WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, January 29, 2010

Won't You (Not) Be My Neighbor?

So once, because I’m ignorant, I casually mentioned to a single Black man who was living a life of shiftlessness, getting his hustle on, was an aspiring "rapper," and had a child by some random chick, that there will be a time when Black folk are more divided than we are now. That because of “values” and economics the chasm would widen. He looked at me perplexed. And then I pushed the ignorant meter over and said, “I’m just saying, I’m not going to want my child to play with your child.” Color him offended.

In my mind when I envision my future life, it involves being married with children. And raising those children in a certain manner. Not sheltering them from the world, but making sure they learn certain values, morals, etc. And I am a little fearful of what’s already happening in these here skreets. I work with "inner city" children and their parents on a regular basis – and um let’s just say we’re not on the same page when it comes to child rearing. And so I have decided that we, this would include me and my imaginary family, will live on a compound with other folks I love, trust and respect and their imaginary families.

Although my one friend who’s been invited to the compound said, “so that we don’t look like crazy people who wear long dresses, don’t put on make up and swap husbands, can we call it the cul-de-sac? A cul-de-sac of mini mansions?” Yes! So we shall all live in le cul-de-sac.

A place where while us ladies/mommies will stay flyy, we just might grow our own fruits and vegetables. We won’t go so far as home schooling our kids, but we will have Saturday School, followed by cookouts. Church and then old school, Big Mama’s house, Sunday dinners. Have guest houses for the grandparents. Take field trips into the city so our kids can get some culture. Watch, feed and discipline each other’s children. Take care of each other’s property when a family goes on vacation. Be a community. You know like we used to have back in the day. Before the white man’s welfare broke up the family. Before integration. Before the crack cocaine. When every Black woman had a huzband to herself. Huzzah!

My mother was blessed to have three sisters who lived in the area. So when she and my daddy were off doing their thang, we had built in babysitters – whom mama trusted. Cause she knew they would spank us if we did wrong. Would adhere to the bed time she had set. Feed us only what she deemed healthy. My one aunt watched us every Thursday night for like 10 years. In retrospect I think this was my parents’ date night. My brother and I didn’t notice because we were too busy watching the Cosby Show.

I only have one natural sibling, but I consider my good girlfriends family. My sisters. Or sistas depending on your black-o-meter. And I would find it totally awesome if we all lived in le cul-de-sac together. And raised our children together.

I mean I would love to be able to send my kids to Godmommy Amaretto’s house and know that it will be filled with dancing and laughter and that she’ll read my babies Bible stories. Have them spend the night with Mama Courvoisier where she’ll have them doing arts and crafts (cause mama Rum Punch is not artistically inclined) and then they’ll eat individual servings of mac & cheese that she baked in muffin pans. Send them to Aunt Bellini’s house where she’ll be playing 90’s jams and telling my kids about how she believed in a Black man from Hawaii long before Mama Rum Punch ever did. Leave them at Dark and Stormy’s house, where world music will fill the air, Bob Marley on a record player, and she’ll be breaking down the lyrics. Send them to Auntie Mint Julep’s where she’ll be keeping it RBG and telling my kids never, ever, ever step outside your own house if the police come to your door.

Ahhh yes, le cul-de-sac, a place where, we are family is not just a song, but a way of life. Where people got your back. Where everybody knows your name. Where we set the standards. And said standard is always excellence. So, favorite ladies in my life, I hope y’all are “looking” for y’alls husbands and stacking your pennies cause mama is on the hunt for some land. Hmmm…. And I guess a huzband of my own.

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

who dat said dey gon exploit them saints?

so my new city is all abuzz wit saints hysteria

there are at least 50 tribute songs and more being cranked out and over the airwaves every day.

lawyers are getting continuances based on the big game for cases that are set to roll an entire week before the super bowl. 

kinda awesome right?  can i get one of those please judge?  hat tip to abovethelaw

and even the NFL is jumping on the proverbial bandwagon of the saints' success.

the NFL is now claiming ownership of "who dat".  really NFL?!?  really!  you own the who dat?

chile boo.

what's interesting is that during last sunday's thrilling game, i wiki'ed "who dat" just for kicks and was surprised at what i found:

The chant of "Who Dat?" originated in minstrel shows and vaudeville acts of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and was then taken up by jazz and big band performers in the 1920s and 30s.

The first reference to "Who Dat?" can be found in the 19th Century. A featured song in E.E. Rice's "Summer Nights" is the song "Who Dat Say Chicken In dis Crowd", with lyrics by poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. A common tag line in the days of Negro minstrel shows was: "Who dat?" answered by "Who dat say who dat?" Many different blackfaced gags played off that opening.
hmmmm.... and then, as to the use of "who dat" during sporting events:
It has been debated exactly where it started, but some claim it began with Southern University fans either in the late 1960s or early 1970s and went "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Jags" - Southern University being nicknamed the Jaguars. Another claim is that around the same time it began at St. Augustine High School, a historically African-American all boys Catholic high school in New Orleans, and then spread to the New Orleans Public Schools. Another claim is that the cheer originated at Patterson High School in Patterson, Louisiana (home of Saints running back Dalton Hilliard).  In the late 70's fans at Louisiana State University picked up on the cheer. By 1983, the New Orleans Saints organization officially adopted it during the tenure of coach Bum Phillips, and Aaron Neville (along with local musicians Sal and Steve Monistere and Carlo Nuccio) recorded a version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" that incorporated the chant (performed by a group of Saints players) that became a major local hit, due in part to the support of sportscaster Ron Swoboda and the fact that Saints fans had been using the chant already.
how bout that!

yet the NFL is sending cease and desist letters to local apparel shops in town who use "who dat" on their clothing.
"According to NFL spokesman Dan Masonson, "Any unauthorized use of the Saints colors and other [marks] designed to create the illusion of an affiliation with the Saints is equally a violation of the Saints trademark rights because it allows a third party to 'free ride' by profiting from confusion of the team's fans, who want to show support for the Saints."
why the NFL wanna be cracking down on these mom and pop shops?  why stop there?  why not stop the chants in the superdome? and why now when the saints are winning and on their way to the big dance?  shady antics indeed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love that Girl

So, while I continue to be deep in an abyss called Haiti (thanks minty for communicating to that to the masses) - I've managed to crawl up just a bit to write a post. And if I wasn't in so deep last week, I would have told y'all " I love that Girl!"

Yes, I was a faithful couch potato last week and tuned in to TV One to watch their series debut. For one, I just love Martin Lawrence (yup still watch the reruns) and so when he said watch his show that he executive produced - Bellini was game.

So, the premise of the show is (forgive me i only know gov't names) Tatyana Ali's (Ashley on Fresh Prince of Bel Air)character was formerly engaged and is regrouping her life. So, along the way she has a brother (hilarious- Bellini's got two and he reminds me of one of them w/ his antics), a father, and neighbors. Now Ali's charcter is a buppy, so as a fellow buppy I can appreciate her character. Ali's character balances the mundane with wordliness, not too pretentious. So, the show is actually refreshing. Unfortunateley, I missed last night (graduate class [insert semi-sad face]), which will probably mean I'll miss the whole season. So, you all watch it for me.

hmmmm... I need to get back to work, so I'll holla next week!



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Culinary Clasher

So when I was knee high to a grasshopper my Granddaddy told me that I would never ever get a husband if I never knew how to cook. My grandfather was an old school Christian Texan who loved his meat and potatoes…so he knew a little something about food. And because I was raised right and had respect for my elders I didn’t suck my teeth or pop my neck at his words I just said “yes granddaddy” and kept it moving into the living room while he cooked dinner for the family.

I gotta tell ya’ll, its hard for an only child to get into cooking when everyone in said child’s family loves to cook. My grandfather, both grandmothers, my mother and even my own father enjoy crafting culinary delights. And so if you don’t have to learn something then you don’t learn anything. My first culinary disaster occurred when I made corn dogs for dinner. I would say that I was about 10 years old, a latchkey kid who wanted to help out the household by preparing a meal for my parental units. So without a recipe but armed with creativity and good intentions I made corn dogs how anyone without a clue would. I boiled several hotdogs and then placed them on top of a can of corn that I had poured into a pan…the microwave did the rest. I don’t even think I added salt or pepper…maybe just ketchup. Yiiikes! I know! Oh how my parents humored me and then we had pizza. Tee hee. And even through separation and divorce, I think my parents mutually decided that my next culinary experiences would be outside of their households…

So let’s fast forward 9 years to my college days! Picture this, the year was 2001 in the new dormitory the university had built. Claiming that I could do more than cook the rice, ramen and make the Kool-Aid (after awhile my friends had type cast my cooking skills) I told my friends that I could fry the chicken for the evening meal. Can I say that I could have too if someone had just told me that it is possible to get a pan too hot, and you often need more than a dollop of oil too do chicken right. Yes, yes, yes! The Lord does watch over babies and fools alike. So when I threw the chicken into the very hot pan there was a lot of smoke and me coughing. Amazingly, the smoke detector never sounded, which as I think back with my adult mind was a problem. After I let out a few Oh $&*%! I turned the stove off, put the pan in the sink and briskly walked back down the hall to my suite as if nothing happened. So while in the suite my friend (who at the time I felt had a nose of a bloodhound-though the hallway was very smoky) asked if something was burning. She quickly going into momma bear mode, walked down to the kitchen and came back to ask me what the hell happened? Oooops! My bad. But she should have knew better to leave me in the kitchen alone to prepare the fried chicken. You gotta have skill! And hello, I had only mastered rice and Kool-Aid. To this day it’s one of the stories that comes up when we think back on the good ole days of our college years. Ain’t that right Courvoisier?

And from that culinary battle I have lived off the kindness of my cooking friends and family, the whore that is McDonald’s, bowls of cereal, and just getting by on the basic microwaveable meals. But now that I’m nearing thirty and feeling like a real adult (read I got a mortgage to pay) I am familiarizing myself with the kitchen. I mean after all it was a selling point when I purchased my condo, I might as well use it right? Right. So I did what I didn’t do when I was 10 or 19 and I bought a cookbook.
Cook This Not That. My coworker actually put me on to it. And I must say that I have been having some positive cooking experiences here lately, my coworker as well! Now I would be lying if I didn’t also admit that I’ve had a few set backs, but none have devastated me to the point of not returning to the kitchen the next day… I just go on to Popeye’s a get me a two piece with some red beans and rice! And I must say that as a chick who lived off of crap and cereal for years it feels good to be paying for and preparing my own meals.

And I can’t tell ya’ll how enriching it has been to talk to my dad about the wonderfulness that is McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning. Or get my mom’s recipe for spaghetti. Or call up my grandma for advice on how to make my greens taste better… And it gets better when I get to have my mom calling and asking me what I am having for dinner!

That’s what I call a culinary victory.

See You In Seven

Monday, January 25, 2010

Single Question?

Why is there SO much politrickin' behind helping the people of Haiti?

Seriously. I know the US can be a bully at times but let's face it the countries that do well, know their place and stand their ground. Survival first. Despite all that is happening and the choas behind the relief effort, I am confused as to why I am reading articles such as these that state the following:

“They said, ‘Yes — as long as it’s temporary,’ ” said Bishop Jean-Zache
Duracin of Haiti’s Episcopal Church, who attended the meeting. “We have no
choice because the government has collapsed.”
Where is the Haitian government? Your people need you? Is this U.S. propaganda to justify future plans of taking over Haiti? I don't get it. This is a chance to start fresh, let go of the past not regurgitate the past drama. Either way, I will continue to help and continue to pray that you find true leadership for the future.

Much luv and prayers until next week... peace :)