In bad mama news: I let Javi play outside this weekend with no sun block and no bug repellant. I thought the whole windy, sunny, mild weather thing would be fine.

Nope. He's sporting a pink nose, cheeks & forehead along with pink forearms and shoulders. Poor child. The biting bugs are out in full force, so he's also bumpy.

But, I reconnected with an old friend this weekend who I've been out of touch with for almost two years. She came over with her daughters and we grilled and ate and cried and promised to not let the little things sway our dedication to each other. We were raised together, more like sisters than friends, so it feels good to be at peace with her.

Spring is most decidedly here. Growth and sun and bluest skies and friends. And spring food, of course: pineapple salsa, fresh fruit, and a crisp salad.

These are the days I dream of all winter!

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The walls

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the hate and ignorance this country breeds - the Ashcroft subpoenas, the gay marriage bans, the governmental reprioritizing of life from what we make it to what makes the rich richer.

The food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the political industry...

It just makes me want to burrow until the walls of this country come tumbling down.

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The last brick

When we were young, my father asked my sisters and I what we thought we'd wind up with in life. He pointed out that we were poor and disrespectful and irresponsible and that we had a 'basketcase' for a mother and that no one had ever wanted to play daddy to us because we were embarrassing.

This confrontation came when he was shacked up in our mother's house after yet another crack binge left him homeless, jobless and friendless. He was angry and violent. My older sister had been going through his things - disrespectful, yet, average behavior? Yes - And found a pipe. Not just any pipe, either. It was THE pipe through which he was smoking rock in my mother's basement and with the tattoo people across the street.

So, she told my mother. And my mother told him to get out. And he came down on the three of us like an avalanche. He condemned us to lives without love and without happiness. He told us we would die bitter old women. He invoked his God on us and blasphemed us into hell.

And then my mother took him to the Greyhound station and bought him a ticket to San Francisco where our grandmother lived. But my sisters and I - 14, 13 and 9 at the time - stayed behind. Shell shocked, we each retreated to our corners: Erin to her room and the telephone, Ashley to the stereo, and me to the kitchen.

We never really talked about it again. We'd seen the fits of anger and violence from him so many times and each time we left him quiet, inwardly seething, but also questioning whether he had it right. How could we turn on him? How dare we question his behavior or motivation?

He blew a staple through a coworkers cheek over a drug deal gone wrong; he attacked my mother and choked her unconscious in front of us because she went on a date while he was in prison; he beat his ex-boss with a baseball bat when she turned over his employment records to authorities.

The list is long and complicated. It includes his years spent hiding in Saudi Arabia to avoid prison time and our days spent in the dark with curtains shut - crawling on all fours because he thought the police were looking for him and my mother couldn't scrape together the money to get him out of the state.

I spent years blaming my mother for enabling him, but I've come to an understanding with that anger. She's human and he came to her for help. He didn't live with us, but when he hit bottom it was us he turned to. And I think, silently, we all felt powerful in that. We knew he'd return to us when he had to. So even if we didn't hear from him for months or years, we knew one day he'd be back.

And now. It's been 14 years since he cursed my sisters and me to eternal unhappiness. 14 years. In that time, one sister has birthed three babies and dealt with her own drug addictions and now she is working on a nursing degree and attending her oldest son's church plays. I have attended and graduated from both an undergraduate and graduate program. I have a loving companion and a wonderful son who both loves us and is surrounded by love.

And then there's my other sister. The one who battled Cystic Fibrosis for 20 years and had to have both lungs replaced in order to survive. The one who consumes fistfuls of drugs every day to keep her body from attacking itself. The one who remembers most vividly how our father turned on her - remembers the way he punched her in the chest when she complained about pain from a hospital bed at 17, the way he spit in disgust after she asked to go back to our mother's house when she visited him, the way he called her a whore after her first date.

That one? She confessed to me once, "I don't want to die, I don't want to die like this and prove him right." So what's she doing instead? She's living and loving in a way she never has before. She - who had the hardest fight of all of us - just got the payoff. As of Friday she became the newest student of London's East 15 Acting School. With her acceptance came crashing down the last brick of fear my father built around us.

I want to say fuck him and relegate him to a life of regret, but I can't. He's still my father. In the past few years, he's cleaned up his act, had some more kids and tried to get his head straight. We'll never know him out of addict mode, but at least we're adult enough to figure out that his mind knows no other way of thinking.

But us? My sisters and I? We went to hell and bounced back - most likely because he convinced us we were nothing and deserved nothing. We fought as if our lives were on the line and maybe in a way they were. We could have laid down and accepted that we were meant from nothing in this life.

Or we could have approached it the way we did. We fought our demons and we're learning to reap the rewards. There's no way you could have told me that it'd come to this when I was sitting at the kitchen table after my father left that day. If you had said to me, "one day you will be so happy it hurts," I'd have looked at you with all the hate I could muster for mocking me, for teasing me and making another false promise.

Thinking back like this opens so many wounds - wounds with scars that reopen when I am left alone with lifetime tv or movies like Antoine Fisher that hit too close to home. But perhaps now that we can all release that last pent up breath, we'll be able to move fully forward with no hesitation and no fearful glances back.

Congratulations, little sister.

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Week's end

leave it to me to lose five pounds and then turn around and eat a muffin. after having indian buffet for lunch. i'm not flogging myself, though, cause i went to the gym everyday this week and i'm going walking today and on a hike tomorrow. dammit.

i hate being fat in the spring. in the winter i feel prepared, well stocked, powerful. the power could go out, the grocery stores close, the call come down from on high that we may not consume anything living or dead and i'd be okay. my fat stores could last me months.

however, in the spring time, i feel sluggish and clumsy. dumb. ugly. haphazard. i feel like a run-on sentence; there's too much of me and not enough stuff to contain and sort me.

so the muffin. and the iced chai lattes every morning and counter attempts of liters of water and gym haunts. and the pony tails and tank tops under cardigans. i just want to stop the see saw.

for the weekend: must pay better attention to my seeds, if i've not ruined them already. i forgot to water them for a couple days. may have to start over. must find time for the boy to paint - we've been too busy for the last few weeks, but this weekend painting has made it on to the to-do list.

may the walk make me feel better about the muffin. and may you, also, find something to do today to erase the bad stuff - temporarily, at least.

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i don't think anyone should dislike their officemate as much as i dislike mine.

it was all good before i had to move in with closet racist/homophobe/misogynist who calls himself a music snob cause he likes the beatles and deathcab and guided by voices. i call him white, privileged and sheltered, but then again - as you can tell by my assessment of his character, we aren't exactly on the same side of the political fence.

anyway, my focus lenses burn the fuck outta my eyes and the weather forecast calls for rain and snow today. it's incredibly bright and blue outside right now, but definitely colder than it has been since the last snow. did i mention i dislike snow? snow and my officemate.

though you couldn't tell it by this entry, i'm actually in a good mood. i've got some interviews lined up for today and class tonight, but nothing that i can't handle.

johnny cash on repeat helps.

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Adoption is close!

got a call from the social worker and my lawyer today. both told me the good and bad news.

bad: the bumbling idiot social worker never submitted her decision.

good news: my wonderful lawyer took care of everything.

therefore, Javi is officially mine 10 days from friday (the 5th). no more false promises. this time it'll be for real.

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Red fish

in my love-stupor yesterday i bought another pack of finger paints and a set of watercolors and brushes for the little one. he told me he was going to paint Red -- the fish, who used to be named Green until the winds changed and pluck devised a much better moniker. i said okay.

how bout i found that child dragging the kitchen stool into the living room, paint brush in hand. he literally meant paint Red. i had the urge to both beat him and help him.

luckily for the fish, i redirected him to the table and a fresh piece of paper. unluckily for me, pluck does not like the idea of a brush and so, i had to lava him to get the watercolors out of his skin.

so much for that.

this morning was glorious with full sun and blue skies. people in the south scare me, though. three days of 80 degree weather and they're dropping their kids at daycare in shorts, tank tops and sandals. uh, hello? it snowed last week.

javi looks like a little puritan in his 'soldier pants', power rangers tee and spiderman shoes. yes, he's a pacifist's nightmare today, but c'mon - it's daycare! you got to send them in something you don't mind coming home filthy.

anyway, i jetsetted to work with a pluck original in hand, stopped at world market for a frame (will become a good friend's bday gift) and then at *$ for a tall-mild-nonfat-no drip-misto (which is fucking delicious). i'm wearing a white vneck tee, olive pinstriped surf shorts and brown thong sandals*. my hair is washed and gloriously curly. i've got freshly ordered contacts in and only a half day at work.

the possibilities are endless.

*adults can dress like it's july in the beginning of march. adults who dress their children like it's july in the beginning of march are idiots.

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Guess who really is a parent?

No, not like "responsible for a kid" - i'm talking fullblown name on the birth certificate parent.

i am officially, honored by the state of north carolina and the federal government of this u.s. of a., javi's recognized court-appointed MOTHER.

excuse me while i beam.

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The office

excuse me while i lament:

i've been in this position since november but i feel like i'm still the new girl. they all frolic together and i just sit at my desk and type type type away.

it's my lack of entitlement and insecurity and my feelings of worthlessness etc etc ad nauseum. i am an extrovert, but only when comfortable. these people all know each other and they go bowling and attend baseball games and eachother's parties. they ride in together and herd out for cigarette breaks.

i feel i've no footing here. i know they won't fire me, but can't i just get comfy? can't i get it together enough to make more than one friend in an office of 30 20-30 somethings?

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Question for single parents

question for you single parents:

how would you feel if you chose a partner and they refused to ever be alone with your kid? that is, you've been in a relationship for 8 months and they still won't watch your kid for you if you need it.

would it make or break your relationship? would you feel that the person isn't 100% if they refuse to pitch in with your child?

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