Saturday, July 30, 2005

Busy as a buzzing bee

Today's post is brought to you by the music of Chely Wright, Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance and Jo Dee Messina who sings my favorite song, My Give a Damn's Busted.

I'm listening to some cowgirl music this morning while the streets are filled with strolling Farmer's Market visits in shorts and T-shirts of every color of the rainbow and a few that don't occur in nature -- and I don't mean their hair color either. It's cool and the mountains out the window are green and beautifully fuzzy against a periwinkle blue sky. There's a big hole across the street containing a wooden platform, but the beep beep beep of the monster digging machines is gone and has been gone since they finished digging the basement of the planned house on Thursday. The landlady said she doesn't see the house finished and roosting there between the dog that lives on the leash in all weathers and the fancy old house where the family takes their big old stylish camper out every other weekend. And a lot has changed in the past couple weeks in my little neighborhood.

The tree hating orc wench's husband came back from Iraq but hadn't been seen, except for one appearance at 3:00 Thursday morning staggering from the inside of an SUV packed with hoarsely hooting he-men and tripping up the sidewalk into the darkened house. On the other side, the college age guys with the revolving door girlfriends are moving out because the house is on the market. That explains the two cleaning crews that ran screaming down the walk and out between the over grown bushes to stand cowering and shaking in the hot sunshine, staring back at the house with its blind eyes and gaping wound of a door.

We have had three days of rain this week and the rain lasted all day and most of the night on Wednesday. The heat has cooled to bearable ranges and the ground greedily sucked up the rain like a sun-crazed lunatic who just crossed the Gobi desert on hands and knees. Need to pray to the rain gods and see if they will grant us a further reprieve.

I received an early check and took it out for a trip to the grocery store and a little meander through Celebration for a silver chain for my Aztec amulet, some candles, a bit of incense, a few stones and a book. Of course I could have bought more, but decided to pace myself. It's easy to drop $50 in a heartbeat even with the small stuff. I did look over some pendulums for a friend who asked me about mine and scanned some possibilities for a birthday gift for Nello next door, but decided to keep a few dollars in my pocket for the essentials -- sandwiches, TP, and Celtic sea salt from Mountain Mama's and maybe a bit of food from the grocery store. (I didn't get as much work this pay period as I could because it just wasn't there. The docs need another ultimatum for them to get dictating, lazy sods.)

There's something about the rain lately. Beanie and her family were rained out on their camping vacation trip earlier this week, but she said she was glad because of the daddy longlegs infesting their camp site. I guess it would get pretty tiring having your family standing up inside your tent at the four corners to keep the roof pushed out so the rain doesn't bring the roof down to your sleeping bag while you sleep on a slowly leaking air mattress. Some people just can't take really rugged living.

My brother turned 45 to match the flour mixed in with what's left of his dishwater blond hair and celebrated his 22nd wedding anniversary. I guess it does pay to get married on your birthday so you can remember your anniversaries. The next day was Beanie's 20th wedding anniversary -- or maybe it was the 21st. I can't keep track any more. She should have been married on her 23rd birthday, too, so I could keep track by a little quick subtraction, but some people are so thoughtless.

In a few hours I will be with my weekend fella. A moonlight walk is planned tonight and tomorrow night before I give in and start working again and we'll dine together outside -- weather depending. However, he is just a transitional fella since I have someone in the wings who has moved forward onto center stage. After all, the problem with fellas like the one this weekend is that they aren't capable of sticking around for the long haul. You can't have a silver or gold anniversary with a long-haired German Shepard. Still, they're wonderful to have around and love to be petted, scratched and hugged, thus satisfying the need to touch, especially if you don't mind being knocked down by enthusiasm or licked in the face. There are worse things.

Time to go shower and get ready for a fun weekend. Disperse.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Just goes to show

I received an email from Vicki Ward about Life's Spices for Seasoned Sistahs, an anthology that contains a story I wrote. We received the Los Angeles Black Book Expo Anthology Award for 2005. The book contains stories about love and life by mature women of color.

If you haven't checked it out, check it out now.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Waiting for Dogot

Actually, I'm waiting for the weekend. Normally I don't wish away the time because I enjoy every moment so much, but I have a male guest coming to spend the whole weekend and I'm looking forward to his company. I've known him for a while and we get along very well, but this coming weekend it will just be us.

He loves walking in the moonlight and early in the morning after a long night together and I'm looking forward to seeing the neighborhood through his eyes and spending the time together. Nothing better than a strong fella at my side to make me feel safe and protected. Someone to share meals with and talk to and spend two whole days with is going to be sheer heaven. I don't think this will be the last time either. There is already talk of more times together. Moving here was a great idea.

I am nearly at my personal goal of 700 reports in ten days. If I make this, 800 reports cannot be far behind and then it's just a matter of maintaining the pace. I have figured out if I have fairly decent reports I can type about 90-95 reports a day and that far exceeds 800 every 10 days and that is good. Looks like it is paying off to work nights instead of during the day and there are a lot fewer distractions. I am finally getting used to sleeping during the day now that I unplug the phone while I sleep and it hasn't been so hot. Pretty soon it will be normal for me to be a vampire again, as I was for so many years. I miss the hottest part of the day in sleep and hot dreams and get the cool of the night while I work. Teenagers and kids' voices drift up through my open windows well past midnight, reminding me of my youth when summers meant no curfews and no 9:00 bedtimes. Train whistles haunt the night when it's darkest just before the sky begins to pale for the sun's rise and the mountains outside my windows begin to bleed crimson fire that burns gold as the sun glances off the rocks and trees. Mostly, it is quiet and peaceful in the night and there are fewer things to pull my attention away from the tasks at hand. I'm still writing mostly during the day, but at night just before I sign on to work I am my most productive. Must be the music of the night that inspires me.

As I think about the kids walking and skipping and riding and prowling through the streets, I am reminded of the days when my mother told me never to walk down the alleys at night. One particular evening the sun sped like a comet into the horizon leaving no trail of fire and light in its wake. I was late. It would have taken an extra few minutes to take the long way home and the alley would have made me a lot less late. I hate being late and my mother wasn't going to be thrilled either because I was expected home for dinner with their friends. It didn't take me long to decide as I jogged down the alley, eyes focused on the road ahead.

Some of the lights had burned out and the lights over the neighbors' garages were broken, jagged milky glass like claws unsheathed toward the murky shadows, glass glittering in the rocks and dirt. I noted the difference, but it didn't make sense until a clot of shadow unfolded from around the corner of a garage and barred my path with a knife shining dully in the rising moon's light. He grabbed my arm and pulled me against him, the reek of him like spicy salami gone rancid in the heat.

"Take off your clothes," he rasped in my ear.

Fear dug icy talons in my heart and dripped through my veins. This is why I wasn't supposed to go through the alley at night. From some deep and silent trickle of strength inside me, I forced my fingers to unbutton my blouse without shaking. "Sure," I quipped. He pushed me away and spun me around to watch me undress. I took my time, was almost seductively slow as I smiled up at him with a mischievous grin. "Could we hurry this up?" I asked as I nodded toward his belt. "I need to get home to call the free clinic before they close. I think I have a dose of the clap and it cuts into my money when I can't work." I reached for his belt and he pulled away, knife glinting in his shaking hand.

"The clap?" he asked.

"Yeah, you know. Burning, itching, dripping and pain?"

"The clap?" he repeated.

I unfastened the snap on my jeans and started to push them down when I heard the skitter of gravel beneath running feet. I looked up. He was gone.

I snapped my jeans and buttoned my shirt as I headed home, calm and steady as a preacher on Sunday morning. A few minutes later I closed the gate behind me and walked up to the back door and let myself in. Mom started carping at me the minute I walked through the door and into the kitchen. The rest is all a blur until I was upstairs in my bedroom changing clothes and getting ready to go back downstairs and pass through the gauntlet of my parents friends when I started shaking and crying, all the emotions I'd held carefully at bay flooding me with hot daggers of tears and wrenching sobs I buried in my pillow.

I'll never know what came over me in that alley or how I got away so easily, but every time I walk past an alley or walk down an alley in the dusk -- like tonight on my way to the library -- I remember that night and my mother's warning not to venture down those dark and dangerous ways. I still walk down alleys, but nothing bad has ever happened to me since that time. I guess I'm too old and too much of a challenge these days. Must be the keys sticking through the fingers of my right hand always ready to strike back. Or maybe there are just better lights. I guess I'll never know.