Sunday, April 25, 2010


Friday morning I drove up the Syracuse, to the Immigration & Naturalization Office to get my fingerprints scanned. Hopefully the FBI accepts them (I've had problems in the past with my rolled fingerprints - my ridges aren't very deep).

If they don't accept them, they will send a letter out a letter this week and I'll go back to Syracuse. If they're accepted, my background check moves forward. The last piece of the process.

I still need Bubbles' reference letter -- I forgot to get an original signed copy when I was in Baltimore last week. And after my trip next weekend, I will schedule a time for my friend at work to go with me to the doctor's office to get my medical form signed and notarized.

I found a website that will be a good model to follow for my fund-raiser. I need to pull my "team" together to figure out the logistics. I'm trying not to think about how length I still have to wait.

I guess one thing at a time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art Imitating Life (or life's dreams)

"Watch, you're going to get pregnant and then meet the man of your dreams."

I can't tell you how many people said that to me over the course of the last three years. Little did I know that a. it would not happen, and b. they would make a movie about it.

This is one movie I will NOT be seeing. I'm a masochist in a lot of way, but not this one. Not this time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reinventing Ellie

I just read through a blog post from four years ago, about gaining weight over Christmas. That was before the neurosis about exercising and eating got the best of me, before I took a break from blog.

It was good to get back in that frame of mind, when I really thought about what I put in my mouth and how much I moved during the day. I'm getting back to that point. I (perhaps foolishly) started an actual diet this week. I hate that word, I hate the negative connotation associated with it. I prefer healthy food choices. Healthy lifestyle changes.

But this week, to get me back into that frame of mind, to get me motivated right off the bat, I started what is called "the four-day diet."

It was restrictive, it was hard. I know I wasn't eating enough calories for how much I was working out, but at the end of the first four days, I'm down six pounds. It was enough to make me aware of when I reached for food when I wasn't hungry, it was enough to help me keep track of portions. It made me make a conscious effort to include vegetables every day.

And the six pounds -- mostly water weight I know -- were enough. I got a new middle number. I will follow the next four days, and after that, I will use the following sets of four days as a guidepost, but I know I need more calories. I know given my typical 45-60 minutes of cardio plus resistance training, I need to eat more.

My vow, after the next four-day cycle, is to only weigh myself once a week. (I've already gotten into the habit of once or twice a day -- bad Ellie!) To work out five days a week -- without fail, even if some days are not as high intensity as others.

I took a picture of myself in my skivvies the other day. And I have pictures from my birthday weekend in Baltimore. Both will serve as guide posts. And just like celebrities who endorse a weight-loss product, I will post the before picture, but only after I have a good "during" picture to go next to it. And that will -- eventually -- go for my actual weight. Once I've lost an amount I feel comfortable with, I will post that too.

If for nothing else, but to keep me honest. To keep me going.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And the rest of Baltimore

Friday evening was low-key, gearing up for spa day and going out the next day. I jumped on FB to send J an email -- he wanted my address so he can send me a couple of autographed items he has for me. And then I noticed that we're not friends anymore. Interesting.

First I was pissed, and then I laughed. I was friends with him about a month ago when I posted on his wall that I was sorry I missed his phone call the night before. He removed it, and then must have unfriended me. HA! It actually made my day.

Saturday was a fabulously girly day -- manicure, pedicure, lunch, a little shopping (including a LaPurla bra for moi), back to the spa for massage and facial. Then a shower, make-up, dressing, and out to dinner at the Capital Grille.

I can't even describe how delicious the food was (12-year-aged balsamic vinegar over fresh mozzarella!) or how great the service was. At one point, Bubbles looked at me and said, "that guy's checking you out."

I looked over a mid-50-year-old sitting with his wife and another couple, and caught him looking. I smiled over my beer glass. Several times throughout the night, we made eye contact.

Really? Even without trying, without talking, without flirting -- the married man magnet works? After they were finished the wives headed to the bar while the men waited for the bill, and sure enough, he came over. "Hello ladies, special occasion?"

Bubbles immediately said, "it's her birthday!"

He took my hand in both of his and wished me a happy birthday.

I shook my head when he left. Perhaps it was the two large bottles of beer I had consumed, the nostalgia of being in Baltimore, or the fact that I was suddenly 40, I looked at Bubbles and said, "he wasn't ugly, he was fairly attractive, why can't I find a guy like that? A single guy. I have no problem with the age it really that hard?"

She patted my hand -- there were no words.

We headed to a bar after dinner, and now I know -- or remember -- why I don't go to bars anymore. It was crowded, people were obnoxiously drunk and bumping into me. Guys were hitting on Bubbles left and right. I was ready to go after an hour. But the night was still young. So as we were walking to the car, Bubbles said one word. "Boobies?"

I looked at her and smiled. "Boobies." We headed off the Hustler Club for a late-night drink and a little debouchery. New beer in one hand, fistful of ones in the other, we settled down near a stage and clanked our bottles to my 40th birthday and enjoyed the looks on the men's faces as they wished their girlfriends/wives were as cool as we are.

From a long day, a filling dinner, and just being over tired, even after three shots, I wasn't drunk. I think I was beyond it. We closed the Club. I can't remember the last time I was out at 2:00am, but here I was.

I had to drive home the next day, but was so grateful that I took Monday off. It made the five-hour drive that much more tolerable.

And so I turned 40 -- though no one we told over the course of the weekend believed me. Even the esthetician put my skin at 29 to 32. Thank God for good genes and sunscreen.

I turned 40, and while I may not want to stay out all night, I know I still can. And while the men who frequent bars have no use for me, still the older man is still wanting some of Ellie. Again, if only that older gentleman weren't married. I guess one thing at a time, right?

The fact that I have a positive attitude about all this is amazing. I'm not going to over-analyze or wonder why.

Here's to my first week in my 40s.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Being 40 Makes Me Wiser

I'm in Baltimore for a birthday bonanza weekend. The 40s started out great and made me realize that with friends like these, I don't need no sitnkin' man (okay maybe I still do for some things).

My staff threw me a surprise birthday party during the day -- party disguised as a budget meeting. And then what I thought was going to be just a couple girlfriends turned into a whole group taking me out to dinner. And Bubbles contacted them all to let them know what spa we would be going to over the weekend and I got more than $100 in gift certificates to put toward spa day.

Thursday I headed to Baltimore to see a high school friend and then T & S and my god-daughters. I had each block of day planned perfectly -- seeing all my Howard County friends while I was on that side of town, including breakfast with J. Well, planned breakfast. We all know how it will turn out.

And true to form, on my birthday he texted to see if instead of breakfast, we could meet for drinks on Friday. I told him yes, but that I would be in Mt. Washington by then. He said, no problem, will text you then.

Thursday, as I was pulling into Laurel to see previously mentioned high school friend, he texted to see if we could meet in Columbia. We went back and forth, me giving him my entire itinerary, and basically showing him (without spelling it out) that it would be ridiculous for me to from Howard County on Friday morning, downtown the museum, to Lutherville to meet a friend, and back to Howard County to meet him, and then back to Mount Washington to stay with Bubbles. Was there someplace in the middle?

He texted back, how about Catonsville? I finally had to spell it out to him. It was stupid and selfish of him to expect me to do that. It wasn't the 25 or so miles each way, it was that it involved Friday afternoon Baltimore beltway traffic. Each way!

And for him to suggest Catonsville as the middle! The hard part would be over. I'd be done with the beltway, I might as well have met him in Columbia. I told him that it wouldn't work.

And so, for the first time, in a long time, I said no to J. And it felt good. No walking all over me. No one-sided friendship. I would have done that drive for any number of friends -- mostly because I know that they wouldn't have expected me to. He expected it. Like it's some sort of right, that I have nothing better to do than to drive to him.

Not this time. Not anymore.

And so halfway into my Baltimore weekend, I'm feeling good. I'm feeling wise. Not old.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Time Last Year

Happy birthday (almost) to me. I like to think of my birthday as my New Year's. It's a time to be reflective, it's a time to think about the last year, and a time to think about the coming year and all I want to accomplish.

Same as last year -- I've spent the past year focusing on trying to get pregnant. And same as last year -- I will spend the next year focusing on much of the same. Although the difference is, by the time my 40th birthday rolls around, I will know one way or another....I will have a baby of my own, or I will be working on adopting.

And by the time my 40th birthday rolls around (unless I've just given birth in the past few months), I want to be back in my skinny clothes. I want to get rid of this pudgy stomach and muffin top. I want to look the way I used to in a pair of jeans.

And I hope that by the time my 40th birthday rolls around, I will be happy turning 40, that I will accept 40 with grace, honor and happiness.

Having accomplished at least one of the goals above will go a long way in helping me meet 40 with these virtues.

I wrote that a year ago tonight. I do not have a baby of my own. I don't have that reflection I want when I'm wearing a pair of jeans. I still have the pudgy stomach and muffin top. But I do know that I'm adopting. I do know that in less than two years, I will have a baby.

I don't just know it in my heart, but I know it. I've got an expanding file folder of paperwork, bank statements and credit card receipts to remind me. I got my passport the other day and today I received my appointment notice with Homeland Security for finger printing.

And so on the eve of my 40th birthday, I can only look forward. I can't look back at what could have been. At what should have been. I remember what FG said at the one support group meeting I went to. "None of us is promised anything."

I will spend tomorrow evening with some of my best friends in town. And on Thursday, I will head to Baltimore for the weekend and some of my best friends ever. A high school friend. Museum friends. A Rochester friend. And Bubbles!

And on Monday, I start the new me. I start my "MILF training." :) I begin working out and watching everything I eat. And weighing myself and weighing my food. And watching out that I don't become the person I became four years on the inside, but working my ass off (literally) to become the person I became on the outside.

Happy birthday to me. I won't let 40 get me down. I will own it. I will embrace it. There are only good things to come.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sometimes my friends just over-whelm and humble me beyond words

From Bubbles, for my dossier....

To whom it may concern:

I am writing on behalf of Ellie Lincoln, my closest friend of nearly 10 years. I met Ellie when I began educational consulting work at her institution. I immediately respected her as a professional and we soon became friends. Although we now live several hundred miles apart, our friendship is still very vibrant and strong. We speak several times a week, she responds to my emails promptly, and we travel to visit each other several times a year. She never misses a special event, or a chance to support me in difficult times. I have come to depend on her strength and wisdom in my life. This commitment to those around her speaks to the heart of Ellie’s desire to be a mother.

Throughout the years I’ve observed her devotion to those she loves, family and friends alike. This unwavering selflessness and sincere care for others will make her the most devoted mother, especially to a child that is adopted. While she has tried to have a child of her own, she never discounted the idea of adoption, and made it clear that the opportunity to raise and love a child is the ultimate blessing, no matter how it came into her life. She truly longs for the chance to provide love and care for a child.

She’s met with other parents who’ve adopted and she’s well read on the challenges facing adoption of ethnic children by American families. I can assure you that a child placed with her will always be loved, respected, and nurtured. Her single and sole priority will be her child. Ellie is also surrounded by a strong and supportive group of family and friends, her child would have a large group of people who would also be there to support and nurture them. This child would be so special to so many people, myself included.

I feel privileged to have been able to be a part of Ellie’s journey to parenthood. It has been a very difficult journey for her, but her commitment has been steadfast. Her faithfulness in this endeavor has been inspiring for me. She has overcome so much to be a mother, and I am hopeful that there is a child out there, meant to be a part of her life.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of my beloved friend.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

An Officer but Maybe Not a Gentleman

I haven't heard from Chris since Las Vegas. That was the end of October. The day the Yankees won the pennant. The day I got my second tattoo. Before I become the interim director at my job. Before I tried to carry an embryo created with another woman's egg.

I haven't heard from Chris, and honestly, I haven't wanted to. That's not to say I haven't thought about him every now and then. I have. Clearly I have, or I wouldn't be writing this.

But I've thought about him in the way that I let that Friday night in Vegas seep into my thoughts as I fall asleep. I thought about him when I thought about Opening Day, and how we always talked baseball. And I've thought about how I haven't heard from him.

Something must have finally gotten to him. Something must have finally spooked him straight. I always let him be in control of our relationship -- and that is to say, he was the one with the risks, he was the one with something to lose, I was just having fun.

And so he was the one who (almost) always called. He was the one who would take a break for a few months and then suddenly appear out of the blue with his cocky "hey there" on the other end of the phone. He was the one who always initiated.

I hope he's happy. I hope he doesn't regret me in his life. And if he does regret me, I hope he can see the responsibility he owns in that.

I will probably always think about him. Funny enough, I don't miss him.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

My Adoption Statement

I mailed the paperwork to immigration on Saturday -- and from my tracking slip, I know it arrived yesterday. The "up to 90 days" wait begins.

I went to the Sheriff's office on Friday and got my letter. It was easy. I handed over my license. Less than 10 minutes and $10 later, I had my form.

I received my state certified form today.

Just waiting on Bubbles' letter of recommendation and having to take a colleague with me to the doctor's office to get that form notarized (by someone whose commission doesn't expire this year).

The final piece, though it's done and only needs to be notarized, is my adoption statement. It reads:

I knew from my mid-teenage years that I wanted to be a mother. Pregnancy and adoption were both options for me—it didn’t matter how I got there, just that I achieved my dream to be a mom.

I had hoped to fall in love and get married, but that hasn’t happened for me. It’s something that I’ve accepted, but I cannot accept not becoming a mother. I have so much love to give a child.

In April 2007, I began researching adoption. I was drawn to Ethiopia for a number of reasons.
• I have a great respect for the culture, history, and traditions of the country and look forward to teaching my child about his birth country. I plan to incorporate Ethiopian holidays as part of our traditions. While I once tried to have the Christmas tree down before the first of the year, it will stay up so that we can include it in our celebration of Genna on January 7 with traditional games and food.
• One of my dearest friends adopted a little boy from Ethiopia in 2006. I lived the journey vicariously through her and was overjoyed when she brought Robbie home. I look forward to raising my child, with my friend as my mentor, and for Robbie to be a “big brother” to my child.
• The possibility of being able to meet and connect with the birth family is a very powerful opportunity for me. I would welcome the chance to thank the birth family and to assure them of my love for and devotion to their child—our child. It will be such an important moment and one that I will share later with my child. That connection will continue as I send photos and updates to the birth family. It’s a gift that not all adoptive families are able to experience.

I have a book that contains basic Amharic words and phrases. Just as I will teach my child colors and numbers in English, we will also learn in Amharic. I hope that eventually my child and I can travel back to Ethiopia so that we can experience the country together.

My extended family and friends, who have been a great support system throughout my journey to becoming a mother, are already embracing the new traditions that will be brought to our large holiday gatherings. As one friend said to me, “It’s so amazing how small the world truly is. Your family will make it that much smaller and more connected.”

I’m lucky to live in a very diverse city that has both a major university and a mid-sized college. Each of these institutions has international students and cultural clubs and organizations that sponsor public events and activities that we will attend. There are also a number of people in the city who are of Ethiopian heritage, including two professors who work with me.

In addition to the families of Ethiopian heritage, there are many local and regional families who have adopted children from Ethiopia. I have joined the network of these families and hope to organize annual get-togethers, where we can bring our families together and our children can connect with each other.

My home is located about ten minutes south of Ithaca. It is a two-floor, two-bedroom townhouse. My child will have his own room with a window that overlooks a large yard and acres of woods. At any given moment, he will be able to see many varieties of birds, as well as deer and wild turkey.

I hope I can live up to the dreams the birth mother has for her child. I can’t thank her enough for her unselfishness in allowing me to raise her child—to be a mother. She is not only giving her child a better life; she is also giving me a better life.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Into the Home Stretch

I'm still waiting for my home study copies -- Renee said she mailed them out on Tuesday. I should have had them today, hopefully tomorrow and then I can mail my immigration forms out.

My boss gave me his letter confirming my employment, years of service and pay. I got my birth certificate in the mail the other day. I finished my adoption statement. I received one of the two reference letters (specific to Ethiopia) yesterday.

I'm going to the Sheriff's office tomorrow. I still need to call the doctor's office. And I'm awaiting the state certified form to come back from Albany.

I'm still in good shape to be down with all I can do before I turn 40 on the 13th (or go to Baltimore on the 15th).

It will be interesting how I handle the waiting game. Right now, I have tasks. I have excel spread sheets. I have an expandable folder. I have things that I'm needing to get done. Once everything is mailed out, what will I do. What will I focus on?

I'm not a patient person. Three years of fertility treatment didn't really help that. I'll have to do my best. Enjoy the summer. Enjoy my friends. Take some road trips. Save money. And continue to work out like a machine.