Tour Through Blogland With My So Called Glamorous Life

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www.mysocalledglamlife.com

www.mysocalledglamlife.com

 

Welcome to the Tour Through Blogland with My So Called Glamorous Life!  Awesome blogger and new mom (CUTE BABY ALERT!), Leah Berg from Treasure & Heart asked me to join the tour and I am honored to do so. If you’re visiting my blog for the first time, I’m so glad that you are stopping by to get to know me better.  I like making new friends and I hope that you’ll stay a while.

 

WHAT IS A BLOG TOUR?

Blog tours provide an opportunity for bloggers like me to tell you a bit about ourselves, share some of our work AND to introduce you to some of the blogs that we like to read.  Kind of like a blogging smorgasbord, if you will.   Hopefully through all of this you can find some new places to go when you need some inspiration, encouragement, entertainment or just a good laugh.  Okay….

My So Called Glamorous Life: The Adventures of a Domestic Engineer

My So Called Glamorous Life: The Adventures of a Domestic Engineer

 

I’m Lisa and this is My So Called Glamorous Life.  Honestly, my life is not very glamorous, but it’s mine and most of the time I love it. I’m a mom in a blended family with kids ranging from age 6 to 23.   My days are full of school meetings, doctor appointments, dance lessons, track meets and all of the things that make life crazy and fun.  More crazy than fun.  I started this blog as a way to let off some steam and tend to my creative side, but over the year and a half that I’ve been at this, it’s turned into so much more.  It has become a part of me and I no longer consider myself just a blogger…I really am a blogger and writer and I’m proud of it.

 

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

Well, I have been in the process of writing a series of blog posts on feminism from varying angles (religion, race, old school vs. new school, etc.).  I have become very interested in changes in the feminist movement over the past few years probably because I now have young daughters so, I am more sensitive to their socialization as girls.  I’m also much more reflective on my own upbringing and identity. I’ve been writing this series for a while, but every time I think that I’m done something else comes to mind.  I guess by this time they are no longer blog posts, but full blown essays.

I’m also working on how to get my grown children to move out of my house with the least chance of them coming back.  Then there’s how to survive peri-menopause  and the ever popular what to do when you are raising two young daughters while preparing for full blown menopause.  Oh, yes I’m also working on marriage every. single. day.  Most of the time it’s a good thing.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHER WORK IN MY GENRE?

That’s a good question.  My genre is sort of difficult to pin down, I think.  I blog about being a mom, but I don’t consider myself a mom blogger.  I’m a woman who sometimes blogs about women’s issues, but I’m not a feminist blogger.  I blog about race, but I don’t consider my blog to be only for African-Americans. Oh, and sometimes I bake and post recipes, but I’m not a food blogger.  Hence the term personal blog.  My blog is about me – my life, my perspective, my experiences and how it all relates to the world outside of me.

WHY DO I WRITE/CREATE WHAT I DO?

Oh, well, it’s definitely the result of having no filter what so ever.  I write on the topics and say the things that I say because it feels like the right thing to do for me.  Whether it be a sinfully good pumpkin bread recipe or a post recalling the last time my mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, called my name, it’s all a part of me.  While I do recognize that some of the things I talk about make some people uncomfortable, particularly race,  it’s an effort to get people to think about real issues and to start meaningful dialogue.  I don’t know how to be anyone else.  What you see is what you get or, shall I say say, what you read is what you get.

HOW DOES MY WRITING/CREATING PROCESS WORK?

My writing process…my writing process….what writing process?  Am I supposed to have a writing process?  Yes?  Okay.  I’ll come with something.  Let me think about it.  Well it goes something like this:

I usually think of some great idea for a post while taking my morning shower.  Of course, by the time I get done and dry off, I have completely forgotten everything that I was thinking about and I  subsequently move on.

Then, while in the grocery store, it comes back to me in a rush, so I frantically search in my purse for a notebook and pen, but then realize that I’m not that girl who keeps that sort of thing in my purse even though I keep saying that I should.  So, I start talking myself through the post (out loud, of course) in an effort not to forget it.  People begin staring and moving their small children away from me, but I am not deterred.  Once in the check out, I immediately grab the receipt out of the cashiers hand and start writing notes on it.  Still talking to myself.

I run the rest of my errands using each additional receipt for scrap paper then realize that I should just stop at a store and buy a cute little notebook to keep in the car so that this never happens again.  Not to mention  that I need it right now because I have run out of receipt space.  Once I’m there, I realize that I should buy some multi-colored pens too, just for fun. I get back in the car, giddy with excitement over my new notebook and pens and stuff all of my receipts/notes in the notebook, jot down a few new things then head home.

Once there,  I head to my computer, sit down and start to write it all down.  Five words in I realize I’m thirsty so I head back downstairs to get some water …with lemon…fancy.  I go back upstairs.  I write a couple more sentences, maybe a paragraph before I realize that I should have put a load of clothes in the washer.  I head back down stairs.

Phone rings.  It’s my sister.

An hour later I finally head back upstairs determined to finish my blog post during the day and not the middle of the night like usual.  I glance at the clock.  Wait, I only have two hours before the girls get out of school?!  My mind is mush.  I log off and head downstairs to start dinner so it will be ready before everyone gets home.

The evening rush begins: homework, dinner, after school activity, bath time, then tuck the kids into bed.  Afterward I check backpacks, set up lunch boxes,  sign any papers, fill out any forms, etc.

It’s now 10:30 p.m. and once again I head to my office.  However, this time I sit down and it just flows out of me.  I should be embarrassed, but not only is this a true story, but it’s pretty much the way things go.  If you’re looking for a writing process to follow, I don’t suggest this one.

 

Okay enough about me.  Now I get to tell you about some of the blogs that I like to read.

 

I MIGHT NEED A NAP

Tara Joyner Haussler

Tara Joyner Haussler

 

Tara writes at I Might Need a Nap.  It’s named that because her Mama told her many times over the years, when her attitude needed a *little* adjustment, that she needed her sleep–she might need a nap.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Pyschology from Wesleyan College, a place she still dearly loves, and her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mercer University.  Tara has worked in peaches where she learned how to pick out the best and became quite the peach connoisseur.  (She won’t touch one from anywhere but Georgia and not before July 4th.)  She spent her high school years working in the local library, which only served to feed her addiction to the written word.  Over the years she has also worked as a director of a not-for-profit child care center and as a Hospice social worker and grief therapist.  None of those jobs were as difficult, challenging, or rewarding as her current position as Headmaster of Zoo Crew Academy, where she homeschools and tends to the care and feeding of the critters.  Tara is Mama to three–Auburn who is a sophomore at her Mama’s alma mater (pause for a sentimental proud Mama tear here), our Princess who is a tomboy dressed in tutus (preferably blue like Elsa’s dress–oh me, will the Frozen fad ever pass?), and Cooter, who is the world’s expert on everything Star Wars, including Episodes I, II, and III–which he has yet to watch.  Tara loves to write and has recently found her new “BFF forever” in a lady born in 1941 who inspires her with the stories she must have helped write over the years.  They took this selfie together.  Tara finds it highly ironic that she can’t go to the bathroom by herself, but there was no one around to take this picture for her.  Tara writes about the real and the hard and the funny things in her day to dailies.  She wishes this one decent picture didn’t have an ant trap or Matchbox cars in it, but that’s the real life she leads, she loves, and she shares stories about.  
THE GIRLFRIEND FILES
Sherri Goodall

Sherri Goodall

 

Sherri Goodall is a successful single parent with a demanding job; a heavy travel schedule; and a teen daughter who hasn’t started driving [i.e. equates to another job as Chauffeur]. Sherri values her time with friends. The phrase The Girlfriend Files had been a running joke between her and her girlfriends. They would share with each other about what was going on in their lives. Some stories they shared made them laugh, some made them cry, and some left them speechless but they were almost always one for “the girlfriend files”. Her blog is a place where you can feel free to share thoughts you would only share with your girlfriends. Sherri’s blog post can be found on her site www.TheGirlfriendFiles.com and on www.BlogHer.com 

 

FLOTSAM OF THE MIND

Cynthia Greene Ragona

Cynthia Greene Ragona

 

Cynthia is a recovering lawyer, mom, aspiring photographer, book lover, organization freak, DIYer, and blogger. She writes at Flotsam of the Mind (www.flotsamofthemind.com) about parenting, photography, and whatever other flotsam is on her mind. You can see her photography at Sea Green Photography on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/seagreenphotography).

 

Please check out these blogs, they truly are some of my favorite daily reads.  Thank you for stopping by and do come again.

 

Lisa

 

I Read Banned Books

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I do, and so do you because apparently every classic book ever written and worth reading is currently or has previously been banned from school classrooms and many libraries across this country. It’s Banned Books Week 2014, and it’s time to celebrate the freedom to read.

Banned Book Week September 21 - 27, 2014

Banned Book Week
September 21 – 27, 2014

 

Each year, the American Library Association compiles a list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books in order to celebrate and highlight our freedom to read and to stand against censorship.  A challenged book is defined by the association as  “a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”  For two years in a row the most challenged book has been Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants.  I’ve never read any of the Captain Underpants books – my kids are either too old or uninterested – but they sound like they probably contain a lot of potty humor.   The type that most kids (not just boys) enjoy.

Obviously I’m not a fan of banning books.  I can’t imagine a world without Lord of the Rings, or One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, or  The Great Gatsby or each and every Toni Morrison book ever written.  Wait…life without Harry Potter?!  No, it’s just too disturbing to think about. Books comfort our souls and soothe us when we are restless.  You could even say that they are therapeutic,  providing us with a much needed escape from our crazy/busy lives.  I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a world without them or where someone else can tell me what I’m free to read.

Here’s my question:  what makes any one person believe that they have the right to dictate what books others read? I know that the intent is to protect our children from the harsh realities of life at early ages however, are we protecting them or crippling them?  And, why do you feel the need to make that choice for everyone?  I noticed while I was looking over the list(s) of books that the most common reasons for challenging a book were: violence, offensive language, sexually explicit, drugs and alcohol and the ubiquitous unsuited to age group.  Surprisingly, I saw racism mentioned quite a few times.  Parents, I think I need to tell you that your child, especially once they leave elementary school, will encounter all of these on a regular basis either personally or through a friend.   Your job is not to keep them from it.  Your job is to help them navigate through it.

Kids are smart, capable and resilient.  A lot of these books on the list are so well written and thought provoking (ahem, I’m NOT talking about Fifty Shades of Grey) that they actually offer our young people a chance to think and grow. This is exactly what we want – young people with a better understanding of the world around them and the ability to imagine. Reading complex and mentally stimulating texts increases their ability for critical thinking.  If your concern is that they will be introduced to subject matters that they are not ready for, trust me, they will be anyway – in the halls, on the bus, while texting with friends, in the locker room…get the picture?

There are ways to manage this with your own children without disturbing the rights of others.  1) Try reading with them.  I have read almost every book that my oldest son has read through high school, even those for school assignments.  It was our thing.  It was how we connected and it provided great topics for discussions.  I’m doing the same with my younger children and believe me when I say that I never want to read another fairy, cupcake, fashion or princess book as long as I live.    2) Keep a variety of what you deem to be age appropriate books around your home  and insist that they carry a book to read in their backpack at all times.  Even if the school assigns a book that you don’t care for, it won’t be what they are reading all of the time.  3)  Work with your kid’s teachers.  If she is assigned a book that you really can’t handle, talk to the teacher and ask for an alternative.  I’ve never known a teacher to say no, particularly when approached respectfully.  4)  Finally, trust your kid.  Mom and Dad, they get it!  They understand far more than you give them credit for…really.  Years ago, I was driving home with my then 3rd grade son and he was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  I was reading the books with him and I love them.  I wasn’t concerned about his ability to truly understand what the books were really about.  Yet, I had to ask because I had heard so much commotion about witches and wizards.  On this particular afternoon, he says to me after reading non stop for about a half hour “Mom, have you ever read a book that was so good that you wished it were real?”

I smiled and said “Oh, that happens when you’ve got a really good book.”

“Yeah.”

“Hey, what are the Harry Potter books really about?”  I asked

Without even looking up from the book he said “Love. All kinds of love.”

He got it and so will your kids if you just give them a chance.  And, you can do that without keeping books from others who want to read them.  If you would like to know more about Banned Book Week, go the the American Library Associations website ( www.ala.org/bbooks).  Happy reading!

Why I Write About Race

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” Why do you write so much about race?” It was a question put to me by a reader who also happens to know me personally. She is White and is surprised by some of the things that I have said.   I responded that this blog, My so Called Glamorous Life, is about my very unglamorous and normal life.  It’s my perspective on a lot of things that affect me on an ongoing basis – like being a wife and a mother.  Sometimes I post recipes because I love to bake or I write about books because I love to read, particularly children’s and young adult books.  Then there’s the fact that I’m Black and like most people (whether they know it or not), race and ethnicity do influence my perspective.  We continued talking for a bit.  “Surely,” she said “race isn’t a daily issue in your life?”

“Depending on what I’m doing that week, it can be.  Even more so when I worked out side of the home.”

“You dealt with blatant racism on a daily basis during your career?”

“No, not blatant.  More the kind of subtle thing that is born of complete ignorance. Usually, I would just walk off, roll my eyes and move on.” This is still usually my response.

“Like what kind of things?”

“Oh, you know, like when I was the only Black woman sitting with a group of moms waiting for our daughters to get out of a class.  One of the people working at the studio was trying to schedule a meeting and asked every mother there if she worked outside of the home and if so, what time would she be available for a meeting.  When she got to me, she said “Oh, Mrs. Owen, I know you have a job.”  In fact, I was the only one there who didn’t work outside of the home, but why didn’t she ask me?

Or…

“The time that the driver of the car behind me, waiting to turn left at a corner, swung out and around me and yelled “Dumb ass spic!” because apparently he thought that I was taking too long to turn the corner.” Never mind that I’m not Latina (which really didn’t matter) and he was playing chicken with an oncoming car.

Or…

“The countless times that I have seen surprise register on someone’s face when I say that my parents were married for 59 years before my dad died.  Nope, it’s not always like it is on  t.v.  All Black people do not come from broken homes.”

Or…

“The time that a little boy in my then pre-school daughter’s class said that he could be friends with everyone, EXCEPT Black girls.  She was the only Black girl in the class.”  I guess if I have to be honest, I really didn’t just let that one pass with an eye roll.  I let the teacher handle it in class but, my passive – aggressive nature took over and I made sure that each and every time his mother was in my presence (even remotely) I went over to say “hello”.  Because I’m just that friendly.

She didn’t need me to go on after that one.  She really didn’t know where to go from there, I think because she wondered if I have ever had cause to walk off and roll my eyes at her.  It’s clear that I make her uncomfortable or at least my posts about race do.  Do I make you uncomfortable?  If so, that’s a good thing because we should all be uncomfortable when it comes to the subject of race relations in this country.

When I previously wrote about Ferguson (A Mom’s Eye View of Ferguson), I explained why I understood the rioting in response to the shooting and subsequent police handling of the situation.  I did not say that I thought that the riots were a good thing, but none of it is a good thing.  Discussing how the citizens of that city should have responded without discussing how the cop should not have shot that unarmed young man 6 times then left him lying in the street for 4 hours is inequitable and naive.  Trust me, there is enough blame and responsibility to go around.

A reader once accused me of ranting about race.  No, I don’t rant about race.  I rant about poor customer service and from time to time I rant about my kids not doing as I would like them to, but not about race.  I’m too old to rant about  it because I’ve dealt with this type of environment for so long that it’s become par for the course. However, I am very open about my take on the topic because if there is one thing that I know, it’s that attitudes about race permeate absolutely everything in this country – politics, education, health care, entertainment, sports…EVERYTHING.

The United States is ushering in  new generations of  Americans that have no real, first hand, knowledge of our racial past and everything that we have gone through to get where we are now.  Young people who only know of Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Shirley Chisholm and other Freedom Fighters from text books.  Textbooks that have never told the entire story and are now being watered down even further to tame our ugly past.  In large part that’s why what took place on the streets of Ferguson was so hard to understand and disturbing for so many.  They had never seen this before and the racial tension is palpable.  Race riots, which is really what it ended up being, were only contained in history books.  Right?  I mean, after all we have an African-American president so surely we are past all of that racial strife, right?  Hardly. It is that distance from our past, for both Blacks and Whites, as well as Latinos, Asians and everyone else that has landed us exactly where we are today.  After all, it is far easier and more comfortable to bury your head in the sand. Ignorance is bliss.  No. Ignorance is just, well… ignorant.

Covey

 

The most important thing that we all can do for each other is to really listen and learn from one another.  I mean really listen. Let down your guard and welcome honest conversation.  Be willing to let go of the stereotypes.  It is not an accident that every issue to come to the attention of the masses seems to divide us racially.  Given the amount of  garbage being spewed (and I mean vile, disgusting, contrived garbage) all in the name of political, religious and social freedom,  it’s completely expected and I would argue by design.  If you can sow seeds of doubt, mistrust and hatred within a society, you divide its people and thereby reduce its power. Is it any wonder that the United States finds itself in such a political and fiscal mess?  Power is multiplied by unity.

While on a visit with my 87 year-old  aunt, I was telling her about my blog.  She turned to me and asked “Are you helping anyone?” Good question. I really had to think about it.  Which brought me to this:  I write about race because I know that there are people out there who believe that Black people are always whining and playing the victim.  That we are our own worst enemy.  That we should just let the past be the past and just move on.  I know that some of these people are actual friends and acquaintances of mine and would never believe the accounts of prejudice that I relay here on this blog if they were told by a stranger.  Likewise I know that there  are black and brown people who believe that all white people are racist.  I know that’s not true and it’s important that we (Black people) stop approaching every white person with mistrust.   It’s important that we stop letting our fear get in the way of taking care of our selves and each other.  It’s important that we stop preying on each other and focus our positive energy in a different direction.  I also know that there are people on both sides of this issue who feed the fire and fan the flames.  Some unwittingly because they have no idea that they have bought into every stereotype  out there. They are naive and uneducated when it comes to this thing we call social justice.   However, for some it’s very intentional because they divide the masses in order to retain some sense of control.  If the United States is a great and powerful country in its current political and economic state, imagine the possibilities if we were unified?

I write about race because I really want you to listen and understand that race is a part of every day life in America.  Now, what are we going to do about it?