Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When Concerns Bring Changes... Hmm

Folks in my county have been in an utter uproar over the extreme hikes in our property taxes.

I have to admit the hike was out of the blue. Property taxes went up by some 50% for some folks.

My taxes increased by 800%.

Mind you, my taxes were artificially low. I went to the property tax office a few years ago to talk to the peoples about it. They assured me the taxes were correct.

This made sense, since the market was low and I lived next door to a foreclosure. Oh yeah, there was a foreclosure across the street too. And several around the neighborhood.

And that was fine, as long as they didn't circle back trying to jack me for tax money. Fine.

But enter

GENTRIFICATION.

When I saw white folks jogging, walking their dogs, and pushing baby strollers, I thought... uh... here WE go.

I knew a hike was coming. Especially when they built that state-of-the-art park a couple of blocks from the house. And when they started pulling up asphalt and laying down beautiful bricks, bricks that you could drive over...

GENTRIFICATION.

I didn't worry much about this hike in taxes. First of all, mine are around 20% below the expected tax value. And I can always write it off on taxes.

But I was watching the news, and people's property taxes were going from $15,000 to $30,000. That is some craziness indeed.

I spoke with one of my beloved white friends about this. "If ya'll got $15,000, ya'll can come up with the rest. Ya'll got money like that."

She set me straight on that. As always. I have my misconceptions about white folk. You know how it's shoved down our throats about how perfect their lives are. She tends to yank me back into reality.

"These white folks gonna raise hell, though," I said. "You watch. They're not going for that."

"You gonna appeal?" she asked.

"Nope. I'm gonna depend on these white folks to go crazy."

So I waited.

And then I got this in the mailbox the other day:

Look how they have "Due to concerns raised by residents..." in bold print.

You know what it is.

I know what it is.

Even that fat cat Mitch know what it is:

Look at the look on his face. He know what's up.

This is what it should've said.


I spoke on the phone with my beloved white friend. She said, "You know, I saw that on the news and thought 'LadyLee was right. They are not going for it'."

"I told you," I said. "No way."

I expect my tax notice to stay the same. But if they want to return it to last years tax, have at it. That is fine by me.

They best not upset the pioneers, these Christopher Columbus types, who have "discovered" inner city living ever again.

Believe that!

I don't have a problem with gentrification. People in general get tired of living in the suburbs. I lived in my neighborhood some 20 years ago when I was in grad school and I LOVED it. If I ever caught a house down there, I was snatching it up. I did that when prices were sky high. But at the same time, people will be priced out. I should be fine. I thought about all of this some 10  years ago when I bought my house. I am STILL mad about having to spend $2000 on a lawyer over 2 feet of fence in my backyard. But it is what it is. 

I wish a good 100 of us could get together and buy up and fix up houses in our hood.  Then this wouldn't be an issue, wouldn't it.

But here's a piece of food for thought...

Whenever I have to research a city that I am using in a story...

I notice whenever the blacks in the community try to have a nice neighborhood and businesses and schools and such, there's a bit of fire bombing, lynching, and highway building, etc...

You would be absolutely SHOCKED  at the history of some of the neighborhoods within a 5 mile radius of my house. SHOCKED.  

I'm just saying...

Selah.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Burn

Something I love to dabble in from time to time is loose teas.

I find some good ones in bulk here and there, and that's always a fun thing.

I've found one that is especially complex at my local Whole Foods, and I just can't get enough of it.

Cinnamon cardamon tea.


There's a lot going on there. And it looks like there's more than cinnamon and cardamon there.



It's $30 a pound, but I imagine a pound is a lot. It's lightweight, and the amount in the jar comes up to about 8$. (Yes, I went back and bought it ALL after sampling a couple of teaspoons of it my first time buying it).

I like to steep 3 teaspoons at a time.

And I don't steep for the recommended typical 5 minutes for most teas. I steep for 30 minutes.

Because I'm hardcore like that.

And then I pour it over ice. (Because you know I'm not drinking it straight).



Oh...

The burn.

I can feel it burning in my chest. It's like I boiled some of the red hot candies for a LONG time.

The BURN.

Amazing.

It's akin to drinking some straight liquor.

LOL

And what's more amazing is that the two main components of this tea have some great anti-inflammatory and circulatory properties, and I can feel it.

How great is that.

But I can't get past the burn.

And you know what? I hate red hot candies...

...But this here will do just fine.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Evening Blues


I am not sure why I titled the post that.

I am not blue.

It's a bit dreary here in my beloved ATL, but it's no reason to be blue. Sure it's all hot and sticky outside, and it will probably rain at any moment... yet, it's no reason to be blue.

Title just sounds good. And I am listening to a piece of garage rock/blues music, which I will post as the Song of the Week later.

So... last week was a LONG week. My sister was in the hospital and I am happy to report that she was released yesterday. GLORY!  When they said she could go home, we packed that room up SUPER fast, in 5 minutes flat.

I have been in the hospital myself for a week in the past. I can STILL remember being wheeled out the hospital in that wheelchair. I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my face. And I never knew the sun could be THAT bright.  I don't ever want to be closed up and shut in a room for that long ever again. Ever. So I could understand the glee on her face when they said she could go home. We are praying all is good now.

So I am looking forward to a normal week of going back and forth to work and meandering around the house doing chores and writing, etc. Can't wait to get back to that.

Song of the Week. So, I must say I have heard what I think is like, the best song I've heard this year.  If I don't hear another song this great this year, then I am good. I'll take this one.

Jay-Z used it as a sample on the title track of his new CD 4:44.

Well, the music of the CD is much like the cover of the CD... not much too it. Yet it had a lot going on.

You know how you wish rappers and singers would get to the point where they could make whatever the heck kind of music they want? Trendiness be damned and all of that? Well that's what Jay-Z did. He made this CD for himself. It was him looking into the mirror rapping to himself concerning all his mess in the past. And he gave good sound financial advice. I think Jay-Z and I are the same age (mid- to late 40s), and it is what I expect from someone that age. He would sound a straight up fool trying to do all this mumble rapping. Stop it, I say. He did exactly what he should have done. Alas, that is not going to excite much interest from the masses, many of us who are realizing that jibberish and nonsensical rap is the norm.  Sigh.

And for that reason alone, it is definitely worth a listen. 

The producer is a legendary one name No. ID.  I was more interested in what he was going to do with this CD. I can appreciate that it's not a commercial venture.  And I love the sample that he used for the title cut.  I thought it was an old 70s song by some soul sista, but it's not. It came out last year, and it's by a white chick from the UK.

Hannah Williams and the Affiimations - "Late Nights and Heartbreaks"



Man oh man... how GREAT is that song? I think I'm more caught up in the whole unique story line of the song. I love any singer who can tell a story in a song, and it makes me wish we had more music with some substance like that. HUMPH.

A good find. I definitely threw that on my playlist.

And if you haven't seen the video for the 4:44 JayZ song, here it is. It might disappear, so here's the youtube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOcdhQ9KfJA



That video was TOO much for me. Someone needs to explain that to me. What the world was up with the contemporary dancers in the video?  Wow. I have watched it a good 10 times, and to me it represents black joy and black oppression and black pain. And we have essentially become snuff film subject matter. Sigh.

Most powerful line that has stuck with me and is this week's Quote of the Week

"Hey, I'm an innocent bystander. They sayin' I drove a getaway car, but I cannot see. I'm legally blind."

There was A LOT going on in that video. I am waiting for a good think piece on it.

And that feels good to say. Not too much music makes me think these days.

That is it for ME.

I hope to post all week. I really do. This month's offerings have been quite paltry! I have to pick it up, pick it UP!

So as always, have a great week.. .On purpose!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

I haven't been around much this week, as my sister has been in the hospital and I'm trying to sit with her and be an advocate and ask questions. Her Dad is there now, so I got a chance to come on in to work. I needed to sign some paperwork due on Friday. Not a problem.

But I have a brief moment right now, so I wanted to blog. 'Tis my therapy you see.

1. Ya'll got me straight lost with this whole new scandal with Trump and his son and these meetings. I am trying to listen to what's going on, but it's getting old now. And emotionally draining.

2. Thank goodness I can turn the TV off and lose myself in a good story or a good movie. That means so much to me these days.

3. It is so hot right now in the ATL. I think it's a problem because our humidity is high too. All I know is it is a long journey walking to my car in the evenings. I cannot get the AC on fast enough.

4. A squirrel stepped out the wrong way on a power line outside the workplace and caught fire and died.

5. This killed the power line and at the same time, killed all the power in one of our buildings. It was ODD walking through that building to my own... in complete quiet, with no lights working. Imagine the things going through my mind. UGH!

6. I haven't been eating right all week. And I can feel it. Double-ugh.

7. What is this I hear about Venus going to the Wimbledon Finals?? HOORAY!!

8. I thought Wimbledon was played around the 4th of July weekend. Did they move it?

9. Copies of Atlanta Noir are shipping early. Paperbacks are available now for $10 and some change. I myself am ordering a few copies. Kindle edition is available on August 1st! Get yours!!!


10.It feels strange being at work for only a couple of hours, because I have been sitting at the hospital with my sister all week. But I am paranoid. I needed to show my face at work to avoid tomfoolery with management. Sigh. Terrible I have to navigate in such a manner, but it is what it is.

That is it for my 10 Thursday Thoughts. Hopefully all goes well and my sister and we are back to our normal routines.

That would be the best outcome of all! :)

Friday, July 07, 2017

Friday Freestyles

Friday!!

Finally!

Today went by slowly, so slowly that this 3 day workweek felt like a 5 day workweek. I have been clock watching. And if I could find a few toothpicks to hold my eyelids open, I would be good.

I wish I had a good hiding place at work where I could take a nap. But certain folk keep notes on what you're doing, i.e., don't know how to mind they own bizness.

Humph. *foot stomp*

Today is the last day of my supervisory duties. Thank goodness for that. For the most part, people have been gone, but it has thrown me off just a tad when I have to do something administrative. Just a tad.

But today is Friday. My weekend will be my weekend. I need to go to my writing group some 40 miles away, so ALREADY I'm trying to wrap my head around that. This means that I need to have my money together and my gas together TONIGHT. There is nothing worse than thinking "Oh, I'll get up early enough in the morning to stop for gas and to stop at the ATM for money."

Uh no.

Not only that, but I need to lay my clothes out and make sure I know where my keys are.

And make sure I cut up some fruit to eat for breakfast along the way.

Ay-yi-yiiii. *palm to forehead*

And I will get it done.  Despite there still being a boil water advisory in downtown ATL.

I am still all perturbed, with the unblinking stare... with the boil water face. 


Went to sleep perturbed. Woke up perturbed.

And the local news reporting is quite fleeting on the subject. They talk about it for 30 seconds, then on to the next subject. Sigh. 

I saw a coworker in the hallway this morning. She said "LadyLee, that boil water advisory is on until Monday."

Sigh. I shook my head. "I feel like we in the Color Purple!"

We both laughed. But it's not funny. She said that if I didn't lose water pressure and the water looks clear and not turbid (with particles floating in it O_o),  then  I am fine.

None of that is happening, so I guess I am okay. I'm not gonna drink that water, tho. Nope.

Enough  of my complaining. Complaining always leave me jogging in place.

Let me reverse it, as I tend to do. I give myself a moment to whine, but I best end it with the positive. 

I am thankful for bottled water to drink. I caught a sale last night at the local grocery store: 3 cases for $10. I am keeping one case and donating the other two cases to the homeless!

I am thankful for the 40 mile drive to my writing group workshop. That quiet time is some of my best prayer time!

Work was slow, but I am thankful for my good gub'ment job. Yes ma'am. Yes sir. 

Let's move on to better things! 

Quote of the Week.  I saw this quote on a random notepad around the house. I have no idea where I heard this quote, as I probably scribbled it down from something I saw on tv or heard on satellite radio. Must be a good one if I stopped to write it down in bright red ink.

"Do not surround yourself with people who feed your dysfunction." 

 That is a lofty statement. And it only makes sense if we pause to take time to understand what our personal dysfunctions are... And who takes time to do that?

Song of the Week. So SZA has a new album out. She is part of the Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE)  camp, and since that is my favorite camp/team, I make sure to listen to whatever their artists put out. SZA is their only female artist. She has put out a couple of EPs/mixtapes, but I can't too much fool with those. She is much to cerebral, and I'm not smart enough to figure out what the heck she is talking about.

But, her debut album is out, and while it is just slightly over my head (I think I need to be a woke, 20-something, feminist black college chick), there are a couple of songs I really like: "Weekend" and  "Pretty Little Birds"






I like both of those because they are well written songs. The first one is the ultimate side-chick song. She don't like being the side chick, but she is giving in to the role. Interesting, as I haven't heard that point of view in awhile. (And it's jacked up, but she sanging good, lol). The second song has good use of metaphors. How common is that these days? And I don't  even listen to current R&B. Good to find some that I can actually tolerate.

*lee turning back to ol' school, tho*

LOL. That is it for me. I am ready for the weekend like some big things are going down!!

I hope you're ready for the weekend like you have some big things going down too!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Ten (Plus) Thursday Thoughts


This week has flown by fast. I THINK it is Thursday. So I need to post.

I think.


So here are my immediate thoughts... On a Thursday.

1. I am not sure why I haven't blogged all week.

2. I think it is because we had that long holiday weekend.

3. I STILL don't know what day it is. But maybe I will get back on track.

4. I have been straight lazy all week. Not a good way to start the second half of the year.

5. I was SHOOK this morning when my phone rang at 6:34 am. Mind you, this was the HOME phone, which never rings.

6. So I amused myself and answered it. I was READY to go off on a telemarketer. READY.

7. Turns out there is a "boil water advisory" today, and my 'hood was a part of it.

8. Wow. So let's just say, it was some craziness getting ready for work this morning. And preparing my food.

9. It all had me in my feelings, looking and feeling like this:

Lips pursed. Hard stare. All of that. 


10. Occurrences like this make me think, though. What on earth would we do if our water systems were maliciously attacked? I hate to even think about it.

11. I only have 4 gallons of clean water at the house. One of those gallons was useful this a.m. But it makes  me believe that I need more.

12. I haven't even drank any water from the water fountain at work today, and I am out of my usual stash of bottled water at work. I am feeling a tad bit dehydrated, to say the least.

13. It makes me think that I need to bust out and buy some 5 gallon jars of water for the garage. Sigh.

That's it for my Ten Plus Thursday thoughts!!