Sunday, May 20, 2007

Farewell, Mr. Alexander

Lloyd Alexander, one of my all-time favorite authors, passed away May 17. I had the chance to meet him in college, and it was an experience I'll always treasure. What a cool guy.

My college roommate, Helena, and I took a course together focusing on his work. She blogged about the experience here, much more eloquently (and with a better memory for detail) than I ever could.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lawyers in Leopard Shorts

So we're in the middle of collecting paperwork for the adoption application. Weirdness abounds. Yesterday we had physicals. The measuring bar on the scale was too short to measure Bryce's height. Have I mentioned that Filipinos are not tall? I'm right at home here height-wise, but Bryce is off the charts. Everyone in the office stopped to stare and giggle. Poor Bryce.

Today we chatted about Charlotte Church and Princess Di and secret US laser bombs with a retired Filipino military officer-turned lawyer/notary who lounged at his desk wearing leopard-print shorts and a tye-dyed mumu. His wife (also a lawyer/notary) bustled around notarizing things, hovering to make sure her assistant used the typewriter correctly (haven't seen one of those for a while!), and generally being helpful: "sit there," "sit here," "sit there," "sign here," "everything is above board here, oh yes, all above board." Color me reassured.

I also got fingerprinted for a background check, sat around at the bank for half an hour to do wire transfers, bought a playpen, picked up pictures, dropped off and picked up more pictures, signed the kids up for school, found an adoption lawyer (of the tye-dye-free variety), filled out forms, and even found time for a hair appointment this afternoon to hide all the gray hair I'm getting.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Stinky Old Crackroach

The First-Born killed a cockroach with his shoe today, then swept it up with a broom and flushed it. Brave, brave boy. I see one of those things rush past me and I head for high ground. Younger Son named it the Stinky Old Crackroach.

Filipinos are fearless when it comes to cockroaches. I watched our helper whip off her shoe and nail one from six feet away as it surged across the floor. Then she calmly retrieved her shoe, picked the bug up by its hideously long antennae and took it out with the rest of the trash. Brave, brave Lucy.

If the cockroaches are unnerving, the ubiquitous mosquitoes are pure evil. Trap one (or more) in your room at night and you wake up the next morning feeling woozy from the blood loss. I've lain in bed, staring into the darkness, listening to them whine and hum in my ear as they close in for the kill. I've leapt from the bed, wild-eyed, pillow swinging, fearing for my sanity. I even trapped one under the covers once and promptly inhaled it. My very own Fear Factor moment.

And the ants. Oh, those resourceful little devils. Leave one crumb, one speck of food lying about and they organize a scouting party and send in the troops. They're crafty, those ants. They find the most twisty, illogical, roundabout paths to food--e.g., through the crack beneath the window, down the wall, across the counter top, up and across another wall, over the doorframe, down the wall, and into the sink to retrieve the tiny spot of syrup that didn't get washed down the drain. The way our kids cart snacks from room to room, I'm surprised the ants aren't morbidly obese.

I am not, not, not a bug person. I know it could be worse. Luckily we have little geckos that roam the house and supposedly help keep the bug population under control. But I'm not so sure they're doing their job. I once poured myself a bowl of Cheerios and out of the bag came a gecko, very much alive and probably more startled then I was. So the lizards are getting fat off our pantry stores, the ants and cockroaches are getting fat from stray crumbs, and the mosquitoes are getting fat off our cholesterol-clogged, American blood. The bright side? At least they'll be easier to catch.

Be good.