Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

October so Far…

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by janice

So those of you following on Facebook know my September ended with a literal bang when my pony decided I needed a flying lesson. Boom! broken wrist. Fortunately it was a clean break with no surgery needed though I managed to get both the tip of the Radius and Ulna ’cause I’m talented like that.

As an aside: wtf is up with Aetna not allowing x-rays at urgent care? They want us to go the the ER?! Who did that cost/benefit analysis? Ended up paying cash to get them done to avoid the extra expense and time. Which is probably the actual point of the policy. Sigh!

Anyway a week in a splint to allow the swelling to go down then to the ortho for more x-rays  to make sure there was no need for surgery, then casting. Had more x-rays at 12 days post injury to be sure everything was staying in place. Now it’s just waiting it out, managing swelling and pain and learning how to deal one-handed. All of which is manageable but still sucky. I get the cast off November 7th!

Then of course I got sick again and kicked up the asthma, again, and am still fighting it even after a full round of steroids. Arrrghhh! Thankfully there does now seem to be a new course open to me on that front. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much as it’s apparently an expensive and relatively new-ish treatment regimen that requires pre-approval and necessitates monthly visits. But my rather conservative allergy specialist spoke of this treatment as being life-changing for her other patients with moderate uncontrolled asthma who have tried it. So after our insurance changes at the end of this month, we’ll start pulling the paperwork and see what happens. I would so like to have this work. I’m so tired of rounds of steroids and being surgically attached to my inhaler. Sigh!

Thankfully through all this tribulation Darren’s work has been relatively quiet (well till this week!) so he’s been able to take up a lot of slack. Still I know it’s hard for him to come home after a full day’s work to take care of house and kid and wife. He’s an amazing man and I am so blessed by his love and commitment to us and I know I don’t tell him any of that often enough. So I love you my wonderful husband!

Alexei is doing so well. He is really settling in at school. Seems to love it. Now that that anxiety is over I’m left worrying about what happens after Montessori. Heh. Yes, I’m one of those moms. Sigh.

He’s also been pretty incredible during all this, too. It’s so much easier with him at 5 than even just a few months ago. He is really wanting to be self-sufficient and helpful. Sunday night he even made his own lunch (with a bit of help from Dad on the sandwich)!

I’m also officially a soccer mom. He’d been doing soccer through VCFusion for a while when he was still in daycare, but now of course he’s moved into the after school class. So I sit every Wednesday under a tree and watch with the other moms and dads. LOL. BTW they are an excellent organization and I highly recommend anyone with kids interested in soccer in the VC area to check them out!

He’s also been doing formal swimming lessons since he’s gone as far as I can go with him in our pool. He has been so awesome and loved it so much we are even doing 4 weeks of lessons this November. Then I think we’ll regroup on extra curricular activities. He loves the yoga class at school and really wants to do martial arts – we’re still thinking of holding off on that as his focus needs more focus. He wants to do gymnastics again, too, and with Mandarin I think we are right into the “enough” zone.

This month has seen us at the pumpkin patch with his school, the traditional train ride to the pumpkin patch with Auntie Boo and of course a trip to our second home with Auntie Lynn and a new friend Chelsea. Alexei also got to have a week at his former caregiver’s due to Fall Break at school. (This is really a thing, apparently, in a lot of CA schools. Weird.) And most recently a trip up to Orcutt for a family gathering to celebrate the marriage of our niece Karlee to Michael, who is also the father of our great-niece Emalee. So it’s been an eventful month so far and it’s not over yet. This week is already shaping up to be busy even without Halloween in there.

Alexei has quite suddenly started asking questions about how he came into the family. Notably of course during the 8 minute drive to school on Monday! We spend a long part of the evening looking at pictures from our adoption trip and talking about how we became a family. We’ve always told him little snippets – we celebrate Family Day, talk about his Ayi in China and how we met etc – so it’s not a “surprise” situation. But it’s the first time he’s really asked a lot of questions and wanted to know more about China. But it’s time to get serious about the lifebook and start bringing it up more.

Yeah, it gets harder from here…

Oh, my one political point for this post: VOTE!

OK, picture later, posting now.

Happy Halloween, Samhain etc!

Janice

edit to add da cute!

Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons

Soccer

Soccer

swim class

More swimming

iPhone 283

Cheesing it up on the pumpkin liner

Cheesing it up on the pumpkin liner

Bang on the Drum all Day

Bang on the Drum all Day

Disney

Disney

Hanging at our second home

Hanging at our second home

 

Jolly Holiday with Alexei

Jolly Holiday with Alexei

Awesome waiting line entertainment in Downtown Disney

Awesome waiting line entertainment in Downtown Disney

Celebrating with the family

Celebrating with the family

The lovely bride and groom

The lovely bride and groom

Playing with cousin Emalee

Playing with cousin Emalee

Pumpkin carving courtesy of Uncle Richard

Pumpkin carving courtesy of Uncle Richard

Pumpkin painting at Mrs D's

Pumpkin painting at Mrs D’s

Share

This, too, is a Family Revisited

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by janice

Bumping this up in light of the arguments in front of SCOTUS this week.

I am livid for the families and parents being maligned today. You’d think I’d be inured to the bigots by now but not so much.

From June of 2008:

My post on same-sex marriage finally becoming legal in California, was going to be a lot different, more edgy, more challenging. Then I went back East to do the baby-naming ceremony for the youngest child of my wonderful friends Kix and Cathy. And I realized there is only one thing I need to say.

This, too, is a family:

Who has the right to deny it?

Congratulations to all the couples who will finally be able to make true before the State of California what has been true in their hearts, many of them for decades.

Blessings all,

Janice

Share

November?! Who Let THAT Happen?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 by janice

Yeesh!

So I love FB for keeping in touch but it does mean I neglect this blog even more than usual. Which I really don’t want to do as FB is not so great for being a record one can go back to over time. And I really want this to be a good chronicle someday for our boy.  Well, have to try to be more diligent I guess.

Hallowe’en was really nice. LE went with us the weekend before on what is becoming our traditional Fillmore and Western train trip to the pumpkin patch. Alexei rode the carousel as well as jumping in the Jolly Jumper and checking out the koi and the other neat things at the farm. It was a fun morning.

On Hallowe’en itself, Tina brought the boys over and Heather and Seth came with Eowyn and we all went Trick-or-Treating together. The kids hit nearly every house on our block and came back with more than their body weights in candy. LOL! Alexei only got really scared by one of the houses and I think he would have made it if Bran could have been convinced to go to the front, too, or it Alexei had just followed Eowyn. Heh. Little Miss Fearless that one.

We’ve had some ups and downs with potty training. He was going gang-busters for a time (candy bribery worked pretty well for that) but he recently lost interest so we’ve backed off and let him decide if he wants to go or not. He’s asked a dozen times in the last week or so, so we may try to pick it up with the long holiday weekend.

His language and other skills are coming along quite nicely. His memory is ridiculously good. He continues to be crazy coordinated. He’s been very sweet with the little ones at day-care, especially Baby Jack (more on that in a minute) and has been great with sharing and listening. Although technically they aren’t supposed to have true empathy quite yet, he shows distress when other kids cry and he tries to bring things to his buddy Andrew (who is a year younger than him) when he cries.

We’ve been having some resistance with  gymnastics. He still seems to have fun in class. He really likes his coach. But he fusses about going and a couple of times has had full on throw himself down on the floor tantrums about it. I’m thinking of switching to something else as I am just getting so tires of having this fight with him over and over. Sigh! Oh, and bedtime has been an adventure. Everything from dragging his feet to more tantrums. Ugh! I’ve tried a variety of different strategies but sometimes it just comes down to Mama does not negotiate with toddlers. LOL!

He’s had some regression or attention seeking issues the last few months. He likes to pretend to be a baby (he’ll tell me he’s “Baby Jack” and get me to give him a “bottle” (his sippy cup) while he cuddles with me, also feed and put on his clothes, both of which he’s quite capable of doing himself.  I’ve largely indulged him as he seems to need the attention/attachment play. It can get a little much at times though, esp when I am trying to feed myself. 🙂

But we are so blessed and so lucky, the normal bumps in the road aren’t much.

Little politics aside: big congratulations to President Obama on his re-election. It was a bit tense in the house leading up to election day and there was much rejoicing here when it was called for the President.  We were also very, very happy that there a lot of liberal victories aside from the President’s win. Big wins for Marriage Equality as well as efforts to roll-back the drug war. We now have 20 women in the Senate and a larger percentage of women in Congress than ever before, plus our first openly lesbian Senator, a bi-sexual from Arizona of all places, a very high percentage of people of color and a passel of rape apologists got booted. All in all, a good night and hopefully a good four years to come.

Got back a few hours ago from a fabulous trip to San Diego. Went down there with Kelvin and Debbie and LE and met up with Vicki. Saturday we did the San Diego Zoo, which was awesome as always. Still have to try to make it over to the children’s zoo with him one of these times. They’ve added some neat play areas to the zoo fairly recently which is really cool. Alexei seemed to be more interested in those and the various vehicle than in the animals but he had a good time anyway. Sunday we went to what will forever be the Wild Animal Park in my mind, despite the renaming. Haven’t been in ages and so most of it felt very new to me. But it was a great day. Alexei got to feed lorikeets, which was a big hit. He loved the tram. He enjoyed the weekend and all the time with his Aunties and Uncle. Thanks to all of you for making it such a fine weekend.

The next couple of months are going to be busy with the holidays, our anniversary and a ton of family events coming up. I’m looking forward to it all though.

Anyway, without further ado, more pictures for your delectation. LOL!

Share

Updates

Thursday, December 17th, 2009 by janice

Yes, as always, I am the world’s worst blogger. Here are some updates to keep you happy for a while at least…

First off, Happy Holidays to all and sundry. I’m in a Scrooge mood again this year, surprise, surprise but hoping this will be the last year I will feel this way. Part of it is yet one more year without our daughter (something we are really, really hoping will be remedied in 2010!) and the other part is being out of work for so long that even retail therapy is not an option. (BTW: most of you are getting hugs and kisses for Yule so… Love you, really!)

There is some sign of hope of that resolving sometime soon as well though. Heard back about the job that I really, really that they consider me a top candidate and that it is just the end-of-the-year scramble that is slowing the process down. Hope to hear shortly about a follow-up interview though so keep your fingers crossed etc.

I’m continuing to look of course, no putting all eggs in one basket, but, as per usual, there just ain’t much out there. This economy sucks and for all the so-called signs of recovery you couldn’t prove any of that by me and mine. (Yes, I know jobs always lag behind in a recovery but the jobless “recovery” seems to be becoming more and more of a “feature” of our US economy than a bug.) I really do hope things start recovering on the job front or it’s going to be a looooong 2010.

Speaking of 2010 though, and I say this with all due reservations because we have been repeatedly wrong, but this time we really do think 2010 is the year we will see our daughter’s face. The “when” is of course the question (and of course isn’t it just like the Universe to have the prospect of a job I really want come up at the same time as our referral may be only months away!) Anyway, as you may recall, our Log in Date (LID) is 4-25-2006. As of the last round of referrals, the CCAA has matched through 3-31-2006. Mind you it took all of 2009 to match March, but at least they are finally through the “monster month.” April is supposedly smaller, so we will see how fast they get through it.

Rumor Queen is predicting March/April at the current rate, the China Adoption Forecast site is predicting June and my own numbers put it somewhere in between. So anywhere from March to June is likely. That is, of course, only so long as they continue to refer at the same rate. They could go faster or, god-forbid, slower. We just don’t know.

I am tentatively excited. We’ve been burned so much in this it is hard to get my hopes up. We just sent in our latest round of USCIS paper work and who knows how long that will take to get approved (our agency said we should be fine… but aaarrggghhh anyway!)  The CCAA just got a new director and who knows what he will do (though RQ reports a very early sign of potentially positive changes in their relations with the agencies anyway.)

So, we are making plans to actually start on Lorelei’s room after the new year and at least thinking about the things that need to be in place but also guarding our hearts because we just don’t know. I am really happy to be seeing bloggy friends who are only a bit ahead of us in line finally seeing referrals though. It give me hope. We’re also, as I said, rethinking last names. If anyone wants to through out a suggestion, feel free (be nice though!) LOL!

In other news, as many of you heard, Joseph the Elder (his new SCA name) and I won Queen’s Champion Equestrian. We were very much helped by the wind (since Jo is pretty much unflappable) and the practice with jumping/hitting reeds and birjas. I owe many profound and heart-felt thanks to Debbie for dragging me and Jo out to practices and events repeatedly the last few months despite late nights and bad weather! You are so wonderful. And to Stacy, who now says she’s got to stop training to her competition. LOL! Now I’m on the hook for running two EQ events. Yikes!  Time to come up with nefarious things to do to my fellow equestrians. 😉

Paul will be heading over to visit the relatives in the Netherlands tomorrow. I am so excited for him. He hasn’t seen them in 20 years. It will be very good for him to have a chance to see them all. They will be scattering Oma’s ashes while he is there so he will also have a chance to say good-bye with the family present as well, so I am very thankful for that. Sometimes things work out the way they need to. We’ll miss him here at Christmas but hopefully he will be able to come see us next summer, maybe even after his niece comes home!

Well, I really should get back to housework. We’re having a crowd for x-mas eve and I am looking forward to that.

Many blessings and much love to all my friends and family,

Janice

Share

Open Letter to Senator Coburn

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 by janice

Pardon my rant but I gotta get this off my chest!

Dear Senator,

I am not one of your constituents so I think that perhaps you will not take anything I say to heart. However, after seeing the video of your less than compassionate response to a woman who is your constituent, I felt compelled to at least make some attempt.

Sir, your response to her is that “government is not the answer” and that she “look to her neighbors.” Could you possibly have been more insensitive to this woman who was emotionally bleeding in front of you? Is this a Christian response, sir?

While you are pondering that, I want to know why you think that having your staff call up her insurance company to lean on them is not government interference in health care, but trying to pass laws to keep insurance companies from behaving as if they are not responsible for their customers is.

I would like to know exactly what kind of neighbors you think this woman has that would be able to help her pay the tens of thousands of dollars that it would cost to hire the expert help she needs, health care that her insurance company is supposedly PAID to cover. Maybe your neighbors have that kind of money laying about but the vast majority of Americans do not. BTW:  medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcies in America. And the vast majority of those people had insurance!

I would like to know what you would have said to me, when I and my family were in a very similar situation with my mother. She passed away from metastatic breast cancer 5 years ago. Her so-called insurance company compounded the pain of her illness and death by orders of magnitude because we spent so much of the last weeks of her life fighting the company (which she paid to cover her health care supposedly!) for the things she needed. We literally had to beg them to allow her to stay in the hospital 5 minutes from her house rather than be moved to one 60 miles away in the days before she died. It took the intervention of the hospital social worker to bully the insurance company into not forcibly moving her – she was simply too weak to move at that point. (I did attempt to contact our congress-critter but by the time his office got back to me it was too late.) She died deeply in debt to hospitals and providers.

I want to know what you think is so great or ethical about this system we already have and how you can think that it is a bad or unethical for the government to do something about it.

The private health insurance companies have proved that they cannot do the job. It is time to curb their abuses and support a public option to allow the people of America access to health care that will not bankrupt or allow them to suffer or die because of the bottom line.

Perhaps it is time that the people we elected to congress start doing what is best for the American people and stop trying to pretend that the “free market” and big insurance companies will do it on their own.

Sincerely,

One Pissed of American

/rant

Bright blessings all,

Janice

Share

And New Hampshire Makes Six (with Bonus Mini-Rant)

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 by janice

NH legislature voted for marriage equality today. The bill includes some really silly and needless “protections” for people who don’t believe in gays because the governor threatened to veto without it. Meh. Mostly harmless stuff so we’ll take it. At least he signed it. Gotta love the New England states. Oh, and Iowa. There is some hope New York will get on board though that sounds like it may be a long shot.

The tide is slowly turning on this issue. I certainly hope that Congress acts on DOMA and other ridiculous federal level restrictions on GLBT people but at least some states are making the some excellent moves.

In other news, our California legislature and governor all suck eggs. WTF people? Closing state parks!? Not to mention all the other places they are cutting, most of which effect people who can least afford to have their services cut (my cousin was getting medical help from a program that has now been cut!) But G-d forbid we should raise taxes on income or on corporations. Like oil companies (h/t to my hubby who brought this one up!) Yes, yes, they will all flee the state. Yeah, the oil companies will just move to… where precisely? Apparently we are like the only state that doesn’t charge the oil companies taxes on their processing of oil in our state. At a time when they are still seeing unbelievable profits, I think they can afford to throw a few dollars the way of our state.

Alright /rant. My blood pressure is rising.

Time to go pet a cat.

Blessings all!

Janice

Share

Sad but Not Surprised

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 by janice

Another political post. Skip if you don’t care to hear it. 😉

Unfortunately, as many had expected, the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8. At least they also upheld the marriages that were made during the brief time it was legal so my friends and the other roughly 18000 couples who married then have not been divorced by judicial decree. But it is a sad day nonetheless for my GLBT brothers and sisters.

I hope that this results in the community getting an organized political arm going so we can get this overturned at the ballot box either this year or 2010. Various protests are planned across the country today and then the big one on May 30th. If you have the time and inclination, I urge you to get involved.

The debate is on whether to put something on the ballot for 2010 or wait till 2012. I say it’s a no brainer – the sooner the better, THIS year if we could get our collective act together – but what do I know?

Some good news, Obama’s SCOTUS nominee is Sonia Sotomayor, who would be the first Latina on the Court if confirmed.

So, go hug your family. If you are legally married, be thankful you are and hug your spouse today.

Many blessings,

Janice

Update: The blog-o-sphere is an interesting place… Getting readings from lawyers who think there is more to be happy about in this ruling than just the fact that the justices didn’t annul the marriages of 18000 couples. Basically, they are arguing that the Supremes’ ruled same-sex couples are still entitled to all the rights and obligations that married couples have, they just cannot call it “marriage.” Which closes the door to any challenges to the rights of same-sex domestic partnerships or those couples married before the ban using Prop 8 as the tool. If this is true, it is a good thing, because there was a lot of worry that the language of Prop 8 could lead to such challenges. So, even though Prop 8 says Jim and Joe cannot marry, if they have a domestic partnership, Joe’s employer cannot refuse to grant Jim insurance benefits if said employer offers them to married and domestically partnered straight couples. Etc.

Now I am not fond of the “separate but equal” feel of this or the folks out there saying “let ’em have the word “marriage” so long as we have the rights” or “the government should get out of the marriage business and everyone gets civil unions.” Because separate is never equal. The word marriage is not the sole property of religion (and one flavor of religion least of all) having been a secular term as long as it has been a religious one. And they can have my marriage license when the pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Being “married” is a universally understood concept with a host of connotations that “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships” just do not convey. I, for one, am not ready to concede that concept to the forces of bigotry.

Share

Go Iowa!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by darren

Since this is marriage equality and Holland week here at Ravenstower, and I’m not in Holland:

Background: This is the Iowa State Senate Majority Leader, Mike Gronstal, telling the Minority Leader that he won’t be helping overturn the recent court decision on marriage equality, and why.

Moar pasty middle-aged white guys in suits like this, plz 🙂

Share

Tide is Turning II – SSM in Vermont – And More Updates

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by janice

Vermont just became the first state to legalize same sex marriage by legislation. Although the bill was vetoed by the governor on Monday, today the legislature quickly gathered the needed 2/3 majority in both houses to over-ride and allow gay and lesbian couples to marry legally at last. Although Vermont has had a civil union law for many years, we all know very well that separate is not not equal. I’m so please that this passed and that we finally have a legislated legalization.

Oh, yes, the tide is definitely turning.

On a more personal note, today Joyce, Arij and I braved the rain and met Joram in Den Haag to go togo to Madurodam, which is a miniature city representing places all over the Netherlands. As Joram jokes, once you see Madurodam you have seen Holland. 😉

Over view of Madurodam

Over view of Madurodam

We made a small detour through the city center to have my picture taken near the house my father stayed at for a time in Den Haag when he was young. Seems a little silly I know since he wasn’t there long and I don’t know how much of the neighborhood is even the same. But the house looked relatively like what it might have then with just the windows seeming to be new.

Madurodam is a unique place, part amusement park, part work of art, part feat of engineering. It was quite fun to see some of the places I have been in the Netherlands in miniature and ogle the places I’d like to go as well. If you ever have a chance to see it, I assure you it is not to be missed.

Now I am going to have a short nap, after adding a few more pictures.

Blessings,

Janice

Janice with a windmill

Janice with a windmill

Rembrandtsplein in Amsterdam where Darren and I stayed in 2004

Rembrandtsplein in Amsterdam where Darren and I stayed in 2004

Aunt Joyce and Uncle Arij

Aunt Joyce and Uncle Arij

Share

The Tide is Turning – SSM in IOWA! and a Short Trip Update

Monday, April 6th, 2009 by janice

I was so caught up in the whirlwind to come out here to the Netherlands that I didn’t get much chance to read about the major event in Iowa. One knows that the tide must be turning when a Mid-western Supreme Court, in Iowa, of all places, makes a decision in favor of same-sex marriage. I was absolutely floored to hear of it and so proud of the lawyers who argues for it and justices who struck down the ban. And a unanimous vote at that! Amazing!

Now, if we can only get California to make the same decision.

Things are going OK here although Joyce is under the weather a bit. Got to hear some more family stories yesterday and we looked at a lot of old pictures and sorted through some things from Oma’s house. Joyce found some letters my mother had written to Oma which was such a wonderful gift to read. My mother was very young – some of them were from when she was still in Washington while Dad was serving in Vietnam. I have some information I need to process just now. I wrote to my brother to get some idea what he knows about the event in question because we haven’t really talked about it much. Sorry to be oblique – it is family business and I want to talk to my husband about it as well.

Anyway, a couple more pics from her in Holland. Joram is coming tomorrow to take me to see some castles – I’ll see Oma again on Wed when we go pick her up from Oosterhout.
My love to you all.

Blessings,

Janice

Switzerland - my Opa Tom painted this

Switzerland - my Opa Tom painted this

Oom Jim and his puppy

Oom Jim and his puppy

Tante Joyce and Uzi

Tante Joyce and Uzi

Share