Monthly Archive for December, 2005

cartegena 1, me none!

ok first of all, www.chappelletheory.com

second, one of my bfffs and my main road dawg sofia is off to miami and then colombia and its done. if you’ve never met sofia, suffice it to say that she is one of the deepest, smartest, wisest most beautiful and wonderful people this planet has produced. this year she has taught me an immense amount about love, life, trust, devotion and real friendship. and now she is going to be out of site for 5 months, near a beach and near family and teaching english and having her first real vacation since i’ve known her. and i am surprisingly ok – because either i am in deep denial OR i really do grasp that this is a great step and it’s all good.

third of all, happy new year!!!! :) i will be in a state of celebration starting early in the day tomorrow and don’t plan to post, in fact i plan to stay just this side of cognizant for as long as possible, since that’s my favorite place to be.

and lastly, or finally, or even fourthly, i am about to go on wbai for an end of the year little wrap up. if you’re near a radio from 9-10 eastern, check it out.

i passed 150 posts yesterday, un poco loco…what can one girl have so much to say about!! well i guess you already know. :) kisses from the lusciousmsbrown (my aim name) – feel it, and feel some more.

holla!

a quickie

oh dear readers – someone wrote me a love letter on their blog!! molly molly bo bolly lo lolly – i linked her under my hot blogs so go check the love. danke darling.

things i LOVE right now:
- dolly parton
- celeste faison for giving me the mariah xmas album. a vindictive bi-racial schoolmate in germany stole my original copy and since then i have wavered between making the purchase and my overarching distaste for xmas music. but i always long for that perfect xmas song and have listened to ‘all i want for christmas is you’ about twenty-3 times in the last two days. she also gave me mary j blige but i haven’t yet listened to it. shame.
- stargate the series. can you imagine finding that a movie you fell in love with conceptually at like 16 has been developed into a television show and there are already 8 seasons in the world which you can rent on netflix and completely and totally DORK OUT!!!! (breathe, breathe)

things i hate:
- people who let their dogs shit on the sidewalk. so uncouth.
- people leaving me. i know on many levels that they are not leaving me but rather this location and stuff but damn. taint right.

things i like a lot:
- i had a hottie collision in cali, which is just one way of saying i have met a new match, and heard from him today. i have spoken about this before, samuel r delany has a sci-fi concept called a perfect erotic match where you can determine to a decible point a measurement of how hot someone is to you. you know when you meet someone and you kind of want to just smack them and throw them up against a wall? yeah that…shit makes you do the cabbage patch!

for discerning folks like myself (i’ve made one error in 27 years and, to be honest, it was fun too…hee hee) the match is reason 1-9 on my top 10 list of great things about being single. number 10 is not having someone up in my business all the time.

cause i am an introvert.

this quickie is getting too long, and i think my mother is secretly reading these again. mom – just don’t think about it too much! i certainly don’t plan to, and that’s the whole point…and remember i am a pleasure activist and this comes with the territory and…oh why bother i know if you’re reading this you are laughing your ass off.

must go sit in the presence of sofia now and not throw a tantrum about how i am better than cartegena!

a little more

its hard coming off the good family time, so this year my sister autumn and i decided to have a transition day in ny. got in late last night and pulled out every piece of clothing i own and went through and got rid of anything i haven’t worn in the past year. had a suitcase of stuff when i was done and an old suitcase to put it in. santana needed the suitcase so we’re doing a salvation army drop tomorrow.

autumn and i slept in a bit then met at the baths for one last sweat for 05. then we slipped through veselka, its becoming tradition, and they were kidding about the goat cheese peirogis going away. they go on my particularly scary food list in terms of the amount of deep joy they elicit in my mouth and mind.

then we took our gift certificates to target (tar je’). i got a convection oven and some jersey knit sheets. i am ready to get rid of everything bed related that isn’t jersey knit at this point. also got crest whitening strips after seeing a noticable brightening of a certain close friend’s smile.

ooh flashback: amidst a few recent birthdays i must admit i called and sang the birthday song to the heartbreaker recently. the singing was some of my best to date. and that was that.

so um…after a successful tar-je’ experience – my sister found a perfect pair of jeans and i found some cute little shirts that are not the camisoles i intended to buy…foiled again – we were off to see the matinee of brokeback mountain and just cry and cry. i cried in the preview. a friend gave me the heads up that it was comparable only to bridges of madison county. translation: the sickest kind of film for diehard closeted romantics. the fact that it was gay and a feature film and thus groundbreaking was quickly not the point at all, it was just beautiful and well-acted and accurately captured a range of complex miscommunications and fears.

and not unrealistic. i’m not yet 30, and i’ve seen up close affairs, lies, triangles, mistakes, comfort sex that is no more important or grievous than a secret cigarette, deep closets, deeper reasons, and i’ve seen people turn away from the one love that would make them happy, for the one path that feels safe, or simply because ultimately they don’t really know from sadness. oh that movie made me cry, tears that have been welling up for a while anyway and needed to find a way out. it was great, two sweats in a day…

dinner at rice with jen’s magnifucent hosting smile, going to sofia’s house and really trying not to acknowledge the suitcases; this year was kansas, the house is spinning and the questions abound… which witches to crush, where to find courage and heart and brain, which wizards to expose, and most of all – what shoes to wear?

april is advising me on small steps towards a sewing machine while missing her man, who is in louisiana preparing for a bowl game. my parents are seeing everyone in the state of south carolina that must be seen. autumn leaves tomorrow for the minnesota cold (they light fires on the ice there, its that thick) and new year’s with her other family. a new year approaches…but how to ring it in?

the jury is in – diary of a mad black woman is cheesy as all hell. but being mad, now that’s all the rage.

letting go

i just spent the last three hours with a 3 week old baby asleep on my chest. mmmm baby. this was the definitive highlight of christmas take 3, with the rest of my dad’s side of the family, siblings and partners and babies. lots of sounds and great food and another gift exchange – have you played the white elephant game? but the highlight is ooooooh….new babies with their tiny little perfectly formed fingers and fingernails and feet and eyelashes and baby smell and baby skin and the sheer miracle of something so perfect that can’t hold its own head up or see more than two feet. magic.

had a wonderful talk with my mom and sisters today about choices in life – the choices they have each made, the choices i am trying to make. i love the way my family communicates – we work hard at making sure we’re clear and honest and thoughtful with each other, our antennae are always up. we were noticing today the shifts in and out of our traditional roles.

i used to be the mediator, trying to clarify everything, protect people from themselves and others. i have mostly let that role go now, learning to step back, be quiet, let people figure it out themselves. its hard, but i’m learning that there are areas where my energy is needed, but there  are lessons that i am not meant to teach. if there was a theme to this year, it would be stepping back, letting people step up to own their victories and mistakes without me as a buffer. i was merely getting abused in the role anyhow, and its exhausting and egotistical. i get to be so much more engaged in my own life and growth process, and in serving the world the way i am meant to, when i stop trying to control it all.

and as my sister autumn says, its all communication anyway. most of what people argue about is not content, its context, its tone. everyone wants to be understood and respected…but in order to do that you have to just let go, let go of what others think and trust that you can sleep at night, that you understand within yourself what you mean, what you value, what your choices are.

santana and jenn said the motto is drama gets nixed in the 06. i am SO down for it.

check alternet next week, gavin leonard and i have a point/counterpoint going up as one of the first big pieces of the year.

it someone special’s birthday in a few minutes. sending love, sending love!

brown family christmas

we do christmas so all out that i used to clown us and now fully recognize it is my favorite time of year. getting to just go all out in giving to people you love feels good. everything falls into perspective. there’s a world somewhere where the transit strike ended badly, i know i have to go back there in a few days. but not yet…not yet.

my mom and her family raised money to cover 8 families in mississippi for christmas this year instead of giving each other extravagant gifts. and even though my parents were coming from japan and my sister autumn and i were coming from ny and we were at my sister’s roommate’s house, we still did it our way, big christmas eve dinner, wake up super early to see what santa brought for us girls, then my parents in a gift war involving ipods, translation devices, and massive golf books.

this year for our dinner my sister april’s boyfriend stanley joined us, and we got to find out how smart and funny and excellent at spades he is. it was too cute to watch him and my dad enter into a challenging football conversation, by the end of which they were speaking purely in acronyms. apparently the acc is the vip of the cb realm, and the indy-bowl is fine for this year for usc. stanley is a star defensive…lineman? for the gamecocks. he’s the one who dances on the field. go april.

april as been an amazing host as we’ve turned her out of all her spaces and been underfoot. she gave me an amazing massage from a professional masseuse friend of hers which i got the other day….it was amazing. grounding. yummy.

but all around we knocked out the gifts this year – its cool to have everyone be thoughtful adults giving presents. its dope to watch someone have the exact reaction you hoped for when you made the purchase, to understand the thought behind the gift. all those years of getting my dad cologne pale in comparison to his reactions now to a new book of golf secrets. watching april with her journey and cash, autumn with bjork and bob dylan.

they tried to get me jamie foxx but he was sold out in south carolina. truly unpredictable…

today we drove down to my grandparents after the presents and found out my grandmother is really really sick, so say a prayer for mary jo. my papa was beside himself taking care of her – she seems to have pneumonia or bronchitis. we spent the day up at the barnhouse where my cousins live, playing old skool nintendo, then horseback riding, playing spades and then doing a puzzle. they are such amazing young people, making me really rethink homeschooling. and having babies. i mean ick…but…

also rethinking cats – there’s a cat in this house where we’re guests and his name is boomer and he’s really growing on me. in general allergies have given me a negative bias on cats but i am into making something purr.

on the trip home my sister was sharing her crisis poo dreams with me – i guess everyone responds to constipation differently. have you ever had a crisis poo dream? poo everywhere and you have to play it off? just curious.

speaking of sister – she’s in a music video! here’s the link: http://www.breakinglaces.com/video/goingaway.mov

in other news, www.pimpmynutcracker.com (courtesy of karynn fish)

and now back to stargate the tv series. me and sci-fi overload sitting in a tree, space travel-ll-i-n-g!

stranded in s.c.

yesterday my dad, mom, sister autumn and i drove to pendleton, s.c., to deliver christmas to my great-aunt annie, her daughter carmen, my aunt maria and cousin jalen (who has the same exact birthday and name as washington heights jalen!), my uncle rodney who is my age, carmen’s daughter nikisha, and then mama stevens. my sister april would have come but it was her anniversary with her man stanley – she gave him his first taste of mexican!

now to understand my life, i have to deal with the fact that in the real world i am struggling to be an environmentalist, and in s.c. we are driving around in a borrowed s.u.v. because that was the available vehicle, having been left by another aunt when she and her husband deployed to korea. at one point yesterday we were literally driving around in the s.u.v. looking for wal-mart and i had to just laugh. but before that! before that we pulled into the burger king parking lot and the cable connecting the um – the part of the car that goes P R N D 1 2 – the cable that connects that stick part disconnected from the part underneath that makes the car go forward or backward or stop. it all got stuck, we couldn’t pull the keys out, we couldn’t stop the car.

first, three old and smiling black men came over and suggested rocking the car. they hopped on the back bumper and we womenfolk sat inside jouncing about. the car was unconvinced to shift in any way.

we then called a family member who knows everyone in town and, possibly related, has had a serious history with crack – smart woman, bad habit – and she pointed us to the local legend buddy, who – among other things – was mayor for four terms. we’re waiting a few minutes later, and my father goes in the burger king to grab a burger, and while he’s gone a large white hobbit character pulls up, grilling the car. without a word the hobbit-man jumps into our car: ‘you all hyere kent staht this hyere cah?’

we nod as one. shortly thereafter the hobbit-man’s son pulled up in a truck.

‘get under that the-yere hood son’
‘you got yo foot on de braake?’
‘you know da-yum well i do’
‘okay try that!’

the car leapt back against the curb.

‘da-yum son that the-yere weren’t drive’
‘no suh, get yo foot on de braake’
‘i got my da-yum foot on the da-yum braake! mumble mumble’

some grumbling under the car. i’m sitting in the front seat, my mother and baby sister in the back, my father standing outside the s.u.v. with his hands on his hips and a cooling burger in a bag. i am convinced my father has a travel jinx – no trip with him has less than a two hour delay.

‘now try that!’

buddy lays his foot down and the car leaps forward.

‘ok the-yere you go suh. just go forward only, and do not stop thisa he-ere cah til you get to mike’s down the roah. don’t get into a backin up siteeation.’
my dad – ‘how much do i owe you for this?’
‘nuthin, merry christmas’ – and buddy and his son roll ahead of us down the street, pointing us to mike’s.

now mike is a whole other kind of white southern man. he looks like his nickname is harley and sure enough he has a sign up in his transmission shop – ‘american by birth, biker by choice’. when we first pull up he won’t talk to us or look at us, none of his help came to work today and he’s stressed. somehow my dad convinces him to help us cause we have come to this town solely to deliver christmas!

cracking no smiles and giving no direct eye contact, he has us pull up into his shop, and while we look at each other like what now?, the s.u.v. gets jacked up off the ground with us all in it. before too long another car pulls up behind us and out gets a family friend of my dad’s – boot mccormell. my dad took boot’s sister to prom (‘they hated each other since the 7th grade’, ‘then we liked each other but couldn’t ask’, ‘and our mother’s got together and schemed to tell them each that the other one had asked’, ‘so we came up to each other in school the next day and said ‘i accept!’ – ‘hahahaha!’), and now boot has been sent to ‘rescue’ us. but rather than driving us to the grocery store to do the christmas grocery shopping, he tells us funny stories about my dad’s childhood. and then more stories about boot’s estranged wife – ‘oh she wanna come home but she got too much pride in her yet, she know she act wrong, i just say come on home but act right!’

he left, then a cousin with 6 kids who i’d never met before drove up to pick up his part of the presents. he also didn’t drive us anywhere. but biker mike, who turned out to be a one-armed biker mechanic with a vibe like clint eastwood had in million$baby, fixed the car right up.  by the end he was even giggling. he was great.

finally, after starting the journey at 10 in the morning, we got to the grocery store at 5:30, delivered the groceries at 6:30, drove around in the busted s.u.v. looking for wal-mart at 7:30 while trying to explain the transit strike to my dad.

now mike had told us that buddy was into fishing for catfish. my dad had spent the afternoon saying he wanted to buy buddy something to thank him. he had paid and tipped mike well, but what to get the large white diabetic non-drinking hobbit angel? i told my dad it was fine, accept the gift. but then in wal-mart, when we split up, each with a piece of the list of gifts to pick up, both my dad and i also slipped into the fishing section. i got catfish bait, my dad got a reel and some line. when we got back together we just laughed.

and finally, what we came for, we got to aunt annie’s house and set up a christmas tree and put presents under it. my aunt annie’s house is a church charity project, falling apart and pasted together and with a soundtrack of its own age and pain…and she loves it. so many children have been raised there by default…this church said they were helping, but they just threw paint on the outside and should be embarrassed about how they left the inside. this year my dad and his 6 brothers and sisters got together to put a new bathroom in..and last night that house was full of laughter and food and presents and jalen running around trying to peek at his presents and smiles all over…and it was wonderful.

absolutely wonderful.

snow babies

so we’re at my sister’s place in columbia, s.c., for the holidays. her
roommate, who owns the house, is the 40-year old Iraq War veteran who
is currently in New Zealand. my parents are in from japan and its like
old times. almost. the main thing that is not at all like old times is
the collection of Snow Babies in the living room. do you know what
these snow babies are? the ultimate in white power toys, these are
little carved babies which appear to be in fuzzy onesies, playing
outdoors and doing holiday type stuff. each one stands alone, capturing
the scary contradictions of christmas and winter – one has an american
flag in hand. another has angel wings and drags heart-shaped balloons
behind it. one piece is two snow babies sitting on a tree trunk
apparently having a deep conversation. as soon as i got into the house
and had a moment alone, i turned all the snow babies so they were
facing away from the room, facing the wall. they scare me, to be
honest. one by one my family members noticed that all 30 snow babies
had been turned around. well actually  first i laid them all down. they
noticed that. then i turned them to the wall – everyone thinks its
funny, and no one grasps that things like snow babies – much like the
precious memories decorations my freshman roommate loved, or any other
collectible items that ride that scary line between toy and perverted
obsession, frighten me!

so then today we are at my grandparents for a while for my mother’s
birthday lunch, and they bring out her gifts, and one of the gifts –
from her sister who thankfully wasn’t present – was…you guessed it! a
snow baby! it was sitting in a chair with a mouse on top of the chair,
reading the night before christmas. a blur of thoughts raced through my
mind: does my mom secretly like snow babies? is my aunt stark raving
mad? am i laughing out loud?

sigh…

now its time to go see the other snow babies, the marvelous brilliant babies of my crackhead aunt, who is the sweetest woman when you meet her, just a bit wild around the eyes. this is always the best, and hardest visit of all.

and away she goes

perfect life-change music – beck, sea changes.

i am exhausted coming upon the end of this year. i have watched each and every one of my friends come through the darkness and nothing was expected and we made it through somehow, if barely, if fighting the whole way, if wondering why we fought so hard.

tomorrow is my mother’s 50th birthday. she would probably say harsh words if she knew i told, but she amazes me because she has preserved her youthful energy and perceptiveness and outlook, has always been able to see the logical resolution in tragedy, hardship, passion, pain. it inspires me, to think that what happens in this 27th year of mine is just little moments compared to a life.

i told a friend today i am coming upon the end of the year in a bit of shock, knowing much more and so much less than i did this time last year, when i sat in japan writing love poems, wondering if the league would make it through its troubles, negotiating that tender space of my family. this year, no snowy japanese mornings, no love poems to write. but some things never change…

today bush said domestic spying was a vital tool in the fight against terrorism. today i watched a fairly anti-corporate feature film. i may wake up to a transit strike in the morning, in new york we do these things in the middle of the night. i remembered today that i’m a pleasure activist and i did that work well this year. i saw a new truth and leadership in the eyes of a 20 year old i deeply respect and it invigorated me.

recently a young indigenous leader was telling me that when he was growing up and would come with anything less than an A, his father would say, ‘well, son, did you do the best you could?’ and he would answer honestly. and that even today, he weighs and measures all the circumstances when external signs indicate he may have come up short, and he stays honest with himself.

as i approach the end of the year, i am asking myself that question, for 2005 did i do the best i could…the circumstances, which in any case no one else can ever fully grasp, were daunting; and i spread myself thin, and i worked hard. was it enough? is it ever?

i am excited to celebrate my mother’s birth. i am excited to smell south carolina all around me, and to be around the people who most need my work to matter, and who care nothing for power or politics, but care very much about their community.  i don’t always get sentimental on new year’s – but this coming year is starting to resemble a wide open door to a place with no rule of gravity, and i feel the urge to pack light so the wind could take me, if she wanted.  a song is coming to me, and a poem, and the peace that comes from new answers and remembering old questions to return to.

ooh pensive much? its been a while since i’ve written much, it may be a while again.

happy holy days – whatever your practice, this always feels like such a convergence of prayer time of year to me. ‘a little better next year, eh god?’

peace

djarum

i had to take down last night’s post – its the first one i’ve ever taken down but you can’t write drunk posts about some things in life.

i tested a theory last night, dancing with my glasses on for a while and then taking them off. it was a very clark kent/superman moment, after which i was nearly mauled. the place was starfoods, the event was santana’s going away party. she’s going to colombia for a few months, and while i recognize it as a fact i am in denial about the reality. no sofia? ugh – the dancing was on though, the whiskey was quick and the people were tall, everyone moved right, everyone looked good and felt good, my fave dj cosi on the tables…i love new york.

last week i took the meyers-briggs test and you’ll never believe – i am an introvert! the rest of it didn’t surprise me…i’m iNtuitive, an exact split between Thinking/Feeling, and Perceiving. i like to be alone, to think things through, to fight for my values, to describe the world.

today i have good morning vietnam from netflix, a couple of faik’s special cookies and my own bed again! i have my integrity intact and may do some writing beyond this before the day is done. then i’ll see some friends. a perfect INTFP day :) enjoy yours.

babies…

i spent the day with babies! that baby clock tick thing is intact…ah hazel and sam are twins born nov 2 2004, who now know how to walk…and follow things, and are starting to talk. right now they say ‘dat. dat.’ its completely amazing.

i’m in california y’all, in berkeley, just a few steps from the beloved yert. tonight if all goes well i will see daniel and sleep at naina’s and get all my work done before heading to the cabin tomorrow.
i’m looking forward to these next two weeks, something in me loves being immersed in the work, undistracted by aim and gaim and chat and text and phone and emails, just thinking and plotting and scheming.

i’m hella tired cause i had a busy night last – ran thru the climate crisis coalition rally – stuff is happening all weekend all over the world in solidarity with the international climate crisis meetings in montreal. follow the drama and action at www.itsgettinghotinhere.org!

i ran from there to a world aids day event in el barrio that my friend shonali invited me to mc – it was uplifting, i salsa’d my ass off with the kids and just had a great time and there was a live band, and one mami in the craziest dress – like black strings off of a black sleeveless leotard and furry boots. i love dancing with kids, they don’t care what anyone thinks yet, and they are just starting to get their body to respond to what they are hearing…so fun.

THEN dani, who was reporting at the event, dragged me to a party in d.u.m.b.o. where i expected to be too tired to engage, but it ended up quite a lovely laid back party, lots of people i love to see were in and out, highlights on sharda, jee, supriya, gina, ricardo, john. and a shout out to the whiskey cause don’t u know dani and i got un poco tore up, then went to my spot where i kind of packed and in the midst of a fabulous session of mutual self-confidence, we kind of passed out.

luck woke me up a little after 5 with just enough time to make the flight, and fortune let the guy sitting two seats in front of me give me the rolling stone with jay-z on the cover. JOY. UNPRECEDENTED.

also while on jetblue, my favoritist airline ever, i watched lots of making the band (final episode thursday – not that i care) and the VH1 countdown for 2005 best videos and my girl mariah was putting them to shame with sequels, water sports, and hand motions!

ooh now i’m pink? dunno why!

i am so tired and still so much to do tonight!! PACE PAZ AXE ETC