Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Vacation's rock!

Finally.... an update.

I'll be completely honest here, no room for bullshit. I'm struggling right now to play catch up at work, home, school and everything in between. Feelings of overwhelm and over commitment are recurring and I'm sad that I've burned through all of my vacation time. Back to work :-(

I'm going to start the vacation post with my feelings of arriving home, I know a little backwards - just my style. I was happy to be back in a country that regularly used toliet seat covers and tried to adhere to some kind of food standards involving the temperature that foods should be kept at. I was happy to get home and get me a big ol internet fix and look forward to going to a restaurant where when I ask for wine, they will provide me a wine list instead of saying white or red. Things I will miss - the sand, so fine that it sticks to you for days on the beaches in Cancun, wearing my comfy flip flops every single day, looking at water that is the prettiest shade of blue - I can't begin to describe it, meeting some of the nicest local people ever. I think it is the Catholic guilt that runs thickly through my veins but when I said hello to my puppies I nearly wept, to say I missed them would be the understatement of the year. They were in great hands, my in -laws came up from the desert (center of the surface of the sun) and puppy sat. I must mention that my mother in law also weeded our front yard and cleaned our house while we were gone, it truly felt like I had won lotto.

Our final walk through for fost/adopt happens on Monday and I have completely put it on the back burner (of my mind) until this morning. As I was on the treadmill, I was watching "Deep End of The Ocean" a movie from 1998/99 and though the story is not foster related I was able to draw on commonalities between the two worlds. The premise, for those of you who didn't read the book or see the movie (this one is another example of the book being way better than the movie) is about a mom who has three children and one is abducted, a son around age 2 or 3. The movie shows how the family struggles to rebuild their life and how the abducted boy (who has been living in their same city) knocks on their door and asks if they need help with yard work and he's looking to make a few bucks, aged 9 or10? Long story even longer, they realize this is their son and he is returned to his "birth parents" while he struggles to adapt to his new family and they to him - he see's the man who raised him while with his birth mom on daily errands ( the man didn't now he was abducted and yes, these ARE the days of our lives). The birth parent aspect vs. the daily parent was painfully reminiscent of aspects we have discussed at our foster care trainings. Hmmm, I feel like I could go on, alot of emotions right now about the walk through, what it represents and then there is always Mother's Day next weekend which will be a toughie for sure. This could and will be a whole other post, later in the week.

Ok, enough of that.

Are you ready for some pictures?

Why yes, I was hungry like a freaking wolf and because I LOVE Duran Duran - They are my absolute FAVORITE BAND EVER, I had to take a picture of this banner posted at the bar while we were visiting the Hard Rock Cafe. HRC Cancun is near an area that is thick with tourists but also close to some really cool tide pool areas.

My lunch at HRC - skirt steak taco's with chorizio, topped with pork rinds

and a side of heartburn.

Duane's fajita sandwhich - let's be honest, we were a little homesick and visiting for atmosphere - obviously not the food.

Ok, here we go. This is the good stuff.

SERIOUS FOOD PORN AHEAD..... We went to an amazing Argentina steakhouse whilst in Cancun and had this tasty treat. Apparently, the process is very labor intensive and take hours or days to make. They are like french fries but 90 gazillion times better.

Note - The basket holding these tasty morsels of grease and deep fried-ness is also made of potatoes. Simple minds, simple pleasures.

Duane's appetizer- tunas sashimi rolls

The bread basket, served with Chimichurri sauce and chilled herb butter. I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I asked for another side of bread and the necessary accoutrement's to go, so I could enjoy with my Chilean syrah after we returned to the hotel that evening..

My wedge salad with Roquefort dressing

Roll with Chimmichuri sauce

The waiter thought we should be looking at the sun while it was setting, instead of taking a picture of us near the sun setting or with it in the background. Um- ok.

We were in constant amazement - every day. Breathtakingly beautiful.

A photographer, I'am not. Nice bright yellow ass in the background, otherwise - I really like this pic of Duane under the Palappa.

I know, I know - it's just water but it's so pretty......

Duane so wanted to swing or just try to hang from these long vine like plants in the interior of our hotel. His inner child was screaming to grab a hold and bolt of the ledge to see how far he would get before the plant would break.

I guess I need to get a neutral color bra???

We would walk through these doors each day to the pool.

Cool piece of art.

This was D's first time getting a stamp in his passport so he was very excited and nervous, I looked forward to my second visit to Cancun, the first 18 years ago. With trepidation and consternation we were determined to travel around and discover the Yucatan Peninsula. We had signed up for zip-lining, scuba diving and mentally planned a trip to Isla Muejeras as well as
Cozumel. We had over - commited to so many activities that we ended up doing one, well - D ended up scuba diving while I visited the spa at our hotel. The rest of our time was spent laying under a palappa by the pool reading textbooks, my CSET study guide or a magazine and sipping on a drink with an umbrella in it.

We arrived Thursday night after traveling all freaking day long. A typical travel day of exhaustion, crankiness and running to catch the next plane found us starting our journey at 8:15 AM as we left our driveway then arriving in Cancun around 7:oo PM. For a country so close, it seemed like way too long to get there.

We were ELATED to wake up the next morning and see this:

The resort was aesthetically pleasing with a lot of nice design elements and classy touches but the service & food were either really good or really bad, totally inconsistent. The cherry on this ice cream debacle of an organization with no organization was the "Vacation Club Account Executive" who repeatedly asked us if we wanted a free massage. Finally, on day two and the 30th time being asked - I took the bait and replied " Sure, what's the catch"? He quickly explained that the massage was all mine if I went on their "SPECIAL INVITATION" 90 minute tour - I politely interrupted and told him, No, No thank-you. He persisted and asked us (and everyone else) everytime we passed through the lobby for the rest of that day. D channeled his inner McGyver and found us secret egress so we could avoid the Vacation Club Nazi.

Another shot of the interior near the bar/lounge area

Lounge/bar area where we spent cocktail/study hour. If this area had free Internet, I probably would have been here the ENTIRE time. I really missed free, wireless Internet and appreciate it more than ever.

~ The End ~

Hola Amigas!

Just arrived home from the airport and.must.get.sleep.

I'll post more in the next few days!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baby Mama

While checking my blogfriends, I came across Katd who gave a great review and was sharing about the movie Juno.

Let's talk about movies....funny enough, well ironic really - I used to LOVE, I mean really, really love these kind of chick flick movies but something odd happened. Somewhere on this crazy journey of infertility some movies were no longer of interest to me or even close to being funny - they hit way too close to some raw, unexposed nerve. My "tough as nails" husband shared this journey with me (he truly is a keeper - a total dude with a HUGE heart).

First there was the release of Knocked up (love Judd Apatow), it was just too close to our miscarriage to go see a movie about some chick who accidentally got pregnant, we failed to see the humor, at that time. Juno was released and we passed on that as well, just not ready to deal with another accidental pregnancy in the theater and we had a long discussion about where the hell were the movies headed and why did they all involve our quest to become parents. The night we saw the preview for Baby Mama, both my husband and I simultaneously said - Oh, that looks funny, I want to see that. Weird that we didn't want to see the other two and I can't understand if we are just at a different place in our journey or if we just really want to see it because we love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and are willing to overlook the content?

So, here are my questions, to you all - Did you see Knocked Up, Juno or Baby Mama (I'm not even sure if it has been released yet). Am I the only one that wants to see Baby Mama?

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Check out the plans for our house at pots on stove.

Friday, April 18, 2008

haircut 100

Remember them? Haircut 100? Love Plus One, Favourite shirts (boy meets girl) C'mon Emily I'm pretty sure you are a fan of 80's music as well, no? After the hundreds of haircuts in my life, I decided it was time for yet another and have been attempting to schedule AND make it to the appt for the last 2 months.

Today was my lucky day. Let me post the before and after pics with running commentary

Me and my long hair which was beginning to have a mind of it's own and acting alot like me unruly and tired.

Here is me with the new do. I will have D take a better picture of me sometime this weekend.

By the way, I suck at taking pictures of myself. It took about 30 attempts for the first picture and I would have continued on taking pics to include one with my Reese Witherspoon/Jay Leno chin but my batteries died in the camera.

So, my initial reaction was Ok - I've got the Dorothy Hammill combined with Molly Ringwald and a member of The Monkees (Hey, Hey were the monkees - ok, that was just mean- you know that song will be playing in your head for the rest of the day and night). After seeing my reflection outlined as I walked up to my car, I paused and reflected on what this cut represented.

Surprisingly, with my haircut, I let go of alot of feelings- mostly regarding infertility. I love getting my haircut and in the last year simply have not made it a priority, due to treatments, school and life in general. When the stylist asked about my hair I started talking about the texture and how it changed once I started taking medication. It got quiet as the noise in my mind expanded and the floodgates of memories were overwhelming. I decided that those feelings while they are threaded within the fabric that completes who I am, they simply do not define me (as they once used to or as I once used to let them). The haircut was very cathartic and spiritual. I feel renewed, energized and ready to run (literally).

I think this change was a long time coming, I'm glad I finally did it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He see's the light

I have great parents, especially my mom - she is the best mom ever, no really, she is - hands down. I have some super huge shoes to fill, for example - when I was a young girl playing with Barbies, she took the time to sew me and my Barbies 3 matching outfits. We speak daily and as much as she drives me crazy (if it's not one thing, it's my mother) there is no love like hers. She was born and raised in the South and I know I'm in trouble when my mom combines my first and middle name into one word and her drawl is exposed.....karrrraaaaalyyyyyyynnnnnn.

She has been amazing through the WHOLE fost/adopt process and I have to explain why. When I was 18 she shared with me that she had gotten PG in High school and told her parents though she was Pro-choice, she had to keep the baby and so they sent her away. I know - sad, heartbreaking and I can hardly believe that they did that but I guess we can chalk it up to a sign of those times. She went to live with her older sister for the last 4 of the 9 months and gave birth to my 1/2 sister whom I've never met. She named her first daughter after the nurse who helped deliver her and was the only one in the room to assist my mom through the birth. Can you imagine it? Nope, neither can I. The scariest/most painful thing in the world, giving birth and no one around.

I'm not lost on the irony of this situation, she gave a child up and her daughter struggles with IF. I'm hoping it's not Karma related - just a coincidence.

In conclusion, I have an amazing mom. She is able to help me understand some of the feelings of what the women who are having their children taken away, are feeling. There is a commonality, in this strange situation.

Then there is my dad - He is great also. I can't complain at all, protective, loving and sensitive. He is total Mr. Metro-sexual. He gets his mani-pedi's drinks his pinot's (from wherever is most popular at the moment) and gave me a love for all things both Food and Nordstrom related. He is # 2 out of 10 kids, a great orator and I'm so proud to say that he is a successful business owner, drives a Mercedes and barely graduated from continuation school after getting thrown out of two local high schools. The ultimate underdog.... I admire that he hitch-hiked to Canada (after getting braces 3 times) to avoid a war he did not believe in and saved every nickel and dime for his children to attend a private Catholic school.

I got the best of both of my parents. My mom's sense to give unabashedly and my dad's sense of being fiercely loyal regarding friends ,family and doing what is right instead of doing what is easiest.

It has been hard for my dad to accept my recent job transition to teaching and then there is the Special Ed aspect. As my IRL BFF Jules stated this is a noble profession..... teaching. My dad could not see why I was making the transition to teaching when I had a perfectly fine HR job and why on God's green earth I would choose to make my life more difficult by getting into a field where there is plenty of job security because no one wants to teach it. I shared with him the video I watched this evening showing pictures of how children and adults diagnosed with mental retardation reminded me of the pictures we saw at the Museum of Tolerance, and how this experience committed us to never letting something like that happen in our lifetime or in our own backyard. These photos tonight, 35 years old and spoke of time where we experienced our first actor turned Governor who cut major funding out of the state budget for mental health care, Ronald Reagan. As I was listening to myself speak I was thinking - Ummmm, Hi - I'm your daughter and the apple didn't fall far from the tree, this is how you raised me - remember?????? Apparently, the noxious fumes of the specially treated leather in the Mercedes have affected the old hippie's way of thinking.

Tonight, as I drove home from school at a very late hour, we spoke on our cells and he told me how he could hear the passion in my voice when I spoke about teaching and that he is proud of me. His words were poignant, quick and meaningful, I cannot ask for more. He had his A-ha moment and he is now on board and he sees the light.

Little steps toward running

I guess I have to start the runkararun site or whatever the hell I'm going to call it. I'm at school right now and at break I did ten minutes of lunges (Yah- my thighs are on FIRE) and ran for 5 minutes until I thought my shins were literally going to split. They need to rename them shin split not shin splint. Holy crap!!!

While I was running it felt like a sack of potatoes was tied around my waist and my butt was shaking to some kind of rhythm like - boom shikka boom shikka boom shikka boom.

Ok - Let me get the site up and you guys can cheer me on my the side, I'm going to need the motivation because apparently my big fat ass isn't enough to get me motivated.

Ick - I need to shake the funk. Mmmmm, you know a chocolate milkshake would help me shake this funk.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Heads are gonna roll.....

Today we attended our First Aid/CPR class and a funny thing happened.

You have to know that D and I have an off and rather odd sense of humor. We laugh (and sometimes say) at the most inappropriate things. OK, back to the class.....we practiced CPR on both the adult model and infant model. When we got to the infant model, Duane was into about 10 compressions and the head literally popped off and took flight, yes folks it was a projectile head. It was REALLY funny - especially because the child's mouth is open for the 2 breaths you administer after the 15 compressions. Can you imagine it - it was hilarious. A fake baby head with its mouth wide open making a shocked expression, flying across the room?

Our classmates happen to work at a daycare center and did not find this funny which for some reason made us laugh even louder and then I just couldn't stop. They were probably thinking " Oh Dear God.... Please don't give these people any children".

The whole event reminded me of my co-worker Lamont who mentions the phrase "Heads are Gonna Roll" whenever the shit hits the fan at work. I look forward to telling him how a head rolled, actually, took flight this weekend.

Seriously. Funny. Stuff.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Legacy of an Adopted Child

We attended our last required meeting tonight and only have the final walk through to complete (and the list of things that need to be done to the house). So this whole time I've been saying the "home study" this or that, being rescheduled and blah blah blah...... the final walk through will take place on May 5th by the case worker and the home study will be completed by the Social worker and ready to be submitted to the County as soon as our final walk through is complete.

I know, confusing. The home study is actually a report regarding our home not the study or tour of the home itself which is actually the final walk through.

This was on the cover of the binder for this evening's class and wanted to share.

Once there were two families
Who never knew each other
One you do not remember
One called father & mother

One gave you nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim

Two different lives shaped
To make yours one
One became your guiding star
The other became your sun

One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears

The first gave you Life and
The second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it

One gave you up,
It was all that they could do
The other prayed for a child
And God led them straight to you

And now you ask me through your tears
The age old question through the years;
Hereditary or Environment, which are you a product of?
Neither my darling, neither
Just two different kinds of Love

Yep, made my eyes watery also.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Duane

Man of my dreams, love of my life - Happy Birthday Sweetie

Duane and Kara at Andi and Dean's for the D & D Birthday extravaganza

Andi putting birthday hat on Luigi - one of their Italian Greyhounds

Andi, Dean and Giovanni - the other IG

Dean and Duane, same initials, same birthday and business partners

The Gang
Duane, Andi, Dean, Jody and Scott

The decorated dinner table

The amazing food - Filet mignon, scallops and JUMBO shrimp (odd combination of words)

The party continued when Duane's parents came to town and celebrated this evening.
This is Duane and his pops

These were tasty morsels of meat -
flank steak and bacon - intertwined and heavenly

The dessert - courtesy of Vons Bakery

My man and his power tools - he is quite the dude.

Monday, April 7, 2008

New blog

In an effort to get my life back on a healthy track and conquer one of my life long goals ( a marathon and why, yes-I' am crazy, thank you for asking) I've decided to start another blog. It just seems easier than getting on the treadmill or getting out of my nice, warm ,cozy coccon of a bed in the dark hours of the morning.

Ok - It's in print, staring at me in black and white.

Now I have to do it and eventually I will have to start that machine in our living room- I think it's called the treadmill? Eventually, I will have to exersize because you can't really have a blog about exersizing and stay immobile, or can you?

And now for the really hard part, what to name this new blog? I have some pretty lame options

Let's get physical ( I loved ONJ, back in the day - I had the whole Xanadu record memorized)

Run. Kara. Run ( Too Forrest Gump)

See Kara Run ( Dick and Jane?)

Runs like a girl (it's true)


Any Ideas???

help -

Hell or High Water

I goofed - BIGTIME.

I completely forgot that I had "traded" my every other Friday off for my Cancun trip and forgot I will be working on May 2nd - my normal Friday off, which would make a home study impossible to complete that day. I had the fine pleasure of asking to reschedule ( ICK - Hate when I have to do that - with the agency, it's not like it's a hair appt or I'm getting my oil changed). Fortunately, L was happy to schedule the home study for Monday, May 5th ( Hey, Cinco De Mayo- cool, I guess we won't be doing tequila belly shots and guzzling down pitchers of margarita's this year), at 5:30 PM.

I see a theme here - maybe we will get a 5 year old?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The other IVF

Part two of the "Step up To Writing" course is where I spent the better part of my day today and I must say it was much better than last Saturday as Bitchface was MIA.

Funny thing though - my life, for the last few years has been comprised of this twisted lexicon of those of us TTC and the nomenclature represented by acronyms regarding different levels and aspects of infertility. Imagine my surprise when I see IVF stated at the top of one of the "reproducibles" (side note - every time the presenter mentioned that word I felt like saying - Do you know, you make reproducing sound so easy? Well reproducing is not easy and it should not roll off of your tongue so easily OK, it's just not that easy..... Hmmm, I think I'm PMS'ing). Once again, I digress, apparently IVF - in the teaching profession, regarding English means - Identify the item, select a Verb and Finish your thought.

It is nice to have a positive, new meaning to an acronym that I've associated with something negative.

Friday, April 4, 2008

**New Homestudy Date**

We have a new homestudy date - May 2, 2008. I was a little bummed for about 5 seconds and now that we have an extension there is a tremendous weight lifted off of my shoulders. FOrtunately, it was not I requesting the new date. I called our agency to get clarification on some forms and was introduced to our new "contact" "L" (though we still have the same social worker - which is ok) as "Y" is no longer with the agency. I knew about this change but I dont think I blogged about it - sorry.

In the discussion, I confirmed the date of the homestudy and "L" stated that her first homestudy will be on April 28th where she will be trained ( OK - I'm so happy that we will not be her first and deal with the dynamics of someone "in training") and since our's was scheduled for April 18th we will need to reschedule. What I don't like to hear from people (because often it is a big fat lie) and what followed after the statement about having to reschedule is " I was just about to call you" . BULLSHIT. No you weren't - it's your first week on the job lady and you are probably just learning the lay of the land. C'mon - who are we kidding, do I sound that naive?

Of course, with her holding our Golden Ticket, I have to be nice which just really kills me when I "HAVE" to do anything but as stated before it really is a good thing as we need some more time and most importantly ( I reminded "L" of this) the time schedule wasnt our request.

D and I both had concerns about getting finalized and then going on vacation and the whole - not being around when they called for the first time in addition to these intense background searches that my mom and SIL will need to go through. D also has "stuff" to do around the house to help us pass the homestudy such as putting those locks on the cupboards, the faces of the electrical outlets need to be screwed in, as many are off due to painting when we moved in and locking up the toxics which apparently(and to my surprise) we have alot of.

May 2nd will be here before we know it. YAY!!!

Book Reviews

The last 9 weeks have been a blur of go, go going filled with most of my time spent at the following places: my car, at work, at school, at trainings for the fost/adopt process or at trainings for school and lastly the gas station (a topic that makes me immediately CRANKY, let's not discuss).

There are places that used to be part of my weekly route that are now a distant memory and bring giddy excitement because now they are pure luxury, those places include the following: Trader Joe's, my bank, Target, Nordstroms and places where you get food on a plate instead of handed to you through a window, while your car is running, polluting & destroying what is left of the ozone layer.

Once I do arrive home, the list of things to do starts beckoning but I can only worry about the basics. Do I have clean underwear? ( Thank. God. D. does. his. own. laundry) Do we have food to eat? Did I mail the mortgage payment? Do my dogs remember me? Thank God for the invention of the cell phone because that is my connection to D and other people I love.

The hard work has paid off and I can now post an original thought not just a poem or picture of a conversation. In between knocking off the things I have to do list and things I want to do list include reading - because really they fall on both lists. I have to read for school and usually the material is interesting but reading for pleasure is a whole different thing. Wouldn't you agree? Thought so....

So - Here it goes, I have read two books recently though one can be considered a beautiful coffee table book because the pictures and presentation are really quite beautiful. The first in my book review is "The Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother" by Jana Wolff. I have to link back to Barb at FCIF for this recommendation and she did a much better book review than I so check out her review. I must echo Barb's sentiment that Jana reached into her brain and but Barb's thoughts and feelings about Adoption right into this exact book - I FELT THE SAME EXACT WAY. This is a really great look at the emotional process a woman goes through covering all aspects of inter-racial adoption with both grace and humor and at 160 pages an easy and quick read. A must read for anyone who is adopting. Jana discusses her thought process about adoption and I could really identify. Adopting always seemed like something I would do- eventually. Now adoption is really our only choice we have have to become parents and the hurt that is associated with the loss of choice in having a child naturally.

On a lighter note.... I was the lucky winner of "The Last Supper Book" from Kate's Last supper quiz and I have been drooling over the pictures. Let me clarify there are few pictures of food but one tasty delight in the photo of a almost naked Anthony Bourdain. The book captures a game that chefs have played for years - What would your last meal consist of? Most of the chefs interviewed had put forth great thought and effort down to the location of the meal and others in attendance. Yet some of the chefs interviewed either have no word imagery, lack in vocabulary or are just lazy. The foreword by Monsieur Bourdain is C'est manifique.

Kate posed a really good question - What is your favorite piece of art? That has me really puzzled because I have several but I can say this piece is in the top 10

Untitled (skull), 1981- Jean Michel Basquiat

I love this piece because the colors remind me of the roaring and outlandish 1980's (which brings back many great memories). It is striking, moving and speaks to me about someone who was experiencing pain in their life yet also had hope for the future. Many of his works incorporate drawings and use of words that are presented in a unique fashion. In fact, words were such a significant aspect of his art that he started as a graffiti artist. D and I had a chance to catch the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit in 2005 at MOCA and were even more impressed and captured by seeing his art in person. Feeling more connected to someone who is so identified with a time period that brings us great memories and feelings brought us euphoria. Click here and then click on Interactive under the tab- Multimedia to learn and see more of Basquiat - make sure the music button is on as it adds to the experience

Now, I need to figure what the hell to get D for his birthday, get dog licenses, get the car washed and try to move my ass out of our really comfortable overstuffed chair.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

So true, so true...

Watch your thoughts,They become your words.
Watch your words,They become your actions.
Watch your actions,They become your habits.
Watch your habits,They become your character.
Watch your character,It becomes your destiny.
Let your efforts rise above your excuses.