Saturday, May 30, 2009

Schwartz Tells Me How He Really Feels!

Last night the Finn and I were discussing what pizza to order for dinner. I was determined to take a break from the chaotic kitchen collection of dirty dishes, a full dishwasher of clean dishes, and food scraps on every counter and on the floor. Pizza was my solution - then a little summer socializing with a bottle of wine (or 2 or 3) in my g/f's backyard.

Schwartz was trying to convince me to order Little Ceasar's $5 pepperoni pizzas for dinner. YUCK! Of all the pizza - this one is truly junk pizza in my eyes. Let me say, Schwartz loves it junky. The cheaper the better in his mind. Despite my efforts to bring fine dining into his life (organic foods), he regularly refuses to recognize the value of good food. He loves cheap food. He tells me "don't bother buying that nice ice cream. I like the cheap ice cream so I can eat as much as I want). So, we were hassling each other about pizza - his love of junk pizza and my need to support the local economy with a local order that supports a really cool guy and his pizza vision (Roman Candle Pizza Lovers Unite!). We were at odds, and loving the banter.
As he strode out the door to play some tennis before pizza he laughingly yelled over his shoulder, "I don't care what pizza you get, I just like to argue with you!" I yelled back to him, "I like to harass you too!" Whooo hoooo. Do you know in "cool nordic speak" the Finn told me he loves me? Yep, he did. This is as close as we're going to get to emotion from Schwartz. Our work is done, he can go home now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It happened. It finally happened. Someone asked me today, "Is this your grandson?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Perfect Craw ANTIDOTE

Head on over HERE and celebrate with these awesome parents. This is a long awaited and much anticipated proposal. Mr. Rugged Handsome and Julie are 2 people you need to know, soon to be 4 people you need to know.

A poem for them

2 little whos by E. E. Cummings
2 little whos
(he and she)
under are this
wonderful tree

smiling stand
(all realms of where
and when beyond)
now and here

(far from a grown
-up i &you-
ful world of known)
who and who

(2 little ams
and over them this
aflame with dreams
incredible is)

Stuck in my craw

Sometimes my stuff gets stuck in my craw and I can't get it out.

Here's today's craw caca:

  • Reading on a blog the following pro's and con's of traveling vs. escorting; Pros include "I get to go to Africa" and "I get to go to a third world country." Cons include "I will have to eat weird stuff" and "I might get sick." Ummmm...AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY IT IS A CONTINENT. Also, I hate the term "Third World Country." There are few good alternatives, but I tend to prefer something more like "resource limited countries." Even this term is not an accurate portrayal of some countries referred to as 3rd world - they have resources - but the resources are being pillaged by capitalist imperialists. And I've just touched the vocabulary. The point of view is very immature. I hope this person grows, and quickly.
  • I'm once again organizing cooperative sponsorships for AHOPE children through my agency forum. The response has been hugely lacking. I think 12 families have responded and 4 have sent checks. In addition, the existing 8 cooperative sponsorships are having trouble fulfilling another year's promise. What is so tough about $42 a year? OK OK - my dear Mr. Silly Pants reminds me again and again that my job is to offer and to keep offering without the expectation of what anyone else does with the offer. I get it - it helps. But, I just want to get together on this stuff and be a force for change and for good. AHOPE needs us.
  • Prop 8 HATE is stuck in my craw. Totally craw material.
  • Another blogger says, "One thing I learned along this journey is how no one cares about others adoptions.Everyone(few exceptions ) are out for them selves." WTF? Really - everyone is NOT out for themselves. Everyone needs to be totally about the needs/interests of the kids. It's not about the families, it's about the kids. To lament about one's journey and any challenges posed to the ethics of the adoption journey is to hide one's head in the sand. This person is hiding out, big time.
  • I don't like the whining while waiting for referrals. Never have. Never will. I understand how waiting feels difficult and how some folks struggle with the unexpected changes in wait times and so forth. However, it is an enormous trauma for children to lose their first families. It is an enormous trauma for a child to lose his/her culture. I don't tolerate the whining well. I'm not a good "ear" for complaints. Noone deserves a child. Every child deserves a loving family. But, this is not a smorgasbord. Wait with grace. Period.
  • Read on a post about returning home; "It's so nice to come home to a clean house with electricity and running water!!!!!!!!! Oh, how I hope I never take the little things for granted again! God bless America!" The world is full of injustices - we have what we have in large part because we feel we deserve it and have somehow earned to be at the top of the human food chain (Social Darwinism Lives!). This is craw material. I wish folks would return home moved by the injustices endured by our global neighbors.
  • While on a recent trip and talking about a local charter school I asked about the % of minority populations at this school. I was told it was about 10% minority (I did some research, it's 5% in a community whose population is 25% minority). I asked, "What are the barriers to full inclusion in this school?" I was told, "First, you have to care about education." OUCH! Yeah, the person who said this is dear to me and to Blueberry. We had to have a conversation about this. I'm bothered by it.
  • A patient of Mr. Silly Pants saw Blueberry's picture and said, "So your wife is ___" Mr. Silly Pants quickly filled in the blank with, "A teacher, yes, she's a teacher." Take that you imbecile!!!
  • I had a crown put in and got a "This is NOT A BILL" statement for $1,000. The thing is, it turns out the crown was "coded" as not covered under my new (post marriage) insurance plan. Drat. Double Drat. At least I have some mouth bling to show for it. I'm going to make amends and add another $1K to my yearly donation/charity contributions for our insurance stupidity.
  • Did you know the average American donates less than 3% of his/her annual income to charity? President Obama and Michelle Obama donated 6% last year - on an income of 2.7 million (mostly from his books). 6% is double the national average, but it's only about $180K out of that huge income. And, do you know who contributes the most to charity? The folks with the least. That just stinks. Statistics show those with incomes under $24K contribute about 6-7% to charity. I did the math - we give about 5%. It's not enough. That's craw caca of my own doing.
  • This is old craw stuff that won't leave - someone close to me telling me, "sorry I am not going to donate to Plumpy'Nut. I hate to say it, the world is overpopulated and some people have to die." That's the worst of them - I heard it while waiting to be entrusted the care of sweet and malnourished Blueberry. This one I might never 'get over.'

Whoa...I've got craw caca indeed. Tomorrow I'll post an "I'm grateful" post just to have some balance. For now, I have get moving and trek over to the doc's office and get a mammogram. I might tell the tech about my craw caca since I seem to be in the mood. I can ask for some extra boob smashing for good measure, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesdays are for Gender Stereotyping

Today I witnessed the following conversation between Songbird (20F), Schwartz (19M), and Clementine (21M)

Clem: Hey Schwartz, you wanna go to the arcade?
Schwartz: Yeah, ummmm, that sounds good. When do you want to go?
Clem: Now
Schwartz: Songbird, you want to come?
Songbird: Hahahaha, no thanks.
Schwartz: I thought you'd say that.

*Note: Songbird is presently reading Women Who Run With the Wolves. I pulled out a few other books for light summer reading, including, Backlash and Woman: An Intimate Geography.

Signing off - I'm going to drink a beer and watch the Cavs game - true!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lavender Booties Forever

On May 22, 2008, we first saw this beautiful baby boy in his lavender booties. He was 8 weeks old and he needed a family. We said yes. We said yes to adding a child to our family. We said yes to our son and yes to our brother. Understand, we said yes to our heart of hearts. He's our beloved Blueberry.

Daddy and Blueberry are Father and Son. They are 2 peas in a pod. They are giggle and silly. They are boys together - always.
I am so grateful for my family; 4 children and one amazing husband. Lavender Booties Forever!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Body Parts

Our Blueberry isn't too interested in any gesturing games. But this one is fun! "Blueberry, where's your tongue?"

The Wednesday Funnies

From the Finn
Schwartz: "I got beat in tennis by a girl today."
Me: "How bad did she beat you?"
Schwartz: "Just one set."
Me: "How many sets did you play?"
Schwartz: "Just one."

*I later learned this "girl" is a 30 year old former college player. might be time to talk to this 19 year old boy about "women."

From Songbird
"Can I have some wasa, I'm pirsty"

*said at noon today while her face was numb and after oral surgery to remove 4 wisdom teeth. She's sleeping on the couch next to me - I hope her recovery is not too painful.

I've had a bit of a blogging break along with a trip to NC to visit my brother and his kids. Mr. Silly Pants and I made the trek with Blueberry and it was lovely. His cousins were great fun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moms: his and mine

My mom would have loved this little grandson with all of her might. Mighty love it would have been. I missed her so much I couldn't write about it on Sunday. I can barely do so today.
Blueberry's first mom needs to know he's our beloved. I don't know if she knows, and if she does, how she came to know it. I awoke on Sunday morning at 4 a.m. to bring my baby boy a bottle and while he snuggled in my arms as I rocked him I thought only of his first mom, and I was overcome with such grief and such a sense of unfairness - literally, the unfairness that I am raising her son - that I could barely get beyond that emotion.
I'm still reeling from the emotions of Sunday. It feels like self pity and I loathe that feeling. Yet, I'm having trouble getting beyond it. Moms: his and mine.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Songbird is a Bird Nerd

My biggest girl is doing fieldwork with redwinged blackbirds.
I love this picture of her - she's so goofy! Um, that's a puppet bird, not a speared bird!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

yummy dinner

This is the dinner I didn't have the energy to make tonight. Blueberry has been sick for about a week and today I think my energy plummeted. I'm waiting for Mr. Silly Pants to arrive home with a bottle of wine and dinner. While I'm waiting, I'm watching Bravo and surfing the net. So, for those of you tired of my "big sober thoughts", I do have a lighter side. :-)

This dinner is the hands down winner in our household - everyone loves it and I love making it. I make it once a week, by family request. The recipe follows:

Curry and The Kitchen Sink: All in One Pot Meal
30 minutes from start to finish.
1 package of Apple & Gouda Cheese Chicken Sausage by AmyLu
1- 2 T. curry spice
4 T. olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes (yellow and/or red) kept whole
1-2 red or yellow peppers sliced for sautemushrooms, sliced thick
*any other veggies you have in the house
1 package whole wheat penne pasta (optional)- cooked

Warm the olive oil and curry in a very large saucepan. Slice the chicken sausage into bite sized pieces and add to the warmed oil and curry. Saute for about 3 minutes until the sausage is nicely curry "crusted." Add the rest of the cut/cubed vegetables one by one, from hardest to softest - saute as you go along. (Here is where the kitchen sink comes in - use what you have!). Consider the saute finished when the whole grape tomatoes are soft and tender on the tongue. While sauteing, cook the whole wheat pasta al dente. Drain and set aside while the veggies and sausage are cooking. When the veggies and sausage are tender (not mushy!) stir in the cooked pasta and mix well in the entire pan. The whole dish should have a nice orange hue from the curry.Serve in large pasta bowls. Sometimes we top the dish with a little bit of fresh feta cheese or a bit of fresh grated parmesan cheese.

I made this one up! The sausage keeps super well in the freezer so this is our "go to" meal when stock is low and/or my houseful of teens and baby are hungry and I only have 30 minutes to cook. We like it with a lot of curry, so you can experiment with the taste. Also, sometimes I substitute other spices for the curry, although the curry is the hand's down winner (Penzey's Turkish spice with a pinch of Penzey's chipotle spice is great too!)Finally, go organic on as many ingredients as you can for this recipe.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Becoming an Anti-Racist Parent; A Case Study

So here's my reality. Being an anti-racist parent takes practice. I'm working at it, and it is work. I'm often not aware of all of the ways my white skin and accompanying privilege and power works against my personal practice of being an anti-racist.

Here is an example of the places and ways I practice. I'm calling it a case study and really hoping if you visit my blog you'll leave a comment conveying your understanding of the "simple" comment/observation made today.

Scene: Soccer tournament in Rockford, Illinois
Me: Sitting on a bleacher in earshot of some fathers, but not in conversation with them.
Dad 1: "Did you see the game before this?"
Dads 2 and 3: "Not really."
Dad 1: "The Red Team played the White Team, a mostly Hispanic team, and it was a vicious game."
Me: Silent, but all of my radar is whirring and I am thinking about what's wrong with the comment, and what I might say if I were part of the conversation and/or sitting close enough to offer an observation/point of view.

What's wrong with this comment? I asked that at our family dinner table. We had a robust conversation. There was a lot of dialogue about "intention" and the outright question, "was it a racist comment?" What do you think?

Here's where I am in my thinking:
1.White is normalized in the comment. The Red Team is a team that can be assumed to be mostly white. This is what being invoked as the "norm" means. There is no need to identify race for the Red Team. Race doesn't exist for white players as it is established as the "norm."
2. The White Team is "othered;" race is the identifier when mentioning the White Team.
3. Hispanic is problematic as an identifier as it means primarily people from Mexico. Ummmm..not sure how the speaker could know this from merely a visual or identifying through spanish language or appearance.
4. There is a connection, potentially, between Hispanic and vicious. (The game was very physical on both sides, but the speaker made that opaque in his comment).

I'm working on this - what do you think?