Friday, April 28, 2006

We have windows...raccoon beware

Sure does change the look around her with windows in place. Next week a coat of paint to make it match the rest of the house and the outside will be fetching...for sure.

Now moving west about ten feet to the deck we have a slight problem. A raccoon has been living under the deck for about 8 years, give or take. He happily hibernates under there only to make an appearance when he smells hamburger from the grill. He waits until the grill is closed up and then makes his way over the top of the grill and helps himself to the drippings. (How do we know? Raccoon tracks of course. And we've occasionally seen him belly up in the bird bath sunning himself in the water believe it or not.) Because the Muffin Man is an avid griller our little raccoon is now somewhat ahem, portly. This is not a big deal to us. Quite frankly he can eat until he explodes for all we care. However, with the new construction there will be a step that will close off the entry/exit at the foot of the decking.

Here was my question to our contractor today. Ugh, what if you build the new step and close off the raccoon while he is under the deck? He could get stuck and die. This is no 2 oz. mouse, folks. If this guy isn't going to be pretty and it might smell for a while too. What should we do? Not worry about little chubs and let him try to claw his way out on the other side by digging ravenously through my azeleas or call an animal trapper to entice him out and then let him free after the decking is closed off. Contractor man says oh no, they don't let them back out. They say they take them to some sanctuary up north but that's probably code for what they really do to them. Ha Ha Ha. Great, I'm thinking. My choices are trapping and risking that he gets the ax from some animal control anti-PETA people or possibly letting him die the slow death..or let's be honest ruin my next back yard bar-b-que.

What would you do? One one hand he has sort of felt like the backyard mascot since we caught him sunning himself in the bird bath a few years ago. On the other hand..he is a raccoon after all and aren't they the most resourceful of resourceful woodland animals? Should I be looking for area rugs for the addition instead?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Term Limits

I'm all for term limits. You see I am 2 1/2 years into a three year stint on my local FCC (Families With Children From China) board. I have even found myself in the lead position this year. I know that the great adoption specialists and internets have some differing opinions on local chapters of FCC. Overall I am a supporter of FCC, well, heck I'm on the board and donate a silly amount of hours to the organization. I don't believe FCC will give my kids exposure to heritage or anything but it does keep families who do have this adoption connection, connected for lack of a better word. And, I can say that through my connections at FCC I have met and befriended several Chinese community families. This is truly what I am grateful for...and we will probably take our membership with the Chinese Community Center more seriously than FCC as time goes by. I have also made dear friends through FCC who have been enormously supportive through our travels with Ava and now the new baby coming.

But back to term limits. As I round out my time on the board I find myself getting more and more frustrated with families and even another board member. Some of these people just don't get the adoption and multiracial family important issues. (Of course, this means my opinion of what is important.) I would say six months ago I was still gung ho with trying to bring families to the Chinese Community Center, nudging them to stretch a little and attend an event where THEY might be in the minority. I would nudge them to sign their kids up for culture camp when not much English would be spoken. I've been an advocate for trying to get the Jean McLeods and Jane Browns of the adoption community here to speak to our FCC community. I always vote that our programming should be education and heritage based rather than just meet at a hotel and have the kids wear their chinese outfits. Now, I know why term limits are a good thing for public service and volunteer board get tired and then you get pissy. Or, well I have anyway.

I have less and less patience with our members. I am becoming judgemental of some of the families decisions. I am becoming judgmental of a board member's ideas of where we should focus time and energy. This is perhaps why it will be good to get some new faces and ideas and attitudes.

I have learned a lot leaving my well paid business job and trading it in for Mommy in Chief and Volunteer Queen. But perhaps I'm ready to trade in my crown for plain old mommy hair clip.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tub Time Talk

Ava and I have some pretty intense conversations while she is bathing in our garden tub. She likes to spread out with lots of warm sudsy water, barbasol shaving cream in no less than three colorful stacking cups, a little tub paint in yellow red and green, and paint brushes. She calmly decorates the white walls while I lay back with a pillow and a magazine.

She is most often surprisingly low maintenance in the tub. The warm water seems to pleasantly lull her normal boisterous busy way. Of course, I do everything I can to encourage this quiet time. She has always been a water baby. She was happy from day one to soak in tubs and pools, never afraid of any water. I for one completely understand the effects of hydrotherapy, as I too have always been drawn to the magical ways of warm water.

She had been quiet for a while the other night when she started calmly telling me this story.

"Mom, did you know about this guy named Jesus?" Well, I suppose I have heard some stories, I told her. (Her recent preschool biblical stories have been challenging me lately. I would rather focus on spirituality as a whole and what it can mean for daily life and how we can approach life's challenges and journeys rather than organized religion. But I'm finding universal thoughts, simple laws of quantum physics involving space and time with regards to what appears to our eyes to be real vs. universal truth, and God as love to be diffucult concepts to share with a 4 year old, as she questions me about where EXACTLY God is. It seems admittedly easier to have a children's book laying it all out there in full color.)

She goes on to tell me her story nonetheless.

See there was this guy Jesus and there were some people who did not like him. One guy Spartacus really was mad at him. And Spartacus took Jesus to a bridge and killed him. That wasn't very nice was it? And Jesus ended up where Benny's dog, Joe ended up, in heaven. (Benny is our neighbor and his dog Joe passed away a year ago. Ben's mom told Ava and Ben one day that Joe went to heaven.)

I stopped the conversation to ask her if she might have Spartacus mixed up with a guy named Pontious and might the bridge have really been a cross? "Oh yeah, maybe you are right Mom. she said, but I still don't really know EXACTLY where heaven is." "This is important, because if Bailey (our aging dog) goes to heaven then I might need to be able to talk to her and God."

At this point trying to go back to my magazine seemed pointless. Determined to give her something more than what is in the preschool primer I tell her that she can talk to God any time she wants by becoming still and quiet. All she has to do is lay back in the tub, close her eyes and talk away. Then remain still and quiet and God will talk back.

Sort of to my surprise, she did it. She quietly laid back and arose a few minutes later. "Hey, you are right Mom it works. I did talk and I did see God. Maybe I should tell Ben so he can check up on Joe." "Uh huh baby," is all I could muster.

Next week perhaps she'll ask about the vocabulary word proselitize, until then I'm sure Ben's parents might want to tackle this one themselves.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This Brought To You By General Contracting Today

Our normally scheduled programming of whining till the cows come home about the whereabouts of our second daughter currently living somewhere in China has been interrupted by general contacting fun. I apologize since I'm pretty sure no one truly cares about roofing shingles and the exact placement of cable wires and light switches.

However, it is big news here over on the cul-de-sac. Just ask the neighbor children. Apparently I've been paying decent money to entertain several children with bulldozers, wet mud, loud nail guns, and mushy cement for the last 4 weeks. I'd go door to door and charge the nominal fee as payback but I've heard that there are a few mothers of napping babies that might hunt me down in in gang land fashion to whip me for employing noise makers during the 1pm nap time hour. I'm keeping a low profile to avoid civil unrest...and to protect me from the most vicious of all human creatures, the tired mothers of un-napped children.

So, as I breathe quietly here behind the picket fence I'm watching this....

And this....

Riveting, I'm sure if you will not be the ones cozying up to that future built-in window bench to watch the cardinals chase the robins through the window.

Oh yes, I almost forgot one more thing. How could I forget it as it aged me about 10 years? I took Ava to a large public park this afternoon by myself since the Muffin Man is off once again trying to earn buckets of cash to pay for my little "let's add a playroom" idea. I admittedly let my guard down for 1 minute and started chatting it up with another China adoptive mom. She had an 11 month old and I was simply smitten. I looked up from my baby haze and Ava was gone. I circled the play area three times. Running faster each time. No Ava. My heart started beating fast, really fast. I was scanning the crowd for weird looking men. (Stereotype I know but I was panicking.) I was now running in circles trying to remember what she was wearing, I could not. I was screaming Ava Ava Ava after the third circle. The other mothers and fathers stood still not knowing what the hell this crazy lady was screeching about. I saw another play area off in the distance but never once thought she would stray that far, she is only 4 and this play area was clearly a few minutes run from where we were. Scurrying from swings to large slide I made my way screaming for her. I'll be damned if that little kid wasn't happy as pie making a new friend at the top of a 2 story clubhouse slide. I swear I did not know whether to kiss her uncontrollably or yell at her for wandering off. I gained composure, and did a little of both. I felt like a complete idiot. Slacker mom for sure.

We had a long talk about being able to see Mommy at all times in public, running off is bad. It will put her mother in the crazy house. We took a big chill and made our way home. Now I am letting her walk the new roofing shingles on the addition....just to keep things interesting. Later we are going to play with matches.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Walls, What Amazon Thinks I Should Read, and Flamingos

Today's update in the ever inspiring saga that is our lives contains a lively melange of goodies.

First, The Wall. No Pink Floyd did not miraculously visit the cul-de-sac. No eyebrows were inadvertently shaved. Thank goodness, especially after the scissors meet the pigtail debacle of January 2006. One pigtail is all this momma could honestly sacrifice this quarter.

Look, walls. Real walls. Or the beginnings of walls anyway. I pulled out a tape measure and started planning where furniture will go. But since the budget is a little tight...and we will be robbing Peter to pay Paul in the furnish the new play room department I had to put away the tape measure. Nonetheless, I am not discouraged. Quite the contrary really. Real walls people!

Second, What Amazon Thinks I Should Read. I got this in my email box today from the wise old sages at

Store-Bought BabySandra Belton

You Save:

Release Date: (May 9, 2006)

Yes, apparently they think that based on my previous buying experience I would appreciate having a book called Store Bought Baby in my personal library. Again with the irony. I think that I will simply make a conscious choice to let this one go and not send hate mail to Amazon flunkies. Although, then again if I were in the right mood this could be highly entertaining for me for at least 30 minutes.

Third. Flamingos. I am obsessed with them. I saw them at the zoo last week and found some material in hot pink and black and haven't been able to stop myself for sewing them up. Here are the first two of 5 handbags. I swear I am not usually terribly preppy or girlie girl ( I own an embarassing number of Birkenstocks) but when you find a flamingo that agrees with gotta go with the flow.

Aren't they the bees knees?

And finally...Ava Jing is completely and utterly bored with all the excitement that surrounds our little corner of the world. She is not embarassed to show it either.

Now, how's that for a "cutest kid in the world shot" for a peace out?

I know that I am not exactly fairly and equitably unbaised...but that's a cute kid. Come on.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Goods

There is not one thing happening on the adoption front. Unless you count this impulse purchase at Target. Actually, it wasn't exactly that. Mine are better. They are green with a red lady bug on each foot. Just couldn't find the picture on the target online site...but you get the drift.

So, what's a girl to do?

1. Shamelessly watch a bunch of workmen in my backyard from a cushy chair sipping lemonade. I had that oh wow, this is truly obnoxious watching them work their little buns off laying my new stamped concrete patio while I sit on my ass too lazy to even push my daughter in the swing.* So, I remedied that situation by offering them some lemonade and chips. (Previously snacked upon bag of chips but it was the thought that counts right?)

2. Dye Easter eggs with my babe. 2a. Read preschool handout about families who do not explain the true meaning of Easter to their children choosing instead to focus on the secular Easter Bunny and accompanying Easter mania that involves fun basket of goodies. ( I suppose that you might be able to guess their opinion of these heathen folks.) 2b. Throw away handout and head out towards Target for super fun albeit secular Easter basket stuff!

3. Let creative juices flow and sit down at sewing machine to create these fun handbags. I don't even know exactly what I am going to do with them yet. But a 50% off sale at the fabric store is nothing to sneeze off. I have fabulous pink flamingo fabric complete with obnoxiously cute pink trim for next week. More pictures to come.

Peace in the season folks....
Signing off...I have about 600 jelly beans to eat.

*Not a picture of my backyard but the concrete patio is very similar to our new area. Actual photos to follow next week.

Friday, April 07, 2006


It's Spring Break time over here at Twoladybugs. Wouldn't I just love to tell you that we are basking in the glorious sun of Cabo San Lucas, or the sandy beaches of Emerald Isle, NC, or St. Thomas USVI? Instead we are bidding everyone a big hello from the rather chilly sometimes gray skied Motown. Yes, Southeastern Michigan...Detroit folks.For all that Detroit lacks in the sun, sand and beach department it gains in the Grandpa Grandma department. And when you are 4 it is all about who is willing to succumb to preschool charming pleas of "play with me Grandpa, I spy with my little eye something gold." My poor father has certainly earned his racing stripes with most hours played with wickedly cunning and cute pleas for 24 x 7 attention.

So that is what my Ava has been up to. Me? I thought I'd be keeping up in blogland and yahoo group rumorville for impending adoption of Ava's sweet tempered mei mei. (See, I am sort of counting on a laid back sweet huggy bear baby...stay tuned for a reality check.) Alas, best laid plans have been Grandma had to use HER computer for the better part of the week for HER business venture. Oh, the nerve leaving me unnplugged. So I admit the first two days feeling a little twitchy at 3pm in the afternoons not being able to get my internet fix. I contemplated starting a consulting firm for adoptive parents addicted to blogging and those ridiculous but candy to the diabetic yahoo groups in my spare time.

Then, a strange thing happened. I went with my brother, dad, and daughter to the park. And to the fancy schmancy mall. I watched ladies in crocodile 4 inch heels wabble around that hoity toity mall, now that's entertainment. I witnessed my always in control but newly retired father spontaneously purchase a pair of Keen walking shoes just for fun! He told my brother and I a few times that he had not planned on buying shoes that day, ahhh a stretch of the human spirit. I ate at a new Italian bistro for lunch. We visited a children's museum in Ann Arbor. I focused on all the children my child was making friends with at the park. I studied the children playing before me. I saw my child completely outsmart a child 2 years her senior at a game of tag by using her mind rather than her much shorter legs to outrun the competition.

Why am I mentioning all the mundane things we experienced on spring break? Because they were unplugged...and simple, and filled with how life is at this moment. Pure unadulterated life in the NOW. In my unplugged status, I've been happy. And can I tell you I haven't even had a Matt and Katie Couric fix with coffee and hazelnut creamer in almost 1 week? It's serious justification for time with the internets this coming week.