Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tag - Your Turn

Last time we got tagged with one of these things my DW did the dirty deed. This time it has fallen to me. This tag only goes to show that The Wait is entirely too long and we are obviously showing the effects. In this particular tag you are to highlight the things you have done in the provided list and add a short commentary. I have serious reservations about this. And with that said:

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink. Does 3 people count?
02. Swam with wild dolphins.
03. Climbed a mountain. Only if Bradbury Mountain in Maine counts :)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid.
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone. Reminds me, we need a larger hot water tank.
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it. Oh yeah and I will everyday...
09. Hugged a tree. Just did that this past week with GB Alivia.
10. Bungee jumped.
11. Visited Paris. Twice and we can't wait to get back.
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea. We live in Florida on the water.
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise. I worked shift work for over 20 years.
14. Seen the Northern Lights.
15. Gone to a huge sports game. NCAA National Basketball title game (3 times).
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa. The train didn't stop :(
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables. I think I had the only garden that had to be mowed but the veggies and melons were good.
18. Touched an iceberg.
19. Slept under the stars. Used the seat of my motorcycle as a pillow.
20. Changed a baby’s diaper. Let's see, Justin, Leaa long ago, Livi this past week and later this year - Alyzabeth An!
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon.
22. Watched a meteor shower. The wine was better...
23. Gotten drunk on champagne. We don't do drunk but we do Champagne Sunday's.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity. Always remember who "owns" what has been given to us in stewardship.
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope. I want a new telescope bad.
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment. I always thought I would outgrow this. It seems to be more of a guy thing?
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse. How about a greyhound?
29. Asked out a stranger. Probably scared her to death. On a beach late in the day with not too many people around. She was very nice about saying no. She was married... Disclaimer* This was before you Aly!
30. Had a snowball fight. Up until I moved to Florida.
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can.
32. Held a lamb. Does getting up close count? England and Wales were full of them.
33. Seen a total eclipse. The moon. On our daughters wedding night during the outdoor ceremony.
34. Ridden a roller coaster. Just last month we rode the one at the New York resort in Las Vegas. Alyson does better than me. I just keep my head down.
35. Hit a home run. And our team, The Morgan Funeral Home Cardinals, went on to win the championship! Not because of my home run however...
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking.
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day.
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment. Give thanks every day.
39. Had two hard drives for your computer. Three.
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk. No names to protect the guilty.
42. Had amazing friends. The diversity of talent is staggering and humbling.
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country.
44. Watched wild whales.
45. Stolen a sign. I was young. I was stupid. I thought it would look cool in my room. Did I mention I was stupid?
46. Backpacked in Europe. Twice and we will again when Alyzabeth An comes.
47. Taken a road-trip. We live for road trips!
48. Gone rock climbing. It was part of "Trust Building". I was working with kids who were getting into trouble at the Missouri State Reform School. You read that right - They were already in Reform School! We held each others ropes. Again, did I mention I was stupid?
49. Midnight walk on the beach. One of the perks of living in Florida.
50. Gone sky diving. Twice. The first time I messed up leaving the plane. Got into some backward flips and got the chute lines twisted. Not fun. Went back the next week and all went well. Neat experience. Just wanted to know what it felt like. That's it.
51. Visited Ireland.
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love.
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them. Only if you count an airport.
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow. Grandpa Murphy was not impressed. Not impressed at all.
56. Alphabetized your CDs. Oh yeah, over 1000 in Sony multiplayers with printout.
57. Pretended to be a superhero.
58. Sung karaoke.
59. Lounged around in bed all day.
60. Posed nude in front of strangers.
61. Gone scuba diving. Years ago in a river in Missouri. Didn't much like it I remember.
62. Kissed in the rain. Come on now, everyone has done this!
63. Played in the mud. Every kid I know and I was no exception.
64. Played in the rain. You haven't???
65. Gone to a drive-in theater. Boy, I sure could embarrass my oldest brother on this one.
66. Visited the Great Wall of China. (Soon !)
67. Started a business.
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken. Miracles do happen. Love you Aly.
69. Toured ancient sites. We love Europe. Go while you are young-ish. Go.
70. Taken a martial arts class. In college I got an A in Judo class. For that privilege I got to fight the instructor at the end of the quarter. I wish I had gotten a B...
71. Played a game for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married. I'm a double dipper.
73. Been in a movie. Does it count if I made the movie?
74. Crashed a party.
75. Gotten divorced. Just the once. She and her husband were one of our referrals.
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch. I really enjoy cooking though I'm not too good at baking.
78. Won first prize in a costume contest. Anybody remember Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev ?
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice. (Aly wasn't feeling too well in Venice - a regret)
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River. With my brothers and their wives.
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”.
83. Got flowers for no reason.
84. Performed on stage. Don't laugh, does modelling count? I was in college. Money was tight.
85. Been to Las Vegas. Last month. Visited our niece Christina and her DH Aaron.
86. Recorded music. (Hoping to this summer with DD Leaa)
87. Eaten shark. And you probably have too and just didn't know it.

88. Had a one-night stand. (Does anyone really answer this one?)
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house. Too many times...
91. Been in a combat zone.
92. Buried one/both of your parents. Mom. December, 1995.
93. Been on a cruise ship.
94. Spoken more than one language fluently.
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children (or…raising children). Justin and Leaa...
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour.
98. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country. Munich, Germany.
100. Picked up and moved to another city to start over. The move to Florida, 1982.
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge.
102. Sang loudly in the car, and did not stop when you knew someone was looking.
103. Had plastic surgery.
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't’t have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication. (How about small town newspapers and company mags?)
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback. More like wrestling.
108. Piloted an airplane. Never solo!
109. Petted a stingray. You really must go to Sea World when you come to Florida.
110. Broken someone’s heart. (Probably my parents)
111. Helped an animal give birth. My former father-in-law had over 200 cattle and
he taught me to be his assistant mid-wife or would that be mid-husband?
112. Won money on a T.V. game show.
113. Broken a bone. I grew up with two older brothers. We all played sports.
114. Gone on an African photo safari.
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced. Only in the surgical sense.
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol. I am a notorious bad shot. I own over a dozen rifles and handguns. I scare easily. I would knock before entering our home.
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild. The 60's and 70's were very "organic" times.
118. Ridden a horse. I think I'm the only kid I know who had two horses and hated horses. I think dad did it so we would have to work every day taking care of them.
119. Had major surgery. Not fun.
120. Had a snake as a pet.
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states.
124. Visited all 7 continents.
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days. I will go on record right now saying I DO NOT LIKE camping.
126. Eaten kangaroo meat.
127. Eaten sushi. Love it.
128. Had your picture in the newspaper. I don't photograph well but at least they weren't mug shots.
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about.
I hope so, it's part of what I do in the real world.
130. Gone back to school. (not grad school)
131. Parasailed.
132. Petted a cockroach.
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes. Don't knock it until you've tried it...
134. Read The Iliad.
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read.
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Squirrel, rabbit, frog, fish, etc...
137. Skipped all your school reunions. So far & prospects look to remain the same.
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language. I love the Italians. It does not matter that you cannot speak the language. They will talk to you anyway. I love Italians. I love Italy. I'm packing...
139. Been elected to public office.
140. Written your own computer language.
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream. Every day. Every single day.
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care.
143. Built your own PC from parts.
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you.
145. Had a booth at a street fair.
146. Dyed your hair.
147. Been a DJ.
148. Shaved your head.
149. Caused a car accident. In Pennsylvania. I was 16 working the summers in construction. No one was hurt. I paid the guy off in cash on the side of the road.
150. Saved someone’s life. Yes.

Sorry folks, I'll understand if you skip out but - TAG You're It!

Dave & Sandy at Wren's Story
Joel & Kim at Ruby Is Coming
Carl & Marsha at Yo Muther's Blog
Tom & Wendy at Our China Miracle
Don & Be at Pregnancy By Adoption

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's A Blog Party! Want To Join In?!?

Ever heard of a Blog Party? Would you like to know how it works?

Then click over to 5 Minutes For Mom and see if this might be something you can have some fun with.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Baby Girl Alivia

DD Leaa flew up to NYC this week to catch DH Jesse performing with Aerial Tribe. Last I spoke to her she and Jesse were taking in all the incredible sights and sounds NYC has to offer.

All of which allowed me to babysit DGD Livi for one of the days she and Jesse are gone. Between the grandparents, sisters and sister-in-laws Alivia is never for a loss of loving attention. In my case, turnover of "Lovin Livi Duty" went to her grandmother (Jesse's mom) Marsha. Here are a few pics I grabbed with one hand as the other hand stayed busy trying to keep up with Baby Girl.

And just for the record: I did change one VERY DIRTY diaper and a couple of damp ones!



Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Dead

The poem below was a post on Susan's blog Reading Writing Living.

I stole it to share with you here. I just thought it was way cool. I loved the idea of poetry put into the visual form. I guess growing up in a funeral home family had nothing to do with my liking this particular work of art. Enjoy...

The Dead


Fun Time With Family

Family time is hard to come by. In most cases you just have to make it happen even when you don't have the time, don't have the money or simply don't have the energy. Any one of these three can be the kill-joy. Fortunately, I made the time, had saved the money and lack of energy is just a cop out I'm not ready to start using. Especially since we don't have Alyzabeth An running all over the place tiring us out just yet...

So it took a bit of schedule juggling and a mad dash through the Charlotte, NC airport but I had a wonderfully busy but fun time last weekend.

It all started this past Friday when I met up with my two brothers in snowy but beautiful Nashville, TN. We all stayed at my niece (brother Bill's daughter) and her husband's home in the Ravenwood area. Nikki and Chris were absolute grand host, especially putting up with not just Bill, but Ben and I as well. They have two great boys, Morgan and Regan, each with a personality to go with their sunny smiles and warm hearts. They really are great kids. Nikki and Chris: You should be rightfully proud.

Friday night we had a fun and delicious Italian dinner at Maggiono's followed by a Saturday basketball game between the Florida Gators and Vanderbilt Commodores. Thank you again Chris for the tickets. The Vanderbilt crowd was pumped for the game and so too were the Vanderbilt players as they handed the then #1 ranked Florida Gators a resounding loss. To say the Vandy Crowd was excited would be a huge understatement.

It would have been fun to stay and (reluctantly) celebrate their victory over our Gators but I had to head to the airport following the game and get back home in time for The Race. The Daytona 500!

Our son Justin and Kelly got Aly and I tickets to this years Daytona 500 for Christmas. So after a quick goodbye to family in Tennessee it was a harried late flight back to Jacksonville via Charlotte. Thank goodness they held the plane in Charlotte or else I would have been watching this race sitting in front of the tv screen at home. Not good.

As you may know, I come to NASCAR by way of Alyson. Aly and her Dad were the race fans and spent many enjoyable hours debating the best race teams, the best drivers and just who caused who to wreck. It was always fun to watch and listen to them both. It was their way of sharing a bond. If you saw the race you know that we saw a great one with a crash filled, side by side racing finish. It really was fun but where in the world did the COLD weather come from? It was COLD. Not cool. COLD. And just as you would expect, the next day the temperature was back up to the high 60's, low 70's. Go figure... Thank you Justin and Kelly. This was a great Christmas gift!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Adorable!! Check out the "Daughters" Photography

I found this while reading an adoption blog - Little Miss Kennedy is home with her forever family.

Please take a minute to check out this really neat photography website.
You will see many daughters who are already here in the USA; these are absolutely beautiful photos.

Click on "Children", then "Some babies come by plane".


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

China Adoption - Editorial from Tennessee Writer

Thank you to Karen, Shannon, Jeff, Kris, Jennifer, Lisa, Bob, Claire, Cheri: all from the Yahoo group: “Adoptive Parents China”

Tennessee, Campbell County: The local newspaper printed, LaFollette Press, published an article in its editorial section. It was offensive to anyone involved in any/all functions relating to adoption. Title of article
“BIG BABY GIRL SALE - ONLY $17,000! - Jim Dossett”.

LaFollette Press is owned by Landmark Communications. Publisher: Linn Hudson: lhudson@lafollettep ress.com
News Contacts: Susan Sharp: sharp@lafollettepre ss.com
Jason Davis: jason@lafollettepre ss.com
Jennifer Caldwell: caldwell@lafollette press.com
News Email: stories@lafollettep ress.com

Here are a few of the responses submitted. I like their energy to pursue correcting a wrong and doing it with the facts. I have shortened most of these responses so that the facts will come through about Chinese International adoptions.

Dear Editor
I just read the article about Chinese adoption. To say I'm offended is just the beginning. The facts are incorrect about costs associated with adoption, a large portion of what we pay actually stays in the US; Federal government, state government, social workers, etc
Why don't you spend your precious newsprint on articles about adoption, international and domestic? Did you know that China is one of the only countries that allows special needs adoptions. That the adoption community has created many organizations that return to China with medical teams to correct a variety of birth defects and provide for the needs of those left behind. Maybe you could use the space to tell people about the Adoption Tax credit, that is almost $11,000 per adoption. That would make your so called $17,000 bargain baby only $6,000!!!!!!

How many children are available for adoption in your county? Not in Foster Care, but actually available? The numbers might just surprise you.
I'm signing off now…have to take my slightly used 4 year old to play soccer….

To Whom it May Concern:
I am appalled at the article that was "written" about adopting from China. I was actually informed about this article by another adoptive parent in your area. As I was reading this article, I became aware of one thing.. My daughter Lillian will have to deal with very inaccurate, demeaning remarks because so many "journalists" don't do the research required to educate others about adoption, specifically Chinese adoption.

China is not selling their children, they are placing them with loving, capable, forever families. If, the writer, and I use this term loosely, of this article knew anything about Chinese adoption, he would also know that most of the fees incurred for any prospective parent are incurred here in the United States. The only fees paid in China are about $4450.

So far, my husband and I have paid our government, yep, our government, almost $11000. The only expenses we have left are the $4450 in China, our plane tickets, and hotels while traveling in just a few short weeks.

The Chinese culture is a several thousand year old culture that is steeped in beliefs that we will never understand. People must understand that women in China do not have the same rights that American women have. They are highly pressured to have boy children, because most families are farmers. They desire a boy, so that there is a strong back to work in the field, and to aid in caring for his parents. The Chinese do not have a Social Security System like we do here, so generally, men take care of their families, whereas girls take care of their in-laws.

Also, in 1979, the Communist Party put a one child policy into place. When a family has more than one child, they can be fined a year's salary. This is one reason for abandonment’s. Yes, quite a few of them are girls, however, there are many boys in SWIs as well. There are many books available to the public about Chinese adoption.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son ( Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage care in China) by Kay Ann Johnson.
The Waiting Child by Cindy Campanella.
Daughter from Afar (not sure of the author).

There are so many resources available to people if they wish to understand the Chinese culture, as well as adoption, whether domestic or international.

I implore you to further your education about adoption and especially correct adoption language before printing something as vile as " Big Baby Sale in China" or " Chinese children for the low price of $17000" again. Not only is that offensive language, but it brings about a lot of heartache on the part of the child that has been adopted. People read things like that and make cruel comments to the adopted child. I humbly suggest that you rewrite a more comprehensive article about adoption from China. I am sorry that this is so long, but I really felt the need to advocate for my daughter Lillian and all the adopted children and their parents.
Sincerely, Claire

Sir or Madam:
I just read your "editorial" regarding Chinese adoption. I don't think I've ever read anything as ignorant as this is a long time. You obviously have no idea of what people who adopt, domestically or internationally, have to go through to bring a child home.

We adopted our daughter fro China almost 10 years ago. This was after exhausting all the possibilities of domestic adoption here in Orange County, CA. At that time, Orange County did not allow trans-racial or
trans-ethnic adoption. We were told that it would be "three to five years" to adopt a white baby. Private adoption was even more of a crap shoot. One couple we met during our process had just spent $20,000 plus only to have the birth mother change her mind in the delivery room.

We brought our daughter home in October 1997. She is truly a blessing.
As for the money, it can cost more to go through a lawyer and adopt domestically than we spent to go to China. And what does it cost to have a baby in a hospital? Most couples never know, because insurance covers most, if not all, of the costs.

China is a sovereign nation. Just as domestic adoption agencies have rules and requirements, so does the Chinese government. If they want to changes these from time to time, they have every right to do so. One reason might be that they are just now realizing that there will be a tremendous imbalance in the male to female ratio if adoption continues unabated. Also, the PRC is now allowing Chinese citizens to adopt these children.
Jeff King

Dear Editor,
I am writing in response to your article entitled: "Big Baby Girl Sale-Only $17,000!" I cannot begin to tell you how ignorant this article was, not to mention how incredibly offensive it was. I am not in the process of purchasing a "certified pre-owned girl child" with some "scratches and dents" as suggested by your writer. That statement is hateful and destructive. Imagine how an adoptive child would feel to read this. As a hopeful adoptive parent I am beside myself.

There are so many totally ignorant comments I am at a loss as to whether I should mention all of them. The term "baby brokers" for instance is ridiculous. The men and women who devote themselves to adoption work help these children to get out of orphanages world wide and into loving homes. Why is it necessary to label them in such hurtful terms?

The writer suggests that we have no idea where the money ends up, when in all actuality we are all given very clear accounting of what we are being charged and what the money is for. By the way, most of it covers costs within THIS country (USA) and not China. This is yet another very easy to discover fact that your writer didn't bother to look into. I guess it's more exciting to suggest that something sleazy is going on.

As for the little ones that aren't healthy, we don't have to wonder what happens to them, as suggested by your writer, China has a very active "special needs" program that helps these children to have necessary surgical procedures, they are well attended to by medical workers, their situations are followed closely and well documents and China works with agencies world wide to find loving homes for these children, where their need will be met.

Your writer has also mentioned some of the new restrictions relating to who will be allowed to adopt from China. If he had done his research he would realize that ALL countries have restrictions. China has changed their requirements to try to control the number of applications that come in. Some countries choose not to do this and maintain lists of waiting families that span three years or longer in terms of wait time. The truth is many people feel hurt by these changes as they are no longer eligible, but most admit that they understand the intention behind the changes.
Suffice it to say, you will likely be hearing from many of us. The next time you choose to print an article perhaps it would behoove you to do what an editor does and insure it is print-worthy.
Good Luck making good on this one. Cheri

Sunday, February 18, 2007

NASCAR "Season" Is Here!!!

Yes, we love NASCAR. I have posted before about our "old" driver we have supported since 1992. Here's some pictures and information from his latest charity fund raiser in January 2007 - Snowmobile Ride in Greenville, Maine.

Wind chills exceeding 25 below zero couldn't dampen spirits on Saturday in Greenville, Maine as 400 riders joined Ricky for the 10th annual Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity. Ricky led 250 sleds on a 50 mile ride before making presentations to the ride's charities.
More Stories:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Still Waiting - Adoption News - Is it Greek to you?

Rumor Queen (RQ) is a blog all families adopting from China frequent (sometimes hourly). She's out of town so we are relying on others to pass on any news. You can get to her blog by clicking on the link on our blog (right column).

Last month's "referrals" were sent out through October 12, 2005. We are logged in with China on January 27, 2006. We still have about 107 days more to go - when it will be our time to see Alyzabeth for the first time. When we began this process officially in May of 2005, we were told (data from China's International Adoption past history) that in 6 to 8 months we would find out about our new daughter. So July to September of 2006 we should have had our referral. You can see why we shy away from predictions anymore.

What the heck - I will go out on a limb since I feel China will speed up over the next year (probably too late for us) and say that we should get Lizzy's picture in September 2007 with travel to China in November. And we thought we would have her home by Christmas 2006......

Here's the latest rumor if you understand Adoption speak.......

Quote from: Brownideb on Yesterday at 08:39:58 PMI spoke with our large China Only Agency last week and they have said we "should" be in the next batch and that the next batch "should" include 10/27/05 and doubted it would be right before CNY but anytime after the 24th (which is a Sat.).
They also had me download a few things today I can only say that the large agency stating CCAA is working on the next set of matches is one that RQ considers very reliable. They are my agency and I have never seen them release any information that is not true. They are very conservative and don't tell us anything ahead of time. Usually, when they say the CCAA is working on the next set of matches, the matches arrive about a week later. HOWEVER, they do explicitly state they don't expect the matches to be mailed before CNY.

Okay, let's do a summary of the above:
Issue 1: before or after CNY: So far all of these agencies, including the one RQ consider "very reliable" are stating no referrals until after CNY.
Issue 2: after CNY, when will referrals arrive: At least one large, China-only agency (no idea of reliability) says "anytime after the 24th". Another agency says they are matching now, which in the past has meant referrals following shortly BUT this agency explicitly says AFTER CNY: which may point to late Feb/early March referral. Most other agencies are saying referrals in mid-March. So: referral range reported is Feb 25 - March 15.
Issue 3: What LIDs will be included in next batch: One poster reports that their large, China-only agency says Oct 27 "should" be included. Keep in mind that some agencies lean toward positive phrasing. Still, "should" is stronger than "might". If the agency said "should" for the 27th, that does bode well for those with Oct 23 and 24. And it's enough of a possibility that the agency is having the poster download information to be ready. Keep in mind that any responsible agency would need to be prepping its late October LIDs for the possibility of being included, even if the chance was small.
I don't think we should assume too much from all this: this may just be an agency being prepared for all circumstances. As of today, though, 27 Oct is still a possibility for the next batch. That's awesome!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Handsome Baby (Grand) Nephew

Here's the newest pictures of our grand-nephew Brandon.
He's a cutie-pie!!!
Top Picture is Brandon with first cousin Andrew; next is with Great-GrandMother "C"; third is with GrandMother Terri.
Doesn't he look great in a ballcap?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chillin' to the Oscar Perez Trio

We did the road trip thing after work this past Friday. We needed to shake things up a bit. Get out of the rut. And besides. We love road trips...

So we headed up to to listen to the Oscar Perez Trio at Kokopelli's in Savannah. It's not a hard drive from where we work and besides, we wanted to check out Oscar. It had been too long since we last had heard him play. Oscar was a jazz scholarship student at the University of North Florida making his way through college, playing gigs as he went. On Sunday mornings, with little to no sleep, Oscar would slide behind the piano at Fleming Island United Methodist Church and pound out the worship music. It's not often you snag a talent such as Oscar. We knew we had something special. Oscar found more than I think even he expected while at Fleming Island. Oscar met his wife Aimee. We have been friends of Aimee's mom and dad since our church began years ago in the cafeteria of a middle school. Which is where we first met Oscar and got to hear him tickle the ivories. He was way good then and his talent has only soared.

All this to say, it was a good trip. A very fine road trip indeed. We got to visit with our good church buddies Rose and Bob and we got to kick back and listen to the Oscar Perez Trio. What with Oscar and Aimee working out of New York City, it may be awhile before we get to see, listen & visit again anytime soon.

We'll just have to lower our house lights. Fill the wines glasses. And listen to his latest CD, Neuvo Comienzo. Ah, sweet memories. You have to make them to enjoy them. Great seeing you Oscar. You're sounding great. And Oscar, thanks for the memories...


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gemstone Jade: Chinese Symbol Nobility and Power

I had researched Jade a while ago and was thinking of posting some information and then I received a quilt square fabric from the Karpiuk family (LID 05/08/06) with information about "Jade". Thank you!
I found a gem stone blog with an explanation for the different types of jade. Did you know this?

Since we will be in China shopping, I am trying to learn about the different gifts we wish to purchase for future celebrations for Lizzy.


This seems to have the original information:

Jade, or Jadeite, to be precise, has long been revered by Asians as symbol of good luck, good health, and power to resist evil spirit. Jade, with its pearly luster and tough and resistant nature, continues to be treasured by the value-conscious and the status conscious alike. Despite the fact that the Chinese have had a love affair with Jade for the last several thousand years, the most important Jadeite deposits are not in China, but in upper Burma, which exports raw jade to china, and Hong Kong in particular, for further processing. Color of the Jade: green, also white, brown, blackish, violet, reddish, yellow, often spotted.

Jade refers collectively to two different minerals ---
Jadeite (Hard and lustrous) which is imported from Burma (Myanmar) and Nephrite (Soft, Smooth with a waxy sheen) which is the traditional jade found in China.
Most Jade of gem value is Jadeite Burmese Jade.
Most valuable is the Imperial Jade, an emerald green transparent jadeite from Burma.

Some Cultural beliefs about Jade include:
- Jade protects one from evil and will bring good luck if worn,
- Jade worn is a symbol of moral integrity,
- Jade will bring comfort to the souls of the deceased,
- Will improve health of heart, kidney, lungs and throat,
- Jade has the ability to confer immortality.

A Chinese saying goes, "Gold is valuable, but jade is invaluable." It is not only valued for it's beauty, but also because of the virtues attributed to it by Confucius.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cousin Sarah - What a Job!!

Cousin Sarah was here in Florida visiting her Mom and Aunt. She is a "Working/Stay at Home Mom". She takes her kids to all her modeling assignments. Here is the latest - check it out on the magazine stands now!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What's It All Mean? Don't Mean A Thing

So why is it that when China pops up on your Statcounter you momentarily freeze?

Beijing, Shandong, Hubei. These are just three that popped up today and the reaction is always the same. Is it families in China picking up their little ones and just surfing? Hard to believe, I can't help but think that they are doing all they can do just to blog about what they have going on. So who do I know in China???

Then the weirdness really starts to kick in. We're out of the Review Room but nowhere near the Matching Room process. But. BUT. What if? WHAT IF - the Matching Room has roving scouts?

What if we are getting a preliminary check out because we BLOG and make it possible? Sure, that's it. They're checking us out to help make the perfect match.

You never know...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Because It Feels Good

We were fortunate to make another trip to the Florida United Methodist Children's Home to deliver some great products donated by one of the Colomar companies located here in Jacksonville. The Colomar folks are truly a great bunch who regularly open (their hearts &) their warehouse to our needs.

One of our goals this year is to develop partnerships with other local Methodist churches in NE Florida to gather additional "warehouses" that can benefit the little ones, the youth and the young adults that call the Children's Home - HOME.

So why do we do this? Simple really. Very selfish actually. We do it because it makes us feels good.

Oh sure, that includes the thinking that it's the right thing to do. The human thing to do. For those like us so inclined, the religious (pick your flavor) thing to do. Still, what we do is so small compared to what YOU and countless others like you do everyday and never blow your horn on a blog. We blow the horn for one reason. OK, maybe two if we must count our simply getting off on blowing our own horn. Still. There is a greater reason. We do it in the simple hope that one person may read what we did and think:

Hey, I can do that. Piece of cake. And then they go .....and do it.

Big, huge, mega dollar, mega food, mega medicine, mega clothing, mega-mega giving is always huge. Always needed. Always life changing. But you know what?

So too is your giving $10 to an Abuse Center. Your calling someone so they hear a familiar voice today. Taking freshly made biscuits to a neighbor whose older children can't just drop in. Gifting a large print book or magazine subscription. Donating some leave hours at work to a fellow employee taking time off to care for a sick spouse, child or parent. It's picking up groceries for someone who can't. It's giving a Heifer International gift for that person who has everything. It's pants that fit because you can hem. It's driving to a Children's Home to deliver something OTHERS are providing.

It's about driving back home and for a brief while, you feel good.

To make a long story loonnngggg. It's not pictures on a blog. It's not about me shouting look what we did! It's way more than that. It's about trying to do something. Something...

For someone else. It's what YOU do everyday and what we all hope others will too.

Imagine. It's easy if you try...
ac & fm

Sunday, February 04, 2007

OHGWQ - New fabric Swap

I had plenty of quilt squares for the One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt for Lizzy. I also goofed and rotary cut several of the scissor cut 8 inch fabric squares to a mere 6 inch square by mistake. I am going to use these smaller squares on the wall "sampler" I want to make to go along with the quilt. Lizzy will have a smaller version of a quilt to hang in her bedroom wall since the queen size quilt will be a bit large for her to use in her early years.

So I joined a new quilt square swap with the theme "Chinese Culture". I selected to swap fabric about Chinese musical instruments. I found this really pretty (WOW) purple fabric with the Chinese people playing musical instruments. I am now working on the "wish" that goes with it, then will cut the 9 inch squares.

I have until March 1st to complete but when I leave things to the last minute.........

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Kitchen Happiness!

DH has really become the happy cook. Since he has been on a regular day schedule (compared to years of shift work), he has honed his chef skills - yummy for me.

Plus having a willing cook in the kitchen has taken the pressure off me! We are having a cocktail hour appetizer of homemade pesto on crusty whole grain bread. Come join us!

At least we continue to enjoy our time together waiting on Lizzy.... Hurry up, we are getting older by the month!

He has one of our favorite new wine glass in hand - Christmas presents from C & W. Thank you!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Referrals & Review Room

The little ones are arriving and the folks who have been imprisoned in the Review Room for what must have felt like years have been set free!!!

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before March 22, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before October 13, 2005.

Congratulations to all of you and a special best wishes and prayers to Kim & Joel and Be & Don. You guys are part of the record setting Review Room families who have waited longer than any other group to get out of there! We were going crazy for you and can't begin to imagine the egg shells you were walking on with jangled nerves... Once again, huge CONGRATULATIONS! Go Celebrate!!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Las Vegas - Beatles Cirque du Soleil Show!!

Continuing our tale of the Las Vegas trip.......
The Beatles Cirque du Soleil was a refreshing trip into fantasyland. Loved the "new" music and loved the dance/acrobatic numbers. It is a GREAT show in Las Vegas and yes, it is a GREAT show!! Here’s some excerpts from various reviews of the show, which can explain the wonder of it all and why we enjoyed it so much:

“We know the tendencies the Cirque has to present magnificent shows, but with the Beatles music as engine, it becomes totally magical.
What is special about the music of the Beatles in the Cirque du Soleil? It was totally rebuilt by Sir George Martin (the 5th Beatle) and his son Giles with different recordings. Each song has been reinvented with the addition of many elements from other tracks. For example, "Get Back" which is really starting the album, begins with one of the rare drum solos by Ringo Starr recorded for "The End". "Within You Without You" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" were combined on Ringo’s drum beat, and "Sun King" became "Gnik Nus" turning it backwards, exactly the sort of thing that John Lennon would have gone for. Among the strongest moments of the music is "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Yesterday", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Lady Madonna", "Come Together", "Revolution" and "Hey Jude". "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" becomes stronger with the addition of new string arrangements to a demo version. A favorite is still the song by Ringo "Octopus’s Garden. The album ends up with "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" and "All You Need is Love" to conclude greatly this audacious project, that can be unpleasant for some, but is so well done. Even if we know each and every song and even if they are not so different from the original versions and can be easily recognized, we can say this is the first new Beatles album since their split-up. Paul McCartney and Ringo, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison left in fact their conflicts apart to endorse completely the project, a project that started a few years ago with the idea by George Harrison with his friend Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. Critics don’t agree about the new music/album because some of them think they didn’t go far enough in the rebuilding of the songs when others think it’s not a good idea to rebuild songs by the greatest band of all time. In my opinion, I think they were able to make the perfect balance between the two extremes making an interesting album for the first fans as well as for new fans.”

“The Mirage Theater has been transformed into an in-the-round venue, where a cast of 60 dancers, acrobats and specialty performers salute not just the Fab Four but the 'All You Need Is Love' mantra of the 1960s. As with all Cirque shows, the staging incorporates state-of-the-art visual effects and technical wizardry, but 'Love' is a bit more grounded in approach, though that description doesn't apply to the performers; since there's no backstage area, all entrances and exits are made from above and below the stage, which is roughly the size of a tennis court.“

“The result of Martin's modern remake of Beatles recordings is a panorama of sound, mash-ups and alternate vocal takes. There are 25 full songs in Love, with more than 100 other fragments, during the performance in a specially built theater at the Mirage hotel. Since Martin's ears aren't what they used to be, he's entrusted his son Giles to help bring the Beatles into a new era. Giles and his father had free reign to use everything and anything ever committed to tape.
That freedom came from the fact that the show grew out of George Harrison's friendship with the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte. The always protective, and sometimes litigious, Beatles' company Apple Corp. was fully behind the project.”

THE BEATLES HIT THE BIGTOP: Cirque shows some "Love" (Karen D'Souza).
All you need is “LOVE.” Oh yeah, and access to the Beatles’ greatest hits. On the heels of the Boomer nostalgia fest cum Broadway musical that was “Lennon,’’ comes “Love,’’ a tribute to the Fab Four by none other than Cirque du Soleil. This high-flying lads from Liverpool love-in, (at the Mirage in Las Vegas), stems from a friendship between Cirque impresario Guy Laliberté and the late George Harrison. Beatles producer Sir George Martin and son Giles used the famed Abbey Road Studios master tapes to create a sound-design for the ‘60-ish spectacular. Imagine a combination of acrobatics, extreme sports and “Penny Lane.’’ Talk about getting in your ears and in your EYES. The show is billed as capturing “the essence of love that John, Paul, George and Ringo inspired during their astonishing adventure together.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tickets run $69-$150. I guess FREE LOVE is sooo over.

Original Beatles songs are heard in both montage and in their entirety, and along with the classics, the show will unveil actual "new" Beatles music. Don't worry about sitting close enough to hear the score, as the tunes will pour out of 6,500 speakers, including three in each individual seat. -- David Hofstede