Saturday, December 31, 2011

Food for Thought: This Year...

Oh well...

2011 is just hours from being history... from being in the past, from being behind us...

And I have spent all week thinking, as I usually do at the end of every year, of that year, and what I learned, what I found to be significant...

Where I succeeded and where I failed.

And I want to take this time to look back on a few things.

I did better with my finances this year. I met my savings goals and set some new ones. Matter of fact, I was looking back at a Finance post I did back in January 2011, and I actually did quite well. I began setting and implementing new financial goals for the new year around December 1st, so I am happy about that.

I finished a manuscript this year. Earlier this year, I finished my manuscript Watch. It was short for me, around 240 pages. Very complicated stuff. A bunch of bloggers read through that draft and I had some AMAZING discussions with people.

I can't say that I have written much more this year. I really hate long form things, like novel length, works. Many of you have read Sweet Heat and Watch, and I can't thank you for all the help and feedback I received. It was wonderful. But like I said, I don't like long form. I love very short pieces, much of which has been placed on this blog. I know I had to have written 10 short-shorts this year for your enjoyment. That's what I enjoy.

But when I complete something long, I am happy for it. There are nice touches throughout, and I always write with a good underlying moral to the story. I think I would love writing long form if I didn't have the distraction of working my job everyday.

I have about 10 novels in my head. Wouldn't you like to read all that?

My relationship with my sister has grown this year. I tell you, if you have ever met my sister, you will notice that she is 10 times quieter than me. AND she is 10 times funnier than me. I must say I really love talking to her because she REALLY makes me laugh. But this year, we have had good heart-to-heart talks. She has had to encourage me, and she gives great advice. I have been angry about a few things in the latter part of this year, and she has been good about setting my head straight, and hearing my frustrations. She explains things very well. I would have never thought that would happen, sense there is an 11 year difference in our ages, but I guess we are just getting older now. I am more thankful for her, each and every day. We are not part of a close knit family, but she makes me feel like I have some family, and that I am a part of something special.

I met a bunch of bloggers and readers this year. Jennifer, Mzinspiredmind, Marille, Lisa B., Singlema, Tazzee, Remnants, and whoever else I left out. I even ran into bloggers I've met in the past, like Southern Black Gal and Serenity again this year. Phenomenal people. I tell you, the depth of wisdom that has been imparted into me... man, I wouldn't trade it for theeworld.

One such blogger who has had a daily impact on my life, virtually all year is blogger Adrienne. This year she has been my online Mama. Funny how that happen. She
would be on twitter talking about how she really loves her husband and children and how she loves being a mother and wife.

I thought this was HILARIOUS. Why? Because my mother never thought of me as such. I went and told my sister about this. We were O_o. We have never heard of such of thing. Our mother does NOT feel that way about us. We couldn't even imagine our mother saying such a thing. WOW.

So I would holler "Can you adopt me? Can you be my Mama?"

So the running joke began.

Funny. I don't call her by her first name. I call her Mama. I am suppose to work on that for 2012. We will see. I know her family thinks I am a bit.... special. Because I call her brothers, "Uncle". I call her Mama "Grandma". I call her husband "Uncle Tony". (He is NOT my daddy. He better roll with the Uncle. LOL). And her childrens are my siblings. They know I am the eldest child.

LOL. (They tend to be polite and smile at me. I know she has sat them down and told them that I am... special. LOL)

I remember LadyTee saying one day, "But she is, like, younger than you, girl. But-"

She almost got tackled and thrown to the floor for that observation. "BE QUIET, LADYTEE," is what I yelled.

But I can't even explain the impact she has had on my life. She helps me work on my spiritual growth. She has such an interesting depth of wisdom, from which I have benefitted greatly. There is so much to her than meets the eye. Just a degree of multifacetness that I have rarely seen in people. I can tell her things, and there is no judgment. She has kept me out of some potential messes. Overall, she is a very kind person. I consider her not only a friend, but a much undeserved gift from God. Just a fascinating Oldgirl indeed. And I am glad to have met her. And she continues to have a daily impact on my life. I hope that is not for just a reason or for a season, as God tends to place people on my path for specific purposes and to solve specific problems. I hope it is ongoing. I really do.

You's good people, Mama. And don't you ever forget it.

But overall, it was great to meet so many readers and bloggers. Ya'll are some PHENOMENAL people.

I gave more this year. No, not to church. I suppose I need to work on that. I am a tither, but funny on the offering side of things, meaning, I don't have a set offering goal. I don't keep up with that. Not sure what that is about.

But I mean I gave more into people's lives. I have a set figure I give to people per year. I didn't meet that in 2010. But I more than met it this year. I enjoy being able to be part of meeting a need or a dream. I really do. And you know why? Because I am always working on my selfishness issues. Always. To the point where I am a bit more sensitive to when I am being selfish, and I make note to correct it. And that is all I can ask for: to be sensitive to the needs of others, and to be quick to correct myself when I am being selfish.

From selfish to selfless. That is important to me. Because we are living in a strange time. A time of what can I get from you and how much can you do for me. I want NO parts of that. NONE.

That is the goal. And I made some strides in that manner.

I am growing. I always tell my sister, "It's like walking from Atlanta to California. Just get started. We will eventually get there. The important thing is to walk in that direction."

I am walking in the direction of selfless. I have far to go.

One day I will get there.

I prayed more this year. My goal this year was to get up and pray for an hour every morning, every day this year. Sometimes that worked out. Sometimes it didn't. I would say I had a 90% success rate on that goal.

So that works out to around 330 out of 365 days out of the year. That is ALOT. And I pray every day, it just that a few days, it was less than an hour. I am talking about a FULL hour. So I think 90% is not bad.

And you will not believe the answers I got, or the personal revelations. You wouldn't believe it if I told you. I've posted a few things here on blog, mostly because I really need to go back and read it when I need it. Most things I refuse to post, but I tend to talk about it offline if it comes up in convo (Trust, it always does. There is some situation that the answer fits, if not for me, for someone else.) There had been, one time, a 2 hour turn around on a prayer (which was odd, since I was a bit ticked about something, and was a bit sarcastic... uh, that got shut down).

And I must say, the majority of the time, the answers are never what I would think they would be. It got to a point where I started keeping a written record of answers. Not as stringent as I would have, but there have been some intangible things that have helped me gain a better understanding of some personal issues that I have been dealing with. For that I am thankful.

And I know one thing: any answered prayer comes with asterik.

*this answer is NOT subject to or takes into account people's opinions and approval.

Thank goodness for that.

And you know me, I ain't a "gimme" type of chick. I don't pray with any type of motive. For me, it was all about working on my relationship with God. It was about increasing my level of commitment, spirituality, and growth. It has gotten to the point that I SO look forward to waking up in the morning and praying. That is the very first thing on my mind. Not all the work drama, not the things going on in my life, not the news, none of that.

The first thing on my mind each day is to get up and spend time with the Father. And that right there, sets the tone for my day.

I am writing about it here because it was something important to me. Moreso in the vein of finding a level of consistency. I find that if I am consistent when it comes to God, it spreads out into my being more consistent with myself, and with others in life. And it also increases my level of personal peace.

This will continue. And it will get deeper and better. And I will grow in my character. I know I will.

Biggest Realization of the Year. If I see people who are working on their personal growth and character, those are the people I need to get to know and pay close attention to.

People who think that they are all that, and they don't need to work on themselves... the people that I like to think of as "perfect people", are a trip. These seem to be the people who wreak havoc in other people's lives. Seems like when they are around, even the dogs, cats, goldfish and cockroaches' lives get worse.

You don't believe me? Pay close attention and you will see what I am talking about. That is all.

I realized that this year.

And when these people walk out of the room and out of our lives, seems like we can all stand up and recover.

Biggest realization of the year #2. I spend 1% of my time per week in Church. If that much. 99% of my time is spent doing something else. So I am not sure what all the religious fighting is about. I am who I am truly when I ain't in church. I am who I am when no one is looking. Character is what you are doing when no one is looking. My goal is to work on THAT. I will leave the arguing to everybody else.

Listen, I don't care where you go to church. As long as you are happy. Don't hate on me for where I go to church. I am happy. Do an Oldgirl a favor and come at me with something that you learned, that will bless me and help me grow. I would really apprecitate that.

Biggest ralization of the year #3. I realizing that I am getting older. Every morning when I wake up, and look in the mirror, I notice more and more gray hair, scattered all about my hairline. It's odd to me.

I still feel young. I am still a young chicken.

But I don't worry about it. You won't hear me whining about it. Man, it is SO much more important that I woke up to see a new day, especially with this lupus. I have MANY more good days than bad. And I was looking at some bloodwork paperwork the other day, and I am actually in the very light category. I have been moderate for years, so that is a plus.

So if I wake up in the morning and my hair is completely gray? So be it. I am just a day older.

I am happy to see a new day. And each day is such a wonderful gift.

So those are my personal ponderings for the year 2011. There's much more. But I won't go on.

I just know that this has been a very rich year for your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee.

Yes indeed.

Man oh man... I can't wait to see what the year 2012 will bring.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Food for Thought: A Pretty Gift

We tend to see a pretty gift...

Wrapped all nice, pretty paper and bows.

We see it, we want it, we imagine in our thoughts all of what wonderful things are inside.

Gotta be something nice inside, right?

Because look how beautifully it's wrapped.


Alas, we spend time opening it...

Carefully removing the expensive paper, removing the expertly applied tape and untying the bows.

We open the box and what we find inside is NOT what we were expecting.

We frantically try to close the gift.

But now it's too late.

Because we've seen it, smelled it, heard it, tasted it...

Felt it.

We hurry and try to close the box, but it is too late...

The damage is done.

It's on us. It's in us.

And the residue, it's hard to rub off. We rub so hard that we rub our skin raw.

The residue... the consequences are latched to us like a leach...

Taking us to unknown places, directions unseen...

And the regret, it settles in for the ride...

And the ride...

The ride is long.

Hmm... Interesting.

But I got that one day, maybe a week or two ago, after some of my ussal morning prayer. I am not particularly sure what was on my mind that day. But that came up.

I didn't understand it until I wrote it all down. Even now, it is still pregnant with revelation.

I can look back over my year, and well, really, my whole life and I can see how I went after things that were very appealing to me, but once I realized what was really going on, those things and people were not good for me at all. As a matter of fact, those people and things were a detriment to my life.

And once I realize this, it isn't so hard to walk away. I have made the decision to walk away.

But the residue of the interaction... it is long lasting. The thoughts, memories, regrets, decisions, etc... stays with me.

And this little parablish story goes a long way to explain something I've been trying to understand all week:

We can control what decisions we make, but we can't control the consequences of those decisions.

I was watching a program on TV, and the person said that we make around 200 decisions per day. Just on a daily basis. Decisions on what to do, what to say, where to go, who to interact with, etc.

That's a LOT of decisions.

But with those decisions come consequences.

Consequences are built into the decisions. They, these consequences, are the results of decisions. They come with the package.

They are what is inside the pretty gift box.

And as I get older, I am learning, in all my decision-making, to think about the consequences of the decisions. If I don't like the consequences, I most likely will squash the decision.

However, I have a long long way to go in that. Sometimes, I get it wrong. Sometimes I get it right.

I think for myself, the goal now, is to be sure to be brutally honest with myself. I am learning to examine the root of my decisions. It is at times, a painful process.

Because we want what we want, right?

We want that pretty gift.

But it is painful to realize that gift, although appealing, may not be the best for us. Too much mess can result from embracing it. And sometimes the sheer memory and thought of it... the residue left behind after we have gotten rid of what we thought was a great gift, is so hard to rid ourselves of.

Just a little something I've been thinking about concerning this "pretty gift".

Man, I could go on and on. I will be pondering it for awhile indeed.

And I will be sure to examine my pretty gifts more closely...

And what could possibly be inside.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Food for Thought: My Bed and My Mind

A couple of months ago, I was watching television, and someone said something very interesting. I quickly found a piece of paper and wrote it down.

"Your mind is just like your bed: you have to make it up everyday, and be careful who you let sleep in it."

That has been on my mind for a couple of months.

We've always been told to make up our beds in the morning.

I've never seen the point of it. Afterall, I'm just going to get back in it later that evening. Right?

But a bed is usually the center of the room. And a made-up bed makes a room look neater. There have been times when the room can be trash, but if I make up my bed... that is the start of me getting the rest of the room cleaned.

So I can say the same about my mind, my thinking. This has been a year that I can see clearly that if I make my mind up about something, then things straighten themselves out. If I am a bit on the fence about things, well, things tend to stay in their ruffled state.

Just like a bed that hasn't been made up.

The other part of the quote... be careful who you let lay up in your bed.

That is a little clearer. Moreso with experience. I thing the older we get, the more careful we are about who we are sleeping with. When you have been hurt one too many times, that becomes of high priority.

Usually someone who sleeps in your bed, the person you are physically involved with, not only has your body... but your heart also.

So of course, it is important to be extra careful about that.


But I am more interested in the mental analogy here.

I am becoming more cognizant of who I let rent space in my mind. Most importantly, who or what is taking up my thinking? And is it a mental drain or not.

I tend to be very extreme. I either deal with you or I don't. No fakery from me. And trust, if I sniff a whiff of any psychological Jedi mind tricks and games - you know what I'm talking about... you know how people can be - I probably won't have much to do with you.

Why? Because I don't like being in mental bondage to people. I know I will be thinking about your trickery later, i.e., you will be renting space in my mind. Ain't good for me, an Oldgirl who is trying her best to stay on top of my anger management isshas.

And this is a year that I've had to evict some folk and issues. Hate to be like that, but you know my way of thinking: if you're not being a blessing to me, and I'm not being a blessing to you... then uh... you know.

Anyway, that's what that quote had me thinking about. I am working on not meditating on bad situations and people who are not good for my life. I am cognizant of making up my mind about things. Of course their are a plethora of things that I haven't made my mind up about, and for the new year, I want to get on top of making my mind up about those things.

For the past couple of months, I have made my mind up about my day. My morning confession has been:

"This is a day the Lord has made, and whether it's a sunny or dreary, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. This is a day that has been planned for, and but not seen. Today will be a great day for me. I will make a positive impact today."

I have my mind made up about that. Yes indeed. And it has helped me appreciate my days more, and not take anything for granted. Any good thing that happens, I am glad of it. And I notice good things more.

So... do you have your mind made up or are you wavering concerning certain issues and people?

Are you careful about who and what rents space in your mind?

Who's laying up in your bed today... that don't need to be there?

Best question of all:

Did you make your bed up today?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Food for Thought: The Year End Edition

So I thought I would end this year with a bit of Food for Thought.

A series.

The Year End Edition.

If I posted all that has been on my mind this year, what has influenced me, etc., these posts would go well into the new year. But I won't do that. I will stay less than prolific and put up some things I have gotten through prayer, some things I picked up on, some things I have read, or heard in a sermon here or there...

So here's a quote, a little something for you to ponder.

"Management is the process of assuring that the program and objectives of the organization are implemented. Leadership, on the other hand, has to do with casting vision and motivating people. People don't want to be managed. They want to be led." -- John C. Maxwell

A most interesting quote.

And it was always below the signature of one of a my former coworkers who just retired. It was his signature quote.

And he had many problems with management.

And he was the respected chosen leader amongst the employees.

What a great quote, man.

And I could see management SEETHING everytime they read it...

Or hopefully they were wondering if they fit the bill.


It indirectly reminds me of a bible verse. Earlier this year, a reader said something that reminded me of it. I had to go back and take a look at it.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This Christmas...

Christmas 2011 was a quiet Christmas, just like last year.

And an Oldgirl likes that.

We don't have big sweeping family Christmases anymore. No unwrapping of gifts, no fanfare, no big dinners. None of that. I think the problem with me, as with my sister, there was SO much competition: who bought the best gifts, etc., that as adults, it is just desired to treat it as another day, remembering the true reason for the season, and to keep things... quiet.

But me and my sister, we got together. I decided to go over to her house. She likes to cook, and since I cooked for Thanksgiving, she cooked for Christmas.

She made fried chicken, collard greens, green bean casserole, rice, and a cheesy potato casserole. She also made sweet potato pie, and she had german chocolate cake from a bakery we love.

And you know me. I never go anywhere empty handed.

I sauteed some purple cabbage, and I made field peas.

I also made something she has been asking for since March: some gumbo.

She was shocked when I showed up with that. I don't make it because I don't really eat much meat anymore, so I don't see the point. Plus there is a good vegan version at my local natural foods co-op, so no need to make it.

But I gave her enough to freeze up. Let's just say she is good for 2012.

Kentucky always gives the nicest gifts. She listens real hard, and that's how she buys her gifts. (I, on the other hand, am not quite as savvy).

I mentioned awhile ago that I wanted a tea kettle, and was looking for one. And that is what she got me.

Very high class and sheek. It does not look like your typical tea kettle.

She also gave me some pads that she's been raving about.


That is all right, because hey, let's face it, we always need that!


It reminds me of my Mother's Christmas gift to my Aunt for so many years: an economy box of Maxithins. Sometimes the oversized box would be gift wrapped, or it would be in a plastic bag. Either which way, they would pass it quietely between themselves.

We weren't as quiet about it!

I told my sister I didn't get her anything. She was fine with that. Neither of us want anything, just to have a drama free time.

However, I did get her a gas card.

She was HAPPY about that!

And she got her gumbo! She was BEYOND thrilled about that.

We had a nice time. We watched a couple of movies Little Red Riding Hood, and The Lovely Bones. Both good, but strange. I had the itis, i.e., dozed on the sofa after eating. We had a good talk about life and things going on with each of us, and what we learned about this year, and what we see for the upcoming year.

I had a good time with my sister. Can't wait for next year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Freestyles: The Eve before Christmas Eve

Happy Friday!

The Eve before Christmas Eve.

I have had a pretty decent day thus far. First of all, I am HAPPY to be OFF from work. That in itself make it great day.

I woke up this morning pondering whether to go to Friday Morning bible study. This shouldn't really be an option for me, since I LOVE morning bible studies. But you know how it is when it is cold outside and you gotta deal with all that, etc. Uh, not a good look. But I got up and got dressed and got on out of here. I am glad that I did. Heard an interesting message on grace from one of the lady ministers. Good stuff!

Yet, on the way there, I ran into the Mayor of my 'Hood, Snake.

Hustling Pecans on the corner.

He asked if I wanted a bag. They were 2 for $5.

I told him I didn't have a nutcracker.

He said I should bring my car down to the I shine you shine car wash.

Now, he drove past my house in a Mercedes the other day. They have a pick up/drop off service. But that's cool for the luxury cars. I have a zoom zoom. You won't be picking up my car, sir.

I can just hear him now.

"Uh, LadyLee, it looks as if we have misplaced your car."

Uh no. I will take it down there and WATCH them wash it. That is as good as it gets!


I told him I would catch up to him this weekend. Maybe get a bag of pecans for my Grandma. She likes to crack them. That is just too much going on for me. White People's Kroger got plenty shelled pecans, and they will do just fine.

I will spend the rest of my day cleaning up and cooking. I have some beans that need snapping. I want to make some black eye peas and cabbage.

Gooooood eating, man! Good eating.

Still waiting for Chele, or Lisa b., or Ginae or Remnants to get over here with the chitlins... so they can start cleaning them.

And Christmas is coming... time is winding down!

You all better get on those red bucket chittlin' cleaning duties at your house too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011



I holler this as I jump up and down on my bed!

I am OFF from work!

Until January 4th or 8th!

(haven't decided whether to extend or not yet. Don't matter, I will cross that raggedy bridge when I get theeeerrrrreeee).

*jumping up and down on bed*

I am OFF!

It feels GOOD!!

Feels so good that I just gotta play my feel good song, my "I ain't gotta go ta work, ninjas!" song!!!


*lee STILL jumping up and down on the bed...HARD*

Oh my! All worn out now.

I text someone last night, "Man, I don't smoke weed no more, but if I did, I'd be HIGH AS A KITE right now!"

Ha! Ha!

And if I was a drinker, I'd be WASTED right now!

Holiday wasted!

Alas, that ain't the case. Not sure what I wanna do today. I know I need to make a run to the farmers market before all the Christmas rush tomfoolery. My sister has been asking for some gumbo since, uh, let's see, March of this year. Ya think it's time for me to make her a pot?

So that is the main duty of the day. If I get at least that much done, I am GOOD.

I'll go do that, and then come back and watch some Judge shows!


Look out for some posts from me. I got all the time in the world to do so!

Have a great Thursday! On Purpose!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adventures at the White People's Kroger, Part II

So, as you saw in part I of my Kroger's adventure, I like to peruse the store, looking for new and interesting things...

And I was walking down a particulary ethnically inclined aisle, where they have things sectioned off by asian and mexican. But here, and the WP Krogers, they have a Jamican section, a Morrocan section, a Kosher section, etc...

They also have a british section.

And I saw a can of something on the shelf...

Look closely at that picture. YOU KNOW what I saw. I ain't printing it, since this is a rated PG blog.

YOU see what I'm talking about... The can of spotted...


That was in the British section. For the brits.

Where is my girl Mzinspiredmind? She's a quadroon chicken. Some of her relatives are from over there around that ways.

Hey girl, why you didn't tell me about the Spotted D??


I looked to my left, looked to my right... picked the can of spotted D, shook it around.

And quickly put it back.

I didn't want anyone seeing me with my hands on the spotted D. Nerp.

I looked it up when I got home. It is a type of steamed pudding made with suet (beef lard). And it has fruit in it. And you eat it with custard.

I found MANY videos on Youtube. Apparently it is very popular over in Britain.

Yeah, uh... I like making new things, but I will NOT be making that.

Plus, I don't have any custard to go with it. Nope. And I ain't buying any.

Oh the wonderful things I see when I peruse the aisles of the White People's Kroger!

Yo, Mzinspiredmind... Hon, you and yo Mama...

Ya'll make it, tell me how it is!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Adventures at the White People's Kroger, Part I

You all know how much I LOVE the White People's Kroger.

It's the Kroger they build in the regentrified hood, when all the White People move back intown. And it's better than the regular Kroger, you see. It has to look like the Kroger on the North side of town.

It even has it's own wine steward! *ladylee raises an eyebrow*

(But they play a lot of Jodeci and Luther Vandross. I have not heard not one Britney Spears or Barry Manilow song. *crickets* I haven't quite figured that one out yet).

My Pharmacy is located there. They get a kick out of me.

"I don't want all my meds today. Gimme $20 worth!"
Pharm Tech looks at me all crazy.
"I gots the money, man! I just don't wanna pay $70 bucks. That's like paying a bill or something. Gimme $20 dollars worth!"


And I like to wander around, peruse the interesting new things there. They are constantly changing. Gotta keep the intown white folks content you see.

So imagine my surprise when I saw the chitterlings there.

On sale for $7.99.

I learned that white folks eat chittlins when I was attending grad school. My friend says his family batters and fries them in hot grease. Hmmm... Never had them like that before!

But I am tripping on the price. Last time I even perused the chitterling section, they were $4.99 a pound. What's up with the price hike?

Anyway, Chele? Ginae? Lisa B.?

One of ya'll older chickens who know how to properly clean chittlins!?

Stop by the White People's Krogers and pick up a couple of red buckets and come on by the house and sit them over in my laundry sink to thaw! And don't get the container with the spilled blood on it. NASTY. Get INTACT buckets please. INTACT and clean. Please. Much Obliged.

You won't be using my kitchen sink. Ya'll not cleaning chittlins where I wash dishes. Laundry sink is just fine. Milk and Cookies, my brother, used it once to hold his shark.

I reckon it will work just fine for chittlin' cleaning. Ya'll work that out!

Only 5 days 'til Christmas! Better get on it!

But that's not the strangest thing I saw at the White people's Kroger...

Stay tuned for Part II.

Monday, December 19, 2011

LadyLee in the Kitchen!

If you know me, then you know I have my pet peeves.

One of them is that I cannot STAND spending all day in the kitchen.

And I'm not even talking about a hot kitchen, with the oven on high and the pots boiling over on the stove. Nerp. I'm talking about just not liking to spend too much time in the kitchen.

But then there are those times I don't mind. Like when I make my red pepper ketchup.

And to tell the truth, it isn't all day. Maybe a couple of hours.

And that feels like all day.

But I LOVE this ketchup. I first had it at the Watershed some 4 years ago. It came as a condiment with the fried oyster appetizer. I remember saying to the waitress? "Red pepper ketchup? What the world? Bring me a side of tartar sauce with my oysters."

She said I would really enjoy it. And she was right! It is indeed a surpising taste.

So I bought the chefs cookbook, and lo and behold, I saw it in there.

I didn't know you could make ketchup out of any veggie, fruit or nut. I just always thought ketchup was tomato ketchup. So I made it 4 years ago, and I make it now, like, every 2 years.

It's not that hard. It is more a matter of getting all the chopping of the vegetables done. WOW!

I needed 9 cups of red bell peppers, and 5 cups of onions. All chopped.


That was the worst part. Let's just say, I turned on the TV in the living room, hoping to find a good Lifetime Movie. LOL. Nope, I watched a couple of shows on ESPN. That was all that was on good on Sunday morning before Church.

I also had to sterilize my Mason jars.

I boiled those, along with my tongs for gripping them, for a good hour. Not sure I did that right. But I took all the lids and jars out and let them dry on a paper towel.

(That was painstaking. Had to be careful not to touch nothing.)

I threw all my peppers in a skillet, but the skillet was much too small.

That is my favorite skillet, though. It is 20 years old. First skillet I bought for my new place when I was in grad school. That's an ollllldddd skillet.

But I couldn't use it. Had to bring out a dutch boiler (I think that's what it is called).

In addition to the chopped red bell peppers and onions, I also had to finely chope some ginger and garlic (UGH! That took forever). There were also a TON of spices to measure out. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and some more I can't even remember).

I added all of those to the pot with a half cup of water, and simmered it for about half an hour, while sitting there stirring and tossing it with tongs.

After the peppers and onions softened up, I added it all to a blender and pureed it.

First time I did that, it wasn't cute. Adding hot stuff to a blender... man, I don't even want to talk about it. Let's just say an Oldgirl is much more careful these days. LOL

I added brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, 2 cups each, and let that simmer for about an hour and a half. I carefully poured everything into my cooled jars, and capped them off.

Not sure how much that came out to be. Looks like with all those doggone peppers I cut up, I should have more than that! But once it cooks down and reduces some of the water out, I guess that is all I get. But that is cool.

The top bigger jar is an old jar I used last time, and that alone lasted 2 years in the fridge. I plan to give the others as gifts. I want to leave one on the shelf, just to see if I did the sterilizing process correctly. I wish I could find an older lady from the Celie Color Purple era that understood all this canning stuff. It seems to have become a lost art. Sigh.

I gave a jar to one of my coworkers, who likes to bring me in GREAT meals to try.
I didn't tell her what it is... I just told her it was... ketchup.


But it has a different taste. And used all organic veggies, which makes it EXTRA good. I love it with my french fries, and with seafood, on the rare occasions I eat that.

But it is good stuff. I am trying to summon up the courage to try different veggies and fruits... like mangos. I bet THAT would be good.

If only I didn't mind being in the kitchen for so long... No telling what I could do!

But that was my adventure for the weekend! Spending 3 or 4 hours around the kitchen!

I hope you are having kitchen adventures this holiday season too!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Freestyles: The Angry Cat Edition

Look at this beautiful glass staircase.

No, look at the CAT on this beautiful glass staircase.
Laidley Street Residence modern staircase

modern staircase design by san francisco architect Zackde Vito Architecture [DesignBuild], AIA

That is a beautiful staircase. But I am looking at the cat.

Angry-eyed. Mouth downturned.

Such an angry cat. Much more surly than Oscar-Tyrone. Much more.

He has that look that whispers "I DARE YOU to say something to me. I DARE YOU."

Describes my mood. I've been looking like that angry cat right there.

Oh well. Glad it is Friday. And I have a three day workweek next week.

WHY did I not take the full 2 weeks off for Christmas? O_o

And You know, I actually would not have minded working this Christmas, seeing that me and my sister Kentucky are not going on a vacation for Christmas.

Sidenote: Kentucky is a PUNK. I think she trying to vacation for $100. You need at least a grand to do what you gotta do, and do it right. I think she wants to go one county over to Decatur or something. She must wanna take a trip to Stone Mountain Park. Humph.

Anyway, this means I can freely work... But I got caught looking CRAZY last year, because I was working and everybody was off. Looking CRAZY.

I was looking like that cat for real last year: steely eyed. Angry. Mouth downturned.

Not this year, babes. I am OFF. 3 day workweek this week coming up.

And next Wednesday cannot get here fast enough. I will not be coming in at 10 in the morning. I will get here at 5:30 in the morning so I can get the heck out of dodge.

But alas, as of now, I will work hard. And I am glad for the upcoming weekend.

CowgirlCre is not at work today. I have no one to talk to. So I went to the other building and harrassed the cheese out of my former secretary. She is still giving me the hard eyeroll after I snatched a bag of open chips off her desk and started munching on them.

(Yes, I was that bored).

I got in trouble this week. With a coworker. Let's just say I'm being talked about. "Certain people"don't like my attitude. I use to be such a nice person. Whatever. I ain't apologizing for not being a gossiper or backbiter. If that is what it takes for me to be accepted then throw me out the window, babes. If that is what it takes for me to be considered a nice person, well, I'll just be considered bad. That is fine. But I don't accept that. Why? Cuz of this:

Quote of the Week: "It ain't what others think of you, it's what you think of yourself that truly matters."

*Spray painting that in red blood bright red paint on my cubicle wall*

You know what I think of myself? LadyLee is nice! LadyLee brings joy! LadyLee is a blessing! LadyLee is a help to those in need! LadyLee is a source of encouragement! LadyLee is your friendly neighborhood Original Oldgirl!

Yes indeed!

Okay, that's the lane I'm driving in. Anything else and I am looking at you like that angry cat is looking at you in the picture above. Do not waste my time and space with craziness.

A coworker bought some lunch in for me today. She had been speaking with me about the whole vegetarian thing a few months ago. And even though I am bootleg about it, she says I was her main source of encouragement in trying it out.


Her and her husband made a change a few months ago.

This chick... man, she does all kinds of research on their meals and what-not (Uh, I am bootleg. I will sautee veggies and keep it moving these days)... but she brings me the most WONDERFUL lunches -stews and soups, stuff with pumpkin and chickpeas in it. And it be GOOD-T!!

WOW. I am thankful for that.

That was the highlight of my week. Such kindness drowns out the tomfoolery.

Alas, I won't be looking like the Angry cat this weekend!

You all have a fine fine weekend!

On purpose!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Saturday. The "Special" Edition.

I want to talk about Saturday.

Yeah, yeah, I am just now posting about my Saturday.

Saturday was GREAT! I went and hung out with my Play Mama Adrienne, one state over. She lives one state over from me, you see...

She lives a stone's throw away!

Her city parade was last Saturday.

A couple of weeks ago, she was telling me about it, and I hollered "Hey, I wanna come down there! I wanna go!"

She said cool.

Okay, parade starts around 11:00. That is cool. Means I could leave the ATL around 9 and make it that way.

But uh... her child was in the parade. And had to be on sight at 8:30. And the roads close at 9.


This meant that I had to be there by at least 8. Which meant I needed to leave the ATL around 6 in the morning.


Under the cover of DARKNESS.

Man... 6 in the morning... around that time, I am just waking up in the morning, staggering towards the bathroom.


I woke up around 4, laid in the bed til 4:30, went and took a shower, got dressed, and watched TV and loaded up the car.

(Anyone who I hook up with from the internet... uh, I come with plenty gifts and stuff. That is all.)

I had bought her a bunch of stuff from the Farmer's market. A quiche (which she had never had before), a lasagna, a chicken pot pie, plenty of bread, some cheese).

I brought GROCERIES!

(CowgirlCre and I went farmer's market shopping on Friday evening. I know she was a bit confused about the meat products in my buggy. "That ain't mine, that's Adrienne's!" I was quick to holler).

So I headed out at 6, and headed down to her country town.

The drive went well. I ate a banana and some peppermint candy. I listened to a homemade gospel CD.

I think the most amazing thing was seeing the sunrise in my rearview window. Amazing!

Anyway, I got down there. Played with the cat and dog. Talked plenty trash to the children...

Her middle girl Kayla twirls the baton and was gonna be in the parade.

"Kayla, I want you to light the ends of the baton on fire, girl. And throw it up in the sky!"

LOL. I think they know to ignore me by now... I am sure their mama has told them that LadyLee is... special.

Anyway,we headed to Adrienne's Mama and 'em house to pick up her Mama, and headed out to the parade.

We had an hour and a half to spare... so we sat in the truck and talked. Her mother and I sang white people's Christmas songs that were playing on the radio (which left poor Adrienne a bit disturbed... she just mad she can't sang like us. That's all that is. Jelous chicken!).

I also taught a science lesson on the chemical in purple fruits and vegetables that is very good for you, and why we must eat our purple vegetables. And the difference between a sweet potato and yam.


(What can I say? I am a geek, man.)

So, the parade was about to start. We had our game chairs, had our place staked out EARLY.

Interesting parade. There was this big deal about being ready to catch candy.

*more crickets*

It is sort of like the bead throwing at Mardi Gras. But with Candy.

I stood and watched this. Harrassed AJ (Adrienne's youngest son) about his candy catching strategy.

And I got a bit pissed that they weren't throwing Dove chocolates. Some good stuff.

(Let's just say: a gang of peppermint candy landed at my feet. I had to supress the urge to scream. And the urge to pick it all up and throw it back at the dude that tossed it).

I did happen to spot a few mini-snickers being tossed. I think that was as close to Dove candy as I got.


They were tossing beads.

The little strands. I got my fill of those when I lived in New Orleans. But AJ happen to catch a handful of beads which contained a gold strand with beads the size of marbles!

I promptly took it from the boy.

That's them GOOD beads!


A gang of horses came by!

"Take a picture of the horses for CowgirlCre, girl," Adrienne said.

I was thinking to myself, uh, CowgirlCre got a horse. She don't care to see pictures of horses. But I took pictures anyway.

I showed the pics to CowgirlCre. She scooted over to my side of the cubicle, face full of glee. Her eyes were all glazed over. Strange. She really like horses.

Then there was SANTA! Up on top of a Fire Truck!

He was not exciting. Because he was not throwing beads and candy.

*lee turns back on Santa*

After the parade we went back over to Adrienne's parents house. I had been hollering about my brakes squeaking. Interestingly, when they took the wheels off, it looked fine. They said I might have a bad strut.

"So, uh... I can't do any Fast and Furious moves in my car, can I?"

"Uh, no," her brothers and Daddy said.

"Okay, as long as I get on back to Georgia, that's cool!"


I had such a GREAT time. I hated to leave. It crossed my mind to go on a mall trip with them, but the mall doesn't excite me, and I knew that running around the mall THEN trying to drive home... Uh, NERP!

She has such a nice family. Good good people!

Thanks for having me in your city, Play Mama! You as always made my day GREAT!!!

I hope to stop through again some day soon! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Baby Blanket

Got a new Nephew on the waaaayyyy any minute now!!

I suppose we will call him "Milk and Cookies 3.0"


His blanket is almost finished.
Another couple of hours and I'll be done!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Surly Regular Kitty

That Original Oldcat, Oscar-Tyrone looks a bit...

I don't know... surly. But surly don't quite describe it.

Surly + upset is more like it.


Because he'd run out of cat food. And that is my fault. I forgot to pick it up on my last trip to the natural foods co-op.

He is a special kitty. (He is not a kitty. At 14 years old, he is an Oldcat).

I went and bought that... under the cover of darkness.

"Ma'am, do you need a bag for your cat food?" the cashier asked.

"NO!" I said, a bit too loudly. I grabbed the food and walked briskly out the store.

That Oscar-Tyrone... I knew there was a problem when I tried to feed him some tuna and rice. I even warmed it up for him. He gave me the hard side-eye, and very reluctantly ate it.

No, he likes his flaxseed, his brown rice and chicken. Real chicken. Not by-product.

Oscar-Tyrone is a REGULAR Oldcat. Likes to keep his digestive system... regular.

So now, hopefully, he will be less... surly.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Judge Shows and Oscar-Tyrone

There is one thing that I TRULY love about the holidays:

I get to lay out on the sofa and and veg out...

I do unproductive stuff like watch mindless shows on daytime television.

Like Maury Povich.

(I can only take so much of that. If I have to hear "You are NOT the father!" one more time, I'm going to throw my television through the window.)

No, I like the Juuuuudddddge Shows!

Maybe 6 months ago, when I attended a Friday morning bible study, one of our assistant ministers, Minister Betty, said "Ya'll need to come on to church on Friday morning. All ya'll doing is watching the Judge shows. You can come on in to bible study instead of watching the Juuuuuddddge shows."

I hear ya, Minister Betty. But uh, church campus was closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

So me and my sister hung out and watched the Juuuddddge shows.

We watched some Judge Alex...

Some Peoples Court!

(Not sure what was happening here. Maybe a fade out to commercial).

But we were still watching the Juuuuuddddggge shows!

Me and Kentucky watched some of that Judge Joe Brown.

I think we might have caught an episode of the Judge Judy too.

Ain't nothing like a good Judge show.

But it never ceases to fail... when I lay out on the sofa, Oscar-Tyrone creeps up on me. Usually it is when I'm asleep. And it is when i am coming out of my sleep, and I have a strange strange feeling that someone... no something is watching me.

It's Oscar-Tyrone. The Original Oldcat.

He has that look in his eye. And he is thinking, "I am waiting, Oldgirl, for you to rub me. I need attention."

Then if I don't acknowledge him, he seems to move in a little closer.

I may or may not rub him. I most likely will turn over and go back to sleep. Or I'll get up and go do something else.

My sister was sitting in the easy chair. He had been bothering her, but I suppose he got bored with her... and decided to stare at me.

And when I continue to lay there... and watch my Juudddddge shows.

He will... Reach out and Touch.


Not sure what that's about...

He would impress me more if he meowed "Reach out and Touch... somebody's hand! Make this world a better place... If you can!"

*Oscar gets smacked in his forehead and quickly runs away*


Sorry man! That joker has some SHARP claws!

I can't wait until the next holiday...

So we can do it all over again.

Monday, December 05, 2011

So Long, Sir. Good-bye.


Herman Cain has left the building.

That is, he has "Suspended" his campaign for President.

Did ya'll get all of your banners and t-shirts?

You get your commemorative napkins and plates, bumper stickers and flags?

(Was there ever any of that?)

I would've liked something with the campaign slogan on it.

Because it is all over now.

You know me. I don't do what others do: sit up and criticize and joke about things like this.

Life changing things like this.

Reminders like this.

It is a STARK reminder that I, LadyLee, don't need to run for president.

I don't need to run for president of the USA. I don't need to run for president of the PTA. Nothing.

I ain't perfect like most people I know.

Perfect people: they lay in wait... and watch for any high profile person to go through something, to be caught in the middle of something, for secret lives to be exposed. So they can make jokes and jive about it.

I don't knock those people. I think we have been trained in that mentality. Entertainment and Gossip shows have been on the TV since I can remember, maybe before I was even born.

I am trained in leaning in and tuning in to hear about the sensational. It makes my heart rush. I gasp at the juicy revelation.

It makes me feel better about the monotony of my own life, you see...

Or it takes my mind off of the issues of my life that I haven't had the courage to resolve.

When these things happen, I see them. I am O_o and O_O just like the next person.
But I am a little different.

I immediately ponder my own life, these 40-something years I've been in existence.

I, LadyLee, can PROMISE you... I will NEVER run for political office, much less President of these United States of America.

And I also think of something else: skeletons.

We all have skeletons in our closet.

Well let me speak for myself, since I don't know all 7 billion people on this planet.

I have skeletons in my closet. And my closet is small. Yet, the skeletons are crowded up in there, with their sharp pointy elbows, pointy knees all making each other uncomfortable. And here I come, opening the closet door and throwing another skeleton in there...

And another one.

*lee looking around to make sure no one is watching when she opens the closet door*

And another one....

They, these tightly packed skeletons, are always waiting for their chance to bust out of their confined space, and run out the house... and run straight out into the street into oncoming traffic.

You can imagine the chaos and confusion that causes.

That is what happens when the light is shined on one's life.

I don't want the light shined on my life like that. Hence, my uh, repulsion to running for any type of office.

I can see myself walking past the TV and seeing a dude I was messing with some 20 years ago on TV talking about our shenanigans.

Got an Oldgirl hollering "What rock did THAT ninja come out from under!?!?!"


I want the courage and due-diligence and maturity it takes to voluntarily shine the light on my own problems and dark areas and make the appropriate corrections, instead of doing it when I get caught.

And now, Mr. Cain, your business is in the streets. The same people laughing at you have probably done the same... or much worse.

But we will never know, will we?


It was a great run. The prospect of having 2 black men run against each other to lead our great country... uh, I never thought I would see such a thing.

So, so long, Sir. Good-bye.

This politcal game is what it is: a game. And if you are a threat, they coming after you. Heck, if you aren't a threat, they coming after you.

It is how the game is played. Political or otherwise.

This post was approved by Your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee.

You have a great week... on purpose.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday Freestyles... The Nightime Edition

It's Friday!

5:50 p.m. And the only reason I am typing up a post here at work is because I don't have anything else to do but...




Until it is time to GO...


You know it is bad when you have to go ask for work to do. I honestly don't think I was given anything because I was one of the only few who was here during the Thanksgiving Holiday week, and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off! I was glad for the workweek again.
Alas, work is slow. I was able to close out some things I was working on, so that is good.

And it's a NEW day at work! We have a new permanent supervisor.


If you have read this blog for some years, it is Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia.


This is going to be interesting.

You know, I was telling some coworkers, they can bring Baton Bob in here to be our supervisor and I am cool with that.

(Baton Bob. He's a man that dresses up in tutus and wedding dresses, and walks or marches through Midtown with a magic wand or baton, bringing joy to us all.)

Yeah, you can bring Baton Bob up in here. LadyLee just want a PERMANENT supervisor. This 30-60 day detail jazz is NOT a good thing. But it has worked out okay. Just wanna see someone PERMANENT. Last chick did a good job. Good job = don't try to work out your self esteem issues by playing jedi mind tricks on me and making my life miserable. She didn't do that. Good job. Wouldn't bother me if she got the job permanently. I just want someone PERMANENT.

And alas. We have that.

I was standing at the copy machine fussing HARD with my specialist about the difference between sorghum and rice, fussing extra hard, when... we both got a twinkle in our eye, and a smile on our faces.

"Let's go ask the new supervisor!!"

*lee and specialist skipping arm-in-arm to the supervisor's office*

Apparently she heard the whole confrontation, as she was sitting at her desk, looking... surley. She isn't official until December 5th, she said.

WHO CARES? You gonna answer this sorghum and rice question, Annie Mae!!!

And she did. Quite well. And we were... happy for a change.

So that is a good thing. Our group is very much damaged. Hope she can deal with our dysfunctionality. I sure she will do just fine.

She stopped by my desk, asked if there was any additional training I wanted to go to (something like that.)

"No thank you," I hollered, cutting her off. "Ya'll just make sure to have my check every two weeks."

She tried to continue. I repeated myself.

She rolled her eyes hard and walked away!


(But for real... best make sure my money is straight. That is all. Done took ALL the classes. Aint' repeating NUTHING. Have my money straight. Much obliged).

Well that is the good news of the week. And that makes it a great week.

So... I hope you all have a fantastic weekend...


(You know I will! Really though!)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sweets, Part I

So... I baked wonderful pies for Thanksgiving.

Two sweet potato pies, and one peach pie. And they were small 4" pies.

Gorgeous! Beautiful!

As you can see, my lattice crustwork skills are not up to par.

*lee hits desk with fist, frowns in anger*

Look here! I am NOT Betty Crocker! I am your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl, LadyLee!

The edges of my crust... they ain't really all that tight either.

But you know what!? Those little pies were great. I am so happy that my Auntie gave me those small pie tins some 5 years ago. I have put them to great use!

(I just have to work on my crust beautification skills. LOL)