Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

will return next Friday. I know I said that last Friday, but I have three Future Friday Friend or Family Features right here! In The Flesh! I want to spend as much time with them as I can.



Also, I would like to say Congratulations to Daphnee who, (in a secret paparazzi free ceremony), wed her long time boyfriend Julian at the Beverly Hills courthouse.


AND...

A special shout-out to our new friends Lauren and Mike. They leave tomorrow to meet their beautiful son in Addis Ababa. Happy and safe travels to you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Chris...

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's birthday. Here is something she wrote that might illustrate why I love her...



"I have told only a few real close friends, and they are happy along
with us. But mostly I was happy past weekend up on the ranch. Sitting
under a starry sky, with coyotes singing in the distance, and the wind
moaning in the Junipers, and a myriad of stars blanketing my most
favorite place on earth, I thought of my grandchildren. Are they born
yet? Who are they? - I sent good thoughts along the Milky Way to
Ethiopia. I hope they are ok. Will it be important someday that I love
this lonely place because one or both of the children have known a
place like this? Or are they city dwellers, and I will have to wait to
give them a taste of this until they are older? No matter. Whatever
their needs - you (we?) will be able to provide for them. I feel
enormously strong, wide-shouldered, tough, and capable suddenly."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting- Valentine’s Day Edition.

Part III - Where’s your Baby?

FLASHBACK. INTERIOR. Ethiopian Restaurant. Evening. January. Dinner is winding down. Injera is soaked. Hands are greasy.

Pip: Do you have a baby?

Me: Nope. Not yet. We are adopting two babies.

Pip: Oh. Where are they?

Me: Where do you think?

Pip: EEETTTIOPIA?

Me: That’s right.

Pip: Oh.



This Valentine’s Day…

Pip: Where is your baby?

[Me thinking: Please contact my program representative at CHSFS.]

Me: Where do you think?

Pip: Huh?

Me: Where do you think? What country?

Pip: EEEEEETTTTTTTiopia?

Me: That’s right.

Pip: When will your baby be here?

[Me thinking: Please contact my program representative at CHSFS.]

Me: Probably in about a year.

Pip: Oh good, THEN we can be friends.

I think Pip is going to kick my ass to the curb if I show up to see her again without a playmate more appropriate in age, size, and energy level. I’m working on it Pip. I am working on it.

Adventures in Babysitting – Valentine’s Day Edition.

Part II- Bedtime.

Steven, having finally made his entrance with little fanfare, sits with Squeak watching
SuperWhy.


Me: Where’s Pip?
Squeak: She’s in the bathroom.
Me (outside the bathroom door): Pip, you okay in there?
Pip (mid teeth-brushing mumbles) : Yeah why?

She has miraculously started the bedtime routine without any prompting from her babysitters. (I have never seen a child do this). She has changed into her nightgown, cleaned her new ear piercing with Claire’s ear solution. She offers me a cotton pad with said solution to clean mine.

Squeak pops in and gets her toothbrush ready. She, too, swabs her tiny ear piercings.

We go to the playroom for Steven’s Helicopter air show.


It’s a big hit.

After the helicopter’s unfortunate crash into the shoe bin, we all retire for story time.




Me: "I will not eat them here or there…"

Pip: My dad reads it upside down.

I turn the book upside down and continue.

Me: "I do not like them anywhere!"

Pip & Squeak: UPSIDE DOWN!!

I think to myself, maybe Pip's and Squeak’s dad literally gets upside down to read them Green Eggs and Ham ? I scan the house for telltale yoga mats. Maybe he kicks himself up into a yogi headstand for bedtime stories ? I bend myself over at the waist and continue reading:

Me: "You do not like green eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam-I-am."

Pip & Squeak: Upside down! Upside down!

They are laughing hysterically.

I try, unsuccessfully, to become even more upside down. My head is nearly touching the floor. This is making it really difficult to read.

Me: "Sam! If you will let me be, I will try them. You will see."

I try, inconspicuously to right myself into a standing position without the girls noticing.

Pip: My dad does this here. She demonstrates her dad’s facial and hand positions for the very important part of the story:

"SAY! I do like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I am!"

Pip & Squeak: He likes them! He likes them!

They bound around giggling.


Later, when yogi master dad returns home I ask him;

Me: What’s with the upside down?

Pip's & Squeak’s dad: Oh, I just turn the book upside down.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting - Valentine’s Day Edition.

Part I - “Where’s Steven?”

Pip arrives home to find me in her living room. Her entire head and one eye covered by a large, colorful bucket hat.

Pip: What’s going on?

Pip’s mom: Julie and Steven are going to babysit remember?

Pip: Oh yeah, where’s Steven?

Squeak (Tumbling in behind Pip): Where’s Steven?

Me: He will be here soon. He is still working.

Pip: When will Steven get here?

Squeak: When will Steven be here?

The next 45 minutes:

Pip & Squeak: Where is Steven? When will Steven be here? How long does it take Steven? Is Steven coming straight from work? Is Steven on his way now? Will he go home first or come straight here? Will he be here soon? Let’s have pizza. Is Steven on his way? How far away is his work? Is Steven coming now?

Me: I think he is on his way, would you like me to call him and make sure?

Pip & Squeak: Yes! Yes! Call him! Call Steven!

I call Steven on my cell phone and put him on speaker...

Me: Hi Steven are you on your way?

Pip: Whereareyouareyoucomingwhenwillyoubeherewhatistaking so long?

Me: Tell him who it is.

Pip: It’s Pip.

Squeak: It’s Squeak.

Pip and Squeak: Whenareyoucomingwhereareyouwhyisittakingsolongwhenwillyou be here?

Steven: I will be there in ten minutes.

Pip: Yeah! Ten Minutes!

Squeak: Too Loud!! Too Loud!

Me: Okay Steven, the speaker phone is too loud. We will see you in ten minutes.

Pip: We are going to need another pizza.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Future. Love. Paradise.

But if only you could see them
You would know from their faces


There were kings and queens
Followed by princes and princesses


There were future power people
From the loved to the loveless
Shining a light 'cause they wanted it seen...



Check back this weekend to find out about "The Valentine's Day Babysitting Adventures of Pip and Squeak."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

will return next week. I am off to teach the third grade.
(I know, I know- scary for everyone involved, especially ME!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Lummi- 2/14/95 - 6/19/2007
Missing my favorite Valentine on this, what would have been, her 13th Birthday.


Although her activism never earned her a beach within walking distance, there was a magical place just hours up the coast...

video

Here she could run, swim, chase birds and do her most favorite beach thing...

video

Dig.



I never imagined I would miss her this much. She was my loyal Lummi Bear.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thoughts at 1 month officially waiting...

We have been on our agency's official waiting list for one month.

I thought I'd check in at monthly intervals and discuss some things I've learned, and how they make me feel. (Did you think I started this blog solely to embarrass Steven?)
  1. I am emotionally calmer than I have been in years. It is so much easier thinking about when you will have children, as opposed to if you will have children.
  2. I am extremely upset by a new development with our agency. Basically they have discontinued meetings between adoptive families, and the remaining members of the adopted children's birth families. This opportunity to experience some openness in an international adoption is one of the main reasons we chose CHSFS. I am hopeful that they will change their minds and that we will still be able to do this. I feel that is very important.
  3. I suffer from PPP. Premature, pre-scho0l, panic. Yep, I am obsessed with schooling. Los Angeles is a big place, and I want to make sure we choose the right education program for our kids. Of course this is impossible to plan right now, but every school has deadlines and lotteries and waiting lists etc. Do I want them to go to Montessori? Waldorf? Home schooled? Unschooled? Charter? Magnet? Immersion? Good Grief. I don't even know how old they are. They may not be healthy enough to go to school for a long time when they get here. Do they need more structure? More freedom? Who are they? What do they need? (See what I mean? Steven is about ready to kill me.)
  4. I have "met" some remarkable people while blogging. Please check out my links on the right. I am particularly impressed with the sixteen year old "Big Sis Suzy Q " who started a pajama drive for Ethiopian orphans. Did I mention that she was sixteen?
  5. I have a drawer of stuff. It looks this this:
  6. I have nursery art.
  7. #5 and #6 make me feel a little uneasy. After waiting for children since 1999, I am not convinced that I will ever need these things.
  8. I am going to need someone to tell me what these things are for, and if I need them...
  9. Guilt overwhelms me at times. How can I eat/wear/consume/ enjoy so much when so many have so little.
  10. Last night, Steven and I realized that our kids have never been in a movie theater. (Trivial compared to their other needs I know, but it somehow struck us both.) Steven said we should make sure that their first movie is a good one. He said his first memory of a movie was Fantasia. What was yours?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's feature is:


Mark!

My brother-in-law Mark is the person who inspired the Friday Friend or Family Feature.
As I mentioned in November, Mark made a very eloquent speech at our wedding. Here is an excerpt:

“I would like to suggest that as they go down the path of life together, as they face obstacles and problems and questions and difficulties, that, as they had in the past, they turn to each other for the answers, because chances are the other person has the solution to the problem that they have, and you should know that you have a room full of people here, all of these people, this is a lot of people, who support you and love you, and are on your side. Derive strength from each other. Derive strength from us.”


Well Mark, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about this speech, and how many times I have reached out to these people for support. Whether it was asking Phil Farrell where to go for cancer treatment in Los Angeles, or asking Aunt Mary about her two adoptions, or Aunt Jeanette about canine cancer, or Heather about everything else, the moment before I called these people has often been," Remember what Mark said at our wedding.” I always go back to your words. You were right, there have been challenges that have been just too big for Steven and me to get through alone. We are so lucky to have so many people to turn to for love and support. We are especially lucky to have you.




My brother-in law Mark is a tonic. Feeling like you can’t go on? Feeling full of cynicism and despair? Feeling dark and down and stuck in your own wheels? Spend a week with Mark. Just being around him makes you feel better about the world.

Mark is an actor, A HIGHLY UNDERRATED ACTOR. He lives in New York, but travels all across the country for work. You can see him here.

If the world were a better place, this picture would be true...


Mark would have Hollywood in the palm of his hand. Mark is an excellent actor. He is that very rare talent that can be both moving and “big” as an actor.



Hamlet continues, "Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus".

Mark never saws the air, nor does he chew the scenery. When I went to acting school there were two kinds of actors. There were the big, Shakespearean, Musical Theatre type actors, and the naturalistic, Stanislavski trained actors. I always gravitated towards the more realistic style of acting. It is rare that an actor can combine both styles of acting. It is rare that an actor can portray a larger than life character while maintaining a connection to the material that is both honest and revealing. One of my classmates can do it, so can Mark.


Mark’s thesis in Graduate school was a one man show based on the life of Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. Mark wrote, directed, acted and played the piano in this performance. He was phenomenal.


Mark is also a singer. He has a music degree and can sing opera. I believe that, because of his singing, my Irish Catholic grandfather decided it was okay that I was marrying a Jew. Mark sang two songs at our wedding, one in Gaelic and one in Yiddish. My grandfather was quite moved.

Mark is known to burst into song in everyday life. He will sing out, in a rich deep baritone, “Julie, Julie why won’t you tell me, why oh why is your dog Moses so smelly?” The most mundane words will suddenly sound appealing and hilarious. (That last ditty is a poor example because I wrote it and Mark didn’t).

Although he doesn’t saw the air on stage, he is a complete ham in real life.


As he would say, “That is just part of the wonder that is me.”

Random facts:

Mark loves to read. He is always stealing my books...


Mark naps like other people sneeze; randomly, often, and anywhere. It is downright narcoleptic.



Mark can eat...a lot...



Mark likes to hike.

Here is a picture of me on one of Mark’s hikes...


Yep, I am collapsed and weeping.

I like to hike too, but he is a hiker. I don’t usually break down and cry like a baby on a hike, but between the Coloradan altitude, and my screaming calf muscles, I just couldn't go on. Notice how sympathetic Mark is. This hike will be forever known as "Death Hike 1999."


How will my adoption impact Mark? Mark played a pivotal part in our decision to adopt from Ethiopia. How? Ethiopia offers the opportunity to adopt siblings. Mark, (and Kate and Bubs for that matter) have shown us how very fortunate we are to have brothers and sisters. We want our children to have a relationship like that. We think it is important. Our kids will have already lost so much.

We want them to have each other to lean on...


We want them to have someone to share peanut butter with...



We want them to have someone to be silly with...



We want them to have someone like Mark.


Steven said that of all the people we have told about our adoption plans, Mark has been the most excited. I guarantee that Mark will be "The World's Greatest Uncle."



I can't wait.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I am counting on you....




It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

will return next week. Meanwhile, I would like to add a "Person I wish were a friend or family member" to this Friday feature. Today I select this man: