Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'm back!

I've been scurrying around the blogosphere, commenting up a storm and trying to catch up with all your various goings-ons.

The retreat was wonderful. It was with other people in my field, but not with my co-workers. There were fantastic presenters, very tasty food, and a beautiful, peaceful setting.

SideviewAlfred's Cabin
Misty Lake
Morning Mist

And now I'm home, with my lovely blogosphere and my lovely purring cats and my lovely Pili although she's grading grading grading at the moment.

Oh yes, and I also have a lovely lovely re-notarized homestudy. On Monday morning I will take a break from Yom Kippuring to take ALL the documents to the county clerk and get them certified.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cold Turkey

I am going to a work-related retreat in the mountains for four days.

Cell-phones don't work, and there is no internet access.

If you hear loud shrieking coming from the north woods, it's me, detoxing.

p.s. If anything dramatic happens, like Vaseline Teeth actually returning our phone calls, I have given Pili guest-posting privileges. Unfortunately, I doubt she will have cause to use them.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This was supposed to be...

...a gentle, soothing post wishing all my friends in the computer a sweet, happy, and peaceful new year.

Unfortunately, our pre-holiday meditations were disrupted by the arrival of the notarized copy of the homestudy in the mail today. (Has anyone else noticed that Vaseline Teeth ALWAYS mails things so that they arrive on Friday?) And she always mails them, despite the fact that I've told her numerous times that I work a block away from her office and I'd be happy to go and pick them up.

At first I was so excited. What perfect timing for the holiday. I would go to services tonight feeling almost certain that it was the last time I would be there without a bambino on the horizon.

Then I looked at the notary page. And my fellow Guatemala adopters will cringe when they hear this. The notary's commission for the homestudy? Expires March 2007.

This would be less atrocious if:

a) International adoption was not this woman's bread and butter, and
b) She had not lectured US on the importance of not having notary seals expire any time before the end of the next millenium.

So now she has to find a new notary. She has to mail us a new copy of the damn thing for Pili to sign. Then she has to get it notarized and mail it back to us. We're talking at least a week longer.

This is the last document we need. After this, it's certify, authenticate, and send off the dossier. We even have the cashier's check cut already.

Thanks, Mrs. VT. Happy frickin New Year to you too, beyotch.

Now that that's out of my system, I do wish all of you - friends in the computer and in real life - Jews and non-Jews - a happy healthy and sweet New Year. May it bring peace to all of us, and to our troubled world.

I'm so grateful for the friendship, support, and love you bring to my life.

P.S. Check out my wife's comment on the previous post!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Just click your red shoes

When I talk to people about the adoption, I find myself struggling for the right words. After the adoption, we will bring Guatebaby... home? Home for us. And eventually home for him/her. But for Guatebaby, Guatemala is home. S/he will be used to the smells, the air, the temperature. A drafty old house in the ice box northeastern united states will not yet be home.

How early do you know what home is? Home for me will always be New York. As much as I loved living in the Flat City, I feel a sense of comfort when I am in New York City that I feel nowhere else. The rythyms of people's speech, the way people move on the sidewalk, it's all familiar, innate. I can blend in easily. It startles me to realize we've lived here in Small City for three years now because it still doesn't really feel like home.

What will feel like home to Guatebaby? I worry that all the love in the world will not make him/her feel at home in our world.

Before you rush to reassure me - think about how you feel when you are with Your People. The ones who look like you. Who talk like you. Who understand why baby showers can hurt and that "just relax" deserves a punch in the jaw. Who offer up carb counts with dinner as if everyone needed that information.

I've never had any illusions that we're doing a mitzvah by adopting. We're adopting because we have a child-shaped hole in our lives. Really, it's selfish. I do know that we have a lot to offer: a fondness for fart jokes, one very patient kitty and three who know to run away from small children, an affection for our child-to-be's culture of origin, lots of very eager grandparents, a burgeoning collection of children's books, and of course, love up the wazoo. I just hope that, in Guatebaby's eventual calculation of positives and negatives, that those plusses outweigh the biggest minus that s/he will have to deal with: the loss of family, of culture, of belonging, of home.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A year ago today...

Pili & I were married, in the small seaside town where her family has spent many salt-drenched weekends. Our friends and family wove a chuppah for us out of beautiful colored ribbons. We said our vows in front of a rabbi and an episcopal priest. We danced to a kick-ass klezmer band as a full moon rose over the ocean.

It was the best day of my life.

My dad says that every time he sees a full moon now, he feels happy being reminded of that day.

This past year has been marked by disappointment and sadness. But through it all the joy hangs, like that full moon, almost over-stretched with light. I get to spend the rest of my life with this woman.

Happy anniversary pweet-sea. I love you.

p.s. Flickr friends go here for some pretty pictures.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More Gender Angst

We are so close to being done with our dossier, I can taste it.

What does an almost finished dossier taste like? A mouthful of paper, mostly. Mixed with a dash of hope, a smidgen of fear, a few lingering sour grapes...

But being almost finished with our dossier means that we are this close to the dreaded decision point of circle: boy, girl, either. We thought we knew what we were doing, and then the wait times for our agency changed. A lot.

As I've said before, what I want to do is circle "either" and have it mean "either."

But since wait times for our agency are almost four times as long now for girls as for boys, circling either pretty much means "boy." At the park the other day, Pili and I stared intently (but not too intently) at the playing children. I could not help my heart turning to mush at the sight of the very serious girl and her dad playing catch (shades of me?), standing two feet away from each other as they tossed the ball back and forth and talked - even as I found myself saying, I guess maybe we should just say either... I'll be this close to making that decision, and then I'll back away. And I don't know why. I have close male friends. I'm very close to my father. Why am I so freaked out by the idea of being the parent of a boy-child?

Being the researcher that I am, I turned to my friend Amazon and ordered It's a Boy and Lesbians Raising Sons. I'm sure I'll have more posts once they arrive on my doorstep and I digest them. Any other reading suggestions? Anecdotes?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I just can't seem to escape this meme

In response to my interview question, my Anonymous High School Boy Friend (AHSBF), also known as the significant other of the guy (SH) whose diabetes I had the joyous opportunity to confirm, updated us on his sweetie's diabetes status. He writes:

SH is doing great. Ten days ago after our ER visit (facilited by stepmom-who-works-there; awesome), he went to his new dr here in NY (who he loves), got a relatively small second prescription, and a meter. He was told to test his sugar 3x/day before meals for two weeks and record it, so that the doc can get some data to work with. That, and some diet vigilance, has been working great. His sugar #s keep getting lower (we had a 115 yesterday!), and he *feels* so much better. We'll see what happens once the doctor gets some numbers...

You asked if I have questions: I do, and it's pretty, well, mundane. I'm the one who cooks in our household - a task I love. I'm thrilled to be cooking for two since it makes it much easier to movitate yourself to actually make something yummy. Problem is: we're negotiating both the T2 diabetes, SH's high blood pressure meaning i'm trying to limit salt intake, and we're trying to limit our food expenditures somewhat. It's proving to be a challenging balancing act (thank g-d we aren't veggie -- we'd be hammered). It seems like SH's basic modus operandi is just kinda atkins-lite -- seriously watching carb intake. Cool, but it puts a crimp on some of my tried-and-true food tricks, like making a roast chicken and stretching the meat out for a few dinners by mixing with pasta and veggies. To top it all off, we've got the compounding issue: I'm something of a foodie and SH is a compulsive nosher, so if he's bored or hungry or has a taste for something, he's going to eat it. (To be fair, he has been showing tremendous restraint over the past ten days). So, the rambly question is: any advice on recipes/cookbooks/etc to help negotiate? Steaks and spinach for dinner will get old really really quick; I'm going to have to change my repertoire a whole bunch. Any advice appreciated!
Since I know ass-all about type II eating plans, or type I eating plans for that matter (empty container of good n' plentys in my glove compartment, you are my witness), I'm turning this one over to the comment friends. Can anyone give the boy some good food suggestions or ideas for places to find them?

Also as a result of the interview meme: Diabetifriends, go check out Journeywoman's advice for partners of diabetics. Or better yet, have your partner check it out.

I eager anticipate the remaining answers from AHSBF and Journeywoman and hereby serve notice to Pithydithy (you think being a pregnant academic is any excuse? you are wrong!) and Erin to get in gear and answer already. And the blue ribbon for fast answers goes to Susan.

Oh, and some good news: Ms. Gal finally gave us feedback on the homestudy. Now the ball, otherwise known as my impatient heart, is back in Vaseline Teeth's court. Tick Tock, Tick Tock.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Argh, argh, argh.

Many things are enraging me today:

Adoption: Crawling out of my skin with frustration. Guatemala Agency Lady (Ms. GAL) has still not given us feedback on the homestudy, which makes me think she hates it. She told me to call her today and has not returned my calls. Meanwhile, Vaseline Teeth is tugging on my sleeve wondering why Ms. Gal has not gotten back to us yet. The police clearance has to be sent away to be certified, but Vaseline Teeth won't release it until we pay her part II of her fee, and given her tendency to move slower than a sloth on valium, I'm not doing that until she's made all the needed corrections and given us the corrected, signed sealed and notarized homestudy. Oh, and did I mention that according to Ms. Gal, the timeline for referrals is now twice as long as we were told previously. I'd like to ask her why, but she won't return my call...

President Bush: How does he get away with one day dismissing a congressional report showing absolutely no link between AlQuaeda and Saddam Hussein and the next day linking September 11th and terrorism to the war we're fighting... the one in Iraq. This man is a disgrace to our country, plain and simple.

Monday, September 11, 2006

This Day

Today I am sitting in my pajamas in my parents house in NYC, where five years ago I yearned to be.

Five years ago I turned on the radio in my apartment in Flat City to hear the expressway travel times so that I could decide what route to take to work. Instead I heard the oddly detached voice of the NPR announcer say, "and eyewitness reports confirm that another plane has just hit the world trade towers..."

Not knowing what else to do, I got dressed and left for work. I was on the cell phone with my father when he saw a void and a cloud of dust where a skyscraper had stood. We spent the morning trying to locate my mom, who sometimes went to that area for work - fortunately she was nowhere nearby. I emailed friends from high school I had not talked to in years. Are you okay? Is your family okay? Miraculously, they were. All I wanted was to be there. To hug my parents. To touch my city, my wounded, aching, fiercely defiant city. To get on a plane and be there. Which, of course, I could not do.

Five years later, I hate what has become of this day. A horrible opportunity for our country to see how we were perceived around the world and work to change that image was perverted and twisted into an excuse for war. A war, I firmly believe, which has only turned more hearts and minds against us and created more terrorists. The lives of countless Iraqi civillians matter - as much as the lives of 2996 people who died five years ago. The lives of the lgbt victims Mombian writes about matter just as much as the lives of those unnamed - to us - Iraqis. And so do the lives of the window cleaners, illegal immigrants, stock brokers, firefighters, flight attendants and many others whose stories go told and untold. And a day for mourning and self-reflection has become a day for jingoism and self-congratulation.

Today is a beautiful sunny day in New York, as that day was.

ETA: Check out this poem that Sophia posted.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I get by...

Please go give Sophia some love. She could use a little help from her friends.

Can I just say, IVF is great when it works. But when it doesn't? IT BITES.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bah humbug NPR

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.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More Veggie P@rn & some interview questions

Big Dude

This big guy came in our CSA basket this week. He was promptly chopped up with green onions (CSA), cilantro (CSA), jalapeno (CSA), salt, cumin, and lime juice & made into a delicious salsa.

Big Dude with Mac

Here's Big Dude with Pili's laptop for a sense of scale.

I didn't post the tomato tart recipe because, although it looked purty, I think I've tasted better. But since you insist... I followed this recipe, more or less. I added some pesto to the inside of the crust after the first bake, and then broiled the tart for about 10 minutes instead of serving it with raw tomatoes. Because that seemed weird to me.

On a totally different note:

So about a year ago, I asked if anyone wanted to be interviewed. The rules are: I ask you five questions. You answer my questions on your blog (heh, evil cackle) and then ask if five of your readers would like to be interviewed. They respond in the comments, you ask them questions, they post the answers on their blog and the fun, it never ends.

For Journeywoman:
  • What advice would you give to fellow partners of people with diabetes?

  • What draws you to adopt from China?

  • Toe-may-toe or toe-mah-toe?

  • What was the happiest day of your life? Why?

  • Are you and your husband planning to raise your kid(s) strictly Jewish or will traditions from his family be mixed in? How did you come to this decision?

For PithyDithy:
  • How did a fire-fighter/carpenter & an academic meet and fall in love?

  • Can you imagine yourself living in Bucolia for the rest of your life or do you think you'll move eventually?

  • Okay, assuming the kid has ten toes, ten fingers and everything else inbetween in the right proportions. Do you prefer male or female? Why? What about MrPD?

  • You said you wanted a big family. How big is too big?

  • How are the chickens doing?

For Susan - I promised I wasn't going to ask baby questions. We'll see if I can do it:
  • Do you also hope to give birth someday? If so, how did you decide who tried first?

  • What is your dream job?

  • How do you think having a chronic illness has shaped you as a person?

  • What is your favorite body part?

  • Tattoos, yea or nay?

For Erin:
  • If you wind up adopting - domestic or international - and why?

  • What do you enjoy about teaching?

  • If you could only pick one for a year, which would it be - chocolate or sex?

  • Do you like living where you live? Why?

  • Toe-may-toe or toe-mah-toe?

For ANON HS BF (just answer in the comments, babe):

  • Care to update my lovely readers (and me) on your Super Hunk (SH)'s adventures in the diabetes world? Do you have any questions you'd like the diabetes blogosphere to answer for you?

  • What would you say are the two biggest ways you've changed since we dated in seventh grade?

  • What would you say are the two biggest ways I've changed since we dated in seventh grade?

  • What's the most memorable meal you've ever eaten?

  • What's your favorite airport?

I know that Estelle and Charlotte wanted to be interviewed too, but I am dead tired. So give them some linky love and keep passing the meme along.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I couldn't resist

A little fun with photoshop.

Freak Show

Art-Sweet & Pili go to the fair, or Why America Has an Obesity Problem

But first, I'm sure you have all been wondering what happened to the world's happiest tomato.

Making the Tomato Less HappyTomato Tart
Well, first I made it
Then I made it into
heirloom tomato tart with
parmesan crust.

So I have to write about the State Fair. The State Fair is one of the best things about living in a place where people think that Olive Garden is an ethnic restaurant. This year, I decided to take photographs of all the deep-fried things at the fair that g-d never ever meant to be deep-fried. Witness:

I didn't see them, but new this year at the fair was deep fried spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, served of course, with a slice of deep-fried Italian bread. Now I am as big a fan of fried dough and apple dumplings as anyone out there, and the maple cotton candy that I bought from the maple syrup producer's booth (yes, MinnNice, I totally disregarded my own advice to you) was delish. But I did try a bite of deep fried oreo, least you think I am a big snob who just mocks without trying. And ugh. Some things, believe it or not, were not meant to be deep fried.

There's lots of other stuff at the fair. For example:

I'm too lazy to cut and paste each photo into blogger, so click through to flickr to find out what you're looking at and read my commentary.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hip Hip Hooray!

Just when I was getting ready to go downtown and stage a sit-in at the door of the World's Slowest Social Worker, aka Mrs. Vaseline Teeth, for not returning our phone calls... what should arrive in the mail yesterday?

Our homestudy draft. And a note saying that, yes, she does have the notarized copy of our police clearance letter. And a bill for the rest of her fee. The draft looks good, although Pili had to resist the urge to correct several grevious grammatical errors.

I still wonder whether it would have caused her bodily harm to call us and let us know that it was in the mail?

Coming Soon: The Long Overdue Interview Questions, and a Trip to the State Fair, aka the Home of Deep Fried Everything.