Organize it, I Will.

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Nana used to label everything. Fridge and freezer filled with containers.  Each had a thin line of masking tape across them. Names written in black ink. Mostly Italian, sometimes broken English. My favorite being the grep gely.

Her bedroom closet had each gift she ever received. Each item still in the original box. A small square of notepaper. The gifter’s name written across along with the date received. Attached with a silver straight pin.

I think I affix more labels to myself than to actual things. I’m female. I’m a daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A niece. A wife. An aunt. A friend.

You can call me Maria or Mia. I’m more of a Mia though.  I also answer to ITGurl, Tinks, Tinkerbell, Wife, Wifey, Sister Wife, Chickie, Aunt Mia, Mi, and MiMi. My 3 year old niece calls me that. My Mimi. It gives me the feels.

I proudly fly my geek flag.  I am a Star Wars fan, a Whovian, and a LEGO addict.  But I digress.

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Sister selfie. Inception style.

 

I have purchased an adoption binder.  It comes with its own checklist.  It has page protectors. It has dividers. Even pocket folders!

It is waiting for me to fill it.  Every time I open it, I just stare. Blankly. Like the dividers.  I don’t know where to start. I haven’t decided how to organize it.

I suppose there really isn’t a wrong way.  Perhaps I’ll  add a protective sleeve and pocket folder to each divider. I have accumulated some paperwork from our lawyer.  That seems like a good place to start.  I will start there. I can always adjust the dividers and pockets as needed. Perhaps let the paperwork guide me to how it needs organized. Maybe I’ll see how other are doing it.

This has been a response to today’s  Daily Prompt: Label

 

Keep Calm and Get Lucky

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I did not wake up excited.  I am not wearing a stitch of green. I am not feeling lucky.  I’m cold. I’m tired. I was not fortunate enough to work from home today. I had a meeting.  I needed to be in the office. I am dreading the commute home.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not the grinch of St. Paddy’s. I just prefer to celebrate it a bit more quietly than most.  A shepherd’s pie here. A Guinness stew there.

I’m not saying I’m not fun. I just don’t do so well in large crowds. I work in Manhattan. Today’s the Parade.  I’m screwed.

I sit and wait for my meeting to start. I stare at the bowl of paper cranes on the table. It’s like someone gave one water after midnight and they multiplied. In a good way. No evil gremlins. Just bowls and cups of little colorful cranes. Scattered throughout the office. They are bright and colorful.  Folded from Post-Its.  Ingenious.

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I google paper cranes. Wikipedia tells me they are a symbol for good fortune.  It’s St. Patrick’s Day. A day of four leaf clovers. Pots of gold. Leprechauns and luck.  Maybe I still have a chance?

The parade ends at 5pm.  I leave at 4pm.  Most people won’t leave early, right?  Theres’s still a chance that Penn Station won’t be too crazy. I’m going to try to stay positive. Maybe even get a green bagel at lunch, or some Lucky Charms. I am going to be calm. I am going to take a little green crane home with me just incase.

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: Luck

This Master Builder Will Thwart the Kragle

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My first interaction with LEGOs was accidental.  I was rooting around in the basement looking for something to play with when I struck gold. A discarded handful of my older sister’s LEGOs. I knew from watching her that you stick them together. Then you pull them apart.

I couldn’t pull them apart.  The pieces were too tiny. I smacked them on the floor.  I stepped on them. I even tried using my teeth. But no luck. Frustrated I dropped them and never looked back.

I did end up getting some age appropriate Mega Blocks.  They were big. They came in a big yellow bucket.  They never got stuck.   I loved them. They were my constant companion until I outgrew them and discovered Play Dough.

When I met Doug I learned that LEGOs were a thing.  Like Star Wars and Doctor Who.  I had no idea!

He proudly showed off his collection.  The Death Star, Super Star Destroyer, and R2D2 just to name a few.  He introduced me to the separator tool!  Life changer.

I started adding to his collection. At first it was just presents for him.  Then it became presents for me. My first set was a small Doctor Who TARDIS. I moved on to the Christmas toy shop to put under my tree.  Then The Simpson’s House and Kwik-E-Mart.

These days I Netflix and LEGO.  It’s therapeutic. I hum to myself as I hunt and peck for my pieces. I concentrate only on the task at hand.

Doug and I build together.  I help him find pieces.  He fixes my mistakes.  He does all of the bag ones. I do all of the bag twos.  Together we have built an impressive collection.  I wouldn’t say it’s massive, although some of the pieces are.

As much as I have grown to love the little pieces, I secretly long to have the bigger ones. The child friendly size. The DUPLO kind.  To share our love of building with our wee little builder.

This is a response post to today’s  Daily Prompt: Massive

You Can’t Sit Here.

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Uncertainty is like the mean girl in middle school. You are sitting at the lunch table. Minding your own business. Uncertainty appears over your shoulder.  Knocks your lunch off the table. Steals your seat. Laughs at you.  She’s such a bitch.

She is for ever one step behind you.  Lurking. Judging. Waiting for your little ducks to be put in their row.  Don’t turn your back. Don’t let your guard down.  She’ll snatch the smallest duckling and take its place.

It happened to me during the wedding planning.

I never dreamt of my dream wedding like Jennifer Lopez did in The Wedding Planner. I’m not fancy.  I don’t like ornate.  I don’t like extravagant.  I don’t like cookie cutter. I have never thrown a formal anything.   I don’t like bedazzled. I am not lacy.  I’m way too klutzy for anything nice.

Suddenly, I am picking color schemes.  Choosing linens.  Trying on dresses.  Thinking about invitations.  Considering fonts. Worrying about discreetly numbering response cards.  Second guessing each choice.  Is this pretty?  Is this cheesy? Is this even right?

Uncertainty stuck her foot out and tripped me. I landed face first in a floral head trip.

I am not a flower person. I am allergic. Julie requested mums. Dad loved Mums. This was be a no-go for the florist. I had no plan-b. I panicked.  I allowed myself to be persuaded into ordering a generic bouquet.

A single rose surrounded by carnations. I instinctively knew my sister would hate it. I hated it.

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Bullseye much?

The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of the Target logo.  This haunted me for months. I  obsessively searched Pinterest.  I became fixated. I needed to find the perfect flowers. I  went back to the florist defeated. I went home relieved knowing we landed on irises. I won’t go into how many times I changed the favors. But if you need tulle rounds I have 175 unused pieces.

After the wedding I managed to kick uncertainty to the curb.  But I can feel her creeping in again as we take our first take our first steps toward adoption. She questions my every thought.  Every feeling. Every decision.

She is in my head. Follows me into the shower. Rides the train with me to work. I can’t shake her.

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She even looks a little like me.

My gut reaction is to muffle her. Focus on spring cleaning. Focus on our spare room. Empty the closet. Rearrange the living room. Fill out paperwork.  Prepare questions. Create things. Write.  Keep myself busy.  Hold on to my lunch.  Keep my butt in the seat.

This was a Daily Prompt: Instinct response post.

 

 

 

We are Groot

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If you sat at a table with me, when I was little, gave me crayons and paper, I would draw you a picture of my family.  I’d introduce you to my stick figure rendition of Mom, Dad, Julie, and me lined up in height order. Floating just above a wobbly green line, our abstract lawn, alongside a triangle topped house.

Dad works with flowers and trees in the nursery.  On the weekends he leaves half a pack of Life Savers on my dresser before he leaves for work. He thinks I’m sleeping but I’m not.

Mom calls me her Wee Cheekie Birdie.  It’s from a song she sings when we’re at the park. We swing and sing about ten little monkeys rolling in a bed and count the green bottles on the wall. When I have trouble sleeping she sings Mommy’s eyes are smiling. That one is my favorite.

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Itty Bitty Me.

My big sister Julie and I sneak into our parent’s room when mom is not looking. She’ll hold me by the hands and twirl us really fast.  One time my feet even left the ground. That was the best. We do this until we get dizzy. She helps me when I can’t do things so I eat her pizza cheese. She hates cheese.

That’s me. I am Mia. I have a green big girl’s bed and an orange rug.  I sit at my play table and make spaghetti with my Play Dough fun Factory. There’s a bucket of big LEGOs in the corner.  I like those better than Julie’s little one.  Mine have wheels so I can build a car.  I like playing with those little cars, but only the ones where the doors open.  How else can people get in and out?

Bessie is our dog. She is a Chihuahua. She doesn’t like strangers. I think she only likes Mom.

Nana-D is my Italian Nana. She plays the Italian station on her radio. Her favorite is  Mi Scappa La Pipi, Papa, because  Julie and I have a dance for that one.  It is a funny song about a little boy who wet his pants. Pop-Pop like his rocking chair. I sit on his knee and he gives me Hershey’s miniatures When Nana isn’t looking.  He calls me something in Italian I can’t spell.

Nana-S lives in Scotland.  She is my Scottish Nana.  They only have four TV channels there. Pop-Pop promises me if I was to move there I will be able to get Mr. Belvedere. They come to stay with us sometimes. They bring us sweeties when they do.  Sweeties are like candy only Scottish. Nana calls me hen even though I’m not a chicken. Pop-Pop must be a magician. Whenever Mom turns her back he pulls his teeth out for me. Mom doesn’t believe me.

When I found out he couldn’t work anymore.  I ran up to my room. I emptied my piggy bank.  I managed to save up $5.  I handed the contents to Mom. I asked her to send it to Nana and Pop- Pop.  I  thought they might need it more than I did.

About the time Doug and I were planning our wedding I realized that my definition of what makes a family changed. It is no longer just my stick figure family on our little green line lawn.

Instead of stick figures next to a house, I draw you two trees. I start with first. At the roots. Our support system. Our foundation. Our joined families.  Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters.

Each branch aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews.  Families we grew along the way. Close family friends that became aunts, uncles, and cousins. Personal friends now brothers and sisters.  Their children our nieces and nephews. IKEA family. Neighborhood News Family. EMS Family. FDNY family.

I start the second. This tree is Doug and I.  A cutting if you will, from the larger more established tree. We are the roots.  The trunk.  The young leaf.  We will nourish it. Help it flourish and grow.  One day this tree will be part of the roots. The support. The foundation of a future large tree.

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This was a post via Daily Prompt: Abstract

One Does Not Simply Sit and Search

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I’ll get a tall instead of a grande. I will have oatmeal instead of a doughnut. I will start the diet on Monday. It’s only a quick search. The odds are forever not in your favor.

Five hours later you’re still on the couch hunched over your laptop. Eyes dry. Back hurts. Fingers cramped. There’s a half empty peanut butter pretzel tub at your feet you don’t remember opening. Your cell is buzzing furiously. You really have pee. Sound familiar?

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That happened to me every time I hopped on Pinterest during our wedding planning. That was also me trying to find out why my python code had me stuck in an error loop. That was me again, a couple of weeks ago, when I first started researching adoption.

Entering one innocent word into an internet search can take you down a wibbly-wobbly time-suck.  Sometimes the abundance of material found is worth your eyes feeling like they are bleeding. Other times you are led down a wormhole of bad advice.  You come out the other side convinced you are dying because someone on the internet suggested you were.

Lucky for me this has only happened a couple of times recently. I seem to have an alternative route for now. Knock on wood.

Most of my  early searching seemed to suggest I was better off reading a book instead of the world wide web.  I admit snapping up a horde of books. I say the more the merrier! Especially, if you are a Kindle Unlimited member. Just saying.

My digital pile consists of an assortment of books written from different perspectives. Adoptive Parents, Adoption lawyers, Adoption experts, etc.  I think I chose a good mix.

I am working my way through a few Foster to Adopt books right now, but here are a few of the ones I completed. I got the most out of these:

  • The Complete Adoption Book, Third Edition by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond Godwin, Esq. (It really is everything.)
  • 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Choosing Adoption by Robert A. Kasky, Esq and Jeffrey A. Kasky, Esq (They illustrated with real life examples and Florida law)
  • Hoping to Adopt: How to Create the Ideal Adoption Profile by Russell Elkins (Written in a personal voice.  He explains the how by illustrating with his story.)
  • 10 Adoption Essentials: What You Need to Know About Open Adoption by Russell Elkins
  • Open Adoption, Open Heart by  Russell Elkins (The story of his son’s adoption)

I have gone back to the  internet armed with a better idea of how to narrow down my researching. I no longer dive in and hope to come up for air with some reliable websites. Here are a few that I flagged. The information seems to reinforce what I have learned from the books so far.

Tomorrow I will order the grande instead of the tall.  I will stare at the doughnut, but order the oatmeal. Maybe I will start the diet on Monday. It wont be a quick search, but it will be an organized one.  I won’t ignore my phone. I won’t forget to pee.  I will finish the peanut butter pretzels.

Colony of Concerns

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Have you ever been to a train, metro, subway, or tube station during rush hour? So many people. So many signs. So many stairs. Welcome to my head.

My noggin has become Penn Station during rush hour.  Over crowded. It’s as if there are hundreds of bees buzzing around inside my head. Have you ever had that?  So much on your mind that you can feel your brain vibrate?

I purchased a binder to keep my future paper work.  I made a list. I drew a flowchart in a notebook.  I tried Trello. I switched to Google Docs.  There was trail of post-its that had come unstuck. My browser’s bookmark list looks like it barfed.  My head hurt. My nails no longer exist.  Then I found Google Keep, my life jacket.

I have been able to create reminders and to do lists.  I can pin websites and add notes.  I even set up a label system so I can find save information and notes by category and site.  I can even color coordinate!  I now have all of my research and notes in one location.  I no longer have to run across the station in a panic trying to find the track my brain was running on the day before.

I made rules.  I set time limits, so I wouldn’t fall down a rabbit hole.  So I could turn my brain off.

My brain is full.  I am overwhelmed. Anxiety is creeping in.

Am I organized enough? Did I research enough?  Have I read the correct books? Have I spoken to enough people? Are these the right steps?  Will our profile stand out? Am I horrible for thinking this? Will I be judged for not trying fertility treatments first?  Will I be considered too old? Will we be liked?  Will we be chosen?  Will we be successful?  The drones are getting out of control.  I think I need to breathe.

This is a  Daily Prompt: Swarm post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make it So

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When I was six I had exactly two goals in life, both of which were super. First, I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I mean who wouldn’t?  She got to do all that fancy twirling when she changed clothes. Plus she had those kick-ass shoes!  But I also wanted to be He-Man, because well, he had the power. Plus the sword was kind of nifty.

So how does a six year old with a healthy imagination realize her goal?  I would sneak into my mom’s closet and pilfer her red pumps from Fava.  I would roll out trusty red Hoover into the middle of the room. I’d slip those shoes on first.  Then I’d grab the hose attachment and jam the stick down the back of my shirt.  I would run around her room, Hoover following me. Twirling, yelling, wielding my cleaning sword in the air.

Not only was my imagination healthy, but so was my appetite.  Something Dad and I shared.  He worked in the family business and did not get the traditional weekends and vacation times like other fathers, but he always managed to make the most of the time he did get.

After dinner he would make a great show of preparing dessert.  He could slice a melon, or a weird cheese, sometimes even a salami and make it look like the most delicious thing in the world.  He would hum a little.  Lick his lips.  Kiss his fingers in that old school Italian way and say, “Saborit!”

We would pack into the car an go on a run.  A drive that would end up at  7-Eleven drinking slurpees people watching. We would eat our ice cream in the parking lot of Carvel, watching the other customers.  Trying to guess their orders. Other times it would be to various festivals where we would share zepolees and go on rides.

We didn’t have vacations. We had day trips, and they were far better. Mom would pack a cooler of sandwiches and snacks. We’d get in the station wagon and go. Sometimes it was to Rye Playland, where Dad used to go with his school as a boy.  One time we even went as far as Lake George, because he was in the mood for ice cream.  We drove five hours each way so he could take us to an ice cream shoppe he and mom went to while on honeymoon. We were only there for a couple of hours, but it was worth it, just to see him finish the 1lb cone.

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Dad’s first day trip that he didn’t have to drive us to. Daddy and Daughters Day in AC! (Julie was taking the picture)

Dad would have loved Doug. Solver of problems. Teller of stories. Prankster. Human map. Lover of all things Reese’s.  Knows a guy. The way Doug’s eyes light up, the way he rubs his hands together when he sees a penne a la vodka come his way, is just like Dad with pretty much anything that was edible, lol.

When Doug was in the Fire Academy most of his nights and weekends were devoted to studying, but he always found time. To study together. To celebrate birthdays. Have family dinners. Play with our nieces and nephew. Take day trips out east to hit the outlets or to Pennsylvania to have dinner with friends.  To patiently listen to me barf a weeks worth of wedding planning questions that I had been holding in all week.

I never became Wonder Woman.  I can’t even stand in heels, let alone twirl in them. I also never became He-Man.  In hindsight if running with scissors is a bad idea, running with swords probably is too, lol.   No longer six and now forty, my wishes have changed. I no longer desire to fill a fictional role.  I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a niece. I am a friend. I have become a wife. I have become an aunt.  I hope to become a mother.

 

My thoughts via Daily Prompt: Desire

When in Doubt..Google It

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When in doubt..Google it.  It’s been my mantra for years.  Those words have gotten me through many an overwhelming situation. Like that time when I worked at IKEA.

I had been working in the big blue box for about seven years when I applied for the position as Systems Trainer.  It seemed a natural choice since I could already design your office, check the inventory, find it’s air location book your order, return it, arrange to ship from another warehouse, ring it up over the phone while removing a serious paper jam and still not have to put my coffee down.

It was only after accepting the position that I discovered the position had been changed,  It had transitioned to IT. Luckily I am a fast learner. I was shipped out of state for a three days for a crash course in all of the things people go to school to get certified in.  In three days I learned how to make my own ethernet cables, run cat-5 through the showroom, repair a dead phone line on the PBX board, rack a server, ICC a terminal for our network, and for everything thing else there was Google.

By the end of year eleven I had moved on from controlling the the tech needs of over 200 users and said a tear filled goodbye to my flat packed family. I was now working in the city at a startup – a neighborhood news site. By this time I had a good background on the tech side of things. However, my grasp of studio equipment DSLRs, and Final Cut Pro were a bit shaky. Fortunately, I had become the ultimate Google machine.

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Taking silly selfies at Alumni Night with one of my most favorite people – Lynn. 

In the six years I have been here we have grown from covering one borough to all five, and added a second city to our news family. Twice the amount of code, twice the amount new features, and countless views depending on the device.  The need for testing had grown from when you have time to a full position.  One I eagerly took on.

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This is what a QA Analyst’s desk looks like.  A giant wall of technology, lol.  Not shown are the multiple test phones and tablet.

 

Our focus switched from manual testing to automated.  Automated testing requires coding.  Something I have not done since that one semester in college back in the late 90s. Like a good neighbor, Google was there pointing me to Python classes, tutorials, and forums.

11951098_10204474214591606_7498015260767570306_nMy first suite of tests.  Go me!

Now as Doug and I are starting to grow our family, there is so much to learn.  So many questions to ask.  Choices to make.  Worries. What ifs.  I know we aren’t the only ones.  There are others out there. Going through it.  Gone through it.  Those questions were asked. Answered. Blogged. I just need to stop. Breathe. The answers are out there, and every little Google helps.

My thoughts via Daily Prompt: Doubt

Aside

Learning My ABCs of Adoption

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I have been on an chart making kick lately.  I blame work.  I was asked to create some to document the different workflows we use for our new Product Manager.

I created this one for myself. My goal was  to try and organize my thoughts. It has helped me to narrow down the focus of my research. This is my third revision.  I am sure there will be more to come  over the next few weeks.

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