"There truly is a Method to His Madness, you know."

"Yes, yes, I'm aware of that. It's that his motto is Always Write, and Bomit, half the time his posts have the courage and soul of good street Graffiti. Graffiti writen by some Chairborne Stranger or maybe even a Defective Yeti."

"I'm not sure, but it can be disturbing. I'm hoping Dr. Jayne 2 B lends an academic point of view. "

"True. She does seem to hold a good sense of balance driven, in part, by the "Everything's Relative" philosopy."

"Nice observation. Come on, sit down. Have a Cuppa with this Industry Whore."

"Listen Id love a stiff drink but, I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Wino, you know what I mean?"

"True, but after our last outing last Friday night, you had no trouble with the Kiss & Blog. You wrote about your escapades so vividly. Have you been visiting Language Log?"

"No, not at all. I've just been thinking... you know... reflecting. That's how it is for a girl with a Life in Forsyth. The kind of life that never truly wears it off, but just smears your Lip Schtick. By the way, is it smeared right now?"

"No Pasa Nada, my friend. You look good. Everything's in place. Right as Rain, because you comply and follow THE motto, don't you? Obey."

"Yeah, I know that social virus. What do you say we hit the Pie-N-Monkey for martini's and dessert? And you know what they say, Whatever Happens at Pie-N-Monkey, stays at Pie-N-Monkey."

"Either that or you end up sending a card to PostSecret, complete with a photo of your Sinister Bedfellows which may or may not include that hot hipster you know and love."

"Who? The Assimilated Negro?"

"Duh. Yeah, isn't that just The Blinding Glare of the Obvious?"

"Oh, Shit... Here goes The Daily Rant..."

"No rant. I'm going to chill with The Daly Blog and get a dose of some Visual Narcotics."

"ummm... yeah. Yummy."

When Kunta Met Kinte

I've recently discovered that I'm apparently Black.

Shuttup! I've seen my profile picture.

Don't be alarmed. It's not that I was struck blind before realizing my race or anything so simple as that. It's that my birth certificate has changed. It used to say that I was Cape Verdean, and when I last ordered a copy, my friendly local government office had changed it to Black.

This discovery has been further complicated by the fact that my mother of 44 years has recently also informed me that I am Black. I've always suspected, but there she was, just the other day, confirming it and making things so clear. The conversation in which I stumbled upon this discovery went like this:

"HAHAHAHA... Remember when I asked your brother if there were any other Black kids in his new school and he said he didn't know? How could he not know!" I did not remember this, and wondered when she'd changed races, but I digress...

"Um, Mom... You never told us we were Black. Have you recently decided?"

"What?! What do you mean? You kids didn't know?!"

"No. Why would we? You and dad never discussed it. Our neighbors were interacial couples, or hispanic, or Asian. Blacks in our neighborhood had afros and dark skin. We didn't fit any of those molds."

"Oh yeah.... I guess you kids wouldn't have known." I could hear the bright rays of dawn cracking over her pretty gray head.

I've really got to congratulate my parents on that one, intentional or otherwise. They just plain forgot to put us into a convenient little category and box.

Grace, Charm, and... er... Poise.

Shortly after moving to Daytona Beach, Florida, a woman approached me in a local restaurant and asked if I was Cape Verdean. Since there wasn't a Creole in sight, I figured she was either clairvoyant or knew me from somewhere back in New England. Turns out it was neither.

"I can tell by the way you walk.” she said. "You've got that Cape Verdean walk."

Hmpf. That got me thinking. What she'd said is true. Lots of Cape Verdean women have a slow stride and walk with shoulders back and chin up. It's a proud walk, and maybe sometimes it's a bit too proud. It was my mom who taught me the stride, and without realizing it, I'd apparently taken her lessons to heart.

"Walk on your toes. Don't stomp!" That was the first lesson. "Pick up your feet!" Second lesson.

"Pull your stomach in." came at around the same time as "Point your toes slightly inward and place one foot slightly in front of the other. Slow down a little. Don't clop around in a hurry."

"Are you kidding me, Mom?!" That was usually my whiney protest, but I did as I was told, partly to make her nagging stop and partly because I thought my graceful and slim mother held the power to transform a chubby and awkward me into a glamorous young swan. I became a Suck In The Stomach expert.

But then came the Book. At the time she pulled out a book with the intent of showing me how to balance it on my head, I was around 15 or 16 years old, still sporting 25 extra pounds, and yet very interested in lessons on how to walk like a fashion model. My mom and her sisters had lots of old photos of themselves playing around in my grandfather's yard, modeling the latest fashions and striking poses out of a March, 1959 Glamour magazine. It looked like fun, and so I studied hard.

The lessons on how to properly sit while wearing a dress came at around the same time. I mastered the art of sitting up straight, knees together and tilted to the left, while ankles were pressed together and slightly out to the right. She had me practice this pose on the countless Sunday visits to relatives where we'd sit in a mausoleum of a room called a Parlor and sip coffee, or in my case, Coke. Between sips I sat still, shoulders back, palms resting in my lap.

"Smile." That was the next instruction. "Don't scowl. It looks awful. Trashy." It also highlighted my pudgy cheeks. I couldn't remember all of the instructions all of the time, and slipped a bit. She'd notice and wouldn't hesitate to remind me. Most of the time, I hated the constant nagging. It's not that I didn't like the idea of walking like a model or sitting as if I were posing for a portrait. I just didn't like having to be constantly aware of sucking in my gut and placing a soft smile on my lips. What if I wasn't in the mood to smile in public?

"Smile anyway." She said it with a smile, of course.

My friends, especially the younger ones, don't remember getting these lessons and never knew the chubby and awkward girl, but they inevitably comment on my posture. Lots of little old ladies comment, too. There have been several occasions when I've been walking down the street absorbed in some fluffy and girly thought, obviously relishing in the glory of all that is female, only to have someone's grandmother stop me in my perfectly placed, ball-of-the-foot, never-heel-first footfall.

"You have such great posture!"

That's when the smile my mom trained me to wear is genuine, and the chubby little girl in me gives her a call just to say hello.

Here I am

"See? Told you you'd give this blogging thing up."

"Sit down, Alter Ego. Have a muffin."

I'm having thoughts. Oh yeah, a few of them, too.

It's about the trees here in South Florida. First, let me tell you about the brave little six-footer that hung on for dear life through hours of last year's Wilma lashing only to be snapped in half during the very last 30 minutes of that beeatch's fury. While 30 and 40 footers passed out all around him/it, this young one tried its best. Or maybe it was just stubborn.

So a few months later when an orange band was found wrapped around the trunk, I was pissed. The tree was marked for removal even though it had sprouted new branches and was making a lopsided comeback. He'd been deemed unworthy of adorning the Homeowner Association's common area. A pockmark on the face of a manicured lawn.

Me? A Tree-hugger you say? Mebbe.

And yesterday, while driving my usual route to work, I noticed a line of stumps and timber along the edge of a corporate park where very large, shady, and beautiful trees had been.

Is this how South Florida prepares for hurricane season?

The oddest thing I've seen is a news report in the hours before an oncoming hurricane in which the reporter carried on about the very large trees which could down powerlines. As he spoke, a 40 footer swayed in the increasing breeze, then dropped onto the ground in what seemed like a dead faint. Poor tree had apparently been overcome while listening to the report.

And That's All.