Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Would You Spend the Weekend with Your Co-workers?? (Book Review- The Beach House by Kenny Blue)

Would you spend a weekend with your co-workers at a secluded beach house and work on a special project in order to meet a set deadline?

That's the question that's asked (and answered) in a novel titled the Beach House by Kenny Blue. I bought this book at the National Book Club Conference in early August of this year. The author was there hustling this novel. I liked the cover and the subject matter, so I decided to buy the book.

Let me gently rephrase the question that I asked earlier: What happens when coworkers, most of whom don't associate with each other outside of the workplace, all having very different personalities, hangups, and/or deep rooted personal problems, spend a whole weekend together in a beach house for work and a little relaxation? Drama. That's what happens. Pure unadulterated drama. And a whole lot of drama at that.

There were several characters/coworkers, who happen to be Atlanta Marketing Associates, that spent the weekend at the beach house working together on a special project for their company: Felicia, the white-collar superwoman mother and wife; Stacey, the wanna-be model; Kym, the interracial woman with a bit of a inferiority complex; Antoine, the troubled Christian; Leslie, the somewhat militant black woman; and Damien, the ladies man. And to top it off, Felicia brings along her blue collar worker husband, Kelvin. As you can see, this is a funky mix of people to throw together for a weekend.

This was a pretty interesting book. It was a very quick read. All kinds of secrets come out into the open. Sexual harrasment issues, class issues, and inferiorty issues present themselves. It becomes real apparent really quickly who likes and dislikes who. Kenny Blue packed all these issues into a short read. Some of the climatic scenes made me gasp aloud! Oh my!

All the characters were interesting, but that was something that troubled me about the book: too many main characters. As a result, this felt like a very long short story, if there is such a thing. This book was a little over two hundred pages, and the author could have easily worked on more character development. It could have easily been a four hundred page book. I felt all the flashbacks and backstories were a bit abrupt and rushed, but however, they were good. I just wanted more, that's all. I wanted to know more about this diverse group of characters.

Overall, this was a pretty good book, well worth my cash!

Me? Would I spend that a whole weekend of my time with my coworkers working on a special project? Hmm... I don't know. It all depends on how much money would be involved. I don't want to hear all that craziness that government does (giving comp time instead of money). In that case... Heck no!! My weekends are precious to me! And it also depends on whether my supervisor, Sister T, is forcing me into it.

And it would be an issue of brute force indeed....

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane Katrina...Set to Strike a Place Familiar to Me

Hurricane Katrina is set to hit New Orleans head-on...

And it pained me to watch CNN today and see all those New Orleans residents driving on I-10, creeping out of the city at a snail's pace. Usually, I look at hurricane activity and think to myself as long as it doesn't come up and swirl over Atlanta, then whatever...

But I don't feel like that about New Orleans. Why? Because I lived and worked there for 2 and 1/2 years, from 1998-2001, after I finished graduate school. And what's weird is that New Orleans was under a hurricaine watch both right before I moved there and the day that I packed my Ryder Truck and left to move back to Atlanta.

New Orleans is like a big soup bowl, with it being up to six feet below sea level and all. It is also surrounded by three bodies of water: Lake Ponchartrain, the Mississippi river, and the Gulf of Mexico (further south). I remember when it rained, flooding would always occur somewhere in the city. I lived in New Orleans East, in Orleans Parish, and I never experienced flooding problems, but I remember there being flooding problems as close as a block away from my apartment complex. I worked and lived only minutes from Lake Ponchartrain, and I would sometimes have to alter my driving routes because of flooded streets. Flooding in Uptown New Orleans is a big problem. I know a couple of people who lost their cars in bad floods. Also sections of I-10 would flood badly when it rained.

The city is dotted with lots of canals, and when it rained, a couple of the canals in my complex would fill up to the brink of overflowing, which use to completely freak me out. And since New Orleans is below sea level, pumps are needed to pump water out of the city. Sometimes these pumps broke down.

So imagine, that was just harsh rain causing all these problems. A direct hurricane hit would total the place out. CNN reported that even the pumps would be under water. It would be complete devastation.

So my heart goes out to New Orleans, my old dwelling place. I have a few friends down there, a couple of whom I talk to on a regular basis. Gigi and Alex, two of my book critiquers and themselves New Orleans residents, I hope you all get out safely. Please know that I'm praying for you and your city. And call me when you can and let me know you're okay.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Gas...How high will it go? Part II

Glory! Hallaleujah! Praise the Lord!

Sing a song of gladness! Lift your voices in praise!!

Clutch the Pearls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somebody give me one of those old hand held church fans with Martin Luther the King on the front of it!!

Did you hear that gas prices have dropped this low overnight?????

Heck No.
You didn't hear it. And you didn't see it either. That above is just an old picture... A really old picture.

I thought I would just play a little joke on you, that's all!!!


But do you remember when gas prices were this damn low???

And more importantly, were you like me during this time? ...Complaining that $1.41/gallon was too doggone much to be paying for gas????


And even worse...


I do. Hey, and I am not ashamed to admit it...

Who would've thought that we were living in days of glory back then??

And I've got another question for you...
How are you gonna feel when gas hits $5.00/gallon???

Because you know it's coming. Oh yeah, it's coming...

...Just like when Miss Celie stood out on the front porch of Mister's house looking out over the horizon at the swirling storm clouds. She knew something strange was going on. Something bizzarre was about to happen. That's when Mister bought home Suge Avery... And Suge Avery looked in Celie's face and said "You sho' is ugly!!!"

Back to my point...

And I'm saying that now. Gas prices sho' is ugly!!!!!! And they're probably gonna get even uglier.

You know it's coming...

So what are you doing to ride out this storm we call "the high price of Gas?"

I was listening to V-103's Frank and Wanda Morning show on Wednesday morning, and they were asking listeners how they were coping with the price of gas. The two major answers were:

1. Filling up the tank with regular unleaded even though the manufacturer
suggests Premium unleaded gas for your car. (Oh yeah, I bet the mechanics just love that one. They're gonna make much, much bread off of busted up engine repairs and replacements.)

2. Buy an extra car. Some folks are paying up to $400.00/month in gas costs for SUVs. That's the same as a car note. So, some folks are buying an extra car. (Okay this sounds good? But somehow, I don't think it is good. I won't comment any further on that.)

Me? What am I doing?

1. I use to fill my gas tank only halfway. I know this is stupid, but hey it at least made me feel like I was spending less money.

2. I've been riding MARTA. They have that oh so popular motto, you know: "MARTA is Smarta". Most of the time, it doesn't feel that way, though. For example, this morning, we were packed on the trains like sardines, shoulder-to-shoulder, butt-to-butt. And the air conditioner was busted, so it was like 100 degrees and 100% humidity on the train. And someone standing near me forgot to brush their teeth. And let's not talk about the one or two people on the train who are a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, i.e., the people who are just a wee bit crazy!

My best friend, Lady Tee, is paying sixty bucks a week for her gas. Her commute is around seventy miles round trip. She said once gas hits over 3.00/gallon, she's turning in her resignation.

Hmm... Oh my!!!!! That's too drastic for me. I have a nice cushy government job!!

But...What is a girl to do???

Lemonade Diet Blues...

Poor Kay...
Poor, Poor Kay...

My 24-year old sister Kay was so excited. So excited about a new diet. The Lemonade Diet, she called it.

Well, it's not exactly a diet. It's a cleansing program, detailed in a 50 page book entitled
The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs. It basically consists of drinking a water-based concoction of organic lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and pure maple syrup for a minimum of ten days and a maximum of forty days. There's also some bizzare laxative step involving salt water. You can't eat food. You can only drink this wonderful potion. (Yuck!)

When Kay told me this, I turned and walked away. I didn't want her to see me giggle.

For a couple of weeks prior to starting this wonderful program, Kay diligently did her research. She read the book and she studied various internet sites related to the subject matter. I would pass by her bedroom and just shake my head... because I know how my sister, the Diva, is.

I told her not to do it. Even our beloved Auntie wasn't all that crazy about the idea. Auntie encouraged her to research it thoroughly so she wouldn't hurt herself. Usually, we listen to Auntie. I thought that would be the end of that.

So when she walked into my bedroom at 7:30 a.m. last Saturday morning with a bright smile on her face, dressed all nice for her job at the bank, I eyed her suspiciously...

"I'm starting my lemonade diet soon. You want to try it with me?" she asked.
"Hell, nawl !!!" I replied, a little too quickly.
She continued to smile. "Well, are you going by Dekalb Farmer's Market or Whole Foods today?"
I was not planning on going, but I was going to my first book club meeting out in Decatur somewhere near Dekalb's Farmer's Market that afternoon. "I could stop by," I replied.
"Can you get me some organic lemons and Kosher sea salt? I'll give you the money." She reached into her purse and pulled out a twenty dollar bill.
"No don't worry about it. I'll get it for you," I replied. I went back to reading the book I'd been reading before she walked into my room.

I would buy her lemons and salt for her.
I, after all, wanted to be the supportive big sister.

Well, Kay started her diet on Saturday evening. I knew there was a problem when she decided against going to Church on Sunday morning. By the time I got home from church, she was sprawled out across her bed, whining about how bad she felt. She'd been running back and forth to the bathroom and was extremely nauseous. I just left her alone and tried to stay out of her way.

That evening, Kay was headed out the front door. She said she was going to Picadilly to get a vegetable plate.

"I can't do it," she howled. "I just can't do it. It's nasty."
"Go on back and sit in your room, girl. Try it 'til the end of the week!" I yelled, trying to be supportive.
"Unh-unh," she said shaking her head. "This is for white people."

She quickly walked out the front door. She returned thirty minutes later with a lovely plate of broccoli, green beans, and sweet potatoes.

She didn't even last a whole day.

It turns out a coworker hipped Kay to this diet, and wanted her to go on this little diet with her. Kay was trying to diligently follow the rules of the master cleanser program, but it turns out her coworker was cheating a little. The coworker, who had been on the program for two weeks, was mixing orange juice with the lemon potion, and eating dinner in the evenings.

Hmpfh... some coworker.

Kay was sick for a few days, but she's better now.
But now, Kay has sworn off of anything that has to do with lemons.
In fact she has been wailing all week about this little short adventure she had.

I went off on her tonight about paying me back for those expensive lemons and special salt.
Turns out she left a twenty dollar bill on my bed sometime this week. (I thought that this was money that had rained down from heaven or something liked that.)

So I apologize, Kay, for yelling about the eleven dollars I thought you owed me.

Please girl, do something with those lemons taking up space in the bottom of the refrigerator. And don't forget about that seven dollar bag of kosher salt sitting on the counter next to the kitchen sink...

And please, honey... stay away from crazy coworkers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Book Review - The Company You Keep by Angela Henry

I recently finished reading the mystery novel The Company You Keep by Angela Henry. This book was one of the books I received in my gift bag from the National Book Club Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. I was really happy about that because this book is on my current reading list.

Kendra Clayton, a twenty-eight year old part-time GED instructor and part-time restaurant hostess, lives in the sleepy town of Willow, Ohio. She leads a nice and quiet life surrounded by family and friends. Kendra's best friend, Bernie Gibson, is involved with Jordan Wallace, a shady ladies man. Bernie confides to Kendra that she is sick of Jordan's cheating ways and plans on cutting him lose. Bernie, already mad and fed up, discovers Jordan's murdered body on her property. She calls Kendra first. Then she calls the police. Kendra gets to the scene of the crime before the police. As a result, both Bernie and Kendra are suspects in the murder of Jordan Wallace.

Kendra, in a effort to clear herself and her best friend, starts doing a little private investigating on her own. And she finds that there was more to Jordan and his shady life than meets the eye. The story goes on from there...

This book was a great "whodunit". At first, I was thinking, okay, there are going to be one or two suspects and that's it. After all, this book isn't that long-- only 210 pages. But the author's attention to detail amazed me. With each chapter, the list of suspects lengthened. The backstories of many of the suspects made this book all the more interesting. When I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. And that's what made this book a good page-turner: I couldn't wait to see who the killer was and why.

And then there were a a couple of good subplots in the novel, and these subplots in no way overshadowed the main plot. Kendra had a love interest in this book, and this love interest was one that may have some of the answers that Kendra was looking for. Kendra's relationships with her mother and neighbors were also interesting. Again, none of this took away from the main storyline, and I liked that.

As you can tell, I really liked this book. From what I can tell, The Company You Keep is the first in a series of novels involving Kendra Clayton. I look forward to seeing what Kendra gets herself mixed up in next!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sunshine-- My other beloved bootleg editor.

"Sunshine" is my other bootleg, i.e., "work for free" editor. We call her Sunshine because she always comes to work with a big smile on her face and a little pep in her step...

She's the only one who seems to be so elated to come to work, you see.

I almost expect to hear that little happy song by Katrina and the Waves begin to play whenever she happily skips down the hall or enters a room:

"Now I'm Walking on Sunshine (whoa oh)
I'm walking on Sunshine (whoa oh)
I'm walking on Sunshine (whoa oh)
And don't it feel good (Hey!) (Alright now)
And don't it feel good (Hey) (Yeah)"

No we don't hear that song when she walks down the hall or into a room, but I'm sure it's playing in her head...

...And it's probably playing very loudly.

She's just as ruthless as Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia, but her ruthless nature is tempered with a bright Colgate smile. And the more she rips apart what I've written, the brighter that smile gets.

So here's to you, "Sunshine"...
Thank's for making my day oh so bright!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Writing Progress- Chapter 19- (week of 8/14/05)

This blog entry goes out to my two "bootleg" editors: Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia and "Sunshine"...

And to my critiquers: Sister-T, The Good Sister, Cre, Tisha, Meek-Meek, Alex, Gigi, Que, Carter-Anne, Monica, Melissa, Kim, Cotena, Auntie, Lady Tee, and Hen-Dog (Puffy-Q)...

Okay my beloved manuscript readers, Chapter 19 is near completion.

And if one more of you runs up on me in the hallways at work, and ask me "Where's my Chapter 19?" or "I was out last week, did you hand out Chapter 19 yet?", I'm gonna smack ya!!! (just kidding:-)

Anyway, there's a little spanish in this chapter and I've been waiting on one of my critiquers, Ms. Gigi, to give me some translations. She came through today. (Thanks Gigi!!) I asked my fellow chemist Jose for a translation of a couple of phrases and he ran up to his desk and got a Spanish-English translation dictionary. Hmm... a fluent Spanish speaking Puerto Rican fellow having to consult a dictionary? This puzzeled me. I don't want his help anymore!

Chapter 19 has been very difficult to write. It's one of those slow chapters. I didn't care for it that much. It's more informational than anything (like Chapter 16). No bizzare cliffhangers this time...If you can remember, three out of five of the last chapters have ended with some crazy cliffhangers. (Stop your wailing, Cotena... it's just a story, sweetie.)

I've been making notes and writing dialogue in a little notebook while riding the MARTA train back and forth to work. I'm having to cull all this information together and think about it... So bare with me, ya'll...

So hold on to your weaves ladies (and my one gentleman reader, Henry). You will have your chapter pretty soon!

P.S. And Auntie? Please stop reading my manuscript to Grandma... Even though you say Grandma is enjoying it, this may be just a little too much for her delicate ears... LOL ;)

Monday, August 22, 2005

I've been tagged!!!

I've observed that a blog tag has been going around on other blog pages. I don't know many bloggers, so I didn't think I would get tagged. But lo and behold, Cydney Rax, author of My Daughter's Boyfriend, tagged me to see what ten songs I'm currently listening to. My instructions are to then tag five other bloggers. The problem is that everyone I know has already been tagged, so I guess the buck stops with me.

I am the official music DJ of the GC lab, so this is pretty much up my alley. As you will see, I'm an oldies but goodies junkie...
I had about 40 songs, but here are my top ten picks, along with a personal thought or two...

1. Now That We've found Love...O'Jays (I've changed the lyrics of this song to "Now that we found love what is we gonna do... with it!")

2. Roxanne's Revenge... Roxanne Shante
Dumbest lyric in the song: "Like corn on the cob/You're always tryna' rob/You need to be out there lookin' for a job". How does a corn cob rob?? Hmm... Anyway, when I was 13 or 14, this was the most profound thing I'd ever heard. But now, I think it is stupid. Still funny though!

3. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me...Boy George w/Culture Club
When I was 13, me and my best friend, Lady Tee, fought over whether Boy George was male or female. (Yeah, I have to admit, we were lame as hell back then). Lady Tee won that fight. Boy George is a man. Go figure.

4. Soul Searchin' (I Wanna Know if it's Mine)...Me'Shell NdegeOcello
This song came out in 1995, when I was in graduate school and head over heels in love...oh my!. Best lyric: "Come caress my southern settin' heart/My sunrise and darkest dreams/All hostility's tamed when you kiss me..." Again---oh my!!!!!

5. The Show...Dougie Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew --It amazes me that after all these years we still know every word of this song by heart! We play this in the lab ever so often, and still, we completely lose our minds. We got so excited one day that I thought we were gonna flip all the lab equipment over!

6. Heartbreak Hotel...The Jacksons -- Maybe it's just me, but this song is like, um... some weird prequel to Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. Anyway this is the earliest Jackson song that I actually like!

7. I Want to Be Free...Ohio Players-- Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop, SHOOP...enough said..

8. Sugar Free...Juicy -- "My sugar is gone, gone away from here." A true one hit wonder. My friend Henry likes to put this song on repeat in the lab and play it over and over again. After about that fifth time, we hide the CD from him.

9. Bite It... UTFO "Our Rhymes are recited/And we are delighted/To give you permission to (crunch) BITE IT!" In highschool some twenty years ago, Lady Tee saved her lunch money and bought the 12'' LP of this song. We would play it for hours in her basement. (Yep, we were still lame...) I'd been looking for this song for awhile. My friend Henry downloaded it for me! Thanks, man!

10. Anyone Who Has a Heart...Luther Vandross -- (Saddest lyric: "You couldn't really have a heart and hurt me/Like you hurt me and be so untrue/ What am I to do?") My brother Kari doesn't know why I love this song so much. He thinks it's so sad. But I tell him yeah, it's sad...but oh so good!!

As I said before, I have no one to tag... But if you, my beloved audience, have a favorite song or two, leave a comment!!


Sunday, August 21, 2005

My First Bookclub Meeting!!!

One of my goals this year was to find a good book club in Atlanta. Although the year is half over, it's never too late to tackle this goal. Yesterday, I fought horrible Atlanta traffic to attend my first book club meeting in Decatur at the Wesley Chapel Road Decatur Library. The name of the book club is Circle of Friends II (Atlanta Chapter). I found out about this well established book club while attending the National Black Book Club Conference earlier this month. The book of choice for the month of August was Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage. I already had a signed copy of this book (I read it a month ago), so I thought this would be the best time to go to a meeting.

Babylon Sisters is the story of Catherine Sanderson, a single mother with a socially conscious career helping immigrant women find jobs in Atlanta. Her daugther Phoebe, who is seventeen or eighteen at the time, is about to graduate high school and head off to college. But there is just one problem: Catherine has been keeping the identity of Phoebe's father a secret, and has weaved a complicated web of lies to carry this out. Phoebe gets a little bold and starts using a lot of tactics to figure out who her father is, much to her mother's dismay. At the same time, Catherine takes on a new client, Mandeville Maid Services, that wants to use her expertise for staffing a housekeeping business with immigrant women. The problem is that Mandeville Maid Services, headed by housekeeper turned tycoon Ezola Mandeville, is not all that it is cracked up to be. Soon, Phoebe goes off to college, and Catherine gets a call from Phoebe's father, B.J. Johnson, a famous newspaper correspondent. He needs her help with a story he's investigating involving female slavery in the city of Atlanta. The problem is, B.J., who has been living in Africa, doesn't know he has a daughter with Catherine. So the story goes on from there...

My thoughts on the book?? I enjoyed it. It was a nice page turner. I like books that have very interesting subplots layered into an overall main plot, and that is exactly what the book Babylon Sisters offers. This book examined the delicate relationships between mothers and daughters, and the burdens associated with keeping secrets. It was also an examination of the plight of young women immigrants who are preyed upon when seeking to settle down in Atlanta. +

Now back to the Book club meeting: The best thing about this meeting was that the author Pearl Cleage, who lives in Southwest Atlanta, was in attendance. Pearl Cleage, a self-proclaimed sixties child and feminist, talked about how she came to write this book and her favorite parts of the book. She also talked about issues involving community responsibility. She discussed her three previous novels, and her forthcoming novel, Baby Brother's Blues, which is slated for release next year. She did an excellent job of answering members questions about all of her books.

Overall, it was a very good meeting. It had a spiritual tone, something that I really liked but did not expect at all, and everyone was very nice and helpful. And they had some good food too(meatballs, chicken, wraps, fruit...oh my!)! It also turns out that this particular book club has a characteristic that I was looking for: they are highly active in the community.

Will I attend next month's meeting. You bet I will. I may even join!

Atlanta Weekend Traffic Gridlock...Oh My!!!

I heard something bizarre on several local news telecasts on Friday night...

Something to the effect of "Whatever you do, don't get on on I-285. Find an alternate route!"

Never heard that before...

As a matter of fact, the newscasters were screaming about staying off of all the interstates- I-75, I-85, I-20, and I-285- entirely. Turns out that the DOT was going to try and make up for all the construction they're behind on. It's been raining cats and dogs all summer, you see.

Needles to say, I just heard all of this and thought... "Hmm..."

Then I turned the channel to something a little more interesting.

Well, I needed to go to Decatur on Saturday to investigate a book club that I'm interested in. Problem is, I needed to get on I-285 to get there. I remembered the warning on the news that I should find another route.

Well I tried that. But lo and behold, I got stuck downtown on I-75/I-85. And it was much worse than weekday rush hour traffic. No one mentioned that the Atlanta Braves were in town. Everybody and their mama was trying to get to Turner Field. So I had to find a back way to Decatur. I took the scenic route through at least ten Atlanta neighborhoods to reach my destination.

Needless to say, I was late for the meeting. This grates my nerves because I pride myself on being punctual. What should have been a twenty-five minute drive turned into an hour drive. Luckily the meeeting hadn't even started yet.

This ought not to have been so... Especially on a weekend!

My solution?? The DOT should work in the rain!!!! Deal with it!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Henry and Chayse

My friend Henry and his baby girl Chayse...

Awwww... How cute!!!

She did look like Henry for a minute there...
...but she's starting to look more like her mama, Ol' mean ass Cynthia, now!!!

Gas... How high will it go???

I paid $25.00 to fill up my Mazda the other day. $25.00 damn dollars. And I'm scooting along in a little Protege! I would be living under a bridge right now if I was driving an SUV !!

Gas prices in Atlanta are averaging $2.59/gallon for regular unleaded, and $2.89/gallon for premium brands. But it could be worse ya'll. According to Liberty Post, gas prices are skyrocketing all over. Here are just a few prices around the world:

Netherlands $6.48/gallon
Moscow $2.19/gallon
London $5.79/gallon
Tokyo $4.24/gallon
Cuba $3.03/gallon

But that's not the worst of it. I was listening to the Classic Soul 102.5 Si-man (Baby!) show, and he mentioned some to the lowest gas prices...

Saudi Arabia $ 0.91/gallon
Kuwait $0.78/gallon
Iran $0.38/gallon

And here's the real kick in the head....Iraq $0.05/gallon

5 cents per gallon in Iraq...
What the heck is going on?? Now what is that all about???

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Double-Dutch Bus Madness

This morning I heard a song on the Tom Joyner Morning Show that made me laugh out loud: Double Dutch Bus by Frankie Smith and his crew. I swear, that has to be one of the most useless songs I've ever heard.

But this song came out when I was in elementary school (1981 I believe). Back then, we thought it was the best song in the world! Whenever it came on the radio, I would damn near break my neck trying to get to the radio and turn it up. I remember walking down the street with my friends, arm in arm, singing it word for word at the top of our lungs. Frankie Smith sung it on Soul Train one Saturday morning and that was all we talked about that Monday at school.

Certain lyrics of the song were um... how should I say this..."special"

"Illzay mizzou? Illzay milzay kilzay milzay pillzay mizzou!
Asama sa? A Milzay missou milzay.
Milza, milza, mizzou?
Asama sa? Milzay izzay killsou flesh.
Izza mizzou... Izza mizza baby!"

Now what the heck were Frankie and those kids saying? What language was this? For all we know, we could have been singing murder, murder, kill, kill, murder, murder (LOL)...

"Rebecca, Lolita, Veshawn and Dawn
Everytime you do the Double Dutch you really turn it on
'Bilzarbra, Mitzery, Milzetty, Kilsan,
Titzommy, Kitzerrance, Kilzommy that's my man"

What's up with some of these names? Kilzommy, Mitzery? Some of us had some ghettofabulous names back then, but this was a whole 'nother level of names. This was some ol' foreign space age craziness!

I've decided not to try and figure this song out. All I know, back then? We didn't question it. We just didn't care!

I think that I'll look at this song and accept it as something truly special...
like the bus Frankie Smith and the crew were riding on.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Today August 17, 2005, is my little sister's birthday! She was born on August 17, 1981. So that makes her 24 years old today.

I remember the day you were born, girl. It was a Monday morning. I remember Ma coming into my room at 5:00 a.m. and calmly saying that her water broke, and I should get up and get dressed.

Then she did something that I thought, even at the age of eleven, was the dumbest thing in the world. She went and took a bath. And then she straightened and combed her hair.

I sat there and watched the hot comb do wonders on her nappy hair. I remember the sizzle and smoke from the pressing oil and straightening comb. And I remember looking at her and thinking, "Umm, shouldn't we be getting out of here?"

We were waiting for your daddy Ronnie (my stepfather) to come home from his job as a forklift driver. He finally got in around six-thirty and started running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off...

Ma remained calm.

We got in the Thunderbird, got on I-85, heading northbound towards Crawford Long Hospital in Midtown. Ma and Ronnie forgot about one thing...

Rush hour traffic.

So somewhere near the Langford Parkway/166 exit, Ma started screaming like someone was trying to kill her or something. And I thought silently to myself...

"If only we woulda just left... You just had to go straigthen your hair and take a bath. Now you gonna have this baby in this Thunderbird. And that is just nasty." I thought such words quietly to myself. Saying them aloud would have gotten me slapped on the spot.

Ronnie drove like crazy, weaving in an out of traffic. I didn't know if Ma was screaming because she was in labor or if she was becoming like me, scared that we were going to have a wreck!

Anyway, we finally got to the hospital. You were born around 9:15 a.m. I remember calling Grandma, Auntie, and Uncle Olin and 'em on the payphone and saying that Mommie had just had a baby, a girl.

And when I saw Ma, she looked like I thought she would: like a wild woman, hair all sweated out into a lopsided afro. So much for straigthening her hair!

You stayed in the hospital for an extra week because you had the jaundice. My first sight of you was you laying there under the lights with a white blindfold on, crying and grabbing at the air. This disturbed me so bad that I went home and sat in the bathroom with Keesie (you remember our mutt Keesie, don'c cha?) and cried for awhile.

Thought I would tell you these things, because I've never told you before.

Fast-forward to almost a quarter-century later. Now you're grown, graduated from college, got a job, got a car...

Got a man... (LOL!)

A true diva of the world... Yes indeed!!

Happy 24th Birthday, Kay!!!!!


Sister T... The workplace kleptomaniac

Websters dictionary defines kleptomania as an obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need, usually arising from an unconscious symbolic value associated with the stolen item.

My supervisor, Sister T (the name has been changed to protect the guilty) is a kleptomaniac of sorts. In a nutshell, she likes to steal (lift, borrow, and not return... whatever) ink pens. It doesn't matter what color, brand, or value...

Just as long as it has ink. Ink pens are her passion, you see...

If there's a need for her signature on paperwork, we know that we will most definitely hear her speak four dreadful words...

"You got a pen?"

We look at her. She's looking at the paperwork and her hand is extended towards us. She is unaware of the look of horror on our faces...

In our minds we scream "Hell no! If I give you my pen, I won't get it back!" But we reluctantly relinquish our ink pens. It's either that, or receive a questionable performance review at the end of the year...

The smart employees always have a cheap throw-away ink pen available. But when you're not so bright, or caught completely off guard, what can you do??

Sister T bragged to a coworker (name withheld) that she had lifted an ink pen from her mother-in-law. Sister T was especially happy with that particular ink pen. It was the best writing pen
she'd ever stolen. She mentioned that it had belong to her mother-in-law, and that she received so many compliments on her nice pen.

So as you can see, family isn't even safe from her klepto ways...

And it's only going to get worse as she gets older. Right now, it's only ink pens. Next thing you know, it'll be paperclips, a calculator, a lunch bag, or God forbid, a wallet or purse.

(By the way, a co-supervisor was frantically searching for her calculator. She even sent out a serious e-mail about her lost property. I wonder?... Hmmm...)

I am writing this commentary because Sister T did something odd and completely bizzare. I was sitting in her office, and she was signing some paperwork, and she looked at me, a smile lighting her face and said...

"I don't know who I stole this ink pen from? You want it?"

"No thank you," I replied quietly. I immediately looked down at the floor.

At first thought, I would have jumped at the chance to get an ink pen from her. She has lifted so many from me, you see. But this ink pen was different: It was a bright neon green retractable pen. The type that looked like it would glow brightly in the dark. Very, very unique indeed.

There was no way I would've been caught with such a unique ink pen.

No, I didn't want the owner of that pen to see me with it, and go around whispering "You need to watch your ink pens around Ladylee..."

"She's a kleptomaniac... Just like Sister T!!"

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia-- my beloved bootleg editor...

Since I've been writing, there have been a couple of people who vigorously go through chapters of my manuscript and make corrections and sugesstions...

One of those people is my fellow chemist Cynthia, or Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia as our beloved secretary Dee likes to refer to her. She's an avid reader, like myself, but a little more diverse in tastes. When I asked her to read some of my work and to tell me what she thinks of it, she agreed to do so.

But she's that strange type of gal, you know. The type that sneaks up behind you, and scares the hell out of you when you happen to turn around and notice her quietly standing there. She's doesn't even have to speak: she just gives you that look, you know, that look. The same look your mama use to give you when you were cuttin' up. That one look that made you stop all mischievious behavior in an instant...

She's that type that walks quietly, but carries a baseball bat...

She sits in a cubicle on the other side of my cubicle, but two cubicles up. When she wants to ask me a question, she doesn't just yell out "Hey oldgirl, come here!". No, she quietly picks up her phone, dials your extension, and quietly hisses "Hello, could you come here for a moment please?" Very polite indeed... but oh so sinister.

She doesn't walk... She glides.

I was thinking about running up on her with a full length mirror to see if she casts a reflection... I trashed that idea because I will be in serious trouble if she doesn't.

She's been hanging in there from the beginning, and she frowned up at my first couple of chapters, almost enough to make me take my manuscript and place it in a file and hide it under my file cabinet. But now, she's becoming a more loving editor, making wonderful suggestions and pushing me forward. We actually had a beautiful yet argumentative discussion about my current chapter in progress, Chapter 19. I finally listened to what she had to say. She's actually shoved me back on the right track!!

So here's to you Cynthia, my "bootleg", i.e., "work for free" editor.

Thanks for helping me out.

Keep doing what you do, girl... with your ol' mean ass self!

So "Carter-Annish"...

I'm about to move into my new house soon...
Very soon, I hope...

And I got my first housewarming gift today from my good friend of seventeen years, a true oldgirl, Ms. Carter-Anne! A Lowe's gift card and a beautiful keepsake magnet for the refrigerator that I have yet to purchase.

It's a beautiful little magnet, showing two shelves containing little plants, gift-wrapped boxes, a water pitcher, and an apple. It even has a little happy birdy on it also. This all makes sense. It's so "Carter-Annish".

The perfect gift from my flower-child friend, who once planted corn in the front yard of her house. I remember standing there looking at the emerging stalks saying "Girl, are you crazy? Have you lost your mind? A crop of corn in the front yard?" She nodded her head as she watered her corn and said "Oh, it's going to be just lovely!".

Those corn stalks grew tall and strong. I'd never seen such a site. It was so "Carter-Annish", and it was all so right!

So thanks again, Oldgirl and family! I will always cherish my special magnet from my special friend...

Now about that Lowe's card... Is there enough credit on it for the black Maytag freezer on the bottom French doors refrigerator I want so badly??

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The state of music Videos...

I finished up some writing today...
Didn't get but about a page done, but that's good enough...
Progress is progress...

But anyway, I sat on the couch this afternoon and did a little channel surfing and came across BET's top 25 countdown hosted by Jermaine Dupri, a music producer from my beloved Atlanta. We went to the same elementary school. I didn't know him. He was in first grade, and I was in the sixth...

But he played some of his favorite videos, and I must say, it made me proud to see all the work he's done. A lot of the videos featured were of songs he produced. Too bad he doesn't get the credit he deserves.

Most of these videos were from over five to fifteen years ago. Videos by Xscape, Kriss Kross, the Brat, old Usher, etc. This was when videos were fun.

It made me a bit sad, because I actually use to love videos. I can't say that about today's current videos. I can't even look at them. I don't like being forced to look at scantily clad women bent over, their butts filling the entire T.V. screen. No thank you honey, but I don't want to see the imprint of your vagina against the fabric of your thong. I mean, if you turn the volume down there's no difference from video to video... No, I don't want to see shiny cars with shiny rims spinning in the sun. And please backup from the camera. Your platinum, gold and diamond encrusted grill is blinding me.

It's getting really old...

What happened to originality?? Okay, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, Outkast... they're innovative. But that's about it. Everybody else? Well...Better yet, what happen to just standing on a stage, on the beach, on the sidewalk, and simply singing the songs???

I would like a video music channel that played only old videos. I'd definitely subscribe to that.

Yeah, I would like that a lot!

In the begininng...

Everyone seems to be blogging these days...
Thought I would get in on some of this action...

It's 8:00 a.m. on a dreary Saturday morning here in my beloved Atlanta Georgia. It's been raining cats and dogs all summer long. The humidity has been at what feels like 200% all summer long.

I'm about to go fix myself a bowl of pineapples, put on my O'Jays Greatest Hits CD, and sit down and work on my novel for the next few hours...

Hopefully I can eek out about five pages today...