Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jury Duty Blues... A Diva in Distress

Poor Kay.

Poor, Poor Kay...

My 24-year-old sister Kay just recently got over her
Lemonade diet blues...

And last week, she had jury duty blues...

I remember when she first told me she had jury duty...

"Lee, I have jury duty!"
I cringed.
"What?" she asked...
"Girl, you better take something to do!!"
"Because they gonna have you sitting around all day. Take some puzzle books, a novel... something!"
She looked at me thoughtfully. "You think I can paint my nails while I am there?"

Oh God... I thought to myself. You are such a freakin' Diva...

I told her about my jury duty back in September 2004. It was the first, and hopefully the last, time I'd had jury duty. I was so excited about the whole thing. Even though it was September, I walked around and visited with all my co-workers, wishing them a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Easter, because I just knew that I was gonna get on a BIG time crime case that would take up months and months of my time. I was just so excited about getting away from my job for a long period of time...

I was so wrong. I didn't even get picked. As a matter of fact, I didn't even make it past the large jury pool room... I sat in the room from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (with an hour long lunch break). It felt like I was being held against my will or something, just sitting there ALL day. Not to mention that I have the attention span of a damn flea. My puzzle books and novels only held my attention for three or four hours...

So when they told us (there were twenty people left in the jury pool room; there had been about 150 that morning) that we were dismissed, we raced out of there like a herd of cattle. I'd never been so happy to run out of the courthouse and breathe Atlanta's smoggy air. It was almost like a scene from The Sound of Music...

Well, I conveyed all of this to my sister Kay... After our little talk, she grabbed her keys and headed straight for the Union City Wal-Mart. She returned with a delightful selection of puzzle books, etc.

Since I work in Midtown Atlanta, I told her that she could ride with me the next morning. We would drop her car off at the College Park MARTA station. Then I would drop her off downtown at the Fulton County Courthouse, and show her where the Five Points MARTA train station was located. This is the usual deal when Kay has to go somewhere new. Unlike our brother and myself, she loathes trying to drive somewhere unfamiliar. Such a diva...

I drove her past the house I'm buying downtown, just so she could see the progress, then we headed for the courthouse...

"Lee, do they have cans of air freshener spray in the bathroom?"
"What?!" I yelled, a little too loudly.
"I gotta use the bathroom," she replied.
I shook my head. "Why didn't you go before we left home?"
"I didn't have to go then," she replied...

Diva, Diva, Diva, I thought silently to myself.

Well, I dropped her off. I was at work, dredging through my boring day, when, at about 4:00 p.m., my cell phone rang. It was my sister Kay.

"I don't like this," she mumbled. "I'm tired."
"Girl, I tried to warn your butt! I told you to take something to do."
"Oh, I brought all my stuff with me. This is boring!" she whined.
I forgot that Kay too has the attention span of a flea...
"Just hang in there, girl," I encouraged...

Well, to make a long story short, Kay got chosen for an assault with a deadly weapon case. (She told me this when it was over). So for three days, she did her good citizen thang and served as a juror... And of course, we had a few more "diva in distress" conversations during this time...

She seem to be interested in her case, since it involved some dudes around her age. I was just hoping she wouldn't do the diva thing and walk out of the courtroom do to boredom...

She told me all about the case. I sat on the livingroom couch and listened. I didn't hear much of what she said though... It was kind of like the adults on The Peanuts cartoon show talking to me... Waah, Waah, Waah, Waah-Waah... That's all I heard, due to my flea-like attention span...

I'm just happy that she made it through...

And next time Kay??

Don't forget to carry a travel-size can of air freshener with you!!!

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Miss My Lil' Brotha Da'Kari!!!

I miss my brother Da'Kari, a.k.a,"Ralph"...

He's in Basic Training right now...

He ran off and joined the doggone United States Army straight out of high school. He was only seventeen at the time. I have no damn idea what on earth possessed our Mama to just sign him over to Uncle Sam like that. It really pissed me off something terrible.

But you know how mothers can be with their sons... Still I don't know what substance she was smoking when she signed the papers for him to join.

For some reason, he has wanted to go into the military since he was a little boy. I told him last year, "Your tax money is supporting this war, and that's enough!!!You can join the damn military when President Bush allows Jenna and Barbara [Bush's twin daughters] to join!!" (Hell will freeze over before that happens, right?) I thought that was the end of the conversation. Apparently it wasn't.

He came over to my house one Sunday morning (in the month of April, I think), as he always does so that we could go to Church together. He asked me if I would help him with some stuff for the ASVAB. I looked at him like he was crazy. He said he needed help because he wanted to join the Army.

He said it would make a man out of him...

I just wanted to grab him and shake some sense into him. I was pissed...

Right after he told me that, I went into my bedroom, shed a couple of tears, and then called my friend and co-worker Hen-Dog on the phone. Hen-Dog had been in the military. Maybe Hen-Dog could talk him out of this insane idea of going into the army...

I didn't say much to Da'Kari that morning, for fear of breaking out crying and wailing beyond control... I wouldn't even look him directly in the eyes. We went to Hen-Dog's house after Church, and I sat and listened to Da'Kari and Hen-Dog talk for an hour. After listening in on their discussion, I got a small amount of understanding of why he wanted to join the army.

I obtained a little understanding, but I still don't accept it... Not one bit...

I thought Da'Kari and I had an understanding. He asked if he could come live with me. He was going to live with me, once I bought my house. He would have his own room, and he would not have to give me any rent. He had already been accepted into the Aviation Mechanics program at Atlanta Area Tech. He would pay for school with his Hope Scholarship. (I was going to buy his tools, or whatever else he needed.) He had a nice little job at Red Lobster. I just wanted him to work and go to school and not have to worry about rent, bills etc. (My sister Kay has latched on to this idea REAL tight!). I just wanted him to save up his money so he could go out and get his own home, etc., without having to struggle like I did at that age. I wasn't trying to be controlling or anything. But I just wish I had the oppportunity to stay somewhere rent free and have a few years to pay off any school debt, or go to school without having to work two jobs, or even to save up a little money so that I could go get the car I wanted, etc....

I mean, I REALLY thought we had it all planned out...

I guess I was wrong...

Like I said earlier, I have gone through so many many emotions: rage, sadness, fear...

But most of all, I feel like a failure... Let's not even talk about the guilt I feel when people accuse me of not doing anything to stop him from going into the army.

I feel like I have failed him. If only I could have been making more money, married somebody making good money or had a better job, or something. If only I could have been doing SOMETHING more useful for myself so I could help him a little more...

Maybe he wouldn't have had to sell his damn soul to Uncle Sam...

I really don't want him laying in a foxhole over in Iraq dodging bombs and bullets, wondering why nobody stopped him from making such a stupid decision.

I went down to Fort Gilliem and sat with him a few hours before he shipped off for basic training. I grabbed him tight, and cried into his neck right before he got on the bus for basic training and told him I was so sorry that he felt like this was his only alternative in life. I was so sorry that he had to make this choice, and that I didn't do more for him...

He didn't say anything. Just ran to the bus...

So I haven't seen him in three months. And what's worse, he has to repeat his basic training due to a knee injury. So I won't see him until the holidays, I guess...

But I do get a call from him every week...

And there's nothing like picking up the phone on Sunday afternoons and hearing him scream...

"Hey, Shawty!!!!"

So, Da'Kari, aka, Ralph, I just wanted to know that I love you and miss you. You were born when I was 17 years old, so you might as well be my child. It sure has felt like it, hasn't it, since our mama has a tendency to do her own "thang", and move to the beat of her own drum (by the way, I heard she got rid of your stepdaddy --that drunk good-for-nothing IDIOT-- yeah I said it!!!--and you know I thought that was the real reason you joined the army!). You have been my running partner since I moved back to Atlanta from New Orleans four years ago, and I sure do miss riding around in your truck listening to the classic oldies (LOL!!) I miss our Playstation marathons, and our movie time. I just hope that you will be safe, and know that we are praying for you. I know it is your life and you must live it. And like I said, if you prayed about this and you have some peace in your heart about it, don't worry about what the rest of us say...

Just do your thizzle, shawty!!

So until then, your playstation controller is waiting for you. And I'll be right here waiting for you, so that I can whip your tail (as usual) in NBA 2K5 basketball.

I'll Holla!!!


Saturday, September 24, 2005

I Miss Saturday Morning Cartoons :(

Wonder Twin Powers....

Just wanted to big up my favorite cartoon characters, Zan and Jayna, who appeared on the Cartoon series Superfriends in the late seventies...
And I'm sitting here, early on a Saturday morning, longing for the good ol' days, when I could watch good cartoons instead of the freakin' news on Saturday mornings!...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Klepto Reloaded... Darth Sista T in Full Effect.

(Note: This piece is a continuation of the August 17, 2005 Post "Sister T...The workplace kleptomaniac)

A few days ago, I and my fellow co-workers, Cowgirl Cre, Hen-Dog, and Meek-Meek, were busy working away on product violations, but at the same time making desperate attempts at curbing our workplace boredom with a little "Color Puple" spelling game...

"Bogus!" Cowgirl Cre yelled. "Meek-Meek, spell the word Bogus!"
"Bogus: B-O-G-U-S, bogus" as in "This job is BOGUS".
"Good, Meek-Meek, that was real good," Cowgirl Cre screamed, a huge smile creasing her lips.
"Okay, okay," Meek-Meek chimed. "Hen-Dog, spell the word Low pay!"
"Low Pay: L-O-W-P-A-Y, low pay" as in "This job offers LOW PAY!"
"Get down, Hen-Dog, get down with your bad self," Meek-Meek yelled.
Hen-Dog did his usual victory dance.
"Ooh, ooh, ooh, I've got one, I've got one," I (Ladylee) screamed. "Cowgirl Cre, spell the word Klepto!"
Cowgirl Cre's huge smile melted into a frown. "Sista," she murmured. "S-I-S-T-A, Sista, as in Darth Sista T is standing right behind you!!!

As soon as those terrible words were uttered, Meek-Meek, Hen-Dog, and Cowgirl Cre scattered like cockroaches, leaving me sitting there peering over my shoulder at the ruthless Darth Sista T.

Funny. We didn't hear her coming. Usually, we hear the hard Darth Vader-like breathing (Haaaaawww... Haaaaawww) and the determined clicks of her high heels on the shiny hallway floors, but we were so engrossed in our game that we didn't see or hear her, or her vicious wrath, coming our way...

"Ladylee, I need your signature on this violation worksheet, right now!" she barked, her voice dark and sinister.
I frantically searched my desk for an ink pen.
"Here, use my pen," she suggested.
"No, thank you," I replied, my voice trembling. If it was an ink pen, I knew she had stolen it from someone, and as usual, I did not want to be caught with a stolen writing utensil.

"No, use it!" she demanded.

There was no way I could decline again. Afterall, Sister T would stretch her thumb and index finger towards me, and I would start choking from lack of air....

So I slowly reached for the ink pen and examined it closely. The pen was extraordinary, unlike any ink pen I'd ever seen in my entire life. It was an Itoya Xenon XE-100 Aqua Retractable Roller! The pen's barrel was a striking ocean blue, and it was equipped with a multi-ridged black rubber supergrip holder. It was mesmerizing.

Darth Sista T's eyes lit up like bright stars in the night when she saw my interest in it!

"That's the pen I stole from my husband, Brother J."

Gee, poor Brother J, I thought quietly to myself. That sad man's probably feverishly searching all over the house for his special ink pen. It's sad that kleptomania can affect even the immediate family. My heart goes out to him...

"Look how the ink comes out," she continued. "It almost writes like a felt pen, but not all sloppy. It's better than a ballpoint pen!"

I nodded my head slowly. I just wanted to sign the paperwork so she could go away, and take her heavy ass breathing with her. But here's the comment by Darth Sista T that stopped me cold:

"It's the bomb!!!"

Oh my! Was that a smile on her face? Was that perspiration on her brow? Was that drool escaping the corner of her mouth?

I quickly signed the paperwork, at which time she snatched the ink pen and the paperwork from my hand and quickly walked away.

She wields Itoya Xenon XE-100 pen like Wonder Woman wields her Magic Lasso. When she clicks the retract button, I swear it's just like how when Darth Vader readies his Light Saber for battle. She even lays it on her desk in a special way, perpendicular to the huge desk's edge.

Gee, I thought, maybe the kleptomania is over. Maybe we, Darth Sista T's employees, are free to carry our ink pens without fear of her snatching them and claiming them as her own!

GLORY! Free at last...

But alas, this is not the case. The other day, you see, Darth Sista T was signing paperwork over near Oldgirl Que's desk, when all of a sudden, she looked curiously at the cheap Bic Pen in her hand and said...

"Where did I get this pen from?"

Oldgirl Que and I looked away quickly. We also checked to make sure our own inkpens were secure.

We were afraid. We were very afraid.
Because we sadly and quickly realized, you see...

That we would never be safe from the ultimate ink pen bandit, Darth Sista T.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finally...Someone Confronts the American Red Cross!!


This is not a call for donations to the Red Cross. I know you, like me, are tired of seeing the Red Cross Logo and the call for donations everytime you pull up and every other web page.

Afterall, we all know that the Red Cross has a monoploy on donations...

But I must say, that I've been getting sick and tired of Atlanta television news broadcasting the fact that the American Red Cross is grossly disorganized. Some evacuees are not getting the help that they should be getting. Debit cards do not work. People are being turned away.

I went to Charity Navigator, a site which rates over 4000 charity organizations, and it turns out that the American Red Cross brought in over 3 billion dollars last year. That breaks down to over 100 million dollars a week.

That's a lot of bread. So what's the freaking problem??

But not a day goes by that I don't turn on the Atlanta news and hear some Red Cross spokesman whining and coming up with excuses for why they are so disorganized, why they can't get the debit cards working, why they can only help a few people, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

It was beginning to look to me like the Red Cross doesn't know its head from its ass...

Apparently one metropolitan politician, Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones, felt the same way I do. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vernon Jones kicked the American Red Cross out of Dekalb County. This particular center, the Panola Center, was one of three Red Cross Centers in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.

The Atlanta Journal-Constituion has a bee in its bonnet concerning Mr. Jones, and they tried to make it look like he basically shoved the poor, poor Red Cross out into the cold, and now they are not able to help people. (Almost made me want to pick up a violin and play a sad, sad tune...)

But as usual, when the AJC writes an article on Vernon Jones, he usually goes on a radio station that morning to clear up the AJC's slanted mess. So low and behold, I tuned my radio to V-103's Frank and Wanda morning show, and as expected Vernon Jones was explaining what happened. He basically said that he'd been receiving numerous complaints from evacuees about poor treatment by the American Red Cross. (Several evacuees called the radio station and told their Red Cross horror stories.) He accused them of being chaotic and disorganized, and urged them to automate their processes. He said that Tim English, the director of the center, would not even sit down with Dekalb County and discuss the issues. As a result, he told them they needed to step up to the plate and do a better job or make other arrangements. American Red Cross decided to leave the center and relocate elsewhere...

I'm just glad someone stepped up and said something. I expect for an organization that brings in over 100 million dollars a week to have a little organization about itself. Especially since smaller organizations like the Salvation Army, Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless Foundation, and Heal the Hood are doing such a good job with giving aid and assistanceto evacuees. Even many of the local Churches are doing a great job.

But the American Red Cross, which is better financed and more established, should be leading the pack.

Personally though, I think the Red Cross should hire a staff, especially in times of crisis like these, since they can't seem to find enough volunteers. Maybe they can even disperse some money to these smaller organizations that seem to be finding a way to get the job done. Or maybe they should just stick to taking care of blood donations....

Just my personal opinion. They won't see a dime from me until they get it right.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Writing Progress-Chapter 19...Trifling Times, Trifling People

This post goes out to my two bootleg, i.e., "work for free" editors "Sunshine" and "Ol Mean Ass Cynthia".

And to all my manuscript critiquers: Hen-Dog, Cowgirl Cre, Sista T, The Good Sista, Regina, Kim, Melissa, Meek-Meek, Monica, Cotena, and whoever else I didn't mention.

I meant to give an update to ya'll once a week, but as you all know, I have busted down to a crashing halt.

I am oh so trifling. Yes I admit it. My name is Ladylee, and I am trifling....

Chapter 19 was 10,800 words. It took me 2 months to finish it. I was at a point where I'd rather pick fuzz balls out the carpet than work on it. Why did it take me so long?

I DID NOT LIKE CHAPTER 19!!! This was one of those informational chapters. I found it a bit boring.

And what's so doggone funny, most of you did like it. Especially my bootleg editors. They are usually hard to please. Cotena, our friendly neighborhood ATL traffic engineer, hated it as much as I did. (Cotena is a trifling broad, just like myself. She's the reason why ATL traffic is the worst in the country. Just trifling.)

My supervisor "Sista T" has not finished reading Chapter 19 yet. I told her that she was straight up trifling. She looked at me in pure disgust. (Gee, I know my yearly performance evaluation will reflect this.) But she said that she could tell that my writing style was really changing up from earlier chapters...

This made me feel, I don't know, quite teary-eyed and special. Oh so warm and fuzzy inside (LOL). Sista T, who's been in Darth Vader mode of late, could have at least given me half a day off if she really wanted me to feel special (*hint, hint*). She even mentioned a geographical error in Chapter 19. Thank's Sista T! (Now how about that time off?)

I read a couple of horror novels while writing Chaper 19. Hence, there were some really corny lines in Chapter 19:

"His words were shocking, stabbing me like shards of glass flying from a broken mirror." Hen-Dog was happy about that line for some reason. Why? I didn't ask, and I didn't want to know.

"I walked back into a house that was as silent as a desperate blood-curdling scream." Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia telephoned me (she sits two cubicles away from me) and quietly expressed her outrage about that particular line.

(Corny, I know. Just plain outright corny and trifling!! I am NOT the Simile or Metaphor Queen!!)

So that's the gist of it. Chapter 19 is over and out. Most likely it will be culled way down. It wasn't my longest chapter. Chapter 14 was over 20,000 words. Imagine that! This is turning into War and Peace!

And you know what? Chapter 20 is finished. I banged it out in one weekend. It's 6800 words. I just need to make a few corrections. So all my fellow Critiquers, you will receive your copy via e-mail or just stop by my desk.

There will be NO writing for me today, ya'll. I'm off to have my new house appraised. (GLORY! Guess that means I'll be moving soon, hunh?)

Stay tuned for more updates...


Friday, September 16, 2005

George Bush's 9/15/05 'Trina Speech - A Couple of Points of View from the Dirty Dirty South

I watched George Bush's speech last night.

He talked about the whole Katrina disaster and how his administration is going to do so many wonderful things to revive the Gulf Region, and the city of New Orleans, in particular.

I thought to myself, "Hmm... such an eloquent speech.

It's just so heartfelt. You know, I feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Gee whiz...everything's gonna be alright... Yes indeed!"

Then he went and mentioned, near the end of his speech, the New Orleans "Second Line" tradition.

Then I was like, "Oh, he has such wonderful speech writers!"

(I can't imagine him anywhere near a "second line"!! Does he, my beloved President, really even know what a "second line" is? Can you imagine him doing a little jig with an umbrella in his hand?? Oh my!!!)

Boy oh boy, my president sure knows how to read a mean teleprompter!!

My phone rang during the speech. I thought it was a telemarketer. I was all prepared to hang up rudely in his or her face. But it was my best friend Lady Tee. Now, she usually calls me late at night when an Awards show comes on, and she wants to make a funky comment about a singer or a presenter.

But last night, she called about the Bush speech. Now you must understand, Lady Tee doesn't give a damn about politics. The first thing she said?

"Lee, how the hell they gonna interrupt CSI?!!"

Then she said "You know what, Lee? This just goes to show that we are NOT ready for any serious attacks. We have no defenses! We can't even defend ourselves against an act of nature that we knew about in advance, so how the hell are we gonna defend ourselves against some terroristic bombs and mess?"

Bobbie Jean, Lady Tee's mama, screamed "It's a conspiracy!! They were trying to find a way to get all them folks out of there so they can go in and take over that real estate."

Lady Tee said "Them old folks be knowing, Lee!"

There's a rumor going around that Halliburton, Cheney's old company, will be involved in some of the renovations in the Gulf Coast Region. Hmm... I hope that's just a rumor. If it's true, why, that would be worse than this whole gas and oil fiasco, wouldn't it???)


My thoughts?

Let's just say if another terroristic or natural disaster happens...

I want to be somewhere hanging out and partying hard with Barbara and Jenna Bush, George Bush's twin daughters. I'm pretty sure they will be the first to be rescued out of any disastrous situation.

If those girls are part of a "second line", I want to be right there in the mix...

That way, I know I'll be saved from disaster...

You can bet your life on that...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Book Review- Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window by Cherlyn Michaels

A really good book is one that I can curl up on the sofa with and lose myself in for hours and hours on end, not wanting for one moment to stop reading...

...just itching and crying to see what the hell's gonna happen next!

That's how it was for me with the novel Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window by
Cherlyn Michaels.

This is the story of Vanella Morris, a modern-day career woman who's an executive at a Japenese firm in Cleveland, Ohio. She has the perfect life: great income, great condomiunim, nice car, etc.

She also has the perfect man, the sexy Alton Goode. He dotes on her and treats her like she is Queen of the world.

They are so in love ( sweet).

Alton even gets down on one knee and asks Vanella to marry her. (Gee! How romantic!!)

Life is just so perfect for Vanella...

...until Alton proposes to her.

From here, the author takes the oh-so-worn-out-cliche (boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl ride off on a white horse into the sunset) and destroys it with a sledge hammer!!!!

The problem is that Vanella Morris has commitment phobia. You see, she knows all the marriage statistics verbatim. Most of her friends have been divorced or are having a rough time in their marriage. She's always been the one they call upon when they need a shoulder to cry on. And to top it off, she has grown up in a dysfunctional household.

Therefore, in a nutshell, her view of marriage?

Marriage is not a good thing.

She suggests to Alton, the perfect male specimen, who's ready for a family and old-fashioned commitment, that they should live together. That way the relationship would stay wonderful.

Oh my... that was the wrong thing to say.

This novel goes on from there to explore the "why" of why Vanella has developed such attitudes about marriage. Through interactions with her friends and her immediate family, the reader gets a good picture of why she believes what she believes. Vanella has allowed her past experiences to shape her beliefs. So where does Vanella go from here? Is she justified in having the beliefs that she has? I won't say anymore than that. You'll have to pick the book up to find out what happens.

What makes this book interesting is that it was a twist on the usual commitment tale, where this time, it is a woman, and not a man, who has commitment jitters. I can't recall reading another story with this theme or plot. Yes, It was a truly original story.

Plus, the author's writing style is... I don't know...stunning, engrossing, vivid, breath-taking, intriguing, magical... orgasmic. Cherlyn Michaels does some beautiful, almost spooky stuff with description, visualization, and character development. Sort of like how the author Tayari Jones does unimaginable, deep-off-the-pages acrobatics with a metaphor or simile. To be honest, it's almost indescribable. Then, to top it off, the author adds twists and turns to an already highly original storyline. Then she takes the turns and twist them up just a little bit more. This is the first book I've ever read where the author pulled me so, so, so deep into the story that I became the main character, feeling what the main character feels. I cried a couple of times, to the point where I had to put the book down and go somewhere and collect myself. I even got really pissed off a couple of times, to the point where I had to remind myself that it is just a story. All in all, it is a wonderful story which made me think, and challenged me to reexamine what has shaped my own beliefs all these years...

This book is definitely a must read. It was moving, deeply emotional, and thought-provoking.

All I have to say is...

Go out and get it.

And get it real soon.

Trust me...You won't regret it...

Monday, September 12, 2005

OLDGIRL#2 - Special Shout Out!!!

I'd like to take a moment to give a special shout out to a good friend of mine, "Lady K", i.e., Oldgirl #2 !!

What's up, Oldgirrrllll?!!!!!!

Folks keep asking me, "Ladylee, what's up with this 'oldgirl' tag?"

It started some fifteen years ago in graduate school. I walked into the first day of the Chemistry Orientation and saw that I was the only black person in the room. This pissed me off for something terrible. I made friends pretty quick, though. But I became friends with one girl in particular, a hispanic girl we'll just call "Lady K".

There were a few black girls that entered our program that next year. One sister in particular could not remember names to save her life. She referred to everyone, including professors, as "Oldgirl" or "Oldboy". "Lady K" and I thought this was confusing, yet at the same time, hilarious!

Lady K and I were always looking for new and interesting ways of entertaining ourselves during that depressing and stressful time, so we started calling each other "Oldgirl". (I know... pretty lame, hunh?) If we saw each other on opposite ends of the hall or anywhere on campus we would yell "Oldgirrrlll!" (I must tell you that this really annoyed people in our immediate vicinity!)

After a while, we even got over into some top secret 007 type craziness. For example, when we were referring to our men, it became Oldboy#1, Oldboy#2, etc. This was at a time when the internet and the whole idea of email was just beginning. We had to use code words... you never knew who was reading this new technology known as email!

Anyway, we still call each other "Oldgirl" to this very day.. We probably use it a million times when we talk. It's very strange for us to call each other by our real names.

Lame isn't it? I know it is. But it was US. It was our complex thing, doggonit!!!

So Oldgirl#2, one of the Original Oldgirls, I just want to give you a special shout out and let you know I'm thinking of you! I've been trying to call you up in Baton Rouge, but the phone lines are jammed, and I haven't been able to get through. I know you're okay because you've been reading my blog and leaving comments...

I thought about you when I was driving home from work on Friday afternoon. I heard one of your FAVORITE songs on the radio. You loved your country music, being that you were from Oklahoma and all, but you started hanging around me and quickly began liking some of that booty club Miami and Southern bass music, didn't you Oldgirl?

You remember this????

Come on baby... Kick them daisies
Look at them girls with the daisy dukes on...

(I want cha to)
Look at them girls with the daisy dukes on...

Look at them girls with the daisy dukes on...

(I want cha to)
Look at them girls with the daisy dukes on...

You use to lose your freaking mind when this song came on the radio!!!!

I swear, this had to be the lamest song in the world. I laughed out loud when I heard it the other day. You use to love it. And you use to love that "Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle" song too. Geez!!!

So Olgirl#2, just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you. I wanted to give you a little throw back to our grad school days. I miss you. And I miss our B&B (Bitch and Beer) Tuesdays at Jaggers Pub.

There was nothing better than sitting around crying in our beer, was there?

So take care, Oldgirl...


Sunday, September 11, 2005

The September 11, 2001 World Trade Center Tragedy...I Remember

The people of my parents generation have always said, "I remember exactly were I was when Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot" or "I remember where I was when John F. Kennedy was shot."

And people of my generation have said "I remember where I was when Marvin Gaye was shot."

And the people of my generation now have an additional "I remember" moment. ...

"I remember where I was the morning the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center."

I clearly remember where I was on that sunny and bright Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.

My job, which I'd just begun three weeks prior to that day, had sent me to Denver, Colorado to a Regulatory Science training course. I'd arrived from Atlanta that Sunday, September 9th, and was to stay the entire week. Early that Tuesday morning, I'd arrived to class in a conference room in the lobby of the hotel about five minutes late. I'd been upstairs in my hotel room dealing with a nose bleed. I was having trouble adjusting to the high altitude.

One of the instructors was finishing up a special announcement. I caught the tail end of it. He was saying something to the effect of "We'll keep you posted on the situation in New York."

I didn't ask anyone what was going on. I knew there was a hurricane swirling somewhere off the upper east coast, and I remember thinking to myself "Damn, that hurricane has hit New York!"

Class went on for a couple of hours until it was time for a break. The lead instructor got up and made another announcement...

"The World Trade Center Twin Towers have collapsed. They've been destroyed. They're gone."

Again, I remember thinking, "A hurricane destroyed the twin towers?"

During our fifteen minute break time, I went to the hotel bar. I remembered that it had a big screen television. I asked the bartender what was going on. He said that some airplanes had hit the World Trade Center.

I remember wondering how and why would some little crop dusters fly into the World Trade Center? But after watching the footage over and over during my break, I quickly realized that those were no crop dusters. They were huge airplanes. I was shocked and horrified. Just like everyone else in the country probably was.

I returned to class. The lead instructor said that if we had anyone in New York that we needed to check on, we had permission to go and make calls. No one left. We continued with our class.

I remember spending my lunchtime and most of the evening hours after class watching the news, not believing what I was seeing and hearing. Terrorists had brought down the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

That next day in class, the instructor said that if anyone wanted to leave, then they could leave. How could we leave, though? All air traffic was halted. Someone said that rental cars were not available. And two Amtrak trains had collided one state over in Utah, so train service was temporarily halted.

We were all stuck. We decided to continue the class. So I was in Denver the rest of the week, still trying to adjust to the higher altitude, fighting with my nosebleeds and constant dry mouth.

And also trying to adjust to the fact that terrorists had attacked the USA.

I called worried family members to let them know I was alright. I also called my new boss to let her know I was okay. People in class were struck with a fear of flying back to their homes, but I decided to just pray about it and have a little faith.

The class ended one day early because some of the instructors couldn't make it to the class due to flight cancellations. I left Denver that Friday. I wasn't afraid to fly because I'd spent the week praying and thanking God in advance for a safe trip home. So my faith was high. My flight was only two hours delayed, but it went smoothly. I must say, though, I was more than happy to see Atlanta again.

So today, September 11, 2005, I take time to remember one of the most tragic events in our country's history. I say a prayer for the families of the victims of one of the most tragic events in American history. This day has to be terribly hard on them.

And most of all, I hope and pray that terrorists will never strike our country again...
Never, ever again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

100 Days... Still Missing.

100 days...

102 days to be exact.

And no one has seen or heard from Natalee Holloway.

Now, I know you're like, "Doggonit LadyLee, why the heck are you talking about Natalee Holloway?"

It's definitely not to make a desperate plea for you to call 1-800-... if you've seen her. Nothing like that.

Afterall, we've heard enough of that haven't we? We don't need the 800 number shoved down our throats once again, do we...

I know I don't.

This missing persons case was, I don't know... bizarre. It was quite strange to see that Aruban officials had to be forced to make the search for Natalee Holloway a priority. You see how they send out the calvary in the USA when a young pretty white woman disappears. In our beloved country, the authorities respond to reports of a young pretty missing white woman faster than authorities respond to national disasters. (Humph!!!). Heck, if I didn't know any better, I would have thought that Natalee Holloway was a missing poor young black girl in Aruba! Thank goodness for her mother's tenacity!

But something disturbed me about this case. If you can remember, Natalee was last seen on May 30, 2005 getting into a car with three guys: A young dutchman by the name of Joran van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.

Stop right there. She was last seen getting into a car with three dudes...

Hmm... Last seen getting into a car with three dudes.

Hmm.... Who last saw her get into a car with three dudes?

Her homegirls, that's who. Her friends.

That kind of pissed me off...

I remember being 18 at one time. Hell, I was a wild girl from the ages of approximately 18-25. Just out there.

Don't gasp. Just think back to your days when you were just "out there":

Twerking it out.

But gee... I don't ever remember getting into a car, on USA soil even, with three dudes in the middle of the night that I'd met at a club. I don't care if I'd been partying with them all week. It wasn't even going down!


How can I say this as nicely as possible. Umm... Let's see.

...Because that meant a train was pulling into the station real soon, if you catch my drift.

And even worse, how can your homegirls let you jump in a car with three men?

What kind of friends were those?

You know the old saying. The rap group Whodini said it best in their song "Friends"...

"With friends like these, you don't need enemies!"

That just pisses me off.

Sure, I have friends that have left a club with a man. You best believe she was checking back in with somebody. Me personally, I haven't. I'm a little too scary for that. Give me your phone or beeper number and we'll hook up later when I can somehow feel comfortable that you are not some crazed serial killer or an ax murderer. That was my way of doing things back then. Even then, I'm calling up a friend and letting them know all kinds of info just in case I show up missing. I mean, we thought about that type of stuff.

I thought about my friends. I was the youngster in the crew back then, in the late 80's/early 90's. My friends would never have let me get into a car with three strange fellows. NEVER.

They're saying "Oh, they probably slipped her a date rape drug..." That's even worse. Her friends sat by and let her leave, in a supposedly drunken state with three strange guys. In a foreign country, no less.

Several times, I asked my best friend Lady Tee what she thought of the whole scenario. She said, "Girl, she's probably been doing that type of stuff on the regular, and her friends were like 'See ya later, Natalee!'."
I shiver at the thought.
So now she's missing. No let's just say it. She may no longer be with us.

The whole island of Aruba was turned upside down. Landfills were searched. A pond was drained. Duct tape containing hairs was examined. Two African-Aruban men were falsely accused. (That's when I knew something foul was going on. When two black men were arrested and held as suspects.)

Fast forward... present time. The cameras are now gone. Beth Holloway, Natalee's mother, left the island this past Monday. Joran van der Sloot left for college in Holland this week. The Kalpoe brothers are free to do their thing...

The media has got the hell on... Natalee is no where to be found. Looks like everyone has given up.

Now I am hoping an "Elizabeth Smart" moment happens, where Natalee is reunited with her family. No one should ever lose a child. It has to be just horrible. It's just not right. It leaves mental and emotional scars that will never be erased. I hope she is found alive.
And I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of any one of those friends that watched her get in that car with those guys. The pain they must feel of being able to hold her back, but for whatever reason, allowing her to go with those guys... I just can't imagine it.

But you know what really disturbs me? Deep down? There are many black and latino women who have been reported missing or have been missing longer than Natalee Holloway.
And you know what?
I can't, for the life of me, remember any of their names.

John Roberts nominated for CHIEF Supreme Court Justice...Hunh??

President Bush nominated John Roberts to succeed Chief Justice Rehnquist as the next Chief Supreme Court Justice.

Right now, I'm feeling like I'm walking down busy Peachtree Street and there is a big pink elephant sitting in the middle of the intersection. Everyone's just walking by, paying the sight no mind. But me, I see such a thing and I must ask the obvious questions... (Hey, I have to admit that it's a strange analogy).

But that's the closest I can come to describing how I'm feeling about this whole John Roberts nomination.

Is it just me? Does anyone find this just a tad bit odd?

Can President Bush really nominate him to the highest position on the highest court?

Isn't this like skipping from the first grade to the seventh grade?

You know what this is like? It's like a sixteen-year-old freckled face kid walking into McDonald's to apply for an entry level job... And he gets hired on the spot. However, he doesn't get the entry level job. They throw a three-piece suit on him and make him the regional manager.

Aren't the other justices who have been on the bench of the highest court of America for the last umpteen years just a tad bit upset about this? Isn't there some type of seniority system in place?

Does John Roberts have enough experience for the job?

Does anybody care if he has enough experience for the job?

Or am I just missing something here?

Hmm... I wonder...

And I'll continue to ponder.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Hurricane Katrina Disaster and Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower... An Eerie Resemblance?

A couple of years ago, I read The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. It is one of my favorite books. Maybe even one of the best books I've ever read.

For those of you who don't know, Octavia Butler is the premiere black female science fiction writer of our time. She has written twelve novels, mostly centered on human-alien symbiotic relationships, paraspsychological matters, and genetic issues.

Two of those twelve novels, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents (collectively known as the Parable Series) are a bit of a detour from Butler's usual fair. The Parable of the Sower is a novel which details what happens when the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world, slowly becomes, because of governmental neglect of environmental, economical, and sociological concerns, a third world country.

(Do you see where I'm going with this?... Hold your horses.)

The Parable of the Sower describes a time from the year 2015 to 2030 commonly referred to as The Apocalypse, or "The Pox" for short. It is a terrible time, where food, water, shelter, transportation, electricity, telecommunication, and other life essentials are scarce. Could you imagine a time when water costs several times as much as gasoline? Well, that was the type of craziness described in this book.

This book is written as a fictional autobiography in the form of a diary or journal (sort of like the Diary of Anne Frank). The protagonist is a 15-year old African-American teenage girl named Lauren Olamina. Lauren details the happenings in and outside of her community. Oh, her community, by the way, consists of a small neighborhood surrounded by a protective wall composed of cement, glass, and razor wire. Such small walled communities are essential for keeping out looters, crazed drug addicts, rapists, thieves, and killers. Even the police are not trusted. They are much worse than the criminals at times.

Eventually, the criminals get through the wall and destroy her entire community. Many in her community are killed, including members of her family. She and a few people in her community must now leave.

They become refugees.

They scavenge for food and water. They must sleep in the bushes and hills at night and take turns keeping watch for criminals. It is a time when it is best not to look clean. That makes you a target. And if you're a woman, it's best to look and dress like a man so you won't be raped.

Lauren and the other refugees from her neighborhood start walking from the Los Angeles area to Washington state. Along the way, she meets many other refugees who join her crew. Lauren eventually goes on to start the religious cult EARTHSEED, a religion based on the idea of "God is Change". The writings in her journal, which consists of various ideas and poetry, become the center of the religion, collected in a book entitled Earthseed: The Books of the Living. They settle in a remote area in Washington state and the commune begins to grow. The Parable of the Talents continues the story...

I thought of the novel The Parable of the Sower while watching the Hurricane Katrina tragedy unfold. It's the only thing I've ever read that remotely resembled (on USA soil) what is happening now. Especially when the media began referring to these people as refugees. And all the while, I've been thinking about how Octavia Butler described some of these same situations, including government incompetence, in the Parable Series. I know she must be shaking her head in disbelief knowing that she wrote something somewhat prophetic, even though it was meant to be mere fiction.

I've been asking myself a few questions, and I asked myself these questions back when I first read the novel. And now, in the wake of what's been going on for the past week, I'm still asking myself the same questions. What would happen if an event occurred which devastated the entire West Coast of the USA? Or, God forbid, what would happen if there was an event, natural or otherwise, that devastated the entire USA?

...And we all became refugees?

Food, water, gas, money, jobs electricity, etc., are scarce or nonexistent. Imagine that.

Chaos, panic, and crime would take over most likely.

I experience discomfort if a storm knocks out the electricity in my home for an hour. And let's not talk about my attitude when I leave my cell phone at home by mistake. (Isn't it funny how so many people consider a cell phone a "must-have" these days?) What would happen if I'm without life's real essentials (water, food, shelter,etc.) for a few hours? A few days? A week? A month? A whole year? How would I act? How would I conduct myself?

I don't know. And I hope to God I never find out...

Monday, September 05, 2005

American Refugees? No... Citizens of the United States of America

I went to Church this morning, as I usually do on any given Sunday...

I noticed that we had more visitors than usual. I thought to myself, "Hmm... must be some family reunions in town."

No these were not relatives in town for a family reunion...

These were people who escaped and/or survived the Hurricane Katrina Disaster.

My pastor asked them to come up to the front of the Church. They filed out of their seats and slowly went up to the front.

There had to be at least two hundred of them.

Black. White. Asian.

People that look like they could be my next door neighbor. People that look like the people I work with. People that look like people I ride the train with on my commutes to and from work.

"That's a lot of people," I said to my sister Kay.

Then I realized that this was only a mere fraction of those affected by the terrible disaster. A fraction of a fraction, really.

Then my pastor said something that astounded me, and made me proud...

"We will no longer refer to these people as American Refugees. These are citizens of The United States of America."

He prayed for the people, afterwhich we, the congregation, were allowed to go up front, give them money, hugs, and words of encouragement...

I realized then how much this new term "American Refugee" has disturbed me all week. Such an unusual term, it is. American Refugee? In the richest, most prosperous country in the world? What an oxymoron.

I'd never heard this term before. I remember as a child hearing the term "Vietnamese Refugee". I even went to graduate school with a guy who was a Vietnamese Refugee as a child. (Oh, the crazy stories he told of life on the run!). I vaguely remember the term Cambodian refugee, and all the pictures of the chaos going on in that country.

But American refugee?

Those two words shouldn't be put together in the same sentence.

These are people that look like you and me. They pay taxes just like you and me. They vote just like you and me.

They live in this country... just like you and me.

A man from Mississippi who had lost everything to the Hurricane Katrina disaster sat behind me at Church. I had a chance to talk to him for a moment.

I never saw such pain in a person's eyes. I almost broke down in tears just talking to him.

I had taken money out of the bank on Saturday. I'd been trying to budget, since I'm about to close on my new home in the next couple of weeks. I have developed the habit of getting a set amount of money out of the ATM for the next week, and making myself live off of it.

I gave it all to this man. I figured he and his family, these citizens of the United States of America, needed it more than I did.

I looked at the news this afternoon. Looks like the media has stopped using this term "American Refugees". They are now using the term "Hurricane Evacuees."

This sounds a little better to me. More appropriate. More humane, at least.

But I would feel better if they called these people what they really are...

Citizens of these United States of America.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dear President Bush...

Dear President Bush,

Thank you so very much for cutting your month long vacation at your wonderful Crawford Texas ranch short by two whole days in order to fly back to Washington, D.C. and address the the near apocalyptic devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. That was so nice of you to do that, being that you're our president and all.

I know, I know. It's okay that you wanted to stay hidden, tucked away at your ranch. Why, I don't blame you, you know, with Cindy Sheehan, that dead soldier's mom, lurking somewhere nearby, ready to take a baseball bat to your head. If no one else understands your fear, I do.

I bet it wasn't even your decision to cut your vacation short, was it? Thank goodness for those knowledgable advisors and pollsters standing around you!! I bet they were whispering oh so quietly in your ear, "Um, excuse me Mr. President, but the entire Gulf Region is now in third world status. You should say a word or two, maybe even head back to Washington a day or two earlier."

Yes, I know. I realize that most of the people devastated by this disaster are not your constituents. I mean just look at them. Many of them don't even have cars! They really don't count in the long run, most of them being poor and all, do they? Why should you concern yourself with something that doesn't help you politically?

You've done so much to help other countries. That 87 billion dollars for the war against terror is something to behold. All that money that was raised for the tsunami victims was amazing (and you spearheaded that so fast, didn't you?) Not to mention the wonderfully priced gas in Iraq (0.05 cents per gallon-what a bargain!).

And I like what you said the other day: Something to the affect of "Don't buy gas if you don't need it." Gee, I hope your special friends aren't upset with you for that comment. (You can just tell them you were just kidding... They'll understand!)

What's your approval rate right now? 40%? That's an all-time low isn't it?

This may even stop your approval rate from the nosedive it's currently in!

Yes Mr. Bush. Thanks for taking care of all the problems of the world.

Now it's okay to take care of the problems in your own house.

Trust me, it really is okay... I think the American people would appreciate it.

I know I would...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gas...How High Will It Go? Part III

I said it...

And you know I said it...

Right in a post I wrote
(Gas... How High Will It Go? Part II) on August 26, 2005, a mere five days ago.

I knew this was going to happen...

But I didn't know it would happen so fast. I know it has sent somebody's weave spinning...

Gas Prices in Atlanta shot up.

This morning, a gallon of regular unleaded gas cost $2.59. When I left work today, the price of regular unleaded gas went from $2.59/gallon in my neighborhood to $3.99/gallon.

Why did this happen?? It was reported on the evening news that the two companies that supply gas to Atlanta, Plantation Pipelines and Colonial Pipelines, are not operational. These companies' refineries are down due to the power outages in the state of Mississippi.

A rumor about this phenomenon was going around today. E-mails were sent out. Phone calls were made. The word spread. Panic broke out.

It was if someone had lit a match and threw it into a dry forest.

My friend Lady Tee called and said that her boss made her leave her job early this morning and go fill her car tank with gas. I kind of just blew it off. Ignored it completely.

As a result of pipeline difficulties, the price of gas shot up anywhere by as much as $0.70 to $1.40 per gallon of regular unleaded gas. News Radio 750 AM reported that there was a gas station in Deklab county (Decatur, GA) that even went so far as to charge $4.59/gallon for regular unleaded gas. (Some fool on my street is charging $5.99/gallon for premium unleaded gas. I didn't need any gas, but I wanted to go into that mini-mart and give that idiot a piece of my mind...but thankfully, I decided against it...)

So Georgia's governor, Sonny Perdue, did the right thing: he signed an executive order today to activate a price gouging law. In other words, he declared a state of emergency, thereby freezing gas prices at the current price, which on the Atlanta's southside looks to be about $3.99/gallon for regular unleaded gas.

Shocking. I would have never thought I actually would see the price of gas jump that high... that fast!

One gas station near me (the BP on the corner of Old National Highway and Flat Shoals Road in College Park) did the right thing. They only increased the price of regular unleaded gas to $2.79/gallon. As you can imagine, everybody and their mama was lined up at that station. The gas station directly across the street from that station was charging $3.99/gallon. That gas station's parking lot and pumps? You guessed it? VACANT!!

I found a good website for Atlanta gas prices ( Check it out if you live in Atlanta.

Me? I'm a little perturbed that some of the gas station owners would take advantage of a desperate situation.

But at the same time, I can't complain too much.

...I'm thankful that I have a car to put gas in.