And now for something a little different

February 2, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Home, Sweet Home?, Photo Friday | 9 Comments

I’ll distract myself from all of the Big Questions and from the lack of updates from Guatemala by catching up on my photo friday topics.

Last week’s topic was “a unique body part.” Anyone who’s ever sparred with me in karate knows that I have unusually, I dare even say, uniquely, sharp elbows. They put umbrella tips to shame, my elbows do. Pili would like to register that she thinks I have other unique body parts. Do I need to go into further detail on that erm, front, erm?


This week’s topic was “show me your sofa and anything on it.” Somewhat sheepishly I do.

our couch

Tonight my sofa was occupied by a snoozing (“just ten minutes, I mean it!” she says) Pili and an ever changing parade of cats, none of whom chose to grace this picture with their presence. The traces of their attentions are, unfortunately, all too visible, especially next to the barely touched scratching post. The soft and colorful afghan is a handmade wedding present and the green sling (just barely visible) is a hopefully-soon-to-be-used hand-me-down from gandksmom.

I wish I could report…

February 1, 2007 at 12:33 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, Bringing Home the Bacon, Home, Sweet Home? | 23 Comments

…that things had miraculously improved since that last post.

I can’t. It seems we do not get January photos as the holiday photos we got in the end of December count for January. To which I stick out my tongue and and say phooey. How hard is it, honestly, to snap a bunch of digital photos of babies in a hogar?

It might be harder than I think, as we did get a photo from a visiting family, which, unfortunately, is very blurry and which I am not at all sure is actually a photo of my Guatebaby.

And apparently GAL, who has the unenviable position of running interference between the hogar and the chomping at the bit adoptive parents, has not been able to get January measurements from the folks in Guatemala.

Things at home continue to be, for lack of a better word, tense. I feel like even the cats are fighting more. I’m sure that we will pull through this as we have pulled through difficult stretches before. It really does help to hear that other people struggle with the two career/where to live issue as well.

I constantly question myself: am I holding onto my career dreams just because I wouldn’t know who I am/how to define myself without them? I don’t think so. When I’m at a job that’s a good fit for me, I know that I’m doing what I love. There’s a part of me that says I should just give up these hopes and do what would make life easiest for us as a unit. But why should I be the one to do that?

[This is where I start feeling like the chips are falling along traditional gender lines, with me the woman and Pili the man. And I will be damned if I will give into that tired old narrative.]

Recently I saw my DREAM JOB advertised. A high level position at an organization that I think is doing amazing and unique work – in the Big City Four+ Hours South. When Pili was playing the “soon-to-be-wed” game at her bachelorette party, her friends asked her what my dream job would be. And she answered, correctly, this position, at this organization. I thought about applying but decided that while the compromise we’ve come up with to allow me to take an interesting, career-advancing job in a better location (which will involve the moving and commuting alluded to to in the last post) is unpleasant and hard on Pili, this was simply impossible. Unless Pili was willing to leave her job, which she’s not. Rinse, lather, repeat.

So I’m curious: how do gender roles or your reactions to them (even in a same-gender relationship) shape the way you handle conflict and decision-making in your family?

A mopey miserable post which I will regret later

January 29, 2007 at 1:02 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, Home, Sweet Home?, More than you ever wanted to know about me... | 35 Comments

I’m back home tonight from my family’s annual x-country ski weekend. Pili is in bed, sleeping soundly with her glasses still on her face. I should take them off her so she doesn’t roll over and crush them. I should go to bed too, but instead I am here blogging.

I love these weekends – my family, our family friends and their kids and grandkids, my cousin and his wife and daughter – hanging around the cabin, eating far too much food, frenzied snowball fights interspersed with lounging around in pjs reading books with the kids.

But this is the third year in a row that I’ve gone and thought “next year hopefully we won’t be the only ones without a kid.”

And honestly, I don’t feel too hopeful at this moment. We had a long intense talk in the car on the way home. This summer promises to be incredibly stressful and Pili is understandably feeling like it’s hard to feel joyous anticipation at the thought of:

a) bringing a baby home (we should be so lucky)
b) most likely selling our house, finding and buying a new house, and moving further away from her job (and from the few precious friends we’ve managed to make here in this pathetic excuse for a city) at the same time as bringing home said baby if we should be so lucky, but otherwise I am stuck here, with no career possibilities other then my current hour and fifteen minute drive when it is not snowing like crazy which it is half the damn year. And we’re here because of Pili’s job which she loves, and there are maybe five job openings a year in her field, and maybe one of them will be in a state that does not hate us and our family. And there will be two thousand candidates or perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but only slightly, for that one job opening.
c) having to commute long distances and spend several nights a week away from us when she has to be at work

But otherwise I watch my career, my hopes and dreams for which I have also worked hard, spiral down the drain. The easy thing would be for me to give up, say yes, I’ll focus on being a mom. But I would feel trapped into it, like falling into the pattern of putting myself second and surpressing myself that I knew would be easy to do with a husband but that I never expected to fall into with a wife. I would feel trapped and frustrated and I would hate myself and Pili for it. And that can’t be good.

I hate having Big Relationship talks in the car where I feel trapped and itchy squirmy and we always seem to do this.

And then despite the booking of plane tickets I am becoming increasingly agitated about the status of things with Guatebaby because we STILL haven’t gotten our January photos or medical report or any update on the DNA/Family Court situation. It’s to the point where Pili, my somewhat proper Pili, is ready to start sending nagging emails.

And all around me people are getting pregnant and having babies and getting into PGN and out of PGN and me, I got nothing. Nothing, nada, nil. And right now it is all feeling pretty damn crappy.

Diary of a Misplaced Foodie

January 10, 2007 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Blogging about Blogging, Home, Sweet Home? | 32 Comments

I rolled my eyes (okay, I rolled my eyes A LOT) when the restaurant reviewer for our local newspaper panned the one really good Chinese place in town, complaining that the food was too spicy and the owner offered too many suggestions.

I rolled my eyes even more when she gave a very positive review to the “authentic” Italian cuisine at 0live garden.

And then in the front page article of today’s food section the editor offers some helpful tips on recipe substitutions.

As a substitute for one whole egg, use two egg yolks and one tbs. cold water. Um, if I don’t have a whole egg, do you really think I’m likely to have two egg yolks sitting around the fridge? No maple syrup? Use corn syrup + maple flavoring. Why of course! Maple flavoring – the essential basic everyone has in their spice cabinet.

Finally, in the “you must really think your readers are idiots” category: Did you ever imagine that you could substitute boiling water and bouillion cubes for broth? A stick of margerine for a stick of butter? An equal amount of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt for salted butter?


Despite the tone of this post, I don’t really bite (Really. Those were lovenips.) So… since it’s national delurking week… won’t you leave me a note and tell me what brought you here?

Bah humbug NPR

September 7, 2006 at 9:54 am | Posted in Home, Sweet Home?, The Sweet Life | 10 Comments

I am sitting at home waiting for the furnace repairman to come and do our annual fall tune up (sad, sad, sad) and, for the third year in a row, tell us that our furnace is Very Old and Will Not Last the Winter.

ETA: And bah humbug furnace as well. I had to run out the door to go to therapy, so I only got to go through the first half of the annual exam with my friend, Mr. I Can’t Believe This Thing Still Runs (and did you know how much money you’d save if you put it in a new $3000 high efficiency furnace?). I thought we had passed the danger point of the exam, so I left him to let himself out the garage door and went off to therapy to whine about my life. Two terrible things happened

1) As I was leaving therapy, a car pulled up. It was my good friend, Ms. Hippie Sunshine. Who is going to see MY therapist. Ick.

2) I came back to a oddly quiet furnace and the following note on the washing machine. “Checked and cleaned furnace. Measured over 400 pm CO in furnace flue at top. Furnace is not safe to operate. I shut off gas and electric to furnace. Do not turn this furnace on.” I’m glad we won’t be gassed in our bed, but oh crap. Crap, crap, crap. Three crappy thousand crappy dollars crappy.

So, NPR:

So I happened to be listening to NPR and hear this story about diabetes. Honestly, NPR, I expected better. Touting inhalable insulin like it’s going to revolutionize treatment, and never mentioning (on air) the downsides to it? And of course, the inevitable type2/type1 confusion. They start out like this:

Glucose control — keeping blood sugar as close to normal as possible — is vital for diabetics. Patients must prick their fingers several times a day to monitor blood-sugar levels. They must also watch their diet, exercise and take pills. And most of them ultimately must use insulin, which is typically taken by injection.

Halfway through they mentioned that they were talking about “type 2 diabetes, the most common kind.” No other explanation of differences between T1 & T2. And a real emphasis on non-drug treatment as a sign of maximizing control: “A daily workout could mean that a patient like Kittredge might be able to cut back on the drugs he takes for his diabetes. So old-fashioned exercise is still one of the best treatment plans around.”

Grrr. And I have to leave the house in an hour and no furnace dude in sight.


July 22, 2006 at 11:21 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, First Comes Love - Then Comes... GonalF?, Home, Sweet Home?, Political Animal | 12 Comments

I wore Pili’s ear out last night, bitching about a letter to the editor in the NY Times. Finally, I said: “Perhaps I should blog about this.” And she, eager to get back to the Escapes section, said, “Yes, perhaps you should.”

ASIDE: There is nothing that gets my dander up more than reading letters to the editor. At least the ones in the NY Times are well written, which is way more than I can say for our local paper, whose letters to the editor generally read something like this: “How dare you say bad things about our President?!? Dont you know we are at WAR????” There are terrorists and WMDS out there in Iraq and they want to kill US!”

In this letter to the Editor, a nurse expresses her opinion about IVF and stem cell research. In the end, we agree with each other. “The ethical and moral obligation,” she writes, “lies with saving lives, not saving potential lives.” Great. Fabulous. We agree.

In the middle of her letter, though, she opinionates about IVF.

“It is disingenuous to support in vitro fertilization,” she says, “and not support stem cell research. With in vitro fertilization, precious health care dollars

ART-SWEET: Whose health care dollars? This makes it sound like the government is paying for IVF, which g-d and our bank account both know is not the case

are spent creating embryos

ART-SWEET: here’s the part that had me spitting out my tasty organic grilled veggies in shock

to satisfy individuals’ selfish need for children who match their own DNA. There are so many adoptable children already born into this world that it seems immoral to create ‘adoptable embyros’.”

A CONFESSION: When Pili and I first started down this whole get us a kid route, I was of the sternest moral fiber. Anything beyond clomid was immoral, I thought. A waste of money given all the kids that need homes. Obviously, somewhere along the way, I changed my mind.

So what bothers me about this letter?

First of all, there’s the typical misunderstanding of adoption. The desire to physically bear children is much more complicated than simply a wish for children “who match our own DNA.” There’s the desire to nurture life within one’s own body – to have that essentially human physcial experience. To know one’s child from before he or she is even born. To control the environment – nutrition, chemical exposure, drug and alcohol exposure – of one’s child’s early formation. To raise a child who knows without a doubt where he or she came from, what his or her medical history is. Not to mention the desire to have a child without undergoing the financial and emotional scrutiny involved in adoption.

But what really gets under my skin is the idea that infertiles are expected, by virtue of the fact that our bodies have not cooperated with our dreams, to forswear those dreams as selfish – the means to fulfill them immoral since adoption is also an option.

Is it selfish for fertile folks to have one, two, three, four… sixteen kids? What about the healthcare costs that incurs? If they want large families, why shouldn’t they “just adopt”? I don’t hear her calling them selfish.

For Cali & Deanna

July 17, 2006 at 9:47 pm | Posted in Home, Sweet Home? | 3 Comments

Ms./Mr. Groundhog (I wasn’t getting close enough to those claws to find out whether he was a she or she was a he. Plus s/he smelled terrible.) has been released into the woods, off the aptly named “Woodchuck Hill Road.” My neighbors may hate me, but my garden thanks me. One down, two to go.

Photo Friday: The Very Clean House in Which I Blog

July 17, 2006 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Blogging about Blogging, Home, Sweet Home?, Meows, Photo Friday | 5 Comments

Very clean house, because Mrs. Vaseline Teeth came over today and did the home visit! She seemed very pleased with the house, with my peppermint ice tea and zucchini bread, and with the cats, and was her general agreeable non-questioning self.

Thanks to the wonders of laptops and wireless internet, I blog all over the house.

I blog in bed. With (from L to R) the laptop, the fan (because it’s damn hot), Bart, Pili’s knees, and Idli.


I blog in my office. Pili and I share an office; I have this cute little alcove at the south end of the room. Go to flickr to see all the commentary on this one.


And in the winter I can frequently be found blogging in front of the fire.


Note the happy hanukkah lights!

Updates, updated

July 15, 2006 at 1:06 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, Home, Sweet Home? | 8 Comments

Someone (who hasn’t updated herself since she dropped a big bombshell a couple of days ago) nagged me about updating. Ever the dutiful blogger, I shall.

The meeting with Mrs. VT was fine. She quizzed me about my family, didn’t appear to have read my autobiography with much care (No, Mrs. VT, I don’t have any siblings. I did mention that a few times in my autobiography, I believe), asked me what I thought the strengths of our relationship were, told me lots of stories about all the couples she’s helped, and asked me how I thought I would handle it if our child turned out to have a disability.

Wait a minute: Throw him in the trash was not the right answer? OH CRAP.

The conference proposal is almost done, and I got an extension until Monday.

Monday is also the day VT comes to our home. We’re taking her at her word that she is not showing up with white gloves on, although I may have to bake some cookies. Mostly just to see how quickly Red Riding Hood can cream butter and sugar, of course.

But the happiest news of the day? Sorry for the crappy photo, but I must report that I Have a Hart. I also have one fewer groundhog in my backyard.

Groundhog, Interrupted

p.s. Calzones were filled with ricotta, mozzarella, a variety of lovely greens from our CSA, onion, and garlic.

In which I apologize to a rodent

July 8, 2006 at 11:53 am | Posted in Home, Sweet Home?, Political Animal | 4 Comments

My sincere apologies, Mrs. Groundhog

May I call you Mrs. Groundhog? I assume you are female, as I’ve seen you frolicking with two equally fat little ones, and wikipedia assures me that the male of the species abandons you after the birth of the little ones. (Pig) Perhaps a simple Ms. Groundhog would suffice? Or does New York State extend marital rights to rodents – as long as they’re heterosexual rodents? It certainly seems like your relationship could use some statuatory encouragement towards stability (assholes, assholes, assholes).

You’ve had a grand old time devouring my liatris, making mincemeat of my yarrow, and decapitating my coneflowers.

The liatris

Hopefully the havahart placed strategically amongst the baptisia, leading directly to the hole under the fence that you’ve dug and redug multiple times, will shortly result in the end of my acquaintance with you and your kids.

So long, it’s been nice to know you.

What’s that? Ah yes, the apology. While I have been an eyewitness to some of your more heinous crimes, yesterday, I blamed you unfairly.

In my heart of hearts, I knew you weren’t the culprit. But it wasn’t until I saw the calling card, left so generously in the lawn weeds, that I knew who it was who chomped on my tomato plants, beheaded my raspberry bushes, and took the buds off my phlox.

Damn Deer   Phlox, bitten off in its prime
Damn Deer II   More tomato damage

The calling card
Bastard deer.

Did I ever say I was in favor of gun control? Did I really say that you were cute as I saw you grazing peacefully on the other side of the fence?

I lied.

Some pictures of what my pride and joy, aka what Bambi is trying to destroy:

The garden I

The garden II

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