Archive for October, 2006

Boo

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

It is starting already.  My mom is asking about plans for Thanksgiving.  She wants to know if she can cook something.  She wants to know “what the plan is”.  I have no plan.  Thanksgiving isn’t at my house so I’m not worried about the ‘plan’.  I know that I will make the stuffing (because I insist on doing it) and the sweet potato soufflé (which I think is gross but everyone else loves).  I might make some other things.  I might not.  My sister in law will make the pies.  The guys will deep fry the turkey.  Otherwise no plan is in place.

My mother has asked for Christmas gift ideas.  She wants to have her shopping done by Thanksgiving so she can bring her gifts with her and not worry about mailing them in December.  My mother in law is actually a little late this year in sending out her request for our Christmas lists.  My mailbox has begun producing catalogs at an alarming rate.  A co-worker brought in her kids fundraiser sheet – they are selling cookie dough among other things.  My first thought was I could buy a couple to supplement my Christmas cookies. 

All of this means the holidays are approaching.  How has it started creeping into my thoughts before Halloween even arrives?  I haven’t even decided if I am going to carve a pumpkin yet I’m already wondering where the tree will fit this year.  I’m not one for extending the holidays – I refuse to put my tree up before Dec 1st and it has to be down by Dec 31st.  But they (I don’t know who they are…maybe the same they from X-Files?) have started their campaign to make me think about it already.  Do you know I bought Christmas cards 2 weeks ago? Because they were on sale and cute.  I am ashamed.  It’s not even Halloween yet and by thinking about it and purchasing cards for it I am encouraging them to continue encroaching on October with their holiday crap.  

Aside from my early thoughts about the holiday season, I’m anticipating it will be an odd one this year in our house.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we will be going to Guatemala to meet Sabrina.  I know nothing will ever be the same again – but at home nothing will have changed yet. 

Equal to a Guy Screwing a Box Turtle

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

I LOVE this clip. Steve and I had it saved on our TiVo for ages. I found it on YouTube today. You have to watch all the way to the end because the formula he gives in the last 20 seconds is what we found so funny. It’s a clip about gay marriage so if you don’t agree with gay marriage you may not find it funny. (Just a warning for my 2 conservative readers out there.) I don’t watch it often but I love the Daily Show. Jon Stewart kills me.

Pumpkin Bread

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

pumpkin.jpg

One of my favorite fall treats! It’s easy to make and tastes fabulous so I thought I would share the recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

• 1 package (16 ounces) pound cake mix
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 2 tablespoons water
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
• 1 teaspoon baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Grease and flour a loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for a few minutes in pan.  Loosen from pan by running  aknife around the sides and turn out of pan to finish cooling.  Dust top with powdered sugar.  YUM!

99.99%

Friday, October 20th, 2006

We received our DNA results in the mail on Thursday. It was a match. Now we begin the wait for pre-approval from the US Embassy.

I’m so thankful our agency takes pictures of the babies with their birth moms at the DNA appointment. The results from the lab include a polaroid of the 2 together but it was out of focus and dark. I am so happy to know I have some good pictures of them together so Sabrina has them to look at as she grows up.

Job Ads I want to see ^^

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Personal On-line Shopper wanted for busy executives too busy to shop for themselves. Must be willing to spend hours on line browsing for items to be purchased with someone else’s money. Dress code casual – bathrobe and fuzzy slippers are fine. Must have good taste and be outspoken with your opinions on each item. Earn $30/hr from home.

Get paid for blogging. Write whatever you want, whenever you want. Does your personal blog contain many ramblings about nothing? Perfect! We want you! $300 per entry.

Professional product tester wanted. We will send you cool new products such as plasma TVs or designer purses. You try them out for 30 days and then tell us what you think. You keep all items.

Needed: Bright, sensible, creative thinker to dole out millions of dollars to non-profit agencies. Duties include reading grant applications and approving those that make sense and are worthy of being funded. Successful applicant would also be asked to assist in streamlining the reporting process to ease the burden to the non-profits receiving monies. Salary kind of crappy but you would feel good at the end of the day.

Chocolate taste tester wanted for gourmet chocolate shop. Spend your 3 hour work days surrounded by chocolate. Must have appreciation for chocolate of all kinds and be able to work with little supervision. Perks include excellent health club, child care, and all of the chocolate you can eat. Salary in the low six figures. Skinny women need not apply.

Chain of luxury hotels with locations around the world desires a secret guest to visit various properties and rate them for quality of service and comfort. Also must be willing to visit our corporations 4 star restaurants to provide feedback. All travel expenses will be reimbursed in addition to competitive salary and benefits.

Publishers Clearinghouse Prize Patrol is seeking a new team member to assist in handing out the big checks. Must be willing to make people extremely happy and offer tissues when they cry tears of joy. Driving of the Prize Patrol mini-van is negotiable. Ed says there may be a Prize Patrol SUV available instead.

Avid reader wanted. Must be able to read multiple books at a time while finishing at least one, preferably 2, each week. After each book, submit a short email critiquing the book from the average reader’s point of view. Choose your favorite genre and we will send you books each month as well as a new computer. We will pay your electric bill and your internet bill in addition to the generous salary.

Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament ^^

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

You just know it isn’t going to be a good day when you get lost on your way to work. I’ve lived in this area for almost 2 ½ years. I’ve worked in the same building for 1 ½ years. And yes, I got lost on my way to work this morning.

This city is difficult to navigate. It’s an old city surrounded by small mountains and rivers. The roads are narrow and steep. There are a dozen ways to get just about everywhere. Logic and intuition aren’t very helpful in getting around. Maps and luck are your best bet. Don’t ask natives for directions because no one knows the street names.

As I’ve gotten more comfortable, I have explored some different ways to get to and from work. This week I’ve been taking a different way home. It actually adds 5 minutes to my commute but is much less frenzied. I can stay off the parkway and enjoy my trip home with little traffic. This morning the parkway was all backed up so I thought I would try reversing my new route and go to work that way. Nothing is ever that simple around here and my experiment went horribly wrong. It took me an additional 25 minutes but I did eventually end up at work today. I’m just thinking this doesn’t bode well for the rest of my day.

I know many of us check in on different blogs hoping for more or new information when we hear about things getting wonky in Guatemala. I am sure most everyone involved with Guatemala is at aware that something has been going on down there this week. I really don’t have anything to share on that front. I have my agency’s take on things and the speculations from the message boards but I don’t know where things will end up. All I can say is that everyone seems fairly certain this latest scare will be worked out in the near future. I pray that everyone involved (foster moms, birth moms, babies, lawyers, adoptive parents and agency staff) is safe. My heart goes out to those who are in Guatemala and not able to visit with their babies and to those who have cancelled trips this week. That breaks my heart. All of this constant upheaval and drama leaves me very sad and very tired. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a country where it is all outside your front door daily.

Blah

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

I haven’t been feeling very chatty that last couple of days.  It’s been dreary and rainy and chilly here.  It is dark now when I get up and it makes me rather grumpy.  I’ll adjust…but for now I will share another photo of her cute self. This one looks to me like she is working really hard to not wake up no matter how many times they hold her up to the camera.

elvia-eunice-puac-005.JPG

TV & Autism?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

(Julie ^ no inhaler needed today.)
There has been a lot of research and speculation in recent years about why there has been an increase in the occurrences of autism.  The occurrence of autism has increased 800% since the 1980s.  Many are demanding to know why and parents are trying to discover if there are things they can do to prevent the onset of autism in their own children.

Some feel that we’ve simply gotten better at diagnosing it.  Autism and its subsets were added to the DSM III in the 80’s so perhaps it hasn’t increased, we’ve just learned more about it.  Others theorize that the rising age of new parents may be a contributing factor.  (There has been a study showing men over 40 are more likely to father an autistic child than men younger than 30.)  Still others suggest that the lower infant mortality rate may be responsible – prior to our advances in medicine weaker children may not have survived long enough to develop autism.

Others are fearful that our society has triggered the onset of autism with the vaccinations we inject.  Until it was phased out 5 years ago, there was a form of mercury found in children’s vaccinations.  After further research, many feel that it has been proved there is no causal relationship between the vaccinations and autism if for no other reason than there has been no decline in the occurrence of autism since the mercury was removed from the vaccines.  Some still aren’t satisfied.  (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-07-06-autism_x.htm for a recent article on this debate.)

An interesting theory has been discussed recently in quiet tones.  These people feel TV may cause autism in young children.  It’s an interesting theory.  Advocates of this theory state that the dramatic rise in autism occurred about the same time as the availability of cable television in many communities.  These people argue that humans brains organize during the first few years of life and normally do so from observing 3-D stimuli around them but that TV bombards young children with colorful and fast moving 2-D stimuli which interferes with the way the brain develops.  A paper on this theory has recently been posted on Cornell University’s website.  I haven’t read the entire paper (it’s 67 pages long) but I have to wonder why it is posted on the website and has not been published in a journal.  (http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/faculty/profiles/waldman/autpaper.html select download paper from site 1 or site 2 following the authors’ names.)

Throwing this out there for discussion.  Curious to hear the thoughts of others.

Morons R Us

Monday, October 16th, 2006

I am a moron. I can’t even blame it on adoption brain because I wasn’t thinking about the adoption this morning (other than that low level hum that it always occupies in the back of my mind – I guess it is never completely off my mind).

It started first thing this morning. I promised to design a quick flyer for an event (I love how people who don’t know how to use Publisher or similar programs think it is like magic that I can do these things in 20 minutes). I finish it quickly and print out the first draft for others to comment on. I forgot an important detail which I had in bold letters in my notes. On to draft #2. Again, pass it out to ½ a dozen co-workers for comments. Finally, 30 minutes later someone realizes that I completely forgot to put the date, time and location of the event. No one (including me) had even noticed. Duh.

Lunch time. I made chili yesterday for the football game. I put some of the leftovers in a small bowl to bring to work for lunch. I was hungry and really looking forward to some chili. I make some mighty fine chili if I do say so. I heat it up in the microwave and notice is smells odd. Not bad. Just not like chili. I open the container and see that I brought left over spaghetti sauce instead of chili. No noodles or meat – just sauce. I make mighty fine spaghetti sauce too but I wasn’t inclined to eat it with a spoon for lunch. So, I ate some yogurt and pouted.

After lunch, a co-worker and I went to a senior center to do a voter machine demonstration. We got new computerize machines and my office is helping the county demonstrate them. Some other moron set up the demonstration during their weekly bingo game. The little old ladies kept shushing us because we were distracting them from bingo. I made an example to an older African American man “If you were voting straight Democrat ticket but decide you don’t want to vote for Rendell, you can change that vote to Lynn Swann instead like this.” (Lynn Swann is a former football player and African American who is running for governor.) He started getting all pissy with me about that. I had no idea why he was agitated until my co-worker explained that he thought I suggested that he would vote for Lynn Swann just because he is African American. Never even crossed my mind. I assume that people will vote for Lynn Swann because he is a former Steeler.

I spent the morning being a moron and the afternoon making the elderly angry. I should have just stayed in bed.

Thank you all for the comments about my postal experience. The lovely Julie has offered a ride to our Ziplocs in the near future. Š

Going Postal

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Sig has kindly agreed to be a Ziploc mule for me. I sent her a box last Thursday with Ziplocs and some goodies for her little Abby. The woman at the post office said “Would you like to send it priority post, so it will arrive in 2-3 days, for an extra $2.00?” I was thinking it probably wasn’t necessary because Sig wasn’t leaving for over a week but decided it was $2.00 well spent. I chatted with the clerk. Showed off photos of Sabrina. Then off I send the box priority post. I checked with Sig on Tuesday. No box. I checked with her on Wednesday. No box. I checked with her on Thursday. No box (sensing my theme here?).

So this morning, before I had coffee (perhaps this was a mistake), I trotted down to the post office with my little slip (I insured the package so I got a little slip).

Me in a nice, friendly, calm voice: I sent this package last Thursday. I paid extra for priority. I was told it would be there in 2-3 days and it still has not arrived.

Post office Employee: I’m sorry ma’am. Priority isn’t a guarantee. It means we try to get it there in 2 days but it doesn’t always work out.

Me still calm but less friendly: I insured the package and was given this slip with a tracking number. Can you perhaps tell me when and if this package will be delivered? It’s time sensitive.

Post office Bitch: That’s not a tracking number. I have no way to tracking the package. Time sensitive? Do you mean perishable? Because we ask you if it is perishable and it is a federal offense to lie about that.

Me reminding myself it isn’t her fault the package hasn’t arrived: No, I don’t mean perishable. I mean it needs to be there already. If it’s not a tracking number, then what is it?

Post Office Bitch: Ma’am you have to wait 21 days before you can claim a package is lost. It takes awhile for things to get where they are going.

Me through clenched teeth: I don’t want to make a claim. I want it to get to where it is going. Basically, there is no way you can tell me if my package will arrive soon or if it fell off the truck into the Schullkill River?

Post Office Bitch: No ma’am. We don’t even have internet access in this office. I don’t know what to tell you.

Me having sudden insight into the phrase “go postal”: So when you encourage us to pay extra for ‘priority’ it isn’t a guarantee of anything except that you’ll try a little harder?

Post Office Bitch: If you want a guaranteed delivery date you have to pay more for another service. It’s always a good idea to do this if it needs to be there by a certain time.

Me trying to recall if a federal offense such as assaulting a federal employee would allow me to have a jury trial because surely the jury would understand I was justified: You are the one who took my package last week, looked at the photos of the baby I am adopting, and told me it would get there with no problem in plenty of time. You never mentioned the need for another service. Thanks for all of your help.

Post Office Bitch: Have a nice day.

Me under my breath: Bite me. I should have used Fed Ex.

A catastrophe? Nope, not even close. But it makes me sad that all of the little 0-3 month outfits I bought won’t make it down in time for the foster mother to use them if the box doesn’t get to Sig on time. And little Abby won’t get her presents on time either.


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