Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekend of Wonderful-ness :)

I had the most wonderful weekend! In fact, it was almost perfect. I got up nice and early on Saturday and headed out to our local farmer's market, where I chatted with the vendors and did some leisurely shopping before it got too crowded. The weather was perfect for it - sunny and warm with a nice fresh morning breeze - and I came home with two bags full of goodies, which included...

...blueberries that had been picked the day before, local Ontario cherries, organic sweet potatoes (and a couple of 'Oh Henry' potatoes that the vendor threw in because he thought I'd like them - I love markets!), fresh peas in the pod that I shelled when I got home, a dozen organic duck eggs, and a head of crisp leaf-y lettuce. My favourite purchase of the morning, though, was this:

A bouquet of fresh lavendar. It's now in my living room, and I spent all weekend sniffing it's lovely fragrance. It may eventually end up in some soap, but I haven't decided on that yet. For now I'm enjoying it right where it is :)

Once I'd come home and put all of my market finds away, I ran out to pick up the other groceries we'd need for this week, and started on the many loads of laundry that have been piling up because we'd been busy the past couple of weekends. By that time, it had clouded over and become ominously dark, and just after I had brought up the first load of dry clothes, the skies opened up in a torrential downpour that lasted all afternoon and most of the evening.

Have I mentioned before that I absolutely love rainstorms? I especially love them on days when all I'm doing is puttering around the house. It was perfect! I had some rolls in the oven, and a chicken ready to go in once the rolls were done, which made the house smell divinely comfortable. And between running downstairs to shift loads of laundry, I sat out on the sun-porch in my big comfy obesan chair, wrapped in an afghan and reading a good book while listening to the wind and rain. Heaven!

After supper, which included the aforementioned chicken and rolls, as well as the newly shelled peas and sweet potatoes, TC and I played a few rounds of Carcassonne. He'd found the game, with all of its pieces, at a local thrift store earlier last week for $1, and it has turned out to be one of our favourite games.

Sunday, we were off to church and lunch with friends, and then in the afternoon, while it continued to rain, I made these cookies with the left-over sweet potatoes. They're super yummy, so I have to share the recipe with all of you :)

Sweet Potato Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed sweet potato (you can also use canned pumpkin puree if that's
what you have on hand)
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1 - 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and sweet potato. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the wet mixture. Drop by tablespoonful onto greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

I also spent quite a bit of time playing my piano and working on an afghan that is going to be absolutely gorgeous when it's done - I'm not going to post any pictures of it until then, which shouldn't take too awfully long, since I'm already about 1/6th of the way there.

All in all, it was an ideal weekend, and now it's Monday and I'm feeling wonderfully rested and refreshed :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another Pain in the Neck

Do you remember way back in May '08, when I went to Washington and came back with a neck that wouldn't work? Well, I've managed to do it again, but this time without having to leave the country. I woke up on Tuesday unable to move my head without an intense burning pain shooting from my neck to my shoulder and then through to my chest. Sounds like fun, eh? I'm not quite sure what set it off this time, but it's probably a combination of stress and the fact that I had spent the entire weekend prior to that with my head turned at a 45 degree angle.

It's getting much better, thanks largely to my fabulous chiropractor, but I still don't have the full range of motion that I previously enjoyed (we're working on that). As a result, I've spent the last week having to explain to people why I couldn't turn my head to look at them. And you know what struck me as funny? Every single person - seriously, every single person - knew exactly what would make my neck better. I've been told to rest it, to make sure that I keep using it as much as possible, to ice it, to heat it, to stretch it, to massage it while stretching it, to avoid massaging it altogether, to take muscle relaxants, to take anti-inflammatory pain killers, to see an acupuncturist, to drink a particular kind of herbal tea, to get a type of electro-stimulation therapy...

I appreciate the fact that everyone was trying to help. Every bit of that advice was well intentioned and no doubt helped the person who gave it to me at some point, but the range of the remedies is just hilarious. At least to me :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eye of the Storm

Life hasn't been completely swept up in the craziness of adoption.

This is my current crafty project. I fell in love with the yarn - it's so soft and fuzzy, and masculine enough for the men in my family who wouldn't be caught dead in something that's not an earth tone. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was destined to become a scarf. It's also the first thing I've knit (knitted?) on my new birch needles, and I don't think I'll be able to go back to metal or plastic. The yarn glides so beautifully, with just the right amount of hold so that stitches aren't slipping off.

A batch of cinnamon soap that is currently about 2 weeks into the curing process. My sunporch smells glorious! At least when the landlord's son who lives out back isn't "relaxing" in the evenings with his smouldering herb of choice.

The highlight of this past weekend, other than finishing the training course?

We went to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (of Whose Line Is It Anyway? fame) perform an improv comedy show on Saturday night. I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time - and did we ever need it!

And so life carries on in the midst of the whirlwind.

Slowly but surely...

Okay, so things have been a little quiet here lately. To be completely honest, life has been a little overwhelming. The process of being recommended as adoptive parents is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting - and we're still not quite there yet. The last 2 weekends have been spent at a training course, ostensibly designed to help prepare "resource families" for some of the challenges they face and make them aware of all the processes involved. I also think it's designed to scare the bejeezus out of you.

But it's done, and we have the certificate to say that we're sufficiently trained to become adoptive parents. One more hoop successfully jumped through. One more favourable judgment of our parental worthiness.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Things are looking 'Up'

I'm not a big fan of going to see movies in the theatre. You can't pause it to go pee, there's always someone who feels the need to chat with their friend, my knees start to hurt because I can't stretch my legs out, the a/c is almost always too cold ... you get the idea. I much prefer to watch movies in the comfort of my own home, so please understand that I'm not saying this lightly: if you haven't done so already,


We went last night with a bunch of friends from our home church, and I can honestly state without any exaggeration that it was one of the best movies I've seen in years. And because it's done in 3D, you really need to see it in the theatre to fully appreciate it. I don't want to tell you anything about it - I went in having no idea what it was about, other than an old man and a balloon covered house, and it completely blew me away. So go. Now. I promise you'll enjoy it :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tripping down memory lane

There's a new meme doing the rounds over on facebook - you post a comment asking your "friends" to share a memory of you, good or bad (though unless your friends are jerks, they'll probably all be good). It's been fun to revisit those events and times, though there's been an unexpected side effect. All day today random memories have been popping into my head, things I haven't thought about in years. Like...

...sitting with my friend AG on the daily trip to high school on bus #27, listening to the driver's favourite radio station that for some unknown reason always played the same 2 songs at some point on the 30 minute journey: Breakfast at Tiffany's and King of Wishful Thinking.

...driving my mum's car the wrong way up an off-ramp at 12 am (I was completely sober) on a girl's night off from camp

...watching the Captian Power movie, and the cheesiest black & white movie on the planet with CH one summer Saturday ("Darling, you've given me a reason to buy orchids again." - they just don't write dialogue like that anymore!)

...cranking the music and dancing around the kitchen with cousin KL after making stir-fry for the very first time

...TC bringing flowers to my office at university because I'd emailed him about the rough day I'd been having - and how he got in trouble with my office-mate's boyfriend for raising the bar so high by delivering them while she was there to see him do it :)

...canoeing on the ocean one night with TC, Matt & Annie, while fervently hoping that Matt wouldn't flip the canoe

...getting lost with K & S on the way to Central New Annan, NS, because the instructions said to turn right at the big red store, which had been painted blue a few days before we arrived

...playing "Shark" with all the cousins - a game where one of us had to cross from one end of my grandmother's living room to the other, while the rest of us chose positions to lay on the floor and had to try to bring that person down using only our legs. Much bruising and laughter ensued.

...spending an entire day making tiny gourmet sandwiches with CL and JW for Sherrie's pre-wedding tea

I'll stop there, but the memories keep coming! What about you folks? What's the first memory that pops into your head when you start thinking back?

Monday, July 6, 2009

The adoption saga continues...

It seems that we have entered another busy season! Work and life have gone a little crazy, but it doesn't stress me out nearly as much as it used to. I think I've finally come to the realization that the world won't end if I'm not able to get everything done on time, or at all. As long as I'm spending time with the people I care about, the rest will either get done when it gets done, or I'll realize that it's not as essential as I had thought it was :)

Part of the craziness is because of the ongoing adoption process, which is pretty time-consuming. We're finally finished our end of the paperwork, and are now waiting for all the security checks and references to come in. In the meantime we're in the interview stage of our home study, which involves a series of meetings with our adoption practitioner to talk about our families, our current situation in life, our relationships, and all our hopes/dreams/plans insofar as they relate to raising a family - essentially, everything he needs to know to get an idea of who we are and whether or not we'd be good parents. The last interview will also involve an inspection of our home, just to make sure there are no sharp pointy things sticking out of the walls or rats running around. At the same time, we have to take a 4-day training course, done over the next 2 weekends, designed to help prepare us for the issues surrounding parenting an adopted child.

The whole process is pretty intensive, and it raises a lot of questions that are kind of surreal. One of the things we have to do is determine what specifications we'd like for our children with regards to age, gender, race, and/or number. And how do you answer a question like "Are you willing to care for a physically or mentally delicate child?" If I were pregnant, it's not like we'd be choosing any of these things - they'd all be pre-determined, and we'd love them no matter what. But to be completely honest, nobody wants their child to have physical or mental difficulties. Does that mean such children are less deserving of a loving home than 'normal' kids? What level of 'willingness' is required? For what degree of 'delicacy'? How equipped are we to provide the necessary level of care?

Needless to say, there's a lot of thinking, talking and soul-searching going on in our household these days :)