Monday, February 27, 2006

I had a wonderful time at Con and returned home to check my email only to find reports that my favorite author of all time has passed away. I am in shock. I never met her and likely never would have, but I was attached to her none the less. Octavia Butler was a pioneer in the field of black female sci fi published authors. Her novels are ground breaking and extraordinary. Dawn was one of the first sci fi novels I ever read and at the time I had no idea the author or main character was black. Ameena had just been born and I was at the mall with her in stroller and bored and disillusioned with marriage and motherhood. I went to Northland Mall to have frozen yogurt at Hudsons-now Marshall Fields. Hudsons at Northland used to have a bookstore on the main level and I picked up a book at random to page through as i ate my ice cream-Ameena must have been sleeping. Dawn had an interesting cover featuring a white woman-not sure who the hell she was supposed to be as the main character, Lilith Iyapo, is black-who was sitting next to a half open plant pod containing a sleeping human. Actually, in retrospect, I believe that I was entranced by the cover of Imago-the third and final installment in the Xenogenesis trilogy that began with Dawn. Always one to start at the beginning I took Dawn back to the table I was sitting at in Hudsons and began reading it. I was hooked at the first page and purchased it and eventually all published works by Octavia Butler. In fact, the only novel of hers I have not read and do not personally own is Survivor which she has never allowed to be reprinted. Her novels have changed me and how I view the world around me. I have loved some of her characters, hated some of her characters and identified with most of her characters. Her novels feature change and explore many boundaries-sexuality, gender, race, society, family, religion-you name it and she has explored it in some way-even incest. All of her books featured strong black capable, intelligent femal main characters-leaders all. They all also featured racially diverse communities and usually also featured lesbians and gays. Her novels are groundbreakking and she is a genius.
To say I am devastated and deeply saddened is to way understate my feelings. I do not posses words for how upset I am. Three great ladies lost back to back: Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King and now Octavia Butler-by far the least well known and by far my favorite.
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!

Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006)
Octavia Estelle Butler passed away at her Seattle, Washington home on Saturday February 25, 2006.
An only child, she was born on June 22, 1947 in Pasadena, California. Her father died when she was very young. Octavia attended school at Pasadena City College, California State University, Los Angeles and UCLA.
Following participation in the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop, her first story, "Crossover" appeared in the 1971 Clarion anthology. Additional sales were slow to develop but in itme she published nearly 20 novels and books. Fledgling, her first novel in seven years, was released in the fall of 2005.
Octavia received the PEN Center West Lifetime Achievement Award, Nebula award and two Hugo Awards. In 1995 she was the recipient of a $295,000 MacArthur Foundation fellowship.
She has been considered the most successful African American woman writing in the science fiction genre.
Posted February 26, 2006

Octavia Butler, prominent science fiction author, dies at 58
The Associated Press SEATTLE
Octavia E. Butler, the first black woman to gain national prominence as a science fiction writer, died after falling and striking her head on the cobbled walkway outside her home, a close friend said Sunday. She was 58.Butler was found outside her home in the north Seattle suburb of Lake Forest Park on Friday. She had suffered from high blood pressure and heart trouble andcould only take a few steps without stopping for breath, said Leslie Howle, who knew Butler for two decades and works at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle.Butler's work wasn't preoccupied with robots and ray guns, Howle said, but used the genre's artistic freedom to explore race, poverty, politics, religion and human nature."She stands alone for what she did," Howle said. "She was such a beacon and a light in that way."Fellow Seattle-based science fiction authors Greg Bear and Vonda McIntyre said they were stunned by the news and called it a tremendous loss."People came the world around to talk to her," Bear said. "She was sweet. She was smart. She knew science fiction and how to work with it."Butler began writing at age 10, and told Howle she embraced science fiction after seeing a schlocky B-movie called "Devil Girl from Mars" and thinking, "I can write a better story than that." In 1970, she took a bus from her hometown of Pasadena, Calif., to East Lansing, Mich., to attend a fantasy writers workshop.Her first novel, "Kindred," came out in 1979. It concerned a black woman who travels back in time to the South to save a white man. She went on to write about a dozen books, plus numerous essays and short stories. Her most recent work, "Fledgling," an examination of the "Dracula" legend, was published last fall.She won numerous awards, and most notably in 1995 became the first science fiction writer granted a "genius" award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which paid $295,000 over five years. She served on the board of the Science Fiction Museum.Peter Heck, a science fiction and mystery writer in Chestertown, Md., said Butler was recognized for tackling difficult and controversial issues, such as slavery."She was considered a cut above both in the quality of her writing and her imaginative audacity," Heck said. "She was willing to take uncomfortable ideas and pursue them further than a lot of other people would have been willing to."Heck's wife, Jane Jewell, executive director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, called Butler one of the first and definitely the most prominent black woman science fiction writer, but said she would have been a major writer of science fiction no matter her race or her gender."She is a world-class science fiction writer in her own right," Jewell said. "She was one of the first and one of the best to discuss gender and race in science fiction."Butler described herself as a happy hermit, and never married. Though she could be very private, Bear said, she had taken classes to improve her public speaking and in recent years seemed more outgoing."Mostly she just loved sitting down and writing," he said. "For being a black female growing up in Los Angeles in the '60s, she was attracted to science fiction for the same reasons I was: It liberated her. She had a far-ranging imagination, and she was a treasure in our community."Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Well, I did not work friday. I took A to Urgent Care on thursday after her thumb was broken. They X-Rayed it but were not sure if it was broken or sprained and said they would have the X Ray reviewed and get back to be me, in the meantime they splinted it and sent her home. Well, A was in alot of pain even the next day and Urgent Care seemed kind of incompentent as it was. So, I called Cigna and got the name and number of a orthopaedic clinic for follow up. I called as soon as they opened friday, and got her in as soon as possible but I was so upset over everything that happened that I just did not go in for the day. I told my mom what happened and she gave lip service to being helpful and supportive, but in the end Kris kept her for me for the weekend. I needed some down time and some alone time.
I worked saturday and ended up meeting V for dinner that evening. It went surprisingly well. I have been having a terrible time sleeping and had a rough time staying awake right after we ate. However, I perked up once we left the restaurant. He suggested that we return to the bookstore we met at for some tea or coffee. We ended up shopping for books and talking until the bookstore closed at 11. Then we sat in the car and talked some more. He was very poilte, a gentleman, paid for everything and is a good listener. He and I have many interests in common and he is funny and nice. I like him. I think perhaps we will see eachother again and maybe even be friends. I have to remain cautious with him because he is just a few months out of a bad challenging relationship and I think he is rebounding with me. Which is fine as long as I do not allow myself to get hurt. We shall see.
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I feel like I am going to lose my fucking mind. No shit. I do not know what is going on, but whatever it is, I think I have about reached my breaking point. First I have the shit at work with S. I did file an HR complaint. HR backed S which did not surprise me-we SO need a union-but what did surprise was that apparently there have been documented customer complaints about me-that I knew absoluetly nothing about. I am furious that nothing was ever mentioned to me and then at my year end evaluation it is included as if it was an ongoing development issue and something I have been working with and struggling with all year. When I read the email from HR curtly telling me there was nothing they could do and in fact they could give less than I shit, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried some more. Than I called CL and told her I was seriously considering leaving and seeing if I could get some kind of stress leave and if not just fucking quitting. I was that discouraged and upset. In the end I stayed and I have to say that my complaint surprised S and she has been hesitant and even respectful when dealing with me. I am trying to pull it together and since I have spent most of this week in my room crying and going to bed early I went out rented a movie and took out a pizza kit to thaw for A and I have to a special evening together. I am on the couch crocheting and watching tv when she gets home. Immediately I can tell that something is wrong. Earlier in the week she came home all upset about a fight she had with some friends of hers and I figured it was more of the same. I ask her what is wrong and she says, "I love you mom". I knew then she had done something wrong and I think I went insane for awhile there. She told me that had been not doing her math homework again-huge surprise-and that she had signed my name AGAIN to her grade sheet. This is what really blows my mind here, when her math teacher rightly recognized that was NOT my signature, she asked A for my phone number to call me. A gave her personal cell number and then when the teacher called at first tried to pretended to be me and then when that did not work said I was not home and did not give my personal cell number. To compund this infraction, she followed this up by calling the school the next day and pretending to be me. The principal called and she is on final warning step 2-the next step being suspension. I could not believe it. Something in me snaped, honestly. I beat her ass, with a brush. In trying to cover her behind with her hands I hit her hand with the brush and broke her thumb. I really felt badly about it. The whole thing is totally fucked up. I had not spanked her in I do not know how long and things had been going so well. I can barely take being a mom right now, much less a single mom with the limited support and resources available to me. I know this is just kid shit and it could be worse-it could be drugs or sex and in a few more years probably will be. I do not know how to help her and really no longer wish to even fucking bother. I just want to disappear-to no longer exist at all. I am fed up and overwhelmed and in no mind frame to handle this parenting stuff. Yet, if I do not get this and her under control this will be least of my worries. I think I scared her as much if not more than I scared myself. She was shocked and so was I. I remember asking her if she was afraid and she said she was. I then asked her if she knew what I was going to do next and she said No, I told her she should be afraid because I did not know what I was going to do next either. In the scheme of things I know A is a good kid and I am blessed. I am just so totally unprepared to handle her being challenging because she has always been such a good and easy kid. In reality I knew it could not last forever, but who would have known it could be this difficult to work with. I also feel like I am trying so hard with her and it is having no effect at all. I am under so much pressure and have so little support I feel like I am losing my mind.
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I am so upset it is unbelievable. I was feeling so much better, resolving to be more social with friends, perhaps more open to dating, feeling like Spring was coming. Then I get my yearly evaluation for work. What a shock. S is a harsh grader and last year I acepted my evaluation witout too much argument. However, this year I know my value to the company and made it clear that I would be limiting any further above and beyond type duties if i was not compensated accordingly in both my short term incentive and my raise. Well, I hit my numbers sales wise-data percentages, add-a-lines, etc but I guess S did not want to give me what I wanted for raise and short term incentive which can only be justified by a poor evaluation. Well, she calls me in her office and I can tell she was kind of nervous, the evaluation seems to be going pretty well, the usual stuff, she wants me to have better numbers, I need to be more of a leader and encourage CSR's to make more sales, etc, etc. Nothing really bad mostly pretty good, then she gets to the final evaluation where she can fill out a paragraph about me and my past year. Does she take this opportunity to say how appreciative she is of me coming in on my vacation twice and on my days off-numerous-to help? Of course not. Does she talk about how many escalations I take-more than she, D and J combined? Of course not. Does she talk about my effort to help with audit procedures or how I support inventory and merchandising as well as do CSR and manager duties? Nope, not so much as a mention of that. She takes this opportunity to say that I have poor customer service relations-which I need to work on, that I am not "happy" enough with customers and finishes that off by saying that I have expressed a desire to no longer have face to face contact with customers-which is certainly true about the less customer contact. However, the way she phrased it and conventiently leaving out about me wanting less direct customer contact after I was accosted by a customer in the parking lot outside of work and how upset I was afterwards. She portrays me as having poor customer relations in a company which prides itself on customer service. Basically, she has prevented me from being able to transfer to another store or move up in the company. I could kill the fucking bitch. Not only does she not recognize me for how very much I go above and beyong what I need to, she screws my chances for transfer or advancement. I was so upset and frustrated I was crying and the only nice thing I can say is thank the gods it was at the end of my shift. I am seriosuly considering filing a complaint with HR. I doubt it will do any good, but at this point it could hardly do any harm either.
~~~~Where ever you go, there you are!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Superbowl....well, what can I say? I do not follow sports, did not know who was playing and after having half watched the game, still am not sure who palyed, LOL!!!!!! I had a blast at D and N's. I overslept and did not make it to Zen Center, but A and I stayed home trying not to show at D and N's at an ungodly early hour. Finally I headed over and just barely had time to catch D before he headed over to his parents. It seems that D, N and M had plans to watch the game at his parents house. Oops. I felt akward imposing msyelf, but N assured me that she had no interest in going to his parents for the game and was just as glad to have me and A visit. It was really nice and healing in a way. I forgot how much I miss them. They have never gone anywhere, but I have been so absorbed in work and my funk that I think I forgot how much fun my friends are. I was disappointed with the commercials and N explained some of the game and rules to me. In the end we left before it was over because I was concerned about getting A home to bed for school the next day. I was also worried about traffic since the game was downtown. In fact I passed a ton of busses heading downtown to the stadium to pick up spectators.
I have to say that I have been following in the papers and in the news the hoopla surrounding the Superbowl being hosted by the Motor City. I have not always been a supporter of Kwame Kilpatrick-he is abit conservative for me-but he has certainly been good for the city. Detroit looks good. I was surprised when I went out downtown for my 30th b-day how clean and impressive the city was. Gone seemed to be the multitude of abandoned buildings and dirty streets I remember seeing day in and day out on my long bus rides too and from high school. I know the poverty is still there-in this economy how could it not be-but the city looks good. Makes me proud to be a native detroiter.
Less than 20 days to Con and 12 days until my vacation starts. Things are starting to look up!
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

On the romance front...... I am talking to a guy who I like. Liking a man I am conversing with is pretty rare for me. Usually, I try to go along and kind of give him-and myself-a chance, but it is only a hafl hearted effort at most. In all honesty that is how I originally felt about V. We conversed by email and I was none too impressed. Largely because he was so fascinated-and not in a good way-by my interest in Buddhism and Witchcraft. I tried to explain in the limited and frustrating way that seems to characterize most of my religious discussions with the average Christian in this culture. Much of what I believe defies description or is difficult to describe to somone who is satisified with the limitations that Christianity provides. Even more of it is unknowns and aspects I am still working out. My spirituality is a living breathing entity and ver much changing and evolving as I am changing and evolving. I tried to explain some of my base problems with Christianity and the bible, but he did not quite seem to get it and by the time we were talking on the phone I had little hope we would ever see eye to eye. Yet, our first conversation was good. He is funny and easy going and very intelligent. Even better, he is interested in what I am interested in. He has announced that he is a confirmed bachelor. Well, he is 37 and never been married, no kids and I do not think he has even been engaged-though he has been in love. I am not thinking he and I will be long term, but even if we are never more than friends, he seems a cool guy. I find myself looking forward to what develops:)
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!