Saturday, December 19, 2009

One Queen & A Baby

I agreed to this godmother duty a little over a year now and my tasks had been pretty easy. The hardest parts have been the inquisition that the Catholic Church subjected me to, and then attending the baptism ceremony, which was literally 574574574574 hours long. Other than that, I'm more than happy to pop in for any birthday parties the godchildren may have, where I shower them for gifts, get them in trouble, and promptly go home. (Fyi, when I say godchildren I'm talking about my friend's two kids: 'P', her toddler, and 'B', her teenage stepson)

So I was in the throes of unattached happiness when the phone rang and my friend gave me the 10 words that literally made my knees buckle: "Would you mind watching the baby for a few hours?" Now, I knew this was bound to happen, since my friend had been involved in a nightmare of a childcare situation. She knew I had the day off, she and husband had to get to work and they needed someone to watch the baby 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and would I do it? 'Sure thing!' I said without hesitation.

Now, it's been a looong time since I've been unattended with a little person. The last kid I had babysitting domain over is now 13, so I'm a bit out of my element. Dear P is a 1 year old chubby cheeked ponytailed bundle of energy. She came with a bag of toys -- two teddy bears; Lulu, a doll who counted to 10 VERY LOUDLY; a 'Happy birthday' dvd and a couple of books.

However, P’s favorite activity was running around in circles and laughing. Yet that didn’t compare to the sheer joy she felt when she came up to my entertainment center and promptly threw all of my dvds on the floor. She quickly put them back up, only to knock them back down again. This went on for awhile and it was quite amusing. Whenever she’d get agitated, I’d try to get her to say my name. My name is a mouthful for any tyke, so I decided to teach her to call me Queen. That was much easier!

Once she bored with my dvds, P got to my magazine collection. I tried to steer her toward the magazines I didn’t care about – the Shape with Jennifer Love Hewitt on the cover, the Cosmopolitan feFont sizeaturing Kim Kardashian, etc. I had to do some serious interference when she lunged for my special Vogues – those featuring Michelle Obama and Jennifer Hudson. Finally, she settled on my Victoria’s Secret catalog. Hey, the girl’s got good taste.

No evening with a tyke would be complete without a sudden strange smell and the dirty diaper that follows it. And let me tell you …. THAT WAS SOMETHING. But we survived. P’s dad picked her up promptly at 6 pm, just like he said he would and the family thanked me hundreds of times.

After P left, this strange feeling fell over me and I realized how quiet my home really is. So I jumped on my couch and took a nice, long nap. I truly earned that bad boy.

Photo from

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. Working seven days a week is a true study in mental illness

2. All I ask is that I be allowed to decorate my padded room

3. Nevertheless, it was a pretty good weekend

4. I mean, eight hours of sleep, so what more could I ask for?

5. I would've liked some free time to go see the Princess & the Frog

6. But I did finish my Christmas shopping!

7. And I only achieved that goal because I wanted to beat my super organized friend, who is behind this year. Tee hee!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Phone Booth

It always amazed me how innocent looking Clark Kent could jump into a phone booth (you know, those extinct buildings that once held phones?) and come out as the Man of Steel, a.k.a. Superman.

But for awhile now, I’ve been doing my own Phone Booth routine. By day, I sit at a desk, answer phones, write and do all kinds of other stuff that comes with my responbilities for the X Company. And at quitting time, I go into our handicapped bathroom stall (my version of the phone booth) and transform into Retail Woman.

These are the changes I had to make when I started a part time job at a retail establishment eight months ago. It took me awhile to get adjusted to my new life. For example, Corporate Me can wear whatever she wants in terms of business attire. It’s a loose environment, so she can either chat loudly (about work matters, of course!) or have her head buried in work and no one will raise a brow. As long as the job is done, that’s all that matters. The most horrible thing she can do here is spell a person’s name wrong.

Corporate Me can be quiet. She can be loud. She can be comedic. She can be shy. She can be introverted. She can be disgruntled.

Things are different for Retail Woman, who has to dress up in the gear that her Retail Job sells. She can’t wear earrings that are larger than a dime (I’m still cursing over that one), can only wear sneakers and flip flops and must always have a smile plastered on her face. It’s a small store, so whenever a customer enters, it’s Retail Woman’s job to greet her immediately. She must quickly highlight the current sales, usher her into the fitting room with no less than a dozen items and make sure she buys at least three. At checkout, Retail Woman absolutely MUST remind customers of her name, as well as the store’s upcoming promotions. The most horrible thing she can do at the store is not say “tell your friends” at the end of every single transaction.

Retail Woman is perky. She is a people person. She can dress a headless mannequin in record time. (I can’t, though) She is fluent in Small Talk and takes frequent trips to Extrovert Isle and Too Hyper country.

So now I finally understand how difficult it was for old Superman to switch his personalities at any given time. It is truly a study in mental illness. Luckily, this switcheroo only happens about 10-15 hours a week. I’m slowly getting adjusted.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Isle of Me

I've had some vacation time to burn by the end of the year, so I'm getting in one week now. Where am I going? To the enchanting exotic Isle of Me. From the comfort of my couch, I'll be mentally taking in the sunshine, waves and fattening food that comes with being on a real vacation destination. Actually, I've already reached one of those goals, so a big fat RIP to my Thanksgiving leftovers. =)

So far, I've been semi productive on my vacation. I've reached the 50,000 word mark in draft 2 of novel #2 and I'm still plugging away. Today I woke up early, did a work out and ran a few errands. Now I'm about to take a nap before I head into Job #2. That's the unfortunate thing about these part time gigs, they don't come with paid vacation!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. Vacation is officially over. =(

2. So that means I should try to get back in a regular sleeping pattern

3. I've committed to working out again, specifically running

4. this time the goal is to do it at least four days a week

5. and that's easier said and done

6. I have this strange fear that daylight savings time is going to mess me up this year

7. I want to see Good Hair. I kinda want to see Precious, but someone will have to see it for me first and let me know how graphic it is. Deal?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Return From Paradise

I'm back from the beach, and it was just as wonderful as I thought it would be. This particular locale is just a four-hour drive from my home, but four hours certainly makes the difference. The weather was WONDERFUL -- practically reaching 90 degrees on one day -- and the ocean air was seriously therapeutic. During my four days there, I ate and ate and ate and ATE, and slept and slept and slept, walked and walked and walked, and a did bit of shopping that led me to purchase my very first Christmas gift.

It was interesting visiting this beach in the off season. It wasn't crowded, but it wasn't a ghost town either. And most of the people who were there were white, but they didn't seem to look at my group sideways. So that was a good thing.

The last time I visited this beach I was a teenager, celebrating the sweet 16 of another friend. This friend was the daughter of one of my mom's friends, so you know how that goes -- "I have a daughter your age. Her name is M. You guys should hang out!" So over the years, I spent quite a bit of time with M, whether I liked it or not. (For the record, I did like M, who was about a year younger than me. We spent many an evening at her family's drunken gatherings trying to sip from the adult punch. Most times we succeeded)

For her 16th birthday, M's mother arranged it so that M could have a hotel room on the beach with three other friends. That wound up being me, M's best friend Erica, and an older girl I'll call Courage, since her first name was my middle name. We were all in awe of Courage -- she was 19, tall, shapely and beautiful. She had a daughter at home and was the only one among us who seemingly had a clue of what to do in that mysterious ritual of make up. We'd stay up all hours of the night, running to the beach, laughing on the streets and meeting strangers on the strip of road that ran right next to the beach. We'd sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and our only meals -- including breakfast -- came from Zero's, an excellent sub shop in town.

We did meet a couple of guys while we were there. The ones that stayed with us the longest were these older dudes that were in the Navy (they were 19 and 20, if I remember correctly). Most of the girls in my group were oohing and ahhing about this one guy, cause he looked like Prince. But I was more interested in his Cousin, who looked nothing like Prince, but was just as good looking. They hung out with us the rest of the time. The most memorable part of the week was when the seven of us -- they brought a friend along -- got together to play strip Uno. Now, anyone who knows me well, knows that my part in the game consisted of me taking off my watch, my earrings, and my shoes. And NOTHING else. But Prince had no shame, and got down to nothing in the end. Fun times.

We all promised to keep in touch after the vacation, but you know how that goes. My mom got a new job and eventually lost touch with M's mother. My mother was my main connection to M, so that fell away. Prince's Cousin and I wrote letters for awhile, but that didn't go anywhere. Through our exchanges, I learned that dear Cousin couldn't spell -- for example, "you're my Miss Wright", etc -- and a pet peeve developed. I went into my senior year of high school, met the first love and stopped answering Cousin's letters. Eventually, he stopped writing them.

So going back to this beach recently was truly a trip down memory lane. I'm an adult now and truly can't stomach the thought of eating a cheesesteak for breakfast, even though it crossed my mind often as I passed Zeroes. I crossed paths with quite a few cuties, but I wouldn't even dream of inviting them up to my place for strip Uno. (for two reasons: 1. I was with my parents and 2. I'm just not that crazy anymore) It was truly relaxing. Still, there was part of me that missed the traffic in the streets, the car horns, the "hey shawty"s and the illegible phone numbers scribbled on ketchup-stained napkins. Ahhh, youth.

Photo from

Monday, October 05, 2009

Back At It

Been gone for a loooooong time, but I’ve got no reason for it, really …. Things have been good, REALLY GOOD actually, I just haven’t had a moment to blog …. I could blame it all on the fact that I was without home Internet access for at least a week (**grrr, Verizon!**) … Or that I’ve found other things to do in my spare time (working, novel #2, the three books I’m reading) … Or that I’ve had Blogger’s Block (that’s kinda true) … So you’ll have to bear with me as I think of some things to write about …. In the meantime, I will say that I’m excited about the upcoming fall colors, even if it means a little chill in the air .. I’m happy my crazy boss is on vacation for a week … And when he gets back, I’m GOING ON VACATION!!! … Yes, I’ll be at the beach …. It’ll be a family vacation, my first in about 10 years … That’s what happens when the funds are low and someone offers me a free trip … Who am I to say no? …. Let’s just hope I don’t kill anyone … Or get killed, Mamasan can be kinda scary when she wants to be … I do plan on getting some sun, fun, and lots of laughs ….

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Squirrels -- Too Cute!

I'm posting this video because it's just adorable, and I have to share! A more significant post is coming sometime soon, I promise. In the meantime, please check this out:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Facebook Fast

I am on the 22nd day of my self imposed Facebook fast. That means I have not been logging onto Facebook, at all. That’s right. My Lexulous games have fallen by the wayside. My status update is blank. Chatting has been unavailable. And I haven’t poked anyone in a very long time.

The reason for this change is that as lovely and wonderful as Facebook can be in the beginning, it can be a bit overwhelming. There was a time I was obsessed with it; I couldn’t start my day without logging in, checking folks’ status updates or updating my own. And the games, oh the games! Those were the best part. It was quite beautiful.

But as time went by, I realize that this website is nothing more than a 24-7 high school/family reunion. In the beginning, it seems like a good idea to invite everyone you’ve ever met to your space for a little get together. Yet it doesn’t take long to realize that might not have been a good idea. Do I really need to hear about High School Friend getting her tubes tied? Do I need to be tagged in photos of me playing in the sandbox with Mr. (Suspected) Serial Killer? Does dear Aunt Irene really want to know what Sex and the City character I am?

Yes, it can be that bad. I have just over 200 Facebook friends and quite a few of them are friends in Facebook only. Whenever someone sent me a friend request, I would accept if this was someone I knew. It got a bit dicey when people from high school, folks I didn’t particularly care for, sent me requests. I tried to move past being an immature teenager and holding on to grudges, so I’d accept the request and consider a new day. But the teenybopper inside me would rear her ugly head every so often, forcing me to examine their pages to make sure they were suffering for whatever wrong they may have inflicted on me back in the day.

On my friend list, there are a few types I’ve noticed:

The Oversharers: Status messages about their bathroom habits, arguments with significant others, etc. My particular favorite is an old supervisor who took a quiz that announced that she’d like to have sex at least three times a day and bragged about it in her status update. My brain will never recover from that image.

The Political Causer: I’m glad you feel some kind of way about Michael Vick, President Obama, Michael Jackson, health care reform, animal rights, abortion, etc etc etc, but please don’t try to pull me into your debates. In fact, your constant mentioning of your cause, or sending me invitations to your groups, is leading me closer and closer to eliminating you from my friends list. (See also News Analyst)

The News Analyst: I read a newspaper daily, but what’s missing from this consumption is your opinion on whatever article I read. Thanks for providing this missing link in my life! Double thanks for doing it 57485748573 times a day!

The Non Speller: I mentioned before that I can be quite anal about spelling and grammar. That being said, I’d be pretty embarrassed if I told everyone on my friend’s list that I was “trying to help my son deal with his great grandmother’s deaf.” Same thing if I realized “their aren't enough hours in the day.”

The Throwback: “Hi, Strength! Remember me? We were best friends in third grade! What have you been up to since then? Are you still collecting Garbage Pail Kids? I am!”

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. These are just a few of the problems I’ve run into with the infamous Facebook. My diet will end on August 27, at which time I’ll see what kind of tomfoolery I may have missed while I was gone. Probably nothing. And if I did miss anything, it is probably for the best.

I’m not saying my entire Facebook experience has been bad, it just can be a bit much. And what can you expect when you have a list that’s a mix of family, friends and past/current coworkers? Drama. From the outside looking in, I’ve seen relationships both start and end on this teeny little site. (At the risk of being even more longwinded, here's a funny video of the site's impact on relationships)

In the end, Facebook has left me with one important lesson: Sometimes, it’s okay to lose touch with folks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

'Some days you’re the dog. Some days you’re the hydrant.'

I use the above phrase every now and again to deal with the times when I’m having a bad day. Which can happen to me every now and again. Hey, I’m only human.

A true testament of being the hydrant came this week. I should mention that the demographics have started to shift slightly in my department. These changes make me the only one in several categories, especially with the women. At 32, I’m the oldest. I’m the only sistah. And I learned recently that I’m the only one lacking something that every woman in their twenties and thirties tends to desire.

That’s right. I’m the only one without a ‘Dog.’

It was cool for awhile, being without a Dog. A coworker and I, Gabby, would go to the movies and for the occasional drink, while the rest of the chicks would be home tending to their Dogs. We’d laugh at them for their life choices. Surely they’d rather be with us, than with some mangy old beast that does nothing but eat, poop, and watch Sports Center. Surely they envied our independence, the fact that we could go out on a moment’s notice without worrying about what the Dog would eat for dinner or if it would be upset with us. We didn’t have to worry about phone calls in the middle of the day that documented whatever crisis the Dog may have gotten into. Gabby and I knew we had the upper hand. We chatted about Dogs a lot. We had our fair share and for a variety of reasons, we'd been solo for quite awhile.

Well, things started to change. Gabby started dressing nicer. She began laughing more. And her giggle, which is already a bit loud, got about five screeches higher. Then I learned through the rumor mill that it was true – dear Gabby had gotten a Dog. I congratulated her, then I thought about how the tide had shifted. All around me, there are women with Dogs. Some of the Dogs are good, some of the Dogs are bad. Some of the Dogs have officially been made members of the family, some of them (very few) have yet to make that step. Gabby is in the latter category, but things look promising.

There have been times when someone has asked me why I don’t have a Dog and I’ve been able to laugh it off. But with me now being the oldest woman – and the only one without a Dog – it’ll be interesting to see how I cope.

This week was a true testament to that. Another coworker – Phoebe – had a big announcement. Her Dog popped the question, so they are on their way to happyhood. I congratulated her, but I knew this would only be the beginning. I should mention that Phoebe is already unbearable on her birthday, running around every five minutes literally shouting “did you celebrate meeee today???”, so I knew she’d be particularly insane when it came to this. And I was right. She answered the phone several times to talk about how wonderful her dog was, her plans, etc etc. Between that and some other work challenges, I pulled a Ferris Bueller. I told them I wasn’t feeling well and I rushed to the mall and the movies. What’d I see? The Proposal! (But it was very funny, I might add)

I don’t like to compare my life to other women’s lives because that’s an impossible battle. I know we all have our personal struggles, whether our names be Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Florida Evans or Miranda Bailey. But dang it, I can covet with the best of em! There are times when I want nothing more than a good looking, fun loving Dog. One that won’t run away. One that won’t be impregnating all the other bitches in the neighborhood. One that will lick my face and nobody else’s. Then again, I wonder if I’m so set in my ways that a Dog wouldn’t fit well with my lifestyle. Another thought occurred to me recently: do I really want a Dog, or is it just that everyone’s pressuring me to get one? Deep thoughts.

Either way, I am genuinely happy for Gabby and Phoebe and I’ve told them so. I’ve even gotten used to Phoebe’s constant recounting of her popping the question story. I managed to give kind words with a smile. I can only hope I’ll be able to do the same the next time someone asks me when I’ll get a Dog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The MJ Coma Continues

So yes, I've been listening to my MJ tunes at a constant rate. I'm singing at the top of my lungs at home and in the car. And don't let 'Dirty Diana' come on. Cuz that is when I completely LOSE IT. I loved all of Michael's music, but if I had to pick a couple of favorites -- notice I said 'couple', cuz I can't pick just one -- 'Dirty Diana' would easily make my top four list.

I started thinking about Michael's music videos and how amazing they were. Nobody did music videos like Michael did. Folks always talk about how he changed the game with the vids for 'Smooth Criminal', 'Remember the Time', 'Scream,' 'Black or White' and with 'Thriller', which I count as a movie. But the video for 'The Way You Make Me Feel' is one that I also appreciate. It's so raw, so real. I mean, it's MJ seriously flexing his mack daddy vibe. It is also a stalker's wet dream. I can't even count the number of aggressive pelvic thrusts he did in this video. Let's take a look, shall we:

If this were to happen in real life, can you imagine the 911 call that came afterward? Or how ole girl described the situation to the cops? I can!

Girl: I was coming home from the club, and these guys started yelling at me. This one guy was really aggressive and he shouted out, 'HEY
Cop: Yeah? So what'd you do?
Girl: I was shocked. Scared to death. So I just stood there and he said something about me knocking him off his feet. Then he started screaming.
Cop: Screaming?
Girl: He was screaming, then he was singing. And he and his friends started following me. Umm, why are you looking at me like that?
Cop: I'm sorry, but you look a little like Mariah Carey.
Girl: Who?
Cop: Mariah! You know her. She's got that song, 'Vision of Love'. It was a big hit in the 90s.
Girl: Sir, it's 1987.
Cop: Oh, right. Forgot about that. So he's singing, screaming and chasing you, then what?
Girl: He and his boys corner me at one point, and then ... and then ... and then ...
Cop: WHAT??
Girl: They start humping the ground! The fire hydrant broke and there was water flying everywhere. He ripped off his shirt and the water fell all over his body. And uhh .... You stopped writing.
Cop: It's your hair! That's what makes me think of Mariah. I'm trying to remember the last time I saw it curly. Why do you think she started straightening it?
Girl: Look, I'm trying to report a crime here! Keep up with me.
Cop: Ok, ok. There was humping. There was water. What next?
Girl: The main guy -- the ringleader -- he kept yelling "GO'ON GIRL!! EEEE-HEEE-EEE! OW!" But there was something about him, something so spectacular, that I suddenly felt myself drawn to him. So I let him hug me and he disappeared.
Cop: Did you want him to touch your body?
Girl: WHAT?
Cop: Never mind. I've got to wrap this up. We've got a disturbance at the cemetery, then I have to get to my bodyguard detail.
Girl: You're a bodyguard?
Cop: Somebody's gotta make sure Annie's okay. So did you have anything else to say about your floor humping, screaming, singing attacker?
Girl: No, that's it.
Cop: According to the description you gave our artist, your attacker looks alot like Michael Jackson! Was it him?
Girl: Well, yeah. But I didn't say want to rat him out. He kept saying 'ain't nobody's business.'
Cop: Oh Mariah. I do believe you're a looney tune. I suggest you get your mental illness in check. It can only hurt you down the line.
Cop: Sure thing, honey. How 'bout you sign this autograph and I won't charge you for filing a false police report?
Girl: (sighs) Fine.

Monday, July 13, 2009

He's Out of My Life

This was going to be a post about all the other cds I stumbled across while searching for Michael Jackson’s HIStory Book 1 cd. I have a ton of cds and there are some that I haven’t played in years. I flipped through the entire Jodeci collection, Boyz II Men, Shai, SWV and a copy of Xscape (fyi, this group includes Tiny of Tiny & Toya fame). I thought about writing about my thoughts on each of these groups and muse about 90s music in particular.

That was what I planned. But as luck would have it, I found HIStory Book one placed in a pile of cds that I looked through the previous day. MJ released HIStory years ago and it’s a two-disc set that includes old and new music. On disc 1, there are hits like She’s Out of My Life, I Just Can’t Stop Loving You and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. Disc 2 has newer (well, they were new then) tracks like Scream, They Don’t Care About Us, Come Together (John Lennon’s tune) and Money. Good stuff.

I’m happy to also have the cd booklet, which contains lots of valuable information. For instance, did you know R. Kelly wrote You Are Not Alone? Or that Teddy Riley wrote Remember the Time for an old girlfriend? There’s tons of information in there, including lots of pictures of MJ performing or posing with other celebrities. There’s also a scan of a 1994 letter from 7-year-old Dominic to the president that reads: ‘Dear President Clinton – Please make guns against the law. Make there be no pollution. Make countries stop fighting. Make there be lower taxes. Stop the reporters from bothering Michael Jackson. Make there be more laws. Sincerely, Dominic.’

Now that I’ve located my HIStory music, as well as MJ’s Invincible cd, I’m going to go into an MJ music coma for who knows how long. I can only hope that my neighbors will complain. Then I can point out that I hear the sounds of their love(?)making several times a week, so they can at least cope with my constant playing of Dirty Diana and Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fervor (!!!!MAXWELL!!!!)

Michael Jackson's death came as a shock to me. This was a man whose music I loved and I'd been a fan of his throughout my entire life. But when he die, as upset as I was, I didn't go into an emotional frenzy like some other people did. I mean, some dedicated fans went to the ends of the earth to go to his funeral. Men, women and children took to moonwalking in the streets as they dissolved into tears. My mom had to call my aunt -- a diehard fan -- to make sure she was okay. My stepfather purposely avoided any contact with his sister, who is a tad bit on the emotional side and has always loved herself some MJ.

All of this fervor about the man got me to thinking about what celebrity (or celebrities) could turn me into a knee-wobbling shell of a human being. A coworker mentioned Bruce Springsteen, but she said she didn't think she'd reach the level of the MJ mourners. She'd probably mark his death with a few beers and a gathering of other like-minded fans. The death of another MJ -- Michael Jordan -- would probably be hard for me to take. For years, I've had an illicit, passionate ... okay, imaginary ... affair with this man. We've broken up, but I still have mad love for the man. My close friends know it and call to check in on my mental state whenever he does something of note, i.e. gets divorced, leaves the Bulls, is seen with another woman that is NOT me, etc.

But I don't want to talk about the MJs in my life, I want to talk about another person on my Fervor List. I want to talk about Maxwell.

Yes, I've mentioned before that I'm quite devoted to Mighty Max. I'm so devoted, that I had July 7 in the back of my mind for weeks. That is the day that my dear Max was putting out his first cd in eight years. An ordinary person would wait until July 7 to buy the cd or download it from iTunes. But I'm no ordinary person, I'm a fan. I have fervor! So on July 6, I waited until after midnight to log onto iTunes and purchase BLACK Summer's Night.

But because my life tends to act a bit like Murphy's Law, there were a few glitches. My computer froze and I blame that on the fact that I've been trying to download season one of Burn Notice. I stopped the download and fiddled with the machine again before going to bed. The idea was that I'd wake up the next morning with the new music in my iPod and it could accompany me on my drive to work.

Well, when I woke up the next day, the download still hadn't finished. GRRRR. So I had to go to work without it. And because it was a day of working at both jobs, I didn't get home until 10 o'clock to finish my download. That being said, I know have Maxwell's latest release and I haven't stopped playing it.

Overall, I have my favorites on the cd ('Bad Habit' & 'Pretty Wings' -- CONSTANT ROTATION), but I'm not completely blown away. I also wish there were more than nine songs available.

But in the end, it doesn't matter, because I am a fan. And Maxwell gives me Fervor.

Photo from

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sunday Spin .... on a Wednesday this time, because that's how lazy I am

1. Father's Day weekend was great! I got the stepdad season one of 24. I also got him a card with Barack Obama on the front. The card didn't say anything special, but since it had a picture of The Prez, it got rave reviews.

2. I finally added Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 to my ever growing movie collection. Lots of bloody fun. Now I need to fulfill my musical streak and purchase 'Across the Universe' and 'Moulin Rouge'.

3. Speaking of movies, one of my faves was on this weekend, The Color Purple. As I watched this time, I couldn't help but realize how selfish that Shug Avery is. I wanted to scream at Celie to wake up! If Shug really loved her, she wouldn't be sleeping with Mister and would've took Celie with her when she said Mister beats her. But no! All Shug wanted was to push Celie's button and roll out. Hmph. Of course, I got over that by the time the movie got to my favorite scene -- "God's Tryin To Tell You Somethin'." Sniff, sniff. Breaks me up everytime.

4. I just finished 'I Am Not Sidney Poitier', which was written by one of my favorite authors, Percival Everett. I thought the book was decent, but 'Erasure' is my favorite Everett book of all times. He's got this dry sense of humor that really cracks me up. I'll never forget this one part of 'Erasure', where the main character thinks back to when he was a boy and his sister catches him masturbating: "What are you doing?" "Masturbating." "I'm gonna tell Mom and Dad!" "Go ahead. What are they gonna do, take it away from me?"

5. July 15 is right around the corner, and that will be a very special day for me. If you don't know why, then perhaps you don't know me as well as you thought you did.

6. I'm so tired of hearing about the Jon & Kate scandal, but I CAN'T STOP reading every detail I hear about it. Sigh. Let's not forget that I was into this show back in the day, before their marriage fell apart. With everything that's going on, someone suggested that they start calling the show "Jon & Kate Find New Mates". There's also another site selling merchandise.

7. And that about sums up my goings on for the time being.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. This week/weekend was kinda good and kinda exhausting

2. I'm happy to report that my seasonal running program is in full effect. I can now run 13 minutes nonstop ...

3. ... And that's only with good weather, a tall bottle of cold water and a good episode of This American Life blaring in my ear.

4. I had such a good time watching my goddaughter get baptized this weekend that I was able to overlook the fact that the church was in the hood ...

5. ... Or that we were required to remain on our feet for two hours ....

6. ... Or the slight interrogation (again) from the priest over my not being Catholic.

7. Now I'm watching 'The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants (Pt 2)' on HBO and thinking about a bubble bath and dinner. The premiere of True Blood comes on tonight!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. I had a restless sleep last night. I coughed, tossed and turned and had a crazy dream ...

2. ... one where I was at a job interview, but got stuck inside the bathroom! when i did finally get out of the bathroom, I was in the big city ....

3. stumbling through the crowded streets, wearing a skirt that was too small. every step I made, I had to stop and pull my skirt down ...

4. but I woke up and got out of that fretful, 10-hour night of sleep. I spent the rest of the day getting ready for my guitar recital that was this evening.

5. So, I watched 'Brick Lane' and I practiced the two songs that I planned to play at the recital -- 'The Gauge' and 'With Ease.' I am masterful in playing 'The Gauge'! However, I'm a bit rusty in my playing of 'With Ease.'

6. I got to the location of the recital -- a church -- a tad bit early, but I was a bit concerned by the emptiness of the parking lot. But I went inside anyway and interrupted what seemed to be that church's evening concert, as well as their 'Coffee Talk' night.

7. After driving around the neighborhood several times and frantically calling my guitar teacher, I learned my recital was yesterday, not today. Sigh. Now all I can do is watch the season premiere of 'Weeds'* and get ready for the work week.

*And now I realize that the season premiere of Weeds isn't until tomorrow night. All my dates are confused! ARGH!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Back in the days when I was young I'm not a kid anymore, but somedays, I wish I was a kid again

Once my relatives started friending me on Facebook, I knew the inevitable would happen. I would somehow be reunited with HP -- the boy next door, my first boyfriend and the very first dude to break my heart.

Now, when I say first boyfriend, I mean FIRST first boyfriend. I'm talking about being 6 years old playing in the sandbox kind of first. As I look back now, it's clear he wasn't good for me. First of all, he was abusive. He always pulled my ponytails or asked me to get on the seasaw with him, only to run away and cause my butt to slam to the bottom. (Luckily, my older cousin was the biggest bully in the neighborhood and he put a stop to all of that.) He was also a clear commitment phobe. I mean, he never properly asked for my hand. The only thing that solidified our relatonship was that time I put my foot down and told him that he needed to give me a commitment or I was gone. The conversation went a bit like this ...

Me: Who's your girlfriend?
HP: Ummmm... you?
Me: Oh. Ok!

HP and I did have our good times. Our dates were spent either playing kickball at my grandma's house or at his grandparents' place, watching Fraggle Rock. We spent the best days of our relationship digging up earthworms and keeping them in jars, thinking of them as our pets. I was fascinated when HP showed me that I could cut a worm in half and it would keep moving in opposite directions. He'd even use those glass jars to capture bees or lightning bugs for me. Then he'd fill the jar with water and we'd watch them drown. He was so romantic.

This was not to say we didn't have our problems. We had severe ideological differences. He loved Hide N Go Seek, while I was more of a Freeze Tag kind of girl. I went to private school; he was public. By the time I got off the bus, he was already running around the neighborhood. By the time I did my homework and changed clothes, he was inside eating dinner. He soon got new friends -- older kids who actually enjoyed Hide N Go Seek -- and I also had a new crew that actually wanted to play Barbies with me. HP and I still had our rendezvous, but things were changing and we both knew it.

When I learned I'd be moving to another state, I was disappointed in HP's actions. He didn't jump in front of the moving van, stow away in my luggage or offer to let me live with his family. Nope, he just let me run off to parts unknown without a care in his cold heart. Grrr.

Over the years, my cousins kept me updated on HP's life -- his girlfriends, his marriage, his kid, his divorce, his other marriage, etc. I came upon his Facebook profile recently when he left a comment on my cousin's page. I must say, he doesn't look at all like I remember. I mean, he's got hair on his face and everything! Imagine that! I'll bet he's still a Hide N Seek aficionado.

Photo from

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. I had a fabulous 3-day weekend!

2. I spent it visiting my homies in my former stomping grounds and I tried my darndest not to use words like 'privet', 'axis,' and 'birdie' (inside joke).

3. I also discovered the joy of Rock Band on the Wii. I sang a little bit, played the drums and I even ...

4. ... played guitar, which was my favorite part. Being the obsessive person that I am, I became obsessed with one song in particular.

5. My trip did help me realize that the next time I fly, I may want to aim for a first-class seat ...

6. .... either that or rip out the throats of every spoiled mofo sitting in that section. (seriously, the flight attendants were holding up the line onto the plane just so they could give one of them some orange juice. GOODNESS!)

7. But now I'm feeling exhausted. So that means it's time to floss, brush and hop in bed. Maybe a teeny tiny bit of tv and a few pages of a book, but it's lights out after that!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. Happy Memorial Day everybody!

2. I hope you're out there enjoying this holiday weekend, filling it with parties and food. I'm spending it ....

3. Working. Sigh. But I'm done and I'll be off tomorrow. Can't wait!

4. Right now, my eyes are heavy and I'm resisting the urge to take a nap. I really need to ...

5. Do some laundry, and other chores. However, I'm ...

6. Sitting here blogging & halfway watching a marathon of General Hospital. Actually, the show is watching me more than I'm wearing it.

7. This group, The Ting Tings, is stalking me. A friend turned me onto this song, which she dedicated to an ex boyfriend. I was hipped to this one after Vh1 started playing it in the mornings and now they play this one at Job Deux. In fact, there are times where I just mumble "the drums, the drums, the drums, the drums ... " Sigh.

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. Yesterday was my first day off in two weeks! And I spent it .....

2. ..... SHOPPING! I bought some new perfume, some bath/body stuff and this book, which I'd been patiently waiting to read.

3. Unfortunately, I had to complain to management about the antics of some of my new neighbors. I learned tonight that I'm not the only one who seems to have a problem with them ...


5. We have a new Whole Foods (also known as Whole Paycheck) near my job and it's the stuff dreams are made of! I mean, it is HUGE. I did one of those Build Your Own Sandwich deals and it made my heart flutter.

6. Job Deux is helping me realize that standing is hard work. Whenever I leave a shift there -- one that's as little as four hours -- I'm in need of a nap.

7. The customers at Job Deux make me forget there's a recession going on. This one lady spent $630 like it was nothing. I was astonished. But I was able to put her in one of the special customer booklets and get kudos from the higher ups.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't Give Up

I love the elderly. They can bring out the best and worst in you. In my family, it’s the gray-haired ones that give the best compliments, the biggest hugs and the most honest advice. But sometimes in my work life, I have to deal with quite a few seniors that make me wanna holla.

A few months ago, I had to go to an art exhibit for something that was work related. Basically, this senior citizens activity center was holding a reception for the artist, a woman who was 80+ years old. I had to talk to the artist and she wasn’t in a talkative mood and gave me one word answers – which is the last thing I need for my line of work – so I politely told her that I’d give her a minute to collect her thoughts and then I’d get back to her.

She had about a dozen paintings and several people stood around, marveling at each piece. There was a man, who about the same age as the artist, who kept coming up to her and asking questions that I couldn’t hear. She brushed him off and he eventually came up to me and asked why I was there. When I explained that it was to see this artist, he begged me to come see a portfolio of his work. I agreed and he literally took my by the hand to his table.

I had no choice but to sit still as the man sifted through page after page of his artwork. He had a bunch of pieces he built with his hands and set up in his garden. I remember being impressed, but I can’t remember further details of his work. Each time he flipped a page, he’d say “I completed this when I was 54,” “I did this one when I was 62,” or “It took me 20 years to do this one and I was 78 by the time I finished.”

When we reached the end of his portfolio, I thanked him for his time and prepared to get back to the original artist. But the old man stood and grabbed my wrist, so I had no choice but to hear what his next words. “I say all this to you for a reason,” he said. “No matter what you do, don’t ever, EVER, ever give up.”

Excellent advice coming from a stranger. And words I definitely needed to hear. I nearly forgot about that moment until earlier today. An art teacher at the senior center called me to discuss another upcoming event. Unfortuantely, I won’t be able to attend. I hope that whoever gets to go meets this guy and gets hit with this same advice.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. Happy Mothers Day to all the mommies out there!!!

2. I'm on my way to mamasan's house, to deliver my gifts.

3. I got her two DVDs -- 'Chicago' and 'Moulin Rouge' ...

4. ... as well as a funny card. On the outside it says: "Hey Mom, remember all those times when I was little and I used to help out around the house?"

5. The inside reads, "Nah, me neither. Happy Mothers Day." Tee hee.

6. TBS has been playing Kill Bill Vol. 2 repeatedly. I forgot how much I love those movies. I may have to add them to the collection.

7. Lately, I've been stalking a coworker for the recipe to her blueberry coffee cake. I've worn her down and she's agreed to give it to me. I can't wait to give it a try. It's yummy!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Sunday Spin

1. I got 13 hours of much needed sleep last night, complete with one nightmare, one interruption due to my bladder and another interruption because of my neighbors' getting busy.

2. It is raining hard and that's temporarily diverting my plans to go to the grocery store. The cupboard is seriously bare.

3. New TV obsessions: Being Erica, Celebrity Apprentice, The Amazing Race.

4. I made my first sale at Job Deux this weekend. Hooray!

5. Time to start thinking about a Mother's Day gift. Hmmm ...

6. Currently reading Ha Jin's 'A Free Life', which revolves around a family of Chinese immigrants.

7. I need to see the following movies: 'Star Trek', 'Wolverine' and 'American Violet.'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Paper Route

To this day, the best job I ever had in my life was working at Blockbuster Video. Decent pay that went to double time if you worked a holiday and there was the extra benefit of all those free movie rentals. My best times were spent closing up that store after midnight, blasting that Best of Bob Marley cd and goofing off with my coworkers as we cleaned up. Good times.

Of course, it probably wasn’t that fun for the Grown Folks. I was in college then and using the job to keep me afloat. But we had quite a few Grown Folks working there – full fledged adults with full time jobs who worked here as well. My favorite was Clover. She was in her forites and had that sweet, mothering thing going for her. I just couldn’t wrap my mind about why she needed a part time gig. She had a husband and what seemed like a good full-time job, and I judged that based on the fact that she dressed up to go to work and had a secretary. I never understood why she’d need extra money. I didn’t ask her, but once she mentioned how her credit card debt got out of control and she’d indulged her children with gifts when they were younger. She was using this job to help pay for that.

Fast forward a few years and I’m in a similar situation. I wouldn’t say my credit card debt is out of control, but it is definitely above the zero mark. And I do want to buy a house, so any additional money I can gain will be a huge benefit. So recently I started working at my own part time gig, which I call The Paper Route or Job Deux.

On the surface, things at The Paper Route seem easy enough. It’s a women’s retail establishment, so ideally all I’d have to do is greet folks and ring stuff up. Right? Hah! I went to training the other day and was somewhat overwhelmed by my responsibilities. I have a packet of information to study so that I know certain things about the store’s specialty, their fancy pants. I’m not paid on commission, but folks will take note of my average daily sale. There is also a strategic way to put the clothes out just so, so that it attracts the customer’s eye. Sigh.
Training Part Deux of Job Deux starts this weekend. I hope I get used to it fairly soon. I’m a smart woman, I should be able to handle this. And I’ve already told myself that I’ll do the part time thing for no more than six months. That should give me enough time to have a big enough financial cushion. At least, I hope so!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On Fear

I was talking to someone about fear the other day. We all have them, no matter how small. For instance, I have a relative who is absolutely terrified of driving on the highway alone. She told me that she couldn’t visit her grandmother in the hospital because everyone in her family had gone already. When I asked her why she didn’t drive to the hospital – which is only about 15 minutes away – she said, “I don’t be traveling like that.” Then she explained her fear.

A coworker once told me she knew someone who was afraid of banana peels. Something about them just freaks him out. I also know of several people who are afraid of clowns. Sometimes, I can relate to that one, because I remember Stephen King’s 'It.' I also know of someone who is afraid of certain kinds of seafood, like shrimp, octopus, etc.

Anyone who knows me well,knows that I have several fears and "issues." For instance, milk. It creeps me out to see another human being drink a glass of that stuff. I can only handle it in my cereal, but I'll never just pour a glass of milk to quench my thirst. Just the thought of that makes me shudder. I can trace that fear back to my childhood, when someone (my mother! yeah, i'll put her on blast) mistakenly fed me sour milk. I'm overly cautious about that dairy product these days. I'm very careful to keep milk from spoiling in my fridge and I have strict rules about using it after the expiration date. (One day after is fine, two days maybe, but three -- it gets TOSSED!)

One of my overwhelming fears is that someone is watching me. I can’t explain it, but there are times that I feel like someone is out there lurking on my every move. When I close my blinds, I check them several times to make sure they’re all the way closed. When I’m in my car, sometimes I’ll stare into my apartment window, just to see what the general public sees. Recently, the maintenance staff at my apartment complex gave us new fire alarms. They put one in my bedroom. Sometimes, I stare up at it and wonder if it’s actually a hidden camera.

I know this seems a little strange, but hey, we all have our quirks. I'm better with mine these days. There was a time I'd go to extreme lengths to prevent my "watchers" from seeing me get dressed. Now, I just relax and hope they're getting a good show. I just hope I don't wind up on youtube.

Photo from

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baptism Backlash

So, today was the first day of my official godmother duty. The goddaughter is Catholic (actually, her father, Homeboy, is a lapsed Catholic and her mother, Homegirl, is down for whatever), so myself and her godfather had to join the baby's parents at their church for baptismal training. When Homegirl told me about this training, I expected it to be no more than instructions on where to stand on the day of the christening and who was going to hold the baby and where. Boy, was I wrong.

We get to the class five minutes early, but you'd think you were late from the way the session leader, Miss Christine, shot daggers at us. We rushed to take our seats as she fired out questions: "Why do you want to be a godparent?" "What's the role of the godparent?" "Why do we even have to get baptized in the first place?" She shouted out these questions at random. Of course, she got to the Godfather first and he explained that he was a Catholic, and he was devoted to Homegirl and Homeboy, as well as their little baby. He said he'd do everything he could to make sure goddaughter walked a straight and narrow path. Now, I just met Godfather before the ceremony and he told me he was an atheist. Not only was he an atheist, but his wife was wiccan, before she decided to be an atheist too. Yet somehow, he won Miss Christine over with his line of hogwash.

I was about to laugh until Miss Christine called on me. She wanted me to tell her why I wanted to be a godparent, my relationship with Homegirl and Homeboy aside. I stumbled through a few things on how I just wanted to be there for the baby when she grew up and stuff like that. When I mentioned I was a Baptist, a gasp came over the room. Then Miss Christine explained that the church only wanted Catholic parents to be godparents to Catholic children, but I could still do it, since Godfather was a Catholic. (Hah! If she only knew!)

Miss Christine mentioned that Homegirl's stepson also needed to be baptized and they needed godparents for him as well. Miss Christine eagerly nominated Godfather for the position. When Homeboy and Homegirl selected me as the godmother again, she was less then eager. "Well, I guess that'll work ...." she practically whispered.

After about an hour of enduring the Sunday School SATs and answering questions about sin and original sin, we learned that Homegirl and Homeboy were unable to get the baby baptized this weekend anyway. They got their dates confused and would be out of town. Plus, they just realized they needed to find a name of a saint to give to the baby and that would be read on baptismal day. So they have alot of work cut out for them.

Miss Christine was nice enough to give me some paperwork to look over while I wait for baptism day. I think she's hoping I'll be a full-fledged Catholic by then. Nice try, lady.

Photo from

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

!!!It's My Birthday!!!!

There was a time I got so excited about my birthday that I couldn't even sleep. The words March 24th just seemed to have that special flow to the, a flow that would get me all riled up. Sometimes, I'd look at my watch at 3:24 and make a mental note that it was my birthday. Of course, this was back when I was a kid. (Yes, I know I have issues)

The birthday excitement dwindled over the years. The one thing I do like to do every year is flip through the papers and find out which celebrities have my birthday (Mr. Roper and/or Mr. Furly from 'Three's Company', Star Jones, Peyton Manning, Allison Hanigan, Mase, Annabella Sciorra, Harry Houdini) and that's a list that grows every year.

For whatever reason, I was particularly excited about my birthday this year. I don't know why, there's nothing really special about being 32, other than being older than all the days on any given calendar month. But whatever, I checked my watch at 3:24 each day and told folks it was my birthday. Naturally, they looked at me like I was crazy. I went to New York for the weekend and had an AWESOME time seeing The Lion King and catching up with old friends. I took the entire week off and I'm spending it doing whatever the heck I want.

Today, I took myself out for sushi and went to the mall. While I was at the mall, I ran into this woman who was looking at me strangely. Then she came up to me and said I had beautiful eyes. She was a Mary Kay consultant and wanted to know if I'd be interested in modeling for one of her lines.

I paused because this brought me back to a painful college memory. A female friend and I were singing Mint Condition's "Pretty Brown Eyes" and she said the song was about her. I told her it was about me also, but she said that it wasn't about me. She proceeded to say that the song couldn't be about me, because I don't have the "pretty brown eyes" that she does. Her eyes are light, mine are dark. Even though this happened years ago, I still think of that whenever I hear this song.

Anyway, I said yes and gave the lady my telephone number. Maybe she'll call, maybe she won't. Either way, it was a good birthday gift for my self esteem. Hooray! Now all I need is a new wardrobe, and shoes, and a massage, etc etc etc.

(Photo from

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Broadway Bound

My birthday is coming up, so I’m doing what I like to do during that time of year: Get outta town! I’m heading up to New York City to see ‘The Lion King’, which I hear is one of the greatest Broadway plays of all time. The best part of the experience is that I’ll be like 10 rows from the stage!!! That and I’ll be hanging with one of my homegirls from college, the ultra fabulous La Bianca. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, here’s a vid. I spend my mornings flipping between the Today Show and Vh1 videos, which always give me songs/artists to obsess over.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Rejection. It Feels Kinda Good This Time

I've been sending my short stories out like a mad woman, as I'm on that desperate hunt to get rich and famous. Or at least pay off my loans and live comfortably. Heck, I'll settle for something as simple as sushi and a massage.

Because I've been doing this, I've had my fair share of rejection letters. I used to have a shoebox with the words "HAKUNA MATATA" (it means 'no worries' -- Swahili) painted on the sides. I covered it with wrapping paper and taped all kinds of motivational phrases on it. Inside, that's where I kept all of my rejection letters. The idea was to keep the rejections locked up safely in there. Then, once I got a letter accepting my work, I'd look at these rejections and laugh. Ok, that's the nice version. I'd probably set the rejection letters on fire.

I've moved quite a bit since I had that box, but I still stock up my rejections. (I do save my winning letters too.) Recently, I submitted a short story to a website that posts fiction that meets their guidelines. I posted to them before and was rejected, so this time I sent something different. I was turned down again, but I'm not mad. Actually, I'm smiling a little bit. Here's the rejection letter:

Sent: Sat 3/07/09 5:49 PM
To: Strength C.
Dear Strength:

Thanks for submitting "Up the New Jersey Turnpike" to XYZFICTION*.
While this story doesn't suit our needs at this time, I hope that you'll
keep visiting the site and keep sending stories our way. As we update
weekly, we're always looking for new fiction.

Thanks again,
Jason Reynolds

PS- While we don't have time to respond to every submission in detail, I
wanted you to know that "Up the New Jersey Turnpike" made it through
several rounds of reading and impressed a number of our editors along
the way. As such, it'd be great to see your name in the inbox again.


So yeah, that postscript made a sista feel geeked. And don't you worry, Jason. I'll be blowing up your inbox, best believe.

*Note: Name has been changed

Sunday, February 15, 2009

!!!! Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

I hope everyone enjoys their special day. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I LOVE THIS SONG!! I've seen the video 7458475487 times, but I finally found a version on youtube that I can post. It's not the best quality, though. I'm a bit disturbed that the singers never appear together, but whatever. It's still my jam!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I mentioned in a previous post that I read alot. What I haven't mentioned is that I've become completely incapable of reading one book at a time.

Because of my habit, I'm a frequent patron of the library. I've been reading the Southern Vampire Books (HBO used them to create "True Blood"), but I usually have to add my name to a waitlist to get them because they are so popular. And because so many people want them, I can never renew my checkout time for these books, so I'm seriously under the gun. Recently, Club Dead, which is book 3 in the series, became available. So I had to pick that up and add it to the rapidly growing list of books I've been reading.

So far, here's what's on my reading list these days:
"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
"Reading Like a Writer" by Francine Prose
"Spike Lee: That's my Story and I'm Sticking to It" by Kaleem Aftab
"Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri (short story book, recently completed. loved it!)
"Club Dead" by Charlaine Harris

Yes, that is quite a bit. I'm hoping to clear out of this pile soon, so I can move onto required reading for school, i.e portions of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" and Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice." (I give both books an early YUCK. Jane Austen and I don't get along. The movies are fine, but I've yet to get through one of her books) I also have to read "Wuthering Heights", but I think that'll be easier since I saw and loved the movie version with Sir Laurence Olivier. I'm also eager to move onto my copy of "A Mercy", since I'm a Toni Morrison fanatic. *Sigh* I hope my eyeballs don't pop out of my sockets!

(Photo from

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I read alot alot alot ALOT. (More on that in a future post) And one of my favorite books is "Lion's Blood: A Novel of Slavery and Freedom in an Alternate America", by Steven Barnes. It is not an easy book and even though I've highly recommended it to a few friends, they had to give it back to me unfinished because it was too heavy.

Basically, the story revolves around the idea of Egypt defeating the Roman empire, therefore causing Africans to have European slaves in what is known as the New World (aka United States). The story revolves around Kai, whose family owns a plantation known as Dar Kush, and Aidan, a slave who lives there. Despite the circumstances, the two become friends. The story includes some historical figures like Shaka Zulu. Anyone who has seen the Shaku Zulu movie (the first one with Henry Cele, not the Grace Jones version) hundreds of times like I have will get a kick out of his antics in this book. There is also a sequel, "Zulu Heart", which is equally good.

I mention this book because it introduced me to the 14th century poet, Hafiz. I don't mark up my books much, so when I do, it's got to be a special line. There's a scene in the book where Kai is chatting with his brother's fiancee', also the woman Kai loves. They begin reciting Hafiz, eventually leading to a poem I now know is called "No Other Kind Of Light:" Find that flame, that existence/That wonderful man/Who can burn beneath the water./No other kind of light/Willl cook the food you need. Beautiful! So yes, I underlined page 425 in pen, a clear no-no by my rules.

I did some research and became a fan of some of his other poems that are posted online. He has a timeless poem that I'm sure alot of people can relate to. It is called "Find A Better Job:"



All your worry

Has proved such an





Find a better


There are two other Hafiz poems in "Lion's Blood", but for the life of me, I can't figure out the titles. Here are the lines: We are exquisite coral reefs,/Dying when exposed to strange/Elements/Allah is the wine we crave -- we miss/Flowing in and out of our pores. The other poem goes like this: Why all this talk of the beloved/Music and dancing, and/Liquid ruby light we can lift in a cup?/Because it is low tide,/A very low tide in this age/And around most hearts. If anyone knows these titles, or knows how I may find more of Hafiz' poetry, please let me know. In the meantime, I do plan to check out "The Subject Tonight is Love: Sixty Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dead Man Walking

I'll admit it, there are a few dead men that I have mad love for. Actually, I can only think of two or three at the moment, but I'm sure there are more. Let me clarify. I'm not talking about any freaky vampire/corpse stuff. I'm talking about men who are dead now, but have my love just the same. Does that make sense?

Let me start by talking about Bruce Lee. I was always a fan of martial arts movies, particularly the low budget ones that would air at noon every Saturday in my neighborhood. The plots either went one of two ways. First there was the "Don't Mess With My Woman" plot. That story revolved around the movie's Hero who had a relationship, or a crush on, a beautiful woman in town. But the enemy would either rape/attempt to rape or kill said woman, angering the Hero. The Hero would take revenge and by the end of the movie, all the enemies would be gone and the Hero and the woman would ride off into the sunset together.

Second, there was the "Don't Mess with My Friend/Teacher" plot. That story revolved around the Hero who has a good friend or teacher that is just as skilled in the martial arts as he is. Then, along comes the enemy, who uses dirty tricks to kill/maim/severely injure said teacher or friend. The Hero takes revenge, killing all of the enemies in sight and then the credits roll. (Jean-Claude Van Damme is famous for these plots, i.e. "Kickboxer" and "Bloodsport", which are virtually the same movie)

The movies were cheaply made and they had that famous out of sync voiceover for us American audiences. But I still loved it. Eventually, I discovered Bruce Lee and I was never the same. I can't remember the first Bruce picture I saw -- maybe it was "Enter the Dragon" or "Fists of Fury." Either way, I just couldn't take my eyes off of this beautiful bundle of energy that was killing everyone in sight. I made it my mission to see every single one of his movies and I even caught a few flicks with Bruce Lee imitators. I was heartbroken when I learned about the circumstances surrounding his death and I made it my mission to learn as much about him as I could. If I ever decide to visit Seattle, seeing Bruce's grave is at the top of my list. Morbid, I know.

The other day, I was at Walgreen's and I saw a Men's Fitness magazine with Bruce on the cover. (I think it's the April edition) Naturally, I stopped in my tracks. They had several pictures of Bruce -- old and young -- that I'd never seen before. Yummy! I think the article was talking about Bruce's workout routine and what he did each day to sculp that physique. Dude was serious. Oh Bruce, if only we had lived in the same time period ....

Speaking of, anyone ever seen "Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour? Well, I'm about to tell you all about it, SPOILERS and all. The movie is filmed in the 1970s and it starts out with Christopher, a playwright, celebrating his most recent play. This old old OLD woman he never met before approaches him and says, "Come back to me." He doesn't know what she's talking about and she gives him one of those turn of the century pocket watches. The lady leaves and he does some research to learn that she was this famous actress from the 1920s and 1930s. He sees her picture (it's Jane Seymour) and just can't stop staring at it, he immediately falls in love. So he finds this scientist and finds a way to go back in time and meet her. He's transported to her time when both are young and limber and the sparks fly! Of course, something happens and his transported back to his time. He's so heartbroken that he stops eating and drinking an dies. Then the movie shows them being reunited in heaven.

Sorry, I'm rambling now. No, my love for Bruce is not that deep. But it was the only movie I could think of to justify having a crush on a dead man.

(photo from