Thursday, July 31, 2008

Singing In My Sleep

Many of my friends think of me as the world’s most fabulous DJ. Of course, these are mostly middle-aged lesbians, so frame of reference, please. Recently, I mentioned to Viv that I made my first mix tape when I was like 15 or 16 and had bought my first Radio Shack portable cassette/FM. I’d record off the radio. Once in a while, I’d accidentally catch a little radio DJ talk on the end of a song. Still, these were the most fabulous tapes. In my mind. One started out with “Scarborough Fair” and segued into “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” Did I know how to set a mood, or what? Those six tapes I made back in the mid-70s were with me for many, many years. I seemed to pull them out when I needed to feel good and remember a simpler time.

Music is almost always tied to memory for me. When I hear the Bee Gees “1941 Mining Disaster” I think of the last time my parents took us somewhere before their divorce. When I think of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” I think of cruising with Darlys and Darren in Darren’s red Vega. When I think of Ray Price’s “For the Good Times,” I think of hanging out in the kitchen of the restaurant my mom worked at on weekend nights when my dad wouldn’t or couldn’t watch us. They had the best jukebox. When I heard The Knack’s “Good Girls Don’t, But I Do” I thought of…well, that I did by then.

I’ve put a lot of years under my belt now and it’s becoming difficult to listen to many songs without having to take a trip down memory lane. No music is safe, except perhaps my growing collection of hip hop (I know, but hey, some of it’s pretty good). But, I’ve loved and been loved and cared for by some pretty spectacular women, so I figure…yeah, it’s good to be reminded.Life went on and there I was, in my 30s, maintaining an email/phone relationship with someone I wanted to meet badly. We’d send each other mix tapes trying to outdo each other. In the lyrics, I began to see that she felt the same way. We called it smarming each other. Music was an integral part of the relationship, but more importantly, the songs themselves were tied inextricably to the feelings associated with her. The song that transport me are Aretha Franklin’s, “Until You Come Back to Me,” and Blondie’s, “Night Wind Sent.”

Over the years, I made mix CDs for various important women in my life. Songs that I knew they’d like or to describe how I feel. I don’t talk much if I don’t know you well, so I need these crutches. When I’d hear those songs later, I would invariably be transported back to the time when I felt the way I felt the first time I heard the song and invariably, the woman.

Enjoy this…if you've ever made or received a mix tape, you will get what I mean.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Graffiti application

Sorry it took me a long time to write my 2nd post. I've been up to digital drawing lately and this one is done using Graffiti application in Facebook. It is such a fun application to use. I'm actually hooked!

The cat is the cat I had in the 90s. It's name was Tompok. She died due to birth complication.

Enjoy the cat drawing!
(Click to play. You can also lower the speed if it's too fast).

You can view more in my blog!

Much love

Ten things you never knew about me

1. What do you wear to bed?
I like sleeping in the nude unless there are kids around. I wear the very softest things I can find,old tee shirts anything really soft.

2. What's your favorite thing to do?
I really enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, having them come to the pool, going out
yo lunch or the movies. Spending time with hubby or friends. Having people over for dinner.

3. Where would you like to travel to next?
Ireland and England because I have never been

4. Who's the one that got away?
I have no regrets on that score. I feel very lucky in my choice.

5. When did you know that he/she was the one?
On about our fourth or fifth date I remember thinking I could be married to him.

6. Why do you live where you do? Would you prefer someplace else?
We wanted to sell this year but so far things haven't worked out..I adore our place in Florida

7. How many close friends do you have?
I have four very dear friends and lots of fun friends, and a ton of blogging buddies.

8. What was your worst/best date?
I had the flu and it was a first date, I was sick all over his car..not pretty.

9. What was the meanest thing someone/you ever did?
Someone in high school spread a horrible and untrue rumer about me. I was devastated.

10. How do you feel about life in general?
I feel very lucky. Things could be a lot worse. We live fairly well. Have great kids. Get to
Travel and spend time with loved ones. Things are not perfect but whose lives are?

Okay it's up to you....add your own answers....can't wait..........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Adopting Xu Xiao Yan, Part II

(Non fiction)
The babies didn’t cry. When the new parents—this group was traditional couples, except for one single woman—took their daughters to their hotel rooms and held them, whispered or sang to them, fed them and played with them, you heard the parents but not the babies. We learned that in their first year of life, no one in the orphanage had responded to cries, so now these babies saved their energy.

Janice and other guides from the US and Chinese adoption agencies checked to make sure the parents and babies were in the right hands and getting along. Diapers, cribs, and formula were provided, and any questions answered.

After an hour or so, Mary and I took Xiao to the hotel’s play-room, a carpeted space marked by walls fitted with glass from the waist up. A vast assortment of plastic toys in primary colors littered the floor. The toys were day-care classics: blocks that fit one inside the other, a spectrum of donuts that varied in size and stacked on a spindle, flat boxes with knobs to turn and buttons to push; bells to ring, horns to blow, and small, muted drums.

Xiao was one-year old but looked maybe half that. Her hair was shaved in back and on the sides to avoid unnecessary heat. Most likely, she had spent most of her life in a crib. She couldn’t sit by herself yet and wasn’t crawling or standing. Two or three other new mothers and/or fathers and baby girls were in the room, trying to play with the toys.

A feeling of frustration vying with anxiously-summoned patience filled the air. Mary had invited on me the trip partly for moral support during her first days of motherhood, but also for my experience with babies. And part of the playing in that room was an unofficial assessment of whether the babies were developing normally. Could they turn handles yet; determine big from small, open from shut, a cow from a pig?

We all wish lifelong bonds arrived on cue, but more often than not, they take time. Wanting to love a child you’re unsure of is painful—no way around that. And for each parent there, getting to this moment had involved immeasurable hope and desire and heart-wrenching decisions, not to mention countless interviews and negotiations.

So the playroom was tense. Few babies were strong enough to play with the toys even with help. But I knew a game almost any baby eating solid food likes to play, and I came equipped with a baggie of Cheerios. Setting Xiao so she lay on her bent legs, I played a shell game with the empty blocks. Her eyes stayed on the block covering the Cheerio and, weak as she was, she managed to grab the correct block and eat her prize.

We played for a while and then Mary played the game, hiding the cereal in smaller, similar toys. Xiao’s hunger never failed. “Babies don’t come smarter than that,” I told my sister.

Later that night one baby cried. Soon they all cried, up and down the hotel hallway. That night the mothers and fathers carried their children through the hotel, cooing and comforting them, lulling them to sleep. In the morning, they were still crying but—also laughing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adopting Xu Xiao Yan

Usually I write fiction. This story in nonfiction.

This month Hannah, whose Chinese name is Xu Xiao Yan, turns six-years old at almost the same time that my sister Mary and her husband Tom adopted her five years ago. Xiao proved unpronounceable to us, although Mary comes close. My best Xiao sounds like Sh-eow, rhyming with meow.

(Above is Hannah’s baby picture, taken by the XuZhou Social Welfare Institute when she was a newborn, restored or more aptly redrawn as best I could via Photoshop.)

I’ve written about the adoption before, but because the trip remains among the most significant and memorable journeys I’ve had the privilege to take, I’ll attempt to retell it here. How Hannah’s blessed us and opened our lives and continues to fill us with joy far surpasses anything I can write, of course, but I never stop trying.

Following protracted adoption preliminaries, the agencies gave Mary and Tom unusually short notice, partly because the 2002 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in Guangdong province had been contained, and so any pending business was rushed ahead. My unexpected invitation to accompany them came on the heels of that. Tom and Mary brought me along as a mother. I knew something about babies, if practically nothing about China. And with no time to study, I didn’t try.

We flew to Beijing and then Nanjing where we met Janice, a representative from the US adoption agency. Under Janice’s guidance, Mary and Tom and I stayed at Nanjing’s Howard Johnson’s Hotel along with approximately ten other US or Canadian couples ready to adopt baby girls. On the third afternoon, a buzz of excitement zipped through the hallways. As I remember it, those minutes hovering after years of expectation filled the rooms and hallways with great flutters of emotion and hushed, hushed voices. “The babies are here,” whispered a guide. “Come, it’s this way.”

My sister and I grabbed hands and pinched each other’s forearms, too overwhelmed for words. As we got closer, Mary and Tom may have lagged; for soon I was moving fast toward a half-way open door. An older woman wearing a hairnet was holding a baby girl with a tiny green bow tied to a thatch of long dark hair on top,shaved in back and along the sides. I knew instantly. Everyone else dropped from view. A rush of affection and unmistakable recognition—I knew that baby belonged to Mary. “Is this Mary’s daughter?”

The woman was nodding and now Mary was beside me. “That’s her,” I whispered. “That’s your little girl.” As I recall, Mary caught Janice’s eye to be sure. This bright-eyed, tiny, startled baby was Mary’s daughter. Never have I felt surer of anyone’s identity than I did upon first glimpsing Xu Xiao Yan: She belonged to Mary, to us. A few heartbeats later, Mary was cradling Xiao and Tom was lowering his face close to the baby and calling himself Daddy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is it just me?

Is it just me?

I guess it maybe just me but how come there are so many cheats and fakers in the world.

Four years ago I had an accident in my oldest son's car. No one in my car was was just a

Fender bender, but the operator of the car I "bumped" into received a huge settlement and now,

Four years later, after settling another "case" her mother is suing me and the insurance company

Suggests I should get my own attorney in case the settlement is over 100,000 dollars..are you

Kidding me? One hundred freakin thousand dollars. We could lose our house. Just so people

Don't have to get real jobs and want to live off the backs of others. Excuse me for ranting but I

Am truly sick over this and can't believe this is poor son, out of the goodness of

His heart lets me borrow a car because it was larger then mine and this happens..I don't care

About the money as much as the duplicity. What happened to Karma? What happened to tell

The truth..maybe it is just me. Is it really just me?
0 comment

Monday, July 14, 2008

Do Writers' Dreams Matter?

Of course they matter to you. "But," you may well argue, "they don't seem to matter to anyone else." We have a universal need for validation, acceptance, approval, a feeling that we "fit in" to our families, society, and life in general. No one would choose to go through life as a misfit, right?

Let's think about that for a moment. In a world without misfits, no one would feel uncomfortable around others. No one would prick our consciences. No one would act outlandish, stretching the boundaries of what is with what might be. There would be no "what if?" Reality would be a fixed agreement, possibilities nonexistent, and crazy dreams crushed before they are even spoken, maybe before they're even dreamed.

Now the landscape begins to sound bleak and life as sterile as a gulag. As much as we may individually want acceptance, as a whole we need the dreamers to thrive as a part of Life. Without the dreamers, barriers would never fall, innovation not take place, and humanity might as well be stillborn. Your dreams matter more than individuals can ever tell you to your face in critique groups or boilerplate rejection notices.

This is what is meant when you're told, "Don't take it personally." Literally, don't take the setbacks personally. The agent, editor, peers, your family and friends may not support you in the way you'd like, but they also may not realize the importance of your dreams to their own lives. To all our lives. When the rejections threaten to build into a Writer's Block for you, keep in mind that your dreams matter to the universal book of Life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I got rain and somebody tried to smuggle a frog into the house

Where we live in Arizona, we hardly ever get rain unless it is monsoon season and then it is little compared to the rest of the state..But we actually got rain last night and a heavy down pour this early afternoon..The kids were having fun playing in the mud puddles and catching frogs of various sizes...Kids being kids having fun..(wet and dirty)The boys were outside playing in their underwear having a great old time pushing each other in an old wagon going thru the muddy water..I caught one of the boys trying to smuggle a frog in the house inside his underwear..(the underwear looked to full for him to fill out)...The yard was pretty much a large lake outside when the rain was done and the kids had so much fun..Now all we have is mud galore..I have a feeling my white car is no longer going to be white..My son Christopher loves throwing mud at everything and anybody...So watch out....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The day after a holiday weekend

The day after a holiday weekend. How does your house look today? Like a herd of rampaging elephants has run through it? Like the ghost with little white pieces of paper (think confetti) dropped stuff all over your rugs..As you look in the fridge and freezer...nothing left to eat? Welcome to my world. Out of guilt we had two cookouts and attended one...the one we went to was wonderful...everything tasted especially good...seemed to look more was so great. When it's your house all you do is run and even though everything seemed to vanish I get so worried that I don't even seem to taste anything...but it seemed a good time was had by all. People want to come to our house because of the in ground pool...Today...I say fill it in and plant least I'll make sure no one pee's or poop's on them...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Contest to win a Book

THE BOOK OF CHAMELEONSWould you like to win a copy of THE BOOK OF CHAMELEONS by Jose Eduardo Agualusa? It is an enchanting novel exquisitely translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn. Agualusa, an Angolan, is a master of telling stories within stories. He creates in the magical realism tradition of Latin American writers. At A Writer's Edge, I posted briefly about the book last month, and I continue to be haunted by the tale of identity.

Now I have an opportunity to interview the author, and I need some intelligent, pertinent, thoughtful questions to ask. Send me your best (one) to enter the contest by July 10. Email your question to CONTEST@WRITERS-EDGE.INFO. You can read about the book on Amazon by clicking on the book image at the beginning of this post and read an excerpt there, too.