Monday, March 19, 2018

Is this thing on?

I’m a procrastinator. I always have been. I probably always will be. I have no trouble remembering late nights sitting on the closet floor, furiously typing away trying to finish a paper that was due the following day, the brain feverishly jumping from one point to the other, the words falling in line. Why the closet, you ask? Well, that’s not really the point of this story but I’ll grant you that that’s a curious point to skip over. No real mystery, I’m sorry to say. When you share a room with your younger sibling and you don’t want to be a rude MFer by keeping that sibling up because you couldn’t do your homework at a reasonable hour, you type in the closet.

I said to my father once that I got my procrastinating habits from him. He denied it. He didn’t deny being a procrastinator himself. Just that, wait for it - he hadn’t gotten around to passing that on to me yet. I groaned and laughed, equal parts amused and annoyed that I’d set him up with such an easy joke.

I do better at work. I have to. Funny thing, if you don’t do what you’re asked and told at work, it sometimes can have a negative impact on pay day. And I like getting paid. On my personal time? Even when it’s something I say/think/feel I want? It’s still tough. And it’s still tough after several decades of knowing that the feeling I get when I’m in the zone, as good as that feeling may be, it doesn’t last. That rush of near genius doesn’t at all make up for the days, weeks of dread that I make myself feel. After I’m done doing whatever thing needs doing, there’s a sense of relief, a lightening of the load, and un-tensing of the shoulders but neither the relief nor the dread are enough to make me change my ways. Mind you, not everything gets pushed down the road. I also don’t want to give the impression that nothing ever gets done but usually the things that make me drag my feet are the things that also require mental and emotional effort. Which makes sense I suppose.

I finished recording the video that will be used in the parent profile for the adoption last week, after putting it off for a bit (we’re going to go with a bit because I don’t necessarily want to share how long I took. Not yet anyway). This past weekend was the first weekend in several where I didn’t go into it thinking, “I HAVE GOT to do this tomorrow.” And then Saturday went and Sunday went and I spent the week annoyed and anxious I hadn’t done it. So there was this feeling of endless possibility this weekend. Of relief. Mixed with sincere hope that what I put on the camera will convince someone that I will make a good mother to her child. But I don’t let myself think too much about that because that is what it is and either it works or it doesn’t.

So instead I went to the movies on Saturday and saw Love, Simon which was lovely and sweet. On the way home I saw a sign on a local library that announced another book sale. “Hmm,” I thought. Because I have all these books on my crowded bookshelves and because I’m on some kind of budget, buying books isn’t really a thing I do much of anymore.

But, a library book sale, that’s no trouble at all! I thought. Plus, because I don’t really buy books anymore and because I don’t read as fast as I used to, I also don’t have many books to donate these days. So, it’s a win-win-win I told myself. I get cheap books to read, which I can donate AND (yes, here’s the third win) if I walk the mile and a half to the library I get some serious steps in!

Because I’m a better excuse maker and justifier than mathematician I neglected to consider how much more work the 1.5 mile walk back would be while carrying a bag full of books. But anything worth having is worth sweating for a little bit is what I’m supposed to say here, I think.

With 50 looming around the bend I find myself marveling at the fact that 50 and me will soon be something that goes together. So I say to myself that I should probably start behaving like a grown up, even if I don’t always feel like one. Which is a funny thing to think since if you ask my mother she’ll tell you I’ve been 80 years old since I was born. I’ve long said that I’m layered like an onion so I shouldn’t find it so hard to feel both too young to be this old and too old to be this young.

While I ponder that, I’ll try to write more and also get through some of these books. 


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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hope is a four letter word

The home study is almost done. I had the last of the three visits with the social worker almost two weeks ago. Friends have shared with me that they’ve spoken with her and that she seems to like me. Which is nice; obviously it’s a good sign when the person writing a report that can put a halt to the entire proceedings seems to think you’d make a good parent.

Now that I’m closer to actually starting the placement process I’m experiencing moments of hope and excitement. But, because this can be a long process, I keep pushing those feelings back. I keep thinking, “there are a ton of positive, good adoption stories. Why couldn’t one of those be yours?” And I think about the odds, which makes me wish I had been better at math. That’s not really how it works, though is it? There’s no amount of logic that will make this go faster, that will ensure that if and when I get a child that I get to keep the child. When you spend your whole life hoping for the best but planning (and expecting) the worst, allowing the seed of hope to flower is a dangerous, potentially painful thing.

Still, all those words aside, I ordered this today.

Elmo and Big Bird cross stitch birth announcement

Throughout the years I’ve stitched a number of birth announcements for other people. This would be the first time I’ve made one that I intend to keep. In the past, dong something like this has taken up to a year and since this process can take up to 2 years, I clearly may have more than enough time. I always say that I’m not superstitious but there is a part of me that worries this might be jinxing things. Still, after doing birth announcements for friends’ babies, I can’t imagine not having one for my own and once I have a child there’s no way I’ll have the time (or energy). It’s essentially now or never. I’ll just have to make sure I manage the feelings. That there will be feelings is a given. I just have to make sure I let the good ones have equal or more time than the scary, anxious ones.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Burn it down, my witches

As soon as I heard Samatha Bee say this today I just knew I had to stitch it so I spent some time this evening gridding it out. I considered changing it to “my bitches” but decided it was best left alone.

Little tip, when doing something like this, it goes better and faster if one can spell the really difficult words like “down” for example.

Ah well. It’s a good thing I’m cute.

Burn it down my witches cross stitch pattern

Cross stitch pattern

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Creative | Stitching

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Writober 10.11.17: Small Comforts

Maybe if he’d shouted the words at her she could have brushed them off, blamed it on stress or the low level anger that he always felt after his team lost at a home game.

But he said them so matter of factly, like a stranger telling you the time or commenting about the heavy rains.

“You really,” he said, looking past her shoulder, “are an uncaring bitch.”

She looked behind her to make sure there wasn’t someone standing there. And then she sighed. “I’m really not,” she replied. “I just don’t care about you anymore.”


Maybe she should have ignored the question like she had at least a dozen times before but it was time. Pretending wasn’t even worth the effort anymore. For a while she thought that maybe if she cloaked herself in an air of happiness that somehow it would seep through her pores. Instead she went to bed feeling slightly nauseated and awoke hoping he’d be gone.

She still loved him and that was saddest of all. She just couldn’t be the carrier of his dreams anymore.


“There isn’t a point to a list, is there?” she asked as she leaned forward and grazed his cheek with her chapped lips. “I lied. I care about you. Just not in the way you need and I’m tired. I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I’ll pack. Or you’ll pack. I don’t know.”

He stared after her for a while and then he turned the volume back up on the TV. “so that’s it,” he thought. It had actually lasted longer that he’d figured. A small comfort but he was in the mood to be comforted by even that.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Writing | Fiction

Friday, October 06, 2017

Writober 10.6.17: Love, period.


That’s Wired’s headline about the imminent demise of AIM. I still remember fondly AIM’s ability to search its database of users by age, location, gender, interests, etc.

I’ve always had trouble sleeping and there was a time when I used to scroll through numerous west coast AIM profiles looking for people to chat with in the late hours of the night.

“Which do you like better,” I asked one evening, “ICQ or AIM?” That geeky question started a relationship that would go on to last eight years, cause an epic heartbreak, and have such an impact on my life that even a decade later I still occasionally experience soft, surprising aftershocks.

But that day I was just killing time before heading off to one of my evening classes. We joked about nonsense, talked about roller coasters (I have no idea why) and after I told him I was auditioning him for a potential “pen pal” he asked how he was doing. “Good so far but we’ll see what your application looks like.” When he humored the silliness I knew I’d found a good one.

Catching the time I told him I needed to go. “Thank you for chatting with me!” I typed and signed off.

A long while later, after he’d become my best friend and something more that I was afraid to name, during our first visit, he told me the thank you made him want to keep chatting with me.

“Really?” I asked. “Why?”

“Nobody is that polite online and I liked the exclamation point.”

I laughed. Manners and punctuation. The key to all great love affairs. Or at least, memorable connections.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Writing

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wherever I go, there I am

There’s a reason I chose to focus my work around children and families. Were I a stronger and braver person I would have done what I said I would do - focus on child abuse prevention. But somewhere along the way, without consciously making a decision, I changed my mind. Perhaps because I know my limitations. Or maybe it’s just that, without an advanced degree doing direct work with such a vulnerable population didn’t seem advisable. Regardless, even working in the broader issues that impact children and families I still find myself. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years now and it still surprises me to see myself in the work.

Not literally, obviously. That level of fame or infamy is not mine to attain but as I read today about the signs of eating disorders in young people, there I was. I read down the list, mentally adding check marks to the things that applied. I’m not a hypochondriac who imagines she has every symptom she reads about so I think I do a good job of being objective.

We all come at life’s experiences with baggage, don’t we? There may be people who say that baggage should be stowed in a deep locker at a train station, the key lost and the things forgotten. But I don’t know how to compartmentalize like that. I am who I am because of who I have been and who I was. That is neither a bad or good thing. it just is. Neutral until it can’t be. And so, I know my weaknesses, the fault lines. I sense the scars but don’t dwell on them. I recognize the limitations and try as much as I can to not let them bind me.


seeing the words. seeing the recommendations for how to address the risk factors. listening as the trainers go on about how to appropriately reach out to a young person in need

It makes me sad.

Not for the person I am today because as an adult, my choices, good or bad, my action or inactions are mine and mine alone.

But it makes me sad for the girl I used to be. The one who could have used someone quietly asking, “Are you okay?” but who never heard those words.

I am who I am because of who I was. And yet, in these moments I wonder, Who could I have been?

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fire, it’s apparently a thing

It’s late (10 p.m.) and it’s a “school night” as they say and I need to be at work earlier than usual so despite having this desire to dive into a longer post about my relationship with food I think I’ll - wait for it - table that for now. I’d say I’m sorry about that except I don’t want to lie to you. Had to be done. But back to the food. For now, I’ll just share that after four years of not having a kitchen to myself it’s nice to be able to make my own messes without feeling self conscious about my lack of cooking skills. The ex-roommates were great in a myriad of ways, including their very fancy and enviable cooking skills. So cooking there never felt all that comfortable for me.

And the photo above should give you a sense of why. I tend to overcook pretty much 90% of what I make. I can follow a recipe okay but once it’s time to pull the thing off the heat, out of the oven, that’s where things fall a part a bit. You’d think, with the advent of timers, that the guesswork would be minimal. But I get distracted or I underestimate how long I can let something sit while I finish that page in a book, that last paragraph in an article or wait until I can come to a good spot in the show to hit pause.

But, whether it’s a desire to get a handle on the weight (again, always) or a wish to live like a “grown up” (which apparently in my head means not burning things. Hey, it’s the attainable goals) or the knowledge that hopefully one day in the not so distant future I’ll be cooking for a little person, I have this idea that this year will be the year that I master cooking. And by master it, I mean finding simple recipes that are idiot proof enough for me to build a nice repertoire of things I can pull together without feeling like I’m preparing for an advanced calculus final.

We’ll see how that goes. If nothing else, it’ll give me content for the blog. Because, you have your choice of blogs where people post photos of all the beautiful dishes they create but where can you go to make yourself feel better about the fact that you had dry cereal for dinner for the third night in a row? Don’t act like you don’t. This truth thing has to flow both ways, you know.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cloudy with a chance of 80s pop

My personal computer died several years ago.

Well, having typed that I feel the need to clarify. I might have had a slight role in the killing of said computer. It was a refurbished laptop that my brother had kindly gifted me due to the fact that my old old computer had decided it no longer wanted to do more than five minutes of work at a time. It booted up fine but after a couple of minutes the fan would kick on, give it the old valiant college try and then say, “Nah, girl. Your Facebooking isn’t worth this heat. Bye!”

So to the rescue my brother came. And that new old computer did the trick for a while. And while it was tricking (wait, what?) I would hear tell of this thing called the cloud. And articles and people would marvel about the flexibility and portability of the cloud! The cloud would solve all problems and I am certainly a fan of a problem-free life. But I also have this thing sometimes called procrastination. So I didn’t back up anything to the cloud. Besides, anything and everything I cared about (my photos and thousands and thousands of songs) was saved to my trusty external drive. Pfft. I’ll be fine, I figured.

You see where I’m going with this, yes? Of course you do because you’re smart. Smarter than me, definitely. So where were you when I most needed you?!? Hmm. That’s trouble of a different kind, no? Let’s move on.

One day I decided to upgrade the OS on this old new to me laptop and that’s when that laptop also said, “Nah, girl. Bye!” Except, perhaps knowing that the afterlife of any computer used by me (which means a drive full of badly Photoshopped images and messy CSS files) would be lonely, it decided to take with it, the external drive that I had neglected to disconnect prior to the upgrade. Really, when you think about it - it takes a special kind of skill to kill not just a computer but an external drive too.

I despaired for months over having lost thousands of mp3s collected over more than a decade. I’d say maybe a quarter of which I can recover if I take the time to rip my CDs, which thankfully I still have so that’s something but there’s other music that I’m just not going to be able to recover. Upon hearing my sad tale of musical woe, a friend tried to salvage the external drive and he ensured me he’d been successful. So for a year and some change I’ve been content with the knowledge that once I got a new computer I’d be able to pull my music back in and then do what I should have done ages ago, which is back it up to the cloud.

Sadly, so far the friend’s had no luck figuring out how to extract my music from his iTunes library. So close yet so far. You’d think that after almost 3 years of doing without my music library I’d not miss it anymore but I still feel a slight ache whenever I think of it all being gone. Granted, that’s probably due to the memories attached to many of those songs. Someone I cared for a lot ages ago helped me build that collection and that person and I are no longer in touch. And if we know anything about me, letting go of people I care about deeply isn’t the easiest thing for me to do.

Speaking of music, during the second adoption training class the group somehow got to talking about music and I made a joke about how my poor kid will grow up hearing 80s music and there was a collective groan. “Oh no,” someone said, “Don’t let that happen!”

So who knows. Maybe the loss of the music is the universe’s way of helping me to move on or sparing any poor child that I adopt from endless rounds of the Cover Girls or Expose’s greatest hits. Really, one shouldn’t question the Universe. It knows best.

3 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption | Dailies

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Are you supposed to promise that?

Trainings are required in the adoption process. Three to be exact; two pre-adoption and one post.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it (a sign that these posts are far and few, no?) but I’m finding this process to be quite a lonely one. It’s not daunting in the sense that it’s complex but it has a lot of parts. Parts that would be nice to be able to divvy up. Whenever I go down that path I try to stop myself and just accept that this is the way things are. Easier said than done at times, as most things tend to be. I hadn’t considered that I would be the only single person at the trainings but that’s how things have shaken out. I have to say, sitting by yourself, having no one to literally lean on or someone to whisper to or do the exercises with hasn’t helped that lonely feeling. When I mentioned that, someone said, “But you’re lucky. At least you don’t have to consider the person you’re with wants this as much as you do. You can make decisions without having to check with anyone.” So, grass is greener I suppose.

At the end of the training last week the trainer asked how we were all coping with the wait. One couple said they’re doing a lot of shopping, albeit mostly virtual at this point. They look at cribs and decide which one they’ll buy when it’s time. But they did share that they have bought a few clothes.

I found myself shaking my head and I spoke up and said, “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m coping by just focusing on the paperwork. Obviously I’d like this to end with a baby but I don’t know if that’s really going to happen so I don’t think too much about all those concrete details. I cope by not thinking about it. Because you can’t really promise that, right?” And this is where my voice broke and I found myself tearing up a little which, even in a room full of people who have experienced their own heartbreak(s), was still embarrassing. “I mean, I know you can’t guarantee anything but it would help so much to know if this is really going to happen.”

“It will really happen,” she said. “You will get a baby. You may have to wait a long time but you will.”

I don’t remember what I said but I remember nodding and thinking, “You can’t really say that.” But that may be a lifetime of protective factors coming in to play. Years of working in fields where one is taught to not over promise, to hedge and leave room for having to walk back whatever.

I’m supposed to believe that some day a birth mother will look at my profile and specifically say, “I pick her.” Maybe that I’m single will be appealing, or Latina, or the mother won’t have any set criteria and if I’ve been waiting long enough, I’ll bubble up to the top.

In the meantime, I’ll complete my paperwork, wait, and continue to not shop, virtual or otherwise because, really, who knows what will be.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption

Sunday, July 09, 2017

What do you write about when you’re afraid to write?

For almost as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried to be careful about what I write about work. When your early blogging memories include the knowledge of how the phrase “being dooced” came to be, you learn (or at least I did), to be vague when writing about work - if one even chooses to write about work at all, that is. Add to the already healthy fear of being fired for publishing things online that should best be kept to the confines of the work environment the very real fact that things went downhill quickly during the second half of the last year and that provided no incentive to get back to blogging.

Well, to be clear, all of 2015 and 2016 were anxiety producing both personally and professionally. When I found the new job and moved into my own place in Virginia, with the anticipation of things calming down (and having a personal computer again) I had this idea that I’d be able to turn some of my energy to the blog - both the content and the infrastructure.

I did start writing again, somewhat, as the archives show. I thought, with the start of the adoption process that I would maybe even write about that. But as I work through the (sometimes lonely) process of answering question after question, compiling document after document I find myself worrying about putting too much online. I don’t worry about there being anything technically wrong with my application. I’m not rich by any means but I could afford the care of a child with careful budgeting. That doesn’t set me apart from basically much of the child-having population. I have no worries about the background checks coming back with anything as there isn’t anything to come back. So that really only leaves the faceless, nameless people out there who will be gathering all this information, reviewing and assessing/judging me on my ability to be a good parent. I’m worrying for nothing, I know. The stuff I’ve posted on here, the stuff that’s online isn’t scandalous or even all that interesting and yet, pitted against couples wanting babies, two income families that might be better able to care for a child with less stress or worry about finances, I worry about sharing anything that could land me on the “Does she really think we’d ever pick her?” pile.

And so I don’t write. With not writing about work and not writing about the adoption process what does that leave?

I suppose I could tell you that I’m finally getting around to watching The Wire. Because, why not wait until I’m no longer living in Baltimore to finally get around to watching this iconic piece of entertainment centered around the city I called home for about 6 years? I’m sure that I’ll be able to add a voice to the hundreds of thought pieces already on the web! And have you heard about this actor named Idris Elba? He’s easy on the eyes no? I’m sure he’ll be going places.

Or I could tell you that my latest podcast obsessions right now are Denzel Washington is the greatest actor of all time. Period and Criminal. Because I seem to be the queen of catching on to old content, the Denzel Washington podcast stopped updating back in April, having discussed all of Washingtons oeuvre. But I have about two years worth of content to listen to so no new shows is hardly a problem. By the time I’m done I’m sure I’ll be able to find some other show that was hyped ages ago but that I am just now hearing about.

There is a an abundance of content to immerse oneself in through books, tv, etc that there is just no way to stay on top of everything. Thank goodness for archives, I suppose.

I still haven’t dug into my collection of books as I’ve wanted so that’s still on the to do list. Maybe I should make better attempts at writing at least brief of impressions of what I read; that would help with adding content to the blog and keep the writing muscles in shape. Plans plans plans. Never a shortage of those either!

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption | Dailies

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