Thursday, August 31, 2006

This One's For Ang

The following is a set of pictures I'd taken while Isom and I were driving from Georgia to Tuskegee, Alabama to see Paul. I'd taken these photos minutes before calling Ang to have a venting session. You see, I don't receive a cell phone connection in my parent's hometown in Georgia, and I was so excited to reach Eufala, Alabama and be able to make contact with another humanbeing by cell phone. I usually hate phones of anykind, but this was the one time where I beamed with appreciation for modern technology.

Last tidbit: I should not have been driving and snapping pictures at the same time.

And this is the hospitality that Paul showed Isom when he arrived.........

My Family!

Oh, y'all got jokes! If you guys don't know what I'm referring to, see the comments that were left for me on the last post. Gia, thanks for the reminders, but I bet TONY left that last message. Shame, shame, shame!!! Anywho, here's the update to the list:

22. Gianetta & Wallace's One Year Anniversary
23. Wallace's Birthday
24. Thanksgiving (That's a good one, Gia)
25. Aunt Theldra's Birthday
26. My Dad's Birthday
27. Jaden's Birthday
28. - 11,000. Nikki Getting a Job

Note about #28 to #11,000: Tony, I promise that there will be ramifications and repercussions! Believe it!

Funny, I just received an ANNOYING phonecall. It seems that my cousin, TONY, is declaring war on me. He told me, and I quote, "Cuz, I'm starting the fire." And I responded, "Well, then I've got the gasoline."

TONY!!!!! Looka here, man, you don't want none of this here, Cuz!!! You get your new job and now you want to put me on blast? It ain't fair, and it ain't right! Anyway, aren't you the same dude who was tearing up at the wedding? Yup, it was you.

But bring it! I'll be waiting....................

21 Things To Look Forward To

1. Thembi and Peanuts home
2. Tasha's new business endeavor
3. Erica's school opening
4. Sir starting gym class next week (if the money's right!)
5. Paul completing his graduate work in the upcoming weeks
6. Kessa making progress on starting her practice
7. LuCiana's new job
8. Marquita going back to college
9. Kimani's injury healing
10. Tony's first paycheck
11. Erika's (this is my Erika with the K, not C) senior year in high school
12. Preston's birthday
13. Gia's birthday (rumor has it we're all going to Atlantic City for her bash)
14. Thembi's birthday
15. Nikki Ann, Paul & LuCiana's birthday on the same day
16. Seeing Deb and Zoey at gym class--haven't seen them in months
17. Autumn & its Fall foliage
18. Piping hot dressing (some folks say stuffing, but they are two different things)
19. More and more rowdy kids heading back to school next week
20. Sir frolicking in the colorful, fallen leaves
21. Cool, fresh, misty morning dew

My life is motivated by the progress of my family, friends, and Mother Nature. I am looking forward to all the upcoming changes for the fall. There are so many exciting things happening for all of you. Just know that although I'm not good at phone calls, I think of you all often; it's these thoughts that help to keep me going. When you reach for your goals it is a reminder to me that I too must continue to strive; that I am capable of fulfilling my dreams. Thanks for being my inspiration.

Mother Nature, you are an amazing woman. And it's your myriad of faces that keeps life growing and changing. So much has been sewn over this past summer, and I am grateful for the harvest that we are all about to reap.


Miss Nikki Ann (Your Fan)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I am writing just because I can't help but to write--it's the curse of desire. I don't want to write but I DESIRE to write--two totally different things. This desire burns in a place that was imprinted upon my soul before the conception of my body. It can't, and refuses, to be erased; I'll go to my grave with this desire and head straight to the heavens with it. My wants? My wants have ebb and flow. They blow with the wind and live in die in seconds. I want ice cream. I want a Volvo truck. I want Sir to sleep all night. I want quietude. I want a new pair of black pants. I want Peanut to stop talking to me while I'm trying to type this. I want, I want, I want. And then I don't want. All those things I say I want can change in an instant. And when I'm no longer breathing, I won't care about all those things I wanted. So even though I don't want to write tonight, or change any more diapers, I still have a strong, pulling desire to do so. And I will write, and I will change diapers. It just is what it is. DESIRE.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Another Bunny Spotting

Sir and I spotted this cutie in Tuskegee, standing outside of Paul's apartment.
I'm having so much luck with the bunnies!
And speaking of Paul...

And speaking of Tuskegee...

All my Skegee people should recognize this joint. Actually, this was my first visit to the Soul Inn. But I bet Tasha would know a lil sumthin sumthin about dis place back in the 90's. LOL!! Sorry for shoutin you out Tasha Smasha.


A self-taken photo: Driving from Georgia to visit with Paul in Tuskegee

Last night I attempted to write a post, but my internet service appeared to be down. This wasn't such a bad thing since I should have been editing my long, anticipated novel. And instead of heading upstairs and getting right down to work, I called Paul and whined on and on about my writing abilities and so forth. Saturday night I'd spent up until 10 p.m. at the bookstore, browsing through any and every kind of book. This can be a very therapeutic exercise, or it can cause writers block when I'm feeling easily intimidated. This particular evening it centered me. I hadn't been to the bookstore alone since before I was pregnant--now I usually bring Sir and we chill in the baby section. Anywho, including my bookstore adventure, my aunt's death has had a big impact on my writing career (yup, I said career). Things seem more pressing. My mind seems clear and ready to process that which had seemed harder two weeks ago.

Well, after whining to Paul (and listening to him agreeing with me on things just so that he could get back to his important graduate thesis that's holding him captive in Tuskegee) I dived into the book. I left my window open and allowed the cool, 59-degree breeze to blow ideas around my mind. I edited; and I edited; and I edited. I edited until 1 a.m. when I finally just had to stop myself. I've now cut the book down to 313 pages and I'm on page 78 of those 313 pages; this being a big step from when I couldn't seem to move past page 32.

Something is brewing in the air, and I must ride the natural wave that the God and the universe are supplying--even if that means I lose as much sleep as I lost nursing/changing Sir through the night. And I guess it's worth it. I've spent enough time bitching and complaining about some of my life's purposes; it's time to put in extra work on some of them. And hey, the timing is always right. Always.

Once again, one of my favorite excerpts that I'd posted for you guys not long ago--this is a great time to revisit it:

From the movie
The Kama Sutra

Knowing love, I will allow all things to come and go
To be as supple as the wind

And take everything that comes with great courage

Life is right in any case

My heart is as open as the sky

AP, I keep checking your blog, waiting for my muse to return with some wicked prose.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Today I watched as a group of people prayed in the park. I listened for a short time before having to leave for the store. While I stood in my driveway, I said a couple of Amens, Mmm-hmms, and Yes-yes-yes's. There's so much going on in the world, so it was uplifting to see people doing it old school--good ole prayer. They prayed over the park and over our town. My family has been here 31 years; we can attest to the fact that even though this it's a quiet neighborhood where a good 50% of the families have been here since I was young, things are changing. And the park, even though it's intended for the kids, it attracts a lot of riffraff. I watched as MOTHERS sit on the bench and throw down paper as their children play. If these mom are the examples for their children, what will the neighborhood look like in some years if we don't hold onto it? So many folks work hard to leave the ghettos. But some people forget to leave their bad habits behind. It only takes a few of those forgetful people to wreak havoc on our lives. I now see kids walking around in these different colors and stuff. I want to yell, "This ain't the ghetto". The irony is that some of these kid's parents are probably paying damn good money for private school, or invested time in finding them a good magnet school to go to.

And school.... Schools... **sigh** Let's just say that folks in suburban towns pay too much money in taxes to have to send their children out of town for school because the school system is lacking. But then again, a school can only be as good as its children and children's parents want it to be. If they don't fight for it, then what?

But right now my concern is for my neighbors--most of whom I've know 31 years. They're all growing older and deserve the peace and quiet they pay for in this town. It's sad that one little, adorable park can attract such headache. I spend many mornings there swinging with Isom and exploring.

And now that Isom can walk, he's always running towards it. And I only go in when it's empty to avoid having to ask young kids not to curse and so forth; I hate having to spend fun time disciplining some bad teenagers who have the nerve to cuss grown folks out. The other week I had to scold three boys who were so arrogantly pronouncing that they were in town visiting from Atlanta. One jumped the fence that separates my house from the park after I'd yelled for him not to. **Now I'm becoming just like my mom because I'd watched for years as she asked rude children not to do that.** As the others ATTEMPTED to follow their foolish friend over the fence, I grabbed Isom and ran after them. When I caught up to them I said:

"Didn't I tell you not to jump the fence?"

The boys snickered like little punks.

I said, "What's so funny?"

In unison they said, "Nothing."

I pointed at Isom and said, "Don't you know you have to be the example for these younger kids? And you know your mother wouldn't want you acting like this."

Then I became really full. I said, trying to hold back tears:

"Don't you know that people care about you?"

I got no response from the boys. But I knew that we'd just had a spiritual moment together. And deep down I knew, I didn't hope, I knew that these boys would go through life differently.

And I don't want to paint the wrong picture because 95% of the time the park is quiet and empty (you've seen the pictures). I could go out there right now in the middle of the afternoon, it's empty. And most of the time those who are in the park are there to play ball, get on the swings and play gear, and have a fun/safe time. But slowly but surely, every so often, riffraff is beginning to flow in. And if you don't catch a problem at it's start, that problem can turn into a headache in minutes like a wildfire.

Living next to a park, I keep in contact with the local police department, and I chat with the Patrol Lieutenant about once a month. The Lieutenant informed me his problem isn't with the neighborhood kids, it's people crossing over from the city. Folks coming in from the outside. And I have to selfishly wonder, "Why my damn neighborhood?"

So pray. Pray that the children of today find opportunities that keep their minds busy. Pray that they have someone to teach them that their world is bigger than their block. Pray that the rest of us continue to have the patience to help those who want another way. Pray that we don't become so arrogant and self-absorbed that we can't help out "those people." Pray that we don't just sit around and take folks shit. Pray that we don't get so damn tired that we up-and-leave our friendly neighborhoods because of a few outsiders. Pray.

I pray for myself. I pray that my jaded days are short. I pray that I can continue to open up to people. I pray that I fear less and love more. I pray that I judge less and seek to understand more. I pray that I don't become my own worse enemy. I pray. I do pray. I do meditate. I do try to evolve. I do try to understand. I do try to love. I try to overcome all that holds me back.

And so I pray to have patience for those who are trying to better themselves, even if it doesn't appear to me that they are. I pray for patience. Patience. Because, in the end, things will be okay. And if I can walk around with a lighter heart, spirit, and mind it will make the difference--it spreads. The lightness spreads. It casts out the darkness. I just have to be willing to take that road. Everyday I must wake up and be willing to walk that road. If not? It's all just words on a screen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I Have A Habit...

I pick and pull at my curly lashes. I pick and pull; and I pick and pull; and I pick and pull. I pick so much that I fall asleep picking and pulling. I then awaken at some obscene hour in the morning to find that my eyes feel funny. I go to the bathroom mirror and lift my eyelids to find tiny bumps have formed on my eyelids from too much picking and pulling. Some people bite their nails. I pick at my lashes. And it starts off simply; the natural curl of my lashes find themselves turning inward to my eyeball--irritating them, and some of the other curly ones clump together. Man, this drives me crazy. And so I pick. And I pull. While I pick and pull, I go into a zone. At times I've looked down at my pillow to find a dozen or more lashes that I've pulled out. Lashes. There's an art to my picking and pulling. If it's done correctly, I can straighten them out by placing drops of water on the lashes and then manipulating them slightly to get the curls to straighten out and go in the proper direction. But once anything even grazes them (like some big ass toy that Sir throws in my face) then I must start the straightening process all over again. People always comment how Sir has such long and curly lashes. I laugh at them. Mine may not be long like his, but they are as curly and there's nothing cute about it. Once those curls turn the wrong way or get clumped together, it's nothing but hell. And this picking and pulling can go on for a full day. And guess what? Right now...I'm picking and pulling. Trying to force myself to stop before those uncomely/irritating bumps form. Picking and pulling. Here's two thumbs down to curly lashes.

Shape Me Up

Got my hair cut and my eyebrows done. Actually, this was the first time I asked my barber to do my brows--he did a fabulous job. Went to Babies R Us and purchased a 140-pack of diapers for Sir. When my money was right (when was that?) I'd buy two of those boxes. It's rare that I go anywhere without Sir, and the cashier was looking for him to be in tow. I told her, "You know, I keep carrying conversations with the cart, forgetting that he's not in it." I watched as pregnant women and mommies towed their little ones around, and lamented that I couldn't park in the Stork Parking spot because I didn't have any precious cargo in tow (actually the Stork Parking is for the preggos, but I figure that wild-ass baby in the arms is equivalent to a baby in the belly). I eyed some of the cute baby clothing, realizing that Sir is no longer able to fit into that clothing, I envisioned my baby cousin Kiersten in some of the new Fall fashions on display (Note to Mom and self: Um, need to buy Kiersten gift before she turns one!). After Babies R Us, I went to Target to purchase wipes (I love Target wipes), cotton balls, and trash bags. I was amazed to find that I actually left with nothing more than the three items I intended to buy. From there I went to the barber shop and sat and listened to the men doing their thing. Funny... Men do more chatting than women. I left the barbershop and came home to find that Sir was down for a nap, which gave me time to eat and have something sweet. I was halfway through dessert when Sir stirred and wanted out of his crib. I went to retrieve him (after finishing my dessert, of course--do I look like a fool?) and we then took a long nap together with the windows open to 70-degree weather and a cool northeastern breeze blowing through the room.

Last tidbit: It's raining. And as I much as I've hated swimming class, I hate that the rain is going to keep us from having the last class. Miss Leslie was a great teacher (I must post a pic of the cool hat she knitted for Sir) and I wanted Sir to say his last goodbye. There's less than to two hours before class should start, maybe the rain will subside. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Yo, Bartender!!!

Sipping on a Bud Light; every now and then I go into my brother's stash and have a cold one. I used to be a heavyweight; now I'm a lightweight--sometimes only making it through a few sips. I've been here for a minute and I'm only one sip in. Man! That baby doesn't stop! He's gotten the walking down, and he seems to believe that he now needs to RUN to everything. I'm still keeping him as busy as possible; he's going to some reading thing at the library tomorrow. Being out of town kept us from swimming class, but we'll reconvene tomorrow, with only 2 days of swimming left for the summer!!! Yea! Boy! How I soooooooo disliked swimming.

10 Great Things About Connecticut

1. Fall foliage.
2. Decent summers.
3. Just "enough" black folks--too many is just way too many!! (Just playing; that's a joke. Folks always assume that CT doesn't have black people, when in fact, we've got cities full of 'em--lots of Puerto Ricans and Jamaicans too.)
4. Crisp morning air that cleanses your lungs.
5. Being able to play in the grass without being bitten by ants. (I love frolicking in the grass with the baby. In CT when you see a bed of ants, you set your blanket right on top of them--they don't attack.)
6. We aren't too far from some fun places: Boston, New York, Atlantic City, DC, Philly, Rhode Island, Maine, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard...THE BRONX (that's for you Paul!).
7. Folks ain't always that friendly, but on days when you don't feel like being bothered, it suits you just fine.
8. It's so tiny that it only takes a short time to get to all the places you need to go.
9. The FIRST snowfall is breathtaking--after that, winter is messy and downhill.
10. Lots of people I love are here; and that makes up for all of my loved ones around the U.S. whom I don't get to see too often.

Four sips in....

Erica--Yes, my aunt passed and we drove to Georgia. It was a long 9 day trip--since the baby is no longer a baby, but a bizzy, and impatient, bee. But it was a blessing to be able to lay my eyes on my family once again--minus one, whom I still love dearly (I made this same trip exactly one year ago when my grandfather died-- The baby was only 3 months and more easy to travel with. And this particular aunt was my deceased grandfather's daughter. And she'd just married some weeks ago.).

Still four sips in...

Man Up The Street Spotting: Mom saw him leaving his elderly mother's home early this morning with a bag in tow. She says it looked as if he was headed to work or something. He's been busy socializing with the neighbors, but no real action to be noted. BUT, neighbor told me that this new family down the street had some action while we were away. And it is rumored the woman of this same family has a baby by another dude up the street from me. It seems that some guy must have done something to her daughter (not the one she had with the dude up the street) and she ran him out of the house. They seem like fairly quiet people though. Sir and I always wave to the guy as we're making our daily trek to Aunt Theldra's. Who knows?

Six sips in.

About 8:15 pm. Miss Nikki Ann is going to head to bed.

Seventh and final sip. I tried. The can's still full. My brother and my cousin would be HOT to find out that I'm pouring the rest of it down the sink. I'd hate to tell them how many I've wasted this way.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I'm tired. Tired and happy to be home. Happy to be back in the swing of things. Nine days. A nine-day journey in a car with a 15-month-old baby. What a long road to travel. Especially to bury someone you've loved for so long. But I'm back to my routine. And ya' know, I've never appreciate my own routine and life as much as I do now, despite my fatigue. But Benadryl will do that to you. It did it to the baby too--but that part's the blessing. May he slumber through the night and be healed from his "dairy" rashes and allergies. Sleep on, Sir. Sleep on. And I, too, shall slumber.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Man Up The Street UPDATE & More

It's another Man Up The Street spotting. And for once it wasn't I doing the snooping; mom informed me that he was up to some suspicious activity. She wondered how a man recently released from jail could have a cell phone and spanky white new clothing. **Nikki shrugs her shoulders**

Sir and I spent some much needed time with Mrs. Miller in her yard. She was zapping weeds and sprucing things up a bit. Mrs. Miller is my second mom. Her daughter and I have been best friends since I was born. LuCiana and I share the same birthday (except she's a year older) and we've been neighbors for almost 31 years now--Ciana now has her own home, but she's always over.

Mrs. Miller and I delighted in old neighborhood stories, and, she spoke passionately about women being able to do things on their own. We both agreed that waiting on a spouse or significant other to get the job done can sometimes lead to it never being done (not in all cases, but in lots). Mrs. Miller was like a June Cleaver (actually, both she and my mom were). She was a stay-at-home mom until LuCiana went to school (they have 5 children in total, and with Ciana being the youngest, there was a HUGE age gap between her and her siblings). Mrs. Miller took a position at our schools JUST to keep a watch on all of us neighborhood kids. As soon as our last neighbor, Shawn, finished school, she left the school system. I always thought that was such an honorable thing.

She spent her time making Ciana and I matching, themed outfits for different holidays, and playing board games with us. She and my mother made a great unit and helped each other in many ways; both their husbands worked tiring full-time jobs, and they leaned on each other for extra strength. Mrs. Miller helped to nurture the responsible women I've become, and my gratitude is endless.

Added note: Man Up The Street is The Millers' neighbor. And I know we all wish more for him.

So it was a great day. Sir and I also spent time with Neighbor as she finished washing her car. Tony and Joe did some work on the inside of the house. Sir and I spent time in the park. Rishawn came to visit. I spoke with Crystal on the phone (that's ALWAYS interesting). I had a retina appointment--which inconclusively diagnosed me with White Dot Syndrome (more specialists to see). Sir and I made our daily visit to Aunt Theldra and Uncle Robert Earl's to watch the last soap opera. Mom and I caught the Poland Spring Water Sale at Big Y ($3.33 for a 24-pack). Sir and I skipped swimming class, AGAIN (yea!).

Overall it was busy, busy, busy. Tomorrow mom is making German Chocolate Cakes (yes, that's plural). Eating them always brings back thoughts of my grandmother, who is in the hospital right now. Oh yeah, I returned lots of phone calls between today and yesterday, which is pretty good for me. I have a few more to do, but I plan on getting back to everyone. And I can't forget to add that Thembi arrived safely by plane--and with the craziness that's going on, that's a blessing.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Pain

The baby is doing some major teething, so we didn't go to swim class today! Yea!!!!! Of course I'm happy about the class and NOT the teething. Poor guy's face is swollen something awful! FYI: That picture is old; he now has 8 teeth.

I have a new mommy friend named Jakki. We met at the library during one of Isom's classes. Jakki and I have a few strange things in common. After speaking with her on the phone, I realized that we've both been applying for the same jobs. I remember telling her my educational background, but I'd forgotten to ask about hers. She too has a BA in English and a graduate degree in Communications. The only difference is that I'm a semester away from my Communications degree. Go figure. She went to an HBCU (Spelman), as did I (Tuskegee). She's black, I'm black! LOL She's funny and smart. I'm... Hmph! Maybe not so funny--depending on how the wind is blowing...

**Hmmm... Nikki stops to think a moment.**

Oh crap! With Jakki as my competition, I'll never get a job! I won't be able to buy food. Sir and I will starve to death...


Actually, that's already happening.


I feel better.

Anywho. I should go. The main character in my novel is having some issues and I need to help her out. Poor girl, I'm going to have to cut a couple of characters out of the book. I'm figuring it'll be a very traumatic experience for her and she'll need a shoulder to lean on. And that shoulder will have to be mine because, unfortunately, it won't be Kane's, her cake daddy, loverboy--I have to kill him off, too. I'm just trying to help the sista' out. Little does she know, I had written the part so that he was physically abusive to her. So she shouldn't miss him. **Note to Crystal: I'm sorry, but he has to go. I'm trying not to totally change the story, but the book is just way too long. Don't worry, you'll probably catch him beating up on another one of my characters in an upcoming book (That's a sick thing to look forward to!). And you know me, tomorrow I could decide that he needs to make a reappearance. Who knows!**

Until latas............................

Last tidbit: Um, Sir and I are nowhere near starving. But if you've got a few extra mil around and don't know what to do with it, we wouldn't complain about taking it off of your hands.

My Morning Findings

First I spotted Mr. Rabbit, so I ran and grabbed my camera. How do I know it's a Mister?

Cause he's licking himself! Easy call.

Mr. Rabbit and his entire tribe have been very busy this summer. They tend to hang out everywhere. My Aunt Theldra, she lives around the corner, is lucky to have a bunch of baby rabbits in her yard. The rabbits are more friendly this year than ever before--at least that's what I thought until I almost stepped into this...

Anywho, after making a mental note to be more careful about allowing Sir to roll around in our lush grass, my eyes wandered around the yard in search of beauty.

This is my dad's squash plant from LAST year. It hasn't been cultivated, and thus, has not produced any squash. He's not here to tend to it, and mom and I aren't into food gardens. We enjoy planting annuals and perennials like this...

And let me be clear. I enjoy picking them out and saying that I'm going to plant and water them. In the end, mom has to help me plant them and she waters them because I forget to. Hey, I'm too busy watering my 14-month-old plant. Note to self: Hmmmm...Actually it's the tenth of August, so he's 15 months today.

Congrats to Sir Isom G. (who's down for a nap because mommy got tired of him yelling at her) on 15 great, ACTIVE months!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Swim class, swim class, swim class. Oh how I dislike taking Isom to swim class. And it's not just one or two days a week. Noooooooooooo, swim class is 5 days a week. Five days of uncertainty. Hey, it's New England! If it's only in the eighties (which it usually is) then the water is friggin' freezin'. And if we have a hot spell in the 100's like last week, it's too darn hot to even think about swimming. Swim class, swim class, swim class. As a child I failed my swim class. I've never really been a pool person. I'm into the wide-open ocean. I love to get in and allow the waves to lift and rock me. When I'm in the Caribbean, I enjoy watching the sting rays, yellow fin snappers, and all sorts of life swarming around me. But swim class!

It seems that Sir Isom isn't that excited about swimming either. He rarely cracks a smile and spends the entire class showing me his bye-bye hands (as I'm doing all of the work, hauling his 14-month-old butt around in that cold water). Heck, I could have run a tub of water and let him kick around in that instead. But I must admit, I'm going to miss class when it's over (in THREE more long weeks). I'm gonna miss the twins, Lauren and all of Isom's other friends. And let's not forget Miss Leslie, she's the teacher. She has such a warm spirit. She knitted these great rag-a-muffin hats for the kids; Isom's yellow and green hat matches with all of his swim suits.

My goal was to keep him busy this summer, besides swimming he's doing other activities in town. But I think I've bitten off more than I can chew this time. And I fear that this swimming class will go on for eternity.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Got Music?

After 3 Bud Lights.

One of which I challenged my brother to see who could take it back first. Um, let's just say that since he's been married to my new sister, he ain't what he used to be. But I still lost.

Enjoy. And don't be embarrassed--I've got that part covered.

FYI: My jam session was curtosey of Mint Condition, singing their song You Don't Have To Hurt No More.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Man Up The Street UPDATE

Yes, it's Man Up The Street, outside in the pouring rain reading the paper and smoking a cigarette at 6:45 am (This photo is blurred because I don't know if, legally speaking, I should be snapping photos of the dude. And don't even ask why I was up nosing around in his business.). I fear that things have taken a sour turn for Man Up The Street. Rumor has it that he tried to bum some cigarettes off of my cousin the other day, but cousin didn't have any to spare. We fear that what he really wanted was some money. Then this afternoon Mom and I spotted him in the northend of Hartford. Funny part? He had a cigarette in his hand. I guess he finally got his nicotine fix. Other rumor has it that his drug issue probably really has resurfaced--at least that's what neighbor says. He was telling her that he's working for the Urban League and stuff and that he's supposed to be staying in some sort of group housing. Um....really now? How can that be if he's here all the time. Come on Man Up The Street. I'm rooting for you. At least when you were outside calling folks all kinds of BITCHES your life seemed a little more stable. When we waved at you today, you just didn't look good. Not at all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Oh My! Where Has The Time Gone?

Tick Tock, Tick Tock.
I think someone has stolen my watch.

No, actually I don't wear a watch anymore.
Ah, the luxury.
Most days I forget which day of the week it is.
And now, all of a sudden..........

Time had me fooled.
And you?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Part Time Help Wanted

For The Night Crew
Go to Customer Service Desk for Application

Nikki Ann grabs the decaf coffee that she plans on surprising her mother with. They'd been to the store 3 times, and each time had forgotten it for one reason or another. She knows mom will be excited to finally have it. She heads to the cashiers line, but is reminded about a sign she'd seen outside and decides to inquire.

Nikki Ann: Are you still hiring for the night crew?

Customer Service: Yes.

Nikki Ann: What are the hours?

Customer Service: 9 pm until. We don't know the exact hours yet. Usually it's until the work is finished.

Nikki Ann: And it is part-time?

Customer Service: Yes. Who's the job for?

Nikki Ann: Actually it's for me.

Customer service representative gives Nikki Ann the once-over. She appears to be perplexed.

Nikki Ann: Thank you so much. Bye!

Nikki Ann sits at home chatting with her mom.

Nikki Ann: I inquired about that part-time night crew position.

Mom: Um, you remember that job you had at the airport?

Nikki Ann: Yeah?

Mom: You remember how you lasted only one day?

Nikki Ann: Um, yeah?

Mom: Okay.

Nikki Ann: But it speaks a lot about me that I'm willing to try anything. Right?

Mom looks at Nikki Ann with a blank expression. It appears that she knows this routine. Seen it way too many times. She gets up to exit the room but then turns to address Nikki Ann.

Mom: Someone's going to call.

Nikki Ann watches as Mom leaves the room. She chuckles at herself. She too knows that it's always at the moment when she's most impatient that a big breakthrough happens. Until then, she decides that it's okay to entertain silly thoughts and attempts; she knows that without this, she just wouldn't be Nikki Ann.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Man Up The Street

Man Up The Street,

I watch you as you come out of your mother's house early in the morning. I watch as you puff on your cigarettes and look to nowhere. You're in your early 40's, but you dress as if you're in your 20's, long baggy pants and long baggy t-shirt hanging down to your knees. I've watched, and laughed, as you've called your girlfriend and girlfriend's daughter a bitch. Not because it was funny (maybe a little) but because I knew she'd cuss you back and return an hour later for more, as her hoochie daughter stood outside--legs spread open--and did the wind and grind to music that pumped from the car. Not that color matters, but to see this 14-year-old white girl dancing to dancehall music out in the front yard in a predominately black neighborhood is a sight to be seen.

Man Up The Street, I remember when you ran into my mother's car and didn't want her to call the cops because you were on probation. Man, I've known you my entire life. I can remember when I was about 10 and your father's (God rest his soul, he was one of favorite neighbors) car fell on top of you. Since then, you've been imprisoned way too many times for me to remember (at times I wonder if that car knocked the good sense out of you). Mostly I fear drugs and liquor might be to blame (and maybe even those cigarettes). It's like you're an immature boy trapped in a man's body.

I must admit, while I was pregnant, watching you in action, yelling at your girlfriend, was the highlight of my day. I've entertained my family members many times with the authentic way you say the word BITCH.

I must go now. Not because I have things to do, but because I plan to go to my window and see if you're still outside puffing on that cigarette. I missed you while you did your last stint in jail, and I'm way too happy to see you back, pacing your elderly, sickly, bedridden mother's driveway. You give this quiet neighborhood a little spunk. I thank you for making my long days interesting. And hey, if old age doesn't kill me, your secondhand smoke will--I love having options.

Your neighbor,


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fresh Start

It's 7 a.m. and I've just baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
I stare out the window...wondering, "When will 7 p.m. arrive?".
Hmmmm.....7 p.m.
Isom's bedtime.

I stare and I wonder.
He arrives...
Dirty oatmeal face and all.
And some miscellaneous sticky substance on his forehead.
And so, it begins. Until..................7 p.m.

For A.P. Manque and Luz Maria Nana Nina