Friday, April 23, 2010

The Plan

This week I got some not-so-great news about my ongoing adoption process.  (For those of you who don't know, I am adopting from India.)  We applied over a year ago.  (Last March)  We were told that it would take 10 months for a referral, then another 10 months for the government to process the paperwork before we were allowed to bring our child home.  So, 20 months total.  A long time, but doable. 

Well, after forking over tens of thousands of dollars and hearing nothing in over a year, I contacted the adoption agency.  It turns out that now the wait time has increased to 18-24 months  THEN the 10 month processing time.  So it could take 34 months total.  Plus, I thought the time started from when we applied.  Nope.  It starts from when we're approved.  We were approved  in July 2009.  (It takes a few months to do the homestudy and to take all the online parenting classes you have to take.)  So that means we've been waiting 9 months from then.  (Not eleven like I had thought.)  So it will take another 2 years before we get our child.  Two years!! 

What's even worse it that they do not allow concurrent adoptions so I cannot adopt a local child in the meantime without them putting this one on hold.  Also, if a miracle happened and I were to magically become pregnant, they would also stop the adoption until the child was 1 year old.  (Which means they stop the wait time too!  This is madness because I could hypothetically have a two-year-old by the time this adoption goes through without them stopping it.  Argh!)

After sitting with this and thinking, I've come up with a plan of sorts.  I am 35 and I am hearing the loud ticking of that clock and I do not want to waste 2 years of what's left of my fertility (so to speak) waiting on this adoption  that might not actually happen.  (Because who knows what they'll decide in 2 years' time?) 

So here's the plan:

1.  Continue to get as healthy as possible.
2.  HAVE FUN this summer and visit friends in Florida and Ireland.  (Because once kids are in the picture, trips like this are not likely to happen.)
3.  Once I get back from said vacation, go back to the fertility clinic and try all that crap again.  I have lost 30 pounds since the last time I tried fertility treatments so I'm hoping my body will respond better.
4.  Add acupuncture to the fertility treatments.  I've read that combining acupuncture with fertility treatments can increase the success rate by as much as 65%.  Plus, I've had some success with acupuncture helping my migraines so I'm hopeful that it will help with this too.

This way, I'm at least trying in the meantime while I wait FOREVER on my Indian baby.  At least if fertility treatments don't work again, I'll have the adoption going on the back burner.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

You don't have to go far to enter a totally different world.

I was struck today about how close you can be to a place, yet so far.  At one of the schools where I teach, I can literally see the acupuncture place that I go to from the window of my classroom.  How can utter peace and relaxation be just a stone's throw away from a place that is so....not?  By just going a block down the road, you can be in a totally new world.  Crazy, if you think about it. 

Also, I was thinking today that I really love teaching kids.  Sure, I could probably make more money doing something else, but I really get to see the good in what I do.  My students can make me laugh, can make me furious, or sometimes can make me very proud and happy.  With kids, you never know what the day might bring.  You might get thrown up on, get yelled at, cried on for no apparent reason, or sometimes they might floor you by doing something fantastic that you never saw them do before.  Things can turn in an instant.  This makes me feel alive.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Market Finds of the Week

Okay so I seem to have lost my blogging mojo lately.  I don't know what my deal is but I can't get the motivation to write about anything lately.  When I first started this blog, I couldn't wait to write about all sorts of things.  Now, I can't get the motivation to sit down and write.  It's  not like nothing has been going on.  In fact, I've been crazy busy.  I guess when you're busy, you're just too exhausted to write about the day's goings on when you get done with them.  Hopefully, this is just a passing phase.

The only thing I really want to write about these days is what I get at the farmer's market, which is a shame because apparently no one else is interested at all in reading about it.  Oh well.  It makes me happy so I'm going to do another farmer's market post today.

First of all, Ted got his hot cross buns!  Don't they look awesome?  I had to smell them all the way home so I couldn't resist just having one bite just to taste.  They really are super scrumptious.  Ted immediately snarfed three of them!

Check out these flowers.  I think they're called Delphinium (?).  Anyway, I call them by their other name, "pretty blue flowers" and I couldn't resist them.
I found some even better eggs than last week.  These are from free-range chickens who are also eat grass and bugs in addition to their feed.  This makes the eggs more nutritious and healthy.  You can't really tell in the picture but the yolks are seriously orange.  This is how egg yolks are supposed to look, but we have gotten used to the pale yellow color which indicates lower nutrient levels.  Also, if you look at the egg in the middle, it is slightly green.  The lady told me that this egg came from a particular type of chicken that lays green, blue, and sometimes rose-colored eggs.  Cool.  I made scrambled eggs with them when I got home and eating them was a whole new eggsperience!  (Sorry---couldn't resist.)  They are much eggier and sturdier than other eggs. 

I won't bore you with all the veggies and other things I got today.  I did get some goat meat to try.  I'm curious to see what that's like.  Anyway, I just seem to be excited about food lately.  Who knows why?  Now I really know what Julia Child meant when she said that shopping for food is more thrilling than shopping for a dress!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Farmer's Market Veggies!

I went to my local farmer's market again today.  Sure, I have to get up early on a Saturday morning, but it's so worth it!  I have become a bit of a veggie snob.  The drab, supermarket veggies that have been picked green and ripened on the back of a truck and shipped across the country, coated in a film of petroleum (even the organic ones) do nothing for me now.  I have come to realize that fresh veggies that have been picked ripe and eaten within a few days are far superior!  Not just in taste but in texture.  They snap, they crisp, they have bite, etc.

Anyway, since I'm spoiled I went out again today.  Here's what I got:
Kale, fava beans, broccoli, an English cucumber, purple green onions, asparagus, strawberries, hydroponic escarole, spinach, herb plants, lamb chops, local, free-range eggs, and shrimp.

Look how beautiful these shrimp are!  (...and only $7 for all of these shrimp.)
I have never seen purple green onions like these before but they looked interesting.  I tried them when I got home and they have a delicate, sweet taste.
No hot cross bun today for Ted  (hmm... that could be a good band name couldn't it?  "No Hot Cross Buns for Ted".)   However, the bread lady had homemade Granny Smith apple and pecan muffins so I got him one.  The bread lady said she would make us some hot cross buns if we wanted to buy at least a dozen.  When I got home and told this to Ted, his eyes lit up and he nodded vehemently.  I guess we're getting a dozen hot cross buns next week!

The farmer's market has transformed the whole shopping/cooking experience for me.  It used to be a chore to plan out the week's menus, make a list, then go to the store and try to find everything.  Now, I have no list!  I just go and see what they have and what looks good.  Then, I decide what to make with it when I get home.  It makes the process much more enjoyable and creative.  Here's a salad, that I threw together from the things I bought today, to have with lunch:

It has strawberries, spinach, mixed lettuce, parsley, pecans, lemon juice, and olive oil.  A little weird I know, but it was delicious!

So here is my garden-to-be.  I bought some basil, English thyme, and oregano plants.  Hopefully, I won't kill them and they will be the start of my herb/veggie garden.  We'll see. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bag o' Greens

What's better than getting fresh, organic veggies from your local farmer's market?  Having your aunt grow them in her garden and give you them for free!  Look at this bag of greens she gave me from her garden.
Don't they look awesome?  There is a mix of two different types of lettuce, arugula, spinach, and broccoli.  My aunt has had a garden ever since I can remember and now she's doing everything organic.  I'm really happy because I have someone to ask for gardening advice!  I really want to start a garden but I have severely brown thumbs.  Really.  I can't even keep a house plant alive.  I did try to start an herb garden once, but the darn squirrels ate everything I planted.  Who knew squirrels ate things like garlic and swiss chard? 

For you gardeners out there, here is some advice she gave me: 
Before you plant, mix compost and cow manure in the soil.  (You can even buy these things at Walmart these days.  Not that I support Walmart---I'm just sayin'.)
After you see leaves shooting up, put fish emulsion on it.  I've never heard of this, but you mix a teaspoon of it in a gallon of water and put it on once a week.  My aunt says that her garden absolutely took off when she did this.  It makes sense.  When you use conventional fertilizer, you're only putting 3 nutrients on.  Fish emulsion provides a whole spectrum of nutrients.  (Also, didn't the Indians bury a fish in the ground when they planted corn?  They knew what they were doing.)

I think I'm going to start small and try an herb garden again, but I'm going to see if I can make a cage or something to keep those pesky squirrels out!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Farmer's Market Loot

I have been meaning to go to my local farmer's market for some time now, but have been too lazy until today.  The market is on Saturday mornings from 8 - 12, which is usually when I love to sleep!  Well, today I sucked it up and went because I am getting more and more angry with the food industry and I want to support local economy.  (Don't even get me started!  If you want to know more, I highly recommend reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollen.  Two friends of mine recommended it to me and I'm so glad they did.)

Here's some of the loot I picked up today (Ignore what's in the back.  That's just what was on my messy counter):

On the left, we have some local honey which I was very happy about since eating local honey is supposed to help with allergies.  (It helps you build antibodies to local allergens.)  I'm not eating honey myself these days (b/c of my no-sugar diet) but it's good for my hubby.  Behind the honey you can see a bag of pecans.  Then, some mustard greens, kale, cauliflower, carrots, sweet onions, strawberries, and butter.  Look how crazy those carrots are!  You can tell someone pulled them out of the ground.  To my delight, the butter is from a local, family-owned farm and was made from cream from cows who were grass-fed, NOT corn-fed.  (Meat and dairy from grass-fed cows are SO much better for you!)  My one food splurge was the strawberries.  I'm not supposed to have even fruit sugar and I haven't had fruit of any sort in months.  However, I decided that it's Easter and I'm not going to have Easter candy so some strawberries wouldn't be too bad, right?  Anyway, I had a few right after I took this picture and they are delicious!  When you don't eat sugar, fruit tastes like candy!

 Above are some dry goods I bought.  The rice cakes, tea, and almond butter are the same brands I have been buying at Whole Foods but it makes me happy that an actual person got the profits today instead of a big food conglomerate.  The bread is a treat for my husband who is less than thrilled with my gluten-free ways lately.  I satisfied both halves of his ethnicity by getting Kalamata olive bread and a hot-cross bun.  The buns were baked fresh this morning and Ted said it was the best ever.

And lastly, I splurged again and bought myself something girly.  I have been wanted an anklet for a long time now and they're hard to find.  Anyway, I bought this one directly from the woman who made it:
All in all, a successful trip!  It's really nice to buy things from the people who grow or make them.  These people can answer any questions you may have and are knowledgeable about their area.  The veggie and fruit growers can even help you pick out produce that's at the perfect ripeness based on when you're going to eat them.  (Today, the strawberry lady had special pints of them set aside if you were going to eat them today; then other batches for tomorrow and later in the week.)  All I can say is, eating things at the exact, perfect ripeness is an experience you don't want to miss out on.

Check out your local farmer's market and I think you'll enjoy it and you'll wonder (as I did) why you haven't been going all along.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Great Staycation

This week is Spring Break for us teachers.  Yeah, we may not get paid in money, but we do get paid in time off.  Anyway, instead of going anywhere, my husband (Ted) and I decided to stay home for a change since we travel so much in the summers, plus we went Greece this past Christmas.  All I can say is, it's so nice to be home!  Just hanging around our house when we don't have to work feels so novel since we never get to do this.  I have been loving it!  The point of this post however, is not for me to brag as much as it is to give you some ideas about what to do on your own "staycation".

One thing we have been able to do this week is go on long bike rides (as in bicycle).  I never thought I would like doing this, but Ted has converted me.  For 3 summers in a row, we went on bike cruises in Holland.  What's a bike cruise?  It's where you live on a canal boat for a week which goes around to various towns, drops you off with rental bike, then goes ahead to the next town where you have to meet it.  Sometimes, we would bike 35 miles in a day!  This was the first time I ever felt respect for my body.  Yeah, it's not much to look at but it sure can haul-ass all over Holland on a bike!  These trips got me into the whole cycling thing.

Anyway, we have gone on a few bike rides this week.  Not as much as 35 miles or anything, but we did 15 yesterday.  Plus, the weather is perfect right now.  Not too hot with a pleasant breeze.  We brought lunch with us and had a picnic by the river.  Heavenly!

Taking Care of ME!
Another thing thing I've been able to do this week is to really focus on my health. (I am trying to figure out what causes my migraines and I want to get rid of them once and for all!)  Normally, I don't have time to do acupuncture appointments or massages, but this week I do!  Staying home but spending a little money on these things actually costs less than a trip would and it's much more relaxing. 

Cooking healthy meals and trying out new recipes is another thing I have been doing this week.  Also, going to the farmer's market.  Buying fresh, local produce makes me happy!  We also bought some trees and planted them in our yard:  a sycamore for the front, and a lemon tree and a satsuma tree for the back.  I can't wait until we get some fruit from them!

Seeing Friends:
There are friends that I never get to hang out with because we're all too busy.  Since I have time this week, I'm able to go visit them!  I have the time to go drive out close to where they work and meet them for lunch.  Nice!

Brain Food:
One thing I love to do (and don't have a lot of time for usually) is read.  I have a whole pile of books I have been yearning to read and this week I can.  Is there anything better than getting cozy with a good book and a lovely cup of tea?  I don't think so!  Also, I have been catching up on some movies I've been wanting to see. (Especially Sharukh Khan ones!)

There you have it.  A really awesome staycation.  I thought it was going to be boring, but it's not at all!  Maybe if I did this all the time it would get old, but right now I'm enjoying it.   

What would you do on your staycation?