Wannabe Vigilante

As I sit here typing this on our front stoop my husband is reading “The Killing Joke”. As you all know, I’m more of a Wonder Woman/Supergirl kind of fan, however, there are times when my inner Batman comes out.  Admittedly I was obsessed with the character as a kid.  

In our neighborhood here of late we’ve been having issues with some neighbors breaking and entering into apartments, stealing things, and ransacking private spaces.  

One particular neighbor was evicted from his residence for his recent behavior, usually fueled by alcohol, and what I am assuming to be bitterness. Since he has been kicked out, he has been staying in a tiny gazeebo (the one feature of our entire complex), sometimes with a suitcase.  Then the day came where he was so drunk he passed out behind the laundry facility,…ten feet from the gazeebo.

His staying in the gazeebo and passing out didn’t warrant a call to law enforcement.  His day came when he ransacked a neighbor’s apartment, calling him a racial slur, then trying to lure said neighbor’s kids into the gazeebo.  

The cops ushered him out once before, then again after the incident with the kids. Believe it or not, this former tennant is only one small problem in a neighborhood full of criminal ongoings.  

It has become so bad the decent neighbors approached my husband and I about forming an official neighborhood watch where we go on patrols to keep the thieves at bay.  

Is it time to move you say?  Yes.  Can we afford to move?  No. Not until our lease is up in December.

My husband has been patrolling a few nights a week, sometimes by himself which makes me nervous and unable to sleep. This doesn’t help on nights when I have to be up at 4:30 am.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it and trying to figure out a way to make this neighborhood better.

Last night was the first night we went patrolling together.  He showed me where he and the neighborhood watch have figured out where one culprit lives who has been breaking into cars. He’s been using his bike as a quick get-away vehicle and has done so without being exposed, until last week.  

As we walked “the beat” we rounded into the parking lot of the apartments where this kid lives.  My husband then showed me which residence.  This kid didn’t do a very good job in covering up his window.  There was a sheet haphazardly hung in front of the window exposing parts of his home.  There was a scent of blackberry vapor in the air.  I approached the window as my husband said, “That’s illegal, ya’ know?”

Then the dark side of the Quirk came out.  I said, “If this guy is willing to go into our neighbor’s apartments, into their cars and steal things that don’t belong to him, then we should have every right.”  (Every right to see into his life.)

He kind of just looked at me with a cautioned grin, wondering what had just happened and where I had gone.  Don’t get me wrong, usually I’m not an ‘eye for an eye’ kind of person, but living in a horrible neighborhood has opened my eyes to having to stick together for the good of the community and unfortunately wanting to bend the rules. Especially when the safety of children is involved.

As we were having this conversation, a car started and the headlights came on.  We tried to hang out at the corner of the building, even though I wasn’t successful in my venture of jumping up at a distance to see above the poorly hung, makeshift curtain. We looked guilty of something way more sinister.

The person drove past us, probably thinking we were just as shady as the person we were trying to keep at bay.

We moved on the foot path trying to see any other markers of behavior.  Luckily this night we didn’t have to stay out too long.  The prostitutes, pimp and drug dealers were all behind closed doors conducting their business or hopefully just sleeping.

Last night we slept well.  Then my husband woke me up.

The cursing, child lurerer was back in the gazeebo this morning with a soda.  I was still in bed, my brain tired of all the nonsense in this neighborhood and all the crap the kind and good people here have been forced to see and endure.

“He isn’t supposed to be here”, I said.
“I don’t think he’s with it enough to understand that.” Sobering words from my husband.  The evicted guy has been known to be inebriated 24 hours a day.

This time my inner Batman stayed at bay. Out came Catwoman, possibly Harley Quinn.  I had entered new territory.

“This is a time I wish I had a BB gun. I could lay down on the porch, where the weirdo can’t see me, and I could aim the gun between the rails. ‘POP! POP!’ right on his butt.”

My husband kind of grinned again, “Those things hurt worse than you actually think.”

“I know.”

My theory is it wouldn’t tear the skin.

“OR, I could use a paint ball gun.  When it hit him we could then call the police and tell them to follow the guy with the paint splotches!”

He kind of giggled at the idea.

“Or we could sit with a soda in the gazeebo across from him, and if he spoke to us, we could say, ‘Did you hear that?’ We ignore him, making him think he’s a ghost.”

My husbands face lost any trace of a playful smile.  “That’s sick and twisted.”

“You married me!”

Then he remarked, “If we did that though, it would give him the idea or license to do whatever he wants to see what he can get away with.”

“Dang it!  Why do you have to be right?”

I’m out of ideas readers.  What would you do in this situation?  

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Mystery Tree

When I was a kid at the age of 9, I felt a little like an outsider.   Don’t get me wrong, I had friends, but they were all pretty, with blonde or blondish hair.  Somehow it wasn’t just my slightly doughy exterior that made me feel this way, or my brown hair and crooked teeth. Something about me felt different but I couldn’t place my finger on it.

When I would play with dolls, it was mostly for fashion.  However, when it came to Barbies, they felt like they had a story to me.  My mother gave me her Barbies from the 1950’s for my birthday when I was quite young.  Growing up I felt like her dolls were reminiscent of high fashion and glamour.  When it came time for me to get Barbies of my own generation, someone gave me one with bleach blonde hair.

This Barbie was very much of the California kind and echoed everything every guy ever wanted according to the Beach Boys songs I heard from my father’s record collection. When we would go to a garage sale, often times I would find Barbies; with blonde hair.  Even Barbie’s sister Skipper had blonde hair. Their measurements looked like they were all an unattainable 39″, 18″, 33″.

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As I got older and had more of the freedom of choice when it came to dolls, I tried very hard to find a Barbie that looked like me.  They didn’t have dolls who looked like they might be silly, and slightly roundish. They didn’t have any dolls at that time who resembled girls who were of Native American descent. The closest I could get was one with brown hair.  Immediately I shelled out my Christmas money to purchase the blue-eyed doll I would play with a few times and leave in her periwinkle ballerina costume.  Something inside me still wasn’t satisfied.

In my last year of playing with dolls, my grandparents took me with them to the store.  They told me I could purchase a Barbie if it was under a certain amount.  I wanted the African American Barbie.  Her name was Devon.  She was beautiful, and more importantly, she understood me and what it was like to be different.  She wasn’t dressed in all pink, she only used it as an accent color. In fact she was wearing a “rocker” dance club outfit, which meant (obviously) she understood my taste in music.  She understood, period.

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Fast forward to this year.  I’m now 26 years older.  Still different, but have since learned how to embrace and handle it.  For Christmas instead of getting dolls and beloved tiny tea cup sets, I get practical, useful things…and an Ancestry DNA test.

My husband decided to surprise me with this gift, to use his words, “Because you’ve been talking about wanting to do this since we’ve been married.”  My family is a bit of a mystery on my mother’s side since her parents were in the foster system. It wasn’t until recently we’ve had some confirmation of roots in Great Britain and Germany. My dad’s side has some ambiguous roots in Western Europe and Germany but one thing we were sure of is we were descended from the Choctaw.

We waited weeks for the test results to come in.  My husband decided to do the test as well to trace his ancestry back even further.  He didn’t know what to expect with his results.  I on the other hand, was expecting a high percentage in Native American and European Jewish.

The other morning as I was getting ready for work, I came in to the bedroom to see my husband staring at his phone with bleary eyes.  Being concerned I asked, “Everything Okay?”

“The test results came in.”

As we sat and looked at them together, he clicked on mine.

It was like a scene in action movies where there are loud explosions. Finally one is so deafeningly loud everything else becomes quiet and you have ringing in your ears.  As my eyes went down the list of each culture they could trace me back to, it was like mini-explosions saying, “Knew that, knew that…” Then came two very loud explosions.

“2% Spanish” boom. 

“>1% Melanesian” Ka-BOOM.

My entire life, my father and I were told we were Choctaw. For something that was to give clarity, it ended up adding more mysteries to an almost filled in family tree.

The test however, confirmed my intuition about being different.  Even though this is only 3% of me, it confirmed why I never felt like I fully fit in. Even though it gave me closure and insight on my ethnic background, it now gives myself and my family more questions as to how we got here.

It confirmed I had more in common with my Devon doll than previously thought.

 

Have you done a DNA Ancestry test? Were you surprised at what you found? How did it compare to your family tree?

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Ronda Rousey


Dear Ronda,

First and foremost, I want to say I’m a huge fan.  You have singlehandedly put women on the sports map for MMA.  However, from recent articles it seems you are in need of a pep talk from a female friend.  Let me be that friend.

There was an article published online where you told your mother your new mantra was “FTA”.  (For frequent readers of this blog who might be under 18, we will just say that stands for “Forget Them All”).  I agree with your mom.  You don’t need to use this mantra. 

Look, I know you are dealing with a lot on your shoulders with your upcoming fight against, “what’s-her-face”.  You are angry from your loss in November of 2015.  You are angry because people tried to put you down or tried to steal your shine.  Let me put things in perspective for you for what it’s worth.

Nobody will really know the name of the person you fought 15 years from now.  Heck, I don’t even remember her name now and would have to google it.  Look at what happened after that loss; you fulfilled one of my long time dreams of being on Saturday Night Live.  Note who they asked…YOU.  Not the other gal.  You.

You performed a skit in which you stood against bullies.  You know what it is like to be bullied, and I don’t see anyone else performing that skit better than you.  That skit was so funny, I showed it to the kids I help teach.  

After your loss you admitted to depression and facing a lot of dark areas.  You opened up a lot of minds with that statement.  You could have kept it secret, but instead you let it out there into a world where there is still a stigma attached to it.  You helped others to see it is okay to be dealing with stuff in a dark way, which is completely normal even though society tells us it isn’t.

You say your new mantra is for your nieces, family and fans who haven’t given up on you.  Ronda, I haven’t given up on you.  I will say this though; if you hadn’t had the backlash from “haters”, would you have had the anger to fuel you for this next bout?  By saying, “FTA” to te opposition, you are only proving them right.  You are proving hate is a way of life.  You are feeding into what the other teams want; which is you getting angry enough that you sabotage yourself.  They are betting on the false hope that your anger will open up any weaknesses they can exploit.  Don’t let them do this.

In a strange way, anger can get you through some tough times (trust me, I’ve had some).  Be thankful for the anger, but don’t let that anger dull anything that makes you happy.  Don’t let the anger get in the way of your passion for the sport.  Ultimately this is why you are still in.  Not just any woman would voluntarily train as hard as you do to get a few licks to the face.  You obviously are putting yourself at risk because there is something you love about the sport.  

Prove the others wrong.  You aren’t fueled just by anger.  You are also fueled by love.  Love for the sport, love for your family, love for your friends and your loyal fans.  Never give up, never give in.

Merry Christmas and Sincerely yours,

Quirky Girl

The Naked Eye

In Mark Twain’s time they must have not had women comparable to the Kardashians.


Bear in mind, I am all for women feeling comfortable in their own skin.  I’ve not felt comfortable in mine since I was a teenager.  Most women can wear yoga pants to the gym without feeling self conscious, I on the other hand wear them with shorts over them.  Sure people might giggle, but I’m at the gym to work out, not to catch someone’s eye.

It is this uncomfortableness with my own body that has led me to this post.  That and the issue of regard for self-respect.  

At my second of three jobs, I generally work the photo equipment.  Invariably there is always a vacation pic of someone pretending to pick someone’s rear at a distance, people who are too tall to climb tiny sculptures, babies, babies, babies and naked pictures.

Unfortunately, if something is an Internet order, we can’t always catch the pictures to censor them. They slip by, with the purchaser hoping it goes unnoticed.  Here’s my thing, if you have to submit it over the internet because you can’t put it on the large screen in the store, then maybe you shouldn’t print it at all.  Our printers are out in the open where anyone can see them; two key groups, children and perverts.

Recently last week a woman apparently went to a professional studio to have naked pictures done of herself.  In terms of nudity, the pictures didn’t make sense. She was waist deep in a creek, wearing a blue jean shirt which she purposely pulled behind her so you could see her chest.  A fully made up older woman, with perfect make up and hair, waist deep in a creek. The last time I was in a creek or around any body of water I face planted and had snail shells stuck in my crack; definitely not sensual.

Last night was a doozie.  We had printed off a booklet of boudoir pictures.  No big deal. We usually print these off at Valentine’s for women sending them to their boyfriends who are in the service.  Usually the women are covered sensibly.  Last night, the woman was covered, but then by the time the 4th page printed out, it looked like maybe her butt was starving and ate her underwear.

I couldn’t take it.  I immediately posted my frustrations on Facebook saying, “Please, no more…”

Then as if to taunt me the machine then printed out two 8×10 pics of a woman who looked like a real estate agent in a company van flipping off the viewer.  I was definitely not happy.

In the past someone has been sneaky and printed pictures of him and his girlfriend doing inappropriate things, men have told me I can take off the inappropriate pictures on their order if I want (when they are trying to save all of the pictures on their phone), and women printing off pics and using the big screen then saying, “Oops” and looking at me.  

By all means I am not a prude, I have drawn many naked people.  There is a huge difference between art and pornography.  If you go to my Etsy page you will see tons of naked drawings, but none of them are nefarious. 


 If you are going to take pictures for your significant other, send it to them via text or e-mail, then quickly erase it from your phone so you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing it who shouldn’t. If anything think of the photo booth ladies, spare our eyes.

What is something you have had to do in the name of public service that bothered you?

Stop the toots

Have you ever heard the expression, “Not to toot my own horn…”?  For whatever reason the other night I was thinking about this and how much it doesn’t really seem to make sense.  How did this start? Whose horn?  Why are they tooting?  Why is this positive?


I woke up from a deep slumber pondering this question.  The only thing that came to mind was a bunch of chambermaids in medieval times having a good laugh impersonating a boastful, flatulant queen.  

Why is the horn used to draw reference to oneself for a good deed or job well done?  What makes it more annoying is if the person is a trumpet  player because they can toot their own horn twice. This brings no satisfaction for the person whose ears were just singed with the sounds of a humble brag.  If the person was not a member of the brass section then there would be some relief they couldn’t complete the often used expression.  The  brass instrument sections almost always get too much satisfaction because they can make this true even if there isn’t anything worth telling everyone about.

So I did a little digging.  Where did this start?  According to the US Herald this is how it all began:

United States about 1776 (a “declaration of self-independence”?) in the “Warren-Adams Letters” as “I think modesty is highly overrated as a virtue — my motto is ‘Toot your own horn lest the same never

The truth is, if you have to toot your horn, chances are you can’t even play a reveille.  You’re drawing attention to yourself to make it look like you’re doing something.  Instead of tooting that you’re awesome, just be awesome instead.  Save your breath and your toots.  Get to doing and stop tooting.

Photo credit queenofyourownlife.com

If you’re going to toot, aim it in the other direction. Nobody likes a braggart.  

When someone has tooted their horn around you, what happened?

Worst Fear: Things my cat ate

Everyone has their worst fears.  I have several. If you went through our pantry you might find a lack of carb related foods.  This is because my cat ate them all. Before we talk about how she likes to carb load before a healthy run around the house after a successful bowel movement (who wouldn’t?) let’s talk about some enviable attributes.

First off, she has guts.  This isn’t referencing her literal tater tot filled innards.  She takes and asks forgiveness later.  Often times I’m too careful and have a tendency to wait and see if things pan out.  My cat’s approach is something like this, “Life is short, learn how to open Tupperware” or “Spare their meat and steal the bun.”

As a kitten I swore she was part raccoon, she was always attracted to shiny things and I would wake up to find my jewelry I was too lazy to put up the night before, hidden.  She was a literal cat burglar. Since then, she has grown up some, and has progressed from shiny things to Bobby pins.  She would rush to find them (even if they were out of sight) and point at them like an Irish Setter who has found a hunter’s duck.

The weirdest thing though, is her love of carbs.  Almost everyone has seen the viral video of cat’s afraid of cucumbers.  She has no fear of cucumbers.  She will however, chase a potato.  After realizing one had fallen out of the bag in the pantry we heard a noise and suddenly we see her wrestling the spud, kicking it with her hind legs and biting it.  We experimented and rolled one down the hallway, she barreled after it, attacked it and sat on it as if she were in a match for the ages.  

She is a master manipulator.  Several times, she has crawled into mine or my husband’s lap only to feign affection to peep her head between our hands and take bites of our cereal…or take the bread from our sandwiches.  She waits until we aren’t looking before she hops up on the counter to eat our left over tater tots.  She’s usually very quiet, and often times she takes more than she can fit and takes off running licking her chops.   

Here is why I’m jealous.  She already knows she will be forgiven, so she takes the momentary “shooing” for a moment of palatable starchy goodness.  She is spontaneous.  I like to make plans weeks in advance.  She sees opportunities and takes them.  She sees an opportunity for a piggy back ride and she takes it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re naked and fresh out of the shower, sitting on the toilet or at the computer.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed opportunities and I wish I had the eyes to see them.  She does not lack in this area.  If it isn’t apparent from the drawing, she lives a full life, literally and metaphorically.

What is your worst fear involving your pet?  Do you envy them?

Snapchat Hypocrite

A few months ago you may recall a piece I wrote titled, “Obligatory Selfie” where I poked fun at people taking selfies as a part of an everyday mundane practice that has currently become socially acceptable.

I recant this piece.  Although I compare the obligatory selfie to yoga pants being accepted as full fledged pants, I have seen the worthiness of an appropriately timed selfie.

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Steven Tyler eat your heart out!

Sure, at first I was smug.  Why would a 36-ish something like myself want to have a phone full of pictures of myself?  Who would want them?

Then came an evening spent with my in-laws and niece.  When my sister-in-law and husband stepped outside for a moment, my niece came back into the room with a blanket, we snuggled up together on a bench and she showed me this “new” thing called “Snapchat”.  She snapped a picture and showed me how you can transform yourself into a dog.  Once finding out she and my other nieces were using this app, I immediately signed up to stay in touch with them.

On the way home I was researching how to work snapchat, how to use filters and how in general to “Snapchat”.  Do I take 5 seconds in public by myself to pucker my lips and pose for the camera?  No.  However I do wait till’ I’m on lunch break at work or at home and snap a few selfies to catch up with my nieces, cousins, sister-in-laws and friends.  Only once has anyone been in the break room with me when this was going on, but he was completely aware of what was happening.  I didn’t leave my behaviors an unknown mystery to him like our customers have done in the past.

There is no joy greater than being able to send the ugliest selfie possible to those you love to receive one equally as horrible back.  In fact, there was a fun competition my niece and I had one night.  If you are ever down or feeling blue, this is the best thing ever.  Try to make the goofiest face possible and just hit send.  It is the greatest feeling not caring what you look like because the worse, the better.

Here is an example of one I sent, it’s like Steve Martin meets Frankenstein’s monster.

 

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Or the selfie aptly titled, “I woke up like this…”

 

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However, you want your family and friends to remember you in a good light.  Not to get too dark but one of my worst fears is something bad will happen and they will have to submit a photo to the news for a story. Ensuring it won’t be driver’s license photo, or worse an outdated glamour shot you occasionally have to send them one of you as a butterfly queen. This way the recipients remember you are a real person and won’t be shocked (or disappointed) you don’t have 3 mouths in your face the next time they see you.

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What is your favorite “Snapchat” lens or filter?  Why do you gravitate toward that one?

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