Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Of Porches and Drills...

Sometimes I get caught...

I mean I get straight up caught, and there is not a doggone thing I can do about it.

Now, most of the folks in my hood know not to knock on my door. This is because if I don't know you are showing up, well, I just don't answer the door.

But like I said, sometimes I just get caught.

Well, I got caught getting out of Hen-Dog's car. We carpool, i.e., he chauffeurs me to and from work. I usually get out of his car, check my mail, not paying much attention to my surroundings, and walk on into the house. That day, time I turn off the house alarm and put my bookbag and laptop down, the doorbell rings. I stand still and close my eyes tight. For some reason, I think that doing this is enough to ward off whoever's ringing my doorbell.

Someone had caught me going in the house... He or she knew that I was home.

The doorbell rings a second time.

"Dang," I hissed. "I swear, I can't even get in the house good!"

I don't have a peep hole in the door, so I go through the arduous task of sneaking and looking through the blinds. I see that it is the elderly neighborhood crackhead, Mr. Thomas.

Now, Mr. Thomas is the man who does most of the yardwork for people on my street, much to Snake's dismay. Mr. Thomas' prices are a lot cheaper and he always does a pretty good job. (Well not always. He must have been high as a kite when he trimmed my bushes a while back because he did a serious hatchet job on them.)

Well Mr. Thomas stained my porch a couple of months ago. He was suppose to return to lay another coat, but he didn't. And let's just say I'm not the type to ride around looking for you.

Well he was back. He must have been waiting for me to get home. Better yet, he must have jumped out of the bushes or something.

"Gal, you want me to finish staining this porch?"
"How much are you going to charge me?" I had twenty-five dollars on me, and was willing to give him twenty.
"5 dollars!"
"That's cool."

I've had to learn not to offer a price for work, and to just let him say how much he wants. His prices are usually A LOT lower than what I plan to offer.

"Can I get something to drink, LadyLee?"
"Yeah, I'll get you some water."

Now, Hen-Dog has been on me about giving the locals anything to eat or drink. "Negroes get spoiled real easy. Feeding stray negroes is like feeding stray cats. You need to cut that out!" he'd always say. But I told him, I don't want that old man falling out in my yard due to dehydration. So I make sure to give him a disposable cup of water and some pretzels, cheezits, or whatever snacky-snacks I have laying around the kitchen.

"LadyLee, you got any Kool-aid?"

Damn! He jumped from water to Kool-aid!

"Yeah, I got some."

I went into the house and poured him a huge cup of my sister Kentucky's (Kay's) kool-aid. I don't drink Kool-aid, because it breaks me out. But, um, Kay had a pitcher full of Kool-aid in the fridge. I know Kay is STILL wondering what happen to her big pitcher of orange Kool-Aid, LOL!

Anyway, I gave him the stain and painting supplies, and he starts working on the porch. It's a pretty day, so I decide to take a few pictures of him working on the porch.

Well, I didn't tell him I was taking pictures.

He jumps up suddenly and screams.

"My God, what's going on?! It's lightning out here!"
"No Mr. Thomas, that's the flash on my camera."
He grabs his heart, and laughs. "Girl, I thought it was lightning!! You sho are crazy, scarying me like that!"

I could have ran with that one and told him that it was indeed lightning outside, even though it was sunny and there wasn't a cloud in the sky... That would have been very MEAN, but oh so FUNNY! But like I said, I don't want the old man falling out in my yard. So I continued taking pictures.

Lo and behold, Snake comes marching up the street, yelling at me.

"Why the hell is Mr. Thomas out here working on your porch? I could've done that for you!!!"
"Snake, would you have charged me five dollars?"
He stepped back in shock and dismay. "Oh Lawd!!! Only five dollars?"
"Oh, I understand then."
"I thought you would."

Snake jumps up on my brick steps.

"Look here girl, let me borrow your power drill."
"Man, you crazy as hell. I don't think so."
"Girl, give me your drill!"
"I gotta put some curtains up for my Mama."
I looked over at Mr. Thomas, who was on his knees rolling stain onto the porch. "Mr. Thomas, should I give Snake my power drill?"
Mr. Thomas stood up and looked at the porch then at me. "Look here gal, I ain't in that. Don't pull me in it. I ain't got nothin' to do with that!" He gets back on his knees and starts rolling out more stain.

"Look LadyLee, I need your drill. I need to hang my mama's curtains, and the screwdriver is not working out."
"Hell no! You might go sell my drill for some rocks so you can get a good hit. NO!"
He again jumps back, utterly shocked that I would speak such words.

I like my nice Black and Decker drill, even though I have never used it. I bought it when I first moved into my new house. I happen to be walking through Home Depot and saw it on sale. I saw the black and orangish-red drill, which pivots for use at strange angles, and thought... "Gee, that's a pretty drill!" So I bought it, and I like it... I've never used it... But, it's MY drill...

"Girl, stop playing! Let me hold your drill."
I point at him with the Color Purple Celie 2 fanger point. "I said no, Snake!"
He looks down at the ground and then back up at me. "Ladylee, the loss of your friendship means more to me than selling your drill for some crack. I would never do that to you."
Now that caught me completely off guard. "Awww Snake, do you mean that?"
"Yes, I surely do," he said. "From the bottom of my heart."
"Okay! You can borrow my drill!"

Mr. Thomas, who was paying us no attention as we argued, immediately looked back at me in shock. Snake and I went around the back of the house to the garage. I found my power drill and gave it to him.

"I'll be right back, girl!" Snake yelled, as he left my driveway and walked down the street.

I watched as Snake disappeared around the corner. Now, I didn't know how to feel about this, but I did feel a bit of angst. I felt like I was being quite stupid indeed: I'd just given a crackhead my beautiful power drill. I had to think long and hard about how he knew that I actually had a drill, and I remembered that he helped me organize some boxes in my garage last year sometime, and saw it then.

Mr. Thomas told me not to do that anymore... "Tools have a way of disappearing, LadyLee."

"I guess you're right, Mr. Thomas."

Well anyway, Snake came back about an hour later with my drill. He opened the it and the drill bit box up to show me that everything was there. I said thank you, and took my drill back...

Hence, the end of a small amount of angst indeed.

Hen-Dog said I shouldn't worry about it. Snake always brings stuff back because he doesn't want to lose a valued customer. He knows if he steals from you, he will lose your business.

Anyway, I think my porch turned out okay. There are a few old house paint marks out there that we need to scrape up and sand down, but overall, it looks pretty good.



So next year, I think I will stain the porch myself. I watched the process long enough... I think I can do it.

And next time, I don't think I will lend out my beloved drill...

Monday, October 23, 2006

A LadyLee Weeekend...

My weekends are a bit, I don't know... Let's just say, they are not all that exciting... No fighting, shooting, or shanking... no drama. I guess I am just usually glad to get a few things done.

One thing I had to do is go grocery shopping... and not your ordinary grocery shopping. It was the type where I had to replace everything in the doggone refrigerator. Last Saturday, my fridge started heating up. It heated up to damn near 80 degrees. I had to call Se.ars to come fix it. First of all, I had to needle those jokers down to a time slot because I am NOT down with the "Oh, they will be out sometime between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m." craziness. No, my sister, back it up. I won't be handcuffed to the house like that. So they came out last Tuesday morning. The dude figured out that the fan had gone out, and he had to order a part. He said that he had a busy schedule that day, and I would have to make another appointment to get it fixed. So he left, and I left. Dude came back later in the day, not understanding why I wasn't at home. *Ladylee gets thoroughly pissed at him*. So, I had to take a few hours off on Thursday to have it fixed.

No, this ain't all that serious. Not at all. I just have an issha with having to take time off from work for stuff like this. Plus, this is a sleek black digital super huge fridge with the french doors and the freezer at the bottom. I bought it brand new a year ago... How does a fan go out that fast?????

Dang... I need to call my Grandmama up and trade her 30 year old OLD fridge for my new sleek French door fridge...

Anyway, the fridge is all stocked up now.

I gotta call grandma... They don't make refrigerators like they use to...

Anyway, on a good note, I had a book club meeting on Saturday... I wasn't going to to go, because I'd been running around all morning, and was a bit tired, but I went. It is breast cancer awareness month, and we had some phenomenal speeches by survivors. That was good. I learned a lot. Plus I doodled out an introduction to my chapter 38 while sitting there listening to the discussion (and not participating, LOL), so I was happy about that.

Now, on Sunday around noon, I was outside, and up drives a random negro in an SUV.

"Hey Ms. Lady!" he screamed.

I'd attended church that morning, so I was calm, and not i the mood to verbally shank a fool.

Turned out it wasn't a random negro... It was Snake, the cleanest crackhead on the block and the mayor of my hood.

He was in a nice black SUV, smoking on a cigarette, cruising the hood.

"Oooooh weee Snake," I yelled. "You done went and stole somebody's truck."

I got the usual chastisement. He didn't like the fact that I was insulting his character and integrity. He explained that his brother had gone to the Falcon's football game, and he'd "borrowed" the truck...

"Borrowed". Boy, I tell ya, sometimes family can do ya worse than your enemies do ya! I took pictures just in case I have to blackmail him later on.

The Highlight of the LadyLee Weekend...

I got a chance to hang out with My Auntie Joyce and do a little painting... I was out in her front yard and she drove up in her souped up Camaro. That damn car is just about as loud as Tiny's... I gots to hook them up so they can have a mini- car show... LOL!! She even posed for a picture...

Anyway, we did a little painting, while watching an insanely long marathon of the show Miami Ink on the TLC channel (Auntie is completely fascinated by that show... I dreamt about tattoos all night long after watching it all day). I painted a magnolia flower on a 5x7 canvas...

I'd done most of the prep work (priming my canvas and drawing) on my own during the week. It should look familiar to a certain chick. I will take it down soon before she gets a notion to sue an Oldgirl, LOL!

I still have much work to do on it... Gotta get rid of my pencil lines, etc. I have another appointment with Auntie in 2 weeks so I better get on it doggonit!!

Auntie painted the same picture, but with a red and orange background. It looked a bit scary, like a magnolia surrounded by fire. (I think she's been watching too much Miami Ink). So she changed it to a black background... (Sorry, didn't get a pic!)

Auntie's cats were not at all interested in what we were doing. They all slept most of the day. Nia and Lacey and peered at me curiously when I took pictures.

Now I'm scared of that big boy Tracy a.k.a. "Moose". That cat likes to scratch an Oldgirl...

But I did manage to get a close up and not get swiped, LOL!

But that was the gist of my weekend...

Hooray for a new work week!!! (Yeah, right.)

Next weekend, I think I will just... sleep in or something:)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Writing Progress, Sweet Heat chapters 28-37.... Of tunnels and lights.

So I was in my favorite upscale grocery store a couple of months ago, and I came across a bottle of Oriental Sweet Heat dipping sauce. And since the title of my manuscript is Sweet Heat , or something related, let's just say I get a case of the giggles everytime I see a product with the words "Sweet Heat" in the title. I've even come to work before and have been pleasently suprised by a bag of Sweet Heat potato chips propped up against my computer...

I've partaken of both products, and they are indeed sweet, and they pack the heat...

That sauce and them chips sho' is hot!! They make this Oldgirl break out with that Darth Vader HAAAAAAAAWWW! HAAAAAAAAWW!

Anyway, it's been several months since I've given a writing update. Last time I checked, I wrote an update on May 5th of this year. I don't know why I haven't been posting about it. Not really sure what that's all about.

All I know, I've managed to bang out 10 chapters in that time, totaling 196 pages and 73,203 words. (GLORY!)

I write 3-4 hours per day on average, while only spending approximately an hour a day on my manuscript. (For some bizarre reason, I am working on 4 short stories right now. I don't know what's up with THAT...) But I am happy to say that I am just about finished with the manuscript... thank goodness!

I can see the end of the tunnel!!

My volunteer critiquers seem to be pleased with my writing. More importantly, I am pleased with my voice and my style of writing. I see a little development here. My writing is much more fluid now, and it makes more sense. (I CRINGE when I go back and read my first 2 chapters, LOL). I have a better handle on description. I am beginning to understand how to weave in important details a bit better, details that will become important much later on. This blog has helped A LOT in developing that skill. However, I am still loooooonnng-winded as all get out. I still can't put a simile or metaphor together to save my life, but after a workshop or two (which is my goal for 2007), and more intensive reading, I should be well on my way!

So... it seems as if my 9-year-old brown tabby Oscar Tyrone scratched and sniffed around on ebay last week. He messed around and won a full manuscript critique by acclaimed author Nichelle Tramble...

Look at him, looking all excited! He looks like a freakin' deer in the headlights.

Why, I declare! Little man must be doing some writing during the day when he's home alone... Got the nerve to be fooling around using my credit card to pay for his winnings.

*LadyLee violently snatching the manuscript critique winning ticket from Oscar-Tyrone's paws*

So I won a manuscript critique. Not sure how I feel about that. There's a bit of nervousness mixed with a shrug. Don't get me wrong, I am excited, but it is a weird feeling... kind of ike when I turned in the first draft of my Ph.D. dissertation: I was proud of that ish! But when my bourbon drinking, cuban cigar smoking, gruff, wild-haired Polish advisor with the one bad eye got a hold of it, and marked it all of my gorgeous chemical stuctures, delightful prose, and technical data up with a fresh out the pack BRIGHT red sharpie, I felt like dirt on the ground. I think I even went home and got drunk as hell that night..I mean, I thought I'd done the darn thing!

But I had to go back and spend about 40 hours doing corrections... And you know what? 20 hours into my corrections, I thought, "Damn, old drunk ass dude made some real good suggestions!"

After I successively defended my dissertation, and was given the custormary handshake and the "Congratulations Dr. LadyLee!" river dance and spiel, I spent an additional 20 hours on final corrections suggested by my other panel advisors...

That's the way I am looking at this critique: it is something that will help me get it right. I must take the suggestions with a grain of salt and work it out! I've spent 20 months on this manuscript, and it is dear to me. Any bit of help helps.

Now, Ms. Tramble has an insane amount of editing experience. Plus I saw her in People magazine once grinning from ear-to-ear, sportin' a black t-shirt with the words "Put your big girl panties on and handle it" in big bright pink letters.

*LadyLee swallowing hard*

Um... the sista may be a bit off the chain. I just hope that I'm not ripped a new one in the process, LOL!!

But overall I am grateful. Whatever will be will be. If she bust out with some "Ladylee that was great" craziness... All I gotta say is somebody better give me my money back, pronto. I paid for a thrashing and that's what I expect, doggonit! LOL! Brang it ON! That's the only way I will grow!

Like I said, I am just about finished. The last three chapters I've done have been written in a timeframe of 2-3 days each for some reason. I find myself thinking about it more than writing. Once I have thought about the direction of that chapter, well, I sit down and write it. I think I have three chapters and an epilogue left before I am done. And I have had the most intriguing, thought provoking convos with a few of my readers. Those conversations have helped me immensely.

Nichelle said on her site that she was expecting the manuscript in 2 weeks, which made me shriek to say the least. The writer holding the auction said it was open ended, so I thought I had a good decade or two to go back and do a little correction here and there. This means I have to sit down and spend all my writing time on it for the next two weeks. Maybe I can send a nice email and she will give me a slight extension. I don't know. We will see.

It's kind of like I see the traffic light at the end of the tunnel, and the light is green. It all of a sudden turns yellow. You know what that means:

Step on the gas and beat the doggone light before it turns RED!

So you know your Oldgirl... that is exactly what I plan to do.

I will let you know how it goes.

Amen, goodnight, Holla! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I just want to wish that Platinum card carryin' Original Oldgirl Chele a very very HAPPY BIRTHDAY...

I read Chele's blog religiously, as she does allow me to blog freely in her comment section (LOL)!! But she always writes the most wonderful, thought-provoking posts, straight from the heart. Some of her posts, man... let's just say that they have made this tough Oldgirl here just bust out crying...

She is also a baddd asss author... Now Blog Fam, go check out her books, Raymond's Daughters and Confessions of A Beautiful Woman. I reviewed Confessions on this blog back in March. Check em out!!

So Ms. Chele, you Oldgirl you, have a Happy happy birthday... Take some time to yourself today... I know year 42 is going to the best one yet!!!

Go finish working on the next book, because you know I gots to have it...

Enjoy your day, Lady!


Friday, October 13, 2006

That Juke Joint Music...

dedicated to Shunda...

About a month ago, I made a few CDs for my book club president, Shunda. She wanted a little Cameo, a little H-town, etc... But she also wanted some old, OLD stuff, like Jackie Moore, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke... you know, that old stuff.

That juke joint music.

Now juke joint music is something that I am not particularly fond of. It is too depressing. But Shunda seems to like it because it reminds her of when, on Saturday mornings, her mother use to play those old classics. She said her mama made her and her brother listen to it when they cleaned up the house on Saturday mornings.

I frowned up at her... That was some craziness. To me, it is the type of music that you listen to when you're in a dark club, in the hood, down in the basement of some liquor store...

and you're sitting in the back booth, in the dark, sipping on your third strong drink, smoking a Virginia slim cigarette...

Contemplating, getting good and drunk, so you can get up the nerve to go cuss your man and that woman he been taking up with lately completely out...

THAT's what I think of when I think of that type of music...

So, um... you know I was looking at Shunda sideways...

But anyway, I remember, about 3 or 4 years ago, I was driving down Old Nat L (Old National Highway) in College Park, during a blinding thunderstorm, and listening to the Stacy D quiet storm show. He played this song where this broad was just talking about some dude she'd broken up with and when she got back up with him again she needed a martini...

I lost all interest in that doggone thunderstorm...

"This is some old juke joint music... I can't listen to that!"


Well, I asked one of my co-workers, who is fond of that type of music (she use to hang out in the juke joints!) if she'd ever heard that song, and she said, "Oh yeah, that's the 3 degrees, that's that good stuff right there!)...

The Three Degrees... They are one of the Philly Soul groups of the sixties and seventies. There most popular songs were "When will I see you again" and TSOP, the old theme song for Soul Train...

But they also sang a little of that juke joint music.

So I found that one crazy song, and I have been listening to it... so you know I had to post it LOL!! And it is the background music for this post (if you can hear it. It will change automatically around 5 posts down the line).

With a little commentary to follow, of course...

So this one is for you, Shunda:)

"Maybe" by The Three Degrees


You know Girls?
It's hard to find a guy that REALLY blows your mind.
And you just dig everything he does, like...
Like when he gives you that great big special hug, and that UMPH... heavy kiss! Girls, you know the kind...
the kind that's in the wrong place at the wrong time...
And it really turns you on?
Well, I had a guy like that.
And then that time that happens to all of us... We had an argument.
And like all, and I mean all us girls, I said some pretty dumb things like...
Like "GET LOST, I don't want to see you anymore!

But he was cool, he just stood there looking SO hurt
And he said "If that's the way you want it" and he split.
And I just stood there looking dumb and let that man walk right out of my life.
And I've been as evil as a wet hen ever since.
I told myself I wasn't gonna sweat it...But I did.
Ohhh, he was inside of me... in my thoughts, in my dreams.
Every place I went I saw his face.
And my friends? They knew. I know they knew.
And then one evening I was standing at the bus stop and I heard a voice behind me say "Hi baby"
Oh I just fell all apart inside, because I hadn't heard that voice in such a long time.
I turned aroud and there he was... looking GOOD!!
Oh, I just can't tell you how good that man looked to me!
And as I stood there trying to maintain myself, he asked me if I had a few minutes.
I really wanted to tell him that I had a lifetime, but I couldn't blow my cool!

We stopped at a cozy little place, and the shock of seeing him made me order a martini, because that is something that I've never done before, but I thought I needed something stronger than coffee to lean on.
Oh the music was soft, and the lights were low, and that drink had started going to my head.
He hadn't said anything about us, so I knew it was my move, and it had to be now.
I could feel my nerves building, I couldn't let him go...not this time, NOT this time.
So I took his hand,
looked him straight into the eyes, and I said...
I said...
I SAID!...

Maybe if I prayed every night (on my knees)
You'll come home to me (home home)
And maybe baby if I cried every day
You'll come back, you'll come back to stay
Maybe (maybe maybe baby)

Maybe if I could hold your hand (maybe)
You'd understand (maybe maybe baby)
Maybe maybe maybe maybe if I just kissed your sweet lips, yeah...
you'll be at my command
Maybe (maybe maybe baby)
OH, OH!!
Maybe (maybe maybe baby)
Maybe (maybe maybe MAYBE)

The End

Hmmm... I have a few thoughts on this song...

1. First of all, this is truly juke joint music, meaning, I need a real STRONG drink, a pack of cigarettes, a plate of ribs, and a really dark booth off in the back of the club stuck off in the corner to TRULY appreciate this song.

2. What the heck does "I was as evil as a wet hen" suppose to mean!? I really don't know. I've been running around work yelling that at various folks and they've looked at me like I was a damn fool.

3. I wonder what the argument was about... you know, when she told dude to "GET LOST!"... What was the argument about? Did he cheat on her? Was he not paying the bills? If so, the song should have ended at "GET LOST!" LOL!!

4. Okay, homegirl is standing at the bus stop... he walks up behind her and says, "Hi Baby", and she melts. Does he have a car, or is he catching the bus too? My first thought is, "Shorty, don't talk to me if you are riding the bus!"

5. She ordered a martini, due to the shock of seeing him... Dang, I would love to get that shocked at seeing a negro, where I have to order a strong drink. Goodness. I don't think that that would happen with none of my ex's. I was happy to get rid of them fools. Well maybe not the one who inspired this poem, but all the rest of them... no martini for me.

6. The singing part... That sound like some straight up begging a man to come back... Screw that! I'd probably still be thinking back to that argument we'd had in the past... I'd be still stuck at "GET LOST!" I've had a problem in the past with holding grudges, and even though I am getting better, I know I would still be pissed off about that argument...

As you can see, I pontificate a bit too much about songs... That ain't good...

But Shunda, if that juke joint music reminds you of days of old, then good for you...

I aint' mad at cha :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Painting... The Saga continues...

I tried to paint this weekend... I was quietly working on a small orange rose and I experienced some isshas...

I was doing good until the Infamous Hen-Dog and Tiny knocked on my door Saturday night... They both came in yacking HARD, while I was trying to concentrate on mixing colors.

Hen was leaning up against the island in the kitchen smiling and drinking a cold beer, talking much trash.

"LadyLee, you have too many hobbies!!"

"LadyLee, we gonna make your house the new hangout spot on Saturday nights!"

Dang. Yack, yack, yack, yacccck, yack yack yaaaaaaccck.

*LadyLee contemplating taking my paintbrush and going upside Hen-Dog's head with a cold ass Ninja or Jedi move.*

I watched as Tiny snatched a couple of baked chicken wings from a pan on the stove. He is the only person I have ever seen that can throw a whole chicken wing in his mouth and suck the bones clean in one swoop. Dude even went into my fridge and drank my expensive orange juice... He knows that I have the cheap ass Faygo drinks in the laundry room for so-called guests. I think he saw me concentrating hard... and decided to drink my four dollar liter of orange juice!

*LadyLee contemplating dialing 911 and yelling that she is being held hostage by a couple of trifling negroes*

Anyway, back to painting. I find that I have serious problems mixing paint to get just the right color...

Everything I mix usually comes out looking like... mud.

Now when I painted with my Aunt three weeks ago, I watched her mix paint to obtain the right color combinations with the greatest of ease. She saw my frustration then...

"Lisa," she'd say, "you need some white with just a little bit of yellow, and add a touch of that crimson red".

*LadyLee not following instructions, and taking a glob of each and getting... mud*

She would then place some of her paint on my palette so I could try to copy the color combination. I would sneak and use whatever she gave me (LOL)!!

She is sooo patient with me...

But anyway, I went to see her this weekend. Not to paint, but just to talk about painting. I'd been working on a small rose, and I needed some advice on mixing the colors. I wanted her to look at the small stash of art supplies that I'd bought to see if I had gotten the right stuff. She examined it all and was quite pleased with my purchases... She gave me a few books to read and some paints, brushes and canvases from her HUGE stash. She also showed me some of her practice canvases, and let me know that I needed to practice before I started on actual projects, just to see if I was satisfied with the color combinations, etc...

Like I said, we perused some of her "practice" work... and I took a few pictures with my digital camera.

A partial unfinished drawing/painting of some random people she saw in a magazine.

A practice canvas for various faces.

An unfinished painting of a photo of my mother and baby sister Kay, circa 1981. She didn't finish this painting. She said that she wanted to put flowers in the background, but never got back around to doing it.

My Auntie Joyce, circa 1970s... I was like, dang, how did you paint yourself. She painted it from a photo of herself... (duuuh, I am so slow!)

(below) A random painting of a woman from a magazine. Auntie was trying to explain the purpose of prepping my canvases. Here, she preped the canvas with red acrylics...

(below)The lady seated was a model in a class that my Aunt had taken some time ago... Auntie said that the model's fee was 50 bucks a student. There were 10 students in the class, so that is 500 bucks! At the end of the class, the teacher asked if the students wanted her to go nude. They said no. (I would've suggested a male model for the next class... and he has to do a table dance for MY 50 bucks! LOL!)

A random painting of a woman... a woman and child from a magazine...

Auntie has several cats... One of them, Pheebo, was interested in what we were doing... but as you can see, he looks a bit... bored.

He slowly walked away after awhile... and decided to go to sleep on Uncle Sean's lap...

Now, I meant to stay at Auntie's house for a couple of hours, but I actually stayed five hours. No painting, just talking. I took plenty of notes, and yesterday, my brother and I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and bought a few things that I needed. I even bought a very nice book on mixing paint to get the right colors!

So hopefully, with a little practice, I will have something of my own to post...

Until then, I will keep on, keeping on :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Character Round-Up Part III: TINY...The Blood Ride

Continued from Prelude to a Ride.

“Hen-Dog, I bet I can tell you what kind of car he [Tiny] drives.”

“What kind?” he asked.

“A candy apple red Mustang.”

“He sure does. How you know?”

“Because you can look at his pretty ass and tell.”

Tiny has a car that he absolutely loves… A 1994 candy apple red Ford Mustang.

It is a very nice car, all candy apple red, and never has one spec of dust on it. I swear, dude must clean it every other day. I mean, I can’t recall even seeing pollen on his car during pollen season.

He’d probably scream if he walked outside and found his car covered with the nasty yellow dust.

Yeah, Tiny loves his car. And he likes it loud, loud, LOUD. It almost sounds like a jet that is flying a bit too low, about to crash land right up side your head. You can hear him approaching from a few blocks away. No matter how slow he goes, he can’t sneak up on anyone, that’s for sure.

I have been awaken from my sweet dreams many a time by the thunderous rumbling of his mustang cruising down the street. There have even been a couple of times where my house would shake if he drove by too fast.

During these times, I usually just reach over to my nightstand and quietly grab my cellphone and dial Hen-Dog’s house or cell phone number, with the general intent of telling Hen-Dog to kindly step out on his porch and quietly tell Tiny to, um, stop revving up his engine and to cut it off because I am trying to rest. But since I have been awaken from a peaceful sleep, I politely open up my Book of Cuss, and it usually comes out just a wee bit different, something akin to …

“Shawty, reach yo head out that door and tell that n**** to cut that damn car off before I call Zone three [police] on his a$$!!!”

The next day, or whenever I see Tiny again, the words I have for him are not nearly as kind. I even got violent and punched him one time, but it was like hitting a rock. I think I hurt my fist more than I hurt him.

He pays me no attention, though.

One day, in the middle of one of my rants, he said, "LadyLee I just got my car windows tinted. How you like it?"

I frowned up at the blood-red tinted windows. "Red tinted windows? Man, you crazy in the head! Don't noboby get their windows tinted red!"

I am perplexed, but I continue threatening and snapping on him about revving up his engine too late at night.

Anyway, on to my story.

“The Blood Ride”

I live across the street and three houses up from Hen-Dog, so we carpool, and ride the five miles to work together everyday. (More like he drives, and I ride with him. I play the Diva, and sit in the passenger seat and either whine, sing, read, sleep, or eat my breakfast. I pitch a total divafied conniption fit the 1% of the time that I DO drive.)

Anyway, we come home from work one day, and we see Tiny slowly backing out of the driveway, and then his car just stops in the middle of the street. He opens his door and sticks his foot out.

Hen slows down in front of my house. We both squint hard, looking down the street at Tiny jumping out of his car.

“What the hell is he doing?” I asked, as I opened the door.
“I don’t know," Hen-Dog answered.

I get out of the car and check my mail. I look down the street and notice that Hen-Dog has parked his car on the street in front of Tiny’s car.

“What are ya’ll negroes doing?!” I yelled.

“My battery is dead!” Tiny yelled back.

Oh… you know I had to march down the street and talk much MUCH trash. I stomped down there, backpack and laptop in tow, waving my mail, laughing all the way, feverishly reaching for my digital camera.

“Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! HA! HA! HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

He paid me no mind.

“That’s what you get! That’s what you get!! THAT’S WHAT YOU GET!!!!” I screamed, as I bunny-hop all around the car.
He paid me no attention, and went on to explain what was wrong. “See, what happened was, I left my headlights on, and-“

I put my index finger to my lip. “Shut up, be quiet!”
He froze.
We both stood there quiet for a few seconds, listening to the silence, save for the tweeting of birds.
“Yeah, yeah!” I yelled. “That’s the way that car is suppose to sound!”
I continued laughing hard and running around his car.

He again paid me no mind. I watched as he lifted the hood of Hen’s car.

“Lee, you got any jumper cables?”
“Can I use them?”
“I had some, but I left them up in Chicago the last time I was there. Let me use yours!”
“Hell NO!”

I wanted that car with the engine as loud as a 747 airplane silenced forever, you see. I was enjoying the quiet sounds of my hood in the afternoon.

Well, after a bit more protest, we ended up walking up the street to my house. I went inside and let up the garage door. We fumbled through my car trunk and found the jumper cables. We walked back down the street to his car, me talking MUCH trash the whole time…

…him paying me no mind.

Then he went into some looonnng convoluted explanation about how the jumper cables that he left up in Chicago cost seventy dollars, and were actually better for jump starting his car since his car engine was sooooo powerful.


I looked at him like he was crazy. “Dude, cheap ten dollar jumper cables are better than some seventy dollar jumper cables up in Chicago!”


“I’m just saying,” he said.


I watched and snapped pictures as he attached the jumper cables to his car…

Got real sad all of a sudden as I heard his car start up… Got a bit down when I heard my own teeth rattle when he revved up the engine.

My time of peace was quickly over.

“Tiny, give me my jumper cables back, man.”

He removed the cables and gave them back to me. I started heading back up the street towards my house.

“What are you about to do, LadyLee?” he asked.

“I’m going to Kroger.”

“I need to go too,” he said. “I’ma catch a ride with you.”

I all of a sudden had a fascinating idea. “No, I’ma catch a ride with you Tiny… I want to ride in your car!”

“That’ll work! Just give it a minute to charge up, and we can go.”

I went back up the street to my house, got my wallet, and then walked back down to their house ten minutes later. We got in his car…

I immediately knew things were strange.

First of all, my seat was waaaay back in a gangster lean or something. I have no idea why people (men in particular) ride like that. I need to see what’s going on, i.e., I need to sit up straight.

Then I looked out of the window. Everything was red through the red tint… the trees, the houses, the cars… EVERYTHING was blood red.

“Dude, can you see through this dark red tint? I mean, it looks like your windows are covered with blood.”

“Yeah, it don’t bother me. I can see just fine.”

“Uh, okay,” I said.

Anyway, we head off down the street. Funny, his car doesn’t sound as loud from the inside. Just a slow low rumble. Maybe he doesn’t know that his car sounds like an out of control freight train.
We get up to the stoplight, which is red. When it turns green, he throws the car into gear and screeches out of control to the left. My head whips back and hits the headrest hard.

I couldn’t yell or talk trash. I was too busy trying to hold on to my seat, the window, the dashboard, something!

“Dude, slow down!”

“Oh it’s alright. We’re not going that fast.”

The hell you say, I thought silently to myself.

“I have to get some gas, LadyLee,” he said as he drove like a bat out of hell down Pryor Road. I was doing my best just to hold on. He came to a screeching halt in front of a pump at the gas station. We stopped so fast that my head went forward. Thank God for seatbelts. I thought I was gonna eat the dashboard.

I was a bit speechless as I watched him jump out of the car. He closed the door, and grabbed the gas pump.

All I could think is “Damn, he is red through all this red tint. He looks like he is covered in blood!”

He got his gas and leaped back in the car. I was still looking at him. He is tall, but it seemed as if the driver’s seat was pulled up just a bit too far.

Let’s just say that it looked as if he moved that seat up another half an inch, he would be eating the stirring wheel, and his knees would be touching his ears.

“Um, excuse me Tiny,” I said. “Don’t you think you should pull that seat back just a tad?”

“No, this is the way I drive, I’m alright,” he replied.


We exited the gas station, the back wheels burning out as we screeched back on to Pryor road. I looked behind us to see if I could see smoke from the burning of rubber, but all I saw was the red blood like tint of the back window.

We made it to the highway, and got on I-75/85 south from University Avenue.

“Tiny, you are going the wrong way. We should have taken I-75/85 north towards I-20."

“I’m going the right way. We are going to Kroger.”

I looked out of the window and noticed that the sun had gone down and it was starting to get dark. I don’t know if it was me or not, but damn, it felt like we were going a hundred miles an hour. The streetlights had a strange eerie reddish glow to them.

Like they were bathed in blood.

“Tiny, we are going the wrong way. And dude, can you see? It looks like we are looking through blood!”

“Lee, we are NOT going the wrong way. We are going to the Kroger up on Cleveland.”


“The Kroger on Cleveland,” he said, as he leaned forward, shifted into a higher gear, and hit the gas harder. My head snapped back against the headrest.

“We’re going to the black peoples Kroger?”

He frowned. “Yeah, I go there all the time.”

“Oh hell no! I shop at the white peoples Kroger on Moreland! I never go to the Black people Kroger!”

For some reason, in the midst of my Diva-like wailing, I thought he would get off the highway and jump back on and go back towards the white people’s Kroger, but he kept barreling along.

(Sidenote: I don’t care to shop at the Kroger that all the negroes in Atlanta frequent, the Kroger Citi-Center on the southside on the corner of Cleveland and Metropolitan (Stewart Ave). The lines are too long. They run out of stuff. It’s too loud, too damn ghetto. There is just too much going on up in there.

Now one thing I understand with this whole inner city gentrification/revitalization process: when white people move into these areas, all kinds of new stores show up, right there in the middle of the hood, just to appease them (in my opinion). So as a result, we have what is known as the White people’s stores.

I myself adore the “White People’s Kroger” on Moreland Avenue down near Little Five Points on the East side of town, about two miles from my house. It is NEVER crowded. ALL of the checkout lines are open. They have all kinds of wonderful gourmet ish. I can get my prescriptions filled in 3 to 5 minutes. And they play a good selection of old school music over the speakers. I like shopping to a little Barry White, Al Green, and Chaka Khan.

Let’s just say that my predudice ass only shops at the white people’s Kroger. I haven’t been in the black people’s Kroger on Cleveland in years!)

I was a bit pissed to say the least. It was eight o’clock in the evening, and I knew every negro in the state of Georgia was going to be up in that place doing the Hustle and the Electric Slide.


“Come on, Tiny, why we gotta go to the black people’s Kroger, man!!?? We gonna be up in that camp all night long!!”

“You will be alright, girl,” he said as he started fumbling with the radio.

Now barreling down the highway like we were, at damn near 90 miles an hour, like we in the remake of the Fast and the Furious, or on an episode of World’s best police chases… viewing the world through blood red tinted windows, I thought he would put in some heavy metal or some Hardcore gangsta rap, like some NWA or something.

This negro puts on some D’Angelo.

I looked at the radio, then looked back at him. He is sitting there, grooving to the music. I am sitting there, my heart beating fast and hard, just trying my best to hold on.

"Um, Tiny, does D'Angelo have a new CD or something?"
"No," he replied, "This is his old stuff."
"Uh, oh, okay."

He swerved hard around a group of cars. I thought it was best to stop talking, and just to concentrate on bracing myself.

He leans forward, shifts to a higher gear, and hits the gas… My head bams the headrest, and I again reach for something, anything to hold on to.

I was moving around so much that my headscarf came undone.

We get off of the highway, and turn onto Metropolitan, back wheels screaming and screeching hard. All of the stores look as if they are covered in blood. It is really creeping me out and I can't wait to get out of the car. We get to the black peoples Kroger and he parks as far away from the store as possible.

“Um, Tiny, why are we parked so far from the store?”

“Ladylee, I don’t park near other cars.”

Figures. I bet he would scream like a woman if something scratched his car. Damn.

“We gotta walk, LadyLee!”

I am mad, but I am thankful that we made it to the store in one piece.

So we get out and walk what feels like a mile, slightly uphill, to the grocery store. He is tall, and has a long stride. I am fighting to keep up with him.

We walk into the store. And I spot something.

A chick, let’s just call her “Quita”, is looking Tiny up and down, and giving me a hard scowl too, like, “I’ma take your man.”

I’m thinking to myself, now, I am just trying to go to the grocery store and get a few things… Why can’t a broad go to the store and shop peacefully? Do I have to whoop some tail tonight? Not to defend a dude, but just out of principle?

I wanted to yell, “Yo, he ain’t my man, and I ain’t after him! You can have him! Take him!”

Tiny, of course, was oblivious to what was going on. He grabbed a cart and kept it moving. I grabbed a basket and said, “Tiny, I will meet you at the cash register.”

You see, I started thinking that Quita might have a thick crew of her girls with her. I am in the hood, and my road dog LadyTee was not with me. Best for me and Tiny to go our separate way.

We do our shopping and we meet up at the front of the store and find a check-out line. Of course each line is ten people deep.


The cashier laughs and says “Ya’ll, this is a good day. It’s not all that crowded today. This is real light.”

~Double sigh~

We leave, and Tiny decides to stop in the dollar store. I told him that that was some craziness, because that meant that we would have to walk a country mile to the car, put the groceries in the car, then hike back up to the dollar store.

He said no. Instead we did something totally ghetto: we pushed the full shopping cart right into the dollar store. I thought we would get yelled at, but no one said a word.

He got what he needed and we wheeled everything back out to the car.

We drove the few miles back home…

Tires screeching and screaming.

Going real fast, some 100 miles per hour, weaving in and out of traffic.

My scarf coming undone.

Listening to that ancient D’Angelo CD.

Everything red through that doggone crazy red tint!

We came to a screeching halt in front of my house. I snatched up my bags. I was all too happy to get out of that car.

Nice to see the world clearly again.

Lesson learned. I won't be riding with him. Never. Again.

A while ago, I needed a new CD player for my car (future post)…Tiny wanted to take me up to Best Buy so that we could peruse the CD players.

I immediately screamed “Hell nawl, that’s alright! I ain’t fooling with you no more, man!!”

My brother, "Milk and Cookies", loves fast cars, and was itching to ride somewhere with Tiny, despite my warnings.

He came back and said, "Lee, that's kinda wierd seeing everything through red tint, everything looking like a bucket of blood has been thrown on it. I felt kind of strange."

"I told you, man! I won't be riding with the dude ever again!"

Riding with him was the scariest ride of my life.

They say that some folks view the world through rose colored glasses.


They should flip the script...

...And view the world through blood tinted windows.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Random Happenings and Thoughts...

Time out for a station break...

A bit of randomness...

Still working on my "Blood Ride" Post, which is Loooooong as hell, but will be up sometime tomorrow...

I got a chance to once again see my faaaaavorite author this week, none other than Tayari Jones!

She was in town at my Alma Mater (am I spelling that right?) Emory University, giving a reading and signing and doing a seminar of some sort. I'd never heard her speak about her first book, Leaving Atlanta, so that was a treat.

She said something akin to, "Good LadyLee, you're here and you have your camera, so you can document all of this."

I'm thinking well shoot, what if I want to sit back and enjoy the talk, man??? Am I the official photographer for you whenever you are in the ATL?

Shoot, that's cool. I'm down for that! Really though:)

I think I took about 30 pictures, and 4 short movies... I would've taken more if I wasn't for me getting such odd looks because of the beeping of my camera during her talk.

She has this um, weird shoe fetish thing, going on. She is the only person that I have ever met that loves shoes more than Super Shoe Queen Blogger Serenity23.

"Get a picture of my shoes, LadyLee, for our blogs! We gotta get pics for our blogs!!" She throws her purse down on the floor next to her shoes.

"Um," I began, "Uh, could you at least put your books in the picture??"

"Hold on!"
She reaches for a couple of books and poses them down by her feet.

Yeah Mon... that's how you do it!!

I, LadyLee, am not a shoe buff. A strappy high heel does absolutely nothing for me. I would have been VERY excited about a brown and pink NIKE, though.

But that's just me...

It was STRANGE walking around Emory's campus. I haven't been on that campus in 11 years! I walked the same paths I walked with my fellow graduate students, all of us completely stressed out, trying to find somewhere to study... I even saw the place where me and Oldgirl#2, who comments here on my blog occasionally, would go every Tuesday night for our B&B (bitch and beer) vents. Chile, there was nothing in the world like crying over a pitcher of cold beer and a plate of hot wings! (Jaggers is no longer there, Oldgirl#2! ~sigh~)

I promised myself when I left so many years ago that I would NEVER step foot on that campus, never ever again... I don't even drive down that street.

But you know I have to catch Tayari whenever she's in town...

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken...

Anyway, good job as always Tayari!

A random pic... On the way home that evening, I took a picture of my Capitol Avenue highway exit, coming down I-20 west. I know I am a few minutes from home when I see these signs...

Also, 1 year ago today, I officially became a homeowner!! I have been in my house for a whole year, but it doesn't feel like it. I remember back then being a little apprehensive, hoping that I could handle the drastic change in my finances. But there comes a time when you gotta work your faith, and close the door on fear... I am HAPPY to say that I have been able to handle it just fine. I am even able to still throw a little cash into savings, so I am happy about that, too. I am getting ready to do a couple of home improvements, which should be interesting. We'll see how it all goes...

Tomorrow is Friday, and I get paid... and I have a three day weekend due to Columbus Day!!

After paying the mortgage, I am going SHOPPING!!!!

Not quite going on a "Bling-bling" expedition... just going to get a few things for the house, some art supplies, etc... I hate clothes shopping, but I need clothes, so I will reluctantly do that also.

That's about as bling as it gets for the Oldgirl, you know!

Until tomorrow... Holla!!