Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 31, 1977

Halloween
Psalm 4
Day 20

Got up medium. Dressed. Pops went out. I worked on my story of Nubbin. Then I made a birthday card for pop.

Really boring right now, isn't it? It's always like that before things change drastically. I need to keep reminding myself of that fact.....

Halloween 2007

We never participated in Halloween until I was in High School. And it wasn't so much about the candy, as it was about the costumes. In my HS, costumes were a BIG DEAL, and the kids would come in costumes they made. Some were extremely elaborate. My senior year I went as a Hershey's Kiss in a costume I'd made with Bigbear's help, and my best friend went as a bag of Peanut M&M's.

Then I didn't dress up again until I moved out here to the Rock; they had a costume contest in the bar I hung out in. My favorite costume was when I went as Storm from the X-men... only it was well before the movie and nobody knew who the hell I was.

Which is kind of what happened tonight, for the Sun. He wanted to be Gaara, the Sand Demon from the anime comic Naruto. So we looked at pictures and I found stuff to make his costume. Only about three people on the entire Rock (aside from the Moon, I mean, knew who he was. Funnily enough, the one kid who knew right away is Japanese.

Halloween was always a big deal out here; we had a little parade that would start in the park across from my apartment, walk four or so blocks down to the gas station, turn right, walk towards the deadend street, turn right, walk past the cemetery to the old elementary school, turn right and walk down the hill and end up on the same block that we started out on. The parade was growing, and I guess the police didn't want to come out here so they shut it down.

So the energy level was low this year... and I did miss the parade but I took Sun and Moon trick or treating, and they had a blast.

The Sun WAS Gaara... I suppose I should be a little concerned about his fascination with dark characters... but then again I had a mad crush on Darth Vader for the longest time...




In other news... been hanging out with the Fat Lady, trying to brainstorm our way into something we can work at that will pay bills and keep us from working regular jobs. I much prefer not having a job... but I SO HATE not having money.

My love life.... eh... just concentrating on living by what I wrote, because that's basically all there is and all there ever will be.

I have a cold and feel like crap.

The Diva is not living up to expectations, and the Professor is growling, the ex-boyfriend/babydaddy filed for custody and paternity and so I went with the Diva to my all-time favorite place, Bronx Family Court (NOT!) to help her file a cross-petition. Which she couldn't do for various reasons, mainly cuz she'd left the BD's papers on the kitchen table.

I told the Diva now was the time to button her self up and pull her shit together, or she'd be in BFC like me once a month for the next 5 years. Wavin' "hi" to the court officers. (When I said to one of them "It's not me today!" he busted out laughing. That's a damn shame.) I have faith in her, and in the fact that in the long run, she'll be OK. But right now she's giving me a heart attack and I just can't deal with any of it, not Bigbear, not the Professor, none of it. I freely admit I'm hiding out on my rock.

But whatever.

This too, shall pass...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sunday, October 30, 1977

Psalm 3
Day 19

Got up medium. Dressed. Mom cooked. Pops phoned Aunt Sinah. We ate. Watched TV. Then rested. Got up and went to Grand Union. Outside, we saw of all people W_ R who is now Mrs. Hunter.

We knew W_ R early in Jamaica, when we first got there. I was about 5. I don't remember much about how we met or how we knew her, or who she was the friend of. I do remember that she was a fairly attractive brown-skinned woman who had a house up in the hills beyond Kingston. She invited us there, and somehow my mom didn't go... just me and Poppy. I remember that she had guava trees in her yard, which fascinated me. I ate some... I remember a yellowish skin ??? and deep red flesh.

I also remember that for some reason, she decided to walk around in her underwear... a white bra and panties. In front of me. In front of Poppy. It floored me and I remember telling my mother, bewildered that someone would do something like that. Bigbear has an odd sense of humor. I remember her laughing her ass off. And that we never went to Winnie R's house again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday October 29, 1977

Psalm 2
Day 18

Got up late. Dressed. Aunt Sinah called and she and Mama fussed. Had Sabbath School. Watched TV. Ate lunch. Rested. got up. Watched the last 2 races at Aqueduct on TV. I got both winners - Coxes Ridge and I can't remember the other's name. Going to put on p.j.'s. Might have a snack, watch TV and go to bed. Thank you, Mr. O

See, I'd occasionally try to keep up my racing habit here in the States, but it was impossible. Too many horses, too many tracks.

I don't remember what my mother and Aunt Sinah fussed about.

The Last One

A story I wrote a few years back...

Looking back, she couldn’t quite decide what it was that caught her; his laugh, his eyes, the flash of his teeth. It could have been his voice; they’d spoken the day before on the telephone. She had liked the way he spoke clearly and deliberately. When she actually met him in person, there had been a recognition of sorts.

He was a consultant, known to be one of the best in his field. The decision to bring him in wasn’t hers, but when she realized she’d be working with him on a project, she was excited; she felt she’d learn a great deal from him.

The flirting started almost immediately but she didn’t take it seriously. Her home and work life had always been separate. She had taken pride in that; Separation of Church and State, she joked to herself. But she began to find that she looked forward to coming to work and that the attention he paid her made her realize she’d been without that kind of attention for quite a while.

To her friends she had lamented that she felt miserably jaded. She didn’t believe in love anymore, in “Happy Ever After”. She wondered if she were the only one in the world who felt that way. She watched how young girls giggled over engagement rings and pored over pictures of wedding gowns in magazines. She wanted to scream at them “don’t do it! Don’t give up your soul like that” but she didn’t. She knew that they wouldn’t believe her anyhow, would feel pity for her and think that she was an unhappy older woman whose fairy-tale dream never came true. Her friends consoled her; but afterwhile she stopped lamenting to them; too… they all seemed happy in their lives. Either they had made themselves believe in the fairytale, or she was missing something. She preferred not to think about it.

The flirting developed into long talks. She discovered she loved talking to him; he was the most intelligent man she’d spoken to in a long while. She enjoyed that she respected him. No doubt he was good at what he did, and he knew it, but when he showed her samples of his work there was shyness and she found it incredibly endearing. As they talked, they revealed the inner layers of themselves to each other. She told him things about her home life that she hadn’t really shared with anyone. It seemed as though he did the same. They shared music with each other, songs from their childhood. One night, after working late, he played a song for her from the Old Country he said reminded him of his mother. She began to fall despite her self, but she held on.

One day, the words “I love you” appeared in the Inbox of her email. Her first reaction was anger. It wasn’t fair. She felt manipulated, as if he were judging her by what her reaction would be. And she didn’t want to admit to herself how she might be feeling. But over the ensuing weeks, the words kept appearing, and slowly she began to allow herself to believe. And allowed herself the luxury of the feeling. She said it back to him.

They decided that their feelings would remain cerebral; they wouldn’t bring the physical into it. Their situations were impossible, it would never work. She told him her idea of love didn’t include ducking into doorways for stolen kisses. There was no way they could blend their families, their respective Significant Others would never go quietly. When she looked ahead to the ending, she saw death and destruction, and she told him so. This will end badly, she said, but he ignored her.

They worked late one evening, and afterwards went out for a drink. She had several, and the walls came tumbling down. She found herself asking him for just once. Just one moment. One chance at being swept away, to feel what Happy Ever After must be like.

Sweet. Like honey is sweet, or how one is surprised by yellow daffodils when the world is still winter-grey. The smell of him filled her, his hair was soft in her fingers, his lips gentle, his embrace was warm. And though he kept wondering what was to become of them, she honestly didn’t care. For that moment no one else existed in their world but He and She. No Significant Others, no children, no houses, bills or responsibilities. Just the two of them in a blue-scented room.

And so she fell. She allowed herself the fantasy of running away together. But even as she dreamed it, she knew it would never be. Would the children get along? What of all the in-laws and cousins and co-workers? And the Significant Others would never go quietly. His would haunt him and seek to destroy. Hers would make her life unbearable. More than anything was the thought of how their children would suffer.

So painfully, she settled on the devil she knew, her home and her children. Before him, she had prayed that she feel something, anything, to let her know that she could still feel, that she hadn’t gone completely numb. And now she prayed for that same numbness to overtake her.

His assignment was over and he left. He was angry that she had gone back. She knew it was all she could do. She hoped he would know that she went back because it seemed the only way. Still, he left without saying goodbye. She went by his desk one day and realized he had gone.

On the way to the subway that evening the pain roared up behind her and hit her in the throat. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t see. She turned up the music in her headphones as loud as she could to drown out the noise in her ears. For a moment, dodging the evening pedestrians on Lexington Avenue, she prayed for a bus she wouldn’t see to come up behind her and mow her down, putting her out of her misery.

Ohgodhelpmei’vefallenandican’tgetup.

But her sons needed their mother, and so she blinked her eyes clear and looked both ways before she crossed the street to descend into the subway.

The pain sat with her all the way to her stop. When she came up out of the subway; she slowed her steps and told her self she had no right to cry. She collected her children from the sitter. The older one told her excitedly of his music lesson that day, and the younger one, perched on her lap, grabbed her face with dirty hands and demanded kisses. She breathed into his hair how much she missed them both that day and how much she needed them, and then she took her babies home.

The months wore on. At first there would be an occasional “hello” email in her inbox and she looked for them joyously. But they got progressively more infrequent and the tone progressively distant. In her heart she could hear his voice fading, and she began to doubt that he ever loved her. For the first time she could feel the ones that came before her, the others that would come after her, and she felt like an old fool. She knew that for her, he was the last one.

Over dinner, on a rare night out, her husband told her of a friend of his who was dating a girl. The girl had been in love with someone else, and had tried to pursue it. But when the girl realized that her love would be unrequited, she turned her attention back to her husband’s friend. Her husband didn’t understand why the girl would make that decision. It made his friend seem to be the second, lesser choice.

The Pina Colada she was drinking had softened the edges in her mind, and she was able to keep her face from crumpling. She shrugged her shoulders I Don’t Know, and let the conversation fade.

But she understood perfectly.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friday, October 28, 1977

Psalm 1
Day 17

Got up medium. Dressed. Walked pops to subway. Went to A&P. Mr. Berry gave us some Milky way and some Threemusketeers bars.

I ate:
  • 3 milky way bars, 2 musketeer bars, 1 sesame treat
I'm quite sure we're talking about the snack-sized bars, here.

Mr. Berry was a security guard at the A&P. Back then, they had security guards in the supermarket. Probably to guard against people like me, who were snatching as much candy as they could. I don't see too many security guards in the supermarkets anymore. I wonder why that is... you would think it would be the opposite. But life was rough in the Big Apple back then. Although to us, we had hit paydirt... were living in the Promised Land, the lap of luxury, candy heaven...

We were back to reading Psalm 1. There are 150 Psalms in the Bible, and we read one a day. The first "cycle" ended on or about May 30, the 150th day of the year. So the 28th of October is the 300th day of the year. After we got to Psalm 150, we'd start again at 1.

Although I wasn't writing about it, the parents were looking for an apartment, and Poppy would find one very shortly.

Open Letter To A Friend

Dear Friend,

There's been some things that I've been thinking over, that I've been feeling, that I've been holding on to, and have to tell you. It's hard, because we don't really get to talk as much as we have in the past, for various reasons. Although we talked a little while ago and that was nice cuz we haven't talked like that in a while.

I decided to write here, because I know you're busy and you may not get to read something I wrote you directly. You may not even feel the need to hear everything I have to say, but I have the need to get it out so I can let it go. Sometimes, a person just needs to be heard, you know? Sometimes just being heard makes you feel better--it's kind of why I enjoyed therapy so much. Forty-five minutes of someone listening to me without passing judgment. It's also why I started this blog, because I could write my problems away.

But anyway.

I also thought that if I wrote what I'm feeling here, and someone else stumbles on it, maybe they'll find some useful words to tell someone else. I know that how I feel isn't unique... maybe someone else feels this way but didn't have the words to say it.

Also, by writing here instead of writing you directly, it forces me to keep my thoughts ordered and my stories relatively short, because I certainly have the tendency to wander off on tangents. And it's public... anything I say here, I have to stand by what I say.

So here goes.

This has been very confusing for me, falling for you like I have. I knew I liked you from the very first time I spoke with you. It's like that sometimes, with people I meet; I like them instantly and I remember the first time I ever spoke to them or saw them. With you, you felt "familiar" right away, and long before there were any other feelings involved, I liked being around you simply because it already felt like I'd known you for a long time. And as we got to know each other better, I liked that you had a sense of yourself far beyond your years. Your honesty and integrity have impressed me, and I admire that you have a purpose in life and that you don't deviate from your goals, despite what life has thrown at you. But I didn't expect to feel anything more than friendship.

I know from talking to you, that life has thrown you some fastballs. Already, you've dealt with some major shit and it's a testament to your spirit that you're not more bitter and jaded than you are. Wounded, yes--and I know that at this moment your faith in love and friendship is deeply shaken. But that is something else I that I like about you... that you're not more bitter than you are. You're certainly not as bitter as I am.... maybe it's because you're still young enough to heal. And I know you hurt, and you're finding your way in a new life you didn't expect, and you think you're pretty bitter but you're not as bitter as me. And I wish for you that you never will be as bitter as I am, because it's a heavy load to carry.

So here's where I tell you that you gave me back my heart. Before you, I had shut my heart up completely. There's the part that belongs to my Sun, of course. And I know you understand that, understand that there is a different part of us that belongs to our children. But the part of you that you give away; that part I had locked up, and locked up before I even met the Sun's dad. If you were to poke around this blog and sift through the tons of crap I've posted here, you'd see that I've been trying to piece myself back together, thinking, separating, sorting through all of my various life experiences in an attempt to figure myself out. And I've realized that I was able to deal with the crap I took from the Sun's dad because I had already locked my self up. And also, I think I'm realizing that I took a lot of crap from him because it was a pain I could handle... it was outside of me. I could fight him because it kept me from fighting my inner self; fighting him kept me occupied. Whatever pain I allowed him to inflict on me was manageable compared to the pain I had locked up inside.

Finally this summer, after nine years of fighting, I stopped fighting him. I didn't need to fight him anymore. I stopped fighting him because I had something else to care about, and that something else was you. But you know how it is when you have that closet you shove everything into? You open the door a crack, shove something in it and shut the door real quick. Eventually, the closet gets filled and you dread going in there. One day you realize there's something you need, something essential like maybe toilet paper or something, and you have to go into that closet to get it. You open the door, and *everything* tumbles out, like an avalanche.

Well, opening my heart again has kind of been like that for me. I had to open up my heart in order to let you in, and that was great, but in the process of doing so, an avalanche of crap came tumbling out. Fear, pain, anger--none of which was directed at you--but also love and joy and hope. And it threw me for a loop, because Lord knows I didn't expect all of that. I'd forgotten exactly how much crap I'd shoved in that closet.

I'm sorry that some of that crap fell out on you. I really am; because I know it reminds you of your own closet and I'm so sorry to do that to you. You asked me a little while ago if I could promise not to flip out anymore. I didn't think I could. But the truth is I'm scared. You and I both quoted "Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me"... I'm scared of trusting anybody because, well, because I hate that feeling of being fooled.

But, we were friends before anything else, and friends have to trust each other, right? And even though it's hard to go back to "friends" after there have been other things, I take pride in being a good friend. So, in honor of friendship I promise not to flip out on you anymore. I can't promise I won't get mad about things, because the Bear Maiden isn't a Bear Maiden for no good reason... she's known for her temper. But she also owns up to her flaws, and admits when she's wrong, and she values her good friends because good friends are few and far between. And she knows that to have good friends, you have to be a good friend.

And there's something else you should know; something I said to you today but I want to write it to make sure you know it. And that thing is this: I learned that you should never give anything if you need it back, or if it will cost you something to give it. For example... if a friend asks to borrow money, you shouldn't lend it if you couldn't stand to lose it. A true friend will make it their business to pay you back, to honor the friendship by returning whatever was borrowed. And, it will certainly count against them if they DON'T pay you back, or return what was borrowed. But you, as the friend, shouldn't loan out anything you can't stand to lose.

When I was in school, at one point I owed my landlord the equivalent of 5 months rent. And my rent is pretty high, so we're talking in the neighborhood of five grand. I couldn't work full time because there was NO way I could do that and school. The Sun's dad wasn't helping much, if at all, and I couldn't get my own student loans because my credit was bad. I finally got put in touch with a church in the city that had a homeless prevention program. So I went down there, and asked them to help me. I went there with the Sun. The outreach worker was a man who was a recovering alcoholic and former drug abuser, and you could look at his face and see he had been through hell and back. But he liked the Sun, and he liked me, and he told me what to do in order to qualify for the church donation. A few weeks later, I got a call from him saying that the church was going to give me a donation towards my rent. It wasn't enough to pay what I owed, but it was enough to make a small dent, and I was deeply touched.

But the outreach worker also told me that in addition to the church's check, he was going to give me some money out of his own pocket. He told me that he had been in bad places in his life, but that God had blessed him and he was in a good place now, and that he wanted to help me. Let me tell you; as a single woman I had BIG issues taking money from a man I barely knew; my New York heart told me he probably wanted something in return. But I needed the money; the Sun needed the money.

The man met me in front of my school on West 14th street. It was Valentine's Day, and in addition to the church's check, and his own private donation, he had a card for me because he said that everyone needed a card on Valentine's Day. And that he needed to give someone a card, and he didn't have anyone to give that card to except me. You KNOW I was suspicious. But that was all... he gave me the money. He gave me the card, and that was that. He also gave me a white box that had three glass angels inside.

The poem inside the box said:

"Your Worry Box
This box is for your worries
The aches within your heart.
A place to tuck away your fears,
Where love and hope can start,
So keep this box beside you,
And know how much they care.
For when you need peace and joy,
The angels will be there."


I keep that box on my desk to this day, not just because it's a worry box, but because it reminds me to give freely.

I went to see him once, later on, at the church he worked at, but after that I've never seen him again. He never asked for anything in return, and he hasn't kept in touch. I think of him often; of his kindness and his willingness to give something of himself to someone he didn't know and only liked on faith, and that he never asked for anything in return. In his honor, I try to do the same... to give something to someone who needs it, without expecting something in return. I'm not perfect and I don't have it all "together," and when I've flipped out on you, it's also in part because I've forgotten about giving freely.

I think of love the same way now. Everyone wants to be loved... but it is equally important to be able to give love freely. I have realized recently, that despite whatever I had told myself, I want to be loved again. Really, that's because of you... you can't miss what you can't measure but once you have something, you remember and you can compare. Once you came into my life you reminded me what it was like to feel loved, and I miss that feeling. But I realized I also miss giving love.

Because I do have the Sun, and I do have my family and I do have good friends and I know that I am loved. Yes, it would be nice to have someone "special" who loves me in return, and yes, I'm awful tired of facing life without a partner, and I want that again at some point. But humans need to be able to give love as well as receive it, because it's just as important. And like money, love is something a friend should be able to give away without expecting it in return. It shouldn't cost you anything to love... when it does, you should definitely rethink it. Like money, the gift of love should be respected by the person receiving, but the giver should give freely, or not at all... Love shouldn't come with "strings attached".

So when I tell you that I care, or that I'm thinking of you I don't expect anything back, if you don't have it to give back. I care about you because you have a good heart, and caring about you makes me feel good. I know that there are huge differences between us; a lifetime of experiences--but we have a lot of similarities, too. But if the differences are too great to overcome--if we're never able to get past all that makes us different, it's OK. It's not why I care.

There's a song I know... a really corny one, but I love the words because they say a lot;

"...I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable
I'm not trying to make you anything at all.
But this feeling doesn't come around everyday,
And you shouldn't blow the chance,
If you have the chance to say,
'I love you'. I honestly love you."


Life is so short, and love can be so fleeting. You should enjoy both wherever you can.


Be blessed...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 27, 1977

(All that was written the two previous days was: "Don't remember much".)

Psalm 150
Day 16

Got up medium. Dressed. Pops went out. We have a job delivering papers to the Annex (if we can ever do it.) Came up elevator. Worked on my birthday story for Pops. Then all three of us went to "Plenda". We ate sweeties and cookies. Came back. I typed. Then worked on my story. Pops came at 7:oopm. Put on pj's ate dinner. Watched CHiPS. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

Ah, the job delivering papers. It would have been fun and would have earned us some candy money, the Professor and I, but I remember being a little freaked at the thought of wandering the hotel alone, and I also wasn't sure my mom would actually let us. The job never panned out.

The Professor and I talked to everyone and I remember that I chatted up the newspaper stand guy in hopes of free candy. Sometimes that worked... sometimes it didn't.

I'm not sure what story I was working on. Somewhere, I'm sure I have them. Or Poppy does.

Remember CHiPs? I think that was my first real TV crush. I couldn't decide which one I liked more.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Miss Singing

When I was in high school, I sang all the time, especially my senior year. I had 8 periods in my school day... and though I don't remember the order, I had music survey, music theory, solo voice, senior chorus, gospel chorus, English and Social Studies (depending on the day) and gym.

Of course, when I graduated I could do absolutely nothing, but I sang pretty well.

I went to work at the now long-defunct B. Altman and Company after high school, because Aunt Ellen (Aunt Sinah's friend) worked there in HR and she got me a job. I thought that I would be a singer, but back then it was the disco-moving-into-house-and-club-music era, in which I had no interest. I had some interest in musical theater, so I went to Nat Horne's musical theater group on West 42nd (back in the bad old days when Times Square was deliciously scary, and Theater Row actually had theaters on it) and tried to learn some jazz dancing (which I sucked at), some acting (which I sucked less at) and practiced my singing (which I did really well at).

I went to one audition... Maurice Hines was auditioning for something I'm pretty sure was called "Tropicana". It was an open casting call and every man, woman and transvestite within 200 miles of the Big Apple showed up. My voice cracked, I was nervous as hell and only managed a few bars of a Billie Holiday song before Maurice himself said "Thank you. NEXT!", and that was that. I never auditioned for Broadway again. But if I had a dollar for every JoeSchmo who said "you're gonna be a star! Bring me a demo" I'd be one rich beeatch. Too bad most of them were more interested in how I looked in a low cut gown or whether I could dance and smile at the same time. And I've always had an attitude problem; I once told an aspiring record producer/song writer "I would NEVER say that to a man" in response to some disco-sounding drivel about a woman wronged by a man. (Never mind the fact I actually HAVE said that to a man, but whatever. I was young.)

So, I stopped singing for a while and went to work, and only sang occasionally, usually on the alcohol-drenched sales department boat rides when I worked at MTV. But then I ended up on the Rock and discovered Karaoke. The bar out here had Karaoke on Tuesday and Saturday nights, but there was a very odd collection of Bronxites who could actually really sing. The beauty of Karaoke is the pre-recorded tracks, and if it was in my vocal range, I would try anything... GnR's "Sweet Child o' Mine" or the Beatles "Come Together" or Bonnie Raitt or Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson. And I rocked, if I do say so myself. I was best friends with a 6 foot tall blonde chick, who's about the only white girl I ever met who could sing En Vogue and mean it, and between the two of us we were the stars of the show. There were a few others... the guy who ran the Karaoke Show had an amazing voice, for one, but most other singers felt they sounded just like so-and-so, and so all they ever sang was so-and-so's songs. Whereas Blondie, KaraokeDude and myself would try anything.

That led to me and Blondie doing a few local bargigs with her psycho guitar-genius boyfriend, but I think he was actually jealous of the fact that when we sang, people forgot about his guitar-genius self, so that gig didn't last long.

Then the Sun came along. Blondie left the psycho and married some other dude and got too busy for me and my progeny, and my karaoke/bargig singing days came to a screeching halt.

The poor quality of the air in the Bronx, along with my allergies and asthma has done a number on my lungs, and lungs, like any other part of your body, need exercise. And I don't exercise at all... and I feel my voice failing me, which sucks. Sometimes, I even forget to sing... and I used to sing all the time, even in my sleep.

But I miss having songs to sing. I miss that power to stop a crowd (although I never had the desire to be a big star)... I miss singing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24, 1977

Psalm 147
Day 13
Paul Bogle Died (1865)

Got up medium. Dressed. Felt slightly stuffy from Rabbit Fur. Phoned Aunt N_. Pops went out.


"Stuffy" was my word for Asthma. And judging by the fact I didn't write much for the next few days, I was probably having an asthma attack. Unmedicated, they usually lasted at least two days.

I Knew It Wasn't Over...

I have to go to court today! Why? Cuz TheF*cker couldn't/wouldn't/didn't make any attempt to sign or negotiate a proposed visitation agreement.

I TOLD them he was crazy. I TOLD them he wasn't going to do it. I TOLD THEM he was irrational and vindictive and that he only does what he wants to do. Did they believe me? NOOOOOOOO!

Good thing I don't have a job - God is good. Or this would have been my last personal day and I would have been PISSED THE FUCK OFF to use it for this! More than I already am, I mean.

And I only found out last night that I had to go... Well, sing with me...

Hi ho, Hi ho
It's off to court I go...

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Update: 11:30P

It ain't over. I kinda felt bad for TF's lawyer... he said "I don't think his number works. I've tried him several times and gotten no answer". The LG concurred. Huh. Funny thing. The Sun spoke with him twice last night at that same number. So no, he's not coming today cuz he didn't say he was.

So, we've been adjourned. My lawyer had jokingly said last night, when I realized I had to be there this morning and that he wasn't going to be there, "well, maybe we can get his petition dismissed". OOOOOOH NO! I told her this morning... I NEED a visitation agreement. It's the WHOLE FUCKING REASON I went to court in the first place... to get an OP so that when I told him he couldn't come get his kid whenever the hell he felt like it, and bring him back whenever the hell he felt like it (regardless of anything I had planned, where I was, what my feelings or schedule was), he couldn't come bust down my door again. But instead of filing for visitation, he filed for sole, physical custody. And who knew that since we'd never been married, custody was a "grey area" according to the law????? So that's why were in court for 5 years... for custody. Well, he wasn't going to get it, which everyone says they knew.... and I knew too but life is strange and you just never know.

You fuck up something small and the judge has a bad day and BAM you don't have your kid. So I wasn't taking any chances, and threw myself into the custody battle the best way I knew how.... guns blazing and fangs bared. But custody wasn't why I went in there in the first place.

It would be REALLY FRIGGIN' IRONIC if, after all this time, they threw out a visitation petition. I'd go nuts.

But... all that happened today is that it got adjourned. And it got adjourned, conveniently enough, to a day that there is a parent/teacher conference, so perhaps that will be an incentive for him to come up. Or maybe he can just sign the friggin' thing and be done with it.

I couldn't stop laughing though. I kept saying to Lawyer..."Hate to say 'I told you so, but I told you so'" and when the LG and TF's lawyer asked the judge if a faxed signature would be sufficient, I whispered to her... "Good luck with that. I hope so but I doubt it" and she whispered back laughing "I believe you".

Crap.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Disturbing Idea of the Day

I found this article the other day, and it's been sitting on my desktop for the last three days while I ponder the irony and the horror of it.

The book I'm still reading "Black, White and Indian - Race and the Unmaking of an American Family" by Claudio Saint is at times very difficult to get through. The author is unflinching in his presentation of some very disturbing facts, and sometimes the sheer emotional connotations of what he's writing about make me have to put the book down.

There are the initial feelings of rage, of horror. Of "Goddamn but I hate white people and all they did" and "Goddamn but the Indians weren't much better" except that it's not that simple. Not at all. There was money to be made--lots and lots of money even by today's standards, and there was survival to be fought for, and there was the human need to quantify our existence. And the equally human trait to quantify ourselves at the expense of some one else.

Often, humans use two things to justify what we're doing to ourselves and to each other: God, and Science. Sometimes, both at the same time, if we fancy ourselves sophisticated.

I had just gotten through reading some passages of the book, describing how in the 1830's and 1840's, "science" got into the slavery debate. There got to be the "science" of phrenology, "...a discipline that would be discredited only decades after it's emergence. Phrenologists divided the brain into thirty-five different faculties or organs and from the shape and size of the skull presumed to determine the subject's character and intelligence." What the Wiki entry glosses over is how phrenologists of the day robbed countless Indian graves for skulls to prove that the Indians were inferior and so therefore "...The years of his race are not only numbered; they are comparatively few."

According to George Combe, touring the US in the late 1830's and conducting "brief studies", the Indians were "deficient in Conscientiousness, Benevolence, and Ideality" and concluded that Indians were "inferior to their Anglo-Saxon invaders, and receded before them."

So, imagine my interest in this piece of drivel:

Race remarks get Nobel winner in trouble

James Watson: Tests show Africans are not as intelligent as Europeans

LONDON - London's Science Museum canceled a Friday talk by Nobel Prize-winning geneticist James Watson after the co-discoverer of DNA's structure told a newspaper that Africans and Europeans had different levels of intelligence.

James Watson provoked widespread outrage with his comments to The Sunday Times, which quoted the 79-year-old American as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really."

He told the paper he hoped that everyone was equal, but added: "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."

The comments drew condemnation from British lawmakers, scientists, and civil rights campaigners. On Wednesday The Independent newspaper put Watson on its front page, against the words: "Africans are less intelligent than Westerners, says DNA pioneer."

Watson, who serves as chancellor of the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., was to deliver a sold-out lecture at the Science Museum, but on Wednesday night the institution said Watson's comments had gone too far and the event had been canceled.

Calls to Watson's book publisher and his office in New York were not immediately returned.

This is not the first time Watson's speaking engagements have caused a stir.

History of controversial comments
The Independent catalogued a series of controversial statements from Watson, including one in which he reportedly suggested women should have the right to have abortions if tests could determine their children would be homosexual.

In 2000 Watson shocked an audience at the University of California, Berkeley, when he advanced a theory about a link between skin color and sex drive.

His lecture, complete with slides of bikini-clad women, argued that extracts of melanin — which give skin its color — had been found to boost subjects' sex drive.

"That's why you have Latin lovers," he said, according to people who attended the lecture. "You've never heard of an English lover. Only an English patient."

Telephone and e-mail messages left with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory after business hours Wednesday were not immediately returned.

*sigh*.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.... I mean you could argue logically how this isn't true; point to thousands and thousands of examples on both sides that would prove this idea isn't even remotely logical. But yet... somebody believes it. Mr. Watson certainly does.

And the ironic thing is, looking at the picture of a watery-blue-eyed-pale-faced Mr. Watson, my MeanNasty Little Voice says snidely "Humph. Fitting. He looks like somebody who would believe that shit."

Sunday, October 23, 1977

Psalm 146
Day 12

Got up late. Showered, dressed. Watched TV. Then all 4 of us went to the Rahns, and picked up some used clothes. Came back. Did some shopping. Came home. Mom cooked. We watched TV and ate. Pops went to make a phone call. Watched "The Incredible Journey" Put on pj's. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

The Weekly Summary merely said: "A good week. A late night dinner." and a picture of some horses I drew.

We were picking up a lot of used clothing. It seems like a lot, but we each only had one duffel bag of clothes, or less than that even, when we first arrived.

As opposed to the two closets of clothes I now have, plus God-knows-how-many pairs of shoes and boots, and a coat closet so packed with coats I can't even store the crap I need to store in there... like toilet paper and paper towels. Hmmm. Maybe I should go take care of that now, while I'm home thinking about it...

A Love Story

Once upon a time, a long long time ago when we lived on the other side of the world, in a village, in a house, in a yard that we shared with Alonzo P. Smiley (a six-foot tall parrot), and his cousin Shorty. And in the tree next to the cottage lived the squirrel children: Sweetie, Junior, Sister and TOOTIE!

When we were kids, my mom the Bigbear would tell us stories every night, and every night she began them just that way. Sometimes the stories she told were original, and sometimes they were rehashed Uncle Remus stories (although at the time we didn't know it) or sometimes they were stories she picked up from other places and retold. She began them always the same way, and so after a while the Professor and I would recite the beginning along with her, and then hush up and wait for the story part. There were always the same characters, Peach and Apple (me and the Professor), Mr. And Mrs. B (the parents of Peach and Apple), Sis Nannygoat, and LittleBrown (named after my very first doll and was also sort of the embodiment of our housekeeper Mrs. Clarke's granddaughter) and Wesley Worry (cuz there always has to be a boy in the story since boys were usually the ones in trouble). There was Rabbit, and Madame Butterfly. Most times the stories were about one of the characters we knew, but sometimes someone's UncleCousinAuntie "come to town" and we would hear about them.

So I have a story to tell today, a true story, and it's so appropriate that it begin this way. In keeping with Bigbear's tradition, I guess the story would be about an Auntie of Littlebrown.

Anyway...

There lived a YoungGirl and her older brother in this land far away. They had had a decent childhood, but there had been a lot of pain as their father, an English sapper, suffered from depression (and probably PTSD), though at the time nobody knew what to call it or how to treat it. They lived with their mother, who had left their father--and the father doted on the YoungGirl but often took his anger and frustration out on the boy and this is one of the reasons the mother left. One day, the father killed himself. It left a huge hole in all their lives, but they survived, the way people do, and grew up. The son did many things, ultimately landing in the theatre, but the YoungGirl was very self-possessed and went to school and got into the medical field. She kept track of her older brother, who would sometimes repeat her father's bad habits.

She was a very YoungGirl, barely 21 I think, and hadn't really dated. One young man she thought to marry, because he was going to be a doctor, but realized that was never going to happen when she went to a party at his house, and his mother asked her "and what do your parents do, dear?" The other young man loved her, and even though she didn't love him, she thought she might marry him but wasn't quite ready.

One day, she went to retrieve her brother from the bar, and he introduced her to an American man who had come to choreograph and mount a production of "Fiddler on the Roof." She was very angry at her brother, and so was annoyed at the American for taking up her brother's time. The American tried to say something to her, and she shut him down.

But the American was taken with her and sought to win her over.

I suppose I should stop here and explain something. At this point in the story, most fairy tales spin off into a challenge to face, or an obstacle to overcome, and if I were a good story teller I would add things to the story to flesh it out, but what would be the point of that?

Because the point of this story is that six weeks from the time the YoungGirl walked into the bar, she was married. The American never even asked her formally; what he asked was "Will you come back to America with me?" and she said "I suppose you're asking me to marry you?" And he said "WELLL....? But I'm NOT getting down on one knee." And she said "OK." And he said "OK."

(Well, maybe the obstacle in the story would be that the American was engaged to a girl in Argentina, so he had to first break off the engagement. Long distance. VERY long distance.)

The YoungGirl went to a shop in her town where she always bought her regular clothes, and told the shopkeeper she was to be married. The shopkeeper said "I have just the thing" and went into the back and pulled out a wedding gown, which she gave as a gift to the YoungGirl. And the YoungGirl's hairdresser gave her the veil.

And the American arranged everything else; the party, the cake, where it would be.

The YoungGirl's uncle happened to own a white Mercedes Benz, which is what she was driven to the church in. The only downside to the day was that the YoungGirl's regular pastor had just been in a pretty bad automobile accident, and so they were married by someone who didn't really know them. Which was fitting, I suppose.

During the ceremony, the young bride and goom giggled at the part where the minister asks if there was anyone who would object to the wedding, because if would have been funny if someone stood up. All the groom's friends had long beards because they were all in the theatre company production, and so favored old Jewish men. But no one objected.

And so they were married. They lived there on the other side of the world for a few months while the American worked, but one night he opened up his show for an audience of "Blacks" and the government came after him and told him he had to leave the country. In three days. They managed to extend the deadline a month, packed up everything and left.

It wasn't until she was on the airplane leaving Johannesburg that she cried; she hadn't said "goodbye" to anyone. Not her mother, not her brother. Everything had happened so fast that it never occurred to her that she was leaving home for good.

Did they live "happily ever after"? Yes and no. Once in America they encountered many many hardships, but it never seemed that either of them ever thought of leaving. Although I do get a chuckle when I remember that one day, within the last five years or so, I found the YoungGirl, now a mature woman, crying on the doorstep downstairs. He had told her he was leaving and was going to pack up all his things and go.

I burst out laughing. "Where the HELL is he going to go???" I said. "Who would take care of him, the way you do? He's just being mean, but he'll get over himself." And so we went food shopping together, and when we got home, he was still there.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday October 17, 1977 ( Through October 22)

Psalm 140
Day 6 •

Got up medium. Dressed. Pops went out. Had to make a book report on "The Seeds and Other Stories". Ate, and watched the TV. Rested. Got up. Watched TV till Pop and Aunt Sinah came at 6:30. Ate a snack, watched "The Beach Bums". Walked Aunt Sinah to her car, then walked around the block with Pop + T. Came back. Put on pjs. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

We ate:

  • Breakfast: Matzo + Peanutbutter, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin (Mashed, fried, seasoned).
  • Lunch: Matzo, pbutter, pumpkin + sweetpotato+carrots+pbutter+barley soup, crepe, honey, corn chips

Tuesday, October 18, 1977
Psalm 141
Day 7 •
Today am 12 years and 8 mths

Got up medium. Dressed. T+Mom are fussing. They stopped. Copyed over my book report. Then all four of us went to the A&P. Came back. Mom called Aunt N_, for she had left us a message. Ate lunch. Rested. Got up. Watched TV. Took a bath and put on pj's. Now am watching TV. Then going to bed. Thank you Mr. O, Thank you.

We ate:
  • Breakfast: 1/2 Orange creme 1/2 caramel, 1/2 raspberry creme
  • Dinner: rice, red beans + egg, mustard
  • FF (??): 1/2 green tea before the sweeties

Wednesday, October 19, 1977
Psalm 142
Day 8
Got up medium. Dressed. Cleaned up, straightened up the drawers. Then, went to the A&P. Came back. Ate. Watched TV. Put on pjs. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.


Thursday, October 20, 1977
Psalm 143
Day 9
Dinner at Aunt N_'s

Got up medium. Dressed. Pops went out. We cooked lunch. Rested. Pops called us. Dressed. Took the subway to Aunt N_'s house. Ate Dinner. We played her piano. She's very nice. Came back at 1:25 am. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

We ate:
  • Breakfast: Triscuits, jumbo noodles+Pbutter+egg carbonara, carrot strips, carrot +cucumber+mustard chutney salad.
  • Dinner: Broiled blue fish, mashed potatoes, tossed salad, steamed carrots and squash, cranberry punch, banana crunch cake, mixed nuts, violet (??)

Aunt N_ went to college with my mom. She was a model after college, and I remember Mom would show us her picture in the fashion mags. She worked a lot back then. Now she owns a bunch of restaurants... I remember she had a white piano. She also had HBO.


Friday October 21, 1977
Psalm 144
Day 10

Got up late. Dressed. We woke up at 10 AM this morning. Wrote a postcard for Marlene Clarke. Went to A&P. Came back. Rested. Peeked out the window. Saw a bit of seks. Ate dinner. Watched TV. Going to put on pj's, watch TV and go to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

We didn't do a lot of peeping out the window at the Gramercy Park, but it was a hotel. And this particular day, we could see into the room across from ours, though there were curtains up so it wasn't a clear view-- just silhouettes--of a couple having sex. Not like the full-frontal nudity we once caught a glimpse of at the Zanzibar Motel through the floor-to-ceiling glass window...

Saturday, October 22, 1977

Psalm 145
Day 11

Got up late. Dressed, after taking a bath. Had Sabbath School. Watched TV. Ate lunch. Rested. Got up. Watched TV. Had a snack. No "Bionic Woman." Put on pj's. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

I think there was no "Bionic Woman" cuz the World Series was on...

Well, I'm all caught up now...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

So Now, Where Was I...

Oh yeah.

Thursday October 13, 1977
Psalm 136
Day 2 •

Got up medium. My flow slowed down last night. Dressed after Pops came out of the bathroom. Changed my napkin. Made up the bed. Pops is in a weird mood. Everything is quiet, even the cars. The leaves are turning. The one in the park is going to be yellow. Pops went out. We went shopping. Came back. Started to cook. Pops came back. Put on p.j's, after eating. Watched TV. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

We ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 vanilla creme chocolate sweet, 1 juju, 1 toffee
  • Dinner: P.butter, johnny cake, lettuce + celery + carrot + cucumber salad, sardine+pbutter+barley+vegetable soup
  • Dessert: apple+pear segments, pnuts
If you're wondering why I had candy for breakfast, it's because I discovered I had a skill for shoplifting. Back then the candy aisle still featured those plexiglass bins that you could scoop out and weigh your own candy, and I'd grab a handful whenever we went to the A&P. It wasn't actually breakfast, but I had to put it in some category.

Friday, October 14, 1977
Psalm 137
Day 3•

Got up medium. Dressed. Watched "Sanford & Son". I still have a flow. It's less than yesterday- so far. Pops went shopping. I read. Pops came back. Mom started to cook. Ate. Watched TV. Aunt Sinah came. T read her "Baby Michael Tree" story. She took Aunt Sinah out! I drew. I fell calm when I draw. Anyhow. Watched "Wonder Woman". Aunt Sinah left. She brought us 2nd hand clothes from Aunt Frances. Went to bed. Thank you Mr. O.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 tsp. pnutbutter, 1 cup honey tea, 1/4 carrot.
  • Dinner - didn't write it.
I happened to watch an episode of "Sanford & Son" the other night with the Sun. It seemed SO dated, but it was funny. It was the one where Sanford realizes he married the girl that broke BB King's heart. And I used to love "Wonder Woman". I still love superheroes. These days, it's Storm. I have a whole collection of Storm figurines.

I remember the Professor's "Baby Michael Tree" story, but I can't remember what it was about, other than it being about a baby tree named Michael. But I do remember it being a good story, and being very proud of her. The professor swears she can't write but she can.

Saturday, October 15
Day 4 •
Psalm 138

Got up medium. No flow last night. Dressed. Pops went shopping. He came back. Had Sabbath School. then had a snack. Watched TV. Ate lunch. Watched. TV. Went for a walk, and went to Washington Square . Came back. Put on pj's. I'm spotting again. Going to eat supper, watch "Bionic Woman" and go to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: Triscuits + date-fig preserves
  • Dinner: Beef salami + pink beans + Triscuit crumbs
This new version of "Bionic Woman" wants to grow on me, but it's not really.

Sunday, October 16, 1977
Day 5 •
Psalm 139

Got up medium. Dressed. Cleaned up. Thought we were going to Aunt Frances'. But she wasn't there. So we went to the Rahan's. They're some folk Ma+Pa new in Rome. Their youngest daughter M_, who's 13, rides {horses}. Went shopping. Came back. Ate. Watched TV. Put on pj's. Watched TV. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: 3 stix chewing gum, 3 chocolates, marshmallows, 1 toffee
  • Dinner: Beef + pink beans + vegetables soup, matzo, pnutbutter, corn chips
  • Herb tea, honey, almonds
Boy, the candy aisle was getting robbed blind.

The weekly summary said:

This week I got my period, the first month. 2 days before, I felt tired, sleepy, snappy. Then, nothing much on day 1. Days 2+3 a slight cramp. Day 2 I had a low backache, and a cramp. 3 - minor pain. I felt quiet. One day 4 I spotted on and off all day.

I saw the Fat Lady last week. She was saying I needed to update her on '77, and I told her I had kind of annoyed myself reading and seeing how obsessed over my period I was. Who wants to hear about that???? but she said that since she'd gotten hers at a younger age, for her, this first period wasn't as looked forward to as mine was. If you're a dude reading this, I suppose you have similar pivotal life-changing experiences, but for a chick... this is a defining moment in our lives. We all have some feeling about it, one way or the other. I bet that most of us remember how old we were and where we were and how we felt our first period. Even if we don't obsessively write down every detail.

Right This Very Moment



yes, Dr. Lecter, the lambs are still screaming.

I haven't posted in a week, because the voices have been shouting and I'm not being very successful at shutting them the fuck up.

I don't even feel like talking about them cuz it won't change anything. It's not being canned that set them off, really, though it took me a day or two to get acclimated to the idea of "no job". Truly, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Those people sucked. But I have issues with being left, or not being picked and since I know this, once I got past not "being chosen" it was OK, I guess. The two biggest stresses financially are those friggin' student loans, and the rent. I tell myself it can never be as bad as it was when I was in school, trying to finish, and five months behind in the rent. That sucked. Really bad... I must have hit every place I could think of, looking for help, and ultimately it was the Upstairs Neighbors that came through. But in any event, if I can shut those lambs up for minute and think, I can hustle. I think.

UNN1 is holding on. I know she cries every day, and she misses Kip. We all miss him. I told her yesterday that I feel her "everyday". Sometimes, you watch other people's life events unfold, like pregnancy, or birth, or death, but because it's not happening to you, it seems to go fast. Your girlfriend tells you she's pregnant, and she's not showing yet, and then seems like the next day she's giving birth and you say "wow, that went fast!" although it didn't really. It only seems that way because you weren't living the "everyday". But with Kip, I feel the "everyday". It's been a month. Thumbelina has moved in with UNN1; Thumbelina suffers from a multitude of ills including an intense all-over crippling pain due to a nerve disease, and so she she's staying with UNN1 until a major, 11-hour surgery on Halloween that will paralyze the left side of her body, but also kill the pain. A lefty, she's teaching herself to write with her right hand. But since she's there, she can help to keep an eye on UNN1's 89yearold mom, and so they all seem to benefit from the arrangement. The best thing is that UNN1 isn't alone, and has something to help distract her from her "everyday".

I hung out with her Saturday morning; she took me to the liquor store for the booze I needed for my "Slumber party" (which was actually loads of fun. I've got really good friends and it was a joy to have them hootin' and laughing in my house. The tequila and the Toys and the girls made me forget my shitty life momentarily, but like a rubber band it all snapped back once the euphoria wore off, and the snapback stung like hell), and then to the supermarket. She talked about Kip, and I enjoyed hearing it. I envy her Great Love. In the meantime I had a text-message conversation with the SugarCube (aka Nene) that annoyed/depressed/pissed me off. For 100 different reasons, none of which I feel like sharing, even with myself.

But me...

The loss of The Job is one less distraction that keeps me from mulling over the mess that is my personal life. If you'd asked me 20 years ago how I foresaw my life, it wouldn't be this. 20 years ago, at 22, I was real full of myself, convinced I was in love with the psycho I'd marry in the next year or so. I don't do this relationship thing real well. I don't pick well. I'm not sure why. It's as if there's a flatness there, an emptiness that doesn't get filled, until I convince myself that it's filled.

I dunno. Once in a while it's genuine, but then those are the ones that pull the rug out from under me.

30 years ago I was about to move to Harlem.

I think I should go back to 30 years ago. Maybe I can figure out where the hell I went wrong.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sometimes You Get What You Ask For

I started this post Monday....

"This Place Truly Sucks

and I'm starting to dread coming here. The mood is just well, weird. My Boss is very bitter, as well he should be. But I spent so much time in my life being bitter about various things, and I fought so hard to rid myself of those things that I just can't be here like this.

But lord knows I hate jobsearching. I suck at interviewing. My philosophy is... you see my credentials. You see what I can do. I can learn anything I'm interested in and put my mind too. Either you like me or you don't. And if you don't like me, does it outweigh the fact that I can do what you ask me to do? Either hire me, or don't... but don't have me fill out paperwork, and meet with HR who doesn't know anything about design, or ask me dumb questions.

Argh. But I'm going to have to suck it up real soon cuz this isn't fun anymore....

I need to catch up on 1977, since I was writing a lot this week. Although I was fairly obsessed with my first period, which is pretty understandable. Too funny that the older we get the less we want to think about it...

BigBear's reception was Saturday, and it was a roaring success. Her work was beautiful, and well received. We were all quite proud. And Poppy graciously played "Mr. Bigbear". I'll post pictures later."

...and then yesterday I was canned. So you see, be careful what you wish for.

Overall, I'm OK with it. And I get paid thru the end of November. The truly worst part about this for me is the fact that I'm facing all this shit alone. Again. I'm tired of being alone.

And I'll start writing again soon cuz I need to but a.) I'm sitting in the Fat Lady's house because noone can get to me here but it's a little weird to write something and know she can read it immediately and b.) the lambs are screaming really loudly right now and I'm trying not to listen...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 12, 1977

New Moon Day, the day I grow up.
Day 1
Psalm 135

Got up medium. Before dressing, I () and made a pepe, and found out I started my period! I had to wipe before I realized it. Dressed, and put on my last Safex. Went out. Got some more napkins - "Confidets". Changed. Reassured. Mom started to cook. Pops went out. He came back. This morning I gave Susie to T. Ate dinner. Going to put on p.j's, change my napkin, watch T.V. and go to bed, Thank you, YHWH.
I ate:
  • breakfast: Chocolate wafers, 1 toffee, 1 juju, 1/2 banana
  • Dinner: curried chicken, rice, celerly stix, carrot stix, cucumber, romaine lettuce
  • snack: 1 pear, p.nuts, banana slices, apple slices
OK, first: BWAHAHAHA. My Lord, but did I think my life was gonna change. Secondly, I'm fairly certain Poppy took this picture of me that day.

"Safex" was a brand from Jamaica. I'd been excitedly expecting my period for about a year, and had carried those Safex around for awhile. Periodically, I'd get curious and pick them apart, which is why I only had one left.

As for Susie... I already posted that story here, and there's no need to repeat it.

Tuesday, October 11, 1977

Psalm 134

Got up medium. Dressed. Went out to the Bronx. The desk clerk down stairs called me "young man". We walked all over the Bronx, Bronxwood, etc. Also we took a long ride on the subway to get there. Came back, ate . Rested. Got up. Watched the goob tube. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O. Today we looked in the A.K. shop, and saw some cute pups!

I wonder if that was my first ride on the subway... probably not.

People took Aunt Sinah for a man frequently, because she was tall and the radiation treatment for her throat cancer had made her hair fall out, so she kept it short. So the fact that the desk clerk called me young man had a particular irony. Though I did possess a large floppy 'fro, at the time...

This picture was at the zoo, but I don't remember if it was the Bronx--actually though, I think it was. Note the caged zebras...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Darkening

I'm fighting against it. Life really isn't that bad but Light is missing at the moment. It got cold out. As much as the 80+-in-October-leaves-aren't-changing-"This ain't Natural" weather was getting to me, the sudden drop in temperature is disorienting. And I love hot weather. But summer in October makes me feel like the world is coming to an end.

And I'm really tired; I need a day or two off. I had 21 vacation/personal/whatever days here at this job, and a large proportion of them were used for Family Court. Or doing things for other people. And some for going away, but not enough. I miss being home. Alone. But, if I were to take the Sun and then come back to the Rock it would mean two hours out of my day. Unless I can get him up early enough and have him go in with the Moon.... hmmm. That's a thought.

I hate making decisions or setting goals, cuz the goal part is all good but the doing-the-work-part is a pain in the ass... so in regard to my goal of dancing salsa at my wedding I'm already having second thoughts. Maybe that's why it's never a goal I set for myself before. Plus, men my age really suck. But, I like the music and that's what I'll concentrate on.
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Also contributing to the Mood Du Jour is this book I'm reading (see yesterday's post). Wow.

The Creek (Muskogee)--literally fighting to stay alive (one person told a family story that some Creek were reduced to picking kernels of corn from the dung of Andrew Jackson's horses)--were like a wolverine in a trap. Desperate, they began gnawing at their own limbs, trying to get everyone out of their territory, thinking that by getting everyone--everyone; African or European or "Other"--out they'd have a better chance at holding on to their own lives. But by this point (early 1800s) people and families were so racially mixed it was impossible to draw a line. They literally did it by color or kinkiness of the hair. There was heavy fighting over the land. The loss of life was staggering on all sides. We don't see that kind of loss of life on a daily basis; it would be as if Iraq were on our shores, in our back yard. In 1828 three Muskogee women where whipped (by Muskogee men) literally to shreds for living with White men. And the alliances between Africans or persons of African descent had the added bonus of being frowned on and feared so badly by white squatters that "no public figure could bring himself to write explicitly about the possibility, even though it was on every one's mind. In late 1812, when fugitive slaves and Indians were joining forces in Georgia and Alabama, Governor David Mitchell of Georgia feared 'the very worst evils imaginable,' but he refused to elaborate." It was as if by also denigrating Black Indians to the same status that the Whites observed, that perhaps the Creek could save themselves. Only, it didn't work that way. Still, the Creek enacted laws in their nation similar to whites regarding the status of blacks, but the author (Claudio Saint) states (regarding the designation "Negro") "There is nothing self-evident or logical about the category, and it dissolves upon even the slightest scrutiny."

He goes on to ask:

"On the continuum of of skin color, where does one draw the line dividing Negroes and others? Why are Papua New Guineans, who most assuredly have dark skin, not considered Negroes? If the term is meant to encompass people from Africa, why does it not include Moroccans? If it is intended to refer to people in sub-Saharan Africa, at what threshold does a barrier become great enough to make racial divisions? If the Sahara is such a barrier, what about the Alps dividing Switzerland and Italy, or the Sierra Nevadas dividing California and the rest of the United States, or, for that matter, the Hudson River dividing Manhattan and New Jersey? Negroes exist first only in the eye of the beholder, although the category later takes on a life of its own in law, science, and popular discourse, and even the minds of those called Negroes."

Shit I've been asking myself that for years. And every time I'm faced with an job application form, or a benefits enrollment form, or a survey, or apply for aid of any kind I ask myself the same question. And I often wonder, who else in the world asks this question? Do other countries require the same types of racial definitions on their forms?

And I also wonder... this idea of race didn't really take hold in the current guise that we know it, until the late 1700's. And it didn't get *serious* until the very end of slavery. There's a whole world of intermixing before that point, and even past that point despite all the various laws and attitudes.

Yet, racism has become so embedded in the fabric of this country, and spread like wildfire to a lot of other places that I really wonder if the thinking can be reversed.

We have this typical assumption that slavery was enforced by pure white men who lived on large, green plantations with hundreds of dark/mostly African slaves picking cotton or being whipped out in the fields, and while this was certainly true for some families, particularly rich families, a large number of slaves lived with their masters who were also their husbands or wives or children, in a large and slightly unorganized mishmosh of skin tones and social statuses and ethnic mixes. It's not as simple as we've been taught to believe. And yet out of this comes this very strict idea of who's Black and who's White, and the Indian is barely mentioned.

For fun sometimes, I go back and look at modern day demographic statistics of the various cities I read about, to see what the ethnic mix is. And invariably you get numbers like " White 57.2%/ Black 40.6%/ Native American .1%/ Asian .4%" (Nottoway County, VA) and I think to myself, those numbers make no sense. Not if people were REALLY honest and dug further back than the 2 or 3 generations of the family they are willing to talk about. It's simply not logical.

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Another, later thought (4PM) is that I read a quote the other day, when looking up Miscenegation Laws, that one "White" proponent states something to the effect that if God wanted the races to mix, he wouldn't have put them on separate continents.

OK.

But look at this map and ask yourself:

...the "continents" Europe, Asia, Central Asia and parts of the Middle East are separated by what, exactly?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sleepless On The Rock Again

...insomnia has kicked in. Last night it was partially due to playing with my new Treo 755 (ooooh.... some things are better than sex) but I think that was just a smokescreen. Playing with the toy kept the voices quiet.

I let the cat out of the bag the other day, but I think it's what's at the core of the sleeplessness. I set a goal for myself, sort of half-assed, but yesterday I decided (well, sort of) that I should go ahead and make it a goal. And it's weird... cuz it hasn't ever been something I decided on before. I want to dance salsa at my wedding, sometime before I die. There are a whole bunch of "never befores" in that sentence, because for instance, even though I was married before, I've never had a wedding. I also don't dance that well. And that short little sentence contains a MULTITIDE of things that have to happen in order for me to achieve that goal.

Up until now I never even dreamed of the white dress and the cake; it was just not anything I aspired to. I never played "wedding games" as a kid, or had bridal costumes. I always played at being "mommy" though. And I always thought I'd have a husband. But the actual wedding thing wasn't a part of the fantasy.

I told the Sun about this goal last night, gaugeing his reaction: "Mommy has decided she wants a husband." "YES!" he said, pulling his fist down.
I laughed. "Why does that make you happy? I thought you didn't want me to be married?"
He said something like "No, I want you to!"
I asked him "well, why would you want me to? Why would it be good for you?"
"Because I'll have somebody to play video games with!"

Ah ha ha. Like that would be my goal... I hate those damn video games. But he made me laugh. I said well, this means I have to start looking. Then after a beat, he named someone we both know (my world is very small) and the irony just made me laugh and laugh. But I told him I didn't really think that was a good option... but hell. You just never know. Regardless, the first thing I'm going to concentrate on is the Salsa part...

The other thing I've decided is that at some point, before I die but hopefully before I'm too old, I want to adopt. It would be nice to actually be pregnant again--unlike the Professor, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (and I'm totally excited for Halle and J-Hoe)--but I don't really think that's going to happen. There IS a time limit on that.

* = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = * = *

Totally different subject, but I started a book yesterday: "Black, White, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family" by Claudio Saunt.

The American Library Journal says "At the center of this family saga is Katy Grayson, a Creek woman, who, along with her brother, had children with partners of African descent. Katy later married a Scottish-Creek man, disowned her black children, and became a slave owner. Her brother, William, stayed with his black wife and children, later emancipating them. In 1907, when Creeks were granted U.S. citizenship, state law split the family by defining some as black and some as white." William Grayson's wife was actually a family slave.

It's going to be a little "dense" going, I think, but already it's fascinating. There's a page that describes how members of the Dawes Commission basically browbeat folks into deciding what race they would be, simply by getting them to describe who was dark or light-skinned, and had "kinkey" hair.

My great-grandmother's grandfather was born on a plantation in Nottoway County, VA. He has the exact same name as his owner with the exception of the middle initial (which he always used), which leads me to believe his "owner" was also his father. He married on that plantation, and then somehow was able to buy himself, his wife and three children out of slavery. The census describes him as being "mulatto", but he is described as having "Black, White and Indian" heritage. Already free when slavery ended, during Reconstruction he served in the Virginia House of Representatives. One of his daughters married the man who would later start the Saint Paul Normal and Industrial School, now known as St. Paul's College. The other daughter, moved north with a husband. The result of that marriage, my great-grandmother, went to Saint Paul's to teach after graduating from a college in New Jersey, and that's how she met my great-grandfather, who was also there to teach.

Monday, October 10, 1977

Psalm 133

Got up medium. Dressed. We went out, I don't remember where. We came back and had chicken soup. Watched TV. Aunt Sinah came. She taught us how to make a card house. She's slowly cleaning out that apartment of hers. She left, and we watched the beach bums. Pops came back from walking Aunt Sinah to the car. We went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

Aunt Sinah never did get that apartment clean. When she died, about 9 years later, her apartment was filled to bursting with stacks of the New York Times and various magazines. And you couldn't just dump the stuff, because hidden in weird places were things like bonds, stock certificates, and cash. But she always talked about how she was getting rid of it all. Too funny that the really important stuff, like the fact that she had a baby, was hidden someplace else entirely and stayed that way for years.

I have a picture of Aunt Sinah that I keep up amongst the family photos in my living room. We don't have too many of her. She and my mom had a "walk-around each other" relationship, and she and my father fought constantly, though I always felt she loved him to distraction. She was very obstinate. Very. I think I was always partial to her because for the early part of my childhood with the Professor, I was classified as "the smart one." And like Sinah, I certainly have a tendency to get lost in my own head, though I don't think that "smart" has anything to do with it. I think that's more of an Aquarian trait. But as a little kid, my parents--my father in particular--would say things like "Don't be like your Aunt Sinah.... don't get caught up in your head, be more interactive." And I love my parents to death, but the older I got, the more I got to think that was sort of an unfair statement. Particularly after I got to know her.

And hindsight is always 20/20 and at the time, none of us knew about the baby she gave up. Once I realized that, and once I had my own child (ironically enough, like my Aunt, "out of wedlock" with someone who couldn't--for various reasons--commit) I realized how very difficult that must have been. And there is that family trait to sort of "suck it up" and "lock it down" and move on. I'm sure I don't come by those metal gates in my head out of the blue. Because obviously, that's what she did... she must have just sucked it up and moved on... and on the outside it would seem that she had let it go, except for the fact that she kept track of where her daughter was until she died. So maybe I am like her (because that is so something I would do)... and I know people frequently think that I'm self contained and business-like. Someone described me as "fierce" once, and the Professor says I'm bossy. But those are merely defenses... for most of my life I felt that if I didn't have those defenses in place I would be easily swept away, sucked under by all that goes on in my life and would be completely useless to everyone. I took a perverse sense of strength in never letting anyone see me cry, or hurt or be angry, though of all the emotions anger was the one I was most comfortable showing. For the most part, I practiced being like "Spock" from Star Trek. But late at night I've sat and prowled the suicide sites, or drank myself to stupor and sometimes even then, I'd still cry (nothing worse than being ridiculously drunk, but hurting enough to cry--that really sucks cuz alcohol is supposed to deaden everything).

It wasn't until the Sun came along that I began to let it all go, couldn't hold it in any longer. You can't let love out without letting out all the other stuff that comes with it. But when he was born, I had to force myself to talk to him, to let him into my head. It wasn't that I hadn't bonded or that I didn't love him because I loved my little peanut the second I accepted the fact I was pregnant, but I was so used to just being alone inside my head, so used to the metal gates I didn't even notice they were there. I could easily be inside my head for days on end. But I'd read somewhere during my pregnancy that you should talk to your baby and so I did, but initially it was very foreign. And then of course, I had to listen outside of myself, rather than just the voices in my head (and they can be vastly entertaining, let me tell you) so that I could hear what the Sun needed. The funny thing was that the more I listened outside, the stronger my inner voices got and I got to pick up on a whole new range of thoughts and feelings and emotions I hadn't ever felt. Initially, it was all too big to contain, which is the only reason why anybody got to "see" anything, but after awhile and a few public cries for help it was kind of cool to know life would continue on despite the fact that I had cried. And sometimes, people even cared that I hurt or cried, and that's kind of nice.

So it must have been hard for my aunt, that at the very time when your heart is opening up, that she had to shut it all down. And she shut it all down until we came along. Looking back 30 years later I marvel at the difference between her and my grandmother. Because Sinah was very straightlaced (despite her staunchly Democratic political stance) and rigid in her thinking, and I know she thought The Parents nuts... but unlike Grandmother who shut us out, Sinah took us in wholeheartedly, without any reservations. She must have called or came by practically every day while we were in the Gramercy Park Hotel, and when we moved out into our own apartment (and oh just wait till I get to THAT part), she'd climb the 5 flights of stairs to come see us on a regular basis.

And she tolerated my father and his ideas for the most part, but sometimes she put her foot down. Like when she finally decided she'd had enough of us living without a phone and without electricity and went and set us up with a phone. A red one. I remember her saying she understood about the electricity, but we HAD to have a phone. But that came later...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sunday, October 9, 1977

Psalm 132

Got up late. Dressed. Watched TV, after doing the chores and pops came back from getting the paper. The Times cost 35 cents, same price as Gleaner, it's the same size of the daily news and about 4 or 5 times as thick. Mom started too cook. Ate, and rest for an hour. Then went for a walk, came back, put on p.j.s, ate a snack, watched T.V. and went to bed. Thank you Mr. O, thank you.

The Weekly Summary said:

"A good week, though most of our weeks are good"

The Gleaner was Jamaica's "serious" paper. The Daily News was more on the "common" level.

I was thinking that as much upheaval as there was during this time, and as foreign as everything was, for me, NY was a lot easier to adjust to than Chicago. Maybe because people were a lot more helpful... Aunt Sinah in particular.

Monday, October 8, 2007

As For The Other Stuff... (pt. 2)

So either a.) My weird childhood, family history and narcissistic tendencies makes me able to rationalize anything or b.) I'm an idiot.

The SugarCube thing had been making me crazy, but I totally admit that it's totally me. The Big "Grey Area" thing. The "Following Rules" thing. The "Needing a Structure" thing. I finally got told by my wonderful, gentle friend BeautifulHair that I needed to stop "cutting him off", and then the Fat Lady concurred and told me basically, "do, or do not".

So I decided to "do." Several times. What the hell.

And when I find myself making myself crazy, I just retreat into myself and try to hold my own piece. I made a point of going out Saturday because I realized that once the Sun came along I willingly (well, not initially willingly--initially I had a hard time adjusting to the lack of a bar life) became a Homebody. Mom. And so the only time I went out was when I was unhappy... consequently I'd drink too much or end up spending my time wishing I were someplace else. This past Saturday was the first time in a long time that I was out because it was fun, and not out because I was trying to drown some misery or other. And I had a great time.

I'm not saying I'm past my craziness. I have "trust" issues and "being left" issues but I keep reminding myself that everybody gets "left" at some point. UNN1 is so lonely; she so misses her companion, and her days are hard. I go up and check on her to let her know I'm there, but I know there's nothing I can say or do that will make her get through this any faster. To have your lifelong love leave you in death... how can you be afraid of heartbreak when faced with that?

So, I'm trying to just accept what is, to take my own advice and be accepting. It's not bad enough to want to change it, or to really need to change it. In reality, the situation suits me rather well. So I'm trying to enjoy the little things that come my way.

Today, anyway...