Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can you believe this??

I had not a minute to spare today. We met with the vet this morning but had to leave our girl there to undergo various tests, so I ran home, stopped at the post office and headed back to the vet to pick her up. It was on the way, so I ran in to the pharmacy to pick up our doggie's weekly supply of Zofran (yes, it is so worth the over $20 per pill). I was in there a total of maybe five minutes. Tops. I returned to my car to see this:

That's odd. A white van is parked in my car's bumper and there is no one in the vehicle. My car is in its parking spot, mind you, and let's just say the van is not in its. There is not a soul in sight that appears to own the van. The vehicle is in very poor condition and is filled to the brim with trash. A crowd is gathering to gawk at the composition. Others are annoyed that they can't pass by since the white van is blocking the way.

Eventually, a very nice woman returned to the vehicle. We had to wait for her wife (no, not a typo) to return before they were able to locate insurance information, but I was quite relieved to learn that they had insurance. She claimed they had made sure the van was in park "and everything", but apparently, they had not.

This is just what I need, isn't it? Of course it is. I'd much rather deal with an insurance claim than do all that silly work I had planned! :-|

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mandarin for Babies

My husband and I both speak Mandarin, although we usually modify that phrase with a very heavy dose of qualifiers. It's a tough language to get really good at unless you're immersed in it. While we often speak Mandarin (or rather, our version of it) to each other, I'm fairly shy about using it out in the world. We do have opportunities to speak the language on a regular basis, but it is all too easy to slip back into English, so that's mostly what we do.

We were at a party the other night and someone asked about the language that is spoken in the orphanage. It is Mandarin, of course (although English is widely spoken in Taiwan so it is not a problem for English speakers to navigate the country), so this person was very astute in thinking that the sounds and rhythms of the language might be soothing to our little guy when we bring him home. Hubby and I have more than enough grasp of the language to talk baby talk (e.g. "Are you hungry?", "Are you thirsty", "What do you want?" as well as the more advanced, "No, you cannot take the car tonight! Go do your homework!"), but we're still brushing up on our Mandarin. Not only is it a good language for us to know, we'd love for our child to become bilingual (or possibly even trilingual - Parla Italiano?) and it's soooo much easier to learn a foreign language when you're young than it is once you reach a certain age (and by that I mean once you've reached high school ;-).

There are some fantastic resources for learning Mandarin on the web. One of our favorites is Chinese Pod. Their approach is practical and entertaining with lessons for every level covering tons of topics. Hao ma?

Friday, July 20, 2007


I was surprised to see 2 mysterious boxes at the front door today! We feel so fortunate that our dear friends offered to throw a shower and a celebration party for us next weekend, so I suspect these boxes have something to do with that. They were a great pick-me-up in another day of following doctor's orders from running the ice machine twice an hour (not that kind of ice machine! this one is to help speed the recovery process), to making sure everyone eats and exercises and otherwise tending to my two patients. I am lucky to have two very good and appreciative patients, but the score is still:

Patients: 2
Patience: 0


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fine and Fine

Hubby came through his knee surgery with mostly flying colors. Of course nothing is just that easy - we did learn that the doctor found an extra little treat of some sort in there, so hubby will be hobbly for an extra four+ weeks. He'll be on crutches for six whole weeks instead of 10 days. Great. Total recovery is somewhere between four and six months(!). He's not a guy that's used to down time, so let's hope recovery moves more quickly than projected. It's a good thing we have an in-home "therapy" dog to assist in the process and she seems to be doing ok for the moment too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Well, it seems we have a reprieve. Our doggie is feeling better! It's amazing how feisty she is and how good she looks given how sick she is. We know it's only temporary. Whether we have another week with her or another month, we will enjoy every moment we get to spend with her.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Doctor Doctor

Another day of doctors. Hubbie at pre-op (knee surgery next week ready or not) and doggie at the vet.

Perhaps you can tell I've been trying to think about other things this week. We've had no meaningful news out of Taiwan, and it's been impossible not to think about both hubbie's upcoming surgery and this dog that we love so much.

We have now officially received the worst possible news on her condition: the chemo isn't working and the cancer has advanced. At this point our options with her are limited. We can try something else, but she's already had the "best of the best" with regard to treatments and the only thing that did was make her feel lousy instead of curing her. She's receiving a few "minor adjustments" today and we hope she'll feel good when she comes home. We hope, in fact, that she can continue to feel good for a good long time, but that's not the prognosis, so we will have to take it one day at a time.

As the oncologist tells us, we have the best dogs and the worst luck. Yeah, sometimes it feels like that.


I've been tagged. There is a little game that's been going around the blogosphere for a while now in a few different flavors, but the basic gist of it is that when someone "tags" you, you should:

1) Post 5 facts about yourself that relatively few people know (although in some versions of the game it is 8) and
2) Tag 5 more bloggers by leaving a comment on the Tagees' blogs to let them know they were tagged and direct them to your blog to read the rules of the game.

It's one of the wonders of the web that we now have lots of people to support us as we wait and lots of things to amuse ourselves with as we wait. Can you imagine what it must have been like to wait and worry without the web? I can't, but then again, I'm a major technology geek (fun personal fact number 1 - oh, wait a minute - that doesn't count because it's supposed to be a fact that relatively few people know, so let me try again).

Here we go:
1) I won first place in a tricycle race when I was 5 (or so).
2) I've never been to Taiwan, unless you count passing through while waiting for a connection at the airport in Taipei.
3) I was once detained and interrogated for several hours by Israeli airport security. (I apparently looked a little tooo innocent!)
4) I paint, although not very often these days.
5) I hate chain letters.

Wow, that was tough! Ok, now it's your turn. I'm tagging:

Kim (for something completely different!)
Salsa (China - home, always fun!)
Flat Reed (this one cracks me up, although I did find it disturbing at first)
Dim Sum, Bagels (Taiwan - very global)
Kobi (Taiwan - home)

This is not a chain letter. There are no evil consequences if you don't keep the game of tag going, but it is kinda fun, so keep it going. :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Neck & neck

Friends of ours received their referral just a few days after we did. Our dossiers were sent to Taiwan on the same day and they received a LID (China lingo for Logged in Date) a day before ours. It will be interesting to see how our time in court compares. I hope we both get fast judges and good news soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Genealogy - or not?

The July issue of Smithsonian has a great article about genealogy. Unfortunately, I don't think it's posted online, but it's worth buying the issue or tracking it down at your local library. "The Family Tree, Pruned" by Richard Conniff isn't about adoption specifically and, in fact, doesn't even mention adoption, but the message of the article is perfectly suited to adoption. The author's daughter apparently spends a lot of time with her genealogy projects, yet the author contends that genealogy is relatively meaningless. He sums it up nicely in the closing paragraph of a fairly long and well-written article:

"What makes us who we are, what makes us people worth knowing, comes from within ourselves, and from the often annoying, somewhat laughable, occasionally lovable families we live with now."

Monday, July 09, 2007


I've been learning about the wonderful world of diapers. As I struggle through the age-old (ok, decades old) argument of cloth vs. disposables, I am learning a lot of things I didn't expect to learn. For example, who knew there was a third choice: no diapers. Seriously?!? Yes, indeed, for those with endless patience and time, the diaperless life is an option.

As a first time parent, I'm not sure I'm up to the task of going diaperless, so we have been leaning towards cloth. It seems healthier for the baby and kinder to the environment, although what with water and energy usage, only marginally so. As I was trying to navigate the world of cloth diaper requirements my sister-in-law introduced me to a fourth option: the g diaper, a hybrid diaper model with a reusable outer layer and a flushable insert. Hallelujah! This could be just the environmentally friendly yet convenient alternative we've been looking for. Besides, they look pretty cute (especially if we name our baby something that starts with "g"). Sign us up!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


For our dog, Shasta, the 4th of July has traditionally been the worst night of the year. This is because she is simply terrified of fireworks. In the past we have tried many things including covering her ears, "sedating " her with herbal remedies, crating her in an underground garage where we were certain she was out of earshot and most drastically, taking her to a town so far up in the Eastern Sierra that fireworks were not allowed due to fire danger. The former three attempted remedies did nothing to reduce her full-body tremors of fear. The latter did no good either since there are teenagers wherever you go and those teenagers always seem to manage to get their hands on some lady fingers (the fireworks, not the desserts). I have to say that that trip to the Eastern Sierras was amazing in every other way.

In any case, as we prepared ourselves and our dog for this year's 4th of July festivities, we took extra care and, for lack of any better ideas for calming our dog, decided to spend the evening at home (although we had tried this in the past with no obviously positive results). We started the day with a visit to West Coast Grandma and Grandpa and found it hard to leave as we saw the barges rolling into place for what was sure to be a spectacular show. Rather than stay and enjoy the show, we drove home under a beautiful sunset and enjoyed some incredible aerial displays from what surely must have been backyard fireworks. (Where and how so many people came upon such impressive ammunition I don't know and don't want to know.)

We arrived home just before 9:00 and the neighborhood (along with every other neighborhood) was in high gear with booms and whistles. Shasta started to shake. We brought her in the house and that didn't help. We turned on some music and voila! We witnessed something we have never before seen on July 4: Shasta put her head down and chilled out. Awesome.

p.s. The music that soothed our trembling "beast" is not what you think - we weren't playing Mozart or Bach. Apparently, our little princess has a predilection for RUSH.