Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year
Photo by Fortune, c. 2012

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to you and yours. May the New Year
bring you vibrant health, true love and
abundance beyond all measure.

With Gratitude & Good Cheer

Ode to Spunky Red

As you know, I am a big fan of Car Talk. So, I could not resist sharing something of Spunky Red's history and demise with ol' Click and Clack. Check her out at:


Click on 'View the Car Talk Listener Photo Album' and click 'next photo'. That's Mei-Kay on the roof in her official internet debut.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Out on a Limb...

For weeks a friend and I have been having intense conversations about taking risks, betting on ones own talents, stepping away from predictable comfort zones that can suck the very life out of you. We concluded that as artists we do not have a choice but to place the bet, take the risk, gamble on ourselves or live a miserable existence.

Then on Thanksgiving Day morning I was greeted this little bird sitting high atop the big tree in my front yard. She sat on her limb, preening and pecking, hardly conscious of her admirable ability to flit and fly safely from the heavens to the ground and back again. I thought, "Little bird your "out on a limb" is really different than mine." Then the thought came, "Or is it?"

I thought about the times I willfully stepped out on the limb. In each of the last four decades I have leaped from predictable, safe places to embrace the unknown. At barely 21 years old, I headed for Europe on a one-way ticket along with the throngs of other Baby Boomers that spread out over the planet, their lives stuffed in backpacks, duffel bags and down parkas. For a year I traveled from one end of the continent to the other. God bless my worried parents for the daily prayers they prayed for my safety.

The year I turned 30, Mount Saint Helen erupted and Ronald Regan was headed to the White House both of which I took as clear signs it was time to hit the road again. I sold everything I owned and like many other black American intellectuals, artist, musicians, and writers before me, I ventured to Paris, again on a one-way ticket. For two years the City of Lights bathed me in its intoxicating glow.

My 40's were spent in the power hub of the planet, Washington, DC, one of the world's great cities. I partook of the heady Clinton Party Years when money flowed freely and a grand time was had by all. For those ten years the Smithsonian Institution was my stomping grounds. It was a peak experience but when it's time to go, it's time to go and leave I did to find a place that would lure the artist in me
out into the open.

Just as Josephine Baker inspired my trek to Paris, Georgia O'Keeffe directed me to the Southwest. The mystery and enchantment of Santa Fe, New Mexico ushered in this decade, a little mountain town of less that 77,000 people that is one of the leading art markets in the country. The city overflows with creativity and everyday one can actually see magic happen. Here I found inspiration where ever my eyes rested and a fellowship among artists. But one should not be fooled by the charming pink adobe buildings with the soft edges. Santa Fe is a diva of a city full of complexities and she is demanding.

Here in Oklahoma, where I was born, I have gained a deep appreciation for the tough gene pool that is my birthright. I walk on the same lands traversed by my grandfather, Jesse Fortune, whose birth date I share, and all the ancestors that came before me. It is upon their broad shoulders I stand and they must have been some hardy, resilient Plains folks to survive this no-nonsense landscape. I am proud to have been born here but after two years I can fully understand wy my mother made her leap many years ago.

As we gear up for another decade I am walking out on a limb again, excited and a bit light-headed, prepared to take another risk that I will fill you in on later. The wisdom of my years requires more planning than my previous leaps of faith but leap I must confident that God, the Ultimate Safety Net, and all the many divine forces that protect and keep me will guide me to a safe landing.

Birds do fly and so, too, can we. The Divine Force that gives them the ability and ease to soar, to float on the wind, provides us with the same skill through our spirit, faith and a willingness to jump. We are no different than that little bird sitting on a limb contemplating the vast sky. Like birds, we can soar free, joyful, and safe from the ground to the heavens and back again. The gamble, the risk, being out on a limb is all part of the dance of our divine creativity.

Ultimately rewarding, these leaps off the limb are not easy. So, it's okay to shake in your boots. I do.

...and for all of this I am eternally grateful

What leaps of faith have you made that you would like to share?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving
to you and yours

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ashes & Snow-Feather to Fire, C to Sleep

C-Money is an unfettered electrical wire of lean muscle mass, all-teasing frenetic energy, sparkling laughter between air karate chops, basketball dunks, spot-on mimicry and whatever other lightening speed feats of body or mind that erupt forth. C-Money holds comic court. And he is funny, light years beyond a quick wit and consequently somedays very, very tiring. I tell him, "Boy, you must have exhausted your mother."

Today C-Money queried me on my musical preference. "You like all kinds of music, right? Right?" as he blasted a selection of rap from his cell phone. "How 'bout this, LeLe? How 'bout this?" C-Money was bouncing-off-the-ceiling hyper and after ten minutes of dj C, I'd had enough.

"C, watch this." I gave him my cell phone. A few frames into Gregory Colbert's profoundly beautiful Ashes & Snow-Feather to Fire on You Tube he whispered, "Wow, LeLe..."


Six minutes later he was asleep.

from The Lot

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Noisy Bus Ride

This morning the bus was full of loud, laughing, screaming, testifying women, just'a conversatin'. No quiet, reflective time on the metro this morning. My cell phone even rang a couple of times adding to the ruckus. Floating above the fray were these words...

Eskimos student loans heavy winter coats

bad cars create bad credit

bus routes Jesus bills

trucks & babies & grand babies Christmas!

respect get your money

baby showers weddings baby mamas

They bounced off the bus, their laughter tumbling down the steps before them.

Rolla is looking for a place to stay for a couple of weeks until his rental is ready. He asked if I had an available room. Without missing a beat I explained that I just moved all my stuff out of storage and my house was completely filled until I get things sorted and given away or sold. Otherwise, I'd be happy to help.

And he thinks he's the only one who can tell a smooth untruth. That little white lie rolled off of my tongue like a pad of soft butter down the side of a pile of hot pancakes. Living with a rattle snake would be less hassle than sharing a small space with Rolla!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


By the time I got to work at 9, High Rolla was already there, pumped and well on the way to selling a car by 11:00. These were his Rolla'firmations throughout the day, all delivered with gleeful abandon:

The master is back!

I'm back with a vengeance.

I'm gonna bust some chops today.

Tell him, he doesn't want to get in a fight with me.

Man, I'm f***ing good - I can lie with a straight face!

Rolla, Rolla, Rolla...slow your Rolla!

...from The Lot

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rumor Confirmed: The Rolla's Back

Well, it's true. The Rolla's back with tall Texas tales of Car Salesman of the Month victories and such. "But," he says, "the little lady didn't care for it," and shrugs drawing deep on his cigarette. He sizes up the Green Peas, the new salesmen. No competition there, I could sense him concluding. I watched him pacing in front of his old desk until he finally figured he'd take the Senator's vacant desk rather than boot a new guy out of his old one. Gee, that's mighty kind of you, Rolla.

Yep, the Rolla's back in town and ready to bust some chops.

A Rumor

Rumor has it that High Rolla is headed back to The Lot. Four months ago he said he was packing it in and heading to Texas. He’d had enough of this place. But he never really left because The Guys spend countless hours mimicking his unique accent, which is some odd blend of New York Bronx, Old World Mafia ala The Godfather, and New England Yankee. A thin, wiry fellow, he's as scrappy a car salesman as you'll ever meet. Would elbow you out of the way to get to a customer. A real character who swore - if given enough time and attention on my part - he could cure me of my liberal leanings with the help of the Drudge Report.

So, looks like I may I have his conservative proclamations to look forward to….just as Palin is beginning her book tour. Oh, jeez, say it ain’t so!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Today I visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial, a short walk from the Metro Transit Terminal...a day of remembering loved ones lost.

Friday, November 6, 2009

God Bless the Grandmothers

Today I sold a car to a young military man who is deploying tomorrow morning. He wanted something safe for his mom to drive until his return in six months. She will be staying with his daughters, 7 and 11 years old. He’s been home only eight weeks.

God bless the grandmothers.

My friends wonder how I am able to do this job. The reasons change from day to day, hour to hour. But this particular morning it is men like this that compel me to show up: his earnestness, efficiency, and his unflinching commitment to family and country. It’s the very least I can do to help him find a safe vehicle his babies and mother as quickly and painlessly as possible. As we chatted, my heart was heavy for his mother I made her laugh while sensing the unspoken terror of watching her baby, a part of her body, her very heart, leave for dangerous regions unknown to her. And he does so without complaint. Politics pale in the face of the human pain of war.

God bless the mothers and the grandmothers.


Good Luck, You'll Need it

Conversation overheard on the bus:

He said: Just tell him to come and get it.


He said: Tell him it's not running and he has to fix it.


He said: Yeah, I know, I know. But tell him you haven't had it but a week.


He said: Yeah but you ain't even made your first payment.


He said: Yeah, okay, call me back...


I said to myself: Good luck on that one, buddy. Your gonna need it.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Missed Bus

Well, I missed my bus this morning! Nothing is more irritating than to see it just roll by with no appreciation for the struggle it takes to get out of the house and to the bus stop in time.

But lucky me: it's Soul Music morning at Will's Lobby Bar. Brother Al Green, Marvin and Tammy, The Four Tops and Earth, Wind and Fire. Sooth my soul then.

So what if I missed my bus...there will be another one soon.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back on the Bus Again

Truth be told, I am still a Metro Girl. Maybe I haven’t been gone on my car ownership adventure as long as I imagined, but a few things have changed on the OKC Metro Transit System in my absence. For one thing there are more buses, new ones! I could never understand why a city spread further and wider than Los Angeles, located in the country's very center, has such a lousy local bus system. Old, smelly buses rattle and grind and cough their way out of a optimistically modern downtown terminal, complete with neighborhood art in primary colors. It just didn’t make sense. A taxi driver once told me that the gas and oil power players preferred it that way; it kept folks buying gas. I'm happy to see them come around. Maybe soon you’ll be able to catch a bus after 7:00 p.m. in this camp.

Happy Bob was on the bus this morning, his face brightened with a big hello. He always, always leaves the bus with a grand “Jesus loves you! Don’t forget!” and addresses people by name. To his proclamation this morning he added, “You gotta keep growing! You can’t stay the same!” A gratifying message from an 82-year-old fellow bus rider. Like a wood puppet, Bob has a seemingly unattached lower jaw that works independent of the rest of his face; he walks as if marching, his legs attached to stings held by a puppet master. When he smiles his eyes squint giving a glimpse of the child he was decades ago. But it’s his face after the smile that most intrigues me, after the grand proclamations of divine love when it pulls back into itself and his jowls slacken with life’s weight. This is not a conversation we have had.

A heavily accented man asked it I could help him correct the time on his watch. He had been struggling since last night. Not to be outdone by a watch, I took up his struggle and ten minutes later we had it figured out. Abraham is from Eritrea, his thin body and delicate face carry such sadness. With gestures of weeping and disgust he explained that his people cannot figure out how America, a predominately Christian country, could have divided Eritrea displacing millions of other Christians, those who are the protectors of the Arch of the Covenant. I have no answer for him. He thanked me for healing his watch.

The Senator Mechanic just called me. We’ll meet up later so he can assess Spunky’s situation. I was going to donate her to the public radio station. “Hey, hold on,” he said, “why don’t you sell it to a metal salvage place! Get yourself some money. Ask for five and take three-fifty.”

Ah, just like a true car salesman. Sounds like a plan. To the #13 and on to The Lot.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat Y'all

I confess, I am a reluctant car owner. But a year on The Lot and I have grown to appreciate fine cars - their excellent construction, the power and performance, beautiful design, fuel economy, and prefer no less than a 6 cylinder...yada, yada. I drool over a hot muscle car with the most macho of guys. For days I was intoxicated after test driving a Porsche Boxter on a warm summer night down I-240. I get it, I really get it.

But the thing is this: the issue I have with owning cars is the same one I have with house cleaning. I consider both necessary irritations. What I find irksome is that there's always something that needs to be done and it always costs money and time. For instance, if I could wash the dishes, sweep and mop the floors, do the laundry, fold all my clothes and tuck them neatly away, clean the bathroom, ad nauseum, and not have to do it for another year or two, that would be fine. But you and I know that is not the case and so it is with cars. Maintenance is everything.

This summer The Guys bullied me into buying a car. "If you don't buy it, I will and you are gonna be mad as hell when it's winter and cold and nasty and you're on the bus for another year and I'm buzzing around in your face at 30 miles to the gallon!" threatened Coop. Good point, my man, good point.

After a day or two of harassment, I folded and plunked down $150 - anyone else would have paid $500 - for a little 95 Kia Sephia. I was willing to change my negligent ways and make the effort to take good care of Spunky Red. Timely oil changes, sturdy tires, visits to The Senator Mechanic for her regular check-ups were all at the top of my list. I overlooked her cosmetic issues, among them her off-colored hood that never quite closes and her chicken wire designer grill, a status feature of quite a number of cars here in Oklahoma. She's not much to look at but she's got soul, and she's super bad or was...

And here is where the story gets sad. Food runs are a central part of life on The Lot. 'You fly, I buy' is the call. Whoever goes for the food gets treated to a meal. The decision on what cafe is a negotiation that can take hours. This ritual is part of the car salesmen bonding. I don't partake very often but last night I did. Into Spunk I jumped and off to the Micky D's. Sadly, on the way back I was hit by some jerk who didn't have the common courtesy to stick around. Yep, I was the victim of a hit-and-run. Bummer! So, Spunky Red sits in a parking lot around the corner from work with her front drivers section bent up and a mess, totaled.

After having made such a gallant effort to be a responsible car owner, I am crestfallen. See what it got me? Of course, all The Guys suggested that they could get me into another car for a really good price..wink, wink. Right, we'll just see about that. I wasn't deposited on The Lot just yesterday.

Trick or Treat Y'all,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mr. B and the Titan

Mr. B, a small Asian man all of about 5 foot 3, pulled onto The Lot today. Dressed in a casual jacket with a tie and fine tasseled loafers, I marveled as he slid down out of a big-ass, gleaming white 08 Nissan Titan truck. I was soon to learn that he paid $25,000 for it last year and wanted to trade it in, or so he said.

After an hour of test driving a couple of possible trades, it became obvious he was mostly interested in selling us his truck for $17 - $19,000 and if he could get a Honda, a Toyota, or a Hyundai - one of the Holy Trinity of Economy Cars - for about $5-$10,000 to replace it that would be good, too. You know, he could then put a little cash in his pocket. A car, he said, that could be given to his 19 year old son so that he could take back his Mercedes the boy is currently driving.

I had one simple question for Mr. B: Do you really think this is going to work?

His answer was a feeble smile. Yeah right, that's what I thought, too. I gave him a gracious handshake, a promise to keep an "eye-out" for a car that he might like and sent him on his way.

So wrong on so many levels.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Little Homework Helps

It’s been deadly slow on The Lot this week and we are all stare-crazy and a bit anxious. It’s the time of the year when car salesmen start “disappearing” for lack of work. Nonetheless, with winter just around the corner, it’s good time to talk about what one needs to do before buying a car.

Before you even step onto a car lot, you should have a pretty good idea about what kind of car you want and what you can afford to spend. A surprising number of people have no idea of either, which I'll talk about in another post. Car salesmen are taught to ask a series of questions to help define your needs and work through your defenses or objections. It can be an interesting little cat and mouse dance. The salesman is not necessarily trying to sell you the most expensive car but the one he’ll make the most money on. In car salesmen vernacular, he wants to “take your head off.” Sorry...just one of those odd car salesmen terms. In any case, the more you know about the car you want to buy, the better position you will be in to negotiate the best deal and the more fun you can have in the process.

So, Lesson # 1: do your homework.

Spend time on-line, talk to family members and friends. Even complete strangers will have information for you. Determine what car you need rather than the car you want. Often they are not the same. For instance, if you have two kids and one on the way, you might consider an SUV rather than that sporty two-seater that makes your heart sing. Granted, it may be the last car you’ll be able to afford until they leave out into the world when with great self-sacrifice you can relinquish that much beloved buggy to the last kid. Then without a moments hesitation run and get the car you really want and, by this time, you'll greatly deserve it. Or if you’re finally buying your 16 year-old son his first car that you've been promising him since he was three and he’s jonesing for a truck, get him a single cab model with about 60,000 miles on it. You know, something he can safely hone his driving skills with. Plus, the less room he has to stuff his buddies in the better. And don’t even think about it being red!

In all fairness to all the honest, hard-working car salesmen – and they do exist, I promise – the more information you can provide the better they are able to find the car that will serve your needs and in the least amount of time. Besides, who wants to schlep up and down a car lot all day?



Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Love

I'm on a blogging honeymoon! It's all I want to do! I've got to get a grip! I have burned my morning cereal to a inedible crisp! Got to get the cats in and The Lot calls!!!

More later,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

So, You Sell Cars?

You might find it curious that I sell cars. But trust me, no more curious than I find it. If someone had told me two years ago that I would be living in Oklahoma City and selling cars, the only woman with a bunch of guys, I would have backed away very, very slowly and run screaming in the other direction.

But The Divine has a funny sense of humor or, at the very least, a very colorful sense of the absurd and so here I am living in Oklahoma City, selling cars. I've decided it's some odd right of passage for living here. In Santa Fe, where I lived before OKC, there's a shaman, astrologer or a masseuses on alternating corner; here it's a church, a liquor store and a car dealership.

...Power struggles with your father, men and authority figures are likely in the months ahead—they can teach you something about yourself, even if they are mistaken about your situation...

Skywatch Publications

08 Overview if born Sept, 21-27

What?! Power struggles with male authority figures? Men "mistaken about my situation" teaching me about myself? When I read this a year ago I was completely mystified and bummed at the prospect that it might be even a little bit true. This did not sound like a good time by any stretch of the imagination. But with a year on The Lot under my belt, it is all perfectly clear. It just never in a million years occurred to me that the writer of this insightful message could have possibly meant a bunch of car salesmen. But it's been real and worth the wild learning curve.W

The car business is it's own peculiar culture and everything you have heard is true. But there is so much more. In coming posts I will share with you what I've learned about the car business, what you need to know about buying a car, especially if you are a woman, and other quirky observations. I promise to keep it clean and, for legal reasons, I will change the names...to protect the guilty and the innocent! I can just hear the sighs of relief.



Sooners: 13 Longhorns: 16....oh well.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One for the Home Team

Another day on The Lot but it’s not just any day. It’s the Oklahoma -Texas game! A day that will go down in history – if the Sooners wins. And if they fall to the Longhorns? Well, it’ll be tears all around. I shudder to think. Not that any of this matters so much to me but it does allow for a little time free of the guys because they are all crowded in the gm’s office watching the game. And if it weren’t for the fact that every man in town is also glued to the tube, I might actually sell a car without tripping over one of the other salesman. I hear clapping and screaming. We have a first down!! Wooppee!!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Give, I Blog, I Write

Friends have for months suggested that I begin a blog, an idea that I have met with some trepidation...until today when I finished reading Jennifer Weiner's inspired book of short stories The Guy Not Taken. In the end interview, Weiner expressed that if one is serious about writing, short of becoming a journalist, blogging is a great thing to do to get your writing chops up. I'm serious about writing but the likelihood of my becoming a journalist is nil and so I give - I now blog.

I look forward to sharing this journey with all who care to join me.