Thursday, July 31, 2008


I've kept myself very busy today. I'm not sure why, exactly, but for some reason I can't stop moving.

Sorting, cleaning, organizing, painting. Move. Move. Move. Every time I stop I see something else that needs to be done, and before I'm even aware that I've started, I'm halfway through that task too.

I have no specific reason for this flurry of activity - I'm not aware that I'm running from anything or worried about anything beyond the regular anxieties that crowd my brain these days - but just the same, I can't stop.

I've had weird stress dreams the last few nights too. The kind where you can't find your locker and when you do you can't remember the combination, but it doesn't really matter anyway because you have no idea what classes you're in or what books you need for the classes you can't remember. And then you miss your bus.

That kind.

So I'm lost at school at night, and busy creating order during the day.

I think what's most frustrating is that the more I clean, sort, organize and paint, the more I see that there is to clean, sort, organize and paint.

Maybe that's why I keep moving. There's just so much to do I can't stop.


I so need a cookie.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When things are bad and getting worse...

...keep a cookie in your purse.

Honey Oatmeal Cookies
(low-ish fat!)

1/4 stick margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large egg whites
2 cups oats
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, beat margarine, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. It will have the consistency of wet sand. Add honey and egg white and beat until well blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the honey mixture along with any additions (such as dried fruit, nuts or chocolate chips) and stir by hand just until combined.

Drop large spoonfuls of dough 2" apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to wire rack and cool.

Makes 2 dozen.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm an emotional eater. Whatever. Sometimes you just need a cookie. And, even more than that, you need to not feel guilty about it while you're eating it.

So go on then, have a cookie.

In fact, let's just turn this into a meme, shall we? If you're reading this and you're so inclined, go back to your own blog and post one of your favourite cookie recipes there. Let's spread the love (and, just for tonight, ignore the spread of our asses).

Annnnnd go!

P.S. Make sure to come back and leave me a comment so I can follow you back to your cookies, okay? This is a CRITICAL step. I have a big purse. And a million crises. I need all the help I can get...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Making good use of it

Today I spent several hours in a small bathroom singing to cats. Okay, part of the time I was on the phone, and sometimes I was just reading aloud from the adoption literature I'd brought along with me to pass the time, but still - I am the official cat whisperer.

And this is how I know I love my sibling. She moved, and I was the cat wrangler for her two spastic and fantastically unsociable felines.

The thing is, I was able to soothe them. Enough that one crept out from under the bathroom vanity to use the litterbox in the shower (delightful - nothing like close quarters cat stank), and the other repeatedly emerged from the murky depths to slink over and head butt my leg in an attempt to garner pets and affection.

And it made me feel good in that, "look what I can do with my unused mothering instincts", kind way. When I can use them - even if it happens to be on two frightened little cats - it makes me feel incredible. And really, finally useful. Like THAT is what I'm here for.

Not to sit on bathroom floors singing to cats, specifically, but to soothe and comfort and nurture and love. Something. Someone.

It was a strangely good day.

Despite the stink of litter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wonder of wonders

A good day.

My blood pressure was normal. The doctor was kind. I left happy.

I visited the cemetery on a whim (without feeling that I was dragging the weight of a million tons sorrow behind me), and actually had a very peaceful, sweet visit with my boy.

My lovely sibling gave me a present she's had wrapped up for three years and four months. It was for Thomas - a basket full of beautiful gifts she was going to bring to the hospital when he was born. She's moving (and purging) and was planning to donate it, but asked if I wanted it - or at least wanted to see it - before it departed the premises. I ended up bringing it all home with me. For what, I don't exactly know, but I needed it. It somehow made me hopeful, and when you find hope you hang onto it with all your might. Even if it comes in a little wicker basket.

I had an egg salad sandwich for dinner. On the couch. In front of the TV.

The laundry is done. Mostly.

It's Friday.

My Beloved is finally home after a horrible, long, busy week of late nights and ridiculous stress. He's all mine for two straight days. And we will have fun if he can stay awake.

I have flank steak for the BBQ. Or hot dogs if we're not feeling fancy. Cozy summer weekend food.

We made a decision. No surgery. At least for now. My Beloved suggested we just stop the torment and choose what we were both leaning towards anyway. His plan, and I love it, is to reassess how we're feeling about it in a couple of months - see if it's still sitting okay in our head and hearts. I am 38 and have a million strikes against me, but we needn't allow time to bully us. And today, I feel some peace.

A good day all 'round.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What would YOU do?

I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know I don't know.

I just don't know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Except for the fact that he wasn't there when we needed him to be because he was in surgery delivering someone else's child, I don't remember very much about the OB who delivered Thomas.

He wasn't around all that much. I think he came in just once before the decision to move to a C-section was made after 19 hours of labor and three hours of OB-less pushing.

But I do remember the brief visit he paid to us in my hospital room the day Thomas died.

It was evening, and dim in my room. He hovered near the door, reluctant to move further in, and he leaned almost casually against the wall.

He had the unfortunate nervous habit of punctuating everything he said with a smile. And now, as I look back, it's horrifying to think that he should have stood there grinning just hours after my child died while telling me that "next time" they'd do a C-section at 37 weeks and all would be fine.

Next time. Fine. Sure.

In my haze of shock and grief I found this comforting. I grabbed his words and held them tightly to me. Next time. Good, we'll just sweep this present catastrophe away and look to next time when everything will work out just perfectly.

I suppose it's what he had to do to sweep away whatever feelings of culpability he may have had. Promise the stricken parents that you've figured out a foolproof way for this not to happen again. There. Done. Ahhhhh, much better.

It was the last time we saw him. I was there for a full 6 days, and he came in just once. His ridiculous grinning and blathering was finally interrupted by the coroner and he bid a hasty and grateful retreat.

Funny what comes back to you for no good reason.

I wonder if he ever thinks of us. I wonder if he remembers us at all. I often imagine people leaving me to run gratefully home to their own lives, and if anyone had cause and opportunity to do just that, it was certainly him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

20 more reasons to be happy...

1. The cat managed to contain her vomit to the mat in the bathroom instead of choosing the hardwood floors or a carpet that can't be picked up and thrown into the washing machine.

2. It was just a dream. I don't actually have to use an open toilet situated in the middle of an occupied boardroom.

3. As long as I use the right product and don't move my head around too much during the process, my hair looks passably fine when it's air dried.

4. The fact that my hair takes hours to completely air dry must mean that I have a lot of it and will likely never go bald.

5. The CNE has a "Food Products" day. I smell free samples.

6. 2 for 1 roasting chickens. Technically this was something that made me happy yesterday when I went out to score my free chicken, but it counts since I'm still basking in the afterglow of an excellent deal today.

7. All of a sudden there are four huge lemon cucumbers in our garden. After weeks of fussing and worrying, there they are.

8. No one can tell you're procrastinating when you freelance from home. Unless they read your blog.

9. We don't have a pool and can't take a vacation this summer, so I don't need to subject myself to the horror of purchasing a new bathing suit.

10. I've only had to drag the sprinkler out twice this summer. Mother Nature has seen fit to provide all the rest of my lawn watering needs.

11. I have mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer.

12. I'm tall enough to reach the freezer.

13. I ate two raspberries straight off our tiny raspberry bush and they were as good as I remembered from my childhood days of picking wild raspberries at the cottage.

14. I did not have to share my raspberries with worms or insects of any kind. At least not that I noticed.

15. My therapist said she will help me manage my anxiety if I decide to have the exploratory surgery my OB recommended last week.

16. My therapist said there is peace in deciding to stop. There is peace in making a decision, period.

17. The hospital where Thomas was born and died responded favourably to my offer to help them add a prayer shawl element to their infant loss bereavement program.

18. I know people who I can ask for help before meeting with the hospital since I have no clue how to set up a prayer shawl program.

19. I'm not afraid to act when inspiration hits, even when I'm mostly clueless about what I've been inspired to do.

20. The fact that I still somehow manage to get inspired every now and then means that life hasn't completely beaten me down.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Capturing a Short Life

From the Facebook group...

Capturing A Short Life is a beautifully photographed documentary film, that combines verité and interview footage with still photography, to detail the stories of four families who are dealing, in an immediate sense, with the loss of a newborn baby.

In a sensitive, intimate manner, this film explores the emotional, medical and ethical choices that parents are often faced with when they are told that their baby is incompatible with life.

Although this subject matter is impossibly sad, the lives and relationships that evolve, even in this context, are not.

This is not a film about death, it is, rather, a story about how critical it is to remember and celebrate the lives of these beautiful babies who are only with us for a moment, and how impossible it is to forget them.

The documentary is being screened at the Rhode Island International Film Festival on Wednesday August 6th at 5:00pm at the Columbus Theatre Arts Centre.

I imagine that the majority of people who will go to see this film will be people whose lives have been touched by this kind of loss, but it's still so great to see the "uncomfortable" subject of infant loss being taken out of the deep, dark shadows and explored openly and honestly.

If there's one thing I'd like to see in my lifetime, it's pregnancy and infant loss not being treated like an icky little secret that no one wants to acknowledge. It's too hard for grieving parents to carry the entire burden of remembrance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Because it's easier

Sometimes it's just easier to sit and look at a flower than it is to try and figure out what to do next.

So, in the absence of logic and direction and clarity, I humbly say "uncle".

Tonight I'm just going to sit and look at a flower.

Friday, July 11, 2008

This date in history

A year ago today I found out that I was pregnant with the twins. Those two lines (on a test I was only taking because I was convinced I had cancer or some terrible disease causing what I thought was mid-cycle spotting) marked the start of a six-week nightmare. Joy. Fleeting hope. Despair. Resignation. Fear. Sorrow.

Four years ago today I found out that I was pregnant with Thomas. Those two lines (on a test I took because I knew I was pregnant) marked the start of the sweetest 8 months of my life. Until that too ended in unthinkable sorrow.

Today passed quietly and uneventfully. I didn't pee on any sticks because this July 11th there was no need to.

The triggers are everywhere and the ghosts of both happier times and desperate times loom large. The smell of summer skin, garden blossoms, the hot pavement after it rains - they all remind me of being pregnant and not being pregnant.

Summer isn't always all it's cracked up to be.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Letter #2

Dear God,

The following headline, in a prominent spot on my online news page, would seem to indicate that you didn't find my last letter all that amusing:

Motherhood "so much fun," says Jamie Lynn Spears

Fine. I'll stop ragging on breedingly-abled celebrities if you'll cool it with the Spears big baby fun headlines. And maybe ease up on the Brangelina twin watch stuff too, while you're at? Pretty Please?

I do have to thank you for cushioning the blow with the Woman finds baby bat in bra, thought it was cellphone headline immediately below the Spears one though. Classy move.


Monday, July 07, 2008

A letter

Dear God,

I just read that Nicole Kidman named her new baby "Sunday Rose". There are a lot of successful celebrity pregnancies resulting in healthy babies who end up with pretty odd names. You know, stuff like Apple, Peaches, Pixie, Banjo, Speck Wildhorse, Bluebell Madonna, Fifi Trixibelle, Moon Unit, Ocean, Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Tallulah, Suri, Kal-el, Pilot Inspektor, and Denim, to name but a few.

I've been thinking about this phenomenon, and it occurs to me that that maybe you really like weird names. Maybe it pleases you, which is why so many questionable celebrity parents end up with happy (or at least healthy) spawn.

Spawn. Hmmm, I wonder if that one's been taken?

Anyway, If I promise name a baby after a piece of fruit, a relative of Superman, a pair of pants, or maybe even a funny sound My Beloved makes, will you consider sending us a healthy baby too?

Just wondering.


Saturday, July 05, 2008


A family across the street is having a garage sale this morning. They have two little boys, one born a few months after Thomas, the other about a year old.

Little boy outfits are strung in the trees and bushes on their front lawn, and little boy toys, a bouncy seat, a bathtub and a play mat are lined up along the asphalt waiting to be sold.

I lingered by the window, watching a woman pick through a box of baby clothes, thinking about the boxes of baby things I have in my basement. The idea of selling off Thomas' things is unthinkable. I just couldn't do it. We've donated some items and given others away to friends with babies, but selling his things on the driveway? I couldn't do it.

It's interesting what value your child's things have when he never got a chance to use any of them.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Picture Friday

Bible sky.

Hmm, so apparently it's NOT a pot of gold. It's that guy's house. Good to know.

The sky is looking at me with its one big weird eye. But it's okay. I looked back with my two suspicious ones. We're totally even now.

"Lady X" After a rainstorm. She looks MUCH nicer than I do after I'm caught in a downpour. Lucky bitch.

Dirty Scrabulous. *giggle giggle*

Thursday, July 03, 2008

20 reasons to be happy...

...even though I'm grumbly and whiny:

1. The suspicious dark mole I found in the shower turned out to be lint.

2. I have a stash of Baker's chocolate. And I know how to use it.

3. Whatever glued itself to my eyeball (which I only noticed when I had it squished tight as I rinsed my hair) dislodged itself with no apparent injury or lasting ill effects.

4. The questionable hot dogs I ate for lunch yesterday obviously weren't bad. My tummy feels fine.

5. You CAN leave opened hot dogs in the fridge for more than three days, contrary to everything my Mother has always taught me.

6. Beer and wings with friends tomorrow night.

7. Leftovers for lunch.

8. Yarn, yarn and more yarn.

9. A good hair day, even if there's no one here to see it.

10. My ankle cancer seems to have gone away.

11. Hypochondria is far less frightening than cancer.

12. It's cool enough to have all the windows open.

13. The message I just picked up saying someone had accessed our bank account and withdrawn $4000 was a crank call.

14. I noticed the piece of black bean skin stuck between my teeth before anyone else did.

15. I finally managed to identify the funky smell in the refrigerator (coming from a tub of Ricotta cheese that was, allegedly, still good for another week).

16. The sun has replaced the rain and gloom of the morning.

17. Laundry blowing on the drying rack outside.

18. The promise of a proper retractable laundry umbrella (in lieu of a clothesline which we have no room for).

19. 5 cups of cleaned, chopped, fresh rhubarb recently stashed in the freezer.

20. Broad beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, onions and peppers all flourishing in our vegetable garden and pots.

Ahhhh, that's MUCH better.