September 10th, 2002

Chalkboard

Moving Rooms, September 11, Selfish Latin Men, a House Full of Kids, and Scott



Hey Everyone,

I'm half in and half out of my new office. It feels so weird to be sitting here instead of my old familiar room. I was so anxious about this, I really didn't think we'd pull it off. I thought maybe we wouldn't be able to get the file cabinets, or my desk, out of the office, and around all the corners it would take to get them in here. Yeah, it's weird being in a new space, disorienting and kind of exciting at the same time. This room has big, almost floor length windows all across the front and I feel vulnerable, anyone walking by can just look right up and in. I'll have to do something about that, hang vintage curtains or something. I knew where everything was in my messy office, it felt familiar and homey, and since we haven't moved the rats, ferrets, and the chinchilla in here yet. There's no one behind me to turn around and share my dinner with. I miss their familiar sounds. I love them so. It won't be long though 'till we have them all snug and comfy in here. I'll miss the rustle of naughty squirrels that come and argue and squeak in the ficus hedge by the second story window of my old room. It'll be great to go through all of my stuff though, dust it, sort out the useful from the useless, and organize everything.

I'm having trouble sleeping at night, nothing new there, but now I can't fall asleep until four or even five in the morning. I'll try taking a Melatonin tonight and see if that helps.

Of course like many people I'm thinking a lot about September 11. I lit a candle on AOL, I know that's nothing, but it was comforting in a way. Matt Drudge was picking on AOL/Time Warner for doing that. I thought it was a lovely thing to do, of all the things you could pick on them for, why that?

There's a moving article in Esquire this month that was written by one of the only journalists who was allowed to remain at the disaster site in New York in the days immediately following. I highly recommend it. (this is a link to some September 11 Esquire articles but I don't seem to be able to find the one I really like, I think you'll have to get a copy of the September issue if you want to read it). Somehow reading articles like this, detailed articles about what it was like at the time, and in the days following, helps me feel more complete, more connected to the people who lived through this first hand. Short of living in Hawaii or Alaska, being on the West coast when it happened, is about as far away from the events of September 11 as a person could be, while still being in the US. I think a lot of us have a kind of survivor's guilt. I know I wanted to get to New York as soon as possible and be able to help, and I couldn't. With a child, twenty-billion pets, and an elderly parent, I couldn't just up and leave my home and family. So, as I've said before, I did what I could from here and gleaned what feeling of connectedness I could via the media.

My Mom's housekeeper Rosa, the one I sometimes have problems with, has been a wreck since Saturday because her husband is such a shit to her. She came here from Guatemala years ago in order to find work to support her children when her husband was killed. She had three big loves back home, one was a much older man in his thirties who took her away from her parents when she was something like thirteen or fourteen, lovely. One abandoned her, and one was killed. I don't remember which is the father of the kids. She has four girls and two boys. Her youngest son, Jose, is eleven and she had him with the man she met and married here.

Rosa's husband is a Baptist and he's seriously addicted to his church going activities, to such an extent that he neglects Rosa and the children. I don't understand people like this. What is their religion all about if not to enhance their capacity to love, and to be generous and kind to the people around them? He gets up and goes to work. He comes home from work, showers and goes to his church, and he does this every single day. That might sound wonderful except for the fact that he never has time for his family. Church comes first, always, and he's extreme about it.

He doesn't like sex and makes Rosa feel dirty for wanting to be with him. He refuses to help Rosa with any of her other children, he makes it clear to them that he doesn't like them, doesn't want them around, only the one son he feels is legitimately his. He won't give Rosa any money or help in any way with these other kids, even when Rosa's kids back in Guatemala were starving. Rosa has been saving and planning to bring her children here for years. She brought her oldest son and daughter, but for some reason she needs her husband's signature on the legal paper's that allow her to do this.

The other day both Rosa and her husband were sitting in their lawyer's office. They had gone there to sign the final papers to bring Rosa's last two children here. For some reason, that Rosa's husband won't explain, he chose this moment to surprise Rosa with the fact that he wouldn't sign the papers. After telling her that he would and allowing her to spend her hard earned money on this lawyer, "He just didn't feel like it," he said.

Rosa cried for four days straight and nothing she said to him would make him budge. She had already told her two girls back home that it would only be a matter of days before the paperwork would be final and she would be able to send for them. She didn't know what to do and finally in desperation called her husband's pastor and told him all about it. The pastor called her husband and work today and whatever he said must have worked because he then called Rosa crying, begging her to forgive him, and has promised to sign the papers. The damage has already been done though, she now knows how mean he can be, and has decided to leave him. My Mother told her to wait until she gets her kids over here.

Why does it always seem to be like this with all of the Latin women I know? Is it fair to think that a lot of Latin men are selfish, backwards, brutal, and old fashioned? Of all the women I've known, the only exception was/is Adelina, whose husband has been wonderful to her since the day they met. I thought he was too short and unattractive for Adelina who is really beautiful. What a shallow and unfair judgment for me to have made, especially since he's turned out to be such a solid partner. I'm so happy for her.

I'm not pregnant, thank God, but I've been feeling nauseous every day for a few days now. I did another pee test just to be certain.

We're slowly recovering from whatever stomach-flu-buggy thing hit us. It wasn't that bad, just kind of blechy, but it's knocked me out. I get fevery and weak during the day, and by night all I can manage is to lay down in my room. I'm forcing myself to stay here and finish this because I have to get through this e-mail and pay off my usual eBay shopaholism. I keep taking these anit-queasiness pills. I was sick like this about a year ago. Not nice, no, no, no.

I have to go get the LA Times, it's downstairs somewhere, and I want to read it because my friend Mary wrote an article in it about living with cancer.

Sometimes I start writing to you at the beginning of the day, then I get interrupted, and forget to finish and post this before the day comes to an end. That's what happened today. The sun is setting now and it's so beautiful. I can just see a bit of it from my house. I wish I could see more of it, the way you see it from the beach, the sky streaked with orange, crimson, and purple, so beautiful.

I find the print here too tiny and challenging to work with, and was wondering if you guys knew of an alternate setting for the journal entry program. Is there another view that would allow us to see our words in larger print? I seem to remember one. I'm not referring to HTML that would make the font bigger, I'm talking about the way it looks as I write it. I'm having to strain a bit to find my place. Welcome to forty I guess, sigh.

Yesterday Irma brought her four kids, and Esther had two of hers, and Beau had his friend Steven over, and it was just so much fun being here with all of these kids. (Beau just brought Ruby Dee in the room, she was standing outside the door crying. I think all of this shifting of furniture and things has some of the cats confused. She's so sleek and black and pretty and she talks a lot. Love this cat.) We sorted through buttons, and played keep away, or monkey in the middle, and hot potato. It was so much fun, I was smiling so much, my face ached.

My Scott is sad about his Dad who is still sick and about to be kicked out of the hospital because his insurance has run out. Isn't that awful? He could use some support. I love my Scottman. He's trying an ad thing on Google to increase his CD sales. If you go to Google and type reggae music or romantic music you'll see his ad on the right. Also if you have any ideas as to how he can improve the look and feel of his MP3 site, PR or design-wise, please let me know.