Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Opening Pandora's Box

With so many people having internet access these days, and places like Facebook and MySpace being available, it has become easier and easier to connect with people from our past that we have lost touch with.

But is that always a good idea?

Like most people, when I first joined Facebook I searched for various names from my past and even found a couple of them. Of course the ones I found have pretty unique names; finding your best friend John Smith from highschool is not as easy. I found someone that I went to school with from Kindergarten to Grade 10. It was fun to reminisce about how he ran me over with the tricycle on the first day of school and to catch up with what each other has been doing for the last 20+ years. I also found someone where our friendship had ended badly, when she could not accept me coming out as a lesbian when we were 19. Time can heal a lot of wounds, and we were both able to forgive each other for our past transgressions.

There are lots of other people that I often think about, wondering how they are doing, even if they are still alive. My first girlfriend, co-workers, roommates, neighbours. Sometimes the list of people that have touched my life and left it again seems very long. And that is sad. These are great people, people that I would love to have in my life, but either circumstances, time or geography have made it that they are not.

Yet, there are people from the past that maybe should stay there. Volatile relationships, people who's opinions on issues are what caused the rift in the first place, people who have made bad choices for themselves and may not be healthy to have in my life. That doesn't mean that I don't think of them, wondering where they are and what they are doing.

And so it was this wondering that caused me to stumble across an email address. I found a website for a friend's mother. This is a friend that falls into the 2nd category on all counts: we had a volatile relationship, her opinions on a major issue of my life could not be overcome, she was making very bad choices and was not healthy for me. I knew her mother way back when, spent time at her house, babysat her other child and niece. My first gut reaction on finding this website was to grab the "contact me" info and whip off an email.

So I did. I just haven't sent it yet.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 28, 2008 - Today's the day

that Liam can make it across the monkey bars on his own!

Hilary left me a message just before I was leaving work to say that they were going to the park and I could either meet them there or head straight home. I opted to head home and do some house work. They got home about 15 minutes after me and Liam was just bursting!

"Get your coat Mama we HAVE to to go back to the park I have a surprise to show you!"

So we poured some tea in travel mugs and off we went. He was bubbling the whole way there! He wouldn't tell me what it was, just that he had to practice and he finally was able to do it!

He was great! Able to go from one end to the other, and even learned how to flip around so that his legs went through the bars and he could pull himself up to sit on the very top. As if I don't have enough gray hair!!

And in the rush to get there, Mama forgot to grab her camera. I guess we will just have to go back again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Family resemblances

    "Take a look at the following paintings. How alike are they? How can you tell--which clues help you determine similarity? Now, which of these girls are related? If only two of these young girls are related, how would you determine which two? Would they be the same ones that you thought looked very similar?" link

Would you be surprised to find out that 4 children are all siblings, their faces cut out from this painting?

The Marsham Children. 1787. Oil on canvas. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

There is an interesting article on "Kin recognition and the perceived facial similarity of children" here

Our friends Sarah and Ryan have 3 children. If I had not seen Sarah visibly pregnant with each of them I could have easily assumed that they had cloned the children from Ryan, without Sarah's involvement what so ever. Ryan definitely has the dominant genes in that relationship (and that's probably the only dominant area he gets!)

The same holds true for K and her 3 children. Even though Liam, "C" and "J" are all half-siblings, they are so similar in pictures that it is almost eerie.

My Mom and her brothers all look like my Grandfather.
My Dad looks like a slightly smaller version of his older brother.

I am surrounded by people who look like their family members. I however don't look like anyone I know.

  • Both of my parents are shorter then me, and have been since I was 12.
  • I have brown eyes in a family of blue eyed folks.
  • I tan, never burn when everyone around me is hiding in the shade or looking like a lobster coming out of the pot.

    One of the burning questions that I had growing up was "Who do I look like?" I would stare at strangers on the street looking for a resemblance. Friends who knew I was adopted would report back to me anytime they saw someone who looked like me, so that I could go check them out.

    Once I was in contact with Iris, I thought that all these questions would finally be answered. She was going to send me pictures of herself and Madelaine!! Except that when they arrived, I found out that I look nothing like either of them! Sure there were some basic similarities, straight brownish hair, over weight, same kind of nose, but nothing that I would not be able to find in common if I had pulled 10 random people off the street.

    So for now, I still wonder.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2008

    April 24, 2008 - Today's the day

    that we wish "J" a very Happy First Birthday!

    "J" is Liam's half sister, being raised by their Mom "K" who is also raising Liam's half brother "C".

    Hopefully one day we can celebrate birthdays all together!

    Singapore fines TV station for gay show

    SINGAPORE - A Singapore television station has been fined for
    airing a show that depicted a gay couple and their baby in a way that "promotes
    a gay lifestyle," the city-state's media regulator said Thursday.

    The Media Development Authority fined MediaCorp TV Channel 5 $11,000, it said in a statement on its Web site.

    The station aired an episode of a home and decor series called "Find and Design" that featured a gay couple wanting to transform their game room into a new nursery for their adopted baby.

    The authority said the episode contained scenes of the gay couple with their baby and the presenter's congratulations and acknowledgment of them as a family unit "in a
    way which normalizes their gay lifestyle and unconventional family setup."

    The episode was in breach of rules on free-to-air television programming, which disallows content that promotes, justifies or glamorizes gay lifestyles, the statement said.

    Earlier this month, the authority fined a Singapore cable television operator, StarHub Cable Vision $7,200 for airing a commercial that showed two lesbians kissing.
    Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed "an act of gross indecency," punishable by a maximum of two years in jail.

    Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions. Authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice.


    Living in Canada, where gay marriage is legal and gay and lesbian couples can adopt children together, I sometimes forget that homophobia is still very prevalent in other parts of the world. We have many gay TV characters here in North America: from gay soap opera’s like The L Word to openly gay characters on drama’s like ER and no one seems to bat an eye. There have been gay TV characters as far back as the ‘70s. Surely you remember Jodie Dallas, played by Billy Crystal on Soap?

    I do wonder what the future will hold for GLBT people around the world. Will homophobia one day be obliterated? Will my family be able to travel the globe, openly and freely without fear of persecution? What will life be like for Liam, growing up in a 2 mother household? So far we have not had any issues as a lesbian family. We have run into the occasional problem with forms only having spots for “Mother’s name and Father’s name” but even that is not very common any more as society shifts to “Parent 1 and Parent 2”. His school has several other GLBT families; we belong to a playgroup of GLBT families; we have books that show all kinds of families. So far, at age 5.5, it hasn’t fazed Liam at all.

    As he moves through life he may encounter problems, but I’m very glad that we live in a country that will show gay families on TV, allow books in our libraries and where his mothers don’t have to hide their life style at the risk going to jail or worse.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    My birth father Ken

    Lately I've been thinking a lot more about my birth father, Ken, and his children. They are my 1/2 siblings just as much as Iris's daughter is. Do I look like them? Share mannerisms? I don't really look like Iris or Madelaine, and Iris has said before that I favour Ken more then her.

    I believe that I have enough information that I could find his family if I wanted to. I know that city that he lived and died in, in fact it's the same city that I grew up in and will be visiting soon. I know the day he died and his first name, so finding his obituary should not be that hard. I'm sure the public library there would have old newspapers on file, it was only 7 years ago.

    What I struggle with is what I would do with that information if I had it? I have more or less promised Iris that I would not interrupt anyone's life, or come knocking on doors, exposing her secret to all the world. And I COMPLETELY understand that. I especially understand her fears of telling Madelaine, who suffers from mental illness, has been suicidal in the past and who has just been laid off from her job of 24 years.

    Yet I still wonder - What about me? What about my rights to know? And maybe my father's children would want to know too. Or maybe they would be so angry to find out that their father was involved in an extra-marital affair for more then 40 years that they would not want anything to do with me. And what about his wife? What would it do to her to find out that her husband had a child with another woman? Then again, I also wonder how it's possible for 2 people to have an affair for more then 40 years and no one knew about it? Did Ken's family know about Iris, but just chose not to say anything for the sake of the family?

    None of us is getting any younger, so the window of opportunity is not as big as it once was. Ken has already died. Iris is 77 and not in great health. Ken's children would be between 55-60 now. How does one even go about contacting someone in a situation like this? With Iris, everything went through a Social worker, who kept both mine and Iris's identity private until we were both willing to share with each other on our own. Do I find them and just write a letter? "Dear so and so... I'm your 1/2 sister. Surprise!"

    So many things to ponder. My trip to my hometown is in June. I think that I will end up at the library while I'm there, even if just to get the info while I can. What I do with it..... who knows.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    5 Scent Challenge

    Picture this: You are walking down the street when you get a whiff of something. It's a nice smell, but you can't immediately figure out what it is. You close you eyes and inhale deeply. All of a sudden you are overcome with a feeling of happiness and a sense of contentedness washes over you. The scent conjures up a wonderful memory that you haven't thought of in years. And that sense of inner peace stays with you throughout the day, and each time you close your eyes and think about it you can "smell" the scent again.

    I have several scents that are so powerful to me that they can instantly transport my mind back to the time that they come from in my life.

    1) Horse Manure

    Most people wouldn't consider this a nice smell, or even something that they would want to remember. For me though, it brings back memories of my own horses, being in barns, teaching riding lessons, galloping through fields, watching the sunrise as I muck out the barn.

    2) Wet Dry Dirt

    I know, it's a contradiction. Let me explain. This is the smell that happens on a summer day, when every thing is dry and dusty and hot. And then the sky opens up and there is a warm shower of rain. Not enough to soak everything, but just enough to make every thing slightly damp. When the rain stops a few minutes later, and the sun comes out, the dirt has a glorious earthy smell as the water evaporates away.

    3) Fireplace smoke

    Walking home on a cold evening and someone in the neighbourhood has lit a fire. The smell of the wood burning whaffs down the sidewalk and almost invites you to follow it in and curl up with a book, your feet propped up on the hearth.

    4) Obsession for Men

    hmmmmmmmmm................ enough said!

    5) Mr. Sketch Markers

    12 markers, each colour a different smell. These were always the prize markers that everyone in class wanted to be allowed to use. They weren't very good for drawing (they have too thick a point, and they would rip through the paper) but how we loved to sit and smell them, often getting caught by the telltale dots of colour on the underside of our nose! To this day the Mint makes me feel sick to my stomach, and I never liked the licorice, but I could have eaten the Raspberry and Apple.

    Now it's your turn to try the 5 Scent Challenge!

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Liam sings

    In all his glory, ready to share for school tomorrow:

    April 21, 2008 - Today's the day

    That I get my last vitamin B12 shot. Originally the Dr. said she was going to do 3 shots a week for 3 weeks, but on the first appointment she changed it to one shot a week for 3 weeks. I'm also taking 1000mg supplement every day. I will go have my blood re-tested in a month to see if my levels have gone up.

    It's hard to say if I have noticed any improvement since getting the shots, since I've been sick with a cold since the day after the first one! I'm not even really sure what changes I should notice.

    I have noticed a huge improvement since being on the Pantaloc! In the 6 weeks that I've been taking it, I've only had one or two minor moments of discomfort after a meal. Not like the daily shooting pains that had me wanting to curl up in a little ball and cry. So the next step is to go off the Pantaloc for a month to see if it is really the drug making the difference, of if whatever was causing the problem has gone away. I will finish the last 2 weeks of this prescription and then give it a go.

    The Shadow Side of Motherhood

    Check out Jenna's story of relinquishing her daughter in this months Redbook.


    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    April 20, 2008 - Today's the day

    that I can finally hang clothes out to dry on the line! Living on the East Coast means that we have a very short summer season, and that spring and fall are both very foggy and damp. Not today though!! The sun is out, there's a great breeze and it's about 10C.

    A perfect day to have air dried sheets!

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Through the eyes of a child

    "Today sure is a day to remember, isn't it Mama?"

    This is what Liam said while we were outside. We weren't doing anything spectacular, we didn't pay loads of money to travel somewhere exotic. I was raking leaves and he was playing in the yard. The sun was out and this was truly the first day that we have been able to enjoy being outside. And my 5 year old boy looked around with a sense of awe and wonder that grown ups usually can only muster when they seen the great Pyramids or the wonder of Niagara Falls.

    He even ran inside to get his camera to take a picture for his scrapbook. Don't know where he gets that from! But bad Mama had forgotten to upload his last batch of pictures and his card was full. He didn't mind. He's going to remember this day anyway!

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Dick and Jane

    For the last 50 some odd years millions of kids have learned to read in English by following the exploits of one family. How that Baby could get into trouble! My wasn't Dick the great big brother, always on the lookout for Jane? And Spot and Puff? The perfect pets!

    Well, add Liam to the list! My son has become a READER thanks to Dick and Jane!

    My mom bought him "The Story Book Treasury of Dick and Jane" for Christmas. Until recently it just sat on a shelf, ignored. Until March Break.

    For the last few months Liam has been getting "homework" from school. They send home a begining reader book on Monday, we read it every night, and he has to draw a picture and write a sentence about it, all to be sent back on Friday so that he can read the book to the class. Every night we would read the book, first me, then him. But he never really clicked, and wasn't actually "reading" so much as either memorizing what he heard, or making up the story from the pictures (which is the very first step of pre-reading, so I was not concerned.)

    Over March break however, he didn't have any homework, so I instituted "Mama homework time". We did fun stuff, colouring, mazes, printing and I pulled out the Dick and Jane book. And lo and behold, after a couple of days, he was reading! Not memorizing stuff, not guessing, but looking at the words, the letters and reading!! The best part was the look of pride on his face when he realized that he could turn to a page that we had never seen before and he could read 80% of what was on it. He grabbed the book and ran to Hilary's lap to show her. This is the great stuff that makes being a parent so amazing!!

    Now, he's not reading the Globe and Mail yet, and hasn't fully figured out how to sound out new words, but the base is there. Every written word we encounter, from street signs to the closed captioning on our tv, peaks his inerest now.

    Oh, oh, oh,
    Look, Look.
    Read Liam read,
    Read Liam read!
    Funny, funny Liam.

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Move over Bob Fosse

    Here come's Liam!

    You may notice that "A Chorus Line" was playing on the tv in the background. That's where Liam was getting his inspiration.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    April 11, 2008 - Today's the day

    that I go for an Upper G.I. X-ray.

    Silly me thought it was just an x-ray. Like when they think you have pneumonia... you stand still, take a deep breath, the machine clicks and your all done.

    Not so much for the Upper G.I series.

    When the nurse handed me 10 mls of crystals and said "these are the gas pills to expand your stomach, try to swallow them quickly and you can't burp till we are done" I knew I was in trouble. At least they didn't taste bad.

    The barium mixture however, did.

    And no burping... yeah right! Fill me with gas, make me swallow warm, wet chalk and then tell me to roll around on a table so that the chalk can coat my stomach. Let me tell you I didn't make it till they were done without burping! At least I didn't have to take any more "gas pills" to top me back up.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    April 10, 2008 - Today's the day

    that I get asked if I'm a boy or a girl.


    I was feeling like crap at work so I decided to cut out early. It's pouring rain, so I splurged and took a cab. When I'm of sound mine, I usually request a cab for "Hilary" just to avoid this problem. Today, I obviously wasn't thinking.

    The cab pulled up, I ran out in the rain, opened the back door and asked "for Andy?" while I was climbing in. The cabbie looked me up and down and said "Yup, but you sure don't look like an Andy, is that even your name?"

    I'm really not in a happy place to debate gender neutral names with this twit. I was pretty snarky in my reply of "yeah! it's my name" with my "what are going to do about it face" glaring at him. He kinda shrugged, and as he was backing up the car and looking over his shoulder he eyed me up and down again. And then the whopper:

    "So are you a boy or a girl?"

    And my bitchy answer back?

    "With breasts this size what do you think?"

    And then I had a quiet ride home.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008


    Most days I wonder if I have any memories. I mean, the day to day stuff like where I left my keys or did I turn off the coffee maker doesn't really bother me. Well, it bothers me when I'm locked out of the house because I can't find my keys, and we had sense enough to buy a coffee maker that turns itself off.

    It's childhood memories, even adult memories from 15 years ago that I just don't seem to have.

    If I "remember" an event from my life, say my First Communion, all I can remember is what I have seen in pictures. There's the one of me and my 2 best friends, all decked out in our dresses, standing in front of the church. It was a windy day, because all of our veils are blowing. But an actual memory? Being in the church, did we have a party afterward, were my grandparents there..... No clue.

    I often have to ask Hilary to fill in the blanks for me, even from periods of time before she was in my life! Either I told her the story years ago or she's heard it from my Mom, but SHE can remember. So why can't I?

    I really started thinking about this yesterday after I posted the birth father entry. I knew that he had died, but I couldn't remember when. Was it last year? 3 years ago? For that matter, I couldn't remember what year I found Iris. How long has it been? I could remember that we lived in our old house and we were in the basement when the SW called. Why keep a detail like that, but nothing about the actual conversation?

    To compensate for this "problem" I am a pack-rat of letters, cards and emails. I have a pseudo-scrapbook of all my adoption papers, and have kept all the letters from Iris, even meaningless "hey how's it going" emails. Maybe to prove to myself that she is real.

    So I pulled out the book yesterday to look this stuff up. I found Iris in 2000. Ken died March 31 2001. She had the chance to tell him that I had found her, and presumably to reassure him that I wasn't about to show up on his door step handing out cigars to celebrate his new found daughter.

    I also stumbled across another tidbit of information that I had completey forgotten. Ken had 4 children, all in their late teens/early twenties when I was born. Again, I have never really focused much on them, not in the same way that I think about Madelaine being my 1/2 sister. Weird isn't it? But the interesting tidbit was that one of his daughter's, Carole, is a lesbian. Iris shared this in a letter after I came out to her. She pondered on the possible genetic connection of being gay.

    So I've known for almost 7 years that I have a 1/2 sister named Carole, who is a lesbian, 20 some odd years older then I am, who grew up in the same city that I did.

    How do you forget something like that?

    La La La La Lemons....

    Liam has to take something to "show and share" next week that starts with the first letter of his name. We have this great CD of kids songs that includes La la la la Lemons (first done on Sesame Street) so he is learning all the words to it to sing at school next week. And with a grand finale flourish (including Jazz Hands!) he adds " And Liam!" at the end!

    Walk down memory lane with me and sign along!

    Tuesday, April 8, 2008

    Birth fathers, the forgotten members of the triad

    Are biological fathers meaningless?

    My own birth father has never really been more then a passing thought for me. Maybe it's because I grew up thinking that he was dead. (Iris told the SW that she was widowed as one of the reasons for placing me. This mis-information made its way into my non-identifying info). When I thought about finding my birth family, it was always my mother and sister that I thought of. Even after I found Iris and the truth came out, I was only mildly curious. And since Iris refused (and still refuses) to give me any information on him, the point is rather moot.

    So why did I start to cry when she casually mentioned him by name in an email?

    My father's name is Ken.

    When we were first meeting with K and discussing Liam's adoption-to-be, the subject of his birth father barely came up. We did make sure that he was aware of the pregnancy, knew that K was planning on placing Liam and that he did not want to raise the baby himself. In fact, it wasn't until the day before Liam was born that we even thought to inquire about his birth father's race. Race was not an issue to us, so it never came up, but it may have been a bit of a surprise the next day if we had assumed the baby was going to be white and wasn't.

    K has since shared some tidbits of information about him, scraps that I print and save in a book of all of our communication, because I'm begining to realize that this may be very important to Liam one day.

    I wonder if Liam will feel more of an urge to find his birth father then I did, because he is growing up without a father?
    I wonder how much my relationship with my a-father affected my outlook on fathers in general?

    I look at friends, single moms raising their kids alone, and wonder what their children will do one day? Will they search out their fathers? Is being raised by a single mom different then being adopted (in the case of not knowing your father)?

    To answer my question... No, I don't believe that biological fathers are meaningless. I just don't what mine means to me right now.

    Monday, April 7, 2008

    11 to 8

    Liam surprised the heck out of me tonight! He's 5.5, just learning to read, still transposes some numbers and letters when he looks at them. So learning to tell time, especially from a non-digital clock is really not high on our list of things to do right now.

    While I was lying on his bed with him, reading his story, he stopped me, pointed to his Buzz Light year clock and asked me: "Is it 11 to 8?" And when I looked up, wouldn't you believe it, it was!!

    I think it's a little to precise to be a fluke... but who knows!

    Kids and hair cuts!

    What parent hasn't tried this?

    Pass it on ~

    Coco over at honoured me with this:

    I would like to pass it on to the great women at the blogs that I read that all give me inspiration:

    DebiP at for being a good friend and someone to turn to.

    Jenn at for helping me to see adoption through her eyes and how she sees things from 2 sides of the same lens

    Jenna at for letting me glimpse into the world of a first mom and helping me to better understand what Liam's mom might be going through.

    Lori at for being funny and supportive and having great games on her blog!

    And really, it should go to everyone else that I read too. Because if you weren't amazing, I wouldn't be reading!!

    Pass it on!

    Sunday, April 6, 2008

    April 6, 2008 - Today's the day

    That we use the new bread maker.... twice!! Hilary got a bread maker for her birthday from her Mum. We've never really been sure if we wanted one, as I make bread from scratch. But life these days seems way too busy to find the time to make bread, and we do miss having fresh warm bread around.

    The first thing we made was a sweet dough for Cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning! I was worried as the dough didn't seem to rise as much as I thought it should, but they turned out great!!

    Please note: we only made 1/2 a pan, we did not eat 1/2 a pan!

    Then we made a honey-cornmeal loaf for dinner to go with our baked beans. It turned out really well too.

    Now if we could just find somewhere to keep it!! We need way more counter space for all of our toys!

    Saturday, April 5, 2008

    Liam's new Do!

    Liam went for a haircut today. We've asked him before if he would like to have his hair spiked, but he's always said no. Until today.

    Friday, April 4, 2008

    I've got Thrills!!!

    They ain't multiplying, but they still taste like soap!

    Hilary's Mum picked me up a pack of my favorite gum. They are purple, rosewater flavoured and really do taste like soap! They are the best gum EVER.

    Really..... try some!

    Spring has come to Halifax!

    Spring is sprung

    De grass is riz

    I wonder where

    dem birdies is?

    Thursday, April 3, 2008

    Blood Test Update

    Sorry that I didn't get back here sooner with the results! It is good news! All the tests for Celiac, Inflammatory Bowel, Crohn's etc.. are all fine. The only one out of wack is my Vitamin B12 (the nurse could have been MUCH more clear about that when she phoned!!)

    So now I have to pick up a prescription and take it to the Dr.'s office and she will give me a B12 shot 3 days a week for the next 3 weeks, and then we will retest.

    I will still have the ultra-sound and X-ray done to see if she can find what is causing me to not absorb B12. She wonders if I may have had a viral infection that caused gastroenteritis, so that the lining of my stomach is inflammed and not able to absorb it efficiently. Since my B12 level was perfectly fine when she did my blood work last year, this is something fairly recent.

    I will also continue to take the Pantaloc for another month (since I've been feeling GREAT since I started it) and then I'll go off it for a month and see what happens.

    So over all good news! My blood sugar was also fine, as was my cholesterol. WooHoo bring on the red wine and cheese!

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    April 2, 2008 - Today's the Day

    that I MUST do up and send out the minutes from the parent committee meeting..... that was 2 weeks ago! How does this stuff get away from me????