Flash Post: Where you tend a rose …

Pluck the weeds...

Pluck the weeds…

Friends. Acquaintances.

The contents of my closet.

Dry goods in the pantry.

Books. Magazines.

My career.

Significant others.

Record collection.

My inbox.

My purse.

Le jardin.

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To the Ol’ Bird: With Love, from Woochie

As the sun sets on this Father’s Day and I’ve spent 900 or so miles away from mine, I’ve decided to pay homage from afar. So I’ve poured myself a cold one and filled a playlist with all the things I know he’d play for me were we sitting together outside in the yard, beneath a tree awaiting the stars in a nighttime sky. It’d start with this–his all-time favorite which has become mine:

And then it’d include a whole mess of B.B. King, Bobby Womack, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Albert King, a little Etta James, some Sam Cooke (with a few Soul Stirrers cuts for good measure), Jr. Walker, Johnnie Taylor and Otis Redding.

Pete on the jobWhen people tell me I have an old soul, I always think back to these artists, these songs and all the time I spent with my daddy, his influence quietly and deftly sweeping over and all around me. It was always an adventure with us two. Whether he was telling me made-up bedtime stories about our rascally imaginary dog, Old Willie, teaching me how to drive (started at age 6!), swapping sketches, soothing my sensitive, all-the-time crying, trying in vain to teach me how to properly fold and read the Sunday paper or watching me cut Granny’s grass just off HWY 123, we had us some times.

Was it all rosy? Nope. Conventional? Hell naw. But he was always what he promised he would be: around. Present. I’ve never been without his support in all its forms, and it tickles me something serious that he’ll still give me $20, you know, “to buy something just for yourself.” He still knows a 2 pc. chicken and biscuit will set me right.

It’s so funny now to discover continually how much like him I am. As much as I’m becoming my mother, I am also so much of him too. Now I find myself talking to myself when I’m doing routine tasks. I cook just like him. It gets a tad messy with salt and flour sprinkles strewn everywhere long after the food has been eaten. We’re culinary improvisationalists. A little bit of this, some I wonder what would happen if I added a touch of that and just stirrin’ it up real good and lettin’ it simmer for a bit, and voila–deliciousness that we couldn’t repeat if we tried.

Daddy at GraduationI find myself taking things apart just to see how they go back together, and I can’t rest until I’ve totally worked out a mystery television episode or book. I can sit in the bathroom for hours doing absolutely nothing, completely content, but usually reading. Animal humor–that damn goat howling on those Sprint commercials for instance–can send me into uncontrollable fits of laughter–for, like, days. I can mimic people after just a few observations, which is something I watched my daddy do for hours on end when I’d follow him around on weekends. From facial expressions, intonations and inflections, gestures and postures, the entire rhythm of mirroring someone else becomes like second nature to me sometimes. It’s an absolutely wondrous skill to have when you’re telling stories.

The older I get the more I understand his temperament. He is patient and extraordinarily generous and trusting. Despite so many hard and sad and spiteful things that have happened to him, he still operates from a place of believing in the good of all people. I’ve seen him give far more than the shirt off his back for all sorts of folk, even when my salty tail knew little good would come of it (that level of people discernment I get from my mama). It makes for a long, slow burning fuse, this way of greeting, receiving and treating people. I’ve certainly seen that fuse tested to its limits and I’ve seen it blow.

He has this expression that he used to say when I was younger, when he was in his Schlitz Malt Liquor tea: Three pigs in a bucket and a bad motherfuckit. He’d say it after a long, hot, hard day’s work finishing cement, or after an argument with my mama or some losing lottery numbers. He’d dole it out as advice when I’d complain about something less than stellar that had happened to me at school. The other day I took myself to my yoga mat in frustration, and I searched my mind for all those Deepak mantras, but this was the one thing that kept repeating itself and after two minutes of trying to pray it away, I decided to roll with it. At first it felt a touch out of place, but by the 10th minute or so, it started to make sense. Everybody’s got their something, we say, and I realized that in this expression there is a release, a que sera sera with just the right amounts of nonsense and nonchalance that make my daddy the person he is.

His sayings are seemingly endless but there are two I remember rolling my eyes to so often that I often feared they’d get stuck. Never hurry, never worry. This used to annoy the shit outta me because he’d say it when I was obsessing about an upcoming test or tryout. I’m sorry, sir, but running a 7:30 minute mile in mid August in the South warrants a hurry and a worry. And unlike it was for him, the voracious reader with the easily calculating mind, earning straight a’s wasn’t effortless for me. I worried a lot. Definitely more than I hurried. Certainly more than I hurried, which for every one of you readers reading this, I’m sure you’re incredibly aware of my lack of hurriedness. You can blame Pete Reese for my perpetual tardiness. I was only doing as I was told 🙂

Two craziesKeep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. Y’all know I’m a chatty somebody once I get rolling. I love telling stories, but for all my talking I’ve been doing way more watchin’ and listenin’. This is mainly due to the fact that as a child I was mostly seen and never allowed to be heard (except for on Easter Sunday), but it’s also because I’m an introvert and people are fascinating creatures when you watch what they’ll reveal to you. As I continue along the career path, this particular piece of advice has become indispensable to me. I spent so many years pressuring myself to go into meetings with the firm intent of opening my mouth to assert things, to lean all the way in and make my presence known. And yet that’s inherently not me and every time I’ve led with that intent I’ve only frustrated myself further. My true power and resilience has come from listening and observing and then slidin’ and glidin’ into the spaces where my skills and abilities can really fully serve.

It’s a humbling thing to grow up and realize that your parents were almost always right. It’s an even greater thing to be able to tell them so and thank them for it. I call my daddy all the time because I can. Because there were 10 years when I couldn’t and 10 before that when I didn’t think I needed to. It’s a blessing and a wonder that he’s still here–he could rival a cat with his survival tactics, lol–and I am so, so grateful. Cheers to what I hope will be quite a few more. There are still many a high-howlin’, head shakin’, whoa shit nah adventures for us to have just yet.

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Thanks Daddy!

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for reserving the patience to show me basic car troubleshooting and maintenance. Really valuable stuff you imparted here. Being on a 9-hour roadtrip in a car with nonfunctional A/C ports gave me some anxiety, mostly because my phone lasts for 7 hours at best. I almost called you, but then it came to me: check the fuse box.

Without Google (and y’all know I steady be googlin’) I thumbed through the owner’s manual to determine which port controlled the adapter and the amp wattage that was needed. Then I picked up a li’l kit of replacement fuses and handled some business.

Now I’m cruising with a full charge so when I need to call you it’ll be to tell you something awesome t o make you laugh and not to spark any additional worries about your baby girl’s safety. You raised me right. Good job and thank you again.


How’d I Get On This Here Mailing List?

So this is what hard core adult love of Harry Potter gets you:

Pyramid Collection Cover

Or maybe it’s the delightful Klump clap that they know ensues when a channel flipping session lands on Practical Magic or Hocus Pocus … or The Craft.

Is this what I get for publicly and privately doing Stevie Nicks twirls? Do you think I need 37 twirlworthy skirts from which to choose?

This is about that one time I bought the fancy incense in Whole Foods isn’t it?

Y’all. I have no idea how I wound up on this mailing list. Wait.

I googled Voldemort a few months back and Ren Faire several before that. Oh, and mead. I was curious about recipes. Too involved.

NEVERTHELESS. You cannot believe the hilarious items that are in this mug. (You can smell the patchouli can’t you?)

Front cover says “We Offer Goddess Sizes At No Extra Cost!”

Listen. While I appreciate the flattery, can I just point out that these WILDWALKER BOOTS be on the cover as well and well …

20150215_195042Mary-dont’cha-weep-Martha-ovah-heah-moanin, but I’ll be damned if I could buckle nan swash with these on. Still (and this is how I get caught up), there’s a part of my Capricorn spirit that so appreciates the practical nature of having POCKETS ON MY BOOTS! Sure, it’s probably the Capricorn part that’s in the 9th House of Uranus, but y’all know how I loves me some pockets!

I’m also certain that wearing these would guarantee my very own “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” moment. Maid Marian who?

Maid Marianita. Heeey Kevin!

Maid Marianita. Heeey Kevin!

Anyways, inside there are so. many. things!

  • Sandals named Twinkle Toes.
  • A personal power ring that looks like a mini pipe organ/chapstick/Neverending Story oracle.
  • A cardigan with bedazzled Maleficent wings on the back.
  • A love bites choker. Look at the detail on this mugAnd I quote:  “Once bitten, forever smitten! Punctures (and a sprinkling of red droplets!) of genuine Swarovski crystal make this a memorable choker, circling the throat in black velveteen, secured by a lobster clasp.”
  • More mosaic clogs than you can possibly imagine.

Meanwhile, why the spellin’ magic with a “k”? I mean I love phonetic spelling as much as the next Southerner but putting a “k” in magic instantly makes me paranoid about having dry mouth. I mean, I still take a sip of water everytime I hear Adele singin’ “so thick and opaque” in “Hometown Glory.” Umph.

*Sips tea. Clears throat.*

Back to the pyramid scheme of all schemes. At least I know where I can get some palazzo pants the next time that fad hits me. And Oh SNAP! Lady Mary Crawley eat your heart out. There go my velvet gloves on page 51!

*Does the Celie-got-a-house-bought-and-paid-for-shimmie-in-the-snow-acha-cha dance.*

I mean, if ever you had distracted tendencies *SQUIRREL!* this catalog would give you so many Mufasa shivers.

Stop. Wait. Let me catch my breaf first.

  • Glow-in-the-dark pirate skulled flats. They just in here making up shit now. I ain’t even showing you that picture ’cause they look exactly how you afraid they look. Lord.

*DEAD. Dead. And mo’ dead.* BIRD IN A HAND BAG! What’s next? The Two in the Bush clutch? Mercy me.

I say, I say. WHOOOOOOOO do dis like dat?


This is straight up House of Slytherin bidness in the better half of this book. I mean, I love me some Helena Bonham Carter and all but Bellatrix I am not.

Myth, Magick, Fantasy & Romance! If this was s’posed to be my Valentine’s from the Universe, you will find on the edge of seventeen dranks. Stevie Nicks twirls at the top of erry hour.

Just like the white winged dove…

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On Jury Duty

Yesterday I completed my civic duty as Juror #34. These are some of my thoughts as I daydreamed, sighed, seat-shifted and wondered my way in the cavernous labyrinth of City Hall:

  • At around hour five, I looked warily at my phone and found myself moan-humming my latest mashup: “While My Dying Phone Gently Weeps.” Jesus be a power outlet!
  • Why come the all-day chairs are Hester Prynne Puritanical (as opposed to mid-century modern), but the downstairs, holding pen chairs are all a-plush and Fat Joe “Lean Back” ready?
  • Will the ghost of Johnnie Cochran please rise and help these lawfolk help themselves? Juror selection shouldn’t feel like a DMV hazing party. I’m actually innocent. No seriously. I know everyone says that here, but for real …
  • Jesus also be a Michael Joseph Jackson mask, cup of Emergen-C and a “Bless you!” For the last love of God, people: CUP AND COUGH.
  • City Hall seems like a fine enough place to find a beau until you realize no one’s allowed to speak to you while you’re wearing that bright behind yellow and blue sticker … which leads me back to Hester Prynne and wearing socially marginalizing accessories on my chest.
  • You know it’s bad when you’re worried about missing one of your not-so-favorite work meetings more’n you’re worried about the plaintiff’s case.
  • Yo, Philly. Why y’all only paying me $9/day? Does my dearest Barack know about this form of minimum wage terror, too? And how does this all day service not include some blessid parking validation?! [Sidebar: yes I know I could’ve, should’ve taken the train but that would’ve required me to wake up 45 minutes earlier than I already did. And you know that, in and of itself, coupled with the fact that I actually departed mine house before EIGHT EH EM is nothing short of the miracle of the week.
  • The judge has superpowers Doppler don’t eem know about. How do I know this? Because he said he’d have us out before the snow storm hit and it was nigh 2:30 and the flurries had turned to fairy dust. And still I sat. #34 out of 50 and these people wants to do one-on-one interviews with errybody. There aren’t enough side-eyes in the world right now.
  • This lovely grandlady next to me started from the bottom, now we heah:
One small stitch for man, one tissue box cover for all mankind.

One small stitch for man, one tissue box cover for all mankind.

  • Did I mention the ass-numbing qualities of these Ben Franklin-era chairs? Why must my behind be placed on trial? If I get some back prollems as a result of this, well, let’s just say litigiousness is contagious. Much like all these germs folk hackin’ all into my airspace.
  • So many potential jurors, so many hair choices to ponder. I’ve been meaning to ask: when you decided to shave the one side of your head, or both, did you ever think about what you would do come grow out time? Like, do you press on and let the edges play catch up? Or do you shave the whole slate clean? Or do you just commit to living your life between two worlds–the strands and the stranded? Personally I choose my hairstyles with an exit strategy in mind because the last thing I ever want is to be mired in the middle east of my scalp’s kitchen. Treacherous, foreign and unknown.
  • One good thing I can say about jury duty though? I been writing up a storm, jottin’ down all kinds of stuff. The entire 7-hour-waiting-period-of-a-day provides an excellent space and freedom to write! Let us all give thanks (use the comments section if you feel so inclined, won’t you dear?).
  • This reminds me of that one time I got ISS…
  • Today would’ve been the perfect day to resurrect my crocheting hobby. I crocheted a Swiffer sleeve a couple of years back and let. me. tell. you. That mug beats all! Ain’t a dust bunny that can roll far or wide enough to keep me from swiffin’ it up cleant!
  • I wonder what would happen if I just up and went downward facing dog up in this piece? I would do it but I’m wearing a dress. Damn.
  • There has got to be a more efficient way to select a jury. But more importantly, why does nearly every government function make me ask that question?
  • Things I learned today: I have completely lost my ability to whisper … or maybe I just don’t care anymore.
  • I shouldn’t have eaten Maggiano’s for lunch. It was so delicious I couldn’t resist, and I was so glad that I didn’t, but the 2-3 pm coma is so real.
  • 4:17pm: My butt hurts so badly.
  • Yes, I am in here judging people by the books and magazines they’re reading. Since the judge himself can’t be bothered to reconvene this goings-on accordingly, someone needs to judge something, so you there–fella reading the Jon Krakauer book: Oh, you have a North Face Jacket? You must go on so many adventures - Oh, you have a North Face Jacket? You must go on so many adventures  Psychotic Willy Wonka
  • Yo. Why is there ALWAYS that one lady who does one or all of the following:
    • Watches Netflix/YouTube on her phone, earbuds in, laughing like she’s in a packed comedy club.
    • Tells you everything about her life; the origins of her back pain; every previous jury adventure in the rawest, Coffee Twalkingest voice ever.
    • Have teeth that make you promise yourself to floss erryday until the end of time.
    • Inspires you to wonder exactly how many people are still using that wet gel scrunch-your-hair technique.
    • Makes you draw mental pictures of what her husband looks like. Mental pictures that make you certain he’d know exactly what you meant if you ever asked him if he’s seen that part of O Brother, Where Art Thou? when they are-you-en-en-oh-eff-tee!

Have you been summoned yet? Don’t worry. You just read this post and you don’t even realize it yet, but because you’ve read this, you’re now in the juror chain letter-like club and it’s only a matter of time …

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