Friday, September 29, 2006

Days of Candy

It's fall...

It's cooling off... Cool breezes, mild temperatures...

Thank goodness, because I have grown quite tired of the heat.

And these are days of candy...

Eye Candy, that is...

Thought I would give you a little eye candy...

A little candy... for... your... EYE...


That brotha in the pics is "Tiny"... another character in my neighborhood.

He is not a
Leaf Raker... And he sho ain't Bin Laden.

Stay tuned for....

Character Round-up Part III:

TINY... "The Blood Ride"

Have a nice weekend:)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Boy in the Military...


My brother has switched from Army Reserves to Active Duty...

This occurred some three weeks ago, and I decided to wait to blog about it, just to give myself a little distance from his decision. Also, i didn't want to short out my laptop with my crocodile tears! LOL!

And I have to admit, I don't care for that military look. I remember standing next to him last November after his graduation from basic training, looking up at him, staring at him afterwards, not understanding the point of all that damn camoflauge makeup. I remember asking him if I could touch his made-up face, if I could touch his gun... I remember not liking that look, his guns, his flak jacket, his night scope... but I do remember one thing: being incredibly proud of him for completing his basic training.

So one day, a couple of months ago, I am sitting downstairs in my favorite chair, feet up on the ottoman, pecking away on my laptop. He runs downstairs, looking all nervous. I peer at him over my glasses, wondering what he wanted from me. It reminded me of when he was a little boy and he would dance around me as I was sitting at the computer, nervously typing out my dissertation...

"What do you want?"

"We gotta talk."

Lord please don't let this boy tell me that he done went and got some lil' girl pregnant, I thought quietly to myself as I stared hard at him.

"What's wrong?" I asked. I was ready to thoroughly crack him over the head with my laptop.

"I'm going active."


"I said, I am going active."

He seem to make sure he wasn't too close to me. It was if he thought that if he had to break out and run from an ass-kicking, he would have at least some type of a head start.

I just looked at him. I didn't whine and cry like I did when he first said that he was going into the army the year before. I just plainly stated the following:

"You do whatever the hell you want to do. Screw it. I am tired. I have done what I could to help you and Kentucky [our sister], and shit, man, I am tired, and I am choosing to emotionally distance myself from this whole mess. All I know is that you better not ever say that I didn't EVER do anything to try and help you. You better not blame this decision on no one else but you. I am tired. I am through."

I went back to typing whatever I was working on. I was a bit mad because I had been pretty much been labeled a villian of late. I was through with it all.

He was taken aback by my answer, standing there rubbing his hands on his shorts.

"Lee, you have done a lot to help us. A whole lot. I have been thinking about this, and it is something I want to do."

"Whatever man. I am through. I am sick of this. Do whatever you want to do. I am through. Leave me alone. I am busy."

We didn't talk much for a few days. I was brooding a bit. It didn't help that I had had a funky run-in with our sister Kentucky about a very touchy issue, and I was in the mood where I pretty much wanted everybody out of my damn house anyway. Let's just say he picked the wrong time to spring such news on me.

He tried to talk with me about it some more. I maintained that I was emotionally disconnecting myself from it all. He is grown. He could do whatever he wanted. I was gonna shift from always thinking of them and I was going to start thinking about me. End of discussion.

I was just mad as hell. I did not want my lil' brother running around Iraq, getting shot at, dealing with suicide bombers, steppind on IEDs, his mind going bad from seeing all kinds of unnecessary ish...

I just thought his life was worth more than that.

I wasn't as distraught as I was when he first went in. I blogged about that awhile back. Seeing him get on that bus to ship out to his basic training... damn, that has to be one of the top ten most terrible feelings I've ever felt in my life.

It took me a very long time to accept the fact that I was not a failure. I thought I had failed him, to the point where he had to go join the military. If only I could have done the right things, made more money... he wouldn't have to make such a decision.

I kind of eventually knew and accepted that it wasn't about me...

It was more of about him doing some things for himself, making his own decisions...

It ain't about him doing what I want him to do, but more about him doing what he has made a decision to do for himself.

I am not sure if that sounds silly or not. But this is the only way that I could mentally deal with him going into the army. This is the only way that I could bring myself to support his decision.

I told him, under no circumstances should he call home whining about he is tired of the army. I told him, if they send his ass to Iraq, he better fight for his life, shoot first, and ask questions later. He needs to do whatever he needs to do to stay alive. Do what he gotta do, and get his butt back over here to the US where he belongs.

It turns out that he had a long talk with my neighbor Stan about it, who eventually convinced me that Kari had been thinking on it for awhile... He needed to make his own decisions, and get away from friends who weren't about anything, etc. I felt a little better after that talk. It helped me get to a point to where I would try to at least be a bit more supportive.... A bit more gleeful about his decision...

He needed to lose 5 pounds to make weight for processing. I did all I could to be supportive of him, like go with him to the track, and follow behind him in my car while he ran from the track all the way home... I made sure to spend as much time as possible with him. The two weeks before he left were a lot of fun...

Usually when he gets ready to go on some military training, I try to take pictures of him. I took pictures this time and then walked away back into the house. He called after me, but I didn't turn back around, just headed up the front steps of my porch and into the house.

I did not want him to see me cry. I must've cried for a good hour.

It hurts whenever he leaves.

We have been in contact, and I can freely pick up my phone and call him on his cell phone. He is stationed in Fort Benning, only a hundred miles away, so he comes home on the weekends. Best of all, he has been assigned to a nondeployable garrison unit. So I am very happy about that.

My biggest thing right now is to do my best to support him. I don't have to agree with him, but I think we can disagree in an agreeable manner...

...And still have love for one another.

So Kari? a.k.a., "Milk and Cookies"...

I hope your army experience is all that you hope for it to be...

Remember that I love you... you are like my child...

Be safe, and take care of yourself out there:)

Love, your big sista


a.k.a., That Oldgirl LadyLee...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Boy on the Sofa

I've got a problem with this...

I've got such a problem with this...

I've got a big freakin' problem with this...

I've had a probelm with my brother lounging hard on my microsuede off-white sofa. Heck, I am still making payments on the darn thing.

The bit of the diva in me was horrified by the mix-matched military socks and the ashy knees...

Even though the socks were clean (supposedly) I knew he'd been running around doing military drills at one time or another in those socks, and they were on his feet now, which were casually slung over the top of my sofa...

My beloved cat Oscar-Tyrone has seen the wrath of my madness many a time in nine years. So he anticipated a confrontation and decided to get as far as possible from any possible commotion that may develop from my anger... He chooses to watch us from one of his favorite spots (the beam over the living room)

I decided not to tackle my brother and throw him off of the sofa. This worked when he was three or four. When he was that young, I could snatch him up with one hand, spank his butt, and watch him cry. He was a big dude now. Couldn't snatch him up like that anymore.

Instead, I talked to him quite a bit...

"Kari, man, my sofa, man... be careful on my sofa, man."

His constant response...

"Awww Shawty, you'll be alright!"

*Lee kicking the hardcore Ms. Sophia scowl and balling up fist*

"Well at least cover it with a sheet," I suggested.

That worked... for awhile. After a few days, the sheet was on the other side of the sofa somewhere. Oscar-Tyrone saw that the boy didn't get in much trouble for lounging on my couch... So he (Oscar) decided to join him...

Now, the two of them would sit there and mean-mug me every day...


But right now, at this very moment, I'd give anything to have the ashy-kneed lil' boy lounging on my couch...

Because 3 weeks ago, the day after the Labor day he switched from Army Reserve to active duty, and he lives on base now...

I must admit I miss that ashy-kneed boy... My sofa looks strange without him there...

I miss him, so, so much...

To be continued...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Viv's Old School Mixtapes...

Something quite funny happened last month...

So I make some CDs for one of my bookclub sistas to take on a trip to Hawaii ("The Kat's Mixtapes"). I gave them to her at our journal writing club meeting. She was a bit excited. My book club president Shunda looked through the CDs and decided that she wanted some too. Well, I made her some.

Then, an email went out to the journal writing group... something to the effect of...

"[Ladylee] makes the bomb CDs!! I think she is taking orders!!"


Man, me and a coworker got a GOOD howl out of that one! Hilarious. I'd been put on BLAST!

Now, I've only been in my book club for a year. These ladies have been hanging HARD for years. I am the Newbie of the bunch, and it don't help that I am uncharacteristically quiet (Imagine that... a "quiet" LadyLee! LOL!). Heck, these ladies drop so much doggone knowledge that I just need to be quiet and soak it all up...

Can't talk much, you see. I might just miss something important!!

But I love the fact that they do treat my introverted hermit ass like one of the crew!

So I wasn't particularly concerned about that email, and I got a good laugh out of it. (In fact, it made my week!). If there is one thing I know about human nature, it is that people are a bit apprehensive about approaching someone that they don't really know about something like this email, meaning that out of the 15-20 sistas in the journal writing group, maybe 5 will ask for a CD or two.

And that is exactly what happened... and I am all too happy to accomodate the requests:)

One of those ladies is Viv. She happens to live less than a mile from me, and we share a ride to meetings from time to time. I rode with her to the last meeting in her plush SUV and she was playing some ol' John Legend and some other neo-soul "touchy-feely" ish... Man oh man, I was sleepy as hell riding in the nice ride with the soft sounds all around me.

*LadyLee busy looking around for a pillow and blanket so she can curl up and go to sleep*

*LadyLee pondering HARD on the issha of going somewhere and test driving an SUV real real soon*

I was so relaxed and at ease after getting out of her truck... made me want to go somewhere and buy some ol' slow soothing neo-soul AND a phat truck.

So when I got an email from her, in response to the email that put me on blast, saying...

"So [Ladylee], you don't have the old/first EPMD?, I like the classic rap stuff too:)"

I was like... "Hunh????"

After all that neo-soul!!?? How did we jump from neo-soul to classic rap??? WOW...

Hellll yeah, I got some classic rap!! I even had a little of that old EPMD too!!!

Now Viv... that's my type of gal right there!!

So Viv, you already have 2 of these CDs... The last one? I will give to you at the book club meeting...



Jam Master Jay - Run DMC
You’re a customer - EPMD
Fat Boys - Fat Boys
Jam On It – Newcleus
Strictly Business – EPMD
Five Minutes of Funk – Whodini
Rock the Bells – LL Cool J
Rockit – Herbie Hancock
Do the Pee Wee Herman
Beat Box – Art of Noise
AJ Scratch –Kurtis Blow
Hard Times – Run DMC
I’ll Take your Man – Salt N Peppa
Peter Piper – Run DMC
He’s BizMarkie – Biz Markie


The Show-Dougie Fresh
Roxanne Roxanne- UTFO
Roxanne’s Revenge-Roxanne Shante
Can You Feel it-Fat boys
Push the Button (Computer Age)-Newcleus
Paper Thin-MC Lyte
It’s Like That- Run DMC
Hardcore Hip Hop – Mantronix
I Need a Beat- LL Cool J
The overweight Lover-Heavy D and the boys
Planet Rock-Afrikan Bambatta and the Soul Sonic Force
Leader of the Pack – UTFO
Apache- Sugar Hill Gang
Make the music with your mouth- Biz Markie.


Rappers Delight- Sugarhill Gang
It’s my thing-EPMD
King Of Rock- Run DMC

Five Minutes of Funk-Whodini
Paid in Full (remix)- Eric B and Rakim
Funky Beat-Whodini
The Message-Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Eric B for President- Rakim and Eric B
Freaks Come Out at Night
They Reminisce over You-Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth
One Love-Whodini
Rock Box- Run DMC
Big Mouth-Whodini
The Request Line- Rockmaster Scott

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ladylee Paints!!!

Okay, so I finally did something that I have been meaning to do for YEARS and YEARS…

Sit down and take a painting lesson from my Auntie Joyce, the Artiste Extraordinaire:
She has been talking to me about it for awhile… hyping me up and all.

“It’s not that hard, Lisa.”

“You can do it. We will just sit down one day and paint something together.”

“Lisa, I know you can do it. You are talented. You can do it.”

She keeps telling me that when I was little, that she would ask me to do little things, like draw a table, draw a lamp on a table, draw a window next to the table, draw the lamp with the light on…

Yeah, I’ve got that down pack… I can do that in my sleep. (But I bet I could do it better when I was age of 4 or 5).

So now, over 30 years later, she still has this huge confidence in me..

“You can do it, Lisa! I will teach you.”

So one of my goals has been, in the last quarter of this year, to sit at her feet and learn a little art…

Now, my aunt is a stone cold sucker for barbequed crab legs… I went down to the Dekalb Farmer’s market, the only place in Atlanta with the FAT PHAT crabs, and bought her a huge mess of crabs. I qued them up on Sunday afternoon and took them on over there.

Never mind putting them on a nice platter… I’m bootleg…I threw them in a foil pan, slid them on the back seat of the Mazda and sped down I-20 west to her house.

Not only is my Aunt an amazing artist, she is also an amazing photographer. She took a picture of a flower in her yard, and decided that it would be the project of the day.

I swallowed hard when she showed me that photo. I thought we would be doing something a bit easier, like painting a piece of fruit or something. No, she wanted to do this flower. She liked all the shadows and different colors in it, and thought I could do it.

Lacey, one of my Aunt’s cats, kind of hung around… She was a bit sprite that evening. Maybe because she wanted to see me try to paint, i.e., mess some ish up… She decided to sit in a vacant chair and watch the action.

So we sat down at the table and got to work. Auntie had been looking at some movies on the Sci-Fi channel so we continued to watch as we primed our canvases. She answered many of my questions about the whole priming issue, and was very thorough in explaining paints to me. Personally, I thought that we would only prep our canvases that day, and I would come back another day, but I was wrong...

But she wanted to paint, paint, PAINT!!

Oh my!!

Here is a picture of my primed and blocked picture next to the photograph…

Here is where we left off some 6 hours later, damn near midnight… Now we both did 8x10 paintings of the same picture..

Can you tell which portrait is hers and which is mine?

And Auntie was still all crunk, ready to keep painting! I was down for the count, paint on my face and arms, sinking into delusion and confusion from being all sleepy.

But I had a lot of fun… I need a full put of coffee to keep up with her because when she gets to painting, she can get lost for many, many hours…

So, my personal project for the next couple of weeks is to purchase a few art supplies. I know one thing for sure, they are expensive as hell! No wonder my aunt kept saying “Don’t buy anything Lee… I have whatever we need.” Goodness.

So today I bought a full set of acrylics, and she is schooling me on what oils to buy…

So Auntie… thanks a lot for the lesson… I had fun!

And um… next time, get a pot of coffee ready for me…

We’re going to see which one of us can REALLY hang!!!


Yeah… you’ll beat me every time!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Auntie Joyce's Artwork

I got an email the other day from my Auntie Joyce...

"Good morning Lisa... Hope you like the paintings.
love Auntie"

Yes, I love the paintings, Auntie...

You are such a wonderful artist...

I like the fact that you loved painting just for the joy of painting... I don't remember you selling any of your artwork, but I do remember, as a child, watching as you mixed your oils on a board, and trying your best to explain what you were doing... Oh, how I wish I would have listened to you and learned from you all those years ago.

Some 30 years later, when you show me your work, I still hear the same joy in your voice...

I love the passion you have for your work...

It inspires me to be passionate about my own creativity...

You are an incredible artist... and an incredible Auntie

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happy to Revoke a Pet Peeve... For Once!

People who have known me for a number of years know that amongst all of my pet peeves, one in particular stands out far from the rest:

Do not come over to my house without calling.

I am not down for the...

"Hey LadyLee, I was just in the neighborhood... Thought I would stop by to say whassup!!"

Hell no.

Let's just make it clear... That will be your last time coming by the crib.

I have found a most excellent way to solve this problem: If you ring my doorbell, and you didn't call beforehand to ASK me if you could come by, well I just don't answer the door.

I just allow you to keep ringing the doorbell. Maybe you willTHINK next time before you come over...

This even goes for my beloved Grandma... she showed up knocking on the door one day when I was playing hooky from school, deciding to lay up in bed with a boyfriend all day... I had my Auntie have a talk with her. Many years later, Grandma knows better.

Yeah man... I am serious about peeps showing up at my house unannounced.

Well on to the point of my post...

So it was Saturday morning... It was about eleven in the morning, and I am in the bed. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I had plenty of things to do, but you know how it is when you're in the bed...

ain't got to go to work...

laid up on the kingsize down pillows...

all cozy under the Polo down comforter...

the flat screen tv on, the volume real low...

the whir of the ceiling fan lulling you in and out of sleep...

Ya'll know how it is... Let's just say I wasn't getting out of that bed until that afternoon...

Well, the doorbell rings, interrupting my peaceful lulls.

And pisses me off at the same time.

Of course I don't answer it.

Now the last time I answered it on a Saturday morning, it was some Jehovah's witnesses.

Let's just say, they bypass my house these days.

Well the doorbell sounded a few more times. I didn't get out of my bed. I just laid there. But the dozing was over, the peaceful lulls nixed, and the anger had unceremoniously kicked in. I got up an hour later, got dressed, and did a little house cleaning.

The doorbell rang again... I thought about not answering it, but whoever it was kept leaning on the doorbell.

Someone was about to feel the WRATH of my MADNESS.

So I go to the door. I do not have a peephole, so I yell in my hardest hardcore voice...

"Who is it!!!"

The reply was not immediate. I turned to walk away, then I heard someone say...

"It's me, your neighbor!"

Now, it didn't sound like either of my neighbors who lived on either side of me. They know my habits by now... don't come over to my house knocking on the door because I'm not going to answer it. You better catch an Oldgirl outside. They know this all too well.

I open the door...

and I screamed....

It was none other than my favorite crackhead in the world, The Mayor of my Hood, SNAKE!!!

He had been released from jail!!!

I ran up on him so hard and hugged him so hard that we almost fell off the porch... I think I may have even shed a tear or two... Damn, I was suprised!!

"I am back, gurl!"

"When did you get out?!"

"At 5:30 a.m., this morning!"

"'Bout time you got out!" I yelled.

Now, I have no idea how long he'd been locked up. All I know it was waaaay too long. It must've been for the last 4 or 5 months. I have a few friends who have asked about him. My brother constantly lamented over the fact that Snake was locked up.

We are all so used to getting our cars washed at a pretty cheap price, you see. We are very much accustomed to getting the low-down and commentary on the state of our hood.

There were even a few times that I grabbed my neighbor the Infamous Hen-Dog by the shoulders, shook him real hard, and cried...

"Hen, we gotta go downtown and get Snake out of jail".

*Hen kicks the hard eyeroll and walks away*

My best friend LadyTee, who is the queen of taking warrants out on her men when they don't act right, knows her way around the jail system, and was suppose to call downtown and see how much it was to get him out. If it was fifty bucks or less, she was gonna get him out. (She too misses her car washes. Snake is a bit sweet on her, and she takes advantage of that and gets the free car washes.) But she never got around to it.

Yet she continued, for the past couple of months, to snap on me and Hen-Dog for not going to get him out of jail...


Anyway, I ran in the house, retrieved my cell phone and called LadyTee...

"Gurl, Snake is out of jail!!!"

She was so suprised that she dropped the phone. "What?!?!?"

"I said, Snake is out of jail!!"

"My boyfriend is out of jail??"

"Yeah, man!"

"Let me talk to him!!"

I handed him the phone. "Your girlfriend is on the phone!"

"LadyTee?" he said, getting all excited.


He snatched the phone and went and stood out on my brick steps. He went into some loong convoluted explanation of why he'd gotten locked up...

You see, what had happened was..."

"Gurl, they blamed it all on me... wasn't my fault, though..."

"Now, see it It wasn't my damn fault LadyTee!!"

"Gurl, I said, the hell with it, and went head on and took the damn charge!"

"Now, I used my jail time to go and get me a little rehab, too!!"

He went on to give us both a looooonnng explanation of his whole rehab experience and how he thinks it is necessary to use jail time to get one's self together...

Now will he keep himself clean?

Who knows?

I hope he does keep clean. He looked so much better than when he was on that pipe!!

I hope he stays the same...This means that there is someone around to regulate the prostitutes who work the corner down the street from my house. I also can expect a daily report of who has been knocking on my door when I am not home (or when I am home). I can always expect to be lectured HARD on all aspects of character and integrity (however twisted those explanations are). And best of all, Snake is the best snitch in town, meaning if someone has stole something from you, or is planning to break in or steal something... he is quick to tell. Hell, he will probably go get your stuff back... for a small fee, of course...
All I know, the mayor of my hood is back in the hood...

He considers it incredibly rude to steal or double cross a customer. If you accuse him of such, he considers it an insult to his character and integrity. I've been cussed out plenty of times over that!!

Now that day, he washed my car and my sister "Kentucky's" cars. I walked outside to pay him and saw some random chick sitting on the retainer wall next to my driveway... I thought she was one of the prostitutes that live in the prostitute house (the bootleg brothel) on the corner down the street. She didn't dress like the prostitutes on the corner (no superman thongs, no other special "ho-stroll gear), but heck, you never know.

Now, I don't have a problem with you making your money any which way you can... That is your choice, and you have to live with that. But I don't need for you to be walking UP the street and conducting business in front of MY house... Keep that ish down the block... in front of Hen-Dog's house.

So I decided to walk up on her. It was either me confronting her or my gay white neighbors Paul and Stan confronting her. I was the lesser of two evils. Paul and Stan are the type to snatch her ass up and escort her back to the down the street to the ho stroll. I just wanted to kindly suggest that she take her "stroll" on back down to the corner... before I secretly call the police and scream that she is outside shooting folks (LOL).

Snake saw me about to walk up on her and stopped me... That's my girlfriend, LadyLee!
(Hen later informed me that she was his exwife).

She was waiting for him to finish washing cars. He runs up on her and kisses her...

Good, he saved her from sitting on the ground in handcuffs, surrounded by police...

Because I learned from Ladytee when you call the police, pretend to be an old confused white woman, afraid and alone, can't locate your medication, and surrounded by crazy negroes. That's if you want the whole police department at your house in less than 5 minutes! LOL!

While I was standing outside talking to him, people were riding by yelling his name. Kids were walking by yelling his name... just glad to see that he was back.

Heck, when I left later on to go to the track, Hen-Dog was sitting on his front porch, watching Snake wash his Altima.

As I passed by, I didn't get the hard eyeroll... Instead, Hen-Dog yelled "He's back!!!"

Now will I revoke my pet peeve? Nope.

Even though I am glad that I opened the door that day, I will probably stay the same. better call an Oldgirl before you come by.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Milk and Cookies... The Starstruck Groupie

A picture is worth a thousand words...

But there are not many words to describe the sniveling screaming crying groupie my lil' brother became in the presence of Tayari Jones. Um, he was a bit impressed to say the least...
After she took us out to dinner, I got an earful from Da'Kari...
"Damn, she is hot!"
"She has a serious vocabulary! Did you hear all those big words she used??"
"I sure do like her. She has a nice personality."
"I asked a bunch of questions because I have never met someone who has written books before."
"Lee, she sure is HOT!!"
I have no idea what to do when he talks about women. I just kind of walked away, because I don't like women, and I don't look at them.
Now, I had the honor of taking him to his first book signing and reading, Tayari's reading, that following Saturday after our adventure with Tayari. Usually he would frown at such a thing, but he damn near broke his neck trying to get ready for this event and was anxiously sitting on the sofa, waiting for me to get dressed so that we could leave. We arrived at the event via train, and walked to our destination, the Decatur conference center. He sat there anxiously awaiting for things to begin.

Since we'd gotten there a half hour early, he decided to go out in the hallway and and get a soda from the gift shop...

He returned to his seat all... I don't know... exasperated... with a huge Kool-aid smile.

"I saw Tayari in the lobby, and she has on this red and white dress, and she gave me a hug, and she held my hand, and she called me Milk and Cookies, and she called me a felony..."
I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "Well, that's nice," was all I thought to say.

She came in and had a few words with us and several others. Da'Kari was smiling ear to ear still.

There were 2 talks, and the first talk and reading was given by a literary suspense author by the name of Lisa Teasley... She writes some HIGHLY eclectic stuff, some real strange stuff. Her reading was a bit, um... erotic. I almost wanted to place my hands over Da'kari's ears, like I use to do when he was little....

Milk and Cookies kept tugging on my shirt whispering in my ear, "Am I suppose to hear all this? Am I suppose to be hearing all this sexual stuff? Is that what they do at a book reading?"
I basically ignored him.

Well Tayari gave her talk, and people asked questions. Da'Kari was all smug, because he had asked her some of the same questions during dinner with her.

Well, that poor boy... he was in awe after it was over. He said....

"Damn, she make a n**** want to read a book!!"
Wow. She really made an impression on her. Da'Kari does not sit down and read unless forced to.

While I was purchasing one of Lisa Teasley's books, he went on to bug me about an audio book...

"Tayari sure does know how to read! Can I get her voice on tape reading her book?"


"Um, no man," I said. "I don't think so. Usually someone else reads it on tape, not the author."

This thoroughly confused him, so he left it alone. He takes my digital camera and decides to go take a few pictures of her signing books. He is definitely a boy, because he had a few pics of her chest area... I think he did that on purpose. I erased those pics!

I get my book signed and then Kari went behind the table and took a couple of pictures with her. He is embarrassing me with all this touching her and putting his fingers in her hair, while smiling down at the same time. She decides to kiss him on the cheek, which um, made his day to say the least. There was some random white chick on the side, yelling,
"Why don't you give him a real kiss!"

The random white chick almost caught my digital camera in her grill.

Luckily Tayari said no, that that would be a felony, with a minimum 3 to 5 year sentence.

Well, Da'kari and I left, and he was a bit excited to say the least. The boy talked my ear off about the event. We walked around the plaza looking at some of the exibits that were still open... We see people with HUGE gyro wraps and decide to stand in line at a booth selling the wraps.

All of a sudden, Milk and Cookies puts his hands on top of his head, closes his eyes, and starts screaming out of control, like he has been stung by a bee or shot... or something. He really startled me.

"What's wrong, man?" I asked.

"She, she, she..."

"What, boy?"

"She, she, she... She's walking!!!"

Others are looking at him now. I am looking around to see who in the world he is screaming about.

"Who? Where?" I asked.

"Tayari! She's walking. Right there." He points hard in that direction. He stepped like he was about to break out running in that direction.
I was like, oh. Okay.

He continues screaming out of control. People are starting to look at him, and they are looking at me, as if I am suppose to control him.

"Um, well boy, why don't you call her name, and wave or something." I was trying to do something to quiet him down.

He then does something that thorourghly embarrasses me.

He yells what is known as a chickenhead call...

"Coo, Cooooo!! Coo, Coo, Cooooo!!", with intermitent kiss sounds, like he is calling a damn dog or something.

"Oh no you didn't just do that!! Dude, call her name."

She continued walking. He yelled out "Miss T!"

I just shook my head in disgust. "Shorty, act like you got some sense!"
He called her name, and she turned around. He yells,in a high pitch squealy voice...
"Oh Tayari, I'm your number one fan!"
I was a bit embarrassed. Didn't bother her any. She walked over and talked to us. Da'Kari was REALLY ecstatic about that. We took more pics and then we walked to the train station.

I had to hear about this the rest of the day. It was a bit funny to see him all excited like that.
Then he said something that was a bit too true...
"Lee, I have nothing to offer someone like her!! No life experiences, nothing!"
Oh my... what a startling realization he made.
I thought he was going to bust out crying or something. He seem to be a bit upset with himself or something...
I think he realized that he is definitely "Milk and Cookies": a mere snack, something to tide one over until... dinner... LOL!!

So Tayari, know that you have a bonafide groupie for life... one who would probably follow you around on the Greyhound bus from city to city if it wasn't for his doggone military obligations. But he made me promise that I would tell you that if you are in Georgia again, and you need any moral support, feel free to call him. He will be there, and he will bring a cheering section of his army buddies with him...

Now if only I could get that boy to actually pick up a book and read it!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Vida Loca!! (Part IV)


So I get an email from Tayari Jones....

"Ladylee, where are you? I need your help, I am stranded. (404) 555-1234.", okay....

Well, I sat there and looked at it for a moment. Wondered what the heck being stranded had to do with a comment I left on her blog somewhere. Then I looked at parts of the sentence, trying to analyze it. I mean "stranded" could mean anything.

Like stranded mentally. Stranded could have been some type of metaphor for one's state in life.

It did not occur to me that "stranded" meant... well, stranded.

It did not occur to me to call her. I still didn't get it. I sat there analyzing the email.

I wasn't calling no damn body, that's for sure.

I twisted around in my chair (the "Queen's chair", my favorite chair; no one is allowed to sit in it besides me. Everyone HATES my chair, LOL). The lab was bustling. My coworker Que was verbally kicking Da'Kari's ass about his army ambitions. Several people were surrounding them, all talking to my brother. The Infamous Hen-Dog was dancing and singing to the overly loud music booming from the bootleg speakers we'd hooked up to my laptop. I believe "S" another chemist was destroying the electric slide or doing one of her juke joint dances...

In other words, everyone was doing the usual.

"Yo, Que!!! Come here!" I yelled over the blaring music.

She looked my way. My brother breathed a sigh of relief. I think she was a split second from grabbing him by the neck and ramming his head through the wall.

She walked over to where I was sitting.

"Que, check out this email." I pointed at the screen.

She looked at it, and then frowned up. She bent down and leaned closer to the screen.

"Hmmm," was her only comment.

We didn't say anything for a moment.

She stood up and folded her arms across her chest.

"Um, Ladylee, maybe you should call her."

"You think so?" I asked. Even though there was a phone number, this really hadn't crossed my mind. (Yeah, the Oldgirl can be a little slow.)

"Yeah," Que said. "She could be stranded, you know, like on I-285 or something."

It wasn't until she said that that it registered with me. "Stranded" meant "stranded".

(Yeah, I am slow.)

Well, I dialed the phone number then stepped into a side room where we keep our chemicals, away from the music.

I don't even remember much of what was said. The only thing I remembered is her saying "'Gub'ment name', I emailed you 45 minutes ago, where are you? I'm stranded, and I've only had raisinettes and a diet coke today, and-"

I don't remember anything else. I heard a thread of panic in her voice. I remembered sitting on the side of the road the day before looking crazy after my flat tire. Yeah, I knew what panic sounded like.

She definitely had the sound of being "stranded" in her voice.

So shoot, I understood.

But, to tell the truth...

At that moment, I was screaming in my mind... "I can't believe I'm talking to Tayari Jones on the PHONE!!!!!!!!!!"

So I must say, I um... missed much of what she said. I hung up the phone and thought for a moment. I didn't have my car with me. It was sitting in my garage (I hate driving on a spare, and besides, I carpool, which means I play a "Diva" and allow the Infamous Hen-Dog chauffeur me back and forth to work.)

I remember asking Que if she had the Forerunner at work that day. She said no. I walked over to a dancing Hen-Dog and asked him if I could borrow his car.

"Yeah, you can borrow my car, as long as you put some gas in it. Hell, you can do whatever you want to do."

*Ladylee kicking the hard eyeroll*

That wasn't going down. I didn't have any cash on me. I had no debit cards, no credit cards, nothing. I had my new driver's license and my checkbook and that was it.

"That's alright, man."

Da'Kari was standing off to the side. I think Que was lighting him up again.

"Kari, we need to go help somebody, and we need to roll in your ride."

"That's fine, as long as you put some gas in my car."

*Ladylee kicking the hard eyeroll*.

I wanted to slap him. This boy lives with me rent free and he is talking about me giving him gas money. Little Buster.

So I had a ride. And Da'Kari would be useful since he is mechanically inclined.

I called Tayari back. It turns out that she was stranded at her parents house on the "bougi" side of SWATS. Her car had been parked in her parents garage since January, and wouldn't start. I told her that I get off from work at four, and I would come over afterwards. She said that was alright.

Okay, so I hung up the phone...

And hopped and screamed all around the lab... LOL!! Folks were looking at me like I'd lost my mind.

I was yelling something like...

"HAAAAAAAA!!!! HA HA! I'm gonna meet Tayari Jones! I'm gonna meet Tayari Jones!"

Something like that.

I'm sure no one understood what the heck I was saying. All I know I was terribly terribly excited. I haven't been that excited since living in New Orleans a few years ago and getting a call about an offer for my Atlanta job. I ran around like crazy when I found out I was knew I was getting the hell out of New Orleans!

Well, after all that excitement, I was a little lightheaded. I was pretty much done for the day... My mind was shot. I had more stuff to do around the lab, some instrument maintenance and repair, but my mind was SHOT. I couldn't THINK straight. Plus I had to babysit my brother. For some reason, I thought he was going to walk the 4.5 miles back to my house. He looked at me like I was half crazy. He said he would just hang around for a couple of hours and ride home with me and Hen-Dog. So I took him over to the building adjoining ours. He has some bizarre fascination with this light-eyed sister in that building, and I took him to see her (Yeah, I'm talking about YOU, Melissa!! LOL!!)

So we left at quitting time and went home. I had kind of calmed down, because I figured by that time, her folks or someone else would have helped her. Oh well... I called back to see if she still needed help. She said yes. Her folks were out of town, so she was truly "stranded."

Okay, Ladylee gets all excited and worked up all over again.

Da'Kari went and changed clothes. I didn't. I was in my work gear: jeans, sneakers, t-shirt and scarf. Oh well, no time to dress up!

We headed out that way. Milk and Cookies was whining about being hungry, and I wanted to slap him. I managed to scavenge a few bucks from around the house for his gas. I damn sure wasn't going to feed him, though.

I called back and got directions once we reached the "bougi" side of Southside Atlanta, which happened to be 10 minutes from my house. I knew she was hungry and offered to bring her something to eat. (Ain't that a trip? I REFUSED to feed a whiny Da'Kari, LOL), but she declined.

We made it over there and we all talked for a minute. I was so damn starstruck that I just don't remember much of what was said.

I guided Da'Kari as he pulled into the garage and we commenced to rig up the jumper cables to her car. It wouldn't start, so we all ended up going in the house while Da'Kari's car ran, therefore hopefully giving her car battery some time to build up a charge.

While we were in the house, we watched her write up a post, and she showed us how to use the flicker photo program. She and Da'Kari added each other as friends on their MySpace pages. And she had a rough draft of the manuscript for her next book on the table, which almost threw me into cardiac arrest since I have been lobbying extremely HARD over on her blog for her to hand over the first 100 pages to me, no matter how jacked up it is... to which I had gotten no response. I could have easily picked it up....

But I was a good Oldgirl. I didn't steal it. Did it cross my mind? I ain't gonna say!!! Let's just say I had a clipped copy of chapter 32 of my manuscript in my backpack... A quick switcheroo could have went down. That would have been funny for her to pick up my piece of crap chapter 32 while I ran off with her stuff!!! LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!

I digress... (just the mere thought of it, though... damn, I know she LURKS on my blog... hope she doesn't read that!! LOL!)

Heck, I was so excited that I burned her a mixtape (CD) real quick on my laptop.

*Ladylee grinning hard like Miss Celie!*

I know she likes Sheila E.'s Glamorous Life, and I happen to have that on one of my 80's playlists. (She didn't get as excited as my book club sisters did.... Afterall, she is an IPOD person. A damn CD is probably a piece of ancient crap to her, LOL!)

*Ladylee's Celie smile fading*

The car still wouldn't start. Da'Kari checked the wires again, and Tayari suggested that we rev up his engine. Lo and behold, the car started.

She was very happy about that. We all were. And my brother was the hero of the moment.

Well, there had already been too much excitement in one day for me. I hung out with my favorite author and she taught us a little blogger and HTML stuff. I even caught a glimpse of her manuscript (no I didn't read and memorize ANYTHING... I just saw it... sitting there.) I was a bit wiped out and awestruck and pretty much down for the count. But she offered to take us to dinner at Up the Creek, a local seafood restaurant. Now, LadyTee and I were suppose to go there for my last birthday, but we never got around to it. So I'd never gone there, and it was a good thing also that my hungry brother would get fed. I was going to toss him from the car if I had to hear him whine while he drove us back home.

I thought she should follow us to the restaurant in her own car to make sure that her car was running right. On the way over there, my brother expressed concern that she would get mobbed at the restaurant or something. He asked her about that on the way in and she told him what I thought she would tell him: people don't really recognize writers...

Now, while at the restaurant, we shot a lot of movies with my camera... I know she was probably like "What is their problem?" LOL!! We waited awhile on our food and she was getting a bit antsy. But our food came. I had a wonderful pasta dish containing clams, lobster, fish and shrimp. Milk and Cookies had a fried seafood platter (I frowned upon this since he was trying to make weight for his upcoming army processing), and Tayari had a lovely shrimp combo!

Now, I must say, that I was happy to go out to eat with her. I was NOT expecting THAT. I wasn't going to ask her anything concerning writing or anything. I was just happy to be there.

...Until my brother commenced to asking her a bunch of questions about the writing life, like he was interviewing her or something. I didn't know he was that inquisitive about anything outside of his interests (This boy only thinks about horses, motorcycles, medieval swords, fast cars, women, and all things military).

So I started asking questions, concerning my own manuscript, concerning writing in general... and she answered all of them.

I picked her brain like a slave use to pick cotton.

I mean, I got some key answers to concepts that I have been struggling with in my manuscript for the past year. My manuscript is running over 600 pages right now, and she broke down how I should shave it down and what I needed to think about while doing it, etc... I even told her of a workshop I wanted to take and she thought it was a good idea. I must've asked a good 10 deep questions, and she answered them all without missing a beat...

Wasn't expecting that... AT ALL... She is definitely not all stuck up, that's for sure. I felt like I was sitting down talking to one of my homegirls or something...

Well, we finished eating and I was full. Da'Kari and Tayari decided to share some big berry and ice cream dessert.

I didn't want any. I needed for Da'Kari to take me to the Home Depot down the street so that I could buy a new dryer tube for my dryer. If I ate any of that, I wouldn't have made it to Home Depot...

Well when they finished off that monstrosity, they both had the "itis". And yes, I have home movies of those moments. LOL!!!

We left the restaurant and hugged goodbye. Of course, I filmed her walking away and getting into her car. (I know she was like... "Damn, What IS their problem?")

So my brother took me to Home Depot. I was feeling alright, but he was hurting BAD from all the itis, walking all slow and wide-legged and chewing on a toothpick.

Well, that is pretty much the end of My crazy week, My "Vida Loca".... and even though it was only Wednesday, and other crap happened later that week, meeting Tayari was the highlight of my week... no, the highlight of my YEAR. I had the most intriging convo about writing, learned sooooo much from her in a couple of hours...

Thanks a lot, Tayari...

Even though we came to your rescue... you helped ME so much more

...more than you will ever know:)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Vida Loca!!! (Part III)


My week had been a little unnerving... to say the least.

I'd lost my wallet. I'd blown a tire. I had a couple of health issues. I was pissed off about some stuff going on on the job. Other stuff was bothering me. I didn't list everything because that would be damn near 10 posts. All kind of sh** hit me all at once.

*Ladylee grabbing a punch bowl and doing a "Florida Evans".*

Damn, Damn, DAMN!

I was NOT a happy camper. I haven't had a drink in 5 years, and I was seriously contemplating finding a bar and having some Scotch, or something STRONG as hell. The diva in me cried a few tears (but only for a few minutes, now... Had to tell myself to "big up!"). It was only Wednesday, and I just wanted my week to be over.

I was not happy.

So that Wednesday, around noon, "Milk and Cookies" called me at work. He was at my house, and he asked how far it was from my home to my workplace in Midtown. I told him approximately 4.5 miles. He said he was going to walk. I laughed at him. I thought he was joking. But lo and behold, he shows up at my job, an hour and a half later, sweating profusely (I think it was 90 degrees that day in the ATL). He was a couple of shades darker after being in the sun. That gave me the good laugh that I needed.

It was approximately two in the afternoon, and we'd finished up our work in the lab that day. I'd been training someone for a couple of hours, and that was over too. So we were all back in the lab, listening to music (yeah, we ALWAYS have one of my mixtapes on FULL FULL BLAST), joking around with my brother. I watched as my coworker Que did her militant black power thing and tore him up for deciding to go active in the army.

Poor Milk and Cookies. He took the verbal beating like a man, though!!

Anyway, I decided to check my email. You've got to understand, me and them baby OGs, DJ Diva, Serenity23, and the retired blogger Ladybug have a huge email thread going all day long. I needed to catch up on that thread, especially since I was feeling a little down. My girls always know how to cheer me up...

I open my email. In the middle of the thread, I spot an email from Tayari Jones.

Now if you are a faithful reader of my blog, then you know she is my FAVORITE author (click here for post).

Big digression needed here.

Now, the week prior, Que (my coworker, another Tayari Jones fan) emailed me something about a Decatur book festival. I perused the names, and noticed it was a bunch of white folks I had NEVER heard of. Since I ain't all that diverse (yeah, I admit it), I kind of blew it off.

I looked over the author list again. There were a couple of names I recognized, one of them being my favorite author, Tayari Jones.

So you know what's up, right? This meant I was going to go to this festival, you know. I was gonna find out the time and place of her reading, go, and then get the hell out of dodge.

In addition to this, my coworker "By" came over to my desk sometime earlier in the week, all big and proud, chest poked out, and tapped me on the shoulder. I thought he was running up on me about some work-related stuff. (The Horror!)

"What man?!" I yelled. I had no idea what I was doing when he interrupted me. It could not have been work related, because I was a bit too skittish. I was probably burning some CDs on my laptop, or on the email thread with my blog fam, reading a book, yacking on the phone...something non-work related.

He tossed a newspaper article about the Decatur Book festival on my desk. "There you go right there, Ladylee," he bellowed, tapping the newspaper. "A book festival!!!"

"Man, I already know about that. Tayari Jones will be there. I already know. You are late! Now get the heck on!!!"

He looked sad. I'd hurt dude's feelings. He knew I loved to read, and he knew that everyone around there, had been reading and discussing my manuscript chapters at one time or another. He'd even taken a few chapters home to his wife. Everyone around the job knows my passion for reading and writing, even him.

I decided to be nice, since he wasn't bothering me about work related stuff.

"Well, thank you By for the article. That was very nice of you to think of me... I really do appreciate it...Now get the heck on, man!!!"

"Just thought you wanted to know about it, girl!" He walked away.

I picked up the article, and perused it. Now, I needed that article. I wanted to go to her reading, but I was thoroughly confused about the location. I am not all that familiar with downtown Decatur. So the article gave me a slight idea of where to go.

You gotta understand... I LOVE Tayari's writing. Goodness gracious. I'd been screaming for a damn week, to anyone who asked me anything about books or the festival...

"Tayari Jones is coming to town, Tayari Jones is coming to town!"

I pimp her books like a pimp pimps his prostitutes or a dope dealer hustles drugs. I am the self appointed bootleg "Work for free" ATL arm of her public relations conglomerate. (And she knows it.)LOL!

Since I read profusely, people are always asking... "Suggest a good book for me, Ladylee!"

"Um," I usually say, scratching my temple slowly, a soft frown lighting my face...

"Have you read any books by Tayari Jones?"

Let's just say that I made a decision that I was going to get to her reading, even though I still wasn't sure of where it was being held, come hell or high water. I haven't paid much attention in the past to author readings, but since I've spent the last year and a half TRYING to bang out a manuscript (which is at about 600 pages right now), and I see the difficulty of it all, I go see my favorite authors when they come to town out of RESPECT.

So... no more digressing here... just trying to give you a "brief" background of my loyalty and love for any and everything that Ms. Jones writes: novel, short story, anecdote, blog entry, a quick email, the freakin' alphabet...

Get the point? Good... let's continue...

So like I said...

There is an email in my email box from Tayari Jones. Now this is nothing new. I am a regular on her blog, and, unlike her lurkers, I leave comments. If she emails me about a comment, I am quick to ask writing questions, and she is always quick to respond via email. (I would never email her straight out.... LadyLee can't STAND bothering people.) She is not all stuck up and snooty, and she has always been quite helpful to me. So we do have a very minor email thing going on, and she will email me if I am MIA on her blog. So I thought that this new email was a reply to one of my sarcastic or snide comments on her blog... (I wasn't gonna open it, really. I thought I'd pissed her off or something. She has a pink fur coat that for some reason she is fond of, and I made a comment about it possibly being um... "ho stroll" gear. LOL, I was wrong for that!) .

I opened the email and read the following:

"Ladylee, where are you? I need your help, I am stranded. (404) 555-1234."

What the hell?????????

"to be continued in "My Vida Loca, part IV"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Ladylee Labor Day...

So how was my Labor day??

First of all my cat Oscar-Tyrone was PISSED that we were all at home on a weekday...

He has that look that says "What the %#@&* are all of you loud negroes doing in MY house on a weekday?"

You know how I do. You know I barbequed it up. No shrimp or crabs this time. I do that moreso for my relatives, and we didn't get together this holiday. No typical fixings either, just side salads...

I walked 4 miles around the track with my bruh "Milk and Cookies". He had one more pound to lose before his weigh-in that afternoon for processing for active military duty... I was there for morale support... I did NOT feel like walking in the hot sun on my day off... But I did it anyway. I read while I walk, so no big deal.

I even got out in the yard, pulled the lawn mower out, and cut the grass!!

Yeah right!!!

Ya'll know I don't fool around with yardwork. I am 99% Tomboy, 1% DIVA.

Which means I DO NOT cut grass. You better go head on somewhere with the idea of THAT.

Heck, I don't even have a lawn mower. I did what I ALWAYS do... I watched my neighbors Paul and Stan cut the grass.

My yard was getting an inch higher than usual... I stepped out on my front porch the other day and I wanted to yell at them...

"Hey, ain't ch'all gonna get out here and cut this damn grass anytime soon? Geez!!!"

No, I would never say that. I am not that crass. (Thought about it though, LOL).

(As you can tell, I am completely and utterly SPOILED rotten!!!)

They do such an excellent job. I am very much thankful for that. They caught wind of me thinking about buying a lawnmower and sort of went off on me about it. That convo they had with me about it was not all that pretty. But Shorties, if you want to cut the grass that bad, go head on and do the darn thing!!

Stan said something quite interesting...

"LadyLee, bet you didn't think you would have 2 half naked white men living next door to you, did ya??"

I was flipping and basting the ribs when he said that. Almost dropped one after that comment.

Heck, I thought to myself... Ya'll can run around here butt-naked if you want to... As long as you cut that grass and keep my yard tight!!! Do your thizzle!!


And I almost yelled...

"Hey, fetch a broom and sweep up the grass clippings from my driveway, Stan!!!"

I would NEVER say anything like that!

If those dudes could read my mind though, I'd be in some SERIOUS trouble! LMAO!!!

I ended my day with a loooonng, hotttt soak in the Jacuzzi...

Oh yeah, baby!!! Ain't nothin' like it!!!!

Anyway, that's my Labor day.

I'm being a trifling Oldgirl and taking the day (Tuesday) off. I do have a bad headache, so technically, I am sick...

Stay tuned for the continuation of "My Vida Loca... the miniseries."

Hope you had a lovely Labor day too :)