Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chronicles of Life…The Random Issue

Enough is enough! Obviously all the cool kids are doing it, so I will give into the peer pressure.
I’ve been tagged several times in these notes about posting 16, 25 or 100 random things, facts, habits, or goals about myself. Who am I to break the chain?
Here goes my 24 (one for every year out the womb).

1. My turbinates are the size of Cleveland, according to one ENT specialist. I have inferior turbinate hypertrophy. Therefore, I always sound congested or seem sick. Plus I have chronic sinus issues, which makes things even worse. A surgery could perhaps fix this issue. Doctors would cut about 20 percent of my turbinates. There is a 50-50 chance of it working and improving my breathing. Those odds suck to me. Plus I’m afraid it might mess up my nose.

2. Speaking of noses… I think they are the central point of beauty. That is what first attracts me to a person or what I will notice immediately. Think about it. Noses are on the center of your face. That reason alone makes Usher Raymond, Lloyd and Mario unappealing to me. The nose knows.

3. I dreamt the rapture happened once when I was younger. My parents left me home alone and I fell asleep thinking they were still there. I woke up, didn’t see anyone in the house or outside. I started crying and called my granddaddy. Luckily he answered and said obviously he wouldn’t be here too if it indeed had occurred. My parents still tease me about that to this day. I need to get right before I get left.

4. I didn’t like my first name when I was little because everyone kept messing it up and calling me Antonio or some derivative other than what it really was. I went through the Toni period for that very reason. These days I love my name and try my best to correct its misuse.

5. Let the records show my name was Sunday way before Nicole Kidman’s daughter. I love my nickname Sunday. My granddaddy christened me that because I was born on a Sunday. He said Antonia was too hard to pronounce and remember, and started calling me that from day one. Most of my family calls me Sunday (some might say Tone-Tone). And everyone who grew up with me knows my name as Sunday. One day I plan on legally adding it to my real name.

6. Being a writer has been my dream since fourth grade. The reporting thing only came along in sixth grade and it’s changed over the years. There was the year of the genetic engineer, lawyer and sometimes PIO/communications director for a school system. Ultimately, I aspire to do nothing but write columns and books while lying on the beach and sipping margaritas, actually an Arnold Palmer will do me just fine.

7. Arnold Palmer's are my favorite drink. Don’t know what it is? It’s half sweet tea, half lemonade. Georgia seems to have something against lemonade so I tend to drink more tea here. I get an AP every chance I can.

8. Reading is fundamental, especially when you don’t have cable. I say I turned it off because I’m poor. That’s halfway true. Honestly, I wasn’t watching TV much when I did have cable. I work odd hours, and never really had a set group of shows to watch. I found myself reading with the TV turned on silent (with captions of course). So I cut it off. That’s $20 I save each month.

9. I like to have captions on my movies for some odd reason. I blame it on a love for the written word in all forms. Actually, it’s just one of my many quirks.

10. I have to know how a movie unfolds before watching it. I can’t remember the last movie I saw that was a surprise. I think it’s because I desire uncertainty in an uncertain world. At least I’ll know how a movie ends if nothing else. I am trying really hard to not read Wikipedia’s plot summary of “My Bloody Valentine 3-D” before I see it.

11. I love Wikipedia. Sure it may be grossly wrong at times, but it does break down a lot of information. I read movie summaries, book summaries (yes, I semi-know how most of them end too), TV shows I don’t watch summaries and other random pieces of information.

12. Butterflies make me nervous. I went to the butterfly rainforest at the natural history museum in Gainesville only once. I’ll never go again. The butterflies are so gangsta. They will land right on you and not move regardless of what you do. I can’t be bothered!

13. Sleep is my friend. I spend a lot of my spare time, when I’m not reading, taking naps. I’ve been like this for ages. Sometimes my family calls me a vampire. My granny thought I was antisocial because I loved to sleep so much. If I get less than eight hours of sleep I’m very grouchy, or I get sick.

14. I can’t skate, ride a bike, swim or double Dutch. Hula-hooping didn’t come until my sophomore year of college (I’m pretty good now). I spent my childhood indoors reading instead of outside.

15. Most of my “Chronicles” start off as journal entries. What you see is pure unadulterated me. I don’t really write with an audience in mind. But I do appreciate all my note readers. It makes me happy to see others laughing about, getting inspired from or contemplating the words of little old me. Shout out to Fan Club President Dave V.

16. Obituaries can tell you a lot about a person. I read them on a weekly basis. It’s kind of morbid, but I started doing it as a child. It was further validated as a good habit to keep up in journalism school. I’ve even written a few obituaries. I’m going to combine my obituary writing business with my professional mourner service (I cry for you if no one else will, for a fee, and jumping in the casket is extra).

17. Have you heard how I talk? My voice is hideous! Honestly, I could never be in radio or TV because of this noise I emit from my mouth. There probably is a great disparity between how I actually sound and people hear me and what I hear. Oh well, the written word is the only way the world will ever hear me.

18. Brrr it’s cold in here! I’m also anemic, so anything less than 75 degrees is cold to me. I had a heater on at work (until it was kidnapped) and wear a jacket year round. Looks like someone needs to take iron supplements.

19. Sometimes when I write in my journal (and chronicles) I forgo many rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. Some might say its laziness. I call it writer’s license (is that a copy written term). Seriously, if e.e. cummings can use all lowercase letters, I can slice a few modifiers and use sentence fragments when convenient. Plus I feel like my journal is a conversation with myself (no I don’t talk to myself). But I do need to at least proofread before I post. Anyone want to proofread for me?

20. I’ve been keeping a journal since elementary school. One time my mother read it and I stopped for a season. I’ve actively kept one since February 2000. My BFF Dawn gave me one for a b-day gift. I’ve lost count of how many journals I have. I never really liked the term diary. It makes me think of diarrhea.

21. Sometimes I drift in and out of reality. For instance, I keep saying I’m going to have a sexy Capricorn Bash with Tyrese, Lebron James and Tiger Woods on our shared birthday one year. I gave this whole elaborate outline to my home girl about the party one day. It was complete with a guest list, music, food and what the itinerary was for the three party rooms (the chill room with yours truly as hostess, the sports room with LJ and TW at the helm, and the music lovers’ lounge for Tyrese and co). There was to be a weekend extravaganza and everything to raise money for our respective charities. My friend snapped me back to the present and say “Do you even know any of these people?” Not yet, but when we do meet the party will already be planned.

22. I am my own worse enemy. My potential greatness frightens me. This quote sums me up, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’” I’m working on that each day. Maybe that’s what keeps me humble.

23. I have no sense of fashion. And honestly I don’t care. What’s in today is out tomorrow. Who has time to keep up with all that? I barely can keep up with the news and my socks.

24. Sometimes I need a good cry. Nothing in particular and absolutely everything will stress me out. So I go in my room, listen to sad love songs and cry for a good hour. Then I’m OK and ready to face the world. I think crying releases toxins from the body.

Tag me all you want now in other versions of this chain. I have written my random piece for the cause.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hartwell Chronicles ... little people are peculiar

Little children make me nervous, very nervous.
I’m not sure when this all began, because I used to love children.
I was a camp intern in high school, volunteered at an elementary school’s first grade in college and was even an America Reads tutor.
Sure those experiences had their ups and downs.
One little boy tried to put glue in my hair at the camp. He got shut down real quick.
Another called me fat while I was trying to help him with his illiteracy. I responded with “At least I can read.”
And first graders act worse than a pack of wild animals. I need therapy from dealing with them.
I was fairly able to deal with children during those brief encounters. Nothing too strange happened.
Now, I am starting to recognize children have many peculiar habits. And it frightens me!
It’s a lot worse than them just playing in their dirty noses and wanting to touch you. No, they do weird things like lick you.
I am not making this up!
This little girl came up to me and just licked my shirt one day. I was mortified!
She couldn’t have been more than five, but clearly thought it was acceptable.
Her mother said “Oh she likes to act like a dog sometimes. Just ignore her.”
Is this normal? Am I the only once concerned that little Susie thinks’ she’s a shar pei?
But wait it gets better.
I was talking to a woman in the office the other day when suddenly I felt something on my leg. Her daughter took a liking to my leg and started to rub it ever so softly (but hard enough where I felt it and got nervous).
I stopped mid-sentence and gave her a frantic “What are you doing?” look. Maybe I should have said that aloud.
I started moving around and eventually she stopped. Her mother said nary a word.
I know little children are curious, but there are some boundaries.
I mean really, who touches a stranger’s leg? I was molested by a munchkin.
All my interactions with children aren’t “peculiar.”
Most times they provide comic relief, although they do test my patience at points.
I took a picture of one little girl more than a year ago. She asks to see that picture on my camera every single time she sees me
“I don’t have it anymore,” I try to explain.
“But why?” she asks.
“Because I downloaded it.”
You can see where this is heading.
I can deal with older children slightly better. Note the word slightly.
Middle Schoolers make me nervous too. They’re these little balls of adult hormones wrapped in the bodies of babies.
And I always feel like I must validate my coolness to high school students. They have these judgmental eyes that cut you to pieces.
Nonetheless, the “Peculiar People” Award goes to little children.
Here’s hoping they grow out of it. Then again, I kept most of my childhood quirks...
Perhaps we’re all just a bit peculiar.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chronicles of Life... I speak fish

Fish play an important role in our society.
They’re entertainment, decoration, pets and food.
However, who among us really understands fish?
This is where my services come into play. I am a fish whisperer.
Don’t laugh! It’s a real profession (at least in my mind).
I have decided to abandon my dreams of solely writing for this higher calling.
Seriously, there are books and even a movie on horse whisperers and a television show about a dog one.
It is now time for fish to stand up, I mean swim up, and be accounted for. I am the voice of the fish!
Ralphie is my inspiration for taking on this daunting task.
One day, I was laying in my bed all jumpy and anxious about life.
I started watching him swim back and forth from left to right, up and down. Occasionally, he would stop to roll around in his rocks, but his routine didn’t change too much.
I eventually calmed down from just watching the little guy.
Oh how simplistic a fish’s life must be. Never a care or want in the world.
Or so we think.
Ralphie indeed has needs, wants and dreams.
He needs food and his water regularly changed. He wants bigger rocks over those small ones Pet Smart tried him with. And he dreams of being a shark.
How do I know? I’m a fish whisperer, duh!
I have extensively studied fish the last few years (meaning I have owned two betta fish and actually kept them alive longer than a day). I’m practically an authority figure.
Therefore, I am going to march myself up to the Georgia Aquarium (after I drive there first) and present the officials with my fish whisperer card. That’s how much faith I have in my talents.
The aquarium officials will not bust out laughing, unlike those of you who are reading this. Instead, they will immediately request my services to deal with some troubled beluga whales.
I’ll make the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for single-handedly soothing a sad manta ray.
Then I’ll start writing the “Chronicles of a Fish Whisperer” based on my numerous experiences.
Soon Animal Planet will come knocking, and my very own show, “Chronicles of a Fish Whisperer,” will air every week.
Finally, Hollywood will be ready for the movie, also called “Chronicles of a Fish Whisperer.”
The possibilities are endless...
But just in case all that doesn’t pan out, I’ll keep my day job and fish whisper to good ole Ralphie.
At least I know he listens.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Inaugural Do Better Awards

“Do better” has become one of my favorite quotes.
Hang around me long enough and you will hear it no less than 10 times.
I have lost count of how much I’ve said it this year. However, there are some incidents that stick out in my mind.
Some I wrote a chronicle about. Others I probably should have.
Therefore, I present to you the Inaugural Do Better Awards. People have just got to do better.
The categories and nominees are:

1.People that annoy me
My landlords. They are still holding my October rent check. It’s Dec. 31. Can we cash it already? And don’t even get me started on December rent.
An upset mother. The woman complained about me not publishing all the photos I took at an event. Sorry, but no one wants to see the 49 bad pictures I took when they can just see one really good photo.
An older woman. She chastises me (or will even hit me) every time I say yes ma’am. Chick is pushing at least 55. She even asked me if I say yes ma’am to other people. No duh!
And the Do Better Award for people that annoy me goes to: An older woman. My parents taught me respect. It’s not my fault you don’t want to own up to your age. Let me say my ma’ams in peace.

2.Things that limit my mortality
Parades. Get hit by enough pieces of hard candy and you will sustain a concussion.
Deer. They’re everywhere, especially on these back roads.
My driving. Why did the Florida DMV give me a license? I could seriously hurt someone, namely me.
And the Do Better Award for things that limit my mortality goes to deer.
Bambi and crew do not look both ways before running into the street. My slow reaction to bad driving situations could bring about a huge collision with Bambi.

3.Ignorant Obama comments
Ex-Longhorn player. A University of Texas football player places these words on his Facebook status after Obama won the election “all the hunters gather up, we have a #$%&er in the Whitehouse.” He has been dismissed from the team.
Toby Keith. Keith said on the Glen Beck show July 30 “I think the black people would say he [Obama] don’t talk, act or carry himself as a black person.”
“What does that even mean?” Beck said.
“Well, I don’t know what that means,” Keith said, “but I think that that’s what they would say. ...”
Jesse Jackson. Before an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Jackson whispered to someone that Obama was “talking down to black people” and he wanted to “cut his nuts off.”
And the Do Better Award for ignorant Obama comments go to Toby Keith. If you’re going to make an ignorant statement at least know what you mean. “I don’t know” does not cut it.

4.People I’ve added as Facebook friends
My mother. Why is Ma Dukes on Facebook? My brother stopped getting on for that very reason.
High schoolers. I haven’t been in high school for more than six years. Yet I have at least a good 20 as friends.
Random people. I know 90 percent of my more than 1,000 friends on Facebook. There is that 10 percent that equals the unknown.
And the Do Better Award for people I’ve added as Facebook friends goes to all the random people. If we have no connection to each other –i.e. same schools, organization, career or even a blog reader/writer – why are we friends? Just because you want to increase your friends is not good enough.

5.Inappropriate family related behavior.
My nasty little cousin. She visited briefly this summer and had the nerve to take nude photos of herself on my phone in my bathroom and send them to people. I mean at 14 I was still playing with dolls.
The Ishmaels. They are my late grandmother’s family. We used to be close, but they turned their backs on my mom and me when my Granny was at her worse. My association with the Ishmaels died the same day as my grandmother.
My uncle. Everyone seems to be scared of him. He’s gruff, tough and rough with the verbal assault. But I know how to set people straight and keep it moving.
And the Do Better Award for inappropriate family related behavior goes to my nasty little cousin. She disrespected my phone, my house, me, our family name and above all herself. Plus the girl had the nerve to tell my brother she wants to fight me. Now I ain’t prejudice, I’ll drop kick a minor.

6.Annoying things in the music industry
Autotune. It’s everywhere. First T-Pain, now Kanye. Who’s got next?
The phrase “It ain’t tricking if you got it.” I hear it no less than 20 times when I turn on the radio.
T-Pain or R. Kelly being on every remix. Actually T-Pain makes it on every original too. Can we get some new voices on the radio?
And the Do Better Award for annoying things in the music industry goes to T-Pain/R. Kelly. T-Pain was cool at first, but now I’m ready to shoot myself every time I hear him. And really R. Kelly, did you have to be on the “If I were a boy remix”?

7.Improper meeting behavior.
Phones going off. A state representative was in the middle of speaking when a cell phone playing “I can’t believe it” went off. Who knew an older white male would be a T-Pain fan enough to get his ringtone.
Disrespectful public attitude. Coming to complain about a project and being completely rude does not get your point across effectively.
Not following specific rules of order. Robert’s Rules of Order do not exist at manyl meetings. The rules exist for a purpose.
And the Do Better Award for improper meeting behavior goes to disrespectful public attitude. When given the opportunity to comment, one wants respect. Make sure you give it too.

8. People that need to be set straight.
Children’s Place employee. The employee told my friend she was a weak black woman because her hair wasn’t natural. Neither was her own.
Another woman. She asked me if I rolled my neck. Why would I?
Lost man. My brother and a friend thought they were about to be victims of a drive by. Turns out the man just wanted directions. But he had the nerve to call them some little @*&#!. He promptly got the wrong directions.
And the do better award for people that need to be set straight goes to another woman. Knowledge is power. All black people don’t roll their necks, pop their gum and do the two snaps and a twists.

9. Unacceptable behavior
My neighbor’s “transition.” Dude left notes on my car trying to talk to me. Did I mention his girlfriend, or transition as he put it, lived next door. Can we say triflin’?
Two last people. Why is one trying to play match maker for the other? Both are two old for the elementary foolishness.
Wal-Mart Man. The man was no less than 50-years-old. I just can’t be bothered!
And the Do Better Award for unacceptable behavior goes to the transition. The two badly written notes are priceless.

10.Club behavior
Handicap man. A man rolled into the middle of the dance floor in a wheelchair. Next thing I know, he’s folded it up in the side and is getting grinded on by some chick. Fraud!
Old men. When you get to be a certain age you should not want to party with 20-year-olds. Apparently, these men never learned that.
Hair flinging chick. This one girl just kept flinging her hair on my friend during a concert. How can you not know that’s happening?
And the Do Better Award for club behavior goes to the old men. No I do not want to dance with my granddaddy. It’s even worse when he’s right behind me staring at my assets.

11.Perpetuating the color complex
Yung Berg. During an interview he said “I’m kinda racist…I don’t like dark butts…You know how some women prefer light skin men or dark skin men. “It’s rare that I do dark butts – that’s what I call dark skinned women…I [don’t date women] darker than me.”
Ne-yo. On a radio show he joked with a white interviewer about the two of them dating and procreating by saying “All the prettiest kids is light skinned anyway, normally.” Has Ne-yo noticed he’s not that light himself?
Palow Da Don. In an interview with stated, “black women need to get their s**t together, period, point black. And if you’re in denial of that, you are part of the problem.” Actually everyone could do better, not just black women.
And the Do Better Award for perpetuating the color complex goes to Yung Berg. Do I even need to give an explanation for this one? I can understand you having a preference but don’t try to belittle those that don’t fit it. Especially when it applies to your own mother.

12. Person of the Year.
There were many contenders for this category, but only one could be chosen. The honoree is the epitome of “Do better” Yes, the Do Better Award for person of the year goes to Antonia J. Robinson.
I would be remiss if I did not give the award to myself. I call out so many others, but I also know when I need to point the “do better” finger at myself. Otherwise it would be the pot calling the kettle black.
Now time for the acceptance speech.
“Wow, I am so shocked and honored to get this award. It is a real wake up call about the type of person I am and need to be.
“Sometimes the main person that needs to do better is yourself. That’s my goal for 2009.
“So thank you, God bless and do better!”

*People’s Choice Award*
Sometimes there are only two words that can apply to a situation. Who will your Do better award go to?