Monday, August 31, 2009

The things that mean the most

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Can you call fire nature? Is it fair to say that nature is kicking our collective human asses?

Tonight, the fire continues to blaze behind the hills, behind my safe and quiet, tree-lined neighborhood. It's drapes like a big scary necklace around the hills.

There have been no whisperings from neighbors to evacuate, but -- just in case -- I filled my biggest Europe-Israel suitcase with things Lucy and I might need. Jeans. Sneakers. Dog food. Jewelry from people I love. And then the odd things that somehow wound up in there -- a green batik sarong I got in Thailand 18 years ago, but have not worn since. An antique belt buckle from my mother that I'm sure I will have no use for, ever. An accordion file of receipts my accountant wants me to keep.

I went through cupboards and realized I can buy towels. New contacts. Makeup. Skip, skip, skip.

But there are so many paintings. If I had to make a choice, would it be my grandmother's, my mother's, or my original Peter Maxes?

I don't know. I don't want to get into what photos and diaries and art would be salvaged. I can't wrap my head around it all.

I have a feeling that when it comes down to it, in all the panic and the shock, the things you think you'll take are rarely the things you'll actually take.

Except the dog. That's a given.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

California is burning

One of the four fires is just above the hill. Glendale is filled with a sick brown smoke, veiling the mountains. I keep going to Malibu to breathe clean air. In the middle of the night I turned on my air conditioner and woke up a couple hours later to a room filled with smoke.

We don't have to evacuate, but just in case we can't hack it here any more, I copied down all the important info, found a deed and a passport, and packed them away.

It may be California's karma coming up: You steal water, you get fire.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting Ready

My two nephews, 11 and 7, and I did a collaborative art project for the forthcoming child. We took a big old framed picture that my neighbor threw out -- it was of these old-timey Italian men leering at a woman as she walked down the street.

The assigment was to reimagine what could go in the space instead for the baby, and here's what we made.

I love it.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

People Along the Way

This is an ongoing meditation on the process of adopting a child. I'm in the early stages; paperwork is mostly done as I go through a series of workshops and collecting information about myself to prove that I am a good person without TB and that I can drive.

I've met her. The woman who will guide me through, who will answer my questions, who will be there for all the process hiccups. We organized, at first, over BlackBerry and cell phone, organizing common times and places. Finally I drove up to the ornate Victorian building in Culver City that houses the office she shares with several other MSWs and PhDs.

She is my social worker.

She has read the mounds of papers on, likely, very faint copies submitted by my agencies. They are my questionnaires, the outpourings of deep thought and scraping the soul walls to give insight into my background, philosophy, income, history, family, friends, recommendations and the map of possible emergency exits from my apartment. The boxes I checked that made me feel like a shallow, mean person -- will you accept a child with a club foot? operable blindness? inoperable heart malformation?

She clues me in that the agency I have chosen isn't so good about placing infants -- which is what I want -- and maybe I should go with a private adoption lawyer to the tune of $35K. I clue her in that yes, we have to include a pet vaccination record and safety check. She breathes a little sigh of relief when I tell her any race of child is fine, she or he just needs to be healthy. I am defensive about my agency. Don't tell me shit about that. It is all I have, all my eggs are there, in that basket, so to speak.

Maybe we're learning together.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

More TV

I was on national TV today, talking about refrigerator recycling. So fun! And hey, someone hand that woman a safety pin!

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Little Surprises

I'm doubting myself a lot. I'm wondering how I'm going to swing the childcare part of it all when the adoption comes through. I wonder how I will do all this as a single mother -- will I share the curse of my father, who loved us ferociously but struggled with his very big needs for autonomy and freedom during the Me Generation (and all the generations that followed)? Will I be like my mom, with all the ideas and best wishes for us in the world, with no way to make any of it come true? Will I subject the kid to the same irritations as I do my dog -- make her wait and wait for her walk as I finish some rather unimportant thing on the computer, or wipe the counter down one more time?

This weekend I had Eirik and Bjorn, my cousin's children. They are the kids I know the best, the ones who convinced me that procreation is a good thing, and I would take them as my own in a heartbeat if I ever needed to. We swam in a friend's pool and played volleyball on the beach. We watched "Up" at the $3 movie theater in Pasadena and "Paper Moon" at home. I couldn't figure out Eirik's iPod Touch after loading 1,000 songs onto it, and Bjorn had a meltdown on the court.

After the beach and the frozen yogurt I flopped on the bed and went into a trancy nap this afternoon, and came to when Bjorn called my name from the bedroom door, and handed me this.

And I get a tiny, sparkly glimmer from somewhere far away that it will all work itself out.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Best. Wedding. Ever.

I have no plans to get married any time soon, but I feel like I need to start making friends with these people in Minnesota so that they can all be in mine.

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