Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Struggling for Hope

I'm lucky.

I don't have to work on Fridays. My schedule entitles me to one less day of commuting and I am grateful for that. Lately I've taken to watching Oprah early on Friday before I get to my chores, shower, grocery list or workout. It has become one way that I transition from all the busy-ness/business of the past 4 days to the weekend.

Oprah has sure had some excellent shows recently. She's explored infertility issues a bit, talked about her own struggle with thyroid disregulation, interviewed people that identify as transgender and opened a very informative discussion about mens health. The show that I watched today (via DVR, of course) really gave me some food for thought. She interviewed Randy Pausch - a man with pancreatic cancer who gave a very poignant Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University this past September.

(Click here for a link to look at it if you'd like)

Mr. Pausch talked about his childhood dreams. He described one that took him 15 years to realize and spoke about the variety of "brick walls" that presented themselves along the way. The lesson he learned about those obstacles was that they were proof of how badly he wanted certain things for his life. He explained that, to him, the "brick walls" were not there to keep him out but a way to illustrate the wanting.

Now, I'm not a gal who gets all excited about the Power of Positive Thinking and that stuff. I prefer balancing honesty with hopefulness. I'm more about keeping it real. To me it is important to acknowledge when things are shitty and not talk someone (or myself) out of feeling their true feelings. I'm definitely not going to suggest to anyone "it could be could [fill in the blank]". I think that doing that sort of thing invalidates anothers reality.

I like Randy Pausch's description of the dartboard of life. He just happened to catch the dart called pancreatic cancer. Yes, that is life. His message is of encouragement to live life in the process of scaling "brick walls" and in spite of whatever darts one may catch along the way.

So, yeah, that was the part that resonated with me. Life isn't fair - but it is actually pretty good. Excellent, even. Sure we got hit with a couple of darts including a slo-mo adoption path. I'm not going to try to put a shine on it. It sucks. But, this is where we're at...and it is going to be another long year for us of waiting. I've let go of the illusion that if I hope hard enough Jzboy and I will travel to China before the Beijing Olympics. That just isn't going to happen. And, well, if I'm being honest....we actually may be looking at 2009.

My head hurts banging it against this:

Must remember that getting over this obstacle will lead to one of my lifelong dreams.

Today I will think about all the ways I intend to live life during this process. I will do my best to hold these intentions tightly as we enter into the holiday season - a time that tends to be very difficult for me. I'm thinking that if this guy with terminal cancer can find a way to live life in the face of such tragedy and embrace the last few months of his life with such tenacity and love - surely I can follow suit. My goal is to replace the stagnance with vibrance.

I am inspired.

But I tell you life is short
Be thankful because before you know
It will be over

Cause life is sweet
And life is also very short
Your life is sweet

Natalie Merchant/Life is Sweet

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two More Shows Scheduled on the Books

And amazing women to boot......

Tori Amos

And, Suzanne Vega

Couldn't feel luckier in the music department.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


It was a weekend good for sticking close to home - complete with Autumnal baking, meditative gardening, contemplative organizing of pictures and memories and breaking out of the Kenmore to put a bit of thread to fabric. It was good to be home. Very good.

The clouds in the sky were cute.

And blue skies made it easy for Jzboy to get up on the roof to tweak our antenna. My hero.

(Direct quote from Jzboy) "One of the perks of the East Bay is that we have a straight shot to the Sutro Tower in San Francisco. Which means perfect reception of ((free)) over-the-air HDTV broadcasts with an ordinary rooftop antenna...we are now at 100% signal strength". And, that my friends, means we can watch America's Top Model and Gossip Gurl w/o any static. Holla!

While up on the ladder, he realized that the gutters needed to be cleaned. I baked him some pumpkin bread as a reward!

Last weekend we took a deep breath and decided to go ahead and set up the crib that has been sitting in our garage for over a year. It needed a bit of dusting...cough, cough. Quite a bit, actually. Can you see Iris already getting in on the action?

I think that it was quite brave of us to finally make this move to be honest. Before the thought even crosses your, we are not part of the random group of April-Miracle-Referral-Receivers. Not that I'd broadcast such luckiness on this blog or anything. Heh. The main reason for busting out the crib is that my most excellent neice and sister will be visiting here in the next few weeks & it just seemed a very good thing to do. I must admit - it is kinda fun having it up.

Iris thinks so, too.

Gardening is so different in the Fall. Raking vs. weeding, pruning vs. planting, composting vs. seeding and ROSEHIPS vs. blooms.

Finally, my BIG project of the weekend!!

I finally completed the curtains for the baby2b's room. And, I love them. I really love them. They go so much better with the paint color that we chose and I'm just happier with the colors & style. The production involved with this pair was a lot harder than my first - but somehow I sorted it out and love the result.

Ta Daaah!!

Pic of closeup.

Allrightythen...I think that we're all ready for baby to visit. I even washed the crib sheets and the sippy cups...I think that makes us official now. Well, perhaps a bit of child proofing would be a good idea. Maybe next weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2007


A good friend of mine, Atomic Mama, fellow seasonal cook/foodie was asking about recipes for butternut squash. After sharing my fave method of slow roasting with her - I had a craving for the winter veg that couldn't be beat without firing up the AGA. This was a great weekend to do some oven cooking which also included muffins and brownies. If you haven't tried cooking squash this way, maybe these pics will inspire....

So, you split a butternut in half & scoop out the seeds. Chop 2-4 cloves garlic (depending on your love of garlic & how big the squash is) and place 1/2 in each cavity - secure it in place with a sprig of rosemary. Drizzle oil in each cavity - and rub on flat surface. Generously salt/pepper.

Carefully place each half on cookie sheet, give exterior skin a nice olive oil rubdown - and salt/peppering. Pour about a 1/4 inch of water in the cookie sheet. This will add a bit of steam to the roasting process & keep your squash from drying out. (Can you see the bit of water in this pic?)

Place in 400 degree oven for about an hour. You should check in every now and then to see if you need to add more water. This is the look that you're going for - just roasty enough on the outside, a weensy bit caramelly on the pan and easily pierced by a knife. You'll love how the fragrance that this process creates will fill your kitchen.

Let cool a bit (& remove rosemary sprigs - they are quite pungent & have already added quite a bit of flavor) before scooping out the flesh. If you've properly babysat the water at the bottom of the pan & it hasn't burned too much - pour the caramelly roasting juices in with the scooped out squash-flesh.

Salt - Pepper - Butter to taste. Enjoy!

As an aside to the fine topic of Autumnal Roasting - Jzboy and I have logged in a whopping 17 months of baking in the LID cooker. Actually, I thought that it had been 18 months and had to go to the calendar and count. That is one way of knowing that you are in a timewarp.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Hoo Boy! I realize that my last post was a serious bummer - Thursday was a banner-day of a commute & I was waxing frustrated. This week was actually pretty good with the exception of a bad cold and bad traffic. Here are some of the really, really! excellent things that made me smile this week.

My local AP friend (& former Secret Pal), Jen and her husband's referral news came this week! They are now the proud parents of a gorgeous baby girl from Ethiopia named Amara. I went to 6 different places Friday in search of a fine bottle of Tej...finally finding one in a random liquor store on Telegraph Avenue owned by a very nice man from Ethiopia. Now, I know where to find all manner of roots, goat meats, malt & incense - sweet!

I saw this movie & it was nice. There were some hilarious moments that got the whole theatre hootin' & hollerin'. Love that. Great strong woman vibe and positive message. Thumbs up.

The Genesis show on Tuesday was a dream come true. Phil Collins and Chester Thompson played an incredible Drum Duet that was mesmerizing. The band played some seriously old skool stuff (a couple that I didn't even recognize) and some stuff I could have lived without hearing (read: We Can't Dance). Oh well, nobodys perfect. It was a great evening and considering that we bought our tickets in March - we were more than stoked to have finally gotten to see them!

Getting carded at the Genesis Show was awesome, too. Yes, I kid you not.

Kneesock weather is upon us.

Two sick days from work enabled me to catch up on DVR'd Oprah. BTW, did anyone else see the Alexis Stewart (as in, Martha Stewart's Daughter) Infertility one? I wondered if Oprah would ever do an episode on IF - all these years that I've watched Oprah, and this was the first show I'd seen her cover the issue. I've always wondered about that. Anyway, since I'm musing, I wonder if she'll do an update on China Adoption as well - sure has changed a lot since her last foray into that topic.

Jzboy winterized our furnace - and I transitioned from cotton to flannel in the Duvet department. We're nice and cozy around here. Iris is happy about that, too! (Iris is actually sitting on the beginnings of a pillow case - the project got stalled out with our recently busy weekends).

It is knitting season & I finished TWO projects last week during my 2-day manditory training in Motivational Interviewing. A cozy, wee raspberry and an extremely soft earflap hat. The picture doesn't do the awesomeness of the colors justice, sorry (its #129, if you go to the link, btw).

Last but not least....Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back!

Happy Weekend, Y'all!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I tried unsuccessfully to get to work today. It took me 2 hours to travel about 10 miles! Not a pretty sight...nope, not at all.

After hearing about the reason for the traffic jam and finishing the coffee that I'd pulled over for in a feeble attempt to "sweat" out the backup a bit...I realized that there was precious little that I could do. So, I came home.

I'm thinking that I'll give it another try at noon.

My commute has been really rough on me lately. Like, ex-TREME-ly rough. I would guess that anyone out there in International Adoption Land can imagine the analogies that I come up with as I sit on my Burgeoning Gluteus MAXimus looking at the back of countless vehicles moving slowly toward a mutual goal. It makes it hard to get up in the morning & I'm tired of it.

Lines. Traffic. Accidents. Unexpected Delays. Thwarted Schedules.

Unknown Territory Ahead.

Kvetching isn't helping. Certainly praying to the Gods of Traffic Harmony isn't working, and there really aren't any elbows to rub to make things easier on me. I tried immersing myself in books on tape, chatting with friends "handsfree" and a variety of other distractors from the craptastic wait...I mean, commute.

At this point, there is no effective diversion.

Maybe I should consider using BART? Or look for a job that I could ride a bike to? How about taking things into my own hands & starting a business at home?? Hey! - maybe I don't even want to work at all? Hmmm, there's a thought. Regardless of the alternative, risk & change would be involved...not to mention some potential and significant expense! That could be scary. Maybe it is worth looking at, though?

I'm at a crossroads.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Low Impact?

Yes. I'll admit to having done the Jane Fonda workout tape back in tha' day. We actually did a lot of the moves in my high school PE class, if you can believe that one! Workouts have sure come a long way....

So, I've been thinking a lot about the Weight that this Wait has contributed to my derriere. Then I decided to do something about it. I joined a groovy calisthenics thingy. No, its not CURVES - that spot didn't work for me (the CURVES singers & I didn't get along). Having been a self proclaimed "gym-girl" for ages, it took a leap of faith, but I'm digging my new dance-y aerobic scene. I call it my "Exercise Shop". Works for me.

It has been exactly a month since I joined (including the vacation chunk) and although I can't say that I've noticed anything monumental - my energy levels are much improved. Not to mention my mood. Here's what I'm hoping for:

Considering that I managed to attend 4 one-hour classes this week, including one step - I think that I'm well on my way. Dad always said that it takes 30 days to create a new habit. That is what I'm shooting for - getting back in tha' habit.

Buh-Bye Slacker Jack....

Helllllloooo Jane Fonda!!!!!!!!!

Happy Friday Y'all! XO

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


After our time at Mount Hood, we spent a night with family in Tacoma - then made our way to Seattle. Jzboy and I came very close to relocating there a few years back so Seattle became a "city that almost was" for us. I find it interesting what they say about all that "weather" Seattle reportedly gets - we have yet to experience that rainy vibe and this was at least our third time visiting. A ploy to keep Californians away, perhaps??

We spent the last 3 nights of our trip to the NW at this lovely B&B. The woman that runs the place is really nice and a terrific cook. She whipped up fresh smoothies every morning, french toast croissants with orange syrup, homemade (& still warm) muffins...perfectly prepared eggs with fresh herbs. You can imagine the coffee! Coffee is like a religion in Seattle.

Here is a glimpse of the neighborhood where we stayed. Spitting distance from some fun shopping, an excellent pizza joint, a couple super trendy pubs, cool music shop...oh yeah...and sushi!

A friend of ours suggested a trip to the Fremont District which ended up being my fave part of our visit to Seattle. We strolled around the lively, artsy, fun area in order to let the early morning fog burn off before visiting the Space Needle. Yes, we saw the "Troll under the Bridge" (thats an actual VW under his left hand)...

and we had a good time blending in with the locals during their lunch break along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. We were right at home sipping our lattes and munching on organic restoratives. It was a beautiful, relaxing afternoon. Loved the Fremont...aka "The Center of the Universe".

Can you believe our luck? Blue skies for our first trip to the Space Needle!

I'm glad that we finally went. The crowds were light, the views were spectacular, and the exhibits were interesting, tricked out and hands-on.

The picture below is proof for my folks that we actually did go on the Seattle Underground Tour. It was a little on the cheesy side. But, fun. It helped that we had an animated actor-guide who sure loved her Seattle!!

There was a huge fire in 1889 that leveled the city - which was built entirely of wood at that time. Because the downtown merchants didn't want to wait for the newfangled brick & mortar city to be built - they set up shop at the city's original ground level while the city was being raised 2 stories higher. The townsfolk thought it wise to deal with their problematic sewage system that was directly related to the comings & goings of the tide. It was fun exploring the underground & hearing the history of Seattle. If you like the ol' Gold Rushy historical thing - def put this on your Seattle things-to-do list.

In spite of my avoidance of crowded places where people constantly bump into you because they are overstimulated and not paying attention to where they are walking...I do love visiting Pikes Place Market. And, here are some pics that will explain why:

I want a collection of these honey bears in my kitchen!

After having worked up a healthy appetite within the colorful, aromatic marketplace - we lucked out with a very short wait at this popular place:

It is a short block away from the Pikes Place craziness, and well worth considering. As you can see, the brunch was worthy of Jzboy's food photography. It was beautiful and delish.

Perfectly cooked, pan seared seabass atop arugula with a spicy tomato vinaigrette & cornbread pudding! Yum.

It was a perfect farewell meal at the end of a most excellent vacation.

Until next time, Seattle.

XO, Wzgirl