Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things that make me go...what?

I'm sure by now you've all read the headlines about the woman who gave birth to octuplets. If you have been hiding under a rock (or nursing a sleepless baby round the clock, or just waking up from a coma), go here: Octuplets

Just reading the word "octuplets" makes me tired. Exhausted. And totally terrified.

Only two days ago I mentioned the post-traumatic-stress-like reaction I have when I think about the three years of sleeplessness imposed upon us by Gabriel's infancy and toddlerhood.

So the mere idea of EIGHT babies makes me want to go hide under a bed or something.

There's been a lot of debate about whether or not a woman who already had six children should have been allowed to receive infertility treatments. One particularly astute comment (which I cannot find right now) was something along the lines of "simply wanting to have more children is not enough to qualify a family to adopt or foster a child, should it be enough to qualify for fertility treatments?"

And it's an interesting question, but I don't think it's the most important issue raised by this situation.

(There is, of course, a fundamental difference between IVF and adoption, and the difference is that there is, evidently, no government regulation of IVF whereas there is a whole lot of government regulation of adoption.)

Another fertility specialist commented that it was not up to him to 'police family size'. And it is this point I most want to discuss.

It is not that I expect fertility doctors to 'police family size'. I am the oldest of six children and I love my siblings dearly. Each of them is special to me. I respect the decision to have a large family. (Or to have a small family. Or to make a family without children. I respect all of these choices.)

But what I do expect fertility doctors to do, is, you know, be DOCTORS. I'm not a doctor (well, actually, technically, I am, a doctor, in that I have that J.D. after my name, the D being for "Doctor" - a Juris Doctor, a Doctor of Laws, but this is fun cocktail conversation, nothing more) - where was I? Yes, I'm not a physician, but I seem to recall something about "first do no harm". And it seems to me that implanting eight embryos into a human being is harmful.

The human body cannot support 8 babies, it is not possible to bring them to term. The human body cannot produce enough breastmilk to provide sustenance for 8 babies. We are not cats. We are people. It is not physically possible for a single human being to provide care for 8 babies around the clock. It just isn't. The human body needs a certain amount of sleep in order to continue to function. Eventually, without sleep, the human body shuts down. I imagine one would meet that point very quickly trying to care of 8 premature infants.

(I know a woman who has triplets. They are all teenagers now, but she told me once her husband had a seizure and had to be hospitalized...from the sleep deprivation. And that was TWO people caring for THREE babies. Not eight.)

Heck, even the Duggars, king and queen of the extremely large family, never tackled eight at ONCE.

My point is, it seems to me that it is dangerous, and expensive and risky to allow an octuplet pregnancy to occur. It is not like this is a situation that occurred naturally. (One doctor interviewed for one article I read said that the odds of naturally occurring octuplets was 'practically incalculable'.) Someone had to do something (aside from knock boots), something out of the ordinary, something EXTRAORDINARY, to cause this situation to happen. And I wonder, just because we CAN do something, doesn't mean that we SHOULD. And in fact, I think it means, quite possibly, that we SHOULDN'T.

So why on earth should a doctor allow an 8 baby pregnancy to even occur? If something unethical happened in this case, I think it lies therein - we should not play god this way. We should not implant more than 2 or 3 embryos into a human body, and I cannot imagine how any competent medical provider allowed this to happen.

But, what do YOU think?? I'm curious.

Friday, January 30, 2009

See You Later, Alligator

Sometimes, even eviction court can be exciting.

In what may be the highlight of my legal career, I can now say that I have....wait for it...

Evicted an alligator.

And no, I am not making that up. Not even a little.

Standing in court, I ask my client, "does the tenant still occupy the premises by his person or his possessions?"

My client says, "Yes. Well, by his possessions. He's gone. He left his alligator."

Me: "A living alligator?"

My client says, "Yes, a live alligator. But no food."

I asked the court for an order allowing my client to regain possession of the apartment...and for an order allowing him to have animal control come remove the alligator.

This is a first for me.

I did once have to evict a goat, and several pit bulls. But I'm pretty sure this is my first reptile...


Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Brand New Snow Has Covered All I Know, Can't Find a Footprint in the Field*

We are approaching a record snow fall for the month of January, here in the Midwestern Tundra I call home. We are about to surpass the year that we had a full fledged blizzard.

At this point, much of the snow has stopped being pretty and it's just slushy and messy and black and hiding parking spaces.

I think I need one of those magic lights - you know the kind that trick your body into believing the sun is shining, or something like that.

It's grey and dismal and it leaves me feeling grey and dismal. I am so sick of boots and icy sidewalks and salt on EVERYTHING. (For those of you who never lived in the Great Lakes region, we use salt instead of sand to keep the roads passable. It's effective, but it creates a layer of salt on cars, shoes, etc.)

The economy has me completely FREAKED OUT. I suspect I am not alone in this. Am I wrong?

We attempted to take Lana out for Vietnamese food last Friday night, and arrived at the restaurant to find it was no longer there. I was sad about this on more than one level. Firstly, the aforementioned economy freak-out. Secondly, now the nearest place to get Vietnamese food for Lana is 45 minutes away in Ann Arbor. And thirdly (and honestly, probably the biggest reason I was upset and go ahead, be disgusted with me if you must), is that I am pretty sure it was the last place in town where a person with a bubble-tea-addiction could feed said bubble-tea-addiction.

We left the defunct Vietnamese restaurant and made our way to a Thai restaurant. (And yes, I KNOW that Thai food and Vietnamese food are not the same. I'm not a total moron or suffering from some sort of simple notion that any southeast Asian food can be supplemented for the food of my daughter's early childhood. But it was the closest thing I could come up with that didn't involved driving to Ann Arbor.) They have Vietnamese summer rolls at this particular Thai restaurant, which was really the only thing Lana was concerned about. She was very happy to have two orders of summer rolls, and she shared Husband's pad thai.

On Sunday we went to a Lunar New Year celebration with many, many other families from our Families with Children from Asia group. Lana was completely freaked out by how many people were there, and she didn't seem to be feeling very well. She clung to Husband or to our friend L~, and she refused to eat - even her very favorite things: dumplings and steamed rice.

She had a rough night Sunday night, and ended up in bed with Husband and I, which is, truthfully, odd for her. With the exception of the sleep screaming episodes we experienced last year, Lana is generally a sound sleeper. 99% of the time, she falls asleep at 9:00 PM and we don't hear from her again until 7:30 or 8:00. (This is so bizarre for me that I cannot count how many times I have opened her bedroom door to make sure she is still alive. Gabe is such a horrible and brief sleeper that it boggles my mind that a child might regularly sleep almost 11 hours a night.)

Please note that I am knocking a giant piece of wood that this statement doesn't come back to bite me in the a**. I seriously think I have some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Reaction when I think about the first three years of Gabe's life and I am terrified that that kind of sleep-deprivation could befall us again.

Where am I going with this post? I have no idea. It's snowy. It's grey. It's depressing. Lunar New Year was a bust...

And now I've got to go put the kids to bed. If you've suffered through this entire miserable post, my apologies. I'll try to come up with something funny/amusing/better soon.


* Greg Trooper, December Skies from his album Floating

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I would like to say, categorically, that skill at Wii bowling is not at all indicative of one's ACTUAL bowling skill.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Photos! Cause I Have No Inspiration to Write Anything! So! Photos!

Lana at her ice-skating lesson.
Ice Princess

Gabe took 2nd place at the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.

Gabe and Lana, Christmas Day

Our annual 'Christmas Eve with How the Grinch Stole Christmas' Photo

Just what kind of problem does the doctor think he has?

Gabriel to me, upon meeting me for dinner after his 9-year Well Check with our doctor: "Mommy, Dr. D~ says I need to see a paleontologist."

Me: "A what?"

Gabriel: "A paleontologist".

He has a very sincere and slightly concerned look on his face.

Me: "Does the doctor think you are a dinosaur?"

Ha! I slay myself.

Actually, the doctor does want him to see a specialist about a problem he's been having, which I'm hoping will lead to some resolution of said problem, which is a common little boy problem, but makes having sleep overs a bit, well, awkward. We see the nurse practioner for the specialist next Friday morning. Cross your fingers.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things I Have Learned in the Last Ten Days

  1. Sometimes the only (and best) thing you can do for your client is convince them that the fight is no longer worth fighting.
  2. Even if opposing counsel is mean and nasty, it is not necessary to take it personally. (And as much as I know this logically, it is still hard not to take it personally.)
  3. When the magistrate rules against is also not necessary to take it personally.
  4. Cashmere lined leather gloves are a nice thing to have and are usually warm enough. Negative 2 degrees Fahrenheit LAUGHS IN THE FACE of cashmere lined leather gloves.
  5. A walk to the courthouse that usually takes 10 minutes will take 20 if the sidewalks are covered in ice.
  6. Two little girls + a bag full of beads + a spool of elastic thread = hours of entertainment
  7. Five hours in a car with one of your best Girlfriends doesn't so much feel like five hours.
  8. Putting your foot in cat puke at 2 AM is no fun.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Flight 1549

My cousin was shooting some footage (he is a filmmaker) on the Hudson River when Flight 1549 went into the water. He posted what he caught on tape here at YouTube.

I am still amazed at the awesome ability of that pilot.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


You know what sucks?

Schlepping oneself to two day's worth of hearings, hopped up on Sudaphed and ibuprofen, through 12 inches of snow, across sidewalks caked with ice and salt and slush, feeling like something the cat dragged in, feeling lightheaded, feeling feverish...2 degrees outside and too hot inside...

I thought I just had a bad cold.

In fact I have strep throat.

So does Lana.

One dose of antibiotics and I still feel cruddy. Lana has two doses in her and seems to be feeling marginally better.

I'm going to pop some more penicillin and some tylenol PM and hope to sleep for HOURS. (Which would be a major improvement over the past two nights of almost no sleep due to the sensation that my throat and my ear were on FIRE.)


Monday, January 12, 2009

Are you Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot?

We have a small regional grocery chain in our area that we like to frequent. They call themselves a "general store" because they have groceries and fresh local produce, and also anything you need to run a farm.

So, for example, if you need some locally grown tomatoes, some milk, a saddle for your horse and some food for your goats - you can get it there. Or a new sink, some wallpaper, and alarm clock. General Store. They mean it and they've been around for over a hundred years.

It is an especially nice place to visit if you are hungry because they usually have lots of 'samples' out for tasting. This makes it a favorite place of Lana's - she loves fresh fruit and fresh tomatoes.

Lately they've been selling roasted peanuts still in the shell. (They've probably been selling these for over a hundred years as well, it's just that Lana noticed them and wanted them, so we've been buying them.) They have a few options in terms of flavor - salted or Cajun.

Husband had Lana at the store about a week ago and she dove into the sample dish of Cajun peanuts. One of the employees tried to stop her, saying, "oh, sweetie, that's the cajun!" just as Lana shoved one in her mouth.

"Daddy! It's SPICY! Can we get some??" she said, to the amazement of the woman working the store who thought that there were going to be tears instead of excitement.

They bought a small bag to bring home.

Lana has been guarding these Cajun peanuts a bit carefully. She will share them with Husband but she clearly views them as her own. She graciously offered to let me try ONE, which made my eyes water and sent me looking for a glass of water. I have not touched them since.

Yesterday she must have gotten one that had a particularly large amount of spice on it, because she lunged for her water and exclaimed, loudly,


Husband and I tried not to crack up.

It must not have been too bad, though, because after a little water she was cracking more shells in her tiny capable hands.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy Familiversary to Us

I've been a bad blogger. I want to write. I want to sit at my desk and write and write and write, posts and posts and posts. Posts about how my New Year's Resolution is to have less anxiety, and posts about how unbelievably smoke-filled casinos are, and how much I love that we have good friends to spend time with, and posts about how I think working in divorce court is monumentally soul-sucking.

And as much as I want to write, there hasn't been much time to write, and when there has been time to write I've been so wiped out that mostly I just read other people's blogs and and watch stuff from Netflix.

But today, TODAY it is very important that I write. Because TODAY is the second anniversary of our Giving and Receiving Ceremony. TODAY is the second anniversary of the day we went from being a family of three to being a family of four.

A few days ago, I was sorting through Lana's clothes, and bagging up things that were too small. (She has been growing like a weed lately). At the corner of one of her drawers was a wrinkled pair of yellow capri pants with a bad stain over the knee.

She is wearing the pants in this photo.
David and Lana in Hanoi

We bought those pants two years ago tonight, at a shopping center in Da Nang. (We also bought her a yellow sweatshirt with a red tulip on it, and a pair of pink pants and a turtle neck. And crayons and coloring books and boxed milk, and pretty much anything else that she pointed at in the grocery section of the shopping center, because she was so very thin. And she wouldn't eat much, aside from fruit.)

The reason that the pants have a terrible stain on the knee is because she was wearing them when I dropped her. In the road. Yes, in. the. road. In Vietnam. Where traffic is INSANE.

I don't think I blogged about this when it happened.

We were walking in the road near the Somerset Westlake in Hanoi and I was carrying her in my arms, when my shoe caught in something and I tripped...and I dropped Lana in the road and she was almost crushed by a taxi.

When I think about it now, when I think about what might have happened, what could have happened, it makes my heart beat really fast and I feel panicky.

More panicky, in fact, than I felt at the time it happened.

I think I was numb. I think I was in a state of heightened awareness. I think I had reached a level of 'completely-and-utterly-freaked-out' that was previously unknown to me. So dropping my newly adopted child in the road in front of a taxi didn't really register as it probably should have.

And with two years hindsight, all I can say is Thank God, Thank God, Thank God that taxi driver stopped.

This has been quite a journey. We are in such a different place than we were two years ago tonight, when Lana fell asleep watching a Strawberry Shortcake video in a hotel bed in the city where she was born, a city she may never return to.

Tonight we went to dinner as a family, and Lana gleefully ate a cheeseburger and french fries and lettuce and tomatoes. She stole shrimp off my plate.

Afterwards, Lana and went shopping, because Coldwater Creek was having a 70% off sale and Gymboree was having a 60% off sale, and Lana grinned at me and said, "Let's Go SHOPPING MOMMY!"

We are dangerous together, she and I.

I could not bring myself to throw out those yellow pants. They are tucked in the back of her closet, and someday, maybe, I will tell her the story of why there is a stain on the knee, and why, of all of her clothes, I kept that pair of wrinkled pants, even when they no longer fit her.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Has it been two years?

Two years ago today, we had arrived ~ exhausted, jet-lagged and nervous, in DaNang, and had checked into the Elegant Hotel.

Two years ago, we were getting ready to go meet our girl.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I cannot believe this, so so stupid of me

Has anybody ever put their ipod through the washing machine and had it live?

Please say yes.

Despite my own Zune devotion, Husband loves his ipod.

And it was in his jeans.

And now it is very, very waterlogged and very very dead.



Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hey Microsoft!!!

Dear Mr. Gates and associates,


That kind of wasn't cool yesterday.

In fact, it was decidely not cool. And although the problem does seem to be fixed...uh, let's NOT do that again, m'kay?

I love my Zune. I do. I am NEVER apart from it unless it is charging. It is forever at my side, or in my pocket or in my purse or in my briefcase. I find it's interface is significant superior to the IPOD and I have loyally defended my choice of the player, despite the fact that there are far fewer of them in use.

I will admit, I don't understand why you are phasing out the 30gb devices (why? why???), but was that really necessary? And why is it necessary to note that a large number of 30gb devices are still in use? Mine is only two years old!!! And I paid a LOT of money for it, so is it really so surprising that people are still using them?

Anyhoo, I'm glad it's working again. Let's not do this again next New Year's Eve?

Your Devoted Zune User,


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