Some SOL Company

When I encounter friends, colleagues, countrymen, hell perfect strangers, who were raised with civility and make the mistake of asking “How are you?” one would presume being a woman raised by Sothern Belles one would think I was equally brought up with such manners that would have me politely respond with some variant of “I’m fine.”

But nah, my NYC mouth blithely shuts down all such social convention as I almost always reply with “Insane as usual. And you?” {Hey at least I’m housed trained enough to ask – mostly I’m tired of my southern Grandma reaching up from beyond to Gibbs SlapTM me upside the head – but I digress.] This is almost always met with a chuckle that ranges from exaggerated eyerolls [those that know me very well], through amused head shaking [those that know me somewhat], to nervous smiles [those who are not entirely sure if I’m joking].

Today I took it one step further. Having had the above exchange with a colleague in the ladies earlier, I pass her office a while later.

“You know how I said that I was insane?”

She knows me just well enough that she starts smiling, “Yeah?”

“I can prove it….”

The smile turns into a I already regret letting her in grin, “How?”

“Please explain to me why I cannot get the bass line, not the melody, not the lyrics, but specifically the dang bass line to DuckTales out of my damn head?”

She blinks a few times getting the reference and asks the pertinent question: “When is the last time you’ve even seen DuckTales?”

“My youngest is thirty-eight, so-decades!”

For those who don’t know DuckTales is an animated TV series produced by Disney. The original cartoon series premiered in the late-80s and ran for several years. The show featured Scrooge McDuck, his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie (yes, the nephews of Disney’s Donald Duck), and others, on various adventures. It was part of the afternoon line-up my boys watched after school. Thus, I was not exactly kidding when I said decades.

It had a very catchy theme song, with a pretty groovy bass line, which I heard five days a week for several years. And for some reason it was now stuck in my bird brain.

After stating she how she concurred with my self-assessment, I was informed I was SOL because she couldn’t help me and laughingly ordered me to get away from her immediately before I infected her. Another colleague was passing and made the mistake of inquiring what shenanigans were I causing now. I do have a slight reputation for such – slight.

Long story-short: going by my burning ears, there are at least five colleagues cussin’ out my name for the bass line likely still running through their minds.

I mean we all know adage Misery loves… Well I’ve had that miserable bass line in my head most of the day – so guess who’s joining me? For those of you reading this who know theme in question, and now are equally infected, I would say I’m sorry, but we’d all know I’d be lying.

That SOL in the title doesn’t stand for Slice of Life today.


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this Tuesday…

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Glad I Didn’t Wait…

  1. I love jalapenos and had them in my salad for dinner. Uncouth and greedy idiot I am, did not use utensils, but fingers to consume said jalapenos.

  2. On way to the loo to wash my grubby jalapeno scented talons, I run into a friend I have not seen in a while who was leaving the restaurant. My mind said wash your hands it can wait. But my mouth had already called out to her. No choice now but to have the chat I garnered her attention for in the first place.

  3. Typical of me, hands forgotten, the chat devolves into silly conversation that soon has me wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. People – please review 1 and 2 above. It was a bit not good as I am quickly shown the error of my ways. Eyes now beginning to sting I hear a familiar motor sound approaching me.

  4. Another patron in a motorized chair is coming down the hall. When I politely step out the way as she passes -I don’t always apply them, but Grandmama taught me manners(!)-, I hear another very familiar sound, that is soon followed by cold wetness through my blouse.

  5. I turn in surprise realizing I backed into the automated hand sanitizer dispenser, that did its job and dispensed itself – on my back. The friend I was conversing with saw the stain and lost it, making a reference to a scene in the James Spader/Maggie Gyllenhaal movie “Secretary”. It was a reference I got, which sent me completely over the giggle edge. [Either you know the scene or you do not, I am NOT explaining it. Just know that it is sexual in nature and let your very dirty mind -if you have one- extrapolate from there.] I make it to the ladies room at last and she goes on her way.

  6. Now imagine walking into the ladies room to find a female at the sink, make-up ruined, seemingly trying not to cry while tears stream down her face, holding copious amounts of paper towels trying to blot dry a blouse spotted with suspicious looking stains down her back, without taking it off. Only when I saw the horror stricken look on her face as she slowly approached me in genuine concern and gently asked asked if I wanted to call someone did I get the enormity of how it looked from an unknowing eye.

    And me, being me, continue to be a child at a most inappropriate time, told her “Mr. E. Edward Grey!” referencing James Spader’s character in the above mentioned “Secretary.”

  7. Still giggling like the twelve-year-old I am mentally, I finally finished washing my hands and face as I assured her the only assault was from the automated hand sanitizer dispenser whose motion sensor I had accidentally set off. Much to the woman’s relief, and momentary blush, I also explained about the movie and that I refer to the Spader character as the original Mr. Grey, where I believe the author of the 50 Shades series of books/movies may have taken the surname inspiration.

  8. I had to wear my blazer with paper towels between my blouse and my back until the wet spots dried. But so worth the unexpected laughter. Yes, speaking to the my friend, instead of immediately washing my hands, could have waited, but I’m glad I didn’t.


    I also now have a mental bet with myself that the woman from the ladies room will be watching a certain movie before the week is out. It’s a Schrodinger’s bet, but I’ll wager it’s in my favor.

    And since I’m still in a puerile mood, I feel obligated to remind you dear readers May is National Masturbation Month – handle that information however you will.

Let’s see how others are slicing it out this first Tuesday in the merry, merry month of May…

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But Soft What Spring Through Lovely April Breaks

Arise sweet spring for signs of you have sprung

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I get to enjoy the sight of Venus in the late-winter, early spring mornings on my walk to the train station for work. It the very first sign of spring for me, but there are others.

The landscapers for The Commons around my job arrived last week. Gone are the winter evergreens, and the first shoots of the annual tulips are breaking through the ground. In another week or so the area will be awash in the reds, oranges, and yellows of tulips in the garden beds. With the addition of daffodils and lillies, the white blossoms of the dogwoods and always the pinks of the cherry blossoms the next few weeks will be awash springs bright colors. I will love it as I always do, but surprisingly, or not, for all the visual beauty that is the coming spring, it is not my favorite part.

My favorite part is aural.

The blocks I walk are tree-lined and have begun to bud in their own markers of spring, but it’s their occupants that hold sway for me. I step out my building, cross the street and there it is, a sweet trilling; the first calls of the day. Birdsong. For the next couple of week, my walk to the train station will time with the waking of the local flocks of pigeons and quarrels of sparrows. And as the mornings become brighter, if I’m lucky,I am also treated to flashes of robin and cardinal reds or the less frequently seen blue of a jay.

And yes, even the occasional caws of murdering crows and the conspiracy of ravens have greeted my mornings.

Oh, I am in no way, shape or form, an ornithologist. It is the decades of living in different NYC neighborhoods, and my penchant to look up, that have made me observant of more than just the people and pets that share the sidewalks with me.

The chirping of birds in my mornings is also a harbinger of the coming winter when their waking and my walking will again align, but we shan’t speak of such ill things right now. No. No. No.

This is the time for the most vernal of thoughts and I am here for it.


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this first Tuesday of April…

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Unheard Spokesperson

How’s my day, well the past three days, going so far…? I’ll let my current Facebook post answer that:

screenshot of my Facebook post: bemoaning a twenty-minute conversation on alopecia and the literal politics of black hair, only to be told “But it’s just a hair style.”

** mentally inserts every facepalming gif in existence here **

Of course, the conversation started with the slap heard around the world. I segued away from it being about the men involved and focused on the woman involved that few are talking about. The trials of alopecia for any person, but especially women, and why it’s such a big deal for black women in particular. That naturally lead to the point of the Crown Act and why it’s important, just to be told “But it’s just a hair style” after all of that. Arrggh!

I know I gave her The Look. I imagine my face must have said everything while several generations of great-grandmothers, my grandmothers on both sides and Mommie all reached out from their graves and held back my tongue, as Jesus whispered in the person’s ear um -yeah, that’s a bit not good, turn and go, my child and Lucifer concurred Yo, even I thinks ya betta walk the fuck away from her right now. My jaw still feels some kind of way weird, from the teeth ground so hard in that moment that likely kept me employed as the person made their excuse and hastened away.


Day 30 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
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I Knew It!

Last night as I chose on my clothes for today, I pulled out a turtleneck. Despite it officially being spring, by the calendar, I knew it was going to be cold today.

This morning I look at my footwear. Originally, I had selected loafers, I switched to booties. I knew it was going to be cold today.

I look out the window and see the tree branches yield to wind. Soft open knit beret? – Sorry, you’re on the bench. Tightly knit grey toque – suit up! I knew it was going to be cold today.

Last, but hardly least, I pull my red pea coat into service. After all, I knew it was going to be cold today.

Forewarned and armed, I open my front down and head down the stairs. I reach the curb to cross the street. Now away from my building protecting me from it, a gust of wind sneaks around and slams into me. I mean, I’m physically shifted from the ferocity of it. How rude!

So what comes out of my mouth: “Holy f—! I didn’t know it was going to be cold today!”

[A warm thank you to Amy Ellerman for the honor of using my post, Amused and Bemused, in today’s Be Inspired section at Two Writing Teachers.]


Day 29 of 31 – Let’s see how others are chilling in a good way and slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
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Book Bash the Final Countdown

For the TL;DR crowd who have yet to google, in a nutshell, GISH is a Guinness World Record-setting, several day, international event that empowers players to push their creative boundaries, tackle hilarious challenges, and perform incredible acts of kindness, most from the comforts of their own home. The event features special guests, literary challenges and more. The Book Bash Mini-Hunt! this weekend is thirty-six hours and while more literary oriented, no less wonderfully chaotic.

Because I did not want to leave the house, I chose four out of the nearly 100 challenges to accept. Since I never attempted fumage art before, I did what I thought would be the hardest out and got it of the way first with yesterday’s create a sign protesting the banning of books. I was wrong. The next challenge turned out to be, not so much harder, but a lot more detailed and time consuming. Create a portrait of LeVar from quotes from famous black authors and activists. I have yet to see other artists’ interpretations, but here is my entry:

Levar Burton with the entirety of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s
“I Have a Dream” Speech. Click for full size.

I posted my entry to my Instagram account, tagged GISH and thought nothing of it. And then THIS happened… So, imagine my shock of all shocks when I saw the first “Like” on it, and who it was from!

Misha Collins "Likes" my GISH art!
Misha Collins “Likes” my GISH art!

I’m sure this is something curated by his staff and all of us who took up this specific challenge also got a “Like”, but it’s from his official account and it looks so cool on my account.

My third chosen challenge was a breeze. @yung_pueblo posts lovely meditative poetry on Instagram. Write your own poem in his style. Post yours on Instagram:

Because sometimes we need to remember to take a moment to put down our loads, lift up our feet and just chill...
Because sometimes we need to remember to take a moment to put down our loads, lift up our feet and just chill… Click for full size.

Because I like futzing around with photoshop I was volunteered by our team’s captain to do the challenge of taking a screenshot of barren land from Google Maps and overlay a Photoshop image, as if you have carved into the earth. Make it, of a message or drawing that would be seen from space. The message should be a call for help, as if a passing space fleet of benevolent aliens might see and come rescue us from ourselves.

Don't bomb us! Rescue us! We have Girl Scout cookies!

Because even aliens know Girl Scout Cookies are out of this world! (Or maybe they think the cookies are made from actual Girl Scouts. Hmm, maybe I should have checked the “To Serve Man” menu.)

And finally, I did it just because: According to GISH, not everyone knows this, but the first novel ever written and the world’s first science-fiction novel were both penned by women authors. In honor of these literary trailblazers, show us Frankenstein’s monster reading a copy of The Tale of Genji.

A modern-day Frankenstein's creature listen's to tunes while reading the ultimate classic.
A modern-day Frankenstein’s creature listen’s to tunes while reading the ultimate classic. Click for full size.

Yes, Creach -what? he was never given a name- is wearing earbuds and listening to “Monster Mash”, don’t judge his musical choices!

Still, as much fun as it was, it was a lot of hours on my computer without break. At 8pm, I called it quits. All I know is, if this was a mini one, I’m part excited, part terrified to experience a full one.


Day 28 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Book Bash the First 24 Hours

Logo for Gish Book Bash March 26-27, 2022

To give you just a tiny piece of how Book Bash works here’s a what I thought would be an easy challenge to try:

“It was a pleasure to burn.” Using pyrography or fumage, create a sign proOtesting book bans and censorship.

Fumage you say? Having never done it before, my (not-so) inner pyromaniac and artist vibe were both sparked to say the least.

Book Bash is a mini GISH, so I only have thirty-six hours. The very first step was to remind myself I’m using unfamiliar techniques. I won’t have time to dedicate to just one challenge for corrections or perfection. It’s not going to look exactly like I envision it in my head, but I can do this. Okay, pep talk over, let’s get some fire going!

Ray Bradbury was right. “It was a pleasure to burn.”

What books shall I choose? I wanted a mix of classic and current books that have been banned and these quickly came to mind.

Photo of covers of some of the many books that have been banned.

Let’s see: glue, scissors, paint and a fresh reminder to tell the Virgo in me to zip it(!), and the here’s end result:

Art protesting the banning of books. quote: Pay attention to the books people try to ban then go read them. Find out for yourself why those people want it banned. Then decide for yourself, can they be trusted to know what's best for you.

I may yet do this over when I have oodles more time to block text, properly arrange the “logs” and about fifteen other things I am internally screaming about, but here it is.

And this is just ONE challenge my team and I completed. 24 hours down, 12 more to go.

Stay tuned…


Day 27 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Book Bash

Logo for Gish Book Bash March 26-27, 2022

It’s Book Bash! No, I’m not destroying or talking bad about books. At least I hope not!

Gish Book Bash, a virtual scavenger hunt that is part silliness, part art, part kindness and 100% fun, for readers & writers is hosted by actress/author Felicia Day and Misha Collins (yes, Supernatural fans THAT Misha Collins). IBook Bash is a breath of fresh Eyre for writers and readers around the world.

A portion of all GISH Book Bash registrations will help feed Ukrainian refugees through World Central Kitchen, a non-profit currently on the ground in Ukraine and surrounding countries. They are preparing for this to be one of their largest relief efforts to date, and they will continue to adapt as they scale up to serve more meals to families in need each day.

I joined a team of fellow book weirdos who will soon Get lit! and take on creative and kind challenges designed to help write a new chapter of fun in our lives. So that’s the post for today for I will be sorta busy for about thirty-six hours.


Day 26 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
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Thug Life

The subway was being extra subway this morning and long story-short La Raivenne emerged like a phoenix from the bowels of the train some thirty minutes later than my usual. All in all, per usual in such situations, conversation -aka gripes about transit- was struck with fellow passengers and despite the annoying delay, it was a pleasant ride; I was in good spirits. We had a chuckle when I joked that I was going to tell the motorman to drive like he stole drug money and had both the Bloods and The Crips on his tail, “but safely for us riders, of course“. I was accused of being thug because I mentioned infamous West Coast gangs. I jokingly retorted with my classic “I’m crazy, not stupid“. I don’t know what young blood on the train might be affiliated with an East Coast gang, I wasn’t risking calling one out.

I may have been kidding about the motorman, but apparently the motorman was not because the train then hauled arse in attempt to get something akin to back on schedule. I was only a few minutes late by the clock when I reached my station. At this point I was in for a pence-in for a pound, so an additional few minutes to treat myself to my usual TGIF Starbucks was not going to make that big of a difference. Because I have ordering down to a science, I had already pull out my phone and placed my mobile order for Starbucks before I reached street level.

It’s Friday, I’ve got tunes from my iPod in one ear accompanying me and I’m striding along to my personal soundtrack. I see a gentlemen coming from the opposite direction and we nearly collide choosing to pass on the same side of a street lamp at the last second. I smoothly circle around, barely missing a beat with the music. I hear “Daaayum, g’won witcha thug strut now woman!” in a lyrical masculine Caribbean accent behind me and know it is the man I just passed who was apparently watching me.

It’s not the first time I’ve been told I walk like a thug. I walk hard. I strut. I know this. My sons even mock me on it. Now that spring has warmed up the temps a bit, my cold weather arthritis has eased, and I’m not labored down in heavy winter clothes, my normal catwalk stride was emerging again. I grin to myself, give a little wiggle in acknowledgement of having heard him, but I keep going not inviting further conversation, priorities, I’ve got coffee waiting.

At last I walk into Starbucks. I’m some forty-something minutes past the time I usually enter, so there are more people on shift behind the counter. Lina sees me enter and waves. “Hey Raivenne! I’ve got your food here, your drink is…”

Before she can finish a familiar locced head lifts from behind the espresso maker and I grin. I have not seen Jaymes but once since my return to office and that was back in autumn. We always had bad jokes for each other and it was as though no Covid time had passed seeing each other as we pick right up.

RAIVENNE! I thought you were dead!”

Because I am still plugged into my iPod, it was serendipitous timing that had me right at the chorus of a song, so I sing it. “You cannot kill what doesn’t die!”

Jaymes blinks at me as he finishes an order. I realize he is likely just over a third of my age. The song is not likely in his iTunes, but I am pretty sure he recognizes it. However another customer clearly knows it and picks right up behind me. “Live up to my promise, my full potential realized!”

As the guy and I high-five in musical comradery, I can see when Jaymes makes the connection. “Woman, I know you haven’t had your coffee yet because I’m making it! It’s barely eight in the morning; how are you thrashing to Anthrax?”

“What can I tell you Jaymes? It’s Friday: today, I choose violence.” I say ominously.

He laughs handing me my coffee.”If Death lives in your pocket, please keep him there.”

I grin at the reference to the song lyrics, I was right he did know the song. Still, while I leave murder to crows, I am a Raivenne.

I wink, take my coffee and turn to leave, “Jaymes, you’ve met me. You sure Death is a he?”

As I reach the door I hear the customer who had joined me in singing Anthrax say, “Damn she lit!”

“No, she’s thug!” Lina, who had been passing food orders to customers, laughs.

That’s three thug references to me within an hour’s span. I’m not choosing the thug life, the thug life is choosing me today.

We’ll see how the rest of the day thugs out …


Day 25 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

On The Fly

Since I got the tiny little travel bug (think Mothra), I try to wake up somewhere that is not New York City on my birthday. This is the time of year I start thinking what am I going to do and where am I going to go. It could be a Bed and Breakfast in New England, a villa in Italy, a casa in Cuba, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, a hotel in New Orleans. As I said, anywhere but in my apartment. Sometimes depending on where else I might have gone that year, I may not have a choice -aka the money- except be home, such as the year I did Dubai in January and Cuba in July. There was nothing left to disappear come September, yet worth it for those two experiences. Also note, my best friend and I share the same birthday, one year apart, so she’s with me for much of this. Then Covid struck and the choice of do I stay or do I go (I know some of you sang that), was taken from all of us

By September 2020 local restaurants that had open air seating had become a thing, so at least Bestie and I were able to celebrate out of the apartment with another fiend – er – friend. However, by September 2021, I had not been on a out of the City in a year, or on a plane even longer and it showed. I was not risking international, yet so we compromised with a quick jaunt to Las Vegas for a few days. It was just what the doctor and the wanderlust within me ordered. But that was then….

I would fully blame this on having just renewed my Global Entry, but it’s also March. Specifically, it’s past March 19th, it is halfway to my birthday. My passport has not received a new stamp in three years. It’s NOT happy and that travel Mothra is pounding on my door HARD.

I have friends who have begun travelling internationally again, including a known hypochondriac, and following all the protocols, they have been fine. I do have a trip to London, planned for summer 2023, and maybe Japan, oh, but what to do for this year?

  • Local? – as in the on the East Coast.
  • Not so local? – as in the Mid or West Coast.
  • Perhaps international? – as in I still have three continents to conquer.

Decisions… Decisions…Decisions…

Anybody up for a visit from a Raivenne?


Day 23 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

Slice of Life 15th Annual Story Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
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