Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nothing to See Here

Okay, kids, I need to post something that's NOT about adoption, because I've just been reading all this stuff out there about the term "birth mother" vs. "first mother" and I feel a little...unsettled, and don't even want to get into that. (And I am beginning to doubt that I am cut out for writing about adoption at all, given all the controversy even within the "adoption community." Which is kind of a bummer because I've got a book outlined, and chunks of chapters written, and a really cool title.)

So, what shall we discuss?

Tiger Woods? No. Health care reform? Nope. George Snuffleupagus, uh, Stephanopoulos replacing Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America? (Seriously, he's bringing me down during my precious cereal-eating time. I miss the all-girl team of Robin and Diane.) Okay, I sort of did just talk about that. Glenn Beck (and my mother's apparent swallowing-of-the-FOXNews-Kool-Aid)? Good heavens, no.

Guess it's back to Facebook.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Adoption and the holidays

I am finally going to participate in one of the Open Adoption Rountables -- the topic this time is to write about adoption and the holidays. So here we go.

Lauren's birthmother (I'll call her Elise) saw Lauren several times in her first year, a couple of times in her second year, and now I can't remember how long it's been since we've seen her. Maybe this time last year? She mentioned at the time that she was planning to move out of state.

Last month I sent an email to Elise's mom (who had asked me way back when if I wouldn't mind sending pictures of Lauren now and then and I certainly don't mind as she is an extremely nice lady) to say thanks for the card and gift card she'd sent to Lauren for her birthday, and also a link to the pictures we had taken of Lauren. I asked her to share them with Elise since I didn't have an email address for her. She said she would do that, since she would see Elise at Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving day, I got a text message from Elise saying how beautiful Lauren is and how she can't believe she's three. She said she'd call sometime and that she had a bad cold, and ended her message with "lol."

I don't have a texting plan (what? I'm not 12), so I didn't text her back that day. I figured I'd give her a call closer to Christmas and offer to get together. In the past, she's always called us to ask to see Lauren, but I feel like I need to keep letting her know that she's welcome in our lives and in our home. Anyway, today I checked my phone for her number, and discovered it was an out-of-state number -- from the state she said a year ago she was going to move to. So I sent her a text (I figured it was worth the 25 cents or whatever Verizon's going to charge me for it) saying I see you've moved, give us a call when you're in town, we'd love to see you, blah blah blah. She texted me back right away and said that she's still in town; her dad bought her a new phone for her birthday so the number is from where he lives (which is kind of strange, but I'm thinking that she must still have plans to move there at some point). She ended by writing "my phone is dying, lol, text you soon!"

Okay, so what's the point of all this? It's the holidays, I'm texting with my daughter's birthmother. And I get the sense that she's moved on, as our social worker told us over 3 years ago would probably happen. That as time went on, and she dealt with her own feelings about the adoption, Elise would want to see Lauren less and less. That she would move on with her life, pursue her goals, etc. This is, apparently, pretty normal stuff in this world of open adoption. Doesn't happen to everyone, but it's not uncommon.

There's a part of me that finds this easier. It means I don't have to deal with my own feelings as much. I don't have to feel a pang of guilt when Lauren calls me "mommy" in front of Elise, wondering if she's hurt by that. I don't have to feel guilty about "taking her baby." (Yes, I know she's the one who made the adoption plan, but I still feel somehow like I "did" something painful to her and I like her very much and want the best for her.)

But not having Elise visit with Lauren also makes me sad for Lauren. Not so much now, since she's only 3, and although we talk about adoption, she doesn't get the concept yet. But for later. When she wants to know her birthmother. When she wants to know that Elise cares. When she's dealing with feelings of rejection.

I'm afraid we're going to lose track of Elise and when it matters to Lauren, I won't know where to find her. Luckily I have the connection with her mom, so that helps. I just want to be sure that if and when Lauren wants Elise in her life -- be it in the form of a birthday card or a hug -- I can give that to her. And I can't. It's not my choice. All I can do is keep the door open.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The insomnia continues. Saturday night I was up from 2:00-4:00 am and I've been up today since 4:00. This is not a problem I have a lot these days, but had a nasty case of it in college. The last two episodes have included bizarre shoulder/upper back pain that's so annoying I can't get back to sleep. I have no idea what's causing that but I sure hope it stops soon.

Happy for the short week, although I really have a ton of work to do and could use a full week and then some to get some things accomplished. Never mind that. I'm looking forward to making pies to take to my mom's, Lauren's birthday party and seeing my family. Mostly, I am looking forward to having someone else cook for me for three whole days. Heaven.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Friday Equation

Up by 5:30 am every day
One night of insomnia/non-sleeping child
Two days of mind-numbing tasks at work
Belly full of Indian food
4:59 pm
Zombie mommy

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Fascinating Inner Workings of My Brain

Here are some thoughts I had today:

  • I could quite possibly be the only woman alive who doesn’t give a flip about “New Moon.”
  • Why is my office always so cold?
  • Maybe I’ll open a yoga studio.
  • Are these wounds ever going to stop being itchy?
  • Lauren has yet another cold. She just finished up a second round of antibiotics a week and a half ago. Yea, winter.
  • Why is the orange spray paint from Halloween still in my hair?
  • We’re having pasta for dinner. Again.
  • Is it really time to order a 2010 calendar already?
  • How is it possible that Sarah Palin got a book published?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back At It

"It" being work, I suppose. I'm kind of amazed at how little I minded doing nothing but watch TV and nap for a week. When I'm stuck at home sick with a bad cold or flu I have about a day's worth of tolerance for that laying around stuff, but sure didn't mind it last week.

The worst part of being at work? Wearing a bra. The underwire cuts right into one of my incisions. And don't even suggest going without or even one of those camisoles with the built-in "shelf" bra. Those days are long gone.

The best part of being back at work? I can look at these anytime I want, on my big desktop monitor instead of my Blackberry. Carolyn is a freaking genius. Call her today for your next photo shoot!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'll Cut You, Man

Surgery went fine and I've been laying around being a slug all week. Every once in a while I get a burst of energy and do things like organize my recipes or throw out old magazines, but basically it's all TV, all the time.

It wasn't too bad and although I'm a bit sore and sometimes really tired, it hasn't been nearly as bad as the nasty bought of bronchitis I had a few weeks back.

Lauren keeps asking to "see your belly" and then she says "ew." I don't blame her. I look like I've been in a prison knife fight. Four incisions. Pretty.

I did just find an EKG sticky thing under my left armpit, though. I think it's time to take a shower.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I've been wanting to do this in a formal way for a while, so I thought I'd try it today. I've read a lot about practicing gratitude, both from religious and secular sources, and believe that it does help to remember what's good about my life, rather than always thinking about what needs to be fixed. Good to count my blessings and all that. So, in no particular order, here are things I am grateful for today:

  • It's 4:10 on a Friday and I will soon be heading home to my two favorite people.
  • Being able to get well with a $20 co-pay and a $12 prescription. Everyone should be able to do this.
  • Indian food. Particularly saag choley and boat loads of rice.
  • A dear friend to share said Indian food with -- happy birthday Ang!
  • My bed. Seriously the best $1000 I've ever spent. I had no idea how uncomfortable my old bed was until we got this one.
  • Pandora. Sure makes my day go faster.
  • A job in a stable industry and an even more stable company.
  • A healthy, funny, smart child. Who's so stinking cute I can't stand it!
  • Connecting with old friends on Facebook and keeping in touch with former co-workers, roommates, etc.
  • Books. Made of paper. None of that Kindle crap.
  • Being married to a nice man. Who still makes me laugh after nearly 18 years.
  • Driving a car that doesn't make me wonder if it's going to make it where I'm going. (I've driven my share of pray-and-drive junkers.)
  • Dental floss.
  • Self-check-out lanes at the grocery.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I am whipped. Need to remember to write in the mornings, not at 4:14 in the afternoon when I'm completely wiped out from work. My boss is going out of town the rest of the week, then I'm out next week, so I've been very busy trying to get some things wrapped up today.

In other news, the orange hair spray paint goo that I used to make my Wilma Flintstone 'do last Friday night is STILL not out of my hair. I have little flecks of the stuff clinging to my hair here and there, despite having shampooed multiple times since then. Hm.

And finally, this makes me happy. It was recorded at the Rose Bowl, not in Chicago where I saw them, but still reminds me of that fantastic event (can't call it just a concert) at Soldier Field.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


No, it's not some kind of sandwich you'll find in New Orleans, NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month. Like the site says, "Post every day for a month. That's all you have to do." Well, I'm already two days behind, but I'm going to give this thing a shot. With a couple of caveats -- I seriously doubt I will post on weekends, as I spend all day Monday through Friday in front of a computer and have no interest in logging on on the weekends. Also, I'm having surgery on Monday, so not sure how much I'll feel like posting once that's done. But, blog as often as possible this month, I will. Even if it's just to post pics. Like this from Halloween:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yes, I'm Jealous

If I read another Facebook status update from a stay-at-home mom which has something to do with:
  • going back to bed after getting the kids on the bus, or
  • taking a nap on a weekday, or
  • reading a book whilst sipping a cup of tea and listening to the rain

I'm going to lose it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Need a Wife

This is the time of year where it feels like I'm getting on a speeding train that doesn't stop until New Year's Day. Halloween's coming up and although I have already bought Lauren's costume, I still need to get tights or leggings to go under it. We have a family Halloween party to go to in a week and a half and I have nothing. I thought it would be funny to go as this family:

But now I'm questioning if I really want to wear that little of clothing in semi-public. I never wear dresses/skirts and rarely go sleeveless and hoo boy, we've got both going on here. Plus, I'm not about to spend $50 for each of the costumes, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Make something out of old sheets? (and I don't sew)

This time of year also always involves a wardrobe re-vamp for Lauren, since she doesn't fit into anything warm from last year. I feel like the wardrobe manager for a tiny diva, always on the hunt for something new for her, coordinating outfits, buying new shoes, socks, everything. Right now I'm trying to find a hat and mittens, which you would think wouldn't be that tough, but there is nothing out there for a kid her size, it's either baby stuff of big kid stuff.

Speaking of clothes, I need to find something for Lauren to wear for her 3-year pictures next month. And us, too, if we're going to be in some of them. Haven't had a family picture done since she was a baby so should probably do that.

Sounds like my life is all about clothing of one kind or another. I've also got 2 birthday parties to plan, potential visitors to prepare for, and less than 4 weeks to get caught up at work before being out for a week for gall bladder surgery, and possibly 2 weeks of jury duty right after that. Then we'll be past Thanksgiving and the REAL fun will begin.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm here

Good lord, I need to do a better job of writing. Everything has slipped lately -- housework (more than usual), work, taking care of myself. My grandma died last week. I went home for the calling hours (people around here have never heard of that term; they call it "visitation") and the funeral. The funeral was a hard day, but it was good to be with family. My extended family is not very affectionate with each other, but we cried and hugged a lot and that was good for us. I still feel raw from the whole thing, and that, combined with work pressure (I am so behind and it's only going to get worse as I will potentially be gone from work for 3 weeks next month because I have to have surgery and then 2 weeks of jury duty), makes me feel on the verge of tears all the time. It will get better.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Just In From Hollywood

Katherine Heigl, from "Grey's Anatomy," which I've never seen, is adopting a baby from Korea. You can read the whole story here.

Great, fine, I'm happy for her. Until I got to this: "Heigl, whose sister Meg is adopted from Korea, told USA Today that adopting a child is something she's 'always planned.' 'I'm done with the whole idea of having my own children,' Heigl said. '[It] doesn't seem like any fun. I don't think it's necessary to go through all of that.'"

Okay, I'm going to ignore the obvious "hey, I'm adopting so I don't have to go through the messy inconvenience of pregnancy" (because, Lordy, adopting is just such an easy, trouble-free process).

But, um, Katherine? Your baby from Korea will, in fact, be YOUR OWN child.

Methinks someone needs a bit of adoption education before getting on the plane to Korea.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hey lady, it's not a clown car!

I'm all for reproductive freedom (mostly; very complex issue for me), but COME ON!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's Been Going On

Lots of random stuff to report. Here we go:

  • I have gall stones and my doctor wants me to have the old gallbladder removed. Not thrilled about the prospect, but also not thrilled about another three-hour, middle-of-the-night episode of that pain. So far I am watching what I eat (my doctor's exact words were "very low fat diet") and doing some research to make sure I really should have a body part removed.
  • My grandma has terminal cancer. Thinking about her dying is, well, unthinkable. I'm going to see her in a couple of weeks.
  • A childhood friend just died of cancer. Although we hadn't been in touch for years, it still came as quite a shock. 40 is way too young to die. I'm glad I got to talk to him at our high school reunion two years ago.
  • On to happier things...Bret and I have a real date this weekend. First time since January, when 10 minutes after we got to the restaurant his mom called to say Lauren was puking. So I'm keeping my expectations low that this is actually going to happen. She already has a runny nose; who knows what that could turn into in a few days?
  • I am Mad Men Obsessed. The third DVD from season 2 is arriving from Netflix tomorrow, then I have the rest of season 2 and the beginning of season 3 recorded at home. Good lord, how I love to lose myself in that show.
  • I'm getting my hair cut and colored on Saturday. I believe the time has come to start dyeing in earnest. I pulled an amazingly thick white hair out of my head the other day; the brown strands are about as thin and wimpy as can be, but those white ones, boy, they like to be seen.
  • Is it just me, or do there seem to be an awful lot of pregnant women walking around these days? I think half the moms of kids in Lauren's class are pregnant. Darn breeders.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mom Days Off

I am incredibly fortunate to get 4 weeks of vacation -- it's a big reason why I took my current job. As I tell everyone, 4 weeks of vacation is like pure gold to a working mom, and I would scrub this entire facility with my own toothbrush for that kind of time off.

I have yet to take more than 2 days off in a row, however. When you're a working mom, days off are for things like getting your teeth and carpets cleaned (both of which I'll be doing tomorrow). It's the only way stuff like that gets done. One day last summer I scheduled 4 doctor appointments for one day. So much easier than trying to take a couple of hours off here and there and make up the time at work.

For any kind of house project larger than, say, running the vacuum, I have to take a day off work. There's no way I can paint or work on the landscaping or organize a room in the evenings (I wouldn't get to it until after Lauren goes to bed, and I have zero energy by then anyway) or on the weekend (only have enough time to do the basics, like buy groceries and do laundry).

I am hoping to take a full week off sometime next year for the three of us to take a little trip. But for now, I will be grateful that I am still getting paid on those days I'm home shredding bills or cleaning out my car or running errands or having my doctor tell me to eat skinless chicken and walk more often. Plenty of moms aren't so lucky.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Big Girls Need Love, Too

I totally watched this last night. I've never seen so much Lane Bryant and insecurity in the same room before (and trust me, I've got plenty o'both).

Friday, July 31, 2009

Oh, my poor, sad little blog. I have been neglecting you for lack of anything meaningful to write about. Or at least the gumption to write down any meaningful thoughts I've had.

The summer has been nice, both weather-wise and otherwise. ("Nice" is not a very descriptive word, but that's all I've got right now.) We've taken a long weekend with my extended family, a long weekend to visit friends in Nashville and will soon take another long weekend with Bret's family. I think next year we're going to do something, just the three of us. Hopefully go away for a whole week, which we haven't done in ages, and never since Lauren's arrival.

Lauren is in a new school because her old one closed (with less than a week's notice) and we like it even better. I think she does, too.

We have spent a lot of time this summer talking about changes -- jobs, houses, etc. and it looks like all will stay the same, at least for now. That's okay with me. There are many good things about where we are.

The only other news I have is that somehow I went from a 5+ year old phone that I barely knew how to use to a BlackBerry Storm that I really don't know how to use. It's kind of a fun toy, if a bit unnecessary. Sometimes you need something like that, just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More House Pics

As promised, here are some after/still in progress photos of the landscaping.

This is a VAST improvement over what the front of the house looked like when we bought it -- orangish-red double front door (very Brady Bunch), same color shutters and massively overgrown shrubs everywhere. I built that stone wall a few years ago and am still pretty proud of it.

Found the rock in the side yard and decided it belonged in the front. That thing was seriously heavy.

My folks bought me the trellis for Christmas. You can't see it, but there is a plant at the base of it that's just starting to climb up.

They're a little sad now, but these 3 blue maid holly bushes should fill in nicely...hopefully it'll happen soon. We still need to define the edge of the beds and plant more grass.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Great Landscaping Project of 2009

Here's what the front of the house looked like before the tree guys came and removed 33 years worth of overgrown shrubs:

And here's what it looked like when they were done:

Lovely, eh? Here's more.


(I kid you not, the short, stubby shrub on the left was the size of a Volkswagen.)

And after:

The other side of the house before:

I don't have an "after" of that, but you get the idea.

Things don't look nearly so bare as they do in the "after" pics here. Next time I'll post what it looks like now, after Bret spent 3 days spreading 7 cubic (cubic, right? I don't do math) yards of topsoil around the foundation, and then mulch on top of that. I planted 3 new shrubs and 5 perennials last weekend in the front and hope to plant some more this weekend.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Too much to do, not enough to say, so I'll just post this summer pic of my girl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Get Me Outta Here

I'm only working three days this week so I feel like I've got a big ol' case of senioritis -- can't focus, don't want to be here, ready to eat my lunch at 10:30 am.

We've also been talking a lot about jobs, cities, I'm all twitchy about making a big change, but that might not even happen. Who knows? The woman who said she would NEVER build a house is now all about the floor plans and the "elevation B" and lot sizes...what's up with that?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Confessions of a Lapsed Yogini

I started taking yoga 10 years ago, when I was working for a completely insane woman and desperately needed the stress relief. My first yoga teacher was Donna, a muscular yet curvy blonde in her early 40s who had lived in an ashram in the 70s. She was self-assured and focused, yet had a calming effect on me. I loved the Sanskrit names for the poses, the candles she would light and have us focus our gaze on during meditation. Donna was a stickler for correct alignment, which annoyed me at first, but I eventually realized how important that was (and it drives me crazy now when teachers don’t care about proper alignment). I loved how I felt after the class.

I left that crazy boss and followed Donna to a yoga school close to my new job. I took classes there from several different teachers, but mostly from Donna and then Bodil, who had moved to the US from Norway in her teens, and was at the time in her late 50s or early 60s and still had a bit of an accent. Her class was not easy, not all about relaxation. But it was fantastic. She was direct, kind, down to earth, funny and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of yoga, not just the poses and the physical side of it. We chanted, we om’d, we sang. At this time I was going through fertility treatments and felt quite at war with my body. I started going to a yoga class two or sometimes even three times a week. For those 90 minutes, I accepted everything about myself. Who I was, what I looked like, what I couldn’t do. It was heaven. I always, always left class feeling like I not only had a good workout, but also better about myself.

I’ve taken classes at a couple of other studios and a gym or two. For me, it’s all about the teacher and the atmosphere. I don’t want a room with mirrors or a teacher who treats it like an exercise class. I like the candles, the chanting music, the scented eye bags we wore during savasana. I like stretching and holding a pose until I sweat and think I can’t hold it anymore – and especially how I feel when I come out of that pose. (Bodil used to say, “You know what’s the best part about yoga? When it’s over.”)

I think I’ve been to two or three classes since Lauren was born. The yoga school got a new owner and moved to a new building. Donna no longer teaches there (or anywhere that I can find her) and Bodil moved away. I have become lazy, and unwilling to not see my daughter for a 24-hour period in order to go to a class after work. I sometimes do poses at home, but it’s not the same as a class. I miss the physical aspects of it, but even more, what it did for me mentally and spiritually. It’s one of the many things I’d like to put back on my to-do list.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh, hello, blog. Just haven't felt inspired to write anything. I revised the talk I gave at Nexus Church into an essay and entered it in a writing contest (one that every moron with a pencil will no doubt enter, so I don't expect to win anything), and ever since I finished that editing work, I have felt creatively dried-up. That, and I have been reading about what The Economy (so sick of hearing about it) has done to the publishing industry; namely, while a year or two ago there was a big market for memoir, there isn't any longer (unless you're a celebrity or something). So that made me feel like, ugh, why bother with my book/proposal idea. Of course, I can't let that stop me. If I want to write, I should write. If I can't sell the damn thing the usual way, I'll photocopy it at Kinko's and sell it at interstate off-ramps.

Moving on. I postponed the stump grinder guy, as I was loathe to piss off my neighbors again. We'll reschedule for a more reasonable hour some other day.

We've been having really good school drop-offs with Lauren. After nearly a year of tears (and sometimes clutching me, and one time biting me), she runs down the hall to her classroom, gives me some kisses and hugs and says, "Bye!" I am stunned, and really proud of her. I've been celebrating with a stop at Starbucks after dropping her off. They seem confused by the concept of adding vanilla to a mocha every time I order it. Ah, the trials of suburban life.

Finally, I am having starting-over fantasies of moving to another city, buying a new (or at least newer) house, and working part time. I know. It's just another midlife crisis.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


We had 5 dead/dying trees and every last 30+ year-old shrub removed from around our house on Saturday. There was one shrub I referred to as Grimace, because it had the exact shape of that scary, dimwitted fast-food character. There were two others roughly the same size and shape as Volkswagen Beetles. They were just a mess, and had to go. When they were removed, everything below the surface needles/leaves/whatever was dead. So trimming was not an option. I am thrilled to have a clean slate; I’ve wanted those things gone since we moved in. Replanting is going to require a lot of work, and I’m sure we won’t get everything done by the end of the summer, but at least we’ll get it all filled in with topsoil and mulch. I will post some pics when I get them off my camera.
Oh, and apologies to my neighbors for the tree guys firing up the chain saws and chipper at 7:45 am on a Saturday. I thought it would be more like 8:30 when they got started (which I now realize is still early for non-toddler households; when you've been up at 5:00 am for two and a half years, you kinda lose track of normal hours). Oops. Oh, well. Paybacks for all the ATV/car/boat engine-revving at naptime and late-night pool parties which caused me to close my windows on lovely summer evenings. Fair warning: the stump grinder guy is arriving next weekend at 9:00 am – get to bed early on Friday, people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Buy This Book

I am promoting the release of this book, which comes out today, written by a woman I've never met. But now that I'm on the book-writing path myself, I know how important promotion is, and I want to help out any authors I like and believe in. 'Cause that's what we writer girls do. (and hey, Jen, if you want to pass along my proposal to your agent, that'd be great, too)

Anyway, I've read all of Jen's other books, which are very funny. I love her in-your-faceness, and her willingness to show you who she really is, even the parts most of us might not be willing to share with millions of strangers. I like her rambly, e-mail-like writing style with plenty of parentheticals. We are roughly the same age, so I can relate with her love of all things 80s. And we are roughly the same size, so I can also relate with her last book, Such a Pretty Fat.

I'll be picking this one up for my long weekend at the cabin with my family in June. Jen writes great plane/beach books, but you never feel like you've lost a few IQ points along the way, as I find with most vacation-worthy books. Pick one up today! (how'd I do, Jen?)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Speaking Tour: Part II

I enjoyed my time at Nexus Church yesterday. I think my talk (about family, adoption and the now-illegal Butler County Children Services policy which discriminated against single, gay and lesbian folks for foster placements) went okay. I didn't feel nervous but obviously I was because my voice was "wavery" and my hands didn’t seem to know where to land. I hate that. Anyway, I really liked meeting the people there and hearing their stories. Such lovely people, and so sad what many of them have had to endure.

I also enjoyed the process of writing the thing. It helped me sort through some random thoughts in my head. It also got me writing regularly, which is a good thing. Have I mentioned on here that I am working on a book proposal? (that doesn't feel as scary/pretentious/implausible as saying "I'm writing a book.") Anyway, I hope to use this momentum to continue working on the proposal.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gray Hair Update

I found two in my bangs in the last week. I think the onslaught has begun. This is not going to work for me. Any hair color companies out there want to sponsor a blog?

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Have the Sense of Humor of a Grade-Schooler

For years, this has been my favorite joke:

me: Knock-knock.
you: Who's there?
me: Interrupting cow.
you: Interrup---

Kinda hard to get that across in writing, but trust me. It's funny. I did, however, hear a one today that might just be my new favorite:

A lonely guy goes to a pet shop to get himself a new pet. The pet shop owner says, "Have I got a pet for you! I have this centipede who talks and sings opera. He'll be perfect for you." The guy is dubious, but decides to take a look. Sure enough, the centipede comes out of his little house, carries on an intelligent conversation, and sings a glorious aria. "Sold!" says the guy.

After a few days of scintillating conversation and beautiful singing, the guy decides he has to show off his amazing new pet. He knocks on the roof of the centipede's little house and says, "C'mon, let's go down to the bar. You can meet the fellows and show off your voice. It'll be great!" No response.

The guy tries again. He knocks on the roof, encourages the centipede to come on, already. No response.

He tries a third time, this time getting a little snippy. "What's the matter? Are you shy or something? Come ON!"

Finally, he hears a voice from inside the house."Keep your shirt on! I heard you the first time; I'm putting on my shoes!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm Just a Girl

I don’t know why, but I always assumed I’d be a mom to boys. Maybe because I have 4 brothers who I’ve generally gotten along with well. Or maybe because I have uncles who were teenagers when I was born, and therefore teased me mercilessly with activities such as “cutdown,” a game where I would run past the couch where they were sitting while they threw pillows at my ankles, Frisbee-style, to see who could get me to wipe out first. This sort of thing tends to toughen you up a bit, and become familiar with the male psyche early on. I’ve always had male friends, even in elementary school. In high school, my mother was completely perplexed by my hanging out with a guy friend, who was not my boyfriend, and never would be (okay, one or two of them turned out to be gay, but still). And I’ve always had guy buddies at work. None of this is to say that I don’t get along with women; I do. My closest friends have always been and still are women. And I’ve never been a tomboy, either, despite looking the part there for a while as a skinny, 6’0” seventh grader. I just “get” guys, in a way that a lot of women don’t. A woman I used to work with told me once that I had a “male sense of humor.” I don’t know exactly what that means, except maybe that I can appreciate a good fart joke more than the average woman (which probably has at least 50% to do with why Bret married me).

Anyway. I didn’t have a preference as to whether we ended up with a girl or a boy, I just figured I would make me a really good mom of a boy. And then Lauren arrived. And I was, of course, delighted. (The first thing I discovered about what’s fun about having a girl is the clothes. Holy moly, do they make some cute clothes for little girls. I have completely transferred my interest in fashion to Lauren’s wardrobe.)

I have known people who were expecting a child and hoping it was a boy – their reasoning being that “boys are easier.” I don’t know exactly what this is supposed to mean, but I think it comes down to periods and hormones and “Oh, God, what if she gets pregnant?” I don’t know why they don’t think that’s a problem if you have a boy. They think girls are moody or mean or prone to drama. Yes, some of them are (or all of us are, some of the time). But so are boys (see above: four brothers). And I think it’s incredibly sexist to assume a girl will be “harder” to raise than a boy. Boy, girl, doesn’t matter; it’s the individual kid’s personality, not the gender, that makes him or her “difficult.”

One thing I’ve discovered about mothering a girl is that the world is more open for girls – what’s available to them in a socially acceptable way is broader than it is for boys. (I’m not saying it’s right that boys are often discouraged from pursing activities or interests that are traditionally those of girls, I’m just saying that’s the way it is.) Girls can play dolls and wear pink one minute and the next be sweaty and grimy on the soccer field. I love being able to expose Lauren to a whole world of possibilities – bugs and hair clippies, being a doctor for Halloween and loving new shoes, playing sports and playing kitchen.

I think I was given a girl, in part, because there’s something I’m supposed to learn about myself along the way. Something that I wouldn’t learn if we had a boy. I don’t know what that is yet, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Suggested Sites for Work Slack

All right, I'm totally phoning this in. But here are some sites you might get a kick out of (no, I have not included a link to British singing sensation, Susan Boyle). Sorry if I've already shared these.

Anyone who's ever lived in a dorm or apartment with more than one roommate should like this site. Ah, yes, I remember it well...the snotty Post-Its in the bathroom or on the sink from a disgruntled roomie.

And this site. It's not updated frequently, but I do check it from time to time. There have been some really funny lists on here. This one and this one are a couple of my favorites.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another post-holiday hangover, including a smidge of resentment. Bret was irritated with me on Sunday because his parents were coming over for dinner, and he wanted to take them upstairs to show them Lauren’s new bed, and my solution was to just close the doors of the upstairs rooms we didn’t want them to see (because they were messy). He didn’t like that idea, so he tidied them up himself, which was just fine with me.

Maybe that should be the end of the story, but these holidays always get me thinking about equality, and how it isn’t so much the day-to-day stuff, where I’m more or less happy with the division of labor, it’s all the special occasions that are so completely out-of-whack imbalanced. For example, for Easter I, and I alone:

Planned the menu for Easter dinner
Ordered the ham
Did all the grocery shopping two days before
Picked up the ham the day before
Bought a new tablecloth (to match the china, of course)
Bought egg-coloring supplies, cooked the eggs and organized a lovely family egg-coloring event
Bought all Lauren’s Easter bunny presents, including 2 books, 3 t-shirts, a bit of candy, stickers and a stuffed bunny (not all bought at the same time or the same place)
Bought, “stuffed” and hid plastic eggs for Lauren
Planned Lauren’s Easter outfit
Washed Lauren’s new Easter tights by hand
Ironed Lauren’s Easter dress
Got Lauren dressed for Easter – twice; once for church and once after nap so the grandparents could see her in her dress – including fighting her both times and constantly following her around to fix the bow on her dress and her hair thingies
Hand washed all the china
Set the table
Hand washed all the globes from 2 chandeliers (man, those things were fuzzy; a testament to my general housekeeping standards)
Cleaned the house – oops, just the downstairs (minus downstairs bathroom; Bret did do that), plus all the clutter from Lauren’s room and some of the clutter from my room
Cooked a ham, 3 side dishes, and a dessert (which we ended up throwing away because it wasn’t cooked in the middle), timing everything so it was all ready at the same time (mostly succeeded at this)
Got everyone’s drinks; refilled drinks and food a couple of times throughout the meal

I will admit that I’m the one who volunteered to host Easter dinner and I honestly didn’t mind doing it. I rarely cook a decent meal so I actually enjoyed doing it. Bret’s parents do a lot for us and I wanted to have them over on a holiday for a nice meal. I will also admit that I would just prefer to do most of these things myself. I know what needs to be done and…it’s just easier to do them myself. What I do resent is being made to feel bad for not having every room in the house clean. Because I was just a LITTLE BIT BUSY DOING OTHER THINGS.

Friday, April 10, 2009

After hours and hours of eBay'ing, I finally scored tickets to the U2 concert in Chicago this fall. I am beyond excited. A little history: I started listening to U2 in 1982, when The Edge not only had hair, but he had BIG hair:

They were not popular back then; I'm not even sure if they were being played on the radio much. But I liked their sound, and I liked their lyrics. Fast-forward to 1987 when I was a freshman in college in Delaware, OH. My boyfriend at the time was an even bigger U2 fan and he got us tickets to see them in concert in Cleveland. This was the Joshua Tree tour. However, I neither had a car on campus, nor was brave enough to get in a car with strangers and drive the 2 hours to Cleveland, so I missed the show. My boyfriend bought me a shirt, which I wore for years, until it started to shred, and then I hung it on my dorm wall the rest of my college days. Man, I wish I'd hung onto that shirt.

Why I've never made it to a concert in the 22 years since then I don't know. I can count on one hand the number of pop music concerts I've been to EVER. I think, in part, it's because Bret got his fill of concert-going in the early to mid 80s -- spending his teenage years seeing Rush, Van Halen, Styx, Scorpions, Boston, and Def Leppard burned him out on the whole experience. Anyway, several months ago when I heard that U2 had a new album coming out and knew there'd be a tour, I decided I was going, no matter what. (Even if you don't love their music, you know they've gotta put on a great show.)

I was on Ticketmaster's site the second the tickets went on sale, but they sold out instantly (I still don't quite understand how that happens). So I checked out some ticket brokers, but their prices were ridiculous, so I started bidding on eBay. I didn't have to have the best seats in the house, but I really didn't want the cheapest ones, either. I'd like to be able to see, not just hear. I finally won an auction. The seats aren't great, but they're not terrible. Aw, who cares? I'm thrilled to be going. Now I just need to find someone to go with me... (another story for another day)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Speaking Tour: Part I

The panel presentation at the Resolve conference last weekend went well. I met some really great people, including a couple who have 6 kids (2 bio, 2 from Russia and 2 from China -- yikes!), and another couple with 2 boys from the same birth mother. Such lovely people. I was thinking on the drive home that truly some of the kindest, most thought-filled (people who think things through a lot; not necessarily thoughtful, although usually they are that, too) people I know are adoptive parents. Not saying we're saintly or any of that, just that I think if you go to this much trouble to be a parent, you probably REALLY want to be one, have thought about it and your own life and what it all means a lot. Hell, you have to, if you want to fill out the paperwork in any meaningful way. But I digress. The participants were lovely, too. I so remember being one of them -- tons of questions, not sure if this is your path or not, wondering if you can really give up on "treatment" (as we in the biz call it) and move on to adoption with joy and hopefulness after so much heartbreak. I wanted to gather them all up in my arms and say, "Just do it; you won't regret it one bit."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Links

I don't have anything to report today, so I'll just share with you some good stuff off the interwebs:

Pandora. I'm probably way behind here (I usually am when it comes to all things techie and/or hip), but this is a very cool site where you create your own "radio station" by typing in a song or artist/band name and it plays songs similar to the one you typed in, or songs similar to the ones the band you typed in plays. Are you still following me? It's all based on something called the Music Genome Project, which I won't even try to describe here but it's very cool. Anyway, I like it because I listen to the radio via the Internet at work every day and was getting really sick of the repetition, as well as the crappy quality (buffering, always buffering). You can create more than one "station" so you can listen to a different genre, depending on your mood. Right now I'm listening to the station I created by typing in "Duran Duran" (nothing gets me through a Friday afternoon like some 80s pop). I also created two other stations by typing in "Ben Folds" and "New Order". Oh, and there are no commercials and no fees. Kinda cool.

Inappropriate Yoga Guy. I started taking yoga 10 years ago and although I haven't taken many classes in the last couple of years, I do still like to practice at home (not as often as I should). Anyway, if you've ever taken a yoga class, this will crack you up. And if you haven't, you might find it amusing, too. This is a new Web series based on a YouTube video (not as good as these).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

First Sentence

Lauren's been talking up a storm for a while now. Every day she says new words and is doing a great job of putting 3 or 4 words together so we can really communicate. Her favorites are "Where sun go?" and "Bath time NOW." and "I pee in potty."

The talking was especially helpful yesterday when she was able to tell us that her ear hurt (she's had what I thought was a cold, but after a trip to the doc, found out that basically the whole left side of her head is a mess -- sinus infection, ear infection and something lovely coming out of her eye).

Anyway, last night as I sat up from being flat on the couch, she looked at me with glee and said, clear as day, "Mommy, your hair is a mess!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been asked to speak in public. In April I’m going to serve on a panel of parents who’ve adopted domestically, at the RESOLVE Great Lakes Conference. It feels a little funny to be on this side of things. I attended 2 or 3 of those conferences several years ago and got a lot of great information, as well as the boost from meeting people who “get it” when it comes to infertility. Now, I’ll be answering their questions about what it’s like to adopt. I hope I don’t scare the crap out of them. I also hope I don’t feel pitied – I have this sense that to someone who’s still holding out hope that she’ll get pregnant, I’m her worst nightmare: I tried, it didn’t work, so I adopted. I am proof that fertility treatments don’t always work. But I’m also proof that if you want to be a parent, and you’re willing to go through a lot of bullshit and pain to get there, you can. I hope they feel hopeful after hearing us adoptive parents speak. I will try to tone down the “pain and bullshit” stuff (but really, they need to know that it’s not all sunshine and roses; I don’t know anyone who’s adopted who would say that the process was easy, that waiting was no big deal, that they didn’t encounter any roadblocks or disappointments along the way). And I am not inclined to give them the “it was all worth it in the end” line, either. Yes, I would go through all of that again to get Lauren, but saying those kinds of things to people who are just now starting to even consider adopting is not helpful. I’m sure many of them are already hearing “just adopt” from their friends and family members, and there is no “just” in that process, trust me.

The other thing I was asked to speak about is related to the last two blog posts, about the new Butler County Children’s Services policy to give preference for foster and adoptive placements to hetero married folks. I’ll be speaking at Nexus Church in May, where I attended on and off last spring/summer. This will be good for me, because as an intuitive-type person (INFJ, if you’re into Myers-Briggs stuff), I “know” things in my gut that I can’t always articulate off the top of my head. I need to write it out to get clear on my thoughts. I’m looking forward to doing it and feel honored to be asked.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Natural Selection

And so the story continues and the good people of southwestern Ohio comment.

Here’s one:
“These people are defective and should not be allowed to adopt. If you can't conceive naturally as nature intended you shouldn't be adopting/or let someone else bear your child (a surrogate). This is natures way of telling you, NO ! I don't hate gays also not religious but nature rules.”

Huh. I guess that not only applies to gay and lesbian folks, but folks like me. So if you ARE able to conceive “naturally,” then you must be the cream of the crop. Your genes must be superior to the genes of those who can’t conceive. And I guess that includes these people*:

  • A 40-year-old man who sexually abused his 19-year-old son who is physically and mentally handicapped and cannot speak.
  • A 28-year-old woman who murdered her newborn daughter by putting the baby in a microwave oven.
  • A 30-year-old man who shook his 4-month-old son so severely the baby was critically injured.
  • A 19-year-old who was charged with taking her baby to a drug deal.
  • A 25-year-old woman who shook her 3-month-old daughter so severely that she left the child blind and developmentally stunted with little hope of having any quality of life.
  • A 26-year-old man who badly injured his infant daughter, including giving her multiple rib fractures and a severe brain injury. Now 23 months old, she has the motor skills of a 1-month-old and the language skills of a 4-month-old.
  • A 19-year-old who was charged with killing his 4-week-old son. The child died from a skull fracture.

Yes, I can see how their superior genes deserved to be passed on.

* I did not have to search long for this list. Unfortunately, all are local people and all but one story is from within the last few months. So imagine what’s going on in the rest of the state and the country and the world.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I came back from lunch and read this article about adoption in my county.

The moron in charge of this agency is a career politician with a bachelor’s degree in education. He is not qualified to even run this agency, let alone make policy decisions that are NOT based on research. He is a conservative Republican who is trying to advance his own moral agenda at the expense of children – children who need loving parents. Period.

I posted a comment to the article under the screen name gusdog-1, and added a link to this executive summary of research done on adoption by gays and lesbians. I sure hope the “leadership” of the agency reads it and learns a thing or two.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I do have a long-standing beef with this agency. Years ago, when I got sick of waiting for an adoption to come through Catholic Social Services (the adoption agency I was working with), I called Butler County Children’s Services and told them I had an approved homestudy and was interested in adopting through the county and asked what I needed to do. You'd think they would've jumped at that, with all the advertising they do about needing foster and adoptive parents, but the two or three people I spoke with were completely disinterested in talking to me. They said I had to go to the state of Ohio adoption web site, "surf" for a kid, and if he/she lived in Butler county, to give them a call. Way to be proactive. Clearly, they’re putting children first.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Album

Yes, I'm posting twice in one day. Anyhoo, this cracks me up. It's a Facebook thing.

What would your own album look like if you were in a band?

Follow the directions below and find out...Here are the rules:

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”or click first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"or click last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.
3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

I don't have Photoshop on this computer, so I just used Paint. Here's my album:

Obviously, my band is some sort of eastern European/British new wave hybrid. Pick it up today -- A Good Deal of Rubbish -- new from Bank of Slovenia.


I added some new blogs to my Sites I Like section to the right. I found some fantastic blogs written by moms who've adopted -- they're smart, funny and real. One is Production, Not Reproduction and the writer of that one is inviting anyone who blogs about open adoption to join her blogroll. Hence, the pretty new button at the top of this page.

I've written a bit about adoption here, but not about open adoption. We do indeed have an open adoption -- open can mean anything from knowing the birth mother's name to having frequent visits with both birth parents. For us, it means that I know who Lauren's birth mother is (I know who her birth father is too, but that's a story for another day). We met her before she gave birth. We were in the hospital room with her within an hour after she gave birth. We hung out with her on and off for the two days she was in the hospital, even though our social worker yelled at us for doing that. We send her pictures whenever we get new ones of Lauren. And she's been to our house four or five times to visit.

The concept of open adoption tends to freak most people out. They think it's giving the birth parents too much power, or that it's unhealthy, or that the birth parents could "take away" the child. I wasn't sure exactly how I felt about it when we started the adoption process, but I have come to understand a few things -- that a child can never have too many people who love her. That Bret and I are the mom and dad and we call the shots -- if we ever think it's a bad idea for Lauren to see her birth mother, we won't allow it (thankfully this has not been the case). And, from my own experience I know that it's better to have things out in the open. My parents divorced when I was three, my mom remarried when I was five, and no one ever spoke of my birth father again. There were no visits, cards or phone calls. It was as if this part of my life was a dirty secret I was not to think about. But of course I did think about it. And thought there must be something wrong with me if no one would talk to me about it So I just want Lauren to know all about where and who she comes from -- it's her story, and the way we became a family is not a dirty secret.

I don't claim to have all the answers on open adoption. I don't know what the future holds as far as a relationship for Lauren with her birth family. But I will always be honest with her about the people and circumstances surrounding her birth, her family, our family.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Short Bus

The highlight of my week -- nay, my month -- is that I was assigned to a parking lot closer to work. For 10 months I've had to take three highways, drive past the hospital, park in a lot downtown and take a shuttle the other direction, back to the hospital. The shuttle came every 20 minutes, so if I missed one that had just left, I could be sitting there quite a while waiting for another one to arrive. This made my commute about 2-1/2 hours a day, which drove me insane. Such a waste of time. And in the evenings I would fly in the door at 6:15 or so and slam some pans around trying to make dinner as fast as I could because I had a toddler saying "Mama, num-nums!" over and over.

The new lot is still not on-site; I still have to take a shuttle. But I only take one highway to work, park quite close to the hospital and the shuttle arrives every 10 minutes. This is going to save me 40-60 minutes a day in commuting. I am giddy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Ways In Which It Is Not 1976

It’s starting already. I opened Lauren’s school bag this morning to find Valentines from her classmates (their party was on Friday and since she only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she didn’t get her stuff until yesterday). I had sent cute, age-appropriate Valentine cards for all the kids in her class. Nearly all the other parents sent Valentine PRESENTS. Candy, toys, homemade cookies, even a heart-shaped water bottle. Now I look like the cheapo, dork mom who doesn’t know the protocol of Val Day.

These are two year olds, people! If this is what we’re doing now, what the heck is it going to be like by the fourth grade? I’ve only met a couple of the parents and they seem nice enough. But by giving stuff, instead of just cards, are we all trying to impress one another? I really want to try to avoid all that one-upping each other I hear that parents do with over-the-top birthday parties, bringing gifts when the invitation clearly says not to, etc. But you better believe I would’ve thrown in a little piece of candy or something had I known everyone else was going to give gifts. Just to avoid looking like a moron.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yes, I am the world's worst blogger. The inability to post something seems to have struck many of the bloggers I follow, too. Winter blahs, maybe? Dunno.

Anyway, same old, same old around here. Commuting, work, commuting, kid stuff, TV, laundry, sleep. Lots of snow, then lots of rain. Another cold that's hanging on. Death of the hot water heater. Loss of a large tree branch during ice storm. Toddler talking up a storm, the highlight of my days.

My dear friends came for a weekend visit and belated birthday celebration. Lauren joined in. A good day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How To Celebrate, continued

7. Shop at new Crate & Barrel store
8. Take self out for yummy lunch
9. Enjoy pampering at swanky day spa; feel like spoiled housewife; soak up compliments that you "don't look 40" from technicians who are hoping for big tips (it works)
10. Walk to car in disposable flip-flops so as not to ruin pedicure; drive home
11. Eat big old burger at favorite family-type restaurant while 2 year old blissfully stuffs her face with mac & cheese
12. Fall into bed exhausted and happy

Friday, January 9, 2009

How To Celebrate Your Birthday, The 40-Year Edition

  1. Get up with 2 year old at 5:15, lay on couch while she sits on you watching Caillou, drift off to sleep until she shifts her weight, then practically jump off the couch from being startled
  2. Fix 2-year old breakfast, make her lunch, get her dressed, see her and hubs out the door
  3. Fold a load of laundry while watching the Today show (I SWORE I wasn't going to do any housework, but I couldn't help it; I promise that's all I'll do)
  4. Take shower, shave legs so as to not disgust massage therapist this afternoon
  5. Dry hair, put on makeup, get dressed, gather laptop, leave house
  6. Go to Panera to write and end up on Facebook for two hours instead

To be continued...

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 is off to a bit of an odd start. I just discovered how FREAKING GOOD celery dipped in red pepper hummus is. I already knew that I liked hummus, especially if it's got olives or garlic or red peppers in it, but celery? Who'd a thunk? I have carrots and crackers here, too, but they're just not as good.

And no, I am not dieting. But I did bring my lunch today, and it was (mostly) healthy. And I am planning to make use of my Y membership this week. I've committed to going one time this week. I know better than to proclaim in the first week of January that I'm going to work out five times. Once it is, and I will be happy with that.