Saturday, December 27, 2008

Show & Tell With Mel - Dec. 27th

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

~William Butler Yeats~

My little driveway fairy:

What my Christmas looked like through my picture window:(Yes, those are raindrops)

What are you showing today? More Circle Time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Show & Tell with Mel - Dec. 20th - Making Cookies!

I thought it would be fun for this week's Show & Tell if we made cookies together! Every year at Christmastime we make Snowballs. That really isn't their name, but that's what everyone ends up calling them anyway. We make a TON of Snowballs and then we usually give them all away. We made a quadruple batch - 125 cookies (less 2 one of the midgets in my house ran off with). Follows is the pictorial and recipe!

I'm a very big proponent of the dump and mix method. The dark spots are the vanilla.

Add the nuts.

Mix to a soft dough consistancy. With a handmixer this usually takes forever and makes your arm feel like it's gonna fall off. It will seem like it is too dry - but keep mixing, some sort of chemical change takes place and you get this nice dough. My Bosch does this in just about a minute - it totally rocks!

Now form the dough into small balls. You don't need much space between them on the cookie sheet as they do not flatten out. (Yes, that's my recipe written in crayon on the paper covering my table - I had to call my mom when I couldn't find my old copy!)

Bake and cool on racks.

When cool, roll in powdered sugar. That's my assistant - isn't she cute? She's also very slow - I dusted about 4.5 dozen snowballs to her measly one. That's what you get when you don't pay your help.

That is what over 10 dozen Snowballs looks like. I usually put a 21 lb turkey on that platter. (Don't worry - I washed it after Thanksgiving!)

We counted them out and put them in Gladware. (Great stuff - reusable too!)

Top with a bow and tag and voila! You get to eat the six that are leftover now.

Now that you've seen the action - here's the recipe. Hope you make them and enjoy a bit of sweetness from my house to yours!

Pecan Petites (aka Snowballs)

1 cup butter
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix well to a soft dough. Roll into balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool on racks. When cool, roll in powdered sugar.


To see what the rest of the class might be cooking up - see here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Little Red Sports Car with a Bottle of Clairol on the Side, Please!

Yes, I know things have been rather dull around this here blog. I seem to be overcome with a big case of the "blahs". One would think I should have plenty of things to talk about - having a hysterectomy and turning 40 shortly thereafter, both topics ripe for plenty of introspection, retrospection - some kind of 'spection. Alas, I am falling short of any thing remotely brilliant. Then, I read some magnificent posts by others in the blogosphere and begin to feel woefully inadequate. (Mel, the great Stirrup Queen herself, with "Tertiary Mourning", Mrs. Spit - who is always brilliant and witty, my dear friend Loribeth who always finds the best articles on topic - the list would go on and on - and even in the comments sections of various blogs, some amazing and profound minds at work - truly very humbling.)

Oh, I have plenty of things stewing around in my brain - many of which I think would make excellent topics for a blog post. Sit down at the keyboard and poof! Fabulous topic vanishes. While I remember well my anatomy and physiology, I can't help but wonder if removal of my uterus somehow severed some connection my brain required for capable thought output? Maybe it is Holidayitis, and the 'sturm und drang' of the season is causing my current state of befuddlement. Maybe, and this may likely be the true culprit, I am just still trying to sort myself out. Most of the time I am alright with the whole surgery-I-am-absolutely-completely-infertile-now thing and other times I find myself thinking "holy ovaries - what just happened to me??!" I don't feel different, but then again, I really, really do feel different. There was before, during and now after. Before I know, during I know well too - this after thing - wayyyyyyyyyyy more daunting than it sounds. I have no idea what to expect, where I fit in - the devil you know right? Because this devil I don't know and, what if I do the after, well, you know, wrong, because I don't know how to do it? Permanence is also a very scary thing - this cannot be undone, so no going back. Truly, I am pretty certain I don't want to go back. I did the infertility and loss thing for 15 years and that is plenty of ttc, fertility drugs, tests, miscarriages and all the rest for a lifetime, definitely! Then it hits me, I always expected the "after" thing to be when I was older, so now that we're here at after, I must be old. And maybe that is what this is all about - accepting that I am getting older and I've reached that age that my 20-something self considered no longer "young". That younger me didn't think 40 was incredibly old, but definitely considered it not young. So, enter in midlife crisis. For now, I am plucking at the gray hairs that are cropping up (inexplicably kinky, curly gray hairs in my black, stick straight too thin hair already) and hoping that this time next year, I will have sorted through all the flotsam and jetsam of the 40, hysterectomied and finding myself after the younger me era, and be back to my normal brilliant self (feel free to snort right along with me) or at the very least, feel a bit more steady on my feet again.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Show & Tell With Mel - Dec. 7th

Okay, so I've missed the last couple S&T's; today I am trying out a new toy (for details on what happened to the "old toy" see here - warning, this takes you to my other more kid-centric blog, but involves a somewhat entertaining video) and I did get my Christmas tree up this weekend. This week's Show & Tell is - yep, you guessed, pictures of my Christmas tree!


There are seven pairs of angel wing ornaments on the tree for my angel babies. The snowflake tile ornaments are also symbolic - as you know, no two snowflakes are alike. I'll leave it to you to determine the symbolism there. ;0)

For more of this week's Show & Tell - go here - it'll be fun, I promise!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Excuse the poor picture quality - scanned photo from 40 years ago!!

Yup - that's how old I am today.

Nope, not gonna show you a more recent photo than that!

I like people to think of me as cute and cuddly - this photo serves that purpose. :0)

Off to make my favorite cake now . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Show & Tell With Mel - Nov 16th: The Five Generation Afghan

The Afghan was begun no one recalls exactly when, it started off as many skeins of variegated yarn, dozens of granny squares and good intentions. My Great-Grandmother Meme started it. My mother said Meme started it when mom was pregnant with one of my brothers - she can't recall which one - given the youngest is now 22 and she is pretty certain it was before him, that is at least a couple decades plus. My Great-Grandmother for some reason was unable to finish it and sent it to my mom. My mom gave an attempt - but didn't get very far. She wasn't much with granny squares. Years ago I inherited it - a bag of yarn and squares, good intentions and unfinished business. Relegated to a box and forgotten about through several moves, and then, one day I opened that box not really remembering what was in it and found the bag of squares and skeins. I had never learned to crochet a granny square. Feeling a new found interest in picking up a crochet hook again, I asked a good friend to teach me how to make a granny square. She was a left handed crocheter, but willing. I learned sitting opposite her - mirror image. I finished the afghan, a couple decades later and with hands a few generations from those that began it. I crocheted enough squares to finish a throw sized afghan. Then I sewed them all together, crocheted around the edges to finish it and used it to catch my newborn daughter in - she of the red curly hair and fearless blue eyes.

The years go by and things get forgotten sometimes even when you don't mean to. I cleaned out a closet and found the afghan folded neatly into yet another box - having been stored for another move, and never unpacked. This time however, I pulled it out of the box finished and whole. I called my curly haired daughter to see and told her this was her afghan. She asked me if I made it and I told her that I did and her grandma did and her great-great grandma did - that they started it and I finished it. Her blue eyes widened and she exclaimed "They all did?! Oh I love it!" Then she and the afghan disappeared to her room and been inseparable since.

Perhaps I am putting too much thinking into it - but I honestly believe this afghan was meant to be hers. Begun by a grandmother for a great-grandchild to be that she just couldn't seem to finish. Attempted by a mother too busy and lacking in skill to finish for her child. Handed off to another child for another grandchild - the fifth generation. A child who never got to meet her Great-Great-Grandmother in this life, but can wrap herself up safe and cozy in the hopeful creation of loving hands - born of love, given with love, finished with love.

For more Show & Tell - click here

Friday, November 7, 2008

"The Time has Come,"

the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”

-Lewis Carroll "Through The Looking Glass"-

I've really struggled with this post. Where to start? What to say? How can I tell you of a spark so brief, I barely felt its warmth? I want you to know, I want you to know Aidan - I want you to know of the dreams I had and the possibilities pondered - how losing that slayed me. Yet, I am at a loss for words.

I could tell you of blood draws - every 48 hours for almost a month. On and off bleeding that had me vacillating between fear and relief. Losing Aidan was a long protracted agony of numbers, a taffy pull of emotions - back and forth, from home to lab, from hope to despair until finally, there came the crash and the duel- edged respite of resolution.

I could tell you of the doctor who unwittingly placed the blame on my shoulders for not waiting "like he told me to". You would snort indignantly over his ineffective attempts at comfort when he told me not to worry, because he was the doctor and he would worry about it. Roll your eyes when I tell you he didn't think we needed to start testing (even after 3 consecutive losses) when I requested it. You would applaud my bravery when I told you I left the exam room after that and immediately signed a release for my records. I had no idea where I would go next - but I knew I was finding another doctor. You would cheer me on when I turned from timid, acquiescent mouse to self-advocating lioness. You would cry with me when the sadness and discouragement engulfed me and left me spent and beaten and frail.

The first baby I lost saddened me. The second baby I lost left me less certain. The third baby I lost left me hopeless and bereft. The third baby I lost also gave me strength and determination - somehow, someway.

~i~ Aidan ~i~
November 1995

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Show & Tell With Mel, Sunday, October 26th

So I turn 40 next month. I figured that was worth something special and since I usually end up picking out my own "presents", this is what I wanted with which to mark the occasion:

Some of you may recall my previous Show & Tell on the subject of reading and Margaret Mitchell's well known novel in particular. At the end of the post, I mentioned wanting to read the book again. Well, time passed, and I forgot about that desire in the busy pace of summer. My first Sunday home following discharge from my surgery, I lay on the couch and watched "Gone With The Wind" while my family was at church. Selznick's GWTW lasts longer than church and my family found me, still on the couch, watching the movie when they returned. Again I thought, "I really need to give this book another go through." Yet again, this desire got relegated to the back burners of my mind, until desperate for some sort of useful household type activity, I decided to dust the bookshelves - since I still am not allowed to push a vacuum. It was there I came across my copy - dogeared and battered and missing the last several pages. This was the moment when I decided it was high time I got a new copy and hardcover to boot. So I let my fingers do the googling and I am now anxiously awaiting my "new" book. There are many, many different versions to be found, from the leatherbound to the anniversary editions to the first editions. I chose this one - I liked the red toile slipcover. The birthday thing was a very convenient excuse.

You can see more pictures at this e.Bay auction. (Note: This is not ** the one** I purchased - just had some more purty(sic) pictures. )

For more Show & Tell - click here

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Parents Held Me Back a Year So I got Stuck With 1987

A.) Go to

B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function box at the top of the page. The first thing on the list should be a link to the list of the 100 most popular songs of that year.

C.) Cut & paste the list into your blog. Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you REALLY hate.

1. Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles
2. Alone, Heart (still gets a great deal of airplay 'round my house!)
3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott
4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston
5. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship
6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil
7. Here I Go Again, Whitesnake (I liked the car in the video - my brother would say he liked the girl. Oh, Tawny Kitaen made me want to be a redhead in the worst way!)
8. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
9. Shakedown, Bob Seger (I like "Turn The Page" wayyyyyyyyyy better; always enjoy Seger's voice though.)
10. Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi (It took me a while to warm up to these guys - had a real issue with guys whose hair looked better than mine!)
11. La Bamba, Los Lobos
12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung
13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House
14. Always, Atlantic Starr
15. With Or Without You, U2
16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley
17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam ("Lost in Emotion" was better)
18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
19. Mony Mony, Billy Idol (They played this ALL the time at school and church dances.)
20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters
21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh
22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston
23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
24. I Want Your Sex, George Michael
25. Notorious, Duran Duran
26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson (Okay - now I can't stand her, but at the time she was okay - same with Tiffany.)
27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (All I can say is "Dirty Dancing"; ' nuff said)
28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
30. Open Your Heart, Madonna
31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
32. (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew (One of the few dh and I agree on music-wise)
33. Heart And Soul, T'pau
34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
35. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites (This song always cracked me up! The rest of their stuff was pretty lame.)
36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael (I like Aretha - just not this duet!)
37. Control, Janet Jackson
38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram (Another movie - who doesn't love a cute mouse?)
39. U Got The Look, Prince (Yes, I like Prince - I think I actually wore my "Purple Rain" cassette out!)
40. Land Of Confusion, Genesis (Did anyone else think the video with the puppets was just plain strange?)
41. Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News
42. Who's That Girl, Madonna
43. You Got It All, Jets
44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox
45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna (This is the one I liked best off this list. Embarrassing secret? I had EVERYTHING she put out in the 80's and early 90's including the cassette that she put out that smelled like Patchouli. I wore the rubber/stacked bracelets and lace gloves - though skipped the "boy toy" belt and bustier. Didn't have much to hold that up with then! lol)
47. In Too Deep, Genesis
48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson (Miss Jackson, if you're nasty - she had better songs off this album - "Control" for one)
49. Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News
50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago
51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac (Been a Mac fan since the 3rd grade and my teacher Mr. Denman use to play their albums for us during class.)
52. Luka, Suzanne Vega ("Tom's Diner" was on my playlist a lot when I deejayed)
53. I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama
54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx (my gal pals and I thought he was so cute)
55. Songbird, Kenny G
56. Carrie, Europe
57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System
58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna
59. Bad, Michael Jackson
60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince
61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper
62. Come Go With Me, Expose
63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill
64. To Be A Lover, Billy Idol
65. Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range (He does a version of this with Ricky Skaggs and it is AWESOME!)
66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister
67. Stand By Me, Ben E. King (Movie soundtracks made up a large part of my music collection - this one no exception - Ben E. King's voice is smooth and exceptional)
68. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis (I like Genesis, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel - what can I say?)
69. Someday, Glass Tiger
70. When Smokey Sings, ABC (Thought it was interesting Smokey Robinson and this song were both on the list this year)
71. Casanova, Levert
72. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
73. Rock Steady, Whispers
74. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
75. Big Time, Peter Gabriel
76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood ("Chronicles was one of my fave albums; "While You See a Chance" I listened to a lot)
77. Let Me Be The One, Expose (I have this album - my daughter listens to it now.)
78. Is This Love, Survivor
79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert (Last station I worked at had a nostalgia format and his Tijiuana Brass stuff is pretty good - this really doesn't show him off that well - it's mostly Janet Jackson.)
80. Point Of No Return, Expose
81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac
82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm
83. Something So Strong, Crowded House
84. Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams ("Everything I Do" is mine and dh's song - this one was okay.)
85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros (I had a boyfriend when this was getting a lot of airplay :0)
86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen (Maybe it's un-American, but I have never really cared for Bruce - just "Pink Cadillac" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town")
87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson
88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart
89. Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis (Uhhh, no, just no)
90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets
91. Victory, Kool and The Gang
92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders (Chrissy et al had better ones than this)
93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News (overkill on the HL&theNews here)
94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club
95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie
96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins (Interviewed him on air and he sounds amazing with just an acoustic guitar and without the sound guy/mixer.)
97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew
98. (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys (My parents HATED this song! My brother loved it!)
99. Funkytown, Pseudo Echo (I just couldn't help myself! It was hard not to like this one.)
100. Love You Down, Ready For The World

I had more of a leaning towards classic rock at this point in time thanks to older boyfriends: Chicago, Bosten, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Survivor, Reo Speedwagon, Icehouse, Styx, Kansas, Journey, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Cars, Scorpions, etc.

This was fun. If you decide to do it too - link up in my comments section and share with the rest of us. As a former record spinner with a music collection that runs a broad spectrum of genres and decades - this is a lot of fun for me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great Scott Madam! I've Been Tagged!

Courtesy of Loribeth at The Road Less Traveled:

31 questions - one word answers. Then, turn around and tag seven (7) other bloggers with the award and questions. Ready? Go!

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? Loveseat
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Creative
5. Your father? Trustworthy
6. Your favorite thing? Books
7. Your dream last night? Unknown (I was under the influence of Ambien . . .)
8. Your dream/goal? Vacation
9. The room you’re in? Livingroom
10. Your hobby? Sewing
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Content (do states of being count?)
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Sane
15. One of your wish list items? Travel
16. Where you grew up? Colorado
17. The last thing you did? Munchies!
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your T.V.? Whodunnit
20. Your pet? Dumb
21. Your computer? Addiction
22. Your mood? Weary
23. Missing someone? Always
24. Your car? Voyager
25. Something you’re not wearing? Glasses
26. Favorite store? Fabric
27. Your Summer? Long
28.Love someone? Insanely
29. Your favorite color? Sage
30. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight (Third Rock from the Sun reruns - need I say more? :0)
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Now for the tough part, choosing seven others.

Hmmmmmm, I think I will cheat and say - if you're here reading this, "Tag! You're it!" Link up in the comments section so we can read your answers.

(I know, I know - awfully lazy of me - isn't it?) :0)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Show & Tell with Mel Sunday, October 19, 2008

Having exhausted my interest for making book thongs, I have moved on to other creative things to entertain my convalescing self with that do not flaunt any restrictions I may be under. My question: who does not like sparkly things? I happen to like sparkly things - I particularly like sparkly things with meaning. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness got me thinking about how I will never have another loss again, though no new living children either, since I am now sans reproductive capabilities. Something I have always wanted is a piece of "mother's jewelry" - something all mine, but not cheesy and trite, and now that I won't be "changing things up", seemed like a good time to commit to something. While I am pretty certain a career in jewelry making is not in my future - I did manage to come up with a bracelet that I am fairly happy with and, dare I admit it - gasp, proud of? I know, I know - it must a character flaw.

But, see, looky what I did!

I could not make a Mother's Bracelet though, without including my angels somehow. Here is what I came up with:

There are seven little silver butterflies around the bracelet - the seventh little one on the dangle. The crystal on the dangle is my husband's birthstone - seemed appropriate since he was at least 50% responsible for the lot. I figured I was wearing the bracelet - so adding my birthstone was more self-indulgent than necessary. (We won't mention the birthstone necklace - my birthstone - I wear all the time. :0) Hey, I figure you can never have too many sparkly things with meaning.) The other birthstone crystals are, of course, my living children.

Here is me wearing the bracelet with my Loss Awareness bracelet. I found the Awareness bracelet at a certain shoe store (Hey, a girl can't have too much footwear either!) and thought that it would look neat pink and blue instead of just pink, so I fixed that and started wearing it on the 15th. (Lest any of you think I am neglecting awareness for Breast Cancer - I have a sparkly pin for that. Again, I like sparkly things with meaning, can you tell?)

I hope you all appreciate the effort I went through to take a picture of it on my wrist. That was not easy. I tried to take a picture of it on my right wrist just as I wear it. Trying to snap a picture of the hand that you typically snap a picture with was sheer folly. So, after a moment of wishing I were left handed - I had the brilliant idea of switching wrists. Yeah, I'm a little slow sometimes.

I have no idea why the tube beads look tarnished in the photos - trust me, they are much shinier in person, and definitely sparkly.

For more Show & Tell with Mel Sunday - see here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Heart Never Forgets

In June 0f 1995, I joined the millions of women affected by pregnancy and infant loss. Since that time I have endured 6 more losses - and while so very early on in pregnancy, were no less devastating due to their brevity.

In 1986, then President Ronald Reagan signed his name to a proclamation stating the month of October to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. (see sidebar) Following suit in 2005, Congress passed a bill proclaiming the 15th of October to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In current years this day and month are marked by Remembrance Walks, Prayer Ceremonies and many other rituals meant to help healing, spread awareness and engender compassion.

Please join my sisters and I in remembering our little ones, particularly today. Anyone touched by the tragedy of losing a child - whether in infancy, at birth or before knows how life altering and devastating the experience is.

I invite you to enter the name(s) of your little ones in my comments section so that we might remember them with you also today. At your request, I will add them to the list at the end of this posting.

Remembering . . .

Zach, Hannah, Aiden, Caelan, Carena, Matthew Thomas &
Lilith "Lily"

David Merlin Avatar Porter 3/22/1998-5/22/1998
Lawrence Peterson
Bryan Nathaniel 10/1/80 & Travis Seth Green 5/1/82
Emma Grace
Kieran, Noillag & Little Ones
Ethan Jakob & August Elizabeth
Baby K
Jack & Rose

Monday, October 6, 2008

Not Quite Basket Weaving, but Getting Close . . .

So I have made several crocheted bookmarks now. The winner of my giveaway should be receiving the one I made for her in a week or so (US to Canada you know). I think I am sick of crochet thread and beads. I need a new hobby - one that weighs less than 10 lbs (I graduated up from 5!) and is not strenuous.

For those of you who have expressed an interest - here is the link to the pattern I used:

It's called a "book thong" tee hee!

When people ask me what I've been doing the last couple weeks since my surgery, I can cheerfully reply "I've been making book-thongs!"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Title of This Post Could Be: "Change in the Weather"

OR "Getting Used to My New Climate".

So I have been recovering pretty well. The usual aches and pains as one would expect and I get tired easily - but I am beginning to feel like I am getting my feet back under me again. The lifting restriction still remains in force - which is kind of a nuisance, but I am glad that is the extent of my limitations.

I have had plenty of help around which has been very welcome. When all you're able to heft is 2 pillows (can you believe two of them weigh 5 lbs??), having someone else around to do stuff like put your large glass serving bowl away is kind of handy.

I have no qualms about saying that while I have a fairly high tolerance for pain, I have been "hitting the bottle" on a somewhat regular basis. Pain is exhausting and counterproductive sometimes when it comes to healing, and while not a wimp, I don't see the need to feel pain if I don't have to. They sent me home with Percocet and Motrin, which was just groovy with this gal. By the end of the first week (and I have been on Perc before without this interesting side effect) I noticed something odd. I was beginning to think in rhyme. Yes, rhyming thoughts - like some Dr. Suess monologue playing in my head.

I do not like to lay. I do not like to lay all day. In my bed I stay, stay, stay. In my bed I lay, lay, lay. I do not like to lay I say, I really want to play, play, play.

You get the idea. This was somewhat disconcerting because my thoughts usually tend not to rhyme, be repetitive or come in Iambic pentameter. Once I reached the bottom of the percocet bottle the rhyming thing seem to clear up. When my Doctor asked me about any "unusual symptoms" at my 2 week check I thought this might qualify - but felt somewhat reluctant to admit it. She was stunned enough by my extensive cervix that the rhyming thoughts might have been a bit much to process and I didn't want her to think me an even bigger freak than she already did. I didn't want her questioning my mental capacity as I really wanted her to say I could start driving again.

About the time the hot flashes/fever cycles started leveling off I noticed something really strange one day. My arms were covered in flesh colored bumps. I showed them to my mom. At first she was as stumped as I was. I thought - surely I could not be having some allergic reaction to the Ambien I had just started taking. Could this be some strange side effect, withdrawal from losing my uterus? I was actually quite concerned. My daughter also examined these strange new bumps on my arms and pronounced them "goose bumps." Goose bumps! I have had goose bumps before and while these were similar, in fact, exactly like them - nothing eerie or supernatural had happened to cause them to crop up. Then it hit me - I was cold. Now, this may seem pretty dumb to the rest of you. Just let me say that I usually have one temperature setting - hot. My internal thermostat has up to now been perpetually stuck on high. I just do not understand cold, at least not in the sense that my body feels cold and reacts by breaking out in goose bumps. Though, here I was - broken out in just that and I was cold. I have a sweater - but no idea as to where it might be as I never wear it. I had to buy myself a new sweater because I was cold. I have worn it more in the last couple weeks than I have ever worn a sweater before in at least 15 years. I am usually the person people look at strangely because she is walking calmly into the store wearing sandals and a short sleeved tshirt when it is 40 degrees out, and I am comfortable. Last winter here did get brutally cold and I condescended to wearing a light coat, closed toe shoes and covering my digits, but once inside, short sleeves and sweating whenever the heater came on. Feeling the need for a sweater, particularly while indoors is very new to me and the fact that this is happening frequently now and not because I am spiking a temp is quite novel. So novel in fact, that I keep misplacing my sweater and become almost frantic in tracking it down when I feel chilled. So, changes I have noticed since losing my uterus - I think in rhyme, am easily confounded by common phenomenon such as goose pimples and can't keep track of my possessions.

BUT - I can drive!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And Now the Moment We've All Been Waiting For . . .

As you know (or may not) we have been holding a giveaway at this here blog.

The guesses have been made, the totals tallied and the pathology report disclosed.

Now, because I just love the thought of making you all squirm a little bit in anxious anticipation - just a couple of side notes. I was mistaken in saying the normal uterus is about 100g, etc. THAT is the typical size of the ones they REMOVE. They usually remove them for not being normal. Well, mine wasn't exactly normal - so it still kind of worked. Also, I found that they measure uterus from cervix to fundus and I had a super freaky long cervix. This I am not mistaken about. Doc said a normal (and yes, she used the term normal which did seem to imply mine was considerably not normal - and I was totally okay with that.) cervix is about 3-4 cm long. Mine came in at a most impressive 7cm. Yes, not a typo. She double checked. Almost TWICE the length of normal. For whatever that means and I don't so much care about that now. Just kind of a weird little bit of info.

So, uterus. I'm getting there - be patient. She said it was not as big as they thought - but bigger than a typical 80 gram uterus. (That would be normal, nothing wrong with it, pristine condition organ - so not what I had hitherto been in possession of). Pathology noted no unusual epithelials (which would indicate they didn't get all the bladder - which would be bad) so that was good; no evidence of anything cancerous, bad, etc - just endometriosis, which we knew. The report also noted it was misshapen and odd looking. Doc likened it to a floppy looking mushroom cap atop a very looooooonnnnnggg stem (cervix) which also happened to look like it was attempting to eat my bladder (which she said was all over the place.) Even at that - I came in above normal and pristine at (drumroll please):

95 grams, 9.5x5x3 cm

I actually felt somewhat disappointed. Certainly not the GENEROUSLY SIZED thing I was expecting from all their talking it up beforehand. But, we'll take it - or rather, we'll let them keep it. My doc did keep muttering "that was a long ol' cervix, I kept waiting to find the end of it . . . ." and shaking her head.

SO, in review of the entries - there were two who came amazingly close. So close, that I had to total and tally and recheck and ask dh for assistance in determining who was the closest. The distance between closest and second closest was a mere .2 cm and 2 grams if you can believe that.

Without further ado - I happily proclaim the winner of this somewhat bizarre giveaway to be:

Busy Momma (aka Amanda) I will be emailing you shortly.

With Honorable Mention going to:


Seriously - .2 cm and 2 grams, it made my head hurt trying to figure that out . . .

Anywho - I also need to mention Cara, who prophetically had this to say:

"Watch them be wrong and it be under 100gms...then what???"

All I have to say (other than Congratulations and thanks for playing along) is, I can pee and I haven't felt any of that old pain - so that is making me pretty darn happy! (She also said I could start driving again once I felt up to it - yippee!! Maybe next week . . .AND I have lost 22 lbs since the start of the summer, 12 since before surgery.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It is a Hopeless Case

I intended to rock this ICLW. I figured my body would be down - but my mind would be active. Unfortunately - that mind/body connection thing kind of tripped me up and I fell woefully short of any sort of Iron Commentator status about 12 blogs in. There is next month. I am slowly finding my feet again.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have stopped by this last week. I have appreciated your comments and visits! I hope to follow in your footsteps next month and do ever so much better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Tell You About Hannah

Is to tell you about the loss of innocence, mine. The innocent ideal that once pg, nine months = baby, the naivete that there is any "safe" point.

Hannah was my second loss. My first one had been so early and so unexpected, I dealt with things somewhat pragmatically. I didn't entertain the thought it would happen again - these things happen. That was what they told me - and at this point in my life, it was easy to believe them. I was told to "get pg again right away - all would be okay" and while my heart ached, I still believed them. Something so sad, so wrong, could not possibly happen again - could it?

I was elated, though hesitant at first. We did the things we had to do to conceive - the charting, the clomid, the timing and we succeeded. I held the secret close - not wishing to tempt fate, waiting to pass the "safe point". And then I was past that and I felt more secure and I divulged my secret, not thinking that I shouldn't, not thinking that all was not going as it should, or wouldn't. I believed, I hoped, I had that confidence that only comes from not knowing otherwise.

During the weeks I was pg, I felt the smallest, sweetest presence - but I never took it to be the baby I was carrying. I often felt as though someone was following me constantly, someone little, and if I turned around quickly enough - I would catch sight of whoever this little someone was. I never did.

The day I lost Hannah was like any other day - I got up, I got dressed. I dressed and fed my toddler. My college friend from out of town visited with her toddler. We enjoyed talking, some games and then we discovered a shared yen for something sweet - for French Toast. So we went to the store. As I walked out of the store back to the car, I felt a gush - an "uh oh" sort of feeling that can't be ignored. When I checked - I was bleeding. I phoned my doctor, was given vague instructions and told to "come in" in the morning. I was so completely unprepared for the night ahead.

As I put my son to bed, I prayed over his head "please no, please no, please no - hold this baby safe." I had no more bleeding from the initial gush and I took that to be a good sign. I went to bed and could not sleep.

Constant pains overtook me. Cramping - regular and hard, contractions. I thought it could not be, I was only 12 weeks, but yet, this felt very similar to the early labor I had had the year before when my son was born. I wandered back and forth from bed to bathroom - contracting, spotting, not understanding fully what was happening - while everyone else slept. During the final hour the pains increased and the pressure became overwhelming. In the bathroom - so very early in the morning, and to my complete shock - I delivered her. My water broke in a small gush of fluid and then there she was. She fit in the palm of my hand and looked like the pictures I had seen of the babies in utero, the ones around 10 weeks. For two weeks she could have been gone and I had no idea - me, who was to be her mother. For all I knew her more than anyone else, I hardly knew her at all. I sat there on the floor of my bathroom stunned, relieved, amazed. Her umbilical cord was so tiny - but it was her little lifeline. Somewhere along that line - her end, or mine, something had gone very wrong. I saved her for the doctor, I went to sleep.

I would like to say my doctor was compassionate and understanding. He was cold and factual. The information he gave me was far less than I needed. He thrust a tri-fold pamphlet on Miscarriage at me, and pointed to the pie graph on the middle page. He said "this is where you fall" and pointed to the wedge marked "Unexplained Causes". Though, I don't think there would have been enough information that would have answered my most pressing question - why? Because I only delivered the fetus, I had to have a d&c for "retained products of conception", the placenta, in this case. I was given the option of being asleep or "awake", I chose asleep. I could not bear the thought of being awake while the rest of my pregnancy was scraped from my insides. I had already been awake when my baby left my body.

The nurse tending me post procedure tried to be compassionate. It was clear, she didn't understand. She meant to be positive and encouraging. She meant well - everyone always meant well. She asked how old I was. When I answered, she replied "Oh, you're young! You could still have a dozen more babies!" I wanted to tell her I didn't want a dozen more babies - I wanted that baby.

The next morning when I woke up - the little presence I had felt for more than two months was gone and all I could do was cry.

My sweet Hannah ~i~ September 20th, 1995

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Am Home - Brave New World

Oh. my. gosh.

Sums up most of the last week quite succinctly.

You are some of the best and most caring individuals I know - your sweet messages, prayers and wishes have moved me to tears. Me - a real life stranger, a blogging friend. Words are powerful - I have been touched and strengthened by yours. Apologies for not replying individually just yet - that will come later when I am not so bound by timed restrictions and physical constraints. Just for now - thank you, thank you all from the bottom of my heart (oh so cliche!). I have felt much peace and comfort this week and I am certain is due to all the kind words and thoughts.

Surgery went well. My guest blogger (Cindy - dear sweet funny Cindy!) updated you well. There were some surprises - not unpleasant ones. We arrived at the time we were told to be at the hospital and at 9 when I was scheduled to be in the OR, was still waiting in pre-pre-op. Of to an almost 2 hour late start. I was separated from dh and still waited - lying on a bed next to several other people lying on beds, waiting. Then, finally it was my turn and I got to sleep for all of it.

I will admit to a bit of smugness on my part - thinking that after 6 csections, two hsgs, 3 d&cs and 2 laparoscopies - I knew what to expect pain/recovery wise and this would be another walk in the park. I was mistaken - grossly mistaken! This is singularly the worst physical pain I have ever endured. Waking up after was horrific. I am certain they rendered me unconscious again as other than a few seconds of overwhelming pain and crying "it hurts! it hurts!", I have no recollections until waking up in a new room with dh at the foot of my bed reading a book. He said he had been there about an hour. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain - this was so unexpected and beyond that it was quite the shock. I am happy to say - they kept me as comfortable as possible. Two days of a morphine drip during which I was told I did and said some interesting things - most of which I have no recollection of.

Day three dawned after a miserable night and suddenly, it was if the storm had passed - I was clearer, felt more steady and I could cope with moving around better. They pulled the catheter that same morning and thirty minutes later I waddled to the bathroom and peed like nobody's business. Seems a silly thing in some regards - but I will admit to considering that the best pee ever! No problems at all - just like we had always done before, like it should be and hopefully will continue for a long time to come. When Matt arrived later, he asked how I was doing and I sat there in my hospital bed, messy hair,fuzzy teeth, goofy gown and cheshire cat grin and said "I peed!" My greatest accomplishment of the week. I suppose, in some regards - it doesn't get much better than that!

I spoke with my OB/GYN who wisely chose to speak with me when I was in a more lucid state. (Ahhhhhhh morphine - what a bizarre trip, makes you so numb you forget to breathe . . .). I got to keep both my ovaries - yes, TWO! The scarring and adhesions that have held Lefty out of position all these years were attached everywhere but the ovary itself. She said it looked great, and Righty was no slouch either. Good news - no instant menopause. Hopefully the next several years will be an easier downslide into the "change of life". Now - Ute. Well - to use her words, it looked like my uterus was trying to eat my bladder. Bladder was completely ensconced into the old scarline and the uterus was up all around the edges of it. It was at this point she called the Urologist back in and said "If someone has to tell her she is wearing a catheter for ten days - I want it to be you!" They both did their jobs well and I only had a catheter for a little over 2 days. She told me that if I had ever had another baby, they would have had to go right through the bladder first - it was "plastered" all over the front. That would have been ugly. We also had the mystery explained of why I never dilated despite having constant preterm contractions in each pg and my water eventually breaking without dilation - she said I had the "World's longest Cervix". If Guiness ever opens up that category in his book of records - you may very well see my name and picture there. She did say my uterus was "impressive" - and not so much in a good way - but not the biggest she has taken out. (You giveaway entrants will have to be patient until the 30th - she assured me she would have a weight for me then.) All in all, both doctors were very pleased with how it went - said it was a bit tricky, but not disastrously so.

I am home as of Friday night around 9ish. The trip home was a veritable minefield of potholes and bumps and jostling that was not so pleasant. But, I am home; I am in my own bed; I can pee!

My friend Cindy asked how I was doing emotionally - and so far, that has been okay. They had me on the maternity floor and being wheeled past the doors with all the announcement banners with a plant in my lap brought back some sad thoughts. I think the physical is outweighing the emotional and so all my energies are focused there for the time being. There may still be some of that yet to come.

Again, thank you for all the compassion you have offered me this week - truly I have felt it a real blessing. I've already flaunted my "sitting up" time allowed, so I must go. Each day is a little better - each day a little closer to normal.

My best . . .

PS - I will tell you about my sweet Hannah tomorrow, her day was yesterday . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surgery Update by "Guest Blogger, Cindy"

Hi Everyone,

WOW my very first blog post and it is about our truly amazing friend Julia...

I just got "the call" from Matt (her DH) and she is doing well... there were no complications and her bladder (her worst fear she confided to me, and maybe you as well, was not being able to pee after this was all said and done) is fine, no nicks or tears, although they are not sure how annoyed it is after being pushed around.  Her ovaries both looked great and so they remain (I am sure she will be pleases since she thought one was a goner) that is a relief so she won't be thrown into instant menopause (is that like instant oatmeal, hot and lumpy?)  I hope she sees the humor in this... Jules I know you love me so you can always edit this after you are back from la la land (LOL)... ok so Matt will be able to see her within the hour (which really won't mean much if you read this weeks or days or even a few hours from now, but there it is)  she has my number and I  expect her to be calling me sometime before Saturday (that will depend on the drugs, but she is so fun to talk with when doped up on narcotics) so... all is well... now she can start the road to recovery... hopefully it will be quick :) 

Thanks for reading Julia's surgery update... back to your regularly scheduled blogger shortly...


AKA Guest Blogger

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Night Before

I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. Did I pack everything I am going to want/need? Did I leave enough detailed instructions so the house doesn't fall down around my parents' ears? And the lovely anxiety - blasted hormones! (Which reminds me - I need to toss my Well.butrin in my bag. See blogging is good for jogging your memory!)

So, after a few games of internet Scrab.ble, the last of the dinner pizza (can't eat after midnight and then it's hospital gourmet from there on out . . .) and some mindless browsing - I may try heading to bed here in a bit and trying to get some rest. Or take my pre-surgery shower. My comedy team surgeons desire me to not only to pee on a futile stick, but to scrub with antibacterial soap prior to showing up. I am stuck with the dilemma of washing my hair and/or shaving my legs - decisions, decisions. Perhaps I will just show up with hairy legs and shiny, full and bouncy hair which we will promptly shove under a poofy paper cap . . .

I'm enjoying the guesses people have been making so far for my giveaway. (And very much appreciating all the good wishes! There is something very comforting about having so many people wishing you well.) Some of you are very kind in your estimates and I appreciate that. Though - the bigger this darn thing turns out to be, the smaller the pants I'll be wearing afterward, so maybe in this case, bigger IS better! Which does bring up a thought - off to measure my girth . . .

Tomorrow I will be featuring a guest blogger - my lovely and wonderful friend whose number my dh has stashed in his wallet. His task is rather simple - phone "my people". She'll be letting you know what news there be tomorrow after all is said and done. (Guest blogger - doesn't that make me sound fancy?!)

Lastly - my very first submission to Bridges is up (see sidebar). If you haven't been there yet, you really should check it out. I did post the Bridges submission here previously. There have been some wonderful submissions from other bloggers there already. I have learned quite a bit and been even more impressed with our fellow bloggers and their wealth of experience and strength. Some very powerful and beautiful writing going on . . .

So, that's it for tonight I think.

More to come . . .

The Final HPT

There you have it folks - the very last stick I will ever pee on.

Because those comedic medical folks want to make sure I didn't do something silly like get myself in the "family way" right before my hysterectomy(oh yes, they make me laugh merrily with their sense of humor), I was instructed to take one last test.

I'm not really sure which result I was hoping for . . .

Surgery tomorrow - they moved it up one half hour, now it is scheduled for 9 am.

Now just gearing up for the looooonnnnggg sleepless night.

P.S. Don't forget the giveaway; I'll take guesses until the 30th.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Show & Tell with Mel Sunday September 14th

This week's Show & Tell is more of a giveaway.

With the upcoming hysterectomy and the extreme limitations during the recovery period - I'm going to be feeling somewhat stir crazy after a while. Reading books and watching a great deal of TV only takes you so far. I learned how to make these bookmarks at our last family reunion - they are kind of fun and easy to make. Plus - they don't flaunt any restrictions I'm going to have, which makes them an ideal activity. (Guess who's family is going to be receiving beaucoup crocheted bookmarks for Christmas this year?!)

So, here's the deal, you get to guess the size and weight of my soon to be "birthed" uterus and leave your guess in the comments section for this post. C'mon - it will be fun - you know, just like a party game! (a really lame party without food however) The person who comes closest - will be mailed the following:

Two books - one from a previous Double B Book Brigade Tour and one from the upcoming tour. The previous tour book is paperback and titled "The Empty Picture Frame" by Jenna Nadeau. The upcoming tour book is hardback and titled "The Baby Trail" by Sinead Moriarty. (You can see here for more info on past and present tours.) Both books are used, in good condition and the words all still work just fine!

One hand crocheted bookmark made especially for the reader with the best guess.

It's a win win situation - you may end up with something fun arriving in your mailbox and I will have something with which to help keep myself entertained during the restrictive recuperating.

The bookmarks in the pictures are samples of the one I will make for the winner - you may get one that looks remarkably similar to one of them, one of them, or something in a completely different color scheme altogether . . .

I am not going to leave you all to just start guessing blindly - oh no, not I! I am going to give you a couple hints to help you make your guesses.

Hint #1: The normal uterus weighs around 100 Gm. and measures about 11 X 5 X 5 Cm.

Hint #2: When I received my dx of adenomyosis, the doctor who did one of the ultrasounds said my uterus was "generously sized".

I can't make any promises on when the winner will be mailed their package. I'm going to have a driving restriction for the first 2-3 weeks, so post office visits are not likely unless I ask my mommy to drive me there (since she has already told me she is willing to tie me to the bed, I think my field trips may be rather limited initially). I should have the pertinent information at my post-surgical visit with the Doctor on the 30th of this month and hope to be able to announce the winner then.

Okay, so you know the date: September 17th, 2008 and here is the time: 9:30 am. Just need weight and length now. Gender is a moot point . . . :0)

Happy guessing!

For more Show and Tell this weekend, see here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home of the Brave

Remembering . . .

Those who also remember, in their own words at Bridges . . .

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One Week

One week from today is my surgery. I thought I would compile a list of the things I will not miss, so if I start to second guess myself afterward I can just refer back and say, okay - maybe there were a few good things about this after all. I think I may also have a giveaway to "honor" the occasion - more details to be forthcoming, so stay tuned.

What I will not miss:

1. Irregular cycles that have a tendency to start and end at the worst and most inconvenient time
2. Monster pms that lasts for three weeks and has me vacillating between borderline psychotic and hysterical sobbing: Week one - disliking everyone and everything; Week two - hating everyone and everything; Week three - hating everyone and everything, wanting to run away or wanting everyone else to go away and in abject pain.
3. Killer cramps that start three weeks out and just get worse until you are ready to take the offending part out DIY
4. Hemorrhaging for 4 days so I have to rearrange my entire life around my proximity to a bathroom, and then just heavy bleeding for another 10 days. (which is only going to progressively get worse rapidly over time unchecked.)
5. Pain that hurts waist to knee from standing too long or sitting too long (since when is 10 minutes too long?)
6. The varied and massive assortment of "feminine hygiene products", none of which are sufficient (even when all used concurrently) or comfortable for that matter
7. Looking like I am 6 months pg and having everyone ask me if I know what I am having . . .
(the last person who asked this was told "a mangy uterus" I planned on naming Chuck as in "Chuck it please")
8. Being the sole person responsible for the makers of Advil & Clorox getting mega Christmas bonuses every year
9. Being constantly anemic and therefore exhausted all the time
10. Subsisting for 2 week periods of time on the pain dulling properties of diet cola and Ibuprofen spurring my liver into orchestrating an uprising.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

6x6 for September from Glow in the Woods

From the ladies at Glow in the Woods, a spiritual themed 6x6 for September. To read more and to participate, please see here.

1 | Do you feel as though a higher entity/supreme being/energy force has a presence in your life? What do you call it, and what makes you feel it exists?

Yes - I have felt this in various ways, but mostly as a warmth, a sense of peace and sense of being "held safe". It is an asking followed by a knowing with surety that **this I believe** There have been so many times in my life where I felt guided or that others were guided by some greater force to be just what was needed at just the right time. I call it "God" or Heavenly Father and that feeling the Holy Ghost telling me "This is God". I also feel a motivation to become more, to become better and consider more of this as a higher force encouraging me rather than simply a matter of biology.

2 | Describe, in a word or two, the nature of your spiritual self before and then after the loss of your baby/babies.

Just a word or two? Before - confident and untried; after - committed and reliant, tender

3 | Do you pray, even if you wouldn’t call it praying? To whom? What for?

Constant prayer - though not always in the traditional sense. There is a continuous dialog often going in my heart, my mind - looking for guidance, comfort, hope - asking God to help make up for my deficits when I fall short, to guide me when/where I can be of help to someone else, to watch over people where I cannot. When I had my miscarriages often it was a plea - a plea that I couldn't do this, but if I had to, please do not leave me to do this alone.

4 | Is there a particular line of scripture/teaching/sentiment that you find particularly helpful? Or is there one that’s commonly referred to but is unhelpful?

Matthew chapter 10 - the discussion of how a sparrow does not fall without the Father knowing and being there. How the very hairs of your head are counted. This gave me peace in knowing that even the tiniest of my babies were not considered nothing. This gives me a very empowering sense of self-worth, while also reminding me that I am not the only one whose hairs are counted to the last one; that none of us is "forgotten" or considered less by He who knows us all.

5 | Did your faith offer rites, rituals or teachings that acknowledged your baby and your healing? If not (or if you didn't seek it out in an organized fashion), what rites, rituals or mantras have you adopted as your own?

The LDS faith (more commonly known as Mormon) does not offer "saving ordinances" (ie: baptism) for children under the age of 8 as they are considered innocent. The families are provided the spiritual guidance and support they need - often in the form of blessings. They also believe in an eternal spirit - children who die before baptism are not "lost" nor are they sent to suffer eternal torment in hell. We also believe that we are held accountable for our own sins - not that of someone else. Here are my beliefs based on my religion: Losing my babies was not a punishment for some misdeed - nor did God cause it to happen; I will see my children again. Yes, I do believe in a God who performs miracles and could have prevented my losses. However, in order to continue to claim my agency to choose for myself independently - I am subject to nature and life in general. I consider it like this - I could be walking alongside my child and they trip on a rock and fall. I did not cause them to trip and fall, I did not put the rock there. However, because I am their parent and I love them - I will pick them up, brush off the wound, clean it, dress it, hold them and comfort them. I will help guide them to do what needs to be done to heal and recover from their injury. I do not believe my infertility and losses were a "message" God was giving me that I was not meant to have children. I think I simply am one of those women who is born with a body that either through environment, some childhood disease or a quirk of nature didn't work quite the way it was supposed to. I do believe that He has been there when I have called and in a sense said "Okay, this hard thing is happening to you - let's get through this together, and let's make something good happen. "

For the more practical, not as religious side - I have been well taken care of over the years and trials with meals, people from church willing to take care of the things at home that I was unable to, watch my living children, run errands for me, etc. When I spent weeks in the hospital prior to my daughter's premature birth - I was often visited, brought books, games, my 2 year old son cared for, the young women's group made cookies and brought them to me one evening (which also happened to be an evening I was feeling terribly alone), another friend came to wash and fix my hair for me. The night my daughter was born - the woman in charge of the woman's group at church was there. She stayed by my side when I began hemorrhaging and even helped the nurse wring out the cloths they were using to soak up my bleeding. She stayed as a proxy mom since mine was so very far away that night - not just to help the nurse, but to be a comfort to me. Compassion, charity and service are things that are continually taught in our church - and I have been blessed numerous times as a recipient, and also often as a giver.

6 | Some people say that in a foxhole (a desperate, life-threatening situation), there are no atheists. You’ve been in a foxhole. Discuss.

I think in most traumatic situations humans are hit with that "flight or fight" response. The human will to survive can be amazingly powerful. In my "foxhole" I first resisted, tried to avoid and deny the situation I was in. This in turn quickly became extreme upset - how can this be happening to me? I don't want this! The tears, the grief, the sadness, depression and discouragment. (flight) This soon turned to anger and then a fierce desire to survive - though not just in a physical sense, but a mental and emotional sense. There was an occasion (or two or three or more, to be honest) where I really wanted to just give up and at one point where that desire to just give up was its strongest, I realized I had a choice - to let this thing completely destroy me or fight and survive. That decision was the moment I chose to fight and survive while in the foxhole and eventually climb out of it. (fight) When I made that decision - I stopped asking why me? I came to the conclusion that I was no better or worse than anyone else. I didn't do something to deserve this - it just happened that way. I realized that no matter what happened to me, what I did after that point because of it also mattered greatly. Because these were things I wanted to do, but I was still "recovering" - I needed help and that became part of my prayers.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Show & Tell with Mel - Sunday, August 31, 2008

I shared the women from my father's side of the family in a previous Show & Tell; seems only fair I share the women from my mother's side also. Family is extremely important to me; knowing where/who one comes from - a genetic legacy and birthright. I have been blessed to know some remarkable women in my life and even more blessed to be related to many of them.

My Meme Tondreau and me around 2 years of age.

My mother's mother was barely out of her teens when she became pregnant with my mother. There has been some family debate whether or not she was married to my mother's father at the time - though, at some point, they were married. My mother was born on a stormy night at home in Rockland, Maine; premature and with my great-grandmother playing the role of doctor. When the actual doctor finally made it through the storm to their house, he pronounced my mother too weak and too early to survive saying "Don't waste any milk on her." My great-grandmother promptly kicked him out of the house, stoked up her wood stove and kept my mother warm in a wooden box and plied her frequently with small smounts of milk. They named my mother after the doctor - I am completely certain out of spite; it would be so like my great-grandmother to want him to have a living and long lasting memory of being so very mistaken! My grandmother struggled as a very young mother and as a consequence, my mother was raised by her grandparents. Even once she divorced my mother's father, remarried and began raising more children, my mother chose to remain with her grandparents and was raised as an only child.

My Meme

All my life we have called our grandmothers "Meme" (pronounced mem-mee). In many ways, Meme felt more like my grandmother than my actual grandmother, whom we called Meme Tondreau. My mother's mother continued to struggle through her adulthood - with alcoholism, depression. I have limited memories - our visits were often "surprises". We couldn't say ahead of time we were coming to visit - she would have reasons why it was a bad time, why we couldn't visit, etc. - we had to just show up and she would then visit with us. My step-grandfather I have many pleasant memories of. He was always genuinely happy to see us and I remember sitting in his lap and the smell of his pipe tobacco. My grandmother sometimes remembered our birthdays with cards and letters, though she died young, in her 50's - a sudden and traumatic event for her family. Her drinking and depression having caught up with her.

Of Meme though, I have so many wonderful memories. She had a large strawberry patch in her backyard. I was often dispatched with a container to fill and she would make all sorts of wonderful treats- sliced strawberries with milk or strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream, my favorites. Maine was a wonderful place to visit as a child - we enjoyed the beaches; my brother and I fascinated with the small tide pools. Shortly after boxing up all my belongings and leaving home for college, I opened up a small box of shells I had collected years ago. Being contained in a small space concentrated the smell of the sea that still clung to the shells and rocks I had collected. I drank in the scent and for a brief moment, I was back at the beach on a grey, windy day - wearing my windbreaker and poking at a small pool filled with all sorts of sea treasures. From my very young years I have just snatches, bits and pieces of memories - most of which are prompted back by smells, sounds, tastes or feelings. When my dh and I were looking at homes, we toured a very old farmhouse and I had such a flashback of memories I was overcome. The home had the same smells and textures (dh called it "eau de old people") I remembered from my Meme's house. The kitchen was in the back of the house and I wanted to see if there were the same white metal kitchen cabinets I remembered from my Great-grandmother's house - and there were! We didn't purchase the house - but walking through was such a treat of forgotten memories. Standing in that kitchen, thousands of miles and years after, I remembered sitting at a small table with formica top, eating a bowl of strawberries in milk. My tears when I sat on the same table after cutting my toe at the beach - her gentle and capable hands cleaning and dressing my wound. Asking her, "will it stop hurting?" and her voice saying "Ay-yah, it will." in her husky and thick New England accent. Standing on a stool with an apron tied up under my armpits next to the stove and being handed a wooden spoon and told "When those lobsters try to climb out of the pot - you smack them back down with that spoon now!" We had walked down to the docks and picked the lobsters ourselves, straight off the boat. Later they were the most amazing lobster rolls. She had told me I had the most important job. She also remembered birthdays with cards and letters. All through my childhood and while I was at college. She was extremely crafty - she and her daughter (my mother's aunt) made all sorts of crafts, even through her waning years. They often sold these crafts. I inherited this from her. For Christmas I often received yarn, pompoms, beads, chenille wire - all sorts of craft supplies and would be delighted. She was the type who would see something and say "I can make that!" and she would. I am the same way. I have the ability to see how something goes together in my head. There have been times I have been trying to figure out how to make something and will sleep on it. During the night, I will dream and "see" how to put it all together. I never got the chance to ask her if she figured out how to make things the same way - I have a feeling she likely did.

The summer my husband and I moved to Missouri, my mother called and said she was headed to Maine to visit Meme - her health was deteriorating. I wanted to believe she would live forever - she had already survived so much - breast cancer, diabetes, constant medical issues, the loss of her daughter, a grandson, her husband. We had just moved, still had a home we were trying to sell, I had just several months earlier given birth to a baby who was premature and spent time in the NICU and then again in the PICU with RSV. We had medical bills, moving bills - so many things that made a trip seem impossible. I made the practical and realistic decision not to go. I wanted to take my daughter back there - to get a picture of all of us, five generations. Just a few days after making this decision, I was standing in my kitchen cleaning and cutting up strawberries to make into jam. I was overcome with a sense of sadness, knowing that if I did not take the opportunity to go, there would not be another one. My mother went, I did not. Shortly afterward, my Meme passed away on August 26th, 1997.

My mother and I 2004

I never got my 5 generation photo. My premature daughter is now an amazing 11 year old who looks remarkably like my mother when she was younger. My daughter is also very crafty and very creative. She makes most of the gifts she bestows upon her friends and family - I have a choker she made me that when I wear it, people always ask about it. The other day she was looking through a magazine and saw something she liked - I overheard her say "I could make that!" I had to smile when I had a sudden craving for Strawberry Shortcake.

For more of this weekend's Circle Time Show & Tell with Mel - see here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Thanks to CLC of "Please Give Me Back My Heart" I have been tagged for the very first time!

For this game of blogger tag:

Mention six quirky, yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged. If you participate, let the person know who tagged you you’ve posted your quirks!

Quirk #1 - I have this thing about doors. I cannot stand open doors - closets, cupboards, etc. I will go around shutting doors. If you want to drive me slowly buggy, leave a door ever so slightly ajar. I may be at your home and I will shut your doors for you . . .

Quirk #2 - I have to sleep in pajamas. No matter how hot it gets (temp wise - minds out of the gutter people!) I must be appropriately attired for sleeping. The reasons are not so much prudishness (or even religious) as practical and paranoid. I have to wear pajamas in the event of a fire. Yes, in the event of a fire, because I do not want to be standing sans accoutrements outside my house when the firemen show up. I know I would die trying to find clothing and I have a few other things (people perhaps) I would much rather grab on my way out. I wouldn't want to waste precious escape time on trying to find a pair of pants and a matching clean shirt . . .

Quirk #3 - (Boy, this is harder than I thought!) As Mrs. Spit will attest, I have a propensity for overuse of ellipses . . . (and if that isn't spectacularly boring, I don't know what is!)

Quirk #4 - I could carry on a conversation with a rock. Don't ask; just use your imagination and you would probably get it right. I would say it is a gift, but some people would just call it "talking to hear myself talk." (Hey, at least the rock never interrupts . . .)

Quirk #5 - I will wash and fix my hair before going to the hair salon to have it - ahem - washed, cut and styled. Similarly, I could be at death's door and I will shower, fix up and dress nice to visit the doctor when I am sick and supposed to look awful. If I have not done this as preparation prior to my appointment, I am probably deceased.

Quirk #6 - No matter how comfy they might be, I just cannot bring myself to wear sweatpants outside of the house for errand running - even if not planning to get out of the car. Sweatpants are for exercise, gym class or for sleeping in - on the off chance there might be a fire.

Tagging: Kristin (An Ordinary Life); Judy (I Just Can't Keep My Mouth Shut!); Just Me; Kim (OB Nurse); Searching; & Kathy (Three of a Kind Working on a full house)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sticks and Stones

For my 6th grade Science Fair project I studied the effect of sound/music on plants. I had three plants that I started from seed. I gave them equal parts sun each day and equal parts water. During the evening, they retired to their respective beds. Plant A received a nightly dose of classical music; Plant B listened to Top 40 all night; Plant C was subjected to a barrage of Talk Radio.

Over the course of several weeks, I made these observations: Plants A and B, classical music and Top 40 respectively, were plants that were fairly equal in growth and overall healthy appearance. Plant C, the Talk Radio plant, was limp and pale - not nearly as vigorous as his siblings A and B. Conclusions: Music hath charms, but words can slowly suck the life out of you and impede your growth.

I have heard a great many words over the almost 40 years I have spent on this planet. There were words of love - words that made me feel good, special and important. There were words that hurt - words that made me feel dumb, unworthy and sad. When I started losing babies, there were lots of words. People respond to the tragedy of others in various ways: There are the "first responders" - the ones there, right at the scene - with words at the ready, casseroles and sometimes listening ears. There are the "rubberneckers" - the ones who cannot turn away from the tragedy, but do not or cannot participate in the rescue. While they were the ones who were 'there', sometimes those first responders with their words at the ready, did more harm than good. (You don't move a person with a possible spinal cord injury!) I didn't need the platitudes they spouted at me (or splatting poutitudes as I sometimes called it). Let's face it, there are really no words in this world that were ever going to take the hurt away, or lessen the pain. Oftentimes, those words began with "at least", a phrase I wish could be stricken from our language. Never is there anything more dismissive or belittling than a sentence that begins with "at least". You start with (a) an awful event, add (b)"at least" and follow it with a (c) supposedly worse scenario. Yes, you are in pain (a) BUT (b) this would be worse (c). In all the times I heard a sentence with "at least" in it, never once did my tears instantly dry up, and I thought or said, "You're right! This is so not that bad - I feel ever so much better now because my hurt is little compared to that!" I just felt guilty for hurting over something that, comparatively speaking, was supposedly little in significance. I cannot hurt, because it is not bad enough. Why do we do this? Why do we say things, though meaning to help someone feel better, that only attempt to diminish their pain? Why can't we just recognize the pain for what it is? Pain. Why do we also do this to ourselves? Out of some hope that making the comparisons will actually make the hurt feel less, go away? If I dropped a jug of milk on the floor, it would create a bigger puddle to clean up than just a glass of milk, however, I would still have to clean up the spill. In other words, a big pile of doo doo or a little pile - doesn't matter, it still all just stinks! Maybe less energy to expend in the clean-up, but there is still clean-up to be done.

The puddle of milk theory applies to words sometimes - the more words you use, the bigger the mess to clean up. Less is definitely more in some cases.

"I'm sorry"

"I'm here"

And then the practical: Hugs, listening ears, a shoulder to lean upon . . .

While it doesn't make the hurt go away - just like a kiss can't really make a boo boo all better - it does help a person know that someone cares that they have a hurt, with no judgments as to how valid a hurt it is. When you tell me "at least" it wasn't something else - it almost feels like you are saying you would care more if it was something worse and because it isn't, you care less. While I am certain that people don't intend to come across like this, theory and practical application are often two entirely different things.

For this reason, I never buy sympathy cards to give to people. I buy a blank card and keep it simple. I'm sorry. I'm here. I'm wishing you better days. No comparisons, no at least, no poutitudes. [sic]

Woefully inadequate words, but they are all we have to say; love we should have in abundance to give.


I read once of some villagers in the South Pacific who topple trees by yelling at them for a month. They just yell at the tree, no axe, yell and scream at it for a month and it just dies and falls over. They believe that doing this kills the tree's spirit and it then falls down. If yelling and screaming kills the spirit of a living thing in a month - what can months or years of quiet negative words do?


Regardless of if it has been a week, a month or years, don't forget the follow-up to I'm sorry: "I had you on my mind . . . ", because it's really saying, I had you in my heart.