Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is the truth out there?

Several years ago there was a TV show called, The X Files. The two FBI agents, Mulder and Scully, were sent out to provide reasonable explanations for out of worldly experiences.

I have some situations here at home that I wonder if even Mulder and Scully could explain.

Now I have written more than once about my socks that have disappeared, but I think I have figured that one out. The mates have decided they no longer want to be in a relationship and have split. Maybe they were in a forced relationship and the only thing they had in common is that they looked alike. Maybe it had been an arranged relationship from the start and when they saw their chance, they just took off! I mean it makes sense to me. Unfortunately they do not take those of us left behind into consideration. We miss them. We need them.

But where I really need help is understanding where the lids to my plastic containers are, as well as the lids to my Starbucks coffee cups, much less the location of my Starbucks coffee cups.

I saw an article recently on getting your home organized. They suggested clearing out all random containers in your cabinet and buying a matching set that easily stacks and maintains order. I tried that once. When I was going through my cabinet trying desperately to find a lid that actually went with a container, there were a number of remnants of that set, none that matched of course. I decided it was time to get it under control and clear out anything that was not a complete container, but when I did, I had a whole box of mismatched parts.

So how can you end up with a whole box of lids and containers that do not match? I mean, really. This is obviously a bigger mystery than I can solve and bears the characteristics of an out of this world phenomena.

I spend about an hour in the car in the mornings so I choose to enjoy my first cup of coffee there. This shouldn't be difficult. Many people do this. But maybe they have learned not to fill their cup too full especially on the days they wear a white shirt. Regardless of how they do it, I thought it might be easier just to put a lid on the cup, since they originally came with lids. But an even bigger question is where are my Starbucks cups? At one point I had enough that they almost filled an entire shelf. Now? I am down to two. I have other insulated coffee cups but they are usually metal and make my teeth hurt. One of the two I just got in December. A friend gave me a Starbucks gift card for Christmas and I waited on them to discount the Christmas ones.

Now here is the most amazing part, I have had this Christmas cup, barely 2 months, and the lid is gone. I doubt I ever even put it on the cup, so where did it go? And how do I have right at 20 lids that do not have cups to match?? Where are those cups?

Do you see what I mean? The socks going separate ways makes sense but the cups and containers with no lids is like they decapitated themselves. Are they that desperate? Do you see why I need Scully and Mulder?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dub!

When we were growing up, our cousins lived just 2 blocks away. As in most families, the kids were similar ages, but somehow I ended up with the boy cousin, rather than the girl one. I remember at times I wished otherwise, as we spent considerable time together, but in hindsight, realize I had the best deal.

Memories of the two of us sitting out on the sidewalk, playing, are some of my earliest memories. Like siblings, we had our squabbles and to defend myself, I became known as the biter, as my only means of protection, of course.

We loved to play up at the school situated in the block between ours, and his enterprising spirit was evident quite early. Bottles could be returned to the store on the corner, Moore's Grocery, and cashed in for some sweet treats. He would make us scour the entire school ground in search of enough for the great reward of a Popsicle. When our efforts would turn up enough for just one, he had Mrs. Moore break it in half so we could share.

Once we got our bikes, we were no longer confined to just the school or the sidewalk and hit the open road as the two young rebels we were sure we were. We rode fast and hard on our stingrays and went up and down every street in the neighborhood. The whole world seemed to ours or it was until our moms found out we were also cruising the alleys and shut that down. My daughters think it is funny that I still won't go down an alley, but that is the rule!

We started elementary school together and had the same teachers and classes for years.

This had an unexpected benefit for me, I had my own personal bodyguard, since I had given up biting as my means of protection! I remember a confrontation with a classmate that ended when my bodyguard stepped in and threatened to take down anyone who tried to hurt me. This lasted through junior high and when Charles Baker wrote our names together on a desk, again my bodyguard stepped in and made it very clear that I did not want my name associated with his on a desk or any other surface.

We went to different high schools though and I guess I was forced to learn to fend for myself. From there our paths have very different roads to say the least. But he still assumed the role of bodyguard, only this time for a much bigger group through his service in the Air Force.

And even though I am two weeks older than him, he has now retired, which has brought him back to our neck of the woods.

Today is his birthday and while I don't seem to have a great picture of us being snotty nosed brats like he did for mine, I still wanted to make sure he knew I appreciated his part in my life and wish him a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday, Dub!

Friday, February 24, 2012

If you would like to help someone in need

There are so many good hearted people who read my blog I wanted to share this opportunity with you. This is the city that my daughters are from. This group works diligently to place children in foster care, rather than have them remain in their institution. If you are interested in sponsoring this little girl, please see the contact information below.


Nanchang foster child and Nanchang exchange student


We have this little girl from the Nanchang orphanage that is still in need of a foster sponsor:

HY is a cheerful, outgoing girl 11 year old girl with cerebral palsy who is warm and friendly to everyone she meets. Her foster mother knows she is enjoying kindergarten because HY comes home and talks all about what she did and learned that day. HY is doing quite well academically, keeping up with things like reading, writing, adding, subtracting, and memorizing Tang poetry. She especially enjoys song and dance activities. HY's self-help skills are hampered by her poor hand-eye coordination and lack of strength in her right hand. Foster Care Sponsorship = $51/month (could share with another family)

You can read more about our programs at

Please let me know if you would like to sponsor her or help sponsor.

Also - we have a boy from Nanchang (not an orphan) who would like to come to the US as an exchange student so please e-mail me if you might like to be his host family and I can give you more information.

Peggy Gurrad
It's not about sandwiches! It's about my life!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lessons learned from motherhood

Before I became a mom, I was pretty clear on what all I would do as a mom and how my children would be. There was little or no doubt that my children would never dress like that, wear makeup like that, act like that, like Disney princesses, be traumatized by the introduction and then dispel the hopes of Santa, or the Easter bunny, or the tooth fairy, and I would never drive a mini van! There was no way! Having children would not change who I was.

I bet there are so  many people who laugh on a regular basis at how terribly wrong I was.

My niece, who is pregnant, with her first child, makes similar statements.

I tried to explain that I had thought the same thing but that everything, EVERYTHING, changes after you add children to the mix.

When you have a child, you WANT the mini van, not for you, but for them, the children. They don't drive it, or course, but they want and NEED the space, the convenience, to be able to open the door for them, remotely, then for them to have plenty of room for all their paraphernalia, makes the mini van just one of the many things you find you want.

She didn't believe me. She wanted to know why you would do those things even when you don't want to and that's when it dawned on me, you do it because you want your children to be happy. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. You truly want them to be happy. You are willing to do whatever is necessary to make that child happy.

So if it appears that the Disney princesses make them happy, you are all for Disney princesses.

And of course, Santa becomes a fixture, along with the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny. You try to temper it with reality, but soon you are up all night wrapping every present, in hopes that at least one will be the perfect gift! That your child will be happy.

Now don't get me wrong, it is not about possessions. In fact that is probably the last thing you end up doing to try to promote happiness for your child. You encourage them in all endeavors, all outfits, all experiments with all styles, all music, art, school work, you name it, you are there to tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them.

And of course, because you love them so much, you soon learn you have to tell them no also. Yes, you want them to be happy, but your job as the parent is sometimes to be the one person who tells them no and you have to make them understand that it is not out of meanness, it is done out of love, and because you do want them to be happy.

It does get complicated when your child comes with a past, when you adopt a child whose earliest experiences you could not control, and there was no one there for whom their happiness was the most important part of their life. And when they struggle with the demons that plague them from their earliest days, you feel completely lost, and all you want is to help them find a way through the darkness and hope they can find happiness again.

So you focus on what you can do, you pray, and you are so very glad that God felt you deserved this special child, and you take their happiness very seriously, and you hope that others, who have room in their hearts, will also consider adopting an older child, who are missing out on their happiness being important to someone, and then receive the blessings you have from becoming a mom, just not necessarily the one you thought you would.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

You obviously misunderstood

Somehow many of  you who read my last post completely misunderstood. The problem is not me! I'm pretty sure there are 2 others in the who have contributed to my brain malfunctions!

If it is my fault, I want to blame it on something that I will say has become an issue in motherhood and that is a whole new type of fatigue, both physically and mentally that I had never experienced before.

So with that in mind, one night this week, I proclaimed that we had to go to bed earlier, that I was bone tired.

Although no one voiced an agreement, I was sure they understood.

That night, right about the time I thought we needed to begin winding things down, Annabel casually asked how do you download music.

Both have received ITune gift cards on different occassions and there is always something new, so I just thought she had a new tune she wanted to download.

I gave her the blank stare, followed by the blink, blink, and you could hear crickets chirping as I casually asked "why?".

She explains, there is this technology project that focuses on a specific decade and the various "fine arts" of that decade and she was assigned the 70's, and since she is in choir, then her part of the group project was the music of the 70's and she needed some music for their powerpoint presentation.

So my next, rather casual question, was when is it due?

Why not until February 28.

Great! Remind me tomorrow or this weekend and we will get some music downloaded, now everybody start getting ready for bed.

See, now this is the key to why my brain is drained, by what she told me next...

Oh the project is due on February 28 but the music is due the next day.

Great, at the exact time that I think we are wrapping things up, going to bed early enough to recharge my brain, much less my body, a whole new project opens up that must be completed immediately!

Finding a few songs from the 70's should be easy and probably would be unless the 70's covered some of the most important changes that happened in your life and it immediately sends you down memory lane, random explosions of bursting into songs that you were never really clear on what the lyrics were and still haven't figured out, and thousands of stories to tell, and it suddenly turns into a very lengthy process.

So we finally narrow it down to 5 songs and then I start trying desperately to remember how do you download a song, much less copy it to a blank CD, which we cannot find, and then brainstorm on another way to transport the files, and through much trial and error and all 3 of us getting involved, we successfully got the files on a flash drive and ready for the next day's deadline.

Time this mission was accomplished? 10:30. Believe it or not, way past the earlier declared bedtime!

See, it is not my fault!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Who is to blame?

My last post was about Annabel struggling to learn English.

Well, what worries me is who is her primary teacher, which I guess is me, since I seem to have lost my mine lately. BUT trying to decide if I am the problem or the other way around has yet to be determined

As an example, we have been visiting several orthodontist trying to find one that we liked and would not cost so much that rice and beans only are served 5 nights a week.

Maybe I got nervous discussing how to finance $5000 in 12 months, but when the orthodontist mentioned headgear that might have to be worn at night when no one could see, I quickly responded, that her family and cats would see her. OK, the problem with that is that we have dogs, not cats. As soon as I said it I was surprised at what I said and laughed the rest of the day.

Last week I was on a panel of parents who have adopted older children at a program for prospective parents. We were each introduced and they told what country we had adopted from. Then I was told to start and tell our story. I started by telling I had adopted my daughters from Russia when they were 6 and 11. The woman next to me, on the panel, turned to me, in front of everyone, and said, "your daughters are not from Russia". I know. Then I quickly hit rewind in my mind and realized what I had said.

So those are my two problems lately but not sure that I can be held responsible, considering some of our recent conversations at home.

Last week while driving to school, Annabel asked or actually told, that you cannot drive during a lunar eclipse.


Because I am not sure I remember what a lunar eclipse is, I ask is that the one where the moon is affected.


OK so the moon not being visible will prevent you from driving?


That particular morning it was very cloudy and foggy with no sun or moon visible, which I pointed out and mentioned that we were indeed driving.

OK, then maybe it is during a solar eclipse that you can't drive.

We discussed the fact that cars do have headlights and as long as they work, we can drive regardless of the lack of natural light.

See, why I am not sure I can be held responsible for my mental lapses?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Academic or Social?

Annabel has been here from China for three years now and gone through the state mandated final exams three times, but has been exempt so far due to her still learning English.

For the 4th year, the rules change and this year the exam "counts". But thankfully the state has adopted a new testing system and from what I understand, everyone will have a fail safe and no one's scores will count. Thank goodness.

But all of this has made me worry about her language skills and recognize the language used in 8th grade is considerably more advanced than what she was learning for 5th grade when she arrived. And with each day, much less each grade, more vocabulary that is even more difficult is introduced!

Annabel is very smart and learns quickly, but having missed those life experiences and the acquisition of her language in a gradated manner have proven difficult.

I had someone remind me again that social or conversational fluency is achieved fairly quickly, usually in 2-3 years, but it is the academic fluency that can take 5-7 years. But I am learning there are some categories of language that don't quite fit into either social or academic.

Anyway, all of this leads up to a conversation we had tonight.

I announced that tomorrow is Groundhog Day.

She asked what is that?

I explained the story behind the groundhog and his shadow.

Then she asked, "do you shoot it?"

Me, "What????"

Her, "After it comes out then do you shoot it?".

Me, "NO!"

Her, "Why?"

So I'm not sure if this falls under the category of academic or social? I'm pretty sure the reliability of weather predicting by a groundhog and his shadow is not academic.