Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Pics to Tide You Over

 Erin's 8th birthday - celebrating at camp

 Summer days just hanging with buddies - Emma, Erin & Jade

 First day of 3rd grade!

 Going to Aunt Mindy & Uncle Jacob's house for Rosh Hashanah lunch


Hanging out at Jade & Emma's house on a sunny day 

 Remember the child who wouldn't go near water?  Can't get her out now.  Yay!

Getting ready for Chanukah

Monday, December 06, 2010

Coming out of the woodwork

Or at least I'm thinking about it. 

So much has gone on since last I wrote anything.  Life has changed & not for the better, but the whole point of this blog is for Erin to read when she's old enough.

In July Erin turned 8.  She has continued to amaze us each day.  We spent the summer letting her go to camp with her buddies but didn't & attend many karate classes.  Let's face it.  After a day of field trips & swimming, who would want to go to a karate class willingly.

School started at the end of August, & she started 3rd grade.  It has not been easy for her this year.  As much as I liked her teachers from 1st & 2nd grades, they did nothing to prepare her for life in 3rd grade.  Yes.  I complained last year but they just poo poo'd me to death.  Now Erin is paying the price.  She's had to work really hard to keep up with her class.  She's doing it but each step is a struggle.  Thankfully, her teachers this year agree with me about her capabilities.  They are pushing her but in a positive way. 

David's health took a turn for the worse this summer.  We found out that everything he was doing for his diabetes was wrong.  He misunderstood the doctor, & the doctor had no clue because David told him everything was fine.  Until I stepped in that is.  He took a month off from work which didn't go over well with his boss but the diabetes was put back in its place.  Too bad diabetic neuropathy has become our own personal hell.  (More on that another time.)

Thank G-d for friends.  Without some very special women in my life, I wouldn't have made it even to this point & kept even an ounce of sanity.

Now let's see if I can continue blogging.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Adoptive parents have many different ways of handling their childrens' situations.   Many families talk about adoption, abandonment & such very openly.  There are also families who don't talk about these issues.  Some families talk about birthparents while others don't.  It's a choice.  A very personal choice that each family has to make given their own circumstances.  Some children have a need to talk about these things while other children don't have that same need.

We have been very open with Erin about her adoption.  She knows that she is adopted & comes from China.  (Believe it or not, there are parents who haven't told their child(ren) they are adopted.)  David & I make sure to tell her all the time how happy we are that we all adopted each other.  Over the years Erin has refused to admit that she is actually Chinese & wants nothing to do with her birth country &/or culture.  The day that we received Erin, she immediately rejected anything Chinese to the point of tantrums.  In the last year, this has gotten easier on all of us.  Since she was granted citizenship (May 2009), Erin has started to come around.

The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend who mentioned that it was time for "the talk" with one of her children.  That conversation had me laughing so hard!  I decided to ask Erin if she knew where babies come from.  She told me that some babies come from their mommies tummies.  I asked where the rest of the babies came from & she told me "Orphanages." Yikes! I think the whole thing is that it comes down to a child's life experience.  I let the topic drop because Erin started to get all embarrassed.  When she's embarrassed, all Erin wants to do it hide.  I figure I can let it rest for a few more weeks.

I'm pretty sure that Erin will understand when we have that talk that she has a birth family.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that she knows it already.  Viv's daughter Kerri has talked about these things pretty openly in front of Erin on some of their visits down here.  She just hasn't come to terms with the whole thing, but that's okay. 

Me?  I don't think of Erin's birth family often.  We'll never know the true reason that Erin was abandoned.  I refuse to dwell upon it & get all depressed.  However, there are days that I do think of a certain lady in Southern China.  I hope & pray that somehow she knows her sweet baby is alright.  I thank her for leaving Erin in a safe & public place to be found.  I also think of the birth father.  Most of the time, people tend to forget that there is a man involved in this situation.  We tend to concentrate on the birthmother &  how she did or didn't feel upon having to abandon her baby.  How many birthfathers out there had a choice?  How many of them actually wanted to abandon their baby after watching it grow in the mother's womb for 9 months?  So, yes, I think of  him too.

One day Erin will start to have questions about her birthparents.  David & I have decided not to sugarcoat her story.  We will be honest.  "We don't know Erin."  That's the answer we have to give her.  And it sucks, but honesty is the best we can do for her.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Yesterday, Erin & I went to a birthday party for Ethan.  She was so psyched that I actually got her to wear the swimsuit of my choice.  (Of course it helped that Chianna loves monkeys & was supposed to be there.) She had a total blast helping him celebrate turning 5!  It was a pool party so I was worried. 

Erin's never had a professional swim lesson in her life.  Anyone who knows Erin, knows that she had a horrible time with water for the first 5-6 years of life.  Well, my girl shocked me for sure.  When we went to Texas a few years ago for our travel group reunion, Erin wanted to go into the pool so badly that she begged me.  After Amy gave her a few impromptu lessons, I allowed her in the pool.  It was a big step for us.

Fast forward to yesterday.  Everyone helped out by keeping an eye on Erin.  Any time I went to look at her, she stopped what she was doing so I followed my instincts & walked away.  A while later, Candy & Grace came to let me know that Erin was swimming & doing a really good job of it too.  I went to peek at her & all of a sudden she wanted to show me so I watched (with my heart in my throat) & WOW!! The girl can swim!  Well!  I could barely get Erin out of the pool to eat lunch & she sure didn't want to leave to go home.

Once we got home, Erin ran out to play with our neighbor's children.  They live next door & are awfully sweet boys who also go to the same camp as Erin.  I'd have thought she'd be tired from all that pool time.  Nope.  She didn't even want to come in for dinner! 

Needless to say Erin was massively overtired & refused to go to bed.  At 10:00 David & I put our collective feet down & forced the issue.  Not 10 minutes later she came out because July 4th celebrations came early in our neighborhood.  Fireworks going off means loud noises.  Loud noises means Erin doesn't go to sleep alone.  Yup.  I had to go to bed too.

And that's where the "Oops!" comes in.  Erin loves to cuddle at night & got right up to me.  She put her ice cold hands on my back, & I jumped.  Poor baby! I accidentally hit her square in the face.  That tooth that was semi-loose was now bleeding & hanging by a thread.  Oh yea.  Way to go Tammie.  Erin cried.  I cried.  David stood there trying to get us to stop crying & reminded us that it was an accident.

This morning Erin came in to show me what the tooth looked like dangling.  Yuck! I hate wiggle teeth!  She left the room & came back seconds later.  The tooth was in a napkin.  Now the kid is really toothless!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Karate Kid Demo Weekend

It was a Karate Kid Demo weekend!

The karate school had made arrangements with a local movie theater to do demos throughout this past weekend.    Along with the demo team, Sifu made arrangements for other students - children & adults, to join in.   Our children don't just learn karate with each other, they have also developed friendships.  The adults are also very friendly.  The school really is a place for people to support each other.

Sifu spent just about the entire weekend at the movie theater.  The students & parent supporters were there for more than just the demo.  We hung out for almost the whole day.  In fact, Saturday a bunch of us went for lunch at the Thai/Japanese restaurant next to the theater.

I took almost 400 pictures from Friday night & Saturday.  Can you imagine how many more I'd have taken if I were able to be there Sunday?  (Unfortunately, I woke up sick as a dog Sunday morning.)  I was able to allow Erin to attend because her hero Brittany agreed to watch over her.  That is one teen who I don't want to meet in a lit alley let alone a dark alley!

Erin & her hero Brittany

And how cool is it that a few of our friends were able to pop in!  Thanks Minouche, Delfim & Yasmin! Erin was thrilled to see you guys!

Erin on TV!!

Last Wednesday, June 9th was a great day for Erin.  Not only was it the last day of school, but she was also on tv.  Her karate school was doing demos this past weekend at a local movie theater for the opening of The Karate Kid. 

We had to be at the school by 6:25 in the morning.  I needed coffee! I still don't know how it got made! Waking Erin up wasn't easy.  You've heard it before "5 more minutes.  Please."  I gave her too much time because I needed to put my makeup on.  Sifu had mentioned that the news reporter might interview a few parents.  There wasn't a woman there without a full face on.

As soon as we walked in, Erin was directed to her spot in the back.  I was so disappointed because being as tiny as she is, there was no way anyone would see her.  It worked out fine.  There were a few segments being done as teasers for the upcoming movie.  Sifu ended up moving Erin to the front for the 2nd segment.  She had chosen Erin to be one of 4 children spotlighted for board breaking - something she loves to do.  In fact when they did a quick run through, Erin was so excited that she didn't wait for the complete instructions & just broke the boards.  She showed a bit more patience when they did the actual broadcast. 

The cameraman must have liked something about Erin because he followed her around for a good part of the demo.  I asked Sifu later on if she had any input on this.  She told me that she wasn't allowed to make suggestions beyond the board breaking.  Wow!

We got to the school at 6:30 and stayed until they ended the segment teasers.  There were a lot of students - mostly younger children and a few adults.  Of course there were many parents who came to watch their children and support the school.  It was a great morning!

One of the families TIVOd the show & made up CDs for us.  We viewed the segments but I can't wait to upload the video so our family & friends can also view it. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2nd Grade Ends

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The end of 2nd grade.  Oh my!

The time has gone by so fast.  It was only yesterday that I got The Call.  Then we were blessed to have a sweet 10 month old baby given to us forevermore.  The day came when she started preschool, & I cried as I left her with strangers for the very first time.  Those same strangers who helped give Erin the skills to enter school & start her life.  I remember her fear (and mine too!) starting over at her new school as a first grader.  And I remember how she just marched in on the first day of 2nd grade as if she owned the school.  Her principal, the amazing & wonderful Mr. Sawyer smiled at her & gave her his usual "Good morning Mini Me!"  The same greeting he has always given her.

And now the end has come.  Mr. Sawyer has left our school.  And Erin is no longer a 2nd grader.  She is going into 3rd grade at the end of summer vacation.  I really love the school we've chosen for Erin.  ICSAB is a great place for us. 

Not working since April has been a good thing for my health.  Even more so it's been great for Erin.  Just think of it.  Had I still been working, I wouldn't have captured these pics.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Big Step

Monday night while Erin & I were snuggling in for the evening, Erin asked me a question that knocked my socks off.  After years of insisting her adoption journey pictures remain private, she asked if she could take her photo album to school so she could share them with her teacher & classmates.  Even David was shocked.

Tuesday morning before we left for school, Erin went to get her photo album & carried it to the car.  I decided that rather than allow Erin to do this on her own, I would go in to the class with her.  This way if there were questions that she didn't have the answers to, I could help.  What a great idea.  While Erin wanted to share the pics, she was shy about telling her story.   As soon as the children sat down, Erin got shy & hid behind me.  She asked me to help tell the story & show her pics.  And so it began . . .

I started out by asking if anyone noticed that Erin & I don't look alike.  Lots of laughter.  Then I mentioned that Erin doesn't look like her daddy either.  This I told the students was because Erin is adopted & comes from China.  I asked the children if they knew the meaning of the word adopted.  Some of the children raised their hands.  The answers were interesting:  "When a person has a baby but doesn't want it, they give it away."  or "When a person has a baby but can't take care of it, they give it away."  Pretty hard to hear but pretty close to the truth.  I explained that Erin is from China where they have a one child policy & that some people don't necessarily have the ability to keep the baby or may not want the baby.  I also made sure to tell them that we don't know the exact reason that the birth mother gives up a child.

We showed them many of Erin's pictures.  Face it we have about 300 from 2 weeks & some are too private to share.  Erin allowed me to show pictures from the orphanage & she explained herself that not all of the children were adopted at the same time.

I showed the room where families wait until the babies arrive.  They got to see pics of the first time I held Erin & that David held Erin.  We showed them our first family photo.  And then it happened.  One of the boys asked if Erin was adopted legally.  Holy cow! How & why does a 7 year old know about illegal adoptions!?  Thankfully the next pictures were of me signing the paperwork accepting responsibility for Erin & of the adoption being completed LEGALLY in China.  I turned to Erin & very clearly explained that all of this paperwork made it so that she was our daughter forever & no one could take her from us.  The children were thrilled to know it also. 

To make it all a little lighter in tone & atmosphere, I showed them pics we took at the Chen Family Temple (I think that's what it's called.) & the artwork in the lobby of the White Swan hotel.  The students & teacher were amazed by the beauty of it all.  The next set of pictures I showed were of the rooms we went to for the baby's physicals.  The scale & eye chart amazed everyone - especially since here in the US our eye chart is a big E & in China it was a hand facing in different directions.  The children asked if Erin & the other babies understood what was happening.  It was almost like those dumb questions people ask "So did she use chopsticks?  Did she speak Chinese?"  The difference is that the children were truly trying to understand so I asked them if their younger siblings spoke or understood everything.  It was so easy for them to get that concept.

They got to see pics of the birthday party a few of us threw for one of the babies (Ashley G.) because she turned 1 while we were in China.  They were amazed that the birthday cake didn't have some cartoon character & wasn't all sweet & gooey like they are here in the US.

Finally we showed them the Red Couch photos.  Erin very proudly pointed out where both she & her friend Julianna were.  The kids loved it! Her teacher was blown away by how Erin handled everything because she remembered that last year Erin wouldn't even mention Chinese New Year.

I ended by thanking the children & their teacher.  I explained that they must all be very special since Erin has never shared these things with anyone outside the family & her China group. 

That night in karate when all of the parents were asked if there were any yellow striped to be awared, I raised my hand.  (The yellow stripes are awarded by parents when a child does something extraordinary.)  When asked why Erin should be given a stripe, I explained to Sifu Helana that karate has given Erin, among other things, confidence in herself.  I awarded her the yellow stripe for confidence & having the strength to share her pictures & story for the first time.

No.  I didn't take any pictures at school.  I was worried that it might turn out negatively for Erin & wanted to concentrate on  her needs.

Erin, your mama & dad are so proud of you & we are honored to be your parents.  Forever.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Great Way to Start a Long Weekend

 First arrange to have a lunch date with your BFF at Ruby Tuesday.  Oh! Don't forget to shock your mother by eating this for the first time ever!

Second, go on a shopping spree to The Children's Place so you can have matching headbands.

And last, go to karate with your BFF for a great lesson!

  We had a great day with Lauren & her mom Michele.  It was a wonderful way to start a long weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nutella Girl

She's a picky eater to say the least.  Last year when I was trying to figure out what I should send for lunch, my friend Sandra suggested Nutella.  Great idea! Erin loves Nutella.

Yesterday morning, she made herself breakfast. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Don't Know

And I hate it! 

Now is the time for questions I guess.  I only wish that I had an answer other than "I don't know."

Erin & I talk a lot in the car.  It's a great place for us to talk about anything.  Generally I'll ask some open ended questions & get simple answers from her. 

On the way to Hebrew school the other day, Erin asked me if she was born in the morning or at night.  It seems like such a simple question.  Doesn't it?  But I don't know.  I am really starting to hate that sentence.

I was  honest with Erin & gave her the only answer I had.  She answered with "I think I was born at night." I told her that was okay.  Then she said "I changed my mind.  Actually, I was born in the morning."  Okay sweetie.

Too bad I don't know.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

They Talk Too Much

Lately I've had a hard time getting Erin to wake up for school on Sundays.  I feel for her.  I really do.  The kid goes to school for her public education Monday through Friday.  Then she has to wake up on Sundays also for her formal religious instruction.  To make it even harder for her, we need to leave the house no later than 7:45 so that I can be early & set up my own classroom.  This wasn't a problem until the last few months. 

She actually started by telling David yesterday that she didn't want to go to Hebrew school today.  Whenever we ask her why, she answers "Because."  Shocking! I know.  And this morning was a humdinger let me tell you.  David came to help me out this morning because my frustration level was pretty high.  We got her dressed, fed & in my car ready to go.

Once we walk into the synagogue, Erin becomes a different child.  She owns the place, & she knows it.  I've been teaching there for the last 20 years so almost everyone there has been aware of her adoption.  Everyone stops to say hi to her, & she offers to help each person with setting up their classroom.  This morning she only wanted to follow me around.  No problem.  I love it.

On the way home from Hebrew school, Erin mentioned that she didn't like sitting with the girls because they talk so much.  I suggested she instead sit with the boys but she informed me that they talk too much also.  Having had most of this class last year, I know she's telling the truth.  I reminded Erin that when she goes to school during the week, she is also a chatterbox so I wanted to know what the big deal was.

Erin promptly tells me that she is in Hebrew school to learn about being Jewish.  (Makes a mother proud!) I told her that this news made me very happy & would also make her daddy extremely happy.  I told her that since she wasn't born Jewish & was converted when she came home, it made me feel good knowing that she loves learning about Judaism. 

She thought it over for a moment & then asked the question.  "Mama does that mean I was born a Christian?" 

Okay.  Interesting take on my comment & one I was totally unprepared for.  However, being the fast thinker that I tend to be I gave her an answer.   Which answer?  The honest one.

I don't really know Erin.  There are many people in China.  Some people are Jewish as in Kaifeng or Shanghai.  Some people are Christian.  Some people are Buddhist.  I did mention that there are also people who don't worship G-d at all because that is how they are raised.

It seemed to be enough for Erin today.

Me?  I wonder what question will be next & when she will ask it.  I do know one thing though.  I'll answer honestly.  Too bad "I don't know." will be the answer to many of her questions.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life Changes All the Time

Sometimes it's a good thing. Sometimes not so much.  Either way, there's always stress of some kind.

Last Monday I was let go from my job after 14 years.  I hadn't been happy at my job since I was transferred in January.  Apparently I was unhappy enough to make some decisions "they" weren't happy about.  Oh well.  I still stand by my decision, & when I lay my head down each night, it is without guilt. 

I got so upset about things that I agreed to go back on all of my meds to help with the stress.  I couldn't think straight & was crying all the time.  I was constantly angry at the world.  Life at home was affected which meant I was unable to be the wife & mother that I want to be.  My behavior directly affects David & Erin. I was tired of it.

Instead, I have made the very conscious decision to be fine.  I'm not going to allow their foolish decision to direct my life.  I'm still a little lost.  After all, I've been working at one thing or another since I was old enough to babysit.  Last Thursday after I dropped Erin at school, I was driving back home & called David.  I asked him "So now what do I do?"  Being the supportive guy that he is, he told me to go home, relax & start scrapbooking.  As far as he is concerned, I should take a break.  My friends seem to agree.

Each day I'm trying to do some chores around the house - things that I've wanted to accomplish but have been too busy working.  Laundry is the bane of my existence.  I truly despise doing it, but as of right now, I have to fold the towels & I'm done for tonight.  Of course, it will start up again tomorrow, but 90% of it is done.

I'll start looking for another job in earnest next week.  But for now, I'm fine.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Looking Back Looking Forward

I should have blogged on April 1st.  Bad momma! Well, it's been a hard week, & I'm still waiting for answers that won't happen until some time this coming week.  I hope the answers are positive.  Either way . . .

Looking Back:

April 1, 2003 THE CALL finally came! Each year I think about it & laugh at the wonder of the day.  This day is my parents' wedding anniversary.  Since my mom passed away in 1985 I avoided the day.  I stopped playing April Fools jokes, was never in a good mood, etc.  I went to work all depressed.  We were still waiting for our call from Great Wall China Adoption.  It had been a really long time since our DTC (dossier to China) on February 28, 2002 & the wait was endless & horrible.  The day before, people in our Waiting Hearts group had started to get their referrals.  Why hadn't we received our call?  Oh! The frustration!

2:44 pm my cell phone rang.  It never rang while I was at work! I answered it & heard "Tammie, it's your turn."  I got so ticked off & yelled at the person.  "This is NOT funny!" & hung up.

2:45 pm my cell phone rang again.  The voice said "Wait Tammie! It's Emily from Great Wall.  This really is your call.  Get a pen & paper."  And my life changed forever.  All the hard work.  All the paper chasing (done totally backwards mind you).  All the waiting.  DONE. 

We found out who our daughter was:

Chun Hua Xu born on July 30. 2002.  On Jan 21, 2003 she weighed 14.3 pounds & was 24 inches long   She was living in the Yangchun Social Welfare Institute in Guangdong province.  We would be traveling on or about June 3rd to finally meet our daughter.

Looking Forward:

Today Erin is 7 years old.  This is the first year that she is really aware of what Referral Day, Gotcha Day & Forever Family Day means.  Later in the afternoon, Erin asked me.  "Is this the time momma when you knew who I was?"  David & I spoke with Erin about how everyone was told about her.  We called Zaydie & Bubbie to tell them & had them open the email so they could see her picture.  Grandma & Grandpa weren't so great with email so we drove up to their house to show them her picture on email.  The aunts & uncles were all called.  And I cried.  This year, Erin understands it all.

We have been blessed by G-d above each & every day with this beautiful child. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shining Light on the Horizon

I'm not sure why but I truly do feel a light shining down on the horizon.  I just got off the phone with Viv who is trying her darndest to kick some sense into me.

This past week has been awful.  Things are coming to a head finally.  Maybe that's what I need to have happen. 

Last Sunday was the school's model Seder.  We combined the kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grades for Seder.  It didn't go well.  Then again, I didnt expect it to go well.  (Anyone ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect?)  We are 5 teachers  who don't do things the same way.  There was no time to practice &/or prepare.  My class never got to do their project.  I felt like it was total chaos.  After it was over, parents came over to tell us that it was a nice day.  Go figure.  They ignored what we were trying to do.  Their children were ignored in favor of chatting.  But they had a good time.  Okay. 

The stress at the bank is ridiculous.  I've finally  come to terms with my new manager  & our different ways of doing things, & now there's a different kind of stress.  It never ends.  Most of it is my fault because I'm so set in my ways.  The good news is that I can learn from my mistakes & move on.

I've never been very confident in myself.  I get stuck in a rut & don't know how to get out.  I got into my industry 22 years ago by accident & haven't figured out what I know how to do.  Sounds strange.  I've got loyal clients & co-workers who believe in me.  So why can't I believe in myself?  I'm amazingly organized.  I give 110% of myself at any job so I get upset when I don't do as well as I should.  I like to help people & believe in doing things the right way or not at all.

There are problems but I need to get off my duff & work them out in my own mind.  One of the things I've done to start is to get back on my meds.  The panic & depression will take a hold & not let go if I don't stay on track with them. 

I hereby refuse to give in.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Time

I have no time anymore.  And it's really driving me nuts.  In a nutshell, life is crazy & I'm not happy.  I have to figure out what I really want & am having a tough time doing that.  There are some good things going on but I'm wallowing in the negative right now.  I know there's a way out, but haven't found it just yet.

There have been some great things:

  • Celebrating Chinese New Year with friends.  Erin & I went to Orlando for Chinese New Year weekend with Jolene & her girls Jade & Emma.  This was the celebration that FL GWCA puts on.  I felt so badly that I wasn't able to help Susan as much as I normally do.  Right after we got home, we celebrated with our FCC-SFL family & friends.  It was a great night.
  • Erin got asked to join the karate school's demo team.  She's the youngest one on the team.  Her hero Brittany has told me that she didn't expect Erin to catch on quite as quickly as she did.
  • David's new meds while not perfect are working.  We should find our way out of the poorhouse within this year.  I love that we're not spending an extra paycheck each month on meds alone!  Of course I'm glad we had the equity line on the house so I was able to pay for those meds.  Now I have to pay that off.
  • Erin decided she didn't want to wait for David to teach her to ride without training wheels.  She asked him to take them off one day & taught herself!  We're so proud of her for taking the initiative.  Of course, she's taken a few spills but that's to be expected.
But most of what I'm feeling isn't good:

  • David's meds that are working, aren't working 100%.  He's still in pain & pretty sensitive to weather changes.  I hate seeing him like this.
  • Erin has been going through stuff that makes her throw temper tantrums the like of which we've never before seen from her.  It's been 2 weeks of yelling, screaming & crying.  OTOH, we had a really good night a few nights ago where I was able to get some of it out of her.  She's feeling better about things but is still fighting the emotional crap.  I'm glad that she's telling me what's happening in her life but hate that she still doesn't know how to articulate it all the time or is worried that we'll be angry about what she has to say.
  • I'm not happy at work.  This is probably the biggest thing for me.  For all the time that we spend at work, we really should be happy where we work.  My new manager is nice but I don't agree with things she's doing.  I know I'm stubborn & used to getting things my way, but I"m a dedicated, loyal employee who gives back quite a bit.  When I was transferred to the new office, I wasn't concerned about the staff since I knew many of them & had always gotten on well with them.  My concern was the lack of a manager but I had been told that a new manager had been hired & she's all about helping people in the office succeed.  I'm not convinced.  Continually asking me what she can do to help is not doing anything.  I'm a VERY territorial person.  I declined a job on the roving/floating team when it was offered to me because I know that I need a place to call home.  I like to work at my desk with my things & know that my customers can always find me.  This is being changed.  Now we don't have permanent desks because we should be able to work anywhere.  Fine.  BUT my direct line rings at my desk.  My personal belongings are at my desk.  I have a way of working that is extremely organized & can't work at the desk of slobs & the others in my office are slobs.  Maybe throwing things in a drawer works for them, but I can't work that way.
  • Working 6-7 days a week is killing me.  Sept through May I teach Sunday school.  While there are days off for the various holidays, I'm still working more than I'm home.  David & I have talked it over.  I have to stop teaching after this year is over.  I can't take it anymore.  I'm always tired.  My house is falling apart because I'm too tired to clean up after everyone.  Erin is probably throwing some of these tantrums because I'm not home as much as I used to be.  The killer thing here is that I'm going to end up with a pay cut over this.  Without teaching, I'll lose an extra $3k a year.  And the bank is certainly not going to reimburse me for this.
  • My back has gotten so bad that getting out of bed hurts more than it should.  I'm in constant pain & have no time to go to a doctor.
  • The prongs on my mom's engagement ring have broken off.  I have no time to take it to a jeweler to get it fixed. 
  • I started wearing a jade ring on the same finger as my mom's ring so I could still have the feeling of a ring.  It feels really wierd without something on that finger.  It broke yesterday. 
  • Star has been having health issues.  A few weeks ago we had her at the vet AGAIN.  We thought for sure we were going to lose her after a very severe seizure.  The vet was wonderful.  We found out that she had a bad urinary tract infection which required antibiotics.  She also has very bad arthritis in her hips so she's on pain killers.  We tried giving her glucosamine chewables so she could start to feel better.  Have you ever seen a dog spit something out of their mouth?  We have.  She won't eat these pills. 
So I'm feeling pretty depressed.  I recognize the signs & know this isn't a good place for me to be.  All I want to do lately is cry, but I don't want to scare Erin so instead I hold it in. I've been on FB when I'm home.  It helps having something to do since I can't do too much from the constant pain.   OTOH, I'd love to give it all up so I could feel better again & go back to having a life with my family.

I just have to figure out how to do this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Xin Nian Kuai Le!!!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Chinese New Year!!
As we welcome in theYear of the Tiger, I wish you love, joy, health & prosperity!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Friends & A Day at the Park

After last year's Chinese New Year celebration put on by the FL office of GWCA, Jolene & I have developed a really nice friendship.  We speak constantly & really get each other. 

Even better is that our girls have become fast friends.  At the ripe old age of 7, Jade & Erin are just about the oldest girls in our local FCC chapter.  Up until this past year, they had always acknowledged each other but now they can't wait to have a playdate.  Jade's sister Emma has no problem keeping up with them!

Back in December, Jolene & I arranged to have breakfast together & go to a park afterwards.  It's so nice to see the girls playing together.  What I really like is that Erin has a friend who is in the same situation she is in - both Chinese, both adopted by non-Chinese parents.  Erin has a lot of friends like this up to and including her adored godsister.  However, having someone her own age is really nice because as they grow older, their commonalites will hopefully get them through the tough times that their parents know are coming.


Erin, Jade & Emma

Making sure that they include Emma.

Let the giggles begin!

Just what is so funny girls!?

Fast friends!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Demo Team & Mouthpieces

This past Saturday Erin was invited to join the demo team by the captain of the karate school demo team.  Brittany has known Erin since she was 3 years old because she goes to the same synagogue that Erin went to for preschool.  Brittany is a black belt in karate (I don't remember how many levels though.) & has been one of the student instsuctors at the school.

Back in November Erin participated in a demo for our FCC group.  As the captain of the team, Brittany got to do a good portion of the demo with her.  The girls work together beautifully.  David & I have been told that Erin reminds the Sifus of Brittany at that age.  Brittany really seems taken with Erin which is lovely because Erin truly looks up to her.

So now Erin has to be at the karate school every Saturday at 9:00 am.  This is on top of the 2 classes she takes on Saturday & the 3 she takes during the week. 

So what do mouthpieces have to do with any of this?  Well, now that Erin has become a blue belt in karate, she gets to start sparring.  This will teach her how to put everything together - all of the kicks, punches & such are going to come together.  However, in order to spar, students need to wear protective gear.  This is really funny though. 

We paid for Erin's gear bag when she became a purple belt thinking we may as well lay out the money & be prepared.  That worked well.  Not.  Everything in Erin's gear bag is the absolute smallest size they were able to order.  The shin guards are longer than her legs.  The head protection covers her face so you can see 1 eye.   The boxing gloves & focus mits she'll have to grow into for a better fit.

The mouthpiece?  David cut it down pretty small, put it into boiling water & tried to get it to fit.  No dice.  Well no mouthpiece, no sparring.  I approached one of the instructors since Sifu was leading the class.  Mrs. C is an old childhood friend of David's so I was comfortable asking her what we could do.  She reminded me that a certain family member is a dentist who would probably love to help his niece.  Gee.  I hadn't thought of that.  Duh!

When we got home, I spoke with David about it.  He called his sister who told us that Erin had an appointment for this afternoon so Uncle Steven could help out.  I can't have any impressions made of my mouth due to a horrible gag reflex so I was worried all day long.

David called me when it was over to let me know that Uncle Steven charmed the pants off of his niece.  Again.  They were able to get a great impression & allowed Erin to choose what color her mouthpiece would be.  So some time next week, David & Erin will be picking up her rainbow, personalized mouthpiece!  Too cool!

All in all, it's good.  Erin has found a wonderful mentor in Brittany.  And she's been charmed by her Uncle Steven who noticed that she has 2 more loose teeth!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What a guy!

Last night was my turn to deal with the awful stomach virus that's going around at work.  After a perfectly relaxing evening of sushi & hanging with David & watching some of my Buffy dvd collection, I went to sleep.  And at midnight, I woke up to lose my stomach.  Erin was great running to go get David.  As scared as she was, she really helped.  David really isn't into the whole hanging around & holding hair back while you lose your stomach.

Once it was over, I was weak but desperately needed a shower.  He hung around to make sure I was alright.  When I was done, I could barely stand let alone comb my hair.  As I sat there crying because I felt awful & too weak to lift my arm, David combed out my hair.  my big lug of a guy who has no patience to be around people is so gentle & caring.

I've been feeling pretty off all day long, just weak & nauseaus.  David's been making sure that I get plenty of rest & eat things that won't set me off again.  He made sure that there was plenty of coke around to keep me settled.

Thanks David.  I love you.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Viv asked "Why?"

Viv wants to know why I haven't been blogging of late.   I guess she has an inquiring mind.  ;-)

2009 ended on a pretty sour note for me. 

A few weeks ago, I left my office to pick Erin up & bring her back so I could finish my day.  David had a dr appointment & wasn't going to be able to pick her up.  Since I had to work late, I told my boss that I'd need to bring Erin back to the office but that it would be easy.  I've done this before, & it's worked out well.

Before I left the office, Millie told me that she would need to speak with me when I got back.  Well, I'm not the kind of person who takes that comment easily.  Don't ever tell me that "we need to talk later."  I get all twisted up in knots.  By the time I got back to the office, I was sweating buckets & knew I was being let go.  I went to Millie & told her that I was ready but she wanted to wait until the end of the day.  I reminded her that this isn't something I could handle.  So.  We talked.

She was letting me know that after 3 years of being considered a valuable member of the team at the Coral Springs South office, my position was being eliminated at that office.  There was no longer a need for someone to service client problems & the office was going to be driven purely by sales.  (Ha!) I was being "asked" to take a transfer to our Coconut Creek office where my level of work would be highly appreciated.  (Do you just wanna hurl, or what!?)

My first reaction was to let Millie know that I would be out of the office by the end of the week & the company could go get screwed.  (Sorry but's it a lot nicer phrased this way as opposed to what I wanted to write.)  My common sense did come around quickly though.  I reminded Millie that she wasn't asking me to take a transfer (no matter how sweetly she was trying) but rather that I was being told if I didn't take the transfer I would be out of a job.  Isn't that nice?  Days before Christmas.

So I waited a day or so to let her know.  In the meantime, we had a pep rally (GAG ME!) at the end of the week.  My district manager came over to talk with me & let me know how excited she was for me taking this transfer.  If any of you really know me, then  you realize that I told her to cut the crap.  I told her that taking me out of my office was the wrong thing to do - both for the clients & the office, not to mention myself.  Being the prima donna that I am, I told her there was absolutely no way in hell that I could ever make it to the office earlier than 8:30.  I refuse to pay more money to Erin's school for an early morning program.  They want a lot more money which I was now going to lose since I'd be paying it out in gas money.  I also told her that since my daughter is my priority I wasn't going to spend less time with her because the company wants to make a mistake & place me in an office that I had turned down 6 times previously.

Lots of tears.  Lots of anger.  No more loyalty to the company that has employed me for 14 years.  I will always do my best for a client, but the company?  You know what they can do.

If I didn't really need the salary to cover things like David's medicine, property taxes & things for Erin, I would have quit on the spot.  We could make it on just David's salary - with a lot of adjustments, but he can't see that.

 Needless to say, I've been pretty depressed about this whole thing. 

Tomorrow, January 4th I start at my new office.  I have to build up my client base.  Again.  There is no privacy in this office because they never rennovated it to have true offices or even cubicles.  I'm trying to be positive.  After all, I still have a job & so many people don't.  This all sounds so petty but I'm tired of being moved around.

And, Viv, this is why I haven't blogged more.  Right now I'm having a hard time seeing the good in anything.