Sunday, April 29, 2007

Reel Mowers... know, the ones without gas or electricity or batteries. Do you have one? What kind is it? Do you like it? Would you recommend it?

We're thinking of ditching our slightly broken (my fault) hand-me-down electric lawn mower in favour of a quiet, environmentally responsible reel mower. It sounds like a good idea, but God knows I've had enough of those end in disaster...

Thus I thought it would behoove me to ask the question, "what do you think of your reel mower?"

I can't get my mind off of Spring today...

Spring has FINALLY sprung!!!

My Angel Face rose survived its first winter!! Look at those beautiful new deep maroon leaves! The New Dawn climbing rose also looks fantastic. I'm so happy both my roses made it through the cold and are both looking so fresh and healthy now that the warmer weather has finally arrived.

Basil on the left, lavender in the middle (they've grown, huh?) and Sweetie and Brandywine tomatoes on the end. I didn't plant as many seeds as I did last year, but that's partly because I'm trying to focus on perennials in the angel garden this year. Luckily vegetables and herbs seem to fulfill my need to seed.

Despite the rabbit attack, my willow bush seems to be doing just fine. This is its first spring, so I'm not entirely sure what those pink-tipped buds are going to do, but I can't wait to find out!

My Angel garden's very first bloom of the season! This is the bleeding heart my Mom gave me from her garden last spring. It struggled a little in the jungle the angel garden eventually became (lesson learned - you can actually cram too much in a small space) but I guess what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger, because it's as healthy as can be.

Here's the big clump of daisies my Auntie Margo gave me last fall from her beautiful garden. I wondered if they'd survive the transplant, and clearly they've more than survived. Look at them go! I can't wait to see these blooming and dancing in the sun!

Friday, April 27, 2007

We're just going to have to accept the fact...

...that I'm evidently too lazy to write two posts in one day.

So once again, here's where you can find the Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Blog Directory Friday blog roundup.

P.S. The rabbits? Well, you have to admit that they're pretty good at making you think they're dumber than a box of hair. They seem to have two defense mechanisms - running very fast or standing very still and pretending that you can't see them, even if you're standing just a few feet away and staring them right in the eye.

C'mon now, standing still is a stupid thing to do when something 20 times bigger than you is within easy striking distance. Unless you're invisible. Which rabbits are not.

And with this damning evidence, we conclude that rabbits are morons.

Except that they aren't. They're crafty. They're smart enough to find the tiniest holes in an otherwise rabbit proof fence, and they're smart enough to eat away the bottom branches of a willow bush that hasn't even been in the ground for a year yet.

And, in a brazen show of defiance, they're smart enough to leave clusters of Coco Puffs all over the lawn for you to step in as you make your way to the ravaged bush.

See? Smarter than the average bear indeed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yarn sale alert! And teeny tiny car update

A little something for my yarn loving American friends.

And a little something for my fellow Canadian yarniacs too.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. For those interested in the saga, the car is leaving the premises tomorrow. Allegedly for good, although I'll believe that when I see it. Or when I don't see, as the case may be. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Blown-out-of-proportion stress reactions to day surgery can be pacified by chocolate in all its forms. But once the surgery is over and a flicker of hope replaces the nearly two years of doubt, there's all that well-padded chocolate ass to deal with. And chocolate thighs and chocolate tummy...

Don't try to give a car away. Don't say goodbye to it in a school parking lot with misty eyes and a lump in your throat. It will end up back in your garage by 10:00pm that evening. It will. Honest to God, it will.


Everyone gets pregnant over the winter (when you can't see bumps under coats and sweaters) and then they emerge all round and glowy in the spring. Some warning would be nice. I don't think that's too much to ask of perfect strangers.


If you intend to move a birdhouse away from a garden because the last family that lived there dive-bombed you while you weeded, you should do it in the fall. Don't wait until a new family (sparrows, this time) have taken up residence in April.


Watching a documentary about four morbidly obese people (the bed-ridden, close to death kind of morbid obesity, I mean) will make the 6 pounds you've gained from eating all the pre and post-surgery chocolate and treats seem much, much, MUCH more horrendous than it probably is. Right? 6 pounds isn't all that bad, right? RIGHT????


Rabbits only look stupid.


Getting lost while you're out for a drive on a pretty, sunny day in April can be fun - but it all depends on the kind of lost. When you start seeing things you've seen three times before and you can't for the life of you figure out how to disengage yourself from the horrendous loop you're making over and over and over again, being lost ceases to be fun.


Surprise chocolate cake is the best.


Even after all this time, the enormity of losing Thomas will still crash down on me like a wall of bricks if I let my guard down and almost forget for a moment or two.


When a woman at the grocery store hands you a five dollar bill and asks if you've got change for a grocery cart, she really just wants a free quarter.


Even if you don't think you want to, babies can always make you smile.


So far 37 feels the same as 36. Maybe I should have saved all the cake for when I start noticing the difference.


I never saw any of this coming. The loss and grief of these past four years has been hurtling its way towards me since the moment I took my own first breath - and I never saw it coming.

Thank God for small mercies.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What a day it was

Today was my birthday. My Beloved surprised me by taking the day off, making me pancakes for breakfast, showering me with presents of gardening books and baking tools, and then and making an almost 6-hour long round trip (including lunch and a period of about an hour where we drove around in giant circles, hopelessly lost) to a yarn factory outlet far, far away.

It was excellent. All of it. And at the end of the day there was a great big piece of chocolate cake and a great big chocolate milkshake to wash it all down.

Excellent, excellent, excellent.

If you're going to turn 37, this is definitely the way to do it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

She has a home at last!

We'll be bidding the old girl a fond farewell early Saturday morning. A high school north of us has expressed interest in having her for their auto shop class and we're more than happy to hand her over to start such a productive new life.

I say we're happy, but if I'm going to be honest with you (and me) the confirmation made me a little sad - a feeling you really probably shouldn't waste on a car, but do anyway. At least I do, because I'm a lunatic who forms sentimental attachments to virtually anything and everything. It's the reason we have a 23-year old gingerbread cookie on our Christmas tree every year (mummified, and still looking quite fetching, if I do say so myself).

I know they're just things. And I know there are more important things than things. But still...

Goodbye, old friend.


I finished this in bed this morning. It arrived in the mail on Tuesday, and after reading as much as I could before falling asleep two nights in a row (which isn't a reflection on the book at all - it's just symptomatic of my age, unfortunately), I woke up this morning and devoured the remaining half in one sitting.

And at the end - at the close of the very last paragraph - I bawled my little eyes out.

Maybe it's because I know the kind of loss that shakes you to your very core too, or maybe it's because I know that parts of this magical tale actually happened. Or maybe it's because I want the ending to be true more than you can possibly imagine.

But whatever the case, this book moved me tremendously.

Thank you Stephanie, for sharing this story with a world that needs to know it.

And Thomas, just in case she's right and you need to hear it, I'm okay. Mommy's okay, sweetie pie.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Geez, we can't even GIVE it away...

There comes a time in every car's life when it must be backed out of the garage for the very last time. When it must embark upon that final road trip. When it's ultimately more of a granola bar wrapper, old newspaper, train ticket stub, and juice bottle collector than functional vehicle.

And for my 15-year old Mercury Topaz, that time has come. Despite the fact that she's a pretty little thing, even still.

Okay yes, there are a couple of rust patches over her back wheel wells and her roof is starting to peel a bit, but when she's washed, she still shines proudly. Well, most of her. Her back end is a little scratched where My Beloved used her as a surface to cut tiles for the kitchen backsplash almost three years ago (don't ask - I was in the grips of all-day morning sickness at the time and didn't give a rat's ass what was happening to my old beauty in the garage), but for a 15-year old car with backsplash tile damage, I think she's still pretty comely.

But thing is, we just don't need her anymore. My Beloved has been taking the bus to and from the train station (in an effort to reduce his ecological footprint and, I suspect, because he's a little embarrassed by the old gal) and so she's been sitting idle in the garage since November.

We finally made the decision to set her free last month. And last night we took her to the dealership where I used to get her serviced to see what we could get for her.

A smirk and $50 bucks was about it, as it turns out.

Now, I realize this is a 15-year old car and all - but it's a good car. It is!! It has a V-6 engine (which was completely replaced just three years and 8,000 km ago), a spare tire and a donut, a pristine (albeit kind of dirty) interior, cruise control (that I think I've used once) and power locks - almost all of which work. For 15 she's in fine shape, if I do say so myself. Even if My Beloved says otherwise.

I was insulted (a feeling I definitely associate with being at a car dealership). I did my best to fight for the old girl, but they stood firm, and so eventually we walked out.

On the drive home I decided that if I wasn't going to get a couple of hundred for her, then I wanted to donate her to a local high school with an auto shop class. It's a matter of principle. I know the car is worth more than $50 - even for scrap and parts alone - and I will not be taken advantage of. I'd rather get nothing for it than hand it over to some smirking jackass with a lazy eye and cheesy mustache.

You don't mess with the mother of a dead baby. Everything is a fight to the death.

And no, I don't know why. It just is.

So after not-so-quietly-fuming for an hour or so, I sat down at the computer to see if I could find a school that wanted her.

My first try was a high school in My Beloved's old home town, which seemed serendipitous, and so felt right. I e-mailed the shop teacher directly, turned off the computer and snuggled into bed feeling satisfied and, I admit it, a little smug at the thought of having beaten the smirker at his own game.

This morning I woke up to a less than enthusiastic reply. It seems the school just recently took possession of a Sherman tank
(yes, you read that correctly - a Sherman tank.), so the idea of a measly little '92 Topaz literally made the shop teacher yawn. He couldn't have sounded more disinterested if he tried. He agreed to take it, but was a little fuzzy on the details - like transferring ownership and all that. More underwhelmed he could not have been. I mean, I know it's technically an old clunker, but it's still a free car, for God's sake.

After a brief discussion with My Beloved, we decided to continue the search.

I spent an hour or so looking up high schools a little closer to home (which isn't a half bad idea since we're not entirely sure it would have been all that safe to drive her as far as My Beloved's old stomping grounds anyway) and came up with another potential new home.

I e-mailed the principal late this morning. A few hours later I got a short reply indicating that the shop teacher had been notified and would contact us directly.

I haven't heard a word since. I guess my idea of "directly" and his are kind of different.

And so here we are. We can't sell it and apparently we can't give it away either.

With any luck the second school will happily take her off our hands. That's my hope. But if not, uh, is anyone else interested? C'mon now, I know there's got to be someone out there who wants the old girl. All she needs is a little TLC. And maybe a little paint touch-up on her rear end where the tile cutter and My Beloved worked their magic.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reason # 4,365,241 why I love My Beloved

When he saw the pizza I made for dinner last night (which was covered in bits and pieces of leftovers from the fridge - random cheeses, steamed broccoli, black olives and a handful of cherry tomatoes) he said "Wow - that looks good! We should take a picture of that one!"

And for the 4,365,241st time, my heart melted.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A tantrum and tears

The other day I found myself in line behind a mother and daughter at the grocery store. The little girl was probably three, I think. She reminded me a bit of Scout from the movie version of To Kill A Mockingbird. She had a little pageboy haircut, deep set dark brown eyes and, eventually, a very big pout.

She was helping her mommy take the groceries out of the basket (determinedly standing on her tippy-toes, nudging boxes of pasta and bags of apples up onto the conveyor belt) and was being quite a good little girl.

Then she spotted the chocolate bars, insidiously placed at three-year old eye level. Caramilk. It was the Caramilk bar that did her in.

And what followed was a theatrical meltdown of epic proportion. It wasn't loud (the girl was smart enough not to waste energy on volume), it was just very, very dramatic. Wringing of hands, pronounced pouting, great big tears, and the dejected full body slump of one so cruelly denied. Because, of course, than answer was "no".

I watched the proceedings with both pity for the mom (who was doing her best to curtail the theatrics but was clearly mortified by the antics of her little diva), and for the little girl who just wanted a chocolate bar.

God, haven't we all been there? I need a chocolate bar at least three times a day, which is precisely why I don't keep them in the house.

In addition to the chocolate, the little girl needed a nap. That was obvious. She looked the way I feel after doing 900 loads of laundry, vacuuming, changing the bed, scrubbing toilets and making dinner; bored, tired and cranky. Throw in a good jonesin' for some chocolate when there isn't so much as a chip to be had in the house, and I can get temperamental too.

"Cawamel, mommeeeeee! I want de one wif cawamelllllllll!" This, her tear-choked reply to the suggestion that she had lots and lots of Easter chocolate at home.

Because come on, everyone knows nothing tastes better than the chocolate you don't have.

In the end they left the store with promises of sweet cawamel dreams shattered behind them.

The cashier and I shared a smile and a giggle when they were both out of earshot.

"How could she not buy the cawamel?", I said jokingly, knowing full well that the mom most certainly did the right thing, given that the tantrum was fueled more by fatigue than true desire.

The cashier chuckled.

The weird thing is that no sooner were the words out of my mouth then, to my shock and horror, my eyes inexplicably filled with tears. I blinked them back, paid and scurried out of the store with my dinner fixings.

Oh that wacky grief.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I can't get this boy out of my head

Children's Bridge Foundation is trying to raise $50,000 to bring a little boy to Canada for life saving surgery. He's waiting in an orphanage in Vietnam where he lives in constant pain, the tumor on his face slowly forcing his tiny mouth closed. When he comes home from his treatments (injections necessary to prep the tumor for removal) he lays on his bed, clutching two toys he was given by members of the foundation, and cries.

There's horror we live through and can do nothing about, and then there are times like this.

If you can, please help Hoang Son Pham.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Lazy little bum

Because I'm apparently too lazy to write two separate posts in one day, click here to read this week's Friday Blog Roundup on the Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Blog.

I'm going to blame this display of sloth on the bad pizza (which, by the way, seems to have worked itself out and wasn't too mean to me in the process. Nice pizza).

Happy weekend one and all!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Maybe it was the pizza?

It's a quiet sort of day here. We ate something yesterday. Something bad. The evil is slowly doing its business and we're just quietly waiting for it all to be over.

Sitting quietly.


So much fun.

The end.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I know it's folly, I do, but every once in a while I sit and think what my life would be like right now if we'd gotten married and had the first child we conceived. Or the second. Or Thomas. Any of them.

So much of my life right now is about waiting and wondering and worrying. And missing and grieving and healing. I spend so much energy doing all that, that I'm exhausted by the end of the day, or just too preoccupied to do the things I think I would probably be doing were it not for all the mental energy I use up dealing with uncertainty and sorrow.

I haven't worked since Thomas was born. I've done some freelance jobs here and there, but I haven't reallygone back to work. I left a contract writing position to have Thomas and fully expected to be a full time Mom for the next few years. Maybe doing the odd freelance job here and there, but basically I was planning to be a mom.

And I am, but I'm not.

I'm just waiting. Always waiting.

The psychologist who spoke to us in the hospital after Thomas died urged me to take my maternity leave. He was so earnest and insistent, that I gave myself permission - guilt free - to do just that. To take a year off to recuperate and heal and figure out what was going to come next.

It's just that I didn't realize it would be secondary infertility. And tests, and appointments, and surgery and still more uncertainty. And in that climate I froze. It seemed impossible to even contemplate finding a job. No one from the company I left has ever asked if I've considered coming back, and the idea of telling a prospective employer that I'd need an unlimited number of free passes to attend regular clinic poking and prodding sessions makes me very uncomfortable. No boss I've ever had would be particularly impressed with, "I'll be needing to be out of the office several hours of several days each month - and no, I can't tell you what days or when or for how long".

And I don't think prospective employers are particularly interested in taking on someone so desperate to get pregnant and bugger off on maternity leave anyway.

I don't suppose I'd have to disclose the reason for my frequent absences if I didn't want to, but the cloak and dagger routine really isn't me. I've had enough of people looking at me curiously and wondering what's going on in my head.

I've thought a lot about how wonderful it would be to jump back into the world of meetings and deadlines, and to feel useful and productive in that working girl kind of way - but I can't. I just can't right now.

Believe me, I'm not blaming my lost children for the fact that I'm a housewife in limbo right now. I don't blame those little souls for anything.

It's just that there are days when I think how much easier my life would be if things had worked out the way we'd planned. I know there would probably still be turmoil and uncertainty - it is life, after all - but I would know where I was headed, and things would make sense. My purpose would be clear. My job would be to be a mother - to a live child who needs me.

Maybe easier is the wrong word. Maybe life wouldn't be any easier if one of our children had survived. But I think my life would certainly make a lot more sense to me. I would understand it and my place in it so much better than I do right now.

Now having said all that, I suppose I do know what I'm doing - I'm doing everything I can to bring a living, breathing, healthy happy child into our lives. And I'm sacrificing parts of my own life to do so.

Hmmm. Maybe I'm more of a mother than I thought.

Maybe I am.

I just didn't realize motherhood was this confusing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sticks and dogs and fathers and fear

My Dad is afraid of dogs. I mean really afraid of dogs. He was attacked when he was a kid back in the 30s when dogs ran free and mutts were the order of the day. He said he still remembers seeing the ridges on the roof of the dog's mouth as it stood over him, its paws planted firmly on his chest after pushing him to the ground, with a gaping, menacing snarl on its face.

He wasn't bitten. For some reason the dog ran off or was called off - or maybe hauled off. But my Dad was spared. Except that to this day he's still terrified of dogs.

He and I used to walk together every night when I was in University and still living at home. That was back when he actually could walk. Congestive heart failure keeps him pretty sedentary now, which is hard for a man who played sports well into his 40s and who kept active long after that.

We'd set out a little after dinner and make our way around the neighbourhood for a half hour or so, chatting and sneaking peeks into the living rooms of people who didn't keep their curtains shut when night fell. I remember the glee I got when we discovered that an arrogant and much feared psychology professor I'd had in first year lived in our neighbourhood - and kept his blinds open. Every night we'd see him sitting slumped in a lazy-boy with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth in front of the TV.

It was excellent. Just excellent.

By the time I was in University my Dad had pretty much stopped taking sticks along with him when he walked. But when we were kids he always brought a stick. It might have been a rake handle or a garden stake - but it was always something. You see, he needed it in case he encountered a dog.

As far as I can recall he never needed to use it, but I can still remember the look of utter and complete terror on his face when he'd catch sight of someone walking a dog that wasn't on a leash (back when that was okay). Sometimes we'd cross the street or change our course just to avoid it. But if we didn't or couldn't, he had that stick.

All because a big dog bared its teeth at a little boy 70 years ago.

It's awful to have fears that big - so big you need to fight them off with a stick.

But I was thinking this morning, what I wouldn't give to be able to see my fears and beat them into submission. I wish my fears had a face. I wish a stick could keep them at bay.

An old friend

A friend I have known since we were small and silly (okay fine, I'm still silly a lot of the time, but I'm definitely not small anymore) has written a novel.

A NOVEL. I actually know someone who has written a novel. Maybe I AM cool enough to blog...

Anyway, I haven't read the novel yet because I'm waiting to buy my copy at her official book launch in Toronto later this week, but you can buy it RIGHT NOW if you so choose.

And I totally think you should so choose. C'mon on - support the arts. Support Canadian literature. Support my once silly old friend.

Buy Homing: The Whole Story (From the Inside Out) today.

The end.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Blog Roundup

The very first Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant loss Blog Friday Blog Roundup can be found by clicking right here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Because I know the world won't rest without a bellybutton update...

It's much, much better today. I've only navel-gazed twice (compared to the 15 or so times I bent myself into pretzel to peer into my tummy hole yesterday), but both times it looked much better than yesterday, and the stinging has vanished.

There. Now we'll all sleep a little better.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Love and holes

Oh, the drama.

I admit, freely and without reservation, that I have been a complete and utter nut-case since the laparoscopy. Just ask My Beloved (I'm sure he would be utterly thrilled to have a good old fashioned vent about me right about now...).

The thing of it is, after my c-section with Thomas I developed septicemia - a blood infection - and was very sick. I responded really well to antibiotics and the IV blood pressure medication they gave me the night things went to hell in a hand-basket (as far as my post-op health was concerned, anyway), and I recovered quickly and was discharged four days after the drama, but it has left me a wee bit, well, insane.

Every little cut - every scratch - brings with it the fear of that night in my hospital room.

And yes, for what it's worth I know it's insane. But I think I've focussed so much of my energy on surviving losing Thomas that I haven't really given enough energy to coming to terms with the scary things that happened to me.

Which brings us to this past weekend when I was convinced that I was going to develop another blood infection. No amount of reassurance from My increasingly frustrated Beloved was able to completely ease my fears. Only when I passed the two days post-operative mark (which is when the infection made itself known after the c-section) did I relax a little bit.

Until this morning when I noticed that the previously excellent looking bellybutton incision was gaping a little on one side. Maybe a 16th of an inch. It wasn't red. It wasn't pus-filled. It was just a little open.

And so of course, I called the hospital. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to do for a 16th of an inch hole in your body, right?

Shut up. It is.

Anyway, the reasonably patient nurse suggested I call my OB. My kind and very patient OB passed along a reassuring message through his nurse that all would almost certainly be well. All I have to do is flush out the wound with hydrogen peroxide 3 - 4 times per day to keep it clean and it should re-close on it own.

Crisis averted.

Well, mostly. I'll be much happier when I see that little hole closed up tight as a drum.

It really is amazing how deep those invisible scars are, huh?

The other amazing thing is that My Beloved still actually wants to come home to me everyday. Yes, even today when the focus of virtually all of our e-mail correspondence and telephone chats has been my bellybutton.

This must be love.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A bigger update

So long story short, I was riddled with scar tissue. Enough that Dr. S. believes it's probably the sole reason we've been trying and failing for as long as we have.

In just a half an hour he freed up my fallopian tubes (which were adhered to their respective ovaries with said scar tissue) burst a little ovarian cyst ("while I was in there", which seems like a perfectly good reason to pop an ovarian cyst to me) and gave us back some hope, which I've definitely been in short supply of lately.

Except now, of course, I'm kind of scared that we really will get pregnant.

I suppose this is a common side effect of infertility, that "HOLY SHIT - WHAT IF I ACTUALLY GET PREGNANT????" panic. Because all I've done for nearly two years is focus on conceiving. I haven't really given much thought to being pregnant, staying pregnant, surviving being pregnant, giving birth, surviving giving birth, and having a take-home baby at the end of it all.

It's all been too abstract. Too hard to fathom after Thomas came and went. Live babies are what other people have. Getting pregnant is what other people do. I just try and fail. And try and fail. And try and fail.

So now that some hope has been restored and my fallopian tubes are the free-flowing, octopus-like structures they should be (seriously, who knew they were octopus-like in their movement??) I guess maybe I can (and possibly should) think beyond conception to pregnancy.

Or maybe I should just wait until I see two pink lines. Because even though I'm allegedly in working order, I still can't quite picture any of this just yet. I'm hopeful, but the scars no doctor can ever get rid of are always going to be in my way.

I know I probably don't sound as grateful and excited as I should. But we're not there yet, and I have no idea what it's going to take to get there. I am grateful that the surgery was a success (except that one tube still appears to be blocked for no apparent reason and there's nothing more to be done for it) and I am grateful to have been given renewed hope.

But I'm also scared.

And I truly am scarred - not just from losing Thomas, but from feeling broken and useless for so long. And from dealing with the sorrow and those awful feelings of guilt over the fact that my body has so steadfastly refused to produce and/or protect a healthy child during the four years we've been trying to get it to do just that.

You can't turn that off like a light switch. You just can't.

The glimmer of hope is there, but right now it's just a tiny pin prick of light.

Give me time. I'll get there.