April 26, 2007

A request

Posted in The musings of Erin at 6:12 pm by Erin

My beautiful IRL friend Courtney, who comments on here frequently, is going through a heartbreaking situation.  I don’t feel right divulging her private details without her permission, but I know she could use your thoughts and prayers for her family.

Courtney, I love you and I’m so very, very sorry.  I wish you were home in Atlanta, so I could be there physically–I wish I could do more than send my love and prayers for all of you.

April 20, 2007

Ouch… (Now updated with photos)

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:57 am by Erin

One of my students was eating salt and vinegar potato chips, and I mentioned that I can’t seem to get enough of them lately.  She said, "It’s the salt.  When you’re not pregnant anymore, you probably won’t be able to stand them again."

Now I’ll give you that I haven’t had my period since February, but I’m reasonably (i.e. 100%) sure that’s because I’m on birth control pills.  I’m definitely not pregnant. 

She looked absolutely mortified when I said "I’m not pregnant.  I’m adopting, but I don’t think I get to gain weight for that."  (I’ve mentioned our adoption to my students before, so this wasn’t a surprise to most of them.)

I know I have a tummy.  I’ve had it since long before P was born, pretty much since I turned 20.  It’s a little bigger than it was before I had P but I don’t think I look pregnant.  I weigh what I did when I got pregnant with him (OK, 2 pounds more).  I haven’t gained any weight since being on birth control.  I’ve been exercising 6 mornings a week since January, except for two weeks I took off because I was sick.  Admittedly, I haven’t lost any weight through exercising, but I feel stronger.  I thought the lack of weight loss was because muscle weighs more than fat, and I was actually building muscle.

Apparently, I’m living in a world of delusion and I’m actually a pregnant-looking infertile on birth control pills.

I’m going to do some sit-ups now.


Do I look pregnant in these pictures?100_2656  This is what I wore to work.  OK, maybe my pooch is bigger than I realized:100_2657

But just in case anyone wondered (it was going to expire before we start TTC again anyway): 100_2661

And here’s what I’m about to do100_2662 now that I’m home:

One of the latter

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:00 am by Erin

There are posts I want to write, posts I feel like I should write, posts I don’t want to write, and posts I feel like I shouldn’t write.

You can guess which category this one falls under.  I don’t even know if I’ll post it.  But I think I need to write it for myself, even if I don’t post it.  I need to get my thoughts and feelings clear.

First, some really boring background: I went to a small private Jewish school for elementary school.  Small as in there were 3 of us in my 4th grade class, none of whom lived anywhere near me and thus weren’t in my regular school district.  When I went to the public middle school, I knew almost no one.  There were a few girls I knew from Girl Scouts and some others from my neighborhood, but I had been placed in honors classes and there were only two girls that I knew (one of whom I didn’t like).  I made friends with another girl quickly and we were inseparable through the rest of middle school–it was always Erin and Becca together.  Even though I got to know some other people, I never really became good friends with anyone. 

We had a falling out at the beginning of 9th grade and never regained any sort of friendship after that.  So I was desperately lonely through 9th and most of 10th grade.  I started making some friends near the end of 10th grade, started dating my ex-boyfriend at the end of that year, and made friends through him.  The next year I started working and met other people.  No one who was a great friend, but fun people to hang out with.  And others who I would be friends with just to have a friend.

Two years of utter loneliness during the hormonal early teen years shot my self-esteem to hell.  It led to a lot of the bad decisions I made in high school–I was so desperate to fit in that I did a lot of things I wish I hadn’t done.  I’m just thankful no one offered me drugs during that time because I probably would have done them, just to have "friends".

In college, I made friends on my own.  I was away from home and knew no one, and forced myself to be outgoing.  It worked and I did make friends.  J was one of the first and is, to this day, my best friend (of course).  But I made other friends and have enduring friendships from that time to this day.  College was as happy as high school was miserably unhappy.  If people offered me pot then, I knew I could turn it down without hearing "You’re a loser–we can’t be friends anymore."  I knew I could say no and they would say OK, and that would be the end of it. 

There are some cases where I know that I could go for years without talking to someone and still have a fantastic friendship when we do pick back up.  My college roommate is one of those people.  She’s very busy and is lousy at e-mailing so we often go for a long time without communicating.  When we do talk, we can talk about anything.  In other cases, I’m woefully to blame for not keeping touch with people who I really do love and care about, and that eats at me.  I have to admit that MySp@ce has been quite helpful to find some people I wondered about–even Becca from middle school!

Even though I have shortcomings in some of my friendships (and I accept full blame for that), to this day, I put up with a lot to remain friends with someone because a part of me still remembers that loneliness and will do almost anything to avoid it.  I’ll take on total responsibility for maintaining a friendship.  And I have to wonder: if someone never calls or e-mails you, and you don’t hear from them for months unless you make the effort, and they don’t include you in major events of their lives, are they really a friend?  Or are you clinging to something they’d rather let go of?  And if so, should you talk to them about it or just let it go and let them make the first move next time?

I wonder about this because I’ve had this experience lately.  Several people who I thought were becoming pretty good friends who don’t call or do anything; if I don’t call or e-mail, I never hear from them.  We all live busy lives and I feel like if I’m going to make an effort to keep them in my life, I wish they would reciprocate occasionally.  But then again, I can be lousy at keeping in touch myself and it doesn’t mean I don’t care, just that I’m lousy at keeping in touch sometimes.  At the same time, though, if something major is going on in my life (finishing my dissertation and graduation, a new job, adoption news, P’s birthday, etc.), I keep them involved and let them know because it means a lot to have them supporting me.  When even those events in other people’s lives don’t bring communication, I start to question whether it’s a friendship or if I’m just being clueless.

I shouldn’t post this.  I’m probably just being clueless and need to stop forcing friendships where they  probably don’t exist.  I’m not desperate for friends anymore.  It’s just hard to let go of something like that when there’s no closure.

April 17, 2007

I’m so glad I found teaching

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 12:53 pm by Erin

There are times when I want to bang my head against the wall in frustration at students who just don’t listen, as I did earlier today as my co-worker laughed in empathy.  There are times when I want to cry because I feel like I’m missing that one crucial thing that will make the lightbulb turn on in my students’ heads.  There are times when I laugh ruefully and wonder how they graduated high school without knowing how to write a grammatically-correct sentence.

Then there are other times when I feel like this is what I’m meant to do.  The switch flips and the lightbulb shines through so brightly that I feel I’ll be blinded by it.  Hearing that a student has gotten into a particularly challenging school.  Helping create a path through the advising maze.  Reading a particularly good lab report from a student who has told me that they just hope to pass the semester and knowing they don’t have to worry.  Talking to a student who didn’t understand the interest in biology until she took my class–her father is a biology teacher and she feels like my class has given her a new connection with him.

Yesterday held one of those moments for me.  One of my students has been nominated for some sort of national scholarly award.  As part of it, she is asked to nominate a professor who has had a particular influence on her for an educator’s award.  She asked if it would be OK if she nominates me.  She finds my class interesting enough that she has considered switching her major.  I am so flattered, words can’t even begin to describe it.

All of the hell of graduate school and dealing my advisor led to this.  It was so completely worth it.

April 12, 2007

There are no words…

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:33 am by Erin

None at all.  Go to Snickollet.

April 11, 2007

Game ON!

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 7:14 am by Erin

My birth certificate came yesterday!  It’s here, it’s here, it’s really here.

It was the expedited one that came first.  I know because when I got home, J said "You paid $70 for your birth certificate?!"  I pointed out that we were still waiting on the $30 one and I consider it $70 well spent to save us however much longer it will take for that one to get here.  Particularly since we can mail our entire completed homestudy paperwork to the agency TODAY and our homestudy will be complete.

He agreed.

So today, I will sign our tax return and we will mail this enormous packet to our agency.  I’ll also call our social worker to let her know that we’ve mailed it to them, as she requested that we do.  They should have it tomorrow or Friday at the latest.  Our homestudy will be written and complete, and then we can turn our attention to the I-600A.

I know that will take a while, but I’m eager and glad to have this first hurdle cleared.

April 10, 2007

How to be a good parent 24-aholic

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 12:48 pm by Erin

The scene: A cozy evening in Erin and J’s red family room, a thoroughly warm and inviting room. 

The heroine: Erin, certified 24-aholic, clad in tacky flannel pajamas and penguin slippers, sits in the blue recliner with her feet propped up.  A slice of Kosher for Passover cake and a glass of water sit on the table beside her, a pile of papers to be graded sits on her lap.

The time: Just after 9 p.m. on Monday night

The TV: Turned to Fox

The pile of papers sits, forgotten, as Erin is enthralled by images of Jack Bauer and President Gary Payton cross the screen. (Just a side note to say that I love Dave Barry.  Not as much as Jack, though.)  The pitter patter of little footsteps coming down the stairs goes unnoticed until a small blond head pokes into the room and says "I want you to tuck me in, Mama."

Erin’s thought processes whirl around: Are you crazy????!!!  TWENTY-FOUR IS ON!!!

Thankfully, there is a very small time-delay between Erin’s thoughts and what comes out of her mouth (most of the time).  Instead of saying that, she asks "Where’s Daddy?"  Erin knows for a fact that J tucked this small boy into bed half an hour earlier.

J, as it turns out, is in the shower.  J takes very long showers.

Does Erin stop watching a television show to put her child to bed?  No.  But neither does she send him up alone.

Instead, she puts a big smile on her face and says, "Would you like to share my cake?"  Of course, the small boy says yes.  Together, they cuddle in the big blue recliner, eating cake and being very, very quiet.  Erin tries to get the small boy to look away but he refuses, and Erin finds herself saying "That wasn’t very nice of that man, was it?"  She gets the brilliant idea to tell him that when the numbers come onto the screen, it will be time to tuck the small boy into bed.

Shortly thereafter, the numbers ticking off the time appear and the small boy heads up to bed with his head on his mother’s shoulder.  He is tucked in and a song is sung, and he promptly falls asleep.*

What a nice ending.**

*Erin then races back downstairs and is appalled that she’s missed TWO MINUTES of the show.

**The nice ending, of course, covers up the fact that the small boy was up until well after 9 p.m. on a "school night", that Erin wouldn’t leave the TV to bring him upstairs, that she promptly fed him sugar-laden cake at well past his bedtime, and that he was watching a scene in which Jack is "interrogating" a terrorist.  Eeps.

April 9, 2007

Mother Nature gets even

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:12 am by Erin

That whole lack of sleep for several weeks?  Yeah, about that.  It turns out that a body has limits and will break down if you exceed them.  I have a miserable cold.  For the last week, I’ve had multiple asthma attacks a day–before that, I’d gone several years since I’d last had one.  I’ve got a migraine.  O haven’t exercised in a week.  My in-laws are coming back tonight for dinner on their way to the airport, and it’s still Passover, which means I will come home from a full day at work and cook dinner for 5 people.  And if I eat any more potatoes, I’m going to start sprouting eyes in weird places myself.

The fact that the temperature has been below freezing the last few nights, which has killed my beans, isn’t helping.  My tomatoes would have suffered the same fate but for the fact that they’re in hanging baskets and we’ve been bringing them in at night.  I think my flower seedlings are goners.  Five hours of work down the drain.

I got plenty of sleep Friday night, and Saturday was pretty good as well.  I started feeling lousy on Saturday and felt wretched all day yesterday.  Did I go to bed early last night?  No, I went to bed around 1 because I had a lot of horrible lab reports to grade.  And quizzes.  And lectures to write that I’d avoided all weekend.  Then I had trouble falling asleep, so I probably got about 5 hours of sleep.  I’m exhausted and feel awful, and it’s only Monday.

I know this Friday is Friday the 13th (and my poor students have a test that day–note to self: write test that’s being given on Friday), but why does my entire week have to suck already?  I have lots of brewing important and weighty posts to write, and my brain has fizzled out.

And where is my damned birth certificate already?!!!

Please tell me about how your weekend was good–I’m going to live vicariously through everyone else.

April 5, 2007

The incredible disappearing/reappearing blogger!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:26 am by Erin

Sorry, sorry, sorry!  Those of you who have e-mailed me to ask how everything went with the homestudy–it went fine.  It was ridiculous how worked up I was about it–she came in, we talked about the neighborhood and schools for a few minutes, then she wrote down some notes about our house.  Just how many rooms it has on each floor, not even "I spied a forgotten clump of dog fur behind the bathroom doorstop" or anything like that.

She’ll write it up as soon as our agency tells her they’ve got all of our paperwork.  We’re now just waiting on my birth certificate.  I even ordered an expedited copy after reading a second website stating that NY says it will be within 4 weeks but can be 8-10…ARGH!  I figured the $70 was well worth it if I get it this week instead of next month.

So all is good in the land of adoption progress, or as good as it can be.  I’m hoping we can get our agency’s waiting child list soon, and perhaps there’s already a little boy waiting for us.  We’ll see!

I disappeared because my in-laws were here last week.  They were here for 5 1/2 days, which is a long time, but we had an almost entirely nice visit.  I managed to upset my mother-in-law when I told her that we don’t plan on sharing our son’s backstory with people (more on all of this later), and she somehow didn’t realize that we were serious about adopting a special-needs child.  But there’s only so much I can do.  She’ll have to work through those things on her own.

They left on Sunday and Passover started on Monday.  We went to the Seder at a co-worker’s house on Monday night, which was absolutely lovely and we had a wonderful time. 

Also keeping me busy was that I gave tests to my 100+ students that had to be graded, in addition to writing the normal lectures.  I don’t know why I like test days so much.  It takes just as much time to write a test as it does to write a lecture and then I’ve got to grade them, which takes forever.  Those all had to be graded by Tuesday morning.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had exactly 3 days when I’ve gotten more than 6 1/2 hours of sleep (last night included).  That includes while my ILs were here–they seem to forget that even though THEY have the day off, we don’t and I don’t particularly want to talk until after 11 at night when I get up before 6 a.m. to exercise and go to work.  Then there was also the encouragement of us to go on a date.  We got back at 1 a.m.  P woke up, as usual, at a little after 7 a.m.  Did my ILs get up with him?  No.  I did.  I nearly dozed off last night while P was brushing his teeth before bed.  While sitting on the side of the tub.

So I decided to forget about grading lab reports and just go to bed (after making some matzah ball soup).  I was in bed and asleep before 10.  At 11, the dogs decided to bark madly enough that I went downstairs and made them come inside (we leave the basement door open so they sleep on the couch in the family room but can go out when they like), and closed the basement door.  It took a few minutes to fall back to sleep..  Then I had one of my Bradley couple’s call at 1:45 a.m. because her water had broken and they were going to the hospital.  For some reason, I decided to check on P.  It was a good thing I did because his intestines had…ah…erupted.  He doesn’t wear a diaper to bed anymore, and it was a mess.  He was, of course, wearing footie pajamas.  P sleeps like a log, so I had to wake him up, strip him, clean him off (try washing off a small and half-asleep boy after 2 a.m…it was miserable), strip the bed (luckily we layer the sheets with absorbent pads between, so I didn’t have to re-make it), and start the laundry.  At around 2:20, I came back to find P in our bed.  He cuddled up to me and I didn’t have the heart to make him go back to his own bed if he was feeling bad.  That sympathy lasted until about 2:45 when I was exhausted and couldn’t sleep because not only had he cuddled up to me, but his head was on my throat.  I brought him into his own room and sat with him until he fell asleep.

Then I went back to bed.  I have no recollection of my alarm going off at 5:45, except for J waking me up and asking if I’d like to get up or have him reset the alarm.  It was reset.  I slept until 7 a.m.  Then I got up, got P up (he’d come back to our bed at some point), got us both dressed, made sure J was up because he had court this morning, made breakfast for P, made breakfast and lunch for both P and I, got dinner ready for J to toss in the oven when he gets home.  I made 3 meals by 8 a.m.  Then I took P to daycare and went to work.

Passover is killing me.  Not only do I not have access to the cereal that P often eats for breakfast (he won’t touch the Kosher for Passover cereal I bought), but I don’t have half the things I eat for lunch.  And I have to figure out how to feed him at his non-Jewish daycare.  I’ve never had to worry much about that before.  When he was a baby, he was still nursing.  When he was 1, none of the kids knew what they were eating and sending him a different meal wasn’t any problem.  When he was 2, he was home with me (after I finished my dissertation).  This year, however, the kids know when something is different.  I’m trying to make his meals as close to what his friends are eating as possible.  For example, they had hamburgers yesterday.  So I made hamburgers without ketchup (forgot to buy any K/P ketchup) and substituted matzah crumbs for breadcrumbs.  Today they’re having chicken nuggets, so he’s having some leftover roast chicken cut into nugget-sized pieces.  And there are side dishes, snacks, and desserts to deal with.  He’s been appeased so far with his "special lunch food!"  Let’s hope that lasts until Passover is done.

OK, I’ve just caught you up on my entire last week.  I swear J figures in there also.  As soon as there’s something to tell you, I’ll do so.  Right now, though, everything is quiet and, if not peaceful, then settled.