Friday, July 31, 2009

Cooking Help needed!!!

I've mentioned several times Hilary's awesome and yummy cooking abilities. You've seen pictures of her Indian feast, Sunday Brunch and very cool cakes. Hilary comes from a line of strong amazing women who love to cook and who passed these traits on to her. I do not come from this same stock. Cooking has never really been my thing.

But next week it is going to be "my thing" and I need your help.

I'm on vacation next week, spending the week at home with Liam while Hilary goes to work everyday. So it only makes sense that I have slippers and a pipe ready for her at the door and a home made meal on the table after her long day at the office. Except, what the hell do I make?

Shout out some ideas! Share some recipes, post some links. I'll take any help I can get.

I do have food issues however. I cannot deal with most meats. If I can identify any sort of anatomy it's out (so chicken legs = BAD, boneless, skinless chicken breast = GOOD). I don't want to slave all day in the kitchen with prep work since this is my vacation too and Liam and I may be out during the day. We have no food alergies, we love spicy food and enjoy foods from all nationalities (except my own! I will never understand eating pig feet, Tourtière or french fries with gravy and cheese curds).

So folks please lend a hand. or if your local, come on over and help out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An adoptee coming out -part 2

I didn't come out to myself until I was 19. As I mentioned in part 1, my parents kicked me out of the house when I was 18 because they thought I had an "unnatural" relationship with my best friend from high school. I didn't. And I thought my parents were nuts. Until several months later when I started to notice a woman I worked with more and more and had my big AHA! moment. Who knew that parents could be right about things sometimes?

I sat on this new knowledge of my sexuality for several months, trying it on the idea for size before I even considered telling anyone. 2 of my uncles are gay so I was familiar with the GBLT world, having hung out in gay bars in downtown Toronto many a Friday night. It's one thing to go out partying with a group of people but it's a whole other thing to make a public declaration that this is your new chosen lifestyle.

I still wasn't speaking to my parents by the time I was ready to "COME OUT" so I thought I would take the safe route for my first time - my best friend from high school. We did everything together: worked at the same job, volunteered at the same place and I hung out at her house using her folks as my surrogate family once I was living on my own. She was also the one that would go partying with me in Toronto at all the gay bars. Seemed like a pretty safe place to start.

It wasn't.

She didn't exactly freak out, but quietly and calmly ended our friendship on the spot. She also outed me to a parent of a child I worked with which resulted in my getting fired from my job and having to stop the volunteer work that I did.

Needless to say the whole experience rather coloured my thoughts on coming out to people after that.

Life went on, as it always does. My boss from the job I was fired from was also a lesbian and had also been fired. Oh, they never told either of us (or the 4-5 other gay people fired at the same time) "you're gay so we are firing you" but had all sorts of fancy "restructuring", "bringing in the right skills" crap that HR can spin when they want to do something illegal. Whatever... we all knew what was going on.

She helped me meet people and I started to live my life as an "out" lesbian. I quickly decided that society be damned, I was NOT hiding in a closet for the rest of my life. And that is how I have lived my life since. Hard to believe that that was 20 years ago........

I waited a long time to get a letter back from Iris. 6 months in fact. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! All my life I had wanted to find my first mother. And here she was, in reach, and I had maybe lost her completely with just 4 words: I am a lesbian. But I knew in my heart that I could not have had a relationship with her at all if I was not honest.

Finally a letter arrived and being me, I wouldn't open it! All the waiting, the checking the mail every day, the hoping the wondering was tossed out the window because I was scared by what I would find. Would I be rejected by yet another parent? Would I lose the only connection to my past before I ever got to meet her? Hilary, always the voice of reason, talked me off of the emotional ledge and got me to open it.

What the letter contained was not one of the possible outcomes that I had thought of.

Complete and total acceptance.

She ponder the thought of a genetic connection to being gay and told me that I have a 1/2 sister on my father's side who is also a lesbian. She shared a story of her daughter's gay friend living with them for almost 2 years after his parents had kicked him out of the house. She asked questions about Hilary and wanted to see a picture of her.

And so all my worry was for naught. Iris has remained a part of my life since, though we do have our communication challenges. Hilary and Liam came with me the first time I met Iris and it was Hilary who sent Iris a letter announcing Liam's adoption.

Reunion is a many layered, complex beast. Adding a whole seperate issue to it only exacerbates the emotions, the fears and the unknowns. In the end though, no matter what the issues are, honesty and openness are always the best way to go.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An adoptee coming out

It's funny that this article about what percentage of the networks programming hours reflect GBLT characters would come out today. (as a side note it's unfortunate that I can't get HBO since they leading the pack with 42% vs 8%(NBC) and 5% (CBS))

It's only funny because Hilary and I just picked up ER season 11 on DVD (yes, we are those type of people, you know, the ones that can watch shows we've already seen 10 times, can receit favorite movies line by line and have dog-eared copies of books because they have been reread so often). ER was one of my favorite shows for a lot of reasons, not the least was the character of Dr. Kerry Weaver (played by Laura Innes). She was rude, funny, in-charge and didn't take any crap from anyone. And she also had 2 story lines that closely mirrored my own life - She came out as a lesbian and she was an adoptee searching for her birth mother.

Main stream media doesn't usually do either of these 2 story lines very well. They often go for the sensational, the weird, the stereotypical or the so-far-out-there it couldn't possibly happen in real life. ER did none of that. Kerry went through the same struggles that I and many of my gay friends have gone through. Discrimination at work, how to come out to people for the first time, finding out who your real friends are, that first date. ER was always very good at bringing current day issues to the screen. Kerry and her partner could not get legally married, just like all the other gay Americans at the time (and still). They did go on to have a baby and everything looked like they were destined to have a great future together until tragedy struck and Kerry's partner was killed. The show then followed Kerry's court battle to get custody of her son. A battle that many GBLT parents still have to fight today, 5 years after this season first aired.

Her adoption story also took some very realistic twists and turns. After hiring a private dective she thought her mother had been found. Only it turned out to be a mistake. So Kerry was back on the emotional roller coaster of search and reunion. Her mother finally finds her and they go out for dinner. Then Kerry was faced with that little question that all gay people face every day. "Do I come out to this person right now?"

This story line originally aired only a few years after I had found my first mother and had struggled with this very same question. Iris was not open to meeting me at all in the beginning so I tippy-toed around her a lot (all via letters sent through a social worker) at first, worried that I would scare her off before I ever got a chance to meet her. Eventually lying by omission can take its toll. Hilary and I had been together 10 years by then. We have moved across the country together, we owned a house together, we planned on starting a family together. I could not and would not deny her existance. To anyone.

So one night I sat in a bar in the Vancouver airport and I started to write. I had a 6 hour wait for my plane and nothing better to do. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I told Iris all about Hilary, my life as a lesbian, my parents kicking me out of the house when I was 18 because they thought I was gay and my fears that she would be another person added to the list of people I had lost when I came out to them.

It took me another few weeks to actually mail the letter, but eventually I did. And then I waited.

Part 2 can be found here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's in the eyes

The 4th Open Adoption Roundtable writing prompt is "write about a small moment that open adoption made possible."

You can check out all the other Roundtable entries here.

It's in the eyes

Growing up in a closed adoption, one of the things that I found the hardest was the fact that I didn't look like anyone in my family. I was taller then both my parents by the time I was 13. I was a browned eyed baby in a blue eyed family.

My hope for Liam's adoption was that he would never have the unknowns and the questions that I did. That he would know his first family and be able see his physical characteristics mirrored back to him. As it has turned out so far, that has not worked out exactly as I had hoped. Liam has not had the chance to meet his mother or his siblings.

Yet I still consider his adoption "open". Mainly because we know who is mother is, we have had contact with her in the past, and have contact information for her. And part of that contact allowed me to give Liam a special gift.


On his bedroom wall he has pictures of his mother, his brother and his sister. When he was little he would say goodnight to the pictures everyday or blow them kisses. At 7 he is too old for that. The similarities between the 4 of them is uncanny. You could put baby pictures of Liam and his sister side by side and I would be hard pressed to tell them apart. They all have the same facial shape, the same hair and the same eyes. Liam likes to mention that he has the same hair as K or that he looks like her. Every time he does that it is a special small moment that "open" adoption has made possible.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Am I? Round 16 Reveal

That Heather is one smart cookie! This is a clock that my uncle Ben made and gave to my parents a few years ago.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Am I? Round 16

It's time for the next round! This is another item from my parents house. Can anyone tell me what this is from this single picture? If not, there will be another picture tomorrow!

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 1936

On this day, in the small northern town of Foleyette Ontario, Henri Emile Drouin was born, the 7th child, but only the 2nd son, of Marie and Athananse Drouin. They would go on to have 3 more children, giving Henri 8 sisters and 1 brother.

My father and I have a tumultuous relationship. I went many years without speaking to him and then only tolerated him because he was married to my mother. Recently however we have been getting along much better. I can call him now when I'm installing a ceiling fan and don't understand the wiring, or if I am about to renew my mortgage and need someone to explain all the options to me.

Because of my father I went to French school and became bilingual, I learned to cross-country ski, and he helped develop my love for nature and the great outdoors.

Happy 73rd Birthday Dad.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The animals have it!

Here are some of my favorite shots from our recent trip to the African Lion Safari.

The baboons had a great time climbing all over of the car. My dad didn't have such a great time cleaning the monkey poo off the roof.
This ostrich had just spent 5 minutes blocking traffic and was now trying to eat my Mom through the window! I wonder if ostriches are omnivores?
  • Liam's view of the giraffes!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reach for the top!

This was Liam's first attempt at indoor rock climbing. He never did make it to the very top, but he still had a great time. If you are ever in Guelph Ontario, be sure to check out Guelph Grotto The people were great, all about safety and fun and the price was right.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


When I was a child I was painfully shy. I did not make friends easily and hated to be in group of people. My shyness was so bad in high school that I managed to "get" laryngitis before every oral presentation that I was supposed to do. By university it had progressed to small panic attacks that would keep me from being able to attend a class.

And then *POOF* I changed. I started a job as a customer service rep on the phones and was soon promoted to a supervisor position. I interviewed people, I gave motivational talks to my team and I even stood in front of training classes teaching them product knowledge and selling techniques. I become adept at making small talk and engaging strangers in chit-chat. All skills that I have maintained.

I have no idea what prompted the change. There are still times when the anxiety comes back. I CANNOT be late for anything, because the idea of walking into a room LATE is just too much for me too handle. It drives Hilary crazy, but after almost 16 years together she just sighs and lets me go as early as I want. Unless she is coming too. Then she does what she can to keep me calm and have me leave at a more acceptable time. I have even had to change dentist's because I missed an appointment and couldn't go back and face them.

The first time I go somewhere new is a time of great stress. Tomorrow I have to pick Liam up from summer camp and then take him to soccer. Since Hilary does summer camp drop off and pick up, I have not been to this location before. She patiently sat and explained the route I had to take, what side of the street the building was on, where the door was located etc.. And she did this with the minimum of eye rolling and sarcasm. She even got the map out for me to see since I am a very visual person. The timetable is bothering me a bit: Finish work at 4:30, camp ends at 5:00 and soccer starts at 6:00. Since we don't have a car I will also have to add in taking the bus. A bus route I have never taken! So to help ensure the minimum amount of panic I am coming into work 30 minutes early so that I can leave at 4:00.

A year ago I blogged about my soccer anxiety . I was going to coach Liam's soccer team one night while the regular coach was on vacation. I was nervous, but excited. In the end, I let another parent take over and didn't stand up for myself. I was disappointed in myself that night. It's way too easy to fall back into being shy and meek and letting people walk all over you.

In just one year I have changed again! I don't know if it is really me that has changed, or if it's the dynamics of the people and the situation that is different this year. On Saturday I am coaching Liam and 2 friends in a 3 on 3 soccer tournament. I'm feeling confident and pumped! The other boys go to school with Liam so I know them and their parents. I think that is going to be the difference for me. I've been to this field before, I know the kids and parents, it's a small group. I'm ready.

It IS going to be a great day!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Liam

Today Liam is 7 years old! To celebrate we are spending the day at Magic Mountain (a local - well kinda local, it's a 3 hour drive - water park). Luckily the weather seems to be on our side.

Liam requested again this year to not have a birthday party. We're fine with this and I think the family day together will be fabulous! We will do cake and presents on Sunday, with a few close friends.

Happy 7th Birthday Liam!!!

What Am I? round 15 Reveal!

And Heather has it!

This is my parents fireplace popcorn maker! I spent many Friday nights working up a sweat with my arm half way into the fireplace shaking this thing for all I was worth so that we wouldn't have burnt popcorn. My parents, like most of us, have switched over to microwave popcorn so the popper hangs from a nail on the side of their fireplace, a decorative addition to the room. I miss the sounds and smells and the wonderful smokey taste of popcorn popped over open flames.

Thanks for playing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What Am I? Round 15 # 2

No right guesses yet so here is the second picture, I hope it helps.

Keep in mind that we know it is not a:

  1. boot scraper
  2. Vegetable griller
  3. drying rack for clothes
  4. Cheese Grater

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Am I? Round 15

This is an object from my parents house. It has a practical purpose, one that I used many times when I lived at home. My parents don't use it anymore, but keep it around just in case and for decorative reasons.

Your job is to guess what the object is based on the series of pictures that I will post over the next few days. I have 7 pictures of this item, taken at different angles and degrees of closeness, just to make it more interesting.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable # 3

I am participating in the Open Adoption Round table discussion again. You can check in here for a list of other bloggers who are participating as well.

This assignment is to "Share your wish list for your open adoption(s)."

So here are my wishes:

  1. I wish Liam's adoption really was "Open".
  2. I wish that Liam could have the opportunity to know his Mother.
  3. I wish that Liam could meet and have a relationship with his siblings.
  4. I wish that we had at least one picture of Liam with his Mother.
  5. I wish that "K" knows how important she is to us.
  6. I wish that I could make it easier for "K" so that she could have an open adoption with us.
  7. I wish it wasn't all so hard.
  8. I wish that one day soon my wishes will come true.

Vacation recap

The first highlight of our vacation was the weather! When we got on the plane in Halifax it was 14C out. 2 hours later when we got off the plane in Ontario it was 31C! Liam asked if we had landed in the desert. Fortunately it did not stay at 31 for too long and we got to enjoy most days with nice temperatures in the mid-20s. We did have some rain and I spent 20 white-knuckled minutes driving through a downpour that was the edge of a small tornado.

The best news of the trip was that I took Mom for her follow up visit for her eye surgery. It was declared a 100% success and she should not have any more trouble with it.

We visited with lots of friends and family. We had lunch with Hilary's Aunt Hilary, spent the day with my Grandmother, I got to see my God-Mother and various other friends. The only person that I did not get to visit with was Iris. My half-sister Madelaine is not working right now so Iris could not risk getting away to see me. The joys of closed adoptions and reunions.

My parents neighbours have 2 little girls near Liam's age, so he had lots of fun playing with them. what I wouldn't have given to have kids living next door when I was growing up! They went with us to the Children's Museum and rock climbing and various trips to the park.

All in all it was a great trip. Liam was spoiled, as can be expected, since he only gets to see his Grandparents once or twice a year. I stumbled across a seat sale last night, so my Mom is now booked to visit us in September. We got the tickets for $44 one way (plus taxes and fees of course) So her return trip will cost less then what it cost me to fly there one way. So Liam will only have to 2 months to be spoiled again.

I'll leave you with a collage of pictures from our trip:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We're back!

Home Sweet Home!

10 days can seem so short when you are on the leaving end of a vacation, but so long when you get to the coming home side.

We had action packed 10 days too. I think in total we had 2 mornings of lounging around the house with no set plans. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but it was tiring. I'm looking forward to going to the office tomorrow for some peace and quiet, and to be able to sit still for 8 hours.

I'll update more specifics in the upcoming days, including a new "What Am I?" of an object from my parents house.

For now, here is Liam and Grandpa making faces at the camera: