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Showing posts from 2012

It Matters Now

Granada Heights Friends Church choir sang at Disneyland’s Candlelight processional this year. We joined the masses of singers—a swaying sea of golden robes, white collars, and flickering candles—walking to the cadence of the hymns we sang beneath main street’s pine swags and wreaths all lit up with green and gold and red lights. I had a clear shot down the train tracks, straight between the rows of singers to the pinnacle-like Christmas tree decked out in ornaments, lights, and toys. Our lines divided at the tree to line up on stage, which was impossible to see in the darkness. The only lights were the candles in our hands and the LED flashlights used by the Disneyland workers to light up any bumps on our road. I kept a keen eye on the ground appearing from under the yellow robe of the high school student in front of me. I also can’t tell you how we sounded. I was surrounded by sopranos. If a lone alto hadn’t been singing in my ear, I would’ve been singing the traditio

A Severe Mercy

The trouble with mishaps, injustices, tragedies, or foolish choices is that we have no way of knowing how events might’ve otherwise been worse. Did this minor fender bender save me from a head-on collision? Did this knee injury stop me from breaking a leg? Did the tipped over jelly jar in the refrigerator, prevent me from writing that vicious e-mail? I’ve often wondered how my life would’ve been different if I chose to go to the same High School all four years. I wonder what was the point of getting my pilot’s license? Why did my knee have to give out in the first few miles of the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon? Why did those friends move away? Why did God put those obnoxious people in my life? Why was feeding my baby so hard? And if these events didn’t occur, would things have been worse for me? For the last year I’ve been rewriting a novel I wrote in High School inspired by The Lord of the Rings and a little bottle of fairy dust that my grandma gave me one Christ

Invisible People

Lee turned 5 months this week. He smells like cheerios and yogurt, and he hovers his chunky bowlegged legs above his diaper as if this were as ordinary as crossing his arms. He focuses on his tiny fingers cupped in front of his face, and then YUM! He gobbles them up. He giggles for no reason at all, for any reason, and his laugh sticks, like syrup, to whoever is nearby. He puts himself to sleep by arching his back and worming his way over to the side of his crib where he shoves his face against the netting and sticks his two middle fingers into his mouth. Sometimes his pointer finger goes up his nose. Sometimes he prefers his thumb. Sometimes a toe. Sometimes no fingers at all. He tells us that he’s ready for bed by scratching his head with one hand and rubbing one eye with the other. And he tells us when he’s ready to get up by talking softly to himself and kicking the rattle toy that hangs on his crib. He enjoys just sitting and shaking his burp cloth up and down. Sometim

SCBWI Conference

         Women with purple hair. Pinched ladies with tiny butts, flat stomachs, and narrow noses. Frumpy librarians with gray-haired braids and tennis shoes under their floral-printed dresses. A sparse group of well-dressed men who were either suspiciously dashing or reminded me of absent-minded professors. Authors and illustrators, editors and agents. Some with superiority complexes and others as gentle and humble as saints. What an odd collection of people! The authors and illustrators at the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference were a crowd of 1,234. Not many of us were ever cheerleaders in high school. We were a crowd of self-proclaimed introverts that were strangely so good at talking. There were “veterans” who were so eager to give me their business cards and talk about their agents. Then there were bright-eyed newbies like me, though after yesterday I don’t think my eyes were so bright—a pox on those speakers for making me cry! I can hardl

June Happenings

June gloom. Jacarandas. Magnolias. I can't recall where spring went, but summer is in full bloom and life is settling down to a new normal. Lee is a talker, which I attribute to Phil. But he also demands to be set down and left alone quite often to wiggle, which would be me. I took the little guy over to Land Concern to surprise Phil, the other day. His co-workers played along well, pretending that I was a client waiting for him in the conference room. In other happenings, we've torn down the fence between our house and our neighbors in preparation for a new trek fence. It went down fast. In forty-five minutes that thing was gone. The termites probably helped some though. And our garden is pushing out all kinds of vegetables: zucchini, sweet peas, green beans, lettuce, herbs, turnips, tomatoes, cucumbers... Did you know that eating too many cucumbers can cause digestive problems? Well, Phil and I sure know it now.

Unless a Seed Die...

        Running a marathon was hard, not just because I was physically broken, but because I ran the last half alone. Tearing my rotator cuff was painful, but the doctor said to take Ibuprofen, and then the pain went away. My wedding day was emotionally exhausting, but relief came as soon as I made it down the aisle. Moving to Comstock unraveled my organizational self, but this trumped them all. The doctor had bad news. “I had this once, and I felt like I was going to die. Really. It’s that bad. Take Ibuprofen and if that’s not enough take Tylenol. But you can’t stop. Keep feeding every 2-3 hours: day and night, fever or no fever, blood or no blood.” I obeyed, getting up at 12am, 3am, and 6am to relieve the pressure, sometimes I shook with chills; other times I was sweating with a 103 temperature. I kept my beanie and scarf by the bed so I could bundle up. Later I woke up wet with sweat. I slept in spurts. 1.5 hours was average; 2 was lucky, a light sleep too, kept

Making a Raised Garden: by Philip

 While on family leave with Abby and Baby Lee we enjoyed constructing a raised garden. Here is a materials list on photo documentation of the project. Enjoy! Materials for 1.5’ X 4.5’ X 16’ Raised Garden: (8) 16’ Trex boards (or other composite board products) (3) per side and (1) for the cap. If you want the cap to overhang then you will need to trim the 16 footers down to 15’-7” and leave the cap pieces at 16’. (4) 12’ Trex boards (or other composite board products) These will be cut to 4.5’ length in order to close the ends up. You will also create the caps for the 4.5’ sides from these boards. You will end up with some short pieces since you can only get 2 full end pieces out of a 12’ board but I ended up using these left over pieces to make the planter dividers. (2) 8’ Pressure treated 4x4s These will be used for creating the 16”


I felt you; Now I touch you. I carried you; Now I hold you. I was afraid; Now you are. And I cry too Different tears From new rooms Made here In our home, Grown larger From your coming.

Hiccups Inside

Spring is here. It’s not just the position of the sun now. It’s the reddish-tinted leaves on the Boston Ivy outside our front door and the glossy green shoots on the Crape Myrtle that we planted less than a month ago. Our squatty Naval Orange is blooming, and the Loropetalum's firework flowers are making a pink show. There’s still some light in the sky when Phil calls to say he’s on his way home, and I don’t have to close the living room shades all the way to keep the sun out of my eyes. Yes, spring, come, come, come! Let the Jacarandas turn yellow and lose their leaves so that they can bloom purple in June. Let the lawn look its worst so that it can come back in full force. And let that sun rise higher and higher so that our new citrus trees aren’t in the shade all day. And yes… let February pass. Let it go like the end of a vacation or saying goodbye to a good friend. Let it go and let the real spring equinox arrive on March 20 th , when the daylight hours are equal to the

Vacation To-Do's

The beauties of the Huntington Library were equally as stunning as the destruction from the winds that closed the gardens for over a week. Philip and I ambled through the succulent gardens, the jungle pathways, and the Chinese garden for tea. We sat on benches; Phil to sketch; I to jot down descriptions. Splintered Bamboo at the Entrance Aloe Tree Ripped Off  Ancient cactus trees have toppled over. Trunks of old oak lay like piles of chopped carrots on the statue lawn. A collection of ferns now exposed to the sunlight leans in odd directions like someone's bed head; this is where a great tree fell. The Camellias too have suffered from the fall of those giants that used to shade them. The White Perfection's branches are held together by a wire and all that remains of the Bleichroeder Pink is a skinny stump. The Vedrine looks untouched. It is covered in red blooms as red as the Queen of Heart's red roses. The blooms hang down like lanterns, red like pomegranates, l