Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Time...

flying faster than a speeding bullet.

The downside to being "in a relationship" is it eats up a lot of time. And for someone who isn't great on time management to begin with, I have even less time to write.

Some highlights from the week that was (or lowlights in some cases):
  • My dear friend Shoefly was diagnosed with a serious and chronic, though not-particularly-fatal health condition. It was shocking. She's always the one in control and on some health kick or other, so to see her wrestle with mortality took some getting used to. I've known her the whole time I've been out on this Rock... for a brief second as she explained what was going on I had a flash of what life would be like without her. Not at all pleasant. Without her big-sisterly-slightly-condescending-tone... where would I be? I felt horrible, too, that the one time she called me in distress I couldn't answer the call cuz I was on the phone with the Professor, who was busy telling me that
  • the Diva told her her ManKid punched her in the face and told her she had to leave their apartment. The Professor had texted me at 7:13 in the morning when I wasn't awake, could the Diva stay with me till they figured out what to do. When I woke up, I texted back "yeah" but didn't want to talk to anyone till I was dressed. Cuz if I start talking to anyone in the Fam in my jammies, somehow the day escapes me. I got myself all riled up though. Abuse is not something I tolerate. But in typical BearClan fashion the drama sort of rolled away with no clear resolution. And I was mad at myself for getting riled up when I should know better.

  • CNC was having some anxiety about my relationship with the BigMan, cuz she's still so sad over the loss of her mother and was relying on me for comfort, and of course BigMan entered the picture right about then. Before then we'd been hanging out A LOT and talking a lot, and BigMan sort of interrupted the flow of that. Which is always what happens when people get into a relationship. End result is that I just feel pulled... there aren't enough hours in the day for everyone so it just makes me tired.
  • BigMan's BestGirl was also having some issues with the new relationship. I knew it was coming. It also makes me tired...
  • and BigMan. I dunno. There are things I really like about him. There are also some things that I'm not sure I can tolerate for long. Small things that bother me because they seem the tip of an iceberg. Little things that my head says aren't a big deal and I could overlook... maybe I'm even being shallow because they bother me. And in fact it's not the issue that bothers me but the fear that there is no attempt being made at a resolution. An acceptance of certain things. I am not an accepting bitch. It's not in my make up. There's stuff I tolerate... but tolerance is not the same as accepting. Tolerance means you tolerate stuff for a limited amount of time in the hope and expectation that they will change. Acceptance means you roll over and let things be. The latter... not me. And I can already feel the icewater creeping into my veins.

    Which also bothers me. Cuz I've said several times I am not consumed by him. And this is potentially a problem--for him. Cuz I know I can be a bitch and I know I have narcissistic tendencies and I try to be aware of them and I try to compensate. But my patience is short. When I'm consumed with someone I'm much more patient.

    I also realize I have met him at a point in his life that is not his best point. I usually do--meet people when they are not at their best point... and that bothers me too because it means this relationship is probably more on the verge of that damn thing I have about feeling folk in distress rather than someone I'm going to have a long-term relationship with.

    Except oddly enough... I'm not consumed by him. And I usually am when it's just the mental-distress thing.

  • But speaking of people who are NOT in mental distress... the ParentingPartner. Holy shit but I remember all the reasons I kept getting sucked back into his hell; cuz when he wasn't in hell he was sweet and funny and cooperative. We took the Sun to violin; I'd had to spend the day in the Food Stamp office (joy!) and got done and downtown about the same time he'd gone to get the Sun from school. So I sat in a parked car with him and our child while he read the paper and the Sun did homework. And then we talked while waiting for the Sun to finish his lesson. Mainly about the Sun... about growing him, what we want for him, the things we need to work on with him. Getting him to focus. And very slowly, we are able to say to each other "remember when we...?" which is REALLY freaky. There's still a huge brick wall there... I can see it in his eyes and I know he feels it in mine. Little things, like I always sit in the back seat even though I prefer the Sun sit back there. But I don't like being that close to him.

  • The parents are finally moving. My mother is a nervous wreck, my father is more touchy than ever. 30 years in the same place... they are WAY overdue. But between the Professor and I, we'll be able to make their new home very homey...

  • The Sun has been playing flag football. ParentingPartner got him on a league... and my little skinny kid score two touchdowns last game! I wasn't there... my Lord standing around a cold schoolyard watching flag football is SO not my idea of fun and the beginning of many an argument between PP and me... but Poppy was. PP had taken him out. Me? I'm trying to go back to karate...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Forgive Me, Father

...for I have sinned. It's been over a week since my last post.

Well, I haven't sinned, actually. I've been really good. I'm sort of getting into the swing of a relationship, integrating that part of my life into the everyday of my life. It's hard. Men take up a lot of time... so between that and my Sun I haven't seen much of my friends which sort of pissed CNC off a little. Or rather gave her a moment. I had to reassure her my not being around didn't have ANYthing to do with her... certainly had nothing to do with BigMan not liking her (which is what she seemed to think).... merely that between him and the kid and not having ANY money I've sort of been in a vacuum.

It's been kind of weird. There's SD, who's name suddenly changed the other day. He is now ParentingPartner... and the irony of this never ceases to amaze me. I keep expecting things to pop up and blow our peace away, but so far nothing has. Not even last night when he brought the Sun home late--interfering with my enjoyment of the 2-hour premiere of "Heroes". I was pretty uptight... and I'm still not sure if he did it on purpose but his smoothness and apologies disarmed me. There's still some things that get under my skin;
  • Sun needs a coat and PP goes out to buy him one. But comes back with a faux leather jacket which will be completely useless in a few months.
  • He doesn't understand the concept of just spending the money for something good that will last.
  • He is obsessed with bumps, pus, the kid's eczema.
...but other than that we're getting along very well.

And the BigMan. His kindness has gotten to me. I haven't been in a relationship in years where the kindness is easy. Way back in the beginning of my relationship with Jersey Boy there was kindness, a willingness to "look out". That went away after awhile but the initial kindness is probably what kept me hanging on so long in the end. But this one... I know there's such a thing as a honeymoon phase... but I'm not sure this is what that is. I wonder sometimes, in my deeply analytical and slightly narcissistic innerself, if it's because there is a slight advantage on my part. I've had that before... and the last go round I abused it. And since I'm not consumed by BigMan my deeply analytical and slightly narcissistic innerself remembers how nasty I was. But I was 20 years younger and thought I had all the time in the world.

Now I'm almost 45, with an agenda-- an Ultimate Objective if you will, and I realize that this advantage is something in my favor. And that I shouldn't abuse it... but it comes in handy. It's very different for me not to be the one in pursuit. And to be truthful, he's not really pursuing me cuz he pretty much has me, but he's nice to be around. Low maintenance. He has his moments.... but somehow they don't really rattle me. Often it's because he needs to eat. Sometimes it's cuz he got into a pissing contest with a client. But it's kind of nice that if he asks me what I think, and I tell him, he doesn't get an attitude about it.

And I'm able to take what he says, too. Because already I've found that whatever he tells me, he tells me cuz he genuinely cares. Or he sees something I'm overlooking. And usually I already know but am not acknowledging.

But I can take what he says because he's kind about it. And I think the kindness is the thing that's won me over. And it enables me to be patient about the one or two other things that bother me. So I'm guessing he's about 95% of what I want. And that ain't bad. Not bad at all.

So that aspect of my life is settling down. The next thing I need to tackle is organization, and making money. They sort of go hand-in-hand, I think, but the money issue is really drastic. I cannot milk my neighbor anymore, and BigBear and Poppy are (finally) about to move into a new apartment. But if I don't figure something out VERY soon; if I don't organize myself to complete projects and redeem myself to folk there will be no electricity, no cable, no DSL. Hell, maybe even no apartment. And I mean like in the next few days "soon".

It's so bad I've ceased to freak out about it. Like watching someone die knowing there's no point in screaming cuz there's nothing you can do about it. It's a done deal.

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

However, I made a push on my photography. I decided to only shoot black and white for a while, and apply all the darkroom techniques I know to the digital editing process and so far it's worked out stunningly, if I do say so myself.

Even at the Pow Wow I went to the other day--I shot in black and white which is hard because Pow Wows are all about the color. But what I realized about photography is that people believe a photograph. They see a story in the photograph, and color makes it a literal story. Most people won't step outside the color to study the face, or the gesture. They certainly can't see themselves objectively... color makes it too realistic and so whatever their reality is, is what they project on to the photograph.

Which is why the art photographers stuck with black and white, I'm guessing... even when color was available.

Black and white makes you think... dig a little deeper. It seems to abstract the story so that people don't get caught in the literal, don't project what they know onto the picture. It helps them suspend judgement.

I have often admired the photographer Weegee , because even his most brutal and gruesome photographs could tell a story in black and white where they probably would simply be offensive if they were in vivid color. People lying in their own pools of blood, crime scenes. I admired that he was relentless in his pursuit of the story and would push right up there to get it. It took me a long time to get that kind of nerve, and even now it's hard. I usually prefer to sit with my camera long enough for people to stop paying attention to me, and then I can take freely of the story I see.

Before I went digital I mainly shot in black and white, especially after I learned how to print my own pictures and develop my own film. And good black and white is an easier craft; good color on film is a whole other set of rules. Digital made color easy, and it was great to get caught up in vivid color for awhile. But I began to feel that color was getting in the way of what I wanted to say, and then recently I've had several requests by different people (though all women, interestingly enough) to not show certain pictures. Which pissed me off for all sorts of reasons, to say nothing of just being damn insulting. But I realized the issue was that color made it all too literal. So I'm back to black and white for a while. And it's reminded me why I enjoyed photography so much.

Though it's made me miss the darkroom all the more... the smell of chemicals, the sound of running water... watching an image appear. It was like magic... I never ever got tired of the moment the image first appeared, watching closely until it was "there"...

So here are a few of my most recent favorites...

The SunKing

The Diva and PerpetualMotion - Still


CNC


Mr. Charles Oakley

and no... he wasn't posing for me.

It Starts Early...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too much, too much

and not enough.

Having one of those times when there's too much going on and not enough time to write.

Some good, some interesting, some sad...

I'm back to thinking there's very few people in the world I can actually tolerate. Much like I'm sure there are very few people in the world who can tolerate me. And so I should value the ones that do. And let the rest of them kiss my ass.

But the end result of the week is that for now, I'm going to declare myself as being in a relationship. The BigMan is slowly getting under my skin. I am not consumed by him... and that worries me a great deal. Me unconsumed is not really a good thing. But he's kind, and he makes me belly-laugh and he's not phased by my quiet side or my spicy side or the weird stuff. The GayBFF has grown on me too... and my last reservation about them was that in my gut I don't think she's genetically gay. She's circumstantially gay with a ticking biological clock, and that could be a problem... but when I brought up my feeling with the BigMan he felt the same way about her. But assured me he wanted to be with me and not her. And I believe him, for various reasons.

And she has backed up a little... and is always very nice with me. So I'm good for now.

Some other stuff happened this week too, and it's a good thing I have this personal philosophy that I give things 24 hours before I react to them. If I wake up the next day and still feel the same way about a thing, then I know it's something I need to think about. If I'm still stewing about it a week later, then it's a much bigger deal than I thought. Usually when things have stewed a week or two is when I feel compelled to write lengthy emails, but in this case I don't think it would serve a purpose, nor would it be accepted in the nature given. So I'm gonna let it go.

But a week later and I'm still stewing but the end result was that I made a decision about something I needed to. Not a huge life-altering decision--at least not yet--but it will affect my art a little bit. It gave me a focus. It defined my perspective for now.

The Sun started school, SD is still amazingly calm, Poppy's much much better, the Parents are probably definitetly moving, the Professor--who also caused me to stew about a thing for about a week--seems to be finding a center and is trying to look on the positive side of life which is good. MMB is her usual beautiful self, the Diva seems to be making a life, PerpetualMotion is adjusting to school (well, barely) and the Sun's shoulders are broadening. And a HS Peep bought a piece from me...

I dreamed about the Cricket and need to reach out to him; I dreamed about Nene and he called that same day but I owe him something and can't call him back till it's finished.

If I had more money, life would be a breeze...

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Can't Write

...the BigMan has been here several days straight. I don't get the time alone to write. He said I'll miss him when he goes home... when school starts.

I'm not sure I will.

I like him, I do. I'm grateful for the love, for the things he does, the care he takes.

I saw Cricket the other day... sat beside him outside his job while I picked up shirts from him. I think he was relieved I'm dating someone... takes the pressure off of him. But I still miss him. I miss flying with him. I was telling the BigMan today how much I hated cooking in my kitchen, how if I ever had a house, I wanted one with a big kitchen...

...and I remembered with a stupid and sudden pang the conversation about a house with a center island and copper pots, facing a beach. And realized that it won't happen with Cricket. It made me sad!

It was all to easy to throw a kiss the Scrub's way the other day, even though I know he is what he is and that will never change... and that his heart never did and never will belong to me.

It distresses me greatly that I feel this way. I'm not sure why I do. Am I just running? Or is this wrong? I suddenly "get" the decision some of my friends have made in the past... why they married the men they did. "He loves me." "He bought me a house." "He's a good father." When they knew going in they weren't "crazy in love".

I'm not sure I want to make that decision... I'm not sure I want another baby THAT much...

In the meantime, the BigMan has met most of the people who count in my life, including SD. And I'm feeling just a little trapped...

...or maybe I'm just ungrateful. Selfish. Narcissistic.

....grrrr....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rolling Along

...life is.

Last Friday I went with my friend the BigMan to the place he's been taking pictures (cuz that's what he does). I was tired and behind myself anyhow... but I like going cuz I've gotten some great photos myself.

At about 9P the Professor called to tell me they were taking Poppy to the ER. My heart sank. It seems he'd lost all his short term memory and was acting vague. Once she got to the ER she started texting me updates; his blood pressure was scary-high, he hadn't remembered Obama was president, he couldn't recall what he'd done that day.

Initially I felt he probably had an infection. I learned while working in the Geriatric dept of a large teaching hospital that the sudden onset of "dementia" in an elderly person can indicate something as ordinary as a bladder infection. Because the elderly don't often run fevers, dementia can easily be misdiagnosed. Now... we took Poppy to the ER of the teaching hospital in which I worked. You THINK that would be the first thing they'd check for, right? But I guess they had to work on the blood pressure first, and rule out stroke, etc.

After the BigMan and I got done taking pictures, we headed downtown, the Professor texting updates. They moved him to the resuscitation unit. That didn't sound good. The Big Man had to make a couple of detours and even though half of me was stressing that we were taking so long getting to the hospital, the other half of me didn't mind dragging my feet... because I didn't want to get to the hospital and learn awful news. I kept repeating to myself "I don't want him to go. I don't want him to go."

At the ER MoodMagicBarbie was sitting outside the room by herself. Her face crumpled as I walked up to her. She's got a personality as big as her mothers and so they clash a lot... but underneath, just like her mom, is a very sensitive little person. As I watch her grow up into a beautiful young woman I am struck by how much I love her. I gave her a hug. I know her nastiness shields all of her softness but somehow she doesn't mind showing it to me... and I am honored by that.

I finally steeled myself to go inside the resuscitation unit to see how Poppy was doing. He recognized me but didn't remember anything short term. His face was flushed red. His blood pressure was still high but was being brought down by the medication they were giving him.

My head started to pound.

The Professor was her stoic self, but was resigned to accept the worst. BigBear chatted about his entire day and everything he ate and I knew it was because she was rattled and scared. But I couldn't take it all for long, and went back out to sit with MMB and the Big Man.

I wish that I were brave enough to do the hospital vigil, but I'm not. After awhile the headache increased and began to make me feel queasy so I took that as my reason to escape. I joked with the BigMan--who has high blood pressure--that it was his job to stay healthy cuz I'm real good at running in an emergency.

"You'd stay" he said.
"No she wouldn't" Professor said. "When the building fell on me she ran to Jersey".
"Yes I did" I admitted. "As fast as I could. It sucks... but I can't deal."

At one point he asked me how I was doing, and I hugged him and laughed. "I guess things like this make it a relationship, right?" and he said "uh, yeah".

We had to stop by his place to get clothes or something. My head was pounding so bad it made me feel like I could crawl out of my skin. He gave me a pair of Excedrin Tension Headaches to swallow, but I was past the point of two Excedrin. They did nothing.

We came home. I took another Excedrin Migraine and crawled into bed and passed out.

Early Saturday morning, SD dropped the Sun off--the Sun had spent the night with him. We both lay down for a while but I had to get up and pack the Sun for his trip to VA with the Moon and Shoefly.

I'd had to convince SD, slowly, to let the kid go. It took a little doing and a lot of begging by Shoefly. SD was ALWAYS more overprotective than I was when it comes to the Sun... but finally he decided it was OK. The Sun was overjoyed. They left about 11A. I took two more Excedrin and went back to bed, and finally around 1P the headache subsided.

The rest of that day was spent steeling myself to visit Poppy. Wasting time, editing pictures. Finally, I was ready. We drove down to BigMan's partner's house and picked her up. They drove me to the hospital and he came up with me while she took her laptop to the park and waited.

I didn't bring him into the room with me, cuz I didn't want to stress Poppy and I knew he wouldn't remember meeting BigMan. And it's a good thing cuz when I walked in SD was there. Both men already know they have to meet each other... but that wouldn't have been a good time.

Poppy was vague and weak and very nauseous, but alive. And not on oxygen. I held his hand. SD left and and Poppy drifted in and out of sleep. "How ARE you, mommy" he asked?

"Actually, I'm pretty good" I said. "I've been spending time with someone I kind of like, the Sun is good... I have no money but I feel like it will break soon". He seemed happy with that.

And I thought to myself if he was only holding on until I'm grown up, I would let him go.

I left, got the BigMan from the Atrium waiting area of the hospital and headed downstairs. Via text, the Professor and I talked about whether this was going to be Poppy's time. She's been having dreams. She knows his time is close. I tried to accept it... tried to imagine a world in which there is no Poppy. I have known this man my whole life. My earliest memories are of him laughing, dancing to Ray Charles and Otis Redding, hearing the "tacktacktack tack tack ching!" of his typewriter. Riding my red tricycle beside him as we walked through Paris.

The Professor wanted me to come by '25 to put an air conditioner of hers into BigMan's car. But as I tried to explain, BigMan's Partner was in the car and it's her car, and when she's in it we go where she wants, whether she's driving or not. And she wanted to go to the movies.

So that's where we went. We saw "Inglorious Basterds" which I enjoyed tremendously.

The rest of the weekend was kind of quiet; waiting for news, editing pictures. Nobody has any money and you can't do much with no money.

So I've had some time to think.

My horoscope said the other day something about "Now is a good time to commit to a relationship" and I thought seriously about it. But I'm still not ready.

I'm still wondering at myself at how I'm presently dealing with about 99% of what I want. And he's a good guy. Actually, a great guy. I wonder at my hesitance. And I think part of it is the concept of "forever". To quote Prince... "Forever is a mighty long time" and if I'm committing to "forever"I need to know I'm going to be happy doing it.

Reason being I have narcissistic tendencies, and I'm a great rationalizer. If something isn't working for me all the way, I'm not above taking care of myself. The only time I've cheated in a relationship it was because I was missing something. And I don't want to do that.

Cuz overall he's a great guy. He's been in his own place since yesterday and I do admit I miss him just a little bit. But at the same time I enjoy my space. I can't write when he's here, for one thing. And in every situation there's always a "but" and a catch, and I knew they were there and I found them.

One of them is his partner. The other night in the car she said "You know BigMan and I come as a package deal right?" and I said "Nooooooooooo. REALLY?" They both laughed. She went on to say she's non-threatening, but she's present and a lot of people can't deal with that. And for the most part I'm OK with it. I'd asked him if he thought she'd be OK if we really DID make a life together. He thinks she can. But as I said to him, there can only be one bigbitch in a relationship, and right now she's it. And right now I'm OK with that. But at some point the power is going to have to change hands. And I wonder if it's worth all that.

Basically, she's his best man. Most guys have their best friend. The one they roll with. I'm not worried about the fact that she's his best man. What I wonder about is the chick side, particularly since this chick doesn't just sleep with chicks. And their relationship is decidedly non-sexual... as he said he knows she's crazy and doesn't need that in his life. And I completely believe him. But chicks are proprietary by nature... and she's still a chick. And that could make it a little interesting. I'm not sure if I'm prepared to spend the rest of my life with her. I could though...

So I'm still not ready to commit. I'm not sure I want to give up my space. Yet at the same time it's awfully nice to have someone else make up the bed, or do dishes. And it's not that I expect it... I think it's why it's so nice. A nice surprise.

It bothers me I'm not swept away. That I'm not consumed by him. Because I have narcissistic tendencies and am a great rationalizer, and the Scrub's smile can still get to me if it hits me just right. And I miss Cricket's ability to fly where I fly. But if ever there was a ground wire, BigMan is it. If ever some one was ride or die, BigMan is it. And I wonder if that will be enough.

Yesterday morning Poppy called me first thing. He's back. But he knows his time is limited and seems to have his bucket list going. One of the things he wants is for me to finish "1977", the book I started here. So that's what I'm gonna do....