Mia: Shaken Not Stirred


The true life stories of a NYC female.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Has A Good Beat and You Can Dance To It


We were on our way off the dance floor for a much needed break when the DJ put the one song on in the entire universe capable of making Puerto Ricans of all ages lose their mother fluffing minds. The opening guitar chords made my heart skip a beat. I knew what was coming and it made me smile with anticipation. I’d seen it happen before. It is definitely a ‘must see’ moment. For my non-Hispanic friend however this was a new experience.


The song being played, 'Preciosa' was written in 1937 by one of Puerto Rico’s most prolific and talented composers, Rafael Hernandez . The song is considered to be one of his masterpieces as well as his love song to Puerto Rico. Since it was first published the song has always held a special place in the heart of Puerto Ricans. My generation was reintroduced to Preciosa by Marc Anthony and it’s his version that has loomed large for years now. Preciosa means beautiful and precious in Spanish.

As the opening lyrics blasted over the lounge’s sound system the crowd froze and let out a joyous shout. Guay yanked me back onto the dance floor no way anyone was sitting this song out. Even the non-Spanish speaking Nuyoricans in the crowd knew the words to the song and they joined the Spanish speakers in song. While the song was still at ballad pace my Caucasian friend leaned towards me and with a look that can only be described as amazement asked, “What is it about that damn song that drives you Ricans crazy?” I fluttered my fingers over my heart in response and began to sing along with the crowd as I danced. The tempo picked up and my friend shook her head and laughed. Our joy was infectious she said as she swayed her hips. “Oh my gawd!” she exclaimed when she saw several people with tears in their eyes as they sang, I had goose bumps.

The crowd began jumping up and down as they voices echoed the composer’s feelings. They danced salsa with bomba and plena moves thrown in (traditional dance) for good measure. The crowd went wild singing even louder as if trying to send our message of undying love back to the island via the night. Our voices formed a unified chorus, I was certain we could be heard beyond the closed doors and onto the moonlit street. Just what the world needed over 200 loud ass Puerto Ricans united in song I thought.

I looked over and my home girl Guay was emotional as hell, tears in her eyes she sang at the top of her voice. She was red faced and thumping her chest as if she were kick starting her heart. female is gonna kill herself. I caught Guay’s eye and smiled. I knew how she felt.I still carry enough Puerto Rican blood in me to feel a thrill in my heart whenever I hear the song. I decided right then and there that in the event Guay succeeded in beating her heart out of her chest I’d gladly stuff it back in with a smile on my face. My Caucasian friend smiled at me not quite understanding the mass wave of love we all felt for this tiny island but totally into our emotional display.


Because it's now that I understand
Because it's now that I understand
that regardless of what happens
I will always be Puerto Rican
I will always be Puerto Rican
Because wherever I walk, oooohhhh
Because I carry it in my blood
Because of my parent's heritage
And with pride I repeat
I love you Puerto Rico
I love you Puerto Rico”


When the song was over my friend leaned towards me again, “wow that was amazing…so Mia tell me what is it about that song that makes you all lose your mind?!” I thought about it for a second. “It has a good beat and you can dance to it.”


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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Everyday Was An Adventure



My friend was talking to me the other day about the soon to be removal of her braces.


Mia: I dated a guy with braces once.

Friend: You did?

Mia: Every kiss was an adventure.

Friend: Huh?

Mia: Oh yeah I never knew if today was going to be the day my lip got nicked and bled. It was all very exciting!

I opened my eyes wide and shivered wiggling my fingers in the air. She laughed long and loud.

Friend; Oh man you’re sick.

Mia: What can I say? I live dangerously.



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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Purple Tutu


The day ended pretty much as it had begun…with a man rubbing up on me and the vision on an old woman in a purple tutu.


Morning :
It was 6:30 am when I pulled my hair back into a pony tail and frowned at my reflection in the mirror. “Rise and shine sunshine!” my mom chirped as she entered my room cup of coffee in hand. I blinked away the vision of the old woman in a purple tutu balancing a cheese danish on her nose. She was a product of the all nighter I’d pulled. I may have looked and felt like warmed over crap at the moment but dammit my 22 page paper on interpersonal obstacles was looking like beauty queen material.

Procrastination was not the one to blame for this one. I’d been swamped with back to back papers and between school and the demands of my internship there had been little time to dedicate to this last minute paper, hence the all nighter. Bleary eyed I tried to smooth the crown of my hair down and quickly gave up after the second try. I’d only had 2 hours sleep and I still had a full day at my internship and school to get through. The old lady in the purple tutu winked at me as I headed out the door.

Dorogaya:
I boarded the crowded bus and headed towards the back where the college students tend to sit. As I started to slide into an empty seat my bag struck the shoulder of my potential seating partner. He turned to face me and swept me from head to toe with his gaze. I apologized to him and began the task of removing my bag and unzipping my coat. He stood up and smiled at me. God had been kind to this man in the looks department. I smiled up at him and apologized again.

The Lehman College logo clued me in to his student status the psych book in his hand confirmed it. Lehman’s very big on foreign students. He said something unintelligible to me in heavily accented English followed by “Dorogaya” which a friend later told me meant my darling in Russian and held out his hand for my bag which I promptly declined. He smiled at me again and when he saw that I’d settled in he sat down next to me and resumed his conversation with this friend. The Russian said something to his friend about me. I assumed it was about me because they were both looking at me and the friend smiled and nodded at the Russian student. For all I know they could’ve been plotting my death or maybe they’d spotted the old woman in the purple tutu as well.

I was lost in thought when a few moments later I felt the Russian’s thigh press against mine. Thinking I must be crowding him I moved over…he moved over as well.I moved again until I was pressed against the metal arm rest. He moved over again.
He seemed to want to sit as close to me as possible. Maybe he was cold and I was keeping him warm. Every now and then he’d say something to his friend and look at me. I was in no mood to attempt to tackle our language barrier and ask him why the hell he was sitting so close. I ignored the length of his thigh pressing against mine. I started to rise as my stop approached and he did too. Despite my protests he scooped up my bag from the floor and settled it on my shoulder and slid the hood of my coat onto my head. “Uh thank you.” I said not knowing what else to say I mean it was freezing outside.

At the Internship :
I dialed my sensei’s office extension as I made my way to the student office this is his version of me clocking in. He hadn’t arrived yet so I left him a message. I let out a breath I wasn’t even aware I was holding. I was glad he wasn’t in yet even though it was just putting off the inevitable. He’d been really angry at me the day before. We’d had an appointment for 4 pm but when he didn’t show up by 4:40 I left assuming he’d forgotten about it as he often does. Unfortunately he’d managed to reach me by phone on the way home and had ripped me a shiny new one. But that wasn’t the real reason he was angry. He kept harping on the real reason and it was that my school supervisor had informed him I would no longer be able to accommodate him by coming in on Fridays because that was supposed to be my day off. I knew that would cause trouble and had told my supervisor so.

My head was throbbing, from the corner of my eye I spotted the old woman with the purple tutu. I started to feel a little shaky, saw spots before my eyes, those were real and not due to lack of sleep.I remembered that I’d skip dinner the night before and hadn’t had any breakfast. I promised to take better care of myself. The lack of sleep and stress of this place was really getting to me.

Afternoon :
My sensei tracked me down and asked to speak in private with me. A huge verbal beat down was launched my way. Over and over again he brought up the fact that I was no longer available on Fridays. The truth is I need that day to focus on school work; he tends to forget that I’m a full time student. I can’t continue to burn my candle at both ends eventually the dripping wax is going to ruin my t-shirt. I rubbed my at my irritated eyes, no way in hell had an old lady in a purple tutu just skate boarded past me but then again this was New York so who the hell knew.

When it was over and he was gone I sat back and decided I’d had enough of his abuse. I gathered my things determined to leave. I didn’t care if it wasn’t quitting time I was done and I wasn’t coming back. Except I couldn’t leave, my bag and lap top were in the other room and there was a session going on. I wanted to curl into a fetal position somewhere and sleep. Yeah I’d had enough. My sensei had finally succeeded in breaking me. I made called my school supervisors and left them a message, “I’m done, I can’t take it no more. I am dropping out." I said.

On My Way To School:
I was replying to my text messages angrily hitting the keys on my phone when I heard people yelling, “Call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1!” I looked around to see what all the excitement was about and noticed that the man who’d been standing behind me at the bus stop was laid out on the sidewalk. He’d fallen and appeared to be having some sort of seizure.

All of a sudden I became bilingual and began issuing orders in English and Spanish. Lucky for them my Arabic is not up to snuff otherwise I’d been issuing orders in Arabic as well. Someone asked for something to put in his mouth in case he swallowed his tongue. I glanced at my brand new phone Oh hell no! I patted around my coat pockets until I found something. I tossed a pack of Orbit Gum at the person nearest person and instructed them to put it in his mouth, the entire pack, not a piece. I wasn’t worried about the state of his breath or his teeth. I knelt beside him to check on him and noticed blood coming from a head wound no doubt from when he’d hit the sidewalk. When he came to he was pretty much out of it. Someone asked if he spoke Spanish and he said yes.

A middle aged woman approached him speaking Spanish.

“Tu esta bien?” (are you okay?) she asked.

“What is she saying? I don’t understand you!” he yelled at the woman.

“Ju okay, ju okay don’t worry day call day police.” She replied.

“I don’t understand you!” he yelled again this time with a nastier attitude.

The woman sucked her teeth in disgust, “Pues jodete!” (well screw you then.)


As the crowd around him tried to comfort him by telling him the police and ambulance were on their way he snapped at them to leave him alone, to get away from him. After several minutes of this they happily complied. Someone handed me my pack of gum back…I wasn’t so sure I wanted it back. damn I just brought this pack of gum! Then I realized I’d spoken Spanish. Damn yo I just spoke fluent Spanish! No gringo accent either! Go me!

The man struggled to his feet and then struggled some more to remain on them, “Stay down, I told him “the ambulance is on their way. “You hit yourself pretty hard I think you might have a concussion.”

I expected him to snarl at me as he had done to everyone else but instead he looked at me and shyly smiled.

“What happened ?” he asked.

I shrugged my shoulders, “One minute you were standing behind me and the next you were passed out on the floor.” I replied.

“Me? Nah, man nah.”

“Yes, you. You were knocked the hell out. ”

“For reals I was knocked out?”

“Damn skippy you were. Look you even puked.” I said pointing to the sidewalk.
When the ambulance arrived he started giving them a hard time. l I shook my head at the EMS worker and got ready to leave my bus was arriving,

“Don’t leave me” the man pleaded. “Fine, I’ll stay but you have to let them look at you.” I said as I watched the crowd board the bus. I knew I was cutting it close but couldn’t in good conscience leave the man.

The Bus Ride To School:

He looked around the bus and despite all the empty seats near him walked to where I was sitting in the back. He smiled at me before he sat down. Something about him made the hair at the back of my neck stand up. He held a bag on his lap. For the next 40 minutes or so as the bus navigated out of the city his leg constantly rubbed against mine. I put it down to the fact that the roads were full of bumps, twist and turns. Then I noticed that even when the road had smoothed out he was still pressing his leg against mine. I glanced at him and noticed he kept applying pressure to the bag on his lap. By this time we were the only ones on the bus. I slid away only to feel him against my leg a few seconds later Holy monkey the bastard is masturbating ! He pressed his leg against mine harder and his leg started rubbing faster and faster. I shot up out of my seat and walked across the aisle. Part of me just wanted to slam my 45 lb book bag onto his lap as hard as I could and make his privates shrivel up in pain. He gave me a big smile. I started to slide my bag off my shoulders. Oh it was so on luckily for him my stop had come up.

The news of my intended action had reached my classroom before I had. Everyone agreed my sensei was the scum of the earth and that they weren’t allowing me to drop out. I was too exhausted to argue. The old woman in the purple tutu stood nearby with her hands on her hips, she was in complete agreement with my fellow students and professor.

Home

My heart did the running man dance of joy in my chest when I spotted my father and the old woman in the purple tutu waiting for me in the student parking lot. The ride home was a quiet one my dad understood my need for silence; we’re kindred spirits in that way. A hot shower and a meal later I padded into my room with my beloved dog Cleo at my side. The old woman in the purple tutu stood beside my bed and lovingly patted my pillow beckoning me to lay my head on it. I gladly obliged, seconds later as I teetered between the worlds of nod and reality my last vision was of the old woman in the purple tutu blowing me a kiss good night.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gin



My mother’s family is big on nick names. My great-grandmother it seemed had a thing for giving her kids nicknames that were in no way connected to their real names. For example my mom has an uncle called “Bolo” but his real name is Aingeru, no one has any idea of how the hell my great-grandmother came up with the nickname of “Bolo” but he’s been Bolo all his life. I have an uncle nicknamed “Tank” but one look at him and the source of the name is obvious, the man is built like one. My mother’s cousin Betsy aka “Chickie” ( no one knows the reason for that one either) called her from the cemetery and she was confused.


“Maggie who the hell is this Alonso person buried with my mother?”

“That’s Uncle Gin. Betsy.”

“I didn’t know his name was Alonso! How the hell did abuela get ‘Gin” from Alonso? ”

“Maybe she had a craving for gin when she was pregnant with him.”

“Mags you know grandma never drank!”

“Yet she had a kid named Gin. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?”



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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

THE INTERNET IS TRULY A MARVELOUS THING ISN’T IT?


My friend and I rarely say hello to each other on the phone anymore we talk to each other through out the day so much via text and instant messaging that it’s one long conversation with small gaps in between. When we chat online he swears he can ‘hear’ my NY accent. “ The internet is a marvelous thing” he is forever saying.


Friend: Surely you’re not sleeping?

Mia: Not quite. I was drifting off

Friend: Oh so then my voice will be the last thing you hear before you fall asleep. I like that.

Mia: Most likely unless someone else decides to call me.

Friend: Dream killer

Mia: Sleep spoiler. What’s up?

Friend: So I was checking out your blog and noticed the Irish theme for this month.

Mia: Uh huh

Friend: Was that done with me in mind?

Mia: No

Friend: Lie to me

Mia: Oh well then….of course it was!

Friend: Now say it for me.

Mia: Say what?

Friend: You know, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. You know what I want to hear.

Mia: Let me get a pint of Guinness?

Friend: Well that too but I meant the other thing I taught you M'AINGEAL .

MIA: CÁ BFHUIL AN LEITHREAS ? (WHERE’S THE TOILET)

FRIEND: NO, THE OTHER OTHER THING.

Mia: Oh! Erin go braugh! (Ireland forever)

Friend: That’s the one.

Mia: You know it’s always great to talk to you but I know you didn’t call me all the way from London to comment on the theme of the month or to hear the few words you’ve taught me . So what’s up?

Friend: Are you really, really, truly tired?

Mia: Exhausted, but curious …spill.

Friend: I’m having trouble with a paper for my philosophy class. I needed a break and decided that the sound of your voice was sorely needed.

Mia: I snore therefore I sleep.

Friend: Smart arse

Mia: True that, but I be a smart ass who got an A in philosophy.

Friend: You did?

Mia: Yes indeed. Would you like me to help you out with the paper?

Friend: Now why would you do something as sweet as that?

Mia: Are you saying I’m not normally sweet? Because if you are I’ll smack you next time I see you.

Friend: No, no not at all you my love are inherently sweet. I’m counting the days by the way.

Mia: Until I smack you?

Friend: No smart arse until I see you. I've missed you and we are going to have a great time!

Mia: Yup.

I slid out of bed and walked over to my desk

Mia: Let me turn on my computer and we can instant message each other while we work . Otherwise this call is going to cost you mega pounds.

Friend: You’re worth every shilling.

Mia: Yeah, you say that now but when your broke ass has no funds to treat me to a night at the local pub you’ll regret these calls.

Friend: Never, like I said my friend you’re worth every shilling.

Mia: Buttering me up…hmmm you’re really struggling with this paper aren’t you?

Friend: Yes, but I don’t want you to get out of bed and interrupt your rest.

Mia: I’m not going to be able to get any sleep if I know you’re struggling with this.

Friend: Good lord woman no wonder I love you so.

Mia: Ditto my friend. Besides I know you, you’ll go nuts and start pulling your hair out.

Friend: That’s true

Mia: And bald is not a good look on a 26 year old just ask Prince William.

Friend: That’s cold

Mia: Exactly, this is why I’m going to make some hot chocolate.

Friend: Sounds good I think I’ll do the same.

Mia: When is this paper due by the way?

Friend: Tomorrow.

Mia: Flippin’ procrastinator!

Friend: Look whose calling the kettle black!

Mia: I don’t procrastinate…I just put things off…til the last minute.

Friend: No wonder you got an A in philosophy.

Mia: Exactly. I’m going to make mine coffee we have a long night ahead of us.

I made myself a cup of instant coffee yeah I know fresh brewed is better but I was being lazy. Hey I am entitled. I went back into my room and logged onto my messenger.

Friend: Oh there you are!

without missing a beat we hung up our phones and continued our conversation via instant messenger

Friend: Isn’t it cool that we can have hot chocolate and work on a paper together while you’re in New York and I am here? Thank God for the instant messenger!

Mia: Ah yes the wonders of the internet.

Friend: Are you being sarcastic?

Mia: Me? Never.

Friend: Sure sure. Let’s get to work.

Mia: Knock yourself out show me what you got so far.

FRIEND: M'AINGEAL?

MIA: YES?

FRIEND: THE INTERNET IS TRULY A MARVELOUS THING ISN’T IT?


Several hours later we were exhausted to the point of blurry vision but we were finally done. With a little help from me my friend had written a paper he could be proud of. I have to admit being able to help him when he’d needed it made me feel good and it wouldn’t have been possible without the internet. So yeah the internet is a marvelous thing. Makes me wonder though how on earth did long distance friendships sustain themselves?





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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Go n-eírí an bóthar leat


It’s been a sad week at my internship some of us as get really emotionally involved with our clients something my sensei does his best to discourage. I guess this is his way of making sure we’re emotionally protected. A couple of events this week made me understand his reasoning. Personally it's not a reasoning I can embrace as my own. All of the people I deal with in my life become part of my heart only time proves whether that's a wise choice or not. Sometimes the end result makes my heart sing other times it weeps.



My sensei interrupted Wednesday’s staff meeting with the news that one of our clients had been found dead in her apartment. We weren’t told the cause of death but sometimes what isn’t said speaks volumes. All eyes turned towards her therapist. The client had come in the day before needing to talk but the therapist had called out sick. The therapist who had once been my sensei’s mentee seemed to take the death in stride. If she had any emotional attachment towards her client she’d hid it well. I wondered if the therapist felt remorse over her client’s death… you know one of those ‘if only’ moments.


While everyone gathered around the therapist and offered her their condolences I walked out of the meeting with an aching sadness in my heart. My thoughts turned to the other clients who’d been her friends. I worried about how they’d take the news. For the next couple of days sadness hung in the air, we were all affected by the beautiful singer’s death. The therapist who has taken me under his wing was angry; “some one should have seen her.” he’d fumed. Later on during a group session he addressed his clients “If I’m not here and you need to talk to someone don’t take no for an answer, ” he said as he turned his head to look at me, “you find someone. You all have my number call me if you need me.”

When the meeting was over he pulled me to the side, he was angry and needed to talk. He was angry about the emotional detachment towards our clients that is encouraged in the name of maintaining boundaries. My protector likes my style of therapy it is similar to his own except I don’t cuss while in session. My style is a constant source of irritation to my sensei. He’s trying to mould me into his image; I fight him all the way. My protector grabbed my hand and jerked his head in the direction of my sensei’s and former mentees offices, “Mia, don’t you ever become like those assholes. No matter how hard they try to change you. You hear me?” I nodded my head. I thought of the client. “I promise.” I repeated.

The world is a sadder place without her she added beauty to it and now she’s gone. She was well known on the indy music scene, one of her songs,“Under My Skin” had even been featured on an episode of Dawson’s Creek. I’d loved the song when I’d heard it and years later when I met her I never connected her with it. She was a singer was all she’d say. She was a beautiful woman with the voice of an angel,but more than that she was a beautiful soul in a world that is always not so pretty.

I’d met the Irish woman named Maura during my second semester when I was shadowing the man who would become my mentor. From the very start we’d connected through our love of music and our twisted sense of humor. She’d always send me into fits of laughter with her funny stories. My favorites were when she’d talk about her family “I’m going to go all Lucky Charms on you Mia.” She’d warn whenever she was about to launch into a flawless imitation of her mother’s Irish accent. I’ll miss her. Her parting has left a void but I’ll always fill it with remembered joy. I know I’ll never forget her. Whenever we parted for the day she’d lay an Irish blessing on me. Now it’s my turn. Maura, Go n-eírí an bóthar leat. (May the road rise with you.)






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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maybe I Should've Warned People


We finally managed to convince my mom that she needs a cell phone.
Since I was getting a new line she took over my service and opted to keep my number since everyone she would have given it to anyway already know it by heart. When the news spread the other day that she’d finally gotten a cell phone everyone and their mama including my friends included began texting her. Her blackberry was going off all day on top of her desk.


“Mia, I think this message is for you.” She said thrusting the phone at me late Saturday night.

I looked at the message and explained that that particular number calls and texts me by mistake on a regular basis and handed the phone back to her. Mom ignored the message but the texter was persistent and kept texting her.

Anonymous Texter: Where u at? I’ve been trying 2 call u

Maggie: Who is this?

Anonymous Texter: Ur mother

Maggie: You’re texting the wrong number.

Anonymous Texter: I don’t think so

Maggie: I know so

Anonymous Texter: No

Maggie: Honestly you are

Anonymous Texter: No

Maggie: Yes, wrong person

Anonymous Texter: R u sure?

Maggie: Pretty much, unless you’re a 4ft 11 dimpled redhead currently resting in peace 6ft under at St. Raymond’s.

Anonymous Texter: Is this not Christopher?

Maggie: No, and you are obviously not my mom. What a shame I had so many questions for you if you had been her.


Anonymous Texter: What?

Maggie: Did Kitty really run away when I was 8 or did you give her away?

I find it rather comforting that mom’s special brand of humors will in now way be diminished by text messaging. Maybe I should've warned people.








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Saturday, March 07, 2009

If I'd Been a Good Girlfriend


The Yeti (my boyfriend) was upset. Again. The bone of contention on today’s menu was called Mia’s Trip to Italy 2009 and it couldn’t possibly have any meat left on it in my opinion. Ever since I’d informed him of my trip weeks earlier the bone had been trotted out on a regular basis. I was tired of the damn bone already and silently wished he’d choke on it.


A couple of years ago a friend and I had talked about going to Europe together and she’d never forgotten the conversation so when the opportunity arose for her to spend 2 weeks in Italy this summer visiting her aunt she jumped on it with me in mind.She knows I have an insane love of adventure and felt that she’d enjoy the trip more if I was with her.

At first I declined but I couldn’t resist her puppy dog eyes for long and gave in besides this was the chance to experience something new. Now that I was on board the 2 week Italy trip had morphed into something else and she was really excited. I suggested we spend a couple of days in Ireland, hop over to London hang out for a few days there with a friend of mine then head out to Amsterdam for a day meet up with some more of my friends and then spend the remaining time in Italy and Rome . We’d take only what we could carry in a back pack and ferry and bus it to where ever we wanted to go. She left all the planning and details to me which was why I was checking out ferry schedules and hostels in Ireland on my computer when the Yeti approached me.

“Why a hostel instead of a hotel?” he asked.

“We want to meet people. It’ll make enhance the experience but the way it’s looking now it’ll be actually cheaper to stay in hotels.”

I looked up at him and beamed, “I’m going to have to get a few more lenses and another memory card before I go. Ireland alone is a photographers dream.”

He frowned. My Yeti however was not happy about my plan to spend 2 weeks away from him. The Yeti’s insecurity was rearing its ugly head and I’d had enough.

“You can cheat on me out there!” he yelled at me when I demanded to know what his problem with the trip was.

I was truly shocked. Then it dawned on me that he’d had no problem with me going off to spend the summer with my family in Egypt but then of course my mom would be on that trip and I’d be surrounded by aunts and uncles…built in chaperones so to speak. And that’s when I really got mad, really mad and a bit hurt too. I have never given this man a reason not to trust me.

A good girlfriend I suppose would have taken the time to soothe him, to lay his insecurities to rest. I wasn’t in good girlfriend mode that day I was more like in you have pissed me off and insulted me mode. So without missing a beat I narrowed my eyes, looked him in the eye and calmly replied…

“And you will never know if I do cheat on you because what happens in Italy stays in Italy… unless Valerio decides to open his luscious mouth.”

“Who’s Valerio?!” he asked outraged. He looked as if he were mentally compiling a list of my foreign friends trying to recall if I’d ever mentioned a Valerio.

A good girlfriend would have stepped in and told him she didn’t know anyone named Valerio, that she actually didn’t have any friends in Italy. But remember I was not in good girlfriend mode so I didn’t do any of that. Instead I got up from my seat and walked away singing an old Italian love song called "Al Di La" which by the way I am clueless as to how I know the lyrics in Italian no less.

“Mia, who the hell is Valerio?” he asked again but instead of responding in good girlfriend mode I began to sing louder stopping only to wink at him just before I closed the door behind me.

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Proximity Award



The ever mega cool Darla hooked me up with an award called The Proximity Award. The awared is described as follows: " This blog invests and believes in proximity- nearness in space, time and relationships. Nominated bloggers are exceedingly charming, they aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

Thank you Darla, I am honored and it is my pleasure to pass the award on to the following bloggers b/c they like Darla are tre groovy.


Mia1.0 : The Stoned Knitter

Jane : Lost In America

Ritardo: Fried Spam

Tap: Tapsalteerie Farms

Chris: Just Me In Ohio

Jason: Everything is wrong with me

Cheeky: Snow Trapped Southern Girl

Sam: Sand Monkey





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Posted by @ 2:28 PM
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not a Happy Yeti


It had finally stopped snowing. My friends and I stared out the café window watching the woman in high heeled boots navigate her way gingerly onto the slippery sidewalk. Actually we were placing bets on how long it would take her to kiss sidewalk. The sudden temperature drop was causing havoc making even the most sensible shoe wearing pedestrian a little extra cautious walking around the city.

I set my cup of hot chocolate down on the table and sent a silent prayer up to the snow gods that the woman would not slip and fall right there in the middle of Mulberry Street. The last thing she needed was an audience scoring her fall and score it we would, besides my money had been on her not to fall. Never under estimate a fashionista, those females can jump double dutch in heels. No joke.

My cell phone rang just as the woman entered the café, I raised my cup in salute to her and she smiled at me. Little did she know she'd just paid for my hot chocolate. I answered my phone, my boyfriend was screeching on the other end. He was livid, he’d expected me to be waiting for him by the train station several blocks away.

why on earth would I be outside in the freezing cold when I was supposed to meet my friends at the nice warm café?

I told him I didn’t recall telling him that I’d meet him at the train station after all his joining my friends and me had been a last minute thing. He continued to argue with me stating that he’d left a message on my voice mail, a message I obviously had not gotten I informed him. He was just winding up I thought to myself and before I got angry I cut him off and told him he was free to join us or make his way home. Either was fine by me.

He was about to launch into another argument when all of a sudden I heard what sounded like wind whipping the phone and then the line went dead. I figured the call had dropped and turned my attention back to my friends. Several minutes later he called again and I was greeted by a torrent of curses followed by “I slipped and fell!” Of course me being me I laughed, him being him didn’t, me being me I laughed even harder and ended our call.

Ten minutes later he stomped into the café still put out. He glowered at me as he approached our table. There was snow in his hair and all over his clothes. From the looks of him he’d obviously landed in a pile of snow and had to roll his way out of it. I struggled to keep my composure.

“Oh look it’s a Yeti!” I joked in reference to his 6ft plus tall snow covered frame. He gave me his best Yurisonofabitch glare, which I promptly dismissed with a beautifuly executed eye roll.

"So uh Yeti been making snow angels have ya?” I asked with a straight face as I handed him the hot chocolate I’d ordered for him. My friends erupted in laughter. He glared some more as he accepted the cup and took a seat next to me. He was not a happy Yeti.


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Posted by @ 12:53 AM
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Monday, March 02, 2009

Je T'aime Chérie


She appears to be decades younger than she actually is but you don’t realize this until someone reveals her actual age. There are several other things you notice about Franise. First and foremost is her jet black hair. It falls well past her buttocks in mega thin dread locks. Her eyes are a beautiful shade of gun metal gray fringed with thick curly black eye lashes. Her skin is the color of burnished copper and has a natural glow to it; she looks as if she never had a bad skin day in her life. The final thing you notice about her is that she is mentally ill.


Forty years ago Franise had and her husband had been teachers. They’d moved to New York from New Orleans. One night while returning home they were attacked by a group of men in the elevator of the building they lived in. Her husband was murdered in front of her and what was done to Franise is better left unsaid. Franise never recovered mentally from the trauma. Shortly afterwards she moved into our apartment complex. After the death of her mother Franise’s family took over her care.

No one in this neighborhood remembers Franise ever being anyway but the way she is now. Everyone knows her story and is very protective of her. She has a soft voice and rarely speaks; the few times I have heard her talk I’ve picked up traces of a lovely Cajun accent. She’s afraid of people outside of her family and because of this avoids interaction with outsiders. The exception to that rule seems to be my mother and no one including her doctor has been able to figure out the why of it.

When we moved into this complex eight-teen years ago Franise was immediately drawn to my mother. She'd approach my mom every morning and spoke to her. It was never more than a sentence or two but coming from Franise that was miraculous. When she’d spot my mother anywhere she’d raise her hand in greeting and smile at her. She even rode the elevator with her. Franise never rides the elevator with people. In fact if someone is waiting for the elevator she’ll take the stairs. When Franise’s mother first witnessed this she was shocked. She was even more surprised when she discovered that Franise would often knock on our door and ask to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg. It turned out that Franise never really needed the items she just used it as an excuse to approach my mother. Mom was touched by this and used the concept of borrowing as a way to reach out to Franise. For example when mom bakes she listens for the sounds of Franise arriving home and has a slice of cake wrapped and waiting for her. Everyone knows when Franise arrives because as soon as she steps into the elevator she presses the alarm button and doesn’t take her finger off of it until she reaches her floor.

“Franise,” mom calls out from our door way when Franise walks past, “I baked a cake would you like to borrow a slice?” On days when the weather is an issue mom offers something cold or hot to drink depending on the need and asks if Franise would like to borrow a cup of whatever she’s made. Always Franise stops, takes what is offered and scurries into her apartment calling out, “Merci !” behind her closed door.

She’s never called my mother by her name, she’s never called us by our names either but she knows who we are and who we belong to. Years ago when my little sister Caitlin was wailing in my brothers arms after scraping her knee in the playground Franise approached them and stroked Caity’s hair. “Hush ma chérie it’s going to be fine. Boy you take her on up to your mama.” And then she walked them to the elevator pressed for our floor and rode up with them ringing the alarm all the way. When they got to our floor Franise watched as they knocked on our apartment door only when she’d seen my step out into the hall and gather the then 6 year old year old Caitlin into her arms was she satisfied. “La petite got hurt.” She said to my mom. “Thank you for bringing them up Franise.” Mom replied. Franise nodded her head and gave mom one of her rare smiles. That was the first and last time Franise ever spoke to my siblings.

The other day mom spotted Franise in the lobby holding a jar that contained 2 pickles floating in pickle juice. It was the third time that day mom had come across her with the jar. Franise smiled at my mother and held up the jar for her inspection. Mom stared at the pickles in the jar. “You waiting to see if they have gherkins?” Franise laughed. She obviously had a sense of humor and caught the joke. I’d never heard her laugh before it was kind of odd and from the reaction of the people around us I gathered they felt the same way too.

Several hours later we heard the elevator alarm ringing “Franise is home.” My mom said just as someone knocked on our door. Mom opened the door and found Franise on the other side holding a small jar of Vlasic Baby Gherkins. She thrust the jar at my mother and smiled. “Look chérie they had babies. I am a grandmère!” Mom laughed it was the first time she’d ever heard Franise make a joke.

Franise smiled at mom and then opened the jar and fished a baby gherkin out. “Would you like to borrow one?” she asked as she handed the gherkin to mom. “Thank you Franise.” Franise nodded and started walking towards her apartment. When she got to her door she turned to look at my mother and smiled. “Je t'aime chérie.” She said before quickly escaping into her apartment. Mom stood there stunned staring at Franise’s door. She could hear Franise behind the door locking the first of her many locks. Mom walked over to the door and touched it, “Je t'aime aussi Franise…I love you too Franise.” She said as Franise slammed the last deadbolt into place.

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Posted by @ 11:11 PM
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