My Thoughts

Reflections on life, parenting, and what inspires me

Portland Food Adventures

A wedding is always a great excuse to travel. And when your parents offer to take care of your son while you’re gone, you might as well make a six-day vacation out of it! Yay! Adult time! No more 7 PM curfew! This is a chronicle of our culinary journey through the wonderful city of Portland.

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Ahoy! To Portland! The city of cyclists, bridges, and deliciously caloric and locally-sourced foodstuffs! The land of breweries, flannel, tattooed sleeves and handlebar mustaches. The place where kale grows from every crack in the sidewalk! A promised land where the streets are lined with biscuits, heirloom tomatoes and salted caramel! Oh, dear Portlandia, where will we go, what will we see, and most importantly—what will we eat?

I’ve scored Portland’s foods in three categories:

MISS: From “meh” to “blech”

HIT: From “Ooh, not bad!” to “Yum!”

SUPER HIT: From “OMG yum!!!” to “HOLY CRAP THIS IS EFFING AMAZING”

 

Day 1: Arrival

Our friend David picked us up and took us straight to Bake Shop, where we got  a chocolate orange pecan pastry and a ham and cheese croissant.  The croissant was incredibly flaky, crispy, and buttery, with just the right amount of salt–one of the best I’ve EVER had!  As for the chocolate orange pastry, my husband devoured it before I could get a taste. “It was really good!” he said, as I shook my head with a menacing scowl.  We were off to a good start!

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SUPER HIT: Ham and cheese croissant from Bake Shop.

Then we checked into our awesome AirBnB accommodation.  Our room had a separate entrance surrounded by a beautiful garden where we could pick fresh tomatoes and blueberries.

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HIT: Fresh blueberries growing outside our AirBnB accommodation.

Before we knew it, our blood sugar had dropped and our livers needed another fat injection, so we lunched at Lardo.  This was the first of many examples of how Portland is a truly pig-obsessed city.IMG_1176

Nom nom nom… Meat meat meat…  The burger was good, but Maybe a sturdier bun or baguette would have held up better to the “Lardo sauce” they smothered on the meat.  I would definitely go back for the PBLT and the Bahn Mi!

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HIT: Pork meatball bahn mi, Lardo house fries.  MISS: Double burger with porkstrami  .

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HIT: (Half eaten) shaved zucchini with Caesar dressing, basil, parmesan, bread crumbs. I want to make this at home now.

As we finished up, we were so full that we could barely discuss what to eat for dinner.  That night David made us a fantastic quinoa dish complete with kale and tomatoes from his garden- just what our bodies were craving!  For dessert we had lavender-infused ice cream with plum and freshly picked blueberries.

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HIT: A home-cooked meal made with local, organic ingredients served alongside a cold glass Portland-made beer.

Day 2: More exploring and catching up with friends

Exploring New Seasons Market is like wandering through an episode of Portlandia.  We walked there from our place constantly for breakfast burritos, drinks, snacks and treats as we thought to ourselves, “Yeah, this is so much better than CORPORATE Whole Foods!”

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HIT: New Seasons makes a surprisingly delicious vegetarian breakfast burrito! Potato, egg, green chile, cheese and onion. It’s no Julioberto’s, but it did the trick!

After a breakfast burrito and a long walk downtown from our home base, we mapped out a course to our next meal.  A food pod!  For those of you who aren’t familiar, a food pod is a group of food trucks in a semi-permanent setting.  Food pods are all around the city, but we went to a big one near O’Bryant Square.

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One of Portland’s many glorifications of swine

If you’re indecisive about what to eat, avoid food pods.  There were Scottish fish and chips, gyros, crepes, Chinese food, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Ethiopian, and everything in between.  We saw a decent line in front of one of the gyro places, so we went for it.

As I shoveled the food into my mouth, I realized the line of people must have been mostly tourists who didn’t know that this food stall was in the “so-so” category.  My rice was super oily and my lamb wasn’t cut from a spit, but resembled processed meat fried up on a griddle.  Why, God? WHY?!?

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MISS: Food pod meal #1: Lamb gyro, lamb and rice plate with salad and tzaziki, stuffed grape leaves.

Our food coma was setting in, so we went in search of some coffee.  Destiny took us to Pearl Bakery, where I had an absolutely heavenly chocolate chip pecan cookie.  The brownie wasn’t bad either!

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SUPER HIT: Chocolate chip pecan cookie and walnut brownie from Pearl Bakery. I found $1.50 to be an absolute steal for a cookie of this caliber.

A nap and a shower later, we felt like new again and walked to Life of Pie.  We split a small pizza topped with caramelized onions, goat cheese and garlic along with a green salad and some beers.  Overall it was a great meal, but next time I will definitely go back before 6 PM for their famous happy hour specials: the $5 margherita pizza and $3 draft beers!

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HIT (despite the burnt spots): Wood-fired pizza from Life of Pie

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HIT: It’s hard to screw up a mixed green salad…

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HITS: Proletariat NW Red Ale and Na Zdravi Czech-style Pilsner

Later that night we met up with the brides, their family and the other out-of-towners at a local brewery.  There was food leftover from their rehearsal dinner, so I took the opportunity to stuff myself with undressed mixed greens by the plateful, providing myself a buffer of healthy fiber for all the deliciously naughty treats the weekend would hold.

Day Three: Wedding, Farmers market and Reception

The day had come! In a beautiful morning ceremony at Cathedral Park,  Our friends Kate and Shelly expressed their love to each other in front of a small group of joyous family and friends.

After the wedding the guests were encouraged to go out and enjoy everything Portland has to offer.  We made our way over to the most fantastic farmers market I have ever been to, where we were hypnotized by mounds of stunning produce and infinite jars of local cheeses, honeys and jam.  By the end of it, we were so spoiled by Portland’s local treasures that heirloom tomatoes seemed commonplace, albeit no less bedazzling.

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SUPER HIT: The product samples offered at the farmers market

“But what to have for lunch?  Ooh, how about that booth, Portland Curry! This is gonna be great! Local organic chicken tikka masala, chickpea malasa in a spiced sauce… Yummy!”

In hindsight, some might argue that you should avoid buying Indian food when the booth is staffed only by white people.  I reject that notion, as I feel even non-Indians can make great curry.  These people could not.  It was not great.  It was terrible.  It’s like they thought, “How can we make this as flavorless as possible and still call it curry?”  No amount of cilantro, yogurts and chutneys could make this stuff good.  And the “chicken tikka” was mostly big chunks of potatoes in an under-salted, under-spiced broth that left me wanting to thrust my bowl at their booth like an unsatisfied toddler.

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SUPER MISS: Under-salted, unde-rspiced, underwhleming Portland curry. That ain’t right.

But check out those tomatoes!

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The most exquisite raw chocolate peanut butter bar made up for any of life’s problems.

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SUPER HIT: Raw, vegan chocolate peanut butter bar from Eatin’ Alive.

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Kate and Shelly definitely did their research when planning the menu for their reception, because that Thai buffet was perfection.   Chicken satay, vegetable spring rolls, lemongrass chicken rolls, pad see ew (EFFING AMAZING), Panang curry, pineapple fried rice… Holy crap. I served myself seconds even though I was already pretty stuffed by my first plateful.

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SUPER HIT: Thai food at the wedding reception.

But oh, the pie!  I wouldn’t say s’mores are anything I crave, but this mini pie was calling me, and I’m so glad I chose him.

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These delectable miniature pies came from a place called the Pie Spot. I love that they served pie instead of cake.

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SUPER HIT: S’mores mini pie. I want some more.

 

Day Four: Recovery

The great thing about late nights of drinking and dancing is that you can always sleep it off the next day.  Unless you’re a dad whose circadian rhythm won’t let you sleep past 6:30, despite the fact that you consumed copious amounts of Patron the night before.  I’m speaking hypothetically, of course… Time for another breakfast burrito and a large can of rehydrating coconut water! My head still hurts…

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Electrolytes, please

Next came a mid-morning nap, then an outing for lunch with David while Simon slept off an incoming migraine.  We walked from our AirBnB to a deli where I had a house-made beef pastrami sandwich on rye.  It was much more thick-cut than I’m used to, and I was so glad to see it wasn’t piled ridiculously high like at so many delis.

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HIT: Beef pastrami on rye.

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Sunday afternoon we saw The Hundred Foot Journey, a feel-good movie about culinary passions dividing and uniting Indian immigrants and their French counterparts.  The movie was full of tantalizing sights of Indian and French cuisine, leaving us hungry for the spices of the Orient.  And no, not Portland Curry, please.

As we walked out of the theater toward the bus station, we heard Indian music playing nearby.  We crossed the street and suddenly we were in the midst of the annual Portland Indian Festival.

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The food looked amazing and we enjoyed the festival, but with no real place to sit and eat, we settled for a souvenir jar of local organic ghee and hopped on a bus to try out the restaurant Bollywood Theatre.

Holy cow, this place is so AMAZING!  It’s unlike any Indian restaurant I’ve been to.

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SUPER HIT: Beets roasted with coconut milk and curry leaves

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SUPER HIT: Vada Pav, a spicy potato dumpling dipped in chickpea batter and fried. Served on a roll with chutneys. The “Poor Man’s Burger” of Mumbai. The sweet and spiced coconut on the side was extraordinary.

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SUPER HIT: Some kind of paratha wrap with chicken and other delicious stuff (I didn’t write down the name and can’t seem to find it on the online menu). One of the awesome food highlights of the trip!

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HIT: Pork Vindaloo with saffron rice, sambar, dal (lentils), raita, paratha (tortilla-like deliciousness) and green chutney

After Bollywood, we waddled next door to one of Portland’s most famous ice cream shops, Salt and Straw.  The flavors are all slightly bizarre, including “bone marrow with smoked bourbon cherries,” which sounds repulsive to me.  I chose almond brittle with salted ganache and honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, and Simon had the strawberry and coffee bourbon.

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HIT: Ice cream from Salt and Straw.

 

Day Five: Last call!

In our last full day in Portland, we had to check out Tasty n Sons, where the weekend brunch wait was over an hour.  We arrived promptly at their opening time of 9 AM and quickly realized why this place is so popular.  Wow.

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SUPER HIT: Potatoes Bravas with over-easy eggs and aioli. So simple, yet so great. And a generous serving for $7.

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SUPER HIT: Fried egg, bacon and cheese on a cheddar biscuit. This biscuit was the best I’ve ever eaten. Truly divine!

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MISS: Chocolate potato doughnut with crème anglaise. Sorry, Tasty n Sons, but your other amazing dishes made this one just “meh.”

For our last Portland lunch we felt we had to give the food pod another try, so this time we chose Korean.  It was a massive serving of delicious spicy pork, rice, noodles, salad and kimchi food for only $7.  YES!

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HIT: Spicy Korean pork, glass noodles, kimchi and salad with rice

After lunch we were powered up for a trek up to the Japanese Garden and International Rose Test Garden.

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SUPER HIT: Sriracha. And Portland’s world-famous Japanese garden.

For dinner Monday we asked David where he’d like to go to celebrate his birthday.  He chose Park Kitchen, a beautiful little restaurant near a park downtown.  We ordered a series of small plates to share.  Yum yum!

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HIT: Amuse bouche of heirloom tomatoes, beans and mustard vinaigrette.

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HIT: E.Z Orchards Hard Apple Cider, on the house in honor of the birthday boy!

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MISS: Salt cod fritters with malt vinegar. They were fine, but not enough to get a “hit” in my book.

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HIT: Ken’s bread, Park Kitchen crackers, and handmade butter.  Crackers were more like savory cookies though.

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MISS: Summer tomato salad with Genovese cured pork. This would have been fabulous if the dressing didn’t consist of melted (and later coagulated) pork fat. I prefer my pork fat be disguised in my food, thank you.

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HIT: Lamb meatballs, green peppers, cattle beans, and mint.

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MISS: Ayer’s Creek cornmeal pasta, braised pork shoulder, and zucchini. It was fine, but it had a slightly undercooked texture.

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HIT: Buttermilk panna cotta, Bairds peaches, bourbon, candied pecans.  This was almost a “miss” in my book, as the thick layer of clear gelatin on top was rather uncalled for.

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MISS: Summer berry bread pudding with house made ricotta. I am calling this a miss because it was not really bread pudding but a wet cake. And it needed more sugar to balance the tartness of everything going on.

Day Six: Home sweet home and reunited with our son!

I officially love Portland.  It’s a fabulous city with great character and awesome food, and Simon and I have decided we want to go back as often as we can afford to.  We highly recommend Bollywood Theater, Tasty n Sons, food pods and just exploring the city’s culinary treasures.  After a quick breakfast burrito and a heartfelt farewell to one of the coolest cities in the U.S., we made it to our plane and flew home, eagerly anticipating hugging our amazing son.  I have to add one culinary highlight, this little bag of mini graham crackers provided by Southwest Airlines, which I eagerly devoured as a seeing-eye dog nuzzled into my feet.  Life is good.

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Toddler Haikus

Toddler Haikus

Inspired by and in honor of my absolutely amazing two-year-old son!

 

A beautiful day

With Daniel Tiger and friends

In the neighborhood.

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Sometimes I’m amazed

At how many blueberries

He can put away

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No outfit’s complete

Without his straw fedora

To make people smile

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What two-year-old likes

Sparkling mineral water?

He’s got refined taste


Fubbles rock my world.

Greatest invention ever:

Bubbles that don’t spill.


He’s bursting with joy

Bouncing, giggling on the bed

Such a happy boy

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Watering plants is

Almost as fun as watering

Dad’s chalk creations


Selfies aren’t his thing

The front camera makes him scowl

I’m at peace with that.


Wading in the pool

He pooped in his swim diaper

And then he sat down.


Even if you’re mad

You’re not allowed to hit me

Time for a time out.


Remarkable child

He couldn’t be more handsome

Or more amazing

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His afternoon naps

Are more valuable than gold

You wake him, you die.

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Ear-damaging screams

Turn into giggles and smiles

When he gets his juice


New words every day

In English and español

Or his own language


Such a steady hand

He drinks out of mason jars

No sippy cup here!


Please use your manners.

Get that foot off the table!

Sigh…Fine, just at home.


Bibs don’t stand a chance

When you’re dealing with the force

Of a two-year-old


I don’t recommend

A rug under the table

Toddlers be messy

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Have you seen my son?

He’s invisible again!

Oh, look! There he is!

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Barreling toward me

Over and over again

To give me a hug


He loves to cuddle with

Panda, Buho, Mao Mao and

Daddy and Papa


He’s gotten so big!

Not a baby anymore

Where have two years gone?

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Surrounded by love

He’s thriving and blossoming

And I am so proud

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To sum it all up

The joy he brings to my life:

Indescribable

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How We Became Dads

Becoming a parent is always a miracle, and our story is no exception. As we approach father’s day, I’d like to share how my husband Simon and I became dads.

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Ellis at one month with me (AKA Papá or Robbie) and Simon (AKA Daddy)

In the beginning, fatherhood seemed like a distant dream, a near impossibility.  For years we talked about our plans to have a child, but once we gave ourselves a deadline–Simon’s 45th birthday–we finally took action and started doing some research.

After ruling out the idea of taking a turkey baster to one of our friends, we turned to adoption.  Before we knew it, a social worker was at our house explaining the whole process. She seemed to think that us being gay would be no problem, and she said we’d most likely have a baby within two years. Excited and horrified, my eyes widened and I took a deep breath. Holy crap. Things were getting real.

Contrary to what some people think, adoption does not consist of flying to a developing country and picking out the cutest kid at the orphanage. The real life process is full of risks and difficult choices—which we had to start making immediately.  Would we take a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome, drug exposure or severe health problems? Were we willing to adopt an older child or did we only want an infant? And what if the birth parents didn’t respect our role as parents after placement? Worst yet, what if the birth mom changed her mind before the 72-hour cutoff? With so many factors out of our control, we did our best to follow our heart and put it in God’s hands.

From fingerprints to questionnaires to autobiographies to more questionnaires, it seemed we would never get through the application, let alone ever hold a baby in our arms. But once we finally finished, our paternal instincts were stronger than ever.

A few months after our original meeting, our agent returned to do our home study. More questions, more explaining, and finally, she handed us an empty scrapbook—our key to being chosen by a birth mom. “Take your time, you’ll have a few months before we will need this back from you. In the meantime, just have fun and don’t stress.”   “In about two years, we’d be dads!” we thought. Sounded like perfect timing to me.

One week later, our agent called us and blew our minds. “I know this is earlier than we expected, but I want to present your scrapbook to a birth mom who is open to gay parents for her daughter. Oh, and she’s due in three weeks.” Jumping with joy and freaking out a the same time, our hearts were screaming “WTF??!?! Um, are you serious?” We were instantly thinking up names and planning how I’d leave my teaching job once we got our little girl. “As far as the album,” she said, “I’m going to meet with her in a few days, so just try to get some photos together so I have something to present.” After three frantic days of organizing, cutting, editing, writing, and revising, our scrapbook was perfect.  That birth mom would have totally chosen us… If she hadn’t disappeared.  Sigh.  At least then we were back to our two year time frame.

Literally three weeks later, we got “the call” we were waiting for—a birth mom had chosen us! AAAAAAHH!!!!!!! We excitedly listened on speakerphone as our agent explained the details of the pregnancy. The mom was Hispanic and the dad was white, and although she wasn’t due for another eight weeks, her doctors predicted a premature birth, as was the case with her two previous children, who developed cerebral palsy as a result. That was the info, and the ball was in our court.

We were overwhelmed with emotions. “Sure, there are risks, but we could be dads!” “This is way too early for us, but what if this child is meant to be ours? And who knows when another opportunity will come?” After hours of talking, praying and searching for a sign, we made the decision to say no to what we had been dreaming about for years.

A few months later, Simon came home from work with a suspicious grin. Not wasting a moment, he blurted out, “We were chosen by a birth mom!” My heart started pounding with fear and excitement as he told me the details.

Everything sounded amazing. Tara wasn’t due until the summer, giving us ample time to prepare (I’ve changed her name for this post to protect her privacy). And not only had she given birth to four healthy babies before, she had already gone through the adoption process with her last one and didn’t change her mind at the last minute. We weighed the pros and cons, but we knew in our hearts this was meant to be. This was our time! After a casual “getting to know you” dinner facilitated by out agents, everyone was ready to move forward. AAAAH!!!

In the months that followed, we didn’t miss a doctor’s appointment. I’ll never forget the first ultrasound when we saw what looked like a tiny bean with a heartbeat. That was going to be our child! How could this be real?

Finally came the day when we’d find out the sex of the baby. One minute after the amazing moment we found out we were having a boy, we learned our son had something wrong with him.

The ultrasound showed fluid in the abdomen. The doctor couldn’t confirm what that meant for our baby, but it could potentially be something very, very bad. Or it could be something completely benign. Between endless Internet searches and two trips to a specialist, we were faced yet again with a difficult choice. Did we want to continue with this pregnancy or let the birth mom choose different adoptive parents?

We didn’t know what the fluid in the abdomen meant, and we were incredibly afraid that our son might have lifelong health problems. Although we had the right to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” we were 100% committed, so we weren’t backing out. In the meantime, we prayed that everything would work out.

At about 5 ½ months, we got a frantic call from our adoption agent. “Tara’s water just broke, you need to get to the hospital as soon as possible.” As we anxiously waited at the hospital, we scoured the internet for something that would tell our preemie would be fine. Four hours later, we learned it was just a false alarm, the result of having sex with a full bladder.

In the months that followed, we saw more and more warning signs but tried to shake them off as “not a big deal.”  Tara would leave strange, rambling voicemails in which she almost sounded drunk, repeating things she had said minutes prior. She called to tell us she hated the name we had chosen for him and then cancelled two ultrasounds, but our agent assured us that things were fine.

The end of the school year came and I said goodbye to my students and colleagues, leaving my job to become a full-time dad. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t have shared my adoption news until it was a done deal, but I had to explain my departure, and besides, Tara wouldn’t change her mind at this point.

A week after school got out, I took a two-week service trip to a rural village in Panama. When I got home, Simon had some big news for me!

“She changed her mind.” My heart sank. My dreams of becoming a dad were erased. Obliterated. But there was more. Tara had no intention of keeping her child. She just wanted to find another family for him.

Anger. Confusion. Sadness. Loss. Resentment. Heartbreak. I had never experienced such a whirlwind of emotions before. What had we done wrong? What were we going to do? Would we ever have a child of our own? And where the hell was I going to work in the meantime? Despite all of our confusion and pain, we told ourselves “it must not have been meant to be.” And although we truly believed that, we still felt like total crap.

By the grace of God, I was able to get my job back. And miraculously, Simon had met another birth mom while I was in Panama, and she seemed like a great fit.  Later it surfaced that she wasn’t actually pregnant and was wanted in several states for adoption fraud.  We were shaken and confused, told to “continue life as normal, and it will happen eventually.”  Sure… Ok.

About three weeks later, I went on a trip to San Diego with my parents to clear my mind. While I was there, Simon called me with some news. Tara’s baby had been born. Things weren’t good. Her son was born with complete kidney failure and holes in his heart. They weren’t sure if he was going to survive.

“Holy freaking shit” was all I could think and say. Still recovering from being “dumped,” I was overcome with yet another chilling whirlwind of emotions. Relief, sadness, amazement, gratitude… Wow, I thought. Just…Wow.

The morning after I got home, my phone rang. “Why is Simon calling me?” I thought, “He always just texts me.” The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey babe

Simon: Hey, um. We need to talk.

Me: Okay…

Simon: I just got a call from Kelly from the adoption agency…There might be a baby for us.

Me: (Excited yet guarded) Holy shit, oh my God, are you serious? Okay…. (!!!)

Simon: I need you to go to Target and get some things

Me: OKAY…..(!!!!!!!!???!!!!)

Simon: I need you to pick up diapers, a car seat, and…

The rest of the conversation was a blur. My friend who had spent the night was listening from the other room, having a joyburst from what she thought might be happening. Yeah, it was happening.

Early that morning, a little boy had been dropped of anonymously at the hospital under the “Safe Haven Baby” law. There was no information about the birth parents, nor was there a way to contact them. Simon met me at Target, and we headed straight to the hospital to meet this little mystery baby.

That drive felt like an eternity, and after so many emotional ups and downs, I wasn’t ready to get too excited. Besides, there was still a chance that CPS would step in and insist the baby go to a heterosexual, married couple, as that was the policy in our state.  On the radio we heard Michael Bublé’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” and found the lyrics described our situation eerily perfectly.

Our adoption agent greeted us at the hospital entrance and introduced us to the receptionist as “Baby John Doe’s parents.” As we we walked back into the NICU, I scanned the room, wondering which of these miracle babies was waiting for us. Finally we arrived at his station and caught the first glimpse of our son. “Do you want to hold him?” the nurse asked. I let Simon hold him first, as I was still in shock from what was happening.

Excitement, disbelief, fear and utter joy….words can’t describe the emotions surging through my body at that moment. When I held him for the first time, I couldn’t believe what I saw. He was so beautiful, so incredibly alert, yet so relaxed. As I looked into his eyes, he looked back at mine, and reality finally hit me. He was going to be our son. Forever.

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Simon (Daddy) holding Ellis. “Is this real?”

We spent the next 18 hours holding him, feeding him, and calling loved ones. As we finally buckled Ellis into his car seat and pulled away from the hospital, our life journey as dads had officially begun. After everything we had gone through, we realized that this little miracle child was meant to be our son all along.

Lucky for us, we didn’t have to worry about the 72-hour grace period during which the birth parents could change their mind! Or so we thought. What we learned next made us feel nauseous. With safe haven babies, there is a practically six-month period during which the parents can come forward to take back their child.  The idea scared the shit out of us every single day, but we gave our love without restraint and trusted in God’s master plan.

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Me and Ellis on the first week of my new job as full time Papá

I was a complete wreck the day our agent attended the hearing to terminate the biological parents’ rights. Then I got the call—it was done! Yes! YAAAAAAAAAAS!!!! I squealed and did a happy dance as Ellis looked at me like, “Um… Ok, Papá!”

A few months later, we were able to finally have our last hearing to finalize the adoption. After an arduous journey filled with joy and pain, uncertainty and destiny, we were OFFICIALLY Ellis’s dads, and no one could change that.  And yes, we made our goal–the adoption was finalized literally the day before Simon’s 45th birthday.  When my mom found out she leapt with glee and shouted “YAY GOD!!! YAY GOD!!!”

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“The boys,” as our friends and family call us. Doesn’t he sort of look like he could be our biological son?

Fatherhood isn’t easy, but it’s worth every moment.  Now nearly two years later, we are eternally grateful to his birth mom for her bravery and love, and we thank God every day for the chance to be dads to such an extraordinary young man.  Ellis has enriched our lives in indescribable ways, and he is surrounded by people that love him.  And who knows, some day, once the timing is right, maybe he’ll get a brother or sister! But for now, we’re good.

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Life is good! No, life is f-ing amazing!

 

My panacea: The Thirty-Second Hug

Improve your mood, strengthen your relationships, and be a happier, more vibrant you, all in 30 seconds a day! How, you ask? Hug it out!

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Behold the power of the thirty-second hug!

Sometimes we just need a hug. Life’s pressures and challenges always seem to add up, weighing on our spirit and body, not to mention our relationships. Humans have countless remedies—exercise, meditation, massage, therapy, and a variety of substances to take us to an altered state. These are all valid and effective, but I present another idea: the thirty second hug.

Who doesn’t love a hug? Humans are programmed to crave physical touch and affection, and hugs are where it’s at! Hugs make us feel secure, loved, and important. They renew our soul and calm our nerves, reminding us that somehow “it’s all going to be okay.” And while normal, two-second embraces are great, holding on for thirty seconds takes the healing power of a hug through the roof.

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Maybe you’re thinking, “Really?…thirty seconds? That’s way too long.” Perhaps you can’t shake the memories of those awkwardly long hugs when some creeper wouldn’t let you go long after your body language clearly said “we’re done now.” Fear not—when it’s with someone special and both huggers know what to expect, it’s amazing.

When was the last time you hugged someone for that long?  When you allow yourself to embrace a loved one for thirty full seconds (or more), there’s no stopping the powerful charge of positive energy that surges through both of you, leaving you feeling calm, happy, and loved. Giving a thirty second hug is like dialysis for the soul.

photo 5

There is no better feeling in the world.

How can two people stay connected with so many things to distract, stress, and take time away from their relationship? When times get tough, a thirty-second hug is an incredibly powerful start. Start by trying to commit to three thirty-second hugs per week.  Whether you’re hugging a spouse, partner, family member or friend, you will be amazed at the impact it can have.

But… how can you really allow yourself to enjoy the moment with someone if you are counting to thirty in your head? Don’t worry about that. You can set a timer, or you can just let go when it seems right. Usually Simon and I end up hugging much longer, often over a minute. And while I can’t say we have a superhug every day, I can certainly tell you that when we do, we always think “we need to do this more.”

Just imagine how our world would be if every human being gave and received one thirty-second hug daily, or even weekly. Seriously, though, imagine it! The earth would be such a more loving, open, understanding place.

photo 4

Let’s change the world through hugs!

With that being said, I invite you to take part in a HUG-IT-OUT challenge. It’s simple: each day of this month, engage in one thirty-second hug! Let’s change the world little by little, starting with ourselves!

photo 2

If you can, hug the same person every day at the same time—make a routine out of it. As you’re hugging, focus on peace, calmness and gratitude, allowing the positive energy to flow between you and your fellow hugger.

If you don’t have a partner, close friend or family member for a daily 30-second-hug, hug-it-out as much as you can with someone else—your dog, your cat, or your friends.

photo 1

Ellis and Mac have been cuddlers since the beginning.

Remember to try to have a superhug  EVERY day, and don’t be ashamed to set a reminder on your phone. If you miss a couple of days, don’t worry, just try to get as many hugs in as possible.

At the beginning of the hug-it-out challenge, reflect on your mood and general attitude and afterwards, reflect on how the hugs worked for you.

If you plan on taking part in the challenge, let me know in a comment below. Now go! Find someone to hug! You’ll thank me later!

photo 2

What color is that? I’m color blind.

Look Ellis, a white car! Oooh! A red car! Look, a black truck! Look! (crap, I have no idea what color that is) It’s um, um, a CAR!

crayola crayons

I have known I was color blind since kindergarten, when I colored the sky purple and grapes blue.  Since then, my life has been full of torment and pain due to my crippling handicap, limiting my daily activities and creating insurmountable obstacles preventing me from fully enjoying life.

No, this is not how I see the world.

My sad, gray world.

Come on! It’s not really that bad, although it can be quite annoying.  You might wonder: “What is it like to be color blind? How does the world look through his eyes?”

Anyone who is spends much time with me inevitably finds out about my “color deficiency.” Here’s how it usually goes down:

  • Me: What color is that?
  • Person: (looking incredulous and confused) Um… Blue..?
  • Me: Ok, cool. I wasn’t sure if it was blue or purple. I’m color blind.
  • Person: Whoah, are you serious? So, like, you just see black and white?
  • Me: No, I can see color, but sometimes I just can’t tell certain colors from each other.
  • Person: Weird. What color is my shirt?
  • Me: Black.
  • Person: What color are your pants?
  • Me: Blue.
  • Person: What color is the carpet?
  • Me: (taking a guess) Brown.
  • Person: YOU’RE NOT COLOR BLIND!!!
  • Me: (annoyed an rolling my eyes) Ugh… Ok, if you say so.

I can’t count how many times I have had that same conversation. For people who aren’t color blind, the concept is completely mind-blowing. They’re convinced that “color blind” means our world looks like a black and white movie, devoid of the sensory delights of bright red tomatoes, green grass or the brilliant spring flowers. This misconception likely stems from the term color blind. It’s understandable that people can’t grasp what it’s like, and while I’m happy to explain it to them, the incessant “what color is this?!” game gets very old.

GATITO19

A stunning collection of heirloom tomatoes. No, they don’t look gray to me.

My world is full of colors, but I might not see them as well as you. Like most color blind people, I have a hard time perceiving certain hues of red and green. Sometimes I look at a color and just can’t tell what it is, and I often end up asking someone around me.

Here are some of the colors I get mixed up:

  • Green vs Brown
  • Red vs. Brown
  • Green vs. Orange
  • Yellow vs. neon green
  • Blue vs. Purple
  • Grey vs pink
  • Grey vs. green

If a color is in it’s purest form, I can usually tell what it is. If it’s grass green, cherry red, or lemon yellow, I probably won’t have trouble knowing what it is (unless I’m far away from it). And it sounds weird, but sometimes I can actually trick my mind into seeing something as a different color. For example, I can almost “decide” to see tones of gray as pink or even green. Not exactly the superpower I had dreamt of, but I’ll take it.

 color wheel

Color blindness is mostly genetic, and it affects about 8% of men and only about 0.5% of women. My grandpa was color blind, and my cousin Tommy is too. Our condition is caused by the way certain cells in the back of our eyes called “cones” perceive light (that’s as scientific as I’m going to get).

This website, like many others, offers tests to determine if you’re color blind. I failed them all. Give it a try!

http://colorvisiontesting.com/ishihara.htm/

Color blind test.

Color blind test.  Evidently you should be able to see a 7.

Here’s a very cool blog post discussing color blindness. http://www.colourlovers.com/web/blog/2008/07/24/as-seen-by-the-color-blind/ One thing they included was a comparison of how color blind people see famous works of art compared to “normal” people.  Check it out!

marilyn

I can hardly see any difference between these.

picasso

Again, I can’t see much of a difference unless I really focus.

sunset

I would never have known these paintings were different if I hadn’t been told.

scream

On this one I can perceive a difference in the colors of the wavy stripes, but that’s about it.

When I was a kid growing up in Arizona, my parents would talk about the beautiful fall colors of the Midwest, where they grew up. They described a kaleidoscope of vibrant oranges, reds, and golds. So dazzled by their descriptions, I decided I had to see nature’s brilliant display for myself, so I made an autumn trip to Wisconsin to visit my cousin, ready to be immersed in the beauty of the leaves. To my dismay, everything looked brownish-orangish-greenish and not very exciting. Bummer.

fall leaves

Yay! Fall leaves! Now if only I could see them like “normal” people.

Missing out on the beauty of the fall isn’t the only crappy thing about being color blind. Here are some examples of how my condition affects my life:

  • I had no idea that tree trunks were brown. I always figured they were some shade of dark green. Who knew? Oh yeah, I guess everyone but me. (Tear)
  • I often can’t tell if fruits are ripe, such as lemons, grapefruits, or bananas.
  • I sometimes can’t see the pinkness of undercooked meat, which makes me obsessively anxious about it. This leads me to ALWAYS ask someone next to me if my meat is fully cooked, sometimes offending the generous host and cook who served it to me.
Is that undercooked? I honestly have no idea.

Is that undercooked? I honestly have no idea.

  • On school spirit day, I wore our school colors, blue and gold, only for my students to later inform me that my tie was metallic green.
  • I have eaten multigrain bread that I couldn’t tell had mold growing on it because the color didn’t stand out to me. Note to self: keep bread in the freezer!
  • I have owned clothes I thought were brown or gray until someone commented on liking my “green” pants. Me: “What? These are green?!”

green khakis

  • When I park on the street, I often can’t tell if the side of the curb has faded red paint on it or if it’s just really dirty.
  • I have received compliments on some “abstract” drawings after unknowingly coloring green skin, purple water, and red trees.
  • Maps keyed with browns, greens, tans and yellows are the death of me. To me, they might as well not be labeled.
wheat map

How is a color blind person supposed to read this?

  • I know it sounds disgusting, but green mucus can indicate a sinus infection, right? When I’m sick, my poor husband has to put up with me constantly showing him my snot-wads to check for color. “Hey babe, is this green?”

snot-chart

  • I can’t tell what color my son’s (or my) poop is. This may not seem so important, but what if it’s discolored and I don’t know it? What if there is some serious problem going on and I have no idea?!? Luckily I’m not too paranoid about that, otherwise Simon would be receiving daily pictures of our son’s feces, just to be sure.
poop chart adults

Adult poop chart. What if I have Crohn’s disease and don’t know it?!?!

  • I get really overwhelmed when tasked with choosing a color from color circles like this one.

color_wheel_730

Despite all those terrible things, I think being color blind has its benefits. My eyes have a sharpened sense of light and dark, which has been helpful in creating value (contrast) in art. And just like the blind have an sharper sense of hearing, I feel my color blindness has heightened my sense of smell and taste. I have a highly sensitive palate, and, seriously, just call me over if you need me to smell something to tell you if it’s rancid.

Yes, I can tell what color the street light is. I can see appreciate colorful flowers, sunsets, and works of art, and I freely describe things’ color with words like cobalt, terra cotta, mauve, eggplant, rust, and emerald (and not to be pretentious).

sedona-sunset

This sunset is breathtaking, even if I can’t see it the same as you.

From all the frustrating times I couldn’t tell what a color was, I get great pleasure from watching “normal” people argue about a color. I tend to unintentionally provoke these arguments by inquiring about a color, but once the debate beings, I just sit back and smile while each person aggressively defends their opinion, insisting the other person is simply seeing things wrong.

  • Me: What color are your shoelaces?
  • Friend 1: Yellow.
  • Friend 2: Um, no, those are totally green.
  • Friend 1: Dude, no. They’re bright yellow.
  • Friend 2: No, they’re green. Neon green.
  • Friend 1: No, they’re like highlighter yellow. So bright that they almost look green.
  • Me: Um, if they look green, aren’t they green?
  • Friend 1: Maybe they’re chartreuse.
  • Friend 2: WTF is chartreuse?

The green vs yellow debate always seems to end in both parties deciding something is chartreuse, just like the pink vs. purple debate always ends with “it’s fuchsia.”

chartreuse

Chartreuse

Despite my limitations, color is a huge part of my life. I consciously notice and appreciate the hues around me, whether it’s brightly colored produce, an intense blue sky, or just the awe-inspiring sight of a tree covered with flowers in the springtime.

There's nothing better than the sight of jacarandas in full bloom.

There’s nothing better than the sight of jacarandas in full bloom.

Color enriches my life every day, and while I might not see things the same as you do, maybe the world looks even more beautiful through my eyes!

Please share your thoughts about color and color blindness in the comments below!

Oh, f*ck! My thoughts on swearing.

Warning: In this post I freely and openly explore the concept of profanity.  If you are offended by this, check back next week!

 

Miss Suzie had a steamboat

The steamboat had a bell (ding! ding!)

Miss Suzie went to heaven

The steamboat went to HELL-

 -O operator…

Saying bad words can be fun. Cathartic. Offensive. Funny. Disrespectful.  Let’s talk about it!

adele

I must admit, I swear more than I should. Stub my toe? FUCK! Accidentally put too much pepper in the soup? SHIT!  Sometimes I don’t even notice the words coming out.

Not too long ago Simon, Ellis and I were shopping at Trader Joe’s, and Ellis went straight to grab a mini shopping cart to push around. As he barreled past, the tall stick attached to his cart smacked me in the face without warning, knocking off my glasses.  Without thinking I instinctively blurted out FUCK! to the shock and horror of all the families standing nearby.  Simon looked back at me with a face that said “seriously, Robbie?” Embarrassed and ashamed, all I could do was smile awkwardly and try to remove myself from the situation while mouthing “I’m sorry!”

As a father, I have reflected frequently on profanity’s role in society, the family, and the individual. But at this point, I’m still full of questions about how to address the subject with my son.  Obviously I don’t want him dropping F-bombs around the playground, but does it make sense to try to censor all profanity from his world to prevent that?   If a great song has one or two bad words, do I really need to eliminate it from our playlists or do we resort to doing “earmuffs” while Ellis is around?  Won’t he hear that stuff in school anyway?  Can I say “crap” instead of “shit,” or is that bad too? At what age is it acceptable for a kid to say “that sucks” or call someone an “ass?”  Is there a place for milder versions of bad words or should all profanity be prohibited?  I really don’t know, and I’m on my journey to find out.

Stop fucking swearing, there's a baby here!

Earmuffs!

From the start of spoken language, humans have had words that were considered offensive, disrespectful or blasphemous.  From nasty words for body parts to saying G*d’s name in vain, all languages have an immense arsenal of offensive words. But what makes a word “bad”?  After all, it’s just a word!

While offensive to some, bad words can be hilarious.  Consider the immensely popular “children’s book” entitled Go the Fuck to Sleep.  It is a New York Times best seller and a total crackup. Here’s a page from the book.

go-the-fuck-to-sleep

Or how about the delightfully uncouth “censored” version of Disney’s Frozen.  Featured on Jimmy Kimmel, this video censors innocuous words from the film, letting our dirty minds fill in the blanks.  There are also “censored” versions of Sesame Street, Barney and others.

 

As funny as bad words can be, there’s a time and a place for profanity. It can add humor and expression to a situation.  It can help us express our frustration or pain.  It can also be a tool to spew hatred and negativity. It all depends on who’s talking, who’s listening, and the energy behind the word. But as a general rule: Not in public, not in front of children, and definitely not in front of your teacher.

Once a student of mine was angry and defiant when I told him to remove a black wristband with the word FUCK in bold white letters. “Come on, it’s just a word, who cares!” Clearly lacking his full frontal lobe and desperately pushing the limits for attention, I had to pull him aside to succinctly break it down for him.

fuck bracelet

When I was a little kid, I had a swearing problem. I’m not sure exactly what I would say, but my profanity was so frequent that my mom started to carry around a bottle of Tabasco sauce to punish me.  Perhaps she chose the wrong discipline technique, because now hot sauce is one of my greatest pleasures in life… So yeah, I wonder why I like to swear so much… Thanks, Mom!

Often children go through a stage where they develop a “potty mouth,” talking constantly about poop, pee, farts, butts, buttholes, etc.  What’s a parent to do?  My mom has a friend who only allows her grandson to use those words in the bathroom, and he often stays in there extra long just to repeat those words without getting in trouble.  To me, it’s not a bad compromise—he’s learning to recognize there is a time and a place for foul language, and he’s letting off some frustration at the same time!  I just hope it doesn’t have a Pavlov’s dog effect and make him angry every time he has to poop.  That would be shitty.

giphy

Swearing can be funny because it makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable (not that that is always a good thing).  Children are notorious for getting a laugh out of the forbidden nature of cuss words.  Exhibit A: “the penis game.”  Never played?  Oh, you’ve been missing out! The game consists of people, usually middle-schoolers, taking turns saying the word “penis” louder and louder until one of them gets in trouble or is unwilling to continue.  Go ahead, give it a try today at your public library, bank or place of work!

penis game

Derrrr…. Come on, penis isn’t even a bad word.

What about the Pen 15 club?  Don’t you want to become a member? All you have to do is let me write PEN 15 on your hand.  But don’t be surprised later when your dad asks why you have PENIS written on you in black Sharpie. Oh, middle school…

Innocent little Krissy asking a question in Mrs. Kelly's 8th grade language arts class.

Innocent little Kristy asking a question in Mrs. Kelly’s 8th grade language arts class… She has no idea.

And then there’s the classic rhyme about “Miss Susie” that goes with a hand clapping game.  Kids get a thrill out of almost saying “hell,” “ass,” etc.  I’m pretty sure I started chanting that at age five…

“Miss Susie had a steamboat,
the steamboat had a bell.
Miss Susie went to heaven
and the steamboat went to Hell–

O, operator,
Please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I’ll kick your be–

’hind the ’frigerator,
there was a piece of glass
Miss Susie sat upon it
and broke her little

Ask me no more questions,
Tell me no more lies,
The boys are in the bathroom
zipping up their

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
are kissing in the

D-A-R-K
D-A-R-K
D-A-R-K
Dark, dark, dark”

Hee hee hee! Profanity is FUN!

Hee hee hee! Profanity is FUN!

Swearing can be so much fun that it even inspires us to learn how to be offensive in other languages!  Besides, who needs to know how to order food, ask for the restroom or call for help when insulting someone’s mother is so much more useful!

Translating profanity from foreign languages can be a bizarre and perplexing exercise.  For example, who knew calling someone ‘“big goat” (cabrón) in Mexico could incite an aggressive altercation?  The insult goes back to the concept of a “cuckold,” a man who has grown horns because his wife is unfaithful.  The symbolism of the horns is explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckold

In Mexican Spanish, even the word madre or “mother” can be vulgar.  Taking it far beyond “yo momma” jokes, Mexicans have so many vulgar expressions containing the word madre that the word itself is often considered profane. If something “smells like mothers” or “huele a madres,” it means it smells like shit. Of if you say “me vale madre,” which literally means “it’s worth a mother to me,” you’re really saying “I don’t give a shit.”  But remember, while madre is vulgar and to be avoided, padre (father) means “cool” or “awesome.” Gotta love the patriarchy!

385px-Profanity

As a high school Spanish teacher, I had my advanced classes list all the bad words they had heard in Spanish. Then I explained each word without translating them into English.  Don’t call me a bad influence, I am an educator!  After all, no one wants to be the clueless “gringo” smiling obliviously when someone calls them a “pinche puto.”  Knowledge is power, baby.  Knowledge is power.

If you’re uncultured and immature like me, here’s a website full of profane words in foreign languages: http://www.youswear.com/  Go forth, and be a citizen of the world!  And don’t blame me if you get your ass kicked.

Even if you speak the same language as someone, don’t expect to find the same words offensive. Between UK and US English, or Spanish from different Spanish speaking countries, misusing a common word can turn into a hilarious misunderstanding or a situation of gross disrespect. For example, in the UK and Australia, “fanny” is a foul word for vagina.  So please don’t ask where you can purchase a fanny pack while you’re in Melbourne.  At the same time, don’t have a heart attack if a Londoner asks if you have any extra “fags,” because he’s just asking for a cigarette.

Umm... WHAT???

Umm… WHAT???

In Spain, the word coger means to grab, pick up, or grasp.  “Coger el telefono” (to pick up the phone) or “coger frutas” (to pick fruit) sound quite different in Latin America, where the word means “to fuck” (sexually).

Instead of using full-fledged profanity, most people, especially around children, use milder versions of these colorful words, called “minced oaths.”

Examples of these euphemisms include darn, gosh, jeez, crap, freaking, etc.  These can be especially fun and creative, like “shut the front door!” or “H-E double hockey sticks!”  My sister is famous her constant and creative usage of the word “fezie,” as in, “What the fezie!” or “Holy fezie!”

Minced oaths even exist in other languages. “Híjole” is an abbreviation of “hijo de puta” or “son of a bitch,” effectively making it the Mexican version of “son of a!”  Similarly, “ostras” meaning “oysters” is a non-offensive version of “Hostia” which comes from the incredibly offensive  Spanish expression “Me cago en la Hostia,” or “I shit on the holy Host.”

gateway-profanity-not-ok-270

When it comes to small children, which words are off-limits?  How does that change depending on age? What about minced oaths? Hearing a kid swear or even “fake” swear can be shocking and embarrassing for the parents.  Even hearing a child say “this sucks” can be unsettling. Or what if they say, “Are you effing serious?” Oh hail no.

So does that mean I can’t say anything remotely naughty?  If I can’t shout “CRAP!” when I stub my toe or say “oh my gosh!” when I’m surprised, what can I say?

I really have no idea what naughty words are acceptable at what age.  Heck, so many minced oaths don’t even seem bad to me anymore.  I guess it’s up to each family to figure that out as they go along.  That’s what parenting is all about.

Clearly we can’t shelter kids forever.  Many tweens and adolescents associate profanity with being more adult and therefore cool (not that adults are cool, ewww). In middle school, when I was cooler than the world, I started to swear incessantly, mindlessly inserting bad words into my speech instead of using more vivid, descriptive vocabulary. This became a habit lasting into adulthood, leading me to swear without even knowing I was doing it.

parental advisory artwork

I think the bottom line is to be conscious of what we say and recognize how it could affect those around us. As adults we must be open with our children and always be ready to explain why something is inappropriate.  If we consistently model good behavior and teach our kids the cultural rules and roles for profanity, we can all have fun with language without getting into too much trouble.

Profanity-is-making-a-splash-in-book-titles-F5FCI5M-x-large

All in all, whether we curse like sailors or think “jeepers” is profane, it’s important to be careful with our words and be sensitive to others.

 

 

What are your thoughts on the topic of profanity?  Parents and non-parents alike, please share your thoughts, comments and personal experiences below!

 

Life is awesome. Join me for the journey!

“In your opinion, what is the meaning of life?” a good friend recently asked me.  Her question caught me off guard.  “Jeez, I don’t know!” But as she shrugged and waited for an answer, I forced myself to really think about it.

 After a minute or so, I came up with an idea.  “I think we are here to enjoy and appreciate our blessings, to grow as individuals, and to be a blessing to others.”
Age 0.1. "Dear God, please bless my son in every way, and let him grow up to be the man that you planned for him to be."

Age 0.1. “Dear God, please bless my son in every way, and let him grow up to be the man that you planned for him to be.”

I must say I’m glad my friend forced me to reflect on this “impossible” question.  In the end, it was quite simple.  I guess it’s been my creed all along, and it’s what has inspired me to start this blog, Super Padre Life.
"These cookies are going to be awesome!"

Age 8. “These cookies are going to be awesome!”

My mom says I was born to be teacher.  At age five I was coaching a friend with pronunciation and quizzing kids on the soccer field.  In high school I started giving art and Spanish lessons, and by age 21 I was teaching high school Spanish.  All the while I never actually aspired to be a teacher–teaching chose me.  Suddenly teaching was my life (for better or for worse).  It became my main creative outlet, my passion, my second nature.
Age 16. Still confined to living under the oppressive control of my loving parents. Hobbies included drawing, music, chatting on AIM, learning languages, non-conforming, and wishing I were an adult.

Age 16. Still confined to living under the oppressive control of my loving parents. Hobbies included drawing, music, chatting on AIM, learning languages, non-conforming, and wishing I were an adult.

Age 19. Hobbies include: eating as much as possible, half-assing college, perfecting my Spanish, reminiscing about my childhood and dreaming about my future.

Age 19. Hobbies included: eating as much as possible, half-assing college, perfecting my Spanish, reminiscing about my childhood and dreaming about my future.

Age 23. "Crap...this grownup stuff is really hard. Better make the most it!"

Age 23. “Crap…this grownup stuff is really hard. Better make the most it!”

I recently transitioned from full time Spanish teacher to full time dad–a journey that has been exhilirating and challenging, liberating yet isolating.  It is without a doubt the most rewarding, taxing and important teaching position one can have–one that isn’t measured in semesters or confined to a classroom.  I have found immense joy in watching my son grow and learn.  I love filling his world with fun educational experiences and giving him a foundation for a lifetime of learning.  Yet this 24/7 job has quickly made me recognize my own intrinsic need to invest in myself–both personally and professionally–while being the best father and husband I can be.  I love being a dad, but I love it even more when it’s not my only identity in life.

So if I’m not just a dad, who am I?

I’m a husband, a son, a teacher, and a life-long learner.  I’m a die-hard food lover who gets a thrill out of new culinary adventures.  I have a passion for language and culture, and I’m raising my son to be bilingual.  I am an amateur artist, who, according to some, specializes in “demented” doodles.  I am a sensitive guy inspired by the unspeakable beauty of our world and the amazing power of love.  I am sometimes goofy, sometimes serious, but always myself.
"This meal is going to be awesome!"

“This meal is going to be awesome! Healthy, delicious, and visually stunning!”

In a way, Super Padre Life is my new classroom.

It’s place for me to be me, to exercise my creativity and share what inspires me.  Recipes, activities, and reflections about life–my content will draw on personal experiences, my background as an educator, and my many passions in life.  This blog will grow and change as I do, and I hope my readers will find my posts interesting, entertaining, and even inspiring.

 
Super Padre Life will be organized in three main categories: 
  • Food (recipes, kitchen tips, culinary exploration and cooking with kids)
  • Fun stuff (Crafts, games, educational activities and other fun stuff for all ages)
  • My thoughts (reflections on life, parenting, and what inspires me)

“Super Padre” means “Awesome” in Mexican Spanish.  While my my life isn’t extravagant, am blessed to have a great one.  And while I will never claim to be “Super Dad”, I try to be the best father I can be.  Super Padre Life is my next step in this awesome life, and I hope you will join me for the adventure!

Age 28. Simon, Ellis, and me (Robbie, papá, etc). "Life is seriously so awesome. How did I get so lucky?"

Age 28. Simon, Ellis, and me.
“How did I get so lucky?”

I hope to reach as many people as possible and really get to know my readers.  Please do not hesitate to comment, give feedback and ask questions.  Also, remember to comment, like, share, and subscribe to get an e-mail alert for each of my weekly posts!

Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear about? Let me know!

-Robbie