Thursday, April 25, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HANSOO KWON! My husband of just-over six years, my beau of nearly eighteen years, the love with whom I've made, a life, is Hansoo. We all have had a past; we have all fallen-in-love, or lust, with perhaps more than a few who we then, unceremoniously, have dismissed from our lives. Or maybe we've relegated those "exes" to a "friend only" status. What makes someone a "keeper"? What creates a partner? Certainly, timing. I think if I'd met the rather un-yielding Hansoo in my teens or in my twenties, it would not have worked out. Why? Because I was not looking to be "partnered", indeed, the loving partner I had--a deeply introspective and kind man named Peter, I most likely, did not deserve--I was rather flippant about commitment, ("Flippant About Commitment", great title for a memoir of my 20's)and dashed off to Atlanta, leaving behind a young-adult life of college and post-college theatre, long, romantic walks on the beach (a cliche', but true) with Peter, and my family, for a city I perceived as "huge", and for new, wild-blue adventures. And so many, many, years later, Hansoo and I, found each other. But by the time we found each other, I was a better version of me: able to commit, after many years of leaping from one love to another, I was in a place where I was looking for the kind of love, that would last. It certainly helped that Hansoo is very different from any other person I'd dated: he's exotic, obviously, but he's also a business-person at heart, a pragmatic, let's-solve-this-kind-of-fellow. A "Keeper" is someone who--even when they do not understand you-- makes an effort to love you, anyway. It helped that I'd already had a few of those what I call "wild-blue" moments. Recognizing him from an indie-bookstore, and then refusing to call him when he offered me his card at the nightclub(I never gave my number out), I was nonetheless, very impressed. Extremely handsome, and with great legs (he was wearing casual clothes, which included slightly-above-the-knee-shorts when we met), he had graduated Ga. Tech, which meant he was incredibly intelligent, but his graduation had been only a couple of years earlier, which meant he was younger--much younger--than me. I tried to discourage him, I really did, remarking to him: "You know, we can't go out because number one, you're a LOT younger than me, and I'm not comfortable with that (he interrupted to claim I looked "about 30"(I was actually almost 39)) I continued:"I'm Bisexual, and that's never going to change; and you look Korean, and I'm not, and that means your parents wouldn't approve, so why don't we save ourselves a lot of time and trouble--I just got out of a bad relationship, and I'm not looking to get serious (that was a lie, I was "looking"))...." He was calm, and said simply, "Uh, I was thinking lunch...Could we just have lunch?" After a few days of yakking about this "really cute, smart engineering-management guy" as I described him to my gal-pals, I finally called the number he'd given me, and left a message with his roommate. I actually did not want to talk to Hansoo; instead, I wanted to pretend I really was not that interested, as I was indeed, very interested, but did not want Hansoo to think I was all-hot for him (I was). When he called me back that same hour, I was on the other line, and so when I picked up (this was 1995; there was no caller-id on my home-phone)I was very surprised, but I took a breath and then answered in a deliberately flat, disappointed tone, "Oh, it's you..." to which he replied "You don't sound very happy to hear from me..." And then, my integrity kicked in and I heard myself say, "I was trying to sound like I'm not interested..." "What? But, you called me....let's just have lunch..." That did it. A "Keeper" doesn't give up. It ended up being a late-night "lunch", and it was "Steak n'Shake", and I had every item that was meat-free, including cream of broccoli soup, french fries, salad, cottage cheese, and fruit, and I washed that all down with a chocolate malt; He had a steak-burger, fries and a coke. I insisted on paying for us both. A "Keeper" indulges you, and your whims. We went from dating, to me crashing at his shared-apartment (God Bless Jerry, his very kind, tolerant, now-former-roommate), to us moving into an apartment together, to us searching for and finding our first house, in August, 1998. Which I helped make a home...for he and I, and our first doggie,an Aussie we got in May of 1997 named "Frisco", and then "Louie", our Golden Retriever, adopted (October, 1998) from Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta (GRRA). We later moved to the house we currently live in, and married in 2007, in a ceremony beyond dreams. It is no small thing, that I married. I was a true Marriage-o-Phobe. (Read all about our wedding, in this same Blog:simply search the Archives(Archives are located below and to the right of this column) for my "February, 2007" entries.) We have a multi-generational household now, which includes my in-laws, "Omma K", and "Appa K", and their two "grand-dogs": "Afton" (a rescue GSD, whom we adopted from "Big Canoe Animal Rescue")and "Agent", a troubled male GSD, who was only an hour away from being euthanised when a family in Covington rescued him, and offered him for sale to us. A "Keeper" sacrifices, for those he loves. It's been a long time, and the man I originally found so adorably funny and cute, still is. A "Keeper" helps you laugh, even when you've suffered. We've survived terrible losses(his Hominee'(maternal grandma)June 14th, 2007); my Grandma Dorothy (paternal Grandma) October 22nd, 2003); my beloved Theya Helen (August 14th, 2007);I also lost two maternal Aunts within 2 years of each other--both to sudden, unexpected, Pancreatic Cancer: Aunt Helen Harnett, June 14th, 2001, and Aunt Mary Prince, May 23rd, 2003);we lost "Frisco", at almost-11 years-old, when we learned she had advanced cancer, and would seizure/suffer a painful death, unless we "chose" euthanization for her--hardest thing I've/We've ever had to do; we lost "Louie" later--who lived to nearly 14--to a brain infection, and we held him, just as we did "Frisco", as he passed.) But also have found tremendous, sweet joys--in our nieces, in our extended-families, in our own "furry-kids",the aforementioned "Afton" and "Agent" and in the making of every day, anew. A "Keeper" puts Family, first. I've seen Hansoo grow even more, into the capable man I always knew he was, the kindhearted man I know he can be, and the romantic man, he always is. He has supported me emotionally, artistically, financially, and when I was quite ill in the past--physically, as well... We continue to work on our Spiritual connection. A "Keeper" believes in You, even when his beliefs in other things, are still evolving. As I've often said: I think there are a lot of people you can fall-in-love with, but there are very few, you can make a life with. Here's to You, Hansoo. My wonderful chef-husband, my cheerleader for my writing and acting, "Daddy" to our fur-babies; inclusive son-in-law, and brother-in-law, to my family-of-origin. You rock, Hansoo Kwon. Peace, kids.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
In the midst of National Poetry Month, and I am finding poetry in the tiniest of details. The other day, Ha and I were in Buckhead, driving around, looking at estate homes just to look;these are homes that usually begin in terms of price-point, in the double-digit-millions... At one address, there was an "Estate Sale" (what wealthy folks call a yard-sale)and I urged Ha to stop, to "let me look at the books; they are always pushed to the side,forgotten...." So we stopped. Sure enough, I spotted a few hard-cover, "coffee-table" cookbooks like "The Beautiful Cookbook of France", scattered on various shelves, for just ten dollars (this cookbook retails for $50.00 or more)and "Cuisine of France". I gathered them, and placed them together, on a table, and decided to browse. When I returned just moments later, they'd been bought by someone else. Which upset me, because I'd intended to gift someone special who loves French food, who just took a class in preparing French food. But the loss caused me to look at another shelf--one I'd missed--which had only a few paperbacks, and an odd, teeny-tiny box.I opened the box to find two baby shoes.I held them (they fit in my palm)and discovered they were inscribed with the child's name, and date of birth, on the bottom of each shoe. It was like holding a life, aloft, holding these two tiny shoes. Where was this child now? Did the parents forget? Did they leave these here, because it was too painful to take them along? I noticed the shoes were tagged with a $5.00 price on them, which made me want to cry. A pair of shoes an infant once wore, now abandoned in this enormous house, a house filled with fabulous paintings and great cookbooks (and Oriental rugs, it should be noted, that most definitely are.not.for.sale.). A house with a ceiling-to-floor-view of the Olympic-sized pool behind the house. A house where people once drank, and ate, and hung paintings, and sang Happy Birthday, to at least this one child. I want to know this child. Where are you, Maggie, born in April, 1991? Poetry happens when people move. It happens when people forget. It happens, to children. Peace, kids.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wowsers, lots for which to be grateful! Daddy lives, and Daddy is in a(remarkable)physical rehabilitation facility. I must give "kudos" to The Consulate, located in Brandon, Florida, for the incredibly good care they give, and the talented physical, speech, and occupational therapists they employ. I/We are incredibly fortunate to have Daddy enrolled in their programs. While still unable to stand, or walk on his own, our Daddy is (literally) "rolling" (often in a wheelchair, or rolling-walker) towards recovery. I want to thank everyone--here, and especially on Facebook, for all your warm thoughts, good energy, kind meditations,and yes--heartfelt prayers... For frequent updates, and gazillions of photos, please DO "Friend" me on Facebook. See link to the right of this post, under "Lisa's Links". You All Rock! Peace, kids.
Monday, February 11, 2013
And how many tears I've shed. First sorrow, for fear of losing my beloved Daddy. Then more tears, tears of joy...he may survive....And now? Fear and uncertainty, as we discover exactly what kind of recovery is possible.... My wonderful Daddy--John Robert Allender-- is a huge source of emotional support for me.He supports my poetry, my acting, my sexual orientation, my love choices, my life choices. He is a retired Engineer with TECO Energy, and a retired National Guard Reservist. Loves guns, but no longer hunts(He used to hunt game, which we always used as our food). He now says "Aw, I'm too soft anymore, to shoot at any animal." Favorite films include anything with Clint Eastwood...or Steve Martin. He adopts stray, and feral cats, which live on his property. Loves reading about wolves, and Native American lore (he's one-eighth Cherokee). Favorite songs include "When Doves Cry" and "Purple Rain" by Prince; he saw the film five times. At the theater. He loves anything by (the late) Laura Branigan, too, especially "Self-Control". There's a litany of trivia and not-so-trivial (lovely!) things I could say about my Daddy, but I'll save those for another post. I'm hoping I'll have him right next to me, as I write about him, in future posts. If you haven't had yourself checked for Chronic Kidney Disease, do it now. CKD usually has NO symptoms, for ten-twenty years...and when you DO finally have symptoms manifest, it usually means Stage 5 (Kidney Disease is "staged")Kidney Disease, which means Dialysis, several times a week, for life. Contact the American Kidney Foundation for more information. We (my entire extended family of boundless love) are still trying to figure all this out, after the horrific fall and subsequent injuries suffered by my Daddy, on Monday, January 28th.The fall injured his muscles, as he lay alone for hours(he has insisted on living alone. sigh), unable to reach his cell-phone. My incredibly sweet Aunt Carolyn and kind Uncle Lee found him on the floor, lying motionless-- but still conscious--when he didn't meetup for their morning coffee. My Daddy has survived four heart attacks, three before the Pacemaker, and the one on January 17th, 2004, actually killed him, but EMT's were able to bring him, after three tries, "back". After that one, and a Pacemaker installation, he suffered one more, which led to a Pacemaker-Defibrillator combo being installed. Our own "Bionic Daddy". My Daddy was dubbed "Teflon Bob" long ago, by me, since no illness ever seems to "stick". We are all cheering him on, in this latest battle. This time, against Kidney Disease. We appreciate your warm thoughts, good energy, kind meditations, and yes--heartfelt prayers. We thank you for your goodness.We are Grateful. Peace, kids.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR. This is the time of year-- when anything seems possible---because we are starting at the beginning, as if we have never "commenced" before. We "commit" to commencing--to move forward with all that we are, and may become. To embrace all the possibility. On Facebook, I've been encouraging friends and family to refer to 2013 as "The Year of Adoption"--originally, I was referring to all the homeless and very healthy, well-behaved dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens who--without at least a Foster Home, will, for no reason other than the tremendous lack of ROOM TO HOUSE THEM in the various city and county "shelters" in this country-- be euthanized. I was trying to provoke interest in Fostering (When you Foster, all food and medical expenses are paid for by the Rescue Organization who must "pull" a dog or cat from a city's Animal Care and Control, in order for someone to Foster.You then retain the animal in your home/care until a "Permanent Adoption Home" is found, and that Adoption, takes place.) Here in Alpharetta, "Angels Among Us" is an amazing resource filled with loving, caring volunteers). So, what happens to the animal, once they are dumped at the Animal Control? (most "Shelters" are "high-kill", which renders the term "Shelter"--the literal definition is a place of love and caring, an oxymoron) Well, after having been abandoned by the family they loved, they now must endure a noisy, over-crowded, erroneously named "shelter", where the over-worked, and often very tearful staff, must do what they've been hired to do: kill dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens who've been the unfortunate victims of owners who simply could not care for them. Over 97% of all dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens are perfectly healthy, and have a great temperament, and are very family-friendly, and are ADOPTABLE...but they get killed, anyway.... A lot of you will say Oh, I could not Foster; I'd get too attached, and then have to give her/him up... Well, if you become that attached, then you may wish to go ahead and ADOPT...but for heaven's sake, by NOT fostering, you are condemning these animals, to death. And I recently discovered how terrible that death, is. We think of euthanization as being performed by injecting poison into the animal, and the poor, abandoned animal (WHY are animals dumped? Foreclosures--where the persons fleeing their former home, felt they could not take their companion animal along; lack of financial resources; no time, etc., are the excuses often offered as reasons why the animal is dumped) dies quickly, painlessly, without understanding what is happening. But that's NOT the way it is, in Animal Control facilities.... After an "evaluation", to "rate" the animal in adoptability, (most are "Green", which means able to be adopted into any loving home; some may have "restrictions" placed on them: home with no cats, etc...) 2-3 day "holding period" (hardly enough time for any animal to be viewed, much less adopted), the animal is approached by the officer and since there is a leash, the animal brightens, believing she/he is going for walk, and begins wagging, excited, alert, happy... those wags quickly end, when the animals see they are stopping at the other end of the facility, at "the room". It's not fully understood WHY/HOW the animals KNOW (perhaps they smell death, or sense the still-lingering-in-the-air-fear of the already-dead?), but in every single case, they DO... they stop, whimper, try to pull away. Even the most gentle of animals now becomes fearful, anxious, and....must be restrained, by two or more individuals, who must now attempt to get the needle in, for sedation or calming of the animal, and this means, in many cases, tubes popping out, and severe urination and defecation, as the animal realizes she/he is about to die.... But I got to thinking: what if the title I'd chosen,"The Year of Adoption" extended to the way we view EVERYTHING, not just these poor, lost souls known as homeless animals? What if we could "Adopt" a new way of SEEING... Seeing that Life--all forms of Life---deserves our attention: that young child who never gets any attention, because there's a "new" baby in the family, and it's obvious a kind word or big smile when they greet you, could work wonders to raise their self-esteem. Or the lonely, older neighbor who never seems to go anywhere, or have any family or friends, visit. Perhaps a tray of cookies or a knock on their door, inviting them to tea at your house, could make the difference between isolation, and connection. What about the Veteran, who returns from the devastation of Iraq and Afghanistan, to find a depressed job-market, and lowered confidence in his abilities to "make it"? Could offering your time at a Veteran's Center or VA Hospital make a difference? What if instead of "demonizing" others' beliefs, we truly embraced inclusion? This last one, is particularly challenging for me...."tolerant, and inclusive" as I like to believe I am, I am lacking in the fullness of what this means. I am fiercely studying Judaism, and its' tender history of triumph and near-destruction, and triumph again, and again.... The Jews never tried to "convert" anyone, but instead prayed silently, with great intentions of Peace and Love for everyone, and offered their prayers to an Almighty who they believed would never forsake them...and even when it seemed that Almighty had, they still committed---commenced-- to praying. They....began again. Like them, so may we. So, shall we, commence to beginning again. Start, and make this your own "Year of Adoption", whether that means adopting a lost, furry soul (I have two "rescues", and they are amazing, sweet, lovable dogs), or committing time at a Children's event, or donating to an Animal Shelter, or Rescue, or donating to a Children's Shelter, or helping a Veteran and/or her/his family in processing medical forms, or job applications, or....simply opening yourself up to "adopting" this new way, of SEEING, it's up to YOU. Below, a few contacts to help you make a commitment: "Angels Among Us", located throughout the USA. http://angelsrescue.org/ In North Georgia: Big Canoe Animal Rescue (we adopted our female GSD, from them, in 2009) http://www.adoptapet.com/adoption_rescue/76007.html From one of Georgia's largest counties, and the fastest-growing, most diverse county: Gwinnett County, their Children's Shelter's current "Wish List" of much-needed itms... http://www.gwinnettchildrenshelter.org/current-needs/ For Veterans, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who need assistance in getting hired, and in simply coping,check out: http://coalitionforveterans.org/volunteer/ Again, Happy New Year to All. Peace, kids. >Peace, kids.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
First, Congratulations are in order for Melissa Goodman, and Wilbur Fitzgerald, two remarkable people who are--as of yesterday--elected to the GPP Board. I don't know if Georgia Production Partnership can get any better, as it ALREADY is THE "go-to" organization for information and updates on all. things. lensed. in. Georgia. But with our very own Atlanta SAG-AFTRA folks on the Board, I know GPP can take it to another level. Melissa's in-office enthusiasm and expertise and Wilbur's on-set experience and steady, measured, goal-setting is going to encourage even more film-making here in Georgia. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Wilbur yesterday at the local intown coffe/wine bar, "Java Vino", and he joined my dear friend, Estelle Ford-Williamson for coffee. I was impressed--as I have been since meeting him, years ago--with his kindness and interest in others, as well as his (many, varied) accomplishments as an actor, and human being! Estelle and I were able to get "caught up" with one another, and I was delighted with the Java-Vino Dark-Chocolate-Caramel-Almond Brownie she surprised me with! The numerous books she's helped others to write, edit, publish, and promote, is too long to list! As if that weren't enough, Estelle is working on a non-fiction book which may very well reshape what it means to emigrate/immigrate. I'm so tickled to have such an amazing, if I may--"Wo-Mentor" in my life. I chatted up Collin Kelley a bit later in the day, as we met at Manuel's and noshed on chicken fingers and fried-cheese appetizers... He has to be the most capable person I know, in terms of marrying his creativity with tremendous organizational skills like time-management, and prioritization. Whew! Any "regular Joe" would get exhausted just SEEING what Collin accomplishes. Again, I'm one lucky little woman to get to have Collin Kelley, in my life. Next year, (2013) will be ten years since he and I met, and nearly twenty, since he lost his Uncle (who passed away in 1994), and my former co-worker, Terry Graves, to the disease known as AIDS. The way in which that connection was revealed to Collin and to me, is remarkable on its own, and worthy of much poetry. I'll flesh that out, soon, in honor of the years, the life, the love. Here's to all those people, all the ones just mentioned, and all those others, who've made my own life, so very, very sweet. Peace, kids. Peace, kids.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
"When I write poetry, I think of it as praying on paper," a Roman Catholic priest once told me. The past few days/daze I've been nearly giddy with delight, because of my return to blogging. I'd truly forgotten how incredible the connection feels: the lone act of typing, the stillness as I re-read (I make NO changes to my Blog posts, they exist as an outpouring, Un-edited, of thoughts-in-my-head)before hitting "Post", the excitement when someone--known or unknown to me--posts a comment. I cannot fathom how other people DON'T WANT to write. More puzzling to me, are those who say "I don't like to read" or "I don't enjoy reading; I'd rather be outside." If you don't like to read, then you either have a learning disability, a vision problem, or a very low IQ---I know I'm going to regret saying words that will be, ultimately, judged as very harsh--but that's how I feel, that's what I believe. And saying you don't enjoy reading, because you'd rather be outside? There's a simple solution: take the book/magazine/iPad/Kindle/Nook/e-book with you! If it were not for books--for stories from the Roman Catholic Saints I read as a young girl (St. Theresa of Liseux (known as "The Little Flower") is the Saint I selected, at about age 10, as my "Confirmation Saint"), to "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl", which became my favorite book--and one I've read 25 times at last count, I think I could not have grown to love the literature which later shaped the work I chose to study in college: literature, plays, theatre, and, ultimately--acting.It shaped my very LIFE. What's the biggest fear I have, besides obvious fears like losing my parents, sis,nieces,aunts, and hubby and other loved ones, to death? I fear not getting to finish reading all the books I want to read. On my I-Have-The-Book-Now-I-Want-The-Time-To-Read-It-List, right now: *"Unsaid", a novel "Whose Song? and other stories", a collection from Thomas Glave (I purchased a copy from him, personally at Indiana University Writer's Conference(I was there as a participant in the Poetry Track), in 2004--I've read a few of his tender stories, and keep returning to them, as one would, to a hot meal, for nourishment) *"Dark Places", by Gillian Flynn "His Lovely Wife", by Elizabeth Dewberry "A Small Hotel", by Robert Olen Butler *"A Brief History of Time", nonfiction, by Stephen Hawking (I read it twice in the past, but it was over twenty years ago, sigh) *"Object of Beauty", a novel by Steve Martin (one of my fav contemporary writers--his essays in The Atlantic are illuminating) *"The N-Word" , a book on culture and language Books I want, but don't yet possess: *Two novels, including "Elza's Kitchen", from the brilliant writer, Marc Fitten *Four new books of poetry from four local poets who I admire *Countless "classics" that I missed, or never (yet!) got around to reading... What are some books that are your favorites? Which books do you still yearn to read? Peace, kids.