This is a partial transcript from the urbanMamas Podcast, Episode 3. To hear the full story about boobs, fruit hacks, chickens and a rant about gratitude, click here. Want to listen online and not via iTunes? Click here. Or subscribe to the urbanMamas Podcast on iTunes. And hey, while you’re in there, we’d love it if you’d leave us a review! We’d be ever so GRATEFUL!
This picture will make sense in a few minutes... keep reading.
(Rae Ann) Hi.
(Kelli) How's it going?
(Rae Ann) Good. How are you?
(Kelli) I'm good. I'm tired. I'm working on cup of coffee #2, readying myself for #3.
(Rae Ann) Oh man, I am like 6 shots in and then I took Stella out for a donut, so I've got the sugar high to go with. I was on my way over and practically shaking while I was driving and singing to the music really loud and I was like "Oh I'm gonna KILL IT this morning! I'm so ON!"
(Kelli) And you look fabulous.
(Rae Ann) I'm in my pajamas! I'm not wearing a bra! I only had to be in public to buy a donut which wasn't in the plan. So I wasn't planning to be in the public eye. I was just gonna see you.
(Kelli) And I'm not public.
(Rae Ann) No you're not.
(Kelli) You've got about 20 steps in between your car and my front door.
(Rae Ann) Exactly. And hell, I've seen your boobs. So, we're good.
(Kelli) Wait, you've seen my? ... you have seen my boobs. Yeah, nursing moms. We've all seen our breasts. And we still get an uproar about it when one pops out in public.
(Rae Ann) I know isn't that so stupid. I don't know who's uproaring about it though, I mean it's not me or anybody I know, but ..
(Kelli) Yeah, people still are. But as diverse as women are, our boobs are still pretty much the same. Like, you've seen, 5 different boob types, and you've seen em all!
(Rae Ann) Totally.
(Kelli) Yes there's variances, areolas -- we weren't going to talk about boobs, how'd we get into boobs?
(Rae Ann) I don't know but we should totally go with this. And the other thing too it's like the boobs type, and then the ages of boobs. We all swam at the public pool when we were kids and showered in the locker room and as kids, wide-eyed, taking in all the kinds of boobs.
(Kelli) Personally I'm really looking forward to seeing what my boobs are like when I'm 70. Cause I don't know. I haven't lived through that yet. They've changed through the years. They're different than they were pre-nursing. They're different than they were -- they're better.
(Rae Ann) Mine are better too.
(Kelli) They know who they are now.
(Rae Ann) Oh I think mine just look better and feel better. From a pure vanity perspective they're better.
(Kelli) Good talk. Boob talk.
(Kelli) So we're in November now, November is a month for a lot of things. One of them is it's National Pomegranate Month.
(Rae Ann) Yessss.
(Kelli) Have you seen the trick about removing pomegranate seeds?
(Rae Ann) Oh my god, which one?
(Kelli) The one where there's a YouTube video and the guy is really animated, he's so excited about it. He cuts it in half, flips it over a bowl, and then gets out a wooden spoon and just starts thwacking it. And it's like a 7 minute video for this pomegranate seed hack (Kelli’s note: it was actually 4 minutes -- still too long), and he's really excited and he goes to great detail to show how easy it is, which I find interesting, because it's such detail to show how simple something is. But it does work, so, I've done it. I used to painstakingly pick each one out when I was a kid, one at a time and all that white filament stuff would get everywhere. You seriously cut it in half, flip it over a bowl, smack it with a wooden spoon a few times -- kinda pull at the sides a little -- and the seeds just dump out.
Kelli here. This is the super excited fruit hack man I referenced in the podcast. But if you want a more concise video to show you how to most efficiently thwack the seeds out of your pomegranate, go here.
(Rae Ann) Huh.
(Kelli) It's amazing.
(Rae Ann) There's like so many tricks. A couple of years ago the girls and I got totally lost in YouTube looking up how to eat a pomegranate, and there's so many different ways, it's ridiculous.
(Kelli) Just fruit hacks in general. Like did you know you've been eating an apple wrong all these years? You have. You've been eating an apple wrong. I haven't even seen you eat an apple, but you've been doing it wrong, Rae Ann.
(Rae Ann) How do you eat an apple properly?
(Kelli) You eat it from the bottom.
(Kelli) Because then you can eat essentially all of it. Like, there's no core left. And I've seen people do this now. One of my hiking partners she eats an apple like this and there is nothing left.
(Rae Ann) What?
(Kelli) Like, except for the seeds. Spit out the seeds. But you could go ahead and eat em, you get a lot of em I guess they'd make you sick, but ... you start from the bottom! You end up with a lot less waste. And then there's that corn hack. You know you cut off the end of the corn, and then the husk, husk? Ears? Whatever. Just slides right off. So you don't have to shuck the corn one piece at a time.
(Rae Ann) What about the strings, do they come off too?
(Kelli) Yeah! They come off! Cause they're attached to the husk.
So much information!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOWeYwDvr0Y
(Rae Ann) Okay, fruit hacks. You have spent time on this.
(Kelli) It finds me. There's one with a banana, too, and apparently we've been eating bananas wrong.
(Kelli) What are some other things that are happening this month? It's Vegan Month.
(Rae Ann) Go vegans. Pet Cancer Awareness Month.
(Kelli) That's close to home.
(Rae Ann) Come on, Dex!
(Kelli) Dexter, beloved big dog here, he's had this growth on his ... well it's essentially on his butt. Right by his tail. And it started out about baseball size, emerged really quickly over the summer. And the vet thought it was a hematoma and it wouldn't go away. And she's like don't worry, it's just filled with old blood. And then we took it in --
(Rae Ann) You took the tumor in?
(Kelli) We walked the tumor in to the vet ... a little leash around it. Actually, I've been daydreaming and kind of wanting to illustrate -- I just keep imagining there's a little baby Dexter brewing inside that lump! And how cute would that be? He'd just pop his little puppy head out and Dexter has a furever friend.
(Rae Ann) A furever friend, born of his tumor.
(Kelli) So yes, it's a tumor. We took him in, we put in a drain, the drain didn't work cause there's nothing to drain. It's a soft tissue sarcoma. So it is a tumor and it is massive. This thing is almost 11cm across. It's big. And it seems like it's probably gonna be something that we live with, because of where it's located. We could go in to surgery, but there's a really good chance that even if it was removed that it would just come back. And that the surgery itself could inhibit his mobility. And it could end up being a lot worse for him, as opposed to just keeping it and monitoring it, and as it gets bigger, trying to keep him comfortable. So. Yeah, Pet Cancer Awareness Month. I'm aware. And learning the ins and outs of pet insurance to go along with it. So hopefully that will kick and provide some relief.
Follow Kelli on Instagram and find more great pics of #DexterPDX.
(Rae Ann) I wonder if I can get that for my chickens, and the ducks.
(Kelli) That would be amazing.
(Rae Ann) That would be so Portland. Some guy selling chicken insurance!
(Kelli) We've got your raccoon coverage, your fox - wait do we have foxes?
(Rae Ann) No I don't think so.
(Rae Ann) Rats.
(Kelli) Claw coverage.
(Rae Ann) Chicken against chicken coverage.
(Kelli) Cock coverage.
(Rae Ann) I'm integrating a couple of chickens into our existing flock right now and it's been really really hard to watch.
(Kelli) They're mean to each other.
(Rae Ann) They're so mean! And they're picking on this one. All of the birds are like rescues -- this has got to stop by the way. I keep telling my kids, if we get any more we're bordering on hoarding. This is not okay.
(Kelli) You fowl hoarder.
(Rae Ann) Exactly. We keep rescuing these birds and it's got to stop, so we're done. Don't call me. But, we got these two or three, three other ones recently, so I don't know the breeds, and one of them is like those really fluffy chickens that are like on chicken calendars and stuff.
(Rae Ann) I don't know. Is that the name of the chicken or the calendar?
(Kelli) Chicken of the month.
(Rae Ann) She's really fluffy and she has feathers over her ... not paws, not claws.
(Kelli) Claws. Chicken feet.
(Rae Ann) They're chicken feet! She has feathers over them. So when she walks it's like she's wearing flippers almost. But much more graceful.
(Kelli) Or like those sexy Hollywood starlet slippers. Like mini feather boas for her chicken feet.
(Rae Ann) Exactly. Well that's gonna be all that's left soon, cause she's totally getting picked on.
(Kelli) That's so sad.
(Rae Ann) She's gonna be low in the pecking order I think. It's hard to watch.
(Kelli) Did I ever tell you my gross chicken story?
WARNING: THIS STORY IS FOWL. yuk yuk yuk
(Rae Ann) No.
(Kelli) So I don't eat meat anymore, for the most part. I brake for prosciutto now and again. But I don't eat chicken. And I used to eat it all the time. But then I had chickens. And right before I got divorced my ex he got a dog, a little dog, named him Posey, after Buster Posey. And the chickens would always roam in the yard and on the patio. And one evening I was in the kitchen doin my thing, and I saw out of the corner of my eye, one of the chickens was walking across the patio. This was Natalie. They were named after the Dixie Chicks, of course. So Natalie Maines, she was walking across the patio. And I saw her out of the corner of my eye and something didn't look quite right, so I did one of those triple takes, and looked closer and her entire back was missing.
(Rae Ann) Whhhat?
(Kelli) Gone. The dog, Posey, had essentially held her down, and ate her back, off of her back.
(Rae Ann) God!
(Kelli) So yeah, I could see down to her wing bones. She obviously passed away pretty immediately after that. And then I moved out, and shortly thereafter he went after another chicken and brought in a chicken leg. So yeah, chicken farming in Portland, it's not just clean and here's your happy eggs and happy home. It's got shit you gotta deal with. (coins in the swear jar)
(Rae Ann) Yeah, we had to butcher some chickens this summer. They were just old, and we had babies coming up in to the flock and they weren't taking in the babies the way I needed them to, and if you're not laying anymore, you know.
(Kelli) Did you eat them?
(Rae Ann) No. I could not handle eating them. But the friend who helped me butcher them, I gave them to him. And I don't want to know what happened after that. It was a really hard process. And I was really proud of my kids. Ivy was going in there and she's the one who's the most attached of the two girls to the birds. But she would go in there and she would pick them up, and bring them up, and she was petting them and she was mumbling and I kind of caught in to what she was mumbling at one point. And she was like "Thank you for all of the eggs. You've been really great. I'm gonna miss you. And I love you. And maybe you can come visit me when you become a butterfly." It was this whole really super sweet she did. And she did it with each of them. She would then just hand them over to the friend who came over to help butcher them, and she stood there, and she watched, and then once we had gotten the feathers and stuff, she picked up a feather from each of them, and it's in a jar in our back hallway on a memorial table.
(Kelli) That's amazing.
(Rae Ann) It was super sweet. It made me feel like, gosh, she gets it. She gets the whole circle of life thing. But she has a lot of reverence for it, and respect, and I don't know, I feel like she's very in tune with the way nature is.
(Kelli) It was a good experience for her. You know it's really hard to deal with these pet loss conversations with children, and lord knows I've had them with my kids. The hamster incident, I replaced their dead hamster with another one and then THAT ONE DIED. Not cool. So I had buck up and tell them about it, but I think that it gives them a really healthy perspective on the life cycle and their place in it. And not being afraid. And just honoring it, giving honor to the life and their contribution, whether it be a chicken, or a hamster, or a human.
(Rae Ann) Right. Well and I think that these are really good ways for them to be introduced to death and life cycles, before they do lose a person very close to them. I mean I know obviously you can't go in any particular order, cause these things are unexpected.
(Kelli) But if you can arrange it!
(Rae Ann) Yes! If you can coordinate this before you lose a loved one, try to lose a pet first.
(Kelli) Let's start with a beta fish. Then you graduate to a lizard.
(Rae Ann) A rodent. Then the lizard.
(Kelli) Okay rodent, then lizard, then upgrade to your normal backyard fowl, chickens and ducks, whathaveyou.
(Rae Ann) Maybe chickens then ducks. Ducks are really cute.
(Kelli) The pictures of your ducks on Instagram, be-still my quacking heart. So cute.
Mingo: the not-so-tiny duckling that just wants to cuddle. Rae Ann posts a lot of duck pics on Insta… and other things too. Look her up and request to follow: itsrae.
(Rae Ann) And what's super funny is our first one, Pips, is a Bantam, so she's like really tiny. She's the size of a Nerf football. Maybe. And the other one that we just got is a Moscovi duck, she's still only like a couple of months old but she's like a turkey dinner goose. She's big. And she's gonna get bigger. Like probably knee-height. But she still thinks she's a duckling. So she like pads up to you on her little feet and then she wants you to pick her up and so you pick her up, but then you have like a goose in your arms. And she'll nuzzle, and she's really sweet. And she hates to be separated from Pips. So if they're apart, she'll totally freak out and start turning circles.
(Kelli) So it's grateful month.
(Rae Ann) Yay.
(Kelli) Yaaaaay. We're so grateful. For ev-ery-thing, so cue the FB updates.
(Rae Ann) Ugh. I hate that.
(Kelli) Okay, this is the start of a rant. I am a very grateful person. I believe that I am.
(Rae Ann) Mmhmm.
(Kelli) And I do try to live that way, every day, because I ... wouldn't be who I am without the help and the support and the love from my community and my people. I don't feel that we need to have one month where then we start blasting our gratitude across social media with something different each day. It belittles the bigness of the gratitude. So I roll my eyes. I roll my eyes at all of the grateful posts. I'M SORRY for everybody out there, I'm not trying to bash YOU specifically, and your names are popping in to my head, I love you and I am grateful for you guys. But I wanna hide you in the entire month of November!
(Rae Ann) I feel like that's okay to do. I mean it cleans up your FB feed every November! You can just start hiding them, and if you miss them you can bring them back in December, but if you don't ...
(Kelli) Then I feel some kind of weird like, I'm the ungrateful bitch - gah, goddammit, that's two -- (swear jar) I'm the ungrateful one because I'm not committing to that, I'm not participating in this social media activity, then I must not be grateful.
(Rae Ann) I struggle with it too, because, as someone who works in social media there is this kind of pressure to participate all things social media all year round, which can be REALLY exhausting.
(Kelli) It's exhausting work. Yeah, exactly. That's just one trend I don't think we hop all over. Because I think people need to live a life of gratitude 365.
(Rae Ann) Exactly. But stepping back a little bit, it feels like then we're imposing on people what we feel for ourselves, and that can't be true for everyone ... I guess there has to be the balance of the people like us who ...
(Kelli) Don't start bringing in the voice of reason!
(Rae Ann) I'm not trying to goddammit. (swear jar) I'm not trying to. But! Like, maybe there are people who are not grateful for what they have every day, and they need a month to remember. And honestly, I'd rather those people recognize one month a year what they do have.
(Kelli) Okay. Point taken.
(Rae Ann) But you know? I don't want to see it! I don't want to fucking see it (swear jar).
(Kelli) All kinds of fired up!
(Rae Ann) All the sugar and the shots.
(Kelli) Look at what this gratitude's done to you.
(Rae Ann) Gratitude made me do it.
(Kelli) So feel free to chime in. What are your thoughts on this whole social media trend of listing everything you're grateful for every day of the month in November?
(Rae Ann) I don't know, I think it would be better to start a campaign for November, if you feel like you have to do something grateful every day of the month, start talking to your people.
(Kelli) Go tell them!
(Rae Ann) Go tell one person that you're grateful for them and how they've impacted your life. Or write a letter!
(Kelli) Letters, yes!
(Rae Ann) Don't put it on social media, maybe just write it on a post-it and put it in the mail.
(Kelli) I love that idea! Rae Ann, I'm grateful for you, by the way.
(Rae Ann) I'm grateful for you, too.
(Kelli) November challenge!
(Rae Ann) Okay!
(Kelli) You start writing postcards, or letters, call people! And tell the that you're grateful for them.
(Rae Ann) Yeah. And I think we can't use a computer. So no texts, no Facebook, so see? Yeah. We're doing this, right? We're both doing this? We should do this with the kids.
(Kelli) Totally. Yes. November Grateful Challenge. Get off social media and show your people that you're grateful for them. Postcards, mailing, get your kids involved. Let's do it.
(Rae Ann) Okay we're doing it.
(Kelli) High five. See? Rant led to something productive!
(Rae Ann) So I want to talk about Thanksgiving holiday stuff, and I think we're gonna do a more expansive episode on this later, but. What's your, like, you're divorced. And now you're partnered. And ... I'm divorced. (silence) I'm divorced. And then your ex-husband has a partner and there's kids in that relationship and so there's this whole blended family, happy dance thing happening over there. And, so you're juggling something completely different from what I'm juggling, but how do you do it? What's your Thanksgiving plan?
(Kelli) Yeah, well, Thanksgiving has always been much more significant to my ex-husband's family. It's a bigger production, a bigger deal, he has a larger immediate family that -- it's just an important holiday. It's his favorite holiday.
(Rae Ann) Maybe he wants to do our November Challenge.
(Kelli) I really doubt it. When we were laying out our parenting plan and the holiday thing, we each got designated holidays. Like, Halloween's really important to me (even though I didn't have them this year), normally that's my holiday with them. Thanksgiving he always has them. Christmas we split, blah blah blah. So what I have done the last few years, we've had a misfits Thanksgiving. So the kids go off with their dad, and we put together a friends Thanksgiving with just people that don't necessarily have a place to go. And it's been so wonderful. We've had a core group of people, and then there's different people that come in to it, it's been varying degree of sizes. This will be our 4th year doing it. And everybody brings something to contribute. I've pretty much done the turkey every year. Which is funny, because ...
(Rae Ann) You don't eat it!
(Kelli) But I like making it! And our friend Greg he makes awesome mashed potatoes, Tim does a really great stuffing, and there's eggnog and whathaveyou.
(Rae Ann) Fun! The pictures always look super fun. Like it looks like a really great group of people.
(Kelli) It's an awesome community and it's a fun thing. So this year it'll either be here or at a friend's house. And you should join us!
(Rae Ann) Ooooh. That's a very good offer. I don't ever have my kids on Thanksgiving. Of course, you know, with the divorce there's so much emotion and charge that comes with the splitting up, and then you have to go through this gut-wrenching process of realizing you're suddenly not going to see your kids on certain holidays, and you've never not seen them before. Whether you care about the holiday or not, this is not what you pictured. So, that sucks. And it was a really big deal right when it happened. And now it's like, meh. I won't ever have my kids on Thanksgiving. I'm totally cool with it. I really like finding the coffee shops that are open Thanksgiving morning and I definitely know which bars are open Thanksgiving night, which is most of them cause it's Portland. And it's always a fun group of people that you meet when you go. And then my family has been super accommodating. So we do our family Thanksgiving on Friday, so the day after. The kids come back to me on Friday morning and we head over to my parent's ...
(Kelli) So you still have it?
(Rae Ann) So there's still something that happens, yeah. It's just that one particular day you can't really call anyone, cause they're with their families. And so I've kind of made it this one day where I just do my deal, and I kind of love it.
(Rae Ann) But yes! I'd love to come to misfits Thanksgiving for sure. And i have a really good traditional family recipe for corn pudding that I'll make and bring.
(Kelli) YESSSS. Oh and there's pie. I will make pie.
(Rae Ann) I will make a pecan pie.
(Kelli) I'm very grateful for Dexter. I'm gonna write you a postcard. And I'll mail it to your dog bed.
Friday, November 14th
Free Italian Language Mommy and Me Playgroup in NW PDX. Chidlren ages 18-36 months and their caregivers can sing, dance, play, and enjoy simple crafts while being immersed in Italian. Free. Friday 10-11am.
Kids Yoga in North Portland. Kids' classes this month will focus on the principle of grounding, with poses and indigenous stories celebrating the earth and what it produces. $12 drop in. Friday 4:15-5pm (ages 6-10) and 5:15-6pm (ages 3-6).
Friday Night Films For Kids at Poa Cafe. Take a break and let your kids watch a free family-friendly film. Friday 5-7pm.
Opening Night of Tears of Joy Theatre's Alice in Wonderland. This original adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tale, told with puppets, is sure to captivate. $13-22. Friday at 7:30pm and throughout the weekend.
Saturday, November 15th
GirlFest 2014 at the Expo Center. It's the biggest Girl Scout celebration of the year, with activities like learning to skateboard, driving a submarine, controlling a robot, and more. All are welcome. $10-15. Saturday 10am-4pm.
Guided Forest Nature Walk at Tryon Creek. Learn more about crows, ravens, and jays during this week's guided nature walk. Free. Saturday 10-11:30am.
Kids Storytime with Rilla at Powell's. Author and illustrator Rilla shares her picture book The Best Book in the World. Free. Saturday 11am-12pm.
Fall Art Festival and Family Day in NW PDX. Join the Pacific Northwest College of Art for family-friendly art activities, snacks, and more. Activities including crafting a robot, making prints and patterns, and face painting. Free. Saturday 11:30am-2pm.
KCPuppetree Presents Quwi and Zorro: A Peruvian Tale, in North Portland. This puppet show is a bilingual show about a clever guinea pig and a not so clever fox. $5-10. Saturday 6-7pm.
Sunday, November 16th
The Alphabeticians at Cafe au Play. Sing, dance, and learn the alphabet backwards and forwards with this ever-entertaining duo. $5/child. Sunday 10-11am.
Annual Books and Bagels Featuring The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol in SW PDX. Enjoy folktales told by Portland storyteller Eric Kimmel. $20/family or $5/child and $10/adult. Sunday 11:30am-1pm.
Kindie Bands Play Date! and Mo Phillips Perform at The Village Ballroom. Check out the Parent's Choice Award-winning kindie duo and local favorite Mo Phillips at this interactive show. $7/person. Sunday 4pm.
Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization
Everything you need to know about healthy Thanksgiving side dishes. Sample 2BWell's very own cooking genius, Maryam Milani-Baladi's, delicious food and leave with more food and a jar of fermented veggies.
Saturday Nov 15th, from 4 to 6:30 PM
Head over to the post in the giveaways to enter to win 2 tickets to this fantastic class!
This is a partial transcript from the urbanMamas Podcast, Episode 2 with Sabrina Williamson, mom to 6 year old Ollie. To hear the full story about adoption, Halloween candy, dead rats, lice, and your uterus, click here to listen or subscribe to the urbanMamas Podcast on iTunes. Want to listen online and not via iTunes? Click here.
Sabrina and her list of resources. Links below.
(Kelli) So today we'd like to welcome Sabrina, a friend of mine from a very long time. Hi Sabrina.
(Kelli) How's it going?
(Kelli) Awesome. Rae Ann, do you wanna break the ice?
(Rae Ann) Yes! This is where we have the Icebreaker Hat with all of these random questions in it and you get to draw one and answer it.
(Sabrina) These scare me.
(Rae Ann) They should! They're terrifying.
(Sabrina) Oh! Well that's easy.
(Rae Ann) Oh well then put it back you've gotta do a different one.
(Sabrina) How often do I shower? (whispers) Everyday.
(Rae Ann) Seriously?
(Sabrina) Yes I have to! I have disgusting hair!
(Rae Ann) You wash your hair every day, too?!
(Sabrina) I can't even, yes, I can't even shower at night. If I shower at night and go to bed I wake up with greasy nasty hair.
(Rae Ann) You have to go.
(Kelli) You're the cleanest person here. I went mushrooming yesterday in the wilderness of Mt. Hood while it was pissing down -- can we say pissing?
(Rae Ann) Yeah!
(Kelli) Pissing down rain, and I still haven't showered.
(Rae Ann) That's like a Portland, OR shower.
(Kelli) I went to the football game after mushrooming and I found dirt in my ear. Like large chunks of earth.
(Rae Ann) And you still went to bed like that?
(Sabrina) Such a hippie! No, I can't do it. I have a hard time with camping. Like, 2 days max.
(Kelli) How often does your child shower?
(Sabrina) Oh he bathes a lot. But we don't wash, we don't shampoo ...
(Rae Ann) What is a lot?
(Sabrina) Like, every other day.
(Rae Ann) NO! We cannot be friends! Shutting this down right now.
(Sabrina) Right now it's every other, but before it was every night because of his hair, we'd have to condition it every night. But now we're locking his hair, so you can't shampoo it.
(Kelli) What does that mean, locking his hair?
(Sabrina) Dreading. But before when he had his big fro it was condition condition detangle ... every night.
(Rae Ann) I have two girls who had hair. And they got lice. We all got lice a few weeks ago.
(Sabrina) That is my biggest nightmare.
(Rae Ann) Horrible. Horrifying. I was crying and begging the universe for another grown up for days. But, both of them decided on their own, independently they wanted to shave their heads. And I was like, I was so thrilled. I'm so happy. Like, the school year is in lockdown. We will probably never get lice again now.
Rae Ann's girls: Aww! So cute, right?!
(Sabrina) Did you have that lady come, that somebody you can hire ... delouses ...
(Rae Ann) No! Because she's like $95 an hour. There's no way.
(Kelli) I've heard it's worth it though, especially if you're a house that gets it pretty routinely. That always seemed to be the case growing up for certain families.
(Rae Ann) I never had it. Not until my kids brought it home. And it was horrifying.
(Kelli) Here's the solution: Don't bathe your children. And then! The lice are so grossed out, they won't take up residence. It's science.
(Kelli) One of the things you do really well, you're the queen of captions.
(Sabrina) That's it. I don't write anything else. Just captions.
(Kelli) Doesn't matter. Cause your captions are amazing.
(Sabrina) I can't even type. True story.
(Kelli) So let's talk about your kid. Ollie.
(Sabrina) He's 6. He's a rockstar.
(Kelli) Give us a little backstory.
(Sabrina) He's a cool kid. He's, ah, adopted. From Ethiopia. And he's our only. Maybe someday he'll have a sibling, but we're not there yet. I don't know.
(Kelli) So I have to ask you, was adoption easy?
(Sabrina) Oh I hate that question! Cause no one wants to sit and listen to the answer? You see them glaze over and they just want a quick answer.
(Kelli) Is that like the most frequently asked question?
(Sabrina) No, there's lots. Or how much? How much was it? How much was he? There's so many questions, but I don't know. You just know when people are trying to -- they don't know what else to say!
(Kelli) Oh my god, did you know that he's black? And you're white?!
(Rae Ann) Is he yours?
(Sabrina) Is he yours, that happens a lot. That one doesn't bother me so much. Is he yours? Cause, I guess if they wait 5 minutes and see how we interact they'd figure it out. But you see people's faces, they're like what's happening here? Just take a minute and figure it out! Yes, he's mine.
(Kelli) Very much so.
(Sabrina) It gets crazy. Not so much here in Portland, though. We love Portland. We don't really get those questions. We've been here 4 years now and I can honestly say we never get those questions here.
(Rae Ann) So where do you hate? Where did you come from that you hate?
(Sabrina) I do love where I came from. But the second we brought Ollie home, we knew we had to go.
(Rae Ann) Oh wow. That had to have been a shocker.
(Sabrina) I grew up in Humboldt, that's how I know Kelli. I love Humboldt, great town. Beautiful. Very white. So white. Sooooo white.
(Rae Ann) Did that occur to you before you brought him home or during the adoption process?
(Sabrina) I mean obviously, the only people of any color are in the college, not in the elementary schools. I wasn't thinking that right away, like oh yeah, he is gonna be the only black kid in class. We weren't even there yet! We were just thinking, parents! New parents, what are we doing? We're adopting, we're having a kid, you know? But, he came home at 7 months. We have a great community of friends and family there, my mom's there, my brother's there. Everyone was super excited for us. We had a big fundraiser. Amazing. Great community. And then, not that our friends did anything weird or anything, just -- the community, everyone, it was like over-compensating. Everyone would approach us and would be like "We love black people!"
K and R: WHAT?!
(Sabrina) No joke.
(Rae Ann) Verbatim? Oh my god.
(Sabrina) That's not even made up. A lady in Costco, an older woman, we'll give her a little pass. She came up and had to tell us about her neighbors growing up were a black family and she loved them, and so she loves black people, and so, stuff like that, all the time.
(Kelli) Let me name all the black people that I know ...
(Sabrina) One hand!
(Sabrina) I could name them right now one hand. It's just a lot of pressure for a little one to grow up in. Maybe we don't get it so much now cause he's older and people do try to watch what they say in front of little kids, but ... Is he an AIDS baby? That happened twice.
(Rae Ann) Seriously?
(Sabrina) No joke. I don't know these people! They'd just approach us and everyone ...
(Rae Ann) This is BEEP blowing my mind! Totally going to the swear jar, I can't even ... people ...
(Kelli) Is he an AIDS baby!
(Kelli) I wouldn't even think to ask that!
(Sabrina) I know. And why I would I tell you anyway? Like, it's not your business.
(Kelli) Right. And you know, I have to say, from someone, another white woman who has white children, I can't share your experience. So even coming up with questions and stuff, I censor my own questions. Well what can I ask that is something that she can truly answer that will actually offer me perspective and isn't just, you know, creating conversation for the sake of conversation.
(Sabrina) It's complicated! And I've never really gotten mad at anyone, for asking a question. Questions are fine. Questions are good. They're better than ... not.
(Kelli) What kinds of questions have you received that actually led to really good conversation, or what kinds of question would you recommend people ask?
(Rae Ann) Or what do you just want people to know, I guess? That's kind of what I'm wondering too, like, if you didn't even have to deal with questions, what would you want to tell people?
(Sabrina) I just want to tell people to talk to your flippin kids about race. Like everyone's all hush hush. It doesn't exist. It's color blind. I'm color blind. I have to tell you that I love black people, cause I'm color blind ... but I don't see it. That stuff is just crazy to me. I don't know.
(Kelli) I had a girl in my sociology class in college and she sat in the back row and it was a conversation about race and I think it was a conversation about affirmative action or whatever, and she raised her hand and she was like "I just have to say, I don't even know what you're talking about because I don't see color." And I could feel my eyes pressing on the inside of the back of my head, that's how far back they had rolled.
(Kelli) Because you're not doing anybody any service by saying you don't see it. I understand you're trying to say, you know, we're all just people yadda yadda yadda kumbaya ...
(Sabrina) That you see it.
(Kelli) But the fact of the matter is I can pull up my arm next to Rae Ann's right now and go, she's darker than I am! She also has a tattoo that's right there and I don't have that, it's physical observations.
(Sabrina) You can see that. And my 2 year old, he was 2 when he said he wanted to be white like me.
(K and R) Awwwww.
(Sabrina) At that point he's just like, I wanna be like my mom and dad.
(Rae Ann) It's not any deeper than that.
(Sabrina) They see it. They know. And your kids know when Ollie walks in the door. They're fine with it, cause kids are fine with it. It's us that make it awkward.
(Kelli) They don't necessarily ascribe the same kinds of history to it.
(Sabrina) Yeah, they don't have that.
(Kelli) Or the judgment that has come with centuries and centuries of this profound racism. But they definitely see it. But I don't think my kids have ever once referenced, hey Ollie's parents are white and he's black. I don't think they've ever said, hey how come they're different ... so it's just not a front of the mind issue with them. They want to know if Ollie is going to be coming over to play. That's way more important! Because he's funny.
(Sabrina) He's a funny kid.
(Kelli) The kid can dance!
(Sabrina) Somebody told me once that boys are just noise with dirt on them. That's him exactly.
(Kelli) So you guys got out of Humboldt, and for people that don't know, Humboldt is Northern California, and no, not Northern California like San Francisco ...
(Sabrina) No, 5 hours north.
(Kelli) Yep, 5 hours north, so just below Oregon.
Fun fact: Kelli and Sabrina were on the same jump rope team in the 5th and 6th grades! The Pacific Union Pawpurrs (team name courtesy of Sabrina!)
(Sabrina) That was hard, we had to leave everyone. We had to leave our support system. We had to leave everything we've ever known. We were 30 years old. I thought I'd be there forever. I was fine with being there.
(Kelli) So why Portland?
(Sabrina) We have friends up here. And we had visited a lot. Our adoption agency is up here. That's another thing, we didn't use the agency in the area. Red flag number 1. They didn't have an Ethiopia program anyway. But even for our home study we used an agency from San Francisco that came all the way up. Just small town, small town weirdness. My husband had a job opportunity up here, and we had met a handful of families up here just because our agency is in Banks, but they did little picnics, you know awkward things you have to meet. But it's weird cause now I'm like totally in to that, and a part of the group, it's just Portland's awesome. We landed on MLK. We left a 5 bedroom house on 5 acres and landed in a one bedroom on MLK.
(Rae Ann) That's a big change.
(Sabrina) I liked it. I had a great time. My husband was not having it. Too small and crazy.
(Kelli) I got to go to the apartment. I really liked it, it was adorable, and also it was right there on the parade route for the Grand Floral Parade.
(Rae Ann) Awesome.
(Sabrina) Just with the adoption community and the Ethiopian community here. There's Ethiopian markets, the Ethiopian Christmas that's put on by one of the restaurants was right next door. And we went from having 2 cars to being a 1 car family. And I was like how am I going to get around this town and do all this stuff I wanted to do ... everything was right there! His Ethiopian dance class was two blocks away, like we couldn't have planned it better.
(Kelli) So how did you find the dance class?
(Sabrina) Probably through this group I'm a part of now, it's called EAFO. Ethiopian Adoptive Families of Oregon. It's just moms that try to coordinate cultural events, be a support group, you know when new families come home we bring meals. If there's ever anything like race talks at Kennedy School, we try to promote that. Anything, like symposiums, or whatever that are happening in Portland, we just try to have outlets for other adoptive families. And so through them, they were in contact with this lady Sonya, who owns Anjoni restaurant, Ethiopian restaurant, her niece started this little dance class. It's very informal. It's more of a culture class. They dance, too. But it's evolved. That started right when we moved here and we've been going since it began. So this is his fourth year of going. He still can't dance. It's fun! They're learning letters, and they read stories, Ethiopian stories. There's 30 kids on a given Saturday that all look like him. All ages, well not all ages. The older kids kinda drop out eventually. The oldest kid is probably around 8. A lot of little ones. And it's just this big space and they run around like crazy. There's two teachers, Brook and Hobin, they're both Ethiopian born that have lived here for quite awhile. And they're amazing. It's so nice. It's the best thing we do with the community for sure. Portland's been great that way. If you look for it. You could never run in to an Ethiopian here if you don't try ... There's so many cultural events out there. There's another group that puts on an Ethiopian New Year every year. It's a big picnic in Irving Park.
(Kelli) Who's that?
(Sabrina) Heber Ethiopia, I could be saying that wrong.
(Kelli) So why Ethiopia in particular?
(Sabrina) That's funny. I have always always always thought of adoption. Maybe more people dream of their weddings, I never ... I never wanted to birth a baby. It never crossed my mind at all. And I always thought Africa! At the time when we did it it was a very smooth process, it took a year and a half, which wasn't too bad.
(Kelli) So you started it before Ollie was even born?
(Sabrina) Oh yeah. And Dave luckily, my husband, was on board from the get go. It wasn't much of an arm twist.
(Kelli) So it's like he knew all along ...
(Sabrina) It might have something to do with Michael Jackson, probably. We are the world. I don't know, I just remember being like, 6, and seeing those awful commercials they used to run with the starving babies and ...
(Kelli) Uh huh, Sally Struthers.
(Sabrina) Totally. I mean it goes way back. Trippy. But Ethiopia is an amazing place. It's very loving.
(Kelli) So you've been just once?
(Sabrina) Just once.
(Kelli) Any plans to go back?
(Sabrina) We talk about going back a lot, it's just ... you know we want him to be old enough to really absorb it, and like take it in. We have quite a few friends now that have gone back. When we started, when we went through this we didn't know anyone that had gone, and we were there for almost 2 weeks and it was just kind of scary. And different. What are we doing? New baby! New parents! Kind of just overwhelming. So now if we went back it would be nice to just tour around, and visit. The process had changed. Ours was 6 years ago, and now I know so many friends that when they went they stayed for about 2 months. We didn't have to stay. Well you don't have to stay. You make two visits or you stay the whole time. Cause you have to do two different court things. So we have so many friends now that know their way around and know where to stay and know where to go, and it would be nice to go with them. Take all of our kids together. We were just talking last week at lunch with some friends about 2017.
(Kelli) That's not as far away as it sounds.
(Sabrina) But it's a pretty penny -- it's not a cheap flight. So it takes a lot of planning. But we will. Whether it's then or later, we'll definitely go back.
(Sabrina) I don't want to tell you about any hiccups. Cause you might not be listening, and you might go to the next person and be like ohhh adoption's so awful, it's so hard. You hear people, even family members tell all their people, oh it was so difficult. Difficult compared to what? Like, childbirth isn't easy.
(Rae Ann) It's so funny. I guess I feel like, I was going back a little bit when you were saying, be prepared for the whole answer, you have kind of your canned responses. I feel like I had a flashback to when I was a new mom and people would say like "how's it going? Are you getting enough sleep?" And you would just kinda sum it up and be like "It's going great! And we're getting okay sleep. Sleep when the baby sleeps, ha ha ha." Just to avoid having the conversation where you break down in tears and you're begging for a bottle of whiskey by the time you're done with the conversation.
(Kelli) It's over by the coffee pot.
(Rae Ann) Thank you. I saw it. So I feel like, that's a mom thing. But then you also have this additional pressure of representing a whole other process.
(Sabrina) That's the hard part.
(Rae Ann) You have to give respect and honor to, and you want other people to want to do too, like that's a lot of pressure.
(Sabrina) It is.
(Kelli) And it's personal.
(Sabrina) Everyone does it for different reasons. Like my reason was I don't want to birth a child. And a lot of people have other, you know maybe they tried for years. We all have our different things.
(Rae Ann) You get there a very personal way.
(Sabrina) Another nice thing about Portland and this group, we went through it, we didn't know anyone else as young as us that had. That was my first choice. That was my option. But now we know here that have done the same thing. I didn't think there was other women out there -- I had met anyone yet, anyway, that chose that from the get go.
(Kelli) You don't know until you start talking. And that's one of the reasons why we really wanted to do this today, is have these conversations -- (Dexter interrupts with licking and drooling and general cuteness)
(Sabrina) It's a hard thing for a lot of women to wrap their head around. I have an aunt that's just like, "Why didn't you want to birth children?" I don't know! I just don't.
(Rae Ann) I like how, whether you adopt or have your own kids, it still comes back to your uterus. Like let's talk about your uterus. What are you gonna do with that? What aren't you gonna do with that?
(Sabrina) Are you done with that? Take it or leave it, for me.
What else did we talk about??? Wouldn’t you like to know! Tune in to the full episode on iTunes and enjoy the luxury of listening when you want, pausing when you need, and tuning back in when it works for you.
Sabrina has shared some resources for Portland (and non-Portland) adoptive families. Thanks Sabrina!
and two of her favorite books at the moment:
Promises Kept, Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and Life, by Joe Brewster M.D. and Michele Stephenson, with Hilary Beard
Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man? by Charles Barkley