Wednesday, April 30

just like oil on my hands


I got my ass kicked last night.

I was dreaming, but still, that’s just not right. With each minute of wakefulness the dream slips further and further away. If I don’t think about it I can almost glance at details out of the corner of my eye but when I try to grasp them they slide right through my fingers. I remember waking up at some point and deciding that Mama G was going to be the hero that saved me and inserting her into the dream. I can’t remember if it worked.
Now I’m wondering why I didn’t decide to make myself the hero of my dream. Susan posted about fantasies this morning and it occurred to me that my main one is being taken care of. I don’t think I could stand it for any more than a couple days before I ran screaming, but I’d really love it if I didn’t have to make any decisions or choices for a while. If someone took me on a fully planned out vacation; if someone threw me a surprise party; if someone said, “Don’t worry G, I’ve got this”.
Like President Shrub I am the decider in my life. I pick the movies I see with BPM, I design the trip with Papa and now for Mama. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy planning things for them, trying to pick out things they’d like but wouldn’t see or do on their own. I like taking care of people. V was the only person in my life who would call and say things like, “We’re going to this place at this time to do this thing – you in?” Then she left me for the wilds of Raleigh, NC. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Sigh.
So maybe last night when the sharp silver discs were flying at my head and my body was bruised and screaming I decided someone else needed to do the saving this time. Maybe it was the last night of Birthday Month and I decided to take it off. Maybe I shouldn’t read stories about death before bed. Maybe I’m reading too much in to this entire thing.
You figure it out. I’m done.

Tuesday, April 29

a certain kind of somethin


One of the many reasons I love my grocery store is that there is a mini bookstore at the front. Mostly it’s just bestsellers and magazines, but I like that they make an effort. There’s also a Starbucks. Most days it’s hard for me to pass by a Starbucks and today was no different. I’m walking through the doors and I see them – quite possibly the most attractive men I’ve seen in a long time. A. Long. Time.
Maybe it was the reflected book glory…but I doubt it. Let me explain some things to you. I don’t have a type. I’ve lived in enough places and come from such a multicultural family that if you’re attractive I’ll probably find you attractive. Unless you’re Tony Parker – I just don’t get that. Moving on – I have lived in the South long enough to have developed a taste for a rare type of southern man; we’ll call him the southern warrior-poet. The SWP drives a truck, usually a big one and it’s generally for work. He works in construction or as a landscaper, mechanic or something else that some look at as dirty work and others as art. He has muscles that don’t come from a gym. He reads. A lot. Maybe he went to college, maybe he finished or didn’t, some of them own the small business, some just work there but they all read constantly. They are all races – well, I’ve never met an Asian SWP, but there’s probably at least one out there somewhere. Oddly enough every Black SWP I’ve met has ridden a Harley, but I’m guessing it’s not a requirement. They’re usually quiet guys and in my experience they play some kind of instrument. They aren’t the type to take you out for French food but will probably help you try to cook it at home. When people say Southern Gentleman they usually think of some Rhett Butler type. I think of these men who can say ma’am in a way that makes your spine tingle, love their mothers and still open doors.
As I’ve said – they’re very rare. Sighting two of them, together, in the grocery store was almost more than my little heart could take. They were looking, I was looking…it was a good morning. As I walked outside I noticed the two Verizon trucks in the lot – they kind with the extendable arms and baskets on the back. I resisted the urge to look inside them – yeah; I’m nosy like that. The guys walked out. More eye action and smiles along with a sigh from me as they swung into their trucks.
As I pulled into my parking space at work I realized that Verizon is our new neighbor. Hmmm…

Monday, April 28

happy monday


This is the last Monday of birthday month. I know it's hard, but you'll be ok, minions, we have next year to look forward to. Since there are 20 million of them at least, I thought I'd pull out some random thoughts for you on this fine morning.

  • ABC is a tease. For weeks they've been playing the Harry Potter movies in order on Saturday night but next week they're switching to The Chronicles of Narnia instead of the 5th movie. Jerks.

  • I just admitted that I spend my Saturday nights watching Harry Potter.

  • Firing 30% of your staff, including your step-son and daughter-in-law is NOT the way to engender confidence and inspire the rest of us. I'm just sayin'

  • Taking vodka to some one's house after they've been fired should be a nationwide tradition.

  • Watching Men in Black on a Saturday morning when you're hungover while trying to eat eggs is a really bad idea. Really. Bad.

  • Finding Tanqueray vodka on sale at the liquor store is a sign that the ABC celebrates Birthday Month.

  • Does anyone like the new set of This Week with George Stephanopolous? It bothers me for some reason.

  • Newseum is a stupid word.

  • Never sign a contract saying you will jump into a pool in your underwear.

  • If you do sign such a contract make sure to swipe it while everyone else is drying off - that shit does not need to make it into the office.

  • If I was going to have a stripper name it really would have to be Honey Latte. Does Starbucks have that copyrighted?

Friday, April 25

?


Why is it that just hearing your name can cloud my day? Why did you lie? Why does it hurt instead of pissing me off? Why am I alone and you’re not? Why did you cry? How can I know that I deserve so much more than you and miss you at the same time?
Why can’t I just slap your face, good and hard, just once?
Or just not care anymore.


Seriously…


Does she have to be fat and unattractive?
That’s just bullshit.

a night off


Sometimes I just need a break. I realize that there are important things going on in the world right now. I spend most of my nights working either politically or charitably to change my little corner of the universe and it generally fills me with a sense of pride and wards off the helplessness that so many people feel that I really can’t understand.
Sometime though, all I want is Taco Bell and a new Robert Tanenbaum novel. It generally lasts for about a week, this escapism and I am at the tail end of it…a girl can only talk politics with her papa for so long before she has a reaction.
Last night I finished Escape, by RKT. I’ve been reading him for years and have literally read every book he’s written. A few years ago Mama G scoured the Internet and used bookstores and filled in all the holes in my collection for Christmas and since then I haven’t missed one. The thing I hate about books is that they end. No matter how great the ending is I get a tad depressed – mostly because of myriad undiagnosed mental problems. So a series that stretches for over 20 years is pretty much perfect for me. I like the fact that picking up each new book is like calling an old friend and asking, “So, what’s been going on?”
There are a couple of pages in the beginning that get a little preachy – I only noticed because I didn’t agree – but he cuts that out soon enough and moves back into his wheelhouse, which is fun, convoluted legal thrills with a healthy dose of religious curiosity and mysticism thrown in. Tanenbaum nails New York and always has, throughout all of its changes. All the favorite characters are back as the Karp-Ciampi clan once again saves New York with the help of a Black detective, and Italian ADA, the Russian Mob, a rogue FBI agent, a Jesuit priest, a Native American policeman, a Vietnamese gangster, the ‘Mole People’, their daughter (who talks to a Saint) and their twin boys (one of whom was blinded by a bullet a couple books ago) and assorted mastiffs and other large dogs. Ned, the cowboy, is absent – he’s training to be a Navy Seal. No, seriously.
If you’re going to read the books I really would suggest starting at the first one. In each successive book the relevant back-story is explained, you just get so much more out of it if you already know, you know?
This is not a review (obviously), more of an endorsement, I guess. The next time you need an Escape, try picking it up in the form of a book.

Thursday, April 24

DFTL: My Ass Edition


It's Thursday, so here's your DFTL!!!

I walked out of the terminal with my garment bag slung across one shoulder and my small suitcase another. I stood in the rain clutching my carry on looking like pink and white polka dotted baggage had beat me up and then I set off. The desire to be home and in my own bed was the only thing keeping me moving, one foot in front of the other across the short term lot and over to long term. The sole of my right boot had come off in Chicago but I wore them anyway, certain it would be fine until I could get it resoled. Whatever substance the heel was made of scraped against the wet pavement, slipping a bit with each step. I adjusted my gait and lumbered on – thinking of the clothes I hadn’t worn, but had believed I needed and how goddamn heavy they were.
It must have been a pebble; some smooth round stone that caught between the heel of my shoe and the soaked and slippery asphalt and sent me flying into the air like a cartoon character. I landed on my right ass cheek and my baggage landed on me. As I tried to untangle myself I slipped again and came down hard on my left shoulder. After a car packed with people drove by I let out a string of sobbing curses that would have made a lobsterman proud, hobbled to my car and went home.
Now, in honor, of my black, green, yellow, purple and blue shoulder, back and butt here is this week’s Don’t Forget The Lyrics: My Ass Edition:

The more you near your destination the more you’re slip sliding away.

Falling, yes I am falling…

Do you really want to hurt me?

Funny how in dreams your feet never touch the earth…

What’s your name, my name is pain…

You start at the top, go full circle round, catch a breeze take a spill

But ending up where I started again makes me wanna stand still

Tuesday, April 22

me and papa g

Papa G rocks.

That could be the entire post, but then my sweet little minions would pout and we can’t have that, can we? If I had about a week I could give you all the deets on my Chitown Birthday Adventure with the illustrious Papa G, but this G doesn’t have that kinda’ time. So: we did ALL the touristy stuff. I’m not kidding. I am now a master of the red line, cabs, and buses. I’m also a master of walking the soles (literally) off of my favorite pair of boots.
We made inappropriate jokes in crowded elevators and made up back-stories for blues club bouncers. We ate, we drank, and we were merry. I took tons of pictures and some of them are even good. We made friends at Wrigley field and we got free passes to a club, because that’s how we roll.

We ate steak.
Lots of steak.
Really, really expensive and soooooo worth it steak.
And lamb chops.
We are NOT vegetarians.
The weather was amazing, the people were great and I think I have a little crush on the Windy City.
On our last day we saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform a new work :“Love Stories”. Both of us have seen them many times before but this is the best company they have had since Jamison was dancing. I’m going again when they come here. It was THAT good. Make sure you make your reservations by phone so that you can see “Love Stories” because they’re rotating the dances performed on each day.
Papa G did things he never would have done if I hadn’t made him (architectural boat tour) and so did I (screaming at professional baseball players) and we both had a great time.

If you’re going I’ll give you the names of places we went. If you’d like to sponsor a return trip Papa G and I will take you!
I learned why it’s really called “The Windy City”, that not even Papa G can pull off Cosby sweaters anymore, and that being embarrassed is silly. I also learned that vacation calories don’t count and that my father and I can spend five whole days together with only one fight.
For the rest of my life I will be grateful for those five days.
Thank you, Chicago.

Monday, April 21

my kinda' town

I'm baaaack! I had a great time and will post ad nausem later, but for now I just want to say thanks for all the birthday happy you guys sent my way and no, I didn't feel the earthquake. I'll try to catch up with you soon. For now here's a pic I took on a boat tour and a poem about my newest crush.




CHICAGO (by Carl Sandburg)


Hog Butcher for the World,

Tool Maker,

Stacker of Wheat,

Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;

Stormy, husky, brawling,City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.

And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.

And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marksof wanton hunger.

And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,

Bareheaded,

Shoveling,

Wrecking,

Planning,

Building, breaking, rebuilding,

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,

Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,

Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse and under his ribs the heart of the people,

Laughing!

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter ofYouth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be HogButcher,

Tool Maker,

Stacker of Wheat,

Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Tuesday, April 15

Birthdaymonth: The List

No Regrets gave me Edgar, the Super SALAMANDER, yesterday. I could tell you what makes him super, but then I'd have to kill you. As promised, here is a list of Acceptable Presents for G in celebration of her birthmonth!!! Try to behave yourselves while I'm gone and start shopping!!!
In no particular order and without regard to reality I would like:

Bobble heads of the each of Black Vatican Trinity characters for my desk.
Congress to make volunteer hours tax deductible.
A German Shepherd, a Chocolate Lab and a Quarter Horse.
A tropical vacation for my girls and me.
An end to the War in Iraq.
A digital camera.
A blue guitar.
A very old saxophone.
Safety, dignity and education for all of the world’s women. Get that done and we can fix everything else.
The full series DVD’s of Homicide: Life on the Streets and The West Wing.
A dinner with both of my parents that didn’t break anyone’s heart.
An anonymous envelope with enough money in it to open my bookstore.
Another three hours in each day.
More time with my friends.
To guest star on General Hospital in a scene where Sonny throws things. Or seduces me. Or both.
To never have another hangover again…and still be able to drink.
My own line of infused vodkas.
To start National Group Hug day. Seriously.
To replace ‘What a shame’ with ‘What can I do to help?’
To be able to visit my friend Sara in London and meet her kids.
To take Mama G on a trip to Cape Verde.
Silly songs to be written about me and sung loudly.
For the people in my life to truly know how crazy about them I am.
For Common and Taye Diggs to start fighting over me at the Academy Awards where I’m nominated for Best Director. Kevin McKidd will break it up…but not before shirts are torn off…
To play for the Green Bay Packers in one game.
There’s more, but I see no need to be greedy.
I’m just sayin’…

Monday, April 14

yes, virginia, there is a birthday week


It's getting ever closer, minions...the Actual Day of The Birth of G fast approaches. Meanwhile I think i'm getting a cold. I'm telling myself that it's allergies and I am refusing to be sick. We'll see how that works out.

Riddle me this minions: why did your very own G start crying on the phone with Mama G last night when she said I was too young to get married. Yes, I want to have the husband and 2.5 baby G's and yes, I'm turning 29 and there aren't even any dates on the horizon and yes we are closing in on the re-virginization of G but none of this explains the crying.

I am not a crier. A bitcher, yes. A crier, no.

Hmmm...

In other news I'll be going to Krush tonight (after my 11 hour workday)with the BPM to exchange gifts and enjoy some birthday revelry. If you haven't checked out the restaurant link yet, please do. How can I rub it in if you don't know what you're missing?

Speaking of crushes... multiple Celebrity Lovers of G are in one (apparently crappy) movie - Street Kings. Will the crappiness keep me away from the movie theatres? Let us ponder: Common and Hugh Laurie in the same movie. Nah. They could be reading the phone book and I'd show up. You do realize this movie was released during birthday month, right? Even Hollywood is Gifting The G!

Speaking of gifting...I leave on a jet plane at 7am Wednesday, so I will be posting my list of appropriate gifts for G tomorrow. Watch for it.

PS. Guess who played pool with a felon this weekend? That's right, I'm hardcore!

Friday, April 11

birthday month: presents from the concert gods


I got an email this morning that made my birthday month so far. It was from Ticketmaster – and no matter how you might feel about the ticketing giant I am now a fan.
Maroon 5, Counting Crows and one of my new favorites, Sara Bareilles will be in Virginia Beach in July. Oh yeah, I’ll be there too. Oh, and Susan. Oh and Val who left me for the wilds of Raleigh, NC and who I have to woo back to me with concerts and vodka… Also attending? A couple people I don’t hate from work and those of you who can bribe Susan and I sufficiently.
Get creative people: What would you do for a hot, sultry night with Susan, myself and some great music under the stars…

Thursday, April 10

DFTL: Chibirthday!


Next Thursday (the Official Birthday of G) there will be no DFTL because I’ll be in Chicago with Papa G eating great steaks and drinking whiskeys in blues clubs. So here’s your birthday edition a week early.

Happy Birthday to you
You live in a zoo
You look like a monkey
And you smell like one too!

Come on babe
why don’t we paint the town
and all that Jazz
Start the car I know a whoopee spot
Where the gin is cold but the piano’s hot
It’s just a noisy hall where there’s a nightly brawl
And all
That
Jazz

In comments: birthday or Chicago (the band, musical or city) lyrics…

Wednesday, April 9

change of heart


I can’t get the female soldiers from my last post out of my head. I have done everything in my power and will continue to do everything I can think of to agitate for these women and get others to join me. Parts of my thoughts are always with them and yet the days roll on and life goes on.
Books are a huge part of that life. One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult and I finished her latest last night. I always find something directly relevant to my life in her novels as well as something to think about but this one struck a deeper chord with me. I always feel strange trying to talk about her work because there are always multiple stories running parallel and raising conflicting questions throughout – it’s one of the things I love about it and one of the things that make discussions so hard. In a novel it is much simpler to present multiple sides of an idea than it is in a blog post…
What it comes down to for me is a question of sin, redemption and belief. What do I believe? How do my beliefs inform my actions and my relation to the world? What is divinity?
I do not know what I believe. I do know that I am searching and learning. I know that as I move through this world I am trying to work on the side of light against the darkness. I know that at times when I truly need them words of hope and inspiration come to me in many forms. I know that they always leave behind more questions.

Monday, April 7

semper fi?


Big Man posted on this over the weekend. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I believe that our soldiers have placed their lives in our hands. For whatever reason they may have joined the military they have effectively abjured many of the rights of civilian life and given themselves over to us, to be used as we see fit. We elect the people who put them in harm’s way. They serve each of us, whether we want them to or not. It is a sacred trust and we betray that trust when we allow their lives to be spent unnecessarily, but I digress.
Our armed forces are not only made up of men, but of women as well. Although women are not supposed to be serving in forward combat units the reality of Iraq is that there aren’t any safe zones, every soldier there is a combat soldier. This week, while Generals and Ambassadors speak with Congressmen and Senators about the war our soldiers will continue fighting and dying in Iraq, our veterans will continue suffering physical and psychological pain that most of those in the upper echelons cannot comprehend and that the rest of us don’t want to. In the shadows of all of this, away from the morning news and the hour-long investigative reports female soldiers are being raped and violently harassed in record breaking numbers.
These women are putting their lives on the line alongside men, they are leaving their families behind to wait and worry alongside men, and they are performing their duties alongside men. Each night as darkness falls in the barracks, on the bases where our soldiers are supposed to be safe these women are being savagely attacked in record numbers. Their attackers are not being court-martialed and many times these women have to continue serving daily with men who have brutally raped them. There is nowhere for them to turn. There is no justice.
Magazines and newspapers like Salon.com, The LA Times, and The Nation have broken stories on this atrocity, but the women risking their lives and their sanity for this country have been betrayed by their fellow soldiers, their leaders and we will compound that betrayal unless we speak up now and put a stop to this. Please follow the links and read these articles. I don’t think you will be able to stay silent once you do.
Many of you have readerships far larger than my own, I ask you now to share this news, don’t let them bury these women under statistics. I ask you also to e-mail your senators and your congressperson. Call your local newspaper and ask why no one is covering this story. From these numbers I can practically gauarantee you that there is at least one female soldier from your town who has lived or is living this nightmare. We can, we must put a stop to this and the first step is to shine a light into this darkness. Go on the message boards at CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX and make noise. Make enough noise that they can no longer sweep these women under the rug. We must speak for these women. We cannot accept this. This cannot stand. If we can’t help them then what are they fighting for?

Saturday, April 5

overcast



At times there is simply too much information out there. For a couple of hours now I've been reading through my blogroll, catching up with you guys and your lives. There are some seriously great writers on that list, political and personal. You make me think and you make me laugh. Right now there's a focus on the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, his legacy and the present and future of race relations in this country. People have made statements I agree with wholeheartedly and some that strike me as seriously insensitive and ignorant. Since I believe that ignorance can be cured with information and I have a big mouth...let's just say it's been a busy morning.


There's something that has always bothered me and it's been on my mind in the past couple of days...something that may seem trivial in light of the historical implications of this election year and yesterday's anniversary but oh well. Many of you may know that I plan to open a bookstore next year and that I majored in theatre in college. If you didn't well now you do (see what I mean about ignorance being a curable condition?).


Why is there an 'African-American' section in most book stores? This drives me crazy. You want to separate the Biographies from the Romance novels? Fine. Crime from Sci-fi? Ok. Non-fiction from Fiction? Cool. Something is wrong when we start having Latino, Asian and African-American sections though. Does this mean that the author is of a certain race, or that the subject matter is or both? What if a white author writes a book about a Japanese cop who becomes a PI in Harlem, where do you put that book? As outlandish as my example may seem, that is exactly how ridiculous I think the racial separation of book stores is. Othello and A Raisin In the Sun are both plays. As I Lay Dying and The Celestial Jukebox are both novels. Romance novels geared towards African Americans and romance novels geared towards whites are both romance novels. If some white woman happens to buy a book about inflamed black loins instead of white ones I do not think it will be the end of the world. Basic genre and author - that is the information you need in a bookstore. The point of reading a book is to step into another world of some sort. If you get 'tricked' into stepping into a world filled with people who do not look like you and you get scared you can close the damn book. I'll make an exception for books written in another language, although you really should be able to tell that from the titles and if you can't what are you doing???
Some of my favorite books and authors were ones I found accidentally. They had cover designs or titles that intrigued me, so I picked them up. The more you segment the bookstore the less chance there is of this happening across racial lines. What truly drives me bat-shit insane is the notion that white authors are writing for an audience and black authors (or any PoC, really) is writing for a black audience. As if it is somehow normal for a black person to be reading a book by a white author but the reverse is not true. This is degrading to all of us. It is degrading to the power of the written word and of the form of the novel, especially, to transport us to a different place and open us to new experiences, to give us vicarious memories. It is true that people of color are more versed in the works of white artists than white people are of 'colored' artists and there are many reasons for that. Separating our writing does not seem to help the problem. Defining it as a problem might be a good first step...I tend to jump to conclusions which seem obvious to me, only to look behind me and see people scratching their heads...
It doesn't just happen in the bookstore either-
Right now there is an all black production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway. Wife #5 saw it and said it was fabulous. Is it a black show now? Was Hope Floats a black movie because Forrest Whitaker directed it?
If you are going to start categorizing works of art by race then you have to go all the way. I want to see a white section in the bookstore. I want to see each race broken down. Go all the way or realize that the entire thing is stupid, that art is a form of communication which we need to reach across racial lines now possibly more than ever before.


Stop pissing me off, it's my birthday month.

Thursday, April 3

DFTL: funeral music

I don't have anything insightful to say on the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. He was only a couple months older than Papa G and so what I usually think of around this time is how much living Papa G has gotten to do that Dr. King has not. Children, grandchildren, holidays, vacations, good days and bad - the general stuff of living he has been denied. I don't think of the historical implications or the 'loss to the race'.
Because I saw RENT this week, because today makes me sad, because no one sings this song like Jesse (G's Baby Daddy) Martin. For many, many reasons your DFTL this week (yes - a day late, sorry) is :




Now it's your turn...

Wednesday, April 2

brother of G

The brother of G has been in quite a few nationally televised events lately (including one with Tiffany Amber Theissen - how classy is that). However, since I am a reformed fast food junkie this one is the nearest and dearest to my heart.

Enjoy!!!





Isn't he a cutie?

don't ask

Tuesday, April 1

you should try it in heels


Here we go minions, today is the first day of The Birthday Month of G and some other people. If you’d like to celebrate by going a little nutty and pulling practical jokes on each other, you have my blessing. I will be working my charming little bottom off at work all day and then meeting the BPM for drinks tonight before we go see RENT. Yes, I know that it isn’t the original cast and serious devotees won’t even consider going to the road shows, but I say poo to them.
I will drink, I will sing all the songs under my boozy breath to the annoyance of many, I will have a great time.
In other news, has anyone else noticed that most of the network shows will be returning with new episodes this month? Now I’m not saying that they are giving me, personally, new episodes for my birthday…but it sure seems that way, huh?