Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sunday, July 31, 1977

Nana Jessie (1876)
Psalm 62
Got up medium. Dressed. Pop went to Biscayne. We stayed home. Came back. Helped with fire. Nothing much happened. We ate and rested. Louis, Whiskey and Devil were fighting Bobby. We fed and groomed him. He stayed on our roof. Pops got a ??? Then Mr. W- came; mom dealt with him "properly." He lost his eye in court on Friday (Pops went to court.) Ate supper. Put on pj's after showering. A good day. Thank you Mr. O, thank You.

Again, I didn't write down the food we ate that day. I didn't write down the food we ate for the next 11 days, but then I start again, with no explanation. But I did my weekly summary:

Marvelous. In court on Friday, at first (Pops said) the judge thought Pops was Mr. W--. Mr. O took care of Papa. I thank Him.

Today is the 131st anniversary of the birth of Poppy's Grandmother. She is the reason we kept track of who we are. When Poppy was a little boy, she told Poppy repeatedly the story of his family, with such accurate detail that when I went and Googled the street she grew up on in Savannah, Georgia, everything she described was exactly the way I found it. My friend LilacBlue went to Savannah, and could even find the street. It's ironic, because that side of the family contains no known stories of Native blood; they were "Mulattoes" in the strictest sense of the word. But because Nana Jessie was so precise, and my mother's family was so vague, it challenged me to seek answers about my mother, using the tools I had learned about to verify Nana Jessie's facts.

So. Louis, Whiskey, Devil and Bobby were the dogs from the yard across the street. There was also Rex, the world's ugliest dog but for some reason he wasn't involved. I don't know why the dogs all turned on Bobby that day; we heard this huge doggie commotion and ran outside. We probably separated them by throwing buckets of water at them. Bobby was all black; he looked like a Lab. He was a really sweet dog. So he spent time with us that day, being fed and groomed, then I think Speedy came and got him later and took him back across the street.

And Mr. W-. He was the landlady's son. He was a disc jockey on the radio but I think at the time he was cracking up a little. When we first moved into the house he lived down the road with a pregnant girlfriend. It was the first time, for some reason, it dawned on me that you could have babies and not be married. It's not that I didn't know plenty of women in Jamaica who weren't married and had babies, because I did. But somehow, at 10 or 11, it clicked. My mom always used to say "when you grow up and get married" so often that it was all one word to me. Funny that I grew up and got married... then got unmarried and then had a baby. So much for trying to brainwash your kid. In any event, by the time of this entry, the pregnant girlfriend didn't live there anymore, and Mr. W.- was looking kind of shabby and unkempt. Obviously by now we must have owed some serious back rent, which is why the W's would have taken Poppy to Tenant's court.

Anyway. I'm almost 99% certain that this particular day was the day I looked up the slight hill on the south side of the house, and saw Mr. W- sitting on the curb sharpening a machete. I ran and told the parents about it, and Sis and I hid under the front living room window watching Mr. W- make his way down the short block to our street, and knock on the gate with a stone. (This is what most Jamaicans did, instead of here in America where you go up and knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Most Jamaicans had several mangy "yard dogs" who's job it was to keep people from coming in the gate, and most Jamaican yard dogs were very effective at their jobs).

At that time, my mother had long hair, and I remember that this day she had it in the two braids she often wore, and a sort of prairie type skirt. She stuck a kitchen knife in her waist at her back, and went out front to talk to him. Don't know what she said, but he went away and I remember being in awe of her calmness and bravery, and I remember knowing at that moment that she was Indian. She always used to say to the Jamaicans (who only knew about Native Americans from the John Wayne westerns that made it to TV, or Tonto from the Lone Ranger) that she was Apache and we'd giggle about it. But that day her quiet fierceness made a huge impression on me. Particularly since BigBear is not the silent type....

From memory, I've drawn a quick diagram of the house we lived in, and the surrounding area. I'm a little confused about some details... like I don't remember the bathroom *at all* and I think Poppy had another little bathroom somewhere between his "office" and the kitchen. Also, I can't really remember how the back bedroom opened up onto the little veranda out in the back of the house.

But I do remember what the surrounding area was like...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Thunderbird Pow Wow

On Saturday, we went to the Thunderbird Pow Wow at the Queens County Farm Museum (click on the flickr badge on the right for more pictures). It's one of my favorite pow wows, and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. There's nothing more rejuvenating to me than sitting on a blanket in the grass, gnawing on a buffalo rib, listening to the pow wow drums and watching the dancers. It means summer. It means reconnecting with the family, with my history. With American History.

The day started off with sort of a funky vibe. They started some new shit at the gate; buy a bracelet good for the morning "session" (12-5PM), buy a bracelet for the evening session (7-10P) or buy a three day pass. Reasonable, except they tried to say "It was always like this!" Uh, no, Hon. I've been coming to this pow wow for a few years now, and it's always "pay one price, get a ticket, stay till you can't stay no more". Usually if you came in early for the first Grand Entry, you'd stick around and stay for the second unless you were really hot or tired. I heard later that the real issue wasn't the two Grand Entries, but the fact that people (probably mostly local folks from that area of Queens) were using the same ticket stub to get in for all three days. And that I totally understood, but it annoys the crap out of me when I feel like people are trying to "snow" me.

Added to that, I had to spend some time around a member of the extended family I'm not all that crazy about. It's like this: there are some people who wear their accomplishments with ease. They are forthcoming about their travels and experiences, not pushy about sharing but enjoy telling you things when asked, who can poke fun at themselves and never make you feel threatened. Invite you to enjoy their experiences, and enjoy that you get enjoyment from their stories. You feel good about sharing their time. There are others who wear their accomplishments like body armour. Won't "give up" anything when you ask them; just give a "knowing" chuckle like their whole lives are an inside joke and won't clue you in. Yet, if you have a story or experience to share, they've got one better to tell.

I have no patience for people like that, and while I'm competitive in a bunch of other things, I'm not competitive when it comes to the Personality Competition. So I'll generally shut down and fade into the woodwork, and/or disappear. And it annoys the crap out of me when I can't. For a short while the ability to fade into the woodwork wasn't an available option but then it was, and life was much nicer. After awhile though, especially after sundown everybody mellowed and it turned out to be a fantastic day.

But there was another annoying thing bothering me during the day; I've noticed yet another Disturbing Trend in the pow wows up here which is that there are beginning to be rumors of serious divisions along racial lines. "Black Indians" and "White Indians" and now "Taino Indians. " More than a lot of other things, this pisses me off immensely. Matter of fact, Racism in general Pisses Me Off. Because it's such a snow job, and as I just said, I hate feeling that someone is trying to snow me. The Humanity Critic posted a piece a few days ago about how Spike Lee would have directed the last episode of 'The Sopranos', and it made me laugh but it also reminded me of the whole "Wake up! WAKE UP!" thing. Cuz Lordy, I frequently feel like screaming "WAKE UP, PEOPLE! CAN'T YOU SEE THAT THIS RACISM THING IS THE BIGGEST SNOW JOB OF THE CENTURY???!!!!" And we all believe it, and whenever something starts up that isn't about "race" somehow or other the whole "Black/White" thing seeps into it. Which is funny because it isn't really about "Black/White"--it never has been.

Before Europeans got here, Native Americans--particularly those from the Northeast, were a matrilinieal society. And so were the Africans that the Europeans brought over. And when people began mixing--and despite what you think they were mixing from the very beginning and a good portion of the mixing was "free-will", a baby was whatever her mother was. If Mama was Cherokee, then baby was Cherokee even if baby had distinctly African features thanks to Papa. Consequently, around the late 1700's-early 1800's, Southern colonists suddenly looked around them and discovered a whole lot of "Indians" that couldn't readily be visually identified as being different from their "Black" slaves. More disturbing to the colonists and slave owners was that all these dusky people were "free."

Cue in major freak-out, particularly since that time period was spiced with some pretty nasty slave rebellions in the West Indies; one on Barbados in 1816, one in Demerara (Guyana) in 1823. Where incidentally, many of those slaves had mixed with Taino and Arawak natives (read about the Maroons in Jamaica--and although history officially says that all the Indians down in the Caribbean were wiped out/extinct by then, there is evidence to the contrary). News of the rebellion in Guyana reached as far away as England. And while a lot of the news about rebellions wasn't made available to your every day Joe farmer so as not to spread fear and panic, it was still pretty much common knowledge, especially to slave traders. Interestingly enough, 1823 is when the Virgina Legislature passed a Race Law, declaring that any child of an Indian, and any descendant of a Negro, up to the great-grandchild, would be counted as "mulatto." During that same year, another law was passed in Virginia, stating that free blacks or slaves accused of raping a white woman would be hung (Virginia had previously done away with the death penalty for all crimes except murder). The law had nothing to do with rape, and everything to do with preventing sex between white women and non-white men. (There was no law punishing the rape of black or Indian women.) The main objective in both laws was to stop the intertwining of folks, and when you get right down to it, it was about protecting property and money. There were white colonists who would pass their property on down to their duskier progeny, and this really threw folks into an uproar.

After a while, not only did the definition of "mulatto" get redefined, to mean being mixed with white, it got to be a better thing to be "mulatto"--black mixed with white--than it was to be anything "half-breed" (and half-breed was anything mixed with Indian), especially after 1828 when Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Which President Andrew Jackson signed it into law as soon as he could (it took him until 1835 to actually do anything about it, but he was working on it). Before he became President, Jackson had been instrumental in enacting some other race laws, as well. (I've decided, as I go through history and read about him, that the man had some serious issues with brown-skinned people.) This put a new spin on being Indian. If you were Indian, or "half-breed" and living as an Indian--therefore you were Indian, you were subject to "removal". And you have to keep in mind how frightening this must have been, because by now in Virginia and Georgia and parts of the Carolinas, many of the "Indians" had become completely assimilated... had property, slaves, wore western dress. We're not talking about "removing" people who were "living like savages" or "living in the woods" like they make you believe. We're talking about people who were literally kicked out of their houses and all their things repossessed.

So as time went on, being "mulatto" got to be an interesting thing... because since people were showing up in all shades due to the generations of mixing, census takers would walk into a household and could arbitrarily state who was "black" or "white" or "mulatto" solely based on the way the person looked--their hue of brown. And especially among the Cherokee, who had been assimilated early in the game, this was a big problem, since many of them had intermarried with the Africans, the Scottish and the Irish. Many of them even had slaves themselves, although their concept of slavery was a little different than the Euro view. They would marry their slaves; leave them property, treat them like family.

In my own family, the official written story was that Annie Cox (my great-grandfather's mother) was the product of a "black" woman and her husband/owner, a "white" man. It didn't hit me until Great-Grandfather (who had all the carriage and determination of a Chief and was a leading businessman in his day) wrote in his autobiography that his mother had been disdainfully referred to as "that half-breed" by his father's family. It was confusing as hell, particularly when I found his father's family on a census, and they were all referred to as "mulatto." So how could they possibly have issues with her? When my Grandpa got to writing his own autobiography, he wrote that the family story was that Annie's mother would continually run away from her "white" slavemaster/husband to hide with the Seminole, because she herself was Seminole. And her husband/slavemaster, who apparently loved her as well as owned her, would run down to Seminole country and bring her back to Georgia.

Except the Seminole were known for not giving up runaways. To anyone. Least of all, white people. So how was it that Mr. Cox could go down to Florida regularly to bring back his wife? Except maybe he was Indian himself???

This is what sent me down the path of doing some serious digging into American History. At times, the official "history book" version was so amazingly different from documented, hard core facts that it was enough to make my head spin. I began to realize that this whole scenario we've been sold on about "Race Relations" in America is a crock. I encourage people to really start digging... and don't just accept the cleaned up version you were spoonfed in high school. Find some censuses. Read some laws. Dig in your own backyard.

Then I started going to the Pow Wows with Mima. The first time I went I called my mother up, beside myself. I was surrounded by a whole bunch of folks who looked exactly like her. And Grandpa. And Aunt Alberta. And at first, particularly at Thunderbird I was warmed by the many different hues of folks in the circle, all dancing, all reclaiming their roots for just a day... and the only thing that mattered was being Native.

But lately, thanks to the lure of BigMoney in the Casino industry, outside forces are seeking to Divide and Conquer. And the easiest way to do that... the way it's always been done, is to divide along the color line. The Cherokee just tried to kick out all the brown folks who came to be known as "Cherokee Freedmen"; descendants of Cherokee slaves. But how can that be, when the Cherokee mixed with their slaves??? So who's more Indian? White Blendians? or Black Blendians? If you're a descendent of Chief John Ross, himself mostly Scottish, but Cherokee thanks to his Mama, you're Cherokee, but this elder, in her traditional Cherokee Tear Dress, isn't?

I hear the Pequots are starting to fight along the Divide, too. There's an awful lot of money to fight over. And on Saturday, I could really feel the Divide. It seems that the more brown skinned people reclaim Old Grandmother Minnie's heritage, the more "intimidated" the White Blendians feel, and bow out.

At least that's the way I see it, and it makes me so sad.

All that being said... the Pow Wow was still great, especially when the big Bonfire went up. The boys--The Sun, The Moon and Perpetual Motion had a blast. One of my favorite parts was looking over and seeing the usual finicky and proper Moon, sitting cross-legged on the grass, gnawing on a buffalo rib (The MicMac Chef rocks) with barbecue sauce all over his face.

I bought another Bear fetish... a beautiful black marble one. I finally bought my Painted Pony--"Many Tribes", she's called, since that's what I am; a product of many tribes. The one's I've found/been told of; Seminole, Cherokee, Blackfeet and Cheroenhaka (Nottoway).

Saturday, July 30, 1977

Psalm 61

Got up medium. Dressed. Fed Greta and Guerly. Mom showed us the "model walk." T got it more than I. Had Sabbath School. Heard "Colgate Cavity Fighter's Club." Ate and rested. In the evening, all of us and Greta and Guerly walked on the beach. We saw 2 men fishing. We also walked on the lake. Came back. Put on pj's. Ate supper. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I didn't write down the food that day...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Friday, July 29, 1977

Psalm 60

Got up medium. Dressed. Fed Guerly. Pops went to town. Helped with fire. Heard "Strange Homecoming". Ate brunch. Cleaned kitchen. Rested. Heard the drawing of post positions and jockeys. Then rested. Pops came back at about 5PM. Put on pj's. Ate supper. Heard "Dulcimina"". Went to bed. Thank you Mr. O, thank you.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 1/2 Busta, 1 mango
  • Brunch: Quilts, pillows, fried red herring, g-banana+corn meal+flour hash style chips, mango+banana+grapefruit+curry+?? chutney.
  • Snack: 1 quilt, 1 pillow, chips, fried red herring
  • Supper: 1 Quilt, chips, red herring, banana + mango+orange salad.
I have no idea what concoction we were eating for "chips". Could be my imagination again and not being clear. But remember "quilts"? from a few days back? "Pillows" were the same; its just we'd figured out how to get them to puff up.

Again, no sardines!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thursday, July 28, 1977

Wonders - Red Sun Dies

Psalm 59

Got up medium. Dressed. T + Mom brought the news Red Sun is dead. He didn't look so bad contrary to Pushkin. Walked Greta + Guerly. Pops went to town. Heard "Strange Homecoming." Mom did (dyed?) her t-shirt. Pops came back at 12:25pm. All four of us went to Biscayne. Saw Mr. K. Francis, Jr. Got a lift to the 9-mile marker. Said when we're ready, tell him, he'd get me a horse.* Came back. Helped with fire. Showered. Ate. Heard "Dulci." After, pjs and bed.

*Thank you , Oh, thank you Mr. O.

I ate:
  • Snack: 3 bananas, 1 1/2 Busta, 1/4 orange, 1/2 grapefruit.
  • Dinner: red corn meal+ coconut, fried red herring, tomato+orange+banana+mango chutney, guacamole, green banana+corn beef hash, ochroe (okra?)+coconut corn meal
Boy, 12 -YOs that live out in the middle of nowhere sure are gullible-I actually thought I'd get a horse. I don't remember who the hell Mr. K. Francis Jr. was, but I do remember being thrilled at the belief I'd get my own horse.

I was horse-obsessed. Sometimes when we rode the bus into "town" (Kingston), I'd fantasize that I was actually outside the bus on my horse, galloping. There was a railing that ran along the outside of the stairs up onto the flat roof; I constructed a saddle and stirrups from a blanket and some rope, and would practice riding--even "posting" (which is very difficult to do when your "horse" isn't moving). And you know I've yet to actually ride a horse? Even better, I'm about a mile and half right this very second, from a stable with horse you can rent. Have lived a mile-and-a-half from said stable for 12 years this summer. I really oughta, after all this time...

So! Didja notice?.. no sardines!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Good to Know...

that I have a Dark Side. It comes in handy, you know:
You Are 50% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

I guess this is fair to say....

You Are 60% Control Freak

Generally, you are in control but not a control freak. You life is usually in order.
However, sometimes you get too obsessed with making everything in your life picture perfect.

Hell, no! I won't go! I'm Bronx to my heart...

You Belong in Brooklyn

Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.
And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.


As Hiro would say... "I did it!" We got out of the house and made the 7:10 (which came at 7:15, but still, we didn't even have to run for it) and got to Daycamp at 8:25 in time for Moon to be escorted to his campsite. And I would have gotten to work early, but I lingered to take some pictures, and then I got sucked into Dress Barn where I found a really nice (although rayon/poly but nice weight) teal skirt suit with silver buttons on clearance for $50! The jacket was missing a button (but had a spare) but fit perfectly and the skirt I'll get shortened. I even have shoes already! Now I just need a real job to wear it to! Or court mabye... despite the fact that no one dresses for court, I always do. If you're going to fuck over my life at least I can look good while you do it.

Wednesday, July 27, 1977

Psalm 58

Got up early, washed and dressed. Cleaned room. Walked dogs. Let out Red Sun. Played with beans. Layed and helped with fire. Ate at fire-place. Heard "strange Homecoming". Cleaned kitchen. Rested. Drew pictures of A- and Mark grown up and married. Gave them to her and Mark, along with a Shell Gasoline handbook and an old "Right On!" mag. Talked to her, gave her a fudge recipe. Showered . Fed Greta and Guerly. Mom fixed my yellow T. sleeves. Ate Supper, Heard "Dulcie." Going to put on pjs and go to bed. Thanks, Mr. O.

I ate:
  • Brunch: 2 green banana+wheat+fish cakes, hash, g-banana chips, banana+mango chutney.
  • Supper: ice cream rice, banana+salt+pepper:? sauce, wheat+oil+salt cakes (yum!)
So I was *really* tired as I typed this early this morning but I realized, in between dozing offs, that I couldn't have been eating "ice cream". We had no fridge. The store was a mile away on foot. Which meant either the "fudgie man" had come by (and I certainly would have mentioned that, I think. The fudgie man was usually some guy on a motor bike/mo-ped, with a wooden ice box lashed to the back with popsicles in it.) or it was me trying to "fancy up" some concoction we were eating. I vote for the latter. And I've no idea why I would have called it "ice cream rice." Maybe the answer will reveal itself in a few days.

And see? I can be kind an caring! I liked A- alot actually. I think part of me finding her "boring" was that she was about 14, and I was 12. So she was into boys and stuff... and plus was having personal drama I couldn't relate to. But me giving things to you means I like you (like giving you "pinchies" means the Sun likes you--and probably equally as annoying) cuz I am/have been/will always be a cheap beeatch and don't give up nuthin' without a fight or a reason. Especially "Right On!" magazine (good googamooga! What an awful website!). Although why I would have given her a "Shell Gasoline Handbook" is beyond me. Sheesh. I really was a strange child. I think it's why I understand MoodMagicBarbie so well. I look at her and go "GAH! Me at 12!" only she's much prettier and more stylish than I was at that age.

Like how I disguised the use of "sardines"???

Red Sun was one of our cats. Really, an older kitten. He looked like an Albino Siamese, blue eyes and everything. He got this HUGE nasty abcess on his neck; probably the same thing Baby had before he drowned in the drain. We were trying to separate him from the other cats, in case what he had was contagious. Our animals did not do well out in Bull Bay, except for Greta. There must have been something in that lake...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tuesday, July 26, 1977

Psalm 57
Got up medium. Dressed walked Greta and Guerly. I miss Baby. Came back and cleaned up Red Sun's isolation room. Heard "Strange Homecoming". Helped with fire. Ate. Rested. Got up. T walked Guerly and Greta. With the help of Mom, I caught up from last Wednesday. All 4 of us went to Biscayne. Saw Dorcas. Came back. Fed Red and Guerly. Showered. Ate. Going to eat, hear "Dulci" + go to bed, after putting on PJ's, Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I ate:
  • Dinner: Ice cream, rice, sardine +cornmeal +tomato+chocho+paw paw sauce, peppers +mango, parched green banana+plaintain, grapefruit, oranges
  • Supper: 2 Busta, 1 mango, grapefruit
  • Snack: pineapple+mango+banana salad.

T'weren't Much Better The Second Day, Either

I went straight home with the boys last night, I swear. Didn't even stop by to visit my mommy. She was tired, anyway, and high on life, talking a mile a minute.

My little man takes after me at that age; we're not big eaters. We can find a million other things to entertain ourselves until we either a.) forget to eat entirely or b.) suddenly become consumed with a raging hunger and eat everything in sight. Usually, its "a" (well, it used to the usual for me... lately it's "b"). The Moon, on the other hand, eats regularly at about 7P, although Shoefly sees nothing wrong with Kraft Mac N'Cheese or frozen food as long as she throws in a (frozen, nuked) veggie. Which I think is part of my problem... I HATE pre-packaged/frozen food and so I end up cooking. And cooking takes time, plus my kitchen SUCKS and there's no room to prepare/cook-everything-then-clean, and I end up having to prepare-clean-cook-clean.

So I get home and by the time I get the morning silverwear/coffee pot out of the sink and season the chicken breast filets, stir-fry the broccoli and make garlic bread it's 9PM. It's embarrassing that we ate that late. The upside though, was that the Moon ate *everything* on his plate ("he won't eat broccoli" Shoefly says. So I told her about balsamic vinegar. But last night's broccoli was made with Teriyaki and ginger and the Moon ate it *all*) and even had a little bit of seconds. The Sun picked as usual, but ate most of everything.

The Sun is completely free with his nakedness and has no qualms about peeing in front of his friend, or being naked or taking a bath together. The Moon is a little more private, so when the Sun said he wanted to share the tub with his friend I was surprised the Moon said yes. The fact that I added bubbles (for privacy) made it easier, I think. Which is great, because it saved time. So the boys got to bed about 10:30. Moon went to sleep immediately, Sun tossed a little bit. He, like me, is a nightowl.

I did laundry and vacuumed the cat hair that was taking over my room, and then fell asleep at the computer (which is why I haven't yet posted my day in 1977). We didn't make the 7:10A bus though... again we made the 7:30 and there was somehow less people when we got to the subway so I thought maybe we'd be OK.

Nope. I realized around 66th street that we weren't going to make the Moon's escort from location A to location B of the daycamp, so today I decided I might make better time if I took the Moon to his location first, and then take the Sun the 10 blocks uptown and still maybe get to work on time.

NOPE! Because motherfuckers insist on driving in the city. And there's a giant gaping hole someplace on Lexington, so traffic is worse then ever. I wasn't a big fan of this Congestion Pricing debate that's going on until this morning. This morning I decided they need to make people pay to drive in Manhattan. You can't get anywhere above ground in under a half hour. Because it took us a half hour to go exactly 10 blocks on a Limited-Stop bus. One stop!!!

Sun got to his program at 9:15, and they had already left to go to the park. The snippy counselor said something about "time being crucial" but I was too aggravated to even light into her. I felt bad, but I wasn't walking over to the park to attempt to find his crew, so I signed him into another group (hoping he'll rejoin his Karate group as they were swimming today) and ran over to the subway to come uptown. I STILL got here at 9:40A.

Doesn't really matter since in addition to surfing various blogs (and realizing I like that Humanity Critic Dude -- he's funny!) my main only task of the day was to find a logo on my harddrive. For the Vampire Beeyatch, and I don't like her anyway so I don't mind making her wait.

I miss my mommy but I think I'm going to go straight home again today so we can try again tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My First Day As SingleMom of Two Boys

...sucked and I failed miserably, arriving at work at 9:40. Not that I don't have trouble arriving at work at 9:40 with only One Boy; I am, after all, Chronically Late.

And to be fair, I set up myself up, starting with last night. I got to the boys' daycamp location yesterday at about 5:45P, and instead of coming right home like a responsible Single Mother, I stopped in De Janeiro on Lex. Savvy New York Shoppers know about this place; it's been in the same spot on Lex, right above the entrance to Grand Central Station, for years. Probably 20, because it was there when I was a 20-something Single Gal shopper. This is a feat in and of itself... and add to that fact that they *still* have great (designer) shoes at discount prices, as well as tons of other stuff, it's an addiction. But you have to a.) be in the mood to dig, b.) be efficient and c.) know your brands. I rarely get downtown anymore since I live WellOffTheBeatenPath, and work on the upper east side. But we passed right by it on the way to the subway, and the temptation was just too great. So, $40 off the debit card (1 Esprit halter polka-dot dress that *perfectly* matches my cute little Girlie-Bag purchase the other day, 1 t-shirt/tunic and 1 cute little off the shoulder trendy top) and about as many minutes later, we headed home.

But that put us back on the Rock close to 8P, which made the hotdog and salad dinner close to 9P (by the time I changed clothes and collected my thoughts) which got the boys bedtime close to 10P and of course, it was the first night as "adopted brothers" so they were slow going to sleep.

And I'm still not sleeping, so getting up was a struggle, and I thought that actually we were doing OK since we made the 7:30 bus with ease. And that even included me getting two lunches packed and equipment all checked out. But we should have been on the 7:10, because we got to the daycamp site just as the Moon's escort was leaving for the his location (his program is not in the same place as the Sun's). So if I had only been a Single Parent to One, I would have made it to work with time to spare, but NO! I had to haul-ass to get the Moon down to lower Third Ave. I had the wrong walking shoes on which meant I had to take the bus downtown and that was the WRONG THING TO DO. Traffic in the Big Apple truly sucks. There are just way too many fucking people driving. Why do they drive??? You really don't get anywhere any faster, you clog up traffic, wreak havoc on the environment and slow down the damn buses! Professor!

So I get the Moon to his location, and then because I had on the wrong damn shoes for walking I dreaded walking back to the Lex Ave subway so jumped on a bus. Which crawled in more traffic until it passed midtown.

Boss only partially chewed me out. He has to, since he's my boss, and I respectfully take it but shit I have NOTHING to do here, so really what's the point? I was SO tempted to just call in sick and hike around midtown... but I had on the wrong damn shoes for walking.

But this morning is the type of morning that sends me into a funk, because I actually was *trying* to be efficient and get here, and because I couldn't, the voices took turns shouting out all the other things I can't do; can't find a partner worth their salt, can't get organized, can't sleep, can't control my own damn destiny and can't do any work.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know. You don't have to say anything cuz I pretty much said it to myself, and the voices backed off. And I'm not in a funk. Not in a "completely-non-functioning" funk, anyway, just a mildly "lazy-ass" way.


JFK reports that Big Bear has landed!!!! 2:41 NY time. The Prof just interrupted my posting to pick up gas money, then go pick up MoodMagicBarbie and head out to JFK.

My mommy's coming home! I can cry and fall apart now....

Monday July 25, 1977

Psalm 56
Got up medium. Dressed. Went to Biscayne. Came back. Saw A-, boring A. Helped with fire. Ate. Mark came down, driving a car all by himself. Then he came on his chopper and A and him talked about "Yes, Mark, I love you." We played, walked dogs, talked to Speedy after feeding Guerly. T fed Greta. Pops cooked. At supper. Heard "Dulci" went to bed after pj's. Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: 4 Busta, 1 mango
  • Dinner: Pumpkin+chocho+rice soup, sardine+green banana+wheat cakes, mango chutney
  • Supper: Parched green banana, tomato+sardine sauce, mango+orange sauce
"Parched" green banana? Sheesh.

I'm remembering that "chutney". There were a lot of East Indians (and Chinese) in Jamaica. So there was a sort of familiarity with the culture, which I think inspired my parents to try to make things like "chutney". Either that or...."well there ain't much more to eat than mangoes, so lets make it exciting!" But the chutney was pretty good, cuz if I remember correctly my mom would add hot peppers and other spices.

I think Mark was a kid who lived down the road a piece, though I never figured out exactly where. When we first moved to the house in Bull Bay, before A's family broke apart, her little brother "Junya" and a small crew of sort-of-middle-class Jamaican boys rode their banana-seat chopper bikes up and down the road at breakneck speed. Mark was one of those boys, and if I'm remembering correctly, was very fair-skinned. A's life seemed so "American" when we first got there. We'd all pile in her house to watch TV; the Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman and cartoons. Mrs. Mathis, the housekeeper stayed in the kitchen and cooked. The first "yardboy", Jess, stayed in the yard and we didn't talk to him much. Jess had this crazy-loud laugh. We would sometimes hear him late in the evening and my mom would say "There goes Jess laughing with big pink tongue."

A's dad, Mr. Atkinson (who the Professor and I re-named B.H. Paint--a commonly-used brand of paint but to us, B.H. stood for Boar Hog), had a yellowish Thunderbird much like this one, which he loved and always referred to as "The Thunderbird."( I sort of remember it having a black hard top, but I'm not sure. I also don't think he had it long. ) But then Mrs. Atkinson up and left, and Mr. Atkinson started beating on A. Or maybe he did before and I didn't notice it, but I remember hearing him yelling at her and hearing the blows and her crying. The "Chopper boys" stopped coming around as much, if at all. Mr. Atkinson and the kids would then disappear to God-knows-where. I don't know that I ever asked her, or why they would come back to Bull Bay. I think she was in boarding school.

Jess left and Speedy came. And Speedy (who's real name was G. L. Walters) was way more interesting to talk to than A- probably because poor A- was hiding a lot. Looking back, she must have been so unhappy but at the time I had no frame of reference. Our family is nuts, but we were usually having a good time.

I wonder what happened to A-. Speedy, too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunday, July 24, 1977

Psalm 55

Got up medium. T+Pop went to Biscayne after we got dressed. I wrote to cousin C-in Washington. Helped with fire. T+Pop came back. T's wearing Baby's disinfected dog bell. Ate. Rested. Got up, pops cooked. There was an accident on the main road. A motor bike and a J.O.S.*. We finally met Mr. Chin-Loy. Ate supper. Put on pj's, went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I ate
  • Dinner: Turned maizemeal, stewed apple bananas+mango juice, diced chocho+green bananas in sauce, fried red herring.
  • Snack: Grapefruit, ??, orange
  • Supper: Sardine, green banana+corn meal fish cakes, mango+banana+orange chutney.
I'm a huge David Letterman fan. I don't watch as often as I used to, and it seems he doesn't go out on the street as much as he did when he was younger. But once, he did this short where he kept passing through the same drive through lane at McDonald's, ordering crap and harrassing the workers. Finally he says "It's finally starting to happen. I'm finally beginning to annoy myself." I love that line! and secretly use it on myself fairly often. I betcha you wouldn't have thought that about me, but it's true. Sometimes I annoy myself.

Like now; that "maizemeal" thing bugs me. But I guess I had to entertain myself somehow, eh? "Turned maize meal" was what normal Jamaicans call "Turned Cornmeal". More sophisticated people call it "polenta". This actually reminds me of a story my boss told me. As I've said, he's from Alabama. His wife is from Rome, Italy. Being from the South, he knows about--and loves grits. He made me laugh one day by telling me how someone looked down their nose at him when he was talking about grits... and yet turned to his wife to say how much they loved polenta. "It's the same damn shit!" he said to me in his Southern drawl, and we fell out laughing. Poor people the world over know all about cornmeal. I guess you could call it the great bond...

Hey, I almost thought I'd get away without typing the word "sardine" but NOPE! We ate them, fried in a "fish cake".

And about that accident. I think I remember hearing the crash on the main road into Kingston, that was on the other side of Smelly Lake. The road was a two lane, narrow, winding road, and since it was a main road it was pretty busy most of the time. Ironically, there weren't that many accidents on it. *"J.O.S." stood for Jamaica Omnibus Service, which meant a regular, heavy bus as opposed to the "minibus" which generally was a church-bus type bus, usually packed to the rafters, without air conditioning and super smelly.

My weekly summary:

We fed the dogs this week tho I didn't mention it, because i'm catching up. A good week, even tho Baby died. I wrote to cousin C, because Aunt J and Cousin Shelly wrote T+mom. T extra fussy after Poppy told her not to be fussy. A good week. Thank you, Mr. O.

On "Going With The Flow"

So the Prof left me a comment, and my response was getting long, so I'll just post it.

"I think you're basing that on how I used be. One thing I have learned over the past 10 years is how to roll with it. I express my opinion... loudly, and I allow myself to feel whatever I'm feeling, but after that, it's all good. I can tell you the moment I let it all go; I was standing on a train platform in Bronxville, looking for a place to live. And I said "God, I give up. This is not what I saw, not what I wanted, not what I envisioned and I don't know where to go from here. So You have to tell me, and where ever You want me to be is where I'll be." And I ended up on City Island. Who knew? So I go with the flow. That doesn't mean I don't try to keep a path or a plan--and I try hard--but when it becomes apparent that it's beyond me, like this trip for the Sun... watch me flow..."

Fat Lady also made a good point, about releasing control. Because that's how I feel now. I relinquish control because fighting it will only make me crazy. One thing I REFUSE to do, in all my craziness and issues... I don't fight losing battles. I only fight when I think I can win... and as long as I think I can win I will fight to the death. Your death, by the way--not mine. Sitting in the courtroom Thursday, looking at the judge and hearing the Law Guardian go silent (a good clue that she knew she won) I realized I was beaten. At that moment. That battle. So fuck it; I lost. But I keep in mind the Ultimate Objective and that battle I will continue to fight because I think I can win. I MUST win.

So I'm going with the flow. I'm still mad. I'll be mad for awhile. I'm still frightened, but another thing I don't like is to feel frightened or bullied, and so I'll take steps to make me feel less frightened. I'm also keeping my fears separate from the Sun's, who has had restless sleeps the last three nights, and a nightmare this morning. The reality of the trip is settling in for him. And I'm a little concerned for him, but I do think ultimately he'll be OK. Because ultimately, he knows how to be adamant about what he wants. In the Judge's chambers, he was apparently adamant about not missing Schemitzun. When the Judge said "He won't miss the Pow Wow, apparently that was very important to him" she smiled, and I knew how he must have looked. And as the Professor pointed out... he wasn't adamant about NOT going to California, so until he gets to that point, I will respect his wishes. And I'll trust he'll be adamant about coming home.

So I gotta roll with the punches, see where this story ends up.

The Moon's granddad passed away yesterday; Shoefly and Whiteclogs will be departing shortly for Georgia, leaving the Moon with me. I'll be a single parent to two boys for a few days. YIKES! But once again, I laugh... I always say I refuse to be a single parent to more than one child, and look what happens... maybe that second baby I want will manifest himself somehow...(fostercare, people. Either that or I shall call his name Jesus...)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not Much To Say...

so I took a quiz instead!
Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty a fair amount.
You're honest when you can be, but you aren't a stickler for it.
If a little white lie will make a situation more comfortable, you'll go for it.
In the end, you mostly care about "situational integrity."


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.


You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.

You Have A Type B+ Personality

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions

Saturday, July 23, 1977

Baby Dies - not from illness.

Psalm 54

Got up medium. Showered, dressed. Had our sermon. Heard "C(olgate) C(avity) F(ighter's) C(lub)". I read T. "Mary Poppins." Mom came and told us that Baby died, he drowned in the drain (kitchen) eating sardine oil. Ate. Guerly and Greta miss Baby. So do I. All 3 of us played Scrabble. Ate supper. Put on pj's. Went to bed. Thank you Mr. O.

I ate:
  • Dinner 1/2 grapefruit+honey, lima beans+sardine sauce, carrot+tomato+green pepper+cucumber+red herring salad, corn bread, honey, orange, grapefruit.
  • Supper: baked beans +sardine+sweet pepper, orange+red herring+carrot chutney, mango+grapefruit(?)+orange.
I decided I had to put in a tag for sardines. I need to see how many days we actually ate sardines.

So Baby died. I'd thought he died earlier than this, but I guess it was Dumas who died first. We had a more "utilitarian" outlook on the doggies in Jamaica, than if we had been living here. It was rare in Jamaica that any doggies were allowed inside of a house. So while I remember being sad when Baby passed, life went on!

(added 8/14 - a picture of T & Baby)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm A Little Better

...about the Sun's impending trip. Not much better, though. I still close my eyes and see the "worst case" scenarios; his father gets a bug up his ass and "loses track of time" or "gets stuck in traffic" and "oops! misses the plane." Shit he was known to do when the visits are here in NY. Or something terrible happens and I'm forced to live my life without my Sun. Consequently Friday night I didn't go to bed until the sun came up, and last night I crashed only because my body made me.

But the overwhelming emotion is anger:
  • at people who don't take/have the time to really observe my life, yet get to play God
  • at FBB, who never was a full-fledged "father", never lived with us, periodically decided he wasn't going to see the Sun because the terms weren't his, yet he gets to take him clear across the country.
  • I'm angry that 4 years, 2 judges, 3 law guardians and 4 lawyers (plus a sub or two) later, I still don't have legal custody of my own fucking son. The one who's always lived with me. The one I was alone with for most of my pregnancy, the one I was alone with at a week post-partum for days and nights at a time.
  • at God. Yes, I'm angry at God, but like Job, I won't curse Him and die. I'll take the lesson, I'll deal with it, I'll submit. I'll accept that there's a reason. But I'm pissed off about it.
Ma says "anger is depression turned inward" and it's true. Because anger turned inward has no place to go. No way to difuse. And so the Professor admitted to a certain annoyance at me because she thought I was moping. I wasn't moping. I'm angry. I was so angry Thursday that I had to force myself not to look at the Law Guardian cuz if I had, the end result would have been my being escorted out of the waiting area forcibly by several large (probably black) men. I was so angry I couldn't even cry. For a chick to be that angry is um, pretty angry, cuz it's a well-known fact that women cry when they're pissed off and can't do anything about it.

But the reality is the Sun wants to go. And the reality is that I knew this day would come because boys, unlike girls, have a need to experience their fathers. A few summers ago, Jay-Z's Black Album was out and there's a line in one of his songs about about his father. How he never really knew him but had to make a peace with him. And I remember thinking that no matter how much mommies love little boys, at some point little boys have to resolve feelings with their fathers. I've had two friends, one in real life and one in internet life, who've had to let their sons go be with their fathers. At the time, I told them they were crazy. I said if it were me, I would never let it happen. And I wouldn't have, except I was forced...

So I have to let my little Warrior Prince go. He has to see it for himself. And I just have to have faith that he'll come home on time, in one piece. Cuz if doesn't, I'll lose my mind...

The funny thing is that something clicked in me, because I readily admit that for certain things, I baby the shit out of him. But now, in the last two days, I've made him do things for himself, because I know his father won't. He has excema spots and he's got to put ointment on them. He's going to have to remember and do that for himself because his father won't. He's going to have to remember his allergy stuff, because his father never gives it to him. He's got to wash his own back because it's time. I'll get his hair braided, I'm going to take him to the dentist and get impressions made, I'm looking into GPS trackers (no, I'm not crazy... I don't trust the man) and then I'll let him go.

And then I think I'm going to have one of those "Slumber Parties"...

Friday, July 22, 1977

Wonder Day, Psalm 53
Got up medium. Showered, dressed. Cleaned up our room a little bit. T and I went on the roof with Greta. Came down. I walked Guerly. T. walked baby. Pops looked Baby over, he's improved a bit. Stomach has gone down. Then Neal came - late 10:30. Heard "Strange Homecoming." Rested, played Scrabble. Had a snack. Then Papa cooked. Ate. Heard "Dulci". Put on pj's, went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 twist, 1/4 orange, 1/2 banana
  • Dinner: Pumpkin+sardine+choc-cho+green banana+green pepper+egg soup, tomato+green pepper+red herring chutney, red herring hush puppies, mango+banana
The days certainly ran into each other, didn't they? But back then I don't particularly remember ever being bored. There was always something to do; some game we I could make up and force my sister to play.

Another thing that's coming to mind is the food thing... sometimes I would list *every* ingredient, even if it didn't show up in the taste. I wouldn't do that for salt, pepper or seasonings, though. But sometimes cornmeal might be added as a thickener to something (for example) and if I knew it was in there or had seen my mom put in there, I'd write it down.

Strange child.

I still can't really remember who Neal was...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 21, 1977

A Letter From The M--'s

Psalm 52

Got up early. Dressed. Cleaned room. Mom cooked fritters. Pops had some before he left for town. Heard "Strange Homecoming." Went through Mama's trunk. Looked at baby clothes, T. found a French bonnet, and we also found some articles about Great Grandpa. Pops came back with chicken. Pops cooked. We all ate, heard "Dulcimina." Put on pj's, went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: Pumpkin fritters, banana puffs, balls, 1 Plaintain twists
  • Dinner: Fried chicken, ice cream, rice carrot+pumpkin+green pepper+tomato+corn meal, red herring omlette, orange+banana chutney
The M's are our cousins. They lived in Washington, D.C. (one of them still does, with her dad). The younger cousin was always better at keeping in touch; years later she still is. I think it's funny that the fact that Poppy brought chicken home was more interesting than the contents of the letter, since I only put the letter in my "header" for the day. Ha ha! Maybe I do have food issues!

We had these big steamer trunks that had followed us all through Jamaica. One had a huge collection of albums including some Beatles albums, one of the Wailer's first albums that was constructed like a Zippo lighter, many jazz albums. Some had books. Another had all our baby books. When we left Jamaica, we put them up in storage but never got back to get them, and so they're lost somewhere in Kingston. I still have fantasies that one day those trunks will turn up... my biggest loss was my baby book. And my stuffed tiger. Oh well.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A funny...

cuz it made me laugh, even last night when I didn't feel like laughing. And this morning it made me laugh till I cried.

I read TAN's blog pretty frequently, and he'd found this and posted it. Make sure you have speakers (doesn't everyone, these days?).

The Assimilated Negro: You Make Me Touch Your Hands For Stupid Reasons

He's Going to California

...the Sun is. The judge, in her infinite wisdom and intimate knowledge of my life and issues, has decreed it, convinced by the Law Guardian that I am some hysterical, paranoid black chick, and the poor white man that lives in California deserves the visit.

Bitter? You betcha.

Pissed off? You've no idea.

Frightened? witless.

Of what, though, I don't know. I know that there were things the man did that upset my sense of right and wrong, filled me with unease. I know that I vowed to myself that I would protect my Sun from those things but now that power has been taken.

They called the Sun in to the Judge's chambers. As he went in, he grabbed his teddy bear and looked at me, his eyes saying "it's show time." I looked up at him saying "Oh, it is?" and the Law Guardian snapped at me "he's fine!" He came out about 20 minutes later, and I took him into the Safe Horizon playroom, and then joined everyone in the courtroom. The Judge remarked how well-behaved, polite and well-spoken he was and then said she would permit the trip. Now. This August.


Flat. The lawyer (who wasn't my regular lawyer since she had apparently been sent home with the flu that morning) asked me if I wanted her to argue, and I said no. What's the point? The only thing I made sure they put in writing was not to cut The Hair. They snickered, but it's written. FBB can't "convince" The Sun while he's out there to cut his hair. The Law Guardian, (who was sitting right next to me) and FBB's lawyer hustled out quietly, knowing that I was beaten.

When we got into the waiting room, though, I exploded. Controlled, but the most agitated I've been in awhile. I made sure the Law Guardian heard me say that if anything happened to him, so help me God, I'm coming after with guns blazing. She better pray FBB doesn't fuck up. The lawyer said "everything will be clearly spelled out" and I cut her off saying "It's always written and it doesn't matter. The man does NOT follow directions, he never follows what's written."

The lawyer kept trying to make me feel better, but nothing she could say could soothe me. She finally gave up, and left. I sat there for a long time, text-messaging my sister, trying to compose myself and not cry.

I got the Sun out of the playroom, and told him he got his trip. He looked at me, wanting to be excited but watching my face. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him that I wasn't happy about it. But that I'd told him the night before that if he was comfortable being with his dad, knowing that I'm not coming to get him if it goes wrong, then I'd let him go.

After eating at Burger King, (where they didn't have the advertised Kids Meal Transformer Toy), we came home. I managed to hold it all together for the most part. The Sun asked me if I was going to cry, and I said "I will, but not around you". He kept asking me what was wrong, and I kept saying "I'm not happy about the trip." He asked me if I would miss him and I asked him "What do you think? More than life itself." Sometimes he said "I don't want to go" and sometimes he said "It will be OK. We'll get along" and I said that the only way he can NOT go at this point, is if he yells and screams and convinces everyone that he truly doesn't want to go, and that I didn't talk him out of it. That the trip is a done deal (his father called to say he got the tickets). And that there was nothing I could do; the decision is completely out of my hands. He asked me "what happens if we fight?" and I said "you're going to have to work it out; I can't come and get you." He said I could meet him at the airport and I told him; it's not that simple. It will take you six hours just to get home and he finished "and by that time things could be OK again."

My sister says it's OK to be mad at him. And I'm angry as hell, but I'm not angry at him. He's 8. The world is conquerable. Mommy has always been there to back him. His father is manageable, and when he isn't, Mommy always comes to the precinct, or where ever he is, to get him. Because she told him she would. Matter of fact, Mommy told him that if he were in the depths of hell and the Devil himself said that he couldn't leave, Mommy would fight the Devil to bring her baby home.

Mommy is just fucking naive, is the problem. Too convinced that right always wins, despite her bitter and jaded appearance. In her heart Mommy always believes "Do right, because it is right to do right" even though the rest of the world triumphs by doing whatever the hell they feel like.

I do believe in God; and on the way home standing at the bus that takes us back to the Rock, a rainshower began so suddenly that the sun didn't have a chance to hide. A rainbow appeared... then another. I can't tell you how rare rainbows are in the Big Apple, and a double rainbow is almost unheard of. People in the bus stop marveled, and I allowed myself to believe that it was a message letting me know that things will be OK. Because I am naive and trusting, no matter how bitter and jaded I pretend to be.

After the Sun was asleep I knocked myself out with a glass of wine and went to bed.

Wednesday, July 20, 1977

Psalm 51
Got up medium. Dressed. Cleaned room. Helped with fire. Then Pops caught us nibbling an end of fritter. Help us to stop, please, Mr. O. We ate in our room. Then did kitchen and rested. Got up, and all four of us went to Biscayne. When we came back, saw speedy. Suddenly when we were going home, Matt, Mrs. W's D.(oberman) P.(inscher) came bounding out of bush as mad as JoJo. Ate supper. Put on pj's, heard "Dulci", went to bed. Thank you, Mr.O, Thank you.

I ate:
  • Dinner: vege-burger, rice plantain+green banana sauce, fritters, 1 busta
  • Supper: Oranges, mangoes, 1 fritter
I realized this morning I had been leaving something important out--"The Psalm Of the Day". There are 150 Psalms in the old Testament, and on New Year's day the parents would read Psalm 1 and continue to May 30 (or so, depending on if it was a leap year). Then they'd start again. At that age, I didn't read a psalm every day, but I kept track, mainly because on Saturdays when we held service, it felt like "extra points" if you knew automatically what the psalm of the day was.

"Mr. O" was God. I'm not sure when that started, though I think it was around the time we moved in to the house in Bull Bay. "O" for Omnipotent, and "O" because like a circle there is no beginning or end. (The Rastas talked of "Alpha and Omega" a lot.) And "Mr." out of respect. Poppy wanted us to feel that God was always there and accessible and that we should always be able to talk to God any where we were. And we did... I still do though I can't remember when I stopped saying "Mr. O" in my head.

It's sort of odd, looking back, that July that year was so "quiet." The quiet before the storm, I guess. If I'd picked an earlier spot to begin, it seems like there were a little more people around, and I was a little more observant.

Mrs. W was the landlady. Her house was on the cul-de-sac below us; her back yard was against the backyard of the house across from us, the house Speedy worked in. Her dog Matt was a big, beautiful, scary looking dog. Usually he was always in her yard... I don't know why he was out that day or what happened after he jumped at us (no one was hurt) but I remember he scared the devil out of me.

"Mad" was the Jamaican word for crazy. And JoJo was a kid from up the beach who started out as a very nice and earnest young Rasta brother who carved things out of alabaster and sold them. One day we realized he was crazy... probably schizophrenic. The local story was that he killed and ate a pelican (there were plenty out there; big grey ugly ones) and that's what "mad him". He became "JoJo-de-madbwoy" and when ever we saw him coming, we hid.

Oh, yeah. The Fritter Incident. I guess that could have become a "food issue"... There was but so much food around back then, as you can tell. And frequently, if sis and I were cooking, we'd tear off the little ends of the fritters as they came out of the pan. Sometimes we'd take one and just split it in half, without the parents knowing. In my mind, it was tantamount to stealing, because I knew it meant less for the family. I'm not sure how Poppy felt; I have to ask him now that he's finally found our blogs. But to me, getting "caught" by him was mortifying.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tuesday, July 19, 1977

Got up medium. Showered, dressed. Baby looks kind of sick - mumps. Please help him, Mr. O, thank you. Me and mom went to Biscayne. In Mrs. Jones, I heard the end of "Strange Homecoming." Came back. T & I played Scrabble. Got peppers from Speedy. Got a piece of pone (potato) that Speedy gave to us. Helped with fire. Ate. Showered after doing dishes. Heard "Dulcimina." Going to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, thank you. I ate:
  • Breakfast: 5 1/2 busta,jack fruit, watermelon, 1 banana
  • Dinner: White rice, breadfruit+sardine+chicory+g.banana+jackfruit seed sauce, stewed bananas & Mango
Jackfruit was a weird fruit, and I wasn't overly crazy about the fruit itself, but the seeds were great. Boiled, they were sort of like a dense potato. Breadfruit apparently is from the same family (and related to the mulberry... who knew!? There's a mulberry tree that hangs over the bridge to the Rock, and in the beginning of summer there's black sticky spots all over the sidewalk and bridge from where all the fruit drops. Every summer I say I'm going to go down there, collect mulberries and make jam, and every summer I forget...) but was much more pleasant. Sometimes we'd get a breadfruit and bury it in the coals of the fireplace and roast it. Then you slice it and eat it... just like bread.

Have you figured out yet who "Mr. O" was?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It ain't over....

I have to go back to court tomorrow. With The Sun. I don't even know how much I should go into what happened. I don't even know if I feel like going into what happened in court today.

Some statements I feel justified in making:
  • At some point, as a mother you will face the fact that you cannot protect your kid from everything.
  • The worst thing I ever did was to do the right thing and encourage FBB to acknowledge paternity. I should have let it go.
  • I should have played dirty.
  • It doesn't pay to be a minority woman in Family Court. White is *always* right. Even if White kicked your door in and threatened your life, refuses to follow any rules or answer to anyone.
  • I miss my mommy.
Maybe tomorrow I'll feel like talking. Right now, I'm going to take a nap.

Monday, July 18, 1977

Got up late. Dressed. Worked with Guerly and a tiny bit with Greta. Helped with fire. Pop went to Biscayne. He came back. Ate dinner. Rested. Got up. Pop went to town. Saw A-, and Speedy. Ate supper. Heard "Dulcimina". Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, Thank you. I ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 mango, 1 busta
  • Dinner: white rice, sardine+chocho+mango+tomato sauce, mango+seasoning, 2 busta
  • Supper: white rice, mango sauce
Damn. I'm getting sick of sardines all over again.

When we first got Greta, I'd gotten a book on dog training. You can imagine, if you've been following The Story So Far, that I took dog training very seriously. All things considered, I did a pretty good job because Greta was pretty obedient; she came, she sat, she lay down. The only thing that was hard for us was "heel"... and I never really got her to heel without a leash. I was also really tough on her, poor doggie, and being young and left on my own didn't really understand the concept of "rest" or "doggie-has-a-short-attention-span." She was such a sweet doggie. I hope she lived out the rest of her days peacefully.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sometimes I Wonder...

Do you think these things are scientific? Does someone really know what the hell they're talking about? Cuz I think this is true of me:
Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is a firestorm - full of intensity and drama.
Your thoughts may seem scattered to you most of the time...
But they often seem strong and passionate to those around you.
You are a natural influencer. The thoughts you share are very powerful and persuading.

The thing is, I saw this little test on the Professor's Blog and so when I went to go take the "test" I thought... "OK, this is going to be a peek into my psyche. Choose carefully." And though I wanted to choose the purple one cuz I love purple... this pattern appealed to me more than the color. Ha ha!

The Sun is hanging out with the Fat Lady today, and with Lilac Blue. I guess it's the fist time we've actually even seen each other since school let out, but we talk frequently enough, and read each other's blogs so it was odd; it didn't feel like any time had passed.

And apparently, I don't have much to do since I've been playing around with the look here.

This evening we go visit the Law Guardian.

Tomorrow is the Big Day.

Maybe I'll be sane again by Friday...
Deep thought of the day: I went at lunchtime to pick up the shoes I'd left in the repair shop yesterday. In addition to the gentleman reading a Bible printed in Korean, there was an old man of African descent working there today. A cobbler. It suddenly dawned on me I haven't seen a cobbler (no, not the peach kind) in years. He was like a relic out of the past; a paisley, polish-stained apron, gold wire-rimmed glasses, grey crinkly hair. He held some sort of curved tool in his left hand; he wore a wedding ring. I watched as he shaved off the overhanging edge of a new heel he'd just put on a man's shoe. Leaning over his work his hands moved quickly and I thought wow... who knew people still did this?

We live in such a disposable society... who goes to the shoemaker anymore? Why do you need to, when your cheaply made Payless shoes will fall apart just in time for the fashion to change? Will cobblers become a trade of the past, like offset printers or paste-up and mechanical guys? Will our grown children even know who they are?

So now I have to think of other vanishing trades...

Sunday, July 17, 1977

Got up about 6:45. Dressed after washing up. Saw A- while walking Greta, Guerly and Baby. Then sat on roof. Came down. Pop and I went to Biscayne. T. was so nice to let me go, so I let her play with Cantaloupe. Came back. I made quilts, T. made hearts. Ate dinner. Rested. Got up. T. & Pop took a walk. Stayed with mom. Saw A-. T& Pop came back. Showered, put on p.j.'s, ate supper, going to bed. I ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 JuJu, 1 mango, 1 busta
  • Dinner: quits, 1 "twist", pillows, hearts, pumpkin+chocho+rice+green banana+sardine soup. 1 busta.
  • Snack: "hearts", "pillows", crackers
  • Supper: banana+mango salad, quilts, pillows, hearts
The diary, as I mentioned before, was one of those 5x8 appointment books, and the days went from Monday through Sunday. Because the page was divided to fit two days, after the "Sunday" section was a space labeled "Notes", and there I would write a summary of my week:

A good week. Nice Joyful Day. Poor A-. We had a good chance to be alone, and we took it. I learned a little more about Neal and had fevers most of the week. Got to walk alone with Pop this week-end, the first in a long time. A- came on Thursday. She's so boring! Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

I told you we could cook anything on an open fire, and that included different types of frybread. There is a staple Jamaican frybread called "Jonny Cake" but we discovered varying proportions of coconut oil in the flour and/or in the dutchie yielded different textures. This particular version I remember because we flattened the dough thin, cut them out with cookie cutters and cooked them in a "dry" dutchie. Mine were "quilts" because I have control issues, and had pricked little "stitch" marks in the squares with a fork.

If you ever read the book "National Velvet" as a kid, you may remember that the young, horse-obsessed heroine had a collection of paper horses that she played with. That seemed like a good idea to me, being that I was a young, horse-obsessed heroine myself. But there were no real magazines with horses to cut out laying around, and I couldn't imagine defacing a book, so I traced the horses instead. I had this "Ladybug Book of Horses" (I still have the book, even) and in the front of the book was a line illustration of a horse, naming all the parts. It was perfect for tracing. I'd glue the tracing to cardboard, color it in (of course I always colored *in* the lines), and cut the horse out. Then, because I couldn't stand having a one-dimensional "pet", I'd turn the paper horse over and replicate the other side, and color it in. To this day, I can draw a horse freehand; can't draw people without a lot of erasing, but a horse I can draw with my eyes closed.

I had a pretty decent collection of paper horses; bays, chestnuts and sorrels, palominos, duns. They all had names. I made bridles for them out of embroidery floss, and saddles (English, since they were easier to draw than Western) out of cardboard (complete with embroidery floss stirrups) and saddle blankets out of scraps of fabric. I made stables out of Foska Oat boxes.

Selfish beeatch that I am, I'm quite sure "Cantaloupe" wasn't one of my favorites, but because the Prof would have been thrilled that I had even let her touch any of my things, it would have been a good reward. (And do ya wonder now how the Professor came to be an MSW???? I firmly believe that all therapists/MSWs/psychiatrists in the world become what they are because they have issues of their own to work out.) I also know that "Cantaloupe" must not have been a "prized" possession, because the highly-coveted Golden Object--Susie the babydoll--wasn't even a consideration for a reward.

Ah, Susie. Wars were fought over her. Blood was drawn. Susie's "birth name" was Baby Nancy and she came to Jamaica on a plane with Grandma about two years after we'd settled on Montgomery Avenue in Kingston. She was manufactured the same year as my sister's birth, which is probably one of the reasons Grandma picked her out for the Prof. For me, she brought a "big girl" doll I named "Bunny" after my quarter-Chinese friend (the illegitimate daughter of a brown-skinned Chinese-Jamaican woman and a white American hotel tycoon who talked with a "twang" and claimed he was from Texas). Like my friend's little sister Melanie, Bunny had long brown hair, but had coffee-colored "skin" and big hazel eyes that opened and shut.

But I fell in love with my sister's doll, because she was chocolate brown and chubby like my sister, and had an afro like me. Though her painted eyes never blinked, she could wet! I made "do" with Bunny until I had the bright idea to give her an afro, sitting her down for a hair cut the way Poppy always did with me. I trimmed, I shaped, I styled, and went to bed. The next morning I realized that Bunny didn't have an afro--she had a mohawk--and at that point she promptly lost the remaining vestiges of any appeal she'd held.

I wrapped her head in a shred of a pink chiffon scarf, and then proceeded to convince my two-year-old sister that we should swap dolls. I was doing her a favor by trading her the better doll... see how you could change her hairstyle with the flip of a wig? The Professor was doubtful, but she trusted me, poor baby, and went along with it till she got smarter about a year later. Then she wanted Susie back, but it was a no-go. "Too late!" I said. The window for a trade-back had long since passed, and besides by now the Prof had several dolls and I only had the one. Which was true; I am and have always been a "one-trick" (um, read "obsessive") pony and if there were other dolls given to me over the years, they were always given to sis or ignored... because the only doll I ever played with was Susie.

We fought over Susie for the next 8 years, sometimes with fists. I gave her back when I got my first period, but by then her head had come off and sis largely ignored her. Somewhere in our teens, I took Susie back and she has lived with me, naked and headless, ever since. She sits on my computer desk at home, next to her head. One of these days I will see if the New York Doll Hospital can fix her; glue didn't work.

A few years ago, I found Baby Nancy on eBay... in her original outfit, in her original box. I won her--cost me almost $60--and gave her back to sis, who has forgiven me, I think though the subject is still a testy one.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Um, Yeah!

I haven't done one of these in a bit...

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

Boring day. I got here at almost 10A (what a slacker I am!) mainly due to having to meet up with the Diva so she could watch the Sun for me today.

Then I sat here and put final touches on my New Look.

Then I went across the street and saw Poppy, and reminded him that he and the Prof had a meeting today with my lawyer.

Then I went and put my shoes in the shoemaker ($20!!! Sheesh! It used to cost no more than $5 for some taps!).

Then I went and got my toes done. Smeared the little toes on the way out cuz I REALLY had to go back to work--it was 3PM. No worries; I'd brought my own polish so I'll touch them up later.

So now sitting here, writing this post! The Prof and Poppy are on their way to see Lawyer. My stomach is in knots.

(This is ridiculous. I have a job and nothing to do!)

Afterwards, the Diva will meet me at the hair dresser's with The Sun. Hopefully she took his braids out--I paid her too. I'll let Yomari wash his hair and maybe the Prof can braid it again before the end of the week.

This court thing is killing me. I got two hours of sleep last night, and don't even feel it...

BigBear news: She called me from China last night--the first time I've spoken to her since she left. She got her back. She said China (Taiyuan, I guess, is where she is now) reminds her of Flushing, NY. That's funny! But she said the pollution is awful. She did OK at the competition, but she's learned TONS. When she called, it was 10P last night, but to her, it was already today! That is such a freaky thought... you are literally having a conversation with someone in the future. Makes me get goosebumps...

A New Look...

I write a lot of crap. It helps me to stay sane, but it helps me even more to think that someone is "listening". But people won't "listen" and will lose interest if they can't really "hear"... if the message is garbled in some way. So because of that I tried to "clean up" the blog format this weekend. It was looking to me like the sections weren't clearly defined. I also added tags ("Sift Through The Crap In My Head" section in the sidebar) so that you can sort posts by different subjects. I hadn't thought I needed to do that, but then when I started posting my old diary, I decided it might be helpful if folks want to "weed" out all the other crap. Plus, I think I'll be posting more photos, and hopefully more drawings, and then folks can just pull up those things.

The best thing is that I got my purple back. So that makes me happy.

Hope you all enjoy the new look!

Meanwhile, Back In The Day

Saturday, July 16, 1977

Got up about 6:45. Showered, dressed. Sat around. Had Sabbath Sermon, heard "Colgate Cavity Fighter's Club." They played a lovely "Lone Ranger" story -- how the Lone Ranger got Silver, his horse. Rested. Played Scrabble and Chinese Checkers with T. while listening to the races. Rather good day for me and C(harles) Hussey. Washed after eating supper. Put on pjs, went to bed.

Thank you, Mr.O, thank you.

I ate
  • Dinner: Orange quarters, sardine+sage+orange, sardine+butterbeans+curry sauce, yummy maizeflour+green banana pone bread; honey, red herring+peppers, 1/3 orange
  • Supper: Orange+?+sage+curry, corn bread
Yikes. I told you we ate a lot of sardines. ThreeHundredandFriggin'SixtyFive different ways. I should put a tag in just to amuse myself, to see how many of these posts contain the word "sardine".

hee hee, I kill me.

Charles Hussey was my first celebrity crush. He was, and apparently might still be, one of the most winningest racehorse jockeys in Jamaica. That ain't sayin' much... since overall there weren't that many. On Saturday, the radio would broadcast the horse races live from Caymanas Park, and I would sit and listen. After awhile I began to handicap the races, and pick the winners. Anything Hussey was riding was usually a pretty good bet, and there were only but so many horses at the track, unlike the U.S. where there literally thousands. When we first got back to the States, it was like Smorgasboard! But when I tried to keep up with the races, it was impossible. Too many tracks, too many horses, too many jockeys. Everything is bigger in America.

There was usually a "card" of 10 races I think. I remember once "winning" like 7 out of the 10. A great treat was to get the actual race card; sometimes they'd be floating around outside the betting parlours in Kingston or printed in the paper. I'd go through and circle my choices, deciding who to pick based on the jockey riding, the weight the horse was carrying, the track conditions that day and the horse's record. There was no one to bet with, but if I could have I would have won some bucks. Poppy freaked out eventually when he realized how seriously I took it, and banned me from listening to them but I'd sneak a listen by sitting under the window of his office. I could always read about them in the Sunday paper, comparing the posted results with my "bets" but 80% of the fun was listening to them.

One time I was listening to the races, and a horse collapsed and died there on the track. I'm pretty sure the horse's name was Hot Stuff. It was very sad.

The Colgate Cavity Fighter's Club came on every Saturday in the morning; 10A, I think. They would play "kids" songs like "Rubber Tree Plant", do little skits and broadcast radio plays from America--hence me listening to The Lone Ranger.

I found a picture of Poppy that I took; I think it's one of the first pictures I ever took. He let me use his Pentax. We were out back behind our house, facing Northeast. The top of that smelly lake would be behind the shrubs. Behind him is that mountain that was on the north side of our house.

Poppy in particular was known as "'Merican" and would go and hang out with the smokers in Ambrook Lane. Nobody ever bothered him. I went with him a couple of times. I don't think the Professor ever did... she was too little and besides, she was always Mama's baby.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Day in History

Friday, July 15, 1977

Got up at 6:35. Dressed, after washing up. Pops started to cook. Neal came. He was born on April 12th, has a brother in Queens, NY, USA. His mother gave us an Otahite apple each, his father gave pop a bunch of callalloo. Fed Greta & Guerly. Helped with fire. Ate. Rested. We heard "Strange Homecoming" before eating. Rested, Got up. Discussed opportunities and the poor with A-. Then heard "Dulci" in p.js after showering. Ate rice and fried red herring for supper.
I ate:
  • Breakfast: slice of red herring omelette, flour+maize meal+sardines foxfires, orange+banana chutney, 1 cup fever grass tea & honey.
  • Snack: 1/2 cup callalloo and maize meal soup
  • Dinner: foxfires, maizemeal+callalloo+green banana+rice soup
We must have had some money that day; we ate a lot. Either that or there was a walk to Biscayne that I didn't write about, since green banana was something we would have had to buy. Also, it was a Sabbath for us, the beginning of the "Feast of Tabernacles" (like it is today), which is why we had such a big breakfast.

Left to our own devices, I spent a lot of time in my head... note the use of the words "maize meal"... my word for cornmeal. That soup sounds good...

I had no concept of "Queens, NY, USA" back then. I remember it being so exotic. Too funny. Now, I know all about it... I'm also amused at my discussing "opportunities and the poor" with A- (she was the girl I mentioned in an earlier post who's father beat her). This was a direct result of our um, Socialist teaching back then, and also Jamaica's experiment at being a Socialist country. Later in the diary I list the names of the cats... one of them was "Red Sun". We read a lot of Chinese literature from the Mao days back then. Which is worth reading: ideas are ideas and can be good ones. It's people that screws everything up.

And Neal; I'd forgotten all about him. I think he was one of the kids that would periodically appear out of the brush and hang out with us. I vaguely remember having a crush on him. But I'm not sure. Speedy across the street; he was much cuter but he was also about 17 years old, and in Jamaica, 17 was "a man" so he was too old for me to have a crush on.