Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year in Review - 2009

In which I post the first sentence from the first post of each month of 2009. Why? Well, why not? All the cool kids are doin' it.

January: Dear Mr. Gates and associates,So....That kind of wasn't cool yesterday.

February: Apparently, my blog is fabulous.

March: Is this racism or does she just hate lotion?

April: In spite of Delt@'s best efforts to keep us away, Husband and I arrived in paradise Friday afternoon, along with half of our luggage.

May: Driving Lana to the doctor's office on Tuesday afternoon, we were passed by three men on Harley Davidson's.

June: It's Monday morning, and I'm not really sure where most of the last four days went.

July: My Gabriel is home from camp, tired, but happy.

August: At present there are two sixteen-year-old Japanese exchange students in my living room playing Wii Bowling with Lana.

September: There was a lot of brouhaha on another adoptive parent's blog recently.

October: Lana has been asking the hard questions for about two weeks now.

November: ELLA WATCH: Our friends H&L have been waiting for their daughter for four long years.

December: Forgive me for my absence. Writer's Block. It's a terrible affliction.

I am looking forward to 2010. The new year lies ahead of us, all shiny and bright, with no mistakes in it.

My resolutions for 2010 are typical - to eat better, to work out more, to drink more water. I also want to laugh more, and write more.

I hope everyone has a wonderful time tonight. Be safe, drive carefully!!!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

On being a weepy mess...

I don't know what it is about the holidays that can hit me with the melancholy blues to the extent that sometimes I feel like I have been hit by a bus, but it has been particularly bad this year.

My mother hypothesizes that my occasional "blue Christmas" is brought about by the memory of the fact that, when my parents divorced when I was very, very young, that my father left the house on Christmas Day. I have no conscious memory of his absence being associated with Christmas, but our subconscious can be a powerful thing.

There are some difficult things swirling around me, and I have had the thought, more than once in the past few weeks, of how this has been a year of "last times."

We have had to put my grandmother in a nursing center, and I have had to be involved (somewhat against my better judgment) in having her declared incompetent. There isn't a doubt in my mind that she is non compos mentis - she nearly set her house on fire and had begun hitchhiking - but it is painful to be at the center of a legal declaration of such.

Add in the fact that I rushed my uncle to the ER last Friday morning, where he was woefully and horribly mis-diagnosed (note to any doctor type folks who might be reading this - just because a man whose body has been ravaged by 5 years of chemotherapy and has enough drugs running through his system to kill a horse SAYS he doesn't think he's been given an antibiotic in the last week, if he says he feels like his ankles are broken - LOOK AT HIS DAMN CHART. And if your hospital GAVE HIM AN ANTIBIOTIC following an outpatient procedure FIVE DAYS EARLIER, and that antibiotic has a known, but unusual side effect of snapping Achilles' tendons - RUN A DAMNED MRI. Do not unhappily tell his niece that running a scan would be a "waste of time". Because his tendons MIGHT, in FACT be torn. And when it takes FOUR DAYS to convince someone else to run the damn scan, IT MIGHT BE TOO LATE TO ACTUALLY HEAL them) (um...I might be really, really, really upset about this) - my point is, it has not been a good situation with my uncle J~ this week. (And if you're just tuning in, J~ is my uncle, my boss and my mentor, so his illness hits me hard on every front. And it hits me even harder knowing he is hurting now from something that could have been made better if the egomaniacal and dismissive ER doctor last week had set aside her presumptions and her ego and looked at his medical history for 30 damn seconds.)

Moving cat is dying. He is 17 years old but it doesn't make it easy to look into his sweet old face and know that is the last Christmas tree he will nap under.

And brother did a very sweet thing. He did such a sweet and thoughtful thing but the thing that he did has reduced me to a weepy, bawling mess.

My brother has a degree in broadcasting. He is very talented with sound systems. And somewhere, somehow, he found a tape of our grandfather singing and talking. And he superimposed the singing and the talking over photos of my grandpa and our family. And it's a beautiful video - absolutely gorgeous. Probably not to anyone who didn't know the man - but to me...well, I haven't cried so hard in a very long time.

My grandfather has been gone eight Christmases now. Eight years since I had heard his voice, more than eight years since I had heard him sing, because, at the end, the chemo did something to his vocal chords, and he couldn't sing. So to find myself hearing him singing today (and not just singing - the tape starts out, "This is Grandpa, and I want you to sing a song with me" - so it was like he was talking to ME (well, to any one of the sixteen of us to whom he was Grandpa) - well, it was precisely the trigger, on top of the above mentioned things - to create the weepy mess I am while typing this.

December 26th was my Grandparent's wedding anniversary. I always, always, always, spent the week of December 26 to New Year's with them. My memories of Christmas are so wrapped up with memories of my Grandfather singing to's hard. I've got some deep and lowdown Boxing Day Blues.

I hope tomorrow will be a better day.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a very Merry holiday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

There Are Nights When All My Aching Bones Won't Let Me Sleep*

A few nights ago, at the mall, Lana saw a small Asian women with a chin length haircut.

"My foster mom," Lana said to me. "Mom, she looks like my foster mom."

I turned around. The woman didn't look very much like Lana's foster mother, but she about the same size, about the same age, her hair cut was quite similar. If you are only 7 years old, and you haven't seen the woman who raised you for the first four years of your life in a very long time...

I can see how she might find the resemblance.

"I miss my foster mom," Lana said. "I want to see her."

I told her we could write her a letter.

That night, Lana woke up screaming in the middle of the night. She was confused, combative, and probably not really awake.

Two nights ago, we had more of the same. We were putting together a photo album to send to her foster mother. She was picking through the photos, making sure to send the ones she thought were really important.

We had a fight because I wanted her to put the photo album down and get on her pjs and brush her teeth. She wanted to finish choosing the pictures. There was some mild crying.

But at 12:30 there was hysterical crying, and more confusion and distress.

I don't know how to take away the wounds that are deep within Lana's heart.

I don't know how a little girl is supposed to understand that someone loved her enough to keep her for four years, and then loved her enough to hand her to Husband and I.

I only know that in the last three years I have grown to love this child fiercely. I want her to know that she is loved beyond measure. I don't want her heart to ache, but I know that I grieve, to this day, I grieve, for people I loved who are lost to me.

And even though her foster mom is not dead, and even though we send photos and occasionally an email - the loss of her foster mother probably feels as if her foster mother is dead. And in the darkest hours of the night, in the deepest recesses of her unconscious mind...she grieves. And I ache.


*Crash Test Dummies, Ghost That Haunt Me Now

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Hunnicutt, I've known a lot of people in my life. You are not among them."*

Last night I dreamt that I was carjacked by BJ Hunnicutt. You know - one of the zany doctors from M*A*S*H who was always up to hi jinks with Hawkeye?

I didn't even watch an episode of M*A*S*H before I fell asleep.

I did take some cough syrup with codeine, because I have been coughing up a lung this week, but I don't think I've watched an episode of M*A*S*H anytime in the last six months. (Not that I wouldn't watch an episode if I stumbled on one, because M*A*S*H is one of those shows, along with Seinfeld, Night Court, Taxi and Cheers, that I will pretty much watch anytime. It reminds me of my childhood in a comforting way.)

I have no idea what the cough syrup dream was trying to tell me. Should I be on the lookout for menacing Mike Farrell lookalikes?


*Major Charles Winchester III to Captain B.J. Hunicutt on M*A*S*H

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If You Never Let Me Go, Well I Will Never Let You Down

Forgive me for my absence. Writer's Block. It's a terrible affliction.

Yesterday evening, I was leaving downtown at around 6:20 PM, a good hour after most downtown work bees have already gone home. I pulled up to a stop light at an intersection just before the entrance to the interstate, where A HUGE, scary-looking man was crossing the otherwise deserted street. (No other cars, no other people, just me and the dude.)

He stopped in the middle of the road and started yelling at me.

I was frightened. He yelled some more, gesturing and pointing.

My heart was racing.

He came up to the driver's side door as I frantically checked to make sure the door was locked and wondered if I was about to be carjacked. (In hindsight, it never once occurred to me to blow through the red light!)

He leaned his face close to my window and yelled,


Which just goes to show you that sometimes first impressions are worth a big pile of elephant dung. (Remember that Ted Bundy looked like the sort of harmless guy you could safely ask for directions.)

Thank you, kind, frightening looking Good Samaritan. Your mizpah was much appreciated.


We have been celebrating the referral of the beautiful Miss Ella to our great friends H&L. If you haven't been over to see their beautiful girl - go bask in the adorableness that is Ella.

Lana, however, has been less than enthused about the idea of having to share H&L with Ella.

H~ and Lana have a special friendship - Lana likes to call H~ in the evening to talk to her, and she has also figured out how to text her - and Lana is smart enough to have figured out that Ella is going to change things.

I also think that Lana is a little worried, on some level, that Ella is replacing her.

When we opened up the photo on our computer to show Gabe and Lana Ella's picture - Gabe's first response was to say, "She's a cute baby, mom."

Lana, on the other hand, took one look and stormed from the room.

I followed her and asked what was wrong.

She turned and yelled at me, "You said Ella would look like ME! She does NOT look like me. She has white skin! I have brown skin! Not the same! Not the same at ALL!"

(She is still pretty upset that Ella's complexion is lighter than hers. I am at a loss about how to handle this - I keep telling Lana that her skin is beautiful, that people come in many shades. Skin tone is a HUGE issue in Lana's life right now.)

A few days later, when we were discussing Ella once more, Gabe again declared her to be a very cute baby. Lana glared at her brother, and said, "Why everybody keep saying that baby is cute? That baby is NOT cute. That baby....HAS NO HAIR!"

She pronounced this, about her lack of hair, with a look of triumph on her face.

I looked at her, a bit stunned. "Why would you say that?" I asked.

Lana growled at me. She actually growled. "You want that baby instead of Lana! You wish you had that tiny baby, not me!"

Oh my poor sweet misguided girl. I said, "You could not possibly be more wrong."

She said she didn't understand what I meant.

So I told her that our family was complete, that there were only four chairs at our dinner table, that our family had four people in it and that we did not want any more babies.

I told her that searched the whole world to find the person who would make our family complete, and that that person was Lana, and no other person would do.

She was satisfied, for the moment, that I was not coveting Ella. I keep trying to explain to her that I am happy that H&L have Ella, but that I do not want Ella for myself. It's a fine line to walk with my girl.

Last Friday night, we were having dinner with H&L at an Italian restaurant, sitting at a table for six.

H~ was sitting between Gabe and Lana so they could fight over her attention.

Lana looked at our table for six and asked, "When Ella comes home, where will she sit when we go out to eat?" (From her expression I had the impression that she thought she had a winning argument here - there wasn't a seventh chair at a table for six, so, there was no room for Ella.)

H~ said, "Well, at first, she'll sit in a high chair at the end of the table."

"Oh..." Lana said. Shot down by the high chair...


Lana continues to need reassurance from Husband and I that she is our only daughter and the only daughter that we want or need. On Sunday, we went bowling for L~'s big birthday, and I was able to briefly hold baby Roz on my lap. Lana was having none of that, though, and Roz was soon returned to her mother's lap so that Lana could sit on mine.

At this point, I think I just need to keep my lap open for Lana - so that she knows her spot in our little kingdom is not about to usurped!


* The Gaslight Anthem, The Backseat

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