Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why I've been acting shitty through december 2010

I want to write about the last two months, as it will explain my delay in my regular blogs and in my animations, as well as the sharp increase in my temper.

Is this an excuse? No. Absolutely not. I don’t believe in excuses. In fact I rather look down upon those who use them. I’m woman enough to own up to the fact that plenty of my comments over the last two months have been less than “Care Bear” worthy. So I apologize if I offend you. This may still explain a few things though.
So back in October, my father lost his job. My parents are separated, but due to the economy, my father lives in my basement. He has not found work yet.

Mama’s school was supposed to provide her with job assistance. She recently learned that that’s a fairy tale.

My brother and I still can’t find work. Keep in mind that my area was one of the three hardest hit by the recession, so it’s not like McDonald’s is crapping jobs up here. (I tried.)

The bills are piling up, my parents won’t stop kvetching about one thing or another, and the mortgage people we used to have, SOLD the mortgage to a company called “Nation-star”, which I believe is Swedish for “we have ZERO concept of how a clock works” and apparently is also Mexican for “Screaming computer followed by terse asshole” as they have been calling every other hour, regardless of the US rule on when and how often a collector can harass you, so I have had NO sleep and NO mental break in ages.

That’s not even the biggest story.

So a few weeks ago, Mama is complaining like crazy about a bunch of health problems. Now I’ve been asked not to reveal Mama’s biggest problem, but I have trusted about 4 friends with it, so since she’s ok with them, that will do.

So since she’s uninsured, I went looking for the Hammond Free Clinic online. I obtained the address and a photo of the clinic, and Mama and I take a trip out to find it.

Upon arrival, I find that the clinic… is actually a cramped hole in the wall, and nobody is behind the counter. The only other people there are a lady and her son, and from what little broken Spanish I can muster, they’ve been there for hours.

15 minutes later, we finally see another human. Mama goes to sign in for a check up.

“Oh no. You should have applied weeks ago, Ma’am.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Well apparently if you want to be looked at by a doctor at the Hammond Free Clinic, you need to put yourself on a waiting list. Then in 2-3 weeks they send you a postcard, letting you know if you are deemed “worthy” for their care… at a free clinic… for the poor… in a hole in the wall… that smells.

“We don’t accept walk-ins. We are VERY busy here.”

“But… this place is empty, except for the lady behind me.”

“*BIG sigh* Can’t you see we’re BUSY? We just can’t have EVERYONE walking in here you know.”

The child seated behind me yells “BOOOOOOO!!”

So Mama and I go to the Hammond Clinic. Yes, that’s the name of it. It’s also known as the Munster Med-Inn. Charming name, isn’t it?

So Mama fills out her information. The desk is run by nurses. The first nurse asks Mama why the insurance section is left blank on her paper.

“Oh, I don’t have insurance.”

“YOU….. YOU DON’T have INSURANCE??” The woman whispers to the other nurses. All three of them start chuckling. “Hehehehehehehee that will be $125 up front. That will cover the luxury you have of seeing a doctor.”

A swipe of the card, more chuckling, and then we are directed to the waiting room. “You’ll be the 6th one we call”

… Is what we would be told for the next 7 and a half HOURS.

All the while, the nurse had Food Network on, during their pre-Thanksgiving Paula Dean and Rachel Ray marathon. And every hour, the bitch would crank up the volume. Which aggravated the babies that were seated 6 rows from me, causing them to scream in disgust. Which prompted the lady across from me to tell the slack jawed, mullet toting rednecks beside her, all about each family member that has either died mysteriously from a rare disorder, or has developed diabetes from the drinking water.

Let me stop for a minute. Do you see how this just spiraled out of control? How the slight click of the remote caused the masses before me to react so? That’s because for 7 and a half hours, we all had to endure the sounds of a Food Network “holiday”.

One hour is plenty. Two hours is a mild annoyance. Three hours is pushing it. But 7 and a half HOURS?? And guess where my head was? Right under the TV set. Why? Because all the other seats were taken, or otherwise dirty. (Yeah, this facility does not believe in paper towel and Lysol. Let me repeat myself, I’m in a CLINIC!!) Now Mama at least took a nap, so she was spared half of the agony. But please, let me tell you what I was listening to:

Paula Dean: HOO WEE now we’re gonna take this her stick o’ butter, and we’re gonna FRY her up in some bacon fat! Next were gonna soak some chitterlings in some butter and lard, for our rum an’ chitterling pie!
1 year old 6 seats down from me: WAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAH
2 year old beside him: MAAAAAM MAAAAM HE WON’T SHADDAP MAAAAM
Babies’ mother: SHH Kayley-Hannah-Ann be QUIET!! I’m trying to listen.
Paula Dean: HOOOOO WEEE now for some rum on this here fried butter, and now we’re gonna fry us up some mayonnaise battered pork in LARD!! MM MMM ain’t that scrumptious? Now when the family wants some butter on their biscuits they can have some of this MMM MMM GOOOD fried butter!
Lady across from me: Oh lard! That reminds me of the time my younger daughter got diabetes from the drinking water.
Slack Jawed yokel: Do whut?
Lady: Oh yeah. It was almost as bad as the time my aunt was killed by Zimbabwe Measles. She was even featured on television in my old area, because she got it from the cat.
Yokel: Well my ol’ Paw Paw fought in th’ after war whut came after World War two. He didn’t see no action but he fought with a gun ah tells ya.
Paula Dean: Now we’re gonna make some fish stew. First we’re gonna put some butter in a pot, and next were gonna bring out our tender, fried fish and dump that on in…
Yokel’s fat ass Mullet toting daughter: Well ain’t that a hoot! You know I love this here Paula Dean. Like a member of my own family. HEY NURSE! Since you ain’t calling us up, how about you turn up the volume?
*CLICK*
Paula Dean: HOOOO WEEE!! Now that there’s one gorgeous, scrumptious chitterling and rum pie out from the oven. Now let’s just top that off with bacon, and how about you all visit Rachel Ray?
Rachel Ray: Now to start, we’re gonna make our Thanksgiving salad. First we’re gonna start with some bacon, then mix in our YUM-O lettuce, then add in a pinch of salt (Four handfuls go into the bowl) and top it with our E-V-O-O
Lady: Olive oil is one of the things that I’m allergic to. Last time I had some, my heart stopped, and I was in such PAIN! At least it wasn’t like the time my daughter here was diagnosed as being bi-polar. She’s a bit of a whore too.
Lady across from me ‘s daughter: Mooooooom..
Lady: Well it’s true!
Nurse: Oh what a charming program, let me turn it up!
*CLICK*
Rachel Ray: E-V-O-O is SO YUM-O!!!
1 year old: WAAAAAAAAAAH!!
2 year old: MAAAM MAAAM MAAAM CAN I HAVE MY HANNAH MONTANNA COLORING BOOK BAAAAAACK?
Babies’ Mother: NURSE! I can’t hear. Can you turn it up?
*CLIIIIIIICK*
Rachel Ray: Now we’re gonna add a light vinaigrette made up of apple vinegar, old frozen bacon bits, a pinch of salt (Four handfuls) and some E-V-O-O. *Eats a spoonful* WOOOW OH MMMMMM IT’S YUM-O.

Now at hour 5, I had 2 minute reprieve with Giada:
Giada: *Teeth clenched, breathing as though she was trying to pop a vein on purpose* EEEEEEE-HUUUUUUH EEEEEEEE-HUUUUUH Now then. Let’s add some Italian flavor by making a vinaigrette using gorgonzola, feta, thinly sliced pork and some olive oil. EEEEEEEE-HUUUUUUH EEEEEE-HUUUUUUUUH

Which was followed by 3 minutes of Alton “cut your hair” Brown:
Alton: We’re going to take a Cornish hen. The younger the better. Now slice him up the side. And you want to use a 2.2 gage knife, or you WILL ruin the flavor. Then you put it into a Panini press, and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Cut thussley.

But my break was short lived, as soon Paula Dean poked her big ass into Alton’s segment:
Paula: HOO WEE don’t you wanna add some bacon fat to that dry old hen??

Now Paula brings out her twin cousin, who looks just like her, but slightly shorter. After 30 more minutes of “HOO WEE” Paula brings out Rachel Ray, and the rest of the Dean clan. The sound that came out of the TV set above me, for the next 2 and a half hours, with higher and higher decibels every 5th commercial break, brought to me by the hearing and mentally impaired nurse, sound like some bizarre pig breeding ceremony:
HOO WEE HOO WEE YUM-O PIG FAT SLAP SOME BACON ON THAT E-V-O-O RUM SOAKED CHITTERLINGS HOO WEE YUM-O HOO WEE YUM-O HEY RACHEL SAY HOO WEE HOO WEE HEY PAULA SAY YUM-O YUUUUUM-OOOOOOOO YUM-O!! (add kosher salt… thussley) MORE SALT FRIED BUTTER TASTE SO MMM MMM GOOOD! WOOOW OH MMMMMM IT IS HOO WEE YUM-O!! IT IS MMM MMM GOOOOOOD!!!

It’s nightfall. And about 21 people have been called before Mama. Some of them came in AFTER us. So much for being the 6th called!

I’ve now gotten up 4 times to ask the nurse why the delay, and I’m quite certain I’m spurting blood from both of my ears. Calmly, thoughtfully, I venture to the desk for the 5th time, to sweetly and politely speak to the nurse.

“Woman! If I catch you pointed-finger laughing at my broke Mama one more time, I will rip yo’ spine out from your left nostril and wear it as a NECKLACE!!”

And after 7 and a half hours, Mama is called. But here again it’s an issue. My mom’s name is “Manuela” which is pronounced “MAH-NUU-AYE-LAH”. But how is she called?

MENOOLEEAH?? MIN-YOO-ALAH?? MAN-WHALE??

By the screeching overhead speakers.

But we don’t care. So it’s off to see a doctor.

OR NOT??

A nurse walks in. “Where’s the patient?”
Mama: I am.
Nurse: YOOOOOU???
Mama: Yes?

The nurse flips through her papers. “Um… I’ll be right back.” I hear her having an argument with two other nurses. She returns a moment later.

Nurse: Um ah… there’s been a TERRIBLE mistake.
Me: WHAAAAT??
Nurse: You are MINYOUALALAH IKEA right?
Mama: Close enough.
Nurse: Ah well ah… there’s been a mix up. For some reason they put you down as a 10 month old.
Mama: I beg your pardon?
Nurse: Yes, your chart says you’re only 10 months old. We had you put down for a pediatrician. So um… can you just go back to the waiting room then?

Now I can taste my own blood pressure. YUM-O indeed!

So after voicing our displeasures, Mama and I are sent to the waiting room…. For another hour. The Waiting room is now standing room only. And the nurse keeps asking us to move so she can see Rachel Ray. So Mama and I are moved out of her way… into the doorway, which automatically opens every three seconds. The nurse says it’s “voice automated” and a new feature to the Hammond Clinic. It responds to a specific pitch. So everytime Rachel Ray says “YUM-O” or the babies that are now RIGHT next to me cry, WOOOOOOOSH!! Ice cold air on my behind.

“YUM-O” WOOOOOOOOSH
“WAAAH” WOOOOOOOOOOOOSH

I’m glaring at the nurses, who are not laughing anymore, but they are damn sure nosey. “Why don’t you have any insurance? Can’t you just get another job?”

Now another doctor is called. Mama and I move to a silent room for 10 minutes. A nurse comes in to do the usual, then the doctor comes in.

Now since I can’t remember his name, and I never saw him again, I’m going to call him Dr. Garfield. Why? Because like the cartoon cat, he seems to hate Mondays and is orange striped.

Dr. Garfield walks in as slowly as possible. He has no neck and two lead feet. He also sounds like Darth Vader.

Dr. Garfield: *KKKKKK-KUUUUUUH KKKKKKKK-KUUUUUUH* Hello. What seems to be the trouble. Ok. Let me have a look.

Mama sends me out of the room. The umpteenth nurse I’ve seen so far sends me to a family waiting room.

…. Which is a chair facing a wall. And one dim, fluorescent light. And the wall is close to the chair, so I have about 4 inches of leg room. But considering the last several hours, I’m willing to let it go, and just sit quietly.

A little old lady sits beside me, having appeared out of the shadows. Kind old woman, she takes pity on me.

Lady: I saw you and your mother come in! They just called my father in an hour ago.

We talk for a bit about shoes and sales, and then she tells me about how she had been there for 5 hours waiting for her father to just get a check up. Upon hearing my tale, she pats me on the head and tries to assure me that everything will be okay. Just then, her parents are ejected, and the three drive home.

….. There’s no clock in the now silent hallway. So I have no idea how long I’m here. But I do hear Dr. Garfield.

“Hmm. Oh no. Hmm. No wait, that’s okay. Hmm. OH NOO!! Hmm. Oh wait, that’s okay, given the patient’s age. And this is MINIWALAH’s file, right?”

O_o;; Oh no?? Did I just hear the phrase “Oh No” twice?? I scootch over to see what’s going on. The doctor is on a laptop, he then stares at me. Not in the “What are you looking at” way but in the “SHE’S SEEN TOO MUCH GET HER!!” way that I’m so used to seeing. He soon vanishes.

It’s almost 8. Mama finally retrieves me. She tells me that Dr. Garfield says she has more fibroids than he anticipated, and that she needs an ultrasound. Some of the fibroids are a bit tougher than they should be.

“Great, ultrasound. Which floor is that on? I’ll walk you up.”

“He said I can have my ultrasound tomorrow.”

“To….. MORROW?? WHY??”

“The clinic is closing now.”

“WHAAAAAAAAT??”

Now upon exiting, I can’t help but wonder about all the people still waiting in the waiting room. The area was FULL, and some of these people had been here longer than us. I’m not so pissed that I can’t pray that they got the help they needed.

Was almost hit by a dude chugging whiskey in a pick-up truck on the way home. I didn’t even see my house until midway through Raw.

I sat by the computer, made the unfortunate mistake of watching 10 minutes of Raw, and the weight of the day just came crashing down on me. I tweeted my disgust at the show, turned off my TV, and just cried. I haven’t felt so weak, vulnerable or alone in ages.

If you’ve known me since 2008 or before that, then you probably can guess why I’ve been coming apart at the seams. If not… well let’s move on.

So the next day, I take Mama back to the clinic. I’m really flying by on fumes at this point. I just want some good news.

Back to the nurses’ desk, the ladies sent us up a few flights to the ultrasound/radiation room. But before Mama can have her ultrasound, we have to re-register with the upstairs nurse. Terse little shrew.

“What insurance do you have?”

“Um… don’t you have my file?”

“Yes, I’m looking at it. But you need to tell me what insurance you have.”

“None.”

“NONE??? You DON’T have insurance?”

“No.”

“Right well that will be $800. Cash or credit?”

“What? I’m sorry… how much did you say?”

“*SIGH* $800!! Cash or credit? GOD!!”

I let my inner Jesse Ventura take over. Nuno. Not the “wrestler” Jesse or “Governor” Jesse. “Conspiracy Theory” Jesse.

“Okay, if the equipment is already here, and the clinic has already been paid $125 for my mom’s use of it, what exactly is this $800 going towards?”

The nurse starts getting flustered. “Well um, it covers the test itself!”

“$800 for a piece of paper and some petroleum jelly? I don’t buy it.”

There was some more bantering. Then this bitch has the nerve to say “Well if you mother had BOTHERED to get insurance, this wouldn’t happen. Now I can cut it, so you pay $425 right now, and the rest later, but that’s the best I can do, because she didn’t BOTHER getting insured.”

I am damn right postal at this point. My mom looks like she’s going to keel over, and I can hear ANOTHER nurse snickering. So I threatened the terse nurse with bodily harm. Another nurse is called over. “Well just… go downstairs and explain to the head nurse.”

Back down the elevator. The head nurse tells my mom she can have the Medicaid rate, because that is clinic policy for those who don’t have insurance.

Back upstairs. The terse nurse just huffs. Mama has her ultrasound. Then we’re sent back downstairs.

“OKAY!” Says a nurse. “Go back in line for the waiting room, then we will call you, and tell you which doctor you’re seeing next. Dr. Garfield knows what to expect, so he wants you to see a “lady parts” doctor.”

Not 2 minutes later, this SAME woman says “Go home. We don’t need you here. We will call you with your doctor.”

3 days go by. NO calls.

Mama starts calling the clinic back. THEY HANG THE FUCK UP!!!

REPEATEDLY!!

Finally, Mama gets through. She’s told to see a doctor out in Illinois. Since I don’t remember his name either, from now on, he’s Dr. Hadji. Why? Because there’s about 13 Dr. Hadji’s, 14 Dr. Singhs and 18 Dr. Rajids up here. You should see my phonebook!

So we’re told she needs to see this man on the 10th.

The day of the appointment, we’re in traffic and Mama’s cell phone is ringing off the hook. She finally answers “Toll Free” call #15.

“Hello? Is this MANIWALAH IKEA?”

“Good enough.”

“This is Dr. Hadji’s receptionist. Um you were scheduled for today at 3:15, right?”

“Yes?”

“Well he cancelled. Just now. He’s going on an important golf thing, but he said it’s important for him to see you. So can you like come back on the 22nd? Thankies!”

What?

So since then, I’ve been in Hell. Holistic medicine helps my mom a little, but now her arthritis is flaring up, due to the stress, so she’s had little use of her gnarled hands. I have no freaking clue what’s wrong with her, and the clinic is already sending notices to the house.

So is any of this an excuse for how I act? Again, no.
I apologize if my lashing out has offended you. It’s a defense mechanism I’ve been trying to get rid of for years. But this is where I’ve been mentally over the last few weeks. I’ve been agitated, aggravated, and all I really want is for everything to be OK.

Right now? Hardly anything is. So today I’m going with Mama to Dr. Hadji. Wish her good luck/health please!

UPDATE:

UPDATE:

So today was Mama’s appointment with Dr. Hadji. Now his place of business (and I stress this word) is behind the SECOND Hammond Clinic. For the record, both “Hammond” clinics are located in Munster. Yeah. Figure that one out.

So the lady at the desk asks for yet another $125 for the privilege of seeing a doctor. At least this branch was sans-attitude. We’re shown to the waiting area, directly in front of the desk. And then…

*ZZZZZT ZZZZT POO!!*

We have a blackout. Three times. All around me I can hear *BEEP BEEP EEEEEEEE BEEP!!* and groaning. The Christmas tree is the first thing back on. For real.

Mama is the third person called. As she goes to be weighed, a nurse looks at my head… and pokes me.

For the record, I have a Sailor Moon hat that I wear when it’s arctic outside. The nurse was like “EEhhhuuuuooooohhh. Sailormoon. I guess that’s an anime. Haha. My son watches all kinds of those WEIRD cartoons. He’s into like Bleach and Blood +, is it anything like Bleach or Digimon?”

For the record, she actually said “EA-NEE-MAY” when it should be “AH-NEE-MAY” and “DIGIMAN” which implies a singular hero, rather than multiple digital monsters. This annoys me as much as people who refer to Batman and Robin as the “Doo-namic- Dino” instead of “Dynamic Duo” so I can just feel my inner comic book geek gnashing her teeth. But I smile and nod.

Mama is then led to a tiny, airless office with very nice wood. What? It’s Cherry wood. It’s good wood I tells ya!!

Dr. Hadji comes in, looking like your typical Indian doctor……… but with a Scottish accent. Not even a normal Scottish accent. Picture Drew McIntyre after a full day of surfing in California.

“So what seems to be the problum? Sure-in ah’ve seen yer results and I neigh can understand why the dude called fer yer ultrasound.”

If ever you are in public with me, and it looks like my eyes are darting around, it’s always because I’m looking for the hidden camera.

He explains that Dr. Garfield is a raving lunatic, and that Mama’s fibroids are plentiful, but not a real concern. There’s one tumor hanging behind her uterus, pushing down on everything, but it’s more of an annoyance than an issue. So what is his diagnosis?

“Right! Well we can teke the whole uterus out, you’ll have surgery and sure-in it’ll go eh-way. Cash or credit?”

WOAH TIME OUT THERE LADDIE!!

So I explain that Mama can’t afford surgery, stressing the word “uninsured”.

“Right! Well it’s not like there’s a magic bullet or anything for serious. The only other thing I can think of, is we can charge ye for an MRI, and if ya qualify, we can put you through a procedure where we shove a catheter up ye thigh, and then we’ll dry out yer fibroids one at a time. It may or may not work, but it’s worth a shot if ye won’t do the surgery.”

“I don’t know. That sounds like an awful lot for a 50/50 chance.” Mama starts, but Dr. Hadji cuts her off.

“Well now yer making up numbers that neigh make any sense there lass. There’s no telling how well or even if it’ll work. If ye let me take out yer silly old uterus, it’ll make the discomfort go eh-way, dudette.”

Mama actually let this clown examine her, before we were sent on our “wey”. 10 minutes.

10 minutes?? Wait that’s it?!?!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that this wasn’t serious *touch wood* and that Mama IS going to be okay, but my household was turned upside down for over a month, for a 10 minute interview with the Highlander from Bollywood, who offers her NO help and charges her $125 just to be told he wants to take her uterus?? WTF??

This would be the state of our healthcare system it seems. >_<;;

Friday, July 30, 2010

Just how many nationalities am I??

Of all the questions I’ve ever been asked, I think my favorite one so far is “What nationality are you?” it really is something I love being asked. And you must be wondering why that is.

My favorite game in the world… is messing with people’s perceptions. I’m never too busy to tip over the status quo, so for me, being what I am is the same as if you were to wake up tomorrow and find out you were born a Nintendo. So not to sound obscene, but I can literally play with myself everyday.

Now getting back to what am I, I generally have two questions, depending upon how you ask me.

If you are being rude, and you say “What are you??” with that “And where can I deport you?” kind of tone, then my answer involves a newspaper, a place to sit and a cup of hot coffee.

I will look you in the pupils of your eye and say “GUESS”. Then I shall enjoy my newspaper and cup of coffee, until you get somewhere close to right.
“Are you Mexican?”
“No.”
“Are you Puerto Rican?”
“No.”
“Are you Eskimo?”
“Nope. Not even close.”
“Are you Portuguese?”
“No.”
“Are you Hindi?”
“Nope.”
“Are you Samoan?”
“Not a bad guess…. But no.”
“Are you Filipino?”
“Nope.”
“Are you Brazilian?”
“That’s a new one. No.”
“Are you Cuban?”
“Nope.”
“Haitian?”
“Nu-uh.”
“Are you Hawaiian?”
“Nope.”
“Are you Korean?”
“Where the hell d’ya get that from? No.”
“Italian?”
“No.”
“Greek?”
“Nu-uh.”
“Are you New Zealander?”
“Nope.”
“Um…. Are you Hispanic at all?”
“Not to the best of my knowledge.”
“Are you sure?”
“I checked.”
“Are you Mexican?”
“You just asked me that. NO.”
“Are you Malaysian?”
“WOW I haven’t gotten that in a while. Nope.”
“Are you from Fiji?”
“You know the daily Baby Blues strip isn’t as funny as the Sunday. Hmm? What? Fiji? Nice try. Nope.”
“Polynesian?”
“Nope.”
“You talk funny. Are you from Canada?”
“What does that mean? No I’m not from Canada, and don’t disrespect them.”
“Uh…. Are you sure you’re not even a little Mexican?”

This conversation usually lasts the whole newspaper long, as you can imagine. Most people like this just give up after they’ve asked if I’m Mexican for the 5th time.

Now if you ask me nicely, I’ll either give you the long or the short answer, depending upon how much time you have.

If you’re pressed for time, then I’m Black, White, Native American and Other. Or just simply Mixed Race. I may even shorten it to “Human” if you’re on the run.

If you have more time, then I’m *Deep breath* African -German-French-Huguenot -Cherokee-Chippewa-Iroquois -Irish-Chinese-Lebanese-Welsh-Scottish-Jewish-American AND I may be a British-Norwegian-Polish-Japanese-Scandinavian.

Now, you may be starring at the screen with this face → O_O;; or you may even think that I’m pulling your leg. But it’s the truth. Now, lemme break it down.

~{My &*%@-ing Dad’s side}~:

I can trace family names back to the 1600’s, thanks to some paperwork my Great-Grandmother typed up. But I have found my dad’s roots all the way back to 1080. And Apperantly, I have at least one ancestor that fled France during their Holy Wars.

Back in 1572, there existed a massacre, perpetrated by the Catholics. There were tensions brewing between Protestants (The Huguenots) and Catholics for many years over which was the “right” way to believe in God and Jesus. So between August 24th (Vince McMahon and Funaki’s birthday) and October 3rd of 1572, there was the
St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. The first people to go were women and children. Catholic rebels would shoot children who had been pushed out from tall houses, skewer pregnant women and children onto poles like people-kabobs, and dump bodies into the river. Survivors (Mostly men and select women) fled France via boat. Some landed in Wales while others floated to Great Britain and Ireland. So somewhere on my dad’s side, I have French-Huguenot ancestry.

Aside from Protestants, I also have Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Baptists, Methodists, Christians and Lutherans in my family, so Thanksgiving generally looks like a meeting of the United Nations.

Also on my Grandfather’s side, I have ancestors from Wales. My last name Ake (pronounced “Ake” as in “Bake” or “Make”) has it’s own family crest.

Now according to various historical sources online, the Akes can be traced back to 1080 Scandinavia. The Akes were originally Vikings, and “Ake” was NOT originally their last name.

You see “Ake” was originally Scottish slang for someone who lies, is shady, slimy, stupid and/or generally evil. And Scotland was where the Akes usually plundered. A modern-day translation of the slang term would probably be “Douche-bag” or “Douche-nozzle”. Not only were the Akes horrid people, but they were also the WORST Vikings EVER!!! >_O (I’m related to WHAT?!) They were considered the Juggalos of Vikings, and were driven out of Scotland. A chunk of them migrated to Wales, where they settled down with the natives, while the rest of them floated around, eventually ending up in North America. Both halves would cross into Pennsylvania in the 1600’s, probably on or after the third ship after the Mayflower. (AKA the cheap-ass $1 boat ride) Some of the Akes (who by this time had been born 16+ generations after the first Viking fleet) were pretty much bred out of my bloodline, and wound up in Virginia. Some went to Ohio and others (my bloodline) wound up in Maryland and other northern states. Some of these Akes merged with the Ecks, who would also be known as “Akes” since their Welsh names were often mispronounced as either “ICKS” or “Ex” while the pronunciation should really be “Akes”.

Now allegedly there is another crest with an acorn, which means that I my have come from another branch, but this is the only crest I can find:
http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/ake-family-crest.htm
And these are the Ecks:
http://www.houseofnames.com/fc.asp?sId=&s=ecks

Off topic, in the Random House Japanese-English dictionary (©1995) “Ake” is pronounced “Ah-Kay” and as a suffix means “The end of something” as in Tsuyuake = The end of the rainy season. Stand alone, Ake can either mean Bright, Scarlet, Red, Blood or something malevolent.

Somewhere up the line, my Grandfather also has an ancestor who was German, adding to the mystery of the Akes.

On my Grandmother’s side, I was once told that there is a British ancestor, but I have close to zero information on this ancestor. The rest of her family is Irish, with (I think) her grandparents or parents landing in Egg Harbor New Jersey. My grandparents were next-door neighbors and best friends before they started dating.

Odd trivia: My Grandmother once knew a man with the last name of “Payne” who tried courting her when she was younger.

She instead married Grandpa. The family joke being that she went from a Payne to an Ake.

Fast-forward 60+ years.

My maiden name is Ake.

One of my top 5 friends on MySpace is Alex Payne.
Ha ha ha.

~{My Mama’s Side of the Family}~:
← Opa, Oma and Orion.

On My Oma’s side, I am mostly German. However, if you read most post-college textbooks, then this means I MIGHT be Norwegian too.

Once upon a time, there existed a country named Prussia. (I LOVE that name. Prussia. Don’t you wanna name a pet that? Here Prussia!!) Apperantly, sometime before Wikipedia picks up history on the country (I.E. prior to 1550) the land was under attack by Norwegian Vikings. Prussia was also invaded by Scandinavian Vikings, and some really brave Polish people. But the differences between the Vikings and the Prussians were few, as both sides loved war, fighting, sweets, cuckoo clocks and mating. From 1060 until 1919, Prussia would morph many times with all kinds of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people, until eventually becoming Germany.

Now for a number of years, my Oma told me that I’m Deutsch and NEVER Sudeten Deutsch. I didn’t really understand the difference, but I think this might help:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudeten_Germans so now you know I’m Deutsch.

Now Oma’s grandmother (Her Oma) had red hair, freckles and light eyes. She is the main reason why in the Summertime, my hair appears bright red:

While in cooler climates, I appear to have blonde highlights:

But I am mostly a brunette:

Nobody in the family can confirm if she was Irish or Scottish, because she only insisted that she was German and would change the subject. She lived past 100, and for the most part her descendants were blonde, however Oma’s big brother had black hair.

Now anytime religion has been brought up, Oma has declared, almost screaming, “We’re Lutheran” almost to the point of panic. As a child, I thought it was just enthusiasm, since I have other family that are “yell worthy” over their beliefs, but I’ve since decided there’s more to this.

I thought it was odd that she always lights a ton of candles in the middle of December, yet she can barely remember why, (except for advent where you light the way for Jesus) and she makes the most incredible latkes, and has actually stopped time for Mama’s Bobka, and I think I know now.

When Oma was growing up, it was World War 2. Her brother was a Brown Shirt (anti-Nazi, US supporter) while many children in her neighborhood were forced into being in Hitler’s Youth. The Hitler’s Youth movement consisted of girls and boys between the ages of 5-7, who would play with red scarves in the streets, usually announcing when the Nazi soldiers were coming in.

Oma lived in a poor neighborhood, butt up against a known Jewish area. When I was five, she told me a story about a kind old man she knew, that would make candy for the children on their way to school. One day, the Nazi’s killed him, and hung his body over a passage-way to Oma’s school, marking his body with the word for Jew. They saw to it that children would have to see this man decaying as they went to school, every day, until the Nazis fell out of power. Sometime after this man’s murder, she remembers her mother moving her family underground. She thought that this was just preventative care, because Berlin had been bombed several times, with one such occasion where Oma’s best friend was blown to bits, but I believe there’s more to Oma’s mother moving her.

I know that in the 1940’s, there were a few places in East Germany where many Jews were emergency converted to the Lutheran faith, which is essentially a hybrid of Catholicism and Jewish beliefs. This way, they could retain at least some of their original identities, and not be captured by the evil Nazi rĂ©gime. I’m guessing my family may have converted. Oma’s family’s paperwork (birth certificates, church papers, ect) were destroyed in a fire, near the end of World War 2, so this may be a mystery that will have to remain unsolved for now. But I’m thinking that I may have Jewish ancestors.

Opa’s family story is long, so let me start with the shorter story on his dad’s side.
← Great Grandpa with his second wife Georgia and her friends.

Great-Grandpa to the best of my knowledge had a Native American grandfather. My Great-Grandpa once showed me a family album when I was a little girl, and in it were countless pictures of Native Americans in complete headdress. I know that between my Great Grandparents, I am Cherokee, Chippewa and Iroquois.

Here’s where I’m Chinese.

Sometime before Christopher Columbus (or even Leif Erickson) came the Chinese to America. Most of them were looking for spices, but a majority of those same men wound up taking on secret wives. A chunk of them even stayed! From this union came 15 sub-nations of Native Americans. Among them are the Cherokee, the Chippewa and the Iroquois.

Soon after the Chinese came a fleet of Japanese, who also mingled with the Native Americans. The one trait seemingly un-breed-out-able of these three groups are high cheekbones and large, almost almond-shaped eyes.

YUP That’s ME alright!!

Now before the events of the Jamestown settlement, there also arrived travelers from the Mediterranean countries, specifically Lebanon.

Some of these people wound up in Florida and Puerto Rico, but another group traveled through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and eventually stopped in Illinois, right where we now have Chicago. The Lebanese that traveled through here, mingled with the Cherokee, Chippewa and Iroquois in those areas, though only a few history textbooks mark this point in history.

From these ancestors comes a rare blood disorder that my Opa has. It’s not life threatening or contagious, but it can skip several generations and appear out of nowhere. And if not for a routine doctor checkup, my grandfather would not have known that he has the disorder, or even Lebanese ancestors.

Now both of my Great-Grandparents were (mostly) black. I’m pretty sure their ancestors came from Africa, but from which country in Africa I have few clues. If I had to guess, I’d say I might have family from Ghana, because a lot of the people out there look EXACTLY like my family, but without sequencing my DNA, I’m not sure.

Most of Great Grandpa’s family on his mother’s side (Kizzie Bonner) hailed from Mississippi.
← Great-Great Grandma Kizzie.

Great Grandpa’s father was John Bonner. Listed on this Census at #41 is John, followed by wife Kizzie, and their children: Shadrack (Great Grandpa), Cleotha and Richard:

Now we move onto Great Grandma's side.

← Great Grandma, Emma Lois Craig

Great Grandma’s family can be traced all the way back to the 1820’s. Right to Great-Great-Great-Great-Grand Mandy. Mandy was either a Quadroon or an Octoroon. In case you don’t know, a Quadroon is someone like me (One quarter black) and Octoroons are less black than that. As far as anyone knows, Mandy’s mother was like my mother, a mulatto.

Mandy was referred to as “High Yellow” meaning that she was pale skinned. She could have passed for white, easily.

Her grandfather was a man named William Craig. William had been driven out of his native Scotland, possibly due to something political. Somewhere in Scotland exists the Craig castle, a crest and a badge.

William traveled south, picked up some African slaves, then headed to the southern United States. The House of names:
http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/craig-family-crest.htm loses track of him after he went to Charleston. However William did not settle long there, and he eventually went south-west to Alabama. There in Bessemer, William wound up as “Massa” of the Washington-Jones Plantation.

He sold the plantation to his son. Somewhere in 1826 (I think) Gran Mandy was born.

It was not uncommon for a slave owner to use his slaves as sex toys, but nor was it uncommon for him to have a bond with his illegitimate children. William’s son left Mandy a trunk, filled with dresses, bobbles, ribbons, combs, trinkets and other nice things that a regular slave would NEVER have touched, but a daughter or granddaughter would have. Though they loved Mandy, they had to keep logs of their slaves, and this may be one of the few links I have for this:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:St1jWA1kb5kJ:www.afrigeneas.com/aacensus/al/slaves.htm+William+Craig+Washington-Jones+Plantation&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us look for section #6 and you will see the listing for William.

A woman of High Yellow color fetched a high price. Back in those days, a black person looking close to white, was considered a novelty, much in the way you might perceive a real life Thundercat. You’d never expect your cat to look human, and neither did most slave owners expect to have a “Negro” appear Caucasian. However because of this highly sought after feature, many slave owners panicked, knowing that a slave so light could easily walk right off of the Plantation, and nobody would be the wiser.

As was customary back then, Mandy was bred off to the darkest man on the field. She begat Johanna.

When Johanna was a young teenager (between 13-15) she met a traveling Native American. They were only together long enough for her to bear him a son, Eli. After that, this mystery man vanishes from my family history. Not even a name exists.

Eli would have three children, the youngest being my Great Grandma. She got together with Great Grandpa, and had my Opa.

When Opa was a young man, he went into the military. He was shipped to Germany, where he found my Oma. My mom’s conception got my grandparents into a lot of trouble, because Oma was a German woman, and Opa appears black as night. Segregation was still a big issue on US bases, so it’s a miracle that they even saw each other at all.

My parents would get together in 1984, marry in 1985, then I would be born in 1986. So that pretty much sums up what I am and how I got here.

According to the House of Names (See above link for crest) I may be DISTANTLY related to
Daniel Craig. But if you’re my friend, then you can call my distant cousin BOND…. JAMES BOND!! And just like me, he loves the N64. Gee I wonder why? ;)

So then the next question is “Does any of this matter?”

As far as I’m concerned, my race is of no consequence, unless I’m either explaining how I got here, or preparing the next generation for their family history lesson.
(HEY I can hope can’t I?) But for a lot of people, it still does matter, right to the point of class and annoyance.

I’ve seen other mixed race people in the press, trying to pick and choose which side to acknowledge. Halle Berry for example, insists that she’s black, but she wouldn’t exist without her white parent. Other mixed people have CRIED on Oprah, whining that they are “confused” by what they are. But I have no understanding of things like this. Does it matter that you’re mixed? No, it doesn’t. You’re human, so exactly what is confusing you? Get a fucking grip.

But the problem is that the “confusion” so many mixed race people think is there, is handed down from our very own society. I’ve been told to my face that I’ll never be black enough, never be white enough, and I’ve been witness to people ripping on shit, based upon how black it should or shouldn’t be.

A prime example is the movie “The Princess and the Frog”. I had posted 5 videos on YouTube, praising Disney for producing a movie with a black princess. And for the next 9 months, I was on YouTube every day, blocking and removing racist comments, almost ALL of them from the black community!
← I forgot to add Esmerelda. Oops.

“She’s not black enough.” “The Prince is almost white.” “The Prince is just the white man keeping a black woman under his thumb like John Smith in Pocahontas” “There’s no black role models for children” On and on, fully grown adults acting like brats over a CARTOON, kvetching over something that wasn’t even finished yet! The black community can be a beautiful, powerful thing, but it has also become self destructive. The average black person who commented on my videos like this, would rather us have more Blacksploitation-Tyler-Perry-Or-Lottery-Ticket-style movies, (Soul Plane) than to have Sidney Poitier or Samuel L. Jackson star in a poignant movie that may feature a mixed cast. It’s retarded.

Equally aggravating are white people who still turn their noses at blacks. People who will flirt with an ethnic person, only to dump them for their own twin. It’s psychotic. Another branch are the elders in the White community, who were spoiled sports when they lost the Civil Rights war. Seriously people, grow a pair. I’ve been rejected by many a relative on my dad’s side because of my skin, making it all the worse. It’s one thing when a stranger ridicules you, it’s another if it’s your grandfather.

But most aggravating are those not smart enough to comprehend that mixed raced people DO exist. When my mom was young, her teacher insisted that she would be barren, because she is “as good as a mule”. “Mixed people don’t breed.” Said a teacher with a PHD. I wish I could have seen his face when she pointed out the word “Quadroon” in the dictionary. She wanted me to grow up in a world where this wouldn’t happen. But ignorance was bliss I’m afraid…

When I was a child, strange adults (three of them TEACHERS) would approach me, and ask me to choose one side over the others.

I recall one day, my 2nd grade teacher asked my class to draw a picture of family we missed, people who either died, or lived very far away.

I had just moved to New Jersey a few months prior, and at the time my Great Grandpa was still alive. So I drew a picture of him sitting with his little sister, my Great-Great Aunt Cleotha.

The class stopped. Everyone hovered over my desk, asking me why I was drawing “my neighbors”.

I said “Those aren’t my neighbors, that’s Great Grandpa, and Great Aunt Cleotha.”

My teacher pulled the paper away from me. “Oh. No Koriander. You MUST BE confused. First of all, nobody has Great Grandparents who are ALIVE, and second, even if they were, they can’t be related to you, because you’re not black.”

I stood up. “What did you say??”

“You’re Puerto Rican. It’s obvious because of your skin.”

I had trouble processing that. “I’m not Puerto Rican. I’m mixed.”

My teacher looked back at me. “Well, you LOOK Puerto Rican Koriander. Why can’t you just SAY that you are so that the rest of us don’t get confused?”

I couldn’t WAIT for my mom to be called. That was a fun conversation. But it was also NOT a rare occasion. For some reason, people in the 1990’s would constantly poke and prod me about my racial background. She was not the first to ask me to act as though I were of single race, so that I couldn’t “confuse” people.

Product manufacturers are still trying to fix the hair care dilemma that faces mixed people. This is probably the only real annoyance of being mixed ~ not being able to find the right shampoo. “White hair” products like Pantene only leave my hair flat or crunchy, while “Black hair” products leave my hair a bit teased.

Poofy in the front and flat in the back. This is one variation of a Half-fro. This was me at age 10. (On the TV is a scrambled Wrestling PPV!)

Now, to this day, I am not confused, nor do I think that my race really matters. I’m even lucky enough to say that my friends rarely even care what planet I was born on, and have asked only out of curiosity, and not EVER prejudice. I’m not going to pick sides. I’m mixed. And if you can’t handle that, then that’s YOUR problem, not mine.

In two more generations, EVERYONE will look EXACTLY like me. So get used to my face, it’ll be on your grandkids. >:D

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why did I aim to be a cartoonist?

For my first venture onto Blogger, I’d like to talk about how I came across the decision to be a cartoonist.

For starters… it was not my first choice.

My ambition from the age of 4 until 9 was to be the first, mixed race, female president of the United States of America. I ensconced myself in every minute detail of the Presidents, their wives, their Vice Presidents, their wives and in every aspect of the day-to-day life of inhabitants of The White House. I memorized facts deemed useless now by those outside the world of the Jeopardy series, and stayed up late watching CNN ~ by myself ~ in hopes of being a scholarly leader.

Then came the 1996 primaries. Several weeks before my 10th birthday, I watched enough CNN to realize that this as not meant for me.

To be a good President, you have to sacrifice the one thing I could not ~ a real life.The average politician never sees his/her family. They’re always on the road, always talking to people they’d rather not, always spending their free time schmoozing with potential backers, and OH the backstabbing that can go on. Even if YOU are not a backstabber, someone in your chosen party certainly IS.

When you retire from the political circus, your spouse doesn’t know you anymore. You have to start your relationship over from scratch. Your friends have forgotten you, your pets have died and your kids have no use for you, because they have kids ~ maybe even grandkids ~ of their own to tend to. Your whole political career has been worth nothing more than a cheap footnote in a child’s textbook, and it exists at the cost of everything you ever held dear.

I can’t do that. Not even for all the money in the world. I spent my childhood being dragged from place to place, all over the country for my father’s “career”, only to come back to find the family I had at home either dead or dying. I promised myself as a little girl that if I ever had friends and/or my own family, that I would never abandon them for a job, especially not one that could end in ridicule and defeat, socially.

Seeing the political world in a colder, more dim light, I abandoned my dream. But when one door closes, another tends to open. Right?

Sometime after I gave up on my dreams of United States domination, I started to draw something. I had always loved to draw, and would spend hours just drawing whatever I felt like. I don’t remember what it was that I drew, but I showed it to my little brother.

He laughed. He laughed long and LOUD. He tipped over laughing, tears in his little eyes, just laughing. When he stopped laughing, he sat up, composed himself and announced “SU my cartoonist.”At first, I thought “That’s a very large word for a 4 year old.” But then it hit me. Cartooning was a dream job and I was sitting on my own talent.

When you’re a cartoonist, you don’t have to travel, unless you want to ~ especially not now that we have technology so advanced that you can carry on a conversation with someone in China, while you tweet another person in Brazil! You can mail a cartoon, email a cartoon, you don’t have to go away! What’s more you can draw whenever you want to! If I want to draw in my PJ’s I CAN. If I want to draw in the car I CAN (As long as I’m not driving.) If I want to spend time with my loved ones while drawing I CAN, I damn well can! I can do a wide range of things while drawing. And the best part is that it’s something I LOVE. From the time I was a baby onward, I’ve always been fascinated by the cartooning and animating process. It’s a topic I don’t get tired of, and it’s something I even do right before bed. This would never be “just a job”, it would be something better, a career. Something I could be proud of.So from then on, it became my dream to be a world famous, beloved and well paid cartoonist.

Growing up, I studied every cartoon, anime, comic, manga and art book I could get my hands on. I read every self-teaching book I could find, more than 5 times, determined to hone my craft. I read books about the Sunday Strip Kings of Charles Schultz, E.C Segar and Windsor McKay, watched endless documentaries about animation pioneers Tex Avery, Ub Iwerks, Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett, studied the history of Tiny Toon Terrace, the Fleischer Brothers, Disney and MGM, I even freeze-framed videos trying to teach myself the intricacies of animation. I even studied video games, just to see what I could learn.

But of course, I needed models. Oh sure, I drew little cartoons for my family, and other things yet to be published, but I needed something to inspire me. Enter Wrestling. Professional Wrestling had always been a comfort to me growing up, a way to escape from day-to-day stress or to otherwise live vicariously through real life superheroes and villains. But a moment struck me when I was about 15… ish.

An ECW wrestler named Rhyno had been injured a year earlier, during a spot where he GORED Edge through the SmackDown set. Rhyno needed emergency fusion surgery, and was out of action for around a year. In one interview shot just three months after the incident, I remember Rhyno being nearly in tears, lamenting his fear that fickle fans would forget all about him. After all, a lot happens in just a month in the wrestling world, let alone one year.

But one fateful night, the APA was in the ring. It was to be a 6 man tag team match, but they were one man short. The two men pointed to the ring, and Rhyno came out.The crowd erupted with chants of “E C DUB E C DUB E C DUB” and all throughout the arena were sings that read “Rhyno” “We miss you Rhyno” “Come back Rhyno” and there, on the face of the Man Beast, was the sweetest smile, and a tiny tear.

Immediately I took a pencil and made a light sketch on a composition book:

The picture came out exactly as I saw it in my head. Expressing the emotion of the moment. Cute, yet poignant. This would be more than just a hobby to me, I felt the need to draw more… wrestlers!

At first I just drew what I saw on TV. But as the years went by, I started focusing my art more on the Indy wrestler, and less on the mainstream. I really can’t ask for better models. Most artists study ballet, to get an idea of the human form. I instead study wrestling, to better understand the strengths and limits of the human body. It’s one thing to see a ballerina hoist up another ballerina of the same size, it’s another if she were to suddenly lock the girl’s legs in a figure four. There’s no better a sport that showcases the way the body contours, the agony, the pain, but also the light and even the comedy of the human body.

Like ballet, wrestlers often tell a story with their bodies. The shady young prankster, clubbing his ex-tag team partner in the back with a chair is expressing a tale of betrayal. The tall, beastly fighter, pounding his fist into what used to be his victim’s face, is expressing a story of dominance. And the pale, quirky little underdog who is suddenly choking an announcer with his own necktie, is expressing a tale of rebellion against THE MAN.

Just as wrestling helped me to get away from my stresses, the sport again helped me understand storytelling, the body, and art. It is my hope, that with each new cartoon, that I may give back to my muses, to give them something to laugh at, make them feel appreciated, and to inspire them to carry on in their day knowing that their exploits are never wasted.

It is also my hope that you the viewer, will be captivated by my cartoons as well.