Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thanks For Your Time

Friends, the bad news is that blogging has been and will be infrequent.

The good news is that it's because we received our travel authorization for China to bring home Baby Sister. We've had her photo since October, and every day since then has been exquisite torture waiting for the go-ahead. So now that we have it, we have 2 1/2 weeks to get ready for wheels up to China. Woo Hoo!

Which means that I'm using every spare moment to pack, plan and purchase, not to mention prepare Bambina for what lies ahead. She' s very excited to be a big sister in theory, but in practice it is and will be a major adjustment for her. Just last night we received a new pic of Baby Sister. I said, "Wow. We have two beautiful girls in our family!" Her reply? "Um, Mama? I think every family should have one kid who is the cutest, and I feel strongly that it should be me." She then suggested that Baby Sister could perhaps hold the top spot for "smallest" or "slowest." Nice.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I just read this in the latest issue of The Sun magazine, and it absolutely floored me--as I wait impatiently for my daughter, for my health to improve so I can get off my horrible meds, for the planets to align in whatever way I've convinced myself they must align this day. Enjoy.

Because Even The Word Obstacle Is An Obstacle

Try to love everything that gets in your way;
The Chinese women in flowered bathing caps
murmuring together in Mandarin and doing leg exercises in your lane
while you execute thirty-six furious laps,
one for every item on your to-do list.
The heavy-bellied man who goes thrashing through the water
like a horse with a harpoon stuck in its side and
whose breathless tsunamis rock you from your course.
Teachers all. Learn to be small
and swim past obstacles like a minnow,
without grudges or memory. Dart
toward your goal, sperm to egg. Thinking, Obstacle,
is another obstacle. Try to love the teenage girl
lounging against the ladder, showing off her new tattoo:
Cette vie est la mienne, This life is mine,
in thick blue-black letters on her ivory instep.
Be glad she'll have that to look at the rest of her life, and
keep going. Swim by an uncle
in the lane next to yours who is teaching his nephew
how to hold his breath underwater,
even though kids aren't supposed
to be in the pool at this hour. Someday,
years from now, this boy
who is kicking and flailing in the exact place
you want to touch and turn
may be a young man at a wedding on a boat,
raising his champagne glass in a toast
when a huge wave hits, washing everyone overboard.
He'll come up coughing and spitting like he is now,
but he'll come up like a cork,
alive. So your moment
of impatience must bow in service to the larger story,
because if something is in your way, it is
going your way, the way
of all beings: toward darkness, toward light.

- Allison Luterman

A Few More Photos

Bambina rocking the Irish Step Dancing.

The view while I waited at the airport for Grandma and Big Cousin's arrival

The happiest cousins on the block. Bambina was thrilled to have her cousin pick her up at school and meet her friends.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Let Me Tell You About My Slow Cooker

Perhaps completing my descent into full-on suburban housewife-itude, I have purchased a slow cooker. At Walmart.

Friends, the slow cooker has changed my life, and let me tell you why. First, I am the crappiest cook you have ever met. No, really. You think that other lady was? Or your old girlfriend? Or your current wife? Or your mother? Or your father? No, dear. It's me. I just don't have the burn for it. I mean, I go through phases where I think, "I'm going to take cooking classes!" because I want to be a good wife to my husband who works all day, and this is how I will contribute to the household and blah blah. And then I start to cook something and I'm like, "Why do I have to fucking 'julienne' or 'dice' this? I don't have time for this! How about I just chop it up and throw it in, for god's sake?!" And then we end up eating some dish containing giant onion chunks where there should have been a soupcon of onion essence gliding across the palate. And then I've got to be standing there at the stove managing the different ingredients, like, "oh! It's time to add the adobo paste! Where is the damn adobo paste? Oh, I don't have adobo paste. Does paprika work? Yeah, paprika. Oh no, the onions are burning rather than caramelizing because I went to look for adobo paste!" It's pure hell--for me and for the folks who need to eat paprika-flavored chili.

Enter the slow cooker. Enter the million websites with slow cooker recipes, all of which involve about 4 steps: maybe brown the meat, maybe not. Chop the vegetables. Add the spices. Cook on high for 6 hours. I simply cannot ruin a dinner cooked in the slow cooker. And can we discuss the reduction in grocery bills as a result? Cheap cuts of meat, quality veggies, quality spices...and leftovers, baby!

The good people at Hamilton Beach have been reading my diary, because this is a straight-up dream come true. I just made the Obama Family Chili for a friend who just had a baby and needs some help. Took me 15 minutes. See? The slow cooker contributing to tikkun olam. Ordinarily, I would shy away from being a meals-on-wheels mitzvah girl simply because I hate to further burden already-afflicted individuals with my nasty-ass cooking. But this time? Kid-friendly chili for four delivered to your door! And the extra? MY child ate it. Liked it. (Note: the key to this chili is the mildness, more turmeric and oregano than chili powder, served over rice. Very Hawaiian/Indonesian influence. Parents can add the spice to their bowls, the kids devour the chili out of the pot because it's a flavorful, accessible, and healthy sloppy joe-seeming meal.) Bisous to Michelle Obama for this one.

Today is busy, what with the visitors arriving. So tonight is going to be a soup from this amazing blog, recommended by my girl VC: And I shall spend precisely 10 minutes putting it together, thank you.

I don't know why I waited so long to get a crockpot, y'all. Oh wait, I do. Because I am an elitist snob who thought they were only for people who liked to cook "meals" with campbell's cream of mushroom soup and velveeta. Well, you all have the last laugh now. I honor you, crockpot women of America.

Friday Linky Fun

Grandma Haggis and Bambina's cousin are arriving today for the weekend, so things will be (even) slower than usual around the blog today. They are escaping the DC Snowpocalypse by perhaps an hour, so we'll see how long they are residing with us should the DC airports not reopen on Sunday. In any event, we're happy to accommodate them here in Massachusetts where we not only love wealthy pickup truck driving Republicans, but we know how to plow a damn street. Wilkommen, poor wretched DC castoffs!

First up: a shocking and racist indictment of my home country. This notion that Scottish people drink too much! Lies! All lies, I tell you! Oh yeah, the reference to "depressed industrial area Strathclyde"? My home county. Boo-ya!

Next, Bambina rejoices! Having cured cancer, we have now redesigned the ketchup packet to allow for dunking!

In the "What an asshole!" category, here is Republican Senator Shelby from Louisiana placing a blanket hold on ALL Obama nominees until his state gets its two pet billion-dollar projects back. THAT is some seriously awesome fiscal restraint right there.

And, finally, a plea. Can we all just stop using the word "retarded" already? First, because it is unnecessary, inappropriate and undeniably cruel. I remember "retarded" kids being teased at school and I remember just having my heart break for them. It's the worst kind of grade school insult--and can we all agree we're above that? Second, let's ban it because I want Sarah Palin to go away. Every time someone (I'm looking at you, Rahm Emanuel, you no-class boor--but apparently not you, Rush Limbaugh because you run the conservative movement and Caribou Barbie dare not cross you) says "retarded" to mean stupid, it gives Palin another reason to be in the news cycle. So--do we have a deal? Morons are morons. Losers are losers. Dimwits are dimwits. Let's let the word "retarded" fade into oblivion, and with it, Sarah Palin.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Party of Obstruction

If there's any question that the Congressional GOP has zero interest in working in a bipartisan fashion, allow their own words to settle it for you:

Seriously, folks. Obstruction is not a long-term winning strategy, regardless of how tingly it may make Mitch McConnell feel. I look forward to some reality-based GOP proposals to go along with their opposition. Dare I hold my breath?


Just in case you support the new GOP purity test for candidates, please know that Ronald Reagan failed it:

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


That's the shills at Breitbart dinging Secretary of State Clinton for not immediately defending the Christian church group that got caught busing Haitian kids into the Dominican Republic.


I could go on and on about the reams of effing paperwork I have filled out to adopt my daughters, the invasive and unbelievable questions I have answered, the permission (and fees) I have given to have every square inch of my life's history investigated for even a whiff of wrongdoing--all to ensure that I am not a child abuser or a child trafficker. And yes, I complain about the process, but hear me now and believe me later, it SHOULD be hard to adopt a child. It SHOULD be a process that makes you sometimes wonder if you have the stones for it. It SHOULD be a series of events that cause attrition. If it was as easy as busing a bunch of kids into a neighboring country, we'd all be doing it--and that is unconscionable from the perspective of child safety.

I deplore the "good Christians" who were--let's call it what it is--kidnapping Haitian kids. Stunts like this are part of the reason the Hague had to institute the regulations it instituted. Yes, the pedophiles and the traffickers. But also the "well-meaning" people who treat children as charity cases, as nothing more than a means to the Lord's ends, rather than as human beings who exist separate from whatever desires and motives their "helpers" might have. On what planet do you round up a bunch of kids you don't know anything about (including the fact that a couple of them actually did have family from whom they were separated) and just summarily transport them to a foreign country simply because you have a need to "help" them? It is absolutely unconscionable--and completely un-Christian. Do you disagree? Then imagine a disaster like Katrina in your neighborhood. You're separated from your kids, maybe you don't know if each other is alive or dead. Then imagine some church group from Mexico or Canada simply picking your kid up and transporting them internationally--because they want to help. Less altruistic-seeming now, isn't it?

I wish no harm upon these people, but I do hope that they will stop saying that they should be excused simply because they were trying to help. You kidnapped children. For whatever reason; you kidnapped children.