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.
  • PENCIL LEGGINGS.
  • 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?

I say, WHO. WHOOOO. WHOOOOOOOOO.

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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To write … anything

I know what you’re thinking.

What?!
Two posts two days in a row? Girl, stop playing!

Don’t worry. I will. This ain’t no resolution officially, but I am trying to scratch the itch and heed the call and pick-your-own-cliché-and-enter-it-here. This means that whether it’s a post or on paper, I’ve vowed to write something somewhere whenever the beastly muse strikes. This is what I’ve got going so far today.

image

Holiday Haiku might’ve been a bust time wise but I’m mailing stuff anyway. Thinking of you notes, words of love, encouragement and random inspired by glasses of wine | beer | or bourbon, vinyl notes and my ever so curious imagination. If you’re looking to get something other than bills and junk, make like Uncle Scar and be prepared …

I Got My Own Sidepiece

Well hello again, reader. Long time no see.

It’s been a slow movement of sorts, this desire to resurrect my craftiness (and writerly self). You know how life gets you–so many ideas, so little perceived time. But the itch persisted just as I was moving into a new apartment a few months ago, and it coincided beautifully with my new-ish fixation on thrifting things. I must admit that this fixation relies a lot upon theory. In theory, thrifting is the most wonderfully awesome thing ever–you find all of these cool, funkdafied, vintage pieces to wear, to sit upon, with which to decorate one’s abode. In my reality, however, Saturday mornings are most usually spent reveling in little pockets of “sleep-in” time, or work. And thrifting during the week? Well, that’s an activity best reserved for my imaginary independently wealthy self. You know she who’s also one of those ladies who lounges in neighborhood coffee shops or runs along the Schuylkill River at 11am.

Luckily for me I have a fantastic friend, Melody, who is an amazing thrifter, the Dowager Duchess of Dumpster Diving, if you will. For years, YEARS, I’ve been a-hankering for a sideboard. Sporadically I scoured various thrift shops and saw hutches and lesser sideboards until one day Mel regaled me with tales of her latest bounty. She just couldn’t let it sit there on the side of the road; she had to procure it. She had plans for it, plans that quickly went by the wayside when she realized how enormous it was, and this was when Stevie Winwood spoke to me. He said, “When you see a chance, take it…”

“Oooh, well what are you going to do with it?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Ted and I wheeled it to the side of the road. I just don’t have room for it.”
“What?! Can I have it?”
“Really? Danita, it’s huge. HUGE.”
“Send me a picture.”

20140826_084625 20140826_084642

In my original vision it was going to reside in my kitchen, but then I downsized from a 2BR to a 1BR and discovered that rooms get a little less, um, defined in smaller quarters. So I spent weeks hemming and hawing over where I was going to put this thing–in my new kitchen or my living room.

Of course–of course–I invested far more time in imagining where the thing would go and what colors it should be (navy, royal purple, gray, white antique-y distressed ‘n such, black, naturally stained, navy, some lighter captain-y blue color…) than, IDK, fixin’ the sucker up, but that’s just ’cause I am a MASTER PROCRASTINATOR. Like 2 months went by with me collecting color swatches and consulting with anyone who would listen. I devoured Apartment Therapy posts and library books (thanks again, Mel). I was steeping myself in New Yankee Workshop tea, but still kept giving the piece the ultimate side-eye. Y’all know I didn’t know nuffin’ ’bout birthin’ no refinished furniture!

But then a funny thing happened. I ordered a sofa and realized very quickly that the one workspace I had to spruce this behemoth was the very place the new sofa was going to live.

Ruh.

Roh.

So I called out upon my universe with a woe begotten Lord Help and hallelou, the crafty doers showed up! I quickly realized that going the “stripper” route was not for me. A) Because I don’t own any Lucite heels. A) Because my apartment has gorgeous hardwood floors and a work homie and the Home Depot man gave me ultra-Chile Please faces when I asked about using them. “This stuff is very caustic. It will eat through almost anything. You only use this when you’re outside in a well ventilated place, where if it spills, splatters or splashes on anything nearby it won’t matter…” “So basically I can only use this in Mordor?” “Ha. Good one. Yeah, just come away from there. You’ll probably be better off sanding. It’s a lot of work, but …”

[There is no B). I don’t care, grammar gods. I DON’T CARE. I got A’s in all my English classes and can name all of my teachers. We’re even.]

So after I lotioned and consulted with both of my elbows, I went about learning all I could about sanding which basically was just me asking the one person I ask anytime I even think of doing anything crafty: Crafty Constance. I was honestly trying to lure her over to show me what I needed to do, because I am a very visual learner …

[Insert a shoutout to my high school geometry and calculus teacher, Carol Wade, with her, “If you can see it, you can do it!” She went 1-for-2 with me. Geometry was a breeze and fun. Calculus? Mufasa shivers.]

Anywho, she immediately responds with, “I have a sander!” This was the equivalent to asking the church for an Amen and gettin’ that trusty deaconess up and ready to shout with her white hanky in hand. Praise Him! Then the Universe showed out when my friends Jen and Eric handed me another sander. I thought one of them was going to come with it, because as much as I love the Karate Kid I couldn’t fathom going “wax on, wax off” and double-fisting some sanders. Did I mention how clumsy I am?

And so, armed with book learnin’, a one-week deadline (I also work 2 jobs), one unsuspecting living room and one set of new, bless-their-hearts neighbors I went to work:

Cues: Enter Sand(wo)man

Cues: Enter Sand(wo)man

Sandblasted, but dagnabbit!

Sandblasted, but dagnabbit!

Oh yes. Elbows greased I was ready. WIth two sanders and a stack of erry kind of paper? Honey hush. You couldn’t tell me nothing … bout no damn veneers/finishing layers/forcefields of awful. UGH! I went in hard. I mean, I Sheryl Sandberg’d on boffadose sanders, and to the left, to the left was as far as I got.

Shiyid.

I found myself wandering into Ace Hardware on Ridge Avenue lookin’ like Maleficent after her wings got cut off, and found me a chisel. I went back home with said chisel, picked up my hammer and put on my Terry McMillan attitude. You know the one that Angela Bassett had right when she set her cheatin’ husband’s clothes on fahr.

Who’s 2 Legit 2 Quit now, veneer?!

Smoove it out.

Smoove it out.

I felt so accomplished y’all. This took me ’bout 4 evenings altogether and two packs of coarse and medium sandpaper. I worked from 6-9pm with my main squeeze, http://www.wrti.org, as my sole accompaniment. I swear to goodness, one day when I get my Darlene Shiley on, I’m going to give so much to public radio (and television! Hey New Yankees!). Those nightly jazz sessions calmed me the kcuf down. Everytime I went full Metallica on this piece, my man Bob would hit me with some Ella, Nancy, Miles or Coltrane and I’d make it mellow.

I sat and drank half a six pack while I admired my handiwork, and then I realized that I had to go Deion Sanders on this mug. For you non-football loving souls, that means it was PRIME TIME!

Prime Time v120141111_211954

I decided to leave the innards as they were because ain’t nobody got time to go full ham on all this shit I like for things to have character. I used 2 cans of Rustoleum grey primer, and in true feed-me-Seymour fashion, this sapsucker used all 2 cans and still acted like it needed 2 more. This stuff is awesome. It dried overnight which allowed me to start painting the very next evening:

Blue-ish

Blue-ish

I know what you’re thinking. “That ain’t nan color that she listed above.” Well, sometimes people like me opt for the Forrest Gump painting experience. I didn’t know what I was going to get. I eenie-meanied a swatch, handed it to Home Depot Man, gave him 6 Alfalfa shrugs when he started asking me about glosses and walked home with a pint of this here satisfactory, I’m-running-out-of-time! blue. And you know what?

I was nearly done, y’all. And then I remembered I still needed to hook up the knobs and pulls. By this time I was not tryna be that girl that’s always up in Home Depot so I googled, “Home polishing remedies” and Google told me to squirt some ketchup on those ol’ brass doodads and shine ‘em on up.

Now iffin you din’t know, me and Google’s right tight. PEAS and CARROTS. I talk to Google like he’s human, and he answers me better than most humans. If I were to have Lars and the Real Girl tendencies, Google would be my man. Anyways, we were puttin’ the cope in copacetic until him done told me some hot mess about that ketchup that my all-greased-out elbows ain’t had no time for!

Shiyid.

Ketchup must work on nearly new brass. Not brass that’s done survived Grey Gardens and a couple of rainstorms and years of neglect. Naw. It was time for me to return to my third home, Home Depot, for some Brasso (and some screws ’cause some of the originals had lost their gripping gumption). I still had to tell my elbows, “Turn down for what?!” but thank goodness for extremely harsh, suspect-smelling chemicals. It’s not often I’d like to get high on housework, but there I was, and then this happened:

20141206_14264220141206_142455

I knowed there was a gawd. I finished her. My sidepiece, Lady Rolle-and-Storeit. Isn’t she lovely?

Made from love.

Made from love.

That is the long of it. As you can see I’ve (still) got some cord-wrangling to do, but she’s as pretty is as pretty does. There’s a LOT of character in that front piece, where the 2 drawers are, because Metallica > Miles in the Chisel Wars, but I kind of like it. It’s battled-scarred and a li’l rough around the edges, but strong, resilient and beautiful.

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A Redemption Story: the Reese Edition (Part 1)

Almost eleven years ago my dad shot and paralyzed his nephew. Ten years ago he entered prison, and tonight, Lord willing and April Fools’ Day hijinks notwithstanding, he will be released.

Most of you who already know me know the whole story; you’ve been with me for the past ten years when the sentence first felt stunning and surreal and then “just the way it is” and now, holy-crap-has-it-been-ten-years-already?! You’ll never know how much your support has sustained me; how nick-of-time those jokes, happy hours, hugs and “just because” or “don’t worry about it, I’ve got it this time” gifts were. Thank you. I really do know with my whole soul that I have the greatest friends and family in the entire universe.

As he has served his time I won’t get into trying to justify what caused him to lose his temper, but I will say that my dad is not a monster or some deviant hellbent on terrorizing people. He allowed someone to get the better of him in a moment that lived in an entire series of passive, festering moments. He’d be the first one to choke-laugh his way through admitting he hasn’t been and never was interested in being a saint. There’ve been too many hurts, too many familial fractures and too many untended wounds in his life … but that was then.

The most important thing I’ve learned these last ten years is that my parents are people too. Choosing to meet and see them as such has been the most challenging and affirming and wondrous thing I’ve yet to do.

I’m writing this post mainly so that any subsequent posts or social media snapshots will make some sort of sense to those of you who may suddenly be seeing my daddy and trying to figure out why I’m so relieved and glad about it. I know I’ve made it seem like he’s always been around in some kind of possibly weird, not totally present way. Now you know why. I’m also really happy and thrilled to show you what redemptive love will look like–Mags and Pete have had an interesting go at married life, but love has never been more patient and sweet to behold. See also how “fun” wedges itself in “dysfunction” for two very fine reasons.

I’m also writing this post because I may need more of your help if they don’t actually let him out tonight. Keep the prayers and good wishes and happy thoughts coming! There’s been a whole lot of passive aggressive and just plain strange messaging in the weeks leading up to his release–both inside for him and outside for us–and because I’ve dealt with this prison system for the past ten years I know well enough that power plays and last-minute-because-I-said-so change-ups are sadly and dangerously the norm. As far as I can see there’s no more reason to hold him–he’s served his time with better behavior inside than out!–but for certain people in positions of oversight and control it’s almost as if he’s been too quiet and too good for too long.

I’ve never heard of and have yet to meet anyone else who so wants to claim their loved one from prison more than I do. Ten years is a long time for a man who went in at age 57; for a marriage 44 years in the making; for two women in their early 20s and 30s. The four of us have become different people and the thought of having a reunion has filled each of us with more hope than any of us ever thought we needed to feel.

Which is why my dad telling me over the phone to take a dirt road to the left of the main driveway I normally use when I visit to pick him up at 3AM in the morning is so damn off-putting. We must report to pick him up at 3am but know that they can also hold him until 3pm. So there’s this 12-hour window where I need to be there OR they will detain him for another month.

I’m pretty sure Comcast and Time Warner both have better windows of service than this.

I’d also like to point out that I’m picking up a person. A beloved person, yes, but still a person. Not a pair of shoes or an additional cable line or a tax return, but a human being. Dangling him like a past participle in the middle of the freaking night after he’s served his sentence still seems to criminalize him in some way and worse, it dares to criminalize me and my happy, law-abiding existence.

This is just one of the things i don’t understand about how the prison system “works.” In no way do I wish or will I ever attempt to attack the services that are extended to victims of crimes, but I have to wonder, into which “class” of victim do I fall? I haven’t been able to call or visit my dad without being subjected to irascible correctional officers, and don’t even get me started on the mail. That’s a whole other post.

Seriously.

But where can I go where other people are talking about the added expense that some families take on to care for their loved ones? And before you even think about saying that prisoners live better than you do–just go ‘head and take it somewhere else. I’ve got bank statements and receipts from the inside that will tell you otherwise. They will sho’nuff tell you that you will want to know where your tax payer dollars are really going. Hint: it ain’t to this mythical, well-equipped gym, or the 50 beds/66 inmates dormitory ratio or the 3 “square” meals and they absolutely are not covering healthcare or these so-called prison industry positions. (They could be going to a doctor who may or may not have practiced as a gynecologist for 30+ years before becoming the primary care physician at an all-male facility though!)

At any rate, I’ve been struggling with this whole process FOR TEN YEARS and it’s just now starting to break free in my writerly mind and I just need to express myself and y’all are always telling me to write more anyways so … thank you :)

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