Saturday, December 29, 2007

Daniels announces state employee pay raise for 2008

INDIANAPOLIS (December 19, 2007) - Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today announced state employee salaries will rise 4.8 percent in 2008 on average. Since taking office, Daniels has made properly compensating state employees a top priority through his "pay for performance" program. Prior to the Daniels administration, all state employees received the same across-the-board increase regardless of job performance. This approach led some high-performing employees to leave state employment because they felt unfairly and inadequately compensated.

"It's the rule in life that those working the hardest and getting the best results are rewarded more than those doing a poor job, but Indiana state government, until now, didn't apply that rule," said Daniels. "The best public servants deserve the best pay."

"We have been able to significantly increase salaries and benefits and increase them dramatically for those doing the best job of serving taxpayers," Daniels added. "Because of the new approach, we are in an improved position to attract and retain top talent, even while holding total payroll costs flat."

All state employees will receive a 1.5 percent increase that will be reflected in the employees' final 2007 check. Those whose performance evaluations "meet expectations" will receive an additional three percent performance-based increase for a combined total pay raise of 4.5 percent. Staff who "exceed expectations" will receive an additional 8.5 percent performance-based increase for a combined total pay raise of 10 percent. These merit-based raises will become effective on the last check in February for agencies completing their employee evaluations by the end of January.

Approximately 80 percent of state employees will receive a rating of "meet expectations," while 10 percent will "exceed expectations." Employees in the lowest 10 percent will receive a work plan designed to improve their job performance to the "meets expectations" level.

In addition to salary adjustments, over the last three years, Daniels also authorized increases in the state's contribution to employees' health insurance and implemented two bonus programs. Even with larger increases in average state employee compensation, total payroll costs to the state have dropped by nearly $50 million since the start of the Daniels administration. The overall decrease was made possible by a 10 percent reduction in the number of state employees.

-30-

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Rank in Rankrz

I don't know if it is because I am sleepy or what but I have completed the Rankrz registration and all but I still don't understand it. I have two votes--one of them mine--and I have a new place to promote my blog, www.imadeamesss.com. About the site, I read that Rankrz is a user-generated ranking site, which gives ad revenue opportunities to users. I want ad revenue. They want initial users for their beta site. This, I think is what I was supposed to accomplish for Rankrz and I think that I did it. If it were the aforementioned items, then we have all met our objectives and that is just fine. It is a nice site and I like it when I get help with keywords. Maybe you should go check it out for yourself. Look in the box below.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and have a prosperous New Year

This was a good day for children. They were happy and enjoyed the day. The ham could have been better but I had two vegetable dishes--asparagus and corn and scalloped potatoes with butter and sharp cheddar cheese and corn bread sage dressing.
I got very little sleep over the past two days.
Of course, I didn't get any gifts BECAUSE I AIN'T GOT NO MAN...but that is another blog post.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well tomorrow is Christmas Eve...

and the carnage will be worse than ever.
Last minute shopping, nick knacks and whatever will take up most of everyone time so if you run into rudeness or if they are out of everything at the store please keep in mind it is Christmas Eve.
Folk coming in from out-of-town can't drive and don't know your town as well as you do so be patient, don't flip anyone off--it's Christmas Eve.
Be patient when picking loved ones up from the airport because it will be crowded so be ready to wait and remember to greet your passengers with a smile. Do not say, "what were you doing in there? Buying stuff? We ain't got time for that! Don't spend all your money in one place!"
It's Christmas Eve. Don't drive through traffic switching lanes and blowing your horn and slamming on your breaks. It's Christmas Eve.
And mostly don't send your spouse out for last minute ingredients--it's Christmas Eve and he or she doesn't want to be bothered either.
(Now when Christmas dinner isn't cooked, don't complain.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fly me to the moon--or Australia!

I've never been to Australia but I hear it's nice and I wouldn't mind visiting. I hear it's warm. I plan on visiting somewhere out of the country soon. It’s a country larger than the whole of Europe and unless you are backpacking for a year, you will need several holidays to Australia just to see half of it. I'm going to visit the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, dive the Great Barrier Reef, walk in the rain forest, drive the Great Ocean Road, surf the great beaches, cruise the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, enjoy the rugged west coast and the vast desert of the red center. Then I'm going to sleep. The good thing about a good vacation is all of the good rest you can get.
However, I'm not the only one who wants to go. Anyone can call dialalight.com to book a flight to Australia.





Let the Countdown begin

As of December 22, the real Christmas shopping shall begin. It will be ugly. It will be a mess. People will argue and snatch gifts from your hand. It is the real deal.
Anyone in this country that celebrates Christmas is in a store on this day finishing up the last of the holiday holiday shopping.
It's too late to order stuff off of the Web because it is unlikely that it will arrive by The Day.
Watch out for bad parking bad driving and getting cussed out for pulling in front of people. A car full of gifts and the police at an accident is not the way to get the holiday cheer going.
And watch out for having packages visible in the car. Anybody walking by can see what you have and take it--even when stopping to have a lunch. Eat first and then shop. You can also take packages home then enjoy the evening.

Stay warm this winter

When thinking about home heating this winter think about gas wall heaters.
They're great if something were to go wrong with the furnace--not all of us have signed up to get emergency repair with our utility companies across America. You automatically have back-up heat with a gas wall heater.
Portable room heaters are great if you don't have the space in your home for a fire log burning or even a vent free fireplace. You should consider a wall heater as an alternative heat source. A wall heater will make your rooms more comfortable on a cold winter day, and can even save you quite a bit of money on your heating bill.
I use a portable room heater when I'm downstairs to save on my winter heating costs. I make it a point to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees--like recommended but that definitely means wearing a sweater and using a safe, clean and efficient portable room heater.

What to tell the children?

My 9-year-old son on Friday saw that the Zoe 101 girl who says she is 16 announced her pregnancy.
I said she ought to be ashamed. Take into account that I'm talking to a 9-year-old.
I know that girl has more than enough money and support from her family to do as she pleases. When you do on your own dime, you are grown and can do as you please. She can become emancipated and live her life as an adult legally if she chooses to do so. She is grown--even at 16.
However, my little boy is a child. He didn't seem to see anything wrong with what Ms. Spears was doing. He thinks he is grown anyway so I let him know the whatfor.
"When you are old enough to have sex you are also old enough to pay your own bills and have a place of your own in which to have said sex."
I also told him if you are old enough to have a baby you are old enough to care for said baby. I'm not going to do it.
He was astonished.
"All I did was ask what was wrong with it!"
He finished putting on his school clothes and went on about his day as a child.
But now, at least he knows.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Call the World for Pennies From The USA



Lots of people like my blog so incidently, I have made friends all over the world. We keep in touch frequently but this holiday season, I'm going for a visit.
People like us need a reliable international calling system that doesn't tie us down with long strings of numbers to remember and all of that. I found out about Mobile Talk Packet 8 Voice over Internet protocol. It's low-cost international calling from your mobile phone--it works with over 400 models. Usually, I'd be tied down to my home phone to use a service like this.
First, sign up and activate your account then download the MobileTalk application. In most cases, your phone will receive a text message with a link.
Whenever you make an international call (dialing starts with 011... or starts with '+'), the MobileTalk application will automatically route the call to the Packet8 network and you will save up to 90% or more on your international cell phone calls.
It's the best thing to do if you have even one friend overseas, across the pond or what have you.
There is no calling card needed (I'd lose it) PIN numbers (I'd forget it) no data plan, no connection fee, you don't need a hot spot and you get high quality digital calls.


So Few Days Left till Christmas

Running out of gift ideas? Here are some last minute gift ideas.
If it is for the guy or girl who has everything, then look towards service industry based gift ideas like spa gift certificates (for the full package) or mani/pedi gift certificates. Buy the person something you know they will use--like their favorite music or an MP3 player. Depending on how old they are, it may take a few days to get it going but it's not that hard to download music from one of the popular sites.
If you can swing it, jewelry is always a favorite--diamonds are a girls best friend.
How about a neat as seen-on-tv appliance for the chef in your life? It would be a fun and practical gift to give.
How about something really neat for the car? A CD holder or cup that fits in the cup holder--can't have too many of them.
Maybe along with the cup (a nice one from Starbucks or something) a bag of their favorite coffee beans.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Step show anyone?

As a college student, I saw that there were lots of fraternities and sororities that would have these custom greek t-shirts made up with their line name and their name after going over, on the shirt. They were so cute. The Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Sigma Gamma Rho sorority sisters would have either red and white, pink and green or blue and gold t-shirts and lettering while the fraternities would have purple and gold or black and gold or red and white or blue and white to represent Omega Phi Psi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, or Phi Beta Sigma on their shirts.
Of course, the fraternity and sorority members would have more than one shirt. They would get shirts made especially for steps shows or if out-of-town brothers and sisters were visiting and they would compete with each other to see who could come up with the most imaginative shirt.

Yeah and --So What, seriously!

My little brother must have told my parents about my blog www.imadeamesss.com because I got the lecture from Mom about don't film inside the house or write about them--she and Dad.
Well I do anyway because I figured how would they know? Well, I used to tattle all the time on my little bro (he's 31 and way over six feet)when we were growing up so I guess he feels turnabout is fair play--even if 20 years or so have passed.
I ought to take my Kanye West CD back. He commandeered it several weeks ago to my chagrin. Nah, I'll take it on the chin. That CD brings him so much enjoyment and he has never appreciated my taste in music before that CD.
Hey, did y'all hear that the Fox Cable News offices have had some sort of chemical explosion? I heard it on CNN. The news is being broadcast as usual on Fox and they mentioned the explosion in passing only. Wow. Talk about serious journalists. That's old school right there--I mean City News Bureau of Chicago type old school journalism.
I never shared my CNB stories with y'all--have I?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Get Clean for the New Year

I used to work at a drug rehab facility. The work was fulfilling but tough. Many of the clients had been trying for years to get and stay clean and most were successful.
Stone Hawk drug rehabilitation center claims more than a 76% success rate. Participants discover that they can develop a lifestyle that fits their needs and wants without drug addiction or alcoholism.
However, the motivation to change the drug-abusing behavior, the degree of support that the individual receives from family and friends, and whether there is additional pressure from outside sources to stay in treatment such as the legal system or child protective services, all play a role in recovery.
A treatment plan needs to be established and followed so that he or she knows what to expect during treatment and it is also important that the drug treatment center provides “aftercare” to ensure that the patient is still following their treatment plan after being discharged.
The Stone Hawk Rehabilitation Center is located in south central Michigan, approximately 1-1/2 hours west of Detroit and 1-1/2 hours east of Chicago in Battle Creek, Michigan.

I can cook!

See, this is why I cannot lose weight. I just made Chicken and Dumplings with Yukon Gold potatoes cut up into tiny bite sized pieces and Chicken'n Turkey Chili at the same time. I In different pots of course)
I started early this morning. I boiled in a pot four chicken quarters with Old Bay Seasoning for about an hour. Then I divided it into two pots. I couldn't make up my mind which I wanted to prepare so I made them both. OMG the dumplings (made with butter) are so tender. The broth is perfect--not too thick and not too thin. Perfect.
The chili has ground turkey, black beans, Great Northern beans and a secret ingredient. It is perfection. Found only on www.imadeamesss.com.

Why be fat?

Yeah well, while living in Florida, I was in a bathing suit a lot--like everyday almost because the ocean is right there and it's beautiful. I could have stood to lose a few--if you get me--but I didn't. I could have driven over to a tampa weight loss clinic and had the
Journey Lite Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding which is also known as LAGB or the LAP BAND System procedure.
Maybe Trick Daddy and I would have hooked up that time on South Beach. I met him in the News Cafe during Black Music Week. Instead he took one look at me and said no, I could not roll with him and his crew. The extra weight made me look too old.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Has anyone considered why we haven't had a Black or a Woman President?

Why are the political pundits so interested in whether or not
Oprah can sway the 2008 political election?
Are they afraid that a black man would become president of
these United States? What is really so wrong with that?
Why must the people who represent us to the world act like such
country bumpkins?
Was it really necessary to point out that our Vice President and one of the presidential candidates were related on down-the-line somewhere? Who were you assuring of the Senator's qualifications?
Not me, of course.
Hey listen, other people who don't have this country's best interest
in mind are watching this election and it's processes just as
we in this country are watching. They will think that we are racist if we're not careful.
Anyone who really thinks about it long enough can influence
anything in this country.
We are a country that is easily influenced.
The more influence a person or group has the more we accept
what ever it is they are selling.
Everyone knows this about us.
The least influential groups have the least amount of sway.
That would include the poor and minorities or anyone who
appears to be in need.
Yes, Oprah is influential but you must remember her years in
Chicago.
Sen. Obama is a Democrat from Chicago. It is a natural match.
When questioning Oprah's influence, what I really hear is can Oprah get this black man elected as president of these United States.
Maybe, maybe not.
We have always counted on the soccer moms of this country to pull through for us, haven't we? Many, if not all of her audience, are so-called soccer moms.
Also remember that Oprah is an African American and a
Southerner. She started out in broadcast news in Mississippi and
made her way to Chicago. She hosted AM Chicago and then bought the
show. She is smart and well advised. She is a journalist.
But she is black and included in the 12 percent of Blacks that
the U.S. Census says we are in this country. We are here.
Most of us are and have been for a while, disconnected from a
motherland (Africa) so we don't have a place to run to when times get
hard. We stick it out here and are mostly ignored and shoved aside and told, 'you can't be president.'
How would you like to be invited to a party where you know you
weren't that well liked and then told to smile and be
positive--everyday until you died?
How would you like it if you were adopted into a rainbow family
where it was constantly pointed out that you were adopted and
therefor different--in a rainbow family!
What if you were told, 'we just let you stay here 'cause we can't
find your folks to send you home!'
How would you like it if you were asked to go home by some of
the brothers and sisters in your adopted family just because
they were sick of looking at you and dealing with your
problems--not clearly understanding that they were making it worse with their attitudes toward you.
You wouldn't like it but Oprah and 12 percent of this
population live that kind of life EVERY DAY. And no one really
cares but the 12 percent and www.imadeamesss.com.
Believe me, we could do worse than Obama for President--at
least he understands how it feels to be the underdog everyday
and the outsider. Many Americans fight that battle white and
non-white. Many non-Americans feel that way as well.
However, he has to capture the nomination of his party.
(DNC starts August 25 in Denver Colorado)
Early on, I remember hearing a man on T.V. say about Hilliary Clinton and Barack Obama that they are the showbiz portion of the Democratic Party--the
window dressing to get the masses going. Maybe the carrot on
the stick so-to-speak and that the real candidates were those
other white men they presented to us.
I was given the impression that Hillary and Barack's only
reason for running in the 2008 election was to raise money for
the Democratic Party and that they were not to be taken
seriously no matter what it looked like. Then I figured they'd just end up splitting the democrat's votes during the party nomination process or what have you.
Well, that is one reason I didn't allow myself to get excited
about the presidential elections--neither of my candidates
would actually win. I knew Hillary was running. I wanted her to
win, in hopes of restoring the American economy (Bill is her
husband) then I saw Barack was running and I definitely didn't
allow myself get excited.
I remember how Jesse Jackson really just made a good show for the Dems when he ran but that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted him to win. Black folk in my area used to believe he could win too. They used to say if he won someone would
shoot him. I didn't want that to happen so I really didn't know how to
feel. I secretly still wanted him to win and to live.
I live in a country that I think will not let a man of African
decent be president. See how I didn't even say African
American?
Barack made it a point to let us all know that he wasn't born
of slaves. I was. My people were sharecroppers. I have a lot of
friends who are also decedents of slaves. I'm not ashamed. It
didn't seem like much could be done to change that back
then--at least by the slaves. They did what they could when
they could. They had to stay alive.
It would be nice to see a black man gain the nomination of the
Democratic National Party. It has never happened in Oprah or any black
person's lifetime. I wonder why?
If Mr. Edwards won (since they told us who we really have to
pick) I wouldn't be mad. He seems to care about poor people
like me. I care about this because I have voted in every election since I could vote. What I don't want is another wealthy millionaire dressed in
Democratic clothing. I know he is really a Republican--there is nothing wrong with that. African-Americans started out as Republicans.
Democrats point out this country's problems and Republicans find a way to fund it.
See, we can all work together.
But hey, you don't gotta listen to me. I read the newspaper everyday, watch stuff on the Cartoon Network like Family Guy-- I watch SNL, MAD TV and a host of other ensemble casts, sitcoms and cartoons and many of the network and cable news channels and I'm 41 years old. WhaddoIknow? My brain is mush.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Get a loan

If I had, say, $500,000, I'd pay off a few bills and sock some away in a jumbo 5-year Certificate of Deposit (CD) before the feds tank the interest rate--bailing out the mortgage industry with their sub-prime loan mess (remember the savings and loan debacle?)
I'd save a little too for the stock market because I always imagined myself delving into that. However, loans don't come a dime a dozen. You have to qualify and then after you qualify you should Compare loans to make sure you are getting the best rate.
I'm looking for one of those Unsecured loans because it doesn't require collateral--something I'm kinda short on.
Considering today's housing market, I'd have to have more than a half-a-million dollars to consolidate some debt and stuff and buy a house.
Homeowner loans in this market require immaculate credit.

Scenarios

Refusing to washing hands after the bathroom, co-worker touches potluck buffet table, do you eat the goodies?
The new fella keeps conversation at your desk quite often, asks you out, do you go?
What are the proper things to do?

"First off, beat nasty ass to the table. Apparently, she ain't the only one to be nasty.
You know men goin' the restroom shake they *o** and don't wash hands the first.
Tell him git his ass on. Going out with him is up to you If you eat where you shit you might have problems--people do it but...
I hate when people lean their ass against your desk--especially when you have food on the desk. What makes people think you want that much ass that close to your face or your food?

-comments all from a friend of mine

I need a new car

I need a new car and I am looking for a great Auto Loans Financing rate where I'm not put in the poorhouse trying to buy a hybrid. (Yeah, I said it--a hybrid.)
I cannot keep driving Mommy and Daddy's truck!
Don't get me wrong--I love the truck. It's a Ford Explorer and it's big enough for me, momma, granny, the kids (mine and my brothers) and all of our shopping bags. We can go to seven or eight stores and still have room for everyone. I would like to buy one of those for myself but I can just imagine the interest rate I would have to pay. Even people with perfect credit need help shopping for low rate auto loans.
I ran across a site called autoloansmania.com and it said that it had lots of rates--even for people like me with less-than-perfect credit. (Yeah, imagine me being less than perfect.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Local officers recieve a awards

The Post-Tribune, a local Northwest Indiana newspaper, reports that a few good cops is all it takes.
The newspaper reports that during a ceremony Wednesday, Detectives Jeff Hemphill, Keith Richardson and James Bond received commendations for catching a murder suspect.
Officers who received more than one award for their work included Detective Lorenzo Davis, Detective James Gonzales, Richardson and Sgt. Thomas Decanter.
Internal Affairs officers Sgt. Jarrett Bridgeman and Detective Edward Jenkins were recognized for handling the investigations of the officers at the scene of a September 15 crash in Gary that killed two local high school students.
Cpl. Agnes Roberts received a commendation for working on the investigation of the crash.
Cmdr. Bruce Outlaw Sr. said despite the public and the media scrutiny, Roberts worked diligently on the investigation.
Col. Len Miller was recognized for making the most arrests -- 210 total this year.
Congratulations and thanks for all of your hard work. We all appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Invest in precious metals: Silver

I heard that by investing in precious metals, you can insure you wealth because it will never be worthless. Through Monex Deposit Company you can purchase silver or other precious metals for delivery or arrange for convenient and safe storage at an independent bank or depository.
The demand for silver now exceeds annual production and has every year since 1990. Above ground stockpiles of silver bullion are low, shrinking rapidly and approaching zero.
Most silver is mined as a by-product of mining for other metals.
The price of silver fluctuates and investors should watch for that carefully. Now, I'm no metals broker nor an investment counselor but if I had the money to invest, part of it would go to silver.

Nebraska Mall Shooting

I'm listening to the news on the Omaha Nebraska Mall Shooting and am simply horrified.
Fox Cable News reported nine are dead including the shooter. They say it is a mall everyone goes to and that there was a rush of people running out of the store not saying anything--just running.
Could you imagine being in a crowded mall holiday shopping and this crap breaks out?
What about the elderly and people who can't run fast?
Oh the fear they must have felt.
They need metal detectors in all large public places in this country.
It's to unsecured. What if it had been terrorists and worse? I heard reports that people shouldn't go to the malls because of the terrorism risk.
Please forgive me. I saw The Kingdom recently and can't quite get over it. I'm going to buy that DVD as soon as it is released for sale. It was very good and explained a lot about life in Saudi Arabia.
Prayers go out for those affected by the horror at the Nebraska Mall Shooting.

I hate fake people

I can't stand fake hi-pitch people. They are the ones who are supposed to be either a positive influence in their community or at the very least, helping society somehow and they are simply worthless. What in the heck are they going to say at Judgement Day?
Really, these people astound me. I try to avoid them so that I won't be forced to say anything when their absolute fakeness gets to me. Even I have my limits.
However, I avoid lots of people for a myriad of reasons--mostly because I don't want to have to explain my behavior. So if I haven't seen you for a while and we are on friendly terms anyhow, this note is not for you. I'm angry at someone else's inexplicable fakeness right now.
Fake people ought to be ashamed of themselves!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Celebrate the holidays with Vista Print

Christmas cards are a nice way of telling lots of people that you are thinking of them during the holiday season but custom Christmas cards like the ones found at Vista Print should have them thinking of you.
Of course there are the folding cards with or without photo but Vista Print also offers holiday post cards with or without a personalized photo. The option is yours.
New this year are the collage cards for when you have more than one photo you want to share. You can upload up to 6 photos and Vista Print will turn them into a collage.
Ordering Christmas cards couldn't be easier with Vista Print. Just click on the underlined words.

My deep fryer and scottish shortbread

I made some scottish shortbread Saturday but this recipie called for brown sugar. They are quite delicious. However, how does one make fried cookie dough? I guess I ought to stick to stuff I know but since I'm frying chicken, I figured I'd give it a try.
This brings me to another question. How long am I supposed to leave chicken in the deep fryer? Currently I use a meat thermometer to make sure but it should be an easier way. Each time I take the chicken out it takes that much longer to get done.

Bold Rugs can brighten your living quarters

The links to this ad have been removed per the request of the company. Please disregard this post
I wanted something nice to pull together my living room. I bought a black area rug. Both Grandma and Ma told me not to do it and I should have listened. The children have kept up bits of this and that all over the place--including the rug. Topping it all off, I dropped a hot iron on it (don't ask) and singed a portion of it. Now I need a new one. Although I liked the black area run (I'm putting it in my room) it's not fit for the living room area anymore.
Oh the beauty. All of the popular artsy styles and more demure styles are all laid out in an easy-to-use format.
SOHO Stiletto in Arctic Blue, SOHO Moirè Black-Multi Color, SOHO Sequin Princess Blue-Multi Color and SUPER INDO-COLORS in Kasbah White.
Some of the area rugs are so attractive that you may not want to put them on floor and instead mount them on the wall!

Please buy my book

Please buy my book. It can make a great Christmas gift for co-workers, aunts, cousins, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, people you don't know that well but want to get to know, people you should probably tip but haven't, clients, fellow church members your kid's teachers, your teachers, people who are actually in the book itself, etc.

Print: $14.00
Eighteen Months (book)
Download: $10.00

This publication is an actual script for a film. I am seeking to option this script. It's about a woman named Lois DuSol. Lois is a reporter who becomes entangled with a lawyer, dirty cops, federal agents and her editor--all while carrying her first child and experiencing her first love. Along the way, she is spied on, threatened but manages to break the biggest news story of her career.

and

Short Stories, Real Life (book)
Download: $13.00
Hardcover Print: $23.00

Another title for this book could be "Tales from an Urban Jungle," but I thought that would be a bit corny--get it? I'm from Indiana. Anyway folks, "Short Stories, Real Life," is a collection of news stories I've written that are based in the Midwest--Northwest Indiana to be exact. Locals should buy the book because they may be in it. If you aren't native to the area, the book contains well-written news stories about anyone from the governor of Indiana, Mitchell E. Daniels, to Robert F. Kennedy. There is also a story about the world-famous band, Frankie Beverly and Maze, when they performed at a summer concert in Miller section of Gary. This would make excellent light reading. It isn't often local news stories are accessable to those who live outside of the area. Most news--before it becomes national or international news--starts out as a local news story. Think about it. Maybe some of the information in this book could be of use to you.

I'm Going to Vegas Baby!

My babies and I are going to Las Vegas for the New Year! Kanye West is performing there on New Year's Eve and my crew of two and I will be there! My children and I are way overdue for a nice vacation and we all love Kanye's music.
Hotel Reservations had to be made soon so I went to HotelReservations.com. There, I could book a first-class flight which was really convenient. I was glad I didn't have to search for each little option. The site had the packages I needed to make my trip goof-proof. They have a rental car section on the site as well as sections on vacation rentals and packages. I was thinking of a surprise ">South Florida get-a-way for spring break. Getting away from it all helps the children and myself re-focus on what we have to do at home and for them, at school--without getting burned out. Yea for us!

TODAY WAS MORE THAN A TRIP AND UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T EXPECT A WHOLE LOT

This is a revision but I don't know if it improves the original or what. You tell me.


TODAY WAS MORE THAN A TRIP AND UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T EXPECT A WHOLE LOT
MORE FROM TOMORROW Copyright Leslie Jones McCloud 2007


ACT I

Firetrucks surround a simple but modern three bedroom house, hoses criss
crossing manicured lawns.

Slowly, robed and sleepy neighbors crowd around BeBe's house chattering
amongst the noise of the the shiney red engines were making in the middle
of the night.

BeBe ran a clean business. She only did the hair of those she knew, and
their friends. Most of them didn't mind her bulbous brests brushing on the
backs of their heads and they paid her well enought to afford her home in
the quiet suburb.

But this evening was different because she had gone to sleep with a
pressing comb still heating in its oven. The kitchen was destroyed and she
would have to wrangle with the insurance company in the morning.

BeBe stood amongst her neighbors, pulling closed a thick terry robe one of
her clients had brought her back from a vacation. Her own hair hang in a
straggly bedhead arrangemnt like the exotic plants she clipped from her
backyard.

BEBE

ACT I

FLASHBACK;

Bebe, thinking back, leads a group of her chattering relatives up to her
new home. She is dressed in early 90s garb, as the rest of the group,
holding a small box under one arm and the keys to her new house in the
other. The guy who sold her the house, Carl, pulls up in a shiney new car.

ANNIE
Hey, Carl. I'm glad you showed up.

CARL
I wouldn't miss this. We worked really hard to get
you in it.

Carl blows past BeBe's family to stand with her as she opened the doors to
her new home. He kisses her and takes the box she is holding. They walk in
together.

What they see is dust and sturdy hard wood floors and beautiful bare
windows. Everyone follows the pair in.

ANNIE
Oh, my ... I never thought I would get this far.

BeBe walks quickly throught he house. Unbeknownst to all, CeCe walks in
with a welcome basket in her hand.

CECE
Hi. Welcome to the neighborhood.I thought I would
just bring this by and introduce myself.

ANNIE, not used to such niceties, just stood there with her mouth agape.

ANNIE
Come in.

There wasn't much to see inside. CeCe looked around and stood there with
the basket of bread and fruit in her hand. Everone else looked at her too.

CECE
I always wanted to see the inside of this house.
Everyone said it was haunted.

No one said anything at first, then Carl broke the silence.

CARL
How about a quick tour?

Everyone chatterd happily again and started moving around sitting boxes
down and going back out to the moving truck to get more. BeBe and CeCe
walked through the house with Carl. BeBe's mother trailed behind the trio
with a small house plant in her hand.

Flashforward to present time

Fire engines break the silence of the quiet block. The large fire hoses
cris cross the manicured lawns and fire personnell trample neat flower beds
in a hurry to douse more water on the fire that raged in ANNIE's kitchen.

ANNIE, who had just moved into the neighborhood last year, alternated
between staring at the flames, trying to get her hair in to a pony tail and
clutching at her robe trying to keep it closed. But CeCe--who lives next
door, wanted answers. ANNIE turned when she touched her shoulder.

ANNIE
Hey.

CECE
Are you okay, girl? What happened?

ANNIE
I don't know T. I woke up and smelled smoke and ran
into the kitchen and the whole thing was on fire.
All of it. And you know I can't afford this.

CeCe lit a cigarette and offered one to ANNIE. The women pulled hard on the
cigarettes and stood in silence, watching the fire damp down little by
little.

ANNIE
I know they'll be asking me how this happened.

CECE
No they won't they'll go in there and tell you how
it happened. Did you pay your insurance?

BeBe rolled her eyes.

ANNIE
Yes, ma ma, I paid my insurance.

One of the firemen walked over to BeBe and pulled her to the side. CeCe
watched as they talked. She saw BeBe lower her head into her hands, silent
and still. CeCe sighed as her cragly friend walked back over to where she
was.

ANNIE
He said it started from the hot comb. I left the hot
comb in the stove and it set fire to a towel. And I
guess from there it did this.

CECE
Well, at least you can get a new kitchen out of the
deal and possibly new furniture. What else did you
have in there that was valuable.

ANNIE
Who knows? I hadn't even gotten around to cleaning
out the attic and basement from the old owners. I
was so happy to get a house...

CECE
That fireman sure was cute, girl. Did you get his
name?

Bebe rolled her eyes again and the women just stood there looking at the
smokey, smoldering mess that used to ANNIEBe's kitchen.

CECE
Don't worry, I'll help you get it back together
again. I remember when you bought this house. You
know, you and this house didn't get off to a good
start anyway. You should move.

BeBe stood alone in silence as CeCe made her way towards the cute fireman.

ANNIE
Yeah, we must have looked pretty country--trampling
over the lawn, hollering and all.

She smashes the cigarette out into the soaked lawn with the curled toe of
her leather house shoe. She looks over her shoulder and sees CeCe's lawyer-
friend, Thomas, pull up with his cell phone sealed to his ear. He looks
over towards the mess in BeBe's front yard, puts the cell inside his coat
and joggs out towards the house.

THOMAS
What happened BeBe?

ANNIE
My kitchen burned down.

Thomas looked into the dark crater that was once BeBe's breakfast nook and
stepped inside of it with the few remaining firemen.

THOMAS
Maybe I can get you some money out of it.

Forword 1/4/01
Annie didn't know if it was her hair or the cheap french purfume but she
figured one of them had to go if she was to ever climb out of the hole she
had dug for herself emotionally.
She bought herself new purfume for Christmas and swore New Years day she
would never again date a bisexual man.
It was just too hard to do.
She didn't work, but if you call writing working, well--she worked. At home
mostly or on the train or whenever she got an assignment. Annie had stop
being picky about the kind of assignment she would take long ago, so she
ended up meeting men in the strangest of places.
That's where she met Tim, in a strange place.
He was attractive but she was drunk. A normal occourrance. She didn't
notice as many quirks when she had a glass or three of wine. It made
meeting men easier and it helped drive them away before she got bored.
But Tim wasn't a bad guy only strange. Odd behaviors seemed cute when
fanned by the breeze of Merlot. And then Annie liked guys who are
considered different, the loners. The kind of men sober women only consider
dating for a few minutes before making up some excuse as to why they can no
longer share that four dollar drink with them at the crowded bar.
But not Annie. That kind of behaivor she considers rude and she suffers
greatly because of her fondness of another human oddity--Miss Manners.
But for a while, Tim and Annie together seemed to work.
They were sweet together. He was sweet to her, kissing, holding hands--the
kind of stuff girls like. She was affectionate towards him to varring
degrees and he apprecieated it. And for a while they clung to each other in
their self-made storm. But Tim craved drama and Annie was shy.
The kind of stuff that could be seen as a trap, of sorts. The kind of
closeness that would trap any of the walking wounded, like Annie. Tim was
good at caring because his feelings were genuine. He cared for Annie but
the world outside of their comfortable make believe fantasy life could
offer him more of what he wanted. And he drifted away.
Annie's folks always told her she would never keep a man acting the way
that she does but she didn't listen to them.
Instead, she listened to her heart and learned the way of the down low
brother.

Chapter One
Annie didn't really like to ride the bus but she needed to get around with
out the hassle of a ticket being slapped on her car when she got back. The
bus reminded her of how different everyone is. There are those who have
cars and ride for convienience and there are those ride out of necessity.

They were as different as night and day and always looked at each other
with suspicious looks.

But nobody ever said much. It was just another thing Annie noticed about
life and kept to herself.

Annie pulled out her notepad and started to scribble down thoughts as the
bus whizzed by her stop.

"Huron," the driver said.

Annie's eyes popped wider than they already were as she shoved her notepad
deep into her pocket, simetaneously checking for her tape recorder and
grabbing her bag.

"I missed my stop. Can I get off here?"

Without acknowledgement the driver opened the doors with a hydrolic sigh.
Annie felt the cold wind eat through her tights as she scurried off the bus
a good mile from the office.

She didn't see T tucked away in his car but he saw her.

Annie was hard to miss.

Long-legged antique bronze face and a long shock of streaked dark brown
hair she dared to let hang far below her shoulders.

T u-turned and whipped his shiney new BMW 320 Si down the block to get
another look at the woman marching--damn near bouncing--down the street in
stilleto boots, a wool coat and neat bag.

He saw her duck into one of the buildings then noticed a bar and grill next
door. But in the T tradition, he looked at the clock in the car and drove
away.

Annie bounced out of the office, assignments in hand and the idea that
tonight she would party. She stuck her arm out to get a cab. Her friend
Marcy screamed her name from across the street.

"Girl, wait," she said breathlessly.

"Hey, where are you coming from? Wanna share this taxi?" Annie said,
noticiing Marcy's new look.

"Naw, let's go to Panties and get a drink. I want to tell you about my new
boyfriend," she said presenting her wrist so that Annie could check out her
new tennis bracelet.

"Where'd you get that from," she deadpanned.

"Common, my treat."

With that Marcy pulled her unbelieving friend inside the place to a table
near the window.

"You look good. What happened in the week I didn't see you. Donald Trump
put you on his list--new job--promotion?

"Fool no, I met a guy on the sidewalk last month trying to get a cab...

Annie started to gather her things.

"Where are you going?"

"Back out there to get my taxi," Annie joked.

"Girl! Listen

Marcy explained how she and Brennon met and shared a cab a talked and
clicked and later had dinner and talked about the perfect wedding the
perfect kid the perfect life and fell in love almost immediately. Perfect.

And Marcy droned on about it, shaking the bracelet around, moving it up her
wrist, tossing her hair.

Annie wonedered if she was obnoxious when she was in love two months ago.
And she didn't even get diamonds. Just a few lackluster meals with an
average guy who droned on about his past relationships. And he was
bothersome, always on her back about something. Maybe Brennon was a hideous
creature--that would lift her spirits.

"Want another? Have one more. I need to kill some time before Brennon shows
up," Marcy said with a toss of the head.

"Okay," Annie said with a smile.

"So what's he like? Got any friends?"

"As a matter of fact, we're going out with a few of his buddies tonight.
You should come with, it'll be fun. It'll ANNIEtter than sitting around in
that damn housecoat. I hope you threw that thing away," Marcy said.

"Hush. Where yall going?" Annie said.

"To that new place, Tino's, way up north. They don't hang around down this
way too much," she said with a roll of the eye.

A tall man walked through the door, looked around. Annie caught his eye and
he moved forward.

"Damn girl, he's fine."

Brendon was gorgeous all the way from his briefcase to his wing tips. Clean
cut, well-groomed, mannerable. Perfect.

"Hey baby," he said. His voice smooth and manly.

Marcy got up and they hugged like they were in a private room. He kissed
her on her neck and grabbed her butt. Then she introduced him.

"I'm going to go to the bar for a while," she said to the new couple. She
couldn't stand being a third wheel.

She plunked down on the high barstool with all the grace of a chubby
ballerina.

Annie didn't know if it was her hair or the cheap french purfume but she
figured one of them had to go if she was to ever climb out of the hole she
had dug for herself emotionally.

She bought herself new purfume for Christmas and swore New Years day she
would never again date a bisexual man. It was just too hard to do. She
didn't work, unless you call writing working, well--she worked.

She worked from home mostly. Annie long ago had stop being picky about the
kind of assignment she would take, so she ended up meeting men in the
strangest of places. That's where she met Tim, in a strange place.

He was attractive but she was drunk. A normal occourrance lately. She
didn't notice as many quirks about potential dates when she had a glass or
three of wine. It made meeting men easier and it helped drive them away
before she got bored. But Tim wasn't a bad guy only strange.

Odd behaviors seemed cute when fanned by the breeze of grocery store wine.
And then Annie liked guys who are considered different--the loners. The
kind of men sober women only consider dating for a few minutes before
making up some excuse as to why they can no longer share a four dollar
drink with them at the bar. But not Annie. That kind of behaivor is
consideed rude and she suffers greatly because of her fondness of another
human oddity--Miss Manners.

But for a while, Tim and Annie together seemed to work. They were sweet
together. He was sweet to her, kissing, holding hands--the kind of stuff
girls like. She was affectionate towards him to varring degrees and he
apprecieated it. And for a while they clung to each other. But Tim craved
drama and Annie was shy. The kind of stuff that could be seen as a trap, of
sorts. The kind of closeness that would trap any of the walking wounded,
like Annie.

Tim was good at caring because his feelings were genuine. He cared for
Annie but the world outside of their comfortable make believe fantasy life
could offer him more of what he wanted--guilt free sex.

And so he soon drifted away. Annie's folks always told her she would never
keep a man acting the way that she does but she didn't listen to them.
Instead, she listened to her heart and learned the hard way about the down-
low brother.

"Hey you two love birds, I'm heading home," Annie said.

Okay. Don't forget," Marcy said.

The pair watched as the wind gusted through Annie'hair as she walked out
the door.

Chapter One

"I don't know what's wrong with me anymore," Annie whined to CeCe.

This was her third call to her long-time friend in two hours.

"Girl, I know you aren't crying--WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?" she hollered into
the phone.

"I don't know," Annie sniffiled.

"I'm on my way cause you aint doing nothing but running up my cell phone
bill. Put some clothes on cause I bet you still sloppin around the house in
that nasty looking robe. "Huh, no I'm not," Annie replied,picking
cottonballs off her robe.

"We can go lingere shopping. It'll be fun," CeCe said.

"For who CeCe--who's gone see it?"

"We can go out tonite. I'll tell Al to bring his nice friend from work,
okay?"

"Okay, but who's gone see it?"

"I'm on Euclid."

"I'm ready, I'm ready, bye."

The women hung up and Annie scurried around the house picking through three
days of laundry looking for jeans, a tank and a pair of high heeled
sandles.

She never really stopped looking for the right man and she never really
gave up. She was just tired.

Annie had been stumbling around the city punch drunk for a while, swinging
at anyone who came near her, and CeCe knew it. CeCe honked once and Annie
ran out and jumped in the car.

ANNIE
"You know, I don't see how you put up with the
bullshit 'cause I'm at the end of my rope."

CECE
I just do what I gotta do. You do that. You do what
you gotta do but you just complain behind it.

Annie stared hard at the side of C's face. Annie felt as if she was looking
for an argument. But she didn't give it to her.

ANNIE
Whatever fool. Whatever...

The women pull into a parking garage and head to Vikkie's. People are
lingering, talking, looking.

CECE
Look

Cece holds up a sheer white babydoll with satin trim but Annie shakes her
head. She looks for something that's not really there.

ANNIE
Maybe this?

Annie holds up a penoir set, cream. She grabs the slippers to match and
heads to the sales counter smiling.

CECE
Okay, Jean Harlowe...I guess. Don't you want to look
around a while?

Cece wanders around the store until her eye catches a simple black nightie
with a short, matching robe. She pays for her purchase and the women head
towards the exit.

ANNIE
I don't know why I bought this. Where, when and with
whom will I wear it?

I Won Something!

Have you ever won anything? Until now, I hadn't. However my video was one of those selected as an advertisment for the Pentel EnerGel Deluxe pen now being viewed on Rollimo. Yea for me. Wanna see it?



For more videos, rollmio.com

www.IMADEAMESSS.COM NOW HAS 3 S's

I have my own domain name now so all you have to do is type "www.imadeamesss.com" into your browser and the blog will pop up. This is a first for me. Notice that I had to add an "s" to "mess" to make "messs" because some person had taken my blog's name and put a junk site in it's place.
Below is the begining of a film I started to write but couldn't decide if it would be a better book or what.
AND THE 'L' IS SILENT Copyright Leslie Jones McCloud 2007

ACT I

Fire engines break the silence of the quiet block. The large fire hoses
cris cross the manicured lawns and fire personnell trample neat flower beds
in a hurry to douse more water on the fire that raged in Cissy's kitchen.

Cissy, who had just moved into the neighborhood last year, alternated
between staring at the flames, trying to get her hair in to a pony tail and
clutching at her robe trying to keep it closed. But Haelo--who lives next
door, wanted answers. Cissy turned when she touched her shoulder.

CISSY
Hey.

HAELO
Are you okay, girl? What happened?

CISSY
I don't know T. I woke up and smelled smoke and ran
into the kitchen and the whole thing was on fire.
All of it. And you know I can't afford this.

Haelo lit a cigarette and offered one to Cissy. The women pulled hard on
the cigarettes and stood in silence, watching the fire damp down little by
little.

CISSY
I know they'll be asking me how this happened.

HAELO
No they won't they'll go in there and tell you how
it happened. Did you pay your insurance?

BeBe rolled her eyes.

CISSY
Yes, ma ma, I paid my insurance.

One of the firemen walked over to BeBe and pulled her to the side. Haelo
watched as they talked. She saw BeBe lower her head into her hands, silent
and still. Haelo sighed as her stragly friend walked back over to where she
was.

CISSY
He said it started from the hot comb. I left the hot
comb in the stove and it set fire to a towel. And I
guess from there it did this.

HAELO
Well, at least you can get a new kitchen out of the
deal and possibly new furniture. What else did you
have in there that was valuable.

CISSY
Who knows? I hadn't even gotten around to cleaning
out the attic and basement from the old owners. I
was so happy to get a house...

HAELO
That fireman sure was cute, girl. Did you get his
name?

Bebe rolled her eyes again and the women just stood there looking at the
smokey, smoldering mess that used to CissyBe's kitchen.

HAELO
Don't worry, I'll help you get it back together
again. I remember when you bought this house.

BeBe 's mouth curled into a smile, gigling like school girls to the
amazment of the fire fighters.

CISSY
Yeah, we must have looked pretty country--trampling
over the lawn, hollering and all.

FLASHBACK;

Haelo leads a group of her chattering relatives up to her new home. She is
dressed in early 90s garb, as the rest of the group, holding a small box
under one arm and the keys to her new house in the other. It ends abruptly.

Chapter One
Haelo didn't really like to ride the bus but she needed to get around with
out the hassle of a ticket being slapped on her car when she got back. The
bus reminded her of how different everyone is. There are those who have
cars and ride for convienience and there are those ride out of necessity.

She always wondered about the people walking the streets she drove by when
she was in a hurry. Where are they going?

But nobody ever said much. It was just another thing Haelo noticed about
life and kept to herself.

She pulled out her notepad and started to scribble down thoughts as the bus
whizzed by her stop.

"Huron," the driver said.

Haelos eyes popped wider than they already were as she shoved her notepad
deep into her pocket, simetaneously checking for her tape recorder and
grabbing her bag.

"I missed my stop. Can I get off here?"

Without acknowledgement the driver opened the doors with a hydrolic sigh.
Annie felt the cold wind eat through her tights as she scurried off the bus
a good mile from the office.

She didn't see Tim tucked away in his car but he saw her.

Annie was hard to miss.

Long-legged antique bronze face and a long shock of streaked dark brown
hair she dared to let hang far below her shoulders.

T u-turned and whipped his shiney new BMW 320 Si down the block to get
another look at the woman marching--damn near bouncing--down the street in
stilleto boots, a wool coat and neat bag.

He saw her duck into one of the buildings then noticed a bar and grill next
door. But in the T tradition, he looked at the clock in the car and drove
away.

Haelo bounced out of the office, assignments in hand and the idea that
tonight she would party. She stuck her arm out to get a cab. Her friend
Cissy screamed her name from across the street.

CISSY

"Girl, wait," she said breathlessly.

"Hey, where are you coming from? Wanna share this taxi?" Haleo said,
noticiing Cissy's new look.

"Naw, let's go to Panties and get a drink. I want to tell you about my new
boyfriend," she said presenting her wrist so that Annie could check out her
new tennis bracelet.

"Where'd you get that from," she deadpanned.

"Common, my treat."

With that Cissy pulled her unbelieving friend inside the place to a table
near the window.

"You look good. What happened in the week I didn't see you. Donald Trump
put you on his list--new job--promotion?

"Fool no, I met a guy on the sidewalk last month trying to get a cab...

Haelo started to gather her things.

"Where are you going?"

"Back out there to get my taxi," Haleo joked.

"Girl! Listen

Marcy explained how she and Brennon met and shared a cab a talked and
clicked and later had dinner and talked about the perfect wedding the
perfect kid the perfect life and fell in love almost immediately. Perfect.

And cissy droned on about it, shaking the bracelet around, moving it up her
wrist, tossing her hair.

Annie wonedered if she was obnoxious when she was in love two months ago.
And she didn't even get diamonds. Just a few lackluster meals with an
average guy who droned on about his past relationships. And he was
bothersome, always on her back about something. Maybe Martin was a hideous
creature--that would lift her spirits.

"Want another? Have one more. I need to kill some time before Martin shows
up," Cissy said with a toss of the head.

HAELO

"Okay,"

"So what's he like? Got any friends?"

CISSY

"As a matter of fact, We're going out with a few of his buddies tonight.
You should come with, it'll be fun. It'll be better than sitting around in
that damn housecoat. I hope you threw that thing away,".

HAELO

"Hush. Where yall going?".

CISSY

"To that new place, Tino's, way up north. They don't hang around down this
way too much," she said.

A man walked through the door, looked around. Annie caught his eye and he
moved forward.

HAELO

"Damn girl, he's fine."

Brendon was gorgeous all the way from his briefcase to his wing tips. Clean
cut, well-groomed, mannerable. Perfect.

MARTIN

"Hey baby," he said. His voice smooth and manly.

Cissy got up and they hugged like they were in a private room. He kissed
her on her neck and grabbed her butt. Then she introduced him.

Flashback Haelo sitting in a bar 1/4/01
Annie didn't know if it was her hair or the cheap french purfume but she
figured one of them had to go if she was to ever climb out of the hole she
had dug for herself emotionally.
She bought herself new purfume for Christmas and swore New Years day she
would never again date a bisexual man.
It was just too hard to do.
She didn't work, but if you call writing working, well--she worked. At home
mostly or on the train or whenever she got an assignment. Annie had stop
being picky about the kind of assignment she would take long ago, so she
ended up meeting men in the strangest of places.
That's where she met Tim, in a strange place.
He was attractive but she was drunk.

A normal occourrance.

She didn't notice as many quirks when she had a glass or three of wine. It
made meeting men easier and it helped drive them away before she got bored.
But Tim wasn't a bad guy only strange. Odd behaviors seemed cute when
fanned by the breeze of Merlot. And then Haelo liked guys who are
considered different, the loners. The kind of men sober women only consider
dating for a few minutes before making up some excuse as to why they can no
longer share that four dollar drink with them at the crowded bar.
But not Annie. That kind of behaivor she considers rude and she suffers
greatly because of her fondness of another human oddity--Miss Manners.
But for a while, Tim and Haelo together seemed to work.
They were sweet together. He was sweet to her, kissing, holding hands--the
kind of stuff girls like. She was affectionate towards him to varring
degrees and he apprecieated it. And for a while they clung to each other in
their self-made storm. But Tim craved drama and Haelo was shy.
The kind of stuff that could be seen as a trap, of sorts. The kind of
closeness that would trap any of the walking wounded, like Haelo. Tim was
good at caring because his feelings were genuine. He cared for he but the
world outside of their comfortable make believe fantasy life could offer
him more of what he wanted.

Then he drifted away.
Cissy's relatives always told her she would never keep a man acting the way
that she does but she didn't listen to them.
Instead, she listened to her heart and learned the way of the down low
brother.

When they met, she didn't notice the things that would later make her cry.

Tinos meeting with Martin's friend Gavin/donovan

He is thin--an ex teen chubster.

Still shy after growing up fat, he talked with anyone. He was too old for
that, his friends thought. They wanted him to act dignified.

He grew up with those who now act dignified--friends, same school same
phobiass And she never would be prepared. He let her know that within the
first hour of their blind date. But it didnt seem to matter. 'Who cares,'
she mumbled. At least she was dating.

He was being himself when they walked into the club.

And she didn't want another horror movie on her hands.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

killthetermites.com


The first house we looked at during our search for the perfect home was an old stick built house. I saw a sawdust-like powder in certain places on the woodworking (which was beautiful) but I paid no mind. The price was right so we wanted to move in right away. What we didn't know is that it was infested with termites. It didn't help that fell through the backporch/mudroom floorboards trying to help move a bookcase. I should have tried to look for a termite treatment but we just moved because we were renting to buy and didn't have the structure inspected for termites. Now I know better.

World Aids Day

This appeared in the Chicago Defender

Advocates push for wider HIV/AIDS testing to stem rise of disease in Black community
by Leslie Jones McCloud
December 2, 2005

Going to the Chicago Cultural Center Yates Gallery Exhibit Hall on World Aids day was like entering into a different world.

There, people either knew their HIV status or were being gently pressured by friends to go get tested, or were getting tested. They weren't shy, nor did they find the subject matter too distasteful to discuss over hors d'oeuvres.

Either attendees were openly gay or still debating the issue, advocates for the cause or affected by it.

Some had friends who died during the 1990s (when gay men, mostly white, were still dying in droves from AIDS) and had changed their outlook on life or they had plenty of friends who still embraced a carefree lifestyle and all of its pitfalls.

It didn't seem to matter.

Hundreds of people poured inside the Yates Gallery Thursday. Vendors stopped handing out leaflets long enough for the entire room to fall silent in honor of those who had died from the disease.

People gathered to hear the various speakers and singers, to network and chitchat, but mostly, they were there to get tested for the virus that causes AIDS.

Phyllis Rogers, 43, arrived with her female friend, who did not want to be identified.

Rogers said she gets a yearly HIV test usually from her doctor but this year decided to utilize the OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV1/2 Antibody Test that was offered at Yates Gallery. The test requires a swab of the cheek, Chicago Department of Public Health Operations Manager for Outreach Mobile Services, Yvonne Cruz said.

Because there are so many sexually transmitted diseases on the horizon, Rogers said she gets tested regularly.


Share your thoughts on this story on the ChicagoDefender.com message board.

"I've been divorced six years. I haven't been very sexually active since, but I have had two sex partners since my divorce. I have had unprotected sex with both," she said.
The first incident of unprotected sex happened because she and her sex partner didn't discuss safe sex.

"I'm ashamed to say we didn't discuss it. I panicked afterwards," she said.

Since then, she decided to get tested regularly. She said the condom came off during sex with her second sex partner.

"I panicked again. Since I get tested anyway, I decided to come here instead of my doctor," Rogers said.

She wasn't aware of the differing privacy levels when it comes to HIV/AIDS results reporting. Rogers and her 29-year-old friend said they were told results would be used for statistical purposes.

"I'm old school. This did not exist in my late teens, early 20s. It scares me," she said.

Roger's friend said she was certain her test result would be negative-and it was.

"I protect myself the majority of the time and my partner and I talk about safe sex," she said.

The Yates testing site was one of several sponsored by organizers at the Greater West Side Development Corp. and U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th). Gospel Shout Out, a free gospel concert held at John Marshall Metro High School to wrap up World Aids Day, featured more than just music, said Beverley Donley, executive director of Greater West Side Development Corp. Executive Director.

Statistics from the CDPH state that women of color and non-Hispanic Blacks are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and account for nearly 90 percent of all HIV infections in adolescent and adult women in Chicago between 2003-2004. Statistics also show heterosexual contact and injection drug use is the two main ways in which adolescent and adult women are currently being infected with HIV.

Davis and guest speakers like Dr. Lisa Henry-Reid, chairwoman of Adolescent and Adult Medicine at Stroger Hospital of Cook County, provided information about HIV/AIDS during concert intermissions.

Davis said his interest in HIV/AIDS education is a continuation of a life long effort.

"I'm an older person and have been working in the health area for 30 years - health prevention and awareness - long before I ran for public office," he said.

Davis said he plans to tell the audience that they should do all they can to stop the increase of HIV/AIDS infections.

"They can do that by abstaining from sex - in one way and practicing safe sex - in another way. Using protective devices like condoms and shields and other things and knowing the history - as much as they can - of their sex partners. That is what people really need to do," he said.

Davis said people should stop complaining about what the government and other institutions lack but take responsibility for his or her own health and the health of others.

"We can save lives and the life that we save may be our own," he said.

Henry-Reid said half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. are in the 14 to 24 year-old group.

"Kids are sexually active during the middle adolescent years 14-17 they are capable of having sex and getting pregnant but they (have a health education knowledge deficit). They feel invincible and that nothing will happen. Parents play a big role in preparing them for peer pressure they will encounter," Henry-Reid said.

Although she agrees with abstinence education, she feels it is sometimes an unrealistic curriculum. She said many 15 and 16-year-olds have had sex already. During the course of her day, Henry-Reid often interacts with youth and plans to tell audience members to stay safe. In her position, she gets to see many health trends.

"It's just a mishmash. We have a big problem with adolescent girls dating men and if the girl says that, 'it didn't happen,' the police have no recourse," she said.

World Aids Day participant, Leedale Carter, 39, said he found out he was HIV positive in the 1990s from his partner. The saying, "your partner's past can affect your future," became a reality for him.

"Unfortunately, my partner didn't know he was positive and I became infected by him during our relationship. It didn't upset me," he said.

His partner only found out he was positive because of a toothache. A dental office he frequented had been trying to contact him for two years to tell him he may be infected with HIV.

"When he went in for the toothache that is when they let him know. I'm grateful he told me. I was prepared for what my results were and we are still friends," Carter said. Currently, Carter said he is in a relationship with an HIV negative partner.

His main concern about being infected with HIV was that he would have to take lots of medicine. He started out taking five pills a day.

"It's getting better. We are living longer and making great strides with the medication. No longer do you have to take 20 or 30 pills a day. (For me) its just three," Carter said.
Getting tested for the virus that causes AIDS was the thrust of World Aids Day, but there weren't many people getting tested. In years past, the event would draw 30 or so to get tested, on average, said Lora Branch, director of STD/HIV Prevention and Care Program.

She expected a similar turnout this year.

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