Tag Archives: Being a Girl

Getting Hooked Up

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A Cuban musician friend had asked me how my timbales playing was going. I told him about meeting Ramoncito Ramos and that he’d offered to teach me if I didn’t live so far south. My friend proceeded to call over his band mate, a timbales player. He said the guy was a fantastic musician and asked if he would be willing to show me some things. The guy asked who I had been learning from and admitted that I didn’t have the best teacher. He agreed to teach me what he could and gave me his number and told me what days were good for him.

My Friend: Kikita, you know I love you and I just want you to succeed and be happy. You are amazing and I am so glad to know you. Just don’t forget me when you’re famous.

I was speechless. I was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the moment.

I had confessed to this friend that I had the beginnings of a crush on one of the newer additions to our group. We are pretty close so I’ve confessed more than just new crushes to this friend. We have real talks about hopes and fears and everything in between. I had mentioned to him on more than one occasion that I was starting to worry about getting older and being nowhere near getting married and having a family. He has two sons that are the light of his life, but he admits that he wishes he wasn’t that far along yet and that I should enjoy my freedom and singlehood.

Later, I was basking in the sound of our little group of friends talking (because, is there anything better than the sound of Cuban men conversating? No, I don’t think so.) when my crush asked how many kids my friend had…

My Friend: I have two boys. They are trouble makers, but amazing and I adore them. What about you? Do you have kids?
My Crush: No, not yet. Hopefully, one day…
My Friend: No? You know, Kikita here doesn’t have any kids either, but she’d make a great mom. You two would have beautiful kids together.

I’m not sure which was worse, that he said it, or that the rest of our circle agreed with him so vocally.

I had no idea my dreams meant so much to my friend.

Dodger Stadium

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On Monday night, I had way too much energy and thought it would be great to go dancing, but couldn’t think of where to go on a Monday night so I went for a walk instead. Well, a walk interspersed with running so I was a hot and sweaty mess by the time I was finished.

Just as I was getting home, my phone rang, “Oye, Cuquita [koo-kee-tah: little paper doll]!! Que bola?!? What are you doing tonight, baby? I just got into town! Let’s go to Floridita!

Damn it. Of course. I had forgotten the best place to go on a Monday night for dancing.
Plus, I hadn’t seen this buddy of mine since he had suggested I get up on stage and represent my Cuban roots so it was a double-bummer.

Being too ridiculously tired to dance (and mildly irritated at being called a pet name), I countered with a suggestion for going dancing on Tuesday. “Ok, Kikita linda, don’t worry. I know the best place! We can go tomorrow no problem!

After church group on Tuesday, I called him and canceled.
5 minutes later, I called back and told him I’d changed my mind.
In those 5 minutes, his ride had left, so if I still wanted to go, I had to pick him up, “But don’t worry, mi Cuquita, I am only 5 minutes away from esteven’s.

Ok, so I got the address, put it into my phone’s GPS and I was off.
Since this was just going dancing with a buddy and Not A Date, I texted another buddy and let him know I’d be there, “Ok, sexy, but I’m leaving at 11 so hurry!” (Apparently, my buddies had not received the message that if you are just an un-interested buddy, you should not be using terms of endearment.)

A buddy from church started sending me lines from a TV Show we both love which was messing with my GPS.
My dad was emailing me about some other thing which was also messing with my GPS.
My buddy who was already dancing was chatty which was ALSO messing with my GPS.

I missed my exit.
I was now lost in some part of Los Angeles that a beautiful blonde should probably not be lost.
I pulled over to get my GPS working.
I got back on the freeway.
People kept texting me.
My GPS crapped out again.
I looked up and I was at the gates of Dodger Stadium.
I’ve never been to Dodger Stadium.

I finally found my Visiting Buddy’s house, and we were off!

Visiting Buddy: I saw your boyfriend the other day! Well, your ex!
Me: Ummm… which one?
Me (to myself): Which of my exs would he even know?
Visiting Buddy: Do you remember Fulano’s dad?
Me: What the … why are you calling him my boyfriend?
Visiting Buddy: Didn’t he take you outside once and …
Me: OH. MAH. GOODNESS. YES!! He pulled out ‘CUBA’ and kept telling me to touch it. Damn, for an old man… Seriously, it was bigger than my forearm!
Visiting Buddy: HAHAHAHAHA!! Ay! Honey, that was the turn back there…

We missed three turns while talking about … “CUBA.”

Finally, we made it to esteven’s and my Dance Buddy bogarted me for two songs. He would have gone for three, but I felt bad double-dancing when I hadn’t seen my Visiting Buddy in so long. Dance Buddy left and I turned my attention back to my Visiting Buddy.
Since the place was pretty empty, people couldn’t help but stare at two Cubans doing their thing.
And I couldn’t believe how much I’d never known about him… like that he’d been a political prisoner, or part of the Cuban military, or that he was a Bounty Hunter in Vegas. UN.REAL.

On the ride back to his house (well, his brother’s house), I mentioned how much I LOVE cigars. His brother just happened to have some and would love to give me one, but “Come here, Cuquita, I want to show you something first.

The something required a hike.
Did I mention I was wearing 5″ platforms?
It turns out I am quite stubborn.
Bounty Hunter: I’ll carry you. Trust me, I can do it.
Me: Hell no. I want to do it myself.
And I did.
When we got to the top of the hill it was a breath-taking view of L.A., particularly … Dodger Stadium.

Bounty Hunter: Look, Kikita! Whenever my brother or I miss Cuba, we come up here and it reminds of being home.
Me: It really is beautiful. And I was just thinking to myself this morning… you know what I want to do tonight? See Dodger Stadium.
Bounty Hunter: Ay, Cuquita! You are too funny! Since we’re Cuban, I knew you would love to see a baseball stadium, but look at the moon! I bet no one has ever shown you the moon before either… isn’t it romaaantic?
Me: You’re right. I have NEVER seen the moon before. It’s SOOOO romantic.
Me (too myself): Cubans. Baseball. The man had a point… Uh oh. This buddy is about to make his move out of the “buddy” zone… shit, shit, SHIT!

Bounty Hunter the Visiting Buddy made his move and now his intentions were clear. Apparently, I had been On a Date and completely missed it.
After a brief interlude (VERY brief because there was no way I was going to let this Bounty Hunter get anywhere at the top of a hill in the middle of the night), I mentioned that it was a school night and I needed to go. Going down a hill in 5″ platforms is even MORE difficult than going up, so I finally gave in and let him carry me down.

When we got to the house, his brother was waiting for us.
Bounty Hunter: Hermano! This is the lovely Kikita, she’s Cuban like us and loves cigars. Can you hook her up?

And he did.

I stayed for another 20 minutes out of sheer politeness. One doesn’t accept such a fine gift without spending time visiting for a while, but once hands started to get a little more handsy, it was my cue.

Bounty Hunter: Can I see you tomorrow? Or when are you coming to Vegas? I can get you a free room, just let me know. Ay, Kikita! Do you have any idea how amazing you are?
Me: Thank you for everything. Especially the cigar… AND for showing me Dodger Stadium.
Me (to myself): Yeah… just a little. 😉

A few days later I would find out I had been given the Best. Cigar. Ever.
Dodger Stadium and a delicious cigar, what more could a girl ask for?

¿Y Ahora Qué?

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I was dying to go dancing.
I knew where I wanted to go, but it was just far enough that just going and hoping to find people to dance with was not necessarily something I wanted to risk.
On the other hand, I knew there would be a live band and I knew some “friends” (SEE: Exs) would be playing so it’s not exactly like I would be ALONE alone.

I asked a friend, but he couldn’t come.
I asked a buddy I knew was there all the time, but he wasn’t going.

So I went alone.

When I walked in, my attention was immediately captured by a dancer I’d never seen before. And I decided I would dance with him before the night was over.

I found my “friends” and sat down with them. Of course, they were sitting with the Cuban from a few weeks ago who had proposed to me and his girlfriend. She was so quiet and barely looked me in the eye. I wondered if she hated me under pure suspicion of what had transpired a few weeks ago. Shrugging it off, I sat and chatted happily and then my “friends” got up to play, so I got up to dance.

During the next break, I made my way back to the table and … what was this? The dancer I had lost track of was sitting there! PERFECT!

After being introduced, I found out that not only was The Dancer a Cuban, he was the BEST FRIEND of the Cuban with the girlfriend. Awesome.

My “friends” got up to play again, the Cuban got up to dance with his girlfriend and I was left alone with The Dancer.
That was when The Challenge came up:
The Dancer: You drove 45 minutes for this?!?
Me: Sure, why not?
The Dancer: I would never drive 45 minutes for anything. Especially not this.
Me (to myself): Uh huh, we’ll see about that.
Me (to him): Ok, well, let’s dance.
The Dancer: You’re boyfriend won’t get jealous?
Me: First of all, he’s not my boyfriend. Second, even if he was, no… he likes to share.

Half a dance later…
The Dancer: Ok, maybe I would drive 45 minutes for THIS…
Me (to myself): I win.
Me (to him): Good to know, but don’t get any ideas of driving anytime soon…
The Dancer: How soon is soon? What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: I’m busy. And soon is, at least, March.

The night ended with a text informing me that I had no idea what I was missing, but hopefully I’d be willing to find out soon. If I had a nickel …

My plans for Friday night fell through, right along with my Saturday night plans.
I had been dying to go dancing at a Cuban place in Hollywood and had convinced a buddy of mine to be willing to make the drive with me on Saturday night, but he ended up having to work.

I sent The Dancer a message on Friday night saying that I might be available, but would let him know in an hour.
I admit, my intentions had been less than honorable. I really just wanted to win again. I had no intention of going anywhere Friday night.

He won.
He said he was going to a Cuban place in Hollywood and would love for me to meet him there.
Damn it. I hadn’t planned for that one. It was the one thing I couldn’t say no to.

It was another magic evening.
The girlfriend and her Cuban boyfriend were there and she was suddenly my best friend.
I was being introduced to all kinds of people and everyone found me to be the amazing person I am.

The Dancer and I danced and talked and it was great.
And the more we talked, the more amazing it was.
He even said that wonderfully cliché line of: Where have you been hiding all this time?

So I was winning, until he answered his own question and things took a turn for the worse: That’s right, you’ve been behind a cloud of darkness.
Me: Excuse me?
The Dancer: Don’t try to tell me there was nothing going on between you and that negro last night. [Negro as in the Spanish word for “black.”]
Me: Well, not last night, but once upon a time, sure. That was years ago, though.
The Dancer: How could you do that? You are so much better than that. Don’t tell me you’re actually attracted to negros?
Me: Seriously?
The Dancer: I’m sorry, but I don’t eat where a negro has eaten. I’m giving you this one chance because there’s just something about you, but consider yourself SUPER lucky!

I was instructed to text when I got home safely and that he would call me the next day, which surprised me since he didn’t seem to be able to get past my past.

And I guess he didn’t have the guts to tell me that to my face, because he never did call…

I can’t help but go back and forth between feeling irritated at such stupidity and totally ashamed of my choices from 5 years ago.

¿Y ahora qué?
So, now what?

Terms of Endearment

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Him 1: Hey babes!!
Him 2: Hey sexy!!!! What are you up to?
Him 3: Hola, mi vida!
Him 4: How are you doing, honey?
Him 5: Sorry babe
Him 6: Que haces, mi amor?
Him 7: Hun, can I ask you a question?
Him 8: Good night, love.
Him 9: MAMITAAAA!
Him 10: Corazón…
Him 11: ‘Sup, hot stuff?
Him 12: Hello, Gorgeous!

No, this is not a complete list.

With everyone calling me their honey love babe, you’d think I get around… a LOT. And I don’t! (Although, I’m starting to think maybe I should…)

Each time someone who purports to be my friend calls me something like this, my first thought is: “Since when am I your [insert term of endearment here]?

Then I react to whatever word was and who it’s coming from…

Hot Stuff = What year are we in? Am I required to respond to this?
Gorgeous = True, but is this a Barbra Streisand movie? Or are you suggesting I have a big nose? (I do, but that’s not important right now)
Babes = More than one?
Sexy = I thought gays were the only one who used that when referring to a female they had never been … *ahem* … intimate with?
Mi Vida = Your life? Really? You might want to think about getting a new one…
Honey = Goes in tea and on bread.
Babe = Last time I checked, I was not a talking pig
Mi Amor = Did you fall in love with me during these past months that I hadn’t been talking to you?
Love = I’m sorry, are you British?
MAMITAAAA = No, I don’t have children. (And, NO, I do not want to have yours… and NO, I do not want to practice with you, either.)
Corazón = Why don’t you give your heart to someone who cares?
Hun = As in “Attila the…”?

I have a name. And I have a nickname. And nicknames for the nickname.

Must these fools persist to annoy me with “relationship-y” words when one (or both) of us has no desire for such status?

Granted, it would likely be far less annoying if it was just one or two fools participating in such behavior, but it seems to be a damned epidemic. Even those I did not consider to be so foolish have managed to irritate me with this nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being called any of the aforementioned terms of endearment under the right circumstances (with the exception of “Hot Stuff” which will probably always make me gag in a not good way); however, none of the current examples were presented under the right circumstances.

Look, kids, either we’re just friends or we’re not just friends. If we are not friends, then we should probably have a conversation about that during which I will bluntly explain why we should stick to friends. If we are just friends, then I have compiled a list of acceptable “friendly” terms of endearment for your future use that will not blur The Line:

Sunshine: because yes, I am bright and happy and warm… and it sounds even better when said with a hint of sarcasm
Homeslice: cracks me up every time
Homeskillet:  seriously, cracking up over here
Precious: because I love Lord of the Rings and you would know that if you were my friend

All other suggestions will be submitted to management for review.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

The Gas Company

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Friday night.

I had no plans.

Ok, that’s not true. I had BIG plans.
I had to go to the grocery store.
I had to fill my car with gas.
I had to read more of the “Game of Thrones” sequel: A Clash of Kings.

Like I said, BIG PLANS for my Friday night.

I got caught up at work, though. And found myself leaving at around 7:30pm which had me arriving a mi casa around 7:45pm.
(Why is this important? Because Mami had picked up Abuela at around 4, which means my house had been empty for around 4 hours.)

When I opened the door, the house smelled like someone had been cooking, but cooking something odd.

I shrugged and went to the kitchen to rinse my empty mug of café.

That’s when I smelled it: Gas.

I glanced at the stove. The burner was on, but there was no flame.

Off went the burner. On went the fan. Open went the doors and windows.

I figured I’d just run to the store and then I’d be fine.

My mistake was calling Mami just to double check…
“GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!! CALL THE GAS COMPANY… FROM OUTSIDE!”

Nothing like an over-protective Cuban mother freak-out to bring drama to a Friday night.

I called the Gas Company. They would send someone out, but could not give me a time frame. Awesome.

To the garage I went and practiced my timbales for an hour. And then read. And texted Mami every ten minutes so that she knew I was fine.

At 9:30 Mr. Gas Company shows up.

He was a strange little man. Very nice, but talked a lot. And fast.

He pulled out his gas detection device (I swear it looked like he got it from the movie Ghostbusters) and got to work.

After having me explain what happened, he mentioned that he couldn’t smell gas anymore. I agreed.

Next he had to check behind the stove… which meant we had to pull it out.

It turned out there was a ridiculously tiny leak that had “probably been there for years.”

And he fixed it within 30 seconds. And was all happy that it was a super easy job. His last job for the night and it was so simple.

As we were pushing the stove back into place, Mr. Gas Company noticed the oven bar was loose so he grabbed his screwdriver and tightened it.

Me: Wow! Thank you! It’s been loose for a while, but I only notice when I’m actually USING the oven and it’s too hot to fix.
Mr. Gas Company: I TOLD you I would impress you.

And he explained that the gas I had smelled would not have hurt me, but it was good that I called anyway, if only because it ended his night on a good note. He handed me “An informational pamphlet… I don’t know.”

The man was cracking me up. Definitely an odd bird… I don’t think he had Asperger’s only because he was able to make eye contact, but maybe at his age he had learned to make some eye contact. Who knows?

He thanked me what seemed like a thousand times and left.

6 minutes later, he knocked on my door.
Mr. Gas Company: Sorry to bother you again. I just wanted to let you know that the gas you smelled was natural gas and it just rises and dissipates so just leave a window open for a while and you should be fine. You have nothing to worry about. It’s just natural gas that rises. It rises and then it dissipates.”
Me: So I don’t have to worry about blowing up tonight?
Mr. Gas Company: Shhh. We don’t like to use that word. But really, it just rises and dissipates. Would it be alright if I saw your drum set?
Me: Sure!

So I showed him my timbales and explained how they were Cuban drums. And made a short little sound on them…
Mr. Gas Company: Shhh! I didn’t ask for a demonstration! I don’t want your neighbors to get upset with you on my account! Thank you though. They are very beautiful. Sorry for the imposition! Thank you! Have a great night!
Me: It’s Friday night. I’m sure my neighbors are fine. Thank you, Mr. Gas Company!

Meanwhile, my mother had not stopped texting me.

Her new stove had arrived, but they couldn’t install it yet.

Mami: When was the last time we texted STOVE pictures back and forth?? All good?
Me: RIGHT? Yeap! Aparentamente the gas I smelled wouldn’t hurt me.
Mami: I didn’t think so, but then I’d hate for those to be famous last words. “I don’t think the gas smell will hurt me….” KABOOM! I’m glad it’s over. Also, I’m going to call you KABOOM from now on.

Just another Friday night Kikitiando con KABOOM.

A Christmas Miracle

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When I found the black dress for my Christmas party I was super excited.

It was a bit of a departure for me as far as dresses go. Tight and short black dresses typically just exacerbate the genetic betrayal that is my legacy; however, this particular dress looked pretty great. The top was black, but sparkly and I felt like the best way to make it a Christmas dress would be red accessories. I had this mental picture of red glittery shoes and red and gold bangles to match and really pull it all together. Because you can’t wear bright red shoes with a black dress and gold jewelry. Red has to be in the jewelry, too, in order to pull the eyes back up from the shoes.

I had a very clear picture in my head.

I looked for red glitter shoes and kept coming up empty.

So I settled for the gold glitter shoes and thought “Well, I can still do the red and gold bangles and earrings and it’ll keep it Christmas. Then I’ll just take out the red for New Year’s.”

I was fine with that plan. And then the red shoes found me. So I got them.

And that is how the Great Hunt for Red and Gold Bangles started.
Endless hours of walking from store to store only to be disappointed.

I finally found bracelets that were not quite what I had in mind, but they would work.

As I was leaving the mall, a necklace at a store that specializes in silver caught my eye. Now that my red and gold bangle mission was over, I allowed myself to go into the silver store. (Because, why would I go into a silver store when hunting for gold?)

I noticed that the store had branched out. There were many more colourful necklaces in there than I remembered and I was slowly pulled deeper and deeper into the store. (It’s actually not a very deep store, but it was a slow pull.)

And, there, along the back wall, were bangles. Every color of bangle. Red. Gold. Green. Blue. Purple. RED. GOLD.

I cried. (Ok, I didn’t CRY; my eyes filled with tears, but I held them back.)

I know that not having the exact accessories you want is a total “1st World, White Girl” problem, but that is not really the point.

I had a dream. A picture in my head.

I had been content with the gold shoes, but then I got the red ones I’d dreamed about. And I had been content with the red and gold bracelets I had JUST bought thinking that I was never going to find the bracelets I had dreamed about. I was still excited.

But then my dream came true.

It was such a little thing.

A small and simple wish, but it happened. And right about the time I was giving up. Right about the time I was settling for less.

Honestly? It felt like a personal Christmas gift sent directly from God. *blush*

THAT is why I cried.

Because if he is willing to give me my silly wish of red shoes and red and gold bangles, then there’s a good chance he’d be happy to give me some of my “real” wishes, too.

Finding My Voice

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Wednesday night I thought to myself “Maybe I want to take voice lessons…”
Thursday morning there is a Living Social deal for voice lessons.
SHUT. UP.

I made an appointment with the coolest sounding Russian lady ever.

I knew I was shy about certain things… Me? Shy? I know, right? But it’s true!
Like the drums. I’m SUPER shy about them! I’ve only shared that secret with a couple of people.

And this one? I haven’t told ANYONE.

I knew I was extra shy about my singing voice and that taking voice lessons would stretch me (and I’m talking about more than just my vocal chords), but I still wanted to try it.

Stella, the Russian voice teacher, was SUPER cool. She asked e to sing something so she could get an idea of what she was working with and I did, but I hated the way it sounded. I was only supposed to have an hour lesson, but she spent two hours on me and then a third just chatting.

She had wild, red curly hair and bright blue eyes and a devil-may-care attitude. She was intoxicating to be around. She had been through some incredibly rough times, but she was happy. She inspired me.

She also gave me homework.

Homework for drumming AND homework for singing when I get home between 9-10pm every night and have to be quiet makes practicing for both really difficult.

Thank God for my car. I could practicing drumming on my dashboard (oh yes I did) and I could listen to a song on my phone and sing along as loud as I liked. And I did. And I still do, but only when I’m alone in the car. I haven’t quite gotten over that shyness.

I knew the voice lessons would stretch me, but I didn’t realize how far or how much. Or that it might be too much.
But after both lessons, I left crying.
See, to get the right sound, everything has to be open.
That was the word of the hour “Open up! Open your mouth! Your throat! Your chest! Your stomach! Open everything! It all has to be open!”

I’m not quite ready to be that open yet.