Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back on the mat

These are examples of a sun salutation.

This one's a little misleading - it goes right to left.

Traditionally, they are done first thing in the morning - hence the name, 'salute to the sun.'  It's a great way to warm up your body and in most yoga classes they are done at the beginning, to get your mind and body centered.  It's one of the first things you learn how to do in yoga.

In celebration of the summer solstice - the longest day of the year - people in the yoga community do 108 sun salutations.  Why 108?  Without going all deep on you, numbers are very powerful in Eastern traditions and 108 is a sacred number - here's a better explanation.  At any rate, celebrating the summer solstice with 108 sun salutations is great way to share your passion for yoga with others who feel the same and lots of yoga studios in the community regularly hold these celebrations, often tying it to a fundraiser of some sort.  I'd always wanted to participate in one but never got up the courage, as I was sure that after five sun salutations I would fall out!  However, I got the chance to do it a couple of weeks ago at the One Love event here in Dallas.
A couple instructors in Dallas took a service challenge and put the whole event together, raising $25,000 for AIDS relief in Africa.  I was sponsored through my studio, which was the only reason I was able to go.  I was super thankful for that and it turned out to be a really great experience.

I didn't know what to expect and I was more than a little nervous as more and more people arrived.  I was there by myself and while I knew a lot of the instructors leading us through the poses, I kind of felt like they were the cool kids and I was the dorky one who wasn't really sure if my invitation to the party was sincere.  So I nearly fell on the ground with relief when I ran into someone I knew!  She was one of my students when I was teaching full-time and I was never happier to see a familiar face in that sea of faces.  There were over 200 people who came!

I felt like an ox standing next to Keya.  I'm only 5'5" but she's itty-bitty!
She was one of my favorites - I always loved having her in class.
She's in teacher training now, I'm so proud of her!
She led her classmates in some warm-ups and I smiled, remembering
my own time in teacher training.

We set up in the courtyard at the mall and it was so gratifying to be in that space, sharing the day with people engaging in their passion.  Yoga is my thing - when I'm practicing all is right with the world.  I feel like I can handle anything that comes my way and there's no place I'd rather be.
That's Julie, in the center.  She's one of my most favorite people ever.
You can't help but smile and know that everything's okay when you're around her.

More people from my studio began to arrive and I got over myself and went to say hello.  A lot of them knew when Drew and I first started dating and they were so happy to hear that we'd gotten married.  They all asked about him, but he'd gotten home late the night before so he stayed at the house to mow the lawn and all that stuff.  Besides, everyone there had to pledge $108 to participate.  We got started just as the sun was warming up - I was so glad to have found a spot under a tree!  There were ten instructors, each one leading us through nine sun salutations, with two of them going twice.  That's 108 right?  I suck at math.  Besides, once we got going and the sun started shining on that courtyard with minimal shade, nobody was counting.  We were all trying not to pass out.  

Thankfully, between each instructor we got a minute to rest and of course they encouraged us to take breaks whenever we needed, saying "This is a celebration.  If you no longer feel like you can celebrate, please take a break - we're not competing."  And that is why I love yoga.
One of the times I stopped to take a picture because it 
wasn't feeling like a celebration.  If I were teaching,
I'd walk by that guy with his head cocked and get him to relax his neck.
The instructor leading us is Lisa, another of my most favorite people.

I was so glad each sun salutation was different.  I don't care how strong you are, 108 of the exact same sequence is painful.  I made it through, but as soon as I got to my car I started feeling dizzy and nauseated and immediately after that I thought my head was going to explode out of my left eye.  I assume it was heatstroke?  I had no idea what was going on - I just knew that it felt like it took forever to get home.  I just kept one hand over my eye, saying over and over 'Please be with me' because I was so scared I wasn't going to make it home.  Thank God the drive was short - pain like that is no joke.  I crawled in the front door, took some giant ibuprofen and slept.  If I ever do that again I will be better prepared, with lots of ice water, lots more breaks and I probably won't do it outdoors in Texas in the middle of the summer!  But at least now I can say I've done it!

About a week later, my old boss called and told me that a class was available.  I'd been telling her that I wanted to come back to teaching and she said she'd let me know when she had something.  Her call couldn't have come at a better time - for one, I desperately need to do something to add structure to my days and two, when you teach you get to take unlimited classes for free!!  That alone is reason enough!  Yoga is expensive and getting to take class from some of the best instructors in the city is a God-send!

I had to go to a refresher course to show the owner I still knew my stuff and I could have floated off the mat when he told me that I was awesome and it's good to have me back on the schedule!  I can't wait to get back into teaching. I can't wait to be back in the studio with that chill yoga music, feeling the floor under my bare feet, sharing that awesome energy with my students, taking class from my favorite people.  Just typing that lifts my heart.  

It's where I belong. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Just ignore this post - I have angst

It's 4:30 in the morning so a lot of this probably won't make sense.  I hope to post again later today and maybe no one will read this one.  I probably shouldn't even be writing, but I can't sleep and I know it's because there is so much swirling in my head and it needs to come out.

For the past two days I have been struggling with small bouts of anxiety.  I hate to even call it that because these feelings are so worthless they don't even deserve to be named, but I know that tight feeling in my chest.  I've been on the verge of crying for two days straight and that's not me.  I want to leave the house but the thought makes it hard to breathe.  I give myself a pep talk, tell myself not to be silly and I end up leaving but all I can think about while I'm gone is how much I want to be home.  I've gotten a couple of projects that normally I'm excited about undertaking, but I'm scared of them.  Even as I know that's ridiculous and the rational side of me is saying to snap out of it, I can't.

I recently purchased a chair for the sitting room but it has sat untouched because it has a lot of fabric on it.  I've never recovered more than just the seat of a chair and I'm intimidated by that.  It also has piping, which terrifies me.  I'm so scared of ripping it apart and not being able to put it back together.  I was scared to even buy it but I did it anyway, psyching myself up, telling myself that I could do it.  I even told myself if it doesn't work, no big deal - it only cost me $15 so it's no huge loss.  Even with all that positive self-talk, I've yet to remove one staple.

I also finally pulled the trigger and bought a sewing machine.  I spent the day with Kristina on Saturday and she taught me the basics.  I've dreamed of learning to sew for years, honestly since I was a little girl.  I had fantasies of pinning and sewing and creating beautiful things to wear, of modestly smiling when someone complimented something I made.  Kristina is a great and patient teacher and with her help I made a partial bandanna for Maya.  I didn't finish it because I'd been at her house the whole day and I was freaking out about having left Maya in her crate for so long.  She loaned me some sewing books with easy patterns and even sent me a coupon for Jo-Ann Fabrics - she's such a great friend.

My new kick-ass sewing machine is still in the box in my closet, along with that half-finished bandanna and all the sewing books because I ambitiously read one of the books and nearly started crying because it was so detailed and overwhelming - and it was a book for beginners!  I was already scared of breaking my machine and after reading that perfectly harmless book I never want to touch it again.  I haven't given up on learning to alter my own clothes so they fit perfectly or even making something beautiful for myself or my friends, but it seems that there's a giant obstacle between me and that goal - this stupid, irrational fear.

I try to stay busy - I went out last night, I hung out at my girlfriend's pool today and I even cooked this evening to distract myself.  Yet, here I am at almost five in the morning, unable to sleep because I want to finish that bandanna but I'm intimidated by my sewing machine.  I want to get started on that chair but I'm scared.  How ridiculous is that?  What the hell is wrong with me?

I tell myself that this is just a raging case of the hormones.  I'm supposed to start a week from tomorrow so it really could be just that.  I don't normally feel anxious about dumb stuff and this has only been for the past couple of days.  I just wish it would hurry up and go away - seriously, what kind of person is scared of a sewing machine?

And for the record, I'm not afraid it's going to eat me or anything and it's certainly not talking to me.  It's quite logical - I spent a lot (to me) of money on it and I'm unsure of how to use it and I'm terrified of breaking it, thereby throwing that money down the drain.  See?  I can identify the cause of the issue but unfortunately it doesn't do much to get me to take the damn thing out of the box and finish the damn bandanna.  I know all I need to do is grab a screwdriver, pull one staple out of that chair and just keep on going, yet I feel powerless to do it.  It shouldn't matter if I screw it up, I can leave it out for the trash (the chair, not the sewing machine) and go on with my life, yet for some stupid reason I can't.

I also know I'm fixating on these minor issues because the bigger issues are so much bigger.  At the risk of sounding like a drama-queen douchebag, I feel like I'm drifting or floating - and not in a good way.  For one thing, not working is killing me.  I need a routine and the sense of purpose, no matter how small, that comes with having a job.  I need a reason to leave the house.  And again, it's not like I'm not showering and the house is a mess or that I'm not taking care of my hair.  Y'all will know to send the cavalry if I ever say that I haven't washed my hair.

At this point, I would like to have a job and I don't even care if I would only get to work for a couple of months before we'd have to move.  If we even move.  When we move.  Wherever we're going to move.  There are now talks about a possible move to South Carolina, which would be much more preferable to San Jose but I'm not getting my hopes up.  It's just the uncertainty of it all that sucks - out loud.

I'm one step away from applying for jobs at the mall - and I hate retail.  The only reason I won't go back to the restaurant industry are the hours - I'm too old and out of practice to be staying up until two and three in the morning on the regular.  Yet I'm not walking into J. Crew just yet because the thought of asking for and filling out an application makes me nauseated.  Writing down my pathetic work history and reducing myself to a job title so I can make $10/hour makes me want to cry.  Yet, you get tough and do what you have to do, right?  I look back at all the shit I've been through and I'm kind of ashamed that I've gotten to this point, where I'm too weak to humble.  Although, again I'm pretty sure I know how I got here.

Not being able to have kids has taken a terrible toll on my self-esteem.  I feel like if I can't have kids and I don't have a job I don't really have a purpose in life.  Beckie did a great post that really resonates with me and how I'm feeling and if you're so inclined, you can read it.  I just feel like I don't matter anymore and I never used to feel that way.  I think we need people to depend on us to make us feel present or relevant.  Without that, you just drift - in my opinion.


I can't even cry properly - the tears well up, my throat clogs and I feel thankful that I'll have a release.  I'll have a good, snotty cry and when I'm done I'll get up, take that damn machine out of that damn box and finish that damn bandanna.  I'll flip over that damn chair and start taking out those damn staples.  Because that's what I normally do - a good cry is very healing.  Yet the tears recede, my throat clears and I feel no better.

Ugh, I have to stop.  I'm annoying myself with all this whining.  I'm not this person and I hate feeling this way.  I'm not weak and wimpy and the real me always stands back up after getting knocked down.  

I just don't get why I can't seem to get my feet under me this time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The weenie-cam

When your baby-making parts don't work as they should, you become close personal friends with the weenie-cam.  Sure sure, you can call it the trans-vaginal ultrasound, but where's the fun in that?  And believe me, when you're knee-deep in the baby-making business, you need all the fun you can find.  Losing your sense of humor about this whole thing is just not an option.  After all, there's nothing you can do but laugh at the fact that those who are the most 'ready' to have a baby (read:  married or have a support system, established, steady incomes, older) are the ones who have the most trouble.  Yes, I know that there are 24-year olds that have reproductive trouble but let's face it, they are the exception not the rule.  But back to me and the weenie-cam.

My RE is very methodical when it comes to ruling out the reasons for the miscarriages, and they all revolve around my cycle.  His first step is to make sure that things are happening when they are supposed to, which means I've been to see him on strategic days.  I've never seen any doctor for any reason as much as I've seen mine this past month.  Thank God he's a nice man but I can't stand his office - the decor makes me want to claw my eyes out!  Every time I'm waiting in the weenie-cam room all I can think about is how badly I want to rip off his horrible outdated wallpaper, paint the walls, change out the fixtures on his cabinets and freakin decorate!  Just because it's a doctor's office doesn't mean it has to be horrible and drab.  I know you're serious about getting women pregnant, but can a sista get a little paint on the walls!  I really might mention something the next time I see him.    

Anyway, my first date with the weenie-cam was for a baseline ultrasound to get a lay of the land.  There was nothing scary that immediately jumped out at him so the next one was for a closer look with a fluid ultrasound.  That's where he squirted saline in there to check if I've got scarring or any other adhesions in my uterus and found none.  I was nervous about that one, because of the times that they've had to go in there.  I know they're not unnecessarily brutal when they do D&Cs, but I was worried.  Thankfully, I'm all clear on the uterine front.  That same day, I got blood drawn for more tests - which, I am proud to report I did with minimal freaking out!  I was even in a different office and that cow of a woman couldn't find my vein!  She claimed I had a 'rolling vein.'  I think it was user error.  Even with all that, I didn't cry and only hyperventilated a little.  Yea me!

Now, I don't know what it is about my doctor but he's all about the car metaphors.  First it was the low fuel to explain my FSH, and this time it's the 10-point check to explain the extra testing he's doing.  He said it's like having a 3-point check done on your car.  It may pass that just fine, but then find a problem on the 10-point check simply because it's more thorough.  Corny though they are, I don't mind his metaphors.  I like having things broken down for me and it does help to follow along with what's up with my body and why it's so rude to guests, kicking them out before they've even unpacked.  And check this out!!  He took my FSH again with this new round of tests and guess what!  My FSH has dropped!  It was a 12 when I had it done around this time last year and now I'm an 8.8!!  Below 10 is normal!  I was tripping out - yet another thing I had no idea could happen.  I thought there was nowhere to go but up, but apparently FSH fluctuations are completely normal.  My doctor said that he's seen fluctuations in the double digits!  He said he's seen it as high as 100 (which I have a hard time believing) and then have it drop all the way below 10 (which I have a hard time believing.)  He reminded me of his low fuel metaphor - sometimes the light goes off once it's on but that doesn't mean you got more gas.  I still have old eggs.  Way to bring me down, dude.  

Today, my date with the weenie-cam was for a follicle check.  The metaphor he used this time was that the follicle was the house where the egg lives.  You can't see the egg but you can see the house and how big it gets before the egg is ready to leave.  It's like the egg is overseeing the building of the house and when it's done, the egg signs off on the work and leaves!  He said my builders are on schedule and my follicles look good.  One more thing checked off the list!  My next appointment is for the endometrial biopsy.  That's where he'll take a piece of my uterine lining to measure how thick it is.  Too thin and the embryo has nothing to hold on to and falls out, causing a miscarriage.  Too thick and the embryo can't implant properly, falls out and causes a miscarriage.  Your lining has to be juuuuust right.  Today he told me my lining was on the thin side but there was still time for it to rally and get thick enough to pass the test.  I'm totally cheering for my lining - is that weird?  Don't answer that - I know it is.

With all the testing this cycle, the doctor has asked that we not 'try.'  Sadly, it's pretty easy as Drew is out of town my entire fertile window.  In Hawaii, no less.  Poor guy.  The next one will be when we're on vacation - wouldn't that be a cute story, if I got pregnant on vacation?  People usually get pregnant on vacation, right?  Something about the relaxation and no stress - wouldn't that be nice!  Of course, I'm no longer so naive in thinking that a mere vacation will do the trick but it can't hurt to hope - just a little.  

We hung out with our friend Tyler this weekend and he told us that some mutual friends of ours are expecting.  It hurt - although it wasn't like a full-out hardcore punch to the gut.  Rather, it was like the wind had just left my sails.  I was happy for them, but it never gets easier to hear.  I remember when that friend told us that his wife was going off the pill - it wasn't that long ago.  I know I don't know their story and we did lose touch with them for several months.  For all I know, they've had losses too.  I just can't help but feel like I'm the only one of our friends that is stuck in this limbo.  Even the ones we know that have had trouble have already gone on to have successful pregnancies.  It just sucks.  Uh-oh, I feel the wind leaving my sails.....

can't help it - it makes me smile.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marriage enrichment

Today is my parent's  35th wedding anniversary.  They should get a medal!
From the invitation for their 30th anniversary party.
That bowtie was the hotness!

My parents taught me through example that marriage is not all sunshine and roses and never having to say you're sorry.  They taught me that marriage vows are to be taken seriously and are to be honored especially when you don't feel like it.  I learned that you don't quit or give up just because you don't feel like being married that day, that marriage is all the time and forever.  They did the best with what they had and it wasn't always smooth, but they stuck it out and that's what's most important.  Because of them, I entered marriage with no false notions or fantasies of a perfect man, a knight in shining armor.  I knew it wouldn't be easy but because of them, I knew it was worth it.  I'm so proud of my parents!

But can I join the club and say marriage is hard!  Those that say marriage is not for the faint of heart are not joking!  It's one thing to say that you'll honor your vows, quite another to put it in practice.  Drew and I have been in rough waters lately and we've been fighting to stay afloat.  Our poor little marriage has been sorely tested in these early months and it's been wearing on both of us.  Dealing with the miscarriages, my job loss, his travel (he's gone 22 days a month!), wondering if and when and now where we're going to move, has become quite a burden.  We were teetering on the brink but thankfully we've gotten enough footing that we're not in as much jeopardy as before.  We both agreed that we needed to do something, and fast.

My chief complaint is the lack of quality time together.  We don't talk that much when he's on the road and when he's home, he just wants to shut down.  While I don't blame him and understand that he's got a lot on his plate, I can't help but patiently ask yell "What about me?  What about us??"  Thankfully, we're going on vacation in July and I'm counting the days that I'll have him to myself, with no dog, no housework, no yardwork and no people to steal our time together.  It'll be just the two of us and no one else unless we choose.  It couldn't have come at a better time, as we were getting to the end of our rope.  We're also going to visit Nate and Julie at their new home in North Carolina, which also promises to be a fun time.  July can't get here soon enough!

In the meantime, we sought out other activities that we could do as a couple to strengthen our bond - Drew suggested golf and chess.  I've never done either, but in the name of marriage enrichment I was game.  Besides, I was really happy that Drew was taking initiative and suggesting things we could do, rather than silently following my lead.  

We bought an inexpensive chess board at Target and I sat down Friday night to learn the basics of chess.  I'd forgotten what it was like to suck at something new and how painful the learning process is - it's been a long time since I tried a completely new activity.  Over and over again, Drew beat me, calling out "Check!  Check!  Check!" every time he was about to win.  I finally told him to say something else because I was getting angry.  I'm not competitive by nature, but even I don't like to suck that badly.  I'm sure Drew is no chess master but against a complete novice like me, he might as well have been Bobby Fischer.  It was pissing me off and I wanted to quit.  However, we are learning how to do things together and chess is a fun game as long as you're not playing against someone with ten times more skill than you.  I hung in there, but I had to stop after he beat me five times in a row in less than ten minutes.  It wasn't exactly what I had in mind - pitting us against each other, no matter how innocently, isn't the smoothest path to marital harmony.  But it was a step and it counted.  

Drew's other idea is that we try golf.  I wasn't super enthusiastic given that I've never swung a club in my life and he was on the golf team in high school, but I have to admit it was really cute to see how excited he got.  He called the place and made all the arrangements, practically jumping out of bed Sunday morning - even more so than usual.  We went to the driving range with the idea that maybe we'll play a real round of golf on vacation.  At least this time we weren't competing so I felt better about it.

Let's just say I won't be investing in my own clubs anytime soon.  There were plenty of times that I lined up, swung and completely missed the ball.  I felt like a total idiot but I reminded myself that I was here with my husband and that we were strengthening our marriage.  Only by the grace of God was I able to actually make contact with a few balls so I wasn't totally annoyed - the Bloody Marys helped soothe my bruised ego as well.
Drew demonstrating how to hit the ball really far.
I don't look like that when I hit it.

I haven't been married for long but so far I've learned that a marriage is an entity unto itself that must be nourished and cared for independent of the two people involved.  It will not take care of itself and it will most certainly die if it is ignored.  In the name of marriage, I took huge steps outside my comfort zone this weekend.  I didn't do it gracefully and I would have felt better doing something I was good at, but you can't grow that way and you'll become very boring very quickly if you never try anything new.

In the meantime, I'm going back to the driving range by myself and looking up chess tips online - I may never become a chess master or a world-class golfer, but the least I can do is be a worthy opponent.  It's no fun having your ass handed to you, by your husband or anyone else.

Besides, I will sweetly remind him of these times when I sign us up for ballroom dancing classes!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Facebook, it's been real

Jared Groneman.  The name means nothing to you, I know.  He's a guy I went to high school with 16 years ago (I just vomited.)  He was a grade ahead of me and we never said one word to each other the entire time we were in high school.  Not one.  I doubt he knew who I was and if I saw him today I might vaguely recognize him.  He married a girl in my class and they have two kids - I think.

A few days ago, Jared sent me a friend request on Facebook.  A guy I never said one word to in high school and haven't seen or talked to in 16 years, wanted to be my friend.  I was bewildered - why would someone I hadn't said a word to in, like ever send me a friend request?  I hadn't even thought about it until that point - usally I would click 'accept', have a quick glance at their pictures and profile and go on about my day.  I had friends in my list that I wouldn't dream of sending an email to or writing on their wall because I would have nothing to say - but these people were my 'friends.'  There's something wrong with that picture.

I remember when MySpace first came out and was all the rage.  I was at work one evening when my friend Aubrey told me about it and said we should be friends.  "Aren't we friends now?"  It was the strangest thing and I didn't get it, but soon enough I had a profile and was uploading pictures and adding music and changing my layout with the best of them.  Very quickly, MySpace got creepy and I was getting friend requests from perfect strangers, my profile got hacked and I virtually confronted someone who was posing as me.  She had taken some of my modeling pictures from the internet and said they were hers.  Immediately after that, I made my profile private.  Meeting someone on MySpace became a punchline because everyone knew how sleazy it was.  Then came Facebook and we all migrated.

It wasn't long before I once again had a profile with pictures and I too waited with bated breath for people to comment on how cool my life was and how little I'd changed.  Then came the friend requests.  People from elementary school!  People I hadn't seen or spoken to in years and years and there they were.  I accepted requests, sent friend requests when they were suggested to me and before I knew it I had 277 friends.  My cousins in California and Georgia found me and we became friends and I had dreams of great big reunions because we were such great friends on Facebook.  Yeah right.  Family or not, it's hard to talk to people you don't know - especially if you have nothing in common with them.  Receiving Jared's friend request was my sign that it was time for me to stop because I came to realize that I didn't care what those 277 people did on a daily basis. 

Susie hates work!  Join the club - everybody's a member.
Mark wishes everyone a great day!  Everyone?  Really?  All 482 of your friends?  I feel so special. 
John Jones loves pickles.  Who cares!  
Follow me on Facebook!  Follow you where?  Where are you going?  Do I get a prize when we get there?  
Become a fan!  For what? So you can say you have fans?  I don't get it.  
Bob sent you a fish for your aquarium! Send him one!  What?  A fish?  Huh?  I don't even have an aquarium!  
Lola (my cousin) loves her boyfriend.  What do you say to that?  Good for you?  I'm happy for you even though I haven't seen or talked to you since before you knew what boys were?  

Never mind the mafias, the farms, the stores, the kisses, the hugs, the snowball fights, the virtual gifts, and all the other apps that bombarded me every time I logged in.  I didn't care!  I don't care that the kid I didn't even know you had threw strained carrots on the wall five minutes ago.  That totally sucks for you but that doesn't affect my life one bit.  Now if it was my baby cousin, I'd probably laugh at her mom but that's the point - she's my cousin, we're close enough that I can laugh at her when her kid spits up on her.

I scrolled through hundreds of status updates, not having much to say for any of them, yet compelled to say or do something because these people are my friends!  Thank God for the 'like' button!  Although, that confused me even more.  Even though someone liked something I did or said, I still didn't feel comfortable chatting them up.  Yeah, so, um, you liked that I ran around the block without dying today.  I know we only said two words to each other in high school 16 years ago, but um, thanks for that?  Soooo, what have you been up to all these years?  Oh wait, I'll just go look on your page and that way I don't actually have to talk to you.  Never mind.  

And yes, I updated my Facebook status fifteen times the day I had jury duty - I'm totally guilty.  It's nothing if not addictive.  That's why yesterday, I quit cold turkey and deleted both my Facebook and MySpace accounts.  It's funny - they ask you three times if you're really really sure, even going so far as to tell you that your friends will miss you.  Facebook told me that Brandi would miss me.  I was all, No she won't!  She has my phone number, email address, home address and blog address!  She knows how to find me!  MySpace was distraught - Are you totally sure about this?  Are you sure you want to do this?  You don't have to - you can just block the people you don't want to talk to.  You don't have to leave.  Please don't go!  I was like damn MySpace, have some dignity!

Today I feel free - I haven't obsessively checked my phone to see who is glad that the sun is shining, or who's mad that the Dodgers lost.  I don't have to contemplate the question if I update my status and no one comments or 'likes' it, did it really happen?  I'm free from the guilt of ignoring the friend requests from people who, I swear just had their yearbooks out and randomly entered names because what the hell!  Maybe it's just me and I wasn't using Facebook properly and I'm the only one who accepted friend requests from people I barely knew.  Maybe I'm just not up on Facebook etiquette.  Maybe I should have had a farm - then I would have gotten it. 

My true friends have all my contact information.  If they want to know what I had for breakfast they can ask me, although I can confidently say that even my dearest friend Kesha could care less.  And I'm okay with that.

I like blogging.  You're not limited to 140 characters - oh wait, that's Twitter.  Twitter is just Facebook on meth and I have no use for that either.  But blogging!  Blogging opens the door to people's lives, honest information is exchanged and you make real friends.  I would never in a thousand years feel comfortable hanging out with Jared and his wife but I will rearrange everything to have dinner with Heather or Cori.  I wouldn't send an email to more than half the people on my friend list but I want to make a special trip back to Houston to meet Gem - I'm so upset I didn't see her when I was there!  I feel comfortable sharing just about anything with Kristina and that's major.  For me, blogs have a way of facilitating real connections and serving a true purpose and I could never have gotten through my miscarriages without them.  I found real comfort and support through blogging and I have had the honor of being a source of comfort and support and I'm eternally humbled and grateful for that.  You just can't get that on Facebook.  I deleted my profile because I want more.  I want to be a better friend to those who are genuinely interested - not the ones who just accepted my friend request to look at my pictures and see if I got fat. 

Facebook, it was real while it lasted.  No hard feelings, I'm just looking for more.  It's not you, it's me.

**Update:  I just found this - Queen Latifah doesn't like social networks either!  How ironic - check it out!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Humble Warrior

I've gotten away from my yoga practice - that is, going to a studio for classes.  It's true that you can practice yoga anywhere but like attending church services, it's nice to get that shot in the arm to reset your mind.  I've missed that shot in the arm.  

I've been struggling with some big issues this week, coming up with more questions than answers.  I don't know what the next step is going to be, a majority of this is out of my control and I'm scared.  Because all I can do is wait, I've been distracting myself.  All week long, I have parked my butt on the sofa for a Grey's Anatomy marathon.  Kesha got me hooked on it a while back (thanks Kesha!) and I've gone back to season one to get caught up.  It has helped immensely as my days have been eaten up with the make-believe drama so I don't have to think about my real drama, but when I turn it off the thoughts come crowding in once again and I haven't been sleeping well.

During season four last night, my friend Johnny called me.  He just opened a yoga studio around the corner from our house and asked me if I would teach class the next morning.  I've been away for a few months and I was rusty as hell but I never turn down the chance to teach yoga.  So this morning I got back on the mat.

Thankfully, there were only three people in class and I got started.  I stammered a bit, I'm not completely sure my sequences were perfect, but I still got it.  I found my breath, I connected to my body and shared great energy with the others in the room.  I wondered why in the world I keep letting myself get away from this, my true love, my passion.  Class went well, they thanked me and Johnny and I hung out afterwards.  I didn't intend to, but I kind of unloaded on him.  I've been carrying around so much this week and it felt good to vent.  He listened, sympathized, and offered his take on things, and used an example from the class I just taught.  Specifically, he talked about the Humble Warrior pose.

In Humble Warrior, strength is required.  It's a deep lunge, opening the inner thigh of the straight leg as well as requiring strength from the bent leg.  Yet, you bow down as low as you can, releasing the tension in the upper body as you request strength from the lower body.  In class, I talked about how being humble is often the greatest strength you can show but that it's rarely easy.  Physically, as you bow down your lower body instinctively rises up to catch you.  You must consciously release the lower body in order to deepen your lunge so that eventually the thigh of the bent leg is parallel to the ground.  It's a deep pose and the full expression took me a while to master because it's not easy to override your body's instincts.  You have to trust that your legs will keep you from bonking your head on the floor and it takes a while to make that connection.

When Johnny commented on my wording and how fitting it was, I started thinking about what it means to be a Humble Warrior.  Without going too deeply into the philosophy of humility and applying it to my current situation, the example that came to me was admitting you're wrong and making amends.  That's an enormously hard thing to do and if you have the tiniest ounce of pride in your way, it won't work.  You'll come off as insincere and your false humility will be seen a mile away.  Being truly humble requires great strength - you must first admit that you have fallen short and who wants to do that?  Then, who really wants to admit that to another person, especially to the person you've failed?  Then, who really wants to give that person the power by saying 'what do you need me to do to fix this?'  Or even worse, come up with your own penance?  Being humble is not easy.  It takes the strength of a warrior.

We're a pretty non-confrontational society - if someone wrongs us, we'd rather sweep it under the rug and wait till things cool off rather than sitting them down and saying 'You messed up' or worse 'I messed up, please forgive me.'  We're too strong, too prideful and we'll be damned if anyone gets anything over on US!  We'd rather walk away than do what it takes to fix things, especially if that means bowing down.  But sometimes, that's exactly what's required.  Sometimes you must go directly to the person you've wronged and beg their forgiveness without the tiniest ounce of pride.  It takes incredible strength to do that - to sit in the hot seat, to take your medicine, to sit in the doghouse or whatever you want to call it.  It takes enormous strength to admit you're wrong and to put in the work to make things right.  It's much easier to walk away, start over and try not to make that mistake in the new situation.  It's much easier to be righteously indignant, to plead your case, to justify your actions, to yell that you don't deserve this, people should just forgive and forget, all that.  I understand.

I like to think that I could be a humble warrior.  That I would have the strength to bow down and beg forgiveness.  That I could endure whatever it took to make things right.  I like to think that I could lay down my weapons and make it safe for someone to beg forgiveness of me, that I could respect the strength it takes to do so.

But I can smell the false humility.  My ears burn with empty promises.  My heart aches because I don't want to fight, but I have to defend myself because I haven't yet healed from the damage I've already sustained.

And I realize I have a long way to go.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


You know the rule - the heavy posts must be tempered.  You can't be all 'doom and gloom and my life sucks' all the time - it's boring.  So how 'bout some tomatoes?  Don't worry - it'll make sense in a second.
Remember this?
Our backyard just after it was landscaped
This morning
I was really worried that the lines from the sod wouldn't fill in and we'd have these weird grids but Mother Nature did her thing and it's looking good!  It's not completely filled in and lush and all that, but then again it looks pretty good for having an 80-pound dog trampling it daily.  And have a look at this!
My new vegetable garden back in early April

When we first planted everything I was concerned that it wouldn't grow - I know nothing about planting and we did no research.  We basically just dug a hole and put the stuff in.  Amazingly enough, Mother Nature had pity on us and we got our first harvest a couple of days ago!
A couple of months ago, these tomatoes didn't even exist!

I'm a die-hard city girl and I didn't have gardens growing up so I haven't ever gotten a first-hand look at the wonders of Mother Nature.  This is so flippin cool to me!!  To think that these plants were put in the ground and nature just took over and made those tomatoes is amazing.  I also have to admit that I was nervous to eat them - yes, I'm a lame snob and didn't think they would taste as good if they didn't come from the grocery store.  Well guess what!  They tasted better!!  They were juicy and firm and fresh and wonderful!  I know I'm gushing and I sound retarded but seriously you guys!  These were no doubt the best tomatoes I've ever had - maybe because we grew them, or maybe because I've never taken much notice of tomatoes before.  I just know I can't wait for some more to ripen!
  Hurry up baby tomatoes!
Coming right along!
There are some bell peppers coming in too!
The chili peppers belong to Drew - I do NOT do spicy!

We also planted white and red onions.  I wasn't sure how long to let them stay in the ground but I couldn't resist and pulled a couple to see how big they'd gotten.
Not that big but they were still beautiful.
All cleaned up

I brought the onions inside with the intent of using them in my sandwich for lunch along with the tomatoes and all the fixins.  You guys!  I cleaned them off and cut off the roots and the smell!!  It was so clean and fresh and onion-y.  There really is a plucked-from-the-earth smell!  Fresh stuff really does smell and taste different and it's so much better!!  My sandwich was amazing - of course the onions were tiny but the flavor!  I've never had a better sandwich, I'm so serious.  But back to the garden.
It's hard to tell, it's so tiny

Remember the herb garden?
Everything on the right was from last year
You can't even see the edges anymore - anybody want some herbs??

I have to go back in and clean up the garden.  I've already cut three bags worth of oregano to dry because I have no idea what else to do with it.  I'm going to try my hand at mint tea later this week and I have to figure something out for the basil.  It's almost hip-high!  I also think we're watering the vegetable garden too much.  Isn't that what yellow leaves mean?
I need to get tomato cages, lay more mulch and pull the weeds. 
I also have to figure out a solution for all the vines!
I told you we don't know what we're doing!

If I ever get to have kids, we're definitely having a garden and I will teach them how awesome it is to eat something you planted yourself.  I don't want them to be in their mid-thirties before they get to taste something fresh out of the ground, it's too cool of an experience!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Evading the needle - for now

First, thank you all so much for your kind comments and emails.  It means so much to me and just reminds me how good it truly is to be able to connect with you.  You're all so wonderful!!

and now the nonsense continues...

Driving back to Dallas Thursday night, I noticed that my right boob was starting to hurt and I had a BB-sized nodule of pain under my right arm.  Yup, the right bazooka decided to join the pain party and the left one, no longer the center of attention, packed up its toys and left.  I thought I was going nuts - how could the pain migrate like that?  Around 9pm, the doctor from the cancer center called to tell me it is definitely absolutely not cancer.  "Cool.  What is it then?" I asked him.  "Fibrocystic changes," he told me.  That's a fancy way of saying 'your body is retarded and I have no idea what the hell is wrong with you.'  He wants me to do a follow-up mammogram in a month with a breast surgeon here in Dallas.  Awesome.

Today I have no pain in either breast, the lymph node is still there but it's nowhere near as tender to the touch.  I have no idea when my period is supposed to start, so I can't tell if the slightly achy feeling I have is due to that or my mind is playing tricks on me.  When you're trying to conceive, the slightest twinge, ache, snap, crackle and pop is noted and questioned.  Is my period coming?  What kind of cramp was that?  How would that be classified?  Is it nothing?  Is it something?

Cut to Friday afternoon, where Drew and I visited with the fertility specialist.  He's the same one I went to when I got my FSH results and I didn't end up going back because I turned out to be pregnant.  I didn't feel my OB was being aggressive enough with a treatment plan/plan of action post-miscarriage number two, so I didn't wait for the referral and made the appointment myself.  This time I wasn't leaving without some answers or at least a plan - something better than heparin shots, or as I like to call them 'I ain't sticking my uterus unless you're 1000% positive I have to.'  Yet, I have a sense of futility because there is still no real way to figure out the true cause for the miscarriages and it still could be just really really horrible terrible awful bad luck.  He could do all these tests and still come up with nothing.  However, I do feel better being under the care of a specialist, knowing his sole reason for working is to help women get pregnant.

His plan is to cross everything off the list in the order of least- to most-invasive.  This means drawing my FSH again, checking my tubes to ensure that they're completely open, checking the uterine cavity and doing an endometrial biopsy.  Even though I've been pregnant three times, with two recent losses he wants to leave no stone unturned.  There is a small possibility that I have scar tissue in my uterus, preventing proper implantation or that my uterine lining doesn't get thick enough to properly hold an embryo.  When you think about all the places that a pregnancy can go wrong, you start to wonder how in the world it ever goes right.  The miracle of life indeed.

In the meantime, I'm looking into ways to get over my fear of needles.  It's horribly inconvenient, I hate the helpless feeling and if these appointments are any indicator of the future, I'm going to need to become best friends with the needle.  

Unfortunately, I feel like I'm going deeper into battle and my conviction is no stronger.  I still waver between wanting children and being ambivalent.  The 'no' is not present, it's just the 'yes' is so weak.  I'm doing the tests because I feel like it's the responsible thing to do.  What if there is a medical cause for the losses and it can be fixed?  I couldn't be satisfied with not doing it.  But if all these tests find nothing?  I still can't say that I'm gung-ho ready to jump to the next stage - whatever that may be.

I keep reminding myself that this is not my timetable, that I'm not in the driver's seat here.  Events will unfold according to a purpose much higher than mine.  I remind myself of that because I get so scared.  I'm scared that since I'm not desperate for a baby, willing to do anything under the sun right now, that must mean I'm not meant to be a mother.  I'm scared that Drew and I will become an infertility/trying to conceive statistic and we won't make it and then I won't have a husband or a baby.

And then I HAVE to stop because I can hear the whistle for the Express Train to the Loony Bin coming for me.  

I know I'm stronger than this.  I can overcome my fear of needles.  I can decide how far I will go with this and whatever is meant for me I will accept with grace and courage.  I can do this.

I may just need a reminder now and then.  You know, when I get scared.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I broke my boob!

I'm in Kansas City visiting my family and friends and I was all ready to write about that and share the pictures when I went and broke my boob.  So I'm writing about that instead - because I like saying I broke my boob and for funsies I'm going to see how many boob-euphemisms I can work into this post.

I arrived last Thursday.  My best friend had her wedding reception on Saturday which was the main reason for my trip.  Drew was supposed to come to KC as well but at the last minute his work thing got canceled but I decided to stay anyway.  The picnic/reception was great as was hanging out with my friends and family.  I even got to go out with Heather which is always such a treat, as well as spend time with my other friends.  But back to my chesticles!

Sunday night I went to sleep but had lots of trouble actually falling asleep because I sleep on my left side and my left ta-ta was bothering me.  It wasn't horribly painful but enough that I tossed and turned all night.  I woke up Monday morning and my left bazoom was downright killing me!  I'm not one to complain so after I sent some text messages to Drew I went to lunch with Brandi.

*reproduction of actual text messages, since my camera is downstairs* 
Me:  I bruised my boob and you don't even care
(thirty seconds later) Me:  They're probably gonna have to chop it off and then I'll be boobless and then what are you gonna do....
(forty seconds later)  Me:  Just call me OneBoob McGee
(thirty seconds later) Me:  WHY DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT MY BOOOOOOOB!

Twenty minutes after that, Drew called me. "I was in a meeting, what is wrong with you and why are you weird?"  
"My bewbie hurts."  
"Well, have you called someone?"  
"Not yet."  
"Can you please do that?"  
"Baby I broke my boooob!"  
"You're weird, call a doctor please."  

I blew it off, figuring that my body is just being retarded and it's just a weird manifestation from the miscarriages.  It's a long shot I know, but I didn't think too much of it.  I thought I slept on it funny, or that it was just a random ache that would just go away on its own.  Until it didn't go away.  I woke up Tuesday and it was worse.  Then I took notice - I like my breas-ti-sis and didn't want anything to happen to them.  I called my doctor and she couldn't see me until next Tuesday. On the off chance there was an issue, I didn't feel good waiting that long.  My mom had an appointment with her gynecologist that day and suggested that I see if they could fit me in, just to make sure everything was cool.

The appointment gods smiled on me that day and they did fit me in at KU Med - a teaching hospital.  That meant I had a med student observing while the resident? attending? fellow? palpated my girls.  Super. NOT. fun.  My left chi-chi was hollering in protest!  The doctor said he'd never seen anything like this - doncha just love when they say that?  I was so glad I could be the first - he said pain like that usually happens with new mothers, like a clogged milk duct or something like that.  Since we all know that is not the case, he referred me to a specialist who by the grace of God had an opening the next morning.  This morning.

Rolling in to the KU Cancer Center was not cool.  The facility was state-of-the-art and the staff was crazy nice but I was unsettled to be in the waiting room with people having chemo treatments.  They took me back and the doctor was a sweet young guy who had me biting my lip - from the excessive manipulation of my poor little melon.  I did indeed have a lump and enlarged lymph nodes so he ordered me a mammogram - which I got at two that afternoon!  The appointment gods were blowing sunshine on me at that point.  However, I don't know how grateful I should be because mammograms HURT!!!

Having a painful lump squeezed to within an inch of your life is not the coolest way to spend your afternoon - I can now say that from experience.  Here it is almost midnight and I'm still sore!  Long story short, they found several cysts, enlarged lymph nodes, yet nothing scary or dangerous.  Hey guess what?  Cysts and lymph nodes are scary in my book!  Because you know what that means?

More. fucking. needles.  INTO MY JUGS.  Well, my jug anyway.

I've heard several times over, from the doctor and reputable sources that cancer doesn't hurt so I'm not worried at all.  However, given that cysts are not normally supposed to set up shop in the boobular region, the next logical step is to biopsy them.  Yippee fucking cool.  I have to wait until the doctor reads all the ultrasounds pictures and mammogram film together to make a determination as to what to do next but I'm not anxiously awaiting his call.  I know those doctors, they're gonna be all 'I'm not sure what's wrong with you so we're gonna have to stick a long fucking needle into your rack to find out what's in there and why it's hurting you.'  I know your game punk!  

I already thought about faking them out and being like 'Well would ya look at that!  It doesn't hurt anymore!  I'm cured!  No need for the boob-needle!'  But then I try to cross my arms over my chest and I can't.  Because it hurts.  Boo hiss.

As of this moment the leftie is still tender to the touch and swole up a little bigger than the rightie.  The doctor is supposed to call within the next few days to let me know what he recommends I do - I'm hoping he says that they're all morons, their machines are lame and there's nothing wrong that rest and a bottle of wine can't fix.  That would be awesome, because my mother and Drew are conspiring against me and I wouldn't put it past them to slip me something in my drink and subject me to the boob-needle.  

On a serious note though, my husband is scared.  I don't like that.  I keep trying to reassure him that there's nothing wrong and I'm sure my body will get the message and evict the cysts soon enough, but he's not hearing me.  He's upset that he can't be here for me and I hate that for him.  I'm near positive it's nothing and it's all going to resolve itself like, tomorrow but he's still super concerned.  I totally love him for that but I don't like seeing him worried about me.  I'm fine - my what-nots are just out of commission for a quick second, nothing more.  I'm sure of it.

Because I can't have anything wrong with me.  I'm going on vacation in July with my awesome fabulous wonderful husband, the dog is behaving, I'm having fun with my family, my friends are wonderful and have you seen my guest bedroom lately?  Too much is going right for things to go wrong.  I'm fine. 

Please let things be okay.  Please God don't let me be sick.


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