Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Liz,

Thank you for being my bestie for so many years, for supporting me, believing me and for being there for me when I need you. Thank you for tagging along with me last Saturday to the Impossible Project MOPLA and the Instameet at the Santa Monica Pier. I am so blessed to have a friend who is willing to be my partner in crime. I'm sorry that the sun was a no-show, but we had fun anyway.

Dear Sun

Where were you last Saturday? We were told that you would make your appearance sometime after 12pm, but you were never to be found. At least you had the decency to remain in hiding on Sunday, too, because I would have been pretty disappointed that we missed you by a day. By Monday, I was wondering what was wrong. By the time you showed up on Tuesday, I was so happy to see you. I'm hoping your around to stay for the next few weeks.

Dear Impossible Project

I'm so glad you came to LA. It was so lovely to meet you and learn more about your film and Polaroid cameras. Can't wait to try mine out now.

Dear Boston

I am so sorry about what happened to your city on what was supposed to be a special day. I will never understand what makes a human heart so callous that someone could perform an act like that. I am so thankful that the perpetrators have been found so quickly. I hope this will allow the healing process to begin. Looking through my pictures that I took while in Boston last year, I found this one with a cloud shaped heart. I know hearts all over this country are praying for the people of Boston.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Best Part of the Day

Yesterday was lovely. A last minute trip to the beach assured me of that. I didn't get home until just after 8pm and as I settled into my recliner, replaying the events of the day, I didn't know how it could get any better.

It was a productive, positive day at work.

The trip to the beach was everything I could want and more. Perfect temperature, no crowds at all, deep, deep blue skies and the sun in all it's glory. I could have stayed forever.

As I was downloading my pictures, I turned on the TV and caught the last part of Survivor. I don't always watch the show. There are some seasons I don't watch any of it, some I watch just one or two episodes, some a little more. At the end of each show, there is a "tribal council" where all the contestants cast a vote to determine who leaves the island until there are just two standing.

It's the part I find interesting. There is usually someone vulnerable or someone who doesn't know what's coming, but it's rarely suspenseful. Last night, however, something happened that I didn't see coming. Delightfully shocked by the turn of events, I immediately texted Matt whom I thought was likely watching the show. Texting Matt is hit and miss. Sometimes he replies, sometimes he doesn't and sometimes he calls back to talk instead. Since we had talked earlier in the day, I wasn't sure what type of response I would get.

Me: Best tribal council ever!!!!
Matt (almost immediately): Seriously, right!
Me: Epic!!!!
Matt: I so hope Malcolm goes far this time.
Me: Me too.

And that was the best part of my day.

Monday, April 15, 2013

At the End of the Day

My first inkling that anything was wrong was my cousin's post on Facebook. It simply read: Praying for the people of Boston. My heart sank, please Lord, not another school shooting. I opened Safari to check the news. Not being a runner of any sorts, I wasn't even aware that the Boston marathon was today. I see the pictures, the plumes of smoke, the stunned looks on faces, a runner sprawled on the ground.

While nothing of the same magnitude, memories of 9/11 come flashing back, and choking sobs are coming before I even know it. As I type this, we don't know if this home grown terrorism or from some overseas radical group. I honestly don't know which is worse. I honestly don't know if it really matters. Not if you are the family of one of the three who died today. Not if you are one of the ones who have lost their limbs.

I don't understand how a human being can justify planning this and doing this to other human beings. It's beyond my comprehension that while most of us grieve for the victims, for our continued loss of innocence, there are some out there who find joy in this type of sorrow.

It had been gray all day today, but as I left the house to get some fresh air, the sun broke through the clouds. I thought of a world who would say, this proves there is no God because how could he allow this to happen. And I thought of the thousands, the millions, who are crying out to him today. He has not forgotten.

As I started to drive home, I noticed behind me to the West the sun still in the sky. I turned my car around in search of answers even when I knew none could be found. Watching the horizon come to life as the light from the clouds and sun intertwined, there was just one truth for me. He was, is and always will be.

And at the end of the day, it gives me hope.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Dodger's,

Thank you for not only winning the game we went to on Sunday, but doing it in 9 action pack, fast moving innings. It's the way baseball should always be played.

Dear Impossible Project,

I can't tell you how excited I am that you're coming to LA to host a few workshops. That they're free is just the icing on the cake. That I hopefully get to learn how to use the polaroid I got is beyond exciting. I'm just afraid at how much this "free" opportunity will cost me in terms of film and other "must have" gadgets.

Dear Klutzy Self,

Who are you and why did you suddenly decide to inhabit my body? Even more importantly, why do you seem to have it out for my work electronics? First you drown my iPhone in a cup of coffee of all things, then you drop a cup of water on my laptop keyboard, killing the internal mouse, then you attempt to take out my replacement iPhone by dropping a glass of ginger ale all over it and finally today, you dropped water all over the external mouse I'm forced to use since the demise of my laptop mouse. Please leave already.

Dear Infusion Center Nurses,

You are the reason I can walk into the infusion center light-hearted with a smile on my face. From the moment I first met each of you, I have been overwhelmed by the loving care and support you provide. I know it's a job, but you don't make me feel like it. The TLC you give has helped me through each chemo treatment. You are like family, Cynthia, Lupe, Arlene, Jesse, Julie and, Corla who I was sure for some reason that I wouldn't like.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Candid Camera

A few weeks ago, I watched "Love and Other Drugs" on HBO. Verizon was kind enough to give us several months of "free" HBO for our viewing pleasure. After having it for almost two months, I've only been convinced that whatever special price they want to offer us won't be worth the cost. But I digress.

As I was saying, a few weeks ago, I watched "Love and Other Drugs" on HBO. I had previously watched about 10 minutes of the middle of movie. I had no idea what was going on, only that I didn't really like either character that Anne Hathaway or Jake Gyllenhaal were playing. This time around, I caught it at the beginning credits and Brie wanted to watch it with me. So there I sat, from start to finish. I'm still not 100% sold on it, but there were some parts that I enjoyed a lot and I came to relate to the characters.

In one scene of the movie, Anne learns that Jake was not an intern as she was led to believe. She confronts him in the parking lot at the doctor's office and unleashes her fury upon her. Let's just say, the Queen of Genovea would have been appalled. At the end of her verbal and physical attack, she whips out a Polaroid SX-70 camera and snaps a picture of him. It was so awesome. Jake recoils as she takes the shot. She is unapologetic and sticks the camera in her bag. I love how she did it with a Polaroid because there in her hand was the proof.

Needless to say, I fell in love her character at that very moment. Even more so later in the movie, as she creates collages with Polaroid prints that she has in her apartment.

I wish I had such courage, such conviction, with my camera to do the same thing. While we were in Italy, I was put off by the culture rude behavior of the Northern Italians.  At the Duomo in Siena, as I was trying to communicate to the ticket agent to find out if there were separate tickets for entrance to the cathedral and the top of the Duomo, the language barrier and her impatience got in the way. She quickly became frustrated with me and the next thing I knew her hands were flying about, her voice a loud pitch and then the words, "tonta", where uttered pointedly by her right in front of me.

Being Mexican, I know just enough Spanish to know tonta means stupid. Even if I didn't, her demeanor, hand gestures and facial expressions where enough to tell me what she was saying. I angrily told her that I was not stupid, she just wasn't listening to me. Her manager, all the while standing behind her, saying not a word.

Having put up with rude person number three already that day I had had it especially since this woman was selling tickets for the Catholic church. As my daughter and our friends, sympathized with me, I announced that, henceforth, I would be whipping out my camera and taking a picture of anyone else who was rude to me during the trip, or ever for that matter.

The idea really excited me and if I were six foot two and two hundred some odd pounds, I would have gone back to the ticket counter, taken a picture of miss rudeness herself and then ran like the dickens. But being the chicken I am, I took my tickets, indignantly exclaimed to her that she didn't need to be so rude and entered the cathedral instead. Isn't that what God would have wanted me to do anyway?

I loved that Anne's character did what I wanted to do, even if for different reasons. While Jake's character hadn't been rude to her, he had deceived her and got what he deserved. The camera shot, for me, was the icing on the cake. Now, like David duChemin, I want to use my camera for good and not for evil, but would taking a picture of someone being rude be evil?

Would someone act different if they knew they were going to be on camera? Yes, I think they would. That's the point.

The picture itself is not to throw darts at,  post on facebook or instagram (though that would be tempting!) or anything like that, but to give the person pause the next time they are in a similar circumstance. What would happen if they stopped to think...the last time I acted this way, I had my picture taken...I wonder if this person has a camera too. What if instead, they grin and put up with the stupid American tourist because after all it's probably the first time she's been to our beautiful city and her American dollars are helping to keep me employed?

Next time, I'm taking the shot. Here's hoping there isn't a next time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

National Sibling Day

I found out from a picture my daughter posted today on Instagram that it's National Sibling Day. Or at least that's what she said. Just to be sure, I googled it and, sure enough, today is the day to set aside any sibling rivalry and celebrate each other.

Thankfully, we've set aside sibling rivalry years ago, and believe me, with four of us so close in age, it was often the fifth child in our house. We have not always been the Brady Bunch and there are a lot of regrets I have as a younger and older sister, but I can truly say I love, love, love my siblings. I am so blessed by their presence in my life. And as an added reward, I am now blessed by sister-in-laws and a hoard of nephews and a beautiful loving niece.

This is how much I am blessed. On the night before my mastectomy, all my siblings came to support me, love on me and pray over me. They were there during my operation and I don't know if they know how much that meant to me, how much that gave me courage and strength to face the road ahead.

If there were one selfish wish I had, it would be that they all lived closer to me like in the old days because there are times I miss just driving at a moments notice to visit. But distance doesn't keep us apart in spirit and in love.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Life is Beautiful

This weekend, I was reminded, once again, how much pain and suffering there is in this world. It sometimes seems wrong to be laughing and smiling when you know how many hearts are out there breaking. If you live long enough, you know that feeling of wondering how the world can seemingly go on like nothing is wrong when your life is in such disarray. 

I am thankful for a God in whom we can take our sorrows and place them at his feet, who can give us peace and comfort when we think none will come and who will give us the strength to walk through the fire. There are many things I don't understand, but not for one moment do I doubt that he is there in our hour of need regardless of who we are or why we are there. 

Yesterday, I was blessed with a wonderful day with my daughter. That we spent it at a baseball game was something unexpected, but we could have spent it together doing laundry together for all I care. Spending time with one or both of my children makes my heart happy. 

Then today on her facebook page, my daughter posted a picture of her with my nephew, walking hand in hand with a status which read "Life is beautiful you just have to take a closer look". And that made my heart happy too. It's important for me to know that she knows that sometimes you need to look. For the good. For the beauty. For the promise. It takes a lot of hope. And faith. And love. 

Sometimes you have to weather the storm. But it is worth it because Life is Beautiful. Sometimes you just have to take a closer look.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Photo Journal

At the end of last year, I finally gave in and bought myself a photo journal I had been eyeing at Urban Outfitter's for the longest time. I really didn't need another journal of any sorts, let alone one for photos. I had been trying to discipline myself not to spend money on things I don't need and/or won't use.

Sure enough for several months it sat on my table, untouched except for those moments when I moved it to clean off my desk. But then I finally made good on my desire to have some of my Hipstamatic shots printed. I don't know why I didn't get prints sooner. Well, I do know why, I didn't want to spend the money because I was afraid I would be disappointed with the final results.

I was excited and nervous when the little square box arrived at my door, but I should have known that the makers of my most favorite app would not let me down. I probably would have shot off another order that same day except that I told myself I couldn't spend the money until I do something with the prints I had.

Photo journal meet Hipstamatic prints. The dynamic duo, the perfect combination, the peanut butter and the jelly. I love the Photo Journal because it makes me put pen to paper and there is something to be said to journalling done the old fashion way. I also love it because it's not meant to a scrapbook with a bunch of embellishments so I move through each page relatively quickly.

Now in addition to more Hipsta prints, I want to buy a few more photo journals, but that won't happen until I'm almost finished with the one I'm working on now.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Dripp,

Your scrumptious mocha made me a believer from the get-go, but lately, you have been doing me in with your delicious desserts, too. I must say, your salted caramel ice cream was everything I hoped for. And then I fell in love with your cinnamon twist. I'm told that I should dip it in my mocha for added flavor, but I can't bring myself to mix the two so imagine my dismay when you didn't have any last week. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because then I wouldn't have tried the Caramel Monkey Bread and, this week, the raspberry pop tart that I can't stop thinking about.

Dear Canada Dry,

It wasn't until recently that I ever had your ginger ale. I was quite surprised at the refreshing taste of your drink. To be honest, I probably would never have taste your bubbly goodness had it not been that my mom so sweetly bought me a six pack to help with my nausea. You not only did the trick, but you tasted good while doing it.

Dear Sandwich Stealer,

I don't know who you are or why you did it, but imagine my disappointment on Tuesday when I went into the lunch room to finish off the second half of my sandwich only to find it MIA. I hope you needed it more than I did. But I really can't imagine anyone who would want to eat someone's half eaten sandwich. How do you know how many times I sneezed on it? Truth is I didn't sneeze on it, but I wish now I had.

Dear Brie,

I can't tell you how disappointed I was when you asked if you had to go to church on Sunday. It was Easter after all. You had such a love of the Lord. I pray every night that it burns in your heart again. At first during the service, your stiffness bothered me, but then as we stood to sing and I heard your voice begin to chime in, I was filled with such hope. I know, I just know that one day you will be on fire again. I just pray it happens tomorrow.

Dear LA Angels of Anaheim,

I'm looking forward to baseball this year especially since Brie is interested in going to a game or two. Hoping for a World Series Championship. It's time.