Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A little common sense...

Ok y’all.
I tried to hold back from talking about this, but I can’t help it.
I just gotta tell you.
You GOTTA get your hands on the new Common CD released today, “Finding Forever.” In a word or two: It’s FIYAH!

OK, here’s a quick de-briefing for those who have no idea who in the world I’m talking about.
Common is only one of the best lyricists in hip hop. (Hip hop heads, correct me on this if I’m wrong.) Mainstream audiences may know him best for his last album “Be,” which was produced by Kanye West. However, this Chi-town rapper has been in the game for more than a decade and is one of the most respected out there in the hip hop world. "Finding Forever" is his seventh album to date.
I like him because he’s always speaking truth and talking about things that really matter. Real life issues. Not rims, chicks and other silliness. And he's able to brilliantly intertwine these conscious rhymes with a soulful blend of old school, jazz and hip hop music, thanks to innovative producers like the late J.Dilla and Kanye and the crooning vocals of folks like Bilal and John Legend.
And of course he’s sexy as all get out! But I digress…

Clearly, I’m a big Common fan and I’ve been practically counting down the days to this CD release ever since I saw him in concert at Essence Fest.
In fact, it’s taking everything for me to restrain myself from posting the gazillion pictures I took of him during that concert. (And the pics actually came out great ... A lot better than my Superdome pics!)
Instead, I’ll just tell all you Common fans to get your hands on this CD asap, so you can tell me what you think about it. Now just 42 days till Kanye's "Graduation"...

Monday, July 30, 2007

So whatcha gonna do about it?

I read Joel’s story today about Shreveport losing it’s young professional population and I wasn’t surprised at all. Saddened a little, but not surprised. I also read the comments and everyone has their opinions about why the city is losing, well, us. But at the end of the day, I’m anxious to see what the city is going to do about it.

When I left for college in New Orleans, I thought I’d never come back. Period. A combination of chance and circumstance blew that plan out of the water. Yet, during this time back, I’ve discovered there are some good things about this city. However, it’s always seemed like a city of potential – unfulfilled. There’s so much more left to be desired and in my opinion, it starts with career opportunities.

As a native who reluctantly returned home six years ago, I remember hearing about a campaign at the time to bring the younguns home, but I don’t remember ever hearing or even seeing much beyond the talk. Even as my high school class plans our 10-year reunion, I’ve skimmed through the names and pics of former classmates and saw that a good chunk of the folks in the list, now reside in other cities across the country.

I feel like the guy in Joel’s story (and fellow Dillard University grad) Franklin Whitaker stated the problem best:
"I would have loved to come back home," said Whitaker, 27, a personal banker for JP Morgan Chase who lives in the Dallas suburb Lancaster. "But I never got that chance. Shreveport has jobs, but it does not have career opportunities, which is a big difference."

This problem is nothing new to us. So what is Shreveport going to do about it? Actually make substantial, significant changes and improvements to make Shreveport the next great city of the South? Or just sit here in denial and watch the population erosion worsen for another decade?

Folks have talked and talked and talked and talked about it ad nauseum, but what are the city’s leaders going to DO about it? For those who have left what would it take to get you to come back? And for those of us still here, what would it take for you to stay?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some things just catch your eye

I think what's interesting about this photo will speak for itself. I was driving behind the truck pulling this trailer Thursday afternoon on I-20. It was moving pretty slow, and I was getting irritated. Just before I was getting ready to pass it in the right lane, I noticed what it said.

I guess Bud 'n Bubba were just passing through, because I couldn't find any evidence of them being in the area on their calendar.
Anyway, that's just one of those things you see... and take a picture of while driving.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pop-A-Lock costs a pop

I got so mad at myself today for two reasons: I did something really stupid, plus I was reminded of what a creature of habit I truly am.

If Pop-A-Lock didn't tip you, I locked my keys in the car. I had borrowed another reporter's umbrella to walk across the street to get in my car. The rain was coming down pretty hard. I drove the Grand Am closer to an entrance, put my rain coat on and turned off the ignition.

Normally I clip my keys to a belt loop. But since I had the jacket on I slipped them into a side pocket -- or so I thought. I pushed the automatic lock button on the driver-side front door and got out. A minute later, the horn honked as usual. Then, out of habit, I touched a belt loop expecting to feel keys. Oops.

I knew immediately what I had done, but I walked back to look in the window anyway. There were the keys, just setting on my seat. And all the doors were locked.

This was the third time in nine years of driving that I've done this. I think I put about three years between each incidence. Before I made that dreaded call, I tried to use another reporter's keyless entry contraption to get into my car. (We drive the same model.) But I couldn't outsmart that little thing.

So I went ahead and called Pop-A-Lock. They said it would take 30 minutes for them to get here. The guy was right on time, and his visit may have topped 60 seconds by the time I had to sign a receipt.

And it cost $40. Yes, my idiocy cost that much. There are SO MANY other things I could've spent that money on.

Oh yeah. Besides checking to see that I had clipped my keys on the loop, the other habit part of the story is this: I'm not used to putting that dumb jacket on. I know that sounds silly, but I think not being able to clip my keys on kind of threw me off for a second. Is that pitiful or what?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Totally worth the wait

Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro was well worth the two-year wait.

Instead of having to crowd the restaurant on Friday, July 27, when the restaurant officially opens. I got to attend an invitation-only night today.

The restaurant, which is housed at The Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City, was packed. And though the wait staff and others are technically still in training, everyone was extremely professional and the food was very, very, very, good.

I loved it.

Attendees could only order from a pre-selected menu, meaning you could only order a few things from the restaurant's large menu. Everything was free. But if you knew somebody, as my date did (it seemed as if he knew almost everyone who worked there), you could order almost anything. And, we did.

For starters, we dinned on spinach and artichoke dip and salsa and I ordered a $10 Appletini (we had to pay for alcohol)--it was the best $10 I'd ever spent on a drink.

I ordered a catfish platter for my entree. It was so much food that I couldn't even finish half. The platter came with fried onions, french fries, toasted bread and of course, several pieces of catfish. Those who know me well, know that I never pass up a chance to eat fish or ribs. My date ordered an 8-ounce fillet with garlic mashed potatoes. I tasted his food and I love it. I'm going to order that exact meal the next time I go, although my friend said he wasn't sure about the steak since he had to use A-1 sauce.

He didn't know what he was talking about.

Our waiter, Matt, was so accommodating and friendly to us. He checked on us regularly and he never let my water or my friend's sweet tea dwindle. Ask to sit with him if you go.

For dessert, we both got cheesecake. Delicious cheesecake. What's the point of going to a cheesecake bistro and not getting the yummy stuff? I got a strawberry piece and he got a Snickers candy bar-flavored piece. We both enjoyed the other's pieces. They were so, so good.

I mean, that cheesecake was so good that we got to take some to-go.

Though we didn't have to pay for our food, Matt brought us our ticket to see what we racked up. Including the Appletini and dessert, we would have spent about $93--excluding the $23-tip we left for Matt.

I won't see you guys there on Friday because it'll be my birthday week (YAY!). But, because it is my special week I may go back to Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro at some point during the weekend.

See ya'll there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Does anyone else still use stamps?

Even if you don't, I think these are cool enough to make you want to stick one on an evelope and mail it. They're scheduled to debut at Comic-Con, a comic book and pop culture show in San Diego.

Another series came out before these, and they really crack me up. Who doesn't like Superman and Wonder Woman? I guess my friends officially are nerds, because we like to send letters in the snail mail and actually check out the stamps once they arrive.

Oh well. Enjoy the pic.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Let me upgrade you...

I’m so excited because today I’m going to have yet ANOTHER gadget to add to my collection of new gadgets for the year – a smartphone.

I swear I wasn’t trying to make this purchase for at least another couple of months since I figured it would be up for a discount upgrade by then.

However, when my Nokia 6102 broke into two for only the thousandth time since I got almost two years ago, I knew it was time.

And really I still would have tried to hold out till November, two-piece phone and all, if the light hadn’t gone out in my phone when I dropped it that last time.

I mean I could take the crackling, bone-crushing sound that it made every time I flipped my phone open. I could even take the fact that the phone had pretty much become “double-jointed,” bending backwards or sometimes crumbling into pieces as I talked on it.

And though it infuriated me every single time, I’d long accepted the sudden dropped calls, frozen screens and just flat out lost calls I never received thanks to the mechanics of that dandy flip phone.
But when I can’t even see the phone screen after 7 p.m., I think it’s time to bite the bullet and upgrade, discount or not.

Anyway, while I seriously considered dumping the Cingular-turned-AT&T service completely, I just opted for a new phone instead.

Fortunately, it turned out I was eligible for the equipment updgrade discount too. I guess the Cingular/AT&T gods must have sensed the urgency of my situation.

Since the technological capabilities of Apple's iPhone kinda scares me for some reason - but I still wanted a phone that could help me organize my life - I chose the Samsung Blackjack instead.
Figured I’d better ease into this so-called advanced cell phone technology thing slowly.
(Here's the before and after. What do you think?)

So we’ll see, but just to be on the safe side, I’m thinking I better get cell phone insurance this time.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I hate to bring up Tina Turner twice in one week

It probably makes me seem a bit obsessed. But here is an interesting article from the Post-Dispatch (where I was an intern this past year) that is connected to her out of St. Louis, where the world got its first taste of Tina. She started singing there with Ike Turner, who later became her husband.

Ike is headlining a blues festival there, but the mayor took a stand against declaring an "Ike Turner Day." The blues man is arguably as notorious for beating Tina as he is famous for his music.

Obviously the move is political because an elected official made the call. But whose got something to say about domestic abuse and holding celebrities accountable?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thank you but good-bye Sallie Mae

There is hope! Student loans do not last forever.

Seven years after leaving college with $12,000 in student loans (at the time, average for my alma mater), I sent a final check today to pay off the last bit. Woo hoo!

I remember going to the special information session we had before graduation -- where they threaten to take your first born if you default -- and thinking I would never be done. But it is, and it was worth it.

I think this makes me a real grown up now... unless I have to borrow for graduate school.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A telling graphic about mobile homes

We call 'em trailers in Doyline. Whatever you call them, this little graphic published today says a lot with pictures and percentages.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I know I sound nuts, but I'm starting to feel old.

Today, my itty-bitty, little sister called me to tell me that she just finished DRIVING my old car to the store. I couldn't believe it! I almost choked on my own spit when she told me.

My other little sister called yesterday to talk with me about plans for my nephew's 1-year-old birthday party. She wants to have a water party for him--it's going to fun.


It's hard to believe its almost been a year since my sister nearly ripped my hand off during labor.

Today one of my dearest friends turned 25. I'm so excited for her, but she's starting to feel old, too--just like me.

And, my birthday is next Saturday, July 28. I'll be 24.

Craziness. I guess everyone gets old(er?).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This should be a dream duet

Granted, the two artists I'm about to mention are not spring chickens, but I'm pretty pumped to hear about their duet to be released this fall.

Billboard.com reports Santana has recorded a new version of the 2002 hit "The Game of Love" with none other than Tina Turner. The track will appear on a Santana compilation in October.

Santana's original recording of the song was with Michelle Branch, and it won a Grammy. I actually liked it, and the music industry's highest honor has got to be a compliment. But I kind of felt sorry for her when Carlos Santana said Tina's version makes "every hair on your body" stand up. That's just in a totally different realm of praise. (And it may have even made me blush.) Of course, we are putting a talented young singer-songwriter up against the most electrifying woman in the history of modern music. (That wasn't biased, huh?)

My concerns come in when established performers who have garnered respect record with newer artists who may be popular but in a different league. And I don't mean a bigger one.

I like Shakira, for instance, but the pairing with Lil Wayne on the Santana album does not sound too exciting. Neither does the song with that guy from Nickelback. Santana's last two major releases have been duet-heavy, and I'm always concerned that what makes us love enduring acts gets overshadowed on albums like that.

But I've read that Carlos Santana has been wanting to work with Tina (although I couldn't find the link to that), so this should be something good. I hope I'm right.
(Photos -- The top shows Carlos Santana singing with Michelle Branch, while the bottom is, of course, Tina Turner. Both courtesy of the AP.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Is it that serious?

So I was reading this story where some stations are refusing to air a particular Trojan condom commercial and I’m kinda confused. Or maybe befuddled would be a better word.

I mean it’s not necessarily that I think it should be aired. Heck, I just watched the commercial the first time and actually thought it was kind of funny, sort of bold, maybe... Well not really, just funny.

I’ve cringed more when a commercial about erectile dysfunction suddenly popped on TV while I was eating dinner with the folks.

Or when I’m having a night of insomnia and am suddenly bombarded with those ridiculous Girls Gone Wild ads that seem to run like diarrhea on late night cable.

So I guess I’m saying if you’re gonna draw the line, I would think you’d do it somewhere around those lines, not for a commercial that’s actually promoting sexual responsibility and disease prevention.

Or maybe I’m just trippin’.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cash for clothes

I've had a box full of clothes that I can't wear anymore sitting beside my bedroom door for about 3 months now.

As I was about to head out and do some light shopping Friday I decided to finally take some of the stuff to Plato's Closet, the Bossier City store that buys gently used, brand name clothing. I had heard about the chain when I lived other places but had never been in. I didn't really have anything to lose. Whatever I made from selling the old clothes could go toward the new ones.

I had a bag full of stuff, a lot of it I had never worn before. Some still had the tags on it. In the end, they took about three pairs of shorts, a pair of cropped pants and a tank top. The process of how they choose clothes is described here.

Oh well, I guess the remainder of the clothes and the rest of the box that is still sitting by my bedroom door will eventually find its way to Goodwill or some other charity.

When I think back on it though, I kind of feel bad. Was the $15.40 I got for what they took worth it? Or should I have just donated all of the clothes Goodwill?

What about you? When it comes time to clean out the ol' closet do you choose to give your clothes away or try to make a few bucks off of them?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

So maybe you don't need the actual passport just yet

Just an interesting tidbit. I've heard a lot of people tell me their crazy stories about driving down to New Orleans or Houston just before a cruise to Mexico or somewhere in the Caribbean lately to stand in line for a passport.

Apparently you just need another government-issued I.D. plus your receipt from your passport application to get to Canada, Mexico and Bermuda right now. Check out the details at the Department of State Web site.

Maybe that will take a little of the travel stress off.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anybody catch crunk on this ginormous list?

In case you missed it, Merriam-Webster has released a list of words that will appear for the first time in its latest collegiate dictionary (to be released this fall), and the aforementioned language units are includes as a noun and adjective, respectively.

The list also includes Bollywood, gray literature, agnolotti and viewshed. I only knew what that first word meant before clicking on the definitions. The dictionary folks said all of the new words are widely used in print, hense their inclusion. But it seems like at least three of the four in this paragraph are pretty specific to an industry or culture.

What does the blogosphere say?

On another note, I realize and respect the fact that language evolves. But I think ginormous just sounds stupid. You have to know the definition of the two words that are blended to make it, so why not just say enourmous or gigantic?

I will admit, though, that I'm not against all combo words. The word mancation (man + vacation) cracks me up. (You'll have to go to Urban Dictionary for that one.) And I've used it several times lately. I know, I should probably be ashamed. But, dang, it's funny.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Should David Vitter resign?

Here are the facts as we know them:

1)David Vitter admitted his phone number number is among 15,000 posted online Monday by accused Washington prostitution ringleader Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

2)Jeanette Maier, known as the Canal Street Madam, appeared on WDSU-TV's evening newscast Tuesday night saying Vitter frequented her Mid-City brothel in New Orleans beginning in the mid-1990s, though Vitter has responded to these allegations yet.

Should we stay out of the bedrooms of those in political office? Or are politicians' intimate lives fair game because they work for us?

Or, is all the chatter about the irony of Senator Vitter's campaign for family values, yet he's admitted to indecencies?

Do most folks even care about his indiscretions, as many assume most politicians do the same things and do a better job hiding it?

Tell me what you think.

The only thing I can say is that I wish I'd gotten a piece of Larry Flynt's $1 million-pie.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Essence Fest '07

Ok, I know I can yap and yap alot, so I'ma try really hard to recap Essence Fest '07 through pics with short captions! Here goes...

Inside the Convention Center by day:

R&B singer Bobby Valentino peforms at the McDonald's stage inside the Convention Center (below):

My lovely young sorors from the LSU chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. performing on the Chevy stage at the Convention Center:

Me re-learning how to the bus stop at the Coca Cola stage:
Concerts in the superdome by night:

A few of the performers who rocked the Dome:

Chris Brown, Beyonce and Mary J. Blige (Remember, I'm NOT a professional photographer!)

Below, rapper Common jams in the super lounge...(I LOVE YOU COMMON!)

The vendors along Poydras....

And a few scenes of post-Katrina New Orleans:

My dirty little secret

Yes, I say the forbidden word.

It’s so forbidden that I can’t even say it here. It’s so taboo that I don’t say it around everyone like I would my name. It’s a word that’s so secret and so precious that I can only say it in very, very intimate conversations and with a select group of people.

I feel so conflicted about it. There are times when I’m in pain when it comes out of the mouths of celebrities like Michael Richards. That hurt. But then there are times when I hear my sister or my uncle saying it and I laugh.

Some folks think the answer to discarding some of the confusion surrounding the word is to bury it. I don’t know if a symbolic burial of an inanimate object will help eliminate the drama, but at least it will alert others to the delicacy of this very confusing term.

But I still say it.

It’s so complicated. But I think it’s OK to be complicated at times. And this is one of those situations where things are going to be complicated—forever, most likely.

When I do say it, I don’t mean it to come with all of the disdain and disgust for my race that the word comes along with. I think I know enough history and I know people well enough to know how and when to use certain words. And before anyone asks, I do NOT like for others, especially those who can not relate to the pain that comes along with the word, to say it. When others use this word they don’t say it without the intent of hurting someone else.

I can only say it around certain people because only certain people know me well enough to know what I mean. It’s like a secret that those in my close group share but we don’t intend for the world to use our secret against us. We don’t want others to call us by that word because it hurts—a lot.

Just because I’m willing to admit to the blogosphere that I say a dirty, disgusting word doesn’t mean it gives others licensure to say it. Let me make it clear, it doesn’t. And if you choose to say it, it’ll probably land you in deep trouble, just ask Richards.

Like I said before, it’s complicated.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The pure essence of it all

Today, my voice is so hoarse I can hardly talk.
My shins and thighs are aching so badly that I’m walking like someone more than twice my age.
I’ve probably had less than eight cumulative hours of sleep from the last three nights.
I even discovered my face ached.
But it was all TOTALLY worth the three incredible days and nights I spent at the annual Essence Music Festival.

See, this event is like an annual mecca for lovers of R&B/soul and hip hop music for the grown and sexy. I’ve gone every single summer since I’ve graduated from college there.
I mean, anyone that knows me always knows where to find me during that first week in July. In fact, my friends and I look at it as sort of our mini-reunion event.

The only year I didn’t go was last year because it was in Houston and… well ... contrary to what my colleague and Houston native/cheerleader Joel Anderson would vehemently argue, that particular Essence Fest just wasn’t the real thing.
Of course, just like Joel, I tend to be a little biased since that was my college town.

Anyway, Essence Fest ‘07 was spectacular, awesome, exhilarating, mind-blowing, relaxing, therapeutic, rejuvenating, empowering, liberating and any other adjective that can be used as a fancy way of saying ‘wonderful.’

This year was particularly special because it was the first summer that the event returned home to New Orleans, post-Katrina. And while the reminders of Katrina are still around, it never felt so good to back in my home away from home.

Well, I know I tend to get long-winded on here sometimes, so I’ll just cut this short for now and try to recap the event through pics a little later. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Something for the pop culture junkies

I know we've got some who blog here. "The World Series of Pop Culture" on VH1 should just about make their day. It starts Tuesday...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Yeah, I call 911

I call it fairly often, actually. It’s not because I cover cops and crime, though. I drive a lot, and that means I see wrecks.

One time I was on I-49 between Lafayette and Alexandria on a rainy day and saw a pickup plunge into the ditch in the median between the north and south lanes of traffic. It looked kind of like an explosion because it was raining, and all I could see was tail lights sending two walls of water flying.

So I called 911 (and texted a reporter at The Advertiser in Lafayette, just in case).

Another time I was driving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge on I-10 when another vehicle nearly side-swiped me twice and almost took out a few other cars. We couldn’t even pass the guy because he was swerving so much. The driver seemed to be drunk or suffering from some medical problem – not fit to driver in either case – so I called 911 then, too.

Then there was the time a truck slammed into a light and electric pole outside The Times office building. First I yelled, “SSSAVVVVVVEEEEEE,” so no one would lose what they were working on. Then I called 911. A dispatcher asked how they could reach me, and I told them to let the police and fire departments know to look for the redheaded guy standing nearby.

My latest call was on the Fourth of July, and this time was a little different. I was in Baton Rouge on I-110 when traffic suddenly came to a halt. As my sister and I sat in my car hoping some other motorist didn’t slam into us, I saw there was a Buick sedan stalled and its occupants were pushing it.

Yep, you guessed it. I called 911. For some reason, though, the dispatcher could not hear me. I hung up and talked to another who forwarded my call to BRPD. I gave them a description of the vehicle and the nearest mile marker and we went on our merry way.

What I wasn’t expecting was a voice mail once I got off the phone with the police. The dispatcher who couldn’t hear me had called back, just in case. Now, I hope she talked with the call-taker who spoke with me, because I don’t want them to think I’m a prank caller. Not only is it irresponsible, but, you can get arrested for that.

It makes sense that they would follow up, I just wasn’t expecting it. It made me feel good.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy birthday, FOIA... but who's celebrating?

Appropriately, the federal Freedom of Information Act turns 40 tomorrow -- Independence Day, if you had forgotten.

We journalists love the fact that Sunshine Laws exist, and we hope you do, too. Because they don't exist just for people who make a living disseminating information; they're for the public. Which does happen to include us. And you.

Several Times reporters got to take a course this past week dealing with accessing public information and analyzing it in databases, so it is fresh in our minds.

But recent studies suggest FOIA isn't necessarily working as intended. This article from Editor & Publisher says there are some FOIA requests from the REAGAN ADMINISTRATION (that ended when I was in kindergarten) that have gone unanswered. Wow. Louisiana law allows three days for agencies to comply with a records request, so 20 years seems like a really long time. Read our law here. And here is a funnily written blog from Wired about this not-so-funny problem.

The federal government is paying for a FOIA study at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio so maybe that will further the cause of access. But as you can read, not everyone is hopeful.

I talk to people all the time who take the ignorance-is-bliss approach. I don't. What do you think?

Challenge: While you pop some fireworks in the next 24 hours, try to think of some public information you could ask for related to our favorite mini-explosives and put it here in a comment. This sounds like class, huh?

Monday, July 02, 2007

A life lesson from the hard-headed one...

Momma always told me a hard head leaves a soft behind.
In other words, when you don’t listen or take heed to doing things the right way, life is going to whup your behind. (That's right, not whip it, but WHUP it!)
Well, at 27, I’m still learning that lesson the very hard way.

I tend to tread carefully when it comes to revealing certain things about myself for the whole wide world to see. However, I feel like this story may be one that can help others going through and adjusting to some of nuisances of adulthood, like, um paying your bills on time.

See, I have a terrible habit of not doing that.

And no it’s not because of a lack of money, but more like a lack of memory.
Yes, I know it’s a shame. I can still hear all the childhood admonitions my parents gave me on the importance of financial responsibility.
Those same warnings followed me all the way to my college days when I had to make those shameful calls to mom and dad to put more money in my account because I’d shopped my money away.

However, I like to think I was much more responsible now. I mean I'm saving, investing, 401K-ing, the whole nine. Yet, here I am, a grown woman and not paying my bills on time. Well, let me clarify that – not paying SOME bills on time.

I just always felt like as long as I at least made the payment somewhere during the grace period, I'd be OK.

I’d come up with every kinda way possible to remind myself to pay these bills. Had moved most of those bills to online to make it more convenient. Even bought an eraser board to keep track of when each bill was due.

I think the last time I used that eraser board was in January… I bought it in December.

There’s one bill in particular, that always seems to slip through the cracks of my short-term memory – My car insurance bill.

Some kind of way, had to be God, that bill came to mind the other day and I called them just to find out how far behind I was so I could just pay the late fee and get on with my life. And that’s when I got the devastating blow – It was so behind, my policy was cancelled! Cancelled!!!!

I was on the verge of sheer panic but, thank GOD, we were able to work it out. However, not without me having to get an entire new policy. This meant that the bad dent in my car door that I could have had repaired practically for free months ago (but kept procrastinating to get it fixed,) NOW has to come out of my own pocket. That’s because, since the ding didn’t occur under my new policy, it’s no longer covered.

I could have cried when the insurance agent explained that to me. No, seriously, my stomach dropped, I doubled over, shook my head and moaned “OH! That’s a haaard lesson to learn…” rocking back and forth in the seat like a church mother catching the spirit during a fiery Sunday service.
For a moment, I coulda sworn I saw a trace of sympathy in her eyes. Of course, that was right before she burst out laughing at me.

And that lesson only got harder: Soon as I checked my mail after that, I saw a nice little notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles informing me that because they received notification of my auto insurance cancellation I'd have to either verify I'm covered and pay a whopping $125 fine or have my license revoked!!!!! I practically fainted reading that. I mean is this some kinda conspiracy or something]?!

And all I kept thinking about is how my parents would be shaking their heads. My mom did just that when I told her the news, of course that was right before she burst out laughing. (I'm still not getting what's so funny!)
I haven’t even told Dad yet. (Hopefully he’s not reading this!)
The only thing that gives me even the slightest bit of comfort is knowing of at least three people who've gone through similar situations. One of them was the chuckling agent.

And so now I must pass this reminder on to y'all: PAY YOUR BILLS! And pay them ON TIME or go broke suffering the consequences!

Needless to say, now I have my payments automatically withdrawn. I’ve always regarded that as a last resort, but clearly at this point, it’s the best one for me.
(Now I just need to remember to keep money in my account!)
The point is I’m not playing around this time. I bumped my head on this particular life lesson one time too many and boy is my bottom sore!