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.