Monday, November 29, 2010

Please Be OK

For the past three days, the small, sweet dog who is the fourth member of our household has been curled up in a ball, in his crate. He's been given the comfiest pillow, and the choicest of bland foods (scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, chicken broth, plain white rice). He won't eat. He won't drink.

He's also been signaling with bile and blood that there is something terribly, terribly wrong with him. We had a Saturday late-night visit to the emergency vet (the second in three months -- the first was for Dog #1) and had hoped that something would pass, that it was a rawhide that went in the wrong way, or an "indiscretion," as they call it, with some kind of food. But maybe it's worse. Maybe it was a nail or something poisonous. We were kind of amused with the things that would turn up in his crate -- candles, bras, plants, matches, batteries, screws, pages of books. Now that seems totally horrifying.

Even curling up in bed with us -- his holy grail -- is of no comfort. He just wants the crate.

So Steve has taken him to the second vet for the serious look. The X-ray. The deeper dive. They are there now.

I remember reading an old Dear Abby about a woman who spent her marriage complaining about her husband's terrible snoring. When he died, she would have given anything to have him snoring next to her again.

Today, I wish that Cinco would jump up and down and squeal with delight when we come in the door. That he would be stealing and ripping apart my underwear. That he'd take a mischievous pee in front of the door right after we'd brought him back from a walk. That he would wriggle around in the down comforter with us on the couch, watching a movie, until he settles down and breathe slow sighs of peaceful sleep on my chest, his cold little nose buried in my armpit.

I want my little hell-raiser back.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take the Survey!

Hey everyone, I'm working on a book about -- you guessed it -- turning 40. I'm at the very beginning stages of some research and I hope you'll take a few moments to fill out this survey. It doesn't matter whether you're under or over 40, or a woman or a man, hate it or love it.

Survey is here.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Year as Measure

Watching salmon is hypnotic. You should seriously try it sometime. Everything else becomes small and not as important.
A year ago Stevie and I were on our way to Washington, dog in tow, making the long, cold journey home for Thanksgiving to see my family and scrape up oysters from Uncle Seamus' beach. We hiked up Lilliwaup Creek with Amanda and all the kids and watched salmon fight their way home to spawn.
This year we have two dogs, and we'll have a small TG with our neighbors and a couple friends here at home. Where there are palm trees and its 80 degrees outside. And I will cry slow, soft tears of missing my family.

A year ago I had just finished my adoption profile. My brand was along the lines of "even though I am single, I have an amazing network of friends and family. And even though I live in a simple apartment, I am big-hearted and creative and me and the child you give birth to will have a rich and beautiful life together."
This year, Steve and I have created a profile together. Our brand is and better, stronger than mine alone like we don't have to convince someone so hard how lovely their child's life will be with us as parents. Because it will be, and they will know it when they meet us.

A year ago I hadn't started on my book.
This year, I haven't started on my book. But I'm gonna.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Am a Creature of My Genes

Soup, anyone? Also, I made this apron from two old thrift-store skirts. Sewing is also on the desired list of indoor Samhain activities.
The Celts don't fool around when it comes to seasons. There's Imbolc in the spring -- think Maypoles and such -- and rolling in around Halloween we have Samhain (pronounced kind of like "sown"). It's a time to go inside. Inside your home, inside your family, inside your mind.

I'm right on target. Even though this crazy California weather feels like April in Seattle, the thought of going out fills me with dread, as I think about the piles on my desk that are part of a high-minded refiling/reorganization project. I want to get back to our bathroom remodel, which, at this moment, has beautiful new tile, snowy white trim, and yards of blue painting tape in preparation for the main event. The spare down comforter has made its seasonal migration to the couch, where we and a dog or two lounge like bears and watch Katherine/Audrey Hepburn movies. 

I will eventually call you back, or make that plan with you, or come see your New Thing. But I hope that you understand I am in a mental nesting phase. I can't help it. I'm Irish.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Respecting the Process

This is what it is like to have a baby after 40licious, no matter which way you get it.

Here's a big difference between being 40licious and younger than that.* When you are 7 or 15 or 20 or 33 or even 38, you want what you want now. You want it to happen when you deem you are ready and you will do anything you can to make it happen. Make those phone calls, fill out those papers, get good and feng shui'd, say some prayers, organize and ready yourself so It can happen. Whatever It is to you.

But eventually, you come to realize there is a process -- and you learn to respect that process. This is for a lot of Major Life Events. Like marriage, for example. Thanking all the stars in all the galaxies all the time that I didn't marry the person(s) I really, truly thought I wanted to be married to after a rollicking first three months. And even in my current very new marriage, there was a lot of process that had to happen -- over the course of a year and a half -- before we figured it out.

But tonight I'm referring specifically to adoption. Our adoption. I'm laughing a tiny bit in my head thinking about a couple who signed on with our agency and, upon the first meeting with the social worker, demanded that they have their child "before the holidays," a scant few weeks later.  They laugh about this now as well, several years into it.

Steve and I are all set with our requirements -- together, as a couple. We've filled out every paper, taken every class, called in our favors for referrals, and created what will hopefully be a compelling profile to prospective birth parents. I think they spread out all the classes and make the paperwork slightly overwhelming to weed out the folks who don't really want it.

And now we wait.

We have beautiful, lovely, empathetic friends who squeal with delight when we tell them where we are in the process. We're done with everything -- except the waiting. "When will you know?" they ask.

We could get a call tonight telling us to go to the hospital and pick up our baby. Or it could be two more years and lots of "dates" with birth parents to see if the right chemistry is there.

It's nutty enough to not know when your baby will arrive, or not knowing if it will be a boy or a girl. The only way to go through something like this is to make friends with each stage of the process -- the required class time, the paperwork, the profile writing, the interviews with social workers -- and the waiting. It is not the hardest part, nor the easiest. It is just a part.

* I am speaking of myself. It is my blog, and that's what I do here, mostly. When I refer to "you," of course, I am referring to myself. And maybe some other people who are of a similar experience.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Bathroom before: I don't know what I was thinking five years ago when I chose this tile. Actually, I was thinking that if I couldn't get it at Home Depot, my wild fantasy of white subway tiles didn't exist.

We are making joint decisions about things little and big. Like the decision to stay where we live now instead of pack it all up and move closer to the beach and Steve's parents. At least, for now. The tradeoff: make our home, our modest 1947 condo that I bought at the absolutely wrong time in history, an amazing space. Which means re-tiling the bathroom and giving it a classic, beachy feel with subway tiles and barely blue paint, consulting with our neighbor about practical and stylish storage solutions, and painting pretty much any piece of furniture we find on the sidewalk white. You'd be amazed at the perfectly good things that people throw away in Glendale. Steve's mom loads us up with decor magazines she gets volunteering at the library each week. Those help.

I suppose we're nesting. Which is strange to think about -- a 49-year-old man with teenage daughters, a grown son, and a toddler grandson. And me, 40licious, who'd just as soon traipse through a tropical jungle halfway around the world than stay home for Christmas. We're getting closer. Our agency has posted our profile on the chance that it might pique interest from a birth parent who is interested in placing her child for adoption.

The dogs think that this is all for them. Trips to the home-improvement store! Mama staying home to keep an eye on the tile guy = extra attention! We'll let them go on thinking that for now.

Our bathroom as it is now.