Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday Social - Blue

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie and Cindy-Lou; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...


Is Blue.


Blue is an Australian Shepherd, and our oldest dog. He'll turn 12 in a couple months, but our vet thinks he looks he looks no more than half his age.

Our kids are teens now, but were babies and preschoolers when we got him, so they've grown up with him. When the kids were all little, he used to play with them. I'm not talking about fetch, I'm talking about duck-duck-goose and red-light-green-light. I'm not kidding you, he knew how to play those games and would join in whenever we started one of them.

Through the years, he's dabbled in sheep herding, agility and obedience training, and has done well at everything he's put his paw to. Though it's been years since he's gone to herding classes or competitions, he saved the day about a year ago when the goats got out of the barn and niether the vet nor I could convince them to get back in. Had it not been for Blue's herding prowess, we would have had to reschedule the appointment, wasting both the vet's time and mine.

He is the. Smartest. Dog. Ever.

If he's staring at you when you're eating, all you have to say is "Don't be rude, Blue" and he slinks off looking ashamed of himself. Though I don't get around to walking them much, when I do he is a perfect gentleman on the leash. I could probably take him tomorrow to a vet's office or a playground or a circus and he would give me a wonderful off-leash heel with a sit at my stops. He's that good.

Though he's really too big, he still tries to be a lapdog now and then. I'll never say no.

He's my Handsome Man.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Social - Obrin

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie, Cindy-Lou and Blue; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Obrin.


















We are Obrin's host family with the Fresh Air Fund, and he stays with us for a time each summer. He's only been with us two years now, but he is definitely part of the family. First year he stayed a week, this past summer he stayed about two, and next year we'd like him to stay longer.

He's from New York City and he's nine years old. He loves to swim, play video games with his summer brothers, pick tomatoes from our garden, and pet the ponies. This past summer he climbed a tree for the first time. I had tried to get him to take on that challenge the first summer but he wasn't quite up for it. This year? He was ready. And he went almost high enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Once he did that, there was no stopping the climbing and he moved on to tackling our fences.

His Mom tells me that as soon as school is out, he starts pestering her with,
"How many more days till I can see my summer family?"

Obrin. He's our summer Son.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Look Who's Coming to Town!

OK, this is just so cool.

Mary will be filming her pilot Spirit Seeker

AT MY HOUSE!!!!!

Our house is going to play the part of quaint bed and breakfast in PA Dutch country.

Some of our kids will even get cameos.

There's one little problem. What was initially going to be a virtual 0-budget film is now getting a little more serious, with the involvement of some bigger names. Mary and her crew are now in a position where they need to raise some money to fly some of the "names" from LA and the UK out to my place. And I guess they need to put them up and feed them, too. You know these Hollywood types. So entitled. Always wanting a bed to sleep in and food to eat. Guess they'd thumb their respective noses at my couch and sleeping bags. They'd probably push their dishes of macaroni and cheese and hot dogs away, too. Sheesh.

Anyway, if I embedded this clip properly, you should be able to click to play the video, so Mary can do better job of 'splaining things to you than I can.




And here's the original clip of Spirit Seeker:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Social - Nadja

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie, Cindy-Lou and Blue; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Nadja.
















Yes, Nadja (or Nadya), my sweet German daughter.

She was our most recent exchange student, staying with us for the 2007/2008 school year. She and my girls bonded immediately. They looked to her for her sense of fashion and they loved doing the whole bathing beauties thing together at the pool or the beach. I can't say my sons were complaining about that much, either.

She was the first of our students to attend the district school instead of the charter school where my kids attend, but I definitely think it was the better option for her. I don't know if her education was all that it could have been, but she made a ton of friends and got involved in some sports through the school.

She is fluent in German, English, French, and I believe some Spanish, as well.

Nadja was a good student, and possessed a strong moral compass. Along with being a great friend and sister to my girls, she was also an excellent role model. They remain friends to this day, texting and chatting and skyping and all that stuff kids do these days to keep in touch with each other.

She's currently doing very well in college and having a wonderful time living independently in her own apartment.

She came back to visit with us last year, and attended my nephew's christening with my family. Because she is part of our family. I hope, hope, hope she is able to make her way back here again to visit us one day.

She's my German Girl.

Love you, Nadya!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beulah as Biographer

My Life.

As told by Beulah, my car.

That's right, my car.

A car can tell a lot about a person, didja ever notice?

For instance,


I've got kids.
Lots of kids.
With kids comes the need for spare essentials in the back of the car.

Essentials such as

crayons
coloring books
hairbrushes
hairbands
socks
sweatshirts
blankets
umbrellas
word-find puzzle books
Mad Libs
used napkins
nearly empty french fry cartons
balloon animals from the last festival
soccer-ball-shaped erasers from the last soccer tournament
plastic rings from the last trip to the family fun place where $30 worth of tokens yielded 25 cents worth of plastic crap that was forgotten about before arriving back at home.















And here we have, from left to right:

My family.

Except, wait. One of them appears to be missing. Is that some cosmic indication that one of my kids is really missing?

Hold on.

.............

I'm back. All kids present and accounted for. Nice one, cosmos. You almost had me there.
Like my family in real life, they are getting a bit ragged. My kids need a bit of nagging here and there to take showers, clip their nails, wear deodorant. My sticker family needs a little help, too, to keep firmly plastered to the back of my car at all times. Like my real kids, they don't listen very well.
















Next sticker is my philosophy on life, in general:
Wag More, Bark Less.

I know several people that I hope will tailgate me just so they can get a good, close look at this message.

Followed by that sticker is the next:
Life is Good.

This sticker has taken a beating and is very difficult to see at this point.
In real life, this idea is hard to see sometimes, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Thank you, Beulah, for pointing that out. You are very wise, indeed.

Next is a skating sticker, b/c my Bella is a very graceful and talented ice skater. Beulah likes to brag on my kids. She's a very boasty gal.

Then comes our school name because I very stupidly like to let all the crazies know where my kids attend school. I know, I don't understand myself, either. At least I've smudged it out for the blog, so I know where to draw some semblance of a line.

Last sticker is good ol' "Exit 63", which is where I spent my growin' up years, and is the only shore destination for this family.





So then over my gas tank door thingy is a soccer ball to honor Rosie's committment and talent as a soccer goaltender. It is also a reminder of how much it costs in gas dollars to cart a child hither and yon to practices, games, and tournaments. But to paraphrase those commercials, seeing her leap sideways to stop that ball? Priceless.















Heading towards the front of the car is a giant Band Aid. Because poor Beulah has seen her share of scrapes and dings. The trim piece on the driver's door is no more, and the one behind it is soon to follow.
You can also see her grill is looking pretty busted up, and one of her eyes is hanging loose in its socket. Poor thing. Poor, pitiful old thing.
And you know, I forgot to take my keys out with me when I went to take the pictures, and I was far too lazy to go retrieve them, so I couldn't turn the car on and show you the odometer. Let me just tell you that this old gal and I have seen over 207,000 miles together. And the only thing I've needed to replace other than brakes and tires and oil was the alternator just recently.

Good girl, Beulah, good girl.
































This one here? This is Beulah's way of letting you know I loves me some Tastycake. When GMC performed their factory performance testing on the leather and the stitching and the springs, they weren't counting on someone like me getting in and out of the driver's seat time after time for 8 years and 200,000+ miles. No. No they weren't.

















And that's all you need to know about me.

My Life.

As told by Beulah, my car.

I think I see a second career for her after her retirement.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Farm Friday - Green Pumpkins

You know the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.

And that other one: buy fresh, buy local.

Well, I've done my part. Check, and check.


Like every year, we bought our punkins at a local Mom and Pop Pick-Ur-Own farm. Complete with hayride by Pop Lytle himself, and three generations of his kin to help run the place.


And after carving them and setting them out on the stoop for no one to see (we don't get any trick-or-treaters round here), I decided I could offer our pumpkins-turned-neglected-jack-o-lanterns one better than the garbage can.

One better even the compost pile.

I gave them to the chooks!

And they loved them.

The circle of life? It looks a little something like this:

Pumpkin seeds = pumpkins = jack-o-lanterns = food for chickens = eggs.

Orange = green = brown (eggs)



Looks like orange is the new green.






Thursday, November 10, 2011

Verbal Droppings

I follow a blogger who never fails to amuse me with the verbal droppings of her children. They are unfailingly creative, clever, and hysterically funny.

So then I think to myself,

I'll blog some of the things my little comedians say. I should have a cornucopia of material to choose from. After all, I have six to her two. My kids are smart. They're funny. They are creative and clever.

But when I sit down with fingers primed, all ready to let the diatribe flow forth onto my screen?

I got nothin'.

Why is that? It truly stumps the poop out of me.

THEY'RE FUNNY!
THEY'RE CLEVER!
THEY'RE OUT OF THE BOX!

















Maybe it's my shoddy memory. I have to cram so much #@*& into my brain what with all their appointments and meal planning and birthdays and school forms that I cannot retain anything they have actually said in my presence.

I mean, if I have to ask myself,
"Did I brush my teeth?"
"Was Daniel wearing shoes when I dropped him off to school this morning?"
then how do I expect to remember actual spoken words? Not gonna happen.

I thought I would follow them around the house, wearing a jaunty little hat and carrying a notebook; pencil poised to write down anything remotely amusing. But then of course I saw dog hair that needed to be swept. And then the stray socks on the floor reminded me of the laundry that needed switching. And when I was up there I realized I was almost out of detergent and ran down to add it to the list and ....
...what was I doing?

So, yeah. That didn't work out so much.

The other day I actually picked up five out of the six of them in carline (plus a friend). A rare event. And we had fun. There was laughter, to be sure.

But blogworthy laughter? No. No, not really.

One of them burped real weird. That was funny. We all laughed at that, I can tell you.

When we were pulling into the driveway I saw my mare Genevieve running around in the pasture and said,
"There goes Gen running around like a maniac again. She keeps getting her panties in a twist lately over some horse in the next field."
To which one of them asked, "Where do you get panties for a horse?"
"She's just borrowing some of mine", sez I.
"Way to build your self-esteem, Mom."

And we all laughed in the car and bonded. But it just doesn't translate to chuckle-worthy stuff once it's written down.

I could write about some of the funny English as a Second Language stuff, like how Julie used to call girls "groins", and how James thought vagina began with a W...

"You know, girl's parts that begin with W. I don't want to say. W, W!"

...but likely someone would misconstrue and think I was bullying them by poking fun and then I'd be under investigation, and where's the funny in that?

Sigh.

You'll just have to take my word for it. My kids are funny.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bashing My Head Against a Wall of Hatred

My friend Lori, from Five of My Own, recently came under fire from a blogger named - ironically - Joy who describes herself as "pro-adoptee". Until she tagged herself as such, I thought (from the few things I had read by her) she was anti-adoption. Her ranting post against Lori was filled with rambling, name-calling, f-bomb-laden insanity in which she accused Lori of being a racist, a baby-buyer, and more.

In Lori's defense, I thought I would jump in and say a thing or two. It turned into a back and forth debate that spanned a couple days but sadly, got nowhere. After several verbal (well, written) volleys, I decided to try to end things by seeing if we could find some middle ground. A meeting of the minds, as it were. I figured, she feels like she is an advocate of adopted kids, as do I, so maybe if we could better understand each other's perspective on some level, we would all benefit.

What follows is the end of my post, and then her response:


So why don’t we try something new and stop making assumptions about each other?

I’ll go first. I consider myself an adoption advocate. That pretty much means that I am all for adoption, and I try to open people’s hearts to the concept that maybe they could adopt,or foster. There are so many kids in this world without families. Way too many. If I could find a genie to grant me a wish, it would be that every child could have at least one loving, capable parent. But I’m not running around rubbing lamps. Instead, I write, and I try to get people to think that maybe they could make a difference. That’s prety much my entire platform.

But what about you? You seem like a reasonably intelligent person. You say you are not anti-adoption, but when I read phrases like “doll-buying bitches”, what am I left to think? It was only after reading several things from you that it came across that you are “pro-adoptee”. And I still really don’t know what that means. I would love for you to teach me. For if I hope to advocate for adoption at all, how can I do that effectively if I don’t know all there is to know from every angle?

But Joy, teach me, do not alienate me, and then I’ll be one more person who can help to advocate. Let’s face it, you want the best for the kids, I want the best for the kids. It seems you and I have different ideas about what “best” means, but I would like to understand. Because I just don’t. All I see is hatred and anger. Help me to better teach those in society (but again, NOT the other APs/PAPs I have met) that we are not saving them, they are not lucky we adopted them, they should not be grateful to us, we are not saints. Society is filled with this viewpoint. I just don’t see APs/PAPs as the enemy.


November 4, 2011 5:44
Anne, dude you are sick in the head, no?

I can’t even believe your comment or that you expect to be taken seriously. If you wanted the best for kids you would do that.

I can’t even relate to you, your type of personality is so foreign to me. NO! my adoptive parents are nothing like you, they are way more sophisticated and kind and you are sicking me the f*** out. Really, what the f*** is wrong with you?

You don’t need me to educate you, there are plenty of adoptee blogs that aren’t as offensive as mine. I don’t want to “help” you , you make me sickened. How dare you come here and spew your stupid crap? Really how dare you? Okay racist cow, go have fun making light of adoptee issues elsewhere and f*** right off. I hope you get bit by the nasty fleas in your own carpet. Good God Woman.




I decided right there was as good a time to jump off that train as any. Me? I'll grab any chance I can to share my thoughts on the value of adoption, b/c that's what I believe in. But "Joy"? Even when I asked her point blank to share with me her views, she couldn't do it, leaving me to wonder if she really has any.

I learned a couple days later that she wrote a whole long post about me. None too flattering, I can assure you

I didn’t post your picture because I have since joined the anti-hair-defamation league. Good God woman, it is not 1983 anymore. Hairbrushes are not as expensive as an adoptling.

and yet she still did not clarify what her views were.

And Joy, if you happen to be reading, there's more to pick on me for than my hair (I actually thought my hair looked pretty good in that picture, which shows how much I know). I can give you a list if you'd like: I'm overweight; my teeth are crooked and in no danger of blinding anyone with their whiteness; my clothes are old and out of style; my skin shows its age and then some; my hands look like they've been working in a barn (oh wait, they have been working in a barn)...

There's way more, but I'll not bore my readers by fleshing out that list any further. Suffice it to say I am neither elegant nor eloquent, I am far from perfect, and I'm actually OK with that. Clearly, appearances mean a lot to you. For me? Not so much.

As for the adoption issue, I guess no matter what it is you believe in, even when it's something as seemingly win-win as adoption, there are going to be those with an opposing viewpoint. I guess I would just like to know what that opposing viewpoint actually is.

Sigh. I guess I will never understand....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday Social - Felice

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie, Cindy-Lou and Blue; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Felice.



















(Sorry about the sizing of the picture)

Felice, pronounced Phyllis, was our third international exchange student, and hailed from Hong Kong. She started out the academic year with a family in a different school district. When the host family experienced some family problems and were unable to continue hosting, Felice moved in with a temporary family in our school district. At that point, she and our student at the time Eun Hae became good friends in school.

Halloween night, as my kids were trading their loot, I got a call asking if I would be able to temporarily host Felice. I picked her up around 10 that night, and she never left.

She and Eun Hae were so close, and the agency was having so many problems finding another host family, that we decided to just go ahead and host her ourselves. What's one more, we thought. When we gave the girls the news, they were beyond thrilled.

We were happy for the girls, we were. Unfortunately, Felice didn't turn out to be the greatest exchange student we'd ever had. She tended to the moody side, and never really did form any close bonds with us or with any of our kids. She also, I thought, seemed to dominate our sweet and shy Eun Hae. Their relationship seemed to work for them, though, so I tried to keep a close eye on things, but give them some space to handle their friendship in their own way.

When she left, unlike all our other girls, we never heard from her again. At this point, five years later, I don't really know where she is or what she's up to. I hope she's well.

Felice, if you're out there, give us a shout! I'd love to hear what you're up to.

Daylight Savings


















At the risk of rehashing another old post and boring any readers who have been with me longer than six months, here is what I posted back in April, when we turned our clocks ahead.....



Last year I really screwed up the whole Daylight Savings thing.

I was planning a surprise party for James over at the bowling alley. Everything was going according to my well-laid plans when I got a call from one of his friends...
"Hey, Mrs. K, isn't the party starting at 1?"

"Yes, why?"

"Well, cuz I'm here but no one else is."

"Well, you big goofball, it's only 12:15."

"No it's not. It's 1:15. We turned the clocks ahead last night."

Oh holy crap. Needless to say it was pretty ruined. We still managed to pull off a modicum of surprise by scrapping my original plans and changing things all around, but I went from one of those I'm-the-queen-of-the-universe moods to one of those I'm-a-big-bag-of-poop moods. And the rest of the day it stayed with me and just soured my whole weekend.

So this year I was sooooo ready for it. The kids had off school on Friday and we went to the bookstore and went to the movies and grabbed dinner out and in general kicked off our weekend a day early.

So when I hopped on the computer Fri night and realized that it was DST weekend, I immediately jumped up and started turning all the clocks ahead early. Hours early. I wasn't waiting till 2am. Or morning. I was taking no chances this year.

So the next morning rolled around and I woke up early and got Rosie up so she could get ready to go to play practice. We had breakfast and coffee and got dressed and brushed our teeth and she packed her lunch and off we drove to the school.

And when we got there the parking lot was empty. The doors were locked. She was knock-knock-knocking but wasn't nobody answering.

Ha! I thought.
I'm the only one out of all the play parents that remembered to turn the clocks ahead! What a bunch of nincumpoops they all are. I in my efficiency-glory laugh at them.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Hahahahahahahahaha.

Haha.

Ha........

Oh crap. The clocks get turned ahead on Saturday night. Last night was Friday night.

Big-bag-of-poop mood once again.

The upside was that since it didn't make sense to go all the way home again, we went to Starbucks instead. And we had coffee and breakfast
pay no attention to where I wrote we had coffee and breakfast at home already
Julie was with us, too, and of course the two of them were models of deportment blowing straw wrappers at each other and dribbling drool down their chins. Sometimes the wrappers misfired.
Rosie: Ewww, MOM, she spit liquid in my hair! I feel fluid in my locks.
Julie: It was by accidentally I did it! Wait. Logs? What's logs?
Me: Logs are blocks of wood, Julie. But she said locks.
Julie: Locks? Like combinations?
Me: No. Locks can mean hair.
Julie: Rosie has locks in her hair? I don't understand.

Me: Me neither. Come on, it's time to go back to the school.

And when we showed up "on time" I could have almost felt redeemed except that Rosie ratted me out to all her friends and the teachers involved.

Wonder how I can mess it up next year? I'm running out of ways. I'm sure I'll think of something.

Can't I just opt to save something else instead? I mean, do we alllll have to save the daylight?

I think it's redundant.



To my credit, friends, I managed to NOT screw it up this year! Saturday night I turned my bedside clock back, Sunday morning some of the clocks downstairs. Old dogs CAN be taught!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

No need to call 9-1-1. This is what my 16 year old son does for kicks.

Do I see Hollywood make-up artist in his future?


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