Thursday, December 31, 2009

chronicles of life ... the new year theme

The passing of another birthday can only mean one thing: a new year! So my year begins Dec. 30. Pop the champagne, blow the noise makers and cut the cake.

It’s time for me to unveil my yearly theme. Every year needs one, or at least that’s my mindset. A theme helps define how you will live the year ahead.

My home slice, Cee, hipped me to the theme game. Right before 2009, she told me her theme was “Living off the Wall.” Her actions that year strongly adhered to the theme, some of which even rubbed off on me. We went on many a road trip in Florida and Georgia while “living off the wall.” Sometimes you’ve just got to step outside your comfort zone. Mind you, nothing we did was illegal or wild and crazy. But we did enjoy the year a lot more.

I was inspired by her quest and followed suit with a theme of my own, “The Year of the Do Better.” Instead of just merely telling others to “Do Better,” I wanted to reach that goal for myself. It wasn’t easy. I tried to do better last year in many aspects of my life. Some were hit or miss, but it’s all a growing process.

For 2010, I have decided to step my theme game up. Earlier this month, my theme came to me. The concept is very simple. If 2009 was “The Year of the Do Better,” then in 2010 I will “Do It BIG, Then!” I’ve done better, now I need to do it BIG!

What is IT, you may wonder? IT is any and everything. Whatever I do, I will not stop at simply doing better. I am going to do it BIG! Work has already begun to fulfill the expectations of my theme.

I will “Do It BIG, Then” when I move to a new apartment Saturday. Gone is this rinky dink, one bed and one bath, dark abyss I live in now. Instead my new apartment is two beds, two baths and in a gated community. Ralphie can have his own room again.

Reading is always something I enjoyed. No more one book every two weeks. I’m going to “Do It BIG, Then” and read 35 this year. All the great writers were great readers.

This year I wrote about 40 notes, maybe half of which I actually liked. There are 52 weeks in a year. The goal is to “Do It BIG, Then” and write at least one note per week.

I could go on and on about how I plan on following my theme. I won’t bore you with my list of 20 theme points (think resolutions but with a way cooler name). Just know in every situation I will “Do It BIG, Then.”

Essentially, I want to challenge and push myself to the limit. How often do we get complacent and settle for the subpar? At times I struggle with mediocrity and a lackadaisical attitude. No more of that. I’m going to “Do It BIG, Then” for 2010. And when the end of my year rolls around, I can proudly look back and say I “Did It BIG, Then.”

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... on TVs this holiday season

Holiday traditions are built around many things. For some it’s in their gift giving. Others incorporate it in their food. In my family, our traditions revolve around the movies and shows we watch. It’s just not the holidays unless we see our Christmas favorites. I present to you the Robinson Family Holiday Viewing List. Perhaps some of these are favorites for your family too.

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is a classic. A tear comes to my eye every time Charlie Brown puts an ornament on his sad little Christmas tree. It reminds us to not let the holidays become too commercialized.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We watch the animated. It’s all about seeing the Grinch slither like a snake. And why does poor little Max always think he’s going for sleigh ride? Instead, he has to be the reindeer with that one sad antler.

3. A Christmas Story. My mother, brother and I will sit and watch the marathon over and over on Christmas Eve. I think we have to make sure Ralphie is going to get his BB gun and not put his eyes out. My daddy just looks at us and shakes his head. I named my betta fish, Ralphie, in honor of this movie.

4. A Garfield Christmas. Have you ever seen how the grandma laughs? It’s like her whole mouth is eating her head. I don’t know who laughs harder, her or my mom.

5. The Preacher’s Wife. Back before Whitney Houston was a recovering crack head, she had a voice. And she acted decently. The movie is heartwarming. I wish an angel looking like Denzel Washington would come visit my family.

6. Home Alone 1 & 2. I think my dad likes these movies more than everybody else. I feel like we are always watching them. I’m not going to lie, though; these are some of the best holiday movies around.

7. Friday After Next. My parents own this movie. We watch it during Christmas. After Christmas. Before Christmas. Everyone in the family can quote lines verbatim from the movie. Sad, I know. But it brings us oh so close together.

I have several of my own Christmas favorites in addition to the above:

1. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Come on now. You know the Island of Misfit toys does it for you every year.

2. The Year Without a Santa Claus. I know the lyrics and the dance routine to the songs by the Heat Miser and Snow Miser.

3. Frosty the Snowman. I don’t know why I even watch this show every year. I think I just do it out of habit.

4. The Nutcracker. I have to see some variation of The Nutcracker. My grandmother used to take me to see the ballet every year when I was little. It is the very essence of Christmas.

5. A Christmas Carol. I’ve seen the Muppets’ Christmas Carol, A Diva’s Christmas Carol and Scrooged. I watch some variation of this story too. It’s yet another reminder about the true meaning of Christmas.

Whatever your holiday viewing may be, make sure you enjoy it the right way, with your family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... what do YOU want

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love the music, the family togetherness, the food and most of all the gifts. Getting is wonderful, but I especially love giving. The problem is most of my gift recipients are making hard for me to shop for them.

It’s my own fault. I should know the things they like. They are my family. My friend, Cee, does an excellent job of gift giving by keeping track of things people mentioned during everyday conversation throughout the year. If I did that, and shopped year-round for gifts instead of waiting until Dec. 23, I would be amazing! Well I don’t!

Why can’t everyone just give me a list of what they want? I do it every year. My parents received my Christmas/birthday list Dec. 7. Neither they nor my brother extended that same courtesy.

Long ago I gave gifts without asking. Most were hit or miss. There was the era of the homemade gifts like key chains, pot holders and vases. Nothing says “I love you” like a nice homemade gift. Or at least that’s what I thought until my mother said the vases looked like they came from the Dead Sea.

Everyone received unique presents from the art museum gift shop I worked at during college. Then my parents laughed at the nose-shaped eyeglass holders they got one year. I don’t know why. They both wear glasses.

I put a lot of thought into the gifts I made/bought. But I got tired of the smart remarks. Apparently, no one appreciates my thoughtfulness. So I prefer to buy exactly what a person wants.

I’m getting better at buying mainstream gifts, I think. I bought my dad a GPS system for his birthday. It was just what he wanted. I should have saved that as his Christmas present. Now Christmas is nearly here and I still don’t know what to get him. When I first asked he said, “I don’t know.” WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE IS THAT? If you don’t know, then how am I supposed to know?

It would also be nice to receive gift lists featuring items from a variety of price ranges. Whenever I ask my family for gift suggestions, they always remind me that I’m poor. Well then, suggest something that you want and know I can afford. Throw me a bone here.

I give up. Everyone’s just going to get a gift card somewhere. OK probably not. I don’t like giving out gift cards, unless it’s specifically requested. Otherwise it seems so impersonal. Kind of like how bath and body products and shaving kits are the generic gifts.

Gift giving is starting to make my headache and bring down my holiday cheer. Next year I’ll just be the Grinch. Nobody is getting a present from me.

Who am I kidding? I’ll be at the gift giving again by Valentine’s Day. I just like to give gifts. All I want for Christmas is to know what other people really want.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... Barbie girl

Is it bad that I’m almost 25 and still love dolls? Occasionally, I visit the toy section in Wal-Mart and spend a good hour looking at them. I’ve probably scrutinized every brand of doll available. Unfortunately, there are very few I like. Most dolls seemed to have gone downhill.

For instance, baby dolls suck. What child in their right mind wants a fake baby? They weren’t my cup of tea growing up. Most of them, especially Baby Alive, are a little too realistic, and the rest are ugly.

The LIV Dolls are too bland. They all look exactly the same and lack personality. They seem so, well, plastic and doll like.

The Moxie Girlz dolls are Bratz lite. Bratz were hideous! Not to mention slutty. I don’t understand why little girls were crazy over them. But I digress. I see a vision of little girls thinking moxie means you can act grown. Then, I’m going to have to smack the moxie out of someone.

Best Friends Club Ink dolls are actually OK. They make good role models. Wait; can a doll be a role model? Nonetheless, all the dolls have a biography detailing their favorite subjects, personality profile and blah, blah, blah. Honestly, they’re kind of boring.

There is only one hope for doll kind. It is the same doll I have loved all my life. The name you know and trust: Barbie. She is officially the queen of the doll world. Who else in 50 years has had more identities than 50 women?

I got my last Barbie Doll when I was 13 from my granny. It was Peruvian Barbie from the Dolls of the World Series (turns out it’s a collector’s item). I still have that Barbie along with all my others from over the years. Somewhere in my parent’s garage is a bag filled with Barbie, Ken, Skipper, Stacey, Kelley and their friends.

Barbie keeps reinventing the wheel and diversifying because she is timeless. There is a new line called So-In-Style. These dolls are made to accurately reflect African American features. I want one so bad! I even told my parents they could buy me one (they ignored my requests). Walking through Wal-Mart is torture when I get to the Barbie section.

There is only one way to solve my Barbie obsession. I am going to become a Barbie doll collector. I needed a new hobby anyway. There is a collector Web site, newsletter, bulletin board and more. My eye is already on the Barbie Basics line which comes out in 2010. Picture it, Barbies of all shades in little black dresses. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I want the Lt. Uhura Barbie, Alvin Ailey Barbie, Julia Barbie, Pop Life Barbie and so many more. I’ll even go find my old Barbie dolls and work to restore them to their original glory. I want to collect Barbies of every style.

Some dolls run as low as $20. The big leagues are more than $100. My collection won’t be complete overnight. Slowly I will re-emerge myself in the Barbie world. I am, after all, a Barbie girl.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... the class cut up

There is just something about hair. The bond between it and a person should not be disturbed. I like to play in mine. Touching it has a soothing effect. I like feeling every little kink and curl. Who would think that’s a crime? Apparently it is if you’re in school.

A Wisconsin teacher cut one of the braids from a 7-year-old student’s hair because she wouldn’t stop twirling it. She made the little girl come up in front of the class, took the scissors and snipped about three inches. Then she told her more would get cut if she didn’t stop. The little girl went back to her seat in tears while all the other children laughed.

After school the little girl told her mother. The mother didn’t even believe the news at first. Who could imagine a teacher that cruel? Mom went to meet and discuss it with the teacher. Ms. Cuts and Such said she did it out of frustration. Is this really how you handle your frustrations? The little girl’s hair is naturally long, but the teacher thought it was fake and therefore OK to cut off.

Overall the teacher didn’t feel like she did anything wrong. The school moved the child to another classroom and is conducting a discipline hearing. The police department has issued a $175 citation for disorderly conduct. Personally, I think the teacher should be removed from teaching period. Obviously, she does not need to work with children.

Hair is a part of your body. If I cut somebody’s finger, that would be a major crime. The same should apply to cutting someone’s hair out of malice. Sure it might not hurt, but hair is a woman’s glory. Some of my friends have a hissy fit if hair dressers cut their hair unsolicited. I don’t even like people touching my hair without permission. They definitely can’t cut it.

This incident could greatly affect the child for the rest of her life. The littlest thing can leave an impression. I know firsthand. My kindergarten teacher made me drink a carton of milk in front of the entire class because I didn’t at lunch. I ended up crying and throwing it all up. To this day, I don’t like milk.

I understand teachers have a lot to deal with. Children these days are little monsters. Maybe the little girl’s hair was disruptive. She did have several beads on the end. The teacher had already kept her from recess because she didn’t stop playing. But shouldn’t the next step have been sending her to the principal’s office?

The mother said the little girl only plays in her hair when she’s nervous. How many times do we do something subconsciously? I bite my lip, play in my hair and even crack my knuckles without thinking all the time. I wouldn’t dare want to do act up in that teacher’s class. What does she do to a child talking too loud? Perhaps we’ll hear of her cutting a tongue next.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... lack of WWIT

Sometimes it's good to reminisce over the past. It helps provide insight and perspective to your life that can be valuable for the future. Recently, I took a trip down memory lane over my college days. An associate and I looked at various Facebook profiles of acquaintances. It was an enjoyable experience until I realized one tiny detail: I had a crush on almost every single cute (and not so cute) guy.

Some lasted a day and others a few weeks. The longest crush was for three years. Second place came in at about one year. I knew quite a few of the crushes on an associate level, but many more were just guys I happened to see a lot.

No one over the age of 20 should have as many crushes as me, or at least that's what my BFF said. I personally can't be bothered to actually talk to everybody I think is cute. Sometimes having a crush helps weed out candidates. But my constant state of having a crush on someone is a topic for another day. I digress.

My mother says I'm simply boy crazy. I'll cosign to that theory. Since kindergarten I have always had a crush on somebody. This got me to thinking about all my past crushes/relationships/whatever. I now realize some of those crushes were on less than ideal people. I’ve had one too many "What Was I Thinking" moments about the guys I’ve liked.

There was that irritating boy in 10th grade, the holier than thou dude who lived in my dorm complex and the guy who believed he was coming back as a cat. The list could go on and on. Out of an estimated 15 major crushes/relationships/whatever, there were maybe five who didn’t get the WWIT label.

I am greatly troubled by this revelation. Is my taste in men that bad? Do I merely go by appearance when beginning a crush before getting to know the real person? Apparently so.

I blame it on a lack of dating experience. I was a late bloomer. Dating was never really a top priority for me in high school and that extended into college. I didn't go on my first date until I was about 19, and I only went on like two thereafter. Who has time to date when you're always hanging with your friends, trying to make the grade and just enjoying the college life? Several of my friends say I'm on the dating level of about a 16-year-old. Don't teenagers make a plethora of bad dating decisions? At least the majority of mine are bad crush decisions.

Although my choice is some crushes have been really bad in the past, I am glad to recognize it now. Perhaps there is hope for me yet. Could this be a sign that I am leaving the teen years of crushes and moving forward to the adult world of dating and relating? For 2010 I plan to have more WIT, intelligence, when choosing who to date (or even just have a crush on). I don't want to wonder WWIT anymore.

Chronicles of Life ... an ideal mate

Everyone should have some set of standards when dating. I’m single and not looking, but I’ve compiled a top 10 list. For the love of cupcakes, right at the top is a man that can bake. I figure if you can bake then you can cook.

I like to eat. I don’t like to cook. I’m also not a fan of going out to eat. By all means, fix pumpkin ravioli with glazed butternut squash on the side for dinner and then a batch of cupcakes for dessert. I have no problem with washing the dishes every night. Cooking is not my forte. And I have realized I get more joy from eating then cooking anyway.

Take for instance breakfast. I don’t eat breakfast mainly because I’m too lazy to get up and cook it. Cereal does not count. I call it a morning snack. I want grits, eggs, pancakes and sausage. I’d even settle for homemade oatmeal and bacon if someone else would make it. I want, no I need, someone that will fix a home cooked breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon and a sensible dinner. OK maybe lunch is asking for too much.

I think I was spoiled from watching my daddy. He knows his way around the kitchen. His sweet potato pies and sausage cornbread dressing are always in high demand. Sometimes I think he cooks better than my mom. Of course she does make a mean lasagna and rum cake too. Together, my parents keep me well fed (when they actually, cook which is few and far between). Even my little brother is quite the chef. I seem to be the only one lacking in the kitchen.

Women are not the only ones that have to do the cooking. Everyone should know their way in the kitchen. Let the better person do the majority of the cooking. Just know it will not be me. I used to think I wanted to become Chef Girlardee. That got stressful real quick. I just don’t have the patience to cook. The key is to know your place in the kitchen hierarchy. For me, it’s washing dishes, taking food out the oven and taste testing.

In recognition of my love for eating, I have decided to pitch a new reality dating show called, “Cook to my heart.” At least 20 chefs (professional and otherwise) will vie for my affection through their meals. They will have to face numerous cooking challenges. Challenge winners receive quality time with me Think Flava of Love meets Top Chef. Players will wear chefs’ hats and remain on the show by being told “My compliments to the chef.” But you get the boot with “Check Please.”

I’m not asking for a top chef, just a good one, someone that can blow in the kitchen. It has been said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. What about the way to my heart? Well if you can cook, then I am hooked.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... Pennies From Heaven

We all probably grew up hearing the saying, “See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck. See a penny, let it lay, and bad luck you’ll have all rest of the day.” However, luck is not a concept I buy. My Granny used to tell me Christians have no need to believe in luck. There is no such thing as good or bad luck. Only blessings and favor from God.

So no, I don’t say good luck. I say best wishes. I’m blessed, not lucky. Yes, I break mirrors without the slightest thought. I cross paths with a black cat quite frequently. I pay no mind to stepping on cracks. I’ll walk under a ladder in a heartbeat, if it’s the quickest route. And a severe rain storm calls for opening an umbrella inside before heading out to face the elements. The only thing I actually do is pick up pennies.

I saw a penny on the ground while walking into Wal-Mart Monday, and I picked it up. But luck has nothing to do with it. Instead it reminds me of a story I once read in a Dear Abby column. A reader sent in a letter saying when you see a penny on the ground it means someone you love in Heaven is thinking of you and wants you to know it. I remember reading this while still in elementary school. I put the story in the back of my mind, until it one day became of use to me.

Sometime later my granddaddy died, which tore me up. I was 12, and that was my first real experience with death. Not long after he died, I saw a perfectly clean penny on the ground. This reminded me of the letter. So I picked up the penny and thought about my granddaddy missing me as much as I missed him. For once I didn’t cry or feel sad. Now I was hooked on the penny legend.

Over the years, several loved ones have died. Each death is never easy, but finding the pennies help provide me with some comfort. When I find a penny, I simply look up and say, “I miss you too,” to whoever sent it. Each penny is attributed to the latest loved one that died.

I have determined this penny is from that same granny that taught me about luck. She died in February 2008. That was yet another hard death for me to take. There are good days when I don’t cry and bad ones that leaving me red in the face from sobbing. I miss her even more during the holidays. By finding that penny, I know she misses me too.

To some this is just a crazy old legend. And I’m crazy for even buying into it. But is it any crazier than believing in luck? For now, I’ll believe in pennies from Heaven. It’s nice to know you’re missed too. Now that’s something I can buy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... the ever changing hair journey

Chronicles of Life ... the ever changing hair journey

I miss my hair. Wait, let me clarify. I miss my LONG hair. I miss twisting it, touching it, washing it, combing it, playing it. You name it, I miss it.

Don't get me wrong, I do so enjoy the short 'fro. It's so much easier to maintain than one of those giant Angela Davis Afros. And I've always wanted to cut my hair. This summer I had motivation to really do it.

My little brother went bald because of chemotherapy, so I cut mine short in solidarity. His hair was gone by the end of July. Mine by August. Then the treatments ended early, and his hair was back by September. Now he's around here making the girls seasick with his waves (the new hair came back just as nice). Yours truly still has the short hair.

I just want my twists back. Is that too much to ask?

Honestly, I'm also bored with this whole short hair thing. There are only so many ways to wear a teeny weeny afro. I know of two. Combed out or wash and wear. I need more than two hair options. Granted, when I had longer hair I only wore three styles (twists, twist out, giant afro puff). But I had the opportunity for more versatility if I wanted to. I feel limited with the short fro. Or at least I just don't know of any other options

Therefore, I am currently growing out my hair. It's time for this to grow. I haven't been to the barber in about a month. However, I barely see any results (except with my eyebrows, which could stand a tweeze or two). Whoever said progress was a slow process was talking about hair growth for women. Men's hair seems to grow 10 inches overnight. I feel like it's going to take me 10 years just to get back to my old chin length hair (when straightened).

The need to play in my hair grows greater by the day. I've started subconsciously making itty bitty twists in my hair. I don't realize it until I look in the mirror and notice my 'fro is all messed up.

Just as soon as I have about one or two good inches of hair, I'm getting it twisted with extensions. Then I'll have hair to play with for days. I have no qualms about adding extensions to my head. I kept my hair braided and twisted up for about a year while growing out my relaxer four years ago. For the record, it was synthetic. No horse or human was hurt in the making of my hair products.

Better yet, I might just get some baby starter locs. Now there’s a new hair challenge for me. I'm always reinventing my hair. I did say I want locs and there is no time like the present. If nothing else, they'll be a little something to twirl around without messing up my hair style. And when I get tired of lock, I'll just cut my hair off again. The hair journey never ends.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chronicles of Life … the movie critic

Sunday night I went to see 2012. Overall, it was pretty good with its ensemble cast. However, there were still a few flaws I noticed. Some might say I am being too nitpicky, but somebody has to speak the truth. Honestly though, none of my complaints really have to do with the quality of the movie … or do they?

Complaint 1: The movie was too long. Seriously, we all know this is an end of the world movie. How long does it take to depict the end of the world? Surely not 10 hours? Do not go see this movie and drink one of those giant cups of soda. You will have to pee. And don’t think sneaking to the bathroom will solve it. You can go, just like I did during one of those tender “I love you and the world is ending” moments. Just know two hours later the movie will still be going strong and you’ll have to pee again.

Complaint 2: They killed the cute guy. I know, I know, people are supposed to die in this movie. But did the cutest one of all have to go? Johann Urb, plays Sasha, a Russian pilot for some billionaire. Granted he wasn’t a major character. He might have had maybe 30 minutes out of four hours of screen time. BUT HE WAS BEAUTIFUL AND HAD AN ACCENT! Kill somebody else off.

Complaint 3: The kids are annoying. If I’m trying to out drive the Apocalypse, Junior better not get a smart mouth with me yelling, “What are you doing? Go faster.” I will pull the car over, amid tidal waves and earthquakes, and punch him in the throat. If you are not the one driving, then you need to shut up. Talk smack after we survive.

Complaint 4: Some crazy chic keeps worrying about her dog. I’m sorry, but Fluffy would just have to die. Fluffy survived, but did she? I’m not going to spoil it for you. Just know this, every creature for itself.

Complaint 5: I had no one to hear my side commentary. Yes, I talk during movies. My commentary is sometimes more interesting than the actual movie. Since I went alone, and the theater was half full, nobody heard me. OK maybe this isn’t really a complaint against the movie. I’m just saying, my commentary greatly enhanced the “2012” viewing experience.

Complaint 6: People keep dying unnecessarily. Several had a chance at getting away and chose to stay behind! What is wrong with people? This is not a joke. It is the end of world as we know it. SAVE YOURSELF! Somebody has to live to tell the story. By all means, it’s going to be me.


Complaint 7: Somebody forgot to read the Bible. Genesis 9:11 reads, “And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” If 2012 is indeed the end, water is not how it will be played out (they even had arks as the escape vessels). I think massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions would have been a much better choice of destruction.

There you have it folks, my thoughts on “2012.” I really shouldn’t complain about the movie. After all, I only paid $5 to see it. Regal Entertainment Group is doing a promotion where all movie tickets are $5. Somebody call Ebert. I’m about to see every major blockbuster while I can. Expect more from this movie critic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chronicles of Life … the movie watcher

T’is the season of movies. Forget summer blockbusters. I get giddy around the holidays for all the great movies that come out. Especially the ones that open around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have compiled quite an impressive list of movies I want to see. Some I will probably have to see alone. There is no shame in my game watching a nice matinee alone on a Saturday. Others, hopefully my friends might be interested in seeing too. Many movies spark dialogue and it sucks if no one you know has seen it yet.
My list of movies was compiled based on trailers I’ve seen. I visit to watch movie trailers quite frequently. A girl’s got to stay in the know about what’s coming out. Usually, if I like the trailer and go see the movie, I am not disappointed. Of course, there are always a few exceptions to the rules where the trailer was 10 times better than the actual movie (Jumper I’m talking to you). I present to you my movie watching guide in no particular order:

Must see

1. Precious: The first time I saw a trailer, I was hooked. Now I’ve heard all the hype behind the movie and want to see it for myself. It needs to hurry up with this limited release and open up nationwide.

2. 2012: Mass destruction everywhere. What’s not to love?

3. Ninja Assassin: Sometimes I wish I was a ninja. Watching movies with ninjas always intrigue me.

4. The Princess and the Frog: Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a Princess Tiana doll. This movie has been the subject of so much controversy. Why is her name Tiana? Why isn’t the prince black? Can I not just enjoy the fact that Disney has a beautiful strong black female animated character? Boycott if you must. I’m going to see it opening night.

5. Avatar: There’s just something about CGI that draws me to a movie.

6. Sherlock Holmes: I never really thought of Holmes as a hardcore, action and adventure dude. But have you seen the trailer? He and Watson are forces to be reckoned with.

7. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: In honor of the late great Heath Ledger I shall see this movie. Plus the trailer was colorful enough to lure me in.


1. Planet 51: I like cartoons. That is all. OK maybe not. While the trailer was appealing, I might be inclined to wait until it’s at Redbox.

2. Armored: Crime thrillers usually are interesting. I need to check out the trailer again though. This could be one that bores me (like 16 Blocks)

3. Transylmania: I remember watching this trailer and laughing. But is it something I really want to pay to see, or can I wait until it’s at Redbox? That is the question.

I’ve taken a sneak peak at movie trailers for 2010 and already I’m compiling a list. What will I watch next?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... the barefoot walker

It’s been a while since I’ve walked. I don’t mean across the street and back, but like two and three miles.

In college, I participated in March of Dimes (once even with a broken foot) and the MLK Day march each year. While in Hartwell, I occasionally walked on Lake Hartwell’s dam and in Hart State Park when the weather was just right. Then I got lazy, real lazy. It’s probably been a good year since I walked.

Tomorrow that ends. I walk again to “Light The Night” for my little brother.

Light The Night Walk is a fundraising and awareness event hosted by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. People walk in the evening to honor those that have battled blood cancers.

My mom always participated in Light The Night with her job just to do some community service.

It really hit home and became important after my brother was diagnosed with Burkett’s Lymphoma in May. This year she decided to branch off from her job and form a team too. Team Amp is made up of friends and family. My brother, Amp (aka Anthony, A.J., The Boy, Brother, Monday, AQ and Brethren) is the official team spokes model, mascot, figurehead, whatever. I know some people on the team, but many more are friends of my mom. Whether we know each other or not, we all have one reason in common for walking: my brother.

Initially there were some discrepancies between him and my mother about who was the team captain. He wanted the title. However, when she told him he could go to all the team meetings he settled for letting her be captain.

I’ve been excited about Light The Night since the team was formed. I was supposed to do some training for the walk, but never quite got around to it. Hopefully, I don’t pass out. Then again, how bad can two miles really be? I think I should be fine as long as I don’t run. A few team members have said they’re going to run. More power to them. I might die. Besides, it’s called the “Light The Night Walk” not "Light The Night Run." I will briskly walk from start to finish.

The team has been formed, the money’s been raised. All that’s left to do now is just walk. But first I need some sneakers. Yes, I have none. One pair, leftovers from college, fell apart. I lost another in New Orleans. Somehow I broke the third pair. Between now and Thursday night I need to buy sneakers.

And I need a walking outfit too. I have absolutely nothing to wear. I can’t just put on jeans and a T-shirt. I need to be comfortable.

Why did I wait until the last minute for all of this? I had several months to get it together. I need to get shoes quick, fast and in a hurry like. Otherwise Team Amp will have one barefoot member.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... read before burning

You get directions for a reason. Unfortunately, I don't always seem to understand that concept. I usually throw directions aside without as much as a glance. However, I learned the hard way that’s not always a good idea.

Last Friday, I decided to donate blood. It was my first time ever donating. I don’t like needles or seeing my blood drawn, but I set aside my dislike for the greater good.

My little brother had several blood transfusions while going through chemotherapy. Somebody had to donate all that blood. What about the other children or adults out there that needed transfusions? Somebody has to step up and donate for them too. I decided that somebody should be me, so I offered my arm and strong veins for the cause. The bloodmobile wanted 13 donors for the day. Guess who was lucky number 13?

I was extremely nervous, but overall the experience wasn’t that bad. Sure I was poked three times (once to check my iron, then to get my blood type and finally for the donation), but I had the satisfaction of knowing that my amazing O blood helped save three lives.

Before leaving, I was given a sheet with directions on what to do after donating. I stuck it in my bag and went about my business. There it would remain until tragedy struck.

Dizziness suddenly hit me four hours later while I was at work. I stumbled to the bathroom and fell on the floor. I couldn’t even lift my head up. Then I started sweating. The AC was on, but my body was drenched in it. “Lord, please don’t let my mama find out I died in the bathroom,” I thought. Diabetes runs in my family, so I concluded I was going into a diabetic coma.

I lay on the floor for about 45 minutes before trying to head back to my desk. I didn’t make it and went back to the bathroom. I contemplated crawling out and asking someone to take me to the hospital, but I wasn’t sure if my condition was that serious. “I still have stories to write, and a hospital trip might make me miss deadline,” I thought. I am a diligent reporter even in the face of death.

When I made it back to my desk, a co-worker saw all the sweat and asked what was going on. I gave him my diabetic coma theory. He asked if I had looked at the donation directions. Nope.

Apparently, you are supposed to drink plenty of fluids and eat after giving blood. I was in the middle of eating when the dizziness hit, but I had only drunk maybe two juices since donating. Reading the directions would have probably saved me some grief.

Another wave of dizziness hit, and I went back to being one with the bathroom floor. One co-worker kept checking on me until I finally came out. Then the dizziness vanished just as quickly as it appeared. I still felt loopy, but another black out didn’t seem imminent.

The moral of this story is simple: Don’t donate blood! Just kidding. I’ll donate again in December, but this time I’m drinking a 24-pack of water, eating a hearty lunch and READING the directions before tossing them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... the cook is in

There is a repressed chef somewhere inside of me. I think it's high time I let her out.

Lately I've been having this urge to cook more than just the simple dishes I make for dinner each week. Sadly, I mainly cook variations of baked chicken, brown rice and a green vegetable. My taste buds may not be that great, but a body does get tired of the same old thing.

I want food that touches my soul and my stomach, but mostly my soul. I could probably go to some restaurant and buy that type of food, but I think I want to actually make it.

This newfound desire to cook is a shock to me. I find the entire cooking process to be very challenging. For one thing, cooking stresses me out. I feel like I always have to labor over a hot stove and oven. Then I hate touching food, particularly raw meat. It tends to make me want to vomit. Also, cooking takes me forever. Those recipes that say 20 minutes or less equate to an hour for me.

Perhaps my problems are because I don't cook that often. Partially it's due to laziness. Rarely am I motivated to cook. I have to force myself to cook. I'm only cooking for me. Any meal I cook lasts a few days.

Nevertheless, I am determined to find my inner Chef Girlardee. I just need some taste testers. I used to have a few at my beck and call in college. One got to sample my peach cobbler. Others had my cinnamon pork chops. Some even sampled my chicken pesto. College is all about experimentation. Experiment I did with my cooking. I would take a recipe and add my own flair to it.

College students are more than happy to taste test for a free meal. My testers would tell me what was good or what was bad. I took their constructive criticism and used it to improve a particular dish. Once I graduated, I stopped cooking as much. I was busy with work, and I didn't have any taste testers.

I think I've finally figured out how to balance work and cooking. Instead of cooking because I'm hungry, I prepare a meal in advance and refrigerate it. Planning meals for a specific day also makes me a little more excited. I am determined to try one new recipe a week. Now I just need some new taste testers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... trust issues

I think I’m a pretty trusting person. Perhaps too trusting. I’ve gotten in cars with strangers, walked through the drive thru at McDonald’s with strangers and I probably make myself way too accessible to, that’s right, strangers. So I was thrown for a loop when someone recently told me that I have trust issues. Surely not I?
The person came to this conclusion based on how I reacted to him directing my driving. I was blocked in a parking lot and needed to get out. A space diagonal to me opened up, and he was trying to help direct my maneuvering. Cars were on every side, so I had to align my car just right to make sure I didn’t hit one.
Simple enough right? Not for me, the world’s worst driver. I was semi-hyperventilating because I thought I was about to hit the car in front of me. I couldn’t really see how close I was, and he made me nervous with his directing.
I have hit many things since getting a license: parked cars, deer, the Easter bunny, trees and walls. You name it; I probably hit it at least twice. So pardon me if I get nervous when someone is trying to direct me.
It’s not that I didn’t trust his directing. I don’t trust my driving. Sometimes I hear things differently. I think I have verbal dyslexia. Telling me to turn my wheels left might change into a sharp right. It takes a few trips for me to fully be comfortable with someone directing me.
My old road partner, Cee, pointed out I probably would have been OK if she was the one directing. She knows just how bad of a driver I am, after riding with me countless times (and surviving). Cee knows just what to say while directing me to put my bad nerves at ease.
This was only the second time my new road partner had experience my driving. He knows that I’m far from the best driver, just not to the extent of how bad. Had he known, he would have never ridden with me in the first place (just kidding, sort of).
So I don’t have trust issues, right? Well just to make sure, I asked Fan Club President. He said I don’t. So there it’s official. I do not have trust issues. At least ones that I care to admit yet. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Although, I guess if I want to be perfectly honest with myself, I do have some trust issues. Then again, don’t we all. Tell a group of people that a door is locked, and I guarantee most of them will have to check it for themselves. Clearly that demonstrates a lack of trust.
I have many malfunctions that one may call my tragic character flaws: I hold grudges, get mad easily and sometimes just can’t be bothered. However, trust is one thing that is not a major problem. I trust you, unless of course you break that trust. But that’s a post for another day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... The Clean Machine

The Green Machine is back in business, and better than ever. There’s going to be some changes made to promote better treatment of my car.
It used to be my dad’s car, but he gave it to me after I graduated from college. The Green Machine (yes, that’s its name) was in impeccable condition when I first took control. It was in good working condition, clean and smelled nice. Somewhere along the line, it lost most of those qualities. I can’t blame anybody but myself for that.
Oil changes were when I remembered to do them. Car washes were whenever it rained. The nice smell was the only thing left from its lasting legacy (at least when I remembered to get an air freshener).
Soon my parents started calling the Green Machine “Mobile Filth.” It wasn’t that it was filthy per say. It just had a lot of junk in it, and sunflower seeds usually littered the floor and seats.
Why sunflower seeds? Driving makes me nervous, and I have a tendency of falling asleep on the road. Sunflower seeds help distress me and keep me awake. There is something soothing and waking in having to crack open and remove sunflower seeds from their shells. Unfortunately, because I’m a bad driver, a lot of times those very seeds would fall over the place. Vacuuming them up would be the easiest solution, but sometimes (actually most) I would forget to do it.
I once pointed out to a friend that my car was like Texas Roadhouse. Instead of peanuts being thrown all over the place, I had sunflower seeds.
Living so far from home also put a lot of wear and tear on the Green Machine, and I wasn’t getting it serviced regularly. I was clearly asking for trouble. Who could have known oil changes were so important?
I do love the Green Machine despite its messy and unserviced state. The Green Machine has carried me on many a road trip, and not once has it broken down. I just had a bad way of showing the love. It was time to change that. Furthermore, I was tired of my daddy always nagging about how I need to get my car serviced and cleaned. And that’s only when he was not complaining about how I let his car get into such a bad shape.
So Wednesday, I spent four hours at the car dealership. I still have like 50 million things that need to be done, but for now the Green Machine is feeling all better. On top of that, they cleaned the Green Machine on the inside and outside! I almost didn’t recognize my car.
The guy that cleaned it said I owed him lunch or something because he hooked me up. Honestly he did.The Green Machine is quite happy now and so am I.
This made me realize something. If you care about someone, or something, you shouldn’t just treat them any kind of way. So I made a pledge to the Green Machine. I am going to keep it serviced on a regular basis and keep it as clean as possible. I don’t want a dirty car to be a reflection on me, and waiting too long to get it serviced can cause a whole heap of problems. Those problems get expensive. And if nothing else, I don’t want the mobile Texas Roadhouse anymore. Sunflowers seeds can be irritating when you sit on them
Trust me, I know.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chronicles of Life … R&B music appreciation 101

Just a few of my random thoughts on some R&B songs on the ipod … There is a choreographer inside of me just waiting to get out. I have choreographed two songs from the Sasha Fierce album, “Radio,” the hip hop dance, and “Sweet Dreams,” the modern dance. Choreography is for three and up to five people. The problem is the moves are only inside my head. However, I did freestyle a Michael Jackson tribute to “Beat It.” It put a smile of my friends’ faces. Although, I think they were laughing at me, not with me … Whitney Houston is back. Granted, I wasn’t really feeling “I look to you,” but I do like “Million Dollar Bill.” My only question is can she still sing live? The juror’s out on that one … I have mixed emotions about the “Sweet Dreams” video by Beyonce. I didn’t really like it at first. It doesn’t make sense. Then again when do dreams ever make sense? I think I just wanted more choreography and less randomness. She should have used my choreography … Sometimes I think I could be a music video director. There are two songs on Chrisette Michele’s new album “Epiphany” that I have created videos for (in my mind), “Notebook” and “All I ever think about is you.” Chrisette, have your people call my people. … Speaking of Chrisette Michele’s album, LUVS IT. Absolutely luvs it! I can listen to that bad boy all the way through. Very few albums (Ryan Leslie’s debut album, Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce and John Legend’s Revolver) even get that distinction. The first time I heard Epiphany, I wasn’t interested. Then I actually opened my ears and was blown away. Sometimes albums have to grow on me … Dear Mario, why are you asking a stupid question in your song? Of course a woman would want to break up if you’re cheating on her. *Side note: For those that don’t know, Mario has a new song called “Break up” and it asks over and over, “When I’m loving you, why would you want to break up?” However, he blatantly talks about how he cheats in the verses. This is a no brainer.* Don’t ask stupid questions when you already know the answer. Signed Toni … At nearly 25 years of age, I am still not mature enough to listen to R. Kelly’s new song “Number One” which features Miss Keri, Baby. It’s just too much for me. Somebody will be conceived because of that song … Keri Hilson is everywhere, like on every song. I didn’t really like her at first, but she has indeed grown on me. The girl has nice chops … Drizzy aka Drake aka Wheelchair Jimmy has also grown on me. I heard a song he did over Goapele’s “Closer” and had to give him props … I am happily single, but sometimes certain songs make me want to be in a relationship so I can sing all the lovey dovey kiss kiss foolishness. But wait it gets better. Other songs make me want to have a bad break up so I can relate to the heart break hotel sadness. I just can’t relate either way it goes … Dear Mary J. Blige, I love the new song “The one.” Keep it up. Signed Toni … I love songs that touch my soul, not because of the lyrics or the voice but because of the music. Examples include “Irina” by Ryan Leslie, “T.O.N.Y.” by Solange and “Trust” by Keyshia Cole feat. Monica.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chronicles of Life … The sum of all fears

I have really random fears. I probably need therapy to deal with them. Unfortunately, I can’t afford it. This chronicle will have to be a substitute.

1.Clowns. I used to like clowns, but one night I sneaked out of bed and looked at “Killer Clowns From Outer Space.” It started the fear. Later I read the book and watched the move “It” by Stephen King. My fear of clowns was further fueled my. I don’t even like Ronald McDonald. Happy Meals are a ploy to get you addicted to McDonald’s. Next thing you know it, you’re morbidly obese. Sheer coincidence that a clown is the mascot for McDonald’s? I think not.
2.Losing my teeth. I absolutely love my teeth. They’re not perfect, but I do have a really nice, straight and white set. I didn’t wear braces or have to use teeth whiteners. I take good care of my teeth by brushing several times a day and visiting the dentist every six months. People always compliment me on my teeth. Such would not be the case if I was Toothless Toni.
3.Crossing the street/ getting hit by a car. If you want to see me break out into a sweat, just watch me cross the street. It’s always a nerve racking experience. I think it’s because my daddy got hit by a car when I was in middle school. He was jogging on the sidewalk, but a drunk driver hit him and dragged him down the street. Since then I have had a deep fear of getting hit by a car. And how do most people get hit? By crossing the street.
4.Choking on pills/tic tacs. I once choked on a tic tac in college. I was talking to a friend when suddenly a tic tac got lodged in my throat. Tic tacs and pills are about the same size. If I can choke on a tic tac, then I can choke on a pill. I tend to crush my pills now and take them with tea, or just chew on them. Yeah it’s disgusting, but at least I don’t choke.
5.Flying on airplanes/ walking up stairs. I don’t have a fear of heights, because I’ll hop on a roller coaster in a minute. However, airplanes and stairs make me nervous. There is just something about being high off the ground in an airplane that makes me want to cry. And I have actually fallen up stairs. Don’t ask me how. I’m nervous that one day I will fall up the stairs bad enough to knock out my teeth.
6.Biting my tongue off. I have a problem with biting my tongue when I chew. It happens quite a bit. Twice I have bit a chunk of my tongue. Not off, but enough to have it bleed profusely for several minutes. It’s almost enough to make me want to stop eating. But a girl’s got to live. It’s only a matter of time before I have no tongue.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” I beg to differ. There is a lot to fear.
The only thing I will say is don’t let your fears completely control your life. I still go to the circus. I cross the street everyday for work. And of course I eat.
However, each activity associated with one of my fears causes a chill in my spine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Lake City Chronicle ... The Ballad of Ink Face

O the ink ain’t on my dresses
Or caught up in my tresses
It’s all over my face, o can’t you see
I thought I wiped it off now
But it stayed on anyhow
So when folks mention Ink Face that is me

Just call me Ink Face. That might be my new nickname.
I had the unfortunate pleasure of wearing ink all over my face
recently. I don’t know when or how the ink got on my face. What I do
know is it was there, and it was a lot.
Sometimes if I pause when writing, I’ll turn my pen up and
inadvertently mark up my face. It’s usually a line here or there.
Most times I catch it, but such was not the case Monday night.
I had been writing a lot of information down. When I finished, I went
to talk to some people.
While talking to someone, I noticed out the corner of my eye a man
wiping his face and looking at me.
At first I merely thought he was awestruck by my beauty. Then I
realized he was trying to tell me something was on my face.
Immediately I thought he meant boogers. If only that was the case.
He finally said, “You have ink on your face.”
Well silly me thought a simple wipe here or there would remove it. I
didn’t even make a dent.
After my quick wipe, I continued my conversation and talked to several
other people.
It wasn’t until after I left the crowd, went to the bathroom and
looked in the mirror I saw the extent of the ink on my face. It looked
like a big glob of ink snot was coming out of my nose!
Why didn’t anyone tell me just how bad it was?
They all kept talking to me politely and never even mentioned it. I
can’t be mad though. I probably wouldn’t have said anything either.
I’ve seen men with their zippers down, women with lipstick on their
teeth and cracks showing when people bend other. I don’t say a word.
It’s not because I’m mean and want them to be embarrassed. I just
don’t know how to say it without causing unnecessary embarrassment.
“They’ll figure it out,” I think. So mum’s the word
However, after being the one in an embarrassing situation, I’m not so
sure that’s the best logic anymore.
There might be some embarrassment, but it’ll pass. Embarrassment after
the fact is 10 times worse.
Hopefully everyone forgets my ink ordeal. If not, well I’m worried all
the people I talked to are going to call me Ink Face.
I for one will not stand for it. I am packing up and moving to Alaska.
OK that’s a bit extreme.
I’ll just use pencils from now on. The worst I can do with a pencil is
poke myself. I’d rather sport a Spiderman Band-Aid anyway.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Lake City Chronicle ... When nature attacks

There is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Lizard in my house! I might have a nervous breakdown.
Unfortunately, I now live next to the forest. Seriously, lions, tigers and bears are probably ready to grab me for a meal. And don’t even get me started on how I think Jason, Jack the Ripper or Michael Myers is in hiding in the forest too.
Worst of all there are reptiles: creepy, crawly, scaly reptiles. I think I may have just made an enemy with one.
A lizard came into my apartment today.
I was minding my own business about to leave for work, when a little one immediately came in. It just ran in like it lived here. Call me a punk all you want, but all reptiles make me squeamish, no matter the size.
Immediately I began to scream.
I tried to swat it back out, but I only managed to cut off its tail. At least that’s what I thought it was wiggling around. For all I know a baby snake could have made its way in too.
The lizard did at one point almost go out the door. But then it decided to hide out in the crack between the door and wall. Of course the screaming started again. Next thing I knew, it was back inside.
It finally came to the point of do or die, me or it, now or never. So I manned up and grabbed my ant/roach spray and covered the lizard in the toxic chemicals.
You should have seen it squirm and such. The whole ordeal made me nauseous.
Once the deed was done, I continued my journey to work and decided to get rid of the body when I came home later in the evening.
I called my daddy to tell him of my epic battle. He was not very sympathetic to my plight.
At least the dreaded lizard was dead. I was the victor.
Honestly I sort of felt bad about killing. I probably could have figured out a better method of removing the lizard had I not been so hysterical (PETA please don’t come after me with pitchforks).
But what’s done was done. The lizard was no more.
Or so I thought.
Tonight when I came home from work, I looked in the exact same spot where the lizard and its tail was. And what did I see? NOTHING!
I have looked everywhere. There is no trace of a dead lizard.
I called my daddy again and he said there is no need to worry. Lizards are harmless.
That’s easy for him to say. He’s not the one with a lizard, and a potentially mutated one at that.
Part of me is relieved that I didn’t kill it. The other part is about to pee on itself from fear.
That lizard is probably hiding somewhere thinking evil thoughts about me. So now I’m sitting here afraid that a 10-foot-tall mutated lizard is going to grab me out of bed tonight.
I for one will be sleeping with both eyes open, a blunt object and 911 on speed dial.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... lips do lie

Don’t let the moving lips fool you. I DO NOT talk to myself. I merely think aloud.
Thinking aloud is easily confused with talking to yourself. However, there is a slight difference between the two. You have to answer back to talk to yourself.
If you say something aloud but don't respond or hold a conversation with yourself, then it's OK. You're clearly not talking to yourself.
At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I have no qualms about thinking aloud, but I have noticed with increasing alarm that I do it quite a bit. I do it at work, at home, in the car, in public, wherever, whenever, whyever.
My coworkers notice me thinking aloud all the time. They usually think I’m talking to them. Then they just shrug me off as talking to myself.
To the casual observer, it would appear that I am talking to myself.
Well, I do not have dialogues with myself. Of course, no one probably believes me, but it is indeed the truth.
Sure I mutter about this and that aloud, but I don't go off into a full blown conversation.
The problem is I think aloud so much I tend to forget people are around. I'm just waiting on the day for everyone to start pointing and calling me the crazy lady.
Maybe I need to get a bluetooth so I can just act like I'm on the phone when I'm talking aloud. I used to look at people out the side of my eye when I thought they were having a conversation of one. Then I noticed the bluetooth. I could sport one, and everybody would be none the wiser about me talking aloud.
Or wouldn't it be cool if I could wear an earpiece like the secret service? Those that stared hard enough and saw the earpiece would think I'm like a spy or something. Just call me agent 007.5.
Better yet, I might just learn how to be a ventriloquist, and then my voice could project from someone else. No more crazy stares at me. I'll carry around a dummy named Mortimer and show off my skills.
OK in all honesty, I'm not doing any of the above. I know I'll just keep thinking aloud. I do it too much to stop. I'm not sure I even want to.
I'm comfortable thinking aloud. The rest of the world will just have to deal with it.
We all think to ourselves. I just take it one step further and actually think aloud. I'm not a quiet person anyway, and I like to talk.
Why must our thoughts be confined to the head? That seems a little crazy if you ask me. How do you know the voice you hear in your head is you and not some multiple personality?
At least when I think aloud, I know it's coming from me and not Bertha, the 56-year-old, gruff and tough short order cook inside of my mind.
Shakespeare put it best in "As you like it" when he wrote, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances..."
Well this player tends to have extended soliloquies.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Hartwell Chronicles ... saying goodbye

Saying goodbye has never been easy for me. It causes too many questions to pop up in my head.
Questions like, “How do you say goodbye? When do you say it? Can a bye even be good?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. Most people probably don’t know the answers either.
It’s not something they teach in school. You might learn in at home or in the school of life.
Clearly I missed that class.
I wish there as a goodbye manual. I’m no expert at goodbyes. That cancels me out as an authority on writing about the subject.
Goodbyes are always awkward for me, and usually not happy experiences.
Therefore, I am taking a stand against the word goodbye. I refuse to say it.
Such is the case with my recent departure from Hartwell.
I’m not saying goodbye to all my friends and adopted family there. You can’t say goodbye to special memories. Otherwise the situation would just be downright depressing.
Picture it: Sicily 19… wait wrong story.
OK picture me saying goodbye to everyone I know in Hartwell. That would take some years. I haven’t the time or the patience.
Then all those goodbyes would probably make me cry. It’s bad enough I get emotional while packing. And I already have overactive tear ducts. How many tears can a person take?
Too much crying usually causes my sinuses to act up. Next thing you know it, I have a headache, stuffy/runny nose and a host of other problems.
Clearly goodbyes are bad for my life.
Michael Jackson’s birthday is today and the radio is playing his songs non-stop. One song in particular sums up my thoughts on saying goodbye.
“Tell me why, is it so that I never can say goodbye? No, no, no, no. I never can say goodbye.”
I’ll tell you why. Goodbye is an unnatural phrase to utter because it causes confusing feelings.
When my granny died I said at her funeral, “I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say see you later.”
How do you say goodbye? I don’t know. I can’t comprehend one anyway. But a see you later I can get with.
So my leaving is far from a goodbye, Hartwell. I’ll just see you later.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... Sensitive v. Desensitized

While talking about yesterday’s incident, my mentor brought up an interesting point: Are black people sometimes too sensitive about certain situations, or have others become too desensitized over time?
She asked would I have been offended if another black person said the exact same "Aunt Jemima" commen. Yes! Ignorance goes many ways. For instance, I hate when other black people call my hair nappy. The word denotes images of coarse, unmanageable and bad hair. My hair is none of the above. It’s soft, easy to deal with and healthy, therefore good.
But I digress.
My mentor’s first question was an interesting point to ponder. I’ve often wonder that about myself based on my reactions to certain incidents.
When the whole Jena 6 incident happened I wondered what the whole uproar was about, and why was every upset. It seemed simple to me. Noose or not, there was no need to jump somebody. Six boys beat up one. Duh, they should go to jail.
Maybe being charged as adults was harsh, but if you do the crime you do the time. They brought that on themselves. So I, for one, was not taking time off to march for criminals.
Was I desensitized?
Then again, there was the yearbook incident at Charter Oak High School in California. Someone placed faked names on the real ones of Black Student Union members. The names were negative, stereotypical ones such as Tay-Tay Shaniqua. Those students ended up having to place stickers with their real names over the fake ones.
How that got through the final rounds of proofreading is beyond me. Clearly that issue was wrong. I was outraged at that ignorant prank.
Am I too sensitive?
And who can forget the whole Skip Gates issue? His neighbor called the cops saying two black men were breaking into a house. Once the police arrived, tempers flared. Gates was arrested and the race card was thrown.
How did I feel? Was I desensitized or sensitive? The jury’s still out on that one. Race could have been a factor, but so were attitudes.
I just want to know, can I get an Arnold Palmer Summit (it’s like the beer summit except you drink sweet tea and lemonade mixed) for my incident?
Many black people are overly sensitive. We do throw the race card, a lot. Sometimes it’s at things that have nothing to do with race. But there are indeed many instances when it is justifiable.
I look at it like this: The Civil Rights Movement didn’t really end until 1968, if that early. It’s now 2009. That is only 41 years. Just how much progress do we expect?
Sure we have a “black” president, but that definitely doesn’t mean all ignorance is gone. And I don’t mean just between black and white people. Hispanics, Asians and homosexuals are still trying to progress too.
The racial divide and inequality gap has closed somewhat, but there is still a long way to go.
I can’t speak for all black people, just myself. So here's my attempt at answering the question.
At times I am desensitized about issues. Not because I think black people have finally “arrived,” but because sometimes there’s a whole lot of hoopla over nothing.
But I also know when to be sensitive about something. Not because I want to throw out the race card, but because ignorance is still around.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... What not to say

Even in the 21st century, sensitivity and diversity seem to be an issue in the community. Some people just don’t know what to say to each other.
Perhaps I need to write a training manual to help people avoid making ignorant comments.
I have been inspired by an incident today.
I was rocking a head wrap, as I sometimes do, and walked passed someone. She preceded to ask me, “What’s with the Aunt Jemima look?”
Well you could have just knocked me over with a feather. I was flabbergasted.
This isn’t the first time I've worn the head wrap. In fact, each time people have responded with comments such as, “Oh you look so chic, sophisticated, stylish,” and so on.
Normally, I don’t have comebacks for ignorant comments. This time I did say something.
“This is not an Aunt Jemima look,” (and I didn’t even catch an attitude, I might add).
But what I should have said is, “And just what do you mean by that?”
Obviously it wasn’t a compliment. It felt more like an insult to me.
Aunt Jemima doesn’t really denote a positive connotation in my opinion.
Look at the old school images of Aunt Jemima, and what do you see? A a plump, smiling, bright-eyed, black woman wearing a head rag. Aunt Jemima was even marketed as a former slave.
Above all, Aunt Jemima is the most common representation of a “mammy.” Who in their right might would mistake me for a mammy?
In the words of my friend Cee, “I don’t know who you think you are, but most importantly I don’t know who you think I am.”
Whether or not the person knows the story behind Aunt Jemima is unimportant. The fact that she even thought a comment like that was acceptable is just disturbing.
Then again, I can’t be that surprised to hear her ask me that. She’s asked in the past if I rolled my neck and do other things “that black people do.”
I know she’s not the only one who thinks like that and sees no harm in asking ignorant questions. Thus, the need for my manual.
Fan Club Prez, and a few others, thinks I should have told her off or drop kicked her one time.
That’s not my style. And what would it have solved? She would have still been basking in her ignorance, while I would have looked equally ignorant and gotten arrested.
Above all, I have a fear of getting arrested and ending up as Big Shirley’s girlfriend in the pen. You know they probably would trade me around for a pack of gum and cigarettes. It just ain’t happening.
I’d love to print off pictures of myself and Aunt Jemima, then give them onto her with a note that says, “Ignorance is bliss.”
Then again, I’m not that confrontational. Besides the moment has passed, so there’s only one thing left to say, “Mrs. Jane Doe, you get a DO BETTER AWARD!”
Her prize is an autographed copy of my forth coming manual, “What Not to Say: Dealing with Diversity and Sensitivity.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

chronicles of life ... in theaters one summer

Fade from black into a scene featuring Taraji P. Henson lying in bed. Suddenly her alarm clock goes off.
It is 7 a.m.
She groans and rolls over to hit the snooze button.
The camera shifts to Taraji brushing her teeth.
Then she is walking out her front door with a bagel in one hand and keys in the other.
She yells a good-bye to her fish, Murphie, and mumbles a mantra to herself.
Thus begins my movie.
Yes, one day I am going to have a major box office blockbuster called “Small Town Single.” It is an adaptation of my semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.
Taraji is in fact me (well not exactly me, but there will be certain mannerisms that will clue people in).
The story chronicles a small town newspaper reporter as she goes through a year or two of dating and relating after a breakup.
I won’t give the plot away and spoil it for you (mainly because I haven’t actually wrote the book yet, much less the screenplay but it is in the works). You’ll just have to wait on your ticket to the advance premier screening.
My movie will make you laugh, cry, laugh some more, feel angry, but mostly laugh.
I’m thinking it’s going to be a comedy, not necessarily a romantic one mind you. It might fall into the chic flick category, but not because its all girlie girlie haha.
Seriously, I am far from girlie girlie haha. I just happen to be a funny girl, woman, young lady.
I’ve already asked some friends who would they like to play them in the movie.
So far the cast list includes Keshia Knight-Pulliam, Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Cameron Diaz, Anthony Anderson and Brad Pitt. As you can see it will have several A-listers.
The cast list is far from complete. I don’t even know who all the book characters will be. All will definitely not make it in the movie.
I’m still working on a director, but Judd Apatow, Drew Berrymore and Sanaa Hamri are being heavily considered.
Key cast members will be my friends/co-workers. However, I will be lacking some family representation.
Why, because certain individuals laughed at the idea of me having a movie.
I called my mother one day and said, “Hey, who do you want to play you in my movie?”
“In your movie?” she said. “Nobody even knows you!”
This was followed by a round of laughter, much to my chagrin.
To make it even worse, my brother said the Discovery Channel was more interesting that my life, therefore a movie about me would be boring.
Their roles have been cut.
My dad still can be in it. Marvin Sapp will portray him in a brief church scene.
That’s what those two get for trying to douse my dream and calling me lame.
OK, I am sort of lame, but believe me, my movie will be 10 times as interesting as my real life.
That is the beauty of it being MY MOVIE! I can make myself even more fabulous than I already am.
Naturally if the book is going to be a page turner, then the movie will be awesome.
I’m aiming for number one box office spot opening weekend. So don’t go bootleging my movie.
Just remember, coming soon to a theatre near you, “Small Town Single,” based on the novel by AJR.
Check both out one day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chronicles of Life … great news for the fam

Normally on Wednesdays, I block out the world and take a 13.5 hour nap. Today was the same, except I woke up at 2:30 a.m., checked my text messages, and now I can’t get back to sleep. My mom texted me some GREAT news: my brother’s tumor is gone!
Praise the Lord, cut the cake and let’s all dance!
My family found out AQ had a tumor in his stomach in late May. I hit the road quicker than lightening to make a trip home, soon as I heard. We may fuss, fight and argue on a regular, but I love my little brother. He’s irreplaceable.
I prayed and cried the whole trip down, because I know a tumor usually denotes cancer. Cancer is not something I would wish on anybody, and it seems even worse when it’s a child. Little Brother was just 16 (17 now) and a rising senior in high school.
Doctors did a biopsy and spinal tap and got the results. We soon learned he has Burkitt’s lymphoma and would be undergoing chemotherapy for about six months.
Burkitt’s lymphoma is an uncommon type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma that commonly affects children. The abdomen is usually the area that is affected for children in the United States and Europe (lymph nodes are the case in equatorial Africa). It is a fast-growing cancer, but Burkitt’s lymphoma responds really well to chemotherapy and is quite curable. Later relapses are hardly seen.
It was not as bad as it could have been. But of course we still were quite upset that he even had cancer. My parents and I were buckets of tears when the doctor told us that news. We made sure to dry up though so my brother wouldn’t see us and get depressed too.
I spent a few nights in the hospital with my brother, much to his dismay. I was the absolute best nurse, in my opinion. His every need was anticipated. Although soon he started cussing me out because I was “annoying him,” and he seemed just a little too happy when I left. Mind you, I was practically in tears because I didn’t want to leave my poor baby. But I make sure to call him (or at least both my parents) every day, sometimes multiple times even. I get hung up on a lot, or ignored calls. I’m not sure why.
But I digress.
That first week in the hospital was filled with visits from family and friends (and my own friends all called me on a regular for updates). They came to show their love and support and offer prayers. I think I heard at least a good 20 prayers. My dad is a pastor and most of his friends are too. Every night seemed like a new prayer meeting.
Prayer is good and does indeed change things. My brother has to go to the hospital every month for a weeklong treatment of chemotherapy. When doctors did the second biopsy in June, 50 percent of the tumor was gone. They were only expecting 20 percent. The chemo was working, but God was working more.
My brother is bald right now (I cut my hair in solidarity) and extremely skinny, but he’s been in good spirits about the whole cancer situation. He makes jokes saying: he is going to ride his bicycle from Jacksonville, Fla. to Palatka, Fla. and get a medal like Lance Armstrong; he is now excused from all gift giving because he has cancer; or the girls all love his sexy bald head (he actually doesn’t look too bad).
I think he has one more treatment in September then he’s done. Yay!
I am thankful to everyone for all their thoughts and prayers. That is what helped my family get through this.
It was too late/early to call anyone, so writing it out was the next best thing. Now we can all rejoice at this great news.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... Auntie-for-hire

At 24, my maternal instincts haven’t kicked in yet, but I am quite ready to be an auntie.
I want millions of nieces and nephews running around in shirts that say, “I’m as cute as my auntie,” or “Auntie’s baby.”
This fixation with being an aunt was bound to happen sooner or later.
I think aunties are the third greatest people after grandmothers, who are number one, and mothers who are number two.
Clearly if I’m not a mother I can’t be a grandmother. I do think I could definitely handle being a grandmother. You don’t have to put in nearly as much effort into raising grandkids as your did your own children (unless you are completely raising them).
I’m not at that level to be a mother, but oh an auntie I could be.
I tried the cool older cousin thing. It didn’t work because I had a heifer of an ex-cousin (yes, I do disown unappreciative kin).
I tried the cool young mentor thing. It was moderately successful during the school year.
Naturally, the next step is the cool auntie.
However, there are several obstacles standing in my way. The chief one being my only brother is still but a babe of 17.
He better not have children any time soon or I will beat him silly. Neither my nerves nor my parents’ could take him procreating just yet.
I do have millions of little cousins running around. I could probably claim one of them as a niece or nephew, but even that plan has a few flaws. Mainly I don’t think most of them even like me.
Perhaps it is because they don’t know me.
I was away in college when most of them were born. They know my brother and just look at me like, “Who are you and why should we care?”
It kind of lowers your self-esteem to hear a little child act all disinterested in you when you’re trying to bond but brighten up with such joy when they see everyone else, especially your brother. I’m not jealous, just unloved.
I need to start afresh with somebody else’s baby who can grow to adore me as the cool favorite auntie.
None of my friends are expecting, and even if they were we don’t live in the same area. The ones with nieces and nephews aren’t sharing.
So where does that leave me? Niece and nephewless.
Or does it?
Undeterred, I have decided to proclaim myself an auntie-for-hire.
I know there is someone out there whose children are lacking the joys of a cool, young and hip auntie. I just know I was meant to be such a person.
I would love to spoil somebody else’s child with lots of attention, gifts and whatever else being an auntie entails. I'm not really sure about all the duties of an auntie. Hopefully diaper changes, getting covered in drool and cleaning dirty noses aren't a part of it.
It can't be that hard, because at the end of the day the children go home to their parents. Not me!
Ralphie, my betta fish, and I can’t be bothered with full-time children. We’re just fine with part-timers.
I can’t possibly mess up a child with me for only part of the day.
I know my brother wants to have at least four children in the future. Well I can’t wait that long.
The time is now for me to be elevated to the status of auntie.
Now if only I knew who was in need of an auntie-for-hire. This future auntie is ready and waiting.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... Fabulously Fly

I am what some would consider a fashion disaster most days. I defy, well actually ignore, fashion rules and trends.
My hair is usually wild and unruly (or at least it was back when I had hair). My style is considered non-existent by my friends and families.
Personally, I don’t care. I do me (and I do it well). However, there are those very few occasions when I conform to normal beauty standards and might make people think I am a fashionista.
They are rare, very rare. Like maybe once every six months rare.
I can turn heads quicker than lightning with the right hair style, outfit and shoes. Yes, I do clean up quite nicely, I must admit. Of course the compliments just flow right it.
“Girl you look good! Sexy mama! Watch out now!”
But the one saying that really grinds my gears is “What’s his name?”
What, I can’t look good just for me?
I’ve been asked that quite a few times lately. I now cheerfully responded, “Jesus.”
Anytime I change up my look or style people chalk it up to some dude. I have never changed my look for anyone except myself.
Even though my brother was the basis for me cutting my hair, I had thrown the idea around of actually doing it for a while.
If I get a mani/pedi it’s for me. These freshly arched eyebrows point to my enjoyment. I am rocking the fro in recognition of my own beauty.
Believe me, my ego is already so inflated that I know how fly I am even on those “rough days.” I don’t have to step it up to notice it. And if I do, you can bet it isn’t for some man.
As one friend pointed out, men don’t really even notice things like arched eyebrows or manicures. Women do it for other women.
I am sure men appreciate the overall package. But seriously who really pays that much attention to detail? Surely not I. And I’m a woman.
At any rate, I would prefer some guy catch me on my regular days. Being extra fabulous is too much work for me.
I’ll just stick to my normal fabulously fly self.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... my favorite things

I am going to be bigger than Oprah one day (in name only, not weight).
In my continuing quest to take over her empire, I have decided it is now time to present a few of my favorite things.
She highlights them on her show and O Magazine and tells you where to get them.
It shall be called A Magazine when I take over. Hilarity will ensue similar to the “Who’s on First” shtick.
But I digress.
In no particular order, my favorite things include:
1. Birthday Cake. I love cake. It is my weakness. Any problem can be solved with a slice or two of birthday cake. And no, I am not talking about that corn bread with icing they sell at Wal-Mart. I have a special fondness in my heart for birthday cake from Publix. Of course a real bakery is always a good choice too.
2. Reading. Not only is it fundamental, it’s entertaining. I read an equal amount of fiction and non-fiction each day. I like reading mystery novels first and foremost. I’m also starting to really get into speculative fiction. On the non-fiction sphere I enjoy newspapers, magazines and blogs. But I will read a good non-fiction book, if it’s written like a novel.
3. Ryan Leslie. Not only is his voice amazing, but he has superb lyrics. Furthermore, his backing music touches my soul. Just listen to “Irina” and you’ll hear the greatness that is him. I love that song simply because of the music. The lyrics are really sweet too. And the good thing is all of his songs are like that.
4. Solange. She is not the anti-Beyonce, she is just herself. I follow her on Twitter and the girl is raw. We should totally hang out and become BFFs. Also, her music speaks to my soul. I feel like some of the songs on Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams were taken from a page in my journal. Great minds do indeed think alike.
5. Cee’s nephew. He’s adorable, entertaining and 3. He is the epitome of my favorite thing. I’ve only seen him once but he stole my heart. If I was a preschooler we would absolutely have to hang in the same circle. Cee says he has me wrapped around his finger. I think she’s a hater. He said I was one of his favorite people too.
6. The phrase, “I can’t be bothered.” That one sentence is versatile for any situation. It conveys my exact sentiments. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered. When I say that, you know exactly how I feel. There is no need to say any more.
7. Twitter. God bless the inventor of Twitter. Mirco-blogging is the wave of the future. I do so enjoy keeping a journal, but it is not feasible to write my every thought every second of the day. Well it is with Twitter (providing it’s in 140 characters or less). I might not post a note or blog for days, but I tweet at least 10 times an hour. What I love best about Twitter is it allows a random person like me an additional outlet to post my random ramblings.
8.Ralphie. Yes, the fish made the list. I don’t think people realize just how much I love that little red betta. He helps calm my nerves on any given day. He is also an excellent listener (yes, I do talk to my fish). If everyone owned a betta fish the world would be a better place.
9. Turkey meat. I don’t know why some people treat turkey like the red-headed step cousin of the food world. It’s not just for special occasions like Thanksgiving. I only cook chicken and turkey. On any given night you will find turkey wings, ground turkey, turkey breast filets and much more in my house. Turkey meat is absolutely delicious.
10. My family/friends. They’re crazy, loud and annoying at times, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. It takes a special person to deal with me. Some are born into it. Others (for some strange reason) choose to. I appreciate each and everyone of them. I might not call as much as I should, but they’re never far from my thoughts.
Now if only someone would just list me as one of their favorite things...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... the best man i can’t be

I have a not so secret addiction to Esquire.
Each month, I read over every single page of the magazine, soaking in all that is carefully written.
Some of the information I can apply to my own life, like knowing how to soothe a crying baby, jump-starting a car or making a great omelette.
Others not so much, well, because I’m not a man.
Esquire is the quintessential men’s magazine.
It has almost everything a man needs to know to be at his best. That is after all its motto: man at his best.
Well what magazine is the female equivalent? None of them!
I would have to get at least 10 women magazines to equal one issue of Esquire.
I can’t be bothered!
I have subscriptions to three magazines: Esquire because it’s amazing, Rolling Stone for the music lover in me, and Essence to inspire me as a black woman.
Clearly there is no time to read nine other women magazines.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore being a girl, but my fear is I’ll know how to be the best man possible and end up the worst woman ever.
The pages of Esquire teach how to dress, impress and jest in an easy-to-follow guide.
Each issue is filled with practical information and tackles diverse topics from politics to fashion and everything in between. And the articles, oh those magnificent articles, are always thought-provoking, informative and enriching.
Women’s magazines, such as Cosmo, are too superficial for me. There is more to a woman than just relationships, wearing the latest trends and getting a hot body.
Can I get an article of some substance, please? The likes of "Ways to train your boyfriend" do not count.
You can't even compare that to stories like "Tonight on Dateline This Man Will Die," which can be found in Esquire. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I will admit Essence comes pretty close to a comprehensive women’s magazine. But sometimes it seems to only scratch the surface, leaving me hungry as if I only ate an appetizer. I need more depth, more substance, more something.
Where is my main course like Esquire?
I guess wanting an end-all be-all women’s magazine is asking for a little too much.
As one friend pointed out, men are simple creatures. One magazine can very well suit their purposes.
Women on the other hand are too complex to have an all-encompassing magazine. Therefore we have several dedicated to our womanly issues such as fashion, sex, good house keeping, etc.
Perhaps I shouldn’t try to look in the pages of a magazine to learn how to be the best I can be. I just have to live and learn.
But a few cliff notes would be nice.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... random religious thoughts

Some people look for signs of Jesus’ existence in big booming miracles.
Not so for me. Give me the little things.
I have “Jesus is real” moments everyday.
Take for instance gas prices.
At one point gas was nearing $4 a gallon. It was costing a small fortune to fill up the Green Machine.
Monday gas was $2.16, and I filled up for $23. Jesus is real!
Then there was the time when I was starving and ready to eat a small child. I had no money and lunch was still a few hours off.
I went to my car to get a note pad, and voila, there was nearly $1 in change on the floor. Just enough money for me to head to the snack machine.
Yet another “Jesus is real” moment.
My all time favorite is when I see a fine looking specimen of a man. I’m talking about one who just bring tears to your eyes because of his beauty.
As Cee would say, “Jesus is real and there is a God.”
The Lord wakes me up each morning, but I tend to take that for granted. Having my “Jesus is Real” moments helps me remember to thank the Lord for every blessing, no matter how big or how small... Does anyone else think those e-mail and text message forwards about God are annoying? You know, the ones where it says send to 10 people if you love God.
Well I love God but I hate forwarding, so I usually don’t send them.
They always have some message at the bottom calling you out if you don’t join the e-mail/text chain.
No, I am not ashamed of God. I highly doubt I am blocking a financial blessing. And the little e-mail angel is definitely not watching over me.
Last I checked, my relationship with God was not dependent upon responding to modern technology. It’s a personal thing.
Send me your forwards and e-mails if you must, just know you won’t get one back from me... I think people say the phrase, “God knows my heart,” a little to loosely.
Even I used to throw it out without really thinking.
Then one day I realized God indeed knows my heart. He sees that evil streak inside.
Personally, that made me a little nervous. Here I am saying it all lightly and he could just zap me.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not saying it anymore... I have a serious problem. I am a sermon critic.
Maybe that’s why I’m not a member of any church.
Despite what my parents think, I don’t stay home out of laziness. I stay home because if I don’t like a sermon I can’t be bothered.
I think it’s my daddy’s fault.
I’ve been hearing his preaching for as long as I can remember and tend to critique others based on his style.
I can take bad singing. I can stand Sunday morning service chaos. However, I will not and can not tolerate a bad sermon.
I look for several things in a sermon including: were there points and illustrations, was it informative and entertaining and was it grammatically sound?
This year Cee and I set out on our “get right before you get left” weekly worship experience. That was a bust
It’s July and I’m still churchless.
We often said we wished my daddy had a church here. We definitely could get right then.
Nevertheless, I will continue on my search for a church home.
In the meantime I need to start getting taped copies of my daddy’s sermons... I am so glad God is patience and loving. I am not.
Once Cee was reading a few stories from the Bible. One told of how Sarah lied to the Lord.
She laughed and God asked her why did she do it, then Sarah had the nerve to say she didn’t.
Now if it had been me I would have just went, “Zap, your dead.”
You don’t lie to the Lord!
The Bible is filled with zap moments.
If left up to me, there wouldn’t be an old testament because Abraham, Moses and a few others would have been zapped
It’s a wonder we even have any people.
I know God probably gets fed up with us and wants to zapped everybody. But he doesn’t.
Thank God for grace and mercy.

The Hartwell Chronicles ... Have you seen me?

I’ve always heard that everyone has a twin. You know, a person totally unrelated who looks (and in some cases even acts) like you.
Apparently, I have a few in Georgia.
The first person was actually another reporter at a sister paper.
I went to a play one night and several people kept saying her name. I didn’t realize they were talking to me.
Finally, one woman came up and asked, “Aren’t you XYZ?”
“No, I’m me.”
“Oh you two look just alike,” she said.
After that I was itching to meet my twin. We finally met at a company conference.
And guess what? We look nothing alike.
She’s taller, thinner and has relaxed hair. Her complexion is a bit lighter too.
Other than the fact we’re both reporters that wear glasses and are black, we look and act nothing alike. We often joke about how people mix us up.
She’s a really nice person. So it’s not so bad being mistaken for her.
I’d rather be mistaken for her then Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.
There’s another woman in town people call my twin. I think it’s because we both have natural hair, and even that’s a stretch.
Her hair is past shoulder length and in locs. I tend to keep my short and in a puff or twists.
She’s a cool cat too, though.
One day I’m going to ask her if anyone ever mistakes her for me.
It was about a year before I met my so called “true blue twin.”
Several people thought I was either her or related to her. Someone even said her son looks more like me than my own little brother.
I once met her aunt, and she thought I was my twin at first glance.
I knew I had to meet this woman.
Finally I did, by chance.
I was out interviewing people and came across her one day. She asked my name and said, “You’re the one everybody says I look like.”
“You must be my twin,” I said. “It’s nice to finally met you.”
And it was except, again, I saw no similarities.
I was expecting to see a lot more, since even her aunt said we looked alike.
Personally, I don’t really think I have a twin. I look uniquely like me.
Then again it was years before I saw how much I looked like my parents.
There is a photographer named Francois Brunelle who likes to find non-related twins around the world and photograph them together for his Web site,
So if you should happen to see my “twin” let me know and we can get photographed for the Web site.
It would be a shame to not share double the beauty.

Chronicles of Life ... When insanity attacks

Perhaps, I really have gone off the deep end.
The signs have been apparent to everyone else for some time now. But I’m just finally recognizing them.
Recently Cee told me, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Well just sign me up for a brand new jacket that makes me hug myself constantly, because by golly I always do that.
For instance, I know that if I wash my hair on an empty stomach I’ll will soon feel faint in the shower. My blood sugar level always seems to drop in all of the heat and steam.
Yet once a week, I still end up in the shower dizzy. Then I have to hurry and rinse out my shampoo so I can add the conditioner, hop out the shower and gulp down some orange juice to bring my blood sugar level back up.
After the ordeal, I always pledge to start eating before my weekly hair washing ritual.
That pledge lasts until the conditioner is washed out.
Next week I’m back in the same predicament.
You would think I’ve learned by now.
But hair is the least of my worries.
I tend to do bad repeats in many facets of my life: relationships, money and anything else you can name.
Clearly someone needs to call the nut house for me.
Maybe I’m not insane, just a simpleton. But how could that be?
I graduated from one of the top high schools and colleges in the nation.
My mother certainly didn’t raise any dummies.
At the very least, I’m smarter than the average bear.
But smart in what way, books only?
I am totally lacking in the common sense department.
Am I insane in the membrane or just a Simple Simone?
Either way it goes, that’s a problem and making me a prime candidate for a do better award.
I know the saying is if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Maybe I need to start trying again with new methods to get the end results I want.
Otherwise I’m just plain crazy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... Writer’s Block

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my blog, Facebook or anywhere, but not due to a lack of ideas. Moreso a lack of liking the end results of said ideas.
I think I’ve been dealing with a bout of writer’s block. But it’s not the traditional kind where you can’t write.
On the contrary, I have been writing quite a bit. I am just not motivated to post it.
I think the problem is I’m my own worse critic.
Aren’t we all?
So I write something and then think it sucks and decide to let it marinate in my mind for a few.
Well a few days turns into weeks, months maybe even years.
I think I’ve been too concerned with whether anyone else will like it or not.
My chronicles are actual (altered) entries from my journal.
Since when does one start caring what others think about their journal entries? Exactly when did I start caring?
I don’t know. What I do know is it’s time for me to get back to I can’t be bothered mode. Otherwise I’ll scrutinize every little thing I write.
Don’t get me wrong, some scrutiny is always needed. But not to the point where I’m second guessing myself.
It’s giving me an ulcer and flaring up my acid reflex.
Therefore, I pledge to do better in the month of July. I will write and post and post and write until my fingers fall off.
And I will do it for myself.
I’ll still continue to critique my stuff, but at least I’ll post first.
There’s nothing worse than a pile of chronicles of my computer that have never been posted.
I only have so much free space on my new laptop anyway. The least I could do is free it up.
Maybe then I’ll be free from the writer’s block.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chronicles of Life… are you Easy

I sort of have a school girl crush on Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins.
He is everything a girl/woman could want: street-wise, hard-boiled and downright sexy. Easy has the swagger THAT young and old men alike only wish they could possess.
Men either love or hate him. And women just love him.
Despite being in his late 40s, he can hang with the best of them.
He takes care of his own children, as well as countless others, and watches out for his fellow man.
Can you blame me for drooling over the very thought of him?
I met Easy one night after coming home from a long day’s work.
See he’s a private eye. But not your every day, average run of the mill type PI.
He learns what people want hidden. Find what the police can’t, and makes it all seem so “Easy.”
Easy used to be an unlicensed PI. But he’s so smooth the cops practically begged to give him a license.
But I digress.
He was on the trail of the murderer of a missing woman when I was first introduced to him.
Yes, he’s constantly in harms way. I feared for his safety every turn of the page.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Easy’s not real. He’s the protagonist of Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins Mysteries.
Denzel Washington brought him to life in the movie “Devil in a Blue Dress,” which was based on the first book of the series. Soon as I finish the series, I plan on watching the movie to see if it’s close to the book.
That’s going to be a bittersweet moment.
I started reading the series backwards in chronological order because I’m crazy. So I already know how it ends … for now.
Yes, Walter Mosley is trying to punk us all into thinking Easy is dead. I refuse to believe it.
If people can still believe Elvis, Tupac and Biggie are alive, why can’t I hold out for Easy?
I still have two books left in the series, and I’m almost certain I might cry when I’m through.
This crush didn’t happen over night.
The first book merely had me intrigued with Easy. Book two deepened my interest.
But by book three I was sprung like spring.
If only I could meet a real Easy.
Part of me wonders if the character is somewhat based on Mosley himself. I can dig it.
Sure he may be 56, but have you heard his voice? He sounds simply irresistible.
I could love that voice.
Mosley has been added to the list of people I have to meet.
When that day comes, I am simply going to ask “Are you Easy?” Then he is required to read no less than three chapters of one of the books aloud to me, while I sit and swoon over him.
I haven’t decided on which book yet. Maybe “Black Betty” because the ending was purely poetic justice.
Easy has a tendency of doing that.
So how am I going to ever survive without him?
Maybe the Fearless Jones series will spark a new crush. And I am eagerly anticipating reading the Leonid McGill series.
But deep down I know none can quite compare to Easy.