Mia: Shaken Not Stirred


The true life stories of a NYC female.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is What...is what?


Once again I am volunteering as a note taker for a learning disabled friend in my school. Taking dictation on my laptop has never been a problem until yesterday.

The biology teacher had a beautiful thick Nigerian accent and even though his English was a bit stilted understanding him wasn't a problem. The problem was that he would pause and then interrupted each and every sentence with “is what …is what?” The lecture was on cytoplasms and it went like this: " Cytoplasm …is what…is what? A gelatinous, semi-transparent fluid that…is what…is what? fills most cells. Eukaryotic cells contain … is what..is what? a nucleus that is kept separate from the… is what… is what?... cytoplasm by a… is what… is what? double membrane layer."

Halfway through the lecture several of the students in the class were on the verge of tears due to their confusion. Hell he was confusing me and I had already taken the damn class. The level of frustration in the class was so tangible you smelled it in the air and it was making us have malevolent thoughts . Someone mentioned stuffing the syllabus up the professor’s ass. stuffing the syllabus in the professor’s mouth if he kept it up. Personally I wanted to wring his neck. My notes were making absolutely no sense. Yet I couldn’t raise my hand to tell him to cut the “ what is what is” crap out because as a note taker I am not allowed to participate in the class. WTF?! Are those the very first English words he learned? Is what? Is what? Or maybe it’s an OCD thing like touching a door knob 6 times before you open the door.

When he was done with the lecture he discussed the syllabus and the requirements for his class. "Attendance is what…is what? Mandatory…. Three absences…is what…is what? Automatic failure." Oh for the love of God! Imagine listening to that for 2 hrs. When the class ended I found myself talking to the student I was taking notes for and punctuating each sentence with…you guessed it “..is what..is what?” and having her respond in the same way but we weren’t the only ones. As we made out way into the hallway I heard several students repeating the same phrase. “…is what…is what?” Maybe it’s contagious.

I'll be really lucky if I still have my...is what...is what? sanity at the end of...is what..is what? this semester.

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Posted by @ 12:31 AM
2 comment from: Blogger DannieS72, Blogger Mia,


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I fall in love with you all over again



Someone recently asked my mom what the secret to a happy marriage was “Honestly I have no friggin' clue.” She responded. None of their friends or family had expected them to last a full year. I can understand the why of people thinking that they would never last. I have never met two people so totally wrong for each other on paper.Everything about them screams incompatible. Trust me e.harmony and Match.com would never hook these two up together in a million years. Yet it works for them and my siblings and are a grateful that it does. Last week I caught a little glimpse of them not as my parents but as two people honestly in love with each other...

Thursday 7:00 pm :

We were about to sit down to dinner. Mom had just placed a pitcher of iced tea on the table and called the kids to dinner. My dad stood by his chair at the head of the table just staring at her. The look on his face was amazing. His green eyes were all sparkly and the look in them was one of total adoration. She just happened to look up and catch him. She stared back at him for a few seconds and he smiled at her. Ma quickly brushed one of her curls away from her face smiled back at him shyly then looked away and then just as quick looked back at him and smiled again. He continued to stare at her and then something incredible happened, my mom actually started blushing. He didn’t say a word he just kept staring at her until they both started laughing. As he pulled out his chair to sit he never took his eyes off of her. When she sat down next to him he took her hand and tenderly kissed it and when she turned his hand over and kissed his palm he started blushing. All of this took place in the space of two minutes and they never exchanged a word. They didn't even notice me staring at them.

Friday 3:45 am:

I was just getting in and stopped by my parent’s bedroom to let them know I was home. My dad was getting ready to leave to work. Just as I was about to enter their room I saw my dad lean down and kiss my sleeping mom on the top of her head. She opened her eyes and gave him a drowsy smile and said, "Hi." He stared at her for a full second grabbed at his heart dramatically and playfully staggered back a bit, and then said “Woman every morning you look at me with those eyes and every morning I fall in love with you all over again.”

After witnessing those incidents I've come to the conclusion that the secret to their marriage is that despite 26 years of marriage they have never stopped thinking of each other as the 18 year old girl and the 19 year old boy who fell in love at first sight 27 years ago.

I hope with all sincerity that you and I get to experience a love like theirs…

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Posted by @ 2:37 PM
6 comment from: Blogger christina/ohio, Blogger Mia, Blogger DannieS72, Blogger Mia, Anonymous jane, Blogger Mia,


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mitt Romney: Man of The People


Please tell me why oh why is it that when politicians go into ethnic ‘hoods they attempt to channel their inner ghettoness? Case in point Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Out of all days Romney picked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to channel his inner home boy. Romney was at a parade paying tribute to the civil rights leader when he decided to seize a photo op. He jumped out of his Mitt Mobile and into a crowd of African-American spectators and as he posed for pictures said, “Who let the dogs out? Who who.” (insert sound of car screeching to a halt here) WTF?!!! Oh hell no. Oh. Hell. To. The. Mother Hubbing. No! And it wasn’t even a good song! Damn that made me even madder! I’m saying if he wanted to channel his inner ghettoness the least he could’ve done was spit some of Tupac’s Keep Your Head up, instead of a lame ass song from a one hit wonder group.

Okay esta bien I will concede it was funny as hell to watch but it was also awkward. What’s worse you could hear the awkwardness in his voice, feel his discomfort. His body language was a give away. He was lucky someone didn’t verbally bitch slap him back to the heart of Mormon country. Lord knows if I was there I would’ve done it. You figure the man feeling as awkward as he did would’ve hopped back into his Mitt Mobile and kept it moving but no not him. He had a point to prove he is Mitt Romney man of the people. Several minutes later Romney was greeting some more people when he spotted a baby wearing a gold chain. He walked over to the kid raised his hands and said,“Hey buddy! How’s it going? What’s happening? You got some bling bling here!” WTF?! Oh Romney stop it you’re killing me man c’mon dude you know I’ve got a weak heart I’m going to die either of embarrassment for you or of laughter. Yes he said ”bling bling” in an apparent attempt to be down with the peeps from the hood. Look I’m not saying it’s racist but come on man you can’t tell me when he’s out stumping in suburban America he’s using those phrases. Can you picture him approaching a dressed to the nines Mrs. Amanda Money Bags IV in a red state and giving her a high five while proclaiming, “Hey there home girl that’s a lot of bling bling you got there!”? Let’s ponder that shall we? Hmmm. Oh hell no he wouldn’t.

Personally I want to know who the hell told Romney that raising his hands and perpetuating a cultural stereotype was a good political strategy? WTF was this man thinking? What next is he going to court the Latino vote by serenading us with music specific to our culture? You now Mariachi music for our Mexican brethren , Salsa for the Boricuas, Cumbia for South Americans, Merengue for The Dominicans, Punta music for the Central Americans?

You know what really burnt my piragua? What really disappointed me? The fact that he didn’t break out and start crunk dancing or at least do the running man after he made the “Who Let the dogs out remark.” Ahhh well a female can dream after all the primaries aren’t over yet.There's still hope.

Here’s a clip of the man in action courtesy of youtube.

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Posted by @ 3:53 PM
6 comment from: Blogger Mia, Anonymous darla, Blogger Ritardo "Gar the Conqueror", Blogger Mia, Blogger DannieS72, Blogger Mia,


Friday, January 25, 2008

You’re wasting my daytime minutes is a universal phrase.


I was in the middle of a great dream. One of those surreal brightly colored dreams something straight out of a Peter Max painting. The kind where corny pop music from the 60’s plays in the background but you don’t seem to mind. In fact the tune is happy, bouncy, and reflective of the dream. You actually find yourself singing along to the song as you skip on fluffy clouds while butterflies flutter all around you.


All was well in my sunshine, lollipops,and rainbow dream when out of no where I heard a phone ringing. I whipped my head around attempting to find the phone in my dream only to realize that the phone wasn’t in my dream. It was out there in the real world. I slowly emerged out of my dream state and started feeling around my night stand for my phone just as it stopped ringing. I couldn't see a damn thing in my pitch black room and the fact that my eyes were shut wasn't helping. I forced an eye open and stared at my phone screen.

Holy Monkey! It is 5: 26 am ! WTF?! It's the 3rd call from this number I've missed. They’ve been calling me since 5:00 am. Somebody better be dead or dying…oh shit…I’m sorry…Dear God I take that back don’t let anyone be dead or dying. Please let them be in perfect health so I can beat them with my phone until they’re unconscious or my arms give out, which ever comes first.

The number is unfamiliar and the area code Canadian. Who the hell do I know in Canada? Eh? Okay I know one person in Canada (eh?) but she wouldn’t call me at this ungodly hour. I put my phone back on the charger and quickly fall asleep. Once again I am dancing and skipping among the clouds until the phone rings again at 5:57 am. I groan. Man I am exhausted! I’m never going to get that song out of my head now! I reach out for the phone, my arms feel like they’re made of lead. I clock myself with the phone...

Ouch ! Carajo! That’s going to leave a mark. "Hello?" Silence. My phone rings again. I click the yes button, “Hello?” An Arab accented voice that sounds a lot like my uncle Hassan lets out a stream of Arabic. I quickly realize it’s not my uncle. I don’t know who the hell it is. “You’ve got the wrong number.” I say to him. He continues to speak. “Wrong.Number.” I repeat. I hang up and turn off the phone for good measure. I can't sleep. I am screwed. I'm up, might as well do some reading. If it’s someone that I know and it’s an emergency they’ll call my house phone and hopefully speak English.

Several sleep deprived hours and a paperback book later I emerged from the shower and turned my phone back on. I had seven missed calls all from the same Canadian number. Shit this guy's persistent. The phone rang again just as I was putting it down. "Hello... " It’s the same man. He’s talking so fast I can’t understand him. The connection is not that great. I managed to pick up a word here and there yeah he's speaking Arabic. Once again I tell him he’s got the wrong number and hang up. Five minutes later he calls again. I search my brain for my pitiful Arabic. I know I have my Egyptian vocabulary list stuck somewhere in my brain thanks to Nora and Hassan and their insistence that I learn the language. Aha! I found my vocabulary list tucked away in a nook of Broca’s Area the area of the brain that controls language right behind a recipe for buttermilk biscuits. WTF is that doing there?

I yell into my phone, “Ana mish fehma,ana mish fehma!” ( I don’t understand) I repeat the phrase several times over and over into the phone as if it were a mantra. The man continues talking. I let out a loud sigh “ Oh for the love of Jesus in his BVD’s! Ana mish fehma! Khallas! (stop) ana mish fehma carajo!" Yeah I threw in a little Spanish in there, I figure it can't hurt. "Kifaaya!" (enough!) the man still keeps talking … Ana mish fahma! Mumkin titkalliee bi raha? ( could you speak more slowly?) Haddi is sur’a min fadkak! (please slow down). " Oh for the love of Zeus ana mishfehma! ” The man continued to plow on. His tone was hurried desperate to be understood probably a little pissed too. Okay he obviously doesn't understand English and he's not buying the fact that I can't understand him given the fact that I keep spitting out my pitiful Arabic. I let out a sigh and tell him in English “Look man I don’t have time for this. Khallas! You’re wasting my day time minutes! Ma’ is salaama! (good bye)."

He hasn’t called me back. I’m starting to think that “you’re wasting my daytime minutes” is a universal phrase. In the meantime I can’t get the song that was playing in my dream out of my head.

Update: As soon as 9:00 pm hit when my free minutes kicked in he started calling again. Oh yeah now I know for sure free minutes is a universal phrase.

Sunshine,Lollipops and Rainbows

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Posted by @ 4:29 PM
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Guns On Campus:WTF?!


I was watching a local morning show yesterday in which they discussed being allowed to carry concealed weapons onto school campuses and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It seems that in the after math of last year’s Virginia Tech shooting people have basically developed a Wild West mentality.
There’s a group of college students that want the right to carry guns on campus. their main argument seems to be that if students are armed they could stop situations like what happened at VT. WTF?! Uh huh assuming you were a perfect shot but the question is how many more innocent people would be hurt while el loco and the class Rambo exchange bullets? You know real life is not like the movies, the hero’s bullets don’t magically evade the innocent and hone in on the villain killing him instantly. Look if you’re that scared of getting shot while in school then make head to toe Kevlar a daily part of your school gear.

In order to bolster their argument they cite the Second Amendment. Yeah it’s true that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution allows rights for people to carry weapons but in what context the founding fathers meant it is still a topic of debate. While some see it as an okay to bear personal arms others think that it meant to bear arms in the military context. Look I wish I could say that school shootings don’t happen but I think Columbine and VT taught us different but still it is a very rare occurrence. I know that offers no comfort but the reality of like is you never know when or where you’re going to come across a nut case with a gripe and a gun.

If students and teachers are allowed to carry guns onto campus I’m not so sure school shootings would be a rare thing at all. Heaven forbid you’ve got a student all stressed out over his grades approaching a professor with a gun, “What bitch you gave me a c- on this paper. I needed at least a B!” as he cocks his gun, the professor whips out his gun from his desk, “Check yo’self foolio!”, he yells at his student, “Say hello to my little friend!” … followed by the sound of the class ass kisser cocking her own gun, and it’s a wrap bullets flying over the place. I can picture it now simple disputes being settled in the halls of colleges all over America like back in the days of Wild West.“Meet me by the student union at high noon you yellow bellied side winder!”

I don’t know about you but having armed students and teachers on campus sure makes me feel a hell of a lot safer. As a matter of fact I say colleges and universities should issue the students guns with school logos on them automatically upon registering for classes. Fuck the school t-shirts gimme an uzi with the school mascot on it anytime! The type of gun issued to the students would depend on their status. Part time students should be issued one of those little jammies like a .22 mini magnum. Fulltime students get a pocket glock so easy to fit inside of their lap top carrying case without being too heavy. Night students should definitely get a .44 magnum with a silencer so they wont disturb the peace late at night plus 2 active hand grenades for maneuvering the streets after dark on their way home from class. One can never be too careful you know.

Freak it I say we go to school armed to the teeth. I’m going to customize a leather trench with concealed pockets and arm myself with ninja stars, daggers, and steel toed shit kickers with a concealed blade built into the heel. Freak it I’m going all out! I want a cross bow and poisoned tipped blow darts too… mess with me and “patoosh” get one to the neck.

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Posted by @ 9:53 AM
7 comment from: Blogger Mia, Blogger christina/ohio, Blogger Mia, Anonymous darla, Anonymous Jane, Blogger Tapsalteerie, Blogger Mia,


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So much better than being called bitch


Over a year ago one of our neighbors in his 40’s died of cancer. Ed tried to help everyone he came across and spent much of his adult life doing good deeds. He was without a doubt one of the bright lights of the world.

The other day my parents and Ed’s widow Angie passed each other in the lobby. “Hey Willie, heyyyy precious how are you doing today?” They chatted for a few minutes before our cab arrived. My mom looked back at Angie and waved before getting into the cab… “Bye precious I’ll see you later!” Angie called out as she waved back to mom. Once they were in the cab mom looked at dad and said, “Honey I think Angie is going senile.” “What makes you say that?” My mom sighed and threw her hands up, “Every since Ed died every single time I see her she calls me precious. I think she’s forgotten my name.” My dad laughed and replied, “Na hun that’s not it. Ed used to call you precious. It was his nickname for you.” Mom’s eyes opened wide, “What? I never knew that. He always called me by my name.” “Well he used to call you precious behind your back. Every time I saw him he’d always ask me how was precious doing, or send my regards to precious.” “Wow I never knew. Why didn’t he call me that to my face?”

My dad laughed again and put his arm around my mother, “No offense babe but you’re kind of intimidating. Most likely he thought you’d take it as a sign of disrespect if he called you precious and rip his face off.” She looked out the window and thought about Ed for a minute. “You know Willie I really liked Ed. I even cried when his family called me to tell me he had died. Such a wonderful person.” My dad leaned his cheek against the ma’s head. “I know honey. Trust me he knew you were fond of him and he was just as fond of you.” Mom shrugged her shoulders and then added, “So he called me precious?” “Yup for about 18 years.” “Amazing. That’s so sweet and much better than being called bitch.”

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Posted by @ 8:51 AM
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Monday, January 21, 2008

The Legacy of Dr. King


Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I too have a dream and it includes a Native American as president. My dream is that the day will come when a man or woman of any race running for president will be as common as a morning cup of coffee.
My dream is that one day this government will wake up and address Native American issues with all the vigor that it reserves for the rest of the population of this great nation. These people deserve so much more and it is not just because of what they were put through but because they are our brethren, our brothers and sisters born of the same creator and as such deserve so much more than what they’ve been given. My dream is that someday the powers that be will wake up and pour more money into education and social programs than we do into war so that everyone has a chance at an equal education. That the quality of education is not dedicated by zip codes.

My dream is that each and every member of our society unlike our founding fathers will take these words to heart, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” My dream is that everyone in this nation realize that these words are applicable to all the members of our society…. male, female, immigrant,Native American, gay, and hetero.

My dream is that one day soon the color of our skin, or the name by which we call our God, that our ethnicticity will not cause people to judge that instead we will be judged by the contents of our heart and not by what we are. My dream is that this beautiful and generous nation made up of everything from Muslim to Jew, Native American to Egyptian, Irish to Spanish that this nation encompassing a miniature world on its shores will remember and heed the many words of Dr. King among them “we cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.”

Several days ago a group of friends and I were discussing Martin Luther King Day and one of the girls who just happened to be white asked out loud about his legacy. She didn’t agree with the rest of us that his had been a lasting legacy. She wanted to know my opinion as a minority of what Dr. King’s legacy had been other than the historically obvious one. In response to her question I pointed to myself. I am Dr. King’s legacy. A woman of 25 moved by words spoken 44 years ago, words that are a part of my moral conscious. Me, I am Dr. King’s legacy a minority woman of color proud of who she is a woman who has never had to shrink away when confronted with racism. I am Dr. King’s legacy free to speak my mind, to exercise my rights without fear of reprisal. The fact that I am still here on this planet unscathed and not swinging from a tree after having spoken my mind so many times throughout my life is Dr. King’s legacy.

Like Dr. King I too have a dream my dream is that as I make my way into the world I will leave this world a better place. I hope that I will live up to Dr. King’s dream. My dreams are inspired by Dr. King’s words, “ And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

Amen,Dr. King amen.

I Have A Dream –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- 1963

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4 comment from: Blogger DannieS72, Blogger Mia, Anonymous darla, Blogger Mia,


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting To Know Me...




Not that they leave any evidence behind in the form of comments but this blog seems to have a pretty steady stream of readers. Recently one of the regulars suggested doing an interview with me because I have zip about myself in the “all about me” section. We got in touch with a few other readers and they came up with a list of questions… here we go.

1: Why did you get into blogging?
I was stressed out, had a major paper due, and was nursing a major case of writer’s block. I thought that blogging about stuff going on around me would help with the writer’s block and it did. Ever since then I use the blog to keep my mind limber. It really has helped me in terms of writing school papers. It never occurred to me that people would actually read this blog.


2: What are your hobbies?
Other than harassing my mother? Photography, reading, music, writing and I’m a video game addict.

3: It seems like you’ve been in school forever, what’s your major?
It feels like I’ve been in school forever! I started wanting to get into immigration law so I got an AA by the time I was ready to graduate I had decided to go into forensic psychology. A few weeks before getting my BA in that area a professor gave me some advice. She suggested I pursue a degree in social work because it would open more doors for me than just a BA in forensic psych. I took her advice and after graduating last may decided to get a BA in social work as well. I should be done by next year and then it’s on to grad school.

And then?
The Peace Corp for a few years and then back home to start my non-profit work. There are more options available to you in the PC if you have a Master’s degree.

4: How would you describe yourself?
Shy with a dash of sarcasm and a jigger of wit.

5: Have you ever offended anyone with something you’ve written?
Just one. Look my attitude is this I don’t ask you to read my blog. Everything I blog about happens to be the truth. If the truth offends you then that’s your issue not mine and this blog is not for you.

6: What has been the most outrageous thing you’ve ever said?
The list is endless. I met a guy once who thought he was God’s gift to women.Totally oblivious to the fact that I wasn't into him he took one look at my tats, my piercings and said to me, “I could never get with a girl like you.” OUCH talk about ego bruising! My reply to that was, “Honey, you can never get a girl like me. You may not like me now but trust me an hour from now you will totally love me.” Man that was really cocky of me. I still cringe when I think of it.

7: Favorite place in the world.
That’s a tie. The Sahara Desert and NY's Cathedral of St. John The Divine.


8: What is the best kiss you’ve ever received?
There’s not a singular best kiss instead there are many. What makes them the best is the kisser and the feelings that were part of the kiss.


9: Hottest?
Oh wow that’s easy! A few years ago I was at a party and there was this cute guy there that I'd met via a friend. He had been making it clear for months that he was attracted to me but because my friend had a crush on him I ignored his attempts to hook up. Just as the party was winding down I passed him on my way out of the kitchen and out of no where he grabbed me and pressed me up against the fridge and laid one on me. It was so full of chemistry it made my toes curl, my heart pound and my body feel tingly all over. He looked kind of shook too and mumbled something about his knees feeling weak. I quickly pulled away from the guy and he grabbed me again telling me, “I took a 3 hr ride to this party just to see you, no one else but you.” I can’t front I melted and when he laid the next one on me I returned it full force. It was amazing! Mucho caliente! Then reality hit and I remembered my friend and her crush and made it a point to never see him again.

10: If you could be lint from a dryer screen, what kind of lint would you want to be?
Joaquin Phonenix’s.


11: If there was a worm in one of the pieces of fruit that you drunken "steal",& you bit it in half, would you continue to finish off the fruit or would you spit it out?
Depends on how drunk I was! Na I'd spit it out probably end up barfing too. That’s actually happened to me but I was sober. I was in Salem and someone handed me an apple fresh off the tree. I had eaten half of the apple and saw something wiggling. To this day I’m not sure if I ate some of the worm or not. Anyway I had a mini heart attack spit the apple out and ran to shore and started washing my mouth out with the sea water. Then it hit me that I was rinsing my mouth out with lord knows how many forms of bacteria and my stomach did a weird twisty churning thing and I puked every apple out I had ever eaten in my life. To this day I’m kind of leery when biting into a granny smith.

12: Do you watch Japanese flicks & then imitate the dubbed actors by moving your mouth & then uttering only 1 or 2 words?
Yup. I watch a lot of foreign flicks and am known for creating my own dialogue on the spot.

13: Bikini’s or thongs?
Bikini’s. I don’t like nothing wedged in my butt that’s not supposed to be there.

14: I’ve noticed all your BF’s have been tall. Do you only date tall guys?
Listen at 4ft 11 pretty much every guy with the exception of Verne Troyer (mini me) is taller than me. The fact that the majority of my BF’s have been 6ft and over has been a coincidence. I once broke up with a guy who was just too tall for me. He was 6ft 8 and every time we hugged it looked like the makings of porn flick. Not too mention the poor guy was starting to get neck & back problems from having to dip down every time he wanted to kiss me.

15:What’s your kryptonite?
MGM Musicals. Man I have loved them all my life. If you shout titles at me I can sing you a couple of songs from each one. My personal favorites are My Fair Lady and The King & I.

16: What would you like written on your tombstone?
“About this whole death thing… ehhh it doesn’t make my nipples tingle.”



Note: I know i'm going to have this song stuck in my head for the next few days...

Getting To Know You –The King & I

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Posted by @ 8:58 PM
4 comment from: Anonymous darla, Blogger Mia, Blogger DannieS72, Blogger Mia,


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh I hate myself!


My one month old cousin Zayed has a cold, his big sister Dareem has a cold too…coincidence? Their mother seems to think it’s not. After telling Dareem for the umpteenth time that she couldn’t kiss the baby on his face and being ignored by the five year old Nora kind of lost her patience. “Dareem leave him alone! Because of you and your disease infested ass he’s sick. You gave him your cold with all that kissing.”

Dareem stepped away from the baby as if he were on fire. She crossed her arms over her chest and seemed to think about what her mother said, After a few seconds she looked over at the baby with the saddest face and said,“Oh I hate myself!”

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2 comment from: Blogger DannieS72, Blogger Mia,


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ice Cream Reward



As kids all seven of us (my 2 siblings, me and my 4 uncles being raised by my parents ) would eagerly line up to do the grocery shopping with mom. As a reward for helping mom out with the shopping we'd get to pick our own individual snack. Something we did not have to share with the others in addition to the regular munchies she brought for us.

My BF and I were grocery shopping with my mom yesterday. She had just finished up in the frozen food section when she spotted my favorite ice cream, “Mia go get yourself some ice cream.” I picked a quart of Godiva chocolate ice cream and my BF said, “Mia, Maggie already got a gallon of chocolate ice cream." I explained to him my mother’s reward system and he smiled, his mom never did things like that. “Josh" she said," pick yourself out something too.” He got all shy and mumbled something about it being okay he didn’t need a reward as he eyed his favorite brand of strawberry ice cream. Mom looked at him and said, "Would you prefer something else like cookies?" "It’s okay Maggie. I know it’s a family thing. I’m cool."

All of a sudden my mother developed Tourette’s syndrome and flipped on him. “Oh for the love of Davinci's ass Joshua! You’re part of this freaking family now. Pick out your ice cream or whatever it is you like because I'm not making dessert tonight." Then she smiled at him, "Look if it’ll make you feel better I’ll give you a dish night too!” At that my BF broke out in a huge grin and eagerly grabbed his ice cream from the freezer, “You can give me a dish night Maggie. I’ll do them tonight if you want.” As we made our way to the register I caught him looking at his ice cream in the shopping cart and smiling.

After dinner we’d decided to stay in and watch TV as he settled in next to me he looked at his ice cream and a huge smile appeared on his face. Whoa that dude sure loves his ice cream. Then I realized it wasn’t the ice cream that made him smile. It was what it symbolized to him. Acceptance. He caught me looking at him and glanced at his ice cream again. “Are you going to eat it or should I bronze it for you?” I asked. “Your dad asked me if there was anything in particular I’d like him to make for Super Bowl Sunday. He even said I could cook with him!” The look on his face was beautiful, so tender. “God you’re such an emotional little bitch!” I teased just before I kissed him.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Because I Loved Life...


We recently got word that my great-great-aunt passed away of cancer at the age of 90 plus. My grandfather asked that my mother sketch something in honor of his aunt Minin for her memorial service to be printed into prayer cards. Minin loved mom's angels so mom drew her as a youthful angel dancing with death. “Why are you making her young?” I asked. “Because in my eyes she never seemed to age. She always had this youthful spirit about her."

Minin also an artist was the first person in the family to realize that her great niece had talent one day as she watched the six year old drawing at the dining room table. Several days later my mom received a package full of artist’s supplies from her great aunt and every year after that on her yearly visits from Spain she’d introduce my mother via books and museums to a famous artist.

The quote on the sketch is something that Minin often said even before she found out she was terminally ill. It is from Amelia Burr one of her favorite poets.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Candy Coated Almonds


A friend of my aunt’s was getting married and the troops were called in at the last minute to help the bride to be. With only one day to go before the wedding she was spazzing. She still had a ton of things to do when she realized that she'd forgotten all about the center pieces for the tables and the guest favors. Our mission was to get those things together for her. Fast. She decided she wanted to fill the guest favors with an assortment of candy and nuts so I headed out to the mall to purchase the candy while the others assembled the center pieces.

There were three candy shops in the mall unimpressed with the selection at the first two so I made my way to the third and found myself in candy nirvana. I’m pretty sure I squealed like a second grader with a bag full of candy on halloween as I took it all in. They had candy coated almonds in every shade of the rainbow plus pastels too. They even had almonds in silver and gold! Bling bling almonds!

Just as I was about to break out into a chorus of "The Candy Man" the bride called, “Mia I forgot to tell you do not buy candy from the Jew’s candy store.” “Why not?” “Because,“ she said, “I’m boycotting Jewish owned businesses.” “Are they anti-Arab?” I asked, “Of course they are! They're Jews!” "But how do you know they're anti-Arab?" "Didn't I just tell you that they're Jews?" I told her that unless she specifically knew that the store owners were pro whatever she was against her boycott made no sense what so ever then it just became a biased issue.She didn’t want to hear it. “I do not want Jewish nuts and candies at my wedding!” she shrieked into the phone. “But it makes no sense…I mean should I boycott all Muslim businesses because of Al Qaeda?” "Now is not the time for your smart assed comments Mia!” and went on to lecture me as to how I should just respect her wishes. Normally I'd tell her off but she was my aunt's friend so I held my tongue. She couldn’t remember the name of the store I wasn't allowed to buy from, she instructed me to find out if the store I was in was Jewish owned.“How the hell do I do that?” I looked around me to see if there were any Star of David wind chimes hanging around the place. “Go ask someone at the register Mia …NOW!” I stared at my phone.

I’ve never been one to take orders. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m as stubborn as all hell which is why I’d make a terrible soldier. I could’ve done as she asked I mean after all she was the bride but when the elderly yarmulke wearing gentleman with the warm smile approached me and handed me a macadamia nut cookie I couldn’t think of politics or religion. I hit the mute button on and off making it seem as if we had a bad connection and turned off the phone. And then I did what any self respecting Nuyorican female would do I purchased a hundred dollars worth of nuts and candies and made sure each and every one of them was Kosher.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Moment I’d Remember Forever


For a brief second yesterday I thought I had walked onto a Tyler Perry movie set. The faint sounds of classic Motown music filled the lobby of my apartment complex. It had been years since that happened. Once upon time music reigned supreme in our building lobby from 9 am- 4 pm. That ended when the new landlords took over five years ago and brought in their own staff and set down some rules. Music was banned from the lobby along with everything else. There were no more barbecues in the playground, no more parties or potluck dinners in the community room, no more late night card and domino games in the front of the building during the summer months. The seniors started dying off one by one, families moved away; kids grew up and got married. They were all replaced with new tenants and the atmosphere of the building changed. No one made the effort to get to know each other anymore.

As I got closer to the elevator bank on my side of the building the music got louder and I realized it was coming from the laundry room. I stuck my head in and what I saw warmed my heart. The laundry room was packed with women long term tenants and new tenants. Some were actually doing laundry others while others were just chilling drawn to the room by the music. The scene took me back to my teen years when the tenants of this complex had been more like one huge family. By the time the ladies started doing the electric slide to Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” there were at least 6 of us watching from the doorway. One of the ladies spotted us and pulled us into the room .

I took in the scent of laundry detergent and fabric softener as I danced with the group of at least 20 women of different races, cultures and ages. As I listened to the laughter of the women as they danced it suddenly hit me, this is a moment I’d remember forever.
Can’t Get Enough of Your Love-Barry White

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Monday, January 07, 2008

A scurrilous lie



A group of people were at the bus stop preaching, their mission on this cold day was to save as many BX36 riders as humanly possible. I cursed at myself for having misplaced my headphones and not being able to drown the sermon out with music. Try as they might on this particular day none of the sinners were interested in being saved but I'm pretty sure it had to do with their style of preaching all fire and brimstone finger wagging in the air. Instead of making you want to embrace the message it left you wanting to judo chop the messenger in the throat. A family friend approached me on his way to the store and attempted to play catch up with me until the traffic light changed. Finally the light changes and he was gone. I leaned out of the bus shelter to see if the bus was coming …nope, no bus aqui. As I stepped back into the bus shelter I made eye contact with the preacher who had been listening in on my conversation. Awww crap I did it to myself! The man walked over to me and pointed his finger at me…

Preacher: Jesus LOVES you!

Thank you for the reminder sir I love him as well it's just organized religion I have a problem with.

The people with him gathered around him like back up singers. A few choruses of amen rang out in the air. I said nothing instead I do a poor imitation of my iguana and closed my eyes…if I can’t see it then it’s not there. I rubbed my eyes and opened them slowly…awww crap the preacher man and his backup singers were still there.

“Mia, be nice no smart ass comments please.” my subconscious yelled out at me. “Fine, fine, esta bien (okay)!" I shot back.

Preacher: My sister, my child I will pray for you tonight and continue to pray for you that you continue on your path. That you never want for anything. It makes the Holy Father proud when one of our children does good.

He stared at me as if he was expecting a response…

Wow that's really nice of him. No Mia, don’t do it don’t you freaking dare do it… but it's a really sweet gesture on his part...shut up…don’t talk to the man…you’ll get a sermon if you do..shhhh

Mia: Uh thank you sir.

He smiled at me and came closer his little posse took a few steps forward as well.

Crap You’ve got no one to blame but yourself…damn you female!

Preacher: Have you accepted the lord Jesus Christ as your savior my child?

I gave him a tight lipped smile hoped he’d move on, he seemed glued to the spot. I heard the bus engine turning over on the opposite end of the block. In a matter of minutes it would be turning the corner making its way to our stop. Not getting a response from me the preacher tried another tactic.

Preacher: Do you drink, do you smoke, do you take the lord’s name in vain…do you fornicate girl?

AHHH on occasion yeah I’ve been known to hoist a few, cigarettes no, other stuff occasionally uhh what was the last question again, why don’t we move on to the next one shall we? Lord’s name in vain you say? Well sure unintentionally but it’s all good because the higher power is free to take my name in vain if the need arises… as for that last one I plead the 5th my grandparents read my blog.

Getting no response from me he tried another approach…

Preacher: Are you aware that Jesus died for your sins?!

WTF?! Why it always gotta be my sins? I actually didn’t start consciously sinning until the late 90’s thank you very much and by that time Jesus was long gone.

He’s not letting me off the hook; my silence was obviously some sort of sign to him.

Preacher: Well young lady? Do you know that JESUS died for YOUR sins?!

Aww to heck with it...

Mia: My sins, me specifically?

The preacher gave a triumphant smile and looked at his posse. He had made me talk.

Preacher: Yes your sins.

The bus pulled into the stop, the crowd began to board it.

Mia: Sir I am offended! I must inform you that the accusation you’re leveling at me is a scurrilous lie! That rumor was started by Carmen Martinez during our senior year to keep me from being elected prom queen!

Before he could respond I ran up the stairs to the bus and the doors closed. I looked back to see him glaring at me.

Aww come on preacher man that was funny! Where's your sense of humor? I know Jesus has a sense of humor after all Pat Roberston is still alive and kicking.

Somehow I doubt he’ll be praying for my salvation tonight.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Submitted For Your Approval...



Submitted for your approval A New Year's Eve tale...

We were packed pretty deep on the sidewalk at Times Square when I was approached by a couple of behemoths. The dark haired guy was well over 6 ft and the blonde chick with him was close to hitting 5 ft 10 herself. Just before approaching me the woman smiled and because I’m super friendly like that I smiled back at her, “Hi Mia my name is Haniel and this is my friend Mebahiah” She said. Most likely a tourist in need of help and having over heard my name she’d figured I was the most normal one of the bunch therefore approachable. Oh beautiful dreamer I thought if you only knew."Hey there Haniel and Mebahiah, how's it going?" I returned.

She stuck out her hand and we shook only instead of letting go of my hand she kind of held onto it for a hot second and kept staring at my eyes. Great. Fabulous. Wunderbar. Was she hitting on me? If she was it wasn't a big deal a couple of the girls in the crew were bisexual I could introduce them to each other. She let go of my hand and her hand was quickly replaced by her friend's hand. He smiled at me and said, “Hi Mia." and stroked my cheek! I basically snarled at him, “Do me a favor don’t touch me again or I’ll kick you in the balls.” but instead of jumping back in fear and cupping himself the guy actually laughed and said I was adorable! So much for my attempt at being "gangsta".

Out of no where the chick starts talking to me about things going on in my life and making predictions for my future. They must be roving fortune tellers I thought, working the crowd trying to earn a few bucks. The things she was saying were right on target. Stuff no one outside of my immediate circle knew about unless.... I was having some after effects from the concussion I had suffered the week before. Na it wasn’t an illusion my friends could see them too, my home girls were chatting up the guy. I began to think that I was being "punked" and nearly gave myself whiplash looking around around to see which one of my friends was going to ‘fess up to the trick. No one volunteered. Instead my girls asked the woman to read them too but she refused telling them that she had only come for me. Wow this female is good I thought she’s creating this whole aura of mystery around her, smart marketing ploy.

The woman continued to talk to me for awhile longer. When she was done I tried to press some money into her hand but she refused it. Instead she asked if I’d mind if they just chilled with me for a bit. I saw no problem with it since I wasn’t picking up a bad vibe from them, besides the area was full of cops and I had no intention of wandering off with them. I relaxed and we kicked back enjoying each other’s company. The guy turned out to be really nice he even danced with me in the middle of the street much to the amusement of the cops standing near us. When it was finally time for us to bounce the chick bent down and kissed me on the cheek. The dude grabbed my chin and kissed me on the forehead and said, “You’re just too precious you know that?” Then he put a silver medallion around my neck,“Do me a favor wear this for me from now on okay? I felt like I should give the guy something too you know so I reached into my messenger bag and pulled out some M&M’s with peanuts and told him, “Yo dude do me a favor and eat these for me okay?” He just laughed took the candy and said, “Mia you’re just too adorable.” and bear hugged me. Then they walked away into the crowd. I’m happy to report that after they left I still had my property intact.

Later on we met up with a friend of ours and when we told him the story he was heated and yelled at me, “Mia don’t you know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers?!” I couldn't understand why he was so livid, it wasn't a big deal. “Wait what you mean you’re not supposed to talk to strangers? I thought it was you’re not supposed to take candy from strangers. No one said anything to me about not talking to them. Are you telling me I have been misinformed all this time?” Now this is where it gets weird a couple of days later while telling the story to someone else they informed me that Haniel and Mebahiah are actually the names of the guardian angels pertaining to my birth date and zodiac sign. You may now play the theme to the twilight zone.

Of course my friend believed it to be a sign of some sort something mystical. Personally I think they adopted the names to coincide with the season. The fact that they came upon me and that the names they were using happened to pertain to my birthdate was a coincidence and most likely they had over heard our crew's conversation about our hopes for the future. Maybe the were con artists with a conscience and somehow we won them over so instead of trying to fleece us they decided that for this one night they prefered our company above all else. No matter what the circumstances it really was nice to meet them. It would be cool if some of the predictions she made for me came true but then again isn't that what a new year is all about the hope for positive changes in our lives?

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bathing in the blood of virgins


My parents live to tease each other. Not only is it fun to watch but at times it proves to be educational as well as was the case on this particular day. All we had wanted was some advice and instead ended up with a history lesson….

The table had been cleared of dinner dishes and my sister and I were just wandering around the dining area and living room waiting to have a word with our parents about one thing or another. Caity would go after dad because he can never say no to her and I would talk to mom because I needed some advice on certain expenses I was planning. My father was going over the monthly bills with my mother when she handed him the bill for her insurance premium. He looked it over and teasingly said “You know babe the day you kick over I’m going to a wealthy man.” Mom gave him the evil eye while trying to unsuccessfully suppress a smile. “I have no intention of dying before you do, au contraire ma cher it’s you that will kick the bucket before moi! “How you figure?” he asked. “Simple if you take genetics into account.” “What?” Okay let’s do the math...how many funerals have we been to for your family since we’ve been together?” As he did the mental tally she walked over to him and ran her fingers through his hair, “Well how many?” “A lot” he conceded. “Face it man your people are dropping like flies! Now in the 26 years that we’ve been together with the exception of my mom, how many people from my side have died? Go on take your time I’ll wait while you add it up.”

She looked up at the ceiling and playfully drummed her fingers on the table, he caught her hand and brought it to his lips and gave it a quick kiss before she snatched it away and flicked his fingers with hers, “Don’t try to distract me hombre. Well how many?” He sighed and said “None” “What was that?” and sarcastically added, “I couldn’t hear you; your eyes distracted me. How the hell do you get them to change colors like that?” He let out a laugh and said, “Thank you. I have no clue and the answer was none.” “Of course the answer was none! Hello my people don’t die, they refuse to die in fact they’re almost immortal. You need to drive a stake through our hearts to get us to shed this mortal coil baby.”

My dad got desperate at the sight of my mother launching into her victory dance. Refusing to accept defeat he tried to change the subject, “Wait that’s not fair your people originated in Aragon!” Mom looked at him as if were stupid, “ Huh? What does that have to do with anything ?” The Aragon comment caught my sister’s attention. “That place is real? Isn’t that the place of legends, St. George and The Dragon and that mythology stuff?” my little sister asked. Mom looked at her dumbfounded, “What the heck are they teaching you in school? Yeah Aragon is a real place. It wasn’t made up and before you ask no the dragons aren’t real.” “Wait I thought your family was from the Canary Islands?” “My mother’s side is from the Canary Islands, my dad’s great grandfather moved to the Canary Islands before immigrating here but my dad’s family originated from and the majority stayed living in Aragon. A few spread out over Albacete and Andalusia and the rest of Spain.” At the mention of Albacete my father saw an opportunity to tease mom some more and jumped on it like a cat on a can of tuna fish. “Caity that’s where the Don Quixote is from, that’s why your mom’s peoples are kind of crazy must be something in the water there. ” “Yeah, yeah we’re always tilting at wind mills I’ve heard the jokes before don’t make me jack you up pendejo.”


He seized the opportunity to creep away from his losing argument and give us a history lesson, “Your mother’s family had history kids. They fought under King Sancho IV and were given a coat of arms and everything.” It was all a little bit too much for my sister who was getting hyper on the info overload, “We have a coat of arms? Are you serious?!” “Yeah I have a copy of it in one my files. I’m sure you’ve seen it.” Mom described the coat of arms to my sister it turned out she had seen it several years ago. “Oh I that I thought it was a logo to something.” “Well I guess in a way it is a logo, it’s my family logo.” My sister thought about what mom said and then asked, “They were like knights and stuff?” “Na not that I know of at least it’s not mentioned in family history. What I do know is that my family fought in several campaigns against the Moors for the king, which is kind of funny when you look at it because some of my family were shacked up with Moors in Albacete.” “Sleeping with the enemy, huh ma?” “Knowing your mom’s family Caity they were doing more than just sleeping.” My dad added laughing. “Good one, good one I’ll give you two points for that one hon.”


“So ma..” I interjected, “what are you ___ of Aragon?” I asked totally mispronouncing her first name in the process and choosing to leave out her entire name out of the conversation for fear of massacring it as well. Na more like Maggie of the upper west side and Park Slope, Brooklyn now relocated to El Bronx. Now back to the real subject at hand…your dad losing this argument. ”

She cleared her throat and recited a list of ancients in her family while my dad kept time to her list by shaking his head back and forth. I found out that day that there are quite a substantial number of people in her family close to and over 100 years old. Oddly enough they were all from the Aragon side of the family, her paternal side. The woman was not wasn’t playing around when she said those peeps were practically immortal! When mom was done with her list and dad had admitted defeat ma jumped up and yelled, “Ta-da! To the victor goes the spoils!” and flipped pa the bird as pa tried to protest the victory.


Mom’s family has great genes. They all look fantastic for their ages my grandfather who is in his sixties looks decades younger than his age. My mom in her mid 40’s is constantly being mistaken for a 30 something. Between you and me I think that family is bathing in the blood of virgins or made a deal with the devil something’s up with those people. Especially my great- great aunt Eva; not only is she bathing in it but she must be drinking it too. Somewhere in the back of this woman’s closet is a picture that gets older and older while Eva herself maintains a youthful appearance. The woman is in her 90’s and looks 30 years younger. Not that I’m trying to start any rumors or anything but umm Eva always seems uncomfortable whenever I sprinkle garlic on my pizza. I’m just saying…

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