Thursday, August 31, 2006

Writer for hire

So it's come to this - a shameless plea for work.

See the thing of it is, for a number of reasons getting a full-time gig just isn't feasible at the moment (I could be wrong, but I just don't see employers jumping at the chance to hire someone who lives at the doctor's office and who, presuming all goes well, is planning to be fully engaged in the process of maintaining a high-risk pregnancy in the hopefully near future).

But freelance writing, well there's another story. I can work around my dates with the dildocam and it doesn't require a full-time, onsite commitment which I just can't make right now.

Aside from blogging about my son and my desperate attempts to procreate, I've written everything from newspaper ads and radio commercials to really, really, boring corporate brochures over the last twelve or so years.

I'm a whore, is what I'm saying. I'll write just about anything for just about anyone.

So, uh, if you know anyone who needs a freelance writer, point them my way, won't you?

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Angels of mercy

There was a nurse trainee at the clinic today. She was probably in her 50s so she certainly wasn't new to nursing and patient care, but she had a sweet, fresh-scrubbed look about her - all rosy cheeked and earth-mothery - that was so welcome. And so very needed there.

Don't get me wrong, the nurses at the clinic are all very nice - very polite, professional and competent - but when the new nurse smiled sweetly at me and said "good luck" as she was leaving, I knew she genuinely meant it. I wasn't one of hundreds of assembly line uteruses to her. I was also a face and a heart and carrier of dreams. And she knew it, and acknowledged it.

I wanted to cry right then and there.

After being anonymously probed and stabbed for the last two months, someone finally really showed me something beyond clinical courtesy.

I think people in the medical professional sometimes underestimate the value of breaking down that patient/caregiver barrier. It made an otherwise burdensome visit (which included a very uncomfortable probe by a tech who had a lot of difficulty finding my left ovary - seriously, it's like she was digging for clams) just that much better. And when you're feeling vulnerable and unsure, that much better is priceless.

Lise and Nadine, two nurses who cared for me after Thomas was born and died, were those kind of nurses. My Beloved and I were lost. We were both in shock and I was sick. We were alone and adrift in a strange, sad and very, very frightening world. Lise and Nadine were our anchors. I mean, we relied very heavily on our families who gave us constant and unwavering support, but Lise and Nadine were our lifelines at the hospital - that scary, sterile, anonymous behemoth. They took care of me - of both of us - as though we were their own. They talked to us, sat with us, laughed with us and quietly left us when we needed to cry. We were terrified, but they weren't afraid of us. They knew what needed to be said - even when it was to ask about funeral arrangements - and did so without flinching, and with a kindness I thought you needed a lifetime to cultivate.

I often think of them. I have no idea if they remember us, but one day I will find a way to make sure they know how they somehow managed to save me from drowning during those first terrible and totally unreal days.

What a priceless gift indeed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Slaves to the melon

We went to a nearby farmer's market on Saturday morning to peruse the local produce and soak up the small town atmosphere. It was a really nice way to start the day. There's nothing quite like bringing home bags of locally grown produce on a surprisingly crisp weekend morning before you're normally even up and functioning.

I did notice that we were missing the seemingly requisite dog on a leash and kid in a stroller, but at least we fit in with the old people who were also there without small things to push and pick up after.

We bought leeks and sweet carrots as well as a basket of gorgeous peaches. But my most prized purchase was a pair of great big musk melons - one of my all-time favourite late summer market treats. The size of small bowling balls, they held the promise of delectable summer sweetness within their deeply rippled skins.

We tore into one of the big beauties the moment we got home. In minutes we were covered in golden juice that dripped down our chins and off of our fingers. Truth be told, it was a bit of an orgy.

The next day as we were enjoying the second half of the melon, My Beloved pointed out its ingenious nature. The seeds, tucked safely - and cleverly - inside the heart of the fruit, are designed to be eaten and subsequently transported to new potential breeding locales.

They take a free ride through our digestive tracts and are summarily deposited, encapsulated in a delightfully fertile medium, ready to take root and begin the cycle again.

As My Beloved said, we are slaves to the melon.

That is, of course, if we eat the seeds (which we don't) and deposit our fertile medium somewhere other than in a vessel that immediately directs it to a treatment facility (which I haven't done since the days of the cottage outhouse 30 odd years ago).

But it's still a very cool notion. Slaves to the melon.

Anyway, it all got me thinking about how life just seems to find a way - about how it's designed to take great advantage of even the smallest opportunity.

Which of course makes me think that that's exactly what we're doing. Taking great advantage of a small opportunity.

IUI will increase our chances of conceiving. By how much, I'm not sure. Tubal issues aside, at my age the odds of conception each cycle probably fall below 20%. With IUI it's raised to about that. Possibly more.

Which means, of course, that it has a 75% - 80% of failing.

But I'm not supposed to be thinking negatively, so I'm going to revel in the glory that is 20% and think like a melon. Think that if I just entrust the little seeds within me to the big world out there, one will find its way. Just because that's what it was ingeniously designed to do.

Monday, August 28, 2006

En garde!!

So we have a plan of attack. Because feeling like you're going into battle is precisely the right atmosphere in which one should create a baby, isn't it?

The sad thing is, it is the right way to go when you've been trying to conceive for a few days shy of 15 months. At this point, the more ammunition, the better.

Which is why as soon as the conditions are right we'll be doing IUI. Intrauterine Insemination.

Gosh, it even sounds romantic, doesn't it? All sterile and mediciney.

As the good doctor said, My Beloved and I don't even have to be in the building at the same time to have a baby this way. And isn't that every loving couple's dream? I've always hoped to conceive a child using a speculum, a long syringe and the help of masked strangers.

I'm being so ungrateful. I know I am. We're very lucky to be good candidates for this procedure and I'm also very lucky that I responded so well to the Clomid and that My Beloved's swimmers are in peak condition.

I just need a little time to adjust to this strange new world in which everyone is invited into my vagina for a looky-loo and nature takes a back seat to science. It's very foreign to me.

But if it means that one day we'll be bringing a real live baby home to stay, I'll do it. I'll do it all and then some.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Trial by fire

Last night I dreamt that the house burned down. My Beloved and I stood on the front lawn with our jaws on our chests watching everything we have go up in smoke. The only thing My Beloved was able to reach in and save was Thomas' teddy bear - the one who appears in the precious few pictures we have of our baby, and who now sits on our bed every day.

It was night, and the flames licking up the walls of the living room and engulfing the pictures on the piano were almost beautiful. I guess they would have been if it wasn't all so horrible, and if it didn't mean that the fire was erasing everything and taking all that I have left in the world from me.

I then found myself alone on a dark street near my parents' house trying to find my way to my old home. I was scared, and so because I knew I was close enough for it to be okay, I closed my eyes and ran as fast as I could. I don't know how it's possible to run so far with your eyes closed, but because it's a dream it totally makes sense that when I opened my eyes I was about 70 kilometers from my Mom and Dad's house.

Good and lost.

I wandered into a bar to ask for directions. The guy behind the counter was someone I knew - someone who knew we'd lost Thomas. He didn't help me, and when I turned to leave I heard him say, "I bet she wishes there were fewer hours in the day". And I knew what he meant, because if there were fewer hours there'd be less time to feel the aching sorrow that still eats me up on a good day.

When I went back outside it was daylight. I looked at the unfamiliar street signs and decided that I'd just try walking in the direction that seemed right to me, even though I had no idea if it was actually the right way to go. I was about to take my first step when I felt a hand in mine. I looked over and saw My Beloved, who had somehow managed to find me even though I'd disappeared from the fire, run through the night and gotten horribly lost in the process. He found me.

He wasn't sure which way was the right way to go either, but we set out anyway. Together.

I woke up happy.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm just so tired

I'm in such a ferociously foul mood right now. I feel like I've been stretched to my absolute emotional limit. I couldn't possibly squeeze even the tiniest bit more negativity, sorrow, anger or hopelessness into my head because it feels like I've already somehow managed to gather every last bit of it available to me and cram it in there until it's as tight as a drum.

This is one of those "how do I keep doing this?" kind of days. The ones in which the road before me is all uphill and I'm wearing boots made of lead. I keep trudging, but I'm not getting anywhere and the boots are getting heavier with each and every step.

I'm just tired. I'm tired of feeling sad, I'm tired of missing Thomas, I'm tired of wanting him here, I'm tired of trying to get pregnant, I'm tired of failing every month, I'm tired of fertility treatments, I'm tired of feeling broken, I'm tired of pitying looks, I'm tired of endless questions, I'm tired of trying to pretend I'm okay on the days when I'm not.

I need a vacation. But unfortunately you can't have a vacation from your own life, can you?

We didn't sign up for this, My Beloved and I. And fuck it, we didn't deserve it either.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I know it's wrong, and certainly just plain icky of me, but I'm currently working on a nice, slow seethe over Britney's ability to procreate with such apparent ease ( I shouldn't have picked up that People magazine this morning).

It bugged me the first time, but the second time - an admitted oops - is just plain annoying to the uterinely challenged.

I should NOT begrudge someone a child, no matter how vapid they are or how atrocious their choice of breeding partner. But I do.

There she is - in all her nubile glory, buck naked on the cover of some magazine - flaunting her fertility in my face. And only two months after she tearfully begged the media to leave her alone and just let her be a regular wife and mom.

'Cause you know, that's what all regular moms do - strip down to the skivvies God gave 'em and pose for national magazines with strategically placed hands covering enormous breasts and legs crossed 'just so" to avoid giving readers a view of baby's escape hatch.

She just bugs me, that's all.

It's because I'm old and bitter. And require drugs to make my innards do what hers are still able to do all on their own, dammit.

After I flipped past the Britney article I came across an ad that showed a harried mom with two toddlers doing harried mom stuff. I can't remember what produce was being advertised. In fact I'm not sure I even noticed because I just kept thinking that I was once this close to being a mom just like that - one with a baby right here instead of in heaven.

It's a funky blue day, I guess. A day for lavish pity parties and thoughts of what might have been. If I was younger. If I'd known something was wrong. If I could turn back time.

If I still had my Thomas.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Take THAT!

There's just something about the place. Maybe it's because the priest who said Thomas' funeral left the parish, or maybe it's because my patience is waning the longer things don't go the way I want them to (and I'm acting like a petulant child because of it) but each Sunday at church is a new experience in futility these days.

I was actually feeling fine this Sunday morning before church. On the way there I even vowed to begin anew with God. I thought I'd start fresh, let bygones be bygones, bury the hatchet and see if I could just get over it already. It was a pretty, cool day, the sun was out and I felt totally fine. Almost peaceful.

Which lasted all of five minutes once I got into the church. I couldn't concentrate on my prayers and gave up, and then spent the bulk of the Mass thinking about Thomas. But not in a good way. I kept thinking about how close we were to having him - to being able to bring him home, safe and sound like so many thousands of parents do every day. How it was just a matter of minutes - precious, unmonitored minutes - and he was taken from us. How it would have been so painfully easy for God, who is apparently capable of some pretty astounding miracles, to make everything just fine. To save our son.

I tortured myself uncontrollably in the house of God until I was so furious my only option was to leave. But because I'm still faithful (or stupid) enough to fear the wrath of God (although I have no idea why - what more could he possibly do to me?), I waited until after communion. Until after I knelt down and pretended to pray. I gauged the flow of post communion foot traffic until I saw a break in the line and jumped into it, flowing effortlessly to the back of the church where I continued out the door and into the sunshine, free at last.

It's the only thing I'm brave enough to do to God. Isn't that pathetic? As if leaving Mass before the final blessing is the worst earthly crime a person can possibly commit.

"Never mind the pedophiles, axe murders and terrorists," says God, "what the heck am I going to do with that defiant girl who keeps leaving Mass before she's been dismissed??"

But it's all I've got. It's my only protest against what I still can't understand or bear - the loss of my son and the feeling that God betrayed me.

Sigh. Can't wait for next week.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Was that the pill or a Peanut?

I wish I knew enough about clomid to know if the symptoms I'm having are drug-related or not. I've heard that it amplifies any and all forms of PMS, sneaky little pill that it is, so I'm assuming it can also masquerade as a pregnancy too.

Fantastic. Because evidently the process isn't torturous enough without throwing in decoys.


Friday, August 18, 2006


Ah, so we ALL like a little gratuitous sugar, eh?

I'd love to send some to you, Abby (and to everyone else who so kindly stroked my baker's ego with those glowing compliments), but for some reason I don't think they'd travel well - and I can't think of anything sadder than a box full of sticky tart crumbs stuck to errant globs of filling.

Okay, I actually can think of a few things sadder than some busted tarts, but you know what I mean.

So I'm doing the next best thing and posting the recipe, which includes the dough (which yes, I did make myself, she said proudly).

PLEASE someone make these. Honest to God, they're so good and really, really easy. The worst part is making the pastry, and this recipe makes such lovely supple dough even THAT'S not all that taxing.

One quick word of advice though: Cut the filling recipe in half. I did and it STILL made more than two dozen tarts. If you're not interested in having an army of tarts taunting you with their sugary goodness for weeks on end (from the depths of your freezer, of course, since these probably shouldn't be hanging about for weeks on end), I recommend making just half the recipe. I made the full amount of pastry dough though. I just froze what I didn't use (which means my next tart adventure will be a breeze!).

Without further ado...


Never Fail Pastry
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pound Tenderflake lard (or Crisco Shortening, which is what I used)
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 egg, slightly beaten

2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 cups corn syrup
1/2 pound butter
8 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups raisins, washed and rinsed (I don't like raisins so I left them out)


Cut lard (or Crisco) into cubes (about 1 inch) and freeze. Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor.

After the lard is frozen, add to the food processor. Pulse until the flour mixture is crumbly and resembles small peas.

Combine vinegar and egg in a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1 cup. Add the liquid mixture through the feed tube. Continue until the mixture forms a ball.

Divide into four and form into flat disks. Chill for about 15 minutes. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a floured board until 1/8 inch thick. Cut to the appropriate size and line the tart tins.

Place the lined tart tins in the freezer. You get flakier pastry if you keep it chilled before baking.

Note: I don't have a food processor, so I made the pastry the old fashioned way - with a pastry cutter and elbow grease. I also didn't freeze the cubes of Crisco. I think that's only important if you're using Lard)

Mix the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs in the food processor (or mixer) until smooth. Add salt and vanilla and mix well.

Place about 9 raisins in each tart shell. Add the syrup mixture until about 3/4 full.

Bake in a 400 degree F. oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly before removing from tins. These freeze well. Makes 36 or more medium tarts.

ENJOY!!! And be sure to let me know how they turn out!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gratuitous sugar

Because I'm embarrassingly proud of the things I bake that actually turn out, I needed to post a picture of the butter tarts I made to take to a BBQ we were invited to last weekend.

It was risky - I've never made butter tarts before and I waited until the afternoon of the shin dig to start baking - but they turned out just fine.

You see, historically "event baking" hasn't always worked out too well for me (hard cookie-like cakes, runny pecan pies, biscotti with plastic spatula bits) - a fact My Beloved never seems to tire of reminding me. But this time things went in my favour and I pulled tart after near-perfect tart from the oven in a glorious haze of sugar-coated triumph.

I was practically giddy. So much so that I ate a half a scalding tart to see if they tasted as good as they looked.

And oh, they did.

We took more than necessary to the neighbours and gave some away to the in-laws the next day because they were simply too dangerous to keep in the house. We'd polished off the remaining four by Monday night.

I miss them.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A new 'do

I switched hair dressers. The girl I had been seeing wore thin after just two visits. Not only did she forget about Thomas and ask me about my kids the second time I was in, but she essentially told me I looked like a fat Mom. Not in so many words, but that was the gist of it. I don't need to be told I have a "round face" repeatedly before getting seriously disgruntled.

I knew then that we'd be breaking up.

But I've since found a keeper. She's a tiny little thing in her mid 50s, I think. She used to work in the film industry (which explains the autographed Stephanie Zimbalist picture by her station - which I have to admit I found rather cool) but switched to steady salon work when she had her child.

Or, I should say, when she adopted her child.

The inevitable "so, do you have kids" question popped up about halfway into my cut. I'd already decided to tell the truth, albeit abbreviated and as "But I'm okay" as possible.

To my surprise she knew exactly what to say, and went on to tell me about her own battle with infertility and the subsequent adoption of a little girl from Russia.

Our circumstances are different, but she got it. She said she somehow doesn't quite feel like a woman. She has all the parts, but they didn't work properly so she doesn't know what it's like to be a complete and functioning woman like the mothers she talks to at the salon who all assume she carried her little girl as they did theirs.

I wanted to jump out of the chair and hug her and say "I know. Oh God, I know."

I mean, I realize I can't compare my situation with the agony of never having conceived at all, but I carried my child to term and my body failed him. It didn't do what it should have - what millions of other women's bodies do every day - and he died. That can most certainly fuck with your womanly sense of self esteem. Trust me.

What I assumed would end up being another disastrous and awkward appointment with someone who, horrified and shocked by my story, would end up putting her foot in her mouth repeatedly while I assured her she wasn't at all, turned into a very calming bonding session.

I seriously considered inviting her out for coffee but figured that would be crossing the client/stylist boundary - and could very possibly make me look like a lunatic. So I didn't.

But thank God for Debra. She happened to give me a great cut, but even if she hadn't I know I'd have gone back just the same.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The wine was nice

What a difference a few days makes. And some sleep. And some wine. And the glorious news that you've ovulated and will be spared the indignity of the dildocam and the annoyance of blood letting for at least a few weeks.

I feel better. I feel a little less like I'm drowning under the weight of the news the good doctor delivered after the HSG. I'm not particularly optimistic, not just yet (and maybe never), but I'm starting to feel slightly less icky, for lack of a better word.

Because believe me, it's pretty icky to find out that so many things are wrong when so many things have already gone so very, very wrong. It's icky news to have to tell your darling husband who wants a child as much as you do, and it's icky news to have to deliver to hopeful, anxious, wide-eyed family members who are waiting for blessed news to arrive on angels' wings.

It's icky all 'round. It's actually pretty shitty, as a matter of fact.

But it's done. Everyone knows the score and hopefully things will return to business as usual as I quietly go about trying not to think too much about getting pregnant and not getting pregnant while feeling so frustratingly broken.

As if.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thinking of an angel

Sending (((((HUGS))))) to Ryan's Mommy and Daddy and wishes for peace and comfort.

Happy first birthday little one

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Yeah, so about that twin thing...

I think I need to backtrack a little. A good night's sleep and an HSG sure can change a girl's mind. Particularly when it turns out she's only firing on one cylinder and was built with faulty equipment.

One blocked fallopian tube and a bicornuate uterus. Fan-fucking-tastic. For the blissfully ignorant (and oh how I wish I was among your ranks) a bicornuate uterus is heart shaped, and formed when two uteruses (uteri?) joined to become one way back when I was but a tiny peanut in my own mommy's tummy.

You'd think with two uteruses I'd be the world's most fertile woman. But apparently not.

I can't even bear to consider what affect my flawed interior design may have had on Thomas - or what part it might have played in his death. I just can't bear it. Not today.

I don't really have enough information to know how all this affects our future breeding prospects either. I was unable to ask any intelligent questions as I lay there on the table with dye oozing out of my nether regions and the shock of it all hanging around me like a thick fog. My doctor seemed optimistic for me - one tube and Clomid are enough, according to the good doctor - but he also admitted that he'd need to see my ultrasounds (which he hasn't, as yet) in order to get a good handle on things.

I really think he just wanted to get to his lunch. How he could even think of eating after what he'd just done and seen is a whole other puzzle. But that's his problem, not mine. I have enough of my own to think about, thank you very much.

So there you have it. I'm good and broken.

And I'm not entirely sure how I even feel about having babies anymore. Is it fair to keep trying if there's a possibility that more babies could die because of me? I don't know. I don't know all the stats and odds and risks yet (except what I've gleaned by poking around online) so it's premature of me to make any decisions (not to mention the fact that I'm not the only one who gets to make this one).

But I'm just saying, I don't know how much more of this I can stand.

The more answers we find, the more I crumble inside under the weight of the guilt I haven't been able to shake since Thomas died.

Who knew there was more where that came from?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The post in which I prove I'm bi-polar

So I was thinking about having twins. I realize I can't just wish them into existence (wouldn't that be handy though?), but for some reason yesterday I was able to believe that it might actually be possible not only to conceive, but to conceive two healthy take-home babies.

I told you I was bi-polar.

The twins would be girls, and it would mean that I wouldn't have to choose between the two girl names My Beloved and I already have picked out (he likes one, I like the other).

See? Wouldn't it be so neat and tidy for the Clomid fairy to bring us twins? That would be a whole family in one shot, complete with big brother Thomas watching vigilantly from what I imagine is probably the nicest cloud in the heavens - certainly the one closest to the chocolate dispenser, anyway.

Clomid increases the risk of having twins by 10%, according to something I was reading the other day. I managed to fall into the 1% of people who experience a massive abruption, and Thomas landed squarely in the 15% of babies for whom abruption is fatal, so I think a 10% twin risk is well within our fighting range.

Or maybe I'm just insane. Could be.

I'm not completely out of my mind though. Most of me still finds it next to impossible to believe that I'll ever hold a live, wiggling, screaming baby of my own, but I suppose it's a good thing that I'm willing to entertain the notion that there could be a different ending to our story one day. I don't necessarily believe it, but I can entertain it. That's something, right?

Last night, just before we drifted off to sleep, I whispered to My Beloved, asking if he still truly believed we would have another baby. In the dim light of the hall night light I saw him nod his head and smile almost imperceptibly.

Peace flooded my body and I slept.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Let's talk some more about me

I'm in a bad mood, but I don't know if it's me or the Clomid.

Let's blame it on the Clomid, shall we?

I don't know much about this alleged baby-inducing wonder drug, but I do know that it's going to be my scapegoat for the next three weeks or so. All foul moods, crying jags, cold shoulders and snarls will be blamed squarely on that benign looking little pill. And his four brothers.

I'm skeptical of Clomid. I can't shake the feeling that all it's going to produce is a string of dark days and a torrent of tears.

My Beloved, if he reads this, will want to curse me for not thinking positively, but I've done just about all the positive thinking I can. None of my positive baby thoughts have led to a live baby, so it's far easier for me to believe that this isn't going to work either, no matter how positive I am. I'm not superstitious enough to believe that THAT'S what's going to prevent me from getting pregnant - not thinking happy enough thoughts, I mean. That's complete rubbish.

My mind is a powerful thing and all, but I'm fairly certain it's not the cause of my secondary infertility.

And if it is, I will certainly need to figure out a way to properly harness that power into some sort of money-making venture. Mustn't let it go to waste (particularly not with the cost of fertility treatments these days).

I do believe that stress can do some dastardly things, but surely crack whores lead stressful lives, and they get pregnant with alarming frequency, don't they? Or is that just what those of us with funky plumbing and corrupt uteruses think when we're in Clomid-induced hazes? Maybe, but even one successfully breeding crack whore is enough to blow the "stress" theory out of the water as far as I'm concerned.

I've long forgotten how to relax anyway. That's stuff of long ago and far away.

When I looked at the Clomid before I swallowed it this morning, I wanted to cry. I get that I need help conceiving and that any baby that is (magically) produced after all this poking, prodding and scientific intervention is still a product of the love between My Beloved and me, but it still seems like an awful way to make a child - with pills and dildocams and bloodtests.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned just how much I'm hating all this. And oooooooh, perhaps the worst part of it all is the nauseating self-absorption (for which I apologize profusely).

Stay tuned - I think tomorrow we're going to talk some more about me.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I popped my first Clomid this morning. Then I went to have a shower and waited for the horrible side effects to kick in.

I briefly thought there was going to be an anaphylactic incident, but it turned out to be a little bit of phlegm instead.

Fasten your seatbelts and hold onto your hats. This could be a very long and bumpy road indeed.

My apologies in advance.

Friday, August 04, 2006

And then there were none. Again.

Another family of birds has come and gone. Sigh.

This was the last picture I took of the baby Mourning Doves. Well, one baby and one mama, anyway. I snapped it on Monday, the day before they left the nest (a less than graceful departure, incidentally - think Woodstock in vulture's clothing).

I'm glad we're no longer the crazy people with one dead hanging basket twisting wildly in the wind, but I'll miss the little fellows who've been calling it home since the end of June. As much as I loved our tree swallows, they were very territorial in the last weeks before they flew the coop. The doves, by sharp contrast, were very peaceful house guests. The worst they did was eye us warily.

Oh, and there was a disgruntled "MRrrrroooCOOOOOOO" when My Beloved cracked his head on the bottom of the pot one afternoon while he was gardening, but other than that they were quiet and extremely good natured.

I miss them.

Now what?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

In summary

My Day:

1. Blood draw from friendly phlebotomist who left an alarming bruise on my arm

2. Dildocam with accompanying uncomfortable conversation about upcoming baby shower tech is throwing for her sister

3. Awkward waiting room conversation with fellow patient that started with her query about length of post-dildocam wait times. Thomas mentioned. Not sure if I should have done that...

4. Consultation with doctor (the one who did the D&C after my first miscarriage and who re-stapled me when I sprung a leak after Thomas' C-section. He didn't remember me, but I can't forget the sorrow that clings to him)

5. Prescription for Clomid

6. Is that the smell of fear?

7. Worrying and driving

8. Visit with my parents, complete with toasted tomato sandwich (a restorative and all-too-brief reprieve from the scary world)

9. Grocery shopping

10. Drug store shopping

11. Battle with the humidity-ravaged front door lock

12. Muttered expletives

13. Garage door entry

14. People magazine, chocolate and 90210

15. Dinner preparation

16. Dinner with wine

17. More wine

18. My Beloved, at long last

All's well that ends well.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The lake

If I could have one wish today - aside from the obvious and ever-present wish of having Thomas back - it would be that I could somehow find myself sitting by the shore of the lake I knew as a child, watching the water lap up over the stones and sand my Grandma used to rake into a fresh beach every spring. She fought with grass, weeds and the tiny nubs of new pine trees that littered her beautiful little beach each year after the winter snows receded.

That's life cottage life in Northern Ontario for you.

And I loved it. The smell of it, the look of it, the feel of it - how I felt when I was there.

It was the most magical place I've ever known. The sound of the wind tickling the trees in the wood lot beside the cottage, the screech of the red squirrels, the chill of the morning air, the heat of the afternoon, the lazy tick-tock of the clock in the tiny kitchen that now hangs broken in my own, the cheese-slice sandwiches and orange pop for lunch, walks to the bridge with gravel crunching beneath my feet and the smell of road tar in my nose, bonfires with gooey toasted marshmallows, wet bathing suits draped on the porch railing, laundry dancing on the line strung between the cottage and a tall maple tree, the mist on the pre-dawn water, row boat rides to the cove across the lake, swimming until we were wrinkled and chilled to the bone.

If I could just go back there. Drink my fill of it. Take refuge in it.

I could breathe in strength from that sweet, beautiful world I loved so much, and take enough with me to help me cope with the world I live in now. The one filled with fear and sorrow and frustration. The one that doesn't make any sense and the one that would be unbearable were it not for the people I love who keep me sane and grounded.

I love them with all my heart. But sometimes I still just want to sit by the lake.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In my sister's garden

God and I have our issues, but he certainly does make some very, very beautiful things, doesn't he? My sister caught this Monarch butterfly dancing around her garden last week and was able to snap some great shots of it while it took a little rest on one of her cone flowers.

Monarchs remind us of our Grandmother who passed away 16 years ago. The cottage she and my Grandfather had on a beautiful little lake in Ontario's Muskoka region was home to hundreds of migrating Monarchs each summer. They were always floating by the shoreline and fluttering through the leaves of the white birch trees that my Grandma loved so much.

They look like little stained glass windows that have broken free from their lead frames, and they have the same kind of light and magic that my Grandma did. Her spirit was every bit as lovely as a Monarch's delicate wings.

Whenever we see them now, we always think of her and imagine that she's sending us a message to let us that she's always close. Gone, but never far away.

Just beyond the veil.

I thought about having a Monarch release ceremony for Thomas once upon a time. My Beloved and I were at a flower show (yes, it was my idea) and there was a man there who raises and sells Monarchs for just such purposes. I loved the idea, but it was too soon after Thomas' death for me to seriously entertain the notion.

Plus I figured my family - including My Beloved - would think I was insane.

But since it still seems like a really beautiful thing to do (not insane at all, as a matter of fact), I might just arrange to do a release next spring.

I know my Grandma, floating just out of sight, will love it too.