Saturday, February 28, 2009

Veeka's official in Virginia

February is a month of anniversaries for us; Feb. 10, 2007, being the date the adoption papers were all signed, making it official Over There - and Feb. 17 being the day we arrived back in the USA, turning Veeka into an American citizen. And now on Feb. 12 of this year, Veeka's birth certificate was recorded in the state of Virginia. It's known as "re-adopting" one's child in the home state and because I began the process while we were Virginia residents, her birth certificate is filed there. We just got a copy of her Virginia birth certificate today. I also have copies of her Kaz birth certificate, translated from Russian, but everyone tells you to get it re-recorded here in the States so that should she need copies for official purposes some day, she can order them from here. It's hard to explain but apparently it makes a big difference in the grand scheme of things which is why I did all the paperwork starting last May to get it done.
So here is a photo of the little one trying out my hairdryer. She is growing every day and for the last month has developed a love for the TV. Her first 2 years with me, she didn't care much for it. Now she is glued to the thing and that's all she wants to do. So when I took off today for a chiropracter's appointment and to see "Slumdog Millionaire" (what a grim film), she just sat in front of the TV. Whenever the sitter tried to get her to walk to the park, The Child shrieked. Hmmm.
The other news here is I've been told I need to get shoulder surgery in the next few months, so am trying to figure out just when I can be off work for several days and not driving for 2 weeks (one is not supposed to drive while wearing a sling). Would like to get a lot of that behind me before the weather turns warm and I want to go swimming. The shoulder injury stems from either lifting Veeka or repetitive motion reaching back toward her car seat - whatever caused it, two years of on-and-off physical therapy have not healed it so, after looking at my most recent MRI, the orthopedist thinks there's a tear there some where. Great.
So I am also trying to figure out who can come nurse me and take care of Veeka for several days. Cannot say candidates are exactly lining up at the door.
Things are quiet other than that, except to say there seems to be a newspaper closing every week somewhere around the country these days.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wintergreen weekend

Yes, Veeks and I went on a 3-day trip to the exotic confines of central Virginia, spending our first night in Charlottesville with friends (whose cats Veeka endlessly pursued), then moving onto the ski resort of Wintergreen 50 miles SW of Charlottesville. Very overpriced (lift tickets $69; daycare a whopping $100) and small compared to anything west of the Mississippi but there's not much else available for us East Coasties within a 3-hour drive.
Then onto Lynchburg, where we stayed 2 nights with more friends. One highlight was visiting Jerry Falwell's grave site at Liberty University - what a huge contraption with an "eternal flame" a la JFK burning out of a cross at the grave. Lots and lots of money invested in that school although Liberty U has a weird location in the middle of town with a campus bi-sected by a freeway. Not the most scenic of spots.
The morning we left, it was snowing, so it was with some trepidation that I headed toward Skyline Drive to go home that way. The day turned sunny and we had the loveliest drive on good roads but the terrain was snowy. THEN I hauled Veeka out of the car at one point and made her walk 1.3 miles (round trip) with me up a hill to a cool viewpoint. She screeched and complained the entire way, claiming she was exhausted, cold, etc. (She was bundled up in a cozy snow suit). So, while the snowy forest was lovely to walk through, the sound effects from The Child were not. Any foxes or deer within earshot surely fled fast.
And - wouldn't you know it, she still did not fall asleep for a nap when we arrived back at the nice warm car. She really liked gazing out the windows at the pretty blue ridged mountains on either side and chomping on Valentine candy I'd brought along to keep her quiet.
The photo is of she and I watching TV at the Lynchburg home of Philip Weeks, a friend from way back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Me on C-SPAN

Yes, here is the link to my attempt at stardom this past Sunday morning. I was called late Friday afternoon about appearing on Washington Journal at 8 a.m. Sunday (!) to discuss Obama's Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships office - not a topic I am expert in but when C-SPAN calls, one goes. I told them because they were calling so late, I'd have to bring Veeka along as there are no babysitters at 7 a.m. on a Sunday.
Sooo, up we got at 6:15 and an hour later, we were headed downtown. I forgot to snap a photo of Veeka at C-SPAN's studios (the one here will substitute nicely) but she acted pretty well. She grabbed every piece of breakfast food in sight, chomping down on a banana, apple, some buns and of course drinking as much cranberry juice as she could get down - you'd think I starve the child. She screeched when I was out of the room and on TV but fortunately there was an aide there who was forewarned she was coming, so made sure to watch her. Even provided a coloring book, which Veeka ignored.
No other huge news. We are hoping to get away for Washington's b-day weekend. I really need a break from here. But when I picked Veeka up from the daycare today, she had a sore throat, so I am hoping that doesn't mean anything nasty is coming.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Remembering the Japanese martyrs

Sigh - I really wish I took better photos but this is a recent one of Veeka and I. I spent today chasing a story about Obama's new "faith council" of pastors who are going to be - in theory at least - advising him on public policy matters. We shall see. I was a bit miffed at having to do the piece at all, as I thought it was something our 3-4 White House reporters should have been onto instead of me. But other news organizations were breaking this story by mid-day, so I knew we'd look bad if there were nothing on it by Thursday morning in our paper, so I offered to do.
One nice thing is that "Quitting Church" (and I) got profiled on if you want to check here to read it. And supposedly the book is reviewed in the February issue of Charisma but I've been unable to lay my hands on a copy nor can I locate the review online. I am also speaking about the book to Senate and House aides on Capitol Hill this Friday so things are humming.
Veeka is fine and we will be spending next week making Valentines for her little classmates.
And 412 years ago on Feb. 5, 123 Japanese Christians were crucified for their faith in Nagasaki. Fortunately things have improved since then for most of us although I wouldn't say it's exactly party time for those of the faith who live in North Korea and Iran.