Tuesday, June 29, 2010


This past weekend, gay pride was celebrated across the country and in parts of the world.

My first 'real' apartment in Toronto was downtown in the heart of the gay district. It was a studio apartment with a great park view and was just a 10 minute walk to work. I loved being able to walk home and pick up fresh fruits and veggies from the local mom and pop stores. I had everything I needed - a hardware store, a wine store, a pharmacy, grocery shops, restaurants and a Body Shop.

It did not sit well with my family or my then-boyfriend that I lived in the gay district but I loved it!! Everyone was friendly and I felt very safe. I was walking distance to the subway, theatres, shopping, you name it. And the rent was reasonable. I never should have moved.

The weekend I moved in, a work friend helped me paint. We had to park several blocks away and walk as my street was blocked off. While walking through this huge block party, my friend told me we were the minority there. "Why? Because we look like a mixed race couple?" I asked. "No, because I'm a man and you are a woman," he said. I looked around and realized he was right. That's when I noticed the men dressed in women's clothing and the outrageous outfits. And the floats. I grabbed his hand.

Later that evening, we were watching TV and that's when I realized we had walked down the center of Toronto's gay pride parade!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

What To Say

We asked Mini Me what to say if someone asks to touch her vajayjay. Her response? "Nooooooooo!" Excellent. We trained her well....
Then we asked Mini Me "What about if they say they will give you candy if you let them touch your vajayjay?" Her response? "Yessssssss." We have some work to do!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Visiting the Site

When I went home to Canada, I stopped in at my grandparents' gravesite. I was pissed!!!! The weeds had grown so high and so thick, it was more than just embarrassing, it was maddening. Initially, my mother had planted trees and each year, she'd update the plants and used to take great care of the gravesite until someone ripped up everything she had planted. After that, she left it to other family members to care for. Which, clearly had not happened.
My grandparents were 2 of the most amazing, loving, caring and generous people. They loved me very much and took great care of me while my parents worked. They cared for lots of other people's children and several of my cousins at various times. Everyone they met, loved them. Even after over 50 years of marriage, my grandparents were loving and affectionate with each other. Even when they would argue in French or Spanish and my grandfather would reply in English just to piss my grandmother off. LOL!
My grandfather loved to garden. I remember 'helping' him to garden in our yard.
My grandparents deserve a well-kept gravesite. I knew I had to make this right.

I enlisted the aid of J to help me pick out the appropriate low maintenance plants that will provide ground cover, color, and will return year after year. There were a couple of plants already there that were in good condition, so we left them.
It looks like not much right now, but in time, these slow-growing ground cover plants will fill the area and some of them will bloom at different times of the year.
When we were done, I looked over at the site next to my grandparents. I totally get why they went the fake flower route. LOL!!
In driving around the cemetery, I thought of my former perceptions. The way my family has always done death is to have a big headstone.
I used to think the poor people were the ones with the simple grave markers.
Now, I think those are the smart people. Why go through the expense of a big plot and headstone your family has to maintain? What happens when they move, or get busy, or die?

J and I plan to be cremated. Considering I've lived in Canada, Tulsa, and now Chicago, where would my gravesite be? Cremation just makes sense. And, to be honest, I don't really care where my ashes go - I'll be dead.

Grandma Grandma Passed Away Today

Grandma Barbara
July 21, 1933 - June 26, 2010

Barbara & Lester Widney

1st great-grandchild.
Grandma's dreams of being a great-grandparent
were fulfilled when Motor Mouth was born.
Motor Mouth's 1st night home

Mini Me's 1st photo shoot

We still have Grandpa Grandpa

She was a wonderful grandmother to J. She was wonderful to me and to our children.

Grandma taught J to love so much of what he does well today. Gardening, cooking, baking. You might think I'm J's biggest fan, but I'm nothing compared to how proud she was of J. She loved seeing J's creations. J reminded Grandma of her father.
Many of J's fondest childhood memories involve his grandmother. J has so many wonderful stories about gardening with his grandma or baking or just great memories of how much she treasured their special relationship.
Two years ago, Grandma was diagnosed with cancer. That summer, we cancelled our Europe vacation for our 10th wedding anniversary to spend the time with Grandma. I told J that "Paris and London will always be there, but Grandma won't be."
Last year, we missed Mini Me's first ballet and jazz recital so we could be with Grandma who had become very ill. It did not look like she would survive the week. But she did!!
I can't begin to tell you how much Grandma meant to me and how much I truly loved her. We got to spend time getting to know each other well. My favorite jewelry pieces were given to me by Grandma. When she gave me a few of her cookbooks, I was so overwhelmed. Cooking was one way Grandma showed her love, so for her to give me a cookbook??? Love, love, love. Grandma's used cookbooks were the best gifts I've ever received.
Grandma was so sweet and kind. For our birthdays or special occasions, she would bake our favorite dessert or make our favorite dish or both. In 15 years, I never once heard Grandma say anything mean or harsh to or about someone. She was sweet inside and out.
Grandma loved me as her own grandchild. I loved hanging out with her and talking on the phone. In addition to our regular family meals at J's parents' home, we would get together with Grandma and Grandpa about every 3 months when we lived in Tulsa.
The last time I spoke to Grandma on the phone, we laughed about the days when Grandma begged us for a great-grandchild. "All of my friends have great-grandbabies but I don't even have 1." Motor Mouth is the oldest of 22 great-grandchildren
age 7 and under with 2 more on the way!!
She was a hands on great-grandma that played with our kids. Our kids loved playing at Grandma Grandma's house. They had special toys for our kids when they came over. She was so excited when we asked them to babysit the kids. Our kids LOVED Grandma Barbara.

She even treated our friends as her own.

Annual Widney pumpkin patch photo - Oct 2007

This is how I will remember Grandma Grandma
Happy. Smiling. Laughing. Loving.

I love my husband

My Man
I love this man.
I do. I just really, really do.

It's not father's day. It's not his birthday. Not our anniversary. Not an anniversary of anything (maybe it is but I am not the type to remember anniversaries).
I'm just sitting here, next to this amazing, wonderful man that I get to call my very own and I feel love for him. Have you ever looked at your partner and thought, "God, I love this man (or woman)!!" and then feel the love well up inside you?

We are not talking. We are just being together. He is on his laptop and I am on mine. There is nowhere I would rather be than right next to him. Yes, we've done separate vacations and we do our own thing from time to time, and sometimes I get so mad at him, I could scream (sometimes, I do) but ultimately, J is my very best friend and I can't imagine life without him.
Every now and then, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had chosen this path or that path. I haven't done it with J, but if I were to do a pros and cons list, I'm sure the pros side would be pages and pages while the cons side would be 1/8th of a page. Ultimately, even with the icky life stuff we've been through, I am glad that I am married to my best friend and that he loves me - or at least really likes me (most of the time).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brought to you by Coors Light

On our last evening in Canada, I wanted our kids to get some more bonding time in with their oldest cousin.

J would like for me to tell you that these were empty cans...

Empty. Empty. Empty.

What NOT to say...

I don't think most people mean to be daft and insensitive. But when you are experiencing infertility and adoption, there are some things you really don't need to hear. Such as....

When are you going to start your family?
- I don't have a crystal ball. If I did, I'd win the lottery.

Don't you want children?
- Yes, I do. What I don't want is to be questioned about it.

Are you sure you are doing it right?
- Funny. Hahaha. Would you like to evaluate our home videos?

Oh, you are a 'career' woman.
- Would you rather I sit at home watching soap operas while I await the blessed event?

Just relax and it will happen.
- Seriously? How am I supposed to relax when I'm getting questioned as to when I'm going to have a child every time I turn around?

Your biological clock is ticking. Better get working!
- We work at it every chance we get...

My friend/sibling/cousin/coworker/etc. got pregnant after they adopted.
- I honestly don't need to hear this. Every situation is different.

Don't you have faith for your own child (when told adopting)?
- It takes more faith to believe a stranger will take care of herself while pregnant and then will not change her mind after the birth.

Infertility treatments are messing with God's creation.
- So is taking Tylenol for your headache and having surgery to remove your appendix or your wisdom teeth. Just let that happen naturally.

Do you have some unconfessed sin?
- About as much as you do. Probably even less.

Do you ever feel like God has forsaken you?
- Every. Day.

Were you sexually promiscuous?
- No. Were you?

Are you infertile because of an STD?
- I am so surprised this misconception is out there!

It's so honorable to adopt a child.
- I'm trying to fulfill my heart's desire, not win the Nobel Peace Prize.

We have an adopted child too. We give to a 3rd world country adoption program
- Yeah. Not the same thing, my friend.

Your adopted child is so lucky to have a good home.
- No. We are lucky we get to be parents.

My friend/sibling/coworker/etc. adopted a child and when he/she grew up, they said they hated their parents.
- So what? When I was a teenager, I told my mom I hated her and wished I had different parents. Isn't that a right of passage whether you are adopted or not?

If you have an open adoption, the birth parent will come take the child back.
- Clearly, you have never met a birth parent. She/he would not do that. Statistically not happening.

If God wanted you to be a parent, it would have come naturally
- Right. Like the immaculate conception was natural.

She's an adoptive mom, she doesn't need meals, sleep, support, baby shower, etc.
- Really? Maybe I didn't push that baby out personally, but I'm still doing 2 hour feedings and instead of 9 months warning, I might have had oh, 1 hour warning. And not only do I have to care for a baby and all that, but I also have to meet with the adoption agency and attorneys and social workers and spend time with the birth mom.

I'm sure there are more, but you get the gist of it.

What SHOULD you say?
- I'm really sorry to hear you are having these struggles. I am here for you if you need me.

What SHOULD you do?
- Bring meals over. Throw a baby shower when the time comes. Spa services make great gifts.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I often feel as though I am not doing enough and that I could do so much better and should do better. Then a yesterday happens along.

In the morning, a gentleman I work with told me he appreciates having me around because things flowed so much smoother for an event. He also said it was nice being able to tag team.

That afternoon, a co-worker told me she was so happy to have me around because I helped to lighten the load.

And last night, a board member told me he appreciated everything I had done and that I made a difference for the better and he is glad I will be staying around next year.

Maybe it is just the end of the school year and people are feeling nostalgic. But at any rate, it made me feel as though I make a real contribution to the team and that I am a vital part of the organization. And this makes me feel as though the long hours, late nights, and working around our kids' schedules to reduce the impact on them were all worth it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Knowing Me, Knowing You - June '10

Time once again for the monthly interview project, knowing me, knowing you. Please play along on your own blog and go to The Fairy Blogmother to let her know you played.

1. Do you often have out of town guests?
Since moving to Chicago 2-3x/mth in the summer and 1x/month in winter. We enjoy entertaining and spending time with our friends but we've created boundaries as it can get really expensive for us to be running around town going to all the museums with out-of-towners twice/month ($2-300 in parking, museum entry, dinners, etc. EACH time.)

2. What kind of an overnight guest set up do you have?
Guests sleep in MotorMouth's bedroom on a full-sized bed with a skyline view of downtown Chicago - the Sears Tower is about 2 miles away. We let them use the kids' bathroom. When I have my act together and remember, I prepare a guest basket with toiletries, mints, chocolates, bottle water, etc. for them. If there are a lot of them, they might also have Mini Me's bedroom (she has a full-sized bed too).

3. Cupcake or cake?
Cupcakes are cute, don't get me wrong, but I really prefer a piece of cake.

4. Iced tea or lemonade?
Lemonade. Pink. Yellow. White. Strawberry. Lemonade.

5. When you get into bed for the night do you go right to sleep or do you read, internet or watch TV before lights out?
I used to lay in bed awake for up to 60-90 minutes but now I'm so tired I am asleep within 5-10 minutes of my head hitting that pillow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writing Workshop

I'm doing it again!! I'm taking the writing workshop I took 2 years ago. It's such a great workshop. I can hardly wait!! It will be a bunch of work but it will get me writing.

MAM is teaching the workshop again. This time, in Oak Park. it's going to be good!! July can't come soon enough. Are you IN? Go here to sign up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yours and Mine

Have you seen the newest KY Kissable Sensations commercial? It's hysterical. The commercial advertises the latest addition to the line: 'K-Y Kissable Sensations for the Body'. It's chocolate and strawberry flavored. (J thinks they should make mashed potatoes and gravy or chicken fried steak flavoring for men.) If it is anything like the K-Y Yours + Mine, ummm... WoW!!
Some of you might recall my dear friend, Oprah, was kind enough to give us a parting gift that included K-Y Yours + Mine. If you have not tried it yet, go here for a coupon and get thee some Yours + Mine!! (Available at your local drug store.)
This blog entry was not paid for or supported in any way by K-Y or anything or anyone associated with K-Y. This is purely a posting done out of the goodness of my heart as a public service for couples looking for some good times, baby!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Canada or Bust

This has been a full couple of weeks. It's obvious the school year ends next week with lots of school activities at both kids' schools. One more week until both kids are out of their respective schools for the summer. And then, it's off to Canada!!

Yes, this means my passport has arrived!!
One full year of an expired passport and the hassles that were necessary to get a new Canadian passport. I feel like I'm Canadian again and it feels sooooooo good.
J and I are looking forward to resting. We won't have our iPhones turned on. My parents are really busy people but their lifestyle is much more laid back. I'm excited about just hanging out with my sister and my mom. And hearing my dad's horrible jokes first hand. I'll get to spend an evening with my brothers and sister and parents together as a family. It's been 2 years since I've seen my brothers!!

We are headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a good portion of our visit. Mini Me has been to Niagara Falls but doesn't remember it as she was so young. Now, she will remember. The last time we visited The Falls, we had been living in Tulsa and were shocked at paying $10 for parking near The Falls. Now, we are like, "ONLY $10!! That's a bargain!!!" Hahahaha! Motor Mouth wants to go see a ship wreck he has been wanting to see up close for 3 years - his memory is that good!

It's kinda funny - We used to look forward to going to my family's restaurant and for a great meal. Now, we are looking forward to visiting their colon cleansing business...

J and I are going to have a date night.

All this crammed into 3 days.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Child Labor

Growing up, our parents taught us to make English Muffin pizzas. I loved it!!! I was so excited to share this with my kids. The first time I did it, things didn't turn out so well. Not sure why now, I just know the kids refused to eat it. I was heart-broken.

I laid things out and let the kids do it all!!

We had so much fun!
And it tasted great!!