Monday, November 30, 2009
Bet ya'll didn't think I would post today...
But I am.
It will be very short.
We will resume regular broadcasting tomorrow.
I am in the bed, sick as a dog.
Something hit me in the middle of the night. I think I ate something I'm allergic to? Heck, I don't know. I called in the middle of the night, saying I ain't coming in. Pisses me off. I have things to do. Not too much concerned about work stuff to do, as that craziness will be there. But I have errands to run.
But I've been in bed.
Drift to the couch.
Back to the bed.
Go hang out on the couch.
Head back to the bed.
Pepper the transits with "Git outta my way, Oscar-Tyrone!"
*Oscar the cat giving me the sad puppy dog eyes*
and so on and so on.
Makes me mad, as I don't know what's up. I feel a little better. I have a migrane and body aches. No sore throat. A little stuffiness. I know my tail don't need to be out driving around. Light is bothering me. I feel like a vampire. Sigh.
Looks like the more water I drink, the better I feel. We gonna roll with that activity for the moment.
So right now, I am just chilling... thank goodness for the laptop sitting over here in the bed. I'm gonna pimp this water like it's fine fine wine, lol.
So we will return to regular programming tomorrow.
Happy Birthday to Miss Celie! 38 is great. But 39 is divine. Make sure you get out and do somethin' special today, Oldgirl.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I need one more day off from work! I may go in early so I can leave early!!
I had a nice quiet day today... save for Aunt Flo knocking on the door and barging in. Humph. But even she can't ruin a great day.
I am most thankful for the day.
Nothing more to report from the House of LadyLee. So I will just leave you with one of my favortie gospel songs.
Be forewarned... uh, it's very much unorthodox. But it does get to the heart of the matter.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Indeed I did. I forgot that I needed to post today.
Man, I, like a few others, am READY for this daily posting thigamajig to be over.
It seems like such a good idea at the beginning of the month. I myself could post twice a day if I had the time. But once you get towards the middle, and definitely towards the end, it's like GEEEZUSSS! Let's be done already.
Anyway, I suppose I'll do a Saturday Seven.
What will your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl be getting into today?
Well, I didn't leave the house yesterday. I needed to let the Black Friday peoples do their thing. I have no patience for craziness.
1. Clean up. I am constantly cleaning up. I don't like that. Most of it is because I am real tired after work. I just want to sit it down and chill out and just go to bed. So my weekdays aren't all that productive. Like many, I save cleaning for the weekend. this morning, I've already cleaned the kitchen, the laundry room, the dining room... I've mopped and wash and folded clothes. I think tonight I will tackle my bedroom and bathroom and living room. But I have to come up with a good way to do more cleaning up during the week. I like my weekends a bit more freed up.
2. Crochet. I am waaay behind on a crochet project. I am making a blanket for my friend's January 9th birthday. I am like, 30% done, so I better get on it, doggonit!!
3. Read. I plan on reading my bible and my daily devotional. I have a writing book I'm perusing right now, so I may get into that a little. I try to read one book over the holidays, and for the Thanksgiving holiday I read Push. I am uh, deeply disturbed now. Definitely not a feel good holiday book.
4. Write. Of course I didn't fulfill my NaNO obligation. Nor had I really intended to. This month was used to work out some key problems with one of my short stories, which is a novella really. I did that just fine. I have about 15 chapters done, and I think I may have 5 more. So I'll be writing around 1500 words tonight, and working on transferring some of my longhand written chapters to the computer. So I am happy about that.
5. Grocery. I plan on hitting up Wal-mart and the Farmers Market today. I need to go later, to let the crowds clear out some. I don't like crowds, man!
6. Eat. Yep, gotta eat today. I have no real idea what I'll be eating. I had oatmeal for breakfast. This is nothing new, as I eat oatmeal for breakfast 95% of the time. This morning I hooked it up with peaches, cranberries, raisins and almond milk and honey. It was sho nuff good. Almost gave me the itis!
7. Post office. This has been an AWFUL postal year for me. I haven't mailed anybodys stuff to them in a timely manner. I am always looking for extra stuff I need to put in the gift, stuff like that. I promise to improve this year coming up. I am learning that I have to plan a month in advance, instead of hollering about how I have time. No I don't have time. Pack it up and send it early if I have to. Then it may be also psychological with me. The three post offices I use, well, there is always some HIGH drama going on there. Somebody cussing out the workers, amongst other stuff. I cannot STAND that.
So I may go today, or early tomorrow morning. We will see.
That is it for my Saturday Seven.
Pretty boring, hunh? That's the way I like it, Man!
I hope you enjoy your Saturday. Make it a great weekend on purpose!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Did you get out in the streets? Did you elbow your way through the crowds at four in the morning grabbing what you can get?
Good for you. 'Cuz I didn't.
I don't like to shop as it is, and I don't like crowds, so for me that's a bad combo. Let's just say that I am hunkered down in the House of LadyLee.
We didn't do anything for Thanksgiving.
Here's the scene. Me on the couch, with my laptop. My sister in the easy chair on her laptop. Both of us tapping away on keys.
Both of us entrenched in a The Closer Marathon.
Oscar-Tyrone walking around meowing real hard. (He was hollering "Can someone PLEASE play with me? Rub me, do something!!!")
Me hollering "Oscar, go sit down somewhere!!"
Me switching the the TV channel to the Packers-Lions game. Me hollering HARD when Packers score, as Donald Driver, Aaron Rodgers, and Charles Woodson are on one of my Fantasy football teams (Man, I scored 118 points off those three peeps along. MAYBE I can beat my rival this week aquababie, aka "Da Sip's finest" (that chick is RUTHLESS!)
And Me completing my goal of creating a couple of vegetarian dishes: one from my Vegetarian Times Magazine, and another from the top of my head, lol...
I had those with a cucumber tomato greek dressing (complete with soy feta cheese crumbles).
It was REALLY good! OH JOY!!!
I made Kentucky taste it. "I don't like that too much. It tastes like beans. But I like the sliced cucumber tomato lemon dressing. That is refreshing!"
Yes, it was very good. I will make a change next time: I will replace the 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chick peas) with some cubed potatoes or yucca. It's already made with chickpea flour (I didn't know such a thang existed- who the heck gets down with chickpea flour?) So I think potatoes will cut down on the beany flavor. (But don't get me wrong - I like them like they are, too.)
Now here's my own fancy creation: stuffed peppers. I'm calling this one "Peppers LadyLee"!
I stuffed them with red quinoa and sauteed veggies.
They were VERY good. The veggies I used -Broccoli, spinach, tomato, onions, peppers, parsely, garlic). Added a cup of faux chicken broth to keep it moist. Topped it off with some of the cheese crumbles Kentucky used to make mac-n-cheese.
But I forgot the mushrooms. Oh, that woulda set it OFF.
So next time, I'll add my mushrooms and some celery. That'll do the trick.
That was the highlight of Thanksgiving, my trying a couple of new recipes. I want to try 2 or 3 new recipes a month, with the hope of adding at least one to my repetoire.
I think I did well here. I found two new dishes I really like, and will try again...
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving...
And I hope your Black Friday deals came through And you didn't have to beat a sucka down to get what you wanted, lol...)
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We at the House of LadyLee would like to wish you a very
And here's a little turkey for you...
I took this picture of a turkey as it roamed my neighbor's back yard, some 3 years ago.
I still don't understand how a turkey found his way into downtown ATL, so deep in the 'hood. He was walking around like he was straight lost. I don't know what became of him. Hope he didn't get caught up in the sporadic gunfights that take place some 2 to 3 blocks from my house...
Oh well, let's not ponder that.
I hope you are having a great Thanksgiving.
My sister cooked yesterday. She baked a chicken, some mac-n-cheese, a couple of small pans of dressing and a green bean casserole. She rounded that out with a storebought strawberry cream pie. I partook of all of it, except the chicken. It was all divine!
I even had some baked tilapia yesterday. I. am. such. a heathen.
LOL! It's the holidays, and that was my classic "live it up" moment... eat some MEAT.
I should've went out and got myself a plate of chitlins from somewhere. Now THAT would be living it up.
But today, I am trying something new. I have a couple of vegetarian recipes I want to fool around with. Today I will make some chickpea patties with a greek cucumber topping. I got that recipe from the Vegetarian Times magazine which I absolutely LOVE!!
The picture of the finished product looked so beautimous in the magazine. Let's hope I can replicate that and that it don't taste all crazy.
I have a couple of recipes I made up on my own that I want to try out. I'm making some stuffed peppers. But mine will be stuffed with a red quinoa and sauteed veggie concoction (broccoli, onions, peppers, mushrooms). I am also making a spicy corn chowder, not with dairy cream, but with cashew cream.
I'm also gonna try to hook up a dessert. I bought some pecan meal at the Vegan grocery store. I got 2 apples in the fridge and some oatmeal. We's about to hook up a crust and a stewed apple concoction... gonna call it "Apple LadyLee".
I picture these things in my mind... Let's hope it don't taste all jacked up! I won't hesitate to throw it down on the floor in Oscars food bowl.
*Oscar giving LadyLee the hard side-eye*
I may take pictures... We will see.
Now, this is a day of Thanksgiving, so be sure to pause and be mindful of all the things in your life. Take a moment to reflect. We've had trials and setbacks, but we've also had triumphs. I had some fine prayer time this morning, thanking God for all the people who've come across my life, past and present, who've been a blessing to me...
Enjoy your day, with friends and family!!
from your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl ~ LadyLee.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
And it feels GOOD.
Nothing like a 5 day weekend, man. Nothing like it!!!!
Not sure what I want to do today. I am STILL in bed. But if I want to do something, I better go ahead on and get my tail up. I want to go to the Farmer's Market, but it's gonna be a MADHOUSE up in there.
I think I will go to the vegan grocery store instead. I'll hit up the Farmer's Market on Friday... when all ya'll will be stampeding through Wal-Mart trying to get the one 40 dollar flat screen tv left in the store!
Although they do get a tad bit crunk up in the vegan store. Not sure what happens with people when they start playing Motown music over the speaker system in there. It's almost like a club or something, lol.
I wonder what will happen if I walked through there with a big steaming plate of chitlins?
Just a thought. A horrible one indeed.
I'm not cooking for thanksgiving. Kentucky is making a chicken and some dressing. I think that's all. I may or may not have any. What I do want is some fish. It is still up in the air whether I will have any. Heck, it's the holiday... LIVE IT UP. But I am not sure how it will make me feel... I kinda like the vegetarian thang...
I plan on attending my church's Thanksgiving service tonight. I always look forward to that.
We don't plan on doing anything tomorrow but hang around the house. We rarely gather up for family functions these days, so it is what it is. I usually hang out with my best friends family for a day of food and fun, but they are on their way to Florida today to sail out to the Bahamas tomorrow. I know they'll have a ton of fun!!
So I hope all is well with you all... This is my time of personal reflection, to reflect on all the things I'm thankful for.
I know one thing: I am thankful for all of you, my friends and readers.
Thanks for coming out and hanging out at The House of LadyLee:)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
There are two types of writing classes that I've participated in: one in which I take a work in progress through the class, and another one where I did writing exercises (the beginners class). Every once in awhile, I'd take the beginners class over. I liked the routine of the exercises because I could just use them to explore facets of some of the gazillion stories I have laying around the house. I've actually generated fascinating material from the exercises.
The instructions for one particular exercise was quite simple: take a story of ours and write the beginning of the story. I had one that I'd particularly liked, Leaving Jersey, about a woman leaving an abusive boyfriend in a most unorthodox manner.
So this short vignette "Apartment 2c" is what I imagined was the very beginning of that main character's problems...
Now, there's a character in here, Elba, who my writing class just LOVED. She was a seemingly innocent jewish woman, but there was more to her than met the eye. Let's just say, uh, she was NOT one to messed with. We won't go into that. But she is the most colorful people I've ever written. She is loosely based on the landlord of the boarding house I lived in when I first moved to New Orleans 11 years ago (See "Mark Your Territory Part III") .
I've also posted another story excerpt involving Elba, one that was a bit horrific (see "No More"). I think I'd been reading a horror story about a dog during that time... Gotta watch what I read while I'm writing.
Anyway, here's my "beginning" of the story.
Elba didn’t know much about the young woman who lived next door in Apartment 2C.
She’d moved in some six months ago, mostly kept to herself. A silent neighbor was fine with Elba. The last tenants were rowdy tattoo artists who played loud rock music all hours of the night. She complained to the Super, called the police even, but nothing was done. When their lease expired, it wasn’t renewed. They simply moved away.
And then the quiet young lady moved in.
“Her name’s Danielle Acosta,” the Super said one day while he and Elba were sitting out on the front stoop of the building, enjoying cool breezes brought on by the fall weather. “She lived over in Philly for the past 5 years. I thought she was Latino or something, but the background check said she was black.”
“Really,” Elba said, hoping he would continue. She wasn’t a gossiper like him. She liked to sit back and observe closely instead.
He lit a cigar and puffed a few times to get it to burn just right. “You know, I don’t ever ask about no race or nothing. Just couldn’t tell with her. Coulda been white for all I know. Anyway, she was in Georgia before that, down in Atlanta. She’s some kind of engineer over in Center City. Wanted to move out of the city because it was too expensive.”
“Is that right?” Elba asked. “I haven’t had a chance to talk with her.”
“She’s nice,” he said, and blew nasty smelling smoke up into the air. “Pays on time. That’s all that matters to me, you know.”
The Super was the nosiest gossip in Jersey. Elba knew if he knew anything strange about Danielle, he would tell her. She and Danielle were the only two tenants on that floor and that was good enough for Elba.
Elba never went over to introduce herself. She watched from the living room window instead. She had a good view of the whole street from there.
The girl, in addition to being quiet, was very consistent. She left every morning at seven o’clock sharp and caught the seven ten bus. She’d return around six in the evening, give or take a few minutes. She always wore casual shirts and khakis and a pair of what looked to be Rockports.
“Work clothes,” Elba said to herself while watching from her window one morning. “She doesn’t have a fancy office job. Engineer. Must work with engines or something.”
Elba also noticed that Danielle would sometimes leave in the evenings. “High heels. Short skirt. She got a boyfriend,” Elba murmured to herself as she parted the sheer curtains just a tad with her fingers to get a better look at Danielle. Danielle walked across the street to the locked garage where she stored her car, an old white Nova. She wouldn’t come back home until late, or sometimes not at all until the next afternoon.
Elba met that boyfriend one day out in the stairwell leading up to her apartment floor. She was laden down with bags of grocery just purchased across the street at Walter’s Stop-n-Shop. He brushed past her in his shiny green sports jersey and baggy blue jeans, damn near knocking her over. He didn’t even say excuse me. He strutted right up to Danielle’s door and knocked on it. Danielle opened it and he poured the charm on.
“Hey baby,” he breathed. It was followed by a soft giggle from Danielle before she yanked him through the door.
Elba scrunched up her face. “Leave him alone, honey,” she murmured to herself as she fumbled with her keys at her own front door. “Mr.Bad News, that’s what he is.”
He moved in with Danielle, and every night, the boom of loud rap music grated Elba’s nerves. She knew that the quiet Danielle wasn’t responsible for such madness.
Had to be the new fella.
But Elba didn’t know how bad “Mr.Bad News” was until she was standing in the bathroom one night a few months later, brushing her hair before bed. She heard a loud noise. She backed up from the bathroom mirror and was about to go out into the living room when the boom occurred again, this time shaking her whole apartment. She jumped when she heard a loud crash in her bathroom. She ran back in to see the crystal glass that she used for soaking her bridgework on the floor, smashed into a million pieces.
Elba knew those sounds all too well. Had been the brunt of them herself over the years.
Something wasn’t being thrown around. Someone was being thrown around.
And she knew that this someone was the nice quiet unassuming young woman who lived next door in Apartment 2C.
It was about time for Elba to go over and introduce herself.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Or should I say, Good rainy morning.
The current temperature in the ATL is 45 degrees... and it is raining.
Maaaannnn, I KNOW I should've taken off the entire week of Thanksgiving. UGH.
But, that's okay. I have a short work week - 2 days.
And they are going to WORK my tail. All 16-18 hours worth. (And that's ALL I'm working).
My weekend. I had a nice weekend. I only left the house to go to my book club meeting up on the Northside. I actually made it up there in less than 30 minutes. That was because there were no traffic accidents on the way, which is like, amazing for the ATL.
The meeting was held at this REALLY good barbeque place, KC Pitt. No, I didn't have any barbeque. I only had onion rings, lemonade and some of my book club sister Star's cake. (I felt like crap afterwards. Fried food and lemonade (I drink water 99% of the time), well that is grease and sugar, which I ain't all that use to anymore. So let's just say an Oldgirl had the itis.
It was good to see everyone. And we had a really good discussion of the book Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. The book was good. But I only rated it an "8" because it was too doggone long.
Sunday, I didn't do much, just the usual. Chores, chores and more chores. (Man, I gotta figure out how to keep house during the week, but your girl be all tired after work!) I edited a friend's resume, and I got a good bit of writing and editing done on my NaNoWriMo project. Not sure I will finish that, but I tell you, I have gotten through some bumpy parts, some parts that were holding me up. And that was one of my goals for the month. I have about 11,500 words right now, with another 3000 words of various scenes written longhand, that I need to type up. I plan on doing that this week, off and on. So I am pretty happy with that.
I am glad you all like the Fancy That Prologue posted last week. I don't know WHY folk don't like to comment (People tend to email me, and that is fine). But that is cool. I am just glad you liked it. It is the type of stuff I like to do: cliffhanger type deals. LOVE that. But that particular piece will get absorbed in the body of the work somewhere. Not sure.
I think I will post something else this week from another story. See how ya'll feel about that.
Quotes of the Week. One that I really like.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the MOMENTS that take our breath away." (Posted by a book club sista on Facebook.)
I think that is so true. Very much so.
Post of the week. Aunt Jackie's Lightbulb Moments. Very nice. Very nice indeed.
A most poignant quote from that post:
"...I have to let go of the past and all that comes with it. I think for too long I have imagined that some how I missed out on my good thing. Maybe I didn't love right, maybe I wasn't paying attention. maybe if I just tried again with someone some where who loved me once we could make it better. Since I've only ever loved a handful of men in my life time, it wasn't hard to forget who was who and even easier to stay in touch. Some how in the touching I lost sight of the fact that things never return to the way they are. Life moves on and in our romantic attempts to cling to that which is familiar we sometimes work to recreate our past, over and over again."
Yeah... I'll be thinking about this one for awhile. Every woman has her lightbulb moments. This one was a good one, one I've had my own self.
Thanksgiving. The holiday season is upon us. I am not a big holiday person. I just don't like the commerciality of it all. I don't think we are even cooking around here. There are a couple of vegetarian recipes I want to try. I have a book of vegan sauce recipes, and I want to kick a couple of those. My sister Kentucky is not doing anything. I think we're just hanging around the house. She can't decide what she wants to do: fry chicken and hook that up with some mash potatoes, or do a low country boil. That gal is so fickle that she might just roll up out of here to Grandma's house. So I don't pay her much attention.
I ususally go over to my best friend LadyTee's house for Thanksgiving, but she and her family are going on a short Bahamas cruise for the holiday. I am happy for her, but just a little sick behind that. I am going to miss her. Wish I could've gone. But I know she and her peeps will have a great time. I am looking forward to her thoughts on her first cruise!!
So that's it for my Monday Morning thoughts...
By the way, all the House of LadyLee fans who are around the age of 40: check out the first 3 songs on the playlist to the left... Can you say "Night Traks"? Remember that show? Did you stay up alllll night on the weekends watching that craziness.
Those were the days. Just a bit of nostalgia for you!
I'm gonna go head on and go to work and I hope these 2 days go by super super fast!
You all have a great week. And if you're traveling home for the holidays, take care and be safe.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Alas, the night is still young. And it is till Sunday, you know.
And I don't have anything to talk about.
Been chilling all day. I've spent the last couple of hours getting some writing done. So I'm happy about that.
I've spent most of the day following the progress of my Fantasy Football team, The Collie Park Original Oldboys...
...Where our motto is
"No helmets... just afros and BLING!"
Yeah, that's how we get down.
I'm in 2 leagues. I am 8-1-1 in one league, and 4-6 in another. HARD SIGH.
They got me staring at the television screen (while I'm trying to crochet) yelling:
"Run Shawty, RUN!!!"
I think Oscar-Tyrone gave me the side-eye for making up so much noise.
But it's been that kind of Sunday. I refused to get out in the streets today, as it is cold and rainy. I'll deal with the madness tomorrow.
And this will be a 2 day workweek for your friendly neighborhood Oldgirl.
And I know I'll be working like a dog...
But as for now, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my Sunday... rain and all.
It's jacked up that I waited this late to fold 3 loads of clothes, but oh well. I'ma work it out. It tends to be a soothing activity, you know.
Now carry on with the rest of your Sunday...
Saturday, November 21, 2009
And the only thing I don't like about them is that they are over much too soon. Saturdays need to be 100 hours long or something like that. LOL
Anyway, I am STILL in bed.
Shame on ME.
Not really. I am BONE TIRED.
We worked very hard yesterday. I work from 10-7 pm, and around 5:30, I started hollering all over the place:
"Ya'll done got down! Ya'll done worked a broad to death, man!"
Yes. I was just that tired. I had lollipop dreams yesterday morning of going to church last night. I would still be laid out sleep in a pew right now, lol. That was not going down. I went to the grocery store and came on home and immediately got in the bed.
I didn't sleep all night. I had 150 pages left in my book to read, and I read myself asleep... Woke up early, and kept reading. I actually finished it. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult was a VERY good book. Waaaaay too long, but good indeed.
I have no huge plans for the weekend. I only want to figure out how to get up to the northside for this book club meeting without rolling through too much rain. Right now it's overcast. I NEEDS for it to stay that way.
And if I can get some writing done and more rest... Then I'm all good.
Friday, November 20, 2009
LOL. It's not like I don't have things to talk about. It just takes more time to do planned posts: loading pictures and whatnot.
And I'm not planning my time too well these days. I've been so bone tired in the evenings that I just come home and get in the bed. So as a result, this hasn't been the most productive week in the world.
I am doing my best to finish up my book club book, Jodi Picoult's Handle with Care. The meeting is tomorrow. I am on page 338 and the book is 477 pages long. I ain't gonna make it. That'll be a 2 dollar fine for not reading the book. I ain't concerned about that, but I am concerned about the drive out to the Northern Surburbs for the meeting. It's suppose to rain cats and dogs tomorrow. The meeting is at 2, so I think I will leave at 12 to get up there. I don't want to rush in the rain.
I am glad today is Friday. I am waaay behind on things due at work, and that ain't my fault. We are half staffed. My goal these days is to just get a few things done, period. Can't get everything done, and I am fine with that.
My boss and I had a "Come to Jesus" talk. You know what that is: when folks say whatever they have to say, and everybody cry, and all is good. Well, nobody cried or anything. Nobody yelled. I just needed to know where her head was at and what the heck is her vision. Man, I feel like the captain has abandoned the ship or something. I felt better after getting everything off my chest. I even presented an idea or two. I don't think it will be taken into consideration, but oh well. I felt better afterwards. That's all that matters to me.
I am VERY suprised that I got my requested time off for The Thanksgiving Holiday approved. So I only have a 2 day workweek next week. I don't plan on doing anything for Thanksgiving. My BFF is going on a cruise (I am SICK over this, but at the same time, happy for her). So I may just be milling around the house. I don't plan on doing much cooking. There are a couple of vegan recipes I want to try. I was even thinking about having some seafood for thanksgiving (OH THE HORROR). LOL... It's a holiday, man... I can "splurge" away from the vegetarian fare, can't I? That is still up in the air, and I may just not do that. We will see.
I hope to make it to church tonight. I am REALLY really tired. But I like Friday night bible study. It is a good end to my week, and the sermon is ALWAYS centered on whatever I've been battling emotionally all week. So that makes it well worth it.
What's up for the weekend? Book club meeting. A LOT of writing. A good bit of sleeping, lol. Chores, since I didn't get much done around the house all week.
I am just happy for the time off.
I am still barreling along with the NaBloPoMo activity, so there will be a post tomorrow...
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I posted 4 character sketches a couple of years ago...2 of the people are in this story.
Fancy That: Paulette Reese
Fancy That: Arthur Reese
I have 10 chapters written altogether. I haven't worked on it lately, as I put it through my writing class and I have to spend a good deal of time editing it before I move on. But it is a story that stays on my mind, and I plan to work on it next year.
So here's that infamous prologue, a slightly cleaned up version using some of the class's input.
No one could remember who owned or even lived in the old dilapidated house tucked away in the woods at the far end of Pine Street. It was as if the house was just standing there, vacant as the eyes of a drug addict staring openly at whoever cared to drive by.
The centuries old house was a creaky body, racked with the pains of old age, worn down worst than someone with years of arthritis and liver spots and the like.
But it breathed, its lungs dexterous and strong as the day it was built. It was alive and well, even if it looked like it would fall apart at any given moment.
Its mind was sharp, chocked full of memories from days of old: The memory of fires crackling in the stone fireplace, offering the only protection against some of the coldest winters ever. The laughter and crying of a newborn child, hungry for its mothers milk, giggly from a loving poke from its father’s finger.
It recollected all things family: birthdays, fights, and funerals too numerous to record.
If the walls could talk, they would whisper of their memories of the love shared between a young Paulette Charlita Childs and her soul mate.
Paulette lay naked on her back in what may have been once the Master bedroom of the house one sunny Monday morning in 1972, with only a old linen sheet draped loosely across her body. She stared up at the ceiling, which was beginning to dip in the middle. Ugly brown water stains left from rain leaking through a roof far past any hope of repair stared back at her. Even though she lay on mounds of thick billowy blankets, she could still feel the buckling wood boards beneath her body and the round heads of the rusty nails poking her back.
That discomfort didn’t matter, for Paulette was caught up in the soulful croons of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. The singers were pondering, mourning even, over their love for each other, and more importantly where that love had gone.
The sad song didn’t matter much to Paulette either, because the woman she loved was right there next to her.
They lay there in each others arms, caught up in the afterglow of their lovemaking, watching the gray smoke unfurl from a joint bursting at the seams with forbidden herbs free of irksome seeds and worrisome sticks.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Paulette breathed, her words rushing after the smoke that eased from her lips. She turned over and flicked ashes into an ashtray behind them just within arms reach. “There’s nothing in the world that compares to being with you, Fancy.”
“It could be this way all the time,” Fancy said. Her voice was quiet and shaky. “You know that.”
Paulette sighed and took another long draw on the joint. “You keep saying that.”
Fancy raised up on her elbows. “And I’ll keep saying it until it gets through your head. You are in charge of your life, Paulette, not that damn Arthur.”
“Don’t do that.”
“Well, it’s true. He stays in the way.”
Paulette waved away the smoke she’d just exhaled. “No, I’m not talking about that. Don’t call me Paulette. You know how much I hate it when you call me Paulette. I’m Lita. I’m your Lita.”
Fancy always called her Lita when they were alone together. It was her pet name for her, and what she called her in the diaries they shared over the years.
“Lita, I’m just tired of all this hiding. It’s been three whole months since the last time we were together. I miss you.”
“Well Fancy, if you wouldn’t have moved way down to Valdosta―”
Fancy sat up. “Stop blaming me for that. If Arthur hadn’t run my name in the ground and ran me out of town, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”
Paulette took another quick draw on the joint, then sat it on the edge of the ashtray. “Calm down, baby,” Paulette cooed. She wrapped a couple of strands of Fancy’s long curly locks around her finger. She leaned over and kissed her on the arm.
“I just hate him, that’s all. Hate that you’re married to him and he’s with you every night. Hate that he keeps us apart.”
“I hate him too, Fancy. God knows I do. But we’re together now, right here, you and me. And that’s all that matters.”
Fancy pulled away from Paulette. “No, that’s not all that matters.”
Paulette picked up the joint from the ashtray. She took a drag so deep that the soft insides of her cheeks touched. She exhaled the opaque smoke into Fancy’s face. “You always get the best grass, Fancy.”
“Well fancy that. She likes the grass,” Fancy said.
Fancy sucked her teeth. The bacon from the bacon and egg sandwiches they'd had earlier was stuck in her teeth. “You’re changing the subject, like you always do when it comes to Arthur.”
“Don’t wanna think about Arthur, right now. Not while I’m good and high. I just wanna think about you.”
Fancy smiled and lay back down on the rumpled blankets. Paulette knew just the right words to smother Fancy’s volatile temper. She held the joint up to Fancy’s lips and watched as she inhaled.
They lay there, taking turns smoking. The music had stopped. The wind whistling through the trees provided a soothing lullaby.
“Lita,” Fancy finally said.
Paulette said nothing.
Fancy took a deep breath. “I’ve saved up some money over the past year. Close to five hundred dollars. It’s enough, enough for me to move to Atlanta. I have an interview at Southern Bell tomorrow for a phone operator job paying a hundred dollars a week.” The words rushed from her mouth like the wind rushed through the trees.
This time, Paulette sat up, dropping the joint in the process, which had now dwindled down to a mere roach. It fell between them. Paulette picked it up and patted the sheet to make sure it wasn’t burning them.
“That’s why I bring the same old sheets. You always dropping the joints.”
“No,you can't do that,” Paulette said. She picked up a new joint from a baggie next to the two of them, and lit it with a match. “You sound crazy. How will we see each other, with you all the way up in Atlanta and me down here?”
“Lita, I want you to come with me.”
Paulette coughed hard, the smoke burning her throat and nose. “What?”
Fancy snatched the joint from Paulette’s fingers. “I said, come with me. It’s summer right now. That gives you plenty of time to find a teaching job up in Atlanta before the new school year starts. I have that money saved, and that’s enough to get us a nice one bedroom apartment in West Atlanta. We could be together, buy a nice house, be a family, and―”
“I can’t just up and leave like that. And give me back my joint.”
Fancy’s hopeful eyes clouded with anger. “No. You smoke too damn much. I’m trying to talk to you, and all you want to do is get high.”
“You blowing my high, Fancy.”
“You could leave if you wanted to,” Fancy said.
Paulette looked away from Fancy towards the bedroom’s broken door, barely hanging on by rusty hinges. This room was the nicest room in the house. Fancy had found it when they were teenagers. Everyone always said it was a haunted house, but Fancy was bold enough to sneak up in there and check it out. She cleaned this room and made it a private haven for the two of them. And now, with Fancy talking such foolishness about Atlanta, their private cove would become obsolete.
“You don’t want to leave, Lita.” Fancy grasped Paulette’s chin and turned her face to her own. “Always worried about what people say. Damn what they say.”
“Come on. I don’t want to fight about this.”
“It’s 1972, Lita. Times are changing. I’m twenty-three, and you’re twenty-four. We can go to Atlanta. We don’t have to stay down here all our lives. We can leave and be free.”
“Free.” Paulette snorted. “You always talking about being free. Those folks up in Atlanta will look at us like we’re crazy if we walk down the street kissing and holding hands.”
“Good ol’ Paulette Childs.” Fancy laughed. “Oh, sorry, it’s Paulette Reese, now, ain’t it”?
“It’s Lita to you.”
“So scared somebody’s going to see you’re not perfect.”
Paulette lay back on the pillow. “I’m not perfect. Just cautious.”
“Well being up in Atlanta will be better than you being here in ass backwards Fitzgerald and me being down in Valdosta.”
“That didn’t have to happen. You could’ve stayed quiet about us, and stayed right here in Fitzgerald.”
“No.” Fancy shook her head defiantly. “You were worth it. Standing up for you, no, standing up for us and what we share was worth it.”
Fancy reached for her shirt and hastily pulled it down over her head. She thrust her arms through the sleeve openings. “I’m beginning to feel like I’m not worth as much to you as you are to me.”
“You’re talking crazy. You always turn what little time we have together into a thing of frustration.”
Fancy stopped fighting with her shirt. She blinked rapidly. “I love you. And Lita, I don’t know, you just don’t seem to get that.”
Paulette rubbed Fancy’s arm, then gently brushed away the tears that fell down her cheeks. “I love you, too, Fancy. You know I do.”
If I had a gun,” Fancy began. She reached for her crumpled cut-off jeans and balled them up tightly with her hands. “If I had a gun, I would march right out to that factory and blow what little brains Arthur has right out the side of his peanut head.”
“Calm down. Don’t think like that. I love you, not Arthur.”
“Then prove it to me. Leave Arthur. Leave this place. Leave everything and come with me. I have the money.”
“Paulette, I swear, you’re so full of excuses. It’s just one excuse after another.”
“I’m just being realistic, that’s all.”
Fancy jumped up from the floor and snatched on her cut-off jeans. “No, you’re just being a goddamn coward.”
Paulette reached out and gently caressed Fancy’s bare ankle. Fancy didn’t move, only stared down at her. Fancy was a hothead, but Paulette knew that one touch in the right places calmed her down.
Fancy lay back down next to Paulette. As mad as she was, she too didn’t want their time together to end so quickly. They’d been there since early that morning, and planned to stay there all day.
They made love once again, and fell asleep in each others arms.
They were awaken by the patter of raindrops on the house’s rooftop.
“Oh God, I left the top down on my bug,” Fancy yelled. She’d just bought the VW bug and had to dry it out once before after a rainstorm. She wasn’t interested in dealing with the smell of rain soaked seats ever again.
She quickly put her clothes back on, slipped on her wooden clogs and ran out the house.
“Be careful,” Paulette warned. “Don’t forget to walk along the wall. There are new weak spots in this floor.”
“I know, I know,” Fancy yelled from the hallway.
Paulette heard the car door of Fancy’s car open and close, and the hard creak of the vinyl top being raised. She gathered the linen sheet around her body as she sat up to feel around for her own clothes and shoes. She didn’t plan on putting them on, but was completely unnerved by Fancy’s angry search for her own. She at least wanted to have them put to the side, out of the mess of sheets and blankets.
Suddenly Paulette heard footsteps, fast and anxious, coming up the stairs.
“Paulette,” a hard breathing Fancy yelled as she ran into the room. “Get up, we gotta get out of here.”
Paulette sat up. “What’s wrong?”
“Somebody’s outside. I think they saw me.” She picked up the flashlight they used earlier when they came in. “Get your clothes on and let’s go.”
“Who’s out there?”
“Don’t worry about that. Let’s go.”
As fast as Fancy said that, she was on her way out the door, transistor radio and picnic basket clutched in her arms, running down the hall. Paulette was left sitting there, struggling to get her tube top over her shoulders.
Then that’s when Paulette heard a sound she would never forget: the slow sound of splintering wood,the sound of the floor giving way. It was followed by a muffled scream and a loud crash.
“Fancy?” Paulette jumped up from the floor. She was so high that she found it hard to keep her balance. She wrapped the sheet around herself and walked towards the bedroom door.
Paulette squinted and saw a big hole in the floor of the hallway. She gasped as she saw Fancy’s fingers hanging on to the edge of the hole, the top of her hair just visible behind her hands.
“Fancy!” Paulette screamed. She dove for the hole in the floor, completely losing the sheet draped around her body. Paulette grabbed Fancy’s forearms, as best she could with her own hands. It didn’t help that Fancy’s arms were slick from the rain.
“Don’t let me fall,” Fancy whimpered.
The wood began to give beneath Paulette. “I won’t let you fall. Try to pull up.”
“I can’t.” Fancy let go, but Paulette caught her hands in her own. They stared into each others eyes.
“Hold on. Just hold on. I won’t let you go.”
All of a sudden, Paulette was snatched back. Fancy’s hands slipped from hers.
“Fancy! No!” Paulette screamed again at the top her lungs.
There was a loud crash. Paulette was still being drawn backwards. She saw a dark shadow flutter against the wall, and whoever was pulling her away suddenly flipped her over. She couldn’t tell who it was.
Just as she was about to speak, she was punched in the face.
Her world, Paulette’s world, went black as night, as she lost conscience that early summer morning in the vacant house on Pine street.
If the walls could weep, they would weep for a love snatched away.
A love broken too soon.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I don't feel like posting today, but I'm gonna make it through this NaBloPoMo thingy.
I can post everyday... Might not be talking about nothing important, but heck, we can work it out, right?
Sho you right.
A bit of randomness will alway do.
I'm laying in the bed, looking out the window. It's going to be a dreary day. I have REALLY enjoyed all the nice sunshine and nice temperature. And now here comes the doggone rain. Ugh. Enough already.
Man... I am TIRED of turning on the TV and seeing Sarah Palin's face. I don't trust that chick at all. I am NOT buying the book. I have a problem with her leaving her governorship to make money. And you think I'm going to vote for you in 2012. Girl stop!!!
Hey, to each it's own. Make your money, honey.
There's a story of a woman who sold her 5 year old into sex slavery up in North Carolina. I didn't hear the whole story, but what in the world? How does one get to the point where the mere thought of such a thing even remotely crosses their mind? I will always be baffled about such. And they think they have found the little girl's body. Geez... And the woman is pregnant with another child. Ugh. She needs to be locked up for life behind this.
Work has been okay this month. It really bothers me now that I really hate my job. I use to really like my job. I am thankful for it, as it is a great source of income, but management has run the place into the ground. It's like they are living out their Nino Brown New Jack City dreams. Our building is the Carter. I want to lean out the window and tell Troop and Levert, who are warming their hands over a hot fire blazing in a barrel, to kick the ballistics!
(You won't understand that unless you've heard the opening song for New Jack City).
I don't like feeling like that at all. Not one bit. I've always done things to keep my morale up, but right now I'm like the Terminator at the end of every Terminator movie:
My red light has slowly faded out. Sigh.
On to better thoughts...
My writing is going well. I may even start doing writing progress updates like I use to do so long ago on the blog. Because I am doing just that: making progress.
I completed the 8th and 9th chapters of my current NaNoWriMo project. I had the first seven chapters written, and I managed to edit those up quite a bit. I have 2 chapters written by longhand, so it's just a matter of writing those parts up. But in the past week, I've gotten past a couple of areas that had me stuck, so now I can flow a little better. I don't have a goal of writing the 50,000 word novel, but this current piece is more of a novella, hopefully at 20,000-25,000 words or so.
I've been getting emails about the Fancy That prologue that I mentioned in the last couple of weeks. I think I may post that up this week, just to see what ya'll think about that. I sent a copy to Diva in Demand and she was wowed by it. That made me feel good.
It's a piece that I haven't figured out what to do with yet. We will see.
I have a vegetarian post coming up, but I haven't figured out how to write it. It may be one of those lonnnng posts. Trying not to do that. (Okay, I know I say that, then right so long drawn out craziness. I'm trying to kill that noise...lol).
I'm still in the 6 month vetting of the whole process, and I have learned much about it, and about myself in the process. Just gotta figure out how to put that into words, you know
I'll work it out. Really though.
Well, I'm going to get up and go make my oatmeal. I eat that every single morning, and I feel kinda weird if I don't.
And I have to hook it up, cuz plain oatmal is like a boring job... just no damn good.
(My goodness, where did that simile come from?)
I'm hooking it up with pecans, almond milk and dried pears this morning. Might throw in a dollop of all natural apple sauce.
That's what I call a hook-up.
My prayer for myself this morning was the same as yesterday: that I have a good productive day. Yeah, I wailed about my disdain for the place, but at the same time, I want to do a good honest job. That's all I want. That prayer was answered yesterday. I hope the same for today.
I hope the same for you... that whatever you hope to accomplish today, you will acccomplish.
And accomplish with flair and purpose...
Monday, November 16, 2009
I am sleepy. I went to sleep around midnight and woke up around 6 in the morning (no alarm, that's just the time my sister leaves for work). 6 hours is more than enough for me, but not this morning. Ugh.
So this post may be uh, short. I want to get a couple of more zzzzzs in before work, lol.
It's currently 47 degrees in the ATL. This bed, these down pillows and down comforter feel mighty mighty good right now. I know I will be restin my eyes just a little while longer.
My weekend. Of course it went by too doggone fast. It was quiet. I thought I had book club stuff to do this weekend but I didn't. (And I need to finish reading my book anyway).
The most significant thing I did was take 3 trash bags of clothes to the Thrift store. Time to get those donations in, you know. I plan on taking another load down there before year's end. While I was out, I did the Walmart thing. Fun, fun, fun.
Song of the week. I have a couple of CDs in the car that have 150 songs a piece on them. Most of it is slow old school. That's all I listen to.
So, I am trying to figure out how this song got on one of them.
"Our Lips are Sealed" by the Go-Gos. Wedged somewhere between Anita Baker and Barry White. Wow.
Completely out of place. But you know I be sanging right along with the Go-Gos... LOL
Now if that don't remind you of Night Tracks shows of the 80s, I don't know what will.
That's the gist of it. Nice and quiet.
Post of the Week. "Introspection" by the Infamous La.
I love anything that La writes. For La is the truth. But every once in awhile, she delves over into her issues with religion, and I think in that particular piece she manages to tap into the root of her issues, which, oddly enough, are very similar to my own.
I fail MISERABLY at religiosity. Assimilation, ritual, and form are not my thing. I just don't fit in. I get a ZERO on all that. Yeah, I go to church, praise, worship and tithe and all that. But I fail at the form. I do those things out of a desire to be around those who believe as I do and out of a love of God from the bottom of my heart.
I think I found my way when I figured out what was most important: a very personal relationship with God. Period. And I tend to like churches that foster that: that it is much more critically important to tap into, being a person of faith and God as source of all things, than religious ritual and form... THAT'S what's important.
Cause you gotta work on that when folks ain't looking.
Because I can go to church and sang and shout halleluah all day... then go home and smoke crack and rob banks and murder folks when you ain't looking. Right?
Hmm... mini food for thought today. Like I said, I love whatever La writes, and she expressed some inner pain there, even tapping into my feelings about religion. But she has posted some faith filled posts in the past. And that's what counts. God is there, La... watching over you even when you sleep. Don't let nobody convince you of any thing different. Don't give up. Please.
Quote of the Week: from the LBeezy, from her post "IMO Thursdays- Time". I think she was talking to me.
"Bottom line, jobs don't care about your stress...
...Whenever you find yourself saying that you don't have time to do something, be honest about your priorities and see if they need to be rearranged. And if after that, you still lack the urgency or desire, then hold yourself accountable and own that."
Yeah, I know you were talking to a friend, but you were talking to me too, hon. Really. There's loads of wisdom in those few words. They did cut like a knife... and made me think. It was the fuel for yesterday's post.
I remember a couple of years ago ol' Serenity was wailing about some cramping problems over email, and LBeezy was like oh, you'll be okay, yada, yada, yada, but she broke out all of a sudden with "Man up and stop being a PUNK!" I thought that was hilarious, but a statement of truth.
I think that quote above was her way of yelling at me to "Man up and stop being a punk, Leezie!"
Yeah, I'll do that. For true.
So that's it for Monday morning. I got 10 minutes before I have to get up and get ready for work. I'm hoping for a productive day.
It's been like digging a ditch with a toothpick.
And I'ma work this toothpick, Mayne. Work it like it's a shovel or a backhoe.
You work your toothpick this week too... with purpose and on purpose.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Mike check one. Check two.
*Lee smacks the microphone with her hand. The resulting high pitch sound causes her to shrink in terror.*
Man, this posting every day is a trip!
Not many folks read on Sundays. And I don't have to worry about the lurkers coming out the box on me.
So I don't have to too much censor myself.
(Well, I haven't been bothering to censor myself anyway, lol).
I've spent a good amount of my weekend pondering my priorities.
And how I need to be crystal clear about what they are and keeping them straight.
I don't do this often enough...
And it becomes something akin to taking a short nap in a canoe on a nice day, and then waking up and finding I've floated far from land. And far too late, I realize I've forgotten my compass. I forgot to set the anchor.
And goodness gracious alive, where the hell is my cellphone????!!!!
And is that a gang of sharks circling my canoe? OH LAWD HAVE MERCY!!!
(You get the picture. Uh, stuff can get away from you if you ain't paying attention).
And I have to get up, look to my left, look to my right... and figure some things out.
Ya'll know what I'm saying. I'm trying to explain this to myself, in a way that I can understand my own processes.
Serenity and I have been reading a devotional entitled Woman to Woman: Candid Conversation from Me to You by Joyce Meyer. I like Joyce Meyer, as she comes from a not-so-perfect background, and tends to really relate her teachings through her own history of abuse and self-worth and poverty issues. In other words, she keeps it real, and gets her point across, no holes barred.
Well, Day 15 of our devotional was titled "Determining Your Priorities"
I was intrigued by a set of questions asked that will help determine what my priorities are.
What do I think about the most?
What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night?
What do I pray and talk about the most?
What subjects fill my conversations with God and with others?
What do I do with my time?
Do yourself a favor, and go off in a corner and answer those for yourself. And be real honest about it.
I've answered it for myself in my personal time.
And let's just say, I need to get my priorities straight. Especially the part about what the heck is on my mind. Certain stuff needs to be sat off somewhere in a dark corner of my mind.
No, that mess need to be QUICKLY stashed in a trash bag and set out on the curb.
This morning, I was looking at one of my shows that I watch on Sunday morning, and the pastor broke it down on a more secular tip, of all things:
If I'm having a problem determining my priorities, then I can look at a few things in my life to make it brutally clear where my priorities lay...
1. Take a look at my bank statement.
2. Take a look at my calendar. (Most folks have blackberries, but I keep my schedule in my head, lol).
And this one tripped my head out, as it was totally unexpected.
3. Take a look at the friends I choose to hang around with. Better yet, take a look at the friends/people I shun.
What the world? That produced a serious flurry of *cricket* activity.
Yeah man... go back off to that same corner you were sitting in earlier and ponder that.
#3 is a trip. Really though.
I think I told my brother and sister, and I STILL pound this into their head.
LadyLee Postulate #501:
"If you surround yourself with a good set of high quality people, you've solved 99% of your problems".
That's a bit extreme. Or is it?
Think back on some of your messes. Was there a friend influencing some things?
Think back on your successes. Was there a friend there cheering you on?
Hmmm... ya'll some perfect folks. Maybe I'm just speaking for my imperfect self.
But I submit to you: No one fails or succeeds alone. Someone else is always involved.
Go chew on that. That's tough like some meat that needs to stay in the oven just a little while longer, you see.
Anyway, this is heavy food for thought so early on a Sunday morning.
I won't make this a long post. Because me answering those questions above.
Mayne... Shorty... Homie...
I'll be sitting here typing alll day and well into the evening. it'll be 100 times longer than last sunday's angst filled post.
I got stuff to do today: Like washing clothes, cleaning up, crocheting, working on my lil' NaNoWRiMo project, cooking up some nice vegan fare (well, not vegan... I plan on having a broccoli, mushroom, and cheese pizza for lunch).
But I thought that I would share these little tidbits today. I know if I can honestly look at my priorities from every direction - emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically-
Then I can set my little canoe in the right direction...
Then I can set a proper course...
Get myself back to dry land.
In other words, as my coworker Cowgirl Cre has said "We at the age where we just have to be honest with ourselves."
Yes, we have to be honest enough and alert enough to chin check ourselves.
Chin check one. Check two.
*Ladylee rubbing sore chin*
Yeah, I'm up, alert, and ready to make a few adjustments... the very necessary ones.
Ya'll take care, and have a FINE Sunday... on purpose, as always.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
They are very quiet.
Just a thought, lol...
So we are still going strong with the daily posting. I have no real feeling about that, neither here no there. I just really like to write, that's all.
Anyway, not sure what I will write about. It will be the exact same drill as last weekend. My weekends are routine these days.
I think I will do a past week roundup. There was MUCH that I didn't post about. I tell you, if I posted about all the happenings in my life and going ons in my psyche, I'd have to post about 3 or 4 times a day.
That ain't gonna happen, when I only blog in the early mornings or late midnight hour.
Monday. I took half a day off. (Well, not really. Worked from 12:30-7pm. That is MORE than half a day.
Anyway, I needed to get a home repair taken care of. It was something silly really. I dropped an inkpen in the toilet. Back in June. What is this, November? LOL. Anyway, it was stuck, and wouldn't flush right. I finally called the plumber. I figured it would be 200 bucks or so. Well, dude couldn't get the pen out. I had to buy a new toilet, 530 bucks installed. Geez.
All I could think was "That was an expensive ass pen."
Take home lesson: don't take any objects into the bathroom. Not even a book.
Tuesday. I got ready for work, threw my stuff in the car, placed the key in the ignition and commenced to cranking up the car.
That's all I heard: a click. Turned the lights on, and they faded. Radio wouldn't come on. Tried to crank it again.
This happened last week, but it cranked up, and I kept it moving. I've seemed to roll all over Georgia after that. But Tuesday morning, it didn't go down. I got out the car, shook the cables, and that didn't work. I went back in the house, called my neighbors and their phones are disconnected. (Don't know what's up with that, and I ain't getting into folks bizness). Walked over there in the pouring rain, but they weren't there. (And I am amazed at the number of cameras they have on their house... they even have one pointed at mine). I called LadyTee, and she dropped by and ran me to the local discount auto store. I bought a battery, and tried to install it myself. that didn't work out. I jumped the battery, but got stuck in the street. I called my bootleg emergency mechanic who's about a mile away. Fussed with him, to which he yelled
"Get down here. Don't turn on NOTHING. Just charge and crank. Don't turn on no lights, no wipers, no radio... NUUUUTHING!!!! Get your tail on down here!"
So there I was standing in the middle of the street in the pouring rain, in a hoodie, charging a battery, thinking to myself, "Please don't let the police drive by!" as it looked as I was stealing a car. I would've hated to break out into a hard run for my own house, lol.
I made it down the road, and had the new battery installed. It was 4:30 in the afternoon by then.
Let's just say I didn't make it to work. Really. I took my old battery back to the store so I'd get my 12 dollar core fee back. There's a bowling alley next to the shop (in the hood... I was shocked). I decided to be nosy, and see what was going on. It looked like a club up in there. Negroes were having a GOOD time. I wanted to say "Can I hang with ya'll??" LOL
I went grocery shopping at the vegan grocery store after that...
I had crisped dulse and oven baked potato fries for dinner.
(I'll let you figure out what dulse is).
Wednesday. An off day, as it was Veterans day. So, I had 2 days off in the middle of the week. Wow.
I was suppose to spend the day with my Auntie. But she had a funeral to attend, my great uncle's wife. I didn't go. Haven't dealt with that side of the family since great grandma died. And that was around the age of 8 or something. Auntie kept up with them, though. And if I can get to the end of the year with no more funerals, I'll be okay with that. Looks like I attend a couple a year... which is too much.
I milled around the house. It was raining cats and dogs. I don't even think I looked out the window.
Thursday. I returned to work. It felt strange. It felt odd to return to the pit of negativity, and and mound of paperwork. I sat down and actually got some things done. Not enough, but some.
Friday. Thursday rewind. Got a few things done, but still behind. Got assigned more work. that's fine: prioritize, and keep it moving. I'm not sure what's up with my boss.
She's hasn't been treating me like dirt, and has acted somewhat cordial for the past 3 weeks. I do better when she is not speaking to me anyway.
"You gotta put them angels on folks, Lee. They'll leave you alone," my BFF LadyTee hollered, and has been hollering for a minute. "Get them angels on folk, man!!!"
I raised an eyebrow at this. Siccing angels on peeps seems a bit gangsta. I'll leave that to her, lol.
But it feels good to be left alone. Simply left alone to my own devices.
I decided to go to church on Friday night. I attend one of the SuperMegas, and rarely go on Sundays (I can catch the intannet stream), but I like Friday evening service because there are only a couple hundred people there. So I can go as is, no problem. I'd prepped a gang of cranberries just before I left work, and red cranberry juice was on my clothes, but so what... I wanted to go to church.
On the way to church, we were all barreling hard down the freeway (like all us nondriving ATLiens tend to do), and traffic just came to a sudden complete stop. I gritted my teeth, and was doing all I could not to open my book of cuss (I am impatient in traffic)...
Turns I rolled up on a horrific accident. It had to have JUST happened a couple of minutes early, as I rolled past a flipped over car.
It horrified me. It gave me pause. I went from hollering "what the heck is going on?" to "Oh my God!"
I turned away from it. I would've lost it if I saw a body.
Not sure if there were fatalities. It just looked pretty bad.
I was running late. My coworker has a sinus problem and the cold air bothers her. For the past 2 evenings, I'd been driving her to her car, as the cold night air brings her a lot of pain.
I've learned not to complain about running late. You never know what you've kept out of. I was waaaay to close to that accident.
It gave me pause. I'm still stuck on pause.
I said a prayer for the person in that car. I went on to church. Heard some good word, much of what I'd been thinking on all week.
I had an uneventful drive home. I went to bed.
And now it's Saturday.
I love Saturday. It's a time to reflect on my week.
And I am thankful for my week, with all it's ups and downs. I truly am.
Friday, November 13, 2009
An Oldgirl and her blues.
I figure'd I'd finish up my blues isshas.
When we last talked about this, I was playing my violin very hard, talking about my writitng blues.
I miss the way I use to feel about writing.
Now, it seems I have to dissect every little thing. I can't think like a reader. I have to think like the writer I AM. Finding the fine line between the two has been like trying to find a needle in a haystack. No, like trying a needle in a landfill.
That was one of the reasons I started taking writing classes: I needed to learn to really edit and critique my own work. It is a MUST. But it tends to smother my inner fire... just completely wear me out.
These days, it is even rare for me to read book just for enjoyment or entertainment. I pick up QUICK on problems with whatever I'm reading. At the same time, I can really pinpoint what I do like about what I'm reading, and will even use some of the techniques in my own writing.
This is a good thing, and a bad thing at the same time. Let's just say, although I do read alot, my major form of entertainment these days is television.
Now, there's one thing I do enjoy, that has come away from this... Writing scripts. I've worked on something with Cheap Seats Terry in this past year, and he is simply MASTERFUL in his guidance of me in that respect. Dude is a walking book, I tell you. He has always loved my writing and has been able to pick apart in a great way, my own writing problems. I like the script thing a little better because it is a bit simpler. I've been working on it here and there, and I really need to pick that back up, because it made an Oldgirl happy.
But back to my own personal writing. It slowed down considerably.
Until someone stepped in... And she did some things that would help me look at this situation totally different.
You know who I'm talking about.
No not THAT Queen. I don't want to deal with that Queen. Ya'll can have that.
No, I'm talking about the Queen... The baddest writing Diva in the Solar System.
Author of the award winning novels Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling.
If you want to read something short by her, take a look at Some Thing Blue, which made this years editions of New Stories of the South.
If you've been hanging around the House of LadyLee for any length of time, you will know that she is my FAVORITE author and I'm her number one stalker, uh, I mean, I'm her number one fan.
I worship the ground she walks and spits upon. I truly do. I jock her relentlessly.
She is quite jockable, you see.
I affectionatley call her Miss Celie.
And she refers to me as Nettie...
(That completely baffles people on Facebook. I keep getting messages from people wondering what the hell we are talking about. Don't worry about it! It's secret code, lol).
I like ol' Tayari Jones. She's good peoples, just like Celie.
She got snatched up as a mentor and didn't even know it.
She's always been very helpful. I mean, I can be stuck on some particular writing issue, and I can send a message to the Queen, requesting a conversation about something as simple as the proper naming of characters, and we'd have a phone convo that completely clears everything up. She is a great teacher, and talks to me in a language that I can understand.
This type of thing has been going on for four years. And the more I talk to her, the more I like her. I told my best friend, "You know, that chick is just like us. Got the same thoughts, concerns, go through the same craziness. She NORMAL!"
I like that. She is the only celebrity I know, but she's normal. VERY nice and down to earth, even when she's walking around in her luxurious pink fur coat. (I constantly pick on her about this. I still think she needa to be careful where she wears that thing. She really needs to stay FAR away from the ho stroll when she wears it, lol).
I've learned sooooooo much from her on the writing tip. I owe her for her services. Hope she don't send me a bill.
She's been working on the manuscript for her third book for the last few years, and I have been lobbying HARD for just a page or two of it. 2 or 3 years ago I was over at her Mama and nem's house and an edited chapter was sitting on the dining room table. Tayari walked off, and it took ALLL the goodness in me NOT to steal that chapter. Ohhhh, I wanted to do it so bad, but I didn't.
Just continued to lobby for bits and pieces of this manuscript entitled The Outside Child or The Bigamists Daughters.
She just ignored me. She was being a Mean Celie.
One day, in December of 2007, she and I were chatting on email, and out of the blue. I think I'd stop harrassing her so much. I mean, I didn't want her to think I was some strange stalker or worse...
She was like "I'm going to send you something."
She sent me the first hundred pages of that manuscript.
*Lee falls out in her cubicle*
No I didn't fall out of the cubicle. I remember my heart beating a hundred miles a minute. I remember almost tripping over my feet running to the printer at the end of our cubicle area.
Lawd have mercy! That was the BEST early christmas gift in the world. I read that what she gave me, and I remember reading the last page of it. I was sitting on the edge of my bed, shaking in my socks.
I sent her a text message of how wonderful it was... And it inspired me so much, that during my Christmas break that year, I made it a goal to spend at least 40 hours over those 2 weeks of vacation, just writing. I got SO much done during that time. So much...
Well, fast forward to June of this year (I think it was June). Tayari had finally finished her manuscript. Oh the joy we all felt!
And she asked me a most interesting question.
"Would you be one of my readers?"
I had to go off on her for that one. I couldn't understand why she was asking. She was suppose to be like: "Look here, broad... I'm sending this 400 pages and you BETTER read it!!!!!"
She said she was trying to be polite.
What the HELL!??
I said, unceremoniously of course, that I would read it. (You piss me off with all that politeness, Celie. Really).
Now, I thought for a moment that she was just patronizing me. I mean, I'd been harrassing her for a long time over this. But I sent her 7 pages of notes on that 100 pages I read a back in 2007, and she actually read them and took them seriously. And we even talked about it. So I know she meant business, and wanted my thoughts on the entire project.
And it did something interesting for me. It was sort of like in the movie Karate Kid. You know, when Mr. Miagi tells the dude to go paint the fence and wax the car.
Now, every writer has a critique squad. I have my own, The Original Oldgirl Critique Team. I am proud of my team. I've been more interested in people who read for enjoyment, as some of them come back with a lot of uh, emotion. That let's me know I hit a nerve, and what I am writing is authentic. I'm not a literary writer, but I am more interesting in plot driven type stuff, more interested in shock and punch. I want to upset you, lol...
At the same time, I have the writing class for more technical critiquing. So, it's a one-two punch type of thing for me. I don't have the type of clout to have a team of writers to read my stuff. Hopefully someday I will.
But Tayari has her "Team T." And she allowed me to be on this very special team. She even posted her criteria for choosing those who would be on her critique team. (See "Assembling
Team T." )
And it was like her way of giving me a paint brush and telling me to go paint the fence.
All of it. Both sides.
Now, as a result of all this, I don't feel so bad about sitting down critiquing and editing my own work. I am MUCH more open to that. As a matter of fact, I do much more of that than writing. I am more open to stepping off my stringent path. My feelings about my own work are a bit more, I don't know... healthy.
So I thank you for that, Tayari. I thank you for allowing me to be on that first team of readers.
I sat down, and I think over about 6 weeks times I read the whole manuscript and took copious notes. She wanted me to send her my notes, but I was hollering about how I wanted to type them up. I even rewrote certain sections, for my own learning purposes. (Man, I wouldn't DARE give that stuff to her. The horror, lol).
And it inadvertantly did something GRAND for me. I use to have an immense amount of trouble sitting down and reading and critiquing my own material. There was some block there. I would correct my own stuff, but I was upset about it.
After combing through 400 pages of Tayari's rough draft, and critically thinking about every word and idea she presented in her storyline AND having phone convos with her about certain parts really helped me with my own writing.
I have found that, after going through that process, I don't mind sitting down and reading my own work and making notes about it and making changes... to make it much better.
And I owe Tayari a load of gratitude for such.
Thank you very much, Miss Jones. Like I've always told you, you are my favorite writer in the whole wide world, and I am your number one fan. I can't really express how blessed I am to have open access to you, and for your willingness to help me freely and in any which way you can. Thanks for nurturing the writer in me, and doing all you can to help me with my confidence. And on top of that, you are a "normal" chick. That's a good thang!!
Thanks Celie, for doing something for me that at times I couldn't do for myself: believing in me as a writer, and encouraging me...
For I am the Speed Racer...
And it feels good to have my own Racer X...
And by the way... congratulations on that manuscript of yours, The Silver Girl. (I love that name. It is VERY appropriate).
It'll be published sometime next year through Algonquin books. Good for you, Celie!
Now, I'm still working through my issues... But I must tell you, I've made MUCH progress mentally. My mind is freer, and I can make it do what it do, lol.
Let's just say, I have several stories ready for submission... I hope for something interesting in the new year myself.
Ya'll have a great weekend... On purpose.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! HEAR YE! Wassssuuuup!!!!
Blog Fam hollers "Shut up LadyLee and say whatcha gotta say, Gal!"
I was talking on the phone to The Green Eyed Bandit the other day. Her son the Baby Bandit had left a message for me to call. The young bruh made his highschool basketball team and he was calling all his fans to let them know.
This means that I will be making pilgramidges down to ol' red neck Henry county to see him play.
Anyway, me and Green Eyed Bandit was talking.
"Lee, the 2011 Bandit family cruise is on."
"Really?" I said. "Where ya'll going?"
"Aruba, and some other places."
We talked about all this for a minute. She sent me an email about it last week, but I missed it. Green Eyed Bandit is the leader of the Finance crew so she sends A LOT of email.
Turns out it's an 8 day cruise... Hitting 3 countries I've wanted to go to, but could just not afford...
I looked around and found it over on a site that details all the cruises in the world, at vacationstogo.com. Go have look-see.
2011 cruise information.
8 days... hitting up Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Curacao, Aruba... 650 bucks (through the Bandit Family deal). HMMMMM.
"I'm hijacking, Bandit!" I yelled. "Tell Mama Bandit and Auntie Bandit that I'm taking this one over! This gonna be the LadyLee 41st birthday bash!"
Green Eyed Bandit laughed hard at that.
"And I'm announcing it on my blog."
She didn't seem to care. Their family is quite hood. The more the merrier. And if they gotta beat some people down, that'll just be more people to help out in the fight.
I got a message from Auntie Bandit on my Facebook page, saying that she heard I was going on the 2011 trip. I replied yeah, that I was going, and I was hijacking.
She told me "Don't be tardy for the party".
Well... I think that's a song. Somebody's been watching Real Housewives. LOL
This cruise hits 3 places I want to go: Curacao, Aruba and Turks and Caicos. Those were toooo rich for my 2010 trip. I do believe a week in an all inclusive resort in those countries would run AT LEAST 2000 bucks. That is too much.
I'm doing the Dominican Republic for 900 bucks for my 40th birthday.
And if you wanna go, final payment is due the day before Christmas... Folk dropping out, and I truly understand, cuz this economy is a MUTHA.
But the Oldgirl is leaving the country from now on for her birthday. LOL
This one is about 3 weeks after my birthday, but that's okay.
"Green-Eyed Bandit," I yelled, "Telll your Mama and 'em that my birthday is on the 7th of February, and they need to stop planning stuff too early or too late.
*Mama Bandit squints hard at screen*
Yeah, I know you lurk around these parts, Mama Bandit. Ya'll need to get that right!
(She gonna whoop my tail when she see me, lol).
So that's the special announcement.
If you're going, you better come on.
25 dollar down payment by 11/23.
You can't beat that! Come on, now. 8 day cruise!
Get on it, doggonit!!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
One of my all time favorite rap songs... Salt N Pepa's "I desire", circa 1987.
I loved this rap so much... So much so that my boyfriend at the time, Eli, who I just simply loved so much, recognized that it was MY song.
He would pick me up from the train station every day after school in his maroon Ford Escort, and he would have that song playing...
And a cold bottle of Pineapple Coconut Champale waiting for me.
(Don't ask me why I was drinking. I was only 17 or 18. He was 19 or 20. I have NO idea where or how he got the Champale. He just always had a nice cold bottle wating for me.)
Ah yes, Ah yes... those were the days.
Another of my favorites from that same album: "Love Bandit" by Salt-N-Pepa, circa 1986.
It contains some of my favorite lyrics...
You're at the window
Staring at the sky
Birds fly by
You start to wonder why
You not by my side
Sharing the Dream
That one day you'll be my King and I'll be your Queen...
Well, Eli and I broke up. He became interested in another young lady.
Part of the problem was that I was concentrating on school to much. (Red flag here. And I was too young to understand red flags and all they meant).
I was devastated by all of this. I briefly spoke about this in a guest post over at Serenity's spot. Ohhhh, I was so emotionally busted up over it all.
I know a good year later, I walked into my Mama's house, and he was sitting there with his newborn baby girl, visiting with my Mama. I said hello and when on upstairs, didn't even look at the crying baby. (Ya'll know I don't cheese in negroes faces. I'm still impolite like that).
I went upstairs and cried, in all my 21-year-old angst.
Took me 2 years to ge over Eli.
Flash forward to a 26-year-old LadyLee.
I was driving home from the grocery store on a hot summer day. I'd picked up a few groceries because me and my man, and LadyTee and her man were going to get together at my duplex and grill out and chill out.
I noticed a white van following me. Scared me a bit, but I went on home anyway. I parked in the driveway and the van parked on the street, blocking me in the driveway. I hesitated to get out of the car. But I got out anyway, thinking I could run for the door if need be. I made it too the front porch and was about to unlock my door.
Someone got out of the van. I turned to see who it was, and was still working on getting the door open.
It was Eli.
I raised an eyebrow at that. I hadn't seen dude in 5 years.
"Hey, how you doing?" he asked as he walked up to the front porch.
"Fine," I said. I just stood there looking down at him. He still looked the same, chocolate brown skin, still slim, big brown eyes.
He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his khakis. "I just wanted to say hello, and I just wanted to know that I still love you," he said.
There was a moment of silence. Birds chirped. A car drove by.
"Uh, okay. That's nice," I said.
Neither of us said anything.
I just remember looking at him and having no feelings about him whatsoever. And it felt REAL good.
"That's nice," I said. "Could you get the groceries out the car for me."
He looked a little stunned, but being the polite dude he is, he got the groceries out of my car and sat them on the porch.
I don't know what else was said. There was NO talk of me wailing about how I still loved-ed him, and us falling into some mad passionate kiss and living happily ever after.
I didn't want dude. He had had 4 babies by three different women by then. Had been married and divorced a couple of times.
I was working on my doctorate degree. You do the math.
Although I do wish I could have recited the special lyrics of that song above.
You're at the window
Staring at the sky
Birds fly by
You start to wonder why
You not by my side
Sharing the Dream
That one day you'll be my King and I'll be your Queen...
Oh that would have been CLASSIC.
But I wasn't thinking about that. I was a bit perturbed. LadyTee and I discussed this much. She as my BFF was ready to fight. ("That nigga got the nerve to run up on somebody. Stupid ass!"). My boyfriend was a bit perturbed. He was a former vice cop, and let's just say, he had Eli's information and asked if he and his homeboy should go take care of him. That wasn't necessary. Oldboy and his shady friend were crazy, had an uncanny love for guns, and I'd still be in jail right now for whatever they did to Eli. I called my Mama and went off on her for giving Eli my information. She said she didn't, and since I rejected him, he probably would not run up on me anymore.
So when I hear that old Salt-N-Pepa, my memories are stirred. I have thoughts of:
Pineapple coconut Champale.
And me standing at the window
Staring up at the sky...
Birds flying by...
... And me being thankful that Eli dumped me for another.
No telling where I would be right now if I stayed with him.