Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Advice From an Idiot...

Don't get six of your traveler's vaccines at the same time. No really, Don't. Even if it saves you an extra visit fee, Don't do it.

I have been violently ill since having my shots yesterday afternoon. I am an idiot.

I am too ill to blog about Big Sur, or anything else for that matter. Learn from my bonehead mistake. I don't want anyone to feel like this.

Also, make sure not to have a 'third time's the charm' pap smear right before said shots. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It is the Star to Every Wandering Bark...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Today I am headed HERE to see two dear friends tie the knot.

In California (and Massachusetts), Love does not discriminate.

Today is one of those rare days when I feel proud and happy to live in California.

Friday, September 19, 2008


My blood is boiling a bit. I just read an article on the opinion page in the Los Angeles Times. Regardless of how you feel about same sex marriage, I am sure you will find the words offensive. In a nutshell, and please take the time to read it, this man believes that the best thing for children is growing up with a 'biological mother and father.' The article offends me on so many levels. Since my comment could be only 650 letters, please lend your support too. In his perfect world, none of us, adoptive parents, single mothers, homosexuals, infertiles, should be raising children.

Here is the article
. I hate to even link to it here, but I need your help.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT to add: THEY WON'T PUBLISH MY COMMENT!!! Now Julie is really mad.

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is...


Gabrielle turns one today. I have known her her whole life.

Gabby's official nickname is Gigi, but I call her Gabby. Gigi seems too, I don't know, French.

Gabby is an excellent friend.

She'll meet me at a moment's notice for Chili Verde at my local greasy spoon...

She shares her toys with me...

She holds my hand during dinner...

She likes Steven...

And she loves Teddy...

Recently Gabby did something incredibly thoughtful...

How on earth did she know that Steven's mom met Steven's dad in Israel? How did she know how meaningful this present would be? I suspect her mom and dad put her up to it.

How will my adoption impact Gabby?

Gabby is the only one of our friends who has actively begun studying Amharic in order to better understand our children. She thought it would be helpful to learn some key words...

Word number one: WUSHA.

Word number two: ELMOH.

My kids will be lucky to have Gabby as a friend.

I can't wait.

Happy Birthday Gabrielle. Please save me a few Elmoh cupcakes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anniversary Song.

First Meeting...

Best Man & Maid of Honor. October, 1994. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Five Years Later...

Bride & Groom. September 18th, 1999. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In the interim...

Living in Sin on Agua Fria Street. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

To Steven,
Today and always, I am grateful for the gift that you are, and the life that we share. Happy Anniversary.

To my Cyberspace pals,

Grab your honey, press play, sing along LOUDLY.


Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful
As that of the rain-soaked purple
Of the white birch in spring?

Have you ever felt more fresh or wonderful
Than on a warm fall night
Under a mackerel sky,
The smell of grapes on the wind?

Well I have known all these things
And the joys that they can bring
And I'll share them all for a cup of coffee
And to wear your ring

Have you ever had the pleasure of watching
A quiet winters snow slowly gathering
Like simple moments adding up?

Have you ever satisfied a gut feeling
To follow a dry dirt road that's beckoning you
To the heart of a shimmering summers day?

Well I have known all these things
And the joys that they can bring
And Ill share them all for a cup of coffee
And to wear your ring

And I don't know how I survived those days
Before I held your hand
Well I never thought that I would be the one
To admit that the moon and the sun
Shine so much more brighter when
Seen through two pairs of eyes than
When seen through just one

Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful
As a face in a crowd of people
That lights up just for you?

Have you ever felt more fresh or wonderful
As when you wake
By the side of that boy or girl
Who has pledged their love to you?

Well I have known all these things
And the joys that they can bring
And now every morning there's a cup of coffee
And I wear your ring

Monday, September 15, 2008


Steven and I attended the festival in Little Ethiopia Yesterday.

The highlight was having dinner with Lori and Abe. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have...

Abe's self-portrait.

Abe is beautiful, happy, and a bit of a flirty McFlirterson. Here is some of Lori's poetry. Lori and Ted are participating in the Charity Water campaign. Here is the link. They are well (no pun intended) on their way to earning enough for an entire well. Somehow Los Angeles seems to be a better place with this family in town.

Also, we picked up something for Moses and his new group, "Rescue Mutts For Obama." I am hoping he lets me borrow it.

Happy Monday!

P.S. In case you haven't seen it, here is more info on the Charity Water Campaign...

The September Campaign Trailer - www.borninseptember.org from charity: water on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Heather!

Today is my best friend's birthday. Here is her feature.

Here is someone she likes very much...

And here are some of her new paintings.

I love you Heather. Happy Birthday.Wish we were there to celebrate with you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grief...It's What's For Dinner.

Note to self... Do not put anything on your blog, even as a comparison, that you might end up needing. This is why, in the future, you will never see this, this, or this here at the eyes of my eyes.

So where are we on the Kubler-Ross graph? Who knows.What I do know is that people deal with grief in different ways. Some cry. Some are too stoic for crying. For some people, grief manifests itself in the sciatic nerve, the stomach, and in a 60 hour bout of the hiccups.

Sometimes people turn to new, strange hobbies...

That's where Steven is today, beekeeping.

I am okay. I am okay until little things creep in. Like overhearing this...

Steven, to his brother Mark who is in Phoenix cleaning out the house: "Yeah, those are African animal cookie cutters. She must have just bought them."

All I can do at that moment is whimper softly from the couch,"Please hold on to those."

Or reading this in a card," You took such good care of your mom just as she took care of you."
That one really gets me. I can't even type that without crying.

There has been a big hullabaloo lately over at my adoption agency's online forum. For a lack of a better phrase, people are losing their shit. There haven't been referrals for months, and people are panicking. Wait times have been extended, and families are abandoning ship for agencies that promise faster placements. I am avoiding the chaos. There is less of a sense of urgency now for obvious reasons. I realize that there were three of us waiting. This is the excitement order: Me, Chris, then Steven. Now that my co-captain in waiting is gone, I think I have lost some of my enthusiasm. Part of it is a fatalistic, "It is probably not going to happen at all," feeling. I guess that would put me in the depression stage huh?

One morning, before Chris died, Steven and I had the following conversation. It was 6:00 am.

Steven: I'm wondering...Nah, never mind.
Me: What?
Steven: It's too early. Never mind.
Me: No, go ahead. What were you going to say?
Steven: I was wondering if we should just print up a picture of two cute Ethiopians and show them to mommy.
Me: I was thinking the same thing! But then I worried, what if there really is a heaven, and she knows we lied to her?
Steven: I was thinking the exact same thing.

In our house this is big. For a lapsed Catholic, and a lapsed Jew to suddenly have a strong inkling that there is indeed a heaven, it's a big thing. Maybe we were just trying to make ourselves feel better. Nonetheless, we agreed that although it was tempting to show Chris a fake 'proposal' and make her a grandmother before she died, it wasn't a good idea.

There are things that have helped in the past couple weeks:

A day with this guy...

A musical package from a friend...

All of your prayers, thoughts, comments, poems, and quotes have been extremely helpful. This one in particular from Jana...

"This may seem weird but I couldn't help but think that having the sweet love of my life singing and whispering in my ear while I passed away would hands down be one of my biggest "dreams come true". People spend their whole lives chasing after that kind of intimacy and Chris had it."

I never really thought about it that way. Maybe Chris was lucky in that she had an intimacy most people crave and don't receive.

The greatest solace of all, I think, is a new image that I have created in my mind. It is of Chris finally joining her soul mate again after many, many lonely years.

He is waiting for her. The door is open. She climbs in. They sit together coffee in hand, and watch their grandchildren's story unfold. They aren't worried that it is taking too long. They have faith that it will happen. They know that someday their son, his wife, and their Ethiopian children will use those cookie cutters. They are omniscient and beautiful. They suffer no pain. They are together at last. It is a heavenly day.


That would be nice wouldn't it?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is....


This a picture of my cousin Maura catching the bouquet at my wedding.(Doesn't my sister Kate looked pissed that she didn't catch it? Kate, you cannot catch flowers while holding a screwdriver. Rookie mistake.)

These two young women have a lot more important things on their agendas than getting married. Getting married can wait.

I am proud to say that my cousin Maura is a 'VETERAN FOR OBAMA.' She was recently interviewed by PBS. Here is part of what she said,

MAURA SULLIVAN, Former U.S. Marine Corps Officer: "You know, Gwen, it's interesting. When you first join the Marine Corps, one of the first things you do is learn about our leadership traits. And there's 14 of them. We are taught justice, judgment, integrity, courage, unselfishness.

I think Barack Obama has the courage, the integrity that I saw in the greatest leaders and in the greatest Marines that I served with overseas. And he's demonstrated that he knows his people and he looks out for their welfare."

Here is her bio as it is written on Obama's website...

Maura was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois and attended Northwestern University on an ROTC scholarship. After graduating, she commissioned into the Marine Corps, serving as a logistics officer. Her first assignment was to Okinawa, Japan where she traveled through Southeast Asia on military duties. Maura deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2005 and served there with distinction. Upon separating from active duty, Maura began a joint degree program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, where she remains currently.


I am not surprised, this is her mom.

Here is what Maura said about Obama on Military.com...

"Some Republicans say Obama can't lead because he has not served a day in uniform," said former Marine Maura Sullivan, who served in Iraq and now attends grad school at Harvard. "One of the Marine Corps' principles is know your troops and look after their welfare. I think Barack Obama's service in the neighborhoods of Chicago translates perfectly to the service he would be able to give as commander-in-chief."

How will my adoption impact Maura?

I hope that someday in the near future, my kids will be guests at one of Aunt Mary's Sunday dinners. I hope that on that night, Maura is back home for a visit. I hope that my kids are able to throw their arms around Maura, and thank her profusely for helping to bring much needed change to a country that they now call home.

I can't wait.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy New Year.

Melkam Addis Amet!

Some daisies for you on the Ethiopian New Year.

is more info on the holiday.

We are planning on going here to celebrate...

See you there?

Also, since it is supposed to be a holiday filled with dreams and hopes for the future, here is Moses enjoying one such hope, in its full, figtastic, fruition...

And you thought I was kidding when I said we planted it for him.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When You Lose Something You Can't Replace...

Where to begin?

There is so much that I want to say, and so much I should probably keep to myself. I will say this, Thank You for your support. You guys are amazing. What would I do without you?

I can’t really talk about August 30th without talking about Pip.

At the very beginning of June, I showed up at a friend’s birthday party without Steven. Pip wanted to know where he was, and when he would be back. I explained to her that his mom was sick, and that he had gone to Phoenix to take care of her. I ended up hitching a ride home with Pip and Squeak. In the backseat, wedged tightly between two car seats, we re-hashed the highlights of the party. Pip reached into her goody bag and pulled out a green yo-yo she had received as a party favor. “Could you give this to Steve?” (Steven never goes by 'Steve', in Pip’s case, however, he makes an exception). I sent the yo-yo on to Phoenix in a care package that consisted mostly of all things ginger. Ginger is great for chemo-induced nausea.

When Pip and Squeak came over in July. We talked a lot.

Pip: When is Steve coming back?
Me: I’m not sure.
Pip: Aren’t you scared without him here?
Me: Nope. The house is safe and I have these two big dogs keeping me company.
Pip: But aren’t you scared at night, all alone without Steve?”
Me (wavering a bit) Uhm, no I’m okay.
Pip: But isn’t it scary when it’s really dark, and you are all alone and Steve is not here?
Me: Well, yeah actually, now that you mention it, I guess I am a little bit scared.

Conversation two..

Me: I’m so happy to see you guys. I just love you guys.
Pip: Why do you love us? You’re not our mom.
Me: You’re right; I am not your mom…
Pip: You are just our best friends.

Did I mention that I love Pip and Squeak?

August 30th was the monthly Ethiopian Adoptive families play date in Little Ethiopia. Steven reluctantly agreed to accompany me.

Pip completely lit up when she saw him.

Pip:(half joking in reference to the newly acquired soul patch) Are you Steve?!!!

Steve:(half joking in reference to Pip looking significantly more toothless than three months ago) Are you Pip?!?

Pip gives him a huge hug.

Pip: Wow, you were gone for so many years. How many years were you taking care of your mom? You look so old.

Steven does look older. Older, gaunt and grief stricken.

We take our seats around the messob, Pip leans over and quietly asks, “Did Steve get the green yo- yo?”

I assure her that he did.

Throughout the lunch, several tiny Ethiopians throw their arms around Steven welcoming him home. It was such a wonderful thing to see; A glimpse, hopefully of the future. The thought of these beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful kids meeting the children that we would be entrusted with, was almost too much to take.

When we got home. We had a message from our neighbors. They wanted to know if we could babysit that evening. We were happy to welcome our twelve-year-old neighbor over to our house. She ran back home early on to grab her guitar.

Steven showed her some new chords. She showed Steven how to play, ‘Smoke on the Water,’ and ‘Paint it Black,’ (which were funny choices for our very proper, very well behaved, very Catholic twelve year old neighbor.)

We introduced her to one of the world’s best movies, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. We ate pizza and chocolate chip cookies. She ran home to get three vanilla cokes. We finished off with a couple daring games of Jenga.

The whole day, at least to me, felt like a Future Love Paradise day; a day when we were parents at long last.

Our friend went home with her parents. We got sleepy on the couch and went to bed. We were restless and couldn’t sleep. We were talking about Chris, and I asked Steven to tell me how she would die. Mark called from her bedside a few minutes later. She had died while we were talking. Mark was there, holding her hand, telling her all about the things, we her children, and her grandchildren were going to do in the future. He sang softly to her as she took her last breath.

My husband has lost both of his parents. He will turn forty this year, and most likely will become a father.

All that I can say is, batten down the hatches.