I heard it on a ski lift….

I have recently returned from a WONDERFUL, albeit minimally snowy vacation to Tennessee.  Our group contained myself, an African American, my daughter, half AA, half German, my boyfriend, Cuban, our former roommate, half Cuban, half Mexican, and his girlfriend, Honduran.  Why do I go through the ethnicities?  Read on.

Please, put aside your preconcieved notions that all of our southern states are places only for WASPs, for that is not true.  Even a small town like Gatlinburg, a resort town, found its fair share of culturally diverse crowds.  We ran into many people who spoke Spanish, French, German, and even Russian (we think).  There were even quite a few black folks out trying out this snowboarding sensation. (Keep at it!  Don't leave me out there alone!)

All this and more I tell you only to relive the funniest thing I heard all week.  It's funny in a sad sort of way, but I laughed as did all in my group when I relayed the story, which in turn, allows you to laugh too.

Skiing/snowboarding is quite the social sport.  Either that, or I must have a sign on that only other people can see that says "I want you, a compete stranger, to tell me everything about yourself and ask you everything there is to know about me."  Long sign, I know, but I must be wearing it.  At any rate, I've been off riding by myself for a while as my daughter is in a lesson and my poor baby is home sick on the first day of our trip.  I've made fast friends with 2 girls from TN that just love me for some reason (am I Token?), as well as several other kids.  I guess it could be that I look younger than I am and act nowhere near my age, but I digress.

On one particular lift ride, I had the opportunity to ride up with a southern gentleman and his son.  I can say southern with absolute certainty because not only did the accent give it away, but he flat out told me that he was from TN.  The conversation started as most do on a lift ride.  Hellos, weather, first time, etc.  Something like this:

Him: How y'all doing today?

Me:  (Wondering if I've multiplied) Fine thanks, you?

Him: We're doing great!  Great day of skiing.

Mind you, his son says nothing this entire ride.

Me:   Good to hear.

Him:  So where ya from?

Me:   (Because I've told this story many times today, and many times at Club Med) Pittsburgh originally, but now I live in Miami.

Him:  Oh yeah?  What do you do down there?

Me:  I'm an Administrative Assistant.

Him:  Oh?  Where at?

I think that's one too many personal questions at this point, but….

Me:   A property management company.

Him:  You been down there long?

Me:  (Is this ride over yet?!?!)  About 3 years now.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for…..

Him:  You gotta learn to speak mexican to live down there, huh?

Me:  (Blank stare.)  Guffaw!

First off, I didn't capitalize Mexican to accentuate the way in which it was said.  If nothing else, I do know punctuation and capitalization (as I hit spell check).  Secondly, the brunt of the Hispanic population in Miami proper is Cuban although we do boast a large Mexican population.  Third, my newly made redneck friend, if you're going to be stereotypical, at least get it right, because learning to speak SPANISH goes a long way here.

He didn't say much after I giggled in his face and thankfully, the ride was over shortly thereafter.  By the way, southern gentleman, where did you get that gaiter?  It's such a lovely shade.  Oh, wait, that's your neck.





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Death to Iggy(s)!

I have a friend, we'll call her H.  H is very low-maintenance.  Always there when I need her.  Haven't had a problem with her since we met in September of 2005.  Some may say that I'm not the best friend to H.  I've left her alone in the rain and at times, I've driven her harder than she prefers, but overall, things aren't so bad between us. (In case you hadn't figured it, H is my car.)

H has, what I at first believed to be, quite a cushy parking spot.  She's out of the direct sunlight most of the time, shaded by either our house, or the great mango tree in the front.  She used to be happy there and I used to be happy she was there.  Now, things have changed.

Iggy (and his wife/life partner) have moved in.  There was no warning, no moving van, no "Hi, we're the new neighbors".  The only way that I know that the Iggys are around is that they've taken to leaving presents for, or I should say on, H. 

The Iggys have made a residence in the mango tree.  For the most part, they're quiet neighbors and you wouldn't even know they're there except for one glaring huge middle iguana finger thrust at me on a daily basis….


I will soon wash the paint off of H because of the daily washing that she needs because the Iggys are disgusting pigs.  If you weren't aware, iguanas poop in much the same way as birds.  LARGE birds!  Every morning I go out to my car, half asleep, to find the present of the day.  Today, it looked as though the Iggys put in a joint effort.  There's a large section of my back window that I cannot see out of.  It's gross.  It's annoying.  It's offending.  Some folks want to call someone to take them away, but as I believe that the Iggy family are all either spies or CIA agents, or Jack Bauers in training, they are never seen. 

Now, I am angry.  Do not look for me, do not call me, for I will not be around.  I am becoming one with the Iggy family.  I will hold vigil in my front yard with the necessary equipment to remove the crapmakers.  I will think like them, I will look like them, I will eat like them, and I will kill them.  Hopefully before I poop on someone else's car.

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QotD: Naughty or Nice? Complete badass.

Have you ever secretly unwrapped a gift before the big day? 
Submitted by Red Pen.

When I was just a little thing, I used to think that it was so cool to be able to sneak in and out of places and no one ever knew that I was or had been there.  As the perfect cat burglar, I was the queen of finding out what we were getting for Christmas long before Christmas morning. 

My parents either weren't the best at hiding presents or they just flat out didn't try to hide them which is more likely considering the other things that they never tried to hide.  So every year, the presents were in the back corner of my dad's bedroom closet and every year, on a Sunday night, when my parents were at the bowling alley, the recon mission began.

League play started at 7 and the lanes were about 10 minutes away, therefore my mom and dad left at about 6:30.  (I didn't find out until later that there were pre-bowling preparations such as getting coffee/beer/chicken wings/etc.  Besides that, my dad was VERY against shoing up on CP time.)  For an agonizing 30 minutes, my brother and I sat around the house, just waiting for the clock to strike 7, for the pins to start falling, for the tape to be slowly and carefully peeled back.

At the stroke of 7, we entered the sacred closet.  We both took a mental picture of how the presents were placed in the closet so we could return them in the exact same manner.  One by one, we would take them out of the closet.  My brother, always more excited about Christmas than I was, he always got better gifts, but I digress, would pick out a couple things that he just HAD TO KNOW about what was in the box.  With my super steady 11 year old hand, I would carefully peel back the tape without ripping any paper and unwrap the box enough so that we could see the treasure inside.  After all was said and done, I would carefully rewrap everything and place it back into the closet.  After a while, I had gotten so good at it, that even if I ripped the paper a little, I could put it back exactly where it was and place another piece of tape on top so that it looked like nothing ever happened.

All that practice growing up and nowhere to apply it in the real, grownup world since being a cat burglar might pay the bills, but there's no health insurance.  Now that I have a daughter of my own, I don't even put the presents under the tree until Christmas eve and we keep our bedroom door locked.  :-) 


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Speaking English in Miami

It's lunchtime.  I brought my lunch today but every once in a while, I just need to step outside of the office.  For a little while, I want to not breathe the recycled, recirculated, germ-laden air in our office.  I want to see the sun, feel a breeze.  (I work in the South Beach area, which means I'm breathing the urine-scented, probably even MORE germ-laden air, but I digress.)

I step outside into the nice warm air that is a million times warmer than the refrigerated air that is pumped into our office via a vent directly over my head.  I contemplate crossing the street but I don't want to walk to the corner and a Miami Beach officer just pulled up and it would be just my luck that he'd harass me for jaywalking.  (On a side note, do police still do that?)

SIDEBAR: If you haven't had the pleasure, opportunity, bad luck to venture down Washington Ave during the day, here's what you're missing:  real homeless people asking for money, pseudo-homeless people asking for money (the fake ones are way too clean and tend to have new sneakers on), sorry to be so un-PC, but crazy people, talking to themselves and bumming smokes, driving on the sidewalk (bikes, boards, skates), walking in the streets, and about every half block, someone trying to give you a flyer for something be it a club, religion, new music, whatever.  Get on a plane!  This can't stay here forever!

I think that I've made it through steps 1 through 6 and am about to take step 7 outside the building when I am approached by a flyer guy.  It went a little something like this:

FG: Aaaaaay, mami, you peaki pani?

Translation: Pardon me miss, do you speak Spanish?

Me: rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (while squeezing my eyes shut and shaking my head like a dog that just got sprayed with the hose)

FG: Uhhhh.  (walks away quickly)

I am one of the few people in Miami that doesn't speak Spanish, apparently.  Don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against the language or the people.  I lived in Mexico for almost 2 years (and yes, I still don't speak Spanish) and the love of my life is of Cuban decent.  It's such a melting pot here, but I can't quite understand why people automatically think that I speak Spanish.  Granted, I don't look like Buffy from the country club (African-American, loc-ed hair, sadly, no ghetto booty — why am I the only black girl on earth with no ass??), but why not shoot for English first?  Honestly, if I'm in Mexico, I shoot for Spanish when I ask questions.  In France, I'd give French a shot, but give up quickly and head on home for some Freedom Fries from McDonalds.  So why, in the US, can we not go for English first? 

By the way, it isn't just Spanish that people assume I speak.  I think that I get mistaken for Dominican and that's where it comes from, but I also get mistaken for Haitian because often enough, someone will start going on in Creole until I start giving them the dog spray.

I'm not going the way of the lunatic from Colorado who thinks that Miami is a "third world country", far from it.  I hope.  I certainly don't want to be seen as "that girl".  I just want people to respect our country and our language just like they would any other country or its language.  Is that so wrong?  Talk amongst yourselves.

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QotD: My Favorite Holiday Traditions

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
Submitted by sami711.

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was a special night.  Not only was it one more sleep until the shredding of the wrapping paper, not only was it (still is) my brother's birthday, but it was a time when we cleared off the kitchen table, laid newspaper down over it, and ate fondue and crab legs until we exploded.

My dad would get out the huge boiler and just cook and cook and cook.  Sometimes the neighbors would come over, sometimes my godparents would come over.  But no matter who was there, the tree was always up, the bubble lights were on, the bird ornament was chirping, and The Temptations were there on the record player (yes, old school) singing us Christmas carols. 

The neighbors are still at home as are my godparents.  My brother's in NC, my mom's in north FL, I'm in south FL, and my dad's gone on to a better place.  We won't be together this year but I hope that everyone will still take a moment and think about the days gone by, the good times that we had.  That's what it's really all about.  Being with your family and making memories and traditions to pass along through the generations.  Miss you dad.

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