Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Months of work and waiting. Done. The 2 new children's puzzles are finally done and ready to be released to the world. And that's not all! The new traditional greeting cards are ready too and as always, there are greeting card puzzles galore.

The challenge now? Get the word out because we want to get these kids inspired and keep them that way. So what do we have?

Well there's this one - Dream Big. This one has a minor tweak being done to it but the picture willk be the same. It's 11x17, 35 pieces and you can get it for $10.

And then there is this one:

Also 11x17, this one has 200 pieces and sells for $15.

These babies are our brain children. Been rooting about in our heads for a while now. I'm just glad to finally see them out and about! Now, holiday cards. We have a package of 12 cards for $10 available and there are 4 designs in it. You'll have to contact me to see that one. We also have a new Kwanzaa cards - with mini puzzles to go with it! - and so much more in the works. So exciting!

There you go. Part of what I've been up to. And with this blogpost, I'm not even halfway through my list of ways I'm telling people about this. So I've gotta go!

By the way, we take cash, credit, checks and money orders. Oh and if you really like the children's puzzles and want them for Christmas, you must order by Dec. 1st. Sorry so tight but I tell you this stuff is FRESH!

Next time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Savoring the Thought of Success

My partner is afraid of success. Can't blame her. It's an exotic dish that you have to know how to swallow or it may kill you. So, fear is a good thing. But the fear makes her freeze, well it's only thin ice maybe. For instance, because of one of my groups, we have a very real chance to be on one of my favorite shows - The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch - if I ever want to get us there. That freaks her out. I therefore have to pretend like nothing is happening and be the one who is scared too but keep heading toward it anyway. I hate bugs so I scoot them out of my house or look for my husband. My kids hate bugs. No husband around? Mommy becomes a killer. We all do what we have to do.

We have to succeed. We will. That's a given. Just a matter of when.

The timing of things lately has been interesting and the opportunities have been nothing short of miraculous. Store owners who know us or have worked with us already are making space for us - for free - simply because they believe in what we are doing. Prices to produce things are rock bottom as a result. Vending opportunities are coming right at the very moment new projects are finishing. Quirky friends are making it big in their own right and sharing the wealth - simply because they want to do that with us. Other friends we haven't seen in a while are literally walking into our lives the very moment we think we need to contact them for something.

Right now it's all a jumble what needs to be done and for who and when. There is much to sort out very quickly in order to get on the shelves, in racks and hopefully into very influential hands. And why do I want this? Why do WE want this? Because we love what we do and believe in it, but even more so because we so desperately want to give back in droves what others have given us over the years to help us.

It's not easy doing this when you have a family and a full-time job, I admit. I'd love to sleep more but it's hard to sleep when ideas are stomping about in your head demanding attention. Someone once said, "I can sleep when I'm dead," right? Well, I don't want to wait quite that long. Still, I've got to keep pushing. We do. We all do. I love this so very much because this whole endeavor started with three of us and the 3rd person was never gone, only preoccupied with other things. She's back with a vengeance and to succeed in a major way right now with her fully in the picture would just be the cherry on the sundae. We would have come full circle.

Tonight I go to dinner with a friend and chill for a moment before diving back into all the logistics that need to be worked out this very week. My goodness! Look at the time. Thanksgiving is next week already?

I'm late! I'm late! Back down the rabbit hole I go.

Friday, November 14, 2008

He Is Born

It is official. I am an aunt. Happy birthday, baby!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's a Laptop, Baby!

A new laptop today, a new nephew tomorrow? Awesome!

God is great. Joining the PTA - again - netted me a much-coveted prize ever since Mr. T. sold his laptop earlier this year. The PTA had a membership drive and was raffling off a Dell laptop. I won. (Interestingly enough, I won my Dell desktop too a few years back in a raffle for people who had perfect attendance in the business workshop I took.) Now I have my own, which I sorely needed due to the impending side gig. I am finally at phase 3 over a month after I first sent my resume to them. It's not them, though. Twice I had to have 3-hour blocks of time to take the test and that's not easy to find during a typical week let alone the crazy ones I've had lately. But now I am laptop happy and can go back to wandering the house to do what I need to do instead of sitting at a desk. I suppose it may be the fact that I am already sorta tied to a desk all day that makes me resent doing it at night too. And with Son taking over more and more every day, I need to see what he sees a little easier than I do right now. So tonight I go play with it and hopefully it has wireless already so I don't have to buy a card.

And speaking of buying, I've got to jump online tonight to get what I was going to buy my new nephew. He wasn't due for another week but his mom needed to be induced because he is apparently smaller than he should be and they think he would be better out than in. So my guess is he'll be here tomorrow - maybe tonight! - and November will forever be the month the U.S. made history and my family got another boy to carry on the family name.

Can't wait!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Let the Healing Begin

You know, my blog is supposed to be about me trying to juggle everything in my life, and there are things coming at me - trying to get things organized regarding our newest puzzles and greeting card project; our stress in refinancing our mortgage (well, the stress in finding my MIA accountant lately to get what we need to get the process going); my neverending online job interview in my quest to get a gig I can do from home whenever I feel like it because there is simply never enough money these days. It's life, therefore la la la la, it goes on. But lately the election has taken over my blog just like it has the rest of the world. Of course now the election is over - YES! - but issues remain. Well, one issue in particular and I thought I'd see what I could do with it.

I was talking with someone after the election.

PERSON: Isn't it great? The whole world is watching. It's such an exciting time!

ME: Yeah, it's fantastic. It's really great for my people. We really needed this.

PERSON: Yeah, but it's really good for everyone, you know?

ME: Absolutely! But it's also a fantastic thing for the African-American community.

I forget what she said after this. I just smiled at her and let her think I was the clueless one.

I said it in my previous post, I'm not trying to keep the racial divide alive but the cards are on the table and we may as well look at them. Everyone is trying to be in a unifying mood, right? Well, denial is not productive. Do you want to understand this thing or not? Because I can't fully explain no matter how hard I try and I can't expect everyone to fully get it. But do you want to try? Well listen up.

The African-American community is a large and diverse one and I cannot speak for us all nor do I want to so don't think you can ask me to. No generality will ever suffice either. That being said, culturally we are a private people who don't want our business in the street. What happens at home stays there. This is part of the reason we aren't big on therapy. Again, this is collective. Plenty of us endorse therapy, do it, give it.

The fact that there are issues in our community isn't a secret, I don't think. But is this brand new day one that excludes racial issues? Nope. Don't be so naïve as to think it does. We took a gigantic leap forward, that's for sure and it's a healing thing for our community to see this. But it's not a cure. Just the start. Hatred toward us and within us toward ourselves continue.

Case in point 1. Ralph Nader and his wondering if Obama will be an Uncle Sam or an Uncle Tom? I think he may have thought he was speaking on behalf of minorities. I think he mispoke.

Case in point 2. Watch this lovely little Journey's video.

That happened in 2008. Think no one is going to call President-Elect Obama this name? I promise you he knows people do.

Case in point 3. Talked to my mother after the election. She lives in one of those red states and she helped at the polls. When trying to get people to register to vote - and why are there still people over 18 who aren't anyway? - she was met with a variety of reasons why they couldn't do it such as, "I might get called for jury duty." And there was a really good one, "It might affect my paycheck." Huh? Want to know the best reason of all? Well, some of the people worked for a powerful white man who successfully threatened them with, "If you vote, I will know."

Again, this is 2008 folks. Starting to grasp what we are still dealing with? No? Ok here's a little of how we think on a daily basis without even trying - I've shared some of this before:

1 - Someone was arrested for a crime. "Oh Lord, please don't let it be a black person." It was. ::collective groan::

2 - We are accepted OR rejected for something. "Was it because I am black?" That's right, even when something good happens, we can never be too sure it's not because someone had a quota to fill and therefore we wonder if our merits were good enough on their own or not? This is more likely to be when the situation involved people we don't know or who don't know us.

3 - One too many "helpful" people come up to you in a store. "Are they following me thinking I am going to steal something?" Sometimes, that's precisely the reason. Yes, in 2008.

4 - "All rise to say the pledge of allegiance." So we do and maybe we say something or maybe we don't. But can we look at an American flag and not think betrayal and past wrongs? Nope. The red is the blood of the dark (represented by blue) people who were trampled by the whites once upon a time. Not just us, either. We know that. That red represents our red brothers and sisters as well.

5 - Ever started a new job and noticed how many people of your race are around you? We do. Every time. Generally - at least on the corporate level - we are one of a handful, if we're lucky. One of 2 usually. Me? It's me and a Latina and, for a year now, our wonderful intern from Tobago.

Some of this is the daily reality of some of us. Much of this is instinct. We don't train our kids to think this way - not all of us, anyway. I know no one trained ME to think this way. To be aware, yes, but to be suspicious of so much? No. But I suppose self-preservation is something that can be picked up even without words.

I do not consider myself hypersensitive. Nor are my friends. Nor are my parents. But for certain they would all agree that we have a lot of baggage we carry around and while we don't want it, it is there nevertheless, popping open when we least expect it. If you have any sort of baggage - and you do - then you will understand how this works. So don't tell me, "Just get over it, already." If it were that easy it would have been done by now.

I mentioned already the concerns of African-American parents in raising our children to be in the world but not scarred by it, at least not when it comes to something beyond our control like skin color - Michael Jackson aside.

So are you getting close to figuring out why Barack Obama's win is a good thing for everyone but we, as a people, REALLY needed this? Why it doesn't take away from anyone else at all or the victory we all shared, it's simply something that is personal and healing for us as a people? I hope you do see it as just that - a personal issue - and don't try to take that away from us with comments such as, "Time's have changed!" and "Look on the bright side." Instead, if someone does share that with you, feel free to listen and commiserate. Got a true similar experience? You might be able to share it if you have that kind of relationship where the other person already feels you are a trusted friend. Otherwise, listening is enough. Really.

It's simply going to take time and a willingness to be healed before this issue will really be a thing of the past. I personally think the first steps to accepting that healing have to be made by us. But I just don't know if it will be done this side of heaven. One thing is for sure, communication is opening up a bit more and that is good. A black man in the White House may cause some bigots to feel free to express their hostility a little more openly. That could be good too if only because we'll all really know who we are dealing with.

I am choosing to emphasize even more to my children that only they limit themselves. I am going to continue to look at this new beginning with the optimism I still feel, so in love with my people and now my country too.

OK. Time for a new topic.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, He Did

Yesterday, to raise a black child in this world, you had to know the fine art of instilling hope and optimism while teaching reality and skepticism.

Yesterday, my people went to work and took tiny steps toward their individual goals with the dreams, blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors in the back of their minds, clothed in the garments, hair and sometimes the speech of the people we thought we needed to be like in order to succeed.

Yesterday, apathy was the order of the day.

Yesterday, wrong was right and morals were left behind.

Yesterday, you could not have convinced me that real, defining change will take hold of this nation while I am alive to see it.

Yesterday is gone.

TODAY, children like my soon-to-be nephew will be born into a world where it's normal for people of color and women to be as much in power as white men.

TODAY, black parents can say, "You can be president someday if you want to" and they - and their children - will believe it.

TODAY, being a black male who does well in school will be greatly admired instead of teased.

TODAY, there is no more "talking white" but just the respected ability to communicate.

Hear me, my friends. This win is a win for EVERYONE but first and foremost, for me, this win is the breath of life MY people needed. I do not say this to keep the racial divide alive. I say it because we are part of this country - helped to build it - but we were sick and tired and angry and hopeless and divided among ourselves. We, as a people, needed to be reinvigorated in order to be on one accord with everyone else, thus making us able to celebrate with you instead of feeling animosity toward you. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. African-Americans are one of the links and Barack Obama, along with his beautiful and intelligent wife, Michelle, helped strengthen us for the sake of the whole.

You want to know the beauty of this miraculous event? Even those who hate the thought of this man as president will get to reap the rewards of us working together and choosing to set aside the things that make us different (and, by the way, special) and focusing instead on the things that make us the same. One of those things being this country we live in. Whether you are rich or poor or black or white, don't we ALL want the best for our children? Don't we ALL want to lead lives of purpose and fulfillment as well as have the option to just do whatever the heck we we want to do sometimes? Don't we ALL want to retire while we are healthy and have the money to do so? Don't we ALL want to be able to go to the doctor when we are sick and not when we are too desperate to wait another second? Don't we ALL want to know peace?

It's no question that I guarded my heart with this man. I saw the possibility of him winning becoming more and more real but I know all too well that we can get close and have victory snatched away. I needed to hear them all say - Barak Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. Then I could let it go. I would only then be free to tell all of you who don't really know just how much it hurts a parent to place any limits on their child, even though that was never the goal. For their safety, you had to surround them with bumpers, constantly hovering to catch them in case they fell into the wrong situation. Now, we only need to say, "Yes, you can."

Suddenly the playing field has been leveled even for those of us that have already been in the game for a while. Even better, this man's election simply removed blindfolds for many of us because the way it should be was the way it could have been all along if we took the time to recognize it. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore and thank God for it!

This man is the best in ALL of us. His family is the picture of how a family should be. His marriage is the definition of support no matter what. His cool demeanor is alllll jazz, baby. And we are babies in this world, finally learning to walk and the rest of the globe is supporting us. That too feels good.

Black people. Remember the determination our enslaved forefathers and mothers carried on their backs, never to be beaten away? Remember the struggles for common humanity our grandparents reminisced about with that sadness in their voices? Remember the sacrifices our hardworking parents made, forcing many of us to be latchkey kids? Remember that Dream Dr. King so eloquently spoke into history? Though we could feel it, we couldn't see what was in their heart but here it is. This is it. This is that dream personified. Now we all know.

I wish I were a fly on the wall of the gangbangers' lair. I wish I were a little birdie on the windowsill of the incarcerated brothers who know better but chose worse because jail is preferable to the streets or to a minimum wage job. I wish I were a goldfish in the bowl of that black frat house, hearing them mull over this new road that has opened before them. A freshly paved road that takes them to a moral high ground that was once too treacherous to climb.

So why did Obama win, the critics ask?

Because even the people who thought they were beyond the power of cynicism were dragged into the depths of frustration that too many of us already live in daily. Even the ones who did not know or did not choose to acknowledge that the price for equality was more than most people could afford, found out that when one of us gets hurts we all suffer. God allowed the blind to see and the marginalized to find hope again. Obama won because he pointed the way out and enough people realized it would be stupid and self-destructive to not listen.

Listen to this video. Over and over. Hear those voices in unison. Allow yourself to feel that hope, people. And resolve that you too will make the sacrifices needed to advance us all.

It's a brand new day folk. And I am so very, very proud to be an American right now. I am even prouder still of our children for whom ancestral memory is clearly intact and who heard this call, answering with a resounding, "Yes, we can!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Can You Feel A Brand New Day?

Today's the day and I am on pins and needles, bouncing on the inside, anxious to get home and watch the news until the whole shebang is finally over. I've said it twice already - It's like Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve all rolled into one. The anticipation of the gift of a new president and new sense of direction. The dawning of a new time. It's hard to even write this. Just. So. Much. Stuff.

Kids are excited, man. People who never voted before are coming out to vote. People are choosing to wait in long lines in the dark and cold and they are NOT complaining. It is awesome. I got up at 4:30 because I wanted to be there at 6 to get my vote done and to not have to needlessly deal with a crazy long line after work. The kids are out of school today so they went with me. They know the names Obama and McCain and I admit, it's not because I've been talking non-stop about either of them. You know where they are hearing stuff? From other kids in school. Son's class did a vote. Most voted Obama, he said. Daughter says no to McCain because "he takes money." She thinks because he has money, he stole it. "No, Daughter. He's wealthy and so is Obama, actually, though it might not be quite the same amount. It's OK if people have money. It's not bad." In line they sang their own Obama-Yes-McCain-No song. And actually, I have some stupid cold/allergy thing going on so I just wanted to get out of the cold so my nose would open up again. Other than that, the feeling in the air was amazing.

I got more texts before 8 a.m. than I've ever gotten before. My brother is forward texting a prayer that Obama is protected and I second that with my prayer that we ALL keep our cool no matter what. Everywhere I turn it seems Obama is the man all over the place. I don't normally care what celebs endorse but I've been thinking maybe I'm just not paying attention but what celeb has come out to publicly endorse McCain so far? Obama is getting it right and left - politically and literally - but McCain? Interesting. The idea that that race may FINALLY become a lesser issue? Fantastic.

This time is simply like no other. Watching the news this morning while I waited for Mr. T to take over the kids so I could go to work, I listened to Eric Michael Dyson as Matt Laurer finally brought the race issue all the way to the front - because really, I think we've been doing our best not to tackle fully that just yet. But time's up so let's call it out. Basically Matt wondered what it would say if he won and if he didn't. So I'll let you listen to that yourself - after you get past the commercial:

Watch more NBC TODAY Show videos on AOL Video

I admit it, it's hard to work today. On the one hand, I welcome the distraction of my job. It's better than sitting and waiting, but all I can do, it seems, it keep up with what's going on out there while I am in here - via Twitter, YouTube, emails, blogs, co-workers. Who can concentrate?! Clearly it's not just me.

It's the best election ever. It truly is. I just read:

Parks sat so Martin could walk.
Martin walked so Obama could run.
Obama is running so our children can fly.

And I leave you with this song that got stuck in my head when Kerri showed it to me this morning. Watching these kids be so enthusiastic. I need Obama to win just so they can keep on feeling like the winners they are.

In case you need the lyrics:
Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

(McCain supporters)
McCain’s the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
They’ll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in site
And all the world will feel our military might

(Obama supporters)
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obama’s new, he’s younger too
The Middle Class he will help you
He’ll bring a change, he’s got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraq’s a shame
Four more years would be insane

Lower your Taxes - you know Obama Won’t
PROTECT THE LOWER CLASS - You know McCain won’t!
Have enough experience - you know that they don’t
STOP GLOBAL WARMING - you know that you won’t

I want Obama
Stick with McCain and you’re going to have some drama
We need it
He’ll be it
We’ll do it
Let’s move it

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

I’m talking big pipe lines, and low gas prices
Below $2.00 that would be nice

But to do it right we gotta start today
Finding renewable ways that are here to stay

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

Monday, November 03, 2008

Waiting to Party Like It's 1999

First, a moment of silence for Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama's grandmother.


I've said it often and I'll say it again. Grandparents are crucial in the development of a child. For everyone who has theirs, thank God for it. I know mine were - and one still is - awesome.


I am so excited. More than I have ever been during an election year. And part of that excitement is for the usual reason - I am thinking my choice is going to win this and that is beyond exciting. The other part? I am just so ready for this thing to be over with already! I am tired of it. I am glad for it but tired of it. I am anxious to go vote tomorrow but not looking forward to the potential wait either. My plan is to be there for when the polls open at 6 a.m. and that means dragging the kids with me since Mr. T won't be able to be with them. But since they don't have school, I don't mind disrupting their sleep. My hope is that I can be among the first to get in there and get done. And then I can go home, make popcorn and watch the news all night long. Know the last time that happened? NEVER!

I don't know why Connecticut doesn't have early voting and I haven't had a chance to go figure out exactly what the difference is between early voting and absentee voting. But it's not fair. Why can't all the states have that option? At least during a Presidential election and definitely for one as big as this. Everyone knows this is huge. Somebody could have made an exception this year. But, we'll forgo sleep and hopefully skip a long line to go get the deed done and then bug people all day to make sure they did they same.

I may have blogged about 2008 back when the year changed. (I have to go see.) But if you don't recall, 2008 was set to be a year of major changes. That's what the number 8 means - New Beginnings. For me, it's one sign that Obama is the pick. Want to know another sign? McCain's latest ad trying once again to make it seem controversial to pick Obama because of who he knew or knows or met on a random street one day. If they are drudging out that old Rev. Wright issue again, they must be desperate. And it also goes to show how out of touch McCain is when it comes to non-whites because Rev. Wright didn't say anything that many of us black folk haven't already heard in our own churches. But what people need to understand is that this kind of racial talk is not about white folk. It's about healing black folk and getting us all to understand that we must stand on our own power and stop blaming white people for our problems. The anger is still there and to pretend like it isn't is naïve. But there is also work toward community healing going on. A boosting of the collective self-esteem. Obama would be a huge boost indeed.

It's been a great year so far - even if I do have to refinance my mortgage this month. (It went up twice already and a new mortgage will send it up a little more. Whoopie! Feeling the effects of that bailout probably.) I think things will end on a very interesting note.

Tomorrow night is going to be like waiting on New Year's Day to dawn. I have seen a lot of major changes in my lifetime already - cell phones, personal computers, the Internet. How cool that I get to witness one that the whole world has been waiting for forever.