She lives a couple house up from me, on the same side of the street.
She reminds me of the young Celie... just aged 40 years. So I would guess that would make her age be somewhere in her late 50s.
She likes to sit out on her porch.
When I pass by in the mornings, I wave.
She waves back.
When I come home in the evenings, I wave.
She waves back.
That's the extent of it.
Why? Because I myself am not all that neighborly. I wave at folks. That's about it. I may make a little small talk, but that is not very often.
I tend to be skittish. I don't know what's going on in your house, nor do I care, so long as I'm not all up in there.
But this lady is a bit... different.
She's extremely volatile.
How do I know that?
Because she is constantly cussing folks out.
And how do I know that?
Because she cusses them out on her front porch or out in the front yard. And I can hear her all the way down to my house.
This one man... I don't know WHAT he did... but she cussed him good. He left and walked around the block and she cussed even harder when he tried to come back in the house. He walked around the block again and she cussed him out the hardest when he returned again.
I don't know what he did. But I almost said, "Hey man, you want me to give you some change so you can catch the bus? You need to get on way from here so she can be quiet."
I suppose sometimes, you just have to say what you have to say. I chalk it up to that.
But it is just odd to be in the kitchen or living room and hear someone outside going OFF on someone.
And she is just volatile like that.
Here's my thing: if you're acting up like that in your front yard, what in the world is going on in the house?
Anyway, that's just an internal question. She might be peaches and cream in her house. Who knows.
But this brings about a need for a LadyLee life postulate.
LadyLee postulate #57201: If you cussing everybody out, you'll eventually end up cussing me out, too.
Because of this, I steer clear of her. One of my isshas is that I don't deal well with noise, and I really don't deal well with very loud people. And then with her, she is cussing everybody out. That means I would have to watch my every word and action so as not to piss her off. And I am too old for that. I grew up like that. I just want to be me.
Now, this neighbor of mine will walk down to my house when she sees me outside cutting the grass. She will stand at the top of my driveway and point out places that I missed, etc. She hasn't done it in awhile, but I just let her do that. She may just be trying to be helpful.
But a few weeks ago, I was baking cookies for Baby Bandit's graduation party. As usual I bake too many cookies, and I have to figure out what to do with them.
I had to go out to my car for something. (I parked it in the driveway instead of the garage, since I knew I would be leaving out again later for the party).
And there was my neighbor sitting on her front porch.
She waved back.
"Do you eat chocolate chip cookies?" I hollered.
"What?" she hollered back.
We had to holler. A train was going by. Even though the tracks are 3/4th miles away, the train horn was blaring.
"Do you eat chocolate chip cookies?" I hollered again.
She nodded real hard.
"I'm baking some. I have extra. I'll bring you some in about 15 minutes."
She gets up from her folding chair and starts dancing real hard.
I was perplexed by this. Cookies are cookies. Even though you all seem to love my cookies so much. Cookies are still cookies. No need to get all excited.
Well, I went in the house. When the next batch of cookies were ready, I let them cool. And then I packed a small tin of 10 cookies for my neighbor. When I went back outside to give them to her, she was not sitting on her front porch.
And you know me... I was NOT going to walk up to her house and knock on her door. Nope.
So I went back in the house. I peeked out my front door a couple of times, but that was about as good as it gets.
Now I told her I'd have some cookies for her in 15 minutes. And hey, if you snooze, you lose. Period.
Some 45 minutes later there was knock at my door.
I open it, and it's my neighbor.
"I had cookies for you," I said. "But I didn't see you outside."
She frowned. "Cookies?"
"Yes, cookies," I replied. "Chocolate chip cookies."
"Aww dang!" she hollered. "I thought you said you was making fried green tomatoes!"
How on earth do you get "fried green tomatoes" out of "chocolate chip cookies?
"Uh, no. No tomatoes here," I said.
I could tell she was disappointed. Her mouth must have been set for some fried tomatoes. But that wasn't going down. I don't remember the last time I fried up some good tomatoes, and I wasn't about to strart. I handed her the tin of cookies. And I say good-bye, and I go to close the door.
And she starts going off...
Not on me, but about the local who cuts my grass.
"That Thomas! He ain't no good. I grew up with him. He done stole from people all over this neighborhood! He ain't no good!"
Oh my. She was beefing with Thomas, the man who cuts my grass. I am sure he was a mess in his hey-day, but he is an old broken down man with heart problems now. He cuts people's grass for money. If I don't cut my own grass, he cuts it. (He had issues with me last summer, though. He was a tad bit perturbed about me buying a second car. They already think I'm rich. I was super rich then, whatever the heck that means).
He doesn't give me much of a problem, though. He fusses about my car from time to time. But I don't really take someone who lives in a shed behind this dude Rat Cheeze's house all that serious. My sister Kentucky gave him 2 dollars to clean up some leaves but he walked off and didn't do it. So you know Kentucky aint' dealing with him anymore. I told her he is homeless, a hustler, and he hustles, with his old self. Don't expect much honesty out of him.
(I'm still trying to figure out who this "Rat Cheeze" dude is. Haven't met him yet. I wanna know why his Mama call him that name).
Anyway, my neighbor is going OFF about this guy.
"I grew up with Thomas! He ain't no damn good! Blah blah blah!"
All this noise, I thought. Goodness.
And I barely can make out what she is saying, as she's missing most of her teeth.
"He's a halfway decent guy," I said. "He cuts my grass and that's all I can ask."
She keeps going off. I have to hear about how our street use to be apartments. And how her family owned their house for the last 50 years. And she had to see all these new houses built up.
Goodness. This was too much noise going on. I mean, she had the neck rolling going on and the finger pointing. Wow.
Then she start going in on Thomas again. I still don't know what the beef is. And she gives him plates of food from time to time.
"Well, just pray for him," I said. "That's all you can do."
That's what I do when folks are tripping. I ask God to help me deal. And help me see where I am messing up, for maybe I'm the problem. If not, then help me out of the situation, or to find some peace in the midst of it or the courage to walk away from the situation.
WHY did I even say anything about prayer!?
Oh my. She REALLY goes off then. "God gonna get him. That's why he got heart problems. God getting him back for all those years he done did wrong. No prayer for him. God gonna GIT HIM!" *crickets*
I wondered in those few moments about my health issues. Was God getting back at me for things? For all the wrong I've done all my life?
I think not. I rebuke that. I don't receive that. No way, no how. TOOO much answered prayer goes on over my way. I wasn't going to let her words have me... wondering and wandering.
"You have a nice house," she said, as she tried her best to look past me and all around. "You take good care of your house here, don't you?"
I pulled the door closer and tighter toward my body. She didn't need to see inside my house. And she shoulda known good and well that she wasn't getting invited in. No ma'am.
(She told my sister in past that she cleaned houses, and that she would clean ours. I told my sister, if I come home and that chick is my house, she gotta leave. And then you (my sister), had to leave too.
"Well, I have to finish the cookies. I have to go to this party, and I don't want to be late," I finally said.
"Alright," she said.
And she was still talking... all the way down the porch steps. I think she was talking to herself.
I closed the front door.
I couldn't believe that I had been exposed to THAT much concentrated negativity in the span of 5 minutes. It almost made me regret offering her some cookies. But my need to sow some good seed daily overrides my feelings.
It is this woman's habit to behave this way. It was a part of her personality, and one of her many characteristics. Now I understood why she was constantly cussing and fussing every one out. That's just who she is.
My pastor gave a good sermon some years ago on the subject of personal development. He said whoever you are at the time, it took some time to get that way. People have the characteristics, personalities, and habits they have because those characteristics, personalities and habits developed over time. And over a span of years, these things become strongly developed, whether negative or positive.
I remember thinking at the time, in my 30s, that I would like to develop in compassion. I would like to develop in selflessness. I would like to be a happy person. I would like to develop in kindness. There were many things that I wanted developed in my life.
"If you want to develop in something," my pastor said, "decide on it and get on the path to it. Find some Word on it. Go do some reading up on it. Listen to whatever you can concerning it. It takes time. But it will happen."
And for the first time in a long time, that sermon came back to me. Sure, it was at least a 10-year-old sermon, but I will always remember it, especially in light of the fact that I had just experienced a high dosage of negativity. It shocked me. And I have made a big move over the past year to remove myself from any negativity. And as a result, I can see my own negativity better. And I can step up and deal with it.
And I can see, and appreciate, how much I have changed. And how I have developed in the positive things I want to develop in. I still have far to go... but I am on my way.
I told my sister about the "Cookie, Tomatoes and Thomas" conversation.
"She still up in that house? Is she still cussing everybody out?"
"Yes," I said.
"She cuss out everybody. Even the children and the dog. Just everybody."
"Yep. That's just her way," I said.
Yes. That's her way.
I didn't hear much of anything from my neighbor.
I drive by.
She waves back.
One day she asked me to take her to the gas station to get some gas for her lawnmower. I told her that I had to go to my writing class. She kept harping.
Wrong thing to do with me. But I took her anyway. And little 4 year old granddaughter rode along.
I already wrote about all this. It was a most disturbing ride. Even the little girl was loud. When I asked her her name, I repeated it back to her wrong. She screamed her name loudly to correct me. Oh my. And she as touching my papers in the back seat. And she grabbed my fresh new copy of Josephine Garner's Solomon's Blues! *screech*
I just didn't want to be late to my writing class. I took them, and came on back.
"How much I owe you for taking me?" she asked.
"Nothing. Don't worry about it."
She was so happy. She grabbed my hand and kissed it profusely.
*ladylee screaming on the inside*
She and her granddaugher got out of the car.
"Slam the door extra hard, baby," I said to the little girl. "So you can make sure it's shut good."
She did as I said.
Another granddaughter, a teenage girl, came out and said "Thank you for the cookies. They were all pretty in the little tin, and they were so good."
"You're welcome, honey," I said.
And I was on my way. I even made it to my class 30 minutes early.
That night I wrote in my gratitude journal "I am thankful that I had the fortitude to help my neighbor today, even though I didn't want to help."
Yes, I am growing. It's like walking from Georgia to California. It's a slow long haul, but I am getting there.
Green and white. That can be for a boy or a girl indeed.
It is TOO big. It's definitely too small for an adult, but a 5-year-old child would find it rather cozy.
And it's a little heavy. It's sport weight (baby weight) yarn, but feels heavy like worsted weight (adult yarn). My workplace resident experts (Cee-Cee and Cowgirl Cre) think I should wash it in Dreft and dry it with the dryer sheets, so it will fluff up and lighten up, which is usually the case.
But it is cozy enough for an adult, too.
And I can see Mrs. A. right now... she may take this blanket from the twins and try to use it for herself.
*toddler twins walk in room and see Mommy with their blanket AGAIN*
"That's our blanket," they say in unison.
"Uh..." Mrs. A begins. "Uh, I was just about to wash it."
Twins look at each other, then back at Mommy "That's what you said the last time."
*Mr. A. walks into room*
"Give them babies back their blanket!!!"
*Mrs. A. slowly unwraps the blanket from her shoulders, and places it in the little waiting hands of the toddlers*
My goal is to make 4 blankets. She has hinted that she likes yellow. So I am excited about going way down out to the Southside 'burbs for some yellow yarn!
I've started on the third one, while hanging out at Grandma's house.
And I like how simply they start.
One long chain...
Here's how far along it is!
I really REALLY want to make a boy blanket. Heck, I'll be happy to make a girl blanket right about now.
Mrs. A. doesn't want to know the sex of the babies.
I was thinking about running up on her obstertrician in the produce department at the Wal-mart.
*ladylee pushes buggie up next to the good doctor's buggie*
Dr. Jackson looks at LadyLee suspiciuosly. "Yes they do."
"And the lettuce," LadyLee says, "The lettuce looks nice and crispy, too."
Dr. Jackson nodds.
"Uh, one of your patients is my cousin, Mrs. A., right?"
Dr. Jackson nods.
"She is having twins. And there's a sale over in the baby departments. Should I get the pink onesies or the blue onesies?"
Dr. Jackson frowns. "Your silly games are NOT gonna make me tell you what she's having!!!"
Anyway, I found out that someone is having a little boy. So I've started on that one.
Adding in the green and the white...
And now I'm on blue for the long haul!
I think I need around 50 rows of blue before I go back to my green and white.
Oh joy. I love to crochet.
Often, when I am walking through the store with my yarn in my cart, people stop me and ask what I am going to make with it. I tell them. Usually it's a baby blanket, or a gift for a friend.
I usually hear one of two replies:
"I use to know how to crochet. Now I don't remember."
"I wish I knew how to crochet."
And that makes me sad. Anything done with the hands from scratch these days is quickly fading into extinction. Crochet. Quilting. Sewing. Canning. Painting. Drawing. And anything else you can think of.
We like life in an instant now. And if it can be electronic, then all the better.
I must admit, I have and love my share of gadgetry...But...
My crocheting is very therapeutic. It calms my mind, calms my nerves.
And so do other handcrafts.
Are we losing our therapy? Of course, back in the day, our ancestors had to do these things. And maybe they longed for the conveniences of our life.
But what about the therapy of it all? Are we losing it as the years go by?
I seem to be having a particular conversation more and more these days...
And I find it very disturbing and distressing.
I had one convo recently. And it has stayed with me for a minute. I asked for permission to post about it (as I always do), and the young lady said "Of course". It may help someone else's heart.
But let me rewind the clock back a few years ago, when these types of particular conversations first began...
One night my sister came into my bedroom, and said she needed to talk. It was late, and I was in for the night, watching television.
She'd had a bad run in-with her father. In a nutshell, he'd gone off on her really badly.
"My daddy called me and cussed me out like I was a n**** in the street."
Okay. I asked her why? And I already knew the answer. He tends to call her when he is good and drunk, for whatever reason and snap on her. I think it has to be because he wants to see her more. But she doesn't go over there much because they treat her pretty badly. You wouldn't believe the types of things they say and do. It has me looking at her crazy, because you know me... I don't put up with that type of mess. You can't treat me with respect, then I don't see you.
But her daddy--- he was my stepfather from age 8 to 14, so I know him well. He's a functional alcoholic and druggie, meaning he can hold down a good job AND have his own business while being an addict.
I have memories of my mother leaving in the middle the night and going to get him from some DUI mess. He also totaled a couple of trucks driving drunk. I found drugs around the house a lot. I have memories of the house being filled with the smell of weed. He had a lot of friends around, and I remember thinking "That guy is cool... why is he shaking so hard?" A little kid doesn't know much about seeing people in need of a hit.
Let's just say, I never thought much of her father. But that was her father. Her Daddy. She would complain about something he did, and me and my best friend LadyTee would laugh. "Girl, don't pay ol' Randall no mind!"
Randall is a trip. Whenever me and LadyTee use to go get the high schooler Kentucky from his house, he would yell "Don't ya'll be having out smoking crack and getting into stuff. You hear me?"
That man was serious about it too. My response was always "Randall! We're taking her to the Wal-mart for feminine products. And we're going to the beauty supply store! Calm down!"
But that was her Daddy. She has always thought the world of her Daddy. Me, I didn't get it or understand it, especially as she got older. And she has always wanted his acceptance. I try to understand. But hey, that's her father. That's ol' drunk Randall to me.
So there had been a plethora of incidences of him calling and saying all kind of stupid stuff to her over the years.
"Was he drunk?" is always my first question.
"Yes," was always her answer.
"Well, why you worried about it? The negro is drunk. Don't pay him no 'tention."
Then my advice became more drastic. "Don't answer the phone, girl. If it bothers you, don't answer the doggone phone. If it's an emergency, he can leave a message."
That worked for a minute.
So I didn't understand why she was standing in the middle of my bedroom crying so hard.
She explained that this time was especially bad.
It took ALL I had not to just call him up and say something. I have had to straighten him in the past. When my sister was in her senior year of high school, she had all these college prep activities at the time and her Daddy wouldn't take her to them. (And her stepmother... uh, she was hollering about that ain't my child... smh). So I arranged with a friend of mine to help her (I was in New Orleans at the time, doing a post-doc). I told this friend whatever she needed, help her. Get her to her activities, etc.
He is ME in my absence. Treat it exactly like that.
Fine. Easy enough. Right? Problem: my friend was a white male.
And Kentucky's father HATES white people. Oh my goodness. This confused me horribly as a child. I had to hear all these lectures on why "The white devil" was so bad. And I remember standing there thinking, "I really like my friend Amy, though. I like my friend Ginger, too." I knew neither of these white girls in my 6th grade class better step foot in our house, though. And I lost respect for him even more.
Anyway, he went off on my sister, saying she was sleeping with that "white devil".
Oh my. When my sister told me that... I went right over to her house.
Now, her father and stepmother are BIG on appearances and name dropping, etc. (That tells me much about a person in itself). So I had a "Dr." on the front of my name, so I think they felt I was important all of a sudden. This was a bit annoying.
"Hey Doc!" her father said.
Doctor this, and doctor that. Doc, Doc, Doc.
*ladylee kicks the hard eyeroll*
"Can you step outside?" I asked him.
And I went off on him. I told him that my friend. my homeboy, drives from 40 miles away to take YOUR child where she needs to go. She can spend the night and I don't have to worry about her. He makes sure she eats and is taken care of. He is me when I'm not here. You too damn sorry to take her where she needs to go. That dude is ME in my absence. So you better act like you got some sense, and show some respect.
That's what I said in a nutshell. Sprinkle that very liberally with cuss words, and you get my point. (I have grown so much. Oh yes. My cussing has been reduced by 99%. Glory).
My friend attended my sister's high school graduation and graduation party. "Kentucky's daddy is standing up when I come into the room, and grabbing my arm and shaking my hand hard and being nice," my friend said through laughter. What was that about?"
It's called straightening a joker out. And like my best friend LadyTee said to me recently... "With black folk, you have to straighten them. One good time. Straighten them, and there will be no more problems."
I don't have problems out of ol' drunk Randall. AT ALL.
Yeah. Straighten them. Early enough. Had to straighten that stepmother of hers too.
I gave you all that background, so you could see what we're dealing with when we are dealing with Kentucky's daddy... Good Ol' Randall.
His behavior with my sister was always suspect. He's a good guy, I suppose. He's her father. That gives him some credibility with me.
Just when he gets drunk... ugh.
So my sister standing there crying in my bedroom bothered me. But my actions are drastic. Leave folk alone. You won't be seeing me. Better catch me at a stoplight or a Wal-Mart. That's as good as it gets.
She isn't like me. She believes the best of people, and that they will change. I guess they will. I won't be around for that change. I have a habit of believing the best of people for YEARS, even though they make me feel horrible about myself. That thing ain't infinite with me like it is with her, though. I cut ties after awhile.
I told her to make some decisions. I asked if she is willing to be treated so badly the rest of her life. I didn't want to hear the answers. I was tired of picking her feelings and the emotions up off the ground, even though I do it tirelessly, she needs to think about things and figure out what's best for her. I was there to listen.
So... long story short, Kentucky sees him on father's day, and on Christmas, I believe. She let's him talk how he wants to talk, and keeps it moving. And she answers the phone when she feels like it. Good enough for her. They seem to be doing better because everything is on my sister's terms now.
It is... odd to hear her say that about our mother and her father. "Things are on my terms now, Lisa. On my terms.)
Let's move to one of the current conversations I've just had:
I was talking to a friend recently. She was all exasperated because she'd asked her father to keep her children for the day, and her father went off on her. Told her she wasn't sh**, and a bunch of other hurtful stuff.
And he said all these hurtful things in front of her two little kids. They are between the ages of 7-11 years of age. And it upset not only her, but her kids to no end.
DANG! One thing that burns my hide is when a child is handed an armful of emotional baggage. That's what happened right there. Kids handed emotional baggage. All emotional baggage starts in childhood. Shoot.
Why couldn't her father say a simple "No, I have something else to do."
No, he had to cuss her out.
So you know me... if you deal with me for any length of time, and you want my advice, I don't have THAT much to say... but I will ask you a laundry list of questions. Long. exhaustive. Detailed. Questions, questions, questions.
Now, I've had this type of convo many times with many people.
My biggest question is... "Is what your parent said true??"
The answer is usually no. And I know this girl. She is a friend. She has a huge impact on my life. She helps me a lot. She's a hard worker. She loves her kids. Her kids are the most exceptional little people I've ever met, hands down. I personally think she is a wonderful individual, and I am happy to know her. You know me... I don't do dramatic folks. AT ALL. If I smell the smoke of drama, even a hint of it, I leave you alone. You are NOT going to stress me out. I have violated this personal rule before and I've had to pay the price for doing so.
I ask the question though... because maybe she's a jerk, and I don't know it. Maybe she's selling tail on the corner or smoking crack, and I don't know. Maybe she is crazy and likes to tare up stuff. Who knows. I ask the question, though. You never know.
We talked exhaustively about this, and I determine that it is a situation similar to my sister's situation: parent just tripping out. In my sister's case, she dealing with a drunk. In my good friend's case, her father has deep seeded anger issues.
Oh well... the next question is, in my mind anyway, "Why do we get so upset about this?"
Our parents are our first defense, that why. What they say is gold.
We continued to talk. And I consoled her.
And then she said something that almost made me blow a gasket.
"I called my aunt [I assume her father's sister] and told her about it. She said, 'You know how your father is. And you know what the Bible says, Honor your father and mother...' "
So... the parent cuss you out and treat you like crap... and we gotta hear "Honor your Mother and Father..."
That's synonmous with a husband beating the brakes off his wife and folk quote that scripture "Wives, submit to your husband."
I like what my old pastor says about THAT one.... "Don't let your last thought be - just before that bullet coming at you goes through your head be - 'Gee... 'I should've left.'
Becasue abuse of any kind is not God's best for you.
I suppose that goes for any type of abuse.
Anyway, I told her that I think that verse is a total cop out. Preachers ALWAYS bringing that up.
Let's look a little closer at that verse:
Ephesians 6:2-3 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.
That is a loaded up verse. Act right towards your parents or you will die an early death.
That's the way I have heard it preached here and there, which makes me a little suspect. There are too many children that die early for this to be entirely the case. Even babies.
I look into things. I am a nerd like that. I will go read a book on something if it nags me long enough. The one thing I found on this verse, out of a commentary on it, was the following:
"Where obedience to parents is found, there is usually found along with it temperance, self-control, industry, regular ways of life, and other habits that tend towards prosperity and longevity."
That makes sense. Something comes along with obedience.
However... that still don't give a parent a right to dog a kid out. At least that's my opinion anyway.
Especially since I came across a verse of scripture that NO ONE preaches on. And what's interesting is that it follows up RIGHT behind the "Honor your father and mother verse"...
Ephesians 6:4 (Amplified version)Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.
Hark! An instruction for parents regarding their children. Isn't that interesting?
So... it's essentially a two way street, hunh?
I feel like this: if you gonna dog me out, you better follow up with helping me face in the right direction in which I should go. You better be giving me proper instruction. Otherwise, be quiet.
And if that isn't enough, let's take it further... There is ANOTHER verse of scripture concerning how parents should relate to children:
AMP version: Fathers, do not provokeor irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.]
NIRV - Fathers, don't make your children bitter. If you do, they will lose hope.
TYN - Fathers rate not youre children lest they be of a desperate mynde
(Uh, excuse me for a second, but what is this tyn = tynsdale version?? What the world? Never seent that before. Hmm.)
Making a child bitter.. Goodness. It has ramifications.
And harrasment and provocation and irritation of a child by a parent can bring on the following::
1. lost of hope
2. feelings of inferiority
4. sullen behavior
5. morose behavior
7. A broken spirit
Can I submit to you, just looking at this list of negatives, that a child who feels this way may have problems in adulthood? I think so.
And if you are like me, and you see some young teenager acting a fool, you holler "Where is his Mama at?"
We make the connections in our mind, don't we? Kid gone wild- must mean that Mama or Daddy ain't doing their job.
Does this negate honor and respect of a parent? Of course not!
The young lady that I was talking to about all this is exceptionally respectiful of her parents.
I myself am respectful of my mother. My brother and sister are very respectful of our mother. Anyone will tell you that we are great kids. All of us. I don't think our mother thinks so, though. And that is okay.
My mother has some stepchildren (through that 3rd ex-husband of her's - that fool Ray) who she absolutely adores. And they are off the hinges. Extremely violent kids with all kinds of drug and alcohol addictions, drug selling, DFACS coming to the house taking the kids, etc... All KINDS of drama. WOW. They do stuff that us, the biological kids, haven't thought of doing. One kid, who is my brother's age, and who I actually liked, well, he's doing a LONG bid in the federal pen for murder.
Yes. Lots going on. And our mother LOVES it. She doesn't care for her own kids lives of low crises. It's not interesting, I suppose.
I know, one of the most memorable things I read in the Walking through Walls book that I reviewed is that you need to really take the time to sit down and think about what leads to the problems and behavior of your abuser. I mean, really spend some time to think about it. Because it didn't just appear out of thin air. It's a root to it all. And it has nothing to do with you. There's some deep rooted stuff going on that hasn't been taken care of.
I know with my sister's father, we understand that a lot of the kids my sister age (around age 30-35) in the family are buckwild and crazy. So it is automatically assumed that she is that way. She's lumped in with the rest of them. So it is easier to understand in that context.
They have convos about my sister. "Kentucky be all out in the streets, running the streets," he and her grandmother [his mother] says.
Uh, no sir. You don't know your own daughter. She doesn't "run the streets".
(If you think "running the streets" means some of the recent things she does with me - picking berries with me on a farm, and accompanying me to various doctor appointments for support... then, oh well).
Now, with our mother - Our mother is dramatic. Loves drama and a good fight. Interestingly, my sister, the good and docile one, is the only one to get into a knock out-drag out fight with my mother.
All I remember is my brother, who was 11 at the time, squinting his eyes and whispering "Lisa, I saw the whole thing"... then him commencing to re-enact the whole fight. Several times. Everytime we talked about it.
And it hurt my sister so bad. She's not violent like that. But she was provoked, push to the brink. I have anger issues, but it rubs me the wrong way to raise my voice at my mother, or any elder for that matter. We are respectful. I told her I've been pushed to the brink, too. Didn't touch Mama, but yelled at her. That takes much time to get over. Much. We are good respectful kids. And she should forgive herself for the fight. We are good kids.
And so is this young lady. She is still dealing with it in her heart.
Why does it hurt when parents verbally abuse or abuse in any way? Because parents are our first defense. If anyone should believe the best of us, our parents should. If anyone should be our champion and cheerleader, it is that parent.
And words are seeds. And it is confusing and hurtful when a parent sows that negative seed. It is planted in the fertile soil of our hearts, and it grows... and grows... into something. Those words establish deep roots... because they were spoken by that person who we have come to know as our first defense.
Man. I've had this conversation more than I care to count.
So I had one more conversation: with my friend. I talked to my friend about these things. Her spirit was so broken. I hope I was helpful. That is always my goal anyway.
I hope she can hold her head up and be proud of herself and who she is - a great daughter, a great mother...
So my sister started looking around for other books by the author. She came across the Fantasy Fallacy Book, a book where the author of the Walls book wrote the foreword, and liked the sample chapters she'd read.
I was a bit stunned by this. Why was my little sister reading a book on sexual fantasy??
"Let me go look and see what this little girl is reading," I said to myself when I got off the phone with her. "I'ma get her. She know she has no business reading anything like that."
I downloaded the sample chapters on my kindle. Then I downloaded the whole book.
Hear me now, believe me later... That book was AMAZING. Oh. my. goodness.
Why was it so amazing?
Because it was a treatise on sexual fantasy from a nonjudgmental spiritual and Christian perspective.
Keyword here: nonjudgmental.
I myself was ready to chastise Kentucky for reading such rubbish.
Trust me, it was far from rubbish. And I am surprised that it was narrowed down to sexual fantasy. This material could be easily extrapolated to other problems, issues and addictions. Easily.
Baby, let me tell you though... I know waaaaaay more about sexual issues and fantasies than I care to know now. My goodness.
I myself don't have these issues. Like any other female though, who has been around several blocks, I do have movie reels of past sexual conquests locked away in a room in the dark corners of my mind, and yes I do go and knock the dust off of those and watch them. For in those movies, I am the star, giving an Oscar-winning performance, swinging from chandalier to kitchen counter to chandalier with the greatest of ease.
Not sure we can get away from that. We will always have our memories. Our memories are something else, aren't they?
Vivid, bold, in amazing technicolor and super HD and 3D imax.
But this book jumps further than that... it goes into the secret places, those shameful places. Those sexual fantasies that we have and the "why" behind them.
And it gets into the dark places of the mind traveled by Christians: adultery, pornography, menage a trois, S&M, bondage, gay/lesbian fantasies, fetishes, rape fantasies, incest fantasies and the like.
Those dark dark places, where so much fantasy occurs that it all incubates, eventually comes out... with the capability of destroying our lives and the lives around us.
It is a dire secret problem. According to this book, 50% of Christians have a pornagraphy addiction. And 40% of church leadership have a pornagraphy addiction.
This is the third time I've seen the latter statistic, so I guess the studies must be true.
My own pastor said you wouldn't believe the hotel porn tally in the hotel rooms during conventions. I thought he was just saying that. But this book has a discussion of that. So I guess it must be real. I can't imagine. Not our beloved leadership. Sigh
Yet no one talks about it. And like I said in another post, when some scandal jumps off, we are all up in arms. When in fact, all that behavior started with some thoughts and fantasies that were well fed and incubated over a period of time.
Interesting. We all have secret lives. And according to this book, you better get with God and examine those areas and get the help you need. Because that stuff incubates in your mind. And at some time, it's going to produce.
I just like the nonjudgmental tone of the book.
I highlighted close to 45 quotes in this book, but here are some that really struck a tone with me.(I don't have page numbers. I only have e-book location numbers).
1. "Internet pornography is the crack cocaine of sexual addictions" (Location 1342). I read that and thought, uh... really? But the book presents an intriguing in depth discussion of that statement.
2. Sexual arousal is an incredible tranquilizer for all kinds of emotional pain (Location 1414).
3, The main reason that we barter with our bodies for the attention and affection we deeply desire is that we don't trust God for the satisfaction we seek, the provision we need, or the comfort we crave (Location 1782).
And the best quote of all, and if you know how I think, you will immediately know why...
"What we see as a flower or a tree or any other kind of plant is just an extension of what's at the root. You won't see magnolia leaves sprouting from the roots of a dogwood tree, nor will you see ears of corn shoot off a cucumber vine. What we are in the light is determined by who we are in the dark. Our fruit is merely the product of our roots. Only through tending to our mental emotional and spiritual roots will we bear the healthiest fruit possible. Ignore the roots, and the plant will suffer. Nurture the root and the plant will thrive. (Location 2848)
Whoo-wee! Honey, you know how I holler about seed and harvest and fruit and trees and stuff like that. This was right up my alley.
What was also intriguing was the fact that much of this fantasy is deeply rooted in childhood emotional baggage, and it is the brain's way of trying to deal with some deep emotional pain. I thought that was a little far-fetched, but interesting nonetheless. The author presented a compelling argument for such.
Alas, it is why Kentucky said what she said to me when she finished reading this book: "It is up to you to make sure you're emotionally grounded."
She said a bunch of other stuff with that, but that was the main point. I agreed with her. You have to do the mental and spiritual work to get rid of some of these secret things.
What I liked, as an example of that, is she told someone to get rid of all distraction for a few days, spend some time in the Word, spend some time journalling, and spend some time praying. And when that person did that, they found the root of their sexual issues (I think this woman was sleeping around hard on her husband... with his friends). Hmm...
All in all, this was a good book, with plenty of examples, a few of which made me holla
"SAY WHAT??!!?" But those people were brave enough to seek out the help they needed. And that's a good thing.
Definitely an interesting read. And like I said, the discussion could be extrapolated to many other problem areas in life, whether it be bad habits, addictions, and a host of other problems.
My work group supervisor keeps us in stitiches at work. She is too funny.
I thought I would share some of our funny conversations.
Chill Grill. So I was in my boss' office, and she was complaining about her dentist.
"Something is wrong with my teeth, but she keeps saying that nothing is wrong. But I know something is wrong."
"You need another dentist," I said.
"I guess so," she replied. "Because something needs to be done."
"I have a good dentist. Dr. Watson. With his fine self. He does a good job. And he's out there on your side of town."
As soon as I said those words, I wanted to immediately snatch them back. But you know how it is with words: once they're out there, you can't take them back.
Why was I a bit disturbed by mentioning my dentist to her? Because I was thinking....
What if she go to him, and he jacks up her grill?
"Give me his number," she said. "And I'll make an appointment."
The words "they don't have a phone" almost came out of my mouth. But that would've been a lie. And overall if I could be helpful, that was fine. I just hoped it wouldn't come back to haunt me.
She made an appointment and yes indeed, she had problems. And she needed a root canal.
"I'm glad you went to see him," she said.
I was due for a cleaning in another week. And my boss had an appointment the day after mine.
After the dental hygenist finished cleaning my teeth, Dr. Watson came in and looked at my teeth.
Before he left I said, "Hey, hold up?"
"Wassup?" he said.
I like him. He is very much hip-hop. He makes me feel like we're getting ready to go to a New Edition or a Fat Boys concert.
"Look here. My boss is coming in for some dental work tomorrow."
"Oh yeah, he said. She did mention you. I told her you were coming in to have your teeth cleaned.."
"Yeah, that's cool," I said. "Look. Whatever you do, do NOT mess up her teeth."
"What?" he said, through a hard laugh.
I didn't see anything funny. "I said, don't mess up her mouth, man! That is my boss. If you mess her mouth up, you will make life bad for me. You will make life bad for us all! Do a good job!"
He laughed even harder. It was almost mad scientist in nature.
"I got it, I got it, Ladylee," he said. "It's all good. Don't worry, girl!"
"Alright. Just don't mess up her mouth."
I told my boss about this. "He needs to do a good job on your mouth. I hope he throws a gold tooth or some platinum up in there for free. Give you a diamond on that front tooth. Something. Just don't make life bad for me.Don't make life bad for us all!"
She got her mouth fixed. She was whining about aftercare instructions, but as long as she was feeling alright, it's all good. She hasn't said anything about it lately.
That was funny. I didn't think it was that funny, though. I didn't need bad yearly reviews, just because my dentist jacked up the boss' grill.
On Being Excellent. I try to tell my boss that she is excellent as much as I can. This disturbs her to no end. But whatever. It's better than being all negative. Our management in general isn't playing with a full deck. Well, maybe it's just that they do things in a different way than most (yes, that is a more positive statement). But she does a good job.
One day she was in our cubicle area. She is always helping my cubicle mate Cowgirl Cre with something which I protest with a passion, since Cre isn't in a group. "Let her call her own boss," I always holler.
That's not a good thing... Her boss is... special. Special indeed.
Anyway, my boss had come over to ask me a question about some paperwork. I answered, then I asked some questions. And she made some suggestions which were quite good. She'd been reading the criteria, and she knew what she was talking about.
"You see, Cowgirl Cre?" I said. "She's an excellent boss!"
Cowgirl Cre nodded.
"Whatever, man," my boss grumbled.
"She thinks about what's going on!"
"Yes she does," Cowgirl Cre said.
"I bet she lays in bed at night and thinks about work. She thinks about how to help and answer the questions."
"No I don't," she said. "I lay in bed and think, 'I should've brought that bottle of wine upstairs when I came to bed. Now I gotta go back downstairs and get it.'"
HA HA! I laughed so hard.
Okay, you had to be there with us for that to be funny. But I wasn't expecting that retort!
A Call for Help. So we were siting in the cubicle area. Our cubicle area contains 15 people at the most. It is quiet for the most part. You can't say too much because your business will be all over the building.
But one of my coworkers was having a discussion with our specialist. And Cowgirl Cre and I noticed that it was getting a bit heated.
A note about my specialist: he is a good guy. But he's argumentative. For example, he asks me questions, then he wants to argue me down about it. I think this is a PhD thing. We like to discuss things in a spirited manner. I was like this in my early years. Not so much now. I don't like chemistry enough to be arguing. I still get a check every other Friday. And I would rather be somewhere writing.
My answer is always: "You the one who asked me for help. And now you want to argue. I'm not going to argue with you."
*ladylee walking away, leaving Wong arguing with himself*
He will chase me down and grab me by the shoulders and want to "discuss" some more.
Nothing is worse than him coming back and saying "I'm sorry. You were right."
Yes. I know I'm right. Why we gotta go through all this drama? I don't like drama.
But Wong and this coworker "Jane" were having a heated discussion. And Jane was going in on him.
I was sitting there thinking "Get him! Get that joker!"
But at the same time I was thinking, she bout to hit this dude. Something needs to be done.
I stood up slowly and looked over the cubicle towards our boss' office. Her door was closed.
The argument got more heated. I thought about saying something, but I didn't want to mediate. And if one of them said the wrong thing to me, it was on. I know I have anger issues. No need for me to get to cussing folks out up in the cubicle area.
I nonchalantly left the cubicle area and walked down to the directors office area. One of my fellow church members Leon was doing an admin assistant detail and he had his own office. I went in and closed the door.
"Whassup LadyLee?" he said.
"Hey, let me use your phone," I said. I reached over him and grabbed his phone before he could hand it to me. I quickly dialed my boss' extension.
*Leon peers at LadyLee curiously*
"Hello," she said.
"Hey, you need to come out of your office. Jane is about to whoop Wong's azz!"
"You heard me. She going in on him. You need to do something. She bout to whoop his azz!"
There was silence on the line.
"Maybe he need's his azz whooped. I'm sitting here eating my pizza."
"What????" I hollered. "She going off on dude! Do soemthing!"
"Bye," she said, before she hung up on me.
Leon was laughing too hard at this exchange. I didn't know what to do: go back to my desk, or hide out in my office.
I thought best to stay back with there with him and talk about church. "Pastor sho' did preached good last Sunday, didn't he?"
Things had mysteriously calmed down by the time I went back to my desk.
I talked to her about this later. She was not moved. It was her lunchtime and she didn't want to be bothered. Part of me doesn't blame her. But man... it was a scary time for a minute there!
That's it for funny boss convos.
There are so many more, but those are the ones that keep me giggling!
Warning: If you are one of those perfect Christians that judge everybody, stop reading right now. This post is not for you. It is for the rest of us. You up and tripping out in the comments section only shows us who you truly are. That is all.
A friend sent me a tweet yesterday, and she wanted to know my thoughts on it:
"We call ourselves Christians and quote scriptures then pollute our hearts with music and entertainment that is contrary to His Word."
Well, I thought. That is true for the most part. I think it is anyway.
My friend followed it up with her first thought about it...
"My first thought was I shouldn't call myself a Christian. I thought Christian meant I believed Jesus died for me and I strive to grow more Christlike."
Well, I thought again. The second half of that statement is basically correct.
Then my friend texted... "But maybe I shouldn't say I'm a Christian until I am perfect."
Wow. One person's tweet caused another to question their beliefs. How sad.
I asked my friend why it was bothering her. She said the person seems to upset lately. And that it really boils down to the point that people shouldn't say they're Christian or post scriptures if they aren't perfect.
In other words, I suppose my friend thinks this person is being judgmental. And in my opinion, she is. Probably not on purpose, though.
Man. Now I understand. That just made me feel a little down there. Someone who seemingly put up a good statement messed around and probably pushed a few people over into guilt and self-condemnation.
It is just like the perfect Christian, isn't it... stand in judgement of other people. And that is what turns people off from Christianity. The whole judgemental thing.
And then when it the truth comes out, we are all O_O. We get all pissed when priests and pastors, these people we set up on pedestals as perfect Christians, bust out and it comes out that they're molesting everyone and have all kinds of problems and what not.
When they weren't perfect in the first place. Fact is, no one is.
So I raise an eyebrow when I see someone going hard on specific things, especially something like homosexuality.
"It's an abomination!"
True enough. But there are some 50 other abominations in the Bible. If you're gonna harp on one, harp on them all... Please and thank you.
Otherwise, I'm looking at you crazy...
...Because of a scripture I came across some 13 years ago I believe in my Message Bible.
Romans 2:1 ...But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Everytime you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done."
Now... if that isn't a kick in the teeth, I don't know what is. Message Bible keeps it real... all day, everyday.
So as you can imagine... when I see people pointing their perfect Christian finger at folk... I think...
Why are they judging (causing a diversion)?
What's going on in their secret lives? Hmm.
Because we all have them.
I was convicted of this perfect Christian judgment before by the Holy Spirit once. I was washing dishes one day, a couple of years ago, and I was thinking about someone, some silly stuff. And I remember hearing loud and clear in my spirit "Shut up! How dare you think those things about that perosn. You don't know the plans and purposes I have for their life! You don't know what I have planned for them in 20 years! You don't! Shut up!"
It arrested me. I think I dropped a dish. I remember tears forming in my eyes and saying "I am so sorry."
I know I thought about that for a good month. Goodness. It bothered me to my very core. That really changed me. I examine what I think of people. And I have made changes. I try to do whatever I can to help a person who comes to me with a personal issue. I don't judge. I listen. Or I at least work on it. My goodness, I don't want to be that one person who comes along and points my perfect Christian finger and holler "You're BAD!"... and I mess up whatever plan or path God is trying to set this person on.
I still have my problems, though. Like, I don't deal with people who are emotionally abusive or emotional manipulators, because I grew up around that. But I have asked God to help me with my anger issues, somehow. Just help me grow. I am a work in progress on that front. I have done much better, but I still have far to go. God is helping my heart.
I am talking here about judgment of people in general... People who aren't hurting anyone, just trying to find their way in life, in their own way. I don't have a right to get an attitude with someone just because they posted a scripture. Who am I to say that God didn't wake them up with that scripture that morning, after their head hit the pillow that night before, and they were praying for help with getting rid of that secret problem with alcohol? Or after they were praying about some secret thing that is tormenting them?
You know how I think. You aren't who you are at church. You only spend 1 to 5% of your time there.
You are who you are when your head hits that pillow at night. You are who you are when no one is looking.
Anyway, I went back to the statement above that was tweeted.
"We call ourselves Christians and quote scriptures then pollute our hearts with music and entertainment that is contrary to His Word."
It is basically a true statement. But it needs some scriptural backing to dilute the judgment out of it.
If you have read my blog enough, you would know one of my favorite scriptures, in addition to Romans 2:1 above is Proverbs 4:23
KJV - Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life
CJB - Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life's consequences.
Those versions are self-explanatory. But the next couple of versions of that verse really hit home.
GNT - Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.
NCV - Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.
Thoughts--- they come from somewhere. They didn't just magically appear in your head.
A clue to that is the numerous verses of scriptures that really harp on being careful what you're doing, what you're hearing, what you're seeing and what you are saying- watch that eargate, mouthgate, and eyegate with a vengeance. Most notably, keep your mind on the Word.
Why? Because our mind is always on something. And the danger becomes when it is consumed with something.
If not for the Word of God being on your mind... something is on your mind.
Hence... our wonderfully seductive music and entertainment industry. Amongst other interesting things.
It has gotten more graphic and interesting over the years. All of it is much more... interesting than it was 40 years ago. Don't you agree?
Why on earth do advertisement agencies put out millions of dollars on advertising ads?
Because they know if they can infiltrate our thought life, they have accomplished something indeed.
Our thoughts run our life. That's what that scripture says above.
I always use the following example. What do you think of when you see this word?
I think of money. Trees. grass. Stuff like that.
Now what do you think of when you see that word... with another word added to it?
You're automatically thinking of recycling. You looking for a way to save the environment. And you and I have been trained in that. Your thought life was trained in that. Took some time, but we know how to recycle, don't we?
Same thing with smoking in buildings. Same with condoms.
Your thoughts about these things were changed. Well, mine were.
Same thing with the entertainment and music industry. You didn't get the idea of dropping it like it's hot on your own.
Back in the early 90s, I didn't get the notion to drink and smoke weed on a whim. I know I was listening to much gangsta rap. And that was ALL they were doing. So if I am singing along (confessing) those words of those songs over and over... just what did I expect to happen??
Hmm... all that in the midst of being a Christian.. Not a perfect one. But still a Christian.
I discussed my ideas with my friend. Of course, that tweet is true. But it was said in the spirit of condemnation, which turns people off and away.
Really. Turned me off. Even thought I think much about it.
I like my fair share of music and entertainment. But I notice certain things I just don't care for anymore. I like old music. I couldn't tell you who is a popular artist or a popular song these days, as I don't listen to current music. I don't like explicit stuff at all, whether it be books, music or shows. I don't like reality shows, where folks judge and have major conflict, as I am striving to be the opposite.
As the years go by, I find that I actually prefer anything that educates me, or feeds my spirit.
And that is evidence that I am not a perfect Christian, but a work in progress.
And that is alright by me.
Yes it is.
My friend and I talked about that. Those are my initial thoughts. I am sure she pulled on her arsenal of wise friends and got different opinions. Put all our opinions together, and she's fully equipped to have a good fortified opinion of her own. Overall, I hope she will see herself as a Christian, acceptable to God, in the midst of her issues. He has a plan and a purpose for her life, and she is under construction until the day she dies.
I hope she is confident in that.... despite the judgment of others.
I don't judge the person who is posting such tweets. I judge what it is doing to people: making them question who they are and what God is trying to do in their lives, whether they are cooperating or not. I myself have had my fair share of rebellion to change. Yes I have.
I am not perfect. I have my share of problems. God has also seen me through quite a few of my problems and imperfections, and has seen me through them. And it makes me smile when I come across someone who has had the same issues, I don't judge, but I help... as I am FULLY equipped to do so. By Him. Fully.
I am comforted by the followind verse, Hebrews 13:5-6
"... for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] 6 So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?"
God doesn't give up on me, even though others judge me and give up on me.
We are bought with a heavy price, and He doesn't give up on us. He can see the end from the beginning. He wants for us, from the beginning. He is willing to work on our imperfections.
For that, I am thankful.
So my friend, be confident in who you are. You are bought with a price. You are of value. God loves you.
Imperfections and all. I leave you with my favorite morning songs... it helps me prepare for my day.
Alright now. Conversations week is still going on... I threw a Lucy Junior blog post up on Friday night, so ya'll better go back and take a look at it (very funny).
I am stretching cpnversations week out to 2 weeks because I have a lot of conversations to put up, plus I may be sprinkling in regular posts to break up the gravity of it all... you know how I like to keep it SMURFY in the House of LadyLee!
Anyway, I had a pretty good weekend. I need a 3 day weekend right about now, though. I didn't leave the house on Sunday, but I still have things to do around the house.
But on Saturday I had a great day.
I called my sister Kentucky, and asked her if she wanted to go berry picking again like we did last week. She said yes. I went and scooped her up, and we headed out to the u-pick farm.
This time, Kentucky was interested in picking blueberries. And we had to walk all the way back to the little white huts in the picture below to get the blueberry area.
I was hollering at Kentucky the whole way. "Dang Kentucky! Man, you got us walking all the way back here. Dang!"
She knows how her big sister is, i.e., she ignored my rants.
I don't particularly like blueberries. That is usually last on my "have-to-have" berries list.
But I followed her to the blueberry patch.
There were lots of blueberries!
Here's a good branch. Full of ripe blueberries.
There's another good branch full of berries.
The ripe ones came off easy. In about 30 minutes, we had about 3 pounds of blueberries.
Some of the bushes were tall. I almost expected Miss Sophia to part the bushes and holler "You told Harpo to beat me!!!"
We were taking our time.
"Kentucky, we sure are slow," I said. If it was back in slave days, we'd be in a lot of trouble for being so slow."
I ended up picking raspberries too.
The only reason I picked those is because they were giving people the little green paper cartons to put those in (the buckets were too delicate for that). I just wanted the cartons so that I could separate out some fruit for my Grandma. They said I had to pick raspberries to do that.
I am not a raspberry fan. But I told dude I would pick them just to get the carton. He gave me three cartons and I picked half a carton full. A full $1.07 worth.
That was such a good time with my sister. That poor girl is going to stop answering the phone on Saturday mornings...
*kentucky's phone rings*
"Humph," she says to herself. "That's that Lisa, wanting to go berry picking. I don't think I'll answer the phone."
I just like hanging with my sister. She is so funny to me. And such a good friend these days.
Grandma. So, I ended up going over Grandma's house after picking berries with Kentucky. Not before making some pit stops. I called my Aunt and asked if there was anything they needed. She said no, but they liked the spring water (I'd taken some fruit, vegetables, and a gallon of Whole Foods spring water over there). So I decided to go get them a few more gallons.
Traffic is HELLACIOUS on the weekends in the ATL due to all the construction. And I live right behind Turner Field, where the Braves play baseball, and that just adds to the headache. I drove through there and I wanted to holler out the window "When in the world do ya'll have some road games!? Get outta here!"
So it took me a good hour to hit Whole Foods and then jump to Grandma's house. That can't be no more than 10 miles total driving. Wow.
But they have some good water.
And Grandma has a couple of pounds of berries for her yogurt.
"Look what I got for you," I said to her as I handed her the cartons of berries. "Me and Kentucky went berry picking this morning."
She was elated. And she sat her fruit on her ottoman. And she started talking.
I sat down and crocheted. And secretly hoped for no more uncomfortable conversations like last time. And that didn't happen for the most part. She was extremely talkative, but my Aunt kept "reining her back in" as she liked to say...
She would get so excited when she was trying to make a point or remember something. I leaned forward, eager for her to get out whatever had her so riled up.
Somehow Grandma got on the topic of some of my ex-boyfriends. And my ex-husband.
I was screaming inside.
And crocheting hard. Extra extra hard.
I had NO idea where her thoughts were going. Oh My!!
Luckily, something else caught her attention and she started talking about that.
And I was sitting there thinking to myself "Thank goodness I didn't bring all my men around here. Some of them were trifling." And she seems to be remembering craziness.
I didn't feel like being psychoanalyzed about my men issues. No indeed.
But it was a good time. But I was so sleepy. It got to a point where I had to lay down on the 50 year-old couch for a minute (this did nothing for my problem back). I ended up sleeping a good hour. By the time I woke up, Grandma was back in her bedroom taking a nap of her own. I stayed a little while longer, then I headed on home.
That was the gist of my weekend.
Quote of the Week. I have a book review coming up this week. The subject matter is going to make you all holler "Pump the brakes, LadyLee! Shut the front door!"
Touchy, touchy, touchy subject matter. Something you NEVER see discussed.
Not my fault. Kentucky told me about the book. I told her of another book I was reading, and she went and looked up everything by that author, and came across this VERY odd book. She had read the introduction or something. I got nosey and went and looked at what she was talking about. I thought the whole book was worth reading, since I have a manuscript with the subject matter as one of the themes, and I read the whole book.
I thought the book was EXCELLENT, and I told Kentucky to think about reading it.
Kentucky decided to read it, since I was raving about it.
She said "I got into that book, and I was thinking... I don't know about this book, Lisa."
"You the one who brought it to my attention, gal!" I hollered.
"But once I got into it," she continued "I realized how good it was. It made me think and look at my own life."
Then she rambled off some long thought about life. I listened to her, and a few minutes later, I asked her to repeat what she said, so I could write it down.
"I don't remember what I said, girl," she said.
Well I caught the best part of it.
"It is up to you to make sure you're emotionally grounded."
That's a short statement, but it is very loaded. And very true. I will let you ponder that to yourself in your personal time. I'm still pondering it. I could tell that Kentucky's eyes were wide when she said that. It is one of the most definitive statements I've heard her make this week. Goodness.
I guess reading that book really brought that thought home for her. Good deal.
More on that in a book review coming up this week.
Post of the Week. Grady Doctor's boys are on summer vacation with their grandpa... and they are writing letters home to her. And they are HILARIOUS!!!
("Conversations week"continues until June 30th. Enter to win fabulous prizes. See Conversations week post for details)
It is Lucy, Junior!!!!
Lucy Junior!! At my house! The Literal House of LadyLee!!!!
Hi Lucy Junior!!!
Yes! It is Lucy Junior. The L Deuce. Lucy 2.0.
Lucy Juicy if you're nasty!
And I needed to take Lucy Jr. to the auto mechanic shop last Tuesday. Pronto...
Because I was driving down the road in these monsoon African rains that Atlanta has been having lately. And the windshield wipers were going good. And I noticed one day, during these torrential rains, that one of the winshield wipers was peeling.
*ladylee rolling down the road, bumping some Jill Scott*
"What is that?" I said, leaning forward and staring hard at the swishing windshield wipers. "What the world? Did a stem fall on my window?
No. The windshield wiper blade had peeled off down about 75%.
Sigh. I don't know how to change windshield wiper blades.
I am a girl. I don't care about that type of stuff. Take it somewhere and let somebody else do it.
The next day at work, I announced to my boss, who was meandering around the cubicle area, "I'm going to go get my windshield wipers changed! And I'm going to get a road test!"
"The back blade on my Explorer needs changing too."
"Well, I'm getting mines done. Scared me to death yesterday? I though a small tree branch was on the window or something."
By this time, another coworker walked up. Her name is Mel. She listened in the conversation. She's only been in our group a couple months. She's a youngun, and she's from the ratchet downstairs crew. So she is happy to be upstairs with us where there is some semblance of sanity.
"Yo, man," she said. "You don't have to go through all that. You can go some wipers and I will change them for you."
"Uh, no," I said.
"Come on, man!" she said. She looked a bit too excited. "Come on, I'll hook you up!"
"No," I said again.
This went on for a couple of minutes, her trying to convince me to let her change her wipers and me hollering "No" or "HELL NO!"
"I tell you what," I finally said. "You go outside and change the back wiper on the boss lady car. And we'll get her to crank it up. If you can do that right, then you can change my wipers."
The boss stared at me unblinkingly.
Mel just stood there speechless.
I could see what was going through Mel's mind. If she went outside and jacked up the boss' back window wiper, she'd be sent back down to the plantation from which she came. She'd be sent back downstairs.
This killed the wiper blade discussion. Mel had the look of pure horror and fear on her face. The boss had the death stare. I thought she was gonna twist her fingers just so, like Darth Vader... causing me to suffocate and fall out.
Later in the hallway.... here comes Mel..
"Yo, let me do your wipers. Come on, man!"
"NO! I made an appointment to get it done."
Mel walks away.
Yes I made an appointment. I took it to the specialty shop I used for the original Lucy. I like that place because some of the mechanics own the same generation.
I made an appointment for wipers and a road test.
"Do you think you need an oil change, LadyLee?" the owner Chuck asked.
"I don't know. I didn't lift the hood when I bought it. Oil light never came on. And I've put 1500 miles on it. You can check it if you want to."
I was supposed to bring the car in for a pre-purchase check, but it was super cold and rainy that day. I went ahead and bought the car, since Lucy Junior's owner had all the paper work."
"We'll do a 5K check then," he said.
That was cool. And he could take as long as he wanted. My appointment was at one. Hopefully I could stick around until 3. Or 7 pm. That way I wouldn't have to go back to work. Hmm...
I sat on the couch- the nice nice leather couch -and played around on my laptop, texted a few people, and listened to my music (Jill Scott, ya'll!). They have snacks and sodas and water. And I'm the one who is all for bottled water! Oh yeah!
Some random lady came up to me after an hour and said "They've been calling your name!"
Ok. Yes, I was in my own world. Totally plugged in. Oh joy!
One of the mechanics came out and talked to me.
"Is everything alright with the car?" I said.
And he said something that made me cheese like Celie.
"That is a perfect car!"
*ladylee holds back the urge to do rockette kicks*
"Yes, it is. Better than the one I wrecked," I said, a little too loudly.
We talked about it. I gave a mini-testimony.
"You just need your tires rotated. That is it."
And I let them do it.
I told Chuck that the last owner's paperwork said that I needed rear struts and mounts and front struts.
"Uh, does it ride well? Does it squeak?"
"Rides well and I rarely hear any squeaking." Matter of fact, I don't remember any squeaking.
"If it was me, I wouldn't get it done," Chuck said. "Long as it rides nice like you like, not necessary."
And that was fine by me.
The car was already riding well on those Michelins... but it rides a tad bit better with the rotation.
I returned to work around 3:30 pm after running a few errands.
And here comes Mel....
"Hey, did you get your wipers changed?"
"Yes! Yes I did!"
And I got so much more. Lucy Jr. is all the car I thought she would be.
And when I think of her, I always say, "Thank you God for my good and perfect gift."
(Conversations week sweepstakes, June 17-June 30, continues. Comment for a chance to win fabulous cash prizes. See Conversations Week post for details)
My sweet Grandma is finally home from the hospital...
Without a boatload of drama though.
But I can still hear voice, even now, as she sighs and looks at me and says
"I'm so happy to be home."
That's because she wasn't home at first. When she was released from the hospital, she was released to my mother.
My mother had been doing a ton of whining about taking care of Grandma. But my Mother and my Aunt and my Uncle have been beefing for a minute, so Grandma basically turned into a pawn.
A pawn. Geez.
Grandma was suppose to go home to her own house. But my mother had been down at the hospital bogarting the room. We all figured out the times she was there, so we would visit when she wasn't there. For me, it meant going really late at night, after 10.
Yes, they'd been arguing and fighting down at the hospital.
That is some craziness. And you know me... LadyLee is nowhere around that foolishness. AT ALL.
So interestingly, my Aunt and Uncle had gone down to the hospital to visit Grandma, and grandma was gone. Gone with my mother. This pissed my Aunt and Uncle off and they went out to my mother's house. With the police.
Somehow Kentucky got involved in all this. I was coming from Baby Bandit's graduation party, when I noticed a bunch of text messages on my phone. I stopped at a gas station and called cousin Kim, who was super concerned, and who was still a bit shaken up from being threatened by my Mother a few days before. (Yes, Kentucky had to talk our cousin down from much crying; I had to talk her down some more after that.)
So I tried to call Kentucky so I could tell her to leave. I couldn't reach her. This means that I had no choice but to head over there... and snatch her out of the way of this mess.
But Kentucky called me. And she was a bit perturbed.
Now, she and I have been battling back and forth (in an agreeable manner) over all of this.
"These some grown azz negroes," I've been hollering. "These negroes was grown before we was even born. Let these grown azz negroes figure this out. Stay out of the way!"
Kentucky snickers in the middle of her rebuttle to me. She doesn't do too well when I get so mad that I fall headfirst into ebonics language. She doesn't know whether to take me seriously or not.
I am really proud of my sister, though. She singlehandedly mediated and brokered a turnover of Grandma from my Mother to my aunt with no violence. I am amazed.
I didn't think she could do that. And that was the reason I was on my way over to snatch her out the house, put her in her car, and make her go home.
But like I said, she did. Yet, Kentucky was perturbed.
"Lisa, these folks done ruined my high. I had a good massage today, was feeling all good, and they just ruined it. Now I have to go get another one."
This was funny. Because she said it several times. She goes to my girl Dawn for the phat massages. According to my best friend LadyTee, Dawn is Black Jesus. Kentucky thinks so, too. So I could tell Kentucky was pissed, yet calm.
We talked about it all. My Mother is crazy violent, so she'd grabbed the guns. Not sure how Kentucky calmed her down....
"I just saw her grabbing bullets, Lisa," she said. "And I was like whoooooaaa... gome on Grandma, let's go sit outside on the front porch."
Grandma followed Kentucky. And Grandma was taken home by my Aunt. Grandma was happy about it.
I'd gone over to Grandma's house after everything had calmed down... a few days after the fact. I bought over a bag of vegetables and spring mix for her salads, and a plate of hot vegetables from the vegetarian bar at the Whole Foods. I figured my aunt could use some extra vegetables for meals. I also brought a gallon of spring water. Everybody can use a some water, you know.
I was only going to stay for just a little while, since I didn't get over there until around 8:30 pm (I'd gotten off from work at 7).
When I got there, Grandma was sitting in her special chair, all bright eyed and bushy-tailed.
"Look at you, big girl," I said, "sitting all up in that chair."
"Look at you! You don't need to be sitting up in that chair. You need to put on your clothes and let's get on in these streets! Go to the Krogers for grocery, go to the movies and go to the Christian book store for some books."
She got all excited then. A bit too excited, looking around like she was looking for her clothes and her pocketbook so we could get up and go!
I sat down. And as usual, I try to bring some crochet. I was working on Mrs. A's green and white baby blanket, and I was going to stay long enough just to do a couple of my white stripes. That meant I was staying for no more than an hour.
I sat down...
And grandma started talking. Just yacking away.
What was interesting is that I did what I always did when I went over there and she talked: I crocheted.
But this time was different. She kept saying....
"Lisa, look at me... listen to me. Look at me, now. Look at me when I'm talking to you."
O_o. What the world?
I didn't understand why she was acting like that. But it slowed down my crocheting.
Then my aunt came in from the kitchen. She gave my grandma a small bowl of yogurt and blueberries. I was packing up to go. I'd finished my two white rows, and I didn't have anymore green yarn... so uh... it was REALLY time to go.
I tried to tell them that I needed to go on home because I had to work the next day.
Do you know they didn't pay me no mind? I was hemmed up for at least another hour, until around a little before 11 pm... Sigh.
And it was interesting though... because Grandma gets over into talking about the past. And I have NEVER heard her be brutally honest about the past.
She is doing a ton of pontificating. I had to hear it ALL, you hear me?
"Have you talked to your Mama, Lisa?" Grandma asked. "Is she alright? I just want to know if she is alright."
"No I haven't. Now, you know I don't fool with her."
Especially since she was acting up and threatening folks with her guns. I don't want no parts of that.
"I was just asking. Been trying to call her, and she won't answer."
That's because she mad with ya'll, I thought.
I am not sure why they were asking me this. I deal with my mother on very rare occasions. I guess Grandma had heard us laughing and talking at the hospital.
Don't let the smooth taste fool you, Grandma. I don't get down with my Mama. We just happened to cross paths at the hospital. And I know how to make small talk.
One vein of conversation had my nose flaring:
Why my mother is the way she is.
My nostrils were flaring with that whole monologue. And my Aunt was sitting there with a pained looked on her face. And anytime I looked away, Grandma was saying,
"Lisa, listen... look at me, listen..."
Ugh. I didn't want to listen. I wanted to go home and get ready for tomorrow. I wanted to fix my lunch and do some light cleaning. I really needed to feed Oscar-Tyrone. I wanted to get ready for bed, and I wanted to watch the news to see what the weather would be the next day.
I wanted to go home and back to my life. I wanted no parts of this conversation.
And I was sitting there hemmed up on the sofa, looking for a way to jump out a window or dig through the floor or something. I REALLY wanted to go home.
"Look," I told my aunt and my grandmother. "This woman [my mother] has made me feel bad about myself for all my life. I've worked hard to love myself. And when they (she and her idiot 3rd husband) accused me of stealing that time, and she tried to fight me over it, I was completely done with her. That was 8 years ago. I'm still done."
They just looked at me. I am very reserved around family, lesser so when my mother isn't around, but reserved nevertheless. I keep it light and fluffy and fun. No serious talk from me.
"Lisa," my aunt said "You know that was because Ray [my Mother's ex-husband} had a plan to get rid of all of ya'll one by one. He told your mama that he didn't want her kids around."
I nodded. I knew this because Kentucky had told me years ago. He systematically got rid of us all. I got accused of stealing. Milk and Cookies caught the brunt of it. Ray would order porn, and blame it on my brother. Ray would drank up all the liquor and tell my Mama "That's your son drinking up all the liquor."
This use to piss me off. My little brother, who was 16 or 17 at the time, was a really good kid. And being the good kid that he was, he would laugh it off. "I told her, Lisa, 'Now Mama, have you ever known me to drink or order porn, or even lie about stuff like that'?"
My brother had a truck and Ray was after it. But he was leery of my brother. My brother slept with his truck keys, his gun, and those medieval swords he collected. Even a complete idiot like Ray knew to leave him alone... and stick to his lies.
Kentucky didn't like him. He looked at her strangely and made a couple of strange remarks. Whatever he was doing made her uncomfortable. I was gonna bust him in the head with a brick if he made a pass at my sister. Beat a negro"s tail, ask questions later. Really.
Me and my sister stayed away for the most part. One of my most interesting memeories was me and Kentucky standing in the driveway, and her teaching me how to wear my purse so that I wouldn't have to take it off. Ray was and alcoholic and on drugs or crack or something. You don't lay your purse or keys down around people like that. No indeed.
"Ray was the worst person I have every met in my life," I said, while sitting there hemmed up on Grandma's couch. "The absolutely worst. That man was horrible!"
Grandma nodded. I knew she didn't like him either. She said such in her own gentle manner some 9 years ago.
And you know... Ray had the nerve to die a few months ago. I wanted to go to his funeral, and make a comment when the preacher asked for comments about the deceased.
*LadyLee steps to the mike*
"Ray was the worst nigga I ever met in my life. This muthaf**** laying in this casket right here? This nigga here was crazy!"
*LadyLee throws mike to the ground and walks back to pews*
My sister knows me well. She told me the dude died after the fact, and after the memorial. Because you know I woulda showed up and said all that.... and repented later.
This guy was a sociopath. And I don't go nowhere near sociopaths. When they step in the room, even the cockroaches and the goldfish have a bad day. Ray knew how to leave emotional carnage. Even his own kids were a hot mess.
Grandma continued to talk. I listened attentatively... all the while watching the seconds hand on the clock atop the television go round and round and round.
"Let me tell you something, Grandma," I said. "You are sick and trying to get better. You are 83 years old. You are too old to be worrying about all this. You need to focus on your health. Don't beat yourself up over my Mama tripping out. That's just her way. I'm like the Queen of England, honey. Certain stuff is unacceptable in my presence and I don't deal with it. And you don't need to be worried about it either."
Kentucky told me that Grandma and our mother had been beefing. Grandma had told my mother earlier in the year not to come around with the drama. My mother was angry about that.
I was shocked! My sweet mild mannered Grandma getting bucked?
Mother hadn't been nice to her. She said Grandma talked too much, and she didn't move fast enough. Grandma talked about that. I could hear the quiver in her voice, when she talked about it. I could tell it hurt for her own child to treat her this way.
"Auntie," I said, while still looking for a way to make my exit from this hard conversation and go home. "Now, i was taking grandma to the doctor. I didn't treat her bad or anything. I got her there, and got her back into the house. I made sure we went and got her medicine. I even had to come up off some cash for some procedures. And it wasn't no little bit of money either. And I didn't mind at all. You know I sow some seed. Was happy to be in the right place at the right time to be of use."
"She right, Joy," my grandma said. "She did."
There was other beef, too. Our mother had a new man that she wanted Grandma (and everyone else) to meet. Grandma dodged the man. And let's just say... uh, Ray messed it up for everybody. He sure did. So everybody had been dodging our mother. And my sister had met this new dude, and didn't get a good vibe. So you know meeting me was out of the question.
"My goal," I told my aunt and Grandma, "is to take care of my sister and her emotions. That's the only reason anyone sees me. My assignment is to walk behind my sister and pick her emotions up off the floor, while she is on this weird quest of hope to help my mother."
And I always tried to look out for Milk and Cookies. But he is a grown man now, with his own family, living out in Seattle.
"Shawty is in Seattle," I told my sister. "He might as well be on the moon!"
And this situation has Milk and Cookies all O_o. And he's been runing around fighting wars in the middle east. That dude has NO filter. So he says whatever. He don't care if Ma gets mad.
He told my sister "I don't have time for all this!"
You sure don't, dude. None of us do.
Grandma nodded. I think they got my point. Family rarely sees me. I don't have time for ratchetness. I am quick to be up in somebody else's family function. I am trying to enjoy life. Not deal with this foolishness.
And with that, I was up. I grabbed my bag of yarn. It was closing in on 11 o'clock.
"Look. I have to go! Gotta go to work in the morning. And after work, gotta go to writing class."
They let me go on when they saw I had gotten up. I was done with the emotional roundtable.
I went and shook my grandmother's hand. She has been tickled by this gesture as of late, as we never really touch or hug or nothing. She reached her arms up for me to hug her. I hugged her and kissed her on the cheek.
The only other time I remember us sharing this handshake, hug and kiss on the cheek was at the hospital a few days before. Right after I took her hands in mind around midnight at the hospital and prayed with her.
I'm no longer the quiet little girl sitting in the corner. So reserved, and so scared and so emotionally beat down by my mother.
It has taken so many years to unearth the bad seeds my mother has planted in my heart. I refuse to agree with what she thinks of me. I am not a bad person. I am not ugly. I am not stupid. I am not crazy. I am none of those things.
I am me.
I am a blessing to all those who know me. I am a powerful asset. I am good. I am kind. I am honest. I am funny. I impart wisdom. I am a solution to a problem on a DAILY basis. I have a place and purpose in this world.
I am a powerful resource and a very good person to know. Very good.
I am special.
It took many years of looking in the mirror and saying those things to my reflection, and writing those words on my heart, for it to sink in. For the truth of who I truly am to sink in.
And I hold on to those good thoughts about myself like they are gold... like the valuable treasure they are.
"You just be you, Grandma. And you get better. We gonna all be alright," I said. "You did what you could to raise folks right. It's all good. You just get better."
I told them to call me if they needed anything. I am only 10 minutes away, and it is nothing for me to do grocery and medicine runs and other errands. It is too hot for them to be running around in the streets. I can do all that. Just call.
No one has called. The offer still stands. And whenever I go by, I will bring fresh water and a bag of fresh organic vegetables. Yes I will.
I told my sister about all this. "They had me there for a couple hours."
"Well, I was there for 6 hours," she said. "And they did some serious talking."
My goodness. Now THAT had to be one heck of a conversation. And Kentucky told me a little of what they talked about. Woooo-weeee! That conversation would've had me repeatedly beating my forehead on the coffee table. Kentucky is much stronger than I am. Everyday, all day.
Grandma has gotten much off her chest. I guess you get like that when you think you may be staring death straight in the eye. She is better now. Hopefully getting it all out has done her some good.
I don't know if it did me any good. I don't think much of myself in these cases. Like I said, I think of my sister, and her fragile heart. I think of her hope. And I support her, even though I don't particularly agree with her steadfastness in the midst of ill treatment.
I think of Grandma too. I hope she gets the peace of mind she is looking for. And I hope she forgives herself for the past. She has done the best she can do.