December 19, 2009

NOLA

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Today in the playground…Sir – in the middle of it all exclaiming and proclaiming to everyone and no one in particular.
A voice loud and deep – from his gut – very sure – with utter confidence and belief in what he was saying – though no one will know what that was.
And I stood there hovering wanting to give him free rein to tear into the world around him/wanting to shout and proclaim alongside him that he is true and he is right but instead my limbs flailed desperately/running here and there behind his sure heavy steps….disaster at every uneven crack of pavement/terror at every semi pointed stick
for me.
Wild wide wonder
for him.
Ah my son – soon even my limbs won’t be enough to hold you in and free you will be….beautifully and terribly free

December 17, 2009

NOLA

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Third day of rain.
Sir and I have many moments where we just stare at each other.
I wonder what he’s thinking.
I wonder if he wonders what I’m thinking.
Hide and seek becomes more and more fun as the months roll on.
Sir’s feet seem completely unrelated to the small soft slips of skin I used to hold through the night several months ago.
Surely the cat has hatched a plan.
When in doubt, eat the second coconut fruit bar.
Dora the Explorer only rhymes if you say in with a New Yawk accent.
Doraw the Exploraw.
In any case, while repetition is good for small people it tests big people’s sanity.
In any case, while repetition is good for small people it tests big people’s sanity.
In any case, while repetition is good for small people it tests big people’s sanity.

Being in the company of a one year old all day…memories stir and suddenly I realize….it wasn’t really right for me to be in the bar when I was five was it….

“One fish, two fish”, is brilliant in it’s nonsensity.

Am I really 34?

Is this sleeping child really mine?

Time for tea.

Good night.

December 10, 2009

NOLA

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A quick post while Sir sleeps.

It occurred to me the other day that modesty could possibly be luxurious. As in it is a luxury that is indulged and those who have not cannot indulge in it. What do I mean? Well, here’s where I embarrass myself.

While watching Chef Academy or was it Real Housewives of Atlanta…?…anyhow, (note my flushing cheeks) while watching one of those shows and multi-tasking house chores…Lazaro woke up with a howl. After rushing in and soothing tears and installing my 22lb lovely in his highchair for lunch….a show called Say Yes to the Dress came on. A terrible show concerning wedding gowns and wedding gown consultants which just happens to take place not far from where I used to work as a barista in midtown. So I guess I could say nostalgia kicked in???

Anyhow on this particular episode, Michelle Duggar, the woman from 18 Kids and Counting or 19 or something, was renewing her wedding vows with her husband and needed a dress. So, the TLC channel decided to join two of their shows and send Mrs. Duggar to the Yes to Dress shop.

After the 18 or 19 kids and the husband piled into the showing room, Michelle was asked what type of dress she was looking for. She repeatedly mentioned the necessity for a dress that was both modern but most importantly modest. Also when she was presented with choices to try on she politely asked the consultant to wait outside the dressing room while she undressed and stepped into the dress, saying she would like help only at the end when she was properly covered. She explained that she was much too modest to disrobe in front of the consultant.

So while the question that popped into my head does not concern Michelle Duggar or her individual modesty (though my little brain does loops and loops around the 19 births !!) she was the catalyst.

Modesty, in this instance, meant more time spent or wasted, depending on your point of view, dressing and undressing and all for the sake of blocking unwanted eyes on the body. Time, as we all know in our society, equates with money…or so they have us believe.

So if modesty takes more time – is it then a luxury?

I then began to think of situations where modesty is thrown out of the window. Extreme emergencies like fires may prompt someone to exit his or her home in sleepwear or less. Military forces all over the world, I have heard though I do not know from experience, eradicate privacy, modesty, and individuality in order to create a beehive of clockwork like drones. ( I do mean that in the best sense possible) Offices have done away with walls and implemented cubicles and in some instances not even cubicles. Of course, this saves money and space but there is also something about the lack of ability to hide, to always be on in a way, to always be in the public eye. More clothes to cover the skin means more fabric and more cost….And then there is the Easy Pickins dressing room.

I know Easy Pickins seems to find its way into my posts lately but so be it. In West New York, NJ, on the fabled Bergenline Avenue, there is/was? an Easy Pickins store. And in that store the dressing room was communal- meaning there were no individual stalls or rooms- just one large carpeted room with a ceiling to floor mirror covering the entirety of one wall. The women would all pile in with their dresses and sweaters and pants to try on. I always felt it was a bit of a cattle room. Clothes strewn everywhere, dingy bras and worn panties and c-sections scar and cellulite all with no choice but to be on display under one long flourescent bulb and one sour looking dressing room guard. It was a bit humiliating but there was no choice, no option for modesty.

Fast forward to 2006 and I found myself in the Anthropologie dressing room in Edgewater, NJ. Here the dressing rooms are a sumptuous affair. Your name is written on the small chalkboard outside your door. The lighting is soft, the air is scented with peonies or irises or baltic amber or whatever retro chic fragrance is popular now. Inside your room you find a cushioned bench and no dust bunnies and some more of the soft soft lighting that gallantly smooths out your flaws.

I know this all does not relate strictly to modesty but still the question arose….is modesty a luxury? What do you think?

Alas….the Lazaro has awoken and my musings get shelved for another day.

On another note tonight we get to go to Christmas in the Oaks! Yay!

November 23, 2009

NOLA

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It’s not that I don’t believe in education.
I do.
As a girl that grew up in a low income, immigrant, working class neighborhood I attest that education helped me to step out of the bounds of the circumscribed world that lay at my feet. All around me I saw factory workers and welfare recipients. I saw people with a little bit of education puff up and bully those with none. I saw ladies take 6 or 8 month certificate programs, run out to EJ Roberts, buy “office” wear and proceed to cop an attitude with anyone that had the misfortune to find themselves needing to “aks” them a question; their ignorance worn as thick and as proudly as their Wet N Wild makeup. My role models, as far as what I saw around me, were either completely lacking in true intelligence or were so brow beaten and weary from what life had doled out to them that they were working zombies.
To make it big would have been to land a “cushy” town hall job. In West New York there was no room for things such as painting, poetry, or sculpture. Right across the river from one of the most diversified cities in the world, an average West New Yorker would have been hard pressed to tell you the difference between Pakistani and Hindu, Croatian and Russian, Senegalese and Ghanan – nor would they have cared.

So the fact that I can sit here and talk of my love of languages and cultures and peoples somehow must attest to some form of education I must have received somewhere. And yet I don’t mean that which I received in school. Because I know with 100% certainty that it was not the Hudson County Board of Education or their programs or curriculums that made me devour books (with the exception of one much loved Mr. Sullivan – 7th grade reading teacher), want to travel, try to learn new languages, etc., etc. Which brings me to my main point.
The farce that is education and in particular – higher education.
I sit here now. 34. And for all the steps I took away from that world of West New York, I ironically find myself a perfect West New York statistic. I am Hispanic. Unmarried with a child. Unemployed. And my child is on the state’s insurance. Hmmmm. At this rate all I need are Food Stamp benefits and a section eight housing voucher.
How did this happen?
Here’s the punchline – the part that should have stopped the above from happening.
I hold a high school diploma, a Bachelor’s degree in Literature, and a Master’s degree in Writing (which I’m still paying for).
Nice.
Want another laugh?
My faux little sister opted not to pursue the starry lofty world of higher education instead relegating herself to the lowly world of cutting and shaving dogs. There was much hemming and hawing about it as many around her feared for her future.
Today?
She is in hot demand and always has a job that not only pays well but allows her to rake in tips as well. Fat tips.
While we’re at it…
The father of my child who holds a GED certificate has, at this moment, the highest earning potential in the household…
Now I know this is not all cut and dry. I could have applied myself more. I could have pursued different venues related to my “field”. I could have done many things for my present outcome to not be so and I accept that and yet…
Yet I still feel that a dream of easy street after attaining the fabled degree is being propagated. I saw it all the time when I taught adults returning to school. There they were – 20 or so women and men – single mothers, single fathers, ex-convicts, ex-junkies, the working poor….not all were committed. Some were there because they had to be. But those that were committed had bright blinking stars in their eyes. After I get my degree….would be a prefacing line to countless dreams and aspirations many of which sadly, were completely unattainable. But there it was – the idea that attaining this vague four year degree would pave the road to higher and mightier successes. And would it? I would bet the much needed money I don’t have that it would not. Though that was not what the administrative side would tell them in their many speeches and pep talks.
So what, some might say. It’s all relative. Success to an ex-junkie is different than to a suburban teen. Perhaps, I say. But then there were things that could not be ignored. Like 4th year students of mine still unable to write a simple 5 paragraph essay. Like the administrators telling me to simply “work with them” code for just pass them. Like people graduating and still not being able to differentiate between there, their, they’re. And then I thought……then Sharon will go to an office in mid-town and apply for a job and then she will be crushed and what of her degree then?
And the more painful question…..is there an educator out there thinking the same of me? Was my education a sad and painful farce to someone else?

Somehow, I suspect at times it was.

And so tonight for this moment I say Poo [I'm a mom now ;) ] to higher education and attest that the most I learned came from the books I checked out on my own time, the people I bothered to meet and question, the life I lived beyond the bounds of the schoolyard or campus and most importantly the quality instilled in me by my father who did not finish grade school – to listen and listen and listen….

And listening, my friends, though sometimes hard, is free.

November 21, 2009

NOLA

4 comments

Dear Diary,

Awkward body – check
Waves of hormones – check
Self doubt – check
Self consciousness – check
Angst – check
Crippling uncertainty – check

It seems as if I have all the makings of a bonafide puberty induced crisis – except – I’m 34 not 14.

More than just a mid-life crisis. This is a maternal mid-life crisis and it seeps into all aspects of the concrete life I used to have.

Ah the concretes! I concretely drank. I concretely danced. I concretely wandered the streets of New York aimlessly seeking gelato one night, brooches another, spice vendors another…
My twenties were one giant scavenger hunt set in New York City where I meandered from one adventure to the next.

But now.

Now I find myself a mother when I never thought I wanted to be one. I am ten years older. No longer qualifying for Hello Kitty accessories and yet not really feeling like entering the world of Chico’s permanently. I have a small person attached to my boob for whom I desperately try to clean up my potty mouth.

I attend storytime, read developmental books by doctors’ whose pictures I would have made fun of two years ago and hunt down new playgrounds to crash.

But all the while I feel like someone will tap me on the shoulder soon and say “Hey! What are you doing with that baby? Put him down and scram!”

What persona to adopt now that I am mother? I feel a farce as I smile sweetly at the librarian. I cringe in the doctor’s waiting room feeling oddly out. I slink around the other moms at the playground hoping they’ll talk to me/hoping they won’t talk to me. I wonder if mini dresses are now on a don’t list for me.

Of course, I only have to look to US Weekly to feel a little relieved and slightly disgusted. After all, I unwittingly ended up participating in what seems to be the new baby boom of the 21st century or is it 22nd? There is Angelina, Halle, Nicole, Heidi, Salma, etc., etc. There is the OctoMom and Kate and 8 minus Jon. There are the Duggers and those people from Table for Ten or is it Twelve…? The babies and their mothers are everywhere; Young, old, single, married, divorced, Hispanic, Black, White, Asian, famous, tattooed, so on and so forth.

So why do I feel so alienated and out of touch?

Sigh…alas it’s past my bedtime and methinks I feel a blemish cropping up….til next time -

October 15, 1996

NOLA

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