Category Archives: african-american

the holidaymaker

as a craft editor at InCultureParent magazine, i took a lot of unattractive self-portraits of my ugly fingers. this was a fun gig, but one i gave up to concentrate more on fiction (a theme of my year, eliminating all but the fiction-related writing). still, here’s what i got done, and the next time i DO think of an amazing craft, i’m sure you’ll see it at InCultureParent!


IMBOLC (feb 2)

BABA MARTA and ST. DAVID’S DAY (march 1)

BELTANE (may 1)



GULLAH FAN for the summer

a christmakwanzakah carol

we do celebrate christmakwanzakah. we do it for real.

the kids did our menorah at a paint-your-own place. we don't have an actual kwanzaa kinara, but these ikea candleholders do just fine. and it's not christmas without the animatronic dean martin.

a few months ago, ben backed a kickstarter project by jonathan langager, who is making a short film called “josephine and the roach”. as one of ben’s backer rewards, jonathan wrote a son about any topic ben chose. ben chose christmakwanzakah.

Christmakwanzakah from Jonathan Langager on Vimeo.

What a merry mix of holidays
Christmas Kwanza Hanukkah

I wouldn’t want it any other way
It’s the perfect holiday

Labor day plus Arbor Day–
Larbor Day sounds really really really dumb

Groundhog’s Day plus All Saint’s Day
All Hogs day sounds like it wouldn’t be too much fun

What a merry mix of holidays
Christmas Kwanza Hanukkah

we are inCulture Parent magazine’s “real intercultural family”

we like to think we are pretty real!

and we are BIG supporters of inCulture Parent Magazine. i look forward to hopefully doing some writing for them in the future.

making black doll hair “natural”

claudia’s friend allison sent us this tutorial on making black doll hair into natural-looking, curly hair. it works wonderfully, and led me to some other links about black dolls that were helpful — namely, which of the (absolutely necessary in this day and age) eighteen-inchers out there was the best looking black doll (hint: the american girl version didn’t even make the running).

rather than repeat the whole tutorial here, just read it yourself in the link above, and enjoy our photos.


i just noticed that i never actually POSTED about this. i had just put it in the sidebar. it was awesome fun, so i should post it — particularly since i’ve become even MORE unstoppable since this interview! (to which i have never actually listened.)

the unstoppable amber dorko stopper on artblog radio — by roberta fallon and libby rosof (with peter crimmins)

Protected: “demolish the category”: beautiful inspiration (passive acquisition)

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Protected: talismans

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open to some unknowns, juneteenth olean

this weekend, my first solo exhibition opens, as part of the juneteenth celebration/international freedom festival in olean, new york. the exhibit, which is titled open to some unknowns, deals specifically with knitted work that relates to our childrens’ birth cultures and ethnic heritage. i was honored to work with kickass organizer after my own heart, and transracial adoptee, sara heslin woods, on this project.

my connection with sara came from posting on an internet message board. i felt i was coming up short on connections in the black community with whom i could talk about claudia’s needs. sara responded, “i’ll talk to you,” and believe it, she did. she’s been a wonderful sounding board and mentor and i’m glad that my work as part of her (huge) project in olean makes her happy and does her proud.

the nine minute video we made for the exhibit makes me particularly proud. the things you can do with an iphone! and i am grateful to the musicianship of david lackner and the band thank you, rosekind for allowing me to use their music, so i did not have to have a plink-a-plink cutesey “look at the sensitive mothering” bullshit soundtrack.

an interview about this exhibit will be posted on the esteemed artblog radio within the next few weeks, and i will update accordingly.

i am grateful to my beautiful family.

flash of the spirit

i have noticed in life that there is almost never a way to photograph a moment; by which i mean the moments that a friend of mine once called “golden moments”, and i doubt i need to explain what they are (although they are often so much more modest in nature than people might think).

by some amazing luck this afternoon, i caught one.

the elements that came together to make this moment began with my son announcing: “after i finish my popcorn, and after you finish your putier (computer), can i snuggle with you? i would like to do that. and then we turn the tv on.”

we proceeded to watch — three times, back to back — his favorite episode of the monkees, in which richard kiel plays a frankenstein-monsterlike-android that learns to sing and play the guitar.

in the midst of this, claudia joined us, situating herself between us and the television and attempting to read us “a story about african amirahs” (her latest mash-up of her birth name, amirah, and the phrase “african-american”). this “story” was flash of the spirit: african and afro-american art and philosophy, by robert farris thompson.

the unusual angle is a result of béla sitting on my head while i took the picture with my phone.

white mommy, brown daughter topsy-turvy dolls

every thursday, we go out with our friends liz and veronica. this thursday was our last thursday as a fivesome, as veronica and her parents are expecting veronica’s new sibling to arrive and come home to them literally any minute. we knew there’d be some weeks where they were in baby lockdown, and that it was very likely that we would miss veronica’s birthday due to this — so i wanted her gift ready for her today. (and this was a gift i could NOT risk skipping for claudia, either!)

claudia’s doll turns into me, and back again; veronica’s, into liz, and back again. both girls really liked them!

béla did not get a doll, but has been promised something REALLY special when he finally completes his (mind-bendingly close) potty-training. but, he was not left out of the fun.

but, you know béla. he recovers quickly from these things!