Friday, April 28, 2006

The People in My Neighborhood

I've been living in my new apartment for a little over a month now and things are going well. There are a few minor complaints, but nothing major. I was concerned about moving to this area before because it has a reputation for being a, er, trailer park. Growing up, this community seemed to have the highest incidents of both interracial dating and hate crimes. So I was a bit reluctant to move here, but the price was right, so here I am.

One thing I noticed is that my location is defined by two big box stores. I can tell people the name of my apartment complex and my address, but they won't know where I live until I say that I'm near the Target or the Wal-Mart (I'm near the Target, btw). And the nearby Target is definitely this area's selling point, but more on that in a later post. There are some other sketchy establishments in the area, like the Chinese restaurant called Fortune Cooky. Yes, that's how it's spelled. There's also Rick's Kwik Korner and Sasha's Delly. I've heard of a place called the Shaken Rooster's Butt, but I haven't seen it for myself. My friends told me about it -- it's a real place. It's a Chinese restaurant with a picture of a Rooster on the front, along with all these Chinese characters. The literal meaning of the sign is Shaken Rooster's Butt. Go figure.

Anyway, I say all this to say ... my neighbors are crazy. I was sitting at my computer last weekend with my desk facing the window and my blinds were open. Two cars pull up and two men in their 40s get out, one is a rather rotund man driving an SUV and the other is thin in a Saturn. The guys started screaming at each other and shoving fingers in each other's faces. The thin man grabs the rotund around the throat and starts choking him. Then thin man gets in his car and drives off, leaving rotund to call the cops on his celly.

So the cops come, and everyone is in the parking lot telling 5.0 what happened, except me. I'm having too much fun watching this from my living room. Rotund looked at me several times through the window, probably wondering why I wasn't there giving my two cents. Whatever. There was no bloodshed, no one was seriously injured. And I don't have a good track record with police. I discerned that Rotund lives across the street from me and had a road rage incident with the Saturn driver while on the freeway. The choker followed him to our parking lot, where the melee took place. Everyone gives their side of the story and the cop drives off.

Finally, I head out to the parking lot, on my way to my favorite place....TARGET. Rotund is sitting on the porch, screaming into his cell phone: "F*** this, that's totally wrong. I'm not putting up with this s***! Everyone's acting like this is f****g my fault!"

Immediately, I grew concerned. Did he somehow get the telephone number for the choking Saturn driver? Or was this man involved in another altercation. Finally, he said something that cleared it all up for me.

"But Mom, you just don't understand!"

Heavy sigh. These are the people in my neighborhood.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Reflections on Puberty

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the day I became a woman. No, not that day, the other one. The one they talk about in all the puberty books for young girls, right next to diagrams of ovaries and fallopian tubes. Yep, the period.

I was the girl who thoroughly read all those puberty books and I eagerly waited for the day that I would be like Julie. Julie was 14 and she was an animated character in one of my puberty books. For years, I annoyed Mom by suspecting my belly aches were actually cramps ory by excusing myself to the bathroom repeatedly, knowing each time that that would be the day I became a woman. I was wrong on so many occasions.

Little did I know it would happen at a slumber party about a month after my 13th birthday party. There were no fireworks, no embarrassment, no major excitement. Just somebody shoving me a pad and telling me to deal with it. I tried to play it cool since the host, who was younger than me, had started her period months before I did. I raced home, told my mother and then grabbed my puberty book. I remember circling April 21 in my calendar, hoping these changes in my body would lead to a new era.

I wish I knew then what was in store for me. None of those books describe what it's really like to be a woman. No one warned me about the cramps, the acne, the craving for chocolate and the murderous frenzy you get into when someone wears the color green. (Okay, maybe that's just me) Now I want to punch Julie. That heffa didn't tell me about first love, first jobs, rent, mortgages, the IRS and gas prices that make me want to pull my hair out.

Thanks alot, Julie.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Introducing the TomKitten

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and learned that Katie Holmes had given birth. She and Tom Cruise are now the proud parents of (I'm assuming) a beautiful little girl named Suri. The nerve of all those people who thought she wasn't really pregnant (whatever, that stomach was so fake) and those who thought ol' Tommy Boy was sterile (there's no way viable sperm could survive in Tom's tight jeans, just ask Nicole). I guess TomKat showed them!

The interesting thing I found was that Tom's nemesis Brooke Shields gave birth to her daughter, Grier, in the same hospital, the same day. So many thoughts run through my mind. Could Brooke and Katie hear each other's screams while in labor? Oh wait, Katie can't scream -- that's against Scientology protocol. Were Brooke and Katie able to hold their babies at the same time? Nope. Brooke is probably nestled up with her youngin', while Katie's unbathed baby has to be wrapped tightly and left alone for a day or so, according to Scientology rules. Breastfeeding is also frowned upon.

But now that the TomKitten has popped, I can't wait for the Brangelina babe to arrive. Seriously, with all these celebrity bundles of joy (Apple, Moses, Barron, Sean Preston, Grier and Suri) it's going to make for a very interesting 21st century. I predict that Brangelina will have a boy and unlike the other celebrity showoffs, they'll name him something common, like Eddie. (yeah, right)

By 2026, Suri will write a tell-all book where she reveals that her real father is Chris Klein and Tom planned his coupledom with Katie to resurrect both their careers. Eddie will be a handsome rock star with thick lips and long hair. He'll sleep with tons of women, but folks will question his relationship with his adopted sister, Zahara, after he passionately kisses her at an awards show. What a chip off the old block! Sean Preston will try to have a career in gangsta rap, but that will fail once fans learn that he faked a shooting in order to get street cred. Katie will come to her senses and the TomKat will fizzle. Brangelina will be constantly on again, off again as they continue to get pregnant and adopt children from around the world. Barron will be a slacker whose father keeps firing him and the bankrupt Michael Jackson will send resumes to Disney World, Hershey Park and Sesame Place.

It should be interesting, I hope I'm around to see it.
(photo courtesy of,1658,5141810,00.jpg)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Buried Treasure

I read recently about some kind of religious custom where a person selects what books they'd like to be buried with. Of course, I can't remember what religion this was and I can't find it on google. Either way, I'm posting my top 10 list of books and cd's I'd like to be buried with. With all that stuff in there, the morticians won't have room for my corpse. Oh well... I'll have to live forever!

Books (in no particular order)

1. Lesson before dying, by Ernest Gaines
2. Erasure, by Percival Everett
3. Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, by Bebe Moore Campbell
4. The Tenants, by Bernard Malamud (soon to be a movie featuring Snoop Dogg!!)
5. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
6. Cry, the Beloved Country
7. Tar Baby, by Toni Morrison
8. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
9. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
10.Kindred, by Octavia Butler

1. The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige
2. My Life, Mary J. Blige
3. Infinite Possibilities, Amel Larrieux
4. This is Who I Am, Heather Headley
5. Who is Jill Scott? Jill Scott
6. Phrenology,The Roots
7. Juslisen… Musiq
8. The Emancipation of Mimi, by Mariah Carey
9. Voyage to India, India.Arie
10. The Best of Sade, Sade (tied with Lovers Rock)

(photo courtesy of

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wanna Love You Girl

In the tradition of my girl, Juicy, I'm going to take this time to honor good music. Although this song is played regularly on the radio, I must say it's about time Thicke gets the recognition he deserves. Juicy introduced him to me back in the day (okay, last year) and I've been impressed with his songs, long before he hooked up with Pharrell. Watch and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Life …. According to Mary J. Blige

I’m the last person on earth to get this cd, but this week I bought the latest from Ms. Blige, ‘The Breakthrough.’ The thing is, my Momma was supposed to let me burn her copy so I wouldn’t have to buy it myself. But she wasn’t willing to part with it, then she moved. Never mind, no more excuses. The cd is in my hot little hands now. And I must say:
It. is. off. the. chain.

It’s the kind of cd that I need to keep with me at all times – in my car, in my headphones, on my work computer. I have all of MJB’s cds and I always thought that cd #2, ‘My Life,’ was her best. I worried that now that the Queen of Hip Hop Soul was happily married and whatnot that her music would suffer. After all, pain makes the best music. But I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Every song is amazing. ‘I Found My Everything’ is my favorite track, along with ‘Enough Cryin,’ ‘MJB Da MVP’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough.’ But I still have to whip out the ‘My Life’ cd every now and again. If I could put my life to a soundtrack, songs from that cd would be used to describe this period in my life. Maybe there’s a breakthrough somewhere around the corner.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Party of One

I live alone, so I’ve learned to do a few things by myself without giving it a second thought. I’ve gone to the movies by myself, out to a few events alone and I’ve even gone out to eat without any company. That’s right, I’ve reached the stage in my life where I’m able to dine alone in public. I’m not saying that this is something I look forward to, but it’s not something I run from either. But there are times when it annoys me. Like a few years ago when I went to IHOP after church. I went to church solo, so I went to the restaurant alone as well. I put my name down and the hostess called out, “Strength/Courage/Wisdom, party of one?” Everyone in the waiting area turned toward me, probably thinking, ‘That poor soul! How pitiful! Eating all alone!” I wanted to slam the hostess’ head into a wall.

This past Sunday, things were the same. I went to church by myself and there is an IHOP practically next door. There is something about praising the Lord that makes my mouth water for pancakes (you know what I’m talking about, right Dee-Dee? =). The waiting room was packed and I had no choice but to squeeze in between between a screaming kid and a family of three, which didn’t know about boundaries of personal space. I didn’t think about my previous embarassment until the hostess got on the mic and said, “Bauza, party of five?” “Patterson, party of four?” “Stewart, party of three?”

Great, I thought, she’s gonna put my business on the street. I stared at the floor and prepared for the worse. I scanned the crowd. No one else was alone and for a split second, I considered joining one of their tables. There was the pregnant teen-age girl with her tattooed boyfriend, the overweight couple with the matching Harley-Davison T-shirts or the group of rowdy teen-age boys that kept saying ‘paaaaaancakes, man. Paaaaaaancakes.’ I knew then that I preferred my company to anyone else there. And if I got sad looks when I was seated, who cares? I’m good company. Even if it is only for myself.


The hostess looked like she wanted to say more, but she stopped. I was so grateful that I could have kissed her. Instead, I followed my waitress to the back and prepared to order.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Posting Live ... from the Bandwagon

Duck Fuke!

Here's to the Lady Terps, 2006 NCAA Basketball Champs. Who needs the men's team anyway?

Final score against Duke: 78-75, OT


Monday, April 03, 2006

My Week in a Million Little Pieces

My time without the 'Net has been a rough one, but I’ve perservered. It helped me reaize two things. One, my life is not that exciting. And two, to make things interesting, this post will have to be 'Freyed.' Yep, I'm going to embellish a little bit ... I doubt it'll get me on Oprah, but who knows. I've also included a song appropriate for each day. So here's a wrapup of the past week.

Friday, March 24. Around 8:40 a.m. (My birthday)
('Black Cop' by KRS One.)

I’m driving to work on my normal route, ‘Amerie’ cd blasting, when I see those old familiar red and blue lights sound behind me. I pull to the side, to let the cop pass me and go after who he’s really searching for. To my surprise, he pulls up behind me. I'm pissed. What the hell did I do? I wasn’t going that fast. The cop comes up to me (a brotha, I might add) to tell me I was going 30 in a 15. Ok, so I was near a school with the speed limit posted in flashing lights. Were there any kids in the street? Was anyone hurt or injured? I give him my license and he disappears. I know he’ll realize realize today is my birthday and set me free.
He returns to my car, ticket in hand. “Ma’am, sign here.”
'Black coppppppp, Black cop Black cop Black copppppp'
I snatch the pen and sign my name. “You could at least say happy birthday to me.”
He doesn’t crack a smile. “Happy birthday.”
I look at the ticket and see that it is for $260. Happy birthday to me.

Monday, March 27. Around 8:40 a.m.
('Gimme All Your Lovin' Or I Will Kill U' by Macy Gray)

I’m driving to work on my normal route. Carefully now, very slowly. I’m creeping past the school at my slowest speed when I see the familiar lights flash behind me. Not again. This can’t be happening twice. By the time BlackCop pulls up to my car, I'm crying.
He smiles. “Didn’t I stop you the other day?”
I wipe my eyes. “I slowed down! I know I did.”
“It’s cool. I’ll just write you a warning.”
He goes to his patrol car and I try to compose myself. Why didn’t I try this method Friday? Who knew tears could turn a cold cop into a Good Samaritan? I wonder what some feminine wiles will do. I apply my lipstick and run my fingers through my hair.When he returns, I’m all smiles. He is not cute -- beer belly, yellow teeth, flaring nostrils. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
He hands me a slip of paper. “That should do it.”
“Great,” I say, doing my best impersonation of a white-girl hair flip that I can muster. “I really appreciate this.”
“It’s no problem. And just to let you know, I won’t be here at all next week.”
He starts to walk off, but I call after him. “Mr. Officer ….”
He returns with a puzzled look on his face. “Yes?”
I adjust my posture, so he can see the bit of cleavage that the raisins have to offer. “What are we going to do about my other ticket?”
“You can either pay it or come to court.”
“I know but ..” I lean further outward. “Isn’t there something you can do?”
“I’m married.”
The song stops playing in my head and I slump in my seat. “Ohwellhaveaniceday,” I mumble as I speed off. Luckily, I didn’t get a ticket that time.

Wednesday, March 29. Around 1:15 p.m.
('Gypsy Woman' by Crystal Waters)

I’m at a light, grooving to Amerie once again, when I notice a homeless woman standing at the intersection. She’s holding a sign that says, ‘Greatful for anything.’ That’s not a typo. She said ‘greatful.’ Obviously she went to school long before the No Child Left Behind initiative, because not only is this chick left behind, she’s also left on the street to peddle for her wares. I can’t let this one go.
I signal for her to come over and she dodges through traffic, a happy smile on her face.
“You know that’s wrong, right?”
She looks confused. “What do you mean?”
“The sign. Grateful is spelled wrong.”
“Oh. Sorry.”
“It’s alright. I’ve got something for you.”
She puts the sign to the side and extends her hand. I open my wallet, pull out a receipt and jot 'Grateful' along the back. I hand it to her. "Now people will respect you more."
“Err, thanks. But don’t you have any money?”
A few cars honk behind me. “Sorry, but I've got to get back to work. With gas prices being what they are, I can't throw away money like that. But I'm sure you'll attract more attention if you fix that sign."
I drive off and I hear a series of expletives screamed behind me. Sigh. Not only did that woman not know how to spell 'grateful', but she didn't know the meaning of the word.

Friday, March 31. Lunchtime.
('No Scrubs' by TLC)

I dropped off some clothes at the Salvation Army and I'm looking through their books section. An older male worker is following me through the aisles and I pretend not to notice. Finally, he jumps in front of me as I'm considering buying a used copy of 'Waiting to Exhale'.
Him: "So you like to read?"
Me: "Yes."
Him: "Me too. I'm always reading books and stuff."
Me: "Is that right?"
Him: "Yep. Right now I'm reading a book called 'Windows 2000.' It's real good."
I want to tell him that a manual is not the same thing as a book, but I don't want to continue the conversation. I go to another aisle and he follows me. Great, I think. Where is my fake wedding ring when I need it?
Him: "Maybe we could go out to dinner and talk about books and stuff."
Me: "I don't think that's a good idea."
Him: "Why not?"
I think for a minute. Would it be wrong to tell him that he is old enough to have played stickball in the streets with my grandfather when he was a boy? Or that when I say I want a man who has overcome obstacles, I don't mean slavery?
Him: "Is it my age? Don't worry about that. I go out with gals your age all the time."
Me: (wincing at the word 'gals') "Sorry, but I'm not interested."
Him: "Well, you're missing out. I had my last girlfriend screaming my name all the time."
Me: "Really? Your name's Adam, right?"
Him: "No, it's Herbert. Why do you ask?"
Me: "No reason. I bettter get going. It was nice meeting you."
Him: "You have a nice day."
Me: "You do the same. Sir."

So that about sums up what I've been doing for the past week or so. The 'Net is up and running at my new place, so I'll be back to post soon. Until next time .....