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Bilingual Works Both Ways

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I am often amazed at the things we take for granted. I am also sometimes appalled at the things in which one can assume. Today I share with you my thoughts of being bilingual.

In my customer service class I worked with the students on resumes. The logic behind the process; each person should have three versions of a résumé. Version one is the ideal job you would like to obtain. Version two is the job you are currently performing along with the accompanying skill sets. Version three is the low end version that downplays what you are capable to get you in the door of your ideal company in version one. Bonus points are rewarded for those who are bilingual. Stay with me, we are headed full circle.

One of my Spanish speaking students thought I was full of malarkey and posted all three versions to Monster.com under 3 separate email accounts. Her phone will not stop ringing. One company called on all three resumes and offered a relocation package. Her value she is bilingual. Yes, I have a point.

As American companies value her ability, Spanish speaking cultures also value those who speak English. The better jobs for workers who have yet to have a trade are in tourism areas. The better waitress and waiter jobs are in areas where you can explain to Nana she shouldn’t order that spicy dish. I found this out day one at Fuddruckers when the order taker could not understand my name and my order was listed under Yer. The loudspeaker needed work, but the dining assistant figured the order was mine since I was the only person not responded to the loudspeakers call of “Peek up urder por Yer.”

Equally hilarious were my attempts to order breakfast at Burger Bing which elicited a look of sympathy as he answered me in English. The hotel tour concierge thought it was “cute” that I was learning “some Spanish.” And last but not least, I found out at the Ponderosa, which was “outside” the tourist strip, that native Spanish speakers didn’t even attempt to converse with me in either language. She started pointing at the pictures on the menu board, holding up one finger or two. Well pardon my French!

My husband only laughed as he too told me my year of high school Spanish wasn’t really working well. I did not know how to convey that I actually had two years in high school and four in college, but languages, like any muscle requires exercise. I, know the language as well as three others including southern Ebonics, but alas I think in English. Being bilingual is an art, make sure you learn to appreciate those who are able to efficiently perform this honed skill and assist those who are trying, because bilingual does work both ways.

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Pretty is as Pretty Does

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Friday night, as I watched the sideways perspectives of Bill Maher, I actually listened to what he said. There was one line in particular that resonated with me. He stated that if Hillary Clinton made the same statement about Paul Revere as did Sarah Palin, the media and pundits would eat her alive. His reasoning, Sarah Palin gets away with more because she is pretty. It made me think and of course asks the question of myself that I will also pose to you; do attractive people get away with more?

In an ideal world I want to believe that those of us who actually use our heads are on equal footing, but then I changed the channel and there was Kim Khardashian. Her claim to fame is a big butt and a poorly filmed sex taped where the world was exposed to her cooter. I will not lie, she is beautiful, but is there anything else? As an amateur porn star, honestly, couldn’t You do better after a couple shots of Cuervo? She is essentially famous, for being famous and hanging with some equally untalented friends who also happen to be good looking with a great publicist. And to be honest, I have a big butt. I know 17 other women who have a big butt and are pretty and smart. If you know a good publicist, please send them my way, I would like to get an endorsement deal as well. A few cosmetic tweaks, carefully constructed makeup and hair weave, I too can be really pretty.

Then I thought of Jessica Simpson. I thought of her Pizza Hut buffalo wings commercial and Starkist tuna deals. Is she a genius or is she really that simple? Does it matter, she is pretty? Do we prefer to have women remain quiet or be outspoken with knowledge. I’m not certain so I must wait for you to weigh in.

I did ask my friend, who used Michelle Obama as an example. She stated that she is a Harvard graduate and a lawyer, yet her only stand has been on children, fitness and healthy eating. She did not make the Hillary Clinton mistake of creating a platform of politics, but instead opted for the well being of our children; inquisitive one that I am thought for a moment with a look of confusion on my face which prompted an answer. Her response was simply, you can be loud. You can be wrong. You can be loud and wrong, but never, ever should you be loud and right. Loud and right brings out the ugly in many and pretty is becomes as pretty does.

Let it marinate and get back to me.

Too Much Information

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In an instant messaging status updating world, our days are filled with the overflow of information on our personal lives.  Depending on the number of friends and followers, one can be constantly bombarded with information of other’s existence.  Those social vampires that you have avoided personal contact with are now filtered through your phone and they still find a way to suck the life out of you with their problems. We certainly have the ability on Facebook to “hide” their ramblings, but how do you adjust the streaming feed in real life?  Or has it progressed to a level of a constant need for attention that has removed our ability to know when we are sharing too much information? As the Queen of Tweetdeck updates, allow me to explain.

              As I was undergoing another round of nap therapy, the thick accented patient next to me was asking the therapist a question that she could not decipher.  He looked to me for help so I translated his words. This opened the door for Therapy Lady to unload her sadness unto my mat. First she explained that husband number two was also Puerto Rican and she should have understood his thick accent. My eyebrows arched in disbelief, one, because the gentleman next to me was German, and two, who asked her. Evidently misreading my arched brows as “tell me more,” she then proceeded to inform me that her first husband, a high school sweetheart, was Bipolar, and when he hit child number two with a backhand, she knew she had to leave him. 

            Arched eyebrows now furrowed, inspired her to continue this tale and let me know that husband number two was in jail. I tilted my head looking for the hidden camera while waiting for someone to jump out and tell me that I was being “Punked.” Ashton did not answer my prayer because Therapy Lady continued this depressing diatribe by informing me that husband number two molested her 13-year-old. Eyebrows are again arched. She then says, “yeah, and he was quickly escalating towards something more serious.” Furrowed brows again, this time with my hands up, inspired her to add “yeah, I’m single now, and don’t want to be alone, but I can’t trust anyone else….” 

Was that a tear I saw trickle down her cheek?  I am now frowning, more serious than three years of him diddling your daughter, who thought there was nothing wrong with step daddy’s behavior because you didn’t think it was necessary to explain good touching and bad touching? Was it more serious than you using your daughter’s molestation as a sympathy pump and now it is all about you because it wasn’t your fault? More serious than me wanting to take the ice bag off my knee and knock some sense into your empty head? How could it possibly be more serious than the contempt I feel for you right now?

            Our heavy accented friend read my face correctly for he cleared his throat, which now drew the attention of Ms. Munchausen By-Proxy –Therapy-Lady and reminded her that she was actually at work. My lips, now pursed, and sister girl is evolving in my eyes, which are slowly widening as I raise myself to a sitting position. She must have taken the visual cues for what they actually were this time because she took the hell off.

            Don’t ask, because I don’t know what I was going to say or going to do, I just knew I had experienced enough “oversharing” for an afternoon.  But here is the sad part, I did not report her. We are in a recession and she is a single mom. However, if she should choose to be so dumb and share with me once more, I will offer her this advice.  Your friends are there to share your burdens in life, not complete strangers. Your friends will also get tired of listening to you go on about poor me.  Take your misery off of your Facebook status and stop taking the phone into the bathroom with you; the person on the other line does not want to hear you pee and I don’t want to pee and hear you.  I am not investing in Botox so stop trying to read my expressions as I care and you should unburden yourself on me. Last but not least, shut the bleep up! Be miserable by yourself and stop subjecting those around you to your pity party. If this isn’t enough information, then I will plainly state that some stuff, you should keep between you, your God and a good psychologist.

Marriage Vows vs Home Improvement Projects

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The other day while watching DIY or HGTV, I witnessed something beautiful. I saw a married couple working on a home improvement project and they were laughing, smiling and feeling proud of their accomplishments. I found myself smiling and feeling euphoric as well which lead to my latest disaster, and next big question, should marriage vows be changed to include home improvement projects? Does death do us part include the completion of a home improvement tasks?

Our son has hit that age where he still is a resident, but does not officially reside in the house. It was time to redo the room of a teenager and make it the residence of a man. A fresh coat of paint was needed as well as new crown moldings, dual functioning furniture, and an extra bedroom in case of guests when he was away. It started nicely enough, but by the end of day one, I had evolved from Suzie Helpmate to Seaman Foulmouth. Day two ended with me as a full rear admiral and swabbing the poopdeck. I can vaguely remember a sentence that started with an F word and ended with you, the horse you rode in on, his stable master, the groom and your cockeyed brother! Allow me to explain.

My husband is a real man. If it breaks, he can fix it. He can buy it, install it, rewire it, remove it, grout it, caulk it, seal it, and make it dance should it require such. However, no matter how big, or small the project, he has to tear up every room in the house. It is utter chaos, which leaves you swearing to all that is unholy just to find a pair of panties and a matching sock. This project was no different, but to paint the room it had to be emptied.

Emptying this room meant he had to store the items somewhere else which usually meant sticking them all in my space. Never fear, we just need to run to Lowe’s to pick up an item or two. We did go to Lowe’s. We went to all three Lowes. By now the only thing I felt Lowe’s and I could build together was a hostile relationship.

We went to both Home Depots and the angry woman in me wanted to know, when did they become some F*****ing helpful? We went to three furniture stores, and when I began to become snappy and crabbish, we went to lunch. Discussing paint colors and finishes of door knobs and handles evidently appeared to be fascinating to our waitress who decided to add her two cents. I think that will be the last time she ever does that again! My questioning of the origin of my friendship with her sans the eyeball rolling and neck gesturing, still had the same affect especially when my sentence ended with “we aren’t friends, I don’t know you, get out of our conversation and bring me another Diet Coke!” Hubby stopped talking to me for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, back on the home front and the beginning of day two, my paint trimming was not up to hubby’s standards and he decided to give the trim a fresh coat of paint that morning. The carpet installers commented on the paint still being wet. Over the rim of my cup of coffee, I provided a quick retort of something close to “Lay the F***ing carpet, I have another can of paint,” which came out in a militant soul sister sneer that did include eyeball rolling and a neck gesture. Hubby went outside to work on his truck, the carpet guys went out there with him and the cat hid under the table.

So what did I learn? I learned my son has hoarding tendencies as evident by the two bags of rocks, his favorite cowboy boots when he was three and the 14 gym bags. I learned that I am a control freak that likes to move in an orderly fashion and chaos blocks my mental chi. After going through bag number three of my son’s belongings, each sentence was ending with “WTF is that?” clued me in on the idea of having son boy finish the task I assigned him. But, what I learned most importantly is that my husband not only loves me, but he also likes me. We have completed in the past three weeks, four home improvement projects to include installation of new carpet and appliances, and he still wants to talk to me. He may want to wash my mouth out with soap, but we will not have to alter our marriage vows to include til death do us part this home improvement project.


Please consider the environment – do you really need to print this email?

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.—Albert Schweitzer:

A new dirty word

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A  new dirty word

By Cheryl Aaron-Corbin

             Initially I think I was deluded into believing that students had changed.  As an educator, we hear every excuse known to man and few new ones made up for women. Yet, recently, I learned a new dirty word that goes across any genre, any board, and even across generations; that word is accountability. When did we stop being liable for our actions? We can now let the finger pointing begin.

            There is the school of thought that rationalizes wrong doing by compartmentalizing our actions. Saying that oral sex is not in fact intercourse, and because intercourse did not occur, one can stand before the American public and emphatically state, “I did not have sex with that woman!.” Or we can fast forward to the new millennium, and place our playthings in a house in the desert along with our love child, and hope that no one finds out that the love child is a month older than my child. Naturally, it wasn’t his fault, because his wife, at the time, was pregnant, moody, and not paying him enough attention.

            We hear it in songs, where singers tell their mates, “Blame it on me, and say it’s my fault” in which she encourages her cheating spouse, to say that she’s a liar, a cheater, or say anything that he wants.  This codicil was made under the supposition that he would be leaving in haste. Has it come to a state where we accept the bad behavior and excuses just to rid ourselves of the headaches?

            This does not work for me. I think we need to want more, and we need to do better. I teach a customer service class where I taught my students about their communication styles.  I taught this lesson under the premise that if you consistently receive bad service, then maybe it’s time to look at what you are putting out. If your attitude is “stank”, then the response of those serving you will be matched. Further, a student who consistently has poor attendance, does not pay attention in class, and can not for the life of all that is wholly, turn in a consistently formatted document, ends up in tears, then is it my fault?  According to the student, the fault lay with me.

            In the litany of her tears, I was accused of being harder on her, unfair in my assessments of her work and last but not least, she was able to read my disapproval of her in my body language. As the professional and the only adult in the room, I stood back, folded my hands across my lap and took a deep breath.  I calmly asked, “What about you?” Perplexed and confused, she stopped crying and looked at me as if I had just passed gas. When I asked if her lack or preparation, typing the speech in class as others presented their work, while being the only student who was still reading her speech in Week 7, and turning her back to me was an indicator, did she take any accountability? Of course she did not, because she had a list of reasons why she was not prepared, and of course, since I did not like her, she tuned me out.

            I give up. I hereby am selling licenses to any who are interested in becoming a Professional Dumbass Assessor (PDAss). Why not, the country is loaded with them, you live next to one, work with several and probably have dated a few. As a carte blanche card holding aficionado, you will be licensed to speak to your mind and call a spade a spade.  And here is the best part; the fine print on the back of the card says that you are not accountable due to your Tourette’s.

How much, is too much?

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            There is a great generational divide occurring and it is not the older generation versus the newer generation, but it is life versus living.  Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, life was a simpler time but our values were also simple.  Treat others as you want to be treated was the golden rule.

            In the 80’s we were introduced to music television, mainstream rap, a half-naked woman who wanted to be “Like a Virgin”, and music that moved mountains. Health and fitness began to take form and we flocked to the gyms so that our power suits fit well and we were attractive to the opposite sex. A big disease with a little name awoke a sleeping giant and we began to live once more in moderation.

            However,  Generation Y moved aside and Generation Next began to grow up, grow out, and outgrow those simple items that made childhood enjoyable so they could “connect”.  Video games became more violent, children became more reticent and parents became busier.  It now took twice as much money to drive a car we didn’t need, live in a house we couldn’t afford, and work a job that we hated.  Why? So we could give our children, whom were squirreled away in their oversized rooms, more stuff that said, “we make money” but can’t spend time on you.

            Celebrating the arrival of the 21st Century brought more gadgets, more doo-dads, more debt, McMansions, and more stuff neither we, or our children needed. However, plastic surgery was something we could now afford, and if we were just plain ignorant, we could score our own television show. There was no longer a need to study or hone a craft, just score a show, bring some stupid friends, get drunk, curse out people, and poop in the floor and you were an instant success.  You could also score double points if your private bedroom escapades were “leaked” and everyone could see your cooter.

            I don’t want to see your cooter. I don’t want to see his wangdoodle. I want to see a movie that has real sustenance that I don’t have to read. I want to go to lunch or dinner with a friend and not have to eat my meal while watching the top of their head. I want to be able to say I had some work done, and it still means to my house, or my car, and not my body or my cooter. It has all become too much living and not enough of enjoying life.  I am starting the revolution. I am taking a stand and I pledge to live my life, not through my iPad, Nook, or $800 cell phone.  I want to have a cup of coffee with you face to face; and just to make sure we are clear, I don’t want to talk about your cooter.

The Artistry of Life

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It often amazes me how an artist can see the world in brush strokes or treble clefs.  I once explained to someone that I see the world in words.  I can paint a verbal picture and draw a reader into my world and have them see what I feel. However, I am finding so many local artist across different mediums, that I must ask are we all artist in our own right?

          I don’t have an answer for that question, but I have learned in the last nine months, that one of the biggest fears of individuals is writing.  It seems simple enough that as an adult, we can sit down, and take what is troubling our minds, and transpose it paper. Yet, it becomes cumbersome, and an art form that many refuse to attempt unless absolutely necessary.

          It is a rhythm that does require some finesse to master, but so is the art of song.  We are all amateur song birds in our showers or our cars, but I am thinking of becoming an agent and contracting some of the talent I hear late at night in the aisle of Wal-Mart. Humming along to ring tones that aren’t always age appropriate, which is amusing when you see a 55 year old woman humming “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it”, but I am a firm believer of live it how you feel it.  I feel music and being a music savant, as a friend called me, I can and will chant along to almost anything that comes on Muzak or the radio. I, however, was born with the uncanny ability to miss a note if thrown at me with an underhand slow pitch, but I still love music.

          I also love art.  I have come into contact with local painters, sculptors, graphic artists, and quilt artist. I am floored at the amount of talent that lives and creates in this city. I am totally stoked about Westobou and the Arts in the Heart.  If you are an artist and are not participating, at least come out and review what is on display and be encouraged whether your medium be word, song, pallets or dance.  Life has a rhythm.  Art has a rhythm.  Take a moment and find your medium and engage in the artistry of life.