Can you show me the way to Santa Fe?

January 23, 2018

Whew, I have been busy.

1. Last week, I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time ever. My friend had a work trip there, so she invited me to crash it, and I did.

It was very brown. And cold. But! I got some culture. I went to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture as well as Meow Wolf and the Loretto Chapel to see the miracle stairs. The museum was great because I had an awesome tour from a delightful docent who kept talking about “fiesty lady archaeologists.” (Also, have you heard of archeaoacoustics? I hadn’t until she told us about them.) Plus, because the museum has been largely curated in cooperation with Native groups and is focused on their history and culture, it is way less rage inducing than going to the National Museum of the American Indian.

Meow Wolf was…different. And hard to describe. I wasn’t entirely sure about it because one of the first wacky entrances was through a refrigerator door and, as a child of the ’80s, I do not fool around with refrigerators because Punky Brewster taught me well (Google it). But once I was sure the refrigerator led down an actual hallway and not to death, I kind of went with the whole thing. I enjoyed the experience, but at the end, I was ready for a straight line to the exit.

2. I also attempted to go up to the Cross of the Martyrs but thought I was going to die because of the altitude. (No joke: my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest, and I couldn’t breathe.)

3. We also had a day in Albuquerque (which I still can’t spell), and I went to the Albuquerque Museum for a bit, but I think I had reached my limit by then, so didn’t make it through very many exhibits.

4. Then, I came home and had dinner with some internet friends I hadn’t met yet. (A+ work bringing people together, Twitter.) We actually wound up shutting the restaurant down and probably still could have talked for several more hours.

5. And to keep the internet friend magic going, I went to Disneyland yesterday with someone I have been friends with online for over 15 years and had not yet met in person. It was magical and not just because we were at Disneyland.

Best parts of the day (besides hanging out with my friend, of course): the Disneyland band who rocked out, the little boy who tried to breakdance to “Let It Go” when the band was playing, meeting my girl Ariel, and all of the shows with songs I could sing along to. I am in awe of the character actors because they (a) definitely stay in character the whole time and (b) know a lot of random stuff about their characters and the characters they work with. (Cinderella could even rattle off the name of Ariel’s sisters. I mean.)

Disney! 😍😍😍

6. I also finished some books, of course.

Black No MoreBlack No More by George S. Schuyler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yeah, so this is the book that I think really predicts the current president and his administration (yes, even more so than 1984, A Handmaid’s Tale, and Parable of the Sower). Schuyler imagines a post-racial America (what if black people turned white and therefore had access to all the things they were previously denied because of their skin color?) and then shows what really drives racism. (Hint: it’s capitalism–and the desire for power.) He also, of course, shows what we already know: there is no actual difference between white and black people except that some of us think we’re superior to others of us.

Schuyler eviscerates everyone who benefits from racism, including black intellectuals and, of course (and especially), politicians. The ending is funny and perfect, but the ending before the ending was heartbreaking and hard/uncomfortable to read.

Read Harder 2018, Task 9: A book of colonial or postcolonial literature

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The Mother of Black Hollywood: A MemoirThe Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jenifer Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio version of this, which I highly recommend. It’s like sitting in a room with her while she tells you her story. Plus, she sings! So that’s fun.

I appreciated Lewis’s honesty here, especially as she spoke of her sex addiction and bipolar disorder. I *loved* all the stuff about how she came to terms with her childhood and how she learned to forgive her mother. The story about the white man coming to the door and insulting her mother? WHEW.

Lewis makes liberal use of the f-word and isn’t shy about detailing her sexual history (there’s a chapter called “Dick Diva,” for example). If these are things that may offend you, probably don’t read this. But if you want a brutally honest account of working in show business while learning to accept and manage a mental illness, then definitely check it out.

Also, I totally want to hang out with Jenifer Lewis and Brandy. How do I make this happen?

Read Harder 2018, Task 12: A celebrity memoir

View all my reviews
7. Oh, and while I’m grateful (so grateful!) my friend gifted me the Jenifer Lewis book through Audible, I almost wish she hadn’t because now I want an Audible account. I belong to three libraries and there are still books I can’t find on audio through the library! The struggle is real. I haven’t made a decision yet, but ODDS ARE I’m going to wind up with an Audible account all because of a Christmas gift. This is how they (Amazon/corporations) get you is what I’m saying. “Try it for free!” they say, all because they know you’ll be all, “I need this in my life and now I’m willing to pay for it.” RUDE.


8. I am currently reading three books.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Right, so, my loan for Renegades by Marissa Meyer expired while I was on my trip, which meant I had to wait until it came available again so I could re-check it out. My goal is to finish it in the next two days because seriously. That just threw me off my game.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

My word for the year is vulnerability (if you could see the faces I make whenever I have to say/type that, which is why it’s probably a good thing that’s my word, I guess 🙄), and my therapist keeps asking if I have watched any of Brené Brown’s TED talks (I have not), so I decided to just go ahead and read Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. You know, since vulnerable is right there in the title and everything.

Sula by Toni Morrison

I wanted to listen to some fiction after finishing Jenifer Lewis’s book, so my current audiobook is Sula by Toni MorrisonShe reads it herself, and her voice is very melodious. It’s working so far.

9. And now I’m debating whether or not I want to go to the gym tonight. I am still recovering from Disney, and, well, this is what my day was like yesterday:

fitbit stats for Disneylan

Yes, I walked almost eight miles yesterday. Yes, I am exhausted, but sometimes you have to lose yourself in the moment and never let it go.

Have a great week, everyone!

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  1. Katy K.

    Sounds like you’ve had a great time – you make me want to go to Santa Fe, too! We have an Audible subscription, just the one book a month kind, even though we also have lots of library download options.

    • Akilah

      Oh no, this doesn’t help at all. 😅

      • Katy K.

        Sorry! Should I think of something bad about it to discourage you? We take turns on who of the four of us gets to choose the book. I usually only get one for me a couple times a year.

        • Akilah

          That still doesn’t help because it’s just me! Hahahaha.

          • Katy K.

            Could you share with your daughter? Or maybe check on your top 12 want-to- read titles for library availability? We still keep the same standards for buying digital as physical- only if we’ll want to reread. Then we feel justified when our teen is on his third time through Velveteen vs. the Junior Super Patriots in as many months.

          • Akilah

            Yeah, I think it’s really about library availability for me, so that’s a hot tip. Thanks!

  2. K E Garland

    Sheesh! You did a whole lot of stuff! Also, I’m too frightened to Google Punky B and the refrigerator. I don’t remember that episode at all. Aaaand, Jennifer Lewis’ memoir is on my list.


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