Other Posts

27 07 2011

I have some posts in my head and they are trying to come out.  I thought they might make it to my fingers today.

But, alas, I just received news that another friend of mine succumbed to cancer this morning.

My posts got sucked back into my brain.

My energy got sucked back into my heart.

My friend Bonnie fought the good fight.

Bonnie’s life was not always easy.  A large, masculine woman, “out” before her time, she followed her passion saving animals’ lives for years (and made very little money doing it).  As a devout Christian, she believed in a religion that other people used to ostracize her.

I hope her heaven is everything she thought it would be.  I hope that the tens of thousands of animals she helped in her lifetime are there to greet her.

And I know her precious dog, who was her constant companion at both home and work for many years, and who also left this world on July 11th,  is there waiting to walk alongside her.

Bonnie – May you find God to be everything you were expecting.  May you know the many hearts and lives you have touched in this life.  May you rest in peace.

Fuck you, Cancer.

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Wordless Wednesday

27 07 2011





Wordless Wednesday

19 07 2011

While I was cleaning the house, I lost track of him for four minutes. Time enough to move a chair, climb up, find cookies... When I walked in the room he held one out to me, like I could be bribed into not getting mad. (It totally worked.)

I took the photo from this angle, so you could see he had also already turned on the water. I don't think he was trying to flood the kitchen, I think he was using the noise of the running water to cover up the noise of him opening the cupboard, getting down the NEW bag of cookies, opening it, and muching away.





Ask The Parenting Expert

18 07 2011

Okay, I am SO clearly NOT a parenting expert it is scary.  But there are a few situations where I have lucked into some pretty good experiences and therefore have the ability to provide sound advice.  These are not areas that will keep your kids healthy, safe or trauma free, but if you are going on an airplane, I might have a few tips. After all, PJ had been on 21 different plane rides before she turned two – the vast majority of those trips were she and I, sans SAG.

Last January, when a friend picked up two of these “plane toys” for my kids, I lucked into another great tip.

They meet all the criteria for a great traveling toy:

relatively quiet, light-weight, easy to pack,

cheap, they inspire creativity

and if the kids start smacking each other things with them, it doesn’t do any real damage.

We have really enjoyed them.

There is huge value in that.

But I like to SHARE.  I want to be a Parenting Expert or at least be able to provide one small, but valuable, traveling-with-toddlers tip.

In order to be able to share my wisdom, I needed to know the name of the toys.

Problem is, when my friend gave them to me they had no tags on them.  And while I was pretty sure of where she bought them, the store is located in Oregon.  (I may have mentioned a time or two that we no longer live in Oregon.)  And the store has a primitive website. (Maybe there is no such thing as a primitive website, but if there was, theirs would be one.  Maybe not carved on a cave wall, but probably scratched on the back of an animal skin.)  I refused to call the store to try to describe the things because I am punishing them for having a crappy website.

I have tried to describe them to clerks at other stores who all remember a version of them from their childhood but don’t actually sell them.  “They are similar to “Sound tubes” but they do not have fluted ends.  Instead the ends fit together, blah, blah, blah…  ”  One of the challenges in describing them… well, even if you have a clean mind, the description becomes a little, well, let’s just  say, phallic.   After my last internet search (I tried for you, Claudia) for the elusive, not-really-pen1s-like-until-you-try-to-describe-them, airplane-friendly toys, I had pretty much given up.

Then, yesterday, when I was in the chips aisle of our new (and diverse, thank you very much) supermarket, I started laughing because they put the toy section inside the chips aisle.  This seemingly random pairing of merchandise is a brilliant marketing strategy that really should be used by all stores.  If I did store layout I would put the Pepper1dge Farm Milan0s directly across from the Mid0l, the p0rn next to the power tools, and the earplugs and wine near the Elm0 videos.

As I stood there laughing, I, of course, perused the toys. That’s when this store’s revolutionary product placement strategy became the answer to six months of prayer (agnostic mental whining).   Right there on the shelf, across from the Cheet0s, sat a box of THE WORLD’S GREATEST PLANE TOYs.  They were 75 cents a piece and I bought 10!

Now instead of describing them to people, I will just send them a couple.

But, in case you want to buy your own – I have photographed the labels.

(Can’t imagine why I didn’t think to Google “Poof Slinky” or “Pop Toobs.”)

Apparently they are only for kids 6 and older.

For the life of me I can not figure out how a toddler could hurt themselves with one.  So far Little Dude hasn’t managed to do any damage with the thing, and if anyone was going to, it would be him.

Still, I am not putting it past him.  Sometime soon you may see a Thursday Toddler Trick entry with a sub-label of “Pop Toob.”





Sunday Snapshot

17 07 2011





Ethi-Iowa 2011

14 07 2011

(Alternative Titles:  The Video Is Finally Frickin Done or Clearly I Am No Longer A Perfectionist)

Group Travel… the agency that we worked with to adopt Little Dude arranged for group travel for its adoptive parents.

I did not know this when I chose them.  It didn’t seem as important as, say, their ethical record.  Had I known, maybe I would have chosen a different agency.  I mean, group travel?  really?  I am not a Girl Scout.  I don’t want to be part of your troop.

In my mind group travel meant:

not getting the seat I want in the vehicle at all times (thereby risking car sickness)

not being able to eat what I want, when I want

not getting to be the single most important person to our guide (thereby not getting to ask all of my questions the second I have them and not being able to ask follow up questions until I am sure I understand all the information that I need at THAT moment.)

feeling weird asking to go to the bathroom

having to wait for others to go to the bathroom

having to be polite while efficiency goes out the window

efficiency people – EFFICIENCY.  I may not be a total perfectionist, and I don’t think I am all that controlling.   But honestly, just be efficient, your life will be better, my life will be better, we will have more time to relax together (if we want) or separate if we prefer – oh, but this is group travel – is separate an option?

Turns out group travel actually means:

having nine other families who will make meal recommendations and let you try their food

having nine other families who might have toilet paper when you need it

having nine other families asking important, smart questions that you never even thought of

having nine other families to help you keep memories

having nine other families to be with you in the moment, and to help you interpret the moment

having nine other families to share the crazy, joyful, devastating ride that is international adoption

Group travel means strangers becoming friends and friends becoming family.

Our travel group spanned the U.S. from the Bay Area in California, to Washington D.C.  From as far south as AZ and Louisiana, to as far north as northern Iowa.  Five of the ten families are concentrated in the midwest.  And this year, 14 months after we traveled together in Ethiopia, we all prioritized coming together.  For the sake of our children.  For the sake of our sanity.  To touch base.  To laugh.  To support the two families who are already back on the crazy I.A. roller-coaster.  To put thousands of miles on minivans.  To take pictures of beautiful children.  To jump on trampolines. To see how other people live, not just across the world, but a state away.  To eat injera.  To stare at dairy cows.

I tried to make a video of some of the photos.  Making the video took almost as many hours as preparing our dossier – and was equally painful and annoying.

I hope you enjoy it.  It if isn’t the best video you have ever seen, you should lie to me about it.





How My Brain Works

12 07 2011

I think I might have figured out a solution for the video problem.  It will involve two computers and a thumb drive, but I think I can handle it.  HOWEVER, I am afraid it won’t work.  I am afraid it will almost work, I will get obsessed and when my kids wake up in an hour I will be too tied up in my project to want to focus on them.  I am afraid that the friends I invited over at 4 pm will show up, I will ask them to take care of my kids and I will lock myself in my office to try again, and again and again.

Yep, I am afraid my solution might not work – so I am considering not even trying it.

Do they teach this stuff at self-help seminars?

Is there a way to make sure no potential employer EVER sees my blog in the future?

Are you crazy, too?