Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thursday September 29, 1977

Psalm 122

Don't remember too much about today. But Aunt Sinah called and said she'd found out about an exhibition for Saturday and Sunday. Mom layed out her things. I think we stayed home today.

Friday September 30, 1977

Psalm 123

Got up medium. Dressed. Went to find out about the exhibition. Had adventures, but got
through. Don't remember much after that.

Well, unfortunately I personally don't remember much about this at all.... I think it had to do with Aunt Sinah knowing my mom sewed and made things, and had found a craft fair for her. But I can't imagine/remember what she would have had to sell, seeing as how we had only been here a few weeks...

Friday, September 28, 2007

A "Beef"....

People are real quick to point out the "ghetto"... the garbage on the streets, run down buildings, stuff like that. I get annoyed by that, because collecting garbage is City function. Meaning... on The Rock, which is NOT the ghetto, Sanitation comes by two or three times a week and empties our fancy streetcorner cans. On 'Two-Five, those cans can be filled to overflowing.

On the Rock, you get ticketed if your garbage isn't properly sorted and placed on the curb on garbage day.

In the 'hood... even if the building is ticketed, even if the garbage sits out for days and days, if the building management doesn't clearly mark the designated garbage areas and /or doesn't send the fucking super to come put the garbage out, like in my mother's building, all that happens is the garbage piles up and gets funkier and funkier, the rats start living in it, and you can place a million calls to 3-1-1, and it will STILL sit there. But it's the tenants fault. The fault of the people in the hood.

The Doe Fund
has been downtown for years, street sweeping and maintaining garbage cans, but it was only until I started seeing young white man carrying Fairway shopping bags home to their families on Third Avenue and 116th street, or the Nanny Brigade invade Marcus Garvey Park, that I started seeing the Doe Fund workers on 'Two Five.

But whatever.

For the most part, people who were fortunate enough to own their own place in Harlem kept it clean, and I can attest that my "Uncly," my mother's building super until he was unceremoniously dumped by building management two years ago (with no explanation and no reason for it) took great pride in spotless hallways and well-contained and disposed of garbage.

But I can tell you one thing I DON'T see in the 'hood. And what I see a disgusting amount of, the minute I cross 97th street into the Upper East Side... dogshit smears on the sidewalk.

I don't get it. CURB YOUR FUCKING DOG!!!! That means, take your overbred, stroller-riding spoiled brat of a pet over to the fucking curb, and let the dog poop there. IN THE STREET. Yes... you pick it up. But you don't CLEAN IT UP. Consequently, on my way to or from work, or to or from lunch, I am constantly dodging shit stains. The fancy building supers come out in the morning and hose down the sidewalks... but by 10A there's already shit stains everywhere and by the time I go home, it's like a fucking minefield.

DON'T let Elliot the poodle squat in the middle of the sidewalk and piss or shit. Take the dog to the curb!!!!


Wednesday, September 28, 1977

Psalm 121

Got up medium. Dressed in my "Trident" long-sleeved shirt. Watched tv. Ate dinner. Then put on my new jumper, my yellow long-sleeve shirt. Went to Broadway Theater and saw "The Wiz." Came back. Ate supper. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O
I ate:
  • Carbonara
  • chocolate bar, 1/2 pretzel

I'm bettin' the pretzel was one of those giant, New York ones.

In the King James version, the beginning of the psalm of the day has always been one of my favorites, probably because of the mountains we could see in Jamaica...

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help."

So um, if you've been reading all along notice that this was the FIRST mention of what I was wearing? And that I changed? See what I mean? Priorities were already starting to change...

The Wiz was a great play. It was my first play ever and I had nothing to compare it to, but it was great. Stephanie Mills was in it when we went to see it. Little girl with a HUGE voice. And later on, when I cared about such things, I found out that Milton Glaser had designed the poster, which is still one of my favorites.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Reminder...

that sometimes I add photos to older posts, as I come across them.

If my history interests you enough to check, you can periodically click the "Added" tag over on the left there, to see what new photos pop up, though I really haven't added too many to date; a picture of the Professor with her puppy Baby, mainly. But today, I added a scan of my mother's appearance on the cover of Ebony Magazine. She was "almost seventeen." That cover resulted in a bunch of letters from horny men... some in the army... all who promised her love and devotion and marriage. It still amuses the piss out of me that she chose my father. I love him but he's "special."

Anyway, there should be some new Jamaica pix in the future. And I've decided that when I finish this year, I'll start next year by retyping the first half of 1977. Months and months of CrazyFamily entertainment to come!

Tuesday September 27, 1977

G. L. Walters "Speedy", "Nutsy", 1959
Psalm 120

Got up medium. Dressed. Aunt Sinah came to take us out. Went to the health food store, Papa's old school Fieldston. Went to Gimbels. Got some clothes. Then went to Aunt Ellen's house. She gave us some second hand clothes. Pops cooked, after we met Aunt Francis' mom. Saw Aunt Ellen's dog Snowball. Ate, washed dishes. Had our pix taken. Came back - late. Bathed. Went to bed at 1:00a.m. Thank you, Mr. O.

(Today is Speedy's birthday. Where ever you are, Happy Birthday!)

I saw Poppy yesterday and remarked how nice Aunt Sinah had been when we got to New York. It was quite a contrast from what we'd experienced in Chicago.

The reason Aunt Sinah had put us up at the Gramercy Park was because the Parents had said they wanted someplace they could cook... so of ALL THE PLACES in New York City, apparently that hotel was the only one Aunt Sinah could find. I hadn't mentioned the kitchenette in my description, but it had one; stove and fridge and everything. It would have saved all of us a lot of money, except Aunt Sinah patently refused to pay a monthly rate, and so she must have been paying out the ass on the daily rate. I remember her saying "well, what if you find a place?" She definitely had that PoppyFamily "stubbornness" trait. Once her mind was made up about something, there was absolutely NO way of changing her mind.

Hmmmm. Sounds familiar. Except I try to remind myself that things change, and that I should keep an open mind. I can't say I'm good at it, but I do try, mainly because I've seen how being doggedly stuck in one opinion can cause major problems.

But anyway.

My Grandfather W, Poppy and Aunt Sinah's father, had only managed a year of college due to various reasons. Mostly monetary ones. But he was adamant that both his kids be educated, and Aunt Sinah had gone to Ethical Culture (Fieldston's sister school) and then to Radcliffe. Her mother seems to have been a raging beeatch, and was quite proud of the fact that she didn't need a man. When the Army came to claim my Grandfather W for WWI, he had written to them that he didn't want to go as he had a wife and new baby daughter that needed him. His wife wrote the army back and said she didn't need him or any man--they could take him. So they did--and he shoveled horseshit out of stables behind the Calvary stationed in France. He was black, and until my other Grandfather came along and fought for the integration of the Army after WWII, black men weren't allowed to fight. (The irony of this little historical tidbit amuses the hell out of me. The other ironic thing is that Sinah's mother ran a boardinghouse for young black men who had gotten into Harvard. And my greatgrandfather--my mother's grandfather--had been one of her tenants.)

When Grandfather W came back, I guess the bitterness over the army thing caused them to break apart, and he ended up falling for my grandmother, who was an assistant at the newspaper where he was editor and considerably younger than he was.

Around the same year my father was born, Aunt Sinah got pregnant and her mother arranged for her to have the babygirl in secret and give her up for adoption. I suppose it goes to show the determination of my Aunt's character--or the forcefulness of her mother--that allowed her to continue college and go on to be fairly successful in her life. But Aunt Sinah never married, never had any other children after that. And she never told a soul--not even her best friend Ellen, about the baby.

So I guess that Aunt Sinah sort of substituted us for grandchildren she would have had, had her life been different.

Years and years later, after my Aunt had passed, her will executed and settled (she was very generous to the Professor and I) and we had all moved on, my mother got a phone call from Ellen, who still had some of my Aunt's things. She had found out about the baby--and not only was there a name, but it seems that the baby had been placed with someone Aunt Sinah and her mother knew, and that Aunt Sinah had kept abreast of the baby's progress throughout the years. But she never made contact, never interfered, and in her generous will never even named the family or the baby. She literally took that secret to her death.

My sister took the name and looked it up in the phone directory, and turns out CousinBabyGirl--my father's age--lived TEN BLOCKS AWAY from where we grew up in Harlem. Had lived there all her life.

My sister called her, and Cousin had been looking for her mother but had been sent on a wild goose chase, believing that her mother was white because she was sort of red and sandy colored. "Um, no" sis told her. We arranged to meet Cousin in the library nearest my parent's apartment. She got there first. When we all walked in, she stood up. My neck prickled--she was my Aunt's spitting image. Right down to her penchant for large expensive handbags and beautiful scarves tied over her hair when she went out.

But... all that knowledge came later. All I knew on this day 30 years ago was that we were being treated like RockStars. After being treated like red-headed-stepchildren just days prior. No wonder I'm crazy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dude! Are You Out There, Snooping???

(This one's for you, Boss....)

Bigbird resigned today. Well, yesterday, seeing as it's 3AM now. (I'm not sleeping again but that's another post.)

Well, at least I'm fairly certain she resigned... Co-Worker called me on my cell from the staircase or something, to tell me BigBird had told her. And then there was lots of shutting of doors.

So... to tally:

(1) BK had fired a pressperson early in the game, causing
(2) a second pressperson to quit.
(3) Then, the first webteam leader (who I swear was passing for white/denying her darker roots) quit.
(4) The gentle writer who sat in a cube next door to me quit and finally,
(5) Co-Worker quit.

This is all in the mere 6 months I've been there. Now, BK has hired replacements for the two presspeople, and the webteam leader, and an assistant for herself. But the rumor is that BK is firing her new assistant on Friday, when she makes 3 months. But hmmm, I wonder if she'll fire her now that Big Bird has quit.

There was also a rumor circulating today that BK, a PhD in psychology, once broke up a marriage to see if she could do it. HA HA! I can devise devious plots... but I never execute. Well, not anymore. That's pure evil, right there, to break up a marriage just because.

The other morning the office manager, who's NOT EXACTLY someone I trust, though I like her well enough, told me how she didn't like being BK's bitch when BK didn't have an assistant, and when BK decided she didn't like her new assistant, began pulling the office manager into her clutches. OfficeMgr says that if BK fires her assistant, and wants OfficeMgr to come do her bidding, OfficeMgr will quit. She also encouraged me to go down to Labor Relations and complain. Not that they've done a damn thing about it except file it...

BigBird quitting is a pretty big deal... she's the editor of our little newsletter. Shit should probably hit the fan.... cuz the little newsletter is BK's pride and joy. As opposed to all of the other things she could be paying attention to.

It's a veritable Soap Opera in here... only without the sex. As far as I know, nobody's really doing anybody... ok, maybe one or two but they're not high up on the food chain so it doesn't really count....

Monday, September 26, 1977

Psalm 119

Got up medium. Dressed. Me, Mom T. went to the store. Found a health food store. Came back. Ate. Rested. Watched TV. Put on pjs. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

The health food store was called "Panacea." I still have the business card... it's the bookmark I use to keep my place in the diary.

I have many happy memories of Panacea, and ever since then, even though I don't frequent healthfood stores all that much... I have a fondness for them--the smell, for one. The old-fashioned ones have that "vitamin" smell.

I think in an odd sort of way, the healthfood store was comfortable and familiar, because of the backpack we'd found in Jamaica right before we left. The backpack had contained several books dealing with healthy foods and herbs, things I had never heard of before. But in the healthfood store, they had all those odd things, like sassafras root and goldenseal.

The psalm for the day, 119, is the longest in the book of Psalms. We used to dread when it came up on a Saturday, the Sabbath, cuz it meant we had to sit through the whole thing...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's Rant....


I have wide calfs. Superwide. You wouldn't know it to look at me, cuz overall I'm not that big (though still bigger than I used to be), but I've got big legs. I come from a big-leg family. Matter of fact, clothes-whore that Grandma was, I don't even think SHE had knee-high boots. She had big legs, too. They ain't jiggly, neither. I walk a lot, always have, and I walk pretty fast. So mostly my calfs are muscular.

Any boot that's worth having are made for chicks with toothpick legs. Why is that? Those sexy stilletto boots? Can't get them past my upper ankle, even if they claim to stretch. Zip boots. HA HA! Even on "wide calf" boots from Eddie Bauer, or the ONE pair of knee-high boots I own, my "stretch" platform boots from Sketcher, it takes me at least 15 minutes of sweating and flexing to force my legs in them. And once they're in... there they must stay until end-of-day, or I'll never get them back on again.

So I go searching for "superwide" boots and come up with sinfully ugly, "pleather" boots where the heels are set back on the boot. I hate that. Or "kitten" heels that are 1" high and set right under the heel. Blech!

I want these, dammit!
and I want them in cream or snakeskin. And I'll never have them. Even if I lost weight I wouldn't fit them... when I was young and Pre-Sun and weighed 124 lbs, I STILL couldn't get my legs in those boots....

And I've found some place in the UK that makes wide leg, sexy boots. And they cost a life's fortune.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 25, 1977

Psalm 118

Got up medium. Dressed. We went to Aunt Francises house. We met 3 mulatto kids. They were nice because they had hardly any money.

The weekly summary merely said:

A good week. Saw our grandfather.

I don't think we were at Aunt Francis's house. I think I got the names confused. I think the person we went to visit was my Aunt's friend Ellen, who lived in an old Tudor in New Rochelle. Her son, who I'm pretty certain was dead (have to check the fact when Bigbear is awake) had married a French woman, and the kids I mentioned were Ellen's grandkids. They *were* nice... and they *didn't* have a lot of money. But now that I'm older I don't think one had anything to do with the other....

End of Phase 3

Monday, September 19, 1977
Psalm 113

Got up medium. Dressed. Waited around. We each had a 1/2 cup coffee. Pops went out I think. Anyhow went to A&P, all 3 of us (mom-me, T.) Pops stayed home and packed. Came back. Ate. watched T.V. Rested. Pops went to McDonald's to eat (he didn't give us any). Went to bed.

Thank you, Mr. O.

Hmm. The McDonald's thing must have annoyed me since I wrote about it. I wonder how come Poppy didn't give us any.

Tuesday, September 20, 1977
Psalm 114

Got up medium. Dressed. We went to the bank to cash T.'s bond. Had some problems and had to contact Papa T. Got T's bond cashed. Went to Sears. Got winter coats for me & T. Came back. Ate. Rested. Papa T. came. It was alright. I felt nervous. Our Grandmother is real wicked. He left. Going to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

If I remember correctly, the coats were red. Winter. We had no clue what we were in for, ha ha! And yes... our Grandmother had issues. We didn't see her for some quite some time after this....

Wednesday, September 21, 1977
Psalm 115

Got up medium. Dressed. Packed. Went to A&P and Sears. Came back. A nice, tall, brown bald-headed, basketball playing Taxi Cab driver drove us pass the lake and the Buckingham Fountain and to the train station. Played pinball, ate popcorn. Boarded the train at 2:30p.m. Rested. * Ate dinner. Went to sleep. Thank you, Mr. O, Thank you.
*Saw man playing a banjo on the train in the club car. We ate:
  • Breakfast: Popcorn, peanuts, plums
  • Snack: cracker jacks, peanuts
  • Dinner: Corn chips, chicken spread, lettuce, tomato, prunes, dried fruit, peaches, 1 banana, peanuts.
I must have been depressed those two weeks in the Zanzibar motel. That was the most I'd written in weeks--I even included the food. We left Chicago without saying goodbye to anyone. And the reason the cab driver earned such a detailed description was that I remember him realizing we hadn't seen anything of Chicago the whole time we were there. So he made a point of pointing out the fountain.

Grandma was a bitch, for sure.

Thursday, September 22, 1977
Psalm 116

Got up medium. Dressed. Had a snack. Met a girl from Iran who spoke very little English. She was nice. She said that she was a Muslim. Even though we didn't get Aunt Sinah on the phone, she was there to meet the train. She's not very pretty, but dresses well, is very smart, doesn't smoke, has cancer of the throat, but has 3 years to live (Dr. says) and has a fab. car. Went shopping. Came back. Ate. Went to bed.

We ate:
  • Breakfast: Corn chips
  • Dinner: Rice, lettuce+celery+olive oil salad, beef burgers, relish, mustard.
  • Dessert: dates, peanuts
"New York, New York. Jus' like I pictured it!"
We had no frame of reference though. Where Chicago was cold and spread out, New York was heated and vertical.

And Aunt Sinah was cool. She fought my father tooth and nail about everything. She walked around my mother... we found out later she'd been in correspondence with Grandma. But she loved us. It wasn't that she was warm and mushy, but there was something about her that I "got"... and she "got" me, too. She lived quite a few years longer than the docs gave her.

She was a scientist. She had worked for the Atomic Energy Commission, analyzing the effects of radiation on people. She had also worked on a vaccine.... smallpox or measles or something (I have to look it up) and published papers on it, but got no respect whatsoever. Matter of fact, she had been bounced out and forced into early retirement right around the time we got to New York, about which she was exceedingly bitter.

And that car. It as a 1965 limited edition Mercedes Benz convertible coupe. Basically a two-seater, with a gold body and a black rag top. She often said that when we she was too feeble to drive, she'd stop living. And that's pretty much what happened.

Friday, September 23, 1977
Psalm 117

Got up medium. Dressed. We're in the Gramercy Park Hotel. We ladies share a big bed, Pops has his own. We have a colour T.V., a sofa, 2 arm chairs, 1 coffee table, lamps all over the place, air conditioner, radiator, desks, chests of drawers, chairs. Aunt Sinah came for us. Drove around. Shopped. Aunt Sinah gave us books. I got "Sea Star". Came back. Ate. Put on p.j's. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, Thank you.

We ate:
  • Breakfast: Prunes, peanuts
  • Dinner: Spaghetti + egg+beef salami (fried), carbonara, lettuce and olive oil + celery
  • Dessert: dates, peanuts
See, this is why I said Aunt Sinah "got me." She found out quickly the things we liked... she knew I loved horses, so she got me that book (I still have it). The Professor loved dogs... she got her a sticker/coloring book about dog breeds. When she found out I liked to draw, she brought me a drawing pad and water color pencils. A hell of a lot more time than Grandma took.

Saturday, September 24, 1977
Psalm 117

Got up late. Dressed. Talked. Had Sabbath School. Watched T.V. Ate lunch. Rested, fussed. Read "Sea Star". Watched a rodeo. Aunt Sinah called. It's 6:15pm. Going to put on p.j.'s. watch T.V. eat, and go to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, Thank you.

We ate:
  • Dinner: Beans+sardines+tomato+lettuce+olive oil, Triscuits, chicken spread, mustard, peanuts, figs, corn chips.
So now, were in New York. I guess that's the end of the Jamaica Story (Phase 3--Phase 1 being New York, Phase 2 being Paris), but the very beginning of the New York story. I pause here, people, because from this point forward, my whole perspective begins to change. The things I write about or make note of are WAY different than the things I made note of in Jamaica.

And one of these days I've got back track to explain how we got to Jamaica in the first place... and maybe at some point I'll post the first half of 1977. Or maybe y'all will just have to wait for the book...

Hey, P.S. since I added a link to the Gramercy Park Hotel. When we were there, it wasn't a "boutique" hotel, but it was still quite a few cuts above the Zanzibar Motel.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And Now, Back To Our Story...

The story so far... The Fam and I left Jamaica on August 31, 1977. We landed in Miami, and the following morning got on a train and went to Chicago, where my mother's people were from. We weren't warmly received... The grandparents and Poppy got into an argument, mainly because Grandma didn't want us to stay with *her* friend. So Grandpa put us up in the Zanzibar Motel where we cold food and watched color TV for two weeks, acclimating to the new environment. If you're new to this blog and want to know the rest of the story, click the tag on the right that says "Living La Vida Low Budget" or "1977".

Wednesday, September 14, 1977
Psalm 108

Got up medium. Dressed. Waited for Pop. Then all four of us went to Sears after going to the bank (the bank was closed). Came back. Went to another bank. I let Pop $241. Went to Sears. Got Mom and Pop shoes. I gave T. 12c. Went to A&P. Came back. Rested Ate. Watched TV. Ate supper, after putting on pj's. Went to bed. Watched a little boxing. Saw M. Ali. He's funny. Thanks, Mr. O.

Thursday, September 15, 1977
Psalm 109

Got up medium. Showered. Dressed. Talked. Had school. Ate, rested. Watched TV. Rested. In the evening, Mom , T and I went to A&P. Came back. Put on pj's. Ate supper. Watched TV, went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

Friday, September 16, 1977
We get our luggage
Psalm 110

Got up medium. Dressed. 12+12 warm-ups. Watched a TV show, looked over our diaries. Talked to a little girl named Roshea. She was 13. Watched TV, then went to A&P. Came back. Ate Rested. All four of us went to Mrs. Ming's house to get our things. Met my cousin George Marshall. Came back. Put on PJs. Watched TV. Pops got tacos. Went to bed. Thank you Mr. O.

Ah. Notice how "Aunt Irvena" became "Mrs. Ming".

Saturday, September 17, 1977
Psalm 111

Got up medium. Showered. Dressed. Had Sabbath School. Watched TV. Ate. Rested. Watched T. Rested. Put our pj's. Pops got supper - Tacos (without cheese) went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, Thank you.

Sunday, September 18, 1977
Psalm 112

Got up medium. Dressed. All four of us went to A&P. Came back. Watched TV. Ate lunch. Rested. Had a fight. Ended in our going to bed at 6 o'Clock. But we still--Pop let us see "The Six Million Dollar Man." Went to sleep.

Thank you, Mr. O, thank you.

And the weekly summary said:

A good week. We got a call from Aunt Sinah. She seems nice.

Aunt Sinah was my father's half-sister in New York. She was 21 years older than he was, having been the product my Grandfather W's first marriage.

Friday, September 21, 2007

'Scuse Me While I Imitate Pierre Bernard...

I love and frequently watch Conan O'Brien, and one of my favorite segments is "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage." It's amusing to watch this puny-looking little guy rant about things that don't often have anything to do with graphic design. I just like it that like me, he's furiously opinionated. And a graphic designer.

Here's my rant of the day:

EVERY MUFUCKA WITH A MAC thinks he's a freakin' graphic designer. Any asshole with Microsoft Publisher or Powerpoint swears they're a graphic designer.

Bitch, I went to school for this shit. I lost sleep over this shit. I stood up in front of 8-10 other students with varying abilities, all eagerly ripping my shit to shreds in anticipation of getting the professor's nod of approval. And before I went to school for it, I made it my business to learn from the old schoolers, the greats, the ones who KNOW HOW TO DO A FUCKING MOCK UP BY HAND, BITCH! Before there was Quark or Photoshop drop shadows.

And now cuz BK made you acting art director, you get to tell me to Center everything and underline it? Or cuz you have "MD" after your name that makes you a designer????

"I would like this to look like an ZZZZ "ad" that also recognizes key {XXXX} leadership. The emphasis in the revised layout is on {hospital} leadership, so I would prefer that the ZZZZ director and staff go upper left and {hospital} leadership lower right. I would also shrink the headshots slightly and expand the group shot. I dont like tiny faces in a group shot when there are great expanses of unused white space and a different layout would permit the group photo to be a bit larger. That said, the 'cleaned up' version with nicer fonts and logos is much improved, and if Marketing feels strongly that, on balance, this is the preferred layout,
I would not object strenuously. Indeed, I very much appreciate Marketing's help here at the 11th hour. "
---Dr. Bigshot


Bitch Ass Punk mofuggas.

Yes, I do really talk like that....

Oh, and the Ad is due TODAY at 5PM. With shitty headshots.

Seriously, I need to get the fuck out of here....



My face has exploded again, my hair needs a serious wash (gonna sneak off to the hairdresser's at lunch), and I'm tired as hell. And I hate my fucking job. Rather, I hate the people on my fucking job, except for the one who's in Italy and the one who's last week is next week. And BigGirl. She's a sweetheart.

Periodically, I have moments of panic; I need to get out of here. But the fucking student loans hold me hostage. The thing about this place is that it is SO convenient to the Sun's school, I get to see Poppy more often than I would otherwise, the pay is comfortable and I have benefits. I'm making a little headway in my debt, though not a hell of a lot.

But I know this isn't going to work long-term.... the BigKahuna is evil incarnate. No, seriously.... there are some people who are bad, some people who are dumb, some people who fuck up because they are in over their heads... but this chick. She's something else. She has a PhD in psychology, so she knows how to fuck with people. And she has destroyed the department. So even if they fire her, which is unlikely, there's nothing here to salvage. The Vampyre is definitely in line to be headbitch.... mainly cuz she's as evil and sneaky and remorseless.

They don't scare me or make me fearful. I don't quake before I come here, like I've done at other places. I just know that one day one of them is going to come at me with some bullshit, and I'll lose my patience. And I just don't want to be bothered. Life is too short.

Plus, I'm not really doing anything. I can "do nothing" on my own time, in my own house, singing along to Aretha Franklin or Billie Holiday, with the sun streaming through my living room windows. Or hanging out with Fat Lady and Lilac Blue or One Half. Or Bigbear. People I like. Instead of people who annoy the fuck out of me. Smarmy ass-kissers.

But I need a structure of some sort, and not one of my own, because I am lazy and probably have some ADHD myself, and I can easily get lost in the sunshine and Aretha Franklin unless somebody gives me a deadline.

The Florida craze has sort of passed.... as much as I LOVED Florida, I am a New Yorker. I need schmutz and fire engine sirens and housing projects. I need El Barrio and Harlem and Chinatown. Although those places probably won't be around for much longer.... but there's still Castle Hill and Zerega for now. So I'm guessing I'm here for now, but I have to figure out how to pay these bills.

Then there's the man thing. I've resolved myself that I am to be single. I think the soulmate thing has passed me by... which is OK. Today, anyway, it's OK. Don't get me wrong... holy cow but the Sugarcube is an awful lot of fun. Shit. I get giggly just thinking about it. But he's a loooooong way from anything serious, and I care about him enough to know he deserves to grow up on his own time. Not that he's childish... not by a longshot. Cuz I've been thinking about it, and "age"--the physical number of years you've been on this planet in the current physical body--doesn't have a whole lot to do with it. But there is such a thing--and it just hit me--as "SoulYears." Like Dog or Cat Years, they accumulate at a different rate. Or like the Jewish Calendar they span over a greater period of time than the current standard. In Soulyears, SugarCube isn't quite as old as me, and I know he's got some obstacles to get over to give him some perspective. I have to say though, that so far I'm really impressed. In a human-watching sort of way, ,I really hope that he continues on in his current path cuz he'll be dynamite someday. But I may be too far ahead of him on that path, and there may not ever be a point where we're closer together. But you never can tell.

Sort of an odd feeling for me. Usually, I become obsessed/consumed with the object of my affections, and begin to panic when I think they're pulling away. And it would certainly be disappointing if I have to give the Sugarcube up in the very near future and I won't say I won't feel badly. But I don't feel obsessed this go round. Maybe because, with my own maturity, I've come to recognize that I really DO pick up on other people's mental shit, and I really CAN feel where they are in their head. Which means that it's not MY shit and not MY confusion, which is an extremely liberating thing to realize.

So, the other day I knew he was going to come over. And planned my day accordingly, without ever really talking to him. But today, my friend is muddled, and I can feel him backpeddling. But I know it doesn't have a lot to do with me... I know he doesn't want to get too close just yet--to anybody. And it's OK, (today anyway) cuz I don't know that I'm really ready myself. Ultimately, I would love to have what my parents have, what UNN1 had. But I also think some people are more "transient" in their love lives, and I may be such a person. I'm OK with loving more than one person in my lifetime--I've already loved a few. Love is a good thing.

Last night I went upstairs again to visit UNN1. She said it would be a long time before she felt "right" again, but she's peaceful. She's sleeping in her own bed, the bed where Kip died, because she said there is no pain up there. She showed me pictures of their life together... they were so joyous. He loved her so much. In all the pictures, almost every one, his eyes were on her. He was bold, and darkly handsome. And she was such a pixie -- a tiny slip of a girl with a pointed face and a big attitude. They only ever loved each other.

I know that it wasn't always easy for them; Kip had been an alcoholic for a time, and definitely had those dark voices creative people have. They had lean years when he stopped being able to dance and they ate lots of hamburger meat... because that was what was cheap back then. They fought. He was a tad bit domineering. But he loved her and respected her. And I watch her now, in the very beginning of continuing on in her life, and she can do it because she had love for so long. She is secure in that. And that's got to be a good thing... if I wish for anything in life, that feeling of security would be a good thing.

But for now, I still have to grab a hold of my self. I'm still recovering from BronxFamilyCourt. We still have to get this visitation thing settled... and it could go either way, but we're closer to something than I ever thought possible. At least the custody thing is done. But I wish I felt more anchored. Or on a clear path to something, and I don't quite feel that way yet. And I don't think I'm going to get the man-thing right until I feel anchored.

I have to get back to La Vida Low Budget: I checked my diary the other night, and the Fam was still sitting in the Zanzibar Motel, so we haven't missed anything. I have to get back to drawing or painting, but I am taking a lot of pictures around the hospital. Perhaps I should put some up (I just did)...
The Hug

The Sun and I have pretty much been up and out of the house on time for much of the week; two days we've missed commuting with the Moon and Shoefly but neither of those days was because I was being a slut; the Sun came down with a cold and has been moving slowly. But next week we need to get back to getting out early cuz it means I leave this Hellhole early. I HATE sitting around this bitch...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Missing Mr. Kip

I told my mom the other day that although I loved and respected my grandfather, and I missed him when he passed, I didn't know him ALL that well... and besides, there were issues. Plus, he lived in another city.

But Kip is different. I told neighbor yesterday evening that missing Kip is affecting both the Sun and I... I find myself walking around with a deep, dull ache. It's an odd feeling... I've never experienced this before. We've been blessed in our little bubble of a family to have not experienced the death of a loved one, or someone very close to us in quite a while.

I'm not distraught, I still haven't cried. I find an amazing sense of peace in the way he went and because we had talked about it with him, and I knew he wanted to go, there is no anger about his leaving. Maybe that's it... You can't argue with someones decision when they have been adamant about what they want. You accept their decision even if you don't like it or agree with them.

In my mind's eye, I keep seeing his face in death, and because there was no strain, and because I've seen him asleep on the couch countless times, there's not much difference between Kip asleep and Kip dead. And this is also odd to me. My last memory of him won't be one of pain or suffering, but there is an air of finality. "That's it, then. We're all finished here."

Last night, we went upstairs to visit UNN1, and I was amused that UptairsMom, who hadn't been downstairs in weeks (the Neighbors have a duplex apartment), was downstairs, in her chair, eating fairly heartily. She's 89. Again I sat in Kip's seat, with the Sun on my lap (wow, he's heavy) I could hear Kip saying "I told you she'd outlive me."

UNN1 had been going through pictures to assemble for the memorial and while it was so sad to see Kip in his Coast Guard uniform, or Kip laying on the beach, or laughing with his friends or being silly, it was so nice to see him in his prime, with his dark hair and full captain's beard, to see how much in love he was with his cute little bride, and what a good life they had. I asked UNN1 if I could post a picture on my blog and she said I could, so in a few days I'll add it.

The Sun misses him; it's harder on him when we go upstairs and Kip isn't there, but generally in his day-to-day, life goes on. But when we're upstairs he gets really quiet.

I told UNN1 I still can't imagine life without him. I told her I didn't know how to "be" and so I didn't even know what to offer other than continuing life as we've always done it; going to work and school and karate, or violin, but that if she needs anything just call.

And UNN1 is OK. She's sad but I noticed the brightness in her voice was creeping in, and she was eating a good salad when we came up. But I can't imagine how she must feel; faced with a good stretch of life without him, and rearranging her home and her life. I restrain myself from asking her just yet "What will you do now? Where will you go? Will you stay?" because I know she doesn't even know that yet.

I thought to myself, it almost makes you never want to fall in love knowing that one day you could be faced with the ultimate parting. But on the other hand, Kip's death has made me less afraid of just loving... what's the worst that could happen? A break-up? And I've been through several awful ones... but the thing is you break up for a reason. But losing a loved one to death--that's a whole other ball game. Yet, when you've lost them to death you are confident in the love that was there--so maybe that make it easier to bear, in a strange way?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Life, Death and Love

It's been a minute, since I wrote, which I hadn't intended. My goal was to write something every day here. It's been an interesting few days though.

I was ready to completely give up on the Sugarcube, but right is right and wrong is wrong, and feelings is feelings and the bottom line is I got feelings. Which is sort of dumb that I have them--there is so much time and space between he and I... and I'm not sure why I have feelings although I do notice that I haven't completely been consumed by them, like I usually am. Which is a good thing.

The deal was a noncommittal type thing... which I'm OK with in theory, as long as its just us being non-committed. I was clear on the fact that I was going to have problems if there got to be other people in the picture on a regular basis, particularly meaning "one" person. Well, of course, another person entered the picture and the other person is more his age than mine. Which on the surface I'm cool with. I personally think that the Sugarcube got jacked up in his previous relationship and roped into something that he shouldn't have been roped into by someone who knew better. Now that he's free, and a little older, I wholeheartedly think that it's only fair he get to play with children his own age. At least that's what I thought....

Till I got a look at her. It happened by accident. I was beastly annoyed cuz I think I should have been warned... a text message saying "Hey, I'm sorry but I have company" would have been sufficient. The way things are, a meeting would have been completely unavoidable, but I can handle most things when I'm warned. And I can be undercover. But I walked in, and there she was... and it wasn't so much that she was YOUNG... but she was SKANKY and young, and I was mad as hell to be placed in the same category. So I resolved to cut him off. That was Wednesday or so.

The resolve to cut him off lasted till Saturday... but what made me stop to think is that long before anything happened with us I liked him because I felt he was a good guy; and I do still feel that way. And I am of the jaded and exceedingly bitter opinion that nice guys are truly few and far between. My generation is a complete loss--as I've said elsewhere the good ones have long since been taken and the rest are gay. But Sugarcube's got a babymama. And right is right and wrong is wrong, and I haven't liked the bitch since I first met her.... LONG before there was anything at all between he and I. I didn't feel that she respected him, and she certainly wasn't supportive of what he was trying to build.

Let me say again that I am extremely jaded. Bitter. More bitter than even I let on. The thought of getting involved with anybody for any reason gives me serious heart palpitations. I have wondered if I ever *could* get involved with anybody; if I would be able to accept any man for himself, without projecting TF's bullshit on him--as well as all the other bullshit I've heard and seen through the years. Till Sugarcube. And amazingly, in this piece of babydrama, I'm on his side.

I had to stop to think about that yesterday. Babymama is playing phone games, and so Sugarcube hadn't spoken to his kid in a day or so. Now... I've been on the receiving end of COUNTLESS back-to-back calls "WHERE'S MY SON!" "Have MY SON call me". "You worthless piece of shit, you're not letting my talk to MY SON, {snarl snarl snarl}!" Etcetera. Mind you... we're talking about these calls in the space of say... a few hours. Maybe a day or so. When my grandfather died and we were in Chicago, an hour behind ourselves and running around like crazy trying to scrape up money to bury the man (I bought his urn off of eBay cuz it was $65 for something the funeral home was going to charge $600 for) I wasn't purposely keeping the Sun from calling his dad... and his father knew we were in Chicago and why. So I felt the seven nasty messages I got in two days was a little unreasonable on his part.

But according to him, Babymama had instructed Sugarcube not to call the house OR the cell. I asked him "according to her rules, just when exactly are you able to talk to the kid?" and there wasn't an allowance for that. He sounded so sad that I was THIS close to second-guessing myself about TF. I was THIS CLOSE to sending TF an email, apologizing for any distress he may have felt, and offering a truce and maybe peace. But I ain't that dumb and I've learned to check myself when I start feeling sympathetic to TF, so I emailed Lawyer. I asked her if she'd had any success about getting TF to agree on a visitation schedule.

Lawyer wrote back that while she thought it "very admirable" of me to try to break the ice, she cautioned strongly that I should be VERY careful in my outreach, because by trying to include him on daily problems I may be having with the Sun (like Homework!), I could be opening up a big can of worms. That I could be giving him something to latch on to and complain about. That made laugh because it's nice to be reminded NO, it wasn't all me. He's fucking crazy.

In the meantime, my friend Beautiful Hair turned 40. My friend is the kindest woman in America, devoid of any racist tendencies, and just overall calm. When I think of her I think of the word "Zen." We got to be friends when we both worked at a now long-defunct local talk radio station. She had a short dark hairdo back then, which was a very Hispanic '80's style, and she had a mild accent that I couldn't place and a very ordinary last name. I couldn't figure out what she was, so finally one day I asked her:"What the hell are you?" She laughed. "I'm white". But because this is America "white" means Italian-French-Canadian-Iriquois white. From Queens.

She's the youngest of 9 children, all born within 10 years of each other. I've often joked that her family is the like the UN ; there's about one of everything in her family; Filipino, African-American/West Indian American, Dominican, Puerto Rican. This is what contributes to her absolute racelessness--so much so that I found myself ranting to her one day about "white people"... and in her usual kind way, she merely laughed when I stopped myself.

If there's a homeless person anywhere in her vicinity, he can count on a dollar from her. As a matter of fact, the Professor and I, and Beautiful Hair's sister all went out Saturday night to celebrate, going down to what used to be the East Village (now some trendy shit that I wasn't totally comfortable in. The diversity and funk is all gone now...). We were walking down First Ave, and a group of children stopped us, asking us to buy candy. It was about 10PM. Both my sister and I were on the verge of asking what these kids were doing out on the street selling candy but before we could even whip around, Beautiful Hair was in the process of buying almost all of their stock. We bought most of the rest. The kids were delighted.

We had to fight her to pay the dinner tab, but in the end she managed to get the after-dinner-drink tab.

My friend. We've been friends for so long now, probably almost 20 years. We've supported each other through good and bad relationships, family emergencies, pregnancy. She was my choice for a birth partner when TF reneged on me. She was the person I called when my water broke. She's been a far better friend to me than I've been to her over the years... because like my sister, she puts up with my rants, narcissistic tendencies, and the fact that I regularly tell her what to do (though lately I've been much better about that, I think). Yet she's always my biggest cheerleader, the one to say "It'll be fine, hon. You can do it."

And talking to her on Saturday, I decided I wouldn't quite cut Sugarcube out of the picture, because of the friendship part. The other stuff... in the end it will be what it is, and while it probably won't be a repeat of the Ashton-Demi fairy tale, I've been through what he's about to go through, and it's a shitty road to travel alone. I've wondered elsewhere on this blog about why you let some people under your skin and not others, but the fact is he got under my skin so there he'll have to stay until he's not. Yeah, I know I waffle. I know I'm a sucker for a pretty face and some attention but at least I'm honest about it.

The thing is, life is so fleeting. On the one hand, there is that tendency in me to bring down those metal gates and I've done that for a long time. I'm really, frighteningly good at it. For awhile, at the height of my tumultuous relationship with TF there was so much locked down that I felt nothingness. But it's a weird sort of nothingness, because underneath the surface of that nothingness is all this feeling. Pain you know will swallow you up. Love you know will overtake you. Rage you know can make you blind. It can be so much safer to not feel anything, yet, feeling everything is sort of growing on me.

Because the last part of this post, the most important part, is that Mr. Kip died. He was Upstairs Neighbor Number 2, the husband of Upstairs Neighbor Number 1. He died in his sleep, at home in his bed, after UNN1 left for work yesterday morning.

Mr. Kip was a Broadway Dancer, a song-and-dance-man. He was never a "leading man" because his face was an untraditionally handsome one, full of character. He was 16 years older than UNN1, and had been friends with her brother who was also in the theater. Mr. Kip had gone to South Africa with a production and there he met UNN1, barely in her 20's. In two weeks or so, they married and he brought her to America.

It's the ultimate love story. How two worlds, literally worlds apart, would collide by chance and fall in love with each other, and stay in love for 38 years. Both of them had had difficult childhoods, and discovered with relief that neither of them wanted to bring children into the world, so they shared their home with various pets. They joined the Coast Guard together, and that's how they ended up on the Rock.

When the Sun and I met them, they sort of kept to themselves and although they were friendly enough, there wasn't a lot of contact. But then one day TF kicked in my door, backed me up against a wall and threatened to kill me, and I had to change the locks on the front door. I had to swallow my pride and explain to them what was happening, and supply them with the new key to the front door. And then a year later or so, I had to go to court. The strain was unbelievable, on both the Sun and myself, and one night the Sun had a coughing fit. He coughed, a dry hacking cough, for over 2 hours, and nothing--no syrup, no water no nothing, made it stop. I realized finally that it was nerves... and this so unnerved me that I felt I was going to crack. I needed to get us out of the house, and so I knocked on their door and asked UNN1 if she could just drive us somewhere. Anywhere. I just needed to get out of the house. She took one look at me, told her husband, grabbed her keys and drove us around Westchester until the Sun fell asleep. He stopped coughing. I relaxed a little.

After that, the two of them became our surrogate family, another set of grandparents for the Sun. Mr. Kip was old-fashioned, stern and firm, but he adored the Sun and the feeling was mutual. The Sun would sometimes go up by himself just to say "Hi", or share some treasure or joy. Mr. Kip told us stories about his life in the theater. He told funny jokes.

Like most creative/artistic men, he had his demons and his dark side, but it was familiar to me because of my father. So when he'd have a dark moment, I was able to share with UNN1 how much he reminded me of my father, and that based on that knowledge, he would come out of it. And he always did.

Towards the end of his life, he would fear for his faculties, and they told him he had the beginnings of Alzheimer's. I would often joke with him "If you have Alzheimer's, what the hell is wrong with me?" because he remembered far more than I could ever possibly learn. Sometimes he'd get frustrated with some computer equipment, and blame senility. I would tell him how I had been a techie and that I stopped being a techie because it was all getting too complicated. That *I* couldn't even read some of the manuals anymore. And that my solution was to never power down my equipment so that it had less chance of crashing. He would insist that he was in fact, going senile, but he would smile, and go on to figure out whatever it was.

Over the last two years he would tell us that he wasn't going to live long; that he wanted to go. Especially after Grandpa died, I would tell him he wasn't allowed to... he couldn't go until we said he could. At first he would laugh. But about three months ago, he didn't laugh; merely turned away and I thought "Uh oh. He's serious now." And he was. He began to get his paperwork in order. He decided on what would be done with his remains. He tracked down all his loose ends.

UNN1's mother lives with them also. She's only maybe 10 years older than Mr. Kip. One night, about a year ago she almost died. I heard UNN1 shriek my name, and I went flying upstairs. UpstairsMom was still, pale, and lifeless, mouth open. There was no pulse. Mr. Kip was on the phone with 911. He was flustered. "Is there a pulse?" the operator asked him, and he relayed the question to me. I felt for a pulse. There wasn't one. "No," I said. But wait... there it fluttered, and started up again.

Mom had lived with them for a long time. She and Mr. Kip had a love-hate, but as UNN1's brother had been unable to care for his mom, much less himself, for long time back home in South Africa, Mom came to America to live with them. Mr. Kip wasn't thrilled, but not accepting her was out of the question. With age, she became house bound. Towards the end of his life, Mr. Kip was, too.

After UpstairsMom came back to life, and back home from the hospital, Mr. Kip growled to me one day "That's it. I give up. She's going to outlive me, so I give up. I'm just going to go". "You can't do that" I said, "UNN1 needs you. We need you. Just hang on." "No, I can't, I don't want to be like this". He couldn't dance anymore, was tied by his "Umbilical cord" to the oxygen tank that helped him breathe. He rarely went out. And he didn't like that he couldn't stay awake all day. And he would say he'd be gone by next year. I would joke to UNN1 about it... that we would keep him here despite himself, but I have to tell you, I began to wonder. Because Mr. Kip was a man who kept his word.

And I knew that he didn't like for UNN1 to take care of him. He loved her, but he resented being cared for. He never said it, but I knew. A few weeks ago he fell and bruised his eye. I knew he HATED that, because when Grandpa fell one time while we were visiting him, Grandpa was mortified. Hated that we struggled to get him up again. And he died shortly after... and so when Mr. Kip fell I knew deep down in my heart that this was a grave indignity that he wasn't going to suffer.

All this weekend, wrapped up in my own shit, I noticed that their apartment door was open, which was our signal that they were OK for company. But I never got upstairs... Saturday the Sun and I went out for breakfast, and then to Karate, and then to Stew Leonard's. And then I went to get my "Beyonce" on, and hit the street with the Professor and Beautiful Hair and her sister. Sunday, a little hungover on Mojitos, with the the Sun at the Moon's house, I got up and cleaned and cooked a weeks worth of food, never showering or getting out of my pajamas. And I kept saying "I need to go upstairs" but I never got up there.

I had to work late last night, taking pictures of the "White Coat Ceremony" at the hospital, where 1st year Med students get their lab coats and new stethoscopes. It was very moving. You could see that some students had fought hard to be there. Their parents and families were so proud. On the way home, I missed the bus to the Rock, and stood there waiting for the next one. UNN1 called on the cell. Like my mother, I tend to run off at the mouth the second the phone is picked up, but something in her voice stopped me. "I just wanted to warn you, Kip died." I shrieked. I never expected him to be first to go... but at the same time the thought clicked in my head "He said he was ready".

When I finally got home, a pair of policeman were there. Our neighborhood friends Thumbelina and the Jolly Giant were there. UNN1 cried when she saw me, and I did too. She looked so sad. Her companion, her friend was gone.

As a kid, I saw several faces of death in a large array of pet cats and dogs. Sometimes roadkill. But I've never been close to a human who has just passed, except for the night when UpstairsMom died for a minute. I felt compelled to go upstairs and see Mr. Kip, though. I assumed there'd be a funeral, and I'm not to fond of what morticians do to people. So I wanted to see Mr. Kip before they got to him.

He was serene. He was as pale as he looked when I saw him briefly about two weeks ago. I'd gone up quickly to tell them something, and he was sitting on the couch very pale and in obvious respiratory distress. I left quickly then because I felt he didn't want me seeing him like that. But last night, other than being pale he was simply gone. And he had gone peaceably, willingly, with little effort. I talked to him, I told him I'd miss him and that I was sorry to see him go.

The Neptune Society came within two hours of being called, and took Mr. Kip away. They were very nice, quiet men. Mr. Kip will be cremated today, and his ashes scattered at a later time.

I went and got the Sun from the Moon's house, and told him on the way home that Kip was gone. He didn't cry, but his little body wilted. When he saw UNN1, he was so sad and they hugged. Neither one of us has cried... my sister asked how I felt and I told her that death doesn't hurt me. It makes me sad, very very sad to know I'll never see him again or hear his gravely voice or his laugh, but I know he went the way he wanted to. The suffering of the living--hearing my friend's sadness at not being able to talk to his son--that tore through me. But for Mr. Kip, I'm so overwhelmingly grateful to the Higher Power that He took Kip back with dignity that I'm more sad for UNN1 and her aloneness, than I am sad that he's gone.

But he will be missed. Another "unknown" in a world full of human beings. Just another old man. But he will be missed...

... and of course the freaking Cat decided this was the night to make a run for it, and once he was located it took an hour of fighting a snarling, hissing, spitting demon to get him back in the house. But Cat stories will remain for another day...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Equal Opportunity Hater...

I am, I am
EqualOpportunityHater I am.

Mima's daughter sent this out. As un-PC as it is, I have had several conversations -- phone and otherwise-- that sound like this. Particularly in my hair salon. And anyway I'm not exactly-PC.

Although I did edit out the mildly racist pre-amble...


The following is a telephone exchange between a hotel guest and room service:

Room Service (RS): "Morrin. Roon sirbees."
Guest (G): "Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service."
RS: " Rye Roon sirbees...morrin! Joowish to oddor sunteen???"
G: "Uh... Yes, I'd like to order bacon and eggs."
RS: "Ow July den?"
G: "....What??"
RS: "Ow July den?!?... pryed, boyud, poochd?"
G: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry... scrambled, please."
RS: "Ow July dee baykem? Crease?"
G: "Crisp will be fine."
RS: "Hokay. An Sahn toes?"
G: "What?"
RS: "An toes. July Sahn toes?"
G: "I... don't think so."
RS: "No? Judo wan sahn toes???"
G: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo wan sahn toes' means."
RS: "Toes! Toes!..Why Joo don Juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?"
G: "Oh, English muffin!!! I've got it! You were saying 'toast'... Fine...Yes, an English muffin
will be fine."
RS: "We bodder?"
G: "No, just put the bodder on the side."
RS: "Wad?!?"
G: "I mean butter... just put the butter on the side."
RS: "Copy?"
G: "Excuse me?"
RS: "Copy...tea...meel?"
G: "Yes. Coffee, please... and that's everything."
RS: "One Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin, we bodder on sigh and copy... rye??"
G: "Whatever you say."
RS: "Tenjooberrymuds."
G: "You're welcome."

Job Wanted

Hey, people ask for donations on their blogs, right?

I need a job. Cuz this one is toast. Co-worker officially resigned yesterday, giving two weeks notice. The word came back that when BigKahuna read the email, someone from our office was there and reported that BK's only concern was the the"two weeks" part cuz Co-Worker has been here ten years. The rules here say she should have given a month's notice (who does that???? this place is crazy). And that was only a passing concern. No "why is she leaving with no job?" Boss is cleaning his office, and leaves here today at 3P. He will be in Italy for the next two weeks with his wife, completely unreachable.

That leaves me; the Picture Bitch. The Newsletter Bitch. The "We have you over a barrel now, you attitudinous little black girl, and we are going to ride you stupid" Bitch. Yeh - I think NOT. Plus, I don't really like The Others. It wouldn't be too bad if Vampyre wasn't here, but she's got a thing for me and it's only going to get worse because The Others can't/won't rein her in.

I had delivered the proof to the woman I had promised it to... it had to be run past the Vampyre (why??? the bitch is not officially the Art Director!) and so I emailed a PDF to her. When word came back through the client that perhaps "you can try moving the logo here," I did, in two different ways and emailed PDFs again.

Then Co-Worker's departure became public knowledge. Here comes Vampyre... who had not uttered a word nor thrown a glance my way the entire day (and I sit catty corner to her along a cube divider) to tell me the proofs looked fine. Then she noticed that I had last year's document on my desk, and that all I had done for this year was update the typeface and change the color. Nothing else. So she had fucked with it (having me change the logo around) for no good reason, cuz it wasn't my design. HA HA! But then, she loads me up with two other things that need to be done. And mind you... the word had come down that my boss was not to accept requests like that.

So um, was HE not supposed to accept any work???? Or the *department???? Either way, it's bogus.

Then next, I get an email from BigBird requesting my help to locate a photo. "Sure" I write back, "of whom and when?". "I'll have to find out" she writes back.


I left for the day.

But I need a new job. I want a job where I count towards something. A museum. A not-for-profit. Product development. I have tons of experience in several different areas, but I want to be a graphic designer, because that is what I LOVE doing. I love paper, the feel of it, the weight of it, the sound. I love the way good type lays on a page. I also love colors - all colors though I tend to more primary hues on my own. I don't need a lot of money. I need enough to live on, certainly, and mo' money makes me mo' happy, but for a frame of reference... I once walked off an $80K a year job with HedgeFund company because I couldn't live like that anymore... couldn't be like those people, nor did I want to aspire to be. So money isn't what I'm looking for.

In all honesty, I'm much better suited as a freelancer, someone to work on something specific. I do best where there is order and structure. I like rules. Doesn't mean I won't try to break them--particularly if they don't make any sense... but I'm OK with rules being there. But the bottom line is I have mondo student loans and leftover credit card debt from when I was in school, and I need to pay that stuff down. Regularly. Cuz I don't like being in debt. And I have a Sun who's karate and violin lessons ain't free.

Taking off only the names of places I've worked, this is what I've done:

Professional Experience
Graphic Designer, Marketing & Communications 2007
  • Design and create medical forms for hospital departments
  • Maintain weekly employee newsletter, including setting up documents, selecting and
    retouching photography, preparing files for print production and online publication.
  • Photographer for hospital events
Freelance Graphic Designer 1994 - 2007
  • Medical Conference brochure for WellKnownHospital
  • Designed and wrote web presence for historical Harlem church.
  • Designed theme and identity theme of retail operation. Designed interior decor.
  • Created, designed and wrote business and promotional campaign; in-store advertising.
  • Developed corporate identities and marketing materials for various businesses such
    as restaurants, corporate office services and personal trainers.
Manager, Client Services 2000-2001
HedgeFundAminCompany, New York City

Support Technician 2000
DotComCompany (one of the last) New York City

LAN Support Specialist 1996-2000
LargeInvestmentFirm, New York City

Manager, LAN Customer Service 1994-1996
WellKnownCableNetwork, New York City

Sales Assistant, Coordinator New Business Development 1988-1994
Various WellKnownCableNetworks and A Radio Station in the
advertising sales area. Worked directly with account executives to service agency clients.
Created sales presentations in PowerPoint and Freelance Graphics for use by salespeople.

• Proficient on Mac & Windows OS.
• Photoshop, Quark Express, Illustrator, ImageReady, CorelDraw, PowerPoint.
• Pre-press skills.
• HTML/XML/CSS; JavaScript and VB Script, Macromedia Homesite.
• Project and budget management.
• Excellent writing skills.
• Oral and interpersonal communication skills.

• Microsoft Official Curriculum toward an MCSE.
• Novell Administration.
• Advanced work with MS Office/Outlook 2000 and higher, including
technical expertise as a Microsoft product administrator and support technician.
• Black and white darkroom experience, digital photographic technical experience.

Pratt Institute, New York City
AOS, Graphic Design
AOS, Illustration
School of Visual Arts, New York City
Graphic Design, Continuing Ed 1994-2001

I also type superfast and believe in spellcheck.

While I was in school I had various part time jobs which aren't on there, but they generally tended to be retail sales or data entry type stuff.

If you read my blog frequently, you already know I have an attitude. You already know I'm crazy. You may not want to hire me, but consider this:

I don't do drugs, and I rarely drink. I'm loyal as hell. I'm honest. I work hard and obsess over the things that interest me. I know how to listen to a client, and deliver what is requested--not what I think they should have. (This is a big deal, I think, because I hate designers who sell people on stuff that they don't really need, simply because the designer gets off on it.) I make deadlines.

So.... if you think you know of something I may be good at, or want to see more samples of what I do (you can see the few things I've put up here by searching the tags "Sometimes I Draw" or "I Design Stuff") drop me a line at


Thursday, September 13, 2007

something i have never seen: a painted cab.

I Call It Like I See It...

and have sort of gained a reputation for it. Which is sort of funny to me, because I generally like to think of myself as a peaceful person. And I kid you not, particularly when I was a younger lass, the thought of any kind of confrontation, physical or otherwise, makes me want to throw up.

Yet I regularly find myself with my hackles up, fangs bared.

The Humanity Critic made me laugh yesterday (and it's not like a regular correspondence-type-thing, but a "hey-pleasant-surprise"-type-thing) because he said based on my name, he imagined being slapped by some woman who tells him "That's it, I'm getting Bear Maiden to kick your ass!!"

Maybe the Fat Lady and Lilac Blue (in particular)--who haven't really been posting much--will chime in here to assure Mr. Critic how many times they've actually said something like that.

And how many times I've readily gone to war on behalf of someone, hackles up, fangs bared.

Mr. Critic's comment was particularly ironic yesterday, given the fact that I had to go "ScaryBlackBitch" on my co-worker.

Background: Last week, the Vampyre Bitch was on vacation, leaving the hospital newsletter in the (completely in-)capable hands of BigBird. Which meant that I was largely the designer to put the thing together. Vampyre has previously been clear that she doesn't like the way I adjust pictures, so when she handed me a CD of photos to go in the newsletter, I messed with them as little as possible. They were shitty snapshots to begin with... and when printed, came out pretty dark. But I figured she gave me stuff ready to go. Apparently, I was wrong.

You would think the world came to a screeching halt--it seems the Big Kahuna had a bitchfest. And I refused to take the fall for it, but because BigBird is less annoying to me than other people, I gave her a small apology for whatever stress I may have caused her.

On Tuesday, Vampyre was "too busy" to work on this week's version of the newsletter, so I spent the better part of the day messing with the thing... and then had to repeat my work every time they re-edited an "article" and I had to flow the text back in. Which was frequently. But whatever. At the end of Tuesday, the newsletter was in a fairly decent shape... it had already been seen by several people, I burned a CD with the files and handed it to the Bitch, and left for the day.

On Wednesday, yesterday, I got in at 8:30A. The Moon coming to the Sun's school has been a blessing for me, because the Sun actually WANTS to get going and we've been early to school every day, which means I get here early. BigBird came over to me to ask whether I "could have, if you'd seen it" fix last week's dark photos ("of course!" I said) and I notice that she's got a printout of the newsletter in her hand. It looked, to quote MoodMagicBarbie "a hot mess". Everything re-arranged. I remark that I see there have been some changes, and BigBird says "Yes, {Vampyre} thought it needed some changes. It looks better, don't you think?"

Uh, no, I don't. But I merely said that this is where Design gets to be a question of personal aesthetics, and that some people prefer certain things but it's not necessarily a "design" thing as much as it's a personal thing. All good designers tend to agree on "clean" and "easy to read", but within that, there are variations. It's why we *used* to be called "commercial artists". It's commercial... designed for a specific purpose, but there is still some personal style injected.

But in this case, it just looked a hot mess, and it also meant that all those "fine tuning things" you do at the end were all going to have to be re-done.

I begin working on another project, which had a deadline of early Tuesday but had gotten pushed aside due to the newsletter, and now it was Wednesday, and it was only going to take me a little bit to get a proof ready. By now it was about 9:30A, and the Vampyre had reported for work.

About 10A, BigBird needed to make "more edits" and comes over to me with a flash stick, saying she needed my Mac. I said I didn't have the latest version of the newsletter anymore, and she showed me the flash thing. I said I was working on something that I needed to finish, and it would take a few minutes. She said "this is more important". Vampyre comes over to say that often, this particular client who's thing I'm working on, overstates her urgency. I replied that I've now had this "priority" conversation several times, and the only thing I really care about is that *I* told this woman I'd have a proof for her by a certain time. BigBird and Vampyre said they'd talk to her. I said "Good, because I'm not getting involved... I only do what I'm told". They continue to hang over me, and it's then I realize, they mean "now". That I am to get up from MY machine, stop what I'M doing, so that BigBird can sit at MY FUCKING MAC to do HER edits... because the Vampyre is "too busy" to give up her machine.

And get this... all because Vampyre has this compulsion to fuck with everything I do. Seriously. I spent an awful lot of fucking money at Pratt... went though HELL to complete it, and worked damn hard. My Professors--some of them the best in the business--told me I had talent. I needed work of course, and there was ALWAYS room for improvement, but I held my own at Pratt. And, even before Pratt, I've done work for outside sources, and people have been happy. I had work to show, which is how I got into Pratt in the first damn place. I know what I'm doing. I know I'm good. It doesn't bother me particularly that she MUST fuck with my shit... but it pissed me the fuck off that I had to get kicked off MY machine because of her issues.

So I got nasty.

I start to shut down what I'm working on. Slammed everything shut, picked up my pink coffee thermos and stood up. BigBird starts to fluffer, and Vampyre had the balls to step in and say
"we'll talk with (newgaybossofwebteam) and set Priorities and discuss what's a priority".

Now just as an aside... on paper, BigBird is of a higher rank than the Vampyre. The Vampyre has rank on me by virtue of seniority... not by title. And the Vampyre works on the web team and reports to the new guy. I report to someone else entirely, who is SUPPOSED to be the one to set my priorities, but in essence, he has been banished to Siberia. But on paper I still report to him. And I figured out how this works.... he who makes the most noise, is the one least stepped on around here. Cuz a few weeks back, Vampyre Bitch took it upon herself to rearrange all the cubes in her area, so that SHE could get a "wall" and move the BigGirl out of her space. Didn't clearly explain what she was doing until the maintenance guys were up here with screwdrivers and moving shit. BigGirl had a quiet fit, but all the big bosses ducked and ran. And Vampyre got her way. So now she REALLY thinks she's hot shit.

But I am the Bear Maiden, and my hackles go up and my fangs come out and I will protect myself and those I love by any means necessary (yeah, I'm also a Malcom X-type chick, as opposed to MLK.)

My show of fangs and hackles was mainly "for show" because I already know how far I can go.... and in at ANY of my other previous jobs, I probably would have walked away and cried in frustration. I don't fight losing battles. But at the point that the Vampyre began to tell me that SHE would discuss my priorities, I snapped for real, for real, and when I snap I get cold and quiet.

I put my hand up and said "I will not discuss anything with you." She attempted to say something else and I interrupted her, repeating "I am not talking to you." I opened the files for BigBird, got my thermos and went and sat in Boss's office for about 20 minutes, periodically ranting loudly so the outside world could hear.

And then I came out of Boss' office, and came back to my desk and acted like nothing happened. I smiled, I was helpful, and meek and quiet for the rest of the day.

I learned "Psycho" from the best. Nothing unnerved me more than The Fucker's (aka IFKALP) raging outbursts, and when it was over he would act like nothing happened. Even better, he would deny anything happened. It made me think I was crazy, until I figured out the game. It works really well when you're not actually pissed off.

But anyway. That's the Bear Maiden in a nutshell. Fighting for Justice and Truth, calling shit as I see it.

Which leads me to call myself out.

I'm better at fighting for others than I am at fighting for myself. I'd rather just go "defensive" and slide those metal gates shut and hide.

I'm also not good at casual relationships. I'm just not. I only know how to be in "A" Relationship, and even though I know I got "mad issues, yo," I work much better trying to muddle my way through A Relationship, rather than "No Commitment" relationships. I lied when I said I could. I was full of shit Mojitos when I said I could. Feelings is feelings, and things just don't happen for me unless there's feelings.

So I'm guessing I really need to truly shut everything down and lock it up. Cuz the No Commitment thing isn't working for me. Sugarcubes is Out.

The Show Must Go On...

Took a break from posting La Vida Low Budget, because the 2007 version suddenly got very full, and nothing much was happening in 1977 anyway. Last seen, The Fam was stalled in a semi-seedy motel room in Chicago, eating canned beans and sardines and iceberg lettuce (though I wasn't writing about the food), and watching lots and lots of color television. I suppose that God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us those two weeks or so bring ourselves up to speed on the current culture. We were truly alien to it, and had we not had those two weeks we would have gotten to New York a hell of a lot rougher and more country. Like aliens, we sat in front of the large TV for two weeks, watching news, Quarter Horse races, Laurel and Hardy, The Lone Ranger, commercials and sit coms, absorbing dress styles and culture.

And now, back to our show.

Sunday, September 11, 1977
Psalm 105

Got up early. Washered, dressed. (A washer is a cross between a shower, and a wash-up.) Just hung around. Pops went out. We (Mom, T. & me) talked. Pops came back. Watched "The Lone Ranger" on TV. Then T., Pop & I went for a walk while the helper vacuumed the carpet, after we came back, all four of us went around the block. Came back. Watched TV. Ate. Put on pj's after "Six Million Dollar Man." Went to bed. Thank you.

There was no weekly summary. Just a drawing of a racehorse I named "Hot Line" after a horse I remembered from Jamaica. I was still dividing the page to make room for the food notes, but instead of filling it in, at the top of the reserved area, I simply wrote "salad". So I'm guessing that's what I ate.

Monday, September 12, 1977
Psalm 106

Got up medium. Dressed. Had School. Pops went out. Pops came back just as we finished school. It rained all day today. Ate lunch. Rested. Got up. Watched TV. Ate supper. Put on pj's. Watched TV. Pops went to get a snack. He came back. Ate again. Went to bed. Thank You, Mr. O, Thanks.

Tuesday, September 13, 1977
Psalm 107

Got up medium. Dressed. Had school. Pops went to the office. Finished school. Ate lunch. Rested. Watched TV. All four of us went to A&P. and shopped. Watched TV. Ate supper. going to put on pjs, and go to bed.
Thank You, Mr. O, Thank you.

A few years ago, when the Einstein exhibit was in the Big Apple at the Museum of Natural History, I went to see it with a Pratt Classmate I shall refer to as "Fluffernutter." At the time, I had a massive crush on the kid, but nothing ever came of it. I thought he was too young for me. And he was... but he was still older than some others...


I have often marveled at the concept of time. I once had a vision of myself through the lens of time... it was sort of like looking at a picture of myself, with another picture of myself in the same pose superimposed on the first one, slightly larger, with another picture of myself in the same pose superimposed on the second one... etc. Obviously, my vision of time was no where near as deep or profound or world-changing as Einstein's. And standing there, reading about his theory of relativity, I again wondered at the concept.

It's amazing to realize that 30 years ago, on September 11, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. We "just hung around," and walked around the block, and watched TV, trying to acclimate ourselves to a foreign land.

This past week, 30 years later, on September 11, nothing much happened. It rained all day--the first day it's rained ON September 11 in over 6 years. I mostly stayed away from TV news, from the newspapers, only catching a small segment later on in the evening.

But six years ago, this past Tuesday was a terrible day. It's still a raw, terrible day, even with the haze of time. I still remember the fear, the extreme sadness, the worry. The perfect, clear, blue sky, the quiet later in the evening. I didn't lose anyone close to me that day, though I lost a few people I knew in passing... and I thank God for that. But hundreds of others did. I don't think that time will ever give them the closure they so desperately need

In previous years, I've prayed for the souls of the deceased. This year I prayed for those that were left behind. I pray they find solace, and peace.