This morning I felt like
sanity was slipping away.
I dreamed last night that
Alesia and I lived in a high rise apartment building with a bunch of other
people I didn't know, and we couldn't find our apartment so we could get to
bed. We were both punchy from lack of sleep. I woke up disoriented.
I forgot to wear earrings
this morning. Now, I'm not a big jewelry person, but I always wear earrings.
Not today. My brain was buzzing with last minute things and I'm lucky I
Work was grueling. I just
slogged through the assignments. About mid morning I checked e-mails and a
young lawyer in New Orleans had sent me a looooong list of things he had to
have right away. Now, my job is getting things for outside counsel, and since
it’s a huge company that requires some ingenuity. That list, however, horrified
me. He had the nerve to call me, and I told him he was not my favorite person.
Fortunately, my supervising attorney helped me pull together everything.
I still had some nausea all
day. It came in waves. The yucky e-mail caused a big wave. Thank goodness for
It was almost 6:00 by the
time I got out of there. I was so glad to be going home.
Mother was wiped out tired,
too, so Alesia and I picked up some hamburgers from Wendy’s and that was my
Oh, I called Delta at lunch
and they informed me the 6:00 flight I wanted was overbooked. My admin
assistant told me there were a bunch of events downtown this weekend, and the
traffic would be terrible. So I am taking MARTA down to the airport at 1 to get
the 4:30 flight.
Alesia and I watched
“Sahara” for our movie tonight. Afterwards she came over and started tickling
me, which is her way of saying she needed a hug. We had a cuddle, and I tickled
her a little, to maintain the façade. She is a big 15 year old and can’t admit
needing mommy. I will miss her terribly.
My last important task
today was to wash my feet. I always take off my shoes when I drive – unless
it’s really cold, which is rare – and my heels get black. I don’t want anybody
to freak out, seeing my black heels. So they have been scrubbed and moisturized
and scrubbed again. What a glamorous life.
For some strange reason,
I’ve been thinking all day that it was Wednesday. It seems unreal that tomorrow
is Friday, and I am leaving the day after tomorrow.
Work was hectic all day. I
work for two attorneys, and the younger one is freaked out that I am leaving.
She is not experienced at being an in-house attorney. She tends to micro-manage
a bit, but she’s pretty nice. I just hope she doesn’t freak out while I’m gone…
I have been experiencing
bouts of mild nausea, which I relate to my monthly cycle. It’s really annoying,
though. Drinking cold Coca Cola and splashing cold water on my face are the
only things that seem to help.
I came home and my friend
Paul came over and brought me the laptop he is loaning me. It’s a pretty nice
machine, even though it won’t run on the battery alone. I should be able to
download and send photos, if they aren’t too big, I think. I can try it. The
main thing will be to keep up with my blog, and work on my book manuscript.
We watched The Witches of
Eastwick tonight. Very funny movie, very 1980’s – I remember well when it came
out. Hardly seems real that was almost twenty years ago.
I have a really hectic day
at work tomorrow, trying to do everything to make sure I leave the desk in good
shape, and don’t leave any unfinished assignments.
For the trip, I’m in good
shape. I just need to make a few copies, and I’m good to go. Finally!
I actually got a good
night's sleep last night, Hallelujah. I am getting enough things crossed off
the pre-trip To Do list so I am not
running around like a nitwit.
I went to the apostille
office on my lunch hour and got two more apostilles of my passport. I don't
understand why they were necessary, but whatever. The agency tells me to get
more documents, I get more documents. The paper chase never ends. Fortunately,
it doesn't freak me out, as it does some people. I am a professional paper
pusher - that's
what lawsuits mostly are, umpteen
million pieces of paper. Now, though, I do an awful lot of work on computerized
databases and with e-mails.
I called Alesia from the
car on my lunch hour and told her I need to go to CVS tonight, and would she
like to go? Of course I knew the answer to that - "YES! Are we going right
now? Are you coming home??" Her listening skills need some work. "No,
AFTER I get home, babydoll, not now." She loves CVS, second only to
When we got to CVS tonight,
I asked her to find a present for her brother, from her. She found a package
with two little solders with little plastic weapons. I said “Your Uncle Bruce
would be so proud. That’s a great boy present. And it’s small so it will fit
nicely in the suitcase.”
We had a fire drill at work
today. I'm chugging along, trying to get everything done, and the stupid drill
goes off. Wasted half an hour of my day. I had to walk down 20 flights of
steps, stand around outside, then back up 4 flights until I could get an
elevator. My legs will be feeling it tomorrow. Thank god I had on my Crocs. One
of my fellow paralegals, who always dresses like a fashion model, was wearing 3
inch heels. After the drill, she was complaining about her feet hurting. I said
"NOW will you buy some Crocs?" What does it take?! If I had worn
those shoes I'd have hidden in the bathroom rather than walk down 20 flights. I
used to keep a pair of old tennis shoes at desk, for years, because I never
knew when an attorney was going to barge in and say "Dee you have to RUN
to the courthouse!"
When I was driving to the
accountant's office last night I looked in the rearview mirror at the guy in
the truck behind me - what else is there to do when traffic is just sitting -
and was jolted. He had on sunglasses, but he looked just like my last
boyfriend. I think this
guy's head was a tad
smaller, but he really reminded me of Jim. I shuddered. When somebody breaks
your heart, you never forget them. I hope it wasn't actually Jim. I like to
pretend Jim is dead, that he died slowly and painfully after being tortured to
death by a giant asparagus. The biggest fight we ever had was how to cut
Bronwyn, Alesia’s main
tutor, called me tonight to tell me how well Alesia is doing with her
schoolwork. I have been a bit concerned, as she is still slogging through the 5th
grade curriculum, although she’s on 6th grade math. Bronwyn said the
5th grade stuff is almost too easy for her. Bronwyn said she thinks
Alesia can one day go to college. I almost cried when she said that - I have
had my doubts, only because of language and her being so unsophisticated.
Alesia has great powers of
reasoning, though. She can reason out things from clues incredibly well. When
anything mechanical goes wrong in the house, we give it to her, and she fixes
it quickly and well. She may grow up to be an engineer. She is also very
creative, though – she showed me a little notebook she made for herself out of
3x5 cards and cut paper, with a beautifully decorated frontpiece. She sewed the
pages together like a book. It fits perfectly inside her small purse, which
pleased her enormously. She makes little things like that all the time. She
made these amazing little jewelry trees to hang her necklaces on, and except
for the scotch tape they look very professional.
We tried an experiment
tonight with bathing Coco. I got Alesia to put her in the tub. So both got
bathed. Alesia is very thorough with bathing Coco – treats her just like a
baby. Coco’s dog shampoo smells wonderful. The dog smells better than me, at
Here’s one thing I will really
miss when I am away. Every night, Alesia and I watch a movie. Little Coco comes
and gets on the loveseat with me, and snuggles under my chin and goes to sleep.
Doesn’t matter how loud the movie is, she sleeps like a little hairy baby. It’s
so adorable. Every night, also, after about ten minutes Coco wakes up, and
looks watchfully behind me for a few minutes, as though someone is standing
there talking to her. I like to think it’s my father, come to check on his
girls. I believe in angels.
I got very little sleep last night and I have been exhausted all
day. I had indigestion last night, probably brought on by some
undercooked spinach. I like to blame green leafy veggies for all my
I am on a message board for parents of older adopted children, and
the favorite thread on there is "I am a mean mom/dad because..." and we
detail how horrible and mean we are - examples: to not let the
children eat an entire bag of Doritos, to not let the child disrupt
class at school, etc. It's actually pretty funny as we all get to vent.
Here's what I wrote yesterday:
I am the meanest mom ever because last night when we were watching a
movie I stopped the movie and told my daughter why the young girls
onscreen were making bad choices by going to a club and drinking,
wearing little clothing. I am so mean because I told her for like the
millionth time that I don't approve of that behavior and why it's bad.
my mean little secret: I let my daughter watch a lot of movies other
kids don't necessarily get to watch, but I stop the movie and lecture
her if the characters onscreen are doing something I don't approve of -
wow am I mean...
of my fellow parents said he thought it was a good idea to use the
movies as teaching tools - I'm happy to get validation where I can. I
don't let her see anything too violent or sexy, in my opinion, but we
watch some movies that make Mother leave the room in disgust. Of
course, that's been a constant theme in my life, LOL. I could pay off
my adoption expenses if I had a dollar for every time Mother has
intoned, "Dee, that's VULGAR." I was grown before I realized that
"vulgar" has an "R" in it.
I had to go to the accountant's
office and sign the tax return, and fork over the money to the IRS,
aaaargh. I told Melvin to not do anything until April 14th. That's the
way to stick it to Uncle Sam-I-Am-Broke...
I also withdrew my
last cash from the bank. I will be loaded down like a donkey in the
Grand Canyon when I am making my way to the other side of the world
I actually broke down and, acceding to Mother's
wishes, booked a room at the Radisson in Astana for Sunday and Monday
nights. I am horrified by the cost, but actually rather relieved to
stay in an American hotel. It's also brand new. I can use the
state-of-the-art bidet to wash my feet.
Alesia came out of dance
class tonight squealing in delight. Nearly shattered my eardrums. She
had gotten her recital costume. The recital isn't until June. Her
costume is adorable - all glittery gray and purple. I will take her
photo and publish it when possible.
I'm off to bed, and to try and get SOME sleep tonight, with the aid of Motrin and Melatonin...
I didn’t go to work this
morning – too much to do. So little time! I picked up my visa from the post
office. I came home and made a series of phone calls to nail down my travel
arrangements, and put the credit card people on alert that I will be traveling.
Finally was able to leave around 11 and get into work. I just felt like I had
to get that done and I feared the lunch hour wouldn’t be enough time.
The Delta flight I need for
Saturday night has no seats in economy, so I will have to sit in business
class. That means the seats won’t be as comfortable – that was my experience
last time, anyway. I also read the dress code requirements – I’m not sure if I
can get away with wearing Crocs. That’s alarming. I live in Crocs. I shudder at
the thought of wearing other shoes on my fat little hobbit-like feet. Until
Crocs, all shoes were simply torture devices for me. I NEED Crocs…
I was researching hotel
rooms in Astana, since I will be staying there Sunday and Monday nights. There
are only about 5 hotels to choose from. One of the hotels was pretty cheap and
didn’t look too bad, but I decided against it when the list of “amenities”
included the toilet. Yikes. I opted for the safe choice, the Radisson. I will
get in very late Sunday night and the Radisson sounds more comforting.
Alesia was very giggly
tonight when we started watching the movie Bend It Like Beckham - I mean
practically hysterical giggling. I figured it was just the Giggle-monster – a frequent
visitor to our house. I finally reached in my robe pocket to take out a couple
of those miniature Hersheys candies I had taken from the living room candy dish,
and the little rascal had stolen them. She was giggly because she had stuck
them in her back pocket and been sitting on them. I'm surprised they didn't
melt! I didn’t eat them of course. I refused to eat Popka candy. [Popka is the
Russian word for buttocks – but a much nicer word, we think.]
I accomplish some travel
things but my mind is always racing ahead to what I didn’t get done. Too many
things, including paying my taxes and bathing the dog. From the painful to the
We went to Sunday school
and church today, and the lesson was basically about introspection. Lent is a
time to look inside yourself and be contemplative, take a moral inventory. It’s
also a time of taking action, of “opening the fridge and confronting the
“science projects” as the pastor said, the “fridge” in the analogy being our
souls. I had to explain that to Alesia in the car going home. We need to work
on her understanding of the word “metaphor.” It was a good lesson.
During the sermon I
pondered all my many shortcomings, including the unconscious desire to take over
and run the Sunday School class this morning. I don’t know what got into
me. [Probably the spirit of my father,
who tried to take over and run the class in first grade, a famous family
story.] I didn’t know that I had that desire, until I found myself jumping into
the verbal fray, so to speak, way too often. I can only excuse it by saying
that despite my outer cool, there is some degree of anxiety over the upcoming
Anxiety is a weird animal,
for me. You can look at me and tell how anxious I am. If I’m in a “fat cycle”
which I’ve been in for several years - well obviously I’m not handling it too
well. If I’m eating reasonably and exercising, I’m OK. I hope to get back to
that state soon. It’s not really the trip itself, or the expense, or even worrying
over things at home. No, my chief worry is whether this child will like me.
He’s 10 years old. What
will he think of this short, fat American woman with weird hair, who burps a
lot and speaks very poor Russian with a great accent? He may want no part of
coming to America or being adopted. As an older child, he will have to go to
court, and if he doesn’t want to be adopted, I can’t force him – nor would I
want to, of course.
His experience with “mama”
– his birth mother – was a woman who neglected him and abandoned him, to the
point he got frostbite and lost his hand. How do I contend with that? The only
strategies I’ve come up with are these, and they aren’t great:
1.Smile a lot [this could backfire – grownup Russians
think smiling people are crazy];
2.Tell him he can call me “Dee”;
3.Use as much of my Russian as possible;
4.Be his friend and don’t come on too strong;
If all these fail, I will
try to choose another child. I am not legally committed to Igor, even though he
is my son already, in my heart. International adoption always has the potential
My other way of dealing
with anxiety – besides trying to run everything – is to just cry. I cry a lot.
I try not to cry in front of others, but lord I’ve shed more tears in the last
few weeks than in the two years before that. It’s like being pregnant, I think.
The Antares Foundation website has a cute photo
of my boy - click on this link and look at the top middle photo, and
he's the little guy all in orange with 2007 across his chest:
After church we came home
and ate a sandwich, and then Alesia and I spent all afternoon on outdoor
projects. It was in the 50’s and windy, so we were not lethargic. The sun was
shining, and sometimes I really need to feel the sun on my face. First, we hung
up the two brightly painted birdhouses we did last fall. We had nothing very
sturdy to hang them with so we used double cords of dental floss. Let’s hope no
fat birds move in.
Secondly, I finally had a
chance to get out the leaf blower my brother gave us for Christmas, and start
blowing the pine straw off the front yard and the lanai. Since we let the lawn
service go, it had piled up. Of course, the first time I fired up the thing I
blew all the straw and dirt right into my own face. Brilliant move. Alesia and I took turns with the blower. The
front yard looks much better. We also picked up some of the heavier pinecones
and sticks and bagged them. I can feel that in my back. I feel great empathy
for my farmer forebears.
Finally we put our
flower-growing project in motion. Last week we bought 3 half-barrels from
Kroger. They are used whiskey barrels form the Jack Daniels distillery in
Tennessee. I once toured that place with my youth group when I was in High
School – we weren’t called “whiskey-palians” for nothing. The other day after a
heavy rain we noticed they had become rain barrels. So Alesia and I went to
Home Depot and bought bricks. We set them on the bricks, so they aren’t fluch
on the pavement of the back patio. We also drilled holes in the bottom, so they
could drain the water. Then again, we don’t want all the soil to drain out.
Phase 3 of the project is buying dirt to fill the barrels. Phase 4 is actually
planting the flowers. Mother will supervise that.
While Alesia was at youth
group tonight, I got a couple of travel prep things done. I called my friend
Paul Ismail, who is loaning me a laptop to take to Kaz. He and his wife Kathy
are new friends. We share a unique bond, with my friend Liza – we all have
adopted Russian teenaged girls. Alesia was the youngest adoptee. Liza’s
daughter Luda is the oldest, at 16. It’s quite a challenge. We are all there
for each other – few people are willing to adopt teenagers, particularly
inexperienced parents like us. Alesia was 13 when I adopted her.
I got 10 little notes
written for Alesia. Mother can pull them out and give them to her when I’m
gone, if she’s missing me, or just stressed out. They are sort of generic, but
they are loving and reassuring. Took longer to write them than I had thought. I
included an inspirational quote in each note – we love quotes. Here’s an
Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but
just look what they can do when they stick together.
— Vesta M. Kelly
Finally, I have to report
with some pride that I made one of Paula Deen’s recipes for dinner tonight.
Mother and Alesia and I all love Paula Deen. We watch her shows, we buy her
books. She reminds me of relatives of mine – she talks like a lot of my
relatives, in fact. Here is a link to the delicious Squash and Zucchini Cakes: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_36087,00.html
I didn’t serve them with
marinara sauce. They reminded me of crab cakes [a favorite dish of mine].
Alesia happily ate them – hallelujah – so they will be cooked again soon.
A friend of mine sent me
this and I had to pass it along –
Bathtub Test It
doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should
help get you started. During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the
Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be
said the Director, "we fill up a bath tub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup
and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub." "Oh,
I understand," said the visitor.. "A normal person would use the
bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup.? "No." said
the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near
DID YOU PASS, OR DO YOU WANT THE BED NEXT
It’s been a weird day, and
a typical day. My emotions have been all over the map.
Alesia had 2 hours of
tutoring this morning, which was good. I am pushing to get her up to speed at
least in Math in English, before next year. She’s doing great with Bronwyn’s
sister, who can come a lot of times when Bronwyn has to work. Plus Lindsey
lives very close to here. What a blessing.
Alesia has been very
excited all day. She got to go rollerskating, at a rink, which she loves.
She had her last art class
at the Spruill Center today. Mom and I went out to lunch while she was in
class. This has been fun – every week, we’ve had a nice lunch someplace in
Dunwoody, which is a far more upscale area than where we live. Gives Mother and
I a chance to talk like grownups, too. There is another class in a few weeks
but she’s not signed up for it – too much going on here at home. She told me
today after the last class that it was boring and she didn’t like the teacher. She
never mentioned those things before. Oh well. She’s very talented as an artist,
if she puts forth the effort.
We came home and putzed
around until time to take Alesia over to the Barr’s house. Alesia had presents
for Elena, their oldest child, who turns 16 tomorrow. Elena is such a sweet
girl. She and her two younger siblings were adopted by the Barrs 3 years ago,
plus they have two bio kids. It’s a lively house. Incredibly nice, good people.
While Alesia was gone, I
looked for some tax stuff, and packed my suitcase. Everything fits, barely! I
am going to limit myself to 4 packed outfits, and just do laundry there. I
always take Woolite on trips so I can do wash. The things crowding the suitcase
are all gifts, though – to the orphanage director, doctor, caretakers, agency
We got a notice in the mail
the visa arrived today, but I have to pick it up from the post office on Monday
morning. I will probably go in late. I have so many things on my To Do list
before I go. One thing I have to do is go by the accountant’s office and finish
taxes. I have to pay, which stinks.
I am starting to see Igor
here, in these rooms, playing with Coco, seeing the house through his eyes.
Alesia came home to a modest condo, but Igor has a nice-sized room in a two story
house with a big yard. It’s not an elegant place, but it’s homey. He may find
it very bizarre. I don’t know what he remembers of his birth mother, if
Next Saturday looms like a
huge thing now, as I want to fly out that night. I will probably be so
exhausted I might actually be able to sleep on the plane!
My heart is so full
tonight. The embassy called me today and said they are sending me my visa.
Funny how one little piece of paper represents my dream of a little boy!
I am listening to a song
called “When Love Takes You In” on a website of a lady who is adopting child #2
from Kazakhstan. The tears that have been backing up all day are finally here,
but they are truly happy tears.
I keep praying God, please
don’t let there be any obstacles – or if there are, help me get through them or
over them – be with me, just like you were with me to get Alesia home. My
precious girl who was “prayed” home - now my precious boy is coming home... I
so long to hold him. He has no idea how much love is waiting for him on the
other side of the world!
I believe in miracles now.
To anyone reading this – miracles ARE
possible. God gave us the greatest magic in the world – Love. We can all tap
into this incredible magic. We can change the world with it.
We got some really heavy storms last night, torrential rains, etc. but we are fine. The tornadoes hit south of us. I understand there are a lot of accidents this morning, though.
Having heard that the visas are actually being issued
now, I was so relieved. I am finally starting to think of this adoption as
actually happening. I have plane reservations booked to leave March 10th, though I can't confirm anything until I get the visa in hand. I will fly overnight to Frankfurt, spend all day the 11th traveling or adjusting to the time change, spend the night Sunday and Monday in Astana, then go to Petro on Tuesday the 13th. With any luck perhaps I can see him on that day.
There was also a new blurb on the
Antares Foundation website with a photo of Igor - it's one of the Thank You photos; you have to click on the photos to advance them. A church in Colorado sent
him school supplies, a watch, and a stuffed monkey, and he said thanks. He likes to wrestle and skate, which is good. One piece of news was somewhat alarming - he is in SECOND grade, at 10 years old! Yikes. I will have to find out
what happened there. Perhaps we can tutor him through the summer and get him up to speed somewhat.