Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Well, my laptop is acting up. I got a couple of viruses on it, and well, it is just SLOW. So, I am trying to work that out. I don't care to blog from work, but sometimes, you do what you have to do. (Plus the boss is OUT today).
So, I guess I will ramble off the top of my head.
Ramble, ramble, ramble.
And I will try to keep it short.
My weekend. I had a great weekend (well great for me). I didn't do anything Saturday except lounge around the house and read and crochet. It was a VERY quiet Saturday, something that I really needed.
Sunday, I did my weekly shopping at the Farmer's Market. I also had a Financial Freedom Fighters meeting. That was interesting, as someone is always meeting a goal or what-not. It does me good to hear this, and I even got a few ideas. My budget for April is already made, and I plan to pay off one BIG balance credit card by the end of April. So, uh, an Oldgirl is ECSTATIC about that.
So, it was a quiet weekend... just like I like 'em.
"The 72 hour rule". Sunday night, I had a really bad headache. I have NO idea what that was about. I went to bed (should've taken some tylenol, man!), and when I woke up Monday morning, I felt a good bit better, but not quite.
So I called into work, said I would be in around 12 or so. Since I run on CP time, my boss knows that means 1 o'clock.
But when I got in, I had to deal with all these emails from a skittish co-worker concerning some equipment that I am responsible for. It wasn't working or something (who knows).
Some people don't understand email etiquette.
Pissed me off. Wasn't a good idea for me to go talk to the person who sent it ("Knock it off with the #$$*$% emails!!!"). I decided that I would work on my personal work first then go take care of that.
So this person reported me to my boss. And my boss called me.
That really pissed me off.
(I need to do what I sometimes do: be hard to find and just not answer the phone. Better yet, I need to just take the WHOLE day off).
I had finished my personal stuff by then (I was going to spend an hour on it), then I went and fix the problem (Of course it was simple... took all of 3 minutes).
I have a rule that I follow these days to stave off my anger:
Wait 72 hours before I say anything to anybody who has upset me.
I thought that was dumb. But let's say that I wouldn't dare call it dumb.
I got that particular rule 6 years ago... when praying about some other stuff that was pissing me off.
That was a good answered prayer. One that I will always remember.
I have this wild tendency to go off and talk a lot of crap. I am hotheaded, I will admit that. This has been solved in the majority of cases (I would say, 95%), by just waiting around before I say anything.
This gives me a chance to:
a. cool off.
b. think about the situation.
c. Just leave things alone. Lo and behold, the thing takes care of itself. It is as if that that is just the right amount of time for problems to be solved on there own.
All of that makes the "72 hour rule" NOT dumb. Not in the least.
So, I haven't said anything to this coworker. I kept getting accosted about simple mess, though.
I did send some return emails, as I was still being harrassed.
"I am working on my worksheets. When I finish doing what I am doing, I will get to it. "
I had the urge to put that in ALL caps, in BRIGHT red, in size 32 font, with a whole bunch of exclamation marks.
But I didn't. For that I am proud.
An Oldgirl is growing up.
And squashing the anger.
So, I feel better today. Much better. I think I was a little dehydrated this weekend. I am use to drinking a gallon of water a day, and I have slipped on that lately, I suppose.
I was standing on the dock yesterday telling my favorite custodian this. Her solution was simple:
"Why don't you get a buzzer and place it around your neck and set it to go off when it is time to drink some water, LadyLee."
I stared at her hard. "Yeah right."
LOL. Ain't no way I would do that. I just need to drank some water!!
So that's enough of my mindless rambles...
Hope your week is going well!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
LadyTee and I had just seen a FANTASTIC movie for her birthday. We left the darkness of the movie theater and yipped and yapped about scenes of the movie we liked, then she said what she wanted to do next.
"Let's go get our manicure and pedicure."
*LadyLee grumbling hard*
Now, look. I'm a tomboy, but I like a little girly stuff sometimes. I love makeup, stockings, nice clothes, all these things. I'm more partial to comfort these days, though - jeans, sweats, tshirts, sneakers.
I also like a nice pedicure from time to time...
But I never get my nails done.
Why? Because I don't like this type of craziness:
You have my permission to kick my butt if you ever see me with ghettofabulous nails. Really.
Yeah, that is jacked up. But that ain't the real reason I don't get my nails done.
I work with a lot of acetone (nail polish remover), which we use for experiments, and I sometime get the stuff on my hands. So, uh, no manicures. Waste of money.
But LadyTee wanted to do this.
Now, I had gone awhile without a manicure because I got a toenail infection over a year ago. (I was HOT behind that). Then Kentucky told me that our Mama got an infection at the same place. I wanted to bust Kentucky in her eye. She got this thing for telling me stuff AFTER the fact, instead of warning me beforehand.
My last manicure was right before the cruise. I tend to get a manicure if I plan on wearing sandals or showing my feet. So Kentucky sent me to her favorite place, some place in the HOOD. There were burglar bars on the windows and the Asians talked REAL loud. They were hollering so much of their language that by the time I walked out of the place, I could've sworn I understood what they were talking about.
Kentucky got the hard verbal beatdown from me about that!
So, I was a bit whiny about LadyTee's birthday request.
Of course she paid me no mind. I have been whining since I was 10, and she has been around that long. She knows to ignore me.
"Turn right here Lee, it's over there next to the TJMaxx," says LadyTee.
(In other words "Whatever broad, park this doggone car and come on.")
I'd decided that I would just sit with her while she got her nails and feet done. I made sure to bring a current crochet project to past the time.
I was content with my plan...
I started whining all over again when I saw the door to the place standing wide open.
"Tam, look! They got the door open. It's probably hot as hell up in there! UGGGH!!"
She ignored me, and kept walking towards the place.
I continued to hem and haw.
That is, until I saw this:
Chandaliers in the Nail house!!
I was like "Wooooooowwwwww!"
Apparently LadyTee had checked the place out beforehand. She'd called earlier and had made an appointment and obtained a birthday discount. LOL!!
This place was SOOOOO nice. There were chandaliers, marble floors, butter soft microsuede massage chairs...
Even the water baths had color strobe lights.
That's what's HOT!!
It was nice. Asians not talking all loud and tripping. Just really nice.
And every female in Fayette county was up in there. They were real busy that Sunday afternoon.
LadyTee and I picked out our nail polish. She chose some hot pink craziness. I chose my usual dark red/maroon.
This is the chick who did my pedicure.
LadyTee was all smiles.
You couldn't tell her nothing. She was getting the fly nail soaks.
She was so happy that she wasn't even snapping on me when I was joning out her ring. ("Look at you girl, with that "Oh Mighty Isis" ring on. LOL)
I'm never as bold as LadyTee. She was down for that hot pink!! EWW
Now, I was a bit perturbed earlier about hanging out all day. I wanted to catch a little basketball. They had flat screen televisions on the wall of this place. We watched Enemy of the State. That was cool. But I would've LOVED to catch some basketball...
Only caught the last lil' bit of the game, but WHATEVER.
Sitting in the nail shop, watching some b-ball. PRICELESS.
(That guy was one of the nail technicians. Thank goodness for a man who can do some nails AND enjoy a good game of basketball!)
I tell you, there is NOTHING in the world like sitting back and yacking with my BFF. We yack the same way we yack now as we did in our preteen days. Nothing in the world like that!
We were there for 2 hours. I only got a pedicure, but LadyTee got a manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow arching.
We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Parillas, afterwards for dinner.
We drank virgin peach daquiris and ate until our hearts content.
We had some serious "itis". For real.
Another birthday. LadyTee's 41st. And a successfuly celebrated one at that.
Now my birthday, my 39th, was the first birthday in a VERY long time that I didn't spend with her. I was on my cruise then. (And she was so HAPPY about that, it might as well have been her on the cruise, lol).
So this was all about us celebrating our birthdays together, really.
And a fine time it was!
So LadyTee, I am soooooo glad you are my best friend. For the last 29 years, you have been there for me and supported me through thick and thin. You've been my greatest fan, my biggest cheerleader, and you have never hesitated to chin-check me when you thought I was going in a bad direction or dealing with the wrong people. You've been my greatest advisor next to God in all things, and you have never steered me wrong. Ever.
I know God really thinks about me because He has allowed you to be in my life.
(She always says that to me. I truly understand that these days).
So here's to you...
And here's to many more happy birthdays...
And even a pedicure... or two.
I love you, Tam... I really do.
Your BFF, best friend for life, LadyLee.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
My best friend and I look forward to our birthdays. For years, we have taken each other's birthday off and spent the day together.
(Uh, that is the first and last time I put a pic of myself up on this blog, so you better catch it while you can! Pick yourself up off the floor, Serenity-30!!)
I'm not sure how this started up. It was all so automatic when we were teenagers, but I lived in New Orleans for a couple of years, and I suppose it started when I got back, in my very early 30s.
The day usually consists of a movie, lunch or dinner, and some shopping. (Yes, I frown up at this, but she's a girly-girl and loves to shop. I, a tomboy, hate shopping!).
I called her early Sunday morning to see if she was awake. I was hoping she wanted to put this off, as I wanted to watch some college basketball. But she was,and she sounded bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to "get in the streets".
The chick was very excited.
No basketball for this Oldgirl.
So we decided to head to the movies first.
We saw Taken.
I am buying that one the day it comes out on DVD.
All I gotta say is this: if you want to know what happened to Nat.alie Holl.away, go see the movie.
I ain't being crass, I'm just being real.
Whoever saw the movie... Ya'll know what's up.
We were two of only 5 people in the movie.
So you know how "us" do.
Heck yeah, we were talking hard to the screen. We sat there, munched on a shared bag of popcorn, and talked all throughout the movie.
"Hit that sucka!"
"Look at her, she think she getting over."
"He's a buster!!"
"That's what he get!"
And so on and so on.
A movie is good when we talk a lot.
I liked that movie, as it had a heck of a lot of shooting and fighting in it. Most of my stories have some mess like that jumping off, so this was right up my alley...
It all reminded me of when we would go to the movies during our preteen and teenage years. Back then, we would stuff our coats and purses with hot dogs, burgers and candy from the mall, and eat in the movies. We were particulary fond of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but these days, our tastes are a bit more "refined", lol.
So after the movies, we headed off to do some ol' girly mess. I was whining and grumbling the whole way there, but once we got there...
I had a really good time.
To be continued.
Monday, March 23, 2009
How is everyone faring?
I feel fine. Still under the weather, just a tad though.
The current temperature here in the ATL is, uh...
I don't know. All I know is it is NICE outside. A bit cool, just enough for a light jacket or sweater. But it is suppose to reach the 70's today. GLORY!!!
My weekend. I'ma try to make this a short post. (Shut up and stop smirking!)
I had a great weekend. The Iniquitous One, Nikki, stopped by The House of LadyLee on Saturday night.
Yeah, she still alive, ya'll... just not blogging right now. I cooked dinner and we hung out.
I will write about that this week sometime.
My BFF's birthday is today, but we celebrated yesterday...
Happy Birthday LadyTee!!!!!
She turned 41, but she said she don't feel a day over 20. Go head on, girl!!
And LadyTee looks to be about 20, so she is holding her age VERY well.
I will write about that later this week also.
So hanging out with the two of them, my BFF since age 10, and my buddy as of late, Nikki, made for a GREAT weekend.
Quote of the month: This one is from a blog that I absolutely LOVE, According to Aretha .
I like her blog because she is very positive about how she approaches her issues. Not knowing what to do in a situation doesn't get her all discombobulated. She becomes more intuitive and analytical concerning it, instead of falling apart. And there is always a spiritual thread looped through it in somehow, in some way.
And you know, this Oldgirl likes that!
She is fasting and praying during her lent season. I think she even stopped watching television during this time. I am terribly excited about this. I was hoping that she would post or at least write out in her personal journals some of her personal revelations, because there will be many without all the distractions. (Well, I was REALLY hoping she posted them... I am REALLY looking forward to what was going on in her spirit).
And this quote was simply remarkable (from Lent Lesson #3)
"The fact is that sometimes we actually are only visitors to a situation, a place, or a person…it’s called a season of your life. I appreciate God’s glory and mercy even when I don’t completely understand what’s going on. So, with that, I appreciate being in this space at this time in my life and I won’t allow my complaining to block the blessings that are here for me to receive or those blessings that are supposed to be provided to others through me."
I don't know, Mayne... I felt my heart beat a little faster when I read that one.
I've been meditating on that every since I read that. That was some good stuff right there.
We are living in a time where we just need to stop trying to figure out everything in our minds and simply be thankful and appreciate where we are right now in life.
You and I are where we are for a reason.
And it is for a season.
You know, I figured out the reason that I get all bent out of shape about stuff was because I feel the situations are permanent.
Nothing's ever permanent. Everything is temporary. Everything.
Just like a frickin' hairdo. A hairdo don't last forever.
Don't believe the hype.
All situations are subject to change.
And I give myself only a limited amount of time to complain about a situation.
I mean, I am only human.
I yell... and much more.
But, I make SURE I follow that up with twice as much thanksgiving. God has given me much. Not only that, but He has always kept me out of messes I don't even know about.
I am thankful for that.
And I don't want Him to ever say "You ungrateful thing, you. Nothing is ever good enough for you."
And I sure don't want my blessings blocked due to lack of gratitude. EVER.
And let's not EVEN get over into the notion of blocking blessings that are to be provided to others through me. Let's not even talk about how my complaining could be messing things up for someone else.
THE HORROR!! That even makes the *crickets* pause and think. GOODNESS GRACIOUS ALIVE!!
Thanks for making me think, Aretha.
I really love your blog...
That's it for me. This was short (for me, that is).
Hope you enjoyed your weekend.
And have a good week... ON PURPOSE.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Now, the funeral was going as funerals go.
My father's family is a terribly quiet bunch of folk (I learned this from my Auntie Joyce), so there wasn't a bunch of hollering and crying and folks trying to jump over in the casket.
I was thrown off a little by the reading of the New Testament Scripture. The preacher was messing up some word. Maybe he was just nervous.
When the Usher that helped me earlier got up and sung the solo of the choir selection... well, I'd never seen such a thang before. That is dedication right there, when you can be the Usher AND grab the mike and belt out a song...
That's what I call being a real servant right there. You know, being straight up All-purpose like White lily flour.
This was all interesting, but my mind was in a whole nother place. I was still thinking about my little trusty notebook. I was thinking of stuff I needed to write down and do when we got out of there. I was cold as all get out, as someone forgot to turn on the heat in the church. I don't own a coat, but I had my trusty windbreaker, and I zipped it up.
But I sat up straight and paid attention when it came to the REMARKS.
Oh, they started off nice enough. The church was pretty small, and people could speak and be heard without a microphone or anything. "He was a good man, made me laugh," a couple of people said.
My cousins got up. Good grief, we all sho do look alike. It is something else to see the folks who have the same DNA as me and not to know them.
But, the dearly departed Mr. Willie's ex-wife got up and grabbed the big yellow microphone.
"Hi, I'm Judy, and I'm his ex-wife. I met him on a bus trip to the casino! He looked at me and said 'You gonna be my wife. I'ma marry you one day, girl! You gonna be my wife!"
I stared at her. I remember him having a wife, but that didn't look like the one I remember. But I was 8 years old or something at the time of meeting the wife. Shoot, coulda been her for all I know.
But then, she said "He loved to hear me sang. So I'ma sang a song. Cuz he just luv to hear me sang!!"
She stood up there and sang that doggone song from the end of The Imitation of Life.
You know the one, "Trouble of the World".
That chick belted that song out. Wasn't expecting that at ALL. That woke me up.
She finished that one verse, put the mike back on the stand, then sat down.
Everyone clapped, especially the old folk. They loved that! Heard a bunch of "Amens!" and "Glorys" after that.
Then another woman got up.
"My name is Lacey, and I'm his ex-wife. I was the first one and I loved him. I gave him 4 sons!"
*Ladylee frowning and looking around.*
She said some more stuff. I do hope she got up there to say all that sincerely.
Look to me like she was trying to show up the first chick.
Maybe not. I hope not.
THEN somebody else got up. This chick totally confused me. She said, "He was married to my Mama and I was the only girl. Thank you for giving him to me in my life. He was a good father." Then she went and sat down to an older woman.
That looked to me like somebody made their daughter grab the microphone. Hmmm.
So... there were three ex-wives? Wow. And they all came to the funeral.
Then the usher/sanger got up and said a few words.
"I'm a member of the Bi.loxi crew. All the bil.oxi people stand up!"
A whole crowd of folk on the left side of the church stood up.
I suppose this was his bus-riding-to-the -casino crew.
She pointed to the other side of the church, away from the crowd. "You stand up too, Erma! You part of the crew too."
A woman who was sitting on the right side of the church, with the mothers/elderly, stood up.
LOL!! She got called out, trying to sit with the holy folk. LOL!!!
This was a bit too funny to me. And funny to everyone because folks were laughing a bit too HARD.
His son got up... He couldn't speak, but stood there weeping for a few minutes.
Finally he spoke. "Yeah, I love the ol' man, and we use to get into some stuff, stuff I ain't gonna mention up in church. This is all nice, the way ya'll got him all laid out up in here, real nice. My father's side of the family did good."
My imagination went wild. Hmmm... what was going down with them? He, this first cousin of mine, looked to be my age, with the same very light eyes as his father. He said a few other things that almost made me think maybe he was estranged from his father like I was. Who knows?
Then, someone from that Biloxi crew stood up. Skinny fellow, dressed real neat. You could tell he was a drinker, and had probably spent a good bit of time cleaning himself up for the funeral.
He grabbed the mike.
"Us, we had some good times, yes we did. Me, Willie, and Milton used to go down to the bootleg house and have a GOOD time!"
Milton, my father, yelled "Come on, Mayne!!"
The guy smiled. "I'm just telling the truth. Gotta tell the truth up in church!!!"
I just shook my head.
My goodness. The bootleg house.
Every neighborhood has a "bootleg house".
You don't know what that is?
It is the house in the neighborhood where you can go buy your liquor on Sundays. Prices a little higher than the liquor store, but whatever.
When you need a drank, you need a drank, I suppose.
(The one in my hood is DIRECTLY behind my house. I will post a pic of it in a later post.)
There were a couple of women that got up and spoke of how Uncle Willie got in car wrecks. (My Auntie Joyce told me that my father wrecked a lot of cars. Auntie, we must discuss this again, as it seems like his brother was the same way. What is up with that?)
One woman, one of his former co-workers, said that Uncle Willie had crashed his car into a Shell station sign. He passed out. When he woke up, he saw the Shell sign, but the "S" had fallen off.
So when he saw the "hell" of the Shell sign, well, he thought he had woke up in hell.
Now that was FUNNY. We all laughed hard at that one.
(I gotta use that in a story somewhere. Really, because that is classic.)
Then, another woman got up.
(I thought they were suppose to have a limit on remarks?)
She adjusted the church hat on her head. "The Lawd told me to tell ya'll something."
I sat up a little straighter, wondering where the heck this was going.
"The lady that got up and sang the song, Willie's ex-wife, is my sister. Me and Willie was friends."
I sunk a little lower in my place in the pew. I was thinking to myself, please don't let this woman confess to fooling around with this man.
"The day after Willie married my sister, he called me and said 'Ethel, I done married this woman, and now I need to get a divorce. Help me get a divorce. So I put him in touch with all the lawyers, and he divorced my sister."
What the world?
She nodded and smiled. "The Lawd told me to tell you all that."
That was unnecessary to say the least. I do believe I would whoop my sister Kentucky's a** if she stood up ANYWHERE in public and put my bizness out like that.
I do believe a good 15-20 people got up and spoke. I lost count. I wanted to snap my finger and tell the preacher to get some control over all of this. Some people had nice things to say, but doggonit, there was some underlying craziness in some of the comments.
The minister finally got up to give the Eulogy.
He said, "I do believe I need to rename this Eulogy 'Will the real Mrs. Parke.r please stand up'"?
Everybody laughed. And he repeated this a good 5 times throughout his eulogy.
I don't know who the real "Mrs." was, but I counted 3 ex-wives up in there.
Uh, Uncle Willie made his rounds.
That eulogy was 30 minutes long. It was on salvation, which was interesting. I have the attention span of a flea, so I do believe I drifted a few times. He did talk about dranking and whore mongering for a minute there, which was really wild.
But once it was over, they loaded the casket into hearse, and everyone got in the limos or milled around outside the church.
I have a confession to make.
Back in 1989, both of my father's parents died, within 7 months of each other. I was 19 at the time, and me and my mother went to the funerals. I didn't want to go. I didn't know these people. But my mother convinced me to go. We went, and sat in the back of the church.
Well, at that last funeral, my grandfather's funeral, my mother and I went over to the limo to speak to my father.
He yelled at me.
"Why you didn't come by the house?!!"
I was taken aback by this.
I didn't know this man. And hell, he hadn't been to not one graduation, not one birthday party, NOTHING. Didn't even pay the measly $25 dollar a week child support.
And he had the NERVE to yell at me?
Pissed me off something terrible. Plus, I had taken off from work that day to go to the funeral. I was making $9.24 per hour at my first chemist job, a co-op at Amoco Fab.rics and Fi.bers. Being at that funeral was messing with my money.
I decided that day that I wouldn't fool with him. He didn't have the right to fuss at me. He didn't give enough of a dayum about me to be in my life.
I was only 19 at the time.
Now I am 39.
I was afraid to go up to the limo and speak to him.
Old as I am... afraid.
When I went to visit with him back in January, he spoke of the last time he saw me. I've thought for a long time that it was at that funeral, when I was 22, but he said that it was in 1989, when I was 19. So he did remember the right year, even though I didn't.
It ran cross my mind then (although I would NEVER utter it out loud)...
Did he remember yelling at me? This man who ain't done sh** for me all these years, did he remember snapping on me?
I would never ask such. There is no anger there over that. More hurt than anything, but no anger. I've grown up a little since then.
I think, over these past 20 years, that he was just upset. His mother had died earlier that year, followed closely by the death of his father. He lived with them, and that had to be difficult for them both to go like that.
That's enough to make anybody lash out. But in my 19-year-old mind, I took that VERY personally. Very.
So, hence, back to the present time. After his brother Willie's funeral, I stood outside in the light drizzle looking for my father, just to offer my condolences for the loss of his brother.
I didn't see him around.
I realized that he had already gotten into the limo.
My heart started racing, thinking back to when he yelled at me all those years ago.
I started towards my car, but I stopped.
I walked over to the limo, and asked the guy sitting there, if Milton was in the car.
"Yeah," he said. He pointed. "He right there."
I stuck my head in the car, my heart racing like hell. I looked around and saw that he was squeezed in on the side, directly in front of me.
I reached out my hand. He grabbed it.
"I'm sorry for the loss of your brother, Miltion," I said.
He looked down at my hand, then back up at me. He looked shocked. Then he smiled real broad, showing all 4 or 5 of his teeth.
I shook his hand, and went to draw back, but he grabbed it tighter, not letting it go.
"Thank you so much for coming, 'Lesia." He smiled real hard.
I just nodded.
Tears formed in my eyes.
I realized that I had never touched my father's hand before. I suppose I did when I was real little, but I couldn't remember what his hand felt like. I never even thought much about it, to tell the truth.
But it was something else just to hold his hand, if only for a moment.
And I had a hard time getting my hand back. Almost had to yank it. And he was half way out the car door with me before he let go of my hand.
I told him that I wasn't going to the cemetary. I was going back to work.
I don't know if he heard a word I said. He was still grinning from ear to ear.
He waved good-bye. I walked to my car.
I didn't go back to work. It was much too late in the day. I decided to run a few errands instead.
I could've went to the cemetary and back to whatever gathering they were having at the house, but I don't think I am strong enough for that yet. He mentioned back in January that he wanted me to meet my cousins and stuff, but I much rather do that on a more festive note, like a holiday or something.
Not on a most... humble occasion.
This has been a year where a lot of stuff that has REALLY bothered me has been taken care of, solved even. That chastisement from him some 20 years ago has been an underlying thread of hurt and anger in my heart against him. Not enough to be hell bent mad at him, but it is something that has been locked in my heart and memory for so long.
I am happy to say that that is no longer the case.
His toothless smile, the hard grip of his bony hand, and the the twinkle in his eyes uprooted that on that day in the sparest of moments.
I knew for sure that day that the man didn't detest me.
I think that was something I needed to know.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I was sitting at my desk last week bickering away with my coworker Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia about some paperwork when my cell phone rang...
"May I speak to Lesia?"
"This is she."
It was my father. (I posted about meeting him back in January: see Face to Face with my Father).
"Wanted to tell you that your Uncle Willie died."
"Whoa. Sorry to hear that."
"I 'on know."
"Well, when's the funeral?"
He put the phone down and yelled to someone else in the room, his sister, I think.
She yelled back something.
"It's Monday, at 1:00."
"Okay," I said.
"Bye," I said.
That was a quick conversation.
Interesting. I think he wanted me to come over that evening. I don't know. I thought about that some two days later after the fact.
I ain't a mind reader. And I ain't family oriented.
Better say what you mean, and mean what you say.
But I thought about all this. I could at least go to the funeral. (Yeah, I am just that slow.)
I wasn't going to go because I have a lot of crap going on at work.
But morale on the job is in the toilet (mine ain't that much further behind), and I promised myself if I have something to do, I'd ditch the job, no matter what's going on. (Mind you, this "something to do" includes picking fuzz balls out of the carpet).
Plus, it would have been selfish for me not to go pay my respects...
Especially since Milton picked up the phone to call me.
I haven't heard from him since I met him last January. I haven't called. It just hasn't been that type of thing, you know?
I wasn't going to go to the funeral, though. I was going to drop a plant off at the funeral home and sign the book. On Sunday afternoon, I hit up 2 Kroger stores in the rain, and finally found a peace lily. I took it down to the funeral home and signed the book.
He lay out in the casket in a light blue suit.
I was a bit, uh taken aback by the white furry Kang.ol cap in his hands.
Wasn't expecting to see that AT ALL.
(You could tell he was probably around the house with his hat on yelling "Ya'll better bury me in this here hat! This my favorite hat!").
I had a moment of silence. I didn't know the man, I just remember him from when I was five years old, how he was jet black with VERY light green-brown eyes. Even at that age it struck me as odd, a dark skin man with light light eyes.
He walked into the room and said hello that night I visited my father back in January. And disappeared just as quick.
But, after MUCH intervention from my best friend LadyTee, I decided to go to the funeral.
"Girl, go up in there and show your face, make sure yo Pa see you, and keep it moving!"
(LadyTee is big on going to funerals and various other functions and "showing her face").
I reluctantly went to work Monday morning, because I had some work to turn in.
It was a yucky rainy day, I was PMSing, and was even short with a few people (my bad to those I was snippy with).
But I made my way over to the funeral. It was only a couple of blocks from Milton's house, and the family was asked to meet at the residence at noon.
I decided not to get caught up in that. I just went straight for the church.
Anyway, I found my way in. There were only a few people there. The usher headed my way.
"Ma'am," I said. "Where can I sit?"
"Are you family?" she asked.
By that time, another usher had showed up. They were both staring mighty hard at me.
"Are you family?" the Usher asked again.
"Uh, uh, uh..." I stuttered. "I guess you could say that."
"Yes, you are family, then. You can sit over there." She pointed towards the middle section.
"Can I sit in the back?" I asked.
Both ushers peered at me curiously.
I decided to just let it go because I was confusing them terribly. I set near a small group of people in the back.
And you know how black folk are.
One older lady squinted at me. "Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Milton's daughter," I said. There was no need to give my name. They don't know my name.
"Ooooh," she chimed. She flashed a denture smile. "Milton's daughter!"
Well, your grandmother and my mother were sisters."
Wow. I hope she didn't see the crazy expression flash across my face. She was at least a good 75 years old.
When I think of a "cousin", I think of someone around my age.
"We are cousins," she said. "I am your cousin."
"I guess so," was all I could think to say. She continued smiling hard at me.
Now, the funeral wasn't until 1:00 pm, but I got to the church around 12:15 or so. It was pretty quiet, with people coming in and mulling around. So, I kind of just sat to myself and waited.
I scavenged around in my purse for my trusty little "to do" notebook. I sat there in the pew and made up my 1 month, 3 month, and 6 month financial goals. Even worked on my budget a little bit.
Then my father walked past me.
I wanted to call out to him, and say hello, but for some reason, I wasn't sure that was him. He looked a little different in all that light. He went up and looked at his brother in the casket, then sat down on the front row. Someone came and got him to line up and march in with the family.
I figured I would talk to him afterwards.
Anyway, the funeral went as funerals go...
(Old Testament, New Testament)
Obituary (read silently to yourself, even though you've read it a good 5 times already)
I was leaning HARD against the side of the pew, pondering hard about EVERYTHING, even thinking of a way to pull out my little notebook for more mindless scribblings...
Until the Remarks...
And notice that I put that in RED.
The remarks woke an Oldgirl up...
To be continued.
Friday, March 13, 2009
**Happy Birthday Chayse**
Chayse turned 5 last Saturday.
(Man, I can't even remember turning 5 years old. I am getting old)
She is a great kid, and a most excellent mother to her son Kramer William!!
Uh, yeah... Kramer is still on some weird extended "permanent vacation" at my house. She comes over to visit her child periodically. (I'ma call DFACS on her lil' behind).
I sent her a birthday card in the mail.
She is a Dora the Explorer FANATIC. I bought the sticker set some 4 months ago, and I had to tare up my bedroom looking for them. There was NO way I was going to keep the stickers around (Besides, that wide-eyed monkey creature creeps me out a bit. He looks high or something.)
I also bought her 4 books. I don't have any wrapping paper, so I used scrapbooking paper. It seems to have worked just fine.
I even put her name on them.
I had to buy her some books that had BIG words and paragraphs and stuff. We've read together a few times, and she likes that type of stuff ("Don't help me with the words, Miss LadyLee, I can sound them out myself!!!"). So, uh, with her high reading level, I had to get some stuff for an 8 year old - Snow White, A princess book, a fairy book, and a Little Red Riding hood book.
I showed the books to her Daddy, our workgroup Super Hero Hen-Dog, and asked if I had to read them to see if there was anything inappropriate in them. He said "No, if there is, she will tell us."
He said she started reading her books right then at her birthday party.
Now that's a chick with a future. Put the toys down and read books!
So Chayse, Happy Birthday Chile. You alright with me.
I hope, no, I KNOW, that year #5 will bring great things!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
You sho nuff alright with me, chile.
She loves videotaping her family.
I REALLY love her Auntie Erma and Uncle Charles.
You got a talented family, Southern Black Gal. You really do.
Me and my sister were watching this video...
Kentucky is hilarious:
"Look at all those rings on her fingers."
"She looking sad because she is embarrassed."
"She bought that shirt at Sears."
"That is not a perm in her hair. She pulled a straigthening comb through that."
Anyway, that is a good song. Managemnent has had to hear me sanging
"No more Samples!! No more MANAGEMENT! I'll be long gone!!!"
Enjoy the rest of your day, ya'll!!
Monday, March 09, 2009
Wasn't quite sure what he meant at first. He has an inside "know" on some things I have done for people, I suppose.
But people who know me know that I am HIGHLY intangible.
In other words, I do a lot of listening and talking to folks.
He wanted to know if I had people to turn to if I was hurting, depressed, or in a bad way.
This is rare for me. Usually means I am having a PMS hormonal trip or something.
(Oh. THAT is why I was all weepy and emotional that day and didn't know why. Geez. lol)
But seriously, yes I do have peeps around that I go to when things are weird for me.
I have a handful of people around who have known me for years who know very well how to handle my emotions.
This is rare. As I rarely tell anyone if anything is bothering me.
I pray a lot.
I sure do write a lot about it. I will sit down and write upwards of 20 pages about something until the answer shows up.
99% of the time, the thing gets solved, between me and God (this is the way I like it, you see)...
I am terrible about keeping stuff inside. I don't know the difference between whining and earnestly needing some help. The line between the two is fuzzy as a cloud.
But when I need a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen, or I need to be verbally pimp slapped or chin-checked...
Then I go to one of my people and talk about it.
Let me tell you something. I have a couple of friends who, the very sound and tone of their voice chases away whatever is bothering me. We don't have to discuss what is bothering me. Just their voice chases off bad demons or something. I have NO idea what is up with that. Weird, I know.
But if you have never experienced such, then I hope you do.
I rarely talk to them. But they hover around and are there if I need them. One called the other day, out of the blue. I went to work VERY very calm that morning.
Then there are those people who I run to when I need a shoulder to cry on, need a sounding board, or if I need to be verbally chin-checked or pimp slapped back to reality...
One such person is my friend Gigi...
Not only does she know how to handle my emotions well, without judgement (that is VERY important)... but I find that she is someone I pattern myself after...
And I am all the better for it.
(And I like this picture of her and her oldest child. Makes me want to dress in white and hold Oscar-Tyrone up in the air...)
I met Gigi back in 1998, when I moved to New Orleans. She was my group secretary. Every research group has a secretary. They keep our itineraries straight, make sure we have everything we need, etc...
I was a young buck back then, 28 years old, fresh out of school, still smiling like Miss Celie because I had a "Dr." title attached to the front of my name.
So she was always very professional with me.
"Good morning, Dr. LadyLee? How are you doing?"
"Is your office alright, Dr. LadyLee?"
"You need anything, Dr. LadyLee?"
*LadyLee smiling hard*
I do believe I use to run up on her just to hear her say my name.
(Geez-zuss, I was so green back then).
Anyway, over time, we became friends. Things became much less formal. Don't know how, don't know when.
But there was a time when I recognized that this chick is down for me and she got my back ALWAYS.
Thinking back, I can remember when, and i have blogged about this before.
To be brief about it, my Great-grandmother had died, and I needed to fly home for the funeral. It didn't mess me up money wise, but when you have to get things together suddenly, it can become a chore. But I had my plane ticket, all my stuff together, etc... And I'd stopped by her office to let her know that I wouldn't be in and to just check in with her.
She told me she'd just paid her credit cards off recently, and if I need to use her cards to go get clothes, a plane ticket, whatever... go do what I had to do, and she got it.
*Ladylee wondering if she is on candid camera*
My answer was a muttered "No, I got everything together, Gigi."
We made small talk, and I went home to my great-grandmother's funeral.
But that short convo stayed on my mind for awhile, while I was back home in the ATL for the funeral. Even when I came back.
All of this was going on when I was really searching for something that I wanted to develop in my life:
And I must say, Gigi has always embodied and been very deeply developed in such.
Let's just say, I paid attention more to her actions after that... and noticed she was like that with many people.
I asked her why she offered to do such for me. She said she knew I was cool and wouldn't take advantage and she knew me well. And she doesn't worry about anyone taking advantage of her, anyway.
I was like, dang. I want to be like that.
And I must say that I am (moreso than way back then). Some of you out there may know this of me.
(If so, keep it to yourself. LOL)
I remember that day, after that and some other stuff, I looked for ways to develop this "caring" for people.
I did something simple enough. I would bake a loaf of fresh hot raisin nut bread for the janitors who gathered down in the basement of our building, every Monday morning, so they would have a treat with their morning coffee. It only cost me a dollar or two, but this was my way of doing something.
And I noticed that she was generous to no fault. And never lacking for anything.
So, I credit her with what I have developed into now. I still have things to work on, but people who know me know (if you ain't shady as hell), that I got your back with a vengeance.
That is what I have needed my ownself, and I am drawn to such people.
Gigi is the most EXCEPTIONAL listener I know. She is well developed in that. She is never judgemental. I can tell her things and she will ask a lot of questions. Hell, you may talk up your own solutions without even her offering up some advice concerning it.
I think back then, I appreciated her listening to me about things. I was angry, confused, trying to find my footing and my direction. She handled my rage about stuff pretty well. A well placed "I understand, girl!" was sometimes all I needed to hear for me not to flip out...
So, needless to say, I appreciate her. I look at myself now, some 11 years later, and I have many of the attributes that I first saw in her.
Now, she does have a mean streak She is Columbian. Cartel run all through her blood. I've seen her mad and snapping a time or two.
*Lee eyes widen as she runs for the hills*
But that is what makes her who she is... wonderfully real.
So you can see why I call her Una de las más maravillosas de personas en todo el mundo... Mi buen amigo.
"The most wonderful person in the world. My good friend."
I hold her up on such a high pedestal that, a couple of characters in my manuscripts are based on her.(And we have bickered back and forth about many spanish translations she does for me. That's why I threw a little spanish around in this post. LOL!).
But, I was glad to see ol' Gigi when I was in Nawlins. Very glad.
Now, we were suppose to hang before I left for my cruise, as I arrived in New Orleans, some 7 hours before my ship was to sail...
She kept saying, "Go put your bags on the boat, baby! I'll come get you!"
Man, it took us 3 hours to get on that dayum boat, and once I got on the boat... the Oldgirl was not getting off! (I don't even think we could).
But we hooked up the day after my cruise was over.
I went up to the old job. It was like an old Celie-Nettie reunion. LOL!!!
We were happy to see each other. Very happy.
I hung out with her. She walked me around the halls of the job. We hooked up later for dinner.
Now we talk off and on over the years, over the phone and email. And it got a little sparse when she was displaced by the storm...
But let me tell you, it was good to sit with my friend and talk and catch up on life for a good 2 or 3 hours over big plates of seafood. I think I came away from our conversation with a personal "To-do" list for some things I am working on. (She don't know that, though, lol).
I also got a chance to hang out at her house with her children.
I didn't get to see her husband, though. I was indeed looking forward to this.
Her husband makes Denzel look like Quasimodo.
Serious. I'm very serious. It is possible.
I first saw him at her father's funeral. You know, you can't say nothing right then. But I asked her later:
"Is he real??"
I wanted to hold a mirror up to his face to see if he cast a reflection. He had to be a vampire or something.
No man is THAT fine.
The man is the finest man to walk the planet. I think he is black and french or creole or something. He has a french last name. Maybe he is cajun. Who knows.(Maybe I will get up the nerve to ask her one day).
But if she was ever on the phone when I walked into her office, or even if she was walking down the hall on her cell phone... she had to deal with me getting real close and whispering:
"Who you talking to, Gigi? Is that "Paul"?
She would hesitate, but nod yes (very reluctantly):
I would jump up and down and yell VERY loud for all the planet to hear:
"You tell Paul I said hello, with his FINE ass!!!!!"
I would dance all around in a circle, do a holy dance and express to her how fine her man was for at least 5 minutes. I think I fell to my knees and bowed one time.
She would kick the HARD eyeroll. This truly annoyed her, I believe.
I didn't get to see him. I wanted to snap a picture to see if he showed up on film, as he has to be a vampire. (I met his grandma long ago. The chick was 85 years old, and she looked to be 40 -- they are vampires, I am sure of it).
So, I hung out at her new house, the one they bought after returning to New Orleans after the storm.
"Paul" called. He was at work. I told her to tell him I said hello, with his fine SELF. (couldn't cuss with her daughters in the room.)
I played with her skittish puppy. I tried to take a picture of the dog, but you know how puppies get all excited, moving too fast... they like to pee on you when they get like that... I couldn't have that.
Gigi had her all hyped up, telling her... "The lady that gave me a baby shower is coming over". So, needless to say, lil' Gabby was waaaaay excited to see me. We were cheesing real hard at each other.
Her oldest child, Tati, is in college now, and taller than me. Last time I saw her, she was in elementary school.
I know they were talking about me hard when I left (Mommie's friend is VERY odd, lol). No matter how old they get, I will always refer to them as "the babies". I couldn't get past how much they had grown since way back then.
Reminds me of how fast time passes...
How fast time flies...
And how much things change.
Me and my friend poured some designer vodka, and toasted our friendship that night.
I am glad that even though time passes, our friendship doesn't change. We can always sit down and pick up right where we left off. You have taught me what it means to be compassionate, what it means to truly listen and not to judge, and a whole list of other things that it would take much too long to list here.
But you know what they are. And that is all that matters.
Every single time we talk, I learn a little something, and I always feel better about me and who I am and where I am going.
That's all I can ask.
I am forever grateful for that. I am grateful for the seeds you sowed into me so long ago.
I truly am.
So, I must say, the best part of my vacation was hanging out with you, Gigi. It really was...
(Next time, chica... make sure that fine hubby of yours is around, alright?)
**Gigi rolls eyes hard**
I hope to get back down to the N.O. and see my homie once again!
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Blog fam cups handa to mouth and yells "Go head on somewhere with all this vacation talk, Oldgirl."
That was my 1st vacation as an adult.
I might be pontificating about it until deep into the heat of summer.
No, I have only a small bit of pontificating to do.
Now, what was nice about my trip was that it was part cruise, part New Orleans.
I lived in New Orleans from November 1998 to August 2001.
So, it was nice to run around seeing some of my friends. I wasn't able to catch up with all the ones I wanted to see, but I saw quite a few peeps, and that's cool.
Anyway, I swung by my old workplace out on the Lakefront, the U.S. dept. of Agricul.ture.
My beloved eS.R.R.C. My first job out of grad school. I was research chemist, doing a 2 year fellowship, making $37,500.00 a year. (You couldn't tell me I wasn't rich. LOL!! As if!!)
When I left this place, and headed back for Atlanta, I kicked the doors open wide, loaded my stuff in the car and got the hell on. I promised myself that I would NEVER go back there.
Me and another black post-doc use to stand out on the front steps of the building and just KNOW that if them fools could swang a rope around our necks and hang us from those trees, they most definitely would have... without the least bit of hesitation.
Yeah, we hated that place, and they hated us. This is when I knew I was BLACK for real.
Once I left, I was never going back. EVER.
I disliked that place so much, that every Monday morning, I would send out, over email, the most sarcastic poem, a sort of "ode" to the place. It was a page long, and we ALL looked forward to my poetic ponderings of what had happened around the building the week before. It was a subscription of sorts, and I shopped it all around the building to whoever would read it.
Just so we all could get a good laugh on Monday mornings.
(Far be it from me to know that this was some type of prehistoric "blog" activity. LOL)
Those were the good ol' days. Days I was HAPPY to leave behind.
But I had friends in the building.
Now, I hadn't been there in eight years. But when I went up there, it was like I was a modern day celebrity or something.
"It's Dr. LadyLee!
"Oh Lawd! Dr. LadyLee is in the Building!!!!"
"For true! She is in the building!!!!!!!!!!"
But I liked it.
People showing up from nowhere, running down the hall, gathering around me.
I got so many hugs.
I saw many peoples 32 teeth, that's for sure.
Didn't realize how many people think of me after so many years.
How many people truly think very highly and very well of me.
I got a chance to see one of my mentors from back then. We were in the same work group, and it was just something else to be around Maureen, a sista who had a lot of experience. Man, she was the type of chick that when she walked by, you wanted to just stand to the side in reverence and look at the ground.
Maureen wasn't a chemist like myself, but a microbiologist/bacteriologist. I am bootleg, so I picked up a lot of microbiology skills from her. (Hey, show me how to do that!!!). I can say that I have a microbiology background because of her.
I also learned from her that you don't have to broadcast how bad you are. You don't have to carry a "Dr." sign over your head. When you are bad, you just bad!!!
When you got juice, it don't take all that. You got juice, and er'body around you KNOW it.
This was the best lesson I learned from one of the smartest, most humblest sistas on the planet.
I saw so many people.
Walked halls that I thought I would NEVER EVER walk again in my life. It was all surreal.
But best of all...
And what made this vacation PERFECT:
I got a chance to see and hang out with one of the top 3 people who have had a profound impact on shaping me into the person that I am
And who I hope to be in the future.
I tell her that, but man oh man...
I don't think she FULLY will ever understand the IMPACT she has on me.
She has been like, a God-sent example for me... someone who I aim and strive to be like.
Someone who I have learned SO much from on the intangible tip.
Someone who, whenever I talk to her, I walk away a MUCH better person.
Mi buen amigo "Gigi".
For you none spanish speaking folks, that translates: "One of the most wonderful people in the world, my good friend "Gigi"."
And she deserves a post all unto herself.
To be continued.
Monday, March 02, 2009
It snowed in the ATL on Sunday.
This is odd. And it felt like the weather forecasters were not making the HUGE deal out of it like they usually do. Maybe because it was the weekend.
But I did get a chance to go outside and take a few pics of this rare event.
My neighbor came outside while I was snapping pictures. (It is rare to see me, so when they do, they run outside. LOL). He told me to look at the duplexes down the road.
These are our neighborhood's beloved prostitute houses...
Look real close at the middle of the picture.
"I went down there, LadyLee," my neighbor chimed. "Its all flooded out."
I looked at him strangely. He quickly corrected and said the root system was flooded out.
I just KNOW he didn't go check on the prostitutes. LOL!
Snow on the roof of my house!!
I left the front door cracked. Cats trying to escape!
Picture perfect. Thank goodness this is a rarity, though.
My sister Kentucky parks in the driveway. My car is in the garage, which is in the rear of my house. But with all that wet pavement, I am sure it froze over last night! So, uh, I won't be going in early. I plan on going to work around noon when all the fools have cleared off the road.
Snow on the front porch!!!
Snow on the steps!!! Hope it clears up, because I would hate for Kentucky to bust her tail when going out to her car!
There is footprint evidence of SOMEBODY having the nerve to walk to my front door and ring the doorbell.
Of course I didn't answer it. Crackheads and locals better catch a clue. LadyLee don't answer the door.
Hope it's not snowing where you are.
If so, be safe out there!!