Monday, November 24, 2008

A different joy.

A few Sundays ago our friends S & J sent us a quick email at 8pm. They were spontaneously blowing off work the next day and wanted us to meet them at Post Ranch Inn for lunch.

Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is one of my all time favorite places on earth. I've never actually stayed there overnight but once upon a time I had an amazing meal there; so memorable in every respect that it put PRI on my favorite list forever. Imagine watching the moon disappear with a whisper into the Pacific Ocean right as someone offers you a champagne truffle... you get the picture.

For various reasons we couldn't join them (Reason #1: Big Sur is a 6 hour drive from LA...we would have to leave for lunch before eating breakfast) but I will never forget their rationale on why we should join them...

Want to join us? It'll take an act of crazy to drive up the coast. But do it. How many times can you do this before a different joy arrives...

A different joy. AKA: baby/ies from Ethiopia. A different joy. I just love that...

Happy Thanksgiving... xoxo-Kat

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Books! Libraries! Ethiopia! All good things... so VOTE for Yohannes! Polls close tomorrow so vote now!

For more information on this amazing man read this article.


Monday, November 17, 2008

We interrupt this adoption for The Esquire's Birthday.

When it comes to birthdays in our family, I am a very lucky woman: The Esquire LOVES to plan big, extravagant road trips for my birthday. But here's the lucky part...he also loves to plan big, extravagant road trips for his own birthday. Basically, when it comes to birthday celebrations all I ever have to do is pack.

This year, for his birthday, the Esquire planned a long, overdue road trip to Yosemite. Neither of us had ever been to Yosemite...which is a crime considering 1) we've both lived in California over 10 years and 2) we have a connection there--one of our favorite 4 year olds, Super Max, has family that live and work in the Yosemite Valley.

I could write for months and post all 842 photos that we took this weekend and yet it would never accurately describe how much fun we had or how incredibly gorgeous it is there. In a nutshell: Yosemite National Park is amazing. There is a reason why 4 million people go there each year. Below is my pathetic attempt to share the wonders of our weekend (please note that I really did try to be brief...I didn't include pictures of the bears we saw, the amazing Ahwanhee dining room, the other hikes we took, or the rest of the 714 photos I took from our balcony):

When planning a road trip, we like to consult to help point us towards fun, local places to stop. This time we ended up at the Chicken Pie Shop in Fresno (note the chicken holding a pot pie? on the sign).

Whenever we set out on a road trip we always take along Colin, our little lead tour guide. We got him a the Toy Soldier Museum in Ireland. He helps out by pointing the way when the GPS fails us.

The minute you enter Yosemite National Park you are surrounded by unbelievable beauty. While the park is over 1,200 square miles most people only visit the valley floor which is just 7 sq miles. On the way to our hotel, which was on the far end of the valley, we got to drive past all the famous sites. Here, from our car window, is Bridalveil Falls.

We stayed at the LOVELY Ahwahnee Lodge. Built in 1927 to help encourage visitors to Yosemite, it is an amazing stone lodge full of Native American artifacts and Art Deco touches. It sits right at the end of the valley under Yosemite Falls.

Our friend Super Max's Aunt J works at the Ahawhnee so we received the royal treatment all weekend. The first sign we were Special Guests: A birthday rubber ducky waiting for The Esquire in the bathroom.

In addition to the festive duck there was a Happy Birthday note from the concierge and a lovely fruit and cheese plate which we took on our big hike so we could have a fancy picnic at the top of Vernal Falls.

Fruit and rubber ducks are nice but did I mention the view from our room???? Super Max's Aunt J is now officially SUPER Aunt J!

We shared this balcony with the bridal suite. Needless to say they were busy getting married so we had it to ourselves the whole weekend!

...which was good because I was out there all hours of the day and night. I took this picture at midnight. Now I do not know anything about photography. I am just someone who believes if you take 842 photos odds are you will end up with 3 or 4 really great ones. This is the view from our room, at midnight, without a flash...just using our little 5 inch tall tripod and the light of the moon. Can you even believe the stars? Go ahead, click on the photo so you can see the stars up close. Seriously, it's amazing if I do say so myself.

Here I am (self-portrait style) with one of Yosemite's most famous sites: Half Dome. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft from the valley floor and is impressive from every angle. But am I the only one who sees George Washington's profile in the middle of the dome? Or perhaps it's the Quaker Oats man...

For our big hike we took Super Aunt J's advice and went up to the top of Vernal Falls. It's only about 3 miles to the top but the last bit is really wet and slippery from the waterfall's mist and goes straight up. This is the view from the top (that's the edge of the waterfall in the bottom right corner). The start of the hike is in that sunny part where the trees meet the other side of the valley.

The thing the Esquire was most looking forward to was visiting Mariposa Grove so he could see the Giant Sequoias for the first time. But here he is, ignoring the redwood behind him so he can take a picture of the bear proof trash can. Bears are a problem in Yosemite...we were repeatedly warned not to leave any food, water bottles, lotions, coolers--even empty ones, in our car because bears recognize them and will rip your car door off to get to them.

Even the pine trees are bigger in Yosemite. This is a standard pine cone... with the Esquire's foot for scale of course.

I have no idea who these people are but I love that they lined their whole family around the base of this redwood to show how big it is. I really hope this is their Christmas card. I hope they send me one...

Ahhhhh... after a long day of hiking we sat on our (semi) private balcony, rested our calves and watched the sun set while drinking a lovely wine from our Ahwahnee mugs.

Sigh... it was a good weekend. Happy, happy birthday Esquire. xoxo-Kat

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

(almost) Wordless (almost) Wednesday

Correct me if I'm wrong...but I can't help but think the Drive-Thru Flu Shot is a very LA kinda thing.

Yup...that's me below in the Mazda. Earlier today I just pulled up, filled out a form, and a nurse gave me my flu shot.

Not only did I never get out of my car but I never even turned the car off! AND I got this snazzy sticker!

So tell me... is the Drive-Thru Flu Shot a LA creation or is it actually common place to get your immunizations this way? They also had Drive-Thru voting this past week in Orange County, but the OC is just kinda crazy that way.

For the record, we love anything Drive Thru. Our absolute favorite Drive Thru experience--The Drive Thru Espresso Shack!-- isn't in LA's in Rapid City, South Dakota. They have these Coffee Shacks all over the north west but we don't have any here in LA. I suppose if we did it would put all the valet guys out of business...

How cute is that... The Esquire ordering our lattes from a lady in a log cabin!

And now I think I have to go lie down... I'm feeling a bit flu-ish suddenly...


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The numbers.

Quick! ...before the pundits start hitting us over the head with the numbers for this election, let me tell you about MY numbers....

1 hr 45 mins - length of time I waited in line to vote

5 mins - length of time it took me to fill out ballot (I get nervous and always triple check my ballots!)

1 - complaint heard about long lines (and to be fair she was just complaining that she hadn't brought something to read to help pass the time)

12 - number of propositions on California ballot

3 - number of measures on LA County ballot

21 - number of measures on San Francisco ballot (doesn't really have anything to do w/ me now but I still love the voting process in SF!)

67 - approx. number of calls The Esquire took on his volunteer shift for Election Protection, a nonpartisan coalition that provides legal guidance and information to help ensure all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.

6 - number of friends I saw also waiting to vote

4 - number of new friends I made while waiting to vote (3 of which live on my block!)

.39 miles or 4 blocks - distance from my house to polling place (I love walking to vote...feels so American!)

6 - number of languages spoken at polling place (English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog/Filipino and Vietnamese)

4 and 8 - propositions I voted wholeheartedly NO on because I don't think anyone -especially the government- has the right to tell me what to do with my body or who I can or can not marry.

No matter where you stand on the issues, you can't deny this has been the most exciting, energizing, election in years. Yes, I have HUGE HOPES for what the outcome will be but no matter what happens, I am just so thankful we have the right to make all these choices and am so excited that so many people are using that right. The polls had been open for one hour in California and already the voter turnout was 4 points higher than the last Presidential election.

"A sense of history" is what the LA Times is calling the atmosphere today. I like that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The next two days are going to be HUGE. Bigger Than Big. Lives are going to be changed, history is going to be made, futures are going to be set on distinct paths. And I'm not talking about the election on Tuesday...I'll get to that in a moment. What I'm talking about now are all the court dates happening in Addis Abba, Ethiopia tomorrow, Monday Nov 3rd. I know of four families, but there are probably more, who are right now most likely rocking in a corner somewhere in fear/hope/anticipation/numbness/excitement of what tomorrow will bring for them and their children. Tomorrow these families will have their cases reviewed by the courts of Ethiopia. Hopefully, the courts will feel comfortable and sure that these are good matches and that these children belong with these families. If, for whatever reason, the court does not feel certain, then they will postpone judgment. Which means these families will have to wait another month or two for another court date. More waiting.

Most of these families have been waiting since the summer for their court date. They have been counting down the days for someone they will never meet to decide when and if they can legally claim these children (the key word here is legally...because they claimed these children in their hearts months ago). When you are pregnant you have a pretty good idea give or take a few weeks when you will hold your child. When you are adopting that finish line is very fluid and you can hope that it will happen on a certain date give or take a few weeks but there is no certainty until you have passed court. So these families are waiting, waiting, waiting for a finish line that may come tomorrow...or may be pushed 3 miles further back.

I am not normally a patient person; I like things done now. Apparently, this has to do with being a Taurus but I'm not exactly sure what that means. But even though I'm not patient on a daily basis, I do love anticipation. I love looking forward and counting down to things: Christmas, our wedding, trips, god-children's births... I love the mandatory waiting period because once the thing will have lost Waiting forever. Once he's your husband, he can't be your fiance. Once you visit a new country you can't go back to being clueless about it.

Even now, in the adoption process, I am enjoying the waiting. These past 9 weeks have sort of been fun for us. But here's the thing: we don't have a referral yet. We don't have a picture or the name of a child waiting for us across the world. I think once you have that... once you know your child's name and their story, then all bets are off. THEN I think the waiting must be agonizing and not so much fun anymore.

As a bystander I am on pins and needles for these families with court dates tomorrow so how can they--the actual ones involved--handle it? Have they been able to fall asleep these last few nights? Have they totally lost their appetites because they are so full of What's Coming? Do they find themselves wandering from room to room without a reason? Why doesn't the anticipation just drive them crazy? I think it's the Hope that is keeping them sane. The Hope that everything is going to workout the way it should.

I have been thinking the same things about the election on Tuesday. (I promised the Esquire that I wouldn't make this blog political. Not because we have any problems letting the world know that we think Obama is the greatest thing going, but mainly because this blog is about adoption and we are trying to keep it single focused. But hopefully I can talk about the Election in general and not piss off too many people.) I, personally, am SO EXCITED about Election Day that I can barely stand it. Talk about Anticipation and Hope! How on earth are the Obamas and the McCains dealing with the wait? Have they slept at all in the past month? Are their fingernails bitten down to the quick? How can they even STAND the anticipation of what Tuesday holds. Talk about a life changing day for them, for their families and really, not to be dramatic here, but for the world! Again, I think it comes down to the Hope they must have. That it's all going to work out the way it should. (and that we won't relive the agonizing vote count of 2000!)

The definitions for anticipate and hope (according to Merriam-Webster online) are:

|anˈtisəˌpāt| verb
1 regard as probable; expect or predict
• guess or be aware of (what will happen) and take action in order to be prepared :
• look forward to

hope |hōp| noun
1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen
• a person or thing that may help or save someone
• grounds for believing that something good may happen

Please indulge me for a moment as I channel my inner, very amateur William Safire ... to anticipate is not just to look forward to but it also means to regard as probable. And hope is not just to expect and desire a certain thing to happen but also having grounds for believing. So to anticipate you have to regard it as probable and to hope you have to believe. Believe it will be probable. They seem to go hand in hand. I find that kinda cool.

I have so much anticipation and hope for all that could happen in the next two days I could implode. Or dance. Or sing. Maybe even skip a little. And while I'm singing and dancing and almost imploding while skipping around... I will have my fingers and toes crossed for those of you with court dates tomorrow.

As for the Election... I do have the audacity of hope and I can not wait to see what Wednesday brings!

See you at the polls! xoxo-Kat