Saturday, June 30, 2007

Technology and I have a love/hate relationship...
I think I was born at the wrong time, as far as technology goes. I'm young enough that I'm supposed to understand how stuff works and use it for work and play. But, I was born before tech stuff had really arrived to the average person and so lack a fundamental comfort and understanding of all things wired. At least that's the excuse that I like to use!

Because my mom forced me, I took "Typing" in high school. I also took "Shorthand" --is there anyone on the face of the planet younger than 35 or so even knows what shorthand is??? I doubt it. I learned to type on a manual typewriter (ding, typewriter slap with the right hand to return to the left margin). It didn't correct, you had to stick a little piece of correct-o-type paper in there and re-type over the letter to white it out. Its hard to believe anything ever got done in those days, it was incredibly inefficient. We had 2 "modern" electric typewriters in the classroom but they were reserved for the two fastest typists in the class and that was NEVER me. I didn't have an electric typewriter until Bobby bought me one when I was in my first year of law school --it had auto correct A WHOLE LINE'S WORTH!!! It was great! So, anyway, that's my excuse for being technologically challenged.

I've had an iPod for a little over a year now. Bobby bought it for me for my birthday last year, I purchased a very pretty little pink cover for it --then never used it. Didn't know how. It seemed hard. So, finally I got up the nerve to (hold your breath) PLUG IT IN!! Ok, so it took me HOURS to figure out but I got it! The iTunes thing was pretty easy but then I tried to branch out by using for a download to add to the iTunes account... it was very confusing to my little brain but, I did it, and now I have TONS of songs on my iPod. Yeah!!!

Now, if I could just figure out how to get one of those songs here, on my blog, I’d have proof that I was entering the new millenium. Maybe next weekend, I think I've used up all my tech efforts for awhile!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Look --part 2

I was always so envious when I would see some of the pretty things people had done with their blogs. A few weeks back I made some changes and was fairly pleased but wasn't able to get the look I really wanted due to my technological challenges. Then an online friend offered to help me and look what she did!!! All I said was I wanted something girly, flowery and pastel --HERE IT IS!!!

I am so excited, its like I have a newly furnished room in my house.

Isn't it G*O*R*G*E*O*U*S ???

Monday, June 25, 2007

Freaks and Geeks:
So, we went to Venice Beach yesterday...

Bobby's been wanting to go for awhile. Some time back, we decided that we've lived in Southern California all our lives --a place that people from all over the world love to visit-- and yet we have never seen many of the sights. We've also been trying to save money by not going on a big vacation. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that we could take many mini-vacations from work (Thurs-Mon) and check out some of the truly interesting things to see right in our own backyard! Its been working out great.

For anyone who has never been to Venice Beach, I can tell you, it was pretty interesting. The weather was fantastic, truly beautiful, the kind that postcards are made of.

There were many, many freaks and several geeks (including Bobby and me!!!). I saw more dred locks than I've ever seen in my entire life and some pretty amazing tattoos! Muscle Beach was almost vacant but the street performers were really interesting including one acrobatic-type show that impressed the bejeezers out of me --a guy did a front flip over 10 people!!! on the concrete!!!! without a mat!!! or a spotter!!!! Eeeek!!!

Other things I saw:
--a guy with all the hair on his head shaved except two little "horns" sticking up dyed red and tattoos of flames coming up both calves offering to let people take a pic with him for money
--a perfectly typical-looking African American man late 50s wearing a polo shirt, also offering to let people take a pic with him for money
--several street vendors selling anti-Bush/anti-war stuff
--a little-person with no legs, maneuvering himself with his hands laying tummy-down on a skateboard (he was quick too)
--the rattiest, dirtiest looking clown you could ever imagine (honestly, it looked like he'd been sleeping in a trash can for years) offering to make balloon animals for a dollar --I didn't see any takers
--a man selling reggae kid's music: think "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" Marley style, it was actually kind of cool, I was thinking about buying a CD but for some reason didn't
--at least 10 tattoo/piercing businesses in a 1/2 mile and at least as many people selling incense

And, probably the most memorable:
--a unhealthily over-tanned guy wearing skin-tight dolphin shorts and nothing else with a cardboard sign reading "fat girlfriend needs cheeseburger, donations accepted"

Anyway, it was lots of fun and, other than having to pay $20 to park, a fairly inexpensive outing. I'd strongly recommend it to others as a great diversion.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Summer Solstice
Many people are aware that summer solstice is the longest day of the year (the day with the most sunlight) and the first official day of summer. In the northern hemisphere it falls on June 21 or 22. It also happens to be our anniversary!!!

This year's was kind of a special one because June 21 marked our 21st year of marriage! It was a very nice day although pretty low key. We actually ended up going to one of those Indian casinos and playing video roulette. OK, I know that may not sound like fun to everyone but it was GREAT! Very relaxing and takes absolutely no thought and very little planning --the less brain power needed for fun, the better I always say!
We've been trying not to use up too much vacation and save money and stuff so we've been taking this mini breaks from work Thurs--Mon, return to work on Tues. Its amazing how much more pleasant the work week is if you only have to work M-W, take off 5 days, then work T-F. Yeah!!!!! Totally makes life bearable again!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

16 mos.
I'm not sure what to think today, the day that marks 16 long mos since our LID. Who would have or could have ever imagined that at this point in time we would be in the middle of our wait?? It seems to almost defy belief. Amazingly, the families who will get their referrals next were only logged in 3 mos after us but we will likely not recieve a referral until 10 mos after them!
In a way, it feels good to have so many months marked off and only 98 more LIDs before ours to be referred. But, on the other hand, its hard to believe that we originally started this process in September 2005. That seems like so long ago. When we filed our application with the agency, Breatt was only 15 and Casey was 13 and, more importantly, I was only 39! Ok, that does feel like a long time ago.
The homestudy sw is coming over on sunday to do the update, she should be here about 15 mins or less. Let's see if she manages to piss me off in that limited amount of time. Last time it only took a few mins, she might be able to break her record this time. I'm not looking forward to doing all the crap it takes to renew and I'm not looking forward to spending another $1500 for the pleasure. But, what can you do.
Speaking of money, it appears that airline tix prices are going through the roof. Probably a combination of summer, general fuel prices, and just overall increase in prices in China. I can only imagine how expensive things will be if we travel just before the Olympics, which is what I expect. More fun.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I love blogthings! Its so fun!

Your Vocabulary Score: A-

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.
Click on the link above to test yourself if you want.
I must have missed one :-(
I betcha it was phlegmatic, what the heck does that mean? Hold on, I'll be right back...
Yup! that was the one, just checked it out on

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Holy Crap!!! This is getting ridiculous. Of course, because of the safety of my pessimistic nature, I was only hoping/expecting that they would get through 11/8/05 --that being RQ's bad case scenario. So, this news doesn't sting too much.

What does sting is this... I called my homestudy agency about renewing today, looks like it's going to cost about $545 for the I600, $500-700 for the update, another $50 or so for new meds, $240 for new prints, we'll need another notary, etc, etc. I guess it will end up being about $1300-1500 --how stupid is that??? Oh well, I guess at this point, its just money...
So, what does this latest batch do to the estimate for our referral? There's a website, that uses some kind of computer program to estimate based on the history of referrals. Here's what mine says today:

"Our prediction for LID 2006-02-13
Our best guess - a weighted average
of recent CCAA velocities, guessing that CCAA will perform about as well in the
future as they are performing now, but might return to previous trends: 2008-01-16
That's our best guess
for when you might receive your referral. Just at a guess, we can suppose that
the CCAA either speeds up or slows down significantly, and show you those dates.
If they speed up: 2007-11-16.
And if they slow down: 2009-03-20."

Uggh!! Before this last 6-day batch of referrals, their "best guess" for our LID was 12/10/07 --not that I believed that for even one second. I'm sticking with my own "best guess" of May 2008 for the time being. Its that "And if they slow down: March 20, 2009" that scares me!!!
Its been a tough week all around in a lot of ways. When it gets like this, I feel like running away or going to bed and pulling the covers up over my head for about a month. Well, on to next month I guess. The next batch should show up right after July 4th holiday, I'd imagine.
98 more LIDs to ours, sigh.
So here are the babies. Congrats to all the happy new families!
Jaida Ruth Hatcher baby name: Jaida Hatcher
Jaiden Falk baby name: Jaiden Falk

Saturday, June 02, 2007


The Good Women of China by Xinran Xue

Just finished reading this book last night. I started it a while back and was reading it a little at a time. It was my "work" book meaning I would read it while I waited for my opponents to show up. The reason I mention this is that I think it would have been better read more consistently.

The book was written by a woman who was a journalist of some acclaim in Beijing who did a radio broadcast addressing the issues and lives of women. The stories are heartwrenching and surreal in that the lives that many of these women have led are so far removed from my own that its somewhat difficult to connect to them. Interestingly, no matter how troublesome the facts of these women's lives, the author presents them with great respect and intentionally avoids portraying them as victims or people in need of pity.

The final chapter tells the story of the women of Shouting Hill circa 1995. Shouting Hill is described as being located in a very remote and exceptionally poor area of China where water is scarce and some have never seen a car. The women of this area are treated as work horses whose primary purpose is to bear male heirs and care for their husbands. After giving birth to a son they were treated to a "feast" of a single egg mixed with sugar and water. No such prize awaited the women who gave birth to a daughter. This area was so poor that the families did not have enough clothing for all the children. Male children had a set of clothes but daughters were required to share a single set of outerwear forcing them to only go out of the house in shifts. In this village the men described conjugal relations as "using" their wives. Some poorer families could not afford a wife for each son so they shared a single wife, "using" her in turn in hopes of her giving birth to a son each year.

The story of the women of Shouting Hill is absolutely bizarre. What is even more strange is that the author is describing the lifestyle of these women in 1995 and not 1595!

I so wonder what has happened in this little village in the last 12 years since the author's visit. Have the lives of these women improved? Are the little girls the author met then now living lives where they are being passed around as a shared wife? We know of course that China is exploding but has that explosion reached remote Shouting Hill? Are these women still being treated as cattle? I googled but couldn't find any additional information.

I cannot say I enjoyed this book, rather it is more accurate to say that I'm glad that I read it and I would recommend it to others. The stories are so sad and yet the women seem very accepting that their lives were what they were. They don't seem to harbor anger over their mistreatments and often seemed to distance themselves from their own story. I, on the other hand, am haunted by them.

(5 stars)