Friday, November 27, 2009

Fall, Y'all

Fall is my favorite time of year.  That first morning that I wake up to a chill in the air, I swear I get all giddy inside.  I pull out my thick warm socks and my winter robe and my chili recipe and I am in heaven, I tell you.  I love the crisp, cool days and the autumn leaves and the football and the pumpkins and the Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving.  Lord, do  I love Thanksgiving.  Doesn't it seem fitting that our country, home of the Free and the Brave and the Fortunate, would set aside a day when the whole country would give thanks for our blessings?  And then follow it up with a day of greed and conspicuous consumption?  Only in America!

This has been a hard year in so many ways but I have much to be thankful for.  My beloved sister-in-law is in the fight of her life against cancer but is WINNING!  While she has lost so much (her hair, her independence, the use of one of her legs, and much more), she is with us and planning for the future and for that we are grateful beyond belief for we cannot imagine a world without her in it.  My kid is happy and healthy, my marriage has survived some difficult times and seems all the stronger for them, I am blessed beyong belief by a wise and wonderful group of friends.  What more could a girl ask for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Look

Bear with me while I play with the look of my blog.  From the beginning, I wanted a cupcake to go with my "sweet" theme and Mr. Sweetie's complaint gave me an excuse to find one.  I love the cupcake but am not so sure this has helped the readability of my blog.  And now I've lost all my gadgets!  Definitely a first world problem.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Question

Does anyone have trouble reading my blog?  Mr. Sweetie was complaining that it is difficult to read, but I just suspect he is allergic to pink.

Dear Lord, Forgive Me

I allowed my child to dress up for Halloween as an OSU cheerleader.  (When she first said she wanted to dress up as an OSU cheerleader, I suggested the cow costume.  She and Mr. Sweetie were Not Amused.)  Where oh where did I go wrong?  From the time she was a newborn, I have been singing her name to the tune of "Boomer Sooner."  And yet, the child has rejected my beloved Alma Mater for a place where it's Halloween every day of the year. 

As if this wasn't bad enough, last weekend Lil Sweetie made an obscene hand gesture (the "hook em horns" sign).  Gasp!  I danged near fainted but pulled it together enough to sing to her the "Don't Send My Boy to Texas" song.  What more can a mother do?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

On this date in 1997, Mr. Sweetie and I stood up in a restaurant (the dearly departed Terra Luna), surrounded by a few close friends and family who thought they were there for an engagement party, and got married. 

I highly recommend the surprise wedding.  The only people who knew we were getting married that night were our pastor, the restaurant owner, and us.  It took very little planning and effort, but it was really special.  I don't think anyone there will ever forget it! 

So, twelve years later and we are still going strong.  I don't know exactly why we work, but I have some clues.  One is that Mr. Sweetie is generally the most easy-going, laid-back person.  He is easy to please, difficult to tick off, and very good at going with the flow.  (How many cliches can one person work into a sentence, I ask you?)  Which leads me to another reason why we work--we complement each other.  He is easy-going; I am wound too tight.  Which means he regularly talks me down off a ledge and I make sure that the bills get paid on time. 

I have several dear friends and family members who are either newly divorced or are going through a divorce.  And I know it is hard for them to get back out there.  God knows it was for me.  (This ain't my first rodeo.  Mr. Sweetie's neither.)  But one thing I learned this time around is to give the good guy a chance.  I can't say that it was love at first sight for me, although it was like at first sight and respect at first sight.  (Don't worry, Mr. Sweetie would tell you the same thing about me.)  But I genuinely liked Mr. Sweetie and could see that he was a hell of a guy.  So I gave him a chance.  And I'm so glad I did!  It's like Cynthia Heimel says:

"You never get anywhere until you figure out the difference between passion and compassion.  Love affairs that begin in passion burn themselves out real quick, like blue stars.  You gotta watch out for them, hon, they can burn you up too.  But then there's the love affairs that begin in compassion, those are the ones you want to find.  They just build and build into real passion and then, well, then it's like you can just drive into the sky, right up into and right past those blue stars."

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 47 years old!  47!!!  When did I get to be that age?  And when do I start feeling like a grown-up?  I keep thinking one of these days I will wake up and I will know what I'm doing.  Inside, I feel like I'm about 33, or whatever age it is when you feel like you are starting to get your poop together but aren't quite there yet.

I've been thinking about 50.  Only three years away!  I feel like my first 25 years, I spent being too nice, being a doormat for anyone who wanted to wipe their feet on me.  Then I got up off the floor and have spent the last 22 years being SuperBitch.  The pendulum swung too far to the other side.  I figure I've got another three years to figure out how to live in the middle.  As my friend Carie says, "There is some liveable space between 'bitch' and 'bowl of jello' and I aim to find it."

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month.  In celebration, here are my thoughts and personal experiences with some adoption myths:

Myth Number 1--Adoption takes forever if you want a newborn.  My experience:  We applied to the adoption agency May 17th and brought a newborn baby home June 14th.  (As they say in the weight loss ads, results may not be typical.)

Myth Number 2--Adoption costs a lot of money.  My experience:  Our adoption cost approximately $12,200, $10,000 of which we got back as an adoption tax credit.  Two hundred dollars of what we paid was for medical fees that our HMO should have covered for Lil Sweetie's newborn care in the hospital after she was born.  However, our crappy HMO went bankrupt and the adoption agency asked us to pay the medical expenses even though we were not legally obligated to, so that the adoption agency would maintain a good working relationship with the hospital.  So we did. 

Myth Number 3--Adoption fees are unethical; it is in essence "buying a child."  My experience:  Adoption fees cover all kinds of expenses of the birth mother and the adoption agency.  Our adoption agency helps many women who decide to parent their children.  It provides support groups for birthmoms who struggle after placing a child for adoption.  It serves as a go-between for semi-open adoptions like ours.  It provides educational and social events where adoptive families can meet other adoptive families.  It provides search services for adults who were adopted and wish to search for their birth families.  I have no regrets or concerns about the adoption fees we paid...we have gotten way more than our moneys worth of services for that fee.

Myth Number 4--Adoption itself is unethical.  My experience:  Actually, I think there is some truth to this one.  It all depends on the adoption professional you choose to use.  Our local adoption agency is incredibly ethical.  Pregnant women who come to them in crisis are offered options and support, regardless of whether they choose to parent their child or place the child for adoption.  I love that the adoption agency continues to provide services to Lil Sweetie's birthmom seven years later.  However, some adoption agencies and lawyers pressure women to place their children for adoption, and do not offer any support or services to the birthmom once she has terminated her parental rights.  I would advise anyone considering adoption as either a birthparent or an adoptive parent to choose your lawer or adoption agency wisely.

Myth Number 5--Birthmoms are either young girls who got themselves in trouble, or crack whores.  My experience:  Birthmoms are teenagers, women in their 20's and 30's and 40's, military personnel who aren't yet ready to parent, rape victims, drug addicts, deeply religious women who have never tried drugs or alcohol, women whose families are complete.  There is no typical birthmom.

Myth Number 6--The birthmom will come back and reclaim the child later.  My experience:  Birthmoms don't want to or aren't able to parent the child, that's why they place the child for adoption.  And at least in Oklahoma, the adoption laws do not allow an adoption to be "undone" unless the birthparent can prove fraud or duress.  Generally speaking, in Oklahoma, if the termination of the birthparents' rights is done correctly, the adoption cannot later be set aside.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bathroom Redo

Quite some time ago, we discovered a leak in our bathroom.  The leak had been going on behind the walls for some time without our knowledge, so when we discovered the leak, we also discovered a nice little science project inside our bathroom walls.  Lovely!  Next thing we knew, we were looking at a complete bathroom remodel, whether we wanted one or not.

Lucky for us, a very dear friend is quite handy and offered to serve as our general contractor, which would save us buttloads of money.  (That's a technical, contracting term.)  However, our VDF (very dear friend) has a real job so we knew that the remodel might take a while.

Way back in August, when I was at home lying on my left side due to the bubble in my eye, a team of workers came over and destroyed our bathroom.  Not that it was very nice to begin with.  Here's how it looked before they started:

And here's how it looked when they were done:

And that's how it looked for the rest of August.  And September.  And October.  There are some very good reasons, all of which we understand, and yet, we just want a nice place to shower and pee.  Is that too much to ask?

Lately, work has started again.  Hallelujah!  Our VDF has promised us a completed bathroom by Christmas.  Another very dear friend is a talented artist and has made us a custom mirror that is our "inspiration piece" for the bathroom.   (Is it possible to watch a little too much HGTV?)  Here it is:

Try to ignore the relection of the TV and entertainment center and just look at the pretty mirror.  The photo does not do the mirror justice.  Here's another pathetic attempt to capture it's beauty with my poor photography skills:

It took me forever to pick out tile but I finally did.  Here it is:

The charcoal gray tile will go on the floor.  The light gray will go on the shower walls.  The glass tile is intended to be a decorative accent to tie the two together.  I have no idea what paint color we will use.  The bathroom is small and dark so I want to use something light, but you enter the bathroom through the sage green master bedroom, and I would like the rooms to complement each other but not be matchy-matchy.  Any thoughts?

Help! A Monster Ate My Blog!

Original artwork by Lil Sweetie. 
She appears to be heavily influenced by Picasso, which is weird since she has never heard of him.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Spider Ate My Blog!

Original sculpture by Lil Sweetie

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Here's Blood in Your Eye

Just an update...
  • The doc says my continued vision problems are just due to a lot of blood in my eye.  (Oh boy!)  It should resolve in time. 
  • Mr. Sweetie is home!  Mr. Sweetie is home!  Life is so much better when Mr. Sweetie is home.
  • My beloved sister-in-law is doing better.  The chemo appears to be shrinking the tumor.  She still has a long road ahead but things are looking hopeful.
  • Work is going better.  I had a big win this week.  A weird win, but a win nonetheless.  To quote one of my favorite movies:  "I love winning!  It's like, better than losing."