Friday, April 1, 2016

Let's talk about the R word

Dear Lunds & Byerlys:
I am slow to take offense, which is usually a good thing. The first time I stepped into your store in Northeast Minneapolis, the manager gave me the side-eye stare. My cart was half-full when I stopped mid-aisle to check items off my list as well as to see when the next bus was due. The aforementioned manager came zipping down the aisle and stooped down close to me to pick up a microscopic shred of trash, but really to get a better look at me.
I was only a little puzzled by this at the time, but I remembered it well enough to feel - uncomfortable. My subsequent visit confirmed my initial discomfort. Kudos on cleanliness, manager, but try to be a little less obvious. I only saw one other person of color while I was there; I don't know if he got the same twice-over.
On my second visit, Lunds & Byerlys, I was on a mission. It was Saturday, and for Easter dinner, I put prosciutto and a sparkling elderflower drink in my cart, as well as sushi bento for a lunch treat. Then I headed for the meat aisle, and this is where things changed. They have a small but beautiful meat case, as well as a fish case with sad tuna, but there was a gorgeous two-foot plus long grouper as a centerpiece. A man, a POC, was asking the two meat guys a question but I did not follow the conversation. I was looking at ribeye for my son and New York strip for myself, and I took my time comparing, as I wanted well-marbled beef.
At this point, one of the meat guys came out to see what I was doing. I ignored him, as I'd already chosen my steaks. I wheeled past the meat display and complimented the other meat guy on the case, and went to look at bread. I spent around $100 that day.
There were no other people of color while I was there. I wonder, is this because, like myself, they feel uncomfortable - scrutinized, marginalized in Lunds & Byerlys? When I told my son about my experience, he said, "What do you expect? They don't know what you are. Do you see other people of color there?"
Black citizens everywhere - my short term discomfort was/is nothing compared to the judgement you experience every day.
So Lunds & Byerlys, I need to think about whether it is worth exposing myself to this repeated karmic damage by patronizing your business. It is noteworthy that I never feel uncomfortable shopping in Target, Cub or CVS here in Minneapolis. Only in Lunds & Byerlys.
You, out there in the Interwebs - have you felt discriminated against. Lunds & Byerlys - are you willing or able to discuss this? Let the discourse begin!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I am not a Minnesota housewife

I'll address the fact that I haven't written posted anything in 3+ years some other time.

It was so cold - low 20s - I decided to vacuum and mop. This is fine, except I HATE vacuuming. This is the Husb's chore. I cook, clean the toilet, mop & do laundry because I'm better at those things. Well, this DID warm me up enough to make the the cup of tea I'm drinking as I type this. 

In other aspects of housewifery, I don't do as well. Might be because I can't get used to the idea that the sun goes down around 5:30 pm - so much for daylight. 

I was TOTALLY unprepared for the Dripping Toilet Tank and the Weeping Windows. Yes, I've already researched the fixes for the toilet, and they're are RIDICULOUS for our purposes. $40 tray that you have to empty constantly? Plumber to install hot water line just for tank?? So my fix is: Constantly Wiping All of These Areas.

No, I am not a Minnesota housewife.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Handbag Update, or I Could Never Change Bags Every Day

I think I missed a handbag, and am actually on #5!

I purchased another one, nothing near "designer", but leather and large enough for all the necessities. I know I can buy some expen$ive skincare instead, because I DIDN'T spend the amount of money I budgeted for a good handbag, and instead, just bought a decent one. Priorities. Plus, I think it is called "maintenance"!

I am waiting for the one I'm currently using to die before using the new one. I probably shouldn't do that, as I originally retired it for showing signs of wear.

OK, I admit it is TRAUMATIC to change handbags

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book review: Every Boy Should Have a Man

A parable. A cautionary tale. A story about what it means to be human.

By Preston Allen.

Recommended by my friend Elisa at NY Spender:

Read it!

The handbag saga, part 4

I tweeted that I went through 3 handbags in about a week.

Well, I'm now on my 4th. I didn't buy a new one, just rescued one I was going to throw away, as it was already showing too much wear.

I'm really hard on handbags - the stitching on the handle of #4 came off, and so did the handle.

The saga continues.

Monday, September 2, 2013

August/September 2013 Reading

I started reading Mr. Eddie Huang's Fresh Off the Boat in early August. Because of the 3-day Statehood weekend, I had time to finish it. I really enjoyed the irreverent writing and the author's entrepreneurial spirit. Here's what REALLY made me want to read this book: the author was an indifferent student until he read Swift's "A Modest Proposal", which really spoke to him. If you haven't read FOB or AMP - you will not regret it! The power of writing across nearly three centuries is an awesome thing. And Mr. Eddie Huang tells his immigrant family's story in a powerful way. Available from HSPLS as audio and eBook via OverDrive.

Next, I read two books on the internee experience in concentration camps in North America during World War II. While we Americans know something of this experience from the viewpoint of Japanese-Americans, we know little to nothing about the Canadian Japanese story. A Child in Prison Camp (A Japanese-Canadian in an Internment Camp during WWII) by Shizuye Takashima contains the adult recollections of a child's experiences, with some illustrations of those memories. The second book, Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family by Yoshiko Uchida, is better-written, by a professional educator-author. Both authors share this hope: that what happened to them should never happen to anyone else.
These books are next to each other on the library shelf in Hawaii State Library. A Child in Prison Camp is also available as an eBook through the HSPLS website via OverDrive.

Today is Labor Day, Queen Lili'uokalani's birthday, the first day of September.This book, Paperboy, is a slim 240 pages, a children's book about the south, growing up, living with a stutter, segregation, family. Read it and you'll experience the wonder this child feels as his world expands an he rethinks what it means to be a family. It's on my order list for OverDrive audio and eBooks for the library system.

Being a Taiwanese immigrant family in a gated community in Florida, in Topaz Concentration Camp in 1942, Memphis in 1959, read a book to travel, if only in your mind.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What I'm reading: May 2013

Don't you think having to give yourself insulin shots at the age of 7 - after you've learned to light the gas stove and sterilize the needle! - would make you tough?

In her unapologetic memoir, My Beloved World, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gives us insight on how she became the first Hispanic woman on the Court. Despite a difficult home life, she realized she had sources of "deep happiness" within her - she was loved unconditionally by her abuelita, her grandmother. You don't need to be a woman, a minority to be inspired, heartened by the honesty of her story.

And when you look beyond the story of the Nuyorican girl from the Bronx who now is on SCOTUS, you also see her mother, Celina, who escaped Puerto Rico by joining the US Women's Army Corps, started as a telephone operator at a hospital, went back to school, became a registered nurse, and eventually the emergency room supervisor at the same hospital.

Only in America? And only if you're tough, passionate women.

OK, yes. The theme of this blogpost is a recurring one: passion. Also toughness, drive, competitiveness.

I'm always thinking about things I'm interested in that library patrons might find compelling as a library program. I moderated a recent panel discussion featuring 18 and 19-year old entrepreneurs, 2012 graduates of Kalani High School - go Falcons! - all of whom turned their leadership in HS robotics into 4-year full ride scholarships to University of Hawaii Manoa, where all of them are majoring in engineering. Grant Takara, Eric Teshima and Carson Wong are the owners of Bristlebots LLC, which makes educational robotics kits. They spoke confidently and well about their business. I'm going to be watching what they do in the future.

On their evaluation forms, people wanted to know more about investing, marketing, and crowdfunding. So I picked up The Kickstarter Handbook: Real-life Crowdfunding Success Stories. There's an interview of Matt Haughey, creator of crowdsourced news site MetaFilter!!! Reason enough to read this!

What I'd like to do a program with folks who've already done this: Gida Snyder of Naked Cow Dairy, Kathy Sills of Aloha Pops, Bryan Silver of Team #3008 Kalani Robotics.

Does anyone out there in cyberspace think this is a good idea?