Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 can kiss my @ss. And App Fun.

In the East Coast it's already 2011!  Yay for getting rid of the suckiest year ever.  Man, this year blows.  And not just for me.  A quick google search of "2010 sucks" yields over 426 million hits.  That compares to the 31 million results for "2009 sucks," thus proving that 2010 Really Did Suck.

So I say good riddance.  Only another 2.5 hours of you, you crummy year.  And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Ok.  I want to stick to my App Fun schedule, and this week I want to say why I am now a big proponent of ebooks.  A year ago I swore up and down that I would never get an ereader, you couldn't make me, I didn't care how big they got, I was sticking to paper, and nanny nanny boo boo to you.  This year?  I have a kindle.  It all started with the kindle app for my droid, which I downloaded sometime over the summer.

See, the big reason why I'm a luddite about paper books isn't the whole "feel" of turning the pages, or anything like that.  It's the fact that my main area to read books is in the bathtub.  And there ain't no way I'm taking my kindle in the bathtub (although I have heard of someone who puts it in a ziploc to read in the hot tub).

But I realized there were a lot of times when I could read books during other times in the day, and there's always Vanity Fair for the bathtub.  Or library books, though I shouldn't admit to that (listen, I'm really careful about it, and those water marks are not from me, I promise).   I spend a lot of time driving, for example, and this being Southern California, you always have to leave more time than you need to get somewhere, so I also spend a lot of time waiting in my car.  I can read then, and it'd be nice to not have to lug my books around with me.

Then the idea of space-saving really came around.  As recently as June, I blogged about why I couldn't get into ebooks.  The point of that blog entry was that, unlike cd's, you can't easily "rip" a book and put it onto your device.  And I still think that Amazon should let me re-buy the kindle version of books that I already own at a discounted rate.

But then I got on this simplicity-kick, and I'm getting rid of stuff left and right.  I own almost 1000 books, and they take up a crap-load of space.  If I could have them all on one device - man, that would simplify my life (and additionally, it would let me gloat to my husband about how much more crap he owns than I do).  So the kindle started to look appealing, at least in terms of buying new books.

Then I spent the weekend at a rock festival in the roasting-hot Fontana Raceway parking lot, almost dying of heat stroke.  The upside was that I spent a lot of time sitting under the cooling tents where they had these mists floating down on you, and it was almost bearable.  During that time, I read ebooks on my phone.  And I realized that it wasn't that bad.  And that was on a phone, without the awesome kindle e-ink screen.

After two full days of rocking out and phone-reading with no apparent lasting negative effects (the headache was as much from Rise Against as it was from reading on my phone) I decided to ask for a kindle for Christmas.  And I officially stopped buying paper books.

I'm still in the predicament of wondering what to do with my current library.  I've been buying copies of the books I already own at the rate of 1 every 2 weeks or so, and it really has made me examine the idea behind owning a book vs having access to it.  I read a saying once to the effect of "try not to own too much because once you possess something, it also possesses you."  

I've been hanging on to these books for so long, and why?  Some of them have been moved 16 times.  That's a crap-load of moving, if you ask me.  And for what purpose?  So I can look at them and feel smug because I read so much?  To remind me how Haruki Murakami is a good replacement for chocolate?  I don't know.  There are some authors that I definitely want to revisit (like Haruki Murakami and Arthur Neresian) and I will probably wind up re-buying the books to have them on my kindle.

But there are so many that I read once, and I'm never going to read again.  I don't know why I'm hanging on to them.  So I have a new policy now of really examining a book, and if it's not worth the $9.99 to re-buy the kindle version, I'm going to just make a log of it, write down what I liked about it, and then donate it to someone else.

And then when we move the next time, I will have all my books on my little kindle, and feel very smug as J packs box after box of astronomy texts.

So the kindle app got me started on ebooks, and I'm glad of it.  If you're into simplifying your life, and are open to the idea that you could radically change the way you feel about ownership vs access, then try it out.

And Happy 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today Kicks Butt

Rock on, today.  Rock on.
As far as I'm concerned, there are few things in life more satisfying than finishing a pen, or using up an entire bottle of lotion.  I think that because I rarely do either of these.  I get sick of the lotion scent when it's still half-full.  And I lose pens before I finish them, as much as I try not to.  They're like socks.  There's some little elf hiding underneath my house hoarding all of my pens and socks.  That sounds familiar.  Oh, right, it was an episode of Community.  But they had a strip-search, and I don't think they had a sock-hoarding elf.

Anyway, I got to do both before 1pm all in the same day.  I got to finish up an 8 ounce tube of Soap and Glory body butter, AND throw away an empty Pilot Precise V7 RT gel pen.  Today rocks.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If you want to blow your mind...

Then I highly recommend Journey to the Edge of the Universe, which we just finished watching.  So wrap your head around this - you know how when you look at a star, you're actually looking at the light from the star as it was when it left, however many lightyears ago?  Like the star that you're looking at might be dead by now, and we wouldn't know until the light from the explosion got to us?  (And on that topic, who discovered that the fuzz we see when we don't get reception on a tv set is actually leftover from the Big Bang?  Who put that together?  Actually, I know because it's covered in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.)   

But anyway, so this journeys out to the edge of the universe, which, since the universe is expanding outwards, is like going back through time to see the beginnings of everything, and also to see how our sun, and our solar system, galaxy, etc., will die eventually.  This show was like pot for your brain.  Oh, and black holes.  OMG they are a mind-f*ck.  They suck matter in, and keep shrinking at the same time so their density goes beserk.  Something the size of a grain of sand can weigh bilions of tons.  And Alec Baldwin narrated, which was kind of hard because I kept expecting him to have to talk to Lemon about his microwave oven programming, and whether Cabletown would buy NBC.

And in other science news, I just bought this shirt from, my new favorite online store.  No one seems to be as impressed with it as I am, but whatever. I like it.


One of the things that is so weird about a pregnancy loss, especially (I think) if you don't have other children, is how strange it is to go back to your normal life.  I think about how there were times, before June, when I was happy.  Lots of times.  Jonathan and I did all kinds of fun stuff.  But then we were coming to live from the trajectory of not being pregnant, and not ever having been pregnant.

Then I was pregnant.

And now, I am not pregnant again, but I'm coming at it from the trajectory of having been pregnant.  So it's all completely different now.

It's still J and I, like it always has been.  But nothing is different.  And yet everything is different.  It's a complicated mind-blowing physics experiment - measuring the everything/nothingness rate of change in our lives now.  The only physical changes are a drawer full of newborn clothes I bought, the cheap heart rate monitor and Burt's Bees Mama Bee belly rub.  That's pretty much it.  Oh, and a breast pump from when my milk came in.  So four physical differences.  And yet nothing is the same at all.

I'm thinking about it because I was cleaning out my closet and came face to face with a bunch of my maternity clothes.  I'm such a dope - I bought a whole fall/winter pregnancy wardrobe.  Even if I got pregnant today, I wouldn't need pregnancy clothes until March or so, so all these heavy sweaters will go unworn.  Lesson learned.  Only buy as you need.  The books say that, but I didn't listen. I decided it would be a good deal to order a ton and combine shipping to save money.  Silly me.

I sure hope I can wear these preggo jeans again soon.  I wonder how many women are pining for maternity clothes right now?  Yearning for elastic.  Because elastic equals pregnancy.  At least in my equations.  Ahh, beautiful Motherhood pregnancy jeans that are getting slightly frayed at the ankle, I will wear you again soon, I hope.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh, and if you're wondering...

...where all my miscarriage grief went, don't fear, it's still hanging around.  I have started a blog over at Open Salon where I blog exclusively about my miscarriage.  I think that's appropriate.  This blog has been around, in various iterations, for almost 8 years.  I want Baby T to have his own place where I can grieve for him in a venue that's unique from the place where I used to blog about bad dates.  So check it out if you want to stew in grief for a while.  One of my posts was already made an Editor's Pick.  Go grief go!

The more things change...

I've been listening to Bill Bryson's Home, a Social History of Private Life for a while now, and just finished it yesterday.  I love Bill Bryson.  I first discovered him when Notes from a Big Country (known in the US as I'm a Stranger Here Myself) was recommended to me.  It's a collection of his newspaper columns from the first few years after he moved back to the US after spending 20 years in the UK.  I had only been in the UK for two years, but I already identified with much of his wonder and curiosity of life in the US.  The first time I walked into a Wal-Mart when I got back to the US, for example, is a time I will never forget.  I was blown away.  Why do they need three aisles for cereal and granola bars?  At my local Tesco Metro, there's like 6 kinds to choose from, and that was plenty for me.  Capitalism run amok, say I.

Anyway, my old buddy Bill Bryson is currently living back in the UK, and writing more interesting books than ever.  Home is a journey through each of the rooms of his house, where he manages to expound upon things such as why we have salt and pepper shakers, and not salt and cinnamon.  Or is it true that the Victorians, as they like to claim, really invented childhood?  And what about paint.  What's the deal with our desire to paint walls, and how did we do it before modern technology?  And when did we start putting ice in our drinks, anyway?

Bill Bryson is perfect for my ADD-ness because any time I start to get even slightly bored with a topic, we're on to another one, lickety-split.

So the final chapter was about archeology and how people have cared for their historical monuments throughout history.  It turns out, we haven't cared for them very well at all.  In fact, Stonehenge was very nearly impaled by a railroad track, it being decided to be "useless in the modern day."  During the agricultural failure of the 1870's when English crops failed miserably several years in a row, almost 2,000 historical stately homes were literally taken apart, board by board, and shipped to wealthy Americans like the Vanderbilt's, Mellon's and Astor's.  Stonehenge - seemingly always in danger - was almost shipped to the US to be part of a theme park!

I think that's pretty much of a travesty.

But here's a gem.  Finally around the mid-19th-century many English nobility were starting to realize that they should care about their historical treasures.  And, you know, maybe make them public owned.

The landowners did not like this.  It was government takeover of private land!  How dare the government tell people what to do with their land, whether there was something of national interest on their land or not. What about property rights?!  Of course, the term Socialism didn't have the same sting then that it does today, but I can imagine that if that were proposed today, the proponents would be getting the S-bomb dropped all over them.

The Ancient Monuments Protection Act was finally passed through Parliament in 1882, and it provided for an Inspector of Ancient Monuments who would identify items of historical interest and give them government protection, attempting to take them into public lands.  It was slow going at first - the first Inspector General - Augustus Pitt Rivers - served from 1882 until his death in 1900, and identified only around 40 monuments that should be protected - barely 2 a year.  Now there are over 19,000 items on the register.

This is why I like Jon Stewart and the growing movement of reasonableness amongst people (like me) who are disgusted with the Tea Party Fascists.  I think that we can all agree that Stonehenge should not have a railway running through it.  So that leads me to believe that everyone could agree that there are at least some pieces of private land, or private property rights, that should be taken into public custody for the good of society at large.  So then we can have a civilized discussion of what makes something worthy of being taken into public custody, and come to some reasonable consensus.  We won't get there, though, with Tea Party Nutso's wanting to do away with government completely.

It just makes me laugh when I hear about people freaking out over the loss of rights 130 years ago.  This discussion is not new.  I'm sure the Romans had similar discussions about what belonged in the public arena, and what should stay private.  There are some things that benefit all society - like roads, infrastructure, libraries, education, defense - which we seem to have agreed on should not be largely in private ownership where profits and shareholders are the number one concern.  There are some areas where profits need to be set aside for a greater good for society.  I contend that health care is one of those areas as well, though I know many disagree with me.  The point is that once we can agree that there are some things that shouldn't be profit-driven, we can sit down and hammer out the details.

But you can't do that if you're just calling everything Socialist all the time.

Still, it's nice to see that those 19,000 monuments are protected, regardless of the freakouts of the landed nobility.  Things move forward towards the greater good, and eventually we will have national healthcare, despite all the fear-mongering-death-paneling of the Tea Party.  It's just a shame for the 2,000 stately homes that the UK didn't protect them sooner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Funny Local News: Holiday Spending Edition

Dude, Dave Dunn is working for me, live on the Plaza!  Poor Megan couldn't get anything for her dorm room.  And Banana Republic is still open!  Woot! I do love the Seamless Vinyl Siding ad, too. The guy sounds so convincing when he says to Call Now. Heck, I want to call him, and I don't even need any Seamless Vinyl Siding!

Utah shoppers are all a-twitter too! Apparently the Build-a-Bear's are on a rampage there, though. One lady was very excited to have escaped Build-a-Bear. And seriously, why not just go for it, right?

Video Courtesy of

Honestly, aren't the newscasters supposed to be telling you the news, and not encouraging the same consumerism that got the economy into such a mess? Last time I checked, the Christmas angels did not say unto the shepherds, "Go ye to Bethlehem, and then get ye to Macy's where ye can find sportswear ye probably don't need for 50% off, especially since ye just got a sh*tload of stuff ye probably also don't need the day before for Christmas."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

App Fun: Caroling Edition

When I first got my android phone, I think I started blogging about some of my favorite apps.  At least, I think I meant to.

My favorite app this week is the Classic FM app.  When I lived in the UK I didn't have a TV (they have the nerve to tax television sets there, and the money goes to the BBC to provide some of the best quality programming on the planet...Sarah Palin would have a field day with that one, I'm sure) and I was broke, so I spent a lot of time listening to the radio.  Classic FM is the "pop" station for classical music.  They don't play full works (except for an hour or two every evening, they have the Full Works concert hour).  They have commercials.  They have a bright glossy magazine that comes out every month with a sample CD.

They even have the chutzpah to have a personals site.  I can see the first dates with that one.  Me: "You said you like Gombert in your profile, but now that we meet in person, I don't think you know anything about Gombert.  Were you just bulking up your profile?"  Them: "Yes, well, you would say that, wouldn't you?  Anyone who lists the second movement of Beethoven's 7th as her favorite piece of music would be judgmental and moody, wouldn't they?"  Me:  "Lemon Tart?  But you like Chopin?!"

So anyway, they have an app.  It's especially fun to listen while I'm driving to work because, seeing as they are based in London, which is 8 hours ahead of LA, they are doing the traffic reports for the commute home just as I am stuck at the 605.  I can pretend that they're talking in code, and the M25 really means the 210, and I'm actually really in London, but speaking a different language.  And without any Muji stores.  It's also fun to listen in the evening when it's the wee hours of the morning for them, and people working funny shifts are texting in requests for things to keep them awake, just as I'm trying to wind down.

Last night was the most fun I've had with the app.  It's Christmas time, and classical music goes well with Christmas, so they've been having fun playing lots of choral pieces and such.  I was making dinner, puttering around in the kitchen (or, I should say, faffing, seeing as how I'm pretending to be British here) with Classic FM playing in the background, and the rain was pouring down, and I was leaning against the counter drinking my gingerbread herbal tea, and for a moment I was 24 and still in Finsbury Park, and I was interested in the delays on the Northern Line because I would be going to the heath in the morning, and Jan was taking pictures of flowers in the living room, and later on we'd polish off a bottle of cheap red from Odd Bins and I probably wouldn't go to the heath in the morning anyway because I'd have a hangover.

And then a cat walked past and purred and I was back in my kitchen, but the delays on the Northern Line were still interesting because I didn't have to go trudging out to brave the elements.

So the Classic FM app is really a time-travel app, which I think is super cool.  If you're not into classical music, you might also try the Capital FM app, which has similar powers of teleportation, only via pop music.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Come into the light

One of the best things I got from working for Lynne Franks in the UK was the introduction to Bliss, aka Lucinda Drayton.  Her story is pretty amazing - she had been a successful popular singer and got drained from the whole music industry world.  She decided to quit it all and become independent, writing her own music, producing her own records, and playing at mind/body/soul types of festivals.   She's made it work, and is a complete inspiration to me.  I used to listen to her 100,000 Angels album when I was trying to remember to breathe during the crazy Lynne days, and Come into the Light was particularly good for my spirit.  I highly recommend you check her out on youtube, and even better, buy her album.

So tonight I did something I haven't done in years - I read my tarot cards.  Now before anybody starts worrying that I'm into the occult, I'm not.  When I was a kid in Amish Country I remember everybody was all freaked out by ouija boards, and I always wondered what the big deal was with a piece of cardboard.  I mean, seriously, it was mass-produced in a factory somewhere.  People sometimes get all worked up over inanimate objects, and then wind up giving those objects much more power than they deserve.

It's a fact that we use a tiny infantesimal part of our brains; and more than tapping into the supernatural, I think that tarot cards are a way to get access to the giant part of my brain that I don't ever use.  It's kind of like meditation.  It helps me focus my mind into a specific question, and lets me explore different ways of looking at that question.  When I was younger, in college and just after, I used to read my cards almost every week.  I don't believe that the cards can actually tell me what's going to happen in my future.  Let me be clear about that - they're cardboard.  They're not magic.

You could pull up almost any card and figure out a way that it applies to your question or situation.  But that's where the coolness comes in; they offer dozens of ways of looking at a particular situation, and you could get perspectives and insights that you've never considered just by applying the card to your question.

The thing I want to share is my Final Outcome card in my reading tonight.  My question wasn't particularly specific - I wanted to focus on how I could create something meaningful in my life now that we've been through the death of our baby.  How could I take that and turn it into something more, something that would last and make a difference in the world.

So I did a 10-card spread, with cards to represent your current situation, the conflict in the situation, past influences, future influences, etc.  There are ten cards you draw, out of a deck of 78, and each one goes into a position that represents a particular aspect of the question you ask.  The Final Outcome card doesn't mean that it's definitely how your life is going to go, but just that if you continue on the path your're on, it's probably where that path will go.

My Final Outcome card was The Star.  The book explains that, 'the Star, when it appears in a spread, portends the experience of hope, meaning and faith in the midst of difficulties.  Though it can be ambivalent and warn against blind hope without the necessary action to build upon it, the Star is an augury of promise, a welcome experience for one who has passed through the collapse of everything which he believed to be of value in life.'

The rest of the reading suggested that I will be having a period of solitary withdrawal, starting my new projects on my own and building up strength before going back out into the world.  It's called winter and hibernation, I guess.

I'm pretty stoked that I'm on track to be even more of an introvert for a while.  It's time to be quiet and cozy for a while before spring brings me back to life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Room of One's Own

My hubby and I are both only children.  I loved being an only child.  In fact, I'm slightly afraid of having more than one child myself, because I'm just not sure how that dynamic would work.  I had lots of imaginary friends, and talking stuffed animals (I still do, and feel bad for anyone who doesn't!).  Plus, from the time I was about 10, we had an awesome Boxer, who snuggled with me until I was in high school and he got sick and peed all over the house, so we had to restrict his living spaces, poor guy.

Anyway, I say that because J and I are kind of weird, as far as married couples go, in terms of how we use our space.  And yes, we're weird in other ways, too.  Come on, I'm quicker than that.  I saw that one coming a mile away.

Ok, so we're weird in terms of our allocation of space in that we each have our "own" rooms.  We have a two bedroom house.  The bedroom is "his" in that all of his stuff is there.  His clothes, his baseball bobble heads, his giant baseball card collection, and so on.  Our home office is "my room" in that I keep all my stuff there - handbags, books, notebooks, pens, makeup, jewelry, etc.  The living room is shared, though that being said, it houses Boy Things like the TV, Playstation, etc.

This presented a bit of a conundrum when we were expecting.  We always assumed that the home office would become the nursery.  My desk and work area could be moved to the living room.  But where would that leave me to put my girly stuff?  The thought of combining stuff in the bedroom has honestly never crossed my mind.  I'm an only child like that.

We have an attic space that goes over most of the house.  There are no stairs up to this space, but J can climb up one of our bookshelves to get up there (he used to rock climb) and we would bring in a ladder for big jobs, like taking down Christmas decorations.  J also built a ramp for the cats so that they can get up and have all that space for themselves, undisturbed by the lesser species of human with whom they cohabit.

This attic is much more of a crawl space.  It is a-shaped, and at it's very highest point it's about 4 feet high.  Not really a dancing spot.  But I thought I could create a perfect Girly Nook in part of the attic.  I just needed to be able to get up and down easily.  So in mid-October - actually, the Saturday before I miscarried - J installed one of those fold-in-the-ceiling ladders like Chevy Chase had in the National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  It folds down into the kitchen, and is easily climbable for a heights-wimp like me.

I ignored the Girly Nook for a while because it brought back too many memories of being pregnant.  Now that we weren't having a baby, I still had lots of time to enjoy having my own room, with all my things intact in that room.  But slowly, I'm discovering the joy of my attic Girly Nook.

When I was sixteen, my parents finished off our own attic and I moved my room up there.  It was actually two rooms, and probably 6 and a half feet tall at the highest point, so easily standable for most of it.  My parents put bookshelves in the middle, dividing it into two rooms; a little teenaged-girly-haven-suite.  They also put in a skylight, so I could lay underneath it in the rain and write my "cellophane-wrapped-soul" poetry while watching the rain come down.  It was awesome, and I loved it.

My Girly Nook here isn't going to be a replacement for that one, and I'm still going to have to figure out where to put most of my stuff when a baby comes.  An attic nook is no place for my handbags, for example.  If my Simplification Quest continues on pace, though, I shouldn't have as much stuff to worry about (I'm trying to get back to the way I was in the days when I could move to England with three albeit-giant suitcases).

So I put down a colorful rug, got a beanbag chair, hung up fairy lights, put in one small bookcase, with another one waiting to be put together, and made a little meditation spot on an ikea coffee table.  This has become my new favorite place to sit and think.  The cats aren't used to me being up here yet, though.  They still stare at me and give me glowering looks, the unwelcome intruder that I am.  Once we have a baby, I'm hoping I can still come up here to have some quiet and be around my favorite books, journals, pens, and pictures.

Here's a picture taken with my cell phone of my Girly Nook.  Oh, a note on the stickers on the wall - about 20 years ago a family lived here and they had teenage boys.  The boys put those stickers up on the wall, and I don't want to take them down because it's part of the history and spirit of the place.  

I'm sitting in the Girly Nook right now, listening to the monsoon outside, and drinking my hot cocoa.  It's warm, cozy, and very comforting.  Kind of like a bubblebath, but without your skin getting all pruny.

My new hobby: Laughing at Local News

I'm going to start a weekly (or maybe more) posting on Funny Local News.  Because there ain't nothing funnier than Local News.  This inaugural posting will feature the inestimable Donald Robinson, reporting on Black Friday Sales at WFRV in beautiful (I'm sure) Fox Valley, Wisconsin.  The funniest part of this story isn't the listing of mall stores (stores like The Gap, and American Eagle, complete with shots of their logos), or the mall manager talking seriously about a "soft opening" at midnight (oh, the significance!).  The funniest part is when Stephanie from Maurice's talks about the fleece's being on sale.  Oh man, I gotta get me down to Maurice's to get some cheep fleece!

Side note:  I feel bad for poor Dee Thetford's husband.  What short straw did he pick so that he gets to go out at 5am on Black Friday in the Wisconsin cold, and she gets to stay home and warm?

Gale Lemke is right: it is all just too crazy.  Stay in Chilton, my friend.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last night we got cozy in front of the roaring fireplace, with the Christmas tree lit, hot cocoa in hand, cats nuzzled all around and... Love Actually on the tube. Despite the fact that the voters on IMDB give this movie a barely-above-average 7.8 stars out of 10, I will go to my grave defending Love Actually as one of the greatest movies of all time.  Here's why:

1.  Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.  Though there are no fighting scenes like there are when these two appeared together in the Bridget Jones movies, we do get to see Hugh Grant as Prime Minister getting his dance on, with similar butt-moves as those in Music and Lyrics.  Really, any movie with both Hugh Grant and Colin Firth will make my Top Ten list.

2.  The airport hugging scenes.  This movie now has a monopoly on airport greetings.  You can't spend ten minutes in an arrivals area without overhearing someone mentioning that it reminds them of Love Actually.  And no, it's not always me saying it.  Seriously, I hear this everywhere now.

3.  The To Me, You Are Perfect scene.  J actually hates this scene because he once had a girl tell him she loved him after he'd already fallen for me, so it pisses him off.  But I actually think it's quite beautiful.  He doesn't have an agenda.  He's just saying what he feels.

4.  The guy who can't get a girlfriend in the UK, so decides to go to Wisconsin and make the most of his British accent, and winds up enmeshed in a five-some of hot Wisconsin chicks.  This is just so true.  Us American girls need to be careful with British boys.  When I first moved to London, I had to have my guard up.  A guy could come up and ask me whether I would like to be taken home and tied up and grotesquely murdered, but he'd sound so darn proper saying it that you'd struggle to refuse the offer.

5.  Stacey from Gavin and Stacey is a porn actress who meets her love while on the job.  If you know her character from Gavin and Stacey, you know that the idea that she could be a porn actress is just laughable. That'd be more Nessa's work.  Anyway, I love this storyline, and I love that actress, and it's all very funny.

6.  There's awesome London scenery.  In just a few shots they capture Trafalgar Square, the new Gherkin building, Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, and Selfridges (where I bought a duvet and duvet cover that I still own).

7.  Sam.  Who wouldn't melt at this kid, running through the airport to say goodbye to his true love in an act of gallantry?  Nobody with a heart, that's for sure.

8.  Mr. Bean's gift wrapping scene.

It's raining like crazy - I'm thinking of going into the ark business - but I'm up in my Girly Nook in the attic, snuggling with three cats and listening to the rain on the roof, so life is good.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

So the book update for today is that I'm at 7035 words.  Yay for doing nanowrimo my way.

I'm doing a cheap-experiment tonight.  I am completely in love with peppermint mochas, but I'm convinced that I can make peppermint syrup at home, and save the $5.  So I googled "How to make peppermint syrup for coffee drinks" and found a Holy Grail website - not just peppermint syrup, but also pumpkin spice syrup.  Man, I'll be able to replicate my favorite drink in the world right now - the pumpkin hot chocolate from Sonic.  I'm so stoked.  In fact, I'm going out to the stove right now...

I shall report back if it's a success.

On a side note, I put on my Norah Jones Pandora station tonight, and feel very much like I'm in a Dido video - everything's in soft focus, and I'm moving more slowly and looking pensive all the time.  I think that what would make my life more interesting would be if I had a personal soundtrack to go along with everything I do.  That way when I'm just sitting on the couch reading Vanity Fair, I could put on the "At Home Reading in PJ's at 3pm" music, and suddenly, rather than just me being lazy on the couch, it would turn into something that's worthy of a reality tv show. Just thinking, that's all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book update

Word count total today: 6298.

Oh, and the Ashes are on again - third test, in case you've not been following.  The first one was a draw (yes, only in cricket can you play for five days straight, 8 hours a day, and still not have a winner).  England won the second test. And now we're on the third, and it looks like England is getting off to a very good start.

We're streaming it on this Indian station where they have funny commercials.  You can have a lot of fun by going on youtube and searching Funny Indian Commercials.  The below montage gives you an idea of how we will be spending the next five days worth of commercial breaks.  Nothing beats England winning the Ashes combined with funny Indian commercials.  The next five days are going to rock.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


it's kind of hard to type with a kitten sitting in between you and your laptop, happily purring away, but I am attempting to try.

So I gave Fresh and Easy the what-for today on facebook.  They have these new cinnamon-coated almonds, which looked really yummy in the bag, but nearly broke my tooth in real life.  I think dentists secretly created them to drum up business.

I've kind of taken off the last two days of writing my book.  I've been engrossed in a
Tim Dorsey book.  I even woke up two hours early this morning to find out who the FBI informant was.  I'm going to quit being lame and lazy like that tomorrow, though.

I watched Millionaire Matchmaker today.  Seriously, how much ass does that show kick?  But it's like really sweet and thick chocolate - you have to be careful not to overdo it.  I watched it for an hour today, and I think I'm done for another 34 years.

So I have been thinking about getting pregnant again - how much I hope it happens quickly, and how I'm excited for something else to look forward to besides just being miserable.  Even being afraid (which is, I'm sure, pretty much how I will spend the entirety of my next pregnancy) seems appealing these days.  I'm frustrated though, in the current state of the trying to conceive phase.  Last year at this time, when we had first started trying, I was so carefree and nonchalant about the whole thing.  I didn't know what pregnancy symptoms were, I didn't know what it was like to be pregnant, I didn't know anything.  Now I'm hyper-aware of every feeling of nausea, every time I'm tired, every time I feel hormonal... you name it, I'm watching it.

I don't know how to un-know these symptoms.  I don't know how to un-know something that I know already.  I don't know that I'll ever get that carefree innocence back.  And to be honest, I don't know if I'd even want to.  I feel naive and stupid looking back at myself last year now.  When I thought that if you got pregnant, it meant that you were having a baby for sure.  When I didn't know how many terrifying ways there are for babies to die.  When I didn't know what this kind of pain felt like.

Would I want to go back to that?  I don't think so.  I'm wiser now, which has made me more compassionate and empathetic.  You don't get wisdom without going through some shit, and I'm glad I have this wisdom now.  I'm glad I know that babies can die.  Because I think that when I'm pregnant again, I want to go into it with my eyes open.  Not so that I can be terrified and depressed, but so that I can appreciate every minute that I'm pregnant.

I vow that I will never complain about morning sickness.  I will never complain about insomnia.  I will embrace those symptoms because they will mean that I'm pregnant, and for that moment I'm pregnant, and that's all you have.  Really, that's all anybody has - this moment.  Then you get another moment.  And eventually, if you're lucky, you get 9 months worth of moments that add up to a healthy baby.  And if you're really lucky, you get 80 or 90 years worth of moments that add up to a fulfilling life. But this moment, right now, this is all that I have.  It's all you have.  It's all anybody has.

Hubby is spending this moment playing Gran Turismo, his very favorite video game.  I am spending this moment on the couch with him and two purring cats; and in this moment, I am very sad, but life is still good.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


This girl was my favorite - Amanda Sage - google her!
Thursday night we went to the monthly Artwalk in downtown LA.  It's a fun evening where all the galleries are open late, there's lots of kickass food trucks, and best of all, tons of street life.  I really miss street life living in the driving-metro-area-of-the-world.  One of my favorite things in London and NY was just to spend the evening wandering around, looking in shop windows, grabbing coffee, and watching life around me.  I really really miss that in LA.  It's just not the same.  Driving around just isn't the same as walking around.  So I like Artwalk because there's street life, and lots of people around.  Plus, it's Christmas time now, so LA tries to do snow and festiveness.

It looks like snow and you don't have to shovel.  Wheeee!
 It was kind of bittersweet Artwalking.  The last time I went on the Artwalk was in June, and I was already about a week pregnant, but didn't know it yet.  In fact, the frappuccino that I drank that night would cause me no end of grief when, five days later, I discovered I was pregnant and that caffeine was a no-no.  It wasn't until I saw the first ultrasound that I felt ok about that Artwalk Frappuccino.

It was nice to go back and walk around with hubby.  We had a good old fashioned date night.  We walked to Little Tokyo to eat, then stopped in a Japanese grocery store so he could buy seaweed (just to gross me out) and I could play with all the foreign toiletries, and buy lots of foreign gum.  I love me some foreign facewash and gum.  Of all the weird things I could collect, I pick facewash and gum.  It's so weird.

I have been really sad again lately, really missing being pregnant.  Tomorrow it will be 2 months since the Horrible Day.  I just keep replaying scenes from the day in my head - it's like it's on a continuous loop - and I can't get rid of it.  I try really hard not to think about it, but then trying not to think about something is pretty much the same thing as thinking about something, so it hasn't been working out that well.  I did treat myself to a new pair of sunglasses the other day - my old ones were resting on my cheeks and giving me these weird creases in my face all the time - so at least I have cool sunnies to hide behind when I'm crying in public.  Sigh...  I hope I get pregnant again soon.  It will be nice to have something else to think about besides how miserable I am.

Oh, and finally, a book update.  I'm now at just over 5800 words.  NaNoWriSixWeeks is coming along smoothly :)  I like my characters, I like my story, I like spending time with them, so that's all positive.  I'm struggling with their dialog, but that will come in later drafts.  Right now it's about getting words on the screen.  I'll be so stoked if I can do this, even though it wasn't in November, and it's six weeks rather than a month.

Crap.  I just now realized that one of the cats has figured out how to slide open my closet doors.   This is not a good development.  I need to get hooks or something.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book update

Not much to say today - J and I had a Date Night at the Downtown LA Artwalk, so that was fun.  We ate in Little Tokyo, and went to a Japanese grocery store where I had fun playing with Japanese toiletries and face washes.  We looked at art, listened to buskers, and made fun of the Angeleno's who think their weather is cold.  So now it's bedtime, but I'm so proud of myself for honoring my commitment to write every day, even if it's not much, and even if it's crap.

Today's word count:

Woot.  I'm going to beat my entire nanowrimo total in the first week.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

book word count

Not much to report today, but I'm at 2352 words.  NaNoWriSixWeeks is going according to plan  :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book update

So I said I wanted to do NaNoWriMo during December - my own version of it since I sucked at doing the official one this year - and I think the best way for me to do that is to hold myself accountable through word count updates.  I'm already late since I started today, but I don't have guests coming for Christmas, or any work conferences, or anything like that this month.  So I should be able to catch up.  So 50k is the goal.  And honestly, I think I'll give myself until January 15.  Just because, if I'm not doing the official NaNoWriMo anyway, I should be able to make up my own rules.  And my NaNoWriMo is going to be more like NaNoWriSixWeeks.  So Jan 15 is the drop date.  I will have 50,000 words that are somewhat coherent by then.  In a book form.

So.  Word count today:

I will post daily updates.  Yay accountability!  :)

Date Nights, Product Placement, and The Sing Off making everything better

Is it just me, or is the new ke$sha video trying to take product placement to a whole new level, but failing miserably since Gaga already did it?  Like the featuring of - they paid to be part of  Gaga's Telephone video, and now they're on ke$ha's video?  Is she trying to be ironic?  Or is the entire marketing strategy of based off of paying to be featured in music videos?  Either way, I just don't get it.

So we had a Date Night up on our mountain over the weekend.  I honestly didn't know there was so much for non-outdoorsy people to do up here.  Seriously, we amused ourselves for six whole hours, and none of it involved fishing or camping.  First off, we went bowling.  I still bowl like I did when I was 8 - two handed.  I still managed to get a strike, and a spare, and only got three gutter balls in as many games.  The manager guy was seriously having a hard time with me bowling like that.  He kept trying to give me lighter balls.  "It's not the weight.   It's that I don't like bowling the way the other people do.  I'm happy bowling like this."

Then he tries to give me this metal sloping contraption, kind of like training wheels, that you put the ball on top of, aim, and then release the ball.  The five year olds were using it.  "No," I insisted, "I'm happy being a sucky bowler."  Was it hurting him that I bowl like that?  I think it was really tough for him to just sit back and let me do my thing.

It's something I struggle with a lot, too, so I could relate. "No, there's an easier way... why won't you let me show you the easier way... why are you doing it wrong when I can show you the easier way..."  But it was a lesson in letting people do things the way they want, whether there's an easier way or not.  I'm happy bowling an 89, so let me go bowl an 89 and leave me alone, ok?  They do Glow Bowling on Saturday nights.  $20 for unlimited bowling for 4 hours, plus shoes, 2 slices of pizza, and unlimited soda.  Man, that is a deal and a half.

Anyway, after bowling, we decided to go see the new Harry Potter.  My mountain has a tiny little theater that's on the second, and top, floor of the building that also houses the school district headquarters.  It's a quaint spot.  We had an hour to wait though, so we went to lake arrowhead and ate thai food by the fireplace on the lake.  I can't think of many nicer ways to pass an hour than watching the sun go down on the water whilst nursing a root beer in front of a roaring fireplace.

So then we saw Harry Potter, which left me disappointed, only because now I'm going to have to wait however long to see the final one.  And J hasn't read the final two books, so he doesn't know what's going to happen, and he's still pretty much convinced that Snape is evil.  Grrrr....

And it's Tuesday, and Tuesdays still officially suck (8 weeks since the Horrible Day... I would have been 29 weeks pregnant tomorrow...sigh...).  But The Sing Off started, so that makes everything much more ok.  Yay for an entire show devoted to a capella music!

Monday, December 6, 2010

When is a loss a loss?

There's big drama going on over on my grief and loss message boards.  The grief and loss boards are for people who are dealing with pregnancy losses, and some of the stories are ridiculously traumatic.  They're also ridiculously inspirational.  One woman found out when her daughter was at 18 weeks that she had a condition that was incompatible with life.  She decided to carry to term, to give the baby a fighting chance.  The baby died in utero the day before she was due.  There are tons of stories like that - really gut-wrenching stories of people trying so desperately to have a child, and dealing with their own personal losses.  I can't deal with it that much, to be honest.  There's just too much grief, so many new hearts broken every day.  But the women there were a huge support to me, so I feel like I need to go on at least a few times a week to check in, and offer some support of my own, now that it doesn't hurt to breathe so much.

A few weeks ago a woman posted that she had just had a d&c because she found out that her baby had down syndrome, and she was sad because they had to start all over again.  Well.  This got people seriously riled up.  Down syndrome is compatible with life, you see.  So her baby could have lived, but she terminated the pregnancy because she wasn't able to deal with a special needs child.  People were seriously upset.  One person said that she technically had an abortion, and hinted that she hoped the next child didn't have any other imperfections, like, say, the wrong color eyes, or else they might get the chopping block too.  One woman was a special education teacher, and she said she was horrified.  At first I felt sorry for the original woman - she had come on the board looking for support, and people should have given her that support and not judged her.

But then I got to thinking that, while yes, we should give her the support she needs, really it's pretty stupid of her to come on a grief board and talk about the baby she willingly gave up because it was going to have special needs.  If I willingly give something up, I can't go around saying that I've "lost" it.  I haven't lost it.  I've given it up.  It's pretty insensitive of that woman to come on a board where there are thousands of women grieving their own lost babies, who would willingly have traded places with her to have a healthy baby.  I know I would have.  If Baby Teysko would have had down syndrome it would have been very sad, and we would have been very upset, but that's the baby we were given, the baby we were trying so hard to have.  I'm not going to throw that back in the face of whatever creator there is out there who deemed me worthy and strong enough to care for him.  That would be our baby, and we'd manage.  Life would look a lot different, and I pray that we never have to be in that position to make good on our words, but I can pretty confidently say that we would figure something out, and that baby would be loved, and welcomed into the world and into our arms.

Even if we didn't, and for whatever reason we wound up terminating the pregnancy, I wouldn't go on to a bloody grief and loss board and talk about how I made a conscious decision to end my pregnancy, scheduling the appointment myself, and having it all go according to my plan.  That's just not a loss.  A loss is something you don't get any say over.  It's not something you work into your schedule because the alternative doesn't suit you.

I fully believe that original woman should have support, and I have no idea how difficult and painful it was for her to make her decision.  There are probably message boards and support groups for people in her position, but I think it's pretty darned insensitive to hang out on a board of grieving women because your baby was going to have special needs.  Look, it's like an exclusive club, these grieving mama's.  And you have to go through a horrific hazing to be part of it.  That hazing can include sudden ambulance rides, expected routine ultrasounds where there is suddenly no heartbeat, huge amounts of blood, being more frightened than you've ever been in your entire life, screams, rivers of tears, and going through six hours of labor to deliver baby that was alive when you started, but will die during delivery.

That hazing does not include getting on the phone with your doctor's office, checking your calendar, and planning a convenient time to end your pregnancy.

We don't get a lot, us grieving mama's.  We don't get to celebrate mother's day, even though we're mothers.  We don't get to put the baby clothes we bought on to the baby we intended them for.  Some even don't get to return the baby furniture they bought.  We don't get pictures, we don't get memories, and we don't get locks of hair.  But we get to call ourselves grieving mama's, and I'm sorry, but unless you went through the hazing ritual, you don't get to be part of that group.  And that's all I can say about that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

back to podcasting

Well, I'm back to podcasting after a nearly-six-month-pregnancy-loss-of-pregnancy break...
This week, Edward VI's reign.  Color me excited.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Out of Hibernation

So I've been blogging almost exclusively about my miscarriage for almost 7 weeks, and I'm getting tired of it.  I'm getting tired of being consumed by my miscarriage.  It's bad enough that I'm going to have to live with this hole in my heart for the rest of my life.  I don't need to blog about it exclusively forever as well.  I'm not, believe it or not, Miscarriage Girl.  Oh, I'm sure it will come up from time to time - there's no way it can't, and I'm not going to hide it.  I'm going to continue to talk about it and share with others who are going through it because the alternative is to keep it all hush-hush, which I hate, but I'm not going to start off every blog entry with something about my miscarriage.  It just doesn't work like that.

I've been hibernating, but I'm starting to come out of the cave.  I'm a different person now, that's for sure.  There's more grit, less giddy trusting in life, and I'm pretty much not hip with putting up with anything anymore.  I have less patience for some things that have always bothered me, but I've always stayed quiet about because I'm a Nice Girl.  But in other ways I'm more understanding, and in awe of the human spirit because people go through so much, and they are so resilient, and I'm amazed at that.  

In celebration of my shedding of the hibernatory cave, and entering the springtime (albeit in December), I'm making some early resolutions.  I will spend time doing the things I like to do, and not doing the things I think I ought to be doing because it will make somebody else happy (and my job does count as something that makes me happy, so that can stay).

1.  I will do a Renaissance English History podcast at least once every 6 weeks, starting this weekend.  Like, no kidding.  It's on my calendar.  I'm getting back on that train.
2.  I will figure out how to work my new d60 camera which I've had for nearly 6 months.
3.  I will also figure out how to photoshop my photos to make them look even more awesome.
4.  I will not be ashamed of the amount of Peter Cetera I listen to.
5.  I will really (and I mean really) read all the classics I've never read but always meant to.  At least one a month. 
6.  I will do NaNoWriMo in December.  It won't be the same as doing it in November, but I'm not going to wait until next November to write my book.
7.  I will not feel guilty because I don't send out Christmas cards.  Seriously, Christmas cards were only invented to get people to use the new Penny Post in Victorian England, so it's a bit of consumerism that I don't need to feel guilty for not being part of.  
8.  I will also not feel guilty about the fact that I listen to Christmas music all year long.  And I don't just mean classical Christmas music like the Messiah, but rather, I listen to schmaltzy stuff all year long.  And I don't care.  
9.  I will unsubscribe to my RSS feed of the New Yorker because I never read it, and it just makes me feel guilty for all of the intelligent conversation I'm missing out on.  Vanity Fair can stay, though.  It doesn't make me feel as guilty.
10.  I will listen to the Harmonia Early Music Podcast every week because it is awesome.
11.  I will drink more water and less soda.

And finally, I will figure out a way to do something with my grief that is productive.  Whether it's my camp/retreat idea, or something else, Baby Teysko will be honored, and his little life will have more meaning than he could ever imagine.   

So that's what you can count on me for ongoingly.  I might break down and lose it from time to time - that's to be expected - but I'm coming back into the world.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Unbearable Smugness of Carrying my KPCC Thank-You-Gift Travel Mug

I really don't know what that blog title means.  I just like how it sounded.

Well here's an annoyance... I go to ebay to look for some doc martens (in an attempt to regain some of the innocence I had when I was 17, I think) and the default search box seems to link you to the page to sell an item. So I keep putting in Green Doc Martens and it brings up a page walking me through the steps to sell my Green Doc Martens, which I can't do because I don't have them, because I want to buy them, but it won't let me.  It's a circle of ebay craziness!  I guess they're doing updates or something to prepare for Cyber-Monday (but seriously, how many Formally-Named Shopping Days do we need in this country?).

And on to more pleasant subjects.  England drew the first test in the Ashes (yes, you can play for five days and not have a winner).  This is a Big Deal because it wasn't  looking too good for them on Wednesday when one of the Australian bowlers got a hat trick.  And I actually know what a hat trick is, thank you (it's when a bowler gets three wickets in a row, I'm pretty sure).   I love the Ashes.  Even more, I love that my hubby loves it.  Because then I know what's going on without having to put in the effort of following it myself.  Cricket is confusing!  I don't have the time to figure out why Australia decided to declare at the end of the second day, or whether England avoided a follow on.

For those of you not hip to cricket tournaments, the Ashes is a tournament between England and Australia that occurs every two years, alternating countries - though it always happens in the summer in each country, which means it's not quite two years on the dot, with the whole southern-hemisphere thing.  They play five tests, and each test is five days each.  So that's a 25 day tournament, which will extend until January 7.  They play all five tests, even if one of the teams wins the first three.

There is a big controversy brewing in the cricket world right now between the purists who want to keep Test Cricket going exclusively - that's the kind where both teams wear white, they have tea breaks, and it goes on for five days involving a lot of long-term strategy - and the new 20/20 matches.  And no, 20/20 doesn't refer to an eyesight exam score.  In cricket, every time six balls are bowled, that's called an Over.  So 20/20 means that each team gets 20 Overs, and then that's it.  20/20 games last about 3-4 hours, rather than the five days of test cricket.  And there are no tea breaks, which is sad.  Tea breaks in sports are very civilized and I approve of them.

20/20 got its first big break a few years ago when the Indian Premiere League started - they got the best cricketers in the world, paid them a huge amount of money, brought over  Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and created eight teams for a month-long tournament.  The cheerleaders had to wear tights under their skirts, incidentally.  After the first game, too many people complained of the impropriety of the short skirts.  Sharu Khan owned the Kolkuta Knight Riders and created this kick-ass theme song complete with Bollywood-inspired over-the-top music video.  It was a month of cricket-craziness, and thanks to Dish Network, we got to watch every minute of it, direct from India.  The commercials were the best - Indian personals websites, calling cards, money-wiring services, and an upcoming field hockey tournament (apparently Indian men play field hockey - go figure).

Four years ago we went to England over Thanksgiving, when the first test in the Ashes was just starting.  J wound up getting sick and camped out for three days on Sandor's couch becoming entranced by the bowling and batting.  I'm not as into the strategy of test cricket as hubby is, but I like the Ashes because Shane Warne is one of the commentators for the Australians and I have a total crush on him.

Shane Warne is not a good man, though.  Same old story - hot wife, he cheats, everybody hates him, etc.  This week Sandor and Anna Louisa were over for Thanksgiving and we watched Skating with the Stars, which is hosted by a very cute man who sounds like he comes from Yorkshire called Vernon Kay, pictured.  The conversation went like this:
Them: "he's big in America, too?"
Me:  "I've never heard of him - maybe just for this show?"
Them: "he's trying to get big outside of England."
Me: "he's super cute."
Them: "he's an asshole."

Turns out that he was married to a very-hot Tess Daly, and then decided that he would send racy text messages to a Page 3 Girl (ie the girls who take off their tops for Page 3 of The Sun).  When he was caught, he issued this very heartfelt apology:

“Now this week you may or may not be aware that because of some stupid and foolish decisions I’ve made I’ve disappointed and let down a lot of people. To my family and everybody I’m very sorry. Right, let’s crack on!”

No wonder he wanted to get out of the UK to host an ice-skating-reality-show for 6 weeks.  I'd want to get away too.  

And in other news, Gran Turismo 5 has finally been released.  Hubby has been waiting for four years for this game.  In 2006 the PS3 came out, and it was announced that GT5 would be released in January.  We bought a kick-butt huge HD tv used on Craigslist on Christmas eve that year.  Hubby got surround sound hooked up so that he could really get into the engine noise.  We bought the PS3.  And no GT5.  They said July.  July comes.  No GT5.  In 2007 or 2008 they released some kind of prologue with a limited number of tracks and cars, and that was supposed to hold over the fans until the real game came out.  It was released on Wednesday.  Almost four years after it was supposed to have been released.  According to hubby, this is not just a racing game.  This is a driving simulation game.  I don't really know the difference, but he does.  The introductory video that plays when you start the game is pretty awesome.  Hubby said that even if the game was comprised entirely of only this video, he would have been happy.  

Me, I'm wondering why, with all that awesome programming and the physics that each of the cars have, and the reality of it all, and the general awesomeness of the whole thing, they couldn't have come up with a better soundtrack.  It's all Smooth Jazz, just like GT4 was.  I always know he's playing a Gran Turismo game because of the crappy Sad FM smooth jazz emanating from the speakers in between races.

I have to admit, I'm slightly jealous.  Hubby gets his GT5 game, and I'm still waiting on a new Oblivion.  

I guess that's it for now.  Life is going on, and I guess that's what healing is all about.  Hubby is racing just like he raced in GT4 when I first met him.  Five years later, and so much is still just the same.  Different house, same general geographic area.  Same job.  More cats.  And I lost a baby.  It's just always kind of there.  I wonder whether that's how it will always be.  I guess I've got enough time to find out. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays Suck, and finding a Purpose in my Grief

Six weeks ago I was delivering my boy.  Tuesdays seriously suck.  Tuesday is officially The Worst Day of the Week.  I can't even watch Glee anymore because I hate Tuesdays so much.  I can't think of many things I hate worse than Tuesdays right now.

The upside?  I did 20 minutes of cardio today.  It wasn't much, but anything is something, and I hadn't done anything at all for almost 7 weeks.  Between being sick, then delivery, then the issues with my back, I had become quite the couch potato.  The doctor said I could start to work out again, but nothing too serious - just enough to get the heart beat up.  So I did part of a Dancing With The Stars workout disc.  Nothing like a little bit of Max to look at while you're exercising.

I've been thinking about my grief and how I feel like I need a break from life.  I was a little bit worried about myself, but then I read this on -

I don't worry about the women who write about crying and saying they can't go on. They are working through their pain and grief. I worry about the woman who just wants to try again, and doesn't mention or think about the pain of losing a baby. 

So I'm thinking I'm doing all right.

We are getting back on the Trying to Conceive train now, and it's nice to have something to think about - a project, as it were.  On one hand I feel like that's a betrayal to Baby Teysko, but I also know that he wants us to be happy.

I've been thinking about God and my faith in all of this.  I haven't written much about God, but I do talk to Him/Her/It every day about all of this.  For ease in writing, I will refer to God as a Him, but I fervently believe that God is neither he/she or it.  God, to me, is the energy in the universe, the life force, and our puny little brains can't imagine the overwhelming everywhereness of God, so we refer to God as a Him to make it understandable.  God is all of the love and consciousness of the universe.

So I've been thinking about why God would let this happen to me.  Especially given my last lengthy post about how I've always been a good person and I follow rules, etc etc.  I can honestly say that there hasn't been one moment where I've questioned this being God's will.  I don't like it, but I have to believe that I can't comprehend what God's will is.  And I have to believe that there will come a time when this will all become clear to me.  There might be lessons that I needed to learn out of this - what matters and what doesn't, the complete unimportance of everything that doesn't matter, patience, letting go, not needing to be in control of everything, dealing with grief...and the list goes on.  Maybe these were the lessons that I was sent to earth to learn.  Maybe these are the things I'm supposed to be dealing with.  Maybe before I came here, I had a talk with God, and he said, "I think this term we should focus on grief and letting go," and maybe I agreed to this.  Who knows?

One thing I do know is that I feel like I have a new purpose in life out of this experience.  I feel like there are so many women out there who have experienced this hurt - 1 in 4 according to the statistics - but nobody ever talks about it.  We talk about cancer.  We talk about AIDS.  We talk about heart disease.  But we never talk about the grief that 25% of the female population feels over losing a child.  It's such a deep, personal, painful thing, and I think people just don't know what to do with it.  It's ugly and it's horrific and it's terrible, but it's there.  And I want to be one of the people talking about it.

I also want to do something to help other people heal.  I've been thinking about starting some type of weekend retreat for couples up in my beautiful mountains.  It's just an idea right now, but I was thinking that it would be lovely to have a healing place where couples who have just experienced this loss can go for a long weekend, and mix therapy with a bit of romance, so that couples can start to heal.  There are tons of church camps and conference centers up here, and I think that I should be able to get a location without much of a problem.  Then I'd just need therapists, child care, food, etc.  I could start a non-profit or something to raise money for it.

If I could do something like this, I would be honoring Baby Teysko's legacy of bringing J and I so much closer together and taking our relationship to a whole new level.  And I would be providing something for all of the women (and men) who are hurting and want both a place to get away from it all, and a place where their grief can be understood.

I think then I might understand what the purpose of this horrible mess was.

I'll keep posting updates to my plan here - but if you would like to be involved with this in any way, please email me or leave a comment.  This week I will share the idea - in its conception stage - with the leader of our support group, and also my pastor (who has a masters in counseling and also had a miscarriage).  So I will get some feedback from them, and refine the idea a little bit more.

Yay for something positive coming out of something horrific...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another sunrise

Sandor and Anna Louisa are here from England, and we're hunkered down waiting for the snow, but here's a sunset from yesterday morning, as the storm was just coming in and LA was blanketed (those are clouds up against the mountains).  Took this with a point and shoot camera - wish I would have had my d60 with me - i can't imagine how awesome it would have looked...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And on a lighter note

Oh hooray, it's supposed to snow this weekend in my mountains!  And my best friends from London are coming for Thanksgiving, so we'll be snowed in together, painting and watching holiday movies, and sitting by the fire.  They were supposed to come see me with a big belly, but I guess that will have to be another trip.  Sigh...

But we will still have a good time, baking cookies and making our Thanksgiving Day dinner (and we all have a lot to be thankful for) and painting light-catchers that Anna Louisa bought for Baby T.  And I might get my nose pierced.  Woohooo!

Hubs and I discovered yesterday.  It's really quite mean, but they post videos of people failing epically.  Like this person who epically failed to get out of the way.

Other things I am enjoying these days include:
-Showers (I've always been a bath person, but I'm digging the time-saving factor with showers)
-My new espresso machine (I know I said this yesterday, but it really is worth two mentions)
-The tv show Community - Sadly, I've given up Glee because it's on Tuesday nights, and I have all the episodes since October 12 - my miscarriage - tivo'd and I can't bring myself to watch that october 12 episode because it makes me think about what I was going through at the same time, and I just can't bear it.  But Community is good.
-Redbox machines
-The ten minutes I spent playing with Wrigley today as she was chasing the reflection of my computer screen on the wall.  It was a good time, and I need to do that every day.

I'll be buying bread and milk and doing a snow dance tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Doing the right thing, losing it, and keeping it together (and nose piercings)

Another week, another celebrity says she had a miscarriage.  Pink opened up on the Ellen Degeneres show, confirming her pregnancy, and sharing about a previous miscarriage.  Seriously, is it just me, or are miscarriages absolutely everywhere?

As for me, I'm doing all right.  I had a breakdown on Sunday when we were going to see some friends of J's in San Jose.  On the way from Sacramento we stopped at Sonic (their pumpkin hot chocolate is on the list of things I'm absolutely sure I like) and J was sharing stories of the trouble he and these friends used to get up to in college.  Particularly things like raves and ecstasy and other assorted illegal substances.  This set me off because:

These friends of his have babies.
These friends of his partook of lots of illegal drugs.
I can count the times I have inhaled pot on my right hand.  That is the only illegal drug I have ever consumed.
I have no baby.

In my grief-stricken, hormonal world, this seemed grossly unfair, setting off a crying marathon the likes of which I doubt that Sonic has seen before.

Yesterday my awesome friend Meredith reminded me that just as I was not punished by losing Baby Teysko, these girls were not rewarded with their babies.  Sh*t happens sometimes.  Sometimes girls who did ecstasy get babies, and sometimes girls who smoked pot four times lose babies.  It's just how it goes.  

But here's the thing.  At the end of your life, you don't get a medal for playing by the rules.  Nobody cares.  Seriously.  Nobody really cares.  You can care, and if that's important to you, that's great.  I'm not talking about the harming-others-and-society kinds of rules here - obviously people care about those - people in uniforms with badges, for one.  But the little stuff.  Like whether you go through the express lane with more than 15 items.  Whether you litter when you're on back roads and nobody sees.  Whether you make a habit of speeding, or tailgating, or generally driving like an asshole.  Whether you take ecstasy tablets when you're in college.  

I noticed that when this first happened, I said that I really wanted to do a drug to put me to sleep and take all the pain away, but I was too smart and would try to grieve like a healthy person.  That's a phrase I've used before.  

My parents' divorce when I was a teenager was very messy.  Like, alcohol and firearms messy.  In a classic child-becomes-parent scenario, one night when the house was empty, I went through all of my dad's things, taking all of the aforementioned alcohol and firearms, and hiding them in my room up in the attic.  I wouldn't tell him where they were, but at least a few times I remember taking them all out and placing them around me - the bottles of alcohol and the gun cases- and thinking how it would be really easy, fast, and relatively painless to make the hurt go away.  

But you know what stopped me?  I remember thinking that I was too smart for that.  Plus, I recognized that it was the height of teenage-girl-drama to do something so stupid.  I knew that my parents pretty much sucked right then, but that I would be able to leave home soon enough, go away and live my own life away from them, and create my own family.  But if I indulged in the alcohol/firearm way out, I wouldn't have that opportunity.  And I'd really be cutting off my nose to spite my face. 

So I continued to do well in school so I could go away.  When I was 17 I smoked a Camel Special Light in the parking lot of kmart after a Spin Doctor's concert.  That was the height of my teenage rebellion.  Oh, and I wore doc martens.

I moved to Knoxville.  Then I moved to LA.  Then I moved to London.  Then I moved to New York.  Then I moved to Nashville.  Then I moved to LA again.  In the space of 11 years I had 15 different zip codes.  Then I got married and bought a house with a mortgage I could afford, and got cats, and got pregnant, and it seemed to be working out.

But here I am again, wanting to do something destructive, and not doing it because I'm too smart.  

A few weeks ago I went with J to one of the open AA meetings, and I found myself incredibly uncomfortable.  I hated all of those people.  Really hated them.  And I hated being there.  I didn't belong there, with those loser alcoholics, I thought.  When I shared my experience with J, he suggested that maybe I hated them all so much because I'm jealous of them: they did something I have always wanted to do, but never did - that is to say, they all completely lost it/ went crazy/ hit rock bottom/ checked out/ broke down / etc.  And they had people to pick them up, and they're all recovering now.  Maybe I hate them so much because I want to do that but never felt like I could.

I've danced at the brink of losing it - I've come close enough to peer over the edge and kind of make out shapes in the darkness down there (1995, for example, was a bad year which involved too much irresponsible credit card usage and bad internet relationships) - but I've always been able to stay on level ground, either through my own ingenuity and brains, through good luck, through the help of my parents (they weren't always crazy) or someone else who mentored me out of the muck (I'm looking at you, the teachers and counselors at PVHS), or a combination of all of those things.

A lot of the feelings I think I'm dealing with now are holdovers from being a teenager, when I wanted to collapse and completely lose it, but I couldn't because I was an only child who was desperate to get away from home, and was forward-thinking enough to know that in order to get away, I had to keep it together.  The circumstances are different now, but the feelings of wanting to just give up and let someone else deal with life for me for a while are the same.

For example, I forgot to pay the homeowners insurance bill that was due at the end of October.  Now I can't find it.  How am I supposed to deal with f*cking homeowners insurance when I'm dealing with mortuaries and death certificates?  I'll call them and sort it out, but it really pisses me off.  There should be some kind of service.  Like a "we'll handle life for you while you relax, and listen to peter cetera and blink 182 (can there be a weirder combination??  I'm not questioning it, I'm just going with it) and play with crayons, and read silly books, and sleep in, and drink hot chocolate for a few months" kind of service.  Does something like that exist?  Can somebody do that?  Maybe I should.  Maybe it should be a non-profit.  Hospitals could offer it to grieving people.

When I told J about my wanting to fall apart feelings, and shared the whole "I'm too smart for my own good" thing, I asked him what he thought.  He said that obviously as my husband, he didn't think I should fall apart.  But as an alcoholic, he thought for sure I should fall apart because I'm a mid-life-crisis waiting to happen.  That's how he put it.  Like eventually there's going to be something that will make me snap, and I will seriously lose it on a grand scale, making up for however many years of keeping it together.  I'll take off and move to Italy and wear designer sunglasses and chiffon scarves everywhere (I don't know where I came up with that).

So this is the stuff that I'm talking about in therapy, and trying to figure out.  Why, for example, do I so strongly hate people in AA so much when I'm in their meetings?  On a purely intellectual level, I really have no desire to fall apart.  I am blessed to have a good job that I enjoy, and I like going out into the world, and I even like talking to people sometimes.  I like my espresso machine, and I like being outside on our big deck.  I don't really want to completely fall apart.

But on an emotional level, it's very tempting.  And that takes me back to the beginning.  My first response to the temptation of falling apart is "you can't do everything you want to do all the time, like fall apart.  You have responsibilities."  And I sound exactly like my dad.  Who, incidentally, fell apart.  That aside, he's German, so he believes in following rules and fulfilling responsibilities and duty to family and job and country and everything like that.

My dad doesn't so much hate people who don't follow rules, as much as he just finds it incomprehensible.  "How can they be passing you when you're going 70 and the speed limit is 65," he asks, on the freeway.  "How can people have meth labs in their house?  It's illegal," is his response when I tell him they did a meth raid.  He just doesn't get it.  I've taken that incomprehension and moved it up a notch to disgust and hatred.  Unlike my dad, I understand that people don't all care about rules.  And I hate those people.

Which brings me back to the breakdown at Sonic.  People who have babies after breaking so many rules seriously piss me off.  Like, seriously.  I'm sure the emotional response I have to it will subside, but right now I already want to hit almost every pregnant woman I see, so, well, it caught me on a bad day when I have little patience...

Maybe my problem isn't so much all the people around me breaking rules, but the fact that I'm standing on the sidelines going, "you can't do that," when they so clearly can, and are, doing that, and they don't even hear me trying to referee, nor do they much care.  Maybe I should learn something from them.  Maybe I'm too far one way, and maybe there are people who are too far the other way, and maybe a good way would be to ride the center line.  Maybe, rather than going out and purposefully breaking rules, I just need to not care about the rules so much.  Because as I said in the beginning, they don't give you a medal for abiding by rules, and nobody really cares.

And that is why I am seriously considering getting my nose pierced next week.  And I would actually be saying I'm definitely getting it pierced, except I'm a real wimp when it comes to needles, and I'm afraid I might pass out.  But I'm really playing around with it.  Which, in and of itself, is a big deal.  I'm all worried about how that will affect me professionally.  Will it hurt me to walk into a meeting with a tiny stud in my nostril?  Will people not take me seriously?  Will it be something I regret?  To which I say, screw it.  I'm sick of worrying about whether I'll regret something.

Maybe some nose-piercing will keep the midlife crisis at bay until I can figure all this stuff out.


Random Check In and Cat Complaints

Long time no blog.  I was traveling to our glorious state's fair capital city, Sacramento, for the California Library Association annual conference.  Hung out at our booth and went to some sessions, and had a Board retreat with our most fabulous Board of Directors at the Sacto Public Library (they have free downloadable music there - for cardholders - membership has its privileges), which has an excellent cafe called La Bou attached to it, which I highly recommend.

I drove rather than fly.  It's a 6.5 hour drive.  It's a 4 hour door-to-door flight.  Till you strip for security, and partition out all the toiletries you can't take, it's really much more worth it to drive, at least to me.  I listened to Bill Bryson's new book, At Home: A History of Private Life, which should have been named At Home: A History of Everything that Wasn't Covered in My Last Book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.  It made the drive through the Central Valley pretty tolerable.

So this is a short entry just to let the People of Earth know that I'm still alive and kicking.  I'm going slightly mad at the moment, though.  We had a catsitter come to take care of the cats (duh) while we were gone, and I swear, they are purposefully rebelling.  One got out while we were gone.  The catsitter has no idea how.  She was totally freaking out.  Now they are pooping on the carpet in front of the couch.  Peeing on the freshly-cleaned windowpanes.  Throwing up in front of my closet.  All in the same night.

Then the garbage disposal explodes while I was disposing of rotten asparagus that was two weeks old.  An hour later, and the kitchen is cleaned up, but I still stink.

It's time for a book and bed.  I'm pooped.  Literally.  UGH.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Casey Schwartz at The Daily Beast - You Suck.

They say that when you become pregnant, you notice pregnant women everywhere.  It's because you're suddenly looking through the world with different lenses - lenses that notice pregnant women.  Now that I've miscarried, miscarriages are everywhere.  That being said, though, I don't think it's just me.  I think that miscarriages really are all over the place.  Mariah Carey was just on the cover of US Weekly talking about her miscarriage.  Lily Allen lost her baby.  Now we've got W talking about his experience with his mom when she miscarried.

The Daily Beast posted an article by Casey Schwartz where she described the scene, as Bush described it to Matt Lauer, as The Strange Bush Fetus Secret.  W was home with his mom when she miscarried.  She put the fetus into a jar and he drove her to the hospital.  Hey Casey Schwartz - for something to be a secret, it has to not be talked about.  Telling it to Matt Lauer on national television kind of negates the idea that it's a secret.  In a rebuttal, Time called it Not So Strange After All, outlining the medical reasons for why she would put it in a jar.  I won't go into those - I'm not an expert in what to do medically during miscarriages.

I am, however, familiar with what goes on mentally during a miscarriage, seeing as how I had one 4 weeks and 1 day ago.

Casey Schwartz, what makes you an expert on miscarriage?  Have you had one?  If so, I'm so sorry for your loss, and it would be wise for you to stand up and talk about it, and not feed the taboo attitudes that people have about them; the ideas that they need to be whispered about, can't be discussed in public, and need to be hidden from polite society.

If you haven't, which is my guess from your article, then seriously, f*ck you.  You have no idea what happens in a miscarriage.  You have no idea the physical pain that happens, the anguish when you pass your dead baby that has been growing inside of you for however many weeks.  You have no idea the confusion about what to do, what's going on, how scary it is.  I was snug in a hospital bed with warm blankets and doctors and nurses all around me, and I still thought I was going to die. Seriously. I told my husband that I was scared I was dying.  My body went into shock from the blood loss, I was shaking and shutting down, and I was passing a dead baby.

I have no idea what it would have been like to have been alone with a teenage son at home.  I didn't have the mental wherewithal to figure out if I wanted an epidural or not.  To be at home with my other child- the heartbreak, fear and confusion would have been overwhelming.

How dare you make a judgement on what is weird or strange or not on something that you have no idea or experience of.  I suspect you did it because you disagree with W's politics.  I disagree with his politics too, but this is beyond politics.  This is a sacred moment, when something that was alive suddenly isn't alive, and it's happening inside of you.  It's a moment that 1 in 4 women will suffer through, sadly.  It's admirable that W was able to be strong for his mother, to share in her pain, and to support her as she needed.  It makes him more human to me.  He experienced something that many men have had to deal with - supporting and nurturing a women during a miscarriage - but all too few talk about.  I admire him for talking about it, and for opening the forum to discuss it.

People like you shut down open discourse by making judgments on things that you know nothing about, and you keep people from talking.  And for that, you suck.

I didn't hold my baby.  I was too spent and too upset and in too much pain.  The nurses took pictures of him, and I will keep those and look at them when I miss him.  I feel like I missed an opportunity in holding him - being able to look at, love, and experience his perfectness - perfectness that I created with my husband.  There are medical reasons for keeping a fetus, and there are emotional ones.  Many people hold their baby for hours and hours after it dies, and it's comforting to them to know that it's real, it wasn't a dream.  He was there, he's mine, and he was alive inside of me.

For you to call that strange or weird shows me that you are a shallow person, lacking the depth needed to cover a story of such heartbreak.  You should have passed this story on to someone else, and stuck to writing stories like the others you did on TDB, stories about the science behind feeling full, or why men prefer fuller figured women during a recession.

By the way, if you have experienced a miscarriage, or someone close to you has, I would really love to know what train of thought led you to write your article, to get so many people riled up about something that is so personal and emotional, and to make such a judgement on something in such a short article.  Because I just can't understand it.


In other news, we picked up Baby T's ashes on Tuesday.  He's home with us now, where he belongs.  I miss him so much, but it's comforting to have him close by, on the bookshelf, and know that he is with us.  I'm too angry to write much more right now.