Friday, December 2, 2011

Better Than Yours

My milkshake* brings all the boys** to the yard.***

* opposable thumbs and their ability to open cans
** male cats
*** kitchen

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The hardest thing about starring in a tv drama with my cats is capturing the "everyone walks purposefully in the same direction" shot for the opening credits.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Perfect Match

Last Friday was National Adoption Day. Spouse and I have been moving forward in our adoption process for what feels like 80 years, which is especially amazing given that we have only been married for 9. In honor of the day, I'm re-posting this, which is about the torture process of creating a family profile. It was written in September of last year (yes, over a year ago. Shut up). In the next few days, I'll give you an update of where we are now. In the meantime. . .


Step 1: The Meeting

We meet with the adoption attorney. We’re just about through with the home study, having convinced the state, local authorities and an independently-contracted social worker that we are, indeed, fit for parenting (the latter having made that declaration even after seeing that we keep four stuffed animals in our dining room. Permanently). To our benefit, they weren’t looking for us to be perfect. We just had to be prove that we (a) aren’t criminals and (b) mostly aren’t insane.

The next step is for us to complete a family profile. It’s a lot like a scrapbook – a words and pictures snapshot of who we are and what kind of life we would provide for a child. The lawyer will show the profile to birthmothers, who will read the profile to decide which family she wants to raise her child. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I regret having given up scrapbooking.

Step 2: Research

I select a brand new notebook with a quirky cover and Uniball pen, douse myself in a vanilla/white musk perfume combination which I call “eau de play doh,” and chastise the cat for chewing with his mouth open. I feel maternal. I am ready to start. I’ve decided that I’m not just going to create an adoption profile. I am going to create the greatest profile of all time. I will evoke laughter and tears. I will show that we are firm, but nurturing. I will create a work so emotionally powerful that the Nobel committee will suggest an award for Outstanding Infertility-Related Arts just to be able to honor us. Our profile will get its own category on Jeopardy.

I sit down at the computer and type “adoption profile” into the search engine. Wow. I sit in the same spot for 3 hours, filling my notebook with thoughts about the competition.

First and foremost, all adoptive couples are very good looking. Or maybe a better term is “well-manicured.” They are not models. But they are also not people who go to the grocery store without makeup on (and definitely not in Hello Kitty pajama bottoms). The men wear sweaters. The women match their purses to their outfits. If nothing else, they give the promise of a perfectly-accessorized child.

Second, most of the couples have at least one household member in the education or human services field, careers that usually follow more of a “contributing to society” path and less of a “I can afford to pay for all of the premium cable channels without even batting an eye” path. But not these folks. They ride horses. They ski. Several of them live in lavish estate-sized homes. One family has a picture that I swear was the house from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Many of the profiles have a picture (or more precisely, what appears to be an aerial photograph) of the house, with an arrow pointing to the baby’s room. I make a note to mention that our baby will have the east wing of our house all to herself. I will neglect to mention that the east wing is separated from the west wing by 7 feet of hallway that includes a litter box, the washer and dryer, and a bathroom with a misbehaving toilet.

Third, all of the families have large social networks, including friends they’ve known since childhood. They participate in large family gatherings, where everyone laughs, smiles, and hugs. They do not, like SOME people, maintain relatively small social networks while priding themselves on the fact that they have 950 twitter followers. I will say no more on this matter.

I’m a bit discouraged, but I remind myself that we have a lot to offer too. I then leave my notebook on the desk and wander off to eat ice cream and take a 3-hour nap.

Step 3: Pictures

The pictures are the most important part of the profile. They can be what makes the birthmother connect with you instantly or send your profile to the bottom of the stack (do not pass go, do not collect a newborn).

According to my research, we should have up to 20 pictures of my husband and me together. This is a challenge. Our mutual friends are sci fi people. They are fantasy film people. Some of them are the types of people who carry more devices on their belts than Batman. They are not, unfortunately, camera people. At any given social event, the likelihood of someone carrying a 20-sided die far outweighs the likelihood of someone carrying a camera.

Having polled all our friends repeatedly (and by “polled,” I mean “begged”), we come up with only two pictures of us, both of which are from weddings. I fill in the remaining “together” pictures from the only other times we are photographed as a couple – at Walt Disney World and at Christmas. It lacks variety, but, on the other hand, there’s something to be said for a couple whose schedule alternates between the most wonderful time of the year and the happiest place on earth.

The “by ourselves” section proves to be equally difficult. My husband and I go lots of places together. Amateur photography has become a hobby for us, and our pictures fall into two categories – visually interesting images from the environment and pictures of my husband doing silly things. My artistic triumph, in fact, is a series of photos of my husband standing with his fists in the air, poised to fight with an inanimate object. He has fought with a statue of a buffalo. He has fought with a banyan tree. He has fought with a small stuffed beaver. I decide on six pictures that convey the perfect dad combination of gentle, responsible and silly. He looks like the kind of man who will fix a cabinet but stop working long enough to attend your tea party.

I scour the hard drive and find pictures of myself, our families (including the cats), and our friends. I spent the next several days editing out demon eyes, wine glasses, and a few unfortunate skin outbreaks. The pictures are in place.

Step 4: The Text

The profile has two jobs. First is the “Dear Birthmother” section. In that you speak directly to the birthmother, saying how courageous she is and how you know she has a difficult choice ahead of her. While all of those things are true, it’s hard to write them without sounding greeting card-ish and insincere. I’ve had nightmares about sending the complete profile to the attorney, only to have it returned covered with red corrections and notes like “not enough sucking up.”
Second, the profile is a snapshot of your life. You hope that one of the things you say will spark a connection between you. She has always wanted a big family. You have a big family. She wants her daughter to take ballet lessons. You’re a firm believer in ballet lessons.
You also want to be detailed, but not too detailed. “We are young at heart” is a great way to let birthmothers get to know you. “One of our prized possessions is a Darth Vader cookie jar” – not so much.

I decide to keep it brief, starting with the “dear birth mother,” working our way through about us, a section about our friends and family, and a section about what we like to do. I make sure to portray us as purpose driven and responsible, but fun (“We like to go to museums, but they’re museums where you can touch stuff, not the kinds of museums where you get yelled at for getting to close to old things.”). I show that we love learning. I show that we are silly. I refrain from mentioning that I went to Harvard or that I work with underprivileged children on every single page (although I do mention both at least once). I try to show what we can offer.

Step 5: The Wait

And now I’m getting ready to send the profile off to the attorney. She won’t tell us when birth mothers are reviewing it. She’ll only tell us when someone has chosen us. In the meantime, I will worry. I’ll worry that the birthmothers will judge us for our lack of fancy clothes. I’ll worry that they will think we’re too old or too average looking. I’m worried that something about us will remind them of someone who has hurt them in the past. But I’m also coming to peace with the fact that it’s just a matter of time. We are not perfect. But we’re bound to be the right type of imperfection for someone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The Motor Trend Car of the Year is. . . . . the 1993 Toyota Corolla. Frankly, I'm as surprised as you are.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Saturday. Please get your groove on responsibly.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Strange Bedfellows

The school has obviously changed a lot since I went there.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Death Be Not Proud

Sometimes when I'm on my way to work, I get delayed for several minutes at a railroad crossing. At first I get mad. And then I imagine that the traincars are filled with peas, trundling towards their doom in the mouth of a recalcitrant toddler. Godspeed, little peatrain. Godspeed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy. And sad.

Today is Jim Henson's birthday. I could give you a long explanation of how much the Muppets influenced my life. It would be long and flowery and full of grandiose adjectives.

Instead, here's what I'll tell you. We played this song at our wedding.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

six worst things about the week after Talk Like a Pirate Day

  1. Getting to the mall by 3 am to get the best Blackbeard Friday bargains.
  2. Dealing with the embarassment of being the last on your block to take down your decorative lawn plank.
  3. Two words: parrot guano
  4. Seeing all the lonely, discarded peg legs left by the curb for bulk trash day.
  5. Busting out your fat pants to accomodate for post-pillaging bloat. 
  6. Spending hours on the computer googling +leftovers +recipes +booty

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The 12th Habit

Sure, Benjamin Franklin may have gotten a lot done, but that's because he didn't have such easy access to movies of babies playing with cats.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Personal Left-Wing Conspiracy

You know you listen to too much public radio when you meet a professional statistician and you're surprised that her name is something other than Marge Inoverra.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Random Act

Dear Los Angelinos,

I am very sorry you have to endure this weekend's Carmageddon. One of the biggest shocks for me when I moved from Boston to this sprawling suburbia was the absolute necessity of having to drive a car to get anywhere useful.

And, because I am a kind person, I will spare you jokes related to disasters involving pirates (Arrrrrmageddon), Middle Eastern food (Shawarmageddon) and chocolate-coated spun sugar products (Mallomarmageddon).

I do this because I love.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Really glad I woke up from that dream. Danny Aiello's birthday was coming, and I was really struggling with what to get him.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Times

Congratulations, New York, for legalizing gay marriage. You weren't the first to do it, but I'm sure you'll figure out a way to explain that you did it better than everyone else.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Happy Father's Day to all the dads, grandpas, uncles, male role models and other men who have made a difference in someone's life.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Very Last Paragraph of My Biography

But her husband was wrong. There WAS, in fact, a dead frog under the plastic bags in the garage. And she never set foot on the first floor of her house again.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Race to the. . . Something

On your mark. . . get set. . . .GO

A trip to the local homegoods outlet brings a subtle reminder that slow and steady wins the race.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wemuweh wemuweh wemuweh wemuweh. . .

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.

Ee-e-e-e-e-um-um-a-weh Ee-e-e-e-e-um-um-a-weh

Yes, we had the cat shaved. No, we're not terrible human beings. Mostly. But he has super-fine fur, and he had mats so close to his belly that we were way too nervous to take a scissor to them. After one day of apparent shame, he seems to have settled in well.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Well. . . um. . . hrm


Struggling not to correct the vet when she refers to you as the cat's "mommy."


Struggling not to tell the vet that it's much more likely that the cat sees you as his mostly platonic girlfriend.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Our actions tonight probably saved your life. And it kills me that you'll never forgive us for that.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This will go on my permanent record

Yes, I know this is not an orchid.
I believe I am in the process of killing an orchid. Those of you with a social conscience should report me to whatever authority you deem appropriate.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

: (

Sad to report three rescuing-Timmy-from-the-well-related accidents during preview performances of "Lassie: Turn off the Bark."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Can Only Assume

I had a call from Ontario, Canada on my phone. I missed the call, and they did not leave a voicemail. I'm going to make the logical assumption: that Alan Thicke, Nickelback, and the 1983 cast of "You Can't Do That On Television" gathered together for a conference call to wish me luck with the presentation I'm doing this morning.