Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taking Names

and addresses.
Email me (karabrickel@hotmail.com) if you want a postcard from San Francisco and I'll try to post from the road.




I promise to eat loads of good/hot bread, fresh seafood and drink plenty of wine in Napa.


Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm baaaaaack

With words, pictures and a video. Can you handle my new-found technological advancements?
It's been a busy last five days.

I'll start with last Wednesday. I hopped in the car after work and headed off to San Clemente to stay with my Aunt, her husband and 2 cute cousins, Cassidy and Garrett. My Aunt Patty has some amazing culinary talents and prepared a tri-tip that was good beyond words. I enjoyed a glass of red wine and thought "Well, this isn't too bad of a flub on the SBD". It was down hill from there. I stayed at my Aunts because I had to be in San Diego for a conference (more about that later) and thought it would be great to visit with family and shave off an hour of my morning commute. It's about 2 hours with traffic (when is there not traffic in Southern CA?) from Riverside so it just made good sense.



San Clemente Beach Pier

The next morning we all got up early, walked on the pier and had breakfast at La Galette were they make AMAZING crepes. I ordered scrambled eggs and bacon and snuck a bite from my cousin Cassidy's mushroom crepe with bechamel sauce. Shortly after we ate, I hopped in the car and got down to the PECS conference. The conference agenda stated that the start time was 8:00 AM, I think I left San Clemente at 7:30 and knew I was a good hour away. By the time I checked in to the hotel and dashed off to the room, it was 9:00 AM. I was really bugged with myself for the obvious reasons and then completely bugged when I walked into the room to find the last seat in the front row of the intimate class room, where the presenter was lecturing form and equally annoyed to discover that all of the textbooks were already dispersed and there were absolutely no extras. Allrighty then. My kind neighbor (and new friend) Carol lent me her textbook and I was able to get a hand out packet from the presenter.


I could do a whole other blog post on the presenter. Typically, I have a difficult time listening to the same person speak for 8 hours straight, however, the presenter Michaela was Italian and had this amazing accent. What is it about Italy, I don't think they make ugly people there. Michaela had at least 3 different colors going on and looked so freaking chic. I'll never forget traveling to Rome and watching women in suits ride around on Vespa's with their scarves blowing in the wind. No helmet, that would not complement the aesthetics of the situation. They are just so chic and can make a garbage bag wrapped around them look like haute couture. Michaela had just completed the translation of the Italian PECS workbook and I had one giant girl crush going.


Lunch was on our own, so I ran to grab some steak tacos and then PECS provided afternoon snacks all of which were not on the South Beach Diet - Cookies, brownies and fruit. I was eager for my next meal and meeting my friend Steve ( a friend from High School).



Tower 23, Pacific Beach

We had a really nice time catching up and I enjoyed every bite of my steak and sip of red wine. Once again, not on the South Beach Diet. Do you see a pattern? An odd thing happens when you see someone who knew you as a younger, skinnier version of yourself. I can fight the aging process the best I can, skinnier - I'm working on.
I enjoyed a peaceful, quiet night of applying a mud mask, taking a bath and finishing sTORI Telling. I'm completely obsessed with the show and finished the book in 3 days. It's pretty much a very long People or Us magazine. No literary value, whatsoever and sometimes that's a good thing. It was a complete guilty pleasure.
Friday watched me drive from San Diego to Riverside where upon my arrival, I got to open up my birthday present from Duane. A new CAMERA. YAHOOOOOO. It is slick as snot, let me tell you - this thing kicks ass. It even takes videos.


Duane taking my picture while I'm driving. We were running so late, I wasn't super happy.

On Saturday we watched Wicked at the Pantages and then had dinner at Lawry's in Beverly Hills. So. Much. Food.
Lawry's is this over the top restaurant in LA that specializes in Prime Rib and the chances of running into Paris and Nicole are as slim as their side profiles. They perform (not exaggerating) every culinary feat table side and make sure you are reminded of the complementing Lawry's seasoning salt for each dish.

Lawry's- complete with mini-airstream and flying salad dressing


This classic scene is repeated throughout the night and performed with such succinct moves, you almost feel as though you are watching ballet. The waitress in her pressed uniform complete with a fancy white sash super starched and then probably hair sprayed with Aqua Net is tied into a beautiful perfect bow prepares the "Spinning Salad". The base of a large metal bowl sits in a lower bowl on ice and probably coated, with turtle wax, is given a whirl and the dressing is poured from as high as the waitress can possible stand. The meat is carved from the portable -mini-Airstream-esque cart of beef and served along side the worlds best creamed corn and Yorkshire pudding.

Hi - we just ate the better part of a cow. Seriously, it hurt to smile and no - I didn't touch the desert.


We spent Sunday evening with my Dad and decided to have pizza. C'mon, I was so far off the wagon. I had fallen and it was running me over daily. I don't think I will need to eat for another week.

Here is a special moment I decided to share with Cole. The boy keeps me in stitches. I had just returned from getting my hair cut/colored and have no makeup on. Not me at my best, but hey - we are good friends so here you go. I haven't quite learned how to edit and was very nervous about Cole using the new camera.



video


Seriously - someone needs to get this kid an agent.


Tonight, we went to my mom's and the alas - the birthday celebration is finally over. Huh - funny, I just typed ovary instead of over.


This was taken from the back of my dad's golf cart, on our way to dinner last night. I love the Palm trees, it's so California.

It was a really great birthday, filled with love, much - MUCH good food and great memories. It's hard to believe that we leave for vacation to San Francisco on Friday and then school will start next Thursday.


Where did summer go?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life...

My infertility war wound must have grown more callous... I just got news that a co-worker is PG and I didn't have a complete and total break-down. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I worry though, does this mean I'm releasing the dream to become a parent? Am I Ok with that? I'm good with kids - main reason I'm switching careers to become a teacher. Will teaching quench the thirst of parenting? Will I have enough exposure to children during the day and decide I don't "need" to come home to a child?

I have alot of thinking to do.

We are leaving our profile open with the agency,working on our home improvement list and putting my career change on the front burner ( HELLO, CSET- I'm gonna kick your ass on 09/13). It could be a fleeting moment of clarity, I'll take it. I feel refreshed and ready to make things happen, make things happen that I can control that is.

***
Our agency contact "E" picked up the notebooks yesterday - YAY, done and out of the house. Not two minutes after "E" left the phone rang and it was stupid therapist lady recommended by the County. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Phone rings
K: Hello.
STLRBTC: Hello, may I please speak with Kara.
K: Yes, how can I help you ( a bit bugged and wondering who the "unknown caller is)?
STLRBTC: Oh, Hello. Are you still fostering*insert BG name here*?
K: Who is this?
STLRBTC: This is therapist crazy pants *insert real name here*
K: What exactly is the purpose of your phone call? (She knows we aren't, she can easily contact the County and find this information from the evil SW)
STLRBTC: I have in my records that I was to contact you - sometime in August, as you were unsure of the girls being reunified and we didn't want to start this process if they were going to be reunified.
K: (In my mind- WTF Crazy pants, you flip-flopped back and forth about whether or not you were going to see her and had me completely confused) If my memory serves me, you stated that you would follow up with them once they were reunified because the Social Worker was recommending reunification.

STLRBTC: So are you saying they were reunified, because once they are reunified my side is done and I can close their file.
K: Yes, they are reunified and might I suggest (sounding like the world's biggest bitch) that you follow up with your friend "R" ( the evil SW from the County and yes, they happen to be friends IRL, or so crazy pants stated in the last phone call) to continue therapy.
STLRBTC: As I just said, once they are reunified my side is done.
K: Well, I would recommend that you follow up because both of those girls are going to need a boatload of therapy for what they have been through.
STLRBTC: Well, I will be the judge of that.
K: I thought you just said you are going to close their file? Are you or are you not going to see them? (Sounding again like a complete and total bitch)
STLRBTC: CLICK
K: Slam phone down on counter repeatedely while screaming profanity.
People - please quit effing with my head, puuuuuuhlease. It's my birthday week for G-d sake!
Why do I let people get to me. I felt like in a matter of 20 minutes - between the notebooks leaving and the phone call that I was spiraling down a deep, dark hole. All I wanted was a big chocolate chip cookie - Dam South Beach diet, I hate you. Actually, I hate my the size of my ass. Let's be truthful.

Monday, August 18, 2008

DONE!

YAY for me.

I'm officially DONE with the girls notebooks. I just didn't have it in me to complete these detailed accounts of their lives with us, last week. Dredging up the memories and day to day activities is quite the draining and depressing thing all compounded by finding more receipts - for super cute girl clothes. Urghhhh.

Another reason the sad times are leaving is because - YAY - it's my birthday week. Yes, I will celebrate my last week of being 35 years old - all week long - I usually celebrate my birthday all month long but I wasn't feeling it in the beginning of the month with the reunification happening on July 31st. So I will be celebrating - somehow, not with food because I just started the South Beach Diet and will be in the detox mode for two weeks. The good news is that I can re-introduce my faves while we are on vacation in San Francisco.

On the schedule for this week is working three days and then heading to San Diego for a conference on Autism. I'm really looking forward to some "me" time and excited about the little get-away. Saturday will find Duane and I heading to L.A. to go watch Wicked at the Pantages theater and really nothing etched in stone for the actual b-day on Sunday except for dinner with my mom. It will be nice and quiet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sometimes...life really sucks

It is not too often that I get the blues.

Work took it out of me, I met with an employee doing an emergency retirement today who will check into UCLA medical center tomorrow and stay 6 weeks while they perform a stem cell transplant in her last hopes of beating some kind of cancer. She had the most beautiful outlook on things, well on life really. She had grace, humor and a sense of dignity most can't imagine. She held her freshly chemo'd head high with a pair of the most beautiful earrings and had a smile as bright as the sun.

Reflecting on this lady I met with today makes me feel a bit guilty for complaining about my crap. It's not so much complaining, it's really identifying the hurt and pain that comes with separation. I'll say it, staring death in the face does not equal infertility.

I have been *really* dragging my feet on completing these notebooks on the girls for our agency. Yes, they are required. No, I'm not getting any help from Duane. He is busy working on our home office, ripping out carpet, patching walls, taking down the lighting fixture and getting ready to peel the ceiling. The notebooks outline all of the medications administered, how often we performed fire drills and the purchases we made on their behalf. Remember - there is a $30.00 minimum you must spend on the child for clothing, per month. I know, I know. I could not believe that was the minimum either. I would expect $100.00+ which is what we averaged.

One of the (oh, so many) difficult parts about the books is detailing the clothes we purchased. I have such a connection to clothes. I still have my leather jacket circa 1987 from The Limited (remember their Outback Red label) complete with the squared shoulders. You know, so you could easily insert your shoulder pads. AAAAACK - remember shoulder pads. It took many nights of babysitting to pay for that sucker and I think it was on lay-away for over a month.

Ok, clearly the thought train has derailed.... back to the girls. Can I just tell you that 90 % of their outfits were pink - and I'm not even a girly, girl though my personal taste is more Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. I love the classics with a little bit of edgy funk thrown in for good measure. I scored some super hot deals at Old Navy for the girls and they were rockin some hot threads. It was so depressing going through the receipts outlining the dresses, shirts, skorts and skirts. Duane is amazed I can remember every piece of clothing. I don't think I'll ever forget those shopping moments. I swear, there is magic in shopping. I so miss getting them dressed in the morning and believe me - I thought those words would never cross my lips.

I miss how I would ask BG what she wanted to wear, even though I knew exactly what she would say - her favorite pink skirt. I miss how lg would twirl around in her dresses that I purposely bought just a little too big with hopes that she will have something to wear next summer.

I think I will be ready to turn the books in tomorrow and yet somehow this chapter is still very much open.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Look at that sky, life's begun

Nights are warm and the days are young. I got a healthy dose of Bowie this morning while I was getting ready and "Golden Years" playing over and over again. Our nights (and days) are quite warm, here on the surface of the sun. I can't complain too much though, it doesn't seem nearly as hot as it has been in the past.



D and I watched PS- I Love You on Thursday night. Excellent movie, it got two very big thumbs up from both of us. My favorite things about the movie were the scenes of the Irish countryside and Harry Connick Jr. whom I just simply adore. The music was great, the scenes from NYC were cool and it was a great roller coaster ride of emotions, the perfect depiction of love.



Friday watched me run around town like a mad woman. Breakfast with a good friend I haven't seen in awhile and then over to her new classroom to help her decorate. Walking onto Michelle's new school campus and helping her really sparked my enthusiasm to get into a classroom. I picked up decorations ("Cars" themed) for my Dad's birthday and met his fiancee at his house were we "broke in" and obnoxiously taped all kinds of decorations in his living room and dining room. He was out at an appointment and came back -pleasantly surprised. I drove out to one of our favorite BBQ restaurants to pick up food and we all met at back at his house.

Saturday was no less hectic. My Aunt turned 50 and her husband threw her a surprise party that she ended up finding out about. It was still fun and she had a great time. He hired a local rock band that played alot of AC/DC, Rush, Van Halen and some of their own material. There was some anxiety surrounding that event.... An ex-boyfriend was supposed to show up and thankfully didn't. Talk about dodging a bullet. When we dated, I was a size 6 and quite perky. Things have changed.... we will just leave it at that. I have to say that while I'm no longer a size 6 and gravity has affected things I do have a better sense of who I am and was out on the dance floor having a blast. Having an amazing/handsome husband and my makeup professionally applied at Nordstrom's were great additions to the ego boost, as well.

Knowing that our Saturday would be a late night, we stayed here and yes, it was amazing to be perched high above the Pacific Ocean. We had an awesome brunch were we met my mom and Aunt and feasted on Steak & Egg's Benedict. YUM. I would show you pictures but - Oh yeah, I don't have a camera. My Aunt mentioned that while she was apologizing for the complete mess that was the state of her car interior the valet attendant mentioned that he has seen worse from movie stars and famous people. The worst one ever being that of Jane's Addiction front man Perry Ferrall. Yep, I'll be back- a chance to meet Perry?

Oh yeah.

**EDIT**

The best part of the ENTIRE weekend was playing with my cousin's Garrett and Cassidy in the pool at the hotel. Long gone are the days of Marco Polo. They taught D and I all about Sharks and Minnows, Power Tag and watching them "surf" on D's back.

Another great moment was watching my Aunt Bridget sing " Me and Bobby McGee" and where she was supposed to say Bobby she inserted Patty (My aunt who turned 50). Very cool because that is our maiden name - McGee.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The people that support us!

My IRL BFF Jules has reminded me, once again, that I'm truly one of the luckiest people in the world.

Her gift of friendship has been one of my life's greatest blessings. She went through two very difficult pregnancies and birthing experiences with an emotionally unavailable BFF that could barely get through both of her showers without completely falling apart.

A toast to the people that support us. It sucks for us, those going through or have gone through Infertility, and it certainly is no bed of roses for those around us.

Apart from her unending support from posting on my carepage (alot like a blog but without all you cool friends I now have) to commiting to give me my daily shots, she is the one responsible for a very special birth in my life. The very special baby I treasue daily - this blog. This blog has given me peace in a time of flurry, growth in a period of emotional stagnation and friendship when times felt very much alone.

J - you rock and I love you to pieces!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Las Vegas

While Emily and I were chatting up a storm we started talking about putting together a girls Vegas trip with our blog friends. Well, I've been thinking about it and Emily has been dreaming about it so I guess we just need to know the answer to the following question?

Is anyone interested in meeting Emily and I in Las Vegas? We were thinking about scheduling it for early 09 (Feb/Mar/Apr) however - I'm really flexible and I think Emily is also.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back to square one

We had the meeting, it's no dice.

The current foster mom and I did not mix well, I found her to be very mean to "R" and overbearingly nice to the two little ones - R's brother and sister. It was seriously- so sad. She made several comments about how she would want to be contacted on a regular basis for advice on how to treat certain situations. Great - mean person and a control freak. Another one of my concerns is that the current foster mom speaks to her in Spanish approximately 80% of the time and I No Habla Espangnol however Je Parle Francais( I'm not even sure if that was grammatically correct)! Birth parents also spoke Spanish and I think at 8 years old that would be a tough transition to go to a home that speaks absolutely no Spanish. I wouldn't want her to loose the language.

We are so open to adopting a child of a different culture yet also are torn for keeping as much of their culture alive - especially language. There are different items that define culture and we would certainly keep it alive with food, music and her sibling contact but feel that we are not the best possible match for "R".

I think there is a period of grieving I still need to do for lg and BG. I would also like to get my job transition going though that would require me to send out resumes and I've been really bad about that. It's difficult to juggle all of these balls but I guess it's life.

On the other hand - she is so close to be adopt-able, the .26 termination of rights hearing is not set for October, it's September - NEXT MONTH. D and I discussed this at length and though our goal is to become parents we really have to consider if we are the best choice and I fear we are not - for this situation.

What else happened this weekend you ask?

Well... Saturday morning I woke up and found this character in my bathroom.



It's the Brown Recluse aka Violin Spider

I had just stepped out of the shower (cue music from shower scene of movie Psycho) and noticed something out of the corner of my eye (Thank you God for the corners of our eyes). I screamed and realized that D was in the other bathroom "very unavailable" and nearly fainted at the thought of having to kill this extremely venomous creature. I grabbed a shoe and felt that it was just too narrow - which is funny because I have total Fred Flinstone feet, they are a complete rectangle. So I decided the scale would do the trick and who the hell cares if that thing breaks. I was able to smush it with the scale after beating it - at least 8 times. The whole time I was flailing around the bathroom, dodging the super scary spider - scale in hand and yes, I was screaming. I finally smushed the life out of the creepy thing enough to where he took pause ( yes, it was a he - I just know it was - don't ask me how) and crawled into a crevice of the scale and I was able to drop him into the toilet and watch his slow demise.

Now, I just have to worry about him crawling back through the pipes and biting me on the ass even though I know he is dead. Aaaccckkkk.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Today

First things first GO WISH Io A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRETTY PLEASE!!!

****

Today is a much better day than yesterday. Let's face it... yesterday was crappy or should I say CRAPPY. Ok, done with that. There were less crappy moments that I would like to share with you. For instance, the moment that I recieved an "unknown" phone number on my cell thinking it was the agency calling me for some important reason regarding the re-unification. While, I'm correct at saying it was the agency, it was not related to our reunification matter.

Here's where I have to take a quick detour, we changed our profile this week with the agency. I loved LG, however D and I decided that we could give more to a child that was a little bit older and let's face it - Everyone wants a baby! Even me, I totally would love to have a baby. Anyway, we had a long discussion and changed our profile. We extended the age to 7 or 8.

So, the agency called to let us know there was a little girl that needs a home. We would not have been contacted if we had not just changed the profile three days before. I took that as a sign. She has a name that I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE (think of a Rolling stones song circa 1966 with the word Tuesday in it) and she is available immediately. There is a lot to her story but - the .26 termination hearing was scheduled for July and has been moved to October and bio-parents have not made it to the last two scheduled visits. She is 8, a year older than BG and we have a play date scheduled for this Sunday at 4:30. Wish us luck.

I know we are still healing from the reunification of lg/BG yet I cannot help being excited about meeting this little girl we will call "R". If it is not a good match, D and I are fine with things because we really have alot of tacos on our plate and would love to catch our breath.

See ya Sunday