Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Photos


Monday, October 29, 2007


There was an article in our newspaper this morning, indicating that daydreaming is a healthy and productive activity. Evidently it can be calming and can assist in problem solving.

Since it is evidently a positive thing to do, I thought I'd throw out this question - do you daydream and what about?

And since it's MY blog and all, I'll answer first.

Yes, I daydream. About a variety of things - sometimes I make up alternate endings to books or movies. Sometimes I daydream about lying on the beach with a drink in a coconut and the wind gently blowing my hair.

But, mostly, I daydream about a horse.

Which, is stupid, really, because I've only ever ridden a horse 3 times in my real life.

But, my daydream goes like this:

I win the lottery or otherwise come into some large sum of money and we buy a secluded piece of property someplace beautiful. And on the property, which is very far away from everything, lives my horse. Sometimes the horse is black and sometimes the horse is brown, and sometimes I name the horse Mercury and sometimes I name the horse Freya (see, it depends on if the horse is a boy horse or a girl horse, of course). But, the horse is always huge. And fast. And the horse only likes me and nobody else.

The daydream isn't complicated. I get on the horse, and we run. Fast. Faster and faster. And the horse is incredibly graceful and surefooted and incredibly fast, and the scenery is beautiful. (Sometimes it's like, a perfect verdant meadow, and other times it some kind of valley in some mountains.)

And that's it. Sometimes, in the daydream, Husband has a horse, too. Like a matched set.

Having never been fast, graceful, or surefooted myself, I think, is where this daydream comes from...

So, what do YOU daydream about?



Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've been trying to figure out how to blog about this...bizarre...conversation I had with Lana the weekend before last.

We were at the family wedding we attended the weekend before last. I had taken Lana to the ladies' room, and Lana looked at me and said, "She [the bride] have baby in her belly?"

(Allow me to say that it was, in fact, true, that the bride was pregnant. But, the bride and groom were both 38 years old and never married, and had been engaged for 18 months, and no one was anything but ecstatic for them.)

"Yes," I said. "She has a baby in her belly."

"Ashling [her cousin (not her real name, but, the way that Lana pronounces it)] told me so. Ashling told me 'Nee [Lana's rendition of the bride's name] has baby in her belly."

"Yes, that's right," I said.

Lana then looked at me with a very serious glint in her eye. "You grew Gabriel in your belly?"

I suck air in through my teeth.


"I grew Gabriel in my belly, that's right."

"Aunt S~ [my sister], she grow D~ in her belly?"

"Yes." I nod.

"She grow R~ in her belly, too?"

"Yes. And Ashling, and J~ and M~."*

"Buddy's mom [this is what Lana calls my other sister, whose child is nicknamed Buddy] - Buddy's mom grew Buddy in her belly?"

I nod again. I am waiting for another landmine. I am terrified.

"What about me, mommy? What about Lana? You grow Lana in your belly?"

[Landmine delivered.] I am pretty sure my eyes were as large as proverbial sausage plates at that point.

"No, sweetheart, I didn't. I didn't grow you in my belly."

"Maybe I grow in Daddy's belly?" she asked, hopefully.

"No, honey, Daddies don't grow babies in their bellies."

"Whose belly, mommy? Whose belly grew me? Whose belly grew Lana?" she demanded.

Holy crap. Has she peppered this bathroom with landmines?

Suffice it to say that this was not a conversation I expected to be having with Lana yet.

Certainly not in the LADIES' ROOM in Erie, Pennsylvania in the middle of a wedding reception.

For several seconds, I have a conversation with myself in my head that goes like this:

Me: Holy Mother of God. What the hell do I say?
Me: How the hell do I know?
Me: Why are we having this conversation right now?
Me: You have to tell her SOMETHING.
Me: WHAT?? What do I tell her?
Me: Tell her the truth, idiot.

(Do you think this inner dialogue indicates I might have just a touch of the the crazy?)

I looked at her tiny face.

"Whose belly, mommy?" she repeats.

I step on the landmine and wait for the explosion.

"Her name is Lien**." I said quietly. "Her name is Lien and you grew in her belly in Viet Nam."

I wait for further landmines. They do not come in the form of more questions.

"Let's go dance some more, mommy," Lana says.

The explosions, I think, come later - delayed detonation, perhaps. In the form of the drama/trauma and distress I described last week.


*Yes, my sister, who is 5 ft tall and a size 2, has had FIVE BABIES. A size 2!! FIVE!! BABIES!! How is that even possible?

**Anybody speak enough Vietnamese to tell me how to pronounce Lana's birthmother's name? I have been pronouncing it almost like the name Lianne, but, with more of a soft 'e' sound than an 'a' sound.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


According to (a favorite pop culture site of mine)

1. Exhaustia - The state of being dramtically exhausted.


I believe that Husband and I have achieved a state of Exhaustia. It's not a fun state to exist in.

Lana did sleep last night (she woke once to go to the bathroom, but, that's normal. It's just that she woke up at 5:30 to go to the bathroom, which was on the heels of her brother being up at 5:00 AM. And, according to Husband, Gabe was also up at 2:00, and midnight.)

Things were quiet in our house by 9:30. Husband was asleep. Children were asleep. I was curled up in bed happily reading blogs and the Television Without Pity Veronica Mars Forum (a bad addictive habit, and I know, probably sad and pathetic since the show was cancelled and I just haven't accepted that it's over). I was gearing up to watch an episode of Alias and then fall asleep myself (I had watched one episode of Alias earlier in the evening while I was walking on the treadmill, and there was only one episode left on the disc, and I wanted to watch it so I could send it back to Netflix today. Because it is JUST. THAT. ADDICTIVE. And please no one tell me that the show will start to suck after season 3, because I'm not ready to hear it.)

Anyway, about 10:00, Gabriel came sprinting down the hall and flung himself on my body.

"I had a bad dream" he said. "Will you come sleep with me?"

I wasn't ready to fall asleep. (I know that doesn't make sense, considering I was very tired, but, I need some "wind down" time of reading or DVD watching to be ready to fall asleep, and I wasn't there yet.)

"Why don't you crawl in here in our bed, and I'll go sleep in the front room. Daddy's already asleep, so, just sleep with him."

I did not do this to torture Husband, I swear. I meant for the two of them to just sleep peacefully together, which does happen on occasion.

I went to the front room, watched Alias, read a few minutes of my book (Death by Rodrigo, quite good, actually), and then fell asleep around 11:15 ish.

At 5:00 AM, Gabe is pulling on my hand.

"Mom, I don't want to bother Daddy when he gets up, so, can I sleep in here?"

Huh?? This makes NO SENSE to my sleep addled brain, so, I just pull him in the bed and tell him to go to sleep. Which he kind of does. But, he's squirrely and squirmy and pushing his feet into my leg, and now my brain is awake and thinking of all the things I need to do today.

When Husband gets up at 6:00 I wander into the bathroom to say good morning. And commiserate about the fact that our boy child woke me up at 5:00. And he tells me that our boy child woke HIM up at midnight, 2:00 and 5:00, and that Lana woke him up at 5:30 to pee.

And that, after 10 days of these sleepless night, he is just beyond tired.

Which led me to find a good slang word for beyond tired. And so, you know, Exhaustia.

Why did no one tell me parenthood would be so tiring??


Friday, October 19, 2007

Rough Patch

Lana and I went three rounds over a banana this morning. And, in the end, I’ve got to say, the entity that lost the most was probably the banana. It was, well, it was reduced to goo…really, it was not salvageable. But, I’m not sure that Lana and I came out unscathed.

We’ve been having a rough week.

Lana has been crying, a lot. There’s been more fit-throwing in our house than we have seen in months. There have been refusals to eat, well, much of anything. She has even only pecked at CHICKEN NUGGETS. FROM MCDONALDS. Heretofore her own taste Nirvana, Chicken Nuggets have gone HALF EATEN. I don’t know what to make of it.

And Lana has been talking/crying/calling out in her sleep. She is not awake during these episodes, but, they are disturbing the sleep of the rest of us. We’ve been here before, and worked through it. I just didn’t expect to see the night crying return. I thought we were doing well. I thought we had gotten our groove going, I thought we were really functioning well as a family of 4, and then, WHAM! SLAM! We have fit-throwing, food-rejection and night-crying, all in one week’s time.

You know what? It’s exhausting. It’s really exhausting is what it is. And baffling and frustrating and worrisome.

She woke up this morning about 8:00 AM, which is about 45 minutes early for her lately (but, I had not been able to get her to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which she usually does.) She didn’t want to wait for Gabe to get on the bus at 8:45, she wanted to leave the house IMMEDIATAELY to go to school. And then she wanted a banana. But, not to eat, just to hold. Just to hold because she wanted to eat it in the car. Imagine what a four year does to a banana “just holding it” for 25 minutes.

It opened, just a tiny bit. And then, she was DONE with it. She wanted a NEW banana. NONE of this wretched, OPEN banana for her. She kicked. She screamed. She demanded a new, fresh, unscathed banana.

I screamed. I yelled. Unfortunate things were said by all parties.

I sent Gabe out the door to wait for the bus with his friends. I went upstairs to change my clothes. Lana lay, curled in a heap on the kitchen floor, crying “Daddy daddy daddy daddy” and “Banana banana banana.”

As I was coming down the stairs, she began to weep, “Somebody? Somebody please? Somebody please take me to school, somebody, PLEASE? SOMEBODY PLEEEEEEEEEAAASE??”

And that’s when I think my heart broke. She was crying for somebody, anybody, other than ME.

I picked her up off the floor. I cleaned the banana off her hands. I threw away the (now disgusting) remanant of banana that she was clutching.

She cried and finally leaned into my body. I got her a fresh banana for the car ride. (I know, I know, I don’t know if that was the right thing to do. I don’t.) I gave her some juice.

At school, she sat on my lap for about 5 minutes, snuffling into my blouse. She was clingy and didn’t want me to leave. She finally climbed into the arms of S~ (her teacher) and sadly waved “bye-bye” to me.

I don’t know what happened this morning, or what’s going on with her this week. It just feels all…broken.

I know we've hit rough patches before - patches that were rougher than this, no doubt. But, it's still not easy. Especially when I feel blind-sided by the whole thing.

I hope next week is better.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sweet Galloping Jehovah I HATE Divorce Court





I'm never taking another divorce client as long as I live and breathe.*

Just had to get that off my chest.


*Yes, I know I've said that before...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Photos from a Pennsylvania Wedding

We drove to Pennsylvania for the wedding of my cousin O~ this weekend.

The waves on Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park were HUGE - it's like the lake was angry:

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Gabe and Lana really liked the playground at the State Park

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Gabe and Lana danced all night with their cousins, then they got tired out.

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Husband and I

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Friday, October 12, 2007

All Adoption, All the Time

I was reading an adoption blog yesterday (and to be totally honest, I cannot even remember which one), and the mom was stating something like, “of course my life always has adoption in it, but, sometimes I get tired of endlessly contemplating what that means.” (I’m paraphrasing, that’s not a direct quote.)

Which got me to thinking – does my everyday life have adoption in it?

And I suppose the obvious answer is ‘yes’ – it is patently obvious to anyone walking down the street that I am Lana’s adoptive mom, not her bio mom. It honestly doesn’t strike me very often, but, the photo above is pretty telling. (By the way, I don't actually like this photo of either of us very much. But, I think it does a good job of showing our extreme physical contrasts.) (And, yes, I have gotten her bangs cut since this picture was taken.)

These two people are clearly not biologically related to one another, right? I mean, go ahead, be straight with me - we don't look alike, I know it.

I just don't THINK about it all that much.

I don't think about the fact that it is obvious that we aren't blood relations until I see a photo like that. It kind of reminds me of living in Japan - it rarely occured to me how utterly foreign I looked until I would see another blonde woman (usually a woman named Jane from New Zealand - there just were very few blonde women living in Hitachi City in 1995-96) - and I would see Jane from ACROSS the grocery store or town square and it would smack me in the face, "I look as out of place as she does. Wow, I REALLY don't blend in here."

Perhaps this says something about my personality or the fact that I am kind of oblivious to things that should be stunningly apparent.
I spend whole days not really consciously thinking about the fact that adoption intimately affects my family. Most days, lately, we are just a family - possibly a quirky, eccentric family, but, just a family nonetheless. I don't necessarily think about the fact that we are a blended family. And I guess I kind of thought that was a GOOD sign. I thought it was a positive development, that I wasn't obsessing about adoption and what it means for Lana individually and for us as a family.
I'm not saying that I ignore the fact of Lana's adoption, and I spend quite a bit of time with some girlfriends who I met through my adoptive families group. But, while I enjoy the interaction with the adoptive families group - my close friends from that group - well, I feel like it was adoption that happened to draw us together, but, the adoption no longer defines our friendship. It was a jumping off point.
I know that Michelle wrote an interesting post on a similar subject a while back (well, maybe not a similar subject, but, in the same range of subjects, I guess), and I remember agreeing with her conclusion.
I don't want to stress and obsess about Lana's adoption, especially at a moment in time when Lana is not stressing or obsessing about it. I'm just her mom. She's just my kid. Yes, she is Vietnamese, and yes, she had another mom until she was 4, and yes, we have some unique challenges. But, I'm not spending a big chunk of my life contemplating her adoption. Does this make me a bad mother, or a bad adoptive mother?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How does it feel to be that kind of bitch?

Yesterday, I stood in a courtroom for an eviction hearing. The defendant hadn't paid her rent since June. She owed over $2,000 to my client. She had been kicked off her public assistance rental voucher program for allowing her boyfriend to live with her. (Do I think this is a great rule? That you lose your public assistance if your kids' father moves in with you? Not necessarily, but, it IS the rule. It's the rule. If you want your rent paid by the public in this county, you cannot have an able-bodied man living in your apartment. I don't MAKE these rules. These are NOT my rules. I'm just standing in the courtroom representing the the landlord who hasn't gotten any money for his apartment since June because the housing authority won't pay him anymore, because the tenant broke the housing authority rules. Is that *MY* fault?? I'm just there to enforce a binding contract, it's my job, I've got kids to feed, too, you know??)

So, she hadn't paid her rent since June. And she was sitting in the hallway nursing her 10-day-old with her 15-month-old and her 2.5-year-old sitting next to her on the bench, and the boyfriend sitting next to them. And I offered her 2 weeks to vacate, and she told me F**K off and she would ask the judge for a month.

Which she did. And I put on my case, and I asked my client when he had last been paid rent, and he said "June" and the judge granted immediate possession to my client. (Which, in actuality, means the tenant has 5 to 7 days to get out before the bailiffs show up to supervise the landlord putting their stuff on the curb.)

And so she snapped at me. "How does it feel to be the kind of bitch who would throw a newborn on the street? How does it feel to be THAT kind of bitch?" Her words were like venom, and the anger flared up in my chest - sudden, ugly anger - I was angry with her for putting me in that position. I was ANGRY with her for turning down my offer of 2 weeks. I was ANGRY with her for breaking the housing authority rules and getting thrown off the public assistance which gave rise the eviction in the first place. I was ANGRY with her for having three beautiful red-headed blue-eyed babies when I know so many people who have tried so hard to have even one baby. I was ANGRY with her boyfriend for failing to either provide for his family or at least have the decency to move out so that his kids would have a place to live.

I stared at her, and I was ashamed at the very horrible words that were bubbling on my tongue, just below the surface. I didn't say them, I bit them back, and the court deputy took her arm and said, "you cannot behave that way in this courtroom" and he escorted her from the courtroom, with her three babies and the boyfriend.

I sat down in one of the attorney's chairs just in front of the bar separating the gallery from the bench and counsel's tables, and I sat there and waited for 10 minutes, and played with my silk scarf that was a present from Husband when we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC 2 years ago, and tried not to look upset. I waited because I didn't want to see her in the hallway or in front of the courthouse. I sat there and felt anger and shame and resentment and sadness.

So, you does it feel to be that kind of bitch?

Kind of horrible, actually. Kind of horrible.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dirty Sexy Money

I have to tell you, dear readers, that I am loving this new show on ABC.

First of all, it's NAME is DIRTY SEXY MONEY, which, frankly, is such a ridiculously fabulous name for a show that it makes me wish I had thought of it myself.

Secondly, it stars Peter Krause, who played Nate Fisher on Six Feet Under, which is a show, and a character, that I still love. (What's not to love in a truly dark comedy about a dysfunctional family of undertakers?)

Previously, I THOUGHT that it ALSO had the guy who played Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas on Veronica Mars, and we all KNOW how I feel about Veronica Mars. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. Beaver Casablancas was played by Kyle Gallner (who looks like this ), while the actor who IS on Dirty Sexy Money is named Seth Gabel (who looks like this) - so, I think you can see how a girl who hasn't had quite enough sleep in about 8 years might get confused. Anyway, my point is, even though it doesn't actually star the guy who played Cassidy 'Beaver' Casablancas on Veronica Mars, it stars a guy who looks A LOT like the guy who played Cassidy 'Beaver' Casablancas on Veronica Mars, and that has to count for something, right? Okay...maybe not.

Moving on, the show is just so ridiculously over the top that it rocks. I LOVE it. I looooooooove it. I also love that ABC.COM has it on their website, so that people like me (who maybe do not have an hour from 10 to 11 pm to devote to TV) can watch it at their leisure. I love that feature very much.

Anyway, it's on tonight, on ABC, or on the web (obviously, they don't put new episodes on the web until they have already aired, but, the Pilot and Episode 2 are there for your viewing pleasure right this very minute.)

Happy escapism,

Monday, October 08, 2007

Girlfriends are Better Than Chocolate

I spent Saturday with my college girlfriends, including JDEgirl, Family4Peace, and MommyOfOne, and CB, CS, and KC, who are, as yet, quiet on the web. (At least to my knowledge. Perhaps they are all secretly blogging about the rest of us?) And we missed our girlfriend HR, who was not able to join us. (Collective sob and wailing and rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth.) (But, seriously, H, I know you're reading. I just want you to know you were missed.) (And also that you missed out on some seriously good food.)

I really needed to be with my Girlfriends from college, it was just...better than chocolate. (Of course, the fact that we had chocolate fondue (two kinds!) together was just the icing on the cake. Or the chocolate on the strawberries, I guess, would be a better analogy.)

It was Homecoming Weekend at our small cute liberal arts school, and it was HOT, way to HOT for October. And Husband and I walked Gabe and Lana around the campus - sometimes the nostalgia was overwhelming, and maybe I'll talk about that in another post.

But, for now, I just want to say, it was great to come home, not only to a place, or a place in time, but to the people who made that place so important.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Dark Places Where Monsters Dwell

I’ve been kind of in a bad place the last several days. I’m not sure what it is, exactly. I was emailing with a Girlfriend of mine, JDEgirl (, and wondering whether there was, quite literally, a bad cloud hanging over the greater Midwest.

I was expressing to Husband (after I went kind of psychotic b**ch on him because he was trying to fix a leak in a faucet in our master bathroom while I was trying to take a bubble bath, and all I wanted was 15 minutes of absolute silence) – that our children are making me feel like I cannot breathe. And like I cannot remember who I am.

I feel like kind of a cold-blooded witch for saying that my children make me feel like I cannot breathe when I know that there are people who read my blog who are desperately trying to bring their children home. Or who are trying to conceive, or trying to heal from some horrifying losses. So, for me to sit here and tell you that I feel like I am being driven bat-shit crazy by my two beautiful children, seems, I don’t know…wrong and selfish and petty, and I apologize for being this way. I don’t mean to be a witch, I guess I was just made that way. This is just brutal honesty, served up with a side of bitter wit.

Maybe it’s because I am NEVER ALONE. Well, I suppose, technically, I am alone for about 15 minutes in the car on the way to my office from the nursery school in the morning, and again from my office to the nursery school at the end of the day. (But, I am usually spending those minutes alternately worrying about everything I have to get done when I get to work, or worrying that I am going to be late getting the daycare center, which closes at 5:30, and I am usually running in the door at 5:29, and I find this very stressful. Also, I swear all of the city’s idiot drivers congregate on the road I need to take from downtown where I work to the University where the nursery school is, and if I had a rocket launcher mounted on the front of my car, I would probably be tempted to divorce myself from a lifetime of pacifism…)

Anyway, I’m never alone, ALONE – like completely alone. And rarely alone with Husband, which is equally frustrating. I swear that every time I try to have a conversation with Husband, one of the kids MUST HAVE OUR ATTENTION RIGHT NOW.

If I was sitting, quietly, on the couch, and both kids were in another room, and I opened my mouth to try to have a meaningful (or even meaningless) conversation with Husband, both children would suddenly demand to be heard. It’s like the muscles that open my mouth are hardwired to their heads and they simply don’t want me to be able to have a grown-up conversation with their father. And so I find myself often not saying things that I would like to say, because I don’t have the energy to get what I have to say out, because I just don’t have it in me to try to talk around, above, over and below the children.

I realize how paranoid that sounds, I do. They’ve just both been incredibly whiny and falling asleep late and waking up early and, frankly, it’s times like these when the dark places in my soul threaten to eat me alive.

I’m spending the weekend with my Girlfriends from college (who are always good at reminding me that I'm still me and I'm still still here somewhere), and Husband and I have tickets to a show tonight, and I’m hopeful that all will seem bright and shiny and new after some time with Husband and some time with Girlfriends…thank god for good Husbands and good Girlfriends…


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