Category Archives: Everyday Dilemmas

It’s a jungle out there but you can bring peace, serenity & comfort to your life and your home

Holiday Love

A Christmas/Kwanzaa holiday note

Style: "Agfa"

Walking through the mall this afternoon, there were alot of men wandering around, looking a little glassy-eyed.  Most of them looked  to be between 32 and 48 years old and they looked tired. Some of them were in work clothes. They looked lost. One man approached me holding a very tall pair of women’s boots in his hands. “Will these work? Do you think my wife might like these? They look pretty good, huh?” The man was short. I asked him, “Does she have really long legs? Because if she doesn’t, those might not work.” “Oh”, he said, “This is too hard. I’ll just give her the money and she’ll have to pick her own boots.” (How easily we are discouraged.)

Christmas is supposed to be fun

Love is a gift you can give for free. We shouldn’t feel that love will be rejected or deemed false if it is not accompanied by an adequate gift. After all, most men hate shopping. It seems to be a little overwhelming for them, if not in the decision-making, then in the range of prices and sizes. Some folks make up a very specific gift list (not a bad idea, except it seems like you’re putting in an order).  The really detailed folks send a text or email with  mistake-free links to accomplish the ordering and shipping. Some folks want it fancy wrapped. Some folks just want your clearly spoken words of love. And that’s a good thing because I think what I saw in some men’s eyes reminded me of what I see when folks start talking about their student loan debt: Fear.  Remember, unless you’ve been skipping out on the basics despite having the ability to provide, no gift can replace real love. If that’s all you really have, give that. Be open and honest and if your partner is worthy of you, that’s what they will give back. But if you have a few bucks, most will probably appreciate a gift card.

Feel-Good Food That’s Good for your Brain

Let’s face it,,,,,everytime you feed your body, you feed your brain. A well-fed brain can think clearly, make great decisions, handle stress and remember well.

A poorly-fed brain can’t remember, is impatient, is stuck in a cloud and can’t make decisions. Everything you eat affects you, so don’t you want to pick the best foods?

What’s really the best food?
Who knew that the best foods for you, now that you know the food pyramid misses the mark, are, u name it:  good ole greens, beans and veggies as close to fresh picked as you can get them. Organic produce is important because pesticides are potent cancer causers. With the widespread marketing of GMO foods (genetically-modified (Frankenfood) fruits and vegetables), it is doubly important that black folks and urban neighborhoods don’t become dumping grounds for pesticide-laden, old, poorly regulated and nutrient poor foods.

Food distributors know that they can unload lower quality foods in urban and immigrant neighborhoods. (Check the expiration labels on the food products that you buy. For unpackaged foods use your eyes and your nose. If you can smell the fish counter or the meat section from the front of the store, maybe you should go somewhere else. )

What to look for
Now is the time to look for the stickers on fresh produce that says “Organic” or has a five digit code that begins with a number 9.  Let the manager at your local market know that you want high quality, organically grown, fresh produce. If a few people ask, they can order it for their produce section. Look for farmers markets with produce that is often picked the same day or the day before. Pay a little bit more or check out your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to buy a “farm-share” where you’ll get weekly deliveries of freshly harvested veggies from May to November for a lump sum payment. Check the prices of several farms but this usually averages $40 a week for the growing season for a family of four. They usually deliver to a drop off point like a church,  school or farmers market.

In the end, it’s less expensive
Fresh produce can be quickly cooked into a meal for 25% of the cost of processed, prepared foods and have four times the nutrition because it hasn’t been processed, baked, boiled, colored, preserved and sometimes, dried for packaging.

Follow health-conscious sister/brother bloggers
Vegan and healthy food bloggers, like Tracye McQuirter, will give you the details, recipes, facts and motivation for cooking up delicious, nutritious, “skintastic” and age defying meals!

Mapping police violence – Every 10 days an unarmed black person is killed

police-carA mental health threat for our people
Police killed 346 black people in 2015, making fear of our “protectors” a rational, reasonable fear.  Now, for sure, there are many honest, caring cops out there. You hope that they are the ones who stop you for a broken tail light. The statistics on police killings portray practices that often result in death for black individuals stopped for nonviolent issues. This presents a mental health issue for our people.

See how widespread the problem is
The resource website, http://www.mappingpoliceviolence.org   allows you to learn the stories of each of the individuals that were killed. Many of them are shocking, such as the Chicago landlord who opened her front door to greet police officers who had been called by her upstairs tenant. She opened the door, they shot her dead. Or the 17 year old brother, whose mother and sister had called the police when he experienced a psychotic episode. He ran into the bathroom, police shot him 17 times as his family begged them to stop.

The story of Kenneth Chamberlain
One of the saddest is the story of Kenneth Chamberlain of White Plains, NY.  Mr. Chamberlain, a retired Marine and long-time corrections officer, was killed by police after accidentally triggering his 1st Alert alarm.  He wore it because of a heart condition.  Police in riot gear stormed his apartment  (to be sure he was safe), and in a few seconds, tasered him twice, shot him at close range with four bean bag rounds, finally shooting him in the chest and killing him.

The entire episode was taped by the 1st Alert operator and yet the officers were never charged.  The conflicting testimonies of the officers supported a cover-up.The civil suit was lost last week because the nearly all white jury could not believe that the 69 year old retiree was not still standing when he was finally shot.  Watch the film and see what you think. These are not uncommon stories and they boggle the minds of mental health professionals right along with all other folks.

“They Can’t Kill Us All” – A Washington Post reporter on shootings of unarmed black men

We all need to read “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander - A must read for the parents of every young black man.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander – A must read for the parents of every young black man.

Michele Alexander is a lawyer, legal scholar, advocate and  author who has written a comprehensive, well-researched examination of what is happening to our young men and women, to our families, to our future generations at the hands of the criminal justice system.

It seems that nearly every black family has a child, cousin, nephew or uncle who has been incarcerated. It’s happening to our college students, business professionals,  working dads & mothers, drug involved and not.  At every level, all over the country, black men, in particular, have been stopped and questioned multiple times. Now, that level of intrusion into black life is resulting in more than overwhelming legal costs and delayed goals for families. The fact that our men are constantly being sought out for examination of their being, is resulting in staggering numbers of deaths. We can no longer blame it on the boys, the neighborhood, our color. It is way bigger than that. We need to understand exactly what is happening and why. You cannot negotiate with an enemy that you cannot identify. This book identifies the problem AND the solutions.

Excerpt from the Introduction

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© Robert Gumpert 1996

Jarvious Cotton cannot vote. Like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, he has been denied the right to participate in our electoral democracy. Cotton’s family tree tells the story of several generations of black men who were born in the United States but who were denied the most basic freedom that democracy promises—the freedom to vote for those who will make the rules and laws that govern one’s life. Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Ku Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation. His father was barred from voting by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.

Cotton’s story illustrates, in many respects, the old adage “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” In each generation, new tactics have been used for achieving the same goals—goals shared by the Founding Fathers. Denying African Americans citizenship was deemed essential to the formation of the original union. Hundreds of years later, America is still not an egalitarian….(read more….)