Archive for November, 2009

Snapshots from the Edge 2


Yes, I have an opinion.

 We went to see our first movie of the year this past weekend:  The Blind Side.  It was fabulous.  Seriously, get thee to the theatre.  And kudos to my mamacita who kept her three grandchildren who are 1, 2, and 3 while the rest of the adults in the family went to the movies.  That is seriously strong.  I’ve been calling baby “Candelas” for a few weeks which is a Puerto Rican term for fireball- because, seriously, he so is.  My niece and nephew have taken to calling baby “happy” because he is mostly that, too, so all Thanksgiving, we called him Happy Candelas.  Except for, later, my sister forgot that Candelas was the nickname, and she started calling baby “Happy Caliente (hot)”  which totally made me laugh. 

At one point this weekend, my niece, who could also be called Candelas, and baby got into it.  When my mom was babysitting the three, she gave my niece a cracker before giving Happy Candelas one.  Well, Happy Candelas loves a good cracker and so he went over to my niece and yanked hers from her hand.  “No, Happy!” She screamed.  And baby screamed right back at her which is so not what her brother ever does and so my niece wasn’t sure what to do with that.  Mamacita said that my niece and Happy Candelas just kept looking at each other shrieking back forth until my niece looked at my mom and said, “I want my mom!”   I completely understand.  Sometimes, when Happy Candelas and I are going round and round, I want my mom, too.

November 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm 1 comment

Snapshots from the Edge

With just ten hours to do it (that’s how many babysitting hours I have to write this week), I am finishing the first draft of Beautiful You this week so that I can start the process of editing, ordering, and writing the front and back matter of the book (that means introduction, acknowledgments, user’s guide, notes, etc)– all to be done and shipped out to my editor by December 30th.  So, I’m Focused Rosie this week which means that I won’t be able to do a whole lotta blogging.  What you’ll get instead?  Little snapshots from the edge of our world…

Where you will find me this week. That stack of notecards on the left hand side of the computer? Notes for the pages I'll be writing. On the right side? My general to do list. Those are the machinations of Focused Rosie.

Where we will find Lola if it rains like the weatherman is predicting for a couple days this week.

Where we will find baby

Here’s to ‘making work’ this week!

November 29, 2009 at 11:44 am 1 comment

Counting My Blessings

So, here it is.  This year’s round up of blessings I’ll be counting on Thanksgiving day (and everyday).  Most are serious, one is silly, and all of them do my heart good.  What are the serious and silly blessings you are counting this holiday season?   

1.  Our sweet, funny little boy.  There are times when I go to bed at night and miss him to pieces (there are also times when I think “how soon can we put him to bed?”).  He makes me laugh, he drives me mad, and he warms my heart.  My days are better because of this little boy. 

2.  The ability to be with baby most of every day during his first year home.  What a blessing indeed to watch every new nuance of his character develop.

3. BF- he has been a great husband for many years and is such a wonderful dad.   

4.  My work– it allows me to be flexible and creative while doing something meaningful and satisfying. 

5.  My students– I learn more from them than they do from me and they give me hope in the future. 

6.  My agent: for believing in my work and giving me a chance.   

7.  The women and girls of Circle de Luz.  From the unbelievable founding and current board of directors (thank you Eve, Anna, Jen, Jocelyn, Rosemary, and Mary Kathryn) to the 100 Mijas who support a total of 13 girls with comprehensive programming and a future scholarship, from the Class of 2015 Circle Captains (thank you Amanda, Tatiana, and Alica) to the wonderful 13 Hijas we work with, from our school partners to our community donors, Circle de Luz does my heart good. 

8.  My family.  Love ‘em, each and every one of them.

9.  My neighbors.  You can’t believe the honey pot of goodness we have landed in with our neighbors.  We heart them something fierce.  And when either set goes out of town, oh we miss ‘em! 

10.  My friends.  Whether they are local or long distance, they all make me laugh, think, and enjoy life all the more.      

11.  The journey of adoption.  I have learned so much about myself, parenting, another country, this process and am so much the richer for it.  I have also made some wonderful friends. 

12.  You.  Seriously, you give up time out of your day to allow me a place to process my experience and you offer me support, insight, and good humor. 

13.  Baby’s caregivers.  Baby now goes to a sitter a few hours a week, and she is fabulous with our little guy.  We’re also lucky to have neighbors, family members, and a wonderful high school student who are willing and excited about being with baby when a girl wants to go the grocery store alone or those other little ‘can’t take baby with us’ moments in life appear. 

14.  A good night’s sleep.  We’ve only been sleeping better for six weeks now but, boy, is it decadent.  I get in bed at night and just smile (a noticeable change from when I used to get in bed at night and start having an anxiety attack over how bad it might possibly be). 

15.  Fantasy football.  It gives me a way to divert my nervous football season energy when my real team’s not doing all that well.

November 24, 2009 at 8:09 pm 1 comment

Adoption Numbers

It’s the last Tuesday of November, so the last official Tuesday in Adoption Awareness Month.  I didn’t receive any new questions about adoption to answer, but I do want to let you know that I am always happy to answer any question so feel free to shoot them to me any time– even if it’s not Adoption Awareness Month.  And for a last little bit of information about international adoption in the United States, here are the numbers for the top 20 countries Americans adopted from over the last five years.   

  FY 2008 FY 2007 FY 2006 FY 2005 FY 2004
1 Guatemala










2 China










3 Russia










4 Ethiopia




South Korea


South Korea


South Korea


5 South Korea


South Korea








6 Vietnam










7 Ukraine










8 Kazakhstan










9 India










10 Colombia










11 Haiti










12 Philippines










13 Taiwan










14 Liberia










15 Nigeria










16 Mexico










17 Ghana










18 Kyrgyzstan










19 Poland










20 Thailand













November 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

Wooing baby

First of all, let me start by saying that on my birthday I officially scratched something off of my birthday list.  One down, 35 items to go.  The item to get done?  Complete this Strengthfinders assessment that was part of a book that a friend gave me a couple years ago.  Turns out my strengths are:  Maximizer (which means that I focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence), responsibility (I take ownership of what I say I am going to do), Input (I have a craving to know more), Believe (I have certain core values that are unchanging and they give me a defined purpose for life), and empathy (I can sense the feeling of others).  Yeah, that’s fairly accurate but can it be any less exciting?  Seriously, I wanted my strengths to be activator, connectedness, harmony, restorative, and woo.  Aren’t those words so much more fun?  I mean, seriously, someone’s strength can be woo?  If we’re wondering why all the junior high boys did not beat a quick path to my locker, well,  it’s because I lacked woo.   Nonetheless, without or without woo, I get to scratch something off my list and that’s pretty cool. 

I am, however, having a fun time wooing baby into loving books.  Up until this past week, baby has not been so into the books which, as you might imagine, hurt my feelings.  But, finally, baby’s attention span is lengthening and his need for constant activity is lessening and so he is now willing to sit in my lap and have me read to him.  Be still my beating heart!  Book of the week?  Please Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee.  I dig it, too, which is good since I have to read it 15 times in a row.

In other news from around the world of baby, he’s learning what different phrases mean and that’s pretty cool.  When I say ‘it’s time to eat’, he walks over to his high chair.  He also goes to his brown chair in his bedroom when we’re sititng in the living room and I say it’s time for night-night (and he tries to say night-night which is pretty darn sweet) because he knows that’s where we cuddle before he goes to sleep, and, finally, he goes straight to the changing table in his bathroom when I say that we need to change his diaper.  And he stands there and looks at me, waiting for me to lift him up onto the table.  Go little guy.  Seems he has woo in his bucket of strengths!






November 18, 2009 at 10:11 pm 1 comment

36 Things to Do Before Turning 37

It is that time of year…  Birthday List Time!

I didn’t do so great with last year’s list: just 9 things out of 35 completed; so I am putting lots of structure in place for this year’s list.  I bought a journal and calendar that is list specific– especially because about 7 of the things on my list are things that I really need to be doing every week to accomplish them.  And I did a collage a the beginning of the journal of the themes in my list to give me a little visual reminder.  I am also aiming to get one thing knocked off the list on the very first day– TODAY– just to give me a little momentum.  Maybe that way, I’ll get at least 10 things scratched off this year’s list.  

Curious as to what made the cut?  Here’s an excerpt from this year’s list with some commentary, too. 

Complete book draft  (this one HAS to be done by February 1st!)

Get a third book contract (my wonderful agent has a book proposal in hand!)

Write 6 new essays

Have at least 10 speaking events (I put the travel on hold some this year with the new babe but hope to do a bit more of it next year)

Go to at least six readings/ presentations by authors. 

Earn $10,000 in program donations for Circle de Luz.

Landscape the back yard. 

Clean out our attic (my goal is to get this done by January 1).

Take a cooking class. 

Create the perfect back porch space.

Have a plentiful backyard garden. 

Run for an hour.

Read 36 books (I only got to 25 this year).    

Clean out mom and dad’s attic (this one makes me feel overwhelmed just typing it). 

Keep a weekly journal for baby. 

Document baby’s second year with a daily photograph.  

Do art every week.

Do The Artist’s Way (I did this book/program in my early 20s, and it launched me, inadvertently, on my writing career.  I wonder what it would source up now). 

Take a creativity, self-awareness, art, or writing class/retreat. 

Take singing lessons.

Go horseback riding.

Check out the local whitewater center. 

Ah, drat, I just looked over my list and there are just 35 things on it.  Must find a 36th.  Any suggestions?

November 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm 3 comments

What books did we read to prepare?

Alright, so here’s a quick round up of books we read in preparation for our adoption or after coming home that might be of interest to you.  Got any to suggest?  I have 36 books to read this coming year and am always looking for great suggestions!   

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adopted Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, Wendy Sunshine

Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood

Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker

There is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene  

Ethiopian Amharic Phrasebook by Lonely Planet

I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla by Marguerite Wright

November 16, 2009 at 7:48 pm 2 comments

Run Big, Dream Big I

So, this started with my birthday list. For those of you who don’t know, I write an annual list of things to do each year as part of my birthday celebration. And this year’s list (my birthday is this Wednesday, November 18th, so I’ll share more of my list then) had two things on it that I decided to bring together into one.  Item # 1: be able to run for an hour on my own. Item #2: raise $10,000 for Circle de Luz. Now, those things don’t naturally have anything to do with each other EXCEPT that I am not inclined to run without a purpose– you know, like from a bear chasing me or towards chocolate. So, to get myself to run for an hour, I have to have a reason. And I’ve decided to make raising money for Circle de Luz my reason.

What is Circle de Luz? Launched in 2008, Circle De Luz radically empowers young Latinas by supporting and inspiring them in the pursuit of their possibilities through extensive mentoring, programming, and scholarship funds for further education. Circle de Luz not only gives girls (we call them Hijas) the financial means to pursue an educational program of their choice after high school graduation, the organization also provides the girls with six years of dynamic programming and mentoring.  Every month, we offer at least 2 programs for our Hijas (and they are constantly asking for more!).  But to make these events happen, we need funds.  Our programming dollars come from sales of our necklace, grants, and any other fundraising or sponsorships we are able to secure.  Next year, we have big plans for our girls, but we need the funds to back up our dreams and their’s.  

So my birthday list items have now been combined into one major goal.  On March 6, 2010, my goal is to have at least 32 people run the Corporate Cup race (options are a half-marathon, a half-marathon relaty made up of two 5 mile legs and one 5k leg (3.1 mile), or a 5k) in downtown Charlotte as a celebration of raising funds for Circle de Luz.  If you aren’t in Charlotte or can’t travel to Charlotte, keep reading because there’s an option for you, too.   

Here is how it will work: We are looking for at least 32 people to commit to participating in any part of the Corporate Cup and using it as an impetus to raise funds for Circle de Luz.  We’re calling it Run Big, Dream Big I.  Your goal?  $325.  Why $325?  There are 13 Hijas in Circle de Luz, and we are asking each participant to raise $25 for each girl.  By raising $325, you will provide at least 2 programs for the girls sometime in the following year or pay for a full day of Circle de Luz wellness camp for one girl.  

Won’t you join us by going the distance for Circle de Luz?

If you decide to go for it, what happens?  Well, first, you’ll receive a packet from us of information on training for the run, registering for the run,  and setting up your fundraising web-site.   You will also get a sample first letter to send to your friends and family to begin your solicitation for the run.  Finally, as things get underway officially in January, we will organize group runs for whoever can participate on Saturdays in January and February and provide any additional help you might need leading up to race day. 

Are you game?  Email as soon as possible to let us know if you’d like to do it, what distance you are interested in (we can help you find a relay team if you’d like to run the 1/2 marathon relay and need teammates), and if you have anyone who also wants to do this with you.  Once we have our team of 32, we’ll send the welcome email with all the details you need.

Don’t live in Charlotte but would like to participate?  If you aren’t able to travel here but would like to do a run or walk in your community this spring to raise money for Circle de Luz, just let us know via email and we’ll help you work out the details and find a race that works for you in your area! 

Are you thinking there is no way you’re running from anything but a bear or towards chocolate but you are willing to donate?  Check out my fundraising page here.  Just make sure to write a note where it says “add special instructions to merchant” that the donation is for Rosie’s fundraising run effort.  That way I’ll get a note about it and can properly thank you (with a tax deductible note, too)?   

Thanks so much for even considering being involved in this effort in any way! 

November 14, 2009 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment

swimming in it so photos

2009_11_7 Mad Longhorn

The Longhorns are doing great in fb, baby. There's no need to cry.

2009_11_8 Napping

No words for this sweetness, really.

November 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm 1 comment

approaching the finish line

So, I went to contract for the book I am working on right now at the end of July/ beginning of August, and I promptly started writing.  My acquisition editor (the editor who acquires books for the publisher) told me that my editor (who also happens to be the publihser) would be in touch with me.  And so I started writing and figured I’d hear from my editor when she was ready. 

“Have you talked to your editor?”  A friend asked in September. 


“Are you going to contact her?” 

“Nope.”  And here was my rationale for why (in addition to my general shyness about that sort of thing, my general desire to not be a pain in anyone’s derriere, and my fairly laid back nature):  each day that I worked on the book without having any deadlines, I was being virtuous and was totally ahead of the ballgame.  The minute my editor and I spoke and we set a deadline, I would– no matter how far I was in the writing- be behind and in a mad rush to finish.  I’m not going to lie:  I like being virtuous far more than sweating a deadline. 

I finally talked to my editor this past Friday and it seems the good deadline free times are over, and I have a deadline.  The deadline for everything (and everything will be about 400 pages) is January 1 (which really, come on, means December 30– even for Little Miss In Bed By 9 PM on New Year’s Eve.).  As of today, I am on page 270.  So, 130 pages to go between now and December 30 except that I still need to edit all 400 pages. 

So, here’s my plan:  get it all written by December 4th and then heavy editting from December 4th to December 29th. 

The curveball in all this: my worktime has gone down to 12 hours a week and that’s not just my book writing– that’s my freelance writing, teaching, lesson planning, paper grading, Circle de Luz organizing, and book writing time.  Doable, but I’ll need to be disciplined.  But the truth is that being on deadline really doesn’t change anything.  I still approach my work exactly the same way.  I do the math– to get the book done when I want to have it done, I need to write about 35 pages each week.  I have 4 hours each week out of the 12 that I can guarantee to the book and that means I need to write at least 8-9 pages an hour.  That means, I sit down at my computer for those hours. I close my email inbox and I pound out the words, even if they are not the most eloquent words in their first form.  The key isn’t to wait until the brilliant words hit me.  The key is to get something down on the page so that I can craft and mold it later.  And that’s true for every finish line we want to approach, isn’t it?  We figure out what we need to do to get to it and we just do it.  Consistently.  We pound out the words, the miles, the work.  Ignoring the rules that say it won’t work, and embracing the part of our selves that says that it must.

November 10, 2009 at 8:14 pm 2 comments

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In a Bookstore Near You

What does it mean to be beautiful in America? For years, pop culture has insisted that beautiful women are tall, thin, and blonde. So what do you do if your mirror reflects olive skin, raven hair, and a short build? Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina offers a provocative account of the struggles and triumphs of Latina forced to reconcile these conflicting realities. Rosie Molinary combines her own experience with the voices of hundreds of Latinas who grew up in the US navigating issues of gender, image, and sexuality. This empathetic ethnography exemplifies the ways in which our experiences are both profoundly individualistic and comfortingly universal.
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