As you can tell I haven’t been blogging that much on a regular basis for almost 2 years. Lots going on in my life. My mom became ill but she’s doing much better now. After she became ill I got a promotion at my job. That cheered me up a lot. Let’s just say my finances have improved greatly since my promotion over a year ago. I’ve been thinking about buying a new car but I will probably hold out until next year. I’m looking at Hondas and Hyundais.
Not looking forward to the hazy, hot humid days of summer around here. It’s like the older I get the more hostile I become towards heat and humidity, lol. The humidity already kicked in this weekend. Not that I’m trying to move time forward too quickly but I’m already looking forward to the cooler days of fall.
Washington Post columnist Avis Thomas-Lester reminisces about her childhood love for the late Michael Jackson. Reading this article brings back some serious memories for those of us who remember when the Jackson 5 were dominating the music charts.
By Avis Thomas-Lester
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 6, 2009
If Michael Jackson had married me, none of this would have happened.
That was the plan, from way back in elementary school. I was going to graduate, become a world-famous model and actress, and marry Michael Jackson.
There were several scenarios as to how this would happen, most of them dreamed up as I lay on my pink bedspread with yellow, green and blue butterflies in Indianapolis, about 150 miles from his home town of Gary.
Like thousands of other girls, I fell in love with Michael listening to Jackson 5 45s and LPs, long before videos, CDs and DVDs. For women of my generation, loving Michael Jackson was a rite of passage. We first saw him on “The Ed Sullivan Show” or “American Bandstand” or on the pages of teen magazines like Right On! and 16. We fell in love with Michael before he became the world’s “Thriller,” when he was still chocolate brown and had a wide nose and a big Afro and belted out love songs in a voice that hadn’t yet changed.
We didn’t have videos, but we saw him every night in our dreams, where he sang to us the way a man sings to a woman he loves deep down in his soul.
Check out the Post to read the entire article.
President Barack Obama graces the cover of today’s edition of Parade Magazine with his daughters Malia and Sasha.
President Obama talks about how much fatherhood is important to him when it comes to his two daughters and how many fathers need to step up to the plate and spend more time in their childrens lives.
‘We Need Fathers To Step Up’
by President Barack Obama
Two days before the inauguration, PARADE published a letter from Barack Obama to his daughters about what he hoped for them and all the children of America. The letter attracted international attention. On this Father’s Day, we asked the President to reflect on what fatherhood means to him.
[Get the story behind the story from PARADE Editor Janice Kaplan.]
As the father of two young girls who have shown such poise, humor, and patience in the unconventional life into which they have been thrust, I mark this Father’s Day—our first in the White House—with a deep sense of gratitude. One of the greatest benefits of being President is that I now live right above the office. I see my girls off to school nearly every morning and have dinner with them nearly every night. It is a welcome change after so many years out on the campaign trail and commuting between Chicago and Capitol Hill.
But I observe this Father’s Day not just as a father grateful to be present in my daughters’ lives but also as a son who grew up without a father in my own life. My father left my family when I was 2 years old, and I knew him mainly from the letters he wrote and the stories my family told. And while I was lucky to have two wonderful grandparents who poured everything they had into helping my mother raise my sister and me, I still felt the weight of his absence throughout my childhood.
As an adult, working as a community organizer and later as a legislator, I would often walk through the streets of Chicago’s South Side and see boys marked by that same absence—boys without supervision or direction or anyone to help them as they struggled to grow into men. I identified with their frustration and disengagement—with their sense of having been let down.
In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.
That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.
I don’t normally blog about my job but I gotta vent today 😦
Have you ever had a co-worker who feels that even though you’re both attending a training class and the class doesn’t start until two hours after you start work, she feels as though you’re committing some sort of crime for coming to work on time and doing your job? I start work early in the morning. Our training class, which is in our building, doesn’t start until around 8:30am, but I come to work at my regular time anyway cause I have work that has to be completed every morning. Since she’s my backup I can’t let the work slide for the next two weeks. In her eyes I’m some sort of goody two shoes freak for wanting to get my work done while she just heads straight to the training class without going to her office first even though she has time to go to her office before the class starts.
I wanted to choke the mess out of her today cause she kept bringing it up but I kept my cool. She’s the type that likes to socialize with everyone or gab on the phone while at work yet gets upset and wonders why the supervisor nitpicks at her or is always looking for her when she’s away from her office. This woman is a mother and grandmother. You would think she would have some grown up sense but I do wonder about her. I’ve known her for years on the job but only started working with her a few years ago and lord have mercy she plucks my nerves sometimes.
Not only does she bug me about doing my job that I’m paid to do, apparently I’m some sort of perfectionist for coming to work on time. Huh, you say? Yes, coming to work on time is something strange to her since she always comes in late. So since she comes in late I guess everybody else is suppose to do the same thing. When I mentioned that I came into work fifteen minutes late one day a couple of months ago cause I got up late, well she was thrilled. She had this “welcome to the coming into work late club” attitude. I looked at her like she was a fool.
The next time she makes a comment about me doing something that I’m paid to do I’m gonna tell her to put a sock in it and let it go. She may not like it but that’s too damn bad.
A few months ago I decided to treat myself to a coffee maker and I’m lovin’ it. I’ve had my eye on a Keurig since last fall when QVC had a larger size Keurig (the Keurig Ultimate) as the TSV (Today’s Special Value). I passed on the Keurig Ultimate and wouldn’t you know it, they had a Keurig Personal Mini Brewer as a TSV back in Feburary. I jumped on it, especially since it was on easy pay or evil pay as some QVC customers call it. They offered a variety of colors but I had to decide between blue or red. I chose red since I’ve become hooked on the color red lately. I own a red George Foreman grill.
This is my first coffee maker. Before I bought my Keurig I usually had one cup of coffee at work and maybe once a month I would treat myself to Starbucks Coffee when I needed a more serious pick me up 🙂 It’s nice to finally have my own coffee maker at home and even then I usually stick to one cup or maybe two on the weekends. One of the drawbacks to owning a Keurig is deciding what coffee flavor to buy cause there are so many to choose from. My Keurig came with 28 k-cups and it was a nice variety including Green Mountain Nantucket Blend, Caribou Blend, Celestial Seasoning English Breakfast Tea, Diedrich French Roast, Gloria Jeans Hazelnut, GMCR Newman’s, GMCR Nantucket, Timothy’s Colombian Decaf, Timothy’s Italian, Tully French Roast, Van Houtte French Vanilla. I’ve been able to find the boxes of k-cups at Bed, Bath & Beyond and I ordered a variety of k-cups from a website called Kenoza Coffee.com. At Kenoza you build a box so you can sample the different varieties of coffee flavors. So far my favorites are Green Mountain Nantucket Blend, Caribou Blend, Green Mountain Coffee Southern Pecan, Green Mountain Mocha Nut Fudge, Green Mountain Coffee French Vanilla, Coffee People Donut Shop Extra Bold and Van Houtte French Vanilla. As you can tell I’m lovin’ the Green Mountain brand. You can check out the Green Mountain website along with Coffee People, Van Houtte and Caribou Coffee.
I read an interesting commentary from Fannie Flono, Associate Editor for the Charlotte Observer titled Black moms, my mom and Michelle Obama. She talks about the image of black moms and specifically Michelle Obama. Considering that mainstream media and some black media have pretty much shown images of black women as lazy welfare queens, video vixens and teenage single moms, Michelle Obama is a much needed refreshing change. Yes I know some folks are sick of seeing and hearing about Michelle Obama but after decades of negativity about black women or treating normal, non stereotypical black women like we’re invisible, I enjoy reading about Michelle Obama. I’m sure the media circus surrounding the FLOTUS will slow down eventually.
By FANNIE FLONO
What I’m liking most about Michelle Obama being first lady is this: She puts on public display an image of black women and black mothers that many African-Americans can identify with, but that others have viewed as an anomaly. I’m not talking about her being a Harvard-educated lawyer or dressing in designer clothes or personally knowing Oprah. That sets her apart from most of us.
But her loving relationship with her husband and her devotion to her children are familiar to many of us who have grown up in black households. It’s the stereotype of the wild-haired, bedraggled-looking “welfare queens” or booty-shaking, single teen moms that gives us pause.
Sure, those people exist. But they’re not who most black women are. The last census showed 62 percent of black women worked for a living (as opposed to 60 percent of white women). The census also showed that 79 percent of blacks and 89 percent of whites earned at least a high school diploma. Nearly 30 percent of each group had some college education. For blacks, the majority of both were women.
It is true that 65 percent of black births were to unwed mothers. But that’s not the same as saying 65 percent of black single women had children. The census shows 39 percent of black women are childless, and 43 percent of black families are married couples.
So the idea of a Michelle Obama-like black mom is not a fairy tale, not the exception. It is the heart-warming reality a lot of us know.
Check out the entire article here.
Well it’s not the United States which didn’t rank in the top ten. If you’re looking for the ideal place where people have the most positive outlook on life then take a look at Europe. According to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), people are the most happiest in European countries. Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands have the happiest people in the world followed by Sweden, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway and Belgium.
The report looked at subjective well-being, defined as life satisfaction. Did people feel like their lives were dominated by positive experiences and feelings, or negative ones?
To answer that question, the OECD used data from a Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries around the world last year. The poll asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.
Some sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesterday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? In each country, a representative sample of no more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed. The poll was scored numerically on a scale of 1-100. The average score was 62.4.
Even though the current economic crisis is worldwide, the top scoring countries still boast some of the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the world.
Another factor in the study was work life balance. While countries such as Denmark with a high score of 90.1 boast a high GDP per capita of $68,000, the average workweek in that part of the world is no more than 37 hours. But in countries such as China which received a low score of just 14.8, the workweek is 47 hours and the GDP per capita is just $3,600.
The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article about President Barack Obama’s great uncle Charles Payne. Eighty four year old Charles Payne was a private first class in the 89th Infantry Division during World War II. The 89th Infantry participated in the liberation of Ohrdruf, a forced-labor camp that was a satellite of the Buchenwald concentration camp. It’s been rumored that while visiting Europe this summer President Obama is considering a visit to the concentration camp that his great uncle helped liberate in April 1945 and he’s expected to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France on June 6. A White House spokesperson hasn’t confirmed or denied the rumored trip to the former concentration camp.
Obama relative recalls World War II horror
President may visit concentration camp great-uncle helped liberate
By John McCormick
May 8, 2009
For much of his 84 years, Charles Payne has lived in Chicago in relative obscurity and watched his sister’s grandson rise to the presidency.
But now it appears possible that a painful part of Payne’s own story will be brought to the forefront, based on German news reports that President Barack Obama is considering a visit to the concentration camp that his great uncle helped liberate in April 1945.
Payne, who spent much of his career working in library science at the University of Chicago, was a private first class in the 89th Infantry Division during World War II when he participated in the liberation of Ohrdruf, a forced-labor camp that was a satellite of the Buchenwald concentration camp.
“I remember seeing a lot of really emaciated people in rags at the point of starvation. People were clutching tin cups for food,” he said Thursday in a Tribune interview. “I saw sheds where dead bodies had been stacked up.”
But Payne said he had thought little in recent years about the horrors he saw, until German reporters started calling to ask about a possible presidential visit.
A German government spokesman told reporters in Berlin that Obama may visit Buchenwald while in Europe this summer. The president is expected to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France on June 6, and a Group of Eight summit will be held in Italy in July.
German spokesman Thomas Steg was quoted as saying Obama may plan to visit “historical places that in the widest sense are related to the different aspects of World War II — destruction and rebuilding, extermination and the breakdown of civilization.”
A White House spokesman declined to confirm or deny that Obama planned to follow Payne’s wartime tracks. More than 50,000 people were killed at Buchenwald.
After receiving a degree in engineering from Kansas State University, Charles Payne moved to Chicago in 1960 where he spent most of his career working in library science at the University of Chicago.
Usually when you think of Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary you think personal finance in the Business section of the Washington Post, not home cooking. While checking out the Food section I had to do a double take. I thought for sure they placed Michelle’s column in the wrong section of the paper. But no, she wrote a article in the Food section of today’s paper about cooking for home and how that brings families closer together.
If Big Mama Could See Me Now
What I’ve Learned About Life From Cooking at Home
By Michelle Singletary
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Girl, I’ll probably take some heat for this, but I’m going to say it anyway: Far too many of us view cooking as subservient. We — and I can say that because I was once one of you — proudly tell prospective husbands that we don’t do cooking.
As I got older and bolder, I would boast to Big Mama, my grandmother, that I wasn’t going to “slave” in the kitchen for anybody. If my man wants a meal, he can cook it himself, I told her. She would shake her head in disapproval.
I was sadly, selfishly wrong. What I didn’t think about was the family I’d have one day: Who was going to prepare home-cooked meals for them?
Certainly, fathers cook. But I get it now. I understand the nurturing that happens when a parent — especially a mom — cooks and serves a meal.
Studies and statistics support the effort. Compared with teens who frequently eat dinner with their families, those who rarely sit down to family meals are 3 1/2 times as likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
As it happens, the recession has forced many families to cut back on eating out. The number of restaurant visits in the United States has been trending down since the first quarter of 2006, decreasing as much as 10 percent during one quarter last year, according to Decision Analyst, a Dallas-Fort Worth marketing research and consulting firm.
Because I write The Post’s Color of Money personal finance column, I’ve seen the high cost of eating out. Dozens of readers regularly tell me that their budgets get busted by frequent restaurant visits.
If you shop well, you can cook at home for less money. But there’s another important benefit and blessing that is priceless: Having family meals at the same time, at the same table is a way to keep the family healthy and close. I just wish I had understood that earlier in my marriage and motherhood.
Some of the best times I’ve had in my home with my kids and husband have occurred around the preparation or consumption of a meal. We have to teach our children how to cook, so they can cook for their families and minister to their needs.
According to the New York Times First Grandma Marian Robinson is loving her new life in the nation’s capital. Mrs. Robinson wasn’t too thrilled about moving from her Chicago home to the White House at first according to her son Craig Robinson.
WASHINGTON — Marian Robinson, President Obama’s mother-in-law, moved into the White House “kicking and screaming,” said her son, Craig Robinson. She had never lived outside of Chicago and was reluctant to leave her beloved bungalow, her friends and family, her weekly yoga class and her familiar routines.
But after three months of White House living she’s loving her new home.
She entertains visitors from Chicago. She attends White House dinners and concerts hosted by her daughter, the first lady, Michelle Obama. She dines at local restaurants and delights in events at the Kennedy Center, where she often sits in the president’s box and chats with performers.
In fact, Mrs. Robinson, 71, is so busy these days that the Obamas hired a baby sitter to watch their two daughters one evening because the nation’s first grandmother had plans.
“She has a very full social life, so much so that sometimes we have to plan our schedule around her schedule,” Mrs. Obama said jokingly last week during a lunch she hosted for Congressional spouses.
I’m glad to see Mrs. Robinson enjoying her new life. Just because she’s a grandma doesn’t mean she can’t have fun on her own.