Friday, May 30, 2008

An Oldgirl Memorial Day Weekend, Part III

So... Chayse and I headed out into the garden.

I have an herbal section in the garden, and I let her pick a few things and tell me what they smelled like. I have a lemon balm plant that smells like lemons. I have the rosemary plant, and it smells like fresh pine. I have some spearimint and mint plants. Yes, she liked that alot.

I also have several pots of herbs that I needed to put in the ground. I also have pepper plants that needed to go out.

So, uh... I put the little girl to work. I let her pick what she wanted to plant.

She planted two pepper plants and one cinnamon basil plant.

I dug the holes and let her sit the plants over in the holes. I gave her a small spade and let her fill it all in with fresh dirt.

Yes, I was standing there yelling, cheering her on!

"10 big girl scoops, Chayse!"

"That ain't enough dirt in that hole, Chayse. Gimme ten more big girl scoops. Give me a big Daddy scoop, girl."

After all that, she was like, "Ms. LadyLee, I'm tired! Let's go in the house!"


So I asked her if she'd like to bake her Daddy some cookies. She was hyped about that.

So I put her to work again.

We decided to make some oatmeal cookies. No raisins, but with dried blueberries, cherries, and cranberries, and walnuts. She did good. She knew how to measure and crack eggs and everthing. (Ol Mean Ass Cynthia, you taught her well! She had the crazy Kung-fu grip on the side of that bowl!).

She rolled the dough into balls and smashed them flat as possible (despite my pleas with her NOT to do that).

We placed them in the oven and I turned the oven light on so she could watch them. We removed them from the oven and let them cool. She counted out 20 cookies and stacked them on a plate.

She was VERY proud of those cookies.

She left a few for me and my sister. I told her to arrange them in the letter that begins her name.

We bagged them up, and I walked her home. She found some weeds flowers in the back yard and we planted those in a plastic cup. She planned on giving those to her Daddy.

I was all tuckered out (from giving orders, LOL!), and I know she was too.

I bet she slept GOOD that night. (I know I did).

So that was the gist of my holiday.

I do look forward to my next bit of time off.
Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia keeps running up on me at work talkin' about...
"I'm here to collect my baby's 40 acres and a mule!"

That's okay. That baby enjoyed herself!
Maybe I can get Kramer's Mom to come over again and put in more work!

An Oldgirl's Memorial Day Weekend, Part II...

So, Hen-Dog and Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia's daugther, Chayse, made an appearance at my house to see her "son".

She was allll smiles looking to and fro for her baby.

"He's over in the chair sleeping, Chayse," I said.

Kramer was looking like, "Uh, what's going on?"

But after awhile, he was content to hang out with his Mama.

But he still had that "look" of "Yo, LadyLee, I need to get back to my nap... help a cat out, why don't cha."
She kept saying "Kramer is my son, Ms. LadyLee. I'm his Mom."

"You sure are, baby," I agreed. "That's your son. You are Kramer's Mommy."

I told Hen and Cynt to make sure Chayse know that is HER cat. He is just a permanent "visitor", hanging out with his homeboy Oscar-Tyrone. I don't want to wake up 20 years from now and turn on Snapped or Women in Prison, and see Chayse on there talking about "My life of crime started when dayum LadyLee took my cat!"


Poor Kramer. Everytime the cat would fall asleep, Chayse would go shake him awake. That was too funny.

Kramer is a long hair cat, and he needs to brushed and combed regularly, or he gets "dreadlocks". (Cat grooming irks me to no end. I NEVER brush or comb Oscar-Tyrone). So since his Mama was around, you know I had to put her to work.

"Chayse, brush your son's hair," I said.

She was more than eager to do it. And he likes to be brushed.

But he still had the look that said, "Yo, Ladylee... help me out here. She don't brush me like you do!"

So I decided to give Kramer a break, and put Chayse to work elsewhere. I had a nice pile of laundry sitting on the sofa.

"Chayse, you know how to fold up clothes?"

She nodded. "Yes I do, Ms. LadyLee!"

"Show me," I said.

She grabbed a towel and folded it.

"That's real good, girl!" I said. I pulled more towels out of the pile. "Now keep folding!"

She did, and she was happy to do it.


She grabbed a bed sheet from the pile, tried folding it, then shook her head.

"Oh, no Ms. Ladylee! It's too hard, much too hard!"


So, we hung out and watched television for awhile. She played with her beloved cat, Kramer. And my sister Kentucky, who's in grad school now getting her Masters in early childhood education... uh, she brought out a whole bunch of crayons and markers and children's books. I have a box of stickers, so I brought that out.

Chayse was in heaven! LOL.

Chayse drew the most beautifullest picture for us.

... And told me the strangest story behind that picture. (That there is a woman whose occupation is a "Nail Polisher", and she is with her daughter. I will leave it at that.) She was only there for a couple of hours, then she made the short 1/4 block walk back down to her Daddy's house.

She came over the next day, for a much longer time.

And we had a chance to head out into the backyard into the garden!!

To be continued...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Oldgirl's Memorial Day Weekend, Part I

Yeah, mon...

I realize it's been a few days since Memorial Day. . .

But you know I couldn't let the week end without writing about my Memorial Day activities.
You know I always have something "interesting" going on.

Well, I did cook, but I didn't take many pictures. Only one, really. Heck, I didn't want to cook, but my sister Kentucky started whining. So I cooked.

Somebody got the grand idea of selling "split" leg quarters. Sounds stupid, but it is a good idea because I HATE leg quarters, being that they are hard to grill right. So I decided to test them out. They were pretty good. I also grilled turkey burgers and hot dogs. That was the gist of it.

Yo, there was a City Confidential Marathon on... You know how much I love City Confidential and Law and Order Marathons. There were a couple of Law and Order Marathons rolling strong. I was in heaven! I was waaaay overloaded.

Doggone cats slept the days away, in there usual place.

I pissed them off ALL weekend... I waited 'til they were good and sleep, then I threw stuff at them- pillows, balled up pieces of paper, etc... They were both giving me the *gas face* all weekend.

And most special of all... I had a special little visitor.

The proud Mama of my permanent house guest Kramer stopped by to visit her beloved child.

It's a wondrous thang for the little one to walk through my front door and proclaim for all to hear:

I'm Kramer's Mom!!!!

The look on that cat's face says it all...

To be continued.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS Dedric, Class of 2008 !!

My best friend LadyTee's son, Dedric, who we affectionately call "Nell", graduated from high school last Friday.


Dang boy... seems like you were JUST born yesterday. I remember the night your Ma went into labor. It was 1989. I was 19 and your Ma was 21. We were over at your Aunt Nita's house, watching television. Your Mama was sitting on the couch, eating beans and franks. Then she started in on a bowl of cornflakes.

(Yes, I was sitting there, staring at her. I thought her food choices were, uh, disgusting).

"I got gas, Lee," she said.
"Look at what you eating," I said. "No wonder."

"Shut up, girl!"

I got up and went home. I had class early the next morning, so I needed to do my homework and go to bed.

She called me the next day.

"Girl, a little after you left, my water broke."
"Yeah, girl?"
"You had the baby?"
"Yeah, girl! It was a piece of cake. Nothing to it, come on down and see!"

I remember hanging up the phone and thinking: "She sound like she a little high or something."

Which she was.

By the time I finished up at school and got to the hospital, she had come back to reality.

She looked crazy as hell, all weak and dishelved. I sat next to her on the bed and held you in my arms. You were sleeping, and your Mama was WHINING hard.

"Girl, I ain't having sex EVER again, not even with my husband. Blah, blah, BLAAAH!!"


That was the beginning of an adventure. I remember when you first started walking and talking, and how, when you knew I was coming over, you'd stand and stare out the window, waiting for my car to drive up.

You would go crazy, screaming...

"My Friend! It's my friend!!! My friend is here. IT'S MY FRIEND!!!!!"

This would thoroughly piss your mother off...

"She is NOT your friend, Dedric. She is MY friend!!!"

I would try to calm her. "Tee, he's only a baby. He's only 1 years old. Just let him think that. Look at him, he look so happy."

"I don't care," she would say. "He need to find his own friends."


You caught on, even at a young age, and stopped saying it.

But it didn't matter.

We were still happy to see each other.

And now, I'm glad to see you have your own road dog, your own best friend Pat, who we call "PJ".

PJ was at the graduation when we got there. He was off in the cut, "trying to talk to somebody's woman", LadyTee's Mother "Babs" said.

But I was glad to see ol' PJ. He represents, like only a best friend should. (Even though I had to tell dude to pull his sagging pants up a hundred times, LOL!!) And now, I don't have to hear your Mama threaten you anymore. ("Dedric, leave Lee alone. That's my friend, not yours! Go find your own friend!")

(But now, she is following her daughter "Milk-Milk" around, saying "Don't YOU wish YOU had a BFF?!")

Don't worry, Milk! You'll have your own BFF soon enough.


Your cousin Lil' Corey came to the graduation. I don't know WHERE he came from. It was almost like he swung into the place on a rope through the roof or something. When they called your name, Dedric, we all hollered and screamed, but he bent over the balcony, and hollered loudest of all.

Yep, we were GLAD to see you get through high school, boy!!

I am particularly glad. I don't have to hear your Mama complaining about getting you up at 5 a.m. anymore so you can make the 2 hour bus ride to that dayum North Springs High school. GEEZ! (But I am going to miss our early 5 a.m. convos, LadyTee. Maybe I'll just call you around that time for ol' time sakes. LOL!)

I don't know why you young dudes won't smile, and want to be all hardcore. But your Mama was all smiles that day. That's just how happy she was to see you march down that aisle and get your diploma!

Your school asked loved ones to write letters to the graduating seniors, and LadyTee asked me to write a letter to you. I had soooooo much to say, but wanted to keep it to only one page. I wrote how I was sooo proud of you, and how I know you will go on to do great things.

But I wrote one thing in particular:

Boy, your Mama is always screaming... "She's my friend, not yours, Dedric."

I beg to differ.


Really though.

Dedric, I am SO proud of you. I know you will go on to do GREAT things. You are one of the most compassionate and caring people that I know. Like I said, it seems like you were born just yesterday. I remember your first words, when you first started to walk.... I remember all of your life triumphs. And don't forget, you are my #1 playstation NBA08 game playing partner (LOL).

You've turned out to be a wonderful young man.

Go Forward, and do great things.

And always remember.

No matter what your Mama says...

I am your friend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Story Excerpt: "No More"


I wrote a 3-part post some 3 weeks ago entitled "Mark Your Territory", about my experience with the landlady of a room I rented for 5 weeks in a boarding house in New Or.leans. That woman, "Ms. Clara", had to be the most eclectic person I'd ever met, and I based one of the characters in my story ("Elba") on her.

I began working on a story sometime last year entitled Leaving Jersey. I wrote it as part of a writing class assignment. The instructor wanted us to write something involving a person leaving a place or situation, never to return again. She wanted that character to walk through the room, reminescing about that place and all that had happened there, etc...

I decided to write about a young woman named Danielle who was leaving an abusive relationship in New Jersey, and returning to her hometown of Atlanta, Ga. Danielle is a minor character in my Sweet Heat manuscript, and is the best friend of the heroine in that manuscript. My heroine had mentioned that Danielle had left New Jersey because "she couldn't stand the cold weather."

I wrote that some 2 years ago, and I remember reading that line again, thinking... "That aint' the real reason why you left NJ, man!"

I always wanted to explore the reason why, and the class assignment gave me the opportunity to do so.

Well, in New Jersey, Danielle had a next door neighbor named Elba. She was a Jewish woman, I believe (haven't quite figured it out yet), about 60 years old, who lived alone. Very unassuming, just an older woman living her life day to day. She assists Danielle in getting herself together and getting away from this abusive relationship with her boyfriend Maurice. Then, she decides to catch a ride with Danielle to Georgia to "visit some cousins". Danielle is reluctant, but shares the ride to Georgia with Elba.

They have MANY convos in the car on the way to Georgia. I'm in the process of scrapping a few of those convos and condensing the story. This is a section that is going to be scrapped, but I thought it was worth posting.

It made me... think.

So, here's an excerpt of Elba talking in the car with Danielle about an experience with one of her five ex-husbands. It is nighttime. They are on the highway, near Georgia. I think they are about to cross over into GA from the Carolinas. At any rate, they are a couple of hours from their destination. Elba has convinced Danielle to let her drive. Danielle gets a chance to rest, but they talk during this time. Elba relays a story about her 4th husband, Sanchez Quintero. The story is told in first person point-of-view by my protagonist Danielle.

excerpt from Leaving Jersey:

"No More"

Elba flipped on the blinker and glanced in the sideview mirror. She got in the next lane in an effort to get around a pack of 18-wheelers. “Maurice reminds me of my fourth husband Sanchez Quintero.”

"How so?" I asked.

“Oh, he was a gorgeous man. He was from New York City. Brooklyn, if I'm remembering correctly. Family was from Puerto Rico. Loved himself some acid wash jeans and a nice tight white T-shirt. And had the body for it, if you know what I mean.”

I shivered. The thought of a woman as old as Elba describing some man’s sexual prowess was not something I wanted to hear.

“Humph. He also had a thing for mean dogs. Pit bulls, Dobermans, and such. Gave them commands in spanish. Use to feed them raw meat laced with gunpowder. Sanchez said it made them more vicious, and that’s how he liked them.”

"I thought you didn’t like dogs, Elba. And you married a man with dogs.”

"Hell, I can't stand dogs," she said.

She wasn't lying about that. A downstairs neighbor in our apartment building had a Chihuahua. The dog was friendly enough, but Elba avoided the sweet lovable animal like Superman avoided kryptonite. It would've been funny had it not been for the way she would walk slowly past the animal, with her body all pressed up against the walls, a look of pure terror on her face.

“Hate 'em," she said. "And that’s funny, because I loved the mutts and hounds that my relatives in South Georgia raised. Those wonderful dogs were one of the many highlights of my summers there.”

I shifted in my seat to get a better look at her. Her face glowed in the headlights of the oncoming cars. “So what happened to make you hate dogs?”

“Sanchez and his vicious dogs happened. That’s what happened.”

I continued to look at her. She was staring straight ahead out at the open highway, her hands gripping the steering wheel like it was going to fly out the window at any moment. I could see her bottom lip quiver in the moonlight.

“I’ve been treated bad by some of my men, Danielle, but only Sanchez knew how to invoke complete and utter terror. He would sic those ravenous creatures on me, and then call them back when they were a split second from landing on me.”


“Damn is right. I still have nightmares of yellow teeth dripping with saliva, sharp as knives, an inch from my face." She held her hand flat and open real close to her face. "Sanchez never hit me, but him siccing those dogs on me was all he needed to do to frighten me to the bone.”

“I can’t imagine such a thing, Elba.”

“You don’t want to imagine it.”

Her voice quaked and she blinked rapidly. I handed her a tissue.

“My heart’s racing right now just talking about it. Feels like it all happened yesterday.” She took a deep breath then exhaled. “I can still smell the foul breath of those dogs. And it’s been over twenty years since I’ve gotten away from Sanchez.”

“And how did you get away from him? What happened?” I asked.

She chuckled. “I wish I could say that I just packed up and moved to another state like you’re doing now. But it didn’t happen like that.”

I fidgeted with my wrinkled tissues. Packing up and leaving Maurice was a hard thing for me to do. It took a lot of courage that I didn’t know I had. I would guess that she ran in the middle of the night, but it didn’t make what I was doing any less important. Her being quick to help in the midst of my ordeal should have been evidence of that.

“Those same dogs that attacked on command were my saving grace,” Elba said. “One day, Sanchez was in the dog pen feeding the ugly pack. I was standing there outside the makeshift pen holding a tray of raw meat, as I usually did for the evening feedings. They were hungry beyond the norm. I was suppose to feed them when Sanchez was at work, but hell, I got tired of that shit. I let the damn dogs starve out there in the hot ass sun all day. I just told Sanchez that I fed them. I gave that extra meat away to a needy family in the neighborhood.

"Well, like I said, we were standing out there. It was so hot that I could feel the heat from the ground through my cheap sandals. I was standing there thinking about going down to the shoe store, when the dogs turned on Sanchez."


"Yeah." She snapped her finger, then tapped the steering wheel. "Just like that. It all happened in the blink of an eye. Sanchez pleaded for help, but I just stood there."

"And you didn't think to help him?"

"Sure, I could've helped him. I knew the commands to call the demonic savages off of him. Heard Sanchez use them time and time again. But I just stood there, whispering the attack command:

“Ataca. Ataca.”

I stared at Elba. Her face glowed white as the moon, as if the memory of it all drained the blood out of her face. Imagining her standing there in the hot sun, gripping a tray of raw meat, watching the cause of her terror being attacked by the very weapons that had so often been used against her was enough to make me nauseous.

She glanced at me then back at the road. “A sight to see, it was. The leader, a big white male pit bull was the worst of all. His name was Cocaine. Use to be a sweet puppy, but Sanchez made him bad. Cocaine actually tore off one of Sanchez’s hand. He walked up to me, right up to the fence, and stood there with that bloody hand in his mouth and stared at me while the other dogs continued attacking Sanchez."

Elba sped up a bit to get around another car. She pointed two fingers at her eyes. "I mean, that dog just stared at me, looked me straight in the eyes. It was if Cocaine’s eyes were saying ‘No more.’”

“Oh God, Elba.”

"'No more.' That's all I could see in his eyes. 'It's over. No more.'"

I didn't say anything. What could I say? Dogs don't talk. Not even with their eyes.

“Me and that dog, we just stood there staring at each other. And I’d probably still be standing there right now if it wasn’t for the next door neighbors running out of their house to see what all the commotion was about. They called the police. Threw rocks at the dogs to get them off of Sanchez. It took them a long time to move me from that place and into the house. Took them even longer to get that tray of bloody meat out of my hand.”

“That’s horrible. I can’t imagine going through any of that.”

“Danielle, you don’t want to ever go through anything like that. Ever. I can still feel the cold blood of that meat on my hands.” She sniffed hard. "Shit, I can steal smell that damn blood. Took me a long time to get to the point where I could take meat out of a package and make my dinner."

"That's too much to deal with." I said. I tore my tissue in half. "I can't let my stuff affect me to that point. And I won't."

She sighed hard. “Yes Danielle, you and I are a lot alike. More alike than you’d ever know.”

I smirked before I could catch myself. Where was that coming from? I was nothing like her. “Elba, I’ve been through some horrible things in my life, but nothing as horrific as what you just detailed.”

“Yes, you can laugh, because it is a funny thing. But me and you, Danielle. . ." She wagged a finger at me. "We are a lot alike.”

“Whatever you say, Elba.” I pulled another tissue from the travel pack and began taring it into tiny pieces.

“We love to stand in the middle of a messy house playing with matches soaked in gasoline. Then when the whole house catches fire, and goes up in smoke, we’re sitting there all surprised right in the middle of it, shocked to our very core.” She opened her mouth in surprise and stared around the car as if she didn’t know how she’d gotten there. “We stand there in all our confusement whispering ‘I don’t understand what happened. Poor me! Why did this happen to me?'”

“Confusement,” I repeated. “I haven’t heard that word in a long time. I don’t even think it’s a real word.”

She laughed. “It’s the only word that I can find to describe the feeling of sitting there, of how we are around our abusive men."

I frowned. “Wait a minute, Elba. What are you trying to say with this gasoline and match thing? Are you trying to say that I am the cause of my own problems?”

“Of course not.”

“Good. Because I have no control over what happens to me.”

I sucked in a deep breath after I said that.

Elba didn’t say a word.

She just loosened her grip on the steering wheel, sank back in the tattered seat, and stared out at the open highway.


Now, I've been digging around in my little story for a good year or so. I pick it up and I put it back down. I have huge red question marks in the margins, as if to say, "I wonder what THAT is all about? Let's think on this."

I'm at a point right now where I get sick and tired of analyzing stuff, and I just want to write. (I need to get out of that mode real quick!). But I can't help thinking about a few things here.

At any rate, this Elba character is very complex and intriguing. My instructor wants me to keep writing about her ("I worry about her, LadyLee!"). Me and other students stand out in the parking lot discussing her ("That damn Elba is crazy as hell, LadyLee!").

But it highlights one of my weaknesses, one that runs quite thick through much of my long stories and/or manuscripts. I always have minor characters that are way more interesting than the major characters. And I have NO idea how to correct that. NONE. Maybe after a good ten more years of writing classes, I will have an "a-ha" moment.

So I will do this: I keep on writing and figure that ish out some other time.

(I am so lazy. Racer X wants to slap me silly right about now. LOL!)

So this is one of Elba's many tales. Let's just say, uh, this is the very tame part of Elba's story.


I myself like this character very much. She has so, so many layers.

Hmmm... more. to. explore.

One sentence stuck out in that whole excerpt...

". . . I have no control over what happens to me."

How many times have you found yourself saying that? Well, not really saying that, but, looking at the state you are in, and thinking something similar? Of course, we have all kinds of unforseen events happen in our lives. This life is full of not only our triumphs, but trials and tribulation do tend to abound.

But these days, I myself am having to look at situations going on in my life and ask myself:

Is the cause of this problem I'm having...

Is it caused by some "enemy"?

Or could the problem be "inner-me?"

Hmm... I can tell you, speaking for myself, "inner-me" is sometimes my worst enemy. My refusal to change, my outright *gas face* atmaking the necessary corrections and not wanting to accept responsibilites for my actions... I tell you, I for one KNOW that my triflement lays just beneath my skin. And I fight it everyday (when I get the notion to do some self-improvement, that is).

I'm not sure what Danielle's isshas are, and have written some 100 pages of Leaving Jersey in an effort to find out. I'm getting closer, though. Shoot, she ain't the blame for some dude busting her upside the head. (Although, I do know women who for some odd reason like getting knocked around.) I do think Elba, at her age, is able to look back at a few things and find the differences. Danielle, well, is in a state of getting it together, and maybe she will think about it later. I suppose.

Just a thought. Too much info, and a bit confusing, but I am thinking to myself here. Take what you will from it.

I'm not so sure Elba was just standing there holding that tray of meat, in shock over Sanchez getting attacked. I think she planned that craziness. And standing there whispering "Ataca. Ataca." She'd been thinking about that alllll day, especially when she was giving that meat to the uh, needy family down the street.

More to explore, explore, explore... That's for sure.

So, that was just a little sumthin, sumthin for your holiday.

Have a great and safe Memorial Day Holiday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

**POST #400: "Lovely Lessons"**

Post #400

This is my 400th post!!

I am sooooo excited!!!!!! I'm so excited that I think I'll do a little

I'm just soooooooo excited!!!!

Uh, no I'm not.

Right now, I am a bit sickly. Haven't felt like posting about anything.

So this will be one of them... random post about nothing much. Just little stuff going on with me.

So like I said, I am a bit sickly. Really, I feel like crap.

I happened to have my usual monthly doctor's appointment on Monday. I was feeling a bit crappy then, so I guess that was the best place to be.

Doctor B. looks at my charts. "So, how have you been feeling, LadyLee?"
I am sitting there in a chair (I refuse to sit on the table), and I am leaning my head up against the wall. "I feel horrible."
She continues reading my chart. "So what's wrong?"
"I feel like crap!"
"Uh, can you be more specific?" she said.
"My head hurts, my sinuses hurt, and I am nauseous."
She doesn't respond, but looks at me. She goes back to my charts. "Are you pregnant?"

Man, when she said that, I turned so fast that I hurt my neck. So now, I have a very sore neck.

"NO, I'M NOT!" I said a bit too loudly. I grab my neck and massage the sore spot.

She shrugged. "Okay, I'm just asking." She grabs my hands and starts doing her usual routine checking of my joints.

Then she lectures me on working too much. I didn't feel like hearing all that. We argue back and forth. Poor woman. She didn't need my mess that early in the morning.

Lesson #1: When LadyLee is feeling like crap, don't ask her if she's pregnant.

I feel better today. No heavy food for me today, only fruit and water. I got up early and cut up strawberries and Kiwi. Threw a few grapes in the mix. Hopefully I can hold that down. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow.

I had a very nice weekend. This usually means that it was open and free, and I could just do what I wanted to do, instead of running here and there to meetings and what-not. So, I stuck around the house. I did some house cleaning, some gardening, crocheting, reading, writing, went for a long walk, etc...

There's one thing that really bugs me... that dayum Oscar-Tyrone, and my permanent house guest Kramer.

They sleep alllll day. I mean, they take position on my favorite chair. Kramer takes the seat of the chair, and Oscar takes the top part of the chair. And they lounge and relax all day.
They don't have to work, they don't have to do anything... just sleep alll day. They even let me know when they need more food and water, and when I need to tidy up their litter box.

I wanted to smack them both.

Humph. Cats know how to train their owners, don't they?

Well, I drove somewhere only one time this weekend. I went to Wal-mart and bought a vacuum cleaner. I am a little apphrensive because only "bagless" is available. I looked all over for a "normal" vacuum cleaner, but had to get the one pictured.

Last week, I was vacuuming with the old vacuum cleaner, and the sucka exploded!


Bits and pieces flew everywhere. Scared the hell out of me. And the cats were shaking for the rest of the day (That was REALLY funny).

I talked to my sister later...

"Kentucky, the vacuum cleaner blew up."
"Oh, that's what that was?"
"You heard that? And you didn't think to come check on me?"
She shrugged.
"Girl, I coulda been laid out on the floor, looking crazy."
She shrugged again. "I didn't know what it was. But I heard you moving around, so..."

I wanted to smack her.

I swear, between her and my brother... I've had to get on them about that.

Lesson #2: If you hear something strange, and/or you don't hear from me... feel free to check on your Oldgirl.

Kentucky has gotten better. I have awakened to her standing over me from time to time...

"What, Kentucky?"
"I noticed you were sleeping a bit too long. You feel alright?"
"Yes, go away."


It's gotten around on the job that I want a Lexus. I haven't had my car for two dayum weeks (it is in the shop), and my beloved sister Kentucky is kind enough to share her car with me. I think this makes her happy, because I am putting gas in her car, plus giving her $10.00 a day (a fee I came up with- hey, that's better than renting a car.)

But Kentucky has a luxurious car, and I do not. She just bought the car she has now about a month ago (her last car was totaled in a wreck).

Let's just say, I am getting REAL accustomed to riding in a big car with soft leather seats and every amenity imaginable. It's going to be hard for me to get back into my cheap a$$ Mazda Protege.

So, like I said, it's gotten around that I want a Lexus.

The other day, I was sitting at my cubicle, doing nothing. (Ooooh, don't say that too loud. Evil management may run up on me). I think I was yabbering on email with Serenity and the LBeezy. I had my earbuds in and I was listening to some music over my computer, too.

This lets you know, I did NOT want to be bothered.

Cowgirl Cre, my cubicle mate, tapped me on the shoulder.

I snatch out my earbuds.

She points back at another coworker, then goes back to her own paperwork.
I turn around. "WHAT, MAN? [Uh, this is my usual high pitched response when I am irritated. My boss HATES this, lol].
Coworker "T"is on the phone. She says, "T-Love wants to know what kind of Lexus you looking for?"

T-Love is another chemist, way over in another building attached to ours. He is also a character in my Sweet Heat manuscript. I frown. For a moment, I am a bit confused, lol.

"I want a 2000 ES 300," I yell.
She turns and tells T-Love.
"And I want it fully loaded, with the sunroof."
She conveys this important bit of info to him.

I turn to say more, but think better of it. Folks all around me got those loooooong ears, i.e., be listening waaay too hard.

I wanted to say:

"Tell him don't bring me none of that hot sh**!!!"

Then I wanted to say...

"If it's hot, make sure the numbers are clean down at the DMV!!!"


Lesson #3: If you get a stolen car, make sure you know somebody down at the DMV so they can clean it up in the system.


Now, ya'll know I don't fool around with stolen rides. And neither does our beloved T-Love. He loves cars, and wanted to be on the look out, just in case something comes up.

Because if the price is right, man... I'm going to go on and get it. My financial freedom Possee is going to circle me and beat me down, but we need a third car around the house.

But only if the price is right! LOL!

So that's it for me... and my lovely lessons...

Have a great week... I will be back on Friday or Monday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Conversations with Grandma, Part III

So, me and Grandma were watching Oprah and talking...

"Mama [that's what I call her], you still make jam?"
She stares at me.
"You know, the jelly, the jam... apple jelly, peach preserves, stuff like that?"
Her eyes get big and she shakes her head. "No, not lately. Been awhile since I did that."
"I want to learn how to do some canning, and I just remember you doing it. I wish I would've paid attention to how you do it. Don't you need special equipment for that."

She goes into some long CONFUSING convoluted explanation of how she used her pressure cooker to do her canning.

I was confused. And I don't care for no dayum pressure cookers. Those things blow up. And you know how scary I am in the lab. I don't need no ish going down in the kitchen.

So I changed the subject.

"Mama, I want to make a quilt."
She stares at me again.
"I've always wanted to make one, but I don't know how to get it started. You got quilts all over the place, and maybe you could teach me. Maybe we can make one together."

She leaps out of her recliner and walks away mumbling to herself.

I was sitting there thinking "What the... What the world?"

She comes back a couple of minutes later with a very old shoe box. She places it on the table, and opens it up. It contains a gazillion small square pieces of cloth material.

"Lisa, this is something I started on, but never got around to finishing."
I run my hands through what looks to be very old cloth. "And how long ago was this?"
She clasps her hands together and stares at the ceiling. "Oh, I think I cut up this material back in 1978. I just didn't get back to it. The pattern is in there somewhere."

Now that's what I needed. A pattern. I looked through the box and didn't see said "pattern". She looked through it, and found a small piece of yellow paper. She didn't mean a written pattern. She meant the paper cut-out she used for cutting out her cloth pieces.


"Well, I want to make a quilt. And I figure that we can do it with a sewing machine."
She shakes her head. "Oh no, we can't do that."
"Yes we can," I said. "It will go much faster."
"No we can't. It wouldn't be handmade if you do it on the sewing machine. You have to stitch everything together with thread and needle."

I give her the *gas face*.

She goes on to explain.

"Lisa, we didn't make quilts for fun. We made them because we needed them. You had your pillow and your sheet. And then you made a quilt. That was your cover. And if the quilt wore out, you made a quilt and stuffed the old one inside. You had better sit down and get to stitching it up or you were going to be cold at night."

I almost asked her "Why ya'll didn't just go to the store and buy a bedspread or something?"

Then I thought better of that, and didn't ask that question. I'm sure they didn't have the money to go do such things. Better to sit down quietly and make a quilt out of old scraps of cloth.

Humph. I think I will leave the quilt thing alone. I have too much stuff going on as it is and it's going to drive me nuts to sit down and cut everything by hand AND stitch it together by hand.

I probably will think about this whenever I drive to the store to buy new sheets or a comforter set for my bed...

Thank God for Wal-Mart, Target, and Linens-and-Things...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Operation Stealth Baby Shower

Last January, my boss, The Darth Sista T, called a meeting. We discussed regular group business and all, then she said something that shocked us all...

"I will be on medical leave for 3 months later this year. I am pregnant."

We were all shocked, then we were all happy!!

Fast forward several months...

The Darth Sista is now big and swole with child. She's breathing hard. She is waddling when she walks down the hall. And you better get out of her way when she needs to make it to the bathroom! (LOL! I won't get into how I relentlessly pick on her! LOL!)

She is due in mid-June, and she is trying to work up to the very hour before she delivers. I have been quite frightened. I told her don't go into labor in her office. (This will be alright, though. Hen-Dog is more than ready to deliver that baby. I, on the other hand, will straight up faint if we have to deliver a baby at work. THE HORROR!)

"Lady X", the youngest member of our group, called me over to her desk one day. She motions for me to lean down, and she whispers in my ear.

"Me and Hen-Dog were talking. We wanna give the Darth Sista a baby shower, but just our group only."
"Well, you know me, I'm making a blanket." I'd been bringing in the blanket on a stealth basis and consulting with Cowgirl Cre on some isshas I was having with it. "We can all put our name on that and give it to her."
"Well, we don't know the ethics rules, LadyLee."

She gave me that "look". You know, that look that said she wanted me to do something. I knew exactly what she wanted me to do.

"Well." I sighed hard. "I'll go talk to the Director, and see what she says. "

*Lady X gives smiles like Celie smiled.*

I think everyone on the floor knows by now that I ain't afraid of "The Director". Yes, she terrorizes people, and takes a bit too much pleasure in ruling with an iron fist. I think that is just a function of Management in general: make employees' lives a living hell. But she's a sista, and she's my age (heck, she might even be a few months younger than me). So, uh, I ain't scared of her.


So I went and talked to our beloved Director.

I explained that my group wanted to have a private party, and we just wanted to get her take on the ethics rules. I wasn't really even trying to be courteous. I just didn't want to hear no ish later.
And you know me... I took the opportunity to throw in there somewhere that I wasn't scared of her.


"You all can do that, LadyLee! That's not a problem!"

That was cool. I got up to leave.

"I want to come to that baby shower, LadyLee!"

*Blank stare* *crickets*

I wanted to say "Never mind!", but uh, that would've caused an argument.

I shrugged.

"So I can't come to the baby shower?"

She looked a little hurt. (Clutch the pearls... Management has feelings? WOW!) I leaned back in the chair. "Well, you're the Captain of the ship. I can't tell the Captain where to go on her ship. I can't tell the Captain not to come down to the cheap deck and dance with the peasants."

A semi-politically correct answer. Hmmm.

She laughed hard, then checked her massive schedule. "Well, I have a meeting that morning. I'm just gonna bring a gift."

I shrugged again.

You gotta understand. Management is the enemy. Management is "The Dark Side". They love throwing people under the bus. It's like some type of weird game with them. That was one reason we were being all secretive about it. If not, there would've been much discussion in the lab about us giving the boss a party. Tooo many opinions floating around. Who wants to deal with that? And who wants to watch what they say when management is around? BUMMER.

Overall, we like our boss. She will throw your behind under the bus, as that is some special requirement they must have, but she seems to care about the job, the mission statement, etc. (Whereas, I don't. I just care about them getting my check right. LOL! ) .

So, the week before our party, our diligent "Lady X" typed up what each of us was to bring. There are only 7 of us in the group, so the list wasn't hard to make up. I was to bring salmon croquettes, fried chicken and biscuits. (I wanted to yell "Why can't I bring the cups and the forks and the ice?" LOL!!)

So, I got up Thursday morning at 4 a.m., and cooked a whole mess of fried chicken wings, salmon and biscuits.

Took me 3 dayum hours. (I was being lazy... only used one skillet!). That was okay, because I lazied around, and I even got a little writing done. I threw everything in my special big roaster I use for barbeque, and drove to work. I left home at 8 o' clock.

It usually takes about 5-6 minutes to get to work, but it took me about 30 minutes that morning. (ATL traffic SUCKS!).

There were several stealth cellphone calls between myself and Lady X.

Me: "She there yet?"
Lady X: "No, but we have a look-out posted."
Me: "Well, bring me a cart. Just sit it over by the elevators."

Well, that got all messed up. Lady X put the cart on the other side of the building somewhere.

So, Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia, my trusty bootleg "work-for-free" writing editor, and new member of our group, brought a cart to my car. We got everything out of my car, and headed up the elevator to the breakroom...

I'm peaking around corners, moving fast... I'm scared we're going to run into the Darth Sista...

Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia is at ease (as usual). She was acting like she was taking a stroll in the park, pushing the cart all slow (this is the way she usually acts, lol).

I didn't say anything to her. She's sporting the HUGE Pam Grier afro right now. I was afraid that she may remove a razor blade from that fro and try to cut me if I pissed her off.

Well, we got everything set up. And we all huddled in the break room and waited around for the Darth Sista to arrive.

I had my laptop and 3000 song library for the party. There was much discussion over what type of music the Darth Sista liked.

"She likes jazz, and real slow music," Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia said nonchalantly.

We all looked at her. "No she don't. That's the type of music YOU like!"

Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia laughed hard. She almost got away with that one.

There was NO way we were going to play anything Cynthia liked. She likes the type of music that plays when you just broke up with someone, and you are sitting in the back of a dark club, drunk as hell, crying and about ready to either shoot someone or slit your own throat.


I cued up some Anita Baker. Can't go wrong with that, can you?

Now, we kind of told the Darth Sista we wanted to have a 9 o'clock meeting, so we could iron out some group business before she went into labor and left us looking crazy (lol).

She didn't expect a thing. She also noticed that the breastfed baby of our group wasn't on our meeting reminder emails. I know this made her apprehensive, because she thought we wanted to complain about his breastfeeding a$$. (Later, the director asked me why "Tom" wasn't at the party. I told her it was because breast milk wasn't available. LOL!)

But she came in the meeting, with her notes and trusty planner, ready to fight with us...

We yelled "Congratulations!!"

She was shocked...

And she even started crying.

(Wow... management cries? WOW!!)

Once she calmed down, we all sat down and ate. We had fried chicken, salmon, biscuits, croissants, orange juice, chips. (Shoot, all we needed was some grits, and that would've set it off. LOL).

We also had a lovely cake.

And we made quick work of that cake.

There were many nice gifts... diapers, baby girl outfits, toys, giftcards...

And of course, I made a baby blanket.

I like making baby blankets. Why? Because it's a cheap gift. Only requires about 8 dollars worth of yarn. Yeah, it takes me about 30-40 hours to finish, but it's CHEAP! And you know me, I LOVE anything hand made. (I hate buying ish in the store. Let's take it back to Celie days! LOL)

I've never made a baby blanket like this one before. I wanted to do something with a bunch of squares. My crochet mentor Cowgirl Cre frowned up at this project when I first discussed it with her ("You do like those squares, don't you girl?") .It took A LOT more time and concentration than usual, as I had to whipstitch all of those squares together (Uggh). But uh, I won't be doing that again. I will stick to my regular type of blanket, the one shown below. I made this one back in April for one of my Book Club sista's granddaughter.

Takes less time and concentration. (I must be getting LAZY. HUMPH).

All in all, it was a good time. We played MUCH Anita Baker and Earth Wind and Fire. Whatever leftovers we had, we gave to the rest of the people on our floor.

And none of us were any good for the rest of the day. We all had the "itis". I really needed a cot and a blanket. Really.

But, our boss will be gone all summer. (Thank Goodness!!! I've already made my summer plans, lol!). This means I will have a great summer, i.e., I will be working 10 hours a week!


But it felt good to do something for our boss. She deserved it. Compared to the rest of management, she is STELLAR.

So Darth Sista... we just wanted to you to know that we love and appreciate you. You're a decent boss (don't worry, we won't tell the rest of your management peers).

We hope you have a safe delivery, and a great summer!!