Literary Selfie #2: The Black Family Reunion Cookbook

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook: Recipes and Food Memories From the National Council of Negro Women

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook: Recipes and Food Memories From the National Council of Negro Women 1993

Ladies and Gentleman, these are my new literary selfies.  While I was pondering the evolution of the “selfie”, I wondered where it could really go? How could it ever truly evolve? So I decided that I should include my books in my selfies because I love them!  I feel like they are worthy of some shine too and last but not least as an educator i BELIEVE in literacy (and cooking)!

This is The Black Family Reunion Cookbook.  I love this cookbook!! My mom gifted me this cookbook in college.  I’m not really sure why considering I was so broke in Boston I squeaked when I walked! (i got that from someone the other day, hehee)  But seriously, the only thing I could afford to eat regularly were egg sammiches a million ways. {NOT sandwiches, SAMMICHes okay?}  The recipes in here are awesome and all, but I love it because I’ve gone into so many kitchens and seen this cookbook on the shelf.  It immediately reminds me of how we are all connected. …How we all have a hunger and thirst to embrace the cultural aspects we have been able to retain and much of that is through our cuisine or what I like to call our “culinary chronicles of blackness”. I don’t use it much anymore, especially since I became vegetarian.  Still a great cookbook with a few stories from people like Patti LaBelle, Wilma Rudolph and recipes like Mary Mcleod Bethune’s Sweet Potato Pie and even a Black Family Reunion Pledge by Maya Angelou!

I consider it a staple cookbook.  Own it, gift it, check it out from the library!  It’s really more than a cookbook.  It’s a cultural treasure.

:)

“…Feel the kitchen vibes of Studio5 and keep your culinary chronicles alive.”

~hkai

Home.Working: A Public Service Announcement

If you’ve ever worked from home, you know what a challenge it can be.

…The discipline required, the boundaries that must be set, etc.

The other day I was stoked! Because after all it had been a most productive day.

Internal thoughts: “Yesss! Score!!! I won!!!!” and all that.

After I picked up my Sunshine I just knew I’d get her fed, and get right back in the room with Kenny Sewing Machine and together we were gonna wrap up the days production on my Picket Sign Pocket Books because you know, we were on a roll! By the way, before you say anything don’t judge my sewing position, okay?!  I’m well aware of the fact that this is like an “Ergonomic Crime” I’m committing, but for some reason, I love to sew on the floor with Kenny sometimes! …Not all of my machines, just Kenny. ;)

Me & Kenny: my faithful accomplice of 28 years...

Me & Kenny: my faithful accomplice of 28 years…

Just as we’re goin’ in for the big finish, The Sunshine enters my room plopping herself on my bed right next to my mess on the floor.  I thought my mess may deter her, but no sir.  Removing her socks, I sensed she was preparing for something and our conversation went as follows:

Sunshine (ever so politely) : Mommy, will you rub my feet??

Me: {Sigh} …..Yeaah……

Sunshine: ….Do you…like rubbing my feet???

Me: …Yeaaaaaaah…

9 year old baby feet rubbing...

9 year old baby feet rubbing…

And soon after we fell asleep.

This, childless-ladies-and-gentlemans is pretty much the long and short of parenting:  It doesn’t ever matter what your own agenda may be.  You can trick yourself into thinking that you have one, but don’t stay married to it because in an instant your baby might want their feet rubbed and you my friend are NOT going to say no.  In fact you will be happy to do it.  …Even reminiscing on how you used to rub his or her feet before they could ask despite the fact that you don’t know how you’re going to get things done in time and you’ve watched that precious much needed hour float away into the moonlight.  …Knowing it could be another 24 hours before you get it back.  The benefit is that all the while you are feet rubbing you are in the now and regardless of what we think, that is what matters most and children have a wonderful way of reminding us of such simple but often forgotten concepts.

If you don’t have any children I’d say, “what have you been doing with your life?!” Oh wait,  that’s what I asked myself AFTER I had a child, whoopsie!  I mean to each his own my peoples and of course it’s not for everyone. But let me just take this opportunity to tell you that nothing, nothing on the planet is better than baby feet to ground you and if you really wanna know who you truly are??

Procreate.

That is all.

~It’s all good in Mama.Hood. I’m alive (x2). … In Studio5.~

hkai

HKai’s Streaming NetFlix Pix (and then some)

war witchHeyeeeee My Peoples!!!!!!!

Man, I know –I know: It’s been a long minute but you know it goes over here in the MamaHood. Sometimes time is on your side and sometimes it isn’t which ultimately dictates my blogging life. …Okay that in addition to my traffic jam of a brain. Anywhoo, for a long time I’ve been meaning to list my movie selections as I come across some good ones! I do watch a lot of films, lots of documentaries and Netflix can often reveal some true gems.  In an effort to tackle my “Get That Done List!” I’m going to begin chipping away at some of my favorites.   For whatever reason Sunday is such a “movie day” to me.  It seems like the day we should be relaxing watching a good flick so I’m going keep this as my Sunday ‘Ting.

…At first I thought I should compile a whole list but that’s a little overwhelming. So I’m going to give you a few at a time, okay? The ones I’m selecting today are (drum roll please):

Home Song Stories ……Effing Phenomenal and Joan Chen kills it! (do you like my rating system? who needs stars, lol).

War Witch …Oooh whee. This film is no punk (HEAVY)but it is effing Fantastic and shot beautifully.

Crime After Crime …There’s no way to sugar coat this. This film is going to punch you in your gut repeatedly. And it ain’t gonna feel good. But you still need to watch it. In the name of Debra Peagler, you must watch it.

So um….I’m noticing my selection is not very light hearted, lol. I’m going to throw in two that are actually not streaming on Netflix (though I think you can order it): and that is ‘Happy Thank You More Please’ : This film is very necessary.  Don’t be mad that I’m not giving up a more “siskel and Ebert” review for each one. You just have to trust me on these!  Then you can watch them and tell me what you think.

The last one for today will be: Small Island: brilliaaaaaaaaaaance!!!!!! In the black community if someone does a great job on something, (typically related to food) we say “they put their foot in it”. Now that you got that part I can say, the BBC PUT THEIR FOOT IN IT with this one!

Okay my peoples…I should scoot along.  There is much  work to be done around here: The garden is calling, a skirt needs to realize her ultimate destiny, syrup must be completed, the childs room needs a “mama cleaning” as opposed to a childs cleaning, a gathering must be planned, a wig made, a child must be taken to science camp and a website must be updated with new inventory.   However shall I get it all done?! Always the million dollar question.

Oh Sunday…there should be so much more of you.

“Hmm…On whos side is time??”

she asked all up in and through Studio5.

~Hkai

#TbT My Way …1990

 

 

#TbT….

I don’t usually TBT. But I also make this reference to say despite my periodic hiatus’ from blogging and Facebook, I must confess to giving up too much of my blog-worthy content to Facebook. …For shame.  Anyway, one thing I’ve been trying to do with many of my facebook friends is share some of the things from my archives. They are vast, deep and thick. They are a much to carry around in life, moving place to place, etc. While my goal is to widdle them down to slightly less than what they are this year, much of what’s in these archives I could never see parting with and probably won’t. They tell the story of my life and of course those that have touched it or shaped it any way at all.  That being said, here is my #TbT. It is not the happiest of #TbT’s but who said it had to be? And since when did I ever follow anybody’s rules?? Never that’s when!!

This #TbT is probably most relevant to my North Carolina people, but the story is still one that’s relevant to all of us somehow.  The image below is an article that I kept reporting the death of my good friend Wejewn (pronounced Wee-on} Byers.  I feel like I should mention that I could have sworn that he always spelled his name differently in notes to me, but maybe that’s just my bad memory.  Once upon a time when I was 14, my moms decided she would uproot us from Colorado which was all I’d ever known, to Charlotte North Carolina. A difficult move considering the former in addition to the fact that it was such a critical time in my adolescence and having to leave all childhood friends.  When I got to North Carolina, I had no idea what to expect. The Midwest and the South are night and day. We also had no family or friends or there but somehow I was welcomed into my new junior high school with open arms.  …I guess it was that southern hospitality which I was all too thankful for.  Wejewn was one of those that not only welcomed me, but looked out for me and declared himself my brother not long after meeting me.  He was the sweetest thing: Soft jet black hair, beautiful black skin, a winning smile, always ever so chivalrous, a happy (but not naïve) strut and always happy to see me.  I felt like he radiated love.  Wejewn came to school when he wanted to and it didn’t take me long to learn that he was a Man Child.  In Colorado I realized boys had the luxury of being boys at the age of 13…14…especially in Montbello: the predominantly black neighborhood I grew up in in Denver.  In North Carolina there were many, many Man Children: young men making money, most of them through “less than desirable ways”, selling drugs and actually taking care of their mothers, their families, paying bills before they were licensed to drive, etc…

Wejewn never discussed the details of how he made his money. Just told me enough for me to know how he did but it was not a recurring topic of conversation. He never bragged about it, or flaunted it and I never judged him or tried to sway him from his lifestyle.  When he would signal that he needed to get off the phone somewhat abruptly (in the age of the pager), he’d just say he had to go and always aim to keep it as vague as possible but he knew I knew and I knew that he knew how I felt about it.  …We just knew. I never saw Wejewn “in action”.  I’ve often wondered if I had, would he have seemed much the same or unrecognizable to me.  One of the things I valued most about Wejewn was his immediate respect for me and who he knew I was and who I was not.  I always felt like the most sacred parts of our friendship were unspoken and somehow he always teetered a fine line it seemed in order to shelter me from the realities of his world so that I could stay in the innocence of my own. …And he knew and respected that that’s where I lived.

It wasn’t unusual that we lost contact a while after our 9th grade year as many of us were shifting schools moving from what was jr.high to high school. Just a few months into my tenth grade year, this story showed up on the news.  I think I watched the whole thing with my jaw on the floor. …Appalled that this story had to be about someone I could actually say I knew…. And regardless of where he was in the world, LOVED.

Finally.  ….It had finally caught up with him in so vicious a way that seemed contradictory to his spirit. BRUTALLY Murdered. Someone that I still held in such high regard, despite the life he lived. I always felt like he transcended all of that on what was probably some unearthly level.   …The span of our friendship wasn’t even much longer than a year, but there are few days that go by without thoughts of him.  I see his smile, I see his walk, if I’m lucky I’ll hear his voice or stumble across a note he wrote me.  He was just one of a family of sons. …I don’t recall how many of them there were, but I knew that a few of them died violent deaths.  While I never met her, I think about his mama.  …I wonder who else thinks of him as much as I do. I wonder what they remember most.  I don’t know where he was in his life exactly when all of this happened. …I don’t really care.  I always felt like I knew the essence of who he was and wasn’t really concerned with the rest.  As an adult, the fact that I think of him so often registers in my mind as reassurance that YES: His spirit WAS and IS strong just like I always thought it was.  But it still pulls like a weight on my heart when I pull this article out that someone so special could be murdered. Riddled with bullets, shot execution style and the idea that someone had so much disdain for this dear heart that they would torture him and go so far as to cut the fingers off one of his hands.  …This picture below doesn’t begin to do him justice by the way. I am thankful that most of my thoughts are not on the last few moments of his life, though I can’t lie and say none of them have been.  I see him bopping around the corner, coming down the halls of Smith Junior High.  …Just being Wejewn: A kid.

I am just glad that in many ways, he is still here.

Wejewn(or Weyawn) Briston Byers….We speak your name.

Never forgotten.

 

…keeping the ancestors alive all up in and through Studio5.

~hkai

Futuristic Friday

 

Proud Holly Keep On Rollin…

Tomorrows the day that wraps up what seemed the most intense 14 days of my existence and if you know me, then you know that’s sayin a lot considering this last year. I was working out how I was going to treat myself tomorrow {post 4p.m.}. I thought I’d do something unheard of in HollyWorld like go get a mani-pedi. –Yaah rrrright! I imagined myself doing it, thought it was hilarious and figured I’d have more fun reading a new book while wearing my Mr. Rogers sweater or suh-in!! I suck royally at anything remotely close to pampering myself and can always think of like 100 other things I’d rather be doing. –Last week I was even gifted a massage from my highly skilled and dear friend: massage therapist LaNeice Ford and quite frankly, it was hard as hell to accept! (…But exceptional tho). Self work is never easy. It requires something of another kind to pull what you can’t see from places you aren’t even sure exist!

The Firey14 {as we’ll call them}, were taxing in a way where I had to get SO Zen and dig SO effin deep, I experienced:  a few stages of anger, tears, saw myself holding the machete, blood thirsty a midst the metaphoric-casualties with an insatiable appetite for more destruction, floating like a butterfly ’til I was stung like a bee and TKO’d in a boxing ring by a big Surrender-Word-Headed opponent until finally my insides just went ablaze with nowhere else to go but burn, smolder and “cool down”. …Tuthfully,  these last 21 days have remade me and stretched me more than I honestly thought was even possible. Since I’ve been back in “Witch Mountain” (Colorado) I’ve had some “interesting” experiences with complete strangers giving me these “wonderOUS-random-reads” all pointing to the fact that who I see in the mirror, is not who others see. Sadly, I still wasn’t getting “it” I just….wondered more about the girl they were talking about!!

That being said, when I thought about my anticipation for FuturisticFriday, the sense of accomplishment I have every intention of dancing in {post 4pm} and my Yet-To-Be-Determined-treat, Myself said: “Man Hk…… last week?? I could NOT see how you were gonna make it through that ish and come out with your sanity in tact! Wow!!!!…I’m REEEALLY proud of you!!!” The words were a semi-shock to my body. Then I realized I couldn’t even remember the last time I ACTUALLY TOLD or even THOUGHT myself genuinely PROUD of myself! –Pleased with myself or what I’d done, sure, but not PROUUUD. –Crazy right? Even crazier are the things we continue to learn about ourselves that we probably think are furthest from the truth. …And craziEST?? Are the things that slip past ourselves without us even knowing. So I decided my gift to myself will be just that. I’m going to tell myself I’m proud of myself for the really realz. –In a mirror, in a message, all that, ’cause I am. And if I may say, I didn’t just “survive” the Firey14 ya’ll, I “BUTTERFLYED IT OUT & SHINED!!!” (After I got up off the floor in the ring of course) This probably seems like a simple gift, but even typing the words of proud.ness  make me feel some kind of way which lets me know it’s anything but.

…Holy Effing ESS people, this should not be, but I tell you it is… On that note, I don’t even know what else I could possibly say except, Oui, Oui: “Oui Must Grow”.  …#CestLaVieAvecMoi

…reachin for the sky, ” ’cause the devil is a lie” –up in Studio5.

P.S. Shout out to Jacob Miller for staying on repeat and getting me through the  The Firey14 with Flying Colors.

Calling All Cars: The Beige Beret Is M.I.A.

grey beret

Grey Beret

…Trying hard today to act like I don’t miss my everyday beige beret that’s been missing about a week now. In an effort to alleviate that stress, my sistren was kind enough to loan me a sub. When I lose things I call out to them like this: “Beige beret where are youuuu?!!!” And usually it pops up, however it’s yet to respond. Thankfully I still have my Mr. Rodgers sweater, –a simple brown sweater with beige embroidered flowers that I fell in love at first sight with (pictured) and my “Scarf Bestie” (also pictured) a lovely little blue number that my mama brought me back from France a few years ago. Perish the thought of ever being without either of these.

Me, my Sunshine and Beige Beret: A Family

Me, my Sunshine and Beige Beret in Happier Times: A Family

Some people find joy in the rotation and variety of their wardrobe. I find comfort in the repetition of specific pieces: “my uniform” if you will. People would probably be surprised at how few shoes and clothing I actually have compared to most women.  Some wear what looks good, I always go for what feels good and my staple pieces are like my crew I roll out with everyday. We share a special inexplicable connection. They make me feel understood, warm, comforted, supported, loved, familiar and right in this skin I’m in. Never underestimate the power of a garment. Sigh…. But dang, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m kind of bonding with this grey one. It’s no replacement OF COURSE but let me not neglect the gratitude for the work it’s putting in: “Thanks grey beret! — you doin good too”.

…My garments make me feel alive, all up in and through –StudioFive.

~hkai

Kissing Collections: I Just DO Okay?!

Lately I’ve been ever the student in several situations.
But I guess when aren’t WE the student? {…i know, i know}.

But these messages and/or lessons have been related to the recent “under-use” of my own voice. You may know of what I speak simply because well, it’s no secret that consistency here on the blog has not been my strong suit in the last year or so. Perhaps I should make a note of that.  **exercise blog voice

This voice issue has reared it’s little head in other areas and with gratitude I should add that as quickly as these moments arise, a reminder quickly follows smacking me on the back forcing me to, “a’hem!” –cough up the words regardless of how reluctant I may feel or how insignificant i may think it. Today I had an itty bitty moment while I was clearing off photos from my hard drive and proceeded to post yet another photo of a lovely couple, in a lovely embrace, sharing a lovely kiss onto my FB page.  It was a small effort to send out some warm fuzzies in what may be a not so warm and fuzzy day for some out there in cyber-world. Realizing that I had a mini-collection of these photos in my stash, I actually questioned it for a moment and wondered if people would think i had some weird obsession or was trying to send some sort of message which is all too much thought behind whatever I want to post on my own bloody facebook page! {It certainly wouldn’t be the first one I’d posted.}  Then I said to my “mind debaters”, “Who cares why I like ’em? I just do okay!” And that’s it. …I just do.

There is a precious, sacred, critical, intimate, free, synchronized vulnerability, serenity and harmony that exists in that particular place and space of an embrace.  ….Focus shared time between two people. It’s my personal opinion that people don’t treasure this simple action much these days, nor the timelessness that can accompany it. The image of an embrace encourages my mind to slow down and place myself in a sea of calm. …Of freedom and serenity. I’d think of my FB page as programming and happily accept the responsibility that comes with being a positive-programmer. Nonetheless I try to make sure that I am posting and sharing useful information and happy loving thoughts for friends to absorb. So right here, right now, in honor of my voice and AAAALLLLLLL the random stuff I like (and there is much!) today I am giving myself permission to post more than one of my kissing pictures up here! Okay?! Should anyone wish to ask why I like kissing pictures so much, I reckon this answer should suffice. :D

The Lovings

The Lovings

kissing couples3

kissing couple 2

kenneth norton jr

kissing coupleBoy meets girl from outer space. ca.1960

kissing couple

kissing couple2

kissing in the park

P.S. This post reserves the right to grow.

…why lie up in Studio5?! I just DO okay?!  { And  can!}  ~hkai