Sunday, July 31, 2005
First of all, LG and Baby Blue are the cutest kids ever!!! Baby Blue is so sweet and social, she was practically falling out of her little stroller seat to smile at the people that walked by us. LG tried to be shy, but he couldn't help responding to a couple of my questions, like whether he was a Red Sox fan, or if he could throw the ball for the dogs to fetch. Both of the kids were SO well-behaved, and let Phantom Scribbler and I walk around the park (without a playground) for 2 and a half hours! Baby Blue fell asleep in her little back carrier, and LG played on his own the whole time. TWO AND A HALF HOURS!
I even got in trouble because I was supposed to be home by 12:15 and we lost track of time until 12:40!
Phantom Scribbler is so lovely, cute, kind, considerate and a great conversationalist! I could tell how terrific she is with BB and LG also, it was obvious from the way she spoke to them and played with them. And she's my new best friend, because I jumped over onto her site just now and she called me teeny-tiny. I may be in love.
I was even lucky enough to have Mr. Blue stop by to meet me! He is also charming, interesting and quite handsome, and Baby Blue only called plaintively after him for a minute after he left. I can't quite describe how adorable it was, but you can probably imagine.
I did see glimpses of LG's humor when he informed Phantom Scribbler that he wanted to play hide and seek. He said he would be hiding, and when she asked him where, he shot over his shoulder as he ran away "oh, I can't tell YOU Mama!" I think he is a genius.
I can't wait to do it again Phantom!
Friday, July 29, 2005
Both sets of parents (mine and Josh's) are out of town, so they sent cards and presents to me ahead of time. Well, they are always out of town, but both sets of parents are out of the country this time around. Mine are in Buenos Aires, his are in London. So I decided to open gifts at midnight on Wednesday night. My inlaws gave me a cute peasant skirt which unfortunately doesn't fit me well, so I'll have to exchange it for something else. Has anyone heard of a store called Evviva? My parents gave me two books on CD, and I am psyched about these because now I can load them onto my ipod and listen on the way to work! I also received (drumroll please) a Burberry raincoat! I am madly in love with it! And this is so unbelievably unlike my parents to buy a designer gift since they are anti-designer anything, but I am NOT complaining! I may name my raincoat, since I am so in love with it.
The dogs gave me a cute card (so thoughtful). Josh and I had decided that with his trip to Costa Rica, a new computer and the new car, we would buy very small gifts for our birthdays. I gave him a painting of Fenway Park by a local artist I found at a street fair and magnetic poetry in Spanish. He gave me an avocado slicer and an avocado masher. And no, I don't know why, or what possessed him, because in my suggestions to him on possible gifts, there was NO MENTION of avocados. Sigh. I have to admit that (selfish bitch that I am) I was a little disappointed. Not because I don't love avocados, I do, but because it didn't seem like a very birthday-appropriate gift. One of my friends compared it to Steve Martin giving his wife the blender in Father of the Bride. Sometimes you just gotta wonder.
BUT, he totally redeemed himself because he also agreed to sit out at Boston Common for three hours holding places for us to see the free Shakespeare in the Park at Boston Common. I got out of work at around 7pm, picked up some burritos for dinner, and met him on the blanket for some Hamlet by moonlight. It was such a great idea that at the last minute our very good friends ditched their plans and met us there also. Hamlet was fabulous, and as usual, I was astounded that for the first five minutes you wonder how you'll ever understand what they are saying, and then it just clicks and you do. I am a huge Shakespeare fan, though, and took whole courses just on his writings in high school and college, so maybe I'm biased.
I cannot forget also, that I received an Honorable Mention for Whine of Substance, over at Phantom Scribbler. That certainly made my day, and I'd like to thank all those that facilitated my whine on Wednesday. Thank you.
The best part of my birthday, is that not ONE of my friends forgot. I am not one of those people that keeps their birthday a secret (ahem) as you might have noticed from my Wednesday Whine. Mainly because I always feel terribly guilty when I miss other people's birthdays and I just get pissed if people get mad that I missed their birthdays. But I still always assume that people will forget because although I'd like to imagine otherwise, I am not the center of their lives. But no one forgot! I got email cards and a couple of Amazon gift certificates and lots of phone calls, and a surprise bouquet of sunflowers from a co-worker.
I have nothing to complain about, it was a fantastic birthday. Tonight we are celebrating with another couple that wanted to come over for a bbq, tomorrow good friends are coming over with their new baby Cate, and I have a top-secret blogger meet-up in the morning. Sunday Josh is taking me on a whale watch because as a non-New Englander, I've never seen whales! I can't wait!
Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes!
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The author wrote a heartfelt and sincere apology this week, saying that she certainly did not mean to hurt people and was terribly sorry for her words. She is, in fact, quite familiar with the adoption process and certainly did not mean to insult adoption in the least.
While I haven't adopted and haven't been a birth mother, the original article inspired me to comment on the difference between a woman selling her baby and legal adoption. You see, in law school I spent 2 years involved in a legal clinic on international human rights. A clinic, for non-lawyer readers, is an opportunity for students to do "real" legal work under the supervision of practitioners. I have classmates who worked in housing clinics helping individuals fight landlords on housing violations, others that helped abused women get restraining orders against their spouses, and still others that visited nearby prisons and assisted those prisoners in filing petitions for various forms of relief. In an often wholly theoretical legal education, clinics may offer the sole opportunity for practical experience.
Since I had experience from my university days in human rights, I signed up for our international human rights clinic, which tends to lean more toward the theoretical side as well. I loved it. Each of my fellow clinic members was incredibly compassionate and kind, all with specific passions that led them to sign up for these projects.
I worked on several smaller projects, and after a few months of experience, signed up for two major projects. One was researching and compiling information for the years leading up to the genocide in East Timor. The second was creating a manual for the United Nations, and specifically, UNICEF (remember the little coin boxes at Halloween?), to distribute to field offices on child trafficking.
This manual included basic information on child trafficking, statistics, common reasons for its occurrence, and most importantly, trainings for each field office to conduct with different segments of the population in a country where child trafficking is rampant. These trainings included border patrol officials, police, teachers, prosecutors, judges, etc. Child trafficking is extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint, of course, so these trainings would teach individuals to look for signs in children or families in their communities.
I'm not claiming, in any way, shape or form, that I am an expert on child trafficking. If anything, this short year taught me that the subject is far more convoluted than I ever thought. I learned of the successes and limitations of non-governmental organizations like UNICEF. My research made me realize how very hard it is to spot children being trafficked, and that often, rescuing them from a terrible situation would result in returning them to another terrible situation. Some stories involve happy endings, but many do not, and that, for an idealistic law student, is hard to swallow.
In reading the article mentioned above, I realized that while many people recognize that purchasing a baby, regardless of intentions, is wrong, not many realized that this also constitutes child or baby trafficking. I don't dare to pass judgment on the young woman who sought to sell her baby to another woman, because I suspect her intentions were good. I also suspect that perhaps she was simple ignorant of the consequences. But as you can imagine, without proper legal channels, selling a baby can result in terrible consequences to the child. Countless stories of missing and trafficked children resulted from families with the best motives, who thought their child was receiving a better life elsewhere.
There is no point in telling you the morbid stories I heard from individuals working in field offices with first hand experience, but suffice to say that it makes you question humanity as a whole. Legal adoption can be a frustrating and difficult process, but just one of these stories is enough to make someone realize that the alternative is far too dangerous.
I hate to be all gloom and doom, but sometimes I get frightened by public conceptions of issues. I have often thought about adopting in the future, and once suggested that I could adopt from Argentina (since I'm Argentinean). I later found out, upon researching the subject, that Argentina doesn't allow foreigners to adopt, and Argentine blood or not, as a US citizen, I'm a foreigner. My mom was outraged about this. She proceeded to tell me that I should just go to Argentina and talk to some of the orphanages or birth mothers and certainly something could be worked out (hint, hint). As lovely as it would be to share some heritage with an adopted child, I think I will just consider adopting elsewhere. My mom has the best of intentions as do most people, and no doubt that the child would be loved, but again, the slope is far too slippery.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I was going to say that I let them lick a spoon, but then none of you will want to come over to my house, so never mind. I definitely did NOT let them lick a spoon.
Anyway, I was struck by the way their personalities come through in the way they licked the yogurt off of my hand. Tango, my little connoisseur, licks methodically. He looks at the yogurt, sniffs it, decides it is worthy, and then proceeds to lick from left to right, down to up. Murray, on the other hand, sees my hand approaching and starts licking. He licks the air, he licks his nose, he doesn't even stop to sniff what I might be offering, he just licks and licks and licks, hoping to catch a little bit of whatever it is in his mouth before its gone.
Their differences show up in many things. Tango is selective about where he sits, what he eats and what toy he plays with. If you try to swap the red ball for the green ball, he will plant his butt in front of you and glare and snuff at you until you throw the original red ball. Murray just wants to be near us. He is happy to go anywhere, as long as we are there. Our only battles come when he wants to lie on top of me and I'd prefer if he lay next to me. It is a nightly battle.
I even convinced my mother once that Tango was the spirit of my sweet departed grandmother. Tango can respond to some simple sentences, so when I told him to remove his toy from his pee-pee pad (indoor puppy litter box), he trotted over, picked up his toy, deposited it off the pad, and trotted off. He knows what upstairs, downstairs, couch and bed are, so if you throw those words into sentences he will likely follow along. By luck, he responded when my mom spoke Italian to him (as she did to my grandmother). My mother ran from the room with her hands over her ears because the whole thing was scaring her.
In contrast, my father-in-law calls Murray "the simple son", in reference to the Passover Seder character. He is soooo sweet, but not necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed.
I love them both, and at least now I know that I'll love any kids that come my way, cute or not cute, smart or not smart. I can see the good in each of my pups.
And in the meantime, I can get lots of pictures of Murray doing this.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Friday night, we decided on the spur of the moment to go to the movies. The hubs hates movies and movie theaters, so this was a real sacrifice for him. I, on the other hand, adore movies and sodas and hot dogs and all the rest. As I mentioned in my previous post, my Best Job Ever was at a movie theater, so marrying someone who hates movies has been difficult. We saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith, even though I promised my mother that I would boycott Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt. My mother is deeply angered by Mr. Pitt's suspected dalliances, so lets keep this movie choice between us. The movie was pretty good! Josh and I were both entertained by the action and it is undeniable that these two have some serious on-screen chemistry. I would like to protest the fact that one woman could be so beautiful. It isn't right. And that she seems a little crazy in "real life" just adds to the unfairness! I still recommend the flick, so long as you can turn off the rampant jealousy at her looks.
Saturday we left the house, planning to run a few errands and return in time to do some interior painting, but decided to stop in to a couple car dealerships and check out some cars. I was plied by Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee, so I consented. After a few dud dealerships, we stopped by Honda because Josh is frankly OBSESSED with Consumer Reports, and has been trying to convince me to buy a Honda for months now. Suffice to say that we walked out having purchased a car. It wasn't in the plans, but as soon as I started saying I wanted to leave, they started lowering the prices, and finally we couldn't say no. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to not have to listen to my husband quote any more car reviews. I could not take another week of this. Now, when he tries to tell me what a good buy Edmunds thinks we made, I can scream and cover my ears.
We finished all the paperwork in time to make it to a bbq with Josh's future classmates, where we had to watch an awful movie as a prerequisite for classes, and we finally got home at around midnight. Right around that time, I started to feel the twinges of a meltdown coming on. I had a great time all day, but the need to relax around the house was undeniable.
So Sunday we lounged around most of the day. We ate breakfast on our patio, where my neighbors got an eyeful of me in pajamas, and then I gardened for most of the afternoon. I just love seeing the immediate difference that a couple of hours spent in the sun makes to the appearance of our yard. It is almost therapeutic! Except for the worms. I detest the worms, and also the spiders. Blech. But the rest is great. We stopped by a neighbor's house for a quick bbq, and were home early enough to read another few chapters of Harry Potter. I am STILL trying to drag it out, although I was just invited to a book club where they will be discussing the book, so I'll have to increase my consumption.
On a totally unrelated note, I have been feeling annoyed at an individual rather close to us who seems to have some sort of competition going on. Whenever we mention something, this individual retorts back with something they have done that is better! Bigger! More expensive! You went away for the day? How nice, I remodeled my whole house! I find it odd, because we are most certainly NOT in competition with this person, and the exclamations of wealth have come entirely unbidden, and often unrelated to what we have been talking about. Does everyone have someone that does this to them? It is driving me batty.
I wish I could elaborate, but I am a little paranoid about the possibility of people finding this blog, so I'll spare you the details.
Friday, July 22, 2005
I'll have to save those tales for another time, and instead tell you about the day I was sure I wanted to have children with Josh.
The hubs and I met in our junior year of college, and as I've mentioned before, we did not and do not share the same faith. When we first began dating, this certainly did not feature prominently in my mind, but it wasn't long before I had thoughts about marrying him. These thoughts seemed ridiculous at the time, considering we struggled over the first 9 months of our relationship with his desire NOT to have a girlfriend. Good times that I'll share with you later.
He was very up-front with his desire to have a Jewish family, and although I was fairly devoted to my Catholic faith, this never seemed like a problem to me. I want my children to have faith, but the particular faith wasn't as important as them having something. We had long conversations about what we wanted and what we believed in for our future families. We both agreed that choosing one religion to avoid confusion was the better option for us, although we were open to introducing some teachings from other faiths.
This presents some problems, I admit. First, because I am not Jewish, my children will have to be converted at birth, or at a bris. Second and most important, I am at a disadvantage in teaching my children about Judaism since I didn't grow up with it. I can play an Easter bunny fairly easily, but I have yet to master baking challah for Shabbat. I voiced these concerns openly, purchased books like "The Idiots Guide to Judaism" and "Jewish as a Second Language," but I still worried.
After we graduated, and it became clear that this relationship was long-term, my inlaws offered us a trip as a graduation present. We would go to Israel for 2 weeks with them, and then continue on our own to Switzerland, Italy and France. Having never been outside of the Americas, I was ecstatic. We cancelled plans for summer jobs, and took off a few days after graduation.
Israel was a magical place for me. I was a history major, and never before had I seen so much history in one place. We toured passages underground along the western wall, visited archeological digs of ancient cities, walked along paths I had imagined from stories in the Bible. We traveled to Jordan and visited Petra, the rose city, saw the oldest temple in the world, visited the site where people believe that Jesus died on the cross. Interestingly enough, it was in Israel that I had my greatest doubts about Christianity. I don't doubt the messages, but I do doubt the stories. In one church on the spot some believe to be the tomb where Jesus rose from the dead, several Christian religions compete for space. It is a cacophony of services going on at once, with hundreds of believers lining up in different corners or nooks to touch what each claim to be a relic. Some hold a splinter from the cross, some the slab on which he was laid, some a rock from the tomb. It was a strikingly powerful place with many beliefs intertwined in one dark incense filled space.
We also ate fantastic food, floated in the Dead Sea, saw the Dead Sea Scrolls, visited several museums and concerts. It was such an amazing trip.
One of the museums we visited was the Holocaust Museum. Now, I know that many have been to DC's Holocaust Museum, as have I, and found it powerful and moving. But powerful cannot begin to explain Jerusalem's museum. It is heartwrenching. Heartbreaking. So terrible and haunting as it recalls the lives of those who experienced this tragedy. In a Hall of Names, the names and photographs of 3.2 million people line the walls. In a sort of labyrinth like garden representing a map of the world, the names of towns with Holocaust victims loom above you. In the Children's memorial, candles are reflected infinitely through mirrors, representing the souls of those children who perished in camps.
It was the most painful site I have ever seen. The images will stay with me for the rest of my life, I suppose. I reached for Josh's hand as we stared at the candle flames reflected around us and said "we have to have lots of Jewish babies."
My response was perhaps my very simple and naive response to so much sadness and loss in one place, but I still believe this. This world needs more children that will be raised to believe that tolerance and kindness are the most important values.
On days like today, I feel such rage at the atrocities being committed around the world to people of all faiths, colors and orientations. I spent my university and law school years working with human rights groups on discrete projects in foreign countries. I wrote papers detailing abuses in an effort to prevent them from happening again. And in the two years since I left school, I have let this passion of mine fall by the wayside. I have done pro bono work with New York's 9/11 Fund and helped women with uncontested divorces, all meaningful work certainly, but I think it is time for me to find other far-reaching projects as well. I cannot, for the present time, ignore my very real responsibilities, such as supporting our little family while my husband is in school, but I can take some time to offer services to my favorite NGOs.
We left Israel after just 2 and a half weeks, and the rest of my trip was magical and memorable in a different way. Sadly, many of the things I saw in Jordan and Israel have been destroyed so I won't be able to share these things with any children we do have. But I feel immeasurably grateful for that wonderful trip. It ended up being a far greater gift than just a plane ticket.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Seeing the picture on the front page made me cry out in my office. There are so many things that happen in this world that I cannot understand. How can a whole society condone this?
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
And you know, if driving the bulldozer doesn't work out for me, I can always try posing seductively while draped across a bulldozer.
My parents would be so proud.
And this one I'm saving for YG&B's senate confirmation hearing.
I think the Republicans will love it.
** full story to follow. Suffice to say that this is what happens when we get bored at my inlaws' house and find stray bulldozers or whatever the hell this is hanging out in the backyard.
I'm sure you all remember the summer associate who jumped into the Hudson River earlier this summer. We now have her name and law school, although I fear it would certainly violate the laws on slander (even though truth IS an absolute defense) and I know that it would violate my own personal code of ethics on humiliating people for stupid mistakes. So I won't post it.
My personal code of ethics on humiliation does not keep me from sharing another story with you about another summer associate gone mad, and I will reveal that this individual goes to the same law school as our favorite naked swimmer.
This summer associate, employed by the DC office of a prominent international law firm, attended an event last week in the NYC office of said law firm. Following the event, many summer associates headed out to a bar to get to know their colleagues from the other offices, ending up at a lovely NYC bar where drinks were flowing and conversation was lively.
As the night progressed, this particular summer associate, lets call him Crazy Bastard (or CB, for short) began talking to another summer associate, Shocked and Appalled (or SA), and asked him whom was his favorite summer associate thus far. SA responded that Innocent Bystander (IB), a female summer associate standing nearby, was a friend of his and he was pleased to be working with her. CB then said "who? The one who can't do math?", to which SA's response was a rather surprised sputter, considering that he had just finished telling CB that IB was his friend. CB continued with, "well, its not her fault, its probably because she went to Miami public schools." At this point, SA understandably walked over to IB and informed her of CB's comments. The two of them returned to speak with CB and ask what he meant by these comments, to which CB drunkenly waved them off and then muttered under his breath "wetbacks."
I'll pause for a moment for you to digest this tidbit.
SA and IB had very clearly heard his utterance, and asked if he had ACTUALLY just called them "wetbacks" at which point he yelled out that "Yes!" they were, in fact, the "wetbacks." Apparently these two summer associates are Cuban Americans, so we're still not sure why he chose that particular racial slur. Well, we're not sure why he chose to come in with any racial slur as his defense, but that one in particular is a mystery.
Of course, the story spread like wildfire amongst the summer associates of this prominent firm. The next day, back at the office, CB stopped by SA and IB's offices to say the following, "so, um, I heard that I might get fired or something for the stuff I said last night, so, um, yeah, sorry about that." As YG&B put it, a mealy-mouthed and apparently insincere apology.
Long story short, he was escorted from the building shortly thereafter. Turns out there are some things that will keep you from getting an offer!
Today's message: If you want to be a bigot, do it on your time, on your own dime! Work affairs where you are hoping to get a job offer? Not the best occasion.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
You see, when I had my aforementioned meltdown on Sunday night, I begged him to help me more. And by more, I meant actually spending a greater number of hours doing all of the things that were stressing me out. Paying bills, for example, organizing the house, calling the cleaning lady to schedule a date for her to FREAKING SHOW UP ALREADY, doing laundry, unpacking his bag from Costa Rica, and so on and so forth. Apparently, what he heard was "feel free to go away for a day and a half to visit your parents so that Halloweenlover can continue to worry this week and has to walk the 3/4 of a mile to the subway and then 3/4 of a mile to the office, both ways, because we only have one car, in the 90 degree heat". Practically the same message, don't you think?
Now, I am a big proponent of family. I try to put aside at least one week of vacation time to spend with each of our families, in addition to spending many weekends flying to Florida and California and back to visit with our respective families. I love his family. I really enjoy spending time with them. I never ask him not to go, I rarely say no to a request for a visit, reserving my "no"s for those very few times that I am under too much stress and cannot fathom flying back and forth for a 36 hour visit. I think this has happened once. One would assume, therefore, that this one time, when I asked him to please postpone his trip to Western Massachusetts for a couple of weeks while I get my bearings and we get our life in order that he would have agreed. But alas, one would assume wrong.
Adding to my list of grievances, I asked if he absolutely had to go, that he please schedule a couple of things for me, like the cleaning lady to FREAKING SHOW UP ALREADY. My husband assured me that he would call her, because our house has dust and hair balls that are threatening to overtake my small dogs, and schedule a visit and plan his trip around her visit. Turns out he didn't make the call, and left anyway. So now, I will have to live with this filthy house that is causing me undue stress for the rest of the week, or I have to get the number from home and try to schedule something myself, thus adding more work to my list.
This is one of the many things that makes me sit at my desk and focus on breathing because I am afraid this is what a panic attack might feel like.
I'll be fine, though, and tonight I'll just step over his suitcase that is still sitting in the hallway and curl up with Harry Potter and my pups. This may merit reading several chapters, rather than just the one I permit myself per night.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I didn't have a good Friday due to not feeling well at work coupled with intense stress over an SEC filing. I did get the SEC filing done, and I can't honestly complain because I have a terrific job, but it still left me feeling exhausted. Then gmail shut itself down for a few hours and ruined a potential blogger meet-up and made me feel guilty for not responding to an email, even though I got it hours later. I did end up getting Harry Potter at our local Barnes and Noble and had fun watching kids act incredibly excited about reading. These gripes weren't enough.
Saturday- friends picked us up to go to Ogunquit, Maine for the day. We spent the morning and afternoon at the beach, ate hamburgers and hot dogs at a beach shack, and then walked along Marginal Way and shopped at adorable coastal shops. I found a great sign for our living room that says "Now is the time to be happy." If that isn't a terrific reminder to hang on your wall, I'm not sure what is. Josh and I shared a 2 pound baked stuffed lobster and mussels. Yum. And we didn't even have to drive home, since our friends chauffered us around!
Sunday- we attended a baby shower that lasted far longer than I expected, but it was very sweet and fun and my friend's daughter is a cutie. We drove to the North Shore and back with another couple we love, so the drive was enjoyable even though it was long. We left at 10:45 am and didn't get home until 5:30 pm, though, and because I'd been away all weekend I had tons to do and no time to do it.
We went grocery shopping before we got home, unpacked all the groceries, took the dogs for a walk and a game of fetch at a nearby park, ate dinner and it was 9 pm. Josh spent another 2 and a half hours online purchasing a computer for school in the fall, and around that time I just lost it.
I came upstairs and lay down on the bed and started thinking about everything that needs to be done and how it all seems to fall on my shoulders. The hubs isn't working right now and he doesn't seem to be helping as much as I hoped he would. The house is a disaster and I don't have the time or energy to clean when I get home every night at 11 pm. There are countless projects around the house that need touch-ups like the paint in the office or the staircase and there are big projects that we need to start, like the basement remodeling. My garden is halfway completed with plants just sitting in pots needing to be planted because I haven't had the time. I never knew you could have this many bills to pay and organize, and now we have a computer bill and we are looking for a new car that we desperately need because we have been sharing one very old car. The suitcases from Costa Rica are still sitting in the hallway packed up and we have loads of laundry that need to be done. My mom was an immense help while she was here because she fed the dogs and fish daily and kept the house clean and entertained me and drove me to and from work, but I lost my sense of where everything is because she put things away in different places. And all of this doesn't even take into account the things that need to be done weekly, like dropping off dry cleaning or food shopping or getting the mail.
I am so overwhelmed.
And last night, once I started crying, I couldn't stop. So I sat for an hour telling Josh all of the things I worry about. I can't do this alone and I am feeling so much pressure to be the only one working while I take care of everything else too. Josh does help, but he is consumed with school bills and studying for pre-fall exams that will determine his place in his classes, and he HAS only been back for a week. I need to find a way to get this under control, but I feel so terribly overwhelmed and stressed I don't know where to start.
On top of that, it is moments like these when I wonder how we will ever have a child. I feel like I am holding on to the edge of order and one more responsibility will send us into chaos. I don't know how people do it. Do you just take the leap and decide to live with the chaos or do other people not feel this way?
Ugh. I finally calmed down, marginally, took a shower and came to bed, but I tossed and turned until 2 in the morning, thinking through the lists of to-dos. I know this happens when I pack my life too full of tasks and spend the weekend away from our house, but I also hate keeping myself from enjoyable things when I only have weekends free.
Now it is Monday morning and I am exhausted, and the whole week stretches before me. My sweet husband has pledged to help organize the house and take charge of bill paying, and I am going to try making lists for him of things I need done. We are just going to have to be patient and take this in steps, but I wish I could go home and cry, or maybe take another week to get my life under control.
I have a great life, and I AM grateful, and I wouldn't want it any other way, I just get so tired sometimes.
Friday, July 15, 2005
I'm a Ravenclaw!
I am thinking that Ravenclaw does not get enough press in the Harry Potter books, because with such excellent company as Phantom Scribbler, it has to be the best house even if Harry and Hermione are absent.
12:01 am will find me at Barnes and Noble, enjoying the party and picking up my copy of the book! Yay!
In slamming his brakes, he sent his travel coffee mug, which wasn't securely placed in the cup holder ALL OVER ME. And when I say all over me, I mean that my whole left leg and left side of my underwear is sopping wet. Oh, and I'm wearing tan pants.
Do you think this constitutes justification for murder? "And your honor, that's why I killed him." Or he can just bring me a new pair of pants, but in the meantime, I am sitting here cold and wet in my office reeking of coffee.
Random Affirmation for the Day:
Dear Bloggers, I LOVE the pants you are wearing today! They make you look particularly thin and stylish. Can I borrow them?
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I like Hillary. I don't agree with everything she says, but I think she is brilliant, ambitious, strong, and certainly capable. And frankly, I feverishly want a woman to run for the presidency. I think that Hillary has a chance, and as YG&B says, I'll quit my job to campaign for her if she needs me.
The other day, my law school girlfriends and I were debating the future Supreme Court Justice issue. It was interesting to hear what mattered the most to each of us as we looked to potential nominees. One of my dear friends, C, wants a Latino nominated, regardless of his stance as a conservative or a liberal, despite her position as a strong Democrat. YG&B is less concerned about race, so long as the individual is left-leaning, but is he or she is a minority, that would be fabulous. I, surprise surprise, desperately want a woman. I could live with fiscally conservative if she is socially liberal, but I hope and pray that Bush nominates a woman.
C (who really should have her own blog) pointed out, rather bitterly, that the world is a strange place these days, with African American women and Mexican American men as potential conservative appointees. And if we Democrats are so accepting and socially aware, why did Reagan appoint the first woman? Why will Bush appoint the first Latino? She argued that perhaps Democrats have neglected their traditional constituencies and taken them for granted for years. We heard stories about Clarence Thomas in law school, our professors alleging that Democrats wouldn't help him and refused to support him. A couple of professors even went so far as to say that he just wasn't the smartest student they'd had, but honestly, as if we don't see idiots getting breaks every day (i.e. please see George W.)? The rest, as they say, is history.
As C pointed out in her passionate emails, how can Bush have appointed two African American Secretaries of State, a Hispanic Attorney General, and now possibly a minority Justice? Why won't Democrats step up? Of course, we love Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and I know that the presidency was stolen from us in 2000, but sometimes you have to say- what the fuck?
I wholeheartedly agree with C, and I feel the frustration. Frankly, though, I am most terrified about issues like abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, and health care, much like everyone else. I strongly believe that we need to support women and people of color, but I cannot move past my terror over the direction in which this country is heading and I worry more about the beliefs of those in power.
I always tell myself that "this too shall pass", but this time, I'm afraid it won't.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Note that the road here is deceptively good. We were rolling along happily in our little white jeep, content that we were brilliant to rent a car.
Here is the scene of the bullet ant attack. I like to refer to it as an attack, even though really we were attacking the ant. Josh will deny it, but he thoroughly enjoyed telling the story to all the Costa Ricans we met along the way.
They were all suitably impressed and horrified.
This hotel rocked, though. It wasn't one of the most touristy ones, but it had beautiful grounds
and the rooms were perfectly acceptable and cute! And cheap, very cheap. That was my favorite part.
Look at these gorgeous plants!
Here we have the first instance of many, where we caught animals having sex.
Go butterflies, go!!!
Meet Tito, my biting horse. He was a little jerk. He refused to walk at anything faster than a snail's pace, but he would bite any other horse or rider that tried to pass him. In biting them, he'd jerk his head to the side and snap at them, and I'd almost fall off, every. single. time.
Here I am, in the first of many shots where I try and pretend that I don't want to cry because I hate my horse and I want to kill Josh for making me do this.
This is Josh's psychotic horse, Chepete. Chepete would rear up and try to throw him off if he didn't let him run.
Seriously. And although I know we look like professional horse riders, here, I promise you that we're not. Josh wasn't really trained to be galloping up and down the mountain at breakneck speeds. It took 4 tries of this picture to keep his horse from running off.
But look! A monkey!
He kept swinging from vine to vine and coming closer and closer to us! It was lovely! Until the guide told me that this particular monkey hated humans and had attacked his other groups in the past.
Hmmm, not so cute monkey anymore.
It is entirely possible, though, that the guide was fucking with me. He also told me to hide my red backpack when we happened upon this bull in our path because the bull might attack me. I wasn't sure whether to believe him or not, so I tried stuffing it up my shirt.
Not too long after this was when one of the other horses kicked a rider near me. SOMEHOW I think these horses aren't really trained to have riders. Especially idiotic tourist riders that don't know how to ride horses.
Ahhhh, the hot springs were very relaxing since I couldn't walk after the 3 hour horse ride. It took me 3 days to stop limping, and yes, I admit I am a wimp. Look at that steam though! That is how hot the river was! These are rivers flowing from the volcano with boiling hot water. My skin was red for hours after sitting there.
I lasted about 42 seconds and then evacuated to the pool bar. Have I mentioned that I love pina coladas?
Alas, we had to leave the Arenal volcano behind to drive to the Monteverde Rain Forest. The road was still reasonable here, although we hit a few traffic jams, Costa Rican style.
Everyone told us that the drive could take between 4 and 6 hours, but when we looked at the map and saw that it was 40 miles, I thought they had to be kidding. Until we saw the roads for more than half of the trip.
This was probably the best road we encountered after a few miles of driving. I couldn't take pictures of the bad ones, we were bouncing around too much, and I was trying not to vomit. But its all part of the adventure, right?
In what I am starting to worry was an effort to have me killed, Josh convinced me to do the pulley things through the forest canopy. They strap you into these harness things, put helmets on you, clip you to a wire, and shoot you through the rain forest.
Here I am flying through the canopy of trees! WHEEEEEEE! After I stopped hyperventilating, I kind of liked it!
This was the same forest where we saw the tarantula, bats, lizards, frogs and lots of bugs. We were told that jaguars lived in the forest, but thankfully didn't see any.
We stayed in Monteverde for just a day and a half before braving the roads to Manuel Antonio National Park that afternoon. This is the winter, or rainy season, in Costa Rica, but thankfully we hit a two week period where it feels like summer. It hardly rained and the temperatures were high. They called it their 'veranito' and I'm assuming its what people sometimes call an 'Indian Summer' (politically incorrect though it may be).
I think Josh tried to kill me here too.
Check out this bridge! EEK!
Manuel Antonio was AMAZING. It feels like paradise with monkeys swinging in the trees above you, skies so clear and blue, fruit growing on trees everywhere you look and hot hot hot. We even made some friends along the way.
If you have kids, this place is unbelievable. I would have died of happiness as a child with so many animals around me. When we ate breakfast iguanas would walk around the restaurant and monkeys would hang off the roof of the little hut.
And the water is so warm. Bath water temperature with little crabs and fish swimming around. The waves were a little strong, but there were inlets where you could swim without being thrown around.
One night for dinner, we followed Frommer's recommendation for sushi (it is a beach town, after all) and got a peep show included in the meal!
I don't know if I have laughed so hard in a long long time. Especially since the lizards kept changing positions and moving while they did the deed. Josh learned a lot of new vocabulary that night.
But the monkeys, oh my goodness, the monkeys. They are so cute and playful, although it did make me a bit sad that they seem so unafraid of humans. There were a few that walked right up to us, begging for food, and many steal food out of people's bags.
I loved seeing them, don't get me wrong. Its just that as I looked at the mommy monkeys carrying their babies and eating bread from bags stolen off of tourists, I kept thinking that we are so far removed from their normal habitat and ways of survival that it is dangerous.
These babies are learning that humans are safe and that isn't true. Human food and fruits treated with pesticides aren't safe for monkeys either. Sigh.
But aren't they gorgeous? This picture is without zooming, that is how close they came. This particular monkey kept looking around, so it was hard to keep him in focus.
Lest you think the vacation was all adventure and hiking and driving on mountain roads, this is how I spent most of my time.
I'll tell you a secret, I love mystery and crime novels. SHHH! I hate to destroy my image as a lover of academics. Don't you love my big floppy hat? Josh called it my tourist beacon.
Two days in Manuel Antonio, and we returned to San Jose where we focused on very important stuff- SHOPPING and EATING. I am in a bit of withdrawal from delicious food. I ate rice and beans and plantains at every meal, and fresh delicious fruit, and drank strong flavorful coffee. Yum.
One of the very best parts was talking to Josh is Spanish throughout the entire trip. His Spanish speaking skills improved DRAMATICALLY. He is far far better than I could have hoped for, and I guess he missed me too.
So I suppose our month apart was a success! This December we are planning a trip to Argentina for him to meet the rest of my family, and I am ecstatic that they will be able to talk to each other! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband!
Monday, July 11, 2005
Yay! The two of us are back in the country and life is restored to normal. And we had a terrific time! The incident with the bullet ant was definitely the most exciting moment on the trip, although I have many stories to tell. I think the best way to share the insanity is through pictures, and since I didn't bring my camera to work, it'll have to wait until tomorrow or the next day.
I can give you some of the highlights, though.
1. We rented a car to drive between the tourist spots (Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Rain Forest, Manual Antonio National Park) and it turns out that Costa Rica doesn't have too many actual roads. What they DO have quite a bit of, is little dirt paths, with huge gaping holes and boulders in the way. Oh, and no street signs. So although the sign says 65 kilometers, what it really means is 5 fucking hours. 5 hours of bouncing along at 10mph, hitting your head against the roof or the window, guessing which dirt path you should take because they aren't mapped and don't have street signs. But I'm not bitter.
2. The Mr. begged me to go on a horse back riding expedition at the volcano, and since I love him, I complied. But I didn't expect the motion sickness, or the crazy bucking horse, or the biting (also by my horse), or the horse that kicked one of the other riders. Kicked her. In the shin. But we did see monkeys! They made it all worth it. Well, for me, but I didn't get kicked.
3. We went on a nighttime tour of the rainforest with a guide and saw a disgusting awful tarantula. A baby tarantula. A baby bigger than my fist and it made me want to curl up into a ball and cry. And bats. EVERYWHERE. Still awesome though.
4. At the beach, some animal had been eating a guava on the walkway at the hotel, so when we walked down the path, I slipped on the guava, skinned my knee, and then proceeded to sit in it. Just like those skits in the movies? Except that you have guava juice soaking through your underwear and seeds sticking to your ass.
5. We saw monkeys roll up to us, examine us for food, and then steal food out of bags the people standing next to us were carrying.
6. 3 foot long iguanas begging for food at restaurants, just like dogs. It made me miss Tango even more.
7. Being with Josh alone for 8 days straight, and then coming home together. We haven't kissed or held hands as much since we met almost 6 and a half years ago.
And tomorrow, more to come, I promise! I took loads and loads of pictures, and while I was unable to get one of the bullet ant since I was busy stomping on it, I did get lots of other animals and sites for all of you (although I may spare you the ones of me in a bathing suit)!
Monday, July 04, 2005
It has been wonderful seeing Josh again. As I was going through customs and waiting for my bags, I was having a hard time breathing through the anticipation. I kept tearing up just at the thought! And we are having a fantastic time so far.
I arrived on Saturday afternoon and after spending the night in San Jose, we headed up to the Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano, where we are staying at a lovely resort with little hut like rooms. Very fun and authentic! Plus the added bonus of the Internet! Technology is a beautiful thing, and because of it, I get to tell you this lovely story.
On the drive up here I saw a snake in the road, several quite large bugs, and a monster toad. It has definitely felt like the jungle, and when we arrived at our little hut, I was wary of what might be inside. So I made Josh check for centipedes, snakes, scorpions or anything that might be hiding in corners or under the bed. I even inspected the outside and besides moths bigger than my hand, we seemed to be safe.
After a full day of sightseeing and lounging in the hot springs (hard life, I know), we came back to the room and I threw myself down on the bed to watch some television. About 30 minutes later, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye, and crawling up the curtain in the room was a MUTANT ANT. Not a normal ant, but an ant the size of my index finger. I screamed for Josh to come out of the bathroom and pointed out the mutant that he would have to kill. Josh took one look at it, and decided that he needed reinforcements. He went into the bathroom and came back with a towel. At that point, I chuckled and asked if he really needed a towel. I mean, it was an ant, toilet paper would have been enough, right? He looked at the ant, looked at me, and said "nope, I'm sticking with the towel".
Approaching the beast cautiously, he grabbed it with said towel and proceeded to smoosh it with his fist.
And that is when the ant BIT HIM THROUGH THE TOWEL.
Let me repeat that for you. That ant, bit him hard enough to draw BLOOD through the towel.
Josh screamed and threw the ant, plus the towel down onto the ground and proceeded to jump up and down and onto the bed while cursing loudly. At first I thought he was kidding, until he showed me the blood. Now the apparently vicious ant is on the floor under a towel, and we´re assuming its dead. But given the fact that we don´t know whether this bug is poisonous or not, I told Josh we should bring it with us to the front desk and ask. So I pull out a big ziploc bag and, being the kind and animal friendly people that we are, we stomped up and down on him several times, before putting him into the ziploc bag with the towel and going to the front desk.
Josh was still cursing and insisting that his hand was killing him, so we ran to the front desk, or front office across the grounds. We must have been quite a sight, what with the screaming man and the woman carrying a ziploc bag with a towel inside. I recounted our tale to the clerk and he opened the bag to check it out.
Folks, that fucker was still alive and dancing around in the bag.
Turns out it was a bullet ant and the clerk assured us that the bites were very painful, but that Josh probably wouldn´t die. Although another friendly clerk told us that two bites would have sent us to the hospital. Geee, thanks.
After an anesthetic spray, some advil and a bandage, Josh seemed like he would make it. The clerks enjoyed it too, and showed the bullet ant to the other guests lounging around, amidst much squeals and screams. Seriously, it was huge.
And then? He let it go. Because they are an 'ecological society' and don't kill bugs. So this is a warning to all of you, that ant is still on the loose in Costa Rica and he is bloodthirsty.
Today I looked up the bullet ant and found this description:
The venom is neurotoxic, blocks insect central nervous system transmission,Fabulous, no? But as we were walking back to our hut, I turned to Josh and said, "But at least it'll make a great blog entry!" I'm not sure he appreciated that.
and is agonistic to mammalian smooth muscle. Paraponera is not aggressive
except when defending self or territory. When their nest is disturbed,
defenders swarm out, release a heavy musky odor, stridulate an audible
warning, then grab and impale intruders. Human Sting Reactions: Sting
victims' have intense pain typically lasts 3-5 hours then lessens over the
next day. Severe pain may be accompanied by trembling, perspiration, nausea,
and inability to use an injured arm or leg.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Picking a Supreme Court justice on a reality television show. Its kinda catchy when you think about it!
My favorite part of the whole idea:
The Justice will be patterned after The Apprentice, in that 18 Supreme
Court hopefuls will audition for a job on the high court. Each week, the
contestants will perform as judges for various contests, such as a toddler
beauty contest, a rutabaga-growing contest at a county fair, and even a
professional boxing match. The purpose of these tasks will be to determine
which candidate has the ability to consistently come to the wrong conclusion
based on the facts. After all, we want the new justice to be able to fit in
with his or her colleagues on the court.
At the end of each episode, the contestants will
meet in the Oval Office with the president, who will be flanked by the Senate
majority leader and the Senate minority leader. After some mandatory bickering
by the contestants, the president, with the advice and consent of the two
senators, will turn to the unlucky candidate and say, "You’re mired! Oops, I
mean you’re wired! Hey, Karl, what’s that line again?
We might as well do this, it can't get any worse, right?
Have a good week! I'll try to post from Costa Rica, but if I don't, I will likely be busy avoiding snakes and wild monkeys and hiking through rain forests! Wheeeeeeee