Monday, November 29, 2010

recently, a very close friend of my oldest sister (karen, pictured with me in the nike hat) lost her youngest sister after a long battle with a serious illness. my heart cannot even fathom such a loss. it is impossible to picture my life without any of my siblings in it. my heart breaks for karen's friend (who is more like family). i wish i had one word, one hug, one way other than bringing that sister back that would remove the hole that is now a part of liz's heart.

it didn't take hearing of this loss to put my life in perspective, nor did it cause me to love or appreciate my siblings any more than i already do- because honestly, each and every single day i grow ever more in love with my siblings. but this loss did give me pause. it compelled me to reflect on each of them, what they mean to me, all that we've been through together, all that we've celebrated together.

maybe it's the time of year that draws me into this reflective mood as well. certainly the loss of our mom brought us even closer to one another (if that's possible). and the holidays invariably bring back some of our most cherished memories of mom- who loved this time of year more than anyone i've ever known.

my brother and i, my sisters and i- we haven't skated through our own relationships. they have withstood their own hurts and come through with the grace of forgiveness that seems to be both harder and easier to bestow on family. what i realized today is that no time, no distance, no discord, can ever change the unbreakable bond that is uniquely ours. that each of them in their uniqueness is uniquely loved by me. fully embraced exactly as they are, flaws and imperfections, differences and likenesses. there are never moments (even when i am frustrated or angry) that my love is even slightly diminished for one of them. i suspect in those moments i actually learn to love them and myself more deeply, more fully.

i don't take what we have together and individually for granted. i know how rare it is to be a part of a larger family and find among those siblings the closest of friends (who may not have chosen one another were it not for being brought together in family).

each of them holds a sacred place in my heart. each of them is cherished in a way no others are in my life.

this song is for you, my brother- brad, my sisters- kim and karen. i hope you will pause with me, and find a quiet space to listen to every last lyric.

and it goes out to liz, who has lost a piece of her own heart.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

the tree is up!

vintage cameras

e on the wall


help me

yes i do have style

and we have no photos of that. yet.

lesson number one. before packing up the one camera you've decided to use, and shooting 36 photos (from selecting the tree to strapping it on the car to hauling it into the home), it's probably a fantastic idea to make sure your camera has, you know, film in it. because, apparently, you might forget the ole pentax k1000 still advances to the next shot, even when its not actually recording a thing you are shooting (you know, without the necessary film).

and while we're on that subject, the next day? when you and the family decide to do some antique shopping (see photos above) and browse main street in a sleepy and quaint nearby town? try not to curse your pentax to the bowels of camera hell when your shutter seems to freeze up and your film won't advance. try rewinding it before opening the back to "check" if it even has film in it after lesson number one was learned. and by no means assume that you just loaded that roll and then proceed to remove and obliterate the lot of it.

and since this is in fact a lesson, maybe choose just one camera instead of hauling all 4. that might clear up confusion about which has film and which doesn't, which was rewound, which was loaded, which was prepped by a 3 frame advance before you remove the lens to begin capturing the beauty of your day. you get the picture. (or in this case, you lose it).

digital back-up. my new plan. thankful i have a few from our day because of that plan. :O)

(and yes, i am aware that the santa in the store window is both a little scary and also kind of sad in a lonely sort of way).
ferry back
(guangzhou, september 2009)

if you read nothing else today, this week, this month,
read THIS.
every. last. word.

long ago i said: all the voices of adult adoptees are the voice of my daughter,
and if i didn't treat them as such, what a grave disservice i do
not only to her, but also to them.

meet others where they are.
put your preconceived notions and judgments on the shelf.
it's not difficult.
it's simple.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

this night

tonight, just after dinner, i felt a little queasy and chilled, and wrapped myself in a blanket to lay down on the couch while E finished her meal and baba cleaned her place and prepared her medication. there was absolutely nothing more sublime than listening to him tease her and watching him put her medicine bottle on his head, causing her to dissolve into peels of laughter. ransom under the table, head cocked and listening or maybe just hoping for another morsel. it occurred to me just then, that even though i have to work for the next 2 days and won't be able to fully embrace celebrating such a beloved holiday, that there wasn't anything i could possibly be more thankful for than this little family we have become, and how much each member of it is so deeply cherished. i shed a couple of silent tears, wishing my mom could have seen how beautifully my life had unfolded. knowing how fiercely she would have loved both G and our daughter. it was one of those moments you wish you could freeze in time, or capture in living motion to replay over and over again as the years rush by. it only lasted moments, but in them i think i held the essence of what tomorrow means. i will carry that to work with me to share with my patients, and i will come home to the same happiness, over and over.

may this thanksgiving remind you of all the blessings in your life.

table scraps and leftovers

being a little stuffed :)

and snuggling up close to those you love most.

(all shots digital except the first)

Monday, November 22, 2010

chemo: round 3

at the clinic

aw geez.
oh for pete's sake. really? i mean. really? this again?

blood draw

he is such a trooper. no change in the tumors, but holding his own. blood work was fine, though ransom was not thrilled with being stuck several times in multiple locations to obtain said blood. we are so lucky that he's had the same vet and assistants for the last 7 years.

he is so brave and he has my heart.

here's to round 3 and shrinkage. go away tumors.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

adaptive tennis!

every week at P.T. we see R and A (mom and daughter) who have the appointment just prior to ours. when we first met almost a year ago, she mentioned that A played soccer (in her wheelchair) each Friday, and that they would love to have us. Friday's have never been great for us due to the timing of the games, but we found out that there would be adaptive tennis today and immediately decided to go. E, being painfully shy, opened up within a matter of minutes (okay, 30 or so) and was playful, squealing, and generally being herself. coach J (seen in his wheelchair) played olympic level basketball, tennis and some other sports i believe i've forgotten. what started as volleying the ball ended in throwing it at one another, face-offs, and a lot of chasing each other around the court interrupting everyone else's game. the volunteers were absolutely amazing and great with the kids. really engaging and accepting of the fact that no matter how many times they asked with "please", E was not handing out any high 5's on her first day playing tennis. we're working on it. she is most definitely an "everything i do is on my terms" kind of girl when it comes to any kind of socializing.

we all had a blast.

(and will be purchasing an appropriate tennis racket for future games)!

on the net



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the chase

throwing balls at coach johnny

face off!

sunset on the court

Thursday, November 18, 2010


this was shot with the pentax K1000 using Ilford HP Plus 400 speed film. i am in love with the soft grain that you can never achieve with digital photos. something always comes out looking a bit harsh. and since i'm pretty much a "straight out of the camera" photographer, i was especially pleased with such a perfect capture of one stunning little girl.

i spend more time here ( if ) as i am finding words to be inadequate lately, and am loving the joy and peace that shooting always brings me. it is a need, not just a love. i won't ditch digital, ever, but it is so nice to be working with the original :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


mom and daughter

there were words to go with this post, but damn if i don't just want to soak in the love that shines through her in everything she does. we have this nightly ritual. she used to ask: "how 'bout you sad?" and we'd "pretend" sad and then kiss each others woes away. now? she asks me to be mad, grumpy, and mean- and with each emotion i express- she kisses me. she kisses away my mad, my grumpy, my mean... my sad. she is the light of our lives.

not to mention she is in fact the most adorable child on the planet and these pictures prove that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


it's easy to forget that your baby is growing up. and it's especially difficult to gauge height with a child who can't stand, so i think i often miss E's changes or take them for granted. but these 2 photos were taken a year apart almost to the day (the left from Novemeber 2009, the right from this November). it really is amazing to look at how much she's changed and grown. her face has lost her toddler softness and taken on its striking angles. her arms have grown strong and muscular, and she's sporting an adorable buddha belly that she didn't come home with. i guess what is even more spectacular is how much she has thrived in this new environment- how she's embraced what has been given to her without losing sight of where she came from. i hope we can always keep that alive in her. i suspect it won't take much work, as she speaks so fondly of those she loved in China to this day. how much i look forward to the time we can return to the country of her birth.

Monday, November 8, 2010

tree in the clouds

i am i mean, i always was, but i'd never shot with a Holga. i don't even remember how i did this double exposure. you can see more here:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

where am i, where i am

pretty much just working. five 12 hour shifts in 7 days, to be exact, and that leaves little time for anything else but catching up on laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. today we'll head off for our local fall arts festival because the high is going to be 65. the skies are a porcelain blue, clear, and sunny. it's a perfect day. if only i didn't have to wake at 0530 on a sunday to head back into the grind of another 12 hour shift.

i'm also not shooting as much digital anymore and have moved back to the original: film. i just got my first holga (google that) and am using the Pentax K-1000 again. since i have to actually have the film developed, well, it takes a bit more time. i love the anticipation. i love not remembering what i shot in a roll. it's like the old days. i am hoping to win the lottery as well so i can buy my dream camera: the hasselblad. not gonna happen, since i don't play, but good dreams are still good dreams. mine is big, to the tune of 30K. spare a dime?

ransom is holding his own and so far this round of chemo is exactly as i'd hoped: uneventful (with the exception of short bout of pretty decent diarrhea that led to some accidents- poor boy). he's so brave.

e is thriving in school, WEARING SHOES (!!!), got her first bad cut on the head that oozed for hours and required that bandaid stuff that's like glue. what is it called? no clue, but it worked like a charm. frustrating that it was under all her hair, though. i'd bore you with the latest bus drama but it isn't worth it on my one day off. let's just say that i win first for multitasking like a pro and getting the ridiculous problem solved. i am rapidly falling out of love with her driver. i wish there were some other way to get her to after school care.

maybe i should reconsider purchasing that lotto ticket.

off to the festival. here are some random pics from prior lazy days spent doing what we love. snuggling with The Boob, nature, walks, feeding turtles, collecting rocks :)



orchid in sunlight

(heck no these aren't my legs, don't i wish. sister is the athlete).

brick and herbs

rock collection

daughter in the mirror


go make the most of this day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

round 2.


round 2

follow up appointment was today. it's been 4 weeks since diagnosis, 3 weeks since his first treatment. i learned that ransom's liver enzymes are slightly elevated, but not enough to be alarmed or halt this next round of chemo, which he was given just 10 minutes ago. i am also convinced i made the absolute best choice for him by opting for oral chemo only. i watched as they drew his blood today. he is an impossible stick and grunted like a perturbed old man through the whole process. apparently 3 weeks ago he growled (because it took multiple tries i guess), and ransom doesn't growl. but hey- he's not a puppy anymore, he's sick, and i say growl if you gotta growl buddy.

other than being (if this is possible for a bulldog) more tired than usual and dealing with some pretty significant muscle weakness ("myopathy") from the steroids (resolved) and pooping like a great dane from devouring everything in site (even eggshells that accidentally land on the floor- who knew this breed could move that fast?), he's pretty much himself (minus some large patches of hair missing and a bit of a droopier face).

here's to another uneventful round of chemo. here's to the next day and the next day and the next.