At this moment…

January 30, 2013

At this moment, I find myself in the midst of transitions of the most unexpected and most gentle kind.

At this moment, I overheard mom talking to her half-sister over the phone. Another McCalla, Victor McCalla, my mother’s brother died. Death is usually the only reason a McCalla would contact another McCalla. The drama of he said, she said and there will be no burial, cremation, and the ashes will sit on the living room shelf until someone goes to Honduras mantra starts after the death announcement.

If I remained a Walsh, my reaction to this news, the mantra not the death, would be comic relief but since I became a McCalla my reaction to the mantra remains, trying not to react. I always cry at the news of death.

Mom’s side of the family is dysfunctional and I believe Webster honoured them with the definition. Mom’s family is also large. Out of ten children, only four are presently alive and only two communicate maybe once a year. Two are on the east coast, two on the west and east does not speak to west.

All the McCalla’s (except me…sigh) were born in Honduras, when Belize was British Honduras. Some were born in Tela, others in Roatan while La Ceiba claimed another. Some were born with Indian hair soft as silk, while others had coarse wavy hair that refused taming with VO5, while yet others had the kinky cotton kind of hair which only  a lye relaxer could control. The relaxer ruined the hair passed down from their ancestors. The hair from Africa by way of Akan, Bantu, Igbo, Fon or possibly Yoruba, way before Scotland via Jamaica than onto Honduras and mixed with a bit of India saturated the blood.

Mi Tío could not stand his African hair. He could not stand his last name either and changed it to Mangroo. It sounded more Indian, which he longed to look like but did not. Mom's brother045

His kidneys could not stand his body for they failed. His weekly battle with the dialysis machine was just that, man against machine and of course, the machine was in control. As the machine cleansed his blood of waste, it also cleansed his alma (soul) leaving it bitter and in disarray.

Was I close to my uncle?


I did not like him. He favoured my light-skinned sisters with Spanish lessons and his version of Indian history. He was mean to me and spoke harshly to me and about me. He once accused my mom of jealousy towards her sister’s kids, for they were born with the wavy hair that refused taming with VO5. I was born with the kinky cotton kind of hair which mom coated with lye relaxer to control.

I hope my uncle, mi tío, is in a better place now. A place where there are no dialysis machines, where he does not have to endure living in his house with an ex-wife and her boyfriend because he refuses to sell and pay off the ex, where skin colour has no meaning and speaking Spanish is irrelevant. I hope the angels are soothing his soul or that karma will take pity on him when he returns.

Once, I could not stand my African hair and yearned to look Indian like my mother with her Indian features and Indian hair, soft as silk. But, God gave me what I was born with for a reason and I am grateful for his gentle everyday reminder of who I am and where I come from.


Transition-The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another

I am currently in the forever process of searching for a new job.

Forever, because it is going on two years now and I remain employed at a MICA (Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers) shelter run by a non-profit of the most horrific kind. Shelter culture is not a nice culture to be a part of for both residents and staff. The stress of emotional pain and anger encountered Monday through Friday, eight hours a day, mixed in with drug addiction is taxing on the body (residents) and grinds down the part of the heart, which once held compassion (staff). Needless to say, in response to my frayed nerves and too many glasses of wine after work, countless resumes flow through my email account on a daily basis to prospective employers.

Of course, I receive countless replies in the form of- NO RESPONSE.

Although, hopeful at first, I no longer anticipate an invite for an interview but, my finger continues to tap the ‘send’ button’ with resume attachment in tow.

But one day

A reply came in…

The position was for an administrative assistant at the Brooklyn museum. The museum of my childhood! Excellent location, near the library and Prospect Park and I could walk to work and run home for lunch. The duties entailed bookkeeping, basic office manager with a great starting salary.

The interview

The interview took place over the phone but headed towards the resume dumped in the trash bin direction, once I opened my mouth. The director of the department hiring began the interview with the generic asinine, “Why is the position of interest to you?”, question which I find insulting to any person with a functioning brain.

My response, “Because of the growth opportunities”.

What do you mean by growth? Are you using this position to get your foot in the door then transfer to another department?”

Um no”.

This is an administrative job with the same duties performed on a daily basis. There is no growth. Let me look at your resume.”

As I heard her flipping through pages, I thought, Didn’t the idiot read my resume before calling?

The director returned to the phone.

You’re over qualified for this position. You will be bored.”

Needless to say, the conversation went no further.

Thanks for the interview”, I said and quietly hung up the phone receiver.


Did she just say bored?

This phrase ruminated throughout my brain for the next two days as well as every feminine curse word aimed at this faceless director who had allot of nerve assuming I’d be bored with a dumb administrative assistant position at an over caddy presumptuous Brooklyn museum.

She was right.

For the past fourteen years, I have worked as an administrative assistant, with a three year hiatus as a NYC public school special education teacher, and to be honest, found admin work, BORING- usually after a month on the job.

This interviewer, whom I perceived as harsh, was in fact insightful. The message delivered in a non-pleasing way delivered and thankfully, after the steam stopped seeping from my angry brain, I was able to see truth through the

I am presently researching prospects and no longer send out resumes for administrative work. I am now in the midst of a transition.

Stuck in a Rut

English: Stuck in a deep rut on the outskirts ...

English: Stuck in a deep rut on the outskirts of Toowoomba, ca.1925. The Garage contains approximately 500 images of vehicles used in Queensland Australia, covering the period from1900. The images are linked to an index of the State Library of Queensland’s extensive collection of automotive repair manuals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I had control of my own universe, of course with the blessings and guidance of the ONE and only, I’d:

-Go back to school and become a Vet Tech.

-Quit my day job and stay at home writing in my office or in the neighbourhood Starbucks

-Drink endless amounts of coffee and mocha thingys while writing at Starbucks

-Hit the local library to write with water bottle in tow when the money runs low or I develop heart palpitations from the coffee (which ever comes first).

-Practice four to six hours on my spinet then relax in smug satisfaction knowing, come Sunday my teacher would not have one word of criticism.

-Sip Cabernet while munching on Weight Watchers cheese after lessons on Sunday in celebration of my teacher’s endless praise.

-Read the entire New York Times weekender and the advertisements and clip out the coupons.

-Become a coupon fanatic and turn fifty dollars of groceries into twenty from all the coupon savings and the two for one’rs.

-Attempt to braid my hair and paint my toenails hot pink and not necessarily in that order.

-Give up Facebook…well…

-Spend less time on Facebook.

-Experiment with cooking.

-Experiment with cooking using the twenty dollars’ worth of groceries from my savings.

-Attend all the freebee things in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. Not Staten Island, too far a drive.

-Daydream with no time limit, sleep all day and party like a rock star at night as long as I’m in bed by nine and up at five.

-Groom the boys the old fashion way.

-Learn to bandage the bites from the boys received during grooming.

This is what runs through my brain when I’m stuck in a rut.


2013 arrived and was not greeted with the usual resolutions such as those made in 2012:

Lose weight

Limit alcohol intake

Penguin run – frequently and on a schedule

Living situation-Move out

Change job or get a better job with better location and better pay

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The resolutions of 2012 are now discarded. The New Year of 2013 came at midnight when the clock struck twelve and casted the resolutions of the old into an ‘unresolved’ imaginary bin stored in the back of my brain.

But, the consequence of making those resolutions in 2012 were severe:

Instead of losing weight I gained ten more pounds

Alcohol –a lil bit more instead of a lil bit less

Penguin run-what is that again?

Living situation-the move out turned into the barely living, drowning in frustration at my financial inability to move out

Same job and definitely no better location and no raise let alone a Christmas bonus

This year, with the new, New Year approaching, instead of the usual in my bed by 10pm sleep induced reception, I was awake. And no,  I did not watch the dreadful ball drop on TV for it triggers memories of a New Year’s past in which my butt was fondled and molested in the melee of a crowd gone wild while watching the old ball (sans the 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles)  drop live and in person in the pre-Giuliani Times Square.

But, this year there are no resolutions.

Attempting to construct resolutions for 2013 may be good in keeping with the spirit of the New Year thingy but if 2012’s resolution results are an indication of what will come, I think I’ll pass this year.  There’s no need to go through the ‘unresolved’ feelings of disappointment at not meeting impossible expectations. No point in shoving the disappointment into my brain where it will stagnate and fester turning into the unrequited resolve of the resolutions.  And no, the toxicity of that mess will not migrate to mi alma (my soul) for clutter and suffocation are not allowed to reside there, only torment, bliss and friction of every emotional kind.

Instead of resolutions, I welcome subtle and easy changes towards achieving goals.  Subtle, like breathing in and out and so easy as in not having to think too much about the process itself.

The subtle and easy changes require a difference each day in the way I think and do things. All things, from putting on my socks (left first instead of right) to the amount of pep milk (a little one day, a lot the next) in my coffee. I will take a slightly different route while walking the street, like walking on the opposite side of the streets I walk down.

My subtle and easy approach towards tackling larger goals will bring results.

Some of the goals I’ve set in motion involve learning and practicing meditation, consuming less meat and enrolling in a running program. Subtle and easy. Attending meditative classes, abstaining from meat until the weekends, running with a group instead of alone-just doing those little things which are subtle and so easy will lead me to obtainable goals. meditation 001