a 1 quart milk container.We used an old juice bottle.
3.Pour the gelatin mixture over the straws and chill for about 8 hours, or until firm.
4. To remove, simply hold the straws under warm water until they come loose and gently squeeze one end to push out. This is the part that you can really get the whole family involved in!
JELL-O has many Halloween themed recipes to inspire your own creepy and yummy family traditions: http://clvr.li/15XtRz2
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Of the multiple articles I have read about both Django and 12 Years a Slave individually, Noah Berkatsky created an interesting juxtaposition about the portrayal of women and their narrative within the context of a male voice:
…Because when masculinity is the story, women are pushed to the sidelines. In Django, the main romance of the film is between Django and his white buddy; the second is between Django and the evil slave Stephen—and lagging far behind in third is the relationship between Django and his wife, who functions more as a prize than as a person. For its part, Glory barely has a female speaking role; like Django, all its energy goes into inter- and intra-racial male bonding.
12 Years a Slave though, doesn’t present masculinity as a solution to slavery, and as a result it’s able to think about and care about women as people rather than as accessories or MacGuffins. Other than Northup, in fact, the most vivid slave characters are female…
Full article at The Atlantic.
Please note that I am in so much TV show debt (with a full DVR and Hulu watchlist to prove it) that I have very little time to watch movies. I have not watched Django, as for 12 Years a Slave, I will muster the strength to watch this film in theaters. I have some fancy influential blogger pals who still can not fully describe what they experienced when they attended the advanced screening, but I have read more than one post about the deeply profound impression the film makes.
This past Friday, I ran to my local Whole Foods (“Natural”) Supermarket because Grass-fed beef was on one day sale for 4.99 lb, which was about $3 off per pound. Check this post to find out why grass-fed beef is, in my opinion and others, a superior choice. While I was picking up a few of my only found at Whole Foods locally items, I noticed that a gentleman was stocking the shelves with a Buy 1 Get 1 Free natural cereals.
Let me clarify, that natural in today’s marketplace is an abstract term that is not federally regulated and is often debated. My personal definition includes ingredients I can fathom without research, lacking sketch preservatives (that often kill or cause lab rats to be sickly) like BHT, lacking non-naturally derived food coloring. More often the foods I consider natural are sometimes labeled to be free of genetically modified ingredients, are sustainably made and may or may not be organic. You have to make personal judgements on the character of the brand and business.
I have an ongoing battle in my household with cereal, my husband and sister miss the cereals of their youth. The problem is almost all the cereals in traditional US supermarkets use BHT, a carcinogenic toxin, as the primary preservative. Last I checked, this low cost preservative is banned in nearly every industrialized country except for the United States (great job FDA).
So when I saw these BOGO cereals that had some of the variety of our childhood cereals, I had to buy them. I’m happy to say that not only am I pleased, they exceeded the desires of my family. The Cinnamon Sweet, Cocoa Snapz, Honey Oaties and Multigrain Cinnamon are delish. Three Sisters, the cereal brand, boast making their products with renewable wind energy and using environmentally friendly packaging. At Whole Foods they are $3.99 a bag and on BOGO sale at some locations as of the week of this post. I will be going back to BOGO a few more and stock up on cereal for a while.
Please note, no one paid me to write this. I bought some cereal because it was on sale and the guy stocking the shelves said he tried them an really like them.
During the car ride from work today, I caught the tail end of a segment discussing teen boys in America. Rosalind Wisemen, who has spent an entire career researching youth, was discussing the social and cultural realities and treatment of boys in American society. Wisemen’s new book is called Masterminds and Wingmen:Helping Your Son Cope With Schoolyard Power, Locker-room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, her last book (Queen Bees) inspired the film Mean Girls.
As I listened to the segment listed below, I had a million “ah-ha!” moments that I immediately discussed with my husband upon my arrival home. I consider myself a thoughtful parent, I dissect how we raise our children and how we explain the world to their fragile hungry minds. We pray and we do our best. We made the decision long before we ever had kids, while dating in college, that we would not raise our boys and girls differently. We would have the same expectations, regardless of gender, whether it was academics or dating. What is the point of raising girls who were intelligent and respected their bodies if the men they might marry or work alongside were Neanderthals who were socialized to rape and pillage?
Here Wisemen discusses her book and research on boys:
About 10 years prior to WWII, the whole world literally went to economic hell.
Unemployment in the US was about 30%, crop prices plummeted and global construction halted. All those distant black and white pictures of average folk covered in dirt and starving to death during non-war times in developed nations were likely taken during the 1930′s. Ugly things happen when financial markets crash, very ugly things that most dramatically affect the poor and average gal.
So when a recent report states that the income gap, or the grand canyon that a person must jump to go from rich to poor, is widening. From 2009 until 2012 the wealthiest folks aka the “top 1%” saw their income grow by more than 30 percent and the rest of the United States population saw a growth of less than 1/2 percent. This is often partly attributed to the fact the the average American is not invested in the stock market and as world financial markets improve, those reaping the benefits are the ones who already had the financial wherewithal to wait it out or reinvest.
“The top 1 percent of American households had pretax income above $394,000 last year. The top 10 percent had income exceeding $114,000.
The income figures include wages, pension payments, dividends and capital gains from the sale of stocks and other assets. They do not include so-called transfer payments from government programs such as unemployment benefits and Social Security.
The gap between rich and poor narrowed after World War II as unions negotiated better pay and benefits and as the government enacted a minimum wage and other policies to help the poor and middle class.
The top 1 percent’s share of income bottomed out at 7.7 percent in 1973 and has risen steadily since the early 1980s, according to the analysis.”