Saturday, July 26, 2008

Accidental Blogging

So this is how this occasion came to be. I had just sat down with what few moments I believe I have left (before she wakes up from her nap) and I decided to check out my favorite bloggy peeps. As I was clicking onto what I thought was my "cool blogs" heading under Favorites, I accidentally clicked onto "Blogger". D'oh. I was immediately filled with dread and remorse. I came so close to closing the window before it could fully open, but then I just decided to go with it. Blogger immediately reminded me that I haven't posted anything since April 2nd. Sheesh. That was like...(counting on my fingers)...a really long time ago. So, here I am. Accidentally blogging.

Life is full these days. Full and good. Thor's so brilliant (seriously) that Floyd and I have realized our job is simply to prevent hurdles and to pave the way for her brilliant self to carry on. She speaks (English) very clearly in 5-6 word sentences, she can sing the ABCs (L,M,N,O,P are a little garbled, but they are for me too), and she's newly fascinated by numbers. She's joyful, healthy and appears to love us as much as we love her...which is a love that is greater than anything I had ever imagined possible. She putters about the house and yard, singing songs, washing rocks, smelling flowers and pushing the boundaries with Jezebel, our cat. She sleeps through the night and, apparently, is becoming increasingly comfortable with napping at home (she's working on 2.5 hours this afternoon). We are blessed in a way that just never seemed possible. Actually, she makes the future seem possible...and that's a new thing for me.

I think I better go rouse her lest bedtime be too much of a chore. I'll leave you with a few recent photos. I hope you're all enjoying your summer!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Thor turned two years old today. The day started out like most any other day these days. She wakes up crying at about 6:50 or so. Her father and I went in, opened the shades a bit (not too much), and wished her a Happy Birthday. We then gave her a couple of books and left her in the crib while I went back in the bathroom to continue getting ready for work and her Dad went downstairs to get her breakfast ready. After finishing up, I went back to her cribside. She was playing and chatting with her stuffed animals...quite content. I asked her if she wanted to get up and she pointed at her bottom and said “poo-poo” in the sweetest voice you’ve ever heard. So I scooped her up. But before rushing off to the potty, I took a little moment with her. I held her in my arms, bouncing gently, and sang “Happy Birthday” to her...for the first time ever. Just then a starling came and perched in the tree outside her window and I explained that he had come to sing her “Happy Birthday” as well and she said “Yea!”.

Reluctantly, she let me dress her all in pink. A sweet little jumper that Nana and Grandpa bought her before we went to China and the pair of pink and flowered Mary Janes that we bought at a little shop on Shamian Island. She was a vision. A little pink cream puff of a vision. I say reluctantly not because of the pink but because anything you want her to do, she will refuse to do....apparently on principal. Sometimes we reason with her (don’t you judge me), sometimes we divert her and sometimes we just wait it out. It all depends on the situation. I’d like to think we’ve got a few tools in our toolbox, but that’s just plain foolish. She hid our toolbox a long time ago.

We were reflecting this evening how it was just four days ago that we estimated about 10% of her responses were “no” and this evening we seem to be up around 98%. It would’ve been 100% were it not for presents and cupcakes. Somebody must’ve slipped her the two-year olds instruction manual when we weren’t looking.

For breakfast she ate ½ an apple, ½ of my banana, some soy yogurt, half a piece of toast and some juice with her medicine mixed into it. She still enjoys her breakfast just like she still enjoys most foods; however, she’s definitely becoming pickier. She’s turned from fish (bummer), only picks at green things (normal), and is just plain fickle with everything else...except for rice. She LOVES the rice. Can’t get enough of it. Wild rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, Arborio rice, clumped in the bottom of the pan cold white rice...shoving it by the fist-full into her gaping mouth. She’s quite adept at the use of utensils; however, we haven’t found a utensil yet that is both safe enough and large enough to shovel it the way our girl likes it. Does Williams-Sonoma make a table-top front-end loader? The picture here is of Thor enjoying her berry smoothie. Scrumptious, non?

After breakfast we headed out. Papa’s sick so he stayed at home, while Thor and I headed downtown. Mornings are pretty easy. She gets in the car seat without a problem, she’s excited to go to “school” to hang out with her friends, whom she calls by name, she sits and stares out the window at the bicyclists, the river, the buses, the cars, naming things and chatting away. She’s now talking quite a bit. Of course, never when you want her to (remember – she’s training us, not the other way around). She’s used a few four word sentences so far. Her last one was “No more mammo tookies” (translation: no more animal cookies), which she said in a despairing way. She mimics everything we say now, so no more cursing. And she remembers words....from days ago. We have to listen hard because many of her words don’t sound like how we would pronounce them, but we’re getting better at it. Conversations often go like this:
Thor: “Deeda meemo car.”
Me: “Is that an animal car?”
Thor: “Nooooooo.....”
Me: “See the movie star?”
Thor: “Noooooo.....”

...and so on.

When we get to her daycare I’m in a huge rush because if I dillydally I’m going to be late for a meeting so, of course, she decides that now would be a good time to go to the potty. Sigh. So I take her to the bathroom where she decides, after inspecting each stall, that she definitely does not want to go potty. So I take her back to her room, where she decides that she definitely does not want me to leave and that she definitely needs ME to take her to the potty. Sigh. So we head back to the bathroom, set her down on the wee-size potty, and she pees in the a champ. Papa and I haven’t changed a poopy diaper in well over a week now. In fact, Papa’s giving her a bath and putting her to bed as I type this and I just heard the ecstatic “Yea Thor!!!!” that lets the neighborhood know that our daughter has just gone poo-poo in the potty. She’s even taken to congratulating us on our similar accomplishments. It makes for a happy household.

As I leave her at daycare she’s hugging one of her many friends. She still the tough girl and will sometimes shove a kid or steal a toy, but now I can say, “Gosh Thor, that wasn’t nice. Maybe you can give Nicolas a hug to make him feel better.” And she’ll do it. Big hug too. Not one of those fakey, pat on the back kind of hugs. Mother Effin Teresa I tell ya.

So I get to the office, make my meeting, make millions of dollars for my company, and I’m back to pick Thor up after her nap. She, of course, was the only one up. Every other child was sleeping like a log and Thor was tossing about contentedly. When she saw me at the window, her face lit up like a kid who’s really really happy to see her Mama. And having that face made in response to seeing me? Phew. It makes me feel a way that I will never ever be able to describe. So I pick her up and, like when she’s really happy to see me, she held the sides of my face, gave me a good look, a big smile, and began patting the sides of my head. She’s got a way of making me feel pretty darn good.

Then we’re off to the zoo. It was a rare, crisp and sunny day. I bought Thor some alligator sunglasses. We saw sea lions, and hippos, and we shared an elephant ear on the grass. She had sugar and cinnamon all over her face. I almost licked it off, but decided against it. I think it was a combination of the number of people around us and the de rigueur wire of snot that’s usually lurking about.

As would be expected, things kind of went downhill after the sugar bomb. She climbed in and out of the stroller, ran like a cheetah with her Mama chasing after her dragging the shitty Chinese stroller, and grabbed handfuls of the pebbles lining the floor of the African aviary.

At closing time we headed back into town, bought some candles and “mammo tookies” at the grocery store and stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. Papa and I were going to make Chinese food, but we realized that our evening would then be spent cooking dinner rather than spending it with Thor. So, instead, we ate nummy Mandarin eggplant, kung pao chicken, stir fried green beans and mounds of sticky rice. This could be the makings of a tradition.

When I asked Thor if she was ready to open presents she looked at me and said, emphatically, “Yes!” (first affirmative of the day I believe) and she sat down on the rug in her “ready to open presents” position (she’s been getting a few presents over the last six months – I’m thinking it’ll let up after this). We videotaped a relatively stoic present unwrapping session. You see we hit a little snag when we got a cool toy that was lacking batteries, then the batteries we put in didn’t work and then...yea, the moment was lost.

But we regained momentum when it was time for the cupcakes. That was when I heard the second affirmative of the day (btw - when did she learn the word cupcake?). Anyhoo... we sang “Happy Birthday” and presented her with the glowing flames representing her last two years on this planet...and she blew them out. How did she know to blow them out?! She was with us when I blew out candles on my birthday in China, but, man, there was a lot going on at the time and I can’t imagine she’d remember that. I think we’ve been to one other birthday party where she watched somebody else blow out candles...maybe?....or maybe automatically extinguishing a flame is one of those beneficial traits passed down from our ancestors on the Serengeti. Who knows...

But then she put her face down in the cupcake. And that was about when the evening ended.

Our little girl is two. She can no longer go in the “under two” section at the children’s museum. I’m glad she was already bored with it. It’s one of life’s little milestones, after which there’s no turning back. She’s sleeping soundly now. I hope she had a good day.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Nary a Fleshwound

This is a picture of Thor on the morn of her first day of daycare. This was a day to remember and I’m proud to say she didn’t bite anybody’s ear off nor did she scratch anybody’s face off. In fact, I am quite sure there were no flesh wounds of any sort inflicted on anybody, larger or smaller than her. Whew. As anybody who has met her can attest, our little Thor is a fireball. She is a very confident person and does not suffer fools (a fool being anybody that dares cross her). Now don’t get me wrong. She is a very loving and kind child as well. She gives kisses and hugs and shows empathy for those that cry (even when she’s the person that made them cry). She can even be a darn fine sharer of stuff. However, she has also been known to leave a trail of stolen teddies, broken dreams and destruction in her wake. That is why we were so very very pleased to learn that she did not unleash the demons on this, her first, day of daycare.

Researching daycares is tough. Honestly, I didn’t visit as many as I would’ve liked. For a few reasons: Many of them are totally full, with waiting lists so long that they chuckle when you suggest that there could be an opening at some point before our daughter is old enough to be employed there. Others have websites that make them sound so sincerely smug that I couldn’t envision bothering them with the rigors of taking care of my child. I mean, when they say things like, “Disposable diapers have no place in our facility” I felt like gagging. Yes, we use cloth, but it is because I know what an incredible pain in the ass they can be that I sympathize with people that have chosen to not go that route. I suppose folks have referred to us as being smug (what with the whole recycling, cloth diaper, tree-hugging ethic we’ve got going on), but on the grand smug spectrum, we’re just not that far (remind me to post on the whole smugness thing, because I’ve got a few choice words on that as well). Oh yea, daycares....we didn’t research others because of their location or because, frankly, I just ran out of time. Yes, just one more reason I should be nominated for Mother of the Year.

Considering I’m a heinous and neglectful mother and probably didn’t research enough daycares, I’m pretty happy with the one we chose. Thor is in a “classroom” with about seven other kids between the ages of 18 and 26 months (they call them “wobblers” in daycare lingo) and there are at least two teachers. Her main teacher is native Chinese and she’s worked at the facility for 17 years, which is virtually unheard of in the daycare realm. She’s kind of like a Chinese grandma. How perfect. She even speaks Chinese (not sure if it’s Mandarin or Cantonese) and I’ve asked her to feel free to occasionally chat it up with Thor in her native language. The room has lots of light and there are just loads of things for them to play with. It’s about three blocks from my office and they are amazingly flexible. I can bring her in or drop her off at any time and the place was highly recommended by others that I work with. So, for now, we’re happy. And I think Thor is too.

Dropping her off was uneventful. Thor was immediately swept up in the fun of it all, Eric and I doted, then we slipped out. She never even noticed. I cried, of course, but, actually, it felt fine. It’s the right thing for us...for now. Today she was only there for a half-day and I came to collect her during naptime. Most of the other children were dozing soundly while Thor occupied the teacher with her curiosity. When I tip-toed in the door Thor didn’t notice me. Probably because she was thoroughly engaged in what her teacher was showing her. They were having a moment and that made me happy. But when I walked over to her and said softly, “Hey, Thor” she looked up at me and made a stone-faced beeline for my knees. When I picked her up she gave me *the biggest hug ever* then pulled back, smiling, and patted my head again and again. Like she was thinking, “It’s’s you, I’m just really happy that it’s you”. Yea, it was one of those indescribable Mom moments.

The teacher said that Thor did great for her first day. She only cried when they tried to change her diaper. Understandably. That was probably the point at which she began to wonder, “just who in the hell are you people anyway?” But she ate like a champ (no surprises there) and she didn’t make anybody cry.

As Thor and I were leaving, the other awake girl approached her and I got a little worried about the interaction that would ensue. But, rather than fisticuffs, the little girl kissed Thor, then Thor kissed her back. It was just the cutest dang lovefest you’ve ever seen. The teacher was relieved as well and said, “That makes me so happy to see that, she can be quite the bully”, referring to the other little girl. Ha. Kindred spirits I suppose.

So it was a good day. A very very good day.

And here’s a picture from Christmas day. Remember those kilts I bought in Scotland for that day....someday...when we’d have our little girl (I don't know how to link to the post, but it was in August 2006)? Well, finally getting to wear them made for another one of those special moments. Life is just full of ‘em these days.

Happy New Year everybody...from the home of the God of Thunder.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Diaper Diaries

Here's a picture of Thor. I think she's wearing a disposable diaper in this shot.

About a month ago we went to our friends’ house for dinner. They have a beautiful little girl about the same age as Thor. We were excited to see them again, meet their daughter and eat their food, but we had ulterior motives. They’re way ahead of us on the waste reduction curve and they were going to give us the “straight poop” on the whole cloth-diapering thing. Floyd and I had been diapering Thor with disposables since we met her. Yes, they were the Seventh Generation, chlorine-free ones, but still...I absolutely hated tossing those into our can every week. Hated it.

So they showed us how to do it. They showed us how to fold the Chinese tri-fold, they showed us which covers they used (Bummis – cost effective AND effective) and they showed us their fancy-schmancy diaper pail and smell reduction system. The whole diapering system was in their daughter’s room (with adjoining bath). I didn’t see one poop stain or smell anything nasty. At all. They even opened their pail and I practically stuck my nose IN it to smell anything that reminded me of human waste. It was a very clean and efficient operation. It seemed so simple we thought even WE could do it.

The very next day, with my new-found knowledge and boundless optimism I went to the sweet little diaper depot (which are almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks around here) and I purchased what I could to get us started. Cloth diapering does cost more initially, and I wasn’t ready to commit, so I just bought what we needed to get us started on a trial basis. I bought the fancy-schmancy, stink-tight diaper pail, one Bummi wrap (they were out of stock), one Nikki wrap (because they didn’t have any more Bummis), a ½ dozen bleached diapers (which was a woefully inadequate amount), and BacOut (which controls smell and stains in a non-toxic and eco-friendly manner, qualifying its inventors for Saint status). Thor and I literally skipped out of the store, both very very confident in our new diapering strategy.

Alas, our confidence exceeded our expectations and things just went downhill from there. For the first several days, we were changing Thor’s pants every time we changed her diaper. We were having leaks every single time. Fortunately, I found a few more covers at home (hand-me-downs from a friend) and I tracked down some more tri-folds so that we could persevere. We tried different folds (at the advice of another cloth-diapering friend) and we made sure everything was all tucked into the cover. Yet our home was starting to smell like pee. Oftentimes after just ½ hour I’d notice leakage and when I went to change her, discovered the diaper wadded up between her legs. The urine was obviously either soaking through the diaper cover at that stage, or leaking out around the legs. I considered withholding liquids...

I went back to the original diaper store and pleaded my case with her. What could we be doing wrong? She went over the same, original folds and asked lots of questions about which covers might be worse, better, etc. (we had no data on that). She did point out that we had only washed the unbleached diapers once before we started using them, so it’s probable they weren’t effective yet (unbleached diapers need to be washed SEVERAL times before they’re effective – something to do with waxes in the weave). I told her about the wadding up between the legs and she said that shouldn’t happen. She mentioned that Thor might be a “heavy wetter” (?) and that some kids were just like that. She then suggested I change her more often (But every ½ hour?? Come on.). When I left the store this time, I felt much less optimistic and actually kind of downtrodden. There was no skipping.

How come everybody made it look and sound so darn easy? It was so important to us to make this work, but we were spending too much time on clothes changes (I started thinking of Thor as our own little Vanna Wh!te) and laundry, my hands were drying up from washing the covers all day every day and, importantly, our home (and our daughter) were beginning to acquire the faint smell of urine. So. Not. cool. But our only option was to give up, and when I thought about that I thought about disposables. And when I thought about disposables I thought about how bad I had felt when I rolled our garbage can to the curb, loaded to the gills with plump excrement dumplings....then about how good it felt to glide our now lightweight, mostly empty can to the curb. I suppose it was this thought that kept us going.

So we washed the diapers again...and again...and again, because that’s what you do, and we started using doublers every single time, rather than just at nap and bedtimes. We change her MUCH more frequently, but certainly not every ½ hour. We have learned that our daughter probably is a heavy wetter (whatever that means) and that the wadding-up between her legs appears unavoidable (even with frequent changing). We’ve come to expect leaks at least once or twice a day, but we rejoice when we don’t have to change her pants. There have only been one or two occasions where we didn’t have to wash the cover with a we wash lots of covers. I think the diapers have gotten better (more absorbent) with more washings and we’ve jettisoned a couple of the hand-me-down covers that probably weren’t effective any longer. And, most importantly, the improvements to the system have eliminated any lingering odors in my home AND on my daughter (I really didn’t want her to be the one that smells like pee).

The upshot is that we’re still learning, but we’re making it work. It’s important to us. Surprisingly important actually. I told a friend that I was cloth-diapering (I won’t lie, it was as a lead-up to bitching about it) and before I could say more she just looked at me and asked, “Why?” I quickly responded with, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” I don’t mean to be smug about it, but I do think it’s the right thing to do. I care about the environment and I try to make an effort in every other aspect of my life to reduce why not this one? And it does make me feel pretty darn good when I can see (and feel) the difference that I’m making when I roll that can out to the curb every week.

Our lives have certainly changed with cloth diapers. I would say that, with cloth diapers, I flush the toilet about 2-3x more per day than I would otherwise (I only need to flush when it’s a poopy diaper and, because our daughter is nicknamed “The Refrigerator”, I’ll let you imagine what those poops are like) and I do about 2-3 extra loads of laundry per week. It takes a bit more time per diaper change, but usually not much (poopy ones require more time). Obviously, I’ve never been so intimate with human waste before but you get over it. I just snap on my big, yellow gloves when I have to take the plunge. Other than that, nothing’s changed. Oh, there is the whole feeling smug thing, but that dissipates pretty quickly when I pull on my big, yellow gloves...


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thor and the Coyotes

We had carpenters breathing down our necks yesterday, waiting to put the last touches on our kitchen floor, so we loaded up the Suby and headed to our cabin east of the mountains. We'd brought Thor out there once before. Just a day trip, to show her around and get her used to the place. We honestly had no idea how she would like it. It's very...rustic and it's mostly about the out-of-doors. But she dug it. Totally. E-Mom (Thor's God Mom) gave Thor a pair of hand-me-down Carhartts, so she also fits right in with the whole outdoorsy country gig going on out there. She's fascinated by bugs, gladly kicks through leaves, probes dirt, fondles rocks, and notices the flitting of small birds. Very impressive for a city gal.

Because I'd been feeling like doo for a few days now, Floyd took Nola on a bit of a hike and left me to snooze on the couch. When they returned the fire was roasting and it was getting pretty dark outside. I was lying in a pool of drool on my pillow. Floyd set about making some din-din (tofu in Punjabi sauce over rice - a cabin favorite) but had to step outside for something or other. When he came back in he announced our neighbors the coyotes and gathered up Thor for an introduction. Apparently, it was silent when he went out, but soon heard a dog bark and that set off the coyotes. They were now howling all around the cabin, up the canyon, down the canyon and giving him all sorts of goose bumps. I was still confined to the couch (feeling like poo and all) so he and Thor stepped out into the dark for a proper introduction. They were out there for a while.

When they came back in and shook the cold off, Daddy asked Thor what the coyote sounded like and she lifted her head and gave a great wee, "Oooooo...oo...oo..Oooooo". That's my girl.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Rolling Meme of Doom...

...makes a pitstop at Different Dirt. I realize y'all would much rather hear about the new addition to our family so I've attached a photo at the end of all of my rambling BUT you have to read all of my rambling first. No cheating. Ahhh...who am I kidding?

Everybody knows the rules by now so I'll just dive in...

1. What secret/surprising/personal goal (that is realistically achievable within the next 15 years) would you like to fulfill?

See Bigfoot.

2. Can you list an event in which you made a last minute decision or guess that significantly changed the path of your life?

The first thing that comes to mind is the commitment that my husband and I made to become Thor’s parents. Obviously, there was nothing “last-minute” about our decision to adopt, but deciding to pursue her, based upon her picture, was immediate and from the gut...and it significantly changed the path of our life.

3. What is one unrealistic goal (but your total secret dream) that you would love to come true, but are pretty sure it won’t ever happen?

To become completely self-sufficient - living off-the-grid, growing our own food. I know, it’s so trendy, but I’ve had that dream since I was in high school, which was a very very long time ago. I think we can get close, but probably not completely there. I love tropical fruits too much.

4. Who has had the most influence on your life and what did they teach you?

Hmmm....the most influence on my life. That’d be my parents I suppose. They both taught me very different things. My Mom once told me that I could be anything I wanted to be plus she taught me how to tie my shoes. My Dad taught me how to make pancakes in a cast iron skillet and how to make a fire.

5. You are on a deserted island. You are stranded with someone from any point in time for 2 months (they are coming to rescue you but are busy right now). Other then family/friends/naval engineers, who is it?

Two months is great. If you’re really focused, which you would be on a desert island, you could learn to do something reasonably play the guitar. Trouble is – most guitar players don’t really seem like the kind of folks I’d want to hang out with for that long. Maybe Bonnie Raitt. She seems like she’d be a good teacher and cool to hang out with. I hope she brought her guitar.

6. Name and describe 3 things on your mind lately. Is there any particular reason why you’re thinking about a particular thing?

- Being a Mom – It’s still amazing to me and I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted.
- Finding recipes for wholesome meals that don’t take a lot of time....seriously.
- What goes on in my daughter’s brain? I’m pretty obsessed with this one of late.

7. If you could go back to one moment in time and change it, what would the moment be and what would you change it from and to?

The only thing I can think of right now has to do with my 20-year high school reunion. Sheesh. I wish I hadn’t been such a flake. Basically, I thought I was too cool to go, I wound up going, and I think I was just brazen. It makes me shudder to think about it. I wish I had approached this event with more deference and respect for the nice people that I used to be close to.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve and is there anything that you can do or not do to stop other people from doing it?

I don’t really know what my biggest pet peeve is, but I certainly hate rude people. Such as people that don’t say “hi” back. I deal with this by continuing to walk, then saying “hi” to myself, hopefully loud enough that they’ll hear me. I realize this probably does nothing to change them...but it makes me feel better.

9. Who has been the most influential teacher in your life and why did he or she have such an impact on you? Have you sent them a note?

Isn’t it amazing how a great teacher can change your whole life? I’ve had two favorite teachers. One was my creative writing teacher in high school and the other was my ornithology professor in college. I haven’t sent either one a note. I have always meant to send one to my college professor. Maybe I should make this my answer to #1.

10. What three things do you regret not learning to do?

I don’t know how to answer this because I’m not dead yet.

11. What is your biggest fear?

That somebody I love will die.

12. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be a more confident public speaker....and maybe do something about my right ear that sticks out too far.

13. What is the answer to life, the universe, everything?


14. If you knew, beforehand, that the wait for your child from China would take this long and drastic a time frame, would you still go through with it or would you choose another country?

Hmmm...considering the countries that were open at the time we started the process, I think China would still have been the best option for us. Of course, we only waited 12 months from DTC to seeing Thor’s photo. Would we do it again knowing that the wait is the heinous thing that it is? Not sure. We’ll see I suppose.

15. What is one food that most people like that you do not like at all?

Hmmm...“most people” that I hang out with like spicy food and I just can’t handle it. Never really could. I loves me some Thai, Mexican and Chinese food – but just one star, thank you.

16. Name one place in the world you would love to spend at least one month visiting? Is there anywhere on earth that is so repulsive to you that there is no amount of money that could convince you to visit it?

I’m looking forward to a long trip to Africa someday. A month-long safari would be dreamy. Repulsive place? Man, that’s tough. I enjoy places that many folks would consider repulsive. For me it’s more a situational thing. For example, I wouldn’t want to be at the Salton Sea in August during a heat wave. You can taste the stench.

17. What book have you just finished reading and why did you pick it up? Would you recommend it to others?

I can’t even remember the last book I read. I have “mommy-brain” big time and I can’t remember what I did yesterday or what I fed my child for breakfast this morning. Book? Oh yea, the last book I actually read cover-to-cover was Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray. Great book. Very helpful. Very readable. I’m currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’ve read the same page again and again for the past 3 weeks.

18. Share a relatively quick and easy recipe for Fall. One pot/dish recipes given extra credit.

Shit, I don’t know. You tell me. I made “Hamburger Buddy” last night because we had company, including some wee ones that I wanted to make happy. It’s supposed to be a healthy, veggie-laden version of the old Hamburger Helper. It clogged up my food processor, it gave us all gas and, importantly, it wasn’t fast. It did, however, make enough for loads of leftovers. Yea. More gas.

19. Would you rather be financially well off, but unhappy, or a happy person who is always in need of money?

Well, if you’re truly happy then why do you need more money? I’d have to take the latter.

20. What is the most comforting sound in the world to you and why?

It used to be rainfall, but I think it’s becoming the sound of my daughter’s laugh. I know. Cornball.

21. What is your all time favorite book? If you aren’t a reader, what is your favorite movie? And why?

Favorite book? For me it’s impossible to have a favorite. Like a song or a city, it’s a situational thing. Every book has a mood and it becomes a favorite for me when I read it at that perfect moment in my life when all of my receptors are open to it. I really enjoyed The Wind in the Willows and Alice in Wonderland when I was young. I enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time when I was about 13, then The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino when I was in college, and Sometimes a Great Notion in my mid-20’s. Recently, I had a love affair with Life of Pi.

22. Share one of your most cherished childhood memories.

My Mom and Dad would both read to me after tucking me into bed. I think they each read me The Wind in the Willows...I loved it that much. Sometimes my Dad would softly sing Sweet Baby James and pick away at his guitar until I fell asleep. He also did a sweet, lullabye version of Wonderful World by Sam Cooke.

23. What are you paranoid about?


24. What trait of yours do you MOST hope your children will carry on?

I think I have a pretty keen sense of wonder. Some folks might call it naiveté. Whatever. It makes life more fun.

25. What’s your guilty pleasure?

I feel so guilty about it I’m not going to share it with all of you.

26. What would you buy if you had a thousand dollars to spend on yourself? The only catch is that it has to be a totally selfish purchase, just for you. No paying bills or buying a year’s supply of wet wipes.

I could buy a pair of sweet-ass 10x40 Zeiss binoculars and still have some money left over to do a weekend birding trip.

27. Help me update my your favorite artists, and then your favorite song that they perform.

Sorry I can’t be much help on this one. I love music but I don’t know a lot about new music. I basically stopped being hip several years ago (at least I thought I was hip). Yesterday I listened to a lot of Johnny Cash because the electrician was at the house all day and I wanted to make him happy. I think it worked. He’s a big, tough guy, but he sang out-loud to Walk the Line. After we ran out of Johnny Cash we switched it to Led Zeppelin. I think the carpenters enjoyed it.

If I could recommend any song to anybody wanting to update their iPod it would have to be White Girl by X (the band). Listen to John Doe’s little growl in the middle of it and try not to get all swoony.

28. What is your favorite charity?

Heifer International. I got a goat for Christmas last year.

29. In The Shadow of the Wind, there is a beautiful passage that says “few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.” Do you think this is true, and if so what is your “first” book and why.

I think this is very true. That book for me would have to be The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. If it didn’t encourage my love for good literature and the out of doors, it was certainly a nice introduction to them. I still remember those characters as if they were good friends. Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger. They still make my heart sing.

I can’t wait to read this book to Thor. I hope she enjoys it half as much as I did.

30. What is your favorite wilderness hike and why? (You knew I was going to ask this-if you aren’t a hiker, you can modify it to drive by landscapes or whatever speaks to you.)

Hmmmm...I’m particularly fond of the trail that runs along the Bogachiel River in Washington’s Olympic Mountains. I used to hike this trail as part of my job when I was studying the Pileated Woodpecker. I once heard “Bogachiel” means “very muddy when it rains a lot” in the native people’s tongue. I believe it. I learned to flyfish along this river, I camped along it over 100 nights, and I got to know it like the back of my hand. It’s nice knowing such a beautiful place so well.

31. What were/are your nicknames? Do you like them?

Not really any nicknames. I have a very common first name, so most folks called me by my last name, which is now my maiden name. I’ve had a different last name for several years now, but some folks still call me by my maiden name. It just fit. Still does.

32. What was your first concert? Your most recent?

My first concert was Leif Garrett at the Puyallup Fair. I got his autograph. My first *real* concert was Ozzie Osbourne – Crazy Train at the Tacoma Dome. He wore blue spandex pants and hung a midget on stage. Dude. My most recent concert was Beck/Radiohead in Dublin.

33. Have you ever done someone the dirty? I mean really, foully, badly wrong. And would you do it again, and why?

I’m not sure if I know what “doing someone the dirty” actually means...but I don’t think I have. Well...when I was in about 3rd grade I was involved in an incident in which sap was stuck in the goofy girl’s hair. I still remember it. I was not an instigator, but I didn’t help her. I still feel bad about it. I suppose I cheated on a boyfriend or two but, considering the quality of the initial relationships, I don’t think my actions were really, foully, badly wrong.

34. If you found out that the universe HAD been created, and you could ask the Creator one question, what would it be?

Do you regret giving us opposable thumbs?

35. What were your dreams as a child?

I wanted to be a dancer. I watched the movie "All That Jazz" again and again and memorized all the dances. I also had an unusually strong affinity for Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire movies....still do I suppose.

36. What can you do better than most people?

Not dancing. I'm a darn good critter spotter though. Seems I have an interesting knack for spotting animals in the wild.

And I'm adding these two questions:

37. What's your favorite bird and why?

Well, I could say it's a situational thing. Even a junco can seem pretty amazing in the right light or on the right day. But I'd have to say that, right now, my favorite bird is the Robin. Not the American Robin, but the old world kind. Very round with a deep, earthy orange breast and the sweetest song you've ever heard. They're quite "common" and most congenial.

38. When/where did you last go camping?

Sadly, I think the last time we went camping was a couple of years ago. Gosh, could it have been our honeymoon? We did a great 10-day car camping trip from Oregon across Idaho, down through Montana and into Yellowstone. Very nice. Saw a wolf, a few bears, some moose and caught a few trout. Happy union to us!

Red Hot n' Rollin': Johnny(1,2) -> Our Journey to China (3,4)-> 3D’s Adoption Journey (5,6)->Waiting for Pumpkin (7,8)->Two Kayaks (9,10)->Watch Our Family Grow (11,12)-> Our Journey to Little Maple and Back (13,14)-> American Family (15,16)-> Chicago Mama (17,18)-> The Further Adventures of Spacemom (19,20)-> Mrs. Figby (21,22)-> Mortimer’s Mom (23,24)-> Mimiboo (25, 26) -> Sopapilla (27, 28)->Jiangli (29, 30)->Beeb (31,32)-> FD Chief (33,34) -> The Daily Grind (35, 36); Different Dirt (37, 38)

And now I will pass the torch to Perrin at twoladybugs. Have fun Perrin!!

Oh, and as promised...our little God of Thunder:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gettin' 'cited

I’ve been back in the States now for...I don’t know how long. Even after thinking about it, I can’t tell you if I’ve been here for two weeks, three weeks or four. I just don’t know. Coming home has been good in some ways. It brings me closer to Thor. I have been able to do things in honor of being a Mom. Things like shopping at Target and BabysRUs (or however you spell the blatant misspelling) and the baby section at Ikea. All monumental things when you’ve been living on a tiny island at the edge of civilization (literally and figuratively) for a couple of years. I’ve been making decisions for the house and planning a nursery and spending time with good friends. All the good stuff.

But being home has also been like smashing my face into a brick wall...really hard. I basically walked off the plane and into my office and I have been at the office almost the entire time. I come home (the rented, furnished apartment) to sleep. I work and work. I work so much I haven’t had the time to buy what we need for our trip to China or even think AT ALL about that beautiful little girl waiting for us over there. In response, I have cried and stressed and screamed, but I continued working. Because that’s what I do.

This past weekend I didn’t work because we had very very very special guests in town, of the Alternative sort (also known as the kind, generous and beautiful sort). And over the weekend I realized that I will disappoint people when I leave for China. I will leave work unfinished because I took too much onto my plate and was not realistic about what I could reasonably do in a such a short period of time. I let my needs, my family’s needs, fall to the side and I went to work with a pitbull’s grip. And then I was miserable. I was trying so hard. All the while knowing that, ultimately, I would be making no one happy. Most of all myself.

People ask me if I’m getting excited and I look at them, with my eyes sunken into their sockets (I’m not sleeping well either), and I explain that I haven’t had the time to be excited. I just haven’t had the clarity of mind or the space for that kind of happiness. And that makes me sad. Especially because I have no one else to blame.

So I’m coming out of it now. I’m taking ½ hour to blog this morning because I want to memorialize this time in my life. The time before Thor. The changes I’m considering...and I make way for the little God of Thunder. I’m picking up my husband and my cat from the airport this evening and I will experience big joy. I AM feeling excited about that. I will then have 3 of the 4 puzzle pieces in one place, with only one wee one to go. That is very very exciting.

And then we go to China. We leave on Saturday morning, get there on Sunday PM and meet Thor on Monday AM. In less than one week we will be meeting our baby girl. Holding her in our arms. Touching her cheeks. Stroking her palms. Offering her Cheerios. Looking into those giant, almond eyes. We will finally experience that moment, and all those moments afterwards that we’ll call life. We will finally be really living it. In it. Not planning for it, or trying to convince others that we’re worthy of it. We’ll be living it. In our home. With our little girl. With our cat. With each other. All of the pieces in one place. FINALLY!!!

OK, now I’m getting excited.

Labels: , ,