Thursday, December 28, 2006

Neophytism, Demonstrated

Want to know the real story behind the name of my blog? Well, this Christmas holiday serves as a perfect example. Since two holidays hit at once for the kiddo, we go all out. We bought her this little gadget, and now I'm as confused as Scott Bakula's character on Quantum Leap. Amber enthusiastically plugged it into our computer, and downloaded EVERYTHING - without reading the directions first. I was called for assistance and was about to knock myself over the head trying to find the "delete" button. After figuring out that you have to open freakin' iTunes to use the delete function (and not only that - there is NO MENU CHOICE for delete in the iTunes software) and PRESS THE DELETE KEY on the keyboard to get rid of songs after YOU CHECK THE TITLE IN THE ITUNES WINDOW...well, let's just say that the eggnog got a beating so that I felt better in the end.
I had admonished the child repeatedly not to use the Santa Gift to upload content to YouTube that might put our family on Web Junk. My words were in vain. We didn't even start Christmas morning with the equipment (SD card or MiniDV tapes) to make the thing work. Luckily, I read the manual and was able to confiscate the camera (over protests from the offspring that she had used this type of camera ALL THE TIME in her media class this summer and KNEW ALL ABOUT IT and would you just PLEASE GIVE IT TO ME NOW and the stomping and oh-my-goodness-my-mother-is-an-idiot rantings) long enough to come up with a brilliant idea: use the SD card from her digital camera to at least shoot something until WalMart was open again. After the interruptions of a day at work on Tuesday, a birthday party involving 7 of her closest friends (and one boyfriend), and the curse of a vexing snot-monster inside my head that zapped my energy, I haven't yet figured out how to upload moving images onto our computer. The child is spending the night with a good friend, and left me with the SD card, videocamera and iPod, yet I only know how to upload photos and videos using her regular camera. Guess what gadget her father let her take to the friend's house? He was thinking clearly - but now, I haven't the energy to upload the software required to transfer video from the videocamera.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Best Present Ever

Christmas means many things to many people, but this time of year is important to me for a particular reason. It's the time of year I first met this little tyke. 13 years ago on Christmas night, I was in our local hospital, laboring to deliver her.

Roger works at this hospital, so I had been a little concerned that when the big day finally arrived, droves of his coworkers would be flocking into the delivery room to take a peek at what was going on between my legs. To make matters even more intense, I had chosen to go "no drugs" and "all natural" for the delivery, figuring it would truly be a rite of passage in my journey as a woman. (A choice that ensured this kid would never have a sibling.)

On Christmas Eve, I had played the piano for a church cantata with Songbird as the choir director - finishing up the night with a moving version of "Silent Night." At around midnight, I felt an intense pain. Feeling like I needed to pass gas, I kept waking up each hour, trying my best to relieve myself of the problem. The next morning, I frosted over 72 sugar cookies (the one holiday tradition in my family), all the while, feeling this overwhelming urge to PASS THAT GAS! Later in the evening, after spending the holiday at Roger's parents' house, we decided to go to the hospital. I technically wasn't due until January 14th, but the pains were about 5 minutes apart, so it was worth checking out.

Indeed, I was in labor, and fortunately the hospital was virtually empty. At 3:19AM on December 26th, I met the one person I KNEW was related to me. She was tiny, and it only took about 3 pushes to deliver her into the world. Weighing only 5 pounds, 10 ounces, Amber came into my life and changed everything, as well she should have.

Every Christmas, when I'm asked what I would like as a gift, I fumble for words. Because the greatest gift of all is having her in my life, and as long as I have that, I don't need anything else.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sinclair Baby's First Christmas

I know some of you figured I would never finish telling the story that started innocently with a post about birthdays. I realized after this post that some of you were intrigued, and I felt a little "on display." Anyone who knows me would be shocked that this might make me uncomfortable, as I revel in being the center of attention at any gathering. I found myself debating whether or not to make more posts like this. I guess I have lived with this "oddity" for so long, it has become commonplace. The only time I have to really face the bizarre circumstance surrounding my arrival on the planet is when someone else hears the story for the first time, and reacts with abject horror. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, follow the links, in order, and you'll get caught up.
I wish I could tell you that this photo is of me, but I'd like to think I was in this kind of mood on my first Christmas. The first baby photo in my parents' possession was taken when I was almost nine months old, so I don't know what I looked like before then. I DID know that in December, three months after I was born, one of my legs was broken. The ramifications of that didn't show up until my mother tried hemming my pants, and one leg would always end up a lot longer than the other. I was always called back for that "second screening" during the school scoliosis exams, but never diagnosed with the disease. It wasn't until I started running with my dog as an adult that I noticed terrible hip pain.

That was the main reason for obtaining my "non-identifying information" - not necessarily to find birth parents, but to determine the actual medical facts about this breakage. Naturally, the adoption agency was extremely reluctant to divulge anything. My mother had always said the break was "suspicious," in that our family doctor felt the healed bone might have been twisted. By now, you remember my first conversation with the social worker. Well, the same letter only gave these details regarding the break:
"As you were a healthy, normal baby, the hospital discharged you and you were placed in a foster home. The foster parents had three children of their own and provided foster care to infants. On December 3, 1968, your leg was broken. The injury was investigated, and it was determined that it was accidental and not child abuse. An X-ray revealed a transverse fracture of the proximal third of the right femur. You were placed in Bryant's traction (this is the photo you see to the left) until December 23, 1968; then you were placed in a spica cast until January 27, 1969."

It seems like a LONG time for a 3-month old baby to be immobilized, doesn't it? There were more photos of the spica cast at this site, and I was amazed at how many of the children seemed happy and were smiling broadly.

Since I've decided to revisit this topic, I encourage you NOT to feel all sorry for me. I was a baby. I can't remember a thing about it. Yes, I suppose it makes me more unique, but we are all unique in our own way. However, I have a special place in my heart for Christmas, and I wonder what that first one was like for me. Did someone visit me? Or was I all alone? I think of this very abstractly - as if it didn't really happen to me.

I am just extremely blessed that every Christmas since then has been filled with family, friends, joy, and the love of the season. It's the only gift I require.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shout Out to VAW-116

My inbox is riddled with "forwards," and I often receive the same thing twice within an hour. Every now and again, I get a gem. This is another one from Spence, and it made me smile.

Have you ever REALLY imagined living on an aircraft carrier during a time of war? These guys make it seem easy:

Too funny! I have a friend named Seth in the National Guard, and he should be home this week from the Texas/Mexican border (PLEASE do not click the link to his name, unless you are not offended by graphic nudity and disgusting things that young men these days think are funny!!! His site is NOT for the weak and/or strongly religious!). His stint in Iraq is not one he wishes to repeat. I pray he never has to return. The guy in the middle of the video, rapping as others enter the hallway, reminded me of him. Here is another, for your enjoyment:

Truly Americans - wouldn't you say?
Also, check out the profile comments from fellow soldiers on YouTube. They say it all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Matt Might Please Songbird

It's no secret that Songbird and I do not usually share the same taste in men. And based on previous conversations here in the blogosphere, you might be more predisposed to follow her judgment. Personally, I think Matt Damon is ideal. And, well...HAWT. I honestly believe he will become a legendary actor, along with the likes of Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Harrison Ford, Donald Sutherland, know the legends. He has a potential for LONG TERM viability in the industry. Smart with his career, and not all flashy with his sexuality. Okay, maybe my lady friends don't see what I see - but hey, I'm all about the intelligent guys. And hawtness.

But Songbird has made it clear that she thinks this shirtless wonder is DA BOMB. And me? I don't get the attraction. Apparently, I'm rather alone in my nonchalance.

I suppose imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but this stint definitively elevated Matt to a higher level than this piece of eye candy, as far as I'm concerned.

Unfortunately, I just might have undone all the goodwill I created with her when I posted this, but she knows I love her, regardless of her taste in men.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I would imagine most of my readers aren't into rap, but you gotta give these guys props.

And to the chick, who jumps all up in it with that "Number 9" bidness.

Kick it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sounds of the Season

I know Songbird is winding down her musical-performance-laden holiday season, probably with great relief. And even though I know it's "part of her job" - this time of year is very stressful for her. She has so many performances and children to coordinate; I honestly don't know how she keeps her sanity.
The other night, her high school, middle school, and special performance choral groups held a stirring Christmas concert. I always "tear up" during these concerts, and not just because my darling daughter is part of the group (bonus points if you can find her in this photo). Music is such a huge part of my life, and the ability to hear young voices spread the joy of song with such enthusiasm is a precious gift. This year, she again invited me to accompany her high school choir on the piano; it is truly an honor to be a part of such a powerful musical experience.

It is on these nights that I see the payoff for Songbird. Right before any performance, she is trying her best to organize large groups of rowdy, excited young men and women, whose butterflies are making them more frenzied than usual. But DURING the performance, her face lights up. I have accompanied her choral groups in the past, and my vantage point from behind the piano allows me to see her every expression. She is constantly smiling, revelling in every nuance of the music. Her jubilation further infuses her choir, and they respond in kind. It is as if every day of the past 3 1/2 months has been leading up to this moment of bliss, and she is soaking up the rapture. I'm not sure there is a participant, parent or audience member who feels the same radiant ecstasy as she. Not only has she given the lifelong gift of knowledge and music to her students but has created a moment of intangible beauty for everyone present. It is the true "paycheck" for her work during the year.

I wish I could capture the radiance of these nights, place them carefully in a box, for her to open anytime she is feeling down. I know she will always have the memories, but nothing can compare to those moments on stage, listening to the fruits of her labor pour forth from the hearts and souls of her young students.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Sometimes I get fun little things in my email, like this from my neighbor: The Shemale Test. Having several gay friends, and a long-time appreciation of the rigors that drag queens endure in order to "Diva Up," helped me score a solid 14 out of 16. I've always been fascinated at how these men can transform their appearances into shockingly gorgeous women. My friend Brent is responsible for sending me various photos of these divas. Some are obvious shemales, while others could pass for Miss America contestants.
Along the same lines, another of my favorite tests is Dog Toy or Marital Aid? Brings a whole new meaning to the term "dog lover." There are two difficulty levels - so don't feel intimidated. It makes me wonder how many couples are in Petco to spice up their love lives! Next time you're in the dog toy aisle...check out the shoppers.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Does Anyone Else Think This is NUTS??

Or am I the only one? Surely by now you have seen the commercials for the Lap-Band. Right? Well, the very first time I saw one - I thought I was watching one of those fake Saturday Night Live commercials. Honestly. But these people are serious.

We all have heard of gastric bypass surgery - but here is a new less invasive procedure. They cut you open, put in this constrictive device, and then it can be controlled through a port to either narrow the opening to the stomach or enlarge it. Believe it or not, the system can be adjusted to accomodate a growing fetus. Which leads me to believe that doctors would have no problem implanting this in a pregnant woman.

I am NOT insensitive to those who are overweight. I have had struggles with my weight since I can remember. Eating just one high-calorie meal can add five pounds to my frame instantly. However, I have to wonder about these procedures that actually reduce the size of the stomach in order to prevent a person from eating too much. When you reach the point where you can no longer control your eating habits, isn't that more of a psychological problem than a physical one? Surgery is incredibly dangerous - and the effects are long-lasting. Is it really possible that some people have incredibly large stomachs, and that there is no other way for them to control their hunger? I'm not a physician or a psychoanalyst, but something about our society's acceptance of these types of procedures frightens me. I am concerned that people who undergo these operations will suffer long-term side effects.

We've all heard the drill: diet and exercise are the only way. And these are LIFESTYLE CHANGES, not short-term solutions. I would love to hear from any of you as to how and why you feel these procedures are the only way for some people to enjoy normal lives. I freely admit a measure of ignorance regarding this topic.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Random Monday Musings

I always think of fantabulous post topics at home - while the daughter is hogging the computer. She is to blame for squelching my inner muse. Here at my office, I'm never inspired. So, today, you get dribblings of mind sauce, but no real gravy. Cool?

First, here is a little quiz I took today, and it's amazingly accurate, given that apple martinis have been my drink of choice in the past six months (thanks to Jean, Charlie and Nic).
You Are an Appletini

Most of the time, you're a typical party girl / guy.
But when you get super sauced, you really up your sex appeal.
Not to sound egotistical, but my sex appeal is sexy enough - maybe too sexy. I don't know where Justin Timberlake has been, but sexy never has abandoned my little world.

Fellow Rotarian and comic email-forwarder Spencer Jordan sent me a cute non-Martha-Stewart Thanksgiving invitation. It included the following lines that could very well reflect the holiday if our friends and family were crazy enough to celebrate at my house:

"Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I've gotten the kids involved in decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas."

Rows of flaming lunch sacks - hysterical!
This next little piece of fluff is not necessarily for the young or faint of heart. Whiterabbit was kind(?) enough to send this little tidbit, with the comment that, "This show better have really good prizes!" Agreed.

And finally, Mugsy sent me information about a one-time tax refund, which sounds pretty good.