Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pip pip...a plus tard

Things have been a little hectic over here at Casa de Millie y Floyd...but in a good way. We’ve had loads of company so we’ve been dragging our guests all over this little island. We’ve thought about becoming tour guides...but I think we’d suck at it. Last weekend we were in Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway up in the north. This weekend we went out west to see the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Connemara and Galway. And in between it was all the little highlights that are close to home. Oh, and a Radiohead/Beck concert thrown in there for good measure (I still can’t believe I saw Radiohead - heavenly). All really, really good stuff....but I’m exhausted. Which is funny because my sister and I are catching a reeealy early flight tomorrow morning for London. We’ve got a couple of nights in London (hey Atomic Mama - we've got reservations at Princess Di's fish and chips joint!) then we take the Chunnel to Paris to round out our adventures. Floyd even gets to come meet us towards the end of the week (‘cuz it’s our anniversary). So, despite the fact that it now looks like we’ll be waiting approximately 5.3 years for Thor, I sometimes feel like the luckiest gal on the face of the planet. But I’m exhausted. So, I’ll check in again in a week or so and share some pictures and stories.

....and a big congratulations in advance to all of those, even luckier, peeps that are about to see their babies for the first time!


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Totally Irish, Vol. 2 The Medieval Castle

Ireland is loaded with castles and, what we refer to as, “castley-bits”, the great stacks of stones that are scattered about across the countryside. They’re so common they’re in people’s backyards and in cow pastures. Sheep graze over the top of them. They’re everywhere. You may hear about the romantic side of castles but what our guide told us today is that the romantic image was conjured up just a few hundred years ago when the great great grandson of the original Lord de Lacy would use the castles for nothing more than secret romps with his "lacy" entourage. But when the castles were actually lived in, when they were actually used, they were, as our guide put it, “killing machines”. Whoa.

I’ve discovered that there’s loads of really interesting information out there about what life was really like for those damsels in distress and knights in shining armor, so I won’t go into it here. I just wanted to take the opportunity to talk about poop.

I just took one of our visitors to Trim Castle this past weekend. I’ve been there before..a few times. It’s pretty close to our house, it’s a cool-looking castle, it’s where they filmed parts of Braveheart, and they do some pretty interesting tours, so it’s wound up on our heavy rotation list.

There’s this one tour guide that I like in particular. He’s a refined, middle-aged man, very well-spoken, and has one, possibly, glass eye. As he’s waiting for the dawdlers to gather, we chat about how the area’s changing and he’s always got some choice words for the development taking place in the village. The juxtaposition of the bad, modern architecture with these kinds of castley-bits is, well, disturbing to some. But, the people gather, and then we get to the good part.

He’s already described the structure of the castle, how it was built for defense, this is where the Lord and his family slept, this is where they filmed that one scene in Braveheart, yadda yadda yadda.... Then he points to the hole in the floor. That is where the Lord of the manor shat, you see. And, as opposed to the internal plumbing that everybody else’s shat would flow into, the Lord’s shat went directly to the exterior wall (I take this opportunity to scan the faces of the tour group). Why’s that you ask? Well, displaying the royal shat in such a manner was a means of presenting to the surrounding serfs and occasional guests (?) that these folks ate well and were, therefore, better than them. Displaying ones shat as a means of exercising dominance. I hadn’t thought about that before (think about the application of this technique at the office....). And, if this didn’t do the trick, when they had really important guests, the “poopsmith” (the guy that stirred the poop in the internal holding tank) would paint the rich shat on the wall surrounding the castle entrance. A big, fecal “Howdy Do!”. Quite.

And then I take the opportunity to scan the tour group again. They’re LOVING this! All the kids that were yawning and picking their noses before, are now completely intrigued...asking questions...fully engaged. Husbands? LOVING it! The ladies? ...pretending to be appalled.

I LOVE this tour. I wave goodbye to our tour guide and tell him I’ll see him the next time we have guests in town....maybe next time we’ll have a pint.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Why four?

I used to dread these things (memes?) because I would look at them and think, "shit, I don't know". But they force you to remember, which can sometimes hurt, but most of the time, it's good stuff. So, a big thank you to Atomic Mama for helping me remember what it felt like to dance around the living room to a Gene Kelly movie. So, here goes....

4 jobs I’ve had:

1. I was a papergirl when I was a kid. I weighed like 90 lbs. and, believe me, Sundays and Wednesdays (when all the coupons came out) were a bitch. One time, when I put the bag on, I just tipped over. Literally.
2. Back in high school, I was a hostess at The Old Spaghetti Factory (AKA The spag fag). One of the waiters asked me out on a date and took me to see Jethro Tull. Oh yea.
3. In college, when I was pretty desperate for cash, I worked at a cheap shoe store at The Mall. Trying to squeeze tiny shoes onto those big ole nasty feet is a sight (and, sadly, a smell) that I will always carry with me. The manager, who I’m pretty sure was doing coke in the back room, actually tried to convince me that high-heeled shoes were therapeutic (good for the calves).
4. I used to band spotted owls. We would catch them with a fishing pole (seriously) and weigh and measure them and put a little band on their leg. Then we’d let them go and give them a cute, little, live mouse to leave them with a happy memory.

4 movies I could watch over and over:

Well, like others, I just can’t watch a movie over and over again. And, even if I could watch a movie over and over again, I have a tendency to love really heavy movies, which you just CAN’T watch over and over because they would break you. But here’s some movies that I’ve enjoyed, and they’re light enough that I could probably watch them a few times ....

1. Any of the Coen Bros. movies but especially The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink, Raising Arizona...hell, probably all of ‘em.
2. Any of the Nick and Nora Charles movies (i.e., The Thin Man). That one scene where she comes waltzing into the bar of that ritzy hotel, absolutely laden with shopping bags, and she trips and falls on her face, makes me laugh out loud to this day.
3. Gene Kelly musicals. I haven’t seen one in a very long time but they gave me endless amounts of joy when I was a kid. They always had me dancing around the living room.
4. Best in Show. Knee-slappin’ good times.

4 places I have lived:

1. Washington State (Tacoma, Olympia, and Forks)
2. Puerto Rico (studying the Puerto Rican parrot-one of the most endangered species of bird in the world)
3. Anchorage, Alaska
4. Portland, Oregon

4 TV shows I love to watch:

I watch about 3 hours of TV/week so I’m pretty picky about what I’m going to spend that time on...but you may notice that this doesn’t imply “quality”.

1. Tommy Lee’s Rock Star Supernova!!! We’re LOVING this show at the moment but I think Ireland/UK are about a week or more behind so DO NOT tell me anything about who wins and please, please, please try not to write about it in your blog (or at least preface it by something like MILLICENT-FOR GOD’S SAKE, DON’T READ THIS!!)
2. Father Ted (fekkin hilarious Irish telly)
3. Absolutely Fabulous (haven’t seen it in forever but I was just reminded of it today and it made me smile)
4. Will and Grace

4 places I have been on vacation:

1. Costa Rica
2. Poland
3. Brazil/Venezuela (the Amazon)
4. Amsterdam

4 websites I visit daily:

Well, maybe not daily but here’s a few...

1. Go Fug Yourself
2. My Mom’s blog
3. All the usual adoption-related blogs (but I’m really enjoying Peter’s Cross Station these days)
4. Any recipe-related website where I’m desperately and usually at the last minute, trying to find something to make for dinner.

4 fave foods:

1. Fish and chips of the most delicate order (still seeking perfection)
2. Homemade macaroni and cheese (when my husband makes it)
3. My Grandma’s home-canned green beans (Mom – do we know how to make these???)
4. My friend Bill’s sweet-potato pie (it’s just best when Bill makes it)

4 places I'd like to be right now:

Heck, I’m pretty happy right where I am, but here goes...

1. Bathing in a vat of some cream that would make my 84 mosquito bites stop itching (WTF are they doing in the house??)
2. Sitting around a campfire with our friends back home
3. Hanging with my Mom and Ez in their motor home
4. Someplace with warm sand that I could squish my toes around in

4 people I am tagging:

I would tag my Mom but she hasn’t responded to the last meme that I tagged her on (S’up Mom?). So, if you haven’t responded to this meme yet (is that what these things are called?), and you’ve got something to share, then, tag, you’re it. Let me know when you’ve got something posted.

Hey, that was fun. Thanks Atomic Mama.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

No surprises here...

I just took this goofy little quiz and it informed me of this..."You're a punk rock mommy! DIY is probably your motto, because you're a punk mama at heart. Your kids are getting your independent spirit and guts, and learning to solve problems themselves. You love it when they show their independence, even when it's breaking your heart." Hmmm....and I didn't even have to admit to the tattoos or the time I kissed Johnny Rotten.

And, Atomic Mama, don't think I forgot about that taggin'!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

What was your first...?

Now, now...get your mind out of the gutter people! I’m talking about your first baby thing...the first little thing that you went out and bought for your baby-to-be. Wzgirl wisely suggested a “round robin” so that we could learn about what other folks have deemed worthy of “their first". Great idea!

There was a comment over on the NO that really summed it up for me (duh, do I have a post where I don't reference the NO? Shhno). Cagey said...”For me, the clothes was not about the CLOTHES, it was about imagining my baby boy actually IN THEM. This isn't some shallow thing about dressing up babies like dolls. It's about having a tangible object in your possession that helps to make it real for you. Because with adoption or pregnancy, it is hard to wrap your brain around it.”

Ain’t that the truth?

I know there’s some folks out there that started shopping for their baby-to-be around, oh like 9th grade, while others wait until after they get their referral (or give birth...“post family-expansion” shall we say), and there may be some that even wait until they get to China (you can’t beat the prices!).

And I’ll also bet that not every “first” was clothing. Maybe it was a stroller? Anti-fungal cream? A kids book? Whatever it was, we’d love to hear about it. How have you commemorated, and made a little bit of commitment to, that twinkle in your eye? And if you haven’t bought a thing yet (and don’t plan to until you get a call from their school) we’d love to hear about that as well.

So, what was it folks? Do tell!

Logistics: You could either leave your story in the comments section or you could post your story on your blog...but then let us know to go over there by leaving a comment. Or...whatevuh. I just thought it would be cool to make a list (or maybe a powerp*int presentation with charts and graphs ;0)).


Thursday, August 10, 2006


We’ve got these great friends back home that are about five months ahead of us on the China adoption path. Like us, they were excited and apprehensive about buying their “first pink”. I know...”first pink” sounds kind of...not so innocent, but that was their name for the first thing they were going to buy for the twinkle-in-their-eye, baby girl from China....and it stuck. First pink. They already have a boy (i.e. lots of blue stuff) so I think they were looking forward to (and apprehensive of) buying that first, cute little pink dress. First pink.

I can’t speak for them, but for me, buying things for a baby that is still just a dream is a serious commitment to faith. Obviously, we’re already committed to the idea of having a baby. We’re so there. Rather, it means a commitment to faith in the adoption process. Now, for folks like us, who have tried other ways of starting a family, and failed (again and again and again), this commitment can be a very difficult one to make. Let’s just say trust is a little hard to come by at this stage. I don’t want to start buying things for Thor, only to find out that WHOOPS China has decided to close their doors on us...or whatever.

But we’ve recently watched other folks get their referrals and seeing those beautiful, baby faces for the first time, and feeling the excitement of those new parents, well, it gives you some faith.

So, on our trip to Scotland we bought this. First tartan. Momma and Thor matching tartan at that. Man oh man...I never thought I’d see the day. It felt sooooo goooood. When we were standing in line at the cashier I just wanted to yell, “I BELIEVE!!!” at the top of my lungs....but I didn’t. So, I’m imagining Thor with the “kilt”, a cool, black t-shirt, and some black converse. I will, of course, be wearing mine with black boots.

I know, I’s not pink. But it is the first. And that’s what counts.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ullapool on my mind

Floyd and I went to the Scottish Highlands this past weekend and we had a wonderful time...but I have a few little bitches that I should get out of the way, and then we’ll be done with them. You see, everything went according to plan except for....the airline neglecting to send Floyd’s backpack on our flight (and the next flight wasn’t for two days) AND his backpack had our tent AND we had been planning on camping AND the camera broke on the 2nd day. So that out of the way. But hey, we were in bad could it be? (actually, our woes were beat by the guy from the States that had come all this way to play at St. Andrews golf course [aka golf mecca] and the airlines failed to send his clubs....sadness and woe were most certainly upon him.)

We flew into Inverness, rented a car then drove west (completely skipping Loch Ness, even though, as a kid, I was TOTALLY into the Loch Ness monster AND Bigfoot...I’m still into Bigfoot, but not Nessie). We drove straight to Ullapool (go on, say it....”oolapool” makes your mouth do funny things and it makes you laugh like you’re being tickled), a little fishing village on the west coast. Imagine our surprise when we saw two big ole cruise ships parked in the teeny-tiny harbor (look at the picture...then imagine cruise ships in the background...wuh?) and loads of peeps hanging out all over town. This is why we’ve chosen to only take one vacation during the European “high season” because everybody and their dog travels at this time of year and everywhere you go, even the most remote parts of northern Scotland (which Ullapool isn’t), will have a surprising number of people in it. They’re all hanging out, eating soft ice cream cones, and wearing those horrible, clamdigger length pants that are all the rage over here right now (which make even tall, skinny people look short and dumpy – even Grandma and Grandpa are wearing them...argh). But, Ullapool ruling the way it does, the tour boats left, we got the BEST fish and chips we’ve ever had (which is a really big deal for me) and we got the last room at a funky B&B...with a view...AND the most amazingly, funky, swirly carpet you’ve ever seen in your life (sorry, no pics – but think really bad, early 70’s, in pink and green and burgundy).

From Ullapool (say it again) we drove north and stopped at the Knockan Crag interpretive center in the Inverpolly Nature Reserve, which describes the geology of the area and how the geologists that did their thing in this area discovered that Scotland actually has more in common with the Appalachian Range than with England (geologically speaking, of course). How crazy is that?

There’s this one spot on the trail where you can span 500 million years of time with your hand. That’s what I’m doing in this picture (and, yes, those are binoculars around my neck and a bird book in my pants...and, yes, I’m a total bird geek). It was one of the best interpretive centers we’ve ever been to and, once again, that’s a big deal to me (and, yes, this means I’m a total geek – but I can also wear killer, black boots so it’s OK).

Then we headed out to the coast, where, after asking at a few places, we found Charlie, the guy that’ll take you out to Handa Island on his boat. Handa Island is a great place to go if you’re a bird geek or if you’re married to a bird geek and you want to make them happy (thank you Floyd).

It was a bit late in the season, so we didn’t see any puffins or guillemots but we saw loads of nesting great and arctic skuas (I know some [or at least one] of you care about this stuff), kittiwakes, and fulmars. I even found an eggshell and managed to get it home, mostly, in one piece. I was sad that we didn’t see puffins...I mean, only really grumpy people wouldn’t care to see a puffin...but the timing just wasn’t right...(heavy sigh). Oh, and this is where our camera broke so there will be no more least until we can get the disposable camera developed. It’s a good thing this place isn’t very picturesque...(shuh).

We, once again, lucked out and found a funky little B&B (where the carpeting was equally fascinating) in the wonderful village of Durness, where John Lennon used to holiday. I can see why. You feel like you’re at the tip of the world and still, there are gorgeous, sandy beaches and crystal clear water. If you could ignore the misty rain, cold winds and barren landscape, it’d be just like the tropics. It was here that we ran into a German couple that were even more geeky than I am and they mentioned that they actually saw puffins on Handa Island. Loads of them in fact AND they showed me the fantastic pictures on their (functioning) camera as proof (not to rub it in or anything). They told us that another bird geek they had run into had recently seen some puffins off the nearby peninsula, Faraid Head. So, guess where Floyd and I went after breakfast? Floyd was a little grumpy about it because it was totally against our better judgment. We had a looong way to drive that day, we didn’t know what the roads were going to be like, this just wasn’t on the itinerary, and Floyd could see the whole framework of our existence beginning to crumble away. But, yes, we made the hike and, yes, we saw puffins (and, no, we did not perish). They were really far away but you could still see what they were...and they were really cute...and they were puffins. Joy.... Sometimes it’s good to make decisions with your heart.

After we loaded up on mind-blowingly delicious, handmade chocolates at this great place in Durness, we headed inland on a single lane road, through some of the most remote landscape I’ve ever had the pleasure of venturing through. Actually, there used to be people here, but in the mid-1800s the Chieftains decided it would be more profitable to graze sheep on their land, rather than let poor people live there so they kicked folks off the land...usually in a mean and nasty way. As one gentleman told us, “if ye’ve a Highland bone in yer body it’ll make yer blood boil.” The Clearances, as they’re referred to, left this area mostly vacant. Even the sheep turned out to not be as lucrative as they thought, so now many of the landowners make their money from people who like to shoot things in remote, pristine areas (not that I have an opinion on the matter).

Once the highlands spit us out onto the east coast we made our way to Dornoch, where people were generally snotty to we headed further south to the lovely little village of Tain, where we, once again, completely lucked out and found a charming, flowery wallpapered B&B, where you just wanted to call the lady of the house “Grandma” because it was all just too warm and cozy.

Scotland is an amazingly beautiful place, with incredibly gracious and kind people. There was no litter. The roads were safe. We had perfect eggs every morning and we want to live there.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Meme...who me?

I got tagged (by wzgirl)...and it feels good. Not like in tag football, and not like the wall-art in my neighborhood back in the States, but tagged like as in "you're it". It means that a) somebody thought about me (which makes me feel really warm and mooshy inside) and b) now I have to tell you more about me than you really wanted to know (or less, depending on whether you're one of those freaky deakies reading boring adoption blogs for your kicks). I think people call this type of thing a "meme" but don't quote me on that because I really have absolutely no idea what that is and I may be talking out of my blogging arse. So here goes...

I blessed in so many ways.
I take Thor to Africa to see the giraffes.
I wish....people would think about the kind of world they’re leaving for their children.
I hate....litter.
I miss....our friends and family (and bras that fit well).
I hear....the whirring of the computer fan (it’s really quiet out here).
I wonder....what Thor’s laughter will sound like.
I regret....a few errors in judgement but, surprisingly, very little.
I am not....comfortable standing on the edge of really high cliffs.
I a fool to anything and everything.
I my heart’s content…and to most people’s dismay.
I cry....when Thor feels so real she fills my heart to bursting.
I am not always....well-groomed.
I make....decisions with my heart.
I write....because it feels really, really good.
I confuse....this blog with a journal, with a newsletter, with a travel diary, with a letter to Thor, etc. (I’m still trying to figure out exactly why I’m doing this…why are we doing this?).
I need....surprisingly very little (but that includes buying a great pair of boots every now and then).
I should....volunteer more.
I few projects that...
I finish....most of them.

So there you have attempt at riding the fine line between spontaneity (the real me...yawn) and intrigue (somebody waaay cooler than me). So now it's my turn to tag's about...hmmm...MY MOM!!! Are you out there Mom? my Mom. everybody (Everybody be's my Mom).