Sunday, January 31, 2010

You Have to Be Married in Order to Get Married

My girlfriend Alison has been obsessed with weddings since she was a little girl. For me, it was notsomuch marriages, I think, but the ceremony and all that surrounds the jumping-off point of a union. Alison recently opened her business as a wedding photographer, and it's clear that she still holds tremendous passion for her work. She's made the fairy tale into something else more real and meaningful to her.

On New Year's Eve, after a raucous party at my house that involved fun neighbors, riverdancing and rum balls, Stevie and I decided aloud as we drifted off to sleep, that we want to be together. For a very very long time. No proposal, mind you. Just lots of conversations about logistics, proposals, rings, money, adoption, families -- none of which are simple in our situation. With each of those difficult reality checks the fairy tale in my head disappears a little bit more. See, here's what I was thinking:

1. Somehow, telepathically, Steve receives the picture of the $30,000 pink diamond ring I would want on my finger and goes out to find one like it, or have one made, with some money that magically appears.
2. I have completely put the idea of marriage or a proposal out of my mind, and instead concentrate on my new blog, and sewing, and learning to use my new camera.
3. I am so completely absorbed in my creative work and so happy with the way things are, that I am BLOWN AWAY by his surprise proposal which is in a sublimely beautiful spot, probably Seal Beach, where we had our first date. Some strangers happen to witness the proposal. They also happen to be Greek and run a restaurant. They are so overcome with joy for us that they usher us in and we dance and break plates together until it is late and we are all tired and a little drunk off all the Ouzo and Retsina (which, miraculously, does not make me throw up), and we are in such a perfect state of happiness that I think that if I were to die in 10 minutes, it would be OK because I have reached the apex of happy.
4. Steve, my big sparkly pink diamond ring, Lubelle the Dog and I find a GREAT house on the beach for $800. It's tight but cozy, and we have room for the child we're adopting.
5. As soon as we're settled and the colors have been chosen, we get a call from the Agency. A birth mother wants to meet us! We go and it's great, and look, there's a baby who, miraculously, looks EXACTLY like us.
6. Me, Steve, the baby who looks EXACTLY like us, Lubelle the Dog and my big sparkly pink diamond ring live happily ever after. And his other kids come around and we all hang out and do crafts and cook dinner together. And I am so peaceful and happy that I create a succession of projects that make us rich, rich, rich. And Apple licenses a song from Steve's band from 20 years ago that's featured in a commercial, and it goes viral, and they go on a reunion tour and become huge hit, and he's doing music instead of putting time in where we work.

But I know that won't happen. Because that's why they are called fairy tales. I think we aim as close as we can get, and then must set ourselves up to be surprised and delighted by what we get. Which, more often than not, is your own unique version of truth that far surpasses anything anyone else could have written for you.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Creative Tear

I am on a creative tear since the year began. I can't make enough stuff. Doesn't matter if it's words or jewelry or things to wear, I'm being all crazy creative.

Fabulous boyfriend gave me a sewing machine for Christmas.
At the class to learn how to use it I made a bag.

This is actually two necklaces

This went to Karen, whom I've known since before I was born.

and just now, my favorite thing so far, an apron from two old skirts for Mia.

Anybody need anything made?

Oh, also, there's  a my new blog, too, called ThriftScore. Check it out! 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Passing Along

In California, it is raining. The skies have opened and the gods have spoken to us in tears. They might be tears of joy. Or horror. They are belly laughing thunder and winking lightening. They are waving at us with wind that whips palm trees all the way down the street.

Tonight I had a rare free night and the not-uncommon urge to shop for boots, so I went to the usual haunts in Pasadena. Hurrying with my purchase back to the parking garage, I saw a girl bundled up in a black coat, underneath a multicolored umbrella. Her sopping cardboard sign said "Expectant mother. Please help with donation."

A story flashes in my mind. We will connect and she will see that I am a warm and good human being, and she will mention she's looking for an adoptive family for her child. And, I will tell her that I have completed my homestudy and am looking to adopt. And here is my card. And can we go somewhere and have a cocoa? And we will bond over that cocoa, and the she will have her baby in the spring and I will help to deliver the baby, and take that baby home to the room in my house painted white and spring green, while she pursues her dreams to become a scientist at an Ivy League school (after two years of community college). And we will spend every Mothers' day together, with that child. This vision lasts all of three seconds. 

I went up to her. "Are you really pregnant?"
"Yes," she said. "Six months."
"Do you know about Casa Teresa in Santa Ana?" I asked.
"A lot of people have told me about places for single mothers. But I want to be with the baby's father 24/7." She gestured to a boy about 10 feet away, under his own red umbrella. "Neither of us grew up with fathers. It's better for the baby to have a father."

I looked at her for what seemed like a while. Pale skin. Watery blue eyes. No eyelashes as far as I could tell. I don't know why the word "METH" came to me in capital letters in my brain, but it did. Perhaps all they keep telling us at the fost-adopt training has scared the bejeezus out of me and sunk in. Or maybe she's having a girl and, as the Old Wives tell it, the girl has stolen her beauty.

"Oh," I said.
She looked down at my Coach handbag.
"Well, good luck," I told her.
"Thanks," she said.

I walked away thinking that I probably should have given her $5 or $10 or however much cash I had in my wallet. And then I wonder if standing in the rain asking for money is really better for the baby. And then I know that it is not my place to wonder these things. Because it just Is.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who Art Thou?

Regular readers may realize I've slowed on the blog. I'm not sure what it should be. It's heady and emotional, but I don't get too personal. As I become older, I become quieter, a little more still, a little more private. For example, I probably won't write a play ever again that revisits a (read: my) crazy family situation after the death of a powerful patriarch with questionable boundaries. I want this blog to be more 40licious, about the things that are happening to people 40 and over who are cool and fun and powerful.

I've been a professional writer for more than 20 years. Most schools say to write for your audience. (I know who some of you are and where some of you are from my handy Google Analytics that counts your visits and pinpoints you on a neat map.  And my #1 reader is from ... Beaumont! 'Zat you, Car?)

But others, the artists, say write from within and your audience will come. But the only way to truly do that without self-edit is to be anonymous, I think. Or to get it all down and publish when you're nearly dead.

January 14 was officially "De Lurker Day" in the blogosphere. As with so many other things, I am coming to this late. So ... who are you? What would you like to read here?

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

On the cusp of something is still outside it

I love the adoption agency I'm working with. I truly do. They are a bunch of big-hearted social workers who have been placing children for about one million years. They all have car seats and bibs and have offered the shelter of their very own homes and hearts when they couldn't find others who could. They are my people, and I am so glad to have chosen this path.

Each month there is a support group for anyone in the adoption constellation who wants to come: birth mothers, successful adoptive parents on their second or third go-round, adult adoptees, social workers, the people who run the local home for pregnant women who need a spot to stay until after they give bith and pull their lives togehter. Then there are those of us who are waiting. Waiting for our own story to tell.

I've completed my training with the agency for my infant adoption, and am almost through with the fost-adopt series in case an older child comes my way. In the time I've been going to the workshops, I've made connections with people who are going the same way. One couple and I are on the same track, the same timeline. They have no children yet either, and are waiting for their first call.

The other people in the group shared their stories of meetings with birth moms going horribly wrong or spectacularly right. Two birth grandmothers who came spoke words of truth and wisdom and wishing. One adoptee read poems her birth mother wrote about her, before the suicide. A young, beautiful birth mother told of her Christmas lonliness with nothing but her big belly, carton of milk and box of cereal.

The couple and I just sat back and listened. We had no story, no words of wisdom or encouragement for these people experiencing such amazing emotional and psychohistorical trajectories. We are on the cusp of our own stories, which can begin in tomorrow's wee hours with a phone call to get to the hospital to pick up the baby, quick -- or after a series of dates and deliberations with birthmothers over a year or two. We don't know, and there is no way to plan.

As we hugged goodbye and made plans for lunch this weekend, I realized that sometimes if you are on the outside togehter, you have your own circle.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello, 2010

One of my favorite people EVER blogged about "Releasing the Aughts" as we snap into this new year. Which makes me think that for me, 2010 and beyond is also about releasing the "oughts." Which was the whole point of turning 40licious, if you've been reading since the beginning.

Watch out for the "oughts" and "shoulds," with yourself and others. Those words are tiny indicators of something dragging at your psyche. They hold you back. They don't let you evolve. They are a murky netherland between "will" and "don't want to."

So for 2010:

When I ought to keep quiet, I'll just find a better way to say it.
When I ought to show up somewhere I don't want to be, I'll say home, or go and decide to have a really good time, or learn something that will serve me later.
When I ought to answer that call, I'll let it go to voicemail and talk later.
When I ought to clean up, I'll make a little time for it in the morning.
When I ought to do things in order, I'll remember that there is no such thing as normal, and chaos is the default setting of the universe.

Happy 2010, dear readers, and may your "oughts" go the way of 2009.

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