Friday, October 31, 2008

what's on my dresser?

I have all kinds of stuff in the most personal, intimate space in our room, in our house: my dresser. I sort of have to praise this little area because it's the one space I have where Gera's things are dominant or taking over. Tools are in my kitchen on the floor, the dining room table is filled with papers: plans, sketches, books on wood, books on tiling bathrooms, books on spark plugs, wooden boxes of nails and screws, a compass, sometimes a whole, complete drill! I fuss; it's to no avail.

This little area, I protect from him and his innate ability to takeover rooms and desk space and a coffee table's beauty.

Most of this stuff was given to me by my great grandmother: The old pink vanity, the German clock (it still works--it rings out like a son.of.a.bitch!), the black minstrel face, the black ceramic mama and baby baby dolls in the back--they are so fragile and delicate--it's very weird, but they have real hair in their little heads and the baby one has real cloth diapers (they seem very Louisianian if that makes sense); a news clipping of my gr. gr. grandmother. I took the one of Jenn when she was only 2--I was trying to get her to do a M. Monroe pose. Lori gave me the little glass lady bugs--she brought them back from an Alaska trip with her sister and mom. My mother gave me the owl--he's pretty hypnotic, the clay elephant key chain. I have a thing for elephants--I have an entire collection. The ceramic colored one I bought at an antique store or garage sale; can't remember. The little yellow one was my grandma's. My step mother gave me the picture of my father's footprints in the Cayman sands during our vacation. The beautiful little girl in pink and green belonged to my grandmother, my mother gave that to me two years ago; she's an old fashioned lipstick holder and quite pretty! I bought the pregnant African woman at a UCDavis arts and crafts sale years ago. A kept a practice sketch from Gera--still life. And my favorite, the only perfume in the world I have ever worn: Nina Ricci's L'Air Du Temps.

Oh yeah and that upside down cup is what I pee in to test ovulation!

Dang, gotta stop here. It's Friday, students are needy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

shawna's much deserved latest success--Locke 1928 in hardback

I posted much earlier that I have a few writer friends, who are published and doing quite well. I believe they are working on their respective next novel publications. I wrote about Shawna's novel, Locke 1928, in earlier posts. Now, Penguin has picked up the literary gem and it will be published in 2009 in hardback! Yeah, it's really THAT GOOD!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


A picture of my second flower, feeding a very very old horse from our backyard. I think the horse's name is clapstack. The neighbor's only use him now for breeding purposes--we've seen them mate him only once in our four years of living in the house, but they do it, I think like once a year. Despite is ugly appearance and cloudy-caked eyes, he seems to do well.

Ruby is accustomed to him because she's fed him green grass (which we probably aren't supposed to do) for the last 2.5 years. He thinks she's pretty cute too--whenever we walk towards the back, he comes to the fence, ready. I can't believe she's not afraid of his big yellow/gray teeth, even so, I always caution her "not too close, Mama!"

if this isn't a co-inky-dink, i don't know what is

The New York Times--Health--section is right on target. I know, I promised not to turn my blog into a let's share about infertility and fertility, but this was just too close to home.

I peruse the NYT often and yesterday, in between tutoring students, I had a chance to read a little. To my surprise, or not, there was this fantastic article on fibroids and the latest technology to rid them. I had read about each technique shortly after my doctor informed me how he would remove my fibroid. I think women are 'silent' about fibroids because many don't know they have them. I certainly didn't--and apparently my primary doc never detected these odd formations of trouble. Anyway, my procedure will be different than the one thoroughly discussed in the article: uterine artery embolization. My doc will go through my navel and remove the mass. I am happy to hear that recovery time is not so long. I'm so ready to make a baby!

Here is a link to the full article:

Baby Blocking

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

getting pregnant after 41

So I've been trying to get pregnant for quite sometime and have been unsuccessful. But, the experience of this kind of desire has lifted my spirits to a completely different level. The research and reading has taught me so much about infertility and fertility. When I had Jennifer 26 years ago, another pregnancy never crossed my mind; I was too busy raising her and working full-time and going to college. And I certainly did not have time to find the right guy. Really, I was never looking for the right guy. Life has changed as expected; Gera and I have been at our relationship for almost four years. It's so very on!

Most women at my age are reaching, going through, or have completed menopause. Luckily, I am not there yet; an ultrasound and other test results show I have still got lots and lots and lots of eggs. Good ones! Before we knew this, Gera was checked and, of course, he is more than fine: 37 years old and Mexican----NO PROBLEMS THERE!!

It's all strange. I remember a time when I didn't have to think about stuff like this (ahhh how youth flies, but aging is literally and figuratively beyond graceful). However.....even with my lots and lots and lots of good eggs, my doctor has warned me: "Time is not your friend." I am so flawed--as my 43rd birthday approaches, I become more and more optimistic about our attempt. I decided that if I only have 1.5 to 2 years left to make it happen, as he says, I might as well reach for the stars and I'm gonna. This is not a Jolie, Kidman, or sister, gaze. Gera and I decided a while ago that we wanted to have at least one more. He has one son--who is 16. Our relationship reached this level a long time ago. He's not overly interested in hearing about fibroids, uteruses (I know it's 'uteri', but uteruses sounds more me), or good eggs, but he has been an excellent partner from the very beginning. He just says, "I'm here. Let's do it."

In December, I will have out patient surgery to have a big'ol fibroid removed from inside my uterus---it's the reason we aren't conceiving. We will go from there and see what happens. We have had the 'other' discussion--if we can't--and we are so good on this too. Surprisingly, it's all very exciting!!

I promise not to turn my blog into a infertility/fertility blog, but I will post when Gera and I can expect to become parents--together, something I've never experienced. The pressure is on, and it's the good kind.

*Wish us blessings!*

my own quote of the week


Elevators are like welfare.


Monday, October 20, 2008

gary snyder--a clumsy farmer

Tonight, in the library, I read the October 20 issue of The New Yorker and found a great article on none other than Gary Snyder, a landmark poet, a professor from my alum, University of California, Davis. I don't to know much about him other than the little bit I've read in the past and beautiful but few things Shawna has mentioned. Dana Goodyear did an excellent job in covering snippets of his life---because it's a big, full one. She titled her article Zen Master--Gary Snyder and the art of life. Here was some of my favorite sections from the article:

He likes a boilermaker at dinnertime (a shot of bourbon and a tall glass of beer) and, on occasion, the bullfrogs from his pond. 'I follow the Joy of Cooking,' he says. 'You've got to skin them and brine them overnight. She recommends rolling them in bread crumbs and frying them.'

Okay, remember my post on my Auntie and the rabbit she sent me to the grocery store to buy? Snyder and my aunt might be kin!

The article continues:

He finds that vulture feathers make the best pens for calligraphy, and collects them when he hikes. Some nights, he takes a blanket and a thermos of sake and a star map, walks along a gravel riverbed not far from his house to a spot among the mounded diggings life by the gold-mining ventures of the past two centuries, and, by the light of a red torch, works on the constellations.


I do my best as a teacher and I'm kind of a clumsy farmer.

There is a great photo of Snyder and Ginsberg. Good article read!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

remember that Jonathan Tropper quote i posted earlier....?

In blogging, my posts are not always good or happy or interesting or smart or funny or correct or snide. But as I look back at some of my earlier posts, I find that the most tragic event in my life was losing my only child. During this time, I wrote myself out of sadness, depression, craze, hurt and respectful reproach towards God. I wrote poems, short stories and other longer literature during this crisis. It helped; it helps. Losing a child is so severe to one's existence that at times, you no longer desire to exist.

I remember my great grandmother who did everything possible for me when I was growing up. She fed me well, cooked me three meals when I stayed with her; she taught me to sew, to plait, plant; she dressed me in nice clothes from Dillards and other at the time, fancy, stores like Stripling & Cox. I always had durable shoes, pretty shoes. Even my maternity outfits were top of the line and girls in high school marveled at me, "I know you pregnant and all, but you sho be sharp." Of course, as I have expressed somewhere earlier, that all changes when you have a baby (in my family). You are no longer the focus; the baby becomes the focus and rightfully so. Which...reminds me of an Asian woman with whom I crossed pathways 5 years ago. She was walking in a Davis shopping mall parking lot carrying a small baby boy, probably about 4 to 5 months old; he was sleeping. I was headed back to the bus from a long day of leisure, eat and nothing. I said to her, "Gosh, I wish someone would carry me like that." She said, "Now, now, you've had your turn." I have never forgotten her or her response and it made so much sense in a larger scheme.

They (my grand, great-grand, and mother) did the same for my daughter and even more than they did for me. Most of the time, Jenn was frilly and the happiest thing you'd ever imagine. With the little bit my family had, she was always clean, dressed well and full.

The time came, however, when my great grandmother could not do for me and that time was when my child passed. It doubly broke my soul to see her want to do, to help me with my grief, but could not. I'm grateful that my grandmother was no longer with us when Jenn died. She probably would not have survived it.

So I have hurt in the most harsh way a woman can. I can't think of anything worse, except one:

Working in a library...if you go looking, chances are you'll find it. Of course this is what my great grandmother used to tell my grandmother and my auntie about some men and their infidelity.

I think a blog should also include a show of vulnerability and truth. I used my mother's tragedy to pull strength from during my own loss. And when there came times that I wanted to !be! with my daughter, in her death, I thought of my mother and how, and why, and how again. She had been through my kind of loss, but so much worse than I will ever know or understand.

This is a part of my history I have not necessarily kept quiet, but just never have a chance to speak about--and why would I? My brother's loss was my very first experience with death and I remember everything about that day as if were yesterday. I remember sitting in the kitchen corner wailing in disbelief; I remember my brother's last words--I was bent in his ears crying deep, but low--the paramedics said if I didn't quiet down, they wouldn't be able to do vitals--so I cried low. I remember going before a grand jury and I remember that awful--doubly-- hurt of worry when my mother was placed in jail. A short time later, I remember my hair had fallen out in the back, just slightly above my nape because my nerves were so bad.

This was a time that would become my history.
When Jenn died, I remember asking God, "Again?" Both lungs collapsed and she took only 2 breaths in four minutes---there was brain damage---her father said. I remember telling God that if he could not give her back to me they way he gave her to me, healthy, beautiful, smart, an avid reader, an A B student, an alto singer, vibrant, a thinker, then I could not live seeing her any other way, disabled, helpless, lethargic, incoherent--I loved her too much to live such a change.

I find peace in my and my daughter's longevity and history together. We were so good together and had been since the day they literally took her from my stomach. I often wonder how her father must deal with her loss given he had only spent a weekend and 2 weeks with her in her 14 years of living. And even though her entire life was spent with me, I do get jealous at times because he was there at her side when she died--that's the kickass of irony. I was in the Colorado Airport, Texas bound from California. My father and I. I have been through that airport once or maybe twice since---it is the place where I learned my child was gone. I will never forget the look on my father's face as Jenn's father must have told him; I was persistent to take the phone; he then told me. I jumped up and down and screamed, in my father's arms, clinching---a coal black teddy bear my step mother bought for Jenn some years before in Monterrey, California. She had been hospitalized then for an asthma attack while vacationing.

I have always understood that these tragedies had nothing whatsoever to do with me or anything I did or did not do. The reality is that it is only those picky things we named life and its sister, fate. And from time to time, oh I'd say about every five years or so I cannot believe how I became me. Imperfect, but so very very well, healthy and unusually proud.

My mother will never heal and I suspect Jenn's father will not either---and--though they are both good people whose lives will forever reside in the midst of their respective accident and lack, they are forever cursed with an inability to sleep peacefully.

Friday, October 17, 2008

luis miguel

After work last night, Gerardo swept me away to a Luis Miguel concert in Dallas. I changed in the van from long brown skirt to tanned fitted pants, purple shirt to black T with dropping V. I'm sure I smelled like library. So worth it though and we had no time to waste. Didn't shower until the next morning before going to work at the college. But---talk about a powerful voice in the history of 'many histories' of song and music. On some of the faster tunes, he literally did a Chuck Berry across the stage--with his own twist to it. I am particularly fond of his ballads. You feel his love to serve with his voice. His presence just takes you completely away--he sings with such strength and passion and he makes it seem so simple and easy. Too amazing. Wow! Wow! Wow!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

sleeping beauty

I held Cierra again last night and fell in love again. I fed her while my sister took time to do other necessary things. Her eyes are so bright and watchful. I think she's going to be noisy. She looks around at everything, not focusing on anything, but seems to respond to sound and movement. She pooped and pooted several times--christening all. She cried a little when I tried to burp her, then silenced and stared at the lights as I rocked her, standing up. She fell asleep in my arms and even showed hints of snoring. Really she was breathing heavily--in a good sleep, smiling at sleep angels. I held her for a little over an hour before having to put her down in her baby bed. I kissed her little forehead and 'snuck' one on her right cheek. She's so soft and lovable and still frowns at nothing. Her little toes taste so sweet and are so perfect. Finally, Auntie had to leave. She didn't even budge when I lay her in her bed. I snapped this pic quickly with my cell phone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

gems in a library--sombrero & folklore

So, the public library called me back to do more temporary LA work. This time, it's in the biggest library in our city. I even found my high school yearbook in the archives/geneology section. I was part of the Spanish foreign language club for 4 years--though I must have been absent when they took the picture because I'm not in it for my senior year. I was probably at home with my daughter. I still can't believe I made my mother a grandmother when she was only a mere 32--she's my hero. There is one picture of me in a different yearbook wearing a huge sombrero in the 9th grade. Those were my second days of learning Spanish. I actually started in 7th and 8th grade. It was so strange seeing a snapshot of this time of my life.

In any event, at the library, I am off the reference desk at certain times and am able to walk around--shelf read, help patrons, familiarize myself with different sections and so on. Yesterday, Sunday, I checked out materials ranging from cookbooks to fiction: Nigella Bites to Carol Goodman's The Night Villa (picked it because of the cover and the first three lines, "When the first call came that morning I was with a student, so I didn't answer it. 'Don't worry,' I told Agnes Hancock, one of most promising classics majors, 'the machine will get it'." Don't know why I am so easily hooked for characters who are professors and their lives as such in fiction. We'll see if it's worth the random choice.

I walked around to other sections and found a folklore section. We have folklore for just about every culture one can imagine. I spent about 15 minutes browsing this area, looking for nothing in particular. What I did find however was a fascinating literature on African-American Folklore (could have used it two weeks ago when several of my students were writing essays on Baby in a Crib and Lyrics of a Lowly Life. Their anthologies seem rather limited in this genre. Don't know why. Anyhoo, it's not a secret that I have this extraordinary love-hate, win-lose relationship with my hair, its !at-times! power over me, its moodiness, its essential part of my being, its need to dominate my appearance, its stubborn nature, its need to kank--so when I read this folklore published in Dance's anthology, I felt compelled to share:

Why the Black Man's Hair Is Nappy

All right now, we going to our races; we going to find out where the Black people got their hair from and how they got it. When it was time for the Lord to give hair, He called all three of these men, and this is what he said. Well, first he called the white man to come on and get his hair. All right, the white man he went right on up there and got his hair. So the Lord called the Jew man to get his hair. So the Jew man went up there and got his hair, and said, "Thank you, Lord."

So when it got down to the Black man, the Lord called him. And do you know what the Black man said? Black man said, "Lord, ball it up and throw it to me." And it's been balled up ever since.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

letter and a cartoon from an artist

************************************************************************ My dear grand father, the one who drew all those pictures of naked, robust women posted earlier on my blog--was a love. I found this archive over the weekend and couldn't help but post it. I swear he was one of the first to invent iced coffee--his favorite drink while he worked as a sign painter. And this was on his very first business stationery--the garage--then later, he actually leased a small space on Rosedale to create and sell his work. He was such a mystery. "Skeeter" by the way was his nickname for my daughter.

And once we left for the Golden State, he sent the cartoon:

Recent arrival sees Dallas for the first time. "I left California for this?" Our hero on Interstate 30 heading West. "There's Fort Worth... Thank God!" The punch--Fort Worth is a small city with subs/rural country and so very not as metro as Dallas--the !big! city. The big pic: Why would anyone want to leave California for Fort Worth?

Fort Worth--We are proud, but oh-so humble bumpkinvillians!

the infamous frown

Oh my God I love my little niece so much. Here is the frown I told you all about!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

random quote sighting

Rarely do I quote others; it's just not my thing, but this quote by new famed novelist Jonathan Tropper stunned me--it's truly a *Reneé's life* quote:

“You know, nobody wants to rock their own life,” Mr. Tropper said. “But, on the other hand, when your life does get rocked it affords you a certain level of emotional honesty. It liberates you to be who you really are. But nobody is willing, or should be willing, to rock their life simply to achieve that."

Quoted in The New York Times

Read more on his latest novel: The Book of Joe

this is what a real princess looks like

Cierra is doing excellent and so alert! She's learned to latch and pull and we suspect has gained more weight. And that mean old IV is out! Her eyes jump out and grab you with surprise and her frown still shows up from time to time for no reason at all. Her father's a police turned crime lab detective -- so she probably gets that serious attitude from him. My favorite is her hair---she definitely got the hispanic gene for lots and lots and lots of hair. My lips are imprinted in her cheeks (both sets)! ahhhhhh, she's such a beauty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

cierra nicole is here and she's a knock out

5 lbs. 9 oz. Lots of hair. Beautiful. Looks exactly like Dad (My great grandmama said when a woman is pregnant and whoever she stays mad at that's who the baby will look like). Cierra only has my sister's nose. She frowns as if she's going to be a serious little one. She has lots of personality already and is a heart snatcher. My heart is so very stolen.