Monday, April 30, 2007

I Hate Mondays Now

...but for the last couple of years Monday was Monday, same as any other day, pretty much. I didn't have a regular job. The part time jobs that I had, if I needed to switch a day, I usually could so I wasn't stuck to a routine. But now I can't do that.

Today I had to get in to the city as early as I could, to help hand out the new Internal newsletter at the hospital. My assigned partner was willing to split the shift, so instead of getting there at 7:45A (which wasn't going to happen) to get a button and then getting to my "post" at 8:00A (which would have happened with major difficulty), she took the early a.m. part and got me a button, and I got there right at 8:30 and handed out newsletters till 9:15A.

At about 9A or so the Big Kahuna came in with the Big Bird, acting as her pilot fish. I flashed a big smile and a slight curtsy.

Kill me now.

At 9:15A my new boss (didn't I know?) the Vampire came and said I could probably leave, so I handed out a few more and then got on the hospital shuttle to come to "real" job.

I'm stressing about The Sun's Karate now. Sensei and his brother open the doors to the new Dojo tomorrow, which is great for them. But it's really going to suck for us, particularly The Sun. It's not at all conveniently located to either his school or home, and because I don't drive (don't even have a permit... trucks scare me, as do other drivers) he's pretty much reliant on a ride, since it'll take some time to get to Yonkers from the Rock.

And there's getting to be no real reason for me to make that extra effort, good communication notwithstanding.

So maybe I am bi-polar, since I'm not happy with my day so far... but that could change.
On another tack, there's a woman who keeps a blog, Frenchtoast Girl, who's challenging us creatives to make a painting, or an illustration or photo or collage, every day the month of May. She has kids, too, though I doubt she's a single parent. I'm considering taking the challenge. It might make me feel better. You wouldn't really know it--based on the look of this blog--that I actually *am* a graphic designer/illustrator, and a fairly decent one, too. I've spent more time writing/venting here than doing anything "beautiful", but I really needed to just start putting thoughts out there, because they really needed to fly free. And I knew that if I stopped to create a good template, or revamp the stylesheet for this blog, I'd spend more time doing that, than letting the voices in my head get out.

("Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?")

So on the way out this morning I got my sketchbook out from under the coats on the bench behind my front door, and put it on the kitchen table so that it will make it into my backpack tomorrow. I had a professor at Pratt (see, I even went to a good Art School) who taught us how to make sketchbook journals, so it's not like I can't do it. I just need to put the time aside, much like how I should put the time aside to get past my fear of driving (I had the thought though, that on Saturdays when The Sun is at Karate I should scout out driving lessons up there, and drive while he "Ki-yahs"), or de-clutter my house, or do some exercise. And we all see how well *that's* working for me (my apartment looks exactly the same as it did on Friday, sans some dust and cat hair... but I did manage to set up another external harddrive, and I recovered my digital photos off of the other corrupted harddrive. So actually, I did get some de-cluttering done).
It's sunny outside today. That's nice. And Poppy will be across the street so I can go visit him. He's very calming to me. And tonight HEROES! Thats always great. OH, but vent. On Saturday, our new neighbor across our tiny street subscribed to digital cable. When the tech came for the install, he apparently knocked out my upstairs neighbor's cable. So she called Support, and they sent a tech over on Sunday to fix hers. But he apparently knocked out my Satellite receiver in the kitchen, so now I have NO FREAKIN' TV in there. Which sucks. Because that's usually where *I* get to watch TV.

And since I work an hour away from home, the only "late slot" the Satellite people had was 5-8P. On Thursday. Except I realized I have a Parents Association meeting on Thursday evening. I have to ask Neighbor if she'll be willing to stick around downstairs for a bit.

Freakin' Pain In The Ass.
Final Bitch Of The Day (what was that I said about "venting vs. bitching??"). The Sun called his father last night, to say "goodnight". Earlier in the evening, he'd asked me "when is Dah coming to see me again?" I said that he should ask, and to tell his dah that he missed him. It would make him feel good. And he did, my good little man. He said, when asked why, "Because I miss you." IFKALP'S response? "Oh, is that why you haven't called me all week?"

The Sun said something quick, and got off the phone. He was crushed. FUCKER. So I explained to him about three people named Kim and Alec and Ireland, and how they made the news last week, and how his dah is probably feeling very badly right now, and it's probably why he called the Sun so much and why The Sun detected a "tone". I told him that his dah had a hard time with his feelings, and that some people do. And that unfortunately, there will always be "good days" and "bad days" with his dah. That some people actually take medicine to help them with their feelings on "bad days", because it can be a sickness. And that his dah *used* take some, but I wasn't sure if he was anymore. But that his dah honestly loved him to pieces, and always will, and that when he's like "that" try hard to let it roll off of you, and know that it's not you--it's him.

Yeah right. It took me seven years to figure that shit out, and I'm a grown woman.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm Alright

...which is kinda cool. I've said here that "depression is anger turned inward", and it's worth it to really examine and acknowledge the things that piss you off. It's even better when you can deal with it and move on, and not hold on to it.

It's a nice thing to be able to identify specifically what pissed you off, call up somebody and say "hey, you know, you pissed me off because.... and it made me feel hurt because..... but I'm OK/I understand because.... and I'm sorry if I....". And it's even better when that person can say "Well, I felt bad.... and I'm sorry, too.... and you took it totally the (right/wrong) way because....". And then be able to say "We're good?" "We're good" and actually feel OK when you hang up. I haven't had that happen in a looooong time.

It's just too bad it won't go much further than that, but oh well.

I also realized that ongoing issues and heavyduty baggage notwithstanding, generally speaking I'm OK. I'm over a lot of things I wasn't sure I was over. I'm OK with being intense, with being "all or nothing", with aspiring to higher standards. I'm OK with feeling strong anger or sadness or hurt, or joy, and realizing that none of those feelings will make or break me. I'm OK with being crazy. I used to worry how my issues would affect people and it caused me to tie myself up a lot, but I'm doing much better about surrounding myself with people who accept me and my issues. I've made good friends these last few years with folks who don't get uptight when I rant about other people or Alec Baldwin or world affairs, or when I "flake out". And who don't patronize me, either (cuz that always gets me going). Friends who are perfectly willing to step up and deal with situations that I can't, and don't get mad at me because I can't. Who tell me "don't get involved, it will only upset you. We'll tell you when we need you" and who actually *do* tell me when they need me. Friends who are OK with me being me. It's wonderful! I love them for this, and it has helped me tremendously. It took a lot of work, though, for me to find these people, it took work for me to be able to let them in, it took work for me to trust them. Mainly, they happen to be girlfriends, but there's a couple of guys (mostly the hubbies of my friends) in the mix and that's cool, too.

I might have a few moments here and there, but I'm entitled. And I'm sure I'll have a bunch come June and July (when I have a court date) but that's OK too, because I have a pretty good back-up system and they keep me cool. There's still a bunch of stuff I need to work on... I need to trust myself more. I need to organize my apartment. I used to be *so* neat and I'm *so not* neat anymore. I need to draw again. I need to start saving money again (boy I bought some shoes from Nordstom's the other day. The kind you buy even though you have no idea what you could *possibly* wear them with???? I don't normally buy stuff like that--I'm very practical but they were just too hot to let go. But I'm going to figure out what to wear them with because they must be shared. I think they'll go with my House of Dereon "skinny" jeans I scored on eBay. Yes, I swore I'd never wear "skinny jeans" but these... these were cut for a sister, if you know what I mean. Of course I wonder if I can actually *walk* in the damn shoes, but I guess I'll figure that out.).

Oh wait. I went off on a tangent. I was saying I needed to start saving again. But I also need to dress more girlie again, instead of like a teenaged boy. Or a mom. I started doing that recently--dressing like a girl, and it makes me feel good. (I have friends that would argue that I dress more "girly" than most, but I used to *really* dress and I haven't really done that since the Sun got here.)

And I have to continually work on my narcissistic tendencies, and I have to remember to be patient with people, and I really should get out more.

I also need to work on my time management skills, cuz they suck, and I have a problem with authority figures. But all things considered I'm doing OK at my job, so I guess I've learned some skills in those areas.

So... I'd figured I'd post the "good", cuz I've already posted the "bad" and some of the "ugly".

And of course, this is merely how I feel today. Tomorrow it could be different. Does this make me bi-polar, I wonder?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

All By Myself Today

And it's days like this I have to acknowledge that I spend a good amount of time running from myself. There's no one around to help me run, so I'll have to try to get through it.

I think I'm getting tired of being a single mother. It's a lot of work. And The Sun is getting to that age where they challenge the parent, and this is where it's useful to have two parents--hopefully working well together--so that you have that "good cop/bad cop" thing.

This whole week has been a battle over dumb shit; call your dad, do your homework, practice your violin, you can't wear your heelies today, let's go I have to catch the bus and go to work, why do you only have lotion on one leg time in the time it took me to take a shower, no you can't have a lollipop for dessert because we got home late and ate dinner late and you need to go to bed. Get up, please, I've been calling you for 15 minutes. Get up NOW. He's lost his DS lite for a month, and the Gameboy was next. Then there was a 15 minute argument because I hadn't hid the DS, merely took it from him. "You're TEASING me with it!" he screamed. No, I'm not. I didn't say I would hide it from you (because then the game is to see where I've hidden it), I merely told you you couldn't play it.

I finally ended up hiding it because I just don't have the strength.

I wish his father wasn't such a jerk. I'm so over the fight, now. The whole Alec Baldwin thing really got my panties in a bunch, because it's so hard to explain to people who don't live the situation why it's so unnerving. It's constant. Constant. It never goes away. "He'll lose interest, he'll walk away". NO THE FUCK HE WON'T!!!!! Why? Because he has NOTHING FUCKING BETTER TO DO. But yet... you place a phone call to try to reestablish contact, you send an email with pictures in an attempt to show good faith, you try to negotiate a pick-up or drop off point that doesn't involve the courts or the police station, and you get nothing back. Nothing. And your kid gets to be 8, or 9, or 12 and starts throwing shade and you have no back-up. It's all on you. You try to enlist people; there's my dad, and there's Sensei, but Poppy can't be here cuz he's there, and Sensei's got his own issues. Plus, it's like disciplining a puppy; it does NO GOOD to reprimand them days after you've found the pile of poop on the sofa. You have to be there when it happens, to rub their nose in it and wack them on the butt with rolled up newspaper and say "NO!", then take them outside. It's the only way it registers.

Last Tuesday, while changing into his gi before Karate, the Sun apparently mimicked a sexually-based suggestive dance he'd seen his friends do... in his underwear in front of his friend from school. A girl. And Sensei saw it, and called him on it, causing *much* embarrassment on the Sun's part. When I got there to pick him up, Sensei explained what happened, and I could see the Sun was near tears. Like me, we HATE to screw up and can beat ourselves up *for days*, particularly if someone has spoken to us about it. The Sun had shown me a similar dance that prior weekend, and I'd told him then that that was something he shouldn't do, but I was distracted and hadn't explained to him why. Usually, I do. Even if he's embarrassed by the explanation... but I'm a firm believer in being frank with kids. They understand a lot more than most people give them credit for, even if they don't have the language to let you know they understand. On Tuesday, I reminded the Sun that I had told him about the dance, and I asked him "You don't know what it means, do you?" and he said no... so I told him that it was sexual. He blushed. I told Sensei that he hadn't really understood, and Sensei asked him "You do, now, right?" and that was that.

Except that The Sun stewed over the incident all week, and this morning threw a major hissy fit because he didn't want to go to Karate. After much digging and insisting, he finally admitted that he was embarrassed about Tuesday. I assured him that Sensei had probably forgotten all about it, or even better, it wasn't as big a deal to Sensei as it was to The Sun, and so he needed to go. And besides... sometimes you just have to confront yourself and your issues head on. I know all about that... *sigh*.

So we get there, and the other kids in the class made my Sun feel loved and Sensei beat up on all of them equally and he looked over at me later and said "I'm sorry that I said I didn't want to go".

So now we're back in the house; the Moon is here and they're playing Playstation. I know it's a question of semantics, since he can't play his DS, but with kids... it's literal. It's the thing that counts. When he's 12 he'll give me lip about the DS and the Playstation all being the same thing, so that in order to punish him I'll have to take away "all electronics", but for right now, it works.

I need to clean up. My apartment is so cluttered. So I'll try to focus on that today since I can't be distracted by trips to Target or the supermarket....

Friday, April 27, 2007

And Speaking Of PerpetualMotion...

that is one funny kid. He'll make 18months this month of May, and is only now being weaned. Militant breastfeeding mommy that I am, I would have liked to see them go a little longer, but I gotta give it to the Diva (my niece, also sometimes referred to as Choclahontas), a 19-20 Year Old AfricanNativeAmerican girl with a great body and "thing" for body-conscious clothes to be a SAHM (stayathomemom) nursing mom for almost 18 months. That's quite an accomplishment, and PerpetualMotion positively hums because of it. Breastfeeding rates in minority communities are appallingly low, and I find that we have bigger problems showing our boobs to nurse than even your average uptight white, middle-class American, but boy, point a video camera our way and see how fast the clothes fly off.

It's a damn shame.

An online friend gave me the link to this wonderful blog by Jennifer James, called BlackBreastfeeding. I'm hooked already.

PerpetualMotion Escapes

his high chair. My sister sent this to me via cellphone. I love that his face is blurred with movement; it's an accurate description.

Here Comes The Rain Again....

Though so far, the mood isn't too bleak. I guess because it was sunny yesterday.

On the way home last night, The Sun and I were standing waiting for the bus that connects us from the IRT #6 train out to The Rock we live on. A police van pulled up on the triangular island of concrete the subway terminal sits on, as well as several bus stops. The men inside got out and had a conversation with a youngish, dark-skinned brother who was holding an open cell phone in his hand. There were three boys further up the the island, and they suddenly took off running. The police piled back in the van and took off after them.

They caught them somewhere around the corner, and brought them back in handcuffs, and pulled them all out of the van. The brother with the cellphone had a quiet conversation with the boys (no yelling or gesturing). The police then uncuffed the boys and let them go.

The Sun watched, fascinated. I laughed; whatever the cellphone brother had called them on, I betcha those boys think about it the next time they try it. Whatever it was they did. At least I hope so.

In other news, the Sun has been very reluctant to call and speak with his dad on the phone. I've learned to trust him, pretty much, because usually when he doesn't want to talk to his dad, his dad is on the dark side of his mood and gets very snappy and demanding with him. But I'm a little concerned, as this has been going on a few days. Since Monday, actually, when the Alec Baldwin thing broke.

My gut tells me that this has hit close to home for IFKALP, and instead of calling up The Sun and simply telling him he's missed, he's trying to force him into conversations. Which of course The Sun resists. So it's been a little uncomfortable.

And I'm to start formatting the next week's edition of the full-color employee newsletter, so let me get to that. *sigh*.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

On Alec Baldwin

Click here to read one of the reports.

I hadn't actually listened to his rant, as it hit pretty close to home for me, just from the excerpts that I'd heard. I've been following the divorce and subsequent custody battle over the daughter from the very beginning, because it seemed awfully familiar.

This morning, as they were talking about it on Z100, joking about it, I had to sit down on my bed to listen, as the tide appeared to turn in Alec's favor. Afterwards, I was distressed enough to actually send an email to the show.

So I get to work, and thanks to the internet was able to find an audio file of what he said. I listened to it in it's entirety and had tears in my eyes. How could he say that to an 11 (or 12) year old child? How could *anybody* think that this is OK? If you haven't heard the unedited version, you really need to.

I realize he may be frustrated that his daughter doesn't want to talk to him, and he certainly has the right to feel that way. But on the other hand, no one, not one person has brought up *why* his daughter doesn't want to talk to him. Do they really think it's Kim's fault? When the kid has her own cell phone (obviously). Does Kim control the cell phone???? I highly doubt it--not with an 11 or 12 year old girl. And people are still defending him, despite the fact that a family court judge was alarmed enough to suspend his visits. Listening to his tirade, *I* was alarmed at his threats of "straightening" her out on Friday the 20th, "so be ready". She's ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Would this not frighten a child????

One of the reasons I write anonymously here, even though most people who read this know who I am, is that I can say what I'm really feeling without the *entire* rest of the world knowing exactly who I am. And not that anything I have to say is all that extreme, nor would I put anything "out" into cyberspace that I'm not comfortable defending face to face. But I hesitate to write about this, from my own perspective because I have a very similar issue, active right now in Family Court. And I deal with the issue of phone calls and missed phone calls and rants every day. Just as I have for the past 7 or 8 years. Before that, even. I'll tell you all this; I didn't have voice mail or an answering machine on the home phone until last night. (And I only set up voice mail because I switched to VoIP from a landline, and since The Rock is prone to power outages, that means there could be times when I'll be without a phone and so Voicemail is a good idea. Plus... it's been quite a while into my own case, and I'm willing to see if IFKALP can leave respectful and courteous messages for his son.) I set it up with some trepidation, because I have quite a few micro-cassettes sitting around my house with similar messages. I got tired of hearing them, of dreading what I'd find on my answering machine.

So I guess what I can do is lay out a hypothetical scenario about the Baldwins for those of you who *don't* know me, and may happen on this page.

Just suppose that while on the surface, Kim and Alec Baldwin had the perfect, good-looking Hollywood marriage, underneath there were other issues. When they separated, Kim cited "irreconcilable differences" and there were allegations floating around that he was abusive and controlling. But Kim has rarely come out and actively bashed Alec, despite the fact that Alec is usually ready to accuse her of doing exactly that, or publicly questioning her parenting skills or intimating a drinking/drug problem. Kim reportedly filed for physical custody but was OK with joint legal custody. There is a difference; physical custody is where the child will live full time, but legal custody is where both parents have decision-making authority. It means that the parent is fine with discussing life events with the other parent, and fine with accepting the absent parent's input. Perhaps Kim was concerned for her child's mental safety if she spent prolonged periods of time with Alec, but was OK with Alec's input into her life.

It was reported that Kim wanted to limit Alec's emailing and telephoning time. Perhaps, instead of trying to "alienate" the child from her father, Kim was merely trying to protect her daughter from *constant* emails and *constant* phone calls to a 6-7-8 year old kid, who is not really interested in emails and phone calls. Especially not to a parent. Kids this age are generally more interested in actually *being* with the parent. Phone conversations and email are sort of a distant concept. Perhaps Kim was also aware that while things would be fine as long as her ex was able to reach her kid, the minute he was unable to reach her, *for any reason*, the child would be grilled ad nauseam as to "where were you? why didn't you answer the phone?" and wouldn't accept any reasonable explanations without accusing the child of neglecting him.

Perhaps, from time to time, Alec was verbally abusive and accusatory to the kid over the phone, or during visits. Or used his phone time to question the child on the doings of Kim, or used that time to refer to Kim as an "asshole" or "a crybaby". Perhaps, this made the child extremely uncomfortable and so she would be reluctant to answer her father's phone calls whenever she detected he was in "a mood." Of course, this would make Alec upset, because he probably would be unaware that his "moods" or his habit of bashing the kid's mother would make his daughter uncomfortable. Perhaps, Alec berated her over the phone previous to this incident (because I get the feeling that this is NOT an isolated incident, and was released because it had been going on long enough for people to really want to stop it) about not telling him about her day, or about not volunteering information, or missing a "goodnight" phone call. Perhaps Alec expected her to remember every single detail of her day, not taking into account that 8 and 9 year old kids suddenly and completely lose their marbles as they approach puberty. Perhaps, when the kid *did* tell her father about her day, she would feel uncomfortable telling her father about what she and her mother did that day, because it's entirely possible she would get the comment "Oh, so it's all about mommy, huh?"

Since the case is ongoing and there is a minor child involved, it is highly possible that several things were brought to the attention of the judge(s) on the case over the years, but cannot be reported because records are sealed. Perhaps these things showed a pattern of behaviour that the court found alarming.

From experience, Family Court judges do not arbitrarily suspend a father's visits. As a matter of fact, because the current trend is for men to accuse their exes of "Parental Alienation Syndrome" and to insist on their rights as a father, Family Court judges in recent years have been making extra special efforts to make sure that the father's side is heard. And there are certainly cases where this is true--it takes a lot of strength as a mother to separate your bad feelings about your ex, yet recognize that he has the right to be a father to the child--and I have seen some mothers fail at this. You *can't* talk badly about the other parent to the child. You *shouldn't* tell the child the other parent is "stupid" or "a crybaby" or "wants their own way" or accuse the parent of "lying to the judge". But at the same time, families who are victims of domestic violence or abuse have a much harder time because a.) there *are* issues and incidents that must be addressed and b.) there may very well be fear and apprehension when dealing with the absent parent. And fear of retribution is always present.

However, men who are abusive and controlling have also learned to manipulate the court system, using PAS and "Father's rights" as an excuse to tie up the system *for years*. These men have learned to use the courts as a way to harass and intimidate the mothers. And if the mother isn't careful--sometimes extraordinarily careful, she can find herself losing her children altogether, or finds her authority and ability to protect and parent her children severely limited by an order from a judge.

Ron Gardner's article on PAS
Florida Bar Journal on PAS
A Wikipedia entry on PAS
Verbal Abuse
Narcissistic Abuse
A shorter, clearer view on what PAS is NOT

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Looking Out For Others

My Sun and I started watching "Idol Aid" tonight; Sis was watching it and told me Earth Wind & Fire were on. Since I love them, I turned to AI, even though I hate the show.

Well, the Sun got hooked, and was particularly touched by the 12 year old African boy who was "Dad" to his younger sister--his parents had both died of AIDS. The Sun said that that would be like his cousin, Flowerchild, raising him. He insisted that we donate, so we did.

I'm working now, and we got the Satellite TV hooked up and I'm on time with the rent for probably the first time in five years, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Next month, when Sallie Mae takes a good quarter of my monthly salary I'll be feeling it again. It wasn't all that long ago (not at all) that I was struggling really hard. Going to school at 38, with no job, living off of student loans, was one of the scariest things I've ever done. Probably the most stupid, when you think about it rationally. So to donate $20 to people I don't know is still kind of a big deal.

But the Sun was adamant, and something in the way his eyes cared about people he didn't know touched me and so we went online and donated.

I used to care like that, when I was his age. I had this whole imaginary charitable company that my sister and I ran, with our husbands Eric and Johnny. We provided homes for orphans, food for the hungry and a school. Me and Johnny had one daughter, Susie, and sis and Eric had several children, or sometimes none at all. Sis wasn't as obsessive in her role-playing as I was.

I guess I stopped caring so much about others, when at eight years old, I and my sister and parents were evicted from our house in Jamaica, and embarked on this wild trip. It was then that I began to see the dark side of people; how when it was you that was down and out, more often than not people kicked you in the teeth rather than lend you a hand. Or, if they did lend you hand, there were strings attached and conditions. But I guess I should leave all that for when I continue my Tales from La Vida Low Budget.

And I guess, seeing my little Sun care, I wanted him to keep that feeling. It's nice that at eight, he still believes that people are good. And so I donated in his name.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Surviving The Dark Days

A friend I care very much about is having some relationship drama and a generic and generally hard time. I compiled this list of mantras that I came to rely on whenever I Fell On Black Days. I've picked these things up in various places; from Sis when she was in Social Work School, from books, from other friends.

Here they are, in no particular order (although as of 11:30PM on Tuesday night, I added the first five because I forgot them earlier. Maybe I'll have to keep adding--I've been through a lot of crap).

• Depression is Anger Turned Inward.
My mom taught me this, and she's right. Whenever you're *really* low, think about what's going on in your life, and how you feel about the big issues. Or maybe it's a small issue. Once you identify it, you'll often realize that in reality, you're REALLY pissed off about it, but don't think you can/are unwilling to do something about it. Sometimes, just acknowledging your anger helps *tremendously*, and sometimes you realize you can actually let it go. And if you can't let it go, then it's probably time you did something -- get out of that relationship, leave that job, etc. However... if your depression lingers on for months or years and nothing you do helps....GET HELP. It could be you need meds, that your depression is really chemical and you need bigger help. That being said... most of the time you're depressed because you need to change something in your life.

• Acknowledge Your Weaknesses and Your Fears To Yourself.
When you admit to yourself what you're scared of, you may come to see your fear is irrational. Or, you may find a way to overcome it. When you acknowledge your weakness, you can figure out a way to protect your weak spot, or strengthen it. Sometimes we don't like to admit fear or weakness to ourselves, because we think to do so means *we* are weak. But I've learned that *everyone* has fear and weakness.

• "Fear Translates As Hostility"
Sometimes, you may find that people are extremely hostile towards you. But it might not mean that they are mad at you or that they don't like you. Sometimes, it means that they are afraid of something in the situation between you and them, and so they are reacting in a hostile way. Sometimes, this is useful to know because if you can defuse *their* fear, you can get along better. Sometimes.

• Don't Try To Negotiate or Reason With A Crazy Person.
You'll only frustrate yourself.

• Quit Your Bitchin'
There's "venting", and there's "bitchin". "Bitchin" is long-term venting about the same things over and over and over and over again. You waste energy, you annoy your friends and you're not really doing anything about the situation. So stop bitching, get over yourself and get a move on. DO something. "Venting" on the other hand... it's good to vent. Vent to a therapist. Vent to God, but out of the feedback that you get from God and/or your therapist, do something useful. "Quit Your Bitchin" does NOT mean "Hold it all inside", either. Because holding it in will kill you. So tell anyone who will listen to you (especially if you're being bullied by an ex, or a spouse, or even a boss--bullies operate in secret, so let the secret out), but know that you are required to do some follow-up action. Because then you're just bitchin'.

• “Bubbles and Fireflies”
When things look really bad, or you feel overwhelmed, hold on to every bright spot you find in your day. If you’ve ever seen fireflies at night--how it’s dark and all of a sudden there’s a bright spot, even though it’s very brief, you’ll know what I mean. Or how children get excited when they see bubbles, and how that makes you laugh. If the one bright spot in your day is simply that you got out of bed, or that you survived, then be thankful for that because not everyone gets out of bed or survives. When you feel really bad, sometimes it helps to repeat quietly to yourself "Bubbles and fireflies. Bubbles and fireflies."

Accept the situation for what it is.
Don’t try to hold on to what it was, or rationalize that it’s something else. It has changed and that’s it, but….

If you don’t like the situation you’re in, change it!
And if you can’t change it, walk away from it. Come back to it later. Find a way to make the situation bearable in the meantime, until you *can* change it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a bunch of different things, concentrate on one thing at a time.
Pick the thing you think you can change. Hold on to that and concentrate on that. When you've accomplished something, then move on to the next thing.

You cannot control what other people do.
You can only control your reaction to it.

Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into playing a losing game.
Don’t think that the other person is going to be fair and that you can survive or win by playing on their terms. They will change the rules on you. So make up your own. Who put them in charge, anyway? If the current game is to get into a screaming fight, don’t play. There’s no law that says you have to accept bad language, name-calling or old issues brought up and thrown in your face. And for your part, don’t do those things.

ALWAYS take the “high road”.
No matter how “dirty” the other person is playing. No matter how tempting. In the end, you only get dragged down to their level, and you probably won’t like yourself for doing it.

• Don’t "telegraph" your moves.
You’re not being dishonest by not telling what you’re going to do; you are protecting your position.

This is extremely important. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make really really big ones. You are a conscientious person, and you care about what you do. This is a good thing, but you are not perfect, and you are not the only one to make a mistake. It’s OK to accept blame and responsibility, but it is also OK to learn from your mistake, forgive yourself and MOVE ON.

Don’t suffer because you feel guilty or allow other people to make you suffer. But…

• Allow yourself to feel bad or sad, or even cry.
Crying is good. Crying is NOT for suckers. Crying releases bad feelings. (And don't be fooled when you see women crying; this doesn't mean you've beaten them. It could mean you've pissed them off, and they are regrouping before they come back to kick your ass.)

• Count on your friends.
And/or family. That’s what their for; that’s what makes them your friends. Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, and you know that you will repay them when you can.

• Be confident that you are entitled to happiness.

• Make Lists.
If there’s a lot going on, make a list. Put a date next to it. Don’t feel that you have to stick to the list or do things in order, but just putting things down means you won’t forget. It's also a great feeling when you get to cross something off of your list. Watch "My Name Is Earl" for good uses of a list.

• Living Well is the Best Revenge.
So live every day to the best of your ability. For yourself. And you will prove in the end that you were the better person.

Let Them Eat Cake!

Ugh. I don't even know where to begin. The Big Kahuna seems to have made her 3 months probationary period, and it appears that the machine is beginning to move forward. You know, the head-chopping machine. Yesterday when I called in, I learned that the Press Secretary's head was the first to go. In today's StaffBash all that was said was "Yesterday was L's last day". Codespeak for "I fired that bitch, and she's only the first". My boss feels he's next.

Except that none of the crabs in the barrel are happy. They're all feeling the stress, but I guess most of them have learned to roll with stuff like this. Me... it makes me want to cut and run, because I know it rarely gets better.

It just makes me ill. The whole thing makes me ill. At my interview yesterday at the Other Large Private Hospital, one person seemed happy with me, the other person was a hard read. I have so many concerns about taking a job though... travel time, flex time, free time. I don't know what to do, and it makes me sleepy.

I got my prescription card in the mail yesterday, ironically enough. So my asthma meds only cost me $30, whereas without any insurance it's $200. A month (if I took it according to directions, which I don't).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Peaceful Mind

A quiet spot on 3rd Ave & 40th in NYC, as I kill time before my interview another private hospital. I'm tired: I can never sleep before an interview.

A Good Place To Be A Boy

I grew up in Harlem, and despite the noise and the grit and living through the bad ol' days and trying to get to the burbs, once I had a kid I began to miss it. I miss the energy and the life, and the character, which gentrification hasn't quite killed. Harlem is *decidedly* different now than it was when I was a girl. Weeks would go by without anybody uptown seeing anybody in any other flavor other than brown, but these days come evening all sorts of people are out walking their (rather large--it's still Harlem afterall) dogs. White people even venture into Marcus Garvey Park at night, which is something we *never* did as kids.

My whole life is still downtown, even though I've been out here on The Rock for 12 years this summer. My parents are still there. And I always end up working downtown because Ma has always been my backup. And the trek out here to the Rock everyday can be draining, especially in the warmer months because Traffic out here can be unbelievable. So every once in a while I ask the Sun if he would mind moving back downtown, and he always says NO. He wants to live here. So we stay.

Yesterday, he tested for his yellow belt with black stripe. He's learning Shindu Ryo. Sensei's brother brought him a yellow belt to borrow, and other than awarding him his belt last and ribbing him about forgetting his uniform, both Sensei and his brother were very understanding and gentle with my little man, for which a mom is most appreciative. After they got the belts, the kids all wanted ice cream, so us parents walked the kids over to Lickity Split to indulge them. Then the other two boys in the class wanted to go to A's house (I wouldn't be surprised if A grows up to be an actor or model--that is one amazingly beautiful 10 year old) and the Sun (who's younger than they are) wanted to go too. So he spent most of the afternoon playing with them until about 5P, when I went to get him. Sis and the Flowerchild were going to take me to Target, and plus the Moon had called for him. But Sun went directly to the house of two other little boys, where he refused to leave without a fight, so we left him there with his buddy the Moon, the borough president's kid and the TwoBrothers. I heard they played till dark, climbed fences to peek into G's yard (who is the lone girl in the karate class) and hit balls out of the yard. They had a pizza dinner, and then the Sun went to spend the night at the Moon's house.

He's got a great life; one of the few places left in this city still safe enough to play ball in the street, a Little League that's not too competitive, and where older boys will look out for a younger boy who still cries when he falls.

Pretty cool. I guess I'll stay here till he grows up.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Right Underwear

I was happy to see I had a few comments submitted on my Underwear post - apparently it's a real chick problem we can all relate to.

So yesterday I wore my brand new Custo Barcelona shirt that I won on eBay. It was a small, but cut well and didn't look so bad. Except I was unhappy with the bra I had on underneath. And most of my Frederick's bras have sprung holes so that the underwire was poking though. Not happy about that at all. So I had sort of resigned myself to shelling out some dough for new gear.

I tell the Moon's mom. She's the friend of mine who only buys the finer things in life. It would cost her a fortune except I gotta say; that girl can smell a bargain 10 miles away, and is willing to go there to get it. She's the one *guaranteed* to find the one Gap in all of New York City that's selling some spectacular item for $1.99. She's the one that turned me on to Custo Barcelona on eBay.

She was going to the Westchester Mall today to return something to the Apple Store, and it was *beautiful* day in NYC so me and the Sun tagged along. Actually, the Sun had spent the night over there which sort of gave me a "me" night. Except the night was sort of interrupted but I don't feel like going into that right now. Anyway... I tell her I needed to try on bras. I realized... I don't think I've really tried on bras to really find the right one, since I stopped nursing. Yes, that was a long time ago, but you have to understand... there's been some serious drama in my life since then, and underwear was sort of low on the priority list. So I just sort of assumed a size and stuck with it.

Now, the Moon's mom is a huge fan of Oprah, and had watched this show Oprah did on getting fitted for a bra. She's been talking about it for years, but eh, it didn't mean much to me. Today, we go to Nordstrom's in the Westchester Mall and go into the underwear dept. She happily tells the saleslady her friend needed to be fitted. Saleslady was really nice, funny AfricanAmerican lady, reasonably young. She asked me first what size I thought I was, so I told her the last time a bra fit me well I was a 34D, but that was before the kid.

So she measures me, goes and gets a bra, and with very little adjustment, voila, the boobs are where they should be, which ain't necessarily where they've been hanging out lately. She didn't tell me what size it was until she was sure it was the right fit, which was smart. Since when she told me 34DDD I choked.

And of course the bra that fit the best was the ridiculously expensive one. I ended up buying it cuz I like my t-shirts, and I'm tired of big ones. Especially if the belly flattens out this summer, which is something I'm trying to work on. So long story short and $200 later, I have bras that fit well. *sigh*. Granted, I went to good old Victoria's and got two that were only a DD, but it's better than what I've been wearing.

So that's my underwear saga for the day. I'm still trying to get over it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

TGIF (#1- I'm sure there'll be others)

By the way. Despite the fact that I'm not going to re-list Robin Thicke as a current obsession, and I claimed I was over him... I lied. I'm not. He's hot. I bought the CD and boy... you really need some blue lights and thang to go with that voice...

I do hate having a job where I'm glad it's Friday. MY LORD! That place is nuts. They were stressing over an internal newsletter as if it were the "Person Of The Year" issue of Time Magazine! IT'S AN INTERNAL EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTER, FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD. The next question was... how many people does it take to publish such a thing??? Well, lets see. Two designers to try to squeeze text into a generic template that doesn't really work for us, two writers to "write" the stories (and mind you we're talking 500 words or less -- considerably less-- per story), two other writers to write headlines for the stories, one Vampire to "manage" the "Project" and one Big Kahuna to fuck it all up. Continuously. We were supposed to have a final tight proof by 4P this afternoon, but BigK didn't like any of her pictures and needed a re-shoot (she's going to be on the cover of the new look, dontcha know) and the special freelance writer hired to write *her* story hadn't sent over any copy.

You see what I'm saying?????

My boss was initially the one to "manage" this disaster, but as I've been saying, he's being squeezed out. He stayed till 4:30 yesterday. As soon as he left, BigBird came out and announced that the BigK wanted the Vampire to "sort of project manage". And that the BigK wanted to change the paper the newsletter is being printed on, so of COURSE(!) they had to break into boss' office again ("he shouldn't leave at noon!" they said sarcastically as they called the security guard to open his office--it was 5:12P) to get the paper sample book.

On the way home last night I called him; "Hey, if ya thought you were going to oversee this newsletter thing, GUESS AGAIN!". He was annoyed, but OK. Today I told him he actually got the better end of the deal, because it took all I had to keep my breaths flowin' free and easy as The Regime stressed and fluttered over EVERY stupid FUCKING detail.

I stop and ask myself: "Seriously, is this for real?"

I went over to see Poppy at lunchtime, brought him some fruit and vented a little.

Have to say; Poppy looks good. He's been cancer-free (bladder cancer) for about 8 years now, and on dialysis about that long. He's a little stooped as age catches up to him, but he's slender and spry and since he had his cataract surgery, can see just fine. Whereas his centermates look to be on the verge of various slow deaths. Some closer than others. Every so often I am possessed with the fear of losing him, but over the last few weeks as I see him in comparison to other dialysis patients, I think he's got at least another decade or so. At least I fervently hope so. I don't talk about or to Poppy all that much, considering, because Ma is definitely the hub. But Poppy is the infrastructure, and without him we'd all fall apart.

The Sun had his percussion practice today so I picked him up at 6P. Really didn't feel like cooking so we went to the little Diner out here on The Rock, and ate out. We don't eat out that often, and his big eyes twinkled as I let him drink a Coke and got him chicken fingers and fries. He told me about his day; how he told his teacher that he liked K (pretty little brown girl), and who liked who in his class, and who should go together because they were both annoying.

This is my life; discussing the love gossip of the 2nd-3rd grade, but I like it.

Oh, and I think I've decided against my bear for the next tattoo; my original thought was to have something reflect the Native part of my ancestry, and while I've adopted the bear, she's not from my tribe. So I think I'm going to use something from the Eastern Woodlands; like a vine, starting at the center of my lower back and sort of scrolling up the right side. It'll balance the Ghanaian arm-band tattoo that's on my left....

Obviously I'm in a better mood today, despite The Regime. There was a fair amount of sun. I can handle anything in the sunlight...

One Eye

Sun's Eyes

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tales From La Vida Low Budget - How It Began

So part of why I wanted to finally start this blog was to begin to recreate some of the stories of my life. As I said in my short profile, I've been on some weird trip, and I often feel that the only thing that connects any of the stories is the fact that they all happened to me.

It's been a rough couple of days for me internally; a lot going on. My life never goes the way I plan it... NEVER takes the easy road. I was trying to construct this latest episode in my saga so it would go fairly smoothly, and of course it's not happening that way at all. But I get tired of wallowing, so in an attempt to shake myself off I'm going to switch gears and back up some, back as far as I can go. (Plus, the sun is coming out tomorrow, the weather people say, so it's time to stop being droopy.)

So lets go back. WAY back. I'll start with the stuff I was told, and then tell you all what I actually remember. And I remember a lot. Don't know why that is, since I can barely remember yesterday, but I can still remember not being able to talk.

Anyway. I was born in 1965, four days after Malcom X was killed. My mother was still in the hospital with me. Malcom X's death was pivotal in my life because if he hadn't been shot, we probably would never have left the country. But that happened a little later. I was born in what was then Saint Claire's Hospital in Manhattan, but was brought home to Riverdale, the Bronx. A neighbor remarked that I had "good hair", and this was also pivotal in my life. A few months after I was born, Poppy got a job teaching at the University of Geneseo, in upstate New York, and so we all went up there for a minute, but came back to the Bronx. My earliest memory is there. Ma says I must have been almost two.

My mother is a visual artist. At the time, she painted bright paintings with lots of geometric shapes (lots of zigzags, I remember) in acrylic on canvas. They looked like this:

It was close to Christmas, and she had taken one of her paintings and mounted them in a cardboard box with a frame cut out. She lined the frame with Christmas lights, or some bulbs, so that the box looked like a television. I'm almost certain we had a television, because I remember knowing that the painting was NOT a television, even though Mima, my babysitter, kept telling me to "look at the television that Mama made."

Mima was about 18 then and I loved her. I still love her; she doesn't live too far from me in the Bronx and I don't see her all the time, but I see her often enough. I always wonder how to relate what she is to me now; an older a sister, an aunt, a cousin. Nothing accurately describes her and the love I have. There was about 20 years that we didn't keep in touch... when we finally got back together, it was as if she were always there. She was such a HUGE part of my early memories.

But anyway, on this evening she was babysitting for me, and Ma and Poppy and their friend Marcy (who I think is my godfather) were going out. Ma had on a red raincoat, and I remember her glasses and that her hair was short. I remember them saying "bye bye" to me, and I remember that I couldn't really say much back to them. I wasn't sad or scared that they were going out, because Mima was there.

Here's a picture of me and Mima. I must have been a little over a year old, about the time I remember. To Mima's left, that might even be the picture I remember.

My next early memory is being on a plane, going to Paris. It's very brief and foggy, and of course I don't remember specifically that I was going to Paris. I just know that's where I ended up. But I do remember the airplane, and feeling very little but very awake, and I remember something about it either being night time, or watching something like the late show. I remember almost a cartoon-like image in black and navy, with a yellow moon. It's funny how you remember things when you're little like that. It's very literal. And it's interesting to see how your mind fills in the blanks.

So we got to Paris, me, Ma and Poppy, and Mima followed us shortly afterwards. She'd been accepted to Sarah Lawrence College, where Ma had gone and Poppy's mentor taught, but my parents offered her the trip to Paris and to live with me, in exchange for her being my permanent babysitter. We slept in the same room... often in the same bed. We lived at 4 Rue Regis, up a couple of winding flights. There was an old fashioned elevator in a black iron cage but I remember climbing those stairs. They were huge to me, with windows on the landings between floors. The google map link seems about right; I remember the park - the Luxembourg Gardens, wasn't far because we would walk there. We had an iron balcony out the living room, and it was shared with the family that lived next door. Anne was her name, and I both loved her and hated her and would often push her around. Poor thing. Once, I wanted to see her. I wanted to show her my zebra pajamas; they had a hood with ears and a tail, so I climbed over the rail that divided my balcony from hers and went to visit.

The adults freaked. We were 4 or 6 stories up (6, I think). The next time I went to climb over the rail to see her, I was thwarted by a tall wooden fence that was tied there.

The next time I pick up the thread, I'll tell some of the adventures I remember with Mima. But now I have to do some other stuff, like get ready for bed.

my latest play-doh flower

Made during a difficult phone call. But I'm cool! I can 'shut it down'.

Still Fighting Against The Grey

...but I take some consolation in the fact that it appears a lot of people are. The Sun had a thunderbrow this morning as he couldn't find the key for his Heelies. He wanted to wear them to school today, but the wheels aren't allowed. So there was much throwing of things and door slamming and tears as I rushed around trying to get out of the house.

Thing you never can say to your child, particularly when the father has "mad issues, yo" is: "Stop it! You're acting like your father!!!" OMG. I cringe everytime he gets like that. I see the fire in his eye and the set of his jaw, and the cleft in his chin deepens and I pray that I am able to guide him so that he knows... you CAN'T have a temper tantrum when things don't go your way.

We made the 7:49 bus... not the one I wanted but at least it wasn't the 8:04. By the time we had gotten our seat on the train his clouds had parted a little and he played Soduku on the way in. He was so busy flinging Heelies around he'd forgotten his DS Gameboy (thank goodness).

The train was full of very tired, droopy people, and my own coffee wasn't really doing the trick and I snoozed a little, too. After I dropped the Sun off at school I walked briskly up the hill on Madison Avenue, trying to shake the grey. Even the sun is struggling. Isolated pockets of brightness trying to break through dark clouds.

All the newspapers bear the face of Cho, the VT gunman. Boy, talk about succumbing to the darkness. Last night I prowled the Internet a little; saw a YouTube clip of Nikki Giovanni reciting a poem she wrote as a VT Alumni. It was very uplifting (Boy, she lookalikamahn). I found it on my friend's blog; she's a VT alumni and very distraught about this. Please send her Positive Vibes. Then I found that NBC had an interactive chart showing the timeline of the massacre, and the faces of the deceased. All walks of life, though mostly children. 19, 20, 22. An outdoorsman. A chemical engineering major. Smiling faces full of life and hope. And of course, Cho's face. Full of hate and anger and despair.

The other day, Tuesday, the Sun and I talked about it a little but there wasn't much I could say. What do you say? We did decide that when he's old enough for college, if his father still lives in California and the Sun wants to go away to college, he can find a school out there and live with his dad (assuming several things, but it's a thought). Or he can stay here in NY and live at home. Either way, neither one of us was comfortable with the thought of him being miles away from home, at 18 or 19 years of age, in a sea of up to 26,000 young faces. Suppose there's another Cho? No, you can't protect your kids from the world. Not for long... if ever. But you can try.

As a parent, my heart breaks for all the parents who had kids at VT. Even the ones whose kids were simply there. I am so sorry. I can't imagine sending your baby, your heart, your life's blood off to start a new life and never seeing them again. If your child goes off to fight in Iraq, you at least know there's a possibility they won't come home, but who would think that the possibility exists when they are simply going off to college?

The world is crazy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Some Days Are Easier Than Others...

and today isn't one of the easy days. I think I must have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Grey days get me down. And it's grey today--again. That Nor'easter that blew through here this past weekend is still clouding the skies, sending intermittent sprinkles. I know April Showers bring May flowers and all that shit, but must it be so cold?

My underwear fits better today but my tights suck. It's too cold to go bare-legged.

Yesterday, still struggling against the grey I had the thought that I miss Sex, Drugs and RocknRoll. Though I was never really into drugs that much, I have to say. I grew up watching the old school heroin junkies that would gather in the local pizza parlours on -TwoFive, consuming large quantities of hot chocolate and donuts while they either waited on or rode out their next fix. Jaws slack, reality would suspend as they slid into a slow nod, scratching absently on swollen arms, never falling. I once watched as a woman slowed her steps and nodded out, almost doubling over but never dropping the infant she held in her arms. Junkies were always peaceful when they were high.

I was there in Harlem when first the Angel Dust epidemic hit, which brought a whole new wave of deranged addicts, but the DustHeads mainly harmed themselves, jumping off of roofs to fly like Superman, or tearing off their clothes and running through traffic. If you got hurt by them it was mainly cuz you were in the way.

Then the Crackheads came. That was like being in a horror movie--"Night of the Living Dead". The crackheads were extremely violent, and the dealers even more so. They were making more money than God, and fighting over territory was fierce and bloody. And it seemed as if no one was immune; dealers themselves the most prone to succumb. They'd start out "fly" draped in gold and jewels and driving fancy cars, but within months they'd look just like any other crackhead; hair uncombed and dry, skin grey and ashy, clothes ratty and smelly. And skinny. Whenever people dropped body-weight in a hurry you knew they were lost. It was horrible.

So watching all this I was never tempted to try drugs... other than ganja. I smoked a lot in my teens but got tired of corraling paranoid kids who couldn't handle it, probably cuz they mixed it with something else. I also discovered that my natural dislike of people intensified when I smoked, so eventually I stopped. But I love me some booze.

Rum was first, then I discovered Tequila. Tequila rocks cuz it acts like a drug. In my late '20's I was introduced to Absolut Martinis, extra dry. I drank those until I stopped pretending they were Martinis, and just drank straight up Vodka, interspersed with occasional bouts of Jack Daniels. Recently I rediscovered Tequila... I have a bottle of Corazon Anejo stashed behind the microwave but I hardly touch it. I don't drink to get high, you see. I drink to oblivion. I see no point in it otherwise. But shining eight-year-olds don't mix well with oblivion.

And rock concerts---*sigh* how I miss them. The cute little (and I do mean little--he was shorter than me) Dominican DirectTV installer came again yesterday to install my DVR, and when he left the Sun and I flipped through channels. Any hey, waddayaknow, DirectTV was broadcasting a Nine Inch Nails concert, so we watched until the The Sun dropped from exhaustion. He went to sleep just in time for me to watch "Head Like A Hole" by myself. Boy do I miss rock concerts. Most of my current friends aren't really into the crazy music I like, and the ones that do--like me--have kids. So it's hard to get out. I can't wait for the Sun to be old enough to be dragged to concerts. Poor thing. I'm lucky that he's kind of "retro". He loves Queen and AC-DC and Nirvana. We're going to have a lot of fun.

So anyway. All my usual outlets are sort of blocked, and I'm guessing I'm in for another 5 years of no sex (yes, it was that long). So Tattoo it is! I decided yesterday it's time to go under the needle again. My bear, the one you see at the top of this page, will probably go on my back, at the base of my spine. Not sure if I'll go for color or not. Maybe. But I want to do it in the next few weeks, before it's summer so I'll be healed when I hit the beach.

See, I feel better already. And I'm listening to Gogol Bordello. That helps a little.

Well, I'm off to look busy. Waiting for The Regime to give us copy to format for the new Hospital Newsletter, but I've a feeling we won't be the ones to do it. We're being frozen out. Luckily, I was able to reach HR at the other hospital, so hopefully I'll interview Monday. I can't handle all the bad vibes over here. Maybe if it was sunnier or I was drinking or... but since I'm not, I gotta go.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's Gettin' Hot In Here...

The weekly departmental StaffBash was this morning. Today's Star Performer: none really. BigButt came close.

Today's Hammer came down on my boss, though not too badly all things considered. Supposedly he sent something to print that Big Kahuna didn't see, although she must have at some point because nobody makes decisions without her hairy eyeball. But of course she never remembers.

But I can see where this is going, and it decidedly does not include my Boss, or my co-worker and least of all me. I suppose if the other two left The Regime would have to find something for me to do because they couldn't fire me without cause. But I'm really trying to get out, now. This is not good. It makes me nauseous.

The Wrong Underwear

I wonder if this is a uniquely female problem, the problem of the wrong underwear. I don't ever hear guys complain about this, and I've spent enough time working around guys where they are usually pretty "free" about things like this. I worked as an IT Tech for many years in the financial industry with a lot of young boys who, because I was older pretty much saw me as one of them and not anyone to "score" on. (I guess.) Plus I don't generally get freaked out about stuff like that unless it's pointed at me specifically. So I was privy to a lot of interesting "boy" conversations and I can't say I ever heard this come up.

But anyway. The wrong drawers. There is NOTHING worse than getting dressed in the morning and discovering a.) you're down to your granny panties with no elastic (which I make sure to never have happen to me... I have an over-abundant supply of underwear, and I do laundry regularly) or b.) putting on an outfit and getting out of the house and discovering the underwear are just wrong for the job.

My crazy friend (I have several but this one is particularly insane) once told me a granny-panty story about how she'd put them on with a skirt and no pantyhose (cuz she never wore any) and discovered once she left the house that the underwear were not going to stay up. And how they finally fell, literally around her ankles, while she was riding in an elevator. With a guy. And if I remember the story correctly (through a haze of belly-splitting hysterical laughter) a cute one at that.

My stories are much tamer than that, generally having to do with panty lines or being too tight for my fat ass. As I said, I do laundry religiously.

And today it's more of a rant... I had bought some Frederick's of Hollywood lacy boy shorts... nothing racy at all (I find FoH has decent every day underwear that's cheaper than good ol' Victoria's Secret. They fit decently but they do NOT last as long. And Vicky's are decidedly more comfortable). The grey weather and all that made me want to feel good about myself so I decided to wear them today. Well... they're a little small and low cut. And the pantyhose I have on are a little tight. So the pantyhose are dragging down the drawers and it's extremely uncomfortable.


It's going to be a long day. I did bring jeans--I picked them up from the cleaners this morning on the way in to work. I might change.

Something is *Seriously* Wrong in Our Society

What happened at Virginia Tech yesterday was awful. I can't even wrap my mind around it--I have no frame of reference. When I left work yesterday at 4P, the body count was at 22. When I watched the news later at 11P it was 33. Thirty-three people, gone. For no reason.

The fact that these massacres are getting worse is seriously disturbing. It was a joke, initially, when that first worker "went Postal". But it's so not funny anymore. It's alarming that to the best of my knowledge, they have all been male and often these massacres start with a shooting of a female. But it seems to cut across racial lines, except for the fact that also to the best of my knowledge, none have been African American. Unless you count what happened in Maryland, but he was on a "spree", and not in one institution.

I don't know. My gut senses video games and role-playing games have something to do with the ability to suspend reality like that, and the role-playing/video game thing seems, at least from my completely unscientific observation, to be a guy-thing. I fight the addiction in my Sun with the DS Lite, and the Gameboy, and the PS2. All of which I *severely* limit. IFKALP at one point wanted me to network the PS2 so that he and the Sun could play, but I patently refuse. I don't let the Sun play any networked games.

I've gone to the arcade and seen little boys hiked up on milk crates, playing some of the most violent games out. No, not every little boy turns into "psychokiller", and plenty of women and girls play these games, too... so I don't know what the missing link is. I don't know.

I do know that God help me to raise my Sun so that he does not fall ill to this sickness.

Heaven Help Us All. And safe passage to thirty-two souls as they travel to the light. That other one needs to go to the Dark Place.

Monday, April 16, 2007

So, what is this thing called love, anyway?

I read a book once when I was an adolescent, called "The Blanket Word." I can't remember exactly what the book was about -- it seems to be out of print -- but I do remember that the "blanket word" itself, was "love". One of the points of the story, the thing I never forgot, was how people use this word to cover a multitude of feelings, or as an excuse for things. And how very different these things can be.

There must be a hundred thousand poems, a million songs, countless essays, plays, movies and books all asking this same question (though I think Billie Holiday asks it the best). Obviously, people have been wondering about it since the beginning of time. I'm sure I can't add anything new. It's almost stupid to wonder, I know. But I do wonder.

I wonder because I'm 42 and single, and while I don't miss all the work that goes into a relationship, and all of the drama, I kind of miss the companionship.

I've been in love several times. When I was younger I believed in that "one true love" thing, but as time goes on I’ve come to think its bullshit. The concept of a "soulmate" though, I'm still debating. Maybe cuz I've never found mine. I've found people who I thought were my soulmate, and who I loved deeply, but obviously if I'm still single, they weren't. But on the other hand, I've found people in surprising places, who I love deeply and rely on. And I've seen people find their soulmates so I'm pretty sure it exists. But I wonder if a soulmate exists for everyone.

The first guy I kissed, I wasn't in love with. The first guy I ever had sex with, even, I wasn't in love with. It was sort of a dare to myself, an experiment. When the sex was over I was done with him, poor thing.

The first time I fell in love though, I thought I'd always be with him. So did the rest of the world. I still remember him fondly, still run into him from time to time and always remember the way I loved him then, though I don't anymore. He wasn't adventurous enough. If he'd been able to roam the world with me and explore, I'd probably still be with him because I'm definitely a one-rider horse, if you know what I mean. A one-trick pony. I don't like sharing or being shared.

After we broke up (totally my fault) there was a guy that there was amazing sex with, but he was dumb as a post and anyway, he was in love with someone else. Obsessed, actually. Despite the amazing sex, I didn't love him either, and so it would amuse me when he'd drone on and on about the girl he loved, and how wonderful she was. He'd go hang around outside her window like a man possessed... and she in turn would completely ignore him because *she* was in love with someone else. I think she called the police on him because he was stalking her.

Even though I didn't love him he pissed me off because he didn't choose me, so I went out with his friend, who I ended up marrying. (What can I say? I was young.) That was a big mistake because it turned out that while we were great friends and had many great, long, conversations, worked well together, and the sex was pretty good, he was psycho and I was stupid and that was a bad combination. I might have loved him but it ended so badly that I've blocked out how I felt about him altogether. The marriage itself barely lasted six months. A month after what would have been our first anniversary, we were already divorced.

I had a couple of lovers after that; one had a kick-ass body and a sweet personality but the sex was just awful, another thought he was "the man" and that he was a wonderful lover, but it was just OK. That one was much older than me and also thought that he could boss me around. After awhile that started to get on my nerves but he was useful in other ways. He paid my Amex bill. A third was in the Navy and was sort of convenient because whenever he came in from sea --well it had been a while for him and that made it fun, and he was nice looking and had manners. And that uniform was sexy as hell... as was the big ship he lived on. But he freaked me out one day by saying he had fantasies about me living with him. So the next time he came into town I refused to see him. I still feel bad about that, actually. Really bad. At that point in my life though, I had kind of sworn off of love. It was probably the last time I was in control of my lovelife, cuz I didn't care deeply about any body enough to be hurt by them. I found myself daring myself to see how much I could get without giving anything of myself, but after awhile I didn't like feeling that empty inside.

Then there was Jersey Boy. He was so different from what I was used to. I fell hard. When I look back I think it was probably the last time I ever trusted any man implicitly. Which is really ironic because no one but me thought it would last. I was completely blindsided when I found out he had fallen in love with someone else. I wrote it about elsewhere and it got posted onto some online journal so I won't rewrite the story again. But it hurt for a long long time, and I drank an awful lot because of it. I also didn't date anyone for two years, though I did have a massive crush on the local bartender. But nothing ever came of that. He was in love with some one else. Someone who subsequently treated him like crap and milked him for all he was worth. She was constantly in love with whoever she wasn't with.

And then there was IFKALP, my Sun's dad. Since there are court proceedings currently happening I won't go into details but I will say that while I don't think I was ever "in love", I loved him very much. My Sun wouldn't be here if I didn't. But there was so much pain and hurt in that relationship that I learned how to shut myself in. I could literally hear gates clanging shut. I got good at fighting dirty, at giving as good as I got. I could go toe to toe with the man and hold my own. But he was relentless, and after awhile he wore my heart down so badly that I almost lost myself.

But at the same time, I gave birth to my Sun and discovered the purest love there is; a mother and child. I know that sounds incredibly corny. I know a few people who don't have children, and have some of the best relationships I know and who always said they never felt the need for children, and probably resent me saying that the love of a mother and child is the purest, and I completely respect that. Heck, I never felt the need for children, though I always intended to have at least one.

But my Sun gave me a whole new kind of love, something I had never had. My Sun was a "surprise". His father and I never married (thank the Lord) and when my Sun first made his existence known--a small grey line in a pregnancy test--my first thought was "I can't have a baby". But as the weeks wore on, the thought of that little life bubbling inside consumed me. My breasts got bigger, my belly rounded and my heart grew. I spent a great portion of my pregnancy alone, and I would rub my belly and talk to it. I played music for it and ate--or didn't eat-- the things it dictated (gallons of orange juice, and watercress salad with tomatoes). My life belonged to my belly. One night in a dream I saw my future Sun; all hair and teeth and that's just what he ended up looking like. He’s eight now, and tells me that he'll always love me. That I'm the best mom he ever had, and that I'm beautiful. He touches my face and smiles at me exactly the way his father used to.

The morning he was born I looked at his little face with it's dark eyes staring back at me and kept saying "Oh, look at that! Look at that!” My life has never been the same. He gave me unconditional love and I in turn loved him more every day; more than I ever thought possible. I could endure anything, take on anyone, go anywhere for him. He inspired me to change my life, to change my outlook, to change how I loved. I learned that love is not just physical. I learned to truly listen, and listen with your whole being. I nursed him for two and a half years and dedicated my entire life to him.

In the meantime my relationship with his father deteriorated rapidly. On 9/11, when the towers came down and it seemed like the world was ending, I watched his father cry and realized that whatever love there had been was so pummeled that I doubted it would ever recover. There was no love in me to to want to comfort him, to take his pain away. That's a cold feeling; to watch someone cry in pain and not feel to comfort them.

Other than a brief but intense fling with someone who tried hard to break me, IFKALP was the last person I attempted any sort of a relationship with. We broke up officially somewhere in ’02 and since then the only people I have “let in” have been a few special girlfriends. That's a whole other kind of love, equally powerful. And I rediscovered my love of family, of my sister in particular. Other than that, I’ve been on my own.

Occasionally, I’d wonder about finding a companion but then I’d hear about some horror-story of a relationship, and it would strengthen my resolve to stay single. Just me and the Sun, and the Cat. I don't need anyone to take care of me or my Sun financially; despite my relationship with his dad, the Sun has a fairly good one with him and isn't in need of a dad. I don't need much, and so the cost of having a relationship seems a little high.

Till recently. Recently I met someone who had most of the good things I miss in a companion. I thought he was a free-agent… I didn’t even get in close until I felt he was "fair game" but it turns out he’s still owned. It was way too early to even think of love but it got to me to thinking… what is this thing anyhow? What is it about one person—over other people—that gets you to drop your guard? I’m real annoyed with myself that I dropped my guard, annoyed that I let someone in under the armor I’ve learned to put up. Hurt he’d rather deal with the devil he knows than give us a chance. It's rare to find someone who overthinks things as much as I do. But on the other hand, I was there once, where he is now. Still trying to make love work, for the sake of a family. I only hope that he doesn’t end up later where I am now…wondering, and doubtful, but still wanting to believe.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So I've decided...

that I'm just going to write here what's going on in the inside of the Bear Maiden, no matter how weird or "private". Too much shit rattling around in my pretty little head, but unlike most other people it doesn't seem to dissipate. It rattles around and around, and bubbles and percolates and if I'm not careful it erupts in weird places because it really needs to come out. But one of the reasons I never started a blog until now was the internal debate: "OK, so if I write shit down... it's good for me but nobody sees it. I could keep a diary like I used to as a kid, but somehow writing something every day led me to make all kinds of structures about *how* it was supposed to be written instead of just concentrating on writing--do I report on what happened during the day? Or do I write how I felt? Suppose weeks go by and I have nothing to write, but then I had a big mental day and what I have to write takes up more than the one or two pages that the diary allowed? I could get a diary with no dates, but that's no fun. Besides I tend not to write in those. But if I write a blog and people see it, what will they think of me? I won't be able to write what I'm feeling without people really knowing how nuts I am."

You see what I mean? And the internal debate went on for years. I know what you're thinking. Yes, I'm a little nuts. OK, a lot nuts. And a little narcissistic. But as I've crossed over into my '40's I've decided I'm really OK with being nuts and what's wrong with having a little self-esteem? I have, on occasion, debated the necessity of say, Welbutrin or Prozac as I do tend to depression (and it seems a family trait) but my mother taught me a useful mantra: "Depression is anger turned inward." So whenever I feel really down in the dumps, I try to figure out what I'm pissed about. I can usually figure it out.

And I get pissed off about a lot of stuff, too. The world sucks. People suck. What people do to their children and each other and small animals and the ozone layer REALLY sucks, and since for the most part whatever you could do to change anything is really ineffective, it's enough to make you suicidal. But once I've figured out what I'm upset about, life is good again and I can move on. Plus, generally I like my life and there's lots for me to feel good about. It's just the "dark days" kind of suck.

The other reason I didn't pursue Welbutrin or Prozac is, it takes the edge off, but I like my edge. It lets me know I'm alive. I did therapy for about two years, but the problem with that was that as much as I liked my therapist it was too easy to not "go there". Ironically enough, once I stopped going to therapy I'd replay all the sessions in my head, and actually got a lot out of that. And to be fair, I probably wouldn't have survived my pregnancy without therapy but I'll leave that story for another day.

So I'm back to writing, because that's what helps my mental state the most... that and showers in the dark. There's something very womb-like about being in a shower in the pitch-black and you can really "wallow" without anyone hearing or seeing. You feel great when you come out.

But here's the deal. I invited several people... mostly people I know and love to read the blog, and I don't mind sharing the good the bad and the ugly. But I ain't discussing it in real life. You hear that, MAMA???? Don't talk me no questions. I ain't answering.

So now that we have the groundrules established.... lets begin.

Well, it *was* Friday the 13th

What did I expect?

It's sunny today, thank God. Have to take my Sun to his percussion ensemble practice and performance. The performance is at a Health Fair sponsored by the hospital I work for. I hope the satellite people come while I'm out.

Don't feel so good but I"ll be OK. Life continues. I've been here before but at least I know where I'm going this time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

So maybe I'm not being ignored...

...but somebody's getting jerked around. And I'm not all that patient. *sigh*. Why is it that the good ones all have beeatchs? How come, as bitchy as I am... I can't be that manipulative? I could be, I guess, but it's so much damn work.

Work was weird. On the one hand, I got to put together the Hospital newsletter. On the other hand... Oh. My. God. If the AD isn't on Kolonopin soon, there's going to be trouble cuz her current meds aren't really working for her. The Vampire skulked around and got *real* hands-on about some dumb logo-callout type thing she was supposed to do and give to whoever was doing the newsletter (me). Nobody told me she was doing it; only that there needed to be a circle with text on the newsletter advertising the fact that the layout of the old newsletter was going to change. So I started making my own. My God, you would have thought I stepped on somebody's toes.

WHATEVER. It was painful. I'm trying, I really am. I went across the street at lunchtime to visit Poppy, who has dialysis in the center there, three times a week. I told him I don't think I'm going to last. It's too bad... the Hospital is convenient to the Sun's school, not too hard to get to from The Rock, and I get to visit Poppy three times a week but it's got such an awful vibe going now. When last I had to deal with a vibe like that I was making $80K a year, and I walked away from it because I hated going to work every day. I'll be damned if I have to deal with bad vibes for less than $80K.

The Boss knows someone was in his office, and had his suspicions confirmed. My Co-Worker says she's out. If they go, hell no I'm not staying. I got a call from the HR people at another Big Private Hospital, but I couldn't talk right then. Which SUCKS. I tried to call back later but it must have been lunch, so I'll try again Monday.

I really just want to be happy. I want to be peaceful. I want to go to work and do something I enjoy, and if at times people are intense, that's OK because that's what headphones are for. But this place is beyond headphones for me; I keep feeling like I need to hear who's coming up behind me. I've only been there about 6 weeks and it feels like forever.

I went to pick The Sun up from his after-school percussion practice. He seems to like it, which is cool. He's got a performance tomorrow. Kind of inconvenient cuz I'd unknowingly scheduled DirectTV to come in tomorrow to hook up my dish. So I can watch the final season of the Sopranos. I've already missed the first one; though Poppy taped it for me. Problem is I don't have a VCR. Isn't that amazing? Used to be everyone had one... don't you remember?

Well, I'm not being ignored but I'm being dumped. Was fun for the moment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Later that day...

...was still working on the newsletter for the Hospital, when the AD says she's looking for a photo of somebody. Was looking for my co-worker, the other designer--but she had just left. And my boss had left, too. It was about 4:30. So AD starts bitching that my boss left and that she'd asked him for the picture. And that his office was locked. The Vampire, who sits sort of catty corner to me in another cube piped up "I'll go in his office! I'll call security". So she does, and security came and she gleefully went into his office and into his computer.

Now, in some places this is done all the time. The problem with our department is that it's in the process of being dismantled, and factions are forming because everyone wants to stay on the good side of the Big Kahuna. Which I think is impossible, unless you're evil. Cuz that's a dangerous, evil bitch who doesn't know shit about what she's doing. And I'm really not being catty. There are certain terms and phrases and protocols that people in her position are supposed to know... and she doesn't know them. It's really scary. It would be funny if she wasn't high up on the food chain... and for whatever reason is "protected". And she's out for my boss. I don't think she likes his accent. I mean, I'm admittedly loyal to a fault; if you're good to me I'm loyal till it's proven I shouldn't be, and I can't find a reason for him to be on the "outs" like that, except for the fact that the Big Kahuna doesn't like him and everyone else is scared of her.

Anyway, I don't like the Vampire. Haven't liked her from the minute I laid eyes on her and make it my business to stay out of her way. The fact that she was in my boss' office like that almost made me sick to my stomach, cuz she was in there snoopin'. So what do I do? Do I tell? Do I stay out of it? I know Boss better put a password on his computer, that's for damn sure.

*sigh*. This is SO why I didn't want to freaking work full time. I hate this.

On top of everything else, it's cold as shit and grey as winter today. And muddy out here on The Rock; the city is tearing up the streets replacing 100+ year old sewage pipes.

I'm very depressed and trying not to let it show.

But I heard from someone interesting today, although it was only small talk and highly likely to not go anywhere. Actually don't want it to; was a bad time in my life, but nice to know he was listening...