Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Freestyles... The Abridged Holiday Edition

TGIF!

And this is really a good Friday because it is a holiday weekend!

3 days off.

Count em': 1, 2, 3!!!!

And to make a perfect friday... It is PAYDAY!

*throws cash in the air... wave my hands like I just don't CARE*

LOL

I don't have much to say today. If I write too much, this will be one long unabridged 10 page food-for-thought. So today you get the abridged edition. This is a short Friday Freestyles.

It has been an interesting week. Personally, I'm ready for September to get here. Maybe next month will be a better month, I don't know.

I went to my hematologist yesterday and she wants me to have more iron infusions.

Uh... no. NO MA'AM.

"You bringing tears to my eyes, Doc," I said. "You gonna make me cry!"

I told her that I am done. Those infusions are $250 apiece after insurance. It's been close to a couple grand out of my pocket. Not worth it. I feel fine. And if I have any more, I better be able to fly like superman or at least levitate off the ground. Either that, or hook me up with some Obamacare. And we know that's not going to happen. And I'm trying to get everything done I can this year, because when Obamacare kicks in, my cost are only gonna go higher.

I have learned much about blood and the importance of it. You know how much I like scientific stuff like that. I wish I could buy a good book on hematology.

I am a bit upside down on my meds right now, meaning that I missed my morning dosages and took them at night, stuff like that. So I have been feeling slightly loopy all week, especially in the evenings. I don't feel bad... just a little left of center. I've been sleepy very well at night, which is odd. That's a good thing. I hope it keeps up.

So this holiday weekend, I will be trying to bring myself back to my normal. Sigh.

I usually go out of town on Labor Day weekend down to "The country" with my cubicle mate "The Cowgirl Cre". I'm not up to it this weekend. But I have a full weekend planned. I have a lot of house cleaning to do, and I want to clean off my porch. I may even try to stain it. I should have done it last week since it hasn't rained all week, but I think I may be able to squeeze it in. I also need to visit with my grandmother, and of course, go sit with my father. And besides that, I will just be relaxing. I may even go catch a movie. I would like to see either The Butler or Fruitvale Station. I need to do a hard yarn run. I am having all kinds of trouble tracking down sport weight (baby) yellow yarn. So I need to hit some stores and hope that I luck up on a couple of skeins of it. I also want to get some reading and writing done. I want to make some goals for the month of September, too.

So that is it for today... And I can't forget the  song of the week.

I use to love this song as a child. "Fire" by the Pointer Sisters.



You have to be over 40 to really appreciate this song. My friends and I knew all the words to the song.

"I'm ridin' in your car... You turn on the radio..."

It brings back such happy memories of being 9 years old and singing that song at the lunch table with my friends. And when the first bars of that song played at the skating rink? We were all scrambling to get out on the floor and skate!

Those were the days!

I hope you enjoy this long Labor day weekend. It's your last chance to barbeque and swim... So do that!

On purpose!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Greeting Card Issues


I like perusing the greeting card section from time to time.

I was at the White People's Target (right across from my beloved White People's Kroger) last week and this particular card caught my attention.


Hmm... That's a nice card. And it's indicative of the changing times.

The greeting on the inside was quite cheesy and very politically correct. I forgot what it was, but I remember saying "Really? Come on."

I looked around that same section for another similar card.

And it wasn't there.

I wanted to ask, "Where's the 'Mrs. and Mrs.' cards?"

There were none.

That's some complicated craziness. Is the greeting card industry discriminating against women.

Nope, I don't plan on marrying a woman, or going to anyone's wedding.

But if one card is available, shouldn't the other card also be available?

Hmm...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Afternoon Ramblings... The Food-for-Thought Edition

Good Monday Afternoon... from my sofa.

Yes, that is right. From my sofa. I didn't want to post today, as I am not feeling particularly smurfy. I ate something yesterday that made me break out in hives. So I rather stay at home and let this all wear off. And it don't help that it is really nice outside. This is no time to be stuck up in the house. ugh. I do think some of it is something I ate, and part of it is due to nerves. I have entirely too much on my mind right now. That is a bit unusual for me.

This was an interesting weekend. It didn't rain. The sun was shining high in the sky. Not a drop of rain fell. I don't remember seeing any clouds. I almost wanted to take a picture or something because it is so hard to believe. Even the humidity is low.

This is UTOPIA.

Or maybe is all just a dream.

Oh well.

My weekend was .... uggggggh.

I didn't go anywhere on Saturday. Sometimes I catch up on my sleep if I have been sleeping crazy all week. Plus I am moody, and I am hard to deal with I am moody. And Aunt Flo showed up out of nowhere, and you know me.... I'm like those women in the bible - put me in a tent on the outskirts of town and leave me alone. Solitude, honey. Solitude.

But I ended up going out on Sunday. I needed to run some errands, some of which I needed to do on Saturday.

And I needed to do one other thing: spend some time with my father.

For some reason, I didn't feel like going over there. But I skipped going last week. One of the reasons is that I don't go over to anyone's house unless I call first. I don't understand the whole "showing up" thing. A lot of that has to do with the fact I rarely have people over. I just think it's a courtesy to always call. And I can't blame folks if they don't. I know that is just my habit. I don't like bothering folk. This is a good and a bad thing at the same time. The older I get, the more it seems to bother me.

Anyway, I called Aunt Ethel and asked if I could come over. She seemed surprised by this. Not in that I'm going to jump ship, which is easy enough to do. I think they are just use to people knocking on the door and showing up. Not gonna happen with me. I'm not even like that with folks I know well.

But I guess that is my third time going over there. The last time I went was after work, and that didn't fare to well for me, because I am a bit keyed up after I get off from work and I need a little time alone to decompress. So going from work straight to his house is not a good thing.

He is quiet. I am quiet. That makes for an odd gathering. And it's something I'm not in the mood for after work.

My solution is to go over on the weekends whenever I decide to go over. I have told myself it doesn't hurt to go over there for a half hour ever couple of weeks or so.

I still have to find some things to talk to him about. No, I am not asking him about his past of neglecting me. I could care less about that these days. But what is a bit troublesome is that I am 43 years old. And it seems as if he hasn't done anything of interest in the past 40 years.

And that isn't something you come out and ask someone.

"Have you done anything or had any accomplishments in the last 40 years?"

That is a rude question. Especially since I already know the answer to that question.

The answer is no. He has walked the neighborhood with his friends and drank liquor. He is an alcoholic. He has stayed in that same little bedroom all these years. I remember the room from when I was 4 or 5 years old, when I had to go over there every Christmas. Same twin size bed. Same furniture.

And I don't judge the man for that. Particular decisions afford particular results and consequences. Period.

But it makes me think of my own life.   When I get his age, age 67, will I be able to look back on my life and say I did something with my life?

Of course I would. But seeing someone like him, who has sat in the same room, drank the same liquor for so many years is daunting. It makes me think of my own life and accomplishments. But it makes me think of all my dreams, goals and desires that have gone unfulfilled. It also makes me think of all those bad habits and strongholds I have that I have been sluggish about eliminating from my life. Years and years can pass, sometimes those questionable areas tend to overshadow all the good. That is unfortunate.

It makes me think of a quote I posted here on this blog awhile ago...

"The bad habits I let go unchecked in my life will eventually be the very source of my downfall."

Eventually. 

And we see this happening all the time, these "bad habits left unchecked."  We see it with the superstars. I know if you're like me, you've heard the news of some star's demise and shook your head. I always associated wealth with the good life. And times like that always let me know that wealth doesn't solve all problems... sometimes it magnifies them. 

And I see the issues with my father, these effects of  bad habits left unchecked. And I also see this with myself. 

And it makes me a bit sad. 

Something must be said in light of all that. I am always under construction right up until the very moment I die. This means problem areas I had years ago are gone. I have problem areas I am working on now that will diminish or go away. And problem areas will show up in the future. I are always growing and changing. We are always growing and changing. We are never stagnant in that.

The problem becomes when we have certain problem areas that don't go away. They linger. That's the problem. 

And the very thought of it all magnifies when I have to sit down and talk to my father. It reminds me that I have to be more vigilant about working on my own personal sticky problem areas- those problem areas that won't seem to go away. 

I know it is not a good idea to talk to him about that type of thing. It stresses and frustrates me a bit to try to think up ways to have conversations with him. Afterall, I don't particularly want this, I didn't ask for any of this, and I am not looking for a relationship with him. I have learned to exist without any type of relationship with either of my parents. The idea of such is foreign to me. 

I hadn't seen him in two weeks, and he seems to be doing better. He is actually walking, and he seems to take pride in showing me that he can walk. I wouldn't be shocked if he did a fancy James Brown dance spin move, lol.

And we actually talked some, instead of sitting there quietly. I showed him pictures of some of my family. He was shocked to see that my mother, and his wife at one time, has grey hair now. I don't know why that shocked him, as he himself has grey hair. I asked him about his time in Viet Nam. He talked about some of his experiences there. I asked because I realized that is when his life basically stopped, after he got back from there. He said it messed him up so bad. He asked if being overseas messed up my brother. I said it bothered him, and he said that type of thing would.  I am just glad my brother is moving forward. I would hate to see him in such a state as my father is... some 40 years later. 

I think I stayed for 45 minutes. I would stay longer if I could remember to bring something to do with me, like my current crochet project. I don't do well just sitting idle. He was watching television - old cowboy movies on the western channel - but I still need something to do while I'm doing that. 

My goal is just to go over every 2 weeks or so. I think that would be enough of me, just giving of my time. These days I'm having to sow "uncomfortable seed", which means doing things that I really don't care to do or doing things that make me uncomfortable. This is a good thing in itself, as it allows me to still continuously work on my selfishness issues in more unorthodox ways, ways not of my choosing. And it is an undeniable test to see if I do the things I do without any odd motives. 

And it lets me know that I am growing...

Well, that wasn't one of my most usual smurfy Monday ramblings, was it? 

I can at least post a song of the week, right? 

Raphael Saddi - "Never Give you Up"


That's a good song.  I wish there was more real music like that. It's hard to find original music these days. Everything is sampled. No originality and limited creativity. Sigh. 

I may not post much this week. We will see.

In any case, have a good week... by design and on purpose. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Freestyles... the Semi-Rant Edition

TGIF!

Yes, yes, yes.

I'm glad it's Friday.

The only thing that would make this Friday better is that if it was PAY DAY.

Alas, it is not. But at least it's Friday.

This has been a most... interesting week. I've had some... interesting conversations. This is usually the case, but they were just a little more O_o than usual. I welcome them. It gives me a little something to think about.

For instance, I had to express my feelings about something to a friend. This is always uncomfortable with me, as I'm usually punished for having an opinion. This wasn't the case with this person, so I am glad of that. That type of thing is always dicey for me. It's such a crap shoot. But I think this person understands my heart. That's what matters.

And then, yesterday morning I was called into the office of one of my favorite members of upper management. There's a new group/department forming, and he noticed that I don't and haven't been applying for these jobs. We had a LONG "Come-to-Jesus" talk about that, where I stood on my soapbox... several soap boxes as a matter of fact. Jobs in the past I have applied for within our department have been complete scams, i.e., management sleeping with each other and taking care of their favorite employees. You know me, I pride myself on not being a brownnoser, so this throws me off the favoritism ferris wheel. As a result, I don't like wasting all kinds of hours getting applications and resumes together. And the last promotion I applied for, some 5 years ago... well, when I didn't get it, I had to go console some person from another department on the panel who was COMPLETELY oblivious to what was going on. I am not sure why she was on the panel anyway, or why the other management ever clued her in on the scams. All I know is I refuse to go along with the shenanigans. I am too old for that. The only way I would apply for anything in the future is if it is on a merit basis.

And like I said, I don't particularly care for chemistry anymore. I have hit all my milestones. I told him that I am more interested in my dreams, goals and life's purposes.

He said "You want to be successful."

"Really?" I replied. "Am I not successful already?"

I ask you... Am I not successful?

With all I have accomplished over my 43 years of life... am I nothing but a mere failure?

No indeed. I rebuke that.

"Ladylee" and "Failure" do not and cannot exist in the same sentence... except right here in this sentence. Not in life. That is as far as THAT goes.

I backed my truckload of soapboxes and talked and talked and talked about that.

LOL. But I will placate these folks and apply. Much of that is because I have targeted my prayers. I had to figure out how to pray about job issues.  I've had to really think about what I want to do and my desires and needs. I told him I am more interested in the agency across town that doesn't treat their people like crap, and isn't as messy employee-wise in general. He went a very long way to explain to me why that is (because he knows it is true). It was good to get some insight on a few things.

It was a very enlightening talk indeed. I learned much. I am less angry now.

I know when I left his office, he needed a good strong drank. VERY strong. That and a bowl of chitlins with plenty of hot sauce.

It was a good cleansing talk, You call me to your offices when I am sitting at my desk minding my own business... you're gonna get an EARFUL from the usually quiet LadyLee. That is all.

If nothing else, I think he understands these potent four words:

I am NOT my job 

Unh-unh. Nope. I think about other stuff most of the time. Even when I'm working. Shouldn't be that way, but it is what it is.

We also had a fascinating convo about why folk are messy on the job. And how sometimes messy people are in charge of other people, which causes all types of problems in itself. It ties into one of those LadyLee postulates of life, LadyLee postulate #39371: People are that way way because they don't have a fulfilling life outside the job... or they have a most interesting secret life, full of secrets they are trying to hide.

We should be channeling all our internal raw energy into dreams and purposes and talents. That way, we won't have time or energy or even room to think about causing chaos in the lives of others.

*ladylee throws microphone high into the sky... it falls a few minutes later, just in time for that postulate to soak in*

I've read that in a couple of places lately. So I must be on to something. Hmmmmm....

Alright... I am tired of ranting. Got me looking all surly like Oscar-Tyrone in our picture of the week.


That's an oldie but goodie. OT is looking at me like I stole his money. And it's the major reason I rarely use my laptop in the bed these days. Oscar-Tyrone likes to stand there and stare at me in an accusatory manner. Not a good look. I think he just enjoys the heat blowing from the laptop. If he is enjoying it, he should at least smile.

"I don't wanna look surly like Oscar," LadyLee wails aloud.

On to more positive news.

I opened a credit union account yesterday. My sister Kentucky gave the birthday money I gave to her back to me. She wanted me to put it up.

I used about 12 dollars of it. So to keep from balling out of control with the rest, I put it in a credit union a block from my job. Go me! Green Eyed Bandit would be proud!!

I had a 10 minute doctor appointment on Wednesday. Got there at 3:27 and was back in my car by 3:42. That's what I like. It was only labwork. But I like that. I spent more time talking to the nurses than anything else. I need my appointments to be that short all the time.

We had a scare here in the ATL, where some mentally ill man ran up in a school with a weapon. A school administrator talked him down. She put that WORD on him.

Folks were saying that was pure luck. No, that was God. And it don't matter what people think anyway. It is what she thinks that is important. She will remember that hour of time the rest of her life. Her faith has been jacked up several notches. That is what matters.

And no kids were harmed. This man had 500 rounds of ammo. No one was hurt. I don't think anyone can stand another Newtown. No, no, no.

Song of the Week. Poetic Justice Instrumental by Kendrick Lamar



I don't care for the song with lyrics. I only like this song because I saw it performed on Saturday Night Live (never heard it before that) and it samples a Janet Jackson song I like. Otherwise, I have NO idea what he's talking about. He is a bit too deep for me. Let me have my old school rap, thank you very much.

I don't have much planned for the weekend. We have four days coming up in the ATL, where there will be NO RAIN. Clear skies for Saturday through Tuesday!

Baby, I feel like putting on some rollerblades and skating up and down my street all day with the sun shining warm on my face. That would be WONDERFUL. If it wasn't a shame, I'd take Monday and Tuesday off. Days of no rain. That's rare, like me going out and finding diamonds and gold buried in my front yard. GLORY!!!

I think I will just go for a nice walk or two instead. Yes, that sounds good.

And you... you enjoy your weekend, rain or shine, on purpose.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8th Bloggaversary Sweepstakes Winners!!!

We have finally arrived to the moment you've alllll been waiting for:

Announcements of the sweepstakes winners.

Some of ya'll tried to sneak in with some comments on Tuesday morning. NERP! Too late. Comments closed at midnight Monday night. Better luck next time.

I listed out all commenters in my usual bootleg style, using utterly bootleg methods.  There were 108 comments within the timeframe of the contest.


I counted up comments, and once again, the person who left the most comments and the winner of the $25 dollar gift card of her choice is...

Shai

Congratulations Shai! Go girl. I said, GO GIRL

Shai, one of my favorite readers, left 14 comments. She just edged out Sweet Sasha, who left 13. A whole bunch of ya'll left 7 to 9 comments. Good for ya'll for trying.

You need to be like Shai, who has a stealth game plan. She says she doesn't. She tells me often... "I just like to talk."

And that she did. Talked her way into a $25 gift card.

GLORY! *throws glitter*

Now, I had to go find my blog employee Lt. Commander By. He does my regular drawings.

I found him working hard at his desk. And he was snacking on a fruit cup and drinking some bottled water.

That looks healthy. And it looks like a child's fruit cup. I think it was mandarin oranges.

By's sons did not have their fruit cups for lunch today.

And it was because their Daddy stole them.

And the next time I see his babies, I'MA TELL ON HIM.

That is all.

Anyway, By's hands are washed and lotioned. His fingernails are cleaned and clipped. Thank you, Mrs. By. You know us homegirls don't like no ashy man....

There he is pointing the cup of names out to us all.
And oh my! He's shaking the cup up... quite vigorously!!
Don't hurt yourself there, dude!

And he pulls a name!!

And the winner is....
Serenity 23!!

*ladylee claps slowly... with a big frown on her face*

Congratulations, chicken.  Your comment left on 8/15, on the Quote of the Week post, won you that $88.

I am happy for her. But I am NOT happy about her choice of $88 gift card.

She's been hollering that her choice is the MAC store.

This confused me. I didn't know what that was. She said it was some makeup store. Some store at the mall.

I haven't been to the mall in at least a decade.

"Why can't you buy makeup at the Wal-mart?" I asked.

"No," she said. "I want a MAC card."

"But the Wal-mart has two aisles of makeup. You can buy makeup, groceries and a pair of panties at the Wal-mart."

"No."

Then she asked an interesting question...

"Would you buy your veggies at the dollar store."

This caused me to semi-hyperventilate. The HORROR.

I suppose not. So I guess I will be going to the MAC store.... MAC counter, whatever it is.

My cubicle mate, the Cowgirl Cre, and I discussed this dilemma.  "You can look online and see if they sell them online. That's what all the bougie stores do.Online giftcards."

Lo and behold, she found the website. But they only sell the gift card in 5 dollar increments.

"Well," I said. "I guess she won't be getting a gift card, then. I need an $88 gift card.

Cowgirl Cre found this terribly funny.

Hopefully Serenity won't look over here and see her name. Don't tell her that she won. Let her find out.

That way I won't have to go to the mall. Ick.

Knowing her she will come this way, eager to see who won... Humph.

Congratulations, gal.

And a big LadyLee thank you to ALL of you for participating in the Bloggaversary Sweepstakes!

It feels good to have giveaways! Wish I could do a giveaway every week.

A classmate in my writing class said some blogger she reads has had Coach purse giveaways.

O_O

Don't ask me who. I didn't ask. Baby, I was too shocked to ask. All I know is that it was someone who was an executive at Coach or something like that. You have to be careful about that type of thing. You don't know if that chick is legitimate or if she cold boosting purses. I'd be terribly angry if I got locked up for receiving stolen goods. Oh noooo!

Now if I could ball like that?  Give away expensive purses? Wow.

Honestly, that never crossed my mind.

Until then, ya'll gotta deal with store gift cards.

They are good for groceries, panties...  and apparently high class makeup...

And that will just have to do... for now.

A 10 Minute Snack of Milk and Cookies!

Yes you read that right.

I spent 10 minutes with my brother, Milk and Cookies.

10 minutes.

This is a lot, as I haven't seen him in 3 years, with him being in Afghanistan and now stationed in Seattle.

Grandma is still a bit O_O about that.

I hate that I showed her the picture of his squad with the volcano in the background.




Whenever I talk to her, she asks "Does Kari still live out there by that vulcainah?"

I can hear the awe and fright in her voice. Yes he still lives out there in Seattle.

We don't get to see him. He is 3000 miles away. Sigh.

But on Friday afternoon around 3, I received a text message frrom him.

"What are you doing around 6:30?"

I responded "Who, me????"

"I have a layover in Atlanta. It is only an hour, but I want to see you."

"I can be there. I will get off early."

And I did. I left around five, went home to put something in the fridge, then headed for the airport. I was there around 6:00.

I asked my sister why she didn't mention the possibility of him coming through, since she knew of it?

She said she didn't want to get everybody's hopes up. I could hear the disappointment in her voice. She was afraid that he wouldn't have a layover in Atlanta. So I understand.

We thought this dude would be in army desert fatigues. He was not. He had on his motorcycle gear...

And his signature doo-rag.



"He got on the plane with a doo-rag on," my sister said flatly. "Bet he scared people."

"At least his pants weren't sagging," I said. LOL

And look at his motorcycle club nickname on his jacket:

Du-rag. Yes that is his nickname. So I guess there is no talking him out of wearing them. He will be coordinating his doo-rags and clothing... forever and ever.

And he is still cheesing down, showing all that good orthodontic work. Turn down the wattage, man!

We made him take the doo-rag and the baseball cap off.

I like the big club decal on the back of the jacket, though.

That is downright colorful. I bet that can be seen from outer space.

He met us at the clock tower in the middle of the airport at 7 pm. And we took pictures until 7:10. His flight was at 7:20. (And he missed that flight fooling with us. Humph).

I was glad to see my brother... for all of 10 minutes.

It was a short time, but it was a most unexpected surprise for my weekend!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy Rainy Monday Morning

Good morning...

Good rainy Monday morning. Sigh.

More rain.

All I can holler is "Thank you Lord for watering the earth!"

And the earth has been watered. My piece of the earth is the city of ATL. We've had 40 inches of rain this year already. We didn't have that much all of last year.

Goodness gracious alive.

Despite all this rain, it was a great weekend.

This weekend my sister Kentucky turned 32!!

Congratulations Kentucky...

For the record, Kentucky is NOT her real name. (People actually ask me about that). She is the only person on the planet with her unique name, so I don't put it up. It starts with K and has the same number of letters. That is all you need to know. Her nickname is KAY.

"Gal, I'm not putting your whole name on a card," I said. "I'm not using up all my letter stickers up."

She was fine with that.

So here is her card:

Here's the back of it.
I put some cash in it, since she didn't know what she wanted.

She didn't plan to do anything special for her birthday, She just wanted it to be another day. I told her I would come over, but it was all dependent on whether there were monsoon rains. She lives in the south suburbs, some 30 miles away. I was not going to brave these ATL highways with all these nondriving folks in monsoon rains. Nerp.  Luckily it was just drizzly at most. So I headed her way around 4 in the afternoon.

When I arrived her house, one of her best friends, her old college roommate, was there.  And her other best friend since high school came over an hour later.

I was a little disturbed by her roommate occupying my favorite spot on the sofa. But that was alright. (She better be glad she got there first).

I wished Kentucky a happy birthday, and gave her the birthday card. 

She counted cash inside, and then gave it back to me.

She has been wailing about giving me some money every month, but she hasn't done it. So she started on her birthday. (We'll see how long that will last). There's a credit union down the street from my job, so I will go open an account. There's a chance I may ball 'til I fall if I don't.

I talked to her the morning of her birthday, and she was planning to make a low country boil. She was a little confused about how she would do that. But she got it done.


That there looks GOOD!

More pics...
I stared at the fried brown items in the upper right hand corner of the picture.

"Girl, did you fry some chicken livers?"
"No, those are oysters."

Good. I didn't see how seafood and chicken livers went together.

She fried fish.


"I've been pinching off my piece," her friend Candy said.

You know how folks can be. All in the kitchen while you're cooking, pinching off of food. Humph.

A close-up of the crabs.... Just to make you more hungry this morning
I provided fruit and  a big salad... No one was particularly interested in that... They wanted that seafood and sausage!

I noticed my sister had plants on her balcony.
I was a bit perturbed by the dying plant,
"All this doggone rain we have been having," I hollered. "And your plant is dying?? You can sit the plant up on the banister, and it will get water."

"It needs more sun," she replied.

"Whatever. Looks like it's getting enough sun to me."

I know she didn't want to talk about plants on her birthday. So I left it alone.

It was fun hanging out with my sister and her two friends. They are all at least 10 years younger than me and they are mighty funny. After dinner, I claimed an area of the floor, the area between the coffee table and the bookcase (since the sofa had been claimed. Humph). My sister doesn't have cable right now, so they watched Orange is the New Black on my Netflix on her laptop.

Times have really changed.  My sister asked "Does anyone need a device?"  She meant did anyone need a laptop or Ipad. I tell you, between the 3 of us, there were 7 pieces of computer related equipment in the room. This was not the case for me and my friends, even 10 years ago.

They are some young folks. I can't hang and I know it. I think I went to sleep twice, right there on the floor, wrapped in my comfy blanket. I think they watched 7 or 8 episodes. I woke up whenever they were laughing. Plus they were watching videos on another laptop. They have the best attention span.

I finally decided to leave at two in the morning. My sister said the next day, "Lisa, if you wouldn't have gotten up, they would've stayed until five or six."

I can't hang like that. I am too old. Two in the morning was balling for me. Plus, I forgot to feed Oscar his dinner (I didn't expect to be gone long). Little dude was looking at me crazy when I got home).

I had a great time with my sister. I was happy to be included in her "Girls Night".

Sunday was a routine day. I went to the white people's Kroger for my prescriptions. I went to the Farmer's market in my neighborhood in pouring down rain. It was STILL crowded. My goodness.

And I'ma need ya'll to stop letting your children walk around barefoot in the rain. There are too much deadly bacterias around. Put some shoes on your child. Thank you.

It was a good weekend overall.

Friday evening was even good. I not only went to church, but I also ran into someone interesting...


Oh my! Who's that young man I'm hugging??

LOL.... to be continued.

Today is the last day of the Bloggaversary Sweepstakes.  $88 gift card to the store of your choice if your name is pulled. $25 gift card for the most comments. So comment to win. I think there were around 8 or 9 posts over the past week.  Text messages and emails are welcome and count as entries. We are pulling names tomorrow, and I will report the winners on Wednesday. I am going back to answer some comments today, so that will give you more chances to respond if you like.

This is all in appreciation of you, my beloved readers...

Thank you for a great 8 years of blogging!

Go out there and have a great week... on purpose.

Hope you win!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Lamentations 3:19-24

It's been awhile since I did a Sunday Scripture, hasn't it?

Well for bloggaversary week, I thought I'd do one.

And it's a piece of scripture I've been thinking about for the past couple of weeks.

I spoke with my grandmother a couple of weeks ago. She'd called just to say hello. She's about 2 hours away in a small north Georgia town living with my aunt. From what I hear, they will alternate between living up there and back down here in Grandma's house.

I asked what she had been up too. She said that day that she'd been studying the Book of Lamentations. We talked about that for a moment. I told her that I had read it and it was much too sad for me. (Of course it is, as "lament" means "to cry out" or "cry aloud"). Such a sad sad book. But she was reading it. Grandma has a degree in bible psychology, so I know that she can glean a little wisdom from whatever she's reading.

In an effort to make sure I have something more to talk to her about, I decided that I would read the book of Lamentations. It's only 5 chapters long, and I can finish it within a day.

If I read something, and some verse sticks out to me and stays with me all day, I spend some time with it. I make sure to read several versions of it.

I do all that because something important has to be there. And it always is.

The verses of scripture in Lamentations that I've been meditating on are Lamentations 3:19-24. Here is the TNIV translation

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lords's great love, we are not consumed
For his compassion never fails.
They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.

That is a pretty interesting passage of scripture. And like I said, it stood out to me.

On the one hand, this verse speaks on memory. It's not only the bad stuff that happens that affects us, it is the residual affects of the whole issue that is problematic. One thing we have is our memory of the thing... and waking up to the memory of the problem day after day after day. For example it is one thing to fail at something, but the memory of the failure sticks with us, and it may even paralyze us, keeping us from pressing forward and trying again.

For myself, it is easy for me to get all caught up in my circumstances. It is easy for me to be stuck in the circle in which I stand.  My circumstances have a way of talking to me and having a grip on me.

My circumstances include my decision making and the consequences thereof. And if those decisions were bad decisions that afford bad consequences, it is easy to get caught up in that... thinking and meditating on it day after day after day, even thinking about it at night as I try to go to sleep at night... just caught up in the whole "Why did I do that? Now look at the mess I caught up in! How do I get out of this?" 

I can get caught up in my afflictions (what I think of as illnesses and circumstances surrounding it).

And I tend to get bitter about different things.

And that word above "gall"... I had to go look that up. It means bitterness of spirit and having deep resentment.

Sigh. I am well familiar with all of that.

And as that verse said, it is enough to cause the soul to be downcast. To me that means, it can lead to depression.

However, in the midst of all that anguish, I can have hope.

I must know that God loves me, and he hasn't forgotten about me. His compassion never fails.

His love and compassion are new every morning, not warmed up leftovers, but new and fresh. And he is faithful.

I always remind myself "God, I am heavy on your mind today". And that piece of the scripture above, I've added it to my daily confessions.

My problems are not my portion, but the Lord is... and that's a good thing to have hope in.

This piece of scripture is all about choices...

I can choose to meditate on the problems and circumstances... where circumstances = the circle in which I stand.

Or I can meditate on God's love and goodness and his compassion, even in the midst of the problems and circumstances.

One avenue brings about depression and despair...

And the other, brings about hope...

One or the other. I choose to have hope.

I'm still thinking about this verse and the richness of it. It confirms something that I have had a practice of doing as of late. If I'm upset about some things, I open my mouth and thank God for his help in the situation. I ask and thank Him for help with my feelings, and to help me keep my eyes on Him and not on the circumstances of the situation. I thank Him that I can rely on Him for help in my times of emotional and spiritual need.

I notice a change in my heart when I choose to focus and lean on God's goodness over leaning on my own understanding of the circumstances.

This verse really strengthens my fortitude. It strengthens my hope in God and trust in him to take care of me.

So I'm glad I talked with Grandma that day. I found a piece of scripture to help me in my times of despair.

I'm sure she will be glad to hear about that :)


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Freestyles... The Can of Whoop Ass Edition

*crickets*

The title to this post is a bit... hostile?

Yes. That's a good word.

HOSTILE.

Aaaaaaarrrrrrghhhhh *said like a gnarly pirate*

Yes, this right here is a special edition, babes. Extra special breaking news friday freestyles.

Yes, because some ol' hostile tomfoolery occurred this week. I can't wait for Shai, Ginae, ThisOneWoman, Southern Black Gal, Serenity and even sweet sweet Sasha, with her nice and calm self to read it.

Cashana would take her earrings and high heels off and rub her jaws with vaseline after she read this... So would that wanna be stripper Chocolate Drop.

I do believe Singlema will do the straight Miss Sophia walk alllllllll the way from DC to the ATL on this story.

Stomping hard, stomping hard.

It had me looking like this...



Yeah.

Continue reading to see what I'm talking about...

Anyway firsts thing first... This is your weekly edition of Friday freestyles...

Today is PAYDAY! Glory!!

Ball 'til we fizzy fizzy FALL, babes. Booooyahhhh!

And the temperatures in the ATL are O_O. Dare I say that it's a tad bit chilly? Do I have to go and find my windbreaker? I think it's in Pam's trunk. I will check on that tomorrow.

We have gone from HAWT to COOL in a matter of hours. Goodness.

This is that bad cold and pneumonia type whether. And I rebuke that. It shalt NOT come to me. No ma'am.
No Sir.

Amen.

*ladylee unfolds hands from prayer position and gets up off knees*

Now, during this time, I would put up a picture of whatever salad I ate this week. Or I'd post a quote that has tickled my fancy.

I don't want to do all that. I wanna talk about the tomfoolery that happened this week.

So...

The trash collector comes on Tuesdays for my neighborhood. I either place my herbie curbie (our rolling big trash containers) up on the sidewalk on Monday evenings after I have taken all the trash out for the evening, or I roll it up to the sidewalk on Tuesday mornings. This week, I decided to do it Tuesday morning just before leaving for work.  I cut grass this week and I had a large lawn clippings brown paper bag to put up on the curb (I keep that lawn trash in my garage when it rains too much. I take the lawn trash to the street on trash day).

I like to spend about 5 minutes cleaning out the refrigerator on trash day to clear out anything that's old. This usually takes less than 5 minutes, though.

Here's my house from the back.


You see my can. I take trash out through the garage and roll it up to the curb. Simple process.

I took my last bag of trash out to the trash can.  I looked up the driveway and I notice that a TON of police cars on my street. And police were blocking the driveway.

I am part nosey, and part miffed. I needed to leave for work within the next 10 minutes. And I needed to put my trash on the street.

And at the same time, I wanted to know what was going on.

So I rolled my herbie curbie up to curb.

I didn't see anything too unusual... just my next door neighbor Benny talking and laughing with 4 or 5 cops.

I didn't know what was going on. Obviously it wasn't a hostage situation or anything dangerous. I know Benny use to get robbed on the regular, but he has burglar bars everywhere now. So I didn't know what was going on. He drives a Beamer. Maybe someone tried to steal his car.

*lee stretching neck to look at Benny's car*

Nope. His nice Beamer looked alright.

By this time, the police truck blocking my driveway was pulling away. Thank goodness for that.

I went on to work as usual. A couple of cops were lingering. I kept it moving.

I worked all day. I attended writing class that evening.

Then I came home.

More police cars were parked outside of Benny's house.

"Got dang!" I said to myself in my car. "These cops still out here?"

I wasn't all that interested in what was going on. I needed to get my mail. And I wanted to roll my trashcan out of the street. (The sanitation folks don't know how to roll my can out of the street. Humph).

So while I am doing this, I notice Benny and several of his boys out on the front porch of his house. And they were talking to the police.

I retrieved my mail from the mailbox, and pulled my herbie curbie out the street.

And Benny comes running right up to me.

I stood stark still. I was going over in my mind what was going on and if it involved me.

"LadyLee," he said. "I'm having all kinds of trouble."

"Yeah," I replied. "I saw all the police cars out here this morning."

Benny shook his head. "I have been having a hard time getting in and out of my driveway because of all the branches from the tree next door hanging in my driveway. So I cut them back a little. And while I was cutting them back, the police rolled up hard. The next door neighbor called the police and said I had pulled a gun on her."

O_O

The next door neighbor.

THE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR, I said.

YOU KNOW who the next door neighbor is..

She lives 2 houses up from me.  She lives next door to Benny.

Yeah. You read about this Chicken a couple of months ago during the Conversations Week Series, in a post titled "Neighborly Conversation: Cookies, Tomatoes, and Thomas".  The neighbor that looks like a 50 year old version of the young Ceeliee. If you don't know who I'm talking about, go back and peep that post.

Yes, THAT neighbor. The one that's a little... off. The EXTREMELY negative one. The one who cusses folk out (people that live in her house), every chance she gets. And she doesn't care if the neighbors or the astronauts up in outer space at the space station hear her. She is loud about it.

She called the police on Benny and said he'd pulled a gun on her.

I am surprised Benny didn't get shot by the police. I live in the HOOD. The police shoot first and answer questions later. And if history is a predictor of future events, the police would've gotten off scott free.

Maybe they decided the pair of hedge clippers in his hand didn't look much like a gun.

Good decision (for a change).

"Well," Benny said. "I came home and this woman has thrown paint on my porch."

O_O.

"Say whut?" I hollered.

"Yes, paint on my porch. And it got on the door."

"Wow."

That's all I could say. I was floored.

Benny had ALL his boys out on his front porch. There were at least 6 or 7 of them.

I don't know if they were ready to fight. But they are all ghey. YOU DON'T WANT TO MESS WITH A GANG OF GHEY MEN. Unh-unh. Bad, bad, bad.

"And," Benny continued, "she brought the cans of paint down to your trash and put them in your disposable lawn bag with your lawn clippings."

"Say Whuuuuuut?" I said (almost hollered).

"I just wanted to let you know that the bag was taken into evidence."

Sigh. Wow. I was speechless. My fingerprints are on that bag. And I'm with the feds, which means my fingerprints are in some database somewhere. SIGH.

How on earth was this Chicken gonna bring her paint cans down to MY yard and throw it away in my lawn bag of clippings. What the world?

How unfortunate, I thought. And how crazy.

And someone saw her doing all of this, for the police to take my lawn bag into evidence. What the world!

"I think she's a alcoholic," Benny said as he peered sadly at his house.

Whatever, I thought. I see her scurrying down the street and around the corner to buy... something. I always thought she was smoking something.

Ain't no excuse for that mess.

That Benny. He's a really nice guy. He's been my neighbor for the past 7 years, and he hasn't given me a bit of trouble. I haven't given him any trouble. Just a really good guy. Plus he works with disadvantaged folks, so he tries to understand what goes on with people.

All that goes out the door when you throw paint on my house. Humph. I ain't trying to understand nothing but YOU going to jail. Believe that.

"This is all material stuff and it can be replaced," Benny said. "But I am pressing charges. She has to take responsibility for her actions."

"I know that's right," I said.

Benny went and joined his boys on the porch.

I went on in the house. I didn't know what time the police left. I didn't even look out of the window. I locked my doors and set my alarm and chilled for the evening...

Next day comes...

I leave for work. It's dreary, but light enough for me to see Benny's house. I wanted to see if I could see this paint that the woman threw on his porch. Knowing Benny and his neat self, he'd already cleaned it up.

I backed out of my driveway and slowed as I passed his house.

It can't be that bad, I thought. Just a little paint thrown... WHOA!!!

I had to stop and take a picture.


Look at the door. Paint is all on the door. It is hard to see, but that paint is on that door. On the burglar doors. On the porch. And it's dribbled all in the driveway. Whooo goodness.  I am glad she didn't come out of her house and try to do her friendly neighborly wave at me just then.  I think I would've said something to her.

"Man, what the hell is wrong with you, throwing paint on folks' houses? What is your problem??"

Oooh honey child. Can you imagine? Coming home and someone has thrown blue paint all on your porch and door and screen door? And it was all in the driveway too.

So you done messed up my nice house and my driveway?  All because I cut branches hanging over on my property? Really?

An old pastor of mine said everybody has a little mustard (crazy) left in them. And if you squeeze the mustard container hard enough, a little mustard (crazy) will still come out.

My "mustard" would've been a song.

Oh yes. I do believe I have learned much from the parrot in one of the last posts.

There would've definitely been a song in my heart... an extra special song.

*Oscar Tyrone hands LadyLee a microphone and turns on the instrumental of Patti Labelle's "If \Only You knew*

~ladylee commences to sing~

"Oooooh if... only you knew... the can of whoop ass... I'm 'bout to open on you!!!"
"Oh if... Only you knew... the caaaaaaan of whoop ass.... I'm 'bout to open on youuuuuu!
"Ohhhhhh iffffffffff! 
Ohhhhhh ifffffff!!!!"

*ladylee kicks off shoes and begins to flap her arms like Patti*

*ladylee suddenly stops singing and beats the cheese outta silly neighbor with microphone*

Oooh wee... Goodness gracious alive.

Now I consider myself a peaceful chicken. Don't won't no trouble. No trouble at all.

But stuff like this... that would cause me to open up a can of whoop ass. Several cans.

And resolve to repent later.

That's this chick's problem. She cusses folks out and is very negative and dramatic... and it all goes unchecked. So now, she's gone from cussing and talking trash to destroying people's property.

And all Benny was trying to do was cut away some of the low limbs hanging in his yard, because he couldn't get in the driveway.

I don't blame him. He has a really nice Beamer. I would not want tree branches scrubbing up against a Beamer.

Do you think I would let branches scrub up against Lucy Jr. the Lexus?

Heavens no. *clutch the pearls*

She come out the house and see the whole tree gone. As if it was never there.

I don't even want anything scrubbing up against my other car Pam the Protege. No sir. No ma'am.

And get this... and this will really trip you out... when this lady cuts her grass, she cuts it right up to my next door neighbor's driveway.  And you know how cut grass clippings get everywhere? They get in his driveway.

This broad gets her broom and sweeps her cut grass clippings out of his driveway. She sweeps his driveway clean.

So she DOES have some bit of sense as to know that you don't mess up folks property.

How does one go from that to throwing paint on someone's house??

You tell me.

She just crazy. That's all.

And in the conversation I reluctantly had on my front porch with her a few weeks ago, I saw some vestiges of her anger.  She is really upset about all the new housing in our neighborhood. "My family done owned our house for 40 years, and all the rest of this use to be apartments." She yabbered on about that. So I thought right then while she was hemming and hawwing that she's mad about the gentrification. Her house is a wreck, all dilapidated and about to fall in on itself.

This is a good time for a Food-for-Thought of the week right here: When seeds of wrath are sown into the heart and go unchecked and are allowed to take root and incubate and grow, some bad fruit is going to be produced.

And throwing paint on people's porches is bad bad fruit.

(You know how I feel about seeds and fruit and roots and trees and the like... Everything is related to that. Everything.).

Poor Benny. I'm just glad he and his boys didn't have to beat down everybody that lives next door. They were willing and able. I saw that. One of them was bouncing around like a boxer in the corner loosening up for a boxing match.  I hustled my tail on into the house. I didn't want to be witness to any craziness.

And I'm still LOST at why she would walk down to my house and put her paint cans in my lawn clippings bag.

LOST.

One thing you can do for me...

And this is a LadyLee Postulate of Life, #5513:

DO NOT INVOLVE ME IN YOUR SHADY BULLS****!
Don't you do it... Don't you even think about doing it. You better squint your eyes shut real tight and think hard about good things like bees and honey and flowers and sunshine and trees and chitlins and cornbread and the laughter of happy childrens.

But you better not involve me in your tomfoolery. Don't you do it.

Humph.

How on earth she gonna dispose of her paint cans in MY lawn trash bag.

I am glad that this paint incident didn't happen to me... or Singlema.... or that girl Tazzee... or Ginae or Shai... or That Serenity_23... or that sweet girl Sasha... I think all of us would've been sitting in the back of a cop car in handcuffs...

SMH.

That leaves room for the video of the week. It would've been the song I would've been singing right before I commence to beating the brakes off the shady neighbor... "If Only you Knew" by Patti Labelle...



I musta rehearsed the lines
A thousand times
Before I ball up my fists
And beat your assssssss!!

Cuz you don't even suspect
Could probably care less
That I cold knocked you upside your head!!!

Oh iffffffffffffffff!  Oh iffffffffffffffff!

Geesh.  I do have some more maturing to do. I need to get to the point where if someone vandalizes my house, I can remain calm. yes I do.

i just ain't there yet.

Ya'll have a good weekend. I'm gonna try to have a good weekend.

It may work out if I don't have to pass my neighbor's house and look at his front door.

Yes... I will drive the other way down the street to work... on purpose.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lunch with Tazzee!


I had lunch on Tuesday with one of my favorite bloggers!


That Oldgirl Tazzee.

Yes, we both live in the ATL. But she lives way out there in the suburbs and I live downtown.

Man, I was sooooo STOKED! That's like going to lunch with Janet Jackson.

*ladylee doing the hard Janet Jackson moves*

Oh yes. *fanning self with Obama Church fan after dancing so hard*

We made plans to meet in midtown near my job for lunch. We decided on one of the local salad spots, Fresh to Order.

She texted and asked if I knew of the place. Yes I did. It is a popular spot among my coworkers. "We frequent that place like folks frequent the club!" I texted.

It's been there for a few years, but I'd never eaten there until last year, when Cowgirl Cre convinced me to get a salad. I found one there that I like in particular, the Market salad. It is huge and it has cucumbers, mandarin oranges, and cranberries in it, and lots of roasted walnuts sprinkled on top. Good stuff!

That's the only thing I ever get.

But since I was having lunch with Janet Jackson, I mean, uh, Tazzee, I decided that I wanted to live on the wild side and get what my cubical mate The Cowgirl Cre always gets: The Asian Chicken Crunch Panini.

Yes, that is the wild side for me. I wanted some CHICKEN.

And I ordered it, too. Yes ma'am I did!

Tazzee ordered some type of salad with fried calamari.

Ooooooh weeee! That sho' nuff look something GOOD. That looks like she might have a touch of the 'itis when she finished. LOL

I forgot to take a picture of my food. It did't look as good as hers. But it was great!

I like their presentation on the long retangular plates. It is so art deco for a semi-fast food place. And this place has been there a few years and I've never sat down in there to eat. I will have to do that in the future. I want more of my food on long plates.

Cowgirl Cre came up to the restaurant because she wanted to meet Janet Jackson Tazzee too! So we all had a good time talking.

That Asian Chicken crunch sandwich was GREAT. There was much talk later on in the cubicle with Cowgirl Cre. I want them to order the asian chicken crunch panini again. Next time, hold the chicken and slap some mushoorms on there! LOL

Anyway, I asked Tazzee if she wanted to come down to my lab, since it was a short walk from the restaurant. She said yes.

I figured I'd give her a five cent tour of my work group space and labs. That would be cool, right?

That is, until we ran into my coworker Lieutennant Commander By...

I'd just shown Tazzee where we prepped our fruits and vegetables for extraction... and then I took her to the extraction lab.

... And there was Lt. Comm. By... having an old school party all by himself. And having a GOOD time, while doing his lab work.

I'm not sure what has gotten into my coworker lately. For the past few years, he has been heavy into his jazz and Sade. And that type of music isn't exactly upbeat. Especially the Sade. He is a Sade fiend, but I tell you, it makes me a bit sleepy in the lab.

Lately he's been on some Old school rap music. The other day, he was playing LL Cool J. LOUD. VERY VERY LOUDLY.

And when Tazzee and I walked through the lab, he was blasting Planet Rock by Soulsonic Force and the African Bambatta. VERY LOUDLY.



*crickets*

And he was dancing hard. I haven't seen him dance before, so that was shocking. He walks the halls singing off-key which has us all O_o, but the dancing... That dude has a little rhythm. Yes indeed.

I only wanted to show Tazzee a couple of things in the lab. By hollered "Let's show her the freezer!"

O_O

So there we were, standing in the walk-in fridge and freezer looking at frozen samples and shelf space.

Tazzee got cold and walked out. I was close behind!

The good Lt. Comm. By gets a bit excited when new people come through. We both have to "tour" small groups every once in awhile. I do so under durest.

"Can't ya'll find somebody else to do that?"
"NO LadyLee!" is the answer I hear from time to time.

LOL.

Lt. Comm By does these things with a smile on his face and skip in his step. He is working on his doctorate, so he seems to like to teach alot. He has pulled me to the side and has made me do a mini talk on our CSI instrumentation for one of his lectures.

I wanted to tell him that Tazzee is not an investigator or scientist coming through to see our methods. She is my homegirl just tryna see the lab. That is all!

Tazzee took it all in with a smile. Only as Tazzee can.

And I wonder if that "Planet Rock" song is ringing in Tazzee's head like it's ringing in mine? I hope not.

We visited my messy cubicle area, and then I walked her back to her car.

All in all it was a good time. I was so glad to see her.

I think I'm a bit too quiet around her. That's how I get when I'm in awe of folks! Really!

Good to see you, Oldgirl. I hope to hang out with you again:)

Quote of the Week: Listening

Last week, I posted a book review on The Sociopath Next Door. I underlined many quotes, but I love the following quote most of all:


"I am always impressed by the fact that even the tiniest amount of being listened to, the barest suggestion of the possibility of kind treatment, can bring such an immediate rush of emotion. I think this is because we are almost never really listened to. In my work as a psychologist, I am reminded every day of how infrequently we are heard, any of us, or our actions even marginally understood. And one of the ironies of my "listening profession" is its lesson that in many ways, each of us ultimately remains a mystery to everyone else."  (The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout, page 141)

For some reason, I found that quote to be profound. I've been thinking about it for the past couple of weeks. It didn't have much to do with the book, as the writer was only listening to a patient, but the quote is chocked full of reality.

It the above sentence, I wrote "only listening".

And for myself, I understand how in just writing that sentence, how the art of listening is taken for granted. Most want to be heard, but not many want to simply hear.

It is hard to find people out there who listen. Many want to stand out, want to be heard. But how many times do we run into good listeners?

And that is something I want to be: A good listener. It is a part of my vision statement, where there is a sentence that states "I am a good listener."

And that quote made me go back and look at my vision statement, and think about whether I have improved in my ability to be quiet and just listening. I think I've gotten better but I still have pretty far to go.

But back to the quote... Other things that have me pondering:

1. We are almost never listened to.
2. Our actions aren't even marginally understood.
3. Each of us ultimately remain a mystery to everyone else.

I think I understand from that quote above that the root of a lot of our issues is that no one really listened early on in life... As a result, our actions, our acting out, isn't really understood.

At least that is how it was for myself growing up... and even now, I rarely open up and talk and show my heart, out of fear of rejection.

So as a result, because of my own pain over the years, I am a very good listener, and I have learned to appreciate the words of others, even if I don't agree with them.

It's amazing how that quote made me think on such things.

Hmmm. I wonder.. and continue to ponder.

My Latest Card


So...

Here's the latest card that I made for one of my favorite readers, Shai.

Here's the back of the card:



Awww... look at little Shai in her red dress on that card, sporting flowers in her 15 strands of hair.

Get it, girl!

I said, Get it, girl!

Shai won one of the last gift card giveaways, the $25 card for most comments during Conversations Week.

If you win, you TOO can have a lovely card... to go along with your gift card, of course.

You TOO can strut down the aisles of your favorite store and shop with a smile on your face, knowing that your trip is free courtesy of Your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee!

So comment all this week for a chance to win.

The drawings will be held on Monday.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bloggaversary Special: "Polly Wanna Cracker?"

(House of LadyLee's 8th Bloggaversary Sweepstakes is on and popping, August 12-August 18. Lots of posts this week, so comment often for a chance to win that $88 and $25 gift card. See Tuesday's post for details).


Foreword

For Bloggaversary week, I wanted to put up a couple of my favorite posts, most notably, some food for thought posts. 

Now, I have over 200 food-for-thought posts. My goodness, I didn't know I had that many. That's a lot of thinking. I looked over a few of the titles, and I saw some that I didn't even remember writing. I also saw a few that continue to be my favorites.

One of those is a story, first posted in 2008, about a parrot and how he changed my outlook on life. I didn't realize it, but to this very day, I remember the lesson taught by that parrot. I remember it very clearly, as if it just happened. 

So for some of you, you have read this before. I think this is the second repost of it.

For others, if it's your first time reading it? It is indeed a special treat. It is one of my prized post.

Every time I read it, I learn something new. I am interested in hearing what you learn from it too.

Enjoy... 



Polly Wanna Cracker?

One of my favorite authors, That Original Oldgirl Chele, wrote a post back on August 13th on her Writers Blog entitled "Breathe... just Breathe" that simply stated the following:

"I was just handed an assignment to interview a parrot.**There are no words**"


LOL! Imagine that!

It made me laugh...

Because it made me think of my own interaction with a parrot back in 2001.

My car's odometer had hit the 60,000 mile mark. Well, it was reading around 62,000 miles. And you know what that means: time for that big service- replacement of timing belt, water pump, transmission service and the like.

I was living in New Orle.ans at the time. A sista in my group, a wonderful mentor and a fellow Doc, a great microbiologist, Maureen, had a Mazda. She was a New Orle.ans native, and I went to her for advice on who to go to for this service.

"I take my car to Excellent Auto Service," she said.
I leaned against the doorjamb of her office and crossed my arms across my chest. "Uh, that's the actual name of a shop?"
"Yeah, been going there for years. The guy does a good job."
"Okay," I said.

I trusted her on that. Maureen was the woman. She was a BAD sista. She knew EVERYTHING.

So, I called and made an appointment. A week later, I dropped my car off at the shop.

The mechanic was nice. He looked like Tony Danza, lol. He told me to have a seat in the waiting room and he'd be back to take my information and give me an estimate.

I walked into the huge waiting room, and saw a LARGE cage that basically covered a whole wall. I mean, it was BIG! It had big tree limbs and all kinds of forest type stuff (probably all fake).


And in that cage was a big colorful parrot.

He was sitting on a branch, and he looked my way when I'd walked into the room.

I walked over to the the cage and stared back at it. He flew to a branch closer to me and peered at me curiously.

"Polly wanna a cracker?" I asked in a high pitched voice.

The bird blinked. And continued staring.

I whistled at it a couple of times, made a few of the kissy noises one makes at dogs. And I asked the same question over and over again.

"Polly wanna cracker?"

The parrot continued to stare at me.

Then, the parrot threw back it's head and yelled "Ohhhhhhhhh!"

Oh Lord, I thought. I'd upset the bird. I turned to go sit down in one of the chairs, hoping that that the mechanic didn't run in the room and ask me what I did to upset his precious bird.

The bird yelled again. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh beautiful!"

I turned back to the cage. "You calling me beautiful, birdie? Thank you!"

A compliment from a bird! How nice, I thought.

The bird blinked. Stared at me for a moment. Then started yelling REAL Loud.

Or should I say singing real loud:

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Beautiful!
For spaaaaaacious skies!
For amber waves of graaaaaaaaaaaaain!
For perfect mountains majesty!
Above the fruited plains!
Amerrrrrica! Amerrrrrrica!
God shed his grace on theeeeeeee!
And crown our good!
With brotherhood!
From sea to shining seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeea!

*LadyLee looking around the room to see if she was on candid camera*

Dang! Tripped me out.

Parrot just stared at me.

I didn't know what to say. After a moment, I said "You're a patriotic parrot."

It flapped its wings and started up again.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh Beautiful...

For some reason, I stood erect and placed my hand over my heart, and sang with it.

It gave me the *gas face* when I messed up the words (I still don't know the words), but I caught on...

And we sang America the Beautiful together a good four times. The bird swayed back and forth on his branch. I stood in the at the front of the cage, my hand on my heart, singing along.

I had NO idea where my mechanic was. But I was glad he was taking his time.

I spoke to him later. He'd ran up on me and that bird singing. (Of course, I tried to play it off, lol)

"You like my bird?"
"Yeah. He sure is patriotic."
"I taught him that song a few years ago. That's all he sings."
"Well, that's a good thing. He could be singing something derogatory."

We laughed. I got my estimate, and called a friend to pick me up.

I'm glad I ran into that bird. I was in a funk for the good part of that week. At the same time I was skipping around all happy because I'd just gotten offered for the job I have now, back in my hometown of Atlanta. I'd secured a nice condo to live in. Things were going WELL for ME. I was happy.

But there had been a couple of jacked up arguments with the hubby at home.

He was a manager at one of the local strip clubs, and he called one night to let me know that he was bringing one of his strippers home. She was drunk, was passed out, and he didn't want to leave her on the side of the club.


"Anything could happen to her, Lee. We're locking up, and I don't want to leave her here on the side of the road."
"Take her butt home," I suggested.
"That's all the way over on the West Bank," he said. "And you know that I don't have a car." [His had been repossessed.]

I was quiet. I had a car. And my car was off limits. He caught rides or walked wherever he needed to go. He use to chauffeur those broads around in his own car and would complain to ME about finding crack pipes and syringes in his ride. Can't use my car, bruh!

"I'm bringing her home."
"Where is everybody at?" I asked.
"They are gone. I didn't notice she was here until I did my final check for the night. She was passed out. I can't leave her here," he wailed.

I didn't say a word.

"I'm bringing her home."
"Do what you wanna do, man. I'm leaving Egypt anyway!"
"What's that suppose to mean?"

I didn't reply. Just hung up on him. It was 3 in the morning, and I needed to get some sleep. I looked out the window when he came home in a cab... with his drunk stripper.

My first thought was to grab one of the many shotguns, .38s, or .45s we had laying around the house and shoot negroes. But I would've gotten locked up behind that one.

Which meant I'd be stuck in Egypt, i.e. New Or.leans.

That wasn't going down.

You see, I'd been hollering HARD at work, to everyone's dismay:

"MY NAME IS MOSES, AND I AM LEAVING EGYPT!"

I was LOUD with that ish. I mean, EVERY time I stepped in the breakroom, in the halls, anywhere. The director pulled me to the side one day and asked "Dr. LadyLee, are you alright?"

LOL.

Anyway, I woke up the next morning and saw Tylenol on the counter. My hubby was sitting on the couch. He gave me a hard glare, as if he was daring me to say something.

"So you really brought her home, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I did. That's what I said I was doing, didn't I?"

He looked like he wanted to buck. He'd never hit me, but uh... he looked like he wanted to then.

I left it alone. I needed to get to work. I was packing up my office that day.

This whole thing did upset me. I would be lying if I said it didn't. For those who know me, I tend to hide my feelings (More often than not, I get verbally stomped if I express an opinion of any sort. I am getting better, though, I suppose).

For some strange reason I was REALLY popular among the employees on my job. There was a sign-up list in my office of whoever wanted to take me to lunch or dinner or spend some time with me before we left. (I spent the day with one Creole cutie that I had a slight crush on. Hung out in the Central Business District visiting his favorite places, even hung out at his grandma's house, met his kids...OH MY).

I mean, folks made going away videos, gave me HUGE going away parties.... DANG! It was overwhelming...

But that stripper mess was on my mind. It was like a storm cloud that had moved in over a sunny day at the beach.

During some of these "meetings" with a few lady friends, I discussed it with them. All of them basically said:

"Lee, you shoulda cussed him out."
"I wouldn't have allowed that sh**!"
"Lee, you shoulda bust him in the head!"
"You a much better woman than me, Lee! I woulda got locked up for murder that night."

"N'awl. We got too many weapons in the house," was my simple reply. "Somebody woulda got shot that night. And besides, my name is Moses, and I'm raising up outta Egypt."

I remember one of my homegirls down there pulling me to the side and saying "I've talked to some of my girls and they're prepared to go catch up with your boy over at the Su.gar Shack and beat his ass. You just give the word."

"N'awl. That's okay. Ya'll trying to have me locked up. And besides, My name is Moses, and I'm leaving Egypt."

I was still miffed by it all. Didn't speak to the hubby for a week. That type of thing messes with your "womaness". I mean, it really made me question my worth. And that ain't good.

And then... I took my car in, and met a parrot.
A caged parrot.
A parrot who, though caged, had a song in it's heart.
And I sang a song with a parrot.

Hmmm.

You know how a song can get stuck in your head?

Well, after singing America the Beautiful with a parrot four times in a row, I was humming that song, singing it around the house...

While I packed dishes.
While I got together old clothes to take down to the local teen runaway center.
While I made plans to have my cable and lights turned off down there and turned on up in Atlanta.

The hubby came in one day.

"What's wrong with you? Why you keep singing America?"
"Just singing a song, man. And packing my stuff."

He milled around watching me pack. I paid him no mine.

"Lee, I'm sorry for bringing that stripper home. I just didn't know what to do."
"Don't apologize. You take care of them hos better than you take care of me. That's on you. All I know is that you better pack. This lease is in my name, and once I turn the keys in, you are homeless."

Well that started an argument. His voice was shaky like he was about to cry or something. He was blinking hard. Whatever.

He was staying in New Or.leans a bit longer. I was leaving.

I hummed my song. He stormed out the house.

I thought about the simple lesson I learned from a mere parrot.

Even though I was in a bad situation, I could still sing a song. And choose to be happy anyway.

So Chele...

Interview your parrot, Oldgirl. Yeah, I know, I know, it's silly.

But do it anyway.

No telling what lesson you may learn.


Afterword

This is a simple post. And the older I get, the more I appreciate it. I felt if God was thinking about me that day I walked into a auto repair shop and had a singing session with a beautiful cage bird. A bird who sang such a song, one sang at the opening of many sporting events and the like, with perfect diction and pitch.

I am sure if someone opened that cage, that bird would fly away.

But that bird would still have that song in his beak. And he would still sing it.

I find it interesting, when thinking about this post, how much it affects me and is a part of my psyche. Whenever I have a really bad day or something is bothering me, I sing a song. Not America, but I make up a song. It has morphed into a song of praise and thanksgiving, which settles my heart with peace.

For example, remember when I totaled the original Lucy? What did I do? I came home and I sang a song of praise. I lost my car. But I was alright. I made up a song on the spot, and I sang it even now when I am in a funky mood, or I'm being salty or find myself complaining. It reminds me of what is truly important.

I realized while reading this post yesterday that singing a song from my heart cuts away at the "mental cage" of complaining, depression and negativity. It is always the start of something, most notably, mental freedom. And I notice something else occurs: breakthrough. It is most likely the "seed", that seed of a simple song that's in direct opposition of complaining and moaning, that grows into something. I think that is one of the reasons Lucy Junior seemingly appeared out of thin air... effortlessly.

Just my thoughts. I am so blessed to be in the right place at the right time that day.

In the right place at the right time...

Face-to-face with a patriotic parrot.

And it's always a reminder that I am always on God's mind. Always. And He knew exactly what to do to help my heart. At that very moment... and for a lifetime.

Well I hope you enjoyed the post. I enjoy it every time I read it. It holds a special place in my heart.

Don't forget to comment for a chance to win! $88 and $25 gift card on the line!

This Weekend's "Whoa" Moment...

(House of LadyLee's 8th Bloggaversary Sweepstakes is on and popping, August 12-August 18. Lots of posts this week, so comment often for a chance to win that $88 and $25 gift card).

So...

If you read this Monday's post, you would know that I was having a rather quiet and uneventful weekend...

... That is, until I got a phone call around 4:30 pm Sunday afternoon.

Now, I like my weekends to be quiet. Lots of rest and relaxation and decompression from the workweek. I also take time to run errands, but I do too much because I wear out easily. This weekend was also a lawn work weekend. Every weekend has to be a lawn work weekend for the next 6 weeks because it literally rains everyday, so the grass has to be cut weekly (I don't like that AT ALL).

Anyway, I happened to be at home laying down and watching television at the time of this unexpected phone call. I was experiencing a little dizziness or vertigo for some reason, and I'd decided that I just needed to be still instead of cleaning up. I could clean up later.

So my house phone rang. This is a rare occurrence, as I mostly talk on the cell phone. And I'm not like a lot of folk, where my cell phone is attached to my hand. I am not a phone person.

So I had to find the land line phone. It was in my bed.

I saw the caller ID. It said Edith Parker.

Hmm... This was my aunt's number. It was my father's sister number.

A thousand things went through my mind, the most glaring one. "Did my father die? Is Milton dead?"

I answered the phone.

"Hello?"
"Hey Lisa, this is Carla. I'm Edith's daughter. How are you doing today?"
"Uh, I'm fine," I said. I was still wondering what this call was about.
"Listen," she said. "Milton is not doing well right now. He hasn't eaten in 4 days and he can't walk. We trying to get him to go to the hospital, but he's fighting us on it. We thought maybe you could come over and talk to him, and get him to go."

*crickets*

I said, "Uhhhh.... OK" after a few seconds.

But I was screaming "What?????? Me?????" on the inside.   And it was in my high pictched inside voice.

"Give me an hour," I said. I needed to get dressed. I'd changed from earlier, from when I got home. I had my cleaning-up-my-house house dress on.

"That's fine," she said and we talked about the best route to get there. I know the street, but it is in the middle of a big neighborhood and it is easy to get lost up in there.

Now, I thought about all of this while getting dressed. If you've been reading over the years, you will know that I don't have good relationships with my parents. I just fail miserably at all that. My mother is full speed drama and I don't do drama. My father is another deal altogether. He wasn't in my life much as a child, and I guess I made my peace with that. I'm not the angry type when it comes to that. "Crazy Convos with my Father" and "Face-to-face with my Father".
He just missed out on a fantastic life as far as I am concerned. But it was one of my goals as an adult to sit down and talk to him, just so I could, as an adult, have my own memory of him. Simple enough. I wanted to sit down and just talk to him without any accusatory mess. And that happened some 4 years ago. I blogged about that in the posts

But that was 4 years ago in 2009. I told him back then to call me if he wanted to see me. He never called. Well, he called me when his brother died to tell me about the funeral. I attended the funeral. I sat in the back row and I talked with him briefly and expressed my condolences. I wrote about that in the post "A Most Humble Occasion" (part 1 and part 2).

But besides that, there has been no communication. And like I said, I am fine with that. And don't get all sanctimonious on me. "You should call him, LadyLee".  No. I don't have to call him. He hasn't been a big part of my life. Not even a little part. I'm 43 years old. I don't know much about him or have a relationship with him. And like I told him, I don't want to interrupt his life. I don't want to be a reminder of the past.

But with that all said, I got dressed and jumped in my car and drove on over to his house.

Like I said, I only live 10 minutes from him. I drive past his neighborhood from time to time, and I shop at the White people's Kroger near his house.  And my sister frequents a cantina in his neighborhood, only a couple of blocks from his house. I have dinner with her sometimes at the place. So I am in the vicinity

As I thought, I got lost in his neighborhood. 10 minutes turned into 30 minutes as I drove the many streets of his neighborhood, but I got there.

I knocked on the door and Carla answered. We made small talk and she led me to his bedroom. He was sitting there on the bed, a little bent over, holding a blue plastic cup in his hand. He is a thin man, thin as a string bean, and it looked as if it took much for him to even sit up.

"Hey there, 'Lesia," he said, trying not to smile.

"Hey," I said. I sat down in a plastic chair next to his bed.

Carla laughed. "When I told him you were coming over, he actually got up and got his walker and walked down the hall to the bathroom to get himself together. He said he couldn't walk. He got up and hustle down that hall. He hasn't even been sitting up, but he's sitting up now."

That was funny to us. And I didn't think the anticipation of my appearance anywhere would cause such a stir.

"He's drinking some water, at least," Carla said. Then she peered at his cup curiously. "Wait, that ain't water in that cup."

"Girl, you know this ain't water," my father said. He chuckled.

No it wasn't. It was some type of adult beverage. Clear liquor I suppose.

"He been in here smoking," Carla said. "He put that cigarette out when he found out you were coming over. Haven't smoked anything since."

I was glad. I don't like smoke. I didn't even smell cigarettes when I came over.

Carla left the room after a little more small talk..

I asked him why he didn't want to go to the hospital.

"'Cuz I don't wanna go?" he said in a high pitched voice.

Uh. Ok.

And we talked about my time in the hospital some 11 years ago due to lupus complications. I myself didn't want to go, but I did. I told him I didn't like hospitals either. And I learned that he has never had a hospital stay. That was the biggest reason he didn't want to go.

"'Lesia, if I croak, I wanna croak right here in this bed."

"I understand," I said. I didn't know what else to say.

They'd called the paramedics earlier in the day to take his vital sounds. All his vitals were fine, but he was PISSED about it. And even though he's very weak, he tried to fight the paramedics.

"They came up in here, and that man stuck me in my fanger!" He jutted his long thin index finger towards me. It was wrapped in a band aid.

"Well, they just wanted to make sure you were alright, that's all," I said.

This type of talk went on for awhile. I could not convince him to go to the hospital. He got a little to hostile about it all, so I changed the subject.

We talked about what he'd been doing that day (he was watching cowboy movies). I never knew his birthday, and he told me. He even remembered my birthday. I asked what his favorite foods were, and the next time I came over, I could bring him something. He likes chocolate ice cream. That's easy enough for me to buy. I told him I eat a lot of fruit, and I could bring him some fruit.

"Girl, what you say?"
"Fruit. I could bring you some fruit. Something soft like some bananas or something."
"Girl, I thought you said prunes."
I frowned. "Oh noooo. Fruit. Not prunes."
"I was 'bout to say," he said. "You have me trying to run from this bathroom. Don't do that!"

That was funny. I laughed a little too loudly. These folks are quiet as hell, and I made sure to quiet back down.

We talked a little while longer, especially about how he could call if he wanted to see me. I leave that in his hands.

"I always want to see you, 'Lesia," he said.
"Well," I countered, "Those times when I was calling to arrange a meeting with you, you kept saying 'today is not a good day. I'm having a bad day'. So that's why I don't bother you. I left it up to you."

He pondered this for a moment. "Any day I see you is a good day, 'Lesia."

Now I didn't know how to take that. I just remained silent.

We talked a little longer. I finally asked "Do you want me to sit here and watch television with you? Or do you want me to leave?"

"You can leave now," he said. "It was good to see you."

"Good to see you too," I said. I stuck my hand out. "Shake my hand."

He shook my hand.

"You strong enough to give me a hug?" I asked.

He sat up straight on the bed. "Yes, I think so."

And I hugged him. I never really imagined shaking the man's hand, much less hugging him.

I said good-bye. I walked through the house looking for Aunt Ethel and Carla.

This took a moment. No one was in the living room or den of the small house. I remember hearing very low voices coming from somewhere in the house. And I was thinking "Dang, these folks quiet as hell!"

I found Aunt Ethel and Carla in a back bedroom talking quietly, and going through mail.

"Listen," I said to them after talking to them for a moment. "I don't come around because I don't want to interrupt Milton's life. I told him to call when he wants to see me. He hasn't. So what I will do is call you, Aunt Ethel, and I will ask if I can come over. I am only 10 minutes away, and I can just say hey to him or something, and come in here and talk to you."

We agreed it was a plan.

Carla had been looking for a picture of us together, and she found it. It was dated 1971, and she was standing in the living room holding me. I couldn't have been more than 1 years old. She was sharp, dressed in a red suit. And she had a HUGE afro.

A male cousin from down the street came over. "Milton said he had a daughter," he said after meeting me.

They talked about how Milton had gotten up and walked around and got himself together.

"We thought he couldn't walk," Willie said.

"He got up and got hisself together when he knew she was coming over."

Willie was miffed by that. He'd been coming over and carrying my father back and forth to the bathroom and changing his clothes and washing him up.

I never thought the anticipation of my appearance would cause such a stir.

"Milton's mind is good, but he is onery and he is weak," Willie assessed.

"Yes, he is lucid," I agreed. "He was able to tell me his birthday, and tell me mine, and to just talk about things."

And that's a good thing.

I thought  much about this unexpected phone call and visitation. It reminded me of a old sermon that I think of often, one detailing how we are so worried about the tomorrow and the future, when in reality, we can't even see 5 minutes in front of our faces. This means, we don't even know what will happen 5 minutes from now.

No we cannot.

And I didn't know that I would have a chance to sit and talk and laugh with my father on a warm sunny afternoon.

I will go by and see him again. Even though he was sitting up and was lucid, he's not looking too well. I'm not sure he has much time left to live. And he won't go to the hospital. "If I croak, I'ma croak in this bed."

And by the look in his eye, he meant that. Really.

That was the "whoa" moment of my weekend. It has been the "whoa" moment of my year, thus far.

And a most welcome whoa moment indeed.