Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pet stories - Pixie


Sometimes last summer, we decided to adopt a dog. We wanted a small size, not a puppy but not old either, playful but without destructive intentions, good tempered, hypoallergenic (yes, there is such a thing!, it actually means that the dog doesn't shed, which is a blessing if you live in a rental with carpet on the floor, like we do) and, preferably, a boy. Pretty specific, right?! Some of these were my desires but most of them were my husband's specific requirements. He was hard to persuade in adopting a dog after a disastrous experience with a kitten we found abandoned during Hurricane Ike's time in Houston. Eduardo, the kitten, was named after the second hurricane threat in Houston, which turned out to be a false alarm, so we hoped that the kitten will be as tame and easy to deal with as the namesake "hurricane". But, as we say in Romania, our careful plans didn't match reality: little Eduardo was untamed, mean, had rage fits after being left home alone, too young to be fixed (which could have calmed him down a bit), biting, scratching and chewing everything that could be possibly bitten, scratched or chewed. Despite his very good looks,
Is it only me or Eduardo did look like a little devil?
when nothing stopped to bit me so hard that I had to painfully remove his teeth from my right hand and couldn't write properly for a couple of days, I, his mom, decided to give up on him. We found a family with small children and a decent size backyard and that was it! We later heard that he turned out to be a she, that the new owners adored her and .... declawed her, to save their furniture and body parts.

So, a couple of years later, after intense negotiations, here we were, at the Poodle Rescue of North Houston, ready to be pet parents again. This time, I did my homework on PetFinder, and already found a 2 years-old Bichon poodle mix, a white boy names Barney, with a wet nose and a pair of dark playful eyes like little M&Ms. We were delighted to meet him and took him out in the shelter's garden for a trial but ... he was more interested in the treasure of flavors hidden in the bushes than in playing with us. Fortunately, his determination in sniffing everything that moves drove him to the cute behind of another little candidate, a cock-a-poo known as Pixie, who was visiting with another potential adoptive family. Barney brought us to her but there is no question that Pixie CHOSE US! The minute she saw us, she jumped on my lap to diligently lick my face and never stopped ever since!  She must be a very good politician ...
Youtube video of Pixie's adoption


In the beginning, she was:
very small (only 14 lb.)...
...and very shy!
To Cristi's delight, a friend pointed out that the black markings on her back resemble the "pi" sign:
She's definitely daddy's princess!
Pretty soon, she put a "little" weight. She's 20 lb. now, above the acceptable weight limit for traveling inside the airplane when we'll go overseas (she'll have to go cargo, with the big & mean boys!!!!) and became fluffy like a teddy bear or rather like a lamb. Among many other names we call her in both languages, some not so PG-13, e.g. Pixu', Pixulina, "Pixu' lu' mama" (Romanians go figure!), I call her Little Swiss Cow and found a mini cow bell for her favorite collar ...
Oh, and she can JUMP. If you don't believe me, here's the proof:


video


We are definitely happy to be Pixie's parents!
All three Diaconu's at Christmas 2010

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8: on being a daughter, a woman, a wife, a mother - someday

Here are some of my favorite poems that come to mind on March 8. Translating them in English would be too big of a challenge for me and taking the time to do so would defeat the purpose of spontaneity of blogging. So, today I have to apologize to my American friends for my mostly Romanian posting ....

This one is by Romanian poet Adrian Paunescu, who recently passed away.

Cântec femeiesc

Aşa e mama şi a fost bunica
Aşa suntem femei lângă femei
Părem nimic şi nu-nsemnăm nimica
Doar nişte "ele" ce slujesc pe "ei".

Ei neglijenţi, iar ele foarte calme
Ei încurcând ce ele limpezesc
Ei numai tălpi şi ele numai palme
Acesta e destinul femeiesc.

Şi-n fond, ce fac femeile pe lume?
Nimic măreţ, nimic impunător.
Schimbându-şi după ei şi drum şi nume
Pun lucrurile iar la locul lor.

Cu-atâţia paşi ce au făcut prin casă
Şi pentru care plată nici nu cer
De-ar fi pornit pe-o cale glorioasă
Ar fi ajuns şi dincolo de cer.

Ei fac ce fac şi tot ce fac se vede
Ba strică mult şi ele-ndreaptă tot
Şi de aceea nimeni nu le crede
Când cad, îmbătrânesc şi nu mai pot.

Aşa e mama şi a fost bunica
Şi ca ele mâine eu voi fi.
Ce facem noi, femeile? Nimica,
Decât curat şi uneori copii.

Suntem veriga firului de aţă
În fiecare lanţ făcut din doi
Ce greu cu noi femeile în viaţă
Dar e şi imposibil fără noi...

Another one of my favorites, by Vasile Militaru. The poem was dedicated to George Enescu, who composed the music. My great-grandmother, whom I remember well because she passed away at 93, when I was 14, used to sing the song ("romantza") for our family gatherings:


Mama

A venit aseara mama, din satucu-i de departe,
Ca sa-si vada pe feciorul, astazi domn cu multa carte.
A batut sfios la usa, grabnic i-am iesit în prag,
Mi s-a umezit privirea, de iubire si de drag.

Sarutîndu-i mâna dreapta, ea m-a strâns la piept sfioasa,
Si întrebând-o câte toate, a intrat apoi în casa.
Înlauntrul casei mele, câta bruma am adunat,
Da prilej ca biata mama, sa se creada-ntr-un palat.

Nu-ndrazneste nici sa intre, cu opincile-n picioare,
Si cu multa grija calca, doar alaturi de covoare.
Eu o-ndemn sa nu ia seama, si sa calce drept în lege,
Ca doar e la fisu-n casa, nu e-n casa vre-unui rege.

Si abia o fac sa sada, pe-un divan cu scoarta noua,
Mi-era dor de tine maica, ti-am adus vreo zece oua.
Nitel unt i-a colea-n traista, niste nuci, vreo doua sute,
Si cu ochii plini de lacrimi, prinse iar sa ma sarute.

Poate mor ca sunt batrâna, si-aprins dorul sa ma-ndrume,
Sa mai vad odata maica, ce mi-e azi mai drag pe lume.
Caierul mi-e pe sfârsite, mâine poate-si curma firul
Si-ntre patru blani de scânduri, sa ma cheme cimitirul.

Jale mi-i de voi maicuta, si visez chiar si desteapta
Cum pe-o margine de groapa, bietul taica-tu m-asteapta
Tu cu dorul mamei în urma, sa te-aduni cu frati-acasa
Si sa-mparti agoniseala, de pe urma ei ramasa.

Iara tu ca mai cu stare, decât fratii tai pe lume
Sa iei casa-n care tie, ti-a fost dat sa vi pe lume
Când si când în miez de vara, sau de Pasti sa vada satul
Cum îmi vine ca-n toti anii, la casuta mea baiatul

Si-având tihna si-odihna, la venire sau plecare
S-aprinzi si la groapa maichii, cât-un pai de lumânare.
A tacut apoi batrâna, si-a plâns mult cu lacrimi grele,
Ce curgându-i lin în poale, se-ntâlneau cu ale mele.



Corina Chiriac and Mirabela Dauer have enchanted my childhood with these songs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XkGYsigloY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJMTqibh3jc&feature=related

Cleopatra Stratan, the little wonder, sings a sweet ballad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDZras1U2y8

And, now, here is some FUN with "The Mom Song" (with the mind-bending lyrics):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXgoJ0f5EsQ


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not Unhopeful -

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

- Carl Jung

Your life can be wasted, if you strongly believe that you have no choices. There are always choices that you can make to save your life - and I don’t mean it from the death of your body, but of your soul. The word desperate comes to mind first when you think of someone who was brought up to believe that she has no choice but be a victim - whether it’s social inequity, political police, abusive parents or an workaholic husband.

Stories about prisoners in Nazi concentration camps are common knowledge these days. Where I come from, it wasn’t hard to hear stories about political dissidents in communist jails behind the Iron Curtain who stubbornly refused to give up hope and search for life meaning, even in their unbelievably harsh conditions. Some, kept in solitary confinement for years, kept their sanity by reciting poems or prayers from memory or writing new ones in their own minds -no writing tools were available, of course, and scratching on the prison walls was harshly punished.

So, seems to me that we are equipped to reach above the cloud of daily worries, and search deeper in the mud hole of unfulfilled dreams and unsettling anxieties, to make choices in life and find fulfillment, if not happiness. We have the survival toolkit (God-made?!) to rise even from the bottom of the bottoms: a mind that relentlessly seeks meaning and a heart that whispers the name of each one’s true calling.

I decided to write the stories I heard, before and after moving to America, as my legacy to those who are hopeless. Sometimes these stories are funny, sometimes weird, a number of times they will feel tense but in all of them, there is HOPE.