Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Flowers

On "Isms"

My sis, the Professor, posted on her blog about watching people's "isms" manifest, and it's definitely something I enjoy doing myself. I don't know why. I think it's the latent novelist in both of us--something we've inherited from Poppy.

I also enjoy watching the stories of people's lives unfold. Sometimes I sit on the train, or in a bar and watch a person to see how much of their lifestory I can learn. You'd be *amazed* at what you learn by watching people... how much of themselves they give away. And in turn, you can use those things to help you navigate your own life, deal with your own "isms", or even hide yourself.

I get an *enourmous* kick watching people have illicit affairs; I've learned the signs having had several m'self. (No, not necessarily "bad" illicit affairs... I don't make a habit of snagging other women's husbands or stuff like that. But I guess I've had about one of every kind of illicit affair... the married guy, the boss, the co-worker. The married guy who's a boss and your co-worker. Hmmmm--apparently here's yet another issue of mine to explore. But not today!) I was in a room with several people I know very well within the last year, and it suddenly dawned on me that two of the people in the room had slept with each other, and probably fairly recently. But they weren't sayin' cuz a third person in the room was The Wife.

So I guess now would be a good time to tell you some "dont's" when you're trying to Hide An Affair:
  1. DON'T make "googlie eyes" or try to sneak off or sneak a feel or only talk to each other. This is an obvious one, but still, some people aren't good at not making things obvious.
  2. DON'T patently ignore the other person, either. To me, that's a *dead* giveaway. Like you can't sit next to someone stiffly and not make eye contact and pretend you're not sitting next to the person. But people do.
  3. DON'T deny the friendship or the attraction, though. This helps things to appear "normal". So if you like talking to the person (I mean you *are* sleeping with them, right?) go ahead and flirt and joke and laugh.... just be sure to "spread the love" and flirt with a few other people, too. Then people will think your just being friendly.
So this came up in my thought process the other day because I had two very interesting encounters with people I've known for at least 10 years, both in the same evening. The first was with someone I admire very much, and was my first real photography teacher. If I hadn't met him and gotten to be pretty good freinds with him and his ex-wife, I probably would never have gotten into Pratt. Under his tutelage, I'd learned to take some good photos, and printed them myself in his darkroom and had built up a pretty good body of work over a period of years. It was that body of work that got me into Pratt, cuz Lord knows my pre-Pratt drawings were pretty bad.

At one point I lived in an apartment right next door to his gallery and especially while I was pregnant, I spent a great deal of time talking to him. I was pretty upset when he and his wife broke up because I liked them both. But I understood a lot of why they broke up, and he and I talked a lot about relationships and all my various troubles with IFKALP. When I was hugely pregnant he was usually the one to carry my laundry or groceries up two flights of stairs, cuz IFKALP wasn't much help often enough.

After the Sun was born, I moved up the street to a bigger apartment. But I actually hadn't told my landlord that I was leaving yet, because my new apartment still had my new landlord and family living in it, and I had to wait for them to leave. But the Rock is a *very small* place, and this woman got wind of the place coming up and hunted me down for it... and then she proceeded to harrass me every couple of days about when I was leaving, and that I was holding up *her* moving plans. I was furious, because in addition to my own stress about when *I* was leaving and not being able to pressure my new landlord about moving out (they in turn were waiting for construction on their new house), I was dealing with IFKALP and his nonsense, and a six month old baby and a job. I took a serious dislike to the chick, which I've yet to shake.

But in the process of her hounding me for my apartment, she let it drop that she had a "crush" on my photographer friend, who technically was still married though his wife had relocated. And I could see plainly that this chick had plans. Now, I admire a bitch who can state what she wants, pursue it doggedly *and get it* cuz this is obviously a skill I lack. But I really didn't like her M.O. cuz she had no remorse about anything (though lately I've tried adopting that tack to a small degree--I'll let you know if it works for me).

After I was finally in the new place, and she was in my old place she immediately began pursuing my friend. One day he asked me what I thought of her and (as usual) it was hard for me to hide my dislike. I told him that if he wanted to be married and have a baby again (his son was 18 and away at college that year) go ahead, but if not, stay away because this woman had designs on him. But I couldn't tell him how I knew--wouldn't have made any sense.

Well, cut to Tuesday evening when I went to drop off two pieces of art for an exhibit (he does a multi-artist show once a year in his gallery). He now lives up the street from me in a house he bought with this woman who is now his wife. Their daughter is two. And he asked me "Do you remember what you told me?" and I told him I remembered *exactly* what I'd told him. He said "I should have listened". I threw up my hands laughing and said "I tried to tell you!" (cuz I'm never NOT the one to say "I told you so!" so if you don't want to hear me say it.... don't bring it up.) Seems they're having problems and he was looking a tad stressed. *sigh*.

To be fair though, I've seen married couples hit the skids when the cute baby turns two. It happens to everyone. The Sun being aged two is about when my life and relationship with IFKALP became unbearable. So I told my friend that if he made it past this point, to when his daughter turns about 6 or 7, then they'll make it and it will be OK. What I didn't tell him is that his wife has NO intention of letting him go. He's in for good. He's going to be looking stressed for awhile.

end of part 1, cuz I really should look like I'm working here...

Obsessions Are Useful Things

and now that I've worked hard and managed to stop obsessing (temporarily?) over a "hopeless to be had" I'm being hit full-blown with IFKALP issues.

I swear... I can have it "all together" and be OK, but the *minute* the subject comes up as something I'm going to have to deal within a few weeks BAM I'm back to freaking out.

I KNOW he can't get me anymore. I don't talk to him. I have caller ID and I don't even have to pick up the phone when he calls because the Sun can. I can even be calm when he does dumb shit to the Sun. But the thought of being anywhere close to him or having to think about negotiating a visit or whatever just causes all sorts of stress. I'm at least past getting butterflies in my stomach when I go up to Yonkers or Cross County. I can be on the Sprain or Bronx River Parkway and breathe easy. I can pass what used to be his exit and and *almost* not acknowledge it, and I don't feel like crouching down in my seat in case he can see me.

Other women have gotten their asses beat. Matter of fact, the Professor told me that the day before, a woman who lives upstairs from where she works had her ass beat, in public, *in the nursery* simply because she brought her children to school. They actually had to call the police in order to get the man to stop beating the shit out of his wife. Can you imagine? That never happened to me.

But as anyone can tell you, who has ever experienced it, sometimes verbal and emotional beat-downs are far worse than physical ones. I had my ass beat by my ex-husband years ago. Coupla times. The worst time was when I was picked up by neck and slammed against a wall, then thrown down on the ground. We ended up in the bathroom where I vaguely remember trying to kick him into the tub but of course he was bigger than me. His hands around my neck got tighter and tighter, and something (those voices?) reminded me that possums played dead when confronted with attackers, and so I just let myself go limp. I was lucky that that stopped him. I was lucky that the only thing that came out of that was a black eye. I was lucky that I was young enough and unbroken to get up and leave him shortly after. I burned with righteous indignation at being physically hit, because I *knew* it wasn't right, no matter what I'd done. My own father never beat me (though I had spankings as a younger kid--and a spanking and a beating are NOT the same thing) and the last time my mother tried to hit me, I wriggled out of my clothes and ran away laughing. I was 11. So I knew I didn't deserve to be hit.

But there's something about mental manipulation that can really fuck you up. Especially if you're the type to feel mighty about yourself. Particularly if you're the type to overthink things. And you know enough about me by now to know those voices have raging debates in my head as it is, and I listen to them. So when someone outside of your head is making you second-guess yourself, it's just not a good combo.

At first I didn't mind debating IFKALP on things. I didn't mind that he challenged me. I didn't mind that his opinions on things were as strong--if not stronger--than mine. I didn't mind that I couldn't just "roll over" him. But I was always taught "rules of engagement"--you don't call names, you don't take the cheap shot, you make up from a fight before you go to bed. You don't hold grudges or dredge up past injustices. You speak your mind, however passionately, you come to an agreement or an impasse--either you agree or agree to disagree, and you move on.

But IFKALP never played by those rules, and in fact, just when I thought I'd figured out his rules he'd go and change them. Or worse yet, tell me those weren't his rules to begin with so he wasn't going to follow them. Or even better, claim we never discussed the rules at all in the first place. It was very disorienting. And I got tired of always trying to figure out the mood du jour or the rule of the day and just kind of shut down. Tried to block it out, because the other thing that was happening was that he simply wouldn't go away. He'll never go away.

On the positive side, it means the Sun knows he has a dad, and he loves him. But as the Sun gets older, IFKALP is beginning to treat him the way he treats everyone. Sometimes it's great and it's party all the time; other times it sheer hell. And I can see that The Sun is getting to where he won't deal with the other stuff.

I've been mentioning that IFKALP was annoyed that the Sun wasn't calling him frequently enough. Over the weekend, the Sun spent the night out with the Moon, and then the Moon was over here. As far as I know IFKALP called the house maybe once or twice, but I'm fairly certain that the Sun spoke to him. It wasn't enough, apparantly, and during a call on Monday evening, IFKALP told the Sun he was going to shut off the phone that IFKALP gave him. The Sun burst into tears. I told him, don't worry about it. To be honest, I really didn't think he would.

But he did. He shut off the phone, because the Sun doesn't call him frequently enough. As in every day. As in, an 8YO child should have his phone on all the time. And the thing was, yesterday I'd forgotten my own cell at home. And the Sun's basketball activity was canceled, and the Sun picked up his phone to call me and tell me... and couldn't dial out. When I finally got to him, at Karate (he was OK; the school is small and great and cares for him as if he were a family member) he held up the phone and said "He shut it off". He was hurt. I blinked. Wow.

So to "joke" him out of it, I said "Well, congratulations, you're a grown up. Your dad now treats you like he treats everyone else." He laughed. But it ain't funny.

And me, trying to show maturity and that I'm willing to negotiate, am in the process of setting up a visit that will give IFKALP the opportunity to see the Sun in a karate tournament, and in his 3-school violin concert. It it works, great. If it doesn't well, I can show I tried. But I'm having SERIOUS heart palpitations over it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's 4AM

And my bed hasn't been slept in. I just needed to say that.

Tomorrow I'll have (wait, in a few hours) to post what's causing it... mainly IFKALP though I realized that my little obsession was keeping me from obsessing on him. (I managed to shut that off, today, which was kind of cool... obsessing). But now I have to deal with IFKALP.

Well, I'm going to bed now. See you in a few.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I SO don't want to be here....

I couldn't possibly explain how badly I wish I were someplace other than at work right now.


...*and* I've forgotten my cell phone. Which is massively inconvenient -- I don't have a calendar, access to my finances, etc.

... *and* it is meat-locker cold in here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

It ain't just about barbecue, you know. Or sales on washing machines.

I never cared much about the importance of the holiday until my girl went into the army. She went in as a 30-something single mother of two kids during peace time, to help pay off student loans and give her kids a life.

Guess where she ended up?

She finally told them that if they didn't let her out she was going to go crazy and do something ugly. They let her out. But she was in for a loooong time; six years I think. We had been supertight as kids; we met when I was about 13 or 14, and she's about 2 years younger than me. It was sis and I, and her and another chick. We were thicker than thieves. In our late teens/early '20s we had some drama and some fights and lines were drawn and since for me, blood comes first I ended up not speaking to her for probably 20 years. But neither sis nor I ever replaced those girls as "Homegirl". Sistercousin. But when she went into the army, she reached out, came to visit, made an effort to repair the friendship, and so we did. The other friend, well, it's not repaired yet and I wonder if it ever will, though Homegirl has kept in contact so we at least know what's up the other one.

On leave one year from Baghdad, she came home to visit and went looking for her old boyfriend. Next thing you know Homegirl and Old Boyfriend have eloped, and he held her down and kept her girls and became "daddy" during the two years the army sent her ass back to Baghdad. And she's been out about 2 years and says very little about it. Every so often she does, and I'm so thankful that she survived. It's worse than they are telling you over there, particularly if you're female.

So today I called her, and I'm notorious about not calling people but I was suddenly overcome by the need to tell her how glad I was that she was home. Because so many of our friends and family are not coming home from a war that is supposedly over. I am so not in favor of this war and the situation that this country is in... but I never for a moment fault the soldiers that are over there, or the fact that they believe in what they're doing. They should; they have to. It's the only way they can do their job well and hope to come home in one piece.
The Fat Lady and the Bull and LilacBlue and their kids came up to eat. Shoefly even came and hung out. The MarriedCouple (hmmm, maybe they are "ChipNDale" or "HeckleNJeckle" cuz it's rare you say one name without the other... and they roll deep which is just the best thing ever to see... it gives a chick like me hope that there is such a thing as a functional and loving relationship) were supposed to try to come, but apparently got waylaid in Brooklyn.

But we had a great time. And I love that my freinds don't get "put out" or nervous when I get stressed and snappy, and can handle the horde that is my family and Mima and get along with Shoefly. So I ended up having a few Coronas and some good food and a really good time. And I hope they all did, too.

Mima's on a cane, recovering from knee surgery, which I hate. But I've faith she'll heal well. Poppy didn't come cuz he had dialysis so it turned out The Bull and Perpetual Motion were the only men to come over until the Moon's dad stopped by after work. Well, that and the Sun and the Moon. Incidentally, the Moon plays very well with Ladybug and MamasGirl, which is great since they'll hopefully all be in the same school next year.

The Bull gave me the *great* idea to "weatherize" my futon sofa and put it out on the deck, which I really am going to do. I think it will last another few years out there, especially if I cover it in bad weather. So YAY!!!! Soon as I get the money I can get my sofa!

Question is... sofa or tattoo????

As for Obsessions... they were manageable today. Still there, but manageable.

Bury My Heart....

It wasn't something I could watch, the HBO special. I knew it as soon as I saw the "coming attractions" on HBO. But of course I ended up flipping on the TV right at the worst part, the part where Sitting Bull was shot and the massacre began. It was heartbreaking.

A few years ago, right when I was beginning my search into finding my Native ancestors, I read "Black Elk Speaks - Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Souix." I don't remember how I found the book to read it, and I didn't know at the time that Black Elk was a witness to the Wounded Knee massacre. And so I came to the part about the massacre by accident, much as you would if you were someplace and violence suddenly erupted. For days after, I carried with me Black Elk's vision of what happened; I could see it through his eyes. I never read Dee Brown's book; I knew that I wouldn't be able to.

My mother's family is Native--on both sides. Yes, mixed with Irish and Scottish and African, but Native. Throughout the generations of her family, blood has called to blood, and each "mulatto" or mixed race person seemed to have found a mate who was also mixed or "mulatto". Growing up, we didn't have much to do with my mother's family; it was well-known that my mother's choice in marrying my darker-skinned father was a major disappointment to them.

Yet, they were all fiercely "Black". They fought for justice for "Blacks" as lawyers, or became the founders of well known large insurance companies for "Black" people. My grandmother was a social worker before she married my grandfather. Her cousin is a reknowned "African American" artist. They never identified as anything other than "Black" and yet I knew all my life how much my grandmother hated my "Black" father.

I have a picture of my grandmother at about 8 or 9 months, in a christening gown, posing on what appears to be an Indian blanket. My mother argued with me that it was probably a studio prop used by the photographer. But back then photography was a big deal; I found it unlikely that an photographer would arbitrarily use an Indian blanket as a prop, particularly when it was not at all fashionable to be Indian. But grandma never ever talked about her heritage. Not to us, her dark-skinned grandchildren that she barely knew, not to my mother. The only thing she ever said was that her grandparents were first cousins, and that her father Albert was Scottish, "mixed" but to tell the truth she never really elaborated on what he was mixed with. She said that her mother Josephine's mother, Mallie, was black (and of all the photos that I have, Mallie is the only one with dark skin) and that Mallie's husband Andrew was Indian.

When my grandfather died and I got to take the family pictures home with me (my grandmother having passed away a few years earlier), Albert's photograph became an obsession. The fire in his eyes and the set of his jaw, along with the apparent duskiness in his skin did not look at all Scottish to me. It was much harder to get a feel for his sisters, maybe because the picture wasn't as clear, but Albert haunted me for days.

Today, my mother went down to visit her mother's cousin, the artist. She is 92. I should have gone and I'll probably regret not going. I thought to take pictures, but instead I was out last night carousing in clubs and spent the day still running from the mess that is my apartment.

Today, my grandmother's cousin told my mother that the grandparents she shared with my grandmother--Albert's parents--were Cherokee.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Back on a Hoe Stroll

Well, not quite but something like that.

But the point is, I'm trying distract myself--"redirect" if you will. Acknowledging the obsessive tendencies by trying to give them something else to focus on. Can't say it worked, but it was fun.

Did the usual Saturday run-around, sans Karate (the Sun was just worn out and begged not to go; plus his teammates were all going away so he'd have no one to spar with, he said). Although I did a lot of sitting around too, and my place is just a wreck today because of it. In the evening, the Professor and I did a Tar-jay run and then hit the town. Shoefly very generously offered to have The Sun stay over with the Moon. The old Bear Maiden got sort of done up... I even carried a purse (!) rather than my usual backpack/messenger bag and I kept meaning to take a picture for proof but I never got around to it.

We first went to Mi Gente Cafe in Castle Hill, and we didn't know it till we got there but ladies got in free, 2 for 1 drinks and free barbecue was the special of the day. Hey, not bad. We sat on the back patio and watched Tiny grill up some dogs and a slab of ribs. Tiny was um, rather large with a not-from-Castle Hill accent, which he later revealed via an overheard cellphone conversation was a product of his growing up in Florida.

So I had a hotdog, (which I later realized was about the only thing I ate all day other than my usual double-cup of Bustelo with half and half and raw sugar, some dark-chocolate raisinettes and some nut mix... I must be more depressed than I think since that's the only time I don't eat) which helped to absorb the shot and a half of Corazon Anejo I had before I left, and the 2-for-1 Margarita I had there.

The Professor kept saying it was pretty dead compared to other times she's been there with her cohorts, but it did sort of pick up around 1A, though by then we were leaving. The crowd anyhow was mainly young and mostly chicks who seemed mostly gay, and a few guys. Mainly one old dude who was seriously trying to get a rap with a pair of boobs. Music was good; they played a good reggae segment (which is really the only stuff I can dance to with ease), and a salsa segment (I really wish I could learn how to dance Salsa... it's just awesome to watch) and then they broke into the Dominican "brinka-dinka-dink-dink-ka dink-ka, brinka-dinka-dink-dink-ka dink-ka" music which is a weird 4-count slide step music that I definitely can't catch. The Professor found out via text messaging that her former classmate-co-worker and her boyfriend were headed down to the Voodoo Lounge in the City, and she asked if I was up for going. Yeah, why not. The Sun is safe and I'm "euphoric" by now thanks to the $3 Apple Martini special, and I'm out already so what the hell.

The club was *packed*. Mostly Black and Hispanic, seemingly mostly couples but more free guys than girls. The Professor's friend bought me another Margarita. Some tall, bald college kid-trying-to-be-a-model came and talked to me for a second, but he was just a little too young (not that I have a problem with the young boys) and too goofy to tolerate for long. By then I *really* needed to dance. Or I wouldn't have been able to do much of nothin' else, so the Professor and I danced for a minute, and then I dragged the friend's boyfriend out on the floor where luckily enough, the DJ played some *real* "Old School" shit.

It was so hot in there--"pizza-oven" hot. Somehow the dance partners changed and I ended up dancing with this guy who thought it was sexy to say all the rap lyrics in my ear. Luckily it was hot and packed and loud as hell so it was quite OK to laugh my ass off while we danced. Then they broke into some more salsa, which my partner couldn't dance to, so we sat it out and watched the Professor dance with his 23 year old Latin friend.

"Jamel" ended up being a beat-down looking 30, and when I told him how old I was (to make him feel better since he was feeling old, apparently) he looked at me with eyes wide.

"Yo, Ma, you look good!" Why thank you.
"Yo, Ma, your eyes are crazy sexy, yo."
Why thank you again, you make me feel good.
"You going to call me, right Ma?" he asked, as I took his number.

Nah, sorry Jamel. But I appreciate the flattery. It does an old body good.

The Professor pawned me off on her friend for my ride back to The Rock (friend lives closer to me than Professor does, to be fair) but we first had to pick up friend's daughter. The little girl was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 4AM, which made me laugh cuz she's one of those that MUST wait up for Mama.

I slept for a few hours but woke up before the hangover set in (old drinking tip I've learned), ate some high-fat yogurt, 2 Exedrin and my Bustelo, so I'm feeling a little tired but none the worse for wear.

Still obsessed, though. *sigh*.

And now, I REALLY must clean my apartment.... oh but the phone just rang. Yay! More procrastination!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dark Clouds Rollin In...

I could feel them coming in this morning, but I tried to dodge it. A talk with my therapist (The Professor) definitely helped. It pays to have a therapist in the family.

Trying to fight my obsessiveness, or at least re-direct it but I'm not sure how to do that, or what it takes. I take pride in the fact that I have learned to listen to my gut... those voices who aren't out to tear me down but warn me of inevitable, and they are warning me now. "Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!". Or "Run Away, Run Away" but the OCD tendency is very strong. I guess that's why they make drugs for that. Tequila works a little. Nah, I take that back. It doesn't work at all.

There's always that tendency to make a big proclamation and flounce off into the sunset, but the problem with OCD is that you can't always do that without trying to crawl back.... and so flouncing off becomes a bit ridiculous. Disappearing works, but currently that's hard to do. But it's doable.

I wish I could afford my tatoo. It would be a good distraction. Other things I could do to distract myself:
  • Work: I have several projects I need to finish.
  • Planning: I have two events I need to help plan for the Sun's school.
  • Finances: I really need to get this under control. I'm working but I'm still broke (that no patience thing is a bitch) and I'm tired of that. I just paid a huge chunk of change on one of my student loans. And at this rate I will soon become trapped at this job, and that would be the equivalent of a slow death for me.
  • Summer trips: - there are several in the works and so it would behoove me to get the ball rolling on the previous item.
  • Draw/paint: it's almost a week, now. I failed that challenge. But I can still finish. Finishing counts for something, right?
There's an awful lot of stuff I could use to distract myself. But the problem with OCD is being able to obsess on one thing... just not the useful things. Blah.


We (the Sun and I) hauled ass home to the Rock last night (as best we could... despite all kinds of transit problems) to see The Sun's Karate classmates in a 5th Grade production of "Oklahma!"

The Sun and I giggled over some major differences between his "homey" psuedo-earth-lovin'-tree-huggin'-hippie-type "crunchy granola" progressive school and the one out here on the rock:
PS Crunchy PS Rock
School Security sits at front desk, and gets antsy when they can't leave when they are supposed to.Friendly (Pinkish) male security guard actually collects tickets!
Principal constantly trying to calm kids, getting annoyed that kids are running around. Parents annoyed at constant interruption of by Principal.Couldn't really tell who the principal was. Kids completely out of control. At least by "Crunchy" standards. Parents seem completely unconcerned that Joe Rockhead Junior is running through the crowd.
Principal would have had a cow if kids were rolling around on "Heelies".Lots of kids rolling around on "Heelies", almost knocking a couple of folks down.
Usually, whole school performs, with parent participation actively encouraged. Some parents grumble, but others participate. Few kids, if any "singled out" for stardom.Only the 5th Grade was performing. No parent participation. Two or three obvious "Stars" and lots of "chorus" kids.
"Healthy Snack Policy" means that any donated food and beverages should not contain high-fructose corn syrup, items other than baked goods/cookies encouraged. Event might be catered by staff member who cooks or "Pot-Luck" type deal. Food usually sold.Unhealthy snacks everywhere... and for free!!! Consequently the Sun was double-fisted with chocolate kiss cookies, a donut and whatever else. Actually, there was *nothing* but baked goods and the Hawaiian Punch was free-flowin!
Thanks to parents and the Principal who tries to keep a lid on things, and no high-fructose corn-syrup, kids are generally OK by 9PM, just tired. Parents grumbling show was too long.Thanks to the Hawaiian Punch and donuts, kids were *literally* climbing the walls--scaling the gym wall with a pull-up bar, and screaming at the tops of their lungs. Entire show was two hours, with a 20 minute intermission. No parent grumbles that I heard, but then again, most parents can walk home.
Kids of European descent are countable.Kids of African descent are countable.

The Professor talks more about The Divide than I do, but it's there, and the Sun and I straddle it as well. He in particular needs to, since he has that Albanian thing going for him. And since most people mistake Albanian people for "white", he needs to know how to be comfortable on both sides of the Divide. Yeah, you can argue with me if you want, especially if you don't travel the Divide often, that the differences aren't as pronounced anymore. But I assure you it's there.

There are differences in how you talk, how you walk, what you wear. What is the "it" toy of the moment (on the Rock, it's Pogo Sticks!). Though, in the Big Apple, it's sort of an odd thing, since in some situations the line between the Divide can be very thin. *Everybody* calls each other "Nigga" (which is a whole rant/topic of mine but I won't do that now), and just about *everybody* who lives in any kid of a low-income neighborhood regardless of culture wears pants below their ass (what IS that style, and when will it go away???) and sometimes even the higher-income kids do it. *Everybody* has a "MySpace" page and a fancy cell phone and even an iPod.

But there are still differences and sometimes the line between the Divide is HUGE. Somehow, I felt it last night, and I think the Sun felt it too, because the atmosphere is just different.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves very much, and enjoyed watching our Karate classmates perform. One in particular--I think he's destined for a life in acting... he just has that vibe. Which is one reason I wanted to see him; I wanted to be able to say "I went to his 5th grade play!"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Expanding on Uncle Ben, CEO

I went the other day and followed the link directly to Uncle Ben's Office. Go ahead, try it. And I realize I'm about a month late on this outrage, but humor me.

First off, it's a great web app and the programmers did a great job. It's definitely cool to explore.

Now, maybe I'm a tad touchy, but what White Chairman of the Board goes by the name "Uncle"???? Or any CEO of any heritage, matter of fact.

So the site is cool, but I'm getting that little prickle I get when I'm confronted with something so slick you can't really nail it, but it pisses you off, nonetheless. Kind of like the "compliment" I've received on occasion: "You're the Whitest Black person I know".

And something I forgot to add when I first posted about this. I have a friend who works at a major Consumer Products Manufacturer. So I was visiting one day a few years back, halfway interviewing for a job, and on a shelf my friend (who isn't American) displayed various products that this company markets in other countries. Apparently in Singapore, it's OK to portray stereotypes, and there is a toothpaste product called Darlie... the original name was "Darky". They changed the name, but not the icon: a nice big ol' icon of a "black" man with bright white teeth. (Click on the picture to link to a Wikipedia article.)

And we wonder why there is such a thing as "immigrant racism".

(added at 1PM)

...and just FYI, cuz it's still pissing me off, I never buy any product that has "Aunt" or "Uncle" in the name. Eggo Waffle syrup tastes great/less expensive, I make my own pancake mix from scratch (really not that hard) and what's so hard about cooking a pot of rice??? (one cup water/two cups rice, some oil, a tsp of salt per cup of rice if you like, heavy pot with tight lid, bring the water/salt/oil to boil, add rice, stir well, lower to a simmer and cover tightly for 20 minutes. Brown rice takes up to an hour). I admit to getting over the heebiejeebies long enough to try Uncle Ben's nukable rice, but it was so bland anyhow, that I'm back to doing my own thing. Not that boycotting these products will make one dent of a difference, but I can't bring myself to buy them just on my own GP.
As I said before I'm a month late on this, but here's another blogger's take, and here this blogger identifies the owner of Uncle Ben's, Mars, and that the top honcho is black. So I guess that's supposed to make me fee better, except some of THE MOST conservative and "buying-into-the-hype-they-sold-us" people I've ever come across are those of "us" who made it to the boardroom. Hell, we didn't get there cuz we stood up for Black Power, of THAT I can assure you. You only get "There" when you can play the game. Those that don't and stand for something unfortunately seem to end up getting shot.

Yeah, I'm getting more and more steamed the more I think of this....

Still no pictures

...but it's only cuz I've been trying to keep up with graphic design stuff, and running out for lunch and not really sitting anywhere. And then I got stuck on the subway going to The Sun's violin class yesterday, so by the time I got to him he was already half into his lesson. Then the train was too packed to sit down. Excuses excuses, I know, but those are all very good sketching opps.

Later, I had a small amount of success in the "getting what I want" department, but of course nothing is ever simple and it brings up a whole lot of questions, mainly in myself. Well, not even questions. Answers I don't want. I really need that tattoo, but it can't happen this week due to budgetary constrictions.


Well... I have a boatload of stuff to finish today so I'm off to do it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Uncle Ben, CEO

Mima sent this link to an article on the other day, and I forgot to look at it. I did today.

Being brown in America means that at some point you will be confronted by racism. I choose to ignore it, and about 90% of the time I am successful. My friends come in all shades; so does my family. My Sun is technically half Caucasian, although if you've ever had any dealings with Albanian culture you will understand why I refer to my Sun as being half Albanian and half American, rather than "bi-racial". (If you've never had the pleasure, as someone put it to me when I first started dating IFKALP, "being Albanian is *everything*". Their culture is over a 1,000 years old and was isolated for many years due to location, and then due to communism. They are strong, proud people and I truly have much admiration for them. And the country is *stunning*. My problem with the culture is just that as a Brown Woman in America with very strong matriarchal cultural tendencies thanks to both my Native and my African grandmothers, the equally and diametrically opposed patriarchal Albanian culture was NOT a good mix.)

As I say on my profile I choose to answer to "Other" because none of those forms asking you to denote your race accurately describes what I am. But I identify strongly with my brothers of African descent, and have been known to get my militant hackles up when I am confronted with people's ignorance. I also firmly believe that there is really no such thing as "race". People have been mixing for hundreds of thousands of years, and people in this country have been mingling with each other since the Vikings got here and found out there were already people here. Sex is a powerful pull.

But still... there are still some people who think that brown-skinned or yellow or red-skinned people are somehow "less", or even worse are "special". Or still believe many of the myths about who we are, how we live, and how we think.

I was once very in love with your typical all-round White Boy from the burbs. His mother tried to explain to me one day why she thought Aunt Jemima was "comforting".

A Song For Wednesday

I ran into Fat Lady (who is so not fat-- when I think "fat" I think of those people who have no shape or definition, of which I know several. Fat Lady doesn't fit into that category, but I recognize that it's got more to do with how one sees themselves in comparison to something else. But it bugs me that that's how she refers to herself.) this morning dropping the kids off at school. MamasGirl was stressing because she was late, and Fat Lady was reassuring her that in the end, it's not as big a deal as it was being made out to be.

Not that lateness--and chronic lateness--isn't a problem. But as someone who is *chronically* late for everything and am always being "spoken to" and once even fired indirectly because of it--there are just some people who don't like to be held to rigid standards like that. So I told MamasGirl that matter of fact, *I* was late and I was OK with it. She looked at me balefully and went on her way. I don't think she believed me.

Which leads me to comment on the differences between boys and girls. At this age, the differences in the way The Sun and various other boys and girls in his class handle things is becoming apparent. Personality has a lot to do with it, of course but I am beginning to notice that little girls stress *so much more* over the technicality of things like rules and procedures than little boys of the same age. A little girl will debate the reasoning behind the difference between 8:20 (not late) and 8:21 (late), but little boys don't. Not in the same way. I was definitely more girly in my "absoluteness" of rule-following until I had a little boy. Watching him negotiate the "no's" of life made me realize that at least half of the world is not stressing over technicalities. You tell him "no" and he'll either blink or fight you, depending on how important it is to him, but he'll go on with his life. A little girl on the other hand will reason you to death about why you said "no", why you *shouldn't* have said "no" to her and all the various reasons you should change your mind about it. I'm not sure my thoughts are very clear on this yet... but there's definitely a difference. Cuz the Sun was late this morning also, but wasn't all that concerned about it.

Anway. Fat Lady was teasing me about having song lyrics for Wednesday... and I laughed cuz I don't know any! I found some Tori Amos lyrics thanks to Google... but I don't know the song myself so I can't quote it (OK, see? I am a girl about some things). I'll have to find it and download it. But that's why this post is titled "A Song For Wednesday". Since I'm at work I can't post my song for the day, but it is Queen's "I want it all". I'll have to put it up later.

"I want it all I want it all I want it all and I want it now"

Within the last 24 hours, I came *this close* to getting what I want, but was thwarted by distance. Crap. Gjyshi Nanen. *This freakin close*. So now, what was smoldering coals is white hot fire. Fungul' . Oh well. The bad part it renews my obsession to triumph.
Haven't drawn anything in days. ALTHOUGH, I actually have been working on a brochure for the hospital's CME course. In secret, since we're not allowed to work on anything. I had to take it home, and am literally falling asleep over it but it's coming out OK. So I have been creating. I also did some preliminary sketches for a logo redesign for a freind, but haven't posted them till the idea is more certain. So technically (see, there's that girl thing again) I haven't really broken the "Every Day in May" thing.
When I succumbed to MySpace, I did it for two reasons... one ties into that whole "claiming" issue I have going, but the other is I had a friend at Pratt who I LOVE. I told you, I'm all about the crazies and the people in mental distress, and this kid had it in spades. But he's like my favorite little brother and I love him to death and how his crazy mind works (and I've told him to his face he was crazy, and he was OK with it.) I knew he had a MySpace page, and I found him there. Go check it out. I think his art is amazing. Sometimes "bloody", sometimes disturbing, but always amazing. You may have to request him as a friend in order to see it, though. Tell him you're a friend of The Bear Maiden.
I made contact with a tat artist last night, thanks to LittleSensei and his bro. Turns out the guy is local to me... and operating freelance so my tat may become a reality very soon. I'm trying to convince Sis that it's time for hers. Tatguy said sometimes he'll come to your house.... wouldn't that be cool? I told sis that would be my present to her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday and no drawings like three days. I need to get back to it, it definitely helped keep my spirits up. Maybe later, when I get to my mom's. Today is my sister's 39th birthday! I asked my pop yesterday "How do you feel now that "The Baby" is 39?" but he seemed good with it. And sis was in good spirits when I spoke to her this morning.

Staffbash was boring but not too painful.

Weather is nice but not as warm as I'd like.

I'm sneaking to work on a brochure for another dept. of the hospital. Ironic.

And I hate that one little thing can break my whole day.


Got to give it up.... let it go... let it go... let it go....

You Are 4: The Individualist

You are sensitive and intuitive, with others and yourself.

You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.

You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.

Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.

At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.

At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.

Your Fixation: Envy

Your Primary Fear: To have no identity

Your Primary Desire: To find yourself

Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday, Monday

" Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time"
-The Mamas & The Papas
It's funny that I should know that song.

Monday's suck. Especially when you're somewhere you don't want to be. It's a nice day out so far, not too cold but bright and sunny with a little breeze. I'd rather be anywhere than here.

I was pondering "issues" this morning, on the way in, mainly cuz I've been pondering my own, and because I am cursed with the ability to sense other people's. It's funny (but it's not, really) when I get too close to someone's issue, and they don't want me there. And as always, it only happens with people I give a shit about. In my mind's eye I can see the core of it glowing white hot, and when I touch it, white electric bolts go off, or white fire. In the past I would press it, to try to show the person how I could see what they couldn't see. It would be so clear to me that I would not believe no one else saw it. Sis has the ability as well, which is why she does what she does. She had said to me jokingly once "maybe you should be a therapist" and I joked back that I don't care as much as she does to help. But that's not true. I care a lot. But the difference between sis and I is that she is able to keep that blinding white light away from her, while I, like the proverbial moth to a flame, get consumed by it. I carry it like my own, and lose sleep over it and hurt over it. Sis says that her ability to disassociate herself is why she finds it hard to write the stories of her day-to-day, because she walks completely away from it at the end of the day. Me, I could ruminate for hours. Obsess for weeks.

Over the weekend I spoke with someone whose issues I see plainly. I asked what was wrong (already knowing) and was told they didn't want to talk about it. I was proud of myself that I let it go, as much as it killed me to do so. I wish that I could heal it, take it away, particularly since it affects what I want out of life, but I can't. I've at least learned that much. I can see, when I'm honest with myself, that the healing is a good four or five years away from where we are now, and I don't think I can wait that long. As I've said before, I'm not a patient person.

I remember when it was me, when I was the one protecting that core. There was this woman I met online in a group who would pursue me. She never let me go unchecked. Four or five years ago, I resented the hell out of her, and almost resigned from the group because I felt she was singling me out. Four or five years later, I actually had to let her know that she had been right, that she saw what I couldn't see and that I owed her an apology. Another friend, one who had similar abilities (and actually stronger ones) tried to tell me over and over what she saw, and I refused to listen. We're no longer friends, (though I don't think it's because I didn't listen--she had major issues of her own) and I sometimes wonder if I should tell her anyway that she was right and I'm sorry.


Being in Family Court, ironically enough, has made me face issues head on... some of which have nothing to do with court. But in trying to "protect the core", that white-hot light attracted a lot of attention, and it was the very thing that sent the court-appointed folks out to sniff it out. So I have been forced to let certain issues go, because the more I held on to protect it, the more they tried to get to it. Some were better at going for the core than others... the ones who have worked in the system for a long time. So I learned how to hide in plain sight. I'm thinking of all this now as a visit from IFKALP approaches, and a trial in July; that I have to "let go". The religious people say "Let Go and Let God" which of course gets all the non-religious people bristling, but it's something I've started to repeat to myself.

Flow like water.

Get through today.

In the shower this morning it occurred to me that each and every human has some sort of a core, glowing white hot. It defines everything we do, everything we are. I wonder if human beings are ever able to get to a state where we don't have any issues, but I can't see how that's possible. Sis and I joke about being "one with your issues" and I joke that I am, but I think that on most days I'm merely accepting of them. On stupendous days I'm "one" with them. On bad days, well... they've gotten the best of me, although temporarily. I watched The Sopranos yesterday, and was amused that dealing with issues--or not--was running through the core of the show. AJ tried, halfheartedly, to kill himself. And Tony found him, and for the first time you saw him crying, holding his son and calling him "baby", yet a few hours later he went out and broke someone's teeth. Talk about issues getting the best of you...

I had sort of a half-hearted invitation to play hooky tomorrow from this place, and I so can't. Not without jeopardizing my job. And no, I don't care about this place, but I do care about my ability to pay those frickin student loans, and so I can't. Which sucks. Well, I guess if the invite was genuine, there will be another one, right?

A few more pictures

Some more pictures from the Diva's shoot:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The weekend started with...

an email from my lawyer on Friday, saying that IFKALP wanted to visit. Actually, I knew this as the Sun told me a few days back, and I'd emailed lawyer first so we could start setting it up. The email I got was actually a reply and a confirmation that IFKALP had been in touch. I'd said to lawyer, right after the last IFKALP visit, that from now on I needed everything nailed down before IFKALP came to town because it's too hard to negotiate changes.

I was aware of my blood pressure rising as soon as I saw lawyer's reply that notification had come from IFKALP.... and that IFKALP now has a new lawyer. This has been going on for so long now--this fight, that I should be over it. And I am, as long as I don't actually have to deal with him. The minute he enters my realm of existence, the blood pressure shoots up. Ah, PTSD.

In addition, my fights with the Sun to call his dad are getting more heated. But with running around and Karate and late nights, the Sun hadn't spoken to his dad in 2 nights. When the Alec Baldwin thing broke, I wrote about what it's like to actually get those messages. And I wrote that I haven't had voicemail in about 2 years precisely because I was tired of those messages.

I forget to check voicemail cuz a.) there's no blinking light and b.) I'm not in the habit, but the dotted dial tone reminded me I had some and so I checked it this morning.

You would think that after all this time, a simple message would be left for The Sun to call his dad. Nope! "Congratulations" the voice snarled, "you finally have an answering machine. I've been trying to reach (The Sun) for two days. Have him turn on his phone, since I'm paying for it". Etc. I wish I could figure out how to get the message so that the tone could be heard. And then maybe people would understand. In the end, though, it doesn't matter so it's not worth bothering about. And it's probably illegal/not in my best interest to post it here anyhow. But I understand why Kim let Alec's message get out.

In the meantime, that thing I'm trying to claim that doesn't belong to me--I wonder if it's worth claiming. I wonder if it's worth the effort. I decided within myself over the last couple of weeks what it is that I really want. The problem is that I don't think I'm ever going to get it--particularly not this thing I'm trying to claim (although--what the fuck. What do I have to lose?). This has brought up a bunch of issues with me... probably the two biggest that define my whole existence:

1.) I'm not a patient bitch. Never have been. I'm obsessive and determined if it's something that I really want, but that's not the same as being patient. Patience is being able to wait, and to be calm while doing so. I hate to wait. I think it's why I'm late all the time. Because at least whenever I finally get there I can hit the ground running but there is NOTHING worse for me than sitting around waiting--for people, for things to happen if I expect them to be happening right now. I don't really think I've realized until now how impatient I actually am. But it explains a lot to myself about the shit I get myself into. I can hold back and hold off on a decision for ever by simply mulling it over ad infinitum, but once I make it and I define what it is I want, I try to make it happen instantly. And of course, this isn't always possible. My father told me a proverb once, a long time ago:"Nothing exists before the word". He said it within the context of an entirely different subject, but I remember being about 6 or 7 (cuz we hadn't been evicted yet and that happened when I was 8), and pondering about all the ramifications of what this meant. So I realize that I am hesitant to name or define something, because once I do, once I put words to it, it exists for me. Or I need to make it exist. Right Now. And now that I've identified needs and wants within myself, and I know they cannot exist-- probably won't exist without an *awful* lot of work and patience, it's extremely frustrating to me.

2.) I really do think people suck. But I really don't want to believe it. Or maybe I don't think people suck; maybe I do believe in good but I'm afraid to be disappointed. This is sis' theory (the second one), and since she's the book-smart therapist who specializes in cognitive behaviour (which is just too funny cuz nobody had it pegged that way in the beginning of our lives) there could be some validity to it.

Except that when I was 8, and we got evicted from our house in Jamaica, we went to stay with someone who had once been the family dentist. He was well-known in Jamaica, and had this HUGE house up in the mountains that he didn't stay in that often. The day we got evicted, my sister and I were sitting on top of a pile of all our stuff that was out on the sidewalk. In Jamaica, most houses have hedges and gates, so that each house is sort of like a walled fort. When the marshalls came and took our stuff out--and I do mean all, they put it outside the gate for all the world to see. I'm sure my parents were mortified, but I was more in a state of shock. The lady who had been our housekeeper happened to come along; she had taken to us, and was worried about us and had just come to see how were were doing. I vaguely remember her wailing in that uniquely Jamaican way "Lawda musy, de poor pickney dem" and she took us back with her to her little bungalow in the tenement yard she lived in.

I think we stayed there that night and the parents stayed in a hotel, and it was probably the first time ever we were away from the parents. I remember not being able to breathe; the stress of the day and a new environment made my asthma flare up. The parents came to get us the next morning and either that day or the next took us up to Papine to the house where the dentist lived.

The first night we were there, I think the dentist was there as well and the housekeeper made tripe and lima beans and it was kind of like a party. The following day my sister and I hiked around the gardens of his house. It was beautiful with all sorts of flowers and I remember that it was cooler up there in the mountains than it was in Kingston where we had been living. But a day or so later, I remember waking up and seeing my mother crying; apparently we'd overstayed our welcome and the dentist let us know it by wrapping the refrigerator with a chain, secured by a padlock.

From that point on the whole year, 1975, was a series of us bouncing around Jamaica, looking for places to stay. Some people were kind. Others were not. At the end of that year we ended up in Bull Bay, 8 miles east of Kingston. The pictures on the link might be from a little further up the coast, but it pretty much looks like what I remember-wild. Two years later, as things got tight again and our family was being threatened with deportation (imagine being deported from Jamaica? Well, that's our claim to fame.) I remember walking up to "9Mile" with the family so that my mother could use the one pay phone outside the police station to call Chicago to tell my grandmother that we were coming. And I remember seeing her crying because my grandmother didn't seem to want us to.

So I guess I started getting jaded from that point on. And I stopped letting people "in". People have to work hard to get inside. Sometimes, I think I recognize something in someone and they sort of get in by default. But as time went on I figured out that what I actually recognized was mental distress and not much of anything else so I've gotten a little better about weeding out the crazies, but not much better. And once someone is "in", it is *extremely* hard for me to kick them "out" no matter how crazy they are.

People have said to me that they think I have it nailed down, that I'm "fierce" or bossy (sis' favorite word for me) or determined, and a lot of strong words. When the narcissistic voices are talking, they can make me believe that I am those things but a decent portion of the time, I don't feel that way at all. A decent portion of the time I feel like I am completely out of my league and falling way behind, and that I am NOT nailed down or fierce or bossy. A decent portion of the time, if I let myself, I'd be this giant, gaping need. And sis would argue that I should allow myself to feel needy and to ask for help. But again... I'm not patient. And I think people suck. So to sit around to wait in the hope that someone will help me is just far more than I can handle, which is why I fight like hell to do it myself.

Except I'm getting fucking tired. And things are falling through the cracks, and I'm losing a handle on a whole lot of stuff. But I can't afford to wait for someone to help; I just don't have that luxury.

It's taken guts for me to admit recently that I'm tired of being a single parent--that I'm tired of being alone and doing this shit by myself. Because it means I've had to admit to "need". What's worse, I've actually admitted it to a few people, and so by the way I work that need should be filled immediately. But even I know it's not possible. And that really kind of sucks.

And speaking of not being patient... the two things that are killing me (well three, but one I *know* isn't going to happen and I really should accept the "What Is" and move on) are... a.) I'm freaking sick of the sofa that I STILL can't get rid of... nor can I afford to replace it anyhow with exactly the kind I *do* want, and b.) I couldn't afford my tattoo this weekend. Blimey.

So the weekend ended with the voices having a discussion about my future this morning, but I can't really remember what it was. I could actually begin to identify the different voices this time, because I was thinking in terms of writing it down. I could begin to see who was who, as opposed to the usual cacophony of jumbled voices talking over each other. One is a small child with a lot of hope--a girl. One is a very old and bitter man. And there's another one that is sort of an older woman, and one is me. I did a good job of defending myself today, against the old man in particular, so I think I might be OK for the next few days.

Every Day in May 19-20

I'm going to count this one as two days. Yesterday, Saturday the Diva asked me to do a photo shoot with her for the stylist class she's taking at FIT. She went to Old Navy, picked out outfits, found accessories and shoes, categorized and fitted, and rounded up a bunch of friends to model. For someone who suffers with ADD (and definitely a severe case) she was *extremely* efficient and organized. At some point, there's a post I have to write about her, because I am so proud of the young woman she has become. As a teen, she was a nightmare. Though we never stopped loving her. But there were times when we all were seriously afraid for her future.

But anyway.

Yesterday was consumed with karate and Tar-jay, and putting away of groceries and laundry-doing, and my sis was a major part of my getting things done yesterday. Generally, I try not to ask for much from her, because everyone else does. At 6P, we headed down to sis's house but in the meantime, the Diva had called her mom in tears because all the models had bagged. So we rounded up cousin Leon, and sister Pooh, and my sis' college friend and ride-or-die bitch, and headed to the house. My sister managed to squeeze 11 people in a van meant for 7.

Once at the house, the Diva got to stylin' and accessorizin', and Ma helped with the makeup and I took 41 pictures. More, actually, but some got deleted because I only have a 1G card. Many of them came out very very well, and I'm in the process of editing and re-touching but the very last shot of the last model came out the best I think.

So that was yesterday's creation. Today was to take it into Photoshop and fine-tune it; softening the skin of her legs (just because I could) and removing the peek of white sock in the boots. So here it is.

There's more to my story... I realized today that Sundays are my least favorite day of the week. It's when I feel most alone and burdened. But... some people have worse problems, right?

Friday, May 18, 2007

*NO*, really??????

So I'm working on that freaking confounded newsletter (I said to my boss early in the week: "It appears that I'm the new Newsletter Bitch" and he said "grease up like the rest of us, beeatch". Do you understand now why I like him so?) which is still a nauseating sickening shade of fuchsia (yes, I said fuchsia... this for a well-known and "staid" hospital... although I liked it the first week--not the 5th) but to help ease my pain I'm surfing. So I come upon this little test:

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

You have odd obsessions that you cannot seem to control. You may even perform rituals to make you feel better. Counting and continuously obsessing over things happens frequently.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

Manic Depressive


What mental disorder do you have?

It worked for me! Ya might wanna try it....

This one popped up also; not sure if I'm buyin' it though.

Which Positive Quality Are You?
Your Result: Love

You are Love. Love is the glue that binds us all together. The love of family, the love of friends, the love between husbands and their wives--these things form the foundation of our happiness, our security, and our comfort. "All you need is love."






Which Positive Quality Are You?

By the way, I forgot I actually did do some sketches yesterday. I'll have to put them up later.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Every Day In May #17

Today it's a photo. I went with The Sun's school on a trip to the Beach. It was a beautiful day; not too hot so the sand wasn't hot, but not too cold so that the breeze didn't freeze us. Because the beach is closed to swimming, the water is still clear. The kids saw dead crabs and a live jellyfish, held a funeral for a dead bird, and did lots of lots of screaming. For some of them, this was their first time ever on a beach.

To the Sun and I, this is old hat; this particular beach is practically in our back yard, and we actually debated just meeting his class over there. But instead we went into the city and of course there were major subway delays so we almost missed the trip. Pretty ironic.

This photo is my friend LilacBlue's little girl. She was a little sad because her mom had to go travel for work today, but we're like family so I think the fact that I was there helped her. We wandered off by ourselves, and I watched her contentedly jump waves.

Defining What You Want

So there's a lot to be said for defining what you want, and voicing it. Of course, whether or not you're actually going to get it is a completely different matter.

Aside from claiming something as my own, that I've no business claiming, I've pretty much decided to get another tattoo, and I'm thinking Friday or Saturday.... depending on the budget.

Cherokee allows Freedmen temporary citizenship least temporarily.

So I have to tell you that the initial ruling, kicking the Cherokee Freedmen out of the tribe hurt me to my heart. Truly hurt in a way I cannot explain. I almost dread Schemitzun this year, afraid that this ugliness will begin to separate us yet again. It's also ridiculous; much of this is based on the Dawes Rolls, which were incomplete and racist to begin with.

I'm not sure that my family is Cherokee, since the family was so damn tight-lipped about who was Indian, though I'm 200% certain that there is Native blood--and quite a bit of it--running through my veins thanks to my mother. Mima took me to my first Pow Wow, and I remember standing there completely overcome. Everyone around me looked like my mother and her family. Since then, the Pow Wows and my Native heritage has completed me, and my quest to trace my ancestry has led me to believe wholeheartedly that "blood calls to blood" and that while my mother's family didn't actively acknowledge that they were mostly Indian, they were. So as soon summer rolls around and the New York pow wows start, we all (my mom, my sis, the kids, and Mima) hit the trail. Sometimes, sis and I will even travel; year before last we went to the National Pow Wow in DC. It was indoors in an arena, hotter than you could ever possibly imagine, and lacked the same "feel" as the outdoor pow wows where you can sit on the grass in the sun. But it was extremely moving to be there with thousands of your cousins and brothers and sisters and distant relations, listening to the drums, in the capital of the country that has betrayed two sides of my family time and time again.

I traced an ancestor back to what was Nottoway county, Virginia. On a census he is identified as "mulatto" but elsewhere it was noted that he was tri-racial. A picture reveals him to be more Native looking than than anything else. It took an awful lot of digging, but the reason I found him is that he served in the Virginia House of Delegates during Reconstruction. He had been born into slavery, but bought his wife and 4 eldest children out of slavery--presumably from his own father since the owner bore the exact name. One of his daughters married the man who would go on to found St. Paul's Episcopal College, while another daughter married a Pullman porter and moved to New Jersey. The child from that union, my great- grandmother, went back to St. Paul's to teach after graduating from a "Normal" school in Trenton, New Jersey. It was there that she met and married my great-grandfather. My grandfather described his mother as "an independent soul" who took on the likes of W. E. B. DuBois, refusing to be intimidated by his pinz-nez glasses and gold-headed cane, and demands for a "half-cup" of his own coffee, rather than a full cup of hers. (She won that battle.) Pictures reveal her to look very much like her grandfather, and in turn her own children all had distinctly Native features, particularly as they aged--my great-aunt especially.

My mother's mother's family were also Native, from Lincolnton North Carolina--not at all far from Cherokee territory and since people have always traveled, it is highly likely that my mother's mother's family were Cherokee or Muskogee. However, they all claimed to be mostly Scottish, though again, photos reveal otherwise. Census records also indicate that many of them were "mulattoes" and were free during slavery; in fact owning property and businesses.

Every Day in May #16

...although it's getting to be that this should be called "Occasionally in May..."

I knew going in that this would be hard for me, cuz my days are packed. And sometimes I'm just damned tired. But I made an extra effort today, even though it meant I could only visit Poppy briefly in the dialysis center at lunch time. I walked up 2nd Ave, crossing back into the very southernmost section of East Harlem/El Barrio, and sat in the McDonald's there. I rarely eat McDonald's anymore. It is really gross, but I figured there'd be some drawing ops. I sat by the window while I ate my really nasty Fillet-O-Fish (I think I'm the only person in NYC who eats those things, cuz they are always gross as if they've been sitting around the longest) so that I could draw this guy on the right. He was sitting on the garbage can outside of McDonalds, occasionally asking passersby for money.

Back at work, I finished the main part of the other project I was working on; the newsletter was "put to bed" late the evening before. I was hoping they'd give me things to start working on the next edition so that I could get a start on it, but nope. Then my mother called from picking up The Sun. They still couldn't find his gi, missing in action since Monday. And the Sun was so stressed about it, he had chewed his shirt to the point of no return. But on my way home, I took my hospital shuttle to the subway stop... and The Sun's gi was in the van. Had been there since Monday. So it was my fault.... *ooops*.

When I got to his violin practice (the shirt had to go in the garbage once we got home... it was that bad) I showed him the gi and told him I owed him a huge apology. He was relieved but he gave me grief about it the rest of the evening. He did pretty well in his lesson today. His teacher was very happy about his bow hold. His teacher is funny. When she gets frustrated with him, she calls him every name but his own. I tried to sketch them practicing.

So I did pretty good on the drawing front. But scores of other things fell through the cracks today...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Staffbash and Newsletter

Ugh. The only reason the Staffbash wasn't too painful was because us designers "could leave" when they got to the good stuff; you know--designing the annual report, what the newsletter looks like, etc.

Instead we got to vote on (or rather "second" BigKahuna's vote) the what the next color should be for the newsletter. Then we got to listen to her drone on and on about shit that has absolutely nothing to do with us. I seriously wonder what she thinks we're supposed to be doing. Or if she wants us to quit. Or if she intends on firing us.

But, as I said... I'm gonna ride this wave till it dumps me on the shore. The one thing that bothers me is I really wanted this job to be something that would help keep me from being lazy. I had visions of having lots of projects that I could work on, and it would teach me to stay focused and how to multitask effectively. Instead, I get to practice what I do best; be a procrastinatin' lazy beeatch.

And the newsletter sucks. It is very slowly reverting back to it's boring, junky, boxes-and-lines-having former self. Only this time in garish colors that have nothing to do with a hospital. And people who have no design background are dictating things like "air" in places where there really shouldn't be any. It sucks.


On the good foot though, I just heard from my Pratt classmate, who left town to go be a married mom. She's back visiting. Hi, there you all!!!

And by the way, I'm coming up out of the doldrums; the crazy voices are quieting and the happy ones are chattering away like old friends. Still some stuff I have to deal with; decisions to make.... but for now it's good.

Every Day In May #14->>

So this is a work in progress. I actually started it months ago, but lost the thread. Yesterday I decided that instead of rushing to do one thing--badly, I would try my hand at working steadily on something every day to completion. So, I finished tracing (which as guilty as I feel about "cheating", illustrators are allowed to do) my reference for this piece, and added some details of my own.

The next thing is to transfer it... either to clayboard which I love, or good paper. But I might try painting on clayboard. I've never done that before; only used ink on clayboard.

No, it's not a secret dream or anything (although I guess it would be nice to actually wear a wedding dress, should there ever be a "next go round") but the photo I'm using as reference was quite striking and beautiful in it's simplicity.

In addition, I did at least break out a mirror and attempted to draw my eyes yesterday, while I was riding the subway home. This was in my sketchbook, with a ballpoint pen. Don't think it looks quite like me, although I got my eyebrows right.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Every Day In May #12

So, FrenchToastGirl did say it was OK if the pieces sucked, so long as we did one, right? Well, I'm not happy with this AT ALL, but I did do it and it was suggested that I post in anyhow.

It was very rushed; the kids were on their last ride at Rye Playland and the park was closing, and I didn't get to color it in till the next morning. But here it is.

And I didn't do one yesterday. I was too busy creating salad.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Yeah, it's one of those jacked up, man-made super-commercialized holidays, but it has it's perks. My Sun brought home a funny book/card he made for me in school on Friday, all about me and the things he liked about me. He liked me because I was "nis" and that I take him to Toys R Us in Times Square, and he though I was "nis" because "we eat hot dogs". It's the little things, you know? The night we came home and I made salad and hot dogs... he loved that. Those moments are the "fireflies" in my life. I guess it made up for the fact that the Tooth Fairy completely forgot to put money under his pillow Tuesday morning, and when he woke up he burst into tears. Never mind the fact that he knows I'm the tooth fairy. (That same day, he went to school and lost his other tooth, which he thought was something in his sandwich so he threw it out. But that night the Tooth Fairy remembered and put $5 under his pillow, for both teeth. She left a note that saying that she was sorry she was late, and that she'd been stuck in traffic. I thought that was funny.)

In the card, one page says "Thank you mom for...." and he wrote "my life". "Mom, you are the greatest...." and he filled in "Mom in the worll". It doesn't get much better than that.

The Peeps came up and were all pretty mellow, considering. I made grilled chicken breasts, and laid out all kinds of salad ingredients, so there was lots of healthy food so nobody carped about anything and everyone had enough :). I was quite pleased with myself. The big treat was that I'd gone and gotten a nice light white wine, Villa Antinori. Shoefly tasted it on her trip to Italy; she'd gone to the vineyard. I'm not a big wine drinker, especially not white (I much prefer harder libations), but this was good. And a glass and good food and the love of family helped a little.

It was a long night the night before. The voices raged all night like a colicky baby. Not screaming about anything in particular, just rage and hurt and railing against What Is. And like the parent of a colicky baby, there's not much you can do but whisper "shhhh baby, shhhhh" and pace the floor and ride it out. This morning, tired and worn out, they whimpered but weren't saying much.

In the shower (where I have most of my Deep Thoughts) I realized that Depression is much like being constipated. You know that a good dump (or crying jag) would relieve the pressure and the bloat, but it's all bound up in there and you can't let it go. And sometimes you're all bound up for no particular reason. Stress, maybe. Something you ate. I know it will pass, at some point. On the Depression scale, where "10" is Happy and "1" is Suicide Watch, I guess I hover around "7". "6" would require small amounts of alcohol, "5" requires large amounts of alcohol (been there, done that), "4" requires pharmaceuticals, 3 and 2 require serious pharmacology. I've never gone much past 5, tho sometimes I wondered.

There's been much discussion about the Voices, lately, since I've ratted them out. The Flowerchild admitted to them tonight, but I knew all along she had them. She reminds me very much of me. Which is unfortunate. But she might already be ahead of me, so maybe she'll get a handle on things before I did. For instance, having learned about slavery and the injustices of America, she's in the "hate whitey" phase, at 12. I didn't hit that phase till I was 19. She's also well into the "standing up against injustice, no matter your personal cost" phase, and I also didn't hit that phase until much later. A teen, definitely. Problem with that phase is I never quite came out of it.

Which leads me back to part of why I've been struggling. I hate when I fall short of my own expectations. But I *really* hate when I allow myself to think that I will be pleasantly surprised and find that someone will surpass my expectations. And then they don't... they do exactly what the voices told me they'd do. It's just so disappointing. And it hurts each and every time, no matter how many times I tell myself "well you knew it was a snake when you picked it up".

Just once, I'd like to be wrong. Just once, I'd like to feel that someone will pick up the sword when I'm too tired to fight, and fight like I fight. Or say they're going to tell me the truth, and then actually tell me the truth. But they rarely do. And yeah, I've got to let that idea go, I know. But allow me my moment...

The thing is, I *have* to believe in the good, in love. I have to hope. Because if I don't what then? The darkness would close me in.