Monday, November 06, 2006

Yeah, What He Said!

I only wish the democratic candidates would actually follow these rules.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Funky Town

I've moved in, set up housekeeping, and I think I'm about to be elected mayor.

As you may have guessed, I am apparently the world's worst blogger. It's been over a month now, and I don't even have a decent excuse. I'm in a big funk right now, and just can't make myself do much of anything except watch Amazing Race re-runs. Funny, but not very productive.

There's the wait, and a bunch of other stuff as well. The wait for referrals from China, as you probably know, now threatens to go on for at least another year. It just doesn't seem possible that this adoption is ever going to happen. I know everyone says it will, but I can't help but think that the longer we have to wait, the better the chances that something will go wrong and everything will fall apart. Cheery, aren't I?

One of the little things weighing on me is the high probability that I will be out of town for a trial for pretty much all of January. In Tulsa. No offense to any of you in Tulsa (especially considering today's news about my fair city. It's bullshit, but it's out there.), but I can think of things I'd rather be doing and places I'd rather be doing them. Mostly, I'm nervous about the trial and being away from home for so long. I'm also pretty sure it's going to screw up my entire Christmas season since I'll be in crazy prep mode for most of December.

My lack of energy right now is also due to a round of bronchitis and a sinus infection for me (3 different antibiotics before they finally went away) and coccidia for both dogs. It's a disease mostly associated with puppies, so of course my 7 and 9 year old dogs came down with it. Why not? If you haven't dealt with this particular intestinal bug before, count yourself among the lucky. Despite what wikipedia says, it took close to a $1000 in emergency room visits, fluids, IV antibiotics and assorted medications to get them feeling pretty chipper again. I'm not sure how G. put up with the three of us.

More good news came our way when G.'s company decided to close up shop in this area with a whopping 3 days notice. Fuckers. We heard about from a friend who works for the competition before we heard about it from the company. He should have a really great position in a couple of months, but while we wait for that to come through he's working 2nd shift, which just throws our whole schedules out of whack. We don't see each other much unless I stay up way too late after he gets home. The new job can't come soon enough.

Also, I've been trying pretty hard to not deal with the first anniversary of my dad's death, which is most likely going to bitchslap me but good come this Friday. We are still dealing with getting the house squared away and how to get my mom settled. And I really, really miss him. And I still really, really hate that he and Annabelle will never know each other.

Now that I'm all whined out I feel obligated to point out the one thing I have managed to do today. Hear that? I figured out how to add music to this little corner of my world and found some of my very favorite songs. Allison Krauss is amazing isn't she? I Will is so sweet and gentle and exactly how I feel about Annabelle. The second song, Collin Raye's Love Remains, was played during the candle lighting ceremony of our wedding. We used this because we wanted to honor the love and loyalty of our families. I just loved the idea (and still do) that our family would be built, in part, because of the foundation of love that we had been given by our parents. And that one day, Annabelle's family would be built the same way. Love and hope being passed on through the generations like that still makes me all misty.

Well now. I seem to have rambled my way from funk to maudlin to complete marshmellowy sappiness. On that note (get it? note? I crack myself up sometimes), I really need to go to bed and get some rest to prepare for whatever emotion tomorrow should bring. I could really stand a little happy right now.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Happy Birthday!

I just wanted to give a shout out to one of my new favorite bloggers, SBird, on this, her 40th birthday. Click on over, have a good read, and wish her well. How can you not like someone who comes up with this little gem of pre-adoptive parent artwork?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Business Before Pleasure

God, I can't believe it's been almost a month since I posted anything. I'm a bad, bad blogger. And as usual, I'll be using the "But I've been busy" excuse. Fortunately, this time, I have proof.

I got interested babywearing last year when several posters on APC (read at your own risk, you've been warned) mentioned taking strollers to China for their newly adopted babies, which in my opinion is the height of silliness. I don't have tons of experience with strollers, but I've folded and unfolded a few in my day and let's face it, the best of them are heavy and awkward and cumbersome. And that's here at home. Why would you want to lug one literally half-way 'round the world? Surely, there were better options, thought I. Some other posters on APC mentioned Snugglis and Baby Bjorns. So I started looking at these types of carriers at BRU, where the pickin's were slim and mostly ugly. They also were expensive and only carried babies up to 20lbs or so.

When I finally found, I was astounded at the huge variety of practical, beautiful options available for wearing babies and toddlers. And it occurred to that no one was telling the adoption community about these options and how babywearing could help adoptive parents bond with their children. This, I decided, would be my calling (and hopefully some extra money). So I researched, and sewed, and tried out a few designs, and pricked myself with needles (I've bled for you, people!), and sewed some more.

And now I am pleased and proud to announce the launching of Family Tais Baby Carriers - Creating the Tais That Bond. If I haven't totally bored you by now, please go take a look at I'd love to know what you think. I know a blog isn't the ideal spot for my business, but until someone gloriously more educated in web page design that I comes along, it will have to do. If that someone is you, let's chat!

The last month has been a fairly pleasant one. No horrible news and I occasionally even felt a little bit at peace with the rumors and the extended wait for referral. I'm not sure why, but I'll take it. Anything is better than not sleeping and grinding my teeth while I am.

I was able to go back to volunteering at the pet rescue, which I truly love. It's hard to think the world is a bad place when you've got arms full of puppies. Try it sometime and you'll see what I mean. I dare you.

My beautiful niece just started high school (ACK! She's 14? When the hell did that happen!?!) and it's been fun helping her do her back to school shopping and trying to soothe her nerves. She's a bright, athletic girl and a smart ass to boot. My sister and her husband have obviously done something right.

I've managed to start back at the gym, which while not exactly enjoyable, does make me feel a bit productive.

To completely counteract the workouts, G. and I had a fabulous dim sum lunch on Sunday here and tried several new things including fried taro puffs and a sesame seed sweet stuffed with lotus flower bean paste. And Atomic Mama will be pleased to note that I recognized the turnip cake as they wheeled it past my overstuffed self. I was too full to try it, but there will be a next time.

I also scored some really kick-ass adorable wallpaper border on eBay for a great price. I've been lusting after this paper for years so imagine my dismay at finding it discontinued when I finally got around to purchasing it. After it was delivered, I discovered that the tiger-striped guy exactly matches the copper on my hand-painted by moi kitchen back splash. It's decorating fate, I tell you.

Told ya I've been busy!

edited to add: how funny is it that Blogger's dictionary doesn't recognize "blog" or "blogger"?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Dogs Ate My Homework, Part 2 (ha, ha, get it? Ate?)

This one is for RubyisComing, who following my meme, asked me to share my 5 favorite cookbooks. I really do have several hundred (counting all the grocery store pamphlet style ones, but not counting all the cooking magazines), so picking just 5 was hard. So hard, that I have to preface this by saying that these 5 are some of my favorites...right now.

With so many, I don't have the space to display them ALL all the time. I only wish I did. I have dreams of a custom kitchen with a huge island, just enough cabinets to store all my cooking utensils and food, and the walls lined with shelves and shelves and shelves of cookbooks. I dream of how I would organize them. By author? Nope, too many. By type of cuisine? Maybe, but then what to do with all the eclectic ones. And so on...and so on...and so on... God, I wish how to organize my cookbooks was my biggest worry. But it's fun to dream about.

Anyway, here are five of my current favs with a recipe from each (my comments in italics). Manga!

Hershey's Classic Recipes. A girl can never have too many chocolate recipes and these are, well, classics.

Hot Fudge pudding Cake - this makes an ooey, gooey hot fudge sauce right in the pan. Why would you want to resist??

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or more, more vanilla never hurt anything!)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups hot water
Whipped Topping (or even better, real whipped cream)

Heat oven to 350. Stir together 3/4 cup granulated sugar, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour batter into ungreased 9 inch square baking pan. Stir together remaining 1/2 granulated sugar, brown sugar, and remaining 1/4 cocoa. Sprinkle mixture evenly over better. Pour hot water over top. DO NOT STIR. Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Let stand 15 minutes. Spoon into dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of baking pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping or whipped cream.

Cooking for Comfort, by Marian Burros - These are recipes for the weekend. When you have time and really want to cook. They understand the soothing quality of making a meal by hand.

Mushroom Barley Soup - This soup is one of our favorites. It is hearty and rich and so worth the good mushrooms. I wish it were autumn so I could make it again. And it freezes really well.

1/2 cup dried mushrooms, such as porcini
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound white mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and coarsely cut
1/2 pound shitake, cremini, portobello, or other fresh mushrooms, washed, trimmed and coarsely cut (a mix of the all makes for wonderful texture)
1/2 cup pearled barley
6 cups good quality beef broth or stock
3 tablespoons dry sherry
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon wine vinegar

Cover the dried mushrooms with the hot water and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed deep pot. Saute the onion and carrot in the oil over medium heat until the onion begins to color. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and begin to release their liquid.

Raise the heat, add the barley and saute until it begins to color slightly. Add the broth and the sherry. Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a fine strainer (a coffee filter works just fine) and add to the pot along with the reconstituted mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender. Stir in the wine vinegar, adjust the seasonings and serve.

Shakespeare's Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook, by Francine Segan. I haven't actually made anything from this one yet (it was a recent gift from G.), but it is so beautiful and different I had to include it. All of the recipes are based on actual Renaissance food, with lots of interesting side notes by the author. Although most of the ingredients are ones we see every day, the flavor combinations are not. It's fascinating (at least to me, but I'm a food dork.)

Almond Saffron Chicken in Bread - I wish you could see this picture. So lovely. Ooh, you can. It's the recipe on the cover!

4 saffron threads
4 ounces almond oil
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons almond paste
salt and freshly milled black pepper
8 oz cooked chicken
12 almonds, chopped
2 cups finely chopped assorted fresh herbs and greens (sorrel, endive, flat-leaf parsley, baby spinach, mint, etc)
1/8 tsp dried marjoram
1/8 tsp dried sage
pinch of cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 cup currants
2 tablespoons ground pistachios
1 round loaf of day old French sourdough country bread (about 10" in diameter)
1 tablespoon butter, softened

Soak the saffron threads in the almond oil for 30 minutes. Combine the egg yolk and the mustard in a large bowl and slowly whisk in the almond oil until a mayonnaise forms. Whisk in the almond paste, season with salt and combine with chicken and almonds.

Preheat over to 375. Cut a 4" circle in the top of the bread, remove the top circle of crust and scoop out the soft bread inside the loaf. Place the fresh herbs and greens, marjoram, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, currants and pistachios in a bowl and mix well. Spread the herb mixture in an even layer in the bottom and up the sides of the bread bowl, reserving about 1/2 cup for the top. Spoon the chicken mixture over the herbs, completely filling the cavity. Spread the reserved herb mixture over the top and replace the top crust of the bread. Spread the butter on the bottom of the bread, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes.

1000 Chocolate Baking and Dessert Recipes from Around the World, by Parragon Publishing - I know I already listed one chocolate cookbook. Sue me, sue me, what can you do me...(okay, I'm also a musical theatre dork)

Banana and Chocolate Chip Loaf - I adore fresh banana bread, so when I found this recipe that added chocolate, I was in love. Plus, its an easy one to take to work for the endless birthday parties. I swear, I don't understand how the whole firm doesn't waddle.

4 oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1 cup light brown sugar
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
5 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
whipped cream or butter to serve

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a loaf pan. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside. (I rarely bother to sift).

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together til light and fluffy. Beat in the bananas and then the eggs. Stir in the flour mixture, alternating it with the boiling water, until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Turn out to finish cooling. Serve in slices (or huge chunks if you are me) with whipped cream or butter.

The Internet - Really. You can find a recipe (or 300) for almost anything you want. You can read reviews on them, the way other people tweaked them to suit, get ideas other dishes to go with, sources for the odd ingredients, and more. A couple of my favorite sites are and Both offer daily or weekly email newsletters, and more. No recipes for this one. Go find your own and report back.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Dogs Ate My Homework, Part 1

Atomic Mama, that retaliatory bitch, took it upon herself to assign me some homework based on my last post. And although she claimed to hate being tagged for a meme, she not only completed the damn thing, she added new categories and then demanded that I dish out the answers retroactively. I'm pretty sure that goes against all the rules, regulations and ethical mores of the internet, but I'm afraid she might kick my ass if I don't comply. In true procrastinator's fashion (and due to major power outages in the area) I've managed to put off completing my homework in a timely manner. But the power, and our phones, and our a/c (oh god I love a/c!) are all back on, and I have no more excuses. I feel I must complete these before she smacks my hands with a ruler or something.

7 things I can do:

1. Stay strong during a crisis. I may fall apart later, but I'm your girl for getting things done while all hell breaks loose.
2. Match people and dogs. I'm really good at it. Very few of the pet adoptions I help arrange fall through. I love steering people towards a pet that is really going to fit in well in their home. I really love steering them away from a pet that I just know won't work out. And I'm usually able to do it in a such a way that they aren't even aware they've been steered.
3. Kick butt at Trivial Pursuit. My brain is a deep well of useless knowledge.
4. Bake. You should try my Black Forrest Cake. Really. It's positively evil (in a good way.)
5. Be a good friend. I'm a great listener and I generally give good advice. I'll be honest with you and loyal to you. I've known my best friend A. since we were 3 years old, and love her like my sister. I don't have tons of close friends, but our circle is very close.
6. Run a really well organized document production. It's a boring skill, but it's mine.
7. Sew. It's a newfound talent and one that I'm proud of myself for learning. I'm hoping that one day, I can use it to help support my family.

7 things I say most often:

1. Oliver, get your ass in this house!
2. Not so much (a la Paul Buchman).
3. Jackass.
4. All righty, then.
5. Go potty, Greta.
6. Blech.
7. I love you.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Apparently, I'm It

That's right, I've been tagged. Lassie, a very funny mom-to-be over at Eggs Benedict Arnold, got me. So here goes.

7 things I'd like to do before I die:

1. Go to China and bring my daughter home (this one may actually happen!)
2. Have grandchildren
3. Do a month long B&B tour of Scotland and Ireland
4. Go up in the Gateway Arch (How sad is it that I lived in the St. Louis area all my life and I've never been up?)
5. Go to culinary school
6. Go back to school and become a L&D nurse. I think I'd be really good at it.
7. Star in a Broadway musical (so not going to happen, but a girl can dream can't she?)

7 things I can't do:

1. Deal with spiders in any way, shape or form
2. Sky dive. I just don't get what would make folks willingly jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
3. Math.
4. Understand racism. Nothing about it makes sense to me, at all.
5. Eat green peppers. Ick in a big way.
6. Stop missing my dad. He died late last year and I think of things I want to tell him everyday.
7. Play a musical instrument. I'm just not coordinated enough. I can carry a tune a bit, but I'm useless in front of a piano (or a violin, or a clarinet...believe me, I've tried.)

7 things that attracted me to my husband:

1. His silliness
2. His ability to relate to kids (probably related to 1.)
3. His family. They are wonderful and they have always been so easy to get along with. I really feel for those of you with IL issues.
4. His willingness to try new things
5. His hands (he used to be a massage therapist)
6. His laugh (totally infectious)
7. His sense of honor (he will always stand up for what's right. Always.)

7 books (or series of books) that I love:

1. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I'm on anxiously awaiting the #7. I have re-read them all numerous times.
2. Any cookbook (I have several hundred)
3. Love Story by Erich Segal
4. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freeman
5. Watchers by Dean Koontz (I cry every single time I read it.)
6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
7. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (fascinating)

7 Movies I'd watch over and over:

1. When Harry Met Sally for the soundtrack if nothing else
2. Deep Impact
3. Steel Magnolias
4. Charlotte's Web (again with the crying)
5. Guys and Dolls
6. 1776 (I'm late for my annual fix of this one)
7. Serenity (I've recently discovered a deep love for Joss Wheedon and all that he touches (Buffy and Firefly to be specific. I haven't caught Angel yet, but I'm sure I will.)

7 people I'd like to tag:

1. AtomicMama at The Atomic Ranch (who I'm sure I must be related to)
2. Stephanie at Emma-Bug (even if you don't go to read her list, go to marvel at the cuteness of her new daughter)
3. Karen at The Naked Ovary (She's an adoption blogging superstar. I'm sure she doesn't know I exist, but I lurve her anyway)
4. Lisa at Tate-R-Bug (waiting right along with me)
5. Stacey who is Waiting for Ingrid (to come home from Guatemala)
6. Tink at Fling-Poo (not what it sounds like)
7. Julia at Here Be Hippogriffs (who has possibly the most precocious 4 year old ever and from all accounts, cooks like a dream.)

Now, they're it!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Nursery Rhymes

I hate to subject you to such awful verse, but I was trying to come up with a title for a post about our nursery (or lack thereof) and I got stuck on this one. It simply requires bad poetry to be written in it's honor. Don't say you weren't warned.

Of course we have room for a baby, I say
I want her here now, but we're not ready today.

There are clothes in the closet, she's got something to wear,
However, I don't see a place for a crib stuffed in there:

We finally bought furniture, but it needs some work,
Thank God for E-Bay, a great price is a perk! (Isn't it all curvy, and girly and wonderful! Oops, I guess that doesn't really rhyme, does it? Sorry for breaking the flow.)

The fabrics are purchased, so cute I could cry...
Curtains, and crib quilts and bumpers! OH MY!

The dog who lived here before us got paint on his paws.
Now I have to learn to refinish, just because (they were too damned lazy wipe it up with a paper towel. Instead, they covered it up with incredibly ugly bright blue shag carpeting..damn, I forgot about that rhyming thing again. I couldn't help it, the way they screwed up this house is a whole 'nother post. Back to cutesy poetry now.)

Annabelle's room is gonna be great
But if I keep putting it off, we're gonna be late!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Comments Welcome!

I had no idea my comments section was set to members only. It's fixed now. I hope you all didn't think I didn't want to chat, I love reading what you have to say.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Name Game

We can finally check this "to do" off our list. One other thing G. and I accomplished during our week long anniversary celebration was to finally pick a name for this kid. Since I am a bit of a name trend watcher (stalker) I've had several names in mind for lots of years. Also, G. and I like the same sorts of names: feminine, traditional, classic. I blithely assumed that this would be an easy task. One year and hundreds of name options later, we managed to agree.

We were thinking Grace, Rose, or Claire which are all lovely names. We were having trouble finding middle names other than Elizabeth to go with any of them. No offense to the Elizabeths of the world, it just wasn't for us. While pouring over the other middle name options, a name I had never considered before popped into my brain. And it wouldn't go away. When I mentioned it to G. he got this look in his eyes that told me we'd hit the jackpot. We'd found the perfect name for our family. It's not too popular, it's not too out there, it's pretty and classic and we love it.

We can't wait to welcome Annabelle Grace into our home.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Spending Time with My Sweetie (and our new camera)

A couple of weeks ago, G. and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Ususally, we both take the week off and go somewhere to be by ourselves and relax. No where fancy most times (ever) but fun.

One year we did Branson up big time and I was amazed at how great a time we had. We fished, we saw cheesy shows, we shopped, we spent two hours and 50 cents at the trout farm and had a blast. To this day, I still regret not getting video of thousands of fingerling trout doing the wave for a few pellets. We are easily amused, however. Can you believe I've lived in St. Louis all my life and had never been?? I know, I know, it's un-American. I've also never been anywhere Disney. That has got to change.

We went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas a few years ago, and it was gorgeous. The whole town is on the National Historic Register and most of the houses (and one McDonalds) have lots of gingerbread detailing and 7 authentic colors of paint. Easily amused, remember?

Last year, we drove to Gatlinburg, TN and stayed in a mountainside cabin with one of the most beautiful views I've ever scene. It's a very touristy town with lots of silly stuff but we loved it.

Please note the lack of our pictures of all the above places. We didn't own a non-disposible camera until this Christmas when a combination of refund checks and my mom helped us by this beauty. It's more camera than I know what to do with, but I can learn, right?

This year, because we have no idea when we are traveling to China, we decided to save our vacation days and just goof off around town. Nine years after we were joined forever as a couple (minds out of the gutter, please), we went to a local tapas resturant and ate ourselves silly and drank way too many mojitos. God, I love a good mojito. I'm pretty sure mojitos are like sex. Even when they are bad, they're still pretty good.

That Friday, we splurged and took the whole day off work to go to the zoo. The St. Louis Zoo, by the way, is totally worth a visit when you're in town. It's one of the last free zoos in the country and it's really well run. Of course, they will nail you for parking, food, etc, but it is possible to go and have a great time for very little money. We love it! We took the new camera and took over 150 shots before its little battery gave out. Note to self, buy a spare. And for folks who don't no diddly about picture taking, I'd say we did all right. What do you think?

On the way home, we stopped and ate dinner at an Indian restaurant that overlooks the airport. Prawns Korma and Vindaloo, Nan stuffed with cherries, pistachios and I don't know what else and a Mango Lassi. Yum! If the camera hadn't already bit the dust, I would have shamelessly taken pictures of the food, too. I was on a roll.

Saturday, we spent the morning at a local famer's market on the south side of the city. It's been there for years and though we rarely go, it's always fun to people watch. It really draws a pretty diverse crowd and the selection of food is amazing. One shop sells nothing but gourmet goodies and spices and we alway load up. Orange Chipoltle Pepper anyone?

Sunday, we took a drive to our favorite herb farm in Augusta. Herbs are the only plants I can keep alive with any consistancy. Benign neglect is my motto (I'll trust the CCAA to ignore that statement). We are now the proud owners of 3 kinds of mint (candy, pineapple, and oh my god chocolate!), basil, oregano, tarragon, lavendar, garlic chives, rosemary, marjoram, lemon balm, lemon verbena and my all-time favorite lemon thyme. Absolutely nothing smells better than lemon thyme. We cook with some of them, but mostly I just like to go out in the evenings and run my hands through them, stirring up the scents. Heaven.

And no trip to Augusta would be complete without a stop at Montelle Winery. Even though we've tasted everything they make more than once before, we did it all again. I cannot say enough about their raspberry port when served with any variety of dark chocolate. You must get some. We took a bottle of peach out onto their terrace and relaxed while taking in the view.

At first, I hated giving up our traditional anniversay vacation, but I've got to say, staying in town and taking in the local sights that we often overlook because we live here, was fabulous. It was great down time with the hubby and probably the last vacation we'll take before becoming parents, which made it that much sweeter.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Technical Difficulties

If there is anyone still checking in here, I apologize for the lengthy absence. A couple of weeks ago my computer monitor, all 19" glorious, flat screen inches of it, went kaput. Since on the clock blogging is frowned on at work, I've not been able to update. We recently received a loner from G.'s very generous brother, which, while not beautiful, will do. I've lots to tell you, but little time tonite as laundry duty calls.

P.S. In case you have an ACER monitor that suddenly resembles a black hole, their customer service # is 1-800-432-6200. The what do if you are having problems section of their user's guide does not provide this helpful tidbit. It only directs you to a website to register your monitor for repairs. Not so useful when you CAN'T SEE THE FUCKING WEBSITE!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sorrow - Updated

I wish I knew her personally, but I only found her blog about a year ago. Her courage, her grace and her writing have changed my life. Read every word. I miss her already.

Update - Jessica died this morning. Peace to those who loved her.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sleepless in St. Louis

I really wish this post related to some fated romantic meeting, but alas, no. I can't sleep. Pretty much every night. Some of it's due to pain (shoulder, elbow, wrist, lower back), and I think some of it is adoption anxiety, but mostly, my brain will just not shut the hell off!

I've always had a little trouble sleeping but this is getting ridiculous. Generally, I wait til I'm so tired I'm drooping before I hit the sack, so I'll go right to sleep. Lately, not so much. When I finally go to bed, I lay there. And then I look at the clock. And then I lay there some more. And then I toss. And then I turn. And then I look at the clock. And then I squirm around some more. Finally after about an hour and half (and after waking G. up at least once) I go downstairs to the couch. Where I lay there. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The last couple of weeks it's been at least 4am before I get to sleep. The good news is that when I do sleep, I sleep like the dead. Alarm clocks and phones don't phase me. I hear them, I turn them off, and I stumble back into bed not realizing that I've silenced the only things in the house that have a chance in hell of waking me up in time to go to work. These guys are only too happy that Mom is sleeping in. Bastards. Today, I didn't wake up until 10:30. Yeah, I'm supposed to be in at 9. Good thing they're not terribly observant. One of these days I'm going to get my ass fired for something stupid like that.

I've tried everything I can think of. Advil, check. Benedryl, check. Wine, check. Hot bath, check. Hot tea, check. So far, the only thing that has really worked were a muscle relaxer and a pain pill (for the back issues). I went right to sleep, but then I have the same issues in the morning. I don't want a sleeping pill if it can be avoided for the same reasons. Last night, after about 2 hours, I actually tried counting sheep. #1 leapt nimbly over the picket fence. So did #2-#9. Poor #10 caught a hoof on the top rail and tumbled end over fluffy end down the hill. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm screwed when I can't even clear my mind long enough to count 10 sheep without causing one of them serious bodily injury.

What's a girl to do? Any ideas that won't contribute to my zombie-like morning tendencies? Really folks, speak up. I need some help here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Time Keeps on Slipping (slipping, slipping) Into the Future

I couldn't get that one line of the song out of my head and I just had to share. You're welcome.

Current wait times to referral are around 11-12 months from LID. 6 weeks down, only 46 more to go! Woo.

Actually, I have really mixed emotions about this wait time. Don't get me wrong, I want my baby and I want her now! We would jump on a plane tomorrow with nothing but our passports and a smile (hey, it would make those security pat-downs at the airports SO much fun!) if we could. But alas, the powers that be have other plans. And frankly, so do I. I have so many things to do in the next year to prepare for this baby that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Also, work is threatening to actually make me! this summer in preparation for a mid-December, month-long, out of town trial. So my time will shortly be even more limited in the baby prep arena.

At last check we (I) still needed to do the following:

1) pick a name. I doubt our daughter will appreciate having to fill out official forms as "her" or "she" even if we use her Chinese name as a middle name.

2) refinish 3 wood floors (we've never done this before), rip up old disgusting carpet and install new in one room, rip up disgusting old carpet and install Pergo in dining room (we've never done this before, either), install ceramic tile in no less than 3 rooms (take a guess at our tile laying experience, I dare ya!) All in the interest of never having to vaccum again (that, and keeping this kid from having hair balls.)

3) paint and furnish nursery. This will probably involve the refinishing of several pieces of furniture because holy shit! nursery furniture is expensive. But I've got a great crib picked out...either this one or this one. Let me know what you think.

4) collect and send fabric squares for a 100 good wishes quilt. Have you heard about this? In northern China, there is a tradition to make a "100 good wishes quilt" or Bai Jia Bei, to welcome a new baby. Family and friends are invited to donate a square of cloth which are then sewn together into a quilt which then contains all of the luck, energy and good wishes of those who contributed. It's a really lovely idea and though it promises to be a real pain in the ass, I'm game. I love the idea of my daughter having something soft and fluffy that is physical, tangible evidence of how much everyone here wanted her with us. If you are interested in swapping squares, let me know.

5) learn more Mandarin. G. and I took a very basic class this past fall, which hopefully will keep us from being completely rude travellers. I really want to know a little more before we go.

6) start a baby carrier business. My sister and I are trying to launch a custom, hand-sewn baby carrier business. I would love for this to take off enough to allow me to stay home with "her" or at least let me cut down to part time. We've sold one so far!(to a wonderful and patient family whose also adopting from China through The Agency) Anybody good at graphic design? Anybody know how to design a website? Anybody want a baby carrier?

7) buy baby stuff. I've got the clothing part down, I think. But the rest? Really, no clue. Diapers, bulb syringes (yuck!), car seats, Oh MY! What are your favorite, can't live without them products? What were the biggest wastes of time and money? Please be specific and remember, "she" will not be a newborn.

7) learn how to take care of a baby. I never babysat a lot, and it's been many, many years since I was around little ones very often. Feeding, changing, sleeping, can't be THAT hard can it???? Please tell me we will figure this out and not scar "her" for life.

Anybody know how to add about 8 more hours to the day???

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I am pathetically boring. Really, nothing is even remotely resembling exciting is going on right now. I have lots of semi-interesting posts running around in my head, but apparently I'm too lazy to do anything about any of them. Therefore, for your entertainment, I swiped the following from Cecily:

Have you ever? Game

Taken a picture naked? Have you lost your mind?!?
Made out with a member of the same sex? Nope.
Danced in front of your mirror? Of course.
Told a lie? Never to G., but yes.
Gotten in a car with people you just met? 110 down the highway, in full Rocky Horror duds...
Been in a fist fight? Nope. Probably a good thing. I would have gotten my ass kicked, anyway.
Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back? Um, yeah. Hasn't everyone?
Been arrested? Nyet.
Left your house without telling your parents? Nope. I've snuck out of other people's houses without telling my parents, though. Does that count?
Ditched school to do something more fun? Once in high school. I was boring even then. But when college rolled around, I was a skipping machine.
Slept in a bed with a member of the same sex? Yes. And I'm not telling.
Seen someone die? No.
Kissed a picture? Yes. When I was eight I owned a full length poster of Shawn Cassidy. God, he was cute!
Slept in until 3? see answer to ditching school question
Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? Not often enough
Played dress up? Sure. see answer to getting in a car with strangers.
Felt an earthquake? Nope. I never know we've had a tremor until I hear it on the news.
Touched a snake? Yes.
Ran a red light? Yes.
Had detention? Nope. Again, I was goody-two shoes in high school
Been in a car accident? a few fender-benders. Nothing really serious.
Pole danced? God, I can't even imagine the embarrassment.
Been lost? In most ways.
Sang karaoke? A couple of times. But it takes a lot of margarita's to get me there.
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? see answer to karaoke question.
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Making wine come out my nose is actually a goal of a friend of mine on our twice yearly winery trips. They are almost always successful. By the way, it hurts.
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Can't wait to do it again with my daughter
Kissed in the rain? Once or twice
Sang in the shower? All the damn time
Got your tongue stuck to a pole? Hell no!
Ever gone to school partially naked? No, but I went to work once and was there about an hour before I realized I'd forgotten to put on a bra that morning. Oops.
Sat on a roof top? Yeah, but I didn't enjoy it. I'm scared of heights
Played chicken? Not by choice. Again, see answer to car with strangers question.
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Yes.
Been told you’re hot by a complete stranger? Not lately. Got whistled at by a guy when I was 12 though.
Broken a bone? A toe.
Mooned/flashed someone? Yes. Strip Monopoly. That's all I'm saying.
Forgotten someone’s name? Actually, I'm really good at names.
Slept naked? Every night
Blacked out from drinking? Nope.
Played a prank on someone? Yes.
Felt like killing someone? Oh yeah
Made a parent cry? I have no doubt.
Cried over someone? Sure.
Had sex more than 10 times in a weekend? Nope.
Had/Have a dog? Let's count. Cindy (collie) as a kid. Freckles (english setter mix) til I was 18. Homer and Megan (labs) til just a few years ago, Ollie (brittany) and Greta (german shorthaired pointer) now.
Been in a band? Nope. But I used to sing with a local Sweet Adelines chapter. We were great!
Drank 25 sodas in a day? Lord I don't think so.

Friday, March 17, 2006

That Last Post Took Me 3 Freakin' Days To Coordinate

Blogger really needs to let me post more than 5 pics at a time. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mama Crack

I understand that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I'm not sure I want to recover from this particular addiction, but since my credit card has started hanging out at the local mall whispering "Hey buddy, got any of the good stuff?" to total strangers, I guess I need to try. Here goes....

Hi. My name is Dee and I'm a baby girl clothes addict. I always have been and I suspect I always will be. Years ago, I bought baby clothes when there was no baby in sight. Nobody in my family had a little girl right then, and I didn't know anyone who was about to have a little girl. The dress in question was just too cute for some little girl I would someday know, not to own it. I saved it til one of G. nieces had a daughter about 2 years later. I told you it was bad...don't say I didnt' warn you.

Whenever this adoption process has me ready to beat my head against a wall, I feel the need to shop. And not just any old shopping will do. It must be girl clothes. Luckily, the local Children's Place outlet and E-bay have been happy to enable me.

I may need an intervention.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Worst Case Scenario

About 6 weeks ago, shortly after G. and I turned our dossier over to The Agency for submission to the CCAA in Bejing, we started trying to play guessing games about our referral. You'd think we'd know better by now, wouldn't you? I know its early, and nothing's predictible in adoption, but we were just guessing after all. What could it hurt? However, to estimate a referral you first have to have a Log In Date (LID). That is the day your dossier is officially received by the CCAA.

If you remember, our dossier to China date (DTC) was 01/20/06. Generally, dossiers from clients of The Agency are logged in about 3 weeks after LID. Now, sometimes you don't find out for a few more weeks, but by then, part of your referral wait has already passed. And lately, they seemed to be coming more quickly. One friend, with a DTC of 12/02/05, not only had a 12/19/05 LID, but she found out about it before the end of the year. We were DTC just before Chinese New Year, so we knew that might add a few extra days since all of China parties like its 1999 for an entire week during CNY. Fine. No problem. Nothing we could do about it anyway, but no big deal.

We figured one of three things would happen:
1) It Would Be Great, But Not Bloody Likely: The Agency's staff in Bejing translated that sucker faster than they had ever translated anything ever before and got it to the CCAA in record time. Even with the CNY slowdown, if we were really lucky we would have a LID of 02/03/06 or 02/10/06.
2) This Is Your Best Bet: The Agency's staff in Bejing took an average time to translate and CCAA logged it in just as they normally would. It would be just like any other dossier they received for the last year or so. LID would be 02/17/06 or 02/24/06. CNY is a major holiday after all.
3) The Absolute Worst Case Scenario: The Agency's staff in Bejing partied during CNY so hard they didn't realize the holiday was over and kept partying. When they finally came to, the CCAA would take an entire month (the most time allowed) to officially document that they had our paperwork. LID would be sometime in early March. I didn't even bother to consult a calendar for dates. THAT is how remote I thought this possibility to be.

So then we waited. Patiently. Really patiently. No, I mean really patiently. I was a model of god-damned restraint. Hard to believe, I know. But I was. I waited until late last week (5 weeks after DTC) before meekly asking our program director if, perhaps, they had heard anything, maybe??? Of course, she hadn't. And giving credit where its due, she is wonderful about keeping everyone up to date on the latest as soon as she hears.

Today, we finally got the big news. Wanna guess what our LID is? Oh, come on. Take a guess. Bet you can't.

03/02/06. Notice me NOT jumping up and down with joy. In fact, when I first saw the e-mail this morning, I cried. I tried not to, but I did. It still felt like our daughter wasn't getting any closer, that everything that could possibly get between us, was doing just that.

According to the CCAA, they received a record number of dossiers just before and just after CNY, which is why it took them so long to log it in.

We probably wont' have a referral until March 2007, with travel in May or June. A full 24 months after we started the whole process. And as hard as that is to fathom, as hard as that news is to deal with, I have to keep thinking that if we weren't persuing this adoption and going through this particular bit of pain and heartache, May or June of 2007 would still roll around, right on time, and we still wouldn't have a family. At least now that we have our LID, we know she is going to be with us, someday. Maybe not as soon as we'd like, but someday. And I guess, that for us, no matter what else happens, is the best case scenario of all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sad & Angry

I knew it was coming. There's been plenty of press leading up to it. But it still pisses me off.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It'sThat Love/Hate Thing Again...Now with updates!

Except right now, I'm not feeling the love.

Referrals are here.

Well, some referrals are here... The CCAA only processed matches through May 25, 2005. Since the last referral group ran through May 13, 2005, that means in a month, they only did 12 days worth. Someone please tell me this is gonna stop. It's got to. I know they are doing their best, with more applications than ever before (there were approximately 7900 adoptions to the US alone last year), and probably short-staffed like any other government agency anywhere. But at this rate, its going to be well into 2007 before we ever see our daughter's face. The current wait is around 9-10 months (it was 6 when we started), but The Agency predicts it will continue to stretch out to about 12 months from LID. It's killing me. I can't wait to see what I nutjob I've become by autumn.

And some are not... Apparently, (and I do not claim to know all the facts here) DHL lost over 100 referrals for 2 of the 4 largest agencies that process Chinese adoptions in the US. The Agency's entire group included. The Agency only had one LID for this referral group and those poor folks are losing their minds right about now. The above reference slow down started right in the middle of their wait, with little to no warning. Under their original time frames, they should have already been to China and back. They should be experiencing the doctors' appointments, sleeping issues, amd poop blow-outs they've been dreaming about for years by now. But nope, they get to wait some more. While everyone else posts!! their!! happy!! news!!

Some of the first actual people G. and I met who were adopting through The Agency were 2 couples in this group. We don't know them well, but we've become friendly with them. We like them. They are nice people and they have been through ENOUGH! I know they probably aren't reading this, but I hope they can feel the waves of love and hope that are flowing toward them right now as I type. I can't imagine what you're going through. I don't want to and I am so sorry you have to go through it. We all know you will be united with your children soon, but that doesn't help the pain now, so we won't pretend it does. Just know we are thinking about you.

Now (and I promise this isn't the amaretto and OJ talking) who's gonna kick some DHL ass?

Updated to add: The referrals are now back from the land of the lost. Turns out China accidently sent them to another agency with an almost identical name. I apologize to DHL's ass.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Thank God the Olympics are almost over. And thanks to the magic of our DVR I am only about 10 hours behind in my viewing of all sports chilly and obscure. I've been watching skeleton (aptly named), snowboarding, figure skating (not obscure, but wonderful!) and even aerial ski jumping (who thought that would be a good idea?) I think I like the winter Olympics so much because there is so much potential for serious injury. The crashes, they are spectacular. I don't want to watch these athletes get hurt...but I do want to watch them almost get hurt. I'm a little twisted that way.

So, if I can make it through tomorrow without anyone telling me how badly Sasha Cohen choked tonight (and I hope she doesn't, but given past history and all I'm not holding my breath), then we should be back to regularly scheduled programming this weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I know I haven't posted in over a week, and really I do apologize. I have a good excuse though, really. I have been completely mesmerized by the Olympics. I don't know why I am now glued to the TV watching sports I've never heard of before, but I am. I try to come out of the haze long enough to post again before their over, but I'm not promising anything.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Atomic Mama recently posted a few recipes after bragging that her husband fixed a delish sounding dinner for her recently. I thought it only fair to reciprocate. Since our current repitoire of Chinese dishes involves pouring the probably not terribly authentic but very tasty Trader Joe's Garlic/Ginger Simmer Sauce over sauted veggies and chicken (shrimp if we're feeling adventurous!), I've decided to switch it up. Until very recently, I've been terrified of Indian food. As noted at the ranch, I am a self-confessed wus. I was alway afraid there would be nothing I could eat at an Indian restaurant without my tongue catching fire (painful AND embarrassing.) So imagine my perplexedness when G. gave me an "What's Cooking: Indian" for Christmas last year. It's a beautiful book, and I assumed it would stay that of the splatters and dog-eared pages of my more used volumes. A few weeks ago, however, I found a local Indian/Pakistani grocery and was inspired to buy the ingredients for a meal. I think this one may end up with a little splatter after all. I hope you enjoy!

Buttered Chicken (this one looks intimidating, but its easy)
7 Tbsp sweet butter
1 Tbsp oil
2 med onions, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne (reduced to 1/4 tsp due to above stated wussiness)
1 tsp black cumin seed (regular works just fine)
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp salt
3 whole green cardamons (dried works fine)
3 whole black peppercorns
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp tomato paste
8 skinless chicken pieces
2/4 cup water
2 bay leaves
2/3 cup light cream
fresh cilantro and chopped green chiles to garnish

Heat butter and oil in large pan and saute onions til golden. Reduce heat. Crush ginger in separate bowl. Add next 10 ingredients and blend. Add chicken to spice/yogurt mix and coat well. Add coated chicken to onions and stir-fry "vigorously" for 5-7 minutes. Add water and bay leaves and simmer for 30, stirring once in a while. Add cream and cook another 10-15 minutes. Garnish and serve over rice.

Spicy Corn and Peas
1 cup canned/frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp fresh garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt
2 fresh green chiles (see cayenne, above)
1 med onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp butter
4 dried red chiles, crushed (left them out entirely, didn't miss them a bit, SO THERE!)
1 tsp lemon juice
fresh cilantro for garnish

Thaw/drain veggies. Process or grind cumin, garlic, coriander, salt, 1 green chile and onion to a smooth paste. Heat butter in large skillet. Add spice mixture and fry over med heat for 5-7 minutes. Add crushed red chiles and stir. Add corn and peas, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add other green chile, lemon juice and cilantro. Stir and serve hot.

Rice Pudding
1/4 cup basmati rice
5 cups milk
8 tbsp sugar
pistachios, chopped for garnish

Rinse rice and place in large saucepan. Add 2 1/2 cups of milk and bring to boil over very low heat. Cook until rice has completely absorbed milk, stir occasionally. Remove from heat and mash rice "making swift round movements?" for at least 5 minutes. Return to heat, gradually add the rest of the milk. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and continue to cook, stirring all the damn time, for 7-10 minutes (my ass, took like 25) or until "quite thick in consistency." Garnish and serve.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm A Dog, And Damned Proud Of It

No, this is not where you get to see a picture of me. Trust me, you don't want that. Instead, you will get pictures from the Chinese New Year celebration G. and I attended this weekend at Washington University. Oddly enough, it is now the Year of the Dog, as was the year I was born. Its also very likely the year our daughter will be born. Now there's a red thread for you.

This is the seventh year the Chinese student association has hosted such a gathering and their biggest crowd yet. I think the announcer guy said there were about 350 folks there. I know, I know. I don't understand why St. Louis doesn't give people that totally cosmo vibe either. It wasn't a huge crowd, but not too bad for our little neck of the woods. Unfortunately, I can't post the majority of my pictures because a lot of the program was performed by other people's adorable children. Somehow I doubt they would appreciate my posting phots of their minor children on a website. But trust me, they were GORGEOUS! On the other hand, I assume the adults are fair game.

Anyway, there was food, music, dragon dancing, costumes, trivia and much, much more. We had a really good time. If only there had been plum wine, I never would've left.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

You Like Me, You Really ....Well, At Least You're Aware of Me

You can't imagine how wonderful it was to check in here after my last post and find that I had commenters. Thanks to Jen and Tink, you guys really made my day. By the way, not only are you two my first commenters, you are also my first sucessful links. I tried to link to Jo earlier, but apparently I suck at the whole technology thing. I think I've got it now. Lord, this blogging idea is sweeeeet.

I've been an avid reader of some of the best infertility/pregnancy/adoption/parenting blogs on the web for a couple of years now. By sharing these very private and often painful moments (with more grace and humor than a ballerina on acid, I might add) in the most public of forums, these ladies and gents have given so many of us hope, strength, encouragement, enlightenment and the ability to laugh at some of the more absurd absurdities that can go into creating a family. I can speak only for myself, but I am eternally greatful.

However, I would hazard a guess that most, if not all of them, began blogging without this lofty goal in mind. Several (and I cannot point to specifics, but I've read it often) have mentioned that blogging started out as a therapy of sorts. A way to untangle some of the twisted strings of life that were clogging up their minds. A way to deal with life's frustrations, unfairness, painfullness, and tragedy. A way to clarify and heal, if only for themselves. This, I thought, was a wonderful idea for a myriad of reasons: I have always enjoyed writing and I'd been away from it for far too long; we were in the middle of a very long paperchase, and I needed a safe place to bitch, and whine, and moan and figure things out; it's much cheaper than traditional therapy and I don't have to include it in my dossier.

I didn't start out writing this for anyone else, but of course, putting it on the internet means taking a chance that others will read what I am writing. If someone should stumble upon my little corner of the world wide web, I hope they can take something, anything, useful away with them. I hope what I am writing will benefit them in some little way. I have gained so much from the other bloggers, it feels a little selfish to not at least be willing to offer something in return.

But like I said, I didn't start this blog with other readers in mind. Even if I had aspired to be the Most Widely Read Blogger Ever, I had serious doubts that anyone would find me anyway (I read a lot, but don't comment very often). So, imagine my surprise when the visit counter started climbing on it's own. It took me a few days to realize I could only account for 12 of those first 17 visits myself. It was a little thrilling and a little scary to realize someone else was watching. (Sort of like doing the deed when there is a possibility of being caught. Cough. Not that I would know anything about that. But I've heard it can be fun.) And then, the great day arrived. My first comments. They gave me warm fuzzies. I've discovered I like being heard. I'm still writing for myself and my sanity, but its nice to not alone out here. So if you're out there, and I know you are, speak up. And Welcome.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Over The First Hurdle

It's official! We are DTC (Dossier To China) as of 01/20/06! The Agency sends out their travel guide as confirmation that your dossier was mailed and we received ours today. It covers everything from packing, to etiquette, bonding, and travel vaccinations (Measles and Typhoid and Rubella, Oh My!)

I have to point out that so far, G. has been content to leave the pouring over of materials and information to me. I have been appointed Handler of the Details. I read each handout and instruction sheet, all of the guides, all of the wisdom to be found on various message boards and then relay it to him in what I know must be excrutiating detail. Somebody's gotta do it. My motto is "If I have to read about it, he has to hear about it." Then, I gently instruct (read: nag, nag, nag) him on how best to accomplish the various tasks at hand. He does it or faces the wrath of me. All is well. What can I say, it works for us. Now before anyone... Bueler...Bueler... gets the idea in their pretty little heads that G. is not committed to this adoption, let me alleviate your fears by presenting Exhibit A.

I started making dinner and G. arrived home just a few minutes later. I showed him the letter confirming out DTC date and practically danced with glee. Although I am looking forward to perusing the travel guide, our current wait time to referral is estimated at 10-12 months, so we have time. G. seemed pleased that our documents have officially left the country, but then he noticed the travel details and you couldn't have pried them out of his hands for all the Toblerone in Switzerland. And let me tell you, the man loves his Toblerone. He spent the next hour reading it like it was the bible. But, maybe that's a bad analogy for us. Let's try again. He spent the next hour reading it like it was the first and only copy of a "Superman Meets Godzilla Who Just Battled The Silver Surfer" comic. Did I mention he really loves comic books. More than Toblerone. He's such a geek. Everyone knows that chocolate laced with honey and hazelnuts could kick Superman's and Godzilla's AND the Silver Surfer's ass any day of the week. He quoted, and he pointed, and he looked at average daily temperature charts for various cities in China. God, I could see the packing lists in his head. It was cute I tell ya.

Like the rest of us who have suffered through it, infertility has left it's scars on G. as well. It took him a little time to get used to the idea of adoption, but once he did he's been excited about it in a quiet kind of way. Like he didn't really believe it was going to happen. That travel guide made it real for him. I could see the realization come into his eyes that someday, there really will be a little person in our lives who adores him as much as I do. Who counts on him, and plays silly games with him, and pulls on his beard and his heart strings.

I heart the travel guide.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Great Dossier Debacle of January, 2006

Notice, gentle readers (I assume there will be at least one...someday. See how optimistic and shit I am??), the title of this post. I started to name it the Great Dossier Debacle of 2006, but decided not to tempt Fate. If I had named it such, the Universe would have laughed at me and said "So you think this is it for the year, do ya? Well, let's just see what we can do about THAT!" And clearly, not only would there be future debacles, but each new debacle would be suckier than the last. I figure it like this: If I bow down to the Powers That Be, and acknowledge that I have no control, maybe They/It will go easy on me. Sounds reasonable, right??? RIGHT???

Now, on to the complaining (read: detailed, objective explanation of why our dossier did not go to China, as it should have last week).

Tuesday: I turned in our dossier to R., the dossier coordinator for The Agency. She was busy with some translating and it was late in the day, so we did not do a full review. Instead, she glanced over it for any glaring error, and low and behold she found one. As part of my medical information, my doctor had written a note on the back of the form she filled out, stating that I have no active depression at this time, and that said depression will not affect my ability to parent an adopted child. Despite the fact that our social worker, (the lovely, friendly, but apparently young and inexperienced J.) declared that note suffiecient 3 months ago, R. said it need to be on letterhead from my doctor's office. OK. 3 days before the dossier is mailed. I can do that. And off I went.

Wednesday morning: I called the doctor's office to have the letter written. Doctor is not there, nurse is not there. Neither will be in the office today. Spoke with a very nice receptionist, explained what I needed and was assured that all was well. She has adopted before and knows the drill. She'll get it done and faxed to me first thing Thursday. Great. All is well.

Later Wednesday morning: R. calls. G.'s letter from his doctor (and we did already have his in letter format) isn't really good enough. China will want a more detailed explanation of his medical issues. Despite the fact that our social worker, (the lovely, friendly, but apparently young and inexperience J.) declared the letter sufficient 3 months ago. Annoyed now, but it's doable (I think). Also, one of the pictures of the house we sent with our original application (some 6 months ago) seems to be of a closet and could we please take a picture of something else? HUH?? I finally figure out that she is talking about the picture we took of the empty room we plan to use as a nursery. Mind you, it's not a large room, but she's a baby and, in case no one else has noticed, SHE'S NOT HERE YET, hence the emptiness (in more ways than just home decorating). But fine, I have a lovely new camera and printer and that night I commence to cleaning the kitchen and snapping pictures of sparkling sinks, since that is apparently what China would rather see. I only hope they don't think we're planning to have her sleep in the sink. Whatever. I write up some new language for the medical letters and e-mail them to R. for her preapproval. I don't hear back from R. the rest of the day.

Thursday morning: I call the doctor's office about my letter. It's done as promised. Wonderful! R. calls. By the way, the same lanuage I told you 2 days ago was ok to put in letter format...really not. China will also want a more detailed explanation of your depression (infertility, miscarriage, medication, etc) so could you have the doctor write that up too? Please tell me you're joking, I plead. But, alas, it is not so. I call the doctor's office again, to inform them of the latest developments. Needless to say, they are less than overjoyed to hear from me. But Friendly Receptionist says she'll get right on it. Friendly Receptionist is now my bestest friend forever because just a few hours later, she faxes me a wonderful, detailed, descriptive letter.

Thursday afternoon: No word yet from G.'s doctor's office. We're both trying not to kill someone. Anyone. That would certainly require an addendum in the home study. We have until tomorrow morning. Surely, his letter will come in. All the doctor has to do is sign the thing. He's a family friend, of course he'll take the 12 seconds necessary to help make our dream of a child come true.

Friday morning: Did I happen to mention that G. and I are essentially naive schmucks? No letter. Dr. Family Friend didn't sign it last night, and won't be back in the office til Monday.

I just cried. I couldn't help it and I didn't care what the nice attorney across the hall thought. G. was pretty teary-eyed too, which doesn't happen very often. It's been a very long paperchase, and we really just wanted it to end. We were counting on it ending. We needed it to end so we could feel that we had made some progress. That our daughter was even a little bit closer to coming home. Closer to being in our arms. Closer to her family. I know one week or the next shouldn't/doesn't/won't make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, but this whole mess was just one big frustration that didn't have to happen. Sometimes, it seems she is just getting further and further away.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Needless to say, we are not DTC 01/13/06. It didn't happen today. It's not the end of the world or anything but I am really pissed, and sad, and disappointed. I don't even have the energy to complain about what went wrong at any length. I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Happy Post

You can't beat puppy pictures for happy, right? And so I oblige as promised...

Meet Oliver. The three years G and I were married before we bought a house were the longest time I have ever been without a dog in my life. We finally bought a house, and about a month later, I couldn't take it anymore, and we went on a search. When we went to store doing, of all things, pet adoptions, all the other dogs were barking like crazy, trying to get us to notice them. Not Oliver. He's much to sneaky for that. He rolled over on his back, and stuck one paw through the wire of his crate. A truly pitiful and oscar-worthy move. He looks much like a beloved dog from childhood (Freckles, I still love ya!) and needless to say I was a goner.

As it turns out, soulful and pitiful, just isn't his thing. He's uber-friendly, totally stubbern, very vocal about his wants and needs, and has possibly the best wag of any dog I've ever seen. His whole body goes from the shoulders down. Now that he's gotten a little older, almost 9 (they grow up so fast), he's started to settle down a bit.

And this is our girl, Greta. Or Greta Mae Gumpus, as she is sometimes known. Or Mae Mae. The nicknames have gotten outa control for this dog. Pie, Pie Pie, Lumpus, Grumpus, Sugar Lump...please stop us, we obviously can't help ourselves. About a year after we brought Ollie home, we decided he needed a friend. So back we went to the same rescue. We explained that we wanted a dog that might be a calming influence (as if anything or anyone could be) for Ollie. Perhaps a slightly smaller, slightly older (he was about 3 then) , slightly better behaved model. Instead, we fell in love with her. Bigger than Ollie, and only about a year old, Greta came home. She crawled right into my lap, and hasn't moved much since. She is just the sweetest dog and yet, she doesn't hesitate to kick Ollie's ass when he needs it. She turned out to be exactly right for us.

These two miscreants are Beauty (the lab) and Bitsy (the sheltie/whatever). Mom and Dad adopted them a few years ago. For years, before their last dog (Homer, we miss you) died, Mom insisted there would be no more dogs for her. She loved them, but it was just too much work for her. Within 3 months of Homer's death, she was missing the companionship and starting to think about another dog. These two came as a set (they've been together all of their lives) and Mom, softie that she is, couldn't bear to separate them. After seeing them together, I don't know how they would have survived without each other. She did the right thing. Beauty charms everyone, loves everyone, and is possibly just the happiest, most content dog on the planet. Bitsy, on the other hand, is psycho, in the most adorable way possible. She spent the first 3 years at my parents house trying her best to keep dad from so much as looking at her. He of course, fell right into the trap. He spent day after day trying to win her over. Watching them flirt with each other was hilarious.

See, I told you there would be happy!


It is now exactly 50 minutes PAST my birthday and my mother has yet to call and relate for the 36th time the story of how she almost delivered me in the middle of an ice storm.

God, I'm whiney. A nice post next, I promise.

Boy, It Sucks Being Right All The Time

I thought that maybe one of the reasons I am going bonkers was that I don't have anywhere to go with all the adoption anxiety. I mean my husband can only listen to me discuss (read: whine, obsess, cry) it for so long every day. One of has to stay sane, after all. Hence, this blog. I thought that writing it all down would help get it out of my head, clarify it, get perspective on it. Little did I know, that my worst fears and crazy ramblings would become reality.

After re-reading my last post, I decided that I was being silly. Of course, none of our documents had gone AWOL. They are after all locked in the best cranberry colored vinyl/cardboard document holder Office Max has to offer. Of course Elvis' birth certificate had not replaced my own. He was born 2 whole days before me in another state and even Missouri officials can't screw up that much. (I don't know where or when Garfield was born, but I'm guessing that I'd know if I turned into a cat, my husband being allergic and all.) Of course the dog hadn't puked on the homestudy. I forgot to feed him last night (THAT doesn't bode well, does it?) so there was nary a scrap to be regurgitated. The blog had served it's purpose, I thought. I was rational again. I checked everything over, dug out the one photo we were missing and called it a night.

Well, when I got to The Agency today I met with R. , the woman in charge of dossier review, who has the final word on when it will go to China and knows all about what the CCAA will and won't accept. Everything looked good. Except. One document needs to be re-done. Apparently the short note on the back of my medical form will not suffice. It MUST be on the doctor's letterhead. And we have to have it there by Thursday morning. Yeah. That would be the doctor whose already done this form twice. And whose office, when you call, puts you on hold for a minimum of 20 minutes before you can leave a message with an actual human's answering machine. I think it's office policy. I'm sure she'll be oh so eager to put this at the top of her list.

We'll see. But I'm not making any more predictions.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Cock-Eyed Optimism

Get you mind out of the gutter, this isn't that kind of blog.

We are turning in our dossier to The Agency tomorrow. My dearest, G, spent quite a bit of time today, when he was already busier than a one-legged man in a ass-kickin' contest, copying the damn thing times 3. We've spent the last 6 1/2 months slaving over every detail - filling out forms just right, having other people fill out forms just right (harder than you would think), getting just the right wording on the notarizations, repeat medical forms from the doctor who couldn't follow instructions, several hours waiting in the secretary of state's office for certifications, and getting the authentications from the Chinese Consulte in Chicago (which I can't read, but look real purty).

So, why can't I go downstairs and do one final check of this absurdly important stack of papers, then confidently go to bed knowing that all is right with the world and on Friday we will be DTC?

'Cause I'm nuts. I keep putting that last final review off, because I know, I JUST KNOW, that if I go look, our financial statement will have gone AWOL. Or my birth certificate will suddenly reflect the birth of Elvis, or Garfield the Cat or anyone other than moi. Or one of the dogs will have puked on our homestudy and rendered it stinky as well as illegible.

By the way, the point of all this paperwork is to convince The Agency, the State, the US Federal Government and the Peoples' Rebuplic of China that I am a healthy, mentally stable individual to whom they should hand over the care and nurturing of a defenseless, adorable baby. 'Cause that would be SUCH a good idea.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I Just Got A Brief Glimpse Of The Finish Line

In reasonably happy adoption related news: Our documents came back from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago yesterday. For those of you not in the loop with all things Chinese Adoption (and if that is you, how the hell did you end up here?? Not that I'm not glad to have you), that is the last step of document preparation needed before sending everything off to China. We should be able to get all the little pieces of our dossier (passport pics, pics showing our "family life", blah blah blah) together over the weekend and turn the whole mess over to our agency early next week. We will be DTC (Dossier to China) on January 13. Then the wait begins in earnest. (or ernest, as Jo might say).

In very happy for others but totally freaking hideously jealous adoption news: Referrals came in this week across the land. Adorable, pudgy, pinchable baby cheeks abound. For lots of other people. In the several months we've been pursuing this adoption, I've begun a strange love/hate relationships with referrals. Truely, I adore reading the new parents make their announcements. They do it with such joy!! and pride!! and excitement!! and really its very cute. And they deserve to gush. And its fun to watch them. And it really helps me to believe that someday, there might just be a baby for us. But its also hard. Really hard. We have (according to all reliable sources) about a year's wait ahead of us before we get to be all schmoozy and cute like that. And another couple of months before we get to actually BE parents.

And it seems like we've already waited long enough.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Adoption Angst and Blogger Envy - What More Could You Ask For In a First Post?

I can't believe I'm doing this....

1. Adopting from China - Yes, we are (the hubby and I). We are still in the infamous paperchasing stage and have been forever. More on this later.

2. Starting a blog - I have been a big fan of some wonderful, funny, snarky (god, I love this word), strong women the last few years (I'll let you know who as soon as I figure out how to link to them). They have really kept me going through some hard times. I wanna be just like them. Also, I used to like to write. It's been many years since I wrote anything more interesting than a deposition summary, so we'll see how it goes.

3. Starting a blog about adopting from China - This terrifies me. Not sure why. I think it may have to do with actually confronting my fears about our adoption. Everything about it scares me and ya know, if you see it in print it must be true. More on all this later as well.

4. Writing this first entry as a cheesy list - As I said, I'm a chicken and it seemed the easiest way to begin.

5. Waffling over whether or not to hit publish on my new blog - I guess I'll give in

So many things about both these subjects seem surreal to me right now. I know I promised lots more later, and its not nice to just hint at a topic and then not discuss it, but can you really blame me? If I gave away all my secrets now, there wouldn't be anything to agonize over later.