Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not gonna Cry...

**For Dazz... okay, I am delivering on the bet. Hope you are happy.

Alright, here is one of my throwaway manuscript excerpts. One that bothers me on a deep level (probably the reason I printed it, balled it up, and kicked it across the room a while ago... I'll explain following the exerpt.) So this is for you, Dazz... you Caramel Cutie....

Excerpt: My main character Vaughn waking up in the morning...

"Samuel, baby, could you please turn off the alarm?” I moaned, as I did every morning. I gathered the soft Egyptian cotton sheets around my body and buried my face deeper into the pillow. He usually caught it by the fourth beep, but sometimes he let it keep beeping, just to mess with me.

“Samuel, please, get that! Hit the snooze button. Ten more minutes, please!” I was bracing myself for his antics… some tickling, some grabbing, some kicking. He didn’t do any of that. He was unusually quiet.

“Uggh!” I groaned. I rolled over to get the alarm myself. This always turned out to be a good thing because I would have to roll over his warm massive body and be enveloped in a big sensual hug. Sometimes he would hit the snooze button while he held me and we’d just lie there and talk. Other times we made the sweetest love.
But today, I rolled over only to stare at blank empty space.

Dark empty space.

It alarmed me more than the insistent clamor of the alarm clock.

Samuel wasn’t here in my bed. I only dreamt that he was.

It was as if a light switch had been flipped. The dream had been turned off, and I was left with the monotonous whir of the ceiling fan.

“You will not cry this morning,” I said aloud to myself. “You won’t. Not today.”

But the pain was there, standing strong in the midst of my heart. Pain had been following me all weekend long, whispering and nudging nonstop, reminding me of how much I missed him.

Reminding me of how much I yearned for him.

“No, you’re not going to cry this morning. Not this morning.”

And now it was Monday morning, three whole days since I’d last seen or talked to Samuel. And that Monday morning, unlike the past two mornings, I did not cry. The only way I kept the monkey off my back was to remind myself that Samuel had hurt me.

The pain was replaced by anger then, if only for a moment.

But only for a moment.

Oh yes, the pain would crouch in a dusty corner of my heart, as if on a much deserved coffee break. But it would quickly return, refreshed and ready, in bright bold technicolor.

I raised up on my forearms and placed my face in my hands. “I am not supposed to be feeling like this. I am supposed to hate you, Samuel,” I declared.

Okay, enough of that...

So, sometime in late December, the "Caramel Cutie" tells me something late one night on the phone.

"LadyLee, you're emotionally distant."

I held the phone, Thought about what he said.

And I agreed with him. And that threw him for a loop.

Yeah, I am emotionally distant. But is that a sin or something? I don't think so. I don't get emotionally caught up, especially with negroes that I have no business getting caught up with. I think once a person gets a certain age, then some maturity should kick in somewhere.

I often look back at my twenties, and analyzed my behavior. This is not difficult to do, since I do have a few journals I kept in my twenties. I see a common thread. I always had weird agendas (common back then, but alas, weird to me now.)

I was one of the types, and I know a lot of ladies will admit this... I'd meet a dude, and make my decisions and get my agenda together real quick if I liked him.

"Yeah, I'ma do him."

So what if he has bad credit. So what if he has too many baby mamas. So what if he can't keep a job. So what if he is abusive. Who cares if he can't keep a job.

Don't matter. I was always thinking...

"Yeah, I'ma do him!"

Fast forward. I'm in my mid-thirties now. Have had several relationships. Been married, even. And I can see a common thread. I knew I had no business dealing with certain dudes, but um, it wasn't important. I could cut loose when it was time to cut loose, right?


I would end up feeling the way that my character Vaughn was feeling above... walking around all upset, shut up in the house, crying for days...

... Trying to pull myself together, convincing myself not to cry, trying to stifle the pain of it all.

In other words, dealing with the effects of emotional attachment and trying to let go.

So as a result, being the emotionally extreme female that I am (I'm black and white about a lot of stuff; there's no gray area), I stay on the other side of the spectrum.

I choose to remain emotionally distant.

Am I wrong for that? No. It's my perogative. Am I still aching over some past lost love? No. My life is better since the dead weight has been removed.

I'm just older and smarter now. If I see an issue that irks me straight out, I don't overlook it, and I sure as hell ain't down for trying to change people. Heck, I got too much self-help and assessment I need to work out for my ownself as it is...

But that's just me... If I can help, I'm not gonna end up crying...

Enough said.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Snake BITES: "Life's Struggles"

In Life's Struggle
My brothers had to hustle
But as time passed
The hustling didn't last.
So if your task has begun
Don't leave until it's done.
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well...
Or not at all.

I have a son who's 17 years old
He grew dreads in his head,
Lived as if there's no control,
Disobeyed some of the things he was told,
Even though he's aware that he's living off other people's prayers.
One day he realized that prayers are definitely needed
Because life is a constant process
...Of relating and struggles.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gettin' POSTAL and SCANDALOUS on Ya!!!

(Note:Click here for introductory post: "Gettin' POSTAL on Ya!!")

I must say that everytime I step into the Crown Road Post Office, I get all nostalgic...

I think about how life was some 19 years ago when I worked there. I met a lot of interesting people there.

And I did a lot of interesting things...

The year? 1988.

I was 18 years old, and it was the summer before my junior year in college. (I started college when I was 16). During the spring quarter, my chemistry lab partner brought me an application for a temporary position at the post office. She worked there during the summers, and thought I would like it. I usually worked temp jobs during the summers, so I applied for a night time position. I didn't want a daytime position because I wasn't getting along with my mother, and I was gonna do everything to get out of the house so I wouldn't be there with her. My rationale: Work at night and sleep all day. Ma works during the day, so I would have the house to myself.

My sister Kentucky was seven years old. My brother Milk and Cookies was only ten months old. I remember that he hadn't even started walking yet. I drove an old 1978 creme Thunderbird. I loved that car!
I was CONSTANTLY listening to J.J. Fad's new cassette tape (you know the one: SUPERSONIC!!!).

I was with my first real boyfriend, "Eli". Damn, I was in love with that boy. Goodness.
Really good. And a bit scandalous at that!!

Rich, rich, RICH. I was making $5.50/hour as a college casual employee (6 month work detail for college students) at the Post office. My shift was from 7:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. I was only supposed to keep this job for the summer (3 months), but I continued it when I started my junior year of college. I would go home after work, and wake up at 6:30 a.m., so that I could make it to my 8:00 a.m. class. (If I tried to do that at my age now, I would be looking crazy). Sometimes I worked overtime. A LOT of overtime: 5-6 days a week, 9 hours a day, upwards to 50 hours . At times, I received a $500.00 check every two weeks. Yes, I was RICH!! LOL!

(I would be living under a bridge if I made that much right now!)

LadyLee gets scandalous. I had a boyfriend that had his own apartment. That meant hours and hours of... never mind. Anyway, I didn't work overtime all the time. And there were even times when my hours were cut.

Now, on the nights that I didn't have to work? Let's just say I walked up out of the house like I had to work, with my badge on, and my lunch.

"You have a safe time at work, Lee," Ma would yell.
"Alright, bye!" I'd yell in return.

I even got bold with it sometimes:

"Ma, I, uh, might be working overtime tonight. So I may not see you, since you leave for work at 6:30."
(Remember... I get off between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.) I would go straight to his house if I didn't have my 8 am class, LOL! )

"Well, I will see you tomorrow night."
"BYE!" I'd yell, right before slamming the front door.

*Lee kicking HARD fist pump and jumping in the T-bird and heading to her man's house.*

I was so scandalous. And she never caught on. (At least she never let on that she caught on.)

LadyLee gets REALLY scandalous. Now, like I said, I had a boyfriend at the time. Eli had been my boyfriend for a good year and a half by the time I started working at the post office. But, um, I started liking someone who worked my shift, another college student who attended some HBCU out in Texas. He did the college casual program every summer, and worked out on the post office loading docks. He was tall, Hershey bar dark (I like chocolatety men), and thick (I don't like skinny men). He did bulk mail pickups from my section every hour. He was nice, real polite, etc. I told someone that I thought he was fine. Somehow he got wind of that.

Now, I got in trouble with another chick there because she liked him. She caught wind of me liking him. (I didn't exactly like him. I thought he was cute. You see how stuff gets all changed around?) Well, she stopped speaking to me. Gave me all these dirty looks, and I'd heard that she wanted to fight me. I thought that was crazy. Like I said, I thought the guy was fine.

I had a man already, and was happy with him. What did I care?

Well, you know stuff didn't go down like that, right?

That's right ya'll. The Oldgirl started cheating. Me and this guy started hanging out. After a few dates, I started getting a few ideas.

We spent the night at a hotel somewhere out in Clayton county. I liked that hotel. I snuck off up in there a few times with my boyfriend before he got his own place.


I'm going to say this as nice as possible:

This guy, as wonderful as he was, did not satisfy the Oldgirl. Now take that, and run with it however you please. Whatever you are thinking right about now is probably the truth.

Anyway, I lost complete interest in him. What was worse was that he became more interested in me. I mean, the boy was giddy as hell. He would always want to sneak a kiss when he came to my mail cubicle, and I would appease him. Whatever.

I began dodging him like the plague. He soon caught on that I was not interested. We never talked about it or anything, but I just remember the last day I saw him. He caught me off guard while I was getting in my thunderbird.

"Well, I guess this is goodbye, LadyLee."
"Uh yeah. Hope you do well in school. This is your last year, right?"
He nodded.
"That's good."
We stood there looking at each other. It was 2:30 in the morning, and I wanted to leave because I was trying to get to my man's place.
"Lee, can I at least get a hug?"
Oh brother.

I hugged him, and dipped. I still remember him standing in the parking lot, watching me drive away.

I wonder how he's doing now, all these years later? Like I said, he was really nice. He just wasn't keeping it real in the bedroom. That was a very bad pet peeve of mine. Enough for me to lose your number.

I have a few other funny memories, but I won't detail them. (Ya'll know how long-winded I can be!) Those are the ones I reminisce about the most.
Humph. Thank goodness I bring a book with me when I stand in those long lines.
Don't want to stand there reminiscing too much!! LOL!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gettin' POSTAL on Ya!!!

Last night, I had to go to one of the three 24-hour post offices in the city of Atlanta. There are two on the Northside, and one on the Southside.

Translation: the one on the Southside is in the 'hood.

The post office is located in Hapeville on Crown Road. Anybody from the ATL knows where the place is located. It is near the airport, just off I-75.

Well, I needed to go there to mail a book and some CDs (that I have been holding on to at least a month; sorry LadyBug Mocha!) to one of my bloggin' sistas. Like I said, I've been holding on to the package, only because I HATE going to that Crown Road post office.

The lines are usually long as hell. It's like being in the grocery store or super Wal-Mart in the middle of a Saturday around the first of the month. Everybody and there Mama is up in that place. The parking lot is usually backed up and crowded, like we trying to get up in a damn club or something. So, I procrastinate hard when I need to go. I have patience isshas, and I can't stand standing in line for long periods of time. I usually ebb my annoyance by bringing along a good book to read. This usually works out well... That 20 minutes of standing in line goes by fast enough.

Well last night, the post office was apparently short on staff. There seem to be only 2 employees, and there were about thirty to forty people in line. The line stretched out of the area back past the doors, almost to the post office box area. I've seen it that bad before, but there are usually at least 5 employees manning the counters. I was happy that I brought a book along. I would have immediately turned around and left if I hadn't.

There is a side desk, where a postal employee usually sells stamps and boxes and post office memorabilia, etc... Apparently, this employee, a black woman who looked to be in her early 50's, had gone on break. She came back to the counter and then started going through the line, talking to people and culling out the people that she could service. I had a large package that I needed to mail priority, so she said she could help me. I happen to be standing next to her desk, so I was the first in her line. I was happy about that. It meant that I could mail my package and get the heck on.

Anyway, someone in the long post office line apparently misunderstood something, and went to the front of the long line that contained 30-40 people. She stepped out of line and jumped in front of someone else. I don't know what went down that far up ahead in the line, but apparently she was told that she couldn't jump the line. The lady that was helping me couldn't help this particular chick because she was mailing something express, and that could only be done at the front counter.

(I know it is hard to understand, but stick with me here. I am going somewhere with this.)

So, the chick had to go to the back of the line. And the chick is HIGHLY pissed about it.

And she starts going off. She starts snapping HARD on the post office employee who's helping me.

*LadyLee standing at the counter glancing over shoulder wondering if the chick is gonna pull out a shank. LadyLee wondering silently to herself if she was going to have to elbow the pissed off chick in her grill.*

Now the postal employee who was helping me was very professional about the situation. She apologized to the woman, even though it wasn't her fault that the chick misunderstood something.

Yes, she sounded professional, but her tone... I don't know, sounded more to me like...

"Broad, if you keep talking, I will beat the brakes off of you!!!!"

She was professional but she sounded like gettin' postal was nothin' but a thang. We were in a freakin' post office. And I was hoping that the weapons wouldn't be pulled out.

Let's just say, the chick was getting louder and louder, and the postal employee was sounding to me like she could let her salt-and-pepper hair down, take her earrings off and scrap and scratch if need be.

The postal employee smiled at me and asked if I needed anything else. I needed some stamps. The mad chick is still behind me snapping HARD.

"I need 10 stamps," I said quickly.

"Any particular type?"

"African-American stamps," I mumbled.

"Is Ella Fitzgerald alright?" she asked as she pointed to the stamps.

I am looking at her like she is crazy. I wanted to yell, "Do you realize that this chick is about to tare up this place any second now?"

"Yes ma'am, that's fine."

I paid for my package and my stamps, and I DIPPED. The arguing escalated as I was leaving.

Hope they worked that ish out. I didn't stick around to find out. I jumped in my Zoom-zoom and peeled out of there.

Anyway, the Crown Road post office location always causes me to wax nostalgic.


Because I worked there back in 1988, when I was 18 years old. (19 years ago! It doesn't feel that long. My, how time flies!) .

I thought I would share with you some of my nostalgic memories... Let's just say the Oldgirl was a bit scandalous and dramatic back in dem days...



To be continued...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the LadyLee Blog Address...

(Dedicated to one of my lurkers readers, NuRsE CooK!! *LadyLee kicking the hard fist pump* I only talked to you for a few minutes this evening, but my goodness...you are one funny chick!!)

Since our beloved president is about to snow us speak to us tonight in the State of the U.n.ion Address, and pull the wool over our eyes let us know about this sending of MORE troops to the Mid.dle East, I thought I would not even look at his speech (I would look at the new analysis shows tomorrow)...

... I thought I would do a "State of the LadyLee Blog" address.

Just a little something to let you know what's going on over in these parts.

First of all, I did a guest blog thingy over on Tayari Jones' blog. She asked if a few folks would join her as she read Julia Cameron's The Artist Way. You know me. I'm her #1 fan, so you KNOW I am going along for the ride. Hell, If Tayari said that in order for me to improve my writing, I should go find a paper sack and fill it with roaches, I would do it PRONTO. Anything that will help my writing... shoot, I'm game!!

I wrote something funny, but decided to do something more straight laced. I wondered around aimlessly at work for a little while, with a slight tension headache trying to figure out how to write up my adventure, my visit to The Junkman's Daughter store... There is a slightly different crowd over there in Tayari's LURK CITY... I had to represent like I had a lick of sense, LOL.!!!

But on to my address... And I think you should clap after each section, kinda like they do at the State of the U.nio.n address...

I think I will talk about the information in the heading at the top of the page and go from there.

"Presenting Nostalgic Tales, Book Reviews, Writing progress, Current Events, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera"

Nostalgic Tales. I don't know if I do as much of that as I use to early on. Most of my nostalgia involves my homie of the last 25 years... LadyTee. A lot of old stuff, I don't know... I just don't talk about, because it is probably only funny to me. (Maybe I will just entertain myself and post some stuff, LOL). But most of my tales are more current, more of the stuff that is happening to me right here, right now, in the present. I will most likely continue in that vane.

Book Reviews. I read A LOT of books, approximately 3 to 4 a month. That will go up once I finish my doggone manuscript. ~sigh~ I like doing those a lot, and I have 3 book reviews in progress right now. Look out for those to be posted pretty soon!

Writing Progress. Man, I am trying my best to finish my doggone manuscript. Why, just today, I was sitting in a long meeting working on it, scribbling furiously in a compostion book I have reserved for my short story ideas. (It was one of those things where I was screaming "Oh hell nawl, we got a meeting! Let me grab something so I can get some writing done!!) I am, like, 10 pages away from finishing, and the doggone thing will be about 950 pages long. Nawl, I ain't cutting it, either. Tayari says having that many pages is a "high class problem."


(*Lee frantically waving hand in the air* -- I would like to exchange my "high class problem" for a" Section 8 problem", please! LOL)

My laptop glitched out on me, 10 pages from the finish! (you should have seen me up in the store tripping out on a Ge.ek Squ.ad sista! I was half a step from pimp slapping that chick!). I really don't know what to do with the manuscript right now, in the area of cutting out unnecessary material, that is. I have no experience in such things.

I am reading and printing it out right now. I won a manuscript edit late last year. That's gonna be HILARIOUS when she gets damn near a 1000 pages in the mail.

There are about 10 people reading it. They love it. (You know how folks are... some people love everything I do, LOL. LadyTee refuses to read it. She says she has been reading my sh** since I was 10 years old, and she already know the drill.) One of my book club sistas who does book reviews is currently reading it, and likes to have these long intense convos about some parts of it, which is good for me, because it makes me think.. I'm hearing it ain't the best idea for folks to read your stuff, but I am a novice, and I have gained a lot of insight from talking to those who have been reading along for the past year (So I thank you, you Children of the Corn!)

So that makes me happy.

I have a throwaway excerpt coming up soon, so watch out for that next week time. It is part of a more serious post. I lost a bet with some young bruh that has been trying to holla at me, and he found my blog. I have to write a post to him.

Um, we'll just leave it at that. Look out for that next week sometime.

Current Events. You know, I like current events. I subscribe to both Newsweek and Time magazine, and I just like to read up on current events. (I've been known to peruse an occasional issue of National Geographic... I can be such a NERD sometimes!). I use to do a lot of small political rants early on in this blog, especially after that doggone 'Trina hurricane ish, but I am more interested in little stuff I see on the news. Stuff that has me picking up the phone calling up LadyTee and the two of us getting involved in a little armchair commentating. (You've seen some of our mindless convos, LOL). That may just stay the way it is, because afterall, all of our pontificating is a bit funny.

The "Etcetera." That could mean anything. I am in Diva mode right now and trying to staff up my blog staff. Snake seems to be OVERLY ecstatic about his Monday morning poetry. He was standing on my porch the other day, frowning hard and yelling at the top of his lungs...

"Bite cha, bite cha, bite cha, bite cha...BITE CHAAAAAAAAA!!!"

*Ladylee stepping closer to the front door, just in case she gotta get in the house quick*

He was just a bit ecstatic about his comments, and the fact that people like his poems. He reads his comments over and over. Yeah, he is taking the whole "Snake bite" thing VERY seriously. I don't care, as long as he is happy:)

My blog sista SupaStar is going to do a t-shirt post here and there.

She finds some of the most amazing t-shirts. She has the inside tips on getting personalized t-shirts, etc. Some of them make me blush. Some of them make me stumble backwards, knocking over chairs, trying my best to get away from her. And she doesn't seem to give a flip what people think about them, as you can see from the picture above. Let's just say she wears them proudly.

LadyTee's 10-year old daughter Miracle, who we affectionately call "Milk-Milk" has agreed to do a couple of cooking posts, but she is on some old Diva craziness right now. From what I hear, she is pouring through her recipe books, trying to decide what she wants to cook, and is being real top secret about. I don't know. I think she thinks she is Emeril or Rachel Ray or something.

Listen up Milk-Milk. Get over yourself... This ain't the Food Network. Get a couple of recipes and let's do this. Don't get fired before you even start.

Tiny is always wanting me to look at new improvements he makes to his Mustang. (He is my one man bootleg securtiy team, and works on his car in my garage). I just nod and smile, and keep it moving... I am a girl, and I don't understand such things... But my male readers may like them. So look out for "Car talk with Tiny". Snake got wind of this and caught a major attitude. ("Oh hell no LadyLee, you can't be letting him write poetry.") I thought he was going to knock Tiny upside the head with his composition book!! Now I found this to be quite funny... Tiny does not have a poetic bone in his body, LOL! I explained it to Snake, and although he peered at me suspiciously, he seemed to understand.

I was trying to get the Obi-Wan Kenobi of my book club,

Kat, to do a quarterly blog post, some old "Kat's Corner" type ish... I swear, she says some of the most PROFOUND things concerning character and well being. I almost expect the clouds to part, harps and trumpets to sound, and Angels to sing when she speaks...

I ran up on her about it... She gave me that "look", you know that "look" that your mama use to give you when you were acting up and she'd had enough. Right before she knocked you in the head with a house shoe.

That look that said...

"LadyLee... if you don't get away from me..."


She's a busy chick. Diva of the world, she is! So I understand. Do your thing and handle your business, Kat:) !!!!

My book club sista said that I should just get a tape recorder and just catch it when she say something and then just write it up. Yeah, I may do that. Lord knows that I can't write it down verbatim... I'm in too much awe, pondering what was said, before I can even think to make notes. Goodness!!!

There will be more in the etcetera round... I have some hilarious movies of Snake. I am mad about my music hosting site being out of commission for the past month, without a word as to why! So I gotta figure out an alternative because I GOTS to have my MUSIC!! Got other lil' thangs coming up!

Make sure you stop back by and check it out!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

SNaKe BiTes: "Thank You!", "Chandalier Lights" & "Have a Heart"

Thank you!

I wanna thank LadyLee
For letting spit sh** on paper for someone else to see!
A lot of million dollar rappers are out there,
And they are bad!
But they're not down with LadyLee,
I know they are mad!
So to everyone who gave me a comment, THANK YOU!
And that just let me know that you can be... BIT!

LadyLee stay strong,
And Let peace and purpose be your spice in life!
Oh yes! You're the best!

LadyLee, you don't go to the ATM enuff,
To keep getting this stuff...
But for you? I'll do anything!!

Chandalier Lights

My Mama told me if I wanna keep my house with chandalier lights,
Pay attention to my spendings, and stay off that pipe.
Every dollar that you made was properly spent,
But now you spend the money like you got no sense.

Have a Heart

I was walking the streets on my my way to the store one night.
An old friend of mine hollered at me as I walked by.
She had a sign that said "Hungry! Will work for food!"
So I said to myself "I've got to have a heart in this situation."
So I stepped to her,
Gave her 4 dollars,
Took her sign,
And wrote on it...
"Why lie! I wanna get high!!"

I had a heart.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Book Review: A Heart of Devotion by Tia McCollors

Now I mentioned in a post last month, when I reviewed this author's Zora Cry, that I wasn't going to review this book because it wasn't current. It is a little over a year old.

I gotta go back on that.

Sorry, I, the Oldgirl, lied.

I must mention this book because it has to be the most important book I read last year. Probably the most important I've read in a very long time.

And I read A LOT of books. This was one that I read back in December... and it is still burning in my mind. It's kinda like when you look at the sun for too long and you turn away... and you still see the sun, even with your eyes closed tight.

And it takes a bit of time to wear off.

Well, that's how this book was for me... I think about it everyday.

I really don't know how to describe this book. The post would be MUCH too long if I tried. So I think I will just copy the description from the bookmark that was included with the book. It really wraps up in a nutshell what this book is all about. I don't think Ms. Tia McCollors will mind. If so, send me a polite email, Tia, lol... No need to try to sue a sista!

"Best friends Anisha Blake and Sherri Dawson are inseparable until Anisha is swept away by Tyson Randall. Engulfed in romance, her intimate relationship with God becomes an afterthought. When her life begins to crumble, Anisha risks losing Tyson to a conniving woman from his past. Meanwhile, Sherri's desire for companionship drops her in the face of her own spiritual battle. Ultimately, Anisha is determined to set their lives back on the path to God's will. But can she make room in her heart for both her strong love of God and the love of her life?"

Yeah... it's inspirational. And it hits on a common problems: the choices we make, and the consequences of those choices; praying to God for help and waiting for answers.

The whole time I was reading this book, I was thinking to myself, "What is going to happen? How is this whole story going to play out?" I really cared about these characters.

I tell you, after I finished this book, I was shaken up a bit.

But I was also thinking "Goodness, I've been through this before, trying to do what's right, and failing miserablly. This is so familiar."

(Let me just say, my twenties were a very DARK time of my life.)

"I remember reading the last page, thinking "Hey that was good, let me go and get ready for work."

And then I remember standing in the kitchen, fixing my breakfast, and just breaking down crying right there at the stove. I remember saying "God now I understand. I am SO SORRY I was such a ho in my twenties! I am sorry I wasted so much of my life!"

I could not believe that I was having a crying fit at the kitchen counter. I don't know, I just look at my twenties, a 10 year slice of my life, and felt utter disappointment, I guess.

If only I would have had this book when I was in my twenties... I really don't know where I would be right now. Maybe there would have been less detours off my life's path or something.

In my 20's I was off the chain. Not as off the chain as most, but I had my own agenda. People who know me now, and not then would find that a bit laughable. Anyway, after reading this book, and looking back on my life, I realized I wasted a lot of time and made A LOT of bad decisions. A lot. A lot of time wasted smoking, dranking, looking for trouble, twerking VERY dangerously... the list goes on and on... and on. Just self-destructive as all get out...
And that is why I cried after I read it.


Let's just say that I HIGHLY recommend this book to ANY woman who is in their 20's, who is in the midst of making choices... Let's face it, and I am speaking for myself, and quite a few of the women that I know... we all have been through that "phase" of wanting to get ourselves right with God, wanting to hear from God, just wanting to get our head right, trying to get away from dealing with people and places you know you ain't got no business dealing with.

This book hit so many isshas so swiftly and so efficiently.

Now was this a real review? Not sure, in the sense of the way I usually review a book... Just know that this book touched my heart. I am still in the midst of searching out my purpose in this world, as I know MANY others who are in that phase.

And this book, A heart for Devotion... It answered a lot of questions...

Questions that I didn't even know how to ask.

This book was an exceptional ministry tool, and I hope someone will use it to minister to young women who are just out there, trying to get themselves together, and searching for their purpose in life.

Great thought provoking book... Do yourself a favor and go check it out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Random thoughts and happenings!

People, I have a lot of pictures, and a lot of stuff to say... So here goes:

Jennifer Hudson. I watched the Golden Globes last night... and Jennifer Hudson won the best Supporting Actress Award!

Thank Goodness! And she dedicated her award to Florence Ballard!

Go Girl!!!

And the winner for best actress in a musical or comedy is... BEYONCE!!!

Psyche!! I DON'T THINK SO!!

This went the way it should go... Jennifer Hudson winning her award, and Beyonce losing. Beyonce is really going to have to do something out the box to win an award, because she is not the best actress in the world. She's gonna have to tackle some type of Celie Color Purple role or some Aliens role... something!!

Let's face it Beyonce...Let me help you with your speech...

"No, I am not disappointed in losing. It was such an honor to be nominated in a category with such great actresses..."

Blah, Blah, Blah...

Okay, enough of that, Beyonce...

*LadyLee singing loudly and pointing "To the left, to the left"*

Dwan Abrams book deal. Author Dwan Abrams, author of Only True Love Waits, the author who got stuck in a car with me for a total of four hours when we carpooled together to and from my book club annual retreat in the Georgia mountains, just got a book deal with a new publisher, Urban Christian, an imprint of Kensington. You go girl! I am happy for you!

Now, I came across some information about the Urban Christian imprint in the erotica magazine, Noire. (Naw, I wasn't reading an erotica magazine. Someone in an online writing group that I am a lurking member of mentioned a poem they had written, and I went to read the poem. I am not a big erotica fan... We've all swung from chandeliers and handled a bit of business on kitchen counters... and I don't care to read about it, LOL!). Anyway, it seems as if it is going to be a good inspirational imprint. They are supposed to delve into some deep issues. I'm not a big fan of inspirational fiction, but I have come across some good titles lately, and I have a small story of my own that may fit somewhere in that category, so I will have to check it out!

Like I said, she was stuck off in a car with me for four hours, with me just grilling her and grilling her... She held up well, LOL!! I want you to know, Dwan, not a day goes by that I don't think about those intense convos we had. I think about something you said at least once a day! You dropped some knowledge on a sista that day!! Again, I am happy for you!! Bring on the next book!!

My brother, Milk and Cookies. He had a long weekend off and decided to bring his tail up to Atlanta to see the fam. I was very happy to see him, especially since I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving!

And he came up here with a brand new tattoo, a Jesus piece, on his arm.

And he also brought his girlfriend over to my house.

I just have one question... Is it necessary to CHEESE this hard?

Must he CHEESE this hard??

Okay, that's more like it...

He walked up in the house with her, and let's just say I was sitting up in there in my favorite chair, off in the dark like Mister was sitting at the house when Harpo brought over Miss Sophia for the first time. All I needed was a pipe to smoke and a cold glass of lemonade LOL!! Kari went outside for a good half hour to talk to my neighbors and left her in the house with me...

*LadyLee squinting hard and slowly rubbing hands together... ready to ATTACK*


I was nice to her. We had a long talk. I know how to grill you without you knowing that I'm grilling you, you see.

She was a nice girl.

Nice lovestruck girl.

(You know how we were when we were that age.)

And that's all I have to say about that!

Grandma. My sweet little Grandma celebrated a birthday this weekend. She was born one day before Martin Luther King. From time to time, I enjoy taking her to a movie and out to dinner. Since she's an avid reader, we sometimes drop by a bookstore and pick up a book or two.

Grandma is sprite and she wears me out. (And I think I get my sneaker and sweats fascination from her, LOL!) I know when I see her coming down the steps in a sweat suit and sneakers, I better be good and ready, because we are going to be on the go!

Happy birthday Grandma!!

LadyTee and her Son, Nell. I hung out with LadyTee and her fam, and took a few pictures.

I have a question. What's up with these young boys with all this "mean-mugging"? Why can't they smile for pictures?

Better yet, how you gonna try to mean-mug and look all hard with a t-shirt with the word "Salvation" in size 72 cursive font emblazoned on the front??

I posed the question to LadyTee.

She pumped her fist in the air. "Thuggin' for the Lord, gurl!!"

*LadyLee kickin' the hard eyeroll.*

Next time, smile for the camera, Nell!!

That doggone SNAKE!! Snake came by my house on Saturday night wanting to sell me a big bag of cat food.

And it was that good cat food, the kind that Oscar-Tyrone eats, you know. I make it a rule not to buy anything from the locals, as it most likely belongs to someone else. This is easy when he's trying to sell off a watch, jewelry, TVs, plants and trees. I just yell "NO, SNAKE!"

But cat food?

I said no. I imagined him and his crew going somewhere and knocking off a vet shop or something, which is some complete craziness. But he said it was the wrong food for his cousin's kitten, blah, blah, blah, etc... Whatever he said, I believed him. I bought the 30 dollar bag of food for about 10 bucks in quarters.

He later told me where he got it from...

Let's just say... HE TRICKED ME!!! I'm not even going to tell you where he got it from.

Pissed me off because I broke my rule: don't buy nothing from the locals... HUMPH!!

Humph. I am requiring that he write a poem on that subject.

Oscar Tyrone, didn't seem to mind. He watched me as I drug the food back into the house.

He yawned and went back to sleep.

Recipes. I have some recipes coming up sometime this month. I'll let you guess what they are.

Now, like I said, I will let you guess what those are... They both look a bit on the bootleg "foo-foo" side, don't they? Don't ever let it be said that the Oldgirl can't decorate a dish, LOL!

Like I said in a prior post, the 1% Diva in me has found it necessary to have a staff, so "The Miracle Cook" will start up soon (supposedly), starring LadyTee's 10- year-old daughter Miracle. She is a very good cook. (LadyTee rarely cooks. She makes her daughter cook... I am going to call DFACS on LadyTee!). She knows she has a segment or two coming up, but she is being very top secret with her recipes... So I am putting her on blast today: Milk-Milk, get your recipes together, get over my house and COOK, pronto!!

That's all for now... Have a good week:)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Snake Bites: "Purpose" & "Her Last Party"

**Snake would like to THANK YOU all for the wonderful comments you shared last week for the debut of his Monday morning post "Snake Bites". They really brightened his day. He has many more "Snake bites" to share with you...

You Are Somebody
( a poem for the King Holiday)

Whether you’re here or gone, right or wrong
You were meant to be.

You were meant to be somebody from the second you were born.
So don’t criticize, or knock one another
Cause it’s really not that hard to try to love your brother.

Don’t get hung up on what you’re not.
Be proud of who you are and whatever you’ve got.

Cause it’s a cold cruel world, causing kids to cry.
So if you’re hanging your head?
Kiss your ass goodbye.

Be proud of your heritage!
Rejoice in the fact
Whether you’re red, yellow, green, brown or black!
We all got a purpose in life to achieve.
And there’s something else that you better believe:
You are somebody!

Her Last Party
(In Memory of Ms. Fannie Mae Smith, Snake's Grandmother)

When you come to her Last Party
Don’t come with your faces long,
But come with memories that are pleasant,
In your heart, let there be a song.

The place will be full of flowers
And she will be dressed grand.
The only thing that she’ll be sorry for…
She won’t be able to shake your hand.

When we go to her Last Party
She don’t know how soon it will be.
The daily paper will print the invitations
Then everyone will see.

We’re gonna hold it in a church-like place
And no one will be turned away,
At the place where we will have her party,
Many friends will come and pray.

If you come to her Last Party
We won’t play any games,
But there will be a register
Where you may sign your names.

As we stand and sing praises
In voices so silently,
Telling each other
Or thinking of what good thing
We remembered of her, you see.

When you come to her Last Party,
Our Lord will be the host,
Because among all her friends,
He loved her the most.

He bore her cross on Calvary
He’s bearing her cross today.
When we leave her,
He’ll still be with her
To comfort her on her way.

When we go to her Last Party
In spirit she’ll be there.
And as we stare at her,
Right back through close eyelids she will stare.

And as we say she looks natural
That is as should be.
Because at her Last Party
Who should look more natural than she.

She did the best that she knew how.
It’s up to God to take care of her now.

You raised 7 kids that were truly raised right,
Then after, you had grands:
One began to write.

So this party is for you
Even though I slip and slide.
But the day of this party
We will still keep the pride.

Because you were strong
And we still know how to get through.

That’s why this party’s just for you.

4-U Fannie Mae Smith 7/25/27 - 1/12/07

Now the party’s over…

Written by Snake and The Sangin’ Diva (Snake’s sister), your grandkids.

Friday, January 12, 2007

He's an Original: HASSAN The First ORIGINAL OLDBOY!!

This post is dedicated to one of my blog brothas...

The one...
the only...

And today, on this twelth day of January in the year two-thousand and seven...

I grant him his Original Oldboy Platinum Plus Card...

This card is good not only on the planet earth, but good on every planet in the Solar System, including the sun. It is his now, and I am sure he will use it wisely...
Now, I rarely give out cards... but I've been toying with giving him a card for awhile...
Naw, I ain't trying to run up on him. Nothing like that. We all know how JACKED up them blog crush/romance thingys can be...

Although, the brutha did look sexy to death in the picture below.

He has that "look", you know that "look", the look that's says...
"Come hither, LadyLee, come hither, you Oldgirl you... Let me take those Nikes off and rub those feet... Here's the controller...let's play a little Playstation basketball, Oldgirl, and listen to some Big Daddy Kane.".

Yeah, Hassan... when I saw that pic of you... I don't know, Shorty, you caused this Oldgirl a bit of...
Let's just say, I, um, look at it a bit too often...
If you were Hershey Bar dark and ATLien, you would have to go downtown and take out a FEW warrants and restraining orders...
*LadyLee wiping sweat from her eyebrow and turning on the air conditioner.*
Let's just leave it at that...
But on the real, why am I so down for this man? Why is he so off the chain?
The real question is: Why does this man deserve Original Oldboy Status??
Because he inspires the hell out of me, that's why.
Never in my entire life have I seen a brother take self-assessment so seriously. Never.
I just don't know many folks who take a moment to sit down and assess themselves in every area.
He is the type who will take a GOOD LOOK at himself before he goes pointing fingers at others.
He has gotten me to the point where I am very quick to take a GOOD LOOK at myself before I start tripping out and accusing others.
He's honest to no fault. He's written blog posts that have made this Oldgirl weep and cry and go write out some some things in my personal journals (ya'll know I don't get too personal over here...)
He was the one person who pimp-slapped the hell out of me a year ago for wailing and screeching on my blog about my lil' brother Milk and Cookies joining the military...
My brotha, you are the man, the man with the plan, knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to say it... and you bypass the ego stroking BS when you do it...
And for that, Shorty? You get your card...
No, this ain't no clickish thang.... (Ya'll know how much I HATE clicks!!! UGGH!)
This is a "You INSPIRE me" type of thang.
You inspire me, Hassan. No, you're not perfect (who out there is?)...
But you are always looking... through your crying, through your happiness, through your sadness, through your anger...
Through it all...
You're always searching, seeking, looking...
trying to figure out how to become a better YOU...
Always looking to, as I like to say... Work that ish out!!
When I think you can go no deeper?
You throw the shovel to the side...
And you go get the bulldozer and you dig deeper...
All this week, with your posts, you've been straight jacking up this Oldgirl's heart, spirit, and soul... Your words stay on my mind day in and day out.
And your words, your thoughts, your poetry, and your encouragement...
Make this Oldgirl LadyLee... a BETTER Oldgirl...
(And I know that Original Oldgirl Chele can testify to that...)

So congratulations, you Original Oldboy... use your card wisely, i.e.,
Keep spitting the knowledge and keep keeping it real...
Because we are ALL benefiting from it...
Really though...
~LL, the Oldgirl.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lunch... HOT DAMN!!! (Part II of II)

Click here for "Lunch... HOT DAMN!!! (Part I of II): Tale of the Dresscode"

Well, I get a call from Tayari... I give her directions to my job, and she gets there. I direct her to park in the gated carpool area, and we walk over to Silk...

Now, while I was directing her into a parking space, a "special" employee (one of a couple we ran up on that day, LOL!) was harrassing me about the usual office politics isshas that we have been discussing for years (goodness!). I wanted to yell "Would you PLEASE give it a rest?!! Do you realize Tayari Jones is walking this way?! I don't want to talk about job isshas right now!!!!"

I swear... some people. That's what I get for being nice to people, ain't it?

Anyway, we headed across the street to Silk.

It was hot that day (60 degrees), and I had on a sweat shirt (because my lab is sometimes a bit chilly)... But with all the running around/pontificating I'd been doing and my nerves being an inch away from being completely shot, mixed with the excitement of my favorite author coming to see me...

LAWD!! It is a wonder that I didn't pass out...

One of my coworkers had said earlier, "Dang LadyLee, two mother brains going to lunch. That's two much brain power for Silk. Ya'll gonna to walk in and the electricity gonna short out or something. The lights are gonna go bzzzz-bzzzzzz-bzzzzz... That's way too much intelligence concentrated in one place. Man!!"

I thought about that... I know, like always, some serious knowledge was gonna be dropped over in Silk... and I think I was a bit antsy about that, too, LOL!!

Anyway, we head over to Silk and are seated at a booth. (Yes, there was no dress code. This was a good thing because I would peering out from behind jail bars instead of writing this post).

We perused the menu. I had no idea what to order. My book club sista, Shunda, had gone there for her birthday, and I meant to shoot her an email earlier asking her opinion on what to order. We didn't talk about it then... Our convo was a bit strange and funny...

LadyLee: "You went to Silk for your birthday? I work across the street from Silk!"

Shunda: "Gurl, it was good. It's foo-foo, but it's good!"

LadyLee: *frowning hard* "Foo-foo?"

Shunda: "Yeah girl! It's foo-foo! "

What the...?

*LadyLee looking at Shunda with great suspicion*

She explained that "foo-foo" meant pretty food. Which to me means NO FOOD. LOL!

Well, we placed our orders, and talked. I was sweating like a dog, because it was HOT in there, and I was nervous, but eventually I calmed down, LOL! We talked about a lot of stuff: family, relationships, life, etc... I was sitting there thinking, "Dang, this is like sitting around talking to LadyTee, except for we are not sitting around joning out and cracking on the people around us."


Tayari ordered a shrimp dish, while I ordered the sea bass and fresh vegetables. I thought she would get that high ass $75 Kobe steak... That would've been cool, because I had a platinum card and three debit cards on me. I almost suggested it, but um, I was thinking that that amount is enough to pay my light bill, LOL!!

All I gotta say... that doggone food was GOOD. I've tried to cook sea bass only once, and um, let's just say, that fish produces a TON of oil. And at 14 bucks a pound, the Oldgirl was leaving that ish alone, and sticking to the cheap trouts and the cheap croakers. But the Sea bass at Silk was GOOD. Tayari enjoyed her food too. I will have to get what she got the next time I go over there!

She was throwing back the coffee, too. What a sight! That was funny... If I would've drank ANYTHING with caffeine... goodness, I would have been a bit too talkative and "special" during lunch!

We also talked about writing... She asked me about my manuscript...

"So what is it about, LadyLee?"

*Ladylee's heart jumping up into her throat, trying her BEST to figure out how to explain the plot.*

Man, I don't even remember what I said. We've never talked about it, and it is some type of cardinal sin from the deepest depths of hell to ask an author to read any of your work, so I've never spoken much about it, out of pure fear of being struck by a bolt of lightning or something. I think I need to go write down a speech and memorize it or something. I just remember my heart beating like a bass drum and my ears getting hot. Her expression was neutral. She nodded a couple of times. That's all I could read. Didn't know if she liked the idea or not, really.

And I wasn't going to ask, either. Hell nawl. If she would've said, "That's stupid, LadyLee!", I would have torched all 950 pages of my manuscript and tossed the remnants into Peachtree street traffic. Shoot, I would have shut down my blog and never write again.

We talked about her manuscript. Now I was trying my BEST to keep from cheesing TOO hard when she was talking about that!! Man, I am waiting on her next book like a crackhead is waiting on the pipe!!!

She had dessert, some chocolate cheesecake thingy with ice cream on top. I wanted some, but I am not eating sweets this month, so, um, I missed out! (DARN IT!).

But you know me, right? You know the Oldgirl... I had to ask some writing questions...

I'd been struggling with creating metaphors and similes something terrible. And since Tayari comes up with teeth shattering, bone crushing, heat scorching, body rocking metaphors and similes, and has the ability to wrap several in one sentence... You know I had to ask her "How DO you DO that?"

She said...

(Now do you REALLY think that I am actually gonna tell you what she said. HELL NO!! If I told ya, I'd have to kill ya!! Ancient chinese secret, babes!!)

We finished up our lunch and talked a little more. Man, if you EVER get a chance to go to Silk, please GO!! At least go for lunch! The prices are reasonable(half of what the dinner prices are), and they give you a good amount of food. We weren't stuffed, but we were pleasantly full!!

And best of all... there's no DRESSCODE for lunch, LOL!!!

I asked her if she wanted a laboratory tour. She said yes, because she'd never seen a working lab before. So I got her all checked in at security and showed her my lab... She met some of my blog characters coworkers, namely the Infamous Hen-Dog, Cowgirl Cre, and my boss The Darth Sista T. She was truly amazed at our set-up and all that we do there. Hen-Dog suggested that I take her down to the filth lab, but um, that would have completely grossed her out (as it does gross me out as it is), and I would probably never see her again! Her eyebrows were raised a bit when I mentioned that I'd set myself on fire before! (I should blog about my fire(s) and my explosions... Not sure if you as non-scientists would get a kick out of it. Us chemists consider that type of stuff hilarious, especially when no one gets hurt! We actually like to do re-enactments of that type of stuff!).

All in all, this was a GREAT visit! It's always good to see her! I didn't realize we had a lot in common. Plus she dropped some serious knowledge on me. I already look at the creation of similes and metaphors MUCH differently... And Tayari, you will be happy to know that I have come up with some pretty good ones for my writing since we've talked. Don't take much for me to see the light, mayne!

I walked her back to her car. I tried to take a parting picture with my camera, but my camera was dead. (There were some serious pontifications/discussions about picture taking earlier between myself and my coworkers, with me killing the convos by yelling "Hell nawl, I ain't taking pictures! I'm not gonna bother her! Ya'll trying to mess me up! I'm not harrassing her with the camera like I did last time! NO! We are going to go and eat, and that's it!!!!").

But she allowed me to use her camera and take a pic as she left...

All in all, I had a great time! How often does ANYONE get to spend time with their favorite author, actor, sanger, or favorite anybody? And this was only the 4th day of the New Year.

Goodness gracious alive!!

Dang, I hope this is an indication of a suprise-filled year!

Come on, 2007!! LOL!

Come back soon, Tayari:) Next time, I'll take you down to the filth lab, Celie!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lunch... HOT DAMN!!!!!! (Part I of II): Tale of the Dresscode

Okay... here's the scene:

I was sitting at my desk in my cubicle last Thursday...

Just chillin'.

Now, my coworkers will tell you...

This was pretty bizarre for me, because I lose my mind around too much silence. I usually have music playing on my laptop (to the point where my supervisor, Darth Sista T, calls and says through clenched teeth, "Lee, turn that music down!!"), or we are all involved in some type of bolo bat or jacks competition. We have even been known to get into some heated arguments where my boss comes looking for ME (even though I may not be involved), since I am the black sheep and the root to most of the swashbuckling shenanigans that go on in this cubicle area...

No... all was quiet in the cubicle area that day...

I was sitting there, at my cubicle, pouring through my manuscript, reluctantly reading and printing out chapters. The only excitement that morning and the day before was that I had written a short story entitled "Presumption Personified", and people were stopping by to tell me what they thought of it...

I was also becoming more disturbed by the minute by my cubicle mate Cowgirl Cre. She'd been sneezing and coughing all morning. She was coming down with what seem to be a hellacious cold.

*LadyLee peering cautiously over her shoulder each time Cowgirl Cre sneezes... silently wondering why she just don't take her sick a$$ home*

Anyway, there was the usual email thread going on between myself, The DJ DIVA, and the Super Shoe Queen Serenity 23. I have no idea what we were talking about that morning. I am a tomboy... They are high heel shoe wearing, runway walking Divas of the world. They like to get off on talking about shoes, hair weaves, etc., sometimes, which causes pure silence on my side of the thread... I am down for them shorties, but I, LadyLee, am not a Diva. Let's talk about Nikes and playstation, baby!!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand...

Tayari Jones, my faaaavorite author, and I start emailing back and forth that morning. I made a comment on her blog about her washing her big gargantuan cat, Johnny Baby.

On the end of one of those emails she tagged on...

"...What are you up to? You are back at work, huh? Where is your job located? Maybe I could meet you for lunch or something..."


Okay, I am getting better ya'll... I didn't jump around the lab like I did a few months ago, yelling and screaming and scaring the hell out of folk, knocking over chairs, causing people to jump out of my path....

Naw... I did good this time.

For one thing, I read it only 2 times, not just sitting there, pondering the overall meaning of the statement...

Nope, I backed up the chair from my computer screen, grabbed the phone that Cowgirl Cre and I share, and quickly dialed up LadyTee.

"'Sup Lee-Lee?"
"LadyTee," I whined.
"What you want, broad?? Damn!!"
"Guess what?"
"What, Lee?"
"Tayari wants to go to lunch!"
"Go on, girl!!"

*Lee cheesing really HARD*

I talked to LadyTee about some unrealated stuff for a minute, while emailing back and forth with Tayari. I had lost all interest in my manuscript by that time. Tayari didn't mention lunch for a minute there, so I was a bit deflated, thinking that she was just kidding, so i didn't mention it... But a few minutes later, i got the following...

"Let's meet for lunch around 1.. how does that sound?"

I almost jumped over the cubicle, Mayne, LOL!!

Naw, I was cool... I chilled and acted like I had some damn sense. The only problem was that I didn't have my car that day, as I am cheerfully chaffeured to work carpool everyday with the Infamous Hen-Dog. That wasn't really a problem, though. Hen-Dog was busy, and his keys were laying in his cubicle on his desk. Nothing wrong with a little grand auto theft for an hour... All of a sudden I REALLY got excited... I was sitting there, filled with glee, because I was gonna drive Hen's tricked out late model top of the line Altima, with the leather seats and the seat warmers... The last time I drove his car, I was dropping him and his friend off at a Falcon's game, rolling down Capitol avenue at top speed screaming...

"Awww DAMN, I have got to get me one of THESE"..

*Hen-Dog and his homeboy sitting there, staring at me, holding on to their seats*

Yeah, I was gonna snatch that negro's car and leave him a note, telling him I not to worry, I'd be right back...

But I got another email from Tayari...

"...I've got my car so I can scoop you. what's fun to eat over there?"

So now, I am really tripping...

And it was beginning to look like lunch would become a reality... So I sent an email back of all the places that were around here- sandwich shops, noodle houses, pizza and burger places... and this place...

Silk Steak and Seafood Restaurant.

Now Silk is an upscale Pan Asian restaurant that is listed on many of the top ten best places to eat lists in Atlanta. It has been across the street from my job for a good couple of years, I believe, but all most of us have done is stare out the workplace window at the place and just... wonder.

"You know, they sell $75.00 steaks over there," I said one day. "I know, because I went up in there and got a takeout menu."

"Shoot, we won't be rolling up in there. Guess we will have to stick to the sandwich shop across the street," said random co-worker.

But today? Wasn't going down like that.

You gotta understand... This to me was like somebody like Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, Condoleeza Rice, Denzel Washington, Janet Jackson, or Beyonce... somebody like that calling up and saying...

"Hey Oldgirl, let's go get lunch!"

In other words, ain't nobody thinking about no damn club sandwich, pizza, burger or fries...

Me and Celie was fixin' to eat, and we was fixin' to eat GOOD...

So, the chemists in my immediate cubicle area knew that I was going to go have lunch with Tayari Jones.

Why? Because I went and told each one personally.

"Guess what... Tayari Jones is coming down here, and we are going to lunch."

*LadyLee grinning so hard that you can see all thirty-two teeth, tonsils, and her esophagus.*

I even went over to my boss Darth Sista T's office. When I entered without knocking, she looked up from what she was doing. She frowned hard, like she's ready to snatch her earrings off and kick off her high heels and fight or something. I walked into her office and stood in front of her desk, frowning just as hard, ready to kick off my Nikes and my fake gold hoops and go toe-to-toe.

"What LadyLee?!! What is it?!!!" she hissed.

"Look here, check it out, Sista T," I declared boldly. "Tayari Jones, my favorite author in the whole wide world,is coming down here, and we are going to lunch. I'm just letting you know."

That was pretty much my codeword for "Don't be paging me and looking for me because I won't be in the building. I am taking way over the 30 minute lunch. Don't talk sh** when I get back, you hear me?"

I have to make these things crystal clear. I really don't care though, since I am considered the crazy black sheep on the job, thrown under the bus on a regular basis. It was just a matter of making an announcement so she wouldn't be acting all ignorant later on. I have been known for telling management very loudly to go sit on a tack. Hopefully, this could be avoided that day. If not, going to lunch with Tayari Jones was well worth being thrown under the bus.

Anyway, I look at how I am dressed: sweats and sneakers, my usual gear for work.

Look, I've been working in chemical labs every since I was 16, some 20 years now... I have set myself on fire, had a few explosions, etc. I have spilled chemicals on good clothes, thrown them in the washer, and they come out full of holes. I have ruined hundreds of dollars in shoes and clothing. I even messed up my favorite hunter green long sleeve silk shirt fooling around out in the fields with a bunch of entomologists, digging around for termites in the French Quarter.


Therefore I have learned to come to work as bummy as possible.

I found Silk's phone number, called them up, and grilled them on dress code.

They said sweats and sneakers were fine. But I was speaking with someone who didn't have the best command of the English language, so I took their word with a grain of salt...

Hen-Dog happened to be walking to his cubicle. He told me a while back that he'd been to Silk.

Come here, boy," I yelled.

He walked over. "What, gurl?"

"What's the dress code like over at Silk?"

He looked back and forth between Cowgirl Cre and myself, as if he was trying to decide if we were trying to trick him. We just stared at him, real hard like, waiting for the answer.

He shrugged. "I don't know. You can probably walk up in there butt-naked if you want to!"

Okay, he was no help. I waved him off. He went back to his desk.

I make my way to the other side of the building, even to the building next door, accessible via walkthrough, to spread this most exciting news. Many employees were excited for me, as they should be. Afterall, I am Tayari Jones' bootleg work for free Atlanta PR one woman firm. I am that crazy "touched" chick that stands on the corner, banging a heavy cooking pot with a metal spoon, screaming at the top of my lungs...

"Buy Tayari Jones' books!!!!!"

Yeah, they were excited for me.

"Where ya'll going to eat?"

"We're going to Silk!!!" I announced proudly, still cheesing down like my name is Celie.

*Employees screaming with glee. Employees breaking out in some impromptu dance number from "The Wiz", singing "Can you... feel a... brand new DAAAAYYY!!!?"*


One employee BLATANTLY looked me up and down. I said something before she could.

"Oh, I already called Silk. They said no dress code."

They made a couple other comments.

I got real defensive.

"Aw na'll, me and Tayari, we girls, now, we girls. We cool! It's all good. She not gonna care how I'm dressed. We cool. We girls. She cool! She not stuck up like that. We just going to get something to eat. It's all good."

Humph. Pissed me off a bit. But at the same time, it spooked me something terrible.

*LadyLee swiping ID card so she can get out of the building.*

I hightailed it right on over across the street to Silk and talked to the Maitre D.

"Look here, what's the dress code?!" I spat.
He frown and looked at me like I had been smoking dope or something. "What?"
"Dress code. What is the dress code like?"
He looked me up and down. "What are you talking about? You're okay. Sweats are fine. Just come on over."
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said, still completely perturbed that I would ask such a thing. "It's lunch time, just get over here by two o'clock. The kitchen closes at two."
"Okay," I exhaled. I asked for a takeout menu, thenI turned to leave.
"You be sure to come back, now!"
"Dude, I'm coming back at one o'clock."
He smiled hard. "See you then."

(Why was he acting like I wasn't coming back? Hmm.)

You know, I had to go ask. It would be terrible if we walked up in Silk and they refused to service us.

My goodness... I would have hated to do what I've been known to do in the past: Throw around my "Dr." title and scream to see the manager. Or worse, I would have hated to grab a baseball bat and break out every window of that doggone place. I would have hated to kick the manager in his grill (teeth).

That would have been so freakin' terrible. I would have hated for my family to see me on the news, face down on the ground in hancuffs.

So I had a little more confidence then. Yeah, I was bum of the year that day, but um, that's the way I come to work. I hate labcoats, so whatever I spill on my clothes, is not a problem. I can throw my clothes away. That's just that. Nothing spectacular ever happens to me while at work anyway. Nothing! So why dress up?

Well, I get a call from Tayari... I give her directions to my job, and she gets there. I direct her to park in the gated carpool area, and we walk over to Silk...

to be continued...

Monday, January 08, 2007

SnAKe BiTEs: "Nobody Knows But Me" & "Life Parts I and II"

See "Snake Bites: Introduction" for background post

Nobody Knows But Me

When a man says he’s too strong to cry,
That’s a lie.
I suffered too long...

Because I thought I was that strong.
I kept a lot of things to myself,
And suffering caused stress on my health.
I have problems that only I know about,
But now that I’m plugged in with LadyLee, now it’s coming out.
47 years, 18 days…
Been to five different prisons, with babies on the way.
And they tell me there’s no need to pray
I’m gonna go to hell anyway.
Lately, that’s been bothering me…
I guess the turtle gonna catch the rabbit eventually…
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.
Nobody knows but me.

Life, Part I

The day he came out of his Mama’s womb
Found hisself in the operating room.
When the doctor hit him on his behind,
He didn’t know he had to grind.

God blessed me with this gift of poetry.
So with the paper and pen you can see what I see.

I am a creative individual.
I am more important than any style, game, or system.

My goal may not have been reached…
But it’s still something that I aim at.

Knowing not enough if I don’t do,
Willingness is not enough if I don’t apply.
When you THINK impossible, things become impossible.
But if you love life?
Don’t waste any time…
Because time is what life’s made of.

Time encompasses all if used wisely.
It’s only here for a minute.
Soon I will be free.
But until then I have to live in this world with constant struggle…
Because a life without God
Makes it hard on the yard.

Life, Part II

Life is what you make it.
You can be happy, or you can be sad.
It’s all left up to you to choose the right path.
Opportunity knocks on the door once.
Temptation knocks forever