Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Different World

Of course I watch the Real World. Every season I say I won't, then I get sucked in. I know I may lose cool points from the precious little I may have, but I can't help it.
I've noticed something though. I'm old enough to now say things like "kids these days". Because when I was 20 it wasn't the cool, normal thing to do to get drunk then kiss other girls. Every season seems to start out with all the people in the hot tub and the girls kissing like it's nothing. So I've never kissed a girl. When I was 20 you just had a few then kissed whatever cute boys were around. Kissing girls never even came up. We also didn't have many group showers, but maybe that's a regional thing? I need to know the rules on this. If you're straight and have a boyfriend and then you kiss a girl, did you just cheat on him? I'm all confused by kids these days! And did I miss out on something big here? Should I line up a girl for some kissing?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Late, late, late

I'm running behind on my jewelry making and package mailing. So if I owe you earrings or packages or cds, they are coming! I'm hoping to get all caught up this weekend.

And, I don't think I'm going to put out a 4th of July card this year with the pugs. I can't find a card template I like, and I don't want to use the same one I used last year. I'll keep looking, but I'm seriously running out of time. Ike and Kea do have cute little patriotic neck gear to wear, but they also have some cute summer hats. Maybe I'll just do a happy summer card. hmmmm.

Also, happy 3rd anniversary to Marc & Sara, my sister and brother in law! xoxo

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The first rule about Fight Club...

You would think Ike & Kea don't love each other the way they fight. Every day they are wrestling, chasing, rolling around. It's a miracle they haven't lost an eye!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Pool Punk

We spent yesterday afternoon at my Mom's grilling ribs and hanging by the pool with the family. Joey is still too young to be in direct sunlight, and pugs don't swim, so they didn't make it into the pool. But Jake had a good time and so did we. Morgan and I fashioned little Jake's hair into a mohawk- I think it suits him! More pictures can be found here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Highlights of the past 48 hours

1. Had an interview with a mortgage company Friday. Arrived on time (yay!). Sat for 30 minutes answering questions like "Are you sure it was today?" and "What was your name again?" until they found my file. Then I was told my interviewer had a family emergency and wasn't there. Can you come back Monday? Oy.
2. Stopped by Old Navy to replace flip flops Kea ate. Found all flip flops were on sale so stocked up. 4 pairs of flip flops and a cool tote for $16. Sweet.
3. Searched the aisles of Target for almost an hour looking for suitable water bottle for husband. He's not a fan of the sport top. *We'd been refilling Deer Park water bottles until my sister Sara told me she read the plastic breaks down and you're drinking it. Ew. Finally found suitable water bottle. Bought 2 so we'd each have one for our night stands. Also bought myself a sport top water bottle with freezy insert. Jon gets home and complains that he doesn't have a sport top freezy bottle. Jeesh.
4. Did a happy dance upon finding Target had restocked the Jergens Natural Glow lotion. One day I will have a passable fake tan. Bought 2 bottles.
5. Tried on trendy peasant skirt and realized my body is not made for trendy peasant skirts. Had to pull waist band up to boobs so I could see my feet. Booty sticks out too far so back hem is shorter than front and it looks like I'm smuggling children under skirt. Became jealous of tiny girls who look so cute in flip flops, tank tops and peasant skirts.
6. Saw picture of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen on cover of magazine in Target and wonder why they are so sad all the time. They never smile in pictures.
7. Remembered 3 things I was supposed to buy at Target- on drive home.
8. Picked Shannon up for dinner. Met sweetest dog of her's named Rascal.
9. Had great time at dinner at local Chinese restaurant I'd been wanting to try. Learned that some bartenders only know how to make one drink, even if they call it something different every time.
10. Went to Maggie Moos for dessert. Had fabulous chocolate cake batter ice cream. Whoever thought of mixing cake batter and ice cream is a genius.
11. Met up with friend Holly for linner (late lunch early dinner) today. Her daughter Asia joined us, as well as my Mom and Morgan. Holly, Asia and her husband are moving to Arizona (husband was transferred with job). Ate at Cheesecake Factory. Had fabulous time and laughed so much.
12. Just realized as I was typing #11 that I left Jon's cheesecake in car. Yikes!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Surprise Mini Family Reunion

My dad called Friday afternoon and announced that he was coming up from Florida for a visit and that he was already in SC at my uncle's house. He said he would drive up to my house Monday with my grandmother (Nanny). So on Monday Jon and I spent the day with my dad, Nanny, my sister Sara, and her two boys. We had lunch, toured Sara's new homesite, hung out at her mother in law's, and toured my house. Then Tuesday Sara and I drove down to my uncle's to see my Pappy. Pappy is blind and wasn't feeling up to the last leg of the trip up to NC. It was so good to see him. Bless his heart, I just can't imagine how scary and frustrating going blind would be. He was glad to visit with us all. My uncle Kevin (the one who cut off his thumb last spring) came over to visit and brought his wife so it was a mini reunion. Pictures can be found here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Southern Starbucks

Our tiny little town is now home to a Starbucks! We feel so special, esp since my in-laws have been wanting a Starbucks in their much bigger town for years now. The building is so cute- very Tara with columns and ceiling fans and a big patio. So cute. It was pouring down rain and late at night so these pics aren't as good as they could be-please excuse.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Tuna & Sharpies

Rachel sent me this link the other day about Sharpies. You know, the marker. The link started a conversation about how my mom's boyfriend Hale didn't know what a Sharpie was until a couple of years ago. He said he'd heard of them, but had never been introduced. Well then that led to a conversation about another of Hale's recent discoveries: tuna fish. When you open a can of tuna, mix in some mayo or mustard or both, maybe some relish, then put in on bread, our family (like many, many others) calls it a tunafish sandwich. That cracks me up because you wouldn't say "steak meat" but we say tuna fish- redundant.
Anyway, a couple of years ago there was a huge ice storm. People lost power for weeks. Our house had a working wood burning fireplace so Mom, Hale, Morgan, and Sam the dog came and bunked down with Jon and I for a few nights until we could get power back on. The power outage was widespread- even restaurants were without power. And the ones that had power were packed. So for dinner one night I said I'd make tuna fish sandwiches.
Hale said "What do you mean?".
What do you mean, what do I mean?
Hale- How are you going to make tuna sandwiches with no power?
Well, I don't need power. I've got a regular can opener, and we've got chips and stuff for sides.
Hale- But how have you been keeping the fish fresh? And what are you getting out of the can?

At this point the room was silent with everyone looking at Hale in bewilderment. The man didn't realize that tuna for sandwiches came from a can. He had never made tuna salad before. He had seen it at restaurants and delis, but he actually thought they made the tuna salad from leftover tuna from the fresh slab of fish. He was wondering where we had been keeping an actual tuna. It was one of the most bizarre conversations I'd ever been a part of. How can you be over 50 years of age, spend a good portion of those 50 years a bachelor, and not make tuna fish?
It makes you wonder what "normal" thing that you take for granted is fascinating and new to someone else!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Pantless Wonder

That's what Jon calls me- the pantless wonder. I just don't like wearing pants. Clothes really, on the bottom half of me. If I had my way, I would be able to wear big, blousy shirts or baby doll dresses, and bloomers. Oh, and flip flops. Kind of like an ice skater's outfit minus the skates, and a little more roomy up top. Now, it's not that I think I look like a supermodel or anything. I'm not wanting to show the world my legs or tush. I just feel all restricted. I don't mind swishy skirts as much, but you can't wear those everywhere, and then you have to have just the right top. Just the other day Lisa and I were talking and she said "You'd do anything not to wear pants." It's so true. All I have to do is change society's idea of how a woman should dress and I'll be all set!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Another round of extract please bar keep!

My husband Jon is a manager for a local grocery store chain. He's been with this company for 15 years and has lots of stories. He worked late last night and came home with quite a doozy.
Jon was watching the security cameras last night when he noticed a scuffle on one of the aisles. He went to check it out and came upon two men in a full on brawl in the Health and Beauty Aids section of the store. Jon used his portable phone to call 911 and rallied the troops (any larger men working in the store at the time who could help keep innocent customers away from the brawl). You don't want to get directly involved as you never know who's carrying a gun these days and I'm not having my husband blown to bits over a dispute on aisle 6. The cops came, tried to calm the men down, but they were out of control. Four more police cruisers showed up and they finally got the fighters under control. The story then came out.
Man #1 had spent the previous couple of hours hiding out in the restroom drinking stolen vanilla extract. Drunk, and I'm guessing rather fragrant, he stumbled out into the store proper and discovered his brother was doing some shopping. Vanilla man had some beef with his brother and decided the best place to settle this was near the deodorant and toothpaste. Brother was caught off guard, but put up a decent fight. These guys didn't go down easy. There was much cursing, yelling, and throwing of assailants against police vehicles.
And now there's some serious extract restocking to do on the baking aisle. Who knew you could get wasted in a bathroom on vanilla extract? They sell beer & wine. What would make a guy bypass the party aisle and head straight for the baking section?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A trip through Bizarro world- land of the Long Talkers

Today my sister Sara and I went to Mr. & Mrs. Long Talker's house to visit and meet their new baby. Sara brought the boys (my fabulous nephews Jake and Joey). Baby Long Talker is just adorable. He's only 5 weeks old so he's mainly just eating and sleeping. So tiny. "Rochelle" looks great, and is doing a wonderful job with him. Baby has some long monkey toes! Such a cutie!
So, Daddy Long Talker surprised us some more. Today he totally stayed in the room while 3 women discussed babies, breast feeding, nipples, breast pumps, the works. Jon or my BIL would have high tailed it out the room at the first mention of "nipple sheild" but Daddy LT hung in. It was kinda weird.
After our visit we went out for lunch at a place that calls itself a Family Sports Pub. Jake needed a change and there was no changing table in the bathroom. After asking the waitress poor Sara had to change Jake on the floor of the manager's office. Then the waitress spilled a couple of drinks at the next table and what was weird was that they didn't have a mop. Other people showed up with tons of paper towels. So odd that a place that has been open for months, and an established national chain, has neither a mop nor a changing table.
It was just a strange day full of bizarre oddities.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Long Talker

When I call a married girlfriend's house and her husband answers the phone, I like the conversation to go a certain way. Example: my Brother in Law is great at answering the phone when I call. We've been friends for 15 years- longer than he's even known my sister, and yet he seems to get it. This is how it goes when I call:
BIL: Hello?
Me: Hey brother Marc!
BIL: Hey sister Shanny!
Me: How are you doing?
BIL: Good, how are you?
Me: Good!
BIL: Hold on I'll get Sara. (or, Sara's not here, or if Sara's tied up he'll take over and fill me in on what's going on.)
See- he knows that as much as I love him, I'm calling for Sara most of the time and he doesn't waste any time getting her on the phone.

Now let me tell you about my friend who we'll call Rochelle, and her husband who we'll call BJ. Rochelle and I have been friends since high school. Her husband I've only known since they started dating. He and I have had maybe 15 personal encounters. I like him very much, but we're not especially close. I haaaate having to call her house. The girl can never get to the phone. BJ is all over it. And this is how it goes:
BJ: Hello?
Me: Hey BJ it's Shannon. How are you?
BJ: Well hey Shannon! I'm good, how are you?
Me: Good!
BJ: So...what's been going on lately? Haven't we been having great weather? When are you coming to visit again?
Me: Well, that's actually why I called. I wanted to check with Rochelle about-
BJ: Did you see that last Tom Cruise movie? Did you hear about that new restaurant? Have you heard the new Coldplay cd?

Aaarrgghh!! It's rapid fire. I can't answer a question before the next one comes along. And you know he doesn't really care if I've read the latest Grisham novel. He's just a social chatterbox. Which is fine, but come on! Just. put. her. on. the. phone. It can take a good 5 minutes before I find out Rochelle isn't even home!
Give me just the facts man, just the facts.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Saturday we went to our agency's adoption seminar. We wanted to attend a seminar before officially applying as we had some questions. All of our questions were answered and then some. We learned a lot. Our facilitator had just returned the previous week from picking up her 2nd daughter in China, so she was full of fresh info. Two other families came in with their adopted kids, one from Guatemala and one from Kazakhstan. Lots of good info and adorable children.

Some interesting facts that we learned about adopting from China:
-There are over 1000 orphanages in China.
-Only 2% of all the children in the orphanages get adopted. 2%!
-Apparently some parents can develop post adoption depression. Like post partum. Who knew? (that can happen no matter where you adopt from)
-Unless Ling Ling is re-adopted here in the US if she ever needs a certified copy of her birth certificate she'd have to write to China!

Hearing from parents who adopted from countries other than China was very helpful. With Kazakhstan you have to stay in country for 6 weeks. Whoa! Who can do that? And in Guatemala you get your referral very quickly. The babies are in private foster care- very well taken care of. But things can go wrong and the mother that was there had her referral for over a year (!!!) before she could go get her son. I would die from the torture of waiting and knowing what your baby looks like and not being able to go get him!

We also learned that Chinese adoptions are taking right around 13 months. Which is perfect- right around the time we'd predicted. We'll still add a couple of months to the timeline to allow for anything to go a little awry. So now we're more comfortable in our decisions- China, our agency, everything. And more than just being comfortable, we're even more excited!

Friday, June 10, 2005

How about a cheetah?

My MIL is a librarian and yesterday was her library's 5th birthday celebration. She's recruited me to face paint during the parties the last couple of years. This was the library's 5th birthday and the largest party. Knights and princesses and dragons and castles made up the decor and theme. A local artist painted big cutouts for the kids to get their pictures with. Click on all the pics to enlarge. There were sack races and games and such. I painted faces for 3 and a half hours straight. 125 kids. Sweet monkey knuckles my line never ended. I painted tons of swords, flowers, frogs, hearts, turtles, etc. One tornado (by request, not normally in my reportoire), which looked like a big bruise. The kids were so cute. A little boy declared that he loved his turtle, and that he loved me too. One little girl would periodically yell out "What's the hold up?" while waiting in line. Then she got in the chair and had no idea what she wanted me to paint. I made posters with design ideas they could choose from. I figured if I could draw it I could paint it. I thought I had a pretty good selection going, but it wasn't enough for one little girl who wanted a cheetah(!!!). I talked her into a dragonfly. There wasn't enough time for me to snap pictures of all the kids, but I did get a couple. Little Batman had a runny nose so I had to be careful not to come away with a snotty paintbrush!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mr. Fix It

Jon's been busy with some little upgrades to the house. We want to get the house as much in order and looking nice as we can before Ling Ling comes home. *** We know that when she gets here there will be very little time left for home improvements. He hung a ceiling fan in our bathroom, which I know is a little unorthodox, but man does it get hot in there. It's an L shaped room with just one vent, so there's precious little circulation. And because "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" that kills ya, we need circulation. So we bought a teeny fan. It's pretty cute. He also replaced those ugly brass light fixtures the house came with that hang over the garage door and the pendant on our front porch. The "brass" had turned to yuk, and they've just never been pretty. New silver ones look much better. Thank goodness Lowe's knows we're on a budget and offers things like lights and fans on the cheap! Now I just need to get one more coat of paint on the front door, put the hardware back on, and we'll be in business.

***To clarify a few things: 1. We are big planners and like to be prepared. We are trying to get all non Ling Ling related home improvements done before the paperchase plus work plus everything else gets too busy. We know that once we're knee deep in forms we won't have much time. Then there will be the 6 mos or so wait once we are DTC, and we have set that time aside to work on her nursery and playroom. Our house was not brand new when we bought it, so there are lots of small cosmetic changes we've been working on that we'd like to take care of before our focus shifts 100% to her.
2. I bought a few outfits, but that is the end of Ling Ling shopping until we are DTC.
3. We're estimating (and hoping) that we will be able to travel to pick her up late summer to early fall 2006. That will happen if we get our paperwork powered through and the time to match us with a child is around 6 mos. We shall see.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Where are we?

Where are you in the process? is another question we get asked a lot. Perhaps we shouldn't have announced our plans to adopt so early. Maybe we should have waited until we were DTC (dossier to China) because in the 2 months since we've announced our plans our answer hasn't really changed much and that seems to disappoint people. Sorry it isn't more exciting, but I promise to update this blog every time something happens with the process.

So far:
March 27, 2005: we announce to our family and friends that we are adopting a little girl from China
May 3, 2005: we chose our agency. This took a loooong time as it is a big decision and there are, I don't know, 247 gajillion agencies out there.
June 7, 2005: today. That's it really. Nothing else has happened. We are going to our first seminar on Saturday with the agency, and that will answer a bunch of questions. We wanted to go to a seminar before applying, but we missed the May seminar.

So there's where we are. I promise to keep updating, there just hasn't been anything to update in the last 3 weeks. Between events we're still trying to save money, save money, save money as it is very expensive and we don't have $20,000 laying around. So our process may be slow, but we're getting there!

As far as the money situation goes, we'll get there. I have faith. But if you'd like to help out, without having to dip into your own wallet AND making a sweet free $25 for yourself, read on. ING Direct pays 3% right now on their Orange Savings Accounts. Doesn't sound like much but most money markets are only going for around 2.4%. They are FDIC insured, and there is no minimum to open an account. You can get in for just one dollar. $1 people. No fees. And here's the part you'll like. When you open an account they give you a $25 bonus for opening the account! That money has to stay in the account for 30 days then it's yours. The part I like (besides seeing wonderful people get free cash) is that if you open the account by clicking on the link in the email I'll send you- I'll get $10 for referring you. And Lingling's adoption account is $10 richer. Everyone wins. And the cycle can go on forever. You open your account and refer people and you'll get $10 every time your friends get their $25. Lisa started this whole thing with me, she got her $25, then $10 when I signed up. I got my $25 too. I would never lead you wrong. So, who's with me? If you'd like to help out, just email me at blessblog at or leave your email in my comments box and I'll send you a referral.

And for everyone who does this favor for me- you'll get a free pair of handmade earrings crafted just for you in your favorite colors by me. You'll be $25 richer and looking fab in your new jewels. You can't beat that with a bat.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Camel Free

Saturday I met up with Karen and another Shannon to go shopping for our adoptive daughters to be. We had a big time at the mall- hitting all the kid's clothing stores pretty hard. I was hesitant at first, I've not bought anything for Ling Ling yet, save a print for her room. But I quickly got in the spirit. I love shopping with budget minded people like myself. I've been out shopping before with mom's who think nothing of dropping $50 on a sweater a child will wear for maybe 2 months. So it was nice to hear things like - Over here! They have tops for 99 cents! That's what I'm talking about. I have a problem paying more than $10 for a piece of fabric no bigger than a potholder that calls itself a shirt. Karen and Shannon bought way more than I did, but I came away with some cutie things for Ling Ling. And now they are hanging on their tiny little hangers or folded in a drawer and it all feels very real. That I need to kick it into high gear and get my baby home and into her new pink capris! Pictures! I'm sure you know by now to click on each to see a larger view. Cutie little frog outfit: Sparkly dragonfly and butterfly tank with embroidered jean shorts: Sweet little pink cardigan with ruffled edge. Sparkly striped sweater for just 99 cents! Love this pink ruffly salsa dancing dress. I can see her twirling in it already. I'm so in love with this rouched (sp?) tank and this little kicky skirt with bloomers underneath. This may be my favorite outfit so far- embroidered tank with ribbon ties and hot pink capris with little white daisies, lime trim, and lime belt. Ling Ling will be quite the fashionista.
On our way out of the mall we went to turn a corner and this thing jumped out at us scaring us, well at least me, to death. I screamed and grabbed Shannon to pull her out of harm's way. People all stopped in their tracks and looked as we realized it was a giant spark plug. Once we caught our breath we took pictures. Here's Karen
, Shannon and me with Sparkie the Frightening.
Shannon drove me home and on the way I toured her through the very back of our neighborhood where the remains of PTL and Jim & Tammy Faye's legacy lives on. There is a lot of construction going on back there, and it's changing all the time. Next to the outdoor theatre we saw this pen with goats and a camel. A CAMEL. In SC. Shannon was so funny, she said "I woke up this morning camel free!". It is a bit disconcerting to shop at a major mall then see a desert animal within an hour.
This weekend I also met up with my Mom, Morgan & her friend Jessica to see the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Cute movie, I cried. It was really well acted, and it made me long to visit Greece again. In the restroom after the movie I discovered bits of tissue stuck to my red splotchy face and looked like an emotional wreck. There were some touching parts!
We also taught Kea to sit this weekend. We'll see if it sticks. Right now it's looking like she'll only perform if there's food in your hand. Typical pug!

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Ever since we announced our plans to adopt we've been asked lots of questions. So I'm putting together a little Frequently Asked Questions list to mail out to our family. I'm going to be sending out a little newsletter periodically that highlights our progress with the adoption, the nursery, the 100 wishes quilt (that I haven't mentioned on here but I will start soon) etc. I'm pretty sure I've covered most of the basics (the process, domestic vs. international, why China, how old will she be, do we get to name her etc.). But I thought I'd ask you guys.

What questions should I answer? What questions do you have, if any? Ask me anything, doesn't have to be adoption related.

Also, if you'd like to receive the newsletter please let me know. It will be too big to publish here, and may include some information that would be too private for a blog. I can email it or snail mail it. Just let me know.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bits and pieces

Here are a couple of pug pics from the last few days. Click on the image to enlarge. There is no real theme to this post, just a bunch of little things have been flying around my head and I need to get them down.

-Player pianos creep me out. Like ghosts are playing them or something.
-It bugs me when I pet the pugs the wrong way. Opposite the direction of their hair growth. It doens't seem to bother them, but I don't like it.
-Those Del Monte jars of red grapefruit slices are heaven on earth. I could polish off a jar in a day.
-I read that the average American drinks 13 gallons of tea a year. I go through one gallon a week. Right now I'm digging ginger peach tea.
-I've turned into a gangsta rapper as I've noticed myself saying "know what I'm saying?" repeatedly while having a conversation. This drives me nuts. I need a gangsta self help program, know what I'm sayin?
-The other day I checked the mail then was walking to my car, a mere 10-15 feet away and I fell down. Didn't trip on anything, just fell. I grabbed the side mirror on the way down. It bent backwards and all I could think of was OMG I've broken Jorge- and what if I'd been holding Ling Ling? (the car is fine- apparently the mirror goes that way, and I'm fine- just a couple of scraped knees, at age 31) But what kind of mother will I be if I can't even walk like a normal person?
-Jon can't seem to put things in things anymore. The hand towel in the bathroom- on the holder, not threaded through. The bread- on the bread box, not in. Dirty clothes- on the hamper not in. Is this a man thing?
-He also fills 4 water bottles to take with him to bed each night. He'll drink at least 2 of them throughout the night, but never once get up to go to the bathroom. The man is a camel.
-Not a day goes by that I don't think about Ling Ling now. How can you love someone so much who doesn't even exist yet? We talk about her all the time. Since most Chinese orphans' birthdays are estimated by the orphanage, Jon wants to make his and Ling Ling's on the same day. How cute is that?!