Sunday, October 25, 2009

Toothy Grin

And to think: at one point not too long ago, I wondered if he would ever get all his teeth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Very Own Larry David

So we were checking out at Costco today (surely the eight words signaling the start of many epic stories) putting our rotisserie chicken, half-gallon of half and half (we drink a lot of coffee), 5 pound bag of quinoa, and other staples on the conveyor belt when we suddenly found ourselves on the receiving end of an extremely foul mood by the old-man checker. Apparently, we had ruined his day by not placing the plastic separater bar thingee on the belt before we started to load our stuff. We had left at least a 3 foot gap between our stuff and the stuff of the folks in front of us, but the curmudgeon checking us out ignored the chasm of space between piles of stuff and added a bunch of our stuff to the other folks tab.

When he figured out the mistake, he glared in our direction and started tossing our stuff back our way, chiding us for not placing the plastic bar down to separate the piles of stuff. Ted said he was sorry but that he thought the big gap would have been enough. Well, that was simply too much for the Costco curmudgeon. He glared at us for a good three seconds (might not sound like very long, but count three seconds and imagine a Costco checker glaring with hatred directly at you, and it starts to feel like a short eternity) and pointed at not just one but three plastic bars we could have used to separate our stuff.

I think it was the condescending tone that pushed Ted over the edge. I have a big problem with grouchy people taking out their bad mood on innocents like us, and Ted has an equally big problem with anyone speaking condescendingly to him, especially after he'd already said he was sorry. So what did Ted do?

My 6 foot 6 inch tall husband who is as spindly as a praying mantis and has a theatrically-trained voice that could fill a 10,000 seat concert hall decides to lift both hands in the air over his head, and belt out in his best Ian McKellen-inspired voice "I apologize to Costco! I apologize to Costco!" turning side to side so as many people as possible can hear his heartfelt apology.

Truly, the Costco Curmudgeon deserved it, but I realized in that moment that my life is sometimes like one long episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I just shook my head and mumbled something about needing to go pee and walked away, desperately needing to get away from two horribly misbehaving men.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009


This is maybe the only time Pappy has fed Abe anything nutritious. Every time I turn my back, it's all chips and cookies.

Abe has mastered the big fish story. "And then, Pappy, I made a cookie this big."

Abe has been getting massive amounts of undivided attention. Abe's going to wake up Sunday morning and wonder who took his own personal Santa Clause away.

Pappy taught Abe about Johnny Appleseed at the Hood River fruit-loop corn maze.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the Brink and in the Trenches

Beautiful writing from someone on the brink of parenthood: go here. Read the post titled "Deeper Love."

More beautiful writing from someone in the trenches: go here.

I am so lucky to know both of these amazing women and even call both of them my friends. Lucky, lucky me.

Last night, Abe went to his first wedding, decked out in his first sports jacket, eating his first crabcake:
Where he got smooches from the bride and danced to "Copa Cabana":
Now Pappy, my dad, is in town. Abe was so excited last night after picking him up from the airport that he laid in bed talking to himself and singing until well after midnight. Pictures to come...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home Study #2

It's official: we have the best social worker in the state of Oregon. We love her. Love. Her. I was, of course, very nervous the first time around before she came over, but this time round, I wasn't. Last night, when I should have been cleaning up, I sat in the basement and watched Seinfeld. That's how not-nervous I was.

However, I woke up this morning and spent two hours cleaning/straightening. I nagged at Ted for not washing last night's soup pot. I complained to him about the upstairs closet door being off its track. I tied up Abe's curtain just so and put all his stuffed animals at the foot of his bed, looking towards the door as if to say, "Hi, Ms. Social Worker! We like you! Do you like us? We like you and think you're so pretty and sweet." I had a small herd of butterflies in my stomach once everything was ready.

Then she appeared at our door, and the butterflies left. Abe was a dream the whole two hours. A dream, I'm telling you. He looked at his books and played with his wooden race car. He asked for milk, and when he got it, he wandered around peacefully in his "I have my sippy cup and all is right in the world" milk-drugged stupor. He laid on the floor and rolled around quietly. He sat on my lap and snuggled. He ran to our social worker over and over saying "hey and hi! hi and hey!" He answered "no" right along with us as we were asked if we have ever been arrested, ever had a drug problem, ever been denied a home study.

We updated her on what life has been like the last year (which, really, she knew for the most part since Abe's last post-placement was done a mere three months ago), what books we're reading, how we spend our free time. We asked her a lot of questions, and she gave us thoughtful, wise answers.

She never noticed how clean our upstairs is. She liked our pumpkins and Halloween decorations but she never got the chance to be greeted by Abe's stuffed animals and never smelled the vanilla candle burning in the bathroom. Why do I worry about these things?

Ted never gets nervous, and I'm pretty sure our social worker likes him better than me. He makes her laugh, so much so that she covers her face and shakes. She never noticed that he was wearing his holiest work jeans. She laughed at his story about being arrested by the East German police and being brought in to "the Gestapo," a story he voluntarily brought up. Because he thought it would be funny. In our homestudy. With a social worker. A social worker who could recommend that we not be allowed to adopt again because of a history of being arrested in Communist East Germany.*

But our social worker laughed. And this is why we love her. If we lived closer to each other, I'd want to have her and all her eight kids over for dinner. After dinner, I'd make her smell that candle and say 'hi and hey' to Abe's stuffed animals. She'd simply have to then.

*for anyone who is concerned, Ted was brought in to the police for trying to hitch-hike on the autobahn when he was traveling through Eastern Europe at age 19. He has no criminal record in Germany.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Things I've Learned on This Roadtrip

1. Our 13-year-old niece has potentially saved herself years of heartache by learning this lesson early.

2. It's worth it to drive a few hours out of your way to visit family.

3. Reconnecting with a friend you haven't seen or talked to in 15 years is also very worth it. Just be prepared for the mind-trippyness of the whole experience.

4. Jack London lived in Berkeley and was a smart guy. I recommend clicking on the photo and reading the quote. I now want to read more of his work.

5. Jesus, Abe Lincoln, and Maria Von Trapp are the best of friends, at least according to an artist at Stanford U.

6. Letting your kid discover the joy of jumping on hotel beds is pretty fun.

7. Okay, I didn't really learn this so much as was reminded: this photo explains why I really don't want to live full-time in Los Angeles. This was at 10 am on a Tuesday morning. I needed to get off this ramp and turn right. Yeah. It took a while. Also: yelling into the phone long expletive-laden rants about traffic won't make the cars go any faster.

8. Pinkberry makes all that traffic-angst a lot better.

9. Go Dog Go is the perfect book for a toddler who is learning English.

10. It is possible to be inspired to live a better life by attending the memorial service for a person who lived very well. Over 1000 people came at 1pm on a Monday for the funeral of our relative who went on to his next big adventure. It was very much worth the drive down.

11. Last (for now): it's true what they say about grandparents. Abe's L.A. grampa is pretty rad.