Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ch-ch-changes!

I've been talking to different people lately about changes we've all been through. Something dawned on me: we are supposed to go through changes It's how we grow as individuals. Our life experiences force us to migrate from being, say, a person who has never had kids to a person who has. Or from being a person who has had a heartbreak.

Basically, we are ever go to be in a "Pre" and "Post" stage of something in life.

A few years ago, I had never been deeply in love. I'd never lived without having my mother alive. I'd never seriously questioned my faith. Now, things are different. I am now a person who has experienced, lived through, learned from and (mercifully) survived all those things.

God willing that I am still alive, in a few years, I will be past a lot of other experiences. That's just life as it is lived.

Sometimes the easiest way to see ourselves in through someone else's eyes. It's like when you see a friend's toddler child. If you don't see the child for several weeks, when you do, you can tell how much he's grown or changed. It's a little harder for the parent to see because they are looking at the changes as they happen. 

When I get back to Anchorage, I plan on seeing people I have not seen for 3, 4 or 5 years. I am sure they are going to notice changes in the way I look, act, speak, dress, etc. I don't notice the changes so much. People who have been around me don't notice the changes so much, but - just like with a toddler growing up - we all know that the changes were bound to happen.

So, I say all this like it's always made perfect sense to me, but it's something I haven't really thought about until recently. 

For a long time I questioned the changes in myself. I would read back over journal entries or even postings here on this and other blogs of mine. I'd see how I felt so very strongly in one way about something a year ago and then, reading a later entry or posting, I could see a difference. So I thought: "Wow... You're kind of all over the place, aren't ya?"  No. It's life that's all over the place. 

Anyway. That's what was on my mind today.

Peace
--Free

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shatterings

I woke up this morning & the world felt too big. It's just one of those days where I feel very, very fragile, as if I can't move too fast or think too hard lest I break & just shatter into a million little fragments of me. But I can't let that happen because then I wouldn't know how to put myself back together...

So, I am going to just take deep breaths today. Breathe in deep to inhale some hope and peace, and exhale out all the negativity. I might go outside and sit in the sun so that I can feel God's warmth on my skin, heating and healing my mind until all the sad thoughts rise away from me like steam.

Shattered, in tatters, but going to be okay.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The World We've Made

We often wonder why people are so cold, but at the same time we applaud and reward the very behavior we question.

Current television shows (which, like it or not, are a gauge of a society's "cultural" leanings) are more popular when they have the meanest, most ignorant, snarkiest people showcased. "American Idol" has Simon Cowell, right? (And I am not bashing him, but his "honest" and oftentimes hurtful critiques are a centerpiece of the show.) I was kind of stunned to see a show all about a "Bad Girls Club." I mean, really? Seriously? Yep. There are fan pages up for them all overr.

One show that I am guilty of watching on a pretty regular basis (mostly with the same horrified fascination that I watch strange things happen in grocery stores or at public events) is "The Real Housewives." All of them - New York, Atlanta and, my all-time favorite, Orange County. This is a show where members are replaced if they don't create enough crazy strife & drama. (The latest "Housewife" to exit on the O.C. version is Jeanna. She didn't want to play with the "mean girls" anymore. Hah! Good for her is what I say. But I will be watching to see if she pops up on another Bravo show - say, Jeanna of Beverly Hills...)

It's not just in the "entertainment" arena where negative behavior is rewarded. In the workplace, in order to succeed (not all the time, but mostly so), you have to be a little bit brutal to gain respect. People with any kind of sensitivity or a lack of experience in dealing with cut-throats are looked at as not having a "thick skin." And look out if you try to keep a positive attitude.  Do that and you might get confronted by a superior asking "Why are you so damn happy all the time?" (True story, by the way.) And the worst of it? If you insist on not being a jerk for the sake of appearances, a lot of people find your positive outlook suspect. *smh*

So, next time you wonder why this can be a mean, cold world, just remind yourself that we get what we ask for.

Peace
--Free

Memory Storm (for the 3rd time!)

(1/20/10) This is the third time I am re-posting this one. This time is for my girl Miss Carrie :-) 
Seems like a lot of us over on Facebook had our Mamas on our minds. So...


(2/19/09) I posted this the first time almost 3 years ago. At that time, my life was in a cycle of changes, but they were all good changes: moving to start somewhere fresh, new job, new relationships... This time the changes are more painful and harder to bear, but I realize that, God willing, I will live long enough for these hard times to be just a memory. Hopefully, this is just a valley I'm going through on my way to some peaks.) Anyway, like always, good times or bad, when things are at a extreme for me, I think of my mother. So this is, again, for Mama.



(3/14/06)
A Memory Storm
Hey y'all. Your girl here is having what I like to call a memory storm. You know, when you have so much going on in your head that things collide & your brain rescues itself from possible system failure by taking a walk in the rain of pleasant memories. Only the memories aren't nice & organized - they just bounce all over the place, like hail or those hard little raindrops that hurt when they hit you.

Memory storm.

Memories about my mama.

Asofetida - I don't know if that's how it's spelled, but I remember Mama saying it's what her mother used to put on her (Mama's) chest when she had a cold or something. Said it stunk to high heaven & probably only worked because the odor scared the germs away.

Urine Shampoo - Mama told me once how, when they were young, her cousin "Bunky" was the only one in the family with short hair (do y'all remember "In Living Color" where one of the characters talked about folk & one of her lines was about a woman with short hair: "hair so shawt you can read her thoughts!"?) and someone told her that it would grow if she washed it in her urine. This fool saved her pee in a big old jar & once a week, she'd pour the urine on it. I don't know what that old pee must've smelled like, but Mama says Bunky grew enough hair in a few weeks to snatch up into a rubber band. She might've grown more hair if "Aunt Jack" hadn't made her stop with the pee shampoos.

Bacon Grease Lotion - Mama says that if they ran out of Jergens or Vaseline, she and her cousins would use bacon grease (and you know she meant that big jar of "drippings" that sat on the stove in an old Folgers can) instead. One time, one of her cousins oiled up and headed off to work. She was running late, so she short-cut it through someone's back yard. "Someone" had some dogs. Dogs smelled the bacon grease. Cousin had to pull the Wilma Rudolph out of her soul and book like the wind. I guess she was leaping fences like somebody had bet money on her. (I suppose she made it away from the dogs. Mama never said. We were both laughing too hard for her to finish that story.)

Sooty Beauty - Back in the day (Mama's day), there weren't a lot of readily available cosmetics for "women of color." Most of my mother's family has LOTS of color & they go from black as midnight (some of them with grey eyes that gave me serious nightmares & this is before colored contacts!) to Light as Vanessa Williams. Most fall in the middlin' to dark category. The lighter-complexioned folk could get away with over the counter lipsticks & blushes and all that. My mother and the rest had to work something else out. So what did they do? Mama says that they'd find the darkest lipstick (usually some kind of slut-red shade) and they could find, then mix in some soot. Yep. Soot from the bottom of pots or burnt wood... The soot would darken up the lipstick enough to compliment a sister with deep roots. (Another time, Mama told me that there were some cosmetics for black women. These were sold door-to-door or could be ordered from ads in the back of romance magazines. A long time ago, someone sent me an old copy of a black romance mag & I saw an ad for "Lucky Heart Cosmetics." Somehow, I picture this as one of the places Mama would have found her makeup when she was young.)

"Busting" a part - My mother was extremely honest. If she didn't know you well, but didn't like something about you, she'd be polite about telling you. If she knew you well - or "owned" you as she did her children - she'd skip politeness & just get to the damn point. (Mama's bossiness with a person went up with her level of approval of them. I could always tell a friend of mine was "in" with my mama the minute she went from inviting them to "come on in and have a seat" to telling them "bring your ass on in here and sit down, boy. That couch ain't gone bite your ass." Most guys who made it past being like by Mama were keepers as far as I was concerned.) One time, I thought it would be cute to wear my hair with a part down the very center. Mama didn't think it was cute. When I came out to rescue a date from being scared into incontinency by Mama, she took one look at my head and asked, "Why you got your hair busted down the middle with that part, looking like Sista Tutta?" (I have no idea who "Sista Tutta" is & I didn't ask. I was too busy sliding back into the bathroom to get that part out of my hair. And, no, I didn't "keep" the guy I had the date with. He laughed a little too damned hard at Mama's comments.)

TPV Perfume - (This crossed my mind when I did my "favorite perfume" on the ABC's yesterday.) When I was younger, I wasn't allowed to wear make-up (don't forget my "holiness" background), and perfume was too extravagant. BUT - I knew I had hit a milestone of "getting grown" when Mama let me wear TPV to a school "dance" (aka: a bunch of kids standing against the wall in the gym and pretending not to notice each other while music played). Talcum powder and vanilla extract. Yep. I didn't get to buy "Heaven Sent" (or whatever it was called), but I sure thought I was some hot stuff when I wiped that cotton ball of vanilla across my shoulders and then puffed on some powder. Shoot. Too bad the only boy who got close enough to smell it was the boy handing out the plastic cups at the punchbowl.

Chewing tar - This falls into that category of "country health" stuff. I can't even lay this on my mama's generation & end it there because she passed it down to us. Until I was about fourteen (right around the time I was leaving my small town life), I - and all my cousins, play & real - chewed tar. I don't remember where it came from. My mama and aunt would have it to hand out to us. It was clean little pieces & shiny where it had been broken or cut into bite sizes. We'd gnaw on that tar like dogs on rawhide. Mama always said it was good for the teeth. And I have to say, I always had great teeth - until the Air Force let their dentists practice on all of us.

Wow. Memory storm. Mama on the mind.

Believe it or not, I owe almost all of my current manuscripts (the ideas, the characters, the settings - everything) to these memories. Of course, I guess most writers will say the same thing.

Speaking of writers - be sure to check out the new link on the left. John Baker, out of the UK, writes mysteries & we've exchanged links. (John - I'm SO coveting the cover design on your books - just beautiful! - & I can't wait to read these.)

(1/20/10) Can't believe I forgot this one in previous posts... 
Hot Toddy (?) Remedy - This was a concoction of really hot, really black tea with some liquor tossed in. Mama would give it to me for my, ahem, cramps. I joke with my friends now that I don't know if the cramps went away or if I was just too drunk to notice. (And, BTW, I never did become much of a drinker. Just ask any of the ladies who were with me on a particularly hot Mother's Day outing when I experienced something called "Saki Bombers" for the first time. I definitely got bombed...)

Peace
--Free 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OUT WITH THE OLD!!!

For a minute there, I almost forgot my New Year attitude.

I had a person I've always thought of as a friend (not a tight friend, but a friendly friend) surprise me by going ice-cold on me. So I spent a few days in tears and not sleeping or eating well. Until my memory came back.

"Hey!" (said my memory) "This is a new year. A new YOU. You're not going to let this kinda stuff steal any more of your joy and peace!"

Oh yeaaaah. That's right.

I dried my tears, got something to eat and took a nap. When I woke up, the sun hadn't forgotten how to shine, the stars still came out at night, Bill Gates was still rich, and - well, life had not come to a screeching halt.

How liberating.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not happy that I have lost a "friend" (or whatever) for some mysterious reason. I will always kinda wonder what I've done or said to bring this on, but the bottom line is: if a person is close enough to you to feel slighted by something you've done, then they should either a) have the guts to confront you, or b) shrug it off. But it is just so dang high-schoolish (no, make that kindergarten-ish) to stonewall someone without letting them know why. Apparently, I don't mean enough to the person for them to be up front with me, so...

It is what it is. (LOL - toldja I was gonna make that my new motto!)

So, people, if we have any kind of acquaintance or friendship, I hope you are as mature-minded as I like my friends and acquaintances to be. Mature enough to get in my face if you have to. Better to have you in my face than behind my back. *smh*

(And BTW, for those who wonder why I didn't try confronting the situation... The person in question made it pretty hard to get in touch after they "showed their behind.")
Peace
--Free

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Badvertising...

Not only does it seem that there is no truth in advertising, but there are quite a few out-right lies.

After a couple of years of watching all my television online, I recently have been watching cable television courtesy my lovely angel/friend Barb. The commercials grate on my nerves but I pay attention to them. And I've noticed some of the fine-print and doublespeak advertisers employ. It's as if they use one tongue to make their product sound like a miracle while they use another tongue (usually in fine-print) to cover their tails. Here are a few of the examples:

  • One currency trading company does everything to entice you to improve your financial circumstances by using their services, AND they just can't tell you enough how reasonable their rates are. I was so busy being brainwashed by the silky-voiced announcer that I almost missed those little words at the bottom of the screen telling me about the "high risk of loss." Hmmm... Well, of COURSE there is a risk. That's true of any type of financial investment, but still... I mean, they made it sound so safe in the actual ad.
  • All the weight-loss ads include a statement that intrigues and confuses me. You know the statement I mean - that one about results being "not typical." Is is just me, or isn't the point of the actual ad to make you think the results shown ARE typical? I mean, why not just portray participates whose results are typical? *shrug*
  • The ads for mascaras really crack me up. I mean, I get it that mascara can make your lashes look darker, and I get it that some mascaras don't smudge as much as others. Okay. But when they start claiming to add length... Riiiiight... C'mon now. Mascara only brushes onto the lashes you already have. Period. I can brush on a whole tube and I will never have lashes as gorgeous as Penelope Cruz's unless I buy some.
  • Car ads are the worse. They ALWAYS show the bare model price ALONGSIDE a car loaded with all the options. The price for the "as shown" model is always down there in that fine print. For the price they show in big, huge and colorful print you're lucky to get a steering wheel and tires. Puh-lease.
  • My favorite of these tricky ads is one for a face-lift procedure. They show these women with sagging skin on their faces and necks and then do all this touting of their inexpensive lifting procedure. The "After" pics show the ladies with firmer, more youthful faces and necks. Faces AND necks. Faces AND necks... Oh yeah? Um hm. That inexpensive procedure they talk about is so inexpensive because it's only for the FACE. Sorry, ladies, if you want the neck job, you better read that fine print and save up your extra change. (I think this one was really a low blow. You know that hopeful people show up for the consultation with their budget all worked out. Can you imagine the disappointment when they realize they have to come up with more money for the whole "After" look - that or invest in turtlenecks to play it off post-surgery...)
I know that we all know there's gonna be fine-print in everything, but it just seems shady when the advertisers get so sneaky about it. I guess that is the point.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Good Life. A Good Year.

I ended 2009 in a haze of confusion, disappointment and anxiety, but God has really blessed me. I have such a feeling of hope. I am realizing that the way to deal with the good and not-so-good in life is to just be thankful for it all.

Last year, I let myself get overwhelmed with circumstances I had no real control over. I focused too much on negative things. I am learning now to truly "let it be." When people disappoint me (and I know some will), and when circumstances get crazy (and I know they will!), I will keep my eye on the blessings God has put in my life. And God has truly, truly blessed me greatly.

I have friends who have loved me and comforted me and helped me to laugh and cry and just be me. I have family who would do anything in the world for me. I have a Father in Heaven who keeps loving me when I can be so un-lovable.

So blessed. So very, very blessed.

2010 is - if nothing else - the year that I have learned to deal with the bad and enjoy the good. 2010 is the year I have learned to be thankful.

Peace
--Free

Friday, January 01, 2010

Music Therapy

From the chick (me) who threw out all that music... I need some Frankie Beverly & Maze. Enjoy this, everybody:



AND... For Drew, since FB is not playing the songs right now, here are the others:






Old school grooving! :-)

Peace
--Free