Monthly Archives: March 2009

What Color Are His Flags?

Why is it that in our quest to find our prince, we settle for frogs? Worse yet, we marry those frogs believing that they will not give us warts and delude ourselves into thinking that they’ll miraculously manifest into the royalty we “know” that they can become. Pay attention dear ones, if you come across a frog, leave them in the smelly swamp you found them in. Welcome to reality ladies. They’re in that swamp for a reason. Don’t try to rehabilitate them into something you could live with. Life is too short without picking up human strays. You want to fix something, get yourself a hobby that doesn’t include human refurbishing.

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Maybe your friend’s have given you advice and maybe you’ve taken that advice and put it in your circular file but for once, if you’re really interested in a healthy relationship, stop ignoring the red flags.

For instance:

• If they can’t make a firm commitment unless their mommy agrees? Red Flag
• If they constantly want to know where you are, with whom and give new meaning to the word “stalking”? Red Flag
• If they consistently check their manners at the door? Red Flag
• If their pet name for you is chunky monkey? Red Flag
• If they tell anyone who will listen, how much they just love your back fat? Red Flag

And the list goes on. Point is, of late, I’ve come across too many friends that are tolerating unacceptable behavior because they’re either afraid to be alone or they think they’ll never find anyone special. What a bunch of hooey! Ladies, let’s learn to read the warning signs BEFORE you decide to tie the knot. If it goes, “Ribbit”, run, don’t walk, out of that jungle.

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Rogue Hair

This is not supposed to happen. Not now. Not while I am still young, supple and filled with undeniable exuberance. But there it was. Unmistakable. Taunting me. Unyielding. Sticking out from the top of my head like some kind of RoboCop whose mission it was to take the rest of my hair hostage. I felt vexed by this intruder. This gray, unruly strand of hair.

Yes, I know that there are products that can take care of pesky little problems like this but I didn’t think I would have to entertain the thought until, well, my senior years. But definitely not now, while I still had some pep in my step and could still shake what my momma gave me. But there it was, waving at me from my rearview mirror, as I drove down my miracle mile. Some miracle. Pfft! All desire to go shopping for something pretty just deserted me. Why go shopping, I thought, if I already had one foot in the grave. So, fine, I guess you could say I was way over the top here but I’m Latina. I feel things passionately and ‘the Hubster’ was going to get an ear full of my angst whether he wanted it or not.

After crying for an hour that I was ancient, decrepit and should now be referred to as “The Crypt Keeper”, ‘the Hubster’ tried to comfort me by telling me that I was just aging like fine wine and the best was yet to come. I looked at him as though he were daft. Really Dr. Phil? And you thought that using words like aging and fine in the same sentence were going to get you a “Barry White” kind of night? Well think again smooth talker because that cliché earned you a trip to the dog house without your milk bones.

Seriously!! How could he not understand the significance of a gray hair? I might as well have been carrying a flashing bill board saying, “Look at me. My prime years are over.” Melodramatic? Perhaps. But at the time, I was in break down mode and the pity party was in full swing. Although I feel very comfortable in my own skin, I wasn’t ready to do the AARP shuffle. I wasn’t ready to start playing canasta or wearing hoses that would help the circulation. I still had plenty of life left in these hips and I refused to let a little thing like a gray hair snuff out my zeal.

And to prove it, I went home and took out my oldie but goodie CD collection (I know, I know, we’ve gone digital) and tried to dance like it was 1999. I bounced, wiggled and slid across my living room floor as though I were in a club. I tried a little old school and got down when I should have stayed up. Moves that used to feel natural just felt as though I were imitating my grandmother. Soul train was just old train and my caboose was just plain loose.

‘The Hubster’, transfixed by my performance in the living room, stared at me as though he were about to place a call to the mental house and have me fitted with one of their “special” outfits. He couldn’t believe I was behaving this way and at this point he was almost convinced that I was one burger short of a happy meal. “How can one gray hair drive you to such distraction”, he asked? I gingerly limped over to the love seat, hoping that I still had all of my bodily pieces intact, and slowly sat down. I looked at him with sadness and said, “This is where you trade me in for a fresh, newer model.” He walked over to where I was sitting, sat down next to me and said, “And what, miss these free shows that you put on for my benefit? Never! These young girls’s have nothing on you, mamacita.”

Well, well, look who’s getting lucky tonight. Heh!

Leave Your Sweater At Home

There is something to be said about living in paradise. Here, chances are high that you will wake up to beautiful blue skies and weather you can only dream about. It’s the reason why I decided, a few years back, to pack up my apartment in the big city and upgrade to my little piece of heaven in the tropics. If there is a beautiful day to be enjoyed, you can bet your Mojito that I will be out there with my cool beverage in hand, slathered up to the nth degree with sunscreen and armed with the latest chick lit. Preferably, this leisurely activity is taking place on my own pool deck instead of having to drive somewhere else with a huge satchel in tow.

Naturally, on days like these, I understand that I am not the only one who has the brilliant idea of basking in the sunshiny goodness and that I will most assuredly have noisy neighbors who will pepper my surroundings with their presence but what I am not expecting to see from my lounge chair is my neighbor out on his boat, without a shirt, sporting a human sweater on his back. Of all the wild creatures that I expect to see on the lake, my neighbor, with the neglected “manscape”, is not one of them. I know that we are all unique and special in our own way but gah! When did it become cool to grow a jungle on your chest? All thoughts of reading my book were put aside as I stared at this unsightly spectacle. Even the pooch stopped dead in his tracks as he tried to figure out whether he was looking at man or beast. hair-back1

Yes, I totally get that the definition of sexy is constantly evolving and I’m definitely not opposed to a few manly chest hairs (that is one of the things I love about the hubster) but when you look as though you’ve been over-fertilized and the weeds have taken over the garden, well, I say that an intervention may be in order Mr.

Men, I implore you, I am all for you being comfortable in your own skin but if we women have to keep up with our daily grooming rituals, I’m expecting that you also keep your end of the bargain by leaving the sweater at home and keeping the cave man look to a minimum. And for heaven sake, warn us before you decide to strut your stuff in public. I’d actually like to enjoy my days off in the sun without fear of another hairy sighting.

No Tongue Please

Being Latina, I have never had any issues with vocalizing my objections or have had any problems with standing up for myself when something has displeased me. On the other hand, if there is a possibility that I may hurt someone I love and care about by something I say, well, I may take a moment or two to reflect before I respond. My first lesson in sensitivity training though was brought on by my mother years earlier. I can remember, as though it were yesterday, the first time I hurt her feelings.

One evening, my mother had decided that she was going to try her hand at cooking something “different” for dinner. On that particular night, my sister and I (who were 6 and 9 at the time) were extremely hungry and we couldn’t wait to eat. Papi had yet to arrive from work but our mother had assured us that we wouldn’t have to wait for him. Well, an hour later, Mami called us for dinner and we almost knocked each other over, trying to get to the table. We each grabbed a seat as though we were playing musical chairs and when Mami put our individual plates down in front of us, both my sister and I stared down at our plates with confusion and horror. You could hear a pin drop in that house from how quiet my sister and I became. Our eyes were glued to the unidentified mystery meat that was lying next to the Macaroni and caddy corner to the Broccoli. Neither one of us was brave enough to ask Mami about the origins of the mystery meat nor why she felt the need to kill something and feed it to us (yes, we had overactive imaginations at that age). We didn’t want to eat it, we just wanted to bury it but there was Mami’s feelings to consider.

Finally, my mother broke the silence, as she hovered over us and said, “Eat girls”. Somehow, knowing darn well that this mystery meat was going nowhere near my lips or my sisters, I found my young voice. My sister looked directly at me, with eyes as round as saucers and brimming with tears, as if she knew that something ugly was about to ensue between Mami and I. I said, “Mami, what is this?”, poking it with my fork for emphasis. She looked at me with a suspicious quiver to her lips, as though she wanted to laugh, and said, “Ham”. I looked back at my plate and said, “No, it’s not. Ham doesn’t have little bumps on it.” Then, all of a sudden I recognized what it was. I stuck out my tongue, to compare it to what was on my plate, and my sister quickly followed suit. We both screamed, “Its tongue. We’re not eating THAT!” Mami pursed her lips and said, “No, it’s Ham. Eat it.” After that, it was total mayhem. My sister started bawling. I crossed my arms over my scrawny chest, in total defiance, letting my mother know in no uncertain terms (albeit respectfully), that I’d rather die than eat TONGUE. My mother, sensing that she was losing the battle, stood there threatening us within an inch of our lives and stated that if we didn’t eat it, we wouldn’t get up from the table until we did.
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This was the scene Papi walked into. He looked at Mami for an explanation and she told him that she had wanted to cook something more exciting for dinner. Papi looked at our plates and said, “That’s tongue? Oh, it’s exciting alright but there is no way I’m eating that either”. And just like that, it was over. Resignation written all over Mami’s face, she knew that there was no way she was going to win the tongue war. Funny thing of it though, she never planned on eating it herself. Talk about double standards.

Mami never mentioned the tongue incident again but I could never forget the look on her face when we wouldn’t try her “cow cuisine”. She looked hurt and that taught me a very valuable lesson. From that day forward I’ve always been very careful on how I voice my objections. “Mmm…cow intestines with onions? Looks lovely Mami but uh..no thank you.”

Where Am I?

Woke up this morning totally disoriented. Gripped the side of the bed as though somehow it were drifting down the Hudson River. Then, as I blinked back the sleep, I realized where I was. I was in my dream home of 4 ½ years and not in my quaint, 2 bedroom apartment in New York City. Where did the time go, I wondered and how did I manage to get here without really feeling the movement of time? I lived in New York City since the day I was born and who would have thought I’d move 30+ years later? Yes, I always said I’d move from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple to somewhere warm and tropical, where the Tankini rules. But to go from dreaming it to actually making it happen? How did I pull that rabbit out of a hat? And why on earth would I be contemplating that now?

I love where I live. The sun, for the most part, is always shining and I really never tire of the beautiful palm trees. And yet, I can’t help feeling a little nostalgic and home sick for the sounds and smell of a city that never sleeps, for bagels that are always warm and for hot dogs that can’t be beat. For Chinese food in Chinatown and amazing Risotto in Little Italy. I miss all of my old stomping grounds and my one in a million boutiques. What I wouldn’t give to fall asleep to the sweet sounds of the City’s “white noise” and wake up to the voices of another day. Living in the City is art-in-motion and I guess I’ll always want to be a part of its vibrant rhythm. My address is in the tropics but my hometown will always be the great N.Y.C!