Catching up … or “why did it take you so long to get back on the air?

I’ll be honest, Dear Readers … when I finally got my blog back, I was SHOCKED to realize how long it had been since it was hacked out from underneath me. Truly, the last real post of any substance dates back to 2011, almost four years ago now! And I’ve already moaned in another post about the hackers who attacked my site (may they forever rot in … wherever evil hackers go when they die … hopefully to a low-rent trailer with no AC down in the panhandle of Florida, sentenced to live without a computer for the rest of eternity … surrounded by a bunch of retired, red-neck tourists with chronic health problems, who are all Luddites, and who constantly explain things that they know nothing about … while they eat dinner at 4:30, moan about how the “Liberals” AND the “Conservatives” are screwing it up for the “decent people” … and who want to constantly talk to THEM about every single bit of it!!…in painful detail!!!) and how those &%$@#’s shut me out of my blog completely … when this was my first WordPress blog (running solo, not through WP.org), and I had no clue how to throw them out instead. I tried a couple of times but failed to kick them out–at least for long–and then I finally threw up my hands and started looking for help.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Okay, I’ve seen you pit cherries with a coffee pot stem, smoke BBQ in a flower pot with a hot plate, make jelly out of weeds you pulled out of a ditch bank, drive thousands of miles in a single trip, and all sorts of other amazing things here in this blog! How were YOU not able to find help with tossing the hacker out for good?

Well, the honest answer is … I got busy doing other things! :)

I’ve still been canning, of course. In fact, I’ve got a BUNCH of canning I need to get busy documenting here (including home-canned dog food) so that I can share the recipes with all of you. I’ve also been writing on other projects. For example, I’ve recently submitted a short story for potential publication in a “Seattle Myths” collection. I’m also 320 pages or so into a new murder mystery, too, as well as creating several different art projects like this screen for our hot tub, built out of 8′ solid wood doors recycled from an old building downtown :)

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And this beauty, still in progress: a combo kitchen island prep table–complete with a marble slab for breads, surrounded by butcher block sections that I’m building myself. I’ll post more pictures once I finish it, but these should give you the idea :)

Here’s the beginnings of it. I took a $20 dog kennel I bought at a thrift store, and married to a heavy-duty rolling library cart I found at an auction for $5. Then I added in the plywood floor and carpet inside, and topped the whole thing off with a platform up top to build on/attach the the rest of it to. That way, the top will ultimately be one solid piece that can be lifted out of the rolling cart … if the need ever arises, that is.

The dog kennel part, with the beginnings of the kitchen work top

Then I came in on the top with a marble slab, and with homemade butcher block built from 1×2 ash stripping, glued together with food-safe glue.

My combo kitchen island and dog kennel

It’s not completely finished yet. I’m still sanding on the butcher block (by hand) before I finish it, but we couldn’t wait. We’re already using the rest of it! :)

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However, those projects–all combined–have only taken a fraction of my time in the last four years, especially when compared to my #1 project: which has been …

…being grandma to four teenagers! :)

Yes, it’s true! Our daughter and son-in-law were only able to have one child on their own, despite the fact that they wanted a houseful. Life just conspired against them, unfortunately, and–despite the occasional mention of adoption, just like sooo many couples will do on occasion–they’d never really made any moves in that direction, so I figured they kept talking themselves out of it …

… until right about the time my blog died, which was roughly the same time when my daughter called me and said “We’re canceling the vacation we had planned to Alaska … because we’re starting our classes with DFCS, so that we can get approved to foster-to-adopt some kids.”

When her dad and I first heard, we were flabbergasted/excited/pleased/concerned/and about a million other emotions, all wrapped up in one great big “WOW!!” We helped when/where they needed us to along the process, and just tried to support them as they finished their classes and started looking though all the public case histories of the kids who were available through their state, trying to keep them sane through all the grueling process, and asking the people at the state–and themselves–all the right questions … all along the way.

My daughter told me early in their classes that the biggest need they could see in the system was for families willing to foster (and foster-to-adopt) family groups that included older children/teenagers. We had plenty of conversations about why that was true, too. Most people who adopt want babies. They want someone they can influence as totally as they can, despite not sharing genetics with their adopted child. And I get that, trust me! Then–when they can’t get babies–most adoptive families prefer very young ones who *hopefully* weren’t too damaged by their previous bad home environment. They usually don’t want teenagers, especially teenagers who’ve lived through a bunch of BS with their bio-parents. Most kids like that have problems with abandonment issues and a lot more … PLUS, they’re hormonal, too. It can make them a volatile choice.

So, we had lots of talks about what it was going to be like adopting an existing family unit that included teenagers … and incorporating them into their own household/with their own child. It was a huge undertaking, and everyone–including my kids–knew that there was potential in that situation for big problems … potential problems they were choosing bring home with them, to live in their house with their own 11-yo. They went in eyes-open, but they were determined to see the process through nonetheless.

Once they finished their classes and were certified, the first family unit they were interested in/explored just didn’t work out. It wasn’t because of the kids themselves, but because of documented and ongoing problems being caused by some of the other members of their family. Their constant involvement in (and aggravation of) the situation made our kids finally tell DFCS “thanks but no thanks” on that group of potential adoptees … but at that same meeting, the regional supervisor said, “then let me tell you about another set of kids who’ve spent the last three years in a group home … and not for the first time. They’ll be officially available for adoption for the first time tomorrow morning, right after the judge signs the final paperwork, stripping their family’s last rights to them.”

Less than a week later, they had their first meeting with the children who would–less than two months later–move in with them for good … the kids who–barely a year later–became ours by adoption! In other words, with one stroke of a judge’s pen … we went from having (in current ages) one 13-yo grandkiddo … to having one 16-yo grandkiddo, one 15-yo grandkiddo, and a PAIR of 13-yo grandkiddoes! And when any one of them asks me “Mema, how did Momma and Daddy know we were the right kids for them to adopt?” … I always say … ‘Easy! Because your Mom called me the SECOND she walked out from meeting you for the first time … crying … and saying ‘Momma, I did NOT want to leave those kids BEHINDDD!!! I want them to go home with us RIGHT NOW!!!'” :)

Since the first weekend the kids came to stay with them, I’ve spent a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of time on the road between here and there, and there getting to know them as individuals and as a group. Their granddad and I made the commitment to get me there as often as my crippled old body would allow–and him there as much as he could be, too–so that we could also be a big part of their lives going forward. With my back injury and migraines, there have been times when I felt like I couldn’t take one more step behind them, trying to keep up, but I’ve managed to do it even when I thought I couldn’t. And I absolutely adore those four kids, too! I have a lot of fun with them! And, sure, they’ve had their issues along the way. Nothing as drastic as shoving two groups of three people together and making them into a family of six–plus their Pepa and I–will ever go completely smooth … but it’s been a lot smoother than I EVER expected it to be! Plus, the kids are absolutely THRIVING there! They’re no longer “the kids from the group home who have to take special ed in public school” because they had no other choice, and didn’t care one bit either. After all, no one in their entire extended bio-family had ever even graduated from high school, and they’d spent six years in foster care, too. They didn’t care about school because no body cared about them! But now they’re being homeschooled instead, and given a lot of individual attention … so their grades are all WAY up! Up to where they should be! And that’s NOT because they’re getting special treatment. You can ask them. Their mom’s a tough grader, too :)

So if you were wondering if I’ve just been sitting around bemoaning the loss of my blog these last four years … the answer is “yes” to a certain extent! That’s why I kept paying the hosting charges/domain registration every year, and why I kept mentioning my WordPress woes to friends along the way, hoping I’d find a “John” one day, just like I ultimately did. And I kept hoping I could get it back one day, but I definitely have NOT just been sitting around all that time. I’ve been a busy canner, cook, writer, artist, inventor, wife, mom, puppy mom, and grandmother … and loving every minute of it :)

 

More soon! :)

About Lane

Just a canner ... on this food journey called life :)
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