Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Crime Has Been Committed.

No, really.

My credit card, an expired bank card, my Borders Rewards card, my driver's license, and potentially my insurance card were stolen straight out of my wallet sometime yesterday.

I found out this morning when my credit card company called me to inform me my card was on a fraud hold due to suspicious activity. I was asked to verify the last three charges. When I listened to them, I frowned because I didn't remember hitting up a Shell station recently. So I asked to speak with a fraud specialist, who was very kind and soothing.

She informed me that it's not atypical for a particular pump to be acting up and ask for card information more than once, but on the third try, it triggers a fraud alert and the card goes on fraud hold, because it's one way that credit card thieves attempt to discern whether a card is active or not. She then asked if I'd had any trouble getting gas that morning.

To which I replied that I most certainly had not stopped for gas this morning, a sense of panic growing in me.

She asked me to verify that the card was in my possession.

*** Flashback to Tuesday Morning, the ride into work ***

Me: DH, do you still have my credit card? (having handed it to him over the weekend to keep with his cards when I felt lazy and didn't want to haul my purse around)
DH: Yep.
Me: Do you mind putting it back in my wallet? (thinking I would get coffee on my way to my second office, but later deciding not to do so, because DH brought me coffee)
DH: Sure thing.

DH pulls wallet from purse. DH puts card into correct slot in wallet. DH puts wallet back into purse.

*** End Flashback ***

The card is not in my wallet.

What I didn't notice at that moment is that receipts fell out of my wallet that were tucked into a pocket and my driver's license and old expired debit card (belonging to account I only use for depositing small amounts of money into every then in a vain attempt to save money) are missing as well. I clued in about 10 minutes later.

Meanwhile, I call DH to verify that the above flashback didn't take place only inside my head (it didn't) and that the card is gone (it is).

So, nice lady immediately begins the card cancellation procedure and starts the fraud investigation, reassuring me I was not responsible for those charges, and that they will take care of this, etc.

Short version is my new card will arrive on Friday. To work, because someone has to sign for it, and I told our secretary and she's very upset about this and will personally take charge of signing for it and locking it up until I take possession. Bless her heart.

About this time, it starts sinking in that my credit card was stolen directly from my wallet. And with a sinking feeling, I realize that due to my having known with certainty when the last time I personally saw the card was, it could only have been stolen from two places. Work or our home.

My stomach sinks further as I remember that my purse was left in my original office in a locked desk drawer, though the key was in the lock (as it is with ALL of our desks). And when I returned from my second office, that key had been messed with. It was bent in the lock. The locking mechanism still worked, but the key couldn't be removed, because of the angle. I thought little of it yesterday, assuming I'd done that damage in my haste to get out the door, thinking my bag had caught on it or something.

But it's suspicious (now, anyway). The problem here is that I share my office, and my officemate was around all day, as well as an intern in the afternoon. Given our office set-up, it's patently absurd to think that anyone unknown could have made their way back into our office, past reception and multiple other offices and snuck in without my officemate seeing or hearing them, knowing where my purse was (or rummaging without alerting my officemate), finding my purse and rifling through my wallet, taking these items, but leaving behind the iPod Touch, the cell phone, and both cameras in my purse.

It seems likewise absurd to think that it could be someone in our office who actually works there. While it's no secret I'm gone half the day and a smart or observant person could know where I keep my purse or be able to figure it out (there aren't many places if it's out of sight), it's a real stretch.

Unfortunately, so is the other option. I did leave my purse in my car last night. I frequently do. I know it's a bad habit, but the complex is gated, the car is in our carport, which, while accessible, would generally require noise to open. The purse is usually behind the seat or under the dash. The pricey electronic equipment came inside last night, which would explain why it wasn't taken. But. . . the car was locked last night, and it was locked this morning. There are no signs of damage or entry. The purse was pretty much where it was left, according to DH, who checked for it when I asked if it was there. Also, there is no indication the car was rifled for anything else and nothing is missing that we are aware of. The two pairs of earrings I left that might have some value are still there.

It's a real stretch for me to believe that someone quietly entered our car with no damage or evidence of it, rifled through my purse to take only likely looking cards and my drivers license, but left the electronic equipment and replaced my wallet in my purse and my purse in the same location it was in.

It's easier to think that someone in an office setting where they might be discovered tried to see if they could grab some quick cash rifled my wallet, and in a rush grabbed all the likely cards and bam! Threw everything back in and didn't have time to notice the iPod or cell phone. That could be done in about 30 seconds. And while my officemate says she was in all-day, I'm quite certain that there would have been one point where she stepped out or a point at which someone could have slipped in without her knowledge.

But what a terribly disturbing thought that is.

Regardless of how, it happened. I went to DMV to get a new license today (my picture makes me look like a fat man in drag. joy) and the new card is on the way. I had my bank accounts notated, on the off chance that someone attempts to get a new debit card for that account or there was something else stolen I don't realize. And after some debate, I did go ahead and call to file a police report. If there is surveillance footage, then perhaps we can see who did it, though I doubt it gets taken that far. Mostly, I'm concerned with having it on file, should there be any additional problems or someone tries to use my license (they said at DMV that if that happened, I could get a new number. Why I couldn't just have one is beyond me, but whatever).

Still. A bit angry, a bit shaken, a lot amused in a twisted sort of way. A bigger pain in the ass than anything, but still. . . People suck.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I hate to complain, but...

I'm so tired. It feels bone deep right now. I'm tired of my job, and I'm struggling a lot.

The thing is - I'm very lucky to have a job, and I'm very lucky to have fallen into my current job. It's not all luck - I've worked quite hard in the past year and that's what is showing through now. There are people who would gladly do my job.

But I didn't actually ask for this job. I was told I was going to do it. I looked at it as a good opportunity (it is) and went ahead, because well, I need a job and there was no option. I wasn't working for this job, I freaked out when they gave it to me and if you'd offered it to me, I'd have thought really, really hard about declining it. I certainly wasn't consulted about the changes after the initial change. Again, I was told I would switch jobs and would be participating in this program. There was no discussion, no option, no choice. Which, to some extent, is fine. If the choice is between job or no job, hell yes, I'll participate. I'll wear a clown nose or a Rockets jersey while doing so. However, on reflection, I'm feeling a bit resentful that I was thrust into this situation and simply told to make it work and am not receiving the support I think I need to do it.

The thing is - I wasn't really prepared for it. Granted, I was always going to have to jump into the deep end with a fair number of things that I simply did not do in my previous job. But these two departments are more than the deep end. It's not even a pool, it's a freaking lake. A Great Lake, even. I like to think that while I've been panicking and shouting in the water about how scared I am, I've also been treading water, and sometimes even swimming.

But it's more work than 1 person can do in a 40 hour week. Or a 50 hour week. I'm constantly behind and I feel like I work from the second I get there until I leave. I stopped bringing work home only because I was so close to burning out. Even as I type, I'm thinking over the documents that need approval, and sighing because I have to do them tonight.

The problem is that I'm not unique here. All three of us - and our two supervisors - are in the same boat. But that's not comforting. If anything, it's more demoralizing.

And I feel like I've been yanked around some. I'm told one thing, and set off in that direction to be yanked back and told something else. I set off in that direction and again, get pulled back. And the problem isn't me not listening - it's that their minds keep changing. First I'm going to spend half-days in the department. Then I'm not. Then I can - it's up to me. Then today they tell me that I'm spending too much time (physically) in the other building and need to begin weaning those departments (both of mine are in a separate building from my home office) because we are centralizing! Can't do this forever! They have to get used to it!

But . . . I thought this was my decision. I already feel completely flustered because I feel like I can't get anything done with this split. But it's so necessary for me to be there. There are a lot of issues that get compacted into my 3-4 hours a day. On top of that - I'm now supervising 4 full time staff members. Hard enough when I do not see them everyday to give adequate and accurate feedback - how am I supposed to supervise them from a different building altogether? It's ridiculous.

I'm tired from trying so hard to catch up and keep up. I'm tired of feeling like the best I can give is not up to my standards (it's not - they deserve better. Not that they're used to that, mind, but I know what they should be getting. And I'm tired of feeling caught in the middle. There seems to be some resent that I stick up for the department in the division. But . . . that's my job, I thought. I defend the division to them, and I defend them to the division. I act as go-between. But right now, it's tiresome.

Just . . . outline my job already, yeah? Stop telling me that the time I spend physically in the department is at my discretion if it's not. Stop telling me that our goal is customer service and making everyone feel supported and heard if that's not true. And be upfront that you simply want me to be a puppet, and not their administrator.

I am approaching burnout. I can and should take better care of myself (including going to bed earlier), but really I feel sort of over the whole thing. And that makes me guilty, because this is a huge opportunity for me. It's flattering and people seem to be pleased at the moment. But I'm exhausted. I don't know how long I can continue this pace or this uncertainty. And I don't know how to convey that without sounding like I'm whining or being unreasonable or not paying attention to the fact that we're all in similar situations. Which is the last thing the team needs. Morale is low and we've all complained about the complainers and whiners and prima donnas. I don't want to add to that, but I don't know what to do.

Which is, I suppose, why I am writing this post now. Without knowing more of the situations and all of the backstory - none of which I'm posting - no one can really offer advice. I guess I just need to say it somewhere.

I'm tired of the bullshit in my job. I'm tired of doing 2 people's work for 1 person's pay (and that is only guaranteed for 4 more months, and what then? Don't think that's not on my mind). I'm tired of being told three different things and of trying to do the best I can and knowing it should be better. I'm fucking tired, end of story.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Breaking News

I adore my FSIL. She's awesome. Gorgeous, funny, warm, not intimidated by the crazy of our family. And my brother is totally head over heels in love with her.

Happy, happy sighs.

Oh, and I had the best, best, best dinner ever last night. Crab bisque so good I wanted to drink it by the gallon.

And the Spurs are playing right now, as I type. And since we're home, we get local coverage.

Lovely, despite being sick.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So it's been awhile.

I'm busy.

I've been ill.

I'm busy.

There was a horrible fright at work, which I am assured is nowhere near as drastic or grave as I thought it was. Otherwise, things proceed apace. I'm settling in, and looking around a bit in wonder at how on earth I managed to fall into this job. Much as I complain and am fearful about it . . . I started this line of work not even three years ago with zero experience or training, and now I've fallen into my current position and it's astonishing. I guess I'm doing all right after all. Never would have predicted this five years ago, but that can be said about much of my life, really.

I'm busy.

I'm tired.

Illness takes a lot of me. I perhaps ought have taken another day off, but the two I took nearly did me in - I'm piled under work and deadlines, but hanging in.

There's not much to say, really. I'm doing fine. I've lost a couple of pounds (the scale says 6-7, actually, but I know I've not been getting enough to drink the last couple of days, so I think that's not so accurate).

There was a fugitive hunt through my townhome complex - dogs searched our patio and there were police officers with guns drawn right outside my window as helicopters circled overhead. Don't know if they caught the guy or not.

We thought Barney got out of the house, but a frantic, tear-filled search turned him up nonchalantly resting under the bed, annoyed at the fuss.

The NBA season started for the Spurs yesterday, and it was a fun, entertaining game.

I went to the opera, and learned that I am really more of a football and beer sort of person.

I've started two or three thoughtful sort of exploratory posts and haven't had the energy to finish them. Maybe soon.

I'm going home this weekend to see my brother, who has returned from Iraq. He's bringing his fiancee, and I'm so excited to see him and meet her. I don't know quite when it happened (when I wasn't looking, I expect), but my brother has become such an awesome person. I just adore him.

DH is well. I'm well. That is well.

I could use a few more hours in the day though. Mostly for sleep.

Hope you are also well, wherever you are.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Conversation

Just held in my house.

Scene: We are flipping channels, between football, baseball playoffs and a re-run of The Unit. I comment on how that was a good show that would have been much better without all the army wife/family B plot. We agree. Make joke about house flipping, the topic of discussion by army wives in B plot. I riff on the show, and jab at one woman in particular.

Him: To be fair, I always hated Tiffy and Mac. But Molly got kidnapped! And it was all a Unit plot!

Me: Ugh, whatever. You would think that after all her patronizing scolding of other, lesser Unit wives, she could suck up a tiny kidnapping where she wasn't even hurt.

Him: How would you feel if you were held captive and your husband refused to walk away after that? Hmmmm?

Me: Whatever, the whole thing was lame.

Him: Well, I for one would walk away from *Place of Employment* if you were ever taken hostage as a result of something *Place of Employment* did. So there.

Me: That's sweet and all, but dude, you'd walk away from your job for a cheeseburger. Don't act like it's a sacrifice.

Him: Who has cheeseburgers?! I want a cheeseburger. Don't make such tempting offers if you aren't going to follow up.

* * * *

And scene.

I love my husband. A whole bundle's worth.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Love you, baby.

All my lost little chickies - the hope and promise, and yes, love.

* * * *

Love you and miss you, Gabe.

Today. And every day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day - October 15th

Tomorrow is a day set aside for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. There are a lot of statistics I could throw out about the number of pregnancy losses today, and the number of infant losses, even in this era of medical marvels and miracles.

They don't mean much though. Pregnancy loss is common early on - but no less painful or tragic if you've experienced it. The loss of hope and joy that attends an early pregnancy loss is acute and painful. The innocence and peace of which a woman is robbed hurts. Pregnancy loss later on . . . well, you've seen the results of that if you've ever read my blog before. And infant loss is still so sadly common, even today, even in our nation with all the advances and options. . .

If you've lost your baby, tomorrow is a day to remember it. If you are an activist, tomorrow is a day to think about how we can encourage more research into pregnancy loss and especially stillbirths, to think about how legislation can support that, to honor programs like the March of Dimes and their efforts to encourage healthy pregnancies and reduce the number of premature births through an enormous variety of methods. If you know someone who has experienced a loss, contact them tomorrow - let them know you think of them and of their babies.

And tomorrow, at 7 pm in your timezone - light a candle in remembrance. There will be a wave of light through the world as we babylost and our friends, families and loved ones light candles in honor of our lost ones, in acknowledgement of the light they've brought into our lives.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The art of candy making

Ever made candy? Like fudge, toffee or peanut brittle? I mean the old fashioned way, where you need a candy thermometer and a glass of cold water to test the stages of the candy?

Making candy this way generally involves a lot of constant stirring and monitoring the temperature very carefully. If it gets too high for too long, it's easy to ruin the candy. The mixture gets more and more brittle the longer it's over high heat. I can tell you, for instance, that when I make English Toffee, it requires boiling for 13 minutes at a particular temperature and constant stirring. If you do it right, it's wonderful. If you don't, it's awful.

Anyway, the point is that today was a day in which I realized how delicate a balance I'm trying to maintain right now. I'm very stressed out this week. Multiple deadlines have hit at the same time, and if I could just have some time I could get caught up and get this stuff done. But there is no time. I've been hither and yon and it's exceptionally frustrating to balance the crisis of the day with the regular work that needs be done. Even more so when I am balancing what used to done by 2 people on a full-time basis, and even more yet when I am learning as I go.

Every day is an improvement, and I mean that seriously. I feel far better than when I started. Less like I'm going to fuck it all up. But I likewise know this isn't my best work. Oh, don't get me wrong, I can look myself in the mirror and tell myself honestly that I've done the best I could, but it's definitely the best I could in these circumstances, and not the best I'm capable of doing. Because, well, I'm only one person and there are only so many hours in the week. If I were performing in this way and that one department was all I was doing, it would not be good enough. Since it's not all I'm doing, I'm doing the best I can.

But I want it to be the best possible. It's terribly draining. More draining is that we're all in this boat. I'm in no way unique in my unit or hell, in the world. Do more with less. Make it work. You know? So I'm trying, we're all trying, and we're all feeling frazzled, defensive and acutely aware that nothing is quite turning out as we'd wish.

Too much time spent over heat that's too high, too much (or not enough) stirring, who knows? All I can say is that the pressure is getting to be too much.

I got 'yelled' at today - oh, not literally. This person doesn't raise their voice. But called out, taken to task, whatever. In front of others. And you know what? It wasn't totally uncalled for. It mostly was - another department fucked up. And I can't control that. And I ought to have followed up more quickly than I did. But I didn't. Because I'm swamped. And it was all I could do not to cry. I mean, tears in my eyes, burning throat and everything.

I took a moment to gather myself and to blink, and I wrote to Dh that "I felt like I was going to snap, I was stretched so thin and felt so brittle." And I've been close all week.

The balance is off. I have thought since Monday that if I could only just get more time to work at night/at home, I could get caught up and be ok. But last night, I was locked out. I tried to connect remotely, but it didn't work because my computer went into sleep mode and locked down. How that happened, when I was able to remote in all weekend is beyond me. DH told me to take it as a sign that I needed a break - something echoed by my supervisor today when I apologized for not getting more done.

And again tonight - I brought everything home to work, only to find that the internet was out for us. A problem with our broadband connection. This time, instead of fretting for three hours, and alternating between stress and relief and frustration, I shrugged and hopped on Aunt Beast. 20 minutes. Awesome. It's shameful how hard that is, but I did it.

And of course, right before I get ready to go to bed after a bit of fluffy writing, I see that the internet connection appears to be restored. And so it is.

You think it's a sign that I need to work harder at the balance? I'm both amused and exasperated, but either way I'm taking the hint. Off to bed for me, and a massive push tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For the record

I lost a full two pounds overnight.

That is why I traditionally weigh myself in the morning.

Also, that means it's slightly more palatable.

Sophistry has it's uses, my friends.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Things so rarely go as planned.

The new elliptical?

Broke. A mere 20 hours after that picture was taken.

I was seriously frustrated and wanted little more than to be 3 years old and able to throw (physically) the temper tantrum raging in my head. Also, I wanted an adult to fix my toy and make it all better.

Once it sunk in that I was the adult here, I sniffled a bit, called my mom and wailed about the injustices of being the adult here and why didn't she warn me this is what it was all about? Oh, wait. . .. Then my husband stepped up and offered to handle it for me.

Which he did, the following day. We'd discovered a crack and a piece of non-integral plastic appeared to have fallen into a very integral part of the machinery. Well, that's why we paid more - to have a warranty, right? We took pictures and everything.

Didn't need them though - this store believes in good customer service, and the first person DH spoke with was nice enough, taking the details and arranging for their service specialist to come take a look and determine whether it could be fixed in home or not.

Less than an hour later, the store manager - who incidentally sold us the machine - called personally to double check the details, apologized profusely, assured DH that a) this was unacceptable and that b) there is nothing we could have done in the span of 36 hours to break the machine. He immediately offered to replace the unit with another exactly like it, at no charge to us.


The new and improved version (in that it's working) arrived today. Seemed already to be smoother than the other, confirming that there was something wrong with the other machine. Except this one was weirdly not recording any information and kept pausing. I was getting ready to throw an actual temper tantrum, when it occurred to me that maybe unplugging it and replugging it might reset it.

It worked.

So did I.

But I was a little scared the entire time that it would break. We heard a little noise - later confirmed to be the sound that is natural when reaching the longest stride - but generally ok. But I was nervous. Because after AB1 had broken, I had to confront my fear that I might actually be over the weight limit for this machine.

I confided my fear to DH. He suggested we go buy a scale to know for sure.

I didn't like that idea at all. He suggested this would bug me until I knew. I gave in. We bought a new scale. It's quite fancy - tells you all sorts of things, provided you stand on it the right way, for an appropriate length of time and touch your nose with your left ring finger or something equally complicated.

The good news: I do not exceed the weight limit of the machine.

The bad news: Even though I knew it already, I cannot avoid the fact that I am at my highest recorded weight ever.


But! We are working to change that, and Aunt Beast (2) is going to help me with that. This week's short-term goal is to get on every day. Try to do 20 minutes. Do at least 10. Soon I should be up to a consistent 20. Once I hit that goal, we try to add short increments until I'm consistently doing 30 minutes a day. Then we add 5 minutes until I'm at 45 minutes a day. Then an hour. My Tier 1 goal is 1 hour, four times a week. If I could do that - coupled with 20-30 minutes on 'off' days, I think I'll be doing really well. I have no firm timeline placed on that, but I have a tentative goal for that. Depending on how life works.

You know how rarely things go to plan though, so as I'm learning with my job, flexibility is key here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I call it Aunt Beast.

My new toy arrived.

I call her Aunt Beast, for lo, she is sort of huge and monstrous. And can kick my ass.

But I sort of love her.

(note for anyone interested: it's a Nautilus EV718. we got a super-sweet deal because it was a floor-model. not brand new, but still came with full warranty.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Little Things

They moved my mailbox at work.

Allow me to explain.

It's been in the same place since I started. Bottom left hand corner. In three years, I've developed a habit of quick-scanning it to see what's in it and might need attention.

Perhaps it's worth interjecting that I've moved offices. Again. I tried to diagram all the moves for someone today and it fairly well resembles a weird star shape. This is my 4th or 5th space since I started. Surprisingly, for sharing an office, as I will be doing starting next week, the space feels about as it did in my last office, down to where our assistant is going to be placed. Kind of funny, really. So yeah, that's been going on. The only real downside is that my back is to the door (HATE) and my monitor's are wide open and in plain sight. Not that I'm looking at porn at work or anything! Just a bit annoying. Still, it could be worse.

But back to the mailbox.

Yeah, I went to my other department, as I do everyday and when I returned to my new office, I gave my box a glance. There was weird stuff in it. I set my things down and walked back and frowned. It took a moment, but I did eventually realize the problem was that my box is not where it used to be. It's been moved to the fake-box area where it used to be shelving and doesn't have dividers.

The person who is taking over the responsibilities I used to have (as I've been moved to bigger/better? responsibilities) has my old box.

I started to bitch about the change on twitter . . .

. . . and then I paused.

Because I realized that if the thing I most have to bitch about is my mailbox being moved? Things are going pretty well for me right now.

And you know what? Things are going pretty well for me right now. I'm happy (finally) with the direction at work. My new chair is very happy with me, my supervisors are happy with me, I'm catching up on my learning curve, things are settling down.

Home life isn't perfect (is it ever?), but it too is pretty good. I got past a block on some writing. We're slowly getting the house cleaned up. The animals are doing ok - though Jonah is dealing with allergies, poor thing. And I've got a new toy coming soon (more on that later).

We've reached a place of peace with trying to conceive - we're not. Not for a couple of cycles, anyway. And it's a decision - that while hard when I'm actually fertile, even excruciating because we keep thinking 'What if is this is our last/only chance? Oh, dear god' - that we are pretty comfortable with right now. Part of this is hoping to avoid being heavily pregnant/potentially on bedrest/out on leave during the busiest time of the fiscal year. I am also setting a serious goal about a weight I'd like to be at before ttc again. I am hopeful we can start ttc again in December, but we'll see when we get there.

I feel good with this decision for now. There is a bit of relief in there at a break. On the whole - well, my mailbox got moved at work today. And that's just about the biggest complaint in my life. Which means I've got a pretty nice life right now.

I hope the same is true for all of you. Cheers!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Five Years Ago

It was a warm day, and despite my best efforts, very little seemed to be going according to plan. Everyone expected had arrived and the chairs and tables and decorations were being set up and we were rushing through a rehearsal without the musicians and 2 members of the bridal party. My bridesmaid and her husband (the musician) would arrive in another 2 hours, having driven from Dallas after playing a wedding the night before. The other member of the bridal party - the best man - would not show up. His attendance had always been an uncertainty, which had faded to a dim hope following Hurricane Katrina - his unit was stationed in New Orleans to provide disaster relief and his request for a 2 day pass was denied.

But it was ok. We got through a quick rehearsal, we went and ate the rehearsal lunch. My bridesmaids and I went to get our hair done, and again my plans didn't go well. I ended up going last and being about an hour and a half late and very frazzled. Fortunately, our clever friends and my darling husband managed to figure out how to set up the table decorations without my guidance, and the cake lady graciously left the cake and agreed to accept payment the next day when my mother was not at the site in time to give her the check.

The afternoon was boiling hot, and our wedding pictures were done in shade and hurriedly (both because of shortened time caused by my delay and because of the heat). I wish I'd managed to get more/better pictures, but alas.

I remember the dress and how rushed I felt and how warm. It did eventually cool off as the sun set, and a breeze picked up. Such a breeze in fact that our floral arrangements at the alter blew over (being dried flowers in keeping with the autumnal 'theme' and not very weighty), and our tapers for the unity candle wouldn't light. They were supposed to have been symbolically lit at the beginning of the ceremony, but we finally gave up and tried again during the point in the ceremony at which the unity candle was lit. A groomsman trying to help by shielding the candle from wind with his hand nearly got a bad burn and while we got the unity candle lit, it lasted for about 10 seconds. The preacher, my friend J, made a joke about the presence of the Spirit of God.

I remember that I didn't notice the music being off until I watched the video later. I remember the relief when we got started, and how nervous I was until that moment. Not about getting married - we'd lived together for four months by then and had surpassed what we thought was the biggest test ever after DH's depression spilled over into a suicide attempt, his family tried to separate us (blaming me for the depression), and we spent five and a half months apart from each other. After that, we knew what we wanted and it was to be together, so we were. I just didn't know if his family might show up after all, and if so, whether they'd cause a scene. (They did not appear. And five years later, that is all water under the bridge. We're fine now, and I think they believe we love each other. And I think there is regret about not being at their son's/brother's wedding).

I remember that I couldn't keep the smile off my face when I saw DH. And that I was in such a rush, I handed off my bouquet and we held hands way too early and so had to stand there holding hands while J gave the sermon. I remember the soft smile on his face and the look of relief and happiness in his eyes. I remember the commotion when I saw the groomsmen stiffen up and frantically try to subtly get someone's attention - I later found out that the Spirt of God wind had blown a tablecloth up and over a centerpiece (a glass bowl with a votive candle inside) and the tablecloth caught fire. The wedding party was the only group that could see it, but their actions caught the attention of someone in the back who resolved the issue before there was a major disaster. I still have the tablecloth somewhere, with my bouquet, veil and the leftover programs.

I remember saying 'Yes' and 'No' and 'I do' in the right places, as we solemnly agreed that we were there to be married, that there was no impediment to our legal union (unless they objected to a Canadian marrying us - but no one ever has in five years, so . . .) and that we did agree to take each other for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, etc and finally getting to say our vows, which we had written together (his were the same, save for switching the names and taking me to be his wife).

"I, EAS, take you, DH, to be my husband and partner in all things. I promise to give you all that I am and accept all that you are. I promise to laugh with you and cry with you; to share your joy and ease your burdens. I promise my constant friendship and my utmost patience. I promise to turn to you first above all others. I promise to seek all the beauty you possess and strive to realize the potential you see in me. I promise to honor you with my faithfulness, to cherish you and to respect you, and to build everyday on a foundation of love. I promise before God and those here to fulfill these vows with love and devotion as long as we both shall live."

I remember that we both bobbled them a little, getting them slightly out of order, and we both laughed. I remember the aura of love and joy, glowing golden around everything, tinging my memory of the event with light. There was a great deal of laughter that night, and smiles. I remember wearing a chicken glove on my hand as DH wore a chicken on his head and we all danced the chicken dance. I remember my step-sister catching the bouquet and skipping away with it in one hand, and $5 in the other that my BIL offered her if she could get it. I remember laughing until my sides hurt as the DH and the groomsmen serenaded me with "My Girl" and the groomsmen dressing up to perform "YMCA."

The food was amazing - my dad catered. People still ask about that brisket - he smoked it himself in the backyard, and it was divine. I remember that he added green peppers to the chicken salad and even more inexplicably to the potato salad, so I could eat neither, though I spent most of dinner visiting tables and chatting and trying not to spill barbecue sauce on myself. The cake - I may never have eaten it's equal. SO wonderfully good - chocolate with cherry filling and homemade icing that must have required about 5 pounds of confectioner's sugar.

I remember my BIL driving us to the hotel we stayed at for our 'honeymoon' and how he had a hell of a time getting back to my dad's house, after he drove off without my sister following him, and how the bridal party had decorated the car - filling it with balloons and rosepetals and covering it with inappropriate writing and tying empty Lonestar cans to the bumper.

It was a beautiful day. I remember it so fondly.

But you know what? For all the preparation and planning, for all that we felt the wedding was a hugely important day (and not just for the party - the ceremony was our focus). . . we had no real idea why. I'm only seeing it now. We made these starry eyed promises to each other, and felt a bit smug because our relationship had already been tested. We'd been together long enough and through enough that we were there for each other, not for a fancy dress and cake. We thought we knew what bad was and could get through it easily enough.

We were wrong, of course.

We didn't have the first year pains that many others seem to have. I do think that we were better prepared for early marriage. We'd lived together already and had no pie-in-the-sky expectations about our relationship or what marriage should be (I will never forget that our couples counselors looked at each other in bafflement and actually asked at the end of the first session why we were there, lol).

But we were in no way prepared for the direction our lives would take and the tragedies that lurked outside our field of vision. I'm proud that we have survived intact, that we weathered the storms together, that we didn't let each other drown. But it's only now that I can see the gravity of the promises we made and the real leap of faith we took when we made them. I'm glad that he is my husband. I'm glad to be his wife.

Five years ago, I had no idea what I was agreeing to, and five years later, I'm ok with that, and with where we are. I still love this man, even more than I did then. I'm proud to have had our son with him. I'm interested to see what comes next.

Well, what comes after lunch, anyhow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Toys! I love new toys!

For our impending 5 year anniversary, DH bought me an iPod touch, which I really, really wanted.

It arrived tonight (squeeeeee) and I've been playing with it ever since.

You know what I did right away?

Downloaded iBook and started trawling through the free books to stock up on favorites like Jane Austen and Shakespeare.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Holy Mother of FUCK


Not so much pregnant as FERTILE.

Mother of god.

I was having a lot of fluid and some cramping throughout the day, so for most of it I kept thinking - ok, period is coming, period is coming, ok then. That's that.

Until I got home and had to pee and had gobs of stretchy ewcm going on. In a bit of disbelief I checked my cervix, and it is high/soft/gaping open.

Body, you can go fuck right off, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think we're on speaking terms any longer. I know I've been causing you no small amount of stress, and I'm sorry, I really, really am, but this is UNACCEPTABLE.

So for the moment, I'm sitting here in relief mixed with outrage mixed with disappointment mixed with the urge to grab my husband and insist he inseminate me immediately mixed with reminders of just how bad I felt yesterday.

Also, splitting headache. Fertile. Ugh. Work it out, reproductive organs. I'm not joking. You cause me far more trouble than you are worth, and you're not cute enough to make it worthwhile.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I hate it.

And I know that much of life is uncertain - unpredictable anyway. But after a month or so of shifting sands under my feet and instability and uncertainty, I've been in a good mood since Wednesday or so, when I was finally let in on the plans for the immediate future and the outline of plans to come at work.

And from that, we sat down and worked out something of a plan in regards to ttc and I felt comfortable for the first time in awhile.

And then, because my cycle was fucked up by all the stress and I'm not clear if I ovulated or not, but FF says so and further says that I should be having my period at any moment now, I took a pregnancy test.

And like so many tests I've taken, there is something there. Now, I grant I am a master at spotting the slight indentation and shadow that indicate where the line of hormones are - the line that ought to turn pink. So good in fact, that I have marked both test lines before wetting the stick and been 100% correct. It's like the lamest super-power ever.

Consequently, I don't trust many brands of tests, or my ability to read them. I could probably see a line on anything at this point. So I don't assume a faint line means much anymore, even when both of us see it in the time limit. Unless it's a lovely pink color, nothing doing. Too many chemical pregnancies and dashed hopes for that.

So I haven't seen anything I'd call positive. But I saw enough to make me bite my bottom lip, feel a frown crease my forehead and turn to DH and say, "Shit. Now what?"

Because, honestly, I don't think I want to be pregnant.

And of course, I do, oh I do, with all my heart.

But not right now. Because I just won some stability and pregnancy for us is so enormous and huge and consuming and frightening and such a very long time filled with uncertainty. And it's expensive and we have no money and we're working so hard on paying off debt and how the fuck am I supposed to find time for appointments twice a week and oh GOD, I cannot take another miscarriage right now, let alone another dead baby, please for the love of every thing precious on this earth, I don't think I can do it again.

I mean, maybe I can, at some point, but I don't feel that point is now. And if you look at my chart, it's fairly clear we weren't really trying so much this month. From the moment things went wonky and uncertain we backed off. So the odds are . . . not good at all! So I shouldn't even be at this place of wondering again, not after 10 cycles of beautifully timed sex with clear ovulation. And that I am makes me feel guilty.

That I feel conflicted at all over the possible outcome, when a few months ago it's all I wanted, makes me feel guilty. That I am in bad shape and have forgotten my vitamins a lot over the past few weeks (but hell, I've also forgotten lunch and snacks and sleep) and have so much debt also makes me feel guilty.

I want a child. I want a living baby. I want a pregnancy to progress far enough for me to feel my child moving within me and pinpoint what is poking me. I want to see my husband change a diaper and watch his face light with love as it does on the rare occasions he speaks of our son.

But I don't want all the uncertainty that accompanies that. I don't feel mentally or emotionally prepared for it, and in fact, I wonder some that I thought I could handle it a few months ago when I was still so overcome by grief. Really I'm grateful to have gotten to a place where I feel more at peace with the events surrounding our son.

I doubt, honestly, that the faint line turns into anything darker or more present. I expect, really, that in a day or two, I'll start spotting again, and this time it will lead to a new period and I'll start taking Vitex again and we'll go ahead and buy the elliptical we keep talking about and our plans will fall into place. The speck of doubt though is making me fear the outcome. And I am ashamed of that fear.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wii would like to fuck with you.

Worth noting:

I suck at Wii baseball (and even more at the real thing. There was an incident in which my father, who coached baseball, tried to play with us, and I shrieked and ducked when he threw the ball because I was upset he was throwing it at me. He was saddened and disappointed in the sports skills of his progeny and refused to do it ever again).

That is worth noting because anytime I take their stupid fitness test and there are baseball sections I fuck it up.

I went from my best 48 to 80 tonight.

I chalked it up to 2 baseball tests that I performed abysmally on.

So then I decide to make myself feel better by doing the Power Throw Bowling training. I like making the rows fall down.

Only no matter what I did, the ball kept hooking left (irritatingly like real life). DH confirmed that my arm and wrist were straight, so I started getting upset and demanded he fix it.

Turns out SOMEONE (who wasn't me) moved the effing television. So the stupid little bar thing the Wii uses for the motion sensor wasn't straight and was skewing everything.

I am NOT 80 years old. But I'm still pissed because in my growing frustration, I think I threw out my shoulder.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not a bad day, really.

All things considered, not bad.

Which makes for a pleasant change. Feeling moderately better about things, at least for now.

Left 'on time' today - it feels early. But since I've brought a fair amount of work home with me, that's fine, I suppose. Got good feedback from my supervisor, from her supervisor and from the chair of my new gig, which, really, is all I can ask for at this point.

We'll see how things progress, but I'll take any good I can find right now.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I am beginning to dread work in a serious way and it's casting a pall over everything. The worst of it is that insofar as I can know about my position and stability, things are fine. I'm working hard, and I've been told I'm safe and that my superiors will fight hard to keep me if it ever comes to that. But with the situation seeming to change every week, I'm a little terrified that my personal situation will change too. And that makes me a lot terrified about everything else. What if I get pregnant? Will that alter my situation? I'll have to miss work, and then be out, and will that unconsciously shift my position downward and make someone else more seem more valuable? What about our debt and our house, which seems to need more and more repairs? What about our savings (hahahahaha) and our car, which still has over 3 years left on payments?

I'm biting my nails and grinding my teeth and no answers are forthcoming. I should have faith in what I'm being told, but my mind isn't shutting off there. It's an utterly nerve-wracking sort of experience. This is precisely why I stayed in the field I was in - because I thought it was more secure than your average pick-i-nick basket job.

I realize in all of this is that recurring tendency towards fretting and my old friend loathing for not being in control of an outcome. You would think, hard as that lesson has been driven home, I'd embrace it. And I do try . . . but I'm not good at it. I've listened to my meditation things, I've done deep breathing, and will consider yoga, should my back ever cooperate (when I feel down in the elevator last week, I think I did some damage). But when I'm alone, my mind starts spinning and spinning and spinning and you can see from the above where it goes.

Throw in a massive headache and a digestive system that seems to be protesting all the ways my current assignment has me abusing my body, and I simply couldn't do it today. I stayed home, practically whimpering with exhaustion. I wish I were braver, or able to trust more easily, or that I had an off switch.

Yeah, an off switch would be quite handy right about now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Event

I think it is fair to say that Gabriel's death is one of the top five Defining Events in my life.

Getting married was one of them. My mother's suicide attempt was one, I think; my not-yet-husband's was too. Gabriel of course. I'm not even sure what precisely else, but you get the drift.

Defining events - those big things (well, perhaps it could be a small thing that had a huge, reaching impact on you) that shape who you are as a person, that delineate the time of your life between into a clear Before and After. Those things that impact us in unprecedented and unanticipated ways, that alter who we are as people.

Certainly, the death of your child is one of those things. No way around that.

But I begin to wonder, as the pain is less acute and it has become mostly another fact about me, as central to me as being married to my husband or having long hair: is that becoming all it was?

Eric, on Glow, talks about 'it' as an event, and points out that there is no it, it's really them - him, in my case. He points out that it is an absence and a not-knowing, because our children were not long in the world and not cognizant enough to have a preference - at least none we were aware of. All the personality that they (he) displayed were mostly provided by our own flights of fancy. Elizabeth McCracken mentions that as well, that the personality is drawn by the parents and based on potential rather than reality.

It is in idea and a hope that we loved, and certainly, we loved our little boy, the realization of those hopes and dreams in the flesh, and now in a box of ashes and a photographic image. But that is so fragile. It often seems that what Gabriel really was is somehow less of a person - though he was that, yes - and more of an event that occurred.

As if the death of our son eclipses the personhood of our son.

But the personhood is such a small bit, he lived for such little time, and so much of it is conjecture, that maybe it's natural that the event take precedence as the thing which lingers on and continues to haunt us.

I don't like it though. It feels disloyal, unfair. It feels like a criticism, it feels selfish - as if it is the whispers of everyone who views us and thinks - Move On Already.

These days I'm feeling ok. I don't mean to say that Gabe is any less loved or missed, just that it is the normal ache, barely noticed any longer. The hole in my heart is still there, as open as ever, but I've learned to function with that, and I do. There is guilt that overshadows it though. I looked at the box of Gabe's ashes and wondered for the first time what to do with them. Is it morbid for them to be in their little box, sitting on the mantle? We don't think so, I can't even necessarily say I notice it that often. That's simply where Gabriel's remains are, much as the placement of the couch or the lamp - yet another simple fact. I wonder though if it's morbid, if perhaps I should move them. I feel no more emotional attachment to that spot for them. Rather like the tattoo I have planned. Originally meant to be Gabriel's footprints, I have shied away from that. Struck by a lyric in a song that spoke to me about enduration (the event again, rather than the person?), I recalled a previous idea and now plan something more symbolic and esoteric. I still think of it as Gabriel's tattoo, but it's not as transparently so as his footprints would have been.

And then I feel guilt. I have no desire to hide away the fact of my son's existence. I do not want to imply that I am ashamed or pretend he did not and does not exist. So moving his ashes feels wrong, and I won't do that; changing the tattoo feels right, and I will go ahead with the new design. But what is right and wrong? I know now that balance will change with time, that while the pain is less acute now, it may wash over me in full force again tomorrow. That as we age and as our family changes - however that occurs - we will have to re-evaluate Gabe's place and presence in our lives. He is fact, that doesn't change; how we balance his presence and absence does.

I get tired of it sometimes. I wish for a day away from being the mother of a dead child; perhaps that is one area in which my motherhood is universal - a momentary longing for time away, freedom from the mantel of responsibility that we wear as mothers. And yet, I do not wish it so, if it means wishing he never was. I only wish for the impossible, for him whole and healthy and alive - that which cannot be.

One of the biggest events of my life, perhaps the biggest to date. A painful one. Shocking how such a tiny, tiny little boy, known for such a short period of time, could have so large an impact.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm not sure I know what day it is. Time is morphing in a weird way. Never enough of it for everything, and simultaneously flying and dragging.

Work is . . . well. I think I'm getting my feet under me and making concrete progress in things. Which is good for my self-esteem and whatnot. At the same time, everything's going to be changing again and I've no idea what it will look like in 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, three months from now. And that level of uncertainty combined with the underwater feeling and the horrid feeling of not helping and slowing everyone else down . . . well. It's not fun. There have been some positive developments over what was proposed to me on Thursday, and I'm doing my best to try to be positive and simply do the best I can.

This past weekend went a long way. My husband did indeed attend the football game and saw many folks and it was apparently a great game. I, on the other hand, got a new book and drove myself to Benihana's. I sat at the end of a table filled with lovely Asian people (I apologize, but I never did catch where they were from) who seemed to enjoy talking with the chef. I had beef sashimi (a favorite), sushi that I love and DH doesn't (so no compromising or sharing), and the best meal I've eaten there in a long time. Seriously, everything was perfectly cooked. The scallops were to die for - perfect caramelization. The filet was the epitome of medium rare. Simply beautiful. All washed down with a Sapporo.

It was fantastic.

Then I slept, and slept, and slept, and slept.

Had a nice lunch with a friend on Saturday. Browsed a bookstore. Bought pie. Bought a nice heffewiezen. Drank too many Saturday night. Slept and slept and slept.

I'd intended to go into work for 3 hours on Sunday, but I slept until noon. And when I got up, Texans were playing the Colts and since those are the football teams I support, I had to watch. And not only was it a fantastically fun to watch game, the Texans WON. Talk about a shocker. Looks like it could be a great season for them.

And of course, the Dallas game was a divinely entertaining bit of schadenfraude, so *snicker* to that.

And then . . . sadly . . . back to work.

Oh, and to make it all fun? All the stress pushed off ovulation, though I was on the very brink of it. I've been spotting for 6 days. Terribly annoying. And now, ewcm makes a return. Because why not? I cannot believe an egg could still be good, but if it will put a stop to the unnerving spotting (so eerily similar to the ectopic pregnancy that I've taken 3 pregnancy tests just to be sure), then why the hell not?

For the most part, I feel like I'm doing ok. I've been off the anti-depressants for a couple of weeks now. The downside is that without that pill every night, I seem to be forgetting to take my vitamins. Guess I need to start that in the morning again. I think that one of the biggest factors in last week's bad feelings was the lack of sleep I was getting, which I think may have been attributable to the anti-depressants. I can only hope this continues to get better - I'm in no way opposed to anti-depressants, and wouldn't mind continuing. I'm just sick to death of fighting the OB's office to get the prescription and I haven't gotten a new PCP and I don't know when I will.

So. . . that's the update. I'm trudging along, trying hard not to get snippy with my husband, as if only I am allowed bad days or to be stressed. I'm trying hard to focus on one thing at a time and to be kind to myself. I'm looking forward to a time when I can sit and breathe for a bit.

Oh. And today, I fell down in the elevator. I have no idea how it happened, as I was standing still at the time. Just thought I'd share.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm not happy right now.

I started typing it all out and without going into specifics, it makes little sense is only whinging.

But I just want to cry. I want to, and I'm too tired to do so. Work is simply miserable right now. Just when I felt like I was getting a balance and starting to build trust, the entire plan has changed again and I'm not happy with the direction of the changes. It's just depressing.

I feel depressed. Tired, tired, tired. Uninterested in anything. Defeated.

I'm tired of being unhappy and overworked and maybe the newest changes will help that, but it will be at the expense of career development and potential advancement and I just want to cry about it all. What my job is becoming is not at all what I want to do. And I'm so very, very tired of being told to be grateful I have a job.

I am. Really. We'd be in a lot more trouble if that were not the case. But the gratitude doesn't erase the fact that this is not the job I signed up for and I don't particularly want to do it.

I just . . . fuck. I'm not happy. And I don't really see a way towards becoming happy. Only stress and drudgery and unhappiness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yeah, I'm going to just hide a wee bit longer, thanks.

I'm completely buried under work and doing things like trying to tease out a thread in the cobwebby-back-door of a FileMaker database and figure out how the HELL anyone could work in that mess and where the internal logic is and why the FUCK I can't do data entry in that relational table when I have admin access and that is where the look-up is directed and OMFG I will be bald from ripping my hair out before this is said and done.


How YOU doin'?

Anyway, this is just a pop in to say that given the above, when I received a request via FB to join some old college pals at the game this weekend, I seriously considered it for a bit. I knew it would mean seeing the newest baby, but I feel ready for that.

The other stuff I saw from the invitation list and ensuing discussion have effectively insured that I will be staying far, far away.

Of the 6 couples invited:

- two have infants under a year old.
- one has an infant under 3 months old.
- two are currently quite heavily pregnant
- one is us.

We were the first ones married, the first to start trying to conceive and the only one with any difficulties.

I'm not terribly close with most of this group - obviously, or it wouldn't have been a shock to see all the pregnant women and babies - but this is the time of year we generally get together and catch up. Last year, I missed the gathering at a baseball game because of the bleeding and bedrest and skipped the football games because of a burning desire to hide in bed.

I think I'll skip again. That is too many children, and too much pain. Whether it really is this way for others, I feel like an outsider, like a bad omen, like a reminder of all the bad things that can happen. I feel like I make others uncomfortable - probably because I feel so. I mean. . . can I talk about when I was pregnant (uh, any of the times?) or how my son looked, or about a registry I started and baby products I never used and am a full year behind the times in researching?

It is perhaps cowardly to hide. And no doubt, someone will say it's ridiculous to hide from pregnant women and babies a year after losing Gabriel.


I've learned self-preservation, if done nicely and neatly, is not a bad thing. I just wish I had a way to see into the future. I begin to believe that I could live a generally decent life without children, but I would have to resign myself to that. And the thought of a painful struggle to resignation over the course of, say, a decade is just so depressing. It would be easier to bear it all in the short term if I knew what awaited us.

But that is the dilemma of all time-travel, no? Alas.

Friday, September 3, 2010

An oddity.

I talked yesterday with a co-worker about The Room. I think many people have a catch all room where shit gets thrown as guests come over and the door is closed. Coworker said that she'd just added shelves and was excited it was starting to get organized. I laughed and said I hadn't touched it since we just didn't know what to do with it. She asked why and I said, "Well, all the baby stuff is in there. We aren't ready yet to make it a guest room, but well, all the baby stuff is in there."

She nodded, and then offered up a daybed if we are interested in a semi-permanent solution. I'm quite tempted, actually. We're not putting ttc on hold - not officially - but neither are we trying right now. In fact, we've not had sex in over a week due to one thing or another.

I feel so conflicted about that. Not for the reasons I think a lot of people might/do - it doesn't bother me that there is baby stuff in there. I don't actively avoid it, though it's rare for me to go in there. I simply have no reason to - DH changes the cat litter, and there isn't anything in there I need. Most of the baby stuff was purchased well before I was pregnant with Gabe, so it's not attached to him, specifically (thank God).

I haven't really looked at baby stuff in the past year, because doing so was acutely painful.

And yet . . . on a whim, I looked up something on CL tonight. I was there for something else, but I found myself doing a search for a co-sleeper, an item we wanted but never wanted to pay full price for. And then emailing to inquire about one. Maybe because there is no baby on the horizon? Maybe it just feels safe? I ... don't know. Can't quite analyze it. I also looked at the bathtub I wanted and saw an ad for a used PNP in the style we wanted (now discontinued . . . it's so odd that the stuff I looked at gleefully when we'd started ttc and it was all easy and going to happen soon and babies never died - it's almost all discontinued now.)

I also recently looked at cloth diapers of all things.

It feels pang-y. Like returning to a place that used to be familiar, and feeling nostalgia. Not pain, exactly, but looking around with a sad smile at a place that used to be something and isn't the same anymore.

I don't know what I'm doing. Looking for baby items and discussing daybeds. Caught in the middle. I don't feel angst-y about it, I'm not torn up over our decision to ease up on the ttc (in fact, I've been looking ahead to the progress that will be made on the credit card debt with the additional comp I'm getting for the new dept, and hoping it will be extended beyond the initial agreement, because of the possibility of paying off the debt entirely). It's just that . . . we're still in between, a year later. I never expected this. I would have thought we'd be well into a pregnancy now.

But life, well, life's plans have always been different than mine. Maybe I shouldn't examine this too closely. Maybe it simply is. There is a contradiction, and there will always be a contradiction for us, won't there? We're parents without a living child. Maybe this is just the urges that can't be fulfilled running up against the practicality of moving on. A daybed isn't a big investment - and yet.

A year later, and so much has changed. But the complications haven't faded. I've just become used to living them, I suppose. A fractured existence, but one that feels natural to me now. Odd to think this isn't how everyone lives. Or maybe they do, and it's just hidden away. These days, I don't know.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

*Cue Hysterical Laughter, with a Dash of Mania For Good Measure*

As if things weren't crazy enough - as if there weren't enough happening at work . . .

(oh, how I long to go into detail about what my division is doing and thus explain everything fully!)

. . . as if we weren't already stretched beyond the limit . . .

Today, someone resigned. Which is fine.

Except . . .

we can't replace that position.

It took me three hours to figure that out, because I was so caught up in everything I was doing when I heard the news. I can't even conceive of how this could possibly work. It's absolutely, awfully, comical. If by comical you mean 'laugh because crying and drinking aren't options right now.'

I don't feel bad for me. I feel bad for my coworkers. I'm dealing with a massive beast and massive clean up efforts that will take months, so I won't be available to ease much of this burden. It's like a bad joke, really.

But hey. Job security, right? That's not as comforting as one might hope, but it'll do for now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's September, Vomit, and that Weird Dream from Last Night.

1) The shittiest month of the year is over, thank the good God. Allow me to officially say - Fuck you August!

September brings a welcomed paycheck, a new fiscal year and I hope the start of something better than previous things.

August didn't leave without a fuck you to me though!

2) Spent yesterday at home resting after being awoken to vomit throughout the early morning. It was like being pregnant again. Ah, terrible, terrible memories. Fortunately, there were no eggs involved and I didn't have to resort to chicken broth for breakfast. While I still feel sick today, I think it's solely associated with my job and how overwhelmed I am. I'm still sticking to smoothies.

3) Said job is enormously stressful. The basics I have to go back to with my new department are shocking and not a little frightening. I'm currently gearing up for a talk with my business staff about some stuff and the words "Never do this again or I will begin progressive discipline and write you up" will have to pass my lips. I'm terrified.

And I'm still unsure how I can possibly do 2 jobs in the space of 1 work week.

The good news - because I'm trying this new thing where I look for the good in things, though the cynic in me is doubled over with laughter - the director is totally on board with the changes I've proposed. It may or may not be a result of my completely unsubtle attempt to scare the shit out of him by cheerfully explaining all the ways in which their situation could be so much worse than having me around only half-time.

It worked.

But all of this working late has led to not working out and exhaustion and fuck, I'm tired.

Which has led to the weird dream from last night - and others, I just remember this one quite vividly.

4) I was at a Harry Potter . . . thing. Most of the actors were there, and I guess I won something to be there? Whatever. Unimportant. Everyone's mingling around, starstruck but me. And of course, DH is with me. Standing in a corner - which is what I tend to do at gatherings of more than 4 people anyway, stand back and observe.

So, I really want to talk to these actors, but I'm shy, and thinking - Good Lord! You are 30 years old! WTH? It would be totally embarrassing to be all fangirl about this. So I just watch. DH asks why I don't go meet them and I finally explain that while this is neat, what I'd really like is to get to know them as them - not as that guy/gal who played X in Harry Potter. So I didn't want my memory of meeting them to be a pleasant smile and handshake and me geeking out over that.

Which is about when one of them (don't remember who, only that it wasn't a twin or Daniel Radcliffe - Matt Lewis, maybe? does it matter? not at all) comes over and shakes my hand and proceeds to ask the same question my husband just did. I give an abbreviated version of how I wish I could get to know them as, like, people, and he says that a group of them are going for beers after if I would like to join them.

Naturally, I jump at the chance. Because I would kill to have a beer and actual conversation with some of those guys. DH, however, is bored and would rather go back to the hotel. So he does.

I arrive at the bar - isn't dream time travel fun? - and nurse a beer (even in my dreams I avoid alcohol now) and engage in a real conversation. I'm having a blast when James Phelps (who plays Fred Weasley - one of my favorite characters in the series) sits down next to me and introduces himself. I got really, really excited and blurted out the following (which DH found HI-LARIOUS today):

"Oh my god! This is awesome. I was really hoping to meet you because I was hoping you could do something for me that my husband has never been able to do!"

Naturally, James Phelps looks HORRIFIED because he thinks this dumpy, 30-year old (MARRIED) American woman is propositioning him.

Then I realize how that sounds and quickly expand on my statement in a flurry of embarrassment - "Oh, god. No, he gives me plenty of orgasms. Really, our sex life is great. I was hoping you could explain soccer to me."

Smooth, dream me, really smooth.

I go on to explain that I started to like football once he finally explained it to me, and I love basketball, but still find soccer terribly boring and I was hoping I might like it better if he explained it.

He graciously did, but I don't remember the explanation, so it will remain a mystery, I guess. Thanks, dream James Phelps!

Even in my dreams, I embarrass myself.

Cheers all - I hope that things slow down some for me soon. I wanted to write and started about 10 posts over the last week; unfortunately, there is too much I want to say and not quite enough energy.

Overall, hanging in there.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Discussion Topics up on Glow

On For One and All, we're discussing the concept of healing and how it looks and feels.

Join us here:

On TTC/Pregnancy/Birth After Loss, we're discussing the shift in perceptions about ttc/pregnancy after a loss.

Join us here:

And this weekend will feature a new discussion post specifically for friends and family of the bereaved, so come by on Saturday if you'd like to take part.

Love and peace to all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Once upon a time

"I'm tired."

"Do you want to go to bed?"

I shake my head. Because there is no escape from what I'm tired of; tears, regrets, guilt, sadness, longing unfulfilled.

"I wish I could do something," he says, fretfully.

"Me too," I say with a watery smile.

My eyes are burning - disuse? I haven't cried in a long while, not like this. My head aches. Everything is exacerbated by a bad day filled with setbacks, disruptions and frustrations. Until a late dinner, all I'd consumed all day was a venti mocha, a v8 fusion, a cup of water and a bite-sized Snickers. Certainly the intersection of dates and calendars and memory and this current incarnation of life is enough to produce this reaction without the anniversary weighing oppressively on me.

I don't understand it, not really. Gabriel will be no more dead in three hours - his official birthday arrived - than he was a week ago or than he will be a week from now. Why it should produce this tidal wave of emotion that embarrasses me (haven't I gotten past this yet? Will I never move beyond it?) . . . I don't know. I don't like it, because I can see how sad J is and I feel that I am making it worse.

I feel both self-indulgent (for taking a day off work when I can ill afford to do so) and ungenerous to myself (I'm going in tomorrow morning anyway, a crisis having arisen after business hours). It's only a day, a marker, yes, but a single day. Why should I mourn this day any more than any other in which Gabe is loved and missed?

And yet, all night, the tears have fallen, and I've been left whimpering as we opened the mail to find so many kind notes and remembrances and acknowledgments I am overwhelmed with gratitude and feelings of undeservedness.

Gabriel's name in stars.

A Library of Congress call number that is Gabriel's name and the year of his birth.

A letter filled with love.

A donation to March of Dimes in his name.

And a plush stuffed sage green kangaroo, with a soft creamy corduroy belly, because he had such long limbs and large feet.

Happy birthday wishes from all over, acknowledging the birth of a loved little boy a year ago.

Tears fall down and J asks again if I want to go to bed.

"No. I want to go far, far away."

"To where?"

"Some place where once upon a time still has a happy ending."

Given that any mention of his birth must be followed shortly by acknowledgment of his death, these token are treasured, and bittersweet. Like Gabe himself, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Still, I'm sad. Perhaps it started when I re-read the blog entry from August 20, 2009. The beginning of once upon a time, the fairy tale I thought was unfolding. So much love and optimism and hope there that it physically hurt me to read. Because I know what happens next, what monster lurks at the end of that particular book. And I want so badly to reach through time and stop it there in that moment of happiness, in those four days of perfection with Gabriel before he was born. Or speed up time again until I am back where I was two weeks ago, sad, but calm; his death as close to integrated as I think is likely to happen.

There is no chance for either, though. I struggle with the notion that if I had a choice or a chance, I might do something differently. Bargains in fairy tales rarely work out the way one might wish. And while I'm changed and different, I can't say that I am all bad. There are things about me that I think I like better, even. There are things in my life that I know with certainty would not be here if Gabriel were instead.

And yet. . . for an hour more with him. . .

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Gabriel, who had large feet and a vibrant personality, and his parents loved him very much.

Maybe, as fairy tales go, it's not so bad.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This week has been awful. And not for the reasons I might have predicted six months ago.

I started my new job - the one I'm doing in addition to my current job - and I feel like I'm drowning. The learning curve is steep, I'm present only half-time, there are only so many hours in the day, and I've quickly learned why the problems exist in that department. Everything is a goddamned crisis oh my god I need this now put out this fire (ignore the fact I set the fire) this wasn't done falling through cracks sky is falling auuuuuggggghhhhh!

There's no time for regular work because one is always putting out fires.

Additionally, everyone has their hands in the money jar. And no one has a budget. For a variety of reasons, not assisted by not being available and present full-time, people are going directly to the financial assistant for payment and assistance. That has to stop. Making that happen though . . . sigh.

I do think I can do it. Truly, I do. My attitude is one of grim determination. Certainly, I can't make it worse.

But this adjustment period is killing me. This shuffling back and forth adds about a mile a day to my walk (seriously). In the current heat, it's killer. I haven't jogged in a week (though J is encouraging me to do so tonight). I have stayed late every single night this week - by hours. I haven't eaten lunch in the last three days, because there's not been time. Hell, today, I didn't even go to the bathroom.

I come home exhausted, and terrified I've forgotten something - after a mere few days, I'm already feeling infected with crisis-mode thinking, feeling flustered and behind and the fact I am behind the curve and scrambling to figure out really important things (the predecessor's notes were . . . lacking) is unnerving. I have good support, but figuring out how to best utilize it whilst still doing the job myself is a balance I've not mastered.

Add in to all of this the fact that Tuesday is what it is . . . sometimes over the past week it's flared up and hung over me and I've gasped.

The oddest thing . . . they don't know this about me. This thing that is such a huge part of my life and my identity. They had no idea that a year ago, I was finding out my baby was a boy and cautiously beginning to look ahead because we felt we were out of the woods. They had no idea that four perfect days were upon us and then our world was shattered.

At such a time, with everything else, it's such a jarring sensation and sense of unreality.

So I'm doing what a did nearly a year ago. Breathing, and trying to emotionally understand what I logically know. It won't feel like this forever. I'll get used to splitting time between two offices and I'll get used to organizing and prioritizing my time. I'll work out better systems to get things in the department on track and get things running more smoothly. I'll learn their budgets and funding sources and become conversant in their issues and know their staff.

That's one of the side-benefits of a dead baby; you learn you can survive just about anything, if you breathe and keep plodding on.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some of the best people in the world

are my friends.

I have been blessed over and over throughout the past year by the kindness, gentleness and understanding of some of my friends. The things they have done to try and make it easier for me are nearly too numerous to mention - and many are recorded here in more real time.

The thing that has been hammered home though is that they loved Gabriel too. They may not have known him, but they loved Gabe because he was my son. They mourn his loss too, and they miss him.

Coming out of the dark waters of my own grief, I've been gratified by theirs. They have helped me see that he was - and is - real. A real little boy, loved and wanted and missed. Not just a figment of my imagination.

They have been amazing and wonderful and perfect. Gabriel's impact on this world is so much bigger than his time here was, and they let me know about all the little ways my little boy has touched their lives and changed them. About how often they think of him and wish him well, the prayers they've prayed for them, the departed friends and family they've asked to look out for him. They've listened to me, in all my moods and have been there.

Awhile back, on a particularly bad day, I asked my friends to please send me images of his name, because I needed to see it. And they did. Pages and pages of Gabriel's name all over the place.

My friend D just sent me a lovely photo in which she wrote Gabe's name with a sparkler and captured the image.

My friend Kate (of the kangaroo feet) wrote a lovely letter to him and sent it to us.

Those are just recent things, lovely examples of the countless things my friends have done.

But I have to tell this story, because it's touched me so deeply. My wonderful, amazing, inspiring friend Stephanie ( two of the awesomest kids ever. And she's a pretty kick-ass mom. And one day she was sad, thinking of Gabriel and me. And her daughter asked why, and Steph explained it to them. And they left for awhile. And then her son came and asked to borrow the camera. And they took a picture of what they'd created, which was Gabe's name written out in stones and surrounded by flowers. Because Steph told them how much I loved seeing his name.

That photograph arrived last night. The story arrived this morning. And all I can do is touch my heart - that poor, wounded, battered, pieced together with glue and scotch tape thing that continues to beat in my chest - and blink the tears from my eyes.

Because I love seeing his name. And two pretty fantastic kids made his name for me.

Some of the best people in the world are my friends.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Really fantastic post on Glow

Chris posted this today on Glow:

What beautiful, powerful words that so perfectly say what has eluded my grasp in the past couple of weeks as I stumble closer and closer to that day again.

This especially resonated with me:

"It shouldn't be possible in so many ways, but the simple fact of his death is a proof of the geometry of life. It is something that is absolutely true in a world that is filled with gray areas and half-lies. There's no way to hide from it. No way to reason with it. No way to change it or fix it or alter it in any way. It is simple. It is final. It is true. He's dead. I'm alive. And now I get to spend the rest of my time here trying to reconcile those 2 truths even though they are perpendicular lines --true forms-- that intersected once and never will again. Or at least, not in this world.

Part of me went with him. Part of him stayed with me. Now it is an impenetrable nugget that lives inside me that is impossible to explain. It is a single point of existence, a raw, elemental dot that is painful and compelling and beautiful and terrible. His death is not just a moment, not just a period of time in my life, rather it is an ongoing experience that continues to alter my entire life and everyday experience."


That's how it is.

Oh, Gabe. Darling, how I miss you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Discussion Topics up on Glow!

This week on For One and All ( Perceptions of Time

Last week we went back to the beginning to recall how we felt in the immediate aftermath of our losses. Now we are exploring where we've come from and how it feels now; what has changed for us in our grieving; how we pictured various points out from our loss and how that compares to reality; what we hope for as time continues to move us along.

This week on TTC/Pregnancy/Birth After Loss ( Relaxation

The dreaded and hateful term to those suffering with infertility and many of us in the ttc/pregnancy after loss community - Just relax! Discussion centering on why that is difficult to do; what fears we have; what steps we take to try to relax; and what we say (or wish to say) to those who are offering such advice.

And sneak peek - Coming up this weekend, a new monthly feature on the discussion boards especially for Dads and Partners! If your husband or partner has been seeking a place to converse and talk about their perceptions of your shared loss, send them to Glow this weekend.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Some days I'd like to be someone else.

I'd like to be a size 10 or 12, and be able to shop in regular stores.

I'd like to be a runner, not just someone who is trying desperately not to drop after doing 15 minutes worth of walk/jog intervals.

I'd like to be a person who seeks adventure, does things like travel the world and explore and participate in wacky car rallies and such because they seem interesting.

I'd like to be younger and less attached.

I'd like to be someone who could actually be friends with some of the people I like following on Twitter.

I'd like to be in France right now, eating a croissant and soft cheese, with a strong coffee and a cigarette. And in England, visiting Hadrian's Wall. And in Greece, on the beach with lamb and olives (and to be the kind of person who enjoyed olives).

Or, as my husband so neatly summarized it for me as I was telling him this, I would like to be someone who is not me for awhile. Someone whose life is very different than my own.

And it's not that I don't like my life. The thought of not being married to my husband, or having my Jojo gaze adoringly up at me while wagging his stump of a tail, or having my kitties rub against me and then dart away to play with feathers. . . those sorts of things make me happy and I don't want to trade them.

I just want a break from my life. From my dead baby and the weight of living life without him. I don't want to contemplate the best means of honoring him on his birth and death date. I don't want to wonder how one celebrates the day their child was born to his death. I don't want to continue to struggle with acceptance and appropriate grief and justifications of how I feel to other people. I don't want to be overtaken by tears with no explanation or trigger. I want a break from censoring myself or trying not to offend, and likewise from being offended when I know no offense was meant. I'm tired of needing comfort and needing to comfort others. I want a break from reminders that my life ought to have been completely different. I want a life where I'm excited by my child, not a new piece of memorial jewelry to remember that child. I want a break from putting the pieces back together and from a heart that's been masking-tape-and-glue-stick stuck back together again. A break from feeling guilty when I laugh and when I don't. From the wondering what a mother is and if I count or not.

To not be me for awhile.

The problem is . . . apart from the fact that I am me and I don't want that to change - I don't want to be someone else's wife or mother, I don't wish Gabriel away - is that Gabriel comes with me, everywhere I go. I carry him with me, and nothing changes that.

Sometimes, that brings me comfort. Sometimes, it's a burden that feels heavy. And now, when I am already tired and strained and feeling overstretched because of work and because of August and because it's almost a year and what do you call that day anyhow? Anniversary? Birthdate? Deathdate? . . . I would like a break.

There isn't one, not without giving up the balance of things. But I find myself, in moments alone, escaping into fantasies of a different life, a sunnier life, where presumably there is greater ease and less struggle. Too bad that doesn't actually exist in this world, eh?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Discussion Topic up on Glow: In the beginning and Decisions

I'd like to explore the range of emotions and the pressures of loss through the lense of time. Part 1 will explore the time period immediately after our losses, as we re-examine and explore how we felt then and how we coped. Next week's discussion will move on to focus on how time has changed our perceptions of grief.

Discussion topics are open for all to participate; I hope you'll join us here:

Additionally, the first official discussion topic is up on the ttc/pregnancy/birth after loss board. Focusing on the decision to try again (or pursue adoption, or carry a pregnancy)(or not, as the case may be), and how each of us reached that decision and the biggest motivating factors in our choices.

To participate in that discussion, please join us here:

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I don't have a great deal of time or energy at the moment (which nearly came out at the mo, as I've spent too much time round Brit lit of late). So here is a brief summary:

-ttc has taken a back burner. We're not actively or desperately trying, nor are we preventing. If it happens, great. If not, well, given everything thing at the mo, that may be for the best for a bit.

-trying to exercise more regularly. It's going. That's it on that front right now.

-work. I don't talk much about work here for very good reasons, but it's sort of taken over my life for the forseeable future. Layoffs have officially begun, and my job remains safe, thank god. However, when the news was broken about the plans (even though the majority of the layoffs affecting my division are currently on hold for up to a year), one department administrator immediately submitted her retirement. And I've been given that department, in addition to my own work.

That department is a bit of a mess and I'll be doing what had previously been two full time jobs until the remaining layoff plans go into effect. And it does not appear at this point in time that there will be additional compensation (after all, we are letting half the department administrators go, so I should be grateful to have a safe job).

But it's overwhelming and coming at a time when things are already busy and overwhelming. And the start of layoffs means that my office has also just inherited two other small departments and have no financial coordinator for one of our sub-departments. And the administrator for one of our larger departments is going on leave for three months in a few weeks.

Did I mention we have a new boss in the midst of this? At least he seems to be a nice guy and good manager.

Everyday, we walk around looking tense and stressed and that is nothing to how we feel. But we're all doing the best we can, and we'll get through. It's just . . . there is no end in sight at the moment. I'll be splitting my time between two departments and . . . well, as I said, 2 full time jobs and just one me. I'm going to learn delegation and efficiency quite quickly, I suppose.

-Coming up on the one year anniversary of Gabe's birth and death. There is a lot of reflection happening and maybe at some point I'll try to lay out just how this past year has changed me and try to explain how far I've come. I've tried a few times over the past week to write a post, but the words just aren't flowing right now. There is a barrier up against it.

I'm feeling a good deal of anxiety and sadness as we approach the date. I find myself suddenly on the verge of tears without knowing precisely why. I am more sensitive to things that wouldn't have bothered me a few weeks ago. I don't know what to expect or how to approach this and so I'm just in limbo, waiting, watchful.

All in all, with everything that's going on and the level of stress I am under, I'm amazed I can string coherent sentences together most of the time. Fatigue is high, I go to bed hours earlier (but don't seem to be getting rested as I'd like), stumble out of bed, awaking from strange dreams feeling tired. I am having semi-frequent headaches, and my back, shoulders and neck are getting sore from the tension I seem to be carrying. So I'm trying to remember to do stretches more frequently, get up and walk around a bit more often, trying not to overindulge in things that will make me feel worse (too much caffeine and sugar, primarily). DH continues to make me laugh and takes care of me. I listen to music far too loudly and sing along and I hurl virtual bowling bowls down a Wii alley at high velocity and I curl up with a book when I can to try and alleviate the tension and stress, or at least keep them at manageable levels.

Some times that works better than others.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Discussion topic up on Glow

This week's discussion topic focuses on negative emotions in the wake of baby-loss. What have you felt that has stuck around longer than you anticipated? What negative emotions have been surprisingly strong? How do you feel about your negative emotions? How do you handle them? How have they changed?

Babylost parents, family and friends - please drop by Glow's discussion boards to join in and share your perspectives.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My baby died. I'm fucking sad.

That's about all that needs to be said tonight.

But I'll add this.

I feel so lonely right now, so left behind that I can't stand it. I feel like my heart is going to break open from the pressure of the pain I feel right now.

I haven't cried in weeks. I finished with most that months ago. But tonight I can't seem to stop and I have to stop. It upsets DH and makes him unhappy and concerned and he feels impotent because he can't make this better for me and seeing his pain and causing it, to any degree, tears me up and makes the hurt that much worse.

I miss my old life and the life I thought I would have. I miss the touch of optimism and hope and belief that everything will turn out according to something I couldn't have seen before.

I miss old friends. I miss my purpose in life. I hate the fact that I know only a few people who are not pregnant or don't have kids and since it's by choice for them we stand on opposite sides of a divide.

I miss my son. More than there are words to express. I miss every milestone we never got, I miss everything I never got to tell him and I miss him.

My baby died.

I'm fucking sad.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One of those honest, but less-than-attractive sorts of posts

I don't like pregnant women any more. The sole exception is my friend C. Because we tend to think along the same lines in pregnancy and she's been pretty sensitive to me. Because it's all about me, obviously.

I especially don't like being asked to be near them or newly born babies.

I don't want to hear stories about trying to conceive unless it's been long and agonizing because then, I don't mind being around you so much.

I've got no problems with you if you've had previous losses or infertility - because then you're my kind of people. We can look at each other and nod.

Women who get pregnant really easily or have 'oops' babies? I can't stand them right now.

It's awful. It's unattractive. It's ridiculous because I know, I know, how hard pregnancy is regardless. I know what a big life change it is, I know how carefully made plans falling aside can be horrifyingly big deals and . . . I know.

I sort of despise myself for the bitterness that can flood up in me. I sometimes have to stop myself from giving dirty looks.

It's solely a result of envy and disappointment. Neither of which are healthy or desirable emotions. Both of which I am ashamed of feeling ever in regards to something as happy as new life.

I know that another woman's pregnancy has nothing to do with my lack thereof or bad luck in pregnancy. I know that I truly wish every woman gets to remain blissfully ignorant and unaware that disaster and utter desolation are lurking right around the corner and that they are in no way immune because of any thing they have done or are doing or haven't done. Death doesn't care if you never smoked or drank a sip of alcohol or that you faithfully took your folic acid and ate your vegetables and slept on your left side.

I see it lurking all around, tragedy waiting to strike. It hides just out of view in the aisles of stores, it haunts these happy naive, you can just catch a glimpse if your turn your head, if you look me in the eyes. I fear I'm a bad luck charm, that I summon these ghosts and demons as my companions. If nothing else, I remind you of what is out there and I can't stay my lips. I want to implore you to please appreciate what you have and please don't take it for granted and assume it's a sure thing. Listen to the warnings that fall from my lips, but I'm a Cassandra, a speaker of doom that is not believed and truly of doom that may never appear.

Because what I can never remember is that I am the small minority, the statistical anomaly, the place that lightning struck. The rest of the world is fine.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Place in the World.

Something I've been tossing about for a couple of days now is about places. Where we belong, who we are, how we find those spots that are ours.

Naturally, this was sparked by a twitter debate, yet again. A young English chap - in fact, the very same that spawned my last diatribe - has made me think. He is quite a confident person, which is all well and good. I find myself shockingly less so. Perhaps it's a difference in personalities - he is obviously an extrovert, eager to meet new people. I'm very much the opposite in most areas of my life.

I do enjoy meeting new people, but only in quiet, controlled sorts of ways. I like substance in my conversation, the chance to really dig down and get to someone in more than a superficial way (which is not to say he doesn't also look for that; I really wouldn't know). I guess it's odd that an introvert like me has a blog, participates actively on message boards and revels in over-sharing the most banal thoughts and events on twitter.

And yet . . . I don't mind. Probably because I still have trouble believing that these things perhaps move me out of my shadowy corner and thrust me on stage. I never was a very good actress, preferring stage management and direction to the spotlight. If nothing else - it was often itchy and hot under those lights. The background was cool and infinitely more comfortable.

I do wonder though, how he's found such confidence, such assurance about himself and who he is and where he's going. On a daily basis, I look at myself in the mirror with something approaching disbelief. I haven't any idea what I'm doing much of the time, certainly none about where I'm going - not while the only firm direction I've had is contained in a wood box on my mantle and nothing has come forth to replace it.

I said awhile back that I wondered about big things versus little things. That I used to feel destined for great things and am realizing that perhaps the little things are the great ones.

I still don't know where I'm going. My career is one that pays bills, it's not one that makes my heart beat faster or really fills me with pleasure because I enjoy it. I'm quite grateful for it - especially after today. I think I'm decent at it, which is fine. But it's not a great thing. It's a paycheck. That's fine.

My marriage is a good thing. One of the best things of my life, I think. That was one thing I knew and continue to know - the boat, I imagine fancifully, that keeps me out of the depths of the sea.

My friendships - I can only be humbled and grateful for you wonderful people. I do not deserve you.

But you know, there is more. There is more I do and more to me. And as of today, I have a new direction and something that does fulfill me and makes me so very happy.

You can read a bit about it here.

One thing I can do is sit with those who are newly grieving, and let them grieve. I can talk with those who need to converse as badly as I did and give them the understanding I received. I can be an ear, and I can hopefully comfort and soothe provoke and help. I can give back a small portion of what I've been given.

And I believe with all my heart that if this is the best of my life, it will be something great.