Monday, March 31, 2008

Still got it

I had kind of forgotten how much fun going out can be. Sure I spent most of Sunday in a prone position in front of the TV but I (1) caught up on my huge backlog of viewing from the DVR, and (2) actually felt rested when I showed up at work on this morning. I haven't felt rested on a Monday in some time. And I I actually had the energy to do most of that cleaning when I got home -- that cleaning I was supposed to do on Sunday.

But back to the fun of Saturday. There were wonderful cocktails and great conversation. And then there was dancing. Zombie Mom kept on making statements about "stealing a man" on the dance floor. I felt obliged to comply. Because part of my personal soundtrack is Salt 'n' Pepa. Yeah, I know. Kind of mean but kind of fun too.

On my way home, I also felt obliged to stop at my fave bar. I mean there was one parking space in the block -- right in front of the front door. I took it as a sign. (And part of the hell of Sunday was walking back to get my car. Because the ideal "fave bar" is close enough to home that one does not need to drive there.) Zombie Mom was not surprised when I told her yesterday. How can a gal hate a place in which the men buy you drinks and tell you how fabulous you look?

Shortly after arriving, some really drunk, kind of crazy guy started talking to me. I didn't mind because he was kind of entertaining and his friends were buying the drinks. He walked away for a bit and one of his friends started talking to me. Then the friend went to talk to his buddy. Next thing I know the first guy had grabbed the second guy by the throat and had slammed him up against the wall. Apparently the first guy didn't like his friend talking to me. Said something about his friend was trying to mess with his game.

Ahhh. Nothing like some OPH and leather pants... It's been a few years since I have worn the combination and as a result, I had forgotten their power.

Oh, and damn it to hell. I found this through a post that Fluffycat was kind enough to share in her reader.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

What do I have to say about my results? Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Base coat

Tonight I'm heading out, along with Buzzgirl amongst others, to celebrate Zombie Mom's birthday. And yes, there will be cocktails involved. That means that after running errands this morning -- errands that necessitated my getting out of bed at an hour at which I do not wish to be up on a Saturday -- I arrived back home hungry. And sleepy. I wanted a nap but my stomach was grumbling something mighty. And there was no prepared food in the fridge. What's a girl to do? Head to Poulet.

Top row: Snap peas with mandarin orange sections and mint; Chicken salad with walnuts and tarragon.
Middle row: Buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes -- the Saturday special for April.
Bottom row: Carrot and walnut cupcake; Meyer lemon pie.

Maybe one should not go in there starving. But they're not open on Sundays. And after cocktails tonight, I might not feel like venturing out immediately for foodstuff tomorrow. That's what the chicken salad is for. And the sweets. Although the sweets may be consumed upon my return home tonight. One never knows.

But tomorrow? I'm going to need nourishment early. Because I'm actually thinking about cooking. *shudder* That is after I do the necessary cleaning around this place.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting out of the rut

I have gotten into a rut at work as far as lunch is concerned. Earlier this year it didn't matter too much because I was doing a lot of cooking. I haven't really been cooking much since I laid in all those supplies for my dad last month. In fact I feel like I'm treading water around here as far as cleaning goes.

This week I decided to venture out. Since I now have an hour for lunch (because I have to come in at 8 instead of 8:30), I have been trying to find ways to kill time. Heading out in my car has been the solution. So yesterday I headed over to the Potrero Hills shopping center. The yummy stuff pictured above came from I Luv Teriyaki & Sushi. While I don't love teriyaki, I do love sushi -- and sashimi. And no I did not eat it all. About half of it came home with me to make a very yummy dinner.

Oh, and then there was the hellacious drive home. Around 3:00 yesterday afternoon, there was a major accident on the Golden Gate Bridge. (The bridge was completely shutdown for an hour or so.) After reading about the accident online (I start checking traffic conditions online around 3:00 every day. That's how bad it is around here.), I knew that my evening commute would be screwed. And then I thought to send a text to Zombie Mom. As it turns out, she was already stuck in the middle of the craziness. So I hit the East Bay later than usual but I decided to hit Target anyway. I have been needing a new rug for the kitchen for quite some time. This is part of the home redecorating wish list that I wrote back when I found out about the tax return/promotion at work. Oh, and the reason for the list is that while I do have one credit card, I always pay cash for these kinds of things.

Natasha putting her mark on the new rug. At least she's not rubbing her stank ass on it. Or was she?

And for a final note, here is a quiz that Buzzgirl posted on her blog yesterday.

I was Righteous!
I scored 100% on the
Take the 80s quizby SheGoddess: Quick Weight Loss

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lost in books

Thanks to Jill's recommendation, I recently finished reading Parable of the Sower. I enjoyed that book so much, I knew that I had to read the sequel, Parable of the Talents. A couple of pages into the book, I knew why Jill had recommended the two books to me.
I have also read that the Pox was caused by accidentally coinciding climatic, economic, and sociological crises. It would be more honest to say that the Pox was caused our own refusal to deal with obvious problems in those areas. We caused the problems: then we sat and watched as they grew into crises. I have heard people deny this, but I was born in 1970. I have seen enough to know that it is true. I have watched education become more a privilege of the rich the basic necessity that it must be if civilized society is to survive. I have watched as convenience, profit, and inertia excused greater and more dangerous environmental degradation. I have watched poverty, hunger, and disease become inevitable for more and more people.

Overall, the Pox has had the effect of an installment-plan World War III. In fact, there were several small, bloody shooting wars going on around the world during the Pox. These were stupid affairs -- wastes of life and treasure. They were fought, ostensibly, to defend against vicious foreign enemies. All too often, they were actually fought because inadequate leaders did not know what else to do. Such leaders knew that they could depend on fear, suspicion, hatred, need, and greed to arouse patriotic support for war.

Amid all this, somehow, the United States of America suffered a major nonmilitary defeat. It lost no important war, yet it did not survive the Pox. Perhaps it simply lost sight of what it once intended to be, then blundered aimlessly until it exhausted itself.

What is left of it now, what it has become, I do not know.

After reading that passage, I quickly flipped to the front of the book to check the copyright date. 1998. The Pox that the character describes officially occurs between the years of 2015 and 2030. Not really that far from now. Looking at events since the publication of the book, one cannot help but wonder if this is our path. And I guess that it did not help matters in my mind, when I chose to watch the season finale of Salt and Pepa's show on VH1. In the finale, they traveled to New Orleans. And showed the utter destruction that still exists there. Two and a half years later.

Speaking of the South. Family. My dad's older sister is still around and she has been a great help. She has set up systems and routines at my dad's house that will hopefully make things less stressful for him. Their big sticking point has been weekends. She has arranged for someone to be present at the house on weekends so that if my dad needs to get away and do something relaxing -- like play golf. She keeps telling him that this is necessary or else he will burn out quickly. She should know. She has many years of being a primary caregiver -- for her husband and my grandmother. That's why I knew that I wanted her to come out here to help out. Plus she's kind of bossy.

On a happier note (I just say this because things are still up in the air as to my stepmother's condition. She has lost some ground since getting out of rehabilitation.), things are going really well with my new position. And I've been doing things that I enjoy once more. Like going out. And reading.

Oh, and Nat, you can dismiss your Outlook reminder this month. I remembered since I now have enough of a routine once more that I do things like look at the calendar.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Ostara

That's right. I'm coming out of the broom closet. As if some of you hadn't figured it out previously. And those who have know that I like to rant occasionally but I would never act on those rants. I just don't want the karmic fallout. And today I have been thinking about the fallout of some of my rants. I do not regret any of the things I have said here in the past. They were carefully deliberated thoughts. (Remember? If I am feeling angry, I let the post marinate at least 24 hours before posting.) And over this last week I have been reading the commentary about Obama's speech on racism. And at times I got angry once more.

Although my mother has tried to tell me to let go of this anger. And when she says this, I want to let go. Because my mother, just like my father, grew up under Jim Crow. And every now and then they say things that shock me. Kind of like Reverend Wright. And I forgive them because I know where they have been. Because that's what we do in Black America -- we forgive. Why? Because I know that if I had lived through Jim Crow, Reverend Wright might just sound like a conservative compared to me. As I said back in December, I am tired of people of privilege defining who I should be. And along with this, comes the feeling that these same people should not have the audacity to tell me what is and is not racism.

Now add onto all of this that I took Jill's suggestion to read The Parable of the Sower -- the coolest book I have read in some time. But in reading this book, I couldn't help but think that we weren't that far away from that world. It was the same feeling I got from reading A Handmaid's Tale years ago.

The world has been heading toward a scary place for many years. And finally I started to think that we might get off that track. Before the latest crap. And I start to think about how change is so upsetting to many people. They'd rather maintain the status quo even if the status quo is crap. Or maybe they don't realize that it's all crap because they're benefiting from the status quo.

But today is Ostara -- the day of new life. And for the first time in years, I believe that this is truly the case. Oh. And when they told me that I could leave work early today for Good Friday, I didn't bat an eye. I wonder if they felt the gust as I headed out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Love is

Note: If you're squeamish, you might not want to continue reading.

Tonight I discovered that love is owning a long-haired cat.

I was sitting at the computer when Boris started acting strange. Well, more strange than usual. It took me a few seconds before I realized that he was wiping his ass on the carpet! I quickly ran to the kitchen to grab the bottle of Nature's Miracle. That stuff, along with Clorox Clean-Up with Bleach, has become my best friend. Unfortunately.

Everything was cool but then I noticed that Boris had a dingleberry. There was a great deal of chasing and fighting involved. And there was a lot of me yelling, "But you have poop stuck on your ass!" In the end, I managed to cut it free. (I mistakenly thought at first that I'd be able to wipe it off with a tissue. Nope.) And then I disinfected everything.

I realized that this must be love because I was not grossed out. May I never have to do it again. Anytime soon.

Oh, and for something totally unrelated, I had to add this site to my feed reader tonight. Since that seems to be a major part of my dating demographic these days. Aside from the guys who are ten or more years older than I am. And maybe one day, I'll work up the nerve to sign up for Crazy Blind Date. But for now, I'll content myself with OKCupid.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blame Hilly

After reading Hilly's post tonight, I knew I had to steal it.

Here's how it works:

* Pick 15 of your favorite movies
* Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie (or quote them from memory because you are that bad ass)
* Post them on your blog for everyone to guess
* Fill in the film title once it’s been guessed

These are your rules:
* No Googling or using IMDB search functions (Don’t cheat!)
* Leave your answer(s) in the comments

On with the list...

1. "Every now and then say, 'What the fuck.' 'What the fuck' gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."
(Risky Business guessed by Buzzgirl)

2. "Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
(The Godfather guessed by Jill)

3. "Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops."

4. "Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues."
(Adventures in Babysitting guessed by Jill)

5. "I would like a nice, powerful, mind-altering substance. Preferably one that will make my unborn children grow gills."

6. "How do you tell a child that she was born to be hurt?"

7. "She knew everyone that mattered. Everyone loved her."
(Rebecca guessed by Marissa)

8. "Unless, of course, Claudia Schiffer calls, in which case I want you out of the house straight away, you wee motherless mongrel."
(Love Actually guessed by Buzzgirl)

9. "You could always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you. I must say, the mind reels."
(Breakfast at Tiffany's guessed by Hilly)

10. "It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk."
(When Harry Met Sally guessed by Sizzle)

11. "The whole point of having an answering service is to call them once in a while and see if you've got any messages."

12. "In my hunt for food I had become the hunted. This time I survived, but I was no longer alone in my universe. I had an enemy, the most terrifying ever beheld by human eyes."

13. "This is a really volcanic ensemble you're wearing. It's really marvelous!"
(Pretty in Pink guessed by Buzzgirl)

14. "I found myself driving past convenience stores... that weren't on the way home."
(Raising Arizona guessed by Hilly)

15. "The entire British empire was built on cups of tea, and if you think I'm going to war without one, mate, you're mistaken."

And please excuse me if I'm slow to post correct answers. I'll be busy spending my tax return this weekend.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I warned y'all that things would get sporadic around here. But this time the Universe has been smiling upon me.

First things first. My stepmother left the rehab center on Thursday and is now at home. My dad's older sister has been fabulous, as I knew she would be. She has visited my stepmother in the rehab center every day since she has been here. She has sat with my dad through the various appointments and asked the questions of which he did not think. She recruited their younger sister and their cousin to come up on Tuesday to help her do the last things to make the downstairs bedroom ready for my stepmother's return. Knowing that my aunt has been there with my dad allowed me to relax quite a bit. She is much more skilled at all of this kind of stuff than anyone else in our family. (It's long been recognized in the family that my skills are keeping lines of communication open, cooking for folks, and organizing your business.)

And in the middle of all of this, the Universe offered an opportunity to me. Shortly after the weekend of my dad's near meltdown, I found out that a longterm employee at work had decided to retire. Upon learning this, my boss and president of the company approached me about filling the position temporarily -- permanently if I decided that I liked it. And this is why I have been MOL (missing online) for most of the last couple of weeks. (I know there have been a few posts here but that was just because I was suddenly overcome with a strong feeling that overruled my extreme tiredness.) I knew going into it all that I would be quite competent at the job. Hell. I'd be more than competent; I would kick ass. The bottom line is that I didn't want to say anything here until I had made up my mind. I have told them that I want to take the new position permanently. It's a promotion and I'll be getting a pretty decent raise. For the first time in a long time I will be getting paid what I think I'm really worth. (And at this point, I must say a huge "Thank you" to Mommy Zombie. We chatted about all of this the evening during which we took the OPH out for a test drive. Throughout this whole process, I have carried some her words to me as a mantra. "Never undervalue yourself.") And so now I'm off on a whole new adventure at work.

In the middle of the whole work situation, I decided to bite the bullet finally and to do my tax return. The last couple of years I have owed money. This year I'm getting a load of money back. Now add this to the promotion and try to imagine the elation I am feeling at this point. My independence has always been of great importance to me. And I never really feel truly independent unless I have disposable income.

Every woman in my family has lectured me on the importance of being financially independent for too many years to count. Now they say that they made me too independent and that's why I'm not married. They're probably right. I get into a relationship and at some point I start thinking about how I might be struggling financially at that point in time. And then I back away because I don't want to be dependent in that way. Of course, it may also have something to do with the year I worked at the women's shelter. So many of those women had stayed in their situation because of financial dependence. And I've had at least a couple of scary situations in my dating history so the thought of ending up in the same place as those women has not seemed very far-fetched. Heck. It's part of my family history and that's why the women in my family stressed this so much.

For the first time in a few years, I'm back to that place of financial stability -- one that includes having disposable income. (I now know that this is why I have been avoiding my fave bar. For quite some time, I have not been the person whom they first met. Now I feel free to be my usual partygirl self.) Often at jobs, I have not really taken vacation time because it would just mean sitting around at home. I have often thought of being able to plan a real vacation. You know. Ones that don't involve some sort of family visit, ones that are for me and not out of a sense of obligation. My response was to make a wish list of things I wanted/wanted to do. And it felt great to know that these things are really within reach now.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Your new assignment

I used to be really good at keeping track of things. Perhaps these last few months the lack of my ability to do such is a sign of all the other turmoil in my life. So here's where y'all come in.

Your assignment is to give me a reminder in three weeks. (Yes, I am quite aware that I did not include the words "if you should choose to accept it." Guess what? It's not optional.) You are to tell me, "You may suddenly be feeling the need to bitchslap every person who even slightly irritates you. This is not really you speaking but instead is a result of the hormones coursing through your body at this time."

Why the assignment? Because earlier this week, I noticed that I was feeling kind of pudgy. I meant to check the calendar and then promptly forgot to do such. When I felt a little snappish at work, I once more thought to check the calendar but then excused my behavior because everyone at work expects me to be a little stressed out right now. (More about that at a later date.) I should have known when I went into Safeway earlier this week and felt the sudden urge to hit the frozen food aisle for the first time in months. I should have known when I awoke this morning and realized that I was hungry. I know this sounds normal but the next may not. I decided that the perfect breakfast would be a microwave pepperoni pizza and some lemonade. Seriously.

And then it all fell into place tonight. When I suddenly had the urge to go to the bathroom while shopping at Barnes and Noble. I had no supplies and the machine was broken. I quickly gathered my purchases and headed out. So much for a stop at Ann Taylor Loft while I was in the area. And then all these no driving beyotches had to cross my path on the way home that made me briefly flash upon the image of Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes. But they were probably older than I.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A funny thing happened

At work yesterday, one of the guys greeted me. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. He then shared that he was stressed. I told him that I had reached a point in my life that I have learned to just let go. Everything works out in the end. He told me that I had a rather optimistic outlook. I have always been told that I am pessimistic. And so I realized that I am starting a new chapter in my life. A chapter in which all of the things I have heard and read over the years have actually become a part of my psyche. Because somehow in the middle of all the craziness that has been going on recently, I have finally found a way to see the good and to be happy.

And last night I talked to one of my dad's brothers. He thanked me, just as my father's other siblings had, for "taking care of my dad" that weekend. And I realized my mixed feelings. For years, I toiled to make my father's family approve of me. They probably did but I never felt that they did. And so hearing their thanks over the last week has made me want to cry. After I stopped trying to win their approval, I finally heard the words that I had wanted to hear for so many years. Sorry. I had to pause once more to let a few tears slip just thinking about it all. I guess that's what happens when you are kind of known as the rebel kid. And my perceptions of them is what made me the rebel in the first place. Because they have always said positive things about me to my face. But to everyone else? They say what they really think and it has usually gotten back to me. But if you question them about what they said to someone else, they'll likely lie. As the old saying goes, "I trust them as far as I can thrown them." I, on the other hand, have been an honest person person at all times -- with the exceptions of when I have withheld information from them. Nothing wrong with a little self-preservation in my book. (And sometimes I have felt like they have used my honesty against me. Never tell your enemies how they can wound you.)

If you were to step to me and to question me about something I said, I would quickly admit it if I had actually said it. I would never say anything behind someone's back that I did feel comfortable in saying to his/her face. If I put a spin on it, then there's probably a whole lot of other stuff going on. But I usually only use the spin thing at work. And I can spin the hell out of stuff. Probably why in undergrad I said that I should be someone's campaign manager. I don't want to take the direct hits but I find enjoyment in putting a spin on events. Probably a good thing that I'm not teaching anymore.

Although I did teach one kid the damage control/spin thing my first year teaching. She had failed my class on the first report card. I told all of the kids their grades before the report cards were issued. When I finished up, she was missing. I found her curled up in the fetal position on the floor under her desk. I coaxed her out eventually. Then we talked about why she was upset. I told her what to say to her parents -- that she would be coming to me for extra help at lunch and after school. I also made her promise that she would follow through. (I told her that if she prefaced the grade on the report card with an explanation that she had talked to her teacher and had come up with a plan to improve her grade, they would be less angry. This is exactly what happened.) By the end of the year, she had an A in my class.

Because of my actions that first term, I ended up with a full classroom of kids at lunchtime. I will never forget those kids -- who are due to graduate high school next spring. I'd like to think that they haven't forgotten me. Because those kids filled a void that my own family had left. They taught me to trust and to believe in myself in ways that no one else has ever done in my life. When they thought that I was under attack, they had my back. I had never experienced such a pure love in my life before this point and I know that this is why I stayed in teaching. Even with the more challenging students I have had after that point, I know that there are some who will always remember me -- the same way that I remember some of my former teachers.

I guess that I am thinking of former students because every day on my way home I pass the school at which I taught last year. Last night I passed and saw one of the other teachers getting out of her car. So I stopped to chat. As we were chatting, a parent whom I knew passed. And part of me is kicking myself for not staying around for their arts celebration -- because I know the parent will tell them that she saw me. And part of me is applauding me for being able to let go of the past.

And suddenly last night I realized that this is the happiest I have been in some time. And my evening out with Mommy Zombie? Proof that I am on the right track once more.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Test drive

I don't know about y'all but my possessions? Sometimes they speak to me. Like if I get a really pretty dress. Suddenly I'll hear a little voice saying, "You know what? We should go out somewhere."

OPH definitely has a voice. Let me explain some stuff first, though. My love of OPH started with getting my hair braided. (Oh, and OPH belongs on your head, not on your clothes. That's just way too dark for me. Like Holocaust kind of dark. And that's never cool in my book.) That first time, I thought, "Well hell. If I'm going to spend all this time (8 hours) and money, I may as well get some length as well." And then I discovered ponytails. I have always kept them in two lengths -- Everyday and Party Hair.

Everyday has been pretty happy recently. The same cannot be said about Party Hair. Party Hair has spent months sitting in a mesh bag. At first it was a gentle whisper. "Hey! You know what would be cool? If we went out for a night on the town." I ignored that whisper. And then Party Hair turned downright ugly. Screaming at me like a banshee. "Beyotch! I know you heard me! You're taking me out. Now!" It got so that not only did I worry that the cats would kill me in my sleep, but that Party Hair would do the same.

Then Mommy Zombie came up with an idea. A girls' night before she brings C2 home next weekend.

Saturday night we met up at Cesar -- and we both took our OPH out for an evening. There were food, drinks, and conversation. (Oh. And one of the points of conversation was a realization that she had made. Those food photos I post? I rarely eat all of that. At least not at one sitting. Hell. Because I like to taste and sample while I cook, I often plate stuff for the sake of a photo and then wrap it up in the fridge for later consumption. Mommy Zombie calls this one of the secrets of the skinny girls.) And the OPH basked in the whole thing.

Leaving Cesar, I walked with Mommy Zombie to the taxi stand in downtown. (Yes, there is one. Right next to the BART station.) On the way there, she asked how far my fave bar was. I told her a few blocks past the taxi stand. And then that other voice in my head spoke up -- my inner Holly. Well, she said, "Of course we can pop down there for a bit."

Now I'll admit that I was a bit nervous. The last time I was in the place was right before Christmas. And I don't have much memory of that evening. All I know is that I didn't have any cash and I had left my debit card at another bar. As far as I knew, I still owed money and they were pissed off at me. But they weren't. I ran into the former hostess with her boyfriend. After a hug, she said that she had just been asking where I've been. No one knew. Then my bartender came over and greeted me with a hug. I knew then that all was safe. The bad part was that he no longer could remember if I liked regular or diet Coke with my Myers. But at least he remembered that I like lots of lime. My inner Holly did not take this as a good sign.

So Mommy Zombie and I drank. And she taught me a really cool game -- "Live or Die." As folks walk past you say whether they should live or die based upon their look. One woman had been slated for death until I overheard her in the bathroom. She was speaking Portuguese. We could not hold her to American fashion ideals and so decided that this time she could live. But her outfit was still hideous.

You should have seen the bartender's shock when I closed out my tab after the second round. I explained that it had been a long day -- and it had. So Mommy Zombie and I headed back down the street. We didn't even have to go all the way to the cab stand when a cab driver called out his window to ask if we needed a cab.

And the photo? This used to be the boutique on my walk home. You know. The place with the cute dresses of which I would take photos on my way home. I guess I should be more surprised that they lasted this long. The clothes were cute but a bit overpriced in my opinion. The curse of having spent years working in fabric stores and of knowing how to sew.

But now I'm hearing new voices. The voices of all that other fantastic OPH I saw at the beauty supply store. They want me to liberate them. *sigh* What's a girl to do?