Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Suppose It's Time To Be A Grown-Up

My beautiful Papi's birthday was tainted by the death of his sister; a definite cloud over the family right now. Not because we were particularly close to her- she was okay and all, but I barely knew her, plus I heard she was mean to my grandma back in the day- but because little by little a generation of us is disappearing, and no one wants to admit that pretty soon, we'll be next.

Especially me.

You may not know this about me, but I'm pretty spoiled. I was spoiled by my family, and then later as adult by my ex-husband. Whatever I wanted, one way or another *POOF* I got it. There was always someone on whose lap I could rest my head and cry, "Whoa is me!" Soon, though- sooner than I'd like- there won't be anyone like that around. And that will suck ass.

To add to my impending forced maturation, my mom's health is teetering. It's leaning towards VERY VERY SICK. And me being the oldest, well, you know how it goes. I can't handle that, folks. I just can't. It's been almost a decade since my grandma passed and I still cry over that at least once a week. I'm just plumb not strong enough to deal with losing anybody else, or seeing them sick, or visiting anyone else in anymore hospitals. I can handle a million rejections from a million and one publishers, magazines and journals, but a death in the family reduces me to a quivering bowl of Jell-O.

And sometimes I look out at the full moon from my bedroom window and think to myself, Wow, one day I won't be able to lie here and stare at that moon. I'll be in the ground somewhere and I won't be able to see that beautiful full moon. And that really really sucks ass.

But no, there's no wallowing allowed in this house, unfortunately. Because I have two young-uns to bring up and, although I enjoy being the Jaded NYer that I am, I'd rather not have my babies going around thinking the glass is half empty. I'd much rather they think: "Hey, who the hell drank my water and when can I kick their ass?"

*smooches...wishing that death would just eat a bag of dicks!*
----------------
I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don't want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe

Friday, September 28, 2007

So Torn, So Torn...

I read this news article on Yahoo! News yesterday:

Hispanic immigrants sue city after crackdown
By Av Harris


Wed Sep 26, 9:02 PM ET

Ten Hispanic immigrants filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a Connecticut city, its mayor and police chief, and federal agents who led a crackdown on illegal immigration last year.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, claims the arrests violated the civil rights of nine workers and a 10th man who was stopped at a traffic light, including their right to due legal process, free speech and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, according to court documents.

It is the latest legal challenge to crackdowns on illegal immigrants, as localities nationwide grapple with how to handle their status.

The lawsuit claims undercover police in Danbury, Connecticut, lured the workers into a van by posing as contractors looking for day laborers.

"He offered us work and we took it," plaintiff Juan Barrera told a news conference, referring to an undercover police officer. "We didn't know why, but they immediately arrested us and put us in handcuffs. We didn't know what was going on.

"They treated me like a violent criminal and all I was trying to do was find work," Barrera added.

After their 2006 arrest in a sting set up by local and federal authorities, the men were handed over to federal agents, held without charge for days or weeks, then transported to detention centers before being released on bond, court documents said.

The plaintiffs, represented by Yale University law students, claim the U.S. Constitution protects the civil rights of all people in the United States. The attorneys would not discuss their clients' immigration status or their countries of origin.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton vowed to defend the city.

Boughton, a Republican, is a well-known crusader against illegal immigration. Two years ago, he wanted Connecticut State Police find illegal workers and turn them over to the U.S. immigration agency for deportation. Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell rejected the request.


My question here is, are illegal aliens subject to the same rights we, as citizens (natural born or otherwise) get to enjoy? On one hand I want to say no because then it offers few incentives to becoming a citizen and paying taxes and lessening the tax burden on the rest of us. But if they aren't subject to our rights, wouldn't that A) also mean they are not subject to our laws and B) give crazy, power-tripping cops the authority to treat them like dogs in the street?

Times like this I wish I knew more about politics, government or law...

*smooches...loving my shiny blue passport*
----------
Every night you cry yourself to sleep
Thinking: "Why does this happen to me?
Why does every moment have to be so hard?"

Love Among the Ruins

Every morning on my way into work, and every evening on my way home, I see this homeless couple stationed outside of Home Depot with a sign that reads something like: "We don't have any excuses, just down on our luck..." And I always have this urge to stop and ask them what the fuck happened to them.

Now call me ignorant, but when I see a homeless black person I don't think twice about it. Of course they're homeless- I'm never shocked. But this couple is white, and that baffles me. Why are THEY homeless? Don't white folks own the world?

And not only are they white, but they look young- definitely not over 40. Why are they homeless? Do they not have any employable skills? Especially him (double standard, I know); at the very least that fool should try his hand at some manual labor to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. There's no shame in tarring roofs all day if at the end of the week you get a nice paycheck to help you get off the streets.

Have they no family to lend a hand? No one to take them in for a little bit until they get back on their feet? Someone to say, "Hey, they're looking for a guy in the mail room in my office. You interested?" Why not? Fast food places are always hiring. At McDonald's, not only would they get a paycheck, but they'd be guaranteed one meal a day, plus unlimited coffee/soda breaks.

Why are they homeless?

Of course my Jaded voice chimes in sometimes and says to me, "You know why they're homeless. They're probably crackheads, and if you give them any money it will go to crack. And don't even bother giving them your granola bar. Crackheads only want cash money."

While this may be the case, it doesn't stop me from wanting to stop and know their story. "Why are you here?" I want to ask. "Why are you here?"

But besides all that, in the face of so many lonely nights this winter where all I will have to look forward to is watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls online and eating enchiladas from my local Mexican joint, I want to know HOW they manage to stay together...

*smooches...actually jealous of a homeless couple*
--------------
Oh twice as much aint twice as good
And can't sustain like a one half could
It's wanting more
That's gonna send me to my knees

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Speaking of Halloween, 1994...

Hey, Irene, is this the night in question? Ha!!








*smooches...laughing so that I won't cry*
---------
Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth
it was worth all the while

Dress Courtesy of Patricia Fields

The past always comes back to haunt you. Remember that.



Irene and I, HS Prom, Tavern on the Green, NYC. 6/93








*smooches...wondering just when it was that my boobs got so big*
--------------
I miss that town
I miss their faces
You can't erase
You can't replace it

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You Look Like You Could Use a Laugh...

My posts have been so heavy lately. They've lost their silliness, brevity and fun-ness. So here's a little treat for you.

A couple of weeks ago I met a guy, former lawyer, who seemed nice, cool, whatever. We only chatted a couple of times after meeting and then I finally gave him a call (blocking MY cell number of course...I've learned the hard way that sometimes that's necessary).

So we're on the phone talking about whatever: he went to Stuyvesant (my rival HS) and claims he used to be a B-Boy in the 80's, but he used the word "vernacular" and "heretofore" during our conversation, and claimed that he played Wagner for his son on the regular...his B-Boy status was in question. He also mentions that he has narcolepsy, which I thought was ironic because I'm an insomniac. It was a turn-off right from jump but I was curious, and he said it happened rarely and never at "crucial" moments.

I tell him that I went to Brooklyn Tech (and he snickered! can you imagine?) and that I was a writer who'd abandoned her scientific career path for the life of a starving artist...the usual BS you say when everything is new and you're trying to impress...

Then all of a sudden...out of NOWHERE...dead air.

"Hello? Hello?" I asked, but to no avail.

Want to know what happened?

HE FELL ASLEEP!!!! That's right; I'm not too proud to admit it. It's just that I thought the days of the toothless, coonish, really bad dates were behind me. But I guess there was one guy I'd forgotten to cover...the narcoleptic.

I tell ya, man, this shyt ONLY happens to ME!!!

*smooches...trying to ge...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*
--------------
You looking just a little too hard at me
Standing just a little too close to me
You saying 'Not quite enough' to me
You sipping just a little too slow for me

A Writer's Life

A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it to be God. Sidney Sheldon said that. And of all the quotes about writing I've ever read nothing was ever truer. Face to face with a blank piece of paper- or a blank computer screen, blinking cursor mocking me with its "you have nothing to say" taunt, a fleeting, albeit terrifying, feeling of helplessness overcomes me.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. -Red Smith

Creating is hard. Harder than anything else in this world. Writers know it. Sculptors know it. Mothers know it. You nurture this thing that pours out of you in the hopes that the universe will embrace it and love it as you do, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the universe spits on your baby, stomps it to the ground and slashes at it with that proverbial red pen. And it can feel like your innards are being ripped out through your throat, leaving you with no other option but to cower in a corner and cry.

Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter. -Jessamyn West

But you can't cower forever. It is hard being god. Look at all the shyt I give doctors for having god complexes, and they actually have the ability to bring people back from the dead (at least on ER they do...). But if god had cowered in a corner crying because man didn't turn out the way he/she wanted him to turn out, where would we be...or maybe god is cowering in a corner and that's why we're fucked up...hmmm...food for thought.

I'm getting off topic again, dammit...

A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public eye with his pants down. -Edna St. Vincent Millay

My point is we have to push on, forward. We HAVE to. There is no choice. No turning back. "No second chance, blanc." All we can do is our best. If, at the end of the day we know we gave 110% of our very soul for our creation, our babies, our stories, our pictures, our paintings, our songs- it will be enough. Even if no one understands what you've made (Yoko...I'm looking at you, honey...). Even if Michiko Kakutani pans your novel in the New York Times, even if you don't get that grant, even if your song debuts as #300 on the Billboard charts, even if your kid ends up a heroin addict OD-ing on Avenue B, if you gave it your all and then some, it's all you can do.

What more can you possibly do?

This is what I have to tell myself to keep going. I HAVE to. This is what I want to leave to my "creator" friends who are at that impasse and question where to go from here. Push forward. You HAVE to. This life you live is the ultimate novel/painting/song you don't even know you're creating, and you won't be there to know how it turns out but TRUST that it will be spectacular!
All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. -George Orwell


*smooches...full of demons, vanity, voices and vices; all the makings of a good writer*
-----------
There been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Bangs Have SUCH An Ego!

Day Three with Bangs: Last night, on a friend's advice, I slept with a curler in my hair in order to shape my new bangs. Another thing I haven't done since I was a kid. N got a real kick out of it. I could tell she had an urge to point and laugh but, god bless her little heart, she fought it. She went to her room and laughed in private.

This morning when I blew it out it looked pretty good. Not straight-outta-the-salon good, but still hot. And then something weird happened. My bangs seemed to take over my brain. They hushed the other voices with quite command, and demanded to be accessorized as only sexy new bangs could be accessorized. They demanded a skirt, deep V-neck shirt and peep-toe heels. AND they asked for eye make-up. ME. In eye make-up. Can you imagine?

My bangs strutted all the way to N's school like they were Hollywood stars. And when they went down into the subway they sashayed to the bench like the platform was a runway. I could almost hear Miss Jay in my ear saying "Shoulders back, give me neck, c'mon, work it sister. Sell it to me!"

Then my bangs, accompanied by really cute sunglasses, strutted crosstown on 23rd Street, catching the eye of a construction worker whom I see everyday and has never made eyes at me. Today, not only did he do a double take when he spotted me, but he tapped his buddy on the shoulder so he could see me, too. And I knew he knew who I was because my tattoo was very visible on my leg and I've caught him looking at it before.

At lunchtime, my bangs kept bothering me until I agreed to take them out for a walk in the sun, and then they proceeded to flirt with three plain-clothes detectives on 2nd Avenue, a UPS guy on East 11th, some police academy cadets in a diner and a few Baruch students eating lunch outside. They just couldn't be stopped.

I'm almost afraid to go home; who knows what these crazy bangs will do next! Who do they think they are? Don't they know that I'm the Jaded NYer? I NEVER talk to strangers on the street. And the audacity of these bangs to bring the twins out- in the clear light of day- on a TUESDAY!

*smooches...thankful for the teeny distraction from my humongous sadness*
------------
Como puedo yo borrar tus besos vida
Están tatuados en mi piel
Quiero de una vez por todas, ya largarte
Y borrarte de mi ser
Ojala y la lluvia me ahogue entre sus brazos
Para no pensar en ti
O que pase un milagro o pase algo,
Que me lleve hasta ti

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Bangs, Dutty Rock and Emotional Rollercoasters...Just Another Saturday Night

Another Saturday night with another tale to tell. I don't do this for me, you know. I do it for you, my faithful readers...if I don't go out and paint the town red, what will you have to read?

My day started at the crack of dawn. Yes, the CRACK of dawn. I went to meet my cousin at her place because we were gonna get all purdy for the Sean Paul concert that night. We get to the salon, in Washington Heights at 8:18 AM. I was number 18 on the list. At 8:18 AM. But whatever. I was on a mission. This was my first time seeing Sean Paul live and that plus other vain reasons required that I be in top form. My wash n go summer look just would not do.

While at the salon I made a very crucial "look" decision. I got bangs. Long side-swept bangs. I haven't had bangs since I was maybe 12, so I was a bit excited.




So here's me with no bangs, New Year's Eve (12/06):


And here are my new faux-bangs (because I can't even commit to a hairdo!):


Hair in place (sort-of...damn humidity) I rushed home, rushed to the venue and tried to get my head wrapped around what the night held for me.

I was excited to be going to the concert because I love love love Sean Paul. In fact, I dare say I'd have all his babies tomorrow if he asked me. For real for real. And Calle 13 (reggaeton artists) are a new fave so that was cool, too. And my cousin was coming with me and she NEVER goes ANYWHERE so THAT was exciting.


Here she is with one of the Jenny's (private joke):


Then I was a little anxious because it was looking iffy as to whether or not I was getting in- it was first come, first serve, even with tickets- so I was forced to cut the line. I'm not proud of that but fuck it. We're talking Sean Paul here. Cutting of the line was necessary.

THEN I was a little bummed because Mr. DJ, my eye candy for the evening, had to work late and since MY entry into the venue looked shaky at best, I discouraged him from making the trip out just in case it turned into a waste of time.

THEN anxiety set in again because, well, my ex was going to be there. With his new girlfriend. I can't even tell you how stressful that was for me. I can admit here- because I feel like I can tell you anything- that I'm only 87% over him, and that from time to time I'll go somewhere or hear a song and be reminded of him and feel sad. Even though we're still friends and I felt good about a platonic relationship with him...a new serious girlfriend changes everything.

Because frankly when he ended it his reason was a hesitation to be involved in a serious relationship. Apparently that meant a serious relationship with me. So what's left to do but accept it, right? I was not his "one" and maybe she is. However, meeting the new girlfriend, especially when she's pretty, kind of feels like three steps back for me. I was stressed.

So what does Raquel do in the face of adversity and strife? She makes new friends (who also cut the line) and makes a B-line for the bar. Because the event was sponsored by Bacardi. Three rum and cranberries and a bunch of Calle 13 songs later I'd forgotten all about not being with Mr. DJ or my ex and his new girlfriend clear across the stadium watching the same show. I was in a good place. A good, alcohol soaked place.



Finally, in that good place, Sean Paul takes the stage with four bootylicious dancers and I all but lose my mind. He was so amazing! He did a pretty big set and kept me out of my seat the whole time...I can't remember a time where I've danced that much at a concert...maybe as a kid ogling at The New York Band in the parking lot of a Brooklyn Waldbaum's was the last time I danced that hard!

And halfway through SP's set, after my cousin and about 1/3 of the crowd started to leave (I assume to beat the rush to the exit), my ex texts me. He's leaving, but wants to see me before he goes. To meet him at the exit.

I knew if I said no it would look bad. Hurt feelings aside, he and I are friends and he doesn't know how I feel about this because I put in Oscar-worthy performances as "The Ex-Girlfriend Who's Is Totally Cool About Just Being Friends" so I suck it up and go meet him at the exit. I'm a big girl (and I was still a bit tipsy) so I just went.

And dammit, he looked good, but I was ok. And she was nice, but I was ok. We chatted for like a minute before he took off, with a hug and a kiss, to, I assume, be with her. But I was ok. And I think if I type that over and over again eventually I will be OK.

But let's not dwell on that. Or on the fact that as he was walking out with her, SP goes into his song "I'm Still In Love With You," the one he performs with Sasha, the very song I played on REPEAT after he and I split. The irony (is it irony or just fucked up? Alanis done ruined that word for me, dammit!) was not lost on me.

Let's instead focus on the fact that SP tore it up on stage for about 5 more songs, had one of his dancers doing the dutty wine ON HER HEAD, and closed the show with a great rendition of "Temperature."

And let's focus on how cool the new people I met were:



And that at the end of the night, after a small stint at Bembe (that place is just NOT the same without Medina in the DJ booth), I did finally meet up with Mr. DJ, and despite all I say to the contrary, I really do like him and enjoy his company...and all the naughty things that are involved with that...

How do I know? Well, at Bembe, when he asked if I missed him, instead of giving him my usual coy and non-committing, "maybe" I looked him in the face and just told the truth for once.

"Of course I did."

After that, the night just got a lot better...

*smooches...soooo tired after running a gamut of emotions*
-----------
Boy you make me holler
Boy you make me sweat and
I can't get your tenderness
Still I can't get you off my mind
What is it about you baby?

Friday, September 21, 2007

There Is No Balance, Only Chaos

"You have to take the good with the bad."

Who said that shyt? Who was it? Because I want to personally inflict some pain on them.

Why? Why must I take the good with the bad? I only ordered good- why did you garnish my good with bad?

On the heels of becoming THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS (it just never gets old...) a couple of great developments have been in the works for me and my writing career. I'm a superstitious person so I won't go into details about what those developments are, but trust that they are very exciting and I'm channeling all my good thoughts in that direction.

But what I'm finding is that this potential greatness comes with a price. It would appear that for my career to be doing well my love life needs to suffer. I didn't plan it that way, it just happened. It wasn't too long ago that I was juggling quite a few dudes, for better or worse, but they have slowly but surely either gotten on my nerves or just faded away.

Jack might say this happened because I was only using those dudes to lick my wounds after THE BREAKUP HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD, and that there was no substance behind any of those faux-relationships. If L read this blog she'd probably say it was because some of them were people I met through online dating sites and that "wack-ass men like that are online for a reason!"

And they would both be right (You know...sometimes I stay up late at night shivering at the thought of L and Jack actually meeting and discussing what a fuck-up I am and how TIRED they are of picking up the pieces of my constantly breaking heart).

But still. Even if I've not been actively looking for substance and have ONLY been looking for eye candy (in all the wrong places) that I can parade in my ex's face, something's gotta be up when BOTH of my recent exes are already in serious relationships and I'm still in limbo biting my thumb at love as if I am going to be this young and pretty forever.

So another weekend approaches where I realize that at the end of the night I will be going home alone, Jaded NYer that I am. I mean, I can go home with someone and have meaningless sex and then leave afterwards like a thief in the night. No problem. That's my specialty. Google the phrase "thief in the night" and you might just find a picture of me creeping into a cab at 4AM.

But what I'm (finally) looking for is someone that, when I have such fantabulous career news to share, I can come home to and be happy with. (jeez...the grammar in that sentence was APPALLING!)

And even though my sweet Lani has all the faith in the world that I will not end up alone (god bless her positive little heart), my confidence level in matters of the heart is holding steady at -3 trillion.

Why can't I be successful AND in love? Is that really truly madly too much to ask?

*smooches...on the verge of true success...and still lonely*
------------
Can you hear my voice, do you hear my song
It's a serenade, so your heart can find me,
And suddenly you're flying down the stairs
Into my arms, baby

Did You Wear Black Yesterday?

In the midst of gloating about Hispanic Heritage Month and stressing over what to wear to the Sean Paul concert tomorrow night, I forgot that in Jena, Louisiana, six black teenagers were on trial for beating up a white teenager. And that five (four?) of them were being tried as adults.

As I understand it, this goes back a year when a handful of black students asking the school's administration if the tree on the school's property, which is usually occupied by white students as a lounging spot, is whites-only. When the school officials said "Of course not" the black students decided to lounge under the tree.

Can you guess what happened? You'll never guess... Three students hung three NOOSES from the tree- in the school's colors, no less. So of course whatever racial tension existed at this school escalates, especially when the school's superintendent called the incident a "prank."

Prank. As in "got your nose" or placing a whoopee cushion on someone's seat? Right. Because lynching is so fucking HI-larious. A slew of fights/incidents occurred throughout the fall and winter of 2006, which eventually led to the beating of a white student by the six black students now known as the Jena 6.

Protests have sprung up everywhere, and the lead Democrats in the presidential race have weighed in on the issue, albeit in the usual non-committal sort of ways, but the question remains- is justice being served?

Now you know The Jaded NYer did not take the time to actually read any of the news articles all the way through, so she doesn't know much more about the issue than what is written here, but she does know that the charges the boys are facing- which will put them in jail until way past their 50th birthdays- seem rather harsh.

Yes OF COURSE they need to be punished for beating up that kid. Six on one is not only brutal but it's cowardly and just freakin' stupid. So yes, they deserve to be punished. Do they deserve to be in jail with hardened killers and rapists for the rest of their lives? I can't find the answer in my heart, but I tell you what, it doesn't help that Al Farton is down there organizing protests and shyt. That guy is like a scorching case of herpes on the genitals of society. In my humble opinion.

So, what's really going on here? What should be going on here? WTF, Louisiana?
You tell me...

*smooches...so glad I'm in NYC where WE outnumber THEM*
-------------
its been way too long since i've been behind the wheel
headlights guiding me right through the dark i feel
dry eyed, trying hard to resist
sleeps first kiss
everytime i have time to think
i think of this

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Want to Have Joel Osteen's Baby

Do you know Joel Osteen? Sure you do! He's that ultra-charming televangelist from Texas that comes on every Sunday to deliver inspirational messages to the masses. Him. I've developed a small crush.

I'm sure by now ya'll know my position on organized religion and what a mockery of "truth" I think it is. But there is something about this man that makes me want to hop a plane to Houston and join his congregation at Lakewood Church.

I only watch when I'm visiting my mami- she puts it on as she's getting ready for church- and every time without fail, his sweet Southern twang lulls me out of sleep with a message so powerful and full of zest that I just want to get out of bed and conquer the day! "Anything is possible," says Joel over and over. "Live a life filled with Joy Hope and Victory." He spews those golden nuggets and I'm like, "Yeah, I want that! Where can I get that?"

Of course, I know if I met him and asked him that question, his answer would be, "In our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ." And I'll be forced to roll my eyes and break up with him just like I broke up with the church.

Listen, honestly, if people want to place their faith in Christianity or Judaism or Islam, then you know what? Have at it. But I have serious issue with any group that promotes the use of scare tactics (god will punish you; you WILL go to hell!!!) and the subjugation of its members, and encourages the oppression of women. I just can't be down with that.

Still, I like to watch Joel. I enjoy his positivity. He never uses scare tactics. All his words are encouraging and uplifting. And god help me, it might be the old age and dementia creepin' in already, but he always makes a lot of sense!

Some people don't feel the same way, as hinted in this news report:





But I don't know. I like him. Perhaps it's the heathen in me...I kind of enjoy his "perverted" gospel. I mean look at that smile! If you woke up on a Sunday morning to that SMILE telling you to live your best life, wouldn't you want to do him, er, I mean it??

*smooches...pre-ordering Joel's "Become a Better You" on Amazon.com under a pseudonym*
------------
Civilization will not attain perfection
until the last stone from the last church
falls on the last priest.

Oops! I Almost Forgot!

It's Hispanic Heritage Month!!! YAY US! A whole month to celebrate how wonderful and colorful and super-cool we all are! Thank you, White Man, for allowing us 30 whole days- two more than the Blacks- to honor our culture. Without you to remind us, why, we might forget and start speaking Thai or something!

Thank you for Taco Bell and Beyonce and Jessica Alba, and all the other faux-Hispanicisms you throw our way. We are EVER so grateful for your humbling generosity...

Okay, I'll stop. I was even starting to annoy myself for a minute there.

For those of you who actually give a rat's diseased ass, Hispanic Heritage Month, which I believe should be changed to Latino Heritage Month, but I digress, goes on from September 15th to October 15th. Yes, in the middle of two months. Why? Because it just so happens that the independence days for five different Latin American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, plus Mexico and Chile, took place within that time. So it sort of makes sense.

As you can imagine, cities with a high concentration of Latinos are sponsoring some events, mostly in schools, and New York City is no exception. Here's what you should be doing, besides worshipping the ground I walk on, for the next 26 days:

SEPTEMBER

20: Call Raquel and tell her how glad you are that she's in your life. Leaving a comment on this blog will also be acceptable, in case she has not graced you with her digits.

21: Watch (or TiVo) "The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo" on your local PBS station.

22: Tune in to XM Radio (Viva XM 91) for NOCHE DE CONCIERTO featuring Shakira, Ricky Martin, Alejandro Sanz, and Maná.

23: Attend (or watch) the Yankee game. The Bronx Bombers will welcome Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna, President of the Dominican Republic, to throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch.

24: For a limited engagement-- Celia, the musical about the life of Cuban icon Celia Cruz, will be at the New World Stages/Stage 2 (340 West 50th Street).

25: Visit El Museo del Barrio on Museum Mile (1230 Fifth Avenue @ 104th Street) and check out our art.

26: Go to the library and check out "In the Time of the Butterflies" by Julia Alvarez. You'll love it. For you men who might think it's too "girly" feel free to read "The Feast of the Goat" by Mario Vargas Llosa.

27: See Willie Perdomo, author of "Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, at The Boys Club of New York (321 E111th Street).

28: S.O.B.'s (204 Varick Street) is featuring my friend DJ Medina on the wheels of steel, and a live performance by Cuban artist Danny Lozada.

29: The hottest spot in BK- Bembe (81 South 6th Street) will keep you dancing til you drop...because DJ Medina will be spinning, of course! And it's my Papi's Birthday, too, so call him and wish him a happy birthday.

30: El Repertorio Español (138 E27th Street) will feature a production of El Quijote. Be there or be square.

OCTOBER

1: Attend HBO and the Instituto Cervantes screening of Casi Casi

2: In the mood for Spain? Flamenco Guitars @ Euzkadi (108 E4th Street)

3: El Taller Latino Americano (2710 Broadway) presents "Venus Recaptured", an exhibition of a print series by award-winning Mexican- born artist Andrea Arroyo.

4: Go into the City and eat at Mesa de España (45 E28th Street). Order the paella. You won't be sorry!

5: Visit the Bronx Museum of the Arts for the Quisqueya Henriquez exhibit.

6: Want a good peek at Puerto Rico's La Perla ghetto? Then force yourself to sit through Feel the Noise (in theater's starting 10/5), produced by Mrs. Marc Anthony herself and featuring Omarion, the inevitable film about a "musician" who discovers reggaeton and dreams of making it big.

7: Hispanic Day Parade! Pick a Hispanic flag, any Hispanic flag, and display it proudly along the parade route (Fifth Ave. from 44th to 86th Street).

8: Do you dare? It's like a train wreck...you have to...Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony perform live, together @ MSG.

9: For a more normal evening of Latin music, Maná is also in concert @ MSG; check it out!

10: LQ's (511 Lexington Avenue) hosts Legends of Salsa every Wednesday...a must for the salsa enthusiast in all of you.

11: It's Latin Jazz Thursdays at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 East 3rd) and you know you want to go...

12: Settle in for a quiet movie night with these Pedro Almodovar classics: Todo sobre mi madre, Habla con ella and La Mala educación.

13: Go see "Do Collard Greens Go With Platanos" at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers Street)

14: It's Hector Lavoe Day, but don't go see El Cantante, tune into XM Radio (Caliente XM 94) featuring a hit song every hour from the legendary salsa singer.

15: Call Raquel and thank her for giving you a month of things to do to honor those beautiful, talented and "spicy" Latinos!

*besos...orgullosamente Latina*
---------
And now,
now has come the hour of the countersong.
We the railroad workers,
we the students,
we the miners,
we the peasants,
we the wretched of the earth,
the populators of the world,
the heroes of everyday work,
with our love and our fists,
enamored of hope.
We the white-skinned,
the black-skinned, the yellow-skinned,
the Indians, the copper-skinned,
the Moors and dark-skinned,
the red-skinned and olive-skinned,
the blonds and platinum blonds,
united by work,
by misery, by silence,
by the cry of a solitary man
who in the middle of the night,
with a perfect whip,
with a meager wage,
with a gold dagger and an iron face,
wildly cries out
I

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Have a Man

10. Nothing feels better than sleeping ALONE diagonally on a Queen-sized bed!

9. My great grandmother angered some Yoruba gods back in the day and all her female decedents are doomed (blessed) with the single life.

8. My ADHD won't allow me to tolerate any one man for more than 13 years.

7. The last thing I need is some swarmy, skeezy pedophile anywhere near my babies.

6. Lloyd Dobbler has ruined me for all other men.

5. Because I'm royalty, and none of these "subjects" are good enough for me.

4. It's all about appearances- if you can't be eye candy, then gets to steppin!

3. I require 89.99976% of a man's attention, and I've been told that that's being greedy.

2. I'm still searching for that nerdy thug, or the thuggish nerd, or any combination thereof.

1. Plainly and simply: I'm a man-hating, whorish snob who finds it beneath her to deal with a species that is, essentially, sub-par to females with their incomplete X chromosome and smelly man-feet.

*smooches...enjoying the view from this pedestal*
-----------
Now I don't want anybody
To get the wrong idea about me
I don't have nothing to hide
I want the world to see...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today's Happiness Brought To You By Victoria's Secret

When that horribly uncomfortable thong trend came about all those years ago I was a new mom who dressed very "grunge" and therefore could care less that women were now asked to wear dental floss instead of real panties. Then I ballooned up to over 200 pounds, which pretty much guaranteed that I'd NEVER need a thong.

But when I lost all the weight and tight-ish clothes and low rider jeans came into play it seemed that I would not be able to escape thongs, unless of course I wanted to pull a Britney (no thank you!).

This weekend I bought a really cute dress for a concert I'm attending on the 22nd (Sean Paul...yum!) and when I tried it on in the store I noticed my pantyline- very very visible underneath. I almost put the dress back to hunt for jeans instead, but I really liked this dress. I really wanted it. I dare say, I NEEDED this dress. So I bought it and resolved to go to Vickie's to buy a damn thong.

However, when I got there I saw a sign for something so glorious I heard a chorus of angels from heaven and saw that dancing baby from Ally McBeal: Seamless Panties.

They're so soft and small and, well, seamless, and it meant I didn't have to wear that uncomfortable v-string I was holding. I asked the saleswoman, Eve, "Is it true?" "I'm wearing mine right now." I looked down at her ass- us women can do that without a care- and lo and behold...even though her pants were rather snug, I could not see a pantyline. Hot-diggity-damn!

I bought three pairs and washed them the millisecond I got home so that I could test them out this week. Today I'm wearing the black ones...and nope, my daughters confirmed (through snickers and giggles) I had no visible pantylines.

Victoria, whoever you are, you're a freakin' genius!! I'm going back to get a pair in every color; I'll never wear thongs again!!!

*smooches...SOOOOOOO comfy and happy right now it should be a sin*
-------------
I'm walking on sunshine,
and don't it feel good!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Things To Do Before I'm 40

Yes, readers, it's come to that. This Jaded NYer, in her on-going effort to find true happiness, has been reduced to making one of those annoying "To Do" lists that can either be a great motivator or just another reason to be depressed. I'm hoping for the former; the latter would just be so pathetic.

Blame the degree; ever since graduation and panel, I've felt this surge of happiness, this sense that anything is possible, that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I've never thought that before- ever. But now, seeing that I actually graduated on time with quality material to show for it...the closeted optimist in me sort of woke up.

So, in no particular order, here's the list of accomplishments I'd like to be celebrating on my 40th birthday: May 23, 2015 (damn! That's like RIGHT AROUND THE FREAKIN' CORNER!)

1. Compete in an iron woman triathlon. What better way to tiptoe into my twilight years than with a healthy, bangin' body? I've wanted to do this for some time but have always found three trillion excuses why I can't. The number one reason being pure, unadulterated laziness. Well, I'm done with that- I really want the glory of it all, crossing the finish line, getting a little certificate or medal saying that I finished the race. That'd be a good legacy to leave my babies.

2. Get out of debt. My mom just accomplished this in her fifties and I applaud her. She makes great money, has zero debt and her credit rating is so freakin' enviable I can hardly believe it. So now I have to follow her example and do the same, a whole decade earlier. Because after all, parents always want their kids to do better than they did, and besides the freedom zero debt will allow me, I'd like to show her I can do it, too.

3. Publish at least two books. Very ambitious, I know, but that's my goal. I want two titles under my belt by the time I hit 40, and that's that.

4. Complete a novella in Spanish and have it published in DR. This is a vanity project undertaken specifically in my grandmother's name. To make her proud, even if she's not physically here to see it.

5. Sail throughout the Mediterranean. I want to see Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal. I want to dip my bread in fresh olive oil and tan on the beach with some sexy Italian/Spanish men. It's my destiny, I know it.

6. Start a cultural magazine based in NYC. I will see my name on a masthead above the title Editor-in-chief and that's just that. It will happen come hell or high water.

7. Meet John Cusack. Don't laugh; this is no joke. Besides having a huge, life-long crush on him, I also respect him as an actor/writer/producer, and I'd like to work with him one day. I think we'd be able to make great films together. Which brings me to number...

8. Start my own film production company. Based in NYC, of course. We need more quality films out there, and I'm not being a snob and saying that only I know quality movies, but I know of great projects that don't get made because no one will back them. Well, I'll back them. Every single one I can.

9. Own a radio station. Where there won't be a set format. It will be as eclectic as me and the city, and we'll give as much airtime to up-and-coming artists as we will established musicians. We'll sponsor events throughout the city and expose the public to as much music, old and new, as possible.

10. Own a brownstone in Brooklyn. This is going to be my very first real estate purchase, because I've wanted it ever since I was a little girl ogling the brownstones on my block when we lived in that great studio on Stuyvesant (between Hancock and Halsey) with the floor-to-ceiling windows and the decorative moldings everywhere...god I LOVED that apartment...

11. Learn how to drive. This might require some therapy, though, because the fact is just that I have a serious automobile phobia. Once I conquer that, I should be OK.

12. Be a regular contributor or columnist in The New Yorker or New York Magazine. Only until my own magazine takes off, of course. I respect those two publications immensely, and to be a part of it would just be heaven on earth.

13. Vote in a government election. But not just vote, but actually know what/whom I'm voting for; be educated on the issues and the candidates and make an informed decision on who'd do the best job for my city/state/country. That'd be cool.

14. Earn my Ph.D. I don't know in what subject, but I covet that degree like a fat kid loves cake. The prestige, the honor, the pomp and circumstance...I want it and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

15. Conquer my insomnia. I fear that if I don't it will dig me an early grave. So whatever it takes, I will have to force my body to get more than four hours of uneasy sleep a night.

I thought I'd have more things on this list. In fact it started out as a "40 Things To Do..." list, but when I got to 15 I realized that if I were able to accomplish even half of these item, the rest of my life would be Häagen-Dazs' Butter Pecan ice cream with hot caramel sauce, sliced bananas, whipped cream and three Maraschino cherries on top.

And isn't that all any of us wants?

*smooches...so very certain- for the first time in my life- that happiness is right around the corner*
-----------
And all I really want is some patience
A way to calm the angry voice
And all I really want is deliverance...

Reason # 5,298 Why I Love New York City

Because here, apparently, I'm FIERCE.

Walking down Third Avenue, on my way back to work from meeting my mami, a fabulously gay man shouts out to me:

WORK IT, DIVA! WORK IT!!

I love this city!!

*smooches...working it for all it's worth*
-----------
now if its all the same
I've people to entertain
I juggle one-handed
do some magic tricks
and the best imitation of myself

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Graduation Celebration Pt. 4: New Clothes, 8 Balls in the Side Pocket and New Outlooks on Life

As far as my normal Saturday night outings go, yesterday was quite tame. Don't get me wrong, I was still drunk out of my mind by the end of the night, but it was a tame night nonetheless.

I spent most of the morning hanging out in my apartment. I caught up on episodes of Entourage, got into the first season of Gilmore Girls and made some really good shrimp tacos. But then I saw the sun peeking out from behind the clouds and decided that maybe some fresh air would do me good.


I went into lower Manhattan to check out the tail end of the San Genaro festival, only to get disillusioned at what a commercialized event it has become. And way over-crowded. I left, went to SoHo and got some retail therapy instead (new dress, clothes for work and seamless undies from VS).

Then the weather turned on me and my stomach started to rumble; I decided to meet Lani for dinner back in Park Slope where I had even more shrimp tacos (I can't get enough!) and a couple of glasses of red wine (uh-oh...here comes trouble). We agreed to a relatively quiet night because Lani was hurt from a bike accident that left her too sore to sneeze, cough, dance or rob a bank...so no running off to Fiji this week...maybe after she heals...

While at a pit stop at Lani's, my mami calls to tell me of the Penzo family mini-reunion she'd just attended. Without me. And I felt the need to remind her that she's not a Penzo, I am, and therefore she's not obligated to attend these functions. Especially not without me.

But I didn't, because if she hadn't gone, then we wouldn't have been able to dish about my little cousin's upcoming wedding and whether or not they'll invite us, and the very suspicious ghetto-booty that another cousin has all of a sudden (I wonder if I can get the number to her surgeon?). Penzo family gossip is always the best- those people are like the cast on a soap opera. Because there's so god damned many of them!

THEN Lani and I went to Loki to partake of more liquor- I decided to try Lani's "Special OJ"- and ogle at the Brooklyn-ites around us. Lani had a friend meet us, and I guess he was cool in that white, Canarsie-hoodish sort of way, and it was his birthday so I was on my best behavior. After a few OJs, the obligatory tequila shots and a quick bagel stop, we went to our fave dive bar, Reis, where we ended up running the pool table- kicking ass and taking names like the true rowdy girls that we are. Lani even almost got into a fight with some dude who obviously didn't realize that she could easily cripple him with one swift kick.

At Reis, Lani's Canarsie friend seemed to lose his thunder (and appeal) and when he decided to leave no one cared. The Red Stripe was flowing (as were the free shots from the bar) and we were wiping the floor with people left and right on that freakin table. The only thing missing from that night was the pizza we were craving after we left the bar (beer munchies are the WORST), a little smoke, and lots of dancing. And the boyfriends that we don't really want but really do, especially on chilly autumn nights when the desire for the warmth of the arms of someone you can tolerate is all that separates us from monkeys.

But it was a hoot to keep making Lani laugh and watch her double over in pain all the way home. Because I'm a true friend that way.

And the drunk dialing I did at the end of the night was fun, too.

And no, it hasn't escaped me that my partying ways are starting to taper, as if I've partied myself to death. It could be age. It could be the new degree, which now no longer allows me to rest on my laurels. I don't have any more excuses for not being published, and the process requires a bit of seriousness, hard work, proactiveness and grown-upiness from me that leaves little room for dancing on bars and hooking up with random CL dudes for one night stands.

Now I have to think about getting query letters out there, getting an agent, marketing myself as more than a pretty face and a good lay. I have to get my name out there, I have to network and know the right people and get the money that will allow me to buy that phat townhouse I saw in Gramercy Park just last month.

And somehow I'm figuring that none of that will come my way if I'm too busy shaking what my momma gave me in bars every night with half a bottle of Jimador saturating my internal organs.

*smooches...officially done celebrating my degree and ready to celebrate my successful liver transplant surgery*
---------------
I am days away from change,
From one last touch,
until the next time.
I am days away from waving goodbye,
so long to all of this,
but it's alright.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Graduation Celebration Pt. 3: Surprise Cramps, The Brave One and 14th Street Rats

My Friday, in a nutshell:

Dear Reproductive Organs
Didn't I just write you a very nice, earnest, apologetic letter? Why oh WHY would you, on day three, put upon me MORE pain? I thought the deal was pain on day one, discomfort on day two and then smooth sailing all the way to day seven? Wasn't it? Or did I forget to apologize for those other two "things" that I didn't want to mention? OK OK! I'M SORRY! Better now?

Still Scary After All These Years
Thanks to Bloomberg's many rebuilding projects and gentrification (which I secretly call the punk-tification of colored folks...white people just ain't scared of us like they used to be...) many parts of Brooklyn that used to be creepy and dangerous are now pretty safe to live in. One place that's not? Crown-fucking-Heights! Man, after dark that place just makes me want to call my mommy to come pick me up.

My Liver Needs to Know Who's in Charge
A little alcohol never hurt anyone. Plus I mixed mine with a fruit smoothie- cherries and pomegranate- so it wasn't all bad. And it was so yummalicious, that I had three! But don't worry; unlike the effects of wine, liquor just makes me, er, peppy and funner.

The Brave One
It was my graduation present from The Chef, a night at the movies. Can I just say that I think the Regal Cinemas and Union Square might have finally cured me of my slushee addiction? The medium was the size of my head, and I tried my best to finish all of it, but halfway through a wave of nausea was like, "uh uh, girl- put down the slushee!" But I held my own. I didn't vomit all night. But you know, one day I will learn that sitting in a dark theater at 1AM on a sugar high from alcohol and blue-raspberry slushees DO NOT enhance the movie experience. One day.

Next Time I'm Just Walking to W4th Street
The 14th Street F-train station is the most disgusting, rat-infested train station on the planet- hands down! At 4AM that platform had not one, not two, but THREE filthy McNasty rats running around like they run shit. And of course the train was taking forever to get there. I was sweating like a crackhead going through withdrawal, watching all three rats like a fucking hawk, trying to not have a meltdown in front of the Anglos sitting on the bench.

It was another tame evening, but I can't help but feel like it was the calm before the storm...

*smooches...ready for Saturday, come what may*
------------
see i know
there's somebody breakin out the champagne
somewhere
and u can be sure that
that somebody's gonna make love
from the night until the day

Friday, September 14, 2007

Graduation Celebration Pt. 2: Thursday's "Weeds," Pyjamas and Tostitios

Sure, it's more exciting to go out and get trashed and make mistakes and then report back to you, my readers, but there's something to be said about some quiet "me" time, too.

Last night I was supposed to meet The Chef for drinks but he flaked; my Plan B also turned out to be a flake (I believe that's strike three, my dear, no?), so I finally curled up on my couch in my favorite flannel PJ's with some Tostitos Scoops and chunky salsa.

Before that, I washed my dishes- MYSELF- and swept and mopped the floor. I cooked a handful of shrimp and ate them with some roti (YUM!) and then tackled the mess in my bedroom (I sold my dresser...my bed is no longer a bed...it's a closet). I watched some more videos by that crazy Avril-look-a-like Britney fan on YouTube (he's quite possibly just too gay to function) and an old episode or two of the 90's sitcoms "Titus" and "Friends".



I spoke with my aunt about her house in PR, cooking and crazy Dominican superstitions. We both shared memories of grandma (wow...we really still miss her a lot!) and she issued warnings about being money-wise.

Then I settled in for the night with the latest episode of "Weeds" the best show on cable- I swear...now that crazy bitch has HEROIN in her house that they stole from the Mexicans AND she drove the car in a drive by...shit is about to hit the fan! I ate the suggested serving size of Tostitos (Mari!), shot the shit with L, mostly about boys and the use of the word "heretofore" and then let my iTunes and Junot Diaz's latest novel lull me to sleep.

There were no deviant sex acts, no liver damage and no mind-altering substances consumed, unless you count the yummy-ass stir fried spicy shrimp and roti I devoured. I participated in none of my usual blog post inducing activities and yet, I had a really good night. A clean kitchen. Good food. Family and friends.

A celebration for one.

Me.

The MASTER OF FINE ARTS...I never get tired of writing that...

*smooches...learning to become my own best friend*
---------
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box.
Religion is the smile on a dog.
I'm not aware of too many things,
but I know what I know if you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Graduation Celebration Pt. 1: Wednesday's Red Red Wine

AHHHHHHH....

That's how I feel now that panel is over with. Never mind my money issues, work issues, gynecological issues, I am THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS, and if ever something deserved a week-long celebration, this is it.

Last night I met Mr. Baseball (he's not new, but the nickname is- it just occurred to me I never asked permission to use his real name before...try and guess who he is LOL) for dinner- in the city- which was BIG because he NEVER likes to leave Park Slope. But to the city we went; I even wore a dress. ME. In a DRESS. With HEELS!

He brought me to City Crab over by Union Square, which very suspiciously had a similar menu to Legal Seafood, and seeing as we were there celebrating my degree, he ordered us a bottle of red wine.

...wait. Have I ever explained my troubles with red wine? No? Long story short- it's a sure-fire cure to my insomnia. And he knows it.

But anyway he gets the bottle and we toast to me, THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS, and begin catching up cause it's been like 50 trillion years since I've seen him. It's not like a real date, more like two old friends who maybe kinda sorta hooked up before met for dinner. Like that.

I try my best to eat enough to counteract the effect of the wine, but, well, let's just say I didn't know what the hell I was doing. A full belly PLUS red wine equals zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. So of course he orders another bottle and I get the bright idea that maybe some sugar will wake me up. So I order a cobbler. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The rest of the non date consisted of Mr. Baseball trying to engage me in a conversation that would keep my head from hitting the table and embarrassing us in front of the Anglos, and me trying really hard to decipher the sounds coming out of both his mouths. No easy task. And I felt bad, too, because he wanted to know about my stories and what I'd written and for the life of me I couldn't understand his question or formulate a comprehensive answer. Then he tried to help me figure out my next career moves, offering advice and whatnot, and I swear it was like all of a sudden he started speaking German. I was like huh?

He finally gave up, god bless him, and gulped the last of his wine so we could leave.

Somehow we made it to Park Slope- him all huffy at me because I wouldn't let him canoodle with me on the subway platform and me trying really hard not to pass out by texting L in California in order to stay awake- and instead of doing the smart thing and getting in a cab to go home, I pass out on his bed, "for just a couple of hours" before I'd call a cab myself.

This morning at 6AM I found myself still asleep on his bed, tangled up in my sweater, cell phone open in-hand, as if I'd tried to make a phone call and it didn't work out. Who did I try to call? Who called me? Was I responding to a text? Was I shutting off the alarm? Who the hell knows!

Remember this post, where I bragged that I always have my wits about me when I drink? I take it all back.

I forgot about me and red red wine.

*smooches...eagerly awaiting tonight's festivities-who's game?*
------------
I`d have thought
That with time
Thoughts of her
Would leave my head
I was wrong
And I find
Just one thing makes me forget

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And Now We DRINK!!!!!

Somebody pinch me; I must be dreaming!

I just had my thesis panel. And Deborah was right- it went VERY well!

They started by letting me know that yes, I would be getting my diploma, meaning I passed! I was so giddy I almost hung up!

Then we got to the heart of it: they gave me some very constructive criticism on my creative thesis, suggesting I pull one story because it didn't fit in with the rest, and suggesting two other stories have different endings. I was also told that I need to pay close attention to my story structures and how I end my stories because I tend to over-write (tell me something I don't know!).

But the consensus was that my stories were "powerful" with great "characterization and dialogue" throughout. My second reader even said she really fell into it and felt like she knew the characters after reading the stories! Readers, I'm so happy...I'm in tears over here!

Now, as predicted, the craft and form thesis needs work...namely, it needs a title, a better, more comprehensive thesis statement, more analysis on two of the books I cite, and the quotes I use for emphasis need to be set up better. Oh, and I need a "works cited" page (duh! can't believe I forgot that!).

But I was surprised that they said in the body of the essay I had made my points very clear and done a great analysis, for the most part, of the books, etc. Look at me, writing essays! HA!

So now what? Now I sit back and wait for their edits and a list of procedures on how to submit the final copies, which now become public documents (available at the FDU library, I think), and start getting query letters together for when I want to start looking for an agent or a journal to publish my stories.

I'll drink to that!!!

Oh my god...can you imagine the EGO on me when my stories get published?

*smooches...on cloud nine, cramps be damned!*
----------
Everybody spread the word
We're gonna have a celebration
All across the world
In every nation
It's time for the good times
Forget about the bad times
One day to come together
To release the pressure
We need a holiday

An Open Letter to My Reproductive Organs

You and I have never seen eye to eye, from that fateful summer day we met back in 1986 to just yesterday when you knocked me on my ass with cramps so bad I almost called 911. I'm not sure why you hate me so; I've never done anything particularly bad to you.

Maybe you heard me say I never wanted kids that year after my sister was born, and maybe you took it personally and vowed revenge. Maybe you didn't like the Aleve I used to down like candy to avoid you, or the OrthoNovum and Yasmin I used to take to try and control you. Maybe that's why this month you figured it would be fun to be all late and scare the shit out of me, remind me that I'm an evil whore-slut who hasn't been to the OB/GYN in almost two years, despite the constant pain on my lower right side, and then come on stronger than any cycle I've had since giving birth.

Whatever the reason, I'd like to now raise the white flag, throw in the towel, surrender, give up.

I can't fight you any longer. You've got Mother Nature on your side, and all I have are supplemental hormones and "procedures" and placebos cooked up by "physicians" with god complexes. I thought changing my diet would appease you, but no...it didn't work. I take it you're not a fan of the green smoothies and organic brown rice?

What about exercise? Would that make you happy? If I worked out everyday AND drank the green smoothies, would you forgive me for contemplating unnecessary surgery to rid me of you? Would you stop your reign of terror on my life?

And what if I stopped cursing you, and promised to see a doctor every year and take care of you and not ignore the very clear WARNING: SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR RIGHT FALLOPIAN TUBE/OVARIES sign you've been sending? Then will you let me be?

I'm tired of the mood swings. And after 21 years, my body is tired of dealing with the pain. OH GOD the pain! The unbearable, vomit-inducing, toe-curling, tear-soaked PAIN! I get it, OK? You're the boss. You're in charge. I defer to you on all issues of reproduction, honestly.

I ask of you just one small favor: please, please, please...just make it stop... and if it's not too much to ask...can you plead with Mother Nature to spare my daughters?

*smooches...not in the mood to be sick*
-----------
All day
Staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night
Hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Organized Religion Needs to Learn How to CHILLAX!!

During the recent Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Kathy Griffin, that raunchy red-head that I absolutely adore, won an Emmy for her reality show My Life on the D-List. She said in her acceptance speech: “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this. Suck it, Jesus. This award is my God now.”

Now, as I expected, the E! network is going to censor her remarks during the telecast on Saturday. Why? Because the Catholics are so DAMN SENSITIVE!! Complaints came in from the Catholic League, whose rep actually said her words were "vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech." Hate speech? Really? Did I miss something?

Is it hate speech if she doesn't believe in Jesus? Isn't it the same as stating, "Suck it, Clive Davis. This Grammy is my producer now." No? I mean seriously, correct me if I'm wrong, or if you have a strong opinion on this, but I don't consider it hate speech. She didn't say "Death to Jesus" or anything like that. She just expressed that Jesus is not a major factor in her success.

The Catholic League needs a freakin' chill pill.

Why are they so up in arms about it?

I personally find her speech quite amusing, especially because I feel there is a special place in hell for people who stand at the podium and thank God et. al. for awards, and then go to the after party and drink like fish. Hypocrite much? If you're gonna be Christian- don't half-ass it; that's my philosophy.

Kathy, sweetie, I applaud you. Worship your Emmy all you want. And, yes, Jesus can suck it; I mean, what has he done for you lately?

Please note: Photo courtesy of PerezHilton.com

*smooches...waiting for the lightning to come any minute now*
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That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight, I'm
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Great Hair Debate

It's 4:19 AM and I just woke up from an uneasy sleep (surprise, surprise). This time because in a few hours I'm allowing my mom to take K to a hair salon to get her hair chemically relaxed. And I can't help but have mixed feelings about it.

Way back when, my own hair was chemically relaxed behind my mother's back on a trip to DR, where my aunts took it upon themselves to straighten my hair after I showed up at their house with my hair braided in cornrows. Let me explain something to you readers who don't understand why that matters.

My family is racist. They don't like black people and don't want to be associated with them.

Never mind the fact that abuelo is brown-skinned, the color of coffee with only a spot of cream in it, that's besides the point. Never mind the fact that the DR's rich history lies in it's mixed ancestry of Tainos, Africans and Spaniards, along with anybody else that decided to settle there. Abuelo's wife has the fairer skin of her European ancestors and gave birth to many an Anglo-looking Dominican baby with "good hair". So of course they are able to now sit in judgement of those of us on this side of brown who, in their opinion, are follically challenged.

And even though my mom had babies with two very dark, almost black as night Dominican men, she is one of them, too.

But back to the hair issue...I'm getting off topic...

So I had my hair chemically relaxed, and what that means is that you get this smelly, lye activated (do they still use lye?) cream that forces that hair to not curl, or relaxes it, so to speak. Whenever you see a black woman with bone-straight hair, chances are she has a relaxer. Because, you see, most black people (and I'm including my Afro-Latinos in this general term"black") don't have naturally straight hair.

And at first straight hair was the coolest shit in the world! It meant that I no longer had to sit around ALL DAY while my mom put these special oil treatments in my hair in order to put them in rollers in order to keep it "tame". My hair looked just like those models in the magazines after the relaxer. Those white models. I was dubbed "Miss Clairol" by some of my friends. It was cool.

But here's the dirty little secret they don't tell you about hair relaxers, especially when you're a little girl basking in the glow of new, shiny, flowing locks. It's not permanent and it damages your hair beyond repair, and sometimes, most times, hell EVERY TIME, the only solution is to cut it all off and start again.

Sure the new you is Miss Clairol, but after a month, or in my case just a couple of weeks, when your OWN hair starts to grow in, it grows in in its natural condition. Which, remember, is NOT straight. So after about three months, after you've been trying hard to perpetuate the lie that "no, this is my natural hair," you have on your head a weird and nasty combination of nappy roots and straight ends. And it looks a hot mess. So you either wear tight ponytails with loads of hair grease and gel (which ruins and breaks the hair) to hide the new growth or you go back for a touch-up, where the stylist will apply the chemical to the roots that have grown since your last visit.

This goes on and on and on every three months or so. And it would have for me, too, if in 1998 I hadn't found an stylist who convinced me to STOP, and I agreed to because at 16 I had to have most of my hair chopped off to remove all the damage from having chemicals in my hair (I liked to dye my hair, too) and I never wanted to go through that again. That doesn't mean that I don't still straighten my hair, it just means that now I do it without chemicals.

Which brings me back to K and racism and Dominican/black hair.

What am I saying to K about beauty and our culture and being a woman if I allow her to get this done? That the whiter you are the better? Straight hair makes you beautiful and kinky hair makes you ugly? I think we get enough of that on TV and in fashion magazines. Why is her natural, nappiness "bad" hair that needs to be tamed? Is this what I'm teaching her when I pull out the blow dryer and straighten my own hair? What's so wrong with an Afro? Or braids? Why should I chemically relax her hair?

My mom gave me a very good reason: it will be easier to do her hair everyday. But is my laziness enough to justify subjecting my daughter to identity issues, self-loathing and a lifetime of hair maintenance? Couldn't I just as easily take her to an African braiding salon, where they will offer some organic and natural products to keep her hair moisturized? Or am I opening her up for taunting and ridicule from her classmates?

Bottom-line, I can't go through with it. I'm having doubts about this. I need to sit K down and explain to her the side effects of this procedure: breakage and balding being just two of them. So what if she won't ever be called Miss Clairol- that bitch is white anyway. And K is a lovely shade of cocoa. She should embrace that and be proud of it. She should be proud of her roots, which on BOTH SIDES includes AFRICAN ANCESTORS (you hear that abuelo? AFRICAN ANCESTORS). So if her hair is nappy, then gosh darn it, isn't that the way it was meant to be?

*smooches...so confused right now on what to do*
-----------
Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be

Friday, September 07, 2007

September 12th at 12:30PM

On that date, at that time, my phone will ring and it will be the secretary of my grad school program, telling me the panel is ready to begin our conference call.

And during that call, members of the panel, including my thesis mentor and 2nd reader, will discuss what works and what doesn't in my creative and craft thesis. They may suggest slight changes or a complete overhaul of the work.

I will be in my office, door closed, listening and shaking in my boots.

It's sucks to be judged.

Deborah went through it already and claims it took 20 minutes and was a breeze. But then again, Deborah is an awesome writer. And while I boast on this blog that I am THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS, deep down I'm not that confident in what I submitted anymore.

Because these stories are my babies. I've been working on them for years, turning them around in my head and finding the best way to put them down on paper. And it's hard to hear bad things about your baby.

The craft paper...well that's a load of BS I rambled on and on about for 23 pages, and whatever changes they suggest won't do anything but make the paper better. I suck at essays and went into this knowing I would need tons of help on that.

But the short stories...I want the panel to be blown away by my stories. I want them to say they are wonderful stories and that they've never read anything so fine. I have a thick skin and can take criticism, but, just this once, can't my stories just be the best?

I'm worrying for nothing; it's not until next Wednesday and what's done is done. I can't go back and do anything different, right? Unless one of you possesses a time machine...that would really help me out...

*smooches...so nervous I just want to sleep for a week*
--------------
It's gonna be all right, no matter what they say
It's gonna be a good day, just wait and see
It's gonna be alright, cause I'm alright with me
It's gonna be, it's gonna be, it's gotta be

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Best...

...sites for aspiring writers.

Don't say I never gave you anything!


Writer's Row by Deborah Ng
On this site Ms. Ng, a professional freelance writer, lists all the freelance jobs she finds on job boards all over the country. She also posts some advice, helping up-and-coming writers to succeed in the business.

The Whisper Jobs from ED2010
Lani turned me onto this site- it's a great way to find out about jobs that otherwise wouldn't be listed on the other job boards. Ed also offers articles about the magazine publishing industry to keep you well informed.

Craigslist...more than just cock shots!
Sure, it's fun to cruise the "casual encounters" listings...who doesn't enjoy an ad chock full of sodomy references and penis pics? But Craig also offers a slew of listings for writers, artists, teachers, etc. The job board is a must visit.

Media Bistro...for all kinds of media professionals
This job board covers all types of job related to the "media"; not just for writers, but offers some good stuff once in a while. They also offer, for a price, seminars, books, and articles on how to become a better and more lucrative writer.

Indeed.com, for when you just want a one-stop job search
This site allows you to create an "alert" using key words and phrases...then it combs the ENTIRE internet job listings world to match up what you're looking for. The list will be waiting for you in you email inbox on a daily basis.

*smooches...wanting all of my fellow writers to hit it big*
-----------
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in

The Jaded NYer Goes (Further) East

I finally, finally, finally went on vacation- I loaded up the kiddies and returned to our favorite beach spot, Montauk, NY. I hadn't been there since 2001, but not much has changed. White's is still the best place to get everything. Nick's still makes a kick-ass fish n chips. The sky is still the clearest sky you will find anywhere, and the town folk are still the sweetest around.


Needless to say, I fell in love with that place all over again. N even asked if we could go back there next summer...for a month. You gotta love her optimism!


Here's my vacation- only the good parts- in a photo montage:

Me and the girls at the station, on our way there





N. defacing LIRR property


K. in the pool




My mom was there, too




And Lani



Us on the road into town



Don't my mami look so cute?



The view from Nick's



Me and N lovin' life


N's new friend...


Lani and her "special OJ"


Us at Nick's...after dark...


Sisters...nothing as sweet ever existed before this moment


And finally, the very rare, very elusive photo of me...in a swimsuit LOL



*smooches...more determined than ever to become independently wealthy*
--------------
But u know I'm gonna take my chance now,
I'm gonna make it happen some how,
And you know I can take the pressure
A moments pain for a lifetimes pleasure

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm Not As Hardcore As I Thought

I often joke about how much acid I've done (true story!) or how much I drink and smoke weed, but I guess it takes seeing someone drinking from sun up to sun down to realize what an amateur I am.

I only drink until I get a light buzz. Very rarely am I falling over myself or making out with strangers. If I end up with my tongue down someone's throat, I never blame the alcohol 'cause usually that shyt is intentional. Bottom line? I ALWAYS have my wits about me.

And maybe I'm getting old or maybe I'm finally accepting the fact that there are two little girls looking at me to see how they should behave, but my tolerance level for such hedonistic behavior has dwindled...A LOT.

Honestly, I'm not one to judge (because according to my mom only god can do that) but DAMN! It's hard to be the sober one in a room full of drunken idiots. And I'm not better than anyone else- I, too, have my vices (hi, french fries!)- but DAMN! It's hard to be the only sober one in a room full of drunken idiots.

And yes, I love a good party, and I love to stay out late and laugh and dance and enjoy life, but OK, I'm gonna use my judgemental voice for ONE SENTENCE: DAMN! Have you never heard of drinking water? Good god almighty!!!

*smooches...not very fond of alcohol right now*
----------
Decisiones, cada día.
Alguien pierde, alguien gana
¡Ave María!
Decisiones, todo cuesta (Persígnate).
Salgan y hagan sus apuestas,
¡Ciudadanía!