Monday, July 27, 2009

Seeking a colorblind world

Here is the August, 2009, issue of Bay Area Parent Magazine where you'll find my latest article; the article appears in both the East Bay edition as well as the San Francisco/Peninsula edition. After you open the link, "flip" to page 8 of the magazine where you'll find my story, "Seeking a Colorblind World," in the editor's note section (a high honor from spectacular Parenthood editor, Peggy Spear who took July off to travel Europe with her family and asked me to fill her award-winning space!).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finding opportunity in "Transition Time"

I’m usually good at making transitions. As a child, my family moved seven times between my first year of life and my 19th, usually across time zones and into different metropolitan areas.

As a parent, I’ve fared well, also. When my kids moved from Kindergarten to First Grade, the transitions were easy. When my oldest graduated to Middle school, we were ready for that transition, too. School year to Summer Break is always an easy transition. Summer break back to the school year is an even easier transition. But I’m not so adept at handling friends’ transitions, unless such changes involve elaborate housewarming bashes after major kitchen remodels.

I’ve subconsciously been avoiding the reality of a dear friend's upcoming transition, busying myself instead with things like my kids' birthday parties (89 meals served or purchased in 4 days time), writing, kitchen remodel planning, working, sleeping, managing the summer household, and chasing after the dog (who, incidentally loves my friend’s dog like a brother – because they are brothers).

In a few days, my good friend Kathy Cordova is moving to a new city with her family. Kathy and I have known each other for eight years, since my twins were one year old. We met while Kathy was on assignment for an article about twins for the Pleasanton Weekly.

Within a few weeks of meeting Kathy, she helped me develop three additional new friendships with Amy Moellering, Grace Navalta and Keely Parrack. What began as a set of parallel friendships evolved, quickly, into a special bond: Five women, all from the same town and all who are passionate writers and lovers of fine wine.

Such was the birth of the Literary Lushes. Each of us – with our individual backgrounds, sets of talents, passions and personal lives – was discovered and placed together by our one common friend, Kathy. Each of us provides unique strength to the wheel that, with one spoke missing, is glaringly off-balance.

Kathy helped us form a group that, eight years later, is better described as a “telekinetic team” of literary friends than a group of gals who write. Between us, in eight years we have published or been published in at least a half-dozen books, hundreds (nay, thousands?) of newspaper articles, magazine articles, columns, editorials, blogs, anthologies and TV programs. Meanwhile, we’ve supported each other through personal and medical challenges, individual and professional triumphs, glorious celebrations and frustrating hurdles. These women are among the handful friends I know I can always count on. If I were to call one of these women in a moment of urgent need, she would be there for me as quickly as humanly possible, as I would be for her.

Now one of us is leaving. What to do? Perhaps I just need to look to the horizon. The horizon of the other side of the Bay, that is. You see, Kathy is only moving to Palo Alto. (My apologies, readers, for the melodrama leading up to this moment). It feels like she’s moving to a new time zone.

Perhaps I just need to realize it may not be so awful that Kathy is leaving. Sure, she won’t be a seven-minute drive from me, and weekly walks at the Sports Park on mornings off won’t be as easy to arrange. But maybe our comfort level over the past eight years could use a jump start. Perhaps a change of scenery and a regular drive Kathy’s new house will provide just the creative inspiration each of us always craves.

Plus, I know of some fine boutiques and restaurants in Palo Alto. The city conceivably may even have some fine kitchen design shops I could patronize for my own kitchen remodel. Then, barring major financial hardships, it will be I who’ll undergo the kind of transition that is easiest to handle: Dear friends, keep an eye out for that elaborate housewarming invitation some time this fall. I now have new reason to stop procrastinating on the remodel.