Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Nashville Wedding

Who says you can't find love later in life?

Mom and I traveled to my cousin's near Nashville over the week-end for my aunt's wedding. We were supposed to leave early in the day on Friday, but I had to take my Jeep in for an oil change. Then she presented me with a pair of dress pants for altering that she wanted to wear at the wedding. I thought she only wanted them hemmed, so I thought, no biggie even though they were lined. Turned out she needed the waist taken in too. Georgette fabric underlined with fine flannel, in addition to the regular lining! 4 hours later (!) I was ready to take the dog to the kennel, then finally, and we hit the road at 5:30 pm for a 4.5 hour drive!

The wedding was at the house on Saturday. My cousin's wife Wendy put the whole thing together, because otherwise, they would have done nothing fancy at all, and Wendy wanted her to have her day. Auntie had eloped at 17 the first time around. She had 6 kids, and has put on multiple weddings for her own children (which I have been part of many times) so on this day, so many years later, and thousands of miles away from our birth homes, we celebrated love again.

And expanded our family

We celebrated a happy day! I was proud of Auntie, she is 73 and snagged herself a 61 year old! Way to go!

Sadly, on Sunday, we had to say good-bye. At least for now!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do What You Must

You will be happy to know, I have abandoned my hillbilly ways, and my front yard is back to normal. I'm sure my neighbors are relieved!

Over the past 10 years, my mantra has become "sometimes you just do what you have to do". Sometimes I find I have to accept things I really don't want to. Like a really old toilet sitting in my front yard.

Yes, it goes against everything I believe in!!!!! But my schedule was absolutely packed with previous commitments on Monday and Tuesday, and the landfill was not open on Sunday. Plus I had to arrange for a truck since there is no way that stuff was going to fit in my Jeep.

So here is how I arranged for the truck. My ex-husband's truck. I asked him if I could use it for Wednesday and he said yes but he would be out of town. However, since his wife would be at home, she could relinquish it to me. However, he forgot to tell her about this. Until I called and left a message for her yesterday morning. Then she called him and got the news. So she was not really a happy camper when I arrived. The truck was in the back yard full of mulch. I had to watch the babies while she went outside and unloaded and brought the truck around.Did I mention it was raining? The 6 month old screamed and screamed, and I was determined to make that STOP which I finally did by finding a hanging mirror and showing her to herself. She got so fascinated she immediately quit the screaming, and then I became her friend. There I was, walking around the house I used to own with my ex-husband's baby, with the other eye on the toddler.

So, I finally get the truck, drive back across the county to my house, and load the truck with the toilet and everything else that went along with it...sink, vanity, rotten lumber, etc. I get my mom in the truck and we drive across the county again, then south to the landfill. I am soooo happy to unload!!!! Then we drive back to drop the truck off, and my mom pretty much insists on meeting the new wife, (new to her, they have been married 8 years!) so we go thru all that. She then has to see the babies and check out the house of course. Finally I get her out of there, and I get back home, in my Jeep, with my mom, to a debris-free front yard.

Sometimes you just do what you have to do!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

At the "O"

A short time ago, one of our visiting moms from the PAC group came up with the idea of taking laminated photos of ourselves/families @home and attaching them to the kid's beds so they would have the
continual reminder and assurance of their forever families during this (long) wait.
Another visiting mom took this picture last week-end of the finished project. It took me a minute to realize the laminates on these beds were of me and my son! Then I realized the items in the center were the photo albums I sent in August, and I was really happy about that because I know how difficult it is to hang onto personal items there.
I feel like I live and die by these pictures that come back from Haiti. A glimpse into our children's daily lives, as we wait for them to come home. And I am soooo grateful for the parents and friends that make the effort to take them and post for us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Almost Finished New Bathroom...And Moms

I have not posted in over a week, mostly due to time constraints. Work has been more of a bear than usual. My mother is arriving today from Boise for a 2 week visit!!! And for the past two week-ends, I have been having my ONE bathroom completely gutted and redone. New subfloor, tub, surround, new toi-toi, new pedestal sink, new fixtures, new paint, new tile....whew, did I forget anything??? I was planning on being completely done, but alas, I still have some painting and tile work to finish. I also have a yard full of rotten lumber and bathroom fixtures that I cannot get hauled until tomorrow! My mom has not been down here to visit me in 11 years, I'm sure she will be real impressed with that! WELCOME mom!

Meanwhile, on the adoption front...I was a little worried about Lovely, in her latest pictures she had on some of the same clothes she wore the last 2 days I saw her. During the summer, they were fine on her but in the latest pictures, they are literally falling off. I also noticed an orange tinge to her hair that I had not seen before, and that was worrying me. I finially called Marie last night and asked her if Lovely had been ill lately, and I told her my worries. She said oh, no no, and then went off on a long explanation that I did not understand a word of, so I just said uh-huh. I did get the no she had not been ill part though.

See, I can be a neurotic mom from thousands of miles away, as well as right here at home!!!!


Please enjoy the video, this was taken by a visitor about 10 days ago. It really gives you the feeling of being there, and how the kids all clamor. Except Widmina. She is, as usual on the side lines. Which is exactly where she was the first time I laid eyes on her. Bless her sweet little heart. And Lovely's dress is falling off. Maybe just a growth spurt?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Nature Walk

I decided to get away from the chaos that is my life this week-end, and take the little dog out to the local nature trail and lake this morning.

After the bridge, the turtle and the ducks, we got to the botanical garden

Then we veered off this nice garden path and got lost in the woods. Which was OK with me because I knew I couldnt really get lost, that I'd find my way out eventually. It was fun, for a minute I was transported back to my childhood when we used to run wild all summer in the mountains of Northern California.

Then my day dream was shattered by the awareness of heavy traffic from a 4 lane highway not too far in the distance, and I knew for sure I wasn't lost!

My son now considers these kind of outings pointless and boring, at least with me.(It would be different if his friends, or his "girlfriend" suggested it) So I have to force them on the dog, but he's OK with that! We hiked around for over an hour. I found myself looking forward to the day when I have my girls here, and we can go out and do these kinds of things together. I will make sure we do it often...before they turn into teenagers!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Please Participate

In Haiti, malnutrition is a major issue, especially for children. It is difficult to get food in many, many cases. Drinking water generally has to be transported, then (hopefully) treated. Parasites lurk particularly in the water, and infect many children. The parasites rob the children of their ability to absorb nutrients from the meager food they receive. This is one reason in Haiti that you see skinny little bodies with distended bellies, kids with orange hair, and an abominably high mortality rate for children under 5 years old. The saddest thing is, parasitic infection is treatable.

Aaron Jackson is working in Haiti to help these children, and CNN is featuring him in their "Heros" feature for December. Please go to this link and vote for him


if he is chosen, he wins a $25,000 award that goes towards funding this project.

Click here to see his video


Please help the beautiful children of Haiti, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere!

Friday, October 12, 2007

76 Days

In 76 days I will be in Haiti again with my girls and hopefully my son will be with me too. It has been 86 (seems longer!) days since I have seen them. I am on the downslope now, so I can start the countdown!

I don't know if I want to wait this long between visits next time. I just dont think it's in any of our best interests.

A visitor took these pictures this week. Wid looks so grown up and beautiful. Baby girl looks just like herself, and beautiful too!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by Jen C, so here goes:

Jobs I have had:Maid, Attendent for Elderly, Waitress, Restaurant Manager, Mom

Places I have lived:Plumas Co.CA, Sacramento CA, San Francisco and the greater East Bay Area CA, Oconee Co. GA

Food I love: Coffee, North Carolina Style BBQ Sauce, Chicken Wings, Artichokes (!) Fresh Clams steamed, with garlic and crusty French bread, Lemon Pound Cake

Places I would rather be: Home (as opposed to work) California (visiting my family) Smokey Mountain Hideaway, Mexico Beach/St. Georges Island, Florida

Movies I love: Walk The Line, Casablanca, Sense & Sensibility, It's A Wonderful Life

Shows I Watch: CSI, Law & Order, E True Hollywood Story (! Do not interrupt me during this one LOL)

Books I Love: "Ice Palace" by Edna Ferber, "1776" by David McCullough, "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold "Seabiscuit"by Laura Hillenbrand, "The World's Most Dangerous Places" by Robert Young Pelton "Under the Tuscan Sun" Frances Maynes, "The Holy Bible" inspired by God

Bloggers I am tagging...

Janet PAC mom

Heidi PAC mom

Monday, October 8, 2007

Water Wars

Thirteen years ago I moved to Georgia and thought I was done worrying about not enough water. In California, it was 7 years of El Nino (wet) and then 7 years of La Nina (dry) then back to El Nino---always too much water or not enough. It was more inconvenient to me when it was drought, because of rationing. You know, flushing the toilet every other. Using grey water on your plants outside. Xeriscaping. Reading local editorials and wringing your hands and wondering if there would be enough to go around.

In Georgia I had to relearn. Always too much water, and heat, which = humidity!!!! Cut your grass at least twice a week--(and what single working mom can keep up with that????) Weeds were abominable! What the holy heck were all these giant insects??? I understood why the early settlers used the slash and burn method! The upside was that everything is green all the time, at least in the summer. It can get pretty cold in the winter, and even snow sometimes. But that makes for more interesting plant life.

OK....gardening has been a big part of my life, even my identity, for 30 years. I realized this week-end I was really angry. Why? We are in the midst of a terrible drought in this part of the South. This has not been a sudden event, we have been working up to this point for several years. I bought my soaker hoses, I refreshed my ground cover! I planted this spring just like I always do, with joy and anticipation. The Easter hard frost was nasty, but we bounced back. My hydrangea bloomed, although admittedly not like they have in the past. But my peonies were fabulous!

I'm not angry about the drought. It happens, it always has. I'm angry because the local municipal officials have turned a blind eye to this. Suddenly with no warning, as of 3 weeks ago, we are in an absolute 24/7 outside watering ban. People are being paid to fink on their neighbors for watering. Anyone caught watering is heavily fined. Who are these elected officials???

These people are paid to manage our local resources, and I find their lack of foresight, planning, and communication unbelieveable.Have they not realized until now, all of a sudden, that we are almost out of water? There were no warnings in the spring, when everyone including me, was planting, as we have done every year during this drought. There was no warning at any time that we would go to a complete ban. It just happened, and suddenly.

Now they say if we don't get rain, we could be completely out of water by December. But they are too afraid so far to impose any kind indoor restrictions. The local politicians are hoping for rain, and/or a bail-out by pumping water from the local river. Which is down, of course!

This is not the river, it's the reservoir...

Bear Creek, barely a trickle and a shadow of it's former self, flowing into reservoir...

This reservoir is about five miles from my house. It services 4 (growing) counties, and at least 250,000 people, including the University of Georgia. The shoreline has receded about 300 feet on all sides. There is that terrible rank fishy smell, from everything that was under water for years, now exposed. The mayor of the city finally rode out here last week, and pronounced the reservoir low (duh!) and the situation dire.

I realized this about myself a long time ago. When I am stuck in angry, there is usually sadness or grief hiding under that righteousness. And that is the the primary emotion I have to deal with. (Ewww!)

I know it is childish, but I am seriously grieving my fall routine of planting and scheming. (Certainly not as much as the local nurseryman farmers, and thousands of local rural folks on wells) I feel like an important part of me is being seriously denied. Yet when I look at the big picture, how important is this in the grand scheme of things? In Haiti, water to drink is hard to come by!

I tried to cheer myself up on Sunday buying some pumpkins instead of mums and pansies to go with my late summer impatiens.(which I admit I am keeping alive illegally---I have let all my other containers go though) The retail therapy really did not work, and that is when I realized I was angry and sad. The plumber is coming this week-end. He does not know it, but we are going to talk about grey water!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Interior Design and Me

Those of you that know me well also know that I have been working for several years on a second degree in Interior Design. It has been an important part of my life and a great experience. I work at a major university that offers this very demanding program thru the School of Art. It was a great honor to be accepted into the art school, and then into the exclusive interior design program. My employee benefit package offers a free tuition program. When I first started this, I was able to take 2 classes a semester, and my GPA was stellar. However, I was promoted several years ago, and it seems my job only becomes more demanding, certainly not less. (Keeping the job and remaining in good standing is a requirement of retaining these benefits) In addition, the course work for this program has also become more demanding as I have progressed. It seemed that no matter how I set up my support system at work at the beginning of the semester, it would take only one small issue to set into motion a downward spiral that would affect my ability to attend class (required) and my classwork. I went to taking one class per semester, and then not taking any classes in the fall, because it is so busy. It also affected my role as Mother, and certainly my personal life. I found myself in the precarious position of sacrificing everything else for job and academia. And I had to finally ask myself if it was worth it. I also had to ask myself if I was too spread out to be able to do anything well.

Now, I hate to give up anything that I believe in. I will resist and fight that idea sometimes to my detriment. But I also hate not doing things well. I am not a perfectionist, but I am all about quality over quanity. It is a bad feeling to when you realize that everything worthwhile in your life is mediocre because you are spread too thin.

I could have made the choice to quit my job and use this adoption money to power through a year and a half of school to finish this degree. I would at that point be able to switch careers, but I had to ask myself, would I be happy with that? I would be at an entry level position with an entry level salary, and as competetive as the design field is, I would be working more hours than I do now. Which might be OK if I didn't have a young teenager at home. I felt like if I chose to do that, I would be doing it only to prove that I could finish what I had started no matter what. I also would most likely not be able to expand my family.

Meanwhile, life was passing me by. I was too busy for it. And life is short. So when the I began truely re-evaluating my life goals last winter, including family and adoption, I began to realize that I just might need to let this go, at least for now. The sacrifices required to complete this seemed too great. I took one last class last semester as I was contemplating all of this. On cue, things at work got stretched, and so did I. I ended up posting the worst grade EVER in my academic career, much to my dismay. And there was not a darn thing I could do to prevent it.

Here is how I have chosen to look at it. Unless the world stops turning as we know it, the university will always be there. But life is happening now, and I do not want to miss any more of it. Completing my family is a much more important goal to me, and on that issue I do have a window of time, which is growing shorter.

As difficult as it was for me to accept this choice, my life now is much richer, and I am much happier now that I have!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Name Game

This will be old news to some, but not to others. A few weeks ago on our PAC adoption group we started discussing what and if we were going to rename our adoptive children when they finially come home. It was interesting because everyone had thought about this, but none of us had talked about it on the forum. It was like opening the floodgates, EVERYONE had something to say.

Haitian names are very beautiful, but many of them do not assimilate well into American culture. I decided to choose French names for my girls because something we have in common is French culture/history. I thought about this long and hard, and even bought a baby name book with 50,000 names in it! The best advice I read in the book was "aim to fall in love with a name".

My goal is to keep their current names as their middle names, and I was looking for French names that had the right sound and syntex when used with their given names. So, presenting, with no further ado....

Elle Marie Lovely

And her older sister........

Simone Widmina

Lovely's given Haitian name is Marie Lovely. I had always loved the name Elle, and just had to find a way to make it fit into the equation somehow. Thought I was being so original, but then Sarah from Utah piped up and said she had an Elle Marie! Great minds think alike, is all I can say.

Then Heidi spoke up and asked me if I had told the orphanage director what I was naming them. No....then I realized what she was getting at. The director's name is Marie-France Simon!

It certainly was not intentional, but there you have it. Only cool chicks have these names!!!!!

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