This is the story of how I found out that my adopted daughter (whom I have not seen in something like 7 years) is into Goth Lolita fashion, an obscure Japanese sub-culture style.
First, some background... Let's go wayyyyy back to when I was 16. I went to a Catholic girls' high school called Holy Names Academy. Many people assume that Catholic girls' schools crank out kinky, wild harlots. Though this may be true of more conservative Catholic schools, HNA is very progressive (I'd call them realistic) about life for girls becoming women*. Their supportive and positive approach to religions, sex, and social structures really seems to give girls a sense of self-confidence and assurednesss. Perhaps it's because there isn't the distraction of boys all over the place, but I really credit HNA with a lot of how I turned out.
In health class (which included sex ed), one of our assignments was to figure out our child plan. When did we want kids (if at all)? How would we be able to ensure that our lives stayed on plan (i.e. birth control)? What would we do if we found we were accidentally pregnant?
My answer was easy: I didn't want kids, but I did want to know what it was like to be pregnant. I mean, as a woman, having a living being inside of me is something I can do that men can not. It's amazing... absolutely amazing... to think that inside of me, another whole person could grow and come out and then be their own person.
And so, therefore, at 16 I decided that I would give any child for adoption if I accidentally got pregnant. After that, if I ever got pregnant again, I would terminate. I'm not a Pro Lifer, I just want to know what it's like to give birth to a whole individual from something smaller than a poppy seed.
But certainly, I wasn't going to get pregnant until I was good and ready, which would probably not be for years and years and...
Fast forward to my 23rd birthday. Don and I had been dating for a few years and I was back living with my mom, getting back into college, and generally enjoying a relatively carefree life. Whoops. Pregnant.
It's my personal philosophy if I accidentally get pregnant, I'm probably not responsible enough to have a child... Not that there aren't millions of perfectly fit parents who became parents by accident, but it's not in line with my personal philosophy.
After much discussion with Don (who believed that it was the correct thing to do to get married if you got a girl knocked up), we settled on my original plan: finding a good family and giving the child for adoption.
This is more difficult than it sounds.
First, we have to define "good family" as one that is not overly religious or very conservative (a common trait among people who want to adopt). We basically wanted someone with our sensibilities and humor since, in all likelihood, they'd have to be dealing with some pretty ridiculous genetics.
Second, we wanted to find a family who was willing to take a longer-term view of our relationship than just "thank you for the baby, now go away." This is what's called an "open adoption." In my fantasy, I'd just be that "weird aunt" character in the child's life: peripheral but real. As I mentioned, both Don and I have predispositions toward being creative, artistic, and overall free thinkers. This might result in a pretty complicated and conflicted situation for any child... feeling like a freak is pretty hard. Feeling like a freak that no one in the world understands is a soul-grinding experience.
But without a good family, we didn't want to give up the child. I mean, we'd be better parents than some strict and awful couple... And then we found Keith and Melinda (after about 20 interviews with potential families who didn't quite feel right). It was really love-at-first-talk. Melinda called me from the Nordstrom's elevator bay on a pay phone and we talked for so long that an elevator repair person came, fixed the elevator, and left during the course of the call. You now how long elevator repairs take, people! This is a looonnnng call. And then we went on our first date, which was Thai food in Fremont.
Prior to meeting Keith and Melinda, even the 20 minute interviews felt like 20 hours (they often ended with the woman breaking down crying), but we hung out for something like 4 hours and it felt like 20 minutes. We had a BLAST. We took photos, we laughed, we walked around... it was like meeting up with friends we'd known forever.
Six months of Lamaze classes and doctors' appointments (as well as a retail job lost to morning sickness, high blood pressure, about $1500 in maternity clothes, a full-body allergic rash, and a month on bed rest) later, the four of us gave birth to a perfect baby girl.
I think back on that first meeting and am very happy. Really, it is the biggest proof that God exists in the Universe: two smart people meet two other smart people and create... Hannah.
Fast forward again to six months ago... Melinda and I reached out to me because Hannah is being a teenager and these are always tough times for freaks (they're tough times for everyone, but they're especially tough for freaks). In a small town on Whidbey Island, it's pretty hard to find people who are like you especially if your genetics compel you to march to a drummer that no one hears and isn't even really keeping that good of a rhythm anyways.
If you've been following my forays into fashion, you know that I have recently discovered Goth Lolita style clothing. For better or for worse, Lolita (both goth and classic) clothes are readily available in massive quantities and styles for relatively little money from Milanoo, a Chinese distributor who seems to make each outfit custom as you order it and then ship it to you incredibly slowly (it takes about a month from the time you order something for it to finally arrive on your doorstep).
Last week, I got this message from Melinda (Hannah's mom):
"While at Sakura Con, Hannah purchased a goth black lace parasol. She is going in a goth direction for next year. She would love contacts but I am saying no until she is older."
As it also turns out, Hannah is also shopping from Milanoo (for wigs, but will also probably get the clothes there).
All this is completely coincidental, I might add. Though Hannah knows about me and sometimes checks out my Facebook profile with Melinda, she wouldn't probably know the granular detail of us pursuing the same obscure, fringe Japanese fashion.
So I ask you... nature or coincidence?
I had intended for this post to not be so long, but then I had to go into the whole back story.
* I may have turned out to be a kinky, wild harlot, but it was not HNA's fault.
Let me explain.... no, it will take too long. Let me sum up: My laptop was at work all week and the internets here were janky. That's my big explanation for why I haven't blogged all week.
First, Diva's extended results came back and she DOES NOT have kidney disease. Isn't that awesome?!? I'm so glad I opted to have that second test done. Phew. What they did find was that she has a little bladder infection, which does need antibiotics, but at least that's treatable and we don't have to go back to the vet and worry about death all the time. Yay!
On that note, though, I've started fixing her half rice, half kibble instead of all kibble (lower protein), mixing in a little pumpkin in (helps with bladder control), and topping it off with a couple pumps of fish oil (for omega 3s!). She really loves it and I know it's better for her, so I feel like a good dog parent. So that's good news. All of that is good news.
Second, I've been sewing up a storm. The dress at the left, though terribly photographed, is turning out quite well. I imagine I'll finish it this weekend... unfortunately, that means I won't probably be able to make a few more of the same dress in time for Santacon in Petaluma next weekend. It's a very time intensive dress and I just don't have enough time.
Ah well, we do what we can.
Big news: Tomorrow is my big hair appointment which I am very nervous about. I'm going to have a TOTAL STRANGER cut my hair in a way that I do not have direct control over. This is not something I am accustomed to, so I'm going to have to do a lot of deep breathing before hand and listen to Joan Jett on the way down there (it's in Long Beach).
Then, I'm heading to LACMA to meet up with a friend. I haven't been there in forever, so that should be interesting.
Linda's having a Hanukkah dinner tomorrow night, so I'm going to go help out with that and, you know, do Hanukkah stuff (what is Hanukkah stuff? do I need to get presents?).
Anyways, on that note, I'm off to go run over to Randi's and meet with her on a super-secret mission. Whee!
Today started with a trip to the vet. Diva is holding up very well, considering that she's 98 human years old, but she has started leaking and after hearing this episode of Fresh Air on NPR, I decided to bring her in to make sure her leakage isn't related to a kidney problem or diabetes.
After $400 in blood and urine tests, we'll find out whether she needs special (likely expensive) medication.
The whole time, Diva is more unhappy than I've ever seen her. She was in a panic the whole time. It's hard to know if it is worth it... I mean, she's happy and doing pretty well most of the time, and then because she has one leakage problem, we go in and have her worst day ever. And I get to pay $400. Is this a good trade-off? I don't know. I wish I could ask her.
Once the terrifying vet trip was over, I went to the fabric store and bought several projects worth of fabric and notions. It was such a pain in the ass, since of course it was Black Friday and the place was a zoo. But I had set aside today and Sunday to work on these projects and damn it, I'm going to do it.
And voila! A pleasing pachyderm:
I made this for my friend/boss Amy, who is on maternity leave now. She's returning on December 7th or 8th and I wanted to give her a little something for little Lila. Looking at her Facebook photos, she sure is cute. I tried to match the colors with the colors in the photos... You can't really see, but the pattern is pink and green flowers with green eye buttons. (this pattern was in the book I bought, Sew Everything Workshop, which I strongly recommend)
And I also made some curtains, which I'll take a real photo of tomorrow, but here's a photo of the sewing:
They're great, since they match everything in the room and the pattern gives a liveliness where as the room was pretty solid and serious before. I think it's quite nice.
Tomorrow, I'll be moving until 4ish and then will be heading to the Museum of Jurassic Technology to meet up with a few people. Tomorrow night, it'll probably be another early night. I'm tuckering out at around 8pm these days... I'm turning into an old lady, I guess.
Sunday's the Farmers' Market! My first visit to our local Farmers' Market!!
If you read Heidi's 12 step program that I just posted, you will note that I get one allotted drunk snotfest. I'm not a sad drunk, so it's literally not possible for me to have a drunk snotfest, but I did feel it was important to go out with friends and have a few cocktails as a single person. You know, just so I remember that I can, in fact, leave the house and I do, in fact, have friends and these friends do, in fact, find my company to be pleasurable.
Last night was my snotfest night. I only had three cocktails, but after not drinking for several weeks, that's quite a few.
I woke up this morning curled up on the floor with my dog. It's not so much that I was drunk when I got home (three cocktails over four hours is still legal), but I just wanted to sleep next to a warm body.
It's Thanksgiving and I feel morose. It's time for the Glad Game.
Ok, I feel a lot better. I went out for a walk before I started the glad list and that lifted my spirits considerably.
What are you glad for?
As one of my new "I do what I want" resolutions, I've decided to get back into sewing. I already have a sewing machine that I bought a few years ago, but I've only used it to do crazy costumes and repair/alter clothes that are already made. This time, I'm going to start sewing my clothes like *I* think they should be: heavily square-dance influenced, mis-matched patterns, and durable (durable is important when you're having adventures).
This is the dress that inspired me to get back to sewing:
It's way cuter than it appears in the photo, because it's got some cute little stitching on the front. Unfortunately, I decided (stupidly) that the dress was too heavy to lug around all over Europe a few weeks ago, so I put it in a box and mailed it back to myself here... which was going to take 4 - 6 weeks. As far as I know, it has not yet arrived. :(
The love that I feel for the dress, however, inspired me to buy some square dance dress patterns and fill out the gaps in my sewing gear: 1. real sewing shears
2. pinking shears
3. some measuring tools
4. a self-healing mat
5. a rotor tool and some backup blades
6. my favorite -- a real dressform (this means I won't have to keep standing up and putting the dress on as I am sewing)
I also got a book on the beginner's guide to sewing. My granny taught me some things about sewing when I was 9 years old, but I think I've pretty much reached the limit of where those skills can carry me.
Now, it's just a matter of going to pick up my sewing machine and sewing gear from the ex's apartment... oh, and the rest of my stuff, too. This is posing to be quite a problem because of how terribly uncomfortable it is to go over there and how little I want to drive up to the Valley when it's all fun and cozy down here in Mid City. But, you know, I still have to go get all that stuff regardless of how uncomfortable it is, so I just have to brace myself and go in for the fetch.