Friday, November 6, 2009

OSF: Songs that Inspire

Haven't posted in about a month (many of you know why!), so I thought I'd post an OSF today. I chose Diana Ross's "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" as the song that inspires me in part because it does inspire me, and in part because I don't think I've ever posted a Diana Ross song before. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Freshman Year High School: 1996-1997

I gotta pay homage to two artists we lost too soon. Both had hits during my freshman year of high school. The first is Aaliyah's "If Your Girl Only Knew," and the second is Tupac's "I Ain't Mad At Cha." Both singles came out at the beginning of my freshman year. I devote this space to remember them both.

Friday, October 2, 2009

OSF: Songs to Exercise To

Oh, this one is my favorite category! Each week at our church we have a segment called, "Praisercise," where we exercise to praise songs for roughly three to five minutes during morning worship. I lead these exercises weekly and usually do a few grapevines to warm up, and then some boxing and plyometrics for a minute or so to take it up a notch. We're trying to promote more health and wellness projects and initiatives at our church, and those of you who know me, know I'm all about that!

So, I picked a song that we've used during praisercise. It's Kirk Franklin's "Look at Me Now." Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

OSF: It's All About the Money

Although this song gets a bad rap from the fellas, I still love me some Destiny's Child: "Bills, Bills, Bills." Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

OSF: Songs to Cuddle To

I always liked Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait A While," back before her lyrics got suggestive and explicit. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

But you Didn't Keep it as a Reference

I know; I know. Students sell textbooks back all the time. I stumbled across this link while googling my name (don't ask why; it's not because I'm narcissistic!) Apparently the textbook I co-edited last year is being sold on craigslist. It's listed as in good condition even though the cover is worn. At least it appears to be used. LOL!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School Edition

School starts tomorrow for me. I thought I'd post this video just for laughs...

Friday, August 28, 2009

OSF: Songs that People Would Be Surprised I Know

Anyone remember The Jets' "You Got it All"?

What about "I Got a Crush on You"?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why You May or May Not Be Hearing from Me Much

I haven't been on my blog for a couple of weeks and thought I'd post some updates:

  • You probably won't be hearing from me much because I'm completing the final stages of my doctoral degree. I submit 3 chapters of my dissertation to by committee by the end of this month. Once they respond and provide feedback on those, I will submit the other 3.
  • There are things that people in the final stages of their doctoral degrees must do and I'm doing them. I won't be blogging about that process because it is private, but academics know what this process entails.
  • I'll be co-teaching a linguistic-focused course for K-12 English Education majors (ENG 302) for the first time. That should be fun. I will only be teaching Fall semester 2009. I will be supported by fellowship funds during Spring 2010 and Summer 2010.
Needless to say, you won't be seeing much of me this academic year. I plan to be around some, and won't abandon my blog. But if you don't hear from me, you know why.

Friday, August 7, 2009

OSF: Chaka Khan

Oh Dear. This is a tough one. It's hard not to pick a classic (like "I'm Every Woman" or "Tell Me Something Good") because everyone will probably have one of those. So, I picked a classic and one people may be less familiar with.

The first is "Everlasting Love"

The second is "Precious is Your Name" (performed with Richard Smallwood's "Vision).

Friday, July 31, 2009

OSF: First Love Songs

OK, this post is gon' be brief because I ain't all mushy. But, I remember India Arie's song being played when me and Mr. C. first started dating. I remember watching the video with him in one of our dorm rooms when we were dating in college and falling in love, so I picked "I Am Ready for Love."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What I'm Learning about Organic Food

For those tens of readers familiar with me, they know that when I adopt a hobby or lifestyle trend, I go all out. With my fitness routine, they know that I study fitness trends, techniques, and methods with rigor even though I'm not a fitness trainer. The same can be said for fashion: Based on what I know, I could be the black Stacy London!

Well, now my interests are in organic foods. This all started because I'm trying to encourage the dad to make better health and lifestyle choices. Although I'm a fairly healthy eater, as can be seen here and here, I know that I can do a lot better. While I don't eat beef, pork, and love fruits and veggies (I once got really sick and overdosed from eating too many green veggies! No Lie!), I have a profound weakness for chocolate, carbs, and other processed foods. That being said, I knew that I had to change my eating habits. After throwing the processed snacks (tortilla chips, wafer cookies, honey buns, etc.) in the trash, I went off to the local health food store. Even though it's not the Whole Foods that I was used to when living in Ann Arbor, it would have to do.

When I got in the store, I immediately went crazy. When I see things, I like to go for the excess. I prefer to buy in bulk because I hate grocery shopping, so I piled tons of stuff in the cart. Mr. C looked quite oddly considering I hadn't tasted much of these foods but threw them in the cart as if they were my favorites. I didn't care though; I'd eaten foods like it before (ions ago) so it couldn't be that bad. After all, a whole grain waffle is a whole grain waffle. And the vegan cookies I used to get from Whole Foods were sold there, so I knew how those tasted. I'd also heard about Amy's Pizzas and frozen products, which I decided to purchase. Those couldn't be that bad either.

Well to make a long story short, I lucked up. While I haven't tried everything I'd bought, from what I did sample, the foods were pretty darn delicious. I especially love the spinach wraps in whole wheat. And those vegan chocolate chip cookies are to die for!! Seriously. But with this journey, I did learn a few of things about organic foods, some of which, I didn't know:

  1. They make you full and make you stay full. Even the snacks that I bought were filling. They don't have those hydrogenated oils and other chemicals that just make you feel bloated with gas but still hungry. No, you don't need to eat very much of these snacks, and you can remain satisfied until the next meal.
  2. They seem to take longer to cook in comparison to "regular" foods. This threw me for a bit of a loop. So I pop a couple waffles in the oven. The box says to cook them for 2-3 minutes. I had to cook them for 15+ minutes! The same with the Amy's frozen pizzas. I had to cook those for 16 minutes and not the 8-11 suggested time. I know that lots of organic gurus prefer rawer stuff, but we're not talking veggies here. You can't eat a raw frozen waffle or pizza!
  3. You don't get that much food from $200. Yeah, I knew that I'd be broke after I finished shopping.

So thus began my quest for a better lifestyle. I wanted my eating habits to match my fitness ones. I feel better already.

Friday, July 24, 2009

OSF: My Theme Song

Given the nature of this past week's events associated with the racial profiling of preeminent Black scholars, in addition to my own experiences with racism, I've decided to post James Brown's "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"! That's my theme song for the week. Enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

U-N-I-T-Y: Brief Reflections on WPA Conference

Some of y'all are familiar with some of the events that went down at our discipline's WPA Conference held in Minneapolis this past week. This is the first time I attended the conference, so I don't have much to go by other than my own personal experiences. However, based on what I've heard, this is one of the conferences in our field where leadership is trying to promote diversity. And, I see why that's a concern: Out of the roughly 260 people in attendance, 5 or so of those people were African American. I'm not so sure about the numbers for other racial/ethnic groups. What I can say is that there didn't seem to be very many (if any) of other racial/ethnic minority groups represented either.

I also have some suspicions as to why this was the case. This may come off a bit harsh, but it's exactly how I felt when I was there. My suspicions are in no way intended to criticize the leadership, however. In fact, the WPA president and other members on the executive committee went out of their way to talk to me and make me feel welcome on multiple occasions, so my criticisms about the conference aren't directed at them. And, based on the events I'm about to tell, I've received multiple apologies for what happened.

Okay. Here's what went down. First of all, I did a panel with other colleagues about my experiences with racism and sexism as a future WPA. This panel was not exceptionally attended, although there were roughly ten people in the audience. We had good conversation and they seemed to appreciate the work that we had done narrating and complicating our experiences. Not a half-hour after our panel ended, we ran into a colleague whom each of us on the panel had met briefly about a year ago. She then proceeded to introduce us to one of her friends as our WPA supervisor's bitches. If that weren't appalling enough, she singled me and my African American male colleague out and basically urged us to beg their department chair for a job at their institution because their institution only had one African American and needed more. As a result of these comments--and the general vibe of the conference--in addition to other personal reasons, I chose to leave the conference early.

On my way home I rode to the airport with another scholar in our field. She also expressed concern about the lack of diversity, and after I told her of the events I experienced, (s)he was horified! We also discussed whether or not I'd come back to WPA. I told him/her that while I loved doing WPA workm and editing our first textbook reader and composing our handbook at my institution, I'm not sure whether or not I'd continue doing this kind of work if it meant that I'd be required to also attend this conference. (S)he encouraged me not to give up on the work that I love doing, but I dunno...

Once I'd gotten home, I received a text message from my African American male colleague telling me that they refused to let him into an event because they mistook him for coming to play basketball pickup games at the park where the event was being held. I won't get into the other details, but the president of the organization did issue an apology that can be read here.

Like I said, I love doing WPA work; I just don't want to be anywhere where I'm not welcome. And, like I also said, my sentiments aren't because of the leadership. Regardless of the leadership, if the people who are a part of the organization aren't welcoming, I still don't want to attend.

That's all.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Article Published

For some reason, I thought this article was coming out in Fall 2009 but it came out this summer. The article is about the processes that inform how I would design a graduate-level rhetoric and composition special topics course.Here's the link:

Check it out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

OSF: Remembering Michael Jackson

Based on some of the mean spirited comments I've been seeing on facebook and twitter, I decided to post "Man in the Mirror." Cut out all the child molester and plastic surgery jokes! Michael was never convicted of any crime. And, remember, Michael is somebody's father, son, brother, uncle, and friend, so give his family some respect! Before anyone judges, (s)he needs to look at themselves in the mirror and let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

Enough said.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

5 Things I've Learned about Myself in the Past Couple of Weeks

1) I've learned that my dissertation is like a layered cake. Each chapter is a necessary layer that builds on the next. If I'm doing a teacher-research study on an Afrocentric curriculum, I need a) a chapter that provides a context for how Afrocentricity (vis a vis Ebonics) is situated in education, sociolinguistics, and rhetoric and composition scholarship; b) a pedagogical chapter that describes my Afrocentric pedagogical practices and the theoretical rationales for implementation; c) a methodological chapter that uses previous teacher-research studies on Afrocentricity and Ebonics to demonstrate how my teacher-research study builds on them; and d) chapters that discuss my data results on African American students and all students. (Of course there's a conclusion that I'm still working out.)

2) I've learned not to take on projects where people easily lose interest and expect other people to do the work for them. I have a dissertation to write!

3) I've learned not to apologize for being MIA. I have a dissertation to write!

4) I've learned that support and mentorship is irrespective of race, class, or gender. The people you think are least likely to help you with your work are the ones who've been the most helpful and influential.

5) I've learned not to buy clothes when you're bloated and it's humid. I bought two dresses that fit on Thursday only to find that they were too big by Saturday. At least I got the $241 bucks I spent on them back.

Friday, June 12, 2009

OSF: Keep it In the Family

At first I thought about The Jacksons, but thought that would be too obvious. Then I thought about the Clark Sisters, and saw that Regina's Family Season chose them. So, what about the Hawkins Family? They are by far the most underrated gospel group out there! Enjoy!

"Oh Happy Day":

"Special Gift":


"I'm Going Away":

"Thank You":

Friday, May 29, 2009

OSF: Outside the Box

This week is devoted to songs that people wouldn't believe we listened to. Once I post these songs I wonder how much fun Mr. C. will make of me, so Mr. C, you betta not laugh! LOL! OK, here goes...

Spice Girls: "Wannabe" - I was a freshman in high school and really liked the tune. So what!?

Sheryl Crow: "Leaving Las Vegas"

Tracy Chapman: "Promise"

Friday, May 22, 2009

OSF: This is Dedicated to

This may seem a bit narcissistic, but I'm dedicating this week's song to myself because darn it, I deserve it! LOL! I'm giving myself a huge pat on the back for the progress I've made on the dissertation (with 5 out of six drafted chapters). I met with my dissertation director last Monday and he said although I was on the right track, I couldn't have a bunch of 70 page chapters. I was trying to discuss theory, praxis, and methodology under different aspects of my diss., when I needed to discuss theory in one chapter, praxis in another and methodology in another before presenting my empirical findings (which I'll talk about later, not feeling that right now!) So, I had to chunk my sections/topics and organize them into chapters that made sense. Because I put in tons of hours of work on doing this this past week, I'm taking Friday off to bake a cake for the weekend and have some "me" time. That's why I'm dedicating Beyonce's "Me, Myself, and I" to me!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's Your Phobia?

OK. This post isn't as serious as the title may suggest. I know what you're thinking, but I'm not tackling that Other phobia today! I'm not interested in being an Afrafeminist or a critical race theorist at the present, so forget about phobias and other culturally-insensitive isms for a minute. Yesterday I went to get my hair done by my regular stylist. For anyone familiar with the culture of African American beauty salons, you just know to expect spending four plus hours in the salon per visit! Well, I had a six o'clock appointment and was still there at a quarter till ten when the even that I'm finna to described happened. While waiting to have my rollers taken out, a bunch of us ladies saw a raccoon peek in the window next to my stylist's station, a window that was open even though there was a thin screen!

The funny thing about this is that there was a ton of light in the salon and I thought raccoons primarily preferred the dark. Every time we'd shush him/her away, (s)he'd come back to peek in the window. It was very eerie; he kept staring at all of us! We assumed that (s)he was so comfortable with people because either someone was feeding him/her, or (s)he smelled food. Then, we saw a second raccoon who peeked in too, so there were two of em.

After all the screaming and OMGs calmed down we started to talk about the different phobias we have. My phobia is with birds. I just can't stand them. I've always been afraid of them since a child and still am. Don't know why but it's a phobia. My family thinks the phobia is silly, but my phobia doesn't compare to the one of my stylist's: She's afraid of clowns! Are you serious? Yes, clowns! After I left the salon, I told Mr. C. about her phobia. His response: "Is she afraid of Ronald McDonald?" I'll have to ask her at next week's appointment. A grown a** women scared of clowns... *shakes head.

I am interested in seeing what other people's phobias are. Can you beat clowns?

Monday, May 11, 2009

End of AY 2008-2009 Reflection: What's Next

Grades have been submitted, data have been collected and analyzed for the most part, now what? This will be the first time that I haven't officially worked (at least for employment) since entering the PhD program. The past couple of summers I've worked as a research assistant on particular projects collecting data for literacy-sponsored projects, developing curricular resources, co-authoring teacher guides, and editing first-year writing textbook readers. Now what?

The good news is that I technically don't have to work this summer in order to pay the bills, thanks to a King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship (a fellowship offered to graduate students across Michigan's public universities). Not having to work officially gives me lots of time to work on the dissertation (something I plan to do all summer long) and prepare job materials, dossier, etc. for next year's market. So far I've drafted several chapters and hope to spend this summer doing major revisions. That's actually a good thing.

What concerns me is the fact that I don't have an official schedule with anywhere to be (other than a few meetings to collaborate on articles already in the pipeline). In fact, I don't have to leave the house to write, something I actually prefer doing. During my first two years, I had to physically be on campus and in my office in order to work because I felt there were too many distractions at home. There's a fridge with good food in it. A television with soap operas to watch. Laundry to fold. etc. etc. But during my third year I noticed this big shift: I actually get way more work done at home and can't bring myself to work in the prison-like concrete walls of my campus office. Just can't do it. I'm not quite sure why or how this shift took place, but it did. The other odd thing is that I can't work in my office in home either! Mr. C now occupies that office and gets quite a bit of work done in there managing our church's website. He loves it. As for me, there's a particular spot on the end of our couch in my living where I have to work. If I'm sorting through data, which as a teacher-researcher usually consists of student documents, I just use the coffee table. Don't know why, but it works.

Anyway, I digressed a bit. The larger point is that I'm happy to be on fellowship with more time to devote to writing, but I'm clearly not going to write for the twelve plus hours a day that I'd be home. I need a hobby (besides baking and cooking, of which, I'm sure I'll do plenty!) so I don't drive myself crazy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

OSF: My Favorite Soul Train Performance

Here are a few of my favorite Soul Train Flashbacks (even though I wasn't born yet--LOL!):

Al Green's "Take Me to the River":

Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You":

The Isley Brothers' "That Lady ~ Live it Up":

Friday, May 1, 2009

OSF: BBQ Music

Oh I love this topic. It reminds me of the summer holidays when my dad puts a playlist on his computer while we barbeque. It'll be interesting to see what he picks this week, but I gotta go with a few favorites of my own bbq music:

Earth, Wind and Fire's "September":

The Isley Brothers' "Coolin' Me Out":

Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bad News in Higher Ed: No Surprise Here

More bad news and commentary on higher ed matters from the New York Times OP-Ed column and MLA Report on the status of women in the profession. Why did I even bother coming to the academy in the first place? I'll leave it to you to read the report, but I will say this: Because neither source considers the ways in which the economic crisis, tenure promotion, status of faculty, etc. specifically impact writing specialists, I wonder selfishly to what extent all this bad stuff will affect moi. While it is clear that rhet/comp specialists have been significantly affected by hiring freezes and less than ideal job circumstances because of the economy (trust me in knowing that they have!), since writing is one of the only courses that nearly every undergrad in the university is required to take, I wonder if rhet/comp has been less affected in comparison to other disciplines in the humanities like literature or religion. I mean, I wouldn't suppose that there'd be a huge demand to teach medieval lit or western and modern religion--not that there's anything wrong with people who specialize in those sets of knowledge. I'm just saying that I could understand the logic in cutting faculty in some disciplines in the humanities, especially if enrollment in those types of courses is down; I ain't saying that these cuts are fair and should happen more in the humanities than in the other sciences or rhet/comp for that matter. Nonetheless, I still hope that I'll a) get a job when I go on the market next year since I'm a writing specialist, and b) if I do get a job, I won't have to sacrifice family too much as a woman... *sigh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

OSF: This Song Never Should Have Been Made

I gotta go with Eddie Murphy's "Party all the Time." Sorry, Seriously, how did he even get a record deal? (Sorry Rick James; RIP. But this is foolishness!)

Treats to Myself for Working Hard on the Dissertation

I've gotten a ton of writing done the past couple weeks and worked through tons of data. As a pat on the back, I've been making fun desserts this past couple of weeks. Last week, I made a yummy limeade pie and yesterday I made orange French cream cookies with orange zest icing. Mommy and Revvy, I'm bring samples of the cookies home today for y'all to try. :-) For all others, see the photos! LOL!

PS: Mommy, I plan on coming home to visit for a brief break the week of May 11th. Please fry me up some of your famous chicken wings and make a tuna noodle casserole when I visit. I will repay you with my undying love :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

OSF: Blogger's Choice

Mr. C and I were talking a couple days ago about how the cartoons of today are quite different from the ones of our childhoods. It seems that today's cartoons seem too real and lack the fantasy aspects necessary for being a child. So, for this week's OSF theme, I chose a few cartoon theme songs. I wanted to focus on cartoon songs because I think it's important--at least for a moment--to forget about all the problems, worries, and stresses of life's demands. Sometimes, we just gotta have fun and laugh!


Alvin and the Chipmunks:

Punky Brewster:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Benefits and Limitations of Cooking Healthy

This year I decided to try a bunch of homemade healthy recipes and have blogged about the process of cooking and eating healthy off and on. Monday I tried a limeade pie and substituted fat-free condensed milk for regular and used a reduced-fat graham cracker crust. I swear, you couldn't tell the difference. Mr. Clark never noticed; that pie was da bomb. There's just enough for one more serving tonight. Then the pie's history!

Tuesday, I baked homemade whole wheat banana bread with yogurt and an omega soy and canola oil blend. I got the recipe from Denise Austin, and it wasn't bad. While the texture and flavor were really good (I CAN bake!), it would have tasted better had I used more sugar, white flour and butter. Done my way, I know it would have tasted even better. Oh Well.

Yesterday I tried a heart healthy shrimp gumbo recipe, and used low sodium chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, thyme, and other low sodium/sodium free herbs and seasonings. The recipe only called for a teaspoon of salt for a large pot, so I knew that the gumbo may potentially be bland. Although the gumbo was good, and while the flavors were good, it could have definitely benefited from more salt, so Mr. Clark and I sprinkled just a lil' bit (approx. less than an eight of a teaspoon)in our bowls with rice. If I were to do this recipe again, though, I'd use another can of dice tomatoes and a little bit of tomato sauce to give it more flavor, and at the very least, an nicer and redder color. Still good though.

I think I'll keep each of these recipes around though, especially the pie since you couldn't really tell the difference. With the others, although you could tell the difference, if you weight the benefits associated with eating healthy, you can sacrifice a little bit of extra flavor.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Note to Mommy

These weekend, I told mom about my plans to cook and try new recipes for the upcoming week. I mentioned several recipes that I wanted to try: A shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice with smoked turkey, a limeade pie (which I made today... Yum!), a pasta crab casserole that I'd made a few times, candied sweet potatoes with crushed pineapple (seriously, all that butter is NOT necessary!),orange and whiskey French cream cookies (I made them once and loved them, but lost the recipe and finally found it) etc., etc. My mom's response? She asked why the rest of the family never gets to taste these creations. My response: A) I'm tired on the weekend and am never in one place long enough to cook anything, and B) I want to perfect the recipes at home first before I take them out in public. My mom's response? She told me to bring it to her and if it ain't right, she'd tell me how to perfect it!

So here's my proposition to Mom: The next time you come up to visit me, instead of going out to try our local restaurants, I'll cook one of these creations for you. The agreement is that you'll come up and visit to get these creations. As a compromise, I'll wait until close to the weekend to bake the orange and whiskey French cream cookies and bring some to you when I come in town for the weekend. Do we have a deal? :-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

OSF: If Mamma Only New

Before I introduce this song/theme, let me preface this post: I really didn't listen to any music that Mamma didn't approve of (maybe stuff the dad didn't approve of, but certainly not Mamma! LOL!), so I posted a song that, had I snuck and listened to it while Mamma was gone, and had she found out, my ___ would be grass! LOL!

Anyone remember 2 Live Crew's "Shake A Lil' Somethin'"? I definitely wouldn't have been allowed to listen to this one, or even watch the video! Look at all dat booty shakin'! Me and Mr. C. were just talking a couple of days ago about how when we were kids there used to be what we called kids' rap with kids' issues (like Kris Kross' "I Missed the Bus," Another Bad Creation's "At the Playground," Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand," etc.) Whatever happened to kids' rap? Anyhow, I digress. Here's the cut:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where Can I Get These (Locally)?

There's this lady at my church who always has these candies, and gives me a bunch on Sunday to take with me during the week. Well, I'm out (it's only Wednesday) and want some more right now! Every time I ask her where she gets them, she just says it's from some corner store. At this point, after asking her hundreds of times, I think she's deliberately keeping her location secret.

I've been looking all over for these, but I can't find them in either the MSU area (where I go to school), or where I go to church in Toledo, OH. I found them on ebay, but $5.50 a bag plus 3 bucks in shipping, seems kinda steep for this lil' bag here. Anyone know where to get these for cheap and with decent shipping? (I know, I'm pinching pennies and tryin' to make a dollar holla right now! LOL!)

Friday, April 3, 2009

OSF: If I were I boy

Obviously I'm not a boy, but if I were a boy and if I were a hip hop artist, I'd have a trusty female sidekick in my song, and we'd both be rulin' the world. Like the saying goes, behind every good man is a strong women. So, I picked "If I Ruled the World" by Nas featuring Lauren Hill. Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

OSF: "Had A Long Day At Work?"

The theme this week is ... well read the title! Basically, what songs do you listen to when you've worked all day, the house is a mess, you need to cook but really don't feel like it, and you just wanna relax? Even though I wasn't old enough to work when this song came out (1993), I really think it's a good anthem to play when you dog tired! LOL! I chose "Just Kickin It" by Xcape. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Struggle with (Afra)Feminism

Several of you have asked about the status of my dissertation (since you've asked, the dissertation process is going well. I've drafted three chapters, and plan to draft much more. These chapters are still rough, but nonetheless, they are drafted). Originally, I created this blog to reflect on that process; however, the blog developed more as a reflection on life (the academy, teaching, food, family, friends, etc. etc.) more broadly. This happened for several reasons.

First, the dissertation process is so grueling and tiring that I haven't really had much energy to reflect on what I've written; the only energy I've had quite frankly is to write the darn thing! I may plan to reflect a bit more on this progress once it's over, but not as much now.

Second, the scope of the dissertation has changed, not dramatically, but significantly. I am no longer devoting a chapter to the study of Black women's linguistic and rhetorical practices, and thus, am not really focusing on Afrafeminism anymore. The reason for this is not because I no longer see myself as an Afrafeminist scholar (I *think I still am), but because doing a teacher-research dissertation on Black women's practices, Black students' practices, and all students' writing practices in an Afracentric designed curriculum is way too much.

Further, I haven't developed a valid or sufficient response for focusing exclusively on Black women and not Black men. (Afra)feminist ideologies seem to suggest that devoting women their own space is ethical, and perhaps, it's sexist to be forced to justify and explain the exclusion of men. That may in part be true. But, when doing research using social science methods, as a researcher, I have to admit that I have a sampling problem (even with qualitative methods). The study would be valid if I ONLY focused on black women. But the study doesn't do that: If I'm focusing on different samples of one population of students in one classroom, as a researcher, I need to account for each of those samples in some meaningful way.

Focusing on Black women, Blacks in general, and all students also creates a sampling problem because when focusing on Black women, how do I compare their practices if I don't focus on Black men? If one of my original research questions concerned what common linguistic and rhetorical practices that Black women share, I can't answer that question (at least sufficiently and in the way I want to) without comparing them to the practices of Black men in some way. In other words, how do I know that Black women's practices are/aren't reflected by a racialized or gendered discourse? I don't without addressing the brothas somehow.

Some might still argue that I don't really need African American women to make an Afrafeminist argument, since I can still draw on Afrafeminist methods (including devotion to careful analysis, commitment to ethical obligations, inclusion/collaboration/participation from participants, etc.; also see Jacqueline Jones Royster's Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change Among African American Women for a complete list of these methods). But even when using these methods, combined with Afracentric pedagogies and methodologies, I believe the focus is still too large. At this point in the game, I'm less interested in complexity and making some groundbreaking contribution to rhetoric and composition. In a dissertation space, that just ain't gon' happen! I'm more interested in a neat and tidy study on one classroom, using one curriculum, using a few methods, etc. That way, at least the study will make sense.

I'm okay with leaving behind Afrafeminism for now. After all, I have the rest of my career to devote to it if I'm still passionate about this area of scholarship. And, later on this year, I'll have an article published in Composition Forum that discusses using an Afrafeminist lens as a pedagogy in graduate level rhetoric and compositon special topics courses. So, it's still a part of my disciplinary identity.

I'm also still grappling with my understanding of its application in my life beyond the academy. See, I just read Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man (I loved it BTW!!), and have realized that as independent Black women (and Afrafeminists) we have to be careful alienating men. Now, if as an independent Black woman, you're fine being without a heterosexual partner, then this obviously doesn't apply to you, and I applaud your indendependence. But, if you're not, then as Steve Harvey writes, men will feel that if you've got everything covered, there's no need for them, and you'll therefore find yourself independent and alone. As an Afrafeminist, surprisingly, I wasn't offended by this comment. I really don't find anything wrong with recognizing the need for your partner/spouse, a need that should also be reciprocated by your partner/spouse, certainly. Afterall, while us Afrafeminsts may do all of these wonderful, exceptionally smart, and independent things, can't we also acknowledge the support that our spouses give as we continue to do such work? At this point in my life, I don't mind admitting that I need my husband's support (especially as I dissertate! LOL!), and that he needs me too. Isn't that what a strong relationship is supposed to be about?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

'Mommy, Is that cake organic?': Children Leading by Example

All week Mr. C and I have been traveling back and forth to Detroit to see relatives in town for my father in-law's homegoing celebration. I was particularly fascinated and impressed with the eating habits of my nieces and nephews, many of which, I just met for the first time last week. It was so interested to observe how they'd crawl in me and Mr. C's laps and grip us tight with hugs and kisses, even though we'd just met them; somehow, when we arrived, they just knew we were family! Such adorable little ones. I could've taken them all back home with me and they just might have came.

Anyway, back to their food habits. Last Monday, when we had dinner with them at Olive Garden, it was interesting to see how they were more interested in their salad than the dessert I shared with them. And that dessert was the bomb too! They have this new Zeppoli, which are doughnut-like bites but much lighter and crispier. They kinda remind you of elephant ears! The bites come with a chocolate dipping sauce that's to die for! But the kids took a couple bites and sat it down. They liked the salad more.

When it came time to leave the restaurant the waitresses passed out those mint chocolate candies which are also my favorite. Kam, the four year old, took one bite and exclaimed that she didn't like the candy. Her mother (my sister in-law) said she doesn't eat too much candy. As we were leaving the restaurant, my sister in-law told Kam that next time we visited, Auntie S (me) would teach her how to bake. I then told her that we could bake all kinds of cookies together. Her response: "I don't like cookies." My reply: "Good for you!"

At the repass after the homegoing service I also noticed how much all my nieces and nephews love their veggies! J (the six year old) ate his large salad, plus the chicken, plus the mixed veggies on his plate! What kid likes mixed veggies? Sam (the three year old) put good dents in both of her veggies as well. That girl can clean a chicken bone like nobody's business too! Both finished the veggies before eating the butter cake. They kinda put me to shame, considering that I couldn't finish all my veggies (I didn't finish all my starch or meat either though). I do have to be careful with veggies because a couple years ago I overdosed on green veggies after eating 6 or 7 servings of them in one day! My limbs formed gas pockets so severe I could barely stand or walk. My skin turned green too!

Back to the repass. At dessert time, Kam (the spokesperson of the group) leaned over to ask her mother, "Mommy, is this cake organic?" That tripped me out. I laughed so hard! I couldn't believe a four year old would be so health conscious and into organic food.

This all goes to show you how kids can set examples for us stubborn adults. It's not that I don't eat healthy; I always make a green veggie after every meal, don't fry, and eat fresh fruits, lean proteins (no beef or pork), have dessert in moderation, etc. But, my nieces and nephews taught me that I can always do better with our choices.

Friday, March 20, 2009

OSF: Songs with Baby in the Title

Anyone remember "Baby I'm Yours" by Shai? That was a cool joint back in the day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reflections on the Annual CCCC Convention

For those of you disciplinary folk who read my blog, y'all know it's that time of year when rhetoric and composition (and a few education, linguistics, and communication) folk flock to the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention (our field's premier conference) to give academic talks, act like academic/intellectuals, hear ourselves gab just for the heck of it, perpetrate like we gots credentials and a desk job, and stuff. This year the convention was in San Francisco and the weather, while sunny, was a bit chilly. The convention ends tomorrow (I do plan on attending a few final sessions), but I would like to reflect on the highs, lows, and iffys from this years conference:

The Highs:
The food! We had some pretty good Thai food, excellent ice cream from Gelatos, croissant french toast from the Mason Cafe, and the food court in the mall is serious! They even sell wine in the food court (no, I didn't have any!) and really good guacamole and chips. It's not your typical food court with a Subway, Taco Bell and some random pizza place.

The mall! Less than a 5 minute walk from our hotel was a Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and a host of other fabulous stores. Too bad I didn't have much cash, but I did manage to buy a couple of things from Macys and H&M, which I could afford! *smile

An excellent panel! I was the respondent on a Student's Right to Their Own Language (SRTOL) panel with several first-time presenters. Their work was exceptional and each added complexity to the yes/no debate for using home language varieties in classroom spaces. Kudos to Bonnie, Latoya, and Crystal!

The Lows:
The lack of collegiality during our panel. While I understand that critique is a part of academe, some folk overdo it just to hear themselves talk, even when they have nothing meaningful to say. Others do it as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement. I found both to be the case at our panel. Let me remind you that we had first-time presenters, and one particular scholar (a Black one at that!) corrected one of our panelists for conflating some terminology (in his opinion, I'm not quite sure that this was in fact the case). Not that he didn't have the right to make this criticism; however, this issue did not need to be addressed publicly. And, he misinterpreted something I said in my response, thus, prompting me to reread verbatim what I actually said to put him in check. I find especially problematic when men (including men of color) go after women of color (which all of us on the panel were), and especially graduate students. So much for community solidarity.

The Iffys:
I went to the annual CCCC Scholars for the Dream Award Reception (an award I won last year--hee hee) to support new award recipients. For those less familiar, this award recognizes a first time presenter of an historically underrepresented group whose research the committee believes will make significant contributions to the field. At the reception, they did things a bit differently. This year, they had each award winner display a poster of their scholarship in a poster session. I guess the idea behind this, was to get people to walk around like a science fair and engage their work. I see the value of encouraging folk to actually engage recipients' research. After all, not a single person asked me last year when I won about my research and scholarship at the reception. But I'm not sure about using the poster session to engage the dream scholars' work. First of all, the recipients had to stay with their posters and couldn't really mingle themselves. Second, this forced dream recipients to prepare two presentations for one paper: a poster and the conference paper they still had to give; isn't that quite a bit of work? Finally, the idea of putting folk of color on display for public viewing just don't sit right with me. I have mixed feelings about this addition.

There you have it. That's CCCC 2009.

Friday, March 6, 2009

OSF: Songs with"Heart" in the Title

I'm trying to pick a familiar song but one that people won't necessarily think of posting. Anyone remember "If Your Heart Isn't in It" by Atlantic Starr? Me and a buddy were just talking about this group yesterday and how corny they were, but how we still liked their music. Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

OSF: Sophomore Year


Here are some of the songs I remember listening to my sophomore year in high school. Music was quite good in 1997-1998

Janet Jackson: "We go Deep"

Joe: "Don't Wanna Be a Player No More"

Toni Braxton: "Unbreak My Heart"

KC and Jo Jo: "All My Life"

Friday, February 20, 2009

OSF: The Jacksons

I'm sure lots of people will probably pick a Jackson 5 ballad, but I gotta go with The Jacksons: "Can You Feel It". Me and Mr. C. were just talkin' about this song the other day too. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Life is Grand Award

Revvy Rev at Certain Sound passed the Life Is Grand award to me and I am most appreciative. Through his blogging, he provides invaluable insight on social justice and its relationship to the responsibilities of the African American Church. The rules require me to list 5 reasons why life is grand and pass this on to 5 other bloggers. I always try to be obedient and so Life is grand because:
1. God has been good to me in spite of my faults and failures
2. God has and continues to protect me from hurt, harm and danger.

3. I have a loving and supportive husband who supports me in all my endeavors.
4. I have two loving parents who nurture me and provide tough love when I need it.

5. Every day is a day of Thanksgiving and when I count my blessings, I quickly run out of fingers and toes.

I pass this award on to the following:

1) Regina's Family Seasons for supporting and following my blog
2) The Active Voice for continuing to provide counsel and advice when I need it.

3) Sojourner's Place for providing insight and inspiration when I need it
4) Miles Per Hour for checking out my blog and making me laugh.
5) Hagar's Daughters for providing intellectual insight that keeps me on my toes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Wonder Fast Food Makes Americans FAT!

OK, I'm a bit cranky after a long frustrating day teaching with technology. Apparently, the projector that I hook my laptop up to when I teach wouldn't read my computer signal, so students couldn't see course notes, websites, etc. We were analyzing African American rhetorical and linguistic practices in digital environments while also providing digital rhetorical and visual rhetorical analyses of these sites; hence, we needed a working screen to view these sites together. And just when you were about to ask, I DID have a plan B. I uploaded the notes to Angel (our institution's equivalent to blackboard), since nearly every student carries a laptop to class (and the ones without them always partner up with a buddy who has one). So this didn't alter class too much.

The problem came when the IT people attempted to troubleshoot and fix the projector. As I was trying to carry on with class discussion while IT worked to fix the problem, the IT lady kept interrupting me and asking me to do something to my computer to see if the problem had been fixed. After several interruptions, I finally said forget it, and that we could carry on with class without the projector. She said OK, but returned twice more with different equipment, each time asking me to do something different with my computer. As my students giggled wondering how I was gonna handle her, I finally said politely that this was taking up too much time and that I really needed to get on with class. As soon as I said this, the projector started working. Hmmph.

Anyway, you're probably wondering what the relationship is between the IT story and fast food. Well, there is one. After a frustrating class period, I went to McDonald's to get fast food. Although I'm not much of a junk foodie and don't eat hamburgers at all, I really wanted some fries. And not to feel too guilty, I ordered a 4 piece chicken nugget Happy Meal, so that I could enjoy the junk in smaller portions. I was actually surprised at how few calories those things have. The whole meal was only 420 calories (230 for the fries, 190 for the nuggets, I gave soda away to Mr. Clark and drank water). Plus, the fries don't have any trans fats or cholesterol. Now, I'm not saying that I ate a healthy meal, but at least I won't have to pay too dearly for it.

Although the meal hit the spot, I have to admit that roughly two hours later I'm VERY hungry again. I don't think it's because I didn't get enough to eat with the Happy Meal (I always portion control things). But, because fast food is empty calories. And I think this is why Americans are overweight: We rely on fast food, and then like an hour later, we're hungry and have to eat again. I'm off to get a fiber granola bar and fruit. Hopefully that'll hold me out until dinner time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

OSF: Blues/Songs of Pain

Um, the blues was a lil' bit before my time, y'all. In fact, my only relationship with the blues was on Saturdays when a former beautician would play it on the radio in her salon (and ol' skool women would be gettin' all hot and squirmish in their seats. All little much for me). All those sexually explicit lyrics. I remember telling my mom once how in the world y'all generation can hate on hip hop. Some of the blues was pretty graphic too. (I'm not really interested in debating which genre is most vulgar; they both have their share of sexually explicit lyrics is all I'm sayin'). But I digress. I can respect the blues though. I chose Bill Withers's "Ain't No Sunshine" because I like the song, even though it's a bit too sad for me. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cooking Hobbies that Ward Off the Perils of Dissertating

A month ago, I had dinner with a couple of friends and wrote about my skepticism of ho
me-prepared dinner dates (particularly those when I don't know whether or not the person can actually cook!). I later wrote about how good that really dinner was! Last week, the hostess finally sent me the recipe to her stuffed chicken cordon bleu and I tried it yesterday. I made it with a tossed salad, but when it was served to me, it was served with asparagus. Pix are above.

I actually thought it came out quite well. Mr. C enjoyed it and said that he liked my version better (I added a lil' extra seasoning with onion powder, paprika, and lemon pepper seasoning to give it an extra zest.) I'm starting to go back to my hobbies of cooking and baking again. Last year I didn't cook as much as I wanted and often relied on Mr. C's decadent version of tuna helper (he makes a MEAN helper!!) Now, cooking seems like a good outlet and break from dissertation, and all the grading I have to do right now. We'll see how long it lasts...

Friday, February 6, 2009

OSF: New Edition/New Edition Members' Songs

I wasn't a huge fan of New Edition, I must admit. But I still love "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown. I even have a friend who still has this song as the ring tone (not when her phone rings, but when you call her!). This song takes me way back. And did ya know that Mr. Brown gon' be a baby daddy again?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things that Happened Today

1) I wrote and coded dissertation data. It made my tummy hurt after I was done.

2) I watched women flirt with Mr. C (the spouse).

3) I watched my CBS Soaps and can't wait for them to resolve that whole Kathryn Chancellor mistaken identity story. Seriously, it's really getting old!

4) I got frustrated when I had to pay $6.99 for a big tub of cayenne pepper (when I only needed a couple of teaspoons). Apparently, that's all the cayenne Kroger has.

5) I had to pay top $$ for crab meat b/c apparently, Kroger doesn't have imitation crab meat.

6) I just fell on my a** when I slid on some ice trying to bring the groceries in. Fortunately, Mr. C helped me up. I do have a swollen wrist and skinned knee though. (Did I mention that for the past four or so years I've fallen on ice each winter?)

C'est la vie.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dissertation Heartburn?

Can dissertating really induce heartburn? Just wondering--I thought I'd ask for a very close friend who happens to be dissertating madly right now (why would you think that I'm referring to myself? No really, a good friend. LOL!). Note to self friend: Coding data and writing chapters are extremely hard to do on a Monday morning after teaching/after staying up watching the Superbowl.

Friday, January 30, 2009

OSF: Original vs. Remake

I almost never like the remake versions of original songs. But, I picked a couple of remakes that I thought took a good stab at the original. I still like the originals better on all of these except my Luther Vandross pick (I mean, did you really think I was gonna pick the Carpenters? Seriously):

1) The Jackson 5 vs. Mariah Carey's "I'll Be There"

2) The Carpenters vs. Luther Vandross vs: "Superstar"; "Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me"

3) Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force vs. Allure: "All Cried Out"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No, Not Girl Scout Cookies Too!

This is an absolute shame. Because of the economy, the Girl Scouts of America are putting 2-4 less cookies in boxes. These include thin mints, short breads, peanut butters, and other cookies. And, they're making those lemon sandwich cookies smaller. The organization says, "Our bakers cannot continue to absorb these rising costs." Had I known that this was going to happen, I would have ordered extra boxes to make up for the fewer cookies. This is so not right. President Obama needs to hold a press conference over this. Seriously.

Friday, January 23, 2009

OSF: Too Hot for Radio

OK, this one was hard considering we weren't aloud to listen to nasty music growing up--my dad is a preacher (although I'm now beginning to question my lack of access since Regina's Family Seasons chose Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me", and me and my sister had the single!) So I included Madonna's "Justify My Love" because the media made a big deal over it when I was a child and MTV wouldn't show it during the day. (I wanted to use Janet Jackson's "Would You Mind" off her All for You album but that was released after 1999.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dating Again

No, Mr. C and I are not getting a divorce so don't even come at me with no tabloid rumors. What had happened was we decided to go out on a date and try a restaurant we hadn't tried before because, well let me put it bluntly: Grad students don't date once becoming grad students, especially married ones. Plus, I thought I deserved a treat for coding dissertation data, so we went on a date. I kinda felt guilty at first considering that we still had leftovers from last night's dinner in the fridge, but who says we can't still have them for lunch tomorrow?

Anyway, back to this restaurant. We tried P.F. Chang's China Bistro and if I were to write a review for it, I'd definitely recommend it. The food is quite good. It's a little more upscale than your average Chinese restaurant, but there's really not that much of a difference in price (unless you order a New York strip steak). I ordered sweet and sour chicken for about 12 bucks.

The restaurant's strengths lie in their sauce options. They give you a well-seasoned soy sauce that if too sweet you can add white vinegar too, and if too tart, a reddish sauce (don't know what it's called). That's a big step up from the soy sauce packets.

The fried crab wontons were perfectly crispy too--not too soggy. They came with a sweet and sour spicey sauce, but if you don't like sweet and sour (like Mr. C.), you can always use the seasoned soy sauce. They also came with this cucumber and carrot garnish tossed in a red wine vinegar-like dressing. Quite good too. The only downside with this dish was that I couldn't tell you if there was crab in it--let alone, imitation crab. The stuffing was filled mostly with cheese. Still good though.

We took our desserts home to go. Mr. C. had New York Cheesecake (which if he doesn't hurry up and eat it, I might sneak a piece; see my reason in the next sentence), and I had the mini smores treat. Delicious, but I honestly could have had a larger serving. They do have bigger desserts there as well; I just figured that I'd be too stuffed for anything large.

While this place has your fried rices, wonton soups, sweet and sour chickens, etc., again, like I said earlier, it ain't your typical Chinese joint. If you're looking for super duper sized portions, you're best going where you've been going for Chinese. The portions are just right IMO though. You won't necessarily have leftovers, but you'll be satisfied. But if you're looking for quality over quantity, then this is the place to go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

OSF: Favorite TV Show Theme Songs

Okay, I was a silly kid and actually thought that Steven and Elyse Keaton sang the theme song (written by Jeff Barry and Tom Scott) to Family Ties' "Without Us". It wasn't until I was nearly a teenager when I found out that Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams sang the song. Nonetheless, this has always been one of my favorites because the melody and harmonies are so soothing. Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

About that Dinner this Weekend

The dinner date I had this weekend was yummy btw. I plan on swapping that chicken recipe!

The Fruits of My Labor May Not be In Vain (Yet)

I just taught my first day for the spring 2009 semester, and have quite engaged and fascinating students. They're already asking questions about "code-switching" and even know what the term means! Well, when I walked into the classroom an African American female student nearly cheered and fell out of her chair with excitment and I hadn't even opened my mouth yet. After class she explained that this was the first time she'd had a black teacher and was really excited about the course and content (Ebonics, I assume). Go figure, considering that there ain't many of us in the academy, let alone, the humanities (rhet/comp).

This makes me feel like the fruits of my labor may not be in vain after all. And I feel this lady's excitement: I didn't have my first African American teacher until my senior year in college at the University of Michigan (probably because I was creative writing and literature major?), and had to take courses in the social sciences just to get one. And since then, I've only had 2 African American teachers in grad school, one being Dr. G (aka Geneva Smitherman). Considering that I study Ebonics, go figure again.

Sometimes it takes moments like this to reflect more critically on the work that we as academics are responsible for doing, the power we hold (professionally, authoritatively, affectively, etc.), and the ways in which we represent both our home communities and the academy at large. What exactly does it mean to be a Black professor/instructor and not just a writing teacher? What does it mean to be a Black professor teaching about African American cultural and communicative practices? Whose responsibility is it to introduce students to Other cultural practices? Is it mine alone as an African American women, or can someone else teach/include such practices too? Whose authority does it become? Mine alone? Someone else's?

Upon reflecting both critically and intellectually on the implications surround Black teachers, I must also reflect soberly and pragmatically. Doing so makes things seem even more and more bleak; however, I have to be realistic. The academy knows that there are few and fewer (bl)academics represented, despite superficial calls for, and statements on diversity. And of the (bl)academics in the academy, even fewer are represented in the humanities (don't have hard stats, but nonetheless find this so, considering the fact that most of my (bl)academic friends come from other disciplines). Consider the Computers of Writing Conference (a smaller conferences associated with rhetoric and composition) I attended in May 2007 (held in Detroit of all places!). Of the hundreds of computer geeks represented, there were 3 AAs present, I being one of them!

As I continue to represent the small number of Blacks in rhet/comp/English Studies (although some would argue that the Black Caucus is actually one of the largest special interest groups in the National Council for Teachers of English), I have to believe that my work as a (bl)academic will be of value at least to my students.

Friday, January 9, 2009

OSF: Songs from the Year I Graduated High School (2000)

Yeah I know I'm young, but don't hate because some of y'all graduate way back when in the 60's and 70's. My pick is Destiny's Child's "Jumpin', Jumpin'". This used to be my anthem even though I wasn't old enough or allowed to go to any clubs (not that I wanted to go and smell like beer and cigarette smoke anyway). Enjoy