Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top Ten List

I read A LOT in 2012. It became my year of self-medicating through reading YA books. Since I have all this fabulous wisdom just out of sheer volume of attempts at finding good stuff to read I thought I should share it in a top ten list, these are not books necessarily published in 2012 that just happens to be when I read them. Top Ten Books I read in 2012 1,2,3 Lumatere Chronicles -Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn The best trilogy I've read yet. Fell in love with Melina Marchetta as an author and inhaled each of her books like a long awaited lobotomy. Genre: YA fantasy it's complicated and a little dark Favorite Part: I've never loved characters more. And even though it is super complex with a million characters and hard to keep track of it all ties together with a cherry on top in a way that you didn't expect. Brilliant. 4. The Fault In Our Stars-also fell in love with John Green. We have the exact same birthday. I read all his books and this was my favorite. Augustus may be my favorite male character ever. The clever repartee just never gets old for me. I wish people in my life talked this way. I have a feeling that John Green really does. 5. Code Name Verity-so well done when it's over you are not sure what hit you. Must be prepared to think a little. World War II story. Friendship, loyalty, sacrifice...even humor (no nooky) 6. The Scorpio Races-Maggie Stiefvater Makes me smile just thinking about it. It a fantasy story that doesn't feel like fantasy at all. Beautiful sibling relationships and secondary characters. I love alternating boy/girl chapters as a format. 7. Tie. Graceling & Fire by Kristin Cashore. They are companion novels. YA Fantasy Loved them both, Fire's character was a little whiny but Brigan was superb. Katsa and Po are perfect but in a just right imperfect kind of way. Even though they have magic powers and all still come across as relatable. I love epic journeys and self-sacrifice. 8. Birthmarked series- Caragh O'Brien. YA dystopian. Love that she is scarred and in the second two books no one cares. I love that she is a midwife and that makes her powerful. I love codes and the figuring out of unsolvable mysteries. Some parts of these took themselves too seriously. Mostly though she it was a really good story altogether with many unique parts. 9. Under the Never Sky-Veronica Rossi. Not the most original or well written story but I just liked it. It had all the right things. Alternating boy/girl chapters again. I am in love with Perry. Archery, epic adventure, family loyalty, good secondary characters and a future that I can imagine in a terrible way. 10. The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy-Sarah Rees Brennan Now this series actually involves demons. Pause for effect. But I loved it anyway! The broromance is seriously incredible and the relationships, dialogue, odd quirky details....britishness of it all, brilliant. If you can make a demon book cute and quirky and lovable that seems impressive... My top ten list actually has 15 books on it and I only didn't put On the Jellicoe Road on the list because I already put 3 of Melina Marchetta's other books but it was amazing and made it hard for me to read anything else for weeks. Books are so amazing. Nothing is as personal as reading a book, being inside someone else's head and feelings, oftentimes more so than they themselves can manage. They help me escape, answer life's big questions, inspire me, make me feel understood in a way that rarely happens in real life....

Book review

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exciting and twisty of course. Can't say more because I don't want to spoil any of the many surprises!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


My daughter astounds me, she is gorgeous she is brave she is strong she is strong willed she is persistent she is determined.
She makes me feel absolutely out of my mind crazy.
Attachment is grey. So very grey. She can’t be in a room alone. She says the same thing a hundred times. She acts like she can’t do things for herself and then if you try to do it becomes indignant. She acknowledges and discusses nothing from her past.
When asked a direct question she still cannot determine whether the answer is yes or no.

Control issues. Power struggles. Language barrier. Culture shock. Bad parenting.
Where do I point my finger?
When dealing with a clump of behaviors trapping a cute little person inside of themselves how do you attack the behaviors without attacking the cute person?
I have a million questions.
My day is filled of half thoughts and uncertain plans. Should I get therapy for Post Adoption Depression? Should I get her therapy for attachment issues? Am I the problem? The whole problem. Will this just get better with time? It has gotten better.
So much better. But, I feel so afraid of the next decade, the next 3 decades. I want her to
Be a joyful person. I want to be a joyful person again.
Here I go again with the monkey brain. I need to keep my head in the game but I can’t keep track of what sport we’re even playing here right now.
So many things go right. She makes great eye contact, seeks me out, is very affectionate (if in a controlling way) she sleeps well (finally), she seems to have started loving me a little, not just needing me. But yes where there is a yang we have to have a few dozen yings.
There are so many positives and I think sometimes maybe it’s all about perspective and attitude, if I just focus on the good stuff the rest will dissipate naturally. But, each day
Is so frustrating. So hard.
We can’t have a conversation. When will I be able to talk to her about her feelings, about mine, about Anything!
Attachment is about reciprocity in my mind.
My daughter and I are like a moon chasing down a planet, we’re spinning and spinning around and around but is there any chance our orbits will ever connect?
Expectations….will slay you every time.
I expected her to be a wreck. I expected myself to be able to handle it.
She has done so much better than I thought she would or could even. I have disappointed myself so deeply I’m thinking of changing my name.
My mantra in life is to spread the love. Thinking that I have a deep well of it, enough to go around plentifully.
Only to find that I am hollow on the inside. So who am I after all?
I never expected to find an ugly core inside myself.
Where does the anger come from.
Where do we go from here?
When I read these blogs
and all about all this great attachment, loving, giving parenting going on out there I am humbled and inspired. I want to focus on how good it makes me feel that there are all these incredible people out there in a world that often leaves me feeling discouraged. I am trying hard NOT to focus on the fact that all these amazing families out there going through what I am going through seemingly without complaint,
Without missing a beat makes me feel inadequate and flawed.
9 months together I feel my soul returning to my body. Days go by without either
Of us screaming (I’m pretty sure that’s true?) I get hundreds of kisses a day.
Reading about other people experiencing the same confusing dichotomy of emotions
Has been the best therapy I could ask for. I am not alone. This is what it looks when a
3 year old loses everything and has to start from zero, this is how you survive it.
“Keep on keepin' on, only stop being so damn pathetic.”-il panettiere….
This is my new mantra.
9 months together, maybe We are ready to be born.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Matt and Heather are off to Haiti. I can't stop crying the last few days.
We have been on the wait list 8 months now for our Ethiopian adoption and although that in and of itself is not unusual things are changing there, the laws and requirements are being adjusted. This is to ensure that families adopting and relinquishing children are prepared and understand the full implications of this process which is essential and cannot be criticized. It feels like walls are being built in front of me and I can't find the doors. However my heart is so full of this little girl that I haven't met but lingers about me like a shadow. Every plan I go to make and so many of the ordinary moments that get overlooked seem painful to me right now.
Matt and Heather are going to a children's home outside of Port au Prince and we are told that you cannot sleep much there for the needs of the babies that demand comfort. They will meet little girls who have seen the worst kind of hurts and they will snuggle them and make them laugh. I dream of another little girl and wonder if there is someone to make her laugh, to give her a snuggle. I am struggling with the inequities. I always struggle with them but right now my brain is in hyperactive vigilante mode. I want all of the kids to have enough, not more and not less. I am frustrated with the mothers I see, so caught up inside of their own families. I understand it but it is so self defeating. If all we think about is our own kids, ourselves, our houses....the world gets smaller and lonelier. When we can push ourselves and our kids and love other children that are not our own and sacrifice the dumb crap to weigh in on the side of good and hope then we won't feel small and alone and we can forget ourselves for a little. That is where joy lies.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

53 Countries in Africa

There are 53 countries in Africa. When Matt and I tried to
list as many as we could last night we got to 32. Sad.
I am going to keep practicing. Also, discovered that Ethiopia
is third behind Nigeria and Egypt for the largest populations
in African countries. I had no idea. 75,000,000 people live
there! We got bunk beds today which is exciting cause I am anxious
to feel like we are getting the house ready for a 4th person. Joya
is sick but tomorrow we are going to go pick out the paint color for
her room. Maybe I'll start painting this weekend. I cleaned out closets
today and the living room is all piled up with stuff to get rid of
which is satisfying. Joya's a terrible sick person and is crying a lot
and clinging to me. I am amazed that maybe all this brooding and processing
and reading and stewing are actually effecting me because...I am actually
able to sit with her patiently, to read endlessly, to just be here with
her right now and not be freaking about what I'm not doing. This is
a big deal. I can really do this. Well of course I can but I mean can really
adopt a little girl and change my life, our lives, and doing this huge
important thing that I've always needed to do can be enough for me.
You have to pull on yourself in order to stretch and grow....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Checking in with an old friend

We are waiting for the referral for our ethiopian adoption
it could be anytime now so I am spending a lot of my energy looking
inward and trying to make sense of myself and my place in this
too crowded world and find strong places I can go and dip from when
this little girl won't give me any space when I know that I really like
wide open spaces. I am scared and humbled and can't wait and shamed
and achey and it still feels not quite real which at least that part has in
common with my pregnancy. We are spending a lot of time and emotional, mental energy on the adoption and my family and making our lives something that we are proud to be living.
We also are quite obsessed with the actual fact that we are changing the climate of our planet and that during our life times things are going to really way or another. This is something that is haunting and twistedly appealing at the same time if that makes any sense.
Sometimes I am surprised and pleased with my day to day and how I spend my time
but others I can't believe how short I've fallen from where I wanted myself to go.
(like why does Obama get the nobel peace prize instead!?)
But, I am very lucky and joyfull and live a great life and I do try really hard which
counts for something I think.

Powerful Choices

I live in a house of Miracles but even I, surrounded by them day in and day out have trouble recognizing them for what they really are. Women have babies in each moment as the earth spins in space and the universe everlastingly expands and it is nearly impossible for us to wrap our minds around the opportunity and power in that.

Right now, in our time, people are screwing things up for more than seven generations of all life on this planet. It is a fact, a well known and often discussed fact but still somehow inappropriate to talk about in polite conversation.

A regular laugh killer if you will.

There are consequences for the choices we make in our lives. Right now there are too many people in the world. Millions of them are starving, displaced, raped, tortured, abused, ignored, alone. Right now there are too many people using too much in this world. So, here we are in our perfect little bubble and we have a kid. We have the luxury and great misfortune of enough free time to totally over think every aspect of childrearing. The whole world is getting warmer. We are looking at worldwide catastrophic disaster within our lifetime and still our thoughts are consumed with concerns over whether or not to let your baby cry for five or ten minutes before swooping into to rescue them because apparently otherwise they will be miserable and dysfunctional for life. Yes, please let’s raise our children to believe that they should never be in the least bit uncomfortable, that their happiness is paramount to all else that might be going on anywhere ever and that they and only they are the most important person in all the world. That is what we’re going for here, right? No you should never be unhappy for one moment you precious American privileged brat. Mama won’t hesitate to put you in the car and drive you for as long as it takes so you will go to sleep and not cry because apparently when you have a child of your own you lose all perspective and stop caring about the rest of the babies in the world. Who would let their baby cry for a few minutes just to save some gas? And once the baby falls asleep in the car you have to leave it on so that your baby is not too hot or too cold while they nap. You might as well sit in your car and do nothing because after all, the world is full of problems, why try to solve just one. All this coddling somehow does make sense to us in a way, since there is so much pain and waste in the world. We are just trying to do this one thing with a purity of love and intention. That is where the problem lies though, we feel like we cannot change the big picture so we internalize and confine all our loving kindness to our own living rooms, our own children.

I sound angry and bitter don’t I? In truth, I take my anger at this juncture as a sign of my stubborn optimism. I am a mother, I love my daughter but I also have a great deal of love in my heart for the millions of nameless children out there without parents, without food, without homes. I want to raise my daughter to be tough and independent, resourceful and compassionate. I want her to have the know how to solve problems in a changing world and to use those solutions to help people everywhere.

The power of motherhood lies in the realization that women all over the world love their children as much as we love ours and that the choices we make minute by minute here in the US make horrifying decisions for them that can mean life or death. The power of motherhood lies in teaching our children that they don’t need everything to be new and shiny and perfect. That our children can hold their heads high when reusing clothes and toys. That our children do not always need to get just what they want and be perfectly comfortable in every moment. We do not need more children to grow up with that sense of entitlement. The power of motherhood is about an empathy for other mothers. A love for children, not just your own child. A spark of truth evolving in our consciousness that this way of doing things doesn’t work, isn’t fair and doesn’t create the future that we have been dreaming of. It is our powerful responsibility and heavy, heavy burden to realize that the only hope for a change really, truly lies within our arms. It can’t just be talk it requires a change in our day to day lives, choices and spending. Every time you get in your car to drive somewhere with gasoline imagine a child in Iraq as the bombs fall. Every time you turn on your dryer instead of hanging it on the clothesline force yourself to imagine the consequences of melting ice caps and a world without polar bears, penguins OR Bangladesh. The future of our collective family on this planet depends on our noticing the miracles that surround us, the magic in the natural order. In realizing this, take ownership for the string of the web that we each gingerly hold and acknowledge the enormous weight of that. While some of our children have more than enough today, none of our children that are growing up in this world are secure in the future that we are bringing upon them. This is our time to re-imagine our power—as mothers, caregivers, consumers, daughters, citizens, humans that need water and air to survive—in creating a mutually resource-full and collaborative future for all of our children.