Sunday, December 28, 2008

the results have been in and I've been casting them and grabbing them




...all eggs and bad tubes...

We met with my doctor. The results and finds of my surgery show that my fallopian tubes are blocked with the worst: scar tissue. The build up is from surgical adhesions from my c-section years ago with my first baby. There's a possibility that a 1.5 month old miscarriage also lended to the scar tissue. I was able to get pregnant a second time so easily because the adhesions had not grown and I was much much younger.

He gave us this news and did tell me that his wife, who is my age, had the same issue and she only had one tube, one ovary. They have two children now via IVF. He told me that I should feel grateful that I have eggs. "You should see the faces when I have to say 'I'm sorry but you don't have any eggs'." And he managed to tell me all this without making it sound like I was ungrateful. He's a fine professional. But of course, his praise for my eggs, his wife's success, didn't make me feel any better off than women without eggs. Even still I smiled and nodded affirmatively. He also gave me pics of the surgery and explained the surgery and finds step by step in detail. He then sent us off with the IVF packet shown in the pictures above. In the first pic, I look so much like my Dad, but what I'm really doing is biting my lip and faking a smile because of the news and Gera's trying to make me ease. In the second one, after a few elevator rides up and down (yes we did ride the elevator literally up and down), he said something silly, something so Gera, and made me laugh; that one is genuine me. I had to post both pics.

So Gera and I can only conceive via IVF. However, we're not doing that. My health insurance does not cover IVF and we certainly don't have $11,000 unexpectedly lying around anywhere.

How are we doing?

We are disappointed but in a good place. Of course everything is more noticeable now than it used to be. This week alone I saw, all counted, 47 pregnant women, and when we watched movies, that one with Katherine Heigl was on. She accidentally gets pregnant and decides to have the baby. Then just today, while we were bumming around in our undies drinking coffee, taking advantage of the holidays, Mel Gibson's Apocalypse was on. Pregnancy everywhere. This can be expected though. And I have honestly found a little humor in it all.

We are surrounded by babies starting with my love Ruby, who is preparing for a little brother or sister in May, Cierra who is my little sky (she coos when I sing to her and I love putting her in front of their Christmas tree and watch her little 3 month old eyes wander from one light to the next), and we have Gera's son who may come live with us within the next year or two. We've been trying to get him for a while. It's not easy. So we're pretty kid-ed-up. I'm grateful for my eggs and too stingy to give them away so I will take them with me to my end. Sometimes, succumbing to fate is not so bad.

what's reading this month



Perusing through the latest arrivals, found these two books to read over the New Year holiday. Friendly Fire by A. B. Yehoshua and The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel. Hope they turn out to be worth it.



The last book I read: A Partisan's Daughter, is rendered well. Some passages about communism drag underneath the relationship between the married man and the prostitute, but comes around nicely to a surprising, titillating end. Recommended.

I'm still working on crochet projects and hope to post them. Really cute stuff. Time is limited over the next week so will be posting, but in bursts.

Friday, December 26, 2008

if our child could be

If Gera and my child could be, it would have perhaps hazel eyes. Mine are light brown,sometimes a touch of gold-yellow, Gera's are green, sometimes a touch of light brown. We both have moles on our lips, mine on my top lip, Gera's on his bottom lip (may add pic later). It's hair would be curly for sure and it's skin tone would be a light brown, browner than my tone of course...or who knows, it could be as dark as my first baby. I always say a black woman can never be sure what color her baby will be. However, I think it would be a boy and he would be an artist like Gera, but a scientist by night. He would be able to sing, but he wouldn't be that tall. He would be extremely handsome with my nose and Gera's eyebrows and lashes and chin. He would have my father's smile and Gera's Mom's spirit. He would probably not have my JDW forehead or maybe....it's a wonder.



He would be a miracle.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A LifeTime of Secrets by Frank Warren

Frank Warren has published several fantastic collections of creative postcards with people's secrets. I found this two weeks ago in the bestseller section. Normally I don't go for bestsellers, but I picked this and discovered amazing voices in few words. The book is a collection of postcards from people around the world, "all backgrounds and nationalities...[of] creatively decorated postcards bearing screts they have never before revealed." Beautiful idea of "collective confessions." Visit the site, but I will say there were so many in the book that I thought were stunning. I read through one collection in no time. Very interesting stuff. Says a lot about humanity. ALOT!

To see the best post idea ever-click here

To get a better idea, get the book collection.

One of my favorites...for no personal reason is this one:



What a brilliant way to get people to release whatever ails them, or not. One of my post secrets is: my oldest sister was born stillbirth at 6 mos. because mother's boyfriend tripped over a concrete crack and dropped my mother while carrying her. My sister's name was "Kim".

If you had to write one what would it be? You can comment anonymously.

i survived

surgery was a sinch; the rest might not be so

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a success

My surgery went very well. I know one thing, to sleep like that, to be put under was Heaven. My mother says, "Yes, dear, that's a serious cocktail."

The day began great. The magnesium citrate the night before was the worst the part. Gera laughed at me several times, during several trips to the ladies room. I never felt so empty and dry. But it was necessary. I had a hard time not turning on the coffee pot the morning of because it's habit, somewhat, and I really love coffee. I could not eat a thing and that sent my personality into turmoil. I love food, always have and not being able to eat made me feel weird, mad. Luckily, I registered early and so my wait time was very little. I undressed. The nurse couldn't start my IV because my veins were flat and dehydrated so she left it up to the anesthesiologists. From this little room, I am rolled in a wheelchair, something I didn't dig at all and even told the lady, "Really, it's okay, I can walk upstairs." She said, "No, Ms. Osborne, I have to take you myself." I'm so stubbornly independent and am extremely uncomfortable depending on another person to help me physically. I didn't know that about myself until then. And Gera was watching her push me in the wheelchair. He frowned; I rolled my eyes. Off we went. The lady was fluent in Spanish and English. She heard me speaking to Gera and was surprised. Gera and I kissed good-bye and then the questions came. "Where is your husband from? Where are you from? Where did you learn to speak Spanish? How long have you two been together? You speak very very well?" We get that a lot.

I am rolled into a room with others waiting for a surgery. Everything is clean and organized and there was no smell of anything, not even "hospital." A nurse kindly covered me with warm blankets. I wasn't really cold, just a tad anxious. She saw I didn't have an IV and said, "Let's just get this out of the way now." She tied, and tapped, slapped and slapped at my veins and found a nice one on the inside of my wrist instead of the back of my hand. That was done. Transports rolled in another girl beside me. She was pretty, young, American hispanic, 28 years and ironically getting her tubes tied and burned on the ends. Ouch! I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not budge. She has two children and said "We're done because children are too expensive." I still didn't see the logic, but how could I--tubes tied, especially at the tender age of 28. She was in for a 3rd out patient surgery. A gallbladder and something else. Her nurse came over and was about 5 mos pregnant (I'm sure I'll start to notice pregnant ladies even more so now that I want to be). She too was going to get her tubes tied and burnt after the latest. She was on number 3 and had step children. My doctor came strolling across the room and loudly said, "Hello gorgeous! You ready to rock n roll? How are you feeling?" I responded and told him to be creative! I was ready. We chatted awhile and he knew the young woman next to my bed. He told her she was putting him out of business. We conspired to undo her IV and roll her out.

Next, the nurse came back. She shot something into my IV and boy did I feel great. I was there for another 5 mins and off I went. The last thing I remember was a nurse standing over me with a soft mask saying "Take deep breaths Ms. Osborne". Heaven. I woke to another nurse saying, "Ms. Osborne, your surgery went well." Within a few more minutes I was off again to another little room. My love was there waiting for me. I slept; he took a picture of me; luckily I wasn't drooling, but I did have a sorrowful frown on my face. May or may not post that picture. My hair was fortunately braided in two. It was fine.

I took a few days to recover. My first night of sleep I felt like I had been exercising and was sore all around. Stitches look great; navel looks normal. I still can't believe he made an incision there. I was back at work lifting books, pushing carts and of course working the desk within one week.

Stay tuned for my results...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

playing book display god

...a work saturday in the library...



When you first walk in to our beautiful library there is an overwhelming sensation of pillars and marble, etchings of important names of people, contributors/donors, grand golden letters writing out famous quotes from dead philosophers, writers, the like, of recent a 36 ft tall Christmas loaded with lights and bulbs, styrofoam colored candies, other sparkly things and four huge golden stars at the top. I'm not sure why four. Overwhelming. For an hour on Saturday/Sunday shifts, an employee is assigned to the Plaza, it's a lobby-like area where you answer patron questions, direct, point, show, and put out debut fiction, new fiction, new non-fiction and bestseller books on displays. So, I'm straightening and replacing and shifting and moving and adding books around here and there. I came across Francine Prose's latest work Golden Grove, and an evil streak came over me. I decided to play Book Display God. I removed her book from the high up "look at me" display to the lay down-flat-patrons-can-only-see-the-spine-and-must-turn-their-necks-and-bend-down-to-pick-me-up side of the display. I did this because I remembered one of characters in Blue Angel, which was a good read by the way, said Toni Morrison's books were "bullshit" and we all know that's bullshit. She's lucky I didn't take her book to one of my off-desk duty areas (pic shown): the ever deep dark eerie government documents shelves--everything is dusty and quiet and lifeless and creepy, gray and frayed and new but beige--can you imagine Francine Prose's book with its somber but colorful cover in the midst of U.S. government documents---I like to think of it as book cemetery. But, I'm not that evil. I did, however, decide to move to the front lines and set up on a nice small display rack Karen Fowler's Wit's End and only because she's a friend of a friend of a friend. There are so many new authors and new fiction, the books come in tides. When I'm working in the Plaza, playing Book Display God is a quirky relief from other library work like researching for patrons or pulling holds. The only problem is, however, in order to continue to play Book Display God, I have to read more (the stuff that I wouldn't normally read) and get to know more writers.

I'm currently reading A Partisan's Daughter and oh my is it good. Hope to dish more about it. Finished Morrison's A Mercy. She is a true master in making use of America's history. And since I'm off from the college for a full month-YAY!--I checked out a mass of crochet books. I've already purchased pretty yarns, in different colors and styles and hope to post some of what I make. I'm looking now at the simplest of all: scarf and hat patterns--it's winter here already (well as of two days ago, but now it's warm again), and I have lots of Christmas gifting to do---I am years behind. Luckily, my people love me!

well....it's finally - almost time

whistling in ...




So Monday I have pre-op prep for surgery on Wednesday. I have never been more excited to do this. The last time I had surgery or was even in the hospital was a cesarean and as I wrote in an earlier post, that was 26 years ago. I'm going in with a positive attitude and a cheerfulness that's rather odd. I've been drinking lots of water and eating, still, fried foods sighhhh. I did, however, clean out a gigantic tub of raw baby spinach from Costco! Delicious with onion, tomato and a little fresco cheese, dijon dressing. This was a side dish to my lunch for about four days. I decided to load up on VK. The funny thing about trying to have a second child is meeting others who have stories with not so great of an outcome. One of my more mature students, 46, told me last week that she had been married for 11 years and had tried to conceive for 8 of them. She tried everything one could possibly offer AND she had five laparoscopy surgeries for various reasons, in addition to trying to conceive. I listened intently. She teared up and told me after her last trial of artificial insemination, she was going to try IVF, but then, her husband left her. I wanted to cry with her, but I felt like she is a strong woman and the experience probably lead to other better events in life. She remarried after four years and told me her second husband has been the best thing that ever happened to her. Her problem is that she only ovulates once, maybe twice a year. I read something about women whose ovaries don't produce a lot of eggs. The beauty about her is her attitude. She smiles often, sometimes, cries over her writing (which is very good--she's ESL) and doesn't feel confident about analyzing literature. She seems very resigned with not being able to conceive. Her story made feel aggressive and anger toward her husband. I don't think she's hit menopause yet, but I sure hope a miracle happens for her. She's a wonderful woman and would cherish a child in all the best ways.

I've also contemplated writing our baby a letter, now. So that when he or she is finally in the world and growing, or grown, we can look back on the "best drama in Renee's early forties." I was able to ask E what laproscopic surgery is like. She said it's an easy one. The only discomfort might be having the gas move to underneath my shoulder blades, but that goes away. Oh, by the way, the gas is what they use to blow up my stomach so they can see everything. Then, the gas has to go somewhere in the body---I read that the most common place is the shoulder blades and she confirmed this. She showed me her navel and there was no scar--I don't mind scars, I wear what's left of my c-section scar so proudly---it's from where my Jenn came. Surprisingly, though, after five surgeries, she had nothing there--just a pretty tanned colored navel. I don't know what not having children means for her, given she is traditionally Hispanic, but she seems to have handled it.

Well...I'll be thinking more about writing my baby a letter and may even have Gera take some photographs for a scrapbook. Chances are I will have to have another c-section and I am elated about this--too--the first one was so easy, HOWEVER, I was so incredibly young. The body just doesn't do the same things it does when we're young; I feel excellent and ever-so hopeful. Gera makes it all too easy for me; he's my rock and I'm his too.

Will keep all posted!

Friday, December 5, 2008

me photographer

I have been so inspired by all the great blogs that are up. I saved a few on my site. I fell in love with photography in 1987. I'm still an amature and it's amazing how ideas are crisp and seem so new and fresh were ones I had years ago (but don't you feel like that too sometimes?)--New ideas are your old ones? People are just able to do things a lot faster now! I love technology, but am still very out of touch. But I did photograph the minute things---just stuff---around my apartment, and I always photographed family.

Here's a tadtaste of my work:

empties '03


broken in whole '06

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

i prefer the shotgun

When writing, I like to choose a living space native to my characters--a given. One of those unique little places is a shotgun house. When I was growing up, about a block and a half from my great grandmother were these prominent, tiny, narrow houses. They were so closed together yet had so much space in the back. They remind me of what slave cabins must have looked like, the black & white photo of cabins. I like them because they can make up an entire neighborhood. I chose to include them in my stories because there are barely any left in the area where I grew up. The ones mentioned were recently torn down, as recent as 2001. Shotgun houses are a bad truth, but beautiful part of American history--a bit like wagons, and, to me, they preserve time periods. I hope to take some photos of a few my Auntie told me are left in my town---on the Southside. There's so much oil drilling here now (Texas sits atop the Barnett Shale--natural gas). Old monuments, like these, are coming down fast and it's so sad to see their beauty history and character destroyed. Some are so old that they are dangerously lopsided. Others have been refurbished, mainly in Louisana. The ones that were torn down close to my gr. grand's house were rebuilt in the same place, but constructed slightly bigger, more modern. Not the same. What does a shotgun look like?

I found these beauties on the internet.
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Blogging this (while at work), I was reminded of Katherine Mansfield's The Garden Party and the "ugly chocolate houses"---surely her reference was to shotguns.

Thanks google image photographers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

best research request of the week

I've researched many things, even a few odd subjects back when I worked at the Davis Public Library, but today this latest research request takes the cake. One patron called in and requested a search on "serial killer". He is interested in this not-so-retro term, but what a serial killer was referred to in the 1900s. The first thing that came to my mind was Jack the Ripper. Turns out, he, too, is referred to as a "serial killer"---retrospectively. We move on to other angles....

Hope this patron is writing a book or a poem, and not a nut.

Other library news:

Lots of people are checking out information on blueprints: how to turn a plan into blueprints, blueprints and development, how to price blueprints, bids on...etc.etc. I asked one lady why the trend? She said because Barak Obama promises to create more jobs in this field and she wants to be on top of the game, understand the language of what 'they' will talk about.

Funniest requested item is a book by Mark Levner titled: Why Do Men Have Nipples?

Cool stuff huh?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

discovering

One of things I love about blogging is discovery and parting. I found this very talented artist and was dying to share. The photos are mesmerizing and catchy. They appear unattended and accidental. Enjoy more at http://streetzen.net/






1. bruise
2. whitelegs
3. windowsun
4. eatme
5. ironhorse

Saturday, November 22, 2008

random after tutoring Friday thoughts



Yesterday the college was so hectic. I always forget that this time in the semester requires more patience than ever. I tutored 17 students on Wednesday, 10 on Thursday, and 13 on Friday. Weeks before this were about the same. I felt also that I didn't give as quality of tutoring sessions as I usually do--I only pointed out grammatical errors, refining a thesis statement, more creative titles--don't use the authors' titles--"it's not yours to use." On a good tutoring month, day, week, I usually, include a close look at logic--do the paragraphs go back to the thesis? Are they logical? Are there enough supporting examples and details? If non-literary, is there enough literary evidence to support topics? I was tired, grouchy (starting at about 2 p.m.) and rather lazy yesterday. Quality was so low. I think I ran out of mental energy after several students came in for a session on how to approach their final exams (the writing part--the blue book part). Really, I've been teaching them the same mundane, traditional structure throughout the semester--I advised to approach the final like that: Don't just start writing. Plan first. "But it's going to be an argumentative essay? and we don't know what topics she will give us," one student said. I suggested she ask if she needs to include a refutation (probably not); pick one of the two topics she can best write on. Take a stance, use "should be" or "should not be" followed by "because" and give three reasons why or why not. Build a thesis, the topics, restate thesis in conclusion. "And my introduction?" Open on topic, make general facts or statements, then move to specific (thesis). Somehow, all that I've said and all that -some- students learn throughout the semester, this mundane, formulaic, traditional way of writing a general, very basic essay doesn't hold. Just doesn't. This particular teacher is giving her students 2 hours. But sometimes, I think writing within a certain time frame causes panic and all they have learned goes.

Some days I feel like a big'ol flat voice of boilerplate, but then, by the grace of literature Gods, I will have a student pop in and want to discuss Oedipus and compare it to my favorite The Book of Job or an Asian myth comparison: a daughter must go into the depths of hell to find her mother to Demeter and Persephone or to Dante. These students come in so lively and full of -want-. And some of them will not even go on to major in English, but other disciplines like biology or construction engineering.

I'm 'brainstorming' to come with ways to make my sessions more interesting (for those who are there just to get through the literature requirements or just there to get through). I remind myself, "Hey, at least they're here--getting by."

I'm looking forward to the month of December off--my brain is a bit shut down. I can't think, write well, or blog without a zillion typos--of course I question 'to edit or not to edit'---not to mention the rush in posting. I always have to post on-the-go. But I get it done one way or another.

What would you choose? To blog full-time or to teach full-time? Money aside. Choose one or the other...no in between.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my Trace

*******************************************************
**************************************

*One of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out, is my best friend Tracy. I have had the pleasure to know her for 16 years and she is who made leaving California so difficult. I have always loved her and always will. I miss her every day. I miss her honesty, candor, grand sense of humor, curiosity, unconditional love, beauty, ability to light up a room with comfort and ease, the sound of her laughter. She's the only person I know who can eat garlic and smell so good. I miss our long talks, just us too, some where in Tiburon on a dock with late morning cocktails headed to Sausalito, a small little hotel, Starbucks, sun, good food, her shopping, me admiring everything. I miss her on the exercise machines while I sit and eat a Carl's Jr. hamburger and fries. I miss the time I left my last Intermediate Algebra test on our kitchen counter top so she could celebrate with me, no more math; she saw my dislike of the subject and how diligently I needed to work to complete it--wanted to get right to my studies in literature. We drank that day too. I love the way she pops chocolates in her mouth (just one) with her morning cup of coffee. She scared me one day when she left our shared house in her blue Ford Probe. It flipped with her in it--it was the other person's fault. She came home without the car--it was odd because she knocked on our front door instead of using the genie--wide eyed, big circles of ice blue. We drank that day too. Alot. She loves to eat homemade sandwiches with onion slices as thick as a finger. And she loves spicy foods. She's a home designer at heart but works in law. She can make any house look fancy (like it's straight from the best home decor magazines). We nearly went broke one day shopping at Linens&Things for our shared bathroom. Later, our other roommate moved out and Trace took the master bedroom. She did a complete and total makeover! She made a beautiful photo album of my daughter's life with fresh flowers from the service pressed into the back pages. She included letters my daughter had written to me while in school. I don't know how she selected the photos or why she chose certain ones. There's even a John Holst middle school identification card. I miss accompanying her at the mall during a lunch hour at work and hearing her critique shoes and pants and why some were cute, others were not. I miss hearing her call me "schoolmarm" because of my long skirts and high turtlenecks--the same worn out green sweater that she begged me to throw away. Her, running in the opposite direction when I reveal my unshaven, hairy legs and arms. I'm good on all that now--sometimes. She'd scream out "That's just fuckin gross!" She held up, my bras, from our clean laundry and said, "Is this my thong?" and reminded me I was part of the itty-bitty titty committee. We used to go dancing into the wee hours. She taught me so much about men, but called me "The Ice Queen" because I would not give guys the time of day. I wasn't interested; I was mourning. And I loved walking along her side and seeing guys drool over her beauty. We have a saying: JENN&JUDY--it's serious. Instead of swearing by God, which we do sometimes, we swear by my dead daughter and her dead mother, their graves. In restaurants, we'd order a big plate of something good, but healthy and "split" it. We did Chevys all the time--and margaritas. And sometimes, we'd start our Saturday mornings with the blender--margaritas. Saturday evenings started with Trace going on a date, me with my head in my books. Most of the time, I'd wait up for her to hear if 'he' was the one--and always, she'd tell me everything! We were truly Chardonnay girls! All the way. We still are. There's so much, I could go on and on. I love her mostly though because I could always look the other way and she'd still be there caring for me, loving me, being the true meaning of "friend."

And then, my godson, Christopher. He has been in my life since he was five years old. He clung to me like my own and has grown to be such a handsome, smart young man. He's serving our country and speaks fluent Farsi, which I have always encouraged. He and I used to drive his mother nuts because we would run around the house and play. He stole my attention from everyone!

I have been so fortunate to have them in my life. I don't have but about three very close, good friends--I've never been the type to have a lot of girls by my side or guys either for that matter. But the ones I do have, I cherish and am so grateful.

I miss my Trace like crazy, but she's still here and so am I.

photo taken by me in Davis, CA 2002 or 2003

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the Paltrow

I did it! And without a hotcomb! I finally got my fro to do the 'my thing'--bun up!!

Before going into work on Sunday I treated my hair nicely. I washed it really good, conditioned it with Tresemme (dollar store), rinsed it well with a nice mixture of warm water and lemon then combed and brushed and combed and brushed, sin cringe. The results--the Paltrow!

Of course, in one of these pics, you can definitely see a tad of rebellion--there's a tiny little kanked coil sticking out at my nape! In any event, I was still prettified at the head and have been since. Plan to wash again tonight and start again.

The trick is though I have to sleep with two pigtails every night to straighten out the coils--much better than the old fashioned way, especially after a good wash, coils are even tighter--and Gera was supposed to capture the pigtails---NOT THESE!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Helen in Dunbar

Davis, CA 2003

my mama is beautiful
she has a gap between her teeth
that only a son could wear with privilege
to see through
she has a mole that strikes her face with
god and remembrance
to be proud that she really started
from far east and south creek

her hands
are mine like mine and mine
they spell though
from that woman
who was minding her own business
building in a time when blacks and their own
building was unforeseeable--my big

the big beauty though is my mama's frown
between her eyes. it will tell you what you
don't want to hear or know--
that black men can hurt and
it is better if they were just
somewhere working in a garden
or tending to whittling and raking and
making babies like the color violet breeds quietly
or like blue-caramel swells in holy

but while the world gathers to see her slumbers
it has really known and waited to hear how
her frown and tight coils will stride

it can keep gathering though
for she is one of the few that god has blessed
and captured--her soul--a language unknown
to the common man

couldn't help it quote of the week

***********************

Experience is
the
worst
teacher;
it
gives
the
test
before
presenting the lesson.

--Vernon Law

i remember


When my Dad and Step mom took us everywhere--my siblings were all so young--and so was I. My daughter and step brother were only 2 years apart--or maybe less. My other sister was there, but she was in the bathroom. My brother Sean was probably doing he usual hang out, which meant not with us. If it didn't involve airplanes or soul music, Sean could not be bothered. Wherever we went, we attracted attention. My Dad and step mom were one of the coolest interracial couples I'll probably ever know--accept for me and Gera or course! They built our family around us five + 1 grandchild.

This was a favorite time. Vacaville, California. Early 1990s. The Pumpkin Patch. It closed a few years before I moved back home. It was such a neat place to gather with family--kids! My Dad was a happy man--and so were we.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

notes from a library--for Ryan

Part of my job working in periodicals is to research obituary requests. People write in, via email, and request death notices of loved ones, friends, neighbors, lovers, distant family members, and just in general--for whatever reason--estate claims, works-in-progress: songs/books, family trees. This is a favorite part of my tasks. The difficult part of these searches, however, is doing so without stopping to look at every interesting article or sales ad or big news headline that passes through the microfilm scanner! After all, many of the searches request deaths from the early 1900s and some even further back.

In researching an obit a week ago, from the 1960s, I stumbled across one, interesting, old article. The only reason it caught my eye (Nationalists/Taipei) is because my friend writes of this territory (Taiwan).

Fort Worth Star Telegram
Friday Morning, October 14, 1960

Nationalists Vow Defense Of 2 Islands
Taipei, Formosa, Oct. 13 (Reuters)--Top Nationalist Chinese military sources declared Thursday the Nationalists would "fight to the death" to defend Quemoy and Matsu Islands.

They were commenting privately on the emergence of the offshore islands as an issue in the American presidential election campaign.

The sources claimed that without Quemoy and Matsu "there will be no Formosa and Penghu"--the Pescadores Island group 50 miles west of southern Formosa.

There was no immediate official comment on the American campaign controversy stirred up by the assertion of Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic standard-bearer, that Quemoy and Matsu should be excluded from the United States defense perimeter in the Far East because they are indefensible.

Press reports here quoted President Chiang Kai-shek as saying recently the islands should not be given up under any circumstances.

Will post more later on other noteworthy articles I found.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

favorite obama fam pics -- it's really really real

I have overheard so many different comments and even seen a little spittal fly since President Elect Obama won by a landslide. Texans do not hide their feelings (hate). And neither do young students. Me, approaching a vending machine for a Baby Ruth in a small cove at the college, three students sit in obvious disgust, one week later. The female: "It really scares me to death that he's going to be our next President." One of two males: "Well, he doesn't have that much power. He can't do anything without approval." The other of the two males: [quiet]. Other Texans walk around looking at you, but thinking something completely different, with an uncomfortable, sweaty grin! Others have faces so pinched, you'd need a bookmark to find their eyes, noses, or mouth. In Spanish, we call these people "cara de agria." Sour face. Also in Texas, gun purchase has skyrocketed because people are afraid that our new President will do away with the right carry a weapon. Yeah, here--you can do that!
One coworker at one of my two jobs just lately revealed she is jewish and she, for the first time in years, went to a service. She made it a funny point to tell me that her Rabi said: "Sarah Palin ain't nobody but a hillbilly who shops at Neiman Marcus"--and now every time she gets a chance, she reminds me that she's jewish and she doesn't like right winged people. I of course never respond--it's innate. She also celebrates President Obama's win in my presence, but does so quietly---yes, in whispers she praises his victory. It could be real, but Texan runs deep in me and I grew up knowing sometimes, you need to sleep with one eye open.

And yet, still, again: Congratulations to President Barak Obama and Family and I love you more because you are a combination of everybody!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the gera touch

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This was a week and a half long project. My honey's got such good skills. The clients hired him to do yet a second bathroom. He still doesn't charge enough--I think.



Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Partisan's Daughter - looking at the lives of prostitutes

. . .

I have always been fascinated with prostitutes in literature. Their lives are colorful, tragic, disturbing and yet force one to look in awe, intrigue--it's difficult to turn away. I found their presence in Morrison's Bluest Eye, Ryan's Locke 1928, Faulkner's That Evening Sun, in almost any Hawthorne, to be lulling and at times more reliable than any.

When I first moved back home, 2004, I lived with my aunt for the first year. She has lived in the same home since 1964. Nothing had changed drastically. There was however one young woman, they called Bitty, who walked up and down the street. Sometimes, she'd be with her boyfriend, Eddie, and sometimes not. They were so in love. The problem was, however, Eddie's mother prevented him from living inside the house as long as he was dating Bitty. Instead, he and Bitty made pallets on the side of the house and sometimes, when it was freezing cold, makeshift partitions. They had even lived in the back seat of a car, used a cigarette lighter to warm the bottom of an opened can of god only knows what. My Auntie said they were "on that shit," but she still gave them food and sometimes hired Eddie to do yard work or clean the gutters or trim the shrubbery. Then one day, it got to a point when we didn't see Eddie that much, hardly at all. It was as if he vanished. But Bitty was still around. She'd walk up and down the streets and knock on doors looking for a sandwich, a cola, two dollars. My Aunt told me after turning her down several times, "A woman ain't neva broke and ain't no need for her walking the road hungry like that." I said, "What else can she do?" My Auntie said, "She got a pussy!"

I wonder what prostitutes think of and I wonder how they survive emotionally---maybe by a numbing kind of mechanism? And though Jean Rys' Good Morning, Midnight is a different read, I just now remember being so wrapped up in Sasha's mental state--the gloom.

Louis De Bernieres' new book A Partisan's Daughter sounds terrific! I haven't felt this anxious to read a book in a long time. I want to see what the author does with the characters and their differences.



Here's a snippet from Amazon and NYTBR:

De Bernières (Corelli's Mandolin) delivers an oddball love story of two spiritually displaced would-be lovers. During a dreary late 1970s London winter, stolid and discontented Chris is drawn to seedy and mysterious Roza, a Yugoslav émigrée he initially believes is a prostitute. She isn't (though she claims to have been), and soon the two embark on an awkward friendship (Chris would like to imagine it as a romance) in which Roza spins her life's stories for her nondescript, erstwhile suitor. Roza, whose father supported Tito, moved to London for opportunity but instead found a school of hard knocks, and she's all too happy to dole out the lessons she learned to the slavering Chris. The questions of whether Roza will fall for Chris and whether Chris will leave his wife (he calls her the Great White Loaf) carry the reader along, as the reliability of Chris and Roza, who trade off narration duties, is called into question—sometimes to less than ideal effect. The conclusion is crushing, and Chris's scorching regret burns brightly to the last line.

The NYTBR article is even better! A Partisan's Daughter

I ordered it for our library and have a request already put in.