Sunday, February 21, 2010

anybody want to garden this summer?

every year around this time of year i get spring fever and start envisioning my summer veggie garden. and inevitably i start looking through seed catalogs and lust for 1/2 the things in there.

today was a gorgeous day so i sat outside on the swing in the backyard and looked through southern exposure seed exchange's catalog, circling a million and one things that i want. of course, the problem is i never really know what's going to work and not work in my garden. the other problem is they send a ton of seeds in each pack, way more than i need for my little garden. so i'm putting a call out to my dear readers to see if anyone is interesting in splitting seeds with me.

i've listed below the seeds that i'm thinking of ordering. if you're interested in any of them (you don't have to want all of them), let me know in the comments section or send me an email. if there's something not listed here that you found in their catalog and you want to order it, let me know. i might be open to splitting it with you. the seeds found at sese are mostly heritage, organic seeds and have a history of being grown in the south. some of them work in the north too though so if your garden is not in sc, check out the links to read the information for the plant.

louisana purple pod pole beans $2.85/pack
hickory king corn $2.75/pack
marketmore cucumbers $2.25/pack
early black eggplant $2.65/pack
powder puff asters $1.99/pack
memories of mona cosmos $2.45/pack
wild garden perennial insectary $5/pack
even' star winter arugula (if they have it in stock soon) $2.50/pack
winter bloomsdale spinach $2.35/pack
cilantro $2.10/pack
sage $1.99/pack
creeping thyme $2.30/pack
cosmo romain lettuce $2.50/pack
evertender okra $2.85/pack
amish snap peas (if they have it in stock soon) $2.50/pack
carolina wonder bell peppers $2.50/pack
tromboncino squash $2.50/pack
arkansas traveler tomato $2.25/pack
neptune tomato $2.75/pack

Friday, February 19, 2010

fostering update

a few weeks back i gave a vague update on the fostering situation and our progress with dss. for documentation sake (a NECESSITY when dealing with this preposterously bureaucratic agency), here's what's been happenning.

in early january i started making phone calls to dss. i left a message on the number i found online and didn't receive a phone call for a day or two. so i called back, got a human being who stressed how much dss needed foster homes. she asked me which county i was from and gave me another number to call. i called that number, left a message and a few days later i got a phone call back. naive me didn't document the dates of these first phone calls, but i'm fairly certain that at this point it was either the week before or the week of MLK day. the man i spoke with during this hone call was an intake worker who took my general information (name, address, etc) and then said that they would mail me a packet of information and a case worker would be in touch with me shortly to schedule a visit to come to our house and speak with us about the process. at the time when i talked with him i though he said that all of this would happen within 3 days. but 3 days came and went and we didn't hear anything. so then i thought maybe i misheard him and it was really 3 weeks. so i waited 3 weeks.

3 weeks to the dot a package arrived in the mail. it had pages upon pages of applications but no information about the fostering process that would answer any of our questions. so i waited a few more days for a phone call. nothing. so on friday, february 5 i called back and left another message. that monday i got a call back from a supervisor who apologized and said that it was possible that they may have assigned me a case worker who was on maternity leave. she said if that was the case, they would give us another case worker. but her intake coordinator was not in the office that day so she said she would have him call me.

tuesday, february 9 i received a call from the same intake coordinate who i had spoken with previously. he remembered doing the intake with me but he said they could not find it so he had to do it again. i asked how that was so if i received a packet in the mail and he thought that was odd. so we redid the intake. i asked when i could expect a call back and he said he was going to give it to the case worker that day and he said he wouldn't be surprised if i got a call back that afternoon. he said "definitely by the end of the week."

two days later, no phone call from the case worker. we did, however, receive another of the same application packets in the mail. thanks for the expedience on that one, dss. by the end of the week i had not received a call back.

on wednesday, february 17 i called the county dss number again to find out why i'd STILL not yet gotten a call for a home visit. i actually got a human being instead of an answering machine and she gave me our case worker's name and number. she said the case worker was not in the office that day but indicated that i could leave a message and she would call me back. so i left a message with the CW telling her about how long this process had taken and that we wanted to get the ball rolling by having her come out to our house.

no call back.

this morning (friday, february 19) i was at a work event- an internship fair for social work students at usc- and i just so happened to see that there was an adoptions supervisor from dss there. so i went up to him and explained my situation. he was very upset that we've not been helped and have gotten the run-around. so he gave me his card as well as the name of our CW's supervisor. he said call the supervisor and tell him our predicament. he said the supervisor was very good but he said if for some reason we didn't hear back from the supervisor, call him directly and he would help.

so this afternoon i called the supervisor. he wasn't in the office and did not have voice mail so i had to leave a message with the woman who answered the phone. when i told her what was happening she said that she would give him our message and that our case worker was in the office today and i could call her now if i wanted (she couldn't transfer me). i told her i would call her, but i didn't get a chance to because the case worker pretty much called me immediately back. i guess if you involve a supervisor you get results!

she said she didn't get my message from the other day because she "was not in the office on wednesday and was not able to retrieve her messages." (whatever that means?) so we proceeded to talk about scheduling for her to come and visit with us at our home. she said, "when is good for you?" and i said that my husband and i would be available next week during any evening except tuesday. and she said "evening!?" i said, yes, we both work during the daytime. she responded "well, that's not going to work for me because i work 9-5." i was stunned. surely we're not the first working people in the world to want to foster a child through our dss system!

"when is your lunch break?" she asked. i laughed. "my husband and i are both social workers. we don't really get a lunch break," i responded. she was being very unhelpful so i said to her that i was shocked (yes, i used that word) that this wasn't an issue for most people. i said, "aren't there other foster parents who work and can't meet during the day?" she replied that most people will meet first thing in the morning or meet at the end of the day at like 4:30 and "if it runs over to 5:15 or something that's okay with me." well, ms. case worker, i'm so glad that you will inconvenience yourself 15 minutes for me considering the fact that we will take off work to come home and meet you for what is YOUR JOB!

so basically we left it that i have to talk with the hubby to find out when we both are able to take off work so that we can come home and meet her during her working hours. every supervisor that i've spoken with so far from dss has stressed to me how badly they need homes for foster kids. if they want to know how to get more homes, perhaps they could talk to their case workers about flexibility and working evening hours if it's necessary. oh yeah, and about returning phone calls.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

belated presidents day tribute

i (almost) missed my chance to wish our beloved presidents a happy presidents day. i can think of no better way to memorialized this day (yesterday) than with this beautiful picture that i stole from erica's blog.

(this picture was lovingly painted by noah ginex and commissioned by fuzzy for his wife. and, yes, the star is not there in the original painting.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

animals need a good home

i don't think i've mentioned, but the hubby has been out of town all week helping his mom in mississippi. it's been a long and difficult week for him and his sister as they try to work through the (literal and figurative) mess. progress has been made, however slow and difficult. his mom has agreed to give up all but one cat (allie) so she can move into a smaller, more manageable place. if you don't know tricia, you don't know what a miracle that agreement is.

so, the long and the short of it is, if you know anyone interested in a cat or a dog, let me know. these are the good ones, the animals that are family. we have to find homes for woofer and saddie, both outside dogs, and buffy, bobbie, and bootsie, all sweet inside female cats. if you want to see pictures, you can look them up at baldman's old post about all the cats that were once here.

viewing baldman's old post lets you know how much progress has been made. to go from having 26 cats and 3 dogs down to just 4 cats and 2 dogs is a serious accomplishment. and by the end, we'll just have 1 cat left for her to keep. how did allie get so lucky?

saturday snow

chiminea in backyard

it continued to snow last night until about midnight, i think. and, all told, we had about 8 inches, or so says the state. i dreamed in the night that all the snow was melted when i woke up, but that proved to be false. i ventured out around 9:00 AM and took some more shots. i have the whole set at flickr. it did get fairly warm today so much of it has melted, but i think it'll be a few days before everything is gone.

Friday, February 12, 2010


yea, so i might be the biggest moron every for not originally finding the camera in its "hiding place." i won't tell you where it was because then you'll know how serious my moronism (?) is, but let's just say it was in probably the *most* obvious spot ever.

now that i have my camera, here are the latest shots as of about 10:30 tonight (and still snowing):

the backyard at 10:30 PM (taken from inside)
the backyard at 10:30 PMthe backyard at 10:30 PM
the backyard at 10:30 PM

no more snow pictures

well, it's been about 4 hours since i took those first snow pictures. i was going to go out and snap some more shots in the backyard. but i can't find the camera! wtf? our house is not that big! but i can't seem to figure out where i put it.

i'd say at this point we probably have about 1/2 foot of snow on the ground. our backyard is beautiful! actually, columbia in general is beautiful in the snow. i was out and driving around tonight* and it was such a pretty sight. a rarity-columbia in the snow.

*thanks, margaret, for the sushi party! great fun! and i enjoyed the adventure of driving home in the snow. i almost forgot what it was like.

snow in the south

one of the things i always loved about snow when i was growing up (other than days off school) was how quiet everything got outside when it was snowing. like, the crazy, busy world just came to a halt for a few hours or days.

our house is like that now. the quarry and factory are shut down so the constant hum of their work is gone. and it's just cozy and warm inside, but blustery outside. i can't remember the last time it snowed here. certainly not since we bought our house which was 2 years ago. we'll see how much we actually get.

so far, here's a peak:
the side of the house
my footprints leading from the background
my poor onions in the garden
side porch
back yard
back yard and the shed

Thursday, February 11, 2010

everything you hear about dss

7 phone calls
over 5 weeks of waiting
2 of the same application packets received in the mail

still no movement forward with the fostering process

ahh, dss, i would like to defend you, but so far you're everything we've always heard about you.

Monday, February 08, 2010

another thing for the list

i told you i was going to be adding to the list. here's another thing that people say that really bothers me:

5) when i say to someone that i'm not feeling well, have a headache, or any sort of minor ailment and they respond with "ohhhh!?" wink, wink. nudge, nudge. "that may not be a bad thing!" meaning, if you're not feeling well you surely must be pregnant. i've gotten these types of responses starting immediately after i got married. and they've steadily continued. in fact, someone with whom i work and who even knows that we have fertility issues said something along these lines to me yesterday.


Saturday, February 06, 2010


wishes today for a happy 66th wedding anniversary to my grandparents! i tried to find a picture in my flickr collection where just the 2 of them were together. i found this old one from the year before they got married:

gmom and gdad 1943
aren't they beautiful and happy!?

but i couldn't find a more recent one. maybe that's their secret to a successful marriage for this many years? they're never alone together!

so instead, i found this shot of the whole family at my first cousin, nick's, marriage in october. this picture might actually be more appropriate than one of just them, since without them this whole family wouldn't be here.

the family at nick and julia's wedding
obviously, grandmom and grandad are the 2 elderly people on the right. they still look beautiful and happy!

thanks, gradmom and grandad, for our family!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

why don't you have kids yet?

not that i have many readers. but a good many of the small number who read this blog already know this. but i've never actually written about it publicly and some people don't know. baldman and i are "sub-fertile." this is a major part of our lives and i've had times where i've wanted to write about it here, but hadn't because i'd not formally "unveiled" it to the larger community. so i'm just going to state it clearly so i can choose to either write or not write about it as i'm in the mood. and i'm writing about it not because i expect or even want sympathy. it's just that it's part of our lives and i'm trying to deal with it.

i'm not going to go into the details because...well... it's private. but basically we've been trying to have a baby for over 3 years. we finally went to the doctor this year and were told that there are issues that make it not impossible, but difficult for us to get pregnant. we could use "technology" (so-to-speak) to assist (i.e. intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization) but we're fairly certain that those are not routes we are interested in going.

believe it or not, there are a lot of good things that have come out of this whole "ordeal." but sometimes it's easy to get stuck in our own little world and think of only the difficulties. at times it feels like everyone's gain is our loss. or that all that exists in the world is us and our "problems." so we are working really hard to not let this happen. we have to make a conscious choice every day to remember that there are bigger things in the world and more important things than just our issues. it's so easy to become insular. and we try to remember that there are things we can do to turn our frustration and sadness into something good.

one of the ways that we are trying to turn our frown upside down (without going to toys r us) is that we are thinking about fostering a child. we're still in the very early stages of this process so we don't know where it will lead, but i'm super excited about this possibility and it just seems like something that is so important to do. i'll write more about that in a later post.

i want to end this post with a list of some of the most annoying, frustrating and insensitive things that people can say to a couple who are having fertility issues (whether those issues are known or unknown by the questioner). i think it's important for people to know what we find offensive so people will just stop saying these things:

1) "why don't you have kids?" or "when are you going to have kids?" or "have you thought about having one of these?" (as they shove their kid in your face)
when is it okay to ask about people's sex lives? cause i kinda feel like that's what people are asking when they ask this question. by the way, there's an assumption in this question that everyone wants to have kids and that's not always true. there's also a weird sigh of relief that people have when we say that we want them but we are having issues. it's almost as if people are relieved that we're "normal" in wanting kids because there's a reason we don't have any yet.

2) "do you not want kids?"
again, there is an assumption here and a judgment. as in "why would you not want kids?" and "if you want kids, why don't you have them yet?" and, let me say here. yes, i do want kids (obviously). but that being said, i will not feel like my life is incomplete without having them. i will certainly be sad and i will mourn that loss, but i will still have a good life. many people before me have survived without kids and many people after me will do the same.

2) "just stop trying. i knew someone who couldn't get pregnant and then they adopted and got pregnant"...or..."they were told they couldn't have kids and stopped trying and got pregnant"...or any variation of this.
it's really obnoxious when people say "just stop trying" because it totally negates the fact that there are reasons why people have troubles. it's not because we don't know how to get pregnant or because we are trying too hard. yes, there are people who get pregnant after they stop trying. but it doesn't make me feel better to know this.

3) "oh, you're having difficulty getting pregnant? have you tried.....?"
unless you have dr. before your name or md after your name, and those credentials are associated with with medical science related to fertility, you're not an expert so please keep your advice to yourself. plus, people who say this generally don't know what the issues are. how do they know if it's problems on the man's side or the woman's side or both sides?? and how can they give advice when they don't even know the problems?

4) around the holidays when someone says "do you have kids?... oh you don't? you know, the holidays are really not the holidays unless you have a kid around."
most of the holidays i celebrate are about Jesus. so maybe they mean the baby Jesus at Christmas??

i'm sure there are more things that people say that annoy me but this is all i can think of right now. if i think of more, rest assured i'll probably post them.