RIP Nelson Mandela

We’ve lost an icon today. Along with other major civil rights figures like Martin Luther King & Malcolm X, no one can deny the influence that Nelson Mandela had on the movement around the world for social justice.

While the accomplishments and contributions of MLK and Malcolm X are undeniable, I only knew about them from reading books, hearing the stories my family told and watching archival footage of civil rights marches. Mandela was another story. What made “Madiba” different from the others is that unlike the others, Mandela was one of the only activists whom I was alive to witness in action.

I came of age during the height of the struggle to end apartheid. I watched the news of anti-apartheid protests in South Africa, that sometimes turned violent & deadly. The grass roots struggles in black communities in the US to pressure the US to denounce apartheid. Remember the boycotts here in the US against corporations that did business with the apartheid gov’t in South Africa. When Mandela was released from prison after spending 27 years in captivity, his first visit to the US after leaving prison, the ticker tape parade for him in NYC, the concert in his honor at Yankee Stadium.

Then there was him being elected president of South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Amazed at the news footage of the long lines of South Africans who waited in line for days just to vote for their first black president. Can you imagine a man, a black man especially, going from being an inmate in prison to the presidency happening in the US?

I could go on forever, but I’ll end with one of my many favorite quotes from him.

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Wishing everyone a happy and healthy thanksgiving!!!

In the middle of knitting a two-color cowl neckwarmer. What are you working on during the holidays?

Birth of Quaintrelle Noire

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I’m a bit more complicated, but that describes me in a nutshell. This blog has evolved from just about crafting into various interests. Clearly I’m passionate about a lot of different things. There’s a number of quaintrelle related blogs out there, and the original definition didn’t include women of color. The “noire” describes me, obviously, but that will also distinguish me from the other blogs as well.

Those of you new to the blog, welcome aboard. Hope you’ll enjoy the unique perspective of this quaintrelle.

Vacation fantasy

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I don’t normally get jealous of an inanimate object, but this lady is “rocking it”. Wish I could be like her right now.

Kick In the Pants

Re-blogging because this prompted my response in the following post.

Keep Calm and…….

I’m not a big fan of the “Keep Calm” meme that’s been so popular. Frankly I think it’s corny and way overused. But I thought these wall hangings I saw in TJ Maxx the other day were cute and poignant. Each one of them could apply to me, but you’d never catch me hanging them in my house, LOL

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Full body detox day 1

A little over a week ago I ordered the full body detox kit from Dhealthstore that I described in my last post. It’s available as capsules and in liquid form which I bought, pictured below.

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The kit consists of 6 different herbal combinations, each targeted to a specifc organ of the body, and activated charcoal to be taken at bedtime. The prescribed regimen in the capsule version would’ve totaled about 30 capsules per day. I’m not a big fan of swallowing a huge number of capsules, hence I ordered the liquid.The regimen calls for dissolving dropperfuls of each liquid in water spaced out at various times throughout the day. With the kit also comes a 10 page brochure describing the herbs contained and directions on it’s use. This sunday was a workday for me, and a good time to start to see how I would be able to incorporate the regimen into my workday for the next 3 weeks. While using the detox liquid it’s also recommended that you eat a raw foods diet. Basically fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lots of water or herbal teas.

The last few days I’ve been drinking smoothies in the morning to help ease myself into a raw diet. This morning I made a smoothie with grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and banana. I was concerned about getting hungry in between meals so I also brought along some kale chips and cashews to snack on in between just in case.

In the morning I felt a light headache which soon went away, but generally today I felt a decrease in appetite. I didn’t prepare a salad for lunch so I ended up ordering some steamed vegetables from a local restaurant. I’m eating some watermelon tonight, but my appetite right now is still decreased.

I don’t see myself doing a raw diet full time, I enjoy my chicken, seafood and ribs every now and then, but I could definitely incorporate it as a significant percentage. That’s how I feel now, but its only the beginning. I still got 19 more days to go.

Adinkra jewelry

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My new favorite pair of earrings I bought from a vendor at the annual International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn last week. It’s the adinkra gye nyame symbol which symbolizes the supremacy of God.

Wanted to also purchase a pair of the duafe symbol which she didn’t have on display but offered to make me a pair on the spot. It wasn’t meant to be though, she didn’t have the proper equipment with her to cut the wood.

The search continues, and I’m sorry I didn’t get that vendor’s name or a business card. It’s still summer, hope I see her at another festival to add to my collection.

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I’m back!!!!!

Long time no post……I know.

What I’ve been doing? Just living life for a bit. I did some traveling, a girlfriend’s trip to Vegas and to Atlanta to visit family and to spend my birthday. Treated myself to a very relaxing 90 minute massage at a spa. Everytime I go I tell myself I need to do massages more regularly, but it just ain’t in a sista’s budget like that.

I recently did a search and found out one of the defendants in the case I served jury duty on that I talked about in my last post was sentenced to 7-9 years in prison. The other defendant, I don’t know, I suspect her conviction might have been overturned. The thought of those kids having to now grow up without their dad is just……sad. People we got to do better.

The director of my department just retired, so things at the job are kind of in a flux right now until the hospital decides on a new director. A few other staff members have either also retired or have relocated and found new jobs. And the usual drama that occurs at the workplace continues.

In my never ending quest to be more healthy, I’ve decided to do a detox. While on twitter I came across a man named Djehuty Ma’at-Ra, the herbalist behind the website Dhealthstore. After watching several of Djehuty’s youtube videos I decided to purchase his full body detox, which also happened to be on sale. It’s a 3 week course of herbal therapy that covers all the major organs for detoxing, which I’ll discuss in detail in a later post.

I already see I’m going to have to do some prep, so I’m easing myself into doing the detox by getting back into making smoothies. Last night I found this post from A Beautiful Mess about their 5 day green smoothie challenge and decided to try a couple of their smoothie recipes. This morning I made their blueberry/banana/spinach smoothie with some blueberries I bought the day before. Mine was a bit different in that I used frozen instead of fresh bananas and fresh blueberries which may or may not have affected the texture of the smoothie. Or I may have used too much banana. My smoothie did not turn out as pretty as theirs but the taste was spot on. Not too sweet, but you don’t taste the spinach either. Next I’m going to try their raspberry with coconut.

Lie Down With Dogs, Wake Up With Fleas

Two weeks ago, I answered a jury summons to serve at the local courts. It was actually my second summons after the boss requested I postpone the first one I received a few months prior due to another colleague already out on jury duty. The boss had a good laugh when I told him that my first day of jury duty was going to start on my day off from work. To add insult to injury, the night before I worked a double shift, then had to report to the courthouse early the next morning. I got the last laugh though, when after 2 days of waiting in the jury pool, I was selected for a jury, which didn’t please the boss very much.

If you’ve never served as a juror on a trial before, I can tell you it’s nothing like what they show on Law & Order or any of those other legal dramas. Things don’t move that quickly at all. It’s very mundane with a lot of attention to details, with lots of sidebars by the lawyers and the judge giving us breaks. I knew what to expect since it was my second time serving as a juror, but I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to all the delays.

The case was a drug trial. Based on a warrant, police executed a search raid on an apartment. Inside the apartment they find “Troy” and 2 young children; a 8 year old boy and 6 year old girl. While searching the apartment, police find in one of the 5 bedrooms a vial of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and 2 guns. A .380 caliber pistol and a 9mm assault rifle. The man inside who is the father of the 2 children is charged with multiple counts of drug possession with intent to distribute as well as multiple weapons charges, and two counts of endangerment of minors. Troy’s girlfriend, “Keisha” the mother of the children, and who’s apartment was the one raided was later also arrested and charged.

The prosecution argued that the two defendants, both in their 30s, lived together as a couple with their children and sold drugs out of the apartment. Testimony from the police officers involved was tedious, describing every detail involved with the raid. Dozens of items were introduced into evidence. Among them, the guns, drugs, paraphernalia, bullets and DNA testing results. Troy’s defense lawyer argued though he spent a significant amount of time there, that he didn’t live in the apartment. And he didn’t sleep in the bedroom where the drugs and weapons were found. Keisha’s lawyer argued that she had no knowledge of the drugs and guns being in the apartment. That she also did not sleep in that bedroom and that various family members stayed there at points in time who could’ve brought the drugs and guns into the apartment.

It took an entire day for both the prosecution and defense to present their closing arguments. Notably the defense attorney for Keisha said something that stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing but it was something to the effect of, “Don’t convict her for her choices in lifestyle or relationships.” But it was just those choices that played a role in our deliberations. Part of Keisha’s testimony was that her primary source of income was food stamps and SSI for her 2 children, whatever money Troy gave her, and she also earned money on the side working as a hairdresser out of her apartment. But she drove a late model mercedes, wore designer clothing and shoes, and despite having a huge apartment in which she paid a very low rent, kept little furniture in the apartment. Two of the bedrooms were kept empty and Keisha claimed that Troy would sleep on a mattress on the living room floor, which made no sense to me in an apartment with 5 bedrooms. Troy was a high school dropout who had served time for a prior felony conviction, and according to the prosecution, was arrested numerous times prior to the most recent charges. He was also unemployed, yet testified that a friend owed him $1500, but did not elaborate where he got the money to loan. Though he claimed to live with a cousin, the DA showed evidence that Troy received mail, including a new food stamp card at Keisha’s address.

The jury concluded during deliberations that Troy and Keisha did live together as a couple in Keisha’s apartment. That Troy sold drugs and kept the guns in the apartment, with Keisha’s knowledge of his activities. Based on that, both were found guilty of all charges. As the forewoman of the jury, it was my job to read the verdict, which was tedious. I had to say the word, “guilty” 18 times. One for each of the nine charges the defendants had. Maybe it was some irrational fear I had or just nervousness, but I avoided looking at the defendants while reading the verdict. A few of us briefly met with the defense attorneys for a Q&A session after the trial was over, they seemed incredulous that we came to the verdict that we did. One of the questions we had for the lawyers was the nature of the warrant. When Keisha’s lawyer commented it was for “selling drugs”, we were even more confident we made the right decision on the verdict. I was curious what kind of jail sentence they could receive, but didn’t have the nerve to ask.

“Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas”, “birds of a feather flock together”, “guilty by association”, “be careful of the company you keep”. All those anecdotes come to mind when I spent the next few days processing what took place over the 10 days I served. The judge told us it was not our job to be concerned about that, but It saddens me when I think of the two children, now ages 8 and 10, who will probably now grow up without both of their parents. Who will care for them? How will they maintain a relationship with mom and dad while they are incarcerated? What interventions will be made in their life to keep them from repeating the mistakes of their parents?

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