home, sweet home

These days, flying anywhere is a BFD. It’s expensive as crap, airports are a nightmare, and more often than not, your flight will be delayed [if not canceled altogether]. Our flights to and from Rome did not disappoint in any one of those aspects. Indeed, eurofly [I refuse to link to them and recommend that you choose a different airline for your trip] kindly enhanced the experience with seemingly inept pilots and incredibly rude flight attendants. That’s right, it was full-service hellacious – only slightly better on the trip there than on the trip back here. I believe the rude flight attendants were the shining star of awfulness. I hesitate to assign racist labels to people for fear of being called “too sensitive”, but it stood out very glaringly to me (and my of-color travelmates) when I was skipped/overlooked for more than one beverage service trip. And no, I wasn’t asleep, my cup was empty, and I was actually even seeking eye contact with the folks. At one point I even lifted my empty cup.

I did finally get some water. But you know the deal with first impressions.

But as awful as eurofly is – that’s how awesome Rome was.

Standing in the middle of Circus Maximus – though original structures from 2600 yrs ago are no longer there – was awesome. In the actual awe-some meaning of the word.

And what can you really say about the Colosseum?

The Colosseum

Seeing the monuments and places I learned about in elementary school and Latin classes was everything I thought it would be. Our hotel was in a good location, and was fairly nice – certainly accommodating. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled with people who spoke with the front desk so often. For such varied reasons. [Everything from directions and night life suggestions to the shutting off of an accidentally triggered bathroom alarm (don’t ask), borrowing/receiving a plastic knife, and extending our checkout time by an hour.] We were actually really close to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, not to mention Pucci, Gucci, Cartier, La Perla, and Louis Vuitton. The location was really nice, considering how non-rich we are.

All-in-all, I had a great time. I saw my first opera ~ La Traviata. I actually climbed the 320 extra steps to the top of the cupola at St. Peter’s. (claustrophobic steps, according to the Rough Guide – and they are SO right) Walked in/around/through the Forum, baths, various monuments & museums…and completely and utterly exhausted myself by the time it was time to come home.

Being away so long was excellent, and though I’m tired [which could just be from lack of sleep here], I’m glad for it all. What a great time!

Oh, and none of us were robbed. Or pickpocketed. In fact, at one point, I had a euro bill in my back pocket, and it started popping out, an a lady spoke to me in frustrated and loud Italian to get me to get the money. We were never swarmed by sneaky children and no one threw a baby at us. Good times.

highs & lows

My mind has been racing for days.

Work has been stressful – not just from dealing with my boss and never knowing how the moods were gonna be, but cuz I’ve been working on this project for months and I can’t seem to get a reliable method developed to test this new supplier’s sample.  (There’s got to be something in the sample matrix that is interfering with the Fe analysis by AA, because standards and current supplier samples all run fine.  But that’s all chemistry talk, and I really don’t want to talk about it on my downtime…)  So, there’s been all of that, and the fact that I forgot about one thing that I needed to get trained on before my review in June [can you believe it’s almost June?].  Thankfully, I got the training this week, and when I get back, I should be able to do a little bit more with that, if need be.

Ahhh…did you note that I said “when I get back”?  That’s right, my long overdue vacation begins this weekend.  I’m so excited to be going to NYC again, and from there to Italy for a week.  I’m finally going to see Wicked.  I know it’s been playing for years, now, but hey – I don’t have the NYC hookup I once did.  I’ve been pretty lax in my Rome research though, and I still have some reading to do in my guidebook.  Gotta say though, the Rough Guides are the best.  (I got some other kind of guide when we went to London and it was horrible.  Rough Guides are written to be read and used.  The maps are more useful, and the books are generally more tailored to what I want to know about the places that I’m going.  The one I got for Paris was awesome!)

Anyway, back to Rome.  I’m taking some pennies to throw into the Trevi fountain – cuz I wanna go back, but there’s no way I’m throwing a freakin’ euro in there.  I don’t even wanna think about the exchange rate.

Not that I’m some kind of miser or anything – considering how I’ve used this trip as an excuse to go shopping for the last three weeks.  But hey, money’s for the spending, right?

So, I can’t wait.

I’ve been thinking about a lot of other stuff that I may write about later, but right now I’m on full vacation mode.

some people can’t say ‘boo’

You know, there are words that some people just can’t say.  Maybe this gets into one of those ‘authenticity’ discussions, but really, I feel like there are some things that certain folks can’t get away with.

As long as I can remember, my mother has not been able to say the word ‘cool’.  At least not with it coming out sounding cool.  It actually sounds forced and awful.  That’s just my mom.  She sound perfectly fine saying “neat”.  Not ‘cool’.

According to my sister, I sounds forced and awful when a Southern accent creeps into my speech.  This is strange, considering I’ve actually lived in the South longer than her.  But since she was born here and I wasn’t, I’ll take her word for it.

And David Archuleta sounds forced and awful when he sang ‘With You’ by Chris Brown.  Extremely, terribly, unredeemably forced and awful.

This night of Idol, more than any other this season, reinforces the cold, hard truth.  This is the season of Idol where mediocrity took control.  The three contestants left this evening: David A, Syesha, and David C – they all did…just ok.

Actually, I think David C did the worst (having the worst song choices), and that’s unfortunate.  I feel as though the three of them are fairly evenly matched, and the songs chosen for them should have also been evenly matched.  But then, perhaps, David C should’ve risen to the challenge to arrange his pieces more creatively and tailored them more for his own voice and style [in which case he would’ve been held to a higher standard than the other two contestants – also not being fair.]

Ack.

So I’m voting for Syesha, cuz I like her the best, and I actually think she’s a better all around performer.  (crossing my fingers)

Wright then

A few weeks ago I was in a discussion about Rev. Wright’s comments.  The “God damn America” (GDA) ones – not the most recent ones from his round robin of media appearances.  This was in the framework of whether religious leaders should be politically involved, and whether they should be held accountable to the more general public for what they say in the pulpit.

Talk of Pfleger’s response/rebuttal to a Fox News person drew the conversation in the direction of how more people should stand up to talk about what the real essence of the GDA phrase was.  The fact that America has imposed incredible cruelty on her own citizens, as well as citizens of the world is no great mystery.  The concept of ‘manifest destiny’ is not strange to any school child.  And upon reaching adulthood, it would behoove us all to think more critically about the slant with which we learned our own history.

The reality of ‘chickens coming home to roost’ was eventually met with a begrudging understanding.  It’s not something we like to admit about ourselves – being the best country in the world, and all – but it is truth.

So what more beef can we bring up about Wright, then?  Ahh…his comment about the US government being involved in disseminating HIV in the black community.

One person was adamant that because this conspiracy theory is factually wrong, it was the most (if not only) egregious section of the speech.  Spouting a conspiracy theory, in effect, negates whatever other parts of the sermon might have been salvaged.

I brought up the fact that many people are more inclined to believe this theory [this is certainly not the first time I’ve heard it, or one of the variants], because of the history that America has with its brown populace.  In the not-so-distant past, the Tuskegee Experiment claimed the lives of unsuspecting black men.  And now, I’m reading about more instances that haven’t gotten quite the same coverage.

And yet, more people will use this as an excuse to disbelieve in the patriotism of brown people in America, than to ask how the debt that is owed might be paid.

Is anyone still wondering why Marvin wanted to holler and throw up his hands?

race & relationships

I went to spend this past wknd with my mother to celebrate her bday and Mother’s Day, since they’re so close together, and I don’t get to go over that way too often.

In the course of talking, we ended up talking about whether there really is a disconnect between black feminists and white feminists.  I told her about the recent flare-ups in the blogosphere, and some of the things that I’ve only begun to think about, in light of all the discussion.  Considering that there are differences in the stereotypes applied to black women and white women, certainly combating those stereotypes would take different tactics.

From that, we moved into talking about basic assumptions that we make about people.  [I’m not sure how that happened, but there was some sort of segue.]  That’s when she told me about something that happened at her job, when we lived in Hawaii (the 80s).

There was a woman who came in to her office to temp as a secretary for a while.  They chatted over some days, and eventually the woman saw pictures of me and my sister on my mother’s desk.

She asked, “Who are those young ladies?” (or something like that)

Mom replied that they [we] were her daughters.

The woman looked at her, and then said, “Oh, you adopted?”

Mom said, “No…they’re my biological children.”

Then the woman looked at mom with a seemingly new understanding, and before she could stop herself, said, “So, you’re one of those.”

Puzzled, a bit apprehensive, but curious, Mom asked.  “One of those what?”

“Oh, uh, you know.”

“No.  I don’t know.  What?”

You know.  Those people.”

No. I don’tWhat people?  Go ahead and say it.”

“Sluts.”

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I think Mom had told me about this once before, but at the time I didn’t really think about it.  Now, four days later, I’m still digesting.

The issues that come up with interracial relationships are myriad, and you could probably keep coming up with things all day.  Latoya P’s intro to a conversation about interracial relationships got me thinking about how things have changed since my parents got together.  What things are like now vs. what they were like 30 yrs ago.  And what things are/were like for interracial multiracial kids.

Anecdotes from multiracial kids and their parents could go on and on with incidents.  Cuz they have been happening for years, and they still are.  People still parrot the things they’ve heard.  Like:

The kids won’t know who they are.  They’ll be confused.  Or ridiculed.
The relationship can’t last, there’ll be too much adversity – the world isn’t ready to accept you.
Couldn’t you find anyone of your own race?/Oh you only like them now?

I don’t feel like going on.  But I could.  For some reason, there’s this drive for people to request a background history to legitimize the relationship.  As though there’s something unnatural about people with slightly different *physical* features getting together.  When, in reality, it’s been happening for thousands of years.  Yup.  (specifically for Bob Jones U.) it was happening in the Bible, too.

So, I’ll be keeping my eye on the discussion over at Racialicious, just cuz I think it might get know it will be interesting.  It already is.

when my words fail

When you tell me you can’t depend on your family.

When others keep saying we’ll end up married.

When I got my job.  When you got yours.

When you lost your job.  When I lost mine.

When we drifted so far apart I didn’t know what would happen to us.

When we had that one night of connection after so long.

When you’re the only person to understand me.

When you’ve completely closed me off because you’re hurting too much.

When I can’t begin to know your loss.

May my silence with you be enough.