'Tis the last day of Black History Month, and I have seen a plethora of pictures this month on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
None captured my interest more than the one below.
When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, well, that one tells a story indeed.
I will never go out and march and protest. I know because of the color of my skin, there will be police dressed in riot gear, with heavy artillery ready to go, and well, I don't need to be there. Besides, my ex-husband was a vice cop at one time, and he put the fear of God in me concerning police. After he explained things to me, I make sure to talk real slow and be as nice as possible when I come into contact with them. I have good experiences, and bad. I am still here. That is all.
But I am thankful for those who have marched in the past, and stood up for their rights.
Like this woman above. She's defiant. And while she's standing there, she's gonna keep her pocketbook close..
...And smoke her cigarette.
Someday I will look up the story behind that picture.
For now, I can imagine her sitting at a table playing a rousing game of bid whist, and retelling the story to her friends...
"Girl, I wasn't scared of those police. Better not touch me. I stood there and smoked my cigarette while they talked all that trash. I wasn't scared of them."
So I watched last night's Oscars... All (close to) 4 hours of it.
I was interested this year because I'd seen a few of the movies. I'd seen Hidden Figures, Fences, Moonlight, Hell or High Water, Arrival, Suicide Squad, and probably a few others.
No I did not see La La Land. It's always confusing to me when a film comes out on Christmas and NO ONE has heard of it until a month before Oscar time. Uh nope. I have a rule to not see some doggone movie they are just trying to hype up.
You should've put it out in the summer, buddy. Humph.
I like documentaries, though. And I saw The 13th, OJ Made in America, and I am Not Your Negro.
Now, The 13th was the best documentary I'd ever seen. EVER. That was put out on Netflix. If you haven't seen that, get busy seeing it.
OJ: Made in America was equally good. The problem is that it has to be close to 8 hours long. You have to watch it in pieces. But it is excellent. OJ better be glad that didn't come out when he was on trial for those murders. That is all I got to say about that.
I am Not Your Negro was okay. Worth a watch, as it is an introduction to Baldwin. I will definitely be reading some of James Baldwin's work soon. Yes.
For me, it was between OJ and 13th. There were two other documentaries up besides the three mentioned here, but I couldn't tell you what they are. I tapped out when they talked about them.
And OJ: Made in America won.
Yay!! Well deserved.
Best Supporting Actress was another category that I was waiting for.
And Viola Davis won! Yaaay.
I am not sure why she was in that category, but I don't think she would've won best actress.
I LOVE Viola Davis. LOVE HER. I go see whatever movie she is in. Yes I do. She is one of my favorite actresses. (Alfre Woodard is my top favorite actress, though).
Now I remember watching Luke Cage on Netflix this past summer. I liked the series. But I was blown away for Mahershala Ali, who played the villian Cottomouth in the series. I thought to myself.
That dude. Whatever he's in, I'm going to see it.
So I saw Moonlight. It wasn't anything I cared to see, but he was in it. He was in Moonlight, but not for very long. But he did a great job as drug dealer Juan.
And he won the Oscar for best Supporting Actor.
That dude right there.... like I said, when I see he's going to be in something, I'm running to see it.
He was in Hidden Figures, and he was good in that.
Then there was Best picture.
And the winner is. La La Land!!
Now when I heard that, I just tapped out.
It was after midnight. I'd been sitting in my big easy chair crocheting a baby blanket for a coworker's forthcoming baby. I was watching the Oscars and listening to my music on my headphones at the same time. Meaning, when they were lollygagging on the Oscars, I was listening to music.
So when they announced La La Land as the winner, I immediately put my headphones in and folded my crochet up and placed it in a box. I was thirsty, so I went in the kitchen to get some water.
When I returned to the living room to turn off the lamp light, music still bumping hard in my ears, I saw a bunch of BLACK PEOPLE on stage.
I thought... Them the little black boys from Moonlight. Why are they up on stage???
What the world?
And you know what... It took me a few minutes to understand (I had to get on twitter to ask the question)
But Moonlight was the winner!
How crazy was that? Has a mistake like that ever happened in Oscar history?
Good for them, though!
I saw Moonlight. It was alright. I was pulling for Hidden Figures. It was simply a matter of what I could relate to.
Moonlight was an LGBT movie. I can't relate to that. The movie was good, writing was good. I could appreciate it as a story different from my own, and most importantly that it was someone's story, and someone saw themselves in that story.
I saw myself in Hidden Figures. I saw black women scientists on screen, and they were the heroes. I don't know if I have seen that, or if I would ever see myself represented on screen again. For one of the rare few times, I was proud to be a female scientist. Proud.
Likewise, I am sure black LGBT people have not seen themselves on screen in such a major motion picture. So I can imagine how they feel, and I can respect the story.
But that mistake in the announcement. HILARIOUS!!!!
Good for them, though.
It was a decent Oscars show. TOO LONG.
I didn't watch last year. Didn't see any of the movies. No need to watch. Glad there was more inclusion this year.
There are more movies I want to see from this year's batch, like Lion, and I will be checking those out. .
Bet you can't say that title real fast 3 times in a row.
(I know I couldn't).
Two Tuesday thoughts for you... things that have ruffled my feathers
1. Trash Day. I was so glad to be off yesterday. The problem with that is that my trash pick-up day is on Tuesdays. Since this is my first day back to work after a long weekend, I thought today was Monday. Imagine my surprise when I was leaving for work and I heard the familiar whine of a garbage truck. I thought I would just skip a week, but I waved at them and they waited for me to pull my trash to the curb.
I don't generate much trash. I can get away with taking my trash to the curb every two weeks.
I have pulled my trash up to the curb and it wasn't picked up. That ruffled my feathers.
This has happened twice...
...in the 11.5 years I have resided in my home.
Therefore, I classify this, my forgetting to pull my trash to the curb on trash day or the garbage men forgetting my trash as...
High class problems.
These are problems that are not worth getting in a huff over. There are people out here who don't have jobs and don't know where there next meal is coming from. There are people who are homeless and living under a bridge. 2. Time to Pray. I have probably mentioned this before, but I bristle a bit when people ask me to pray for them. Why? Because it feels all rushed. And my question is always...
Haven't you been praying for yourself?
I don't say that out loud, but the question blows through my mind like a strong gust of wind. And I would never say that to them. But I look at a person's life and I think... gee, your life looks perfect. All this great stuff going on and this temporary thing is getting you down? Do you see all the great things that God is doing in your life? Does it even matter to you?
And I have to check myself because I am being judgmental, if only for a moment. I go on and pray for folks. But you know what the answer to these prayers have been as of late?
There's a LOT going on with people that you just don't know about.
Folks don't tell it all. I don't ask questions. The italicized statement alone says much. Sometimes you just gotta keep things to yourself.
Let's face it. We only tell half the story. I know this to be true because I do when I am going through something dire or heart-wrenching. Nothing wrong with that. This is why you should be praying for yourself. You are the establishing witness.. Everybody's prayers are added to yours, so your prayer better be biblical and in the right direction.
I don't know if that makes sense. But it has changed my prayer life for people... and for myself.
Some of us don't know the root of some of our issues. I don't know the root of some of mine. And that changes things. I spend a WHOLE lot of time with that, just trying to understand the "why" behind what is going on.
My feathers don't get all ruffled now. I eagerly pray for a good outcome. And I pray from a positive attitude.
Those are my 2 Tuesday Thoughts.
My feathers are smoothing down. And it must mean that I am maturing. And that's a great thing.
My birthday ritual has been pretty much the same for the past 15 or so years: Me and my best friend LadyTee spend our birthdays together. That didn't happen last year because I was so busy. But we will pick it back up again this year.
For my birthday, we went to a high end Tex-mex restaurant, Superica.
That's the signage at night after a hard rain. (Yes it rained on my birthday. *sad face*)
Here's the signage during the day.
Hmmm... I like the nighttime signage better.
I've been wanting to go there, but I've been like, uh... that look kinda expensive. But I try to go somewhere new on my birthday, and this is where we went.
It was pricey, but affordable. I think one could easily been $100 on dinner for two. But we were bootleg. We didn't get drinks (just water), and we split an entree. We also got a couple of bacon wrapped shrimp.
I didn't take pictures since it was dark inside, but I found some pictures on the web.
We had bacon wrapped shrimp for our entree.
That was GREAT! The cup of sauce on the side was butter. No way, man. I dipped my shrimp in my salsa. They were doing way too much with the butter. How much cholesterol were they trying to heap on a plate?
They did have some of the best queso I've ever had.
And that salsa was the best I've had. They had a green one and a red one, and they puree it until smooth (I think). It was GREAT. I needed a jar of that.
And I think they made their tortillas from scratch. They tasted that fresh.
It was a great time.
We also went to see Hidden Figures.
I LOVED this movie, and it was my second time seeing it.
Why did I love it? Because it was a story about black women in STEM. And that's who I am? How often do I get to see myself on screen?
Never. Not that I can remember.
Let's just say that I will be buying it when it comes out.
And it's up for an Oscar for best picture.
I HOPE IT WINS.
I swear, I will fall out right in the floor. Fall right out. Really.
So that was my birthday. LadyTee gave me a nice blanket and some pillows and a robe for my birthday! Oh JOY!!!
Her birthday is in March. So I am fast trying to get her birthday together. I am so excited, I can hardly wait!
Song of the Week. I am looking through my playlist, and it looks like I have been listening to the same 100 songs over and over again... Sigh. I need to venture out, don't I?
I'll just put up a couple of my favorites.
Both of those songs are over 30 years old. And they are STILL good. Oh yeah!
I love that song. Look at that clothing... straight out of the 1990s!
That's it for me. Believe it or not, I hope to be posting more. I actually have some posts in my draft queue. I think what I will do is just start loading up pictures and just save those posts in queue and just load them up whenever. I am not doing well with this one or two posts a week.
And I want to post up a story that I first posted some 6 years ago on Valentines day, written from one of blogger Singlema's favorite phrases: "My eyes are stretched..." I always thought it was funny. It simply means she's looking out with great attention at something or someone. But of course, I thought it was a worthy writing prompt. I usually spend 5 to 15 minutes on my writing prompts, but I spent a full hour on this one. And it was fun to write.
Wanna read it? Here ya go:
Open, Stretched, and Baited
Sabrina searched frantically through her chest of drawers, searching for what she had hidden so long ago.
And she found it.
An open pack of unfiltered Kools cigarettes.
She shook out a cigarette, casually walked downstairs to the kitchen and lit it on one of the eyes of the stove.
She took a puff, inhaled hard.
Coughed even harder.
She heard him clear his throat. She could see him from the kitchen, sitting at the dining room table bare-chested, in a pair of black lounge pants, tapping his bare feet to a song playing low on the living room stereo.
He was sitting at the dining room table eating a bowl of cereal. He smiled at her and quickly looked away, all of a sudden interested in reading the back of the cereal box.
“Go head on and laugh, Rodney,” she said. “You know you want to.”
“I wanna laugh,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a good thing to laugh at a woman who’s about to cough up a lung.”
She took a long drag from the cigarette, her eyes still trained on him. She held the smoke a moment, then exhaled. “How’s that? That better?”
He smiled again, continued eating his cereal.
She walked over to the messy table and flopped down in a chair. She puffed lightly on the cigarette and shook the ashes on a napkin.
“You’re a health nut, Sabrina,” he said. He ate another spoonful of his cornflakes. “ And you’re smoking. More surprising than funny.”
"I haven't smoked in fifteen years."
"So what's the reason for the sudden smoking habit?" he asked.
“After last night, I need a cigarette,” she said.
He was about to eat another spoonful of the cereal, but he stopped. “Really?”
“Yes. You make a woman wake up in need of a good smoke. You got me laying in bed, opening my eyes, wanting to take pen to paper and write some poetry.”
He stared at her, eyebrows raised. He dug his spoon in his cereal.
She leaned forward. Stared into his eyes.
“You got my eyes stretched
Sitting here with baited breath
Nose open, open real wide
Wide as the Sahara in Africa
But not dry like that desert
Because you are my oasis
In the middle of that desert
You soothe me
You move me
You are that gentle breeze that blows my way
On such a hot dry day.”
Rodney frowned. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Sabrina took a long drag from the cigarette, held the smoke deep in her lungs, then blew smoke through her nose. “Do I look like I’m kidding?"
Rodney gave no response. He ate another spoonful of his cereal.
She gathered her housecoat around her, adjusted the strap as much as she could with one hand.
“You got my eyes stretched
Sitting here with baited breath
You got me open wide
Wide and deep like the Grand Canyon
Make a bitch wanna run fast towards the edge and jump
Cause I know I can make it to the other side.
I got it like that
All ‘cause of you
'Cause you pulled up a chair
Sat it next to my heart
Cupped your hand to your ear
And listened close for each and ever beat.
Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.”
Rodney laughed hard, spewing milk and cereal everywhere. “Are you serious?”
Sabrina shook ashes off the cigarette and took another long draw. She blew perfect smoke rings into the air.
Rodney grabbed a napkin and wiped the milk from his face. “Girl, nothing went down last night. We stayed up and talked all night."
“The hell you say,” she shouted. She pointed the bent cigarette at him. “Last night was, last night was. . ."
“You acting like we had hot butt nekked sex last night, girl. We stayed up and talked. Watched a movie. Cleaned up. Burnt up the buckwheat blueberry pancakes we were trying to make from scratch. Washed and folded your clothes. Danced to that old scratched up Parliament Funkadelic album you like. And now you sitting here smoking a cigarette like it's a joint, and reciting poetry like you the headliner at Open Mic night at the club. Hilarious!”
Sabrina hit the table hard with her fist, so hard that Rodney’s half eaten bowl of cereal jumped and clanked.
“I’m vunerable right now, and you’re sitting up here laughing at me. Last night was special!”
Rodney laughed. “The first night I spent with you was indeed special. Not what I had in mind, so yeah, you can call it special.”
“I don’t believe you,” she said. She waved cigarette smoke from in front of her face. “You’re just, you're just. . . oooooh.”
“And if you keep smoking that cigarette, you gonna have some baited breath, alright,” he said with a chuckle. "You're going to be talking like Darth Vader, talking 'bout 'Bring the Wookie to meee!"
Sabrina smashed the cigarette nub into the napkin and balled it up.
“You better throw that napkin in some water or something, make sure that cigarette's out. You don’t want to burn your house down.”
Sabrina got up from the table, gathered her housecoat around her, and walked towards the kitchen.
“Hey girl,” Rodney called out.
“What?” she responded a bit too sharply.
He stared at her for a moment before speaking. “My nose is stretched, too. My eyes are open wide, and my breath is all baited up, just like yours. Okay? I'm laid out in the Sahara and chilling at the Grand Canyon too, alright?”
He winked, shoveled another spoonful of cereal into his mouth.
I have been thinking about that all year long. I realize that amounts to a little over a month of days, but I have spent time thinking about that number. 47.
I have spent time thinking about that age.
Why? Because I never imagined turning that age. I remember when I was little always thinking about turning 30, because I would turn 30 in the year 2000. And who could imagine the year 2000?
But here it is... 2017. And i am 47. I am middle aged for real. And I never thought of that.
This time of year I wax nostalgic about the past 12 months. What was the good? What was the bad? What was the ugly? What do I need to change? Where did I succeed? All of that becomes much personal food for thought.
And I especially begin to think about what lingers on the walls and in the corners of my mind.
And I think about something I saw that has had an affect on my outlook.
A few months ago, I was thinking about increasing the amount of money I save each month. But it required that I pay my bills a bit differently. For some odd reason, I like to pay most bills off of one paycheck. That in itself is a high class problem. But I remember being a bit miffed by this.
And then one day, while leaving the freeway at the exit that leads to my job downtown, I saw a woman.
A homeless woman.
She was under the bridge next to the exit, and she was pouring water from a bottle over her naked body. She was washing up with a soapy rag.
That exit is curved and fast, but I remember thinking... did I see what I thought I just saw. After a couple of more times, I understood that I did.
And I filtered my annoyance with having to rearrange how I pay my bills through those thoughts. Suddenly it wasn't that important that I had to make a few minor changes in order to meet a goal. Here was someone who lived under a bridge, and then got up everyday to get ready... in view of everyone. That is a sad thing. But it made me more thankful.
I don't see her that much. But I see her things: A black duffle bag, a gallon of water, and a few other items, all sitting on a ledge under the bridge. It is a reminder of Atlanta's homeless problem. It is a reminder to be thankful for the roof over my head. Truly thankful.
At this age, I find that I am thinking of those types of things, among other things that go on in life throughout my day, throughout my year. I feel like God shows us much to think about, if only we pat attention.
And that is what is on my mind this morning.
That is on my mind as I turn 47.
I am thinking about my problems...
I am thinking about my triumphs...
I am thinking about my adventures...
I am thinking about growth.
And I am excited about what is to come.
I took yesterday and today off. I remember all to much of how melancholy I was last year because I had to work (My birthday was on a Sunday, but I usually take that Monday off when that happens). I am at a point right now, especially since taking off 3 weeks in December and traveling to the UAE to spend time with my sister, that if I want to be off, I will be off. I realize that I don't take off much because of a fear of some mess going down when I'm not at work. Mess is going down whether I am there or not. I have had to realize that I have been dealing with some anxiety concerning work, and that ain't good. I am getting the job done. I have met my goals. But when I have to dodge the insecurities of others while dealing with my own, well, that is mentally taxing. I don't talk about it, because no one asks. I don't want to complain and whine. I listen to enough of other people's wailing as it is. I don't want to add my own gripes to the mix. I am learning to pray about it. And watch things change. Period.
One thing I have learned is this: there is ALWAYS a lot more going on than we think is going on... with people, places and things.
Even with our own selves. These days I spend much more time on self introspection and making the adjustments than on pointing my fingers at others. Sometimes I am the problem. Sometimes not. I need to be crystal clear about the distinction.
Those are my thoughts at this moment and time, on the day I turn 47.
Today I am off. I woke up and listened to the radio, and I watched the news just to see what the weather would be. It is going to storm later on, so I better get out and do what I got to do now.
Me and LadyTee are going to go do our Thelma and Louise thing... That didn't happen last year.
Minus the driving off of cliffs.
I want to go to the movies, and there is this high end Mexican place I want to try. That food better be good!
I am thankful for seeing a new year of my life. I am always mindful of there being those that didn't make it this far, so I will make the best of it.
When it's cold outside, I crave soup. I usually buy it if I want it, and I try to find some soup that's homemade (i.e., no canned soup for me).
I was working from home on Monday, and it felt good to just get up from computer the other day and take a container of homemade soup out of the freezer and defrost it. (I need to find more opportunities to work from home).
So I had vegetable soup. And it was pretty good.
Well, sort of.
It needed some mushrooms and some corn or something else. But it was still good.
I'd made it last week in my crockpot.
(And there is Callie Jo, sitting on her stoop, always interested in what going on).
I sat that up overnight, and it smelled so good early the next morning.
I made it with a 32 bean mix I bought at my local natural food co-op.
Correction: 32 beans and 8 vegetables.
Here's a list of the beans in the soup.
There are some beans on the list I've never heard of.
Like: Anasazi Appaloosa Calypso European Soldier Flageolet Jackson Wonder Jacobs Cattle Scarlett Runner Snow Cap
And ones I would NEVER even thought existed...
Like... Tongues of Fire beans... and Rattlesnake beans.
Can you imagine?
"Yo LadyLee, I'm running to the store! You want me to bring you something back?"
"Yes! Bring me back some of them Rattlesnake Beans!"
Who came up with those names? And why??
So I looked up pictures...
Here are the rattlesnake beans.
And here are the tongues of fire beans.
Both of those look like some version of pole beans, I suppose. And they probably got their names from their appearance. Who knows. And unless I'm going to plant a garden full of them, it ain't all that important.
I don't know, and I don't really care. All I know is that they were good.