Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Iguanas walking to and fro.
They were as common as squirrels running through my front yard, if you can imagine such a thang.
Here's a picture of a couple hanging out on some rocks.
"It'sa Mexican Chickens," a resort employee hollered. He laughed really hard at his own joke.
I didn't find it funny at all.
There were lizards there too. There was even one in our room. This didn't surprise me, with the iguanas and the INSANE amount of woods around there. Lizards were commn in New Orleans when I lived there, and my cats would bring a dead one to me every once in awhile as a nice gift or something. Kimmie Kim lost her mind, but called the front desk and someone came in and killed it.
Thank goodness an iguana wasn't in our room.
I do believe I would've swam allll the way back to the USA, lol...
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Vacation was great. We went to the Mayan Riviera, and stayed at a swanky resort, the Valen.tin Maya Impe.rial. (Something like that). I rolled down there with one of my favorite people, my book club sista Acrylic Kim, uh, I mean Kimmie-Kim (she doesn't like Acrylic Kim, but I do, lol), on the occasion of her 4oth birthday.
4.5 star! All inclusive. Dranks and er'thang! 24 hour room service!
And that is the way to go.
I think I will just put up pics... easiest way to do things, since I have a gazillion of them.
Pictures of the room, the ocean, the view, the liquor, etc...
First of all, although this is an adult only resort (Thank the lawd I heard no screaming kids for 4 days), it uh, seems to be a couples resort...
Probably explains why they were trying to give us a room with a King sized bed, lol...
But I'm not intimidated by such. This was a great place, a place to go alone if you want to, too.
But here is our room.
As you can see, we got the double beds... But I'm not sure what's up with the fresh flowers and the ballons on the bed. I liked the sofa, though. There was a nice 32 inch tv in front of it.
I did like the marble floors... especially in the bathroom. There was also a jetted tub. Meant to kick over in that, but didn't. Those don't excite me much, since I have one at home.
I do like the glassed in shower and toilet. Very nice.
(Incidently, Kentucky tried to give me some repellent mosquito wipes to take down there. I yelled "Whatchu talking about, Kentucky? Ain't no mosquitos in Mexico!)
Would've been nice to throw a grill out there. I bet we would've been deported back to the USA quick for that little stunt, lol.
More pics to come...
Monday, September 28, 2009
(And she tired, Man... I know she be all tired...)
That Oldgirl had a bouncing baby boy...
"The Little Prince"
Coming in at 7 lbs 13 ozs, 21 and 1/4 inches...
That's a big one, Oldgirl! Sounds like a linebacker to me!
Congratulations Oldgirl! You came through it like the trooper that you are.
Not sure when you're going home, Mama...
The blanket is finished, and I'll be shipping it later this week!
Now, uh... which one of you Oldgirls is next?
Let a sista know so I can get started on the blanket... LOL
Must be because it's the most dreaded day of the week.
But I can't think like that. It's a new day. And something wonderful will happen today.
If not for me, then for you.
And that is something we have to believe.
I've taken a vacation... my second of the year.
I also found it necessary to take a vacation from the House of LadyLee.
I am in no ways tired of blogging. I really like my blog, you know. I just needed to get a little time freed up to reevaluate my priorites and needs at the moment. My mind has been in limbo, while my world continues to move forward, and move forward a bit to fast.
Priorities have been reevaluated, reset. I have given myself some time to step into new routines, and doing things that I have let slip ever so slightly. Things that are better for my heart and spirit.
And I am all the better for it.
Blogging fits in there somewhere. Not a hundred percent where "somewhere" is, but it has it's place. More conducive to my creativity than anything...
My weekend. I had a decent weekend. Got home from Mexico on Thursday afternoon. (It is HELLACIOUS getting back into the country through the ATL airport.) So as a result I had a three day weekend.
Friday, I slept in. Then that afternoon, I hung out with Nikki's Mom, helping her sort some of her things out. I myself was on yarn duty, and Nikki had a LOT of yarn. So we spent several hours sorting, unraveling, and rolling yarn. I had a lot of fun, and it felt good to laugh and joke with Nikki's fam.
And I hadn't cried much that week, so this was really good to go over and not be beside myself.
Saturday, I didn't do much of anything. I unpacked, and lazied around the house. It was sunny that morning, so I slept in. But I decided to make a dash to the eastside to do some grocery shopping, and on my way home, at around 3:30 in the afternoon, the bottom fell out the sky.
I never seent so much rain in my life. I thought I missed all that when I was in Mexico, because the ATL westside surburbs flooded something terrible. But the Saturday rain was the last "hoo-rah", I suppose, and let's just say, it took me about 45 minutes to drive 15-20 miles home. We got about 4 inches of rain.
But I made it home safely, and that's all that matters.
Sunday was quiet as well. I did A LOT of housecleaning. This was good, but in a way it wasn't because I've been dealing with a stomach bug since Friday, and I aggravated all of that, so much so that I didn't make my Sunday finance meeting.
Let's just say it was best for me to stick around the house, lol.
So here we are, back at Monday morning. I am a little remiss about going back to work today... It will be full of complaints, full of slights that are thrown to make me feel guilty about taking time off.
I will never apologize for needing some "me" time.
My job is not the bane of my existence.
I am not my job.
My job is not my source. God is my source.
Thank goodness for that.
I did much praying this morning, just so I can stand in the face of all that, and not let it get me down.
Because, you know, I will be taking more vacations. More time off, you see.
I will be doing that on purpose.
This vacation opened me up to a whole new world...
I ain't never been nowhere before where, when you step out of your travel van...
There's a dude standing there...
...with a glass of chilled champagne, and a cold wet towel for my face.
They don't do that type of thang at the Motel 6, shorty...
I guess that's what 4 and 5 star is all about, hunh?
Stay tuned for vacay pics this week...
And in the meantime, have a good week... on purpose.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I haven't been blogging.
And I'm not sitting here all depressed.
Unbeknownst to many, this blog is not the bane of my existence.
As a matter of fact, I don't put much of my life on here. Maybe 10% at the most.
And frankly, I've been reevaluating my priorities. And the blog falls low on the list, near the bottom really. And rightfully so.
Things ain't all that smurfy these days.
So I'm cutting back, drastically. My time is spent better on other things, things that will help sort out what's going on in my head. Serenity 3-0 has me involved in an activity right now that's a bit more useful than blogging. It's taken its time and place. And I am glad of it. Helps much.
I have enough posts to make your head spin.
But it would be all food for thought, much of which is better left within the pages of my personal tomes. Some things I need to deal with alone... without the expectations folks have out of me.
(Wait... I don't have to explain myself. Moving right along.)
So with that said, I am going on a much needed vacation next week.
Mayan Riviera. Riviera Maya. Not sure what it's called. All I know, it's south of Cancun and Cozumel.
It may be off to some tropical destination. It may mean driving one county over and checking into a Motel 6. It don't matter, I'm going somewhere.
This time out, I hope to find a hut and a tree...
Some rolling waves...
A breathtaking sunrise.
And my peace of mind.
I'll hopefully be back soon...
Thursday, September 10, 2009
As I mentioned before, Spiritual Blogger Keisha "Kitten" Isaacs, author of the Ink on the Sheets blog, has an excellent ministry that heavily utilizes our current technology. Every Monday morning, she sends out a inspirational text message.
I had a chance to talk to her last night. We were chatting away on Facebook chat near the midnight hour. She gave me her phone number and told me to call her.
*Lee catching a crook in her neck from sitting up too quick in the bed*
It was one of them "What in the world?" moments.
I guess she sees me crouched in a corner of the city in sackcloth dumping ashes on my head and wailing inside, and wants to help a sista get up off the floor...
So she took it upon herself to talk to me and straighten me out. And to pray about some things with me.
I do appreciate that, Keisha. I felt better this morning. Thanks for the "LYLAS" moment.
I found this text particularly inspirational. She gave me permission to post it up.
I found the part I highlighted in read particulary important.
I'll give my thoughts afterwards.
Greetings from LYLAS 4 Life Ministries, "A modern day ministry, delivering the word of God through technology to unite, empower, and uplift sistahs in Christ." In addition to your weekly TextScriptz, I send you God's love, peace, and blessings. I pray we have a tongue seasoned with honey rather than spice.
My soon to be three year old nephew and I were watching The Wiz yesterday and I found there were so many spiritual lessons to be learned from that movie. However, today I’d like to focus on the Scarecrow and the self-doubt that was instilled in him by the constant discouragement of the crows.
Many people have grown up in families where negativity is as natural as a stomach growling from hunger pains. It simply was a way of life for them. In fact, positivity would be viewed as a foreign language for some. I see it daily when I speak positive affirmations to the boys that I work with. Unfortunately, they cannot see the young princes that I see when I look at them. Instead, they see what they feel or what others have spoke into their lives, and it isn’t always charming. Like the scarecrow, they are filled with so much potential but lacking confidence because of that deadly thing called doubt.
What’s interesting is that the scarecrow felt he didn’t have a brain and yet he was literally loaded with wisdom. There were powerful words stuffed inside of him that helped make up who he was and who he would be. However, the negative words from those devilish crows had deceived him for years until Dorothy came down that road bringing hope with her.
Sistah, when you skip down the road are you bringing hopeful words or hateful words with you? Do you help pull out the greatness that is tucked inside of others or do you contribute to their uncertainty about themselves, life, and God with your words and actions? Are you singing praises of a mighty God and that all things are possible through him or do you reinforce their thoughts that they can’t win, they can’t break even, and they can’t get out of the game? Are you a WORD deliverer my sistah; do you come with the gift of God’s word when you speak? Let’s be careful what we say to others because “reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18). We are surrounded by many people who are like the scarecrow in need of someone to run off the crows and bring healing to them through Godly words. So speak like sistah….speak life!
Loving You Like A Sistah (LYLAS),
First of all, if you are not subscribed to that text service... uh, why don't you get up on that. It is very helpful. We're quick to roll up on the blog drama... why don't you roll up on something useful?
That is, if you want courage instead of corn in your life.
(I'll take courage over corn any day. An Oldgirl needs all the courage she can get, you see).
I liked the analogy of the scarecrow. Keisha knows how to snatch the take-home lesson out of the simplest things...
That part in red, though... that got to me.
First of all, I am thankful that their is NO ONE in my personal space who personifies the negative aspects of that passage.
Ain't nobody contributing to my uncertainty about myself, life, and God with their words and actions.
Ain't nobody reinforcing my thoughts that I can’t win, I can’t break even, and I can’t get out of the game.
Ain't nobody kicking hateful words my way.
Plus, I'll like to add my own 2 cents to all this. And feel free to let me know if I'm off base on this.
People who are not in control of their own emotions have a tendency to want to try to control the emotions of others.
People who are not happy with their own lives will try to control the lives of others.
So putting all this together, I ask you a question.
And be sure to check all around you, check your pockets, check under your feet... in other words, check your personal space...
Check. Your. Space.
What kind of friends do you have around you today? What kind of influence are they having on you today?
Something to think about on a Thursday morning...
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
I decided that I would do it tonight.
Just leaving out the "Happy" and the "Morning" part, no less.
It's just Monday.
And I woke up this morning, staring at the whirring ceiling fan, thinking.
I need to decompress.
And hit the reset button.
As I am not the most learned Oldgirl out there, I have to look these words up.
decompress- to relax; to unwind; to bring a person exposed to conditions of increased pressure back to normal pressure.
reset- change the reading of.
I've spent the last 7 days upset and anxious. Work has been hectic, followed by running around in the evening, followed by going to sleep at 1 or 2 in the morning. Ugh.
I was suppose to go to a party on Saturday night. But I was not in the mood. I own not one piece of "elegant" wear, which meant I needed to blend in with the help. I didn't have a gift. Just was upset, and a bit scatter-scatter about stuff. I have no idea how to go from a funeral to a party.
That would have been like rolling down the highway at 100 miles an hour and deciding to kick a U-turn...
... without slowing down.
And nobody needed to deal with my Lurch ass. I ain't no good for the scene when I am brooding.
I haven't had much "me" time lately.
I needed to hit the reset button. I needed to decompress.
And it was labor day. I planned to do some things I had cast to the side all week...
Like lounge on my sofa and watch televison.
Like pick up that book I'd been reading.
Like listen to some Ol' school music.
All that stuff got cast to the side last week. My favorite things, things that are as involuntary for me as blinking, were put on pause...
Ya'll who've read this blog know how I am. I give myself a finite amount of time to be pissed about certain things. In this case, I give myself enough time to be distraught. I have learned that being pissed and being distraught are too vastly different emotions, but I have to apply the same ol' methods.
Give it time. Then at least try to move on.
Moving on ain't that easy.
I wept half as much as I did yesterday.
And I accomplished small goals today.
I sat on the sofa, and watched tv.
I managed to crochet for an hour.
Laid in bed and listened to a few songs.
I read 4 chapters of my book... (Beezy, this book is moving too slow).
I made an effort this Monday to reset and decompress... and felt ok about it.
I am proud of me for my efforts, no matter how mundane they may be...
And more important, I know my friend is proud of me...
And I know I must be mindful of that.
Because that makes, and will continue to make, all the difference.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
They have written words and described feelings that are similar to my own. I've tacked their words up on the walls of the House LadyLee, and I have silently read them over and over again.
I, however, am not so eloquent. I am having trouble putting my thoughts on paper. They're getting caught up in the hard lump in my throat. They're drowned in the tears streaming down my face.
But I must figure something out...
In a few short words, I simply say...
Nikki... Man, I miss you.
I only met you in person a couple of years ago... maybe 2 or 3 years ago. All I know is I found your blog, where you dicussed some incredibly personal issues. I wondered how anyone could get THAT personal on blog, but you did it, and unabashedly so. You started stomping around on my blog soon after. I didn't understand why. My blog was smurfy, not popular, not delving into the erotic and tough issues like yours was.
You mentioned in a post that you'd moved to Grant Park and was getting settled in. I shouted out in your comment sections that I lived a mile away in P-town, and wanted to hook up at the track that separates our hoods. You never responded to me. I left you alone about it.
I kept stomping around on your blog, you kept stomping around on my blog... and so on, and so on, and so on...
I spotted your "sensual rhythms" email in the sidebar of your blog one day and took a chance in emailing you personally. Told you how I was a fan, and that we lived in adjacent hoods and I wanted to meet you. You responded, saying that you thought I was joking about meeting you.
Because you were a big fan of mine, and didn't understand why I, the "Great LadyLee", would want to meet someone like you...
(That had me seeing crickets... still seeing crickets over that one).
But we met in Cabbagetown, and talked about all things personal over big steaming plates of crawfish pasta. You were in the midst of making some huge decisions that you were just downright embarrased about concerning your marriage and I kept telling you, "Nikki, I know, I know... I know how you feeling, I can't judge you, because I've felt the same way, been through all that. If you ever need to talk, you got my numbers, I'll listen."
You told me that night after 2 hours of convo, that I was a cool chick, and that you were glad that I hadn't judged you.
That... that right there, was the beginning of a friendship. A seed was sown in the ground that day. Nikki befriended a nerdy Dr. Who would've known.
Terry told me the other night "Lis, you and Nikki had such a complicated relatonship."
Nothing complicated about it.
There were no judgments between us. When you take out the judgment factor, the masks come off. Fully supportive of each other's visions, no matter what.
I can count on one hand the number of people in my life who don't judge me.
And when I do that count, I stil have fingers left over.
I yearn for people who simply don't judge me. Oh yeah, I need people to do the right thing, and point out when I'm wrong, and steer me in the right direction.
But that is different from outright turning up your nose in judgment.
Nikki simply accepted me for who I was. And I did the same concerning her.
There is nothing complicated about that. Our friendship was what it was: real. In the purest sense of the word.
I got a chance to know a woman vastly different from the blogger.
And I, LadyLee, am better off for it.
This past week, my world just stopped. I didn't do the things I normally do.
I haven't sat on my sofa all week. That's because that's where Nikki sat when we watched basketball. We laughed and talked over dinner while watching her beloved sports on my living room tv.
I can't bring myself to pick up my crochet project which is laying on that same sofa. I just stare at it and walk away in tears.
I'm just remembering back to a year ago, when Nikki had come up on a crochet circle, and convinced me to join in. This was funny to me, but I met up with her anyway.
She had to deal with me pointing my crochet needle and whispering "The oh so erotic Nikki... knitting, knitting, knitting."
This was hilarious to me, because it was a different facet of Nikki I'd discovered. But it became our Tuesday night ritual, me crocheting, her knitting. It was a sort of decompression time for us, us discussing whatever was bothering us over such therapeutic activities... Conversations started over needle and thread that were continued over phone, email, or IM, until we could get together again the next Tuesday.
I have fell off on my regular reading all week, as I was geting something off of my bookshelf the other day and poet Natasha's Trethway's Native Guard caught my eye. I bust out crying because I remember back when this poet was to speak at The At.lanta Wri.ters Club. Nikki and I fought through awful Atlanta traffic on a Saturday to get there... I remember sitting in the back of the auditorium listening to Tretheway read and explain her processes. Nikki and I read along in my book, whispering back and forth the whole time about how amazing this poet was...
And I told Nikki later that I just could NOT believe that I was sitting next to Nikki, a world class poet, listening to Natasha, a world class poet, speak. The irony of it all just stunned me.
Nikki was a world class poet in her own write. I will never read a poem again and not think about her.
We shared so much, had so much in common.
Blogging was what we first had in common, but she shared with me that she didn't like blogging anymore. It was for the people, and not from her heart. I told her to stop if she saw the need to, for to acquire the praise of the people and lose the love for your own writing is a tragedy. If I was writing for people, the House of LadyLee would've burned down long ago. Hell, I didn't care.
She was my friend, I saw and talked to her whenever I wanted to. And she the same. Bump a blog. Go with the heart, man.
(And that was our inside joke: LadyLee was responsible for her blogging hiatuses. We don't really believe that, but we weren't telling anyone about that, either).
We had one thing in common, one that I wish we didn't:
She wrote on her blog a couple years ago that lupus was in her family. I timidly asked her about this in evening over dinner. I had various questions, that she didn't mind answering. I told her about my own lupus (and she was hot with me about not discussing it with her sooner).
This changed things between us. She noticed every little cough, every little thing. Back in March, I was dealing with some lupus related throat inflammation, and I had a coughing fit at her house and she kept squinting her eyes at me and hollerin' "Lee! Sis? Come on, Man!" I had to get on her, and tell her to stop worrying so much about me. I was highly functional, and just sometimes, I have a slight setback here and there, and that it would pass.
My nagging issues that crept up would pass. Nikki's did not.
The tides had turned, and she had to deal with me fussing at her.
The symptoms she was experienceing were the exact same I myself had experienced back in 2002. You do the right thing, go to the doctor and all. But when it comes to autoimmune issues, it takes going to several different doctors before you hit up on one who diagnoses the problem. I was told I had strep throat. Nikki was told she had mono... Both diagnoses were wrong...
And certain meds, like in my case, the antibiotics for step throat, exasperated my conditon exponentially.
I recognized it all... "Nikki," I said. "This sound like some lupus."
"Well, the doctor said blah, blah, blah..."
I left her alone about it. Things got worse for her. Had to read a bunch of stuff on Facebook. She was a bit tight lipped with me about it, didn't want me to worry.
I told her to get her referrals straight, because I was taking her to my folk: my doc is a pulmonary specialist and a critical care specialist. His wife is my immunologist. She so good that people fly in from other states to see her and fly on back out when they are done. (Never saw such logic in that, but I guess it is hard to find a good immunologist).
I told her how they got me better, how my doc later confided in me, (after I got better, learned to walk again, and went back to work) that I only had a week or two to live at the most.
She said that she had a doc that seem to know what was going on...
I left it alone.
It hurt so much to see her in the hospital, skin inflamed from this rare thing, this dermatamyositis illness, oxygen tubes in her nose. At one time, she had to leave the room for some tests, and I had to hold the wheelchair for her to get in. I picked up on her embarrasment, and told her "Look, you my girl. Take your time. If I could lift you up and carry you, I would. But I'ma hold this chair steady for you. Take your time, I got you."
She made it to the chair. She came back later, and we watched Law and Order together.
I stood at her board, trying to pronounce the name of the awful disease written in bright red letters.
She said something from her hospital bed later that day that made me think. I was sitting their crocheting, and she was talking to a relative that stopped by.
"I've had all this time to lay on my back, and I realize one thing: you not only have to trust God when things are good, but when things are bad. I have had a lot of quiet time to think on that."
I wrote those words on a mental post-it note in my heart. I NEEDED to hear the words Nikki spoke that day.
She got out of the hospital and went home. She asked me to come over for a family cookout. Of course I couldn't eat anything, with me being vegetarian now. Her family and friends are a trip, and I just wanted to be around. I took 6 dozen cookies with me. (Mama Nikki was HOT wih me behind that. Nikki wasn't suppose to have sweets. I convinced her that I brought them for everybody, and I don't show up nowhere empty handed).
Nikki was up in her Mama's bed. Her best friend Candice was laid across the bottom. I laid on the other side. Mama Nikki came in an threw us all out the room. ("Come on, now," she said. "Get out of my bed.")
I watched Nikki get up slowly and walk out of the room and down the stairs so she could sit with us all. She was moving good better than I expected... I was so proud of her, I told her later. It reminded me of my own quest just to go down the stairs and sit at the table in my sick days.
I just knew my friend was getting better. I loved getting texts that said "Sis, this was a good day for me. I had a good day."
The last time I saw her was August 20th. She'd been having some decent days, as i could tell by our convos. I went in her room and moved all the stuff off the bed. I kicked off my shoes, took off my clunky work badge, and laid down next to her.
We laid there and talk for a couple of hours. Old school music played softly on the radio. Our talk was reminescent of the first time we met, deeply personal, full of revelation. I always tell her that we all have long laundry lists of what God has done for us.
That night, she shared some things on her proverbial laundry list.
That night, I was there to encourage her, but she turned the tables on me, and she was encouraging me.
Encouraging me is not saying enough.
She ministered some things into my spirit.
She imparted some things into my spirit.
Looking back, she was fulfilling her purpose in my life.
She said some things I'd never forget that night. She and I have had more discussions than I can even count, but the one that night... was the most important we'd ever had.
She and I have prayed together over some of our problems in the past. I always told her "Nikki, when you pray earnestly about something, finish it up with some communion between you and God. Don' take much but a piece of wheat bread and kool-aid. Ain't no need to get all religious about it. It's what's in your heart that matters. God see your heart."
We've agreed to matters over a communion table of wheat bread and juice a few times. There was no need that night. She got on me about some things I was upset and dissappointed in concerning myself and my goals and actions. She set me straight that night. I didn't complain. I needed the chastisement, the correction from someone who knew me.
She got on the phone, and I drifted off to sleep. She tapped me with her fist, told me to get up and get out, go on home. She knew I'd had a fast and hard week. I protested.
"I ain't sleep, man!"
She told me to go on home.
I reluctantly got out of the bed. "Next time, I'm branging my own pillow!"
"Good," she said, her voice coarse and raspy.
She got up to go to the bathroom while I was putting on my shoes. She came back and sat down on the bed, gasping hard for breath. I just stared at her not knowing what to do. It reminded me of my pulmonary issues of the past, of how doing the smallest of tasks made me gasp for air like I'd just finished running a marathon.
She held her arms out to me, flapped her hands "Come here, sis," she said.
I dropped my stuff, went to her, and she gave me a hug. She kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me, and thanked me for being there for her.
"I love you to, Nikki. And stop getting all mushy on me, man."
I got a little choked up, but didn't let her see. Kept yelling about bringing my pillow the next time I came over.
She text me to see if I'd made it home safely. I texted her back, and thanked her for the good girl talk, and told her of how it was good salve for my soul.
I lay in bed that night, said my prayers, thank God for that convo Nikki and I had. She said some things I needed to think about, some things I needed to hear. She confirmed some answers I'd gotten in my own recent prayers. I confessed good things over Nikki's life, asked that she get better.
I was suppose to spend the Friday before she died with her. She asked that we postpone because she wasn't having a good day.
I learned that she passed on Monday morning. I cried all morning. Pulled myself together so I could go on to work. Cried even more because the very same songs we were listening to on the radio at her house were playing on the lab radio while I did my experiments.
(King 2nd 68, you TOLD me to take a mental day. I should've done that, and found a bike so I could "stomp some pedals" like you did).
I ain't the type to get angry with God. He's done too much for me to be mad at him.
The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, not God.
However, I am sad. And now that I have tried to put my feelings into words, I am thankful.
I am thankful that He allowed me to have a friend such as Nikki. Someone who didn't judge me. Someone who I didnt have to explain myself to. Someone who purely accepted me for me.
I can only hope I was to her what she was to me.
A funny thing happened when we moved our friendship off the 'net to personal.
It is a loss, it truly is. I've been going through the rounds of looking at people, hoping I don't lose them. Is it the last time I will ever talk to them or touch them?
I'm looking a second too long at the rashes that marr my own skin, wondering if they will become critical and painful like hers. Whenever there's a slight tinge of pain in my problematic left lung, I think of pain she felt in hers.
I'm having to force myself out of this place where my feet are stuck, have to force myself out of not hearing from her each and everyday. No more texts from her saying "Lee, wassup...just thinking of you. Letting you know you're on my mind, and I love you." No more response from me hollering "Cut it out, Nikki!"
I will go on. I will do that the best way I can.
I better get busy doing it, on purpose.
A sentence in my life vision statement reads
"I am an incredible asset to my friends."
I ain't quite there yet. She yelled at me for thinking such the last time we were together.
Nikki taught me what that statemet truly means. I lost one of my assets, I did.
Nikki, I miss you. I know there is no more pain. You can breathe easy now. You can dance, sing, and write with ease now.
But I am selfish. I, and all those who loved you.
God thought so well of you and I that He allowed our paths to cross. If only briefly.
I add your name to my long laundry lists of blessings...
I learned something from your memorial service n Saturday: You had 38 good years, full of love, joy, laughter, family, friends, and LIFE lived to the fullest.
If people someday say half the things they said about you, about me? Well, it will show that I lived a full life indeed.
I know that we will meet once again on the other side.
I miss you and love you.
I will go on, with all that our friendshp added to my being.
No, your Sis....
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Good Ol' Terry...
The Purveyor of Truth... from the Cheap Seats of course.
If anyone ever asked me who my number one fan was, is, and forever will be, I'd proudly tell them: Cheap Seats Terry.
He has been a reader of my blog for years, waaaay before I got the chance to know him. He lurks something terrible and back in the day, I would look at my blog stats and wonder "Who is this Radioflyer person milling around on my blog?"
You know, I have no idea why a scotch drinkin', cigar smokin' middle age white man would like my blog so much... mystified me to no end. He remembers the detail of post, stuff I don't even remember. Can psychoanalyze things going on with my writing, and be correct in his thoughts about it...
So I started reading his blog... and was captivated by his words.
(Blogger King 2nd 68 has been trying to figure out how to nominate a white dude for a Black Blogger Award. Yes, we like his blog that much.)
He and Nikki have been close friends for years. Whenever they would have disagreements, I would tell Nikki, "Terry is my Daddy. Do not upset my Daddy!"
He is a big fan of our writing, and always pushed for me and Nikki to work with each other. Not sure why he was wailing about that, but me and Nikki were doing that anyway. As a result Nikki and I had our own writing crew of 2, combining our blog names:
The Iniquitous Oldgirl Critique Team
(Nikki and I had much fun with that, reading each other's stories, discussing and fussing... You wouldn't believe the depth and breath of Nikki's writing. It goes FAR above and beyond what she did on her blog).
Terry, in addition to being a VP of his company, also writes screenplays, and does his thing out in Hollywood (he tells the craziest stories about this - some of which frighten me). When he approached me about becoming his writing partner, I almost lost my mind. Didn't understand why, but whatever... I said yes. I learn much from him anyway, but was gonna pick his brain for more. We had dinner back in January when he was in town, and afterwards, I handed him (with shaky hands), a folder containing my 20 page addition to an unfinished script he'd been working on, and wanted to get my thoughts on.
I wondered what he'd say: He called me once he got back to Cali and talked my ear off about how brilliant I was. He is constantly calling me "Partna!" We got this synergistic thing going on... and I like that...
And he has always talked about how brilliant Nikki was.
It just broke my heart when I was talking to Hassan the day after Nikki passed. Hassan was worried about Terry.
"I have to drive out to LA. I have to go pick my brother up off the floor."
Terry is devastated. He and I have been talking back and forth over the past couple of months, with me hollering "She look alright! She's gonna be just find."
Terry and I talked for over 4 hours on Thursday night. He's one more person who has filled in the blanks for me. He had to hear me wail. I listened to him express his anger. I must say, that I am somewhere near the acceptance point.
Near, but not quite there yet.
I miss my friend. He misses his friend. We miss our friend.
He wrote a poem, Never, to Nikki, and his words are poignant as always.
He also posted his thoughts, which I'm posting here.
As always, Terry, you do have a way with words. And we learn important life lessons in the process.
Add & Subtract
I’m a tad bit tired today. Lots of reasons really, like many people I’m pretty much emotionally drained. I’ve cried tears until I can cry them no more, and I’ve hurt until I’m pretty much numb. My mind stays occupied with glowing memories and I’m still coming to grips with the way my new life maps out. But as I said, there are many out there today just like me. Some, even more so.
Plus, it didn’t help that Hassan and I stayed out all last night comforting each other with stories about our friend. But in that moment, we realized something very important.
Over the next several weeks people who have never met will meet. People who have known each other from afar will now be close. New friendships will be created and old ones will be made stronger. Bonds will be affirmed as we all rally around the memory of this magnificent woman. And oh how magnificent she was.
I am reminded that your life mathematically should always be unbalanced. You should always be adding to it, more than you are subtracting from it. It’s what fills our hearts and minds that makes us better today, than we were yesterday. Through Anika, many of us have, and will continue, to be adding. My dilemma will always be, will what I have added because of her, be worth the subtraction of losing her? Never in my heart, but the reality is she created enough momentum to make sure her loss would always be covered in my intellect.
Much of this addition will take place when the people of her life will be saying goodbye. It’s ironic really if you think about it. We all have lost so much, but even in our hour of grief, Anika will be making sure those who have been left behind, know how to support each other.
I myself will not be there. Despite Hassan’s best efforts, (and Lis, he really did try), I will not be going to Atlanta. I don’t do funerals and despite the great love I have for Anika, hers will be the one I could never attend. As my friend A.J. said, “Funerals are a morbid ritual if you think about it”. A ritual that I simply can’t handle. But others will be there. Those who love her and care about her. It does my heart good to know that.
I once heard it said that no one ever speaks ill of the dead, its tradition. I have also heard it said that we tend to glorify those who have passed in the moments of mourning, perhaps more than we should. And I am sure for some all of this is true. But not for Anika. The trail of tears and broken hearts she has left behind, tells us all just how special she is.
If I may, I would like to offer up this personal memory. I told Anika that I loved her countless times. Just about every time we spoke. I asked her once if I should maybe scale back on that a bit for feeling I may have become a little wishy-washy. Most who know her will tell you while Anika could communicate with the written word with the best of them, having a conversation with her could be challenging at best. I often reminded her that at times she didn’t verbally communicate well. In which she would reply, “Whatever!”
Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much when I asked my question, but once again, Anika took the opportunity to add.
She simply said, “I don’t think people tell each other they love them enough. We wait until we can never say it to them again, and then feel bad about it.”
One more thing added. One more moment. One more opportunity to be better today, than I was yesterday.
It has been said time and time again. Never take your relationships for granted, for tomorrow, they may no longer be. If anything, she has taught me that lesson more vividly than I could ever imagine.
So take the time to make sure that those who are important to you know it. Tell those you love how much that love means to you. Tell those who do for you, that you appreciate them. Remind those you care for, that they add to your life.
Because Anika is watching…and she's doing the math.
And for the record - I love you Anika.
It’s hard tell the depths of ones soul - not even your own. You can never say for sure how you will handle extraordinary circumstances, or moments in time that you are not accustom to. You can never really now the highest of your joy or the depth of your pain. Often, not even when they happen. But I think this week, we have had an exception.
I have been thinking all night about the Parents of Anika Harris. I think of her most loving Brother Aswad. I think of her friend Candice. People, who are the closest to her.
While each of us who know her suffers, I can’t imagine what it is like for them. The harsh reality is that none of us will ever see Nikki again. We will not be able to touch her, hear her voice, and be in her presence. All we have left are fond memories, her words and her lessons. For so many, that will never be enough.
That doesn’t mean however that she is “gone”. We will all think of her. She will brighten our days and warm our hearts with a thought. She WILL be with us.
There is an old Greek saying that says, “A Man’s life is measured by what he leaves behind in the world.” Well, if that's true...and I think that it is...there isn’t a measuring device in the world large enough to show what Anika has left.
She will continue to inspire the artistic among us. We will carry her torch and speak her name with great resolve. We will name children after her, set up social services in her name and contribute to find a cure for the awful disease that took her from us. We will tell stories of her and use them to inspire others…we will all make sure that her “life” continues.
I do not know much, but I know enough to realize that her impact on the world was even greater than I think she could ever imagined. It’s rare that one person can be shared in the hearts of so many. Perhaps that is the greatest testament to her of all. So many loved her, so many respected her, so many needed her.
I will say this and I think many will take issue with me. While the opportunity presents itself, I am unlikely to ever visit Anika’s final resting place. That’s because she will not be there.
She will not be in the garden of stones. She will not lie among the trees and lush grass. I will not follow a well laid out path to the grave that will hold her body. Because my beloved Anika, isn’t there.
I do not have to travel one inch to see the woman that I love so dearly. All I have to do to be with her is knock on my own heart’s door. That’s where Nikki is. And that’s where she shall be for all of us - in our hearts.
I will cry tonight as I have every night this week. I will cry for her - and will cry for her Parents - I will cry for Aswad - I will cry for Candice - I will cry for all her family and friends - and I will cry for me. But then I will get up, dust myself off, and ask, “What can I do for Nikki today?”
A question that I shall ask myself ever day of my life. Because that was the depth of Anika’s soul.
We miss you Nikki...
But you will forever be in our hearts... always.
Friday, September 04, 2009
I don't usually eat my own cookies, you see.
I made them for Nikki's family, as not only Nikki, but her family loves them...
I would take a tin of them whenever she invited me over to family gatherings. She said I didn't have to bring anything, just bring myself, but she knew how I was in that I never liked to show up anywhere empty handed.
I don't have much, and I have a hard time expressing how much I care for you...
But I can make a mean cookie... and that goes a long way in accomplishing such...
And to thank her and her family for taking me in, and treating me like one of their own.
Now, when I arrived at Nikki's house on Wednesday night, there were many people there. People were arriving and leaving and what not. Nikki's Mom, who I affectionatley call "Mama Nikki", was walking down the driveway.
"I'm running to the store, Lee," she said. "Go on in the house, we'll be right back."
That wasn't a problem. I just about know everybody. And I arrived at the same time as one of her cousins, who had been cracking me up with old stories of Nikki. I was more than content to just hang out with her and others.
Mama Nikki stared at the huge silver tin I gripped in my hands.
"5 dozen cookies, Mama Nikki. I told ya'll the other night that I'd be back over, and that I was baking up cookies."
She immediately grabbed the tin from my hands and marched with the quick step back up the driveway and into the house.
I was quick on her heels. Nikki's brother Swad had held me up on the front porch by snatching me in a big hug, but I caught up to Mama Nikki in the dining room as she was attempting to hide the cookies.
"Mama Nikki!" I said. "Uh, I'ma need you to share the cookies."
She shook her head.
"Come on now, Mama Nikki. There's enough for everybody."
"Alright, Lee," she said. She reluctantly placed the tin on the table.
That was just something funny to me.
Something to make me laugh through my tears.
It helps right now just to be over in the house where Nikki lived. Funny how I was expecting her to walk down the stairs and yell "What's up, Sis?"
Over the past year, she'd become like a sister to me. I'm STILL trying to figure out how to process my feelings and put them into words. But right now, it just helps to be around people who knew her all her life and who look like her.
I stayed a couple of hours the other night, and when I was leaving, Mama Nikki walked me out to my car.
"You don't have to come over here every day," she said.
"I know. And I'm not. I just wanted to stop by. When I'm here, I feel like I'm near Nikki."
She nodded, draped her arm over my shoulders.
"I miss my girl, Lee," she said.
I had to blink back the tears, because I didn't want her to see me cry.
She looks like an older version of Nikki, same chocolate complexion, same dred locks...
When I see her, I see Nikki, and that there is enough to get me all choked up. I'd been holding it together pretty well in the house.
"I miss her too, Mama Nikki," I said, trying desperately trying to keep the shake and quiver out of my voice.
She was around there being so strong for everyone. I can't imagine how it feels to lose her child, "my girl", as she called her. I can't imagine her hurt and pain.
I feel for Mama Nikki and her family...
I truly do...
They miss you, Nikki...
May you rest in peace, and may the memory of you live strong in their hearts... forever and ever.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
(Yes, leave it up to King 2nd 68 to post the bathroom picture. Nikki and I were part of his glorious "blog harem"... and it is fitting that he'd put this one up. I must admit, I like it...)
I'm posting up pieces of various tributes, but honestly, there are waaaay too many out there to post. I am leaning toward posting the ones of a few people who she and I talked of when we last spoke.
But there are tributes spread all over the blog world...
I am looking around, reading them all. I am so glad that she had an impact on us all. I am listing some here, and as I find them, I will add more.
Rest in Peace 2 One of the most PASSIONATE bloggers EVER: Nikki Harris by CapCity
R.I.P Nikki Indigo by 2nd 68
A Trail of Indigo by 12Kyle
Our Indigo Light ~ RIP Nikki Harris by CurvyGirl
RIP NIKKI>>>>> by Dreamy
Gone Too Soon... Nikki Harris by Lovebabz
RIP Nikki Harris of Indigo Trail of My Thoughts by The Happy Go Lucky Bachelor
She is now an Angel by That Southern Black Gal
R.I.P. Nikki Harris 1970-2009 by Keith
Sunrises and Sunsets by Aquababie
Road Trippin', Ego Trippin', Life's a Trip by Aunt Jackie
And Then There Were 4 by Bloopty
More to come...
My big blog brutha, The Brown Blogger Hassan, has been that one person who has REALLY helped me straighten out my pain and thoughts concerning the loss of our friend. We've been on IM, texting back and forth for the past month about things. I've been the liason of sorts, here, able to be with Nikki, check on her, and to be the one to tell him "Bruh! I'm around her. I'm talking to her. I'm tryin' to tell you, she looking better. She gonna be alright!"
I've always been crazy about Hassan, and Nikki has too... I was telling Nikki last week that, "You know, when you're wrong, Hassan gonna be the first to throw you in a figurative headlock and let you know that you're wrong. And offer solutions to the problem." She most definitely agreed with that... We both have had our moments with him.
So rare to find people who will deal with you on that level...
And this week, he lost his virtual twin... a kindred spirit, a part of him.
Our phone convos have been hard, him consoling me, I consoling him. He's forced me to talk about things I don't care to talk about, like my own battle with autoimmune disease, and Nikki's battle with this rare one, one that we can't even pronounce, one that overlaps so hard with my own that I honestly still can't tell the difference. He'd been doing so much research on this rare rare illness that took her life, that he has been able to explain some things to me, help me fill in the holes of what was going on... and he's helped me feel in the holes in my heart concerning this horrible loss of our friend...
I myself have not been able to express my thoughts of Nikki's passing in words. I've been making due with the words penned by others, as they have touched on my own feelings.
But Hassan has found the words. This week, He posted a poem he wrote for Nikki a few years ago (see "The Remnants Forever Staining My Memory").
He also posted his thoughts yesterday on his blog. The piece is very long, but I know it is only the tip of the iceberg of what's going on in his heart right now. 100 pages of his words could still not convey the totality of his feelings...
I've posted excerpts of it here, excerpts that are helping my heart, helping me deal with things.
excerpts from Hassan's "The Finality of Things"
I am a mess right now. I am coming to terms with the loss of my sister. I just cannot place this occurrence with anything right now. I am thirty eight years old and I just lost a peer. I really thought that I would have more time before folk that aren't family but are emotionally close would die. I thought at we would live a little, some to marry and have kids and others to venture out and accomplish things in travel and experience. Anika and I made promises to each other to do things in life that would enhance the experience for friends, family and folk who either read us in passing or subscribed to our blogs or obtained our publications. She used to tell me that I just need to continue to travel, take pics and just write about it and that one day she would catch up to me in that regard.
What happens when you meet someone by chance encounter, are introduced to or are just brought together by friggin' osmosis with a complete stranger from outside of your circle and/or personal region and you open yourself up to them and they to you (and not marry or pursue a romantic relationship with, partner up with business or otherwise, etc) and build trust, respect each other's boundaries, create a history of kinship and friendship with and then one day out of nowhere... That person is jettisoned from your square?
I am heartbroken for her family and her BFFs... I know that sacrifices were made, concessions were placed and duty was served in providing love and comfort. We invest our time and effort thinking that there will be an abundant return. Most times there are. The time spent over the years yields so much, but our selfishness in wanting things to go our way sometimes clouds the memories of days past because we expect our present and future to be filled with the ones we feel the need to lean on.
Anika was my truth squad. Everybody has one person that is this to them. Nikki slapped my ass with the pure, unadulterated truth in everything on a regular basis. I loved that about her, even if she would get all introverted and shy and try not to call herself out. That's what I was there for on some occasion. She was my sister, kindred in spirit. We were too damn similar in many ways, many things. Looking and dealing with her was like dealing with myself we were so damn alike. She was way more talented and me and I was in awe of how easy most things came in her ability to create. Losing her was like losing a reflection in the mirror. I am having difficulty in dealing with the finality of it all.
I absolutely could not in the most selfish way ever lose anyone in my inner circle... And I did.
It now has me questioning every damn thing. I'm feeling lost right now knowing that I must travel east and place closure on things. The finality of things... I'm not sure how to deal right now, but I'm doing the best I can in this moment. Don't expect much from me though. Thinking about her family and what they're going through is harrowing enough.
You do have a way with words, bruh. You really do.
We miss you, Nikki...
You are forever in our hearts...
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Nikki spoke so often of Blu Jewel, and I too am a big fan... Her blog posts offer a degree of honesty and introspection, and I have learned much from her about just sitting down and being honest with myself about who I am, where I'm at, and where I want to be.
I love to see her signatures on the end of her blog posts or comments...
"Love to Live; Live to Love"
Blu is the one person who can snap on Cheap Seats Terry, and follow up with her classic signature. And life is all good, you know? I think that's what turned me on to her: her ability to verbally rip and do it from the heart...
"Blu... that's my homie right there! That's my girl!" Nikki said, during our last convo...
Yeah Blu... you were special to her indeed. You truly were. Thanks for letting me post this. It made me smile through the hurt.
Lyrically Speaking: My dedication to Anika "Nikki" Harris…R.I.P
Maxwell is probably my favourite artist and as I let him eargasmically soothe me today, the following came to me. Nikki, The Iniquitious One and her Indigo Trail of Thoughts leaves a void in the Blog Community. May we all learn something from her untimely passing.
She came into our lives with that Sumthin Sumthin that made us laugh, cry, and wish we were as creative and gifted as she. When made us all feel Welcome as we chilled at her Urban Hang Suite. The more we spent with you, and took the time to Get to Know Ya, we realized that Noone was firing up the keyboard quite like you. You soon became one of our BadHabits and you were that Gravity: Pushing to Pull as we waited Silently, Silently for your next post.
When you’d go off on someone or get fired up passionately about something, many would wonder if you’d be like that Til the Cops Come Knockin. And if you didn’t post, we’d know that Whenever, Wherever, Whatever, you’d come back to us and let the Phoenixrise.
I recall many a post and our private conversations where you spoke of Matrimony: Only you as you contemplated dating and ever being back in a loving and committed relationship. All you wanted to do was Drowndeep: Hula into his arms and where Lonely’s the Only Company would escape from your life and you reside in a place For Lover’s Only.
It was like This Woman’s Work was never done and you were always willing to HelpSomebody. I remember when that chick faked her own death in the Blog-sphere and you exposed her for the fraud she was and make a lot of people stop hurting.
Then one day, something Changed when you were hit with a Symptom Unknown. We all rallied around the Suitelady who had given so much of herself to us in so many ways. When you told us that the pain was not just a Temporary Nite of rounds with your condition and you couldn’t be with us Now/At the Party; you still managed to gather us in unity as I Am You: You Are Me & We Are You.
And on Sunday August 30th , we had to StopTheWorld and muddle through our FistfulofTears and share how much you Was/As My Girl. We all wish you are simply PlayingPossum.
So dear, sweet, and beautiful one; until the day our Reunion comes, spread your PrettyWings and know that we will always LoveYou and you’ll be a part of us EachHourEachSecondEachMinute of the day.
Love to live; live to love
gemstones delivered by Blu Jewel
Blu... This was very nice. I know Nikki is smiling now. She truly is.
Nikki... we all miss you so much.
You were loved. You truly were.
Dear Blu, I hope you feel better soon.
We all need time to heal, and we will...someday.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Keisha is very frank and honest with those messages. It does my heart good to pull up my email and receive something from her.
And it is always exactly something I needed to hear that day.
What a way to start off a Monday morning. Thanks for that, Keisha...
Continue doing what you do, girl.
Her Monday morning message was concerning Nikki. She has given me permission to post it here at the House of LadyLee.
A Note from Keisha...
Greetings from LYLAS 4 Life Ministries, "A modern day ministry, delivering the word of God through technology to unite, empower, and uplift sistahs in Christ." In addition to your weekly TextScriptz, I send you God's love, peace, and blessings.
I am saddened to hear about the passing of a sister that I was introduced to through blogging and later became friends with through Facebook. She was a great person who had the ability to draw people to her with her unique and humorous writing style. Although, many of us never met Nikki in person, we loved her dearly. A little while back Nikki became ill with a rare immune disease that attacked her lungs. I can recall her telling me that it was genetic and others in her family had been dealing with the same illness for years so who was she to be upset about having it too.
The one thing I can remember is how Nikki never complained and she kept her sense of humor even while she was in pain. In fact, it was pretty much a guaranteed laugh whenever she posted a status on her Facebook page. We often chatted online and I would joke with Nikki about a potential book where she could give accounts of her dating experiences which she often shared with her friends in such a hilarious way. We also shared some serious conversations where we talked about God, faith, and it being no mistake that we crossed paths. Several times Nikki said she thanked God for people like me that he had placed in her life to help her grow her faith. I will forever be thankful for having the opportunity to meet this sister virtually through divine order and having chances to speak into her life and pray for her.
My sadness for a sister I met through the airwaves has taught me so much in just a matter of hours. Love is universal and it transcends time and space. Whenever we are blessed to make connections with people that is God’s gift of love that is not to be taken for granted. In fact, he commands us to “…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35). I must admit, it was easy to love Nikki because she was lovable, but from this day forward I will challenge myself to love those who are not as lovable, those who do not put a smile on my face, as Nikki did. I am taking this challenge in honor of her but most importantly in obedience to God and as a commitment to be a disciple that others can see the love of God through. By the way, I love you!
Loving You Like a Sistah (Lylas),
Keisha “Kitten” Isaacs
Thanks for that Keisha... I really needed your Monday morning text that day.
It was a blessing all that read it.
I spent some time last night at Nikki's house with her family. They wanted me to thank you all, her blog family, for all the condolences that have been expressed here in our virtual community. They are comforted in this hard time by knowing that she had such a huge impact as a blogger, and thank you all for sharing in her life as you did.
I've been getting emails concerning the funeral. Memorial services will be held on Saturday.
*MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR NIKKI HARRIS*
Gregory B. Levett & Sons
4347 Flat Shoals Parkway
Decatur, Ga. 30034
*12:30pm - 2:00pm*