And The (Liebster) Award Goes To…

26 02 2012

I bet that is one of the most over used blog titles ever.  And I’m not really into movies.  And I am not sure I actually won something but here goes…

My friend, Mel, who was in my first Adoptive Parent training class, has an awesome – if often under used – ahmmm – (although she seems to be writing a little more lately) blog Love Is Aquatic.  This woman has o-pin-ions.  And she has the education, knowledge, life-experience and chutzpah to back them up.

Anyhow, she put me on her Liebster Blog list.  This gives me an opportunity to send some love right back at her and to also pass the love around to five more bloggers.  And really, to pass the love on to YOU.  Because I hope I am introducing YOU to some blogs you have never seen or haven’t checked out in awhile.

The Liebster Blog Award is for blogs that have less than 200 followers so that others can help spread the word about the blogs that they enjoy.

Now I am not exactly sure how to know how many followers any particular blog has.  Some have follower lists, some don’t.  In comparing notes with a friend, we found that her blog seems to get less comments than mine, but has about four times the regular readers. So, as per usual, I will play by the Liebster Rules while adjusting them to fit my whims and minimizing any amount of research I might have to do.
The rules for this simple award are:

1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog.

2. Nominate five other blogs (200 followers or less) by posting a comment on their blogs.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Check out what the other up-and-coming blogs have to offer.

So, here are my nominees:

What Now?  This blog is about a family who just completed the adoption of a 15-yr-old (now 18) who spent the vast majority of his life in the US foster care system.  I do not know this blogger in real life but I hope she is a novelist and screen-writer.  This amazing story needs to be experienced by the masses.

God Will Add This blog is written by my friend, the Captain.  If you want to learn a little about tempting fate (faith?) read about how she named her blog God Will Add when she was adopting one infant from Ethiopia.  She just arrived home this week (two years later) with that little boys’ older biological brother.  Yep – God Will Add – I keep telling her it is time to change the name of her blog.

Adopted.  Life Without A Geneology  This blog has only been in existence for a few weeks.  Its author is … drum roll please…. a teenage, trans-racially adopted girl born in Thailand and living in Canada.  And she is a good writer.  And she is funny.  And I am grateful for her real-time perspective.  Go there now.

Like The Love  This blog is new on my horizon and I am so happy to be following their story as they prepare to bring home siblings from Ethiopia.

The Ways Of A River  I have been following this blogger throughout my entire adoption journey and am proud to now call her a friend – even if we have never actually met.  Her blog has moved a few times and you may be happy when you go here and re-discover her beautiful style.  PLUS, her family’s adoption journey just took an emotional and exciting turn which I am sure she will write about in an inspiring fashion.

Picking five blogs to love is a challenge.  In addition to choosing blogs that I believe have a slightly smaller following tight-knit, group of dedicated readers, I also picked blogs that currently have an exciting narrative due to the course of something that is happening in the bloggers’ world.  There are lots of other great blogs I follow listed on my right side-bar and almost all of them could have made this list (except a few that are just too popular.)

PS  If you want to learn more about the Liebster Blog Award – well, good luck.  It doesn’t seem to have a clear origin – or homepage even.  But if you do Google it, you will uncover many, many, many small blogs that you haven’t seen before.  And they are not all adoption.

I think I could go down the Liebster Blog rabbit hole and be gone for many, many days (just found some inspiring looking vegan recipes.)


Two White Women Talking

24 02 2012

Two middle-age, white women stood talking.  One was a pre-school educator, the other a mother in a trans-racial family.  The conversation started innocent enough.  The mother was hoping to learn the names of the children in her son’s class.  The teacher was joking about trying to remember them all and running through the list of her own children’s names before hitting on the correct one.  The mother relayed having the same problem then commented that she often also confuses the dog’s name and her son’s name saying that they both have black, curly hair.

When the mother looked down she realized she was standing close to the line that divides a physical observation from a racial stereotype.  She was getting used to being close to this line, but was never entirely comfortable there.

The conversation continued and the teacher commented that it didn’t help with this particular class since so many of the kids looked alike.


The mother looked down to see where the line was and felt instantly uncomfortable.

The class was actually very “diverse” including her black son, one very blond girl, one “all-american” brunette, a girl of Hispanic descent, a boy of Mediterranean descent, another brown-haired Caucasian boy, three Chinese-American boys and one Chinese-American girl.

It was clear which kids looked alike to the teacher.

The mother responded, “But they don’t really look that much alike.”

The teacher said, “They all have slanty eyes.”

And then quickly muttered, “Well they aren’t actually slanty.  But they call us round-eyes and we call them slanty eyes.”  Each word was spoken a little quieter than the previous.

At this point the mother was shocked, but also recognized that the teacher’s inside voice had accidentally become her outside voice.  The teacher had lost track of the line.

It seemed to the mother that what started out as a physical description had slipped into what could easily be seen as a racial slur.  The teacher seemed to be reasoning with herself but was speaking her thoughts out-loud.  She seemed to be looking down to make sure she hadn’t crossed the line and was talking herself through the process.  She did not want to be on the wrong side of the line.  She didn’t want anyone else to think she was on the wrong side of the line.  She didn’t even know how she got to the wrong side of the line.

And the mother thought maybe she had accidentally led the teacher up to the line or somehow blurred the line with her own close-to-the-line comment.

The mother was also frantically searching for the line.  Was she on one side of it?  Was the teacher on the other?  If anyone else heard this conversation they would certainly think that neither of these white women even knew there was a line.  Could the mother normalize the conversation and somehow pull them back from the edge?

The mother tried to tell some story from her past about living in a community that had a large Asian population, unlike where she grew up.  And how that helped her start to recognize people’s specific nationalities.

The mother was extra confused because she had wondered herself – is part of the reason she hadn’t learned the kids’ names yet because they were not easily categorized in her brain.  And is part of the reason they were not easily categorized in her brain because so many of them were Asian?   (A double-check later on revealed that she also has a hard time remembering which of the stringy-haired, white girls in her daughter’s class is Emily and which is Emma.)

The truth is being that close to the line, it causes a type of mental vertigo, self-doubt in the mind of a woman who is aware she grew up color-blind only because of her whiteness.  It is easier to be color-blind, or to pretend to be color-blind, then to spend any time near the line where physical characteristics can become racial stereotypes.

The mother wants to get back on her high-horse.  She finds it easiest to see the line from there, at least easiest to see when others have stepped across it.

Some days the mother wants to ride her high-horse as far away from the line as she can get.  She wants to live in the land of the color-blind where everyone isn’t just equal but is the same and no one notices cultural differences or physical similarities.  It is a little boring there because it is hard to celebrate differences and culture if you deny they exist, but it is so safe.  And there is comfort in that fabricated and make-believe safety.

Thursday Toddler Trick – Pinterest Trend In The Making

23 02 2012

PJ is not feeling well.  After a morning at the park where we tried to infect our friends for fresh air and whatever Vitamin D could be absorbed through the cloud cover and winter coats, we came home to sit on the couch and read a few books.

Little Dude is slowly becoming more literary, often his favorite part of reading is turning the pages.  This frequently evolves into a fight over who will turn the pages and how the pages will be turned. Pretty soon instead of reading I am scolding yelling and pages are being ripped gently correcting my children and thinking how grateful they seem to have a sibling.  Following a reprimand loving reminder of behavioral expectations from me, Little Dude stalked off to do something other than destroy library books enjoy literature with his family.

A few minutes later he ran into the room with a more-or-less empty gallon jug of extra virgin olive oil (evoo) and said, “I poured it in the toilet.”

How often do you wish you could actually understand exactly what your toddler was trying to say?  How often do you wish that what you think you understood is somehow not correct?

Here is a photo of the child-proof (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha) lock he opened to get to the evoo.

And here is the empty bottle of evoo sitting on the freshly christened toilet.

The good news; our toilet water now resembles a lava lamp.  Maybe I could start a trend on Pinterest.

Wordless Wednesday

22 02 2012

Lucky Winners

21 02 2012

Sorry it took me so long to post this.  We were out of town.  When we returned I practiced a little procrastination.

I was so enthusiastic about this give-away.  Then it was time to draw the winner and I started to freak-out.

You know how easy it would be for me to cheat?  I also felt this way when I gave away the book, “This Is A Soul” just not as intensely.  Maybe because this prize has a bigger monetary value.  Maybe because this prize was coming directly from Picture It On Canvas and not from me.  Maybe because it would be so easy JUST TO CHEAT.  And I really hate cheaters.  Hate cheating.  Hate it.  I am a little obsessed with fairness, just the fact that it would be easy to cheat makes me nervous.  Who would I cheat for?  My friends who don’t have lots of money?  What about my two friends who just got back from Ethiopia with their new sons? (You can check out their stories here and here.)  Maybe I should have a NEW reader win so they will keep coming back or an old reader to reward loyalty.  The crazy power of being able to cheat made me feel, well, crazy.

Anyhow, I managed my anxiety to the point that I actually did the drawing.  Last night I wrote a name for every entry on a piece of paper.  This morning I mixed them up in PJ’s Valentine’s Bag – awesome to get two uses out of what is essentially a piece of motherhood guilt (Can I throw away her first Valentine’s Day bag?  Why would I store that piece of crap for years?  What kind of mother thinks her child’s first Valentine’s Day bag is a piece of crap?)

This morning after SAG got the kids strapped in their car seats ready to head to pre-school, I made him draw a name.  And of course, I made him let me photograph the whole thing to PROVE I wasn’t cheating.


The winner is Katie W. from Oregon.  (Katie, Blogger won’t let me grab your contact info from your comment, so please email me semiferalmama at yahoo dot com so I can get the details I need from you.)

Now, for everyone else who entered and any other reader who didn’t but wants to take advantage of this cool offer, the 45% off coupon code is feralmama.  The Picture It On Canvas website can be found here.  I am not sure how long the coupon code is in affect.  I will check with the PIOC people and post an update when I know.

I know I will be using it this weekend as soon as I can get organized.

Thanks for playing.

A Little Reward

17 02 2012

Last week I hit my first weight loss healthy lifestyle mini milestone.  To achieve this goal, I basically wore the same pair of (8-year-old) workout pants that make me feel good and look decent for every workout (On average that is a 1.5 hour gym session, six times a week.)

The over-worked and under-washed pants had a teeny-tiny bit of help from a pair of lime-green, super-oversized shorts (terrifying – but, hey, they have pockets).

I did try to work a pair of satiny exercise pants into the mix – but I literally slid off the incline board while the personal trainer tried to make me do some stupid ab exercise my new friend watched me happily tone my core.

On two other days, I donned a pair of oatmeal-colored yoga pants.   The first day they were fine in a yoga studio with no mirrors, as far as I could tell.  But when I wore them the next day to the brightly lit gym and looked in the mirror- well, lets just say my underwear was blue and EVERYBODY knew it (they also knew exactly how much cellulite I have on each thigh).

So, my reward for this first milestone was some new workout clothes.  Lucky, lucky, cheap me… I found the following four items on sale.

A yoga tank top with a built in bra.  (When you look at it in this picture it seems that “tank” in tank-top might be referring to what appears to be bullet-proof cups.)

A pair of running shorts in a color I said I would NEVER wear to workout in again (but they were only $4.99 – and I can wear them when I run outside – no mirrors.)

A cute t-shirt from a popular brand that I would NEVER pay full price for.

And, best of all, a stretchy skort.  It was originally FIFTY SOMETHING FREAKING DOLLARS (because it has a little swoosh on the side).  But I paid – $4.99!!!  I will be happy dancing in my new workout clothes everytime I think about these prices.

So, if you happen to be in the gym, you may recognize me from my 12-year-old humane society t-shirt.  Or, you may smell me before you see me if I am wearing my every-single-day workout pants.  Or, you might not see me at all.  Because in my new clothes, I might just sprint by you so fast all you will feel is a cool breeze on your face.

I know that picture sucks, but I really wanted to brag share.  So please ignore the fact that in the photo the tank top (which might earn the nickname of “Barb1e B00bs”) and the skort look like a bathing suit.  You will have to trust me that the tank has a super cute, subtle pattern on the straps.  And the skort has reflective stripes in a figure flattering place.  I mean, why wouldn’t you trust a person who admits to having both oatmeal-colored yoga pants and satiny jog pants so slick they cause accidents in the gym someone with my fashion sense?

Very Surprised

16 02 2012

No, no one had a surprise party for me.  Actually, SAG tried that once about 17 years ago.  But I happened to have PMS on the day the party was planned.  Party didn’t happen.  I still feel guilty.  I think, for the most part, I am much better behaved these days.

What I am surprised about is that I have not received more entries for the Picture It On Canvas give-away.  It ends at midnight on Friday, February 17th (there is a good chance you are actually reading this on Friday, Feb. 17th.)

I am not as surprised that people didn’t mention the contest on their blogs of FaceBook.  And I do understand that not everybody loves Haiku as much as I.  But I am surprised that every single person didn’t at least just hit the Comment page and write, “Comment” or “Pick Me” of “If I don’t win you are not invited to sit with us at recess anymore.”

I mean, this is a $56 value if you win.  And even if you don’t, you get the 45% off coupon code.

So, now is the time – de-lurk.

I swear, I get nothing from this except the satisfaction of knowing how much I love mine and that you will love yours as well.

Oh, and if you happen to be friends with someone who is in, say, Ethiopia right now picking up her new son (I have at least TWO regular readers/friends currently in Addis – and I know some of you know them) enter for that special person.  I am happy to accept absentee entries on their behalf.

And, if you for some reason just randomly landed on this blog (perhaps you though you were at Pinterest and were looking for surprise party ideas) you can find the details of the contest here.