We lived in D.C.for five years and whenever there was a storm rolling up the coast, Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a couple of miles south of us, would get flooded by the Potomac River. Though we lived on the river by DCA airport, we weren’t ever affected by flooding. Of course, we lived on the 10th floor of a high rise. However, my son and his wife live in Old Town Alexandria–on higher ground, thank goodness. They ventured out to King Street one evening last weekend and waded to dinner. My daughter-in-law took and enhanced this beautiful photo of the flooding. The APP effects make the disaster look magical, almost.
Archive for the ‘Family & Relationships’ Category
My darling daughter-in-law called me yesterday on my birthday and followed the Haynes tradition of singing the happy birthday song. She has a lovely voice but is self conscious about her pronunciation. English is not her first language, but a fine second. You know the voices you hear in your head? Probably speaking English, right? She hears Korean and translates to English. Everyone and everything around her speaks English, even my son’s Airedale. However, her Westie, who came with her from Seoul and whose first language is Korean, has rapidly become bilingual. My daughter-in-law speaks beautiful English. I often think of her not just coping here in a foreign language but thriving!
I was a Spanish literature major. While in university and when I was teaching, I spoke fluent Spanish. When I traveled to Mexico I would even begin thinking in Spanish. But ten years later when I lived in Brasil where they speak Portuguese, I often struggled to communicate in a sort of Portanole–Spanish Portuguese mix. I could stand right next to an Argentinian speaking Spanish to a Brazilian and try to speak Spanish to him as well but he would not understand me. My Spanish was correct, if university level with a bit of a Mexican accent. Hers was Argentinian Spanish. The Brazilian and she communicated. He and I did not. If I had to speak on the phone where I could not see a speaker’s mouth, I had great difficulty understanding what was said. Once, the concierge of our service flat called to tell me something about the phone system in the building. I could not understand him. Next thing I knew he was pounding on the door. I opened it and he roared into the room, picked up the phone, yelling and gesturing about how I should use the phone. I saw his lips. Heard his inflection and got context clues from his gestures. We communicated. I also understood that he thought if I didn’t understand I must be deaf, so he yelled and spoke slowly with big, broad gestures, because I apparently was not only deaf but a bit developmentally delayed.
I get what my daughter-in-law is dealing with in this adventure in foreign living. I understand her concern, her constant vigilance in translating and communicating, being understood and not embarrassing herself or her new family. I’m dedicated to praising the fabulous job she’s doing so that she will be as proud of herself as we are proud of her. Oooooo , if only I could speak Spanish with the fluency that she does English, I would be not only simpatica (Spanish speakers and Brazilians always called me that as I was kind and friendly) I might be writing delicious magic realism like Gabriel García Márquez, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Isabel Allende. Ah, now there’s a dream worth pursuing.
Winning the ONEBOOKAZ 2016 Young Adult eBook award in March 2016 kicked off a marvelous adventure of touring Arizona’s libraries with my young adult novel, The Haunting of Josh Weston. My roadie, Bob, and I started with the Tucson Festival of Books. Seven libraries and hundreds of miles later our tour ended in Chandler, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb. The librarians and their patrons were so much fun, booklovers every one!
ONEBOOKAZ is at an end and my book is the last YA novel winner. There aren’t going to be anymore ONEBOOKAZ contests and awards. It was suggested that I make available paperbacks of my book for tour signings and for book clubs and libraries to order. The ebook edition was available on the ONEBOOKAZ site for Arizonans to read for free during the tour. Now that ONEBOOKAZ is ended and the free online reading no longer available, Sonrisa Multimedia has published an electronic Kindle edition on Amazon.com of The Haunting of Josh Weston
This little Arizona ghost story has been very good to me, and the book’s fans aren’t just limited to my family and friends and other Arizonans. It was nominated for three national awards, prior to winning the ONEBOOKAZ contest. Now with the paperback and Kindle ebook editions available, I’m hearing from teens and from the growing audience of adult readers who enjoy stories about weird families living and learning together, despite the stimulating meddling of a crazy ghost or two.
Guest Blogger, Mary Corey is the author of The 100 Percent Club, a pragmatic book dealing with the labyrinth of details needed to be resolved prior, during and after the death process. As a seasoned RN who has recently retired, she offers the following thoughts about preparing for retirement.
Thoughts About Retirement
The long awaited day of retirement has arrived. You’ve carefully planned your finances and you’ve taken care of all the practicalities of your new life. You have or will shortly have a lot of company. There are about 76.4 million of us baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964 according to the 2012 census. That’s about a quarter of the US population.
Hopefully your health is still good and you’ve made friends outside your daily work life. At any rate you now find yourself blissfully not getting up at 6:00 every morning for the commute. No longer do you have to meet production quotas, put up with coworkers idiosyncrasies, or resolve endless client problems.
For the next three months it’s great to sleep in and rest knowing you never have to return to the nine to five grind. However, one of my high school friends wrote me an email stating she “had great chunks of time with nothing to do”. She is not alone.
You need a plan. This is as significant as your health and finances. Your plan will influence both. What really interests you at this point? What do you want to do with your remaining time? What did you do in the past that was meaningful? It’s a mistake to depend on children for your social life. They have their own lives.
After all these years, you probably have a good handle on your strengths and weaknesses. That’s what great about being a boomer, lots of life experience coupled with wisdom and perspective. It mayt help to sit down and write out possibilities. My neighbor, a former high school principal, tried part time work, the gym, learning Spanish and finally happily became a docent at the art museum. Other friends volunteer at the food bank. One acquaintance is helping developmentally children learn to ride horses. The point is if the initial plan doesn’t work, move on till you find an interest that does.
I like to believe I was born in the perfect place, to the perfect parents at a perfect time for what I wanted to accomplish in this life. But I was restless. From that 2:00 o’clock hour on a scorching August afternoon in Northwestern Arizona when 8.3 pound me was pulled out of a 100 pound young Norma Jean, I dreamed of being somewhere else. Anywhere. Anytime. And I was in a hurry to get there.
I didn’t appear in this world with travelin’ shoes, just the lifelong urge to find some that actually fit. One early day my long, even then, feet carried three year old me out the front door and down the unpaved street. I made it several dusty, hot blocks to the first sidewalk of downtown Kingman before a pickup truck pulled up beside me.
“Where are you going, Melinda?”
I looked straight ahead and kept walking. Faster now as I was about to pass the slouchy wood building with sagging screen doors opening on the street, a creepy place where funny old men “flopped” and little girls must beware.
The pickup stopped, blocking my escape. “Melinda,” the driver repeated, climbing out of the cab, “where’s your mother?”
Blistering wind whirled dust around me in a miniature tornado. My eyes stung as I squinted at my options: floppy old men lurking on my left and right in front of me, Mrs. Oswalt, a tall mother in a cotton dress whipping around her long legs who confined her little boy in the truck where she intended to capture me.
She took my sweaty little paw and bent eye level with me. “Where are you going, honey?”
I gave up and announced, “I’m going to the Corky Pig!” I let her lead me to the pickup.
She stopped and looked down at me with a frown. “But that’s way up on Hilltop. A couple of miles from here.” She continued to mutter this refrain the whole ride home as if to make an impression upon me of the impossibility of my quest. When my mother answered the door, Mrs. Oswalt pushed me forward, releasing my hand, and repeated this horror story to her.
As long as my mother lived, when we talked about my congenital wanderlust, she would protest how she hadn’t even realized I had left my room to walk to the Corky Pig, a hole-in-the-wall barbeque place miles away from our little house. They’d taken me there one time. “And it wasn’t that good,” Mom would always laugh.
But as the Mmmmmmelinda song goes: When a girl’s born restless and has a taste for adventure, she’ll put on her big boots that are made for walkin’. That’s just what she’ll do and walk all over—for barbeque. Or to the Dairy Queen with a penny, but that’s another sunny tale.