Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creating, the Gift

She told me I used to drag my doll around the house, gripping her by the hair, her legs dragging on the floor. Was I going to turn out to not be the nurturing kind?

But now, mom has watched me go through these years of infertility, and sees me face the likely reality of living child-free. (see, I can’t even say NEVER, yet).

And she told her friend this: “I wish I could carry her baby for her.”


Not to mention she knows her girl parts couldn’t possibly support that, but to hear her want to give a gift like that to me moved me. A wonderful friend offered as well – but estrogen is bad, bad, bad for a breast cancer survivor.

Even though this is not on my mind as often these days, it forms a bit of an undercurrent that will always be there, sort of like how it is when someone dies. You don’t ever forget them, and you think of them tenderly, but they will never be part of your life.

The other night my husband cried in his sleep. In the dream, someone at work casually asked the question, “So, do you have kids?”

The flood of emotions comes through at unexpected times.

Sorry for not blogging reliably! I’m deciding what to do with this blog, since my focus is shifting. What’s happening now? Photography – and I am happy to say I sold 2 framed prints this month! My goal is to have a website up by next spring to sell my work. That is BIG for me.

And a tip for you: check out Mumm’s at the bottom of Napa Valley. Yum. A girl day, drinking champagne in the sun and ooh-ing at their fantastic photography gallery. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guns or Dumplings.

It started innocently enough – I invited M over to be assistant chef for an evening of Hungarian dumpling-making. Specifically, plum dumplings, which require Italian sugar prune plums. It’s quite a process, that results in the kitchen, and me, being completely covered in white flour. I’m sure other people are much better at this than me. But it's a tradition. The first time I did it, I had my phone cradled in my neck, listening to my mom instruct me. I rolled out the potato dough, and then she said "ok, now turn it over." Let's just say - that was easier said then done, as the dough was pretty much glued to the countertop.

I had high hopes for successful dumplings tonight, but it turned out a gunman near the San Rafael Bridge caused a big ruckus, and the bridge is shut-down, so there will be no dumpling making tonight.

On another note, I’m noticing bellies lately. Pregnant ones. And noticing moms. My hairdresser’s daughter, who coincidentally shares my name, invited me to come to her dance performance last week. It was a BIG deal, as she went to Alvin Ailey Dance camp, and got to dance with the pros and put on a show at a big, grown-up stage – where Alvin Ailey usually performs. They had top-notch choreography and costuming and it was simply fantastic. And she was a star. Out in front, proudly doing her thing, and doing it REALLY well. Her mom could hardly stay in her skin. “Look at her. LOOK at her. Can you believe it? She is BEAUTIFUL.” At the end, the starlet came out, and was presented with roses and hugs and squeals and adoration and support from about 25 women. Twenty-five strong, gorgeous, creative role models. Including her mom. We were all like surrogate moms, all so excited for her.

When I walked back to my car, I was elated.

When I walked back to my car, I cried.

Just realizing, really, that I won’t have that. I won’t have a mom’s pride at her daughter’s success.

So now I’m committed to being part of other kids lives in a deeper way. Having lunch with “the girl next door” on Friday. She is now 18 years old, in college at the Chicago Art Institute, and a budding photographer and artist. I can’t wait to see her.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Turn me off.

Specifically, I mean turn off the thoughts. They aren’t bad, necessarily, but they are  -- well – in my way.

When I was trying to get pregnant, and was pregnant, I did a lot of things that were good for me. I ate really well, of course didn’t drink, meditated, did yoga. Now, after years of saying I’d take an actual meditation class, I really did.

This is how it works: we sit for a while. During the sitting, I gently ask those pesky thoughts to leave. Then the new ones come. I ask them, too, to leave. I repeat this many, many times. I wonder how much time is left. I wonder about my to-do list. I ask these thoughts to leave (again). Then, once my legs are good and numb, it’s time for a walking meditation. Initially, I mistake this for a race, and get up and too fast and move too fast. So I focus on each step. I try not to look around, at these 50 people walking silently in rows, slow motion, heel-toe, heel-toe through a maze of yoga mats, blankets, wooden back rests and notebooks. This may  look  silly to someone looking at us from the sky. Or even from the next room.

Then the teaching. I’ve always wanted to learn more about Buddhism. I am what they call a recovering Catholic. I think deep down I’m really Jewish, but the part about them not believing in Jesus kind of throws me. Truth is, I really don’t know what I think.

When I get home, B asks how “class” was. “Great,” I say. “What did you learn?” “Well, I learned that sentient beings who have not been transformed have ignorant, defiled minds.” He takes this quite personally, and we get into an argument.

Perhaps it takes more than one night to have this meditation stuff and the studies sink in. Tonight I will try again, to sit, and let in who I am; to discover more about who and what I, and all us humans, are about.

FYI, I’m all the way off my background hormones. I’ve been taking them for years, and since they are about 2x the level of hormone replacement therapy, I thought it was time to wean myself off. It’s funny, as if my body was just holding out just in case we wanted to continue to try. As soon as we made the choice to stop, my cycles begin to change, and now they may be disappearing. It’s a strange feeling.

Photo: 'Dandelion' -- taken this week, on the trail by the house. Theme: Looking for Light. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

at the river

Thinking I’d rather be sitting
Legs splayed
In a cool a river
In the hot sun
Watching my man
Into the water
18 again
Maybe next time
His wife
Will have the tiny bikini
And the gold earrings
And the flat belly
Of her 18 yr old self
As she watches him, wanting him to jump, but
Not wanting him to jump
Then kissing his cool skin
Before we get
back to the car.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It’s getting bright in here

My chiropractor, bless his heart, wants to support my photography – so he asked for prints for his new office, saying he wants to display them and sell them and tell his clients how wonderful I am.

I brought over 2 boxes of framed prints, about a dozen images. Seeing them altogether like that was eye-opening. The oldest one (about 4 years old) “Dancers at the Guelaguetza” was bold and bright and full of action. The ones a few years ago were dark. Beautiful, yes, but many taken at night, many showing the strange beauty of isolation:  light on a lone tree, no people. I’ll say the word I’m thinking: barren.

Recent images are dreamy, like the people and plants and picnic benches are waking up. There’s color, but it’s subdued. Gentle, soft, easy on the eyes, intriguing, the ballet dancers think about their next move, or maybe what they’ll have for lunch. The picnic bench awaits for someone to take a seat, though a storm awaits. The trees are glorious in their muted greens and browns, bits of eye-popping yellow and orange emerging, but you can feel the stillness.

I think the brightness and color are almost ready to come out again. Call me madcap, but I see a parallel between my photos and my inner self. I see the optimism of infertility treatments, and I see the dashed hopes, and now I see myself opening the curtains, breathing life into my world. Getting braver.

I’m really in love with my husband now, perhaps it’s because I know it’s gonna be just him and me. I hold onto him tighter, I stay in bed longer, I laugh with him harder, I forgive him faster.

I’m taking this class again: Slice of Life Project – hopefully this time will be disciplined and have the time to throw myself into it!

P.S. Our trip to Utah was SO amazing, I’ll post some pics.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Three things. Ok, really it’s just one. BRAVERY.

I just signed the form, the one about “disposition of the embryos.” I actually had to sign it twice, this time because the first one was stolen out of my husband’s car. I thought it would/should feel earth-shaking to release them for the benefit of science, but as I muttered something about “the end of an era” the notary coolly asked for my thumbprint, and said “staple this to that.”  

Here’s what's up for me.  I want to
  1. tell my husband how he has enriched my life.
  2. stand up for my integrity and my opinions at work. I’ve been a weenie.
  3. have ‘check-ins’ with my husband to open up any issues before they get out of hand.
 It’s about bravery, and about being real. Being authentic. Is it ever hard for you? It takes a lot of fearlessness to live through infertility. Now, it’s as if all my strength has gone to infertility, and I’m more fearful in other areas of my life. Afraid to lead, afraid of being wrong, or looking stupid or silly. Am I just too tired to deal with fighting any more battles? Can't handle one more bruise? Perhaps its the string of failures that makes it harder for me to believe in myself.

The one area I feel more confident right now is the one that used to really scare me: putting my photographs out in the world. I have 3 pieces up at a show this week, and had 2 shows in April, and now my chiropractor wants to use my prints to decorate his office (and support my photography). I feel movement here – something stirring, and it’s not a baby. It’s me, living my life.

Friday, May 27, 2011

the locket

I wore the locket again this week, the one I wore when I was going through infertility. I would keep photos of the embryos in it while I was going through a cycle. This time, the locket is empty. In a good way. It's cleaned out, ready, but not anxious; just open and willing, for whatever is next.

Our vacation seems to be on the same track as the locket: empty, open spaces of Utah -- lots of hiking, biking, driving, photographing, and just being together. I can hardly wait. Except I haven't packed yet and we're leaving in the morning! Hoping there's a bit of sun and warmth up there. (what? SNOW??)

I wish you all a lovely holiday weekend, filled with love and fun.