These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

girls, girls, girls

yesterday afernoon i had an assignment i first went to during my first year at the paper: Girls on the Run. i didn't attend last year. i believe beth walton covered it last year.

i forgot how tough it is for me to cover the event, which was held at holland municipal stadium. there are tons of little girls,mosty looking the same (small, ponytailed, dressed alike, talkative).

there were 700 thire-, fourth- and fifth-graders from area schools amassed on the football field. they were running, dancing, chatting.

my idea was focus on one girl and follow her along. good intention. good idea. but it's easier said than done.

with my eye sight, it was hard to find someone. they all looked the same. but i asked for help. i got me a coach and a little girl to help me out. i wrote the story around her. when it was time to follow her through the crowd as they ran off, i lost her. i had to wait until the little girl returned to talk with her.

it ws a little hard waiting for her. i kept thinking that perhaps i wouldn't be able to find her again. luckily the coach herded her over my way and i was able to extract more info. from her.

i stopped to chat with a few other girls, who were talkative. i got more stuff from them. then i had to rush out to write it. it was a simple task. and i liked the layout that went along with the story.

that was good after having had a bad thursday night at work. i had to write a story about two women who are connected by their cildren. one woman is mexican and the other is from laketown township. i tried for hours to write the story. i got up to 14 inches. then i cut it back down to 8. then i gave up.

i brought the laptop home, erased the entire story and started from scratch again. i had a much easier time getting through it. it turned out ok. i wasn't completely satisfied with it. i dunno. what i envisioned was not what came out on the page. i don't know why. that's the way some stories end up. it's too bad because i had higher hopes for the article. oh well.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

news from dad

dad had an appointmetn with the oncologist wednesday. i waited all day until he finally called me during work. the news isn't great.

he got the results from his blood test and his cancer marker went up from 1 to 5. not good. in addition, it appears the small tumors in his liver are growing. the big one is still there, the heavy dosage of chemo not having helped last week.

so there are several ways they're going to try and tackle this now.
first, the oncologist is waiting to see if it's posible to inject a dose of chemo into the large tumor that's in the upper left-hand side of my dad's liver. that might help that big tumor shrink.
second, the doc. is going to increase the dosage of chemo by 50 (dunno if its milligrams or what). since my dad experienced only slight nausea and some diarrhea, it meant the chemo wasn't strong enough. the doc said increasing it should cause him to experience more severe symptoms like outbreaks on his skin.
third, he's going to make an appointment with specialists at m.d. anderson in houston.

i don't know how to feel about the new developments. dad sounded fine when he called me. i mean, i've acepted his cancer and all, but i had wished it would have diminished some after the two-month absence of chemotherapy. apparently not. i'd like for them to inject the large tumor with chemo. i'm cool with it. also, increasing the dosage is fine, even though he's going to experience more severe side-effects. i'm wary of the doc now saying he wants a trip up to houston. i had wanted that to begin with, but that never transpired. now, it's here. why? second opinon? i wish that had been done nine months ago.

we'll see where this new path takes my family. i think everyone has pretty much accepted the situation. hell, it's been almost a year since he was diagnosed with the colon cancer and subsequent tumor. later next month will be the one-year anniversary of his surgery. shit, times flies.

i don't mind times passing like it was never even here. but with my dad this way, i'd lke for it to slow down a bit, give him and us more time to chat, visit and laugh. give him more time to play with the grandkids and see them grow up a little. emma grace is only a couple of months old. she needs to have some memories of her grandpa.

i was going to turn five when my grandfather died. yet, i have very few memories of him. it's quite sad, really. he lived less than 25 yards from my house and i saw him every day, i'm sure. i know he loved me (i've been told many times). i just wish i would have gotten to know him enough to form good solid memories instead of images and still photos in my brain. they don't do him justice.

that's what i wish for emma grace. i think my other niece (lorena, 9) and my nephew (ricardo 7) will remember him and will have plenty of memories of my dad.

only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

the sentinels are no more

the sentinels that guard washington boulevard and 12th street are no more.
theya re dead or dying in the throes of the season as it pushes its
way toward the equinox.

their bodies remain. though, al beauty has departed.
they are sickly beasts, now ignored by all alike.

true, though, that only weeks ago, their heads stood tall,
proud and preening for all to look at and admire.

they were red, yellow, pink and purple.
they spoke in tones and shades.
they sang songs of enchantment for the unsuspecting.
they marched at attention, never failing, always rigid.

through wind and rain, they stood aloft,
through cold night breezes and shady days they thrived,
screaming with too warm a day arrivedand greeted them hello.

through ohs an ahs they stood their ground, through snapping
bulbs and video they tolerated, nay, they smirked.
they get what they want, if only for a time.

but as tender days arrive, the sentinel must depart,
for it hates those days, dreaming of a time when frost
lingers at and grasps its body tight.

farewell all, i will return to once more guard
those streets with my own kind, line them with shades
only dreamed of in the minds of man.