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.

Friday, November 07, 2008

a flame extinguished but not forgotten

it's been a year today that my father died. at about 9:07 p.m., nov. 7, texas time.

as i look at the clock on the computer, i see the time, 11:37 p .m. (10:37 central time) i recall what was going on at this time last year and my heart is gripped with pain. we were saying final goodbyes to our father as he say pieaceful on the bed.
relatives had been called, phones call after phone call. people arrived. paperwork to be signed.

i can still see his body there on the bed. his 2 1/2 year battle with cancer over. lost. his body so frail and weak.

normally i like to remember my dad in life. it's something i've taken to . but today i take a reprieve from that thought. i'm allowed to, after all.

i still can't believe he's dead. a year later and it's hard to take in.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

voting procedure

i was hesitant to vote this morning. i neglected to do an absentee ballot, then thought i just wouldn't vote.

it wasn't for lack of not wanting to vote. itwas a vision thing. my past creeps up on me at times and i hesitate, sometimes freeze, instead of moving forward.

dawn is working until 3:30 and i have to go in late today (4 p.m. for the late night of election night), so i figured i probably wouldn't get to vote. she urged me to anyway. later, i said i'd get up early and go. after all, the voting location for our precinct and ward is st. francis - nary a block away.

so i woke on time ad headed out there. i read my paper, so i knew that between 9 and 10 a.m. is an ideal time to vote since most people are at work.

sure enough. few cars lined the church's parking lot. i walked into the foyer with no hesitation. it was all neatly set up in teh foyer area.

first i had to sign some paper, put down name, date of birth, address and sign name. i had to do this before moving forward. as i went to the next station, where i showed my ID and the paper i'd filled out, i mentioned i was legally blind and asked for assistance.

the woman was very helpful. asked if i had anyone to help me fill out the ballot or if i wanted to do an audio ballot, where i'd put on earphones and listen to the ballot to help me out. i opted for the help, but said i had no one. in taht case the workers would help me out. i had to have a repubican and democrat present while i was helped. i was taken aside into one of the makeshift booths and read the ballot by one of the women. the other watched.

it was then put in a folder, taken to another table, made sure it was good, a strip along the bottom removed, then the ballot was taken to a box, where it slid in. i was done. i was number 234. i wonder if that's a good number for that time of the morning for the ward?

i felt good about voting. i neglected to vote in teh 2004 presidential election (i can't remember why), but i figured i might as well do it.

i also felt good because i helped a spanish-speaking man behind me. while i was filling out the slip of paper with my name and date of birth, he was having trouble and the woman didn't speak spanish. by the time she got an individual who spoke spanish, i'd helped him out by telling him what kind of information was requested. he was an older man. it was good to see an older latino man out there voting. i hope more, many more go out and do it today.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the process begins

saturday we were up early for the first pride class. there was a morning session and afternoon session.

about 12 or so couples gathered at the macatawa bank basement to hear all about fostering or adopting children. it was mixed. some people were there to learn and take steps toward fostering and other, like us, were there to take steps on starting an adoption process.

i found much of the sessions interesting. there is a lot of preparation on the part of agencies to get you ready for bringing in a child, everything from what to do about discipline to addressing abuse and behavior.

some of it is daunting. but when you think about what some of these kids have been through, you can't blame them. altough, i'm sure first instinct is to place blame on the child, since under normal circumstances with a biological child, you'd rush to take care of the problem, such as them breaking a windown or doing something destructive.

i'm grateful for dawn. she's very familiar with many steps to help children. having dealt with kids who have had problems through teaching, i think she's very prepared to handle many tough cases. i envy here. she'll make a great mom.

me? i'm still trying to catch up. i don't have the experience dawn has so for me it'll be more trial and error. but i learned that it's ok to do that. i guess parently is trial and error anyway.

next week is class number 2.

celebrating those who've gone

today is day of thedead (dia de los muertos), a big mexican day of celebration where people remember whose who've died. but we remember them in life and not death.

this year is the first that i've gotten into it. while growing up in south texas we never celebrated it in this way. i've seen the big mexican celebrations on tv or read about them, but that's it. this year, i wrote an article about bread of the dead (pan de muerto) and another article about day of the dead. i talked to people and learned about the celebration. it's made me realize how important it is to remember those who've died. remember what they're all about.

and so yesterday, dawn, d. and mig and i went to molly's for a celebration of day of the dead. her family was there and we had a great time. she had a large altar set up in her home for many relatives who died. it was a lot of fun. people laughed, told stories and enjoyed a fireside of fun.

i'm glad we could share in that celebration. it meant a lot being that my dad's anniversary of his death is coming up friday. it's a mixed bag of feelings. i'm saddened more so now, a year later, but at teh same time, i'm trying to keep steady and remember my dad for the cool guy he was, allthe things he said, what he liked, how silly he was at times and how much i loved him.

it'll be fine.