Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
So the community has gone through its changes. When I first moved in there was a good mixture of folks. Lots of students (since we are down the street from Clark, Morehouse, and Spelman), families and singles. It was pretty quiet, except after finals when the students would sometimes wild out. The management has changed and they are a little more involved with the residents.
Lately though I have been thinking it is time to move on. The booming music is getting louder. The people congregating on the stairs to talk to each other is getting on my nerves. The cigarette smoke wafting through my windows is making me ill. Having to step around the brother on the stairs with is laptop (stealing someone's wi-fi) is uncomfortable. Listening to the girl on her phone complaining to her friend that her children's father won't give her money for the kid's back to school clothes. Then she actually talks to him and wants to know why he can't help her. It sounds like he is in jail ("I'm in this with you. I put money on your books!"), but he got money from somewhere because he is helping out his other baby's mama. I don't want or need to know this.
Maybe I am getting more bourgie as I get older, but while I love the hood, I don't want to necessarily live in it anymore. My problem is that I don't make much money and moving to a comparably sized place will cost me $200 more a month - that I don't have. Should I start looking for another higher paying job (doing I have no idea what)? Should I leave Atlanta and seek greener pastures elsewhere, like I have been threatening to do for 10 years? Should I try to squeeze out more rent on my current salary and give up cable and Internet? Should I just stick it out and be thankful for this cheap-ass rent?
My lease isn't up until next spring, so I guess I have a lot to think about.
started 7/19 finished 7/21
This is a great summer for reading. A lot of my favorite authors have new releases and I couldn't be happier. Dirty Girl's on Top did not disappoint. I read it in 2 days! If you haven't read the first book, Dirty Girl's Social Club, run and get it now. In it you are introduced to six 20-something Latina friends: Usnavys, Lauren, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Sara, and Amber. They met while in Boston in college and now meet up twice every year to catch up. The New York Times said that it "reads like the Hispanic Waiting to Exhale". And they were right. In addition to being entertaining it also showed the diversity of the Latina experience - the characters are Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, straight, gay, married, single, professional, struggling artist, etc.
In this book it is now five years later and the women are heading to New Mexico for their now yearly meet-up. The weekend together brings up old rivalries and jealousies and reveals some secrets - something that every one of these women has. They are still dealing with prejudices in society, the workplace and among each other. They have had children, divorced, created new lives for themselves, but are they happy? I won't give anything away, but this book is funny, insightful and drama-filled. Perfect for those of you want Sex and the City with spice!
started 7/13 finished 7/19
This book is along the same lines as Helping Me Help Myself, that I read earlier this year. Instead of following self-help gurus for a year, though, Alter uses the wide world of women's magazines to help her get her love life together. Her first husband drops out of grad school, gains loads of weight, and picks his nose in bed (and she catches him eating it!). After the divorce she doesn't do much better with the not reciprocated neighborhood crush and an office "romance" (that really only involves them having sex in her cubicle - during work hours). She decides that she would turn over life for the next year to magazines like O, Cosmopolitan, Self, Real Simple, Glamour, Lucky and others. Every month she would use the magazines advice to focus on certain issues - how to get rid of a guy (office dude), how to pack light (for a weekend trip with her new boyfriend), and others.
I almost put this book down after I started reading it because how she carried herself in "relationships" with men was a little frustrating for me. I wanted to shake her and tell her to show some self' respect. But I don't like giving up on a book and I don't like being too judgmental of people who I don't even know. I am glad that I stuck with it, because she made some radical changes over the year and comes out at the end a happier person.
- Stephen Carter dropped by our store to sign copies of his book. I was way too excited and fawned all over him. He handled it like the extremely poised Yale law professor that he his and didn't let it show that I was freaking him out.
- The Italian Vogue saga. Those of us who regularly read fashion content on the internet have known that this special issue featuring all Black models was coming out for a few months now. When we started getting calls at my store about it in early June, our inventory manager called one of the magazine buyers for our chain to request additional copies. Our normal draw is 2 copies per month. My manager asked for 75-100 instead, assuring them that we could sell them based on the demand we were seeing. We were told that it was too late and that every store would be getting their normal draw. So, for the last few weeks we have been fielding lots of calls (some of them angry; some of them understanding) and we realized that about 95% of the women who wanted this magazine were not going to get it. I even had people in NY and LA looking out for copies for me, because since we were only getting 2, employees couldn't buy them. They finally came in last Friday (on my day off) and they sold within an hour. One man just happened to be in the store when they arrived and he bought a copy. Then, there is this woman who calls literally every day (since we could never give her an exact date for their arrival; and we weren't holding copies) and they told her we had one copy left. She hopped in her car and came over, calling every few minutes on her cell to make sure it was still here. When she finally made it to the store and bought the copy she held it over her head in victory and all the staff applauded!! Sista worked for that magazine!! On Tuesday I was sitting in my office (watching the clock) when one of my co-workers came and said that we got in more Italian Vogue. He is kind of a joker and I thought he was playing. I went into the stockroom and saw all these people standing around some boxes - we got in an extra 90 copies!!!!!!! We knew that Conde Nast was reprinting 10,000 copies, but we though that they were being distributed to the NYC area. I got a copy (with Liya Kibade on the cover) after getting permission from the manager on duty and spent my grocery money for the week. (Please send ramen noodles, asap). We haven't had this much stress and excitement in our store since the last Harry Potter!
I thought I had more random thoughts to share, but I guess not!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
started 6/28 finished 7/12
I'm pretty sure that my mini-review here is not going to do this book justice. It is just that incredible. Carter, a law professor at Yale, is no stranger to publishing. For years he published scholarly works on religion, ethics, and politics that were well-received and hailed. But they were way above my head. Dude is super smart.
So, a few years ago, when he published his first work of fiction, a mystery titled
The Emperor of Ocean Park, I was a little skeptical. I was soon drawn into the world of upper-class African-American society (a community not commonly found in literature) and the Ivy League. It was groundbreaking and thrilling to read. His second mystery,
New England White, added politics to the mix. Historically, the African-American privileged class has been a very insular and close-knit community and these books show just how much, especially when you throw a couple murders in.
In Palace Council, Carter takes this community to the nth degree. Eddie Wesley is an aspiring writer living in 1950's Harlem, doing odd jobs in order to devote time to his writing, much to the dismay of father who believes that his son should find work more suitable to the son of a preacher with far-reaching connections. Eddie is dating Aurelia, who has her own future to think of. Should she marry Eddie, the creative dreamer or Kevin Garland, from the wealthy Wall Street Garlands. The night that Eddie realizes that he has lost Aurelia to Kevin, he stumbles across the corpse of a white man in Harlem. A few years later, Junie, Eddie's sister goes missing, and while he is now an acclaimed novelist, he devotes the next 20 years to searching for her. Are these two incidents related? You have no idea.
In his author's note, Carter states that even though the book starts in 1954 and ends in 1974, it is really about the 1960's - the most important decade of social change in recent American history. In addition to the African-American society residents of Harlem, historical figures like Joseph Kennedy, Langston Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon appear as characters as well. The settings move from Harlem to Washington, D.C. to Saigon. The story is rich with twists and turns and clues uncovered so masterfully that I sometimes had to re-read a couple passages because they were so ingeniously written. In one example, a character is mentioned who had died about 50 pages before and I didn't recognize the name and couldn't remember who he was. But in reading the sentence again I saw that Carter, with just 2 or 3 words, subtly reminds you of the characters importance. Stuff like that really makes an impression on me.
A few posts ago, I stated that Tananarive Due was my favorite author and I still stick by that. But she now has to share the honor with Stephen L. Carter.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Today is my 43rd birthday.
Can't get excited about it. I tried to.
It is very difficult for a "glass half empty" depressive to get excited about anything. But society (and possibly my friends, although they don't say it to me) says "snap out of it". So I try.
I always request the day off from work, and this year my boss gave me an extra 4 days without me asking.
Wednesday, I went to see Hancock and had my favorite salad from California Pizza Kitchen. I can't afford either, but people always say "do something nice for yourself". So I try.
Thursday, I spent some time with a friend who is moving to China. Giving her a scarf I crocheted for those harsh (I guess) Chinese winters, and a meditation journal. She gives me a cute "go green" t-shirt for my birthday. That makes me happy because all my current t-shirts advertise Chee.rios or some vacation one of my co-workers went on.
Friday, is 4th of July. By weird coincidence, I throw on a t-shirt of the American flag in the Black Power colors of red, black, and green to leave the house (get strange looks for rest of day). I go out for groceries and get stuck on a packed train with sweaty runners high from completing the Peachtree Road Race. All those people cause me to have my first anxiety attack and by the time I get off the train my heart is racing and I am as sweaty as they are. That night I watch the fireworks at Centennial Olympic Park from a cozy spot on my couch.
Saturday, I run some errands to Target and Hancock Fabrics (shouldn't have gone there, although I only spent $15 telling myself it's okay, it's my birthday weekend). Gorge myself on Chik-Fil.-A.
Sunday, my actual birthday is here. Decide to go get some salmon cuz I love it. Go back to Target for printer toner. Credit card declined. Had to pay cash. Annoyed. Needed that money for other things. Went to grocery store, too early for fish department to open. Really annoyed. The packaged salmon doesn't look too fresh. Super annoyed. Take my friends Ben & Jerry home to help me celebrate because this is Georgia and you can't buy alcohol on Sundays! (I don't drink, but for some reason the only day I want alcohol is on Sundays!)
So, I give up trying (we depressives are good at this) It is not going to happen. For the time being, my birthdays aren't going to be the huge celebrations that others have. With my parents deceased and all of my close friends in other states and countries, I am not going to be showered with surprise gifts and special dinners from family and friends. In the future, I will treat this as a regular day and not promote it at all. If you happen to remember my birthday next year, I will be happy and graciously accept your greetings. But from now on I will treat it like I do all other holidays - with indifference.