Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Quickie

Random-Ish and spaghetti-like...

  • I find it SO very amusing that while some folks find boobs or full nudie pix to be erotic, a picture of a bellybutton has caused quite a stir. Really, it makes me laugh. It's a belly-button. Not a nipple. Or a full nude. But a picture of a belly-button has gotten almost as many comments as my BlueNude did at Pratt... the one in which you can't see a thing. You only THINK you can. I somehow think this says something about life but I'm not feeling "deep" enough to figure out what it is.


  • The other day I fought myself about going to Karate. Myself won, and I went... but I didn't take my normal route up there, and it threw me a little. Consequently I left my gi and my gloves on the goddamn bus. I went because I wanted to work out... but I also went cuz it was Nene's birthday and I wanted to say happy birthday. He was being flirtatious again, which made me laugh. I told him I'm not tangling with Babymama, and he'll never leave her. So we're left to suggestives but that's OK.

  • My mother is now on Crackbook. I have no shelter from the family in which to air my crazies. So blogging it is.

  • I got to see LilacBlue and Fatlady today, Fatlady very briefly but it's amazing how attached I can be to some people... and how much I miss them when I don't see them. Both of those ladies fall into that category.

  • On Christmas when I went with Shoefly to BigSister's house, I had given each family member a picture from my show with BigBear. I had nothing else to give, literally. And I wanted to give them each something because they've been so good to me through the years... and they always give me presents. I had one for BigBrother, too, who in temperament is an awful lot like ShoeFly. And extraordinarily self-centered. He was wallowing and so didn't come to Christmas Eve this year (though in all honestly, I suspect a girlfriend he didn't want to share with the family since his ex-wife--who has become a sister in the family--was there. And will always be there. But I digress.), and I'd had a picture for him. But since he wasn't there I gave it to his son and DIL (she of coquito fame). I heard from Shoefly today that when he heard they all got pictures, he wanted to know where his was. I laughed. Luckily I have another I can give him...

  • I had a meeting with a client upstate today. The client came recommended to me by The Cuban, a former boss of mine. Who I'd had an affair with. And when I had to go back to SD, he got mad and made my life hell and I quit. Walked out... and a month later 9/11 happened. And I realized there'd be no tech jobs for awhile so I should go ahead and fulfill my dream of artschool. I credit the Cuban with changing my life. I'd had genuine feelings for him so I can't really hate him though I probably should. But you know me... I shit where I eat and I make my own messes so I don't go around blaming other people for my fuck-ups. But he does owe me and it was nice for him to pay up. Although this morning when I'd texted him a preliminary quote (he says he's paying) he offered to pay me in sex.

    Oh, yah. That's useful.

    I told him no, sex wasn't going to pay the bills, but thanks for the offer. Fucker. And yes... I'll make sure somebody signs a contract. Although recently I did some work for his firm and he paid.

  • I've made my New Year's resolution. It is to be a Better Bitch. I used to be an Amazing Bitch... self-contained, self-centered. Did my own thing and didn't really stop to weigh consequences or feelings before I did anything. Was willing to have several boyfriends at the same time... one paid my Amex Bill, one looked amazingly good on my arm and the other one was amazing in bed. Then I started falling in love with motherfuckers and my life went downhill. So this year I think I'm just going back to being a bitch. If I'm going to be single for the rest of my life I should get something out of it, I think. Cuz at the moment I'm not seeing that playing fair and being empathetic is getting me anywhere,

    but y'all know that's me talking shit. Cuz it's just my nature anymore. But I'm gonna try...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Internet is a Wonderful Thing

Random-Ish.... in the category of Things That Amuse the Piss Out Of Me/subcategory, games people play.

The online world is an interesting one. Many of us oldskoolers were around back in the days of BBS's and Compuserv... back when there were no pictures or "profiles" and you had to type everything. And the very early days of AOL. Then Groups. There was such a thing as "netiquette" back then. We were careful not to "flame" each other.

I've been alone for so long that a constant in my life has always been the online world. I haven't quite gotten around to Twitter only cuz really... I can only obsess on one thing at a time, and when I'm obsessed I'm consumed. And I haven't gotten into the virtual reality role-playing places either, like SecondLife just cuz I don't need to. I peeked... it was hellafun but a drug I knew to leave alone.

I'd played with MySpace but it's clunky compared to Crackbook. Part of Crackbook's appeal is the lack of anonymity. It's also part of what's scary about it. I can see that some people are guarded with themselves, and many more people "limit" their profiles since they are actually using their true identities. But some of the "games" that were played on MySpace are played on Crackbook, and the one game I hate is the stalkerchick game.

You know... "I'm not really with this guy but I'm keeping him in pocket... so let me add all his female friends as my friends."

The other aspect to that game is "Let me post a bunch of shit to his page/profile to let everyone know I got dibs."

On MySpace it goes a step further where they change their profile names to actually reflect things like that... such as "I'm His Queen So Haters Step Off" or "Call Me Masturbation Cuz I'm Feelin' Myself" or "I am THAT bitch" or some such nonsense.

I know you can choose not to "add" someone as a friend... but that's part of the game. Cuz if you don't accept the request the chick that requested you will doubly suspect you. Sometimes you add the bitch so you can watch her, too. Sometimes you add her cuz you know she just outed herself.

The other part is deleting people. It's always interesting to see who gets deleted as a friend. Some people get deleted over and over. Nene stopped adding me back after awhile. My friend. Have I mentioned that as friends go, I value him more and more? I doubt I'll ever fool around with him again... I don't even think I'm that attracted to him now but having gone through all that and still liking him as a person has taken the freindship to an interesting depth.

Anyway...I play a little bit... it's too tempting not to. Especially cuz I'm single. But on the other hand I'm 43 and real life dating games annoy the fuck out of me... and the online games piss me off even more. Every so often I have to post something specifically calculated to let folks know I'm on to them. It pisses me off to stoop to that level, but fuck it. I have no life. It's another one of those things that amuses me yet pisses me off at the same time.

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

And speaking of real life dating games. Last year or so I'd lamented how very much I hated dating and that I didn't want to do it. This year I dabbled with horrendous results. At the verge of 2009 I'm not sure where I stand. I'm too old for this shit... but on the other hand I'm tired of being alone, so I guess I kind of have to. Cuz I'm still on my ride-or-die mission but having gotten a taste of what's there I'm more annoyed than ever. And it's not like I haven't met people this year... I have actually. Some I don't even mention cuz one look is all it took. But I'm no good at the game, I know that much. Cuz I just hate the game. I'm still an all-or-nothing chick. And after all the bullshit this year I'm more all-or-nothing than ever before. I think this year the trick will be to give nothing for a much longer period of time.

But it's hellafun to watch other people's dating dances. One dance in particular has amused me because for whatever reason one of the participants is very open about shit... and gives me intimate details. And I do mean intimate... definitely not for the faint of heart. Definitely in the "TMI" category. But I listen, and I observe, and it all goes into the little databank of a brain I have. You never know when intimate details of one situation will go to help you understand another situation.

Tonight I got a phone call with an update on the dance... Participant "A" had called Participant "B" because they wanted to discuss something. The L Word. Seems Participant "B" had let fly with a phrase containing that word because said participant was piss-ass drunk. Now weeks later Participant "A" wanted to make sure that while the phrase was acknowledged, Participant "A" didn't want to hurt "B". "A" wanted to make sure that "B" knew the feeling wasn't mutual. They didn't "♥" "B". They loved "B" as a person. They even "adored" "B". But they didn't "♥" "B".

"OK...." said "B". "B" then asked "A" if "A" was sleeping around.

"Well, no."

"Oh," said "B", relieved. "B" had actually expected "A" to say that they were. "B" said they didn't really care whether "A" "♥"ed them or not. "B" was more concerned with the double-dipping.

Then somehow the conversation changed to the use of um, prosthetics, because "A" wanted to come over and "watch a movie" but "B" wasn't feeling up to snuff and didn't want to. And "A" made some snide reference to the use of prosthetics... and was seemingly upset at the prospect.

Which amused the hell out of "B"... particularly since "B" isn't "♥ed", merely "adored". And "A" was jealous of a prosthetic.

I laughed my ass off.

But again I'm annoyed. Who has time for that shit??? What the hell is wrong with loving somebody, and saying it? Bigbear says Poppy told her that... that he didn't love her. She said "That's OK, I love you enough for the both of us." But that just doesn't fly these days...

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

Skype is a wonderful thing. An amazing thing. Who would have EVER imagined it... back in the days of dial-up and Compuserv???? A free video conference. I remember back in my working days when one of my offices got video conferencing. What a big deal. Cost money. Now you just download Skype from the Internet, hook up a webcam and for FREE, goddammit--FREE--you can talk to anyone anywhere in the world. In real time.

We started using Skype a few weeks ago so the Sun could talk to his dad. And this week, cuz the Sun is in Cali I used it to talk to him. Ugh. I miss him terribly. It has put my whole world in a tailspin but mostly I try not to think about him. His face. His frizzy hair. His ginormous eyes. So tonight on Skype I got to see him... frizzy hair, big teeth and ginormous eyes. The room was kind of dark (SD always had a thing about conserving energy and turning off all the goddamn lights) so really the main light in the room was the soft blue glow from the computer monitor. My kid's eyes looked even bigger than normal in that light. My Peanutbutter. The first time I laid eyes on him I remember his huge eyes staring right back at me. He comes home Friday... I can't wait. But in the meantime thank God for the Internet. And for Skype.

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

Last night I attended a Virtual Dance Party. A High School friend of mine was co-hosting an all-night House/Dance music fest on WBAI. Jay Smooth of Illdoctrine fame was running a live video feed from his HipHop Music site. Two of my highschool friends were online on Crackbook, joking back and forth with each other and our friend the DJ. At one point one of the HS friends even texted me on my phone.

I was online for most of it. The music was pumping. The video feed had a "chat" feature, and a bunch of us losers/dateless/no-life-having motherfuckers (or maybe that was just me plus some other folk who just happened to not have anything to do that night) stayed on almost all night... chatting with each other, watching the real life people in the station spin records and drink beer. Finally at about 2A enough people at the station were tipsy enough to get up and start dancing. It was vastly entertaining. A desk at the station was streaming MMA fights, so not only could the feedwatchers watch real life, we could also watch the MMA fights and comment on them, too. The Ultimate in Loserdom. Yeah, that's right. I have no life. But I have one hell of a virtual life.

Kinda reminds me of the deeper concept behind "Wall•E". Really, we're not all that far from that....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

People Make The World Go Round

..and amuse the hell out of/annoy the fuck out of me in the process.

Some Random-Ish from the past few days....

Friday when it snowed and it was the day after the Sun's school winter concert (they were brilliant by the way, my little kiddie friends) we overslept by hours. Which is just as well... the Sun was tired and had been begging for a day off and I hadn't been able to sleep anyhow, and plus we both needed our hair done.

So we came into the city by subway. It was snowing off and on but there was already a goodly amount of snow on the ground.

Around Parkchester, some rowdy Dominican High School kids got on, throwing snow at each other and roughhousing. I know they were Dominican cuz they were talking about it and trying to out-DR each other. I remember being a rowdy teen on the subway, and usually I let stuff go by me, and usually within a few stops folks settle down.

But two in particular were overstepping themselves, and at every stop one of them would step outside the car (we were still above ground), scoop up armloads of snow and bring it in to the car, where they would proceed to make snowballs and throw them at each other. The Sun and I were sitting in a corner seat and were out of the way but further down the car a few people sat, one of them an elderly gentleman. A snowball grazed him on its way to the intended target--another teen--and the guy jumped and brushed himself off and never looked up or made eye contact with the offending teen.

This pissed me off... not so much because the guy got hit... not so much because the teen barely acknowledged what he'd done, but because the old man was intimidated enough not to make eye contact. I was on the phone with CrazyNicaraguanChick but I got mad enough to yell at the kid "HEY! You all need to stop that. Stop bringing snow in here!"

They ignored me. This pissed me off even more. But I noticed that the majority of the group had gotten off, and the few remaining kids began to shift uncomfortably and sat down. Except for the two assholes. At the next stop, as if to prove his point that he was young and invincible, the kid brought in and even larger pile of snow, dumping it on the seat. A middle-aged, stockily built, bald-headed Hispanic man got on and sat down. The snow sort of slid down his way, and he reached out to stop it with his hand, but I could see the wheels click in his head that he was going to let the incident go. He made himself small, put on his headphones and sat down.

But the big kid got bolder. And I got madder. Especially because the Sun was sitting next to me, and was also getting a little nervous. "Mommy, can we move to another car?" "No," I said. "I'm not tolerating bad behavior today. Not today". I said it loudly enough for the kids to hear, catching the Hispanic dude's eye in the process. I noticed he nodded. I said to him "they are being so disrespectful, I HATE when kids act like that!"

At the next stop when the kid brought in even more snow and dumped it on the seat, I finally couldn't take it anymore. CNC heard I wasn't paying attention to her anymore and hung up. We were still above ground, and I looked around the car, sizing up who was going to back me up if there was trouble, and calculating how long it would take Transit Police to reach us if I dialed 911. In the meantime I yelled at the kid "YO!!! STOP THAT! STOP PUTTING SNOW ON THE SEAT! You're making it dangerous for people, AND, nobody can sit there now cuz it's all wet!"

The little fucker looked at me and said "well then they can just go in the next car then!"
"You know what?" I said to him, "You're just being plain old disrespectful, and you KNOW you're being disrespectful!" But I realized he wasn't going to stop. I was fuming. The Hispanic dude across from me took off his headphones.

The skinnier kid of the two suddenly felt his balls and yelled at the guy "WATCHOO LOOKIN AT GRANDPA, WHATCHOO GON DO!".

Hispanic dude exploded. "I'm telling you, you don't want none of this. I'm warning you, don't mess with this. It's NOT something you want to do". And then he got up very slowly, took off his jacket and folded it neatly on the seat, took off his hoodie, folded that neatly as well and placed it next to his jacket, and then sat down. Without his headphones.

The kids got off two stops later with some verbiage but no real fanfare. I looked at the Hispanic dude and laughed. "I just wasn't in the mood to tolerate that shit today. I'm tired of these kids thinking they can get away with everything." The Dude laughed.

The Sun looked mortified, trying to look as small as he possibly could, frantically playing his DS. I looked at him and said "and if I EVER catch you acting like that I'm gonna bust your ass!!!" The Dude laughed. The Sun kind of giggled.

When we were getting off the train, the Dude said to the Sun "You take care of your mom" and the Sun smiled. I asked him, the Sun, if he had been scared, and he said "I was scared of YOU, Mom! I've never heard you yell like that!"

Which is kinda funny, cuz I yell at the kid all the time, but I guess he hasn't ever really seen me go at it with other people, cuz it's not something I do often. I puff up like I will, but I rarely really go all out.

I told him I didn't mean to scare him, and I told him why I felt comfortable taking the kids on... that the "pricklies" on the back of my neck that indicate mental issues/unpredictability hadn't gone off, so I knew the kids were merely being bullies and weren't really crazy. If I'd felt they were mentally unstable or high, I wouldn't have tangled with them. And I had also felt that the Spanish dude would back me up, because he looked "Oldskool" enough not to let a young kid mess with a woman when the woman was in the right. It was a risk... but it was pretty calculated. And I told the Sun all this so that he would practice observing things and behavior around him, in order to be able to gauge the safety level of his environment.

Plus, I knew if somebody came at me I was mad enough to beat their ass...

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

Christmas Day when CNC drug me out of my den, she took me over to some friends of hers she'd grown up with in Nicaragua. There were cousins and friends and inlaws, and she had told me there would be good food and music and booze. But when we got there, the inlaws had cooked and thrown the party.

Now, the inlaws were Caucasian. The husband himself was pretty cool. He had met his wife in a bar in the Bronx somewhere, and fallen in love. Tiny very Indian looking chick.... complete opposite to him who was tall and well, very Bronx. But they fell in love and he'd learned a passable amount of Spanish in two years and they married and now had a baby girl.

His parents though, had decided to have Christmas dinner for the Nicaraguans, but instead of maybe having everyone chip in a dish and sort of reflect the blend of the family, they instead cooked a very Bronx Caucasian spread; a huge ham, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, creamed broccoli and veggies. But the dip for the veggies was seafood, and they also had a huge bowl of shrimp, and I couldn't touch that. And I don't eat ham. And CNC doesn't eat meat, so we picked. The Nicaraguan side of the family ate gingerly, complaining about the lack of music and booze in Spanish, but wouldn't leave because it was rude. And the Filipino sister-in-law was there with her most adorable baby who was suffering from allergies, and it was entertaining to watch the Nicaraguan relatives who spoke little English, speak to the ones who did who could translate to the Filipino whose English was also passable, in order to give her tips about what to do...

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

Added to this, as I was observing all this multi-culti, I got a message through Crackbook from the Sun's Albanian side of the family. Out of the blue. I'm guessing the Sun came up in casual Christmas dinner conversation, and Cuzzo must have volunteered that I'd tried to contact him on Crackbook. And in typical SD-side-of-the-family-taciturn-ness, all the message said was "How's [the Sun] doing?" No "Merry Christmas" or "Hey, how are you?"

So I wrote back "wow, Merry Christmas!" and proceeded to tell him how well the Sun was and what he was up to. A few short minutes later the message comes back "My mom wants to know if you have a recent picture." So that meant he was with his mom, who by-the-way was Irish. I told Cuzzo add me as a friend on Crackbook, there were many pictures... and also on Flickr.

A few beats go by and the message comes back "My aunts think he's cute." Which meant not only was he with his his mom, but his aunts as well. I wrote back that of course he was cute... he looked like his dad. And that was the last I heard from him.

Which could lead me to another rant about how that side of the family-- the aunts in particular, never really followed up with the Sun, even when I let them know they were more than welcome to be part of his life, no matter what was going on with SD. So to hell with them, too.

An amusing thing about Cuzzo is that he's one of those people who roleplays historical periods, but his historical period of choice is Genghis Kan's. Go figure.

People amuse the hell out of me, yet piss me off all at the same time....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Around The World In A Day

Well, not quite. More like Cross-Country In 24 Hours.

Which I did on Tuesday. The Sun and I flew out to LAX Tuesday morning, arriving at about 4p LA time. Our flight was delayed on the runway about an hour. It wasn't so bad... it was long but it wasn't uncomfortable since we flew VirginAtlantic. Shoutout for my peeps there... as airlines go it's comfortable; leather seats, individual touchscreens and stuff to do like games and TV. But they charge you ridiculous sums for food, and movies are $7 a pop. Individually. Luckily I have a splitter for my iPod so the Sun and I can share music, and we plugged that puppy into the jack and watched "KungFu Panda".

Another shoutout for EarPlanes. I have the WORST time landing... it feels like hot ice picks stabbing my brain and ears and usually nothing helps... not swallowing water/chewing gum/that hold-your-nose thing everyone swears by. It can be so bad I pray for oblivion. And then I can't hear for hours afterwards. But the EarPlanes kept the pain at bay and while I still couldn't hear for hours afterwards, at least I wasn't in blinding pain.

SD met us at the baggage carousel in a Santa Hat holding a sign for the Sun. I laughed. The Sun was mortified. And was even more mortified when his dad picked him up off the ground to hug him. But, like everything else he took it all in stride, knowing the reasons behind it all.

It was a pleasant few hours. SD lives about an hour from LAX, and while there was "traffic", like he said at least in LA, it moves. In New York you come to a complete standstill. SD's apartment is all standard-issue white and beige, and he tends to dark leather furniture. But it was nice. And neat. MUCH neater than mine. I was very happy to see he's made a life for himself out in LA, and he's the happiest I've ever seen him. He even got elected Vice President of his union.... and while we were driving he was saying something about how he had to fight something and the steps he'd take, and I laughed and said "And then you'll be senator!"

He had a little tree that lit up to music... he always did like kitchsy stuff like that... and underneath it he had put a present for me... a neck pillow. Which came in mighty handy later on.
We didn't have time to have a sit-down dinner, so we stopped by a local burrito place. The Sun was so happy... and I was happy for him. At one point he grabbed my pinky and his dad's pinky and just grinned. It's been a long war, and all the Sun has ever known was war between his parents. And as a parent... if you're a parent at war--whether full blown or guerrilla-style--with your Co-Parent, if you are reading this I'm telling you that at some point you have to make peace. It sounds corny, but the kid really needs you to.

And no, despite being teased by the Professor about mating for life... maybe so... but if that's the case I'll be single for life cuz I could never ever go back. Or forward, smart-ass. I just couldn't do it. But I like that there's a truce.

They dropped me off, the Sun and I, at John Wayne Airport in the OC at about 7:15, and I started my journey home. This one sucked. Not so much cuz I missed the Sun but because as an airline, especially compared to Virgin, United SUCKED. Seats much narrower and cramped; not nearly as clean; and you STILL have to pay for food. I had to change planes in San Francisco, and while I was able to confirm my seat online for the short flight, for some reason I couldn't do it online for the long flight. So there were like 12 passengers standing around waiting for the attendants to give us seat assignments... consequently it ended up that four of us--myself included--were the last motherfuckers to board the plane. I was tired, I was hot, I was cranky. My left ear was still blocked. Thank God for SD's neck pillow... and that God blessed me with a window seat. I made myself as small as possible and passed out.

Then there were the emotional issues. For the first time in awhile I really missed TomCat. My rational mind knows why... and my rational mind understands completely all that happened. I am no longer bewildered and if nothing else, I may lie to other people or keep shit close to the chest though I tend to be pretty honest here, but in the dark when it's just me I'm ruthless in my attempt to dissect shit, and I know what happened, and why, and where I digressed. But it still sucks balls, as my friend the CrazyNicaraguanChick would say. And coming back to New York hurt like hell.

The Professor picked me up at JFK, in the rain and the ice melting, which I appreciated beyond measure and without words because I knew ahead of time I'd be starting to fall apart. We went to breakfast out here on the rock, and then I came home, took a shower and went to bed.

Later on I went with Shoefly, like I do every year, to her BigSister's house. Her bigsister and my littlesister are cosmic twins, so being around Bigsister is easy. And she can cook. We had a great time, though everyone sorely missed the Sun and it kinda put a very small damper on the evening. But Bigbear and Professor also came... all one big happy family. I was highly amused though, when the Chinese daughter-in-law broke out the coquito she'd made. It was pretty good, too.

We got home about about 2A, and life really began to suck. All I'm going to say about Christmas Day is that this year was high up on my list of Top10 Suckiest Days Ever. And I keep saying I don't keep Christmas cuz I don't. But it sucked not keeping it. One low point was going with UpstairsNeighbor to visit her 90 YO mom in the nursing home, along with Thumbelina. UN was struggling as it was, which I knew, because this is her second Christmas without her beloved Mr. Kip.

We get to the nursing home which no doubt about it, is probably one of the most depressing places on the planet on Christmas Day, even though a good portion of the residents have no idea that it's Christmas. Or care, even, since it's actually a Jewish nursing home.

Mom was glad to see everyone, and enjoyed her presents, but somewhere in the time that UN went to sign her out so that we could take her out, Mom realized she didn't quite know where she was, or that it was Christmas, and it wasn't her regular day to go out, and she got majorly pissy.

So her and UN, riding in another car than me and Thumbelina, got into an argument and Mom wanted to go back to the Home. Now, me on the outside understood the dynamics of what was happening, but it just added fuel to the fire of UN's bad mood and so she directed Thumbelina to bring me back home. I haven't seen her since.

And while I was sitting there in the dark that evening I was so tempted to write her a note to tell her... you can cry for what was. And I know you miss him terribly but you had a great time. ME? I'm crying for what will never, ever be. Be grateful for what you lost.

But, of course I didn't. Not yet, anyway.

If it hadn't been for CrazyNicaraguanChick who insisted I come out with her (we ended up just the two of us, sitting in an empty fucking bar drinking a Corona and eating Jalapeno Poppers. Oh the joy!), I would have done some of my best wallowing. Which leads me to a small rant. People piss me the fuck off. I know I'm not the easiest person in the world to get along with, but Lord knows I try. And above all, I try to be honest. I don't believe for a second that notifying the world of my faults excuses them. I know that a lot of the same things I don't like about people are traits that I own myself... which is probably why other people's faults annoy the fuck out of me, precisely because they remind me of my own.

But I try to look out for those folks in mental distress because I know what that feels like. Fabulous had said to me that you can't give 100% because you'll never get it back, therefore you only give a smaller percentage because your small percentage equals more than what they're used to.

And it made sense for a minute, and I thought about it for a long time but I realized that doesn't work for me. Because I'm a mother.

The first thing that changed about me when the Sun came along was that I couldn't hear him cry and not want to do something about it. Like feed him, or change him, or comfort him. Or maybe all he needed was for me to talk to him. But he needed something, and not having words yet, he cried. It taught me to listen outside of myself, to hear what he needed. And to fulfill it, even if it was at cost to myself. I remember when he was about a year old I'd contracted Hepatitis A from eating lunch in the Morgan Stanley Cafeteria, and I was so unbelievably sick I called my mother to come sit with me. I couldn't even lift my head. SD was being a major prick (which in hindsight I know was that he just couldn't handle it, didn't know what to do and was terrified, so he ran) and it was just me and the kid, and the few hours my mom was there.

And I was still nursing... and for the most part the Sun was way more into nursing than into food, and as sick as I was, if he needed milk, I nursed him. I couldn't NOT nurse him.... it's what he needed.

And that changed me profoundly.... so that if I detect need the only way for me not to fulfill it is just not to let the person "in". I can't just give them "a little bit". Its all-or-nothing. But I try to listen out, and if I have it to give, I give. I hate the phone, but I'll call someone if I know they need it. Better yet I'll text... cuz at least they know I'm thinking of them.

But these last few days? The only fuckers to reach out to me aside from family are Shoefly and CrazyNicaraguanChick. Oh, and Nene. And that goes for texting, too. The only time my phone rings, about every two hours, it's the bill collectors. And I'm pissed like a motherfucker. I realized on Christmas Day that I hadn't heard from my close friend BeautifulHair in ages. Obviously I must have pissed her off, but hellifIknow what it is, and I did try to ask her. Once fairly recently I called her by accident, but when I realized it was her I didn't hang up. She didn't pick up, or return the call. And on Christmas I didn't even get a text from her. So fuck it. She didn't reach out... nor will I. I'm done being nice to people.

But I'm also a forgiving bitch so I'll get over it.

I dread New Years like you wouldn't believe. It's so bad I made an offer I knew could be refused to someone I knew would refuse me, and they did, in their usual-cowardly-"Lets just not acknowledge it at all and maybe it'll go away" way, but it's all good. Cut that motherfucker off, too. I think I'm going to stay in my apartment till it's over, New Years. Hibernate. I don't want to be the fifth wheel, the cute single chick: "Oh, she's so talented/funny/cute", I don't want to be drunk. I don't want to be with someone who's into me but I'm not into them, and I damn sure don't want to be around anybody I'm into that isn't into me. So fuck it...

Last year I sat on my RedCouch with Peanutbutter and enjoyed it, actually. This year, I'm gonna sit there by myself, and wait for him to come home. Because at least I have me. I can count on me. And come 2009 it's gonna be a whole new bitch. Back to Black.

Leastways, that's how I feel today...

And since I can't ever be All-Black (don't think I'd make a really good Goth), and always have to find something good... I got a cool present from UN and Thumbelina. A $100 gift card to the supermarket. And some really nice-smelling soap from Shoefly. Like, so-nice-you-don't-want-to-use-it, nice. And yesterday I hung out with the Fam and Bigbear bought me a tall IVAR piece from Ikea so I can try to organize my art supplies (currently my living room is a shambles but it'll be allright) and my sis took me to karate last night--and waited--so I could work out and spar. And that was cool. LittleSensei actually taught me stuff and didn't try to whale on me.

I'm a survivor. A pissed-off one, but a survivor nonetheless....

Monday, December 22, 2008

So... Random-Ish

...type stuff, free flowing...

I guess I'll just jump in midstream. I've been having issues with the season. And I don't keep Christmas per say, and I don't mind that I don't keep Christmas but it's weird when you don't officially keep Christmas.

Cuz the party season amps up, people drink more, there's that whole buying frenzy thing, and then the day itself where the world stays still. And if you don't really have anything to hold on to, it can be kind of lonely.

So my biggest problem is giving up my kid for Christmas this year. And SD and I are getting along famously well, and I actually remember why I liked him to begin with but I hate having to share my kid with him. I guess it's better than sharing my entire life with him, because that just wouldn't work. And I don't mind that the Sun is going there or that he'll be celebrating his first real Christmas ever... but I do mind that the Sun won't be here. Especially on New Years. The Sun isn't back until 1/2.

So then the other part of that was that I have to take the Sun out to Cali. And that brought up a whole host of emotional bullshit in me, most of it centering on what went down the last time I flew out there. So then I had to admit to myself that while for the most part I'm good, and I can be around Tomcat without having to hold on to myself too tightly, and can even exchange a few pleasantries there's still shit I'm not over.

And then I had the occasion to be in the same room with him for a holiday party and I was good with it all until the very end. It didn't help that I got the big blow off from Fabulous that night, either. And then I drank too much. Not as much as I drank last night, however... and I didn't do anything or say anything that night (or last night) that I wouldn't have done or said normally... and I guess I'm thankful God was looking out for me, the way he does fools and babies, cuz maybe I might have gotten into something that really wasn't going to be good for me.

I live my life with a policy of "No Regrets" cuz I think "regret" is a useless emotion... but there are certainly times when had I thought something through I may have done things differently, so I guess I'm glad I didn't have that opportunity. But the next day I cried all fucking day. Not for loss, per se... and not for the person either, but just cuz. And I realized I was still sad about the whole thing, and that I REALLY wasn't looking forward to the flight to LA.

But... I got over it pretty much. Life goes on. And for the most part, I really am OK. For the most part I'm coming back to where I was before SD, before the Sun... but a little older and a little wiser and a hell of a lot broker.

I was hellafraid, though, of booking my flight back. I put it off till the last minute. I was afraid of the prices (not that I'm paying... Poppy is), afraid of not getting a flight, afraid of maybe having to go out to Vegas to get a cheap flight back, afraid of having to stay in Vegas...as much as I LOVE Auntie I just didn't want to be there for Christmas. And I felt guilty about that cuz it would actually be fun... but I'm not there yet. And it sucked having to ask Poppy to shell out money on the credit card. But I found a reasonably cheap flight (considering the season and the lastminuteness) out of an airport pretty close to SD's apartment, and it gave me enough time to come see his apartment, maybe grab a shower and something to eat before I fly back.

Now the thing about visiting the apartment. Who knew that I would ever even contemplate that??? Certainly not I. I was prepared to war with SD for the rest of my days... and honestly, had I not gone out with the Tomcat in the summer and had that whole adventure, I really think our peace would still be minimal. So there is definitely good that came out of that trip. Tomcat has an ease with children and crazy people and his presence smoothed over a lot of shit. What happened afterwards God knows I could have done without but hell. Life sucks.

But back to the visit.

I guess SD knew I was procrastinating about booking my trip back, and so last Tuesday or so he texted me that if I needed to stay overnight in LA, I could stay with him and the Sun. And somehow, I KNEW that offer was coming. I diplomatically replied that I would consider the offer if I needed to, but that was all I said. It actually had the effect of putting the fire under my ass to find a flight, cuz I really didn't want to stay with him.

But, the next day he called and rather hesitantly launched into a conversation that he didn't want me to think that he was trying to get back with me... it's just he wanted to make the offer in the spirit of peace, in the spirit of letting the Sun know that both his parents can get along. And then he said that he knew there had been a lot of crap. He knew he'd said and done a lot of things, and that he couldn't take it back. That he just wanted to move on.

And while I still have my suspicions, I decided to take him at his word, and I told him as much. And I told him that quite honestly, I just want to come home. I really need to be home and that I was going to try very hard to get home that same day.

But then what he said next floored me. He said "I know I left you at the hospital that time... and that would never happen again".

For him... that was tantamount to him begging my forgiveness.

Because that night... the night he left me at the hospital was the night I declared war on him.

It was spring. A few days before was the Pratt show, and me hanging out with Fabulous at the Museum. And me deciding that the only way to be free from SD was to fight it out, and I knew it would suck but I knew it was the only way. And I knew that SD was gearing up to fight me on the length of a Memorial Day visit, and I knew that I was going to have to take him on.

A few days before, or maybe even earlier in the day, the Sun and I walked through the park and he had been consumed by mosquitoes. The Sun is EXTREMELY allergic to mosquito bites... they swell, they weep, they get really gross looking. When SD came to pick him up, the bites were pretty bad but they hadn't reached the zenith of nastiness, but I guess they did while the Sun was with SD. And he began to freak out. He called me and said he was going to take the Sun to the ER. I told him they were only mosquito bites; I told him what to do. He wouldn't listen. I said fine... if you're going to take him to the ER, come get me and we'll go together to one in the Bronx. I went downstairs to wait, expecting him to come within 2o minutes. It's an emergency right?

Wrong. SD kept me waiting over an hour, and when I went upstairs to call and find out why, he hadn't even left the house yet. And was extremely nasty. So another hour went by and he finally got to me, saying we were going to go the ER in the city where the Sun's pediatrician was. I told him that was dumb. It was 10 o' clock on a holiday weekend, the bites weren't THAT serious, but if they were, why would we go all the way downtown???? And that's when I knew that the only reason he wanted to take the Sun in was because at that time, he was looking for evidence that I was a bad mom. And it didn't help that on the way through the park, in the dark, he was menacing and threatening to slap me, and said he wanted to throw me out of the car. At one point he said he didn't want to look at me, get in the back seat. And I was so afraid he'd actually leave me there in the park that I left his front door WIDE OPEN while I crawled into the back, so that he couldn't pull off and leave.

And mind you the whole time the Sun is wide awake, stressed, and sitting in the car seat.

We got to the ER and because he'd told the triage nurse "pus" and "sores" on the face, they had us come in right away. Of course, there WAS no pus and they weren't sores, merely bites.

Now the thing I hate about doctors, interns in particular is that sometimes they are so busy looking for the great "catch" or "save" that they overlook the obvious. It pisses me the fuck off. I kept trying to tell them I was in the park with him when he got bit... his regular doc KNEW he was allergic to bites, but they kept whispering shit about "bed bugs" and "infestations" and SD was feeding into it all. I was FURIOUS. But to make a scene wasn't going to help me...cuz they were all white, and SD was "white", and the kid has these weeping bumps all over him and they weren't listening to shit I had to say.

But at the end of it, the Sun wasn't running a temperature and there was no pus only plasma, and even though they scratched their heads and claimed bewilderment, they let us go.

It was about midnight by now. And SD was mightily annoyed that he hadn't gotten any satisfaction from the visit... not even a prescription. So he grabbed the Sun's hand and told me to get home the best I could... he wasn't going to take me. I could have gotten as far as the end of the subway ride, cuz I had a metrocard on me, but the buses to the Rock stop running at a certain point and so the only option was a cab. And I had no money on me, and no wallet cuz I'd run out of the house for the "emergency". I asked SD for cabfare, and he refused. He took my kid and walked away, telling me he'd bring the Sun home when he felt like it.

I called my parents and told them what had happened, and that I had to stay with them overnight till the buses started again. And as I lay down there and tried to sleep I vowed that I would take that fucker on no matter what... and I would beat him down.

And there was more after that... that weekend was the longest of my life, culminating in me having to go up to Yonkers with the police to get my kid, and then me hiding in my apartment the next day and then the Tuesday after Memorial Day going to Family Court and filing for an Order of Protection. And the rest is history.

That weekend came up during the testimony, but other than that I haven't harped on it as the beginning of the battle. Certainly not to him. Matter of fact, we haven't really discussed the War at all, and I don't feel the need to. We both know what happened. So for him to bring it up the other day was pretty big. I still have my suspicions... and not for nothing but SD was always pretty good at apologizing. It's one of the reasons I got sucked in for so long. His apologies were always heartfelt, always sincere, sometimes tearful... but on the other hand, considering the length of the war, and the fact that he didn't outright say "I'm sorry" sort of makes me take it another way.

So even though I made sure to find my ass a plane ride home, I was happy that the window of time allowed for me to go home with them to visit where he leaves. But briefly. And then I come home...

So I'm feeling slightly better about the trip at least. I'm still not looking to certain things, but on the other hand there's a lot I can do to occupy my time... like clean up, organize, corral Fabulous into doing some work (cuz despite the fact I don't think anything other than work will happen, I still think he's Fabulous), and get ready for a new year.

I guess I'm getting past the boiling internal anger. I'm not boiling mad at SD anymore. I can think about the Hospital Incident and still be mad at the moment, but it doesn't carry over. I can be boiling mad at the fact that I'm still single, but I'm figuring out how to deal with that. I think the thing is, the biggest part of it is that I'm not afraid or ashamed to be angry. I'm pissed about stuff but I have a right to be, and one day... like with SD, a resolution will come of all this. Maybe not something I anticipated or planned for... but there will be one. I just have to be patient and take the ride...

Which reminds me I should write about the train ride I took the other day in which I told off a bunch of rambunctious teenagers, but I'm gonna save that for another post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Been Hiding

Fom myself, from others, from comments.

My head is about to explode. There is so much mulling around... so much need and pain. I don't like to admit to either because I don't like being the needy one. I don't like to admit to the weakness.

And sometimes I DON'T want comments; merely to bitch and moan which is how I started this blog anyhow.

I'd write now but I've been up trying to finish the LogoFromHell so I can get that bitch out of my sight, and now I need some sleep. If I started writing now I'd never get to bed.

But I'll be back.

In case you cared...

Monday, December 8, 2008

So One Thing Led To Another

and I went with the Fabulous to an exhibit downtown Thursday evening. The Sun was still away at camp, and I was determined to have a night out while he was gone. It turned out that some of the artists showing work the night before at Hostos were also showing work at this place, and many of the same viewers were there as well. Just on a whim I'd brought my camera, and shooting at 1600 the light was pretty good and the beer was flowing and the company was great and I got some good pictures.

And then I met Adhali and she asked me to come to another exhibit her friend Frankie was curating and opening on Saturday because their photographer backed out, and I said sure. There was no money in it but you never know.

...something Fabulous always happens when I'm around the Fabulous...

The Sun came back from camp on Friday an inch taller, dirty faced and slightly smelly. I brought him home right away and he vegged on the couch till bedtime. He spoke to his dad, and I guess he wasn't raving with excitement so SD wanted to talk to me: "Is he OK?" "He's fine" I said. "Just exhausted".

Ugh. What does he think? I'm beginning to feel him creep into my psyche again and I realized again that truce notwithstanding I can never ever get too close. Like a Vampire, once you let him in you can't get him out.

We didn't go to karate on Saturday; there was another promotion at the other dojo and class at our dojo was canceled. So we vegged all day. I couldn't get a firm commitment from any of my friends to come into the city with me to take these pictures, so I hit up the Fabulous. He had a birthday party later but he said he'd come with me for a bit.

I met him at his job as he was getting off, and him, me and another co-worker of his rode crosstown in a cab to the gallery/bar.

I think I got some decent pictures... I hate using a flash because it's so disruptive, so I went through first taking as many stealth pictures but it was hard... it was darker there than it was at the other gallery on Thursday, so I had to resort to the flash. And even though it was really dark I don't point my flash directly at my subject but rather point it upwards, which is also problematic because in a really dark place with a not-so-strong-flash, the top half of the photo tends to be brighter than the darker half. But it's not as disruptive and I still got some decent pictures. I hope.

Turns out one of the artists exhibiting there was mainly a tattoo artist named Byron Velasquez... and I love tats and so I'll give him a plug. His work is crazy... right up my alley. A little digging revealed he's gotten some press so that means he's probably out of my price range but one day... one day I'll have it like that and he can do my tat.

I was feeling pretty good; the Sun was at the Moon's house and I hadn't expected to stay out too long. But at about 10:30 I get a text from SD asking me "Please go get the Sun". I texted back "I'm working. You talked to him? I'm taking pix for someone..."

I started feeling really stressed... but then I remembered "Oh yeah. Court is done. I have custody. You're a thousand miles away and it's none of your business other than the fact you want to control me. Fuck you." So I ended it by saying most nights the Sun goes to bed early but tonite I'm working, and anyway I check in with Shoefly.

Excet TF called Shoefly. She shut him down, too.

I have to remember to keep my distance. There's a truce but we'll never be friends.

Being Fabulous is a little confusing, a little conflicting. One the one hand it drives me crazy but on the other hand it's just as well it's where it's at.

I dunno. There's still Fostercare...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So......

...it's been a minute since I wrote last. Too much time on Facebook. And therein lies the problem... cuz now there's so many folk I know on Facebook I'm reluctant to tell my tales since if they wander over here--and some do--they can probably figure out who I'm talking about.

Not that I tell unpleasant tales.

And not that there's that much to tell.

I'm sort of rattling around in my head. Feeling out what my next step will be.

I got into a discussion with Fatlady the other night about meds. I go back and forth about the whole thing, and I don't knock anyone who decides to go that route... I really don't. But I guess I have a fundamental distrust of them, since I don't see the difference between them and say, ganja. Having grown up in a country where a spliff was a common medicine--even though technically it was illegal--I guess what I don't trust is the line that meds help take the edge off so you can deal with your problems. Well, so does herb. So does tequila. For instance, tequila makes me downright euphoric and able to cope. But I wouldn't go and self-medicate with it on a regular basis because I know that 1.) there are side effects and 2.) ultimately nothing really changes except that you feel momentarily better. Same with meds.

I guess I've been wondering about it because most of the people I know who consider meds or who end up using meds have something in common and that is that they tend to be artistic. And most of the artistic people I know are downright crazy. They either write well, or paint, or sing, or have a musical talent. The especially crazy ones do more than one thing. We already know sensitive artistic souls carry with them issues that drive them mad. But at the same time it's what drives you to create. Who are you without that sensitivity? Artistic people who go on meds report feeling better, but many of them say they can't play their instrument, or sing, or write. And then they end up going off the meds. And feel worse because they know the difference between "feeling better" and not "feeling better." And feeling better is in quotes since I question what "better" actually means.

And so I wonder.

I went to an exhibit of Graffiti art at Hostos Community College in the Bronx last night. A room full of nuts. Seriously. One guy was walking around with a kerchief over his mouth and nose that was printed with the words "Art is my weapon". One guy had lost an arm, probably doing something he shouldn't be doing, and was definitely strange. To say nothing of the old dudes (really my age or a little older) who were walking with so many issues that it made them appear older than they were. Yet the work on the walls was out of this world. If you're in the neighborhood it's a show well worth seeing.

Having gone through my bout of extraordinary psychic pain very recently, I wonder. My problems haven't gone away; without meds I feel better and am coping, even though technically my problems have escalated. But I guess going through all that pain and coming out the other side, ultimately I'm stronger. I could have done without the pain, no doubt. It sucked. And it sucked my time up. But I came to a few conclusions about myself in the process and had I taken meds I wonder if I would have come to the same place?

Out of fire comes new life, new growth...

So here I sit, wondering where my life will go. My conversations with the Fabulous are still going on... but he like me has that "thing" and he procrastinates and I'm not sure I'm all that patient anymore, although I may have fired him up. But I'm running out of time. There's things I want, having gone through all that pain I know for certain what I'm looking for and what I want, but I know my time is short. Two years, tops.

And so I came up with Plan B. Fostercare. And I find it a little amusing how quickly people tell me to "be careful" or that it might be more than what I can handle.

But there are sooooo many children in need of love and support, many of them of little brown babies, who are in need of a home.

And I realized, through all that pain and hell, that I need to love. On my own terms in my own strange little way. And children don't challenge you on HOW you love, so long as you love them. Receiving love is good, and I need that too, but I have the need to give it. So I wonder...

The cons are though, that it would pretty much wreck whatever chances I have of actually going someplace to meet anyone interesting. So maybe I'll wait two more years before I get into it. I haven't made up my mind.

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

My Sun's photo, along with his classmates, appeared in the NY Daily News. His music school's violin ensemble was asked to play at the Children's Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. He had sort of casually mentioned the possibility the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as I took him and the Moon to school. Monday I was going through his school's Purple Folder (how parents and the school communicate) and saw I needed to sign a consent form for photos to be taken. Tuesday the News came and photographed the kids. Wednesday it was out in the paper. We had gotten to school at 6:45A because the Sun and Moon were going on their 4/5 grade camping trip, and on the way I picked up the paper. By the time the kids were off on their trip and I'd gone upstairs to help out on a new-parent-tour of the school, the office phone was ringing off the hook. NBC News wanted to come in and interview the kids.

It was probably just as well the entire (well, most of them, anyhow) 4/5 class was out. Gives the hoopla a chance to die down...

But it's cool. He's going to play for the Obamas!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BailOut Package For The Little People

Hell fucking no, it's not the government.

I had to go to FoodStamps yet again today, to give them proof that my 9 year old lives with me. They wanted a letter with his name and address on it. He's fucking 9, for crying out loud. It's not like the Con Ed bill is going to come in his name. They wanted a school letter. But I really didn't feel like going to school and telling them "Um, I need a letter from you saying my kid goes here. For Food Stamps". So I took his health insurance bill. It's got my name and address on it, cuz it's billed to me, but his name is on it. I gave it to the Customer Service receptionist and not the actual caseworker. I hope they take it.

In addition, since I qualify for "expedited" FoodStamps (in less than a month--they say within 5 days but we'll see) I have to go way down to Canal Street to get my ID card. Cuz they won't mail it that fast. So I'm going there tomorrow. All this, mind you, for $87 a month. Oh, and what I had to show initially, in order to apply for Food Stamps?
  • My social security card - the actual card
  • The Sun's actual social security card
  • both of our actual birth certificates
  • Valid picture ID in order to be finger imaged--good thing I brought my passport. No, I don't have a driver's license. And yes, you must be finger imaged in order to receive Food Stamps.
  • A copy of my lease
  • My Con Ed Bill
  • They used to ask for a phone bill but they didn't this time
  • Since I get paid weekly, my last 4 pay stubs.
No, my ass got bailed out by Upstairs Neighbor, for which I am eternally grateful. She had offered for me and the Sun to move in with her... but as I told her the main consideration for not taking that offer is that it would mean I had given up on any chance of a sex life. Ever. And I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel on that.

I'm making light of the situation but it's only cuz what else can I say? Friends and neighbors like her are rare, and it means that I have to redouble and reapply to live up to her faith in me.

My conservations with the Fabulous are going well. I hope I don't scare him. We think alike as far as coming up with ideas and following each other's line of reasoning, and so when we're brainstorming ideas flow. Fast. Now we both just have to follow up... but I am beginning to explain to him that I'm obsessive and so I will stay on him. The deal is, he has to stay on me, too. So we'll see what happens. But he has a way of drawing these ideas out of me... maybe because we were taught the same way at Pratt. Dunno. But I woke up this morning feeling like ideas of ours could really blow up.

But then I crashed later when I realized he might just really think I'm nuts.
=-=-=-=-=-=-

Thanksgiving will be at my apartment again this year, where we would normally rotate to the Professor's place. But I wanted to include Upstairs Neighbor. Last year this time Mr. Kip had just passed, and she was in no mood. This year she's a little better--actually much better--and I wanted for her to be with us and I wasn't sure she'd come with me to the Professor's.

That dinner is at my house means I'm the one to make the turkey. I picked up the (organic) 14-pounder from Bigbear tonight, and Uncly drove me, the turkey and the boys home. Turkey got marinated and is sitting breast-down in the fridge till Thursday... I'm going to make my famous turkey sausage stuffing, I'm ripping off Shark Fu's Corn Casserole, green beans and probably a cobbler. The Sun asked for Pumpkin Pie. Bigbear will bring the greens, and the Professor makes the Candied Yams and Mac & Cheese.

I'm trying to decide if I want to make anything else. So tomorrow will be spent running to a multitude of places... I guess I should go to bed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Keep Swimming...

So probably less than an hour after I posted BigBear called up and offered to help pay ConEd, for which I'm grateful. And later in the day I accepted an offer from Upstairs Neighbor to help keep Landlord off my back.

Do I like being here? Hell no. But I was here before and I got out... so I hope/know I have to get out again. I don't like owing family.

The Sun's school had their annual BookFair/Fundraiser at Barnes & Noble today. We usually have a theme, and this time was "Book Publishing Party" in which our kids get up and read their own work. Very few were nervous... egged on by the applause they couldn't wait to get up and read. By the time they're teenagers I'm quite sure none of them would sign up or volunteer, much less show up to read, but there they were. It was cute. The Sun's story started out "My dad picked me up at the precinct. No, I wasn't arrested".

A newer parent unfamiliar with the drama that was the War with SD leaned over and asked me "why was he at the precinct?" and I laughed and told him. I still get freaked out thinking that it wasn't that long ago. Later I asked the Sun why didn't he expound on that part of the story... he said "It's too long, Mom. I'd have to start when I was three."
"Three!?" I asked. "You still remember all that?"
"Yeah. I was three cuz I still liked Thomas the Tank Engine."

That was the incident where the Sun saw his dad shoving me and me trying to claw his face off, and to keep him from walking in SD had put on a Thomas the Tank Engine video for him to watch. I remember seeing his little face that day, and by the expression I knew it was something he would never forget. But the rest of it I managed to keep from him.

After the kids read we bought some books. And then a bunch of us went a few doors down to Pizzeria Uno to eat; as part of the fundraiser a portion of the tab was also donated to the school. The kids all sat at a long table, and the adults scattered around. TomCat was there with PracticalMama and her family which was a little interesting for me, but I've managed to shut all that down except sometimes very early in the morning before I got to sleep and it hits me. But most of the time it's just locked up, now.

Besides, there's the Fabulous to wonder about...

And speaking of, later on I took the first step on my new joint project with Faca... once he gets to look at it and tell me what he thinks, I'll unveil it.

So life goes on... can't keep a good bitch down for long...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hold Tight

The phone has been ringing since 8:00 this morning, a Sunday. Not with friends and family but with bill collectors. One of them probably the landlord. I could "feel" the vibe, even though the number said "Unknown". The cat has been yowling and when I got up I realized I have no food for him.

I was going to complain about it, about sitting in Foodstamps Thursday afternoon and again on Saturday morning (where I was told I qualified for a whopping $87 a month.... I have a decent child support judgment and currently my paychecks are running about $90 a week after deductions. Combined it's not enough to pay my rent that's $1275 as of 12/1. But. It's too much income and the rent is noted but it's not calculated into the percentage. So $87 is better than nothing, right?). I was going to comment that particularly on Saturday morning (and Saturday morning appointments are a new thing) the crowd waiting--and I do mean crowd as the waiting room of about 40 chairs was full--were all obviously working people. And not just women. Women with partners. One man in a firefighter's sweater was helping his elderly mother apply.

But I read my sister's post and I guess I have no right to complain. I still have a phone for bill collectors to call. Although if I don't pay my light bill by Friday nothing is going to work.

Yesterday I went to the dojo to watch promotions. I haven't paid them the monthly fee and even though I've done flyers for them, it doesn't really cover the cost of the fees so we haven't really been going. And I couldn't afford the belt test fee and plus the Sun has been slacking. So I went to watch and take pictures. I started talking to BigSensei's wife, asking about her best friend who recently had a nervous breakdown.

It turns out the friend's living with her two teenaged sons in a house with an emotionally abusive man and his grandmother. She doesn't have enough money to leave. The older sun, 16, ran off for three days to be with a girl, and when she went looking for him and slapped him when she found him, he called the police and pressed charges. It generated an ACS case. She was so hurt she completely freaked out and so they took her to St. Vincents, and gave her medication. The kid is not showing up for the meetings, although she is, which means that at some point the Family Court will label the child a PINS -- Persons In Need of Supervision.

In the meantime, the boyfriend (who has a gambling problem) and grandmother are threatening her, berating her, calling her names. The system's response? Medicate her. So every time the boyfriend starts, the mother just goes into her room and takes whatever the psychiatrist has prescribed. Legal medication. If she were doing drugs, you see, she'd just be some crackhead.

It just makes you wonder.

So compared to those two stories, I'm doing fine. Although it really doesn't seem that way at all.

I went out Friday with my friend and we discussed our project some more. It's exciting. It could work. But it's long range.

And in the meantime there's so many things I need, I crave... but I can't complain cuz there are folks out there this morning who have it worse than me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Small Step For Bearmaidenkind

and um, that's about it. One small step.

I called in sick from my barelyhelping factory job cuz I just couldn't face the day ruminating over shit I don't have any control over. I'll go Friday, and spend the day. I also didn't go cuz I couldn't sleep last night. Well, I couldn't get to bed. And when I finally got there, the fucking cat got on my last nerve... padding noisily around the joint, jumping on and off the radiator, jumping on my bed (which drive me nuts cuz he leaves practically another cat's worth of hair everytime he does), skating on the rug outside my bedroom door. I finally had to get up and lock him out so I could catch a half hour of sleep. Cat gets mad at me when I do this, and now probably what he'll do, like any man worth his salt, is just go stay out all night upstairs at the neighbor's. SHE lets him do anything he wants. And he knows it, the fucker, so he'll probably stay up there with her tonight, blinking his green-eyed stare at me when I try to get him to come back downstairs.

Anyway. So I didn't go to the factory. And I slept in a little just until I could think clearly, and the voices began screaming "GET UP, GET UP, and go face that which you know has to be faced!". And I did. There was something outstanding that I had to deal with, that I've been putting off since August, that I knew was going to bring up all kinds of feelings but I took the first step today in dealing with it. One, tiny step.

*sigh*. Life goes on.

Next up... everything else.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time is Not On My Side

Yesterday I was sewing batten pockets for sails. I had my headphones on. I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before cuz I was up trying to create an online newsletter for the Sun's school, and I hadn't quite finished my thermos of Bustelo.

Between being tired and having too much time to think (it IS factory work, after all) I was suddenly gripped with fear.

The financial situation is critical. And I really have no solutions.

I got into it the other day with the Professor (and it's over... I'm not mad--just recounting) cuz she would say things like "get a job". But that doesn't take into consideration a number of things:

Time vs. Money
  • The way I see it, as a freelance designer I ask between $50 and $75 an hour depending on what I'm doing, or I'll ask for a set package fee based on my estimate of time and materials needed to complete a job. And that's cheap. Art directors and GDs who have been in the game a long time get $100 or more an hour, on average. And it may seem like a lot, but there are times when you're NOT working so then you make nothing.
  • If I work per Diem or contract for someone, or even a full time gig at this point I'm worth about $25-$35 per hour.
But nobody's really hiring GD's right now, and it's not like I'm not applying cuz I am. I even apply for stuff that's beneath me. But nobody's even answering. So that means I'd have to look outside my field:
  • Retail pays between $7-14 an hour, depending on experience and the store. Most retail places don't do commission, but if they do, that means pay is about $7. And you usually are required to work a weekend. I never work a job on Saturdays--it IS Sabbath, afterall, so that means having to work a Sunday. And in some retail stores (especially the one I worked in while I was at Pratt) working on Sunday means "closing". And you can't leave the store till it's clean. Sundays are my least favorite day of the week even when I'm home, cuz I always feel like I'm running out of time to get things ready for the week. If I HAVE to, I'll work Sundays, but the thought of having even less time to get my kid ready for the school week is very frightening to me.
  • IT/Tech probably pays more, but I haven't worked a techie job in hmmmm....8 years, and I've forgotten more than I ever knew.
  • As an administrative assistant or something I'd probably make between $15-$20 per hour.
  • Da Factory pays $10.
But here's the catch... when you're working for someone else, you're not working for yourself. No canvassing for business. No answering emails. No combing Craig's List. No hitting up former clients. And certainly no working on your own stuff. So I bring in steady "cheap" money, but in doing so I give up the prospect of more "valuable" money. I also give up the time it would take me to develop the million other ideas and projects I have or want to start or want to finish. There IS stuff I can do. But I feel like I'm trading chasing the cheap money because I have to, vs. trying to snag the big money. However... an advantage to being paid small money when I'm not working for myself is that I'm paid like clockwork, vs. the time spent sending invoices and trying to get people to pay me the big money I'm owed. Right this second the hospital owes me at least $600... and I've been trying to get it since the summer. It's a major pain in the ass.

Blogging
  • People in real life tell me I spend too much time blogging. But I need to write, much like I need to breathe. It's cheaper and more readily available to me than therapy, and I'm not sold on the idea of prescription meds. I think I am MUCH saner in the year and a half blogging than I have been in a long, long, time. The Voices used to scream at me all the time, and lately, they really don't. Except for early yesterday when they were so loud I thought I was going to lose it. But generally we have pretty decent conversations, now. If I hadn't been able to write my way through August (easily the worst, scariest mental health month of my life--and I can say that now cuz I'm oh, so much better. But I realized last night how scared I was of myself even though I didn't tell anybody, cuz I know I won't be re-reading or revisiting that time period any time soon) I think, well... it wouldna been pretty. I'll leave it at that.

  • In the past year and a half, I've had about 20,000 hits here on this blog. If you weed out the thousand or so that are family/myself from different computers, that's still 19,000. Now suppose everytime I got a hit I earned a dollar? And don't think I don't think like that... I have been watching my stats and who reads me and for how long. So there is still the possibility that something could happen for me because of this... you never know. I'm still trying to figure out how. And blogging could figure into my project with my friend Faca, so I have spent a year learning this skill and how it works, and the potential...
My Low Tolerance for Bullshit
  • Seriously, it's a problem. It's always been a problem. I remember being 4 and going to school in Jamaica where they had corporeal punishment in the schools. My parents rarely, if ever, spanked me, and when they did it was cuz I did something dangerous or stupid. So to have a teacher smack my palm with a ruler because I was a "chatterbox" really pissed me off, and I told her so and that I would tell my parents. She laughed at me; Jamaican children were used to this sort of thing and were pretty meek. Me? I was furious. And I never forgot her or forgave her for that, either. And I never grew out of that. I look back at memos and emails I've written bosses and am amazed I wasn't fired more often for insubordination. It's not that I was rude or anything... but my language and attitude were far, far above my "station" in life. Definitely "uppity". In one instance it did outright cost me a job and I'm pretty sure it's why I was one of the first to be "let go" when the hospital "restructured marketing". Uh yeah, fire that snappy bitch. She has to go.

    I don't take shit from co-workers either. I lock my drawers and password protect my computer even if that sort of thing is frowned upon. I won't take the fall in the name of "teamwork". Stupid procedures and outdated technology really rattle me.

    I always start out promising myself I'll keep my big mouth shut and my temper on lockdown, but it's hard. People and low-level politics and ploys for power really piss me off, so that weeds out a lot of jobs. Like, generally I can't do retail. I can do it in a store that makes people happy, like a housewares store, or maybe a grocery store, but no place where people would be super picky like say Macy's or a shoe store where people don't want to admit their true size. I worked at the Gap once a long time ago. I quit quickly.

    To tell myself I can just work "anywhere" would be lying to myself. And I struggle with this, I do. I try to be a team player. Hell, I worked for a long long time and at one point was pretty good at the whole thing. But I can't now. I know I can't. The thought of forcing myself to do it seriously distresses me.
My Kid Matters The Most to Me
  • I know everybody says that, and everybody means i,t too. But I guess most folk are conditioned to going off to work and their kids going off to school or daycare or the babysitter. Me, both my parents were home full time until I was out of the house, practically. I don't think my mom started working a "real" job until I was in my '20's. Poppy always either wrote or taught somewhere part time. So to me, staying home with the kid is like breathing. Leaving him to go to work when he was a toddler felt like dying. I did it though, until he was three. And when I worked at the hospital a year and a half ago, the situation worked cuz guess what; his school was very close to my job. I could pop over and see him at lunch, which I did frequently. But more importantly there are things I want to keep up with him, like his violin and his karate. If I work full time, I give a lot of that stuff up. Especially karate cuz of the logistics. And also, his father now lives cross country. There's just me. I want to be active in his life and I hate jobs that get in the way of that. The minute an employer/boss looks cross-eyed at me cuz I have to go to a PA meeting or a parent/teacher, I get really annoyed. My kid comes first, and don't question me about that.
So I look at all this written out, and I'm honest with myself. I am. I suck. I have issues. I know Shoefly in particular and the Professor also--who fully believe in the concept of working--will have a multitude of things to say about this. That I'm making excuses, that I need to get over my issues, etc. But I am my father's child. I'm also my mother's child. Neither of them works full time for anybody, and Poppy in particular grumbles about all the administrative stuff he has to do in relationship to his teaching.

And then there's another issue... I do apply for things and obviously my resume is not working for me... but I can't have a chronological resume because my experience and skills are all over the map. So I have a functional resume, and a pretty good one, I think. But something is off. The end result now is that I'm pretty depressed about the whole thing and the thought of applying for stuff fills me with dread. Cuz I hate not hearing anything. I also really really hate interviewing, particularly "cold" interviews. I'm just not good at it. I'm not "bubbly". My philosophy is... I can do anything. Unless I can't do it, in which case I'll tell you I can't but it won't take me long at all to learn. I can learn anything. (Hell, I've learned to make batten pockets for sails recently. And I'm pretty good at it, too, so I've heard. I heard through the grapevine I'm fast and neat. Who knew?) So just give me the damn job already. Teach me, and leave me alone. But apparently interviewing and job-seeking doesn't work that way.

I'm a mess.

And I need to kickstart something REALLY FAST or I'm in a heap of trouble.

Although I did say that when I first got canned... and I've now been "unemployed" over a year. But now it's for real for real. I need cashflow. I'm running out of time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Somewhere I Called It...

that Hillary should be Secretary of State. I'm just grinning all over myself that it's actually being talked about it. I should be a political pundit, hah. Of course, for the life of me in all the rambles I spew here, I can't find the damn post or comment that would prove what I said.

I find it amusing though, that Bill's activities are being called into question though. See, I told you they were sleazy. But still... Hillary would be a fantastic pick and I hope they manage to sweep Bill's shit under the rug. I'm sure they can... they're all politicians after all.

I've been watching Obama do his thing, getting his folk together. It's gonna be interesting. But so far, I'm still impressed with him. Can't wait till January 20th, and I'm trying to figure out how I can be there...

Anyway, eight minutes to "Heroes".... gotta go...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sometimes I Get To Read

though not often. I don't have time. I also tend to be obsessive, so when I do get to read a book I have to read it straight through, and can't do anything else until I've finished it. Luckily I read pretty fast... or this tendency could be a problem.

Last week Thursday was MMB's 14th birthday, and we'd gone to Bigbears to eat baked chicken wings (Bigbear makes the best damn chicken wings on the planet. I don't know how she does it cuz mine never come out like that) and salad stuff and kiss MMB.

I picked up this book that Bigbear had just been reading; she said it was pretty "horrible" and wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. I glanced at the first chapter and got sucked in immediately. I didn't put it down until I finished it. I even read in bed. I can't tell you the last time I did that.

I don't like "soupy" emotional books. I guess I don't really like "soupy" emotional anything, which is probably why "the darkest child" by Delores Phillips gripped me. SoHo Press, the publisher has the following synopsis on their webpage:

Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Yet everyone in her small Georgia town knows. Rozelle's ten children (by ten different daddies) are mostly light, too. They sleep on the floor in her drafty, rickety three-room shack and live in fear of her moods and temper. But they are all vital to her. They occupy the only world she rules and controls. They multiply her power in an otherwise cruel and uncaring universe.

Rozelle favors her light-skinned kids, but insists that they all love and obey her unquestioningly. Tangy Mae, thirteen, is her brightest but darkest-complected child. Tangy wants desperately to continue with her education. Shockingly, the highest court in the land has just ruled that Negroes may go to school with whites. Her mother, however, has other plans.

Rozelle wants her daughter to work, cleaning houses for whites, like she does, and accompany her to the "Farmhouse," where Rozelle earns extra money bedding men. Tangy Mae, she's decided, is of age.

Huh. That doesn't even begin to describe the horror. The fact that Tangy (I'm guessing it's pronounced "TAN-gee" since she's often called "Tan" for short) is the darkest child (until a new baby comes along) is almost incidental, and the fact that she is most often the recipient of her mother's almost random acts of violence is also almost incidental.

Ms. Phillips gets the story going, and you're rolling along in it and suddenly something out of the blue happens that takes your breath away. And then she just keeps on rolling. The thing is, abuse is like that. It's how you get sucked in so easily. It becomes normal and you don't realize the depth of the horror until you've managed to step away.

But it's not just the description of abuse and manipulation of an obviously disturbed parent over her children that makes the book so gripping. It's the way Ms. Phillips describes everything... the shack the kids live in, the town, the 1950's racism the children are confronted with daily, the abject poverty, how people's lives in a small town intertwine with each other yet fall apart, how hopelessness and despair become so ordinary that you can survive it. Even if you think you can't. And how something in you, something unexplainable and quiet, keeps you moving ever forward. And how sometimes, it doesn't... sometimes people just never overcome.

But despite the intensity of the images you'll see in your mind's eye, Ms. Phillips is so matter-of-fact about everything, so dry, that it makes the horror easy to bear. It's a strange thing. I'd taken a peek at "The Secret Life of Bees" cuz Fatlady was reading it, and while I still think I may read that book, I would describe it as "wet"... very lucid and flowing, as if the pain could drown you. "The darkest child" is dry... dry as a mummy.

This seems to have been Ms. Phillips first--and possibly only--book cuz I can't seem to find anything else on her. But if you have the chance, you should read it. But I warn you; it's intense.


So, Um, I'm Pretty Open-Minded...

but I'm definitely not politically correct, at least not all the time.

I've been mulling over the gay marriage issue for a while now, trying to figure out how I feel about it. I was distressed at the outcome of California's vote on Proposition 8... not necessarily because I agreed or disagreed, but mainly because it was a reversal of something that had already been passed. Like if they overturned Roe V. Wade. It's really uncool to sign something into law that affects how people live, and then take it away. Yeah I know, it happens frequently. But that doesn't make it right.

But it got me to thinking, again, how I felt... and I guess I do know, and I'm not trying to hurt any body's feelings... and I know almost everybody I know is either gay or bi-sexual or has a family member who is. And some of the folk I've really truly come to love and appreciate are gay or bi or has a family member who is.

I was watching snippets of the demonstrations on CNN, and a woman said "you can't legislate love".... and she's right. You can't. You can't help who you fall in love with... and love is so rare these days that if you find it in the arms of someone of your same sex... who's to say you shouldn't pursue it?

But at the same time, I've had an internal debate going on for years about how I feel about the gay rights issue. See... I consider myself to follow the teachings of the Old Testament. It's pretty specific that men should not lay with men, although I'm always highly amused that as specific as the Old Testament is about a lot of stuff, right down to how you treat leprous sores, that it never says specifically that women shouldn't lay with women. Although it does say specifically men shouldn't wear women's clothing or vice versa (that last instruction is kinda dicey these days, though).

Then of course there's the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how the men of that town had surrounded Lot's house demanding he turn over his (male) guests so they could have their way with them. It doesn't end well for the men of that town, so it's pretty clear what the moral of that story was.

On the other hand, that story is older than Methuselah, which means a.) homosexuality has been in existence since the beginning and b.) obviously there are times in history when it is easier to be openly gay than at other times in history. There is even a tradition of homosexual Native Americans, particularly the Great Plains and Southwestern tribes. In some tribes they were known as "Two Spirits" and revered because they tended to be spiritual leaders, and the fact that they existed between two genders was considered a gift.

I've come to the conclusion for myself, that the spiritual tenets that I follow require me to make choices about the way I live my life. A lot of people in the world eat pork or shrimp or calamari but if you "choose" to follow Judaic Law, than you are forbidden to eat those things. But I can't. And there are whole chapters and lists of things to do or not do if you choose this God... but it doesn't mean other people will choose the same thing.

In the Old Testament certain offenses are punishable by death or ostracism, but when you really stop to think about it, the punishments are for the people who are supposed to be following these traditions but aren't. Generally, they didn't extend to folk outside the Tribes of Israel, unless of course you were coming into Canaan to take over the land. Then you were to kill everyone. But that's another subject. The point I'm trying to make is that if you are living within a certain set of rules then the punishment for disobeying those rules pertains to you... not to the rest of the world.

I have a son. I'm pretty sure he's hetero although he's far from girl-crazy right now and sort of takes it in stride that little girls (and I mean little girls... he's a major hottie for the 2-6 year old set) chase him around. He's only ever had two "girlfriends" or crushes since pre-K, and one major crush on his best friend's older sister but usually he's just kind of cool about the whole thing. But I've wondered how I would feel--really, truly, honestly feel--if he came and told me he was gay. I know that I would always love him from the bottom of my heart, and I know that I would always want for him to be happy. I want for him to find his one true love and live happily ever after. But I confess I'd be less happy if his true love turned out to be another man.

And if he did come to me and tell me he wanted to marry that man, I'm pretty sure I'd struggle with it. I'd struggle with it because according to the set of rules I live by, and am hopefully raising him by, his choice would not be in accordance with those rules.

Another thing I've been struggling with is the comparison of the gay rights struggle to the civil rights struggle. And I confess I take some offense. No doubt some people are really really brutal and mean to gay people. And it's not right. We've all seen and heard horror stories of hate crimes against gays and it turns my stomach.

But it's arguable whether gay people are born gay or are made that way... I tend to think that for the most part, it's the former. I've met young children who have seemed to lean one way or the other, and not for nothing but however they lean as young children they tend to grow into that. But I've also met young women molested at an early age who became gay. And I've met gay women who weren't molested and molestation victims who weren't gay. In other words there is debate about the origins of sexual orientation. There was a time when I thought that gays chose to be gay, and at that time my argument against the comparison between gay rights and civil rights was that you don't get to choose to be Black. You just are. If you're light enough, you can choose to pass for white, but generally if you're born Black it's a guarantee that that's pretty much how you'll stay. But I'm pretty certain at this point in my life that for the most part, you don't choose to be gay either--you just are.

But there's no debate about being born black, particularly during the civil rights era. There was no doubt at all that at the worst of it, particularly in the south, you couldn't drink from the same fountains, sit in the same movie or coffee houses, ride in the same train car, go to school with, walk with, talk with, be insolent with someone who was white without risking a beatdown, or worse, death. There were signs telling us where we were or weren't allowed to enter. There were laws preventing us from going to school in certain places, as well as laws about who we could marry. And when horrible things happened to us there were laws that prevented us from obtaining justice. When African Americans finally rose up in numbers to protest, they were beaten and lynched and had fire hoses and dogs set on them. On television. So to me, it's kind of not the same thing.

That doesn't negate the human rights aspect that gay people are fighting for. And no one should ever be fired from a job cuz they're gay, or be ostracized, or teased or beaten or discriminated against. And if two people have decided to become a family unit, they should be able to share health benefits, or visit each other in the Emergency Room or hospitals.

But I do have some issue with the marriage thing. I think it's because generally, the institution of marriage is based on a religious view. You're choosing this person as a life partner in the sight of your God. And for the most part, marriage is between a woman and man and a God they've chosen to follow. Quite honestly, I think this is the way it should be. And I think that within the confines of a religious faith, this is perfectly acceptable. Because you can choose to follow or not follow a certain religion.

And while I completely agree that same-sex couples should be able to provide each other with health insurance the way married hetero couples do for each other, and I applaud companies who allow this, I get really annoyed that an unmarried, hetero couple can't provide health insurance to their partner. Someone once provided me with the argument that it's fair because the theory is that a hetero couple can marry but a gay couple can't, but I disagree with that. Because sometimes a hetero couple can't marry, for various reasons. And I also think that if an adult is living with say their disabled parent or sibling, they too, should be able to provide health insurance for that person.

But I don't like the idea of the Federal Government stepping in to define what marriage is or isn't. I think that's dangerous.... it would give the government too much control over our private lives, and there is that whole issue of the separation of Church and State, since the definition of marriage is really based on a religious idea.

I do think though, that the government should--across the board--create a definition of a domestic union, and write into that definition that any people who file papers requesting this status be awarded certain rights. The right to insure each other, or visit each other in a hospital room, etc. I think that the definition of a domestic union should include adults who have become their parent's caretaker. Or two members of a family who live together for whatever reason.

Of course this brings into question how to handle divorce, or the dissolution of a domestic union, and I recognize that for the purposes of creating amendments to a constitution it's probably easier to change the current definitions of marriage to include same sex couples, rather than write a whole new set of laws. And I can't see the government doing that...

So I guess this sort of dumps me back where I started out from; reluctantly supporting gay marriage, because I wholeheartedly believe everyone should be entitled to certain things. I wholeheartedly believe you should be able to love and cherish anyone you choose, and I believe that the government should respect your personal decision.

But I still, deep down, think that the definition of marriage should remain between man and woman and God...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Old Thought, a New Thought

...for Veterans day.

I woke up late this morning... the Sun was off from school and the Moon went to his cousin's, so we didn't have to get up right away. Both the Sun and I needed some catchup sleep, so it was good to not have to get up.

But I woke up thinking about Veterans, and war...

Last year I wrote about Grandpa, and how he was instrumental in the integration of the Army. And in my I Hate Black History Month post, I mentioned how Veteran's Day started out as Armistice Day, a day to honor WWI vets. But the "White" ones, since African Americans weren't allowed on the battlefield until Grandpa Truman came along. And if they were, they were in their own segregated units and often poorly trained.

I spoke to my Homegirl on Sunday, the one from Back In The Day, the one who is a veteran of Kosova, and of Baghdad. She lives in Indiana now, and when she called we started talking about our new President-elect. How Indiana's African Americans and Hispanics got out the vote in favor of Senator Obama, and how they rejoiced in the streets when he won.

We were agreeing on how badly this was needed, how it would help raise the bar for young minority men. We were agreeing how neither of us ever expected to see a brown face in the White House in our lifetime. And then she said "For once in my life, I can call myself an American. For once, I feel like I am. My faith in my country has been restored, and I can forgive her for everything... even forgive her for sending me to Baghdad."

I woke up thinking about what she said this morning... how many brown, red and yellow faces soldiers went off to war, carried the flag and fought and died for this country, but never really felt included here at home? Were discriminated against at home, and on the battlefield, and yet still fought proudly, and with honor?

I also thought about how much I dislike war. I hate the "rah rah patriotism" that war brings out in people. I really hate the expression "Freedom isn't free", because to me, it's a "rah rah patriotic" way of justifying war. Freedom IS free. It's people that hold you back. And often, America has gone to war to force ideas on other people... very often ideas we espouse on paper and in the Constitution, but not in actuality. I am not in favor of war... and I am certainly not in favor of America sticking her nose in certain places and not in others, depending on the resources of the country. So we'll send our soldiers to fight and die in Baghdad, but not in Rwanda or the Sudan.

*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*
We went to the dojo today, the Sun and I. On the way home we missed the bus back to the rock by 5 minutes, which meant we had 25 more minutes to wait before the next one came. Fuck that... I'm broke but we were both sore from the workout and it was cold, so I took my last $10 and hopped in a cab. The driver, turned out, was nuts... but actually we should have expected it since I seem to find that most cab drivers in New York are nuts. Or foreigners. One of the two.

In any event, he chatted all the way out here. During the day he drove limos he told us, and often for the government. "Don't trust the government" he said, "I drive for them, don't trust them." He then proceeded to tell both of us how everything about the U.S. was encoded on the money, and if you looked closely or folded money a certain way you could see certain things.

He then took out a $20 bill folded into a paper plane, then unfolded and refolded it into the shape of the Pentagon, folded it again so that the engraved picture on the back looked like the Twin Towers burning (I kid you not) and then demonstrated how the names of airlines hijacked (American and United) could be "folded" into existence. Lastly, he picked out the word "Osama" by folding the bill several more times.

The Sun was impressed and as we came up the stairs he asked me who Osama was, how he was responsible for the attacks on 9/11. When I told him, he said "We should kill him. Was he caught?"
"No, never, though the President said he would get him."
"Where is he?"the Sun asked.
"Probably in Afghanistan" I explained. I then told him that this was one of the reasons I was upset with Bush; he promised, in the days after 9/11, that he would get Osama, and he never did. Instead of going to Afghanistan, we ended up in Iran.

And this is one of the reasons I struggle with the concept of war, because in the modern era we often don't go to war for clearcut reasons. Or rather, reasons that aren't clearcut to the general public.

Yet it occurred to me that in a time of war, particularly for the soldiers actually doing the fighting, we almost have to have clearcut reasons, and if they don't exist we have to manufacture them. Our soldiers really can't be doubting themselves and their reasons for being in some hellhole... isn't that sort of what was happening in Vietnam?

And whether we agree with whatever war we're fighting, we do owe it to our troops to believe in them wholeheartedly, to support them unconditionally. Their survival depends on it. My friend had to believe that the reasons she was in Baghdad were valid; it's what kept her going on those nights she said she slept with a loaded attack rifle, what kept her focused when shells aimed at a her were going off around her.

But in the larger sense we owe it to our soldiers to send them to war responsibly. It must be the last resort. To sacrifice them for vague reasons is tremendously irresponsible. I hope that our new President will keep his promise to use our troops as a last resort.

And on Veterans Day it's good to remember our vets... my Homegirl; a friend's son who may shortly be sent off on another tour, the countless others. The ones still in some far away country, fighting because they believe in our country and what they're doing.

May they come home safe and sound.