Monday, February 28, 2011

Adoption Reading Challenge - Book 2

This is the secondbook that I have finished for the Adoption Reading Challenge that Jenna is hosting at The Chronicles of Munchkinland.  Be sure to follow the link through to read other people's book reviews.

The Kid by Dan Savage

The Kid is the story of how Dan Savage and his partner come to the decision to adopt a baby. We then get to follow their journey from their first meeting with an adoption agency right to the very end ( I won’t spoil the ending by telling you whether or not they end up adopting “The Kid”). If you are unfamiliar with Dan Savage and his writing style, I would strongly urge you to check that out before starting the book. As a sex-advice columnist, Savage can be lewd, rude, crass and crude. It’s almost as if he does it to shock people, as a lot of times – especially in this story – there isn’t a need for the language and topics that he uses.

Language and sub-topics aside, I found the book to be a very true account of a couple’s, especially a gay male couple’s, adoption journey. From the very frank reasons of why they want to adopt a healthy newborn baby to the pre-birth match that they end up in, Savage gives a very in-depth look at what every pre-adoptive parent goes through. 

I read this book with both my adoptive hats on (since neither really ever comes off). As an adoptive parent I found myself nodding and agreeing with some of his feelings, frustrations and fears. As an adoptee I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel if this story had been written and published about my beginnings. I suppose that is a risk that any writer – published or just us bloggers – take when we share true life accounts of our families.

I would recommend the book to all sides of the triad. For expectant parents considering adoption, or for those parents who have already placed their child with an adoptive family, it can give a glimpse of what adoptive parents might feel and experience from their side of the journey. For pre-adoptive parents and even those of us who have already traveled this road, it can let you know that you are not alone and crazy with some of the weird stuff you might think and feel as you wait for a baby. Adoptees can read it and see a part of the journey that they had no say in and see an example of how some people made life changing decisions that can affect a whole lot of people.

And the Oscar goes to....

HILARY!  For putting on such an amazing spread again this year!!

Cold Spring Rolls

Green Mango Salad

Fresh Fruit 
(Starting at the top and going clockwise: Longans, Dragon Fruit, Mango, Dragon Fruit, Papaya, Mangosteens)

Garlic Squid

Pad Thai

We also had Chicken Satay's and 2 curries.  I was too busy eating by that point to get pictures!  And the mystery desert deserves a post all on it's own.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It could be a jellyfish.....

But it's not!

It's a rice paper wrapper for the cold spring rolls.  You soak them in hot water to "cook" them.

Oscar prep is in full swing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ants Climbing Trees

We recently had this for dinner and a friend asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share it here.

250g (8 oz) minced pork
1x198g (7 oz) packet of fine egg or rice noodles
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped finely
250ml (8 fl oz) hot chicken stock
2 spring onions, finely chopped, to garnish

2 Tbsps soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry or sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chilli sauce
½ tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

• Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the pork and stir well to mix. Cover and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions; drain thoroughly.
• Heat the wok until hot. Add the oil and heat over a moderate heat until hot. Add the oil and heat over a moderate heat until hot. Add the pork and spring onions and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until the meat loses its pink colour. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then add the drained noodles. Stir fry for 1 minute or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the noodles are hot.
• Sprinkle with the spring onions and serve at once.

Makes 3-4 servings

From Sainsbury’s Wok and Stir-Fry; Jeni Wright

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Dentist

I love my dentist!  Now before you think I'm crazy or that my dentist likes to turn up the gas a little too high, I will also say that I HATE going to the dentist.

I have always had horrible teeth.  Growing up I averaged 10 cavities a year.  And we had horrible dentists.  The mean kind, that yell at little kids and who seem to go out of their way to make it hurt even more.  As a young adult I finally just stopped going.  I saw no need to put myself through that horror any more.

Till I had a really bad tooth ache.

Even then, I let it go so far that it was abscessed and Oh. So. Painful.  We had just recently moved to Halifax, so I got a recommendation from a co-worker.  And that is when I fell in love with my dentist.  He was kind, gentle and took my fear seriously.  He fixed that tooth and even managed to convince me to go back.   So I did.  And over time I learned to trust him.  He even got me to the point that I could go for appointments without having to be medicated first.

I love him so much that I recommend him to everyone.  Anyone who has ever feared the dentist and goes to see him, falls in love with him too.  I've sent him so many referrals over the years, that he once sent me a huge bouquet of flowers as a thank you.  He is just that great.

So when my tooth started to hurt last week, I thought nothing of picking up the phone and making an appointment.  And not only is he nice and kind and gentle, he always makes time for people.  I've even had him stay past his last appointment to fit me in when I was having a lot of pain.

While I trust him, I'm still pretty scared and tense when I'm in the chair.  So when he finished examining  my tooth today, he and his assistant (who is equally as awesome!) pulled their chairs up on either side of me, knowing that my first thought was going to be to bolt.   And it was.  And unplanned, unprepared for tooth extraction!  You've got to be kidding me.  But I knew that if I left, I wouldn't want to go back, so I put on my big girl panties, started to cry and said okay, let's get 'er done.  I was in and out of the whole appointment in 12 minutes - that included talking me down and waiting for the freezing to take! It didn't even hurt; scared me to death and left me shaking, but didn't hurt.

So if you are in the Halifax area and need an wondrous dentist, be sure to look up Dr. Kirk Blanchard.  He rocks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Magic Mummy Spit

We have some odd family rituals/traditions around here!

Years ago when Hilary and I still lived in Toronto I was going through a bout of nightmares.  One night as we were saying goodnight, Hilary licked the end of my nose and said "There!  Now you won't have any nightmares tonight."

Odd.... but it worked! 

She wouldn't do it every night, but if nightmares started happening again she would catch me out of the blue, lick the tip of my nose and Voila!  No more nightmares.

And now she has passed the tradition along to Liam.  While saying goodnight to him one night when he was concerned about the possibility of bad dreams, she surprised him with a quick lick to the tip of his nose!

He was slightly shocked and appalled at first, but as luck would have it, he didn't have any bad dreams that night.  So a tradition was reborn and we get to have lovely nightmare-less nights.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Out in the Media

When I was growing up in the '70s there weren't any gay role models on TV (at least none that I saw, of course we didn’t have cable, so that could have been the issue, but I kinda doubt it). In the '80's, when I was a teenager, the main thing that you heard about gay people in the media was the AIDS epidemic and how their sinful ways had brought this plague upon them.

My how times have changed! TV shows have out teenagers with supportive parents, love interests and friends that won’t let them get bullied (Glee); mainstream movies are getting Oscar nominations for Lesbian characters whose story line is about having kids with donor sperm (Annette Bening – The Kids are all Right); Facebook games even let you choose 2 female characters as your Valentine’s day love quest.

But there was one article that caught my eye more than all the others. Mainly because it is a true story and for where it was published. A Canadian magazine – Homemakers – ran a contest asking readers to submit a short story titled “I knew it was love when..” And the winner, short listed by the staff, then voted for by the public, is written by a lesbian about how she met her partner and fell in love. How cool is that? You can read it here.

Seeing that our stories can be shared in a national magazine (not a GLBT magazine) and can win based on popular vote, tells me how far we have come as a society. I don’t kid myself that homophobia has been stamped out forever, even here above the 49th parallel. But every main stream story, TV show and movie helps to take away the stigma and normalize the lives of families like mine.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

and the winner is....

Guess what this year's theme is for our Oscar party?  Menu to follow.....

Friday, February 11, 2011

A beautiful sight!

A thing of beauty was delivered to our house today!  

Our new washing machine:

The delivery was late, it was a bugger to get the packing bolts off of, it's a very tight fit into the space we have and it's BLUE.  But we don't care!  Our old machine died last Saturday (after a long and hard life, that was filled with getting stuck on a certain cycle, so that we would have to yell to someone to "Go goose the machine!")

It is now installed (Way to go Hilary!) and we have washed two loads already.  It's quiet, it's fast, it's efficient... we love it!  

I foresee a lot of laundry in my future as we get caught up on a week's worth.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Such a cute little girl

I recently reconnected with my God-Sister Charlene (her parents are my God Parents) on Facebook.  She sent me some pictures that she had that her Dad had taken when I was little.  It's fun to walk down memory lane!

My first communion.  Yes, it was the '70s and I wore a peach coloured dress (I had been a flower girl in a wedding just before this, so my Mom just recycled the dress)

It's hard to tell because of the exposure, but there is a bird on my head!  I had completely forgotten that my God Parents had a bird, and I now have vague recollections of being scared of it.  I certainly do not look thrilled to have it on my head!

My God-Sister Charlene and I. I'm guessing I was about 2 years old.

My God-Mother, Lena, Charlene and I at my 3rd (?) birthday.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adoption Reading Challenge - Book 1

 This is the first book that I have finished for the Adoption Reading Challenge that Jenna is hosting at The Chronicles of Munchkinland.  Be sure to follow the link through to read other people's book reviews.

 The Girls of Huntington House

I stumbled across this book by accident while I was going through a box of my stuff that was stored at my parent’s house. I don’t remember reading it as a teenager, but I may have since I was always on the lookout for adoption related books to help me process my own feelings on being adopted.

The book is written from the perspective of an English teacher who goes to work at a maternity home for the first time. The book was written in 1972 so it’s somewhat outdated but that does not detract from the content. It was also made into a movie in 1973, staring Shirley Jones as the teacher and Sissy Spacek as the main pregnant girl character.

Teacher Ann Baldwin starts her job at the maternity home expecting to teach English just like she would to any other class. What she didn’t count on was the emotions of her students getting in the way. When she can’t seem to get through to her students, she tries to find the right book to engage them with. Somehow she thinks that The Scarlett Letter will be the one, since they have something in common with the character of the book!

The topic of adoption is not front and center in The Girls of Huntington House, but more of an underlying assumption of what is going to happen. There are some girls, like Baby, who at 13 has made a deal with her own mother. Her mother will raise the baby and Baby will get a puppy of her very own. The main character, Sarah spends the whole book talking about how she is going to raise her daughter Heather in the woods, swimming in lakes, eating from the fields and living free (remember, it was written in 1972, so it’s based on events in the ‘60s and has a decided Hippy feel to it). This attitude/plan drives the teacher crazy, as she does not see how this is possible or practical. She and Sarah butt heads throughout. However as the semester and the pregnancies progress, the teacher’s views slowly shift. She goes from seeing teen pregnancy as something to be dealt with and set aside with as little emotion as possible to coming to the understanding that these are real babies and real women who are going to be affected by their decision for the rest of their lives. At the same time Sarah is feeling pressured to give the baby up for adoption by her parents and is about to do just that. In the end the teacher comes to her aide and encourages Sarah to keep Heather and raise her with her boyfriend, much to the dismay of Sarah’s parents and the owner of the maternity home.

I liked the book. I thought that it handled the feelings and dilemmas of the girls well, giving depth to the characters. I became very invested in the teacher’s emotional growth throughout the book as she realized that life could not be compartmentalized and kept free of emotion. I’m hoping to read Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away to see how this story compares. The Girls of Huntington House is based on the memories of the author from a year she spent teaching at a maternity homes and she states at the beginning of the book “All the characters are composites. What remains unalterable, and unaltered, are the verities of the human heart.” I don't know if this falls into the fiction or non-fiction category, but I would recommend it to all.  I'm now on the hunt for a copy of the movie to watch.