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: