Mocha Angels 365. Day 320.

It’s Sunday! If you don’t already have plans, stay home and chill….When I have off days, sometimes I stay in my pajamas. When my kids come home from school, my youngest son says, “You need to change your clothes.” ::smile::

No, I don’t. Like so many of you, I have to raise children, go to work, run errands, cook, clean, wash clothes, pay bills, deal with life stuff…oh, and work hard to build a brand every single day.

No one, except James Brown and Samuel L. Jackson, gets an award for the hardest working person on the planet. It’s okay to stop, or sleep, or watch movies, or read a book. Your family needs you to rest. Let me know what a “stay at home pajama day” looks like for you.

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Vegan Deli Bowls with Smashed Chickpea Salad (V, GF)

Gena Hamshaw’s original recipe with video here at FOOD52.

Adapted from her book Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals.

Gena’s website: The Full Helping.

If you like macaroni salad, egg salad, potato salad, then you’ll love this chickpea salad. It’s a Gena Hamshaw recipe from her cookbook Power Plates. I eat this every day for lunch. It’s that good. And it’s super simple to make. Below is my adapted version of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 (15-ounce, or 425g) cans, drained and rinsed
  • stalks celery, finely chopped
  • scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • large dill pickle, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon capers + a splash of caper juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I use Veganaise), plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Add everything into one large bowl. Mix well. That’s all I do!

Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors marinate.

I eat it with tomatoes, avocado, and cucumbers. Sometimes I add pita bread, rice, or baby red potatoes. Add any green vegetable and you’ve got a yummy, simple lunch. Enjoy! I love it!

Up next: a review of Shia LaBeouf’s autobiographical film “Honey Boy” (2019).

“See You Yesterday” (2019)

Click to watch.

INT – Classroom. Day. Last Day of High School.

Mr. Lockhart: “Let me ask you a question. Why are you participating in the (science) expo?”

CJ: “Full rides to MIT..hello?! Oh, and Sebastian wants to go to Morehouse…scholarships…”

Mr. Lockhart: “You and Mr. Thomas are the smartest kids in this school. Don’t tell him I said that. But you’re missing the big picture here. If time travel were possible, it would be the biggest philosophical and ethical conundrum of the modern age. If you had that kind of power, what would you do? What would you change?”

CJ: :::silence:::

And those are the two questions at the center of the Netflix movie “See You Yesterday.” Best friends CJ and Sebastian create backpacks that enable time travel. When CJ’s brother Calvin is killed by the Brooklyn police in a case of mistaken identity, the teenagers use their time travel ability in a desperate attempt to save Calvin’s life.

What could go wrong? Everything.

That kind of power in the hands of a grieving, hot-headed teenager, no matter how brilliant she is, causes chaos. Different people start to die and suffer because CJ and Sebastian are trying to change time and space. I don’t want to give anything away, but this movie makes you think: What would I do? What would I change?

As happy as I was to see black teenagers depicted this way, my heart ached for the “big picture” problem. CJ can’t even enjoy her and Sebastian’s invention. You know the first and only time I saw a genius black young woman celebrate her inventions and brilliance? Shuri, in “Black Panther.” Wakanda is a fictional hidden land of Africans who can be their full selves without interference. It’s black folks minus colonialism, slavery, and racism. Back in Brooklyn, New York, however, black lives don’t matter. CJ, Sebastian, their families, and their community both pay the price for living in that harsh reality.

“See You Yesterday” is so good in every way, except for the ending. It’s thoughtful, beautifully filmed, current, and relevant. I recommend it highly. It has a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 93% and an audience score of 30%. I call bullshit. That’s racism pure and simple. People will argue the controversial non-ending is why audiences didn’t like the movie. I don’t buy that. “See You Yesterday” has a social urgency that makes people uncomfortable.

How would I have ended the movie? In the garage where the kids invented the time travel backpacks. I’d have had Sebastian destroy the last time travel backpack in order to save CJ from herself. Watch it and decide how you think the movie should have ended.

An enthusiastic Eight out Ten Mocha Angels.

Up next: Vegan Deli Bowls with Smashed Chickpea Salad (V, GF). Saturday, November 16.

Flash Fiction: “Ancestors Calling”

Flash fiction #1. 447 words. (Flash fiction is a story told in 500 words or less. Enjoy.)

“Are you having fun with Auntie Sharon?” my mom asked me over the phone.

Holding a glass of rum and coke tight to my chest, I said, “Yes. Big fun.” I took a sip. “We are leaving to see a movie soon, so I have to go.” Please don’t ask me what movie.

“Sounds good. Are you ready for the first day of eighth grade?”

I could hear her smiling. “Yes. I’m excited.” :::eye roll:::

“I’ll pick you up at three o’clock on Sunday. We have to finish buying you new clothes. I love you. Bye.”

“Bye, mom.” I put my cell phone back in my pocket. Three o’clock Sunday. I must take my last drink by three o’clock today. It usually takes twenty-four hours for me to look normal again.

My aunt was napping in her room. My uncle had also fallen asleep in his recliner while watching the news. I tiptoed toward him keeping the glass against my chest. I did a gentle touch to the remote to turn off the television. The president was telling a crowd they didn’t see what they saw on the news. Off please.

I sat down carefully on the plastic covered living room couch as not to wake my uncle. Sighing, I put my feet up on the table. I swished my drink around before I took another sip. (No ice because it clanked against the glass.)

I was weary of dead people asking me for help. At the grocery store. In school. In my aunt and uncle’s house. In my backyard.

“Tell Jimmy I’m okay.”

“Mike did it. They got the wrong guy.”

“The surgeon was distracted by his own wife’s illness. He messed up.”

What am I supposed to do with this information?

I tell them to go away. I close my eyes. Cover my ears. And still they rise.

It’s quiet now. Rum keeps them away.

My aunt prefers vodka and ginger ale.

My uncle looks through both of us.

They are old. Like my grandma’s age.

Like grandma, they let me do whatever I want. When I was little, before she found Jesus, grandma let me taste her beer. Auntie Sharon let me taste her liquor: rum, vodka, brandy, everything. They were gross then. Bitter. Now all of them make the dead people disappear, for a while.

My phone rings again. Private number. I answer before the second ring, even though my mom says never answer a number I don’t know. Uncle still snoring. “Hello?”

“Keisha. It’s your grandfather. Edward. You need to stop this alcohol mess. Put that glass down.”

I put the glass down on the table. My grandfather died six years ago.

(end)

Up next: A review of the Netflix original movie “See You Yesterday” (2019).

#metoo on a million little things, part 2 (ABC)

Season 2, Episode 3: Mixed Signals

I wrote about this in February. My fear was that this #metoo storyline would be dropped in Season 2 of a million little things. Thankfully, it has not. The writers and actors are doing an excellent job of depicting how childhood sexual assault affects the survivor well into adulthood.

Last season ended with Regina and Delilah opening their restaurant “someday,” with money Delilah’s late husband John had left them both. Regina’s now deceased uncle Neil (whom we never saw) had also left her money for the restaurant. This was the uncle who had molested her as a 12-year-old. We also found out this uncle had molested Regina’s mother (his sister).

Regina donated her uncle’s money to a women’s shelter. As a result, she needed extra help from an investor Andrew Pollock, who’s got a thing for Delilah. (On an unrelated note, Andrew met Delilah when she was pregnant and instantly liked her. Dude. Really?) Both events complicate Regina’s life.

Click to watch the video.

The shelter is throwing a benefit and want Regina to be the guest of honor. At the very least, they want to publicize her donation. Regina wants to stay anonymous. Also, Andrew is offering his opinions as an investor which Regina is clearly uncomfortable with. She meets with the social media guy Andrew suggested. It’s clear that Andrew is promoting Regina as “his discovery” and this is her “first restaurant.” Not true on both counts.

That’s when Regina has her moment. She feels like she’s being violated all over again. She realizes her donation to the women’s shelter should be public. She’s is a survivor and she wants people to know her name. For Andrew, the restaurant is just business. He is a businessman with power over her. It feels like the night she was molested, and she’s not going to be victimized a second time. She must run the restaurant on her own terms.

She decides to take a line of credit in order to buy Andrew out. Her husband, Rome, decides to direct two Lexus commercials he had been offered, but turned down, in order to make the money back. He is doing this all for Regina.

I loved this episode as well as ones that have followed so far. Regina is taking her power back. That is what I wanted to see. Twists are coming with her marriage and her relationship with Delilah and Andrew. I’ll keep watching to see what happens.

ABC’s a million little things airs Thursdays at 9:00pm EST.

Up Next: Flash Fiction: “Ancestors Calling.” Saturday, November 9.

A Year of Living Without (or Breaking the Chains of Resistance)

The adult version of the universal toddler’s mantra “I DON’T WANNA!!!” is “We all gonna die sometime. Therefore, I’m going to enjoy my cigarette/Big Mac-Large Fries-Coke/Big Gulp/ribs/brownies/heroin/KFC Double Down/cocaine/insert-your-vice-here.”

Cravings and addictions, legal and illegal, is avoidance of emotional pain. I’ve said it before, humans run toward pleasure and run away from pain. Since we do such a good job of hurting each other, we all have our wounds. I’ve got mine, and I’ve worked very hard this past year to heal them. I recognize my own resistance to fully giving up habits that no longer serve me. In the spirit of two of my favorite blogs, zen habits and bemorewithless, I will do my own, “year of living without” starting today, November 1, 2019.

I will live without each of these things one per month:

November: Watching TV while eating. I’m reading a lot about mindful eating. I want to slow down and pay attention and appreciate my food. Replacement habit: mindfulness. Update: No internet surfing on my phone while I eat either. This is really tough!

December: Watching the news. Death, destruction, and impeachment. I’m so over it. And yet, I keep coming back to it!! CNN.com is like my best friend! AAAAHHH! The exception is that I will watch the morning weather. That’s it. Replacement habit: Good News Network and Good Black News.

January 2020: Coffee. I get up at 4:30am every morning. I’ve been using coffee to beat the mid-day slump. I hate it. I love it. Replacement habit: tea.

February: Sugar. The sweet love of my life. She has got to go. Replacement habit: acknowledge my feelings. :::WTF? EYEBALLS POP:::

March: Chicken and Fish. I’d like to stay vegetarian. Some days are better than others. Replacement habit: Vegan/vegetarian meals I like.

April: Processed Foods. Can I really eat only whole foods? Nothing out of bag, jar, or can? As I get closer, I’ll tweak this one a bit. Replacement habit: whole foods.

May: Credit Cards. I’ve been waaaaay better on this one. A sista has come a long way, baby. So good, in fact, two days ago, one of my creditors raised the limit because of my “credit discipline.” I hate debt. I’m a Dave Ramsey fan. My goal is to be debt-free completely. Replacement habit: cash.

June: Buying new things. This is going to be different. Replacement habit: none.

July: Television. Easier to do in the dead of summer. That includes no America’s Got Talent! Crap! Replacement habit: Spend time with my loved ones.

August: Social Media. That means I have to write and schedule all my August posts much earlier. Hmmmm. Replacement habit: Work on my novel.

September: Sitting longer than 30 minutes. At work, that’s not a problem because management took away our chairs. At home, I sit a lot because I’m writing/pay bills/on the internet, etc. Replacement habit: walking and yoga.

October: All of those things, except social media. I gotta post my blog. Why all of those things? In October 2018, I got a concussion. In October 2019, I got super sick. In October 2020, I’m going to slow way down, pay attention, and get through the month healthy and fully intact!

The first update will come on November 30th. Let’s see if I choose to incorporate these changes into my life.

Up Next:#metoo on a million little things, part 2 (ABC). Wednesday, November 6. Part 1 is here: https://mochaangels.com/2019/02/13/metoo-on-a-million-little-things-abc/

“A Little Late with Lilly Singh” (NBC) A Review

Click to watch the video

“YAS, QUEEN!” says me when I watch A Little Late with Lilly Singh. Since the show comes on at 1:35am Eastern Standard Time in the United States, I record the show to watch it in the morning. After two months of the show, my kids are used to me shouting at the television during their breakfast “YES, GIRL!,” “YOU OWN IT, SUPERWOMAN!”

If you read my first Lilly post, then you know why I’m excited. Lilly gets my full support for as long as the show runs. Here’s my quick review:

The GOOD

Lilly. It’s easy to see why the multi-hyphenate talent has a talk show. She’s energetic, hyped-up, and funny.

Her chemistry with female guests. I call it now: Lilly’s going to end up marrying a woman. All of her female guests are obviously comfortable talking to her. Tracee Ellis Ross was the best, most natural interview. The clip I shared is only five minutes. If you watch the entirety of the interview on YouTube, you’ll see these two women flow together like water.

Pre-teen girls writing the monologue jokes and taking over stage production duties on International Day of the Girl. That was a “how come no one ever thought of this before?” moment. Amazing.

Interpretive Dance with Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. These women are professional dancers, so that was a great game to watch.

Jenna Dewan, Nick Offerman, and Lilly doing a sexy pumpkin rap. That was good stuff.

The amount of people of color in the audience. Yes, ma’am.

Click to watch the video

THE AWKWARD

The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie, talking about their brother accidentally finding Nikki’s sex toys…on the same episode a group of pre-teen girls have taken over stage production duties. OUCH. If I was the parent of one of those girls, I’d grabbed a producer and said, “I need a word with you…”

Lilly interviewing Allen Leech, Elizabeth McGovern, and Hugh Bonneville from “Downton Abbey.” They looked like they wanted to be anywhere else.

Lilly’s desk. It looks like a spaceship from Battlestar Galactica.

Click to watch the video

THE BAD

The lighting! It’s too dark! The stage and lighting need to be much brighter.

The desk is too far away from the guests.

America Ferrera’s surprise Quinceanera.  From America being snooty about the sneakers Lilly surprised her with to the ugly dress to the waltz and the moment when Lilly tried to feed her cake:

America: “Is that gluten-free?”

Lilly: “I don’t think so.”

America: pushes cake away with her hand

Lilly: :::Improvs::: “Mmmmh, that’s good! Gluten!” And takes a bite of the cake.

Oh, God, that was so bad. The producers should have gotten America’s dietary needs before creating that bit.

OVERALL

The show is finding its way. I predict it’s only going to go up from here. Give her time to find her way on this new platform of late night television. Lilly is a superstar and nothing is going to stop her trajectory.

Click to watch the video

Up next: A year of living without. Friday, November 1.