Sunday, July 25, 2010

This & That

My social worker came today and it took most of the visit just to show her the house. She was impressed! I was even impressed because when I show it to people for the first time, I see it through different eyes than I do on a day-to-day basis.

My most pressing problem of the moment is my lawn mower. It started sputtering when I was using it today and then it died. I got it going again a few times, but then that was it. I couldn't get it going to mow the front grass. It has gas and oil. I need to get online and troubleshoot about spark plugs and see what I can find out.

I also have been trying out a new gadget. I bought one of these:

Nesco American Harvest FD-1018P 1000 Watt Food Dehydrator Kit

I don't know why I thought of getting one before since I'm swimming in fruit from all of my trees. My fencing instructor is the one that put me on to it. It would have been great last season for all the tomatoes and peaches. This year, I'm drowning in plums. I tried drying them, but they are too sour so I made the most perfect fruit leather, first try, with them after adding an apple and banana to the plum puree. Now I'm ready for my apples, which will be ready next month, and I'm going to make beef jerky like crazy. I love having more snack options for my daycare kids.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Social Worker Coming Tomorrow

Since I moved, my social worker has to come visit in order to update my homestudy as part of my I-600A renewal. Unlike a lot of you, it seems, I love my social worker. Everyone with my agency has been absolutely fantastic; it's like they are all members of my family. I couldn't ask for a better support and guidance team.

I'm looking forward to showing off my new home. It's such a far cry from my little apartment.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fashion Friday #25

I've been hitting the shops just right for all the great stuff. I was in my friend's resale store when a woman came in, mother of two girls, must be rich, dropping off name-brand clothes, so I got to pick and choose first and I loaded up on Hanna Anderssen play dress sets in multiple sizes, an Isreali brand called Shilav, and more, like Cakewalk, Baby Biscotti and Naartjie. Remember, it's not the name brand for the brand's sake I like, it's the quality, comfort and cuteness I'm after. A day or two later, another batch of Hanna A. stuff was brought in, this time the summer play dress sets. I outfitted Apple and volunteered as a personal shopper for one of my daycare kids whose mom couldn't get to the store in time to shop for her daughter, too.

Remember my killer shopping spree at Gymboree? I really wanted this brown corsage skirt, part of the Glamour Safari Collection. With my Gymbucks, I was able to get it for about 75% off, or about $7.00!!! Isn't it cute with the giraffe shirt?

This next outfit is also Gymboree, their newest collection, Poppy. I only bought these two pieces, then just happened to find some coordinating fabric at my local craft/fabric store to make a skirt with.

I also had my eye on a romper at GAP. It was $30 and I waited. I'm good at waiting - LOL! I ended up getting it on sale for $6.99!!! The fabric reminds me of Mayan prints and is shot through with gold threads. Here it is:

These last three are random findings. The holiday dress is Baby Biscotti and I fell in love with the ruffle/flounce at the bottom and the fact that the dress had sleeves. So many little dresses are sleeveless these days. Notice the price on the puppy t-shirt from H&M. The fabric of the t-shirt is supremely soft. I wish I had one. The last outfit is also H&M and is a beautiful linen set in pale pink with great heirloom sewing technique details, like tiny pleats and insets.

UFO Spotted Over China Closes Xiaoshan Airport

I don't know how long this ABC News link will be active, but with so many people having cell phones that take pictures and video, there are hundreds of pictures of this thing:

"Photo: China Airport UFO: Xiaoshan Shut Down Due to Aliens?
July 10, 2010 06:11 PM EDT (Updated: July 10, 2010 06:29 PM EDT)

A UFO near China's Xiaoshan airport forced it to shut down on Wednesday. The UFO disrupted air traffic in China's Zhejiang province around 9pm. Flights headed to Xiaoshan Airport were rerouted because the commotion caused by the UFO.

Following Wednesday's UFO encounter, Civil Aviation Administration of China's head of air traffic control for the Zhejiang branch, Wang Jian said, "No conclusion has yet been drawn," and speculations that the UFO was actually a private aircraft was "just a guess."

Xiaoshan Airport is located in Hangzhou which is also th e capital of East China's Zhejiang province in China. The UFO aka unidentified flying object affected an unknown amount of flights.

It was also reported that a Chinese blogger blogged about Xiaoshan Airports closure but deleted his blogs soon afterward. Not surprising considering the strict enforcement the Chinese government has over free media. The blogger later asked anyone who republished his earlier blogs to delete them due to their inaccuracies.

China Daily stated that "...authorities had learned what the UFO was after an investigation. But it was not the proper time to publicly disclose the information because there was a military connection"

Would China's government admit the UFO that shut down Xiaoshan Airport was really a UFO? I doubt it. China has enough to deal with and causing fear and panic to billions of people by acknowledging actual UFOs is the last thing China would want to do. What do you think?"

Here's another one:
"China Airport UFO Sighting
By: John Lester
Staff Writer
Published: Jul 11, 2010

China airport shuts down amid UFO.
Editors Note: Portions of this content were written by Carol Bengle Gilbert.

China airport UFO, it is one of the most credible sightings. The UFO was spotted at the Xiaoshan airport in China on Wednesday. China authorities said the UFO had military connections, but couldn't answer why it was hovering the airport.

The Chinese government determined that the UFO had military connections and was planning to make an official statement later in the day. In fact, Chinese airline stocks rallied in the wake of the Xiaoshan Airport UFO sighting with 3.9 percent to 5.6 percent gains. However, the government has not concluded with any statement since the UFO sighting.

In other words, China isn't talking. There was another UFO reported earlier in the week, but that was quickly debunked as debris from an American intercontinental missile. Some UFO buffs have raised a few interesting points on whether or not the general public is ready to accept the possibility of extraterrestrial aliens.

If world governments, including China, Russia, and the United States, are keeping it a secret, there must be a reason. For example, what would happen if the general public learned that UFOs do exist, and would that be too much for them to realize that everything they were taught was wrong? The other possible answer could mean power and security. If there are extraterrestrial aliens, that could mean higher power than any sitting government in the world.

Portions written by Carol Bengle Gilbert."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finger Print Disaster

I had an appointment yesterday at my local police station to have my fingerprints done again as part of renewing my CIS paperwork and updating my homestudy. After this update is complete, I will have gotten fingerprinted 9 times, I think, since I began this process!

Anyway, they were running behind, which is common, but then one of my daycare tots started vomiting in the stroller. Luckily, she was in the front seat or I would have been cleaning two kids. I tried to get the fingerprint man to hurry, but when he saw I had two form, one for Social Services (homestudy) and the other for my agency, he said I needed two back-to-back appointments. This guy is old, very old, slower than anything, not efficient in his methods and loves to explain things in three different ways three times! He then said I could get one set of fingerprints done, let the people after me go, then have another turn. I was so furious! By now a half hour has passed. Can you imagine what the vomit smelled like by now? Luckily, the little tot had fallen asleep, but she was covered in chunky 5 heave vomit, cleaned up with only paper towels from the public restroom. I walked out. I had to. I did make a complaint first, though. I'm going back tonight - no kids - can't wait to see his face if he wants me to use corn husk lotion. I did it the first time and discovered I'm allergic to it!

39 Months Down & 14 Days Referred!

Celebrated by spending my Gym*bucks at my favorite American children's clothing store!

Since I've been waiting, this is a record number of days covered in one month! I'm so happy that we had this "jump" that I actually browsed adoption announcements online. I never thought much about the wording of my adoption announcement before, but it seems simple enough. It's just one more thing to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I-600A Time Again!

More paperwork. More fingerprints - three sets! Letter from CPA proving income. Proof of medical insurance. Homestudy renewal, and more. This is going to run over $1000.

On a positive note, there is a rumor that CCAA may have matched families logged in up to May 10, 2006 when the next referrals come out.

For those of you who are not in the international adoption community, the I-600A is the form I have to fill out to apply to bring an internationally adopted child into the United States. This will be my third time around with this form since it expires after a certain number of months. I paid for the original application and had one free renewal last time. This time I pay for it again and I was told that there aren't any more free renewals.

Now, a lot of people automatically assume that the majority of adoption expenses go to the child's birth country, but that isn't necessarily so. In fact, due to the long, drawn out process I'm in right now, the majority of my expenses are occurring in the United States. The two big in-China expenses will be travel expenses and the "donation" to the orphanage where Apple will come from.

If a woman in the United States had to pay cash for a hospital cesarean birth, the cost is about the same for adopting from China.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More and More Rats

It's bad enough to see them at night, but yesterday when I went to prune the fig tree, I saw one in plain daylight entering my garage. It's now war! I guess I'm going to have to hurry up and cover all the holes into my garage with 25 gauge wire mesh and then hire Ec0Lab to set traps. I can see where they nest in the depressions of the fig tree. This has been going on for years and years so the colony is well-established. In the last week, I've SEEN four rats. I wonder how many there are that I don't see.

I spent three hours pruning the fig tree. Actually, there are two fig trees, a male and female, and both trunks are on the property line and my garage was built to accommodate them so I have to go into my neighbors yard to do the work. I also climbed on to of my garage. As I pruned, I talked, "Okay you rats, I'm cutting down your hiding place. You are now EXPOSED!"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Successful Hunt

One juvenile oppossum, caught in a box and relocated to the neighbor's yard.

This morning I called my city's animal control office only to be told to call county Vector Control. I did, and left a message. Meanwhile, I began my hunt and clean up and, man-oh-man, have the rats been having a party in my garage. I also found two more large critter poops and two pee puddles.

The good part of all of this is that the final pieces of furniture that the previous owners left in garage are now one. I put them on the curbside one by one and they all were taken within minutes. The list includes 2 antique chairs desperately needing recovering and refinishing, an antique dresser needing refinishing and some repair, a kit-built butler (bench w/ attached coat rack), and two lawn chairs that I don't like or need.

Bit by bit, I moved things, sprayed bleached, swept and shop-vacuumed rat waste and shells from nuts and seeds. Finally, a wiskery face appeared and I was able to guide the oppossum into a large cardboard box with a broom. Then, I called Vector Control and reached a live person only to be told that they don't come take animals that have already been caught. They only come if they get to do the catching. What kind of messed up policy is that? On their advice, I called my city's animal control again and they told me that they, " longer euthanize wildlife," and recommended that I let it go and that, "'d climb a tree and take a nap and not return since it's now learned that my garage doesn't have any food or water."

My neighbor has a large yard that is a not being used at all and on the farthest side from me is a large tree so that's where I released it.

It did solve a mystery, though. I lost a large branch off my plum tree and now realize that the oppossum must have been climbing the tree and, with all the ripening fruit, it couldn't hold the weight and snapped. That's why I saw a flash of grey the other night, it was eating all the fallen fruit!

I've been intending to cover all the holes into my garage with metal mesh, but it's a huge chore since I need to clean the rat mess away first, and rat waste is disease-ridden, toxic filth. There are also a LOT, like TONS, of little openings where the rats can get in and they have. I think I'll be calling a handyman for this job because it's a big one.

In addition, I need to prune the fig tree that they climb that's up against the garage and will have traps put out to stop them from reaching the garage from my patio roof. Something around the trunks of the trees is also necessary.

A Hunting I Will Go

While sitting outside Saturday and Sunday nights, enjoying my fire pit, friends and s'mores, I got a glimpse of the route the local wildlife take to my garage. They go across my patio roof, right under my windows, across the top of the gate, onto the roof of the garage and from there, inside. I heard and saw rats! In the back by the fence, I also caught a streak of light grey, like an oppossum.

This morning, I went into the garage and saw that some things had been knocked over and that there was a rather large critter poop where there shouldn't have been. I figured either racoon or oppossum and tonight, I heard noises in the garage and went in and saw an oppossum climbing on one of my baby strollers.

It was nearly midnight but I called the non-emergency police line to see if animal control can help. The dispacher said that the police normally don't respond to this kind of call but that since I'm a licensed childcare home they would come out, but, they were very busy and it could take hours.

I heard sirens in the distance and gave myself almost an hour to wait before phoning to cancell the call. I took all my strollers out of the garage and still couldn't find the critter. I'd left all the doors open when I went to make the initial call so it could have left already.

However, tomorrow I will begin some ultr-serious clean-up and hunting. I think it's time to call a professional pest control company, too. Rats are one thing, but that oppossum poop was as large as a cat's and smelled vile!