I was just having a conversation with myself while making a cup of tea.  You see I had a meltdown of sorts at work yesterday and was going over the events again wondering what I could have done differently.  And I was telling myself to let those events go, which is hard for those of us who live under the sign of Cancer because that is what we do.  Then I read my horoscope for today:

“You could be licking your wounds today, but the crucial issue is not about anything that occurs in the present moment. Your obsession with a past event can actually block the flow of feelings. Gently bring your thoughts and fantasies back to where you are now. Keep in mind that you don’t want to miss the good stuff that is right in front of you.”

Talk about perfect timing….

Way Too Much Pink…

This is way too much pink for me, but since teacherninja was man enough to put it on his blog, then I can suck it up.

Thank the person who gave this to you.
• Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
• Link the person who nominated you.
• Name seven things about yourself that no one would really know.
• Nominate ten “Sugar Dolls.”
• Post links to the ten blogs you nominate.
• Leave a comment on each letting them know you nominated them.

Now to the rules above:
Thanks Jim (I think).
The logo is prominently placed above.
The link is in the first sentence.
Seven things that no one would really know about me:
  1. I can’t sleep in complete quiet. I have to have jazz playing (funny, because I don’t listen to it any other time) or a talk radio show.
  2. The people at work know this but, I threaten to punch one of my co-workers in the face at least once a day – even superiors.  It’s my way of showing affection.
  3. I will eat any vegetable except for Brussels Sprouts.
  4. I spend A LOT of time alone – and I like it.
  5. Even though I turn 45 this year and don’t have a husband, boyfriend, or significant other, I still think that I can give birth to a healthy child at some point. Might even be in the tabloids as the oldest US woman to give birth.
  6. My zodiac sign is Cancer, but I hate Cancer men. Jim (see above) is the only Cancer man that I like.  (I’m not pandering, I told this to Brannon just the other day). All others make me want to punch them in the face (see above) and tell them to grow a pair.
  7. I am the friend most likely to break a chain letter.  Which is why I won’t be nominating anyone else! Ha!

If you read this blog and fancy yourself a Sugar Doll, feel free to nominate yourself. 

Forced Mojo

I need to force my sewing mojo out of its deep sleep.  When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I named it Sew Transformed.  After reading blogs like Carolyn’s, Adrienne’s & Erica’s, I was inspired and wanted to dust my sewing machine off and tell y’all about it. That’s the “Sew” part. The “Transformed” part was to focus on what I was reading, because books can transform our lives. As you can see, there has been way more transforming than sewing happening around here.

One of the reasons has been my fit issues. I’ve said here before that I have gained weight in my adult years and I don’t have the sewing skills or the patience to alter patterns to fit this new body. I’m working on it though. Another, and possibly more important, reason is that the stuff I want to make doesn’t fit into my current lifestyle. A lifestyle that entails going to work and then coming home.  At work I have a dress code, which is basically the uniform of a barista at a popular coffee house:

This is what I wear to work every day!  I work in a bookstore that has a cafe in it, and while I am not a barista, as a supervisor I have to be prepared to work over there if needed.  Yes, I can make you a mean latte, but my cappuccinos suck!  I hate wearing the same thing everyday and sometimes I sneak in an orange or turquoise polo just to shake things up and to get compliments. On the non-work front – nothing.  I rarely have money to go out and when I do it is to the grocery store or the movies by myself.  Those are t-shirt and jeans times.  Not much need to sew nice things.

Recently, the crashing economy has made me realize that I need to start working on Plans B, C, D.  Retail has been hard by the recession and we aren’t bouncing back at all yet.  Those plans require a more versatile wardrobe than I currently have.  I have a whole library of fashion and style books and they all have the “must have” lists in them.  Reading over them just reminds me that I have nothing on those lists in my closet! I don’t have a little black dress, or a pair of black pants or a trenchcoat.  If, God willing, I got a call for a job interview tomorrow, I don’t have one thing in my closet that I could wear!  I don’t have an updated resume either, but that’s another story.

So, I need to get moving and make some basic pieces and will start work on them this week. I also need to free some money up to buy some fabric because the fabric on these shelves are good for accent pieces, not the foundation for a wardrobe.

I collected most of that fabric (and the many boxes you don’t see) when I didn’t have a dress code and I did have more of a social life.  So wish me luck as I pull the rug from under my sewing mojo and force her to get to work!

A Pedestrian Story

I am a pedestrian. I never learned how to drive. The year I was supposed to take Driver’s Education in school was the year that the D.C. Public School system didn’t have money in the budget for it. Right after that, while I was away at college, my mother’s car was stolen and she never replaced it. So there was nothing for me to drive when I came home. Anyway, year after year went by, and I just never learned. Not a big deal.

But I live in Atlanta. And this city isn’t kind to pedestrians. The sidewalks in some areas are in horrible state and in a lot of residential areas, there are no sidewalks at all! Yes, in the city limits. No sidewalks. Drivers don’t care about this. They look at us like we are crazy for walking in the street! Sometimes they give you dirty looks as they walk by. Or they will drive close to the side and try to force you to hop on the curb. For those people I carry my grocery bag in the hand facing the street ready to slam it into the side of their cars! (I am not getting on the muddy curb in my suede Pumas!)

Every day when I leave work I walk the same route to the Marta train station. I use a back street in the affluent Buckhead station that runs between a hotel currently under renovation and an empty lot full of trees. (They were supposed to be torn down for condos and are all marked with a hideous “X”. The recession has stopped that development, thank God, and the trees remain.)

In the 8 or 9 years or so that I have walked this route, hundreds of cars and trucks have passed me by. Sometimes a brother will blow his horn in (I guess) appreciation. (Which is nice, but if you really want to appreciate me, give me a ride.) They pass me when I am struggling with my groceries, or my umbrella when I get caught in a storm so strong that I am soaked through by the time I get to the station. They pass me when it is freezing and the road (which is all downhill) is a sheet of ice and I am trying not to bust my ass. They pass me when it is so hot that I am taking baby steps hoping that I don’t pass out from dehydration. A couple of times people I know have driven by and waved and kept on going.

But today as I am walking along listening to my i-Pod and checking my e-mail on my cell phone, I noticed a late model Mercedes Benz slow down beside me. It stops a few feet in front of me and I see an older Caucasian woman, a scion of an old moneyed Buckhead family, no doubt, roll down her window. I take my earphones out and prepare to give her directions where ever she needs to go (what else could she want?).

And then I hear her say: “Do you need a ride? I’m going straight down to the Marta station.”
I was so taken aback that I just said, “No, thank you, this is how I get my exercise”. (Which is true.)

Maybe she is a customer of the bookstore and recognizes me from there. Maybe she was entranced by my bright yellow shirt and purse and wanted to share in the sunshine. Maybe she wanted to kidnap me and put me to work in her mansion.

I don’t know, but it was the nicest part of my day. (That’s me in the picture.)

Best Intentions

It has been a whole month since I’ve blogged!
Believe me that has not been my intention.
Every day I have ideas of things that I want to blog about. Crazy customers. What I’m reading. What I see out in the world.
But work has been so crazy & stressful, that I have no energy when I get home. I just want to unplug from everything.
Most people would never think that working in a bookstore is stressful but this economy has made it more so. Less people shopping mean less payroll hours. Less payroll hours mean less staff. But the workload stays the same, so you have to do twice as much work in the same amount of time that you had before. Also, customer’s expectations stay the same and for some reason (even though they read the same economic news stories that we do), they expect the same level of service they always had. And they are upset when they don’t get it.
That disconnect sends me home with a headache most days.
So anyways, still not sewing, but my reading is picking up and there are a lot of great books being released this summer!
Hope to be back on here more frequently!

My Workspace

Seems like my blogging mojo is here, so I am just going to go with it.

I don’t have a fancy job. I am a supervisor at a major bookstore chain. Managers & Supervisors have workspaces, not offices. I am fortunate that a lot of my duties require access to an office and since I spend most of my time there (when I’m not on the sales floor), I have personalized it a little:We had an event a few years ago that was sponsored by O magazine. This was a promotional poster of the issue out at the time. While I am an Oprah fan, the main reason that I have it up is because she has on the funkiest brown suede pants with beige contrast stitching. I love those pants and need to see them daily. Also pasted on the poster are a picture of Prince, Jada Pinkett-Smith along with her band Wicked Wisdom and Roosevelt Franklin, my favorite Sesame Street character.

My mini shrine to my celebrity crush: Jesse L. Martin. I love him because he seems just like a regular dude. And being able to sing doesn’t hurt. I keep the shrine at work because keeping it at home and out of public view is a little stalkerish. Also taped up there is a small bio of Malcolm X from an old page-a-day calendar and a list of the top ten HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) including my alma mater: Florida A & M University.

Promotional posters of Erykah Badu & Amy Winehouse, because I just couldn’t stand to see them thrown out.

Old promo poster of Maxwell (pre-haircut). Attached to the bottom is a While You Were Out Message that a co-worker put up once while I was on vacation. It says that Maxwell came by from the Kingdom of the Attractive and that he was sorry he missed me.

So these are the people that I hang out with every day.

Where Y’All Been

In Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (which I saw 3 times in the theatre and then watched everyday for a month straight on dvd) during The Fugees’ Reunion, Lauryn Hill asks the audience, “Where y’all been?” As if it was the audience who left and she hadn’t disappeared to have babies, go through intense Bible study and learn to play guitar.

I haven’t gone anywhere, but I have retreated into my mind where, as a Cancer, I tend to spend a lot of time.

Last week a signed a lease to stay in this apartment another year, once again telling myself it will be the last. I stay because my rent is insanely cheap (I pay $200 less than market value, because of a tax credit program I’m eligible for). The management company has gotten much better over the years, but the quality of residents has declined. When I first moved in, it was families and students of the nearby Atlanta University Center (Morehouse, Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Morris Brown). They are still here, but there is also an added element of thugs slowly moving in. Last night the men in the apartment next to mine had a full-on brawl in the bedroom with furniture overturned and everything. Screaming things like “You don’t know me! Bankhead, nigga! Westside, nigga! Recognize!!” Really. People say that in real life. I got out of bed and slept on the couch because, while they were fighting with their fists, you never know when someone will pull out a gun and sometimes bullets penetrate walls.
Also, 2 weeks ago there were several home invasions in one day in this apartment complex, including an apartment under mine. The crazy thing is I was home and didn’t hear a thing! Atlanta is getting crazier and crazier, and I know I say it all the time, but I am ready to move on.
The financial issue is holding me back as I don’t have money to move. So I got a lot to figure out.

On the work front, we are hanging in there. Retail is floundering right now and we are seeing less sales everyday. Our payroll hours are being cut and we are having to make do with less people and the people are having to make do with less hours. We are always waiting for the other shoe to drop and that can be stressful. On the plus side, I work with some amazing, smart, funny people and we spend the day laughing and keeping each other’s spirit up. Need to start working on the resume though. I keep putting it off because I don’t have the energy to make a lifetime of retail experience look appealing to another industry. And I have no idea what else I would like to do career wise.

Anyway, that’s what I have been up to. Read a couple books. Crocheted a couple scarves. Ate some stuff that’s not good for me. Watched a lot of tv. Talk to y’all soon.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone!
First some old business:
I didn’t get much book reading done in December. Work is so crazy during that time that I only felt like reading magazines. I would pick up a book and my attention span just wasn’t there. I only managed to finish 3 books last month.
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs – this was the sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, which I loved. This one? Not so much. It’s 5 years later and the fate of the shop may be in jeopardy. At this point I just didn’t care. The problem with sequels to regular fiction (which I learned from trying to read Chasing Harry Winston), is that there is none of the drama involved that made you want to get to know the characters. By this point, you already know who they are and their motivations and sequels (unless they are action thrillers or mysteries) tend to be mundane.
Sex, Mu
rder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis – I wanted to like this as much as Doret did, but just couldn’t connect to the main character. It’s a mystery surrounding a mystery writer who finds strange things happening around her and they all appear to be taken from scenes in her books. It was funny and clever; maybe my expectations were too high. She has written more in this series and I am not giving up, I will read those, too.

Sex and Lies by Donna Hill – You know I had to squeeze a Kimani romance in there! This is the beginning of a series of books about the ladies of TLC (Tender Loving Care) cosmetics. On the surface, TLC cosmetics is like Avon or Mary Kay, but this is a front for The Ladies Cartel – an undercover investigative organization. You may see your sister, mother, wife, friend with her bag of samples, but you don’t know that the moisturizer bottle really contains a set of listening devices and the shower gel may contain one of the pieces needed to assemble a gun. In this first book Savannah Fields is new to the group and is given her first assignment to investigate some shady dealings at a construction site that her husband is involved in. Really good.

Hip-Hop Wars by Tricia Rose – I wasn’t able to finish this book because I had to return it to work, but I really enjoyed it. Ms. Rose presents arguments on both sides of the hip-hop wars and shows the strengths and weaknesses of them all. Definitely pick this up if you are tired of hearing the same old arguments against and in defense of my favorite music genre.

Total books read for 2008 (not including Hip-Hop Wars, because I didn’t finish): 63, about 10 more than 2007!

New business:
I had planned to do a post on resolutions, blah, blah, blah. I was even going to sit down with one of my favorite books, Write I Down, Make it Happen, yesterday to create some concrete goals for 2009. Then I decided not to, because it is a pattern that I need to break. See, I am a planner. I will research the hell out of something and come up with a concrete program on how to make it happen and gather the materials and organize them. But after that I lose interest. I am not a doer, just a planner. So, no lists this year. That doesn’t mean that I am flying by the seat of my pants; I know the things I need to do. I’m just not going to stress about them right now. Maybe later.

My New Roommate

I just noticed that I haven’t blogged in almost a month and I need to rectify that.
I only have 2 books to review and no sewing (surprise). My mojo has apparently
left. Maybe she left because I stopped buying fabric and patterns and now she really
doesn’t care. I have to work on something to bribe her with.
In the meantime, to get me through the loss, I have a new roommate:

Isn’t he cute! He sits by my bed and illuminates me!