Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Happy Blogaversary to Me!

Streamers and balloons falling from ceiling while band is playing in the background:

It's my 100th post!

To celebrate (and to counteract my serious and whiney posts from the last two days) I would like to share something much more trivial, and maybe even odd:

I think that blue-ink pens write differently than black-ink pens. All other things the same, I think that blue pens actually feel different than black ones when you write with them. And I prefer the blue over the black because of how they feel.

My favorite pens are the clear Bics with the hexagonal (?) barrel. I haven't been able to find them in the last two stores I looked in. I even asked the sales guy at Office Max and he said he hasn't seen them in a while. Perhaps I can special order them... but I'm not sure I am that far over the edge yet.

Anyway, after discovering that my pens can't be found, I had to go with my second favorite, the round, white Bics. I was strangely disappointed to find that those were only available in black (unless I wanted fine point... but I'd rather have black ink than a fine point... which is fitting because, as you may have surmised, the point of this post is turning out to be anything but fine.) This whole ridiculous situation, and the fact that I have given it more than 2 minutes of thought has made me wonder. Am I the only weirdo who thinks that ink color affects the feel of a pen?

Just to keep in the celebratory spirit, let's do one of my favorite little things... an unofficial poll.

Unofficial poll: if given a choice, which would you pick: blue ink or black ink?

Stuck on this issue

In 1964, a female fetus was aborted at the age of 3 (gestational) months. Her fetal cells became known as WI-38, named after the Wistar Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Wistar developed the WI-38 cell line, which is still being used today for the production of the chicken pox vaccine, and the rubella component of the MMR vaccine.

In 1966, a male fetus was aborted at the age of 14 (gestational) weeks. His fetal cells became known as MRC-5, named after the Medical Research Council in London. MRC developed the MRC-5 cell line, which is still being used today for the production of the rubella component of the MMR vaccine, as well as polio, rabies, Hepatitis-A, and chicken pox vaccines.

The PER-C6 cell line was derived from the fetal tissue of a baby aborted at 18 weeks. This cell line is used by Merck for an HIV vaccine, by MedImmune for a flu vaccine, and by the National Institutes of Health for development of an ebola vaccine.

Currently, in the US, alternative vaccines are available for polio (produced by Aventis-Pasteur) and for rabies (produced by Chiron Therapeutics,) which are not manufactured using aborted fetal cell lines. Measles and mumps vaccines (which are usually administered with the rubella vaccine as MMR) are available form Merck individually, though they may be difficult to obtain. Alternatives exist for rubella and Hep-A, but they are not available in the US. (They were developed and are available in the United Kingdom.) No alternatives exist for the chicken pox vaccine. Evans Vaccines, Wyeth Ayerest, and Aventis Pasteur all make alternative flu vaccines.

If the use of aborted fetal cell lines doesn’t bother you, then you can stop reading right here.

If you are troubled by the use of aborted fetal cell lines and the lack of access to known alternatives, you can sign a petition at the Children of God for Life website. You can also request a paper copy of the petition for others to sign. (By the way, all of the above information is available at this site.) There is also information at this site about how doctors can obtain individual measles and mumps vaccines from Merck.

In the mean time, I think it is imperative that we share this information with as many people as possible. Most people don’t know about this! Alternatives to these vaccines will never become available unless drug companies are pressured by lots of people (which translates to lots of money.)

I will keep looking into this and will post again if I find more information.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Adoption Update

Well, here it is... a whole lot of facts and a little bit of feelings. First, the facts:

We are in the process of completing our homestudy. We are held up right now because we are trying to find one more hour of educational something that we can use to complete the required 12 hours. In addition to this educational component, the homestudy consisted of a safety inspection and two interviews by the social worker. It also included state level fingerprinting, 5 letters of reference, a fire inspection, physicals for the entire family, financial statements, biographical sketches for me and Paul, as well as a cultural heritage plan. We still have the heritage plan and my biography to write. I'm sure I missed something, but that is the jist of it.

We have also filed an adoption petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS - formerly the INS.) We just received a letter from them stating that we are to report for our biometric fingerprinting during the week of September 20. This is in Cincinnati.

In the mean time, we have begun to collect the paperwork that is required by the Chinese government. Birth and marriage certificates, letter of request to adopt, financial statements, guardian statement, physicals, employer statements, letter of clearance from local law enforcement agency, the list goes on. Each of these, of course, must be notarized and authenticated by the Secretary of State. In Ohio, authentication cannot be performed unless the documents are first county-certified. So, this will be a long and drawn out process. We also have to complete an orientation through the adoption agency.

I have no idea when all of this paperwork will be completed. When it is, it will be translated and reviewed in China. Our agency tells us that once the paperwork is sent to China, assuming we are approved, we should receive a referral in about 7 months. (Though I have heard from 2 people who would know that it has been more like 5 months.) The referral is basically a picture of the child and a report of her medical history. If we accept the referral, we would travel to China approximately 6 weeks later and stay there for 2 weeks completing the adoption.

Now, these are the basics of what we are doing. I find it funny when people ask "how's the adoption going?" I don't know if they expect us to just say "fine" (which we often do when we can tell that people don't want to give us much time for an answer.) For people who have never taken the time to listen, there is just no easy way to answer that question even on a factual basis, let alone an emotional one.

Suffice to say that there are very few people who REALLY know what is going on with us in this process - even those reading this blog. That's because the emotional aspect of all of this cannot be captured here, and I'm not so sure I would post about it all even if it could. My heart has been on a complete roller coaster in the last few months. I haven't shared it much, because, as I mentioned before, most folks seem to want the "short version" when they ask.

So, that's the update, factually speaking. I'm totally willing to share more with anyone who asks... and is willing to listen.


Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Ultimate Short Trip: Itinerary

Tuesday, November 9
Noon: arrive at Kuss Science Center, schmooze w/ Dfin
12:30 – attend senior seminar
2:00 – show up for Dr. Cline’s office hours (where I will ask about the progress of instrumentation for identifying laundry stains,) visit with Kay
3:00 – walk to Union. Purchase new Witt sweatshirt to replace the ratty one from 1992; see if the combination to mail box still works.
5:00 – dinner at Nelson’s
7:00 – arrive at HPERC for Dudley Herschbach’s Lecture, The Impossible Takes a Little Longer.
10:00 – Young’s run
???? – crash at the Springfield Inn

Wednesday, November 10
10:20 – sit in on O-chem I; refuse to laugh at prof’s poor jokes.
11:30 - Bribe Dr. Anderson: a case of diet coke if he'll give us one more chance to play one of his "computer games."
noon – lunch at Mike and Rosie’s
1:00 – join O-chem students in lab, act like we know exactly what is going on.
3:00 – to Bayley for Herschbach’s technical lecture, Emulating Maxwell’s Demon.

Don’t forget to pack your goggles, your spiral-bound notebook with “I love Chris” written in bubble letters on every page*, and your p-hat.

Anybody want to join me?

* if applicable


I am speechless....

Below is a paragraph from a data sheet about Merck's MMRII vaccine. I have highlighted the sentence which troubles me...

M-M-R II is a sterile lyophilised preparation of (1) ATTENUVAX* (Measles Virus Vaccine Live, MSD), a more attenuated line of measles virus, derived from Enders' attenuated Edmonston strain and propagated in chick embryo cell culture; (2) MUMPSVAX* (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live, MSD), the Jeryl Lynn (B level) strain of mumps virus propagated in chick embryo cell culture; and (3) MERUVAX* II (Rubella Virus Vaccine Live, MSD), the Wistar RA 27/3 strain of live attenuated rubella virus propagated in WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts.

Human diploid - that means the cells are from a human embryo. (Or, I think it is more accurate to say that this means "cells from an aborted fetus.")

From what I can gather to this point, the Varicella vaccine (Varilrix by GlaxoSmithKline and Varivax by Merck) are also obtained this way.

Looking into other vaccines... and calling my kids' pediatrician on Monday!

I am not sure where I stand on all of this because I don't know enough about these "cell lines," specifically MRC-5 and WI-38. I would like to find out more about these, as well as something that was referred to as a "continuous VERO cell line." Is there anybody out there who already knows something about this and can direct me to some good resources?

Saturday, August 28, 2004


C'mon, Ron!
What are you on?
I can't decide:
Are you pawn or con?

*a commentary, an article, and a website.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Talking with my children

A recent conversation with Ms. Boo went like this:

Boo: Mom, what day is it?
Me: Friday
Boo: What day will it be tomorrow?
Me: Saturday
Boo: What day will it be on Wednesday?
Me: (??????????????)

A recent conversation with Mr. Bug went like this:

SETTING: the dinner table
Bug: aaaah! (Pointing to something on the table)
Me: Do you want more noodles?
Bug: (shakes head "no")
Me: Do you want more meatballs?
Bug: (nods)
Me: eat the meatballs on your plate
Bug: (eats a piece, points to table again) aaaaaaaaaaaah!
Me: What do you want? Do you want water?
J: (shakes head "no")
Me: Do you want more noodles?
Bug: (shakes head "no") AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! (leans closer)
Me: you still have meatballs, eat your meatballs!
Bug: (eats a piece)

(Repeat scenario once more... seriously)

Me: (looking closely to where he is pointing) You want THIS? (handing him my fork)
Bug: (happily eats the rest of his meatballs with my fork)



I heard something on Christian radio this morning, but I am not sure I buy it (though I wasn't able to listen to the whole program...) Anyway, here is the question:

Do trials develop one's character, or reveal it?

If you replace "character" with "faith," does that make a difference?

I think

One who responds too quickly is likely to have assumed the receiver's thoughts.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Not so dreary after all

It's raining here today. I just love the rain. Even though it's dreary out, I find something refreshing about the rain. Ms. Boo has been going around all morning singing a song she made up about Jesus sending the rain so the flowers don't die. I think I like the rain because it always brings Isaiah 55 to mind. I love the end of that chapter because it reminds me that God's plans can't be thwarted. I find it comforting to know that He will accomplish what he wants even though I often fail in my service to him. Grace, grace, grace.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be lead forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow a pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.
- Isaiah 55:10-13

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I don't know if I can do it

This weekend, I saw an aquaintance from long ago who had just been on a whirlwind trip to several east Asian countries. He shared some pictures with me from the day he went to an orphanage in China. There were 200 children in the orphanage, and 196 of them were girls! One picture was of a room, wall-to-wall with cribs. Each crib had a straw mat in the bottom. Some of the cribs held more than one baby. They were all standing up, looking at the camera with bright, beautiful eyes. All I could do was cry.

I don't know how I am going to manage it when I actually have to go to one of these orphanages. It's too much to think about: I will be taking one home, and leaving behind the other 500,000. It's just too much.

In attempts to make me feel better (which I don't get... Why SHOULD a person "feel better" about that?) But anyway, in attempts to make me feel better, two different people mentioned the starfish story to me. You know the one about the kid on the seashore throwing washed-up starfish back into the sea. Someone says, "you will never be able to save them all." and the kid says "i'll save this one!" as he throws one more back in the ocean.

Yeah, that's a nice story. I feel so much better.

Others want to tell me about how the child we bring home will have an opportunity to hear about Christ blah, blah, blah. Not that that isn't important, but I just don't believe that God needs me to save someone. If they are going to believe, they will... and He doesn't need me to accomplish that. (And this has nothing to do with evangelism, so settle down, folks.)

The fact is that there are half a million babies in China alone who don't have a mom or a dad. That is sad, and I don't want to feel better about it just because we are adopting one. To me, it is like saying that the issue won't matter anymore after we bring her home.


Saturday, August 21, 2004


Maureen has linked to a story about an anti-abortion activist who listed his number in the yellow pages under abortion services. When he was called, he led the women to believe that he would provide an abortion. Instead, he stalled them so long that they were too far along in their pregnancies to get abortions. Maureen has asked for our thoughts about it. Here are mine:

I have contemplated this and have gone back and forth. I compared this situation to that of Corey Ten Boom when she hid Jews in her home and lied about it to the Nazis (which I do not think was wrong.) The major difference between these two is in who initiated the act and whether they were subsequently deceived. In Ten Boom's case, those seeking safety were the initiators, while it was the Nazis who were deceived. Ten Boom was honoring the desires of those who came to her and trusted her. In other words, the Jews wanted her to lie, and she did. But her deception did not force her, the Jews, or the Nazis to act in a way that they did not intend.

This act is different because the initiators were also the deceived. The mothers initiated it and trusted this man to provide what they wanted. Instead, he decieved them. These women would not have proceded had they known this man's true intentions. They were unaware that the entire situation was predicated on a lie. Therefore, this man is in the wrong.

Now, it can (and should) be argued that an unborn child is unable to initiate actions to ensure its own safety. That is certainly true... but it is ultimately the mother's responsibility to provide that safety, and she will be held accountable if she does not provide it. Forcing her to provide it would require Christians (and anyone else) to deceive or in some way abuse the mother. These are also wrong, and should be avoided, even at the expense of the child. If we believe that we can force a woman to protect her baby, then we should simply lock up all expectant mothers who have expressed a desire to abort, and let them go once they are too far along to do so.

This is human nature. We want to force people to do the right thing*. What we don't realize is that forcing someone to do the right thing inevitably REQUIRES us to do a wrong thing. I don't like it, but that is the truth.

The fact that I waffled about this makes me realize just how little I trust God to be God. He is sovereign, yet I somehow sympathize with this guy for doing whatever it takes to save that baby's life. But the fact is, God is bigger. And he has told us not to deceive, therefore we must not. We'd do well to remember that a wrong was NOT avoided in this case. Deception is wrong. And ALL SINS are disgusting and hideous in the sight of a holy God.

Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive. - Prov 24:28

*Just for the record, forcing a person's actions is totally different than punishing them.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Update: the latest meaningless information

- I slept until almost 10 am yesterday.
- I finished a 230 page book today entitled "Are Those Kids Yours?" It was rather insightful.
- I am now about 48 pages into The Whole Life Adoption Book.
- I have a strong urge to work on a quilt or some scrapbooking... perhaps because I am reading too much.
- My son has grown 1 3/4 inches in the last three months.
- My first "article" is about to be published in the September issue of the MOPS newsletter. It ain't much, but I had fun writing it.
- Like most days at this time, I am realizing that I have no idea what we are going to eat for dinner. So, I must go and heat up whatever leftovers I can find. Yummy.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Tonight my children are sleeping over at grandma and grandpa's house. Oh, glorious, uninterrupted sleep.

G'nite everybody!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another thing that doesn't make sense

Okay. Just hear me out.

I don't get why so many parents say they want their children to "love" reading. I think it is silly and totally arbitrary. It's like saying "I want my child to love math," or "I want my child to love writing." They are all important, in some way. So I believe that all people should be able to DO these things, but why does everyone want their kids to love reading? Don't tell me that it is better than having them watch TV... there are a million other valuable/useful things that a kid could be interested in and, if nurtured, would pursue instead of TV. And don't tell me that good reading skills help them perform better in other areas... cuz you can have good reading skills without a love of reading.

I hate reading. I really do. I have found so few books that keep my attention past the first chapter that it is pitiful. I'd rather make something. But I consider myself a fairly intelligent person (though that may just be evidence of how dumb I really am) and I think I can generally make sense of written and verbal communication, understand nuance, write a decent piece of non-fiction (I wouldn't care to write fiction,) and generally communicate clearly. I think I have better grammar and punctuation than your average joe. So I don't really get what I am missing by not loving to read. (I do have a fairly limited vocabulary, which could be enhanced by reading, among other things. But I don't think that is a reason to want someone to love reading.)

If Ms. Boo's current interests are any indication of the kind of teenager she'll be, then I would bet that she'd rather make something too. And, if that is what she'd rather do, then I wouldn't care a bit that she didn't *love* to read.

Now, NO WHINING all you bookworms. I am glad for you that you like to read. I just don't understand all the hype about it.

P.S. (Though, technically, there was no "S") Happy 22nd birthday, Patti.

I love the Olympics

My favorites:
- The Iraqi soccer team.
- The Chinese women's gymnastics team. I think I am secretly rooting for them. I just can't help it!
- The upset of the US men's b-ball team by Puerto Rico. (Who, exactly, thought that a bunch of NBA players could play as a TEAM? Players on the SAME team don't even play like a team in the NBA. And don't even get me started on the general lack of defensive play from your average NBA player. Whatever. I say that in the next olympic year we should send whichever college team wins the NCAA playoffs. They might actually play like a team and, since they haven't made it to the NBA yet, maybe they would play with a bit of heart instead of all the hype. Here is more.)
- This name.

My least favorites:
- This lady.
- The makeup jobs on the US women gymnasts.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

What if...

... our Chinese child feels like she doesn't "fit" in our family because we don't look like she does?
... my extrovert three-year-old becomes jealous of all the attention her "novelty" sister garners?
... our Chinese child feels rejected by her birthmother/father?
... we underestimate the power of feeling rejected?
... people insist on referring to her as "the adopted child"?
... I get mad at strangers when they ask if she is mine?
... she never bonds with us?
... I don't understand enough about Chinese culture to give her a realistic understanding of it?
... I don't think she is cute?
... we really don't know what we are in for?
... she thinks we regret adopting her because we choose to have another child naturally?
... I lose it when people decide to pass judgement on our decision?
... Boo and Bug become jealous of her having a "special" heritage and getting to celebrate a birthday AND a gotcha day?
... people who wouldn't know any better try to minimize important issues?

and just for the record, these are rhetorical questions... so please comment accordingly. thanks.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Realistic Creature of Habit

I relocated our silverware to a new drawer last May. I still get confused every time I want to find some silverware.

I made a SWEET peach pie yesterday. (And I mean sweet in every sense of the word.)

I have been a realist ever since I was a kid. My older sister, who could play Barbies for hours, always got mad at me after I quit after a few minutes. Pretending just wasn't my thing. When I was in kindegarten I had my first experience with those oversized cardboard "bricks." A bunch of the kids wanted to build a house. I was all for it. They all started laying out the rooms and I told them they needed to stop making so many rooms or we wouldn't have enough bricks to build the walls. They explained that the walls would only be one brick high. I quit playing. I thought it was the stupidest house I'd ever seen.

Mr. Bug said "apple" today.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


I was chatting with Maureen (AKA "Tricktickler Okonkwo Love") yesterday and I was trying to explain my disappointment at some behavior I had seen in a person I admire very much. The only thing I could think to say is "people are so human." Why I let this disappoint me, I just don't know. But it is true... I expect perfection from those I admire (and from myself as well) and then I am disappointed when their flaws are revealed. Crazy... but I have a feeling I am not the only one who does this.

Monday, August 09, 2004


In the last 24 hours I read 67 pages of a book. I calculated that I am now done with 29.1% of this book. Thankfully, chapters 2 and 3 were much more interesting than the mind-numbing first chapter. The only reason I kept reading is that this is part of the "educational" aspect of our homestudy (i.e. it is required.)

It is amazing what I am willing to do to adopt a child.

In a completely unrelated thought -
It has occured to me that people offer advice for one of two reasons. Either they offer it because they care about me, or they offer it because they want me to feel bad about something I have done/failed to do. I am wondering if the latter is grounds for me to.... I don't even know what... I just want those people to go away.

In another completely unrelated thought, we are having to make some decisions about my employment status now that Shawnee's school levy has failed. (No sports... so Paul's coaching pay is out the window.) I think I have a good chance at watching a kindergartener from church for three days a week, for no more than 4 hours a day. I have also thought about tutoring - but that ain't my favorite option. I'd really love to find an office to clean... something I could do once a week, and in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. I am interested to see what the Lord will provide. I find that expecting him to provide (in a way that only He can,) makes me question whether I should try to "create" a solution. Of course, I also realize that He doesn't want me to just sit around and wait for money to fall from the sky.... which really would be so nice... I know you are listening, God!

Anyway, the whole failed levy at Shawnee has me all crazy for other reasons. I have been slowly piecing together a post about this, but I am having a hard time finding some info that I need... Shelby, where are you when I need you? I will post it eventually.

That is all for now.

Thank you, thank you very much.

Sunday, August 08, 2004


... I want to eat chocolate ice cream with canned, crushed pineapple on top.
... I get mad at how insensitive people can be.
... I think that God couldn't have been any better to me than he has been.
... I think God doesn't know what He is doing.
... My mind goes into overload - everything means something and I can't wade through all the meaning.
... I wish I could find someone who was willing to listen.
... I think I could just smother my boy with kisses all day long and still not be satisfied.
... I wonder if my kids know how much I love them.
... I feel alone in a crowd.
... I wish certain people knew me better.
... I wish I knew me better.
... I want to drink V8 juice.
... I DO drink V8 juice. And then I think, why did I drink this? This stuff is nasty and it always has been.
... I have a flash of genius.
... I want to have deep conversation, and I get frustrated because no one else seems to be looking for it too. Okay, that frustrates me more than just sometimes.
... I want to e-mail all the people who send me forwarded messages and tell them what I really think about forwarded e-mails.
... I really want to talk about chemistry.
... I think that I am an utter failure.
... I think, I should really go to bed,

but then I ALWAYS stay up too late anyway.


Wednesday, August 04, 2004


I went to the library today... okay, everybody, pick yourselves up off the floor. I was looking for books about raising adopted children. None. Seriously... NONE! Annoying.

Just a side note. While at the library, I noticed a flyer announcing Children's Storytime. It said they have it on "Tuesday's and Thursday's." That was at the FREAKING LIBRARY, folks. Ridiculous.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here.