Thursday, August 11, 2011

Walking Through Doors

When we were in China in September of 2002 adopting Ava, those first few days were admittedly grueling.  We were the happiest we had even been, the Muffin Man and me. We had the child of our dreams after surviving years of infertility and then my cancer.  Meeting Ava truly was a dream come true for us, an emotional high like we had never experienced.  For Ava, not so much. She grieved for someone, whom we never met.  She cried, she screamed, she refused to sleep, she needed to be constantly overstimulated to ignore and deal with the massive and unwelcome change in her life.

A few days of that and the Muffin Man and I were exhausted to say the least.  Of course, I had prepared for this moment in our lives by educating myself on several Chinese history eras.  I had taken Mandarin. This might be another reason why the change was so hard for us.  Had I to do it over again, I might have put down Mao's little red book and picked up something more along the lines of attachment bonding in institutionalized children.  Lessons learned.

While we were in China dear travel mates showed up at our room at one point.  They were experienced parents and were convinced they could calm our baby.  They tried, and Ava screamed harder rejecting their attempt to cuddle her, as she rejected us.  As they left our room walking out our hotel room Mr. dear travel mate said to me, "This too shall pass and she will be skipping off to kindergarten before you know it."

I'll never forget the sight of him walking out that door, leaving us to again attempt to calm our beloved baby.  I couldn't imagine he would be right.  The thought of kindergarten seemed about as close as the possibility of us boarding a rocket ship.  

But he was right.  Now that baby walked through our front door and is starting 4th grade.  Her baby sister, is now the kindergartener.  And, for the first time in 9 years the house is quiet from 7:45am to 3pm.

  As they skipped out the front door and over to the bus stop, I was reminded of those sage words in China.  "Before you know it she will be in Kindergarten." 

Liv saw the bus, squealed with delight and immediately hopped on. She gave a short wave and that was it.  It was like that tiny body got swallowed up by a huge yellow sponge.  There was no fear walking through that door.  You have to admire that in a kid.

And there it is.  One of life's biggest milestones met, wearing a backpack as big as she is while wearing a pink dress.  

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Where Eggplant Is Hidden

After the "You have the bum gene mutation that makes you more susceptible to cancer" discussion at  the oncologist's office earlier this summer, I made the decision to eat better. Admittedly this started as a need to control something, anything really, when feeling so darn out of control walking out of 5 doctors offices in June alone.  

Now I'm pretty much convinced that following the anti-sugar, no white flour, no white potato, no white rice, no wheat diet is the way to go.  Anything, that is of the vegetable and fruit persuasion = me living far and beyond my wildest dreams.  Possibly living long enough to irritate my children while bossing them around giving unsolicited advice regarding grandchildren. 

Maybe I have become extremely motivated due to my admitted fear of hearing "You have cancer" again, but this diet change isn't that hard.  I make sure I am never hungry, in my opinion this is the only way to follow any specific diet...if you are hungry you will fail.  I am eating eggs, small amounts of chicken, plain yogurt, cottage cheese and almonds for protein.

Sadly, I am no accomplished short order cook.  The kids have had to sort of shall we say, adapt to the new environmental changes happening in the pantry.  There have been some lively discussions about the difference between a democracy and a benevolent dictatorship.  Our house being the latter. 

Enter Eggplant For Lunch

Today I found a recipe for Baba Ganoush.  Just saying it out loud makes me happy.  How could anyone not like something called Baba Ganoush?  Plus, I had 2 eggplants from my CSA farm share that needed to be eaten. 


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini  ( made my own, sesame seeds and olive oil in cuisanart)
  • 1/2 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
  • 1 clove crushed garlic


  1. Wash both eggplants, and pierce them with a knife. Place eggplants on a cookie sheet, put them in a 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. After eggplants are baked and cooled, peel the skin off. Put eggplant in a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, olive oil, and plain yogurt. Mix ingredients until smooth. Stir in tahini according to taste. When all ingredients are added, transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Stir in teryiaki sauce and garlic. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

I tasted it and it's delicious.  Now the tougher customers were called.

Since they appeared at the table dressed as warrior princesses, I told them times are tough, wars are being fought and they needed to pull on their big girl warrior panties and eat while they could.  And, I bribed them with 1/2 a turkey on wheat as well. 

 Usually my toughest critic, this one at least posed with the Baba Ganoush. Then told me she wouldn't eat it.   I countered with "Seriously, there is no peanut butter today.  Eat or go play."  She ate. 

She is now a converted Mediterranean warrior princess.   And I am no longer staring at two eggplants wondering what the heck to do with them.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tales From The Stage

Ava is my natural performer.  She sings like a lark, doesn't seem to feel self conscious in front of people, and has been practicing all summer on and off for her audition for the school play this fall.  Try explaining the irony and possible inappropriateness of a Chinese born adoptee singing Maybe from the Annie Musical as an audition piece for a grade school musical to a nine year old.  The sad thing is she can rock that tune, jury is out as to whether she'll be singing that one at the September tryouts.
Liv has no interest at all in becoming Sandra Bernhardt.  She would probably rather have her toenails pulled out than sing a solo in front of an audience. She would also try nothing new, eat nothing new, or experience nothing outside of her small comfort zone if I didn't gently push her baby bird butt out of the nest once in a while.  

 So, when the opportunity came about last week to participate in a small singing and dancing camp I brow beat strongly suggested Liv participate along with Ava.  In her world, since she had to be part of a small group of younger siblings who were dressed as couch potatoes, this only added insult to injury.  For the record, all the other 5 year olds thought my couch potato costumes were awesome.  Liv rolled her eyes at me like I was suggesting she drink ginger ale at a fraternity party to make it look like she might be drinking a gin and tonic.   

This is quite frankly as close as she got to a smile on stage.  But, I give the kid credit, she did it.  After the show she told me she was wishing her group would have gotten to take part in two songs rather than one.   Perhaps it wasn't communist style prison torture after all?   

I decided not to share the comments with her I overheard from another family in the audience who loudly  pointed Liv out while saying that she was so cute, but why did she look so serious?  I was standing next to the mother who made the comment.  She obviously thought one of the blond haired blue eyed smiling children belonged to me? 

Oh the theater, it's full of drama. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New Etsy Order

These little cuties are going out in this afternoon's mail. 

 Their new home is experiencing a wedding. 
 I think the bride's maids will be experiencing new wristlets. 
 Just big enough for a cell phone, lipstick, id, and some money or credit cards...or both!  Just small enough for a bride's maid to get her hiney onto the dance floor next Saturday night.  Does anybody electric slide anymore?  Am I dating myself by asking that question?  Don't answer that. 

Custom order done.  Now to think about some new items to pop in the ETSY store.  It is sad and lonely over there, all empty.  Kidlets go back to school next week. This leaves time for creating.  Or that is the plan anyway.  (She says with fingers crossed.)