Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I remember in Italy, when we mentioned we were renting a car and driving from Florence to Rome (cue hysterical laughter) in order to make some day trips along the way, an Italian told us, "Don't follow the lanes. Don't expect to. Just move with the flow."

Best advice we could've ever received.

Imagine my surprise though, when I went out on my usual run of denial normalcy last Saturday at the beach and found that on the boardwalk was a demarcated lane just for me. Despite the fact that it was a cool, crisp morning and everything was eerily shut down for the season and the boardwalk was close to deserted, I got in my lane and stayed there all the way down and back. Sometimes it's nice to know you fit in somewhere.


Two weeks ago I got a message from Ms. Prufrock at Barren Albion wondering if I lived anywhere in the proximity of [place to remain unnamed, story belongs on her blog] and I believe my reaction was "HOLY SHIT, that's 10 minutes away."

And last Thursday night, I let Ms. Prufrock in my front door and despite popular internet legend, she was not an attention-starved 14-year old boy or a 56 year-old male axe-murderer. She was beautiful and sweet and had this lovely little British lilt despite her Pennsylvania roots, and we sat and drank tea in my kitchen and chatted and it was . . . . awesome. It's really quite strange to sit with someone you've never met, and yet you know their whole backstory. It's like you don't know them at all, and know them more than most.


Less than 24 hours after my tea time (Ms. Prufrock promised not to make fun of my gauche American tea-making skillz, which consist of putting a bag in a mug of water and putting it all in the microwave if I promised not to mention that she sat at my kitchen counter and tried to get her no-plan mobile phone to work and . . . did I just say all that out loud?), I loaded my car with goodies and set off for the shore to meet . . . . total strangers. Psychopaths. Internet hoodlums. Well, ok, not entirely true -- I had met Angie and Sarah before, so I knew it would be at least three against seven (if they were still alive), and I more or less trusted Niobe and Julia since I had communicated with them a bit and knew a bit of non-internet information . . . . but you never know. I mean, even if everyone else there -- M., TracyOC, Lani, Molly, Laura -- was legit, what if (gulp) we all just didn't click? And then I saw people unloading Dogfish Head and Victory beer from their coolers and knew, knew right then and there, that we were all going to get along just fine.

And we did.

There was chatter, and eating, and eating yet again, and laughter, and crying, and even crying because you were laughing so hard. (Ok, that was me.) And everyone just fell into their places at the couch or the table or walking down the boardwalk, and conversation was usually chippy and up but occasionally the elephant entered the room, and how nice to know we were at the convention of florescent pink elephants and no one skipped a beat.

It was so nice to finally fit in.

I think what I really liked was the normalcy -- the knitting (though I don't), the photo taking, the game playing. I didn't know what to expect, and while I didn't think there would be seances and chest beating and shrine design sessions, I was pleasantly surprised at how beachy and weekend-y it all turned out.

I know what you're all thinking, I can sense it through the interwebs, and the answer is . . . YES. Yes computer friends, I DID get a picture of Niobe. Right before she threatened to grab my camera and smash it to bits.

Niobe Playing Jacks

I jest. I would never attempt to photograph such a spirit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Afternoon News Release, Typical

Genetics called.

All chromosomes are there, all accounted for, no extras, none missing. No breaks, no obvious translocations.

It's a boy.

I'm 14+w pregnant.


I suppose there's a somewhat humorous and interesting back story here (isn't there always?), but I'll have to sort through what I feel like mashing through and what I don't.

I guess the big thing is that I thought this would be hard. That I'd either be a) petrified, cowering in the closet, clutching my safety blanket and weeping while rocking back and forth and wishing a coma upon myself, or b) fighting off hope. DAMN YOU! GET AWAY YOU INSOLENT LITTLE SHIT! BEGONE! (Stamps foot, sprays poison, wields blowtorch.)

I'm neither. Frankly, I'm nothing. This has, to this point, been the most out-of-body experience ever. I stare at the ultrasound screen, and I might as well be watching television. They flip it off, and I ask when I need to come back. My due date has been said out loud to me a grand total of once, and thank goodness for short-term memory loss, because I've honestly forgotten. Something in May. Mid-May, I think. I function. I'm . . . nothing. I'm not pessimistic, which is good, but nor am I optimistic. I feel surprisingly fine, good even, which perhaps is significant, or maybe just evident considering I'm not moving to another state, I'm not bleeding, I've yet to visit the ER (knock wood, throw salt), and I don't have a two-year-old. I've been cleared to run, so I lace up my shoes and leave out the back door and inhale the Fall and it's like none of this is really happening.

And right now that's exactly what I need.

So . . . . no C-word please. You know the drill. We know if this works, um, sometime in May. Save the C-stuff for the first day of Kindergarten.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seeing in the Dark

Yesterday, the US Preventative Services Taskforce recommended that the age of regular mammogram screening get bumped up to 50 from 40. Furthermore, they stated that getting screened every two years was enough.

In addition to providing fodder for the next conversation with the ol' OBG, this story crystalized some of my newfound problems with modern medicine as a result of Maddy's death. Do you have any problems with doctors, medicine, technology, or science in general as a result of your experience? Join me today over on Glow In The Woods.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Own Goal

As a soccer fan, I was shocked to read the headline yesterday about Robert Enke, a German goalkeeper who apparently, willfully, lethally, put himself in the path of a train. According to all reports, he was to be named Germany's starting goalkeeper in next year's World Cup.

And as a soccer fan, may it be said I would've been drawn to this story whether he was a German goalie or a Ugandan midfielder, and as a human being I would have kept reading the story -- whether he played soccer or not.

I wrote about attempted suicide in the second post I ever wrote for this blog. I remember that particular story and person being a small paradigm shift of sorts for me: pain is yours, no matter the cause. And gratefully, my pain at that moment was no where near as great. Poor Owen Wilson gave me relativity, exemplified my first lesson in pain olympics, and proved that despite my shitty circumstances I was able to still show sympathy, and empathy. And did I mention gratefulness of my own pitiful condition? I should underscore that: I wanted to disappear, but at the end of that metaphor, I always wanted to come back.

I don't know what drives people to want to end their lives, but I no longer compare rationales because in the end it's moot: it's what the individual feels, and who am I to judge what someone feels?

Buried at the end of the saga of Enke, the lovely quotes from coaches and teammates and fans, descriptions of mourning taking place, pictures of candles and flowers, was this:

Enke is survived by his wife and eight-month-old daughter, who the couple adopted.

The couple's two-year-old daughter died in 2006 from a heart condition, and [soccer commentator and journalist Rafael] Honigstein said the loss of his child had taken a toll on Enke.

That brought me to my knees. Because I do know this pain. I just don't know his.

Rest in peace, Robert. And my profound sympathy to his family.