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

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

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 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.