Monday, March 31, 2008

Passion

     bagu for passion
     Passion burns like a paper
     Fire match ignites intense combustion
     Consuming itself then dying leaving
     Ashes so fragile that the
     Air takes them blowing confusion
     All over the place meaningless
     Leaving neither trace nor mark
          - © Aiki 2004

Bigbear wrote that a few years back, in response to a then-heated time between the Professor and Moodmagic's father.

I was reminded of her poem today. A few spaghetti strands have been twirling around in my head over the last few days, as usual some of the strands having absolutely nothing to do with each other, until I realized that the Sauce that bound them all was passion.

It started Friday.

On Friday I went to have a meeting with a department within the hospital I used to work at, where I picked up a rather large assignment--a brochure for a medical convention. The meeting went fine, terms laid out, I made a promise to get back to them on Tuesday with pricing, and afterwards hung out for a bit with the woman who I had worked with previously on the same brochure. Anyway, we got to talking, and I was telling her about the Sun and his violin and percussion, and how watching him and the other kids perform always brought me to tears.

She introduced me (via YouTube) to Gustavo Dudamel.

Wow.

But then, I walked out of her office and called Fat Lady in sort of a panic about this job, and while I was talking to her I bumped right into my former Coworker, who had also been doing some freelance work for the hospital. We had lunch, talked, caught up (she's going to go work with my former Boss... which I think is FANTASTIC for the both of them. And for me... since I get to pick up many of her old jobs and stay free a few minutes longer) and I sort of forgot about Dudamel until today.

On Saturday I wasn't feeling so hot. Things were bugging me and I already posted about that. I was also annoyed at ShoeFly cuz I thought she might be standing me up (even though I had resolved not to go out anyway because it was the responsible thing to do... but it turns out ShoeFly was home with her family). I got some laundry done and some Target done, but not much else.

On Sunday, Bigbear decided that she needed to stage an Intervention with the Diva. Seems the Blob had crawled his slimy blobby ass back up into the Diva's new apartment, and Bigbear was feeling strongly that he had to go. TODAY. As was the Professor. So Bigbear put people in motion... TinyOne's BabyDaddy, a friend of BabyDaddy who happens to be the Diva's (murderous) cousin, Uncly, the Professor and the Diva's longtime friend Auntie Mister. I confess... my heart fluttered cuz one thing I share with Poppy: we talk a good game, but we're not good at Planned Confrontation. Poppy's not good at confrontation at all, actually. Me... if shit flares up and I happen to be there, I can get pretty riled up and yip at people's heels. I'm a great shotgun rider. But for some reason, when it comes to planned war, it's rare that I can actually go through and BE there at the end-stage. I'm great at planning... not so good at executing. All that to say, when Bigbear announced what she was going to do, I was awfully glad I live as far away as I do, so that I wouldn't have to go, too. Yeah, I'm chickenshit. And my Psychological profile DID say that I have an overinflated view of what I thought I might do in a situation versus what I actually WOULD do.

Whatever!

I chuckled though, as Bigbear relayed that Poppy was "having conflicted feelings" about whether or not he should go. I bet he was. But you could have knocked me down with a feather when I got a picturemail from the Professor a little while later... Bigbear fringed for war, with Poppy standing next to her. Wow, I thought. It must be BIG for Poppy to be there! Glad I'm not!

I love my folk. I really do.

The Professor texted me a sort of play-by-play, including the fact that unbeknownst to most folk at the Intervention, someone was standing outside the door "cocked and loaded". Just like in the old days. Uncly, AuntieMister and Poppy went in and started cleaning. Seems once the slug came back the Diva sort of gave up on her cleanliness. Bigbear went into the room and told the slug "Here's a Metrocard and a garbage bag. Get your shit and go."

Man, I'm still laughing. I hope the Professor posts her version pretty soon.

The reality though, is that situation isn't terribly funny. We all got bad feelings about the Blob, for various reasons. My feeling was that he lacked a passion for anything in his life other than the Diva. At first she thought that was flattering, but I can tell you from personal experience... THAT is a dangerous sign.

You need to have a passion in your life. Something that drives you. Something you have a NEED to do, to be. And it can't be a man (or a woman). It can't even be your kids... because you can use your man/woman/kids as a copout in your life... a way to avoid focusing on what it is you need to be. It's not good for the man/woman/kids, for them to be your only passion in life. It's way too much pressure. You run the risk of being a StageMother. Or a Stalker. This is one of the many things I learned about life from TF.

Cuz TF didn't have a real passion for much. He loved baseball and football (but as LilacBlue said last week, sports passions for men are genetic... and don''t count. He's gotta have something else.) and when he played softball good Lord but he may as well have been playing the tie-breaker game in a Mets subway series, but aside from that, as life went on me and the Sun were his passion. At first, I too, thought it flattering until it began to be limiting, but when I saw that passion extending to the Sun I got nervous. Cuz a kid can't be the only light you have. I told him that one night... after a long-ass phone argument. I told him it wasn't fair that I be his only light, because I could never live up to what expected.

So that's what bothered me about the Blob.

My passion is paper. I LOVE paper. The way ink/type/colors lay on paper. Colored paper. Stiff paper, translucent paper. Handmade paper. I have drawers full of paper. I love going into Staples and can spend a good hour poring over the difference between regular run of the mill multi-use paper and Bright White paper. And if I go to some place like Paper Presentation or Jam Paper & Envelopes, forget it. That's hours of entertainment. And that translates to my love for graphic design... for arranging things on paper. On the web, not so much. But on paper? Joy.

I love the Professor's passion for her "babies," as she calls them. I love that she cried the other day when she called to tell me about her little client who got his kidney.

And it's what makes it so hard for me to let Nene go, because he has a passion for what he does, and it's contagious.

Today (as I was procrastinating) I went back and Googled Gustavo Dudamel again. And this is when all the strands fell into place, watching this short "60 Minutes" clip on him, how he talked about his passion for what he does, how he inhabits the music he is conducting, how sheer joy emanates from every hair on his head:

**


and how he's able to bring that passion and enjoyment out of the kids in Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra (and I'm reminded of Roberta Guaspari and her passion for violin, and as hectic and testy as she may be, she does bring that passion to most of her kids):
**

Passion is a wonderful thing. To have a passion, to enjoy something enough that you can do it over and over, and enjoy it even on days when you don't enjoy it, and be able to share that joy and spread that joy, is a wonderful feeling.

There is much truth to BigBear's poem, particularly when passion is applied to people, as opposed to something you do. The irony though, is that often, people who are passionate about something inspire other people to be passionate about them...

One Voice For Change

An online freind is helping to coordinate the NY portion of this event.


(No, I didn't do the invite... but it's pretty cool anyhow.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Things That Are Bugging Me

In no particular order:

  • This theory suggesting that the Clintons, realizing that the end is near, are "talking up" McCain, destroying Obama's credibility. So that at the next election, Billary will run again and can defeat McCain, thereby fulfilling her presidential destiny. Or that perhaps McCain will cross party lines and nominate her for VP. While I find the latter scenario unlikely, the former scenario really depresses me. Particularly since people are getting more and more polarized. It's actually causing me to think (and this will make OneHalf very happy) that I WON'T vote for McCain under any circumstances. In fact, I think I may never vote again. What's the point of democrazy?
  • That folks actually still wholeheartedly believe in Billary. I mean BELIEVE. The way some folks can still BELIEVE in GW. Aren't people a little concerned at the dirty tactics? Yes, I'm all about Obama, but he's only a man afterall, and a politician to boot. I'm sure he's got his dirt and his "isms".
  • The fact that I was asked to go on a date, the first date I've been asked on IN YEARS. And I turned it down. Why? Well, the official (and very true) reason is that I picked up a gig from the Hospital, and it's a big job with a short turn around time, and I really can't afford to lose the time... I need to relax today and be up and cracking tomorrow and Monday. But the unofficial reason... the Opportunity is a GREAT, enjoyable Opportunity. On Paper. In real life, it didn't jazz me... and in comparison to Nene it wasn't even close. So while I've decided Nene is a dead issue, whatever comes up has to beat that feeling. But it's freaking me out, and I'm really annoyed at myself.
  • I'm REALLY tired. I guess it's that flu thing I'm fighting. Or maybe just years worth of no sleep. But I'm tired of being tired.
  • The job I picked up. It's a high profile job (like it was the two previous years I did it) but this year its being handled in more high-profile manner. And I'm a little nervous at the pressure.
  • I bought and used St. Ive's new line Elements Olive Cleanser, and I think it broke my face out. Really badly. The cleanser is the only thing I've changed.
  • I've realized with some horror that I don't think my child has any health insurance. For some reason Medicaid never cut me off (even while I was working and was using my hospital-supplied insurance) but I think they cut him off. Which means I have to go downtown and figure it all out...
  • I really might have to go deal with Food Stamps again. Don't know if I'd qualify... but we haven't done "real" food shopping in weeks. Buying little bits here and there, which end up being more expensive.
  • This "Economy Stimulus" tax thing. The fact that the IRS/government are REALLY campaigning to get people to file for it. But they have to file taxes, first. And they are targeting people who don't normally file income tax; the underemployed, the Welfare recipient, the SSI/SSD recipient, students, people who haven't filed in several years. Because I've received FoodStamps in the past, I got a letter from ACS urging me to file my taxes so that I could get my rebate. The Diva reports that she was urged by the folks at this BabyCollege program she got involved in, to file. UstairsNeighbor's roommate Thumbelina, who is on SSD, was urged. There are signs EVERYWHERE urging you to file your taxes. I mentioned the other day, in my vent about having become the family tax preparer, that it feels like the IRS is really coming after the "little people", and something about this push to get people to file taxes is really bugging me. It's as if they need more people in the system to "track"... and once you're in the system, you're in the system... and suppose they start harassing people who haven't filed (legally) in years to begin filing for back years? Saying they owe taxes? They did it to Poppy once... he hadn't filed in years and the IRS started sending threatening letters that he hadn't filed, and that he owed. Called him, stalked him. So we went and filed for all the years he hadn't. And it turned out... they owed HIM. But suppose he had just paid what they said he owed???? See, there's this unpopular war going on... suppose they need tax money to finance it? And this is a good way to collect taxes? Call me paranoid... but it's really bugging me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sheesh, ALREADY!?

I don't think I told the story in full here, but one day I was hit with the following vision:

One day, say maybe 8 to 10 years from now, I will come home early from work/play/shopping, for some unforeseen reason. I will come up the stairs, open my apartment door, and be greeted with a flash of naked (girl) ass running across my living room, looking for a place to hide. I will walk into my apartment to find a cheesy-grinned but embarrassed teenaged Sun, and some poor mortified unforeseen (and naked) TeenagedGirl.

I told the Fat Lady that when that day comes, wherever we are, I will call her up and she will know that my vision has come to pass when she hears me laughing hysterically on the other end of the line. No words... just maniacal laughter.

Unless of course it's one of her daughters... but luckily for us our children have decided they are cousins and say "eeew!" when there's any mention of Future Romance. So that weeds out Sugar, and probably Spice cuz she's so much younger. I told the Fat Lady that compounding the horror of my vision is that I'm fairly sure the TeenagedGirl will the child of some woman I love and respect. And then I'll have to explain things I don't want to explain...

This evening, on our way home from Karate, I got a call from my dear friend, and the only reason I won't name her--not even her made-up name, is to spare her the embarrassment of what's to follow.

So she calls me and says "Is your Sun missing his underwear? We have it". Um, WHY would my Sun be missing his underwear???? And, why does your child have my child's underwear??? She said "You don't know if he's missing underwear?" and I said well not really, since he gets himself into the shower these days. Though I do have a vague recollection of him telling me he lost underwear on a Swim Day (the two second/third grade classes go to a swim lesson on Fridays) and that he went "commando" for the rest of the day. Now, supposedly the kids have their bathing suits on before they get on the bus. So how his underwear got into her bag... dunno.

I laughed to myself. His father would go commando sometimes and he would always make me laugh by saying "OOPS! I forgot to wear underwear" (yeah, I liked him a lot at one time).

At bathtime, I asked him the Sun... how did your underwear get into her bag? "I dunno!" He said. "But I've lost THREE pairs of underwear on Swim Day!" THREE! So... once is an accident... two maybe but three?

And who/what/where are the other two pair?

I don't think I really want to know...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another POV on the Wright Thing

People send me things and sometimes I repost them (after first researching them) and sometimes I forget to repost them.

This was sent to me via email a little bit ago this morning, and while it's sort of an "explosive" subject, I'm all about "fair reporting" and "sharing knowledge" when I think something is important. And this is important.

This subject in particular, the contents of Reverend Wrights speeches, is something I've been mulling over. But a coupla things... I don't intend to be a "political" blogger or a person who has only one point of view... I'm not aiming for a particular audience. This blog is very much like my design portfolio and very much like my life and ethnic make up. Sort of all-over-the-place... a big bowl of spaghetti. When I was finishing Pratt and working on my portfolio, I agonized over what to include and what to chuck, and was often told by my advisers "You don't have a 'look'. You need a 'look'; ADs/CD's won't know where to put you or how to use you if you don't stick to a theme".

Huh. You should know, if you're a frequent reader or know me in real life how that just rankled the hackles, right?

Ultimately, after spending money on a special case and mounting boards and carefully printed things tastefully mounted, my current portfolio is a plastic file box of actual things I've done that have been printed; post cards, newspaper ads, business cards. Fuck it, if I don't fit into a slot. I can't be what I'm not. I'm NOT focused. I do what you ask me... and if you need a "look" and show it to me, I'll make it look exactly like what you want. Afterall, isn't that the whole point of what I do?

And with this blog, well, I confess I don't do anything halfway... and ultimately it would be nice if someone reads something and offers me a (freelance) gig writing about something... but I write about whatever's tangled up in my head. So I don't only post one point of view.

But the Wright Flap has been bugging me on a profound level, and I'm not into "polarizing" and I wasn't going to tackle it without careful research, and it was too overwhelming to me right now to take that one on.

You see, the bottom line is, while I disagree with some of what the Pastor has said, I completely understand where he's coming from, and it's why I completely understood why Obama didn't throw the man under the bus, like people wanted him to.

Luckily, someone else did the research, came up with the examples, and wrote the piece. And so I'm going to repost part of it, and link you to the original source. It's not nessesarily my opinion, but it's a very well-written piece from another point of view.

I hope you'll read it.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and the Audacity of Truth
By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 22 March 2008

Over the past week or so, mainstream media have turned much of their attention to the fiery sermons of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Dr. Wright is pastor to Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and his family. He was also, until recently, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago.

Most of the discussion and commentary about Dr. Wright's sermons have come from a predominantly white media. The points of discussion have centered on what they consider to be the 'vile, racist and un-American things' said by Dr. Wright. Very few, if any, of the discussions have focused on the historical basis and accuracy of what Dr. Wright actually said.

The major problem with the discussions is they have been largely one-sided. The media have used the imagery of Dr. Wright, clad in African garb, shouting in the cadence of an old-time fire and brimstone minister and playing to the camera as a scare tactic. Has this become the 'Willie Hortonization' of Senator Barack Obama? The reporting and commentary on Dr. Wright's words have been presented from the perspective of people who either have no appreciation for the African-American historical experience or a personal agenda when it comes to presenting these issues.

Dr. Wright is under attack for saying such things as '... the government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, and then wants us (African-Americans) to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no; not 'God Bless America,' God damn America ... for killing innocent people; God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human....' These are very strong words, delivered at what many are calling a possible turning point in American history with regard to America's willingness to elect an African-American candidate. While the mainstream media have found no merit in any of Dr. Wright's statements, let's examine their merit from a historical basis.

When people read the Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, they see the oldest governing constitution in the world. They see a great document that has articulated the precepts of life, liberty and happiness that all in this country try to follow. What is often overlooked are the parts of the Constitution that laid the foundation for hundreds of years of slavery and oppression for African-Americans; the constitutional framework for human beings to be treated as less than human. It's these sections of the Constitution that America has never truly atoned for and still refuses to make right.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution stated, 'Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.' This was known as the Three-Fifths Compromise and laid the groundwork for African slaves brought into America as forced labor to be defined as non-persons.

Article I, Section 9 allowed the importation of slaves to continue in America for twenty-one years after ratification of the Constitution by declaring: 'The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.' This section only outlawed the importation of slaves once the domestic stock of slaves could be replenished by natural birthrates and importation would no longer be needed; again, treating its citizens as less than human.

Article IV, Section 2 stated, 'No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.' This was enforced by Congress on September 18, 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, allowing Southern states to reclaim slaves that had escaped to the North.

To read the entire article, click here.
To visit Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III's site click here.
To visit the posting site, click here.

"It's Better to Have Love Than Fancy Things"

I started this post as a comment on Milk For Spice, but I found it getting long, and it tied indirectly into a conversation I had with The Sun last night, so I figured I'd just write it here.

Her post, "Why is a half-full glass so hard to see?" started talking about her Aunt's positive outlook on life, and then she goes on to say that often her kids and the Bull will stomp around looking at the world as if the glass is half-empty. And that her aunt, who's vision is failing, is happy to be able to see what she can, rather than what she can't. And she wondered why it was so hard for her family to see the glass as half-full. And so my response started out saying:

"The only way people can see to be grateful for what they have is to be able to see what they don't have. Which might sound like it's at odds with your Aunt... but I don't think it is. Although I dunno... lemme try to explain."

Then I realized I had a lot more to say, so l had to start at the beginning of the strand.

Firstly, having been in an abusive relationship, I can tell you that one of the reasons I stayed so long was because I only "saw" the positive aspects... the things I liked about him. The "half-full" part. When the "going" was bad, I would get through it the best way I could... but it was AMAZING how quickly I could "forget" the bad stuff. Until I found myself feeling fundamentally unhappy in my core, and decided that that couldn't be normal. I guess I had the comparison of a good happy family life, where Poppy (though a tad OCD-like... think Jack Nicholson's character in the movie "As Good As It Gets") was very respectful and loving of my mom. And Poppy always told me his eleventh commandment, which was "Neither a doormat or a dishrag shall ye be."

So finally I left.

Secondly, I've "seen" hard times... I know how bad/tough/sad life can be... and I try to stay positive when I'm going through things because sometimes there's no choice. But on the other hand, once I'm out of the bad times I allow myself be sad or wallow, if only for a minute.

I guess the common thread between the two is, you have to know bad, before you can see good. And in order to know bad, you have to know good. Once you know bad... you can tell that "well, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'sucks ass' (or as Shark-Fu over at Angry Black Bitch calls it "FUBAR-Fucked Up Beyond Recognition"), this is only a 2, so I can deal". You can be grateful for what little you can see if you know that your vision is failing and eventually you may not be able to see anything. You can be grateful for good health... even with aches and pains, if you know how bad it is to be really sick. You can be grateful for the little bit of food you have when you know what it's like not to have ANY.

Yesterday I had an email conversation with a lady I see on the bus out here. I have to confess that for a long time I detected a "need" in her, and because I'm drained and am reluctant to get involved with people who have needs (that sounds callous but there's a whole other story behind that, which stems out of a sensitivity I have to people in Mental Distress) I've kind of avoided her. But she sent me something yesterday, one of those "the sky is falling!!!!" partially-true medical-condition/disease-du-jour emails, which of course I had to debunk with a link to Snopes. She thanked me for the correction, and one thing led to another and she told me that her eldest daughter had sickle cell, and that right before moving on to the Rock (a few years ago) her daughter had suffered a stroke, and was reliant on regular blood transfusions to stay healthy. She also mentioned that she (the mom) was looking for a way for her to feel more fulfilled in her life, that she felt she wasn't living up to her full potential. I wrote her back that truly, there was nothing like watching your kid suffer to make you sit up and take notice of your life.

Now, I've been blessed that the Sun is pretty healthy. Once when he was about 11 months old, he came down with a really nasty virus... maybe Coxsackie (and I say "maybe" cuz I HATE when your kid is nastysick and you rush to the doc and (s)he scratches the head and says "dunno... looks like a virus!" and there's nothing you can do about a virus but let it pass) but man was he sick. He was even throwing up breastmilk... and when a kid can't keep breastmilk down you KNOW there's a problem. I couldn't control his fever and at one point he suddenly went completely limp and I freaked out. I was alone (of course) with him at home, and the only thing I could think of was to strip naked with him and sit in a cold shower, and nurse him. So I did, and I think I called ShoeFly and after the shower we took him down to his doctor. After some Motrin and an antibiotic he perked right up... and he wasn't seriously ill like my friend's baby I mentioned the other day (who's coming home tomorrow) but I was scared shitless.

A little while after the Sun's virus, maybe three years or so, another mom-friend of mine's kid was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a reasonably rare but particularly aggressive and usually fatal form of pediatric cancer. I went to visit them in Sloan Kettering, and I've never seen anybody sicker than that. My dad, even when he was at his worst, wasn't as near death as this baby was (I have to make note though, that I've never felt a spirit as big as that kid's. The room was filled with his fighting spirit, and I knew that that baby was going to fight with all his might. And I was right). Currently the littleone is in remission and doing extraordinarily well and has been labeled "No Evidence of Disease" (NED) for a few years (knockwood). But during the worst of it, his mom posted regularly about his day-to-day fight, and I became aware of the other Little Ones who didn't make it, and I shed tears over children I never met.

This is, in my opinion, about as bad as life can get. Especially when it's your kid. And other than the maybe-Coxsackie virus, we've been blessed with no major ailments. So compared to all that, it's all relative.

I don't shield the Sun from these things, like sadness or poverty or the death of a loved one. I don't overburden him of course... I only give him as much as he can take. And he'll tell me "Mom, I don't want to talk about it anymore--it makes me sad" when he can't handle it though sometimes if I feel strongly enough I'll push him a little past his limit. But I tell him. I tell him because I need him to know that he's got a lot, in comparison to others. He may not have everything he could possibly want, but he's got a lot and he should be grateful for it.

Because he doesn't really know "bad". He can't see "half-full" cuz he's never known "empty." And yes, I pray that he never really knows "bad"... at least until he's strong enough and old enough to handle "bad", but I also know that since he doesn't know "bad", he can't know "good".

It's one reason (out of the many) that I make my kid trek to Harlem every day (not that Harlem is "bad" anymore and certainly parts of it never were), or walk across 103rd street where until very recently the wino's hung out, or take him along Fordham Road in the Bronx, or trek him up to Yonkers. There's a funeral parlor on 103rd, and every so often when we pass by there on the way to school there will be knots of people darkly dressed, with a hearse out front. I point these things out to him, make him see the sadness of the people there. I believe he needs to "see" how other people live... not everyone speaks English, not everyone is clean and polished and has iPods or drives in cars or lives in suburban homes with porches, not everyone lives on a quiet street. Not everyone has a great, clean, office job. Not everyone is healthy. And these things, while not necessarily "bad", will give the people living life like this a different way of looking at the world.

I would make him come sit with me in the food stamp office, or trek him to Housing when I was trying for the section 8 voucher. It was amusing to me that he hated going to those places--especially the Food Stamp office which was usually horribly lighted with awful government-grade fluorescent lights, beige walls, industrial tile and too many people. Sleeping people, coughing people, children with runny noses. Stressed out and sad people. (When you're in the Food Stamp office, you can't leave to pee or go drink water or eat unless they tell you, because it's all "first come first serve." When you get past the initial application part, they may issue you a number, but they didn't call you in number order. So if you left, you missed your turn. And food and water weren't allowed in the office, and if you snuck food or water in there, the security guard would make you put it away or worse, throw it out. So kids were always screaming, and people were always crabby.) But I made him go with me, even when I had the choice to leave him somewhere because I felt he needed to know what life can REALLY be like.

When I'm broke and can't buy him something, I tell him why. I don't hide my struggles from him, because he needs to know that he should appreciate what he has. It ain't free... everything he has comes at a price. Sometimes we're in Target, and he wants a $2.99 deck of Trading Cards. And I tell him I don't have the $2.99 to spare today. "Why NOT! It's only $2.99". "Yes, but so is a box of juice for your school snack. And today I need to buy the juice, so today, you don't get the cards." And truthfully, sometimes I want to relent and overspend and get the juice AND the cards, but I don't, because he'll never learn the choice if I do.

We've had discussions on why I can't buy him the exact same thing the Moon has (the latest item was the Wii)... I don't have the money. "Why not? Can't you go to the bank and get some?"
"Well, you have to put money in there in order to get it out. They don't just give it to you."
"Well, put some in there."
"I need a job or some work in order to do that".
"So you should just go get a job."
Sometimes I tell him I'm looking, but sometimes I explain to him that part of my job dilemma is being able to be home with him... to pick him up from school or take him to violin or karate. I explain to him that the choice is... mommy working full time and you get that Wii/toy/every-trading-card known to man but you may probably also have to give up a lot of things because of time and I won't be there to pick you up from school... or, mommy not working full time and you don't have every toy you want, but you have my time and you get to go to karate and violin, and I get to pick you up from school. Which do you prefer?

I'm happy to say that about 90% of the time he chooses me.

But the point is... there are choices in life. You have a choice in the way you live (pretty much, things like race and class notwithstanding) but you certainly have a choice in the way you view life. However... you have to KNOW you have a choice, and you can't know that if you haven't been made to see.

My father once went into a discussion with us about Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life. Why the Tree of Life was ultimately more important... but the warning was not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That if Adam and Eve had eaten from the Tree of Life, they may live forever, but that wouldn't necessarily mean that they would also eat from the Tree of Good and Evil... and wouldn't become "God-like". But once they ate from the Tree of Knowledge... they would then know that if they also ate from the Tree of Life, they would be God-like. When they did eat from the Tree of Knowledge, their "eyes were opened" and they could "see", and they were turned out from the Garden of Eden... not solely as punishment for what they did but to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life. And just in case they tried to double-back and sneak the fruit, God put a fiery sword at the foot of the Tree to prevent that from happening.

You could also argue that the "punishments" inflicted on Adam and Eve weren't punishments really... they are the consequence of knowledge. Hell... if you've every been pregnant and faced the idea of vaginal delivery for the first time, the more you know about it the more scared you are. A uniquely human perspective, since "dumb" animals don't face childbirth with the same fear. But I digress.

Longwinded spaghetti post... the conclusion of which is that while most parents actively seek to shield their children from the horrors and the not-so-horrors of life, there is something to be said for letting them see parts of it... so that they can see "half-full" because they will know the difference between "half-full" and "empty".

And the title of my own post came from a conversation I had with the Sun last night at bathtime. He was being annoying... whining about something and mimicking a friend, and I told him as much. Typical kid, he started exaggerating his behavior and I told I'd just arrange for him to live with that family. He "snapped to": "No, I'll stay with you. There's hugs here." Startled, I asked "You don't think there's hugs there?"
"There is, but not like this" and he gave me a big, nakedy hug. I laughed.
"It's better to have love than fancy things" he said, and I was so dumbfounded by what he said that I just started to laugh.

I laughed with the understanding that he was saying something important, in his own words, and that it wasn't about the "fancy things"... it was that he "saw" what is that we do have. That he could see the difference in the way people lived, and that he appreciated what he had.

And that made me feel really good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tagged!

I've seen people tagged and now it's me. Thanks Fat Lady! One more distraction from that comp I'm supposed to be doing. You of all people KNOW how easily I'm distracted.

But I laugh... what five random facts could I POSSIBLY come up with that I haven't bared here already???? You all already know I have "mad issues, yo!" and that I'm opinionated and prone to depression and obsessiveness and had a really weird childhood. What else could I say? Oooh! I just thought of something...

1.) My first "crush" was on that cartoon character The Phantom. Something about the skintight (purple) bodysuit and the mask. Yum. To this day I harbor a very secret interest in

2.) certain elements of S&M. Not the pain. I don't "do" pain. But those masks...hmmmmmm.

Ok so that was deep and dark and random. What else?

You all know I love music. I think in music... which is why I started posting music on this blog right from the beginning. So you all know that but did you know

3.) I've been known to sing in my sleep?

So going back to Milk For Spice to see what she put as her random facts, and noted that she was unwilling to reveal anything too "scandalous" (and I tease her about her darkness all the time) I just realized that

4.) I'm a little bit of an exhibitionist. But wouldn't you have guessed that already? Does that count?

OK... something people wouldn't know....

5.) I wear a 34DD. Why is that important? It isn't... I can't think of anything else and hey it worked for the Fat Lady. But actually, the boobage was sort of a big deal in my teenage years because I was really really skinny (at one point I weighed 92 lbs because I'd just come of a week-long asthma attack and I can't eat when I can't breathe) and they didn't even make jeans small enough for me back then. The Gap didn't invent "size 0" until late in my senior year of high school. So for a while I was pretty self-conscious about the boobs cuz they were so big in relationship to the rest of me. I wore a lot of big shirts. Which is stupid, cuz back then I had big boobs and a flat stomach, and now I flat boobs and a big stomach. I once had this skintight turquoise cotton stretchy dress with a deep v-neck and high waist. And I was too scared to wear it. And now I can't wear it, damnit, cuz I'd have three bubbles (a good bra can hoist the girls up)... 2 in the front and one in the back and some rolls on the side. But I would if I could cuz I've discovered that I'm a little bit of an exhibitionist....

OK, so tagees.... I won't tag some of my bigger blogs that I'm sure people will tag, so I'll tag
  1. my freind Natalie at Sometimes I Blog because she's a really good, natural photographer. She's one of my online freinds from my mom's list, and I met her once in real life.
  2. my freind Aparna, who's in Mozambique. I met her when I worked at the hospital, and she's East Indian from Chicago and we had great conversations about racism and other "isms" cuz she's a frizzy-haired girl in a straight-haired world, and brown, to boot. She went to Malawi to get her MPH.
  3. a blog I read semi-regularly... the Female Science Professor. She's way smarter than me and sometimes talks about stuff I couldn't begin to understand. But her tales of life in academia leave me with my mouth hanging open. Talk about sexism! Holy Shit!
  4. my freind, my mentor Peter Emmerich, former Disney artist. It was he that broke the barriers I had about drawing. I think he got to the emotion in me... I struggled before him, and after his class I was much more comfortable. Which is odd, because his style is so precise and he intimidated the hell out of me in the beginning. Actually he still does. He didn't last long at Pratt... WAY too outspoken. Which of course is why I adore him.
  5. lastly, and after much wondering, I will tag a new blog I started reading, LoveBabz: A Life in Transition. I found her through Raw Dog Buffalo, and I love that she 's honest about her life, and I read her "Love List" with great interest. I wanted to tag Chief Brown at the Cheroenhaka blog but he doesn't have comments enabled.
So that's it. And I've yet to do what I need to do. Drat it.

Are You Kidding Me????? (part two)

So now, after not saying anything on the Obama-Wright controversy for what, a week? other than "it needed to be said" in response to Obama's subsequent and eloquent speech on race relations in this country, the Borg Queen decides to feed the fire.

As we used to say in the hood back in the day "She's BUGGIN!'" What the hell?

First of all, it's now a dead issue... Yes, the McCain people are going to bring it up again should Obama win the nomination, but it's a dead issue. The videos of the sermons and the Pastors quotes in context are all over the internet. Everybody has made their comments. Obama made a really good, meaningful speech about it. Can't she find another issue to pick at?

Is she really that shallow that she will start this over again, and is she really doing this to redirect people away from the fact that she embellished on her Bosnia War Story? Does she really think people will fall for that? But then again... maybe she knows "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people" or that elections have been won based on playing into people's willingness to accept what they are told. But seriously.

(Another quote by Mencken:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”)


Can she really throw that stone when she herself has ties to controversial religious people?

And what's worse... people still think she's electable? Doesn't this kind of behaviour in a candidate make people question the kind of President that candidate would be????

Call me dumb. But I don't get it.

OK, now I really need to do some real work...

Are You Kidding Me????

I just got wind of this "controversy"... and I dunno, maybe you might think I'd react one way or maybe you think my response is "normal" considering what you read of me here.

But apparently people's panties are all in a bunch about the Vogue cover to the left here, saying it perpetuates racial stereotypes.

Seriously? I don't see it.

What I see, as a photographer, is a very energetic photograph that captures the brawn of a very large (ooh! I don't follow basketball anymore and he's hot!) basketball player, and a (way too thin) model. I love that the ball is in motion, halfway between his hand and the floor. I love that she is in motion... if she weren't so damn thin it almost reminds me of the painting of Venus emerging from the waves, with her hair flying. I like that on both of them, one foot is slightly off the ground. I love the contrast in their body mass. As a photographer, assuming that maybe she's been airbrushed a little and maybe some shadows painted in, assuming all that, I'd be pretty friggin' excited to have captured a moment like that. And then I found out it was Annie Leibowitz and well hell... of course! No mere mortal of a photographer would have brought that out.

Now, this morning on the Today Show, Donny Deutch (who seriously... if I could be hired by him I would be thrilled--he's smart. And hot. Though not hot! like Lebron James.) and this woman who's name escapes me (brownlady... love her voice) were debating the cover. Donny said as an ad guy... or maybe a "dumb white guy" he didn't see it either. Of course his "dumb white guy" comment reminded me of the 16 Ways To Avoid Racism blog post I found the other day. But whatever. She argued that she did a double-take on the cover and rolled her eyes (and I chuckled as I was reminded of this Geico ad...


... freakin' ad cracks me up every time....)

and honestly my thought is "come on. That's just WAY over-sensitive".

But I dunno. I didn't grow up here and maybe that's the point. Maybe racism is so ingrained here that EVERYBODY is affected. Just see racism in everything... even when there isn't. Which is probably true. (Also reminds me of Senator Obama's Race speech in which he said people make racial controversies where there are none, and ignore genuine incidents.) People are bringing up the comparison between the Vogue cover and this King Kong poster to the right, and I laughed out loud to myself as I stood there looking at the TV... ok, I get THAT, but seriously. How many kids these days know that poster and would make that association? And maybe some old white gay guy poring over all the pictures AnnieTheQueen took thought to himself "oooooh! this one's IT!", and maybe it was subconscious cuz in his youth he had fantasies of being Fay Wray... or maybe it was conscious because he saw the chance comparison between the two images and like a good Creative Director thought "controversial AND sexy, well shit you can't beat that with a STICK" and maybe he (or she) thought both things (which is what I'm betting on). And maybe if there was a brown-skinned Art or Creative Director there, maybe they would have thought the same thing and then shied away from the cover, thinking he or she wouldn't feed into "racism". And personally... I think the latter scenario is a cop-out. Cuz the obvious, money making choice is the first... why? because it sells magazines and idiots like me are blogging about it first thing on a Wednesday morning over coffee... when I what I SHOULD be doing is a comp for a project that's due over to my client in about an hour...

update 3/28/08: Video from the Today Show segment...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

¡Carajo!

I'm not good--decidedly not good--at getting involved with people.

There's something about meeting people that makes me want to hide. It's weird. It's not that I'm particularly anti-social because I can be very social. But for me, being social is like putting on clothes. Sometimes I want to get dressed... sometimes I want to walk around my house in my jammies and not see anybody. Sometimes I have a desire to be done up and FABULOUS!, but most times it's jeans and t-shirts for me.

I get along best with people who have the opportunity to grow on me slowly. Very slowly. If Lilac Blue reads this, she'll laugh, cuz when I first met her she sort of ran up on me like a puppy, and attached herself to me and it made me extremely uncomfortable. White Horse too, but to a lesser degree. But Lilac Blue in particular, all of a sudden she was THERE. But she never invaded my personal space and so after a time I got used to her and now I'm really used to her and look around for her when she's gone.

Same thing with ShoeFly. And now I love her cuz it's rare I actually call her (even though she lives down the block) but no matter what's going on, she keeps track of me. I'm used to it now.

Beautiful Hair... we go through phases where we're joined at the hip, and then other times we barely speak. But she's the one who made me aware of my discomfort at being touched or kissed "hello". We'd been friends for years... and one day she leaned in to kiss me on my cheek, and I must have flinched because she laughed... "You always flinch! but you're my friend and I've known you for years now and I'm GOING to kiss you!" But I swear... each and every time she does it, I am acutely aware that she's kissing me hello. And I've known her almost 20 years now. You'da thunk I'm used to it by now. And what's worse is that every time someone else kisses me hello, I think of her teasing me about it.

Now the Fat Lady... even though we met in real life in our kids school, for some reason she invited me to join an email list, and we got along great in emailworld before that bond extended to real life. And now I can't do without her (even though I haven't seen her in a few days... I've just been sort of draggin' due to various things). And I've a few friends I met online that I keep track of online but have become real life friends. But online friendships work because you usually have some time to get to know someone really well before it spills over to the realworld.

Now with men. I realized that the only men I have ever really fallen for are men I have worked with in some capacity. Every one. Why? Because generally while you meet men you work with on some project or another, and there's always that little "woof?" (ears up/tail wag) because men are like that, men are very focused and pretty soon you get to work on whatever project it is, and that's that. And there may always be a little "playfulness" but most times, it's work.

With some though, there gets to be more tailwagging and cavorting, but they get to see my little quirks on a daily basis, and if they don't run screaming into the night and avoid me, and the little "woof" begins to be more like "WOOF!" and well... you know how puppies are....then getting to be friends with men is easy. And it's much easier for me to fall in love with a man I'm friends with than it is for me to be attracted to someone I've just met. But at the same time... I can always remember that first little "woof", and remember that there was a difference in that particular "woof" as opposed other ones. I know it sounds crazy, but there you have it. I've never said I was normal.

With Nene it's not that I worked with him but we got to see each other on frequent basis... on good days and bad days and days in between, so it was sort of the same principle.

But I don't do well on "dates" or "blind dates" because it's as if the "set-up" is there to put things in motion and it's just not a setting I'm comfortable in. It makes me want to hide.

And I HATE when I hang out or meet someone once... and you get "the vibe". He can be a perfectly nice guy, but the instant "WOOF!" thing freaks me out.

I don't know why that is.

So the Opportunity to Pursue presented itself.... and I swear it felt like an instant "WOOF!" and now all I want to do is hide.

It makes me miss Nene all the more even though I've pretty much walked away from that.

Argh.

4,000 Gone

Kind of a big number. But kind of an abstract number. 4,000 military men and women have lost their lives in Iraq, since the war began in 2003.

During the last five years, an average of 800 people per year were killed.

During the last five years, an average of 67 people were killed every month in Iraq.

During the last five years an average of 15 people lost their lives every week.

During the last five years an average of two people per day were killed in Iraq.

And that's not counting the wounded, or the nearly dead.

May they rest in peace.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It DOES Takes A Village...

I don't know how we came to the conclusion in this country, that women are supposed to live in their own little family bubbles. It seems to me that the overall idea is that every family is it's own little nucleus, going through the trials and tribulations of daily family life, keeping all their little secrets to themselves.

But even though that seems to be the expectation, most women I know have some kind of community... some form of back up. It's more like every little family is a cell, but cells need to be joined together in order to survive, to grow.

For me suddenly thrown into motherhood, my "community" was an online mothering group. I had my sister, and my mom (who was indispensable in those early days of being a mostly-single working mom) of course, and ShoeFly was here and my BouncyFriend (I had another name for her, I think, but I don't write about her much cuz she's moved away and so I've forgotten what it was), and Beautiful Hair, but I didn't really realize the importance of having "my girls" until I found myself relying on my moms list.

I found my moms list because I was determined to breastfeed the Sun for a year, and when I got back to work, in order to make that happen I had to pump milk. I knew nothing about pumping milk, and since nobody I knew in real life did either, I was forced to find information online. Somehow I found the PumpingMoms list, and I joined. Back then, the list was pretty small, maybe 150-200 ladies tops (last I heard it was over 700 members), and most of our babies were all the same age... under a year.

In the meantime, there was all this other stuff going on in my life... my commute, dealing with TF, sleepless nights, stress... a dwindling milk supply. The ladies on my list were supportive, empathetic, knowledgeable, and most importantly... always there. 24 hours a day. There was always someone online so if I was scared or tired or depressed or worried about my "Moopie" (as I called him back then) I would shoot out a post, and somebody would answer me within a few hours--tops. Usually within an hour. And I found myself relying on this group of ladies more than I ever thought possible.

They gave me ideas to help boost my milk supply. They answered questions on fevers or illness or weight gain. They gave me encouragement when I thought I wasn't pumping enough. And when they realized I was using a manual Isis to pump, one of them arranged for and rented a hospital grade electric pump and had it sent to my door. I cried that day. It was a kindness I have never forgotten. And this small kindness gave me the strength to ask for the use of an empty office so that I could sit in peace and pump, rather than in the bathroom stall I'd been using. I would never have achieved my goal of nursing for a year if it weren't for those ladies, and I found myself airing all my hopes and dreams and fears to them. And when the Sun turned a year and I quit pumping (although we continued to nurse until he was two and a half) I was loathe to "resign" from the group because I knew I would miss them terribly.

One of them took the plunge and set up a sort of "graduate" list, and I was one of the first to join. And I'm still on that list... 8 years later. Many of us from that first year are still on the list with me. In 8 years since, I've met several of these ladies in real life, and there are still many that I'd love to meet.

But a funny thing happened: I got closer to ShoeFly and the Professor and other moms that came into my circle in real life. I came to really understand the power of women, and a woman's circle. I began to see that no family is an island unto itself, and that it does, truly, "take a village" to raise a child. Women need each other. You're NOT supposed to do it all alone. In truth... it's impossible.

Through the years, I've come to rely on ShoeFly (largely because she's physically closest to me--but I also happen to love her like family)... she has become my sister in motherhood, even though she sometimes annoys the crap out of me, the same way I'm sure I annoy her. The way I annoy my sister or she annoys me... or my mom, or Beautiful Hair... but I know that if was in a jam any one or several of those women would be there to help me out, the same way I would for them. And through the years, as I accepted my need for and love for these women, it allowed me to open up and "add" other women in a continuously-growing circle... my Upstairs Neighbor, the Fat Lady, and LilacBlue and OneHalf and most recently WhiteHorse. The end result is that in real life, my child is "covered" from inside my home, to his commute into the city, to his school life, to his violin lessons... in short, in almost every aspect of his life there is a woman who I can ask to check on him, or retrieve him from somewhere, or feed him. And I in turn can be called upon by any of these women to do the same for their child.

And this is the way it should be.

So Saturday night, ShoeFly's sister-in-law (for now I'll call her GentleOne), who's separated from ShoeFly's brother, wanted to celebrate her 49th birthday. Last week, she'd been over with her friend and neighbor "Pip" (cuz man, she's the type of chick a girl can get in some serious trouble with... hard drinkin' flirty type) and we all know that GentleOne is still very much in love with her husband and she's not really happy about the separation, so we talked about going out. To help cheer her up.

On Saturday we weren't really sure going out was going to happen, but it came together at the last minute, and then I wasn't sure I was actually going to go since the Sun was a little feverish... but I decided to go out cuz A.) I knew my slightly feverish child was going to be just fine with the Moon and WhiteClogs, B.) it's not often I get to "hang out" with ShoeFly's BigSister (and I have adopted her as a big sister cuz she's cool like that), C.) I like GentleOne a lot and wanted to help cheer her but ashamedly and mostly D.) I needed a drink. Or two.

So BigSister picked us up (ShoeFly's minivan is brakeless) and just as we were about to pull up in front of GentleOnes apartment building, GentleOne called. I heard BigSister get "tight" and when she hung up, all she said was that GentleOne had had a fight---no, a fight--with her 17 year old daughter, and was pretty shook up.

It seems that on the Monday previous, GentleOne's younger daughter Littlegirl violated her school night curfew of 12A, and rolled in at 3:30A. With a 'tude. GentleOne grounded her, but last night the kid decided her mother was soft enough to be rolled over, and got her self ready to go out. When GentleOne tried to stop her, she pushed past her. And then from what I heard she punched her, knocked her over and actually kicked her.

I write about it because it's disturbing as hell. We're talking about a private-school kid, pretty spoiled materially, well-loved, catered to/overindulged, and even though her parents are separated, both parents are actively involved in her life. And she's got aunts and cousins and people around her who care, and to the best of any one's knowledge she's not on drugs and doesn't seem to drink... at least not visibly.

As BigSister asked "has she lost her fucking mind?????" and my question was "is she drunk?"

Pip, who lives literally across the hall (and a very narrow hallway it is) from GentleOne and is closest on her own circle of women, heard all the commotion and came running over to break it up. And BigSister, who was FURIOUS was thanking God she was actually running a little late, because if we'd all arrived 5 minutes earlier, there might have been a very different outcome. As in, Littlegirl's ass would have been kicked by her aunt. As it was, by the time we got upstairs, Littlegirl had locked herself in her room where she stayed all night, mainly cuz she heard her Titi walking around... and Titi BigSister is not someone to be trifled with. She shares "man-arms" and bench-pressing talents with the Professor, which is one reason I love her so much. She reminds me of the Professor.

GentleOne, though physically OK, was hurt. And shocked and bewildered and in no mood to go out, so we sat around Pip's kitchen table, nibbling on left-overs, drinking wine/vodka/Kahlua and whooping it up. I told GentleOne in no way should she blame herself... no matter what goes on a child should NEVER raise its hand to its mother, but that she's not alone in the "crazy teenage girl" category. I told her how the Diva gave the Professor HELL and we fully expect MoodMagicBarbie to give it her best shot in another few years... and Shoefly told her how her stepdaughter (WhiteClog's daughter from a previous marriage) gave them hell and heart palpitations. And we shared stories of the hell we raised in our own youth, though we agreed that "back in our day" it was NOT OK to disrespect your mother.

I thought to myself how glad I was that we were all there for GentleOne, this night. That it was good for her daughters to see that their mother had backup, that what happened wasn't approved of and wouldn't be tolerated. GentleOne's "other side" is that she can be a little histrionic, and a little picky about neatness, and she's wrapped a little tight and generally has been a pushover for her girls. But she's got a great heart, and is well loved by her sisters-in-law... so much so that they told their brother that no matter whether he divorced her or not, GentleOne would always be their sister, and would always be invited to family functions.

So today, Easter Sunday, BigSister cooked dinner ("What are you doing on Sunday?" she asked me. "Coming to your house to eat!" I answered her. BigSister can throw down on some Spanish food.) and everyone was there... Brother, and GentleOne, Biggirl and Littlegirl (who was fairly low-key and stayed out of Titi BigSister's way), and ShoeFly and even WhiteClogs. And all the other sisters and kids and partners, and Edith, ShoeFly's mom.

Apparently Brother talked to his daughter and set her straight, and GentleOne took her cellphone but I think the most important thing was for that girl to see that her mother wasn't alone. That she wasn't going to be able to roll over her mother, without having to answer to the rest of her family. To other women.

So barring any unforseen "curveballs" like drug addiction or alcholism, I think Littlegirl will be alright, and I think she's counting her lucky stars Titi didn't come upstairs any earlier than she did.... I still wonder though, what the hell got into her.

But when my Sun hits his crazy age and gives me hell, I hope that any or some or all of those women will give me back up, too... He does know, already, that those women are part of his "family" and that he will have to answer to them, as well as me, if he does anything stupid...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Evil Can Be Any Color

All five of the folk in this very um, diverse "family" are accused of the same crime; torturing a mentally-challenged pregnant woman to death.

Disabled pregnant woman used as target practice

Heaven Help Us All.

Today Was Definitely Spaghetti-Like...

I'm so happy that I've decided to go ahead and identify spaghetti posts, because it means that "when my mind is wandering, there it will goooooooo....." and I don't have to stay up till 5 or 6AM forcing myself to write coherently on one topic. Because sometimes I'm obsessed and that's easy, and sometimes I'm insane and it's not easy.

Today is the latter. So I can stay up till only 4A, and get everything "in".

So again, in no particular order:

  • The Professor is mad at me because I haven't done her taxes. But shit. I haven't done mine either, and I was pretty clear last year that I didn't want to DO ANYBODY'S taxes anymore because the IRS has decided to fuck with the little people, and it's just too much responsibility. (Plus, I'm not getting anything back because the IRS decided I owe them.) So today she really had an attitude with me, which makes me laugh in hindsight cuz I don't care much, but it was annoying at the time. But I'll do them. Maybe tomorrow. I sat down to do it tonight, but instead I needed to
  • Update my "America The Beautiful Mash-Up" song mix, which is pretty freakin' brilliant, if I do say so myself. I wish I could figure out how to set up mixes on iTunes, cuz I think you can sell them/make small change off of them, but on the other hand, iTunes doesn't have a lot of the songs I look for. But click through the little widget there... there's some good stuff.

  • I kind of miss Nene, but I've resolved myself to the idea that he was only taking because I was giving, and I didn't mind giving as long as it didn't cost me. And it didn't, in the beginning. But it's been just about a year, and now it was beginning to cost me. So after Obama's speech the other day, which had the strange effect of giving me a renewed sense of self-worth, I called him and confronted him on some stuff and pretty much told him I had the Opportunity to Pursue Something Else, and if there was no real interest on his part that he needed to let me go. Which he reluctantly (and it was good he was reluctant cuz I didn't feel so much like a simple bootycall that way) did. Sucks though. I really do feel for him but I'm worth much more than I was giving... As I've said before... that's how I feel today. But...
  • ...the Opportunity that presented itself as being Worth Pursuing... well, it's being investigated and while I can't say I'm getting overwhelming urges, it's a little strange (and enjoyable) to have a conversation with someone who is uh, VERY much like yourself. It's kind of freaky, actually. Although this Opportunity shares some interesting traits with people I get along with exceptionally well... one being the Fat Lady and the other being the Professor. They are both Taurus, you see. I thought at first that the Opportunity was Aquarius like me... but no, Taurus. So in some ways we're exactly like and in other ways we're like the opposite. It could be interesting....

  • I took the Sun and his annoying little friend the Moon into the city today to Toys R Us. I love the Moon, I do. He really is a good kid with a wonderful heart, but he's not MY kid and I guess because of that, he can annoy me. Then again, my kid annoys me too, sometimes, but I think the thing is he knows when he's annoying me and will back up pretty quickly. The Moon, on the other hand, will continue until I get really "snappish" with him, and then I feel bad. Poor baby. But I guess he doesn't mind me, cuz he still likes to hang out with me and the Sun. I guess he understands that I do treat him exactly like I treat my own kid... and I do. We had a good time today, though.

  • I am really broke. I mean REALLY. Y'all need to help a sister out and buy something from CafePress. I could put up my paypal button and ask for donations, but a.) I hate handouts and hand-me-downs and b.) I'd feel guilty for not giving something in return and c.) you'd know my real email address (though most of you know me anyhow.) I could also solicit advertising on this blog, but that doesn't sit right with me. People look at my resume on HotJobs and Monster, but nothing's come of it. However, the Opportunity That Is Worth Pursuing is a graphic designer/web designer, and may be able help me get my real site completed. We had a funny conversation which sounded like several conversations that both my Taurean sister and good friend have had with me... and they go like this: "Stop being a perfectionist! Pick a template and get it done! It can BE purple! Just do it!"

  • I found out somebody read my "I Hate Black History Month" post (yes, I sometimes follow my narcissistic tendencies and Google myself, just to see what comes up), and thought it worth mentioning. But when I visited today, they had a hilarious post (in part swiped from another blog) about ways to "Avoid Dealing With Racism". I tell you, I laughed out loud. But I so appreciate them, because they were honest... and honestly I've heard some of the things on the list, and they annoyed me when I did. So "shout out" to my peeps at
    - Feminist White Noise
    - Feministe

  • Another friend forwarded me this blog, which I'll add to my list maybe tomorrow..
    - Stuff White People Like (it's good for brown folk to know this stuff, truly.)

  • And my friend Carrie sent me this, which I thought was cool:
    - The Hapa Project: "Once a derogatory label derived from the Hawaiian word for “half,” Hapa has since been embraced as a term of pride by many whose mixed racial heritage includes Asian or Pacific Island descent."

  • If you've noticed, Hillary Clinton has been pretty quiet on the Pastor Wright thing, and I did a little snooping/got a little tidbit and think maybe this might have something to do with it?


    - Hillary's Nasty Pastorate, an interesting article posted on The Nation.
    - And of course I had to "wiki" The Family. Hmph, is all I have to say. And "glass houses" and "throwing stones" and "people are such friggin' hypocrites...." Particularly when I googled it's current leader, Douglas Coe, and at the first hit landed on a Feb 2005 Time Magazine article entitled "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals In America. " Coe was 4th. Number 7 was James Dobson, the former leader who stepped down "to pursue politics".
  • What annoys me most about this "discovery" is that all the Gollums who are busy hissing at Pastor Wright and calling Obama out for not disowning him and saying how this will destroy Obama so that the BorgQueen can win, um???? Are you not checking your own backyard???? Can you not see that they are ALL FULL OF SHIT, and the ONLY thing that's different about Obama is hope? And if that's all that's different... why is that a bad thing? What makes "hope" not worthy of trying?

  • I think I remember this visitor... he'd asked me about some music I'd posted and I'd deleted the comment ONLY because it was irrelevant to the post he'd responded to. But I noticed my name mentioned in context to this Jay-Z/Linkin Park video he posted recently, so I'm giving him props. Of course it's entirely in Spanish, so I've NO IDEA what it says.... But he also posted another song by Jay-Z/Linkin Park (Dirt Off Your Shoulders) but it's to a series of clips from Naruto so HEY!!! he gets special props for that.

  • If you haven't visited Milk For Spice, lately, the Fat Lady posted a video from SNL featuring Tracy Morgan. Worth seeing....

  • Technically, Obama has won, or is well on the way to officially winning Texas. Something about the Caucus, which isn't over until June. CNN is projecting that Obama is the winner. Don't you just love unfair reporting?

  • And, last random post of the day... I can spell the word "friend" a MILLION times, and I will get it wrong 98% of the time... Unless I'm consciously aware of spelling it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This Just In...

from an online email friend, and one who I give major props for not only finding stuff like this on a regular basis, but passing it along...

...An anonymous blog set up by an apparent member, in defense of Trinity Church:

The Truth About Trinity United Church of Christ

On which this lovely picture was posted:


Ha ha! And WHO MIGHT THAT BE? Well, none other than Pastor Jeremiah Wright with the man himself, Bill Clinton!

The blog link and photo was first posted on Politico.com, and Ben Smith claims the picture was taken down. But I checked just now... it's still there! As well as a picture of a young Pastor Wright working on a stricken Lyndon B. Johnson.

I Wondered... And Then I Didn't

...wonder what would happen if, after the Democratic nominee was decided upon, John McCain announced Codoleeza Rice as his running mate. Funny to find out that someone else put forth that idea just a few days ago, but I doubt it would happen. The thought amused me though.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Been Longer Than I Anticipated...

since I last posted. Lot to say... ha ha! that Fat Lady says I cram a lot into one post and I do. I've actually thought about labeling them "Spaghetti" posts cuz that's what it's like in my own head... they are all related. But then, I would obsessively have to go through my blog and relabel a bunch of stuff, so maybe I'll just leave it alone. But I'm feeling that I probably won't.

First thing... a friend of mine, who I met online, but then have spent time with in the real world and have come to really like her, her 8 month old is in the hospital with meningitis. He's had some ups and downs but his prognosis is essentially good. I mention this here because I believe in the power of prayer, and the more people that send up a prayer on this baby's behalf, the better.

But knowing something like this--that a baby is sick--reminds me that while I get lost on the other strands of my life, the strand that is most important to me are the children. Mine (my one, I mean, as well as my nieces and grand-nephew), but all babies. It's a strand that's the longest and most intertwined with everything else, because to me, nothing else REALLY matters. TinyOne is also in the hospital today... but it seems he has a bad cold/and or allergic reaction to BigBear's dog and that he will most likely have asthma and severe allergies like his mama, and he's not running a temperature.

I'm fighting something myself; I have that "nasty" feeling and I'm so sleepy I've been falling asleep ANYWHERE for the past two days. Including sitting in a chair in a corner at the Sun's school, with my coat over my head. I NEEDED about 10 minutes of sleep; my body just shut down.

The other day I was in the Sun's school so that I could go with them on a class trip. My old High School, Fiorella H. LaGuardia School Music and the Arts, in conjunction with the St. Luke's Orchestra and Joy Oberfelder Dance Projects, did a production of "Dido and Aeneas", at LaGuardia's ginourmous auditorium. I only ended up going as a fluke (which was a funny fluke but you had to be there to appreciate it and it's not essential to this post), and I had NO IDEA it was at LaGuardia till I found myself herding children off the bus and looking up at the giant building.

My class, the class of '84, was the last graduating class from what was then known as "Music and Art", the sister school to "Performing Arts" which was known because of the movie "Fame". We always felt that we were the step-sister school, as were uptown in Harlem. No attempt was made for my class to feel a part of the new building and so since I've graduated, I've been to the "new"building maybe three times including yesterday. And my HS was such a huge part of my life that under other circumstances I might have been an extremely involved alumni.

But it's been what 20 years? and I got a serious pang looking at the bust of Toscanini, now firmly bolted in the new building and which had sat in the small lobby of the old building. And I got a little misty-eyed watching the kids in the Senior Chorus perform in the production; Senior Chorus was mandatory and the year I was there we did the "Carmina Burana". It was a simply awesome experience.

The production itself was enjoyable... they had taken the second-through-fifth graders from the Sun's school and I think it was slightly over the heads of the second graders. I ended up sitting next to two very squirmy second-graders from the Sun's class, and the only thing that kept them focused was my running commentary on what was happening on stage. The older kids got the mildly sexual references and giggled at them, but they gave the dancers a ROUSING round of applause when the show was over. I could see how much the performers enjoyed that... it can be hard to reach a kid and when you do, it's the best feeling in the world.

But I was mildly annoyed when I realized that the performance was happening at the exact same time as Obama's speech on race though thanks to the Treo I could go online and read the transcript... but I couldn't really do it while the performance was going on.

And that was ironic as well, because I realized early in the morning that the speech was happening, and while waiting to leave for the school trip, OneHalf and I got into a rousing and heated debate about what's happening with the primaries. She's none too happy at my declaration that if Hillary gets the nomination, I'm changing my party status. She says I should become Independent and/or refrain from voting if I feel that strongly, but I say listen, if I'm gonna be fucked, I want to be fucked with my eyes open and the lights on. I'm an all-or-nothing chick, and I hate being sucker-punched. So if this thing unravels and we end up with Hillary, I'm switching to Republican and I'm voting for McCain, because at least I'll be on the "winning" side. I'm tired of being broke, I'm tired of struggling, and there are times when I really wonder what's the point of fighting for good? It doesn't seem to matter some days. OneHalf was mortified. Especially since she says I turned her on to Obama in the first place. I told her that as long as Obama's in the running I'm an ardent supporter.

The thing is, I hope I'm wrong about what I feel. I hope. I Hope--for good, for positive thinking, for decency and honesty and for someone as a leader of this country who truly believes in what they are doing. And who believes they can do it in an honest and non-partisan way. I believe, particularly after Obama's speech Tuesday, that the man believes in what he's saying. But I wonder who's listening. A brief poke around various forums and blogs and comments has revealed all the nasty, racist zombies crawling out of the woodwork, and whereas before the comments were only mildly racist and a little disturbing, after Tuesday some of them were blatantly racist and downright depressing. Talking about "running the niggers" out and shit like that. My only hope is that like after a rainstorm, all the little grubs and nasty things are flushed out, so it's not there are more of them, it's just they are more visible.

But I dunno.

It amazes me how people close their ears and eyes to things; come up with a position and stand there swinging to defend it even if time and circumstance prove they are wrong. I mean I'm a stubborn bitch... I can dig my heels in with the best of them but if you can prove to me that I'm wrong, if you can show me your reasoning, I will at least hear you. And you just might win me over, at which point I'll defend you with everything I've got... EVEN if I was at complete odds with you initially.

There will be a million commentaries on his speech. Some people feel it's one of the most profound since MLK's "I Have A Dream". Some people feel it was honest. Some people think it was calculated and cold, and just more rhetoric.

My observations don't count for much in the overall scheme of things, but as one little person, one little crazy, non-traditional opinionated asshole shouting in the dark, and seeing it's how it's my blog anyhow... here's what I think, again in no particular order:
  • I thought the 4 flags was a little much (correction - 8 flags), two would have been sufficient and three is a nice odd number. When I design I try to use an odd-number of elements because it gives things an "edge".
  • The absence of any political slogans was an interesting effect. Some noted that it was calculating... geared at seeming "Presidential", or a "State Of the Union", as opposed to a stump speech. But having read his book, and understanding his observations on race on a slightly different level seeing as how I didn't grow up here, I'm inclined to believe that the absence of political banners was because he needed to say something that was important to him. Deeply important... and he didn't want that message to be mistaken for simple political rhetoric. It was if he finally said "OK, listen people. I don't think of myself as simply "black", but you do. And you want me to address 'race'? You won't let me be until I do? OK, here it is. This is who I am, what I think" and I'd be surprised if he continues to address this. My gut is telling me that this was a one-shot deal... after this it'll be back to the banners and the "Yes We Can" and the Universal Health Care, but yesterday he was talking about something, something deeply personal that he struggled with for years.

    Being "Other" or "Bi-" or "Multi-"racial in this country is an interesting thing, because EVERYTHING you do, every job you apply for, every form you fill out forces you to choose a side or a race... particularly if you're brown. And those who are brown but who's mothers are not face a particular dilemma, because they essentially grow up on the Other Side of the Divide by virtue of who their mother is. But because of the way they themselves look, they face a particular kind of distance that's not easily understood. The Sun won't have that same dilemma... he's pale, but he lives with me in my essentially brown world and no one will ever question that he's "black". One look at me, and his race is automatically decided. But for someone like Obama or Halle Berry or my father's white friend's adopted bi-racial daughter... different ballgame.
  • The only thing I didn't like is that Obama still thinks in terms of "black and white", and I wonder if he could be persuaded to think in terms of cultural definitions as opposed to "colors". My narcissistic tendencies are inclined to send him a copy of some of my posts on the subject.
  • It was convenient for him that he got to address this issue in Philadelphia, of all places. And he maximized the opportunity. Slick. But I like that he's slick.
  • His grandma... the more racist and nasty of the comments I've seen accuse him of throwing his grandma under the bus, which is really stupid considering he threw neither her nor his former pastor under the bus. And I had a grandpa who fought for racial equality on several fronts, but was real quick to call brown-skinned people "niggers". This was particularly disturbing to me considering how light he was. I felt the point Obama was making was that you can love someone, and be loyal to them but it doesn't mean you agree with EVERYTHING they do. When you love someone--truly love someone, you tend to let a lot of shit go, particularly if on the whole they are good people, just have one or two really disturbing traits. And having read his book, where he wrote in great detail about his grandmother's admission that she was afraid of coming home alone at night because of some black men she'd seen, I knew how much this incident upset him and his grandfather (her husband) because his grandfather chose to ignore race altogether. There are people who think if they ignore racism, it won't affect them. And this is something I understand, because I felt like that for a long time. Till I realized that no matter that I feel that there is no such thing as race, racism still exists. And he had met Rev Wright under other circumstances, as he was trying to organize people in Chicago. It was Rev Wright's church that drew Obama to Christianity, so I can see where he would have a loyalty.
  • Personally, I admired that while he renounced his former pastor's statements, he didn't condemn the man himself, and was very open about why he had affection for him. I admire loyalty in a person. It was different when he renounced Farrakhan; he doesn't appear to know him personally. But he knew his pastor personally, and spent a fair amount of time with him. People have all sorts of ideas about whether or not he could distance himself from Rev. Wright, but seriously. Why should he? And what makes that guy more dangerous than say, Jerry Falwell? Or some of the other racist "white" Evangelicals. Or the Catholic Priests who condemn abortion or homosexuality loudly and in graphic detail from their pulpits. People are so fucking hypocritical.
  • Which leads me to another thought, which is that organized religion and churches and temples are a funny thing, and religious leaders, like politicians, can have big egos and are not infallible. There is a fair amount of narcissism involved with being a "leader" of any type, and the more charismatic they are, the more likely they are to have skeletons.
  • I've been to some sermons in "Black Churches" where statements were made that would make your skin crawl. And I've been to a Jewish temple where it was quite obvious my "black" ass wasn't entirely welcome. Which is why I tend to steer clear of organized religion. Too many people thinking all one way, and this is dangerous, in my opinion. Doesn't mean I don't believe in God or His power, because I do. But human beings suck. Shark-Fu had a really well-written post on her experiences in "fiery" "black" churches, and some thought-provoking comments. You should check them out.
  • It's funny how JUST the other day I was posting here about anger... and I had said how dangerous undirected anger was. You see? I knew I wasn't the only one who felt that way.
Overall, I found the speech to be deeply moving and honest. It gave me hope that maybe we can all move past this division. Even if we all can't "just along", maybe we can just leave each other the hell alone. Really. I don't get why people HAVE to denigrate others, have to elevate themselves by destroying someone else. But as I've said before, humans are self-destructive.

If for some reason you haven't read the transcript of his speech, you really should. Even if you can't stomach the man and therefore can't accept his delivery (which was decidedly low-key given his usual fervour), read what was written. It's worth it. Or even better, watch it.

I still want to see him get the nomination. Not for all the political bullshit, but because it would prove to me, prove to my Sun that America is willing to try change our history, to try something totally new, to take a chance on us. Us humans. I still want to be wrong; I want for OneHalf to smirk at me on November 5 and tell me "I TOLD you he could win."

But if he doesn't get the nomination, I stand by my promise; I'll switch my political affiliation, and I'll put up a McCain button and I'll vote for McCain in the fall. And then I might not vote again for a long, long, long, time. Cuz I'm stubborn like that.