Monday, December 24, 2007

Bah Humbug?

Ahhh yes…

‘Tis the holiday season.

Times of peace, love, joy…

Good will towards all men.

I don’t care much for it all, not much at all…

It’s times like these that my neighbors are all full of glee.

Fighting with the crowds over the last of the Christmas bargains...



I got a call a couple of weeks ago from my neighbor Tiny, letting me know that he was hanging out in my garage, doing something to his car.

I was like whatever. I would park in the driveway and he would pull my car in the garage when he finished.

I’d worked 12 hours that day, and was a little under the weather, but made it home by seven o’clock that evening. I pulled into my driveway to see my smiling neighbor Stan talking to anoher neighbor who had been apparently out walking her dog. I almost got the notion to drive past my house, because I was exhausted and was in NO mood to lollygag, but I pulled into my driveway anyway.

I figured I’d say a quick hi, and go on in the house.

After I opened my car door, and before my Nike could even hit the ground, Stan ran up to my car.

“Hiya, LadyLee” he yelled.

I just looked at him for a moment. Sometimes he can be as special as Forrest Gump. “Wassup Stan. And Hey, Nancy,” I mumbled.

“I got a question for you,” Stan said. I just looked at him. I want to put a strand of lights on your house.

“Bah Humbug, man,” I grumbled. “Ya’ll know I don’t decorate."

“Oh, don’t worry about that. Just a simple strand of lights on your front rail.”

I wanted no part of this conversation. I got out of the car and opened my back door and grabbed my laptop bag. “Alright, man. Do whatever. Just let me know how much it’ll cost. I’m going in the house.”

“Oh noooo, Ladylee. No cost at all. You just keep being my neighbor. You are such a good neighbor!”

***big crickets****

Now, that statement left me a bit perplexed. I am a HORRIBLE neighbor. I don’t participate in neighborly get togethers, and I don’t pay attention to what’s going on. My garage is attached in the back of my house...

And I time it just right where I can hit that driveway, click the garage door open, drive in the garage and close the garage door before the neighbor's have time to catch me.

(Sidenote: One of the "locals", Mr. Thomas, seen here threatening me with a rake, has a problem with this. (post to come later)).

Case in point: there is a lesbian couple that lives next door to my neighbors Tiny and Hen-Dog. Tiny and I were sitting out on my front porch, and Tiny had this worried look on his face.

“Lee, I always see one of the ladies, but I never see the other young lady.”
“Maybe she just be in the house.”
“Hope she alright. It’s like she keep her locked up or something.”
“I wonder what’s going on with them?”
“Why don’t you go knock on the door and find out,” I suggested.
“I just don’t know, Lee. I mean, we never see the other girl, and—“
“Man, would you shut up? Who gives a damn! Long as they stay over there, I could care less what they over there doing!"

No, I’m NOT a loving and caring neighbor. I work all day. When I come home, I’m trying to go straight up in the house. You better hope I speak or wave before I speed off into my garage and shut the garage door.

And you can forget about decorating for the holidays. I don’t decorate. Stan and his man Paul go all out. Even my neighbor Tim had the nerve to have a large blow-up fully operational Christmas carousel in his yard.

(That is some craziness. Especially since Tim don't have any kids around)

Then they want to argue with me when I choose not to decorate.

Anyway, Stan said he would put some lights on my house. Whatever. I told him to knock himself out.

Anyway, I walked back outside later that night to check the mail, and saw this.

(I wanted to knock on Stan's door and ask him to sweep the leaves off my front porch.)

Stan had placed the lights on my house just that quick.

My sister got upset, which is outside of her usual character. (“Is he gonna pay part of the light bill, Lee? Don’t decorations attract criminals?” she yelled).

So now I got some lights on my house.

And it appears to all that I have some holiday cheer.

Go figure.

And with that... I want to say:

You all have a Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

... On getting that STATUS!!

Oh man....

status, status, status...

It is that time...

That time to give out some "STATUS".

That **Original Oldgirl Platinum Plus Card**carryin' status, that is.

Now, I read something at one of my blog sister's spot. It was a lament of sorts:

"**Sigh** I thought that I would be eligible for a Platinum Oldgirl card in about a year or 2, but after last night, my application would be fact, I don't even think that the Oldgirl Board of Directors would even deliberate as long as Tyra and 'em on ANTM."

I think she did something that SHE felt put her status in jeopardy.

It left me scratching my head and gazing skyward, fighting to understand...

To the point where I thought to myself, the next time I grant someone their "Oldgirl" card, I need to explain what this truly means.

It ain't got nothing to do with whether I like you or not. Man oh man, it ain't got nothing to do with "Oh, you did something wrong, so you are DENIED."

Wow. That's some craziness. Judgmental, even. ICK.

But in a nutshell, I grant a card when someone consistently inspires me.

Now, there are people out there who inspire me all the time. Lots.

But to be more specific, do I think about you when I am in a hard place emotionally or mentally? Do I think about something you've overcome, or are going through, and it helps me move forward?

Have you given me advice that causes me to "turn a sharp corner" in my life? More specifically, as I'm barreling down my lane in this road called Life, and I am coming up waaaay to fast on a sharp turn and it looks as if I'm about to crash, do you lean over and grab the steering wheel with ease and help me negotiate that turn?

You know, do you do something that helps an Oldgirl get through them crazy times? I'm not talking about financially. (Let's get that straight right now, man. Lee don't borrow bread.) When I think of you, does it give me courage? Does just watching you and the things you do jack my faith up a notch?

Are you a positive influence in my life?


I know, I know that's a lot to understand.

But THAT's what gives you status.

I don't know, if it's just me, or not, but it seems like I live in a society where it is wholly acceptable of finding ways of getting over on the system or on people. That "getting over" mentality disturbs me deeply.

I tend to draw near to people who aren't like that.

So, when I come across people who help people out of the goodness of their heart, I truly appreciate it, for this is the type of person I hope to someday be. And it inspires me to "pass it forward", i.e., to work hard on being the type of person willing to lend a helping hand, to be a good listener, to be a good example, and to be the type of person who one can come to for advice.
I think that is my vision for myself, and a viable goal to work toward... I continue to be a work in progress.

So, three Bloggers (retired and/or going strong) have been granted their Original Oldgirl and Oldboy status.

Sharon (Ms. JustWriteNow). I met Sharon at an Atlanta book club conference, at a Tayari Jones reading back in 2005. I remember her asking questions that I was way too afraid to ask my favorite author. I sat next to her in a novel writing seminar, and we got to talking, and later emailing, etc... She started blogging, and leaving comments all around the blogosphere that were so incredibly heavy that they shut the whole post down, lol. We've talked on the phone much, and she has helped me deal with some isshas that have bothered me for years... We spoke on the phone a couple of weeks ago, and as usual, I leave whatever convo we have... a MUCH better person.

Chele: The recently retired Chele had the most fabulous blog. What I liked most about her was that she wasn't afraid to say "I'm hurting" or "I'm depressed". I know that don't seem like much, but when you are willing to face and deal your hurt or pain, instead of burying it... well, that's a good thing. Growing up, I've had to bury alot of my feelings, and people who know me know that I hide my feelings and don't talk much about them. Well, I learned from her, that it's "okay" and that even though such feelings arise, they will past. I also learned from her the power of self assessment.

She also wrote two of the most important books I've ever read: Raymond's Daughters, and her collections of poetry and essays, Confessions of a Beautiful Woman. Both had isshas in them that helped me see much about myself, moving me to the point of getting a bit overly emotional, but nevertheless helping me solve some deep-rooted things that were really bothering me.

Hassan: What can I say about the first Original Oldboy? The brother is something else. I credit him for verbally pimp slapping me hard, snatching me out of my utter misery and depression over my brother joining the military. Plus, just like Chele, he has such a powerful way with self-assessment, not afraid to examine himself and his life AND make the much needed changes to get where he needs to be. For that, I am grateful, and because of him, I am QUICK to assess my ownself, in the most honest manner possible. I am quick to move forward and make the necessary changes, or at least know that is what I must do.

So, I hope you can see what I mean by "Status" here.

So with all that said, I have TWO Original Oldgirl cards to award, one of which I will award today. The other will be awarded on January 3rd, 2008, when the recipient turns 30 (a requirement of status: you must be at least 30 years old.)


I've gotten questions galore over past couple of years:

"When you gonna give ya girl her Original Oldgirl Platinum Plus Card carryin' status?"

"Who?" I ask.

"You know, ya girl... Tayari Jones?"

"Oh," I always say. "I don't know. Haven't really given it much thought."

For she is a frickin' celebrity in my eyes, one of my favorites. LOL. I choke when she is around. I try to remember to watch my English and be on my best behavior.

For I want to be like her when I grow up. I want to be an artist, a powerful storyteller... able to bend a simile with my bare hands. Able to leap a metaphor in a single bound.

I remember the first time I'd read some of her writing, a short story entitled "Press and Curl", from an anthology of African American short stories. This is the way I find new authors. I will read an anthology, and if I like the story, I will go buy everything that the author has written. (For example, right now I am reading an old anthology Shaking the Tree: a collection of New Memoir and Fiction by Black Women.)

I remember reading Tayari Jones' story, and being blown away. In my opinion, it was the best story in the book. I remember telling my best friend LadyTee.

"Man, I found this chick who can write her ass off!"

LOL. Yeah, that's just how excited I was.

I ran to Borders and bought her first novel... and looking around to see if she had written something else, so I could buy that too.

So I read Leaving Atlanta, and it blew my socks off. The Untelling left me floored too.

I was over at the book-remarks website, author Cynthia Rax's website devoted to black literature, and there was a list of "author blogs" over there (I didn't know what a "blog" was). I saw that Tayari had one of these blogs, so I visited.

I began reading, and as I was struggling through my own manuscript at the time, began to take note of some of the advice she was doling out in some of her posts. I remember wanting to leave a comment, but thinking for some reason, that I wasn't allowed to do so. So I just kept reading, and one day left a comment anyway.

She sent me an email on 6/24/05, which I have kept and still read often, when I am having a bad day.

"Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I just have one little comment for you. Always remember, you already ARE a writer. You may aspire to publication, etc. but your heart it what determines if you are a writer or not."

Whoa. I didn't know WHAT to think about that.

So, her blog was the first blog I'd ever read... and because of that, the infamous "LadyLee" blog began.

(You didn't know that, did ya?)

Tayari was the main reason I paid my 240 bucks to attend the National Black Book Club conference. I remember thinking that I could pay some doggone bills with that money, but I wanted to see this author, this author who's writing was on a whole nother level, speak... to hear her read from her own work. Then she answered a bunch of writing questions. It was like a damn workshop or something. (Sharon and I STILL talk about some of the advice she gave). She signed my books, and even took a picture with me. Even remembered me as "LadyLee" from her blog.

Shoot man... after that, I could just gone home, as far as I was concerned! It was over! I was done!

I continued to peruse her blog, leaving comments here and there. I would go see her speak whenever she came to town... and learn MUCH to help my own writing in the process.

She got stranded one time, while at her parents house in the ATL, and called me for assistance. Man, that was waaaaay too much for me to handle. Me and my brother took so many pictures and movies that day that I knew Tayari had to be thinking "These are some wack fools here!" LOL.

Yes, I am a fan. A fan for life. I will always support her and her writing.

And I will always jock like crazy. LOL!

But lately...

I would say, in the past year or so, she has become much more than one of my favorite authors.

First of all, I have calmed down tremendously. Yeah, I throw a lot of shrines up to her over here at the House of LadyLee but uh... I don't choke up and lose my mind in her presence, LOL.

I remember her coming down to my lab, and hanging out for lunch last January. (I wish I could have arranged the proper lab tour for her, instead of my impromptu bootleg version, lol.) I think that day, after some of the things she and I talked about, that I saw that she is a real person.

I talked to my best friend LadyTee later that day about it all.

"So how was lunch, Lee?"
"Man, it was off the chain. I was blown away. I had lunch with my favorite author. DANG!"
"That's good. I'm glad you had a nice time."
"But one thing I know."
"What's that?"
"Man, it is weird, but Tayari is, I don't know, normal."
"Why you say that?"
"Wasn't expecting that. Tayari is some damn Celie. She got the same isshas we got, same concerns, dreams and stuff like we have. That is strange."
"Well she human, girl."
"Yeah, but it's just weird."

Weird indeed. But makes her more real. Yes indeed.

To the point where if I see her or talk to her, I want to say "What's up Celie?" LOL. (You know I'm too reserved to do such, though).

And I am finding out that we have A LOT in common. A whole lot, to the point that it is scary. I'm not sure she see that, but I do.

But I have learned much from her. MUCH. 5 minutes of talking to her about some writing craft isshas is the same as an all day workshop. She explains things so succinctly that I have to be death, dumb, blind and stupid not to understand it. I'm STILL not sure how she do that sh**. She's a teacher at heart, and maybe that's it. I don't know, but I appreciate it!

I see her as a mentor of sorts. Now, in anything I do, I have mentors, ALL of which are ones I don't ask to mentor me, but who I just sit back and watch, and take note of what they are doing, and how they handle situations. I have mentors who don't even know they are mentors. And she is definitely a mentor to me.

I found myself whining to her the other day about my writing class isshas, (and I shut myself up real quick after I realized I was whining, lol), but again she said some things that straightened my head out, and gave me the courage to move forward in spite of how I was feeling.

And that, I am glad of... Really though.

And I am always referring back to that first email that she sent me. It stretched much further than writing. It became something universal with me. It causes me to be more cognizant of where my "heart" is on a matter, and keeps me true to what's in my heart in all my dealings, concerns, attitudes, hopes, dreams, and actions.

I have learned from her that it is essential to lend a helping hand, and that there are always ways that I can be helpful to people all around me, whether in action or words... these are things I can continually work on...

So with that... Miss Tayari Jones... Miss Celie... Racer X!

I hereby annoint you an Original Oldgirl. One who has made an impact on me, one who has given me courage to develop in my writing skills, one who has given me the courage to push forward in this dream no matter what...

I hereby extend to you your Original Oldgirl Platinum Plus Card, good worldwide and on every planet in the solar system, good even on the Sun itself...with no monetary limits whatsover.

So if the police ever try to run up on you, or some folks try to jump ya, you can yell-

"Get back! I am an Oldgirl!"

I'm an "OG"!

"Get the **** back!!"

No, you'll still catch a beat down, and you'll still get locked up...

But you'll have the pride attached to being an Oldgirl...
One who is an Original!
One who is full of wisdom!
One who keeps it real!
One who has been through it all!
One marching like Miss Sophia on her way to a place of peace and victory......

One who drops science and knowledge like it ain't nothin' but a thang!!

Congratulations... you Original Oldgirl you!

Use your card wisely!!!

~That Oldgirl LadyLee~

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Notes from the Peanut Gallery

So... I was sitting in my cubicle, minding my own business. I decided to roll over to my favorite author Tayari Jones' blog to see what was up, and I come across this...


I left her a comment:
"You know I'm going snatch that pic and throw it on my blog and TALK ABOUT YOU! LOL!"

You know how the Oldgirl does it...

I glanced over my shoulder at my cubicle mate Cowgirl Cre. She was busy doing some paper work.

"Cre," I said. I pointed at the screen. "Look at this chick."

Cre rolled her chair over my way. She stared blankly at the screen.

And the commentary.

From the Peanut Gallery.


Cowgirl Cre: "What's up with those boots, girl?"
LadyLee: "I have no idea."

*a few moments of silence*

Cowgirl Cre: "Well, she could have an alternative profession."
LadyLee: "No, she wouldn't be a good table dancer. Look how close the heel of that boot is to the table. **Lee pointing as monitor with an ink pen**"One more inch and she's on the floor. She don't need to be dancing in nobody's club."


LadyLee: "You know, Cre, if she falls, she's gonna take out that computer screen and that printer."
Cowgirl Cre: **silently nods**
LadyLee: "And look out that window. She is way up high. One wrong move, and she's knocking all that stuff over and falling out that window."

LadyLee: "I bet I know what she do. She takes that damn pink fur coat everywhere she goes. Then she buys stuff that matches it."
Cowgirl Cre: "Yep."

Coworker "T" walks up and stares at screen. She places her hands on her hips, and ponders aloud.

Coworker T: "She sure likes her shoes, don't she?"
LadyLee: "Sure does. And she likes that pink fur coat, too."

*LadyLee pondering about whether she should be talking about the pink fur coat. It may be the only coat that Tayari owns. Lady ponders whether she should crochet Tayari a coat.*

LadyLee: "I bet those boots are real pink leather. And that black on the boot... that's black suede."
Coworker T: "She paid big money for those boots."
LadyLee: "No she didn't. They were on sale. Who wants pink and black boots?"

[Update: Tayari sent me the link for the boots... and the matching purse. **crickets**]

LadyLee: "You know, if you put a few of those little pink fur puff balls on the boots, and throw a baton in her hand... she'd be ready to lead the marching band!!"

*Cowgirl Cre laughs hard.*

And it goes on and on... and on.

Tayari posted these pics because it was the last day of the semester at Rutgers, where she teaches creative writing... She wanted to show her glee!

Naw... That's not the reason she's so excited.

She has to be happy because she's getting her **Original Oldgirl** Platinum Plus card real soon...

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meme-of-the-Month Club


Since I stalked out Tayari Jones a bit too much for the past couple of weeks, she decided to reward me with a little meme...

And for this reason, I snatched her pink fur coat and threw it off the top of the Empire State building.


Alas, it wasn't that bad.

So, the meme is: Post the first sentence of the first post of each month (something like that).

I went one better: I also posted an intersting picture (if there was one) from that particular post.

I tag: The DJ DIVA, Rosemarie, Serenity23, That Southern Black Gal, and whosoever else wants to do it!!

Knock yourself OUT!


January: I (and I am sure many of you) went through a huge range of emotions in 2006

Ferbruary: February 1, 2007. 1002 pages. 273,072 words. some 22 months later...I am happy to say . . . I AM FINISHED.

March: I would like to wish two of my best friends, Timmy-Tim and Cowgirl Cre, a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

April: The one the only, The Obi Wan-Kenobi, the Guru of my book club, Kat, has blessed us with a little something inspirational for my blog...

May: I had a convo with the Queen the other day...

June: So like I said... Oscar-Tyrone was having issues.

July: So yeah, I'm being lazy, and not posting much.

August: I was looking back through some old archives, and I realized that, in giving everybody and their Mama a birthday tribute, I've never given my little brother a birthday tribute.

September: Look what's going down on the GRILL!!

October: (Warning: this is a long pictorial of my baby bro... with just a few words thrown in, of cours. LOL. )

November: Last weekend, I watched Coffy, a movie that I'd rented about a month ago...

December: I've never thought of myself as a "pocketbook" type of girl.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Making of the Gift, Part III

So the afghan was pretty much made, and I was putting the finishing touches on it (trim work, etc.)

And Oscar Tyrone was keeping watch over it...

As a matter of fact, he'd been keeping watch over it for a minute... even taking chances of jumping up on it while I was trying to take pictures of it.

I tell you... I don't know what to do with him. I'd yell at him, and he'd give me that look that says "I'ma stand here and see what you do." If I act like I'm gonna run up on him, THEN he'd move.
He's not my cat, but my ex-husband's cat, as I have "custody" of him. So he better be careful before he gets sat out on the street!

I usually put whatever crochet project I'm currently working on in a bag or box. But there are too many times where I would fold it up and leave it out.
And when I come back around, Oscar-Tyrone has taken it for his own.

As you can see, I am right up on him, and uh, he is just looking at me.

I remember one time, waking up in the middle of the night, and remembering that I
hadn't put up the blanket... well, I found the boy laid out on it...

It is easier to go into the kitchen and shake his catnip jar, so he'd come running. I can't just move him, because he will dig his funky claws into the blanket, and that would be a BAD thing.

Alas, when I washed the afghan, and finally mailed it away, Oscar-Tyrone was a bit sad... I noticed him wondering around looking for it. I felt sorry for the little fella.

Now, I have my own afghan, which I made seven years ago... This is the style of blanket I usually give for gifts, as I have made 10 of them in different colors.

I laid that out near Oscar's special chill out area, hoping he would take to it.
As you can see, he don't seem to be all THAT happy with it. LOL! He'll survive.
Now, when I make afghans, I usually make potholders to go along with them.

Isn't that nice of me?
Well, not really. This means that I had left over yarn and had to do something with it.
I am the queen of the Bootleg!
Tayari, don't put nothing too hot on those or they will burn up!! LOL!
So that does it for my crochet posts, and the making of the ultimate gift!!
See ya tomorrow!

The Making of the Gift, Part II

Like I said before, I was going to do something different for Tayari's afghan, instead of making a "scrap" blanket...

So I sent her an email, asking what her favorite colors were...

She responded "I like all colors."

*Lee bashing head against desk*

She WOULD give the literary answer.

I was able to drag out of her that she likes pink, the rosy shade of pink.

That was more like it. I wouldn't dare ask her the color scheme of her house, because that is too, uh, I don't know... STALKY.


So I ran around looking for rosy pink. I've worked with that color of yarn before, but had a hard time tracking it down. Over a month's time, I hit up 15 stores, mostly as I passed them when going somewhere. I saw it in one of those stores, then FORGOT where I saw it. UGHH.

But, I noticed that I kept seeing a couple of new color combos all over the place, one of which was aspen print... It matched well with a solid color, Frosty Green.

And that was what I was going to use.

So, I was in Michaels, standing around perusing in the yarn section, smelling it (LOL), touching it, and this old woman who had apparently been watching me (she must've thought I was really out of my mind for examining yarn so hard), walked up to me and said... "Hon, they have a sale on this yarn you're looking at over at Joanns."

So I threw my yarn down and went over to Joanns and got all my yarn at a GOOD price. I think I may have spent twenty bucks!

Now, the issue with this afghan is the "motifs", or the squares, or "all them damn squares", as Cowgirl Cre likes to say.

The pattern called for 836 of them.

Since Tayari is 10 feet tall (LOL!), I lengthened it a bit, so I needed 880 squares.

Cowgirl Cre REALLY frowned up at this.

I think she remembered when I made this same afghan before, and how hard I was WHINING once I got to square #500.

But, I made the promise to myself that I would be a MAVERICK and not complain...

So I got busy making my squares.

And was whining by the time I got to square #700. (I only whined a little bit...)

"Cowgirl Cre, why don't you help me make some squares!?"

"Girl..." she would always say.

Let's just say, she didn't pick up a needle to help me out.
Anyway, those squares needed to be hooked together, 40 squares in a row.

Up one side...

And down the other...

Then up the other side again...

Then it all had to be hooked together. I think it took about 4 minutes to make each square, and about 2 hours to hook 40 squares into a strip, and add them to other strips.

I was doing well, hooking my 21 strips together. That was until I looked at the pattern and found that I was a strip short. I started whining hard then. Cowgirl Cre is no help.

"Girl, I would just tell Tayari that it is one strip short."

I couldn't do that, and time was getting short. So I think I just sat down one Saturday morning in the living room, and spent four hours getting the extra strip together. (My sister Kentucky was probably looking down over the banister from upstairs at me, wondering why I was moving so fast, LOL.)

Now, while I was getting the blanket stripped together, I would carry it with me whenever I visited someone. That way I could work on it.

I took it with me to LadyTee's house. She held it on her lap, while we sat and talked. She examined it closely.

"Lee, the afghan you made for me is thicker than this one."

Humph. Hater. I heard a slight bit of sarcasm all through that comment. She gets so jealous. I will never get that. All I could do was smile.

I took it to my Auntie Joyce's house when I visited her for her birthday. We stood in the dining room looking at it. She had one end, I had the other.

"Ooh Lisa, this is so nice!" she beamed.
"Auntie," I said. "I hope she likes it. She likes pink, and I saw pink yarn once, but couldn't find it again, and couldn't find the multicolor yarn either."
"It's still nice. I think she'll like it."

She stood there smiling.

"And it does have pink in it," she said.


She pointed to a pink blanket over in a window in her living room. One of her cats was cuddled so lovingly on it. We both looked back and forth between the pink blanket and the afghan.

I just glanced up at her and nodded. She's an oil painter, and can "see" colors, and I can't.

Although, I do have a picture of the afghan with my coffee table flowers.

Well... I GUESS I can see a little pink undertone in there. I guess...

Anyway, it's always nice to finish a crochet project... All the hours of hard work finally pay off. I remember thinking at times, "Dayum, this is soft! Tayari may not get this!" LOL. I took it to work one day. My cubicle mate Cowgirl Cre even helped me find strings that needed to be weaved in and hidden. "There's one right there, girl. Get it!" Thank goodness management didn't walk up on us that day!


I had a problem with the little guy at home.


He kept a constant vigil over the blanket and, would give me the evil eye if I walked near it. Oscar's not a mean cat, but he had that look in his eye that said...

"Lee, this is MY blanket. You better back away from MY blanket."


I wonder what that was all about?

To be continued.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Making of "The Gift"

Click here for "On this Day", which contains the gift.

You know…
I’m of the school of thought that everything begins with WORDS.

Words give birth to thoughts, and eventually thoughts produce action, and actions produce the direction in which one’s life goes, and-

Uh, flip the record… this isn’t a “food for thought” post…
But this is a post about the creation of the “” afghan.


Back in August of this year, me and Cowgirl Cre were chilling in the cubicle area…

“Cre, you remember that blanket I made for Carter [a girlfriend of mine] a few years ago?”
She frowned. "The one with all them damn squares?”
“Yeah, that one. I’ma make that for Tayari’s birthday.”
Cowgirl raised her eyebrows.
“Oh, I got enough time. Her birthday is on November 30th.
Cowgirl Cre shook her head. “Girl…”
“I can do it, teacher!”
"Girl... that there is more than a notion!"

Now, I guess I gotta go back and explain some things…

Cowgirl Cre taught me how to crochet back in 1999. She’s been crocheting since she was 10, I believe. I was living in New Orleans at the time, and would drive or fly up to Atlanta to visit. I happened to be staying with her and her man Timmy-Tim that weekend, and we were sitting around drinking and half watching TV at two o’clock in the morning when…

I noticed a small multicolored ball of yarn on the floor.

Now, I am not sure if it was there all the time, if I was drunk and happen to see it, or if it rolled out from somewhere. I think that she move a bag and it rolled out. It was attached to something crocheted

I DO remember pointing and saying… “Hey! Teach me how to do that!”
And we spent an hour or so working on it. She broke down how to roll my skeins of yarn into balls. She showed me how to start, and got me started on a bootleg blanket. People who know me well know that I am EASILY frustrated, and she handled my impatience well…

“No Lee, let me show you again,” she’d say, as she take the yarn and needle from my hand.

Let’s just say, I got it. She went to bed, and I fell asleep working on it.

I woke up, and continued working on it. I had a small monstrosity of a blanket started, measuring approximately 1 square foot by the time she woke up.

“Go on, girl,” Cre said.

**Lee cheesing hard like Celie**
I think I went back to New Orleans, bought more yarn, and just kept working at it. Then I started doing something crazy: I ran up on some crochet books and started
reading. One excellent book was Crocheting in Plain English. I must've read that book at least three time, LOL.

So let’s just say, whenever I saw Cowgirl Cre, I would verbally assaulted with my newfound knowledge..

“You know, Cre, I was reading this book, and it said BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.”

“Cre, I read this book that was really interesting. You want to read it?”

And the kicker…

“Cre, the way you showed me how to do the corners was all wrong. I read we suppose to do a chain 3 followed by the three double crochet group, and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.”

Cre never fretted. She'd just shrug her shoulders. (Something like that would have pissed me off!)

Her reply was always the same, no matter what I said:

“I don’t care, Lee.”

I didn’t understand why she didn’t care. I was learning so much. Why didn’t she care?

“Look,” she said. “You have a Ph.D. I have a Masters degree. You have to go read and research and all of that. Me… I really don’t care. And that’s the difference between the two.”

All I could do is nod and accept it. There was no discussing it in depth with her.

Afterall, she crocheted for enjoyment. I think getting all “scientific” about it would, uh, kill her joy very fast.

Anyway, over the years, we have crocheted together. And I must admit, those have been some of my most memorable good times. And we get much done when we do that.

So back to the present. Last August I was excited.

“I’m going to make that blanket for Tayari!”

Cowgirl Cre just shook her head.

Now, to understand why, let me fill you in on the blanket itself.

I have around 40 to 50 pattern books, and the blanket I made is from a book called Granny Delites. The actual name of the afghan is "Colorful Granny", and it is shown below.

This is what's called a "scrap" blanket, as it is made using the scrap yarn laying around.

I HATE SCRAP blankets...

One word: TACKY!!!


Scrap blankets are some straight ugliness. Tacky to death. Of course they match everything, but, I don't know... I don't really see the point... just throw the spare yarn away. Or be bootleg like me: take the unused yarn, if you haven't broken the packaging, and take it back to Wal-mart and cash it all in! I do this once a year, and get back up to 60 bucks...
Otherwise, throw it out!!

I thought the blanket was tacky, but with the right color combinations, it would look good. I made it a few years ago for my friend Carter... She looked through my books and picked that particular one for me to make. We went to Wal.mart, and she picked out some strange colors- tan, country blue, and some other weird creamcolor- it was bizarre, but it came out nice... And she loved it.

But I had other plans for the Granny I would make for Tayari...

stay tuned...