Raclette!

My parents gave me a nice little check for my birthday.

I proceeded to buy a very fancy raclette grill from Amazon:

Tejas’ ex-girlfriend Yvonne once served me a raclette dinner and I WAS HOOKED!

So I got all the groceries I needed from Whole Foods, including about $40 of raclette cheese.

I bought about 10 different kinds of cured meats including pancetta, sopressata, and calabrese.

Yum!

I also bought a bunch of picked foods – everything from tasty little cornichons to spicy pickled green beans.

I even bought Bubbies sauerkraut, which was an unusual choice for raclette, but one which I thought my family would appreciate.

Since my dad is a vegetarian, there was no cooking raw meat on the grill.

We used it only to melt the cheese into a pile of gooey goodness.

We poured it over toasted bread, new potatoes, pickled food, grilled veggies, and cured meats.

We added sauces like lemon basil, honey mustard, and teriyaki.

And boy was it all yummy!

I even bought two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for everyone to sip on.

The only disappointing part of the meal was that my youngest son missed it because he was at a friend’s house.

My eight year old nephew declared that it was THE BEST MEAL HE EVER HAD!

And, quite honestly, I had to agree with him.

But I literally fell asleep on my bed, in my street clothes, with the lights on thirty minutes after dinner.

Nothing like a full belly to rock oneself to sleep, eh?

Here’s a pic post-meal (I totally forgot to take one before we gorged ourselves).

A BIG THANK YOU TO YVONNE, who taught me everything I need to know about raclette and introduced me to it so I could introduce my family to it!

Mwah!

 

UPDATE:

We LOVED raclette so much, we had it a second night and I managed to snap a pic before we devoured it.  YUM!

Say cheese!

My birthday present to myself is actually a present for my family.

Months ago, when Tejas was dating Yvonne, she made a FABULOUS raclette dinner for us.

Raclette is a special cheese from Switzerland/France that becomes super gooey when heated.

It’s very tasty and is served over pickles, boiled potatoes, grilled vegetables, cured meats, etc.

I nearly died and went to heaven when Yvonne made it for us.

Now, I’m going to attempt to make it for my family.

I bought my raclette grill from Amazon for like $120.

I then proceeded to buy meats, cheese, vegetables, and sauces from Whole Foods to the tune of $200.

I know.

I overindulge.

Then I get mad when my boys complain because I put so much effort and money into making a nice meal for the family.

This meal is perfect because while my dad is a vegetarian, he does eat cheeses and I imagine he’ll love eating raclette cheese poured over various pickled green beans, cornichons, potatoes, and grilled vegetables.

I’m hoping the novelty of cooking their own food at the table will encourage my boys to enjoy what is an unusual meal for them.

Considering all the different meats I bought, there should be something that appeals to them – prosciutto, sopressata, calabrese, pepper crusted roast beef, black forest ham, pancetta, mortadella, and more!

And then there’s the sauces: green goddess dressing, carrot-ginger miso dressing, teriyaki sauce, madras curry sauce, lemon basil simmer sauce, and honey mustard.

So cross your fingers and pray that everyone enjoys the meal.

Lord knows I will be disappointed if they don’t.

Butterfly

So.

I posted “I’m my own f*cking problem” mere hours ago and already I’ve been deluged with responses from people basically saying YES.

Now.

Just so you know, even though I am right, it still hurts to hear it from family and friends.

I’m feeling a little raw.

Not a soul told me what a lovely person I am and that they’re thrilled I’m not going to exploit my sex life anymore.

No one told me to go easy on myself.

Not that I expected anyone to, but it would’ve been nice to hear a positive message.

I reached out to my friend Rob to tell him I how I was feeling.

Sad.

Sheepish.

And as it turned out, the universe gave me EXACTLY what I needed.

“Stop. That was Michelle 2.0. You are evolving into Michelle 3.0. You learn from it and become better. A butterfly cannot spread its wings and fly if it still believes itself to be a caterpillar.”

Oh man!

I’ll admit, I almost cried.

Rough times, my friends.

I’m having some ROUGH TIMES.

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FIRE!

My birth family lives in the North Bay.

Specifically the Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor areas of the North Bay.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the North Bay is ON FIRE right now.

It has officially become the WORST FIRE in the history of California fires, surpassing the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

I knew there was a fire when I left to go to work, some 90 miles away from the devastation.

I could smell it in the air.

I assumed there had been a fire locally until my friend Barbara texted me, “I hope your family is safe.”

What?!

I called her immediately for an explanation.

“Santa Rosa is on fire,” she told me.

I immediately hung up and began texting and calling my relatives.

It took a while but everyone was safe. . . except my birth mom, who I couldn’t reach.

Finally my sister got in touch with me.

It didn’t look promising that our mother’s house was still standing.

She texted me a photo later.

Charred remains of a building.

I immediately started crying.

Mom’s house!

Oh no! All the memories! All the gatherings! The golden nuggets of life that intersected at that home!

10 minutes later my sister told me it was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STIL STANDING.

I went from the depths of despair to the wings of angels in a moment, only tempered by the fact that so many people in the North Bay have lost their home and belongings.

I texted my mom that I loved her and she texted me back.

Coverage is spotty but for the time being, EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS DOING FINE.

Hug your loved ones extra close today.

They are our biggest blessings.

Santa Rosa Fires

I have two lovely sisters. One I grew up with and is my best friend, the other I met when I was 22.

One lives in Reno, the other lives in Santa Rosa.

I was desperate to get in touch with my birth family while fires were raging in Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma.

My sister was the first person to respond.

She told me that our mother’s house was likely burned to the ground.

I was heartbroken and yet I didn’t cry. . .

. . until she sent me a photo of a gutted building.

I burst into tears.

All I could think of were lost memories. The history that house contained. How special it was to me because it was where I reunited with my birth mother’s family and met my stepfather and his enormous family.

I cried and cried.

I forwarded the photo to my boys and my family.

I sent it to everyone who mattered to me to let them know that the house was gone.

10 minutes later I got a message from my sister.

It was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STILL STANDING.

From the depths of despair to the wings of angels, I was lifted up out of sorrow and so thankful for this miracle.

How blessed are we?

The house survived. All my family survived. Their pets survived.

What more could we ask for other than to mitigate the suffering of those who did lose everything in the fire?

I could KILL my sister for letting me think Mom’s house had burned, but I’m just too happy that my family is intact to stay mad about anything.

Really at times like this you realize that we all have each other and that’s all you really need to be happy.

God bless the families who lost property or loved ones in the fires.

My Reunion Story

Sherri, pregnant at her 8th grade graduation

I remember the EXACT date I lost my virginity.

July 8, 1989.

I was 15 years old.

It’s ironic then, that I don’t know the date for something as MOMENTOUS as meeting my birth parents for the first time.

It was spring.

I know that because all the tulips in my yard were in full bloom.

For the rest of my life I’ll always associate tulips with my birth mother.

Finding your birth parents isn’t as hard as you’d think.

At least not for me.

My mom told me she knew my birth mother’s name from the adoption paperwork.

Brandon, Brett (ex), me, Sherri and Lani

So when I was 17, I asked for her name.

My mom wrote it down on a piece of paper, handed it to me, and walked out of the room.

After a little research I finally got the phone number to my birth mother’s in laws.

I called one day and asked for Sherri or Vince (her husband).

They gave me their phone number.

Just like that.

I stared at that number.

It was burned in my brain.

It took me 5 years to work up the courage to call that number.

One day, I called the number fully intending to ask for a random name – Elizabeth.

Art, me, my dad, a friend, and Cy

When my birth mother answered the phone, she had the MOST BEAUTIFUL voice I’d ever heard and I knew that someone with a voice like that would not be mean to me.

So I asked for Sherri.

“This is she,” she responded.

“I’d like to talk to you about something personal. Is now a good time?” I asked.

“Yes,” there was concern in her voice.

“I’m looking for my birth mother. . .”

I visited her the very next day and got to meet her husband and my sister and brother.

She told me who my birth father was and he was listed in the phone book.

So instead of driving home, I called him.

His (ex) wife answered the phone.

I asked for Paul.

She asked who I was.

I wanted to tell him directly so I just said my name.

She hung up on me.

I called back.

“Just tell him it’s Sherri’s daughter,” I responded.

She repeated what I said to him. Then she repeated it again, this time with gravitas.

They knew what this meant.

Paul had a daughter.

He asked me to pull into a local Denny’s where he said he’d meet me.

He showed up 15 minutes later, with his (ex) wife and her daughter.

We (my ex-husband) and I followed him to his house and slowly, his siblings and friends started trickling in.

Someone brought an “It’s a Girl!” cigar for him.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

What can I say about my reunion?

It truly was an ideal reunion and I feel blessed that my birth mother and my birth father accepted me so openly and lovingly.

Two eighth graders accidentally made a baby, and gave me an ideal home to grow up in.

I regret nothing except perhaps that I didn’t meet them sooner.

I am blessed.

 

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Lucky baby

“You’re so lucky, Michelle.  And that’s not the booze talking.  That’s me talking.”

My Aunt Xondra was laying in bed at her 50th birthday party, recovering from one too many tequila shots and I was just hanging out with her.

I know I’m one lucky lady.

I have TWO sets of parents.

And THREE sets of siblings.

In my life I’ve been blessed with lots of family.

Xondra, who is quite possibly the sweetest drunk woman I’ve ever known, was just pointing this out to me.

When I tell people I’m a reunited adoptee, usually they ask how my adoptive parents feel about that.

My response is always, “It was hard in the beginning.  But having more people who love you is never a bad thing.”

I see my birth mother about 4 – 6 times a year, but my birth father much less.

If you ask me why I’ll say it’s because he doesn’t seem to take an interest in me.

But this weekend, I got another picture of the three of us and came across a mug in his stash with my name on it along with my brothers’ names.

It was a small thing but felt SO big to me.

It’s as if that mug legitimized me.

And he had pictures of me and my boys around the house.

Like we matter to him and his wife, even though we don’t see each other.

And. . .

He kissed the top of my head when he said goodnight to me.

It was a very fatherly gesture and I got a little choked up.

Maybe, just maybe, he does care.

Zezza Butt

At Burning Man, I was playing around with a sexy bartender at Ali Bar-Bar when he looked me dead in the eye, smiled and said, “Let me see that ass.”

“It’s called a Zezza butt,” I replied.

And indeed, that is what it’s called in my family.

Zezza butts are nice and round, a little on the larger side, but well-liked by many and appreciated by even more.

I’ve always had a nice butt.

And when I met my birth family, I discovered that I was not the only one with a nice butt:

Here we all are, mooning the camera on a camping trip. This picture includes me, my sister-cousin Jennifer, and my brother Art. The high and tight butt that OBVIOUSLY does match is my cousin’s husband.

Over the years, many people have tried to capture the charm of my butt and here are a few pictures that come close.

Hope you too like Zezza butt!

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Party!

My birth father is the #1 child out of 6 kids. He has 2 brothers and three sisters.

It’s a BIG family.

You’d think, given the size of the family, and the fact that most of us live relatively local to each other, that we’d see each other a lot.

That is not the case.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am that we are having a party to celebrate my Aunt Xondra’s 50th birthday.

Whoopee!

Time to see everyone all in one place.

I’m bringing Tejas with me to meet my birth family.

He’s been my BFF for over two years now and has yet to meet the people who made me.

Hopefully it won’t be the least bit awkward that he is the same age as my birth parents.

He’s under strict instructions to not hit on ANYONE unless he clears it with me first.

The thing about this party is that I don’t see much of my birth father’s side of the family, except for my Uncle Donald and Aunt Stacey and their family.

They live closer to me and I get to see them from time to time.

They also spawned my sister-cousin Jennifer who takes me to 49er games and enthralls me with her lingerie, lack of inhibition, and positive self-esteem.

Believe you me, if that woman wrote a blog, you’d all be following it.

She also happens to be drop dead gorgeous with knockers BIGGER THAN MINE.

Someday, I will take her to Burning Man and we will knock that shit OUT OF THE PARK!

Oh and GO NINERS!

Burned!

My sister-cousin Jennifer is a HUGE 49er fan.

Their biggest fan, I think.

A true 49er faithful.

This past weekend she took me to their open practice at Levi’s Stadium.

And that’s when IT happened.

I wore a pair of jeans that had a TINY hole in the inner thigh.

Can you see where this is going?

Well, in the course of walking half a mile from the parking lot to our seats in the stadium, I managed to rip that hole WIDE OPEN.

It wasn’t visible to the general public, so at first I wasn’t worried about it at all.

But that changed.

You see the jeans material from my other leg RUBBED on the bare inner thigh of my exposed leg, giving me a friction burn.

Oh the pain of having no inner thigh gap.

But I digress.

So, we walked to and from the stadium and all around the stadium and I literally ripped skin off my inner thigh with EVERY STEP.

I was in a great deal of pain.

When I got home I RIPPED my jeans off of me and threw them on a ball on the floor.

Ever since then I’ve been coating my thigh burn with gun oil lube (to minimize friction) and Desitin (yes, butt paste for babies).

It still fucking hurts!

The worst part is that I had a flirtation that night and I was off my game on account of ALL THE LIQUID WEEPING OUT OF MY FRICTION BURN.

Yeah, it was pretty gross.

I did not feel sexy AT ALL.

On the bright side, I got to see our 49er boys practice football, AND I got to hang out with Jennifer, who I hadn’t seen in MONTHS!