Sunday, November 30, 2008

New York City!

One of the things we've been most thankful for is how close we have been to New York City. We try to visit at least once a year. With our impending move, we decided on a whim yesterday to get up early and head north one last time. The fun highlights of our 17 hour roundtrip are documented below. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mercy and Music

I have been asked by quite a few Simon fans to go ahead with another post so they can stop seeing his picture when they log in. I'm sorry girls~it had to be done. The Power of the Internet brought that picture to my innocent searching for a more recent picture of my teenage obsession and, as you all know about me by now, I am not one to suffer alone or in silence.

However, I will move on and let Simon move further down in the posts so you will not be exposed to him unless you scroll too far.

About a year ago, our friend Kevin decided to take up violin lessons again. He played quite a bit years ago and then took a 20 year break before picking it up again. Last weekend he gave a recital to a packed house. It was quite lovely and included the following pieces: Händel's Largo, Schubert's Serenade, Debussy's Reverie, Massenet's Meditation from Opera Thaïs, and Strauss's Violin Concerto in D minor, Opus 8. We enjoyed it tremendously.

oh, and isn't his shirt great?!

This weekend we held a very successful yard sale and cleaned out a good bit of stuff from our basement. I wouldn't recommend a yard sale at the end of November-with a high in the 30's and a wind chill that at times must've bumped us into the 20's, it was a miserable morning.

We are still continuing to have house showings nearly every day but alas, nothing yet. To all who keep asking if we will still be here for Christmas, "I don't know".

My new mantra is "I don't know" for pretty much everything that may/may not happen in the next month or so. I am trying very, very hard not to plan anything. At all. Nothing.

It's very difficult.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Straddle the line, in discord and rhyme

So. Yesterday's entry.

I reread it several times and thought about it while I was showering. And I imagined reading it as my mom would, or how I would if my daughter had been the author.

It made me a little sad.

I don't really want to kick Lisa 15 in the teeth. She tried. She was introspective on occasion and made the best decisions she could with her limited knowledge. Yeah, the smoking thing was dumb and she can't justify it away.

But Simon LeBon? Well, he was hot. Let’s say he has just permanently erased all of my teenage Duran Duran fantasies in one fell grope swoop.

Hungry Like the Wolf will never sound the same again.

Straddle the line, in discord and rhyme
I'm on the hunt I'm after you


I can’t say I regret my outfits—they garnered me the attention I so craved and since my BFF, Joy, pretty much wore the same silliness I never felt too strange.

I wish I'd studied more…and not just for the tests but for actual general knowledge. I wish I had backpacked through Europe for a summer, maybe moved to NYC for a year. Gone to fashion design school maybe (even though I couldn’t sew a button).

Big questions all. But then, who would I be now? Would I be married to Len? Would I be adopting now? Would I have had babies earlier? Who knows. This is the kind of looking back that I don’t think accomplishes much.

There are a lot of different theories out there about destiny, fate, pre-ordination, etc. If God already knows all that will happen to you isn’t that destiny or pre-ordination? I have been told no, we still have Free Will so the choices you make are yours, not just part of a celestial play to entertain the gods.

I just finished reading The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I’m not sure how it ended up #1 on the NYT bestseller list other than the fact that it does appeal to the side of us who wants God to be a nurturing, benevolent soul who, although He knows what path you will choose, never forces you to take it. It does have some great dramatic themes but I found the writing got in the way of transporting me into the story. It is intended to answer what I consider to be one of the top 50 GREATEST QUESTIONS EVER ASKED:

Why do bad things happen to good people? Or, why does God allow tragedy and pain?

ok that’s two questions but still, thematically the same

I have often asked this question over the past 4 years. I’m not sure I really have an answer. Young’s version is that shit happens but that God will turn tragedy into Good if you will let Him.

Len and I have always held onto the belief that eventually all things just seem to work themselves out. For example, when Len was applying to grad school, he really wanted to get into one specific school and it turns out that was the one school where yes, he was accepted, but no financial aid or assistantship was available. We ended up going to another school and it turns out it was a great place to be for the most part (“Throw me some beads Mister!”).

But the last 4 years have really tested this theory of ours. Will these miscarriages and lengthy adoption waits actually result in a family for us? Will the move to Chicago turn out to be just the change we need to move away from this time in our lives (or will I just turn into a frozen popsicle)?

Stay tuned.

Because if there is one thing that is certain, I will keep you updated.

Nepal news

From AdoptionNepal:


Adoption Agencies Representative Forum Nepal, is holding a meeting of American Representative's in its first phase to discuss work process to bring a uniformity in their work in regards to adoptions from Nepal according to the information received from the Representative Forum. There are 32 US agencies that has been listed by the Nepal government recently. The Rep Forum has invited participation of all American Agencies Representative in the discussion program to be held on 18th Tuesday at Lasoon Pulchowk. The Representative Forum will continue such meetings of Representatives of European nations shortly added the information.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Still Alive

Do you ever want to knee someone in the mouth? Shake a person until her teeth chip and fall into her cupped hands?

Because that's what I often wish I could do to my 15-year-old self. I was an idiot. Finding my way. Trying to figure out how the grown-up world worked. And thinking I was so ancient and so bad ass. I had no idea how good I had it.

Here are some things I did that make me cringe:

1. Smoked. I didn't even like it. And it wasn't daily. But it was enough that I now sneer at Lisa 15 and mutter, WTF were you thinking? Moron.
2. Wore mini skirts combined with cropped tops, Leggs suntan shiny pantyhose, sparkly legwarmers and wedge heels. Oh, and don’t forget the forehead bands.
3. Worshipped Simon LeBon from Duran Duran.

4. Didn't appreciate my smokin' hot bod.
5. Took the wrong kinds of risks while avoiding the right kinds of risks.

This weekend I sifted through a few photos of me circa 1980’s, trying to find one that showed how ridiculous I often was, that wouldn't also cause my mom to whimper and shake her head at the monitor (Not that she's the whimpering type. I just like the imagery). Turns out my mom is the one who was able to send multiple examples to me since she had scanned them in to save onto CDs.

Why am I reliving my past you ask? Len and I went out to a local pizza place Friday night. Turns out it was also kid's night at the pizza place. LOTS of them in all age ranges. I noticed one girl, perhaps 7 or so, dressed in a ballerina tutu, princess crown and clutching a stuffed penguin.

Lisa: Don't you wish you could sometimes go back to when you could wear a tutu and a crown and feed your stuffed penguin pizza and nobody would look twice?

Len: Um, I think I would've gotten some looks if I wore a tutu....

Lisa: Wait, you DID wear a tutu once! I seem to recall a "Tinkerbell and pink leotard" story revolving around your senior year...

Ah, but that's another story. And one, if I'd like to keep my marriage intact, will never be told on this blog.

I’m currently reading Ekhart Tolle’s tome The Power of Now, a painfully esoteric novella (sorry Paivi) that goes on AT LENGTH about not living in the past or looking to the future, but to live in the present moment. What he fails to address (at least so far; I’m only 1/3 of the way through what I am fondly now calling my non-prescription Ambien) is “what if my Now sucks?”

I do think he has a point that too much focused attention on the past or the future can make you miss out on what is happening now. After all, today is yesterday’s future and tomorrow’s past (you see why the Ambien reference…). But there are those days when I long for the pained decision about which color leg-warmer will match the glitter dot I placed on my cheek (à la Cindy Crawford and her beauty mark) instead of the oh-so-adult-world decisions that I face today.

At least for today, living in this moment, I can say unequivocally that I am still alive. And breathing. A bit shallowly, but breathing nonethesless.

And thankful that striped eyeshadow never became a big fashion hit. It took a lot of work to look this good every day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Maybe next year...

This was posted on the U.S. State Dept. website yesterday:

Nepal to Resume Intercountry Adoption

November 2008
As of this update, the Government of Nepal has not yet resumed processing intercountry adoptions. It is expected that the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (WCS) may begin accepting applications in January 2009; however, many procedures remain to be implemented at the Ministry and local levels before adoption processing can officially resume. In preparation for the resumption of intercountry adoptions, on October 25, 2008, the WCS published a list of 58 international adoption agencies that it has accredited to work in Nepal. Among the list are 32 U.S.-based agencies. U.S. prospective adoptive parents who are considering an adoption from Nepal should work with one of these approved agencies. The agencies are listed below in alphabetical order.We will update this notice as soon as there is additional information.

It's always another "month or so" away.... Looks like it is a certainty that we will be re-doing our entire dossier in Chicago.

As for China, the latest news is that the wait is up to 33-34 months.

Still haven't sold the house despite the fact that we have not slowed down in the number of people giving me 30 minutes notice (sometimes less) EVERY SINGLE DAY wanting to see our house. Our realtor brought over the comps for the last 6 months and they look bleak...lots of foreclosures in our zipcode going for $150k less than what we're asking. The appraisers will start their work on Monday.

I wonder if you can literally die from stress? Or does it just wreak havoc with your internal organs?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sunday we went on our every-other-year Cirque du Soleil adventure with Spiff and Paul. This year's show was called Kooza which you can preview here. This year it was held at the new National Harbor that has been recently built in MD across the river from Old Town. It's a nice area but alas, looks like any other town center with all of the proverbial shops and restaurants that you would find in any other town center.

An update on the house sale: our 60 days of listing will be up next Monday and we will start the appraisal process. On a good note, our realtor told us we were in the top 2 of houses one client was considering and today we had a woman come back with her father and brother for a 2nd viewing. Fingers crossed. If no offers are forthcoming, we will be through the appraisal process by December 17th and should be moving around that time. Should be an interesting holiday season for us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I know there are still some folks out there that are undecided about who they'll be casting a vote for today. I've been thinking about you undecideds, and wondering how you are managing. Surely right now you are feeling hammered by all sides on the issue.

But here's the thing: It's time to choose. I'm sorry, but it's true.

Now, you know how I want you to vote, and I know I really shouldn't add to the cacophony that is currently in your head about this election.

I am reminded of this great blog written by two best friends of 60 years and I think one of their entries sums it up brilliantly:

Which party has been screaming terrorist, socialist, Marxist, murder him and kill him… and which party has been talking about hope and unity.

Which party has been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at you everyday for the past two weeks hoping to scare you into thinking that there is an Un-American part of the country… and which party has been saying that there is no red America and no blue America but only the United States of America.

Which party thinks war is the answer to everything… and which party has suggested that maybe we need to sit down and talk this out to see if peace is possible.

Just for the record, I also believe that Obama isn't perfect. For Len he's not the dream liberal; in fact, he's far more centrist. The idea of Obama being a socialist is so ridiculous that it's laughable. Frankly, I have more socialist tendencies than he does.

For me, Obama represents a sense of healing. I really feel like he will unite us, and he will heal the damage done in the last eight years of fear and divisiveness. I do.

I am tired of living in fear. I am anxious enough about all of the changes in my personal life and I bet a lot of people now are anxious about the reality of what is happening to their retirement savings, their mortgages, their jobs. Do we really want someone who can only get your vote by scaring you with things that might happen in the future? Isn't what's happening today scary enough?

I know in many parts of the nation there is a still a great deal of fear about another terrorist attack. But you know what? The parts of the country where there actually WAS a terrorist attack? THEY WANT OBAMA. I realize that New York, Washington DC and part of Pennsylvania aren't "real America" according to some, but hey--that's where the planes crashed. Those are the Americans that lost their lives. If those folks who stood and watched their city crumble are willing to take a chance on Obama's ability to protect us, who are we to argue? It's not just b/c they are all gay and want to get married or they have changed their minds and cry "health of the mother" so they can abort their babies in the third trimester. Obama makes them feel SAFE.

So. You know how I want you to vote. But I'll still love you no matter WHO you vote for, I promise. Just choose. It's time. Get off the fence. CHOOSE.

And whatever happens tomorrow, let's all promise NOT to be like this woman who refused to give candy to trick-or-treaters who said they supported Obama. Because America? We are better than that.


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