Friday, November 21, 2014

Finding my father

My father is listed on my birth certificate as "unknown,"  And the only person who could have told me something about him, my mother, died in a car accident when I was an infant.

No one knew my father's name and it seemed impossible that I would ever find him.
But that didn't stop me from searching.  

I had reason to believe he was an Air Force Officer, and so I formed an image of him as a jet pilot. Tall and handsome. A hero.  I imagined him on holidays, sitting at the head of a table in a tastefully furnished suburban home, maybe somewhere in California, surrounded by his loving wife and his grown children (my siblings) all with interesting careers and hobbies. 

I searched for eight years, but didn't find him, and came to terms with that fact.
I grieved for my unknown father and moved on. 

But then everything changed as the result of the increasing popularity of DNA tests.  So many people have taken these tests - in the interest of genealogy or just out of curiosity - that it is now fairly easy to find biological relatives this way.

As the result of several DNA tests, and some determined detective work,  I finally learned the name of my father last month.

Ted Hadley died in 1990, but I have learned a lot about him from my newly-found paternal relatives.  I have been given many photographs and a DVD of his home movies.  So, even though I will never meet him, I feel like I know him a little.

I am extraordinarily amazed by all this, and yet it is such an ordinary thing:  to know my father's name. 

As it turned out, my father was not a jet pilot.  Not a hero.  And not what you'd call a family man.  But he sure was handsome.  Also hard-working.  And fun-loving.  "He liked being the center of attention," my  half-sister recently told me.   

This is a photo of Ted Hadley in his costume for a children's television show that 
was broadcast in LasVegas in the early 1950s.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month and here is my opinion about that:

Adoption is not something to celebrate.  It is always the result of a loss of one sort or another. Something has gone wrong in someone's life in order for adoption to be necessary.  We should aim for a world where adoption is not needed, and celebrate that.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Six decades

In celebration of my 60th birthday, here are some photos of me in each decade I have lived  (so far!) 

1954  with my mother in Sunnyvale, California 

1964 - I gave myself this haircut

1974  - Kalamazoo, Michigan 

1984 - with my sons

1994 - in Chicago with my grandmother

2004 - camping in Muskegon Michigan

2014 -   DC with Beth 

Thursday, October 23, 2014


As a mother of identical twins I find THIS  (click for link) fascinating.

Identical twins develop from a single fertilized egg, so they have an identical genome.But differences in their genomes can occur throughout their lifetime.  Genes can be turned on or off, a process called expression, as the result of environmental factors like diet, exposure to toxins, stress, and exercise.  So identical twins can be formed into biologically different people as the result of their life experiences and lifestyle choices. Which is a great example of the fact that we are all the product of both our biology and our environment.  Our lives make us who we are.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ten years in three word sentences

I have been teaching memoir writing classes for more than year now and this is a wonderful writing prompt that is always a hit with my students.

Here's how it goes:
1. Pick a ten year period in your life.  
2. Write several paragraphs about that period in sentences of only three words each.  

Write as much as you'd like, but each sentence must contain exactly three words. Of-course each sentence won't be grammatically correct, but you will end up with  more material than you thought you had about those ten years.  Try it and see!  Here's one that I wrote about 1990 - 2000. 

Moved to woods.  Married to Tim.  Rural like sucks.  Work at library.  Driving the van.  Rural life sucks.  Trip to DC.  Trip to Florida.  Justin's appendix burst.  Pepper, our dog.  Walking in woods.  The dirt roads.  Listening to CDs.  Had chronic bronchitis.  And then pneumonia. OJ on Trial.  Summer reading clubs.  Lake Michigan beaches.  Snow, snow, snow.  My mom died.  Meat and potatoes.  My first garden.  Searching for Stanley.  My deep disappointment.  Sets, scripts, rehearsals.  

Monday, February 24, 2014


One of my short stories has been accepted for publication by the literary journal, Minerva Rising.  Just when I was about to give up!

I have had two stories published in online journals, and that's nice, but it's nothing like actually seeing your work in print.  (AND getting paid a small amount for it!)

I have been trying to get my three favorite short stories into print for a couple of years. I've spent a lot of time on these stories and I love them.  I believe they deserve to be in print, but the constant stream of rejection notices caused me doubt. I gave up working on new stories because it seemed so pointless. Perhaps the constant rejection was a sign from the universe that I am really not much of a short story writer after all.  But now I am inspired to polish up those other two stories and send them out there once again.  And maybe even get back to work on some new ones.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five years of Movies

I have seen 140 movies and documentaries in the last five years.  I know this fact because of the lists I've been keeping on this blog - a thing I wish I'd always done.  I'd love to be able to look back at my movie list from ten or twenty years ago.  I'm sure I've forgotten so many.  

I have rated each film with one to five asterisks, (based only on my personal enjoyment of the film.) And after five years, only eleven were deemed worthy of a five asterisk rating: Doubt, The Visitor, Frozen River, UP, Julie & Julia, Iris, An Education, A Single Man, Midnight in Paris, The Flat, and Five Broken Cameras.

The films I hated and gave only one asterisk are:  Gran Torino, District 9, Inception, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I'm Still Here, I am Love, and Blue is the Warmest Color.

So:  I only hated 7 out of 140 films.  But I only loved 11, which seems pretty low to me.  I am so often disappointed at the movies these days.  So many films are ho-hum.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In memory of my Mom

Today is twenty years since the death of  my mom, Marie Kathleen Bocianowski. She had just turned 70.  Here are a few of my favorite photos of her:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year

I only posted to this blog five times in 2013.  But since it seemed like I wasn't blogging at all, I'm kind-of surprised by that number.  And since this is my first post of 2014, I guess this blog isn't completely dead yet.  And I wonder how long it can exist?  Will it still be here somewhere on the internets ten years from now if I don't purposely take it down? Will it still be here in twenty years? Fifty?  I doubt that.  But who knows.

I didn't take as many creative photos last year as I usually do.  But here are some of my favorites from 2013: