Friday, November 30, 2007

Soakin' Cold

As Lana becomes fluent in English, some of her phrases cause me endless amusement. She has recently begun to use the word "soaking" in the most interesting way. (I mean, I find it linguistically interesting, because I am a geek that way, but, also, I find it adorable.)

She learned the term "soaking wet" over the summer when we were swimming in the pool every day.

When it started to get cold, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm soakin' cold." The first time she said it, I asked her to repeat it, as I wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly. "Soakin' cold, mom." She said. "Not soakin' wet right now, but, soakin' cold."

At Halloween she happily announced to Gabriel, "We're SOAKIN' in candy, Gabe! Soakin' in candy!"

She has also, on other occasions, been "soaking hungry" and "soaking tired" and "soaking in birthday presents."

It's astonishingly cute, is what it is.

I don't have the heart to tell her these aren't common colloquialisms - besides, maybe it'll catch on. Maybe soon, all across the Midwest, we'll be soaking cold. While we're soaking in Christmas presents. While we cure our soaking hunger with some Christmas treats.



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Missive from Gabriel's Backpack

I found the following letter in Gabriel's homework folder. It was written on notebook paper and stapled to an attractively decorated paper turkey, lovingly colored by my 7-year-old son in festive fall colors...I hope it doesn't imply my son is some kind of gleeful poultry murdering psycho-path...

"Dear Turkey,

I will eat you for Thanksgiving. We will cook you in the oven. I hope you taste good.

Your friend,

Please tell me he's not a burgeoning Hanibal Lector.




You know that feeling where you cannot concentrate on anything for more than 30 seconds and you feel like your head might actually fly off your body and go spinning around the room and your stomach feels like it is sitting directly underneath your heart?


You don't have that happen?

It's just me then?


I guess I must just be a FREAK then. Or crazy. Or possibly I dropped a speed-ball or something, but, I really think I would have remembered engaging in recreational drug use. (Kidding!!)

Right. So, I'm not sure what's brought on this feeling of panic, since I don't have any truly pressing issues right now. It started about 4:30 this morning. Maybe, actually, it started last night. I couldn't fall asleep until midnight, and woke up at 4:30, feeling like everything was, just - not right.

I kind of feel like I'm about to jump out of my own skin. (Well, that would be MESSY...)

It could be because I spent part of yesterday dealing with a completely OFF HER ROCKER distant relative of mine, who wants me to sue someone, over something stupid, and insane, and the fact that I explained that I could not (first and foremost because the person she wants me to sue is MY CLIENT and I'd rather not lose my license to practice law, thank you very much) didn't seem to get through her fantastically insane skull.


I've got a funny post percalating in my head about Lana's new mad language skillz, and I'll try to post it later today, since this post is kind of, well, a dud.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How 'Bout A Photo Post?

Dollhouse fun
Giant Trampoline at Lana's Birthday Party
Lana's First Thanksgiving Day


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I think my head might actually explode

I try to avoid passing judgment on other cultures. In this case, I cannot. This is barbaric. It is horrifying, it is sick and it is WRONG. Completely, utterly, inexcusably wrong.;_ylt=AkhI9HICGPdOTpygloSP_kdvaA8F



Monday, November 19, 2007

One Crazy Weekend

We have had a crazy weekend. And I have proof that Dick Cheney must read my blog, because he smited us yesterday, obviously, for calling him The Anti-Christ.

So...let me start with the smiting. (Smoting? How DOES one conjugate "to smite"?) Anyhoo, yesterday afternoon, Husband, kids and I were driving to meet my friend J~, who was in town from Cleveland, and who I haven't seen in...I don't know, YEARS, when we turned a corner and saw some people holding up signs that said, "End this ENDLESS War" and "Bring Our Brave Troops Home from Iraq."

Since these are sentiments Husband and I both agree with, Husband honked his horn. And BANG. We were smited. Surely by some sort of Cheney-controlled-spy-satellite, seeking out peacenik's like ourselves who call him the Anti-Christ on the Internet.

Okay, I'm kidding about Cheney (I think, but, seriously, you never know about that man) - but, our car DIED. It went completely dead.

The protesters helped us push it off the very busy street and onto a side street. We had to call AAA to come tow it, and my dad to come get us (do you know how hard it is to squeeze five people (my dad plus the four of us, plus 2 car seats for the kiddos) into a Lexus sports car? Thank heaven Husband and my kids are THIN is all I'm saying...yikes that was a tight squeeze. (Before you ask, my mother and her sensible mini-van were not available.)

So, now we are down one car and waiting for the mechanic to call and tell us how painful this problem is going to be to our wallet.

And we didn't get to see my friend J~, which sucks.


The weekend started off with such promise. Our friends H~ and L~, who have been waiting for their baby from China for almost two years now (the China wait is insane right now) - volunteered to come over and play with Lana and Gabe so that Husband and I could go out to eat, have some adult time, and satisfy my aforementioned lust for California rolls. (Shut up! Get your minds out of the gutter, people! I'm saying we had Japanese food!!)

Anyway, we had a lovely night out, and when we came home, the kids went right to sleep (THANK YOU H&L!!! You must have tired them right out!!) We watched some stand-up comedy on Comedy Central, and we saw a guy we had never heard of before, but, who CRACKED US RIGHT UP. He's a Vietnamese-American comedian named Dat Phan, and (this is SO not politically correct), but, when he did impressions of his parents, his fake accent was DEAD-ON LANA. I'm trying to find a clip of him on the Internet, talking about his mom eating spicy food, because Lana does the same thing with hot chicken wings, and folks, let me just say, that he made me laugh so hard I choked. Here is his website: - he has some videos there. You will laugh. I promise. I wouldn't necessarily listen at work, though, if your company is strict about that kind of thing.

Saturday was crazy party day - we went to a birthday party, an Ohio State-Michigan game party, and a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. All in one day. We started partying at 10:00 AM and didn't get home until 11:30. It was CRAZY.

At the 50th Anniversary Party I had the opportunity to talk to an old friend of mine who writes for TV. He is on strike right now (obviously), and it was very interesting to get his perspective on what is going on. It sounds to me (and, obviously, I am biased since I am getting the info from someone who has a fundamental stake in the situation), that the writer's are just asking the studios to use the same calculation to compensate writers for revenues from streaming video and other new technologies that they use to compensate them for traditional media. It just makes sense to me, and I hope that when they go back to the table next week that they will work something out. (Cause otherwise we are going to be stuck with some serious crap-reality-tv for the rest of the season. Ugh. [Shudders violently]).

Anyway, it was just one long crazy weekend, and I still don't know what's going to happen with Husband's car. Do you think I could convince Dick Cheney to buy us a new one??


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Friday, November 16, 2007

Sushi-lust = Irony

My craving for California rolls and cucumber rolls is OUT OF CONTROL. It's like I cannot get enough of them.

Well, that's not exactly true. It's not like a I want to eat a mountain of California or cucumber rolls in one sitting or anything. I just, you know, want A roll, just 7 or 8 pieces.

But I want them EVERY DAY.

To the point that I have actually purchased pre-made California rolls at KR*GER.

FYI, they are not particularly good. I mean, they are mass market sushi, what could I possibly expect, right?

The irony of this is, when I actually LIVED in Japan...I never ate sushi if I could help it. I really didn't enjoy it, I hated the taste of the seaweed...and also the idea of eating raw fish skeeves me out. (I still don't do raw sushi.) (And yes, California rolls are not authentic, I know this. They are a California invention. Hence the name, and all.)

I've had Japanese food four times in the last two weeks. And tonight - Husband and I are having an actual date. And guess what I want? Again. Japanese food.

Is it possible that seaweed is addictive?


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Random Stream of Conciousness Post

So.....on the night before the one morning since, well, ever - that three local news crews are coming to Lana's school to film a politician reading a story to the children there - I PUT LANA TO BED WITH WET HAIR. She woke up today looking like Medusa. And I couldn't find the the anti-tangle spray. So, I am certain that my daughter is going to be on the local evening news looking like she stuck her hand in a socket.

I had a bad Weight Watchers week last week, but, I am sticking with it. (Three days at my in-laws can kind of derail any healthy eating plan.) I'm sticking with my healty 6-Point lunch, despite the fact that I can smell my secretary's Turkey Bacon Guacamole Quizno's sub from where I am sitting. That's some serious temptation to run down to Quizno's and get one for myself, but, I'M NOT GOING TO. I'm going to eat my kiwi and my satsuma orange and my yogurt and cheese and broccoli. (Incidentally, I have never eaten so many vegetables and fruits in my life!)

I need good advice for how to get all this water that I'm supposed to be drinking....

I was going to write a rant about the fact that it is only the 15th of November and that I am SO NOT READY to hear Christmas carols on the radio yet. But, then, I was in our firm's copy room and one of my favorite Christmas songs came on and I grooved around the copy room and felt happy, so, I'm not going to complain. You can share in my pre-Christmas joy with Boney M's 1978 Reggae Christmas "Classic" here.* (Laugh if you must, I still LOVE it.)


*Incidentally, I had nothing to do with this video - I just wanted to find the song and this was the first thing to come up on youtube.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Have I Not Been Paying Enough Attention?

My best friend from high school (elementary school, actually - we met in the 5th grade) has been living in Kuala Lumpar (sp?), Malaysia since 1996. I've seen her three times in the past 11 years. Nonetheless, she is one of my oldest friends, so, we email or Skype about once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. I'll admit that in the 10 months since I've been parenting two children, it's been "less often" than "more". I have, on more than one occasion, completely flipped my lid when something disastrous was going on in Southeast Asia and I wasn't able to reach her via email or Skype. (Typhoons, for example).

So, I was somewhat surprised, on Saturday, to find an email in my in-box from her with a subject line, "don't worry, we're fine" and a fairly lengthy email explaining why I should not worry about her and describing the circumstance that led to the Malaysian people rioting in the streets.

And I realized that I had no idea that I should be THINKING about being WORRIED about her. I had no clue.

It occurred to me that the only global information I've been paying any attention to for about two weeks is that which concerns the situation with adoptions in Vietnam.

It's possible that I need to be a bit more mindful of what is going on in the world. Despite the fact that it regularly scares the everliving crap out of me. (Cheney (aka The Anti-Christ) is trying to convince us we need to go to War with Iran? Really? Are we seriously contemplating this? See, I venture outside my bubble for two seconds and I am terrified already.)

In my own little corner of the world, the news goes something like this:

1. Lana loves her dollhouse. I have pictures of her playing with it I hope to post soon. The dollhouse was a kit from Imaginarium, as opposed to something more complicated. She also likes the dolls we got her to go in the dollhouse, who are roughly the same height as Barbies, but, look like regular girls. They are called the Only Hearts Club dolls. My only complaint is that they released an Asian doll named Hannah Faith earlier this year, and you cannot find her ANYWHERE. Yesterday I finally emailed the company and they wrote back to tell me "[d]ue to the overwhelming positive response to our two new dolls, Kayla Rae and Hannah Faith, we were sold out of them in late August 2007. We are currently producing more and these will be available for shipping around the 20th of December." I am hoping to get a hold of one for Lana for Christmas. As is, I imagine, every other household with a 4-to-7 year old Asian girl living in, I'm not holding my breath. (As it is, Lana seems perfectly happily with the two blond dolls that she has. She doesn't play with her Sonya Lee doll or her Corolle doll Lili, both of whom are Asian, as often as she plays with her other dolls. I still think it's important that she have a variety dolls that look like her. Anybody have thoughts on this?)

2. Over the weekend we had a huge birthday bash in Husband's hometown (suburban Detroit) for Lana, and her cousins J~, M~ and B~. Every cousin on Husband's side of the family has a birthday in November except for Gabe. So, we had a big party at a place with Laser Tag, a giant inflatable slide, a rock climbing wall, a giant trampoline, skeeball, Dance-Dance-Revolution, etc. It was fun. I've got pictures of Gabe and Lana on the giant trampoline that I will post along with photos of the dollhouse. Lana was in 7th Heaven with all the attention.

3. Lana had her well-check visit with our family doctor yesterday. She has gained 8/10's of a pound and grown an inch and a half since she's been with us. The doctor didn't seem concerned about this, so, I'm trying not to be. She's only 36.8 pounds. She's wearing size 5 or 5T pants, though, and when she first came home, her 4T pants were a little long. (So, I wonder if she hasn't actually grown more like 2.5 inches instead of 1.5), but, we can only put her in the pants with adjustable waists on the inside. Anything else falls right off of her. She's just such a tiny little thing and it's hard sometimes to get food into her.) She also got 3 more immunizations. OUCH. (I will admit that I have never been present for the shots. I haven't attended an immunization visit for either of my kids since Gabriel's first one. After which the nurses asked Husband to not to let me come again for a visit involving shots if it could be helped...yes, I am pathetic.)

4. We had parent-teacher conferences for Gabriel on Friday morning. He's doing find academically, but, his teacher tells us he seems 'sad'. I know Gabe is really missing his best friend, who moved to Kansas City in August. It's been really hard for him to not have his best friend, and his teacher encouraged us to try to set up some more playdates with some other children in his class. I should have been doing this since Doug moved away, and I'm feeling hugely guilty about the fact that I haven't done this for him.

5. I cannot get this song out of my head. It's a One Republic song called "Apologize" remixed with Timbaland in the background. I don't actually like Timbaland, but, this song is sticking with me. You can watch a video of it here.

6. Husband bought me a device that plugs into my Zune, and then into my cigarette lighter, and then broadcasts my music through my car radio. The other day it was running while I was driving Lana to school, and we had listened to Depeche Mode's "Master and Servant", followed by a Alison Kraus's "Take Me For Longing", followed by The Killers "Somebody Told Me". And I actually had the following thought go through my head. "I really love this station. They are playing the best music this morning." Yeah. Because it's MY MP3 PLAYER (Idiot! Slaps forehead). Evidently I'm kind of a ditz in the morning. And also musically schizophrenic.


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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Big Old Ugly Mess

I've been quiet. I've been quiet because I haven't been sure what, exactly, I want to say, but, it's time to not be quiet anymore.

I'm following the advice of Maggie Kuhn (founder of the Gray Panthers, a very interesting social activist, you can read about her here ), who advised "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes."

(Incidentally, she also said, "Learning and Sex until rigor mortis" which is definitely a concept I can support vehemently. ;-) ) (Sorry, trying to lighten the mood of what is likely going to be a pretty heavy post.)

There are several disturbing things going on with adoptions in Vietnam. And anyone who is contemplating an adoption from Vietnam should be aware of what those issues are.

The US Embassy in Hanoi was concerned enough about the situation to issue a statement to VVAI , where the statement caused quite a commotion , with angry accusations flying that VVAI had concocted the statement. (Yes, because Christina and Nicki have enough extra time on their hands to impersonate US Government Personnel).

The US Embassy then posted the statement on their own website , which should have brought an end to the commotion, but, controversy continues to swarm. There are parents stuck in Hanoi right now, and no one knows how many families are affected - there have been allegations that as many as 20 families have been denied US entry visas for their children, because the US government is not satisfied that the children the families have adopted were legitimately available for adoption.

I cannot even begin to fathom the horror, the emotional turmoil, the nightmare those parents are going through. I do not doubt that their pain is indescribable.

And I have to wonder what, exactly, will happen to these children now. If the petitions of their American families are denied, will the children be returned to their birth families? I don't know the answer to that question. It haunts me.

When Husband and I decided to grow our family, we made a CONSCIOUS DECISION not to have another biological child. And while I have never questioned that decision, I have occasionally felt a bit melancholy about it (see my post Requiem for Veronica ). I don't want to sound flaky or creepy or strange, but, I have to say that I felt, strongly, in the very depths of my soul, that our child, that the child who was MEANT to be with our family, was already here. That he or she was already born and waiting for us to come get him or her.

And I concentrated on FINDING that child, and that child, obviously, was Lana. And finding her was not easy, there were setbacks and heartbreaks and wrong turns and red herrings. But, ultimately, we made our way to Lana . And it was of utmost importance to me, that Lana, our chosen child, our daughter, actually NEEDED a family.

And until this week, I have never doubted, not for once second, that Lana needed us as much as we needed her. I did not doubt that her birth mother made a conscious choice to do what was in Lana's best interest, to do what was in in Lana's birth mother's best interest.

And with all of the news that has come out this week, I pulled Lana's documents out of their folder, and I poured over a piece of paper signed by Lana's birth mother. I stared at her signature for a long time.

And then I put the paper away, and I felt a sense of relief. I do believe that Lana's birth mother signed that document.

And I belileve this, because, also in Lana's file, are multiple reports from my agency regarding Lana's circumstances, regarding attempts to reconcile Lana's birth family, regarding attempts to place Lana with another American family that were derailed by the 2003 Vietnam shutdown.

I hate that I am haunted by questions. I am relieved that I worked with an agency (Holt International) that is widely recognized for completing ethical adoptions.

I think that, as adoptive parents, we need to make sure that the children we bring home REALLY need our homes.

I think that we need to stop attacking eachother and start demanding that our agencies not participate in human trafficking.

We need to care about the circumstances from which our children came, we need to make that a priority. And we need to not be participants in baby-buying.

And to the person who attacked Kelly yesterday, who attacked her anonymously (which was cowardly) and who attacked her very right to speak her mind by suggesting that she should stick to talking about HAIR BOWS - I just want to say that your comments made me physically ill.

I am sure that there are other rude and horrible remarks flying out there on the Internet - that was just the one I saw most recently that propelled me to speak my mind as well.

Let's stop being awful to eachother. Let's start doing the right thing by our children.



Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Lana!

Today is Lana's 5th Birthday. Over the weekend, we had two parties for her (one with my mom's side of the family, the other with my dad's side of the family. Not because of any real animosity between the two, but because my mom's side of the family is HUGE, and my dad's family kind of gets lost in the mix. Hence, we had two parties.)

Lana was over the moon with excitement. She was almost manic in her joy at finally having "Lana's Happy Birthday Party".

Tonight we are taking her out to dinner. She requested Applebee's of all places. So, Applebee's it is.

She's also going to come home to find the dollhouse her father spent last night constructing in our bedroom closet. She might faint from excitement.



Thursday, November 01, 2007

Matt was Right

Way back at the end of May, when I first began my McDreamy Motivation Experiment, I had an email conversation with my friend Matt from college.

Despite my protests at the time that I didn't really expect to lose any weight, Matt was on to me and my true goals. In that I can generally expect blunt candor from him, I wasn't all that surprised when he emailed and said, essentially (I'm paraphrasing), "You aren't going to lose weight by exercise alone, and if you want to lose weight, I'll tell you what I did - I'm willing to share my food strategies." (Matt having moved to San Francisco and gone from being "guy next door cute" to "California Boy Hot" and dropping some weight in the process - he had some KNOWLEDGE of the subject of weight loss.)

Anyway, at the time, I didn't want to listen to what he had to say. Namely, I wanted to believe that I could lose weight via exercise alone, and I was going to do just that.

Except that it TOTALLY didn't work.

And after months of treadmill walking (and hours of Grey's Anatomy, House, Dexter, and Alias) and actually GAINING 5 pounds, I went to the doctor and it turned out, as I believe I blogged about some weeks ago, that my thyroid had further crapped out.

Anyway, back on the thyroid medication, back on the treadmill...I went back and re-read Matt's food strategies for weight loss....and I have to admit - Matt must have a stronger desire to be fit than I do, because I could not follow them. (I am sure they are effective - in fact, I know they were for him. I also know that if I tried to follow them...after two weeks I would feel so deprived that I would be hiding in a closet with an entire 3-layer-cake and a double mocha caramel full-fat latte and that would accomplish NOTHING.)

So, I am back on the Weight Watchers.

And, here's the amazing thing. 45 minutes of exercise 5 times a week plus following the Weight Watchers plan...actually seems to be a recipe for dropping some weight.

I've been doing this for 2.5 weeks now. My pants fit better and the numbers on the scale have begun a slow slide in the downward direction. I want to be able to keep this up. And the good thing is that I've found a meeting that is near my office on a lunch hour, and my Girlfriend K~ is doing this with me. So, I have no excuses not to keep at this. But, I need accountability. Hence, my blogging about it.

And also I have to tell the whole Internet, yes, Matt was right.


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