Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where's my shoe?...

It appears that Latarian is at it again. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse than a 7 year old stealing his grandmomma's Durango to do "hoodrat stuff" with his friends, a friend emailed to me an article (thanks, J.) about Latarian beating up his grandmother in Wal-mart after she refused to buy him some chicken wings. Yes you read that correctly. A 7 year old boy beat up his grandmother because she, a grown ass woman, would not comply with the wishes of a child. In my over-active, hyper-imaginative mind, there is no way in hell I could have made this up if I tried.

This kind of shit scares me. Not in a I'm scared of my child kind of way. I am afraid of my reaction. My reaction would probably be to push the shopping cart out the way, wrestle him to the floor and proceed to whoop his ass right in front of the chicken wing counter for all to see. And then when someone pulled me off of him, I would have dragged him to the bathroom, and beat him some more (don't act like you never got beat in the bathroom or threatened with a beating in the bathroom while you were out in public with your parents). I would have been buying a new pair of shoes in Wal-Mart because I would have left the old ones in his ass. Yes, it may seem excessive. But I believe for the most part we saw glimpses of crazy in our parents and that fear of seeing it again pretty much kept us in check.

But where is his fear??? Fear of forever living with shoes up his ass if he ever put his hands on his grandmother??? Fear of consequences for his actions?? He's a celebrity now. He's been on TV. The police department decided not to charge him with grand theft. And according to this article, he's now at a hospital taking tests for a mental evaluation.

The last time I blogged about this topic, Hustle commented that this is a result of us allowing the government to raise our children (yes it was really him.LOL). While I don't agree with his safety pin strategy (if I see a safety pin lying around his apartment, I'm running..hahahaha), he has a point (no pun intended). It's now criminal to discipline children. Yes, there are people who have gone to far, but why should rational level headed parents be punished for disciplining their children. What is that telling the child that you as a parent have no say so and that they have all the power. Same goes for teaching. Remember when you had to write 100 times "I will not talk in class" as punishment for well..talking in class?? Well, now a teacher can lose her job and her license for that because that is considered "corporal punishment". I remember once getting a memo that forbade teachers from raising their voices at children. Are you kidding me??? A lil bass in your voice and a mean sneer were the only weapons we had as teachers and they wanted to take that away too??? In the words of Clive Davis, SHEEEEEEIIIIIIIITTTTTT (damn, I miss The Wire).

Yes, some may say it's easy for me to sit here, pass judgement and proclaim what I would do and what I wouldn't do because a) I don't have children and b) I'm not in that situation. However, while they are right, I can only imagine instilling the fear of God in my children by any means necessary. And if that means they have to walk around with a gold stiletto up their butt, then so be it. I can (and will) buy another pair.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

hold this...

Last night I was online searching for a nice traveling bag. I have my beloved chocolate brown suede Coach carry-on bag but I'm looking for a "weekender" or a "traveler" - something more stylish than a duffel bag but roomier than a tote. So as I'm perusing the sites, I came across this bag:
Cute, right?? The madras print is very in these days (at least that's all I see in the stores for the summer collection). And while I'm not looking specifically for a tote, it seems roomy enough. So what's the problem?? It's a man's bag. I found it in the Men's Section of the website. (Confession: Sometimes I look at men's clothing online a) to see what's new on the fashion scene for the fellas and b) wonder what I would purchase for my phantom significant other if there was ever a need to shop for my currently imaginary SO. weird, right??? hahahahaha) According to J. Crew's website:

Pack up your gear in a man-size tote inspired by a vintage tool bag.
Garment-washed for a worn-in look and feel. Authentic yarn-dyed cotton madras
from India.

I know men need bags to carry their belongings. But a tote bag??? I'm looking at the pictures and I'm trying to imagine the men that I know carrying a madras print tote bag. GuyGuru, would you carry a madras print tote bag??? Or what about a bag that looks like this:

I can already hear the profanity laden diatribe from Hustle if someone ever tried to give him a bag like this to carry. I just may give him the bag just to watch his reaction. (I kid, I kid...hahahahahahaaaa)

I get that men do need a bag because I'll be damned if I see a dude putting his clothes in a DuaneReade shopping bag for a weekend getaway. (Sidebar: for those unfamiliar with DuaneReade, it's a drug store here in New York that has very sturdy, very ugly white shopping bags with blue and red lettering all over the damn thing...get my point now???). But a tote??? There is nothing masculine about a tote. At. ALL.

A tote is an over sized purse. Most men I know groan or absolutely reeefuse to carry any bag that resembles anything like a purse for a woman. So now it's okay for them to carry it as long as it has their stuff in it?? And what about the shoulder straps?? The shoulder straps on a tote are made long enough to go over your shoulder but short enough to fit in that snug space under your arm and close to your torso. What is a guy supposed to do with a shoulder strap??? Ladies, can you see your guy carrying a tote up on his shoulder and holding the straps in place with his hand at the same time as he makes his way through airport security for your weekend jaunt???? Will you still respect him in the morning???

Is this a case of metrosexual gone too far or am I just over thinking the situation??? What do you think???

In a strange case of irony, I absofuckinlutely heart this bag I found on the Kenneth Cole website. Yes, in the Men's section, damnit! But so what?? What would you rather see: me looking oh so stylish carrying this bag or a guy carrying a madras tote??? Yeah that's what I thought! hahahahaaa

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Buy me some...what?? No martinis?

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I attended my first professional baseball game at the famous soon to be a pile of barney rubble Shea Stadium (pictured above). I had no idea what to expect but I was super duper excited, kid in a candy store sugar rush kind of excited. While I can't say I intently watched each and every play in each inning until we left (Sidebar: why is it so damn chilly in May like leather jacket, cashmere sweater, pashmina chilly??? Is this the price I have to pay for the mild winter of 07-08??), I can say that this Butterfly thoroughly enjoyed myself. Here's a guide for other girly girl baseball rookies.

1. Who cares??? Apparently, the ticket guy doesn't give a shit if this is your first game or your millionth game. Show your ticket and keep it moving. LOL (that one is pretty self explanatory..hahahahaa)

2. There are no stilettos in baseball. My girl, DeeDee warned me to wear flats or sneakers. Now those that know me know sneakers are not a staple in my fashion repertoire so ballet flats were the shoe du jour. And I am sooo grateful I listened. All that hiking just to get to our gate and then the hike up 2 levels just to get provisions would have made stilettos unbearable and left me crying in baseball.

3. "When in Rome......" You've seen my "I hate beer" face. With Bud or Bud Light being my only options (I don't drink soda), what's a girl to do?? What else could I do. I drank a beer. Bud Light to be exact. And I drank the entire bottle with only a few cringes. Thankfully, the food gods (and the old man working the concession stand) love me because I was able to eat a cheeseburger and not a gross stinky hot dog. And forget that peanuts and cracker jack crap; I had gummy bears and almond M&M's in my purse.

(yes that's me drinking a beer. had to capture the moment.)

4. Are you talking to me??? Something about the air of sportsmanship makes totally perfect never would talk to me otherwise complete strangers strike up conversation. Back in my seat as I was preparing my cheeseburger with the requisite 2.5 ketchup packs, a guy comes up to me and asks me "ummmm where did you get that from?" I looked up to see a Matt Lauer looking straight laced white man peering at my burger. I told him where he could find one and he too was not a fan of the trek it would take to actually get one. He asked if it was worth it. I took a bite just for him (well for him and the hunger pains duking it out in my stomach) and informed him that yes it was worth it. So maybe its not the sportsmanship that's the common bond. Regardless of race, creed or color, we all get hungry.

(okay, Lil Sis informed me that the best way to eat a cheeseburger is to put your fries on the burger. Her rationale is "it's all going to the same place". So since this is a night of firsts, I gave it a try. My inner chubby girl was pleasantly pleased)

5. Heads up is a way of life. Okay when you hear that ball to bat crack and everyone around you starts standing up or looking up, you better pay attention and scan the sky for that tumbling white object. Sitting as close as we were, I was in constant fear of being hit by a ball going faster than the speed limit on the highway. Oh the horror!!! But then I thought maybe this could be my Sex and the City moment when Carrie caught the ball and dated the "new Yankee". I don't know who's a new Met or not but judging from some of their pics on the ginormous screen, I wouldn't mind getting their balls.
(Lil Sis, Me, and DeeDee. And yes, we sat that close to the outfield. And yes, I was paranoid that we were going to get hit while taking this picture)

6. Control yo kids, damn it. Okay, I usually feel this way in the supermarket and department stores when people let their kids run around like I'm the idiot for shopping in the middle of their children's playgrounds. But there were kids running around all over the damn place. Why are you spending 30 bucks and up for your kids to completely ignore the game and organize a game of tag in the aisle and up and down the stands??? They can do that somewhere else for free, you know. I almost lost it when 2 kids bumped me as I carried my 5 dollar fries, my 9 dollar burger and my 8 dollar beer. After my cross country hike to the concession stand for my reeeeeediculously overpriced dinner, I would have beat a kid down for knocking me and my meal to the ground.

(DeeDee, Me, Mr. Met, & Lil Sis. Oh and the cutie who was Mr. Met's handler. Damn, a dude with a big ass ball on his head has a "handler". Where can I get one of those??)

Special Shout out to DeeDee and Lil Sis for not only accompanying me to my first pro baseball game but for also bringing their cameras to capture the moments (you may want to start a bail fund for me because BestBuy is STILL holding my camera hostage. If I don't get it back in time for my trip, somebody call Johnny Cochran. Oh wait, he's dead. Okay, call Star Jones. She's looking for work, right? )

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Take me out to the ballgame.......

Believe it or not, I am going to my first professional baseball game tonight. And like a kid on Christmas Eve, I am super duper excited. I have absolutely no love for the sport of baseball. I've tried to watch it on TV and its like counting the minutes to being released from prison (not that I'm familiar with what that's like but you get my point...hahahaha).

So what do you wear to a baseball game??? I hate beer, hot dogs, and peanuts and cracker jack - is there anything else on the menu like martinis, Caesar salad and fruit snacks??? How long is this damn thing??? Will all the eye candy be drunk frat boys?? What if the opposing team is cuter than the home team- can I root for them instead???

I'll probably write about the experience manana. If you happen to watch the game tonight, look for the chick in the Marc Jacob sunglasses and a martini glass in the crowd. That be me.

LET'S GO METS!!!!!!!! (ummm that's what I'm supposed to say right????)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Who is this woman......

A couple of days ago, I was cleaning out a closet and came across these pictures of my mother. Judging from the book I found them in, this was approximately 3 years pre-me or the year 3 B.J. (Before Janelle...hahahahahaa). I looked at the pictures and wondered "who is this woman?" - not in a way like I don't know my mother. I know the basics - her name, where she went to school, her friends, a few anecdoctal stories here and there, the fact that after each surgery she has she winds up hating a new vegetable (this time it's peas...hahahahaha). But this woman in this picture is a mystery to me. What did this woman like? What pissed her off?? What were her dreams?? Where did she see her life 5 years from that day? 10 years? What made her smile? Who made her smile? Who got the other two pictures from the photo strip??

If you would have asked her these questions anytime after my arrival, the answers would have been easy. It was all related to me. And I don't say that in a self-centered kind of way. My mother gave up everything for me. I was her priority. Every move, every decision was made because of me. And while I love her immensely for her dedication to me (and making sure I didn't do hoodrat stuff with my friends...hahahahaha), I can't help but feel guilty that I took her away from whatever this woman in the picture had in store.

So with Mother's Day being on Sunday, I want to celebrate this woman. The woman who stepped into a photo booth on a whim. The woman with the cute hair cut and the cute winter outfit. The woman with the slight grin in her eye. The woman who appeared to not have a care in the world. While the woman in this picture wasn't a mother yet, I think there is some of her in me. And I have my mother to thank for that.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Usually, there is no crime I would think of committing primarily because of my absolute fear of jail. My mottos on the subject tend to "I'm too pretty for prison" or "too fine to do time". However, with that said, I would probably be a big girl's bitch in the big house if this were my grandson. There is no way I would have enough composure to be interviewed by CNN nor would he be available for interviews. The only thing he would be available for is the ass beatings waiting for him. In front of the cops. And yes I know that's my rage talking. But what other emotion is left after watching this. Did you see his grandmother's car???? "I like to do hoodrat things with my friends"???? At 7(shit at any age for that matter)????? What the hell is going on???

On some level, as sad as it is, this incident doesn't surprise me. Having taught for 3 years at a school my friends nicknamed Rickers Academy (yes after the prison), the 7 year old in this clip has the same nonchalant inconsequential attitude I faced on a daily basis. There were always those students who, no matter how much love and guidance you tried to show them, they still didn't care and only wanted to do "hoodrat things". I would ask myself daily "how can I change this? how can I get these kids to understand that just because you're from the hood you don't have to be a 'rat. My decision to leave the school system was not an easy one. I never wanted to be a bitter cynical educator who was there only for a paycheck and Jewish holiday vacations. And I felt that bitterness and cynicism creeping in - part of the reason I left. While, on most days, I am at peace with my decision and am much happier, it's stories like these that make me feel guilty for walking away. Like I abandoned the children to roam the streets and do shit like this.

This whole hoodrat culture hurts me in my core. Offically, I am a hoodrat having grown up in Harlem when the only white people you saw were the cops assigned to the neighborhood precincts, the teachers assigned to neighborhood schools, and the drug addicts who would drive into the neighborhood in their Beemers and Jettas with out of state plates looking to score. I am very proud of growing up in Harlem, especially when it looked like a scene from New Jack City. But moreso, I'm proud of succumbing to the power of my mother's foot in my ass and not the lure of the street. I fully admit my mother did not condone hoodrat behavior in her home. Any hint of it was met with an eye that meant "girrrrl, don't test me", and if that didn't work, her hand became reacquainted with my behind. Maybe if they had been kicking this little boy's ass and not rewarding him with video games and frequent trips to McDonald's, he would not feel like "doing bad stuff is fun". And now this boy will be in the system, and while they can't officially lock his ass up because he's too young, they will be watching him like Pookie in the drug lab for the rest of his life.

What kind of punishment is appropriate for this 7 year old??? According to him, taking away video games for a "weekend" should do it. Sorry, Latarian. You are going to need a little more than that, unless you want to eventually become some big dude's bitch in the bighouse. The problem here is not only getting him to understand the magnitude of his actions (which is difficult just because of his age) but to also deter him from continuing to be a delinquent with his friends (who smoke cigarettes at 7??? what. the. fuck???)

I wish I had the answers. I wish the solution was something that can be solved in 30 minutes like this is a sitcom. What I do know is that if Latarian and children like him don't get help, then we all need to go to jail because we have failed a generation. People often ask me if I would return to teaching. While "never say never" is an often used phrase, today I know in my heart of hearts, the answer to that question is "hell to da naw" (gotta say it like Whitney Houston for full effect...hahahhahahaha). But I know something has to be done. Something more than what I'm doing now. I'm just not sure what.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Is it is or is it ain't????.....

What makes a date??? What's the difference in "hanging out" "and a "date"? This all important, life changing dilemma has been plaguing me all weekend. And I'm no closer to the answer thanks to my friends.

I hung out with a friend this weekend. My Guy Guru and my girl E. seem to think it was a date. They wouldn't think it was a date if I was hanging with one of my girls. So why did the rules change because my dinner companion didn't have lip gloss and breast??? According to my Guy Guru I would be swinging from chandeliers by the end of the night and "giving it up". The day of my outing, E. called and asked what I was going to wear on my "date". I reminded her that it wasn't a date and that I would probably wear jeans, a cute top, and heels. This look tends to be my uniform so no big deal there. She asked if I was nervous. I told her "hell no" with a well placed side eye to my phone that I only wished she could see. This was just a dinner with an old friend, right???

Don't get me wrong. I had a great time with my friend. We had great convo at the restaurant, damn near shutting the place down. After dinner, we made our way to a dark cavernous lounge where old school hits (and misses) were the perfect soundtrack to our incessant laughter at the dancing machines (more like dancing fools) in the place. As a perfect gentlemen should, he made sure I got home safely at the end of the night. That's it. No swinging from chandeliers. No giving it up. No nervous energy. Just a fun filled evening. If time and space ever permit, we plan to hang out again. So was this a date??? Hell if I know. All I know is I hung out with a friend and had a great time doing so. And if your barometer is the all consuming question of who paid, the answer is the only time I came out of pocket was for the taxi downtown to meet him since I was running a little late (surprise surprise! hahahahahaha). So is this a date because he paid for dinner and drinks?? What if I offered??? Is a date because it was only he and I in attendance?? What if our mutual friends lives hundreds of miles away and neither one of us brought a chaperone??? Is it a date because we both are single??? Can't two single people hang out??? If we go out again, is that a date???

I'm confused. I was perfectly fine in my bubble of belief until my friends popped it. Now, I don't know what this was. Thanks, my friends. Mannnn, fuck it I don't care what you call it (as you can probably guess, I just came to this revelation as I was typing...hahahahahahaaa). I had fun and I'll do it again. And you can call it whatever the hell you want. hahahaha