Monday, September 28, 2009

Belated Posting

I wrote this right after Rosh HaShanah and forgot to actually post it.....

I met an incredible two-year old this week. He’s a very blond, adventurous, fearless, ferociously smart, funny boy. He landed in DC three weeks ago and it must seem like some crazy combination of an alien planet and heaven to him. All sorts of new foods, a new language, new adults around him, cable television and lots of toys. He’s learning a lot and I’m sure teaching his mother a lot as well.

Actually, I’ve decided that she’s one of the bravest people I know. If you had asked me which of my friends were the among my bravest friends, I’m not sure who I would have put in the top five, but I’m honestly not sure I would have put Toby among them. Not that I’d have any good reason to exclude her, but I mean really, the woman doesn’t like bananas. That’s not very brave.

But after this weekend, she is absolutely number one on the list. And I’m not sure that there’s anyone between her and number 27. And I don’t know who 27 or 28 would be. (I think 29 would probably be someone I shouldn’t name publicly and who would kill me if they saw their name here – I am not that brave).

But back to Toby. First, she started the adoption process at all. The amount of paperwork, interviews, home studies and notarizations required is overwhelming. No sane person would do it. I think we may yet discover a correlation between bravery and insanity.

Then, on two different occasions, she had to travel to Russia, a country not known for being vegetarian-friendly, and at least once trip was on Aeroflot, you know the airline that use to have their smoking section on the left side of the plane and the non-smoking section on the right. Or maybe it was the other way around. In any case, on the first trip to Russia, she met a boy and had to make a decision. Yes, she knew she would have to make a decision, but knowing something is coming is nothing compared to actually having to do something about it.

And the second trip was three weeks long. And on that trip, her parents went with her. Three weeks with anyone in Russia under those stressful circumstances would have been a long time, but she also had to manage her parents during all of that. To give them a bit of credit (because I’ve met them and they are very nice people), they did offer to accompany Toby and Nate on the 18-hour train ride rather than take the two-hour flight to Moscow from their middle of no-where locale.

And then, all of the sudden and in Russian, she was decreed to be a mom. In my opinion, given the corruption in Russia, just trusting the judge was pretty brave. For all she knows, they could have also made her take home a few old statues of Lenin just to make more room in their storage facilities. If I were her, I would be wary of any large COD packages for at least the next few months.

Lastly, she let me babysit her new son. Of all the things, that’s probably the least brave, and since she chose to trust me, I did not teach him how to do “see-food”, or to say crazy things, or see how many crackers he could stuff in his mouth at one time. But Toby, for the record, next time, all bets are off.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mimi's Straw

I'm working in DC this week. I brought a Nalgene with me, but forgot to bring a straw, and since it's got a wide mouth, I generally find that despite being an experienced drinker, I tend to get water all over myself.

So I said outloud from my cubicle, "I need a straw". Always helpful, Mimi said, "I have a straw" and she passed a green Starbucks straw over the partition.

I looked at the straw and said, "is it used". She said it was but that it had been washed.

Three days later and I'm still using the straw. The question is: who gets it next?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Triple Venti Skim Caramel Latte

I've been spending more time than I'd like to in Starbuck's over the last few weeks. For some reason, nearly every person I've met with in the last week believes it's the best place to meet. For the record, I'm not convinced it is. They don't have enough outlets. They look askance if you order a "medium coffee", and there's a lot of loud bean grinding going on.

And yet, this morning I'm in yet another Starbuck's waiting for yet another meeting. And it's fascinating to hear the drink orders. I have no idea what a Triple Venti Skim Caramel Latte is, or how expensive it was, but I sure hope it tastes good. And there's a a guy who just ordered something in a double-cup, no sleeve. He said something about it being a waste of paper. Huh?