Saturday, May 31, 2008

Vodka Isn't Good For Me

...but man do I love the stuff.

Last night I got to down a few.

Our school had a function... a 25th anniversary shindig. I had lost the flavor of it a while back and really didn't want to go. But I went because my girl OneHalf worked SO HARD to pull thing off, and took everything to heart that as much as I dreaded going, I wasn't going to leave her holding the bag.

What happened was that some of us had a vision of a very upscale function, wanted to charge $100 a person and hit people outside of our immediate school community. White people do it all the time... and black people too. In fact, the music school my son goes to which caters to the exact same community, is hosting an event on Monday and the tickets STARTED at $500.

The principal of the school had a bitchfest. Some of the teachers had a bitchfest. And every one said "$100 bucks is too steep and we'll alienate folks".

My take was... people are going to bitch regardless of what you do, so why not go all out and work hard to bring in folk who WILL pay??? We can always have one of our usual "love-ins" at another time... but why can't we charge people, serve free alcohol, and think of ways to make them part with their money? Didn't anybody watch this years "Celebrity Apprentice"? Apparently not.

So most people caved once the principal had her bitchfest (and mind you, I truly love the woman like family... but like me, she's a control freak), and OneHalf tried everything she could think of and brought the ticket price down to $50. And in my opinion, the SAME people that would have shown up at $100, now showed up at $50.

And I was stressed out because I had volunteered to design and print the programs. And everything that could go wrong went wrong... compounded by the fact that finished them late because they got pushed aside in favor of a paying gif from the hospital. So I had intended to finish the progams early, go into the city, get my hair done, change at Bigbear's, and get to the function early to help set up.

But it didn't happen that way...

But yet and still.... it was a great feel-good event. And even though we had to pay for booze, people boozed. I even coughed up $50 I don't have once I had my Vodka/grapefruit. Well, actually, my second one. On an empty stomach.

Vodka makes everything better. (The problem with vodka is it gives me a terrible let-down.)

Afterwards, the teachers were all in a feel-good mood, and most of them, including the principal and the long-time school secretary (who's retiring this year... and will be truly missed) decided to hang out at a local bar down the street. Me... I was supposed to go home. Shoefly had taken the boys home, and then over to her sister's house because she was going to see "Sex and the City".

But at 11PM, I was working on my second martini (Absolut extra dry/extra olives), and thoroughly enjoying the company of LilacBlue, the Fatlady, Whitehorse and another mom I shall call Miss Priss (who admitted to working a phonesex line in her pre-children days) and the teachers... including the Sun's (I have a huge crush on her. Too bad I don't swing that way.) so when Shoefly called me and said I should just let the Sun stay with her... I did so without a lot of hesitation but a bunch of drunken "sorry"s and then promptly forget I even had a child.

I haven't been that tanked in a while. And I remembered today why I hate being drunk--the day after.

I forced myself up at 8A, took 2 Exedrin and a long hot shower, ate some Fage full-fat yogurt to absorb the poison, and chugged a cup of Bustelo.

Then I went over to Shoefly's and forced my child to go to karate.

I didn't work out; I knew better... jumping around would have caused me to hurl but I did try Tio's dance class afterwards. But while I waited for the karate to be done, BigbrotherSensei helped me nurse my hangover by giving me PowerAde, buying me some sancocho (a Dominican chicken soup) with rice, and a packet of Alka Seltzer. He laughed at me, though.

We danced a little bit. Whatever vodka was left in my system got sweated out, I'll you that much. I think I may have gotten the hang of bachata. I'll have to go out and test it...

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Love The Beach

One of the benefits of living out here on the Rock is it's proximity to Oye Beach. The beach actually has a "real" name, but Oye ("listen" in Spanish) is quite apropos, considering that come summertime every Hispanic in the Bronx and Manhattan will most likely visit the beach at least twice. It's easy to get to on public transportation, and only a half hour from the city if you're driving on a good traffic day. The smell of outdoor cooking fills the air; salsa, merengue and bachata blare from hundreds of radios and CD players. There's no smell of suntan lotion though, as the object of the game is to get as brown as possible in as little clothing as possible--no matter what size you are.

You can't beat it for people-watching.

During the week though, it's fairly quiet and the outer ends of the horseshoe-shaped beach are sometimes populated by quiet groups of gay sunbathers, and/or nude sunbathers. The center of the beach is visited by NYC school kids.

Our school had a field trip there yesterday... and since it made no sense for the Sun and I to go ALL THE WAY into Manhattan to turn around and come back on a hot school bus, we slept in and then walked over to meet his classmates after breakfast. Shoefly and the Moon had discovered a shortcut through the woods from the foot of the bridge onto the Rock, so after picking up some sandwiches at the supermarket, the Sun and I walked down to the end of the Rock and found the path.

Wow. You could almost envision what this area looked back in the late 1500's/early 1600's before settlers got here (this area has been pretty much continually inhabited by Europeans since then). It was quiet, with glimpses of the ocean through the trees, and the air was sweet with the smell of honeysuckle. And then at the end of the path you hit a clearing, and next thing you know you're on the boardwalk.

We had a great time.

This is the Sun's teacher. She's showing off her neatly packed Korean lunch brought by Whitehorse, who had even labeled it. I always joke with the Sun that his teacher is hot. I tell him if I were a little boy I'd have a serious crush on her. It doesn't help that she's one of the nicest people I've ever met.
I saw very little of the Sun the rest of the day; he and Whitehorse's son ran off to harass people (girls) with SuperSoakers, but then the Sun dug in the sand which is second-favorite thing to do on the beach... his favorite thing is to jump waves but there are very few waves at this beach.

There was plenty of wildlife out (not too many seagulls, surprisingly enough--by summer's end there will be as many seagulls as there are people, and the gulls will be as equally bold and obnoxious). The kids brought up buckets of hermit crabs (we made them put them all back),

and the K-1 teacher and her class found a horseshoe crab. The class seemed to have done an extensive study of the crabs last year, and both kids and teachers were quite knowledgeable on the subject. For instance, it was surmised by the size that this one was a male...

...and that turned out to be true, since with some amazingly gentle unearthing by one of the kids, the much larger female was found buried in the sand underneath the male. The teacher joked in an aside to the Fatlady and myself that we had apparently interrupted an intimate moment...

Oh well, sorry! LilacBlue's daughter Ladybug found a ladybug to play with...
while us moms who came as chaperons sat around to shoot the breeze.

It was a great day. I think this picture sort of sums up the day...
...leastways, that's about how I felt. I love the beach. I love summer. Makes me forget all the other crap in my life.

Oh, I forgot to add that the day was also the Fatlady's birthday! She had threatened not come on the trip, as she was having a Greta Garbo moment, but to our great delight she got over that. We sang Happy Birthday to her as we were leaving...

The day ended well, too. The Sun and I made our way to Yonkers to the dojo. I'd forgotten that classes were ending early because a Tio from California was coming in to conduct a 3-day Salsa workshop. I was annoyed that after sitting on buses for two hours we'd missed class, but I got over it.... LittleSensei literally threw me into the room and next thing I knew I was rather awkwardly trying to catch that 2- and 6-beat in an 8-beat count. But by the end of it, I'd actually caught it. The simple step, that is. There was some other side-to-side step-tap-step-apart thing that escaped me totally... but I nailed those turns!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Still Have a Headache

I sat down yesterday evening with the Sun and read him the entire order. It's his life... what's written affects him more than anyone else. He was OK with most of it, though as predicted he was none too happy about Christmas, and wasn't too happy about alternating Thanksgiving.

I told him well, whatever you want, you tell me and I'll fight for you but you'll have to be sure it's what you want. So what he wants is Christmas Eve at Titi's, and then the day with his Da. I said when the time comes, we'll deal with it. As for Thanksgiving, we'll see how that works. Maybe we can still split the day...

I also gave him the whole overview of why we were in court, and how the paper work went... I told him that the nastiness is totally between his father and me, but that I want him to know how I feel so that if go off one day he'll at least understand how I feel. But I told him again he shouldn't take MY feelings as his feelings. I think he's doing a pretty good job of that, actually. He still loves his Da. Still enjoys time with him.

Personally, I hate The Fucker. And I don't think I'll ever feel differently.

So then I had another email:

> -------Original Message-------

From: TF
To: me
Subject: (none)

If what you meant when you said "you started it" with a lovely smile that this was some kind of game to you, Fine, you won, you defeated me, you’re the best. Now lets give the Sun the parents he deserves. He needs both parents. Joshua needs both of us to communicate so he understands and sees that we can put our differences aside because we love him. If you truly wish for the Sun to grow up whole, i am asking for you think about what you want for him then let me know.

-----Original Message-----
From: me
To: TF
Subject: Re: (none)

I want for The Sun to grow up to be a good man; one that can control his temper, one who thinks before he speaks, one who is kind and patient and loving, who respects authority but doesn't fear authority. A man who is not afraid to take chances, or to stand up for what he believes in. A man who doesn't follow blindly, but is wise enough to look around him before he makes a decision. A man who is capable of defending himself but secure enough in himself so that he doesn't have to defend himself, and one who is strong enough to avoid confrontation unless it is necessary. A man for whom actions will speak louder than words, and yet his words are powerful. A man who is educated, loves music, his family, his God and respects his wife and children.

-----Original Message-----

From: TF
To: me
Subject: (none)

Who will teach him ?


Ugh.

I'm not answering because again, he's trying to draw me into a conversation, and I profoundly have no interest in continuing a dialog with him. None. I don't give a fuck what he thinks or what he feels, and I don't want to share anything about how I feel with him. He's my kid's dad and I respect that... I will acknowledge that despite the initial hell he gave me about being pregnant (and trust me... shit like "Can you hide that?" pointing to my belly... you know that has longterm effects on a person) once the Sun came along he stuck around and has a genuine affection for the kid. But he made my life miserable, tried to get everybody in my family to think I was mean and a bitch and not being understanding of his psychotic ass, fuck him. I don't want to talk anymore.

So I haven't answered him. I'm sure that'll go over real well. I'm fucked if I do and fucked if I don't.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Have A Headache

The final visitation order states that TF will visit with the Sun from 7/19-8/2. I had "waived" my request for 7/22 this year, because he bitched about it at one of the last court dates. I was forced into showing that I could negotiate.

The paragraph before the one that gives the specific 2008 dates vaguely states that
-Father is to have parenting time with his child every summer for 2 weeks on 60 days notice to the mother. If the father can get additional time off from his job he may extend visits for an additional week.
This was because TF felt he "deserved" another week since the Sun didn't want to come to CA for the midwinter break. I'm too tired to go into all the arguments as to why this wasn't fair or logical, but regardless, the judge wrote into the order that if he could get three weeks off, he could have the Sun for 3 weeks. Never mind the fact that neither of them has spent more than an entire week with each other.

This morning, 6AM California time, he texts me:

TF: I am 2 have The Sun from july 19 till august 16. Just letting u know
Me: You are to have him for 2 weeks, 3 if u get the time off. But he has camp.
Me: The order says 7/19 - 8/2. he goes to camp the next week.
TF: I am getting the time off. So, he will be returned on August 16.
TF: 3 weeks !
Me: The order say 7/19-8/2 for Ca in 2008. U can be here if u ant the next week
Me: The order says 7/19-8/2 in 2008. 2 weeks.
TF: I'll stay at your house
Me: Fine
Me: But it will be 2 weeks in C a this year.
TF: Will i be sleeping in The Sun's room or the coach ?
Me: 2 weeks in Ca in 2008.
Me: And a full travel plan in writing 2 weeks before.
TF: I have always given you to much credit.
TF: Send a flyer of the camp and #. Also a copy of the dates you signed him up for

By the way, I know that 7/19-8/16 is four weeks, not three. Just like I know he knew.

I briefly wondered what would happen if I sent an email or a text that said
"I love you and miss you. Please lets get back together."
or
"You must really love me and miss me and want my attention."
but decided he might take me up on the first one and then I would have to kill myself, or the second one would piss him off royally and then he'd push me to kill him.

So I decided against sending either one.

Instead I sent Lawyer an email, not that she has anything to do with this anymore, entitled "sharing the love".

And now, 6 years, 2 judges, 4 law guardians and 4 lawyers later, I still have to deal with this shit by myself.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another Little Tidbit

... that happened in court on Friday was that the judge asked TF why he'd moved to CA.

"Well, because, I was frustrated, and I didn't like the supervised visits." But why did you move? she asked again. "Well, because I was stressed." In other words, it was a choice, you didn't HAVE to move, did you? "No."

And why were the visits supervised? "I don't know." You have NO idea why the visits were supervised? "No."

At which point the LG and my lawyer both interrupted that at the time, there was in fact, an order of protection in place.

Oh, so you DO know why the visits were supervised? "Uhm, yeah." And rather than try to work it out, and get MORE time with your Sun, you just left and went to California? "Well, I was stressed."

That was the one extraordinarily amusing part of the whole wretched day. Particularly since I'm sure it's why the judge ordered pickups and drop-offs at the neutral place I requested.

Today (well, yesterday, now) TF had the Sun call and say they were coming to the Rock to drop off his stuff, since he had school tomorrow. I said no. I wasn't home. The Sun relayed that they would come and leave his suitcase on Shoefly's porch. Now mind you, I had gotten into a discussion with my lawyer about when I would want the Sun to come home from a visit on a school night... the night before. So that I could pack his bag, make sure he had all his stuff, and not have him lug a whole bunch of crap to school. Lawyer said the judge and GAL would probably argue that he should take the kid to school. And I argued back that here again are people claiming to have the best interest of the child at heart, but yet aren't making decisions based on the actual life of the child in question.

I said you know what? I feel, again, like the mother in the story of King Solomon trying to judge between two women laying claim to the same boy. So I won't argue. If they push for TF to take the kid to school in the morning, and they feel it's in the kids best interest to lug a suitcase up 5 flights of stairs, then fuck it. So be it. Lawyer then asked if I would mind picking up stuff from them the night before. I'd said no... but I was skeptical. She asked if we wrote it in, would it make a difference--would I feel more confident. "A little" I'd said.

I told the Sun that Shoefly wasn't home (we were both sitting in her neighbor's backyard). The Sun relayed that TF would just leave it on the inside of the door (which isn't a big deal out here... it's a pretty safe neighborhood).

But about a half hour later I get a text that the highway is all backed up (uh, DUH!) and that since I'd wanted the address of the hotel they were staying in (um, it's my right to know) that he would leave the suitcase at the front desk.

I guess he thought I'd freak out and try to get it.

I texted back, very nicely, that traffic on the Rock was tough as well, and that he should please bring the suitcase to school and leave it with security. I didn't get back an answer.

The Sun's a little stressed but I told him don't worry... just make sure you put your phone charger in your bag.

Cuz if TF does, in fact, leave the Sun's suitcase in the motel, there it will stay. I'm not going up to get it, and will simply replace the clothes that are lost...

so lets hope he does the smart thing, and brings the suitcase to school security.

I Spent The Day

...cleaning out my closet. I went on a rampage and just threw out a bunch of shit. I do this every spring, and every spring I'm amazed at the amount of crappy clothing I collect. Today all the dowdy, faded, big went out. (And my feet have grown a half size in the last year and a half, and all of a sudden a bunch of shoes I had are just too small. 43... and my feet are still growing. I'm now a 7.5. Before the Sun was born I wore a 6.5.)

And mind you, I dress girly often enough. But most of the time I dress like a teenaged boy. Life is much more comfortable in jeans and layered t-shirts, and despite the fact that Shoefly threatens me with "What Not To Wear" because of the new purple converse on which I ironed my bearmaiden logo onto the ankle, I like dressing like that.

But I'm feeling weird about myself. Honestly, I hate holidays where I don't have my Peanutbutter, because it's then that I really notice my singledom. When the Sun is with me we roll to a friend's, or hang by ourselves. I don't mind being single mommy no matter how old I am. But I'm beginning to mind being the single chick. I have been alone for so fucking long that most people think I like being alone. I don't. It's just that I don't like drama and so I'd rather be alone than deal with bullshit. But then days like today come along and people are hanging with family or husbands or boyfriends, and I realize I'm by myself and have been for the 15 fucking years I've lived on this rock. TF notwithstanding... even when I dated him there were countless functions I went to without him because he was having a bitchfest about something.

It's been a confusing weekend, too. Aside from TF just being his usual asinine self and the worry over my Sun that that entails, I had several brief phone calls. One was from Pennsylvania, just asking about what I was doing. Nothing... at the time I was on my way home from the City.

The next phone call came in the late afternoon, from back at home. Still wondering what I was doing. And then another one later on in the evening. That particular phone call smelled like "bootycall" to me, but at the same time the conversation wasn't exactly about that. I'm no dummy; I know what guys are like. Hell, some of my best friends are guys. But it was confusing, that phone call, and it threw me for a loop. Then today I got another phone call... this one from a bus. Asking a really ridiculous question that could have waited, I dunno, for another time. Why that question had to be asked at 7P in the evening, from a bus, I dunno. I keep wanting to ask "what the fuck do you REALLY want?" but I'm not sure I'd get a straight answer. I'm not even sure they know the answer. Which is worse...

I'm annoyed at myself that I care about this shit cuz I really shouldn't. I'm annoyed that of all the people in the world (some of whom are actually interested in me... I've had several phone calls from my highschool sweetheart lately) I care about this particular one. And I'm annoyed at myself for feeling dowdy, for feeling old, for feeling like the old hootchymama I'm turning into. You know, the ones that always have their boobs pushed up and their hair and nails did.

I dunno. I think I need to find a new "me". I'm suddenly not liking the current "me", which is weird, cuz just a few days ago I was feeling OK about life.

Maybe I'm just off-kilter cuz TF is here. I think he just upsets my aura. Maybe I'll feel better when he's gone and my Sun is home.

It's 3AM and I'm still up; there's still shit all over my bed, over the floor. I'm still wide awake. But I need to go to bed.... I need to go get my kid so I can breathe again...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Oh Yeah, The Conclusion

...of the previous sector/post was that neither one of us truly got what they wanted. Well, TF sort of did. We were going back and forth about how to split the recesses, and since I was asking for certain days, TF's lawyer then said TF should get every Christmas. And I couldn't really argue with that, nor did I want to.

So the judge said he could get every Christmas. But I didn't get my specific days. And I'd be more pissed off about it except that
  • The Sun is gonna be mighty annoyed he can't spend every Christmas Eve Puerto Rican style with Shoefly's family and all his adopted "Titis". See, the Sun and Moon are now the only smaller children in the family, with the exception of the Moon's cousin's stepson. So the three of them, all about the same age, rack up. And so I leave that fight for the Sun; because I'm certain he'll get what he wants.
  • "Language" is everything. When I got the final written order (and mind you, the judge wrote her own), the language of the final order is a little vague, considering what went on.
The section that deals with Christmas says:
The father may have parenting time every Christmas commencing from the weekend prior to the last day of school until December 30.
It doesn't specify dates, and it says "may". Not "shall" or "will".

The sections that apply to me, though not as specific as I would like, go like this:
- The father is to follow all the dietary restrictions on the list which will be provided by the mother.
-The father is to allow the child to follow all religious observances when the child is in his care.
And the way I see it, TF knows the days that are important to me. And if he wants to take me on about them, AGAIN, it'll be tiring and annoying and ridiculous, but let's go.

On another line the order states that
-The mother is is to keep the father informed with respect to the education, religious training, health, welfare, and other matters of similar importance affecting the child.
But it doesn't say I have to consult with him or negotiate or ask him for his fucking opinion.

Yesterday, the Sun came home for a little while. He'd wanted to come home Saturday night, but I was out in the City with the Professor and MoodmagicBarbie (we had a great time, by the way). At about noon, the Sun called to inform me that his father was dropping him in a little while and would pick him up later.

I was stammering. I don't even think I have to spell out all the various reasons I was pissed off, do I? And the only reason I took my time and didn't tell my kid "I'm out, I have plans" is because considering the previous night, I figured the Sun needed a break. But I told him "tell your father I have plans, and I need specific times, and that I will meet him at the end of the Rock".

I knew The Fucker was trying, once again, to do a drop off at my house (which by the way, the one specific thing in the whole agreement is that pick ups and drop offs are at a certain named location away from my home.) As it turned out, right when I hung up with the Sun I heard shouts of "fire!" and "aaaaah!" outside my window, and two very short dull-sounding explosions. There was a fire two buildings away from me. There were, no joke, at least 30 FDNY emergency trucks, of every ilk and hue lining the main drag out here, and traffic came to a dead stop. There's only one road on and off this Rock, and it was completely blocked. So TF couldn't have gotten close anyhow, and he was one of the last cars they actually let on the Island. Shoefly blogged about it and posted pictures, though I ran out (in my pj's) and took a few of my own.

As the Sun and I walked back to our block, I asked him what had happened, why he had wanted to come home. He said that the night prior, while taking a shower his father had wanted him to get his face wet. The Sun has a thing about water in his face, though it's gotten much better in the last year. But he said no. His father then took the shower head and repeatedly sprayed the Sun in the face with the water. The Sun said he was sitting in the back of the shower, crying. He said he was mad enough to hit his father but knew that would only make the situation worse.

I asked him "well, are you still mad about it?" He said "a little." I said did you make up? He said "a little." I said, well, do you want to go back? Are you OK continuing the visit? He said "I'll be OK. Why wouldn't I go back? He's taking me to Rye Playland tomorrow." But there was a tone... a coldness.

And he was very quiet most of the afternoon. Later on, when I asked, he said his feelings were a little hurt that his father wouldn't take him... he'd told the Sun he had "some business to take care of."

I told the Sun that knowing his dad, it involved his family, and that the part of TF that cares about his kid didn't want him to be subjected to whatever nastiness there is in that situation. But I told him that if he was up to it, he should tell his father his feelings were hurt, and why. I wonder if he will. I know one thing... TF doesn't realize that by fucking with his kid he's creating his own rift. And that one day the Sun will be just as big, if not bigger than he, his voice will be just as deep, and he will be able to make his voice heard. And I know that my Sun is waiting for that day... I can see it in the set of his jaw. And that's really too bad.

7:30P, the agreed upon drop off time, turned into 8, but I made sure that I took the Sun off the Rock. Shoefly had come with me and we'd gone to the shopping plaza in the area. We met TF where we are supposed to, TF not even wanting to wait long enough for the Sun to get his Pink Lemonade, but I made sure he got it.

He didn't call me last night, nor this morning, but my EyeInTheSky tells me where he is.

I wonder if he'll come home tonight...

(speaking of defragging, one of my external harddrives is crashing. Shit.)

One Of The Things That Pissed Me Off

in court on Friday was the fact that TF wants to prove I'm not what I say I am. As in... I'm not really Jewish.

OK, I'm not really Jewish, but I call myself that for lack of a better word. I mean, what else am I? I follow the dietary laws as best as I can (and there's all sorts of philosophical things I question between what's actually written in the Old Testament and how it gets interpreted by various peoples/religions/etc... but in essence I eat pretty much the way it's outlined in the Old Testament. And there's actually modern-day, provable and valid reasons to follow the dietary laws... you can read one article here.). I keep the religious observances as best I can. The MAJOR difference between myself and about 98% of the world's Jews, is the Jewish Calendar.

So if you don't know the story, once upon a time a long long time ago, Poppy was looking for spiritual guidance and started reading the Bible. Being the man he is he started at Genesis, and continued on in order. At some point he hit the Dietary Laws, and we stopped eating pork. Then we started keeping stricter Sabbaths. Then, he came upon the religious observances. I guess he knew about the Jewish Holidays, but we were in the middle of Jamaica... Kingston to be exact, and there weren't an awful lot of visibly practicing Jews. So we started keeping the holidays in the same order as they are in Leviticus, but on the Roman Calendar.

And it just stayed that way. As a grown woman, I go back and forth about whether or not to convert... to officially become a Jew. But since at the moment I'm in a pissy mood, for various reasons, I'll be perfectly blunt and come right out and say that for me, one of the major reasons I haven't officially converted is racism.

Meaning, the Sammy Davis Jr jokes piss me off. And the surprised looks when I walked into the Temple out here on the Rock. And the fact that the Law Guardian and TF's lawyer, both Jewish, seemed to take a personal affront to the fact that here was this little black chick "pretending" to be a Jew. And it pissed them off.

It also pissed TF off, because over the years I have been consistently adamant that my child not eat pork or shellfish, and that the Sun observe all the religious holy days with me. So TF keeps trying to "catch me out there", and I guess his lawyer thought it great sport to help him do it.

Last week, when I got their version of a proposed visitation schedule, the following passage nearly sent me into a murderous frenzy (click on it it make it bigger/easier to read)*:

In the notes, I wrote back:

"This is completely unacceptable, as it is well known that my family does not follow the traditional Jewish Calendar. There has been and will continue to be discussion as to whether my family will officially convert, but this is a private matter that I do not want to discuss with [TF]. The days I have requested in the past, present and future continue to be 1/14-15, 21, and 7/1, 9, 10, 15 and 22.

I deeply resent [TF] and his lawyer's continuing efforts to question my faith. I find it deeply offensive.

I will not argue [TF]'s religious affiliation, however I challenge him to name the dates of all his holy days. I have known [TF]for 11 years and he has never expressed concern for any holidays other than Christmas, Easter and Good Friday."

Fucker.

In court on Friday, TF's lawyer tells the judge he wants to put TF on the stand. He gets up and gently leads TF through what it was that he wanted as visitation... which was essentially everything I had already said I didn't have a problem with. But then he gets into the holidays. It matters you see, because it means TF can't take the Sun WHENEVER the fuck he wants... and it essentially means he can't take him to California in the beginning of July. But it certainly doesn't stop TF from coming here to NY to see him, now does it? But no... TF must have complete control.

So then he actually lied and said he had no knowledge of me ever keeping religious observances in July. I actually did an incredulous double-take, particularly since we have an unsigned mediation agreement from before the hell of Family Court, where he had agreed to the very same days I've been asking for.

There was other stuff... but I'll leave it for another post. Eventually my Lawyer put me up on the stand. And the judge kept giving her a hard time about her line of questioning, and Lawyer was getting VERY frustrated and I was just trying to keep from exploding. Lawyer did get to ask me how it was that I kept the holidays when I did. I told her it started when I was a little girl, and it just continued on. That there had been discussion in the family about converting officially to Judaism, and the Jewish Calendar, and that we still might, but that it was not a decision I wanted dictated by TF. I said that really, religious worshiping tends to be a communal thing, and if I converted, I'd want my family to do it to, cuz what would be the fun of doing it by myself??? The judge asked me if I'd ever spoken to a Rabbi about it... and I told her I had.

(Well, not a Rabbi, but someone I knew had almost become one, as well as several friends who are Orthodox and one who was an escaped Hasidic woman I met while at Pratt. But I didn't get a chance to explain that.) In any event, the judge asked me "what did they say?" and I said that sometimes the practice is more important than the rules... meaning, sometimes it's what in the heart that counts more than HOW things are done. "So anyone can just do anything they want?" the judge asked snidely...

which pissed me off royally, cuz how many different Christian faiths are there???? and I know for a fact that there is Greek Orthodox Easter and "regular" Easter. So what, all Jews HAVE to do things the same way???

...but all I said was "Of course not. There are rules and the rules should be followed. But sometimes what's in your heart is more important." And I also said that in the Old Testament, a calendar isn't specified... all it says is that Passover begins "on the 14th day of the first month at even", and that the Day of Atonement begins on the "9th day of the 7th month at even". It doesn't even tie those particular holy days to a time of year... not in your average every day Bible. In that context, it's perfectly logical that a bunch of (sort of strange, artistic) folks could just start celebrating holy days in that order. (Here's an interesting article about how Sabbath shifted from Saturday, or the seventh day of the week, to Sunday, the first day of the week.) I also mentioned that I had been quoted told about "the tradition of your forefathers", which was something my Hasidic friend tried to explain to me when I was trying to figure out where I stood.

TF's lawyer had a turn at bat.

He again tried to figure out why we keep the holidays when we do. I said again that it just started that way, and continued, and again conversion is a discussion that's held from time to time, but hasn't been resolved in the family.

TF's lawyer continued:

"And how did you begin to keep the Holy Days that way?"
"Because that's how it was written in the old Testament".
"And how do you know this?"
I looked at him incredulously. "Because I read it for myself, it's in Leviticus".
"And so you accept the Bible as the basis for your belief?"
"Doesn't everyone who says they read the Bible?" I asked.

It was only later that I realized he was trying to get at Poppy... because TF had brought up before that Poppy had some kind of strange hold on the family.

But my answer caused TF's lawyer to back up and he left me alone after that. Well, except he asked me what I was doing on the 21st of January, when I had insisted the Sun come home. I said we were home. And we were... we didn't go out until after Sundown.

But then the Law Guardian had to get her innings in.

And she asked "So on Passover, what do you do?" I told her we didn't do any work on the first day, or the last day, and we didn't eat any bread. And then she asked me if the Sun were to eat leavened bread in say, March, during a traditional Passover, would I think that he was going against my beliefs? Which I ended up telling her I thought was kind of a trick question. I'm acutely aware that the rest of the world says it's Passover, and I'm not so full of myself as to think I'm the ONLY person in the world going against the grain and that I'm right to do so... so truly, it has occured to me NOT to eat leavened bread during Passover according to the Jewish Calendar, but I usually just stick to my own schedule so as not to confuse things.

I finally told her, no, of course I wouldn't, if I'm considering my schedule. But again, we could convert. And she asked me if I would inform TF if we did convert, and I said "of course I would".

When I got off the stand, my Lawyer was seething. And she had brought an associate, another lawyer, who leaned over to me and said "I'm offended on your behalf? WHAT was that all about???"

I can tell you what it WASN'T about... it had absolutely nothing whatever to do with TF visiting his kid. Nothing. And in my personal opinion, it had a whole lot to do with race, and religious assumptions, and two people who seemed to take a personal affront to someone who was questioning what they held to be true.

But this is America, isn't it? There is supposed to be a thing called religious freedom. And as I told my lawyer... had I told them all I was a Santero, and worshiped the Orishas, if they had no frame of reference, they wouldn't be able to challenge my beliefs in quite the same way. I had told Lawyer previously that if they REALLY wanted to make a federal case of the whole thing I would take them on. I was furious. I still am. And I haven't decided yet what to do about it... if in fact there is anything I can do.

*I left alone the fact of all TF's supposed Catholic Holidays, by the way.

I Can't Stand It...

I have been so extraordinarily good about not caving. Really. I have amazing will power. But it's frustrating as hell. And I don't get it.

It's obvious there's something there. Although I still think on his end he's just looking to mark time until he gets back with babymama. I wish he'd just do it already, and stop trying to mark time with me.

*sigh*.

Defragging

The notion of a hard drive defragging is so the perfect metaphor for what's going on in my brain, that despite what I said earlier about not explaining it cuz it was boring, I now feel I must explain it to people who don't know.

But since somebody explained it better than I could, read first about how hard disks actually work here (seriously, it's worth knowing... at the very least you'll begin to understand why those emails that scream "THIS VIRUS WILL ERASE SECTOR ZERO ON YOUR COMPUTER!!!"are a hoax), and then read about defragging, here.

All this to tell you that I can't yet give you the whole story of TF in sequential order. I think it would take too much time. If you read my blog you've already learned about how I got knocked up and decided to keep the baby. TF and I always had issues; for the 1.5 to two years prior to my pregnancy, we had a seriously tumultuous relationship. I always had a lot of empathy for him; it became apparent early on that something was wrong with him. But I always knew that it was something physical. Things would be great and then something (usually little and stupid) would happen, and he would just go "off". The best thing I can compare it to is a tantruming 3 year old. The kind of tantrum where they scream because they want something, you misunderstand them, you give it to them but by that time they're so worked up that they scream that they don't want it. So you put it away, whatever it is, and they scream some more. Finally you get frustrated and just walk away cuz what else can you do? Or hold them tight until they pass out from exhaustion. But you sense the frustration and feel incredibly helpless and sorry for them. The problem with TF was that he's a good deal bigger than me and a tantruming 30-something year old, 180 lb 5'11 man is a tad bit scarier than a tantruming boy.

I learned that TF's own dad was extremely abusive to his daughters... one day he beat one of them outside her school for kissing an American boy. She was a teenager. They claimed (TF and his sister) that he himself was never beaten, except for one time where he was kicked in the head because he was shy and wouldn't speak up in Sunday school. By TF's own account, he was a fat, bighaired-bigheaded Albanian kid in a predominantly Irish neighborhood... and that must of been tough. (I can hear Shoefly in my head whipping out the tiny violins.)

None of that is an excuse... and it took me a loooooong time to stop letting my empathy cloud my dealings with him. And by the time that happened, the Sun had come along and the relationship took on a darker tone. I was busy working, trying to keep the peace, being empathetic, and before I realized it I was in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse is a weird thing. I've been in a physically abusive relationship. Granted... not the worst ever, and I got out quickly. But emotional abuse can sneak up on you, and what's worse is that there are no outward scars... no black-and-blue marks, no black eyes, no bruises, no outward signs. TF can rightly claim he never punched me or hit me... there was of course the Incident of the Broken Door, and the time I thought he was going to hit me so I jumped on him first, or the time or two he spit in my face and once he backed me up against a wall and threatened to kill me, but generally what went on was much more subdued. But no less scary. And he wouldn't go away. If I broke up with him, he'd come back. And yes, I always let him back. At first because he did such a good job apologizing, but later on because of the baby. The thing that began to tip me over the edge though, was watching him begin to do emotional shit to the Sun.

That, I vowed, would never happen on my watch, and so I actively began to pull away, but the more I pulled away, the more he circled me, and the more I fought the more threatening he became and then I began to fear him. But nobody understood why I was afraid. He never hit me. I didn't even understand why I was afraid... he'd never hit me. But the few times he'd done something physical were so "out of the blue", so random that I never knew what was coming. But worse, I couldn't get rid of him.

And I don't want to hear the bullshit about "Huh, if that was me, I'da..." cuz I've said those very words myself. In a million years I would never have imagined myself in the situation I was in, me in particular, with all my narcissistic tendencies and attitude problems and dislike of authority figures. But I think it was precisely those traits that got me into trouble with TF... because I had those traits, and knew I did, I tended to overcompensate. To try harder to understand him. "You're such a bitch!" people have told me laughing. "You don't care WHAT people think of you!" "You're so self-contained"... and they say those things with admiration, but when someone turns that on you... someone you love, and adds on the tag "...and you're not listening to my needs" or "....that you're selfish" or "...and you're inconsiderate" or something like that, you begin to wonder. Am I really that much of a bitch that I'm hurting someone I love? Am I really so caught up in myself that I've hurt this person? And next thing you know, you're caught.

It's really very easy. Particularly if underneath your "bitchy" facade you care very deeply. Add to that the concept that "strong" women are routinely labeled "bitchy", or worse.

So it's easier to get caught than you think. And as for trying to get rid of him, I tried it all. Yeah change the locks. One morning I did. It was the night he kicked in the door. I filed a police report and early the next morning a locksmith came and put a new lock on the downstairs door. It was mortifying... I had to explain to my neighbor why, and explain what happened to my door. TF paid a friend to come fix the damage, and all the guy did was look at me and shake his head. We were actually two weeks into an eight-week family mediation when the incident happened. After that, we alternated the next six weeks of negotiations. During that time he committed himself to a local mental hospital and got on Zoloft. He became a completely different person.

At the end of the 8 weeks, with a decent agreement and a calmer, more rational TF, and the fact that he was in fact, my child's father and I did love him, when he convinced me to try one more time, I did. It was the Zoloft that gave me hope. But I didn't give him the new key.

A few months later, over the summer, I discovered that the locksmith had ripped me off... the lock I paid for was not top of the line like the locksmith had promised, and it began to literally fall apart and keys get stuck in the door. I still had the old lock... and TF still had the old key. I couldn't afford a new lock, so with great glee TF replaced the new lock with the old. I felt so beaten.

Eventually, things fell apart completely, and the day he told me he was done and was breaking up with me because I was selfish, and it was the "same old same old" I jumped at the chance. "I completely agree, " I said, trying to use reverse psychology, "I'm no good for you. You deserve much better." When he tried to come back a few weeks later, I reminded him how fucked up I was and that I'd never change.

But then he started trying to bully me into giving him time with the Sun... which wasn't a problem unless it was me that had a need... he wouldn't bring him back on time, or not pick him up when he said he would. None of this had anything to do with the Sun, and everything to do with fucking up my day.

And I know this to be true, cuz... visitation notwithstanding, he pulled the same shit today. So now, 6 years, 2 judges, 4 lawyers and 4 law guardians later, I'm right back where I started from... but that's another story.

I think this segment has gone on long enough....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Still Processing...

the hard drive up in my head is flashing and whirring, spinning, trying to save all the little bits of data into their proper places. If you've ever "defragged" a hard drive (believe it or not, I used to be a computer tech support person) you'll know exactly what I mean. I could go into the explanation of what exactly that means... but I'm not a computer techie anymore and so the subject bores me.

So I'll write about it, but I'm not ready to, just yet.

But I was drained yesterday, like my encounters with Bronx Family Court and TF always leave me... drained. For instance, I wrote "directors" in my previous post... and I've no idea why I wrote that... Freudian slip? because what that should have read was "law guardians".

Which reminds me I have a serious rant coming about the Law Guardians in my case, all but one, really, and there have been four assigned to the Sun, though the first and last assignment were the same person. Sort of ironic, when you think about it. But I'm gonna consult Lawyer first, and find out what the legal repercussions could be about doing so. But I'm pissed. They are supposed to serve the best interest of the child, and in my opinion they let their personal issues and racial assumptions get in the way. But I'll deal with that later.

And a side note... it's sort of momentous that last night's garbled post was my 500th. Wow, I'm a tad loquacious, aren't I? Well, the voices are, anyway.

It's also ironic to me that like August 10th, when I finally won (sole) custody of my only child, I had to give him up immediately to his dad... and today, he's with his dad. I know he's OK... for one thing he feels OK in my head, but for another I can stalk him via GPS.

There were a bunch of things I thought about doing today... one was to go to the other dojo and work out... but I don't know the guys there that well, and there are mostly guys in that class and I wasn't up to it. So instead I practiced walking around/breaking in my new celebratory purchase: some linen/fabric hidden-platform peeptoe pumps. Very girly. Gonna be hell on my feet. I got them in Marshall's on 'Two-Five yesterday, spending my grocery budget. But the Sun is away for a few days and really all I should be eating anyhow is salad. I also bought some Anne Klein fuscia patent sandals and a pink leather bag. Shoefly has had a positive effect on me...

Speaking of Shoefly, she has restarted her blog, so I'm gonna post it on the sidebar there but for now you can begin following my freind. At the risk of opening you all up to her view of me... ha ha! But you will also see that she is completely insane, which is one of the reasons we get along so well.

I didn't get to post the other day (and I really meant to, but I was busy stressing) about an extremely important event... my babysister turned 40. Wow. I can still remember pushing around in her little bassinet, and watching Bigbear nurse her, and how long it took both of them to come home from the hospital.

But right now I'm going to go wash the mask off my face...

I miss my Peanutbutter... the only thing I don't like about him being with his dad is that when he's with anyone else, even if I don't talk to him specifically, I can ALWAYS call the person he's with 3 or 4 (or 5O times) to hear about what he's doing... and I can't do that here. Internet Stalking will have to do... right now he's in Hawthorne NY, somewhere... I think I he's at a movie theater up there... a little Google maps, a little "Wiki", a little stalking... what the hell. It's fun and something to do...

Friday, May 23, 2008

All Over...

for now. It took Six Years, five lawyers, 5 directors, 2judges later....

but I have a signed visitation schedule.

details another time.

tired....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dear G_d

Seriously. Are You listening? What am I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve a life of harassment from TF? Was it something I did in a previous life? I'm not being funny. I'm really asking You, for real.

I've been patient, Mr. O. I try to recognize and compensate for my pride, my narcissistic tendencies, my human failures. I try to be a decent person. I know I can be snotty. I know I curse an awful lot. I am impatient. I know I say I believe in You but I don't always do everything I should to live by Your rules. I know I cut corners. I made the decision to allow the Sun activities on the Sabbath... I know I go food shopping and sometimes I do the laundry, and I don't rest on Sabbath the way we did as kids. Sometimes I work into Friday night if I have a project, but You know I don't sit down to work on Sabbath. I never take jobs that would require me to work on Sabbath.

And you know that I put my kid before everything, most of the time. You blessed me with him, and it wasn't the best of circumstances but I try to work with what I have. I try not to take his love for granted, I am trying to have him grow up to be a good man. I bite my tounge most of the time when it comes to his dad... I think I've done OK because he's not afraid of him, he respects him, he looks forward to seeing him. That counts, right?

I try to follow the ten commandments in my every day. You know I follow the food laws, because I say that that's what I believe. I try to live my life as a virtuous woman.

I know I'm lazy; I have a problem with most humans telling me what to do. I try to compensate by telling people up front what my issues are so that they can at least be understanding. I try to find people who understand me and can tolerate me, to put them between me and the rest of the world.

I know I've done things in this life that break Your rules... but I know that You are a God of Mercy and You forgive because that's what it says in the Pentateuch. I have tried to atone for those things, to give back, to compensate. At least I think I have. The effort was genuine, don't You think so? It wasn't like I said "Well, this is just to appease Him, but I'm doing "me" anyway". I don't think I live like that, do I?

Right now I'm having trouble understanding why I have TF in my life. Why he continually harasses me... why the court allows it. Why they haven't figured out his game, why they haven't shut him down.

G_d, I've been really really patient and understanding. But I feel my "cool" slipping. Forgive me but I'm beginning to give myself reasons NOT to make him disappear. Seriously. This is America... anything can be bought. I'm not threatening, or anything. I'm just saying that before I wouldn't even allow thoughts like that, but now I'm finding them harder to keep out.

Please. Please make him stop. I'm asking You... and I don't think I ask for an awful lot. I try to work most of my stuff out on my own, because I hold myself responsible for most of it. I know I cause my own hurt. I'm human, and I know I'm not perfect. But it's getting very very hard, especially today, especially right now, to "rise above".

Please give me more patience. Please, on Friday, please God don't let me lose my temper. Please be there with me, please keep me calm. Please open their eyes to understand what he's doing. And if it's me... if it's me that's wrong please let me see where because right now I don't understand.

Thank You.

Now, This is HOT!


Love that picture.

It's Gonna Be a Long, Hot Summer...

We'll know for sure after tomorrow, but if Obama wins Oregon today he could be the first VeryBrownMan to run for President in the history of this country. Although I hope I'm not speaking too soon..."they" were gunning for Obama before, but "they'll" be shooting cannonballs--hell, nuclear missiles-- at him in a few days. And like the skit that aired last Saturday on SNL, "Jesse Jackson" and "Al Sharpton" know "If they find a babymamma, they'll take it away." He better be squeaky clean.

To quote the Brown Man's wife, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback. Not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” I found an interesting blogpost on this topic here.

I'm proud that some 400+ years after Plymouth Rock landed on us, after 400 years or so of crowded slave ships and horrific transatlantic journeys, maltreatment, broken treaties and Manifest Destiny, the Trail of Tears, Indian Schools, Wounded Knee, Jim Crow and miscegenation laws, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, Rosa Parks, the assassination of Martin Luther King and Malcom X, Japanese internment camps, the Chinese Exclusion Act, "Uncle Ben" Rice, "Aunt Jemima" pancakes and lawn jockeys, Americans--of all colors--got together and decided enough is enough.

It's pretty freaking cool, cuz despite what's being sold to you on the news these days, all kinds of people have turned out at the polls to give Change a chance, to keep Hope alive. It wasn't just "Black People" all voting for Obama. It's a wonderful thing to see.


But it's also scary as hell, because all the worst of American humanity (if you can even call it that) is about to crawl out from under Plymouth Rock. All the Gollums, hissing and slithering up from the depths of hell with slimy comments and veiled threats and outright nasty, vile and blatantly racist spewings. It's already coming out... they've been hissing for a minute but they're starting to scream right about now.

The gloves are going to come off. And it's not going to be pretty. I've heard several people in Brown communities wonder at Obama's safety, if he won't be "picked off".

More and more references are made to "Barack Hussein Obama", implying he's Muslim, and an evil Muslim at that. (Which begs the question... do we, in this land that was supposedly built on religious freedom, REALLY believe that being Muslim is the same as being a killer, being evil? I wonder how that's even justified in this Land of the Free...)

This summer I'm betting on a BUNCH of things being circulated that'll make brown people go "wha?" The worst, most racist and hurtful things are going to be said. Four hundred years worth of scabs are going to picked at. We're about to see how racist a country we really live in. Most of us already know it... but we're going to be absolutely certain where we stand, for sure.

And it's not that I'm afraid Obama can't handle it... any "black man" crazy enough to run for President has got to know that the heaviest artillery is going to be leveled right at his head. But what I'm hoping is that we all keep our peace. And I'm hoping that people realize that the whole world is watching us. No matter the outcome of this election, history is being made and I hope we all realize that the world is watching. And I also hope that despite the Gollums and the nastiness, despite the scabs that will be picked and the blood that will run, I hope that we see a new America rise up and stand.

And I really hope they lay off his wife... (though I'm betting not.) And I really enjoyed seeing that flash of steel in his eye. They better lay off his wife...


Monday, May 19, 2008

Now I Know Why...

TF was looking for a gripe:

Child Support caught up to themselves. And took out a whole month... not just one payment.

Oh well.

But at least I can pay some back rent and buy the Sun a bike...

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

Off to a meeting, working on my "Other Project". Nervous.

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

I need a new fling.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Because It's My Blog

...I can bitch about shit like this (I sent a modified version of this post to my lawyer):

  1. I can probably count on one hand, or maybe one and a few fingers, how many times I have ACTUALLY gone out in the last year. I mean out, out, with adults. And were any of my dear readers obsessed with my personal life enough to sort through this blog, you'd know this to be true, since you all know I write about most everything. Mostly.

  2. When I do go out, 98% of the time I arrange to have the Sun spend the night... and it's ALWAYS with one of the following three people; a.) my friend Shoefly who lives down the street and who's son is the Moon, b.) my mom, c.) my sister.

  3. There are many times when the Sun sleeps over at the Moon's where I actually DON'T go out... use the opportunity to sleep on the couch/attempt to watch a movie, or clean, or do work. ONCE in a blue moon I may have company but truly that's rare. Too rare if you ask me, but whatever.

  4. It just so happened that yesterday, the Sun was to perform with his percussion ensemble down the street from BigBear's apartment, but we missed it due to miscommunication/ circumstances beyond our control and so once we were down there, we hung out with his school friends and my mom. I was extremely annoyed we missed the performance, and was in no mood to simply turn right back around and make the trek back to the Rock.

  5. At about 6P, the Professor came down and we decided, on the fly, to go down to Union Square with LilacBlue (who by happenstance was childless yesterday) and MoodMagicBarbie.

  6. We got down to Union Square about 7:30P, decided against a movie cuz the early shows were all sold out (LilacBlue and I have a plan to re-see "IronMan" sans children/with Tequila), had dinner at a Thai place on Third, stopped in Trader Joe's and PetCo. Neither LilacBlue nor MMB (who are very much alike, turns out) liked their Thai food, so my LilacBlue and I ducked into Heartland Brewery for a shot of Jaeger and some chicken fingers (her) and a margarita (me), and met the Professor and MMB at McDonald's (so MMB could have a salad or something) at about 10:45P, walked to the #3 train on 14th, and came back uptown.

  7. We joked that the Sun would still be up, waiting, which he was. I picked him up at 11:15P, we walked over to Park Avenue and got a cab back to the Rock (spending $30 I truly don't have... but it was way too late for the subway and would have taken WAY too long for a tired little boy). (I was delighted to get a call on my cell as I was coming up out of the subway. Kinda funny, considering there's no relationship, that I was "a punk" for being "out". Men are retarded.)

  8. The Sun was in bed, asleep, by midnight, or about 5 after. He was too tired to bathe, so he merely brushed his teeth and washed his face and hands. He had a great time watching the "Indiana Jones" series with Poppy, but hadn't wanted to spend the night because we hadn't planned it in advance.
About 3P in the morning (I fell asleep at the computer, and woke up) I got the following email:
"I spoke with [the Sun] tonight at around 10pm and he was at your mother's house waiting for you and this isn't the first time he's waited for you. Your life is your business but when [the Sun] is sitting around waiting for you at 10 o'clock at night at someone else's home ,it becomes mine.If you go out just set up a sleep over for him. i have tried to talk to you about [the Sun]'s sleeping habits forever, I've sent you information about sleeping for kids but you don't want to hear it. For [the Sun], just set up the sleep over."
I did some growling and cursing under my breath, forwarded it to Lawyer to "share the love" and went to bed.

This morning, about 11A NYtime (8A LAtime), TF called the Sun, to inquire how he was, if he was "allright". The Sun reported that his father thought he might be "upset" and the Sun told him he was merely tired when TF had called him last night. I'm sure he was also in the middle of watching the movie, which the Sun may or may not have explained to him. I refrained (it was hard, though) from saying "Your father is an asshole" and said "You know that with your dad their are always two sides to every story, right?" and he said "I know".

Bigbear said she almost told the Sun to tell his father that he WAS spending the night... but the thing is, here we are debating on whether or not to "lie"... because all the adults involved know that TF is going to turn things around. And yet, we always decide not to, so as not to make the Sun think he has to "cover" for us--for any reason--to avoid conflict with his father. And I end up absorbing all this shit, because what else I can I do? Except vomit it all out on my blog.

why can't he just disappear?

I wrote Lawyer the "gory/bory details" because I said, if it comes up, it will be interesting to see his version...

why can't he just disappear?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kinda Like Praying...

blogwriting is for me. The tendency is to spew when the voices are calling and then when things ease up you kinda forget.

But then I guess all creativity is sort of like praying. Sometimes it's easier to get it out when you're not happy, and harder when you are. So maybe the true test of a creative is being able to express the good as well as the bad. Sort of like remembering to pray and say "Thank You" when you're not in a hell.

On the whole, aside from being broke, life is pretty good. I picked up another small job from the Hospital. The cool thing about this particular job is that it's for the department that does community outreach, and since I'm extremely familiar with the community they're out-reaching to, it's an easy fit. And the department likes what I've done. And they're "outreaching" all the time. However, that department takes the longest to pay...

I suppose I'm burying my head in the sand though. Still no child support. And unemployment ends in about a month. I'm going to be in some serious shit, and my happiness could all come to a screeching halt. Foodstamps, here I come. Shit.

But I am truly happiest working freelance. I even made up with my client, cuz essentially, she's got the same temperament as me, with a low tolerance for frustration. The Monster-Brochure-From-Hell has finally gone to print... 10 panels (5 on each side) 11x7 each panel. And 2.5 panels on one side consist of a grid that outlines the times, dates, titles and speakers of God-knows-how-many medical topics like "Dementia" or "Palliative Care in the ICU", followed by 2.5 panels of medical faculty and speakers with credentials like "MD, MPH, FACP" and crap like that. But I think it's fairly organized, and looks good so I'm considering entering it into a design contest.

I dunno. I keep repeating "do what you love and the money will follow" but money seems to be wandering off to the side, taking detours, smelling flowers and not really following me like it should. I need a leash for that bitch.

My courtdate is approaching. It's still filling me with dread but I realize that about 80% of that dread is habit. I have custody. And TF's being an ass. He's not signing off on anything, but he's not saying what he wants. I expect him to be here next week, and I expect for him to take the Sun ALL WEEKEND and as much as I miss my peanutbutter when he's not here, I'm willing to give him up. I know he misses his dad. Which reminds me though... I need to turn my InternetStalker back on so I can see where he goes.

The Sun met with the Law Guardian last Monday. She said absolutely nothing to me... and Lawyer wanted us to meet but I'm betting that's not going to happen. I don't really care, I guess... the LG asked the Sun what was I doing (working from home, he said), whether I talked bad about his father (no), whether his father talked bad about me (no) and if he ever felt pushed and pulled in the middle. "Yes!" said the Sun. "Oh, when is that?" he reported (and I could just see her, pen poised, waiting for something). "When I'm playing Tug of War!" he joked. He went in to see her straight from school, with his two pigtails extra fuzzy, dirt on his face and a rock t-shirt on.

So things are quiet, but you just never know what TF is going to pull out of his ass. But I'm wondering what's going on with him... I got an accidental text from him tonight informing someone (not me) that he was playing softball tonight, so exactly how disabled he is, I dunno. Where the fuck is my child support? I wrote ACS asking them to look into it... and what I should do about asking for a cost-of-living adjustment.

The workout thing is still going well. The only thing that stops me dead in my tracks is sometimes my asthma kicks in. But I hit the inhaler and go on back and work through it. I'm constantly stiff but it feels good. Of course it has revved up my appetite so I don't know that I'm going to lose the spare tire. And funny thing... I guess I wasn't in quite as bad shape as I felt, because I can feel the muscles under the fat strengthening already... which makes the fat sit right up front and "settle." Right around my waist. So whereas a few weeks ago I wasn't liking the overall roundness I saw in the mirror, I can actually see the spare tire and it flips me out. It's also a little odd to hit the limitations of your body, and then attempt to push past it. Like I remember as a kid that I had the most strength in my legs, in my kicks. But lately I get to the point where the body simply can't get those legs to do what I want them to. The brain is willing but the legs are like "Oh hell no." Kinda frustrating. But... I almost got a split the other day. Pretty cool.

I'm back to giving up on a lovelife... despite the fact that I went to visit the OB/GYN the other day. You know they always ask you when your last period was... "uh, dunno" I told the nurse. I completely lose track when there's no reason to keep track. I rediscovered my love of Medicaid--taxpayers don't want to pay for unwanted babies, so Medicaid covers birth control. For free. (Medicaid WON'T, however, pay for shit that PREVENTS asthma, like good strong antihistamines. But the WILL pay for shit the TREATS asthma... like Advair. I tell you, it's a conspiracy.) So it's ironic that I've no need for the shit. Whatever-it-is with Nene has settled into comfortably-charged silence... I respect that he refrains from making as many comments as he used to... but I still get weirdly-intense stares (his eyes change color, which is something I never really noticed... the other day they were blue because his shirt was) but whatever.... I just go along with my life.

"Will that be all, Mr. Stark?"

At the back of my mind, not finding a way out just yet, are the monumental losses in Asia.... the earthquake, the cyclone and the loss of the ship carrying humanitarian aid. It's crazy. I was thinking of putting up something on Cafe Press to donate the proceeds of.... but it seems a drop in the bucket. It makes you wonder what God is thinking...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One of "Those" Things That Makes You Go "wha?"



Yeah, I know I'm a week late, but for the record I've been stewing over it for the past few days.

I'm surprised that more Africamericans didn't just publicly jump ship and denounce her. I mean, seriously... after Bill was touted as the first Africamerican president, now all of a sudden because there's the possibility of a a real Africamerican President, the base that holds her down are hardworking white people? Is she kidding? After all the undying love "Black" people heaped on the Clintons--even through his impeachment, and as many "Blacks" who stayed "true" to the Clintons during the early part of these primaries, Hillary would really pull out the hardworking white people to pull her over the edge?

It's the kind of comment that reminds me of real-life experiences I've had.

Me, jumping around in some dive bar with lots of white people, all happy and shit. And somebody--usually someone I know fairly well and doesn't consider themselves racist, particularly since they have me as a freind--tells a story that ends up with a punch line about all Black People are gangbangers, or are dumb or something equally offensive. Realizing their error, they turn to me and say "But not you. You're not like that. Matter of fact, you're the whitest person I know!"

It just leaves you going "wha?"

So then, Hillary wins a "swing state", West Virginia. She trounces Obama in a state that is, according to 2006 Census data , 94.9% white, 3.3% "black".

And I'm not really sure what's more disconcerting... the fact that in a state where 95% of the population is white, a man of African descent isn't even a consideratio... or the fact that Hillary rejoices in this win.

My ex (the AllAmericanWhiteBoy from Jersey) and I went driving down South one year, about the last year in our relationship. I wanted to go on this vacation with him cuz I love a good road trip, but I remember the trip being emotionally uncomfortable. I knew he wanted out and I was trying desperately to hold on. We were driving down to Shenandoah Valley and took a long detour into West Virginia, up in the mountains. It was autumn, and it was spectacular. Somewhere I have pictures--lots of them, but they were back in the days of film and require scanning. Anyhow, we had pulled over to the side of the road for some reason, but the ex miscalculated and his Explorer got stuck in a ditch. He wanted me to get out and ask for help.

"Hell no!" I told him, looking around, "I am not getting out of this car." I could practically hear the Dueling Banjos. I could tell he was annoyed at me, but he didn't argue about it too much cuz even he could tell it wasn't a good idea. We managed to get the car out of the ditch on our own, and made a pitstop at a local Walmart for film. While I didn't feel specifically that people stared cuz they didn't like brown skin, they stared cuz they didn't get to see too many chicks with brown skin, and certainly not one driving around in a red Explorer with a paperwhite guy. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Looking at clips on CNN it just made me laugh in disbelief that the people in West Virginia think Obama "unpatriotic"-- "he ignored the flag" one bearded citizen noted. Another thought he was too haughty. A woman "couldn't relate."

America is in serious need of a brownskinned President. Politics be damned. Policies--what-the-fuck-ever. It's all the same bullshit, when you really get down to it. Of course there are things I really do like about him; he's intelligent, he has run a campaign that was fabulously organized, he raised shitloads of money, and he's not afraid to stick to a position.

But all that aside, we need a brownskinned president cuz it's WAY overdue.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Moment

...to breathe.

Haven't been too many, lately, and there probably won't be too many until after next Friday. Another court date. Can you believe it? This one is still for visitation. But TF is going to try to make it into something else.

I really wouldn't mind dealing with him if he were easy to deal with. But he's not... and I don't get why after six years the court keeps letting him prolong the process, and why, after six years, I still have to play nice. It's enough to bring out the bitch in me.

In a related/unrelated note, the workout thing is going pretty well. It's much easier for me to work out with Bigbrother Sensei because he's gentler. Littlebrother Sensei is much more critical, which I don't mind, but well... there's all that other stuff.

On Saturday, I was working with BigBrother on punching combos. He had me hit into focus pads... I'm slow, still... but boy can I focus. It's almost scary. I have no problem visualizing a fat, clefted chin, and punching the shit out of it. Apparently I still have a lot of resentment.

(ya THINK!?)

Mother's day was nice. The Bearwomen all piled into the Professor's Kia and went over to see Mima and her daughter, who gave birth. I'll have to post pictures later. Cute, cute baby. Big-ass baby... 9 lbs and some change. And "Indian" all over his face and down his hairy back. I asked Mima, looking at Baby if the Babydaddy had Indian... cuz I was surprised. Mima's daughter is half Dominican. But baby is Indian. Turns out Babydaddy's family has a LOT up in the mix, and know it.

Moodmagicbarbie had a definite moodswing, the Diva was dolled up in one of her outfits, TinyOne got a "powpow" from Mima for throwing around Elegua's toys, and only the Sun stayed quiet, lost in Nintendo-DS land. But it was fun anyhow. Oh, and of the many messages I got saying happy mother's day, a simple little phone call just made my day. Stupid, I know. But it meant a lot to be thought of. And then I got another phone call later in the day, about nothing in particular... it seemed a ruse for a conversation but maybe I'm just reading more into it. Probably, in fact.

I'm so concerned about my financial situation that I can't even think about it. The lack of Child Support is a HUGE problem. It annoys the shit out of me that I got a text recently (which I ignored) "Why didn't you tell me were you going to tell me about the Sun going to summercamp?"

I felt like writing back "Why didn't you tell me you were going to stop paying child support?"

Fucker.

Well, I have a meeting and some stuff to do, and maybe I'll spend $22 I don't have on getting my hair done... it always makes me feel better.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I guess I don't spend a lot of time specifically talking about being a mother here... this blog was solely started to give the Voices some place to vent.

But being a mother is my every day. My life. The major part of who I am right now.

It's funny, because I never specifically planned to have children. I expected to, was programmed from the time I was a little girl by my mother's constant refrain "when you grow up and have children...". But there's a difference between "expecting to have" and "planning to have", and I can tell you that because the day I realized I was pregnant I also realized I hadn't had a plan.

And so I had to wing it... but like everything I do I did it wholeheartedly and threw myself into motherhood, only pausing once to look back at my previous life--at least that I remember.

The Sun was about four months old and some friends of mine, a childless couple who have an amazing band, were playing somewhere in the city. Before the Sun, anytime I knew they were playing and I didn't have a previous commitment (which was rare), I was there. It never required thought. So I heard they were playing and began making plans to be there... and for the first time I had to factor in a four-month-old baby.

I don't remember why, specifically... but somehow TF wasn't in the picture at the moment and so he wasn't even an option... not to stay over with the baby, certainly not to take the baby to his house (since at the time his parents--who he still lived with, had no idea of the Sun's existence). I think my mom was willing to watch the Sun for me, but I was nursing, and so the plan all along was to pick the baby up when my friends finished playing, and come home.

I didn't want to force anyone to leave a night out on my behalf, and I don't drive, and I live far from the city and there was all this chain-planning I found myself doing. And I realized, with a start, that it was going to be impossible. I couldn't go. I had a child, and his welfare came first, before my needs, before my wants.

It was June or July; a sunny, breezy day. I had the windows open. And I sat at the kitchen table and cried. The Sun was in his swing hammock on the floor beside me, and as I cried selfish tears I happened to look over at him. He was looking at me in wonderment, studying my face. And I realized at that moment that my old life was gone. This was my new life. I picked him up and held him... and from that moment on I was Mom. (I wanted to be "Mama" by the way, but the Sun never called me Mama... only "Mommy" though now that's been shortened to "hey, Ma!")

Like snapshots, I have memory-pictures of times where I suddenly realized that I was in fact, Mom. I went back to work when the Sun was just about 4 months old... the unpaid Family Leave took a HUGE dent out of my single-parent budget. One night, I was sitting at the kitchen table in my new apartment, watching the news and folding baby clothes, piling them on the kitchen table. My little "Moopie" had been put to bed. And it hit me... "Oh, shit! I'm a mother!"

Another night, I sat at the kitchen table pumping milk for the next day, and I fell asleep sitting there. The bottle I was pumping into fell and spilled onto the kitchen floor... and I cried over those few ounces in a way that I would never have imagined. I marveled at what I had become... the year before I had no idea of the pain the term "spilled milk" could bring. I learned that with motherhood.

My friend Shoefly would tease me about being an "obsessive mommy" because I made all his food and never left him with other people, other friends (usually male) tease me about babying or spoiling the Sun and had conniptions over his long hair. But from the moment I first saw his bright little eyes looking at me that morning in early March, I knew that my job was to protect that brightness, that spark. I recognized in him a gentleness, and I wholeheartedly and unashamedly made it a point to protect that gentleness in him because I know that the world is not designed for gentle men. When he's strong enough to navigate the world on his own, and can keep his own gentleness, the world won't be able to take that from him. So I laugh when I'm teased... because already I see quiet strength building in him, and I know he's going to be able to stand on his own and won't need me to shield him one day. But until that time, I am the guardian of his flame.

I spoke to my Homegirl from the back in the day yesterday, the Iraqi War vet. She called ahead of the crush to wish me a happy mother's day. We talked about how hard it's been to be single parents in this day and age... how love and men come and go, but a few core girlfriends and your kids are always the constant in your life. And how, no matter what life throws your way; work, lack of child support, family court, bills, debt, scheduling conflicts, the phrase that most readily springs to your lips is "I'll figure it out. I'll make a way". We talked about knowing that something needs to get done or happen or a bill needs to be paid... and as scary as it may be we know we will figure out a way, because there is no other option. We talked about how very tired that can make you... deep-down, ass-dragging tired, but giving up and quitting is never an option. And how we wouldn't have it any other way.

Becoming a mother made me appreciate my own mom, my sister, my grandmother, even. It made me more sympathetic to other moms I have known, whether single or married. Some mothers are naturally good mothers... some aren't. Some grow into motherhood, and some don't. I find myself, in an odd way, generally being less judgmental than I have ever been, because having a child changes you and it's not up to any one of us to judge the outcome. There are certainly things I don't understand... I will never ever get passed the idea of women who kill their children--particularly ones who kill several or all of their children. Mental illness be damned.

But generally motherhood has softened my heart but at the same time has given me strength I never knew I had. I remember thinking that for my Sun, I would go anywhere, do anything, fight or kill to save him. Travel to the depths of hell to retrieve him from somewhere, if it was required of me to do so. Battle the devil himself--and win. Motherhood brought the Bear out the Maiden... and she's quite a formidable bear. But I like that strength because who knew? And it makes me smile...

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Happy Mother's day to all my mommyfriends.... may your life be blessed with muddy handprints on white jeans, chocolate-smeared kisses, sticky-jelly-kitchen tables, clutter, stubbed toes in the middle of the night, snot, barbecue sauce on sleeves, sleep deprivation, lots of screaming, a few temper tantrums, attitude, snide-teenage-girl remarks, hormones, fear-for-the-safety-and-sanity of your offspring, no personal life-whatsoever, lack of privacy... and lots and lots and lots of love and laughter.

Be blessed!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

All I Have Time To Say Is...

I'm not happy.

  • funds are tight
  • it's raining
  • courtdate is looming
  • which means TF is gearing
  • The Sun got assigned his original Law Guardian (his current Law Guardian has been promoted to family court judge in the big apple. Run for your lives, people. This would make now 4 Law Guardians in the whole thing, except as I said, she was the original GAL. And she didn't feel me. And I don't feel her. I'm extremely stressed about it.
  • I'm doing lots of work and I'm not getting paid. Some of it, I volunteer for cuz it interests me, and to be fair I get to work out because of some of it. And some I'm waiting on invoices to be paid but shit. What makes people think I can wait 90 fucking days? It pisses me off.
  • and I'm still two months behind in the rent.
  • I did get Sallie Mae off my ass, though. At least until May 25. Where they can start harassing me again because I still won't have any money.
  • can you believe I still have That Toothache. It concerns even me, now.
  • human beings are incredibly narrow-minded, timid little sheep. Unless they are militant and crazy. What happened to just living life right? What happened to fairness and upstanding? Part of this little spaghetti strand is that I happened to be on 'Two-Five yesterday when supporters of Sean Bell's family staged a traffic disruption right on Lexington Avenue. It was very peaceful, and quick, and moved over to Third Avenue by the time I got down the block. I stood on the corner of Lex, watching people quietly hand out home made flyers, and wearing very simple shirts that said "I AM SEAN BELL". It made me want to cry all over again. Nothing in the real world has quite affected me like his death. It was just so over the top... and the fact that no one was held accountable astounds me. The police made a point of staying low... the cops directing folk and traffic wore "NYPD COMMUNITY AFFAIRS" shirts, which must have been made specifically for this event; the shirts were all brand spanking new. The bigwig sergeants and brass all stood along the sidelines and kept close watch. For the most part, the true demonstrators (and other small demonstrations in the city) made their point. However, there was a little gathering assembled on the corner ranting and raving the same old black nationalistic crap, which annoyed the shit out of me, so I left.
Well, I have deadlines to meet so off I go.

But the lambs are screaming... they haven't had anywhere to go, those voices and they're rattling around again. So much to say... not that anyone really cares.

*sigh*.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shameless Plug.... New Product To My Store.

OK, folks. The Hustle is on. Shit's about to get critical. I have six weeks of unemployment left. And, I knew it was coming but it smacked me in the ass yesterday... as of this second, TF is one payment in arrears in child support. Now, I'm understanding. I am. As much as I have issues with TF, I'm assuming he's on disability which means he's hurt... cuz one thing he's not is lazy. And, I'm not not one of those money-hungry chicks who uses child support to drive around in fancy cars or buy bling. My needs are much more simple than that, and it's called "rent".

So any man who bitches about paying child support, know that there are women (and I daresay most of us) who actually use child support for what it's for... supporting your child.

And women... you know what this is like.

So buy a poster. Please.

And if you know me in real life, I'll even sign it for you when you get it. Cuz I'm gonna be famous one day, I swear.

Peace out!

Off to do more hustling!