Thursday, December 30, 2004

I Love My Neighborhood

A closeup. And yes, that is an angel in the tree in the next picture.

No, it's not my house. It's a few blocks away. I prefer visiting it to any of the more "tasteful" displays around town. Because that's a hell of a lot of Christmas Spirit.

Belated Merry Christmas

Don't you just love my dress?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

You Can Help

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat in my office, staring dully at the computer screen, constantly refreshing the news sites and listening to the radio. One of my employees, a Mexican-American, came in to ask me something about the WTC, because I had lived in NYC and had watched the aftermath of the first bombing. He sat down with me a while, and we listened to the radio, where they gave an estimate of 20,000 people dead. He said, "Wow, that's almost as many people as died in the Mexico City earthquake".

In the USA, we have no concept of this kind of mass disaster. Our hurricanes kill in the tens, not in the thousands. The September 11 attacks were the worst terrorist attacks in the world, but even they pale in comparison to the nearly one million people killed in 100 days in Rwanda in 1997. There have been an estimated 15,000 civilians killed in Iraq, minimum, just in 2004. It's not that what happens to us isn't tragic; it's that we often forget how far down we are on the scale of human suffering.

The Tsunami is shaping up to be one of the worst natural disasters in history. You can donate to the American Red Cross at,
or to UNICEF through their web site. Cash donated is not only used to buy supplies, but also to pay for shipping the supplies to where they are needed.

You'll be doing at least as much as our President (emphasis mine):

Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was confident he could monitor events effectively without returning to Washington or making public statements in Crawford, where he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. Explaining the about-face, a White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "

Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role.

Friday, December 24, 2004

"Special Connection", My Ass

Ladies and Gentlemen of the blogosphere, I need your help. I need to bombard a clueless social worker in charge of fostering and adopting children in my county with posts telling her how completely off-base she is. This is the deal:

The local weekly in my area did a story on a couple who signed up for foster-adoption in our county. I read it eagerly, because T. and I have been looking seriously at fostering to adopt in the next few years. They had a little boy, who was about a year old when he arrived, for a year and a half, after receiving all sorts of assurances that he was going to be adoptable, that there was no way that his mother, a teenage drug addict, could ever be considered fit enough to get him back. Then she went into rehab, and in November 2004 was given custody of the boy again. My quibble isn't with this so much, as it sounds like this girl worked very hard to be considered a good mother, and it isn't her fault if the county didn't move fast enough to terminate her rights before she got better. This happens--it is the whole point of foster care, though I would say they shouldn't wait so long to make these children adoptable. And it is a news story, so I don't know how accurate a picture they've painted anyway. At the very end of the story, there is a discussion of what exactly a parent would have to do to be unfit, and the struggle between the rights of the birth parents and what's best for the child. The second to last paragraph contains a quote from the Child Protection Services manager:

But the county's Orlin says children have a special connection to their parents that no outsider can replace. "Even the happiest kids adopted at birth go to see their natural parent," she says. "No one will love them the same. It's a bond that can't be broken by any court order."

How completely demeaning to both adopted parents and adopted children. I couldn't believe what I read. This, apparently, is the reason for those horror stories about children who have lived with foster parents for years and bonded with them who are then taken out to live with birth parents they don't remember. I'm sure my brother-in-law, who is adopted and has never tried to look for his birth parents, will be glad to know that he spent his life missing out on this kind of parental love. And my cousin, who grew up in an abusive and neglectful household with the woman who gave birth to him, will be cheered to know he got the most loving bond he could have, despite never having enough to eat because his mom spent all her money on booze.

I plan to write to her about how she has just lost me as a potential foster parent, if that is the way placement is looked at. I would just love to send her (and her supervisor, as well as various government officials) other comments as well, because there are people out there who know from experience what a load of crap her statement is, and how hurtful that sort of thinking is, especially for someone in her particular job. How about it? You can leave a comment for me, or email me at empress dot carrie at gmail dot com. I'll send them along with my letter. Either she needs to get some education or she needs to be out of a job, as far as I am concerned. And anyone who is above her in charge of this program needs the same thing. For those of you in the adoption process, here's a lovely way to get your feelings out towards a clueless social worker without jeopordizing your own placements. (I don't have anything against social workers, btw. They are, for the most part, unsung heroes of our society. But some are bad, and when they are bad it can screw people up their entire lives).

Merry Christmas, by the way. And Yule or Solstice too.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

All The Hot Guys Are Gay

I will return to blog soon about my trip, but in the meantime, I will share with you the most exciting part of it.

We spent 2.5 hours in line at the airport in Toronto, from check-in through customs through security, then the shuttle to the gate. This may be a blog entry in itself. I spent nearly all of it next to Justin from Queer as Folk. He is very cute in person, though not very tall. It took me a while to figure out where I knew him from, and I was guessing the show, but then I saw the Showtime logo on one of his duffel bags and I was sure (I thought about asking, but if I was wrong and it was some asshole straight guy I felt the observance might not be appreciated). I spoke to him briefly and he flashed me the most beautiful, Colgate-perfect smile I think I have ever seen. His boyfriend is a very lucky man.

The weirdest part? Realizing I am standing next to a total stranger that I have seen buck nekkid.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Better now

We are loaded up on antibiotics, and the packing is nearly done. T. and I are off to Toronto for his company's holiday party, and Peanut is going to stay with her grandma (who is also loaded up on antibiotics) until we get back. Did you know the way they diagnose sinus infections in babies is just by length of time of congestion? Me neither. I am not thrilled about leaving her when she is sick, but if I stay here I will go well and truly insane. This last week has not been especially fun.

A good description of what is going on in my home right now is at therapyeggs, my friend Jen's site, because she is going to the same party. My poor husband once told me he found me attractive because I did my hair and wore makeup and knew how to put it on properly. I don't think I've done that more than about three times since before the baby was born. I feel like I'm going to prom or something.

I will be back later this weekend, hopefully with some good stories. It is a company holiday party, after all. Somebody is bound to make an ass of themselves publicly, and I'm just going to pray it isn't anyone I care about.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The End.

My friend Suki

Feb 1993 - 14 Dec 2004

More Stalling

I wanted to say Thank You to the people who have come here and offered support. It means a lot. We're doing better here, a little. I'm over my anger at T., and both Peanut and I can breathe through at least one half of our noses. I am still up, though, because the sooner I go to bed the sooner it will be tomorrow. And I don't want tomorrow to come very soon.

I'll try and be funny (again?) in the future. There just isn't much funny going on around here lately. And I need to do a little update on all the progress Peanut has been making. She's amazing.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Suki and Peanut, from way back when


I'm chickening out.

The last week or so has been terribly cloudly and gloomy, and tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same. But Tuesday is predicted to be bright and sunny and beautiful. So, if I think she'll be ok one more day, I am holding off on having the vet come until Tuesday.

We bought the house we did in part because of its big, fenced yard that even the cats wouldn't get out of. Suki has spent her life living mostly indoors, either below or far above ground level. She got to go outside and eat grass and lay in the sun for a while on a leash several years ago, but hasn't been able to in years. So I was happy to be able to let her out safely. Until she found the hole in the fence. Then I kept her in, for weeks and weeks because we couldn't get around to fixing it properly. They'll have the whole next summer to go out, after all, right? I want her to have one last morning in the warm sun, though it will be too cold to go outside. We have a window seat facing the morning sun, and she liked to go there before she got sick. Now on Tuesday I will get up early and help her get up on it and sit with her a while.

You know, knowing that it is coming doesn't actually make it any easier. And for someone like me, who doesn't ever kill bugs if I can help it (I scoop them up and put them outside), the idea of scheduling the death of my pet is just about as traumatic as the death itself. I will have to do this four more times in the next 10 years or so, though, so I guess I'd better get used to it.

Two Unrelated, Random Thoughts


I must be burning extra calories by making all of this snot, right?


It is way too early for Peanut to be changing the station to QVC every time she gets her hands on the remote. It will always be too early for that, actually.

It Is Time

Tomorrow is D-day for Suki. It is odd to me to know the day a life is going to end, as it was odd to know in advance the day Peanut was going to be born. It's not the way things are supposed to work, is it? But the time has come. Thursday afternoon I noticed her kind of tripping on one of her back feet. I called the vet, and they said without examining her they couldn't say whether it was from the tumor pressing on her spine or whether it is from the cancer metastisizing to her brain. There is nothing to be done that would give her more than a few days or weeks of relief anyway. Once the weakness started, it spread rapidly. Since I first noticed the problem she has lost nearly all strength in that leg and much of her hind end is also weak. She can barely climb a stair, and needs help to get on the bed or a chair. I am waiting until tomorrow because her original vet can come to the house then, as Suki has always been terrified of the car and I don't want her to have to go through that. So that's our sucky weekend.

I have put all anger at T. aside for the time-being. He has been sick for the last week along with Peanut, and I came down with this same terrible cold on Thursday as well. I can't deal with being sick, my baby being sick, being angry at him, and putting my cat to sleep all at once, so I am letting go of anger. It was time anyway. I love my husband very much, and he's a good man. He doesn't screw up often, though when he does, it's a doozy. So I'm going to focus on the "doesn't screw up often" part and go with him to therapy when he's ready and figure out how to stop self-destructive behavior before it really starts. Therapy has helped him enormously in the past, as it has helped me. I don't know why it is having a perfect stranger tell you things you somehow already knew works so well, but it does.

I'll try to have a cute baby picture the next time, to make up for all of this.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Good.

This is why we'll stay married, and be okay.


I am having a big issue with my husband now. As in an Are-we-going-to-stay-married issue. We will, for now. We will see a therapist together to see what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again. No, he didn't cheat on me, and he didn't smack me or take crack or gamble money away at the casino. Writing those things helps me put things in perspective a bit, but it doesn't make what happened any better. Anyway, I may put this on hiatus a bit, seeing as I need to euthanize my cat in a few days (her tumor has spread so her back legs aren't working right), and I caught Peanut's cold and my God how did she survive it? My class is over (which does make me sad), and I already gave this blog's URL to my instructor to read so I can get credit for the journaling. Right now, things are just kind of sucky, but we'll get through. Sorry for the downer.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Maybe I Have More Free Time Than I Thought

Now that I have a news aggregator for my blogreading, it isn't as much fun anymore. Reading the blogs still is, of course, but I had this ritual of doing the rounds that is now pointless. Of course, it means I am not spending thirty minutes just checking blogs, either. I know it means fewer page hits, and I'm sorry I'll be bringing down your hit count, but it is better for Peanut. And for the dirty dishes in the sink.

Yes, the dishwasher is broken. The repairperson won't be here until THURSDAY, for heaven's sake. What am I supposed to do until then?

Monday, December 06, 2004

They Don't Look Anything Alike, Do They?

The bloodwork came back from the doctor's today. Everything was within normal limits, although my iron level was at the low end of normal. While I am delighted not to have diabetes or a malfunctioning thyroid, I am less than thrilled to be back to square one. There is something wrong, and it is getting worse. I feel like I am trudging through molasses all day, and that my head is full of cotton. I didn't feel like this a few months ago. The doctor will be calling back soon to discuss what is next. I am so sick of doctor's offices, I am changing my mind about med school and I think I'll go to law school instead.

For Future Reference

it is probably not a good idea to read a book about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 when your baby has a bad cold.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Santa's Little Helper

Peanut came down with her first fever yesterday, accompanied by a junky cough and slightly runny nose. It wasn't super high, but any fever is too high when you are two first-time parents about to go out on the town. Thank heaven for Grandma, whose fever-caring qualities I can vouch for personally. She even got Peanut to bed at a reasonable time. This morning the fever is down, but the rash on her chest scared the bejeezus out of T., who was afraid she had become horribly infected with something life-threatening. Drilled, however, in the dire consequences of waking me up from sleep since the dawn of our marriage (though I keep telling him if it is about the baby to go ahead), he didn't wake me or call the doctor or anything like that. Anyway, her fever is down this morning and she seems to be feeling herself again, meaning she is lying on her mat waving toys around and trying to grab the cat. We'll see how the day goes.

Our night on the town was supposed to be dinner at a new Irish pub and seeing our friend's band play. But the information I had gotten that they were opening for this show was incorrect--they were playing last, which meant we would have to stay up past our bedtimes to go. We tried, we really did, but we are old. But dinner was really good, at least on my end. I feel bad, because the dinner was for T.'s birthday, but I got the good meal (bangers and mash, the sausage homemade and flavored with rosemary and with baked apples on top, mmm), and his was only so-so (Guiness Irish stew, which you would figure would be a priority to have really good in an Irish restaurant). Anyway, the only excitement for the evening was watching people dressed as Santa Claus trickle down from the upstairs bar in groups of two and three and run off into the night. Apparently Santa's Helpers had their Christmas party at Brocach Bar last night.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Brunswick Stew is mmmmgood.

Thanksgiving was fun. Peanut was apparently a perfect angel for her daddy on the plane flight there (damn her!). They were all so entranced with her that they all forgot to come and get me at the airport the next day. This is true. Apparently my brother-in-law finally decided somebody ought to check my arrival time, and lo and behold, I was just about to land. All I know is that the next time I am down there, I'm not letting my kid out of my sight, because I know how I rate.

The big news is that said brother-in-law is eloping with his girlfriend and moving to Australia for a job this spring. I finally got to meet the girlfriend, and she isn't intimidating at all. Yes, she's tall and blonde and reasonably skinny. But she's a total goofball, and Peanut loved her instantly, which has only happened once before in her life. So now I feel bad about ever being snotty. I'm such a wuss that way. I'm sorry, I know some of you were looking for some snarky comments, but there really aren't any to make, she's that nice. I can't see what she sees in her future husband, actually. Just kidding, Beano!

We had a lovely dinner which including some friends of my mother-in-law's, one of whom is a trained pastry chef. Yes, she brought some cake, and it was delish. I went to bed early, and slept late, which was to be the pattern over the next few days. We ate barbecue the next night, and T. thought it would be cute to feed the little darlin' hush puppies and Brunswick Stew. Turns out it was cute, as you can see by the above photo, though she didn't do more than chew on the hush puppy. She loved it, and her Carolina relatives couldn't have been more pleased.

The rest of the trip passed uneventfully, except for the fact that I tripped and fell on the front walk not once but twice, tearing holes in both pair of pants that I brought (and the only ones I own that fit), as well as large holes in my knee and hand. Too much stuffing makes me clumsy, I guess. I got to take long naps every day and read four whole books, which is more than I've read in months. Peanut was not quite an angel on the trip back, but she was certainly not a demon either, and we managed. It was honestly one of the most restful trips I've ever had, which I really need.

I haven't been posting much because I've been utterly exhausted every night lately. I finally got in to the nurse practitioner today and she is running some tests. No, it isn't just because I have an infant--I had way more energy when she was three months old than I do now. Anyway, until this is figured out, I will not be able to post much, I don't think, because I can barely stay awake. Bear with me, if you please. I have a lot to say. I can't promise it will be interesting, but hey, you're here, so there must be something in this for you. Though I suppose it could just be for the cute baby pictures...