Chittlin's and Chopsticks

Writer and mother, Terris McMahan Grimes, the Mother From Another Continent, an her friends share their slighty off kilter parenting views and their takes on a whole lot of other things.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Immortality is Yours for the Price of a House

No fair! Christmas is over and all I got was a stupid Chia Pet.

But you can make this middle-aged woman’s dream come true. All I wanted for Christmas was some real estate. Buy my dream house for me and I'll grant you immortality!

The address is 48 Parkshore Cir. Sacramento, CA 95831. It sits on Seymour Park which runs the length of the Greenhaven community. I’ve long had my eye on it as I jogged by (okay, walked really fast).

Take a tour. It’s a jewel.

Buy the house next door, too, and be my neighbor
You’ll love Sacramento. It’s a beautiful town wrapped in ribbons of rivers, second only to Paris for its amount of trees.

Buy this house for me and I’ll grant you immortality
I’ll write a book about you. Romance, mystery, gothic, or science fiction. Villian or hero. You choose. History awaits you. Sounds like a good trade to me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas at Our House

Click for more photos

Friday, December 22, 2006

Reparations Movement Wins Partial Victory

Art by Chuwuogo-Roy

Eugene Puryear writing for the Party of Socialism and Liberation paper reported that on December 13 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld fraud claims brought by African Americans against 15 major U.S. banks, insurers and transportation companies that concealed their slave trading histories from consumers.

In a 17-page opinion, Judge Richard Posner said that a company that hides its slave trading history because it is worried about losing customers is "guilty of fraud."

Despite clear evidence that modern American capitalism could not be what it is today without slavery, the court opined that descendents of slaves have no legal standing to receive compensation. The ruling said that because of the statute of limitations and the "weak" link between the plaintiffs and their slave descendents, the case was not valid.

But the fact that the court upheld the plaintiffs’ consumer fraud claim is a modest, yet important legal victory for the reparations movement. It may seem insignificant, but any legal acknowledgement of the massive debt to African Americans can only help the overall struggle for reparations and equality.

Hey, payoff my school loans, and those of my son and daughter, and I'll be happy.
You can forget about the mule, we already have a cat.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bacteria Made Me Fat

Drat That Bacteria!

See. It's just like I told you--bacteria made me fat. I ate the same fried chicken and peach cobbler my sister ate, but she's a little sprite of a something and I'm rather more substantial.

We need bacteria to convert stuff we eat into a useable form for our bodies. Scientist at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that fat people's stomachs have higher levels of the "hardest working bacteria in show business" than skinny people's stomachs. Fat folk's bacteria converts just about everything that hits our stomachs, including fruit cake, into enengy, and what is not used for energy it's stored as fat.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gorilla Blood and a Couple More Octaves

I always check my voice right after I’ve had a cold. I sing a little ditty to see if, miracle of miracles, the cold altered my vocal cords and left behind a singing voice.

I’m particularly hopeful when a cold develops into laryngitis. I’ve calculated that were I to lose my voice completely and then regain it (death and rebirth for you mythologist out there) I would stand to gain few more octaves.

It could happen. I watched enough movies during the fifties to know what is possible. In the fifties, you could make a paralyzed person walk simply by injecting a little gorilla blood into her arm. A convict’s transplanted hand could turn a law abiding citizen into a homicidal maniac. And don’t get me started on that reefer madness.

Come on cold season. I really want to sing. I’m ready to sing Summertime. Tell you what I’ll do—I’m going to sing a before and after song for you. Here’s the before:

Now, that wasn’t so bad. Fortunately for you and me I’ve found an online voice teacher. So, stay tuned. My throat’s feeling a little scratchy. Perhaps a cold is coming on. Who knows, 2007 just may be the year you see me on American Idol.



It’s a venerable custom, the practice of arranged marriage.
I’ve come to believe it is the only way go. Time’s a wasting. My little BAP is dragging her feet. I need me a son-in-law. Therefore, I have decided to arrange a marriage for my daughter.

They say if you want to know what the daughter will look like in twenty years take a gander at her mom. If you subscribe to that theory, you should keep in mind that while I’m exceedingly cute my daughter is downright beautiful. Given my scintillating repartee herein it’s obvious I’m intelligent, however my daughter is brilliant. But we’re trying to find a son-in-law here not a husband, so enough about her.

Prospective son-in-laws this is what I’m seeking. You must:
  • Love to lunch with middle aged women and insist on picking up the tab
  • Be a book nerd
  • Cook like Emeril and clean-up afterwards
  • Be kind, generous and caring
  • Lobby for the return of Arrested Development to network TV
  • Know Dave Chappelle personally and be willing to introduce us
  • Be astounded that I’m 58-years-old
  • Dance like Emmett Smith
  • Have a passion for the board game Taboo
  • Discover a cure for cancer

If you are a prospective son-in-law and believe you meet these qualifications, please send me a picture of your dad.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Forced into Retirement by Granny Panties

I told family and friends I wanted to focus on my writing career—and that is the truth.

I said I wanted to be home for my ten-year-old so I could do more hands on parenting—also the truth.

I told them the meager pension didn’t matter because I was going to have a string of bestsellers and become fantastically rich—also the truth.

However, I didn’t tell them the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say. I didn’t tell them about the granny panties.

There comes a time in a woman’s life when her undergarments morph from sexy to utilitarian, from Victoria’s Secret to “Oh my God, did you see that.” I came to that point a few months ago and I asked myself why I should bother? Life had lost the shiny, silky, part of its meaning. If I had to wear “orthopedic” panties I wouldn’t wear any at all.

There is a rule in State civil service that reads something like this:
Employees shall endeavor at all times, except in officially declared states of emergency, to keep their behinds fully covered. Failure to do so may result in corrective action.

So you see, I had to retire.

We writers have a saying--if you want to write you’ve got to “put ass in chair.” Mine is free and unfettered and in the chair daily around nine as soon as I get the Juju Monster off to school. I got rid of my 38DDDs, too. Now I write in a series of color coded teddies—Yes, Virginia, there is a Lane Bryant—red hot red for Mondays, fuchsia for Tuesdays, Lemon meringue for Wednesdays. You get the picture.

Writing has never been so much fun. And, for some strange reason, my love life has never been better.

Antioch, Oh How I Love Thee

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

I just returned from a ten day residency at Antioch University Los Angeles where I'm working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. The workshops were thick with creative pheromones. I left with a buzz. I love Antioch!

Last semester I worked with the glorious Alma Luz Villanueva. She was my spirit guide with a symbolic cattle prod in one hand and a beacon in the other. Alma helped me navigate the fictive dream, encouraged me to explore my third person voice, and read the latest draft of Bad Girls, a Theresa Galloway mystery.

Thank you, Alma.

Susan Taylor Chehak is my faculty mentor this semester. We'll be working on voice, point of view, and structure. We'll also finish editing Bad Girls and send it off to market.

I graduate December 2007, but it's never too early to start planning, therefore I've put together a "graduation registry" on Amazon.Com. Just click on the button below and be the first to buy the High Definition TV for me.

My Wish List

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tribute to a Lovely, Soulful Woman

Thank You

Bebe Moore Campbell died this week at her home in Los Angeles of complications of brain cancer. She was 56 years old.

I featured Bebe’s book, Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine (1992), in a chapter of my final dissertation on 20th Century Black American women writers.

According to an obituary in the Sacramento Bee, Campbell said she "wanted to put a face on racism." She called racism "a family problem." She certainly got personal in her narrative, sending the worst perpetrators straight to hell. I will always admire her for wielding her pen as an impaler and corrector. Those deserving got their just rewards, too.

Her book was a very satisfying read because it boldly revised the script of the centuries-old master narrative/history where whites, especially men, always got every thing & everybody. Imagine the slaves being free, taking over the plantations, owning them & running them well & thriving, having the power & skills to direct their own lives, to fulfill their own dreams.

All of that positive social and economic transformation was there metaphorically in the novel against the horrible backdrop of a young black boy's brutal, senseless killing by hateful people (like Emmett Till's murder in 1955 in Mississippi). I recall that my dissertation adviser didn't want Blues featured in my project. (Campbell was an unknown in our academic circle because she had never been on a syllabus that I knew of & her work had never been discussed in a seminar, to my knowledge). But it was my dss. & I prevailed in using Campbell's debut novel as the bottom slice of the bread in the sandwich I was making of black women's struggle to be writers, from slavery to the present & all my own grievances & triumphs as a black woman scholar/writer struggling to survive whole in higher academia & come out on the other side with terminal degree in hand. (bell hooks can tell you a tear-jerking story about this soul-numbing experience).

I loved Campbell's book "Singing in the Comeback Choir" (1998) for its celebration of female strength when faced with adversity from within--betrayal by her lover/husband. It was dime paperback lifted & dusted off, taken to the showers & dressed in Macy's finest. Best of all, it was black, intelligent, uplifting & relative to my own experience as a woman.

I love the way Campbell referred to the mother, aunt & grandmother who raised her in philadelphia as "the Bosoms." No stronger, more nurturing, comforting &loving support exists than maternal bosoms.

I never met Bebe Moore Campbell, I never heard her speak, but I felt a special writerly soul connection to her & I am saddened to be reading her obituary instead of a new insightful book by her. But isn't legacy wonderful? She is alive in the eternal fruits of her labor-- her writing-- & lives as long as we remember & honor her for her unique, artistic contribution to our lives and culture.

This lovely, soulful woman has left us a spiritual gift that keeps giving, stays beautiful & loves beyond the grave.

November 28, 2006

More blogs about mother from another continent.