Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Apologies to Tim McGraw

Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

Yeah...so...I conquered the adolescent fears and now the big scary adult ones are my problem. I wonder how long it will take me to conquer those. Thirty years? Crap.
My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more

heh...cry a LOT less and laugh a LOT more.
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years
What AM I doing here? I thought I had at least some of it figured out and now I have NO idea again. Is it going to take me thirty more years to figure it out all over again? The thought just makes me tired. I wouldn't even know where to begin, anyway.
My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
(crickets chirping)
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here ,In my next thirty years

I shouldn't listen to the radio. But I guess it does give me something to blog about.

I have stopped looking forward. I mean, I look forward, but not by more than a mere few moments into the future. The next 30 years? I can't even envision what THIS year will entail. After all, the motto for this year is, "Just show up."
  • I know we're going to make some progress financially (after messing up the finances so bad yesterday, my husband took matters into his own hands and we are no on track to make some progress. It is conceivable that we could be completely debt free in a few short years.).
  • I'm going to look for a new job.
  • Sam will go to kindergarten (let's not talk about it, it makes me cry).
  • Hopefully I'll get my ass on at least one horse.
But beyond that...who knows.

I think I should think about it. We should have plans and goals. But I just can't find the right frame of mind to come up with any. Maybe we'll aim low to begin with...a family vacation. That takes considerable planning, arranging and financing...so maybe it's not that low of a goal to strive for. Actually, thinking about it, it's a pretty impressive goal. Hmm...maybe...

Just show up. That's the motto for this year. But maybe it could use a little tweaking. It's not very inspiring in and of itself.

Nothing too ambitious...just some small goals.

No control

First show ever watched on the new huge TV?

Bob the Builder.

Yeah...I think I've completely lost control of everything.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ice Cream good for fertility?

Now this is some good research!

It puts life in perspective

MIAMI - The big man slumped his shoulders, lowered his head and spoke in emotionally hushed tones.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been going through the roughest time in his life over the last two weeks, moments he revealed before his return to the Cavaliers on Sunday after being away for two weeks to deal with personal matters.

Ilgauskas said that after the Cavs hosted the Lakers on Feb. 11, his wife, Jennifer, went into premature labor, was taken to the emergency room and hospitalized. She delivered stillborn twins, a boy and a girl, three days later.

The event devastated Ilgauskas and his family, who had been eagerly awaiting the birth. Ilgauskas, who met Jennifer when he was a rookie in 1996 and married her in September 2004 in Hawaii, spent his time away from the team trying to heal.

``I just had to take some time for myself and for her, just to take care of things and be together,'' he said. ``I know it is a long process, but we are taking it one day at a time. Obviously, I've never been through anything like that before. It puts life in perspective.

``It has been tough. We just stayed with each other. Each person grieves differently. We just stayed home... and healed emotionally and for her, physically.''

Ilgauskas said he considered taking more time, but felt that returning to the Cavs after missing four games might help the process.

``I felt sooner or later I was going to have to play. I decided it was time to get back,'' he said. ``At least for a few hours, you can forget about it and enjoy basketball. I've done it all my life. I hope it will take some stuff off my mind. The team needs me, and I need these guys. I think it is important for me to be here.''


Akron Beacon Journal

MIAMI -- Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas returned to the Cavaliers' starting lineup in Miami on Sunday for the first time since his wife went into early labor and lost twin babies.

Ilgauskas missed four games, a stretch that began before the All-Star break.

His wife, Jennifer, began having problems after Cleveland played the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 11. She was about five months' pregnant at the time, and delivered a stillborn boy and girl on Feb. 14, Ilgauskas said.

"Neither one of them survived, so obviously, I just had to take some time for myself to take care of things," Ilgauskas said softly before the Cavaliers lost 86-81 to Miami on Sunday.

He added that losing the babies was the toughest thing he's ever experienced.

"It puts life in perspective," he said.

Ilgauskas stayed with his wife, grieving privately, for several days before resuming personal workouts last Wednesday and practicing again with the Cavaliers on Saturday.

The trip to Miami was the first time he'd traveled with the team since the tragedy.

"He looked good in practice," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said of Ilgauskas, who entered Sunday averaging 11.7 points and 8.2 rebounds, and finished with eight points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes against the Heat.

Ilgauskas said he was looking forward to getting back to basketball, if for no other reason than to have his mind occupied by something else for a few hours.

"The team needs me and I need these guys," he said. "We don't have many games left before the playoffs start, so it was important for me to be here. ... It felt like the right time. The more time you miss, the harder it is to come back."


KFMB 8

(I personally would like to say "boo" to the multiple sports announcers who rumored that Z's failure to play was an indication that he was soon to be traded.)

If I ruled the world...

~You would have someone to take care of your financial things for one year after having a stillborn baby.

I seriously have screwed up our checkbook ($3.10 left...eek!). AND I missed a payment on a credit card (which results in finance charges putting us over our limit). This is SO not me. I'm the one that ALWAYS has it together. I am apparently incapable of dealing with reality.

I guess I can add this to my wishlist list of:
~A birth certificate for your stillborn baby.
~Professional quality portraits of your baby.
~Financial assistance so you could take a proper leave after having a stillborn baby.
~Counseling offered to you after having a stillborn baby (that you don't have to argue with an insurance company for or about).
~Personal funeral shoppers to assist with the "details" after you have a stillborn baby.

Seriously...I know it sounds grotesque...but each one of these things would have helped me SO much in the last two years. Maybe somewhere in this list is my idea for changing the world...?

Shake it off

Well, that last bit was just a little self-indulgent. Thank goodness for my friends, a mighty cry and some peanut M&Ms. OK...so the peanut M&Ms aren't the BEST thing for this situation (considering I would have to literally take up residence at the M&M factory in order for it to even keep pace with the grief), but they sure were yummy.

Another good thing...Monday night sitcoms. For the average person, Mondays are difficult. Coming off of a leisurely Sunday of rest and relaxation and I'm expected to be up to speed right out of the gate? Uh...sorry. I drag myself through Mondays. And with the help of some very funny television on Monday nights (I use them as my motivation to actually make it through Monday at work), and some overly peppy music on my way to work, I usually hit my stride Tuesday morning. Now, if I could just convince my clients to leave me alone, it would be a perfect work day.

The anger is still there. I just find ways to compartmentalize my emotions so that I'm not a complete basketcase each day. Painfully, I'm not sure what to do with the anger. I have accepted the fact that the sadness will be there forever. I can live with that. But the anger... I don't want to be bitter and angry. I don't want to fly off the handle without provocation (seriously...it's like super-PMS).

I KNOW there are good things in my life. I don't intentionally discount them. But this anger seems to step all over them...squashing them down so that they are barely recognizable. I have to figure out a way to lock the anger away in a drawer. Or, if that's not possible (which I suspect it's not), I have to find a way to leash it so that it is under SOME control. This wild and savage anger cannot run amok in my life or it will cause some serious damage.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thank you Cynthia

On a day when I was feeling very alone and angry, this little surprise gift arrived in the mail.

It says, "the heart REMEMBERS all"

My heart remembers...

That you took the time to send such a beautiful gift to me...there are no words. That you took the time to make it so personal...

Thank you so much.

US News and World Report Online

Seriously...who do they have writing these headlines? Cause this one is freaking hilarious...

Afternoon Buzz: A dismissed juror and an offending Jesus documentary

Only in America can we so artfully put Scooter Libby and Jesus Christ in the same headline.

Anger revisited?

I thought I knew what the anger phase of grief looked like. I thought I knew what it felt like. I realize now that I didn't have a clue. There is this raw and primal feeling gnawing at me all the time now. Like I could punch the nearest person....throw my phone at the wall...clear my desk with one swoop of my arm...scream, "Are you SERIOUS?" at anyone who bothers me with their pointless drivel.

When I first lost Alex, I remember emailing with a woman who had lost her child about how one day she just lost it and ripped apart her kitchen...dishes AND cupboards. That's how I feel. Like I could demolish a room all with my bare hands.

I almost gave the meat man at the grocery store the what-for yesterday. Sam and I were shopping and as we were leaving the meat department, he approached me with a package of hamburger that had an obvious adult finger puncture through the plastic wrap and into the meat. He said, "I'm not saying he did it (pointing at the package), but you might want to check under his fingernails because he could get sick if he puts raw meat into his mouth." I'm not saying he did it but... Are you kidding me?!?! Of course you're saying he did it! Never mind the gaggle of children running amok just prior to our arrival in your little world of meat. Never mind that the hold definitely looked adult size...not four year old size. Never mind that Sam, though talking a lot during our shopping, did not leave my side at all. And you...you...I don't have a good name for you. What's your problem? Find the nearest child and unload your frustration on him? OF COURSE YOU'RE SAYING HE DID IT...and by extension, that I'm not a good enough mother to watch my son in the grocery...so let's not dress it up in polite crap. OK?

See? a little bit of anger.

I suppose anger is better than sadness. At least with anger I'm not in tears at inopportune moments (Did I tell you I started to cry when a JUDGE asked me how I was "really doing?" Yep...there's professionalism for you.). But its omnipresence is really starting to grow old. I flipped out Friday night on Steve about which television service we should get for our new tv. It's a good thing Steve called the Dish customer service line...because they would not have known what hit them if it had been me.

Seriously...when is this going to END?

Part of the problem is that I'm starting to finally feel that isolation that people warned me about. Enough time has passed that I'm supposed to be back to normal. I am socially expected to have moved on. The cards and letters and kind emails have stopped. I was never one to have a lot of friends...but now there are virtually none. Despite how much I hurt, I'm supposed to plaster a smile on my face and move forward. I know I have a responsibility to not be the friend that is always sucking everyone else's energy. But I feel like I'm running on empty and I have nothing to offer anyone right now.

Part of the problem is that I have recently taken stock of all the things we have been cheated out of. I mean, I KNEW before...but now I FEEL it. All the lost moments. All the futures that will never be. All the things not said or felt. What do I do with the knowledge that my son would rather go to daycare than stay home...because then he would have someone to play with? Who do I complain to about that?

The other day it hit me that I will never have an "I love you" exchange with two of my children. I will never develop little rituals like snuggling and watching Charlie and Lola before bed. I will never hear my boys laugh with abandon at something that is only funny in the mind of a four year old. We will never have a family hug that includes our whole family. And it is the absence of those things...those things that seem so small...that make me so very angry that I could destroy something.
A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defense's closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. "Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom."

He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened.

Finally the lawyer said, "Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. I, therefore, put it to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed, and I insist that you return a verdict of not guilty."

The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.

"But how?" inquired the lawyer. "You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door."

The jury foreman replied: "Yes, we did look, but your client didn't."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Even commercials are different now

Commercial: "Nothing changes you like having a baby."

Steve: "Or being beaten to death."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Minor crisis (aka man crisis)

The television we just bought is broken. After weeks of listening to him whine about the living room not being finished so he couldn't hook it up, I finally broke down and told Steve I would let him place it in a temporary place until the living room is ready. Upon opening the box, however, we discovered the glass is suffering major internal cracks (the surface is still smooth but you can see the cracked glass on the inside). If anybody needs us, we'll be at the store returning the stupid thing.

Oh...and did I mention that I woke up this morning with a very sore back? No idea what I did to it.

I don't know...I'm beginning to think delivery service for a television that big should be required.

Update: Much to Steve's disappointment, the store did not have a replacement tv available and he will have to wait a few days to get one from another location. My back thanks whatever power was responsible for this turn of events. :o)

Friday, February 23, 2007

so little

The pages sit on my printer waiting to be slid quietly into envelopes marked "DO NOT BEND" and mailed off to places all over the world.

It seems so little.
Just pieces of paper.
Until you turn them over and read them...

Alessandra P

Ryane S

Emily Lauren S

Leah Renee B

Caleb Nathaniel C

Gabriella

Joshua James K

A birthday and vital statistics.
Names of parents who will never again hold their dreams.

Commemorative birth certificates.
Recognition of Life certificates.
Just pieces of paper.

So little to help heal broken hearts.
Little papers to recognize their little babies gone too soon.

How can things so little be so important?

I have a problem

I am absolutely obsessed with going back and labeling all my posts into neat little categories.

Control freak much?

Happy Friday!

Less coffee + more water = more sleep and fewer nightmares.

The sun is shining and I'm about to go deposit my paycheck.

Clarification

From yesterday's post/comments...I appreciate discussion.

But I think I didn't state my point very well.

This is not a NEW research conclusion. Being poor leads to poor medical care. There are similar statistics on treatment of cancer and terminal illnesses. I get it. It's a damn shame, but I do see possible solutions on the horizon.

Why is it that every "study" of stillbirth seems based on the premise of acceptable loss? You and you and you...you lost your babies to medical neglect. You and you and you...we have no idea why you lost your babies. Neither one is acceptable to me. And they are both the result of medical research being subject to capitalism.

Why isn't stillbirth studied in the same way as cancer or parkinsons or alzheimers? I understand the need to eliminate social causes for stillbirth...I do. I think it is an embarassment to our humanity that someone should suffer because they lack dollars. And numbers are nice so you can get a big picture and see where the dollars need to be spent...but really...this is not a new big picture.

My question is...where is the SCIENCE? I'm simply not willing to tell ANY mother that "sometimes these things just happen...you're just one of the unlucky few it's going to happen to this year." If you ask me..."You lost your baby because we're too busy putting our medical research dollars into a pill that will give a man an erection and couldn't be bothered to research the medical reasons for stillbirth" isn't too far from..."You lost your baby because of medical neglect."

My concern is that everybody is talking money and nobody can even venture a guess as to how bacteria invaded my uterus and killed my baby boy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stillbirth study

The number of stillborn children in the United States declined steadily between 1990 and 2003, a government study found, but teenagers, black women, unmarried mothers, and those carrying three or more fetuses have an elevated risk.

There are about 1 million fetal deaths each year in the United States, most happening when there is no chance of survival, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Stillbirths are deaths that occur after 20 weeks of the standard 40-week gestation period.

There were slightly more than six stillbirths for every 1,000 pregnancies past 20 weeks in 2003, a drop of about 1.4 percent each year since 1990, the CDC study found.

Little is known about the causes of fetal death. Several factors may increase the risk, including smoking during pregnancy, obesity, uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, infections and problems with the placenta, the researchers said.

Black women experienced 11.56 stillbirths for every 1,000 pregnancies, more than twice the 4.94 rate for white women. The rate was 6.09 for American Indians and 5.46 for Hispanics.

The biggest risk was for women carrying triplets or more, with a 22.31 rate. Teenagers under age 15 had 13.18 stillbirths for every 1,000 pregnancies, while women 45 and older had 14.83.

Overall, 47 percent of fetal deaths occurred in unmarried women, and the higher risk remained regardless of age.

WashingtonPost.com

And the actual CDC report.

Again, the government can tell us who it happens to...they just can't tell us WHY it happens to anyone. I suppose we're supposed to draw our own conclusions? And this study certainly seems ripe for us to draw those conclusions, doesn't it? How about we stop pointing fingers and figure out the causes of stillbirth...so ALL women won't have to worry about it? I bet I can't get money to study that.

Personal favorite is that this study references this site...which hasn't been updated since 2004. Three YEARS, people!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Crochet hook advice

Any crocheters out there?

Have you ever tried SOFTtouch crochet hooks? Do they really feel as nice as they advertise?

Have you ever tried handcarved wooden crochet hooks? I don't really like plastic, so I'm wondering if I will have the same aversion to wooden ones?

OK...off to stitch some more...

Hey honey...!!!

How do you like the new look for the blog?

I love you!

hmmm...not sure

During our usual, "I love you," repartee this morning, I said, "I love you five," and Sam didn't answer with, "I love you Route 66." I said, "I SAID, I love you five," and Sam replied with, "I KNOW...I HEARD YOU."
I forgot my breakfast, so I ate M&Ms.
I forgot my sweetener, so I drank my coffee with real sugar.
I forgot my decongestant and I have a headache.
I deleted some bookmarks from my internet browser and have already gotten more done at work in one morning than I have in WEEKS.
My girl scout cookies are downstairs waiting for me to pay for them.
I have packages to mail and I'm not sure I have the money to mail them today.
I really have to balance the checkbook.
Got an email that the Coleco Head-to-Head football game I bought on ebay for my husband appears to be lost in the mail. The guy refunded my money, which is nice, but I really wanted that game (to give to Steve, yeah, that's why).
I'm planning to pick something up for lunch (provided I can pay for it).
I'd rather be crocheting.

Good day? Bad day? Hard to tell.

Many many advil later, the headache left.
I had a yummy turkey, bacon, and cheddar sub for lunch.
I got mucho work done at the office.
Steve did a good job with is presentation at work.
The drugs for Steve's back pain only cost $9.

I really could have done without the headache. But overall...good day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stop

I wrote a post. Filled with anger and profanity. And then I took a breath.

Here is the gist of it...

Stop.
Stop telling me how God is the answer.
Stop telling me how God loves me.
Just stop.

A friend in loss summarized the feeling succinctly in a comment a while back. "the idea of a god who could have spared my son but chose not to is so horrible that i'd rather believe there's no god than one so hateful"

I take no comfort in the idea of some great "plan." None. Our children are DEAD. We were cheated out of a million little memories that probably mean nothing to you unless you know you are missing them. We were cheated out of the dream of what our family could be...now...and forever. We were given a taste...and then had the dream unceremoniously ripped from our grasp. I have no words to describe for you the unbearable cruelty of that. And I think, given the propensity to say things like, "Despair is despair," that you, and people like you, will NEVER understand. So I am not going to waste my breath.

So with that in mind...
Please stop.
If it means not commenting here, then please, do not comment here.

I liken your comments to kicking a dog when he is down. I liken them to my husband's annoying habit of trying to fix my problems in two seconds flat.

I don't need answers.
I don't need solutions.
I need to work through my grief on my own terms and in my own time.

And I don't need to deal with your judgments about how I "should" be doing things. I know I'm disappointing people. If there is a God, I'm sure I'm disappointing Him. But this is MY journey to take and I do NOT need you to swoop in and tell me how easy it is.

Just give yourself over to God? Just? As if it is so simple? Which God should I give myself over to? The one who loves me so much that He would do this to my family? Really? I'm sorry if I'm having a little trouble with that one. No...I'm not sorry. I AM having trouble...and I WON'T apologize for it.

Do not minimize...do not attempt to solve...

Just stop.

I can't write

I'm not sleeping well because I'm having nightmares. I have no idea what has set them off, but they are horrible, awful, nightmares that wake me up and won't let me fall back asleep. I am, therefore, a royal bitch to live with right now. Of course, my husband has been too afraid of me to ask what's wrong (and I can't say as I blame him...I could very well peel the skin off his face with my fire-breath if he looks at me the wrong way). There must be something brewing in the morass of crap in my brain...I just can't seem to access it during my waking hours at the moment.

Anyway...even if I COULD find my words, I don't think I could write anything as eloquent as this entry at Mommy Needs Coffee.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What am I doing?!?!

Why is it I take my day off to "catch up" on housework? Seriously, what is it that compels me to do that extra load of laundry when I would much rather be doing anything but? OK, OK, OK, so it's fear that motivates me...I do NOT want to have to go to work commando tomorrow. But really...how important IS underwear anyway?

As I was loading the dishwasher this morning, the laundry already loaded and humming along, I caught sight of Sam in the living room, happily munching on his pretzels while he quietly watched me bustling about. Suddenly it hit me, "I don't even WANT to do this stuff. Why am I not doing something with Sam? Why are we not taking a nap all snuggled up together?"

So I made a resolution for today. Today, only half the laundry is going to get done...and Sam and I are going to watch some Thomas the Tank Engine and then take a nap. I hope everyone does something they WANT to do today.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Train seats are grouped in fours

So we got to share our "group" with the mom of four boys (they sat across the aisle with their dad).

The baby was about as old as Travis should be right now...dressed in a baby blue sleeper and as cute as a button.

Yeah. So. Fun.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Miscellaneous thoughts

-------------------------------
Valentine's Day...sucked. And then Sam sat down next to me with his little kid heart-shaped box of chocolates and says, "Mommy, you can have some of my chocolate since you don't have any."

I swear I did NOT put him up to it.
-------------------------------
Good songs...
Find Out Who Your Friends Are...Tracy Lawrence
Anyway...Martina McBride
Moments...Emerson Drive (but listen to the song before you watch the video)
-------------------------------
My "monthly visitor" was six days late and I had a bit of a freak out. She's here now and I'm good again.
-------------------------------
This is unforgivable. However, a policy of euthanizing after a mere 72 hours is barbaric. Why are people so prone to a ride on the pendulum from one extreme to another???
-------------------------------
I think I'm irritable. I want to tell people to shut the hell up already. Seriously. Bitch and moan somewhere else, will ya? I don't wanna hear it.
-------------------------------
Pedigree made me cry with this commercial. Two days of running the ad during the Westminster show raised over a million dollars for the American Humane Association. I guess they made a few other people cry too. Good for them!
-------------------------------
I hurt and there is no way to rid myself of the pain.
And I'm tired of talking about it...while at the same time I don't get to talk about it nearly enough.
-------------------------------
Am I the only one who thinks people who go out in snowstorms are stupid? And am I the only one who thinks that their complaints about the road conditions are even more stupid? I mean really. Unless you're bleeding out of some orifice, why are you out in your car in a snowstorm? Who bears the responsibility for this? They poor schmuck who plows the roads? Ummm...sorry...you lose.
-------------------------------
I'm finding myself enjoying the company of people I wouldn't normally have enjoyed...and disliking the company of some people I thought were friends. Odd.

I don't know what to say to people. About anything. I alternate between absolute silence...not having any idea what to say...and wanting to scream at them. Somebody pass me some chocolate.

(please don't email and ask if it's you I dislike now...I'm not gonna tell you the truth if it is you anyway)
-------------------------------
My baby blanket for a friend's baby is almost done. It should get sent out sometime early next week. I hope she likes it. If she doesn't like it, I hope she just quietly gives it to charity or something. (I always get intense fear of rejection as soon as a project nears completion.)

I hope to have pics at some point. Stay tuned.
-------------------------------
I go blithely along in my day-to-day and I'm fine. And then the simplest moments hit me like a ton of bricks.

I will never hear my sweet boys say that they love me (or their daddy)...and I feel tremendous guilt.

If only...
-------------------------------
I think I'm going to go scrounge up some chocolate now...
-------------------------------

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thanks Rach!

After a crappy day, I collected three days worth of mail and found this pretty little gift from Rachel.

And here's what was inside. It made me giggle. I will wear them tomorrow and giggle even more. You're the best!

Thanks so much!

If you live in a glass house...

Today I went off on a rampage about poor customer service and people who are "idiots."

A bank whose online service said payments made before 4pm would post the same day...forgetting to include a notice that that policy only applies during weekdays.

An electric company who waived a bill in November, failed to get an accurate reading on our meter, and re-billed us for the same (waived) electricity in January.

But then...

Then, I went to the bank to pay my mortgage...that I apparently already scheduled to be paid through my online bill pay. I about had a heart attack when I handed the teller the check and she informed me there wasn't enough money in the account to cover it (because it had already been subtracted). Talk about embarassing.

Then, I tried to pay for my carseat order with the credit card that has our home improvement charges on it and, therefore, not enough of an available limit to pay for said carseat (until the bank sends us the remainder of our loan and we pay a chunk of it off).

Yeah...I guess I shouldn't be so critical of other "idiots."

Dear sis...

Please answer your $@#&! email.

Thank you.

Love,
Your sister

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Charlie Brown humor for this Valentine's Day

Sally: I just want to thank him for the valentine.

Linus: I never sent her a valentine!

Sally: Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?

Sam: Did you hear what she said, Mommy, don't you know sam-carrots when you hear it?!?! (hysterical laughter)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Quiet is good

Quiet is good...though not necessarily interesting to write or read about. I have sufficiently recovered from my post-birthday cake-induced sugar coma to come up with absolutely nothing to write about. And it is good.

The house: The contractor installed the trim upstairs yesterday, though I did not get a picture of it just yet. As soon as I touch up the paint, the second floor addition will be officially DONE! (8-10 week project my ass) Now we have work to do on the stairwell and the new and improved living room...and then the workers can get the heck out of my house! (Is it so much to ask, since they are there during the day, that they let the old dog out, instead of letting him poop on my living room floor? geez! Though, if you ask Steve, the even more annoying thing about their presence in our house is the collection of Market District coffee cups lined up on every available flat surface. We have a construction dumpster, for pete's sake. Is it SO hard to throw your trash away? Yes...we're ready to have them out of our house.)

Sam-a-lama: Is exhibiting some, shall we say, interesting behaviors. He has a trash bag full of loved toys he has to earn back by keeping his bedroom clean for the rest of this week. He had to write a note of apology to his daycare provider for his nasty attitude. It gets better when they're older, right?

Steve: What's there to say about the most amazing man in the world? I love him and I'm hoping he'll take me shopping for beads and a tattoo sometime soon. Yes, it's weird. No, there is no explanation.

The pets: All still alive and accounted for. One horse has a weird cough, but seems ok otherwise. At least one dog had worms. Hopefully the treatment got rid of them. One cat has decided he must sleep on the bed with us...and wakes us up with his yowling if he is somehow accidentally locked out of the room at night. Seven fish still alive...though I think I forgot to feed them yesterday...so maybe I better not speak too soon.

Crocheting: Moving along at a snail's pace. Everyone seems to think I should take time out from my favorite pastime to cook and clean. How do I dispel this notion?

Cooking and cleaning: We have one clean bowl and we ate KFC for dinner last night. If this isn't the reason I'm not getting crocheting done, then what is? hmmmm...

Work: I had to tell a client that I would not represent his stance on an issue that included, "putting it back in the judge's lap." I actually said the words, "No, I will not do that...I have to practice law in this county and I will not jeopardize my career for your indefensible position." I bet the complaints roll in to my boss upon his return from vacation.

Tonight: Valentine's card preparation with Sam. Should be fun.

Quiet is good.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The floor is done!

My arms are aching, my legs are throbbing, my left pinky finger is purple (note to self...remove finger before laying flooring down next to a wall), my ass hurts, and I am just plain tuckered out. I am too fat and old to be installing laminate flooring. All that stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down...it's just hard work!

When is President's Day? I would love a day off.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A new knitting project?



Not sure what this says about me and my friends, but my friend suggested this should be my next knitting project. Thanks M! Now stop drinking woman...you have children!

Courtesy: Strange But Trewe

Friday, February 09, 2007

Who are you?

In response to Rachel's question...

What makes me me? What I think...what I believe...what I feel.

I am too opinionated for my own good.
I believe in magic and I have hope for the future.
I have a definite sense of right and wrong.
I find joy in the laughter of other people.
I love animals and flowers and making things with my own two hands.
I am uncomfortable in most social situations.
I worry about mental illness.
I have unhealthy eating habits.
I believe animals and children are blameless.
I am learning how to accept those things I cannot change.
I am stubborn to a fault.
When I love, I love completely and without reservation.
I have a serious temper.
I am impatient and often unable to say I'm sorry (even when I am sorry).
I believe in taking care of other people, whether they are to blame for their own misfortunes or not.
I like having answers to my questions.
I do not like the unknown.
I'm not sure I believe in God.
I feel that my sons are my greatest joy and my greatest heartbreak.
I believe that my husband is the love of my life.

I'm sure there are more...this list, like me, is a work in progress.

Birthday flowers

From Samuel (who picked them out himself)

From Steve

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Free to a good home

I knitted this scarf with Paton's Divine in Denim Storm. It makes me itchy (10.5% wool...I should have read the label). It's not "perfect," so I won't be offended if nobody claims it. But I figured I might as well offer it up here instead of just stuffing it in a closet somewhere to be eaten by moths. Anybody want it?

I will be knitting a new scarf with Lion Brand Microspun in black. If it itches it will be appearing here as well. Stay tuned.

tee hee...this makes me giggle


REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN)

Eyes on the prize

Much of what inspires me to write is found in my interactions with other people. I am amazed at the complexity of every individual person that I know. I sometimes wonder about the people I will never meet...the person I brush past in the courthouse, the cashier at the grocery store, the person driving the other way on a snowy road...what are their lives like? are they happy? I like to know what makes people tick.

For the last two years now, I have been literally inundated with a variety of opinions on religion...God...the meaning of life. While there have been many topics that I have analyzed over and over in my mind (and on this blog), there has been one that I have neglected. Heaven. I have taken for granted that there is a heaven because everyone seems to reinforce the idea without question. Whether it is hope for something better or faith that it is there because a book tells them, almost everyone I know has shared the same fundamental belief that heaven exists. I have never questioned this. Until I was faced with sentiment recently voiced by a few friends (online and 'in real life') that did not sit well with me.

The basic premise of the statement was something along the lines of being excited to see what heaven is like.

I didn't comment then and I let it sit in my brain. And then today, for some reason, I was struck with the explanation for my discomfort. Heaven isn't a finish line. This isn't a race. This isn't a set of steps you have to get through in order to get to the better place. This isn't a throwaway. This is life. This is a gift. And to blow it off as though it is insignificant 'in the grand scheme/plan,' seems somehow...I don't know...disrespectful...and wrong.

If God exists, and all of this was given as a gift, then surely there has to be something valuable in the journey. We are supposed to enjoy our families. We are supposed to love and laugh and cry. We are supposed to eat, drink, and be merry. We are supposed to stop and take a look around and just BE.

Would you accept a gift from a friend or a family member with a comment on its value or its useful life? I don't think I would. I would accept the gift, enjoy it for the time I had it, and not make value judgments at all. But I do this all the time with my emotions as I pass through this life. Why?

It's not that people intend to do this. I think we do it quite unconciously. I think we are desperate to make some sense of THIS...this life...so we have to minimize its importance in order to make it hurt less. Surely, there has got to be something better. Surely, all of this can't be for nothing. There has to be a prize at the end. And in the process of trying to achieve that prize, we are missing out on the prize of life.

It's not totally about the end. It's also about what you fit between the beginning and the end. So whenever I hear someone tell me to focus on the ultimate "prize," I am sad for them...because they are missing so much. They have it all figured out...how to cross the finish line. In their eagerness to get there they rush past all the scenery along the way. Yes, some of that scenery is scary and ugly and horrifying. But there's much more of it that is beautiful and breathtaking and lovely. I think I would rather cross the finish line last, having fully participated in the journey.

I'd like to go to heaven. And I may even be excited to see what it's like. But I'm more excited to see where my life takes me next. Heaven can wait.

Let me count the ways...

Me: I love you.

Sam: I love you too.

Me: I love you three.

Sam: I love you four.

Me: I love you five.

Sam: I love you sixty.

Me: I love you to the moon and back.

Sam: I love you Route 66.

Anita Creamer: Stillbirth: A hidden hurt

Story

I LOVE this part...

More than we like to think, pregnancies can go very, very wrong. One in 115 American pregnancies ends in stillbirth, which is defined as fetal death past 20 weeks' gestation.

That's 26,000 stillbirths a year or one every 20 minutes. In contrast, sudden infant death syndrome claims about 2,500 children in this country every year.

SIDS organizations, to put it bluntly, have a better marketing strategy.

"I thought stillbirth was something from the 1920s and 1930s," says Harris. "You don't even know that it still happens."


A better marketing strategy...interesting...

A Way to Honor Life

I like this essay on grief.

Thanks for sending it to me S.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


November 3, 2006
(taken with a camera phone)

A Super Bowl jingle is my theme song

I didn't really understand the premise of the ad for Coca Cola. But the simple song (about 20 seconds in) sticks with me.

"You're gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do...You give a little love and it all comes back to you..."

I suppose I'm healing, because I'm starting to see things about myself in a more objective way. I'm generally feeling less raw (though I do still have those days). And I'm finally starting to feel like I can do something for someone else again. Most importantly, I'm less desperate to find God in all of this. I do not have time or energy to try to make sense of repetitive mantras that provide no answers but tell me what I need to believe to save my soul.

My dogs are happy to see me when I get home at night...and I'm willing to bet they have never contemplated the meaning of life. They live and they love and they are happy...not because they have found any sort of inner enlightenment...they just ARE. Maybe it is time to adopt a similar philosophy. All of this searching for meaning is only making me miserable. I don't need meaning...I can create meaning...if I choose to.

I'm going to be 35 on Thursday. I remember when I was so afraid of that number. 35 meant so many things, particularly as it related to childbearing and being a mother. My perspective has certainly shifted. 35 is just another year. There is no meaning in it...and I'm ok with that.

I have taken a good hard look at who I am. I admit to being afraid of the bitterness I felt welling up in my soul. But there is less fear in that now because I have been reassured that my actions prove that I am not bitter...even when I didn't feel it, the kindness and softness was still there in my heart. Good to know.

I want to be remembered for the things I say and do. If I were to die today...I would want people to remember me as good and kind and loving...not bitter and angry and twisted.

Welcome to the world Lauren Gabrielle!!!

Congratulations to Julie and her whole family! I am so thrilled for you! May you enjoy a lifetime of happiness.

A service announcement...

I know this is not the "official" recognition that many people seek when they lose their babies...but I wanted to make note of a project that is near and dear to my heart that can help (even if just a little bit).

The Memories of Mariam Project (The MOM Project) provide free Commemorative Birth Certificates and free Recognition of Life Certificates (for where there is no "birth").

I personally volunteer my time to create these certificates (as well as the free mother's bracelets), and I can say that they are nice quality because all of us volunteers know the importance of these memorial items.

If you would like something to commemorate your lost little one(s), please visit our store, place an order, and drop me a comment or an email to let me know you've requested something and I will be sure to give you my personal attention.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Dear Abby

Time for me to weigh in on the Dear Abby column...

My birthday will be nine months since losing Travis...almost a year and nine months after losing Alex. I have few precious pictures of both of them. After all this time, there are still days I look at the photos of my own children and all I see is dead. And quite honestly, it's a difficult thing NOT to see. They ARE dead. I really can't fault someone else for being a bit horrified by that. I'm their mother and I am horrified by it (if I'm quite honest about it, I am horrified by it A LOT of the time).

I think that just because I have dead children I do not have the right to tell the rest of the world to go to hell. I do not have the right to force my pain on other people. I mean, I COULD, but I don't think I have some special pass to do so. Forcing my pain on others only makes me bitter and angry...and that is not a tribute to my children that I want to create.

And yes, I'm fully aware of the imbalance this creates. While I'm so busy trying not to offend anyone's sensibilities, people all around me are moving forward and leaving me behind without a thought. There is no extra care given to me to lessen my pain...except by those who really matter. And that makes me sadder...and angrier. But when I feel ready to rant at those who lack sensitivity...those who really aren't worth my time and energy...I take a deep breath and ask myself who I really want to be. Do I want to be like them? Do I want to be the person who cries and yells and demands other people feel things that aren't genuine? I would much rather whisper and join hands with those who hear me than yell and not be able to tell the difference. Besides which, if "it" doesn't come from the heart...if it's not genuine love and kindness...then it's not going to make me feel any better anyway.

Even after all of this...I think every single person should be respectful of every single other person. Some will fall woefully short of the mark. But not me. I won't let this change me into something I do not like in others. I will not become one of them.

So I personally compromise...I have a pencil sketch of Alex and a photo of Travis' little half-finished feet in my office. They are less harsh to outsiders than some of the photos I have...and they still allow me to keep my boys close while at work.

I know it's not my responsibility to shelter other people from my horror. I feel it is, instead, my privilege to do so. I don't want other people to have to feel what I feel. I don't want others to know the fear and anger and sadness and revulsion that all comes from something that is supposed to be so simple and beautiful and miraculous. I don't. I WANT to keep them from feeling the horror. I WANT to protect them.

I will never deny my boys, or the love I have for them. But I don't need to make the world around me uncomfortable in order to honor their memories. It sounds like the subject of the Dear Abby letter is sad and grieving...and feeling just a bit lonely. This is her way of yelling to be heard. I wish, instead of condemning her for her pain, her coworkers would find some kindness and understanding to share with her. I also wish this woman would reflect on who she used to be and find some empathy for her coworkers. But like my wish for world peace, I'm doubtful any of this is going to happen.

But honestly, if you have to resort to writing to Dear Abby to answer such a simple question about human interaction, you've got bigger problems than seeing death personified in a picture in someone's cubicle. The picture may be inappropriate for the workplace...but so is the lack of simple human kindness for one another.

Monday morning humor

My friend and coworker sent this to me...

Woman sees a picture of Jesus in kitchen cabinet

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP - - A Erickson Drive woman planned to remodel her kitchen, but she suddenly changed her mind when an apparent image of Jesus appeared in her lower cabinet door.


To read the rest of the story, go to StarBeacon.com

The sender says:
I bet you're sure glad this didn't happen to you before the remodeling! (I can hear you now- "quick Steve! Hand me the #@%$ paint brush!")

Having public shrines can be such a big responsibility.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I need motivation

5pm and not one plank of flooring has been laid.

It has been a lovely day...but I need to get moving. Where is that crowbar to pry my butt out of this chair?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday update

Watched Armageddon on Encore this morning and cried. I LOVE that movie.

Watched the noon news and freaked out. The mother-in-law is fine...the tornado missed her part of the neighborhood. It's probably not a good sign that we didn't even know this had happened until a day later. Guess we should watch the news more often.

We went out for a "day of fun" and it did not devolve into one of us screaming at the others...well...except for that brief tantrum of Sam's where we couldn't figure out what the hell was his problem (but that's pretty routine for us on any day).

I bought yarn to finish a friend's baby blanket. I also bought a couple sweaters for my little Blue girl and a few bones for the other freaks (aka dogs).

Steve bought a HUGE television. (insert wifely eye roll and shoulder shrug here)

It is currently 10 degrees (-8 with the wind chill) outside. We went for ice cream. You can't beat a Coldstone Creamery coupon...anytime of the year. But I think I'm freezing to death from the inside out.

Had a brief scare when the credit card machine wouldn't work and Sam feared he may have to wash dishes to pay for his ice cream.

My loving husband also bought me a Midnight Delight cake for my upcoming birthday on the 8th (I'll be 35...that's a whole other post...coming soon).

Got home and put on jammies and a sweatshirt.

I guess I should scare up some dinner and get some crocheting done. Tomorrow is a full day of installing laminate flooring. Fun, fun, fun.

Oh yeah...The previous entry was a scan of instructions for the bath towel tower we bought at Linens N Things a few weeks back. Nothing like having instructions that cause you to go, "Huh?!?!?!" But in their defense, I emailed the company with a request for replacement parts (some were damaged right out of the box) and they FedExed them to us rather quickly. Steve says he thinks they acted so expeditiously because they were so glad we didn't mention the instruction mistake. Of course, that does not prevent me from blogging the instruction mistake and sharing the chuckle with the internets. If you're in the market for some pretty pretty furniture, check out Foremost Groups Inc.. Great customer service...really funny instructions.

Home Improvement Fun


Friday, February 02, 2007

Too sensitive?

I got an email today that was supposed to be funny.

It had all kinds of goofy pictures of boys doing stupid or funny things. It was followed by one of those lists...
Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
Super glue is forever.

I know the majority of the email was funny.

But it started with, "----For those who have sons & those of us who are happy that we don't."

I want to cry.

Am I being too sensitive?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Since I'm talking stillbirth already today

Synova Healthcare’s Non-Invasive Fetal Monitor Kicks In
1st February 2007

Synova Healthcare says that Synova Pre-Natal Healthcare., a wholly owned subsidiary, and development partner BioPad. have successfully produced the initial set of antepartum fetal-movement monitors for use in their first "in-home" clinical trial. The device is designed to provide a non-invasive means of monitoring fetal movement during the last trimester of pregnancy. Unlike ultrasonic instruments, this non-invasive fetal monitor does not expose either the pregnant mother or her fetus to radiant energy.

Clinical data supporting the value of antepartum fetal movement monitoring is both compelling and growing. Reduced fetal movement has been associated with a variety of tragic and preventable outcomes including stillbirth. Reports of fetal movement declining in advance of a cessation in fetal heart-sounds and fetal death illustrate the value of fetal movement monitoring .

The monitoring of fetal movement is routinely done during the last trimester (and often earlier), and can be performed at-home manually by the mother herself. Manual fetal monitoring is currently done while the mother lies quietly on her side and counts the number of fetal movements within a given time frame, or the time necessary to detect a given number of fetal movements. The non-invasive fetal movement monitor currently being co-developed by Synova and BioPad is aimed at improving this practice by increasing the accuracy agreement of the measurement via this non-invasive device versus manual measurement by the expectant mother, when compared with ultrasound. The Company believes this will reduce maternal anxiety (as the fetal monitor is expected to identify fetal movement the mother may miss) and may contribute to improved outcomes by assisting in identifying real emergencies when they occur and potentially providing the time necessary to intervene successfully.

In the U.S., there are more than 4 million live births annually. Benefits of fetal movement counting extend well beyond fetal welfare and maternal peace of mind. Health-economic analyses have demonstrated the value of enhanced prenatal care. Any intervention that results in a decreased likelihood of premature birth and low birth weight infants will almost assuredly decrease public healthcare expenditures.

"We anticipate that this non-invasive fetal monitor will be the first of its kind for affordable in-home use," states Dr. Ron Spangler, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Synova Healthcare, Inc. "It is our belief that this device will provide women with added assurance that their fetus is exhibiting normal activity throughout the last trimester of their pregnancy."

BioPad is a non-invasive device that accurately monitors fetal activity in pregnant women from week 24 through birth. The device is intended to augment a clinician’s care of the expectant mother by providing a reliable means of monitoring fetal activity at home. The device provides the expectant mother with peace of mind by indicating that either the baby's activity is within normal range, or fetal movement has declined and that she should see her clinician. The expectant mother will use the disposable pads (up to three times a day) for a period of 20-30 minutes each time, starting in the relevant week of pregnancy. The mother will receive a real time indication regarding her fetus’ movements. Her physician can download the collected data to a desktop using BioPad’s special cradle and or directly from the device itself. The product is passive and emits no radiation.

http://www.biopad.com

I find this product particularly interesting given this study.

And this bit as well...

SCIENCE SLEUTH

Q. Is there an evolutionary reason for human blood types?

A: The blood types classified as A, B, AB and O appeared and predominated in geographically separated populations over the course of human history, and it has been assumed that the differences conferred some biological advantage. A recent study links this advantage to how different kinds of infections, bacterial and viral, interact with different blood types.

The study, by researchers at University College, London, appeared in 2004 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Blood types are characterized by certain complex sugars, with the types differing genetically. When the sugars end up on the surfaces of cells, they determine how the body and an invader interact.

The researchers’ statistical model found that the rates of occurrence of these blood types closely mirrored the distribution of opportunistic bacterial infections, which are best fought off by A and B blood types, and the distribution of viral infections, which are best fought off by O blood types.

The researchers said they hoped the study could point the way to a better understanding of how the changing influenza virus could be fought off by the immune system.

LINK

(Just figured I'd get it all in one post on an already emotional day so I can move past it and post something lacking substance and sadness tomorrow.)

Around every corner

Today I woke up to find a dear friend (D) is pregnant with her fifth child. I am happy for her (even if she is a bit nervous...her youngest turns one...tomorrow? I can hardly believe that!).

I sent my congratulations, but then I was off to do a quick search for ANYTHING to read online that is NOT about babies, pregnancy, trying to conceive, or loss (my bookmarks are pitiful, let me tell you). Self defense mechanisms are beautiful things sometimes.

I logged onto SheKnows (where I moderate the Loss Support forum) intending to spend some time surfing around in all those other forums that I haven't previously explored. "Just for Fun" sounded good. Or "Chit Chat."

And then I saw the post.

A woman named Jen...Due in January...daughter stillborn at 41 weeks.

It breaks my heart. I do not know this woman, but from her writing I see that she seems strong in her Christian faith and I hope that will be a comfort to her. I know the grief is a formidable opponent for even the strongest of faiths, however, so I worry. I also worry that someone will say the wrong thing to her and unintentionally hurt her. I have this instinct to wrap her up in my arms and protect her from the sadness and the pain that I know she will encounter. But that is not the way of things. We all have to walk our own road and face our own demons.

As a moderator for Loss Support, I did my "official duty" and left a few words of support for her...nothing that will make her feel any differently...just something to let her know that a support network is there if she wants to use it. As a fellow traveler on the path of grief, I hope she finds love and peace along her journey. As a mother with two angel boys, I cry tears for her and her daughter, Catriana Quinn.

Catriana Quinn. I feel the need to say her name here...to give it life where there is none...to let other people know that a mother has not lost just a pregnancy...a family has lost a child...and all the hopes and dreams for that child's life. I feel a need to acknowledge the lost potential in that life that will not be lived.

D and her new pregnancy...Jen and Catriana Quinn...it's been quite a morning. I think I'm going to just stay away from message boards for a while.