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Friday, October 31, 2008

Cleaning Out Garage & Heart

Greetings, Banana Holders!

I'm not sure if today's post relates to letting go of my bananas, but I feel that it might in some weird abstract way. At some point, I decided to follow these two rules of getting rid of stuff:

1) If you haven't worn it in a year, you don't need it.
2) If it now hangs baggy on your arse or gives you muffin top, you don't need it.

So I cleaned out my dresser drawers and closet, pulling out items that met the above criteria, and managed to fill six paper grocery bags with clothes I no longer need (although I'm sure the day when those jeans no longer give me muffin top, as well as the perfect occasion to wear that frumpy button-down pink shirt with the year-old sweat stains in the armpits, is JUST around the corner!)

Six bags of clothes seemed like enough to warrant having a garage sale, so I convinced my neighbor to organize a dual-household sale while K was out of town. In trying to scrounge up other things to sell (we don't have much, having moved like eight thousand times in the past five years), I meandered into the dank-smelling garage. Ours is the old separate kind, really ramshackle wooden shed built in the 1930s. Instinct led me to a particular mountain of stuff in the cobwebby back corner, hidden underneath a black tarp. I hadn't been back there in over a year, and knew exactly what it was. Feeling oddly high, I yanked off the tarp and dragged all of this stuff (in surprisingly good shape!) out into the driveway:

Yes, time to clean out my garage and heart. In my head, I did have the schizophrenic dialogue you can probably imagine:

"Why am I keeping all this shit?"

"It's Zachary's."

"There is no Zachary."

"Fine. It's for the next baby, then."

"There might not be a next baby."

"Fine, but what if there is. Why let this perfectly good baby gear go to waste."

"The BOGS said you can't recycle one baby's stuff for the next baby. That's wrong. Get rid of it."

Gaaaahhh! O-kay, already! So on Sunday morning, I put it out with my six bags of old clothes and the rest of my neighbor's stuff, with a "name your own price" sign.

Within minutes, a couple in a beat-up old station wagon pulled up and offered me five bucks for the whole lot of baby stuff. I was like, I'm sorry, FIVE BUCKS?? Add a zero after that five, and it's yours. They laughed and drove away. By the end of the day, half of it was gone - and I left the rest out on the curb with a "free" sign. Boy, that got rid of it in a flash.

Now the part that makes me a human being with feelings, which I sometimes forget I have the right to be. That night, with K still out of town, I woke up in a cold panicky sweat, breathing a mile a minute. I suddenly felt like I'd made the wrong choice, getting rid of everything. I was afraid that I'd acted too impulsively, cleaning out those remnants of my son, and wished I'd kept just a few of those cute onesies, just for future reference. I fell back asleep with my mind ticking away, outlining a plan for getting some of that stuff back - posting an ad on Craigslist and the classifieds: "WANTED: The stuff you took from the curb in front of my house. Bring it back - REWARD!"

But I felt better the next morning, and never followed through on that plan. The thing is, they're things. Just empty, meaningless things. Empty onesies with no baby inside. Still, every so often I wish I'd kept just one, and I wonder who's wearing those things now.

By the way, to end on a more upbeat note, somebody found my site by Googling "getting a bloody nose during fellatio!" I couldn't figure out why on earth those particular...shall we say, graphic search terms draw somebody here, but after a bit of research, I determined it was Shaz's fault (I'll let you ask her about that in person). And more important, is this a common occurrence? Getting a bloody nose during fellatio, I mean. Just some food for thought.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lumps of Images

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

I know, you're like: WTF is that a picture of?!? This is not what you bargained for when you innocently popped over to Knocked Up, Knocked Down for a visit, expecting to see some hot pumpkin azzz.

Let me enlighten you: it's a diagram that supposedly explains what an "image schema" is, the kind of diagram I was forced to look at from time to time as a graduate student in linguistics. The kind of diagram you study for five minutes, realize you still don't get it, look away and think about what lobster thermidore might taste like, look back at the diagram again for another minute, then close your book and go get a tall latte, a bag of salted pita chips, and a copy of OK! Magazine.

Even after finally getting my MA degree, I still don't totally understand what an image schema is, but I THINK it means something like this: the picture - or lump of images - that you think of when you hear a certain word or phrase. Like, for example, SCHOOL: you might picture a book. A desk. A chalkboard. Or maybe an old maid-ish teacher in a tight bun and glasses with thin pursed lips, with a paper airplane hitting her pointy nose.

Here are a few of my current schema.

Barack and Michelle Obama:

John and Cindy McCain:

Miscarriage and Stillbirth:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lester the Molester?

Greetings Knocked Up, TGKU (Trying to Get Knocked Up), KuKd, Anti-Knocked-Up, Never-Been-Knocked-Up, and Got-Knocked-Up-and-Now-Spend-Your-Days-Windexing-Poop-
Handprints-Off-the-Wall Readers and Inquisitive Guests!

So, I've been Googlinating today instead of working on my book - guilty as charged. And in the process, I came across a testimony of this guy who saw - I mean, literally SAW, his two miscarried children in heaven! Of course, I had to keep reading, thinking this is really a guy I ought to request as my friend on Facebook (plus, anything written in magenta font against a lavender-pink background has GOT to be good):

"I have babies in heaven. My wife suffered two miscarriages and Father God graciously showed them to me, on two occasions. They are so cute. They looked about two years old. Their eyes were bright and full of life. I could see the joy on their faces. Once I saw them sitting on Father’s lap."

SCREEEECH! Hold the brakes - did you just say "sitting on Father's lap???" Sorry dude, but if I looked up there and saw Zachary sitting on "Father's lap," I'd be more than a little disturbed. I'd be like, "hey Father Lester the Molester, keep your mother-effing paws off my son."

Anyway, I cleared my throat and kept reading:

"I grieve the loss, but I know that they will never have fear or pain. Not subject to the faults and frailties of human parenting, they thrive in the love of the Perfect Father. He cares for them and holds them. They experience things far beyond our imagination in a place continually filled with joy and music."

Whoa, Nelly. Stop right there. Does this sound like Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch or what? Run, Zachary, run! Don't accept candy from strangers, even if he kinda looks like Santa! Shout 911 and call for help!

There's more juicy stuff on this "huge website exalting christ," which I'll definitely return to later. I'm glad there's something out there at least warning me of what's going up there in Baby Heaven.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hot Gay Men with Nice Upper Arms

Eek - it's rare, next-day post! And it's back, per the request of loyal reader Lis: the rare pumpkin azzzz shot! Normally, I can't handle this much blogging because I get sick of hearing myself talk, but today I just have a quick thought I couldn't wait to share.

My gay friends G and J invited us to a pumpkin-carving party with all their buddies last night. K stayed home to watch the World Series, but I decided to go, and it turned out I was the only female there. Let me say that every boy in the house was adorable, intelligent, friendly, confident, funny, professional, and built, with a HOT BOD. Let me repeat: HOT BOD.

So, after a second glass of white wine last night, I almost thought a few of them were actually flirting with me. I mean, normally when a guy sidles up next do you, looks you in the eye, asks you questions, listens to your answer, AND asks follow-up questions, he's flirting with you (right?). Well, right there is the mind-trippin' strangeness of being a female in an enclosed space with hot gay men with nice upper arms: they're NOT flirting with you. I know, isn't that weird!?

All I can say is this: I'm sure glad I'm married, because if I were single and on the market, I'd be seriously depressed. I'd be like, all of these perfect male specimens be gay. I'd probably trick myself into believing I really could attract one or more of them with my pumpkin carving abilities and effervescent laughter - and then it wouldn't work, and then I'd think of the world as a horribly unfair place.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sometimes Motherly

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

One of the instructors I teach with asked me to do a reading from my manuscript for her students. The theme is something academic and literary-sounding, like "Motherhood, Redefined." It's a mind trip to be thought of as a Mom, isn't it? I grapple with this still.

Sometimes, when I'm wearing certain outfits, I literally feel like I fit the Mom part. Today, for example, I felt inclined to dress up a tiny bit because I was in charge of the welcome reception for immigrant/refugree students, so I sported brown corduroy jacket, hoop earings, a crimson scarf and shoes with heels. There's something about heels and a businessy jacket that remind me of something that a Mom would wear. You know, what she'd be wearing when she stopped by the daycare to pick up her kid after work.

I totally pictured myself as that mom, popping into the college daycare center, crouching down as my kid came running into my arms. His face would be all stained with chocolate pudding (gawd, at least I would HOPE it was pudding). He'd love my sparkly hoop earings and brown hair, and try to pull on both and put them in his mouth, and I wouldn't mind it so much.

On the other hand, there are the many times when I'm lounging around the house, watching the John Stewart Daily Show in sweats and a tank top, having not flossed three days in a row due to pure laziness, and occasionally belching loudly just to get K's attention. Doing decidely unmotherly things, like gathering clumps of hair that fall out in shower (does anyone else out there lose PROFUSE amounts of hair in the shower? Like, to the point where you wonder how on earth you can possibly not be bald at this point?) and - rather than doing the responsible thing and throwing it in the trash - just sticking it in the corner of the tub for somebody to deal with later (that somebody would be K, of course). That's not something a decent Mom would do.

Anyway, back to "Motherhood, Redefined." I'm still not sure what I should read just yet in my colleague's class. Maybe I'll read about the silver necklace I still wear - it has ZACHARY embossed on it(god, I love any excuse to use the word embossed, don't you!). I must feel motherly to some degree, for I haven't taken it off once since my friend KD sent it to me for Mother's Day. Not even when I'm belching and leaving hair all over the bathtub.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things I Wish I Liked, But Don't

1) Quinoa.
You know, that stuff we all know is pronounced kwin-OH-uh. Again, I know I should like it since it's versatile, packed with protein and all that good stuff - but to me it tastes kind of like Tebow's anal gland scent. Also, I don't care for the way it looks - like little curled up sperm.

2) Broccoli.
Does anyone really like broccoli? I mean, honestly love the taste of it? Or do people just train themselves to like it? I've heard it's full of microscopic bugs, have you? I know I should like it because I'm a grown up now, but I honestly just don't. I eat it occasionally because it's healthy and green - and only if I can find the pre-washed, pre-sliced stuff in the bag at Trader Joe's. Definitely not into buying the whole dang head of broccoli and getting little green dots of broccoli matter all over the counter and floor. Blegh.

3) Other people's older children at cocktail parties.
It's not about KuKd or anything; I've always been this way. Anytime I go to a supposedly adult event and people bring their kids(you know, the kind who are old enough to recognize the ef-word when they hear it), all of a sudden the whole conversation has to be censored. It becomes about the kids, and not about the adults - and to me that takes away the fun. Is it just me, or did people used to actually hire these things called BABYSITTERS, and then go out to adult parties on their own? I distinctly remember my own parents doing that all the time - hiring a sitter and heading out do to whatever. Makes me wonder if babysitters exist anymore. If they don't, then I'm definitely glad I don't have kids.

4) Eat, Pray, Love.
Everyone loves this book. I'm not crazy about it, but I know I really should like it, because everyone else likes it. Maybe that's precisely why I don't like it.

5)Potatoes in my Indian food.
I got this from K, actually, and I think he's onto something. Potatoes seem like cheap filler, and when you're paying eleven bucks or whatever for palak paneer, I want the real stuff - the cheese and the spinach and that's it. No potatoes thrown in for good measure.

6) Going to Unitarian Church.
Every once in a while, I decide to be religious. And if you just want to dip your toe into some organized spirituality without going full force, Unitarianism is the way to go, it seems. So I drag K to a service once a year or so, but somehow, it's never as thrilling as I've convinced K it will be, so we inevitably duck out early and pay a morning visit to the Krispy Kreme Donut God instead.

7) Museums.
Anytime I visit a new foreign city, I make it a point to avoid museums. It finally dawned on me at the Louvre one day that I really can't stand museums - I only THOUGHT I liked them because Let's Go told me I did. Museums are filled with dark corners where flashers might be lurking, hoards of kids on field trips, and sedentary objects that don't mean a whole lot to me. I'm actually happier wandering around without a map, searching for good lemon tarts and people-watching in parks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Letting Go of Your Bananas

Greetings, Banana Grabbers!

Has anyone ever heard of that letting-go-of-your-bananas story? Somebody at work told me about this story, or theory, or whatever it is, a few weeks ago. It's been on my mind ever since.

Basically, it goes something like this: there's a special kind of monkey trap that's a just a cage filled with bananas. The monkeys come and reach inside the cage to grab the bananas and try to yank them out, all screaming and jumping up and down like madmen (can't you totally picture it?), and of course the bananas are wedged in there so they really don't come out. Then, all the monkey hunter has to do is lift up the whole cage with a rope, and BAM - he's captured all those monkeys who are still hanging there, clutching those bananas.

Of course, the smart monkeys figure out that all they need to do is LET GO. LET GOOOOOOO...

Which brings me to sharing my little story of where I found life this past week. It had to do with that exact thing: letting goooooo of some bananas floating around in my head. That is, it wasn't that I did anything in particular. It was what I didn't do.

As a reminder, my late-afternoon commuting routine goes like this: slam two shots of espresso, hop on hour-long bus to downtown and do intense grading and writing the whole way because that's a perfectly usable hour of life to be productive, arrive in downtown, and immediately hop on bike to race to my house, where infinitely more chores and work-related tasks await me. Bumble through those tasks in a tired state of post-caffeine brain crash, fall into bed - exhausted but unable to sleep - and wonder where the hell the day went. Sounds like great fun, I know.

This time, though:

1) Instead of drinking a pre-bus-ride espresso, I took the brave step of NOT drinking espresso, deciding to give napping a try instead of working, something that truly hadn't occurred to me as a possible way to use that bus time. The whole reason I take the bus is so I can get work done, after all. But this time, I let myself off the hook, snuggled into a window seat, closed my eyes, and dozed the whole way. I ignored the slurred and profanity-filled conversations of the drooly weirdos around me. No dreams, no thoughts. Woke up feeling refreshed and relaxed and wonderful.

2) Instead of immediately hopping on my bike to race home because the clock of life is ticking, I strolled around downtown for about 45 minutes for no purpose other than to look around and see this gorgeous place I live in. Pike Place Market. A lady in an apron singing badly and holding out her hand. A bored-looking, bearded man selling nectarines. A dog with a noodle of saliva hanging off his mouth. I bought a bottle of Perrier mineral water, sat at an outdoor table for five minutes, and drank it slowly. It was fizzy and cold. I went into Barnes and Noble and glanced at the bestseller table, wondering if my book will ever be there. I perused the trashy magazines, discovering that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting divorced (gasp!). I caught a whiff of Windex.

3) I rode home and - this time - looked around as much as I could without endangering my life. Houses and trees and sky. Somebody wearing a werewolf mask. A tree with toilet paper hanging from it. A blinking orange sign that said "open."

4) Our friend A called that night. He'd ordered two pizzas -would K and I like to pop over for dinner and TV. We said yes - even though it wasn't on the agenda, wouldn't allow me to chip into my book that evening as planned, and meant that my students would have to wait one more day before getting their graded essays back. I had an awesome, human, life-living time that night.

So that's where I found life last Wednesday, and I repeated the sleeping-and-strolling pattern for the next two days. LIFE!

Now, time to get back to my book - that's one oh-so-yellow-and-sweet banana I can't let go of!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lovely and Logical - NOT!

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

Today's strange thought:

Our skulls are thin, and anything could crush them at any moment. As humans, we are literally like these walking bags of naked vulnerability. Sometimes I fantasize in all seriousness about requiring K to wear a helmet everywhere he goes. Biking, driving, shopping, eating, hiking, teaching, whatever. Just as some added protection, because I can't bear the thought of something falling on his head and potentially snuffing out his life. I've talked to my friend in D.C. about this, and she agreed that we have thin skulls, but her agreement stopped there.


I always seem to choke up at the weirdest times, and never when I'm technically supposed to. Yesterday, I was technically supposed to.

That's because it wasPregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I knew that day was for me and K and our son. A day to dislodge those little pockets of grief still hidden inside and manhandle them for an evening. Blow my nose loudly. Look at Zach's pictures and feel something. Light candles for my baby boy. Light more candles for baby Elijah, Matthew, Anika, Persephone, Colin and Ryan, who joined Zach in his trip to the MTV's RealHeaven Penthouse for Knocked Down Babies. Play a nauseating Celine Dion song in the background.

The problem was, I just wasn't feeling anything. It was a day of life, not of death, an ironically GOOD day actually, because I decided to take my last blog post to heart and find some life to revel in. So I did, and I'll explain exactly what that means in my next post. Boy, aren't you biting your nails in suspense now...

On the flip side, I did get upset a few months ago when we had visitors stay with us - K's old college roommate and his 5-months pregnant wife - and the wife said she was hungry. That was it. She said she was hungry. That was enough to set me off into a brow-furrowing, stomach-lurching bawl session while driving 70 mph in a 60 mile-an-hour zone on the freeway. No, the couple wasn't in the car with us, thank God. It was just me and K, who was glancing nervously at me and then at the road and then back at me. No, I don't need to pull over, I sobbed. But why does she get to be HUNGRY and I don't!!!!

Ah yes, if only everything were lovely and logical!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places

Hello Deep Breathing, Green Tea Drinking, Life Loving, Lollygagging Lettuce Heads!

Does this picture look like how you feel?

There was a time, just a few years ago, when I looked and felt more or less like this girl. Lying back all zen-like and smiling, inside and out, I can honestly say that I really loved my life, and life in general. I took pride in my ability to live in the moment, and took pity on slaves to the rat race. I worked a job that ended at three o'clock on the dot, and work never spilled over into my personal time. Evenings were free to do that thing called LIVING. Things like cooking long and intricate dinners from a cookbok. Spontaneous cards marathons and potlucks. Long phone calls, catching up with faraway friends and family members.
Sitting on the back patio sipping wine. Curling up with a good book or a trashy magazine. Long walks. Weekend trips to Chicago. I was ultra aware of my surroundings and how beautiful my city was, and ultra in-touch wtih my friends. Maintaining friendships was easy - a pleasure - and not a chore. Weekends were mine to sculpt.

Nowadays, every so often, I take a look at myself and here's what I see:

Haggard. Living underneath a dank, rotten-moss covered rock of stress.

What IS life, anyway? Is it getting ahead, setting goals and reaching them, making money, making mortgage payments, getting a book published, keeping the house clean? To me, that's how it sometimes feels like life has become, and that's not how I want to live. Up at six AM. Coffee. Commute. Work my tail off. Commute. Work on book. Walk the dog. Get exercise. Frantic shopping and cooking. Maintain relationships. Schedule get-togethers not because I feel like I have time anymore, but because I feel I might wither away into solitary old spinster if I don't. House chores.

When did life become such a freakin' rat race? When did so many things become so necessary, leaving no time for the unnecessary, relaxing, fun part? When did I stop having time to call my parents to say hello, meet my Dad for coffee, play spades (my favorite card game on earth), have spontaneous dinners with friends? When did everything have to be scheduled? When did I start getting a knot of anxiety in my stomach at least once a day? Could it be that it coincides with when I started failing at pregnancy, two-and-a-half years ago, and now feel desperate to succeed in everything else to make up for that failure? I could psychoanalyze it to death.

Now I'm looking deep into myself and hearing what I need to do. Life is short, and I need to live it. Set priorities and drop some things, spend less time on getting ahead, and more time on what really matters: people. Kevin, mom/dad, brother, friends. I want to be a breathing, green tea drinking, life loving, lollygagging lettuce head again.

Tonight - hip hop dance class! Yipeee!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

KuKd Word of the Week: GOOGLINATE

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Curious Readers!

Thank God that official KuKd symptoms include "inability to concentrate, comprehend, or remember." That gives me a medical excuse for all the GOOGLINATING I've been spending the last few years of my life doing.

(Googlination, Googlinator, Googlinatory): Google + procrastinate. Excellent for avoiding grading essays, doing house chores, and calling your mother.

I'm always curious to know what other embarassing things other googlinators out there are googlinating. Here are some of my strange recent googlination searches, either on Google Image or regular old Google:

-"sugar cookies" (I use Google Image to look at the pictures and drool)

-"Brittany Spears bald" (to make myself feel normal)

-"reasons for fetal heart calcification" (just in case somebody discovered something since the last time I checked, two days ago)

-"preventing fetal heart calcification" (same reason as above)

-"coffee and fetal heart calcification" (to see if I'm a murderer)

-"health benefits of coffee" (to make myself feel like a good person)

-"seattle home values" (to see how screwed we are)

-"Monica LeMoine" (to see what I'm up to)

-"Palin SNL" (no explanation needed)

-"election polls" (just need to know is who's going to win!)

-"cupcakes" (another droolworthy Google Image search)

I'm sure there are others I'm missing. Anyone else?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Was Wrong, Again

Greetings, Sugary Chocolate Cupcakes!

My friend N is one of most achingly cool, funny, and gorgeous people I know. We shared, and still share - I think - a strong bond, although now our bond is different and not easily defined. N and her husband were the first couple to join the new Seattle prego parents group that I started (I like to point out that I started this group, just to convey how cruelly, borderline hysterically ironic it is that my baby didn't work out), and we became instant best prego buddies.

I was really in need of a bodacious girly friend on a similar life plane - not someone with a child already, but someone about to have a child for the first time. N fit the bill perfectly. You can imagine all the excited conversations we had with flushed and eager faces, complaining semi-seriously about backaches and such because we didn't really care about our backaches, since the backaches were caused by a burgeoning baby in the belly, which was so exciting in and of itself that it made all other bodily pains seem trivial. Our babies were to be born the same week in October, which would mean they'd grow up best friends. Freakin' cosmically cool.

I swear, this story has a point, so keep reading.

A week or two ago - it's all a blur to me now - I went to her son's birthday. God, fifteen months ago, I couldn't have imagined it would be like this. I'll call him DeNaynay - the adorable son with the brightest smile ever. She'll like that.

I arrived thirty minutes late, alone. Kevin was off mountain biking - a trip he'd planned for some time - so I let him off the hook. The party was in a rented room at the library, filled with the celebratory noises and chaos of most toddlers' first birthday parties. Silver balloons and heaps of colorful toys, pizza boxes stacked up on the table, pop music blaring, toddlers bumbling all over the place. The mommies, clustered together and talking about babies and shopping and stuff, were surprisingly well dressed (especially for a potentially poopy-and-barfy-with-cupcakes-flying-everywhere kid's party). The daddies were fairly hot as a whole, with lots of hair product and girly cologne (which did make them more than a little less hot in my eyes). They were standing off to the side and having man-to-man talks in pairs.

Not knowing anybody there, and feeling self-conscious in my glittery form-fitting shirt and big flower earrings (the lone freaky woman without a toddler and husband in tow), I weaved my way over to N. She had DeNaynay in her arms and was wearing a blue thrift store t-shirt and raggy old jeans. She looked different from everybody else there, exuding characteristic confidence and ease. Wistful, dull pang in tummy, but I smiled because DeNaynay is so damn cute, it's impossible not to smile, and because N is one of my dearest friends. I love her, the person she is at the core, that I can say in all honesty.

A fleeting thought ran across the front of my mind, big red font on a banner: I miss the Me-n-Nora that we used to be.

We exchanged hugs and hellos, and she introduced me to other adults and babies. I forgot everyone else's names instantly, feeling hollowed out like an Indian canoe, unknown. Invisible, not quite able to relate to the other people there, who were living in their own babylands. I longed to share those eight pregnant months of my life, and maybe even the years before that. I wanted validate my child's existence, my pregnant years, somehow bring them back and make them real again. Just to let these people know that I get it, this parenthood thing. There was a Me, once upon a time, who knew the feeling of living and breathing for two, of nurturing and protecting a small being that I created. There was a child who was supposed to be here. There was a particular Nora-n-Me, a friendship, that fell down like a collapsed card house.

I wanted somebody to ask me how I knew N, because if I were to give a truthful answer, it would lead immediately into the loss of my son. It would be like, oh - I met them through the pregnancy group. No, I don't have a baby. He was stillborn. Thanks. Yeah, it sucked, but I'm fine now. No, it's okay, don't be sorry. Yes, nice to meet you too. Yeah, the Mariners are sucking this year. Buh-bye. And they'd hightail it out of there, thinking dang - look what can of worms I inadvertently opened.

Someone did ask - the guy who made the cupcakes. He did NOT have product in his hair, for the record. So I told him the story, not really caring how it made him feel, and he handled it well. He felt sorry and sad, and didn't look away. He asked follow-up questions and wanted to know if we would try again for a baby. Having someone feel sympathy, not just for me but for my baby, recognizing the sheer sadness of the whole yucky situation, was like when my mom brushes my hair back from my forehead and says, "honey, it'll be okay." That's how it felt. Comforting, relieving. And his cupcakes were damn good, I might add.

So, I was wrong again. There are people out there - against all odds - who don't mind knowing, who have the courage to ask questions and feel, even if they themselves haven't been through the experience. It made me think of other KuKd Strong Mommas and Infertility Fighters with stories, parts of yourself that nobody would see at first glance. I think the trick is finding those people, or allowing them to find you.

Oh, and by the way - that "damn good" cupcake hurt my lower right molar, the one I've been grinding down. When I told my mom about it on the phone, she said she'd get me a mouthpiece as a Halloween present. "It'll be my treat!" she said, kind of like gender selection. Gotta love moms!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Facing the Scary Agent, and Other News

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

A few of you have asked me for news flashes on this and that, so here you go.

1) Book - I am finally crafting a query packet to send to some publishers and agents. Eeeeeek! Somebody pass the Tums! This book became a sprawling (albeit cathartic) monster of a project, once I realized that, oh yeah - I actually have to somehow articulate a theme for my book! That is, my book has to actually be about something other than my own neurotic cancernoia! Imagine that. I think I've got some themes laid out, but still, rejection looms large.

I can picture exactly how it happens: a thick envelope containing my first five chapters lands on a tired agent's desk at 5:00pm while he or she is just getting ready to go meet friends for happy hour. He or she opens it up, sees the word "miscarriage" in the middle of a paragraph, and goes oh no. Another sappy survivor story. Boo fucking hoo. That's it. And then a gigantic leaden mallet with "YOU'RE A LOSER" comes down hard and goes BOOM really loud, I can hear it echoing all the way from that agent's swank office in uptown Manhattan. I'm already bracing myself.

2) Genes + stress = tooth grinding, and yes, I'm still doing it. I grind even during the day (not THAT kind of grinding, puh-leez!), as I've caught myself doing, usually when thinking about fertawindows and such. The last time I went in, the dentist stuck something in my mouth without warning and shaved some peaks off my right molar, making burnt-tooth-smelling smoke come out of my mouth. I personally thought it was: a) really mean to do that without telling me first; and b) counterintuitive to wear down an already-worn-down molar in hopes of somehow curbing the grinding effects. I've been meaning to look up her dental credentials online but haven't gotten to it yet.

3) Dark elixer - back on it full swing. Even brought an espresso machine to work, as if THAT isn't setting myself up for failure. Oh well; life is short.

4) No, I am not pregnant. You'll be the first to know if I am. Well, not really, but you'll be number ten or eleven at least.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Want 'Em, Don't Want 'Em

Greetings, Poop Elves!

We've come a long way since our lives were totally dictated by society. Ah, this lovely and horribly stress-inducing thing called "choice." As my friend Annette puts it, our stress levels are exponentially higher the more choices we have, as indicated by studies of stress-chemicals in the brain while browsing your typical modern-day cereal aisle. You know, eight different varieties of Cream of Wheat, four types of bran flakes. What's a brain to do. Oh, and Annette's one of the smartest people I know, so I believe her.

Now we turn to the thought of kids, and here's how my brain works: want 'em, don't want' em. Want 'em, don't want 'em.

Remember feeling pregnant - five months, six months, seven months - knees and elbows pressing against my insides, becoming a mother, serenely pleased with my pregnantness, lap-swimming with other mothers, all of us floating in the slow lane like manatees. Wickedly cool feeling: purpose! Belonging! Want 'em.

Then, screaming children at the mall, moms with taut faces, working moms at my school racing around like madwomen to pick up their ungrateful kids from this and that AND juggle work AND maintain sanity AND try to keep up reasonably satisfying personal lives. Who's to say my own Zachary wouldn't have been a total shitheaded teenager. If he was anything like me as a teenager, he most certainly WOULD have been a shithead. Don't want to be that taut-faced mom. Blegh. Don't want 'em.

Then, kids' birthday parties. Babies. Happiness. Love unlike any other love one can feel. Pods of stroller-pushing women walking purposefully around Green Lake, talking about their Hummer-esque strollers and their babies, totally excempt from bringing in money or cultivating hobbies or doing anything other than this all-important womanly job of raising their children. No questions of life purpose, for the purpose is there: motherhood. They just look achingly happy. Want 'em.

Then, five week backpacking vacations to far corners of the earth with K. Beer and kebabs and sex and writing and life. Returning to a job I love, worked hard to get, and am reasonably successful at doing. Wondrous, self-centered, childfree life. Don't want 'em.

Today, it's don't want 'em, so I'm going to go onto each of our two frequent flyer accounts, which contain enough miles banked for a round trip ticket to anywhere in the universe, and book our flights to western China next summer. From there, to Ulan Bator via smokey train filled with old Chinese men, and from there into the windswept plains of Mongolia - number one on my list of places to travel.

Somehow, I've managed to convince K that he wants to go to Mongolia too, so I'd better book our tickets now before he realizes he's been duped. Or worse, before I accidently get knocked up.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Poop Elves

Greetings, Flecks of Bulgar Wheat!

So we can't all produce babies. One thing we CAN do is keep our colons clean and happy with a high fiber diet, and that's just what I'm doing today. Tabouli salad for lunch, and tonight I'm making something involving flax meal - probably muffins. Not that I'm having any particular problems going number two at this moment - believe me, I'd tell you in great detail if that were the case - but I've lately just been in kind of a high-fiber mood.

I've told a few of my friends about this sick and twisted mental image I have of what goes on in the colon, and I'll share it with you too. I picture these little men called Poop Elves who live way up there inside you, and when it's time for you to go number two, they chant "heave ho!" in unison and - using all kinds of medieval looking tools - they push out the human waste. Sometimes they get tired, those little Poop Elves, and require some assistance in doing their job (kind of like sperm, as we discussed earlier). That's where fiber comes in; it's like a dose of vitamins, a physical strength booster.

Oh - and by the way - Shaz posted recently about strange search terms that had led readers to her blog. The one on the top of my own list is "my hamster miscarried." Yes, I did mention miscarrying hamsters at one point in this blog, and I'll give a dollar to whoever can find it. The real question is, can hamsters miscarry? For some reason that never occurred to me. And what happens when they do? Do they have counseling for that kind of thing? BOGS for hamsters? Support groups? The only reason I even mention this now is because I wonder what search terms will lead people to a post called Poop Elves.