Archive for December, 2013

Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Year End Wrap Up

I haven’t updated about the kids in a while. Wow. In an effort to not bore you, I’ve made this into a photo blog (mostly). You’ll see stuff from the past month regarding homeschool, play dates, and the like, but I’ll try to start from the beginning of the year.

This has been a challenging year for the girls, as they watched their father enter the hospital and return a changed man in many respects. Mooch endured bullying and exclusion at her previous school, and our family moved to a new house, again, for the third time in four years.

They came out of it all smiling with that Tabu tenacity that I know too well. Mooch fell right back into homeschooling like we’d never stopped. She studied cultural geography, Shakespeare, engineering, and language. Time for Kids Magazine and National Geographic became her go to places for politics and science.

Fuss soars above and beyond in math and continues to be just as interested in stories and reading as her sister was at this age. She has a huge imagination and her favorite activity is dress up. Trash trucks still get her amped up in the car, and Hello Kitty is her obsession. Gymnastics, piano, and ballet are her favorite things to do. When I need a little time to myself, I throw on some classical music and let her twirl in the living room for thirty minutes.

We joined a couple of Meetup groups, and we spend most of our days at parks, beaches, museums, and exploring our world.


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Marital Mondays: Tacos and How We Met

I’m hosting a Black Marriage Retreat in February, and this past Saturday, we had the Pre-Retreat Mixer. It was so much fun! Giving the full details would be a breach of confidentiality, but I can share that we made succulent terrariums with our spouses, we shared stories of how we met, and there were many tacos eaten.

It was great to laugh. I enjoyed listening to husbands dote on their wives. Though many jokes were cracked, I truly feel it was a space of non-judgement. Nothing felt forced or strictly programmed. It was just chill. We talked until after 1am.

I am definitely looking forward to this retreat, where we’ll meet with a financial planner, hear from a therapist, paint with our spouses, and hang out again. It was very grown and sexy.

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Marital Mondays: Sit Down!

My brain is coated in teriyaki sauce. All I can think about are reservations, chairs, invitations, gifts, and lists. I keep typing list after list, crossing my fingers that nothing goes undone.

I’m currently planning a baby shower (not mine), a birthday party (for my soon to be ten-year-old), an excursion to Legoland (for my New Years’ Eve baby), and a Black Marriage Retreat. Every time I speak with a caterer, venue, hotel, or party rental place I feel like it’s taking years off the end of my life.

I must be a disaster for Hannibal to sleep next to, because I have insomnia in the worst way. I’m pretty sure I can’t sleep for fear of letting someone down. I don’t want to miss an audition, show up late to a rehearsal, forget to have any water for people to drink at Mooch’s party, leave a costume somewhere by accident. I’m up at two invoicing clients and responding to AirB&B vendors.

If Hannibal rolls over in my direction, the glowing screen of the only device that’s keeping me sane right now shines down on him like the police helicopters that also keep me stirring at night. This can’t be good for either of us.

I’ve taken a million chill pills, but I’m sure I’ve swallowed more than the required amount of food with them, because my plate is still piled miles high. My eyes are bigger than my MacBook when it comes to work. I’ve never really believed I had a capacity. Now that I’m older, I pretty sure I’m starting to hit my limit.

I’m not sad or frustrated, though. That’s just the thing! I’m sooooo excited.

This season has always made me this way. Adding three birthdays into it just made it worse. Ella (Fuss) is 12/31, Mma-Syrai (Mooch) is 1/10, and Hannibal is 1/20. It’s going to be so much fun! I can’t wait. My mother used to hate putting me to bed the three weeks before Christmas. I’d retell her my “list for Santa” a million times. I couldn’t get to sleep until after midnight most nights, and she stayed with me until I did.

Hannibal can’t stay up with me until 3am. I shouldn’t be up that late either. I just have things to do, and I can’t get them done in the daytime, because I have kids to focus on.

This is the part of marriage that sucks — the part where you’re a team, and when your partner goes through something, you go through it, too. We share the stress. I guess I could go in the bathroom and type, but it would still affect him, because he’d miss my warm body in bed. He doesn’t complain. He just rolls over and snores more loudly, but he needs better rest for his heart condition. I must calm the fuck down, and go to sleep!

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Marital Mondays: What Have You Done For Your Community Lately?

A couple of Saturdays ago, I was asked to facilitate a meeting regarding community involvement at the William Grant Still Arts Center. Many West Adams/Mid-City residents showed up to answer the questions:

How have you helped your community in the past?
What are you doing now?
What motivates you to be an activist?
How can we inspire the youth to be involved?

I introduced myself, and shared the many twists, turns, and shapes my activism has taken — from making dolls for children (in their own likeness) to blogging about black marriage, so folks know that happy ones do exist. I emphasized that while my contacting the city numerous times to have potholes fixed, so people living below the poverty line aren’t forced to keep replacing tires, may seem more important than the acts mentioned formerly, it isn’t. Every contribution to a better tomorrow is valid and necessary. I wanted the space for our discussion to be one of non-judgement, and I said as much. I said, “We need the people who watch the babies during the revolution as much as we need those on the front lines,” and the message was received.

With that in place, we went around the circle for “two-minute” introductions. There were so many in attendance, that this took up most of our time. Trust me when I say, this was NOT a bad thing. We were so inspired by each other’s stories. In this day of social media, we actually made real human connections.

The exhibit at William Grant Still during the conversation was called “Tequio Aqui, Tequio Alla,” which means “Tequio Here, Tequio There.” A Tequio is a call to a pueblo to perform communal work for a mutual benefit. In Oaxaca, it is mandatory and is enforced by a board of elders. This is all completely separate from the government, which has essentially abandoned the people.

Our meeting was initially just a conversation about activism, but after meeting yoga instructors, ex-Panthers, former gang members, actors, mothers, victims of domestic violence, gay rights activists, high school students who clean up neighborhoods and beaches, and the head of a local food co-op, who were all down for the cause, the group spoke up and requested that we start our own tequio here in Los Angeles. We will be having another meeting to discuss structure, offices, goals, and the like. Once dates are solid, I will place them here in a blog post.

It turns out that some members of the group were inspired by their parents’ community involvement, others were moved by their own life experiences (former drug addict helping current victims of substance abuse or former victims of domestic violence helping others). Many had jobs in community service that led to a life of service after retirement. Whatever the case is, it sounds like if we model the behavior, the youth will follow.

It’s amazing what happens when people connect. Hannibal takes our kids door to door to meet the neighbors whenever we move, but I had no idea what powerful people were living right next door to me. Do you know your neighbors?

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