Monday, July 30, 2007

Mother Mondays Part 2: If the Genes Fit...

If you asked us for a physical description of our friend Keryl, we’d have started by saying she’s a Black woman. Black meaning straight up African-American—not from Jamaica or Ethiopia—from the Bronx, with Southern roots, you know, like the ones that came from the motherland to North America with Kunte Kinte, et al. Well, to our surprise, and hers, it turns out we’d be wrong.

Keryl had one of those genetics tests, you know, like Oprah had when she declared she was Zulu (turns out that upon further investigation she is really descended from the Kpelle people of Liberia, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Now, for genetic reasons—something having to do with X’s, Y’s, alleles. . . science that clearly goes beyond our grasp of freshman biology (and maybe one day we’ll tell you about VdB’s XY theories) —women can only trace their lineage through their mothers. Men will get results from both their maternal and paternal sides. So here was Keryl, waiting to see if she was a Fulani princess (she was already sure about the princess part), or perhaps, Igbo, Ife, Dan. . . Except the results came back showing no African lineage!!! Zip. Nada. Zilch. Turns out Keryl’s ancestral mother traces her roots to Central or South American indigenous peoples—“What you be talkin’ about, Willis?”

She is still trying to wrap her mind around this identity busting bit of data. There is no Central or South American connection in her family --- that she knows about. Granted, families can be really secretive about who came from where and how folks hooked up in the first place. She’s planning to run this past her cousins and see if they have any insight.

But when you come down to it, what does this new information change? Is she no longer supposed to think of herself as an African-American woman, despite the fact she grew up and became a happily nappy, African dance performing, dashiki wearing brown-skinned woman, who has produced, directed and preserved theater that celebrates the Black experience in this country, and passed on the pride in the accomplishments of her people to her children? Which people? Does this new genetic information negate what she views as her cultural heritage?

No, but it sure points up the limits of biology to define who we are. Most of us who identify as African-American are never going to know the specifics of our genetic ancestry. Perhaps more than any humans on the planet, we are a combination of peoples from a vast variety of continents and cultures. We like to think it has enriched us, made us stronger. It doesn’t mean that the pursuit of our genealogy won’t turn up fascinating information about those who came before us, and encourage us to learn more about the specific peoples and regions that comprise the African in African-American. But, the limits of science remind us that not all of our answers will come from the distant past.

Meanwhile, Keryl is planning to invent her own personal mythology, taking into account this new piece of her identity. It involves being a Brazilian princess (‘cause the princess part stays), from a people who were separated from Africa in the great geological shift that cleaved South America from Africa (did we mention Keryl is very creative). Besides, Brazilians have great music, and dances. They eat okra, yams, beans and rice. . . Feijoada anyone?

Keryl’s mother is no longer around to share or ask about this new-found heritage, so there’s no telling what she would have to say. But Keryl did drop the bomb on her kids (all of whom are adults with kids of their own), who are as shocked as she is (We demand a recount). We hear tell that every now and then you have to surprise your children. It keeps you feeling young instead of dwelling on the fact that your birthday cake could not be lit outside in drought conditions because it would be a fire hazard.

And on that happy note, here are some more sure signs that you are becoming your mother.

16) Small children call you "Ma'am".
17) Young adults call you "Ma'am".
18) The oldies station no longer plays music from the decade when you slow danced in the basement.
19) Kids don’t know there was an original version of that song.
20) You understand that Scotch tape is not an acceptable substitute for a needle and thread.
21) You're walking down the street, you see someone’s reflection in a store window and think, “Gee, she looks so much like my Mother.” You’re horrified to realize it’s you.
22) You look at a picture of yourself as a child and see your daughter.
23) You look at a baby picture of you with your mother and realize you look now like she did then.
24) Lingerie becomes underwear and it’s no longer optional—it has advanced engineering
25) Your flannel nightie is your favorite.
26) You keep bed socks in the same drawer as your pajamas because your feet are always cold at night.
27) You wear pants because they keep your knees warm (see # 7).
28) You carry paper towels in your pocketbook to mop up after “power surges.”
29) You buy extra-calcium everything.
30) Retro clothes don’t make you look hip. They make you look like you’re wearing your old clothes.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:08 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Showing Your Ass

The world is changing faster than we can keep up with it. And in all of our personal and professional lives, boundaries are both expanding and contracting. Thanks to the medium we’re using right now, we have the entire globe literally at our fingertips. But aren’t there some barriers we still want to maintain?

The other night we had a long phone conversation with a friend who was feeling outdone and put out by her boss’s behavior. OK, it was after the regular workday, but they were still in the office. And the conversation turned to Spanx—you know, those Lycra smoothers (‘cause nobody is using the ‘G’ word—girdle) that women swear by to handle our unsightly undulations (did anyone say Jell-o Jigglers?). Well, the woman literally pulled up her dress and showed the assembled staff (all women) how the brand of underpants she was wearing (not Spanx) lifted her butt. Our friend sat there, mouth open, trying to keep her eyeballs from bulging. She said, “I don’t even know what kind of butt she had or how much it was lifted. I was so stunned about her showing us her ass that I couldn’t even see.”

Now we (D&V) work in an environment that is totally of our own making—there’s nobody around but the two of us so we play pretty fast and loose with “workplace” rules (we’d probably break them all, anyway). Why, just this Sunday we spent a whole workday in our PJ’s, which we gather is a little beyond Casual Fridays. Maybe we aren’t the folks to ask.

So we thought we’d ask you.
Did this peek-a-booty cross the line? What would you have done? Said? Would it have been different if it wasn’t the boss? Should our friend lighten up and join the 21st Century?

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:51 PM 1 comments

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sure Signs You're Not as Far From the Tree as You'd Like to Think

It’s Monday. It’s raining buckets here. We’ve dragged ourselves to the computer. Donna just went to the kitchen, fixed a cup of coffee, left it on the counter, went back to the desk and sat down. It took a few moments for her to figure out what was wrong with this picture. Yeah, Monday’s are a real mother. . .

And forgetting what you got up expressly to do—that’s something our mothers did, and we’d roll our eyes and think, “Dag, what’s wrong with her?” Except now it’s you, and you don’t know when that happened and you swear you just need a vacation. . . Do not stress. This is part of a natural evolution. The good news—It’s out of the closet, so we’re not losing our minds in silence. Forgetfulness, along with the sudden appearance of a soul patch and the disappearance of our waistlines, indicate that whether we have children or not, we are in the process of morphing into our mothers.

For those of you under thirty, this will be like trying to interpret ancient cave drawings. Interesting to look at, but totally meaningless in your world. Be patient—your day is coming. If you’re past the big three-o but not yet forty, you'll smirk and say "that will never happen to me!" Between forty and fifty more of these than you want to admit will apply. And beyond the half century mark, you will find great comfort and satisfaction in the realization that you're not the only one!

So when you wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath because you suddenly realize.... Aaaargh! I'm Becoming My Mother!!! Try to stay calm. Do not tear your hair out---it's probably thinning anyway.(Of course, now there's Rogaine.)

But this is not the end of the world (It happened to your own mother and her mother and her mother and...), just the beginning of a new era!

Here's a prayer to see you through.

...Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change (not that I haven't tried), the strength to run screaming from the things I can and the wisdom to keep laughing, because nobody likes a joyless old heifer.

And here are some signposts along the way. We started this list way back when we were writing Far From the Tree and just found it in the abyss that is the “Future Projects” file in our computer.

We’ll be posting more on what we’re calling Mother Mondays. Here goes:

1) What you want instead of a vodka shot is a nice cup of herb tea.

2) The "s" word you use to describe shoes is “sensible”, not “sexy”.

3) The furry food in your refrigerator really disgusts you.

4) You hear yourself say, "How can anybody dance to this?"

5) It's that special night, the one you've been planning for, but you wear galoshes a storm coat, muffler and hat with that slinky little black dress because, after all, it is snowing.

6) It's midnight on Saturday night and what you really want to do is go home to sleep.

7) Your knees announce that you're going to sit down

8) The little girl you used to baby sit is on her second divorce.

9) You take that big slice of Bermuda onion off the burger because the indigestion it will cause won't be worth it.

10) Even the thought of brushing your teeth in cold water causes pain.

11) You change the sheets every week, on schedule.

12) You can't stand fingerprints and toothpaste spatters on the bathroom fixtures.

13) You actually look forward to family gatherings and remember that Uncle Joe's second wife Ida can only hear out of one ear.

14) Being regular isn't the opposite of being 'late', so the Correctol is in the medicine chest right there next to the Midol.

15) Fiber does not refer to linen or silk.

Tune in next Monday for more…

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:02 AM 2 comments

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mom's Home

From Donna—

Mom’s home. What a journey. The flying part went smoothly. I called to arrange for a wheel chair to meet us, and it was right on time—we were met at the curbside check-in by a really nice woman who was Mom’s designated pusher (no--not that kind!). Do you know that every time the airport wheelchairs pass security they have to go through the metal detector? The pusher too—shoes off, the whole nine. That could get old in a hurry, but I guess it goes with the gig.

We flew back first class, because with broken bones, a cane, etc., I didn’t want her to have to deal with cramped seating, or armrest hockey. I haven’t flown in those first few rows in quite a while. You know the ones where they’re already seated, sipping cranberry juice (it was too early for cocktails) and ignoring all the folks filing down the aisle trying not to trip over their wheelie bags and praying there’s still space in the overhead. It reminded me I could get used to it given half a chance.

Mom napped and flipped through the in-flight catalog—she had missed her daily mail delivery of dream books—Mom has a serious catalog jones. Guess it’s the little things that make life seem regular.

We actually touched down 15 minutes early. Woo Hoo! BUT—you know the drill. There was no gate available so we sat. Then we rolled and sat. Then we taxied somewhere that felt far enough away to be New Jersey) where the pilot could turn off the engine—not a good sign. Fifty minutes into our tour of the JFK runways we were met by the “people movers”—two big Transformer looking vehicles that took us to the terminal.

The good news—the east coast pusher met us just as scheduled. The bad news—the luggage took another hour and fifteen minutes. Oh, then there was the line to get out of the parking lot. The supposedly speedy EZPass lanes were so jammed, they started letting people go through the cash lanes, for a flat $6.00. What? You thought I was going to say for free? Get real. This is New York. You gotta pay. Welcome home.

In one way Mom was glad to be home, but in another it was hard—somehow it made the accident and all she had been through feel real. But we’re taking it one day at a time. We went to the hairdresser on Tuesday—‘cause I knew Mom wanted to get her head together before she did anything else. My mother didn’t wear an Afro even in the sixties, so she was not feeling her forced natural ‘do. With her fuzzy dome of salt and pepper, her Timex with the big face she could see, and the cane, she all of a sudden reminded me of my Grandmother. Mom has never looked like Nana to me, until now. It startled me. Then we went to her doctor on Thursday. There will be a lot of those visits in the months ahead—baby steps, but it’s progress. Home seemed a very long way away a few months ago.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 5:05 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Lure of Adventure

We are being pulled by the lure of adventure—or more accurately, we are being pulled by the contemplation of the possibility of adventure. Could it be more on the fence, more inconclusively muddy, than that? Maybe, but you gotta start somewhere.

We talk all the time about a cross country car trip. A non-violent, Brad Pitt-less version of Thelma & Louise, replete with convertible and good wine. In fact, long before Oprah and Gayle took off on their well documented, highly publicized, totally sponsored—see the USA in your Chevrolet-- coast to coast junket, we talked about doing the same thing. (Sans the bickering and complaining—ok well maybe there’d be a little complaining—but not about each other—‘cause we both like to crank up the tunes and sing. Isn’t that what road trips are for?) And along the way we would write about, the places we had seen, people we met, amazing meals and heartburn specials, and the deep, insightful conversations that carried us along the stretches of blacktop as we whizzed past golden wheat fields, tumbling sagebrush and steaming roadkill.

We’ll get to that, one day. But since we have a book to complete by January, this is not the day. So in the mean time we contemplate less time consuming adventurous possibilities, because every girl needs a good adventure or two—keeps the blood pumping and your eyes smiling. The thinking part is not a problem—we can dream up craziness at a moment’s notice. But we are at least moderately mindful of not seriously injuring our middle aged selves.

Since the mind is a terrible thing to waste, we are endeavoring not to be wasteful. We’ve both come up with something to dare ourselves to do.

Donna’s Big Top Adventure: She has investigated trapeze school—not quite lion taming, or knife throwing---and there’s no Cirque de Soleil in her future—although she does have a fondness for the sequined costumes, but she has loved the swings since being pushed in the baby swings in the park. There’s actually a school for Flying Wallenda wannabees, in Brooklyn of all places. The first phone call—“Is there a weight limit?” Not being a petite flower, it’s was a legitimate inquiry, because the wrong answer could be the end of the fantasy or the beginning of a diet. But she came in under the wire—barely. Virginia has threatened to come to her lesson, take pictures (which she would publish on the blog) and try very hard not to roll with laughter. We’ll see.

Virginia Does Dating: Online Dating. YIKES!! VdB claims, “You know me. I’m happily single, so it would be a social experiment—something to blog about.” Donna is already rolling with laughter and threatens to delete Virginia’s eHarmony/ application—if she actually bites that bullet. After all, Ms DeBerry is hardly wanting for male suitors. As a matter of fact, our friend Keryl has nicknamed her “Buzz-Buzz” because men flock around like bees. Talk about a reality series.

So for now, we’ll enjoy our fantasies and keep you posted if they actually turn into more than that.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:56 AM 0 comments

Saturday, July 14, 2007

B'day Party Pics

A couple of shots from Virginia's Birthday celebration--it just so happened, the local newspaper was shooting at Hotoke, one of the restaurants where we partied that night! The phone started ringing yesterday morning-friends letting us know we were in the paper--we had completly forgotten our activities had been "documented!"
Bottom photo from left: Virginia, Tony, Ed, Donna. Top photo from left: Phillip, Tyrha (our co-producer on Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made, the movie) and Jay.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 2:38 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

You Never Know What a Day Will Bring

From Donna--

My mom has been heading west for a couple of weeks each Thanksgiving and Spring for 20+ years—to a dude ranch no less, channeling her inner cowgirl. For the last several years, since she retired, she has wintered there—November to May, renting a house and enjoying mild weather and good friends. Asthma and arthritis have made New York winters a problem for her, and I’m glad she found a place that makes her so happy. The rest of the year she lives with my husband and me in Brooklyn.

But the regular pace of her life and mine shifted on April 19th. I was in Filene’s Basement, flipping through the blouse rack, when my cell rang. It was her friend, Katie, telling me in a cracked voice that Mom had been in a terrible car accident—she was broadsided by a pickup truck going 65+mph. When I call up that moment I still get the feeling of floating in a hot, airless bubble. The store noise drained away and I couldn’t breathe, and I struggled to understand what Katie said to me, about the sound like an explosion that sent her running out to the road, about Mom’s car in the ditch and the med-evac helicopter. I strained to make sense of what didn’t make any. The notes I wrote during that call slant erratically across my notebook page in handwriting I would never recognize as mine. During my subway ride home I made mental lists of what I had to do to get myself out there ASAP—book a flight, rent a car, pack some clothes, call my husband and some friends—it kept me together, putting one foot in front of the next, with a purpose. It kept me focused on what I could do instead of what was out of my control.

And it was bad when I arrived the next day. This person whom I had known my whole life to be in her right mind, wasn’t. She recognized me—I could tell because a tear slipped down her face when I entered her ICU room, but there are five days she can’t remember at all, including the accident. Five days of her talking in slurred speech from some reality that wasn’t where the rest of us live, of her being sweetly agitated, pulling out her IV lines, of needing to be reassured that she was injured, not being imprisoned against her will. My heart ached when I came in her room one day and her hands were restrained with cloth cuffs secured to the bed. I’ll spare you the gory details, but she had significant injuries, including a brain bleed, 7 broken ribs and her sternum and an ankle that required plates and pins. After two weeks and some very scary moments—and some funny ones too, where my very reserved and proper mother became the life of the party and social secretary of her semi-private room—she was released to a rehab facility. And the next day she was back in ICU—she had thrown a blood clot to her lung.

For five weeks I left my NY life, and whatever I would have been doing, and tended to her. And I was grateful I could arrange my life so I could do it, without worrying about all that would remain undone until I returned or whether I’d have my job. I was grateful for my husband who held it together at home, for my friends who helped take care of things I would normally have done, and talked to me whenever I needed, and for Mom’s friends, who called regularly and did whatever they could to get both of us through this.

Once I got Mom securely in rehab again, and made sure she was doing well, I came home, with assurances from her friends that they could handle things for a while. And they did. A week and a half ago Mom graduated from rehab to a friend’s guest room, and now she’s finally ready to head home.

She called me Monday. She had received a package of papers I sent which need her attention. Throughout this ordeal I have dealt with wads of forms, insurance companies, the car rental company, health insurance, etc. I have a gallon sized Zip-Lock bag full of statements and reports. But there are a few things that do require her attention and her statement. She was upset after reading through some of the papers, and she said, “I’m glad no one else was hurt, but this would have been simpler if I didn’t make it.” I wanted to come through the phone and yell at her, but I managed to modulate my voice, and I said, “Sometimes life is not easy, but it’s always worth it.” I’m not being Annie, singing about the sun coming out tomorrow. Everybody has had pain, some of it unimaginable to me. There was a hospital aide who would clean Mom’s room. Even when she was assigned elsewhere, she would stop in to check on Mom. After a while, we found out she was from Sierra Leone—she made her way here after the massacre in her town. Her mother was killed, the house set on fire. She had to jump from a window with her little brother on her back—he didn’t make it—unimaginable to me. But now she is pregnant and looking forward to the birth of her child.

All the mistakes, mishaps and the outright pain, are worth the wonder and surprise still to come. I wouldn’t change the bad things that have happened in my life, because it might change the good ones. Mom has always worried about getting things right, about not being a problem. I have too. But I knew something had changed in me since the accident, and I’ve had trouble putting it into words. I still do. But I know it involves, letting loose, becoming keenly aware we all screw up sometimes, and that the world will go on even if the paperwork is a little slow. That sometimes we are all a colossal pain in the face to those who love us, but miraculously, thankfully, they keep loving. That there are people who can get on my final, break the glass, emergency nerve, like Mom sometimes, but I would do anything in this world to keep them safe and happy.

In the midst of it all I was, of course, grateful for the knowledgeable doctors, and most especially the nurses, who were unfailingly kind, gracious, generous, and genuinely concerned for Mom’s well-being, no matter how messy or what time of day or night. But I could also still smile at the roadrunner who darted across my path as I drove through the desert—and the coyote. Seriously—I wasn’t watching the Cartoon Channel. The seemingly endless purple and orange sunsets made me feel serene and truly blessed. And last night, I asked for and received a ride through the aisles of Home Depot on my husband’s lumber cart (maybe a story for another day—involving a carpenter, who is downstairs banging, even as I type, a door and a washing machine) which seemed supremely silly, but it made me giggle and it was just fun.

I’m flying to Arizona to bring Mom home tomorrow. Her return has been a long time coming. So whether your underwear is clean or dirty—and I know Mom’s was clean—you can get hit by a truck. You never know what a day will bring—life changes in unforeseeable seconds. Having that fact smack me up side the head has made it supremely clear to me that I can let go and live.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:46 PM 0 comments

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Post Birthday Fog Blog

OK.--someone should have been counting bottles of champagne—or at least glasses in the hand of Miss Birthday. The celebration went very late and ONE of us took two days to recover from an excess of champagne, sushi, dancing and fun (the other had possession of the car keys, which didn’t dampen the fun. She will sip champagne another day). But of course, Virginia is a year older now so recouping may be a bit more difficult. Two restaurants, two parties, tons of friends—all pulled together at the last minute—and maybe that’s the way to do it. No long range planning and fretting the small stuff to gum up the intention—which should be to “play nicely with others.”

Sometimes it seems when we get into the long range details, we get bogged down in the minutiae (like the color of napkins) and forget the purpose of a party—whatever it’s for-- is to have a ball. That didn’t happen Friday night. There was no “save the date notice” no rsvps, just a quick email that went out Thursday—if you’re around, this is where we’ll be--join us.

And we can honestly say that a good time was had by all—especially the birthday “girl” (a stretch—but like we said last time, who’s counting?

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 9:55 AM 1 comments

Friday, July 06, 2007

Who's Counting?!

Birthdays come and birthdays go---and quite obviously, the longer you’re around the more coming and going there is. Today is Virginia’s birthday and let’s just say she’s seen a goodly amount of birthday traffic. But neither of us is of the, “Woes is me. I’m getting older,” school. We have lived each and every one of those years—some great, some awful, but we claim all of them and we’re grateful for the people who have graced us with their presence in our lives.

So we’re celebrating! Dinner and a party at one of our favorite restaurants—not because it’s a special number--round, odd, even, or milestone, but just because every year we’re still around is cause for rejoicing.

We didn’t do that for Donna’s birthday—which was a milestone year—but we were in the throes of writing—a deadline loomed and celebrating wasn’t on our minds or agendas, so we put it off. Shame on us! We shouldn’t (and we won’t) let either of our natal days go unmarked by festivities (cake, champagne, friends is enough—hold the presents) again. There are far too many folks who don’t get another year for those of us who do to take even one of them for granted.

And so tonight we will eat, drink, dance and make merry enough for both of us!

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 4:33 PM 2 comments

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer Breeze and Scooter's in the Wind

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood—perfect temperature, brilliant blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds. All we need is a hammock and a breeze. We really want to write something mellow—EXCEPT there’s this news we heard yesterday that started like a splinter in the foot. We’d like to ignore it and keep chilling, but then it would get infected and full of pus and then gangrene would set in and we’d have to have the foot amputated. So, we have to get it out—because as Virginia’s grandmother used to say “There’s more room out than in.”

(There is a screeching scream here, lest the punctuation not be a dead giveaway.)

Are we surprised? Hell no—score another one for Team Good Ol’ Boys. Are we appalled? Hell yes—another loss for those of us who play on Team Regular American. We suppose we should be grateful he stepped in now and saved us the charade (and cost) of the appeals process. But why put the nation through the expense and colossal sham of the trial in the first place, if he was planning to declare the results null and void--because why? The trial didn’t turn out right and he is The Decider?

We were going to fire up the keyboard, but we received an email from our friend Victoria and decided we couldn’t have put it better. So we’re sharing a letter she sent to her friends and her New York senators which pointedly articulates the outrage we feel.

Dear Senators,

I demand that as my elected representatives you stand up for me, your other constituents, and our fore-fathers and mothers, and bring impeachment and treason charges against this President, Vice-President and their entire cabal of criminals.

This President has slapped the American people and all patriots in the face and proclaimed that he is above the rule of law by commuting Scooter Libby's sentence, and that he alone decides which criminals serve time and which do not. This administration conspired during war time to identify a CIA operative because her husband disagreed with their WMD allegations. How are we supposed to have a strong national security when our agents or operatives know that at any time, if they disagree with the administration, their lives, and those of their families may be jeopardized, and all without legal ramifications or consequences?

To me this is a very clear and straightforward example of this administration’s consistent attitude of disregard for its citizenry and the international community. No wonder we can't even hold our heads up in the international community. We are a shell of our former collective selves. This administration has taken this country hostage and WE HAVE ALLOWED IT!

No more. I demand that you stand up in our nation's capitol and lead the charge for the removal of this man and his cabal. We are a nation in crisis, unlike any other time in our nation's history. We are at war, not with foreign peoples in a foreign land, but with our own administration and their abuse of power and complete disregard for the tenets upon which this nation was founded. President Bush and his cabal are our despots. We are living not in a democracy but a dictatorship - YOU MUST STAND UP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I demand accountability, and I am starting with you, my representatives. Go represent me, go represent the constitution, and go represent this nation - NOW.

OK—the splinter is out. We’ve written to our federal elected officials to let them know how we feel. We encourage you to do the same. Still feels like we’ve sprinkled salt in the wound and poured alcohol over it, but some things are supposed to hurt---and this is one of them.
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:55 PM 0 comments

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Purple Sundae

You know how you promise yourself something special as a reward for doing what you need to be doing anyway, but really don’t want to? Like—“I’ll go for a facial after I get my yearly mammogram,” (Please somebody encourage young girls to grow up and research another way to screen for breast cancer, ‘cause squeezing a 3 dimensional body part into 2 dimensions is nuts. And speaking of nuts, if that’s how they screened for testicular cancer, somebody would have figured it out by now. But bottom line—get tested!!!)

Well, we made the tickets to “The Color Purple,” we received from Tabahani Book Club (it means “to be well educated”) our ice cream sundae for finishing, Gotta Keep on Tryin’—because really, how much incentive is a carrot? The stick was the great, big hairy DEADLINE from our new publisher, and we wanted no part in blowing that—such a bad way to start a new relationship. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to write the book. But by the end of the process we were pretty whupped—brain drained, aching hands—we both had wrist braces, feet and ankles swollen to the size of a baby elephant’s from hours of sitting at the computer not to mention the under-eye baggage we were carrying. Well you get the picture and it was most definitely not Broadway cute. So even though it’s always nice to have a treat waiting— recovery from DEADLINE takes longer than it used to, so we were a little delinquent in the rewards department—We finished the book March 1st, but we just made it to the theater.

Now we must admit, we were a little. . .shall we say concerned when we were too late for LaChanze and Fantasia made her debut in the role of Celie. American Idol and Broadway didn’t seem like the best match (OK—we remember Frenchie and RENT, but still. . .). Anyway, there was no need to worry. Fantasia can handle it. She’s got Celie’s body language down, far more than we expected. Fantasia definitely brought her Southern heritage with her, and clearly she’s been around church and many a good Deaconess, ‘cause she channels that energy and presence like a champ. She doesn’t have the whole Broadway voice thing entirely together. We don’t know how they do it, but theater singers can whisper and throw their voices to the back of the house. In the softer moments during the first act, Fantasia’s a little hard to hear. But when she lets loose and gets to belt in Act Two, the house is rockin’ and all the folks who came up by bus to see her are rockin’ with her. So, props to Ms Barrino for a brave and non-traditional career choice (And don’t miss the pre-theater fashion show, A.K.A. the ticket holders line, ‘cause our folks go to the theater seriously clean).

So, while our reward was deferred, it was quite rewarding. Thank you Tabahani. It was worth the wait.
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:40 PM 0 comments
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