Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are you my mother?

Adoption has been on my mind quite a bit lately. This happens now and again, the unsettled feeling rearing its ugly head. My parents adopted me when I was just 2 months old. My older brother is also adopted, although we're not biologically related. I've always known. It was never kept secret from us. For the most part, it's never been a big deal. There have been instances... in 5th grade, for example, when I told my teacher that I couldn't complete the family tree project we'd been assigned because I was adopted and didn't really know who my ancestors were. Or at my grandfather's funeral when I was about 11 or 12, overhearing my great-grandmother tell my mother that I couldn't be in the picture showing 3 generations of women in the family because I wasn't a blood relative (A lesson to be learned: kids really do retain these things. This happened 25 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.). God love my mom - she shot right back to my great-grandmother that if I couldn't be in the picture, she wouldn't be in it either.

But every now and again, I get the itch to start searching.

When I was about 13 or so, my mother took me to the agency that had helped her and my father with my adoption. The caseworker we spoke to was unbelievably rude, telling me I should be grateful for the parents I had and asking how I would feel if a mistake from my past came knocking on my door? A mistake that my family - husband, children - probably didn't know about. Wow. I left in tears.

I went back in my early twenties, when I learned it was my right to get non-identifying information from the agency. Thankfully, this caseworker was much more helpful. I found out that my birth-mother was 16 when she had me. That certainly answers the question of why she placed me for adoption - teenage motherhood wasn't as socially acceptable as it seems to be today - so I never really developed the feelings of rejection that a lot of adoptees do. I found out what her parents did, that they were in the middle of a divorce that year. I did some digging at the library, and went back to the caseworker. She couldn't outright give me information that would identify my birth-mother, but if I guessed, for lack of a better word, she could confirm or deny. So after the second visit I knew that her name is Barbie Pearson. She was born April 25, 1953. She was 15 when she got pregnant, 16 when I was born. She's the 2nd oldest of 5 children, was living with her mother at the time I was born because her parents had just gotten divorced.

I tried to find out more, but didn't get very far. Then I stopped because I realized it was upsetting my mother very much - she ended up with the feelings of rejection. I couldn't bear the thought of something I was doing hurting her that much. So I closed that door in my head and didn't think about it again until after my mother passed away.

Then the itch came again. I did more digging, and found someone that I thought was one of her brothers. Using the advice I'd gotten from other adoptees I'd talked to this about, I wrote him a very innocent letter - "I knew your sister when we lived near each other in Dayton, back in the late 60's, but we've lost touch with each other. I know her birthday's coming up. If you're who I think you are, could you pass this card along to her. If not, sorry to bother you." The note in the card to her read pretty much the same way. That's the way they tell you to do it - ease into it, don't just blurt out that you're the more-than-likely illegitimate child they had way back in the day, and here you are. Hi Mom, what's been shakin' the last 36 years? I never got a response from that letter or card. I let it drop assuming that either 1) I had the wrong person or 2) I had the right person and she wanted nothing to do with me.

So here we are today.

I've never really wanted to meet her. I'm not sure what I'd say. And I can't imagine what kind of relationship, if any, might develop. I've always wanted to see a picture more than anything else. Just to know if there's anyone out there that I resemble. I've done quite a bit of psycho-analyzing on this (big surprise)... I think this is in my mind so intensely because of both my parents being gone now. I've written before about these intense feelings of alone-ness (not to be confused with loneliness) that have been haunting me lately. I thought I had it pretty well pulled together... but since my dad passed away, I just don't know how I fit into the mix anymore. I'm not sure how searching for this stranger would assuage any of those feelings, especially since I don't plan any attempt to contact her even if I did track her down. And would searching for her with or without plans of making contact be an incredible invasion of her privacy? Good questions that I don't have an answer for. All I know right now is that it's like a burning itch underneath the skin that you can't get to.

Friday, January 27, 2006

6:45 am...
I never knew that children as young as my little one (2) could have nightmares. We started experiencing these about 3 months ago. Let me tell you... there are few things more terrifying than waking up at 2:30 in the morning to your child letting out blood-curdling screams. They don't happen often, maybe twice a month, but I don't think I'll ever get used to it. K was up with him last night, but our house is so small that it's impossible to go back to sleep until everything and everyone in the house is calm again. Last night's wasn't too bad - we've certainly had worse - the screaming/crying only lasted about 30 minutes (we've had it go on for more than an hour before), and he was back to sleep in another 45 minutes or so after that. At that point, I probably should've just stayed up, cruise the internet, watch some tv, get into work a little early. But I didn't. I made the mistake of trying to catch another hour and a half of sleep. Now, even after a large diet Coke from McD's on the way into work, and a cup of coffee at work, I can hardly keep my eyes open. This is going to be a long, long day.

Later that same day...................

The caffeine, thank heavens, finally kicked in about 11:30 and I've been cruising along ever since. Of course, while telling someone about our experiences last night, the lady that sits in the cubicle behind me had to pipe up with "What do you let him watch that would give him nightmares like that?????" Since the only channels we watch while he's awake, when we have the tv on, are the Disney channel and the Food Network, I was understandably offended by this remark. I quickly responded to her (sarcastically, of course) " Well Friday the 13th part 107 was on last night... you don't think that was okay for him to watch?" She gave me a puzzled 'deer in the headlights' look and went back to work. God help me... keep me safe from the idiots, for there sake, not mine. I know many of you have not met me personally, but do I come across as the kind of person that would knowingly let their child watch bad things? Maybe it's because I'm stunned so often by people's stupidity that I'm rendered speechless, and end up giving a look that says 'You're kidding me, right?' They must misinterpret this and think I have a low IQ.

But the work week is over, and the weekend is upon us, hip-hip-hooray. I've checked the new Patricia Cornwell out of the library (since I didn't receive it for Christmas... not that I'm holding a grudge about that...) and K has promised me a Saturday morning of solitude to do with what I please. I don't think I can convey in words how giddy I am about this. Hopefully your weekends will be just as good...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I seem to have accomplished what could only be called a miracle in our house these days. I'm home today with the little one. I'm also off Monday to be home with him (long story short - no other childcare, husband losing job in 1 1/2 weeks so not looking for daycare, in-laws in Florida otherwise they would probably have the boy), and that of course means I'm contemplating calling off tomorrow and making this a nice, long weekend. We'll see.

What miracle, you ask? I hope to heavens I don't jinx myself for saying this, but I've gotten the boy to go down for a nap. This is a rare occurence in our house. He used to take naps every day, and usually they were good 2-3 hour naps that meant Mommy or Daddy could really have a break. But for the last 2 months or so, he hasn't been inclined towards the afternoon siesta. I took my chances today to see what would happen... it's been an hour, and there's been barely a peep. I just don't think I can get across to you in words how exciting this is for me.

It feels as if it's been such a long week. The woman that sits in the cubicle behind me has finally purchased another car, although I'm waiting for disaster on that front because she bought the car of another woman that works with us. Past experience has taught me that transactions such as this usually turn out badly.

Production at the vile manufacturing plant where K will work for another 1 1/2 weeks has stopped. They're spending these last days breaking down the machinery and such. I think the finality of this is finally starting to hit him. We could have some rough days ahead.

I have spent my hour of solitude (slowly but sure stretching now to an hour and a 1/2) browsing the iTunes website. I'm hoping to soon add some new tunes to the iPod, possibly including but not limited to... Ryan Adams, Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Aretha Franklin, Ani DiFranco, Janis Joplin, Liz Phair... I could go on and on and on and on and on..............

Monday, January 23, 2006

Holy neds… the woman that sits in the cubicle behind me is luring others around us to listening to the local conservative talk radio station during the day… the line-up for this local station? Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Clark Howard (actually he’s not too bad, not political but give financial information, etc – I’ve gotten some good financial advice from him), Michael Savage, and Coast to Coast in the wee am hours. We aren’t supposed to listen to internet radio streams on our systems, so they’ve all gone out and gotten small radios to sit on their desks for this. I feel as if I’m being surrounded by an angry mob, and I’m waiting for them to throw their net over me and try to pull me in. This is more than a little frightening…

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Grab Bag

From the news...

I, for one, will rest easier now...

am I the only one that remembers the episode of "CHiPs" that he was on? (and by the way, can we say mom's in denial???)

and here I've been worried about meteors

Senator McCarthy reincarnated?

What bothers me is not that he would sell it, but that someone would actually pay money for it

And some useless triva...

Clint Eastwood wrote the musical scores for his films The Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, Absolute Power, and Million Dollar Baby

On average, 9,000 earthquakes take place worldwide every day

Bulls are color-blind

Wild rice is the official grain of the state of Minnesota

Dolphins sleep with one eye open

Tug of War was an olympic sport until 1920

Friday again. The days and weeks and months just seem to meld together. Quite often I find myself having to stop and think for a few seconds to remember what day it is. Or I'm searching for my car keys when I've already been outside and started the car to warm up and defrost before I leave for work. Friends with children call it 'Mommy brain'. I don't like it. I've never been (I don't think, others may disagree) a scatter-brained type of person... and I don't want to be now, although I don't seem to have any control over it.

I've been passed over for the 2 positions in other departments that I applied and interviewed for at the house of insurance. Both times I made it to the final round of interviews, and both times it was the same song and dance when I got the bad news... "You have all of the qualifications we're looking for, you're a strong candidate, it was a hard decision, if we had 2 positions open you'd definitely get one of them" blah, blah, blah. How irritating. Don't try to placate me. Just rip the bandage off and give me the bad news, and we can both be on our way. So I'm stuck with the Sultan of Stupid (my new nickname for the boss-man) for the forseeable future. God help me. The woman that sits in the cubicle behind me has been looking for a new car this week, because the transmission on her car went out. Is the world coming to an end? If you ask her, she'd say yes...

K has just 2 weeks of work left before the vile manufacturing plant shuts down. He's excited... about not having to work at the job any longer (can't blame him for that), about going back to school, all of it. He'll get unemployment while he's in school, but it will be tight financially. I try not to think about it because it makes me nauseous. I'm all for selling the house and moving into an apartment until he's through school and into another job, but he won't go for it.

That's all for now... I promise more interesting and exciting things later, on topics that may include but are not limited to............ adoption.............. the movie 'Sideways' ................ the book The Kid by Dan Savage ............. and possibly some useless trivia................

Saturday, January 14, 2006

10 songs I like to listen to while on the treadmill (in no particular order)

I enjoy listening to all different kinds of music. I know everyone says that, but for me it's really true. On my iPod you will find everything from Sting, to La Boehme, to Dave Matthews (of course!), to Nina Simone, to Missy Elliot, to Bruce Springsteen, to Yo Yo Ma, to the Fired Up! 2 dance mix cd's I ordered from a television add (is that sad?). My workout music needs to be kicky. It needs to have a beat that inspires me to move and sweat. So for anyone who might be interested, these are the songs I find myself listening to most often when I actually get a chance to hop on the treadmill and go for a walk:

1) It's Raining Men (The Weather Girls)
2) Turn the Beat Around (Gloria Estefan)
3) Bbizarre Love Triangle (New Order)
4) Woman Trouble (Artful Dodger)
(3 & 4 - love, love, love the British music...)
5) I Will Survive (possibly the best song of the disco era) (Gloria Gayner )
6) Heatwave (Martha and the Vandellas)
7) Like a Prayer (you always have to have some Madonna) (Madonna)
8) Groove is in the Heart (Dee-Lite)
9) Miss Independent (Hani Radio Edit) (Kelly Clarkson)
(never thought I'd have a Kelly Clarkson song on any list I made, but there you have it)
10) I Like it (Like That) (radio edit) (The Blackout Allstars)

And an extra for good measure..........................

11) Got to be Real (Cheryl Lynn)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alright, damnit. Let's try this one more time, so at least I can have something new up this week. It's not entirely my fault. We had computer issues at the homestead for 4 or 5 days because the new satellite hook-up (my father-in-law's idea) was interfering with the internet connection. I've started 6 or 7 different posts this week, deleted most of them, have one left sitting as a draft. Why can't I seem to finish anything this week? As I said in a comment on another blog, I've spent most of my time at work this week on the internet (as I am now!) trying to at least look busy so my micro-managing supervisor doesn't catch on. Oh my God. Serenity now, serenity now, serenity now...

I've had all I can take of those around me here in insurance-land (the woman in the cubicle behind me is singing as we speak, and it's only 6:45 in the morning). In about an hour I've got my final interview for a position in another department that would bring more $$, better hours, and the possibility of working from home from time to time. Wish me luck.

I've also started my first book of the new year, the year that Ruth starts to read again! Dan Savage is a regular contributor on This American Life, a weekly program on NPR that I absolutely love. His book The Kid tells the story of how he and his boyfriend decided to have a baby, contemplated asking one of several female friends to carry a baby for them, and finally ended up adopting a little boy. It's open and honest, and giving me a perspective on this topic that, as a straight white girl, I'd never get otherwise. And it's hilarious. I'm only about 1/3 of the way through, but I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Next up on the list is Where I Was From by Joan Didion. No particular order to how I'm reading these - just at the mercy of the library and how quickly they can get them to me. I would love nothing more than to head to the local Barnes & Noble and purchase every book I've put on my reading list for this year, but unfortunately finances do not allow that.

So there you have it. At least I've posted something for this week; accomplished one thing, however small it might be.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

To the woman that sits in the cubicle behind me...

If you're waiting for me to apologize for the words that were exchanged between us yesterday, don't hold your breath. In the interest of not losing my job, I've kept my mouth shut since then, though there are many things I still wish to say...

To begin... quite frankly, fuck you. There are much GREATER tragedies occurring in the world AS WE SPEAK than me not crossing my name off the birthday card routing sheet before I passed it on to you. That, when you pointed out my oversight to me and I jokingly said 'It's not like I don't have 500 other things on my mind', you came back at me with a list of your current life-problems and ended with 'Can you top that list?' offended me greatly. Can I top your list? Well let me try...

Your partner is sick right now? I have the joy of jamming a needle full of insulin into my stomach every evening, because my doctor and I can't figure out yet why we can't get my blood sugar under control. I'm trying to eat right, and exercising again, and still taking my handfuls of the oral drugs for controlling diabetes, but they're just not working for some reason.

Your truck broke down and you need $300 for a new starter? K and I dropped 10 TIMES THAT MUCH into his car last year, and now we've got a credit card bill that we're trying to get paid off before he LOSES HIS JOB a month from now.

Your mom is having knee replacement surgery next week? Be thankful that your parents are still alive and that you can be there to help them through these times, and that they're willing and able to loan you the $300 for your truck repair, because BOTH OF MY PARENTS ARE DEAD and I wouldn't even dream of asking my in-laws for a loan.

On top of all that, K is hacking through a forest of red tape right now, and having one door after another slammed in his face, to get the degree program of his choice approved by the TAA representative at the county Job Center office, so that he can go back to school instead of having to take another dead-end factory job.

Your life isn't falling apart more than anyone else's, and your problems are any more or less worse than anyone else's... they're just different. So get over it.

I stole this from Maidink, whose blog I found while visiting at the Rowhouse. Being a HUGE Dave Matthews fan, I ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT pass this up!!!

Here are the rules to this meme: Choose one of your favorite bands/artist and then answer all the questions using SONG TITLES from the BAND or ARTIST you chose. Sound simple? Right, thought so.

Band/Artist: Dave Matthews Band

1. Are you male or female? American Baby

2. Describe yourself: Butterfly

3. How do some people feel about you? What Are You?

4. How do you feel about yourself? What Will Become of Me?

5. Describe current relationship with BF/GF: Sweet Up and Down

6. Describe where you want to be: Angel

7. Describe how you live: Typical Situation

8. Describe how you love: Joyride

9. What would you ask for if you had just one wish? One Sweet World

10. Share a few words of wisdom: Get in Line

11. Now say goodbye: Ain't it Funny How Time Slips Away

And I've recently been directed to quite an AWESOME website WDMB ALL DAVE, ALL THE TIME!!!! Makes getting through the day at work a little easier!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

For those that might be keeping score...

I won't even talk about the taking care of myself thing... after all, Sunday was the holiday and Monday I was off work for the holiday since the office is closed on Sunday. And Tuesday was card night for the hubby, father-in-law and brother-in-law which meant there were snacks in the house (I tell you, those tins of butter cookies that come out at holiday time are the work of the devil!). Today has been better (so far) and I've been assured that I will be given as much time as I'd like to walk on the treadmill when I get home.

I've got quite a list of books and/or authors I want to read this year, which I will be posting shortly because I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats wanting to know what I'll be spending my time with.

I'm still looking for fresh herbs to pot, and fear I may have to wait until Spring for those, BUT below is the first new recipe I plan to try. Giada De Laurentiis made this on 'Everyday Italian' on Monday - love that show but will never understand how someone can be that happy all the time. This is planned for dinner on Saturday. I'm still looking into some side dishes... I'm intrigued by the recipe for penne with spinach sauce that she made along with this.

Garlic and Citrus Chicken
1 (5 to 6-pound) whole roasting chicken, neck and giblets discarded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Kitchen string or butcher twine

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, lemon, and garlic halves. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string to help hold its shape. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
Place a rack in a large roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the rack in the pan. Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting occasionally and adding some chicken broth to the pan, if necessary, to prevent the pan drippings from burning. Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, oil, oregano, and chopped garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Brush some of the juice mixture over the chicken, after it has baked 1 hour. Continue roasting the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F, basting occasionally with the juice mixture and adding broth to the pan, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Tent with foil while making the sauce (do not clean the pan).
Place the same roasting pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in any remaining broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Strain into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and discard the solids. Spoon the fat from the top of the sauce. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.